Jump to content
Sturgeon's House
LostCosmonaut

Overrated Allied Weaponry in World War II

Recommended Posts

On 3/28/2019 at 3:45 AM, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

So I picked up a copy of Dave Hobbs, British Aircraft Carrier Design, and read up a little on the "Armored Deck" Carriers, and boy, I may have been wrong about them being overrated, they simply may in fact, just be horrible designs. 

 

One thing he mentions, is the Royal Navy designed the armored deck carriers, not with the Med in mind, though that at least gives a decent argument for these bad designs, it's wrong if what Hobbs is saying is true, they designed these ships, thinking no amount of CAP could ever stop a raid from getting to the ship before they could attack. The carrier could also not get its interceptors launched, and high enough to stop the attack, so it decided armor and AA guns were the way to defend the ship. This was only a valid idea pre-radar, and even then, they didn't get enough AA firepower or armor on these ships for it to help much. The few times the armored deck was tested, it didn't really live up to its reputation. Once radar was a thing, even the Brits realized this would allow enough time to launch interceptors once the tech matured, and by wars start radar was there.  Now, this gets us into Fleet Air Arms aircraft choices, and this whole area is a nightmare, of poor planning, doctrine, and interservice idiocy.  

 

So the only real test of the Armor came when the Illustrious, was attacked by Stukas, supposedly, elite ship hunters, in January of 1941. Since her CAP got suckered down by a low-level attack, the Stukas had a free hand, and they hit the Illustrious six times, four 1100 pounders, one was a dud, and three 550 pounders,  one near miss. What's interesting here is only one bomb hit the armored deck,  and it went right through the armor, and blew up in the hanger, causing serious damage to the ship's structure. The near miss may have damaged the hull.  She limped to Malta on fire and took another bomb a week later. Once they got her Sea Worthy, they eventually had to send her to the USA for a rebuild. Even the US Shipyards could not fix the ship all the way, she suffered vibration problems from these attacks that eventually required the center shaft to be removed, and the ship limited to 26 knots, later the vibrations got bad again and she had to be limited to 24 knots! She was out of action 10 months and was never right again. 

 

Even the argument that these carriers were good for the Kamikaze threat is a myth since the US Navy deemed them almost not worth the trouble of having around, because of their small air groups, small bunker stores, and stupidly small avgas and ordnance storage.   People do not think about the logistical side of the carrier much. The US Navy designed their carriers around an 80 to 90 plane air group, with enough gas and ord to operate them about five days of moderate operations before they need to refuel and rearm. The Essex class could do 20,000 miles at 15 knots on 6160tons of fuel oil. The Illustrious class was 12,000 NM at 14 knots with 4640 tons of fuel oil. That means the Illustrious class had to pull off the line and refuel, a lot. 

 

The Essex class had 240,000 gallons of avgas.  The Illustrious class only had 50,000 gallons of avgas!  That's a small gas load even for a small air wing. It was stored very safely though... Now, this problem is bigger than you think, because they realized the errors in their thinking and did everything they could to increase the air group size on the ships. They eventually got them up to about 60 planes, Corsairs, and Avengers, and Spits later... They did this by adopting the American style deck storage, and a multi-barrier landing system.  This made problems worse in several ways for these ships, the first, they were already cramped, by packing in more pilots and ground crew to work on the planes, they ended up packing these things like sardines, and their living standards were NOT up to US Navy standards. Maybe US Navy WWI standards. This also made the fuel problem almost unworkable. They would have to take on Avgas daily!  Or they would if they could keep any airplanes working. 

 

So another problem with these ships is their layout. For some reason, the Brits decided these things needed two story hangers. Why? Who knows, on the first four ships, the hangers were different heights, but still to short for good planes. One was 16 feet and one 14. Only the 16-foot hanger could take clipped Corsairs.  Why not one larger normal sized hanger deck?  No idea.  

So the British figured out these were not great ships after the first four, and in the next four tried to fix them, and messed them up much worse. They decided the armored box concept was too much and thinned out the sides. They also decided 30 knots was to slow, and added more boilers and a fourth shaft, in an only slightly bigger ship. This compounded the low living space problems. They did not really increase the bunker fuel or avgas loads much.  Even better, they made both hangers 14 feet, so now they could operate Seafires or Hellcats, but the US Navy didn’t have enough kitties to go around, so they operated the Spits, or more crashed them over and over into the deck, destroying them far faster than enemy action.

If you look at these ships post-war, the ones that took damage didn’t get rebuilds, the ones that did still didn’t operate long after the war. Granted the Brits were broke, but the Essex lasted in US Service well into the 90s and were a bargain compared to a new forrestal class.

Another point was made that the Armored deck Carriers were supposed to take bomb damage better, and then US Carriers get shit talked for their wooden decks. As if they didn’t have an armored deck in the Hanger.  They also forget the Enterprise, the greatest carrier in history, took three bombs, four near misses, and retired under her own power and was back in action in a little over a month.  Later in the Battle of Santa Cruz, her terrible wooden deck took two bombs but was repaired, during the fight, and she was able to land her aircraft and the Hornets and continued to operated.  When she retired from the fight, she was only laid up ten days for repairs before going back out for operations.  One of the selling points of the wooden deck was ease of repair, and her machinery was all just fine after all that. 

 

Granted, two Essex class Carriers caught bombs or Kamikazes at the absolute worst possible time and suffered horrendous damage. That still doesn’t make the case for the Brit Armored CVs being good since they never got tested having a whole, loaded for a strike, deck park going up on them. I bet neither the Bunker Hill or Franklin took ten months to fix either, and both were in “New” condition when mothballed.

I think the US Navy was right, they did a bunch of studies that said the carrier would need to be 60k tons of more to have a viable armored deck, and usable airwing, and thus the Midways were born. 

  

Sources: Anotomy of the Ship, The Aircraft Carrier Victorious, Anatomy of the Ship The Aircraft Carrier Intrepid, British Aircraft Carrier Design and History by David Hobbs, and Fleets of WWII by Richard Worth plus that armored carriers apologist site. 

 

You keep conflating 550 lb and 1100 lb bomb hits, when they're really not comparable. It's a bigger difference than between the 75mm and 90mm guns! Did any US carrier take a 1100 lb bomb and stay afloat?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Xlucine said:

 

You keep conflating 550 lb and 1100 lb bomb hits, when they're really not comparable. It's a bigger difference than between the 75mm and 90mm guns! Did any US carrier take a 1100 lb bomb and stay afloat?

 

 

And you keep acting like a ship that took 10 months to repair, and was still a shitty carrier by almost every measure, is not overrated because it survived a big bomb. If anything, your ravings about the 1100 pound bomb, while ignoring all the major flaws in the ship's design, proves my point about them being overrated.  Taking bomb hits and kinda surviving, but never making full speed again, does not make a ship good. A ship with a larger air group with decent aircraft could have shot down all the Stukas unless you want to argue Stukas are hard to shoot down or something.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Xlucine said:

 

You keep conflating 550 lb and 1100 lb bomb hits, when they're really not comparable. It's a bigger difference than between the 75mm and 90mm guns! Did any US carrier take a 1100 lb bomb and stay afloat?

 

The Japanese had those really fearsome 800kg armor-piercing bombs, but I can't find any references to them hitting carriers.  They seem mostly to have been used against stationary targets as during the Pearl Harbor and Darwin attacks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Collimatrix said:

 

The Japanese had those really fearsome 800kg armor-piercing bombs, but I can't find any references to them hitting carriers.  They seem mostly to have been used against stationary targets as during the Pearl Harbor and Darwin attacks.

 

Pretty sure the enterprise took one, but I haven't confirmed it yet. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/6/2019 at 2:43 AM, Jeeps_Guns_Tanks said:

 

 

And you keep acting like a ship that took 10 months to repair, and was still a shitty carrier by almost every measure, is not overrated because it survived a big bomb. If anything, your ravings about the 1100 pound bomb, while ignoring all the major flaws in the ship's design, proves my point about them being overrated.  Taking bomb hits and kinda surviving, but never making full speed again, does not make a ship good. A ship with a larger air group with decent aircraft could have shot down all the Stukas unless you want to argue Stukas are hard to shoot down or something.  

 

It didn't take 10 months to repair, we've been over this before. A ship afloat is worth more than one sunk, and even the longest repair took less time than it would take to make a new carrier. It's not isolated to the illustrious either - her sisters were tougher than US carriers too, with Formidable surviving two 1000 kg bombs in a single engagement. Can you find a US carrier that took as much punishment and was repaired faster? Secondary damage from the stores on board don't count, otherwise the toughest cruiser in WW2 would be the Chōkai

 

Bombers will always get through, just look at the USS Franklin or Princeton. No carrier can bring a bigger air wing than all the airfields in range of the med.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/6/2019 at 11:59 AM, Collimatrix said:

 

The Japanese had those really fearsome 800kg armor-piercing bombs, but I can't find any references to them hitting carriers.  They seem mostly to have been used against stationary targets as during the Pearl Harbor and Darwin attacks.

 

AP bombs have terrible HE fractions - the 800 kg bomb used at pearl had less explosive than the common jap 550 lb anti ship bombs, and less than half as much explosive as the typical jap 550 lb GP bombs. Scary for a battleship (as nothing else will get in), but not the most effective choice for anything lighter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/7/2019 at 5:08 PM, Xlucine said:

 

AP bombs have terrible HE fractions - the 800 kg bomb used at pearl had less explosive than the common jap 550 lb anti ship bombs, and less than half as much explosive as the typical jap 550 lb GP bombs. Scary for a battleship (as nothing else will get in), but not the most effective choice for anything lighter

 

The AP bombs were indeed low in HE fraction.  The early ones were re-purposed battleship shells.

 

I'm thinking that they're generally scarier than other bombs though.  The record of killing ships in WWII by dropping bombs down onto them is quite poor.  The record of killing ships in WWII by torpedo attack is quite good (provided said torpedoes actually worked; the USN was just being sporting by using garbage ones).  "Dive bombers let in light, torpedo bombers let in water."

So, I'm thinking that an AP bomb that stabs all the way through the ship has much better potential to act like a torpedo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Collimatrix said:

 

So, I'm thinking that an AP bomb that stabs all the way through the ship has much better potential to act like a torpedo.

 

Didn’t the Tirpitz prove that? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/1/2015 at 6:19 PM, EnsignExpendable said:

 

http://sovietguns.blogspot.ca/2013/12/molotov-cocktails.html

 

2-3 bottles brews up a moving vehicle, 1 bottle if it was stopped by something like a grenade to the tracks or a mine since you can properly aim at a weak spot. They were no wonder weapon, but they worked well enough.

 

Don't know where to put it. Here is someone having a great aim with Molotov cocktail hitting an M-113 from afar, yesterday in Lebanon.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...