" The best one they had was a copy of a Hotchkiss, and that one was neither belt or box mag fed, it used feed strips."
By far the best Japanese machine gun of the war was their late analog to the Bren gun, the Type 99 chambered in 7.7mm. It wasn't until this gun that the Japanese finally understood the need for slow primary extraction. Their guns prior to that, even their copies of the Hotchkiss guns, didn't have initial extraction, so they had to use either cartridge oiling mechanisms, or they had to have oiled cartridges loaded into the magazines. Horrible set up.
"Would the Japanese type 96 also count as an auto rifle rather than a machine gun?"
Nope. It was, like the Bren and most of the others, used as a squad automatic weapon.
The fact that the Browning Automatic Rifle is called an automatic rifle is really irrelevant because its primary role after World War I's "how the hell are we going to use this thing" head scratching was as a.... squad automatic weapon. Same as the Bren, same as the Types 96 and 99.
"Also, despite the concentrated fire of the P-38, the P-47 was the more stable gun platform at low altitude."
The P-47 was great, the P-38 was interesting....
But if you wanted to REALLY kick some ground ass from the air, you called in a flight of Hawker Typhoons. Four 20mm cannons, 10 Holy Moses rockets, and in some field set ups, a 500-lb bomb slung on the centerline as well (although that apparently was only done on paved or solid runways because it hung a little low to the ground).
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza
Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.