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

Are you saying you do not think that there was an issue with thousands of fighters being desperately needed for the RAF? To design and development an aircraft for the carrier would have diverted resources.

From here:

Minute from First Lord of Admiralty to Prime Minister [AVIA 46/ 136] 6 December 1941

Supply of Grumman Martlet fighters

FIGHTER AIRCRAFT FOR THE FLEET AIR ARM.

I am increasingly anxious as regards the prospective situation of shipborne fighter aircraft. I attach a chart on which graphs show how the aircraft available fail to meet the requirements. It will be seen from the graphs that up to the end of 1942 the situation is apparently satisfactory, but I would point out that this apparently satisfactory position is due to the use of the obsolescent Fulmar in the first line squadrons aided by the supply of 260 Hurricane ‘Ones’ from the Royal Air Force, which have been converted for use in Carriers, and by the prospective supply of 200 Spitfires, which you yourself were instrumental in obtaining for us from the Royal Air Force subsequent to your visit to H.M.S. INDOMITABLE.

It was hoped that with the supply of Martlets from the United States of America commencing at the rate of 20 per month, as it should have done from October, 1940, we could have kept our heads above water until the new fleet fighters, Firebrand and Firefly, came into effective production. Owing to the failure of the U.S.A. to keep their promise, the situation deteriorates to a marked degree after the end of 1942. We wish to increase the number of Auxiliary Carriers by a total of 15 in 1942, and are considering a further 15 in 1943 and 1944. This will accentuate our difficulty, because although at present the idea of using these Carriers for anti-submarine purposes is predominant, it may well be that Germany will push out her air-raiders to an extent which will require Auxiliary Carriers to be equipped with fighters in addition to anti-submarine craft.

It is clear, therefore, that unless drastic steps are taken to increase the production of fleet fighters, we are likely to be in a nasty hole from the beginning of 1943 onwards. Although we have use of a number of Hurricanes, and in prospect of a number of Spitfires, it must emphasised that these are not really suitable aircraft for operating from Carriers for the following reasons:

(a) They cannot be used in the small lifts of VICTORIOUS, ILLUSTRIOUS and FORMIDABLE.

(b) Although they can be used in the Carriers fitted with large lifts, they occupy so much more space than a folding aircraft that a drastic reduction in the small number of aircraft which can be carried by any one Carrier is dictated.

(c) Their small endurance requires a Carrier to be turned into the wind so often in order to relieve fighter patrols that the consequent reduction of speed of advance of the ships from which it may be operating is quite unacceptable under certain circumstances.

(d) The R.A.F. aircraft cannot carry the equipment in the way of radio sets and homing beacons, which we have found necessary, for successful operations from Carriers…

The American folding fleet fighter is the ideal aircraft for the job, but here again the productive capacity of the United States is barely sufficient to meet the requirements of their own Navy, which is much behind in modern aircraft owing to the fact that Congress has not allowed them to change their aircraft more than once every five years.

Also, the Firefly was acceptable as a Fulmar++ but the Firebrand was a turkey.
 
That was undoubtedly a function of the way the Fleet Air Arm was run until Inskip made it fully part of the RN, as it meant that no aviators were able to attack senior rank. They were no Admirals in the 1930s who knew what it was like to try to intercept and enemy aircraft in fog, and them try to fid and land on your carrier.
Surely senior flying officers (RN) would gain experience in the 20s/30son the China and med stations
 

Yokel

LE
Not likely to be in charge, though

Not likely to be future senior officers. I wonder if this lack of understanding in advances caused Their Lordships to be so with regards to things like keeping aircraft speeds down in order to reduce landing speeds, and insisting on every aircraft having an Observer.

To be honest it would be interesting to see who rose to flag rank vis RNAS Vs RAF

RAF Officers would be promoted to be more senior RAF Officers - were there any means of a naval pilot going on to Flag Rank or serving on a Flag Officers' staff?
 
I believe the Firefly was hampered by being a two-seater. A good Ground Attack Platform but not in the same league as the Wildcat/Hellcat/Corsair as a Fighter.

The Fulmar was a good solution to the problem doctrine posed it, which heavily emphasised recce, counter recce, and foul weather ops. That in turn went back to before the RN started using radar for fighter direction. The Firefly used the weight lifting capability the Griffon engine gave it to start a new life as something like a Typhoon with a navigator.
 

Mölders 1

War Hero
Not likely to be future senior officers. I wonder if this lack of understanding in advances caused Their Lordships to be so with regards to things like keeping aircraft speeds down in order to reduce landing speeds, and insisting on every aircraft having an Observer.



RAF Officers would be promoted to be more senior RAF Officers - were there any means of a naval pilot going on to Flag Rank or serving on a Flag Officers' staff?
I rated your comment Excellent as regards the first paragraph.
 
Not likely to be future senior officers. I wonder if this lack of understanding in advances caused Their Lordships to be so with regards to things like keeping aircraft speeds down in order to reduce landing speeds, and insisting on every aircraft having an Observer.



RAF Officers would be promoted to be more senior RAF Officers - were there any means of a naval pilot going on to Flag Rank or serving on a Flag Officers' staff?

Quick look at HMS Eagle led to

 

Mölders 1

War Hero
The Fulmar was a good solution to the problem doctrine posed it, which heavily emphasised recce, counter recce, and foul weather ops. That in turn went back to before the RN started using radar for fighter direction. The Firefly used the weight lifting capability the Griffon engine gave it to start a new life as something like a Typhoon with a navigator.

Towards the end of the war though the U.S. Navy found that their Corsairs and Hellcats were just as capable at Ground Attack as their Helldivers and Avengers.
 
A prewar design Improved with experience
4523A809-7D02-4C29-A0A9-B6BCE9EBFD88.jpeg

A sea fire of HMS Furious, in 1940 Furious delivered much needed sugar to Britain.
 
Towards the end of the war though the U.S. Navy found that their Corsairs and Hellcats were just as capable at Ground Attack as their Helldivers and Avengers.
Hence the development of the Skyraider to replace both dive bombers and torpedo planes.
 

Mölders 1

War Hero
An excellent fighter which clearly illustrated that an an excellent fighter could make a rather poor carrier aircraft.
Fairs fair, the Spitfire was designed to achieve Air Superiority over it's own back garden.

The design was never going to be as suitable for Carrier Operations as a purpose built Aircraft but there was no alternative at the time.
 

Yokel

LE
Quick look at HMS Eagle led to


I cannot see any reference to him having flown as Pilot or Observer. My point stands.

Fairs fair, the Spitfire was designed to achieve Air Superiority over it's own back garden.

The design was never going to be as suitable for Carrier Operations as a purpose built Aircraft but there was no alternative at the time.

Sub optimal for carrier operations due to limited range, not having the structural strength to absorb the stress of arrested landings, weak landing gear that struggled with the impact of deck landing, and limited over the nose visibility for carrier landing. Despite that it was successfully employed in carriers of all sizes - both fleet carriers and escort ones, in multiple theatres.

80% now is better than 100% in two years time if you need a fighter now, and we did.
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top