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Sea planes: un-realized potential?

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

  1. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    The Japanese loved floatplanes for a few reasons. Their war was a chain of islands for defence of the home islands, and advance scouting. It's far cheaper and faster to create small ramps on the beach of an island, than an airfield. Planes could be pulled out of the water between missions. Their float planes were mainly for scouting, and nuisance value. Flying boats of both sides were often based where no airfield could be built.
     
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  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I disagree with R Leonard here, the difference between a floatplane (that has floats instead of an undercarriage) and a flying boat, that has a water capable main fuselage is technical, even if you can get hybrids like the J2F Duck.

    There were catapult based flying boats (Walrus) and big recon floatplanes (Cant Z 506).

    The "light" seaplane were useful where the effort of creating an airfield, or sending a CV, was not justified, , there were float experiments for the F4F, the CR42 and the Spitfire besides the Rufe, The Germans used the Ar 196 as convoy escort, it could not stand up to a mainline fighter, but a number of Beaufighter crews discovered it could not be ignored.

    The "heavy" were developed because it was believed they would have a better crew survivability than land planes for prolonged over water operations, and of course for SAR land planes are problematical, they performed that role pretty well and some, like the Sunferland and Emily were tough opponents for fighters.

    The transport versions are also important, the handful if float equipped Ju52 were critical to the invasion of Norway and they were a common mean of inserting and extracting raiders and spies.

    In the long run an airfield is less resource consuming, it's cheaper to build an airfield when you need to operatee large numbers of planes. when the US developed a technique for rapid airfield construction seaplanes became obsolete except for SAR.
     
  3. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    there was a japanese sea plane-based attack on the northern hawaiian island roundabout the carrier-based plane attack on pearl, wasn't there?
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You need to be a little more specific.

    IIRC, Japanese float planes conducted early reconnaissance over and around Pearl Harbor prior to the start of the main attack.

    It's sounds similar to the crash of the A6M2 Zero on Niihua and the resulting "incident" during the Pearl attack.

    Or are you referring to Operation K, the 2nd attack on Pearl Harbor, that took place in March, 1942, using two Kawanishi H8K Emilys?
     
  5. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    it can't be operation K, which happened 4 months after the attack. it's probably more related to the niihau incident. along with niihau, local residents in one of the islands (kauai?) heard an explosion, attributed to a sneaky sea plane attack. no source i can find.
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Never heard of it, but am interested in knowing more.

    Unfortunately work beckons, back in the afternoon.
     
  7. bronk7

    bronk7 New Member

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    of course

    not surprised--add water to engines not engineered for water/salt = bad.....

    roger that....
     
  8. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Had the Honor of talking to a 93 year old yesterday who was a side gunner on a PBY in the South Pacific. Only had a few minutes then but hope to sit down again with him sometime. It was a crowded dining room and he was across the table so hard to hear. We started talking about Minnesota and when he moved up here, which was a long time ago, and he mention he had been in the South Pacific. I asked if it was during the War and he said "Yes, as a side-gunner on a PBY". My ears perked up and I ask which area. He just said again the South Pacific and so I said "Around the Solomon's"? He sat up straighter with a small grin and said YEAH. Explained how he had gone to radio school, had to learn to type to keep up as the Morse came in, then tried to get into a class/unit for training for SBD's. That class ended and instead he was transferred to the PBY training. Arrived in the SP and contracted Malaria after a few months. Ended up being moved from hospital to hospital, which he didn't remember much of due to being sick.
    Did a lot of flying around Guadalcanal and surrounding area. He raddled off a few islands they "visited" and just as it was getting really interesting the party was ending and had to go.
    Not sure when but I'll be seeing him again and since the 'ice' is broken expect to spend some quality time listening.
     
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