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Effectiveness Of Straffing Aircraft Against Ships


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#41 shep854

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 2235 PM

Ive never heard of any 20mm in B-25s. P-38s had one with 4x.50, and the P-70 (night interceptor version of the A-20) had four 20s, but no Mitchells.

Edited by shep854, 12 May 2019 - 2235 PM.

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#42 DougRichards

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 2303 PM

I wonder how useful the P-61 radar would have been in the air to surface role?  A variant of the radar was tried for surface to surface on British MGB and found to be useful.

 

A Black Widow coming up at night on a Japanese destroyer (without radar) should have been able to wreak some havoc on board the ship with just its 20mm guns, and the possibility of using six 5 in (127 mm) HVAR unguided rockets under the wings should not have been discounted.


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#43 shep854

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 0752 AM

Radar equipped Catalinas (Black Cats) were fairly successful running night missions in the Pacific, using bombs and torpedos.  Remember strafing couldn't actually sink a ship.  It was just to soften the target up for a bombing or torpedo run; at night, flak suppression was not as critical, since few Japanese ships had radar and a darkened plane could usually get into a drop position fairly easily.

Even with radar, the US Navy had great difficulty with Japanese night strikes.  During some early night engagements, US ships were instructed to hold fire, to avoid pinpointing themselves to marauding Japanese bombers

From Wiki,  'Battle of Rennell Island': 

" At 20:08, Giffen ordered his ships to reverse direction, to slow to 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h), and to cease firing their anti-aircraft guns. The absence of muzzle flashes concealed the ships from the Japanese aircraft, who all departed the area by 23:35."

https://en.wikipedia..._Rennell_Island


Edited by shep854, 13 May 2019 - 0757 AM.

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#44 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 0757 AM

Biggest problem I see with night strafing is ending up in the drink, particularly in an era before accurate altimeters and night vision goggles.

 

I guess you could rig up leigh light as they did on the liberators. Kind of going to make you a bit obvious for gunners though.

 

I thought the 20mm was interesting too. I suppose they got them surplus off P38's?

 

 

Have a pick through that site fellas, its got a LOT of interesting documents, including Luftwaffe operators manuals for a variety of aircraft. Lots of good stuff on there if you know where to look.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 13 May 2019 - 0758 AM.

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#45 seahawk

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 0955 AM

The 37mm armed Stukas were quite effective against ships.


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#46 Markus Becker

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 1224 PM

Biggest problem I see with night strafing is ending up in the drink, particularly in an era before accurate altimeters and night vision goggles.

 

Well yes, you would have be to very, very careful even when there is some light from the stars and the moon.

 

 

shep854 wrote: Radar equipped Catalinas (Black Cats) were fairly successful running night missions in the Pacific, using bombs and torpedos.

 

 

Bombs? I thought they just laid mines. 


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#47 rmgill

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 1251 PM

There was a WWII era Radar Altimeter at the time. 

The RT-7 / APN-1. Fitted to B-24s at least. Indicated 50-300 feet. 

Apparently also in the "TBM Avenger (see image from TBM Flight Manual), dive bomber SB2C Helldiver, patrol aircraft PV-1 Ventura, PV-2 Harpoon, PBY Catalina, PBM-5 Mariner, and PB4Y Privateer. "

https://aeroantique....t=6185153069086

http://thepastpresen...adar-altimeter/
 


Edited by rmgill, 13 May 2019 - 1252 PM.

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#48 MiloMorai

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 1255 PM

Markus, https://youtu.be/2xMbz5vHioM


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#49 shep854

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 1322 PM

Beat me to it!  ^_^

To keep on thread, 20mm on PBY

dual_20mm_nose-cannon.jpg


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#50 Nobu

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 1404 PM

Strafing warships might be beneficial in certain instances under a certain set of conditions, but otherwise seems like the wrong choice of tool for the job in various ways.

 

Bombers swinging around for a second low-altitude pass to strafe warships after dropping bombs or releasing torpedoes in their first sounds like a good way to increase bomber aircrew attrition and decrease the ammunition available to defend themselves against enemy fighter attack on the return leg.

 

Fighters dropping down to the deck to strafe warships expose experienced fighter pilots to interlinked warship AA fire, and put them out of position  and out of ammunition to perform their primary mission.

 

If Bf109s could have sunk or disabled a RN destroyers in confined waters by strafing alone, the question becomes why they did not do so with greater efficiency the week of May 27 1940.

 

During the Battle off Samar, Wildcats strafed the Japanese cruisers and battleships in desperate attempts to distract them from the jeep carriers of Taffy 3

 

Describing unrelenting airstrikes conducted by carrier air against IJN surface ships without fighter protection as "desperate" certainly adds a layer of heroic theater to the battle. Whether justified, based on the supremacy of airpower vs surface gunnery in the Pacific at this time, is another matter.


Edited by Nobu, 13 May 2019 - 1414 PM.

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#51 rmgill

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 1610 PM

What's the cost of a bomber for a Destroyer? Crew? Technical material? What about a transport? Men, Supplies and what ever that transport could transport in future? 

What's the cost difference between a B-25 and a cruiser? Men/material in transports?

For an exceedingly salient example, what about the Battle of the Bismark Sea? The trade was 13 men with 2 bombers and 4 fighters lost to 8 Japanese Transports, 4 destroyers, 20 fighters and nearly 3000 dead. Seems like a very good trade. 

The point of strafing a target while your buddies are bombing is to split the fire of the target. AAA can't fire at two things at once. Also, if the target is a transport full of infantry, shooting it up with .303 MG's is going to accomplish something even if the ship doesn't stop. Concentrated targets like that are ideal. 



USAAF+B-25+sinks+Japanese+destroyer+Amat


Edited by rmgill, 13 May 2019 - 1611 PM.

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#52 Markus Becker

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 1619 PM

There was a WWII era Radar Altimeter at the time. 
The RT-7 / APN-1. Fitted to B-24s at least. Indicated 50-300 feet. 
Apparently also in the "TBM Avenger (see image from TBM Flight Manual), dive bomber SB2C Helldiver, patrol aircraft PV-1 Ventura, PV-2 Harpoon, PBY Catalina, PBM-5 Mariner, and PB4Y Privateer. "https://aeroantique....t=6185153069086http://thepastpresen...adar-altimeter/


Of course. Radar aided torpedo bombing! I saw the training film on YouTube.
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#53 shep854

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 1858 PM

Nobu: Desperate certainly qualifies when their carriers are coming under direct gunfire from capital ships. When the flattops are well out of reach, the word would then be hyperbolic.
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#54 JasonJ

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 1901 PM

Nobu: Desperate certainly qualifies when their carriers are coming under direct gunfire from capital ships. When the flattops are well out of reach, the word would then be hyperbolic.


This.
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#55 Nobu

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 2120 PM

The word "desperate" seems more suited for the side trying to fight approximately 400 USN carrier aircraft in daylight with surface ships. This is about 150 more aircraft than 1st Carrier Striking Force brought with it to fight the hoped for decisive battle to decide the future of Japan at Midway.

 

When the flattops are well out of reach, the word would then be hyperbolic.

 

Of the 19 USN carriers whose aircraft were in action against the IJN at Samar, only a fraction were under direct gunfire. The others, including the big fleet carriers Hancock, Hornet 2, and Wasp, were out of reach of Kurita's guns for the course of the battle.


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#56 JasonJ

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 2252 PM

The word "desperate" seems more suited for the side trying to fight approximately 400 USN carrier aircraft in daylight with surface ships. This is about 150 more aircraft than 1st Carrier Striking Force brought with it to fight the hoped for decisive battle to decide the future of Japan at Midway.
 
When the flattops are well out of reach, the word would then be hyperbolic.
 
Of the 19 USN carriers whose aircraft were in action against the IJN at Samar, only a fraction were under direct gunfire. The others, including the big fleet carriers Hancock, Hornet 2, and Wasp, were out of reach of Kurita's guns for the course of the battle.

Even if some of the fighters didn't belong to the carriers under fire, they would still feel desparate to save their buddies under heavy fire. One could view as that those other fighters perhaps didn't have to stick around buzzing over the cruisers and maybe could have just wdnt home once their ammo ran out. But since they stayed around and risked themselves under AA fire with no ability to attack, then there is a degree of heroism in that.

Of course, yes, in cases when the Japanese fought hard, it is usually described as fanatical rather than heroism. Although in Japanese circles etc, heroism or 英雄 is used. And often the response to it is the kneejerk reaction of "war crimes! aggressors!" etc, when it really isn't fair for that kneejerk reaction to always come about so I know where you're coming from. But having exchanges being reduced to a competition for honour or reduced to appeasing sentiments really is kind of annoying. Well sometimes the nitty gritty just has to play out, but it is tiresome, and probably wasn't necessary, but who am I to judge whether or not it should be shut out. Being a control freak is no good either. But I'm here and feel I have to say something instead of not posting at all. But actually, all things consider, such kneejerk reactions and such hasn't been nearly as bad as it has been say 4-5 years ago on these boards. So it doesn't really feel necessary to press even more on it IMO.

Edited by JasonJ, 13 May 2019 - 2254 PM.

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#57 shep854

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 2304 PM

To the best of my knowledge, no fast carrier aircraft fought in the Samar engagement. All the aircraft were from the escort carriers of the Taffy units. Even though Taffy 3 was the only group that was actually engaged by the Japanese ships, the others would have been on the block had events transpired differently.
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#58 MiloMorai

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 2351 PM

battle_off_samar_poster_by_sfreeman421-d


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#59 Markus Becker

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 0912 AM

The word "desperate" seems more suited for the side trying to fight approximately 400 USN carrier aircraft in daylight with surface ships. This is about 150 more aircraft than 1st Carrier Striking Force brought with it to fight the hoped for decisive battle to decide the future of Japan at Midway.


The carriers were CVE. None had prepared for anti ship missions, some were hunted down by IJN surface ships, the others were under Kamikaze attack. A coordinated reaction wasn't possible.
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#60 Nobu

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 0915 AM

Interesting how that graphic fails to mention the 10 USN carriers of Taffy 1 (70 miles away) and Taffy 2 (30 miles away), whose 280 aircraft engaged in unrelenting strikes against Kurita throughout the battle, and whose decks were close enough to cycle rearmed aircraft back over the target area 10-15 minutes after launch. In fact, it fails to mention the contribution made by USN airpower to the battle at all.

 

Inflating the desperation of the odds faced by the USN at Samar by de-emphasizing the total airpower supremacy enjoyed by it throughout the battle is actually understandable in the context of war propaganda, as the narrative of Kurita's battleships running away from an inferior force is certainly more palatable than the battle's parallel and darker narrative of a U.S. intelligence failure comprehensive enough to compel USN destroyer captains to order their crews to commit suicide en masse by capital ship.

 

Whether it is understandable 75 years after the fact is another question entirely.


Edited by Nobu, 14 May 2019 - 0936 AM.

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