Most successful Anti Ship aircraft

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by fastmongrel, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    What was the most succesful anti shipping aircraft by country of WWII and which aircraft was the heavyweight tonnage killer of the war. I dont mean the best anti ship aircraft (anyone with an ounce of sense knows its a Swordfish:lol:) I mean the most succesful by tons of shipping sunk or damaged beyond repair. By shipping I mean anything that floats military or mercantile, submarine or oil tanker.

    For the US for example was the Navy Grumman Avenger or the Army North American B25 the tonnage king or was it another aircraft possibly the B24 that sank the most.
     
  2. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Ju 87 and Ju 88 have to be contenders.

    MM
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    #3 Thorlifter, Dec 12, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2010
    The Dauntless had sunk more Japanese ships than any other aircraft, prior to being replaced by the Helldiver, but I'm not sure if it holds the "most tonnage" award.

    I agree with MM that the Ju-87 and Ju-88 have to be serious contender's for most successful by way of tonnage.

    **edit

    I just found a site that says the Helldiver was responsible for more ship tonnage than any other aircraft in WW2. Trying to verify...........
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    For the USAAF, the B-25 gunships were superb.
     
  5. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I agree - but wonder what the results were for B-29 mine dropping exercises around Japan and Formosa were?
     
  6. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    I had heard the same thing..
     
  7. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Theres lots of contenders for most succesful anti ship aircraft but figures seem to be hard to come by. Spent the last 2 hours on wikipedia and other well known sites but apart from lots of uncited claims for some quite fantastical numbers nothing concrete. An example of the difficulty I am having getting hard facts is the Bristol Beafighter. I have seen claims for half a million tons sunk which is silly as far as I can find RAF Coastal Command Beaus sank 200,000 tons and RAAF Beaus sank 50,000 tons somewhat short of half a million.

    The JU87 and JU88 sank lots of tonnage but I have a feeling that the No1 for the Luftwaffe might turn out to be the FW200 simply because the ships it sank tended to be large ocean going vessels.

    It looks like the best Naval vessel killer might have been the Aichi D3 Val which surprised me but is understandable with the massive success of the Japanese navy up the end of 1942.
     
  8. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    It has just been pointed out to me that the Avro Lancaster might have a claim to be the No1 ship killer. Lancasters with Tallboy and Grand slam bombs sunk several large German vessels Tirpitz being the most famous and some U boats were sunk during the attacks on the U boat pens. Lancasters laid a large number of mines in the Baltic and approaches to all the major ports plus ships were sunk in the major ports like Hamburg during city wide raids.

    Just off now to try and find some information on the Lancaster and B 29 mining raids.
     
  9. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Sounds like the SB2C would be a good candidate because it was in service at the end of the war and was doing a lot of the cleanup work on the IJN and the Japanese commercial fleet. However the SBD had early success with the Navy and flew almost 41000 action sorties landbased with the Marines. Some of that had to be anti-shipping. SB2c flew almost 19000 action sorties carrier based with the Navy but not many more otherwise.
     
  10. HealzDevo

    HealzDevo Active Member

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    The Beaufighter and Beaufort did sink a lot of tonnage of merchant ships in the Pacific. I don't know how they stack up though. Because by tonnage, once you managed to sink a carrier, that would have to be about the equivalent of three or four merchant ships in tonnage wouldn't it?
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Not in tonnage sunk per aircraft (submarines are small) but in strategic importance. They played a major role breaking the back of the German submarine force. The real value of the PB4Y is how much Allied shipping wasn't sunk thanks to PB4Y patrols.
     
  12. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    Swordfish and Albacores operating at night from Malta also sank a lot of shipping.
     
  13. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Getting hardcore data has been a little tricky. Although it does not directly answer the question, NAVAL AVIATION COMBAT STATISTICS—WORLD WAR II does give some interesting data. I summarized this from page 102 (I combined land based and carrier based aircraft). I was amazed at the number of sorties the F6F flew compared to the other USN aircraft:

    NACS Page 102.JPG


    I did the same thing for the chart that broke out the number of sorties by type of ship attacked:

    NACS Page 97.JPG

    I'd never have thought of it, but perhaps at least on the American side the F6F might need to be considered.
     
  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    wow...seriously? The F6F?

    I had no idea it put that much hurt on the Japanese. My guesstimate would have favored the Dauntless as a serious contender for the title at least in the Pacific.
     
  15. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    The Regi Aeronautica had some success in the Mediterranean and maybe the Savoia-Marchett S-79 deserves a mention.
     
  16. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    My only thoughts on the F6F's incredible numbers are, just because they fired a lot of bullets at ships and attacked a large number of ships, doesn't mean they sunk them. They also fired a bunch of rockets at them, but we had a thread on here somewhere when we talked about the rockets used in WW2 were painfully inaccurate....somewhere between 5% and 15% accuracy if I remember right.

    I'm thinking the SB2C and SBD's dropping a 500 or 1000lb bomb with delay fuse in the middle of a ship from a 350 - 400 mph dive did a WHOLE LOT more damage than 100 rounds of .50cal machine gun fire.
     
  17. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    for complete tonnage it would be the Fw 200 Kondor even with all the shipping hash marks on the tail surfaces many of them bogus as complete losses.
     
  18. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Really not that suprising that the F6 did a lot of ground/surface work. It may've been designed and made it's name as a fighter but towards the end of the war, it became more of an Attack Bird. Couple of reasons this happened.

    1. Fewer dive bombers were brought aboard as the Kamikaze threat grew. Why bring on a plane that only bombs (SB2c) when you can bring on one that bombs and dogfights/defends the carrier (F6F).

    2. As the Japanese airforces became less of a threat, the job of the F6s to escort dropped off. So, send them along with bombs and rockets on board. Only a short step from that point to getting rid of the birds they were escorting altogether.

    3. F4U became the fighter bird towards 1945 with the F6 going more to Attack work.

    4. Japan's economy is based on a lot of inter-island sea traffic. Small ships of less than 1000 tons. Sinking them would've been right in the F6Fs wheelhouse. Search and destroy runs up the coast.

    5. Ground attack during the Okinawa and Iwo Jima campaign went to anything that could carry a bomb. F4F, F6F, TBM, SB2C, all of them did a lot of work in that realm. It was what was needed so they did it.

    The F6 was a do anything kind of bird. Was somewhat suprised it didn't survive to fly in Korea. It really had the right qualifications for the job.
     
  19. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Yes but like most fighter-bombers the range was too short for serious anti-shipping work. Aircraft like the F6F and Fw190G can only attack shipping within a couple hundred miles of their runway and they lack endurance to loiter over a shipping lane.
     
  20. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I wouldn't put the F6 and the 109 in the same family in terms of range. The 109 was a Continental fighter. 40 minute to an hour per mission. Hellcat was a 3-4 hour flight time bird. More if you really started stacking the drop tanks (but that lowers the weapons load). Flying over water, they had to have a better range option than the land based fighters.

    Still, neither had the range of a twin.
     
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