Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Please help : Most successful naval units

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by ave8ta, Dec 27, 2009.

Tags:
  1. ave8ta

    ave8ta Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gidday Gidday,

    First ever post here guys and helping you might be able to answer the following question.

    "Which were the most successful ships of these nations in WW2, Germany, Japan, England and America, with success being defined as the most number of enemy units sunk?"

    For example:

    Germany: U-48, a VIIB was the most successful of world war 2 with 52 ships to her credit for a total of 306,875 tons. Never had a casualty so must be the most successful military vessel ever. Scuttled at war's end.
    ( The Type VIIB boat U-48 - German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net )

    Japan: ?

    England: ?

    America: ?

    Basically I'm sick of the lowest common denominator propaganda type images that the common mass market historians dazzle us with, Yamamoto, Bismark etc. I just want to know the name of ship/sub of each nation that actually did the dirty work and took out the most enemy units.

    Would really like to know please.

    Lets all find out who did the work while the others took the historical honors.

    Cheers

    Out of curiosity
    the most successful commerce raider of the war was the Pinguin which sunk 28 ships totaling 136,000 tons. Sunk 8 May 1941.
    ( German auxiliary cruiser Pinguin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    13,779
    Likes Received:
    2,274
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    First of all, welcome aboard ave8ta. This froum is filled with information and lots of folks willing to help.

    As for your question, I suspect it will be a difficult one to completely answer, since there are so many variables and ways of measuring success. I did some searching of US vessels, and limited my search to battleships and carriers, since I assume (maybe incorrectly) that they would have done the most damage. As a basis for comparison, I used the number of battle stars awarded, since I figure that would indicate the level of involvement at the sharp end. Here is what I was able to discover:

    For carriers, the Enterprise (CV-6) was awarded 20 battle stars. The next closest was Essex (CV-9) with 13.
    Aircraft Carriers

    In battleships, the Washington (BB-56) and the South Dakota (BB-57) were each awarde 13 battle stars. They were followed closely by the North Carolina (BB-55) with 12.
    Battleships

    Hope this kind of what you were looking for. Good luck with the rest.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,510
    Likes Received:
    1,932
    Otto Kretschmer, commander of U-23 and U-99 would be a candidate.
     
  4. ave8ta

    ave8ta Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks guys.

    Just want to keep this simple so not worried about the commanders, just the vessels that sunk the most. Does a USN battle star = a sunk ship or participation in a battle?

    The question being:

    "In World War Two which were the most successful naval unit of any type using any and all weapons at its disposable (including therefore ships/subs/aircraft carriers) of Germany, Japan, England and America, with success being defined as the most number of enemy units sunk?"

    It should be all very simple and I'm shocked I know all this and that about different naval battles but can't answer this question.

    Any naval unit counts. Any weapon it uses counts. Subs are naval units so there success in sinking counts. Aircraft carriers count, any weapons dropped by any of their aircraft count.

    While the big mamonth ships draw everyones attention and get all the credit, all we want to know is which individual naval vessels of each nation had the most kills?

    Of course we can quibble about the importance of tonnange verses vessel tally, the strategic or tactical importance of certain sinkages etc etc but the question posed avoids all that.

    Which individual naval unit of Germany, Japan, England and the USA sunk the most ships for its nation?
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,510
    Likes Received:
    1,932
    If you go with "type of unit" meaning sub, ship or plane, then the sub would be first, the plane second and the ship third, to the best of my knowledge. However, the problem is the USN and the USAAF didn't combine their kills, nor did the other countries' services that I'm aware of. The numbers are probably out there, but good luck finding it.

    Additionally, how do you count "successful"? Does this mean a ratio of effort expended vs. enemy losses? If so, what numbers do you use? Manpower vs. tonnage? Units deployed vs. units sunk? Do you count a carrier as one unit or each plane as an individual unit.

    You're going to wind up with a number that's pretty valueless, IMHO. There are a lot of variables to include or exclude and that may get pretty arbitrary.
     
  6. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    13,779
    Likes Received:
    2,274
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I also think that "kills" or ships sunk would be highly dependent on the type of vessel being discussed. Obviously, the primary purpose of a sub is to sink enemy ships. Consequently, its totals will be higher than, say a carrier, which does not engage in the kind of battle which sinks other ships, unless you count what its planes accomplish. All in all, I think this will be a difficult, if not impossible, task to accurately gauge.
     
  7. ave8ta

    ave8ta Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    "In World War Two which were the most successful naval unit of any type using any and all weapons at its disposable (including therefore ships/subs/aircraft carriers) of Germany, Japan, England and America, with success being defined as the most number of enemy units sunk?"
    (For the purposes of the question, if multiple ships took part in an action then the ship known to have struck the enemy last takes the kill. For example the HMS Dorsetshire which fired the last two torpedoes into the Bismarck, for the sake of this question, is to be awarded with the kill.)

    Germany: U-48, a VIIB u-boat, sunk 53 ships.
    Japan: ?
    England:?
    America?

    Thanks for the interest all.

    We should be able to answer this.

    Its a real simple question.

    Surely there must be a list of which ships sunk which ships somewhere out there.

    I mean we can talk till the cows came home about theoretical maximum speeds and armor values, but at the end of the day we're just trying to find out who did what to who, and in this case which naval unit sunk the most for its nation.

    And I'm surprised with the over-thinking going on here.

    The question isn't not worried about the types of vessel discussed doing the sinking or being sunk - any registered naval vessel is fine (obviously sinking lifeboats doesn't count as they are not registered vessels just parts of a registered vessel) .

    The question isn't concerned with the USAF or individual USN planes. It just refers to naval vessels (with aircraft being simply the weapons of the vessel so their kills count for the vessel). So if a plane(s) from the Enterprise sink a ship then thats a kill for the Big E.

    To answer some questions/comments . . .

    (I'm really surprised by how everybody is almost thinking too hard to make the simple question too complex<, remember its just who sunk who).

    Question
    How do you count "successful"?
    Ahhh the question states it plainly . . .
    "with success being defined as the most number of enemy units sunk"
    The question asks the number of ships sunk so given that critera more sinkings equates with more success.
    (a different question gives different answers but this one is just about sinkings)

    Question
    Does this mean a ratio of effort expended vs. enemy losses?
    No, the question asks how many ships did the naval unit sink. It is not concerned with effort expended.

    Question
    Manpower vs. tonnage?
    No. The question asks for the numbers sunk. The question doesn't mention tonnages. The question doesn't mention manpower. Just how many naval vessels did the most successful naval vessel of those four countries sunk.

    Question
    Units deployed vs. units sunk?
    No. If I had wanted to ask about units deployed the question would reflect that. it doesn't because I'm just trying to find out the naval vessel that sunk the most for its nation.

    Question
    Do you count a carrier as one unit or each plane as an individual unit?
    A carrier is a naval unit so a carrier counts as one. A plane is weapon used by the carrier to sink other naval units. Any naval units sunk by a ship are awarded to the carrier.

    Comment
    ". . . pretty arbitrary. "
    I disagree. It should be as accurate as history allows.
     
  8. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    266
    When quoting another member can you please use the 'quote' button provided in the reply areas, it makes it easier to read and respond to.
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,510
    Likes Received:
    1,932
    I think the best you can hope for is "most successful in a class". Compare apples to apples. Dive bombers to dive bombers, for example.

    Of course, that gets you back to "best of" territory, a path only the brave tread here. ;-)
     
  10. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    953
    well your in trouble with that one unless you can tell me which minelayer in royal navy claims its mine for whatever sinking..since rn alone had a major mine laying fleet.
     
  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,510
    Likes Received:
    1,932
    Quite alright, I'm used to being in trouble. ;) Good point as well. Poor minelayers never get much glory.

    So, while I'm here I might as well related my favorite minelayer story. USS Oglala, a converted Channel ferry some forty years old, was present at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7th, 1941. During the course of the attack the cruiser next to her was torpedoed. And Oglala promptly sank. When she was raised there was found to be no damage to her hull. They were naturally somewhat confused, but one old chief explained it quite well.

    "Well, I guess the old gal just died of fright."
     
  12. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    953
    sorry op meant that post at original thread starter not you but thanks for expanding on the much under stated minelayer..my own favourite being hms manxman of malta run fame.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,510
    Likes Received:
    1,932
    You have a link for us?
     
  14. ave8ta

    ave8ta Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Updated information . . . .

    Germany: U-48, a VIIB u-boat, sunk 53 vessels.
    Japan: ?
    England: P37, HMS Upholder, P37, U-class submarine, sunk 21 vessels.
    America: SSN 199, USS Tautog, a Tambor class submarine, sunk 26 vessels.

    "In World War Two which were the most successful naval unit of any type using any and all weapons at its disposable (including therefore ships/subs/aircraft carriers) of Germany, Japan, England and America, with success being defined as the most number of enemy units sunk?"
    (For the purposes of the question, if multiple ships took part in an action then the ship known to have struck the enemy last takes the kill. For example the HMS Dorsetshire which fired the last two torpedoes into the Bismarck, for the sake of this question, is to be awarded with the kill.)
     
  15. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    9,683
    Likes Received:
    953
  16. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    451
    For Japan one of the "terrible sisters" Shokaku and Zuikaku probably holds the record. Though a lot of their successes where "shared" with other ships they can be credited with 3 CVs, two heavy cruisers and a large number of minor ships plus a 1/6 of the Pearl Harbor losses. These two ships took part in all the early Japanese carrier victories and bore the brunt of the Solomons campaign on the Japanese side after the other four fleet carriers were lost at Midway. Japanese subs didn't go for commerce raiding and it's ulikely any surface combattant neared that score. There is a chance one of the Midway losses is actually the top scorer in hulls sunk but it would be difficult to prove and Lexington and Hornet should count for more than a few mercs (of course both were finished by destroyer torpedoes but the kill should go to the planes).

    For Germany I had a suspicion Penguin could be the record holder (if captures count) but I think her score is 32 including the ships lost to her mines.
     
  17. ave8ta

    ave8ta Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2009
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks very much T.O.S. I like your thinking and agree with you regarding the terrible sisters Japanese subs etc etc.

    Having lived in Japan for ten years its unbelievable how the whole country obsesses over the Y & M (conversations, magazines, model shops, tv, movies, general consciousness etc etc) while no one knows of the Shokaku and Zuikaku. They were the weapons working wonders for a significant period and actually achieving results . . . which is what the question is all about. Know its tricky but it must be almost possible to have a kill list for each ship . . . .

    Likewise I too thought of and checked the Penguin and the other 'raiders' and as phenomenal and fascinating as they were, their nations u-boats were just an order of lethality above them.

    In a similar vein I feel the Big E could give the Tautog a run for its money but again am having trouble wading through all the flowery adjectives and drivel written on the Pac Carrier War by plagiarist after plagiarist historian to actual find the cold hard facts that a real historian would dig up on the actual vessels sunk by the Enterprise . . .

    So . . . anyone out there know;
    how many vessels the Shokaku, Zuikaku and Enterprise each sunk?

    and of course does anyone have a better answer than U-48, P37, SSN 199 and a big fat unknown for Japan?
     
  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,510
    Likes Received:
    1,932
  19. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    451
    I leave the Big E to a USN fan but I cut could have a crack at the sisters if there are no other volunteers, I have some decent sources but can't read Japanese so It will be rough data, possibly the best I can come up with is a table of sinkings with a colunm of what the forces where present, somebody could then have fun with the maths of attributing the right percentages.

    BTW who said it was a simple question :) ?
     
  20. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,510
    Likes Received:
    1,932
    If you get a good solid data set we'll give it a home.
     

Share This Page