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  #16  
Old 26 Dec 14, 11:49
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Aren't Port Moresby and Milne Bay closer than Guadalcanal to Rabaul and don't they have much better ports to provide air support for capturing Rabaul?
Why bother taking and defending Guadalcanal if you really want Rabaul and already have P.M. and M.B?
Didn't they also waste a fortune building an air base in Milne bay to prevent Jpanese attacks on shipping, or were they just cartwheeling also?

Last edited by Draco; 26 Dec 14 at 11:54..
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  #17  
Old 26 Dec 14, 13:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco View Post
17 Wildcats and 13 TBD in Lexington certainly befits the characteristic USN incompetence. Especially since You mentioned that they had decided that torpedo planes were useless. The USN only bested that performance having in Midway 7 Widcats, fewer than the 12 in Wake.
Discounting the CAP and its replacement, Lex's bombers have a ridiculous escort against Shoho and Zuiho. Well, they didn't coordinate anyway.
Then it might interest you to know that by your standards the Japanese must of have been total idiots.

The Shokaku's air group at Coral Sea was:

18 A6M Zeros
20 D3A dive bombers (Vals)
19 B5N attack planes (Kates)
That's 58 total.

The Zuikaku's air group at Coral Sea was:

21 A6M
22 D3A
20 B5N
63 total.

Shoho's
8 A6M
4 A5M (Claude)
6 B5N

Also of note, Shoho was less than 120 days in commission and this was her air wing's first naval engagement. The ship's crew was very green. The air group was commanded by a Lieutenant and had been slapped together only a couple of months before.
Worse, Shoho being a conversion, had a very slow cycle time on launching and landing aircraft Japanese doctrine being to strike aircraft down to the hangers immediately. She had just landed her previous CAP of 4 A6M when the US showed up.

During the US attack on Shoho, the Japanese CAP consisted of 3 A6M. They did manage to launch 3 more A5M early on during the attack. Of these 2 A5M and an A6M were shot down. The USN lost no aircraft.

As for coordination, the Lexington's group went in first. As the dive bombers attacked Torpedo 2 launched a coordinated run (the dive bombers actually waited for the torpedo planes to get positioned) and they pounded the Shoho with several bomb and 4 torpedo hits.
Yorktown's group followed smashing the Shoho. Many of the dive bombers broke off and attacked an escorting cruiser instead seeing that the Shoho was doomed.
The fighter escort stayed at about 18,000 feet and joined in as the Japanese CAP went after the attack planes. Diving in they shot down 3. Another was claimed by one of the SBD's but apparently wasn't actually downed just driven off.
The Japanese CAP proved ineffective. The A5M's were all but useless with their two 7.7mm machinegun armament. USN pilots did comment on it having "incredible" maneuverability. But, aerobatics didn't save them when it came to facing 4 .50 machineguns.
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Old 26 Dec 14, 13:33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco View Post
Aren't Port Moresby and Milne Bay closer than Guadalcanal to Rabaul and don't they have much better ports to provide air support for capturing Rabaul?
Why bother taking and defending Guadalcanal if you really want Rabaul and already have P.M. and M.B?
Didn't they also waste a fortune building an air base in Milne bay to prevent Jpanese attacks on shipping, or were they just cartwheeling also?
This occurred for two reasons:

The first has to do with US military politics. The SWPA command under MacAuthur was making the push from New Guinea while Guadalcanal was a USN / USMC operation as part of the PTO. That made a dual thrust inevitable.

The second is that Guadalcanal, as previously explained, was to be a base of operations for the conquest of the Gilbert Island chain, the USN's next objective.
After Guadalcanal was secured the Navy built it up as an operating base. The US Army used it to push up the Solomon chain as part of the SWPA operation Cartwheel to surround then reduce and take Rabual.
The US Army built most of the facilities on New Guinea while the USN built most of the facilities in the Solomon chain.



Building an airfield. This usually took just weeks to accomplish for the US.



US made piers and the sort of overwhelming material support put into operations, Russell Islands Solomon chain.
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  #19  
Old 26 Dec 14, 14:14
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Why risk the carriers, Bombers and Catalinas at all in Midway, especially leaving Yorktown alone? It makes more sense to ferry 60 P-40 and leave no bombers or Catalinas at all in the islands and to send 2 old, useless BB with heavy AAA (wasted escorting convoys along the US Pacific coast, although they're quite useless for ASW) and 12 DD near the island to wipe out attacking planes and 6 packs of 4 subs to the area NW of Midway, where the carriers are expected. The subs should be able to damage at least a carrier. After the first wave of 108 planes is wiped out by fighters and AAA with few American losses, the IJN would probably send a second wave, which would also be wiped out. The Japanese would withdraw having lost most of their invaluable pilots and planes, so they would have a lot of empty carriers in 1942, instead of in 1944. Japan would have probably lost more pilots than it actually did in the battle of Midway, for none could have been rescued close to the islands and with 12 US DDs in the area. The US would lose no navy pilots and no carriers and be in excellent position to invade an island in the Indian Ocean (Java, Sumatra, Penang or Andamans). If Yamamoto sends BBs to attack the US BBs and shell Midway, a nice naval battle would ensue and carrier bombers or B-25s or 26s can arrive in the island to support the BBs.

Nagumo should have also launched his scout planes at dawn and waited for the attack from Midway before sending the first wave. With all his fighters at hand, he could have wiped out all the bombers from Midway and not worried about being attacked again. Once the bombers are wiped out, the 11 BBs and the CA could shell the islands, without risking his valuable pilots bombing them on the first day.

Wasp, the newest fleet carrier had the worst maneuverability and bomb torpedo resistance and the least powerful engines. She was extremely lucky that the axis did not attack her with her deck full of Spitfires for Malta in 2 runs.
After all those billions of dollars in 1940 the US had a Lex with cast iron fuel pipes and a very vulnerable Saratoga and Wasp, little AA in capital ships, lousy torpedoes, slow BBs, short range DDs and a shortage of modern planes.
The US army had worse tanks than Poland or Czechoslovakia and inferior plane designs to Romania or Yugoslavia and there were very few M1 rifles, 81 mm mortars and no SP guns and the army was much smaller than and its training inferior to Poland's the previous year.

I did say that it was absurd of the Japanese to send Shoho with that complement and without Zuiho (more experienced) and for Shoho to keep the worst possible CAP (2 A5Ms and 1 Zero) in dangerous waters. The premise of the thread is that unlike the poor planning of the Japanese for Coral Sea, they plan it well with their enormous resources). I only mentioned that the AMericans could not have planned it worse also.

Last edited by Draco; 26 Dec 14 at 14:25..
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  #20  
Old 26 Dec 14, 14:39
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Does it not make a lot more sense for the army to go for Rabaul with air support from Milne Bay and P.M. and the navy to go for Nauru (closer to the Gilberts) than to fart around Tulagi and Guadalcanal? Unless the navy is afraid of Japanese planes and subs in those islands.

Yes, the US could build airfields fast, too bad it did it in useless islands. Had they done it in Pantelleria, Gozo, Penang, etc in May 1942 and in Sardinia and Java shortly thereafter the savings to the allies and the damage to the axis would have been incredible. Just the pedestal convoy cost the allies 10 of the best merchant ships, a carrier sunk, a carrier damaged, a cruiser, etc, just the shipping for Alexandria, India and Abadan around South Africa cost endless fuel and man- and ship-hours.

Last edited by Draco; 26 Dec 14 at 15:01..
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  #21  
Old 26 Dec 14, 17:13
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Another interesting tidbit. Draco mentioned that Lexington and Saratoga had small air groups.

Well, on 7 June 1942, the Saratoga left Pearl Harbor for Midway (being a couple days late for the battle as she had to return from the West Coast) with a composite air group of 107 aircraft aboard:

VF 5 18 F4F-4
VF 72 20 F4F-4
VF 2 (det) 9 F4F-4
VS 3 26 SBD 3
VS 5 10 SBD 3
VT 5 5 TBD-1
VT 8 (det) 10 TBF-1
Ferry detachment 9 SBD-3
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  #22  
Old 26 Dec 14, 19:28
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I said Lex had a small group and Sara was vulnerable to torpedoes, but never said Sara had a small group.

It's ironic that Sara with a great Wildcat complement was absent in Coral Sea and Lex and Yorktown were there with few Wildcats. However, Sara was ferrying the Wildcats. Somehow, they never were where most needed.

Did you know that in Oct 1941, before being at war, 2 USN BBs and CA joined RN ships awaiting for Tirpitz to sortie. Some strategy and neutrality. The 21 kt BBs would have given Tirpitz a hell of a chase and the 8" guns of the CAs a hell of a battle.

Last edited by Draco; 26 Dec 14 at 20:04..
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  #23  
Old 26 Dec 14, 20:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco View Post
I said Lex had a small group and Sara was vulnerable to torpedoes, but never said Sara had a small group.
You implied it right here. Saratoga is Lexington's twin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco View Post
Do You know why Nimitz would use the shorter deck of the Hornet to carry 16 B-25s and the longer decked, older Lexington, which could carry only 63 planes to fight in the Coral Sea?


Quote:
It's ironic that Sara with a great Wildcat complement was absent in Coral Sea and Lex and Yorktown were there with few Wildcats. However, Sara was ferrying the Wildcats. Somehow, they never were where most needed.
Saratoga was on the West Coast shortly before Midway. She went to San Diego where at NAS North Island she picked up an ad hoc air group made up of odds and ends of Naval air squadrons that were available. From there she steamed to Pearl Harbor arriving on the 5th of June. She refueled and sailed for Midway on the 7th.
This is another case of timing. She missed the battle by just 3 days. Again, the US didn't have perfect intelligence. Near Midway she met the Hornet and Enterprise transferring some of her aircraft to them to bring their air groups back up to strength.
Hornet and Enterprise then went north towards Alaska to look for the two Japanese carriers suspected to be there. Saratoga remained near Midway in case the Japanese decided to continue to try and take the island. That arrangement was in part made because the Saratoga's air group hadn't worked or trained together unlike the Hornet's and Enterprise's had.

Quote:
Did you know that in Oct 1941, before being at war, 2 USN BBs and CA joined RN ships awaiting for Tirpitz to sortie. Some strategy and neutrality. The 21 kt BBs would have given Tirpitz a hell of a chase and the 8" guns of the CAs a hell of a battle.
Actually, it was March 1942 and the ships were Bat Div 6 with the 28 knot Washington and North Carolina. Those were the US's newest battleships and either was more than a match for Tirpitz.
The other ships with them were: The cruisers Wichita, and Tuscaloosa, aircraft carrier Wasp, and 6 destroyers.

That group would have pounded the Tirpitz into wreckage in nothing short. Tirpitz couldn't run from a US carrier's air group. They would have crippled her in short order. The two US BB had 16'/45 caliber guns that would have absolutely wrecked the Tirpitz in a surface action not to mention having better radar and fire controls than the German battleship had.
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Old 26 Dec 14, 22:02
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The US had damn good intelligence, what it lacked is leaders. Just like Enterprise and Hornet missed the battle of the Coral Sea because of the absurd Doolittle raid, so did Saratoga miss Midway because she was waiting for an admiral and because of poor planning and coordination. 1,500 workers worked nonstop for 3 days to half patch up Yorktown, while Sara calmly awaited her admiral.

Isn't it surprising that despite Sara being out of service and Hornet and Enterprise being on a mission that did not require many carrier planes, Lex and Yorktown had small complements to fight an invasion fleet in the Coral Sea?

No, it was in Oct 1941 and the ships were Ohio, Mississippi, Wichita and another CA. The only way the BBs would have even approached Tirpitz is if another Swordfish damaged the rudder again, not a chance in hell with the current AAA (as proven in the Channel dash)

Last edited by Draco; 26 Dec 14 at 22:14..
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Old 26 Dec 14, 22:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco View Post
The US had damn good intelligence, what it lacked is leaders. Just like Enterprise and Hornet missed the battle of the Coral Sea because of the absurd Doolittle raid, so did Saratoga miss Midway because she was waiting for an admiral and because of poor planning and coordination. 1,500 workers worked nonstop for 3 days to half patch up Yorktown, while Sara calmly awaited her admiral.
That is all BS and nonsense. The Saratoga left Bremerton for San Diego on the 22nd of May with VF 2 aboard. When she arrived at San Diego on the 25th more of her air group came aboard. Admiral Fitch missed the ship who sailed with her battle group for Pearl Harbor on the 30th May.
Admiral Fitch rode the cruiser Chester to Pearl Harbor missing the Saratoga by 2 days. Saratoga was under orders from CinCPacFlt (eg., Nimitz) to sail immediately after loading aircraft which she did.
The Saratoga made 20 knots (cruising speed) for Pearl where she arrived late on the 6th of June.

Quote:
Isn't it surprising that despite Sara being out of service and Hornet and Enterprise being on a mission that did not require many carrier planes, Lex and Yorktown had small complements to fight an invasion fleet in the Coral Sea?
It is more interesting that Bremerton finished all the repairs and modifications to Saratoga over two weeks early. Her original completion date was set for 25 May. She spent about a week on trials after leaving the yards and made for San Diego on the 22nd.
Ferrying planes from the West Coast to Pearl was being done as quickly as shipping permitted but the easiest way was to use a carrier. That's why Saratoga arrived at Pearl with a flight deck of aircraft and a full hanger bay as well. Many of those planes stayed at Pearl or eventually transferred to other carriers.

Quote:
No, it was in Oct 1941 and the ships were Ohio, Mississippi, Wichita and another CA. The only way the BBs would have even approached Tirpitz is if another Swordfish damaged the rudder again, not a chance in hell with the current AAA (as proven in the Channel dash)
The USS Ohio was scrapped in 1922.



If you are thinking about US neutrality patrols, then the three (3) battleships assigned were Mississippi, Idaho, and New Mexico
They never sailed East of Greenland and were only in Western Atlantic waters. After the war started all three transferred to the Pacific Fleet.

They generally operated together or in pairs. Any one of the three was more than a match for Tirpitz. They might have been slow but they had better armor than Tirpitz, better fire control, better radar, and half again (12 versus 8) as many tubes in the main battery as the German ship.
In naval warfare higher speed on capital ships is only good tactically for running away.

Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 26 Dec 14 at 23:11..
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Old 26 Dec 14, 23:25
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Sorry, I meant Idaho, not Ohio.

Why didn't the planes fly to Sara, instead of all the way around and why didn't she leave as soon as she got the planes, instead of waiting till the 30 May? Doesn't it make more sense to sail Bremerton-PH than sailing first to San Diego?

In the thread about Pantelleria You said there were no Marines in the European theater and that the navy would not allow that. How about those in Iceland? What a waste of fine troops. Army men could have done that easy job.
Bismark was on a mission to sink merchant ships and fought PoW and Hood only because he could not outrun them. He would obviously simple leave the 21 kt BBs behind.
As for the CAs, I doubt they could survive as many 36cm shells as Tirpitz could survive 8" shells and German accuracy was usually quite good.

Last edited by Draco; 27 Dec 14 at 11:27..
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Old 27 Dec 14, 02:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draco View Post
Why didn't the planes fly to Sara, instead of all the way around and why didn't she leave as soon as she got the planes, instead of waiting till the 30 May? Doesn't it make more sense to sail Bremerton-PH than sailing first to San Diego?
If you had ever tied up while serving on a carrier at North Island in San Diego you'd know the answer to that question. I have a number of times.

Quote:
In the thread about Pantelleria You said there no Marines in the European theater and that the navy would not allow that. How about those in Iceland? What a waste of fine troops. Army men could have done that easy job.
Because the 6th Marines could deploy overseas in peacetime while the US Army couldn't. The Marines on Iceland were replaced with US Army troops within less than two months after the war started for the US.
They went to the Pacific with other Marine units.

Quote:
Bismark was on a mission to sink merchant ships and fought PoW and Hood only because he could not outrun them. He would obviously simple leave the 21 kt BBs behind.
As for the CAs, I doubt they could survive as many 36cm shells as Tirpitz could survive 8" shells and German accuracy was usually quite good.
And the 21 knot battleships would have done their job in stopping the depredation of the convoy(s) they protected. All the cruisers need do is what the British ones did. Shadow the Bismarck or Tirpitz and then report their position to allow other naval units to intercept and sink them. Once either was discovered and their location was known they were pretty much doomed.
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Old 27 Dec 14, 11:43
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The only reason they intercepted and sank Bismarck was Catalinas and braking radio silence, the cruisers lost her repeatedly.

The 21 kt battleships can protect the cargoships at 7 kt from Tirpitz as well as a Gladiator can protect a fully loaded Stirling from a Bf 109. The British knew this and ordered PQ-17 to scatter, causing a U-Boat frenzy.

It's unfortunate they didn't use the Marines from Iceland, Wasp, the BBs, etc, to take Pantelleria and Crete, changing completely the Med.
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Old 27 Dec 14, 12:34
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One Battleship is supposed to be able to take out three Battleships, based solely upon the fact that the one battleship is several knots faster?

Bull

Draco, I almost enjoy reading some of your stuff, but this is moronic to a ridiculous extreme.

For one, the speed issue is only present when you're talking on a fleet level. If the USN was trying to attack Tirpitz, then the 21kt speed would be a problem. The BBs, however, get to sit there and let Tirpitz come to them. He has to, if he wants the convoy. So it'll be a slugging match, since at 21kts the Standards can easily keep themselves between Tirpitz and the 7kt convoy. And so, if Tirpitz wants to hit the convoy he can....and get into a gunfight with 3 Battleships that are each individually tougher and superior gunfighters. 1 on 1, might have a chance. 3 on 1, Tirpitz is either limping away badly damaged or sunk. 8 x 15in just aren't capable of dealing with 36 x 14in. In any universe. And the All or Nothing "Raft Body" armor scheme was proven to be far more effective than armor scaled to the importance of an area....Tirpitz will get positively owned, since virtually none of his armor can repel 14in shells, while the most vital portions of all three ships facing him could defeat 15in shells at normal engagement ranges.

That's the problem with being a raider....you have to beat the defenders to reap the rewards. Which is why surface raiders went the way of the dodo once the submarine came into existence.....a surface raider has to physically defeat the escorts.....which means a BB surface raider could find a convoy with only some light cruisers, or find one with multiple battleships. A submarine can elude rather than destroy. Tirpitz was a waste of resources, as was Bismarck. The only surface raiders that Germany used that were 'resource efficient' to a large degree were Q-ships and the Deutschlands.

Tirpitz would have hit one convoy.....been creamed by the battleship escort, and fled.....and then been hunted down once damaged.
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Old 27 Dec 14, 14:56
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More interestingly, the neutrality patrols rarely had BB's at sea with them. Most of the patrols were a cruiser-destroyer force that was tasked with spotting and reporting hostile nation's warships within the neutrality zone. Remember, this is before the US got into the war.

The three BB initially assigned were New York, Texas, and Arkansas with Ranger

New Mexico, Idaho, and Mississippi joined the patrols in June 1940 being transferred from the Pacific Fleet. They went back to the Pacific in December 1941 after Pearl Harbor was attacked.

The BB's were always held as a "reserve" force at NOB Norfolk / Hampton Roads to be sent to sea only if necessary.
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