The Ship Model Forum

The Ship Modelers Source
It is currently Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:37 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 43 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:23 am
Posts: 2304
Location: Copenhagen
... is sentence probably most often used in regard of battlecruisers and the early heavy cruisers, but it is interestingly also true for aircraft carriers. Essentially all pre-war built aircraft carriers were at least for a longer period not able to participate in the Pacific War, because they were either sunk (4 of 6 carriers of the USN; 5 of 7 of the Japanese navy) or heavily damaged (the others) in the carrier battles in 1942 - resulting in two navies, which had to fight for nearly one year without a major contribution of capital ships.

Friedman describes that in Naval Anti-Aircraft Guns & Gunnery, because that increased the importance of ship-based AA guns, because of the lack of fighter support.

I guess the rate of loss of carriers early in the war was at least as high as those of battleships - and it hit both sides, whereas early in the Pacific War mostly USN and RN battleships were sunk or heavily damaged.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 12:04 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 3:17 pm
Posts: 860
Location: EN83
It is correct, in my opinion, that the aircraft carrier is the final embodiment of the concept behind the battlecruiser; "eggshells with hammers", indeed!

_________________
:no_2: Danny DON'T "waterline"...!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 12:42 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:25 pm
Posts: 1335
Location: England
I agree also. One thing that is interesting though is you say that the loss of the carriers made it more important to develop AA guns, but what really is the effectiveness of AA fire in absence of fighter cover? I guess there was never a "fair" fight in this sense since most of the capital ships sunk by aircraft were also hopelessly overwhelmed, but by a combination of AA fire and it's own ability to absorb hits would one battleship be able to survive the attack of exactly one carrier?

_________________
Vlad


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 3:31 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:35 pm
Posts: 2654
Location: UK
I think that there was a half-hearted approach to aircraft carriers and their use before and early in the war. The British didn't expect to sink enemy capital ships with aircraft but only to slow them down which presumably limited the size and utility of the carriers and especially the design of the aircraft.

The reason the Japanese didn't lose many battleships is that they didn't expose them so much. The Japanese battleships were reserved for the knockout blow and were rarely engaged with enemy units. They preferred to strike with their carriers although I am not sure that they understood what this meant in reality.

The US seems to have best understood the value of the aircraft carrier, maybe partly because they had been watching the war in Europe and also because they were forced to use them after Pearl Harbor as their only means to strike the enemy (apart from submarines).

_________________
In 1757 Admiral John Byng was shot "pour encourager les autres". Voltaire


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 5:03 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:23 am
Posts: 2304
Location: Copenhagen
But interesting point is that both navies - the Japanese and the US - lost in 1942 there pre-war carrier force in the intensive carrier battles. Carriers were not deployed half-hearted, but very aggressive causing the loss of most of them.

Both the Japanese navy and the USN had too fight most of 1943 without a significant carrier force, because of the excessive losses in 1942. This caused no revival of the battleships, even though they were available, especially the Japanese, but also an increasing number of US ones. There was no attempt for a big battleship battle, only some of them were deployed in small numbers to the Salomon Islands (were 2 IJN battleships were lost; this was after the loss of 4 USN carriers and 5 IJN carriers). Most battles were fought with cruisers and destroyers (or even only destroyers).

I am not sure, if the USN understand the value of carriers best, if the use of IJN and USN carriers early in the Pacific War is compared. They were used for similar purposes.

It would be interesting, when the first attack on an aircraft carrier done by aircraft of another carrier was repelled. Most attacks (which found the carrier) in 1942 caused heavy damage or the sinking of the carrier (therefore eggshells armed with hammers).

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 6:07 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:25 pm
Posts: 1335
Location: England
I think the fact the battleships were not committed shows that views over the role of carriers was conflicted. It's almost like carriers were expendable and battleships to be saved at all cost. For the IJN this was doctrine but the USN did not behave that much different. Maybe carriers are just cheaper to mass produce and replace?

Also it is hard to make a fair judgment about repelling an attack, since by the time the Essex class arrive the US has a big superiority and there is no "fair" carrier vs. carrier fight after 1942.

_________________
Vlad


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 11:17 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:35 pm
Posts: 2654
Location: UK
maxim wrote:
But interesting point is that both navies - the Japanese and the US - lost in 1942 there pre-war carrier force in the intensive carrier battles. Carriers were not deployed half-hearted, but very aggressive causing the loss of most of them.

Both the Japanese navy and the USN had too fight most of 1943 without a significant carrier force, because of the excessive losses in 1942. This caused no revival of the battleships, even though they were available, especially the Japanese, but also an increasing number of US ones. There was no attempt for a big battleship battle, only some of them were deployed in small numbers to the Salomon Islands (were 2 IJN battleships were lost; this was after the loss of 4 USN carriers and 5 IJN carriers). Most battles were fought with cruisers and destroyers (or even only destroyers).

I am not sure, if the USN understand the value of carriers best, if the use of IJN and USN carriers early in the Pacific War is compared. They were used for similar purposes.

It would be interesting, when the first attack on an aircraft carrier done by aircraft of another carrier was repelled. Most attacks (which found the carrier) in 1942 caused heavy damage or the sinking of the carrier (therefore eggshells armed with hammers).


On reflection, should have left out the words "and their use". But it is clear from the numbers and types being built that carriers were not a priority in any navy before the war. Even during the war the British and Japanese (until Midway) did not realise the importance of building large numbers of capable carriers. Only the US embarked upon a building programme and had the design (Essex) which was vital to the victory over Japan.

It is true that the US and Japan deployed carriers aggressively but this was (I think) because Japan didn't expect the US to be able to do much without their battleships so they underestimated the US carriers which were well handled and very aggressive.

I think the US didn't feel the need to send battleships to attack the Japanese. The loss of Prince of Wales and Repulse had made it very clear how vulnerable they were to air attack. The US decided to wait until it could attack in strength with the carriers and until then they would react to Japanese movements.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the way the Japanese or US used their carriers but it was the US that decided that they were the capital ship with the most punch and relegating the battleships to AA escort and bombardment duties, while the Japanese clung to their unimaginative doctrine of saving the battleships for the big battle.

_________________
In 1757 Admiral John Byng was shot "pour encourager les autres". Voltaire


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 11:42 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:23 am
Posts: 2304
Location: Copenhagen
The USN did not wait for the carriers to attack, but they attacked in the Salomon Islands etc. using mainly cruisers and destroyers. They advanced there without substantial support of carriers - which is interesting episode of the Pacific War, which is usually described as a carrier war!

In regard of the number of built carriers: they were first limited by the treaties and then by the building capacity. The British and especially the Japanese building capacity was limited compared to the US one. Only the USA were able built large fleet carriers in big numbers. I am sure that both the RN and the IJN would have like to have built fleet carriers in the quantity and quality of the Essex class - but that was not possible. I do not think that the number of carriers built during the war is an indication of the priorities, tactics etc., but only an indicator of the capacities.

It is true that the Japanese tried to save the battleships for the final battle (up to Leyte, then they were deployed all!), whereas the USN used them as fast AAW platforms to protect the carriers (the new fast ones) or for bombarding duties during the landings (the old, slow battleships).

@ Vlad: The question would be, if any attack was repelled before the USN had this massive quantitative superiority in 1944.

I would guess that a carrier was cheaper - less guns, less armour etc. But already pre-war they were considered to be more expendable - the main fighting line would have been the battleships. The aggressive use of USN carriers in 1942 makes it likely that they were still seen as expendable...

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 12:13 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:25 pm
Posts: 1335
Location: England
Well, airgroup balance would be a factor to look at also. The IJN seem to have had (on average) only about 25% of the airgroup as fighters. The US seems to have had more like 35% and eventually refined much better CAP techniques. Still, in the battles of 1942 it was maybe a dozen fighters from one carrier trying to defend against 40+ attack aicraft per enemy carrier. The numbers explain why enough got through. In a way those battles were a bit like nuclear war, "mutually assured destruction". Once both strike waves are launched there's not much to stop them, even if they have nowhere to land after.

Late war I think something like an Iowa with 5"/38, proximity fuze, RADAR and Mk.37 directors could take out enough planes from a strike wave to survive the hits that did get through (because something will get through). It's not a situation you want to be in though.

I think all military planners like the "risk", the possibility that you can destroy the enemy with no losses. Battleships can't do this because they need to get close and trade hits, carriers have a chance to pull this off by early detection and clever tactics. Of course if the fight is fair both sides lose, but that is true for any battle!

_________________
Vlad


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 2:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:19 pm
Posts: 84
Prewar, the only way to detect an incoming enemy air attack was visually, which sometimes left little or no time to intercept an incoming raid. Think Midway. Therefore, the prewar thought was to some extent that carriers could not reliably be defended, and so the emphasis (for the USN and IJN, anyway) was to maximize the offense so that their carriers could accomplish something before being crippled or sunk. Eggshells armed with hammers.

With the introduction of radar, enemy aircraft could be detected at a much longer distance, but it still took time to perfect fighter direction, so initially there were situations where intercepting fighters were sent to the wrong place, and so the defensive ability of carriers was still somewhat limited.

Later, Allied fighter direction became very good, and intercepting enemy aircraft long before they came near the carriers allowed carriers to have very formidable defensive ability. Think Battle of the Philippine Sea.

In response to the late war US ability to knock down Japanese aircraft in droves, the Japanese began introducing infiltration attacks, where instead of massing their attacks, they would often send only a few aircraft at a time into Allied airspace, taking advantage of the fact that the vast majority of aircraft heading towards the US carriers were in fact US planes returning from missions. By attempting to infiltrate in this manner, this forced the US to detect, track, identify, and potentially intercept every single inbound aircraft, not a trivial task. This forced the US into deploying picket destroyers, and hurrying up the development of height finding radars, to ensure that intercepting fighters were sent to the right place at the right altitude.

So the defensive capabilities of Allied carriers increased dramatically over the course of the war, above and beyond just the increase in the number of carriers and carrier aircraft.

Vlad wrote:
I think the fact the battleships were not committed shows that views over the role of carriers was conflicted. It's almost like carriers were expendable and battleships to be saved at all cost.

Alternatively, I think both sides decided that that bringing battleships to a carrier fight was like bringing a knife to a gun fight. Not a good idea. After Midway, for example, the Japanese converted the Shinano into a carrier, converted the Ise class into hybrids, relegated the Fuso and Nagato classes to training, and went on a carrier (not battleship) building frenzy. They clearly understood at that point that the day of the battleship had passed.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 9:32 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:40 pm
Posts: 215
Location: Southern California
Quote:
I think the fact the battleships were not committed shows that views over the role of carriers was conflicted. It's almost like carriers were expendable and battleships to be saved at all cost. For the IJN this was doctrine but the USN did not behave that much different. Maybe carriers are just cheaper to mass produce and replace?


I've been following this thread and have to put in my two cents. I just finished reading "Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal" a very well written blow-by-blow account of the sea battles around Guadalcanal. In it, author Hornfisher's contention is that the seas around Guadalcanal were simply dangerous. Carriers were used - not because they were expendable - but because they were the only assets available. The standing order was to defend Guadalcanal at all costs, so the carriers were cautiously engaged and most were lost. Battleships were desperately wanted and repeatedly requested, but none were available. There wasn't oil to fuel the thirsty old battleships which survived Pearl Harbor and the new Fast Battleships were not yet battle ready... so the carriers fought and sank. When the Washington and South Dakota showed up at long last the naval situation was brought under control, despite carrier presence.

Early in the war carriers did make a critical difference, but the US was still a Battleship Navy. It took a couple of years for attitudes to change.

_________________
dave

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana...
Groucho Marx


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 12:51 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:58 pm
Posts: 1549
Location: Houston, Texas
CV-2 USS Lexington --> Scuttled
CV-3 USS Saratoga --> A-Bomb target post war
CV-4 USS Ranger --> Scrapped shortly after the war
CV-5 USS Yorktown --> Sunk
CV-6 USS Enterprise --> Scrapped Post War
CV-7 USS Wasp --> Sunk
CV-8 USS Hornet --> Scuttled

Lexington and Hornet could have been saved were sunk to avoid capture. Saratoga, and Enterprise were beat up heavily through the war.

_________________
╔═════╗
Seasick
╚═════╝


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 1:17 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:23 am
Posts: 2304
Location: Copenhagen
just some dude wrote:
Alternatively, I think both sides decided that that bringing battleships to a carrier fight was like bringing a knife to a gun fight. Not a good idea.

Yes, but both sides had no substantial carrier force available after the carrier battles in 1942 ;) Therefore there was no risk to fight against a carrier force. Even the loss of the carrier force caused no revival of the battleship force.

@ noplate: The waters around the Salomon Islands were contested still long time after the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November 1942. The USN continue to suffer a lot of losses also later, e.g. in the Battle of Tassafaronga shortly after the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal or in the Battles of Kula Gulf and Kolombangara in July 1943.

@ Seasick: Hornet was sunk by Japanese destroyers. She could have been captured, but the Japanese consider her too difficult to salvage.

_________________
Image


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 6:57 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:25 pm
Posts: 1335
Location: England
A battleship is still a very expensive asset and carries quite some pride, so you absolutely don't want to put it in danger without reason. I think even in the absence of carriers there is a big risk in deploying battleships to messy close range battles, probably at night and between islands. You don't want to lose one so you will hold it back until you are sure you need it. In my opinion it is this paradox of fearing to commit your best ship that really killed the battleships.

Washington and South Dakota were very lucky at Guadalcanal. The destroyers took the torpedo hits for them, otherwise that episode would have a different ending.

The other thing to consider is strategic success. The US took losses but in those battles stopped important IJN plans.

_________________
Vlad


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2014 7:15 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:41 pm
Posts: 602
Location: North Carolina, USA
I've always been struck by the symmetry of U.S. and Japanese carrier development. Both started with an early developmental carrier (Langley & Hosho), found themselves unexpectedly with a pair of giants (Lexington/Saratoga & Kaga/Akagi), took a false step (Ranger & Ryujo), then a successful pair of what I'd regard as "fleet carriers" (Yorktown/Enterprise & Hiryu/Soryu). I'd note both nations were operating under treaty restrictions that may have made these similarities more likely. Also that they were building in pairs, construction more commonly found with "capital ships" than in cruisers and smaller ships. The Japanese were more prepared with a follow-on class ready after the treaty expiration (Shokaku/Zuikaku) while the U.S. could only counter with a repeat Yorktown (Hornet). I also acknowledge Wasp but her design seemed more to use the last available carrier tonnage permitted by treaty rather than any evolutionary step. Her very construction does, however, speak to the evident U.S. desire to have every last carrier permitted, contrary to those who argue a lack of interest in carriers.

The Essex class was a very good design, comparable to the Shokakus but I've always thought their greatest strength was their numbers. As has been pointed out, only the U.S. was capable of such production. The Japanese were forced to rely on several series of conversions and while some were quite creative, all suffered in some respect(s) and couldn't be fairly counted as "fleet carriers".

Regards,

Mac


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 12:51 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:58 pm
Posts: 1549
Location: Houston, Texas
Soryu and Wasp were the same concept. A light fleet carrier. Yorktown and Enterprise were better than Hiryu. Shokaku and Zuikaku are a better equivalence to Yorktown and Enterprise. The IJN leadership didn't miss the significance of the USN naming its replacement Essex class ships after Carriers lost in 1942.
CV-10 Yorktown :big_grin:
CV-12 Hornet :big_grin:
CV-16 Lexington :big_grin:
CV-18 Wasp :big_grin:

The early USN treaty heavy cruisers were referred to as the "Tin Clads" because of their light armor.

_________________
╔═════╗
Seasick
╚═════╝


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 2:10 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:35 pm
Posts: 2654
Location: UK
If the Japanese were interested in carriers they could have done two things.
1. Build more carriers.
2. Improve the efficiency of their training methods for pilots and aircrew.

These two factors were important in the speed of the Japanese defeat. Of course they were always going to lose because they underestimated their enemy and overestimated their own strength. Throughout the war the Japanese leadership was guilty of
incredible lack of vision and imagination. They are often described as fanatics and in their arrogance and insularity/narrowmindedness I think that fits them to a T.

_________________
In 1757 Admiral John Byng was shot "pour encourager les autres". Voltaire


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 5:46 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 3:17 pm
Posts: 860
Location: EN83
Seasick wrote:
The IJN leadership didn't miss the significance of the USN naming its replacement Essex class ships after Carriers lost in 1942.


Is there an original (or otherwise reliable) Japanese reference to support this statement? I've seen this pop-up before, but have always discounted it as wishful thinking or "Winner's History".

Thanks in advance,

Dan

_________________
:no_2: Danny DON'T "waterline"...!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 7:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:19 pm
Posts: 84
Admiral John Byng wrote:
If the Japanese were interested in carriers they could have done two things.
1. Build more carriers.

During the period of time in which the naval treaties were in effect, the maximum total tonnage of aircraft carriers allowed was fixed by treaty, and both the Japanese and US built up to their respective maximums. Examining how many carriers were laid down (or converted) after the expiration of the treaty and completed prior to, say, the Battle of Midway, results in the Japanese having completed the Zuikaku, Shokaku, Shoho, Zuiho, and Junyo. The US completed only the Hornet. If interest in carriers is to be based solely upon numbers built, then clearly the Japanese had far more interest in carriers than the US did during this time period, right?

Admiral John Byng wrote:
2. Improve the efficiency of their training methods for pilots and aircrew.

Yes, they shouldn’t have let a little thing like a lack of fuel interfere with the training of their pilots.


So I’m trying to understand where this idea that the Japanese didn’t think highly of aircraft carriers is coming from. It certainly doesn’t seem to come from the historical record, as Japan out built the US in carriers prior to Midway, went on a carrier building frenzy after Midway, and used carriers as their main naval force literally from the first day of the war all the way until they ran out of trained pilots and were forced to use battleships again out of desperation. Note especially how neither Japan nor the US used their slow battleships with their fast carriers, but somehow the US is credited with being “forward thinking” for leaving the slow battleships behind, while the Japanese are accused of “conserving their battleships” for doing the exact same thing! The Japanese showed on the very first day of the war that they were willing to discard their prewar doctrine. So can someone please explain to me (using actual historical examples) of how exactly the Japanese thought more highly of their battleships than they did their carriers?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 7:22 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:41 pm
Posts: 602
Location: North Carolina, USA
I’ll play devil’s advocate and take it a step further. Not only were aircraft carriers eggshells armed with hammers; during the first few years of the war they mostly hammered one another to the near exclusion of other warship targets. Ironically, the ships most susceptible to major damage or loss by air attack were aircraft carriers. Their large size, light armor, large amount of exposed ammunition during operations, and vast quantities of highly inflammable aircraft fuel made them ideal targets. I do fully acknowledge that opposing carriers were the priority targets of both the U.S. and Japanese navies but they frequently appeared to cancel one another.

A significant limiting factor of World War II carriers was that a single carrier aircraft could only carry a single piece of ordnance. Consider that one bomber sortie is essentially the equivalent of a single main battery shot so a carrier could “fire” somewhere between 30 and 60 “shots” and maybe twice that if a second “shot” could be made. Given the accuracy of the day, this isn’t a lot of shots. It wasn’t until the American Essex and Independence classes that sufficient numbers of aircraft could be sortied to be truly effective. It really isn’t until this time that carriers became battleship killers and even then only against battleships operating without their own air cover.

Regards,

Mac


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 43 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You can post new topics in this forum
You can reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group