Best airborne anti shipping weapon?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Ascent, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. Ascent

    Ascent Member

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    Having read the Torpedo bomber thread it got me wondering what the most usefull antishipping weapon carried by an aircraft was?

    There probably isn't a 'correct' answer as such but it might be nice to get a bit of debate of their various merits.

    I must admit to being a fan of 3" rockets used by Costal Command Mosquitos and Beafighters, certainly against merchant shipping. If the rocket landed short they would turn up when they hit the water so gave a good chance of getting a below the waterline hit and the rocket motor would often start a fire after the rocket had peirced the hull. Also quite succesful against U-boats as well I understand, for similar reasons. Also like the MKXVIII Mossie with the 57mm cannon which was designed as an anti shipping aircraft though once rockets were fitted they weren't needed as much.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    If one has access to a guided bomb, guess that would be the best choice. Without that, a nice 1 ton bomb should make any capital ship captain worried. Or something like bouncing bomb, used to crack dams.
     
  3. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    Highball for big ones and Tetse for small ones.

    We shouldn't forget air laid mines. I have always been impressed by the 1940 Swordfish minelaying campaign in Dutch waters. Flying across the North Sea in winter at 100knots unarmed to the enemy coast with a huge petrol tank strapped in place of the TAG and a bag of corks to plug any bullet holes in the tank. The Swordfish was too slow to make the journey in the length of a summer night. It was air laid mines that did the only real damage to the Scharnhorst in her journey from Brest in 1941 despite torpedo attacks from brave Swordfish, Beauforts and destroyers.

    Mines not only took out ships but also denied routes and channelled shipping into known areas and routes to allow direct attack aeroplanes to find them more easily.
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Mines were certainly important.

    For direct attack it depends on the size of the ship. Torpedoes are excellent if they hit. They let lots of water into the ship but they need 8-12 feet of water to run in which means most smaller ships are somewhat safe, torpedoes run under them.

    It was found that most "normal" aircraft bombs would "bounce" (at least once) if dropped at low altitude and high speed. This was used by B-25s and A-20s amongst other aircraft. It created a larger "window" for dropping the bombs than from a higher altitude.
    However skip bombing or using "bouncing" bombs requires the plane to get much closer to the target than a torpedo does and while this is fine for lightly armed freighters it is not so good against ships like cruisers.
     
  5. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #5 oldcrowcv63, Dec 8, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
    I guess if we are talking historical damage inflicted by a WW2 weapon system, one should acknowledge the dive bomber pilot guided (general purpose and armor-piercing) ordnance delivered by the VAL, SBD and/or Stuka as among the most effective). Likewise, Kate and Swordfish delivered torpedo were quite effective in notable instances despite the increasing vulnerability of the delivery system and with an honorable mention to the Avenger and S.M.79. The Avenger and Swordfish get double credit as ASW weapon delivery systems. technologically, I guess the Fritz-X and HS-293 and bio-guided Kamikaze would be near the top of the list (Of course, the Kamikaze had an inherent ant-jam advantage over radio guided bombs).
     
  6. norab

    norab Well-Known Member

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  7. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Always been a fan of the Henschel Hs 293 and Fritz-X! Could be launched from a relatively safe distance away from AA etc..
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Both weapons employed a similiar MCLOS guidance system. Both weapons worked with a reasonable degree of reliability during mid 1943. Nothing else comes close.

    It's a good thing for us that Germany didn't provide Japan with this technology. Large scale Hs.293 attacks might be worse then large scale Kamikaze attacks during the Battle for Okinawa as the weapon was launched outside AA range.
     
  9. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The most deadly weapon in terms of ships damaged was the japanese kamikaze, a true guided cruise missile, albeit the guidnace system was a human being. Only the poor standard of pilots prevented the weapon from being more effective than it was
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    More deadly than the Ju 87 throughout 1940 and then on to the Mediterranean? The Kamikaze may have had a lot of targets but they only operated for a short time.

    The best weapon in terms of the original question has to be some kind of "stand off" weapon like the Fritz X.

    Steve
     
  11. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    How good was the M4 75mm cannon when mounted in the B-25Hs?
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    How many ships displacing over 1,000 tons were sunk by such a small weapon? I'd hazzard a guess not many. You are comparing a strafing weapon with ship killing weapons.
     
  13. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    #13 yulzari, Dec 8, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
    USA tested the 'Tetse' or Molins 6 pounder against the US AN5 75mm (an M4 type) and found it superior in having a higher rate of fire (1 round per second), was a more robust mounting and had an auto feed which could have had it's capacity enlarged in a larger aeroplane and was far, far more accurate than contemporary unguided rockets. Although it's HE warhead weight was somewhat less than the US 75mm it's rate of fire meant it could put several times the weight of HE on the target whilst using high G maneuvers.

    The essence of the Highball was to be able to release the weapon at higher speed than a torpedo, at greater range and irrespective of the water depth. Radar guided anti aircraft fire killed it off post war.

    The accuracy of genuine dive bombing made it a very effective weapon against all but armoured capital ships in the first 3 years of the war but after 1941 organised air defence of shipping exposed the vulnerability of the carrier aeroplanes. The Swedes remained devoted to it well into the 1950's.
     
  14. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Just curious, I've not been able to find info on this and figured you guys would probably know. Thanks.
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Ju-87 normally carried a 1,000kg AP bomb for naval attack. That will penetrate battleship armor.
     
  16. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    So will a 12,000lb Tallboy, as Tirpitz Lutzow found out.
     
  17. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    True,very effective when they hit.Given the relative inaccuracy of bombing at the time it was a good job that they had a large and stationary target :)

    There is surely an advantage in a guided weapon which also minimises the exposure of your aircraft by launching out of AAA range.

    Steve
     
  18. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    #18 Shortround6, Dec 8, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012

    Outside of what AA range???

    40mm?

    From Wiki on the Hs 293, Operational range "at 5.0 km (16500 feet) altitude 8.5 km"

    If you think you are out of range of 5in/38s at 8.5KM think again. Especially as the bomber had to continue to fly pretty much straight and level over the target for the "MCLOS guidance system" to work.

    By 1944/45 the 5in/38s were well supplied with proximity fuses.
     
  19. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #19 parsifal, Dec 8, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
    Many times more deadly. And thats with pilots of indfifferent quality, versus elite pilots..

    Numbers quoted vary, but at least 47 Allied vessels, from PT boats to escort carriers, were sunk by kamikaze attacks, and about 300 damaged. Some of those 300, like the Essex Class Franklin were basically scrapped after the war, so effective the damaged does implicity include "scrapped, scuttled" During World War II, nearly 4,000 kamikaze pilots were sacrificed. About 14% of kamikaze attacks managed to hit a ship.

    During the early part of 1942, Vals achieved a hit accuracy that at times was close to 80%. Imagine if the japanese had used Kamikaze tactics in 1942. The USN would have been almost competely destroyed
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #20 parsifal, Dec 8, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
    But evidently arent strong enough or effctive enough to sink more lightly protected carriers, despite multiple hits by these weapons (well, at least the weapons they were effectively able to carry, that it the 1000lb variety).
     
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