Ultra long range escort

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Rufus123, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    Just curious.

    If for some reason army aircraft in 1942 wanted to try and do an escort to Midway Island what is the furthest island that is practical?

    I am guessing it would be French Frigate Shoals or is that too far away? In 1942 I am guessing the only plane that could do the job is the P-38?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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  3. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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  4. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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  5. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    #5 Rufus123, Oct 21, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Tern Island did not look like that during 1941. After Midway USN enlarged the Island so it could support a 3,300 foot runway.

    Even after enlargement it's a poor military airfield. No space to disperse aircraft. Just like Wake and Midway. Wide open to bombardment by enemy cruisers.
     
  7. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    Tern Island was still usable, at a pinch, as a staging post for aircraft such as the P-38 - sure, it was probably vulnerable to bombardment by enemy cruisers but how often did this actually happen? AFAIK, once it became obvious to the Japanese that the place was no longer useful as a staging area for flying boats they left the place well alone.

    Abandoned Little-Known Airfields: Western Pacific Islands

    French Frigate Shoals
     
  8. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    My thoughts were silly as I don't think the Japanese could have taken Midway even if the naval battle was lost but maybe they could.

    If Midway was held the 4 engine bombers could hit Midway and if they got some P-38's there maybe a shuttle mission. Fly in refuel fast and then start the escort mission for the bombers.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Why waste expensive heavy bombers on an island as vulnerable as Midway?

    USN had dozens of battleships sitting around doing nothing for most of the war. Send a battleship division to shell the place at night when enemy airpower is mostly useless. June 1942 Japan would have been smart to do the same and save CV airstrikes for USN if they show up.
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Lets see, 24 knots at 6 hours gives you battleships 144 NM from the airfield they just bombarded at dawn. (assuming you used 6 hours of darkness to approach the Base and only a few minutes for the bombardment itself.)

    Yeah, that will put you well out of range of any revenge airstrikes.

    Or assume Recon flight finds raiders 1 hour after dawn ( 168NM ) strike starts to launch. Unless they are using TBDs the planes can reach the raiders currant postion in about an hour no problem except they have moved another 24 NM, If recon plane can shadow them (or second recon plane pick them up) the strike can reach them at 192 NM. Throw in another hour for confusion, etc and raiders are still only 216NM from the airbase.

    Naval bombardments of airbases are not really a good idea if the air bases have numbers of strike aircraft or the weather predictions call for increasing bad weather.

    I do like the "dozens" of battleships bit though, more alternative history.

    US had 19 Battleships on the Dec 6th 1941. On Dec 8th the US had 12 battleships operational. It took until Oct/Nov 1942 to get back to 19 with new construction and repairs. It takes until June of 1944 for the Battleship total to reach 24.
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Who would do such a foolish thing?

    Battleships would slip into gunfire range when nights are long or else when it's raining.
     
  12. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    There was a group of islands further south that had nightly bombardments from Japanese heavy ships. The area was called The Slot, iirc.
     
  13. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Lets see, wait months until the nights are long enough?
    Wait for rain storms?

    Hope enemy stops operations to suit weather and length of nights?

    Nightly, as in every night? or a majority of nights? or even a dozen nights out of six months?

    And what were the losses amongst the the ships conducting these bombardments on the days following the bombardments?
     
  14. Aozora

    Aozora Well-Known Member

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    The Japanese tried using BCs to bombard Henderson Field on Guadalcanal and for their troubles lost Hiei and Kirishima to counter attack - all for very little gain because, unlike a ship which has been hit by several large calibre HE shells, an airfield can be repaired and put back into service in a few hours. Hiei was sunk by SBDs from Guadalcanal after being crippled by US ships during the night.
     
  15. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    #15 syscom3, Oct 22, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
    The P38 models available in 1942 and 1943 didn't have the radius to escort a bomber to Midway. After the battle of Midway, the French Frigate Shoals were developed as a refueling stop for single engined fighters on a ferry flight up to Midway. A few years ago, I started a post about it and added in all sorts of pictures and info. I need to see if it still exists.
     
  16. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    When did they have longer nights?

    It's not like Northern Europe where the nights are significanty longer in winter than in summer.

    Daylight hours on Sand Island (Midway Atoll)

    [​IMG]

    Compared to London

    [​IMG]

    And rain?

    It seems there is some chance of rain (32%-47%) for each day at Midway. But most likely it will be light rain, which probably won't ground aircraft.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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  18. Rufus123

    Rufus123 Member

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    So if Japan had taken Midway somehow what would the response be. I can imagine the USA would not like anything so close to Pearl considering it had been hit once before.

    How many ships were available? Could the island be bombed at night?
     
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