Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
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Sheldrake
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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by Sheldrake » 09 Nov 2020 10:11

There is an excellent article in the current issue of the Journal of Military History that points out that despite the air power propaganda, aircraft struggled to sink battleships in WW2.

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by EwenS » 09 Nov 2020 12:15

The difficulty of using bombs to sink battleships is well illustrated by the hits absorbed by Ise, Hyuga and Haruna in July 1945 from US carrier groups. Ise took at least 5x1000lb bomb hits (US fliers claimed 9x1000lb hits) plus numerous others. Those came from 4 carrier airgroups, each much larger than that of Ranger.

In 1948 the RN carried out dive bombing trials against Nelson while she was anchored in the Firth of Forth using 1000lb and 2000lb bombs. They had to reduce the bombing height from 8000ft to 6500ft after 39 straight misses! The conclusions reached were
1. All bombs had to be dropped from at least 5000ft to be effective
2. Dropped from 3000-4000ft in practice the bombs only penetrated 2.95-4.75 inches
3. It was not easy to hit a ship from those heights and certainly not from 5000ft
4. It was noted the target was stationary
5. Although not easy, Nelson’s armour was pierced, proving battleships were vulnerable to this kind of attack.

Ultimately ships sink because water gets into the hull. During WW2 airborne torpedoes were more effective at that than armour piercing bombs, unless you go to the size of Fritz X or Tallboy. But even so the experience of Force Z and of Yamato and Musashi shows it took a considerable number of torpedo hits before a sinking took place.

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 09 Nov 2020 15:01

Sheldrake wrote:
09 Nov 2020 10:11
There is an excellent article in the current issue of the Journal of Military History that points out that despite the air power propaganda, aircraft struggled to sink battleships in WW2.
IIRC prewar doctrine was the aircraft would degrade the enemy fleet, critical damage & mission kills.

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by T. A. Gardner » 16 Nov 2020 19:25

Sheldrake wrote:
09 Nov 2020 10:11
There is an excellent article in the current issue of the Journal of Military History that points out that despite the air power propaganda, aircraft struggled to sink battleships in WW2.
Sinking isn't necessarily the goal. If bombing a battleship renders it combat degraded or ineffective where other forms of engagement are made possible then the aircraft did enough.

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by Andy H » 19 Nov 2020 18:26

Sheldrake wrote:
09 Nov 2020 10:11
There is an excellent article in the current issue of the Journal of Military History that points out that despite the air power propaganda, aircraft struggled to sink battleships in WW2.
Hi Sheldrake

Just in case people want to know, its the last 1/4s issue Vol84 No3 July 2020, and its called Aircraft Carriers versus Battleships in War and Myth: Demythologizing Carrier Air Dominance at Sea by James R FitzSimonds, and USN Officer and currently a Professor at USN War College.

James makes several excellent points throughout his article, but its worth remembering that some of the examples he quotes to support his point of view shouldnt be treated as absolutes. For instance he references SBD at Midway made 50+ attacaks against the Japanese DD Tanikaze and didnt score a single hit. He does mention that out of the 127 Japanese DD's lost in the war, only 27 (21%) were claimed by carrier aircraft. That would infer a poor return but until we know under whats circumstances the other 79% were lost, we cant give it context.
Also as Terry stated (in relation to BBs) degrading the combat effectivness to the point where there no longer a viable threat or there forced away from there target is still a win for the aircraft, though sinking it would be the ultimate goal.

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Nov 2020 21:43

Andy H wrote:
19 Nov 2020 18:26
... Also as Terry stated (in relation to BBs) degrading the combat effectivness to the point where there no longer a viable threat or there forced away from there target is still a win for the aircraft, though sinking it would be the ultimate goal.
Saw some summaries of prewar calculation or expectation of the USN for percentages of degradation of the enemy for various numbers of aircraft sorties. The percent aggregate damage expected was somewhere below 30%. Cant recall where the lower expected percent might have been.

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by Takao » 23 Nov 2020 23:13

Andy H wrote:
19 Nov 2020 18:26
Just in case people want to know, its the last 1/4s issue Vol84 No3 July 2020, and its called Aircraft Carriers versus Battleships in War and Myth: Demythologizing Carrier Air Dominance at Sea by James R FitzSimonds, and USN Officer and currently a Professor at USN War College.

James makes several excellent points throughout his article, but its worth remembering that some of the examples he quotes to support his point of view shouldnt be treated as absolutes. For instance he references SBD at Midway made 50+ attacaks against the Japanese DD Tanikaze and didnt score a single hit. He does mention that out of the 127 Japanese DD's lost in the war, only 27 (21%) were claimed by carrier aircraft. That would infer a poor return but until we know under whats circumstances the other 79% were lost, we cant give it context.
Also as Terry stated (in relation to BBs) degrading the combat effectivness to the point where there no longer a viable threat or there forced away from there target is still a win for the aircraft, though sinking it would be the ultimate goal.

Regards

Andy H
If your supposedly dispelling a "myth" concerning aircraft carriers & battleships...Why bring up destroyers? If your dispelling a myth that apples are better than oranges, you would not bring up cranberries.

The TANIKAZE did survive 50-60 SBD attacks, but also just under half of those were made by less experienced HORNET pilots. Further, a destroyer, in the main, is far more maneuverable than a battleship.

Now, Carriers did not sink a lot of Japanese destroyers. But, then again, in a major fleet action, enemy destroyers will be a tertiary target or, at best, a target of opportunity. Dive bomber pilots will focus on enemy carriers, battleships, and cruisers, before going after the "small fry." As such, not many destroyers will be sunk by carriers, because, destroyers were not the main targets of the attack.

While dive bombers could degrade a battleship to the point that it is no longer a viable threat, this was rarely the case. Although, that seems to be more through circumstance. Yamamoto did not press his battleships at Midway, after his carriers had been sunk. At Leyte Gulf, carrier aircraft focused mainly on Musashi(and sank her), but the rest of the Japanese battleships remained relatively unscathed. Then Halsey went North to chase the Japanese carriers, leaving the Japanese battleships on their own. The CVEs did little better, but the did not, IIRC, have dive bombers, but Avengers that used glide bombing and torpedoes. While this did great harm to the Japanese cruisers, the battleships were little harmed. After sinking the Japanese carriers, but before going after Ozawa's Hybrid battleships, Halsey was forced by circumstances to abandon Ozawa, before sinking or crippling the hybrids. While the Japanese battleships attacking the CVEs had retreated out of range before Halsey could engage.

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by Andy H » 24 Nov 2020 22:32

Takao wrote:
23 Nov 2020 23:13
Andy H wrote:
19 Nov 2020 18:26
Just in case people want to know, its the last 1/4s issue Vol84 No3 July 2020, and its called Aircraft Carriers versus Battleships in War and Myth: Demythologizing Carrier Air Dominance at Sea by James R FitzSimonds, and USN Officer and currently a Professor at USN War College.

Regards

Andy H
If your supposedly dispelling a "myth" concerning aircraft carriers & battleships...Why bring up destroyers? If your dispelling a myth that apples are better than oranges, you would not bring up cranberries.
Hi Takao

The 'Cranberries' were there to address the wider point that airpower at sea, in terms of actually sinking naval vessels, was rather poor, compared to the popular attitide (amongst some) that they sunk all before them.
"Most of the carrier duels (in '42) were self-preservation duels between opposing carriers with little or no carrier air interaction with enemy ships beyond the opponents flat-tops"...."the heavy attrition suffered by both carriers and their aircraft in these carrier-on-carrier engagements effectively precluded subsequent strike operations even when the carrier battle was won"

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by Takao » 24 Nov 2020 23:35

I thought the "popular opinion" was from TF 38/58 "The fleet that came to stay", as opposed to the earlier carrier clashes.

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by daveshoup2MD » 09 Jan 2022 07:47

This is a "What If," so USS Ranger with 36 T4Ms/TG-2s...all equipped with torpedoes.

https://youtu.be/n8znR3FJaa8

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by Takao » 11 Jan 2022 23:13

Didn't the T4Ms go the way of the Dodo about 1938?

A few were kept as squadron hacks in 1940-41, but I highly doubt there were 35 in the Navy at this time.

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by daveshoup2MD » 12 Jan 2022 04:37

Takao wrote:
11 Jan 2022 23:13
Didn't the T4Ms go the way of the Dodo about 1938?

A few were kept as squadron hacks in 1940-41, but I highly doubt there were 35 in the Navy at this time.
Historically, yes, but this is the "What if" section, true?

Production was ~150 T4M-1, TG-1, and TG-2, ending in 1931-32, I believe, so presume even with 50% attrition, seems like there could have been twice that many still around, which is just a guess ... but still, these types had some interesting final duties.

I have a reference (United States Naval Aviation, 1910-1970) that lists a TG-2 being used as a r/c drone, remotely piloted via in television (!), launching a torpedo that passed beneath the target ship, steaming at 15 knots, from astern, on April 9, 1942. This was the flight test of a project that began in 1940. Interestingly enough, the airborne control aircraft may have also been a TG-2; the same reference says the type was being used for such purposes as early as 1937, using JH-1 drones.

Presume the large fuselage made installation of the r/c and television equipment possible.

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by B.C.Chessnut » 25 Jan 2022 23:01

iirc part of Bismark's issue with the swordfish attacks was the planes were so slow that tracking was actually more difficult?
Also something about the fabric wings just letting shell pass thru.

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by daveshoup2MD » 26 Jan 2022 08:07

B.C.Chessnut wrote:
25 Jan 2022 23:01
iirc part of Bismark's issue with the swordfish attacks was the planes were so slow that tracking was actually more difficult?
Also something about the fabric wings just letting shell pass thru.
In which case, the T4M-1 would have been even more difficult to track. 30 MPH slower... ;)

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Re: Ranger instead of Ark Royal

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 Feb 2022 19:32

EwenS wrote:
09 Nov 2020 12:15
The difficulty of using bombs to sink battleships is well illustrated by the hits absorbed by Ise, Hyuga and Haruna in July 1945 from US carrier groups. Ise took at least 5x1000lb bomb hits (US fliers claimed 9x1000lb hits) plus numerous others. Those came from 4 carrier airgroups, each much larger than that of Ranger.

In 1948 the RN carried out dive bombing trials against Nelson while she was anchored in the Firth of Forth using 1000lb and 2000lb bombs. They had to reduce the bombing height from 8000ft to 6500ft after 39 straight misses! The conclusions reached were
1. All bombs had to be dropped from at least 5000ft to be effective
2. Dropped from 3000-4000ft in practice the bombs only penetrated 2.95-4.75 inches
3. It was not easy to hit a ship from those heights and certainly not from 5000ft
4. It was noted the target was stationary
5. Although not easy, Nelson’s armour was pierced, proving battleships were vulnerable to this kind of attack. ...
This reminds me of the US 9th Air Force trying to destroy bridges in 1943. My Fathers Bombardment Group came to the UK in the summer of 1943 thinking they could drop bridges with only a single squadron size attack group, from a safe altitude of 20,000+ feet. Eventually they were getting success from 15,000 & lower. They also jumped up the attack groups to 36 & 54 bombers. Sprinkling a few bombs from high (safe) altitudes did not get results.

In 1944 the Army Air Forces tried single engine planes making dive attacks on the bridges. The results sound something like those described above. The target had to be saturated from relatively low and vulnerable altitudes & nearly all the bomb strikes had superficial results. Aim enough bombs & eventually you get a critical hit somewhere & the targets collapses/sinks.

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