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The Anniversary of The Channel Dash - 1942 - and the wider RN Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War

Daz

LE
A slight correction.....F6F is the Hellcat which replaced the F4F Wildcat in U.S. Navy service.
The F3F was a pre-war U.S. Navy Biplane Fighter.

The success of the Fulmar as a Carrier Fighter had more to do with the skilful young men that flew them than anything to do with the design.
That's me being a silly sod, well spotted - as for the Fulmar, not as bad as some people make out given its record, it's also being compared against newer generation aircraft in the main, it was designed in a rush and to do a role that the FAA required as a two-seater
 

Yokel

LE
The Swordfish was kept on for the same reason the yanks kept the F3F Wildcat in service despite it being replaced by the F4F and F4U, it was suitable for smaller carriers and second-line duties.

As for the Fairey Fulmar, in terms of aircraft shot down by the FAA and lost in combat, it was the most successful aircraft they operated, 112 enemy aircraft downed against the loss of 40 Fulmars - 2.8 to 1 in the Fulmar's favour

The Swordfish remained in service as it was very capable of an anti U boat role. Equipped with radar and rocket projectiles (which meant the lower wing was replaced with a metal one) and flying from escort carriers, it really made a difference in the Atlantic - the battle where Britain's survival was in question.

I also suspect that it was cheaper and easier to manufacture than higher performance aircraft.
 
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PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
A slight correction.....F6F is the Hellcat which replaced the F4F Wildcat in U.S. Navy service.
The F3F was a pre-war U.S. Navy Biplane Fighter.

The success of the Fulmar as a Carrier Fighter had more to do with the skilful young men that flew them than anything to do with the design.

Indeed, they did the best they could with a desperately poor tool.
Its not widely appreciated the FAA ordered the Wildcat before the USN to replace the Fulmar.
Its arrival was a great day for the FAA - at last, a tough, very manoeuvrable purpose designed naval fighter with a very hard hitting armament that came as a very unpleasant surprise to German reconnaissance planes.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
And back to the state of the FAA in 1939. It was inexcusable.

We had a ringside seat to the arrival of the carrier as a strategic weapon of war on Jan 28 1932 over Shanghai

The Japanese carriers Kaga, 24 fighters, 36 bombers, and Hosho, 10 fighters, 9 bombers, 3 reconnaissance planes, provided the air power for the Japanese attack on Shanghai, dominating the skies over it and attacking the enemies air forces on the ground.
This utterly disproved the British notion carriers could not operate within reach of land airpower, a wrong headed notion that fatally stalled carrier design for a generation with the focus on the heavily armoured Illustrious class and no thought to developing a high performance naval monoplane fighter to shoot down any would be attackers.

The Fleet Air Arm entered WWII with no credible British aircraft designs in service, it finished WWII in the same position. That the best idea industry could come up with in 1939 to replace the already laughably outdated when it entered service in 1936 Swordfish was another biplane says a lot.
 
The Fleet Air Arm entered WWII with no credible British aircraft designs in service, it finished WWII in the same position.

And yet, the British-designed and -built Fairey Firefly was still in operational service until the 1960s.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
And yet, the British-designed and -built Fairey Firefly was still in operational service until the 1960s.

I wouldn't put the Fairey Firefly in the same class of Naval Fighter as the F6F Hellcat and F4U Corsair to be honest.

The Firefly was more of a Strike Aircraft like the TBF Avenger In my opinion.
 
I wouldn't put the Fairey Firefly in the same class of Naval Fighter as the F6F Hellcat and F4U Corsair to be honest.

The Firefly was more of a Strike Aircraft like the TBF Avenger In my opinion.

I wasn't referring to it as a fighter (albeit that was the original design spec). Apparently it was even used as dive-bomber in Korea.
 

Daz

LE
And back to the state of the FAA in 1939. It was inexcusable.

We had a ringside seat to the arrival of the carrier as a strategic weapon of war on Jan 28 1932 over Shanghai

The Japanese carriers Kaga, 24 fighters, 36 bombers, and Hosho, 10 fighters, 9 bombers, 3 reconnaissance planes, provided the air power for the Japanese attack on Shanghai, dominating the skies over it and attacking the enemies air forces on the ground.
This utterly disproved the British notion carriers could not operate within reach of land airpower, a wrong headed notion that fatally stalled carrier design for a generation with the focus on the heavily armoured Illustrious class and no thought to developing a high performance naval monoplane fighter to shoot down any would be attackers.

The Fleet Air Arm entered WWII with no credible British aircraft designs in service, it finished WWII in the same position. That the best idea industry could come up with in 1939 to replace the already laughably outdated when it entered service in 1936 Swordfish was another biplane says a lot.
Hardly fighting a peer opponent in a restricted area, once again you're trying to compare apples with pears, there's quite a difference carrying out an action against a disorganized and badly equipped opponent that's unable to indict a naval forces that has a large ocean to operate in and one that's operating in restricted waters covered by enemy aircraft
 
Worth remmbering that Technology and operating theatre was a factor in RN weaknesses

Were discussing systems whose design predates radar - which in some ways was a double edged sword akin to Dreadnought herself.

RN Battleships pre war were designed for close in Brawls - there being less chance of long ranged engagements in the North Atlantic - The US to the contrary was optimised for the pacific - so expected long range duels.

RN carriers were forced to operate smaller airwings regardless of size owing to the requirement to keep everything hangered again North sea Vs Pacific. That in turn will drive what you see the airwings main role as


In many cases when you factor in the knowns of 1932 (for example) the decisions were sound
 

Daz

LE
Worth remmbering that Technology and operating theatre was a factor in RN weaknesses

Were discussing systems whose design predates radar - which in some ways was a double edged sword akin to Dreadnought herself.

RN Battleships pre war were designed for close in Brawls - there being less chance of long ranged engagements in the North Atlantic - The US to the contrary was optimised for the pacific - so expected long range duels.

RN carriers were forced to operate smaller airwings regardless of size owing to the requirement to keep everything hangered again North sea Vs Pacific. That in turn will drive what you see the airwings main role as


In many cases when you factor in the knowns of 1932 (for example) the decisions were sound
Short answer, @PhotEx you're talking crap again :)
 

ABNredleg

War Hero
The Swordfish remained in service as it was very capable of an anti U boat role. Equipped with radar and rocket projectiles (which meant the lower wing was replaced with a metal one) and flying from escort carriers, it really made a difference in the Atlantic - the battle where Britain's survival was in question.

I also suspect that it was cheaper and easier to manufacture that higher performance aircraft.
I was just reading about the sinking of the Bismarck, and I’m not sure an USN plane could have taken off or landed in that weather. Landing speed of the Swordfish is ~40 knots, versus 76 for the Avenger.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
I was just reading about the sinking of the Bismarck, and I’m not sure an USN plane could have taken off or landed in that weather. Landing speed of the Swordfish is ~40 knots, versus 76 for the Avenger.

The Grumman Avenger wasn't in service in May 1941 so it would have had to have been the terrible Douglas Devastator instead of the Swordfish.

Wether a flight of Six Avengers would have fared any better than the Swordfish flight during the Channel Dash l very much doubt.
 

ABNredleg

War Hero
The Grumman Avenger wasn't in service in May 1941 so it would have had to have been the terrible Douglas Devastator instead of the Swordfish.

Wether a flight of Six Avengers would have fared any better than the Swordfish flight during the Channel Dash l very much doubt.
From what I can tell, British Avengers were equipped with US Mark 13 torpedoes, which were absolutely crap at the beginning of the war, so they probably wouldn't have been effective in 1942.
 

ABNredleg

War Hero
Slight thread divergence but here’s an interesting comparison between USN and German fighters.

 

Yokel

LE
Has anyone got a list of air to air kills by RN fighters during the Second World War? My University housemate knew a former FAA Pilot who splashed the last Kamikaze brought down - not sure what aircraft he was flying.

I think it was the Royal Navy that first used radar to guide carrier based fighters against an incoming raid, used escort carrier based fighters to fight the Condors operating from France and supporting the U boat campaign, and used the Corsair as a fighter in Northern waters. They were also first to fit radar to carrier based aircraft for U boat hunting, and the first to take the helicopter to sea for submarine hunting, in early 1944.
 
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Yokel

LE
Would a faster aircraft have survived that sort of torpedo delivering sortie against three German heavy units?

Would the 825 NAS aircraft and aircrews have been more likely to score a hit and more likely to survive of they were flying a faster aircraft, at high altitude, with heavy bombs? It was not until late in the war that there was a bomb capable of penetrating armoured decks.

Thinking about naval aviation had been limited by being run by the RAF until 1937, and by policies limiting aircraft speed. Yet naval aircraft took the war to the enemy, defending the Atlantic and Arctic convoys from enemy aircraft and U boats, fought aircraft and submarines in the Mediterranean, contributed to fleet actions against enemy surface forces, long before the British Pacific Fleet came into being.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
Has anyone got a list of air to air kills by RN fighters during the Second World War? My University housemate knew a former FAA Pilot who splashed the last Kamikaze brought down - not sure what aircraft he was flying.

I think it was the Royal Navy that first used radar to guide carrier based fighters against an incoming raid, used escort carrier based fighters to fight the Condors operating from France and supporting the U boat campaign, and used the Corsair as a fighter in Northern waters. They were also first to fit radar to carrier based aircraft for U boat hunting, and the first to take the helicopter to sea for submarine hunting, in early 1944.

I'm reasonably sure it was a Seafire that claimed the last F.A.A. Air To Air Victory of WW-ll.
 
Has anyone got a list of air to air kills by RN fighters during the Second World War? My University housemate knew a former FAA Pilot who splashed the last Kamikaze brought down - not sure what aircraft he was flying.

I would put money on it being a seafire

Its my understanding that the otherwise out performed in every other aspect* by Corsairs hellcats etc * Seafire was kept around for short range intercepts because it was the only thing in the pacific that could get off the deck and climb fast enough to meet the Kamikaze coming down




*Ok not tight turns either
 
Has anyone got a list of air to air kills by RN fighters during the Second World War? My University housemate knew a former FAA Pilot who splashed the last Kamikaze brought down - not sure what aircraft he was flying.

I think it was the Royal Navy that first used radar to guide carrier based fighters against an incoming raid, used escort carrier based fighters to fight the Condors operating from France and supporting the U boat campaign, and used the Corsair as a fighter in Northern waters. They were also first to fit radar to carrier based aircraft for U boat hunting, and the first to take the helicopter to sea for submarine hunting, in early 1944.
Ronnie Hay RM, Later RN flew Corsairs in the Pacific. IIRC 13 victories 4A2A, 9 shared

Canadian Don Shepard was the RN's only ALL Corsair ace
 

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