What mix of aircraft what type would you have on a "raiding" CVL?

Discussion in 'Polls' started by freebird, Feb 17, 2008.

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What mix of aircraft types would you have on your CVL?

  1. 12 fighters, 6 TB/DB, 6 recon/FB

    54.8%
  2. 12 TB/DB, 6 fighters, 6 recon/FB

    6.5%
  3. 12 recon/FB, 6 fighters, 6 TB/DB

    22.6%
  4. other

    16.1%
  1. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    There have been quite a few posts about "Bismarck" lately...

    I've always thought that what the Germans really needed was a "CVL" to send with "Bismarck" on her {short} raiding career. They were working on the cruiser "Seydlitz", a converted "Hipper" class CA, which would have been ideal as it's 30+ knot speed could keep up with the group. The raiding group would not be expected to be within range of land based fighters, but may be attacked by long range bombers (Beaufighters, Hampdens etc.) or other carrier aircraft.

    From what I thought there would be 3 type's of aircraft needed

    1.) single-seat fighter for CAP
    like Me 109 or Seafire

    2.) twin seat aircraft for torpedo dive attacks on shipping ( pursuers)
    Probably a converted JU 87

    3.) twin seat fighter/bomber/recon aircraft
    The ideal here would be the "Firefly" but I don't know what the Germans
    had that would work. Must be semi-capable as fighter {vs. bombers
    mainly} have long range


    Alternatively if it was a British CVL, its mission would be to support naval operations in hunting down Axis surface raiders, and protecting cruiser groups in distant waters. The Royal Navy had the "Hawkins" class cruiser "Vindictive" that had been converted to an early type of CVL, but was dis-armed due to treaty. The CVL would need to have the same 3 types: fighter, TB/DB multi-role recon/FB.

    Just imagine the difference a squadron of SeaHurri's would have made in the attack on the Repulse P. of W. {or the Dorsetshire for that matter!}

    Assume that your CVL can carry 24 aircraft, and will likely not have assistance from any other carriers, what #'s and what types of aircraft would you pick? The time frame is mid '41 - late '43

    If you think that a light twin engine FB {up to about 15,000 lbs} could operate from your CVL, I would be interested to hear opinions on that too. {I was thinking perhaps the Me 110?}
     

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  2. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    I made the first choice, I feel that a light carrier is more to escort the raiding fleet then a striking force. Well, that's my opinion, whats yours' Freebird, I'm interested in your feedback.
     
  3. Panzerfaust

    Panzerfaust Member

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    I totally quote you...


    A Me 110 from a carrier?mmmh...could be a nice idea...but, could it take off from
    a carrier?
     
  4. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Scrap the 109, go with the 190. Better to have a radial over water anyway. Might even get around to folding the wings.

    More fighter bombers, the better. It's a raiding carrier, not a fleet carrier. Shoot and scoot, no hanging around to slug it out. For that, to my mind, Fighter Bombers are the way to go.

    IMHO.
     
  5. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Agreed, I think that would be the most useful aircraft. The FW 190 would be a great aircraft, however although it is a fighter-bomber it's short range and single pilot would be a disadvantage.

    For 1943 I {British} I would probably have 6 Seafire's, 6 Barracuda TB/DB's and 12 Firefly's as FB/recon. The Firefly is a superb aircraft for this kind of operation, with 1,360 mile range, 320 mph speed, 4 x 20mm cannons 2,000 lbs of bombs, plus it has the second crewmember as observer/radar operator.

    Consider the problem for the British in the South Atlantic caused in Nov/Dec 1940 by 1 one pocket battleship, Admiral Sheer, it sank 17 freighters of 117,000 tons. At the time there were 9 nine RN cruisers hunting for it, including 4 CA's 2 CM's 3 CL's, yet they were unable to locate it. While in the Pacific the US Japan often used seaplanes as scouts, it is not always possible due to heavy seas to launch recover them.

    In 1941 the FAA would have to use SeaHurri's as CAP {and short range FB's}, with SeaSkua's as DB/TB's, and the {much derided} Fulmar as FB/recon. It only had 800 mile range and could carry 500 lbs bombs, but it was the best available. I wonder if a "Vengance" could be modified for this role? It would probably be superior to the Fulmar in any event.

    As for German I'm at a loss for the FB/Recon plane, that's why I asked about the Me 110. Any suggestions people? It should be a FB with a range of at least 800 miles, and a second crew as observer/radar op. I dont think a single pilot can effectivly fly the plane, operate the search radar/RDF and spot 360' for ships in poor weather/visibility conditions.

    If the US was to build a CVL in 1941 {similar to Independance class} it would be for the same purpose as the Royal Navy one. For example if the Japanese in early 1942 send a small CVL {eg. Zuiho} with 2 CA's 2 CL's as a raiding group to attack shipping cut the supply line to Australia in the Hawaii/Tahiti/Samoa route. The large US CV's are busy preparing for actions at Midway the central Pacific, so the USN send a CVL with a few cruisers to deal with the raiders. There are very few patrol aircraft available, so the CVL would have to scout for the group.

    What kind of aircraft would the USN use? Obviously Wildcats would be the fighter, but what about the FB? For TB's/DB's would they send Dauntlesses or Devastators? Or both?
     
  6. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

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    Fighters would be the FM-2 series, or FM-1 depending on the time frame. Worse comes to worse, I'll even take F4F-3 models. Take the Dauntless as my bomber and recon platform, thereby doubling a strike force if necessary. Also, on more that one occassion the Dauntless proved adequate as an intern CAP plane, so that is a good point too. Finally, Avengers for ASW and torpedo work, which means I have 6 DBs, 6 TB, and 12 fighters. 12 fighters with some light bombs and plenty of ammo for the guns should be able to deal with lighter targets, and the dive bombers will handle the rest.

    Er, weren't these planes replaced ASAP when the British got enough Avengers? I think it was because they were underpowered and had bad stall characteristics off the top of my head....but oh well, your choice.

    I'll get back to you on my choices for other nations, because I need to think them over a bit more.
     
  7. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    I think you are probably right about the US composition. They would probably need the 12 Wildcats as CAP because I think the Dauntless was weaker as a fighter compared to the Dauntless. On the + side the Avenger had a much greater range than the Albacore, Skua {or Ju 87} so that it would be more useful in Recon work.

    I assume that in 1943 you would replace the Widcats with Hellcats and the Dauntless with Helldivers?

    You must be thinking of the Fairey Albacore, not the Barracuda. The Barracuda was used on the British Carriers for support in the Med airstrikes on the Tirpitz among other things. It was also used in the Pacific in 1944-1945. In fact after 1,700 Mk. I Mk II's were built the FAA ordered another 1,000 in 1943, 852 of the Mk. III's 30 Mk.V's were built in 1944-1945, I would hardly think they would order 1,000 aircraft if they didn't approve of it. The advantage of the Barracuda is that it could be used either for torpedo or dive bombing.

    Yes that's going to be a tough question, I would think the Italians could also use the Ju 87, {assuming that they had a carrier!! :) } but I can't think of what they would use for a FB/Recon aircraft.
     
  8. DBII

    DBII Active Member

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    Looks like the 12 fighter option has taken a big lead over the 12 recon/fb option. If the carrier is being used as a commerce raider, I would rather have more recon/fb. If the carrier is escorting a pocket Battleship, I would go with the 12 fighters. I was reading about a Bf 109T designed for carrier operations last night. It would be interesting to take them on a cruise.

    DBII
     
  9. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    Alright freebird, you have my attention! :lol: I've been entertaining this idea for a while now, but I do need a few more parameters though. Perhaps you could clarify a few things for me:

    As I know nothing about CVL elevator platforms, I'd like to know if those things were large enough to raise/lower aircraft with wings that were not folded/or capable of folding. Are such vessels able to accomodate for beneath-deck stowage of fixed wing aircraft (let alone 24 of them). Also, when you give us the choice of aircraft, I'm assuming you mean we can take any aircraft we want (1943 or before), provided they be modified for carrier landing (arrestor hooks), or must we pick only carrier capable aircraft up to 1943?

    One last question: As for the CVL, are we to pick one which already existed, or mus we "create" one from existing vessels of other types?

    Ok, I think thats all for now!
     
  10. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Oh Good we have someone to pick aircraft for a French CVL! :D :D :D

    Assume that you can pick any aircraft up to about the size weight of an Avenger {54 ft wingspan 16,000 lbs}. Any aircraft, not just specific carrier types, and assume that when modified they will include folding wings.

    Also assume that most of the aircraft can be given folding wings, in any event room will be found for 24. If it was a CVL built by the French, they might convert the cruiser under construction "De Grasse" {it was also considered for conversion by the Germans after it's capture}. If for example the French had not been occupied in 1940, they might have considered a CVL to assist in securing the convoy routes to Martinique, Madegascar, Ivory Coast Indo China.

    The main mission for your CVL would be to assist 3 - 6 cruisers in hunting down Axis raiders, far from land based air power. Perhaps the biggest difference from an ASW escort carrier, is that the CVL will need to be able to keep up with the cruisers, and perform search/recon far out from the carrier. Compared to the slower ASW carrier would be searching for subs within 200 miles or so.

    I'm assuming that you would want a naval version of the VG-33? :lol:
    The attack aircraft you pick should be able to make both dive torpedo attacks if possible.

    For Fighter-bomber/Recon, I was wondering if the French could use a Po 630? Or perhaps the Latecoere 298 with a more powerful engine? The FB/Recon should have 2 crew, {2nd as Radar op/observer}, at least 750+ miles range. The CVL is a little longer than a CVE {620 ft vs. 500 ft} and has a speed of 35 mph {vs 22 for a CVE} so this should make it easier for more aircraft types to be able to take off. {but I'm not an aircraft expert, correct me if i'm wrong}
     
  11. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    Yipee! I was probably going to try to keep it as realistically as possible, but now that the constraints to my imagination are free, I'll make it up as i go along!

    For starters, there no way I'm picking the Bearn, which was hopelessly slow and outdated. Rather, I'll go instead with a Joffre-class carrier (Joffre and Painleve -replacement carriers planned for the Bearn). Joffre was actually being built then cancelled after the 1940 Armistice, Painleve never got past the drawing board.

    More info here:

    Joffre class aircraft carrier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Why not? I was actually thinking of that myself earlier, for strictly fighter roles. Since it was built using largely non-strategic materials, it would be easy to maintain, and modify for arrestor hook. I'll go ahead and buy 12 of those, than you very much.

    As for attack/torpedo, I was thinking more along the lines of a Breguet 691 variant which could have modified for such purposes. I really don't like the idea of twin-engine aircraft on an aircraft carrier, but things like the Breguet 690 series, or the Potez 630 series seem to have been small enough they could work. Probably I'll take the 697, a more powerful and upgraded version of the Br. 691 aircraft. However, I'm not at all certain of it's dive capabilities, so I'm inclined for second choice for either a Stuka variant or the Dauntless.

    I'll get back on the recon plane, haven't decided yet.
     
  12. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Joffre certainly would have been a welcome addition for the French navy. However it would probably have been kept closer to France, in Med or North Atlantic. I'm assuming that they also built a smaller CVL to help control the Indian Ocean S. Atlantic

    An interesting plane, it isn't in my aircraft book.
    It seems to have been fairly light, was it ever considered for use as a FB or NF? {like the Po 630 or Me 110}
     

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  13. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    Apart from the small French posessions in the South Pacific or the Mediterranean, I see no reason why the French fleet (or any French fleet) to stray too far from France's colonial territories. Had the Joffre been completed, paired with the Richelieu or the Jean Bart, and maybe accompanied by the Strasbourg and Montaclam, and say various destroyers from le Malin class and/or Chacal class, France was so very close to having at least ONE very effective battlegroup! It was not to be. :cry: Even after the fall of France, a powerful Free French fleet could have assembled and made base at either St. Pierre and Miquelon, or in Martinque, but then I'm swaying from the topic at hand.


    Yes, after thinking about it a little, the Br. 690 series was too light and too small for torpedoes. It could pack a punch, but I don't see it carrying a torpedo, either internally or externally. Perhaps fitted rockets it could have been an effective anti-shipping aircraft. So, I'm switching their roles on my ship to recon/FB.

    As for the TB, I've chosen the Grumman TBF-1 Avenger (I came close to choosing the Fairy Barracud Mk. II). Not certain how well it performs as DB, but at this point, I think I will sacrifice that role in hopes that my Br. 691-7s will compensate.

    So there it is, my fantasy CVL:

    Joffre-class carrier
    12 Arsenal VG-33 Fighters
    6 Grumman TBF-1 Avenger TB
    6 Br. 691-7 Recon/FB/Attack

    ...or better yet, 12 Arsenals, 8 Avengers, and 4 Br.691-7s.
     
  14. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Indeed. And it knocked away the whole British plan for combined operations with France against the Italians, the RN was badly outnumbered there :( {until "Taranto" of course}. I would expect that the main French Fleet + the British "Med" fleet would be keeping an eye on the Italian Fleet. I could imagine a tremendous battle as the 6 Italian BB's try to intercept the French British BB's CV's making a run from Algeria/Toulon to Beirut/Alexandria. That where I think the French British CV's would be employed, to provide air cover as the convoy passed through the Sicilian narrows. Thats why I think the operations in the S. Atlantic or Indian Ocean would most likely employ a CVL like "Hermes"

    Don't forget that France had colonies in Madegascar, Indo-China that required shipping traffic via the Indian Ocean or Pacific, and if the Med became too difficult for cargo ships {due to Axis air attacks from Sicily} then the alternate route to Syria is via South Africa.

    Good choice. It seems that the Br. 697 would have been a quite capable aircraft, the jump in power to the Gnome-Rhone's 1,000 hp would boost performance quite a bit.
     
  15. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    Madagascar could have been a base for keeping the Indian Ocean in mind, but I don't think France valued it as much as the Med. for obvious reasons. It would have been highly dependent on fuel for aircraft and ships.

    As for Indochina, thats a different story given the natural resources in the region. Unfortunately, a French naval presence there would have been whittled away, taking vessels from there to the Med/Atlantic theatre. I don't think there was anything they could have done realistically or militarily to prevent Indochina from falling to the Japanese, Vichy or no Vichy.

    An intermediate/repair base in the French posession of Pondicherry (India) could have been feasible as well. I think i would have placed greater value on having a naval base there rather than Madagascar.
     
  16. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    I think you are right DB, if there was a Recon/FB that was halfway decent it would work. In '43 I would take 12 Firefly's 6 Seafires.

    If it was in '41, I would probably go with 10 Fulmar as Recon/FB, 8 Seafires or SeaHurri's 6 Sea skua FB/TB. That way there would be enough protection if you were attacked by a dozen fighters escorting some bombers {for example} yet still have enough Recon to be effective.
     
  17. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    If I knew then what I would have known at the end of the war, all AC on board would be one type. The F4U could fulfill all the missions(except torpedo attack and it could have been adapted for that) admirably. The Navy found out it was almost as accurate as a dive bomber as the SBD. It had plenty of range for recon or strike fighter and it could of course carry out the CAP role. Having only one type on board simplifies spare parts, maintenance, etc. Sort of like today when the majority of AC on an American carrier are one type(FA18 Hornets and Super Hornets)
     
  18. DBII

    DBII Active Member

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    That is a great plan.

    dbII
     
  19. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    The problem Ren is that with the limited search technology in the 40's, a single pilots ability to do recon was very limited. The naval war in the pacific was very "hit miss", because they couldn't find each other most of the time. For example the faulty recon at Coral Midway Singapore and so many other places. The Japanese were surprised by the appearance of "Force Z" because the day before the japanese recon flight had mistook two tankers for P. of W. Repulse. The escorts for the US TB's at Midway got lost separated, they couldn't find the Japanese carriers even though they already knew roughly where they were. The British had 9 CA's/CL's in the South Atlantic {with recon floatplanes patrol aircraft} in the fall of '40 looking for "Scheer" but were unable to find her, she slipped back to Germany.

    The second crewman as a radar operater spotter was needed as the pilot couldn't do it all, with the rudimentary avionics of WWII.

    Remember that the primary duty of the CVL with the Raider/Hunter group in distant oceans would be recon, much different than the attack/defence duties of the airgroup in a CV battle group
     
  20. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

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    Actually, no. Because the Wildcats were smaller and had a shorter take-off and landing length, they were continually used to the end of the war by escort and light carriers. Also, with the advent of the FM-2 model, the Wildcat becomes formidable in its own right, with the ability to carry two 250 lb bombs or rockets. As for the Helldiver, it may have been faster, and had a higher bomb carrying capacity, but from what I've read it was not really well liked. Part of the reason may have been that the Helldiver was a larger aircraft than the Dauntless, and thus was slower to respond to commands, but even with this in mind it was still sluggish on the controls (according to my sources). Also, I think I remember hearing that the Dauntless could still take more punishment than a Helldiver and bring the pilot home.

    All that being said, for other nations I would do as follows

    British
    Fighter: Sea Hurricane (it could carry bombs, something that the Seafire could only do in the much later marks)
    Bomber/Recon: Swordfish (able to take loads of punishment, and could function as a torpedo or dive bomber, as well as recon)

    German
    Fighter: He 100 (good mix of firepower, speed, manuevering, and good sized landing gear unlike the Bf-109)
    Recon/Torpedo: Ju-88, baring that a Fw-187 (it can be a fighter, a fighter bomber, or a torpedo plane depending on the fitting!)
    Bomber: That one Henkiel biplane that was used until there weren't any left.
     
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