Force Z

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
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tameraire01
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Force Z

Post by tameraire01 » Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:50 pm

Force Z sails with Indomitable in tow. The japanese still attack with the high level bombers but lose half there bombers to Fulmars. Force Z returns to Singapore to repair any damage. Does the Japanese still invade or do they just leave it alone.
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. Joseph Stalin

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Force Z

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:33 am

The Japanese had already invaded before Force Z sailed! At best Force Z could have caught the transports in retirement, but it was already to late to stop the invasion and the ultimate loss of Malaya. Phillips became aware of the IJN invasion convoys while he was in Manila consulting with Adm Hart. He flew back to Singapore and re-called Repulse (it was on its way to OZ). By the time they got Repulse back and re-fueled it was too late. They also spent an afternoon trying to get several of POW's radars back in working order. But to stop the invasion it would have required a pre-emptive action on the part of Phillips and Air Vice Marshall Brooks.

It was the capturing of the airfields north of Kuantan up to the border to Siam by Japanese troops that caused the RAF to inform Phillips that he could not rely on a CAP on the 10th. As it was the RAF had Brewster Buffaloes on standby only 150 miles away from where Force Z was sunk but Phillips never called for help in time. The Buffs could have broke up the attacks better than the handful of Fulmers, in my opinion.....

A better what if may be: what if Phillips had just sailed away and used the POW and Repulse as raiders against Japanese shipping? They probably would have got sunk by long lances while operating with the Dutch forces anyway.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Force Z

Post by alecsandros » Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:04 am

tameraire01 wrote:Force Z sails with Indomitable in tow. The japanese still attack with the high level bombers but lose half there bombers to Fulmars. Force Z returns to Singapore to repair any damage. Does the Japanese still invade or do they just leave it alone.
... IIRC the Force Z was attacked by ~ 90 bombers piloted by elite crews, coming in 2 large waves.

It is unlikely that Indomitable's ~ 12 Sea Hurricanes, and 9 Fulmars would have stoped enough of them form reacing and attacking the Force Z. THey could have delayed the sinkings , though... [but the first to be sunk would have been Indomitable, as this is the way the Japanese worked]

Most likely the Japanese would lose up to 10-15 planes in the first attack, but would cripple the Indomitable and all fighters would ditch in the water.

Several hours later, a follow-up strike would destroy the probably damaged PoW and Repulse.

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Re: Force Z

Post by tameraire01 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:06 pm

The illustrious class carriers could and did take a lot of punishment . some Info for you to browse at.

Displacement: 23,000 tons
Length: 743ft, 9in
Propulsion: 3 Parson turbines, six admiralty boilers producing 111,000 steam horspower
Speed: 30.5 knots
Armament: eight twin 4.5in DP Guns & six eight barrelled pom-poms
Armour: Flight Deck 3in, Hangers and belt 4.5in
Aircraft Capacity: 36 Aircraft (with modifications to the deck parking system increased to 52)

The deck park would be in use seeing it is the pacific and a lot calmer seas. So the amount of damage it could sustain would make the japanese think the only way we are going to sink it is kamikaze. It survived a German 1250 pound bomb for gods sake. Victorious took two kamikazes and survived.
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. Joseph Stalin

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Re: Force Z

Post by Steve Crandell » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:48 pm

tameraire01 wrote:The illustrious class carriers could and did take a lot of punishment . some Info for you to browse at.

Displacement: 23,000 tons
Length: 743ft, 9in
Propulsion: 3 Parson turbines, six admiralty boilers producing 111,000 steam horspower
Speed: 30.5 knots
Armament: eight twin 4.5in DP Guns & six eight barrelled pom-poms
Armour: Flight Deck 3in, Hangers and belt 4.5in
Aircraft Capacity: 36 Aircraft (with modifications to the deck parking system increased to 52)

The deck park would be in use seeing it is the pacific and a lot calmer seas. So the amount of damage it could sustain would make the japanese think the only way we are going to sink it is kamikaze. It survived a German 1250 pound bomb for gods sake. Victorious took two kamikazes and survived.
You sink ships with torpedoes. That is how PoW and Repulse were sunk.

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Re: Force Z

Post by dunmunro » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:33 pm

Indomitable was faster and more manoeuvrable than PoW or Repulse and very well armed, so the IJN attack is now more diluted, trying to attack a harder target, doing so while under attack themselves from some very motivated FAA pilots. A similar attack directed against Saratoga, IIRC, resulted in very heavy IJN losses for no hits in return. The IJN attack was spread over a ~2 hour period, so it had no overwhelming numbers at any point in time.

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Re: Force Z

Post by alecsandros » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:08 am

dunmunro wrote:Indomitable was faster and more manoeuvrable than PoW or Repulse and very well armed, so the IJN attack is now more diluted, trying to attack a harder target, doing so while under attack themselves from some very motivated FAA pilots. A similar attack directed against Saratoga, IIRC, resulted in very heavy IJN losses for no hits in return. The IJN attack was spread over a ~2 hour period, so it had no overwhelming numbers at any point in time.
NO,

the entire attack would be focused on Indomitable, which was NOT a harder target then the Prince of Wales. It had less AA artillery, far fewer armor, and it had only 1.5kts superior speed.

And NO, it could NOT take more punishment then a battleship.

====

In the second strike on USS Yorktown, 10 Nakajima Kate torpedo bombers penetrated the F4F screen, the AA screen, and scored 2 torpedo hits on the carrier, taking it entirely out of the battle.

This is what happens when elite crews attack targets they were heavily trained to attack.
Last edited by alecsandros on Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Force Z

Post by alecsandros » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:16 am

tameraire01 wrote:The illustrious class carriers could and did take a lot of punishment . some Info for you to browse at.

Displacement: 23,000 tons
Length: 743ft, 9in
Propulsion: 3 Parson turbines, six admiralty boilers producing 111,000 steam horspower
Speed: 30.5 knots
Armament: eight twin 4.5in DP Guns & six eight barrelled pom-poms
Armour: Flight Deck 3in, Hangers and belt 4.5in
Aircraft Capacity: 36 Aircraft (with modifications to the deck parking system increased to 52)

The deck park would be in use seeing it is the pacific and a lot calmer seas. So the amount of damage it could sustain would make the japanese think the only way we are going to sink it is kamikaze. It survived a German 1250 pound bomb for gods sake. Victorious took two kamikazes and survived.
Compare those to the Prince of WAles (SUNK ):

Displacement: 38000 tons
Length: 225m
Propulsion: up to 125000shp
Speed:29kts+
AA Armament: 16x133mm guns; 7 x 8 x 40mm pom-poms; 8x20mm Oerlikon; 1x40mm Bofors
Armor: 124mm over machinery, 149mm over magazines

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Re: Force Z

Post by alecsandros » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:45 am

US carriers lost or crippled in 1942 because of aerial torpedo attack:

USS Lexington: 8th May 1942. Under attack from a combined wave of ~35 Vals, Kates, Zeros. Close support offered by USS Saratoga and about 10 modern cruisers and destroyers. At least 40 Wildcats in the air. 15 Kates attacked the LExington, 11 managed to launch, 2 hit her directly. Several Vals attacked also, hiting with 2 bombs.

USS Yorktown: 6th June 1942. Under attack from an initial wave of 24 Vals and Zeros, which scored 3 bomb hits and reduced speed to 20kts. Second wave: 10 Kates + 6 Zeros, 2 torpedo hits despite at least 20 F4F in the air + heavy AA support from cruisers and destroyers.

USS Hornet: 26th October 1942. Under attack from a wave of ~ 50 Kates, Vals, Zeros. The 20 Kates targeted the Hornet, hiting it with 2 torpedoes despite extreme AA density and at least 30 F4F in the air. At least 9 Vals attacked simultaneously with the torpedo bombers, hiting wiht 3 bombs.

====

USS Lexington survived a February 1942 Rabaul air raid. She was attacked by 9 G4M Betty's armed with 250kg bombs, which were detected and intercepted by 15 F4Fs and SBD Dauntless. Later, 8 more Betty's attacked with bombs, again with no results. There were no aerial torpedoes available at Rabaul. The Japanese lost 12 bombers to all causes.
Despite the intense air cover and AA fire put up by Lexington, 4 CAs and 11 DDs, 9 of the 17 bombers got into launch position and bombed the carrier, which escaped damage by heavy manouvreing.

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Re: Force Z

Post by Steve Crandell » Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:23 pm

Fighter intercept was pretty difficult in the early war before height finding radar and picket destroyers out ahead on the threat axis. Fulmars were pretty slow compared to late war or even contemporary fighters. Not a lot faster than Bettys, in fact.

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Re: Force Z

Post by tameraire01 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:08 pm

The fulmars were very heavily armed with eight .303 machine guns nothing could stand up too that much weight of fire and they would have gone for the torpedo bombers. The Hurricanes would have dived on the bombers from high and caused havoc among them. Even the Swordfish would cause some confusion among the japanese.
Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. Joseph Stalin

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Re: Force Z

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:14 pm

One of the reasons cited for the loss of Force Z was an initial lack of respect for the Japanese equipment and personal. There was a indeed some racism during that era. The true capabilities of the Japanese came as quite a shock to the British and also to the Americans.

The Japanese would know of a carrier and its fighters if there was one and make sure to have some long range fighters on hand for their long range bombers. Their long range fighter was the Zero. That would have been indeed quite a shock.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Force Z

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:26 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:Fighter intercept was pretty difficult in the early war before height finding radar and picket destroyers out ahead on the threat axis. Fulmars were pretty slow compared to late war or even contemporary fighters. Not a lot faster than Bettys, in fact.
Hi Steve,
Another factor in the case of the USN were out dated radios resulting in very poor, and unreliable, radio communication between ships and aircraft, and among aircraft. US aircraft still used high frequency band radio instead of VHF or UHF band comms during WWII. The TBS (Talk Between Ships) systems were VHF but the aircraft were excluded from this by their out moded radios.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Force Z

Post by Steve Crandell » Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:45 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
Steve Crandell wrote:Fighter intercept was pretty difficult in the early war before height finding radar and picket destroyers out ahead on the threat axis. Fulmars were pretty slow compared to late war or even contemporary fighters. Not a lot faster than Bettys, in fact.
Hi Steve,
Another factor in the case of the USN were out dated radios resulting in very poor, and unreliable, radio communication between ships and aircraft, and among aircraft. US aircraft still used high frequency band radio instead of VHF or UHF band comms during WWII. The TBS (Talk Between Ships) systems were VHF but the aircraft were excluded from this by their out moded radios.
Thanks for that info. Do you know when that changed?

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Re: Force Z

Post by dunmunro » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:45 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:One of the reasons cited for the loss of Force Z was an initial lack of respect for the Japanese equipment and personal. There was a indeed some racism during that era. The true capabilities of the Japanese came as quite a shock to the British and also to the Americans.

The Japanese would know of a carrier and its fighters if there was one and make sure to have some long range fighters on hand for their long range bombers. Their long range fighter was the Zero. That would have been indeed quite a shock.
Historically Force Z had fighter cover ready and waiting but Phillips never called it in - yet there were no IJN fighters present. The IJN had few fighters and many targets to defend and they couldn't be everywhere at once, and not even the Zero had the range to accompany the historical strikes.

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