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Honorverse ramblings and musings

Join us in talking discussing all things Honor, including (but not limited to) tactics, favorite characters, and book discussions.
Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Weird Harold   » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:30 pm

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ldwechsler wrote:It took another year or so before the Corsair really gave the navy air superiority and in some areas the Japanese remained ahead.


Minor nitpick: As good as the Corsair was, it was the Gruman F6F Wildcat that counteed the Zero and gave the USN air superiority.



The F4U Corsair was primarily a USMC land based fighter/bomber and didn't really help the USN until the Royal Navy figured out how to fly them off carriers late in the war.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Vince   » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:02 pm

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Weird Harold wrote:
ldwechsler wrote:It took another year or so before the Corsair really gave the navy air superiority and in some areas the Japanese remained ahead.


Minor nitpick: As good as the Corsair was, it was the Gruman F6F Wildcat that counteed the Zero and gave the USN air superiority.



The F4U Corsair was primarily a USMC land based fighter/bomber and didn't really help the USN until the Royal Navy figured out how to fly them off carriers late in the war.

Picking the minor nitpick: The Wildcat was the F FOUR F (F4F).
The Hellcat was the F SIX F (F6F).
Both were made by Grumman.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Weird Harold   » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:34 pm

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Vince wrote:The Hellcat was the F SIX F (F6F).
Both were made by Grumman.


Stupid fingers. :(

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Jonathan_S   » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:12 pm

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Vince wrote:Picking the minor nitpick: The Wildcat was the F FOUR F (F4F).
The Hellcat was the F SIX F (F6F).
Both were made by Grumman.

Yep. Though IIRC even the disparaged F4F Wildcat averaged roughly a 1:1 kill ratio against the vaunted Zero. Even trades aren't what the US expects; but it's rugged construction and some good tactics went a long way to neutralizing the faster and tighter turning (but more fragile) Japanese fighter's advantages.

And the US's construction programs and training schools for pilots means that, if it came down to it, the USN could have ground out an attrition victory at 1:1 kill ratios as Japan hadn't set up the infrastructure to feed well trained replacements into their fleet - so the quality ratio would have continued to swing in the US's favor even at that kind of grinding attritional war.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by ldwechsler   » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:16 pm

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Weird Harold wrote:
Vince wrote:The Hellcat was the F SIX F (F6F).
Both were made by Grumman.


Stupid fingers. :(

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.



The Wildcat fought well during Guadalcanal and along the Solomons but was not necessarily superior to the Zero. It had certain advantages but a lot depended on the quality of the pilot. As Jonathan S points out there was more or less an even ratio of kills and given time the Japanese would have run out of pilots and planes. Maybe. There were thousands of kamikaze planes ready...lousy ones but there.



And, yes, the Corsair was a land based plane but keep in mind that the carriers often were not available in the South Pacific as the navy went across the Central Pacific. Once the planes there bashed up those planes on hand on some of the islands, there was an invasion. Then it was often the Marines providing air cover.

The point is that at the start of the war the US planes were not a real match for the Japanese and in a couple of years they were and then became totally dominant. We are talking about superiority here.

There were no major improvements (that I know of) to the Japanese planes during World War II.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Weird Harold   » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:58 pm

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ldwechsler wrote:The Wildcat fought well ...


As Vince pointed out, I misspelled "Hellcat."

The F4F did, indeed fight well, but was no match for the Zero in the hands of comparable pilots.

The F6F was the backbone of USN air superiority, as attested to by Wikipedia and virtually every other source I know of.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by ldwechsler   » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:07 am

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Weird Harold wrote:
ldwechsler wrote:The Wildcat fought well ...


As Vince pointed out, I misspelled "Hellcat."

The F4F did, indeed fight well, but was no match for the Zero in the hands of comparable pilots.

The F6F was the backbone of USN air superiority, as attested to by Wikipedia and virtually every other source I know of.



You are right but mostly the navy did its fighting in selected battles. There were not many carriers around during Guadalcanal.
I believe we only had Hornet and Wasp. That limited action.

The navy was very good during the invasions but then they left. It was the Marines who handled a lot of the slugging day after day.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Weird Harold   » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:47 am

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ldwechsler wrote:You are right but mostly the navy did its fighting in selected battles. There were not many carriers around during Guadalcanal.

I believe we only had Hornet and Wasp. That limited action.


I'm not sure what the Battle of Guadalcanal has to do with Corsairs and Hellcats; The Cactus Air Force only had F4Fs and P-39s -- and the P-39s were basically limited to ground attack and CAS. The Battle was over by Feb 1943 and the F6F Hellcats didn't enter service until Aug of '43.


Corsairs did arrive at Henderson Field, but not until the very end of the Battle in Feb '43.

Basically, the (air) Battle of Guadalcanal was fought with F4F Wildcats flying from Henderson Field. The rest of the (naval air) war in the Pacific was fought with F6Fs until late '44 when the Corsairs were certified for carrier deployment.

USAAF P-38s and P-51s saw a lot of action in the Pacific, but the Navy and Marines accounted for most of the IJN air forces.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by saber964   » Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:57 pm

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Jonathan_S wrote:
Vince wrote:Picking the minor nitpick: The Wildcat was the F FOUR F (F4F).
The Hellcat was the F SIX F (F6F).
Both were made by Grumman.

Yep. Though IIRC even the disparaged F4F Wildcat averaged roughly a 1:1 kill ratio against the vaunted Zero. Even trades aren't what the US expects; but it's rugged construction and some good tactics went a long way to neutralizing the faster and tighter turning (but more fragile) Japanese fighter's advantages.

And the US's construction programs and training schools for pilots means that, if it came down to it, the USN could have ground out an attrition victory at 1:1 kill ratios as Japan hadn't set up the infrastructure to feed well trained replacements into their fleet - so the quality ratio would have continued to swing in the US's favor even at that kind of grinding attritional war.

Actually the F4F had a kill ratio of 7-1

As to Shinao she was converted to a carrier but was sunk by USS Archerfish on her way to finish fitting out in IIRC June 44.
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Re: Honorverse ramblings and musings
Post by Brigade XO   » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:35 pm

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You want an interesting read, the "The Shattered Sword" about the Midway campaign and the things going on. There is another book I can't recall the name of at the moment that works through the campaignes through the Coral Sea and pre-Midway. One of those "minor" things that don't get talked about is the US was draining and then flushing the avgas lines with CO2 after fueling which reduced a lot of problems including haveing the fumes and liquid fuel involved in battle damage. Japan wasn't doing that and that contributed to the damage/destruction on their carriers at Midway.

The US, along with rotating pilots back home for training (and passing along survival skills in air combat) of new pilots, appears to be much better at retrieving airmen shot down at sea. Those "kill ratios" and "exchange rates" don't tell the whole story. Who was building more aircraft faster and training more pilots faster? The US. how many pilots (and other aircrew) were actualy killed in their aircraft vs pilots who lost their planes but were back flying within a month (just for a time frame) vs IJN pilots? No clear rational shows though for what I have seen on the IJN side but pilot rescues don't show up often. That just might be who or what I have read. The US did recover a number of pilots and aircrew after Midway, Japan not so much.
Reading about the RAF vs Luffwaffe in the time frame of the Battle of Britain you get a very clear picture of what happens depending on where you fight and what tactics do. Britain made a decision to stop sending fighters to France and pull the RAF back to England. I won't argue the reasons, that is what they did. They, faced with both invasion and air bombardment, concentrated on stopping Luffwaffe bombing raids and destroying fighters which were protecting the bombers. While a lot of pilots and crews were killed on both sides, those who got out of their plains (bailed or crash-landed) often survived. Since they were comming down in England, the RAF was able to get them back into service. Not so much ford the Luffwaffe. Putting a plane into the Channel was more likely to also kill the pilot (if not dead already) but the RN and the other operations did quite well at retrieving pilots (and other aircrew). Not clear how many of the Luffwaffe flyers made it home from loosing a plane over the Channel.

The Flying Tigers racked up impressive numbers against Japan in China. The numbers got even better well after the war, I think in the 1990s. Gen Chennault was a believer in damaging the enemy any way you could. One of the things he told his pilots to do was take any opportunity to get bullets into Japanese aircraft. Don't wait till your perfect, take a snap-shot if you can. If they try to break off, throw some steel at them anyway. In at least one area, the Japanese were comming into the engagement area across a large body of water from their basing. Under water mapping/bottom profiling in recent years turned up a lot more things than expected in the area between the Tigers and that Japanese held area. It seems there are a bunch of wrecked former Japanese aircraft down there that didn't make it home...the presumption now being that the pilots were wounded or the planes suffered mechanical difficulties and went down. Not the least of the possible mechanical problems would be the planes were not equiped with self-sealing gas tanks and it is quite likely that a few bullet holes in the wrong place is going to run them out of gas over open water with no way for the pilot to get home after the plane goes down.
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