Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Naval discussions covering the latter half of the 20th Century.
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marcelo_malara
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Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby marcelo_malara » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:22 am

Hi all. In WWII the dive bomber armed with iron bombs reigned supreme as the premier anti ship airplane. In second place we had the torpedo-bomber, armed with aerial torpedoes. Then the war ended, the propeller-driven dive bombers and torpedo planes faded, being replaced aboard carriers by the first jet aircraft. What was the anti ship tactics thought for these first jets, level-bombing, rockets? How did the USN think its carriers would deal with the Soviets cruisers in the 50s?

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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby Bgile » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:59 am

As far as I know, the idea was to lob a nuclear bomb into the middle of their formation. Maybe not, but I really don't know.

I'm not aware of any guided bombs developed for jets ... maybe they just planned to glide bomb them like they did against land targets. Their speed would have made them difficult targets.

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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby RF » Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:24 am

I would imagine that missiles rather than bombs would be the main weapon for these aircraft.
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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby neil hilton » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:37 am

Jet aircraft on carriers initially were only fighters after ww2, the navies retained propeller strike aircraft for quite a while.
Torpedo bombers I believe only began to fade away in the 50s, the role was taken over by helicopters.
Early antiship missiles were radio controlled and could only be launched be full sized bombers ie they had to be controlled manually by a bombardier. Early radar guided anti ship missiles were only launchable from ships. The first guided air to surface missiles came in the 60s, the first ones that actually worked reasonably well.
Up until that time ship bombing was done using a variety of techniques. Fast low level 'skip' bombing or using retarded bombs. Shallow glide bombing maybe using unguided rockets. 'Lob' bombing form miles away, where the aircraft starts at low altitude, climbs sharply and releases the bomb into a ballistic trajectory ending in the target ship, the plane turns away as soon as it releases the bomb.
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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby marcelo_malara » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:34 am

Up until that time ship bombing was done using a variety of techniques. Fast low level 'skip' bombing or using retarded bombs. Shallow glide bombing maybe using unguided rockets. 'Lob' bombing form miles away, where the aircraft starts at low altitude, climbs sharply and releases the bomb into a ballistic trajectory ending in the target ship, the plane turns away as soon as it releases the bomb.


Thank you guys. Neil, that´s the kind of info I am looking for, thank you very much. Do you know any source for this info? Web? Contemporary manuals?

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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby neil hilton » Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:17 pm

The 'skip' bombing and shallow dive bombing tactics were all used in ww2, the 'loft' bombing tactic is post war and does require an aircraft with a very good power to weight ratio (generally this means a jet). Post war improvements in bombsights (particularly the use of computers) meant that accuracy was greatly improved and so dive bombing became redundant. All these techniques are still used today when long range guided missiles are not available.
Regarding source info, I got it from some old books my brother loaned me when he was in the RAF.

Online try looking for 'toss' or loft' bombing, 'skip' bombing. Also try looking at some of the weapons used like the 'Fritz x' and 'Bat' glide bombs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toss_bombing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skip_bombing
http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/boar.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RB_04
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat_(guided_bomb)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_X

Couldn't find much, there got to be more somewhere.
Hope that helps.
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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby Bgile » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:27 pm

USN jets bombed targets in North Korea throughout the war. They really weren't used as fighters at all because they didn't compare well to the Mig-15. I've seen photos of them bombing bridges, and my general impression is they were used as bombers in much the same way as US aircraft were used in Vietnam.

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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby marcelo_malara » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:41 pm

Thanks Neil, very good info. There seems to be a period, from the introduction of SAMs in the late 50s till the introduction of proper air launched anti ship missiles in the 70s, that the warship was again able to defend quiet well from the air menace, as the only way an aircraft could get her was closing in to launch iron bombs.

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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby Bgile » Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:24 pm

marcelo_malara wrote:Thanks Neil, very good info. There seems to be a period, from the introduction of SAMs in the late 50s till the introduction of proper air launched anti ship missiles in the 70s, that the warship was again able to defend quiet well from the air menace, as the only way an aircraft could get her was closing in to launch iron bombs.

Regards


Ask the British in the Malvinas about whether ships could still be attacked successfully with iron bombs even after the late 50s.

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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby marcelo_malara » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:26 am

Yes Bgile, I know. And that is what started my curiosity about this. It seems that the Argentine pilots were using the old skip bombing technique. The diference is that the bomb run was done at very low altitude, so as to evade radar directed guns and missiles. Anyway, the toll on the attacking planes was quiet high. Being available anti ship missiles in quantities there is no need to close so much to the target.

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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby Bgile » Thu Jun 10, 2010 12:50 am

Were any Argentine aircraft shot down by shipboard AA?

I'm fairly sure a 500 lb retarded bomb would not skip at all, but I don't dispute that low level tactics were forced by British missile armed ships and I know that only the Navy aircraft had retarded bombs. However, I would think that if skip bombing were actually used that would give the fuses time to arm on the Air Force bombs.

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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby marcelo_malara » Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:10 am

I am sure many were downed by Sea Wolf and Sea Dart missiles. What I learned in these days is that sometimes undragged bombs were used and others Mk-82 were. I presume that the dragged bombs were aimed directly to the side of the ships instead than at the sea surface.

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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby RF » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:03 am

Yes.

Some planes were also downed by land based Rapier AA missiles.
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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby neil hilton » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:46 am

Retarded bombs have 4 large airbrakes attached to the tail of the bomb, which deploy when dropped. They cannot be skipped, they would just explode when they hit the water. If using retarded bombs the aircraft would have to overfly the target ship just above masthead height the whole way.
Regarding the Falklands campaign, the Argentines had bomb fuse problems, they hit several ships but the bombs didn't go off, HMS Glasgow, HMS Antrim, HMS Plymouth etc. A BBC reporter found this out and blabbed it on the TV, some Argentines saw it and fixed their fuses, some didn't believe the report and didn't fix their fuses. The result was HMS Ardent, HMS Coventry and RFA Sir Galahad sunk.
When the reporter found this out after the war he apparently killed himself, thats what I heard don't know if its true though.
Coventry was sunk because its FC failed to lock on to the attacking planes due to radar clutter from the island and because Broadswords early model Seawolf system threw a hissy fit at exactly the wrong moment. Even so Coventry should have stayed up however one of the bombs that hit opened the bulkhead between the fore and aft engine rooms. The two largest spaces in the ship flooded.
All in all it proves that in the right conditions iron bombs can still be a potent threat to AA missile armed ships, especially when close to land.
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Re: Aircraft´s anti ship tactics post 1945

Postby marcelo_malara » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:21 pm

I think the fuses problem was already known, a pilot should realize that his bombs didn´t explode. Anyway, in any war there are unexploded bombs, torpedoes, shells,etc....


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