First emerging during the early days of aerial warfare in World War I, the term “dogfight” has been a part of fighter pilot vernacular since the advent of the aircraft as a weapon of war. In aerial warfare, the battleground is three-dimensional and the complex maneuvering leads to a fierce fight involving incredible skill and tactics.
As military aircraft increased in speed and their weapons systems became more sophisticated, the role of the “dogfight” in actual wartime conditions lessened. That said, the skills involved in air-to-air combat or air combat maneuvering, as it is now known, are still a core part of combat pilot training as the need to act in an offensive or defensive manner over an aerial opponent will never truly go away.
The dogfight illustrated in the tattoo featured here involves the key fighter aircraft used during World War II by the U.S. Army Air Force and the Imperial Japanese — the North American P-51 Mustang and the Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zero” respectively. Both aircraft were highly competent in combat, but both had their drawbacks at the same time. The P-51 was heavy and had a high-speed wing, thereby reducing it’s maneuverability. The Zero was extremely maneuverable, but was lightly armed and armored and was vulnerable to enemy fire.
This tattoo, part of an arm sleeve comprised of American military imagery, was created by artist Damien Friesz of Onenine Fineart Studio in Savannah, GA.
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