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

Very true/correct.

Ironically the first two Warships were sunk by Carrier based Aircraft and the later was sunk by a U.S. Submarine within 24 hours of being launched.

The Shinano was more of a "Resupply Carrier" than it's more famous older sisters.....not that she achieved anything.

Yes; you were posting as I was typing.;)
 

Daz

LE
Despite the IJN's prowess with carrier aviation, they still built the Yamato-class BBs (ordered in 1937), with the greatest broadside throw-weight of any naval vessel constructed. However, the third of the class, Shinano, ended up built as a CV rather than a BB, and even the 18" guns on the other two could fire an enormous anti-aircraft round (AA Type 3: 1,360 kg (2,998.3 lb)). - San Shiki (anti-aircraft shell)

BB Yamato - sunk by torpedoes and bombs from USN carrier-based aircraft
BB Musashi - sunk by torpedoes and bombs from USN carrier-based aircraft
CV Shinano - sunk by torpedoes from a USN submarine

E2A: The Japanese film, 'The Great War of Archimedes' is worth a look if you want to explore the tensions between the 'big gun' admirals and the carrier advocates in the IJN. To spoil the ending, the 'big guns' won, resulting in the losses listed above.

Did they ever hit anything with that round?
 
Did they ever hit anything with that round?

Henderson Field at Guadalcanal apparently, but it seems the whole idea was badly flawed.

'As were most Japanese warships, Yamato and Musashi were provided with a special anti-aircraft incendiary shrapnel shell officially designated as "3 Shiki tsûjôdan" (Common Type 3) and supposedly nicknamed "The Beehive," but this could be apocryphal. This round weighed 2,998 lbs. (1,360 kg) and was filled with 900 incendiary-filled tubes. A time fuze was used to set the desired bursting distance, usually about 1,000 meters (1,100 yards) after leaving the muzzle. These projectiles were designed to expel the incendiary tubes in a 20 degree cone extending towards the oncoming aircraft with the projectile shell itself being destroyed by a bursting charge to increase the quantity of steel splinters. The incendiary tubes ignited about half a second later and burned for five seconds at 3,000 degrees C, producing a flame approximately 5 meters (16 feet) long.

'The concept behind these shells was that the ship would put up a barrage pattern through which an attacking aircraft would have to fly. However, these shells were considered by US Navy pilots to be more of a visual spectacular than an effective AA weapon.'


 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
Henderson Field at Guadalcanal apparently, but it seems the whole idea was badly flawed.

'As were most Japanese warships, Yamato and Musashi were provided with a special anti-aircraft incendiary shrapnel shell officially designated as "3 Shiki tsûjôdan" (Common Type 3) and supposedly nicknamed "The Beehive," but this could be apocryphal. This round weighed 2,998 lbs. (1,360 kg) and was filled with 900 incendiary-filled tubes. A time fuze was used to set the desired bursting distance, usually about 1,000 meters (1,100 yards) after leaving the muzzle. These projectiles were designed to expel the incendiary tubes in a 20 degree cone extending towards the oncoming aircraft with the projectile shell itself being destroyed by a bursting charge to increase the quantity of steel splinters. The incendiary tubes ignited about half a second later and burned for five seconds at 3,000 degrees C, producing a flame approximately 5 meters (16 feet) long.

'The concept behind these shells was that the ship would put up a barrage pattern through which an attacking aircraft would have to fly. However, these shells were considered by US Navy pilots to be more of a visual spectacular than an effective AA weapon.'



It this Shell was fired at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal in late 1942 it must have been by older/smaller Japanese Battleships.

The Yamato and Musashi were kept safely out of the way of the fierce Naval Fighting that was going on in those waters.
 
It this Shell was fired at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal in late 1942 it must have been by older/smaller Japanese Battleships.

The Yamato and Musashi were kept safely out of the way of the fierce Naval Fighting that was going on in those waters.

Yes, apparently the Type 3 came in various calibres.
 

Yokel

LE
I am not trying to start a handbag fight with @PhotEx but I still disagree with his assertion that escort carriers and similar vessels made no contribution to winning the fight against the U boats.

This is a declassified American document: The History of Sea based Anti Submarine Warfare 1940 - 1977

From page 8 (page 19 of the PDF):

British Merchant Aircraft Carrier Development

The British therefore moved to fill the Atlantic Gap by other means. Sea-based airborne ASW as a specific weapons system evolved out of these considerations as various ship modifications were proposed and accepted by the British Admiralty between November 1940 and January 1941. Designed primarily as a counter to the long range reconnaissance-bombers, the plans called for conversion of suitable merchant ships to either fighter catapult ships or small fighter aircraft carriers.*

The near term conversions in the approved plan included five fighter-catapult ships used exclusively for anti-air defense. In addition, the catapult aircraft merchant (CAM) ships, still capable of carrying cargo, first became available in April 1941. These ships featured a bow mounted catapult and a single Sea Hurricane fighter. Once launched against an air threat, the pilot had to return to the nearest land mass or ditch alongside the ship. Eventually thirty-five CAM ships were used for convoy defense between April 1941 and September 1943. They served primarily to perform an anti-air mission in support of the merchant convoys and were the only convoy-based aircraft available during 1942.*

The British also designed the longer term conversions of the Admiralty's plan, the merchant aircraft carriers (MAC ships) and the escort carriers (CVE's), primarily with the FW-200 threat in mind. Indeed, throughout most of the war, these ships operated in areas with potentially hostile air environments serving to provide convoys with anti-air protection. By the time enough MAC ships and CVEs were available for trade escort, however, the nature of the German attack on Allied shipping had changed. U-boats operating outside of the range of Allied land-based air cover had become the primary threat. As a result the British merchant and escort carriers, in addition to their anti-air function, evolved into a more important ASW role.

The most significant result of the Admiralty's ship conversion plan was the modification of the ex-German 6, 400-ton cargo liner Hanover to the first British escort carrier, HMS Audacity. Rebuilt between 17 January and her commissioning on 20 June 1941, Audacity had no hangar, and was fitted with the "simplest possible flight deck" (368 feet by 60 feet), a basic two wire arresting system, and a small combined bridge and flying control center. From the end of June to September 1941 she conducted trials and flying exercises, working up the squadron of twelve scarce Martlet (F4F) fighters that were to be her anti-air complement.

Initial British Escort Carrier Operations in the Fall 1941

By, September 1941, the situation on the North Atlantic convoy routes had greatly improved for the British. The surfaced U-boat pack attacks to which the North Atlantic o-boats had turned in February 1941** had impractical in the presence of Allied air cover. In become April base 35 1941 the establishment of a Coastal Command air escort on Iceland extended the range of land-based air cover to degrees west. North Atlantic U-boats were then forced still farther westward. Since the German FW-200's range limited to 25 degrees west, and the North Atlantic U-boats lost the valuable reconnaissance aid that the FW's had provided, they thus were forced to locate the convoys on their own or with the aid of intelligence supplied by wireless from U-boat Command Headquarters in France. In addition, with the Allied introduction of the "end to end"--continuous--surface escort system for North Atlantic convoys in June 1941 the effectiveness of the North Atlantic U- oats was further limited. No longer could submarine attacks be executed without the possibility of interception.

... after September 1941, Hitler decided to withdraw the majority of U-boats from the North Atlantic, positioning them west of Gibraltar and in the Mediterranean, Thus, when the escort ; carrier Audacity became available for escort duty at this time, her air complement reduced to eight Martlets, she was employed on the Gibraltar convoy route - where the increasing numbers of U-boats and German land-based bombers presented the most severe threat to Allied shipping. While these initial employments emphasized air defense, the Admiralty stated that "If and when this (the air) menace has been met and defeated it is HMS AIJDACITY in suggested that Audacity might well be used to carry TSR Action (the Swordfish torpedo bomber) aircraft so provide a convoy with its own antisubmarine patrols.

Although Audacity never employed any torpedo-bombers as antisubmarine aircraft during her short career, her Martlet fighters flying in pairs on regular patrols sighted and forced down many u-boats. This confirmed the potential of ship-based aircraft for ASW. Despite the limited destructive power of their 50 caliber machine guns, the Martlets vigorously attacked any U-boat sighted. If the submarine submerged the Martlets dropped a sea-marker over the spot. They the.n flew over the marker so that Audacity could obtain an RDF fix on the position and dispatch surface escorts to the scene. These coordinated air-surface ASW tactics accounted for one submarine during Audacity's short career, and established an important precedent for future ASW. She did succeed in downing five FW-200 Condors before she in turn was lost on 21 December 1941 to U-741 at the specific order of Admiral Doenitz, who said of these convoy actions:

"The worst feature was the presence of the aircraft carrier. Small, fast, manoeuvrable aircraft circled the convoy continuously, so that when they were sighted the boats were repeatedly forced to submerge or withdraw. The presence of enemy aircraft also prevented any protracted shadowing or homing procedure by German aircraft. The sinking of the aircraft carrier is therefore of particular importance not only in this case but also in every future convoy action."


Page 13 (page 24 of the PDF)

In the spring of 1941 the British Admiralty became concerned that their own production of the various forms of "fighter carriers" proposed in t:he winter of the previous year would be too slow to effectively meet the German long range air and U-boat threat. 1-LS a result, in May 1941 plans were begun to convert five additional suitable merchant hulls to auxiliary carders in British yards. At the same time an order was placed under Lend-Lease for the conversion of five merchant hulls by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. these were to be the Battler class, improved steam-powered versions of the prototype Long Island. As the war progressed the United States was to produce the great majority of the Royal Navy's escort carriers, the total number growing to thirty-eight, all virtually identical to these first Battler class vessels. The British, prompted by a fatal. gasoline explosion aboard the US-built HMS Dasher in March 1943, carried out extensive modifications to the aviation fuel storage and supply systems, as well as increasing each ship's stability for North Atlantic operations by adding ballast. In addition, the Royal Navy provided the Battler class with an effective air control capability for use in the contested air space around the perimeter of Europe.

Page 24

The Convoy Conference also recommended that "the maximum possible use of auxiliary aircraft carriers is necessary to augment the scanty escorts and air cover that can be provided for convoy protection." To emphasize this lack, one escort carrier group centered on USS BOGUE (CVE 9) had been made available to the United Kingdom from February to May 1943 for North Atlantic convoy support. England, by agreement, would maintain two similar CVE escort groups of its own. One of these was built around HMS Biter, which joined Bogue in North Atlantic convoy escort during April 1943. Thus, for the first time since the loss of Audacity in December 1941, escort carriers were available on a continuous basis for convoy protection. German submarines could no longer operate with impunity on the surface out of range of land-based air.

Page 31

The Escort Carriers' Operations, 1943

During April and May 1943 50 0-boats were destroyed in the North Atlantic and Bay of Biscay, the latter being the German submarine fleet's main access route to the high seas from its bases in France. Twenty-six of these kills involved land-based aircraft and another four were achieved by escort carrier aircraft.** In return for these losses, U-boats destroyed fifty-one convoyed ships during this two-month period, an exchange rate of about one convoyed ship sunk for each U-boat sunk. The large numbers of submarine kills by aircraft combined with reduced merchant ship sinkings demonstrated the mastery of aircraft over the conventional U-boat, which was still forced to return to the surface whenever it had to recharge its batteries or move rapidly when overhauling convoys. All of this led Doenitz to conclude that:

"The overwhelming superiority achieved by the enemy defence was finally proved beyond dispute. • The convoy escorts worked in exemplary harmony with the specially trained "support groups". To that must be added the continuous air cover, which was provided by carrier-borne and long-range, shore-based aircraft, most of them equipped with the new (10 cm) radar. There were also new and heavier depth charges and improved means of throwing them. With all this against us it became impossible to carry on the fight against convoys In the submarine war there had been plenty of setbacks and crises. Such things are unavoidable in any form of warfare. But we had always overcome them because the fighting efficiency of the U-boat arm had remained steady. Now, however, the situation had changed. Radar, and particularly radar location by aircraft, had to all practical purposes robbed the U-boats of their power to fight on the surface. Wolf-pack operations against convoys in the North Atlantic, the main theatre of operations and at the same time the theatre in which air cover was strongest, were no longer possible."


Page 36

The Role of the British Merchant Aircraft Carrier

One additional form of sea-based air support to emerge from World War II was the British Merchant Aircraft Carrier,* an approach not attempted by the United States. These ships typically carried four Swordfish airplanes. The first, Empire MacAlpine, became available in late April 1943 and by the end of that year there were fourteen in service. Although MAC ships sank no U-boats, they were valuable additions to the Allied escort force. Of the 217 convoys escorted by one or more MAC ships only one lost any ships to U-boats. In addition, their availability gave the Royal Navy more flexibility in its use of the CVE for purposes other than trade escort.


Page 41

Throughout the winter of 1943-1944 the British escort carriers, operating in the very severe weather of the Arctic off the northern Norway coast, played a major role in getting the convoys through to Murmansk. After having been stopped in March 1943, they were again started in November 1943, partly in response to Stalin's continued pressure on the Allies. The winter period provided only limited daylight at such far north latitudes, making the task of the intercepting German forces far more difficult.

The U-boats accomplished much less against these convoys during this period than in the past. During the period from December 1943 through May 1944, the U-boats sank only five merchant vessels and two destroyers from these convoys while eleven U-boats were sunk. British escort carriers played a major role, contributing six of the eleven U-boat kills. In one round trip of sixteen days, with only eight days of operational flying, Swordfish planes from HMS Chaser sighted twenty-one U-boats, attacked 15, and with the aid of surface craft sank three of them.


Page 52

During World War II the escort carrier forces proved effective in convoy defense where the threat came to them, and in Hunter-Killer operations when they knew the location of the enemy. Beyond this generality, however, the US. and the British operated their CVEs in different environments in the Atlantic. The US escort carriers were never faced with an air or surface threat in their areas of the central and western Atlantic; the British, except on the North Atlantic routes, almost always were. German aircraft were a constant threat to the Arctic and Gibraltar convoys while surface attacks by major units of the German navy stationed in northern Norway was always a concern. convoy escort forces, therefore, were more elaborate, including fleet carriers, cruisers, and battleships as well as the CVE and her surface escorts.
 
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Mölders 1

Old-Salt
I am not trying to start a handbag fight with @PhotEx but I still disagree with his assertion that escort carriers and similar vessels made no contribution to winning the fight against the U boats.

This is a declassified American document: The History of Sea based Anti Submarine Warfare 1940 - 1977

From page 8 (page 19 of the PDF):

British Merchant Aircraft Carrier Development

The British therefore moved to fill the Atlantic Gap by other means. Sea-based airborne ASW as a specific weapons system evolved out of these considerations as various ship modifications were proposed and accepted by the British Admiralty between November 1940 and January 1941. Designed primarily as a counter to the long range reconnaissance-bombers, the plans called for conversion of suitable merchant ships to either fighter catapult ships or small fighter aircraft carriers.*

The near term conversions in the approved plan included five fighter-catapult ships used exclusively for anti-air defense. In addition, the catapult aircraft merchant (CAM) ships, still capable of carrying cargo, first became available in April 1941. These ships featured a bow mounted catapult and a single Sea Hurricane fighter. Once launched against an air threat, the pilot had to return to the nearest land mass or ditch alongside the ship. Eventually thirty-five CAM ships were used for convoy defense between April 1941 and September 1943. They served primarily to perform an anti-air mission in support of the merchant convoys and were the only convoy-based aircraft available during 1942.*

The British also designed the longer term conversions of the Admiralty's plan, the merchant aircraft carriers (MAC ships) and the escort carriers (CVE's), primarily with the FW-200 threat in mind. Indeed, throughout most of the war, these ships operated in areas with potentially hostile air environments serving to provide convoys with anti-air protection. By the time enough MAC ships and CVEs were available for trade escort, however, the nature of the German attack on Allied shipping had changed. U-boats operating outside of the range of Allied land-based air cover had become the primary threat. As a result the British merchant and escort carriers, in addition to their anti-air function, evolved into a more important ASW role.

The most significant result of the Admiralty's ship conversion plan was the modification of the ex-German 6, 400-ton cargo liner Hanover to the first British escort carrier, HMS Audacity. Rebuilt between 17 January and her commissioning on 20 June 1941, Audacity had no hangar, and was fitted with the "simplest possible flight deck" (368 feet by 60 feet), a basic two wire arresting system, and a small combined bridge and flying control center. From the end of June to September 1941 she conducted trials and flying exercises, working up the squadron of twelve scarce Martlet (F4F) fighters that were to be her anti-air complement.

Initial British Escort Carrier Operations in the Fall 1941

By, September 1941, the situation on the North Atlantic convoy routes had greatly improved for the British. The surfaced U-boat pack attacks to which the North Atlantic o-boats had turned in February 1941** had impractical in the presence of Allied air cover. In become April base 35 1941 the establishment of a Coastal Command air escort on Iceland extended the range of land-based air cover to degrees west. North Atlantic U-boats were then forced still farther westward. Since the German FW-200's range limited to 25 degrees west, and the North Atlantic U-boats lost the valuable reconnaissance aid that the FW's had provided, they thus were forced to locate the convoys on their own or with the aid of intelligence supplied by wireless from U-boat Command Headquarters in France. In addition, with the Allied introduction of the "end to end"--continuous--surface escort system for North Atlantic convoys in June 1941 the effectiveness of the North Atlantic U- oats was further limited. No longer could submarine attacks be executed without the possibility of interception. .

... after September 1941, Hitler decided to withdraw the majority of U-boats from the North Atlantic, positioning them west of Gibraltar and in the Mediterranean, Thus, when the escort ; carrier Audacity became available for escort duty at this time, her air complement reduced to eight Martlets, she was employed on the Gibraltar convoy route - where the increasing numbers of U-boats and German land-based bombers presented the most severe threat to Allied shipping. While these initial employments emphasized air defense, the Admiralty stated that "If and when this (the air) menace has been met and defeated it is HMS AIJDACITY in suggested that Audacity might well be used to carry TSR Action (the Swordfish torpedo bomber) aircraft so provide a convoy with its own antisubmarine patrols.

Although Audacity never employed any torpedo-bombers as antisubmarine aircraft during her short career, her Martlet fighters flying in pairs on regular patrols sighted and forced down many u-boats. This confirmed the potential of ship-based aircraft for ASW. Despite the limited destructive power of their 50 caliber machine guns, the Martlets vigorously attacked any U-boat sighted. If the submarine submerged the Martlets dropped a sea-marker over the spot. They the.n flew over the marker so that Audacity could obtain an RDF fix on the position and dispatch surface escorts to the scene. These coordinated air-surface ASW tactics accounted for one submarine during Audacity's short career, and established an important precedent for future ASW. She did succeed in downing five FW-200 Condors before she in turn was lost on 21 December 1941 to U-741 at the specific order of Admiral Doenitz, who said of these convoy actions:

"The worst feature was the presence of the aircraft carrier. Small, fast, manoeuvrable aircraft circled the convoy continuously, so that when they were sighted the boats were repeatedly forced to submerge or withdraw. The presence of enemy aircraft also prevented any protracted shadowing or homing procedure by German aircraft. The sinking of the aircraft carrier is therefore of particular importance not only in this case but also in every future convoy action."


Page 13 (page 24 of the PDF)

In the spring of 1941 the British Admiralty became concerned that their own production of the various forms of "fighter carriers" proposed in t:he winter of the previous year would be too slow to effectively meet the German long range air and U-boat threat. 1-LS a result, in May 1941 plans were begun to convert five additional suitable merchant hulls to auxiliary carders in British yards. At the same time an order was placed under Lend-Lease for the conversion of five merchant hulls by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. these were to be the Battler class, improved steam-powered versions of the prototype Long Island. As the war progressed the United States was to produce the great majority of the Royal Navy's escort carriers, the total number growing to thirty-eight, all virtually identical to these first Battler class vessels. The British, prompted by a fatal. gasoline explosion aboard the US-built HMS Dasher in March 1943, carried out extensive modifications to the aviation fuel storage and supply systems, as well as increasing each ship's stability for North Atlantic operations by adding ballast. In addition, the Royal Navy provided the Battler class with an effective air control capability for use in the contested air space around the perimeter of Europe.

Page 24

The Convoy Conference also recommended that "the maximum possible use of auxiliary aircraft carriers is necessary to augment the scanty escorts and air cover that can be provided for convoy protection." To emphasize this lack, one escort carrier group centered on USS BOGUE (CVE 9) had been made available to the United Kingdom from February to May 1943 for North Atlantic convoy support. England, by agreement, would maintain two similar CVE escort groups of its own. One of these was built around HMS Biter, which joined Bogue in North Atlantic convoy escort during April 1943. Thus, for the first time since the loss of Audacity in December 1941, escort carriers were available on a continuous basis for convoy protection. German submarines could no longer operate with impunity on the surface out of range of land-based air.

Page 31

The Escort Carriers' Operations, 1943

During April and May 1943 50 0-boats were destroyed in the North Atlantic and Bay of Biscay, the latter being the German submarine fleet's main access route to the high seas from its bases in France. Twenty-six of these kills involved land-based aircraft and another four were achieved by escort carrier aircraft.** In return for these losses, U-boats destroyed fifty-one convoyed ships during this two-month period, an exchange rate of about one convoyed ship sunk for each U-boat sunk. The large numbers of submarine kills by aircraft combined with reduced merchant ship sinkings demonstrated the mastery of aircraft over the conventional U-boat, which was still forced to return to the surface whenever it had to recharge its batteries or move rapidly when overhauling convoys. All of this led Doenitz to conclude that:

"The overwhelming superiority achieved by the enemy defence was finally proved beyond dispute. • The convoy escorts worked in exemplary harmony with the specially trained "support groups". To that must be added the continuous air cover, which was provided by carrier-borne and long-range, shore-based aircraft, most of them equipped with the new (10 cm) radar. There were also new and heavier depth charges and improved means of throwing them. With all this against us it became impossible to carry on the fight against convoys In the submarine war there had been plenty of setbacks and crises. Such things are unavoidable in any form of warfare. But we had always overcome them because the fighting efficiency of the U-boat arm had remained steady. Now, however, the situation had changed. Radar, and particularly radar location by aircraft, had to all practical purposes robbed the U-boats of their power to fight on the surface. Wolf-pack operations against convoys in the North Atlantic, the main theatre of operations and at the same time the theatre in which air cover was strongest, were no longer possible."


Page 36

The Role of the British Merchant Aircraft Carrier

One additional form of sea-based air support to emerge from World War II was the British Merchant Aircraft Carrier,* an approach not attempted by the United States. These ships typically carried four Swordfish airplanes. The first, Empire MacAlpine, became available in late April 1943 and by the end of that year there were fourteen in service. Although MAC ships sank no U-boats, they were valuable additions to the Allied escort force. Of the 217 convoys escorted by one or more MAC ships only one lost any ships to U-boats. In addition, their availability gave the Royal Navy more flexibility in its use of the CVE for purposes other than trade escort.


Page 41

Throughout the winter of 1943-1944 the British escort carriers, operating in the very severe weather of the Arctic off the northern Norway coast, played a major role in getting the convoys through to Murmansk. After having been stopped in March 1943, they were again started in November 1943, partly in response to Stalin's continued pressure on the Allies. The winter period provided only limited daylight at such far north latitudes, making the task of the intercepting German forces far more difficult.

The U-boats accomplished much less against these convoys during this period than in the past. During the period from December 1943 through May 1944, the U-boats sank only five merchant vessels and two destroyers from these convoys while eleven U-boats were sunk. British escort carriers played a major role, contributing six of the eleven U-boat kills. In one round trip of sixteen days, with only eight days of operational flying, Swordfish planes from HMS Chaser sighted twenty-one U-boats, attacked 15, and with the aid of surface craft sank three of them.


Page 52

During World War II the escort carrier forces proved effective in convoy defense where the threat came to them, and in Hunter-Killer operations when they knew the location of the enemy. Beyond this generality, however, the US. and the British operated their CVEs in different environments in the Atlantic. The US escort carriers were never faced with an air or surface threat in their areas of the central and western Atlantic; the British, except on the North Atlantic routes, almost always were. German aircraft were a constant threat to the Arctic and Gibraltar convoys while surface attacks by major units of the German navy stationed in northern Norway was always a concern. convoy escort forces, therefore, were more elaborate, including fleet carriers, cruisers, and battleships as well as the CVE and her surface escorts.

Personally l have never doubted that Escort Carriers played in important part in the defeat of the U-Boats.
 

Yokel

LE
Personally l have never doubted that Escort Carriers played in important part in the defeat of the U-Boats.

.....and the FW200s, and the Luftwaffe in the Mediterranean and in the Arctic as we were pushing convoys through, and against German surface vessels, and during the North African and Sicily landings, and during the Salerno landings....

I really have no idea why some want to dismiss the Fleet Air Arm as having achieved nothing during the war!
 

Mölders 1

Old-Salt
.....and the FW200s, and the Luftwaffe in the Mediterranean and in the Arctic as we were pushing convoys through, and against German surface vessels, and during the North African and Sicily landings, and during the Salerno landings....

I really have no idea why some want to dismiss the Fleet Air Arm as having achieved nothing during the war!


I'd say that the Fleet Air Arm were the same as other branches of Britain's Armed Forces during WW-ll......

They started the war with unsuitable Aircraft/Equipment, inadequate Training etc.

As the war progressed and the service expanded and the Training improved and they took delivery of much more suitable Aircraft, the F.A.A. became a force to be reckoned with.
 

Yokel

LE
I'd say that the Fleet Air Arm were the same as other branches of Britain's Armed Forces during WW-ll......

They started the war with unsuitable Aircraft/Equipment, inadequate Training etc.

As the war progressed and the service expanded and the Training improved and they took delivery of much more suitable Aircraft, the F.A.A. became a force to be reckoned with.

Yes - and they also integrated increasingly with the rest of the RN - so you had coordination between Swordfish and surface warships, and fighters controlled by anti aircraft cruisers.

You can probably guess the dismissive person I was talking about.
 

Yokel

LE
Perhaps the author forgot to speak to PhotEx?

As I will demonstrate, the innovation literature has ignored the sensible parameters guiding the Royal Navy's carrier design and doctrine because of a tendency to evaluate the employment of military technology by a universalistic, a-contextual standard. Assuming that one configuration of military technology is inherently optimal, the literature takes for granted that the Royal Navy should have imitated their American counterpart. The American experience in the Pacific War came to dominate popular narratives about the proper way to use aircraft carriers, and the interpretive flexibility of carrier technology diminished as the “true meaning” of aircraft carriers stabilized among students of military effectiveness.

The assumption of a “right” way to use military technology can lead analysts to underestimate the performance of militaries that employed the technology in a different manner. Analysts should assess the effectiveness of new ways of warfare in the context of the geographic environment in which it is employed and the military strategy that it supports. Instead of enshrining a single “technological style” as the best way to employ a given military technology, the historian Thomas Hughes (1987, 62) suggests that “technology should be appropriate for time and place.”10 In the case of carrier warfare, there are arguably different criteria for carrier effectiveness. The US Navy optimized designs and doctrine to prioritize offensive capabilities, which involved maximizing the number of carrier-borne aircraft and designing single- and high-performance airplanes. The Royal Navy innovated in a different direction toward defensive carrier designs and doctrine and durable, multipurpose aircraft. Both ways of carrier warfare can be effective at the same time if they are well-integrated with their respective naval strategies and geographic environments. However, technologically deterministic readings of military history have created false assessments of an effective and innovative US Navy and its ineffective and stagnant British counterpart.
 

Yokel

LE
You might enjoy this instructional film from 1942, about deck landings and launches. Despite what a certain poster might claim, the RN carriers were achieving rapid launches and landings in quick sucession.

So many things seem familiar. Turning the ship to put wind over the deck, precise and slow approaches, the communication between the flying control and the pilot, the use of hand signals by the flight deck party, radio communication between the ship and the aircraft, landing signals to an approaching pilot...



Just as now, shipborne flying was a whole ship task involving lots of sailors throughout the ship.
 
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Yokel

LE
Some have said that sailors working on a busy and noisy flight deck, with limited ability to communicate, and with each man knowing his individual job and everyone doing their bit promptly and correctly, carried on the traditions of the well drilled gun crews on a noisy gun deck in Nelson's time.
 

Yokel

LE
Also the tradition of innovation....

In 1942 there was a test landing of an autogyro at sea:



Reggie Brie's paper mentions:

In September 1941, while serving as a Wing Commander in the Royal Air Force, I was seconded to the Royal Navy for special flying duties in the United States. At this time the German submarine was becoming an increasingly serious threat to Allied shipping, and the autogyro was considered to have an operational potential for protection of merchant ships operating in convoy. In May 1942 I made the world’s first successful series of landings and take-offs from a small stern platform on the British merchant vessel ‘Empire Mersey’ in Chesapeake Bay with a Pitcairn PA-39 direct-takeoff autogyro, but the lack of the ability to hover necessitated a high level of piloting skill and positional accuracy during the final stages of the approach to land. I had already met Igor Sikorsky, and having witnessed a demonstration of the VS-300 I became convinced that the helicopter’s ability to hover in still air could appreciably facilitate operation from ships. During the next three years I was intimately associated with all phases of American helicopter research and development, and initially was personally responsible for stimulating the interest of the Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy in the operational potential of helicopters for anti-submarine duty.

It would be the Royal Navy for first take the helicopter to sea in an ASW role aboard a converted merchant ship - as this US paper notes:

On Jan. 6, 1944, the Daghestan sailed in convoy on the North Atlantic route from New York to Liverpool, England, to determine the feasibility of using the helicopter for anti-submarine warfare. The 10,000-ton ship had a tendency to roll excessively and to yaw due to deep loading with 8,000 tons of grain and no cargo between decks. The vessel never rolled less than 10 degrees and sometimes it rolled as much as 45 degrees from port to starboard. The pilots landing for the test flight landed on a flight deck measuring 50 feet by 96 feet, 22 feet above water. Of a total of 328 landings, the British made 162 landings and the United States' pilots made 166 landings, with almost no difficulties except stopping the main motor blades - it being necessary to turn the vessel downwind to reduce the relative wind to stop the rotors.

On the 16-day voyage, only three days were suitable for flying due to strong winds which sometimes gusted to 80 knots. Also, the cargo of grain shifted during the voyage, giving the ship a permanent list of five degrees which complicated the trials.

The first flight was made on the 10th day in a 30-minute flight around the convoy by Coast Guard LT JG Stewart Graham. Graham, who had only 65 hours of flight time, took off and landed with the ship rolling between 10 and 20 degrees, a 20-knot wind over the deck and the rise and fall of the deck between 10 and 20 feet. The helicopters used float-type alighting gear which provided good traction on the wooden deck. It was found that the helicopters could be operated from the deck in winds up to 40 knots so long as a wind screen was provided for stopping and starting the rotor blades.


The paper concludes:

The allies eventually solved the problem of the air-gap in the Atlantic Ocean with long-range bombers and escort carriers. Planes from the escort carriers in particular played the role that had originally been envisioned for the helicopter.

Rotary-winged aircraft appeared on the scene about two years before the helicopter could be adapted for any type of active antisubmarine warfare role.
 
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I'd read Winkle's hair raising story about learning helicopters from the manual but I did not know they tried that! every day's a school day.
 

Yokel

LE
One of the reasons the American built escort carriers were refitted in British yards, which delayed putting them into service, but improved their survivability.

 
One of the reasons the American built escort carriers were refitted in British yards, which delayed putting them into service, but improved their survivability.


there‘s a web site dedicated to those who lost their lives. heartbreaking stuff
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
there‘s a web site dedicated to those who lost their lives. heartbreaking stuff

Compounded by the complete cover up of the loss
 

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