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Battle of Midway Question

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by BigEFan, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Now that I am back on my PC & not my mobile, here is the direct link to the report: http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/f4f/f4f-3-1845.pdf
    Sorry, but WW2aircraftperformance was not displaying correctly on my cell(I got the drop down box for the US, but there was nothing in it)
    The two .30s & two .50s are mentioned on page 2, and firing trials on pages 7-8.

    The report tells of the gun testing with 100 rounds being fired from each gun on the ground, and 1,300 .30cal & 2,020 .50cal rounds were fired in flight. The report goes on to state that the two .50cal wing guns proved to be very problematic in flight. They installed a large diameter roller at the mouth of the ammunition box in hopes of alleviating the problem, but it failed. It was finally decided that the problem was improper timing of the guns. The guns were correctly timed and tested on BuNo. 1848, and the problem was solved. However, no more is mentioned on the .50s on BuNo. 1845, so I would hazard to guess that the guns were removed as the aircraft was under evaluation for several months.

    The one thing that I wish was mentioned in the report is the amount of ammunition carried for the guns of BuNo. 1845. It says that the .50s of BuNo. 1848 had 450 rounds per gun, but nothing on BuNo. 1845.
     
  2. EKB

    EKB Member

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    I forgot to mention that empirical evidence is lacking that proves the value of armor plates and self-sealing fuel tanks. It probably boosted morale more than combat efficiency.

    A case can be made that reduced aircraft performance from piling on extra weight offset any advantages to having bullet-proof plates in the cockpit and lining the fuel tanks.

    Burn victims (RAF aircrew) that flooded British hospitals could attest that Linatex was ineffective if not useless after fuel tanks on their bombers or fighters caught fire or exploded. A rubberized material was tried later but I’m not sure if this was significantly better at stopping fires or plugging leaks.

    In the Spitfire there was a petrol tank in front of the cockpit. The top half was not lined with self-sealing material, and I’m pretty sure that applied to all Spits built with a Merlin engine.

    Some USAAF squadrons in the Pacific removed armor plates from the Bell P-39. It was argued that substantial weight added to the airplane was more hazardous to the pilot than giving up some protection from gunfire.

    I don’t know if USAAF outfits tried to remove self-sealing liners from fuel tanks, but de Havilland did that with the Mosquito XV to reduce weight and increase the ceiling.
     
  3. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    A recent computer adventure forced me off line for a week and, perforce, made me do some light background reading on the subject of early F4Fs. So, herewith, a minor entry and a long way around F4F b/n 1845 and a few others:

    From “F4F Wildcat in Action,” Dann, RS, Squadron/Signal Publications, 2004, pages 8 & 9:
    “Following the first flight, Grumman retained 1844 for manufacturer’s evaluation before it was sent to Pratt & Whitney’s Hartford Connecticut facility for engine testing. The second F4F-3 (BuNo 1845) conducted its initial flight in July 1940 and was delivered to NAS Anacostia the following month for Production Inspection Trials. BuNo 1845 was later sent to NACA’s Langley facility for tests aimed at providing adequate cylinder cooling. Several cowl flaps and propeller spinner combinations were tested.

    “Bu Nos 1844 and 1845 were not considered representative of production aircraft configuration . . .”

    B/n 1844, of course, crashed near Norbeck, MD on 5 Mar 1941, killing LT Seymour Anderson Johnson, USN, a test pilot assigned to Flight Test at NAS Anacostia. On an altitude test flight, Seymour had radioed that he was running out of oxygen and his crash was attributed to his actually doing so. Interestingly, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was named for this naval aviator, a Goldboro, NC native; the only Air Force base named for a naval aviator.

    A review of the BuAer monthly reports of aircraft under first mentions b/n 1845 in the 29 February 1940 report which addresses future allocations:

    “#1844 to NAS Anacostia, Test and Oper; #1845-1862 to VF-6 (ENTERPRISE); #1863-1865 to AirBatFor, San Diego, spares; #1866-1883 to VF-5 (YORKTOWN); #1884 to NAS Anacostia; #1885-1897 to AirBatFor, San Diego, spares. Remaining not allocated.”

    This wording appears in the subsequent March, April, May, June, and July, reports. One might note that these same reports also note that none of the contracted F4Fs have been delivered. In fact, the delivery schedule appears to be a rapidly moving target (this, I believe, due to engine deliveries):

    Delivery schedules, Contract No. 68219:
    February 1940 for b/ns 1844-1897 and 2512-2538
    “(1) in Mar; (6) in Apr; (6) in May; (7) in Jun; (8) in Jul; (8) in Aug; (9) in Sept; (9) in Oct. – Remaining not furnished yet.” Number on order, 81; delivered 0.

    March 1940 for b/ns 1844-1897 and 2512-2538
    “(1) in Apr; (1) in May; (18) in Jun; (15) in Jul; (15) in Aug; (15) in Sept; (16) in Oct 1940.” Number on order, 81; delivered 0.

    April 1940 for b/ns 1844-1897 and 2512-2538
    “(1) in May; (5) in Aug; (4) in Sept; (10) in Oct; (25) in Nov; (35) in Dec 1940” Number on order, 80; delivered 0.

    May 1940 for b/ns 1844-1897 and 2512-2538
    “(1) in Jul, remainder indefinite.” On order, 80; delivered 0.

    Jun 1940 for b/ns 1844-1897 and 2512-2538
    “(1) in Jun; (5) in Aug; (4) in Sept; (10) in Oct; (25) in Nov; (35) in Dec 1940” Number on order, 80; delivered 0.

    Jul 1940 for b/ns 1844-1845, 1848-1896, and 2512-2538
    “(5) in Aug; (6) in Sept; (12) in Oct; (25) in Nov; (30) in Dec 1940” Number on order, 78; delivered 0. This report also shows the XF4F-4 b/n 1897 at NAF Philadelphia for testing in undelivered status, and b/ns 1846 & 1847 now separated out within the contract as two separate on orders, with 1846 in delivered status at NAS Anacostia for testing and 1847 expected for delivery in Aug 1940.

    More changes ensue with the Aug 1940 report for b/ns 1844 & 1845, 1848-1896, 2512-2538
    “(1) in Sept. 1940, subsequent deliveries contingent on receipt of engines.” Number on order 78, delivered 2. B/n 1897 we can presume is still at NAF is still listed as on order/not delivered. 1846 and 1847 show as ordered and delivered at NAS Anacostia. Of some small import in this report are the changes in the projected allocation of aircraft to squadrons: “#1848-1865 to VF-4 (RANGER); #1866-1883 to VF-7 (WASP); #1884-1887 to AirBatFor (spares). Remaining will be allocated at a later date.”

    Note that in the August 1940 report b/n 1845 appears to have dropped out of allocations. In fact, it never again appears as an allocated or to be allocated aircraft. My guess is that 1844 and 1845 are the two deliveries noted for the month (remember 1846 and 1847, conversions to the XF4F-5, are counted separately).

    And, now that ye olde PC is back in battery . . .

    NASA, addressing NACA activities, notes on its page showing the front quarter view with no visible evidence of wing -mounted guns, shown below: “While not built to the full production standard of other Grumman Wildcats, this Wildcat, the second F4F-3 (my emphasis, this would be b/n 1845), was used by the NACA at Langley to investigate the cuffs on the propeller blades.” We also know that b/n 1845 was the also the subject of a NACA evaluation of F3F-3 aileron characteristics conducted by Harold F Kleckner between 13 and 27 May 1942 with a report issued in September 1942.

    Joe Baugher’s bureau number listings also note b/n 1845 as spending time with NACA Langley. Baugher further notes b/n 1845 as destroyed while assigned to VMF-123 at Efate on 29 Jul 1943. During the entire month of July 1943 VMF-123 did have two F4F-3Ps in inventory during the entire month. I can find no confirming report from VMF-123 or MAG-11 noting the possession of b/n 1845 nor any report of its demise – doesn’t mean there isn’t such a report, I simply cannot find one. A month later the squadron entered combat based at Munda and flying F4Us.

    If we turn to the BuAer final specifications for the F4F-3 at Tony William’s website we can find the document stipulated that “Model F4F-3 Airplane #1848 manufactured under contract 68219 shall be designated as the basic airplane.” I would not be surprised it this or that tweak for thus and so problem were tested out on 1845 during its sojourns with NAS Anacostia and NACA Langley and solutions effected on 1848.

    And to close the loop somewhat, the “first” F4F-3, b/n 1848 was bounced from an originally planned allocation to ENTERPRISE’s VF-6 to RANGER’s VF-4, and, indeed, was so delivered on 26 November 1940. The plane evidently moved around just a bit. It was eventually lost off the California coast in a fiery crash aboard USS Hornet on 23 March 1942. Piloted by ENS Robert A M Dibb, AV(N), aboard TAD for car quals from ACTGPac at NAS San Diego, his first landing attempt resulted in a partial ramp strike, bounding, now afire, over the arrestor gear, and crashed into the barrier gear. Dibb got out uninjured and the fire was quickly put out with minor damage to the flight deck, but b/n 1848, the true first F4F-3, was a total loss.

    After completing the ACTG program Dibb would report in April to the reforming VF-3 under LCDR John S Thach at NAS Kaneohe. He became Thach’s wingman and, at Midway in June, he and Thach would be the first to employ Thach’s Beam Defense tactic, what later became known as the “Thach Weave,” in combat. On 29 Aug 1944 LT Robert Allan Murray Dibb, USN, assigned to Air Ordnance Development Unit One at NOTS Onyokern, was testing calibration of air launch missiles and was killed in a crash when a rocket he had launched bounced off the ground and tore off a wing of his F6F.

    One might note the photo below of b/n 1845 circa mid 1943 (as evidenced by the white bars and apparent red surround on the national insignia - kind of an odd paint job, I'd love to see that in color), there is no evidence of wing guns. Likewise, the circa 1941 photo reported to be b/n 1845 on the tarmac at NACA Langley; again, there is no evidence of wing guns.

    My conclusion then, from BuAer information, NASA’s statement, and the photographic evidence, is that b/n 1845, if being cited for performance statistics, was armed solely with .30 caliber guns in the cowl and no wing guns and, in addition, did not have either pilot armor nor self-sealing tanks. Performance values for b/n 1845, therefore, should be taken with a large grain of salt and certainly would not apply to the entire F4F-3 series and, especially, when combat prepped and loaded.

    F4F 1845 NACA 1941 01.jpg
    B/N 1845 at NACA 1941

    F4F 1845 1943 01.jpg
    B/N 1845 circa mid 1943

    F4F 1845 1943 02 BN close.jpg
    B/N 1845 circa 1943 close up of B/N
     
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  4. scott livesey

    scott livesey Member

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    You need to understand that this was early in the war and except for Yorktown, this was the first big show. Eventually it was figured out that you launched CAP fighters that would circle overhead, then SBD scouts with 500 pound bombs, the SBD bombers with 1000 pound bombs, then torpedo planes, then escort fighters. Mistakes were made as always seems to happen in battle.
    The Wildcat could dive faster than the Zero and could maneuver better at high speed and high altitude. American pilots had more training in deflection shooting(think of skeet shooting) while the Japanese preferred to get on opponents tail. American tactics were changed to use these advantages. Ideally, on attack, Wildcat pilots would climb several thousand feet above Japanese planes, attack while diving, and using the speed from the dive climb above for a second run. On defense, this is what Thach came up with
    Thach wanted a formation that was defensive, but could also put his fighters on the offense. He devised a maneuver called the “beam defense maneuver. In it, he positioned the two sections of his four-plane flight abreast if each other at a distance equal to the turning radius of the Wildcat. In the event a Zero jumped on the tail of one section, the two sections would turn toward each other, setting up the second section for a head-on shot at the attackers of the first section. If the attacker turned away, it then had the second section on its tail; if it turned into the second section, it put the Wildcats in position to repeat the maneuver. The Battle of Midway and the Debut of the Thach Weave
    hope that answers the questions.
    scott
     
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  5. EKB

    EKB Member

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    Extensive research by Anthony Cooper shows that Japanese pilots over Australia in 1943 got the best results by using hit and run tactics. Dive and zoom climb to recover height ...

    Cooper, Anthony. Darwin Spitfires (Kindle Locations 6482-6536). Pen and Sword. Kindle Edition.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Very interesting, a phase of the war I had not known much about. Does anyone know who Caldwell was?

    If, as Caldwell wanted, the wing’s Spitfires had been armed with reliable US .5 inch heavy machine guns instead of their mixed 20 mm and .303 inch armament,

    Some Spitfire models used the so-called E wing which carried two Browning .50s and two 20mm cannons. This is the only British-built fighter I am aware with wing-mounted .50s, or as they would say 0.5s.
     
  7. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    RADM Fletcher and the air staff on Yorktown were, indeed, the most combat experienced team on the scene. Of the squadrons aboard the ship, VB-5 had seen the elephant as had VF-3’s LCDR Thach and the sixteen pilots he picked up from VF-42. CAPT Buckmaster (CO) and his staff, the “brain trust,” CDR Keifer (XO, wings 1922); CDR Wiltsie (NavO, wings 1927); CDR Arnold (AirO, wings 1926); LCDR McLean (TF17AvO, wings 1929); LCDR Armstrong (AAirO, wings 1930); LCDR Pederson (CYAG, wings 1930), LT Mahachek (AirOpsO, wings 1927); and LT Mead (AAirO, wings 1930) had some pretty definitive ideas they had worked out on how the show should be run - and Fletcher let them run with it - from removing bomb racks from F4Fs (they considered 100# bombs pretty useless), launching slightly off center from directly into the wind to more rapidly clear slipstreams for following aircraft, to, and most importantly, departing from standard doctrine of “deferred departure” – where one launches the entirety of one’s strike and they all circle around overhead waiting for everyone to get airborne and sorted out and then go off in one big gaggle at the speed of the slowest aircraft. Instead they developed the concept of “running rendezvous” where the slowest planes launch first, gather themselves together and head on out, then the next fastest go off in one group, and finally the fastest, and shortest ranged, go off together; all aiming for some point near their target area where the group would hopefully arrive for a coordinated attack. Pretty much the way it worked. First the TBDs moving out at about 100 kts; then the SBDs, circling and climbing as they gathered (the slide rule set worked out that they’d need to remain in the vicinity of the ship for about 12 minutes for the timing of the rendezvous to work) then departing at about 130 kts); lastly, then, the escorting F4Fs chasing along after at 140 kts.

    As far as employment of Thach’s Beam Defense was concerned, In Thach’s first division, he and his wingman Dibb were familiar with the tactic. I believe his third section, Cheek and Sheedy were familiar though to a lesser degree, Cheek was checked out for sure, but Sheedy had not long been in VF-3 so how much practice he may have had is problematical. I’d note in their action (Cheek and Sheedy, that is) they were operating as an unsupported section and did not themselves employ the beam defense when attacked. Thach’s second section, Macomber and Bassett, were both from VF-42 and had not been exposed to, much less practiced in, the beam defense concept. Thus it was a two-man show of Thach and Dibb, with Macomber tucked in close and following Thach while Dibb was out there on the beam all by himself. Basset was lost in the opening seconds of the Japanese CAP's interception.

    Those who flew fighters off Yorktown at Midway, Thach included, were very clear in that there was no familiarization, even on paper, with his beam defense on the trip out. The VF-42 pilots, in particular, had absolutely no training or any other familiarization with the beam defense.

    There was only one other section in the whole squadron - third section of third division - which even had a section leader from VF-3 (Barnes with VF-42’s Tootle as wing). Thach, himself, was the only VF-3 division leader; the other three division leaders were from VF-42. Of 12 sections within the squadron’s four divisions 10 had section leaders from VF-42.

    VF-3 Tactical Organization at Midway:
    Rank/Name | Parent Squadron | B/N | Side#
    1st Division
    LCDR JS Thach | VF-3 | 5171 | 1
    ENS RA M Dibb | VF-3 | 5170 | 2
    LTJG BT Macomber | VF-42 | 5169 | 3
    ENS ER Bassett | VF-42 | 5168 | 4
    MACH TF Cheek | VF-3 | 5167 | 5
    ENS DC Sheedy | VF-3 | 5165 | 6​
    2nd Division
    LTJG RG Crommelin | VF-42 | 5152 | 7
    ENS JB Bain | VF-42 | 5151 | 8
    ENS RL Wright | VF-42 | 5150 | 9
    ENS GF Markham | VF-3 | 5149 | 10
    LTJG ES McCuskey | VF-42 | 5148 | 11
    ENS MK Bright | VF-3 | 5147 | 12​
    3rd Division
    LTJG WN Leonard | VF-42 | 5244 | 13*
    ENS JP Adams | VF-42 | 5245 | 14**
    LTJG WA Haas | VF-42 | 5144 | 15
    ENS GA Hopper | VF-42 | 5143 | 16
    MACH DC Barnes | VF-3 | 5142 | 17
    ENS MC Tootle IV | VF-42 | 5080 | 18​
    * was # 26; renumbered 13 on 30 May 42 by VF-42 maintenance personnel when Leonard became XO.
    ** was # 27; renumbered 14 on 30 May 42 by VF-42 maintenance personnel when Adams became XO’s wingman.​
    4th Division
    LTJG AJ Brassfield | VF-42 | 5066 | 19
    ENS HB Gibbs | VF-42 | 5049 | 20
    LTJG ED Mattson | VF-42 | 5153 | 21
    ENS HA Bass | VF-3 | 5050 | 22
    LTJG WS Woollen | VF-42 | 5093 | 23
    LTJG WW Barnes Jr | VF-42 | 5239 | 24​

    Thus, 33% of the VF-3 pilots flying in the battle were VF-3 and 67% VF-42. 75% of Division leaders and 75% of section leaders were VF-42. But, despite the preponderance of VF-42 pilots, generally, and specifically in leadership positions (not surprising as VF-42 was the most combat experienced VF squadron in the fleet) the squadron was VF-3 and commanded by Thach. [That, by the way, should not be construed in any way, shape or form as a criticism.]

    Of course, most all these assignments of specific pilots to specific aircraft went out the window when action loomed. One took what was in the line-up for one’s division. In the battle, only four pilots actually flew the planes to which they were nominally assigned. Everyone else flew “someone else’s” airplane.

    Shuffling of planes and pilots was not really a problem. As one naval aviator of my acquaintance once wrote: “A TO (tactical organization) is a document assigning each pilot to a particular plane. He is responsible that “his” machine represents the best effort of the squadron, to make the plane as good as it can be for all missions anticipated. Once based on a carrier it is rare for a VF pilot to fly in his own airplane unless he is the CO or other notable. The mix and churn of maintenance, service, equalizing flight time, etc., force machines to be dealt from the top and only random luck puts a pilot in “his” plane. Yet, if that plane earns a complaint, we expected that pilot to concern himself as though he were to be the next ace to fly the beauty.”
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  8. EKB

    EKB Member

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  9. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Thanks. The article notes that Caldwell did much of his war service and got most of his kills in P-40s, which probably explains his endorsement of the .50.
     
  10. scott livesey

    scott livesey Member

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    I know there was debate over F4F-3 and -4 about guns and folding wings. Guns, I guess 4 was best, as the FM-1 and -2 both had 4. How many more F4F-4 could a CV carry than F4F-3? Wiki says factor of two. Maybe 4 -4 in the space used by 3 -3 ? Did that also apply to TBF vs TBD ?
    scott
     
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    When they transitioned from F4F-3s to -4s, the VF squadrons were increased from 18 to 27 planes. Later they were increased to about 36 with slightly fewer TBFs or SBDs being carried.

    I've read that F4F-4 pilots would sometimes fight with only four guns, and only use the other two if the four exhausted their ammunition. This gave them about the same total firing time as a four-gunner. No doubt RLeonard has further info.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
  12. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I was curious about the running rendezvous and looked it up in Shattered Sword. As Parschall and Tully describe it, Yorktown launched both SBDs and TBDs in the first launch, then quickly spotted and launched the fighter escort, which could catch up due to their higher cruising speed.

    Although TBDs were slower than SBDs, they also needed a longer takeoff run since they were carrying a heavier load, so they were spotted at the aft end of the flight deck with the SBDs ahead of them.
     
  13. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    According to my sources on the scene and Lundstrom's First Team it was TBDs, then SBDs, then F4Fs.

    Also see Cressman, et. al., A Glorious Page in our History, page 89:
    "In contrast to the comparatively rocky departure of planes from Enterprise and Hornet, Yorktown's launch went smoothly. LCDR C.C. Ray, Yorktown's communications officer, remembering a sighting report fiasco in the Coral Sea less than a month before, had had his yeomen round up all the code book and put them in a safe. If the scouts had anything to report, Ray enjoined the squadrons, do so in plain language!
    "Yorktown turned into the wind and commenced launch, steaming southeastward and drawing away from TF 16. 'Lem' Massey's TBDs led, departing at 0840 and climbed slowly to 1500 feet, heading to the southwest. Next came LCDR Max Leslie's 17 SBDs, each armed with a 1,000-pound bomb. They formed up and started climbing, slowly circling TF 17 until 0902 when they took their departure. At 0905 Thach's six F4Fa took off, formed up, and followed Leslie."

    My father, VF-3 XO, had CAP duty and had to wait for all this to transpire so he could launch with his F4F division at 0920 for CAP rotation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
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  14. EKB

    EKB Member

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  15. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Yep, one of 12 or so transferred to LAG, along with some pilots from VF-3 as well, just before her final Coral Sea deployment. That one was probably Noel Gayler's assigned plane when in VF-3 before the transfer . . . number of credits is right as is the bomb credit (from Lae-Salamaua raid in March). Who flew it at Coral Sea is anyone'e guess. Gayler, a LT since September 1941, was the senior of the VF-3 pilots TAD to VF-2 in this move and was senior to the all rest of the VF-2 pilots except for the CO, LCDR Paul H Ramsey, so Gayler became XO of VF-2.

    F4F-3s in VF-3 livery in the Lexington Air Group at Coral Sea. That will drive the model builders and profile painters bonkers.

    That six sided panel with the VF-3 insignia on it was originally for access to the cowl guns envisioned in the XF4F-3; there is a matching one on the other side. It is held in place by 7 screws and is hinged on the top. I've these both panels with VF-11 Sun Downers insignia on them from my father's plane in the squadron's 1943 Guadalcanal deployment . . . see my avatar.

    Third shot is a VT-2 TBD.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
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  16. the_diego

    the_diego Member

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    Lemme just put in my own Midway question:

    name of this AA gunner aboard the Yorktown, and did he really say this as he watched the Hiryu dive bombers attack his ship, "It was clear that this was their varsity. They were a far cry from the sloppy bunch me met at Coral Sea"?

    Remeber reading that from "Incredible Victory" by Walter Lord.
     
  17. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    The passage, found on page 198 of my trusty 1967 first edition, is not credited to anyone specific and only the word “varsity” was in quotation marks . . .

    “The rest of the Japanese were diving now, and it was easy to see (as one man put it) that this was their ‘varsity.’ They were a far cry from the rather sloppy bunch the Yorktown met at Coral Sea . . .”
     
  18. the_diego

    the_diego Member

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    :(
     
  19. Aussiegoat

    Aussiegoat Member

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    Cooper was spot on r.e. tactics, training and armament (those bloody cannons barely ever worked!) and he also expanded upon several other problems/disadvantages the RAAF and RAF pilots faced.

    1. Although the three squadrons making up 1st Fighter Winger were all 'veterans' who had operated from England for several years, many of their experienced pilots had completed their tours and been replaced by rookie pilots by the time they arrived in Australia. Despite previous Australian/English/US combat experience showing that it was crazy to try and dogfight with a Zero, many of the Darwin pilots died trying nonetheless. IIRC, Cooper attributed this to hubris on the account of the veterans who were used to the Spit being the most agile bird out there, for which the turning fight was something they had used successfully in Europe.

    2. Caldwell insisted on 'Big Wing' tactics, which complicated their ability to position themselves effectively against the Japanese raids. These tactics also meant that the first Spits to take off had already chewed through a lot of fuel before all three squadrons could be formed up together - a lot of Spits were lost when they ran out of fuel.

    3. Japanese fighters almost always had a height advantage. I don't know why this was (mprobably not helped by the Big Wing tactics), as the Spit's climbing performance was meant to be pretty good and there was good radar coverage around Darwin that gave them ample time to climb. Testing of a captured Zero vs a Spit MkV in 1943 showed that the Spit was at a disadvantage in almost all situations unless it had a 3-4,000 ft height advantage with which to perform dive and zoom tactics.

    4. I forget what the exact problem was, but they suffered chronic engine overheating/over-revving, especially when diving IIRC. This took many Spits out of the fight before they had a chance to engage the Japanese.

    Despite their failures, the First Fighter Wing still caused losses of something like 4% to any incoming raid, hardly sustainable for the Japanese.
     
  20. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    Sometimes, you just run across stuff on youtube. I found this . If this link doesn't work try this one. . The author seems to have put in a good deal of research, to make this series.
     
    belasar likes this.

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