Land-based torpedo planes: what types were the best?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Employed by several nations back in ww2, the land based torpedo planes were potent weapon systems. Is there a few that should be regarded as outstanding? What was their real effect on ww2? Maybe the greatest achievement was made by IJN, sinking Force Z?
    I'm not thinking just about planes that were designed from outset as torpedo bombers, but all the planes that were carrying a torpedo or two in combat.
     
  2. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    One that is nearly always forgotten is the Beaufort, one of which is reckoned, in some circles, to have had the most singular effect on the war ( Campbell, the pilot was, eventually, awarded a posthumous V.C.) He took his aircraft across the mole, surrounding Brest harbour, and put his torpedo into Gneisenau, causing damage that took 8 months to repair (if she'd been at sea, she would have sunk.) His aircraft was shot down into the harbour, killing the entire crew.
    Hitler had planned for Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to join up with Bismarck, reckoning that they'd wreak so much havoc, the war would be over in 60 days. As it was, Bismarck had to go out without them, and was sunk.
     
  3. jim

    jim Banned

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    A battleship would be sunk by a single aerial torpedo!!!! What a statement ! Had the torpedo a nuclear warhead?
     
  4. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    Beaufighter gets my vote.
    Quite quick, good range and packed a punch!
     
  5. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    I've read in a number of places that the SM-79 Sparveiro was an outstanding land-based torpedo bomber.
     
  6. zoomar

    zoomar Member

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    More likely (although I don't know), the Gneisenau may not at been at full at action stations while at Brest and her damage control might have been less than effective. It is hard to believe a single aerial torpedo could sink a 3rd generation battleship at sea, no matter how courageous the aviators.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I think crew training and torpedo quality were more imporant then the aircraft itself. Especially the ability to drop from higher altitudes and at higher speeds.

    Japan Torpedoes of World War II
    Japan put serious resources behind development of their 45cm aerial torpedo.
    1942. Mod 3 improved. Launch speed of 300 knots.
    1944. Mod 3 strong. Launch speed of 350 knots.
    1945. Type 4 Mark 2. Launch speed of 400 knots.

    300 knots is pretty fast for a WWII era torpedo bomber. By the time of Pearl Harbor IJN torpedo bombers could launch at maximum aircraft speed, giving them the best possible chance for survival vs defending AA fire. Any aircraft with a well trained crew and armed with Japanese aerial torpedoes would be dangerous.

    Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    U.S. produced 739 PB4Y maritime patrol bombers (i.e. B-24 variant). Put a torpedo under each wing as good as those used by Japan and it might have been the best torpedo bomber of the war. Huge strike radius plus ASV radar for location of targets is tough to beat.
     
  8. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    The Germans had to support her, with nearly every vessel in the harbour, while they pumped out the water, which took all day, before they could get her into dry dock; the torpedo hit at the stern, and the starboard propeller shaft was still under repair 8 months later. I won't bother to respond to your silly last sentence.
     
  9. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    I've read this too, although I'm in the dark as to what particular qualities the Sparrowhawk exhibited that made it shine in this role
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    It carried reliable Whitehead F200 45cm aerial torpedoes. Not sure about max drop speed but otherwise similiar in performance to Japanese Type 91 torpedo.
     
  11. Vincenzo

    Vincenzo Active Member

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    the max speed of S.M.79 is around 200 kts to 3280 feet so i don't thing need a torpedo with high drop speed
     
  12. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    The Ju88 seemed to do okay in that role.
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    S.M.79 was reported to be an excellent torpedo bomber....

    One that might have slipped through the cracks - the A-20. Used extensively by the Soviets, and if I remember correctly, into the 1950s!!!
     
  14. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Maybe the best torpedo bomber, piston engined, was the one that missed the ww2: DH Mosquito modified to carry Yugoslav LETOR torpedoes in 1950s?
     
  15. Tante Ju

    Tante Ju Banned

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    The claim that she was almost sunk is still silly. Gneisenau took in 3000 tons of water as a result of attack - nowwhere near critical, to give you some idea Bismarck took in 2000 tons in the forecastle when a hit from Prince of Wales pierced her plating, and could still maintain about 28 knots, despite similar listing; then she took 3 more similar torpedo hits, and apart from the (fateful) disabling of the rudder, nothing happened. When Gneisanau's sistership Scharnhorst was sunk, she took no less than 14 much larger 533mm torpedoes, apart from considerable shelling. The German WW1 battlecruiser Lutzow took in 7000 tons of water while still going underway, and she sank by the time her screws were out of the water. The chances that single rather small British aerial torpedo would sink Gneisenau were therefor nil. But of course that 'nearly every harbor vessel'' (= one salvage tug AFAIK) supported her - what do you expect, them sitting just there and watch..?

    That being said, the Beaufort crew's efforts were outstandingly brave and effective.
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    As a land based torpedo bomber several things need to be taken into account.

    1 is the range
    2 is the theater or area it was operating in

    You can have the fastest, most heavily armed, baddest torpedo plane plane in the world but if it can't reach the enemy shipping from it's existing bases it is useless. Some planes did excellent work in restricted waters or over short distances but would have been so many decoy aircraft in another theater.

    Once you have reached the shipping lanes/anchorages other factors come into play. The "maneuvering" ability of the plane is very helpful, the ability to position itself for the attack, the ability to avoid AA fire and yet settle onto the attack run quickly and then take evasive action once the torpedo is gone. Planes that are too slow have difficulty getting broadside or in the bow areas of fast targets. Carrying your own flak suppression armament helps too although that can be gotten around with proper tactics and enough fighters acting in cooperation.

    Time of the war affects selection. A plane that did well in 1940/1941 might have been an abject failure in 1944/45 against the much more capable AA defenses of some navy's.

    Of course have a good torpedo is a must :)
     
  17. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    I came across an article on Wikipedia that mentioned a Navalised version of the Mosquito that was used as a torpedo bomber -

    To meet specification N.15/44 for a navalised Mosquito for Royal Navy use as a torpedo bomber, de Havilland produced a carrier-borne variant. A Mosquito FB.VI was modified as a prototype designated Sea Mosquito TR Mk 33 with folding wings, arrester hook, thimble nose radome, Merlin 25 engines with four-bladed propellers and a new oleo-pneumatic landing gear rather than the standard rubber-in-compression gear. An order for 100 TR.33s was placed although only 50 were built at Leavesden. Armament was four 20mm cannon, two 500 lb bombs in the bomb bay, (another two could be fitted under the wings) eight 60 lb rockets (four under each wing) and a standard torpedo under the fuselage. The first production TR.33 flew on 10 November 1945. This series was followed by six Sea Mosquito TR Mk 37s, which differed in having ASV Mk XIII radar instead of the TR.33's AN/APS-6.
     
  18. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Short combat radius was achilles heel of an otherwise fine aircraft. Unfortunately that's a critical problem for land based torpedo bombers. A-20 torpedo bomber would be good only for point defense.

    Not sure I want to employ wooden aircraft such as Mosquito in an environment where it's exposed to seawater spray.
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The torpedo in case of A-20 carrying will be hung under fuselage, hence all of the bomb bay is free to carry fuel. So the fuel tankage can be doubled from 400 USG in fixed fuel tanks.
    Mosquito does not need to be continouslly exposed to sea spray, in torpedo bomber role.

    Now that we're at it, B-26 seems like a good plane for torp job?
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The Soviet A-20s that were operated in the Baltic were modified to carry torpedos externally and carried extra fuel internally. The A-20 had a normal rage of just over 1000 miles, don't know how the extra fuel tanks enhanced their A-20s.
     
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