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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 Well-Known 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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  9. Rysiekgl

    Rysiekgl New Member

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  10. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Could be...
    [​IMG]
    You would have to see it from the top to be sure...
     
  11. the_diego

    the_diego Active Member

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    Last hurrah for the flying boat. A nuclear bomber!

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Biggles (being a spy) used to love the float planes and flying boats...
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Paspaley, a pearling family in Darwin fly Mallards...
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I think RC models would be cool too...
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. OpanaPointer

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

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    How do you carry enough fuel for that German bird?
     
  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Well,
    Catalina found the Bismarck at least..( Plus the Luthjens radio message to Hitler ).

    The American Who Helped Sink the Bismarck | Defense Media Network

    The American Who Helped Sink the Bismarck
    By Dwight Jon Zimmerman - May 8, 2011

    [​IMG]
    The Bismarck photographed from Prinz Eugen after the sinking of the HMS Hood. Bismarck seems to already be down by the bows somewhat from the HMS Prince of Wales’ hit forward below the waterline. An American aboard an American-built PBY Catalina flying boat was an instrumental part of the hunt for the German battleship. Bundesarchiv photo

    The news that reached London on May 24, 1941, could not have been worse for the Admiralty. The German battleship Bismarck and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen had sunk the battlecruiser HMS Hood, and damaged the new battleship Prince of Wales. That the Bismarck had been slightly damaged was cold comfort to a Royal Navy that had suffered its greatest defeat in living memory. British armed forces rallied every resource to avenge the loss, resources that included Ensign Leonard B. “Tuck” Smith of the U.S. Navy, who would have a pivotal role in the sinking of the Bismarck.

    If Congress discovered he had also sent pilots to Britain, Roosevelt said, “I will be impeached.”

    In 1940 Great Britain purchased 200 PBY Catalina seaplanes, whose long range and flight time made them ideal for anti-submarine patrols. The first batch of PBYs was delivered early in 1941, along with three pilots, one of them Ensign Smith, “on loan” from the U.S. Navy to help train the Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots. The sale of the Catalinas was public knowledge. U.S. Navy pilot help was not. Roosevelt had aroused isolationist ire in still-neutral America with Lend Lease and other aid to Britain. If Congress discovered he had also sent pilots to Britain, Roosevelt said, “I will be impeached.” So the pilots’ presence was a secret. Smith was assigned to the RAF’s 209 Squadron, part of Coastal Command and based in Loch Erne, Northern Ireland.

    [​IMG]
    This is the Catalina of RAF Coastal Command No. 209 Squadron, flown by Ensign Leonard “Tuck” Smith, that spotted the Bismarck. Imperial War Museum photo

    At the early morning briefing on May 26, 1941, Smith discovered the squadron’s mission that day was to find the Bismarck, which had eluded the ships and aircraft shadowing it. Normally for reconnaissance missions, the Catalinas’ anti-submarine loads of four depth charges were removed. But time was of the essence. The depth charges stayed on.

    The weather was foul, with a ceiling as low as 100 feet when, at 0325, Smith’s PBY-5 No. AH545 lifted off the waters of Loch Erne and, along with the rest of the squadron’s Catalinas, headed west in search of the Bismarck. Officially RAF Pilot Officer Dennis Briggs was the pilot and Smith was the co-pilot.

    In May of nineteen forty-one the war had just begun

    The Germans had the biggest ship that had the biggest guns

    The Bismarck was the fastest ship that ever sailed the seas

    On her deck were guns as big as steers and shells as big as trees.

    —Johnny Horton “Sink the Bismarck” (1960)

    Smith’s Catalina reached its assigned sector about six hours later and commenced searching. In his report of what happened next, Smith said, “[A]t 1010 I sighted what was first believed to be Bismarck. . . . I immediately took control from ‘George’ [the automatic pilot]; started slow climbing turn to starboard, keeping ship sited to port, while the British officer went aft to prepare [the] contact report. My plan was to take cover in the clouds, get close to the ship as possible; making definite recognition and then shadow the ship from best point of vantage. Upon reaching 2,000 feet we broke out of a cloud formation and were met by a terrific anti-aircraft barrage from our starboard quarter.”

    Buffeted by anti-aircraft bursts that damaged the Catalina, Smith jettisoned the depth charges and conducted violent evasive action as additional contact information, including confirmation that the ship was the Bismarck, was transmitted. Smith and the crew later lost contact with the battleship, but their messages had been received. Air and surface forces converged on an intercept course. Smith’s Catalina landed 18 hours later, at 2130. The next morning the Bismarck was at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

    By the way, the escape before destruction of the Bismarck:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2020

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