...Those Marvelous Tin Fish: The Great Torpedo Scandal Avoided

By the way I always wonder how well Fletcher would have done at Santa Cruz and beyond if Admiral King hadn't disliked him for some reason.

He ended the war with the biggest carrier tally (6) of any U.S. admiral.

He deserved a shot at it.

 
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To be fair they died to repeated air attacks that expended a huge amount of torpedoes. I don't think the Kido Butai actually would have had enough torpedoes in their magazines to do the job against the Pacific Fleet's battleline. Mind you I don't think the results would have been pretty for the USN

Yeah, but they only attacked Prince of Wales and Repulse with only 34 torpedo bombers.

A lot would depend on the context. Does the battleline have land-based air cover? How far away from Oahu are they, and where does Nagumo detect them? If Nagumo shifts most or all of his planes against the fleet at sea, he would surely arm more Kates with torpedoes.

Kimmel would have a bigger escort than PoW and Repulse, but the Standards at that point had pretty weak AA suites, and the escorts would not be much better.
 
He ended the war with the biggest carrier tally (6) of any U.S. admiral.

He deserved a shot a it.

Honestly I think Fletcher gets a lot of unneeded flak for the loss of Lexington and Yorktown which in both cases should have survived but where instead lost due to factors completely outside his control albeit one mistake he definitely made at Coral Sea was not withdrawing Neosho say a day or so earlier which caused her loss. As for the early Solomons campaign and his decision not to cover the landings past a certain time period he knew he had to prepare for a carrier battle that would almost certainly result from the Guadalcanal campaign plus it's not he could have reasonably predicted the outcome of Savo Island. As for Waso not being at Eastern Solomons to be frank with the oiler shortage PACFLEET had in the time period unless he had been given specific dates when the IJN was going to show up like a Midway or Coral Sea there was no way in heaven he could have kept all three of his carriers and their escorts available near Guadalcanal for extended periods of time....actually thinking about said oiler shortage I have an interesting idea for a timeline or at least a thread what if the first group of what became the Cimmaron class Oilers/ the Sagamon class escort carriers had had say three dozen ships built instead of the 12 that were built in otl. Even assuming the Sagamons had eight members instead of the otl 4 an extra 20 fast Oilers would have made the USNs life in 1942 and 1943 vastly easier
 
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Yeah, but they only attacked Prince of Wales and Repulse with only 34 torpedo bombers.

9 Nells with 1100 pound bombs, all missed a DD

8 Nells,with 550 pound bombs, one got the hit on Repulse

17 Nells with Torpedoes. one Golden BB hit on PoW, and Repulse stuck around

26 Bettys. Three more hits on PoW, four on Repulse, sunk

Level bomber attacks on PoW, one hit. Sunk.

8 torpedo hits from 49 attempts on one BB, one BC and four destroyers.

A USN Sortie from Pearl would be much larger than that, and the IJN pilots would not be able to concentrate attacks as with Force Z
 
Honestly I think Fletcher gets a lot of unneeded flak for the loss of Lexington and Yorktown which in both cases should have survived but were instead lost due to factors completely outside his control; albeit one mistake he definitely made at Coral Sea was not withdrawing Neosho say a day or so earlier which caused her loss.
a. No American had ever fought an aircraft carrier centric battle before with an opposing enemy fleet. The floor-exs at the NWC and the fleet problems had not really revealed to the Americans in reality how difficult reconnaissance and weather factors would be in locating the enemy Nobody Japanese or American anticipated how much like it would be like two blind folded men running around a futball or soccer pitch separated by hedge maze while throwing grenades at each other, IN A DENSE FOG with only the sounds they make as the means to locate each other.

b. If you can visualize that futbol pitch hedged and fog patched situation into aircraft carrier warfare and translate that into Pacific weather fronts, scattered islands and scared terrified men trying to fly blind man's bluff in that mess at the Coral Sea or at Midway Island seeking to find the other side first and then attack first since first strike is first kill, then one has a vague idea of what Takagi, Nagumo, Fletcher, Fitch, Spruance, et al were up against and why plot tracks and battlespace management and reconnaissance battles were so important.

c. In that context, Neosho was not the mistake at Coral Sea. The raid on Tulagi was. Fletcher flashbulbed himself and showed Takagi EXACTLY where he was, while Fletcher had no idea where the Japanese were (Any of them, except Shipwreck Shima trying to put the seaplane place together at Tulagi anchorage.). That was when King Kong Hara and Braindead got into their "discussion" over tactics and Hara was benched and Takagi went ahead after and screwed up the battle and revealed himself in turn with his foolhardy dusk attack that showed Fletcher where HE was.

USS Neosho gets lost in the ruffle shuffles and the Japanese blunder into her entirely by accident.
As for the early Solomons campaign and his decision not to cover the landings past a certain time period he knew he had to prepare for a carrier battle that would almost certainly result from the Guadalcanal campaign plus it's not he could have reasonably predicted the outcome of Savo Island.
d. US destroyers need fuel every two days when they run at 15 m/s. (29 knots.) Know why FJF was always caught refueling in mid battle? He was fighting at flank or on the speed run avoiding IJN subs or launching searches or strikes. Try explaining that one to the Marines or to John Tower or KING. And Eastern Solomons was the crowning moment of his great career; Fletcher saved those ungrateful Marines.
e. Santiago de Cuba was the other time a US fleet (surface action group) was caught with its admirals at loggerheads and with an emergency shore conference in progress (violent arguments between admirals and land forces commanders with TURNER being the asshole screwing it all up instead of Sampson.) when the enemy shows up to make noise. Savo Island added a feature RARELY seen. though: a gutless COWARD, (Capt. Bode) showing a streak of yellow a kilometer wide and taking the designated substitute command ship, USS Chicago, out of the fight.
f. Oh for a Schley that day (er night.). Inept as he was in 1898, he would have turned and RAMMED USS Chicago into HIJMS Chokai.
As for Waso not being at Eastern Solomons to be frank with the oiler shortage PACFLEET had in the time period unless he had been given specific dates when the IJN was going to show up like a Midway or Coral Sea there was no way in heaven he could have kept all three of his carriers and their escorts available near Guadalcanal for extended periods of time....actually thinking about said oiler shortage I have an interesting idea for a timeline or at least a thread what if the first group of what became the Cimmaron class Oilers/ the Sagamon class escort carriers had had say three dozen ships built instead of the 12 that were built in otl. Even assuming the Sagamons had eight members instead of the otl 4 an extra 20 fast Oilers would have made the USNs life in 1942 and 1943 vastly easier
g. I presume one means USS Wasp? Nimitz was down to 5 fleet oilers having lost 2 to Japanese action. That was enough for two CBGs. with the 3 he deployed to WATCHTOWER. 2 were on the San Francisco shuttle run.
h. Sangamons with the oiler capacity and fuel at sea feature would have been EXTREMELY useful as versions of the HMS Unicorn type function. So...
assuming the Sagamons had eight members instead of the otl 4 an extra 20 fast Oilers would have made the USNs life in 1942 and 1943 vastly easier...

Force Z.
9 Nells with 1100 pound bombs, all missed a DD

8 Nells,with 550 pound bombs, one got the hit on Repulse

17 Nells with Torpedoes. one Golden BB hit on PoW, and Repulse stuck around

26 Bettys. Three more hits on PoW, four on Repulse, sunk

Level bomber attacks on PoW, one hit. Sunk.

8 torpedo hits from 49 attempts on one BB, one BC and four destroyers.

A USN Sortie from Pearl would be much larger than that, and the IJN pilots would not be able to concentrate attacks as with Force Z
a. This was the same stupid goddamned no good rotten son of a bitch idiot who championed the Singapore Bastion Defense. Instead of facing reality, and the professional career consequences of his gross stupidity, he took his command out and did a naval George Armstrong Custer. Even when the incompetent and equally stupid Brook Pophan told Phillips there would be no RAF cover because the air bases were gone, that imbecile pressed northward into the Gulf of Thailand (Siam?) and into the IJN airpower circle where he KNEW he would be sunk. Goddamn him.
b. The Genzan and Kanoya formations were specially and intensively trained land-based RIKKO units, two of only three such units Japan possessed, (about 50 aircraft or 25 planes per (Kokugui Kogi) (bomber group) ) Yamamoto sent a third, the Mihoru formation and a reconnaisance element to bring the attackers up to a gerusa (bombardment group) strength and the rest is Chief Crazy Horse on his Sitting Bull history.

Risking the battle line at sea against Kido Butai.

c. There was an enormous difference between the criminal stupidity that was Force Z. and a possible PACFLT sortie, but given Genda's Pearl Harbor plan and the superb quality of the IJNAS aircraft carrier borne naval aviation on that day, I would not want to see the Battle Force at sea under the wings of Akagi's or Hiryu's dive bombers without Enterprise's and Yorktown's CAP there to protect them.

Nor would I be too happy to see Standards trying to dodge hammer and anvil torpedo attacks from Kaga's and Soryu's Kates, knowing now what I know. Better for the Standards to be sunk and recovered at the moorings.

McP.
 
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Nor would I be too happy to see Standards trying to dodge hammer and anvil torpedo attacks from Kaga's and Soryu's Kates, knowing now what I know. Better for the Standards to be sunk and recovered at the moorings.
Colorados had a 700 yard turning circle. what did PoW and Repulse have?
 
Spruance and Fletcher and the torpedo bomber squadrons they deliberately sacrificed.
I didn't know that Spruance and Fletcher had psychic precognition. Otherwise, how could they know the VTs would be shot to bits?

At Coral Sea, both VTs attacked Tulagi, both VTs attacked Shoho, and VT-5 attacked Shokaku and Zuikaku. The only TBD lost in the air ditched on the way back from Tulagi. (VT-2 was destroyed on board Lexington. 3 damaged TBDs were written off.)

Given that experience, why should either Fletcher or Spruance regard sending VTs into action as "deliberate sacrifice"?
 
Not loosing the Neches,Pecos, and Neosho in early 1942 would have probably sufficed but hey there's no kill like overkill right? Although I suppose overkill would be an ASB giving the USN the Sacramento class replenishment ships as built sans their radar and helicopters in exchange for a very decent self defense armament
 
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Say @McPherson what you think the effects of having the National Defense Tankers number say 30 ships instead of OTL's 12 would be on the first 18 months of the war would be?
Minimal. The agility conferred only allows forces existent to move more freely. This actually would help LANTFLT cover more British convoys in the Western Atlantic as they did not quite have enough tankers for the escort groups they had deployed forward. PACFLT might have enough tankers to support the battle force and the CTFs without choosing but why bother? The battleships are not fast enough.

The only crux points would be in battle where tankers could keep the CTF escort forces running at flank. This means Halsey might have underway replenishment enough to speed run from Pearl to Coral Sea a day late instead of 3 days late.

Tankers can only provide a bit of help to PACFLT insofar as they are part of the flattops, strike aircraft, PILOTS tripod that is the USNAS. IOW if the pilots and planes and jeep carriers (Aviation support ships in the RN Unicorn parlance.) are present, then one can risk 3 on 2 battle with Kido Butai with far more aggression. Chenangos is what are wanted. Not just "tankers".
 
By the way I always wonder how well Fletcher would have done at Santa Cruz and beyond if Admiral King hadn't disliked him for some reason.
Fletcher, by Midway, was cagey as a fox. I think he would have tried to lure Kondo south into a CACTUS ambush and damn Halsey and his "Attack, repeat; 'Attack!' " order.
Yeah, but they only attacked Prince of Wales and Repulse with only 34 torpedo bombers.

A lot would depend on the context. Does the battleline have land-based air cover? How far away from Oahu are they, and where does Nagumo detect them? If Nagumo shifts most or all of his planes against the fleet at sea, he would surely arm more Kates with torpedoes.

Kimmel would have a bigger escort than PoW and Repulse, but the Standards at that point had pretty weak AA suites, and the escorts would not be much better.
Actually, compared to RN fire director setup and AAA artillery evejn in Europe, the USN Battle Force at Pearl Harbor had the most murderous fleet AAA on the planet. The Japanese lost 27 aircraft to it, remember?
I didn't know that Spruance and Fletcher had psychic precognition. Otherwise, how could they know the VTs would be shot to bits?

At Coral Sea, both VTs attacked Tulagi, both VTs attacked Shoho, and VT-5 attacked Shokaku and Zuikaku. The only TBD lost in the air ditched on the way back from Tulagi. (VT-2 was destroyed on board Lexington. 3 damaged TBDs were written off.)

Given that experience, why should either Fletcher or Spruance regard sending VTs into action as "deliberate sacrifice"?
Because their pilots TOLD THEM the Devastators' characteristics and what the VT pilots expected. The two admirals also had four months experience seeing how poorly the Devastators performed including Lae Salamauna, at Coral Sea, the Tulagi raid, Shoho (no fighter opposition), the botched Shōkaku attack and the day to day practice operations involved in mock attacks to keep skills current. Read "The Shattered Sword" and "The First Team" for these summarized details in full.
 
Yep the USN was really hoping that the IJN wouldn't do anything for another month or so enabling them to switch their VT squadrons fully over to the Avenger . Alas this wasn't the case and far too many good men died as a result. To make things even worse the crappy nature of the early war MK13 torpedeo meant that without the dive bombers showing up when they did they would died in vain.
 
Actually, compared to RN fire director setup and AAA artillery evejn in Europe, the USN Battle Force at Pearl Harbor had the most murderous fleet AAA on the planet. The Japanese lost 27 aircraft to it, remember?
Right - mostly on the final attack wave. When the AA crews were actually in position to start firing in earnest.

Nothing like the USN AA suites that would be common by 1944, but . . .
 
Industrial Bottlenecks and Japanese armor plate production and Nathan Okun's myth about "invincible Japanese armor plate".


If the Americans could have hit that one 50,000 tonne press and three 9,000 tonne rollers at Kure; there would no Yamatos, or any aircraft carriers past the Akagi or Kaga. Functionally, the Japanese could make Carnegie rolled plate and it looks like it was as good as the Class A and B used on the Standards.

The US was the ONLY nation that could make the kind of press for armor plate the Japanese wanted. British presses were not quite good enough. So it turns out that the "myth" that the South Dakotas and Iowas with their "special armors" was not a myth after all. The armor was good enough at the 14 inch average belt thickness was more than good enough to defeat 14 inch bore British Greenboys. This does not mean that the armor thickness of Carnegie fitted to the Iowas and SoDaks was as thick as the KGVs, but the protection was good enough to mean the KGV would be overmatched protection to gun vs. a South Dakota or Iowa. This would even hold for the Vanguard. So, sorry fanboys, the Americans actually knew what they were doing. The US face-hardened plate (Class A) that such fanboys claimed to be too deep face hardened, was designed to shatter oblique impact strikes and did as proved at First Guadalcanal, and US (Class B non-faced hardened) RHA was the ductile resistance that could defeat even existent British capped Greenboys.

For more on that issue... why the US and Japan took Britain as the naval (Red Team) technical benchmark that needed to be defeated in the gun versus protection.


Back to the armor issue.

US Carnegie might have been brittle above 40 cm thickness with 40% deep face hardening (mantlet armor on the gunhouse faces on the Standards), but apparently the Japanese plate on Yamato had exactly the same problem with core cooling of these type plates. US solution was RHA rolled plate (Class B) for belt and restrict to 35 cm thickness for Class A thick plate. BTW VHC or Vickers hardened cemented, carburized and gas fired (carbon monoxide) for face hardening was better than Krupp Cemented but I was astounded to discover that the VHC plate was less ductile and would shatter under impact. unlike the German or Japanese plate. US Class A, or Carnegie, used, behaved like German plate.

USN testing showed standard copper non cemented CNC Japanese armor plate on Yamato was 84%-88% of Carnegie (Iowa) in effective. There were two special "experimental plates" 7.2 inch thickness plate that the US tested which defeated MIDVALE Unbreakable. These plates were a complete mystery and still are to the Americans. The US test range used 8 inch MIDVALE on the 7.2 inch Japanese plate. The shells shattered.

Japanese plate of this special batch was about 9% better than US plate. Now there is caveat, The Japanese armor plate also baffled the British who tested a similar batch. Now the problem is that the Japanese team who made the experimental plates were KILLED in the war. This is interesting. If the Americans ever figured out how to duplicate the chilling process that was used to make the experimental plates, then it would explain the resistance that US postwar aircraft carriers showed to explosion and impact events on their flight decks with their ridiculous thin armor plate.

McP.
 
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The press was assembled from non-Japanese parts. The parts were imported from New York, (See video above if you missed this detail.). The Japanese attempted to import three presses more or the parts thereof, after the first one in 1937 when they resumed heavy armor production once they pulled out of the LNT, and the US refused the sale of same as restricted strategic technology. Sort of like what happened to the Russians after WWII. Harding may have been an idiot, but FDR was not.

Proof? If they could have built them themselves, they would have. They could build the 12,000 press domestically (more than six total.) because they did (Hydraulics were easier?). This is one time we go with the most recent research and not the technical mission report which contains the errors.

==================================================

For Okun's conclusions about the Shinano test. See here.

That "Yamato type" gunhouse mantlet plate of 26 inches thickness was HOLED by 16 inch bore diameter US super-heavyweight shells, unlike the 7.2 inch Japanese (deck?) "Ibani" plate in the other tests which defeated the US 8 inch bore diameter SHW shells.

Yet Okun scoffs at the American results and states that someone had built armor that was proof against US 16 inch bore shells at battle ranges. ("Muzzle resting against the face of the plate" is how he put it.)

Except that you cannot measure strike velocity (1707 feet/second (502.3 m/sec) for test two.) if that was the test condition. Two photo-electric sensors set at a measured distance apart 90 degrees to the path of the shell are required to speed trap the shell as when the time the test was conducted at Dhalgren.

Here is the muzzle velocity of the US test gun and ammunition.

USA 16"/50 (40.6 cm) Mark 7 - NavWeaps

Ammunition​


TypeBag
Projectile Types and WeightsWorld War II and Korean War Deployments
AP Mark 8 Mods 0 to 8 - 2,700 lbs. (1,225 kg) 1a 2a
HC Mark 13 Mods 0 to 6 and HC Mark 14 - 1,900 lbs. (862 kg) 3a
HC Mark 14 Mod 0 - 1,900 lbs. (862 kg)
Target Mark 9 - 2,700 lbs. (1,225 kg) 4a
Target Mark 15 - 1,900 lbs. (861.8 kg) 5a
Target Mark 16 - 1,900 lbs. (861.8 kg)
Added during 1950s Deployments
Nuclear Mark 23 - 1,900 lbs. (862 kg) 6a
Added during 1980s - 1990s Deployments 7a 8a
HE-CVT Mark 143 - 1,900 lbs. (862 kg)
ICM Mark 144 - 1,900 lbs. (862 kg)
HE-ET/PT Mark 145 - 1,900 lbs. (862 kg)
Bursting ChargeAP Mark 8 - 40.9 lbs. (18.55 kg)
HC Mark 13 - 153.6 lbs. (69.67 kg)
HC Mark 14 - 153.6 lbs. (69.67 kg)
Nuclear Mark 23 - W23 warhead, about 15-20 kilotons
Projectile LengthAP Mark 8 - 72.0 in (182.9 cm)
HC Mark 13 - 64.0 in (162.6 cm)
HC Mark 14 - 64.0 in (162.6 cm)
Nuclear Mark 23 - 64.0 in (162.6 cm)
HE-CVT Mark 143 - 64.0 in (162.6 cm)
ICM Mark 144 - 64.0 in (162.6 cm)
HE-ET/PT Mark 145 - 64.0 in (162.6 cm)
Propellant Charge 9a 10a 11a 12aWorld War II Full Charge - 660.0 lbs. (299.4 kg) SPD 839
World War II Reduced Charge - 305.0 lbs. (138.3 kg) SPD 840 or SPDN
World War II Reduced Flashless Charge - 325.0 lbs. (147.4 kg) SPCG
Post World War II Full Charge - 655.0 lbs. (297.1 kg) D839
Post World War II Reduced Charge - 305.0 lbs. (138.3 kg) D840
Post World War II Reduced Flashless Charge - 325.0 lbs. (147.4 kg) D845
Muzzle Velocity 13aAP - 2,500 fps (762 mps) (new gun)
AP - 2,425 fps (739 mps) (average gun)
AP - 1,800 fps (549 mps) (reduced charge)
HC - 2,690 fps (820 mps) (new gun)
HC - 2,615 fps (797 mps) (average gun)
HC - 2,075 fps (632 mps) (reduced charge)
Working Pressure18.5 tons/in2 (2,910 kg/cm2)
Approximate Barrel Life 14a290 - 350 rounds
Ammunition stowage per gun 15aAbout 130 rounds

Also, remember that the Yamatos had general armor, belt (16 inch average thinning to 8 inch) and deck armor (9 inch thinning to 8). US bombs and torpedoes punched through it to sink Musashi, Shinano, and Yamato in that order, so we have a little problem. Where is this "invincible" Japanese battleship armor? It is at the bottom of the ocean and in USN museums with HOLES shot through it.

Fanboys beware. Ain't nothing armored that cannot be shot full of holes.
 
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The press was assembled from non-Japanese parts. The parts were imported from New York, (See video above if you missed this detail.). The Japanese attempted to import three presses more or the parts thereof, after the first one in 1937 when they resumed heavy armor production once they pulled out of the LNT, and the US refused the sale of same as restricted strategic technology.
The video does not state that it was made from US parts. It states the press was built in the US, which was not the case in the source. Neither does it mention anything about the US refusing exports of such a press.
 
The video does not state that it was made from US parts. It states the press was built in the US, which was not the case in the source. Neither does it mention anything about the US refusing exports of such a press.
Actually it does state the US refused to sell additional presses. It is in the section where the Yamato plate is discussed.
 
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