Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

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aurora
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Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by aurora » Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:49 pm

The Battle of Santa Cruz:

Rather than form a massed force, American F4F Wildcats, Dauntlesses, and TBF Avenger torpedo bombers began moving towards the Japanese in smaller groups. Around 8:40 AM, the opposing forces passed with a brief aerial melee ensuing. Arriving over Nagumo's carriers, the first American dive bombers concentrated their attack on Shokaku, striking the ship with three to six bombs and inflicting heavy damage. Other aircraft inflicted significant damage on the heavy cruiser Chikuma. Around 8:52 AM, the Japanese spotted Hornet, but missed Enterprise as it was hidden in squall.

Due to command and control issues the American combat air patrol was largely ineffective and the Japanese were able to focus their attack on Hornet against light aerial opposition. This ease of approach was soon countered by an extremely high level of anti-aircraft fire as the Japanese began their attack. Though they took heavy losses, the Japanese succeeded in hitting Hornet with three bombs and two torpedoes. On fire and dead in the water, Hornet's crew began a massive damage control operation which saw the fires brought under control by 10:00 AM.

As the first wave of Japanese aircraft departed, they spotted Enterprise and reported its position. The next focused their attack on the undamaged carrier around 10:08 AM. Again attacking through intense anti-aircraft fire, the Japanese scored two bomb hits, but failed to connect with any torpedoes. In the course of the attack, the Japanese aircraft took heavy losses. Dousing the fires, Enterprise resumed flight operations around 11:15 AM. Six minutes later, it successfully evaded an attack by aircraft from Junyo. Assessing the situation and correctly believing the Japanese to have two undamaged carriers, Kinkaid decided to withdraw the damaged Enterprise at 11:35 AM. Departing the area, Enterprise began recovering aircraft while the cruiser USS Northampton worked to take Hornet under tow.

As the Americans were moving away, Zuikaku and Junyo began landing the few aircraft that were returning from the morning's strikes. Having united his Advance Force and Main Body, Kondo pushed hard towards the last known American position with the hope that Abe could finish off the enemy. At the same time, Nagumo was directed to withdraw the stricken Shokaku and damaged Zuiho. Launching a final set of raids, Kondo's aircraft located the Hornet just as the crew was beginning to restore power. Attacking, they quickly reduced the damaged carrier to a burning hulk forcing the crew to abandon ship.
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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by aurora » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:47 am

The Battle of Santa Cruz cost the Allies a carrier, destroyer, 81 aircraft, and 266 killed, as well as damage to Enterprise. Japanese losses totalled 99 aircraft and between 400 and 500 killed. In addition, heavy damage was sustained to Shokaku which removed it from operations for nine months.

Though a Japanese victory on the surface, the fighting at Santa Cruz saw them sustain heavy aircrew losses which exceeded those taken at Coral Sea and Midway. These necessitated withdrawing Zuikaku and the uncommitted Hiyo to Japan to train new air groups. As a result, the Japanese carriers played no further offensive role in the Solomon Islands Campaign. In this light, the battle may be seen as a strategic victory for the Allies.


http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/wor ... a-Cruz.htm
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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by Garyt » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:06 pm

One thing about the Pacific war - unless the Japanese inflicted a fair amount of casualties, be it ships or aircrew, it would be a strategic victory for the allies. In essence, any battle of attrition was an allied victory.

Due to the Japanese inability to keep up with the Allies in ship replacement, repair and pilot replacement they were pretty well doomed to defeat.

Airplane losses were not great for the Japanese, but they were more replaceable than ships or pilots.

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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by aurora » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:37 pm

Garyt wrote:One thing about the Pacific war - unless the Japanese inflicted a fair amount of casualties, be it ships or aircrew, it would be a strategic victory for the allies. In essence, any battle of attrition was an allied victory.

Due to the Japanese inability to keep up with the Allies in ship replacement, repair and pilot replacement they were pretty well doomed to defeat.

Airplane losses were not great for the Japanese, but they were more replaceable than ships or pilots.
1" In essence, any battle of attrition was an allied victory". Cannot argue with that logic Gary.Once the trials and tribulations of the Guadalcanal Battles were over an done with.
The Writing was on the Wall for the Japanese.America's huge capacity for constructing weapons of war was a formidable Juggernaut.
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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by Garyt » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:01 pm

Even simple repairs put Japan at a disadvantage. The Shokaku took damage and was out 9 months - the Yorktown, taking a similar degree of damage was out less than a week. These are extremes, but it points to the issue of slower ship repair by the Japanese.

It may have been a bit academic though, as even if the Shokaku would have been repaired quicker it would still be out until a replacement air group could be trained for it.

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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by aurora » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:44 am

Gary approximately how long did it take the Japanese to train a new CAG ??? :?:
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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by Garyt » Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:14 pm

Gary approximately how long did it take the Japanese to train a new CAG ??? :?:
I used to know the answer to that - I'll try to find it again.

One of the problems with carrier training at least from a Japanese perspective is they had far more "washouts" in training than other navies. The Japanese though put out a very good finished trained pilot due to this. As time wore on though they got laxer with their standards and provided less flight time for training.

This is more of a rough guess, I'll again try to find the specifics, but maybe a pre-war japanese pilot received 700 hours of flight time. Towards the end of the war it was less than 100, and this was for truly "trained" pilots, not kamikazes.

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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by aurora » Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:48 pm

700 hours at say 5 hours per day=140 days=close on 5 months.Say 6 months sounds reasonable Gary-do you agree??
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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by Garyt » Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:27 pm

Don't have an exact answer for you, but here is some info:
After midway, the Japanese began to ramp up their training programs. Carrier Quals remained fairly low however, gradually increasing from around 16 per month in the midle of 1942, to about 35 per month mid '43. You can add a 0 to the back end of that number to compare to US carrier quals, and the numbers of hours per pilot was vastly greater for the USN. an average of about 400 hours in 1943, compared to about 150 hours dropping to about 100 hours in early 1944. moreover, the USN went extraordinary lengths to keep and maintain their pilots, the Japanese were rather frivolous with their aircrew....Ive read average combat hours for V fleet aviators was about 5-600 hours by 1944, compared to about 50 (which is also part of their training times) for the IJN.
On the down side, the Japanese pilot training program was so rigorous that only about 100 men a year were being graduated, in a program that required 4-5 years. In 1940, it was proposed that the pilot training program be made shorter, less rigorous, and more productive, in order to build up the pool of available pilots to about 15,000. This was rejected. Japan believed it could not win a long war, and needed the best pilots possible in order to win a short one.
"The importance of flight hours should be a no-brainer. During World War II, when some nations simply didn't have the fuel available for pilot training, they saw combat (and non-combat) losses increase as training-hours-in-the-air went down. Nazi Germany's warplanes began losing, big time, when they could no longer produce enough fuel to allow their trainee pilots sufficient time in the air. This was a trend that had been ongoing since 1942. Up until that time, new pilots got 240 hours of flying time before entering combat. By comparison, British pilots only received 200 hours and Soviet pilots even less. Germany ruled the skies. But in late 1942, Germany reduced training time to 205 hours. The British now had the fuel, and increased theirs to 340 hours, while the US was providing 270 hours. In the Summer of 1943, the British increased flying time to 335 hours and the US went to 320 hours. At the same time, the Germans reduced it to 170 hours. A year later, the Germans were down to 110 hours, while the British were at 340 hours and the Americans at 360.

The situation was the same in the Pacific, where increasingly effective U.S. submarine attacks sank so many Japanese tankers that there was not enough fuel available to train pilots. In 1941, a Japanese pilot trainee 700 hours of flight time to qualify as a full fledged pilot in the Imperial Navy, while his American counterpart needed only 305 hours. About half of the active duty pilots in the U.S. Navy in late 1941 had between 300 and 600 hours flying experience, a quarter between 600 and 1000 hours, and the balance more than 1000 hours. Most of these flight hours had been acquired in the last few years. But at the beginning of the war nearly 75 percent of the U.S. Navy's pilots had fewer flying hours than did the least qualified of the Japanese Navy's pilots.

On the down side, the Japanese pilot training program was so rigorous that only about 100 men a year were being graduated, in a program that required 4-5 years. In 1940, it was proposed that the pilot training program be made shorter, less rigorous, and more productive, in order to build up the pool of available pilots to about 15,000. This was rejected. Japan believed it could not win a long war, and needed the best pilots possible in order to win a short one.

Naturally, once the war began, the Imperial Navy started losing pilots faster than they could be replaced. For example, the 29 pilots lost at Pearl Harbor represented more than a quarter of the annual crop. The battles of the next year led to the loss of hundreds of superb pilots. This finally forced the Japanese to reform their pilot training programs. Time to train a pilot, and hours in the air spiraled downward. By 1945 men were being certified fit for combat duty with less than four months training. In contrast, the U.S. Navy was actually increasing its flight time, while keeping pilot training programs to about 18 months. In 1943, the U.S. Navy increased flight hours for trainees to 500, while Japan cut its hours to 500. In 1944, the U.S. hours went up to 525, while Japan cut it to 275 hour. In 1945, a shortage of fuel had Japanese trainee pilots flying on 90 hours before entering combat. In the air, this produced lopsided American victories, with ten or more Japanese aircraft being lost for each U.S. one.


This experience was remembered after World War II, and reinforced when, in campaign after campaign, the side with the fewer training hours per pilot, suffered the greatest losses. Now, unable to afford fuel for training, flight simulators are being used more frequently. These devices are becoming cheaper and more realistic, but research (mostly from training exercises, not actual combat) shows that each hour of simulator time is worth only about half or two-thirds of an hour in the air."

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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by aurora » Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:24 am

Excellent piece of research Gary-you have laid out the changes in pilot training periods very well- the sting in the tail being that pilot with the fewer flying training hours ,invariably lost :ok: :ok:
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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by BobDonnald » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:16 am

Another battle showing the vunerability of the Yorktown class to torpedo hits. The large lists caused the crews to prematurely abandon ship. The Enterprise survived the war by not having her hull graced by them. Speaking of the CV-5 Yorktown, RIP to my uncle Sammie who passed away the first week of January at the age of 88. He served on the Yorktown from February 1942 until her loss at Midway.

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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by aurora » Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:21 am

Thank you Bob for your interest and account of Yorktown and Enterprise and your uncle now deceased :( :(
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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:37 pm

are there schemes available of the TDS of Yorktown
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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by aurora » Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:02 pm

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Re: Battle of Santa Cruz-October 1942

Post by Thorsten Wahl » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:39 pm

From comparing TDS of Yorktown(CV5) and Colorado class it appears to me both systems appears as similar.

In Yorktowns case the sinking seemingly was caused by torpedoes wich hit the ships bottom.
The first hit of a aerial torpedo did not defeated the TDS but caused outer voids to be flooded at considerable shipslenght. This caused a heavy list and the ships bottom became accessible for torpedos... and was later hit. These torpedoes hit the machinery compartments. (Strictly my opinion)
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