Carl Schwamberger wrote: ↑
02 Oct 2023 13:47
T. A. Gardner wrote: ↑
17 Oct 2019 20:51
I'd say the Japanese still sink force Z starting with the Illustrious. The IJN bomber pilots would have zeroed in on the carrier first and either crippled or sunk it before going after the battleships.
Would be worth a look at the hits the bombers achieved vs the the Brits ships OTL. that would give some basis for estimating the likely damage to a hypothetical carrier with Force Z.
Triva note: The air group of 17 bombers that attacked the Lexington in February 1942 included aircrew that had flown against the PW & Repulse. The units had been reorganized and renamed as part of rebasing from FIC to Rabual, but they were the same veterans of the China war, with many present in the attack vs Force Z. Against the Lexington the CAP broke up one group of eight bombers, preventing any from getting close to the TF, the second attack group was massacred by the AA fires of the TF, and a single stray F4F from the CAP.
Well, RN practice at the time was each ship for itself when it came to AA fire. So, the carrier was on its own. RN doctrine, at the time, also called for AA fire to be the primary defense of the ship along with maneuvering. The RN CAP would likely be something like 4 Fulmars up to take on the raid. So, you have what amounts to--sort of--four Fairey Battles up for fighters. That is, the Fulmars are like F2A Buffaloes dragging a couple of large sandbags trying to take on Zeros. What they aren't is tough little F4F's that are a match for the escort when it comes down to it. We know from the Fulmar's performance over Celyon that it was no match for a Zero.
The AA fire from a single ship isn't going to have anywhere the same impact as a battlegroup operating in a ring formation where every ship in range is firing on the attackers in support of the carrier. With Force Z you have three capital ships (2 x BB 1 CV) maneuvering independently to avoid attack. On of the BB's has pretty crappy AA capacity on top of that.
The escorting destroyers, such as they are, have for all intents zero AA capacity. Typically, they had something like a couple of quad .50 Vickers mounts or maybe 4 20mm and an antique, ancient, 3" HA gun with no fire controls. They were going to contribute nothing to the air defense.