Operation C 1942

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Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Mar 2009 00:23

Most defintily of interest. To remain with Operation C for a moment, anyone have info on what the British aircraft carriers were equipped with? all I have at hand is a unspecified number of Albacore torpedo bombers carrying search radars.

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Takao
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Takao » 25 Mar 2009 02:58

Listing for HMS Indomitable: http://www.fleetairarmarchive.net/Ships ... table.html
March 1942
Squadron 800: Fulmar II
Squadron 827: Albacore I
Squadron 831: Albacore I
Squadron 880: Sea Hurricane Ib
Squadron 806: Martlet I
Squadron 796 dt.: Albacore I

Listing for HMS Hermes: http://www.battleships-cruisers.co.uk/hms_hermes.htm
Squadron 814: Swordfish II, but this unit was not embarked aboard HMS Hermes at the time of her sinking, having been left ashore. The unit was disbanded in December, 1942 at Katukurunda.
http://www.fleetairarmarchive.net/squadrons/814.html

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Mar 2009 04:07

Hmm... 45 aircraft is not very impressive compared to the 200+ of the Japanese carrier group.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by CharlesRollinsWare » 25 Mar 2009 04:36

RN Carrier Aircraft afloat
CV HMS Indomitable (F):
800 Sqn., FAA: 12 x Fulmar II
827 Sqn., FAA: 12 x Albacore I
831 Sqn., FAA: 12 x Albacore I
880 Sqn., FAA: 9 x Sea Hurricane I
CV HMS Formidable:
818 Sqn., FAA: 9 x Albacore I
820 Sqn., FAA: 12 x Albacore I
888 Sqn., FAA: 12 x Martlet
CVL HMS Hermes:
814 Sqn., FAA: 12 x Swordfish I

Land-based:
Columbo Area: Attacked on 5 April 1942
Ratamala Airfield:
30 Squadron, RAF: 21 x Hurricane IIBs
803 Squadron, FAA: 12 x Fulmar IIs (converted from Hurricanes on arrival)
806 Squadron, FAA: 12 x Fulmar IIs (converted from Hurricanes on arrival)

Racecourse Airfield:
258 Squadron, RAF: 10 x Hurricane IIBs, 7 x Hurricane Is
11 Squadron, RAF: 14 x Blenheim IVs

Trincomalee Area: Attacked on 9 April 1942
China Bay Airfield:
261 Squadron, RAF: 16 x Hurricane IIBs
273 Squadron, RAF: 16 x Fulmar I/IIs (an ad-hoc RAF/FAA unit)
888 Squadron, FAA (det.): 2 x Martlet (for deck landing training of new pilots)
788 Squadron, FAA: 6 x Swordfish I
814 Squadron, FAA: 10 x Swordfish I (2 more under repair on HMS Hermes)

Koggala Airfield:
Detached from HMS Glasgow: 1 x Walrus
202 Squadron, RAF (-): 1 x Catalina
205 Squadron, RAF: 1 x Catalina
240 Squadron, RAF: 3 x Catalina
321 Squadron, RNAF: 4 x Catalina
413 Squadron, RCAF: 3 x Catalina

Mark

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Mar 2009 12:09

thanks for that. Can you recomend any other sources, which have not been mentioned here already?

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by glenn239 » 04 Apr 2009 01:25

Mark - Cressmen gives 2nd Carrier's air complement as 118 aircraft for Wake. He mentions reserve pilots present, but not transfers from 1st or 5th carrier to make up losses. 57+57 = 114.

My question is - do you have info on how Yamaguchi got so many aircraft?

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 Apr 2009 02:01

glenn239 wrote:Mark - Cressmen gives 2nd Carrier's air complement as 118 aircraft for Wake. He mentions reserve pilots present, but not transfers from 1st or 5th carrier to make up losses. 57+57 = 114.

My question is - do you have info on how Yamaguchi got so many aircraft?
You Mean for the Wake island attack? Or for Operation C?

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by glenn239 » 04 Apr 2009 14:02

For Wake Island.

Cressman says on pg 158 of Magnificent Fight that 2nd Carrier detached from Kido Butai with 118 aircraft operational. Three Zeros and four Vals had been lost in the Pearl Harbor attack, so if 2nd Carrier's compliment was 21, 18, 18 (x2), then assuming all damaged aircraft (46) were returned to operational status, her operational compliment could have been 114-7+spares (max 6?) = 107-113. But I don't see evidence that 2nd Carrier had more than about 30 Vals / 33 Kates operational at Wake, which seems to suggest that there were no spares of these types. It seems to me either Cressman is wrong, or Nagumo sent reinforcements from the other carriers (ie, broke doctrine), or there were more Zeros aboard 2nd Carrier than 42.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by CharlesRollinsWare » 04 Apr 2009 19:37

Gents;

I am not sure why the aircraft complement for the Hawaiian and Wake operations are pertinent to the Ceylon Operation.

The four carriers of the First and Fifth Carrier Divisions returned to Japan on 23 December 1941 and remained there until 8 January 1942. The two carriers of the Second Carrier Division returned to Kure on 29 December 1941 and remained there until 12 January 1942. Their air groups were reorganized at that time.

At that point Kido Butai split up. The four carriers of the First and Fifth Carrier Division sailed for the South Pacific on 8 January. They would raid New Britain.

The two carriers of the Fifth Carrier Division split up after returning to Truk after the raids on New Britian. Shokaku returned to Yokosuka on 3 February for drydocking. Zuikaku remained in the South Pacific until 9 February then sailed for Yokosuka, arriving on 13 February. The pair remained in Japan until 7 March During this period they again reorganized their airgroups.

The two carriers of the First Carrier Division returned to Palau on 8 February and remained there until 15 February. Kaga struck a reef there on 9 February, and only temporary repairs could be made. She remained operational at a reduced speed.

The two carriers of the Second Carrier Division left Japan on 12 January for Palau, then sailed to the NEI to cover the Ambon Invasion, returning to Palau on 28 January 1942 and remaining there until 16 February.

Given that Palau was a significantly important forward staging areas during this period, it is possible that a small number of replacement aircraft were stockpiled there with the aviation ordnance needed to retock the carriers. But it is only a possibility, not a fact.

The four carriers of the First and Second Carrier Divisions then operated in the NEI to cover operations there, eventually returning to Staring Bay on 11 March 1942. On 15 March Kaga sailed for Japan for repairs which were completed on 4 May. It is possible that she left some planes and aircrew with Akagi.

Meanwhile, the two carriers of the Fifth Carrier Division left Japan for points south on 17 March, arriving at Staring Bay on 24 March, reconstituting Kido Butai for Operation "C". It is possible that the pair carried a few spare planes and aircrew for the carriers of the Second Carrier Division.

Thus, Shokau & Zuikaku assuredly began the operation at "full strength", though that was not the over strength amount carried for the Hawaiian operation. Akagi, which had last been in Japan in early January, may have had the opportunity to get some planes in Palau or, more likely, some from Kaga before she sailed home. Likewise, while Hiryu and Soryu may have had the opportunity at Palau, it is far more likely that any replacements they acquired came with Zuikaku and Shokaku from Japan.

Hope this helps.

Mark

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by glenn239 » 06 Apr 2009 00:12

Not a directly connected issue no. But earlier you'd indicated that 2nd Carrier had 114 aircraft operational for Hawaii, and I was curious about Cressman's statement of 118 operational for Wake, when 2nd Carrier had already lost 7 aircraft and maybe another 5-7 requiring repair ashore.

I

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Peter H
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Peter H » 06 Apr 2009 01:35

How did the British plan to counter the Japanese anyway?Could the RN have done damage against the japanese?

Ceylon eventually ended up with the equivalent of three divisions acting as garrison in 1942:

34th Indian Infantry Division (March 1942-June 1943)
6th Australian Division (March-Apr 1942)
21st East African Brigade (March 1942-June 1943)
16th British Infantry Brigade/70th Division (Feb 1942-Feb 1943)

This suggests that the fear of invasion generated by the Japanese sortie did tie down some British land resources as well.

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Re: Operation C anniversary

Post by cstunts » 06 Apr 2009 04:13

Hello,

A few observations.

1.) The David Thomas quote is derived from the USSBS (Campaigns of the Pacific War) section dealing with the opening phase of the Pacific War.

2.) The Japanese could never have dominated the Indian Ocean or the trade in and out of the Red Sea with the forces they possessed. Operation "C" --AKA the "Third Operation of the Carrier Force"--was conducted to help establish and strengthen their defense perimeter. Any thoughts of maintaining powerful forces in the IO is a fantasy. (See the "Opinions" of VADM Kondo Nobutake written after the war on this matter.)

3.) They could never have taken and held Ceylon. They lacked materiel, resources, and will (i.e., unity of goals between IJA & IJN).

Re oil: in May 1940 (15-21), while her diplomats pressured Dutch representatives for guarantees of more NEI commodities, the IJN wargamed a "quick-grab" scenario against the oilfields of Borneo and the nickel mines of Celebes. Although initally successful it was recognised that such a move would trigger intervention by GB and worse, the U.S., and under no conceivable realistic scenario (Japan's chances were said to be "nil") would Japan win such a conflict. The "logic" was ridiculously circular, although that did not stop the Japanese from going to war...i.e., 'We cannot win a protracted war, therefore we must strike quickly to obtain the decisive advantage & secure vital resources which will not sustain us in any event as we lack the means to transport these back to Japan, etc. Thus, it is better not to start a war we know we can't win, but...'
A little over one year later the First Committee, hardly repudiating this thinking, nonetheless argued for a quick start to the war.

In August 1941--well before hostilities--the IJN estimated it was expending 12,000 tons of fuel oil per day.

Ignoring the limitations of fuel oil--even after seizing Malaya & the NEI--Japan over-extended its defensive perimeter, beyond the original line of SAIPAN/PALAU/SORONG/TIMOR/JAVA/SINGAPORE, and almost all surviving high command officers later noted this fact, and its fatal effects on the war for Japan.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 06 Apr 2009 12:20

Peter H wrote:How did the British plan to counter the Japanese anyway?Could the RN have done damage against the japanese?
All I have are second or third hand sources for this, for what they are worth... Adm Sommerville seems to have seen the British fleets advantages as with its search radars, and its training for night actions. These had been validated to some extent vs the Germans and Italians. He thought to stalk the Japanese fleet & if circumstances allowed: A. Launch a night or dawn torpedo attack with his radar equipped Albacore bombers. This was thought be more difficult than the previous night aircraft attacks vs the Italian fleet, but not impossible. B. Were extreme luck to fall into the Britsh laps the surface fleet of five battle ships could manuver so as to attack shortly after the air strike. Sucess would be counted if the Japanese fleet suffered several capitol ships, particularly cariers, damaged or sunk and the Britsh aircraft carriers escaping detection.

This was a high risk plan, but seems to have been better than any other aggresive plan Sommerville might have taken. the low risk alternative would be to avoid battle entirely and let the Japanese have their way. Beyond the fleet action Sommerville moved the fleet based from exposed Ceylon to a island atoll further west, the RAF and Army begain making what preperations they could. Onr thing that was not done was clearing the IO and Bay of Bengal of cargo ships. As I understand it the Brits did not know exactly when the Japanese fleet would sortie into the IO, so shutting down cargo delivery for a couple weeks was not a good option.


Peter H wrote:This suggests that the fear of invasion generated by the Japanese sortie did tie down some British land resources as well.
Despite their radio message analysis and estimates of Japanese resources the Britis were unsure if Japan did not intend further operations in the IO. Against expectations Japan had been able to over run maylasia, had been able to capture Singapore, had been able to send a army stright to Burma... the Senior Britsh leaders were in no mood to gamble on their former judgements of Japanese capabilities. Those had been wrong at critical points and the folks making the decisions took the possiblities a bit more seriously.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by glenn239 » 06 Apr 2009 17:52

The Japanese could never have dominated the Indian Ocean or the trade in and out of the Red Sea with the forces they possessed.
Any detailed information of an operational or logistical character to flesh this out?
Ignoring the limitations of fuel oil--even after seizing Malaya & the NEI--Japan over-extended its defensive perimeter, beyond the original line of SAIPAN/PALAU/SORONG/TIMOR/JAVA/SINGAPORE, and almost all surviving high command officers later noted this fact, and its fatal effects on the war for Japan.
I don’t see Rabaul on that list.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by cstunts » 06 Apr 2009 18:23

Hello,

Virtually ALL high-level IJN commanders interviewed after the war thought the IO a waste essentially. ALL said in effect, "We did not have the forces to dominate the IO and defend our Pacific perimeter against the US Pacific Fleet simultaneously." VADM Kondo's "opinions" [as translated by Chihaya Masataka] on this are enough for me, but in interview after interview these IJN commanders all recognized the limitations they were faced with...against the almost limitless production that the United States could bring. (They also stated that pre-war plans did not envision their having to fight the US & GB simultaneously!!)

The list of areas for the original defense perimeter is derived from USSBS interview No. 395 (Nav. No. 81) of CAPT Fujita Masamachi, 2nd Fleet Staff Officer 1941-42. An almost identical view re Japan'e over-extension is No.378 (Nav No. 75), the interrogation of ADM Toyoda Soemu, who makes much the same point. Toyoda believed that the Aleutians /Midway ops were an over-extension ('--"), and that the defense perimeter should have been limited to the Malay Barrier, "but not beyond that, down south." And in the Central Pacific "not going further east than TRUK" although he favored holding the Marshalls.

Toyoda does supply some facts & figures, noting the chief materiel obstacle was "our shortage in steel" and that the "fuel supply was almost out of the question as compared with yours, we being able to produce only around 10% of our annual needs."

And anyone who imagines there was, or could have been, an effective concerted alliance between Germany and Japan in the IO is living in the 'World of What-if', and not the actual world of 1941-45.

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