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

Joined the party late because we had nor reason to be early.

I think thats better amended to - couldnt get declaring war past congress and the US Public, you had to be fair pretty much joined the party - whilst officially nuetral - your PH was pretty much 14


We joined the party after we were ATTACKED. And then sent most of our men and resources to help you
It was agreed that Dolfy was the bigger threat overall - the decision was logical

instead of fighting the Japanese who attacked us first.

Do have to wonder how it would have played out had Hitler not conviniently resolved the issue by declaring war on the US

Would FDR have been able to get sending troops to Europe through congress - or would he have been hamstrung and limited only to the pacific - (no doubt continuing the existing more than a little pro UK mid atlantic nuetrality.

Theres no dig intended here - its a genuine question
 
Joined the party late because we had nor reason to be early. We joined the party after we were ATTACKED. And then sent most of our men and resources to help you instead of fighting the Japanese who attacked us first.
The crews of the USS Kearny & USS Reuben James want a word with you on who hit whom when.
 
I did not know that but it was still not 1895! Was the transmitter small enough to be carried by an aircraft? However there is a major difference between the radio technology that existed in 1925 and that in 1935, or between 1930 and 1940.

Who made the bigger mistake? Eleven years between 1895 and 1906, and still pre-World War One. How many between 1906 and 'the ten years before the Second World War'?

'In April 1915 Captain J.M. Furnival was the first person to hear a voice from the ground when Major Prince said “If you can hear me now it will be the first time speech has ever been communicated to an aeroplane in flight.” In June 1915 the world's first air-to-ground voice transmission took place at Brooklands (England) over about 20miles (ground-to-air was initially by morse but it is believed two-way voice communications was being achieved by July 1915).'
 
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Who made the bigger mistake? Eleven years between 1895 and 1906, and still pre-World War One. How many between 1906 and 'the ten years before the Second World War'?
It’s easy to miscount no need to lower the tone of the thread, one interesting point though The use of morse was Instrumental in saving lives
 

Yokel

LE
Who made the bigger mistake? Eleven years between 1895 and 1906. How many between 1906 and 'the ten years before the Second World War'?

I am not sure what you are saying - or what you think I am trying to say. My point is that technology was developing quickly, for example radio sets would have more capable and physically smaller in 1938 than they were ten years before

Therefore any specifications would most likely make reference to the state of the art at the time, but would have been obsolescent a few years later.
 
It’s easy to miscount no need to lower the tone of the thread, one interesting point though The use of morse was Instrumental in saving lives

If you want to white knight about 'lowering the tone of the thread', perhaps you should turn your outrage to post 23? All I have done is correct an incorrect assertion, and they been 'whatabouted' for it.
 
I am not sure what you are saying - or what you think I am trying to say. My point is that technology was developing quickly, for example radio sets would have more capable and physically smaller in 1938 than they were ten years before

Therefore any specifications would most likely make reference to the state of the art at the time, but would have been obsolescent a few years later.

As I mentioned earlier in this (or another) thread, I remain amazed at your willingness to forgive the 'big gun' admirals of any possible complicity in the lack of development of Brtish naval aviation.
 
Who made the bigger mistake? Eleven years between 1895 and 1906, and still pre-World War One. How many between 1906 and 'the ten years before the Second World War'?

'In April 1915 Captain J.M. Furnival was the first person to hear a voice from the ground when Major Prince said “If you can hear me now it will be the first time speech has ever been communicated to an aeroplane in flight.” In June 1915 the world's first air-to-ground voice transmission took place at Brooklands (England) over about 20miles (ground-to-air was initially by morse but it is believed two-way voice communications was being achieved by July 1915).'

Its a little known fact that they had a datalink working by August 1915 but they abandoned it because they had no computers,
 

Yokel

LE
As I mentioned earlier in this (or another) thread, I remain amazed at your willingness to forgive the 'big gun' admirals of any possible complicity in the lack of development of Brtish naval aviation.

Were there any other than big gun Admirals? The leadership would have been shaped by the experience of the First World War, and most of those with experience of flying would have transferred to the RAF in 1918. Or maybe the experience of the Fleet being subject to showing by Zeppelins left a view of what the Battle Fleet needed protection from?

The dual command with both the RN and RAF trying to take command does not sound like a winning plan - each could either assume the other was responsible or decide to ignore wider knowledge. I am sure that the Admirals could have killed off the carriers, but they at least realised the need for them.

If Their Lordships had been given full control from 1930 what difference could it have made?
 
Were there any other than big gun Admirals? The leadership would have been shaped by the experience of the First World War, and most of those with experience of flying would have transferred to the RAF in 1918. Or maybe the experience of the Fleet being subject to showing by Zeppelins left a view of what the Battle Fleet needed protection from?

The dual command with both the RN and RAF trying to take command does not sound like a winning plan - each could either assume the other was responsible or decide to ignore wider knowledge. I am sure that the Admirals could have killed off the carriers, but they at least realised the need for them.

If Their Lordships had been given full control from 1930 what difference could it have made?
One thing that greatly assisted the development of USN carrier tactics and doctrine was the extensive war gaming curriculum at the Naval War College. They incorporated carriers into the games right after WWI, which meant almost all senior officers in WWII at least had a broad theoretical knowledge of carrier tactics. Spruance, who was not an aviator, was thus able to effectively wield his carrier forces.

 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
Were there any other than big gun Admirals? The leadership would have been shaped by the experience of the First World War, and most of those with experience of flying would have transferred to the RAF in 1918. Or maybe the experience of the Fleet being subject to showing by Zeppelins left a view of what the Battle Fleet needed protection from?

The dual command with both the RN and RAF trying to take command does not sound like a winning plan - each could either assume the other was responsible or decide to ignore wider knowledge. I am sure that the Admirals could have killed off the carriers, but they at least realised the need for them.

If Their Lordships had been given full control from 1930 what difference could it have made?

as well as the evidence of their own eyes watching the USN’s Fleet Problems, their Lordships were made very aware by RN Officers on the spot in the Far East that the dastardly Japanese were on to something when their carrier aircraft dominated the skies over Shanghai in in 1932.

despite that object lesson in 1932, on went the Admirals in their lalaland, studiously refusing to consider carriers as a serious strategic weapon.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
The last FAA kills in the ETO were by Grumman’s little tubby prodigy - still very capable of holding its own to the end.

"On 26 March 1945, in a last action, FM-2's from 882 Squadron
Lieut Comdr. GAM Flood, RNVR) off Searcher, escorting a flight of
Avengers along the coast of Norway, was attacked by a flight of
eight III Gruppe JG 5 Me-109Gs. The Wildcats (now called
“Wildcat” instead of “Martlet” as the FAA adopts the USN names
for carrier aircraft) shot down four of the Me-109Gs at a cost of
one Wildcat damaged. A fifth 109 was claimed as damaged."
 
As I mentioned earlier in this (or another) thread, I remain amazed at your willingness to forgive the 'big gun' admirals of any possible complicity in the lack of development of Brtish naval aviation.


Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Back in the 1930's it would not have been unreasonable to believe that aircraft could not carry a weapon big enough to sink an armoured capital ship manouvering at sea.

The philosophy of aircraft being useful tools but not warship sinkers was realistically valid up until Taranto in late 1940, even then there was a legitimate view that it was only possible because the Italian ships were couped up in harbour and static targets
After Taranto Cunningham did say that the FAA had suddenly become an incredibly potent weapon.

A year later the Japanese had learned from Taranto and Pearl Harbour was the result for them.
Repulse and Prince of Wales were a significant loss too but again that was over a year after Taranto.
It wasn't until then that it was accepted and understood that capital ships manouvering at sea were vulnerable to air attack.
I would argue that it was Prince of Wales and Repulse that were the significant change rather than Pearl Harbour, Everybody knew that capital ships couped up in harour were vulnerable but there was a justifiable (if mistaken) belief that at sea they could hold their own against air attack at sea

In this thread we seem to continiously confuse timelines, who knew what and when, comparing aircraft available in 1939 to aircraft available in 1944 and also hard won knowledge that changed the way naval battle were fought over time. Nobody really knew in 1939 how naval warfare was going to change.

For all the talk on here about misjudgement and ineptitude, its easy to say 80 years after the fact!

Two snippets to consider-
The Fairey Fulmar was quite an effective naval aircraft at the start of the war, Fulmars shot down well over 100 enemy aircraft for about 40 losses.
The most succesful naval strike aircraft of all time? The Fairey Swordfish. Sank more shipping than any other aircraft. Ever.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
Two snippets to consider-
The Fairey Fulmar was quite an effective naval aircraft at the start of the war, Fulmars shot down well over 100 enemy aircraft for about 40 losses.
The most succesful naval strike aircraft of all time? The Fairey Swordfish. Sank more shipping than any other aircraft. Ever.

the Fulmars loss rate was 2.5:1, mostly against bombers.
it’s equivalent, the Grumman Wildcat, managed 7:1, overwhelmingly against one of the most effective fighters of it’s time.
the Fulmar really wasn’t up to much.

‘Most successful strike aircraft’? ah yes, that old saw,...... the Swordfish did many things, but striking wasn’t usually one of them, most of the to tonnage sunk was by mines dropped along coasts at night. Against warships, warships with no air cover, the Swordfish wasn’t very good, see the attempt to sink Tirpitz at sea, in daylight, and if there was any enemy air cover, it simply couldn’t operate. It’s contemporaries did far better against warships, overwhelmingly in the face of very robust air defences. The Swordfish proved utterly unable to operate against the IJN.

no ifs, buts or maybe, it’s utterly shameful the Fleet Air Arm entered WWII with such an obsolete aircraft as its main carrier attack platform, a cloth biplane with performance barely better than a WWI biplane bomber.

and sinking ships by aircraft? 1921 - Enter Billy Mitchell stage left

 
and sinking ships by aircraft? 1921 - Enter Billy Mitchell stage left


Beat me to it, although the SMS Ostfriesland was something akin to a 'tethered goat'.

'Mitchell used his influence in Congress to allow the U.S. Air Service to participate in naval bombing tests that took place during the summer months of 1921. The U.S. Navy put tight controls on the tests to restrict Mitchell and the Air Service. The targets were captured German navy ships, including a submarine (U-117), the USS Iowa, a battleship converted to a radio-controlled fleet target ship, a destroyer (G-102), a German light cruiser Frankfurt, and finally, the German battleship Ostfriesland. The sinking of the Ostfriesland on July 21, 1921, was the most controversial event of the bombing tests. Ignoring the Navy’s restrictions about pressing the attack too vigorously, Mitchell decided to sink the Ostfriesland in direct fashion. After an attack by aircraft carrying 1,000 lb. bombs, his airmen dropped six 2,000 lb. bombs on the battleship, and in a twenty-minute period, the Ostfriesland was sent to the bottom of the sea. No direct hits were scored, however. The Navy protested vigorously that their construction experts were not given enough time to examine the ship, but to no avail.

'Mitchell had seized the day despite the fact that the Ostfriesland was at anchor and unable to maneuver and there was no defensive antiaircraft fire to hinder the aerial attacks. As Alfred Hurley remarks, “the dispute could not get away from the basic fact which deeply impressed itself on the public’s mind, Mitchell had sunk a battleship, as he claimed he could.”


 
Repulse and Prince of Wales were a significant loss too but again that was over a year after Taranto.
It wasn't until then that it was accepted and understood that capital ships manouvering at sea were vulnerable to air attack.
I would argue that it was Prince of Wales and Repulse that were the significant change rather than Pearl Harbour, Everybody knew that capital ships couped up in harour were vulnerable but there was a justifiable (if mistaken) belief that at sea they could hold their own against air attack at sea

Force z was suppose to have air cover - unfortunatly there was an accident involving the carrier

How much of the subsequent deployment was really down to a complete belief manouvering ships were invulnerable and how much was its desperate they go we think they should be able to deter aggression / fend off attacks long enough to escape.

As for their fateful voyage - air cover was requested -

I myself think exigencies of war and unfortunate circumstance resulted in them not having air cover - rather than an idea they were able to function without it
 
For those with an interest in the development of the FAA in WWII, I can thoroughly recommend 'Kamikaze Hunters: Fighting for the Pacific, 1945' by Will Iredale.

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Don't be fooled by the title, as in addition to giving a very good account of the British Pacific Fleet, there is a lengthy introduction about FAA flying training and operational theory.

'An objective author, Mr. Iredale highlights the bureaucratic turmoil among Winston Churchill and his leaders, the resistance for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm (FAA) to receive training and top-notch equipment, flaws in the FAA selection process, and territoriality expressed by the Royal Air Force. Despite the difficulties and occasional roadblocks, FAA pilots and the Royal Navy earned the respect of their Allies and the Japanese forces because “[n]o one could deny that the airmen of the British Pacific Fleet had risen to the task. . . The Royal Navy’s airmen had pulled their weight with the American task groups” (p. 331–32).

'Filled with stories of beauty to the brutality of war, Mr. Iredale’s foreshadowing and storytelling intrigue the reader with several questions:

1. Whatever happened to Wally Stradwick? Tommy Gunn? Don Cameron? Prince Philip?

2. Which country’s ship decks were best constructed to withstand kamikaze attacks?

3. Why did it take so long to change FAA selection criteria?

'Any reader interested in a perfect blend of military history, 360-degree perspective, resilience, and story that transports you to relive the past should read Mr. Iredale’s book. All Airmen would benefit from the wealth of historic examples of service before self, integrity, and excellence in all we do from Allied forces. Also important are adapting technology to increase battlefield advantage as well as the power of the human spirit to individually and collectively overcome adversity. Airmen from all generations should take advantage of the myriad of stories Mr. Iredale provides to learn from The Kamikaze Hunters and facilitate success. '


 
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Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Back in the 1930's it would not have been unreasonable to believe that aircraft could not carry a weapon big enough to sink an armoured capital ship manouvering at sea.

The philosophy of aircraft being useful tools but not warship sinkers was realistically valid up until Taranto in late 1940, even then there was a legitimate view that it was only possible because the Italian ships were couped up in harbour and static targets
After Taranto Cunningham did say that the FAA had suddenly become an incredibly potent weapon.

The first ships sunk by air-launched torpedoes, the aircraft were Short 184 seaplanes:-

The two prototype aircraft were embarked upon HMS Ben-my-Chree, which sailed for the Aegean on 21 March 1915 to take part in the Gallipoli campaign.[5] On 12 August 1915 one of these, piloted by Flight Commander Charles Edmonds, was the first aircraft in the world to attack an enemy ship with an air-launched torpedo. However, the ship had already been crippled by a torpedo fired by the British submarine E14.[6]

However, on 17 August 1915, another Turkish ship was sunk by a torpedo of whose origin there was no doubt. On this occasion Flight Commander Edmonds torpedoed a Turkish transport ship a few miles north of the Dardanelles. His formation colleague, Flt Lt George Dacre, was forced to land on the water owing to engine trouble but, seeing an enemy tug close by, taxied up to it and released his torpedo, sinking the tug. Without the weight of the torpedo Dacre was able to take off and return to the Ben-My-Chree.[7]

How many naval vessels were sunk by high-level bombing in WW2?

Up until 1 April 1918 the RNAS was miles ahead of the RAF in development potential but, even by the end of 1918, the Crabs had butchered their ex-sister-service by wholesale disbanding of ASW squadrons at home and in the Med. The post-war control of naval aviation by the RAF was a disaster for the RN as, once again, the Crabs poured as much resources as possible into strategic bombing and colonial air control (as a means of improving their image), ignoring fighters and the RN. The RN could exhibit all the interest it wanted to in naval aviation, it would never bet the interest or money needed to keep the air groups up to date until they controlled their own aircraft.
 

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