Use of Flying Boat type of aircraft, by the Allies during the battle of the Atlantic

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by DogFather, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. DogFather

    DogFather New Member

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    I was wondering why a flying boat couldn't accompany a convoy of ships going to the UK? The plane could be refueled by a tanker
    in the convoy, because it can land on water. At least that was what I was thinking. Maybe the sea was just too rough for that, or
    there was some other problem. The US PBY was used to attack U-Boats and was very successful doing that. The Brits also had the
    Short Sutherland, which could land on water. I was wondering why these aircraft could not accompany a convoy, to its destination?
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The flying boats can only land in waves up to a certain height. Taking off is another matter and getting close enough to a ship in large waves to pass a refueling line is yet again another story, Flying boats being a lot less dent resistant than even a destroyer.

    Beside which you need 2-3 crews swapping off the flying time or you have an accident waiting to happen. Not to mention cold, tired, hungry men really aren't very effective.
     
  3. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    A vessel refueling a Flying Boat is going to have to come to a halt or sail very sloooowly in a straight line. In other words a Torpedo magnet.
     
  4. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Some days it looked like this;

    the-battle-of-the-north-atlantic-allied-convo-L-KsyRb3.jpeg


    Some days it looked like this:
    2_8_5.jpg

    And some days like this:

    Ingham_Winter_WWII.jpg

    destroyer-out-of-water!.jpg

    And some days it was worse :)
     
  5. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Top picture looks like "Beaufort scale 4 Small waves becoming longer, frequent white horses, moderate breeze 11 to 16 knots" Thats about as much as a WWII flying boat could cope with on the water. Anything more and they started to suffer damage particulary the Sunderland which suffered damage to the hull aft of the planing step caused by cavitation.

    Bottom pic is a fantastic pic of HMS Walker a WWI V&W class destroyer. Those old ladies werent designed for the mid Atlantic and it must have been hell for the crews.
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Just been reading about the mid Atlantic, and the weather and waves. Going off that, all those photos show relatively calm conditions, compared to average!
     
  7. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The best users of flying boats in my opinion were the japanese. In David Browns book on carrier operations, ther is a photo of a "Jake" landing in the wake of its tender. Its in the far North, because there is sea ice lying about the place....the caption comments on the extraordinary courage and sheer dumb luck that the pilot had, in relying on the pathway cleared by the ships wake.

    That was the problem with seaplanes, including shipborne seaplanes....there are so often times that the a/c cannot land, or take off, that it makes their usage on a regular basis very hit an miss. Larger seaplanes could not rely on landings(or takeoffs) in open water for precisley that reason. all flying boat operations were undertaken with the benefit of some sort of protective waterway in which to operate. If that is provided, flying boats tened to be very capable in poor weather.

    So, operating directly with convoys is a non-starter. During the war, the allies toyed with various schemes in which to get tactical airpower into the mid Atlantic. Some were truly outlandish, like the iceberg carriers made from Pikrete, one option that i have never seen discussed is the idea of operating from the southern tip of Greenland. Have no idea if there was any ground or waterway that could be used for air operation, or indeed if it wa ever attempted. But the popular litereature certainly doesnt say much.
     
  8. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Their best course of action was the one Coastal Command eventually took, using very long range land based aircraft like the Liberator that had a reasonably good chance at bridging the Atlantic Gap.

    Regarding the Japanese use of flying boats, they hatched a plan to attack Pearl Harbour using H8K 'Emily' flying boats with refuelling from submarines en route. It wasn't a success, but was one of the longest unescorted bombing raids of the war.

    Operation K - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
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