Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:28 am

It kind of depends if Nagumo was able to get away all of Shokaku's available aircraft before Shokaku was knocked out at around 0900hours. Zuiho expended all of its aircraft in the first wave and so could not send any more, besides it was knocked out early by two of the scout SBDs. Nagumo may have got all of Zuikaku's and Shokaku's remaining aircraft away in time because Shokaku's radar was working well and gave warning while the American strike was still 155km out. It took about an hour and ten minutes to cover the distance.

Even assuming all of Shokaku's airtcraft made it up, just roughly doing some calculations though, it doesn't look like Nagumo's second morning strike comprised of Zuikaku's and Shokaku's remaining strike aircraft only could of delivered a concentrated and heavy strike against TF-16. IJN practice was to make 1/3 of each strike escorting fighters. This leaves what Approx. a max 30 strike aircraft plus those of Junyo dispersed over a time period of about 25 minutes attacking TF-16?
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: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:43 am

Dave Saxton wrote: Even assuming all of Shokaku's airtcraft made it up, just roughly doing some calculations though, it doesn't look like Nagumo's second morning strike comprised of Zuikaku's and Shokaku's remaining strike aircraft only could of delivered a concentrated and heavy strike against TF-16. IJN practice was to make 1/3 of each strike escorting fighters. This leaves what Approx. a max 30 strike aircraft plus those of Junyo dispersed over a time period of about 25 minutes attacking TF-16?
Well, the first wave of 64 warplanes started taking off at ~ 7:00, and they were all en route to Hornet by 7:40. By 9:00, I think there was plenty of time to launch a second strike.
Moreover, given the fact that only Zuikaku and Shokaku were the only CVs capable of transporting torpedo=bombers, this means that the 57 Nakajima Kates were on board the fleet carriers.
Only 20 Kates were launched during the first wave, so this leaves 37 not committed to battle. A further numnber of ~ 20 VAls would also be available for a second strike.

Thus, some 57 bombers would be available for this strke, and I don't think they would be kept in reserve, considering usual carrier practice (launching all available planes towards enemy carriers)...
I doubt, though, that all 57 would be operatoinal. The probable number would be more likely between 45-50.
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Zuikaku's torpedo-bombers from the second wave probably flew without any ZEro cover, considering that they sustained heavy damage from Enterprise's Wildcats, which attacked unopposed, and destroyed 6 of them.
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I don;'t think there was any coordonation between Junyo's strike and Zuikaku+Shokaku second strike, as there were to many variables to account for (different launch distances to TF16, different aircraft speeds - the Vals flew faster than the Kates, etc.)
---

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by Francis Marliere » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:39 pm

alecsandros wrote: given the fact that only Zuikaku and Shokaku were the only CVs capable of transporting torpedo=bombers
Alecsandros,

I am pretty sure that both Junto and Hiyo could and did operate torpedo-bombers. Due to their slower speed and shorter deck, they could not, however, launch all their TB in one deck load. I think that Zuiho could only launch 3 to 6 Kates at once (depending on the speed of the wind).

Best,

Francis

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:17 pm

Francis Marliere wrote: Due to their slower speed and shorter deck, they could not, however, launch all their TB in one deck load. I think that Zuiho could only launch 3 to 6 Kates at once (depending on the speed of the wind).

Best,

Francis
Aaah, the short deck is what I had in mind :)

Well, if that's so, perhaps a small number of Kates was hosted by Junyo.

However, the vast majority of torpedo-bombers would be held in the bowels of the main strike force, thus making a second strike higly likely, IMHO...

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:08 am

Morison reports there were a total of 44 aircraft, including fighters, in Zuikaku's and Shokaku's second morning wave. So about 29 strike aircraft. Actually a little less because one sub flight went after TF-17. Morison reports that Enterprize's "more experienced" AA gunner's and battle observers only reported 7 aircraft observed shot down, and he leaves it at that. But we can see why the Enterprize crew so hotly disputed SD claims.

Btw, Morison also reports that SD was 1,000 yards from Enterprize.
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: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by steffen19k » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:43 am

So, it gets a little irritating seeing people beat the same old heavy ship engagements into the ground. So I'm taking a step or two in what seems like a good direction, and pointing you on to something new and interesting. So I did some searching, and...

Eureka, boys and Girls. I found it...

The Log books of MTB Squadrons, 3, 2, and 6, at Guadalcanal from October 14, 1942- February 1943.

http://pt-king.gdinc.com/index.html
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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by aurora » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:20 am

I think that I have already pointed out that Enterprise had ALL the ZERO DEFLECTION SHOTS ie aircraft coming directly at her- whereas SoDak being a 1000yds away would have deflection shots of about 60degrees-much more difficult targets and therefore a lower success rate than Enterprise.

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:31 pm

aurora wrote:I think that I have already pointed out that Enterprise had ALL the ZERO DEFLECTION SHOTS ie aircraft coming directly at her- whereas SoDak being a 1000yds away would have deflection shots of about 60degrees-much more difficult targets and therefore a lower success rate than Enterprise.

aurora
Aurora,

At least 9 Vals and 5-6 Kates directly attacked South Dakota, so she had "zero deflection shots" also.
Also, at the time, the battleship was equipped with 20x5", 20x1.1", 32x20mm Oerlikon and 16x40mm Bofors, for a total of 88 AA guns. Meanwhile, Enterprise yielded 8x5", 20x1.1" and 32x20mm Oerlikon, for a total of 60 AA guns, with less than ideal arcs of fire (given the carrier's shape, many AA guns were situated below the flight deck, on the sides of the ship.)

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by aurora » Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:49 pm

The third strike was a flight of 18 Val dive bombers escorted by 12 Zeros, commanded by LT Maseo Yamaguchi from the carrier Junyo. On an earlier pass, Yamaguchi had not seen Enterprise - most likely she was hidden in a squall - and had radioed his intent to attack a cruiser instead. By now, however, radio traffic had alerted the Japanese to the presence of second American carrier, and Junyo ordered Yamaguchi to find it and attack. This second carrier was Enterprise, and Yamaguchi led his men in on a glide-bombing attack at about 1220.
The persuasive power of South Dakota's and the Big E's 40mm Bofors AA guns seemed to gaining notoriety: they brought down four Vals - including Yamaguchi's - early in the attack, and a number of the remaining planes dropped their bombs as much as 500 yards distant from the Big E's flight deck. Still several planes pressed on, one scoring a very near miss on the starboard side, again whipping the whole carrier along her length and opening several empty compartments to the sea. Another hit South Dakota's Number One turret, killing one man and wounding 50, including Captain Thomas Gatch, whose seamanship had held the massive battleship 1000 yards off Enterprise's starboard quarter, even as the nimble carrier veered wildly at as much as 28 knots. A third bomb pierced the anti-aircraft cruiser San Juan from deck to bottom, but failed to explode.
It is nearly impossible now to reconcile the various accounts of the number of planes downed in this engagement. Enterprise's Fighting Ten claimed 17 enemy planes, at a cost of seven Wildcats and four pilots. Hornet's VF-72 claimed 28 planes, against a loss of ten Wildcats and five pilots. South Dakota's gunners are generally credited with downing 26 planes; Enterprise - planes and gunners combined - is credited with 63. The Japanese logs hint at the magnitude of their losses: only nine Zeros returned from the second Japanese strike in serviceable condition, only two of the 27 planes to attack Hornet returned, period.

aurora
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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:09 pm

@Aurora
I'm not saying I know how many planes were guned down by each ship; I'm just saying SD had good opportunities of destroying enemy planes, as a good number of them concentrated directly on the battleshp instead of the carrier.

Certainly it was a most intense battle, with extreme tension and casualties on either side...

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by aurora » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:02 pm

Dave-Re.R/Adm T Gatch-he was invalided ashore in Jan1943 and was never given another sea appointment.

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:45 pm

steffen19k wrote:So, it gets a little irritating seeing people beat the same old heavy ship engagements into the ground.
But these were vitally important battles of decisive consequence.

One of the interesting things about these cycles of battles though is the torpedo school vs the big gun school of thinking being played out. The IJN considered its primary weapon to be the torpedo. The USN considered the big gun directed by radar to be its primary weapon. The USN really thought that their philosophy was vindicated by Cape Esperance and the battleship action on the 14/15 Nov. Adm. Kinkaid drew up battle plans based on the preceived lessons from these battles for future heavy ship action. The plan placed importance on the big gun and radar. It was thought that through radar, the Americans could get the drop on the enemy at night and be able to engage the enemy from a safe range through radar directed gunfire. So destroyers would be sent in close enough to launch torpedoes while the big ships stood off out of "torpedo waters."

Adm Wright followed Kinkaid's battle plan to the letter at Tassafaronga. So there were 5 cruisers majestically steaming in a line ahead and blasting away with their 8-inch and 6-inch guns using radar firecontrol. Then one by one they had their bows blown off by Long Lance torpedoes. It was a disaster.

Historically during WWII, the torpedo usually trumped the big gun. The destroyer usually won. The dominate naval weapon systems that emerged from WWII were torpedo delivery weapons systems: The torpedo bomber, or anti--ship missile delivery aircraft, the submarine, and the destroyer.
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: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by aurora » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:44 am

The relatively inexperienced Adm Wright USN versus the experienced and battle hardened Adm.TanakaIJN.The plan was to have 4-5 USN Destroyers some 12000 yds in front of the cruiser Task Force;but this was reduced to an ineffective 4000yds. Additional destroyers could not conform to the agreed plan, because they were latecomers; and were not briefed.Wright was tardy in replying to his lead destroyers; which were ready to launch their torpedoes; and opened fire instead on the nearest radar target-a Japanese picket destroyer.
As the 8" cruisers opened fire successively in their orderly line-they wittingly or unwittingly lit up their positions like a fairground-they were all using ordinary cordite shells
.Tanaka gave a signal order to his his destoyers in the rear-advance and launch their Long lance torpdoes,which they did with dexterity and quickly drew back again.This short lived melee accounted for all four cruisers-one the Northampton would sink,whilst the other three would be out of the war for a year undergoing repairs.
One Japanese destoyer sunk gave the wily Tanaka a satisfying victory.

aurora
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Jim

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