Operation C 1942

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 03 May 2009 03:22

Thanks, that good enough for guvmint work. Thats 855 aircraft lost, & if one third that number represents pilots lost it is not a trivial number.

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Peter H
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Peter H » 03 May 2009 04:26

A dramatic illustration of this was the action in February 1942 when Betty bombers from Rabaul tried to take on the USS Lexington.O'Hare was awarded the Medal of Honor for his part in this.15 Betty's were lost but something like 80 valuable naval bomber crewmen were also lost in this fiasco for the Japanese.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 03 May 2009 14:26

Was that the same action where a USN carrier scattered a Japanese military cargo convoy headed for New Guinea? Not much damage on the Japanese ships, but the convoy fled back to Rabaul & did not deliver that week.

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Peter H
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Peter H » 04 May 2009 04:32

No,it was in response to a planned airstrike on Rabaul:

http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar ... raids.html
In response to the Japanese capture of Rabaul, Admiral Nimitz ordered Vice Admiral Wilson Brown to take Lexington and attack Japanese shipping and shore installations at Rabaul. A Japanese patrol plane detected the approach of the Lexington task force to Rabaul on 20 February 1942, and a formation of eighteen Mitsubishi G4M medium bombers (Allied code-name "Betty") was launched from Rabaul to attack the American carrier. Lexington's F4F Wildcat fighters of squadron VF-3 shot down sixteen of the Japanese bombers. Lexington was not damaged in the attack, but Admiral Brown felt it wise to withdraw now that the Japanese had been alerted to the presence of his carrier group.
http://www.american-partisan.com/cols/2 ... 1/0222.htm
The carrier Lexington had been assigned the dangerous task of penetrating enemy-held waters north of New Ireland. From there her planes were to make a strike at Japanese shipping in the harbor at Rabaul. Unfortunately, while still 400 miles from Rabaul, the Lexington was discovered by a giant four-engine Kawanishi flying boat. Lieutenant Commander John Thach, skipper of the Lexington's Wildcat fighters, shot down the Japanese "Snooper," but not before it had radioed the carrier's position. That afternoon Commander Thach led six Wildcats into the air to intercept nine twin-engine enemy bombers. In a determined attack each of the Wildcats destroyed a bomber and damaged two more. The ship's anti-aircraft guns finished off the rest. In the meantime, nine more Japanese bombers were reported on the way. Six Wildcats, one of them piloted by Butch O'Hare, roared off the Lexington's deck to stop them. O'Hare and his wingman spotted the V formation of bombers first and dived to try to head them off. The other F4F pilots were too far away to reach most of the enemy planes before they released their bombs. As if this weren't bad enough, O'Hare's wingman discovered his guns were jammed. He was forced to turn away. Butch O'Hare stood alone between the Lexington and the bombers.

O'Hare didn't hesitate. Full throttle, he roared into the enemy formation. While tracers from the concentrated fire of the nine bombers streaked around him, he took careful aim at the starboard engine of the last plane in the V and squeezed his trigger. Slugs from the Wildcats six .50-caliber guns ripped into the Japanese bomber's wing and the engine literally jumped out of its mountings. The bomber spun crazily toward the sea as O'Hare's guns tore up another enemy plane. Then he ducked to the other side of the formation and smashed the port engine of the last Japanese plane there.

One by one he attacked the oncoming bombers until five had been downed. Commander Thach later reported that at one point he saw three of the bombers falling in flames at the same time. By now Thach and the other pilots had joined the fight. This was lucky because O'Hare was out of ammunition. The Wildcats took care of several more bombers and Lexington managed to evade the few bombs that were released. It was an amazing example of daring and shooting skill. Afterward Thach figured out that Butch O'Hare had used only sixty rounds of ammunition for each plane he destroyed. He had probably saved his ship. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and awarded the nation's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.
Robert Dorr called the action " a strategic defeat for the Japanese:the bomber force at Rabaul was gutted and would have to be replaced...it was a victory at a time when Americans had not known victory".(Air Combat,Robert Dorr,page 60).

A map of Lexington's location,NE of New Britain can be found here:

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USN ... ids-2.html

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 May 2009 04:56

A pity the US carriers could have nailed one of the Japanese invasion fleets off Java or Sumatra & bought the Dutch a bit more time. Probablly to difficult considering the Allied problems with gathering and passing intel in those months.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by glenn239 » 05 May 2009 15:29

Here's losses through March (combat/operational)

www.ibiblio.net/hyperwar////AAF/USSBS/IJO/IJO-50.html

Type.........Dec...........Jan...........Feb............Mar...........Tot
Ftr............44/32........35/34.......31/38.........26/60.........136/164
TBD/DB......19/24........11/23.......15/26..........8/20...........53/93
MedBmB......25/11........11/21.......40/35.........5/37..........81/101
Float..........2/11..........15/9........13/15.........13/15.........43/50
Fly.boat.......1/5............0/5...........0/6.............1/4.........2/20

Total.........91/112......72/118....99/142.......53/168.........315/540

cstunts
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by cstunts » 05 May 2009 17:06

Hello,


Intelligence was not the problem. We had submarines vectored throughout the NEI in search of suitable targets, including carriers. (For example, we knew KAGA was in the NEI area fairly early on.) King & Nimitz did not believe the NEI could be saved under any [realistic] circumstances, our CVs or no...and they were right.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by glenn239 » 05 May 2009 23:15

Any considerations along the lines of a strong defense of Java had to be addressed well in advance of the war, IMO.

Rob Stuart
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Rob Stuart » 05 May 2009 23:25

The aircraft loss figures which Glenn's link takes us to (Thanks!) show that in April 1942 the IJN lost 36 fighters in combat and 35 from other causes, and 19 torpedo and dive bombers in combat and 10 from other causes. Bloody Shambles vol. 2. indicates that Nagumo lost 6 Zeros, 2 Kates and 10 Vals in combat during Operation C. Do we know if Nagumo lost any aircraft from accidents or other non-combat causes during this operation? Also, do we know if Ryujo lost any aircraft during its foray into the Bay of Bengal?

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Peter H
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Peter H » 06 May 2009 01:31

glenn239 wrote:Here's losses through March (combat/operational)

http://www.ibiblio.net/hyperwar////AAF/ ... JO-50.html

Type.........Dec...........Jan...........Feb............Mar...........Tot
Ftr............44/32........35/34.......31/38.........26/60.........136/164
TBD/DB......19/24........11/23.......15/26..........8/20...........53/93
MedBmB......25/11........11/21.......40/35.........5/37..........81/101
Float..........2/11..........15/9........13/15.........13/15.........43/50
Fly.boat.......1/5............0/5...........0/6.............1/4.........2/20

Total.........91/112......72/118....99/142.......53/168.........315/540
Thanks.The bomber spike in February reflects the Rabaul 20th February 1942 action.

The flying boats appear to have the worst operational loss ratio.Bad weather over sea etc may account for this.

Extensive use of land based navy aircraft also occured in Malaya and the Philippines?

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 06 May 2009 10:57

Peter H wrote:
Extensive use of land based navy aircraft also occured in Malaya and the Philippines?
There was a naval air wing based near Saigon. It was the principle player in sinking the British battleships. Cant recall if it relocated south onto the Malayan air fields as the IJA aircraft did. Cant recall any detail for the navy aircraft in the Philippines 1942.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by glenn239 » 06 May 2009 18:43

At the end of December 1941, the Japanese captured Jolo and Davao. 21st and 23rd Air Flotillas moved to the strips on these islands quickly after they were captured, and then supported the offensives down the Banda Sea.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 May 2009 00:57

Type.........Dec...........Jan...........Feb............Mar...........Tot
Ftr............44/32........35/34.......31/38.........26/60.........136/164

I wonder what caused the surge in non combat losses in March?

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Peter H
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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Peter H » 07 May 2009 01:58

Thanks Carl.

The Zeros etc from Formosa that attacked the Philippines were navy.

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Re: Operation C 1942

Post by Peter H » 07 May 2009 02:37

Aboard the Akagi

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