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Post Midway lessons of air power

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by DarkLord, Jun 30, 2021.

  1. the_diego

    the_diego Active Member

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    I seem to know all those you mentioned. That only 5 dive bombers and one zero (or thereabouts) came back from the first attack on the Yorktown. That the Yorktown survived the dive bombing attack but not the torpedoing. I also know that Dive bomb / torpedo attacks at the Yamato and Musashi were simultaneous (not necessarily coordinated). And that the Heie was attacked by high level bombers in addition to torpedo bombers after she got pounded by shells. All I'm saying is that torpedo planes appear to be most effective at sinking unarmed, or crippled, or distracted, or confused ships.

    So not mentioning certain things does not automatically mean you ignore them. It's called driving home one's point without wasting bandwidth.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You can say the same thing about divebombers...They are most effective at sinking unarmed, or crippled, or distracted, or confused ships.
     
  3. DarkLord

    DarkLord Active Member

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    Like someone else said, the torpedo bombers were quite effective against unarmed ships...when their torpedo's went off. But the dive bombers are the ones that took out carriers, not torpedo bombers (up to then). And sure, the dive bombers "only got mission kills"... Well for all intents and purposes, that was the same thing. The Japanese scuttled all 4 of their carriers at Midway... So much for "just a mission kill". And in WW2, the mission kill was just as effective as an actual kill for the US, because the Japanese just couldn't absorb ship losses like the US.

    If I were reviewing US aircraft tactics, I would send in fighters first, dive bombers second, and I'd have the dive bombers then provide air cover for torpedo bombers who come in and bat cleanup.

    The problem is, the torpedo bombers are way too slow, by design have to fly where AA gun fire is most effective, and they're just easy to knock out of the sky. But if that shame ship's guns have been silenced with a couple of 500lb-ers on their deck, and the sky cleared of fighters; I'll bet a torpedo bomber could be VERY effective at that point.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2021
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Not really. The TBD flew low and slow because that was what the Mark 13 required, early in the war, not because "torpedo bombers are way too slow, by design". However, by late 1943 improvements in the Mark 13 meant that the TBF/TBM could launch at 2,400 feet altitude rather than 50 to 100 feet and at up to 410 knots air speed rather than 110. And, in actual practice, could do even better than that, recording five out of six drops at 5,000 to 7,000 feet at c. 240 knots that ran straight and true.

    Note that the TBF design specifications were issued in April 1940, intended to exceed 240 knots and achieved 242 operationally, well before the Mark 13 was capable of being dropped at such speeds. Its competitor, the TBY-2 was even faster and the later aircraft specified in late 1942 for the Midway-class were faster still.
     
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  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Actually I recall reading that against the PQ and QP convoys in the Nordic waters the FW Condor was at least reasonably effective. OF course not as effective as Stuka..

    " Lacking any sophisticated form of bomb-sight, the Condor crews attacked their targets visually from abeam at low level, diving down to masthead height, where the guns of escort vessels were powerless to interfere. " You could hardly miss" says ( Edgar ) Petersen. " Even without a bomb-sight at least one of the bombs would find the ship provided you kept low enough". Some pilots, learning from experience that what little armament the merchant ships themselves carried was invariably mounted astern, directed their bombing runs along the length of vessels from the bow, pulling up steeply after they had dropped their bombs to avoid collision with masts.


    From Hurricats by Ralph Barker
     
  6. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Don't suppose you've looked at this, have you?

    http://www.admiraltytrilogy.com/read/USF-74_Tact&Doct-Acft_V1-CV-Acft_194103.pdf

    This is the 1941 version of USF-74 air doctrine.

    The next issue of this document was in 1944 and, regretfully, I don't have a complete copy, although it appears to be obtainable as a library loan; I always prefer my very own copies. The scouting instructions of the 1944 USF-74 is available in various on the net, for example: USF-74B Nov. 1944 Scouting Doctrine, by

    Or, more to the point, Attack Doctrine:
    http://www.microworks.net/pacific/aviation/2200_Attack_Doctrine.html

    I have the actual rough draft of the fighter squadron section (complete with Jim Flatley's and my father's handwriting and diagrams; they were the ones who made the revisions for the 1944 USF-74 fighter section. And, no, I am not going to take it out from its secure storage . . . 1944 paper and all that.).

    Not sound overly snippy, but a heck of a lot of folks who did this stuff for a living put years of thought, practice, and up close personal experience in to the where's, who, how, and why of doctrine. Somewhat more than an internet squib of what you or anyone else thinks should have transpired. Frankly it smacks of just a little presumptuousness. Let me know when your promotion to admiral comes around.
     
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  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    When did Beam Defense make it into The Book?
     
  8. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    In the 1944 revision. Not that it was not being taught and trained before that, but it was, if you will, formally incorporated into the fighter doctrine with the USF-74 1944.
     
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  9. DarkLord

    DarkLord Active Member

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    I'm not always the best communicator. When I said "by design" I was talking of systems, not specifically the TBD. I should have stated that much better. Basically what I'm getting at is... Because of the limitations of the torpedo's, they had to fly in a manner that makes the very easy to hit by AA fire.
     
  10. DarkLord

    DarkLord Active Member

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    Thanks for not being snippy.
     
  11. the_diego

    the_diego Active Member

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    Well this is a public forum; open to ordinary folks who aren't deep experts on something that ended 76 years ago. As long as the experts aren't too snippy, we laymen won't act too presumptuous. And who said we'll never make admiral some day?
     
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  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Was it in Midway who found the other first or was it a strategic win? Just curious. In Carelia 1944 some one in the USSR army made the attack time table for the Soviets in clear code and we managed to shoot the attack area into a death zone as we knew where to shoot. In the end the US would have won but making it hard on yourself is not the best answer...anyone??
     
  13. the_diego

    the_diego Active Member

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    ^
    I think you're missing a word or two.
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Can you be more definite for me to answer, please. Kph
     
  15. DarkLord

    DarkLord Active Member

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    Getting back to Mr. Snippy here...

    If you go back to my OP, I wasn't criticizing tactical doctrine at Midway...that specifically was NOT the intent of my post; but that seems to be what you got out of it.
     
  16. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Oh, I don't think you were particularly or overly criticizing tactical doctrine at Midway.

    One air group (Enterprise) did not follow doctrine as their fouled deck during the strike launch resulted in the VB and VS squadrons being sent off by themselves leaving the VT squadron and the VF escort to follow on somewhat later; enough to result in the VF escort looking down, see some torpedo planes and follow them . . . except they followed VT-8, not VT-6. Hornet's air group, with the exception of VT-8 which left the pack and headed off by itself, followed the deferred departure doctrine and went off an overly parade like tour of the Pacific Ocean, never sighting the Japanese, and which resulted in the 100% loss of their VF escort, mostly from bad navigation and poor fuel management. Some of the SBDs broke off and headed for Midway Island, losing a couple-three to fuel exhaustion in the process, while the rest straggled back to Hornet. Yorktown, likewise, did not follow doctrine by using their homegrown doctrine of a running rendezvous which, as they expected, had VB-3, VT-3 and the VF-3 escort rendezvousing about where they expected to find the Japanese, and, lo and behold, there they were on the horizon. So the only ones who came close to adhering to the 1941 USF-74 was Hornet and their strike planning screwed to pooch for several reasons.

    My comment was directed at popping up 79 years and announcing the opinion ". . . they should have . . ." and, frankly, when dealing with capital ships such as aircraft carriers, the suggested strafing by fighters is a total waste of time and leaves those whom they were assigned to protect all on their own against the enemy CAP. SBD's as cover for TBDs? At Coral Sea Lexington's Capt Sherman convinced RAdm Fitch of his pet theory that dive bombers could act as a CAP against torpedo planes. I guess they could against TBD types, but no so well against B5Ns and an absolute disaster when facing escorting A6Ms. Also cost the use of those same SBDs in strikes against the Japanese carriers. Nobody did that again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
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  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Why did Ring not find employment elsewhere after Midway? Did Mitscher protect him?
     
  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    He followed Mitscher around for awhile, don't know if it was protection or penance, before coming into his own and having a successful postwar naval career.
    Vice Admiral Stanhope C. Ring
     
  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I figured Rich would have some inside knowledge, given his pedigree. He's spoken of Ring before in less than glowing terms, if I remember correctly.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Rich covered Stanhope Ring in detail several years ago.
    http://ww2f.com/posts/475801/
     

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