Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack ?

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19kilo
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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by 19kilo » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:42 pm

I see we have devolved into the "theoretical" versus "reality" again.

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by boredatwork » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:04 am

alecsandros wrote: We're on different pages here.
What I said was that a properly defended battleship could destroy vast numbers of aircraft (as demonstrated by US battleships, British battleships, and to some extent German battleships after 1942).
Again, I think you are overestimating the capabilities of the carrier in the Mediteranean and the North Atlantic, by observing only the attacks they did against poorly defended targets (Vittorio Venetto, Taranto, etc).
Think about teh raid 12 Albacores launched from Victorious against Tirpitz (1942). No hits, 2 Albacores shot down, and "several" badly damaged.
Of course we're on different pages here - "Vast" is a subjective term and far from proven - and IMO you overestimate the capabilities of Battleship AA by considering their claimed record against slow/obsolete/fragile aircraft, often flown by inexperienced pilots. Tirpitz shooting down 2 slow albacores piloted by inexperience FAA pilots which had an effective speed advantage on her of only 60knots for example doesn't strike me as particularly impressive. And SD's performance is also open to doubt - 1) many of her claims are also claimed by gunners on Enterprise who had the easier shot (being the target there was no deflection involved) and 2) Japanese aircraft of the period were notoriously fragile - replace the JN aircraft with german or American and more aircraft would likely have survived with minor damage.


Or about operation Pedestal, during the battle of Malta: 4 heavily defended RN carriers tried desperately to hold off the waves of (land-based) attacking planes, in order to allow 14 heavily-loaded merchant ships to reach Malta. Only 5 convoy ships reached the destination; 1 carrier sunk (Eagle), 2 damaged (Furious, Victorious).
There were only 2 carriers "trying desperately to hold off waves of attacking planes" as Furious was used purely to transport Spitfires to Malta before retiring. Combined the remaining 3 carriers were only operating 70 fighters and 28 Albacores - Less than a single Essex. However Eagle and 16 hurricanes were lost to 4 submarine torpedoes (which would have forced any BB out of the battle as well) before the airstrikes began so it was really only Indomitable and Victorious "holding of waves of attacking planes..."

And doing it successfully to: Only 1 merchant ship was sunk while the carriers were with the convoy, despite attacks totaling ~220 aircraft over a 24 hour period.

The bulk of the losses came after Forze Z withdrew as planned on the evening of the 12.

Replace the 3 carriers with 3 Iowas and I don't think you would improve the odds because the aircraft can focus on part of a convoy leaving part of the AA defenses masked/out of range.

Replace the Nelsons with 2 Essexes and another 120+ fighters and launch a strike against Pantelleria on the run in to take out some MTBs and the carriers can fight the convoy all the way through to Malta with fewer losses.


So yes, the US carriers did obtain air supremacy, but that was because the Japanese lacked the means and/or the coordonation to keep their anti-aircraft arm (fighters + AA guns) up to strength...
Think about US carriers against German-type AA gunfire + Me-109G/K + FW-190D-2/D-9...
I'm sorry I'm again not sure the point you're trying to make - wars are won or lost because one side or another lacks the means and/or coordination to keep their forces up to strength. The Germans also lacked the means and coordination to keep their AA-arm up to strength - the Luftwaffe was ground down to impotance - sure it took longer but the result was the same - and it wasn't radar controlled AA or the big gun that achieved that attrition but AIRCRAFT regardless of where they flew from.

Would US Carriers suffer greater attrition flying against the Luftwaffe? Most likely - but in doing so they would still be making a far greater contribution to the war effort than the battleships who would accomplish little of use.

Think about US BBs against German Oyster mines, u-boats with homing torpedoes, and airstrikes with guided bombs...


Furthermore, my point wasn't thta battleship > carrier, but that even in the post-Midway world, the batleship still served an important role, and could accomplish some types of missions with better results than a carrier. Moreover, in balanced engamgements, the air-wings of carriers would be quickly wiped out, leaving a gun&torpedo battle to unfold, IF the 2 commanders decided to so. If they decide to engage or not was not my point, but the fact that a victory could only be achieved through an old-style battle, because the bombers would be obliterated in teh first day.
My point was Battleships were obsolete not because they didn't perform usefull work, which they did, but because that usefull work didn't require a battleship. They simply happened to be available over another ship that could have performed the same function either better *OR* as well at greatly reduced cost/risk.

Whether or not they decide to engage IS the whole point - a battleship is only usefull IF a target comes within gun range - ~30,000yrds for surface targets, somewhat less for aircraft - such a short range requires a fair degree of cooperation on the part of the enemy and places the ship itself in danger of retaliation. It's much easier for a carrier to take positive steps to deal with threats when your AA range is measured in dozen of miles and your ASuW range is measured in hundreds.

Only shore bombardment UNDER THE PROTECTION OF AIR SUPREMACY WON BY AIRCRAFT within ~20 miles of the coast was a BB superior - but then there were plenty of old BBs around which could already do that job adequetly.

By the way your hypothetical balanced fleet battle is logically flawed - two identical forces of carriers will innevitably fight themselves to a stalemate yet two identical surface forces will somehow be able to force a decision? Midway was something of a balanced carrier battle and yet the US achieved a decisive victory where as many of the surface engagements of the war proved to be somewhat inconclusive, despite being relatively balanced.

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by alecsandros » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:19 am

boredatwork wrote:

Of course we're on different pages here - "Vast" is a subjective term and far from proven - and IMO you overestimate the capabilities of Battleship AA by considering their claimed record against slow/obsolete/fragile aircraft, often flown by inexperienced pilots. Tirpitz shooting down 2 slow albacores piloted by inexperience FAA pilots which had an effective speed advantage on her of only 60knots for example doesn't strike me as particularly impressive.
And SD's performance is also open to doubt - 1) many of her claims are also claimed by gunners on Enterprise who had the easier shot (being the target there was no deflection involved) and 2) Japanese aircraft of the period were notoriously fragile - replace the JN aircraft with german or American and more aircraft would likely have survived with minor damage.
Wait a second.
The Albacores had about ~ 150kts speed with torpedo attached, while Tirpitz was doing maybe 28-29 in those rough seas. So how come 60kts speed advantage ?
ALso, the Albacore was a very sturdy torpedo bomber...

We've talked before about South Dakotas claimed kills. I did not say it destroyed 10, 14 or 27 planes. I said it held off the enemy with very little damage, and destroyed a good number of them. Just like NOrth Carolina did, and like several Iowa class battleships did with kamikazes of 1944 and 1945. And like Prince of Wales did in the Mediteranean...

The point was that modern BBs, with modern AA, were never sunk/crippled by air attacks, let alone air attacks coming from carriers, after 1942-3 (when radar guided fire became dominant and masses of AA guns were added).

There were only 2 carriers "trying desperately to hold off waves of attacking planes" as Furious was used purely to transport Spitfires to Malta before retiring. Combined the remaining 3 carriers were only operating 70 fighters and 28 Albacores - Less than a single Essex. However Eagle and 16 hurricanes were lost to 4 submarine torpedoes (which would have forced any BB out of the battle as well) before the airstrikes began so it was really only Indomitable and Victorious "holding of waves of attacking planes..."
You are overestimating the potential of the fleet carrier.
RN carriers held a smaller number of planes because they were built following a more defensive philosphy - with armored decks, increased subdivision, etc.
The advantage of the increased protection was seen in the Pacific capmaign, when RN carriers were lesser affected by kamikazes then US carriers...

Furthermore, Victorious could carry up to 60 planes, out of which about 30 could be launched in 1 wave (the number of aircraft present on the flight deck). The Essex class could carry up to 100, out of which maybe 40 could be launched in 1 wave.
Don't confuse the maximum number of planes carried with the maximum number of planes capable to be mantained in the air (either for defensive or offesnive purposes).

I know Eagle was sunk by a U-boat; the idea was that fleet carriers would encounter another kind of campagin in the Med, with much more threats, and without air supremacy or even superiority, which would leave many enemies not accounted for, let alone engaged and sunk.

Replace the 3 carriers with 3 Iowas and I don't think you would improve the odds because the aircraft can focus on part of a convoy leaving part of the AA defenses masked/out of range.
That was not the point, but the fact that in another theatre than that of the Pacific, the carrier could be much more vulnerable and serve a lesser function.
Replace the Nelsons with 2 Essexes and another 120+ fighters and launch a strike against Pantelleria on the run in to take out some MTBs and the carriers can fight the convoy all the way through to Malta with fewer losses.
Replace Furious with 1 Essex and the 2 x 500kg bombs which hit the carrier could sink it outright, because the US fleet carrier had less protection that the British one in every important aspect.



Whether or not they decide to engage IS the whole point - a battleship is only usefull IF a target comes within gun range - ~30,000yrds for surface targets, somewhat less for aircraft - such a short range requires a fair degree of cooperation on the part of the enemy and places the ship itself in danger of retaliation. It's much easier for a carrier to take positive steps to deal with threats when your AA range is measured in dozen of miles and your ASuW range is measured in hundreds.
NO. What I meant was that a carrier could be rendedre useless if the enemy had similar technology, and numbers.
By the way your hypothetical balanced fleet battle is logically flawed - two identical forces of carriers will innevitably fight themselves to a stalemate yet two identical surface forces will somehow be able to force a decision? Midway was something of a balanced carrier battle and yet the US achieved a decisive victory where as many of the surface engagements of the war proved to be somewhat inconclusive, despite being relatively balanced.
As you know, Midway was folowing an allmost impossible chain of lucky events - Takao's seaplane launched late, US carriers discovered late, IJN carriers already armed for another strike against the island, thus needing ammunition replacement, Japanese CAP reloading / refueling exactly during the dive bombers attack. If either one of those events failed to materialize, the ~45 SBD Dauntless would have suffered the same fate as the other ~ 150 planes which attacked before them: annihilation.

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by alecsandros » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:23 pm

Very late edit:

- The Japanese fleet carriers lost ~ 800-900 aircrews, and not ~600 between Jan 1942 - Oct 1944
- The RN carrier hit by 2 x 500kg bombs during Operation Pedestal was Indomitable, not Furious.
- Illustrious class could carry 72 planes, with 36 on the flight deck.

My memory plays tricks..

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by boredatwork » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:47 pm

alecsandros wrote:- Illustrious class could carry 72 planes, with 36 on the flight deck.

My memory plays tricks..
I'll post a more detailed response later in the week when I have time but for the short term you might want to check your numbers again - you're still not quite right. :wink:

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by 19kilo » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:43 am

alecsandros wrote:
boredatwork wrote:

Of course we're on different pages here - "Vast" is a subjective term and far from proven - and IMO you overestimate the capabilities of Battleship AA by considering their claimed record against slow/obsolete/fragile aircraft, often flown by inexperienced pilots. Tirpitz shooting down 2 slow albacores piloted by inexperience FAA pilots which had an effective speed advantage on her of only 60knots for example doesn't strike me as particularly impressive.
And SD's performance is also open to doubt - 1) many of her claims are also claimed by gunners on Enterprise who had the easier shot (being the target there was no deflection involved) and 2) Japanese aircraft of the period were notoriously fragile - replace the JN aircraft with german or American and more aircraft would likely have survived with minor damage.
Wait a second.
The Albacores had about ~ 150kts speed with torpedo attached, while Tirpitz was doing maybe 28-29 in those rough seas. So how come 60kts speed advantage ?
ALso, the Albacore was a very sturdy torpedo bomber...

We've talked before about South Dakotas claimed kills. I did not say it destroyed 10, 14 or 27 planes. I said it held off the enemy with very little damage, and destroyed a good number of them. Just like NOrth Carolina did, and like several Iowa class battleships did with kamikazes of 1944 and 1945. And like Prince of Wales did in the Mediteranean...

The point was that modern BBs, with modern AA, were never sunk/crippled by air attacks, let alone air attacks coming from carriers, after 1942-3 (when radar guided fire became dominant and masses of AA guns were added).

There were only 2 carriers "trying desperately to hold off waves of attacking planes" as Furious was used purely to transport Spitfires to Malta before retiring. Combined the remaining 3 carriers were only operating 70 fighters and 28 Albacores - Less than a single Essex. However Eagle and 16 hurricanes were lost to 4 submarine torpedoes (which would have forced any BB out of the battle as well) before the airstrikes began so it was really only Indomitable and Victorious "holding of waves of attacking planes..."
You are overestimating the potential of the fleet carrier.
RN carriers held a smaller number of planes because they were built following a more defensive philosphy - with armored decks, increased subdivision, etc.
The advantage of the increased protection was seen in the Pacific capmaign, when RN carriers were lesser affected by kamikazes then US carriers...

Furthermore, Victorious could carry up to 60 planes, out of which about 30 could be launched in 1 wave (the number of aircraft present on the flight deck). The Essex class could carry up to 100, out of which maybe 40 could be launched in 1 wave.
Don't confuse the maximum number of planes carried with the maximum number of planes capable to be mantained in the air (either for defensive or offesnive purposes).

I know Eagle was sunk by a U-boat; the idea was that fleet carriers would encounter another kind of campagin in the Med, with much more threats, and without air supremacy or even superiority, which would leave many enemies not accounted for, let alone engaged and sunk.

Replace the 3 carriers with 3 Iowas and I don't think you would improve the odds because the aircraft can focus on part of a convoy leaving part of the AA defenses masked/out of range.
That was not the point, but the fact that in another theatre than that of the Pacific, the carrier could be much more vulnerable and serve a lesser function.
Replace the Nelsons with 2 Essexes and another 120+ fighters and launch a strike against Pantelleria on the run in to take out some MTBs and the carriers can fight the convoy all the way through to Malta with fewer losses.
Replace Furious with 1 Essex and the 2 x 500kg bombs which hit the carrier could sink it outright, because the US fleet carrier had less protection that the British one in every important aspect.



Whether or not they decide to engage IS the whole point - a battleship is only usefull IF a target comes within gun range - ~30,000yrds for surface targets, somewhat less for aircraft - such a short range requires a fair degree of cooperation on the part of the enemy and places the ship itself in danger of retaliation. It's much easier for a carrier to take positive steps to deal with threats when your AA range is measured in dozen of miles and your ASuW range is measured in hundreds.
NO. What I meant was that a carrier could be rendedre useless if the enemy had similar technology, and numbers.
By the way your hypothetical balanced fleet battle is logically flawed - two identical forces of carriers will innevitably fight themselves to a stalemate yet two identical surface forces will somehow be able to force a decision? Midway was something of a balanced carrier battle and yet the US achieved a decisive victory where as many of the surface engagements of the war proved to be somewhat inconclusive, despite being relatively balanced.
As you know, Midway was folowing an allmost impossible chain of lucky events - Takao's seaplane launched late, US carriers discovered late, IJN carriers already armed for another strike against the island, thus needing ammunition replacement, Japanese CAP reloading / refueling exactly during the dive bombers attack. If either one of those events failed to materialize, the ~45 SBD Dauntless would have suffered the same fate as the other ~ 150 planes which attacked before them: annihilation.
But the Japanese WERE defeated.....thus is the fortunes of war. Luck has a whole lot to do with it.

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by Rick Rather » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:45 am

alecsandros wrote:What I said was that a PROPERLY DEFENDED battleship could destroy vast numbers of aircraft (as demonstrated by US battleships, British battleships, and to some extent German battleships after 1942). Yamato wasn't attacked by the airwing of 1 carrier, but of several, just like Musashi. Had a Japanese task-force with equal AA defense as a US task-force been present, I very much doubt either super-battleship would have been sunk.
(Emphasis added)

Three pages. I was wondering how long it would take for someone to fall into this tautalogical trap.

Of course a "properly defended" battleship could drive-off an attack and survive, because being able to drive-off attacks and survive DEFINES what it is to be "properly defended". Conversly, if a battleship is crippled or sunk by an attack, it was - by definition - not "properly defended".

I much prefer the way you worded the OP:
alecsandros wrote:Would Yamato and Musashi escape being sunk if they would have had AA artillery comparable to that of US battleships ? That would include:
- 40 x Bofors 40mm (quads, totalling 160 guns)
- 20 x 127mm rapid-firing guns.

- advanced radar-guided fire control
- proximity fuzes for the shells
- ... etc

What do you think?
My answer was and is "probably not". Not even a modern Aegis cruiser could hold-off the massive numbers of aircraft that were thrown against those ships. The only one that could is, imo, the Russian ARKR Petr Velikiy, which has over 400 SAMs plus area & point-defense AA guns.

Yamato certainly would not have survived. As the only capital ship in her battle group, she attracted attackers like flies on a cow-flop. Musashi is more debatable, since she was one of several targets. She had superb damage control, and with a few less hits she might have made it to the shallows and beached herself, becoming a really awesome shore battery (I'll leave it to others to debate whether this qualifies as "surviving").
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
-- R. Rather

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by alecsandros » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:39 am

Rick Rather wrote: Of course a "properly defended" battleship could drive-off an attack and survive, because being able to drive-off attacks and survive DEFINES what it is to be "properly defended". Conversly, if a battleship is crippled or sunk by an attack, it was - by definition - not "properly defended".
Properly defended in the hystorical sense... That's why I imagined Iowa's AA systems on board Yamato... Because IOwa was "properly defended"... for it's time...

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by Rick Rather » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:08 am

alecsandros wrote:
Rick Rather wrote: Of course a "properly defended" battleship could drive-off an attack and survive, because being able to drive-off attacks and survive DEFINES what it is to be "properly defended". Conversly, if a battleship is crippled or sunk by an attack, it was - by definition - not "properly defended".
Properly defended in the hystorical sense... That's why I imagined Iowa's AA systems on board Yamato... Because IOwa was "properly defended"... for it's time...
"Properly defended" for the level of challenge that they received, which wasn't much since they always had formidable air cover. This brings me back to what I wrote in the 3rd post of this thread:
Rick Rather wrote:The obvious question then comes to mind, could a similarly composed US group, without air cover, avoid being mauled when set upon by 259 Jills, Judys & advanced Zekes. I'd like to game it out, but my instinct is probably not.
In summary, I feel fairly certain that Iowa would not have survived the attacks that sunk Yamato & Musashi, and the Yamatos would have had no significant trouble if they had the air cover under which the Iowas worked.
Just because it's stupid, futile and doomed to failure, that doesn't mean some officer won't try it.
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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by alecsandros » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:26 am

Well, I don't know either "how it would have been", that's why we're discussing here :)

My impression is that Iowa would perform much better under attack by planes like Yamato was.
My reasons:
- at least +6kts maximum speed than Yamato was that day. This is particularly important against the aerial torpedoes launched that day. It's rather hard to hit a ship moving at 33kts+ with torpedoes moving at 35kts.
- far better AA gun quality, distribution and coordonation
- hystoric performance of similarly guned or even under-gunned US battleships in the Pacific (South Dakota and North Carolina are the first that come to mind)
- hystoric performance of US damage control teams in comparison with Japanese damage control teams

- "the attack" was comprised of multiple waves of aircraft, and in each wave there were several tentative strikes, because the volume of space around a battleship is fixed, and only a fixed number of aircraft can attack at any given time (maybe 10-15 ?). Thus, the AA gunnery could concentrate rather easily on a limited number of targets...

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by alecsandros » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:15 pm

@Mike

Hoping to save you the trouble of a long-detailed post, I'm going to add the following:

- I'm not arguing for the superiority of the BB over the CV as a strategic vector. CV's had a "longer reach", thus making them more suitable for the majority of roles a war navy may have.
- I'm saying a BB was not "obsolete" in 1943, and that there were various theatres of operations / scenarios in which they were more effective than the carrier (do you see Scharnhorst chased by Victorious or Essex ? How would a carrier fare in the Arctic, during the winter nights ... ? HOw would a carrier behave under attack by very large numbers of ground-based, technologicaly advanced bombers, supported by more technologically advanced fighters than the carrier had, such as in the Med ?).
- Thus, for a modern navy to be effective, a mix of BB+CV was needed to ensure all-encompassing striking power in the various places mother Earth prepared for us...

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by boredatwork » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:47 pm

alecsandros wrote:@Mike

Hoping to save you the trouble of a long-detailed post, I'm going to add the following:

- I'm not arguing for the superiority of the BB over the CV as a strategic vector. CV's had a "longer reach", thus making them more suitable for the majority of roles a war navy may have.
- I'm saying a BB was not "obsolete" in 1943, and that there were various theatres of operations / scenarios in which they were more effective than the carrier (do you see Scharnhorst chased by Victorious or Essex ? How would a carrier fare in the Arctic, during the winter nights ... ? HOw would a carrier behave under attack by very large numbers of ground-based, technologicaly advanced bombers, supported by more technologically advanced fighters than the carrier had, such as in the Med ?).
- Thus, for a modern navy to be effective, a mix of BB+CV was needed to ensure all-encompassing striking power in the various places mother Earth prepared for us...
Well as I don't want to type an overly long post either I'll just say that

I'm saying the battleship was obsolete (2. Outmoded in design, style, or construction) because she had been superseeded in her *only intended mission* by airpower. She still performed usefull work on secondary tasks but none of these required a BB as opposed to some other kind of ship which could have accomplished the same mission at least as efficiently.

In your North Cape example I fully concede that, if you replace DoY with an Essex, Scharnhorst would likely have escaped. However unlike you I don't see it as evidence the BBs weren't obsolete for 2 reasons:

a) Scharnhorst was a BB(BC?) and yet she was chased away by light forces before she was even aware of DoY's presence. Hence my comments that a BB's main armament might be less fragile than a carrier but if the BB can't apply it where it will win the battle then the fact is irrelavent.

b) More importantly IMO you're focusing on the small tactical picture instead of considering the broader operational implications of such a substitution. Yes in certain tactical situations a BB will be superior to a airpower but that ignores the reality that airpower generally has the operational ability to dictate the tactical situation. Why were the artic convoy battles fought at night? Because the RN in 1942 lacked sufficient air strength to fight it out with Lufflotte 5 in the long summer days. IF you replace not only DoY but all the Battleships which served as distant cover with carriers you now have the ability to go on the offensive and launch surprise attacks on Schanrhorst, Tirpitz, and the Lufflotte 5 Bomber bases in Norway rather than having to passively wait for them to come to you. While the odds of sinking the BBs without torpedoes are relatively low, you can certainly smash their uperworks, destroy their AA, cripple their support ships and installations, etc and render them incapable of intervening.
You are overestimating the potential of the fleet carrier.
RN carriers held a smaller number of planes because they were built following a more defensive philosphy - with armored decks, increased subdivision, etc.
The advantage of the increased protection was seen in the Pacific capmaign, when RN carriers were lesser affected by kamikazes then US carriers...

Furthermore, Victorious could carry up to 60 planes, out of which about 30 could be launched in 1 wave (the number of aircraft present on the flight deck). The Essex class could carry up to 100, out of which maybe 40 could be launched in 1 wave.
Don't confuse the maximum number of planes carried with the maximum number of planes capable to be mantained in the air (either for defensive or offesnive purposes).
d) The point of the Pedestal discussion wasn't a debate about the relative merits of the Illustrious class versus the later, larger Essexes - which has been done to death in other forums (though your numbers are off, particularly as they stood during the Pedestal period) - but rather to illustrate that, even with limited resources available the carriers in question were able to make a more significant contribution to the defense of the convoy than your statement (4 heavily defended RN carriers tried desperately to hold off the waves of (land-based) attacking planes, in order to allow 14 heavily-loaded merchant ships to reach Malta. Only 5 convoy ships reached the destination; 1 carrier sunk, 2 damaged.) seems to imply. As part of the debate revolves around the relative effectiveness of a BB's AA relative to an equivalent effort spent in carriers trying to fairly evaluate the effectiveness of both seems relavent.

There is no question that under more effective opposition a carrier force will suffer comparatively (back to the "if things weren't the same, then yes they would be different") - however the same can be said of any weapon system. If an all carrier force cannot stand up to large numbers of "technologically advanced bombers" then what chance does a force with half carriers and half BBs, or no carriers and all BBs? the fewer Carrier airwings will be defeated by attrition even quicker leading the remaining attackers, which would be nowhere near as vulnerable to AA fire as the slow Japanese aircraft which lacked such luxuries as pilot armor and self sealing fuel tanks picking off the remaining ships one by one, possibly by guided weapons from outside of AA range.


Hmmm... that was longer than I indended - thanks for the thought though!

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by alecsandros » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:00 am

Hi Mike,
I have the feeling that these long pages of replies could be much more enjoiably commented over a beer... Many of our differences would be much better (and faster) resolved this way...

I am sure you've allready given thought to many of my arguments. So were to start to try to convince you without filling another 2 page reply ?

I'll try to change the perspective a bit: were is a carrier most suitable, and were is a battleship ?
I'd argue that a carrier is always preferable provided 1. the weather is good enough for launching aircraft, 2. the mission is to be performed during the day, and 3. the enemy positions are known, with little to no probability of surprise attacks. (I know about some carrier missions performed during the night, but those were rare exceptions, with great risks taken...)
But when are all of those conditions respected ? Probably only when the capital ships (CVs, BBs) are part of a large task-force, which can hold it's own against, say, a night surface attack, and that has a good number of recon aircraft (for observing incoming enemy units).

Especialy the part about observing enemy movements is difficult to do if the engagement is around chains of islands (archipelagos) that hinder radar ability. Even a large task-force, with several other TF in screening missions, can fail at discovering the enemy in time - see battle of Samar. And, at Samar, a combination of brave DD intervention with inaccurate Japanese shooting and the early exit of Yamato and Nagato from the battle allowed the escort carriers to launch their planes... Swap Yamato and Nagato with Bismarck and Tirpitz, with their 1944-style radars, integrated FC, and you have a recipe for disaster of the US TF.

All those pre-necessary conditions made keeping a carrier at sea very very costly... That's probably why, after WW2 we don't see a proliferation of the carrier except in the US Navy. All other major navies retained heavily armored ships...

----

P.S.: imagine KGV and Rodney replaced by Victorious and Ark Royal during Bismarck's final battle. Could they score any hits on that weather ... ? How long would the battle last ... ? Or South Dakota and Washington replaced by Enterprise and Saratoga during 2nd battle for Guadalcanal. Would they be able to attack the Japanese ships during the night... at such a close range... ? Would Kirishima be sunk in 3 minutes ...? Would Enterprise survive the damage done to South Dakota ... ?

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by Keith Enge » Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:20 pm

dunmunro -

I didn't overlook the battle for Crete nor Operations Harpoon/Vigorous. We are talking about a single battle with "hundreds" of planes. I take that to mean a battle that lasts a single day and, more likely, a fraction of a day. Both Crete and the convoy battles lasted several days and so don't qualify. If you divide them into several single day battles, none of the single days have "hundreds" of planes.

The Luftwaffe, like the RAF, used second-line planes in the Med. Besides the previously mentioned Hurricanes, the RAF used planes like the Marylands which they didn't use in any other theater. As late as June 1941, they even still used biplanes (Gladiators) in the invasion of Syria. The Luftwaffe tended to use older versions of the planes in use in other theaters. For example, in the Med, they were still using the Ju 87B as late as October 1941 (and probably even later but I don't have later documented use). Meanwhile, the newer Ju 87D had become available in very early 1941. The same thing occurred with other planes; when new versions of some plane appeared, the older versions were shipped to the Med.

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Re: Would Yamato with advanced AA gunnery survive air attack

Post by dunmunro » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:49 am

Keith Enge wrote:dunmunro -

I didn't overlook the battle for Crete nor Operations Harpoon/Vigorous. We are talking about a single battle with "hundreds" of planes. I take that to mean a battle that lasts a single day and, more likely, a fraction of a day. Both Crete and the convoy battles lasted several days and so don't qualify. If you divide them into several single day battles, none of the single days have "hundreds" of planes.

The Luftwaffe, like the RAF, used second-line planes in the Med. Besides the previously mentioned Hurricanes, the RAF used planes like the Marylands which they didn't use in any other theater. As late as June 1941, they even still used biplanes (Gladiators) in the invasion of Syria. The Luftwaffe tended to use older versions of the planes in use in other theaters. For example, in the Med, they were still using the Ju 87B as late as October 1941 (and probably even later but I don't have later documented use). Meanwhile, the newer Ju 87D had become available in very early 1941. The same thing occurred with other planes; when new versions of some plane appeared, the older versions were shipped to the Med.
Martin Marylands were used in other theatres and they weren't considered 2nd line, and were highly prized in the Med, and elsewhere (a Maryland photographed the Bismarck in Norway) for their high speed.

The Luftwaffe flew more than 100 anti-shipping sorties/day during Crete. Their total strength amounted to:
The air forces assembled for operation 'Merkur' were formidable indeed. Fliegerkorps VIII had (together with certain aircraft at call from Fliegerkorps X) 228 bombers, 205 dive-bombers, 114 twin-engined and 119 single-engined fighters, and 50 reconnaissance aircraft—a total of 716, of which 514 were reported serviceable on 17th May. Fliegerkorps XI had over 500 transport aircraft and 72 gliders.
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/U ... d-2-7.html
The commander of Fliegerkorps VIII (Von Richthofen; see DW Pissen, The Battle for Crete, p163) wrote in his diary that all his aircraft, including fighters, were used to attack the RN on May 22, and that many aircraft flew more than one sortie. Von Richthofen implies that over 500 sorties were flown against the RN on May 22 alone and that support for land forces was suspended to concentrate against the RN.

The Battle for Crete was not a low priority battle of secondary importance to the Germans and they deployed their latest aircraft to ensure its success.

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