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CLAAs vs CLs/CAs

 
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CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/16/2013 11:43:32 PM   
alanschu

 

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I know the US CLs are pretty much CAs (in some cases they are even more durable!) and so forth.

Does the game treat CLAAs differently than the other cruisers, or is it just a designation more for flavour? For some reason I was thinking they might get extra shots against an attacking air strike.

< Message edited by alanschu -- 2/16/2013 11:48:36 PM >
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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/16/2013 11:49:30 PM   
Don Bowen


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quote:

ORIGINAL: alanschu

I know the US CLs are pretty much CAs (in some cases they are even more durable!) and so forth.

Does the game treat CLAAs differently than the other cruisers, or is it just a designation more for flavour?


I believe CLAA are more likely to be used for escorts in carrier TFs.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/17/2013 12:58:43 AM   
Sakai007


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I do believe that CLAAs contribute to flak for all ships in a TF. Once air combat is done, aircraft attack ships on a 1 vs 1 basis. CLAAs will defend ships under attack during this phase even when it's not the specific ship under attack. I just read this in the manual the other day, but it's not open in front of me so if I am off some, please feel free to correct me.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/17/2013 2:50:29 AM   
wdolson

 

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CLAAs were, from what I've read, a post war USN designation for CLs that had a large suite of dual purpose 5 inch guns instead of 6 inch guns. During the war they were designated CLs.

I don't believe the code treats them any differently than CLs, they just throw up a lot more AA against air attacks and aren't as potent in a surface battle against anything larger than a DD.

Bill

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/17/2013 8:38:23 AM   
mike scholl 1

 

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The ATLANTA Class were originally designed as Destroyer Leaders, but often used during the war as AA Cruisers. Basically they provided the AA firepower of a 10,000 ton cruiser on a 6,000 ton hull, so they were faster and cheaper to produce. Had they been originally designed for the AA role, they would have had more AA directors and no TT tubes.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/18/2013 3:59:21 AM   
wneumann


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quote:

CLAAs were, from what I've read, a post war USN designation for CLs that had a large suite of dual purpose 5 inch guns instead of 6 inch guns. During the war they were designated CLs.

I don't believe the code treats them any differently than CLs, they just throw up a lot more AA against air attacks and aren't as potent in a surface battle against anything larger than a DD.

Armor protection on Atlanta Class CLAA is much lighter than armor on other US light cruiser classes. It's likely they were probably designed as AA cruisers despite their use in several surface actions off Guadalcanal (CLAA more often than not were casualties in these actions). Given the light armor protection they had and their armament, it doesn't seem they (Atlanta class CLAA) were intended or well suited for use in surface combat ops.

The lighter armor protection for the Atlanta CLAA class is reflected in the AE game data values, code in the AE game engine likely picking up the numbers in the ship data and going from there.

< Message edited by wneumann -- 2/18/2013 4:03:23 AM >

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/18/2013 11:44:33 AM   
spence

 

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quote:

Given the light armor protection they had and their armament, it doesn't seem they (Atlanta class CLAA) were intended or well suited for use in surface combat ops.


Friday, 13 November 1942 - Knife fight in the dark. Come as you are.

(I've always wondered why Pensacola didn't attend but Atlanta and Juneau did.)

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/18/2013 12:13:20 PM   
wdolson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wneumann
Armor protection on Atlanta Class CLAA is much lighter than armor on other US light cruiser classes. It's likely they were probably designed as AA cruisers despite their use in several surface actions off Guadalcanal (CLAA more often than not were casualties in these actions). Given the light armor protection they had and their armament, it doesn't seem they (Atlanta class CLAA) were intended or well suited for use in surface combat ops.

The lighter armor protection for the Atlanta CLAA class is reflected in the AE game data values, code in the AE game engine likely picking up the numbers in the ship data and going from there.


What I meant was the code doesn't make any distinction between a CL and a CLAA. The database is different, but a player can make a custom scenario with CLAAs that have BB armor protection if they want.

I haven't read up on them, but if Mike is right and they were intended as destroyer leaders, they were probably built to match the Japanese CLs which were often lead ships in DD squadrons. A sort of keeping up with the Jones' sort of thing. In the end the many 5 inch gun CLs just were not needed in that role. Surface combat in the Pacific was fairly rare and the mix was usually whatever was available. The 5" weapons were dual purpose and CV formations needed all the AA they could get, so they were slotted into that role. I have read that the CV admirals didn't really like the 5" cruisers though.

Bill

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/19/2013 5:11:29 AM   
alanschu

 

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In evolving this thread, how exactly does task force AAA work?

I know there's the shots while approaching, during attack (if the alt changes), and leaving. Do all ships get those shots? Does the attacked ship only get the shots for the 2nd phase? All phases?

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/19/2013 7:43:09 AM   
castor troy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: alanschu

In evolving this thread, how exactly does task force AAA work?

I know there's the shots while approaching, during attack (if the alt changes), and leaving. Do all ships get those shots? Does the attacked ship only get the shots for the 2nd phase? All phases?



all ships in a TF fire at an incoming strike, above 15 ships additional ships contribute less and less to flak to simulate the fact that not every ship in a TF would be able to fire on incoming aircraft. A 100 ship TF with 10000 total AA value would put more flak up than a 15 ship TF with 2000 total AA value even though the 10000 total AA value wouldn't actually turn out as 10000 as it is just the sum of each ship's AA value of the TF. Do I make myselve clear? Probably not.



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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/19/2013 8:13:50 AM   
Sardaukar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: castor troy


quote:

ORIGINAL: alanschu

In evolving this thread, how exactly does task force AAA work?

I know there's the shots while approaching, during attack (if the alt changes), and leaving. Do all ships get those shots? Does the attacked ship only get the shots for the 2nd phase? All phases?



all ships in a TF fire at an incoming strike, above 15 ships additional ships contribute less and less to flak to simulate the fact that not every ship in a TF would be able to fire on incoming aircraft. A 100 ship TF with 10000 total AA value would put more flak up than a 15 ship TF with 2000 total AA value even though the 10000 total AA value wouldn't actually turn out as 10000 as it is just the sum of each ship's AA value of the TF. Do I make myselve clear? Probably not.




It is actually very clear to me and I bet to most. But I add, just in case.

To say it bit differently TF with ships up to 15 ships = 100 % of flak power.
TF with ships 16-100 (100 is max number in TF, IIRC) = 100% up to 15 + less % added per ship, diminishing slowly ship by ship when numbers grow.

E.g. TF with 25 ships WILL contribute lot more AA than 15 ship similar composition TF, but not 100% for 25 ships. Exact formulas are unknown, but we could say as an example in this case: 15 ships contribute 100% of their flak and rest of 10 ships maybe add 80% as average (numbers are just pulled out of hat with that 80%, but that's the idea).

And let's not even get to directions of attack etc....since I think often not all ship's AA weapons can fire, if attack comes from wrong direction to them to face.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/19/2013 8:35:21 AM   
alanschu

 

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So basically diminishing returns (which is understandable).

Do we know if it affects only the additional ships? Or would 16 ships potentially have less effective AAA than 15 ships if the 16th is particularly crap at AAA. Based on your talks, it sounds as though all ships 16+ contribute diminishing returns in some regards.

I remember the 15 ship rule. How big do you guys make your offensive task forces then? I typically capped them at 15, but maybe I should just go all out and go for 25 (if I am planning on going that big). A raid I might use maybe 4 or 5 (just to reduce detection chance), but I figure the difference between finding 15 or 25 ships is probably pretty small.


Cheers!

Allan

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/19/2013 11:52:25 AM   
spence

 

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Unfortunately, TF flak, particularly CV TF flak, is coded in a manner which reflects USN doctrine:
high value targets sailing in the center of a compact, protective "ring" formation. Such a formation was not adopted by the IJN until 1944.

As detailed and even photographed in "Shattered Sword", prior to that the Kido Butai sailed around in a very, very dispersed formation. Flak played almost no part in TF defense (2 US planes were shot down by IJN flak all day on June 4th, '42 out of over 220 attacking bombers(all day)). If the CAP failed to stop attacking bombers, the ship which was under attack was supposed to maneuver radically as its primary defense. It had plenty of sea room to do so but had virtually no help in the form of flak from other ships (other than the plane guard DD).

The other ships were spread out to visually spot incoming raids: BBs and cruisers out at around 5 miles from the CVs (thus only within range of the heavy AA guns along the axis of the attack) with the DD's out to about 15 miles (out of range of all of their AAA). The principle job of the ships along the axis of the air attack was to use smoke and/or their main armament firing at the water to attract the attention of the CAP.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/19/2013 4:23:28 PM   
witpqs


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quote:

ORIGINAL: spence

Unfortunately, TF flak, particularly CV TF flak, is coded in a manner which reflects USN doctrine:
high value targets sailing in the center of a compact, protective "ring" formation. Such a formation was not adopted by the IJN until 1944.

As detailed and even photographed in "Shattered Sword", prior to that the Kido Butai sailed around in a very, very dispersed formation. Flak played almost no part in TF defense (2 US planes were shot down by IJN flak all day on June 4th, '42 out of over 220 attacking bombers(all day)). If the CAP failed to stop attacking bombers, the ship which was under attack was supposed to maneuver radically as its primary defense. It had plenty of sea room to do so but had virtually no help in the form of flak from other ships (other than the plane guard DD).

The other ships were spread out to visually spot incoming raids: BBs and cruisers out at around 5 miles from the CVs (thus only within range of the heavy AA guns along the axis of the attack) with the DD's out to about 15 miles (out of range of all of their AAA). The principle job of the ships along the axis of the air attack was to use smoke and/or their main armament firing at the water to attract the attention of the CAP.

Are you sure it's not coded to adjust per side?

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/19/2013 5:44:01 PM   
btbw

 

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quote:

Flak played almost no part in TF defense

4 reasons for that in IJN:
1. Unadequate LAA gun.
2. Wrong ammo for HAA.
3. Lack of CVG escort ships, especially ships heavier then DD.
4. Priority in main gun direction instead of AA fire before and early in WW2.

Also fifth reason - chaotic personnel use, but that reason not clear for understand.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/19/2013 10:11:49 PM   
spence

 

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quote:

Are you sure it's not coded to adjust per side?


Some attempt may have been made. During the replay there is often a period of flak firing which precedes the A2A phase. In fact the deadly smoke screen defense seems to bring down the occasional Allied/American plane. Just imagine what the IJN could have accomplished if they'd fired their guns AT the attacking planes.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/19/2013 11:07:32 PM   
witpqs


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quote:

... if they'd fired their guns AT the attacking planes.

A revolutionary concept!

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/19/2013 11:44:40 PM   
wdolson

 

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Pre-war Japanese doctrine considered surface ships the more potent threat. They figured the USN aircraft to be poor quality and the crews just as poor. The TBD was a generation behind the Kate, and Japanese doctrine saw the torpedo bomber as the primary naval weapon with the dive bomber being the secondary weapon that split enemy forces and crippled ships for the torpedo bombers to finish off.

The Japanese badly underestimated the SBD. The SBDs dropped their bombs at a higher altitude than the Vals. The Japanese thought that was because American pilots were weak, they didn't realize it was because the US had a superior weapon.

The US had a technology nobody else did, the trailing edge split flap. Japanese and German dive bombers used fence type dive brakes. Fence style dive brakes did work, but the plane bucked and bounced on the way down. To ensure a hit, pilots had to hold the dive to near suicidal altitudes. With the trailing edge split flap, the dive was very stable which allowed the pilot to make gentle course corrections within the dive. SBDs could release at a higher altitude and still have a good chance of a hit because the pilot had a better assurance where the bomb was going after release.

The SBD could also carry a larger load. The max load was 1600 lbs for an SBD, but that was almost never used. The SBD could and did carry 1000 lb bombs, the Val was limited to 250 Kg (about 550 lb). And early war USN strike package was usually about 2/3 500 lb bombs and 1/3 1000 lb bombs, but the bigger bombs were there.

The lack of a potent torpedo bomber at Midway did ensure that the USN didn't actually sink any carriers. But the SBDs did such massive damage that the IJN scuttled all 4 carriers. The description of the Kaga in Shattered Sword is striking. Even if the ship had been capable of getting to a friendly base, she might have been scuttled anyway. The fires gutted all the upper decks of the ship.

In any war, especially a long one, everybody goes in with assumptions that are proven wrong in combat. The Japanese thought their carrier aviation was vastly superior to the USN and in some ways it was, but they underestimated US strengths.

Everybody underestimated how much flak they would need. Both sides upgraded flak suites on everything throughout the war. The US was more aggressive about it, but they also had the industrial infrastructure to afford it.

The US had the mutual defense doctrine down early war (though effectiveness lacked), but the Japanese thought the big threat was coming from surface ships coming in after the air attack, so they built their CV formations with that in mind. The Japanese war doctrine was built on the subs thinning the enemy fleet, then the CVs taking out some more, and finally the big surface ships would come in to finish the job. The US was thinking along the same lines, with CVs and BBs, but the loss of so many BBs at PH made them rethink. By Midway the US knew they were much weaker in surface assets, but they could attain near parity in air power between the 3 Yorktowns and Midway. Even still, TF 1 was waiting out in the middle of the Pacific between San Francisco and Midway with all the serviceable BBs in the Pacific fleet. A bit of the US OOB nobody knows about.

Early war USN air defense doctrine was a bit better than Japan, but early carrier losses demonstrate it had holes too. It's telling the only US carrier losses after 1942 were due to 3 factors:

1) A lucky shot by a lone attacker slipping through the CAP (the Princeton)
2) A massive screw up (Battle Off Samar)
3) Kamikazes (which never sank a carrier larger than a CVE, though they damages a lot of fleet carriers)

After 1942, the US started building a lot of advantages from lessons learned, better AA, better AA direction, better CAP, better fighters as well as better pilot training, and better CAP direction. At the same time Japanese pilot quality was in steep decline and newer aircraft designs were often inferior to US designs. The US had the luxury of building fighters around big engines like the P&W 2800 which had just about worked out all the bugs by Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had to start from scratch with bigger engines and it wasn't until late war they had anything they could use and Japanese large engines remained finicky to the end.

I'll stop rambling now...

Bill

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/20/2013 8:28:32 AM   
alanschu

 

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No no! Please continue rambling! That was a good read! :)

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/20/2013 2:18:16 PM   
Panther Bait


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It might also be that the Japanese AA doctrine, deficient as it was, was also geared towards stopping torpedo bombers more than dive bombers.  Torpedo bombers use longer, slower, more steady runs at lower altitudes.  High elevation, high altitude, fast turning AA is possibly less important for those types of planes relative to dive bombers.  Concentric rings of AA might give you more attempts to hit a torpedo plane driving on the high-value targets in the middle of the rings.

Also, a good defense against torpedoes (of any kind) would seem to be the ability of the target to manuever to deny the torpedo bomber a good angle to attack from and then evade the torps once dropped.  Giving the high-value ships more room to manuever without risk of collision would help with that.

Not saying they had the right idea, but as wdolson indicated, maybe they were concentrating on the wrong weapon to defend against.

Mike

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/20/2013 2:39:07 PM   
btbw

 

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quote:

But the SBDs did such massive damage that the IJN scuttled all 4 carriers

MASSIVE damage from own planes mostly. Ineffective damage from 1000lb was reason to born Helldiver.
quote:

The description of the Kaga in Shattered Sword is striking. Even if the ship had been capable of getting to a friendly base, she might have been scuttled anyway

Wrong! No capable for getting to friendly base like Bismark.



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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/20/2013 3:22:56 PM   
witpqs


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quote:

ORIGINAL: btbw

quote:

But the SBDs did such massive damage that the IJN scuttled all 4 carriers

MASSIVE damage from own planes mostly. Ineffective damage from 1000lb was reason to born Helldiver.

The myth of armed planes crowding the decks has been convincingly put to rest.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/20/2013 3:59:24 PM   
LoBaron


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Very interesting post and great summary. Thanks for the read Bill.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/20/2013 6:05:45 PM   
goran007

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: btbw

quote:

But the SBDs did such massive damage that the IJN scuttled all 4 carriers

MASSIVE damage from own planes mostly. Ineffective damage from 1000lb was reason to born Helldiver.


in same sentence you cant really say 500kg bomb and Ineffective, especially when compared with IJN 250kg (that were effective enough)

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/20/2013 9:16:24 PM   
wdolson

 

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quote:

But the SBDs did such massive damage that the IJN scuttled all 4 carriers


quote:

ORIGINAL: btbw
MASSIVE damage from own planes mostly. Ineffective damage from 1000lb was reason to born Helldiver.


The Helldiver was built to a 1938 specification. It's development program was well along before the war in Europe started. The prototype first flew in 1940. The Helldiver had longer range and was a bit faster than the SBD. The total bomb load was a bit higher, but that was all based on pre-war requirements, not lessons learned in combat.

The USN thought it was going to have SB2Cs on the carriers by early 1942, so they gave the first batch of SBDs directly to the Marines. The SBD was going to be a fairly minor aircraft. When the Helldiver program ran into problems, SBD production was increased and it became the standard dive bomber until the SB2C was ready.

quote:

The description of the Kaga in Shattered Sword is striking. Even if the ship had been capable of getting to a friendly base, she might have been scuttled anyway


quote:


Wrong! No capable for getting to friendly base like Bismark.


Maybe something got lost in translation? I did not say there was any chance of getting Kaga to a friendly base. I said "even if" it was capable of getting her to a friendly base. In other words if they were much closer to a major port they could have towed the ship to. In game terms the Kaga had almost 0 flotation damage, but Sys damage was at 99.

Where they ere when the carriers were damaged ensured there was no chance of getting any of them to friendly ports. I don't know if any of them could have been put back into service if they had been near a friendly major port, but the damage to the Hiryu and Akagi was not as massive as the Kaga's (though both were severe and Akagi had a stuck rudder). Soryu had a 1000 lb bomb go off deep in her gut, which probably doomed her no matter where she was.

Bill

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/20/2013 11:24:31 PM   
spence

 

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quote:

It might also be that the Japanese AA doctrine, deficient as it was, was also geared towards stopping torpedo bombers more than dive bombers. Torpedo bombers use longer, slower, more steady runs at lower altitudes. High elevation, high altitude, fast turning AA is possibly less important for those types of planes relative to dive bombers. Concentric rings of AA might give you more attempts to hit a torpedo plane driving on the high-value targets in the middle of the rings.


IIRC "Shattered Sword" indicates that IJN AAA didn't account for any of the torpedo bombers (TBDs/TBFs or B-26). All torpedo bomber losses were caused by the CAP. The IJN CVs were able to use their high speed and generous sea room to take advantage of the slowness of the TBD and the US torpedo but their flak, both heavy and light, was very ineffective.

quote:

MASSIVE damage from own planes mostly. Ineffective damage from 1000lb was reason to born Helldiver.


Although the proximate cause of the completely uncontrollable fires experienced by the IJN carriers at Midway was the gasoline and munitions loaded onto the IJN planes in the hangars the 1000 lber or even the 500 lber were hardly ineffective. They were perfectly capable of rending the flight deck UNUSABLE which of course meant that the IJN might just as well not have brought the ships to the fight. Shokaku at both Coral Sea and Santa Cruz and Zuiho at Santa Cruz constituted "mission kills" delivered by 1000lb/500lb bombs rendering the so-called IJN victories in both battles utterly moot. Combined with the losses amongst aircrew those mission kills meant the IJN could do nothing whatsoever to exploit the temporary superiority each battle had "won" it.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/21/2013 6:25:43 AM   
alanschu

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

The myth of armed planes crowding the decks has been convincingly put to rest.


Apologies if this has been discussed in depth already, but most things I have heard indicate that the carriers (at least one anyways) were more vulnerable due to being more exposed with fuel lines.

Are you saying it's overstated (i.e. it likely helped add to the damage, but ultimately several 1000 lb bombs would still have taken her out regardless) or that it's actually incorrect? Feel free to link as I gobble this stuff up (while letting turns do their thing in the background haha).

Although you could argue the indecisively of which type of armaments to use just delayed the planes which is a gaffe big enough in and of itself.

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/21/2013 11:36:43 AM   
spence

 

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Shokaku's flight deck after Coral Sea. Effects of 1000 lbers=Mission Kill. Not a wingnut but looks to me like take-off would be a little bumpy.




Attachment (1)

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RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/21/2013 7:37:11 PM   
witpqs


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quote:

ORIGINAL: alanschu

quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

The myth of armed planes crowding the decks has been convincingly put to rest.


Apologies if this has been discussed in depth already, but most things I have heard indicate that the carriers (at least one anyways) were more vulnerable due to being more exposed with fuel lines.

Are you saying it's overstated (i.e. it likely helped add to the damage, but ultimately several 1000 lb bombs would still have taken her out regardless) or that it's actually incorrect? Feel free to link as I gobble this stuff up (while letting turns do their thing in the background haha).

Although you could argue the indecisively of which type of armaments to use just delayed the planes which is a gaffe big enough in and of itself.

I was responding to your comment about the 1,000 pounders being ineffective (which I think others have addressed very well in their posts) and that the damage was caused by the carriers' own planes and bombs. Basically, it was most widely believed in the west that the 4 IJN carriers were seconds away from launching full deck-loads of planes when they (3 of them) were struck, and that damage from those planes, fully armed with ordnance, is what did in the carriers. I forget the exact timeline, but IIRC certainly after the mid-1990s Japanese language sources became available to western historians, including many primary sources. Those sources debunked that long-held myth of the full decks. If you have seen the movie Midway, made in the 1970s, then you are familiar with the myth I am referring to.

Certainly planes in the hanger decks plus any openly stacked ordnance there must have contributed to the disaster. You mention "...more vulnerable due to being more exposed with fuel lines", which certainly also was a factor and I think a major one. The USN learned that lesson earlier and had changed procedures to account for it. But the real point is that the 1,000 pound bombs did the damage. All weapons do damage by destroying things themselves and by causing secondary effects. A bullet might destroy the brain and kill directly, or it might rupture an artery and bleeding causes death. The same with ships, no matter the weapon, it's just perspective on how you are counting things. Those 1,000 pound - and 500 pound and 250 pound IIRC - bombs caused some damage directly (see the photo posted above showing just what they can do without secondary effects!), and the massive fires that ensued (secondary effects) simply destroyed those ships insofar as any practical future use of them.

I am no expert on this subject and there are plenty of people on this forum who know far more about Midway than I know. Some of them have commented already and maybe more will. Beyond that, I most highly recommend that you read Shattered Sword by Parshall and Tully. Even if you presume that they might be mistaken on some point or other here or there (because who isn't?), it will really open your eyes. They take great pains to back up their analysis and the book is a whopping good read even though you already know the ending!

_____________________________

Intel Monkey: https://sites.google.com/site/staffmonkeys/

(in reply to alanschu)
Post #: 29
RE: CLAAs vs CLs/CAs - 2/21/2013 11:21:24 PM   
bigred


Posts: 2892
Joined: 12/27/2007
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: wdolson

Pre-war Japanese doctrine considered surface ships the more potent threat. They figured the USN aircraft to be poor quality and the crews just as poor. The TBD was a generation behind the Kate, and Japanese doctrine saw the torpedo bomber as the primary naval weapon with the dive bomber being the secondary weapon that split enemy forces and crippled ships for the torpedo bombers to finish off.

The Japanese badly underestimated the SBD. The SBDs dropped their bombs at a higher altitude than the Vals. The Japanese thought that was because American pilots were weak, they didn't realize it was because the US had a superior weapon.

The US had a technology nobody else did, the trailing edge split flap. Japanese and German dive bombers used fence type dive brakes. Fence style dive brakes did work, but the plane bucked and bounced on the way down. To ensure a hit, pilots had to hold the dive to near suicidal altitudes. With the trailing edge split flap, the dive was very stable which allowed the pilot to make gentle course corrections within the dive. SBDs could release at a higher altitude and still have a good chance of a hit because the pilot had a better assurance where the bomb was going after release.

The SBD could also carry a larger load. The max load was 1600 lbs for an SBD, but that was almost never used. The SBD could and did carry 1000 lb bombs, the Val was limited to 250 Kg (about 550 lb). And early war USN strike package was usually about 2/3 500 lb bombs and 1/3 1000 lb bombs, but the bigger bombs were there.

The lack of a potent torpedo bomber at Midway did ensure that the USN didn't actually sink any carriers. But the SBDs did such massive damage that the IJN scuttled all 4 carriers. The description of the Kaga in Shattered Sword is striking. Even if the ship had been capable of getting to a friendly base, she might have been scuttled anyway. The fires gutted all the upper decks of the ship.

In any war, especially a long one, everybody goes in with assumptions that are proven wrong in combat. The Japanese thought their carrier aviation was vastly superior to the USN and in some ways it was, but they underestimated US strengths.

Everybody underestimated how much flak they would need. Both sides upgraded flak suites on everything throughout the war. The US was more aggressive about it, but they also had the industrial infrastructure to afford it.

The US had the mutual defense doctrine down early war (though effectiveness lacked), but the Japanese thought the big threat was coming from surface ships coming in after the air attack, so they built their CV formations with that in mind. The Japanese war doctrine was built on the subs thinning the enemy fleet, then the CVs taking out some more, and finally the big surface ships would come in to finish the job. The US was thinking along the same lines, with CVs and BBs, but the loss of so many BBs at PH made them rethink. By Midway the US knew they were much weaker in surface assets, but they could attain near parity in air power between the 3 Yorktowns and Midway. Even still, TF 1 was waiting out in the middle of the Pacific between San Francisco and Midway with all the serviceable BBs in the Pacific fleet. A bit of the US OOB nobody knows about.

Early war USN air defense doctrine was a bit better than Japan, but early carrier losses demonstrate it had holes too. It's telling the only US carrier losses after 1942 were due to 3 factors:

1) A lucky shot by a lone attacker slipping through the CAP (the Princeton)
2) A massive screw up (Battle Off Samar)
3) Kamikazes (which never sank a carrier larger than a CVE, though they damages a lot of fleet carriers)

After 1942, the US started building a lot of advantages from lessons learned, better AA, better AA direction, better CAP, better fighters as well as better pilot training, and better CAP direction. At the same time Japanese pilot quality was in steep decline and newer aircraft designs were often inferior to US designs. The US had the luxury of building fighters around big engines like the P&W 2800 which had just about worked out all the bugs by Pearl Harbor. The Japanese had to start from scratch with bigger engines and it wasn't until late war they had anything they could use and Japanese large engines remained finicky to the end.

I'll stop rambling now...

Bill

good stuff

_____________________________

---bigred---

IJ Production mistakes--
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2597400

(in reply to wdolson)
Post #: 30
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