Karl Heidenreich wrote:I think we are talking more or less of the same thing here: the allies came to a saturation fire solution. Both: light automatic fire and systems like the Bofors worked in a way more like the actual CIWS, it depend on accurate fire solutions but the chances to hit something increases with the rapid automatic repetition. To that we have to add that these weapons were installed in a massive way in battleships, cruisers and destroyers that were placed around the CVs. So we have three measures of saturation: the weapon itself, the amount of batteries per ship and the number of ships. And basically we started to see this, when? Mid 1942? Spring of 1943?
By Santa Cruz in 1942 the concept was being put into practice within the uSN carrier task forces. McMullen indicates that it was too bad that the only ships close by to PoW were so woefully equipped in terms of AA that the concept couldn't be used as it had to some degree in the Med in late 41.
The vast majority of aircraft shot down by warships during WWII were sot down by light automatic flak. This was because heavy flak, which can not achieve saturation, becomes less effective as the range decreases because it can no longer track rate changes rapidly enough. The gap must be filled by light automatic flak.
At long ranges heavy flak is most unlikely to obtain a direct hit, so it depends on a momentary burst of splinters in a shot gun type effect to destroy or damage the aircraft; if it can be put close enough to the aircraft to be into the splinters lethal zone. Proximity fuzes help no small amount, but it still needs to be put within 20 meters of the target to begin with. It was still largely a question of luck.
Conical scanning radar (Wuerzburg, SCR584, Type 275) made heavy flak deadly at longer ranges, by 1943 in the case of Wuerzburg, and 1944-45 for the others, but the standard DP battery directing radars used (Type 285, Mk4) during most of the war were less than steller in this role.
Saturation alone doesn't do it either. This was the problem with barrage fire. For example, after 12 salvoes in directed fire producing no results, and now with the rate change to quick to keep up to, PoW's 5.25's switched over to barrage fire which made it less likely that damage would be inflicted. It would be pure luck that aircraft would fly through the barrage's kill zone at exactly the right moment in time. A British operational researcher described barrage fire as: " based on sloppy thinking and bad arithmetic"