1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

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1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by fontessa » 02 Oct 2023 10:30

Aircraft Carrier Kaga

I found an interesting photo in the U.S. archive. It is a screenshot of a video taken by a cameraman aboard Akagi.

The following is my guess (delusion?).
According to the caption below on the photo, it was taken between November and December of 1941. This is the same as saying nothing. I think it was the preparation for the 1st wave attack unit for Pearl Herver. The 2nd figure shows the 1st Air Fleet formation before the 1st wave attack unit launched. Destroyers for とんぼ釣り were placed after each aircraft carrier. The position of Zuikaku was the same as in the photo. Kaga is in the process of lifting the planes from the hangars onto the flight deck. I think the planes with folded wings were Kate, not Val. However, the problem was that it was told that the elevator behind was the 2nd elevator. If that is true, Kate's position is in too forward. Kate should have to be placed further back for takeoff. Then I looked at Kaga's drawings again and noticed something. If the elevator in the photo was the 2nd elevator, it should be closer to the bridge. However, the elevator in the photo was located in the center of the flight deck. So the elevator in the photo must have been the 3ed elevator, and Kate was then closer to the stern. And Kaga would have lifted the remaining Kate and Zero onto the flight deck and completed preparations for the takeoff for the first wave attack unit.

97 加賀 瑞鶴.jpg

第1航空艦隊 艦隊隊形.jpg

主翼折り畳み 2.jpg

加賀 飛行甲板.jpg

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by fontessa » 02 Oct 2023 10:38

1st Wave Attack from Akagi and Kaga
Akagi
Level Bombing: Kate x 15 (with 800kg Armor-piercing Bomb)
Torpedo Bombing: Kate x 12 (with 800kg Air-launching Torpedo)
Kaga
Level Bombing: Kate x 14 (with 800kg Armor-piercing Bomb)
Torpedo Bombing: Kate x 12 (with 800kg Air-launching Torpedo)

How Aimed for Level Bombing
In order for an 800 kg armor-piercing bomb to penetrate the horizontal armor of a U.S. battleship, it would have to be released from an altitude of over 3,000 meters and be accelerated by gravity. Seen from an altitude of 3,000 meters, a U.S. battleship is just a stick 1.5 cm long and a few millimeters wide. Even if bombardiers used bomb sights, it was extremely difficult to hit the target, and not everyone could do it. The IJN doctrine is shown in the bottom picture. Before the bombing, the second plane, which had the best bombardier in each unit, swapped places with the first plane. It decided the bombing timing, and the remaining planes dropped their bombs as the first plane dropped its bombs. Even at Pearl Harbor, where their skills were the best and there were no interceptors, the hit rate was only 16% - but one of the best.

97艦攻 水平爆撃隊形 赤城1.jpg

97式艦攻 雷撃隊形 赤城.jpg

97艦攻 水平爆撃隊形 加賀.jpg

97式艦攻 雷撃隊形 C 加賀.jpg

97艦攻 水平爆撃隊形 赤城 2.jpg

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by fontessa » 02 Oct 2023 13:00

How Many Airplanes Akagi Carried?
The upper figure shows one plan. The reason why such extremes were needed, of course, same number as Kaga of Kates was needed. So it is the reason why Kate number was reduced after Pearl Harbor. However, the above plan is not realistic. If we put Val in the hangar and half of Kate on the flight deck, we would carried out the 1st wave attack more smoothly. So I think the below is more realistic.

赤城 格納庫 真珠湾.jpg

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by Eugen Pinak » 02 Oct 2023 14:37

fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 10:30
Aircraft Carrier Kaga

...
So the elevator in the photo must have been the 3ed elevator, and Kate was then closer to the stern.
You are absolutely right, that's the cover of the 3rd (after) elevator. Similar devices were present on "Akagi", "Kaga" and "Ryujo".
I've made a small post in my blog about them: https://vijsko.blogspot.com/2023/07/ele ... craft.html

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by Eugen Pinak » 02 Oct 2023 14:44

fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 13:00
How Many Airplanes Akagi Carried?
...
Fontessa, thank you for an interesting data. I've often wonder how planes were located in the hangars, as there such data are limited.
I wonder, why lowest (3rd) hangar level is not included in this calculation? It could keep several B5N.

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by fontessa » 03 Oct 2023 20:10

Eugen Pinak wrote:
02 Oct 2023 14:37
fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 10:30
Aircraft Carrier Kaga

...
So the elevator in the photo must have been the 3ed elevator, and Kate was then closer to the stern.
You are absolutely right, that's the cover of the 3rd (after) elevator. Similar devices were present on "Akagi", "Kaga" and "Ryujo".
I've made a small post in my blog about them: https://vijsko.blogspot.com/2023/07/ele ... craft.html
Thanks. Very interesting. As always, I am amazed by your extensive knowledge.

Eugen Pinak wrote:
02 Oct 2023 14:44
fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 13:00
How Many Airplanes Akagi Carried?
...
I've often wonder how planes were located in the hangars, as there such data are limited.
Agreed. It's like a jigsaw puzzle.

Eugen Pinak wrote:
02 Oct 2023 14:44
fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 13:00
How Many Airplanes Akagi Carried?
...
I wonder, why lowest (3rd) hangar level is not included in this calculation? It could keep several B5N.
Thanks for the comment. I think you are referring to the hangar shown below. Actually, I don't really know why it's not used. If we look closely at the below figure, we note wings of spare airplanes were also stored. As if it was used as a storage space. 大内健二 Ouchi Kenji's book “航空母艦 赤城・加賀 Aircraft Carrier Akagi Kaga'' also mentions something like this. I think there must be a reason why this place was not used as a hangar. For example exhaust issues. . .

赤城 第2中甲板格納庫.jpg



Additional Beautiful Picture
赤城 真珠湾 第1波.jpg


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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by Eugen Pinak » 05 Oct 2023 07:44

fontessa wrote:
03 Oct 2023 20:10
Eugen Pinak wrote:
02 Oct 2023 14:37
fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 10:30
Aircraft Carrier Kaga

...
So the elevator in the photo must have been the 3ed elevator, and Kate was then closer to the stern.
You are absolutely right, that's the cover of the 3rd (after) elevator. Similar devices were present on "Akagi", "Kaga" and "Ryujo".
I've made a small post in my blog about them: https://vijsko.blogspot.com/2023/07/ele ... craft.html
Thanks. Very interesting. As always, I am amazed by your extensive knowledge.
Fontessa - your prize means a lot to me. Thank you!

fontessa wrote:
03 Oct 2023 20:10
Eugen Pinak wrote:
02 Oct 2023 14:44
fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 13:00
How Many Airplanes Akagi Carried?
...
I've often wonder how planes were located in the hangars, as there such data are limited.
Agreed. It's like a jigsaw puzzle.
Indeed. I understand there were drawings on how many aircraft could fit the carrier hangars after changes in air group composition - but they doesn't seem to be survived :(

fontessa wrote:
03 Oct 2023 20:10
Eugen Pinak wrote:
02 Oct 2023 14:44
fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 13:00
How Many Airplanes Akagi Carried?
...
I wonder, why lowest (3rd) hangar level is not included in this calculation? It could keep several B5N.
Thanks for the comment. I think you are referring to the hangar shown below. Actually, I don't really know why it's not used. If we look closely at the below figure, we note wings of spare airplanes were also stored. As if it was used as a storage space. 大内健二 Ouchi Kenji's book “航空母艦 赤城・加賀 Aircraft Carrier Akagi Kaga'' also mentions something like this. I think there must be a reason why this place was not used as a hangar. For example exhaust issues. . .
Interesting. Never thought about exhaust issues or something like that.

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by fontessa » 07 Oct 2023 00:21

I found the 1st photo group. The center photo is the same as the one I posted before. The sea was extremely rough. From the center photo alone, I concluded that the 1st wave was preparing for an attack, but when I looked at it in conjunction with the upper photo, that judgment was greatly shaken. However, the sea was actually rough, and Akagi later reported that the swells were 10m on average and up to 15 meters to Naval Hydrographic Department. And there is also a similar scene in the movie below. If that's the case, the 1st wave of attack planes took off in the tremendous aircraft carriers. The skill of not only the pilots but also the take-off officers who read the ship's movements and gave instructions for take-off should be praised.

As known, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was the brainchild of Yamamoto, who was inspired by the Royal Navy's surprise attack on Trent. Ugaki, the chief of staff, was a picture-perfect elite majoring in gunnery, which was considered the mainstream in the IJN, so he and Yamamoto did not get along well. Yamamoto placed Kuroshima, his senior staff, in place of Ugaki. He was known as the "変人参謀 Strange Man Staff" and was someone who could never become mainstream in IJN. Most of the details of the Pearl Harbor attack were decided by him. The 2nd photo shows them.

I found a movie aired by NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai = Japan Broadcasting Association). Shokaku is the main character. The second half is a CG reproduction movie. The people inserted in the photos below are not related directly to the planes photographed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqLN4dKbeAY

Since the 5th Air Squadron of Shokaku and Zuikaku had just been formed, their ability was questioned. The aircrew of the 1st and 2nd Air Squadrons did not hide his sense of superiority towards them. So they were not allowed to attack the most valuable targets battleships, that was, they were content to play a supporting role. The targets of Val in the 1st wave and Kate in the 2nd wave were ground targets such as airfields. However, while the 5th well fought with the U.S. Navy in the Coral Sea, the arrogant 1st and 2nd were annihilated at Midway. What irony. . .
The 3rd picture shows a Val with one white belt on the rear of the fuselage and one white horizontal tail on the vertical tail. The former shows it belonged to Shokaku and the latter shows the captain of it was a shotaicho. The tail code EI-xxx was deleted for security reasons. Today only one code EI-204 is known of the 5 applicable crew.
The 4th picture shows a Kate equipped with 2 250kg bombs. If we look closely, we can see that Bomb No. 2 has shifted slightly to the left. This is because the rack for Bomb No. 2 was attached offset to the wing tip side. Bomb No.1 was in the same position as the torpedo and 800kg bomb. It was offset 30 cm from the center line so as not to interfere with the bombsight
The 5th picture shows the take-off of Kate. Katakana シ means Shokaku. These Katakana were written on the bow for Shokaku and Zuikaku. On the other hand, they were written on the stern for Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, and Hiryu.


真珠湾 00.jpg

真珠湾 5.jpg

真珠湾 3.jpg

真珠湾 4.jpg

真珠湾 2.jpg

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Last edited by fontessa on 07 Oct 2023 17:46, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by fontessa » 07 Oct 2023 08:10

Eugen Pinak wrote:
05 Oct 2023 07:44
fontessa wrote:
03 Oct 2023 20:10
Eugen Pinak wrote:
02 Oct 2023 14:44
fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 13:00
How Many Airplanes Akagi Carried?
...
I wonder, why lowest (3rd) hangar level is not included in this calculation? It could keep several B5N.
Thanks for the comment. I think you are referring to the hangar shown below. Actually, I don't really know why it's not used. If we look closely at the below figure, we note wings of spare airplanes were also stored. As if it was used as a storage space. 大内健二 Ouchi Kenji's book “航空母艦 赤城・加賀 Aircraft Carrier Akagi Kaga'' also mentions something like this. I think there must be a reason why this place was not used as a hangar. For example exhaust issues. . .
Interesting. Never thought about exhaust issues or something like that.
I'm in trouble because I don't really know. However, the basic unit was 9 airplanes (3 airplanes x 3), and if each squadron could be stored in the upper and middle hangars, wouldn't it be difficult to operate even if a few more aircraft could be stored in the lower hangar?

The above It may be a farce.
However, it was not convenient to use as a hangar, so it seems true that it was used as a warehouse.

赤城 第3格納庫.jpg

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by Eugen Pinak » 09 Oct 2023 19:47

fontessa wrote:
07 Oct 2023 08:10
However, it was not convenient to use as a hangar, so it seems true that it was used as a warehouse.
Hmm - I've never saw this question form the convenience point. Maybe there was indeed something in the lower hangar, that prevented its proper use by modern aircraft.

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by fontessa » 14 Oct 2023 05:06

I found another photo in the U.S. archive. It is also a screenshot of a video taken by a cameraman aboard Akagi, But the original photo is in reverse version... The caption says it was taken on the morning of December 7th, 1941, and the aircraft carrier behind was Soryu. If that's the case, it's from the 2nd wave attack because Akagi's Vals were in the photo, but I thought it was strange because Soryu was shown behind instead of Kaga. I recently discovered this movie. We can see a similar image at around 33 seconds to 38 seconds. Before that, it looked like Pearl Harbor, and after that, I heard Trincomalee, so I guess this is a photo taken during the Ceylon campaign. The order of the aircraft carriers at this time was Akagi, Soryu, and Hiryu, so this also matches. The more obvious difference is the work uniforms the maintenance staff wore. At Pearl Harbor, they wore long sleeves with thick fabric, but here they wore short sleeves with thin fabric.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEwl7rkQDao&t=37s

The following was Val's sorties in Ceylon.
Attack against HMS Cornwall and Dorsetshire on April 5th
Akagi: Val x 17 (with the usual 250kg bomb) [Iizuka wasn’t included here.]
Soryu: Val x 18 (with the usual 250kg bomb)
Hiryu: Val x 9 (with the usual 250kg bomb) + Val x 9 (with the to-land 250kg bomb)
Attack against HMS Hermes on April 9th
Akagi: Val x 17 (with the usual 250kg bomb) [Iizuka wasn’t included here.]
Soryu: Val x 18
Hiryu: Val x 12 (with the usual 250kg bomb) + Val x 6 (with the to-land 250kg bomb)
Zuikaku: Val x 14 (with the usual 250kg bomb)
Shokaku: Val x 18 (with the usual 250kg bomb)
Here;
usual bomb: armor-piercing bomb
land bomb: non-armor-piercing bomb

This was the time when the Japanese dive bombing squadrons reached the peak of their skill, and their hit rates were reported to be incredibly high. The Val Type 99 艦爆 Kan-baku CarrierBased Bomber became obsolete and was eventually derided as the "99 棺桶 Kan-oke Coffin".

Reason why a part of Hiryu Vals were equipped with to-land bombs
During the Colombo attack on April 5th, the same Torpedo - Bomb conversion situation as Midway occurred. In the case of Hiryu's Val, half of them could not be reconverted to armor-piercing bombs and took off with non-armor-piercing bombs. However, the non-armor-piercing bombs were unexpectedly effective in weakening the anti-aircraft emplacements. Therefore, on April 9th, two of the six squads were equipped with non-armor-piercing bombs. Their first wave of 11 Vals bombed after Shokaku and Zuikaku Squadrons bombing, and it finished off Hermes. The remaining 7 Vals sank the destroyer Vampire and the merchant ship British Servant.

97 蒼龍 (加賀).jpg

97 整備員.jpg

97 99艦爆 急降下撃隊形 飛龍 ハーミズ 2.jpg

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by Rob Stuart » 14 Oct 2023 19:35

Eugen Pinak wrote:
02 Oct 2023 14:44
fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 13:00
Thanks for the comment. I think you are referring to the hangar shown below. Actually, I don't really know why it's not used. If we look closely at the below figure, we note wings of spare airplanes were also stored. As if it was used as a storage space. 大内健二 Ouchi Kenji's book “航空母艦 赤城・加賀 Aircraft Carrier Akagi Kaga'' also mentions something like this. I think there must be a reason why this place was not used as a hangar. For example exhaust issues. . .
Interesting. Never thought about exhaust issues or something like that.
What source(s) would this exhaust be from, given that IJN carriers always warmed up their planes' engines on the flight deck rather than in the hangar?

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by fontessa » 14 Oct 2023 21:45

Rob Stuart wrote:
14 Oct 2023 19:35
Eugen Pinak wrote:
02 Oct 2023 14:44
fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 13:00
Thanks for the comment. I think you are referring to the hangar shown below. Actually, I don't really know why it's not used. If we look closely at the below figure, we note wings of spare airplanes were also stored. As if it was used as a storage space. 大内健二 Ouchi Kenji's book “航空母艦 赤城・加賀 Aircraft Carrier Akagi Kaga'' also mentions something like this. I think there must be a reason why this place was not used as a hangar. For example exhaust issues. . .
Interesting. Never thought about exhaust issues or something like that.
What source(s) would this exhaust be from, given that IJN carriers always warmed up their planes' engines on the flight deck rather than in the hangar?
That was a gaffe. I would like to cancel.

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by Eugen Pinak » 15 Oct 2023 22:42

Rob Stuart wrote:
14 Oct 2023 19:35
Eugen Pinak wrote:
02 Oct 2023 14:44
fontessa wrote:
02 Oct 2023 13:00
Thanks for the comment. I think you are referring to the hangar shown below. Actually, I don't really know why it's not used. If we look closely at the below figure, we note wings of spare airplanes were also stored. As if it was used as a storage space. 大内健二 Ouchi Kenji's book “航空母艦 赤城・加賀 Aircraft Carrier Akagi Kaga'' also mentions something like this. I think there must be a reason why this place was not used as a hangar. For example exhaust issues. . .
Interesting. Never thought about exhaust issues or something like that.
What source(s) would this exhaust be from, given that IJN carriers always warmed up their planes' engines on the flight deck rather than in the hangar?
I thought those were exhaust gases from the smokestack. Had to look carefully in Ouchi's book.

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Re: 1st Air Fleet Photo in U.S. Archives

Post by nahaufklarer » 19 Nov 2023 21:57

WIth respect to the motion picture frame at the top of this thread, it is my understanding that, from what I recall in Prange's collection of interviews, the Japanese carriers started to lift the first-wave strike to the flight decks on the day prior to the 7Dec41 strike, i.e, 6Dec41, Hawaii time.

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