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Land Based air versus sea too strong?

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  • macilrille
    Happy new year guys, I have not forgotten you. I seem to recall some discussion on the strength of Land based air when I was last here two years ago. So when a
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 1, 2005
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      Happy new year guys, I have not forgotten you. I seem to recall some
      discussion on the strength of Land based air when I was last here two
      years ago. So when a similar debate on the merits of landbased
      aircraft versus ships spun off of another discussion on H-War I
      thought that of interest. I thus quote the message in full below.
      H-War is a mailing list where military historians discuss their
      specialisation in case anyone wonders.
      Happy new year. I WILL be back for real at some point and hope that
      you are all fine.

      Best wishes; Palle

      From: Mike Potter <potter4@...>
      Subject: REPLY: USN vs. Enemy Aircraft, WWII
      Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 20:28:11 -0800


      On 21 Dec 2004, Rob Kirchubel wrote: "While visiting the US battleship
      Alabama a few years ago I noticed she was credited with splashing 22
      enemy
      aircraft. For one of America's ten newest battleships, pretty much in
      constant action for two years that seemed like a low score--more like
      a good
      tour of duty for a B-17 over Germany. Anybody out there know of
      similar
      scores by USN's major combatants?"


      This same query was submitted to this list in 2002 and was published
      on
      May 20, 2002, under the subject line "Battleship AA Performance in
      WWII."

      In WW2 battleships and bombers could engage only enemy aircraft that
      approached them. USS Alabama spend her first year of service in the
      Atlantic
      and Arctic, where hostile aircraft did not visit her. USAAF bombers
      were
      expected to hunt enemy warships but their performance at that failed
      to meet
      expectations. In all of WW2 in all theaters the USAAF scored a total
      of one
      bomb hit on a moving warship larger than a destroyer, and zero against
      such
      targets that the bombers located by
      themselves, supposedly their forte. The sole damaged target was the
      battleship Hiei that was already crippled by damage from USN surface
      warships the night before and could not steer. B-17s attacked Hiei
      with 56
      bombs and made one insignificant hit. Carrier-based aircraft and
      land-based USMC-flown naval aircraft sank her later in the day
      (November 13,
      1942).

      Japan had plenty of other operational cruisers, battleships, and
      aircraft
      carriers, but until then the USAAF never hit one at sea and it never
      hit
      another for the rest of the war. All were targets that
      land-based bombers were supposed to locate and destroy with ease.
      Instead
      naval forces found and destroyed nearly all of them.

      At Okinawa the destroyer USS Laffey accounted for 15 hostile
      aircraft in
      one day (May 16, 1945) by naval gunfire and by naval combat air patrol
      fighters she directed. She accounted for another seven by a harder way
      in
      that they were kamikazes that dived on her but she survived, served
      until
      1975, and is now a museum.

      If such scores matter by Mr Kirchubel's implied reasoning, then may
      I
      conclude that bombers are relatively useless because (among other
      reasons)
      their combined score against hostile aircraft for the past 50 years
      totals
      one possible over Vietnam and zero everywhere else? By contrast
      surface
      warships shot down multiple hostile aircraft over Vietnam and the
      Falkland
      Islands, and even bagged a missile in the Persian Gulf. HMS Exeter
      scored
      four by herself, including three bombers sent to attack other targets.

      Michael C. Potter, Captain USNR (Ret.)
      Author, Electronic Greyhounds: The Spruance-Class Destroyers
    • Bob Andriola
      This is a joke, right? He takes the lousy record of US _ARMY_ level bombers and extends it into a general indictment of land based aircraft against ships?
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 1, 2005
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        This is a joke, right? He takes the lousy record of US _ARMY_ level
        bombers and extends it into a general indictment of land based aircraft
        against ships? What about all the ships sunk by Navy and Marine Corps
        aircraft based on land? What about all the subs sunk by the heavy
        bombers that couldn't sink a battleship? Oh wait, they were seconded to
        the Navy (or Coast Guard?) so they don't count. Yeah, high altitude
        level bombing was not effective against ships at sea, but that's only a
        small portion of the uses for land based air.

        Bob

        macilrille wrote:

        >Happy new year guys, I have not forgotten you. I seem to recall some
        >discussion on the strength of Land based air when I was last here two
        >years ago. So when a similar debate on the merits of landbased
        >aircraft versus ships spun off of another discussion on H-War I
        >thought that of interest. I thus quote the message in full below.
        >H-War is a mailing list where military historians discuss their
        >specialisation in case anyone wonders.
        >Happy new year. I WILL be back for real at some point and hope that
        >you are all fine.
        >
        >Best wishes; Palle
        >
        >From: Mike Potter <potter4@...>
        >Subject: REPLY: USN vs. Enemy Aircraft, WWII
        >Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 20:28:11 -0800
        >
        >
        >On 21 Dec 2004, Rob Kirchubel wrote: "While visiting the US battleship
        >Alabama a few years ago I noticed she was credited with splashing 22
        >enemy
        >aircraft. For one of America's ten newest battleships, pretty much in
        >constant action for two years that seemed like a low score--more like
        >a good
        >tour of duty for a B-17 over Germany. Anybody out there know of
        >similar
        >scores by USN's major combatants?"
        >
        >
        > This same query was submitted to this list in 2002 and was published
        >on
        >May 20, 2002, under the subject line "Battleship AA Performance in
        >WWII."
        >
        > In WW2 battleships and bombers could engage only enemy aircraft that
        >approached them. USS Alabama spend her first year of service in the
        >Atlantic
        >and Arctic, where hostile aircraft did not visit her. USAAF bombers
        >were
        >expected to hunt enemy warships but their performance at that failed
        >to meet
        >expectations. In all of WW2 in all theaters the USAAF scored a total
        >of one
        >bomb hit on a moving warship larger than a destroyer, and zero against
        >such
        >targets that the bombers located by
        >themselves, supposedly their forte. The sole damaged target was the
        >battleship Hiei that was already crippled by damage from USN surface
        >warships the night before and could not steer. B-17s attacked Hiei
        >with 56
        >bombs and made one insignificant hit. Carrier-based aircraft and
        >land-based USMC-flown naval aircraft sank her later in the day
        >(November 13,
        >1942).
        >
        > Japan had plenty of other operational cruisers, battleships, and
        >aircraft
        >carriers, but until then the USAAF never hit one at sea and it never
        >hit
        >another for the rest of the war. All were targets that
        >land-based bombers were supposed to locate and destroy with ease.
        >Instead
        >naval forces found and destroyed nearly all of them.
        >
        > At Okinawa the destroyer USS Laffey accounted for 15 hostile
        >aircraft in
        >one day (May 16, 1945) by naval gunfire and by naval combat air patrol
        >fighters she directed. She accounted for another seven by a harder way
        >in
        >that they were kamikazes that dived on her but she survived, served
        >until
        >1975, and is now a museum.
        >
        > If such scores matter by Mr Kirchubel's implied reasoning, then may
        >I
        >conclude that bombers are relatively useless because (among other
        >reasons)
        >their combined score against hostile aircraft for the past 50 years
        >totals
        >one possible over Vietnam and zero everywhere else? By contrast
        >surface
        >warships shot down multiple hostile aircraft over Vietnam and the
        >Falkland
        >Islands, and even bagged a missile in the Persian Gulf. HMS Exeter
        >scored
        >four by herself, including three bombers sent to attack other targets.
        >
        >Michael C. Potter, Captain USNR (Ret.)
        >Author, Electronic Greyhounds: The Spruance-Class Destroyers
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >

        --
        - Enaa mqatreg naa l-Ruumaayey.
      • BLVTornado@aol.com
        And let s not forget that it s not only US land based air in the equation. Stukas over the Med and Bettys/Nells in the Pacific had a pretty decent track
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 1, 2005
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          And let's not forget that it's not only US land based air in the equation.
          Stukas over the Med and Bettys/Nells in the Pacific had a pretty decent track
          record against enemy ships. Someone should ask the ghost of Admiral Philips
          (commander of the TF that included the Repulse and Prince of Wales) what he
          thinks of the effectiveness of land-based air attack.

          Mike Condray


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