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

Here is a thing. Lots of praise here for a fighter recce airctaft derived from one of the most reviled aircraft of the Second World War ---- the Fairy Battle.

i wonder if the RAF had persevered with a light bomber, the Fiairy Battle might have become as useful as the IL2 Sturmovik. The RAF did not particularly want the Fairy Battle, but it is what was available. The RAF really wanted heavy bombers to bomb Germany. But WW2 illustrated how important close air support was to land operations. Put a later mark of Merlin in an armoured Battle with a decent forward facing armament and dive brakes and you have a decent light bomber.
For all that has been written about it and it's heavy Armour Playing, the IL-2 was vulnerable to marauding Luftwaffe Fighters and was hard work to fly due to all the extra weight.

I don't think their was any development potential in the Fairey Battle, (the otherwise much improved Fairey Firefly suffered from being a Two-seater), in any case these types of Aircraft were easy targets for Fighters when Unescorted.

As the U.S. Navy discovered in 1944-45 a the Hellcat and Corsair were more than able to carry out the Close Air Support needed by the Marines on Iwo Jima etc, whereas in Normandy the Typhoon Squadrons provided exemplary Close Air Support, (even if they didn't destroy all that many Tanks).
 
Battle/Fulmar/Firefly while similar in design and parts different designs although if a part worked then it would be easier than retooling machines

The Albacore did some desert fighting where it’s dive bombing was precise. Clumsier than the Swordfish its replacement by the Barracuda and Avenger was simple aircraft technology progression.

Reason I mention the Tigercat, one sole USN crate was evaluated and rejected for the British built Hornet

While wartime purchasing meant buy what you can when and now. British designs were chosen keeping British companies at the coal face.
To be fair, Royal Navy Test Pilot Eric "Winkle" Brown described the De Havilland Sea Hornet as "Sheer Over-Powered Perfection".
 
To be fair, Royal Navy Test Pilot Eric "Winkle" Brown described the De Havilland Sea Hornet as "Sheer Over-Powered Perfection".
Too late for smashing the Kreigsmarine or fending off the He111 on the Russian convoys
The Hawker Sea Fury was an absolute beaut of a Naval Piston-Engined Fighter Bomber.
I got to see the historic flight in the mid nineties, when the FAA still owned and maintained them. It had a look about it, ideal for piston fighting just out of its depth against jet opponent.
Ironic that the Soviets got a jet engine gratis that made them hard to engage over Korea.

Apologise for drifting into post war Cold War FAA history it is pertinent to the FAA evolving
 
Too late for smashing the Kreigsmarine or fending off the He111 on the Russian convoys

I got to see the historic flight in the mid nineties, when the FAA still owned and maintained them. It had a look about it, ideal for piston fighting just out of its depth against jet opponent.
Ironic that the Soviets got a jet engine gratis that made them hard to engage over Korea.

Apologise for drifting into post war Cold War FAA history it is pertinent to the FAA evolving
The Sea Fury and it's Pilots performed all manor of Strike Missions to a very high standard over Korea, however time and Aviation Technology wait for no one.
 

Yokel

LE
Too late for smashing the Kreigsmarine or fending off the He111 on the Russian convoys

I got to see the historic flight in the mid nineties, when the FAA still owned and maintained them. It had a look about it, ideal for piston fighting just out of its depth against jet opponent.
Ironic that the Soviets got a jet engine gratis that made them hard to engage over Korea.

Apologise for drifting into post war Cold War FAA history it is pertinent to the FAA evolving

Was the He111 the main Luftwaffe type used to attack the allied convoys from Norwegian airfields? I have mostly read of the Ju88 being used. Are there any statistics regarding how many of them were splashed by (escort) carrier based fighters, compared to those down by anti aircraft gunnery? Additionally the escort carriers played an important anti U boat role.

Sending U boats to counter the Arctic Convoys diverted them from Donitz's strategic priority of attacking convoys in the Atlantic.
 
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Was the He111 the main Luftwaffe type used to attack the allied convoys from Norwegian airfields? Are there any statistics regarding how many of them were splashed by (escort) carrier based fighters, compared to those down by anti aircraft gunnery? Additionally the escort carriers played an important anti U boat role.

Sending U boats to counter the Arctic Convoys diverted them from Donitz's strategic priority of attacking convoys in the Atlantic.
I think it was more likely the JU 88 which was the main Luftwaffe Aircraft used against the Artic Convoys.
 

Yokel

LE




PQ15 onwards

They get mentioned in HMS Ulysses

PQ18, the first Arctic Convoy after the debacle and tragedy of PQ17, was the first Arctic Convoy to have an escort carrier (HMS Avenger) with Sea Hurricanes and Swordfish.

Wikipedia article - this appears to have been copied from one of the books mentioned in the references.

On 3 September 1942, Avenger, under the command of ex-Swordfish pilot Commander Anthony Paul Colthust, left Britain for Iceland to take part in Convoy PQ 18. The weather was cold, and in heavy seas one of her Sea Hurricanes broke its restraints and was lost over the side. The ship was located at sea by a Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf Condor, and shortly after arriving in Iceland, Avenger was subjected to a bombing attack by another Condor. Both of the bombs it dropped missed the ship, but two houses ashore were demolished. In their determination for PQ 18 to be a success, the Royal Navy created the largest escort force ever assembled for an Arctic convoy up until that time. Under command of Rear-Admiral Robert Burnett, the force included Avenger—the only aircraft carrier—which was joined by the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Scylla and 16 fleet destroyers, plus the normal complement of close support sloops, corvettes, and minelayers. Avenger and Scylla, with the close escort destroyers Wheatland and Wilton, left Iceland and joined the convoy late on 9 September 1942. One of her Swordfish aircraft was immediately sent up on an anti-submarine patrol. Bad weather prevented any flying for the following two days, but the weather cleared by noon on 12 September. The clearer skies revealed a Blohm & Voss BV 138 flying boat shadowing the convoy. Four Hurricanes took off to intercept it but could not find it in the clouds. Later the same day, a Swordfish on anti-submarine patrol sighted two U-boats; they had dived by the time the escorts got into position.

The next day, 13 September, a Swordfish took off on patrol at 03:45 and attacked a U-boat on the surface. At 07:00, another Swordfish sighted two U-boats, which dived before an attack could be launched. Later another Blohm & Voss BV 138 was sighted and Sea Hurricanes were sent to intercept it, but it was lost in the clouds. At 09:00 two merchant ships were torpedoed and sunk; more aircraft and U-boats were located shadowing the convoy. This time the Sea Hurricanes did locate the German reconnaissance aircraft but found their .303 calibre machine guns had little effect on the armoured Blohm & Voss aircraft. At 15:00 six Junkers Ju 88 which had been circling the convoy headed in on a bombing attack. No ships were hit, and the Sea Hurricanes started to engage them. The bombing mission appears to have been a diversion to get the fighters out of position. It was followed with a torpedo attack by a mixed formation of 50 Junkers Ju 88 and Heinkel He 111. The planes flew into an intense anti-aircraft barrage which shot down five aircraft and disrupted the others, so that out of 96 torpedoes only eight found a target. One of the He 111s was also intercepted and shot down by the Sea Hurricanes. Another air attack by nine Heinkel He 115 torpedo bombers followed at 16:15. One was shot down by the convoy's anti-aircraft barrage, and the rest were sufficiently deterred so that their torpedoes, dropped at a distance, were easily evaded by the ships in the convoy. During this attack the Sea Hurricanes had again been diverted to look for a shadowing Blohm & Voss BV 138, which ultimately shot one of them down without any apparent damage to itself. At 20:40 a force of 12 He 111 torpedo-bombers attacked in small groups, but almost half were shot down by the anti-aircraft barrage and the Sea Hurricanes, which were in position to intercept them this time.

At 03:30 on 14 September, a U-boat torpedoed and sank a tanker at the rear of the convoy. A patrolling Swordfish attacked at 04:00 and forced a surfaced U-boat to dive, although the submarine did not appear to be damaged. Another Swordfish sighted U-589 at 09:40; this submarine also dived, but was located and sunk by
HMS Onslow. Avenger's captain now had to change tactics to work around a limitation of the Sea Hurricanes and Fairey Swordfish: They were not able to use the USN designed catapult which required a tail down take off, rather than the tail up method used by the Royal Navy's catapults, and so needed the full deck length to take off. He endeavoured to keep a section of fighter aircraft in the air during daylight hours and another ready to launch, so they could break up large German aircraft formations. This entailed a continuous cycle of take offs and landings to re-fuel and re-arm. At 12:30 a group of 22 Ju 88s and He 111s with an escort of Messerschmitt Bf 110s approached the convoy from dead ahead. Aboard Avenger, nine Sea Hurricanes took off. Their presence forced some of the German planes to drop their torpedoes early and turn away, while others were shot down by the anti-aircraft barrage. A simultaneous attack by a force of 14 Ju 88s at the rear of the convoy divided the Sea Hurricane squadrons, which shot down one of the Ju 88s. The carrier and escorts were targeted by the German aircraft, and about 20 aircraft succeeded in making a bombing run. One aircraft was shot down by the barrage, the eleventh of the day.

Immediately following, at 15:30, 25 He 111 torpedo bombers appeared in front of the convoy. Of these, 17 targeted
Avenger, which managed to evade all the torpedoes. However, three of her Sea Hurricanes, which had closed on the He 111s, were shot down by the escorts' barrage. The pilots were all rescued. Another force of Ju 88s appeared and targeted Avenger and Scylla. Neither ship was hit, but a number of near misses were recorded. One near miss started a small fire in Avenger's catapult room, which was quickly dealt with. That was the last attack of the day. The Sea Hurricanes claimed five out of 24 aircraft shot down; another three were probably shot down; and 14 were damaged.

During the early hours of 15 September, the convoy was fogbound. The fog started to clear at 12:20, and Avenger's radar operator reported a group of 70 bombers approaching. All of
Avenger's remaining Sea Hurricanes took off to intercept them. The presence of the fighters kept the bombers above the cloud level; their altitude kept them from bombing with any accuracy. The bombers remained in the vicinity of the convoy until fuel shortages forced them to leave, and by 16:45 Avenger's radar was clear of any targets. On 16 September a Consolidated Catalina of No. 210 Squadron RAF, based in Russia, arrived to take over the anti-submarine patrols from Avengers' Swordfish. This allowed her to clear the deck of Swordfish and assemble the spare Sea Hurricanes for the return journey. Avenger, Scylla, and the destroyers left PQ 18 that evening to join the homeward bound convoy leaving Russian waters. When Convoy PQ 18 arrived at Archangel no escorts and only ten of the 41 merchant ships in the convoy had been sunk.
 
PQ18, the first Arctic Convoy after the debacle and tragedy of PQ17, was the first Arctic Convoy to have an escort carrier (HMS Avenger) with Sea Hurricanes and Swordfish.

Wikipedia article - this appears to have been copied from one of the books mentioned in the references.

On 3 September 1942, Avenger, under the command of ex-Swordfish pilot Commander Anthony Paul Colthust, left Britain for Iceland to take part in Convoy PQ 18. The weather was cold, and in heavy seas one of her Sea Hurricanes broke its restraints and was lost over the side. The ship was located at sea by a Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf Condor, and shortly after arriving in Iceland, Avenger was subjected to a bombing attack by another Condor. Both of the bombs it dropped missed the ship, but two houses ashore were demolished. In their determination for PQ 18 to be a success, the Royal Navy created the largest escort force ever assembled for an Arctic convoy up until that time. Under command of Rear-Admiral Robert Burnett, the force included Avenger—the only aircraft carrier—which was joined by the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Scylla and 16 fleet destroyers, plus the normal complement of close support sloops, corvettes, and minelayers. Avenger and Scylla, with the close escort destroyers Wheatland and Wilton, left Iceland and joined the convoy late on 9 September 1942. One of her Swordfish aircraft was immediately sent up on an anti-submarine patrol. Bad weather prevented any flying for the following two days, but the weather cleared by noon on 12 September. The clearer skies revealed a Blohm & Voss BV 138 flying boat shadowing the convoy. Four Hurricanes took off to intercept it but could not find it in the clouds. Later the same day, a Swordfish on anti-submarine patrol sighted two U-boats; they had dived by the time the escorts got into position.

The next day, 13 September, a Swordfish took off on patrol at 03:45 and attacked a U-boat on the surface. At 07:00, another Swordfish sighted two U-boats, which dived before an attack could be launched. Later another Blohm & Voss BV 138 was sighted and Sea Hurricanes were sent to intercept it, but it was lost in the clouds. At 09:00 two merchant ships were torpedoed and sunk; more aircraft and U-boats were located shadowing the convoy. This time the Sea Hurricanes did locate the German reconnaissance aircraft but found their .303 calibre machine guns had little effect on the armoured Blohm & Voss aircraft. At 15:00 six Junkers Ju 88 which had been circling the convoy headed in on a bombing attack. No ships were hit, and the Sea Hurricanes started to engage them. The bombing mission appears to have been a diversion to get the fighters out of position. It was followed with a torpedo attack by a mixed formation of 50 Junkers Ju 88 and Heinkel He 111. The planes flew into an intense anti-aircraft barrage which shot down five aircraft and disrupted the others, so that out of 96 torpedoes only eight found a target. One of the He 111s was also intercepted and shot down by the Sea Hurricanes. Another air attack by nine Heinkel He 115 torpedo bombers followed at 16:15. One was shot down by the convoy's anti-aircraft barrage, and the rest were sufficiently deterred so that their torpedoes, dropped at a distance, were easily evaded by the ships in the convoy. During this attack the Sea Hurricanes had again been diverted to look for a shadowing Blohm & Voss BV 138, which ultimately shot one of them down without any apparent damage to itself. At 20:40 a force of 12 He 111 torpedo-bombers attacked in small groups, but almost half were shot down by the anti-aircraft barrage and the Sea Hurricanes, which were in position to intercept them this time.

At 03:30 on 14 September, a U-boat torpedoed and sank a tanker at the rear of the convoy. A patrolling Swordfish attacked at 04:00 and forced a surfaced U-boat to dive, although the submarine did not appear to be damaged. Another Swordfish sighted U-589 at 09:40; this submarine also dived, but was located and sunk by
HMS Onslow. Avenger's captain now had to change tactics to work around a limitation of the Sea Hurricanes and Fairey Swordfish: They were not able to use the USN designed catapult which required a tail down take off, rather than the tail up method used by the Royal Navy's catapults, and so needed the full deck length to take off. He endeavoured to keep a section of fighter aircraft in the air during daylight hours and another ready to launch, so they could break up large German aircraft formations. This entailed a continuous cycle of take offs and landings to re-fuel and re-arm. At 12:30 a group of 22 Ju 88s and He 111s with an escort of Messerschmitt Bf 110s approached the convoy from dead ahead. Aboard Avenger, nine Sea Hurricanes took off. Their presence forced some of the German planes to drop their torpedoes early and turn away, while others were shot down by the anti-aircraft barrage. A simultaneous attack by a force of 14 Ju 88s at the rear of the convoy divided the Sea Hurricane squadrons, which shot down one of the Ju 88s. The carrier and escorts were targeted by the German aircraft, and about 20 aircraft succeeded in making a bombing run. One aircraft was shot down by the barrage, the eleventh of the day.

Immediately following, at 15:30, 25 He 111 torpedo bombers appeared in front of the convoy. Of these, 17 targeted
Avenger, which managed to evade all the torpedoes. However, three of her Sea Hurricanes, which had closed on the He 111s, were shot down by the escorts' barrage. The pilots were all rescued. Another force of Ju 88s appeared and targeted Avenger and Scylla. Neither ship was hit, but a number of near misses were recorded. One near miss started a small fire in Avenger's catapult room, which was quickly dealt with. That was the last attack of the day. The Sea Hurricanes claimed five out of 24 aircraft shot down; another three were probably shot down; and 14 were damaged.

During the early hours of 15 September, the convoy was fogbound. The fog started to clear at 12:20, and Avenger's radar operator reported a group of 70 bombers approaching. All of
Avenger's remaining Sea Hurricanes took off to intercept them. The presence of the fighters kept the bombers above the cloud level; their altitude kept them from bombing with any accuracy. The bombers remained in the vicinity of the convoy until fuel shortages forced them to leave, and by 16:45 Avenger's radar was clear of any targets. On 16 September a Consolidated Catalina of No. 210 Squadron RAF, based in Russia, arrived to take over the anti-submarine patrols from Avengers' Swordfish. This allowed her to clear the deck of Swordfish and assemble the spare Sea Hurricanes for the return journey. Avenger, Scylla, and the destroyers left PQ 18 that evening to join the homeward bound convoy leaving Russian waters. When Convoy PQ 18 arrived at Archangel no escorts and only ten of the 41 merchant ships in the convoy had been sunk.
That one post permanently settles several arguments that have occurred across this thread.......

1, The effectiveness of the Escort Carrier in protecting Convoys. H.M.S Avenger was clearly a "Game Changer" for the Artic Convoy P.Q. 18.

2, Even the sight of a nearby Aircraft forced U-Boats to Crash-dive for their own safety which frustrated their chances of being able to attack the Convoy they were shadowing.

3, Intercepting Fighters forced attacking Bombers to drop their Bombs/Torpedoes from any manor of angle/altitude which more often than not caused them to miss and therefore rendered their attacks ineffective......just as an effective defence as shooting them down.
 

Yokel

LE
That one post permanently settles several arguments that have occurred across this thread.......

1, The effectiveness of the Escort Carrier in protecting Convoys. H.M.S Avenger was clearly a "Game Changer" for the Artic Convoy P.Q. 18.

2, Even the sight of a nearby Aircraft forced U-Boats to Crash-dive for their own safety which frustrated their chances of being able to attack the Convoy they were shadowing.

3, Intercepting Fighters forced attacking Bombers to drop their Bombs/Torpedoes from any manor of angle/altitude which more often than not caused them to miss and therefore rendered their attacks ineffective......just as an effective defence as shooting them down.

Yes - the escort carrier was a game changer in terms of convoy defence. The earlier presence of HMS Audacity on the convoys to and from Gibraltar caused great concern at U boat command.

With respect to the Swordfish, the U boats spent most of their time patrolling on the surface, searching for convoys, which they then reported to their headquarters, before attacking on the surface as a pack. Making them crash dive at any point made them far less effective at finding targets, communicating (either transmitting reports or receiving attack orders), or indeed attacking a column of merchantmen.

I think that the earlier naval fighters also contributed to the ships not being hit, even if they achieved few kills. I am thinking of the 1940 Norway campaign, and the early days of the war in the Mediterranean.
 
I think that the earlier naval fighters also contributed to the ships not being hit, even if they achieved few kills. I am thinking of the 1940 Norway campaign, and the early days of the war in the Mediterranean.
As regards the years 1940-42 the Fleet Air Arm was in the same boat as the U.S. Navy was as regards it's Fighter Defence. They had to manage with what they had (in their case the F4F Wildcat with it's mediocre performance) during their most difficult time of the war (December 1941 through to early 1943) against Japan.

The vastly improved Corsair and Hellcat Fighters arrived in service after the time of crisis for both Navies had passed.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
For all that has been written about it and it's heavy Armour Playing, the IL-2 was vulnerable to marauding Luftwaffe Fighters and was hard work to fly due to all the extra weight.

I don't think their was any development potential in the Fairey Battle, (the otherwise much improved Fairey Firefly suffered from being a Two-seater), in any case these types of Aircraft were easy targets for Fighters when Unescorted.

As the U.S. Navy discovered in 1944-45 a the Hellcat and Corsair were more than able to carry out the Close Air Support needed by the Marines on Iwo Jima etc, whereas in Normandy the Typhoon Squadrons provided exemplary Close Air Support, (even if they didn't destroy all that many Tanks).
The potential of the Fairy Battle to become a "heavy ground attack aircraft" is a counterfactual and cannot be proved either way.

The Soviets, and Germans persevered with specialized ground attack aircraft, such as the IL2,Pe2, Fw190F Ju87 and Hs 129. None of these were capable of holding their own against true fighters, but all had features that made then more effective or survivable as ground attack aircraft.

The British and Americans largely abandoned tactical light bombers and ground attack aircraft, but diverted their fighter force to operate as fighter bombers, and claimed that they were just as effective - although I am not aware of any systematic analysis, and lightly armoured fighters suffered heavily from light AA. Part of the issue is the pecking order of fighter jock versus mud mover.

This debate about the value of specialised ground attack aircraft continues in the form of the value of the A10.
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
PQ18, the first Arctic Convoy after the debacle and tragedy of PQ17, was the first Arctic Convoy to have an escort carrier (HMS Avenger) with Sea Hurricanes and Swordfish.

Wikipedia article - this appears to have been copied from one of the books mentioned in the references.

On 3 September 1942, Avenger, under the command of ex-Swordfish pilot Commander Anthony Paul Colthust, left Britain for Iceland to take part in Convoy PQ 18. The weather was cold, and in heavy seas one of her Sea Hurricanes broke its restraints and was lost over the side. The ship was located at sea by a Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf Condor, and shortly after arriving in Iceland, Avenger was subjected to a bombing attack by another Condor. Both of the bombs it dropped missed the ship, but two houses ashore were demolished. In their determination for PQ 18 to be a success, the Royal Navy created the largest escort force ever assembled for an Arctic convoy up until that time. Under command of Rear-Admiral Robert Burnett, the force included Avenger—the only aircraft carrier—which was joined by the anti-aircraft cruiser HMS Scylla and 16 fleet destroyers, plus the normal complement of close support sloops, corvettes, and minelayers. Avenger and Scylla, with the close escort destroyers Wheatland and Wilton, left Iceland and joined the convoy late on 9 September 1942. One of her Swordfish aircraft was immediately sent up on an anti-submarine patrol. Bad weather prevented any flying for the following two days, but the weather cleared by noon on 12 September. The clearer skies revealed a Blohm & Voss BV 138 flying boat shadowing the convoy. Four Hurricanes took off to intercept it but could not find it in the clouds. Later the same day, a Swordfish on anti-submarine patrol sighted two U-boats; they had dived by the time the escorts got into position.

The next day, 13 September, a Swordfish took off on patrol at 03:45 and attacked a U-boat on the surface. At 07:00, another Swordfish sighted two U-boats, which dived before an attack could be launched. Later another Blohm & Voss BV 138 was sighted and Sea Hurricanes were sent to intercept it, but it was lost in the clouds. At 09:00 two merchant ships were torpedoed and sunk; more aircraft and U-boats were located shadowing the convoy. This time the Sea Hurricanes did locate the German reconnaissance aircraft but found their .303 calibre machine guns had little effect on the armoured Blohm & Voss aircraft. At 15:00 six Junkers Ju 88 which had been circling the convoy headed in on a bombing attack. No ships were hit, and the Sea Hurricanes started to engage them. The bombing mission appears to have been a diversion to get the fighters out of position. It was followed with a torpedo attack by a mixed formation of 50 Junkers Ju 88 and Heinkel He 111. The planes flew into an intense anti-aircraft barrage which shot down five aircraft and disrupted the others, so that out of 96 torpedoes only eight found a target. One of the He 111s was also intercepted and shot down by the Sea Hurricanes. Another air attack by nine Heinkel He 115 torpedo bombers followed at 16:15. One was shot down by the convoy's anti-aircraft barrage, and the rest were sufficiently deterred so that their torpedoes, dropped at a distance, were easily evaded by the ships in the convoy. During this attack the Sea Hurricanes had again been diverted to look for a shadowing Blohm & Voss BV 138, which ultimately shot one of them down without any apparent damage to itself. At 20:40 a force of 12 He 111 torpedo-bombers attacked in small groups, but almost half were shot down by the anti-aircraft barrage and the Sea Hurricanes, which were in position to intercept them this time.

At 03:30 on 14 September, a U-boat torpedoed and sank a tanker at the rear of the convoy. A patrolling Swordfish attacked at 04:00 and forced a surfaced U-boat to dive, although the submarine did not appear to be damaged. Another Swordfish sighted U-589 at 09:40; this submarine also dived, but was located and sunk by
HMS Onslow. Avenger's captain now had to change tactics to work around a limitation of the Sea Hurricanes and Fairey Swordfish: They were not able to use the USN designed catapult which required a tail down take off, rather than the tail up method used by the Royal Navy's catapults, and so needed the full deck length to take off. He endeavoured to keep a section of fighter aircraft in the air during daylight hours and another ready to launch, so they could break up large German aircraft formations. This entailed a continuous cycle of take offs and landings to re-fuel and re-arm. At 12:30 a group of 22 Ju 88s and He 111s with an escort of Messerschmitt Bf 110s approached the convoy from dead ahead. Aboard Avenger, nine Sea Hurricanes took off. Their presence forced some of the German planes to drop their torpedoes early and turn away, while others were shot down by the anti-aircraft barrage. A simultaneous attack by a force of 14 Ju 88s at the rear of the convoy divided the Sea Hurricane squadrons, which shot down one of the Ju 88s. The carrier and escorts were targeted by the German aircraft, and about 20 aircraft succeeded in making a bombing run. One aircraft was shot down by the barrage, the eleventh of the day.

Immediately following, at 15:30, 25 He 111 torpedo bombers appeared in front of the convoy. Of these, 17 targeted
Avenger, which managed to evade all the torpedoes. However, three of her Sea Hurricanes, which had closed on the He 111s, were shot down by the escorts' barrage. The pilots were all rescued. Another force of Ju 88s appeared and targeted Avenger and Scylla. Neither ship was hit, but a number of near misses were recorded. One near miss started a small fire in Avenger's catapult room, which was quickly dealt with. That was the last attack of the day. The Sea Hurricanes claimed five out of 24 aircraft shot down; another three were probably shot down; and 14 were damaged.

During the early hours of 15 September, the convoy was fogbound. The fog started to clear at 12:20, and Avenger's radar operator reported a group of 70 bombers approaching. All of
Avenger's remaining Sea Hurricanes took off to intercept them. The presence of the fighters kept the bombers above the cloud level; their altitude kept them from bombing with any accuracy. The bombers remained in the vicinity of the convoy until fuel shortages forced them to leave, and by 16:45 Avenger's radar was clear of any targets. On 16 September a Consolidated Catalina of No. 210 Squadron RAF, based in Russia, arrived to take over the anti-submarine patrols from Avengers' Swordfish. This allowed her to clear the deck of Swordfish and assemble the spare Sea Hurricanes for the return journey. Avenger, Scylla, and the destroyers left PQ 18 that evening to join the homeward bound convoy leaving Russian waters. When Convoy PQ 18 arrived at Archangel no escorts and only ten of the 41 merchant ships in the convoy had been sunk.
My late father in law was a sailor on PQ18. For the first thirty years I knew him he just said he had served on an Arctic convoy but invalided our of the Navy after a freak wave caught him on the return journey and pinned him by his bum onto a deck cleat. It wasn't until my son was doing a project about the World wars that we identified his shil HMS Milne and the convoy - PQ18. When I repeated some of the above to him he said he thought it was always like that,.
 
Yes - the escort carrier was a game changer in terms of convoy defence. The earlier presence of HMS Audacity on the convoys to and from Gibraltar caused great concern at U boat command.

With respect to the Swordfish, the U boats spent most of their time patrolling on the surface, searching for convoys, which they then reported to their headquarters, before attacking on the surface as a pack. Making them crash dive at any point made them far less effective at finding targets, communicating (either transmitting reports or receiving attack orders), or indeed attacking a column of merchantmen.

I think that the earlier naval fighters also contributed to the ships not being hit, even if they achieved few kills. I am thinking of the 1940 Norway campaign, and the early days of the war in the Mediterranean.

The loss of HMS Glorious was down to her Captain returning to Scapa for the court martial of commander Air
Gladiators Swordfish and RAF hurricanes were lost, the walruses don’t get a mention?
Ark Royals Skuas were mostly lost, her Rocs were used as a combat air patrol. Her swordfish suffered losses against the Scharnhorst, land based skuas sank the Königsberg.

With the swordfish emerging as the most reliable prewar aircraft, it sauntered along until the end of the war. The Roc relegated to training as was the Skua, with the Fulmar swordfish as the main aircraft until lendlease kicked in
 
The loss of HMS Glorious was down to her Captain returning to Scapa for the court martial of commander Air
Gladiators Swordfish and RAF hurricanes were lost, the walruses don’t get a mention?
Ark Royals Skuas were mostly lost, her Rocs were used as a combat air patrol. Her swordfish suffered losses against the Scharnhorst, land based skuas sank the Königsberg.

With the swordfish emerging as the most reliable prewar aircraft, it sauntered along until the end of the war. The Roc relegated to training as was the Skua, with the Fulmar swordfish as the main aircraft until lendlease kicked in

My grandmother's first boyfriend was killed when Glorious was sunk

He was an RAF mechanic serving at sea
 
My grandmother's first boyfriend was killed when Glorious was sunk

He was an RAF mechanic serving at sea

It took time for the FAA to train men, he could have been one of the personal sea trained on carriers or a bod hitching a ride to and from Norway, unlikely though as I don’t think Glorious docked in Norway?

floatplanes on cruisers were similar yet required crane operations for recovery
 

Pteranadon

LE
Book Reviewer
The loss of HMS Glorious was down to her Captain returning to Scapa for the court martial of commander Air
Gladiators Swordfish and RAF hurricanes were lost, the walruses don’t get a mention?
Ark Royals Skuas were mostly lost, her Rocs were used as a combat air patrol. Her swordfish suffered losses against the Scharnhorst, land based skuas sank the Königsberg.

With the swordfish emerging as the most reliable prewar aircraft, it sauntered along until the end of the war. The Roc relegated to training as was the Skua, with the Fulmar swordfish as the main aircraft until lendlease kicked in
The loss of HMS Glorious more than just the Captain wanting to court martial the commander air, for his refusal to carry out an attack on shore targets on the grounds that the targets were at best ill-defined and his aircraft were unsuited to the task. Glorious' captain was so single minded that there was no search aircraft or CAP that would have prevented a fast aircraft carrier being caught unawares by surface units in daylight. Captain Guy D'Oyly-Hughes is then man who should have been court-martialed - except there was no provision for a posthumous court martial.

Britain lost a fleet carrier, its crew and the airmen of 263 squadron (+) who deserved a better fate after successfully landing Hurricane, not sea Hurricanes on Glorious
 

Yokel

LE
The loss of HMS Glorious more than just the Captain wanting to court martial the commander air, for his refusal to carry out an attack on shore targets on the grounds that the targets were at best ill-defined and his aircraft were unsuited to the task. Glorious' captain was so single minded that there was no search aircraft or CAP that would have prevented a fast aircraft carrier being caught unawares by surface units in daylight. Captain Guy D'Oyly-Hughes is then man who should have been court-martialed - except there was no provision for a posthumous court martial.

Britain lost a fleet carrier, its crew and the airmen of 263 squadron (+) who deserved a better fate after successfully landing Hurricane, not sea Hurricanes on Glorious

Her two escorting destroyers were also both lost with extremely heavy loss of life. One of them was able to torpedo the two German battlecruisers and cause damage that would need dockyard repairs.

There should have been aircraft patrolling but it is not certain how much of a difference that would have made. The Swordfish could have attacked the two battlecruisers, but would hitting one or both of them be enough to make the Germans break off their attack?
 
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