Japanese Carrier Operations

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Von Frag, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. Von Frag

    Von Frag Member

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    Can anyone point me to a good web page, or book detailing how the IJN differed from the USN in how they ran their flight decks? I'm looking for info on takeoff/landing intervals. Did the IJN use LSO's or did they have lighting arrays to guide pilots in? I know from Shattered Sword that the IJN armed their strikes in the hangar decks, then warmed up on deck due to the way the carriers were designed, as opposed to the USN being able to arm, refuel and warm up on deck or in the hangar. Also I recall Lord quoting Ens. Gay in Incredible Victory as he was floating under his seat cushion and watching their flight ops that they came in shallower and in shorter intervals.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. cherry blossom

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    #2 cherry blossom, Dec 24, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
    There is an article about IJN landing lights at http://www.ussessexcv9.org/pdfs/Japanese Carrier Operations.pdf

    As the article on landing lights notes, there were no catapults. There is a description of the arrestor gear at http://www.combinedfleet.com/kojinshavolume6.pdf.

    ps. Another obvious source is http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/prim...Reports/USNTMJ-200A-0560-0608 Report A-11.pdf. I suspect that the USN authors did not actually understand the landing lights as the description is very vague but there is a lot of very good information.

    pps. You could also try J-aircraft. Threads such as Were Vals sometimes bombed-up in the hangars? might be useful.

    Yet another obvious source is "Sunburst" https://books.google.co.uk/books?id...direction japanese "aircraft carrier"&f=false
     
  3. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I read some where and I cannot remember where that the Japanese did not have a Landing Signal Officer on their carriers.
     
  4. Von Frag

    Von Frag Member

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    Thanks guys, much appreciated.
     
  5. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The guys who wrote Shattered Sword have a website to talk about this sort of stuff. An ongoing roundtable discussion.
     
  6. Von Frag

    Von Frag Member

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    Combined Fleet? I havnt found that, will have to look harder.
     
  7. Von Frag

    Von Frag Member

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    Heh, quoted myself. Had a few Christmas beers as that was meant for Syscom.
     
  8. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Hello, Von Frag.

    Senri Nagasue, a former B5N attacker pilot, explains in his website like follows.


    About the operation of the aircraft carrier. (dated 29 Oct 2003)
    ===============================================

    When a mother ship launches planes, she sets direction facing to the wind so that she can gain the resultant wind speed of 15 meters per second.
    Even the lightest plane (*biplane?) needs 18 meters to run on the flight deck. Torpedo attackers need more than 100 meters to run. If you may see a plane falls a little soon after it has passed the front edge of the flight deck, that is because it has raised the flap a little too early.

    For planes homing, the mother ship raises a streamer to the mast half. This is a signal telling "we are under preparation (to gain the necessary resultant wind speed)". She veers against the headwind to gain the resultant wind speed of 15 meters/sec. When the actual wind speed is 5 meters/sec, mother ship needs 20 knot. Then, she raises the streamer to the mast top together with other signal flags like black ball, 1 and 5. This is a sign "We are ready". If you may have chances to watch footage, it will be fun for you to find out such flags on the mast.

    Why the resultant wind speed must be 15 meters/sec? The highest speed a mothership can generate is different by each ship and if aircraft pilot was asked to change his landing speed ship by ship, he would be confused and placed in more risky conditions. Therefore, the resultant wind speed is unified to 15 meters/sec so that pilots can control the take-off and landing under the same conditions. Adjusting mother ship speed relies on the anemometer and may occur some extent of error but the standard resultant wind speed is always 15 meters/sec.

    In case of the training on the land which includes the night flight training, As the wind speed changes, the path angle of the landing guidance lights is set from 4.5 to 5.5 degrees. In case of the carrier base, it is 6.5 degrees based on the wind speed 15 meters/sec as mentioned. Reference angles of the landing guidance lights for the wind speed are 4.5 degrees for 0 to 4 meters/sec. 5 degrees for 5 to 7 meters/sec. 5.5 degrees for 8 to 10 meters/sec. 6 degrees for 11 to 13 meters/sec. and 6.5 degrees for 14 to 16 meters/sec.

    Multiple carriers are to cruise to the same direction at the same speed in the same fleet and there are no trouble among them.

    by Senri Nagasue - a former B5N pilot

    **********************************************

    This good image is from other source. It says time interval among planes is estimated 3.4 seconds.

    carrierland.jpg
     
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  9. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Great response and info Shinpachi..!
     
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  10. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I agree, thank you!
     
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  11. Von Frag

    Von Frag Member

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    Most excellent. Thank you Shinpachi.
     
  12. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    You are welcome, Brian! :)
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    This got me to thinking. Did the USN and RN also setup standard ship speeds for landing ops?
     
  14. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know that Shattered Sword is drawing the right inference, there. Take this on Gay, from Lord, Incredible Victory, p145: "Scooting by the afterpart of the flight deck, he had a glimpse of a sight that made him yearn for a heavy machine gun up forward. The deck was full of planes, clearly being rearmed and refueled." If they could rearm on deck, they could arm on deck. That would suggest their arming below deck was rather just a way of doing things than a design-limitation.
     
  15. cherry blossom

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    I tried to steer round this minefield by mentioning the thread at J-aircraft Were Vals sometimes bombed-up in the hangars?. One problem may be that not all Japanese carriers were identical. For example, Jon Parshall wrote “I have 1:200 scale plans of Akagi, and try as I might I could never find a bomb lift going all the way to the flight deck. The others had bomb lifts clearly visible.” In addition, Rob Stuart suggested “There is a Japanese newsreel at 日本ニュース 第99号|日本ニュース|NHK 戦争証言アーカイブス. It has about six minutes on Operation C, starting at about 03:08” and later concluded or guessed that the object being loaded was a 250 kg bomb rather than a drop tank.
     
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