What aircraft did the Ark Royal carry during the Bismark chase?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by pinsog, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. pinsog

    pinsog Member

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    What was the aircraft compliment of the ARK ROYAL during the Bismark chase? Did she carry anything besides Swordfish torpedo planes? Where there any fighters or dive bombers? If so, why didn't they attack also?
     
  2. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I'm not sure what other aircraft were carried, but the weather at the time of the Bismarck strikes was very poor - so poor, in fact, that the first strike attacked HMS Sheffield by mistake. Correlli Barnett mentions that appalling visibility meant a strike by Fulmars had to be cancelled - I think this was from Ark Royal too, but given that the visibility led to the Fulmar strike being cancelled, I think Skuas flying at high altitude would not have been able t find Bismarck to make an attack.
     
  3. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I don't know but would expect a combination of Fulmars, Skua's and Swordfish
     
  4. tail end charlie

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    May 27, 1941: Sink the Bismarck! | This Day In Tech | Wired.com

    During the operation fairy fulmars were used as spotters, these could carry a 250lb bomb. As you can see from below web site and quote "it’s estimated that the ship was hit by more than 500 shells of 13.3 cm or larger" a dive bomb attack on the massive armament of the Bismark would probably had no effect. The swordfish attacks were lucky in that they damaged the steering other strikes didnt puncture the hull.


    May 27, 1941: Sink the Bismarck! | This Day In Tech | Wired.com

    The final battle began at 0847 on May 27, when Rodney opened fire on Bismarck from a distance of about 12 miles. The German answered with her forward turrets and scored some hits, but it was a hopeless situation. Forty-five minutes after the shooting began, all four of Bismarck’s 15-inch batteries were out of action, allowing the British to move in even closer. For 74 minutes they pounded Bismarck with their big guns (it’s estimated that the ship was hit by more than 500 shells of 13.3 cm or larger) and fired torpedoes at her. Finally, pounded into a blazing wreck, Bismarck went under. It remains unclear to this day whether she sank as result of British gunfire or was scuttled by her crew.
     
  5. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    #5 Kryten, Aug 27, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
    Dont think thats quite right, Rodney wasn't hit at all as far as I recall and KGV suffered a clipped funnel from one straddle, and later in the battle the Rodney opened the range to achieve plunging hits onto the deck!
    POW wasn't badly hit (although she was hit and returned the favour by puncturing one of the Bismarks fuel bunkers) her main problem was teething trouble with the turrets (she was undertaking sea trials when called upon to join the hood) and A turret I believe ws jammed by a shell falling out of the hoist?

    off the top of the head that is mind you!
     
  6. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    Ark Royal carried Swordfish, some with ASV radar and Fulmars. I don't think she had any Skuas by that date.

    Wikipedia states; 1941: 36 Fairey Swordfish, 18 Fairey Fulmars
     
  7. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    POW was indeed suffering teething troubles with her quadruple 14" turrets, and Vickers technicians were actually aboard during the engagement, although I'm not aware of the problems causing any difficulty in combat.

    It is likely that the Skua was withdrawn by then and replaced by the Fulmar, a 'dedicated' fighter, albeit one developed from a bomber. At least it wasn't a fighter/dive-bomber/reconnaissance type like the hapless Skua...:rolleyes:
     
  8. tail end charlie

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    Kryten

    you are probably right (wonders of the internet)

    according to
    German Battleship Bismarck, sinking of
    "The British capital ships and cruisers suffered no damage or casualties in the final action. There were a few casualties and slight damage in the destroyers Cossack and Zulu."

    The same article states
    "At 0015 on the 25th the Victorious launched seven torpedo-carrying Swordfish planes, supported by five Fulmar monoplanes. One hit was made on the starboard beam of the Bismarck, but her armor was not penetrated. The Bismarck put up a tremendous antiaircraft barrage and even fired on the attacking planes with her heavy guns; one Fulmar may have been brought down by the wind current set up by a 15-inch shell. One other Fulmar and two Swordfish were lost."

    The point I was making was that given the armour of the Bismark, the maximum payload of a Fulmar would have very little effect. Dive bomb attacks on the sister ship Tirpitz with heavier bombs had little effect and she was stationary.

    The same article say "At 1500 an air striking force was dispatched from the Ark Royal, but its attack was ineffectual."
     
  9. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I believe that POW was having trouble with the quad turrets and if I am not mistaken one of the quads was out during the engagement. She did indeed have yard workers on board and they probably got back and jumped all over their union reps.
     
  10. RCAFson

    RCAFson Well-Known Member

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    No FAA aircraft were lost to Bismarck's AA but a couple of Fulmar's did get lost and ran out of fuel:
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/LondonGazette/38098.pdf
     
  11. tail end charlie

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    The article states one may have been lost due to the air current of a 15" shell and that 1 other fulmar was lost but doesnt say specifically any aircraft were brought down by AA fire.
     
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