Best 1943 Carrier Bomber (non-TB)

Discussion in 'Polls' started by freebird, Nov 8, 2009.

?

What was the best carrier bomber in 1943?

  1. 1.) Firefly (Fairey Firefly mk.1)

    14.3%
  2. 2.) Helldiver (Curtiss-Wright SB2C-1)

    67.9%
  3. 3.) Judy (Yokosuka D4Y1)

    17.9%
  1. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    #1 freebird, Nov 8, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
    A variation of Les's earlier poll, but for the Carrier Dive Bombers (FB) available in 1943.

    The criteria: A dive-capable carrier bomber, 2-seater, available for carrier operations in mid-1943

    So sorry, the Corsair is not an option. :( :mad:
    (it would blow away everything else on the poll if it was)
    Also I believe the "Grace" was not available until 1944? :confused:

    "Best" means ONLY most capable, versatile, survivability, handling, firepower, speed etc.

    It does not take into account reputation, career longevity, prestige, success in combat etc.

    So none of the reasons that many people gave for the first poll would apply. :)
    In other words, if you were to look at these 3 planes WITHOUT knowing who built them or their war record, and judged only by performance. :D

    Also, if you vote in the poll, please tell us WHY you chose to vote for the one you did.
     
  2. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    1.) Firefly (Fairey Firefly mk.1)

    Speed: 319 mph @ 17,000 ft
    Ceiling: 29,000 ft.
    Range: 1,364
    Bomb load: 2,000 lb.
    Armament: 4 x 20 mm cannon

    2.) Helldiver (Curtiss-Wright SB2C-1)

    Speed: 280 mph @ 17,000 ft
    Ceiling: 25,000 ft.
    Range: 1,100
    Bomb load: 2,000 lb.
    Armament: 2 x 20 mm cannon, 2 x Machine Guns


    3.) Judy (Yokosuka D4Y1)

    Speed: 342 mph @ 15,500 ft
    Ceiling: 32,500 ft.
    Range: 978
    Bomb load: 700 lb.
    Armament: 3 x Machine Guns
     
  3. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Since Firefly was not flown operatively in 1943 (but in June 44, two months after Corsair), do we still consider the poll valid?
     
  4. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Yes. "Available for operations" not the date when its first combat operations occur.
    The poll is also purposely limited to 2-seater aircraft :)

     
  5. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The SBD isnt on the poll. How come?
     
  6. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    That would be my question. The SBD was in front line carrier operations thru June 1944 and in land-based operations through July 1945.
     
  7. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Because the more modern, faster, heavier payload Helldiver is there.

    But mainly because I suspected some folks would vote for the Dauntless because of it's success at Midway elsewhere. :)


    Is there a reason why you would choose a Dauntless over a Helldiver?
     
  8. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Its 1943.

    The Helldiver didnt get its "bugs" worked out untill 1945.
     
  9. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    What were the bugs?
    It made it's first operation in late 1943 (Rabual IIRC) Were the bugs still a major problem in mid '44? Was the second varient any better?

    Do you consider the Dauntless to be superior to a Judy or a Firefly, even with the much slower speed?
     
  10. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Who needs the Midway results influence? SBD was more survivable in combat than the SB2C and no bad habits.
     
  11. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Are there any engagements where they both served in '44 or '45?
    Woudn't the lower speed of the Dauntless be a handicap EXCEPT for the fact that by late '43- or '44 the Allies had almost complete operational air superiority?
     
  12. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    East Philippine Sea, June 20 1944, maybe you've heard of it. Total losses of SB2Cs were 43 out of 51, or 84%; SBD losses were 4 out of 26, or 15%.

    Asking for actions in which they were both present is kind of a funny question. If the purpose is to negate the operational results for SBDs before the introduction of the SB2C, then, by the same token, that approach would negate all the SB2C operational results after the SBD was no longer used in fleet operations, right?
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Werent a lot of those losses due to nightime return times which meant they had to ditch?
     
  14. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    No, it is possible to analyze data for an operation to guage the capabilities of an aircraft, even if you don't take into account the results of the operation.

    For example, at Midway there were both Devastators and Avengers, so it's possible to compare the performance of both in a similar situation. Strangely the Avenger didn't fair any better than it's predecessor. Probably the lesson was that any TB is vulnerable to defending fighters, unless it has sufficient escort.

    Also the Dauntless would have also probably been slaughtered by the Zeros at Midway, except for the fact that they were busy with the TB's.
     
  15. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Remember the Captain of USS Yorktown CV-10 that had his Helldivers swapped for SBD-3 Dauntless', because, as he put it, wouldn't use them as anchors!

    SBD for me all the way!
     
  16. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    What advantages would an SBD have over a Firefly? Or the Judy?

    A Zero or a Wildcat would bounce them at close to the same speed, while it would have a 80 mph advantage over the SBD.


    I have heard that the Helldiver suffered from difficult handling at low speeds (high wing loading?)
    Were there other problems as well?

    Why were so many made if it was a problem aircraft?
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    If you were to include the Dauntless, you would also need to include the Val. Val was nowhere near as survivable as the Dauntless but it has the reputation as being one of the most accurate DBs in the business. Against moving targets it was recorded as achieving accuracy rates in excess of 80%, that is 80% of bombs dropped hit their targets
     
  18. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Some particulars could help a decision, but since Judy seems to be nobody's favourite, I'll do the allied planes from the poll.

    Speed:
    Firefly is faster without bombs. Now since SB2D carries bombs in the bomb bay (Firefly has them attached under wings), the speed is just about equal. So Firefly has the advantage only in way home - a minor advantage in my eyes.

    Range:
    Underwing bombs negate any combat range advantage Firefly could have in clean configuration - this is a draw.

    Gun armament:
    Firefly has advantage for a 'direct' attack, or strafing. The lack of effective rear guns is obvious for it. Since we talk about bombers, SB2C has the advantage, because of rear guns. Small advantage SB2C.

    Bomb rocket armament:
    Firefly can carry bombs rockets in the same time, while Firefly can't. Advantage SB2C.

    Suitability for the bomber's task:
    Firefly is not a dive bomber, so pin-point attacks are a tough issue for it. Advantage SB2C.

    Survivability vs. AAA:
    The main difference is engine type: air-cooled is better then liquid-cooled here. Advantage SB2C.

    Survivability vs. fighters:
    Firefly would drop stores and then try to force a turning fight, in what it excelled.
    SB2C would have to rely on twin 0.30 LMGs to hit the attacker; perhaps enough for Zero Oscar, but not against anything more capable.
    Firefly has one 'sweet spot', the cooling system of the engine.
    Both planes are much slower then fighter opposition.
    Both planes need air superiority to operate, so this is a draw.

    Electronic equipment:
    Draw.

    My conclusion: SB2C is better for the task.
     
  19. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Firefly was designed, built and used as a true multi role aircraft, which has both advantages and disadvantagers as a concept. As a generalization it can be said the Firefly could do a lot of things, but i doubt it could be singled out as doing one thing better than a purpose designed aircraft.....

    That said, there are a few things in TPs submission that require clarification. I dont know a lot about the helldiver, so i will leave that part up top the US guys here to clarify on that. But I do have some knowledge on the Firefly, and a few things raised in TPs submission are not the same as my understanding of the aircraft.

    Firefly was designed to specification N5/40, which in summary was a spec for a multi-role strike fighter also capable of effective recon and surface strike. It was required to have low landing and stall speeds, so as to be able to escort the 100 knot aircraft then in service with the FAA. It had to possess significant all weather capability and be able to attack targets when attacking blind, that is, at night and in poor or overcast conditions. This led to a number of innovations worth noting about the aircraft

    It was fitted with patented Youngman Flaps, which were fully recessed and retractable, When exteneded they could greatly increase manouverability of the aircraft, and reduce stall speeds. This in turn greatly increased the accuracy of bombing for the Firefly, which was exploited after the war by the adoption of the type as an ASW platform. Attacking subs requires the a/c to possess extreme bombing accuracy in order to be effective, and the Firefly possessed this in spades, due to its near ability to "hover" and loiter around the target.

    Nearly all the day equipped fireflies were equipped with an advanced ASV radar, to allow blind bombing.

    Some hundreds of the type were equipped with AI MKX airborne radar for night fighting, and the type remained the RNs principal night fighter for some years after the war.

    The type possed a combat endurance of 746 miles whilst fully armed and loaded, with later marks increased to over 1300 miles whilst in this configuration. its maximum speed whilst bombed up was 286 knots. The biggest weakness of the type was in fact its speed with the FR Mk1 only capable of 316 knots. However the types introduced in 1944 with the Griffin engines increased this almost immediately to 380 knot, which was helpful. To get the 1300 mile range the type had to stick to its optimum cruising speed of 220 knots.

    Operationally the type had some success as the following excerpts show. As can be seen from the accounts I have provided, the type showed no great weakness to AA. I dont know that such a claim can be made for the Helldiver.....

    "Interestingly, on all points save speed, a Firefly I sent to the US Navy test center at Patuxent River in 1944 more than held its own in air combat against the standard U.S. Navy carrier fighter, the F6F Hellcat - those Youngman flaps worked.

    1770 Squadron formed on Fireflies on October 1, 1943, followed by 1771 Squadron in February 1944. 1770 participated in Operation Mascot, the failed attack against the German battleship "Tirpitz" on July 17, 1944, operating from HMS "Indefatigable." 1771 Squadron, aboard HMS "Implacable," flew strikes in Norwegian waters that October, by which time "Indefatigable" and her Fireflies had moved on to join the British Far Eastern Fleet.

    From January 1-7, 1945, 1770 Squadron's Fireflies flew rocket strikes against the Pangkalan Brandon refinery on Sumatra, during which Lieutenant D. Levitt shot down a Ki.43 Hayabusa while Sub Lieutenants Redding and Stot shared another in air combat on January 4. 1770 scored two more Ki.43s on January 24, during strikes on the Palembang refineries at Pladjoe and Songei Gerong that required the aircraft to attack through balloon barrages and heavy AAA fire. On January 29, the Fireflies added three more Ki-43s to their score before departing Southeast Asia for service with Task Force 57, the British Pacific Fleet, during the coming invasion of Okinawa.

    Five days before D-Day, TF 57 launched strikes on Miyako-jima, southwest of Okinawa, following up during the next 25 days with 13 days of strikes against Japanese forces on Okinawa and Taiwan, with the Fireflies participating in all these actions.

    When the BPF retired to Sydney for replenishment in late May, they were joined by HMS "Implacable" and the Fireflies of 1771 Squadron. After strikes against Truk, 1771's Fireflies gained the distinction of being the first British aircraft to fly over Japan on July 10, 1945; on July 24, Fireflies from 1771 and 1772 Squadrons - the latter having relieved 1770 aboard "Indefatigable" - became the first British aircraft over Tokyo. By VJ-Day, another Firefly squadron - 1790 - was operating with the BPF in the night fighter role. A year of successful combat had only begun to show what the airplane was capable of...."
     
  20. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    When were the uprated Griffons mounted to Firefly, in order to make 380kt (=680 km/h) possible?
    Have Fireflies managed to score some hits/kill through usage of radars during night/bad weather, be it against ships or planes?
     
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