aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

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kriegsmarine221
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aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by kriegsmarine221 » 03 May 2009 03:45

was there any time in world war II that a ship(excluding aircraft carriers or seaplane carriers)launched their catapult mounted aircraft to fend off enemy aircraft?

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Peter Brazier
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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by Peter Brazier » 07 May 2009 23:34

Try CAM ships, They carried Hawker Hurricanes, for convoy defense.
Kill 'em all and let the gods sort 'em out.

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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by JamesL » 24 Jun 2009 00:21

In an engagement over Iwo Jima, a KINGFISHER Observation Scout Seaplane (0S2U) catapulted off of the United States cruiser USS Santa Fe shot down a Japanese Zero fighter.

The KINGFISHER crew consisted of Lieutenant Robert W. Hendershott, U.S.N.R., of Bend, Oregon, and observer Arthur E. Hickman, Aviation Radioman, second class, U.S.N.R., of Denver, Colorado.

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phylo_roadking
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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by phylo_roadking » 24 Jun 2009 01:39

Strange. Marshal Wainwright's "combat" history of the type from January 2004's Air Classics has it as the USS Pensacola...
A Kingfisher from the cruiser Pensacola, piloted by Lt. (jg) D.W. Gandy, while spotting gunfire, tangled with a Japanese Zero over the northern area of Iwo at about 1500ft. The Kingfisher cruised around 100mph. The highly maneuverable Zero could barrel along at 350mph.

The Jap pilot dived on the OS2U, fired a short burst and made a tight right turn. Gandy pushed his plane into a dive which put him on the tail of the Zero about 500ft astern. He fired long bursts from the single .30-cal machine gun in the Kingfisher's nose, hitting the Zero's cockpit, engine and right wing root. A thin stream of smoke began to show and then another turn, with the Kingfisher cutting across the circle, firing more long bursts. The Zero did a half roll, burst into flames and crashed into an island bluff.

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Ironmachine
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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by Ironmachine » 24 Jun 2009 07:46

I have found this:
And this from Jerry Buzanoski on November 18, 2002:
My Dad, Lt. (jg) Ted Buzanoski was not the pilot of the Kingfisher that shot down the Japanese fighter; it was Lt. (jg) Robert Henderschott whose personal account of the encounter is attached to the Action Report mentioned above. The radioman/gunner was Hickman, A.E., ARM2c USNR. Lt. Buzanoski had been sent out earlier that day to pick up a downed aviator (Lt. William Knox Blair) from the water near Haha Jima.
Lt. Henderschott's plane was attacked by three Zero's while spotting for the Iwo Jima bombardment. Hickman shot down one of them while the Kingfisher was "completely riddled by machine gun fire". Lt. Henderschott made it back to the "destroyer screen" where the plane's engine froze, and he made a "fairly normal full stall landing" on the water within sight of the Santa Fe. The plane flipped over within 20 seconds of landing but remained afloat until the destroyer Burns picked up Henderschott and Hickman. The Burns then rammed the plane to sink the wreckage.
From http://usssantafe.net/Docs/aviators.htm

Anyway, these incidents were not what kriegsmarine 221 was asking for, as the Kingfishers were spotting for artillery, not specifically launched to attack enemy aircraft. Given the seaplanes usually deployed on warships, it would have been somewhat dangerous to launch them to attack enemy planes. The Italians did consider the possibility seriously, modifying some RE 2000 fighters for catapult-launching and putting them in service aboard the battleships of the Littorio class with the specific task of air defense.

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phylo_roadking
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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by phylo_roadking » 24 Jun 2009 19:54

The RAF did the same, exprimenting with IIRC three Spitfires - later elegated to patrol duties up the Nile before they were converted back.

Do we have TWO separate incidents over Iwo Jima???

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Takao
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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by Takao » 24 Jun 2009 20:38

Possibly. I read about Lt. (jg) Douglas W. Gandy's victory in Richard F. Newcomb's "Iwo Jima". Lt. (jg) Robert Henderschott's victory is news to me.

While unusual, the incidents are not unique. There where several Japanese float plane pilots that scored victories. But, then again, it was just air to air combat during routine patrols and not in defense of ships.

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Juha Tompuri
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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by Juha Tompuri » 24 Jun 2009 20:55

At 0802 on 9 March 1942 Albacore Duty F sighted Tirpitz with the destroyer Friedrich Ihn in company and made a report. At about 0810 Tirpitz sighted the reconnaissance aircraft and at 0830 catapulted off two Arado aircraft as a defence measure against submarine and aerial attack. Tirpitz then turned on to a course of 082° and increased speed to 29 knots for Vestfjord/Bogen, an alteration which was duly reported by the shadowing Albacore. Two shadowing aircraft were engaged in an indeterminate scrap with the Arados but a third Albacore was attacked and the navigator wounded by cannon fire although the Albacore made a successful return to Victorious.
http://www.bismarck-class.dk/tirpitz/hi ... alast.html

Regards, Juha

kriegsmarine221
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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by kriegsmarine221 » 25 Jun 2009 06:25

that was an excellent example. i think it was the only encounter where a battleship or cruiser launched off its own aircraft to defend itself that i heard. but was there any use of this on a larger scale? because a large fleet of battleships or cruiser could offer moderate air support to a fleet in addition to carrier aircraft.

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Ironmachine
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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by Ironmachine » 25 Jun 2009 07:16

because a large fleet of battleships or cruiser could offer moderate air support to a fleet in addition to carrier aircraft.
I have to disagree. If aircraft carriers were present, then the level of air support offered by battleship or cruiser aircraft would have been almost negligible (unless we are talking about something like the Japanese hybrid battleship/carrier of the Ise-class). And what's more, most of the aircraft carried by this kind of ships would have been of little or no value in air to air combat or attack missions. Despite the anecdotal shot-down, there is little that a Kingfisher or a Walrus would have added if carrier aircraft were present. And then you have to add the dangers of the fleet stopping to recover all these seaplanes...

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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by kriegsmarine221 » 25 Jun 2009 10:33

well that would depend. some catapult launched aircraft were good and most were not suitable for using as a fighter. i must say the only plane that could probably have even a match against other planes is the ar-196. though i didnt only mention using them as fighters, they could be used for ground attack against shore targets.

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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by Ironmachine » 25 Jun 2009 12:11

they could be used for ground attack against shore targets.
So let's see. You are going to risk what, a pair of capital ships , sending them without air cover into range of the enemy's land-based aircraft, to launch 6-8 aircraft (with their limited bomb load) to attack a land target? And then you are going to be stopped dead in the water to recover the planes while the enemy's air force is searching for you? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
Perhaps as a last resource in a desperate situation and agaisnt a very valuable target, like the Japanese intended to do in the last days of the war with their submarine-carried aircraft (though the submarines would have been far less vulnerable after the mission than the battleships and cruisers) it could have some merit, but in a normal situation you should use your ships in their natural missions... if you have aircraft carriers, use them; if you don't , stop pretending you have them.

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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by Dili » 25 Jun 2009 14:34

The nimble Japanese FIM-1 "Pete" was employed as float fighter to cover some invasion forces. I think mostly launched from AV's, but maybe also from cruisers.
The italians could have employed their IMAM Ro.43(and Ro.44) agaisnt Farey Swordfish but i think there wasn't doutrine for that - since italians didn't recovered floatplanes there wasn't even the need to almost stop to do that. When they put Reggiane 2000 fighters in Littorio Battleships it was too late. The Fleet had no fuel to move.

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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by kriegsmarine221 » 26 Jun 2009 10:55

Ironmachine wrote:
they could be used for ground attack against shore targets.
So let's see. You are going to risk what, a pair of capital ships , sending them without air cover into range of the enemy's land-based aircraft, to launch 6-8 aircraft (with their limited bomb load) to attack a land target? And then you are going to be stopped dead in the water to recover the planes while the enemy's air force is searching for you? Doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
Perhaps as a last resource in a desperate situation and agaisnt a very valuable target, like the Japanese intended to do in the last days of the war with their submarine-carried aircraft (though the submarines would have been far less vulnerable after the mission than the battleships and cruisers) it could have some merit, but in a normal situation you should use your ships in their natural missions... if you have aircraft carriers, use them; if you don't , stop pretending you have them.
when i said that i meant that the planes from battleships and cruisers could add to close air support when in a carrier battle group. example, at Iwo Jima, some of the floatplanes from the big gun ships couldve acted freely as the carrier planes, there was no air opposition and the fleet remained fairly stationary.

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Re: aircraft defense capability of battleships and cruisers

Post by Dili » 26 Jun 2009 11:26

I am of opinion this idea would have been very important at earlier stages of war against British with their slow Swordfishes and the very nimble capacity of their air groups preventing a saturation attack capability. I think for example Matapan wouldn't have happened if Italians would have put Ro.44(the fighter version of Ro.43) in ships or even employed Ro.43 as an ad-hoc fighter.

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