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Wreckage of USS Lexington discovered in Coral Sea

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  • #16

    Image source: www.theaustralian.com.au
    If you look at the marking there is a Red Bomb, wondering what that could be? Hinomaru is for aircraft that is for sure, but what does that red mean, is it mean a direct hit on a Japanese carrier or warship?

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    • #17
      I don't think Wildcats were bomb carrying at that stage of the war. Maybe a successful escort mission?

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      • #18
        Wildcats could carry 2 100 lb bombs and that capability was used in the Marshal Island raids by Yorktown and Enterprise, but AFAIK not in the Lae Raid, but the Wildcats did strafe japanese escorts in that strike, so maybe it refers to that.
        Anyway the identity and markings of these aircraft have touched off some debate in modeller's forae already, proving that even something as established as the markings and identities of the US aircraft of the Coral Sea can still hold surprises, even if most of them are probably due to black/white photography and colour interpretation

        https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/thread...f-3-f-5.48166/

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        • #19
          Clues to the aircraft’s history, and to whom it was assigned in VF-3, abounded. The four Japanese battle flags indicated that it was someone with claims of four kills, who also had participated in a bombing mission, the latter noted by the black 30 lb. fragmentation bomb painted next to one of the four Japanese flags. F4F-3 Wildcats did not drop many bombs, so it did not take long to discover that during VF-3’s combat in February-March 1942, there was only one instance of a bombing mission. It came on March 10, 1942, against a Japanese airfield at Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea. Four Wildcat pilots dropped 30-lb. fragmentation bombs. They were Vorse, Lt. j.g. Robert Morgan, Lt. Noel A.M. Gayler and Ensign Dale Peterson.
          Interesting read
          http://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.m...-f4f-wildcats/

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          • #20
            Those little bombs the F4F could carry would have nearly nill value on large surface combattants except maybe a lucky hit.

            These ships had heavy armour, large AP bombs would be needed.


            I think something like the 250kg (500lbs) AP was minimum used to fight surface combattants?

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            • #21
              Originally posted by picanha View Post
              Those little bombs the F4F could carry would have nearly nill value on large surface combattants except maybe a lucky hit.

              These ships had heavy armour, large AP bombs would be needed.


              I think something like the 250kg (500lbs) AP was minimum used to fight surface combattants?
              Wildcats did sink a japanese destroyer off Wake in the first days of the war using 100lb bombs, but their use was generally discontinued as the Wildcat was hard pressed in performance against the Zero even "clean".
              30 lb frags were even rarer as the USN rarely flew close air support in 1942

              But all in all that tubby little thing was a surprisingly effective fighter

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              • #22
                The Wildcat soldiered on late into the war, being favored for smaller carriers.. At least that is how I remember my books.

                There is no doubt in my mind that that Wildcat on the ocean floor near the Lexington is a rather important historical example. Impressive to see it sitting there.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Euroamerican View Post
                  The Wildcat soldiered on late into the war, being favored for smaller carriers.. At least that is how I remember my books.

                  There is no doubt in my mind that that Wildcat on the ocean floor near the Lexington is a rather important historical example. Impressive to see it sitting there.
                  Yeah, it would be super cool if they could pull her up and restored to her former glory, it seem to be in pretty good shape.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by JCR View Post

                    Wildcats did sink a japanese destroyer off Wake in the first days of the war using 100lb bombs, but their use was generally discontinued as the Wildcat was hard pressed in performance against the Zero even "clean".
                    30 lb frags were even rarer as the USN rarely flew close air support in 1942

                    But all in all that tubby little thing was a surprisingly effective fighter

                    It was used effectively with appropriate tactics. I think the main advantage it had was having the features which nearly all American fighters had, but not the Japanese aircraft until the Nakajima Ki-43 which was to late by then,

                    Self sealing tanks pilot armour and heavy guns.

                    I often imagined how it woudl be to sit in a fast and manoeuvreable Zero and shoot and shoot on your enemy with your 2 MG (WWI) just to explode yourself upon a few hits from your enemy.

                    Must have been the Japanese obedience and sacrifice mentality to take so long to just give your troops the same protection the enemy has.


                    Regarding the Zero I have a picture somewhere I took at the Yasukine Shrine of the A6M there. Must search it.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by picanha View Post


                      It was used effectively with appropriate tactics. I think the main advantage it had was having the features which nearly all American fighters had, but not the Japanese aircraft until the Nakajima Ki-43 which was to late by then,

                      Self sealing tanks pilot armour and heavy guns.

                      I often imagined how it woudl be to sit in a fast and manoeuvreable Zero and shoot and shoot on your enemy with your 2 MG (WWI) just to explode yourself upon a few hits from your enemy.

                      Must have been the Japanese obedience and sacrifice mentality to take so long to just give your troops the same protection the enemy has.


                      Regarding the Zero I have a picture somewhere I took at the Yasukine Shrine of the A6M there. Must search it.
                      The A6M had 2 20mm cannon which could ruin anyone's day. Thing was the Wildcat could take a lot of damage and still fly.
                      Also, both sides overclaimed to such an extent that either side often thought it had shot down more planes than the enemy actually had.
                      The Japanese didn't really care about individual victory counts anyway so the whole kill claim process was a lot less strict than with other nations, also many zeroes had no radio or unreliable radio, so each pilot thought the plane going down in flames had been his target. Especially as the japanese tended to gang up on a single target in a 3 plane section and make successive firing passes, this often resulted in 3 victories for one damaged plane.
                      Meanwhile the US was almost as optimistic and was extremely bad at recognition. In 1942, the US Navy claimed literally dozens of "Me 109s" in the middle of the pacific ocean!

                      Air Combat between the two carrier fighters was about even in 1942 (while the Zero massacred pretty much any land based opposition), the main difference was against the respective performance against bombers:
                      The Zeroes massacred the US torpedo bombers at Midway but they never managed to break up a US dive bomber attack, on some occasions even taking more losses against SBDs than they shot down. The Zero's vulnerability was more pronounced against gunners than in fighter combat. A japanese rear gunner was basically helpless against a Wildcat with his Lewis gun copy while a Dauntless gunner with his 2 belt fed fast firing MGs could realistically set a Zero on fire or kill the pilot.

                      Contrary to that, Wildcats usually decimated any japanese dive bomber or torpedo plane formation they intercepted, causing heavy losses even if the Japanese did manage to break through and score hits on their target. That is why the 3 carriers sunk at Midway without being able to retaliate suffered less losses in air crew than Hiryu who did strike back at Yorktown.
                      The drain on skilled dive and torpedo plane crews in 1942 already was immense, especially as most of them went down with their aircraft.

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                      • #26
                        Interesting.

                        I thought I read somewhere that initial versions only had 2 x MG maybe in the Manchurian campaign? Or I'm confusing it with the A5M or Ki 43 wich I am pretty sure only had those weak twin 7,7 mm.

                        The Japanese also never improved on the autocannon AFAIK. Like the LWs MK108 higher muzzle vel. higher ROF or the MK103 of the Luftwaffe firing 30mm 500g shells at around 950 m/s at nearly the same fire rate the type 99 had.
                        Last edited by picanha; 15-03-2018, 03:32 AM.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by picanha View Post
                          Interesting.

                          I thought I read somewhere that initial versions only had 2 x MG maybe in the Manchurian campaign? Or I'm confusing it with the A5M or Ki 43 wich I am pretty sure only had those weak twin 7,7 mm.

                          The Japanese also never improved on the autocannon AFAIK. The MK103 of the Luftwaffw was a beast firing 30mm 500g shells at around 950 m/s at nearly the same fire rate the type 99 had
                          Bro I think if you were talking about Machunrian Campaign it could be Ki-27 "Nate" and it did carried 2 7.7mm machine gun. Japanese philosophy was to have agile aircraft than survival or armament. The best first for Japan imho was N1K George. Also, I don't think Ki-43 would have engaged any of naval aircraft in deep ocean as it was for IJAAF.

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                          • #28
                            I just mentioned the Ki-43 as it had only two 7.7mm when introduced. The Ki-27 was its predecessor. Ki-43 were used up as Kamikaze in the end.

                            Don't know where I have gotten that idea of only two MGs in early zeros maybe because I once thought the A5M to be an early zero version.

                            Anyway the cannons never improved considerably until the MK5 version which was not introduced until the end of the war.


                            Making it hard to shoot down the sturdy American a/c and allowing a/c inferior on paper keep upperhands through refined tactics.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by JCR View Post
                              Contrary to that, Wildcats usually decimated any japanese dive bomber or torpedo plane formation they intercepted, causing heavy losses even if the Japanese did manage to break through and score hits on their target. That is why the 3 carriers sunk at Midway without being able to retaliate suffered less losses in air crew than Hiryu who did strike back at Yorktown.
                              The drain on skilled dive and torpedo plane crews in 1942 already was immense, especially as most of them went down with their aircraft.
                              From what I've read, the Kamikaze tactics adopted were a lot more "sensible" from a higher command/logistical viewpoint than they seem at first glance. Obviously it takes a special kind of "enthusiasm" for pilots to go on suicide strikes, but in terms of hits produces vs planes and crews lost the losses were actually lower than conventional strikes, because the US fighter screens were mauling the bomber formations so badly anyway.

                              Anyone fancy a Kamikaze thread?

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                              • #30
                                Indeed. By 1943 US Navy AA and CAP was so effective that the large formations the IJN had previously used to attack them were not getting through in the necessary numbers to work.

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