World War II American vs. Japanese ships

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Jerry W. Loper, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. Jerry W. Loper

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    Comparing like ships with like ships, which ships in the following categories were generally better, American or Japanese? I'm thinking in terms of the best in its category vs. its enemy counterpart, like Iowa class battleship vs. Yamato class battleship, etc.

    Battleship
    Aircraft Carrier
    Heavy Cruiser
    Light Cruiser
    Destroyer
    Destroyer Escort smaller
    Submarine
     
  2. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    I would say that USN light cruisers were clearly better that those of IJN and USN had better carriers, DEs, MTBs (PTs) and subs.

    Juha
     
  3. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    Definitely with the launch of the Essex class.
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The USN didn't build any light cruisers after the early 1920s Omaha class.

    Brooklyn class cruisers were officially called light cruisers but in fact were heavy cruisers armed with a multitude of 6" guns. Their Japanese counterparts were the Mogami class which were also heavy cruisers armed with a multitude of 6" guns. In both cases this was done to circumvent a poorly written naval treaty which defined light cruisers as having 6" main guns, no matter how large the ship was or how many guns it had.

    Japan chose to replace Mogami class triple 6" gun turrets with twin 8" gun turrets during a 1939 rebuild. The USN could have done the same thing for the Brooklyn class but didn't. The USN could also have armed the 27 Cleveland class cruisers with 8 x 8" main guns rather then the historical 12 x 6" main guns.
     
  5. Arossihman

    Arossihman Member

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    Japanese carriers exhausted their smoke close to the waterline which made them a little more stealthier than ours but we could carry more planes and armament so to me our carriers gave us the edge in battle.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Was there a significant difference in hanger deck space?

    I am under the impression the USN kept more aircraft parked on the flight deck to increase total aircraft carried. Japan could have made the same operational choice.
     
  7. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    American carrier aircraft's wings folded at much closer to the wing root than Japanese carrier aircraft usually, so they took up a lot less room . Also meant they could place more aircraft on the elevators, so they could move more aircraft, and quicker from the hanger deck to the flight deck.

    I think USN carriers had larger aircraft elevators also.
     
  8. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Essex class carriers were better than any Japanese carrier for a number of reasons, even though they did not have armored flight decks. No Essex class carrier was lost in WWII, even though they were the main targets of the "Divine Wind".

    And the Iowas would defeat the Yamatos one on one (radar fire control).

    TO
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    A good idea but that doesn't change the amount of CV hanger deck space. What if Shokaku class CV air wings consisted of F4Fs, SBDs and TBDs? Could they carry as many aircraft as a Yorktown class CV?
     
  10. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    All other things being equal you could pack more American naval aircraft into a given space than Japanese, so yes, a Shokaku class could have carried more aircraft than they did.

    Could they carry as many as a Yorktown class ? One would have to see which has more space availible for aircraft storage and tie down.
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Shokaku class CV specifications. FY 1937.
    34 knots. 9,700 miles @ 18 knots.

    Magazines protected against 800kg bombs and 203mm shellfire.
    Engine spaces protected against 250kg bombs and 127mm shellfire.

    16 127mm AA guns. 8 twin mounts.
    36 25mm AA guns. 12 triple mounts.

    Two aircraft hangers. Three aircraft elevators.
    84 aircraft capacity.
    72 operational plus 12 reserve. The reserve aircraft were assembled and could be used.

    Aviation Ordinance.
    …..45 torpedoes.
    …..90 800kg bombs.
    …..306 250kg bombs.
    …..540 60kg bombs.
    …..496 tons of aviation gasoline.

    Yorktown class CV specification.
    (1st CV ordered 1933. 3rd and final CV ordered 1939.)
    32.5 knots. 12,500 miles @ 15 knots.

    Armor.
    2.5” to 4” armor belt.
    4” bulkheads,.
    4” over steering gear.
    Not sure how this compares to a Shokaku class CV. IMO Japanese armor protection specifications are more logically stated.

    8 5” AA guns. All single mounts.
    4 quad 1.1” AA guns.
    24 .50cal machineguns.
    24 20mm AA guns added during February 1942. All single mounts.
    .....Inferior to a Shokaku class. Especially prior to the February 1942 upgrade.

    Three aircraft elevators. Two flight deck and one hanger deck catapults.
    .....Same number of aircraft elevators.

    May 1942 CV-5 Air wing.
    …..20 x F4F. VF-5.
    …..19 x SBD. VB-5.
    …..19 x SBD. VS-5.
    …..13 x TBD. VT-5.
    71 total. One less then CV Shokaku operational aircraft.

    U.S.S. Enterprise carried 69 aircraft as of June 1944.
     
  12. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    You're a little off dave. The Yorktown may have carried 69 aircraft on June 44, she and the other two full size Yorktown class carriers could carry up to 96 aircraft, The larger Essex class could carry 80-100, depending on the individual ship. The Lexington up to 90, the Saratoga up to 80.

    There were only two Shokaku class carriers built, and both were sunk in 44.
     
  13. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #13 Juha, Dec 10, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
    Dave
    if you want to compare apples to apples, Shokaku's air component in early May 42 21 Zeros, 20 Vals and 21 Kates = 62 and Zuikaku's 21 Zeros, 21 Vals and 21 Kates = 63, so 9 and 8 less than that of Yorktown, In late Aug 42 Shokaku had 26 Zeros, 14 Vals, 18 Kates and 1 Judy = 59, Zuikaku had 27 Zeros, 27 Vals, 18 Kates = 72 Enterprise had 36 Wildcats, 36 Dauntlesses and 15 Avengers = 87

    Juha

    According to my source Enterprise had 3 Corsairs, 32 Hellcats, 23 Dauntless and 15 Avebgers = 73 a/c in June 44
    Shokaku, Zuikaku and Taiho had then altogether 71 Zekes, 90 Judys, 10 Zeros and 54 Jills = 225 a/c, so Shokaku and Zuikaku probably both had 5-7 a/c more than Enterprise at that point
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    http://www.combinedfleet.com/kojinshavolume6.pdf
    I'm quoting from official FY 1937 IJN specifications for Shokaku class aircraft carriers.

    If someone has official specifications for Yorktown class aircraft carriers I'd like to see them. Otherwise all we have to go on are what they actually carried.
     
  15. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    the designed a/c complement for Yorktown seems to have been 91 according to Norman Friedman's U.S. Aircraft Carriers

    Juha
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Lots of secondary sources including Wikipedia suggest Yorktown class CV airwing size was about 90. Sounds fishy to me, as if they are all just quoting each other. I'd like to see the official USN specifications for U.S.S. Yorktown.

    Unlike Japan, the U.S. was not chronically short of aircraft and pilots. So if airwing size was 90 why didn't U.S.S. Yorktown have 90 aircraft prior to the Coral Sea battle?
     
  17. kettbo

    kettbo Member

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    For surface action, the IJN Cruisers and Destroyers packed effective torpedoes and healthy firepower.
    The USN 5"/38 were fast firing once the target was 'locked'
    this weapon was also dual purpose. Couple that with proximity AAA ammo, very deadly
    The IJN DDs in the later classes had dual purpose weapons
    RADAR and RADAR FC gave the Allies tactical advantage
    Signal intercepts allowed the Allies to position forces to counter IJN movements
    Japanese merchant fleet was wiped-out as the Americans had their codes and the ships reported daily. No wasted patrols
     
  18. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    If you have seen Friedman's books you would know that he rely on orginal plans, specifications and design sketches.


    Fairly common misunderstanding. That US had plenty of planes and pilots in 44-45 doesn't mean that it had plenty of them in 42. The lack of both was seen still in Guadalcanal, in New Guinea and in Tunisia and if you look Yorktown's AG in May 42 You see that its torpedo sqn was understreght, Big E operated 87 combat a/c in Aug 42.

    Juha
     
  19. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

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    Out of curiosity, why would only 3 Corsairs be carried? I would have thought it would have been an even number of Corsairs.
     
  20. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Don't quote me, but the Corsairs might have been night fighter variants.
     
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