The most fearsome WW2 antisubmarine aircraft?

Discussion in 'Aviation Videos' started by oldcrowcv63, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #1 oldcrowcv63, Jul 25, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
    Stinson Reliant or Voyager??? :shock: or maybe the Grumman Widgeon? :shock:

    Don't know if this has been posted before:


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJi9EttppVk


    On the surface, the results don't look terribly compelling. Two subs were apparently sunk or seriously damaged, one by a Grumman Widgeon off NJ and one by a Stinson off the Florida Coast, but there were apparently more instances of a CAP civilian piloted, privately owned light planes armed or unarmed aggressively flying at wave top height toward a periscope feather to disrupt a sub attack on allied coastal shipping suggesting the effort was more than simply a cosmetic veneer to US coastal defense. According to:

    http://www.capmembers.com/media/cms/CAP_UBOATSDOWN_ECFBEC512D7DB.pdf

    and:

    Fact Sheet - Civil Air Patrol

    "173 U-Boat sighting were reported , bombs or depth charges were dropped at 57 of these sighted U-Boats."

    To the 65 aerial Minute Men aerial militia of the twentieth Century USA who gave their lives on operations during WW2 of which there were 26 airman lost in 13 planes. :salute::salute::salute:

    Anyone living or vacationing near Nags Head, on the North Carolina Outer Banks may want to visit the CAP museum at the Dare County Regional Airport terminal building. The same airport is where Tommy Blackburn's VF-17 Jolly Roger squadron trained during WW2. The museum also has displays and items recounting that history as well.
     
  2. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    At the Bradley Aircraft Museum.

    Delaware pilot Maj. Hugh Sharp and observer Lt. Eddie Edwards became the first civilians ever to be awarded the U.S. Air Medal after performing a daring rescue when a CAP plane had engine trouble and went down off the coast with a crew of two.

    One crew member, Lt. Charles Shelfus, was lost when the plane went down and his body was never recovered. Lt. Henry Cross survived the ditching but sustained several fractured vertebrae.

    Sharp and Edwards got the call and departed in the Sikorsky S-39B amphibian and managed to land in the rough seas to pick up survivor Cross. The plane’s left pontoon was damaged during landing and started taking on water making take-off impossible.

    Lt. Edwards crawled out on the opposite right pontoon to balance the plane while Short taxied the plane taking about seven hours before they reached the shore. Cross recovered, but wouldn’t be able to fly again.
     
  4. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #4 oldcrowcv63, Aug 13, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016

    Thanks for the Story BobbySocks, (was Gonna abbreviate your handle to 'BS' but that didn't seem appropriate to the spirit of the neat story you posted ;)... ). I have heard that no ships escorted by dirigibles were ever sunk. Don't know if it's true but seems a testament to the potential lethality of the venerable gas bag with its unparalleled endurance. My first A6A low level training mission was flown by a former LTA pilot who was among the best pilots with whom I've ever flown. Also a great guy. He is the featured pilot in veteran author John Bushby's Prowler Ball, a semi-autobiographical account of the 1973 deployment of VAQ-131 on the Enterprise during the Vietnam war.

    Aerostat: unpowered balloon
    Dirigible; powered, steerable, inflated structure, (a blimp)

    Just to be pedantic, for anyone (Unlikely to be a long time member of this forum) who may be unfamiliar with lighter than air nomenclature: here are some clarifications from wikipedia:

    "A powered, steerable aerostat is called a dirigible. Sometimes this term is applied only to non-rigid balloons, and sometimes dirigible balloon is regarded as the definition of an airship (which may then be rigid or non-rigid). Non-rigid dirigibles are characterized by a moderately aerodynamic gasbag with stabilizing fins at the back. These soon became known as blimps."

    and:

    "Huge powered aerostats, characterized by a rigid outer framework and separate aerodynamic skin surrounding the gas bags, were produced, the Zeppelins...being the largest and most famous."

    Didn't mean to be tiresome, but I am a fan of airships. Given the frequency with which they are maligned and the butt of jokes, I just want to take every opportunity to clarify the subject.
     
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  5. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    We had that discussion several years ago: Airship versus Submarine

    Regarding anti-submarine warfare in U.S. waters, the B-18 "Bolo" was the first U.S. aircraft to sink a U-Boat, U-654 in the Carribean on 22 August 1942.

    Many B-18s were destroyed on the ground during the initial attacks by the Japanese in the Philippines and Hawaii, the survivors state-side were pressed into service for ASW duties until newer types could replace them. Being deemed "obsolete" by the USAAF, the B-18's service was short but did contribute to several U-Boat sinkings before it was relegated to secondary service in a training and transport role.
     
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  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I believe the B-18 was one of the first (if not the first) aircraft to be equipped with a Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) and some had the distinctive "Mad Boom" protruding from the tail of the aircraft.

    As far as the CAP during WW2 - I think there's a lot of undocumented cases where CAP aircraft did engage subs off the east coast. I was in the CAP for a number of years and met WW2 CAP members who claimed to have spotted and engaged submarines off the east coast.

    Understand that during WW2, civilian aviation in the us just about ceased to exist, the national airway system was controlled and run by the US military. The only avenue many civilian aircraft owners had to fly their aircraft was to join the CAP.

    As far as the "The most fearsome WW2 antisubmarine aircraft"? If you were in a submarine and were being bombed, any and all of them were!!!
     
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  7. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    To answer the original question, admittedly without checking the numbers, I would say the B-24.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  8. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    Yep! (see photo below)

    From: Air Anti-Submarine Warfare - Military Aircraft

    "Later in June (presumably 1942), Project Sail was formally established at Quonset Point for conducting MAD system research and testing. Sponsored by the Naval Ordnance Laboratory and the NDRC, the promising results conducted with airships and an Army B-18 resulted in the procurement of 200 MAD units. "

    The B-18 was also the first aircraft to deploy sonobuoys:

    from: http://www.navairdevcen.org/PDF/THE EVOLUTION OF THE SONOBUOY.pdf

    "On 25 July 1942, the first successful launch of a sonobuoy from an aircraft was made from a U.S. Army B-18 bomber. "

    Amen brother! :)
     

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  9. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Yep, I agree. In fact 'dirigible' is French for 'able to be steered and directed' and airships were named as such because of Henri Giffard's 'Dirigible' of 1852, the name he gave the very first 'airship'.

    During the Great War, the RNAS operated some 200, although not all at once, non rigid airships in the maritime patrol role and the claim that no convoy was successfully attack under escort by airship was made after the war, although it's not strictly true in the RNAS' case. The airship made an ideal anti-sub aircraft for several reasons, particularly during WW1 - they could stay on station for long periods of time, much longer than aeroplanes, they could carry a larger warload than aeroplanes, they could carry more personnel, equipped with more eyeballs for searching than aeroplanes and they could come to a standstill in the air, whereas an aeroplane couldn't. You have to remember that submersibles in the two world wars didn't go very fast underwater and so were easier to spot if you were going slower, ideal in an airship.


    [​IMG]
    N.S.7 was a North Sea class airship, the best maritime patrol airships of the Great War due to their range, size and capabilities. The downside to airship ops is illustrated here; handling required large numbers of people and the ships required enormous hangars that cost the same amount of money as a destroyer.

    As far as U-boats actually sunk, I can't recall an actual figure, it wasn't high, but several were attacked and this was the difficulty faced with maritime patrol ops, signs that subs had been sunk were not always a given that they actually had been. Often a tell tale oil slick and debris on the surface, which was used as an indication of success was often 'planted' by the submarine, or damage done,. but the sub still managed to escape. Not an exact science before sophisticated aids became available.

    One victory that was confirmed was the rigid, i.e. like a Zeppelin with internal framework, airship R.29 sank a U-boat during ww1, the first and only time a rigid airship took part in the sinking of a submarine; UB-115 was sunk on 29 September 1918.


    [​IMG]
    R.29, which even by 1918 standards was outdated and superseded in service by superior German designs. The Brits used its airships for maritime patrol only, including its rigids.

    The US Navy was the only service that operated LTA craft in action during WW2, both the British and Germans having abandoned their airship programs beforehand. The Brits stopped military airship ops in 1921 and the Germans weren't allowed military airships after the war. The last USN airships were finally deflated in 1962 as training vessels.
     
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  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Some may find it interesting to know that the USN's Anti-submarine Blimps (K series) based out of Tillamook Oregon actually had better success at intercepting the Japanese Fire Balloons than they did Japanese Submarines.
     
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  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    So which allied aircraft was responsible for sinking the most submarines? In relation to another thread I bet it wasn't the Swordfish :)
    Cheers
    Steve
     
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  12. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Coastal Command sank 155 U-Boats, the Fleet Air Arm 31 and Bomber Command 16 (docked or on slips).

    US Air Forces sank 159 U-Boats, the USN accounting for 83 of that total.

    Some scores I have found for U-Boats destroyed.

    B-17, 11. Catalina, 36. Swordfish, 22 (not bad). Mosquito, 8 (surprisingly low). Sunderland, 26. Avenger, 35 (surprisingly high ). Wellington, 27.

    I'm pretty sure that the B-24, responsible for sinking 72 U-Boats, was the most effective U-Boat destroyer. Whether that makes it the most fearsome is up to you.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
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  13. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Steve, any numbers on Charles' PB4Y? I won't think there would be too many subs destroyed since it joined the game a bit late, but still curious on it's success rate for what it was designed for.
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The figures I have are not broken down further than B-24/Liberator. I assume you are referring to the PB4Y-2 (I'm not so confident about USN designations) which saw operational service in the PTO from early 1945? If it had any success it would be lumped in the general B-24 category.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  15. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Excellent info Steve.
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I went on Wiki and found a page on U-boats sunk in WW2 and it was broken out by country, your numbers seem pretty spot on and it seems the B-24/ PB4Y-2 had the lion's share of kills.
     
  17. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Uboat dot net has always been a good go-to source for info regarding the Kreigsmarine's U-Boat service. They even have a section for WWI U-Boats!

    Anyway, here's the link to their disposition page, that covers all U-Boat losses during the war: U-boat Losses by cause - Fates - German U-boats of WWII - Kriegsmarine - uboat.net

    If you follow the links to the losses to Allied aircraft, it has a great list of the Allied types that saw action against the U-Boats: Aircraft Types - Aircraft - Fighting the U-boats - uboat.net

    and even has a reverse list of the Allied types the U-Boats managed to shoot down: U-boat Successes against aircraft - The History - uboat.net
     
  18. dogsbody

    dogsbody Member

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    Back in the 90's, I worked with the son of this RCAF Digby pilot.


    Chris
     

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  19. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Those are great links GG. I'm enjoying reading through them as I have time. For some stupid reason, my boss does expect me to do work during the day.
     
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  20. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Glad I was able to help you get through a workday, Thor! :lol:
     
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