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Dumping of carrier planes going home

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by Jsullivan15, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Jsullivan15

    Jsullivan15 recruit

    Jul 2, 2010
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    I have seen news clips and read reports of hundreds and hundreds of top of the line carrier planes being pushed over the side from carriers heading home after the war. I believe some pentagon bean counter figured the scrapping at sea was cheaper than bringing the planes home, unloading or flying them off and then storing and scrapping at a storage area. Is there any additional information on how widespread this practice was?
  2. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Jul 7, 2008
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    While I don't doubt that many were "dumped" overboard to make room for returning servicemen, I wonder at the "top of the line" part. The USN was in the process of upgrading to the Bearcat from the Hellcat, and they kept the Hellcats in service so they wouldn't dump them. They also kept the Corsair in service and production until well post war, so those wouldn't be dumped to make room. Maybe some of the aging dive-bombers and torpedo bombers might have been dumped.

    The bean counters (and not just at the Pentagon) also didn't want a whole bunch of other stuff brought home as well as older aircraft. The auto makers didn't want "Jeeps" and 6x6 deuce and a halfs coming home an clogging the market with surplus items, so many of them were dumped.

    There is one spot in New Zealand where the sea floor is littered with Caterpillar dozers, GP (W)jeeps, CCKW trucks and all kinds of stuff. The rubber manufaturers didn't want the gazillions of tires overseas coming home either, so those got destroyed rather than returned.

    There was a LOT of stuff that just went to the bottom rather than coming back to the US, I don't think too many "top of the line" aircraft would be in that list.
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Jul 24, 2007
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    I thought I remembered reading of Corsairs being dumped. It may have been any damaged aircarft or those in need of serious repair were dumped no matter the type.
  4. obxgyrene

    obxgyrene Member

    Sep 30, 2009
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    The practice of dumping aircraft into the ocean was pretty widespread in many locations. One such place is the lagoon in Kwajalein Atoll (Marshall Islands). Off Mellu island is located what locals call the "airplane graveyard." This area includes numerous PBJ-1s, R5Cs, SBDs, TBMs, F4Us, FMs, SB2Cs as well as support equipment such as trucks and other materiel including crates of parts and equipment such as leather flight jackets.

    The map at this link shows the locations: Dave Fortin's Kwajalein Wrecks

    If anyone would like to see some photos of these aircraft, let me know and I'll post some links.
    f6fhellcat, belasar and syscom3 like this.
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Apr 27, 2010
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    Reading, PA
    Just came across this post.

    The practice was very widespread and began, IIRC, back in 1944. With budget restraints, the Navy was capped at 35,000 aircraft. However, factories were producing planes faster than they were being lost. While measures were put into action to reduce production, they took some time to take effect. As a result, to meet the cap, Admiral King declared that damaged planes and war-weary ones were to be dumped overboard. This allowed the USN to keep the newly produced planes at the expense of the older ones.

    Going from memory here, so I want to double check this. But it was in "Fast Carriers: The Forging of an Air Navy" by Clark G. Reynolds.
  6. LouisXIV

    LouisXIV Member

    Oct 8, 2010
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    I know it was standard practice to dump damaged planes over the side that had just landed and might handicap the landing of other planes. This from about mid-1943 on, once the navy knew they were assured of a steady supply of replacements. Thus they were already in the habit. To take this a step further, as suggested above, wouldn't be too hard, IMO.

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