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Sea planes: un-realized potential?

Discussion in 'Ships & Shipborne Weaponry' started by mac_bolan00, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    whether for the pacific or atlantic war. other countries seemed to limit its use to recon purposes. it seems only the japanese tried to use it as a stealthy long-range transport vehicle for troops and for actual attack, to the point of building 400-foot submarines (I-401) from where they can launch attack sea planes.

    comments?
     
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  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Generally they have major drag from the floats...affecting pretty much every aspect...the good aircraft were given the best chance to perform by giving them retractable gear and therefore take off from the ground...second string aircraft were commonly therefore given the role as float plane...they are slow...turn slower and get less miles per gallon...the Japanese were desperate...they tried a lot of things...
    There was at least one Japanese float aircraft that had great performance, so good it was trialled successfully as a ground based fighter...
     
  3. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Yes. They live in the LST category. Large Stationery Targets.

    Never the less, by far and away, some of the most remarkable, interesting, heroic and memorable stories of the war revolve around Seaplanes.
    - we made a shot at this area in the www.lostaircraft.com database - coming on line again hopefully by year end.

    Example: BOAC DC-3-194 Flight 777-A lost 1943-06-01, Captured KLM Aircraft
    http://www.ww2f.com/topic/53395-boac-dc-3-194-flight-777-a-lost-1943-06-01-captured-klm-aircraft

    On June 1st 1943 the British Overseas Airways Corporation suffered THE most famous and headline grabbing commercial airline loss of WW2.
    See: http://www.lostaircr...ewentry&e=30403
     
  4. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    The link takes me to a page demanding a passwoird.

    Presumably this is the ,loss of the civilian airliner taking leslie Howard shot down overt the Bay of Biscay - making him the only fictional Battle of Britain ace to be killed in WW2.
     
  5. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The US Navy between the wars expected to make considerable use of seaplanes in both reconnaissance and attack roles, hence the typing of PBYs etc. as Patrol Bombers. They could be based in any sheltered bay or atoll, using a variety of large or small seaplane tenders. In the days before radar, they (or bombers in general) had a better chance of carrying out missions without suffering heavy losses. Had there been a war in the mid-1930s, they might have played a major tole.

    The late 30s saw the development of long-range land-based bombers in various countries. That plus the surprising ability of Seabees and engineers to build airfields allowed the land-based planes to take the lead.
     
  6. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    as CAC states, even though they carried bombs and torpedoes, they weren't as agile as true DBombers and torpedo planes, no? so as many people have stated, the bang for the buck is not good at all......what about maintenance? can any experts tell us of any differences between land based air?? I'm guessing more maintenance needed on seaplanes?? seawater corrosion? my company sent 430 level stainless steel restaurant equipment to someplace in Florida, and had to go down to replace a lot of parts with 300 level steel--less corrosive than 430--- because of the corrosive effects near the ocean.....430 is supposed to be non-corrosive.......and that equipment wasn't making long take-offs in the ocean!.....unless I heard wrong about that equipment..
    the Pacific war seaplanes 'bases' have always fascinated me...any good books on them?

    http://www.hmgp.smartinc1.com/resources/ab%20fema%20TB8.pdf
    Causes of corrosion near ocean 3rd paragraph down....also tells of distances involved, winds, etc

    http://nsgl.gso.uri.edu/ncu/ncug85006.pdf
    this link a little more in depth of corrosion distances from shore
     
  7. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    That was the N1K Shiden and it was an unusual transition, but in its land-based configuration it turned out to be one of the best fighters of the war.

    It was more common to have seaplane variants of land- or carrier-based aircraft like the A6M2-N.
     
  8. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Good place to start: Seaplanes etc at: http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You can probably find the answers here:
    http://pbycatalina.com/pby-catalina-canso-manuals/

    Or here(there are 740 some pages, so you will have to click on the right arrow more than a few times):
    http://www.pby.com/Archives.nsf/NAVAERErectionMaintenance
    Although, I believe, but have not checked to see if this is the same as the 5-part series at the bottom of the first link.
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not exactly sure how this ties in to seaplanes, floatplanes, or flying boats.

    AFAIK, BOAC DC-3-194 was never fitted with floats.

    However, the US did experiment with a twin-float equipped C-47(XC-47C) and 150 sets of floats were reportedly manufactured and sent to the Pacific and Alaska
    [​IMG]

    Report on testing:
    http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930092596.pdf
     
  11. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Pedantic quibble . . . there are seaplanes, sometimes also called flying boats, and then there are floatplanes. Floatplanes one usually finds on cruisers, battleships, for spotting, interior ASW, and, especially in the Japanese Navy, scouting. And of course, there's the odd submarine carried and launched floatplanes and, no, the Japanese did not invent the concept of floatplanes launched from submarines, the USN, and the RN if I am not mistaken, figured out in the early interwar years that the concept was pretty much a waste of effort. Seaplanes are those such as the PBY, PB2Y, PBM, H6K, H8K, Sunderlands and such . . . big, long distance, long endurance patrol types. Terminology is important.
     
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  12. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Hmmm...if they are boat hulled...they should be called flying boats...to me Amercia 'made' sea planes, Corsair...Wildcat etc...others just 'navalised' land planes....
     
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  13. Pacifist

    Pacifist Active Member

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    It's a matter of specialization.

    Flying boats were excellent at long range recon but required a harbor or specialized ship to rearm and repair. They were also more vulnerable to storms as they couldn't get under cover. Requiring them to either hope it survives or try to fly away from major storms.

    Float planes suffered greatly due to the drag from the floats. Due to the limited space on combat ships they had to be kept as small as possible. Also as spotters it actually helped to have slower aircraft when spotting for the ships cannons.

    Both suffered when fighting land or carrier based aircraft that didn't require the specialized equipment and build.

    Could they have been used better? Of course. Equipping a Flying boat with a side 105mm cannon like the C-130 would have been devastating against shipping and islands. However the concept wasn't in use at the time and it would have had little defense against fighters.

    Used as a stealthy transport? For what? 25 men? If your thinking of the Expendables maybe but in most of WW2 coastal fighting it wouldn't have been efficient. They were much more concerned with being able to land a division as quickly as possible in cheap steel boxes rather than a single squad in a very expensive plane.
     
  14. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The Japanese had a flotilla of Zeroes mounted with floats at Attu and Kiska. This variation was designated as the "Rufe" and were so slow and had such poor maneuverability that even the P-39s in the theater were able to splash them without any problem.
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    True, they didn't fulfill their role as a fighter, for fighter vs fighter combat, but proved very useful in a variety of other roles:

    Wikipedia:
    "Such seaplanes were effective in harassing American PT boats at night, and they were very difficult to detect, even with primitive radar. Close misses killed officers and crews of boats such as PT 105. They could also drop flares to illuminate the PTs which were vulnerable to destroyer gunfire, and depended on cover of darkness. Since the boats left a phosphorescent wake which was visible from the air, they would leave their engines in idle to minimize this. It was primarily for this reason that John F. Kennedy's PT 109 was caught off guard in idle and rammed by the destroyer Amagiri, unable to maneuver out of the way in time."

    Additionally, the 20% or so maneuverability loss did not make it unusable for air defense against reconnaissance or attack aircraft for isolated anchorages.

    The Mitsubishi F1M "Pete" proved to be a particularly useful aircraft in a number of roles.

    Again from Wiki:
    "The F1M was originally built as a catapult-launched reconnaissance float plane, specializing in gunnery spotting. The "Pete" took on a number of local roles including area-defense fighter, convoy escort, bomber, anti-submarine, maritime patrol, rescue and transport. The type fought dogfights in the Aleutians, the Solomons and several other theaters. In the New Guinea front, it was often used in aerial combat with the Allied bombers and Allied fighters. See also PT 34 sunk 9 April 1942 by "Petes"."

    From Dave's Warbirds:
    "The Mitsubishi F1M saw duty as a seaplane carrier-based reconnaissance plane throughout World War II and was in fact the reconnaissance plane most widely used by the Imperial Navy. Although it was not modern in design, this small seaplane remained in production well into the war years. The F1M, known as "Pete" in the Allied code, had a long and highly active career and performed well in a variety of roles for which it was not designed, including coastal patrol, convoy escort, dive-bomber, and even interceptor. The Mitsubishi F1M project was begun late in 1934 at the request of the Japanese Navy, and saw the first prototype complete its initial tests in June of 1936. The F1M2 gradually equipped most of the larger units of the Japanese Navy - eight battleships, nine cruisers, and six seaplane-support ships - and was also used at a host of small bases scattered throughout the islands of the Pacific. The plane proved to be structurally tough, easy to maintain, and highly versatile. Although the Pete was rather lightly armed, it was also used successfully to provide air cover for amphibious operations."
     
  16. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    http://aviationweek.com/mro/6-unique-maintenance-problems-seaplanes#slide-0-field_images-1308041
    this link shows a quick look at 6 factors concerning how different seaplane maintenance can be.....just like I thought, obviously, one of them is the forces of water, not just corrosion from it...again, more $ and time needed for less payback

    thanks Fred....that is a great site......ok Takao, in about a year I'll be PBY qualified ...fantastic link! ....long, but detailed and very interesting.......I couldn't open top one, but got bottom one....as usual, I suggest everyone check it out to get a real 'feel' for what the ground crews had to do....and a part of the war a lot of people don't care about....did not see much on specific maintenance for saltwater, except to check for corrosion......I thought I checked every page, but it's a long one

    parenthesis mine

     
  17. ResearcherAtLarge

    ResearcherAtLarge Member

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    You have to think about it from the vantage point of effectiveness *per cost*. Sure, you can put bombs on target, but how effective will it be; what is the "Return on Investment?" The Yokosuka "Glenn's" that bombed the US and Australia carried two 76Kg bombs and required a submarine with nearly 100 sailors on it to get it to where it could drop just those two bombs. Launch and recovery put that submarine and its crew in danger, so how is two bombs further inland better than having the submarine loiter off shore for a week with 17 torpedoes? The only really tangible benefit was causing the enemy to have to withhold aviation assets for protection instead of using all of them for offense. The "Aichi Seiran" is, of course, better, but you still have the issue of where to apply it so that you have some sort of critical mass. Really, I only see the Panama canal and drydocks as good targets for seaplanes (as defined above) delivered by submarines, but at most, I don't think you've bought yourself more than a couple of month's time even if you managed to hit the Panama canal, and there were so many west coast yards that it would have taken a concentrated effort to really impact that (you'd make it difficult to service the large capital ships, but maybe not much else).

    On the point of Amphibs or flying boats as well as forward-based sea planes, you have an additional problem I haven't seen mentioned. Anything based on the water is much more susceptible to loss due to sinking than anything on land. Out a bullet through a tire, no big deal. Put a bullet through a float or a hull... bigger problem. So water-based aircraft are much more vulnerable. It may be worth the trade off when you lack the SeaBees that the US Navy had, but the Navy appreciated the defensive firepower that land-based aircraft had, which is why the Privateer came to be.

    I posted a wartime interview a while back from the CO of Patrol Squadron 91 and he said (among other things):

     
  18. rprice

    rprice Member

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    IIRC, the Graf Spee's Arado seaplanes were put out of commission by cold sea water causing cylinder cans to crack. I don't think it was a design flaw in the aircraft, as it would have shown up earlier. Maybe they just got a bad batch of cans made of off-spec cast iron. Whatever the cause, they used up all of the spares before the Battle of the River Platte. The resulting loss of their recon capability was a factor in the demise of the ship.
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  20. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Want to see some PBY pics Bronk! : )
     

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