Aircraft Carrier with Force Z 1941

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alf
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Post by alf » 07 Jun 2004 10:04

Hi Tim,

I live and learn :D! thankyou, I didnt know the exact air assets in Vietnam

regards

alf

DIREWOLF75
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Post by DIREWOLF75 » 07 Jun 2004 14:30

Hi Direwolf,

that was an excellent post, welcome to the Form
The Buffalos flown y the RAF and RAAF were not the same models as those flown by the Finns in their war, its been done to death (lol) in the equipment section
I know :) but even the Russian I-15s and I-16s managed to achieve kills on the modern German planes, and the Buffalo wasnt THAT much worse(though i do admit that if i have the choice between the 3 in a flightcombatsim, i go for the I-15 if i want to win :) ). They would of course not had a chance against the highaltitude bombrun(which got 1 hit that didnt do much damage anyway), considering how lousy highup performance they had, but would have been a real pain in the rear for torpedo bombers.


Thanks for the welcome btw, although that should probably be welcome back :) since its 1 and half years since i registered(because militaryhistoryforum went bye-bye) and then just havent been around as much as i thought or wanted.
Direwolf:

German U-boats sank several British aircraft carriers in WWII, including Courageous, Ark Royal, and Eagle. And a Japanese submarine sank the US carrier Wasp. So an assumption that a Japanese submarine could not get within sighting distance of Force Z had Indomitable been present would be incorrect. (Sighting distance, even for a sub, is a lot farther away than attacking distance. For a sub, it's a lot easier to just spot and report an enemy force, than it is to attack it.)
Sorry i didnt mean to say that it would have been impossible or anything, i meant that it would have been FAR HARDER, and that any subs MIGHT have gotten themselves sunk or forced down by those Fulmars in particular and any planes in general.
Also, long range spotting would mean that identification might not be possible(or simply incorrect, not an unusual thing at this time), which could easily mean that noone even thinks about sending an escort with the airstrikes.

Still, having even just a handful of fighters above/around the ships could still have made a big difference.

maltesefalcon
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Post by maltesefalcon » 07 Jun 2004 16:11

I don't think a single aircraft carrier would have made much difference, unless very few Japanese aircraft were around. (Not the case)

If you do a web search, you will find that aircraft carriers suffered huge losses in WW2, even in the victorious powers. Like the aircraft they carry, the vessels are powerful offensive weapons, but poor in defense.

With limited AA capability and little armor (except in the British) most carriers are vulnerable to one or two determined airmen who can hit the target.

Look at Midway. One or two hits from a 500 lb bomb into the parked aircraft would ignite fuel, ordinance etc. After that, the vessel has a huge hole in its flight deck and is largely out of commision if it doesn't sink.

In most cases, carriers were best off in large groups, as the most valuable asset they needed to protect was themselves.

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Kurt_Steiner
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Post by Kurt_Steiner » 13 Aug 2004 09:58

Perhaps the disaster would have been greater if the Force Z had a carrier with them. Losing two battleships is very bad, but also a carrier....

Take a look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/wwtwo/ ... s_01.shtml for more info

Best regards

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Andy H
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Post by Andy H » 01 Dec 2004 12:40

Tim wrote:
Force Z was spotted twice by Japanese submarines and reported. The presence of Indomitable, had she been present, would have been reported as well. In which case the Japanese would know before launching a strike mission that a carrier was present, and so the strike force would have been given Zero fighter escort. The A5M2 Zero had the range to escort the bombers on this mission. The bombers had a range of 3,000 miles, the Zero a maximum range of 1,900 miles with drop tank. But Force Z was only 450 miles from the Japanese airfields around Saigon when it was attacked. Even accounting for the dogleg course the Japanese flew, adding at most another 250 miles to the 450 mile range, the Zero would still have the range to make the trip and have 1/3 of its fuel available for combat.
But if (as I believe would have been the case had the Indomitable been present) the Japanese strike force been escorted by about 18-24 Zeros, then at best the British fighters would have only downed about 12-15 bombers (again half and half level and torpedo) before the Zeros cut them to pieces. That's nowhere near enough to prevent a Japanese victory.
Attached Fighter Unit - 25 Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeros based at Soc Trang, 12 Mitsubishi A5M4 Claudes at Saigon
Hi Tim

It seems that the Japanese fighter cover 'would' have been much lower than expected in your posts. The fighter units were also fulfilling a dual role, of providing a CAP over the troop/cargo ships and supporting the ground forces in Malaya & along the Siam-Burma Front. Also some were assigned to provide CAP for the Japanese Southern Covering Force whilst it steamed off the Korean peninsula.

In addition not the full establishment of fighters were air-worthy and it seems that drop tanks were in short supply for immeadiate use (though how quickly they could be found is anyones guess). It seems a combined fighter force of around 15 is more likely.

In regards to the submarine sighting. The fact that Force Z was spotted is in no doubt, but also not in doubt was the fact that on these occasions the Japanese didn't see all the ships within the Force, because there were at extreme range when spotted. So it could be argued that an A/C maybe well be one of those ships not spotted!. Now the Japanese could have assumed that the Force was still as one or maybe that it had split.

Andy H

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 01 Dec 2004 17:33

Andy:

Supporting the ground troops would be a very low priority for Zeros once an enemy carrier had been reported - although it may take too long to turn around returning fighters.

Still, even if we assume only 6 Zeros against 15 British carrier fighters from Indomitable, that's still enough for the Japanese to win easily, since all the British fighters will have the strictest orders to ignore the Zeros and go for the bombers.

In fact, I think the Japanese would sink Indomitable even if there were no Zeros at all - although at a high price in shot-down bombers.

Sub-spotting - I would have thought a carrier is the easiest vessel to recognise from sea level? It's hull is higher out of the water than any other warship. So I'd think the chances are fairly low that both subs would miss the carrier.

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Wolves amongst lambs

Post by Alexander39 » 09 May 2005 20:52

IF there was a ½ squadron of Zero's whit the IJN strike force at that time the RN CAP would have been slaughtert, the Hurricanes if available were quite good, but had nowhere the manuvability or rate of climb that Zero's had' and the Fulmars could just as well be sopwith camels for all the good they would do, in fact Sea gladiators would have much better chances than the miserable flying deathtraps called Fulmars, at least they (Gladiators) could out turn the Zeroes.

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Kurt_Steiner
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Post by Kurt_Steiner » 14 May 2005 18:00

In cse that the presence of the carrier make them to survive, what would be the fate of the PoW, the Repulse and of the Indomitable? To be sunk in Java, perhaps? A bit gloomy....

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Lkefct
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Post by Lkefct » 14 May 2005 21:12

I don't think the Zeros would actually play any part. The bombers where at the limits of their endurance when they sighted force Z. Even if they had had fighter escorts, they would have had to turn back long before the attack was launched. Zeros where used at very long ranges, but that means running very lean mixture, and requires outstanding navigation. It would be very difficult to fly with bombers and get the same sort of ultra long range, unless the speed of the bombers cruising and the lean mixture of the zero match almost perfectly.

The high alltitude bombers would have been immune to interception, as the carrier planes would have taken too long to climb to the attack height. The torpedo planes would have been somewhat vulnerable, but could machine gun armed fulmers have knocked the bombers out of the air fast enough. Late war cannon armed spitefires certainly would have taken their toll.

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Post by Von Schadewald » 14 May 2005 23:23

Although she was the RN's oldest and smallest carrier, it's a shame Hermes didn't get any of her 12 Swordfish off to take out Akagi, before going under herself, to get some revenge for Force Z 4 months earlier.

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 16 May 2005 01:53

Lkefct wrote:The high alltitude bombers would have been immune to interception, as the carrier planes would have taken too long to climb to the attack height.
Not true - Indomitable had air-search radar and would have detected the Japanese high-level strike force from at least 60 miles away, maybe even 90 miles. Long enough for the CAP to climb to the attackers' altitude.

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Post by Von Schadewald » 16 May 2005 16:15

There was one of the then new to the RN Bofors guns on POW that was firing tracer that was seen to make a major impact on the accuracy of the Japanese bombers. The Pom poms had no tracer at the time. If both ships had each been carrying 5 tracer-firing Bofors, they may well have thrown off enough hits to have escaped. (4 years later, Vanguard carried 72 in sextuple turrets!).

photo: A typical case of British "overkill", a sextuple Bofors Mark VI, never fired in anger & likely to have been as unreliable as a STAAG in practice.
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Lkefct
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Post by Lkefct » 16 May 2005 16:20

OK, but they wouldn't have had the perfornance to fly out and stage a running battle, and shoot down both torpedo and level bombers. In hind sight, that is not so bad, as the japanese high alltitude (which wasn't all that high) bombers was completely ineffective. Even with no air cover, and limited AA fire, they scored no hits against the battleships. It was the low level attacks with torpedos that did all of the damage. I still doubt a single carriers ability to put up enough fighters to drive off the force of torpedo bombers, even if the japanese had no fighter cover of their own.

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Kurt_Steiner
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Post by Kurt_Steiner » 21 May 2005 16:21

I wonder what the PoW and the Repulse, plus the carrier, could have done if they had survived the attack. In case they do, are we thinking that they could manage to destroy the Japanese troops convoys send against Malaysia? I don't think so. In case they survived, they IJN would gather enough carrier and airpower to sink them for once and all. Or not...

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Karl234
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Re: Aircraft Carrier with Force Z 1941

Post by Karl234 » 23 May 2005 01:10

One RN ship more is lost.

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