Fantastic progress in aviationobserved in the 20s of the last century made us take a fresh look at the role of the air force in armed conflicts. Aircraft confidently flew in the sky and led to victory. Some of the eccentric military theorists have already predicted the imminent disappearance of the classical armed forces - fiery rain from heaven can decide the outcome of any war.
It is not surprising that sailors became interested in a promising type of armed forces - a plane instead of an artillery gun ... why not? Carriers were rapidly gaining popularity - aviation turned out to be a formidable vehicle in the sea. The creators of cruisers and battleships began to fuss - the decks of the ships were decorated with dozens of barrels of anti-aircraft guns.
The situation seems to be obvious - the artillery ship is weak in front of the power of airplanes with well-trained crews. The combat radius of the aircraft is ten times greater than the range of the artillery. Probably, it was necessary to send as many forces as possible to build aircraft carrier ships?
Marine Parade in Spithead, UK, 1937 Year
However, nothing of the kind happened: even during World War II, the leading maritime powers continued the massive construction of super-battleships and cruisers: the British "King George V", the American "North Caroline", "South Dakota", "Iowa", the incredible the Japanese Yamato ... the number of built cruisers was generally counted in dozens of units - 14 Baltimor, 27 cruisers of the Cleveland type ... Do not forget the 1200 U-boats Kriegsmarine and 850 destroyers of the US Navy.
At present, a steady misconception has emerged that the main operating force in the Pacific theater was the carrier-based aircraft. One after another, absurd "proofs" of this theory emerge - for example, it suddenly turned out that cruisers, battleships and submarines were on "auxiliary roles", and aircraft carriers were responsible for "serious" strategic tasks.
Pearl Harbor, Midway, Doolittle Raid. Beautifully soaring plane, under the applause of the deck team - this image has little to do with the real war in the Pacific.
78 large-scale amphibious assault forces. Violent artillery duels at Savo Island and in the Surigao Strait, squadron battles, daily shelling of the coast, destroyer battles, deadly submarines, drowning everyone who stood in their way.
The famous Midway and the Battle of the Coral Sea are just rare exceptions when the situation depended on aircraft carriers. In all other cases (months-long porridge on Guadalcanal, the assault on Kwajalein, a meat grinder on Okinawa, etc.), operations were carried out by heterogeneous aviation forces and fleet, with the support of the Marine Corps and army units, using ersatz aerodromes and ground-based aircraft, maritime transport transports and auxiliary forces. Carriers are simply lost in the background of this power.
Only an aircraft carrier is capable of solving strategic tasks ... What a pity that Karl Doenitz, who sent hundreds of U-bots to the Atlantic every month, did not know about it. Their task was the most serious - the sea blockade of the British Isles. Lack of the simplest goods. Potatoes on the lawns of Buckingham Palace.
By the way, the task turned out to be unfulfilled and, in principle, impracticable - the forces of Kriegsmarine and the British and US Navy opposing them were too incommensurable.
Bunker for German submarines, Bordeaux
To prove this, I would like to have a brief overview of the two most enchanting legends. The first is “sinking by deck aircraft of the battleship Yamato in two hours.” The second история - “like six escort aircraft carriers beat the Japanese squadron”. With it, perhaps, let's start.
Fight off Samar Island, October 25 1944 of the year.
One of the strangest sea battles (however, every sea battle is a unique phenomenon) with an obvious correlation of forces and an unobvious, at first glance, ending. Americans are still perplexed, as a large Japanese squadron of 23 pennants was in the most vulnerable spot of the American fleet, in the landing zone in the Philippines. It seems that the deck aircraft of the US Navy, which is responsible for the control of maritime communications, stupidly "missed" the appearance of the enemy.
Early in the morning 25 of October, at the predawn hour, the anti-submarine patrol, taking off from the escort aircraft carrier “Saint Lo”, suddenly saw through the veil of rain pagodas of ship superstructures and the developing Japanese flag (“meat ball”, according to the American sailors). “Japanese!” - the pilot managed to breathe out only.
The next second, giant columns of water shot up between American escort aircraft carriers - the battleships Yamato, Nagato, Haruna, Congo, the cruisers Haguro, Tuka'i, Kumano, Suzuya, Tikuma, Tone, Yahagi and Noshiro, with the support of 11 destroyers, opened heavy storm artillery at the United States Navy. Good morning, America!
And then a touching story usually follows, as six small escort men run off the 16-knot move from the nasty Japanese battleships and cruisers, angrily snapping at their planes. In an unequal battle, the Gambier Bay escort aircraft carrier dies, the other five little heroes safely escape themselves and save the entire landing operation in the Philippines. The Japanese squadron loses three heavy cruisers and in disgrace falls on the opposite course. Happy end!
As the reader has already guessed, in reality everything was somewhat different. More precisely, everything was not the case at all.
Realizing that they were firmly “stuck”, the Americans used a combat trick unusual for them - self-sacrifice.
"The boys on my right shell put a curtain between the men and the enemy cruisers"
- Admiral of the United States Navy Clifton Sprague
The destroyers "Johnston", "Hoel", "Heerman" and the escort aircraft carrier "Samuel B. Roberts" set off to carry out a suicide order. Despite the fierce fire of the Japanese, small ships stubbornly crawled forward, closing the aircraft carrier with a saving veil.
However, the American destroyers were not passive targets for shooting at enemy guns. A clever fighting reversal - and each of the destroyers sends 10-torpedo salvo as a gift to the Japanese.
After a couple of minutes, the results became known: two torpedoes from the destroyer Johnston tore off the nose of the Japanese cruiser Kumano. A crippled ship stops chasing and disappears into a shroud of fog. One enemy less.
Trying to dodge released torpedoes, the Japanese cruisers and battleships break the line and cluelessly scatter across the surface of the sea. American aircraft carriers get a long respite.
The bold antics of the destroyers did not go unpunished - large-caliber Japanese shells smashed decks, burned battle posts and knocked out most of the crews.
... Something inarticulate hissed telephone communication, dying officers writhed in a blood-filled wheelhouse. From the stem to the archteck, all the decks were littered with debris, flames leaked from the torn-out hull ... and yet, the guns of the destroyer-destroyers regularly sent a shell after the projectile toward the Japanese squadron. The surviving commanders handed ammunition to the gun trays, and somewhere deep inside the hull the Mk.37 computer fire control system buzzed, continuously counting the position of the Japanese ships, automatically deploying guns according to the only accidental radar.
Mark I Fire Control Computer. Weight 1363 kg. There are no electronic chips in the analog computer, but there are gyroscopes, relays and the most accurate mechanics.
The unique fire control system brought its results - except for two torpedoes, the destroyer “Johnston” threw 45 five-inch shells into the heavy cruiser “Kumano”, defeating the entire superstructure, along with radars, anti-aircraft guns and rangefinder posts, and then fed the Konkor battleship with shells .
The destroyers "Samuel B. Roberts" and "Heerman" brought down a surgically precise fire on the cruiser "Tikuma". For half an hour of the battle, "Samuel B. Roberts" shot his entire ammunition at the enemy - 600 five-inch ammunition. As a result, three of the four main-caliber towers on the "Tikume" failed, the navigating bridge collapsed and the communication and fire control systems failed.
But the artillerymen of the Kalinin Bay escort aircraft carrier, a well-aimed shot from a single 127 mm gun, hit the torpedo unit of the Chokai cruiser, and the monstrous explosion turned the body inside out. A few minutes later the burning cruiser finished off the deck aircraft.
In total, the Japanese lost three heavy cruisers in that battle, three more ships were seriously damaged.
Official losses of the US Navy: Gambier Bay escort aircraft carrier and three destroyers (one of which is an escort), 23 aircraft and 1583 people dead and missing.
Escort aircraft carrier "Gumbier Bay" under fire from Japanese cruisers
The following are the reasons for the unexpected victory of the US Navy:
1. Skillful and courageous actions of the destroyers who delayed the Japanese squadron at the cost of their death.
2. The Japanese ships came under concentrated attacks from more than 500 carrier-based aircraft - cars from the whole region flew to help six escort aircraft carriers. The aerial group of Americans was equal in power to the FIVE strike aircraft carriers.
Surprisingly, in the current favorable situation, the Americans managed to sink only three cruisers - the rest of the Japanese squadron safely left the battlefield and returned to Japan, including the Kumano with its nose cut off.
3. But that's not all! The third important circumstance is the air base on the island of Leyte. "Deck" aircraft refueled, replenished ammunition and again returned to sea to attack the Japanese squadron. As a result, escort aircraft carriers were not required to adjust their course to the wind and provide take-off and landing operations - otherwise, it would be unrealistic to run away from cruisers and battleships.
4. Classic. Japanese shells. Intended for the destruction of armored targets, they pierced the tin sides of escorts through, like a sheet of plywood. The aircraft carrier Kalinin Bay received 12 direct hits with 203 mm projectiles and by the end of the battle was a leaky sieve. It should be noted that whether real Essex-type aircraft carriers were in the place of the escort, the combat score of the Japanese could be replenished with six trophies at once. The 37 ... 64 mm thick armor-shell was clearly not enough to stop the 8-inch projectile, but it was enough to activate its fuse and turn the ship into fiery hell.
These are the comments about the battle of the island of Samar. Does this look like a legend about how “escort aircraft carriers drove Japanese battleships into tail and mane”?
The last trip "Yamato"
Death from on high was his fate,
Traces of torpedoes.
Black from the aircraft
The Iron Giant
Fell before the depth
Debt by doing.
The essence of events: 6 April 1945, the largest battleship in maritime history - the Yamato super-ship, accompanied by the light cruiser Yahagi and eight destroyers, left Kure with the mission to break through to the island of Okinawa. Fuel was only enough at one end - when approaching the island, the sailors intended to flood the battleship in the shallows and turn it into an invincible artillery battery.
It is fair to admit that Yamato had practically no chance - at that moment a group of 1000 US Navy warships, including 5 dozens of aircraft carriers, maneuvered off the coast of Okinawa. We couldn’t talk about any secrecy - the situation on the Navy Kure was carefully monitored by high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft based on B-29.
A day later, on April 7, the squadron was sunk by deck aircraft of the US Navy. The largest ship of World War II was torn to pieces in just 2 hours. The Japanese lost 3000 people. Americans -10 aircraft and 12 pilots.
Is this not proof of the unimaginable power of carrier-based aviation capable of cracking down on any naval enemy?
It turns out, no.
Some notes to the death of the battleship:
1. "Yamato" was burning 58-e operational connection of the US Navy. Behind a completely everyday name lies the most powerful squadron, from the ever surfing the ocean. Attack aircraft carriers "Essex", "Hornet", "Hancock", "Bunker Hill", "Bennington", light aircraft carriers "Bellow Wood", "San Jacinto" and "Bataan" ... total 11 aircraft carriers under the cover of high-speed battleships "Missouri" , New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, South Dakota, Wisconsin, two battle cruisers Alaska, Guam, five light cruisers and 21 destroyer.
The wings of eight aircraft carriers participated in the attacks on the Yamato.
Eight against one! Scientifically speaking, the experiment was conducted incorrectly. The balance of the interacting components was disturbed, the number of American aircraft carriers exceeded all reasonable limits. Therefore, the results of the experiment can not be considered reliable.
Position of the Yamato wreckage on the ground
2. However, there is an assumption that the minimum required number of aircraft carriers is not too different from reality. Effective air strike must be massive. To ensure the required density of attacking aircraft, a lot of runways are required - after all, those who have already taken to the air are not able to wait a whole hour for those who are on the deck. Fuel reserve is strictly limited. Because 8 aircraft carriers were able to form a shock group "only" of 227 machines.
In addition, it is worth considering that not all the planes of those years could reach the goal - in order to get a strike group of 227 planes over the target, the Americans had to lift 280 machines into the air - 53 got lost from the planes and did not find the target.
3. The rapid death of the Yamato is not a sufficient criterion for asserting the weakness of artillery ships before air attacks.
By the end of the war, Japan was seriously lagging behind in the development of fire control systems - the Japanese sailors had nothing like the MK.37 or the Ford Mk.I Fire Control Computer.
American anti-aircraft missile with a radar fuse.
The main know-how was the radio tubes capable of withstanding the overload of 20 000 g when fired from a cannon
The main know-how was the radio tubes capable of withstanding the overload of 20 000 g when fired from a cannon
Whether Japanese have computers for anti-aircraft fire control, Mk.12 five-inch anti-aircraft guns, automatic 40 mm Bofors guns, small-caliber Erlikons with power feed and projectiles with Mk.53 radar fuse (all of which was on a Mk.XNUMX radar (all that was on the rack, Mk.XNUMX) (all of which was on the radar Mk.XNUMX) (all of which was on the radar Mk.XNUMX (all of which was on the radar Mk.XNUMX) (all that was on the radar Mk.XNUMX (all that was on the radar) US Navy ships) - I fear that Yamato would have interrupted American aircraft, like a flock of bird flu, and died in an "honest" artillery battle with six American battleships.
4. The weakness of the Yamato air defense system is not only due to technical reasons. It is usually not mentioned that the Japanese anti-aircraft gunners, trite, did not know how to shoot.
For anti-aircraft gunners need training - American sailors trained in shooting a towed cone. The Japanese did not have enough fuel even for combat missions - as a result, the Yamato anti-aircraft calculations were practiced on air beds. Frankly speaking, a bad simulator is in terms when the speed of the aircraft exceeded 600-700 km / h.
Carriers 58 th operational connection. How many of them are required for drowning lonely “Yamato”? And if instead of "Yamato" was a ship like the "Iowa"?
There are still a few “trifles” that in one way or another influenced the quick death of the ship: for example, the lack of the required amount of fuel - as a result, Yamato was forced to turn off part of the boilers and reduce speed. Or the American submarines "Tredfin" and "Heklbek", discovered the squadron "Yamato" at night when leaving the Kure base and promptly warned about this aircraft carrier.
Considering all the above, the “reference” sinking of the Yamato turns into a story with ordinary beatings with full quantitative and qualitative superiority. However, the Americans know about it better than we are with you - the suspiciously rapid death of the Japanese super-battleship has never been given much importance.
He accepted death
Hope not thaw.
For the emperor,
In the name of Fleet honor.
I waited for him.
In the last turn
Towers - farewell.
Nobody defeated knight.
Let your body
Tormented by explosives
Lies at the bottom
But today, there,
Where soared above the waves
Funeral smoke column -
The golden flower is burning,
On the ghost metal.
/ Felix Brenner "To the death of Yamato" /
Dall S. Fighting Path of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Theodore Roscoe. Stronger than the "divine wind." Destroyers of the USA. War in the Pacific