Best anti-shipping aircraft?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by carpenoctem1689, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. carpenoctem1689

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    Ive heard many claims for this role, of the best anti-shipping aircraft to see service in all theaters. From the Ju-87, Sm.79, D3A, SBD, and TBM?TBF, among many others. I was just wondering what everyone thought about this, and what theyre favorite, out of all theaters and operators was.

    Ive come to a stalemate on my own question to be honest. Ive heard of great claims by the D3A, especially against the british battleships that were sunk, the Prince of wales, and repulse i believe. I heard around 80% of bombs were delivered on target by D3A's, and even some sources saying no D3A's even took part. Ive heard also about the Stuka, Ju-87 being the best anti shipping platform, sinking many convoy and warships around malta, and everywhere north from there. I would, overall however, have to choose the SBD, in the PTO...How about you?
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The B25's strafers of the 5th AF proved they were the best aircraft. Even though they only flew in the PTO, the impact on the Japanese navy was devestating.

    Skip bombing at wave top height minimized the number of AA guns that could shoot at you, while the heavy MG would give the ship gunners something to think about.

    Dive bombers had their limits as they could only carry 1 bomb at a time. Torpedo attacks required a slow vulnerable approach in which the torpedo usually missed.
     
  3. NAVAIR

    NAVAIR Member

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    Simple....

    Mosquito, Beaufighter, B-25 Mitchell and A-20G Havoc. For the Axis, the Focke Wulf 200 Condor devastated shipping in the north Atlantic.

    Operations of Mosquitos and Beaufighters (which was used by the USAAF too) in the MTO and off Norway are legendary. In the SWPA, the operations of the "Air Apaches" and their Mitchells are equally legendary. Just check out how Mitchells butchered the Japanese in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. A-20Gs were also extremely effective and could out-run most Japanese fighters on the deck.

    Oh, and the PoW and Repulse were attacked by land-based bombers of the 22nd Air Flotilla, not carrier-based dive bombers. 26 G4M-1 (Betty) and 60 G3M (Nell) were involved in the attack, which combined level bomb attacks and torpedo attacks.

    My regards,

    NAVAIR
     
  4. carpenoctem1689

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    Thanks for that information about the sinking of the POW and Repulse, ive heard so may mixed claims, even on the history channle at one point, that i didnt know what to believe, thanks.
     
  5. carpenoctem1689

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    Wasnt it the B-25H mitchell that was armed with a 75mm cannon in the nose for AS duties? ive heard some, though i dont remember the model letter, that carried up to 12 .50 cal brownings up front in a solid nose, that made attacks on merchant ships, and even destroyers and light cruisers with great success.
     
  6. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    If I had to pick one aircraft then it would be the Beaufighter. No other plane carried such a variety of weapons the options were almost never ending.
     
  7. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    I'd agree with you Glider
    Beaufighter or Mosquito both carried a wide variety of weaponary from light and Heavy MG's to 20mm Cannon, rockets, bombs as well as a 57mm Cannon in some versions of the Mossie.
     
  8. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    As good as the Beaufighter was, only the B25 had the capability to swoop into the heavily defended harbor at Rabaul. Against lightly defended targets, the Beaufighter and A20's made a good 1-2 punch. Beaufighter leads and hoses down the ship disabling the AA crews, with the A20 coming in to put the bombs on target. That technique was used in the Battle for the Bismark Sea.

    I dont think the Mosquito could have survived the conditions of combat in the SW Pacific. A wooden airframe just couldnt cope with the light AA and shell fragments that would pepper it, let alone the jungle rot. I wonder if the many varieties of voracious termites would have eaten them up too?

    If you look close at the pix, it looks like a bomb had gone off at the waterline before this B25 flew over. Look at the shockwave in the water.
     

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  9. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    The low level speeds of the Mosquito were what kept is safe, rather than the heavier construction and armour of the B-25. Its a matter of building philisophy more than anything else.

    Both were excellent straffers and antiship A/c. Actually, pretty much all of the Allied twin engine anti shippping aricraft had devestating foward firpower;

    B-25: up to 12 forward firing 12.7 mm Hmgs (thats about 160 rounds per second!), or
    1 75mm cannon and 8 forward firing HMG

    Mosquito: 4 20mm cannon and 4 .303 Mmgs, (about or
    1 57mm cannon 4 20mm cannon and 2 .303 Mmgs

    A-20: 6 forward firing 12.7mm Hmgs

    A-26: 6 foward firing 12.7 Hmgs

    Beaufighter; 4 20mm cannon and 6 .303 Mmgs, or
    4 20mm cannon and 4 12.7 Hmgs

    The main sriking weapon of the twins wasn't really the machine guns or various calibre of cannon. It was rockets and skip-bombing that had the most devestating effect on Axis shipping.

    The Beaufighter was the first plane to conducts anti-shipping strikes with rockets, debuting against German shipping in Norway in May of 1943. The standard tactic was to mix striking forces of Mosquitos and Beaufighters. Mosquitos would be used in flak supression and Beaufighters would act as strike aircraft.
     
  10. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Could you imagine if some B25 strafers were converted to use a mix of 20mm and 30mm cannons?

    That would have ruined some Japanese skippers day.
     
  11. carpenoctem1689

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    A b-25, converted to carry two 30mm cannon in mid nose, and two 20mm cannon on each side, with rockets on the wings and droppable fuel tanks in the bomb bay would have been the ultimate maritime strike aircraft.
     
  12. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Both the G and H models of the B-25 carried the 75mm cannon. Due to it's low rate of fire, it wasn't as effective as it could have been. It had a low rate of fire because it was hand loaded by a loader who sat behind and below the cockpit.
     
  13. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    sIts an interesting mental exercise to attempt to plan out the ultimate WW2 style shipping strike aircraft.

    During the war it was shown that high-altitude, level bombing of moving ships was completely ineffective. Similarly, torpeedo bombing was also a highly ineffective approach because it required a slow speed approach, with a usually less than reliable weapon, right into the middle of the flak envelope.

    Dive bombing was shown to be a little less suicidal, but most dive bombers were single seaters with relatively limited range/endurance and bombload. Most dive bombers were relatively slow and cumbersome and were at the mercy of any fighter opposition that the enemy carrier/convoy/shore defenses could put up.

    So my ultimate strike A/C must have a few features.

    1. Long range and endurance; its important to be able to hit the enemy a long way from home. Oceans are VERY large. Endurance includes having a second crew member to act as copilot/navigatior, something essential for long overwater flights.

    2. Good speed; particularly at low level. The less time spent in the target zone, means the less exposure to flak, fighters and the dangers of low level flight. It also give the enemy less warning of attack.

    3. Twin engines; goes hand-in-hand with range and endurance. Also provides a large measure of redundancy. Shiping strikes are high risk operations so damage is probably to be expected.

    4. Internal bomb bay; Hauling external ordanace decreases range, speed and increases vulnerability and the risk of malfunctions. Internal weapons bays do increase the size of the aircraft.

    5 Ability to carry rockets. A rocket strike was similar in effect to a full broadside from a destroyer. Eight 60lbs or 5 inch rockets in a salvo would have a devestating effect on a target

    6. Heavy foward firepower. Straffing was highly effective in decreasing enemy flak, sweeping the decks clear of opposition and generally causing havoc on the upper decks of a target ship. Whether machine guns or cannon are better is debatable, but a concentrated foward armament of at least 4 cannon or 8 HMG would be preferable.

    7. Radar capably. Oceans are often very difficult places to find targets. ASV radar was very effective in pinpointing convoys/ships for the strike group.



    For my money the two best aircraft seem to be the Mosquito FB variants and the A-26 Invader. The Invader wasn't as fast at low level but had higher internal bombload (4000lbs!) and could mount up to 8 foward firing HMGs. It also has defensive armament, something that the Mosquito lacks. Both were rocket capable, both had very long range (here the Invader wins out again) and were decently manuverale. [/code]
     
  14. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Did the USAAF or USN ever use a 30mm? I thought they had enough trouble getting the 20mm right.

    I think that a 30mm might actually not be that effective. The lower rate of fire and generally poorer balistics of 30mm weapons might rule it out in a straffing role.

    About the only suitable 30mm that I can think of is the German Mk 103. The high m/v and heavy round combination would of been excellent. Belt loading of HE(M), API, AP, HE(M), API, or something similar would be suitable, particularly with the blast/fragmentation effect of the mingenschloss shells. Then again, a warship is a lot more heavily armoured than a 4 engined bomber.

    If we are going for theoreticals, maybe a nose package of 4 Soviet VYa 23mm cannon would be best; high rate of fire, very, very powerful round, excellent reliability, high M/V and quite a compact weapon to boot. Better AP perfromance than any other weapon under the 30mm class as well.
     
  15. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Bet you didnt know that the only officers in the US Army who were cannon loaders were the co-pilots of the B25 with the 75mm cannon.


    The A-26 wouldnt have made that good of a maritime strike plane. The pilot had limited visibility. Gen Kenny rejected the use of A26's when it was offered to him. The pilots who tested it said they couldn't see their targets correctly from the side.
     
  16. carpenoctem1689

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    The USAAF did have a 37mm cannon, the one used on the P-39. I mistyped on my previous entry. The weapon was used for ground strafing, but didnt have too great a punch, but using HE rounds, the sovites didnt have for it, it could do some good damage to a ship.
     
  17. carpenoctem1689

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    My visionary B-25, armed with weapons i have mentioned, would operate in groups of five, two defensivly armed, radar equipped aircraft guiding the three others offensivly equipped, over the vast blue expanses to theyre targets.
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    B-25, Beau, and A-20 - it don't get any deadlier unless you add an A(B) - 26
     
  19. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The Mosquito has to be in there. It was a remarkable machine and was able to deal with almost any vessel it came across. The FB.XVIII 'Tse-tse' was equipped with the Molins 6pdr (57mm) cannon in the nose. And the wooden construction of the Mosquito could survive the SW-Pacific. How do I know that? Because it did serve in the SW-Pacific!
     
  20. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    For anti shipping I would go with this:

    Allies - B-25, Mossie, Dauntless, and Avenger. Out of historical reasons I would go with the Swordfish also. Only because of the Bismark and the attack on the Italian Fleet in Toronto (I probably spelled that wrong).

    Axis - Fw-200 Condor and He-177 or Do-217 fitted with Henschel Hs 293 A-1 Anti-Shipping Missle. This missle was devestating.

    Henschel Hs 293 A-1 Anti-Shipping Missle

    Over-All Length: 381.9cm
    Span Of Wing: 310.0cm
    Span Of Horizontal Stabilizer: 113.6 cm
    Span Of Vertical Stabilizer: 98.0 cm
    Diameter Of Fuselage: 47.0 cm
    Diameter Of Power Unit: 33.0 cm
    Over-All Height (Approx.): 109.0 cm
    Average Chord (Approx.): 79.3 cm
    Wing Area (Total): 2.4 Sq. Meters
    Wing Loading (Launch): 441.0 kg/sq. m.
    Wing Loading (Target): 390.0 kg/sq. m.
    Maximum Velocity: 260 m/sec
    Average Velocity: 230 m/sec
    Maximum Range At:
    2.2 km alt.: 4.0 km
    4.0 km alt.: 5.5 km
    5.0 km alt.: 8.5 km
    Radius Of Turn: 800.0 meters
    Max. "G" Load: 3.0 g
    Weight Of Warhead: 500.0 kg.
    Weight Of Launching: 1045.0 kg.
    Weight At Target: 967.0 kg.
    Weight Of Fuel: 78.0 kg.

    Description: The Hs 293 A-1 has principally an aluminum, stressed skin, spot welded structure. The forward portion of the fuselage is structurally the bomb casing with an aluminum covering or fairing. Fastened to the rear of the bomb is a vertical plastic beam (about 3/8 inch thick) which runs to, and is fastened to, the after portion of the fuselage. The radio, and the associated gear for the controlling of the bomb are mounted on either side of this plastic beam. On the after corner of this beam is mounted a roller. The after portion of the fuselage is a stressed-skin, semimonoque structure with a rail (for the aforementioned roller on the plastic beam) mounted on the top inside of the structure. Quick disconnection fasteners are mounted at the connection between the rear of the bomb fairing and the forward end of the rear fuselage to be quickly detached and rolled off the bomb and plastic beam, giving quick and complete access to all the control gear. The wing and tail are aluminum and of the usual built-up type.

    Aerodynamic Characteristics: The missile is controlled in roll by normal type of ailerons on the trailing edge of the outer portion of the wing. The ailerons also control the yaw effect. It is controlled in pitch by the normal type of control surfaces on the trailing edge of the horizontal tail surface.

    Control System: The control system consists of the following parts:
    A. Receiving set E-230. This unit could use any one of the 18 channels, each of which were 100 kc apart in the band
    between 48 and 49.7 mc/s and could be changed easily in the field to satisfy the operation requirements for frequencies.
    B. "Aufschalgerate" for damping and smoothing the receiver signals.
    C. Three-phase AC gyro for stabilization in roll and yaw. It has a precission rate of 2 degrees per minute.
    D. High resistance double potentiometer for proportioning the data.
    E. 210-volt D.C. generator for the receiver.
    F. A transformer with built-in relays to activate the aileron surface magnets.
    G. Elevator mechanism with an "Oemiz" motor and potentiometer for returning the elevator to it's normal position.
    H. An iron nickel plate battery of 24 volts with approximately 14 amp/hours.
    This missile, because of the type of intelligence used, is limited to use in good, clear weather and with air superiority. It is subject to jamming, and this, therefore, may limit the use to targets where jamming equipment is not installed.
    A joystick type of control was used in the parent aircraft. This control box made use of a very clever cam arrangement which gave proportional control.

    Warhead: The warhead was constructed of in one section of drawn steel. The base plate was welded in position. The nose filling plug was threaded and held in place by two set screws. A kopfring was welded to the nose just behind the nose plug. One transverse fuze pocket was located aft of the suspension lug. A central exploder tube was used in the explosive cavity to insure high order detonation of the warhead on impact with the target.

    Operation: Upon locating the target, the carrier aircraft makes its approach to the trajectory distance, and in the last part of its dive, sets a course such that the target can be seen 30 degrees to 60 degrees to the right of the course. Shortly before release time and particularly at the moment of release, the carrier aircraft must be in a horizontal position. At the time of release the aircraft must have a minimum speed of 334 km/hr if the He 111 is used, and 400 km/hr if the He 177 or the Do 217 are used.
    The missile is released and directed to the target by the bombadier. Immediately after release, the speed of the aircraft may be reduced, but the release altitude and direction should be maintained for a period of approximately 10 seconds. After this interval of time, it is not essential to maintain release altitude and course direction. It is important that any change in flight course be done slowly and carefully so that the target remains on the side of the bombadier during the entire flying time of the missile. The field of view of the operator and the freedom of the carrier plane in approach vary according to type of aircraft. In all carrier planes, there should be a field of view of approximately 110 degrees to the right. The flying time of the Hs 293 A-1 should not be greater than approximately 100 seconds.

    Remarks: The Hs 293 is the outgrowth of the "Gustav Schwartz Propellerwerke" glide bomb which was first designed in 1939. The further development of the glide bomb by Henschel represents their first attempt at a radio controlled missle.
    The original Schwartz design was a pure glide bomb guided on a straight course by means of an automatic pilot. The method of attack entailed high altitudes for the carrier aircraft in order that sufficient range could be attained and still be out of antiaircraft fire.
    Henschel took over the work of further developing this missile in early 1940, and it was decided to use some form of propulsion for the missile so that attacks at low altitude and increased range could be made. The Hs 293 A-1 was the first model to be used operationally with the new motor.
    The Hs 293 was first used in the Bay of Biscay. Launched by Do 217E-5s of II/KG 100 against destroyers.

    Further Developments:
    Hs 293B: This was a wire-controlled version of the original radio-controlled series, designed to be used in the event of a jamming of the radio control mechanism of the original series of bombs. The Luftwaffe considered that up to 70 percent disturbance was permissible before a change-over to the wire-controlled series would be necessary. Since these conditions were never attained, the Hs 293B was never put into production.
    Hs 293C: This missle was a modified version of the Hs 294 and had a detatchable warhead, etc., in the same manner as the Hs 294, but a conventionally shaped body. The fuzes include an impact fuze with a short delay to allow for penetration in cases where the missile struck a ship above it's waterline, an impact fuze which detonated immediately on impact after it entered the water, and a fuze operated by a spinner which detonated the missile after a passage of 45 meters through the water. This subtype was designated the Hs 293C during it's development stage, but when large scale production was to start, it was changed to the Hs 293 A-2, and was to replace the original radio-controlled series for general purpose against shipping targets.
    Hs 293D: This was a projected type of missile to be fitted with a television camera in the nose. The camera was designed to repeat data back to the missile controller. The camera was designed to swing vertically and was aimed in the line of flight by a small wind vane on the outside of the projectile. As the projectile was rudderless, and in theory should not yaw in flight, there was no need to allow for any traverse in the camera mounting. About 20 of these missiles were built and test flown, but the television gear proved to be unreliable, and the project was abandoned.
    Hs 293E: This was purely an experimental model built to try out a system of spoiler controls to replace the conventional aileron mechanism. These controls were incorporated in the final model of the Hs 293 A-2, but were never employed operationally, since by the time the bomb was brought into large scalle production, the Luftwaffe had no aircraft available for antishipping purposes.
    Hs 293F: This was a tailless missile which was never developed beyond the design phase.
    Hs 293H: This missile was intended to be released and controlled in flight by one aircraft and detonated by a second observing aircraft, which would be flying in position where it would be easy to bserve the impact of the missile against the target. The project was abandoned because it was felt that the detonating aircraft would be unable to remain directly over the target long enough to carry out its function.
    Hs 293 V6: This subtype was developed for launching from jet-propelled aircraft at launching speeds up to 200 meters/second. This involved modification of the wing span of the missile so that it could be carried within the undercarraige of the aircraft. The Ar 234 aircraft was to be used as the parent plane, however, these aircraft were not available in sufficient numbers by wars end and the missile never progressed beyond the design stage.
    http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/hs293.html
     
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