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What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack?

 
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What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/20/2015 8:33:35 PM   
Lecivius


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I am not gonna scream on the forum about my losses. I'll save that for my poor PC in the comfort of my own home But after watching the high level of success of ms. Betty & Ms. Nettie, I went looking this afternoon to see if I could find results as seen in the game.

Interestingly, I found CB's thread

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2284745&mpage=1&key=�

While that mentions ship launched attacks, he specifically left out aerial attacks. So, thoughts? And please, just the facts, ma'am. No ranting
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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 12:43:07 AM   
wdolson

 

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Are you talking about in game or in the real world?

Bill

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 12:48:16 PM   
Lecivius


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Real world. Taranto had about 12 Swordfish actually carrying torpedoes, 5 of which hit stationary targets heavily reconned. The raid on force Z consisted of 86 aircraft that scored 9 hits. The Pearl Harbor raid information is a little loose on exact numbers. I am trying to understand who was most effective generally.

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 12:51:36 PM   
msieving1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lecivius

Real world. Taranto had about 12 Swordfish actually carrying torpedoes, 5 of which hit stationary targets heavily reconned. The raid on force Z consisted of 86 aircraft that scored 9 hits. The Pearl Harbor raid information is a little loose on exact numbers. I am trying to understand who was most effective generally.


The attack on Musashi scored between 10 and 20 torpedo hits, with 19 most commonly cited. I'm not sure offhand how many torpedo carrying Avengers there were.


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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 1:05:03 PM   
Lecivius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: msieving1

The attack on Musashi scored between 10 and 20 torpedo hits, with 19 most commonly cited. I'm not sure offhand how many torpedo carrying Avengers there were.



True. From what I can find air groups from 5 separate carriers attacked this ship, with the single most effective attack being 9 avengers in a single attack scoring 3 hits after the Musashi had already been hit & slowed down considerably. I have no dea how many Avengers were in all the attacks, though


<edit> from reading the Musashi trom, "259 U.S. carrier aircraft during the day. MUSASHI sustains a total of 19 torpedo (10 port, 9 starboard) and 17 bomb hits, as well as 18 near misses." It is not certain if these 259 attacked the entire group, or just this one ship.

< Message edited by Lecivius -- 1/21/2015 2:35:03 PM >

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 1:15:15 PM   
spence

 

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A couple of other contenders are the 2 for 6 (TBFs) that hit HIJMS HIEI off Guadalacanal. Apparently one of those two put paid to all the rudder repairs that the crew had made after the surface battle and doomed the BB. Also CA Nachi collected 5 hits in a single attack in Manila Bay. She also had been slowed down previously by other planes. Not sure how many TBFs participated in the attack that scored 5 hits.

It should be noted that the very first torpedo hit that the Netties scored on the Prince of Wales completely crippled that ship knocking out all power to her AA and at least half her propulsion. Repulse dodged 19 torpedoes before one finally hit...the other fatal ones followed quickly after that.

< Message edited by spence -- 1/21/2015 2:18:51 PM >

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 1:49:09 PM   
urtel


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lecivius

The raid on force Z consisted of 86 aircraft that scored 9 hits.


at last 20 of those had bombs not torpedoes, which give 9 of ~60 hit target...
when you count distance planes fly, alerted ships at full speed on open sea i think this is still best torpedo attack on non stationary capital war ships of ww2...

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 1:55:27 PM   
Lecivius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: urtel


quote:

ORIGINAL: Lecivius

The raid on force Z consisted of 86 aircraft that scored 9 hits.


at last 20 of those had bombs not torpedoes, which give 9 of ~60 hit target...
when you count distance planes fly, alerted ships at full speed on open sea i think this is still best torpedo attack on non stationary capital war ships of ww2...


I tend to agree, but there is always someone to teach you otherwise

< Message edited by Lecivius -- 1/21/2015 2:56:07 PM >

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 2:39:05 PM   
spence

 

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Although part of a general "Pigpile" one of the earlish attacks against Musashi scored 4 torpedo hits out of 6 attacking planes. One of the first by 9 a/c scored 3 torpedo hits. The section on Musashi at Combined Fleet describes its demise in some detail.

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 2:52:32 PM   
Lecivius


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Yeah, reading that. That is where I came up with my 259 number. Reading through the TROM, that was one unlucky ship.

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 3:22:46 PM   
Chickenboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lecivius
I am trying to understand who was most effective generally.


In terms of numbers of aircraft hitting primary targets (note the plural), it would be hard to side against the Pearl Harbor raid. In terms of a ratio of hitting : employed aircraft, you would have to parse out the more granular data. Then the Mushashi attacks seem more meaningful, although these were against just one ship.

another contender:

In the Battle of Rennell Island, 16 IJNAF G3Ms from 701AG crippled Chicago with two hits. At night. At long range. Under very poor attack conditions. The next day, a mere 11 bombers from 751AG attacked the cruiser, then under tow, scoring 4 hits on the cruiser and one on a nearby destroyer (USS La Vallette). Through CAP and a stiff escort AAA defense. If you wanted to follow the brutal "efficiency" ratio in this case, that's 5/11.


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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 4:18:05 PM   
Jakerson

 

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Pearl Harbor propably but it wasent done just with torpedo bombers.

In pearl harbor USA lost 2400 sailors 5 battleships were sunk and 3 battleships were damaged also 3 cruisers and 3 destroyers were sunk and USA lost 400 - 500 airplanes.

I dont think there is many this good torpedo bomber attacks done in ww2 than pearl harbor as Japanese lost only 55 pilots and 29 planes doing it.

< Message edited by Jakerson -- 1/21/2015 5:25:13 PM >

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 4:31:11 PM   
castor troy


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not sure about the most effective in terms of hits/aircraft but when it comes down to damage done it got to be PH I guess

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 4:42:02 PM   
Lecivius


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That's actually an excellent example, and one I did not think of.

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 5:22:53 PM   
Chickenboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jakerson

Pearl Harbor propably but it wasent done just with torpedo bombers.



Neither was Mushashi or Yamato.

< Message edited by Chickenboy -- 1/21/2015 6:23:45 PM >


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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 5:31:40 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jakerson

Pearl Harbor propably but it wasent done just with torpedo bombers.



Neither was Mushashi or Yamato.
warspite1

Neither was Taranto - although all the damage to the capital ships was inflicted by torpedoes rather than bombs.


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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 10:30:53 PM   
wdolson

 

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It appears the discussion is about real world torpedo attacks. My next question is what does "most successful" mean? And are we talking about an overall raid with multiple waves, or a single attack? Success could mean tactical results achieved from the attack, or it could mean overall strategic success of the overall operation that stemmed from the torpedo attack.

If you're looking at strategic successes, the attack on the Bismarck wasn't tactically spectacular, but the one hit jammed the rudder allowing the British surface fleet to catch up and pummel the ship.

Another strategic success was a single Beaufort attack on the Gneisenau when she was at Brest. The British heavily reconned the port and attempted to bomb the ships there, but torpedoes attacks were not possible because of the heavy torpedo netting around the ships and the shallow part of the harbor where they were kept. British recon showed the Gneisenau outside the torpedo nets one day. She was in the process of being moved and was parked for a short time at a spot that could be torpedoed. A strike of Beauforts was launched, but encountered heavy fighter defenses. One Beaufort got through and put a torpedo in the Gneisenau, but was shot down on the way out. The Gneisenau was in dry dock for some time after that. She had just come out when the raid destroyed the dock.

Tactically the sinking of the Musashi was fairly poor. At that point in the war the USN bomber pilots had poor strike discipline and the strike was poorly coordinated. In a target rich environment like that, the strike bombers should initially aim to disable as many ships as possible. After the first or second wave, the Musashi was obviously in trouble and should have been ignored in favor of other targets, but the bombers kept focusing on her. Additionally the dive bombers wasted their bombs on the battleships where they couldn't punch through the deck armor. They would have been better suited to attacking cruisers.

Six months later when the USN attacked the Yamato, there was much better strike coordination and discipline. Some dive bombers did drop on the Yamato, but their mission was flak suppression rather than doing serious damage. They dropped general purpose bombs intended to take out flak guns above the armor and they were very effective. Fighters also went in ahead of the torpedo bombers with rockets to suppress flak. In that attack the torpedo bombers all aimed for one side of the ship which sank the ship a lot faster than the attacks on the Musashi which scored hits on both sides and effectively did counter flooding for the damage control crews.

The attacks on the Center Force at Leyte was only the second strike on major warships the USN had done since 1942. The crews had mostly forgotten what training they did have for that type of strike and discipline was poor. I believe the Intrepid's VTs did best in that strike because they had been drilled on strike tactics better than other units. However, they attacked Musashi too.

The 1945 USN strikes on the Japanese fleet in the home islands was very effective. I don't know how many torpedo planes were used there, but the strikes sank most of the surviving IJN fleet. They didn't have the fuel to sortie at that point, but it eliminated the fleet in being. You are guaranteed a sunk battleship won't be giving you any problems.

Depending on the criteria, you can disect historical torpedo attacks and come to all sorts of conclusions.

Bill



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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/21/2015 10:48:43 PM   
spence

 

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quote:

In that attack the torpedo bombers all aimed for one side of the ship which sank the ship a lot faster than the attacks on the Musashi which scored hits on both sides and effectively did counter flooding for the damage control crews.


Those attacks were conducted according to accepted torpedo attack doctrine, "an anvil attack", whereby torpedo bombers drop at some angle (45 degrees?) off of both bows so that whichever way the target turns it exposes its beam to torpedoes. Under those circumstances hits on both sides seem much more likely since the decision to turn one way or the other is up to ship's conning officer, not the bombers.

The flak suppression against Yamato was however a new wrinkle. According to the damage control assistant one of the foibles of the Yamato's construction was the over-concentration of AAA around the center of the superstructure. According to the same source the strafing (rocket firing) fighters slaughtered the AAA crews to the extent that rivers of blood were seen to cascade down from deck to deck from the AAA gun tubs.

< Message edited by spence -- 1/21/2015 11:50:36 PM >

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 2:54:35 AM   
wdolson

 

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I can't find the reference now, but I saw somewhere that the instructions to the Avenger crews was to launch all torpedoes on the Yamato so they hit the port side. A couple of hit starboard, but most hit on the port side. From the account I read, it was noted by the Avenger pilots that it was a break from normal doctrine. The strike planners probably figured there were going to be enough TBMs that getting at least a few hits on the first wave was almost certain, and the abuse the Musashi took before sinking, they probably realized hits on both sides caused counter flooding which delayed her sinking.

The USN also had a perfect setup, no air cover, attacking a small force with one high value target, one CL, and a few DDs, with an overwhelming aerial force. They also had time for a more conventional follow up strike if the initial strike tactics didn't work.

Anvil tactics are effective to get a hit on a fast maneuvering ship, but once the ship is crippled, if there are no other high value targets, it would be more effective to concentrate on one side to try and get the ship to capsize, though I have never read that was anybody's doctrine.

Bill

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 2:07:54 PM   
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Getting a bit off topic and out of theater but I am surprised that the Italian human torpedo attack by three crews in Alexandria harbor in 1941 is not mentioned in either of these two threads. I suppose it can be argued that they were not exactly torpedoes but mini subs with mines but for strategic value this has to be rated as one of the most successful torpedo attacks of the war. It also put to rest that the Italians were incompetent and less dedicated warriors as this attack was very well planned and took some brass balls for the six men involved to pull off.

It can be argued that the results of this raid were just as critical as the British attack on Taranto.




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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 2:20:26 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: crsutton

Getting a bit off topic and out of theater but I am surprised that the Italian human torpedo attack by three crews in Alexandria harbor in 1941 is not mentioned in either of these two threads. I suppose it can be argued that they were not exactly torpedoes but mini subs with mines but for strategic value this has to be rated as one of the most successful torpedo attacks of the war. It also put to rest that the Italians were incompetent and less dedicated warriors as this attack was very well planned and took some brass balls for the six men involved to pull off.

It can be argued that the results of this raid were just as critical as the British attack on Taranto.



Warspite1

I think the word "aerial" is key here

I agree though, the results of the attack were impressive and the bravery rightfully recognised - sadly for the Italians the attack was probably 12 months too late to be of any strategic value.

But then again, if we are measuring more than just ship damage, then the PH raid must be seen as the WORST ever - after all look what the Japanese stirred up by carrying it out.

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 2:30:44 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: crsutton

Getting a bit off topic and out of theater but I am surprised that the Italian human torpedo attack by three crews in Alexandria harbor in 1941 is not mentioned in either of these two threads. I suppose it can be argued that they were not exactly torpedoes but mini subs with mines but for strategic value this has to be rated as one of the most successful torpedo attacks of the war. It also put to rest that the Italians were incompetent and less dedicated warriors as this attack was very well planned and took some brass balls for the six men involved to pull off.

It can be argued that the results of this raid were just as critical as the British attack on Taranto.



Warspite1

I think the word "aerial" is key here

I agree though, the results of the attack were impressive and the bravery rightfully recognised - sadly for the Italians the attack was probably 12 months too late to be of any strategic value.

But then again, if we are measuring more than just ship damage, then the PH raid must be seen as the WORST ever - after all look what the Japanese stirred up by carrying it out.
warspite1

Further to the above, the raid would probably have been better remembered if the RM had been able to take advantage of the opportunity that the attack opened up.

Sadly (for the Italians) they singly failed to do this - the 2nd Naval Battle of Sirte kind of summed up the RM's inadequacies in that department.

Edit: Spelling

< Message edited by warspite1 -- 1/23/2015 2:33:36 AM >


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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 3:52:56 PM   
Lecivius


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From looking through all of the more publicized attacks, most successful attacks were more luck than skill. The hit on the Bismark, the hit on the PoW, were both more due to luck than skill according to the parties attacking the targets. Taranto was due to some intense recon prior to the attack, as was Pearl Harbor & even the Gneisenau. Musashi was just mobbed. So far, the only truly skilled effective attack would be the Battle of Rennell Island, an attack in open water on undamaged ships with a 20% success rate.

I need to look up Coral Sea, & see about the numbers against a capital ship by the best of the IJN.

<edit>

So, Coral Sea 18 Kate's attacked with 4 on Yorktown, and 14 on Lex scoring 2 on Lex. This attack occurred before the dive bombers attacked, so these 2 carriers were undamaged prior to the torpedo attack. Success rate 10-18% depending on how you do the numbers.

Interesting so far. Still looking though.

< Message edited by Lecivius -- 1/22/2015 5:35:25 PM >

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 4:35:28 PM   
Alfred

 

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There is a reason why the SM.79 Sparviero arguably was the best torpedo bomber of WWII.  Far superior to the Kate or any other Axis bomber equipped with torpedoes.  But that acknowledgement would require the stereotypes of the Italian armed forces to be placed in the waste paper bin which is their correct filing location.

The Italians had the best aerial torpedoes of WWII period.  Even the Germans with their racial prejudices had to eventually swallow their pride and acquire Italian aerial torpedoes.  It is very hard, verging on impossible, to argue that using second best hardware resulted in absolute best outcomes.

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 4:44:34 PM   
Chickenboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lecivius

From looking through all of the more publicized attacks, most successful attacks were more luck than skill. The hit on the Bismark, the hit on the PoW, were both more due to luck than skill according to the parties attacking the targets. Taranto was due to some intense recon prior to the attack, as was Pearl Harbor & even the Gneisenau. Musashi was just mobbed. So far, the only truly skilled effective attack would be the Battle of Rennell Island, an attack in open water on undamaged ships with a 20% success rate.

I need to look up Coral Sea, & see about the numbers against a capital ship by the best of the IJN.


I respectfully disagree with your observations about 'the only skilled attack'. Hitting ANY moving ship with a torpedo is tough and requires skill. Hell, hitting a stationary target with a torpedo takes a skill that I can't even imagine.

If you're looking at other examples, consider Hiryu's second counterattack against a repaired Yorktown. 10 B5N2s scoring 2 hits and crippling the carrier for a second time. IIRC, the flight leader, Tomonaga was killed during this attack (he missed).

That's not only an awe-inspiring example of skill, but of heroism.






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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 5:01:46 PM   
Lecivius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Lecivius

From looking through all of the more publicized attacks, most successful attacks were more luck than skill. The hit on the Bismark, the hit on the PoW, were both more due to luck than skill according to the parties attacking the targets. Taranto was due to some intense recon prior to the attack, as was Pearl Harbor & even the Gneisenau. Musashi was just mobbed. So far, the only truly skilled effective attack would be the Battle of Rennell Island, an attack in open water on undamaged ships with a 20% success rate.

I need to look up Coral Sea, & see about the numbers against a capital ship by the best of the IJN.


I respectfully disagree with your observations about 'the only skilled attack'. Hitting ANY moving ship with a torpedo is tough and requires skill. Hell, hitting a stationary target with a torpedo takes a skill that I can't even imagine.

If you're looking at other examples, consider Hiryu's second counterattack against a repaired Yorktown. 10 B5N2s scoring 2 hits and crippling the carrier for a second time. IIRC, the flight leader, Tomonaga was killed during this attack (he missed).

That's not only an awe-inspiring example of skill, but of heroism.







True, but York was damaged, and had at least one boiler out. She was only making at best 22 knots at the time the Kate's came in. What I think I am seeing is torpedo bombers, while deadly, were used to be the coup de grace on ships damaged by other means. They were never meant to be ship killers in and of themselves.

BTW, here's a neat pic of the Akagi I have never seen before...





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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 5:03:06 PM   
Lecivius


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And one of the Hiryu, just before she went down





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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 5:27:41 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Lecivius

From looking through all of the more publicized attacks, most successful attacks were more luck than skill. The hit on the Bismark, the hit on the PoW, were both more due to luck than skill according to the parties attacking the targets. Taranto was due to some intense recon prior to the attack, as was Pearl Harbor & even the Gneisenau. Musashi was just mobbed. So far, the only truly skilled effective attack would be the Battle of Rennell Island, an attack in open water on undamaged ships with a 20% success rate.

I need to look up Coral Sea, & see about the numbers against a capital ship by the best of the IJN.


I respectfully disagree with your observations about 'the only skilled attack'. Hitting ANY moving ship with a torpedo is tough and requires skill. Hell, hitting a stationary target with a torpedo takes a skill that I can't even imagine.

If you're looking at other examples, consider Hiryu's second counterattack against a repaired Yorktown. 10 B5N2s scoring 2 hits and crippling the carrier for a second time. IIRC, the flight leader, Tomonaga was killed during this attack (he missed).

That's not only an awe-inspiring example of skill, but of heroism.





warspite1

+1 I would say that hitting (using the examples you gave) PoW and Bismarck was not luck. The skill was hitting them at all. Yes there was the luck element with both ships in terms of where they were hit and what that meant for survivability, but the attacks were executed by pilots exhibiting both bravery AND skill.

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 6:37:30 PM   
witpqs


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Hitting a still target = skill, hitting a moving target = even more skill, hitting a moving target while a whole lot of skillful people are trying to shoot your azz out from under you, well you know.

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RE: What was the most succesful aerial torpedo attack? - 1/22/2015 7:04:35 PM   
Jakerson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy
I respectfully disagree with your observations about 'the only skilled attack'. Hitting ANY moving ship with a torpedo is tough and requires skill. Hell, hitting a stationary target with a torpedo takes a skill that I can't even imagine.

If you're looking at other examples, consider Hiryu's second counterattack against a repaired Yorktown. 10 B5N2s scoring 2 hits and crippling the carrier for a second time. IIRC, the flight leader, Tomonaga was killed during this attack (he missed).

That's not only an awe-inspiring example of skill, but of heroism.


Hard or not it was pretty dangerous attacking against task forces as torpedo bomber pilot in some cases you get better chances to survive alive by playing couple rounds of russian roulette with revolver than as torpedo bomber pilot.

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