Evasive tactics for TBF Avengers

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by shiro_amada_jp, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. shiro_amada_jp

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    I'm writing an article about WWII combat aircraft. One of the points of interest in the article is about evasive tactics. What were the tactics that TBF Avenger pilots used to evade enemy fighters that attacked them? Let's assume that the Avengers are flying without any fighter escort.
     
  2. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #2 mikewint, Apr 26, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2010
    there is a thread on dive bombers: PIECE ON DIVE BOMBING by DIDDYRIDDICK. once in their dive evasion is not possible without an abort but their approach is at a high level in a protective V. In its dive the dive bomber has the advantage of dive brakes which cause it to reach terminal velocity sooner while a fighter continues to accelerate with a much higher terminal velocity and coming down from high above AA guns do not point straight up and supporting ships have about 30sec to hit it.

    However the torpedo bomber can be picked up 20mi out where fighters can begin to attack. it is also locked into a slow straight line run but just above the water where all the AA of all supporting ships have full access to it for its entire run. the torpedo bomber has to maneuver for a beam shot where it flies into full broadsides from the attacked ship until it reaches 800yds where it can release. fighter aircraft however have a tough time since they would have to fly through all that AA fire also.
    things would seem to even out but Midway proved the dive bomber much better and torpedo squadrons like Hornets VT-8 15 planes and VT-6 14 planes were wiped out without a single hit.
    the torpedos could not do their job and evade
     
  3. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I don't know that evasion was on the table as a tactic. Most defenses were to huddle together and let the gunners take care of things. All those .50 machine guns in the back were useful when it came to that.

    The TBF was a slow, though somewhat manuverable, torpedo/GP bomber. It was not fast or nimble enough to avoid a fighter. Best thing it could do was get low to the water and let the gunners cover the rear in a group. A very effective tactic in formation, but the bombers would have to spread out to make a torpedo attack. That is where they were most vunerable. In such a case, it didn't matter if the torpedo bomber was American, Japanese, British, going in for a torpedo attack without escorts against a target defended by fighters was suicidal.
     
  4. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    A defensive tactic used by the TBDs and probably TBFs upon withdrawal from the torpedo attack was to get low and slow down next to the water. When attacked by a Zero, the Zero usually opened fire with it's 30 cals first because they had a lot of ammo. When the 30s started hitting the Zero would then use the 20mms. The VT pilot would watch for the bullets hitting the water and when they got close, he would turn hard into the attack, causing the Zero to overshoot. Most fighters when making a run on a bomber would recover underneath the bomber but when close to the water that was not feasible and the attacker had to be very careful not to run into the water, thus cutting his attack short. A few VT pilots used this tactic at Midway and got back to the ship. It was taught to them, I think, by Jimmy Thach.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    pray enemy fighter aircraft go after your squadron mates instead of you. And hope that enemy light flak gunners empty their clips on the aircraft in front of you.

    Consider it a bonus if the guy who gets shot down ILO you happens to be the man you found in bed with your wife.
     
  6. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    But like Renrich asked, could the "Thatch Weave' have been used by Avengers?
     
  7. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    you probably could weave until you were to the point where you had to set up for your run....then you are meat on the table. i dont know how long it took to get a firing solution but i image you had to fly straight and level to do so....and that is the last thing you want to do when enemy ac on you 6.
     
  8. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    But thats single aircraft. I thought the Weave required 2 aircraft as mutual protection.
     
  9. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    it does...i was assuming the tactics of a flight. but then if you are low and weaving you might fly right into the AA...either senario sucks.
     
  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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  11. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    We can speculate all we like, Midway shows what unescorted TB aircraft can expect and those S L O W devastators were cannon fodder. two squadrons gone close to 60 men and nothing to show. Charge of the Light brigade divided by 10.
    damn brave men
     
  12. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    Amen. and they knew it going in but went.
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #13 renrich, Apr 27, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
    mikewint, TBDs did get some hits at Coral Sea and since the question was about evasion tactics it is worthy of note that a few TBDs used the advice, according to Lundstrom, of Thach to get back home. Thach's advice was similar to the Thach Weave but was intended for use by a VT pilot who was without a wing man.The VT8 pilots from Midway did not have the benefit of Thach's advice but I believe most of them were shot down by the CAP before they got in range of the AA. The IJN's AA was not terribly effective. Not sure what George H W Bush's experience has to do with this as I don't believe he ever flew any torpedo attacks. To call someone "Chickenheart" who flew F102s seems a little ill advised but F102s had little to do with VN.

    A word to the wise since you are new to this forum. Keep your offensive political comments to yourself.
     
  14. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #14 renrich, Apr 27, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
    Sorry, double post.
     
  15. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    renrich, apologies to anyone i offended. i actually said "chickenhawk" not heart. it was a common name for him in VN
    while flying any kind of plane requires courage simply cruising the skies of texas does not compare with facings MIGs flown by highly trained soviet pilots. opinion on my part with no intent to offend very few of us wanted to be in VN but like those men at midway we went anyway
     
  16. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #16 mikewint, Apr 27, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
    i am not sure how the TBs were knocked out at midway, CAP or AA. the CAP got to them first probably as far out as 20mi, but then that low slow run at low level into broadsides and AA from every other support ship had to be devastating. the weave came last
    indeed the TBs got their licks in and i think i did mention that later on they sank a carrier and a battleship. the carrier Ryujo in the eastern Solomons, at Santa Cruz the CAP shot down all the TBFs, and the battleship Hiei initially hit by dive bombers but the TBFs scored with several torpedos until the japs scuttled her.
    those TBF pilots have my deepest admiration.
     
  17. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Not sure what is happening with double posts but apologies accepted. There was a political thread on this forum but the mods wisely deleted it because of too many heated "discussions" It is my understanding from talking with a F102 pilot that some 102s were in VN but were of limited use and never encountered Migs but were limited to South VN and air to ground with unguided missiles. With a limited amount of piloting experience, my hat is off to anyone who flys anything for Uncle Sam.
     
  18. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    again renrich i am truly sorry if i offended anyone. three tours, in the s--t up to my eyebrows as a medic i saw way way too much. 40 years later there are things i still react to on a visceral level
     
  19. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I'll delete them for ya.
     
  20. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    Just for the record:

    Many torpedo bombers were shot down, like five out of six TFB and two out of four B-26 operating from Midway Island. The slower TBD got it even worse but IIRC all fell victim to the CAP, not the lousy triple-A. Attackers from Midway also included sixteen Marine SBD making a shallow glide bombing run, the CAP got six, the triple-A not one, while several sailors were killed by the SBD´s machine gun fire.

    As for evasive manoeuvres. If you got altitude, slam the throttle forward and dive as steeply as you can.
     
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