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Japanese Hybrid Battleship / Carriers


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#1 DesertFox

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 0919 AM

The Japanese converted two of their battleships into Hybrid Battleship / Carriers. These vessels were the IJN Ise and Hyuga. I have read as well that there was also some consideration given towards converting the Fusō and Yamashiro but that was never done.

Assuming that they could have gotten enough aircraft for these vessels, does anybody see them as being of any real use in the configuration which they were build in?

#2 ShotMagnet

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 1026 AM

They were converted as a means of getting more observation aircraft into the air. They weren't supposed to be carriers, they were to supplant the ones that had been lost and could not be handily replaced.


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#3 Wobbly Head

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 1028 AM

Wern't those ships sea plane carriers as the only planes that could be recovered were seaplanes. Although the Rufe (Zero float plane) would be a match against torpedo plane and possibly dive bombers they would be massacred against carrier based fighters so I don't think they would be much use against a carrier or even escort carriers. The removal of the turrets would also make them at a dissadvantage against battle ship duels. My take is it is a Jack of all trades master of none.

#4 DesertFox

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 1310 PM

I don't know if there are any records but I wonder if there were any senior naval officers who tried to make it clear to other officers that it was a bad idea. A full conversion to a carrier would have made more sense although there was not enough time according to what I have read. I have to wonder if the resources in men and materials would not have allowed the completion of a couple of their light or fleet carriers which were under construction.

Adding IJN Ise and Hyuga to the Southern Force in their unconverted form would also make some sense even though the results would likely be the same in the long run.

#5 Steve Crandell

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 1341 PM

The IJN were big believers in using cruiser aircraft for recon, and I expect this was just an extension of that idea. They had probably accepted the fact that the chances of the older battleships ever being in a successful surface engagement were very low, so they were just trying to make good use of a hull.

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 1347 PM

I don't know if there are any records but I wonder if there were any senior naval officers who tried to make it clear to other officers that it was a bad idea. A full conversion to a carrier would have made more sense although there was not enough time according to what I have read.


Conversion of the entire class to carriers was considered, but resources were the issue, not time.

I have to wonder if the resources in men and materials would not have allowed the completion of a couple of their light or fleet carriers which were under construction.

Yard workers and equipment are not fungible. The modifications were done using yard space and personnel not assigned to new construction. Additionally, the resources used to modify the BBs were not the same ype of resources that were used in construction new aircraft carriers. For example, the flight decks were concrete, not wood.

Adding IJN Ise and Hyuga to the Southern Force in their unconverted form would also make some sense even though the results would likely be the same in the long run.


The conversions were done in 1943, long before Sho-Go was ever considered.

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 1351 PM

The IJN were big believers in using cruiser aircraft for recon, and I expect this was just an extension of that idea. They had probably accepted the fact that the chances of the older battleships ever being in a successful surface engagement were very low, so they were just trying to make good use of a hull.


The planned a/c complement was to be 11 Judy dive bombers and 11 Paul floatplanes, which were also had a bombing capability. The idea was to beef up the strike capability of shrunken carrier force.

#8 DesertFox

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 1459 PM

Aevan, what are your sources on that resources were the factor in a partial conversion not time involved?
Also, what are your sources that the Japanese could not shift resources / personnel for new construction instead of converting the battleships to hybrid carriers?

#9 Ken Estes

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 2317 PM

Any search for rationalization in the Japanese shipbuilding industry post-1940 may remain futile. On wartime carrier construction, this chapter in the dated but remarkably accurate USN series "Evolution of the Aircraft Carrier" paints the usual picture. http://www.history.n...hes/car-toc.htm

edit to add: ISTR that the concrete flight deck of the hybrids was forced by the need to ballast the ship after the removal of the after pairs of turrets and barbettes. The use of catapult launching meant they never would have approached real CVs in service. Fuso and Yamashiro were not picked for the conversion because they were considered particularly weak designs.

Edited by Ken Estes, 18 October 2009 - 2348 PM.


#10 DougRichards

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 0732 AM

Even the Yamato carried seven aircraft, and had an under armour hanger for them (the blast of the guns would have wrecked any aircraft on deck at the time).

The Japanese aircraft carrting cruisers should also be remembered: Tone with six aircraft whilst the Mogami was given a similar conversion to the Ise with the intention of operating 11 aircraft.

The Chitose and Chiyoda seaplane carriers were another attempt to get aircraft at sea, with up to 24 aircraft carried. Of course both were later converted to full deck carrier configuration. Mizuho (24 aircraft) and Nisshin (25 aircraft) were further examples of the Japanese using seaplane carriers after most of the rest of the world had given up on the idea. It can be seen that the Japanese navy was willing to get as many seaplane carrying ships at sea as possible. The use of the Ise and Hyuga could be considered as a continuation of a long established doctrine.

Lastly, when discussing Japanese aircraft carrying ships no discussion would be complete without mentioning the Yamashiro Maru class (Yamashiro Maru and Chiusa Maru), the Kumaru Maru, and Akitsu Maru class (Akitsu Maru and Nigitsu Maru). All operated by the Imperial Japanese ARMY and used to transport and fly off Japanese Army aircraft for the establishment of land based air defence forces once suitable bases had been established by army invasion forces. None of these ships could easily recover aircraft, but were of similar size to allied escort carriers and could have been used to supplement IJN carrier forces, but none were so used except to escort army convoys. How the IJA came up with enough sailors is anyone's guess.

If you ever thought that Germany had some interesting military organisations (like the Luftwaffe having what became infantry divisions) the idea of an army with a number of aircraft carriers sort of pushes the envelope even further.

#11 Ken Estes

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 0954 AM

.....How the IJA came up with enough sailors is anyone's guess.

If you ever thought that Germany had some interesting military organisations (like the Luftwaffe having what became infantry divisions) the idea of an army with a number of aircraft carriers sort of pushes the envelope even further.


The JA already operated perhaps the largest amphibious fleet, with sailors for that aplenty.

CL Oyodo also completed as a seaplane/floatplane carrier, but also as a fleet flagship, taking her out of the operational OOB.

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 1011 AM

Aevan, what are your sources on that resources were the factor in a partial conversion not time involved?


Wikipedia article on the Ise, but it should be pretty obvious that a partial conversion would not only be quicker--Hyuga was in the yard at Sasebo for only five months on its rebuild (also from Wikipedia)--but less resource intensive. See below.

Also, what are your sources that the Japanese could not shift resources / personnel for new construction instead of converting the battleships to hybrid carriers?


No sources, just common sense. The most obvious resource is facilities. A topside rconstruction required drydocking. New constuction required builders ways. There was little, if any, concrete work done on new construction. It was simply a seperate industrial function. The few hundred tons of superstructure steel and the time it took to install it is a very small bite out of resources and effort needed to build a whole brand new aircaft carrier. Also, I find it hard to figure how the electrical and mechanical work necessary for the a/c-shifting tracks and trolleys was applicable to anything done on carriers. The labor for that would come out of a pool of men used to working on similar facilities for cruisers and BBs. Sure, you could have put them on carrier construction, but they would have been ascending a learning curve for whatever tasks they were given and of not much use in the same amount of time they were involved in completing the Ise and Hyuga flight operations facilities. I commend to you Brooks's The Mythical Man Month for an excellent study of this effect. (The subject is software engineering, but the principles of project management and resource allocation are the same.)

#13 Ken Estes

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 1017 AM

....
No sources, just common sense....I commend to you Brooks's The Mythical Man Month for an excellent study of this effect. (The subject is software engineering, but the principles of project management and resource allocation are the same.)
....

Dontcha know?

#14 Guest_aevans_*

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 1241 PM

Dontcha know?


Actually, anybody who has done project management in any industry knows--you can't throw extra money, manpower, and resources at a project and expect it to move faster. They're simply not fungible and they all require extra effort (yes, even money) to be absorbed and put to use.

#15 DesertFox

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 1250 PM

From what I understand, many of the US warships were completed much faster than originally planned because more personnel and resources were focused on them. (Edit: A good well known historic example of that is HMS Dreadnought being completed in record time)

I am not thinking about actually building "New" carriers but focusing on carriers under construction such as Kasagi, Aso, and Ikoma

Edited by DesertFox, 19 October 2009 - 1251 PM.


#16 sunday

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 1257 PM

Actually, anybody who has done project management in any industry knows--you can't throw extra money, manpower, and resources at a project and expect it to move faster. They're simply not fungible and they all require extra effort (yes, even money) to be absorbed and put to use.


In design, yes. In construction of manufacturing, not much. I.e. if you double the grunt manpower when doing non-qualified, or standarized work, then you will double the output. One naval fitter (?) does not need to know what are the ultimate requirement of the end user, if that naval fitter has done work fitting similar vessels before.

Software is still mainly a craft, not an engineering discipline, IMHO. Do you remember that quote "Software Engineering is a Potemkin village"? ;)

Well, it should be snowing in the kingdom of beelzebub, because I kinda agree with Ken.

#17 Colin

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 1333 PM

How many full carriers did the Japanese build after Dec 41? Where they new starts or allready under construction?

#18 Guest_aevans_*

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 1343 PM

From what I understand, many of the US warships were completed much faster than originally planned because more personnel and resources were focused on them. (Edit: A good well known historic example of that is HMS Dreadnought being completed in record time)

I am not thinking about actually building "New" carriers but focusing on carriers under construction such as Kasagi, Aso, and Ikoma


The case of the Dreadnought is a particular example of compressing a schedule with overtime and carefully planned parallel scheduling, not a case of adding extra men for a while. US construction could be sped up because a comparatively overwhelming availability of manpower and resources allowed the acceptance of inefficiencies. In the case of the Japanese, a few hundred extra men for a half year would probably have led to almost as much waste effort in making some kind of use for their labor as their labor actually represented.

In design, yes. In construction of manufacturing, not much. I.e. if you double the grunt manpower when doing non-qualified, or standarized work, then you will double the output. One naval fitter (?) does not need to know what are the ultimate requirement of the end user, if that naval fitter has done work fitting similar vessels before.

Software is still mainly a craft, not an engineering discipline, IMHO. Do you remember that quote "Software Engineering is a Potemkin village"? ;)

Well, it should be snowing in the kingdom of beelzebub, because I kinda agree with Ken.


Even standardized tasks have to be planned and work on them integrated into the overall schedule. (You can't have pipefiers working in a compartment that the painters are supposed to be in.) Any given supervisor can only organize so much work. And the more supervisors you have, the more coordinating planners you need, and the more time devoted to scheduling. Even at the level of the trades, none but the simplest tasks can be done without study. If I inject 10 more journeymen electricians into a team of fifty that have been working on the same wiring plan for a year, how long before they do more than apprentice level work, and how many already busy electricians are required to bring the new men up to speed on the project?

IOW, it's not a question of whether extra help might have eventually been useful, but whether the men necessary to disconnect and land four turrets, poor a few thousand tons of concrete, and construct 140 meters of extra, non-standard flight deck, could have been put to efficient use on new construction aircraft carriers. It in fact may not have even been a task of comparative planning analysis to the Japanese. Depending on how their yards were organized, they may have actually asked themselves if they had the management labor available in the repair department to do the planning and supervision, and if any help they needed from the general labor pool was assigned to anything else at the time that couldn't be dropped or delayed. IOW, it could have been a simple question of non-interference at the industrial level to them, not one of strategic resource allocation.

#19 Steven P Allen

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 1517 PM

IOW, it's not a question of whether extra help might have eventually been useful, but whether the men necessary to disconnect and land four turrets, poor a few thousand tons of concrete, and construct 140 meters of extra, non-standard flight deck, could have been put to efficient use on new construction aircraft carriers. It in fact may not have even been a task of comparative planning analysis to the Japanese. Depending on how their yards were organized, they may have actually asked themselves if they had the management labor available in the repair department to do the planning and supervision, and if any help they needed from the general labor pool was assigned to anything else at the time that couldn't be dropped or delayed. IOW, it could have been a simple question of non-interference at the industrial level to them, not one of strategic resource allocation.


FWIW, these very dynamics played out time and again in USN ship building efforts during WWII. One of the reasons that so many DEs of the less effective classes were built is that building them simply didn't interfere with anything else on the program.

#20 Richard Lindquist

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 1553 PM

The case of the Dreadnought is a particular example of compressing a schedule with overtime and carefully planned parallel scheduling, not a case of adding extra men for a while. US construction could be sped up because a comparatively overwhelming availability of manpower and resources allowed the acceptance of inefficiencies. In the case of the Japanese, a few hundred extra men for a half year would probably have led to almost as much waste effort in making some kind of use for their labor as their labor actually represented.
Even standardized tasks have to be planned and work on them integrated into the overall schedule. (You can't have pipefiers working in a compartment that the painters are supposed to be in.) Any given supervisor can only organize so much work. And the more supervisors you have, the more coordinating planners you need, and the more time devoted to scheduling. Even at the level of the trades, none but the simplest tasks can be done without study. If I inject 10 more journeymen electricians into a team of fifty that have been working on the same wiring plan for a year, how long before they do more than apprentice level work, and how many already busy electricians are required to bring the new men up to speed on the project?

IOW, it's not a question of whether extra help might have eventually been useful, but whether the men necessary to disconnect and land four turrets, poor a few thousand tons of concrete, and construct 140 meters of extra, non-standard flight deck, could have been put to efficient use on new construction aircraft carriers. It in fact may not have even been a task of comparative planning analysis to the Japanese. Depending on how their yards were organized, they may have actually asked themselves if they had the management labor available in the repair department to do the planning and supervision, and if any help they needed from the general labor pool was assigned to anything else at the time that couldn't be dropped or delayed. IOW, it could have been a simple question of non-interference at the industrial level to them, not one of strategic resource allocation.



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