US and Japanese Aviation Losses Coral Sea-Santa Cruz

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Garyt, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. Garyt

    Garyt Member

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    Anyone know of both Japanese and US aviation losses in the 3 carrier battles, Coral Sea, Midway and Santa Cruz? And how lost,i.e. air to air, mechanical, AA artillery, etc.

    Trying to get an idea about the effectiveness of CAP vectoring for both sides.
     
  2. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #2 oldcrowcv63, Jan 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
    Lundstrom's two volumes on air combat during all the 1942 carrier battles has detailed breakdowns for each battle. (First Team and First Team Guadalcanal Campaign). If I recall correctly, early on, (at CS Midway) AAA wasn't very effective. Effectiveness is reported to have been a bit better by Santa Cruz in late '42 when it may have been about as effective as the rather mediocre performing F4F-4 CAP in defending USN Carriers. IJN had less luck with AAA with the Zero being very effective against low altitude attack while bigh altitude US Dive bombers always seemed to get through even after EW RADAR was installed in IJN carriers in mid to late 42. I've heard that the Shokaku had RADAR at the Eastern Solomons battle in late August but most sources seem to agree that it was at least present at Santa Cruz, although AFAIK IJN never developed truly effective Fighter
    direction.

    I understand that IJN CAP most often relied on individual pilot visual direction due to unreliable radio comm, although sometimes it may have been vectored by large caliber gun splashes. In contrast, the USN began using RADAR assisted fighter direction even before the war, thanks to technology exchanged with its European Commonwealth allies.
     
  3. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    We discussed USN 1942 Pacific AA claims and actual kills a couple of years ago in a different thread. I extracted this data from Lundstrom:



    At Coral Sea the USN claimed 49 AA kills of which about 37 were claimed by the USN carrier TG and they got 3.
    At Midway they claimed 20 AA kills and got 3.
    At Eastern Solomons they claimed 30 and got 4.
    At Santa Cruz they claimed 127 and got ~25.
     
  4. Garyt

    Garyt Member

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    Thanks for the info, guys!

    Yeah, my understanding of the positive effects of the Shokaku radar was that at Santa Cruz the Japanese had enough time to prepare for the incoming strike, and do things such as getting armed planes off deck and draining AVGAS lines. This prevented a repeat of Midway, but I guess was not effective in fighter control. Planes with radios or better radios would have likely helped.

    Wow. If I understand correctly, 226 claims for 35 kills? 35 kills in 4 battles seems to be pretty horrid performance.
     
  5. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    Actually 35 kills for 214 claims; I only counted the AA kills and claims made at Coral sea by the carrier task group.
     
  6. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    a couple of years ago, I did a rough tally of all the zeroes claimed, just by the US pacific fleet. They claimed about three times as many zekes as were ever built, and this does not include losses in other TOs or losses to non-combat causes. the latter should account for something like 60% of the totals force commitment

    The USN was no worse than anyone at overclaiming. but to the victor goes the spoils and US overclaiming has been more or less accepted as gospel, particularly since many Japanese records were lost at wars end.

    no publication, even Lundstrom is immune from this.
     
  7. pinehilljoe

    pinehilljoe Member

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    Lundstrom's two books are excellent. The depth and detail of his research is remarkable. Down to Orders of Battle of individual sorties. .
    He is also a revisionist, he portrays a completely different view of ADM Fletcher, compared to Morrison writings.
     
  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    it still doesn't account for the observation that the numbers just don't add up.

    I will try to illustrate with an example. For all navies, well over 50% of losses for carrier operations had nothing to do with enemy action. at santa cruz the US suffered 2.5 times as many losses to non-combat causes as it did in combat. When you went to sea and undertook operations under wartime conditions, most of your losses will have nothing to do with the enemy air activitiy, unless you lose a flattop. Doesn't mean that you might wont take a beating in the air, but if there is a frenetic pace of operations on the deck, regardless of nationality, there will be accidents, fires, ditchngs, overshots, landing gear failures, engine failures, you name it. This was true regardless of nationality. The Brits during Operation torch, lost just three aircraft to enemy action, and over 40 to accidents. If you look at the US their loss rates in times of high activity were somewhat better (in the example I gave, high performance aircraft were operating from CVEs, your loss rates to attrition on bigger carriers was generally better). Yet despite this the USN, as an example, claims to have shot down over 100 IJN carrier a/c at Santa Cruz. If this were true, they lost none to operational causes 9Japanese records say they lost about 100 a/c in total). I don't doubt the IJN lost 100 a/c, but they didn't lose 100 to USN action alone.

    Ive got a copy of Shattered Sword, and it is an extremely well researched balanced and excellent account, and also does not support the notion that the USN comprehensively defeated the IJN in the air. most of the Japanese aircraft were in fact lost by ditching or went down with the ships.

    The few surviving Japanese records of losses that exist also don't support most of the loss tallies touted by most sources. the Japanese in general lost a lot of aircraft, and as a rule the losses given are accurate as a raw total, from all causes, but that's not whats at issue here, its losses of IJN a/c in the air, is it not? if so, I can tell you there are a lot of enormous porkies being told, and often

    .
     
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