Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

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alecsandros
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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:49 pm

Let's not forget that SD had substantialy more AA fire power installed at the time of Santa Cruz in comparison to USS Enterprise. The ammo expenditure alone tells a nice story:

5" = 890
40mm =4000
1.1" = 3000
20mm = 52000
=====

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:37 pm

alexandro where did you get the ammo expenditure data
how many aircraft attacked TF 16 over what period

I dont know the distance between the ships but
according german Data
20mm and smaller guns have an effective range <1,5 km
~40mm weapons up to 2,5-3,5 km
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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by aurora » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:14 pm

I accept the account of the ammunition used Thorsten; but that is by no means a measure of how many targets that ammunition found.As Enterprise points they had all the deflection shots whereas SoDak was a 1000 yds away.

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:18 pm

ammo expenditure from:
United States Navy, AntiAircraft Action Summary, July 1942 to Dec 1942 (Information Bulletin No. 22), p111

TF16 was attacked by:
19 Vals + 8 Zeros (from Shokaku), 16 Kates (from Zuikaku) between 10:08 - 10:53
17 Vals, 12 Zeros (from Zuiho) between 11:21 - 11:35

TOTAL: 72 warplanes

From the info I have, at least 40 of those have been shot down, with only 5 claimed by the CAP.

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by aurora » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:48 pm

alecsandros
http://www.cv6.org/1942/santacruz/santacruz_4.htmI

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.

The debate about exactly how many planes South Dakota and Enterprise shot down continues to this day. There is a mutual respect, however, between Enterprise's men and those of South Dakota and North Carolina (which defended Big E at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons). Perhaps author Steve Ewing has best identified the bottom line:
Regardless of who is correct - and we'll never know for obvious reasons - Enterprise gunners shot down more planes at Eastern Solomons in 15 minutes and at Santa Cruz in 25 minutes than did the vast majority of all battleships, carriers, cruisers and destroyers throughout the entire war
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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:06 pm

I concur to that;
It's probably impossible to know for sure,
What I think though is that SD made a very good contribution there, and probably destroyed a large number of Japanese planes..

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:18 pm

alecsandros wrote:ammo expenditure from:
United States Navy, AntiAircraft Action Summary, July 1942 to Dec 1942 (Information Bulletin No. 22), p111

TF16 was attacked by:
19 Vals + 8 Zeros (from Shokaku), 16 Kates (from Zuikaku) between 10:08 - 10:53
17 Vals, 12 Zeros (from Zuiho) between 11:21 - 11:35

TOTAL: 72 warplanes

From the info I have, at least 40 of those have been shot down, with only 5 claimed by the CAP.
This is where numbers can be leading, and summaries compiled during the war can not be trusted. The total number of Japanese war planes sent on the morning attacks was 64. Most of these attacked TF 17, instead of TF 16. TF 17 missed their approached because only North Hampton's radar detected them and its warning was sent be flag signals to the Carrier. Since no cap was challenging the approach to TF-17 and TF 16 was suddenly enveloped into a rain squal most of the Japanese warplanes diverted to TF-17.

The attack on TF 16 came at 10:20 hours from Junyo's air group. TF-16's cap was mis -directed by the use relative bearings instead of true compass bearings. Tf 16 was in dis-array because of a submarine warning at 10:00 hours when Porter took a torpedo trying to rescue the crew of downed TBF. The torpedo was actually from the TBF, it was later determined.

The claims of 34 aircraft was the total combined and cannot be attributed soley to SD (or even 26 of them). It was the total claims of Suan Juan, Enterprize, Portland, and SD. Obviously several of these claims are ships claiming the same aircraft. The IJN aircraft suffered badly from the combined AA of TF 16 it is true but I think the total number of aircraft attacking TF 16 was only a fraction of the total number of aircraft. However, of the total losses of Japanese aircraft from the morning attacks at least 13 of the losses came from the attacks on TF-17, where USS Juneau claimed the most. In the attack on TF16 San Juan deserved more credit than SD. But what is being over looked here is the bigger picture. The Japanese were not stopped from reaching favorable torpedo launching positions (with good ship handling and luck saving the Enterprize) and they still put three bombs into 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 aurora » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:34 pm

Dave I put this thought to you; and please say whether you agree or not as the case may be :-
The US Navy, not unlike the RN I am sure, has it's way of dealing with poor command decisions/conduct in combat. While nothing may be said "officially" or appear on paper anywhere, because that would be washing dirty laundry in public, and possibly embarrassing to those involved (with those exceptions stemming from courts-martial offenses) it is a fact that those who do not measure up are almost inevitably suitably rewarded later on by lack of promotion to the highest levels of command. That's the simplest way of dealing with the issue and involves nothing more than a review of the record by the promotion board, a normal course of action in any case. IS CPT Gatch a good example of this type of treatment????

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:44 pm

David,
From what I can tell, there were 110 planes launched in the morning, plus 29 from Zuiho later on. This gives a total of 139 outbound Japanese planes, out of which 100 were lost in the attacks.

From the accounts I read, 19 Vals, 16 Kates and later the entire complement from ZUiho concentrated exclusively on TF-16...

South Dakota yielded the most powerfull AA weaponry in the task force, and it is not diffcult to imagine her destroying the largest number of attackers, especialy as she was the primary target of several attacks (and thus could use the entire AA array at close range)

What is usualy forgotten is that several friendly Wildcats were shot down by friendly fire in the melee, and were most likely counted as "kills" by the AA gunmen.

Cheers,
Alex

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by aurora » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:55 pm

So OK Alex the SODak is absolutely bulging wit triple A-that does not mean it is going to clear the skies of Japanese aircraft-it all hinges on the accuracy of the shooting.As has already been mentioned she was not the only ship shooting at enemy aircraft

NB If the enemy plane is moving directly toward (head on) or away from you, you have to close to the distance necessary for your weapon to be effective, take aim and fire. This situation is known as a direct, or zero deflection shot-the rare instance when the forward movement of the plane does not affect where you aimed .

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:30 pm

aurora wrote:Dave I put this thought to you; and please say whether you agree or not as the case may be :-
The US Navy, not unlike the RN I am sure, has it's way of dealing with poor command decisions/conduct in combat. While nothing may be said "officially" or appear on paper anywhere, because that would be washing dirty laundry in public, and possibly embarrassing to those involved (with those exceptions stemming from courts-martial offenses) it is a fact that those who do not measure up are almost inevitably suitably rewarded later on by lack of promotion to the highest levels of command. That's the simplest way of dealing with the issue and involves nothing more than a review of the record by the promotion board, a normal course of action in any case. IS CPT Gatch a good example of this type of treatment????

aurora
I don't think its really fair to be too critical of Gatch. He made his claims based on what was reported to him by his men to the best of their knowlege. The Battle Summarys compiled by the War College and the High Command, based on the action reports, really show that everybody else was just as confused as was Gatch.

Alex, your numbers are far in excess of the accounts I have handy right now.
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 Byron Angel » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:09 am

Thorsten Wahl wrote:alexandro where did you get the ammo expenditure data
how many aircraft attacked TF 16 over what period

I dont know the distance between the ships but
according german Data
20mm and smaller guns have an effective range <1,5 km
~40mm weapons up to 2,5-3,5 km

..... IIRC, according to late-war USN practice, the "open fire" ranges for AAA were 8,000, 4,000 and 2,000 yds for 5/38, 40mm and 20mm respectively, where "open fire" range was separate and distinct from "effective range".


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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by alecsandros » Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:04 am

Dave Saxton wrote: Alex, your numbers are far in excess of the accounts I have handy right now.
Dave,
There were 4 IJN carriers involved, thsu I don't see how would the numbers be in excess ?

Also, the damage suffered by TF16 tells the story of concentrated air attacks:
the first raid, between 10:08 and 10:53, caused significant damage:
Enterprise was hit by 2 bombs, and a near miss caused further damage. DD Smith was hit and set on fire by a crashing Kate.

the second, starting at 11:21, caused further damage:
- 1x225kg bomb hit on SD, another 225kg bomb hit on San Juan, and yet another on Enterprise.

TOTAL: 6 bomb hits + 1 kamikaze crashed on DD Smith.

Given the circumstances, and achievements from other Pacific battles, I would be skeptical if those 6 bomb hits were obtained by anything less than 30-40 attacking Vals.
There were also at least some Kates involved, and their escorting Zeros...

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Re: Naval Battles of Guadalcanal

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:53 pm

I'm not saying your wrong, I'm just saying that the sources I have handy describe lesser numbers, but more importantly they go beyond the numbers by describing how the combat evolved. Part of this may be the numbers aircraft found operational and available. I also recall previous discussions were it was debated that the number of air craft claimed by TF-16 in one of the strikes exceeded the number of aircraft that actually attacked.

Zuiho and Junyo were light carriers. Therefore, Zuikaku and Shokaku contained the greater portions of the IJN aircraft. This how the total IJN operational aircraft broke down according to Hornfischer:

76fighters
60 dive bombers
57 torpedo planes
1 reccon

For a total of 194. According to Brown, there was a total loss of 99 IJN aircraft in the whole battle, 48 claimed by flak. Leaving 51 to all other causes (fighters, accidents, breakdown, getting lost, running out of gas, ditching because of not enough carrier space…)

Of the 194, only 64 were sent in the morning attack, excluding Junyo’s because it launched slightly later under Kondo's direct command (Hornfischer). The other carriers were under Nagumo's direct command. Zuikaku’s and Shokaku’s, and part of Zuiho’s aircraft attacked TF-17, not TF-16 because of the reason’s already spoken to above. “As a result, the first Japanese air strike fell on the perpetrator of the Doolittle raid, the Hornet.” (Hornfischer) This attack occurred at 0900 to 0915 hours. The second morning air strike (mainly from Junyo) arrived about an hour later and it fell on TF-16. The damage inflicted by this attack speaks well for the skill and courage of the aircrews, although they paid the price.

At 13:35 hours Kinkaid turned TF-16 south retreating from area. This left Hornet without a cap when Kondo’s afternoon attack (from still operational Zuikaku and Junyo) arrived. Zuikaku’s air group went after Hornet. Junyo’s remaining aircraft went after Enterprise again. This was when SD took the bomb hit on turret number 1, and when San Juan took a bomb that penetrated all decks exploding under the keel and wrecking the rudder.

Brown reports that the Japanese flew a total of 203 sortis during the day. Of course many of these were fighters flying defensive caps or escort.

USN losses were 80 aircraft from all causes. The USN began the day with 135 aircraft operational.

Abe declined to go after Enterprize and South Dakota with his battle cruiser and heavy cruiser surface battle group in a night battle. This brought the ire of both Kondo and Yamamoto.
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 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:27 pm

Dave,
From what I understand, Shokaku, Zuikaku and Zuiho launched 2 separate morning strikes. The first - with 64 warplanes, at about 7:30, and the second with 46 more, at about 8:20

Junyo brough even more planes into the air, sending 29 Vals and Zeros at 9:15.
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This makes sense, as it was the exact procedure one would expect - Shokaku, ZUikaku and Zuiho had about ~ 150 planes available, out of which they sent 64+46 to attack, keeping 40 Zeros for protection. [Why would they keep so many bombers and torpedo bombers on board, when they knew pretty clearly where the enemy was and his composition ?]

The first strike (64 units) concentrated on TF17. Hornet was set ablaze, and thus the second strike (46 units) was diverted towards TF16, as Hornet was no longer considered a threat. [the heavy attack on TF16 included a good number of Kates, as is shown by DD Smiths' damage, and South Dakota's relentless torpedo avoidance manoevres]

Junyo's 29 units arived above Enterprise and only made matters worse for the USN.

----
This makes sense also in the view of IJN losses - the follow up raids, made by Zuikaku and Junyo, were very weak, speaking of the great losses they suffered in the monring attacks...

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