From: Sunderland, UK
It's an interesting analysis. Some questions tho...
Class CAP Strike Hanger Reserve
Saratoga 12 20 30 10
I'm gonna zero in on the Lexington (Saratoga class), since I can more easily dig up data.
It has been thirty years, but let's see if I can answer you. First of all, multiply the space by 9 so we're working with planes, not squadrons.
The Sara had 108 points in a deck park, 270 points in the hanger, and 90 points for reserve aircraft hanging from the hanger roof.
There were also 180 points of landing space behind the deck park. So in the morning, there would be perhaps 18 F4F3s on deck alert, another 4 SBDs ready for the morning search, and 31 SBDs, 13 TBDs, and 3 F4F3s in the hanger ready to fly. There was room for six more aircraft in the hanger while still allowing aircraft to be moved around.
a. If Operation Capacity = CAP + Hanger, then are you saying that the "operational capacity" of the Lex was 42? I guess a definition of "operational capacity" is in order. She and her sisters certainly carried and launched more planes than that. But again, I'm probably misunderstanding.
Room to operate 378 points of planes. The 250 feet of the deck park had room for 108 points and the 400 feet behind had room for another 180 points.
b. Within what time frame are you talking about? A 24-hour period? A twelve hour period? See deck logs to follow from Lex.
c. Or do you mean that 12 are on CAP and 20 are on strike (damn unions) and 30 are in the Hanger (to do with whatever you want)?
For a strike, you would launch the deck park first to clear the deck (22 planes). Then you would fill the deck with 288 points of planes (57-58)--three squadrons of something and launch that. You could let the strike hang around a while if you wanted to add a few more, but that limited your strike range. You launched the torpedo aircraft last because they had the shortest range.
d. Some more data from another thread, I pulled these numbers from the deck log of the air-boss on Lex at Coral Sea:
Taken from the debrief report of Commanding Air Officer of USS Lexington:
Lexington - CAPT Frederick Sherman
Lexington Air Group - CDR William B. Ault - 1 SBD-3
VF-2: 21 F4F-3/-3A - LT CDR Paul H. Ramsey
VB-2: 18 SBD-2/-3 - LT CDR William L. Hamilton
VS-2: 17 SBD-3 - LT CDR Robert E. Dixon
VT-2: 13 TBD-1 - LT CDR James H. Brett, Jr.
Therefore, Lex has:
VF-2 : (4 + 4 - 3(?) + 5) = 10 of 21
0700 : 4 F4F launched as CAP at start of day's flight operations
0820 : 4 more F4F launched as CAP
You didn't want all of them in the air because that wasted fuel, so you kept half or more on deck alert.
0928 : "Commenced landing CAP". It is not specific how many were landed (I believe the number landed to be 3. discussion in a minute).
1012 : 10 SBDs launched to suppliment CAP vs. torpedo planes (cannot be handled in WitP, so we'll discount it). Some of these were returned scouts, some were from Yorktown.
Got them off the deck.
1106 : 5 F4F launched and 5 SBD luanched as CAP. There is a note in the log that 19 (of 21 F4F are airborn). Since we know that 9 F4F on the inital strike, we must have 10 CAP currently flying, and 3 must have landed at 0928.
The initial strike was probably three attack squadrons and a half squadron of F4Fs. That left 12 F4Fs for the CAP plus whatever the SBDs could do (see fighter rating elsewhere).
VB-2 : 6 of 18
VS-2 : 12 of 17
VF-2 : 9 of 21
VB-2 : 11 of 18
VS-2 : 4 of 17
VT-2 : 12 of 13
180 points of space--basically not quite a deckload strike.
This accounts for
VF-2 : 19 of 21
VB-2 : 17 of 18
VS-2 : 16 of 17
VT-2 : 12 of 13
If I had to make a call, I'd say Lex's WitP settings were as follows:
VF-2 : Escort, 50% CAP
VB-2 : NavAtk, 30% Search
VS-2 : NavAtk, 70% Search
VT-2 : NavAtk, 0% Search
Granted, Coral Sea was certainly a learning experience for both sides. It was shown the SDBs weren't particularly effective vs. enemy bombers, and more fighters, MORE FIGHTERS, MORE FIGHTERS, etc. etc. etc. Naturally, this shouldn't be used as "the rule" for what was standard USN CAP doctrine in WW2. It'll take me a wil to read thru the AARs of the other carriers and battles.
Still, it's interesting. I never bothered to do the math.
There's more information there, than you actually need, but I thought I'd put in the whole post, in case it's interesting.
Lex ends up with
10 F4F3 = Substantiates your data.
And there are 18 of 36 planes on search (from I've read, usually begin launching about an hour before dawn, so as many as possible up by the time the sun comes up).
Not sure where the reconcile is. If I understand your numbers correctly (I might very well not), you indicate that Lex could not launch more than 20 planes on a strike? However, at Coral Sea, her initial strike comprised of 36 planes, and there were 10 Wilcats on CAP.
The numbers were points of space.
What am I missing?
Don't get me wrong. Obviously, you've done your homework. But I'm obvioulsy missing something, in order to reconcile your analysis to the historical record.
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