Admiral Phillips finest hour

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Terry Duncan
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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Terry Duncan » 12 Jan 2011 23:31

There were planes enough in quality and also in quantity.
As Takao has pointed out, it was one squadron assigned to Force Z. As for quality, the Buffalo did not have a good war, particularly in the Far East so its performance for the Finnish airforce may well have more to do with the respective merits of the pilots available, and we do know the Japanese were good at this time.
It would have been interesting if Phillips had placed a call for air support when the Repulse reported an aircraft shadowing the force at 0630 hrs. or immediately upon hearing that the destroyer Tenedos was under air attack around 1000hrs.
That incident should have made Phillips to react and called the pre planned air support.
Maybe, but Phillips was the wrong man for the job and unlikely to make such a call, convinced as he was of the ability of his ships to survive and of the need to keep radio silence. My guess would be that Force Z would take significant damage, but even though its unlikely the crippling hit on Prince of Wales would occur - freak hits are just that - any major damage would be enough to finish Force Z as a threat, and simply become a matter of salvaging two ships that should never have been so badly risked.

Phillips was far from the only officer afloat to think capital ships would survive air attack, but he was also inflexble and had showed himself unwilling or unable to adapt in the past. A good enough officer for the previous wars, like so many before and after.
Yes, what's the use of radio silence (if that was the reason for not orderding air support) after that?
The RN had done its best to throw away all advantages during WWI by insisting on rigid radio silence, it had almost religious standing then, and had many officers convinced this war was to be fought the same way. To be fair, Britain did make very good use of radio intercepts on a strategic scale, so tended to place too much value on not allowing the enemy any such breaks even if it were to cost them a tactical advantage.

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Juha Tompuri » 13 Jan 2011 00:18

Terry Duncan wrote:
There were planes enough in quality and also in quantity.
As Takao has pointed out, it was one squadron assigned to Force Z.
In theory, yes:
Singapore was not aware of the attack until Captain Tennant of Repulse sent an emergency signal at 1158, and due to Force Z’s radio silence and Phillips’ change of plan, GHQ had no idea where the ships actually were. On receipt of the signal two Buffaloes from 243 Squadron were immediately scrambled from Kallang, as was a 4PRU Buffalo, while close behind followed ten 453 Squadron Buffaloes in two flights of five aircraft from Sembawang
http://warandgame.com/2010/02/19/buffal ... -capnot-2/

...and as earlier mentioned, there were also Blenheim (night) fighters availlable.
Terry Duncan wrote:As for quality, the Buffalo did not have a good war, particularly in the Far East so its performance for the Finnish airforce may well have more to do with the respective merits of the pilots available,
Brewster was blamed for a disaster that might better have been attributed to faulty tactics, inexperienced pilots, and poor command decisions.
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... o#p1207088
Terry Duncan wrote:and we do know the Japanese were good at this time.
Very accurate bombing and accurate torpedoing.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Terry Duncan » 13 Jan 2011 02:25

and as earlier mentioned, there were also Blenheim (night) fighters availlable.
A bomber with added guns, just what Force Z needed.
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=138938&hilit=buffalo#p1207088
Interesting. You obviously like the Buffalo, the rest of the world did not including the naton that built it.
Very accurate bombing and accurate torpedoing.
The fighter force seemed to do ok for itself in the early part of the war too.

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Juha Tompuri » 13 Jan 2011 07:37

Terry Duncan wrote:
and as earlier mentioned, there were also Blenheim (night) fighters availlable.
A bomber with added guns, just what Force Z needed.
Against the slow flying, not able to perform evasive maneuvers torpedo bombers, Blenheim would perhaps been quite useful.

Terry Duncan wrote:
Very accurate bombing and accurate torpedoing.
The fighter force seemed to do ok for itself in the early part of the war too.
Yes, I just concentrated to the planes relevant in this thread.

Regads, Juha

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by LWD » 13 Jan 2011 13:08

Terry Duncan wrote: ... You obviously like the Buffalo, the rest of the world did not including the naton that built it.
....
My impression is that this is incorrect. The version of the Buffalo in the USN was regarded as obsolete by late 41 at least vs other front line fighters. That doesn't mean it was a bad plane nor that it wouldn't have been useful vs bombers. Indeed the Midway Buffalo's did a pretty good job of shooting up the Japanese bombers at Midway in the first and only pass they got before being jumped by Zeros.

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Tim Smith
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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Tim Smith » 13 Jan 2011 19:24

As I posted in another thread, the Buffalo would have been fine against the Japanese had the Pacific War started 2 years earlier, when there was no A6M Zero or Ki-43 Oscar available to outperform it, but only the A5M Claude and Ki-27 Nate.

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by LWD » 13 Jan 2011 19:27

By the same token then it would have done a good job flying CAP if the attacking bombers were unescorted which is what is being discussed here.

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Markus Becker
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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Markus Becker » 13 Jan 2011 19:45

LWD wrote:By the same token then it would have done a good job flying CAP if the attacking bombers were unescorted which is what is being discussed here.
You hit the nail on the head! There was not one Zero escorting the Bettys and Nells. Not one. Buffaloes, Blenheim fighters, hell even Hudsons would have been fine for shoting down what were slow and low flying gas tanks with not one once of armour.

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by James A Pratt III » 13 Jan 2011 23:15

This is sort of loosely based on the battleship action off Guadalcanal:
British destroyers vs the Sendai and the IJN destroyers. the Brits take a pounding do to IJN torpedos and superior gunfire Electra sunk and the other 3 damaged vs the Uranami damaged. Then the repulse joins in with radar directed gunfire and a well trained crew . Sendai and the IJN destroyers shocked by coming under fire from heavy guns and with their torpedo tubes empty turn away. The Sendai larger slower and less manuverable is hit set on fire and has it's speed reduced. The POW get a visual on the Sendai opens fire and soon the ship is pounded to junk. Now the Mogami and Suzaya come within radar and gun range of the Repulse which shifts fire to the Mogami. The always unlucky Mogami surprized by the heavy shells landing around her is soon hit and set on fire. The POW also shift fire to the now burning Mogami which takes a real pounding and after taking a hit in a boiler room turns away from the Repulse and POW. The Suzaya also turns away taking one hit from the Repulse. Then the always unlucky Mogami proceeds to collide with the Kumano. The Mogami was always getting into collisions. Meanwhile Adm Phillips does not follow because he fears torpedo attack and does not want his ships to be lit up by the now sinking and burning Sendai. Which the POW and repulse finish off. Finding out he has 3 damaged destroyers left Philips has one pick up the survivors of the Electra while the other ships provide cover and then retires. Kurita decides to turn away and try and straighten out his shot up force. The Mogami on fire and racked by internal explosions sinks the next day. Phillips makes Singapore without being attacked by aircraft and is hailed as a hero. Kurita is critized for turning away the IJN High command is shocked by such a defeat.

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 14 Jan 2011 00:19

Thank You James A Pratt III, Admiral Tom is a hero!

I was wondering how it was going to go. So might we say tactical victory, japanese suffer quite heavily, but stratigic defeat, invasion convoys not touched.

Can anyone do better!

PS Historically RAF 453 fighter squadron, 11 Buffalos had been on standby to escort Force Z back into Singapore, and so were available. They were scrambled at around 12.06 and flew the 165 miles to the ships location, 60 miles east of Kuantan.

Steve

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Takao » 14 Jan 2011 03:45

Meh,

As soon as Rear Admiral Shintaro reports contact with the British van, Ozawa splits his 5 cruisers; Chokai, Mikuma, and Suzuya break left and the Mogami and Kumano go right, leaving the Sendai and her 4 destroyers heading up the middle. Since the Sendai and her 4 destroyers have already launched their torpedoes at Phillips van, Ozawa has the cruisers hold their fire, since he knows what is following behind. When the POW and Repulse open fire to pummel the Sendai, their gunfire gives them away. The cruisers knowing the position of the British heavy units release their torpedoes, 20 from the three cruisers and 12 from the other two. Ozawa orders a rapid course change of 180 degrees and the cruisers release a second salvo of similar number. The Japanese destroyers finish reloading their torpedo tubes and turn to engage the British heavies, ignoring the sinking or crippled British destroyers to their fate. The Prince of Wales catches three torpedoes and is listing and has suffered a power loss, the Repulse had taken one hit, but is still in fighting trim. As the Japanese destroyers close on their targets, Ozawa's cruisers are in the process of reloading their torpedo tubes and again turning to finish the action. The Repulse, fighting to the last, blows up one of the Japanese destroyers and damages another, but this victory is a pyrrhic one, since the damaged destroy and her undamaged compatriot have already released their deadly torpedoes...

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Takao » 14 Jan 2011 04:18

We have discussed the virtues and flaws of the Brewster many times over. With regards to Juha's http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... o#p1207088
Let's go back even further to roughly this same time back in '04
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 5&p=367971
The Buffaloes flown by the Finns were not the same aircraft flown by the British. The Finns flew what was the denavalized -1 model of the Brewster Buffalo with a 950hp engine(IIRC, the Finns also did not add all the extras to their aircraft that the British or Americans did). The British flew what was a denavalized -2 with an export engine of 1,000hp. The British, unwisely, chose to add armor and other accoutrements to their Brewsters, which raised the aircraft's weight by some 1,000lbs. In other words, the British are flying an under-powered -2 that is 1,000 pounds heavier than the original -2. Now, how do you think that will effect the Brewster's performance? Somehow, I don't think the Finn would have had the same success if they had been flying the B-339E instead of their B-239s.

But, that is not the real issue, what I and other posters have been trying to say is that the fighters are still better than the unescorted Japanese bombers. Without escorts, the Japanese bombers are "easy pickings" for the British fighters.

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Juha Tompuri » 14 Jan 2011 09:13

Takao wrote:The Buffaloes flown by the Finns were not the same aircraft flown by the British. The Finns flew what was the denavalized -1 model of the Brewster Buffalo with a 950hp engine(IIRC, the Finns also did not add all the extras to their aircraft that the British or Americans did).
True.
Takao wrote:The British flew what was a denavalized -2 with an export engine of 1,000hp.
The British B-339B/E's had 1100hp G105A engines
Takao wrote:Somehow, I don't think the Finn would have had the same success if they had been flying the B-339E instead of their B-239s.
The B-339B/E seems to have been faster than the B-239, but clumsier (partly because of the added extra weight).
I think that wouldn't have been that big difference in 1941, but in 1944, when the maneuverability was their only advantage over the Soviet/Lend-Lease fighters, that would have ment a lot.
Takao wrote:But, that is not the real issue, what I and other posters have been trying to say is that the fighters are still better than the unescorted Japanese bombers. Without escorts, the Japanese bombers are "easy pickings" for the British fighters.
Exactly.

Regards, Juha

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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Sunbury » 14 Jan 2011 09:22

Brewster Buffalo's are a bit off topic and always hottly argued by the Finns :). The Australian experience of flying the Buffalo is recorded in a book "Defeat into Victory No 453 Squadron RAAF" by John Bennett. The Royal Australian Air Force Museum may still have it. For anyone who wants to know what it was for the British and Australians in 1941 flying Buffaloes, the book should be a must read. http://www.airforce.gov.au/raafmuseum/index.htm is the Museum link, email the bookshop about the book.

I will give a quote from it (p16)
With combat experience it was decided that drastic measures were necessecary to improve the performance of the Buffalo. The radio mast was removed, and excess weight such as Verey tubes, parachute flare bins and cockpit heaters were taken out. Drag was reduced by removing gun blisters, pilot relief venturi tubes and rear vision mirrors. The two 0.5 inch wing guns were replaced by two 0.030 inch guns and the mountings, port openings and ammunition bins modified to suit. Fuel load was reduced to 45 gallons, and the ammunition load was also reduced. Apart from the much cleaner lines resulting, the weight of the aircraft was reduced by a 1000 pounds. This produced a remarkable difference in performance. The Brewster Buffalo could now even loop.
Another telling comment from the book, was the note that the engine officially had to hand pumped for fuel approaching 18,000ft. Japanese aircraft routinely flew higher, so a Buffalo pilot had to fly one handed, pumping fuel with the other if trying to engage Japanese Bombers at 20,000ft and the fighters above.

Edit I just read Juha's comments on attacking bombers. The Buffalo had extreme difficulty in gaining height to do so, pilots had to pump fuel by hand whilst climbing. As I said, 18,000 ft was the official start of pumping but worn engines meant a lot lower height was realistic. I dont know of any other fighter pilots faced with such a task in any other theatre of war. Joystick one hand, hand pump in the other and that was before engaging an enemy.

Hopefully this gives a little more background of Buffaloes in the Pacific.
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Re: Admiral Phillips finest hour

Post by Markus Becker » 14 Jan 2011 11:23

Sunbury wrote: Another telling comment from the book, was the note that the engine officially had to hand pumped for fuel approaching 18,000ft. Japanese aircraft routinely flew higher, so a Buffalo pilot had to fly one handed, pumping fuel with the other if trying to engage Japanese Bombers at 20,000ft and the fighters above.

Edit I just read Juha's comments on attacking bombers. The Buffalo had extreme difficulty in gaining height to do so, pilots had to pump fuel by hand whilst climbing. As I said, 18,000 ft was the official start of pumping but worn engines meant a lot lower height was realistic. I dont know of any other fighter pilots faced with such a task in any other theatre of war. Joystick one hand, hand pump in the other and that was before engaging an enemy.
That´s quite a disadvantage if one attacks high flying level bombers. Some of the Nell that initially attacked Force Z level bombed and even scored one or two hits but the 550lb bombs did next to no damage. The TB approach at a low altitude and attack almost at sea level. The Buffs technical troubles would not have mattered in this case.

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