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US 'new' Battleships at D-Day

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by scott livesey, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. scott livesey

    scott livesey Member

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    by June '44, 1 or 2 North Carolina or newer BBs and 3 or 4 St.Louis or newer CLs could leave the Pacific and no one would notice. At JCS level, other than convoy escorts, the European theater did not want any navy assets. My thought is a bombardment group off west coast of Normandy would have been a positive asset until late August. Add a CVL and a couple CVEs with SBDs and a difference would have been made.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    If you with draw them in June of 44 they aren't likely to be active until August anyway. Great Britain is a pretty decent invulnerable carrier and by in August the fields in France start opening up as well. What is in range of bombardment groups at that point? If they were of much use in July and August why weren't the existing ships still used. A Brooklyn class would seem to me to be as good or better for shore bombardment as a Cleveland. If you are going to send a BB to do shore bombardment why not send one that's not likely to be as good in a surface action (any of the ones without Mk 8 fire control for instance). The fast battleships were still of considerable use as carrier escorts as well as being able to engage surface targets and shore bombardment if called upon. Why give up that flexibility where it was needed in the Pacific to more them where it wasn't in the Atlantic.
     
  3. scott livesey

    scott livesey Member

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    you have them active at Normandy 6/44. The BB's were not doing CV escort, they were the Battle Line and in a separate formation from the carriers. Brooklyn or St. Louis would work fine with 15 rapid fire 6" as main weapons. There were 3 US BBs and 3 US CAs present at Normandy. Is an interesting 'What if' if that number was doubled and deployed on the western coast of the Cotentin penisula till after the breakout in early August. US capital ships departed in early July for fun off the Rivera.
    Airfields were opening in France in June and were just another drain on the supply chain. Every gallon of gas that went in a plane, took 2 away from tanks and trucks. Every bullet took 2 away from the infantry, every 500 pound bomb took 4 155mm rounds away from the artillery. With the exception of emergency landing fields, there was no real need for aircraft bases in France till after the breakout started.
     
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Umm, Washington was out of action from 1 February to 13 June 1944 after he collision with Indiana. South Dakota was also unavailable, after the Marianas she put in 10 July for a scheduled refit; it is unlikely she would have been sent to the Atlantic. Indiana was in repair at Pearl after being rammed by Washington, but was ready by 29 April. Massachusetts sailed for Puget Sound on 1 May for refit and to have her guns relinered, she wasn't back at Pearl until 1 August. That leaves just North Carolina, South Dakota, and Alabama as certain possibilities, but all five were actually heavily engaged in FORAGER (Washington got to Pearl just in time).

    It's possible, but you have to ask why they would. And, yet again, neither the USN nor the RN was going to sail battleships or cruisers into the restricted waters past the Channel Islands.
     
  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I think this a little unfair to King. If you look at the situation from a military and logistical standpoint, and take into account political realities and the chronology of what occurred when, King acted correctly.

    I'd say two very big reasons for the "New" battleships being retained in the Pacific at the time of D-Day would be these.

    IJN Yamato
    [​IMG]

    IJN Musashi
    [​IMG]

    The Iowa's were the only battleships in the world that could hope to take on these big boys, one on one. The SoDak's and North Carolina's would need two or more to face one of these beasts. 72,000 tons, 9 x 18.1" guns, 16.1" armored belt, 26" turret faces. If I'm not mistaken, the USS Nimitz was the first warship to surpass their displacement. If it came to a surface action, only the fast battleships were capable of fighting these two ships and that is what they were designed to do. The fast battleships evolved into excellent AA escorts for the fleet carrier task forces. A heavy AA fit, a stable firing platform, economical steamers and necessary speed let them provide excellent service in a role that was considered ancillary when they were designed. The fleet carriers weren't needed and would in fact have been a waste of capability in Europe, so it is only logical that they be utilized in the pacific and that the battleships stay with the carriers. The older battleships lacked the speed and fuel economy to operate seamlessly with the carriers so they couldn't be substituted in place of the fast battleships. Only two of the Iowa's were available on 6 June 1944. Wisconsin (BB-64) commissioned on 16 April1944, she didn't depart on her shakedown cruise until 7 July '44. Missouri (BB-63) didn't commission until 11 June 1944. Massachusetts was undergoing refit on the (left) west coast.
    All the rest, two Iowa's, two North Carolina's and three of the four SoDak's were screening TF58/38. (Rich, USS Washington was back for Forager. She arrived at Majuro anchorage in the Marshalls on 30 May '44, Willis Lee immediately transferred to her as his flagship and she sailed to rejoin TF53 on 7 June.) What if the AA fire from the fast battleships had been pulled to support the D-Day landings and was not present during the Battle of the Philippine Sea? Most likely one or more of the Japanese aircraft that got through the CAP would have struck a carrier. As it was, it was a near thing, and the AA fire from the battleships is given much credit for shooting down or breaking up the attacks of those that got through. South Dakota was hit, Bunker Hill was hit but not heavily damaged, a bomb burst over Wasp's flight deck, a torpedo exploded in Enterprise's wake, Indiana received minor damage from a suicide plane and Minneapolis from near misses. Would saving 500 men at Omaha (and that's not a sure thing) have been preferable to losing 500 sailors on a carrier?
    When do you pull them? They had almost continually been employed in invasions and escorting carrier raids since November 1943. The Gilbert's in November, the Marshall's in January, the Truk Raid (Hailstone) February '44, the Marianas Raid February '44, the Palaus-Yap Raids March '44, Hollandia, Wakde, 2d Truk Raid April '44, Marcus-Wake Raid May '44, Forager in June.
    Finally, what about the British fleet? They were certainly capable of meeting any requirements for fleet units for D-Day without heavy, additional augmentation of US naval assets.
     
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  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    To put this visually...Thanks to Axis History Forum member "mescal" from this thread
    https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=113&t=150413
    [​IMG]
    The color code is still the same :
    Green : available to Pacific Fleet
    Light Green : available to Atlantic Fleet
    Red : Sunk
    Orange : Combat damage
    Yellow : Noncombat damage
    Light Blue : Shakedown & Training
    Purple : under repair/refit/overhaul ... = unavailable
    Brown : withdrawn from active service
    Grey : building

    Now, as you can see, there were at least two "new" battleships out of action throughout most of 1944...Now, take away two more and you are going to put a serious crimp in the Pacific battleship divisions. Not to mention a CVL or two, plus cruisers and escorts.

    Umm...Yeah, the Marines would notice, the Carrier jockeys would notice, the destroyers would notice, the admiral certainly would notice.

    Yet, there is absolutely no reason to send them to the Atlantic...Just so they can move some extra dirt...Despite the tens of thousands of Army air & artillery, along with the naval assets already in place, somehow cannot?


    My thought is...Another rain shower during a hurricane is not going to mean anything.


    The World's Largest Aircraft Carrier, that flew off over 12,000 D-Day sorties, is parked about 100 miles off the Normandy coast, and you believe that a CVL plus some CVEs conducting, maybe 100 or so sorties, is going to make a "difference"?

    Sorry, but I am afraid I am going to have to say no to that one...Another rain shower in a hurricane.
     
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  7. scott livesey

    scott livesey Member

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    New BBs during Philippine Sea were in their own little formation waiting to be told where to go, but only in the daylight. None of these BBs were involved with shore bombardment at Saipan or Guam, no marines wouldn't miss them. Yamato and Musashi were in their own little formation waiting to be told where to go. They got about 300 miles from US formations before heading west.
    There were no US Navy bombardment ships in the waters off northern France after early July.
    You send BBs and CLs where you don't have artillery, where you can strike 24 hours a day, good or bad weather. You send pilots trained in close support to help while other planes sit because of weather. Some accounts wonder why the seas between Channel Isles and St. Malo area were not patrolled and Axis forces were allowed to move from Channel Isles to St. Malo area. Seas that were so full of German navy assets that 3 unescorted LSTs landed at St Michel-en-Greve 8/11. Again, just a what if.
     
  8. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I know. She arrived at Majuro from Bremerton on 30 May...how long would it take her to get to England? Going some 10,000 miles instead of 7,500?
     
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Um, no. On 13 June 1944 "Vice Admiral Lee's battleship-destroyer task group was detached from the main body of the force and conducted shore bombardment against enemy installations on Saipan and Tinian. Relieved on the 14th by two task groups under Rear Admirals J. B. Olde ndorf and W. L. Ainsworth, Vice Admiral Lee's group retired momentarily...Vice Admiral Lee's force formed a protective screen around the vital fleet carriers. Washington, six other battleships, four heavy cruisers, and 14 destroyers deployed to cover the flattops; on 19 June, the ships came under attack from Japanese carrier-based and land-based planes as the Battle of the Philippine Sea commenced. The tremendous firepower of the s creen, however, together with the aggressive combat air patrols flown from the American carriers, proved too much for even the aggressive Japanese." DANFS, p. 131.

    Yep, with Cherbourg in American hands they didn't have much in the way of targets.

    Um, they did have artillery and hammered the German positions along the Mahlmann Line pretty thoroughly...not sure how a 6" gun is going to be any better than an 8" howitzer...or a 16" gun either given the ROF and danger zone.

    Um, Sr Michel-en-Greve is the northwest Brittany coast, 62 miles SW of Guernsey. To reach a bombardment area that would do much good they would have to sail into the 12-mile strait between Jersey and the Cotentin, exposed to the considerable German shore batteries, but also to the threat of mines. There was no point to such a risk so it was never undertaken. Once Brittany was taken and the pursuit began, the Channel Islands lost all importance and simply left the 20,000-odd Germans there stranded. They had some fun raiding Granville in March 1945, but it had no real importance to the war.
     
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  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I disagree a bit with this. The Iowa's had 2 advantages over the earlier fast battleships. They were faster and they mounted 16"/50s rather than 16"/45s. I don't see speed being of great advantage in a one on one contest between one of the Yamato's and one of the US battleships. The Iowa's did have a bit of a range advantage but how likely are the two sides to engage at much over 35,000 yards? All the US battleships have a fire control edge over the Yamato's as long as they are over the horizon (roughly 30,000 yards). At those ranges it's deck penetration that you are most concerned with and the older fast battleships actually have an edge there (the Iowa's have the edge on horizontal penetration). Still the US doesn't want an even fight. 2 to one vs a Yamato by any of the fast battleships gives the US a decent edge. So that would be 4 fast battleships to offset the two Yamato's and at least one to offset the Nagato (did the US know that Mutsu had blown up at that point?). So you are looking at 5 or 6 fast battleships just to offset the stronger Japanese battleships. They also still have what 2 Kongo's, 2 Fuso's, and 2 Ise's?

    Gun info from:
    USA 16"/50 (40.6 cm) Mark 7 - NavWeaps
    USA 16"/45 (40.6 cm) Mark 6 - NavWeaps
    Also of interest:
    History and Technology - "What did the USN know about Yamato and when?" - NavWeaps
    So there was at least some thought as to the correct size of the Yamato's.

    *** edit to fix a typo 16 instead of 15 ***
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
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  11. scott livesey

    scott livesey Member

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    Again, an interesting 'what if' that might win when doing a board game.
    At Philippine Sea, BBs were in their own circle. check Morison Vol. VIII pg 259.
     
  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Well on 13 June during pre-invasion bombardment they fired a total of 2,432 of their 16-inch H.C. and 12,544 of their 5-inch shells. As stated earlier, this was an ancillary function, one the old BB's were well suited for and more importantly well trained and proficient at.

    As has already been pointed out by other posters, the fast BB's had little experience with shore bombardment a task which the old BB's were better suited. If you read the excerpts from the histories of several of the ships involved you'll see they were needed for, and did screen the carriers, they did provide bombardment support and the support was relatively ineffectual.

    South Dakota
    "The carriers launched their third day of strikes, beginning at about 0600 on 13 June 1944. Aerial reconnaissance flights reported a frenzy of activity as the Japanese strengthened their defenses ashore. The principal fire support ships would not reach the area until 14 June. Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, and a number of destroyers therefore detached from the fast carrier groups to bombard Saipan and Tinian one day earlier than originally scheduled, at 0933 on 13 June. South Dakota opened fire with her main battery at 1042. Japanese coastal guns of light caliber returned fire, but their splashes fell harmlessly out of range, the initial salvoes striking the water up to 10,000 yards short of South Dakota.

    South Dakota shelled the northwest coast of Tanapag Harbor on Saipan for over six hours with her main and secondary batteries, firing 369 rounds of her 16-inch H.C. and 1,270 rounds of 5-inch ammunition. The bombardment started a number of high fires and smoke columns visible from the battleships. The U.S. ships did not target the vessels in the harbor, but observers reported hits on at least two transports, “listing badly,” and several smaller vessels, though the smoke impeded confirmation. The ships ceased fire at 1726. The seven battleships fired a total of 2,432 of their 16-inch H.C. and 12,544 of their 5-inch shells.

    The gunfire proved ineffective because: the ships steamed at ranges of 10,000 to 16,000 yards to avoid possible enemy mines in the shoals offshore; their crews lacked experience in shore bombardment; and the aerial spotters failed to differentiate between the targets. The bombardment devastated the Charan Kanoa sugar mill and a number of farms, but missed the Japanese defenses. A Japanese lookout climbed into the smokestack at the blackened shambles of the mill and observed the Americans for several days. Oldendorf led a bombardment by eight older battleships and their screens that attained greater success the following day......

    continued....
     
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  13. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    15 to 21 June

    The CICs of several ships including South Dakota reported an unidentified plane, bearing 145°, at 1811 on 15 June 1944. Hellcats of VF-51, flying from San Jacinto, intercepted a Japanese Kawasaki Ki-61 (Hien, "Flying Swallow") Tony, bearing 095°, 42 miles. The battleship noted that the victory emphasized the “value of sharp lookouts when friendly planes confuse radar screen.” A strike group of Japanese fighters and bombers attacked the task group during the 2d dog watch.South Dakota’s CIC reported bogies bearing 190°, 62 miles, at 1815. Nine minutes later, the crew manned their battle stations. Hellcats from the task group splashed another Tony at 1843, but at 1909, eight to 12 Japanese fighters and bombers broke through the CAP. South Dakota made emergency turns, and opened fire with her 40 millimeter guns at 1911. The fouled ranges prevented the use of her 5-inch guns and the full use of the 40 millimeter mounts, but the ship fired at four of the attackers, splashing one. The other ships claimed the destruction of seven planes.

    Dortch investigated a surface contact during the midwatch on 16 June. At 0231, the destroyer illuminated and fired on two sampans, which appeared to return fire. Dortch set the boats ablaze and they drifted out of the area. South Dakota refueled from Platte from 1147 to 1442. At 0305 on 17 June, South Dakota’s CIC reported an unknown surface contact, and at times during the midwatch, the ship dispatched Clarence K. Bronson and Cotton to investigate. Cotton shot starshells and then opened fire, and Clarence K. Bronson identified the vessel as a sampan. Grumman F6F-3 Hellcats of VF-10, flying from Enterprise, splashed a Judy, bearing 000°, 42 miles, at 1325. The battleships and their screens of TG 58.7 detached from TG 58.3 at 1715. The departure of many of the ships supporting the landings to meet the Japanese fleet weakened the advance of the marines and soldiers ashore.

    A series of sighting reports from submarines and planes revealed some of the movements of the approaching Japanese ships. Mitscher considered the option of deploying the Battle Line to the west to intercept Ozawa in a night surface battle. “Do you desire night engagement?” he questioned Lee on the morning of 18 June. “It may be we can make air contact late this afternoon and attack tonight. Otherwise we should retire to the eastward tonight.” Lee disagreed with the proposal: “Do not (repeat not) believe we should seek night engagement,” Lee replied. “Possible advantages of radar more than offset by difficulties of communications and lack of training in fleet tactics at night. Would press pursuit of damaged or fleeing enemy, however, at any time.” The tactically sound decision ensured that Lee’s battleships fought in the Battle Line against Ozawa’s planes, with disastrous results for the Japanese.

    Lee deployed the battleships to intercept Ozawa’s counterattacks, but within proximity to come about and support the soldiers and marines fighting on Saipan. Indiana guided the Battle Line while the ships sailed in a circle of six miles in diameter, steering east by south at 22 knots. The Japanese battleships and cruisers launched 16 Aichi E13A1 Type 0 Jakes, followed by one of the reconnaissance floatplanes leading a second search group of 13 Kates (kankōs) from the carriers. The Battle Line reported the first bogies as Jakes scouted for the U.S. ships, to the north and the south, range about 50 miles, at 0530 on 19 June 1944. Reports flooded into South Dakota as Japanese planes repeatedly sought the Battle Line. The battleship’s air defense reported a low flying plane, bearing 305°, at 0551. Watchstanders observed firing on the horizon, and Yarnall claimed to shoot down a Val, most likely a Jake, Kate, or a land-based plane flying at the limit of its range. The battleship’s CIC then reported several small bogies. South Dakota reached a position at 14°28'00"N, 143°13'45"E, at 0800. A Hellcat of VF-50, flying from Bataan, splashed an apparent Fiat BR.20 Ruth, probably a Mitsubishi Ki-21 Sally, at 0945. These planes assaulted ships of the screen sailing at some distance from South Dakota.

    The Japanese carriers meanwhile launched multiple waves of planes to attack the Americans. South Dakota first detected Raid I when the CIC reported a “large group of bogies,” bearing 264°, range 125 miles, at 1004. The ship sounded General Quarters, and changed course to 100°, speed 22 knots. The Japanese closed to 21 miles by 1043, but dogfights ensued as Hellcats swarmed the attackers. Multiple enemy planes determinedly broke through the CAP and the ship took evasive measures, firing at the aircraft in range.

    A Judy dropped a 500-pound bomb on South Dakota’s main deck at frame 73 on the 01 deck, near 40 millimeter quad mount No. 4, at 1049. The explosion tore into the superstructure on the 01 level, and downward into officers country forward of the wardroom. The damage gauged an eight by ten foot a hole in the deck, and a hole in the superstructure about eight feet square. The bomb severed wiring and piping, cutting service to many of the telephones and other circuits, as well as knocking out the 40 millimeter gun. Twenty-seven men died during the attack or latter succumbed from their injuries, and 24 more sustained wounds.

    The ship increased speed to 25 knots. A number of South Dakota’s 20 millimeter and 40 millimeter guns shot at the bomber, but despite many hits, the plane did not catch fire. Multiple gunners claimed to see the Judy fall into the water, but observers on board Alabama reported that the bomber escaped during the confusion. Additional aircraft roared through the ship’s fire, and at 1106 low flying torpedo planes hurtled past. The ship claimed to splash one of these attackers to port, but men watching from Alabama claimed that this plane also successfully broke away. A Japanese dive bomber dropped two bombs that narrowly missed Wichita, but gunfire splashed the plane not far from North Carolina, and a horizontal bomber scored a near miss on Minneapolis.

    About 20 Japanese planes of Raid II reached the Battle Line at 1150. Two Nakajima B6N1 carrier attack planes began their torpedo runs against South Dakota, but gunfire from that ship and from Alabama drove off the Jills. Enemy planes, tentatively identified as Judys, dropped two bombs that missed Alabama, and a Jill attacked but missed Iowa. A suicide plane crashed Indiana at her waterline, but its torpedo failed to detonate. South Dakota decreased her speed to 21 knots, but at 1155 Japanese planes swarmed the battleship, and the ship’s guns fired both to port and starboard. The surviving enemy aircraft disengaged shortly after noon. Raids III and IV attacked other ships.


    “…As always it is difficult to say just how many aircraft were brought down by a single ship’s fire,” Rear Adm. Hanson signaled the ship following the battle. “It was evident enough that the SOUTH DAKOTA bore the brunt of the attack and destroyed or helped to destroy at least twice her share of enemy planes.” The admiral further noted the ship’s “concentrated high rate of fire,” and effused that “She can take it and she can dish it out!”

    continued....
     
  14. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    South Dakota held a burial at sea for 24 of her fallen crewmen, at 14°05'15"N, 144°04'00"E, at 1701: Ensign J.J. Fullenlove; Seamen 1st Class O.P. Baker, A.B. Bruggman, R.L. Goforth, W.R. Linder, E.R. Lutts, W. Miller, Jr., C.E. Morris, R.H. Nimmo, A.R. Puzerski, and R.P. Youngchild; Storekeepers 1st Class A. Acierto and H.G. Skelton; Fireman 1st Class E.C. Ball; Steward’s Mate 1st Class R.F. Doyle; Boatswain’s Mate 2d Class L.V. Colangelo; Shipfitters 2d Class J.L. Clark and E.W. Gustafson; Machinist’s Mate 2d Class John Murphy; Seamen 2d Class G.L. Cavender and A. Nardiello; Coxswain G. Henneberry; Steward 3d Class J.J. Dillard; and Steward’s Mate 3d Class H.J. Smith, Jr. South Dakota then consigned Seaman 1st Class J.D. Chaney to the deep at 1930.

    The air battle continued throughout 20 June. South Dakota buried Seaman 1st Class Herman D. Barnett, who died from the wounds he suffered during the bombing of the previous day, at 13°10'30"N, 139°29'00"E, at 1010. The battleship steered courses varying from 250° to 315° during the forenoon and afternoon watches. Mitscher launched an air attack at extreme range on the retreating Japanese ships. South Dakota received cursory information indicating the composition of Ozawa’s fleet as four battleships, six carriers, six cruisers, and a dozen destroyers, supported by “a number” of oilers. The ship recorded the estimated range to reach the enemy ships as “approximately 250 miles,” adding ominously that this meant that the planes were to fly at “…the extreme range limit for an air strike.”

    American carrier planes sank Hiyō and fleet oilers Gen'yo Maru and Seiyo Maru, and damaged Zuikaku, Chiyōda, Junyō, Haruna, heavy cruiser Maya, destroyers Samidare and Shigure, and fast fleet tanker/seaplane carrier Hayasui. The carrier aircraft returned on rapidly emptying fuel tanks in the gathering darkness. Men on board the ships anxiously monitored radar plots and radios, South Dakota recording a VHF transmission “indicating many planes going in water due to being out of gasoline.” Despite the risk of Japanese submarine attacks, Mitscher ordered his ships to show their lights to guide the returning aircraft, thus saving lives when the planes consumed fuel and fell into the sea. Cruisers also fired star shells to illuminate the area, and destroyers rescued many of the men who entered the water.

    South Dakota steamed a course on an axis of 280° overnight into 21 June, over the path of the air strike of the preceding day. Officers instructed the lookouts to keep a “sharp look out for life rafts,” and a plane reported a life raft with five survivors, bearing 200°, 41 miles, at 0817. The ship supported air raids against the Japanese garrisons of Pagan and the nearby islands. During the afternoon, South Dakota passed through debris and oil drums afloat in the area where Hiyō,Gen'yo Maru, and Seiyo Maru sank. Radioman 3d Class M.B. Horton succumbed to the wounds he sustained on 19 April, and the battleship buried Horton at sea at 15°45'00"N, 134°08'00"E, at 1720. South Dakota came about to easterly courses at 2002.

    TF 58 repelled the Japanese air attacks and destroyed at least 300 planes in what USN pilots called the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.” A number of these pilots each shot down more than one enemy plane. Comdr. David S. McCampbell, Commander Carrier Air Group (CVG) 15, flew an F6F-3 Hellcat from Essex and splashed at least seven Japanese aircraft. The Japanese lost 395 carrier planes and an estimated 50 aircraft flying from Guam in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The Americans lost 130 planes and 76 pilots and aircrewmen. Submarines Albacore (SS-218) and Cavalla (SS-244) sank Taihō and Shōkaku in separate attacks, respectively, Japanese suicide planes narrowly missed Bunker Hill and Wasp, and friendly fire struck Hudson.


    USS Indiana


    "As the opposing fleets neared on the morning of 19 June 1944, Alabama and South Dakota reported large incoming enemy air formations. The crew of Indiana manned their antiaircraft positions at 1010. One of the enemy formations began to split into three distinct groups, and reached the first U.S. major warships about thirty minutes later. At 1048, Indiana opened fire on an enemy plane that approaching her port quarter, shooting off a wing and sending the burning plane into the deep only 200 yards from the battleship’s port beam.

    Japanese planes swept through the formation while engaging several American ships including the South Dakota, which suffered a bomb hit on the port side of her first superstructure deck. At 1150, a low-flying Japanese plane passed Indiana on her starboard side. As it turned around to make another pass it dropped a torpedo, after which it erupted into flame and splashed off the ship’s starboard quarter. Keliher swung Indiana hard right to avoid the attack, but the torpedo exploded a mere 50 yards from the starboard beam. The ship’s War Diary noted that the weapon detonated for an “unknown reason,” but added that it “was a poor drop being made on a turn, the torpedo falling at a sharp angle.” Eyewitnesses could not determine whether gunfire from the ship destroyed the weapon or the torpedo malfunctioned.

    Enemy planes continued to harass Indiana. At 1213 antiaircraft fire from the ship tore the tail off a Japanese fighter as it approached Indiana’s starboard quarter. As the aircraft descended into a flaming downward spiral, it dropped a bomb but missed the ship, a plume of water erupting in her wake.

    A burning Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 Kate carrier attack plane (kanjō kōgekiki or kankō—torpedo bomber) flew low on Indiana’s starboard beam and crashed into the ship at 1214 on 19 June 1944. The impact sent flaming debris across the main deck. Immediately following the crash, another detonation boomed 1,500 yards astern of Indiana. Eyewitnesses debated the origins of the explosion during the chaos of battle, with some men recalling a falling bomb and others a crashing plane, but the explosion marked the final attack of the day. The ship emerged otherwise unscathed and continued the battle.

    Indiana fired 416 of her 5-inch projectiles, 9000 of her 20 millimeter rounds, and 4832 of the 40 millimeter shells. Five seamen sustained wounds from fragments from U.S. antiaircraft fire: Floyd Bailey, George H. Bell, Donald E. Cason, Earl E. Cox, and Charles J. Figler. TF 58 repelled the Japanese air attacks and destroyed at least 300 planes in what USN pilots called the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.”"
    continued....
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    USS Washington


    ....departing Majuro on 7 June and joining Mitscher's fast carrier TF 58.


    Washington supported the air strikes pummeling enemy defenses in the Marianas on the islands of Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Rota, and Pagan. Task Force 58's fliers also attacked twice and damaged a Japanese convoy in the vicinity on 12 June. The following day, Vice Admiral Lee's battleship-destroyer task group was detached from the main body of the force and conducted shore bombardment against enemy installations on Saipan and Tinian. Relieved on the 14th by two task groups under Rear Admirals J. B. Oldendorf and W. L. Ainsworth, Vice Admiral Lee's group retired momentarily.

    On 15 June, Admiral Mitscher's TF 58 planes bombed Japanese installations on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands and Chichi Jima and Haha Jima in the Bonins. Meanwhile, Marines landed on Saipan under cover of intensive naval gunfire and carrier-based planes.

    That same day, Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa, commanding the main body of the Japanese Fleet, was ordered to attack and destroy the invasion force in the Marianas. The departure of his carrier group, however, came under the scrutiny of the submarine Redfin (SS-272), as it left Tawi Tawi, the westernmost island in the Sulu Archipelago.

    Flying Fish (SS-229) also sighted Ozawa's force as it entered the Philippine Sea. Cavalla (SS-244) radioed a contact report on an enemy refueling group on 16 June and continued tracking it as it headed for the Marianas. She again sighted Japanese Combined Fleet units on 18 June.

    Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, commanding the 5th Fleet, had meanwhile learned of the Japanese movement and accordingly issued his battle plan. Vice Admiral Lee's force formed a protective screen around the vital fleet carriers. Washington, six other battleships, four heavy cruisers, and 14 destroyers deployed to cover the flattops; on 19 June, the ships came under attack from Japanese carrier-based and land-based planes as the Battle of the Philippine Sea commenced.

    The tremendous firepower of the screen, however, together with the aggressive combat air patrols flown from the American carriers, proved too much for even the aggressive Japanese. The heavy loss of Japanese aircraft, sometimes referred to as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot," caused serious losses in the Japanese naval air arm. During four massive raids, the enemy launched 373 planes-only 130 returned.

    In addition, 50 land-based bombers from Guam fell in flames. Over 300 American carrier planes were involved in the aerial action; their losses amounted to comparatively few: 23 shot down and six lost operationally without the loss of a single ship in Mitscher's task force.

    Only a few of the enemy planes managed to get through the barrage of flak and fighters, one scoring a direct hit on South Dakota-killing 27 and wounding 23. A bomb burst over the flight deck of the carrier Wasp (CV-18), killing one man, wounding 12, and covering her flight deck with bits of phosphorus. Two planes dove on Bunker Hill, one scoring a near miss and the other a hit that holed an elevator, knocking put the hanger deck gasoline system temporarily; killing three and wounding 73. Several fires started were promptly quenched. In addition, Minneapolis (CA-36) and Indiana also received slight damage.

    Not only did the Japanese lose heavily in planes; two of their carriers were soon on their way to the bottom-Taiho, torpedoed and sunk by Albacore (SS-218); and Shokaku, sunk by Cavalla. Admiral Ozawa, his flagship, Taiho, sunk out from under him, transferred his flag to Zuikaku.

    As the Battle of the Philippine Sea proceeded to a close, the Japanese Mobile Fleet steamed back to its bases, defeated. Admiral Mitscher's task force meanwhile retired to cover the invasion operations proceeding in the Marianas. Washington fueled east of that chain of islands and then continued her screening duties with TG 58.4 to the south and west of Saipan, supporting the continuing air strikes on islands in the Marianas, the strikes concentrated on Guam by that point.


    As you can see they were needed, they were heavily engaged in the screening of the carriers, they were considered for surface actions, they were needed where they were not at Normandy.They were emloyed to optimize their capabilities and served well. If the Japanese hadn't paused for ten minutes when they were 70 miles out to reform their attack they might have broken through with sufficient strength to cripple a carrier or two, or three, even with the seven battleships. If you'd cut the screen by two battleships so you could employ them to Normandy more Japanese aircraft would most likely have gotten through, even with the ten minute delay, and a carrier or two or three might have been damaged. If some of the carriers had been crippled there is little doubt that Ozawa would have most likely pushed his battleships forward in hopes of engaging in a surface action. King had his ships where they were needed and where they were of most value based upon their capabilities. He wasn't just "hoardng his toys" as you implied. When you're evaluating their decisions you need to consider what was know contemoraneously and look at potential enemy capabilities, not what we now know occurred. The men that were making the decisions by and large did the right thing despite their personal flaws.
     
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  16. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, commanding the 5th Fleet, had meanwhile learned of the Japanese movement and accordingly issued his battle plan. Vice Admiral Lee's force formed a protective screen around the vital fleet carriers. Washington, six other battleships, four heavy cruisers, and 14 destroyers deployed to cover the flattops; on 19 June, the ships came under attack from Japanese carrier-based and land-based planes as the Battle of the Philippine Sea commenced.

    DANFS-Naval History and Heritage Command, so a pretty decent source. Besides Rich used the source earlier and his credentials and sourcing are impeccable!
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    With regards to sources my impression is that for the broad strokes Morrison is great but you have to be careful with the details in his works.
     
  18. scott livesey

    scott livesey Member

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    I know, he was the "Official" historian and most of his works were published in the early 1950's. Does the US Navy or Royal Navy have a reference site where material can be downloaded? I am looking for something similar to these sites
    Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library (CARL) Digital Library student papers and unit histories mostly US Army but some cover navy and air force as well
    CMH Publications Catalog official histories mostly army
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    For the USN, my impression is that that role has been taken on to at least some extent by the Naval Institute. It's a private non profit corporation though. Here's a wiki page about them:
    United States Naval Institute - Wikipedia
    I think this links to their site but can't get there right now:
    U.S. Naval Institute
    [/I]
    Not sure how many of their books can be downloaded. Most are not free.

    Another source if you haven't tried it that's got a lot of good info is hyperwar. When you google try adding it to the search string.

    *** edit for ***
    Just did a quick search and found:
    Library
    About the Library
    Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library [ONRL]
    and some others here:
    united states navy library - Google Search
     
  20. scott livesey

    scott livesey Member

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