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Old 16th April 2019, 03:57 PM   #81
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Nope, in the 20s navies were quite right to keep building battleships.
It's one thing to sink an old hulk at anchor, quite another to do the same thing against a moving ship firing back.
Things had changed by the late 30s but even then it was hard to sink warships that were prepared and working as part of a fleet with air cover.
How many battleships were sunk by air attack when they weren't operating alone with no chance of support?
The Japanese sank the Prince of Wales and another British battleship in 1941. They needed aircraft protection. Even better if they were aircraft carriers themselves. Maybe then they could bomb the Japanese after they landed in Malaysia. Alter WW2 drastically.
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Old 16th April 2019, 04:31 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Nope, in the 20s navies were quite right to keep building battleships.
It's one thing to sink an old hulk at anchor, quite another to do the same thing against a moving ship firing back.
Things had changed by the late 30s but even then it was hard to sink warships that were prepared and working as part of a fleet with air cover.
How many battleships were sunk by air attack when they weren't operating alone with no chance of support?
There was, of course, a moratorium on building battleships for most of the '20s. And most of the '30's. The RN got a bit of a break on that to build Nelson and Rodney because the other guys had sixteen-inch battleships and they didn't.
Which is not to say I disagree, not at all. Nobody foresaw the coming shift to carrier warfare. And of course, that was partially due to the extremely rapid development of aircraft. Until the Force Z fiasco, no capital ship had ever been sunk by aircraft while at sea and maneuvering. Many thought it impossible.
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Old 16th April 2019, 05:17 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
There was, of course, a moratorium on building battleships for most of the '20s. And most of the '30's. The RN got a bit of a break on that to build Nelson and Rodney because the other guys had sixteen-inch battleships and they didn't.
Which is not to say I disagree, not at all. Nobody foresaw the coming shift to carrier warfare. And of course, that was partially due to the extremely rapid development of aircraft. Until the Force Z fiasco, no capital ship had ever been sunk by aircraft while at sea and maneuvering. Many thought it impossible.
If Force Z had been properly constituted and had air cover they wouldn't have been sunk.
Look at the Med to see how difficult it was for aircraft to sink warships.
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Old 16th April 2019, 11:28 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
If Force Z had been properly constituted and had air cover they wouldn't have been sunk.
Look at the Med to see how difficult it was for aircraft to sink warships.
If you want to sink battleships using aircraft, first you must have decent aircraft. The British at the start of the war did not have such an aircraft. Fairey Swordfish were obsolete. However they did manage to damage the Bismarck. If the British had decent bombers, with decent weapons, they might have been able to sink her.

Edit. No aircraft were shot down in this battle. Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German...eship_Bismarck
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Old 17th April 2019, 12:03 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
If Force Z had been properly constituted and had air cover they wouldn't have been sunk.
Look at the Med to see how difficult it was for aircraft to sink warships.
Yes, well, the fact that Admiral Sir Thomas Phillips didn't think he needs to even wait for a carrier, though one was available, or the fact that even the AA on the ships in it was grossly insufficient, is what illustrates the problem, rather than an excuse. Most of the admiralty top brass were still grossly underestimating what aircraft can do to a battleship.

Frankly, if anyone in any position to drive such decisions was thinking ahead there, it was the Japanese and more specifically Yamamoto. Most of the world and especially the UK were simply building more carriers as a way to bypass the naval treaty, which said nothing about those, rather than being some kind of visionaries about the future of warfare. Yes, there were one or two visionaries in every navy, including in the admiralty, but they were more like the oddballs overrulled by the old guard.

It was kind of a case of national schizophrenia for most of the world, even. You had the airforce guys who insisted that the bomber always gets through, and is going to win wars by just bombing everything to smithereens, and so on. And it was pretty much national doctrine, even. And then you had the guys with the flak, who seemed to think that, meh, a couple of flak guns are totally going to ruin those flyboys' day. That covers most navies in the world, actually, although the ground forces also invariably lacked sufficient anti-air defenses.
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Old 17th April 2019, 12:07 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
If you want to sink battleships using aircraft, first you must have decent aircraft. The British at the start of the war did not have such an aircraft. Fairey Swordfish were obsolete. However they did manage to damage the Bismarck. If the British had decent bombers, with decent weapons, they might have been able to sink her.

Edit. No aircraft were shot down in this battle. Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German...eship_Bismarck
Actually, you might be surprised to hear that they did so well BECAUSE they were those obsolete Swordfish. The German air director was actually deadly on the Bismarck, but the Swordfish could take a LOT of holes and still fly. And that's really what happened. Even with the AA gun depression problem that the Bismarck had, it put a LOT of shrapnel holes in those planes, but they kept flying anyway. Because as long as you didn't manage to break the internal frame, some holes in the canvas didn't really do much to it.
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Old 17th April 2019, 01:15 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, you might be surprised to hear that they did so well BECAUSE they were those obsolete Swordfish. The German air director was actually deadly on the Bismarck, but the Swordfish could take a LOT of holes and still fly. And that's really what happened.
Wasn't there also a problem in that the German directors were only calibrated down to 100 knots, and the Swordfish was slower than that? They were literally too slow for the German AA fire to hit them.

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Old 17th April 2019, 01:30 AM   #88
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They did have all sorts of problems, but nevertheless, those planes came back with dozens of holes each. It just didn't stop them from keeping flying.
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Old 17th April 2019, 01:31 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
If you want to sink battleships using aircraft, first you must have decent aircraft. The British at the start of the war did not have such an aircraft. Fairey Swordfish were obsolete. However they did manage to damage the Bismarck. If the British had decent bombers, with decent weapons, they might have been able to sink her.

Edit. No aircraft were shot down in this battle. Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German...eship_Bismarck
I keep reading that 'Swordfish was obsolete'
How 'obsolete' was it compared to other torpedo bombers such as the Douglas TBD Devastator?
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Old 17th April 2019, 01:35 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, you might be surprised to hear that they did so well BECAUSE they were those obsolete Swordfish. The German air director was actually deadly on the Bismarck, but the Swordfish could take a LOT of holes and still fly. And that's really what happened. Even with the AA gun depression problem that the Bismarck had, it put a LOT of shrapnel holes in those planes, but they kept flying anyway. Because as long as you didn't manage to break the internal frame, some holes in the canvas didn't really do much to it.
This was true for most aircraft against naval AA
Until proximity fuses were fitted the large calibre AA was as useless as it's shore based equivalent.
Look at the wight of flak fitted to ships in the Pacific in an attempt to shoot Kamikaze attacks out of the sky.

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Old 17th April 2019, 01:36 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Wasn't there also a problem in that the German directors were only calibrated down to 100 knots, and the Swordfish was slower than that? They were literally too slow for the German AA fire to hit them.

Dave
Mythology, all large calibre flak was useless until proximity fusing became available. The Germans never got them.
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Old 17th April 2019, 01:44 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
I keep reading that 'Swordfish was obsolete'
How 'obsolete' was it compared to other torpedo bombers such as the Douglas TBD Devastator?
To be fair to the Devastator, the Swordfish rarely had to operate in the face of serious fighter opposition, and fared pretty badly when it did - the Channel Dash attack is a case in point. The Devastator flew faster and higher, was better armed, and carried a bigger torpedo, but wherever it went there were Zeros waiting.

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Old 17th April 2019, 09:17 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
This was true for most aircraft against naval AA
Until proximity fuses were fitted the large calibre AA was as useless as it's shore based equivalent.
Look at the wight of flak fitted to ships in the Pacific in an attempt to shoot Kamikaze attacks out of the sky.
But the USN was already using proximity fuzes by the time Kamikazee attacks became commonplace. Large ships were occasionally damaged, but only very rarely sunk by Kamikazee attacks (and only if you count CVE's as large ships). 47 in total, but mainly auxiliary ships, and landing craft. Thats not much for the 4,000 or so Kamikaze pilots and aircraft lost.

40mm and 20mm AA weapons were effective in bringing down close in planes, its just a suicidal Kamikaze pilot would sometimes still manage to crash into his target.

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Old 17th April 2019, 10:20 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by lobosrul5 View Post
But the USN was already using proximity fuzes by the time Kamikazee attacks became commonplace. Large ships were occasionally damaged, but only very rarely sunk by Kamikazee attacks (and only if you count CVE's as large ships). 47 in total, but mainly auxiliary ships, and landing craft. Thats not much for the 4,000 or so Kamikaze pilots and aircraft lost.

40mm and 20mm AA weapons were effective in bringing down close in planes, its just a suicidal Kamikaze pilot would sometimes still manage to crash into his target.
Reference was made to Bismark and German AA, not US AA in 45.
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Old 17th April 2019, 11:09 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That's a daft idea for a very simple reason: unless you want to keep full mobilization and full war economy, full time, from now until kingdom come, you will NOT be in a position to directly start an offensive from day one. You need to delay the initial thrust while you build up to the point where you have the superiority in manpower and material to actually start an offensive.

Just as a random number off the top of my head, French doctrine at the time estimated that you need about 15 times more ammo for a successful offense than in defense. You'll not be in a position to have the economy prepared to deliver that, unless you're in full war economy all the time, while waiting for the war to happen.

And that would ruin your economy so fast, that, well, I suppose on the bright side, you won't be worth being conquered by the Germans any more

Add to that the French distrust of their own Army at the time, and the massive opposition to giving them more soldiers even while a war had started, and the whole idea becomes infeasible from the start anyway as a long term plan.
The Germans did OK with an offensive strategy,... for a while.
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Old 17th April 2019, 12:16 PM   #96
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Watching a documentary on National Geographic which reminded me that the Nazi defences built on the Channel Islands were a total waste of time, resources and lives.
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Old 17th April 2019, 02:31 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Mark F View Post
The Germans did OK with an offensive strategy,... for a while.
Well, yes, an offensive strategy is ok if you want to actually start a war. It's a daft DEFENSE strategy.

Essentially if France wanted THAT to be their defense strategy, they'd have to say at some point in the 20's or 30's, "screw this, we'll declare war on Germany and conquer them." Which they never had the political support for. Read the other thread for what major political problems the French army was having with their own government.
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Old 17th April 2019, 03:05 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
I disagree slightly. The Reising wasn't a military spec weapon. It was never meant to be used in jungle combat or on a wet, sandy beach.
As a low cost police weapon it was not a bad gun. It should never have been put in to frontline combat.
What they should have done is used it to free up Thompsons for frontline service
Problem was the Marines did not have enough Thompsons to go around,period. The US Army pretty much had pre purchased almost all of the Thompson output for the foreseeable future,were not willing to share. and war does not wait.
Thompsons in the required amount were simply not available for the Marines, and they had to pretty much take whatever they could find.
But the Thompson proved too expensive and time consuming for wartime production so the US Army in 1943 came up with the M3 "Grease Gun" which was the same concept as the Sten" A no frills SMG that could be produced in large number quickly and using easily available materials.
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Old 17th April 2019, 03:11 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, you might be surprised to hear that they did so well BECAUSE they were those obsolete Swordfish. The German air director was actually deadly on the Bismarck, but the Swordfish could take a LOT of holes and still fly. And that's really what happened. Even with the AA gun depression problem that the Bismarck had, it put a LOT of shrapnel holes in those planes, but they kept flying anyway. Because as long as you didn't manage to break the internal frame, some holes in the canvas didn't really do much to it.
It says something about the quality of British Naval Aircraft that an old biplane proved to be more useful and effective then the more modern designs.

It say something that by 1944, the vast majority of Royal Naval Carrier Aircraft were of American Make.
They loved (with good reason)the Corsair in particular; they found a way to operate if from carriers a long time before the US Navy did.
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Old 17th April 2019, 03:16 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
To be fair to the Devastator, the Swordfish rarely had to operate in the face of serious fighter opposition, and fared pretty badly when it did - the Channel Dash attack is a case in point. The Devastator flew faster and higher, was better armed, and carried a bigger torpedo, but wherever it went there were Zeros waiting.

Dave
And the US Navy did know about the Devastators weaknesses even before Pearl Harbor and were rushing the Avenger into production;but it was not until the summer of 1942 that the Avenger became operational.
The Navy pilots knew they were flying a inferior aircraft;they had a nasty nickname for the Devastator: "The Wind Indicator".
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Old 17th April 2019, 03:19 PM   #101
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Then you have Sasha The Mine Dog:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-tank_dog
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Old 18th April 2019, 01:10 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
The Navy pilots knew they were flying a inferior aircraft;they had a nasty nickname for the Devastator: "The Wind Indicator".
I think that was rhyming slang for the Vought Vindicator, actually; another rather out-of-date airplane that was on track for rapid retirement by Midway. And it's worth noting that the six Avengers at Midway didn't do significantly better than the Devastators, suffering five shot down and one badly damaged for no torpedo hits. Even the best torpedo bomber of the war, and possibly the best ever built, couldn't survive unescorted in the face of fighter opposition.

Dave
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Old 18th April 2019, 11:40 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
It says something about the quality of British Naval Aircraft that an old biplane proved to be more useful and effective then the more modern designs.

It say something that by 1944, the vast majority of Royal Naval Carrier Aircraft were of American Make.
They loved (with good reason)the Corsair in particular; they found a way to operate if from carriers a long time before the US Navy did.
Well, mind, that also has something to do with availability. The British would have been just as happy or happier to have their own planes, and for that matter tanks, manufactured in the US. But if the US said nuts to that, buying the US designed ones instead was the next best thing.
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Old 18th April 2019, 11:53 AM   #104
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Sherman was designed to fulfill a British specification as was the P51 Mustang.
Naval aviation suffered between the wars at the hands of inter service rivalry.
After WW1 the army RFC and navy RNAS were combined in to a new independent air force that saw naval aviation as a threat to their independence.

As for tanks, well, just read ' The Great Tank Scandal: British Armour in the Second World War Part 1' by David Fletcher.

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Old 18th April 2019, 03:43 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, you might be surprised to hear that they did so well BECAUSE they were those obsolete Swordfish. The German air director was actually deadly on the Bismarck, but the Swordfish could take a LOT of holes and still fly. And that's really what happened. Even with the AA gun depression problem that the Bismarck had, it put a LOT of shrapnel holes in those planes, but they kept flying anyway. Because as long as you didn't manage to break the internal frame, some holes in the canvas didn't really do much to it.
Aircraft can take a lot of bullet holes and still get home. For example Lancaster bombers often came home with many bullet holes and the crew injured. It all depends on what was hit. Kill the pilot and the aircraft is highly unlikely to come home.
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Old 18th April 2019, 03:46 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post

As for tanks, well, just read ' The Great Tank Scandal: British Armour in the Second World War Part 1' by David Fletcher.
Me: You know, I should really get a copy of that book for my...HOLY CRAP it costs over $300!
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Old 18th April 2019, 04:00 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by kookbreaker View Post
Me: You know, I should really get a copy of that book for my...HOLY CRAP it costs over $300!
Used copies on Amazon for around £45.

It has been out of print for a while.
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Old 18th April 2019, 04:35 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Sherman was designed to fulfill a British specification as was the P51 Mustang.
Sure, but the UK still first asked to have its own designs manufactured in the US. Having the Americans do their own designs to the UK spec was the next best thing. Is all I'm saying.
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Old 18th April 2019, 04:55 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Used copies on Amazon for around £45.

It has been out of print for a while.
In the US they go up from there. Some ‘adequate’ copies are selling at $1100.
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