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

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
I am sure that Seafires were used for at least one carrier deployment in Korea a few years later.

The book by Guy Robbins has chapters on Royal Navy aircraft 1918-1339 and aircraft 1939-1945. Apart from the lack of naval control, Britain, unlike the United States or Japan, expected to be subject to air attacks against the home based so the priority was to design and build fighters to defend the UK. Everything else came second.

attrition rate for the Seafire in things like landing accidents was atrocious, >50%, it was right to the end an aweful shipboard aircraft. Your chance of being killed by enemy action was much lower than in a landing accident. It was used by the FAA after the war because it had to, not because they wanted too.
in all respects the Hellcat and Corsair were better aircraft sorely missed by their pilots.
and after the Avenger, going back to the aweful, and simply dangerous Barracuda was moving back a generation.
the Hawker Sea Fury proved to be an excellent naval fighter, but not anything much over the F4U-4 model Corsair the FAA was about to receive at wars end.
 
Interesting argument

The seafire was shit and dangerous as you were more likely to die in an accident than combat

You could equally conclude that it was such a good fighter - you were more likely to die in an accident than battle.
 

Yokel

LE
attrition rate for the Seafire in things like landing accidents was atrocious, >50%, it was right to the end an aweful shipboard aircraft. Your chance of being killed by enemy action was much lower than in a landing accident. It was used by the FAA after the war because it had to, not because they wanted too.
in all respects the Hellcat and Corsair were better aircraft sorely missed by their pilots.
and after the Avenger, going back to the aweful, and simply dangerous Barracuda was moving back a generation.
the Hawker Sea Fury proved to be an excellent naval fighter, but not anything much over the F4U-4 model Corsair the FAA was about to receive at wars end.

Winkle Brown mentions the way American carrier aircraft were designed with carrier operation in mind, so they had things like much better over the nose visibility, low speed on landing, and other things - landing gear?

Interesting argument

The seafire was shit and dangerous as you were more likely to die in an accident than combat

You could equally conclude that it was such a good fighter - you were more likely to die in an accident than battle.

There must have been a reason the RN kept in in service alongside the Corsair et al. Climbing performance? Speed?
 
Winkle Brown mentions the way American carrier aircraft were designed with carrier operation in mind, so they had things like much better over the nose visibility, low speed on landing, and other things - landing gear?



There must have been a reason the RN kept in in service alongside the Corsair et al. Climbing performance? Speed?
The Korean War sea fires were retired due to wrinkling at the tails, great design for flat land improved throughout the war. Seems the sea fire was a good idea unsuited For deck landings.
 
Additionally, I have a cope of The Aircraft Carrier Story 1908 - 1945 by Guy Robbins. It is divided in four sections:

1. The Royal Navy and Aircraft Carriers, 1908 - 1945
2. The US Navy and the Fast Carriers, 1910 - 1945
3. The Carrier War, 1939 - 1945

If anyone is interested in carrier development then let me know, and I can take a look.

So what's the secret 4th section about, or is that 'need to know' only?
 
Winkle Brown mentions the way American carrier aircraft were designed with carrier operation in mind, so they had things like much better over the nose visibility, low speed on landing, and other things - landing gear?



There must have been a reason the RN kept in in service alongside the Corsair et al. Climbing performance? Speed?
I believe (as ive said previously) it was intercept ability range speed armanent all went in the various US offerings but the Seafire alone could get off the deck and intercept a Kamikaze.

that alone in 44/45 justified its existance


Edit googling says it wasnt climbing - rather that the Seafire low level accelleration kept them well away from the fleet
 
Last edited:

Yokel

LE
The Korean War sea fires were retired due to wrinkling at the tails, great design for flat land improved throughout the war. Seems the sea fire was a good idea unsuited For deck landings.

There was only so much that could be done to convert the Spitfire design for carrier landings - but we needed to put fighters on decks at the time!

So what's the secret 4th section about, or is that 'need to know' only?

Good - you spotted the deliberate mistake. Now edited to mention that the third section is about the Japanese.

1939 -1945 - The Photex files (Why everything British built was shit)

Not just 'was'.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
Winkle Brown mentions the way American carrier aircraft were designed with carrier operation in mind, so they had things like much better over the nose visibility, low speed on landing, and other things - landing gear?



There must have been a reason the RN kept in in service alongside the Corsair et al. Climbing performance? Speed?

The ultimate difference between the Seafire and the F6F Hellcat/F4U Corsair was that the latter pair were primarily designed as Carrier Aircraft whereas the Seafire was a half-arsed conversion from a point defence land based fighter.

Leroy P. Grumman and his design team understood very well what was required for a Carrier based aircraft. Their masterpiece the F6F Hellcat was virtually the opposite of the Seafire.
 

Yokel

LE
Having mentioned those two books I can possibly try to answer questions that you can think of, such as:

Who was responsible for carrier aviation development between the wars?

What limitations were placed on carrier aircraft design pre war?

What roles were planned for carriers and their aircraft?

What factors influenced carrier design?

How did things like the U boat campaign and the fall of France effect carrier employment?

How were aircraft like the Hurricane and Spitfire modified for carrier operations?

Why were American aircraft sought as soon as they became available?

How did the Swordfish remain operational until after VE Day?

How did the RN innovate in wartime?

A lot of these are things I know - but others I can look up in references. So feel free to give me some research questions.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
here must have been a reason the RN kept in in service alongside the Corsair et al. Climbing performance? Speed?

Because they were told to and they kept being sent them.
Its climbing performance was good, but nothing like as stellar as imagined.
It happened to be a good 'rat catcher' for last ditch intercepts of Kamikazes by dint of its very good acceleration, (it was much lighter than a Hellcat or Corsair), but that was by happy accident, not design.

Seafire III
Rate of climb: 3,250 ft/min

F6F Hellcat
Rate of climb: 2,600 ft/min

F4U-1 Corsair
Rate of climb: 2,890 ft/min

F4U-4 Corsair
Rate of climb: 4,360 ft/min


At 365mph, it wasn't terribly fast, F6F was a bit faster, F4U-1 was a lot faster - F4U-4 was way faster.
It was little more than a one shot pony, roughly 10 lost in deck accidents to every one lost in action, so many were getting bent in hard landings (bust up the undercarriage) or pecking the deck on a trap, (Bust up the nose), shuffling them around to make up numbers was a full time job.

Of all the options, the Hellcat was the most popular - fast enough, agile enough, tough as nuts and a pleasant vice free plane to fly with docile landing characteristics.

The Corsair was a real hotrod, master it, and you were master of the skies, but it didn't take prisoners and liked to kill the unwary - USN called it 'The Ensign eliminator', FAA, 'The Best Winged Bastard'. - and it was always a bit of a handful to land.

And all the American fighters had two huge advantages over the Seafire; very long legs and 6 x .50 machine guns - get in the way of them and you were shredded. Even at wars end, the Seafire still had 4 x .303's to go along with its two canon, rather useless and often left out to save weight.
 
I believe (as ive said previously) it was intercept ability range speed armanent all went in the various US offerings but the Seafire alone could get off the deck and intercept a Kamikaze.
Odd because the USMC F4U Squadron's reasons for being on US carriers in 44 was its speed to intercept the Kamikaze over the F6F. In fact the F4U's carrier mission was Kamikaze intercept during Okinawa in 45
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
Because they were told to and they kept being sent them.
Its climbing performance was good, but nothing like as stellar as imagined.
It happened to be a good 'rat catcher' for last ditch intercepts of Kamikazes by dint of its very good acceleration, (it was much lighter than a Hellcat or Corsair), but that was by happy accident, not design.

Seafire III
Rate of climb: 3,250 ft/min

F6F Hellcat
Rate of climb: 2,600 ft/min

F4U-1 Corsair
Rate of climb: 2,890 ft/min

F4U-4 Corsair
Rate of climb: 4,360 ft/min


At 365mph, it wasn't terribly fast, F6F was a bit faster, F4U-1 was a lot faster - F4U-4 was way faster.
It was little more than a one shot pony, roughly 10 lost in deck accidents to every one lost in action, so many were getting bent in hard landings (bust up the undercarriage) or pecking the deck on a trap, (Bust up the nose), shuffling them around to make up numbers was a full time job.

Of all the options, the Hellcat was the most popular - fast enough, agile enough, tough as nuts and a pleasant vice free plane to fly with docile landing characteristics.

The Corsair was a real hotrod, master it, and you were master of the skies, but it didn't take prisoners and liked to kill the unwary - USN called it 'The Ensign eliminator', FAA, 'The Best Winged Bastard'. - and it was always a bit of a handful to land.

And all the American fighters had two huge advantages over the Seafire; very long legs and 6 x .50 machine guns - get in the way of them and you were shredded. Even at wars end, the Seafire still had 4 x .303's to go along with its two canon, rather useless and often left out to save weight.

Just to take the last paragraph a little further......

The U.S. Navy study found that 4 X 20mm Cannon was three times as effective as 6 X 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns. From there on they wanted their Fighters to be armed with 4 X 20mm Cannon as standard.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
Just to take the last paragraph a little further......

The U.S. Navy study found that 4 X 20mm Cannon was three times as effective as 6 X 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns. From there on they wanted their Fighters to be armed with 4 X 20mm Cannon as standard.


Indeed, it was an option on both the Hellcat and Corsair, but not popular with the pilots.
Familiarity, proven deadliness and all that.
Worth noting also the airborne .50's were not the slow dagagagaga .50's of ground use fame, they had a ROF @ 800rpm
 
Just to take the last paragraph a little further......

The U.S. Navy study found that 4 X 20mm Cannon was three times as effective as 6 X 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns. From there on they wanted their Fighters to be armed with 4 X 20mm Cannon as standard.
IIRC though the US made Hispanos had massive problems with freezing at altitude and badly made chambers which were prone to light primer hits. the F4U-1C's
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
Indeed, it was an option on both the Hellcat and Corsair, but not popular with the pilots.
Familiarity, proven deadliness and all that.
Worth noting also the airborne .50's were not the slow dagagagaga .50's of ground use fame, they had a ROF @ 800rpm

Then again the even faster firing (1200 rpm) M3 variant of the .50 H.M.G. proved to be ineffective against Communist Mig 15' over Korea.
 
Odd because the USMC F4U Squadron's reasons for being on US carriers in 44 was its speed to intercept the Kamikaze over the F6F. In fact the F4U's carrier mission was Kamikaze intercept during Okinawa in 45

Yes when i googled (later) that point was raised that G model corsairs were used as well - I will hold my hand up there and say I was making the point about why the seafire was used and it may well be that the Seafire would have been ultimately supplanted in the Role by the F4U -


Or it may be that given the F4U compatibility issues with smaller carriers - Seafires would be needed where there were no fleet carriers and of course it was a much smaller aircraft so they could fit a lot more on. Ideal if its used for point intercept;

I note that again Photex has gone for truth by repetition and repeated the claim it was crap because accidents = more losses than combat disregardin entirely the point that when it was used to intercept poorly trained Kamikazees then it wouldnt be subject to many losses - Thats going to skew figures


ETA

Corsairs also made a reappearnce in Korea as interceptors as the Sabres etc couldnt** deal with the Biplanes the NK were using for night time bombing raids


**Not easy to line up on something whose top speed is lower than your landing speed
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
Then again the even faster firing (1200 rpm) M3 variant of the .50 H.M.G. proved to be ineffective against Communist Mig 15' over Korea.

and then they went off after 20mm cannons while everyone else went after 30mm.
and 70 years on, the ROF vs destructive round argument still rages on.
 

Yokel

LE
I am still waiting for questions.....

Something we have not mentioned so far is air to air armament - the calibre and number of guns. At the start of the war aircraft like the Fulmar would have had the standard .303 machine gun, which I presume was the same with the Seafire and Sea Hurricane. When the US made fighters started to arrive they had .50 weapons.
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
I am still waiting for questions.....

Something we have not mentioned so far is air to air armament - the calibre and number of guns. At the start of the war aircraft like the Fulmar would have had the standard .303 machine gun, which I presume was the same with the Seafire and Sea Hurricane. When the US made fighters started to arrive they had .50 weapons.

The decision to arm U.S. Fighters with .50 cal Heavy Machine Guns was made by the Bureau Of Ordinance. They concluded quite rightly that the firepower of the .50 Cal would be sufficient to destroy just about any Axis Aircraft likely to be encountered.

The British went from the inadequate .303 Machine Gun to the almighty 20mm Hispano Cannon which was the most powerful (in terms of Muzzle Velocity/Penetration) 20mm Cannon to see service in WW-ll.

All things considered l think the U.S. made a good choice by going (in the middle) between Rifle Calibre Machine Guns and 20mm Cannon.
 

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