Navy Buys PBY - History

Navy Buys PBY - History

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The US Navy bought a PBY from Consolidated Aircraft to be its new sea patrol plane. The cost to the navy of the plane was $95,000. The plane became known during World War II as the Catalina.

Argentina Edit

Australia Edit

The Royal Australian Air Force operated the PBY Catalina extensively. The Royal Australian Air Force ordered its first 18 PBY-5s (named Catalina) in 1940, [2] around the same time as French purchase. Some of these would be used to re-establish the British-Australian airlink through Asia as the Double Sunrise. By the end of the war the RAAF had taken delivery of 168 Catalinas. The RAAF used Catalinas in a wide range of roles including reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols, offensive mine-laying and air-sea rescue, the deployment of folboats (collapsible canoes), notably the Hoehn MKIII military type for Commando raids. [3] The rescue of personnel and closer visual observation, as well as psychological warfare. In addition, RAAF PBYs were used to transport Australian personnel home at the end of the war. [2] The RAAF retired its last Catalina in 1952. [4]

Brazil Edit

Canada Edit

Canada had its own close associations with the PBY, both as a manufacturer and customer. Under an agreement reached between the Canadian and U.S. governments, production lines were laid down in Canada, by Boeing Aircraft of Canada (as the PB2B-1) in Vancouver, and by Canadian Vickers (PBV-1) at the Canadair plant in Cartierville. Canadian manufactured aircraft serving with the RCAF were known as Canso A, and were equivalent to PBY-5A (with retractable landing gear). Eleven Canadian Home War Establishment squadrons flew Cansos and Lend Lease Catalinas and on both sides of the North Atlantic and on the Pacific West Coast of Canada. Two "overseas" squadrons flew from the British Isles, as well as over the Indian Ocean.

    serving under direct command and control of the RAF, with RAF owned aircraft.
      Catalina I/IB/IV (Jul 41 - Dec 44) (UK and Ceylon). Catalina IB/III/IV (Jul 42 - Nov 42) (while working up to operational status).
        Catalina I (Jun 41 - Jul 41) Canso A (Oct 41 - Jun 45) [5] Catalina I/IB (Jul 41 - Aug 43) Canso A (Sep 43 - Jun 45) [6] Catalina I/IB/IVA (May 42 - Dec 43) Canso A (May 42 - Aug 43) [7] Canso A (May 43 - Jun 45) [8] Canso A (Nov 43 - May 45) [8] Canso A (May 42 - Aug 45) [9]
        Canso A (Dec 42 - Aug 45) Catalina IB/IVA (Apr 44 - Aug 44) [10] Canso A (Apr 43 - Nov 43) Catalina IB/IVA (Sept 43 - Aug 45) [11] Catalina IVA (Jan 44 - Jul 45) Canso A (Apr 44 - Jul 45) [12] Canso A (Apr 43 - Aug 44) Catalina I/IB/IVA (Feb 44 - Aug 44) [13] Canso A (Apr 43 - Sep 43) Catalina IVA (Sep 43 - Apr 44) [14]

      Chile Edit

      China Edit

      The Republic of China Air Force operated PBY-5A as search and rescue (SAR) plane from 1952 to 1954. [15] At least one of these PBY-5A were later transferred to China Airlines in the 1959. [16]

      Colombia Edit

      Cuba Edit

      Denmark Edit

      Dominican Republic Edit

      Ecuador Edit

      France Edit

      Soon after the receipt of Britain's first order for production aircraft, a French purchasing mission ordered 30 aircraft in early 1940. Allocated the Consolidated identification Model 28-5MF, none of these were delivered before the Battle of France.

      Iceland Edit

      Indonesia Edit

      Israel Edit

      Japan Edit

      Mexico Edit

      Netherlands Edit

      Netherlands ordered 48 planes for use in the Dutch East Indies.

      New Zealand Edit

      From 1942 New Zealand used 56 non-amphibious PBY-5 and PB2B-1 Catalinas in the South Pacific, to replace the Short Singapore with the Royal New Zealand Air Force's 5 Squadron and 6 Squadron, initially operating out of Hobsonville and Fiji on maritime patrol and air-sea rescue roles. Additional RAF-owned aircraft were used by 490 (NZ) Squadron in the anti submarine role during the battle of the Atlantic. 490 squadron operated Catalinas out of Jui, West Africa, from 1943 until they were superseded by Short Sunderlands in 1944. The last RNZAF Catalinas were retired in 1953 and all had been sold or scrapped by the end of 1956. [20] [21] An airworthy PBY-5A Catalina amphibian in 6 Squadron markings is privately owned. [22] The Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum is restoring a former fire training Catalina.

      Nicaragua Edit

      Norway Edit

      Paraguay Edit

      Paraguayan Air Force originally ordered three PBY-5As in 1955. One was destroyed in the U.S. before delivery. The other two reached Paraguay and received serials T-29 and T-31. T-29 rescued ex-President Perón in October 1955 in Argentina. Both aircraft were transferred to Líneas Aéreas de Transporte Nacional (LATN) in 1956.

      Peru Edit

      Philippines Edit

      South Africa Edit

      Consolidated Catalina PBY's were flown by 6, 10 and 43 Squadrons of the South African Air Force during World War II. The squadrons and aircraft were placed under command of SAAF Coastal Command and operated on the South African Indian and Atlantic coastlines. After World War II, Catalinas were utilized by 35 Squadron from 1945 to 1957. [23]

      Spain Edit

      The Spanish Air Force used one unit, under DR.1 designation and 74-21 indication, as a patrol bomber and firefighter plane between 1949 and 1954. This aircraft was a United States Army Air Forces unit, which landed by accident in the Spanish Sahara in 1943, and finally it was sold to the Spanish Air force for approximately US$100,000. It is currently on display at the Museo del Aire (Madrid). [24]

      Sweden Edit

      Three Canso amphibians, built by Canadian-Vickers, were bought by the Swedish Air Force in 1947. The Swedish designation was Tp 47. After modifications for their new post-war missions, they were based at Wing F2 at Hägernäs near Stockholm and were used mainly for air and sea rescue service. Also reconnaissance missions were flown.

      The Tp 47 was equipped with PS-19/A radar. The aircraft had a crew of five and had also room for six stretchers. It was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines of 1.200 hp each. It was unarmed.

      Soviet Union Edit

      The Soviet Union had shown an interest, resulting in an order for three aircraft and the negotiation of a licence to build the type in USSR. When these three machines were delivered they were accompanied by a team of Consolidated engineers who assisted in establishment of the Soviet production facilities. This aircraft model, designated GST, was powered by two Wright R-1820-derived, nine-cylinder Shvetsov M-62 or ASh-62IR [25] single-row radial engines of 900 to 1,000 hp (671 to 746 kW). The first GST entered service towards the end of 1939. It is estimated hundreds more served with the Soviet Navy. Soviet Union also received 138 PBN-1 Nomad variant of the Catalina built by the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia along with 48 PBY-6As under the Lend-Lease Act.

      United Kingdom Edit

      The British Air Ministry purchased a single aircraft for evaluation purposes, the Model 28-5. This was flown across the Atlantic Ocean to the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, Felixstowe, in July 1939. With the outbreak of war anticipated, the trials were terminated prematurely, and an initial 50 aircraft were ordered under as "Catalina I"s. These aircraft were similar to the PBY-5, except for installation of British armament. The name Catalina had been used by Consolidated for their commercial sales prior to the British order, and was eventually adopted by the US Navy on October 1, 1941.

      Initial deliveries of the Royal Air Force's Catalinas began in early 1941 and these entered service with No. 209 and No. 240 squadrons of Coastal Command. In all, nine squadrons of Coastal Command were equipped with the Catalina, as were an additional 12 squadrons overseas. The total acquisition was approximately 700 spread over the following designations: Catalina Mk I, Mk IA (PBY-5A amphibian in RCAF service only), Mk IB, Mk II, Mk III, Mk IVB (Canadian built PBY-5, the PB2B-1), Mk IV, and Mk VI (a PBN-1 style tall tail version built in Canada). The Catalina Mk Vs, which would have been PBN-1s, were cancelled.

      The RAF also acquired a former Soviet Navy GST which landed in Cyprus in November 1941, although it probably was not used before it was beached in a gale at Aboukir in February 1943.

      In British service, the Catalina was fitted with .303 machineguns, typically a Vickers K in the bow and Browning Model 1919 in the waist. Some received the Leigh light to aid anti-submarine warfare by night.

      PBY Odyssey

      Like Odysseus, who after the Trojan War wandered far before reaching home, Connie Edwards found that reenacting the epic NC-4 Transatlantic flight involved much more than just a takeoff and landing.

      On 8 May 1911, Navy Captain Washington Irving Chambers drafted a requisition for two airplanes—the U. S. Navy's first aircraft—to be built by Glenn H. Curtiss of Hammondsport, New York. In those early days, Captain Chambers—who may be considered the first official champion of naval aviation—was asked by his boss, the Chief of the Navy Bureau of Navigation, to work out of his home as there was no room for him at the Bureau nor, by inference, for aviation. Instead, Captain Chambers found a cubbyhole under the stairs of the old State, War and Navy Building, and there he planned to bring the Navy into the twentieth century.

      Last year marked the 75th anniversary of Captain Chambers's historic purchase, and all who helped make U. S. naval aviation what it is today were honored in various celebrations and activities. Perhaps the most ambitious undertaking of the anniversary year was a reenactment of the world's first flight across the Atlantic. Contrary to popular belief, this historic feat was accomplished in May of 1919—not by Charles Lindbergh, but by a naval aircraft flown by a Navy and Coast Guard crew. Lindbergh did not make his famous non-stop solo flight until 1927, eight years after the Navy crossing.

      It was clear in 1986 during the initial planning of the reenactment that the Navy Curtiss NC-4, the huge biplane flying boat that actually made the first crossing and is now on display at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, was no longer capable of making the journey. To make matters more difficult, neither the Navy nor the Coast Guard had any seaplanes in their inventories. And that's how a civilian named Wilson C. "Connie" Edwards from Big Spring, Texas, got involved.

      Besides being one of the world's greatest characters, Connie Edwards has been a corporate pilot, crop duster, soldier of fortune, and movie stunt pilot. He is now the Chief Executive Officer of Edwards Oil Company, Incorporated, and an avid collector of historic aircraft. On the private airstrip of his west Texas ranch, he has nine North American P-51s, 13 Messerschmitt Me-109s, and a variety of other vintage aircraft, most of them flyable. But most important is one of his more recent acquisitions, a PBY Catalina flying boat amphibian, the U. S. Navy's great all-purpose workhorse of World War II. Catalina aircraft served around the globe as patrol, torpedo, and even dive bomber aircraft, and in just about any other capacity required by the fleet.

      Connie Edwards's historic seaplane was the ideal aircraft for the reenactment flight,and with his 12,000 plus pilot hours in everything from Spitfire and P-38 fighters to Heinkel and B-25 bombers, he was the ideal pilot for the job. And Connie had no qualms about committing his million-dollar-plus aircraft and donating his time and energy to forward the cause of naval aviation. He immediately began readying his aircraft for the long haul across the Atlantic by installing new engines, fabricating new control surfaces, and replacing rivets and aluminum panels. The Collins Corporation donated the latest in electronic navigation equipment, and General Dynamics stepped forward with a $100,000 grant for fuel and other expenses.

      The PBY was repainted in the colors of the original NC-4: yellow wings to imitate the doped fabric haze gray for the wooden planked hull and a big red, white, and blue vertical stabilizer. For finishing touches, a silhouette of the NC flying boat was painted across the striped tail and a wide, diagonal slash of blue with gold letters proclaiming the 75th anniversary of U. S. naval aviation ran from the cockpit to the waterline on both sides.

      The airplane looked great and enthusiasm was running so high that the flight planners, with Connie Edwards in the lead, decided to make other flights in the big aircraft to commemorate the anniversary, with the transatlantic flight as the highlight of the program. They began where thousands of naval aviators still begin their quest for Navy wings of gold: at the "cradle of naval aviation" in Pensacola, Florida.

      Pensacola: Arriving on 3 May 1986, Connie's PBY was joined by a second PBY owned by Robert "Bob" Franks, a Los Angeles real estate entrepreneur and former Navy photographer, that had just been repainted in white, with blue letters proclaiming it the Spirit of Naval Aviation. Bob and his Spirit planned to fly in company with Connie Edwards all the way to Plymouth, England. At Pensacola, a week of activities included sports events, dinners, reunions, and the enshrinement of naval aviation greats in the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor, topped off by a spectacular two-day air show and a prime-time television special hosted by the indefatigable Bob Hope. Unfortunately, Connie and company had to move on in order to be in Long Island, New York, on 8 May to begin the first leg of the transatlantic flight. But before she left Pensacola, the latter-day NC-4 was christened by the wife of the original PBY commander, Albert C. "Putty" Read, who made the first flight all those years ago.

      Washington, D. C.: The two PBYs departed Pensacola on 5 May and headed north to Washington, D. C., to give the folks in the nation's capital a preview of what was to come by making a low-level circuit of the Washington beltway. Harried commuters and a host of others who braved the traffic for the event got a close look at a real flying boat. Connie then picked up Rear Admiral Howard Thorsen, U. S. Coast Guard, who would make the trip as far as the Azores in honor of Lieutenant Elmer Stone, the Coast Guard's first aviator and one of the pilots on the original flight. On 6 May they took off for Rockaway, New York, where the 1919 flight had begun. On board Bob Franks' Spirit was the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral James Busey, who would represent the Navy at Rockaway, and Dr. Paul Garber, of the National Air and Space Museum.

      Rockaway, New York: Later that day, the new NC-4 and its consort splashed down in Jamaica Bay. Because the old Naval Air Station, Rockaway no longer exists, the aircraft spent the rest of that day and all of the next at the U. S. Coast Guard Air Station, Floyd Bennett Field, where flight engineer Al Brown made final inspections and adjustments.

      The 8th of May is not only the official birthday of naval aviation it is also the day that the original three NCs departed Naval Air Station, Rockaway, on the first leg of their historic journey. Their first stop was supposed to have been Halifax, Nova Scotia, but engines were not all that reliable in 1919, and one of the NCs had to land on the open sea when two of her big water-cooled Liberty engines failed. The plane taxied through the night on her remaining two engines to Cape Cod, where she put into the Naval Air Station, Chatham, Massachusetts.

      The two anniversary planes followed the accidental route of the earlier planes, flying to NAS South Weymouth for ceremonies and then back-tracking to the present-day Chatham Airport. One local resident had a special reason for remembering the NCs—George Goodspeed had been one of the mechanics who had labored around the clock back in 1919 to change the NC-4's engines and send her on her way.

      Halifax, Nova Scotia: The two modern PBYs landed in Halifax harbor on 14 May, just as Lieutenant Commander Putty Read and his crew had done in 1919. The town crier, the mayor, and a great outpouring of affection from the citizens greeted the crews, who were then hosted and feted at the Canadian Air Force Base at Shearwater, outside Halifax, as U. S. and Canadian flags flew from the cockpits of the two aircraft.

      Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland: Connie and his crew experienced a similar introduction to that of the original aviators when they met the high, gusty winds of Trepassey Bay. But Connie, faithful to the 1919 itinerary, was determined to make at least a splash-and-go landing in the Bay at the jumping-off point of the first great transatlantic adventure. So with everyone and everything that could move in the aircraft strapped down, he eased the big plane onto the snarling surface of the water, skimming over the white-caps for the length of a football field to give the townspeople a full view of what the original NCs must have looked like. When Connie recalled the old wooden-hulled biplane with its open cockpit and fabric-covered wings in the museum at Pensacola, he said that those 1919 pilots had been "some kind of aviators."

      After their joust with the icy waters of Trepassey Bay, they landed at nearby St. Johns airport where they were warmly welcomed by the mayor and his constituents. St. Johnswas the starting point for several transatlantic attempts in the early days of aviation, with aviators like Harry Hawker, and Alcock and Brown. But the crew had little time to relax and enjoy the Newfoundland hospitality because much of the next day was devoted to preparation for the long, overwater flight. The original NCs had taken off on the evening of 16 May to arrive in the Azores during the daylight hours. The more-modern PBYs, however, took off in the early morning hours of 17 May because their slightly greater speed would allow them to arrive on the proper date, although later in the day.

      The Azores: Jumbo jet airliners now cross the Atlantic in seven hours, and the Concord does it in about three , but that big ocean takes on a different perspective when viewed from a twin-engine , World War II, propeller-driven antique. That the original NCs attempted it in 1919 with their rudimentary engines and primitive navigation equipment can only be described as "awesome."

      Bad weather dogged the first flight, and two of the NCs went down in the open ocean. Both crews survived, although the NC-1 aircraft was lost in the high seas. The NC-3 drifted toward the Azores and later taxied into port, seriously damaged and unable to continue. But NC-4 pressed on and at 1123 Azores time on 17 May she touched down in Horta harbor.

      In 1986, the two PBYs, in contrast, had beautiful weather across the ocean—until they reached Horta, where the waves dashed wildly against the rocks on the shore, seeming to reach hungrily for the old Catalina. Reluctantly, the crew decided not to land on the water but continued on to the municipal airport where a deafening welcome awaited them. During the ceremonies, Connie presented Putty Read's sword to the people of Portugal on behalf of the United States. The next morning, sea conditions were more hospitable and the two PBYs were able to splash down and taxi through Horta harbor, with U. S. and Portuguese flags flying from the cockpits.

      On the 20th it was on to Ponta Delgada, and since the original NC-4 had not departed the Azores until 27 May, the PBYs next flew over to the Naval Air Facility at Lajes Air Base on Terceira Island, where the crews conducted their flight maintenance in preparation for the next leg to Lisbon. At Lajes, the bands played "The NC-4 March," which had been composed back in 1919 to honor the conquering heroes. Then-Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral James D. Watkins, met with Connie Edwards and Bob Franks to thank them for their efforts on behalf of the anniversary year.

      Lisbon, Portugal: On the 27th, it was on to Lisbon. Portuguese Captain Jorge Tierco, who had worked for the success of the flight as it crossed his country, went along on this leg of the journey. Eight hours after takeoff, the PBYs were winging their way over the estuary of the Tagus River that has provided Lisbon with one of the finest harbors in Europe for centuries. It was here that the early Portuguese navigators began their historic exploration voyages, and here that the NC-4 completed the world's first flight across the Atlantic on 27 May 1919. It is little wonder that crowds lined the banks of the Tagus to pay their respects to the NC-4 crews in 1919 and to their counterparts in 1986. But once again, the wind and sea conspired against the PBYs to prevent a water landing that day.

      At the Lisbon international airport, they were met by assembled troops, dignit31ies, and two huge bands. The Portuguese Secretary of State for Defense, the Mayor of Lisbon, the U. S. Ambassador to Portugal, and a host of others greeted the crews.

      On 28 May, wind conditions had improved somewhat and despite a gusting crosswind, Connie and his crew landed on the Tagus River. They taxied over to the famous Belem Tower and anchored to the music of two more bands. After the ceremony, with the river cleared of traffic, the PBY taxied out and took off, roaring under a large span across the Tagus. To make the stunt legal and above-board, Connie was made an honorary Portuguese bridge inspector before departing.

      Plymouth, England: On 30 May, the crew bid farewell to their gracious Portuguese hosts 311d flew north toward their ultimate destination, Plymouth, England, making one overnight stop at Santiago, Spain, to symbolize the one NC-4 had made in 1919 at El Ferrol del Caudillo on the northeast corner of the Iberian peninsula. At Plymouth, the Lord Mayor and the Deputy Commander in Chief, U. S. Naval Forces Europe, Vice Admiral Robert F. "Dutch" Schoultz, were on hand to meet the crews.

      En route to the city, the weather, which had held up fairly well for most of the trip, suddenly turned sour. But to Connie, who had spent many months in England flying the aerial sequences for the movie Battle of Britain landing in such conditions was old hat. Arriving in rain and low clouds,the Catalina made a careful letdown and broke out under the overcast with Plymouth Harbor dead ahead.

      To the British, rain and fog are a way of life and more than 5,000 people had lined the harbor sometime before. There were a few in the crowd who had flown PBYs in World War II and had come for a nostalgic glimpse of the venerable old planes. With radio clearance from the harbormaster, Connie made a low circuit around the harbor flying over docks and ships just above the heads of the wildly waving crowd. The big boat touched down at the appointed time of 1100 and taxied over to tie up to a buoy just off the Mayflower steps, duplicating the performance of the NC-4 in 1919. Out went the Stars and Stripes and the British Union Jack from the cockpit. Fire boats spewed water into the air. Boat captains leaned on their horns and whistles, people cheered, and the U. S. Sixth Fleet Band struck up a tune.

      The luck of the voyage ran out on the Spirit, which arrived a half hour later. The Spirit's crew let down through the muck successfully and broke out for the final approach to the harbor. But immediately after touchdown, the big boat swerved to the right, hit a buoy with the left wing, spun violently, and came to a stop. While water poured in through the nose section, harbor craft scurried out to take her in tow to prevent her from sinking. Unfortunately, they failed in their effort and the Spirit sank in five feet of water. Later, an official inquiry into the mishap theorized that the PBY had hit a partially submerged object.

      Despite the somber note, Bob Franks and the crew of the Spirit insisted that the ceremonies continue. The band played each country's national anthem,the Lord Mayor made his official welcoming speech, and Connie Edwards made his speech. Spirits were high despite the unfortunate accident, and the friendship that developed between the Americans and their British hosts was indeed remarkable.

      After an official reception and luncheon at the Plymouth Council House, and a few more speeches and ceremonies, the PBY took off again into the murky English skies for the Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovilton, where the necessary maintenance would be completed before the long flight back. A short distance from Yeovilton, two ghosts from the past—a Fairey Firefly and a Hawker Sea Fury from the Royal Navy's Historic Flight collection—broke out of the clouds, joined up with their American cousin, and escorted the Catalina to the base.

      After some leisurely sightseeing and warm British hospitality, it was time to head back across the Atlantic by way of the Azores and NAS Bermuda. Bob Franks' Spirit was later raised and refurbished and is flying today as good as new. Connie and his aircraft still had many miles to travel before their work was done.

      In late June 1911, Captain Chambers went by train to Hammondsport, New York, where Glenn Curtiss had his small aircraft factory. There on 1 July, he watched the Navy's first aviator, Lieutenant Theodore G. "Spuds" Ellyson, qualify in the Navy's first aeroplane, the A-1 Triad.

      During the last week of June and first week of July 1986, that same event was celebrated. Vice Admiral Edward H. Martin, U. S. Navy, Lieutenant General Keith Smith, U. S. Marine Corps, and Rear Admiral Clyde Robbins, U. S. Coast Guard, participated, representing the aviation branches of their respective services. There were demonstrations by a Marine Corps Harrier and a Coast Guard helicopter, and fly-overs by antique aircraft. But none drew more attention than Connie Edwards' big, colorful Catalina flying boat when it splashed down in the lake on 28 June with Admiral Martin and General Smith on board. Perched atop the big yellow wing of the PBY as it swung on its mooring, Connie and crew watched a reenactment of Ellyson's 1911 flight made by Dale Crites in his A-1 replica.

      The PBY and its crew made another showing at the Naval Air Station, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. On 4 July, they took part in the salute to "Miss Liberty" in New York Harbor. On the first of August they flew in the famous Oshkosh Air Show in Wisconsin, an event that annually draws an attendance of more than 12,000 aircraft and over a half million people.

      In mid-September Connie and the PBY crew returned to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to participate in the air show at the Royal Canadian Air Force Base at Shearwater. Then it was back to Trepassey and St. Johns, Newfoundland. The PBY was able to make a full-stop water landing this time. Their next stop was Badeck, Newfoundland, in honor of the town's famous former resident, Dr. Alexander Graham Bell. There, with Glenn Curtiss and others, Dr. Bell conducted early experiments with tetrahedral kites, experiments which led to the construction of primitive but successful powered aircraft, and ultimately, by extension, to Curtiss' A-1 Triad.

      The PBY's final appearance was at NAS New Orleans, where a huge air show was in progress. Nearly 350,000 people attended the four-day show during the last days of October and the first of November, which included performances by the Blue Angels, the Canadian Parachute Team, and appearances by a large number of both vintage and contemporary aircraft.

      Connie and his PBY had flown more than 36,000 miles and made 128 water landings by the time they returned to Big Spring, Texas. The faithful Catalina had once again served her country and the U. S. Navy with distinction.

      Captain Knott attended the Johns Hopkins Advanced School of International Studies and is a graduate of the Naval War College. He toured in VP-45 from 1958 to 1961 as patrol plane commander in P-5M flying boats, and later in VP-16 as patrol plane commander in P-3 Orions. He was the editor of Naval Aviation News,and served as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Warfare as the Director of Naval Aviation History and Publications. Captain Knott is the author of The American Flying Boat published by the Naval Institute, and continues to write on naval aviation subjects.

      Chief Harrison is presently the associate editor and staff photojournalist at Naval Aviation News. His numerous stories and photo features have appeared in more than 100 national and international newspapers and magazines. He is one of only two, three-time winners of the Navy's Photojournalist of the Year competition and is a graduate of the Navy's one-year advanced photojournalism course at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications. He has covered events for the Navy in Vietnam, the Philippines and the South Pacific. After 20 years of Navy service, Chief Harrison will retire this month to pursue freelance work.

      Navy Matters

      Yes yes, I know. They'll shoot it down. But we can have more than one, and in the case of a shoot down have one ready on the pad during tense situations. That gives us the (literally) high level view which might tip us off to other things going on. Then we use other assets to try to firm that up (in peacetime we could have our own 'fishing trawlers' like the Soviets did) we should try to get human intelligence, and in war time we have no choice but to use higher risk options when need be.

      As to the P8, I don't mind it per se, just its price.

      I remember a conversation I had with a buddy years ago. He said the 'Burkes etc. were great, but one thing the navy was missing was what he called an 'attrition unit'. His example were DE's, SS's, and PBY's.

      They had a limited punch, and were very vulnerable. But used properly could damage the enemy. While they faced high losses they were affordable and quick to build.

      I'm willing to bet that while the PBY losses were high, we could knock one together very quickly and train a crew for it.

      I doubt that's the case for the P8.

      One thing Foxtrot Alpha had a few months ago, I believe, was an idea for a C-130 flying boat. It was on the drawing boards a while back.

      It was intriguing because of its logistical flexibility and its relative ease of construction. That was a very interesting idea as a maritime surveillence aircraft.

      Most or all of our enemies have demonstrated an anti-satellite capability. I'm not sure how many satellites we can afford to lose from an economic perspective or an operational one.

      Attrition units are a common theme of mine, though I've not used that exact phrase. Small, single function units that are cheap enough to be reluctantly expendable are needed. The US Navy, however, seems unable to embrace either the concept or the ability to produce "cheap" units. The LCS, you'll recall, was supposed to be a cheap unit at $200M (that was the original cost projection) and you see how that worked out. Had they been able to produce an LCS for $200M it would change my perception (somewhat) of the value of the vessels.

      The overall point is that we need to begin thinking about our combat units in realistic scenarios. Some are obviously unsuited and their functions should be replaced by some other platform. Some are suitable but will need greatly modified tactics and CONOPS and we should be working out those changes now. Some are well suited but we need to know which ones those are.

      We also need to begin training intensively in electromagnetically, GPS-deprived, environments. Every exercise should begin with turning off all electronic comm signals.

      A C-130 flying boat is one of those ideas that people love because it's unusual but I don't know that it would have any serious or significant function.

      I was a sensor operator on P-3s in the late 70s and through the 80s. I always assumed that if there was a war with the Soviet Union, I would be dead meat. The submarine fleet should be emphasized as the premier anti A2/AD weapon. We should also be acquiring diesel electric/AIP submarines. The rationalization for procuring nuclear powered sus only has been that only they have the speed to keep up with a carrier battle group however, in a potential conflict with China - blocking sea lanes to Chinese trade should be a key component of our strategy. This is a mission which DE/AIP subs would be effective.
      A future war with China (God forbid it should come to that) would be similar to the war with Japan - a gradual wearing down of our opponents A2?AD capabilities matched with a submarine campaign to close seal lanes. The idea that (in the event of hostilities) the US Navy should immediately send carrier battle groups into the South China Sea would make as much sense as the United States sending Carrier Task Groups off the coast of Japan in 1943 - before the offensive capabilities of the Japanese fleet had been reduced. I digress, the utility of the P-8 in global missions is a significant asset to the US - I'd say a much greater return on investment than the Ford class, the LCS, the Zumwalt class or the F-35.

      Ok so what capabilities is the p-8lacking which could make it more effective?

      Invisibility, Mach 5 speed, an undetectable radar, MAD gear that works over a thousand mile range . Seriously, there is nothing that can be done to make the P-8 useful. It's like asking, what can we do to make a car fly better? Nothing, short of remake it as an airplane.

      The P-8 is just not suited for its professed role. We need some other type of platform. That was the point of the post.

      ASW is P-8As main role. And it ia mainly done with underwater acoustics. Not MAD or radar.

      P-8A is well suited to deploy and monitor buoy fields, which is how we've done ASW for last 50 yrs or so. Ask USSR if successful.

      Long-range scouting (SUW) in higg end SAM environments is probably better conducted by other assets.

      "ASW is P-8As main role. And it ia mainly done with underwater acoustics. Not MAD or radar."

      Actually, the Navy doesn't see it that way. NavAir, for example, co-lists three major capabilities: ASW, ASuW, and ISR. The Navy's description of the P-8 calls it a long range maritime patrol aircraft. The Navy further describes the P-8 as part of a team with the Triton UAV to perform the Broad Aream Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) mission. Thus, the Navy views ASW, at best, as one of three main missions and, more commonly, a secondary mission behind BAMS.

      Regarding acoustics as the main ASW method, the Navy is rather heavily promoting radar for periscope/snorkling detection as a main ASW tool and actually deleted the MAD unit.

      So, we have an aircraft that can't perform BAMS in war, will likely never do ASuW, and can only do ASW far from the front during war. That has to lead one to ask why we spent so much on such a sophisticated aircraft that will be so limited in war? Hence, the post.

      The P-8A is a multi-mission aircraft, but ASW is the core mission set. SUW and ISR are important (ISR is probably done more day-to-day than ASW) but we are buying these planes for ASW.

      "Front lines" is fairly meaningless when the enemy has submarines underway.

      Acoustics is usually the key detection tool. MAD is a localization sensor more than search sensor.

      A successful ASW campaign starts well before the shooting. Finding and tracking enemy submarines starts days/months/years prior. That's the core MPRA role.

      In my view, the purpose of the P8 is not to find the enemy during war, but to monitor them before it.

      Its simply inconceivable for a war to start and the US to not know almost exactly where Russian or Chinese surface vessels are, certainly all of their major combatants, and most of their submarines.

      They might be able to lock you out of the SCS for a while, but the defender always loses in the end.

      "In my view, the purpose of the P8 is not to find the enemy during war, but to monitor them before it."

      Ummm . well, that's different. How do you see us monitoring the enemy during war?


      MPRA does all of these functions in Phase 0. Including detecting and tracking (potential) adversary subs.

      "Ummm . well, that's different. How do you see us monitoring the enemy during war?"

      Poorly, but better than they will monitor you.

      I don't think you appreciate that the main role of an MPRA is to track and gather intelligence on enemy submarines prior to hostilities.

      In fact, that is not "different" That is what the community has been doing since the beginning of the Cold War!

      Would a P-8A penetrate into an enemy A2/AD zone to kill enemy subs? Not sure. But there are other vital roles that it does accomplish.

      I feel like you are trying to make a "case" against P-8A without really understanding the wider mission or context.

      Those SAM ranges are just missile ranges. Due the curvature of the earth, P-8s are safe from SAMs around 40 miles away so long as they don't fly too high. There is OTH radar, but that says something is out there with a estimate of within a few miles. Then fighters must be launched to investigate. From Wiki:

      Radio waves, a form of electromagnetic radiation, tend to travel in straight lines. This generally limits the detection range of radar systems to objects on their horizon due to the curvature of the Earth. For example, a radar mounted on top of a 10 m (33 ft) mast has a range to the horizon of about 13 kilometers (8.1 mi), taking into account atmospheric refraction effects. If the target is above the surface, this range will be increased accordingly, so a target 10 m (33 ft) high can be detected by the same radar at 26 km (16 mi).

      In general it is impractical to build radar systems with line-of-sight ranges beyond a few hundred kilometers.[1] OTH radars use various techniques to see beyond that limit. Two techniques are most commonly used shortwave systems that reflect their signals off the ionosphere for very long-range detection,[1] and surface wave systems which use low-frequency radio waves that due to diffraction follow the curvature of the Earth to reach beyond the horizon. These systems achieve detection ranges of the order of a hundred kilometers from small, conventional radar installations.

      This is why an escorting E-737 is needed. Keep in mind that 737s can reach near MACH in a shallow dive, so they can run as alert fighters are launched to help. They could also carry rear mounted AMRAAMs and decoys.

      You don't need to operate radar to do ASW.

      Actually, the Navy is touting periscope/snorkle detecting radar as one of the main ASW features! I don't agree but that's their position.

      Note also that enemy submarines don't always stay conveniently tucked into the main battle line!

      Submarines exist to play havoc at far distances and along SLOCs. See German U-Boats in WW2. Or USN in WW2.

      That in part is why you need MPRA. To be where your main Fleet is not.

      Absolutely. An ASW presence is needed in "friendly" waters, for sure. The question is how ASW and BAMS will be conducted in the A2/AD zone. The Navy bought the P-8 for that function but it looks like it can't do it.

      Navy is buying MQ-4C Triton for BAMS.

      Please cite source where Navy bought P-8A to conduct ASW in contested zone.

      The Navy describes its maritime surveillance mission as being filled by teams (pairings is sometimes used to describe it) of P-8 and Triton. BAMS is a paired P-8 and Triton mission.

      The Navy doesn't describe the P-8's role other than with vague, sweeping statements. I'm looking at the wartime needs (ASW in the A2/AD zone, surveillance in the A2/AD zone, etc.) and drawing my own conclusions regarding what platforms are intended for those roles and which ones, if any, can actually do them.

      To turn your request around, please cite source where Navy bought P-8A to conduct ASW in only non-contested zone.

      You are looking at one narrow, wartime need. In isolation. And ignoring everything that occurred beforehand (Phase 0/1 operations.

      And as I have pointed out, historically ASW has never been defined as a "front line" problem. Submarine have a nasty habit of going where you don't want them to go.

      A few fundamental misconceptions in this article. I'm almost certain this will get edited out.

      1. The primary mission of P-8A/P-3C is ASW. Long-distance SUW is a secondary mission. SUW in contested environment is probably more of an F-18 or SSN role.

      2. Not all ASW takes place in wartime. One could argue that the entire Cold War was a 45-year ASW campaign.

      Gathering intelligence on enemy submarine capabilites and movements gave NATO a decisive edge if/when combat occurred. P-3 was a big part of that.

      3. If you don't believe a worldwide deployable submarines are an issue, see Russian resurgence. Why do you think SECDEF is pushing to reopen Iceland (former P-3 base)?

      4. Not all wartime ASW takes place within range of enemy coastline or within envelop of their surface warships. See WW2 in Atlantic and Pacific and Cold War. Submarines like to threaten SLOCs.

      5. Air defense radars are subject to physics, including curvature of the earth. A good way to defeat a radar is to simply fly really low. P-3 does that routinely.

      All good points, however, you're missing a few things.

      A. I made clear in the post that there is still a need for ASW beyond the front lines (ie, in "our" waters).

      B. Neither China nor Russia currently or in the foreseeable future have a world-ranging submarine capability beyond a few odd subs. The numbers of subs simply don't exist. The ASW battle will take place in the A2/AD zone.

      C. The Navy considers the P-8's main mission to be BAMS, in tandem with the Triton.

      D. Flying really low eliminates the P-8 from the surveillance mission.

      All of these combine to suggest that the enormous money and effort that went into the P-8 may have been better spent elsewhere. A much simpler aircraft could have done the P-8 mission that is left in wartime.

      I don't edit out comments I disagree with. I edit out personal attacks and comments that are factually false.

      Lockheed offered a conversion of the C130J as a maritime patrol aircraft to Great Britain.
      Not sure if this would be a more cost effective approach than the P8A

      The P8A would have significantly higher airspeed.

      This comment has been removed by the author.

      5. Air defense radars are subject to physics, including curvature of the earth. A good way to defeat a radar is to simply fly really low. P-3 does that routinely."

      Which works both ways, if you dog a hole and climb in to it, you are practically invisible, but you cant see shit all either.

      Even at a couple hundred feet, your radar horizon is pretty decent.

      The rule of thumb for radar horizon is 1.23*sqrt(alt).

      If you can see, you can be seen.

      It's a little more complicated than that.

      One option that has been discussed but died was going smaller. Make a common P3 and S3 replacement. Make it Carrier capable/STOL and about the size of a biz jet. Try to get as much range and sensor/weapons capability as possible in that sized aircraft. Give it inflight refueling capability to cover larger areas and compensate for smaller size. Key is to keep the flight hour cost down. Shifting squadron's from shore based to carrier based work can be done just look at the EA6B/EA-18G community for an example. Once the platform is established for ASW/SW work then expand into other mission areas (replacement for VPUs and VQs) Several other countries have been interested in the past to include SK and India.

      So here's a question What is more important in A ASW oriented airframe. Speed or loiter/endurance because you can't have both

      Endurance and range are critical. Speed is necessary, but even a P-3 was an order of magnitude faster than subs (300 kts).

      The comment that you don't need radar to do ASW is wrong, because you need radar escort, hence the need for E-737s. Would a carrier send an H-60 near shore to poke around for subs or boats without fighters or Hawkeyes overhead?

      This basic topic is that sending P-8s anywhere near the enemy is foolish because a single fighter may show up and gun it down like a duck. Or it may fly near a destroyer or even an enemy helo and get nailed. It needs a high flying AWACs type platform for overwatch, which our Navy also needs at forward bases like Guam for base defense. The Hawkeye could be used but they have far less range and speed. As posters have noted, without an escort a P-8s wartime role is really limited. If you haven't funds for E737s, then cut back the P-8 plan to afford some.

      ComNavOps, can you do a post about the E-737 so people (including Admirals) know that it exists?

      And then pose the question: Should our Navy buy fewer than the 122 P-8s planned to afford a couple dozen E-737s and are still in production? The Australians bought some as E-7As. I think our Navy is smart enough to recognize this as a great idea.

      We already have the E-3 Sentry so I'm not seeing the advantage to setting up yet another maintenance/training pipeline to do the same job.

      Pairing AWACS and P-8s is not a good idea. For one thing, it doubles the cost of performing ASW/BAMS and for another, it somewhat broadcasts the location of the ASW/BAMS due to the AWACS radar. The P-8 has a radar that is adequate for detecting danger (maybe) if it wishes to radiate. Of course, if it does, it will broadcast its location.

      You seem to think this E-737 is a good idea so tell me why. Operationally and tactically, think it through and tell me why you like the idea.

      In your last article on P-3, you seemed perfectly willing to ignore the cost of maintaining a separate pipeline to maintain a mixed force of upgraded P-3s and P-8As.

      I am not saying that I agree with the proposed E-737 concept (I don't) but your accounting logic seems strangely inconsistent.

      We don't have the E-3, the USAF has them and might lend a couple for the Navy if it feels like it. They are outdated 40-year old aircraft. An E-737 has common parts and training with other Navy 737s, the P-8 and C-40.

      And as you state, the P-8s are best leaving their radar off and flying low to avoid radar detection while operating near the enemy and to look for subs. A high flying E-737 flying 100 miles further back can provide excellent coverage from threats. Wise carrier group commanders will send their 737 pairs sweeping ahead to locate the enemy, lest enemy subs nail their flattop.

      Finally, Hawkeyes are great, but lack the speed and range to support carrier strike aircraft. Admirals would find E-737s based at Guam and Australia tremendous assets.

      "In your last article on P-3, you seemed perfectly willing to ignore the cost of maintaining a separate pipeline to maintain a mixed force of upgraded P-3s and P-8As. "

      I assume you're referring to the "Upgrade vs. New" post? In that I suggested that we ought to have considered P-3 upgrades rather than new P-8s. I did not suggest both.

      A less desirable alternative if we are determined to build P-8s is to stretch out the P-3 life with upgrades. It's less desirable because it does include multiple pipelines and support structures.

      I read this column regularly. This may be the first post that I think is way off. Several others already have made good tactical points defending the P-8 that I don't need to repeat. Here's my additional comments.

      First, the PBY comparison is not relevant. WW2 was a completely different war-fighting environment, using largely machine guns and anti-aircraft cannon to down aircraft. Yes, the P-8 and any other MPA are intended to fly into threat environments. But extrapolating what happened to PBYs in WW2 and using that data to forecast what might happen to any modern MPA makes little sense. It's all conjecture.

      As for the P-8, you criticized it as slow and defenseless. It is not slower than any other MPA aircraft out there. As a matter of fact its faster than nearly all MPA operational models fielded by any country over the last 50 years (Nimrod, P-1, P-2, P-3, PBM, S-3, Breguet Atlantic, and so on.) So if you are saying that it is too slow, then you need to explain how all MPA aircraft both past and present operate at about the same speed or slower, yet all the world's major countries who fear submarines deploy MPAs with similar performance. Is the entire world getting this one wrong?

      It is also not defenseless. The PBY and other WW2 era aircraft depending on machine gun and cannon turrets for defense. There is a reason why modern MPA do not have this equipment--it would be worthless in the modern threat environment. What the P-8 presumably has is a suite of electronic gear to help it hide from and potentially defeat air-to-air and SAM threats. Of course it will not be invulnerable however. But it is not defenseless.

      Last, you point out the problems the P-8 could have penetrating the South China Sea. That statement can be made about any USN weapons system today--surface ships, subs, etc. They are all going to be challenged penetrating that line going forward. It's not a problem unique to the P-8. However, there is a lot of other ocean out there than needs patrolling. Please suggest a better platform to do the job than this one.

      "I read this column regularly. This may be the first post that I think is way off."

      Well, I'm doing pretty good then! Thanks for the backhanded compliment.

      The PBY comparison is completely relevant. We're looking at roles and risks. The same role exists today and the threats are much worse. There are lessons to be learned. One lesson is that patrol aircraft are inherently defenseless and subject to loss. Building a patrol aircraft that is too expensive to lose is a bad idea. That was one lesson. The PBY was inexpensive and we could afford to build many and lose many. We've forgotten that lesson and we're building very expensive patrol aircraft that we can't afford to lose and, therefore, can't afford to send into high threat areas - the exact areas we'd like to patrol.

      Of course the P-8 is slow and defenseless compared to the threats (Mach+ aircraft and missiles). All other patrol aircraft are too. How does other aircraft being slow and defenseless make the P-8 somehow better? I didn't write about the other aircraft because the USN doesn't use them but if they did, I'd be writing the same about them.

      "Is the entire world getting this one wrong?"

      In this case, yes. Any country that is going to enter into high end combat will lose their patrol aircraft if they approach anywhere near the battlefront. That clearly suggests to me that they have the wrong platform for the mission. Of course, most other countries won't engage in frontline, high end combat. They'll sit back while the US and UK fight and the other country's aircraft will patrol outlying, peripheral, backwater areas.

      Do you believe that all the other countries doing something confers a mantle of rightness? All the countries prior to WWII believed the battleship was the supreme naval platform. That belief didn't last long once combat started!

      "All the other countries" simply tells me that everyone has fallen into a lazy rut of tactical thinking. Feel free to disagree with me but do it based on your own considered analysis not because everyone else "does it".

      "What the P-8 presumably has is a suite of electronic gear to help it hide from and potentially defeat air-to-air and SAM threats."

      I've seen absolutely nothing to indicate that is the case. The P-8 is not intended to encounter localized threats (though how the Navy will accomplish that and still perform the mission is the point of the post) and I do not believe the aircraft is equipped for those threats. If you know of any reference to the contrary, please share it. Be careful about statements that reflect what you wish existed. Too often, the Navy does not do what makes sense.

      Investigate this and let me know what you find.

      "Last, you point out the problems the P-8 could have penetrating the South China Sea. That statement can be made about any USN weapons system today. "

      That the same statement can be made about other platforms does not make the statement any less true or relevant. The P-8 cannot penetrate A2/AD zones with any hope of survival. It's ill-suited for the role.

      "Please suggest a better platform to do the job than this one."

      Now that's a topic worthy of an entire post. For starters, the P-8 has two missions: ASW and BAMS. That may require two separate platforms.

      Likely, the missions will require multiple platform types such as long range, expendable UAVs, more underwater patrol vessels (UUVs maybe?), mobile low Earth orbit "satellites", lots of SIGINT/ESM ships and aircraft, etc. Sorry, that's the best I can do in a short comment.

      Think about how you'd do the mission without any pre-conceptions about existing equipment. I'm betting you wouldn't pick a P-8!!

      No. The BAMS role is filled by. BAMS. Which is now called MQ-4C Triton.

      SIGINT/ESM role is currently filled by EP-3 - which is also being replaced by P-8A and Triton. So your solution for the P-8A - is to replace it with the P-8As.

      I feel like you are trying very badly to make a case against something you don't quite understand.

      "No. The BAMS role is filled by. BAMS. Which is now called MQ-4C Triton."

      Please check the Navy's website and you'll see that they refer to the teaming of the P-8 and Triton to perform BAMS. What exactly that means from a CONOPS perspective is unknown but they clearly see the two aircraft operating together.

      The NAVAIR fact files on P-8A and MQ-4C Triton do not reference a BAMS mission set.

      The files say that Triton does persistent ISR, and frees up P-8A do ASW, SUW and gather multi-spectral INT.

      You're picking out little fact "bio's". Do some deeper searching. For example, Google "P-8 Triton BAMS" and you'll find lots of references to the Navy's plan to team P-8's and Triton. The details have yet to be worked out but it's clear they view them as linked.

      Front line is an irrelevant concept when it comes to the methodology of sub hunting for the P-8
      There is no front line. Open ocean sub hunting.

      In the entire history of naval warfare, out of 7,000 years of recorded history, precisely one battle, Middway, happened out of sight of land (and even then, it was ostensibly fought over a piece of territory). So, who knows where the majority of the work these assets will actually be doing, in a near peer situation.

      Regardless, of all the aircraft equipped in a sub hunting role, these are likely to be the hardest to hit from an AA platform.
      Simple AT missiles can bring down HELO's, P-3's had to descend to within Strella/Stinger range for a war shot. So, of all the possible aerial sub hunting assets, these are likely to be the hardest to shoot out of the sky.

      "There is no front line. Open ocean sub hunting."

      Too many people deal in generalities rather than specific strategic and operational requirements. It's clear that for the foreseeable future (the next 20 years), Russia is not a world roaming submarine force. They are lucky to be able to operate a half dozen or so subs. Their economy and military budgets, combined with severe maintenance and quality issues, drastically limits the number of deployable subs.

      China has relatively few deep water subs and very little open ocean submarine operating experience (they barely begun to map out the oceans, for example). Further, their entire focus is within the first island chain for the near future (while recognizing that they have begun reaching out to Africa and other areas). Thus, excepting a few odd subs slipping out into the Pacific, the submarine battle will take place within the E/S China Seas. So, yes, there will be a front line in a conflict with China.

      Hardest to hit? What does that demonstrate? That's like having two fish in a barrel. One will be harder to shoot than the other but neither will be hard. It's like two guys falling off a cliff. One will hit the ground first (actually that ignores a law of physics) but that doesn't mean that the other guy is better off! It's like . well, you get the idea.

      "It's clear that for the foreseeable future (the next 20 years), Russia is not a world roaming submarine force."

      You cannot be serious. What are you basing that on?

      ONI would disagree with that statement. As would ISIS in Syria - at least those who survived a Russian submarine-launched cruise missile attack back in December!

      I would agree with earlier commenter that your post is a bit off. Please take this as constructive criticism, but you just don't seem to understand the ASW mission or what the MPRA actually does. This is not meant to be insulting.

      1. ONI wouldn't agree with you that Russia lacks a world-ranging submarine capability beyond a few odd subs. Nor would the Chief of Naval Operations. Nor the Russian Navy themselves. Russian subs have alleged operated in Arctic, Atlantic and even Gulf of Mexico. They are apparently building a lot of very high end submarines (SEVERODVINSK class). Similarly, China is buying an awful lot of nuclear attack (SSN), nuclear ballistic missile (SSBN), nuclear guided missile (SSGN) and air independent propulsion (AIP) subs for a Navy that wants to stay safely tucked in its own backyard.

      2. Your focus on ASW as a regional problem fought exclusively within the enemy's backyard ignores historical precedent. Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) has never been a linear "front lines", "rear area" problem. Historically, a country buys submarines in order to strike an enemy where it is weakest. Chinese open source literature seems very clear on this (see Assassins Mace).

      3. Viewing ASW exclusively as finding and killing submarines in wartime is a bit myopic. Per DOD doctrine, there are several phases to any military operations:

      - Phase 0 is shaping. ASW: Gathering intelligence on enemy submarines capability.
      - Phase 1 is deterrence. ASW: Maintaining overt/covert track of enemy subs.
      - Phase 2 is seize the initiative. ASW: locating and killing submarines in the shooting war.

      You seem to focus solely on Phase 2. Phase 2 is important, but success in Phase 0/1 set conditions for success in Phase 2. ASW is one of the few mission areas that the Navy executes on a daily basis.

      The US Navy spent the entire Cold War (1947-1992) in Phase 0/1 against Soviet subs. There is a perhaps apocryphal quote from a Soviet admiral that the only way he kept track of his subs was to follow the USN P-3s tracking them! It would not surprise me if we are tracking and gathering intel on Russian and Chinese subs right now.

      4. In my opinion, Phase 0/1 is actually where MPRA show the most utility. For one thing, it can respond faster and search a much wider areas than an SSN. And $200 million may seem like a lot of money, until you compare the alternatives. If you have to deal with a lot of out-of-area deployers (which seems to be the case) it's a lot cheaper to det out a small number of P-8As then to send a multi-billion dollar Virginia class or Arleigh Burke destroyer.

      An MPRA is actually more of a screening/economy of force asset more than a battle line asset. You don't send it into the heart of the A2/AD envelope. That's why we have fast attack submarines.

      The Army just released these images taken moments before a combat photographer’s death

      Posted On April 02, 2018 09:46:06

      The Army has released an image taken by a combat photographer moments before she was killed in an explosion during a 2013 live-fire training exercise in eastern Afghanistan.

      Spc. Hilda I. Clayton, a visual information specialist assigned to the 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera), was killed while photographing a live-fire training exercise on July 2 in Laghman Province. Four Afghan National Army soldiers were also killed when a mortar tube accidentally exploded.

      One of the Afghan soldiers killed was a photojournalist whom Clayton had been training.

      The primary mission of Combat Camera soldiers is to accompany soldiers on deployments to document the history of combat operations.

      Spc. Hilda I. Clayton | US Army

      “Clayton’s death symbolizes how female soldiers are increasingly exposed to hazardous situations in training and in combat on par with their male counterparts,” the Army said in a statement.

      Clayton’s name has since been added to the Defense Information School Hall of Heroes at Fort Meade. The award for the winner of Combat Camera’s annual competition was also named after her.

      “The Spc. Hilda I. Clayton Best Combat Camera (COMCAM) Competition consists of five days of events to test joint service combat camera personnel on their physical and technical skills,” the Army said.

      Here are the images the Army released:

      Clayton took this photo. | U.S. Army Spc. Hilda I. Clayton/US Army

      An Afghan soldier took this photo. | Afghan photojournalist/US Army


      Features [ edit | edit source ]

      Consolidated PBY Catalina

      PBY was a versatile and great flying boat, for example, it was discovered German Battleship Bismarck, Followed it and prevented its escape, the German occupied by ports France and found Japanese aviation support ships in the Battle of Midway.

      Machine type was also used to Allies The German ships' security submarines against Atlantic. This was the first trial at a later date submarine in the fight against the black sky Name-called "defense tactics, where possible with plenty of air gun designed to prevent the presence of submarines in the other party activities.

      PBY was able to fly continuously for 18 hours or additional fuel tanks up to 24 hours, so it is particularly well suited for such work.


      Background Edit

      The PBY was originally designed to be a patrol bomber, an aircraft with a long operational range intended to locate and attack enemy transport ships at sea in order to disrupt enemy supply lines. With a mind to a potential conflict in the Pacific Ocean, where troops would require resupply over great distances, the U.S. Navy in the 1930s invested millions of dollars in developing long-range flying boats for this purpose. Flying boats had the advantage of not requiring runways, in effect having the entire ocean available.

      Initial development Edit

      As American dominance in the Pacific Ocean began to face competition from Japan in the 1930s, the U.S. Navy contracted Consolidated, Martin and Douglas in October 1933 to build competing prototypes for a patrol flying boat. [3] Naval doctrine of the 1930s and 1940s used flying boats in a wide variety of roles that today are handled by multiple special-purpose aircraft. The U.S. Navy had adopted the Consolidated P2Y and Martin P3M models for this role in 1931, but both aircraft were underpowered and hampered by inadequate range and limited payloads.

      Consolidated and Douglas both delivered single prototypes of their new designs, the XP3Y-1 and XP3D-1, respectively. Consolidated's XP3Y-1 was an evolution of the XPY-1 design that had originally competed unsuccessfully for the P3M contract two years earlier and of the XP2Y design that the Navy had authorized for a limited production run. Although the Douglas aircraft was a good design, the Navy opted for Consolidated's because the projected cost was only $90,000 per aircraft.

      Consolidated's XP3Y-1 design (company Model 28) had a parasol wing with external bracing struts, mounted on a pylon over the fuselage. Wingtip stabilizing floats were retractable in flight to form streamlined wingtips and had been licensed from the Saunders-Roe company. The two-step hull design was similar to that of the P2Y, but the Model 28 had a cantilever cruciform tail unit instead of a strut-braced twin tail. Cleaner aerodynamics gave the Model 28 better performance than earlier designs. Construction is all-metal, stressed-skin, of aluminum sheet, except the ailerons and wing trailing edge, which are fabric covered. [4]

      The prototype was powered by two 825 hp (615 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-54 Twin Wasp radial engines mounted on the wing's leading edge. Armament comprised four .30 in (7.6 mm) Browning AN/M2 machine guns and up to 2,000 lb (910 kg) of bombs.

      The XP3Y-1 had its maiden flight on 28 March 1935, after which it was transferred to the U.S. Navy for service trials. The XP3Y-1 was a significant performance improvement over previous patrol flying boats. The Navy requested further development in order to bring the aircraft into the category of patrol bomber, and in October 1935, the prototype was returned to Consolidated for further work, including installation of 900 hp (670 kW) R-1830-64 engines. For the redesignated XPBY-1, Consolidated introduced redesigned vertical tail surfaces which resolved a problem with the tail becoming submerged on takeoff, which had made lift-off impossible under some conditions. The XPBY-1 had its maiden flight on 19 May 1936, during which a record non-stop distance flight of 3,443 mi (2,992 nmi 5,541 km) was achieved.

      The XPBY-1 was delivered to VP-11F in October 1936. The second squadron to be equipped was VP-12, which received the first of its aircraft in early 1937. The second production order was placed on 25 July 1936. Over the next three years, the design was gradually developed further and successive models introduced.

      The aircraft eventually bore the name Catalina after Santa Catalina Island, California the name was coined in November 1941, as Great Britain ordered their first 30 aircraft. [5]

      PBN Nomad Edit

      The Naval Aircraft Factory made significant modifications to the PBY design, many of which would have significantly interrupted deliveries had they been incorporated on the Consolidated production lines. [6] The new aircraft, officially known as the PBN-1 Nomad, had several differences from the basic PBY. The most obvious upgrades were to the bow, which was sharpened and extended by two feet, and to the tail, which was enlarged and featured a new shape. Other improvements included larger fuel tanks, increasing range by 50%, and stronger wings permitting a 2,000 lb (908 kg) increase in gross takeoff weight. An auxiliary power unit was installed, along with an improved electrical system, and the weapons were upgraded with continuous-feed mechanisms. [6]

      138 of the 156 PBN-1s produced served with the Soviet Navy, after the NAF transferred ownership via Project ZEBRA (1944-1945). [7] The remaining 18 were assigned to training units at NAS Whidbey Island and the Naval Air Facility in Newport, Rhode Island. [8] Later, improvements found in the PBN such as the larger tail were incorporated into the amphibious PBY-6A.

      Naming Edit

      The designation "PBY" was determined in accordance with the U.S. Navy aircraft designation system of 1922 PB representing "Patrol Bomber" and Y being the code assigned to Consolidated Aircraft as its manufacturer. Catalinas built by other manufacturers for the U.S. Navy were designated according to different manufacturer codes, thus Canadian Vickers-built examples were designated PBV, Boeing Canada examples PB2B (there already being a Boeing PBB) and Naval Aircraft Factory examples were designated PBN. In accordance with contemporary British naming practice of naming seaplanes after coastal port towns, Royal Canadian Air Force examples were named Canso, for the town of that name in Nova Scotia. [ citation needed ] The Royal Air Force used the name Catalina and the U.S. Navy adopted this name in 1942. [9] The United States Army Air Forces and later the United States Air Force used the designation OA-10. U.S. Navy Catalinas used in the Pacific against the Japanese for night operations were painted black overall as a result these aircraft were sometimes referred to locally as "Black Cats".

      Roles in World War II Edit

      The PBY was the most numerous aircraft of its kind, with around 3,300 aircraft built.

      The type operated in nearly all operational theatres of World War II. The Catalina served with distinction and played a prominent and invaluable role in the war against the Japanese.

      These patrol planes shared with land based patrol bombers the combat roles while the very long range Consolidated LB-30 and the Consolidated Coronado were pressed into service to increase the all important logistic strategic air lift capability in the vast Pacific theater. The pairings allowed the Catalina to take on the role of eyes of the fleets at longer ranges than the float plane scouts.

      Several different flying boats were adopted by the Navy, but the PBY was the most widely used and produced.

      Although slow and ungainly, Catalinas distinguished themselves in World War II. Allied forces used them successfully in a wide variety of roles for which the aircraft was never intended. PBYs are remembered for their rescue role, in which they saved the lives of thousands of aircrew downed over water. Catalina airmen called their aircraft the "Cat" on combat missions and "Dumbo" in air-sea rescue service. [10]

      The Catalina scored the U.S. Navy's first verifiable air-to-air "kill" of a Japanese airplane in the Pacific War. On December 10, 1941, the Japanese attacked the Cavite Navy Yard in the Philippines. Numerous U.S. ships and submarines were damaged or destroyed by bombs and bomb fragments. While flying to safety during the raid on Cavite, Lieutenant Harmon T. Utter's PBY was attacked by three Japanese Mitsubishi A6M2 Type 0 carrier fighters. Chief Boatswain Earl D. Payne, Utter's bow gunner, shot down one, thus scoring the U.S. Navy's first kill. Utter, as a commander, would later go on to coordinate the carrier air strikes that lead to the destruction of the Japanese battleship Yamato. [11] [12]

      The Catalina performed one of the first offensive operations against the Japanese by the US. On 27 December 1941, six Catalinas of Patrol Squadron 101 bombed Japanese shipping at Jolo Island against heavy fighter opposition, with four Catalinas lost. [11]

      Anti-submarine warfare Edit

      Catalinas were the most extensively used anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of World War II, and were also used in the Indian Ocean, flying from the Seychelles and from Ceylon. Their duties included escorting convoys to Murmansk. By 1943, U-boats were well-armed with anti-aircraft guns and two Victoria Crosses were won by Catalina pilots pressing home their attacks on U-boats in the face of heavy fire: Flying Officer John Cruickshank of the RAF, in 1944, for sinking U-347 (although the submarine is now known to have been U-361 [13] ) and in the same year Flight Lieutenant David Hornell of the Royal Canadian Air Force (posthumously) against U-1225. Catalinas destroyed 40 U-boats, but not without losses of their own. A Brazilian Catalina attacked and sank U-199 in Brazilian waters on 31 July 1943. Later, the aircraft was baptized as "Arará", in memory of the merchant ship of that name which was sunk by another U-boat. [14]

      Maritime patrol Edit

      In their role as patrol aircraft, Catalinas participated in some of the most notable naval engagements of World War II. The aircraft's parasol wing and large waist blisters provided excellent visibility and combined with its long range and endurance, made it well suited for the task.

      A RAF Coastal Command Catalina, with Ensign Leonard B. Smith of the U.S. Navy as copilot, and flying out of Castle Archdale Flying boat base, Lower Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, located on 26 May 1941, some 690 nmi (1,280 km 790 mi) northwest of Brest, the German battleship Bismarck, which was attempting to evade Royal Navy forces as she sought to join other Kriegsmarine forces in Brest. [note 1] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] This sighting eventually led to the destruction of the German battleship.

      On 7 December 1941, before the Japanese amphibious landings on Kota Bharu, Malaya, their invasion force was approached by a Catalina flying boat of No. 205 Squadron RAF. The aircraft was shot down by five Nakajima Ki-27 fighters before it could radio its report to air headquarters in Singapore. [20] Flying Officer Patrick Bedell, commanding the Catalina, and his seven crew members became the first Allied casualties in the war with Japan. [21]

      A flight of Catalinas spotted the Japanese fleet approaching Midway Island, beginning the Battle of Midway. [22]

      A Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Canso flown by Squadron Leader L.J. Birchall foiled Japanese plans to destroy the Royal Navy's Indian Ocean fleet on 4 April 1942 when it detected the Japanese carrier fleet approaching Ceylon (Sri Lanka). [23]

      Night attack and naval interdiction Edit

      During the Battle of Midway four United States Navy PBYs of Patrol Squadrons 24 and 51 made a night torpedo attack on the Japanese fleet on the night of June 3–4, 1942, scoring one hit which damaged the fleet oiler Akebono Maru, the only successful American torpedo attack in the entire battle. [24]

      During the Guadalcanal campaign, some U.S. Navy PBYs were painted matte black and sent on night bombing, torpedoing, and strafing missions against Japanese supply vessels and warships, including conducting interdiction raids on the Tokyo Express. These PBYs were later called "Black Cats". Subsequently, special squadrons of Black Cats were formed, commencing in December 1942 with VP-12, with an additional thirteen squadrons coming into service thereafter. [note 2] Flying slowly at night, dipping to ship mast height, the Black Cats bombed, strafed, and torpedoed all kinds of Japanese vessels, sinking or damaging thousands of tons of shipping. The Black Cats also performed bombing, strafing and harassment regarding land based Japanese installations, as well as conducting reconnaissance and search and rescue operations. The Black Cat squadrons continued to be active into 1944 with the PB4Y-2 beginning to come in service in greater numbers and replacing the PBYs, the last Black Cat squadrons returning to the U.S. in early 1945. [25] [26]

      The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also operated Catalinas as night raiders, with four squadrons Nos. 11, 20, 42, and 43 laying mines from 23 April 1943 until July 1945 in the southwest Pacific deep in Japanese-held waters, bottling up ports and shipping routes and forcing ships into deeper waters to become targets for U.S. submarines they tied up the major strategic ports such as Balikpapan which shipped 80% of Japanese oil supplies. In late 1944, their mining missions sometimes exceeded 20 hours in duration and were carried out from as low as 200 ft (61 m) in the dark. Operations included trapping the Japanese fleet in Manila Bay in assistance of General Douglas MacArthur's landing at Mindoro in the Philippines. Australian Catalinas also operated out of Jinamoc in the Leyte Gulf, and mined ports on the Chinese coast from Hong Kong to as far north as Wenchow. Both USN and RAAF Catalinas regularly mounted nuisance night bombing raids on Japanese bases, with the RAAF claiming the slogan "The First and the Furthest". Targets of these raids included a major base at Rabaul. RAAF aircrews, like their U.S. Navy counterparts, employed "terror bombs", ranging from scrap metal and rocks to empty beer bottles with razor blades inserted into the necks, to produce high-pitched screams as they fell, keeping Japanese soldiers awake and scrambling for cover. [27] There was a Catalina base on Drimmie Head on the Gove Peninsula in the Northern Territory. [28]

      Search and rescue Edit

      Catalinas were employed by every branch of the U.S. military as rescue aircraft. A PBY piloted by LCDR Adrian Marks (USN) rescued 56 sailors in high seas from the heavy cruiser Indianapolis after the ship was sunk during World War II. When there was no more room inside, the crew tied sailors to the wings. The aircraft could not fly in this state instead it acted as a lifeboat, protecting the sailors from exposure and the risk of shark attack, until rescue ships arrived. Catalinas continued to function in the search-and-rescue role for decades after the end of the war.

      Early commercial use Edit

      Catalinas were also used for commercial air travel. For example, Qantas Empire Airways flew commercial passengers from Suva to Sydney, a journey of 2,060 miles (3,320 km), which in 1949 took two days. [29] The longest commercial flights (in terms of time aloft) ever made in aviation history were the Qantas flights flown weekly from 29 June 1943 through July 1945 over the Indian Ocean, dubbed the Double Sunrise. Qantas offered non-stop service between Perth and Colombo, a distance of 3,592 nmi (4,134 mi 6,652 km). As the Catalina typically cruised at 110 kn (130 mph 200 km/h), this took from 28 to 32 hours and was called the "flight of the double sunrise", since the passengers saw two sunrises during their non-stop journey. The flight was made in radio silence because of the possibility of Japanese attack and had a maximum payload of 1,000 lb (450 kg) or three passengers plus 143 lb (65 kg) of military and diplomatic mail. [30]

      Post-World War II employment Edit

      An Australian PBY named "Frigate Bird II", an ex RAAF aircraft, registered VH-ASA, made the first trans-Pacific flight across the South Pacific between Australia and Chile in 1951 by (Sir) Gordon Taylor, [31] making numerous stops at islands along the way for refueling, meals, and overnight sleep of its crew, flown from Sydney to Quintero in Chile after making initial landfall at Valparaiso via Tahiti and Easter Island. [32] One of six ordered by the RAAF was used as part of the air route across the Pacific from Sydney to Valparaiso, is in the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts ands Sciences in Sydney. [33]

      With the end of the war, all of the flying boat versions of the Catalina were quickly retired from the U.S. Navy, but the amphibious versions remained in service for some years. The last Catalina in U.S. service was a PBY-6A operating with a Naval Reserve squadron, which was retired from use on 3 January 1957. [3] The Catalina subsequently equipped the world's smaller armed services into the late 1960s in fairly substantial numbers.

      The U.S. Air Force's Strategic Air Command used Catalinas (designated OA-10s) in service as scout aircraft from 1946 through 1947.

      The Brazilian Air Force flew Catalinas in naval air patrol missions against German submarines starting in 1943. The flying boats also carried out air mail deliveries. In 1948, a transport squadron was formed and equipped with PBY-5As converted to the role of amphibious transports. The 1st Air Transport Squadron (ETA-1) was based in the port city of Belem and flew Catalinas and C-47s until 1982. Catalinas were convenient for supplying military detachments scattered along the Amazon. They reached places that were otherwise accessible only by helicopters. The ETA-1 insignia was a winged turtle with the motto "Though slowly, I always get there". Today, the last Brazilian Catalina (a former RCAF one) is displayed at the Airspace Museum (MUSAL) in Rio de Janeiro. [34]

      Jacques-Yves Cousteau used a PBY-6A (N101CS) to support his diving expeditions. His second son, Philippe, was killed in an accident in this aircraft that occurred on the Tagus River near Lisbon. The Catalina nosed over during a high-speed taxi run undertaken to check the hull for leakage following a water landing. The aircraft turned upside down, causing the fuselage to break behind the cockpit. The wing separated from the fuselage and the left engine broke off, penetrating the captain's side of the cockpit. [35]

      Paul Mantz converted an unknown number of surplus Catalinas to flying yachts at his Orange County California hangar in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

      Steward-Davis converted several Catalinas to their Super Catalina standard (later known as Super Cat), which replaced the usual 1,200 hp (890 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines with Wright R-2600 Cyclone 14 engines of 1,700 hp (1,300 kW). A larger, squared-off rudder was installed to compensate for the increased yaw which the more powerful engines could generate. The Super Catalina also had extra cabin windows and other alterations. [36]

      Chilean Air Force (FACH) Captain Roberto Parragué, in his PBY Catalina FACH No. 405 called "Manu-Tara", which means Lucky Bird in the Rapanui language, undertook the first flight between Easter Island and the continent of South America (from Chile), as well as the first flight to Tahiti, making him a national hero of France as well as of Chile. The flight was authorized by the Chilean President in 1951, but a second flight he made in 1957 was not authorized, and he was dismissed from the Chilean Air Force. [ citation needed ]

      Of the few dozen remaining airworthy Catalinas, the majority are in use as aerial firefighting aircraft. China Airlines, the official airline of the Republic of China (Taiwan) was founded with two Catalina amphibians. [ citation needed ]

      Platforms are folded out and deployed from Catalinas for use in open ocean fishing and Mahi Mahi tracking in the Pacific Ocean. [ citation needed ]

      Catalina affair Edit

      The Catalina Affair is the name given to a Cold War incident in which a Swedish Air Force Catalina was shot down by Soviet fighters over the Baltic Sea in June 1952 while investigating the disappearance of a Swedish Douglas DC-3 (later found to have been shot down by a Soviet fighter while on a signals intelligence mission it was found in 2003 and raised 2004–2005).

      Historic Pearl Harbor PBY Catalinas to fly again for 75th anniversary of the end of World War II

      Before and after Dec. 7, 1941, the frequent appearance of big PBY Catalina flying boats skimming the wavetops in Pearl Harbor and Kaneohe Bay would have been an eye-catching sight.

      The distinctive patrol bombers featured a high-mounted 104-foot wing — the same length as a B-17 bomber — and side-mountedblister windows for .50- caliber machine guns.

      They came to the attention of attacking Japanese planes for other reasons.

      “When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, their main targets were battleships and aircraft carriers,” the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum noted. “However, they were worried about the big PBY Catalina flying boats, which had the range to find the Japanese fleet and track it for hundreds of miles.”

      The better part of three squadrons of PBYs were decimated on the ground at Ford Island and another three were set ablaze by attacking planes at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay.

      More than 50 planes were destroyed or damaged.

      Aviation history is repeating itself — at least in terms of seeing the graceful aircraft flying again — with the arrival of two PBYs for the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

      Aerial parade flyovers with up to 14 vintage warbirds are scheduled around Oahu Aug. 29 and 30 and Sept. 2 — the day 75 years ago that Japan signed an unconditional surrender aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

      Aviation officials say it’s rare to see a PBY flying in Hawaii anymore, but one now known as “Princess of the Stars” will be landing in Kaneohe Bay Friday at 7 a.m. for a rendezvous with another bit of history. The aircraft now is at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

      In a commemoration flight for the 75th, the flying boat will transport a group of Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel for a dive on a PBY-5 that was sunk on Dec. 7, 1941, in Kaneohe Bay, and still lies in three pieces in 30 feet of murky water between the base hangars and Coconut Island.

      PBY pilot Peter Houghton said it will be a “tribute” flight to Don Long, now in his upper 90s, who is believed to have been a crew member in that particular PBY when it was strafed by attacking planes.

      On a 2016 visit to Oahu for the 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, Long said a crew member was stationed with each of the afloat PBYs in Kaneohe Bay at all times, and he had relieved another man that morning. He said to the best of his knowledge, three PBYs were in the harbor.

      “When I first heard the (approaching) aircraft, I looked up and saw them and I assumed it was the Army Air Corps on maneuvers,” he said at the time.

      His plane soon “got hit, got burned (and) sunk,” he said. “I had the experience of swimming through burning oil and water.”

      But Long added that he was lucky. “The other guys weren’t that day,” he said. Thirty-three PBYs at the base were damaged or destroyed. Eighteen sailors and two civilians were killed.

      The Princess of the Stars, which is based in Eugene, Ore., was even repainted to represent the colors of a VP (Patrol Squadron) 14 PBY based out of Kaneohe Bay at the time.

      “Knowing that we were going over there, we wanted a fitting tribute to the veterans and also the people that didn’t make it,” Houghton said.

      Marine Corps veteran Coy Pfaff’s grandfather, Stuart Barr, bought the PBY from a museum in France. Pfaff now is director of Soaring by the Sea Foundation for the “upkeep of the aircraft and to keep the thing flying, keep people educated about it,” he said.

      PBYs could be used for long-range reconnaissance, bombing, resupply, aircrew rescue and other tasks. In the Battle of Midway in 1942, PBYs searched out hundreds of miles along probable Japanese approach routes.

      Encountering Japanese transports in the early hours of June 4, the slow patrol planes hit the oiler Akebono Maru with one torpedo — the only successful U.S. aerial torpedo attack of the entire battle, according to the Navy. A PBY later reported the first contact with the Japanese carrier force.

      The Princess of the Stars was built in 1943 under license in Canada and was based out of Greenland and Iceland, Houghton said.

      Late in the war the PBY discovered a German submarine off Iceland. The third of four bombs made contact and U-342 went down. “It was the U-boat’s first cruise, so their first mission out, they got sunk,” Houghton said.

      Pfaff came to Oahu on the Navy amphibious assault ship USS Essex with the PBY after a two-week quarantine in San Diego and testing negative for coronavirus.

      “We’re here for the veterans,” Pfaff said, adding that, “Everything else is secondary.” Coronavirus has complicated planning and the latest cancellations include the premiere of the documentary “First to Fight — Pacific War Marines,” and a 75th commemoration dinner.

      The Pacific Northwest Naval Air Museum out of Whidbey Island, Wash., helped sponsor the PBY trip to Hawaii in support of the more than 52 World War II veterans still expected to attend.

      Houghton, one of the pilots, said “it’s an adventure every time” flying a PBY. “It’s a big airplane. Its design dates back to 1935. So it’s not modern by any means, and a lot of quirks, a lot of peculiarities, but it’s always a pleasure.”

      He added that taking off from Pearl Harbor, the main target of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack, was “very humbling.”

      “There’s a lot of history here,” he said, “and there’s a lot of people that didn’t make it out of that situation.”

      ©2020 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

      Military Airplane Boneyards and Scrapping Depots After World War II

      Military aircraft played a key role in the United States's victory over enemy forces in World War II.

      Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighters stacked vertically at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas after World War II (Photo by the Walnut Ridge Army Flying School Museum)

      However, once peace was assured, the military found itself with a huge surplus of aircraft. The United States had manufactured about 294,000 aircraft for the war effort. Of that number, 21,583 (7.34%) were lost in the United States in test flights, ferrying, training accidents, etc., and 43,581 were lost en route to the war and in overseas operations.

      By 1944 the U.S. Foreign Economic Administration began a program to scrap certain obsolete, damaged and surplus military aircraft overseas. Following the war, estimates of the number of excess surplus airplanes ran as high as 150,000. Consideration was given to storing a substantial number of airplanes, but the realization that the expense to store them was too great . many needed to be sold or scrapped.

      Some U.S. military aircraft overseas were not worth the time or money to bring back to the States, and were consequently buried, bulldozed or sunk at sea. Most, however, were returned home for storage, sale or scrapping.

      What to Do with Tens of Thousands of Surplus Aircraft

      Within a year of the signing of peace treaties, about 34,000 airplanes had been moved to 30 locations within the U.S. The War Assets Administration (WAA) and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) handled the disposal of these aircraft.

      The RFC established depots around the country to store and sell surplus aircraft. By the summer of 1945, at least 30 sales-storage depots and 23 sales centers were in operation. In November 1945, it was estimated a total of 117,210 aircraft would be transferred as surplus.

      A study was conducted to determine the most cost effective way to dispose of planes it was determined that too many man-hours were required to dismantle planes for parts, and the cost for storage areas for the parts was too high.

      So the method of "salvage and melt" was adopted. Main components such as engines, armament, instruments and radios were removed from each plane. The remainder of the aircraft was cut into pieces, and pushed in a large furnace, or smelter. Aluminum was the prime metal sought after, melted and poured into ingots for sale and shipping.

      Airlines procured a number of transport planes, primarily DC-3 and C-54 aircraft, for building up their post-war inventories of commercial airliners.

      Others planes were transferred to civilian control, or to the Air Forces of allied countries. A few, such as the "Enola Gay" and "Bockscar" (see photo below), would be preserved for display in museums.

      The remaining planes were classified as 1) "obsolete" or 2) "eligible for the strategic aircraft reserve". The jet revolution made many aircraft obsolete, including the P-38, B-17 and B-24, among others, while planes like the B-29, A-26 Invader, and C-47 were destined for the reserve.

      Planes were then assigned an airport, at places like Kingman and Walnut Ridge for short-term storage and subsequent disposal, or Davis-Monthan or Pyote for longer-term storage.

      Where to Store the Excess Military Aircraft Fleet

      In early 1945, the Air Technical Service Command (ATSC) began to research locations suitable for storage of excess military aircraft. Air field near coastlines subjected aircraft to mold, corrosion and rust. Locations in the north were subject to snow storms and other inclement weather. Eventually, workable storage locations were identified.

      Disposal and Sales Depots for Obsolete Military Aircraft after World War II

      Most obsolete planes were transferred to one of 28 storage locations, including these seven large disposal facilities:

      Kingman Army Air Field

      The Kingman Army Airfield in Arizona was built at the start of World War II as an Aerial Gunnery Training Base. It was one of the Army Air Corps largest airfields, training 35,000 individuals.

      Between 1942 and 1945, the U.S. Army Air Forces acquired approximately 4,145 acres in Mohave County and established the Kingman Army Airfield. Training activities were completed by April of 1945, and the field was placed on standby.

      After the war, the airfield was one of several used by the military to store huge number of surplus aircraft. Kingman offered huge open spaces, good weather for aircraft storage, and three runways, one of which was 6,800 feet in length.

      The RFC quickly established Sales Depot No. 41 at Kingman, and by October of 1945 planes were being flown in, parked, and processed. Planes were typically parked by type. As many as 150 airplanes a day were soon flying into Kingman, and the total aircraft inventory by the end of 1945 reached about 4,700.

      Aircraft awaiting sale, or the furnaces, at Kingman AAF after WWII

      The contractor was the Wunderlich Contracting Company of Jefferson City, Missouri, who received an 18-month contract from the federal government for $2.78 million to reduce 5,400 aircraft to aluminum ingots.

      Active duty military personnel typically flew the aircraft into Kingman, and civilian employees would handle parking and classification. To accommodate the large numbers of employees, tent cities were erected on site. In subsequent months, brand new aircraft directly from assembly lines were disposed of at Kingman.

      Three furnaces were operated at Kingman for melting the airplane components.

      It is estimated that about 5,500 airplanes were flown to Kingman in 1945 and 1946 for sale and disposal. Among the Kingman inventory were B-17, B-24, B-25, B-26, Consolidated B-32, P-38, P-63 and A-20 aircraft.

      Walnut Ridge in Arkansas

      Fighter boneyard at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, post World War II

      Walnut Army Air Field, located in northeast Arkansas, was activated on August 15, 1942, with the arrival of the initial contingent of key military personnel. Designed for 5,114 military personnel, and 976 civilians, the Air Field had three 5,000-foot runways, a huge apron covering over 63 acres, four large hangars, base engineering building, and fully equipped 203 bed hospital.

      After the war was over, Walnut Ridge was an ideal site for surplus aircraft storage because of its large land area and large parking ramp.

      As many as 250 airplanes arrived each day. An estimated 10,000 to 11,000 warplanes were flown to Walnut Ridge in 1945 and 1946 for storage , sale, or scrapping. At least 65 of the military’s 118 Consolidated B-32 "Dominator" heavy bombers were flown to Walnut Ridge, many straight from the assembly line in Fort Worth. Also, large quantities of Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighters were stored there awaiting the smelter many of these were stored vertically to save space.

      Ontario Surplus Depot at Cal-Aero Field

      Cal-Aero Academy was a civilian aviation school, established before World War II, and later contracted by the AAF to train pilots. While working with the Army, the school trained Army Air Cadets to fly Stearmans and BT-13s.

      The Cal-Aero Academy was closed on October 16, 1944, after training 10,365 fighter and bomber pilots for the war effort.

      Cal-Aero Field was located east of Los Angeles, near Chino and Ontario, California.

      After the war, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) established a sales depot at the inactive Cal-Aero Field, although it was referred to by the RFC as "Ontario". The agricultural area around the airfield was an excellent storage location for surplus military aircraft.

      Aerial view of surplus military planes in storage at Cal-Aero Field in California after WWII (Photo used by permission of the photographer, William T. Larkins)

      Nearly 1,900 aircraft would be transferred to Cal-Aero, of which about 500 were sold and the rest dismantled.

      Among the aircraft types sent to Cal-Aero were the following:

      • Curtiss C-46 Commando
      • C-47 Skytrain
      • P-40 Warhawk
      • P-51 Mustang
      • P-38 Lightning
      • B-17 Flying Fortress
      • B-24 Liberator
      • B-25 Mitchell
      • B-26 Marauder
      • and other aircraft

      One smelter was operated by the Sharp & Fellows Contracting company to melt the aircraft parts from Cal-Aero, offsite at Norco, CA.

      Aerial view of surplus C-46 Commandos in storage at Cal-Aero Field after WWII (Photo used by permission of the photographer, William T. Larkins)

      Many C-46 Commandos were sent to Cal-Aero Field (see photo to the right) for storage, sale and disposal. In later years the C-46 went back to war, serving in both the Korea and Vietnam conflicts for various U.S. Air Force operations, including resupply missions, paratroop drops, and clandestine agent transportation. It also has seen use in many nonsked airlines and cargo operations.

      Beginning in the early 1970s, the airport became the center of the warbird restoration movement in Southern California. Cal-Aero Field today is known as Chino Airport.

      Chino Airport (CNO) is classified as a general aviation reliever airport, due to its close proximity to Ontario International Airport. It has become a major source of economic and recreational opportunity for the county of San Bernardino, which maintains the airfield.

      It is also the home of two excellent aircraft museums, the Planes of Fame Air Museum and the Yanks Air Museum.

      Albuquerque Army Air Base and Oxnard Field

      Curtiss C-46A Commando, S/N 42-3649, for sale at Cal-Aero Field, California, post-WWII (Photo used by permission of the photographer, William T. Larkins)

      Albuquerque in the 1930s was served by two private airports, West Mesa Airport and Oxnard Field. In 1935 it was suggested that the city build a new public airport, and ground was broken in 1937. Albuquerque Municipal Airport opened in 1939 several miles to the west of Oxnard Field, with two paved runways.

      Construction of Albuquerque Army Air Base began in January of 1941 and was completed in August 1941 on land adjacent to the municipal airport. The base provided advanced flying training and transition training in combat-ready aircraft, primarily the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator.

      The name of the facility was changed to Kirtland Army Air Field in February of 1942.

      In March 1945, Kirtland Field was converted into a B-29 Superfortress base. From Kirtland Field, Manhattan Project scientists were flown back and forth to Wendover Army Air Base and Los Alamos.

      With the end of World War II, Oxnard Field began receiving surplus military bombers and fighters. The field received over 1,500 old aircraft onto its unpaved runways, such as obsolete B-24 Liberator and B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, as well as P-38 and P-51 fighters and other aircraft. The aircraft were to be sold or demolished at the site, and most were in fact recycled by the Compressed Steel Corporation.

      Albuquerque aircraft storage, 1946

      Oxnard later became part of Kirtland Air Force Base, the Air Force's main facility for integrating new weapons designs produced by Sandia Laboratory with operational USAF aircraft and equipment.

      Clinton Naval Air Station

      Clinton Naval Air Station was located 15 miles southwest of Clinton, and 120 miles west of Oklahoma CIty. It was established in 1942 as a training station for naval aviators.

      After World War II was over, the facility was closed in June of 1946. It served as a boneyard for over 8,000 US Navy aircraft. By April of 1946, over 8,800 military planes were stored at Clinton, mostly F6F Hellcats, FM Wildcats and TBM Avengers.. While some were sold to individuals or companies, most were dismantled, melted in one of the two furnaces on site, and sold as scrap to the Sherman Machine and Iron Works of Oklahoma City.

      In 1949 the base was transferred to the City of Clinton, only to be reclaimed by the Defense Department in 1954 for the establishment of Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base. The base was revamped and new runways were built to accommodate the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress of the Strategic Air Command. The base was closed in 1969.

      Other post-WWII Naval storage and reclamation facilities were located at NAS Litchfield Park near Phoenix, and NAS Norfolk in Virginia. Litchfield Park remained on active status until 1965 when its operations were transferred to Davis-Monthan AFB.

      Altus Army Air Field

      Altus Army Air Field in Oklahoma was activated in early 1943, and served as an Advanced Flying School until April of 1945. The primary training aircraft were the Boeing-Stearman Kaydet T-17 and the North American T-9.

      After the students perfected their skills with these planes, they transferred to units that prepared them to fly the type of aircraft they would use in combat over Europe and in the Pacific theater during World War II. With an average of over 300 days of weather conducive to flying each year, a generally flat landscape and few obstructions, the base was well situated for young airmen to hone their flying skills.

      Between 1945 and 1953 it would serve as a boneyard for thousands of surplus World War II era military aircraft.

      About 2,500 aircraft were stored, sold or scrapped there after WWII, including B-17, B-24, B-25, P-38, P-40, P-51 and P-47 aircraft. Most of the B-17s sent to Altus for storage were new "G" models right off the assembly line, which created a strong market to private sector buyers.

      The B-17F "Memphis Belle" was honored in 1943 as the first B-17 heavy bomber to complete the then-mandatory 25 missions. The plane and its crew returned to the United States during the summer of 1943 for a highly publicized public relations tour. In 1945 "Memphis Belle" was discovered at Altus awaiting disposal, and the City of Memphis was able to obtain the historic plane. The aircraft was subsequently saved and restored.

      B-17 "Memphis Belle" would be stored at Altus AAF after public relations tour

      By May of 1948, the inventory of aircraft was decimated, and the facility was turned over to the City of Altus for use as a municipal airport. In 1953 the airport was reopened as Altus Air Force Base, which remains an active facility today.

      Searcy Field in Stillwater, Oklahoma

      Stillwater Municipal Airport was built in 1939, and improved in 1943 with the additional of three 5,000 foot concrete runways. The U.S. Navy operated the facility as an outlying field for NAS Clinton, Oklahoma. After the war, Searcy Field was transferred to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and used to store nearly 500 aircraft. The inventory included B-24 Liberators, B-17 Flying Fortresses, P-40 Warhawks, Navy PB4Y-1 and other aircraft types.

      In February of 1946 the inventory of 475 surplus aircraft at Searcy was purchased by Paul Mantz, a recognized aviation expert, at a cost of about $117 each. He kept 11 of the aircraft for his own use, and the remaining 464 were cut up and shipped to St. Louis, Missouri, where they were melted.

      Victory Field in Vernon, Texas

      About 1,300 aircraft were stored, sold or scrapped at this airport west of Wichita Falls, Texas.

      Longer-Term Military Aircraft Reserve Storage Facilities

      By 1947 the WAA had disposed of about 65,000 aircraft. However, some aircraft would be stored in reserve and retained for future return to active duty.

      Planes were stored at several locations across the country, including

      • Victorville in California
      • Pyote in Texas
      • Warner Robins in Georgia
      • Litchfield Park / Phoenix Goodyear Airport (GYR)
      • Davis-Monthan in Arizona

      Photographs of Post-World War II Aircraft Boneyards

      Bomber Scrapping and Smelting Process at the Kingman Army Air Field boneyard in Arizona

      Aluminum ingots - the remains of the great American WWII bomber fleet

      The Neterlands buys the unfinished Mackensen battlecruisers

      Well, Callbear is correct in the afterthought thinking, which is correct, since no allied power, (Neither UK, USA, or Netherlands) were aware of how the Japanese had developped their Naval Airforces already, as al were still thinking the Jappanese were still very inferior to their own. (except for numbers regionally).

      The Dutch were however the closest in the right appraoch of how to engage the japanese: Mainly by airpower and submarines backed by the fast surface squadrons of cruisers and destroyers. Captral ships were wanted as well to back the cruisers in their attack on enemy surfacetargets, when facing larger odds. Landbased airpower was alredy being trained to provide aircover and scouting for the fleet, although in the OTL in too few numbers. In this scenario it would likely be more powerfull, giving the Japanese something else to shoot at.

      In case of war, the Dutch battleships would be backed by several cruisers and destroyers and given aircover form landbased fighters, although likely of inferior quality, such as the Buffalo and Hawk types. The best the Dutch propably coudl have in the air was the longrange Do-24 and PBY Catalina longrange flyingboats. These scouts were very usefull in detecting enemy forces early on, so a repsonse copuld be formulated. Wolfpack submarine groups would try to engage the enemy ships at the earliest possible opportunity as well, backed by long ranged bombers of propably the B-10 type, still in use in the Dutch East Indies.


      Well, Callbear is correct in the afterthought thinking, which is correct, since no allied power, (Neither UK, USA, or Netherlands) were aware of how the Japanese had developped their Naval Airforces already, as al were still thinking the Jappanese were still very inferior to their own. (except for numbers regionally).

      The Dutch were however the closest in the right appraoch of how to engage the japanese:

      In case of war, the Dutch battleships would be backed by several cruisers and destroyers and given aircover form landbased fighters, although likely of inferior quality, such as the Buffalo and Hawk types.

      What did the Dutch have IOTL in 1925? Two obsolete CL and some coast defence ships were their heaviest units. ITTL they have what amounts to three fast BB and six fairly good CL and they keep adding ships. IMO their Air Foces would also be "different". And considering the low numbers of Japanes planes, relatively little on the allied can go a long way to even the odds.

      They could for example buy warplanes from their own industry the Fokker D.XXI fighter was ready in 1936, the G.I could have been in production sooner and they could have also produced a dive bomber, like a modified C.X.

      IOTL they placed big orders in the USA,

      160 SB2A and more fantastic fighters. ITTL they´ed have more reason to press for modern warplanes and a better bargaining position with regard to the UK. The least one can expect is a shipment of not at all inferior Curtiss Hawks. Planes the Brits put them in storage after they arrived in the UK.


      1 billion dollars, with military spending being around 1.5% of the GDP or $82M), hardly surprising given a population of under 9 million, so where is the money going to come from for this force, even at the much lower cost per unit of the era? Even if you triple the defense spending and put it ALL into the Navy that is only $164 million. Hardly enough to build up and maintain a 30 ship force including 3 BB and 8 CA/CL and a massive airforce.

      A large fleet like this, assuming one could be supported, would indeed cause a butterfly effect, it would bring elements of Kido Butai (likely CarDiv5, although the inclusion of either CarDiv 1 or 2 can not be totally discounted) into the region. This is not a happy making event for the ABDA.

      There is also, as you know better than almost anyone here, a world of difference between attacks on warships by IJA pilots and IJN pilots flying the G3M & G4M who had received the proper training in torpedo tactics. The same pilots who sank PoW & Repulse would have little more trouble killing these proposed ships. As I noted, the one aircraft type that the IJN did have in good numbers, far better than the A6M or any other carrier aircraft, was land based twin engined attack planes. Say the attack on these proposed ships cost the JNAF 60 Nells (roughly half the aircraft deployed to deal with the RN heavies), Mitsubishi production of the G4M had reached the point that this was about two - three weeks production of the designated replacement for the Nell.

      A Mack will kill a Kongo on any day with little effort, so the IJN needs to send something bigger, which won´t be available elsewhere. And it´s you how always tells us how stretched thin they were, without an additional three fast BB, six CL and eight(?) DD to worry. Such a powerful fleet will result in a big butterfly effect.

      Says you and USS Houston did ok against said twin engine bombers. Ok, they were Army bombers but Houston didn´t have 40mm guns, the Dutch ships do.

      The OP has the Dutch get serious about defending the DEI and since the fleet is the center of their strategy they´ll likely provide for sufficient air power. AA-modernisations indicates they take the threat from planes serious. And it´s not like they ignored that issue IOTL, isn´t it? Had half of what they ordered been in the DEI on Dec.7th, the place would have become a graveyard of the Japanese merchant navy.


      Me too but I went with what the OPsaid. By the way, were do you get the numbers on pre-war defence spending and so on?

      210 in all of SEA, they could have concentrated most of them in FIC and let the Army handle a bigger share of the PI attacks.


      edit: This is largely written from the perspective of an IJN officer tasked with the destruction of allied seapower in SEA.

      If have been thinking about the matter last night and it´s getting more complicated.

      The Dutch have three BC that are almost fast BB, six modern CL, 18 DD and maybe the three modernized Javas too. The last modern CL are commissioned in 39, by that time I would not retire the Javas just mothball them before the war breaks out.
      Then we got the US Asiatic fleet: one CA, one old CL(later joined by a new CL), 13 old but torpedo heavy DD, four seaplane tenders, 29 subs. Most of the surface ships departed to the DEI right before the war.
      Last but not least there are the Brits. Their ships in Malaya are a few ancient DD and CL. They also have a handful of modern cruisers in the IO and eventually Force Z.

      Assuming the Allies combine their forces we got a fleet of five capital ships and a more than adequate screen. For comparison, the IJN has ten capital ships(CV excluded). This is a serious fleet in being. 200 “land attack planes” are not up to the job. Let´s not forget Force Z´s fate was not a foregone conclusion. They sailed without telling anyone where they were headed, turned back soon enough, picked up a wrong radio transmission about a landing at Kuantan but not the later “all clear” signal. Even taking that into consideration Phillips remained at Kuantan much longer than necessary and last but not least he did never call for air support. Not when he learned he was shadowed, not even after the bombs started falling.

      What can one do? A carrier division would help but Yamamoto needs all for the PH attack. I´d request a pair of Kongos, the release of old Fuso and Yamashiro once the attack on PH has succeeded, the medium carriers Hiyo and Junyo and a pair of CVL. IOTL the former and some other “shadow carriers” were not ready for action on Dec.7th but that is going to change in light of the much larger allied forces.

      There remains one problem. As soon as the allies see four carriers coming their way they will head in the opposite direction. Once inside the Java Sea they are save as it is an allied lake with allied airbases on each shore. Thus sinking the capital ships would be very hard, pushing them out of the way of an invasion force is certainly doable. So in the end it depends on the strenght of the land based airpower.

      HMS Warspite

      210 in all of SEA, they could have concentrated most of them in FIC and let the Army handle a bigger share of the PI attacks.

      HMS Prince of Wales had a state of the art AA battery in her time, although poor quality munitions for the 2pdr weapons. Her 5.25 inch secondary artillery was better than often thought, although only two turrets remained operational after the first torpedohit. The 48 2pdr's and one 40mm bofors should have been more than a match for mst aircraft at medium to short range, had it not that the 2pdr's jammed due to broken ammunition frequently and completely sillenced, once power was lost. Only seven 20mm guns were available on this ship as well, as were four 7.7 mm machineguns, of questionable usebility.

      HMS Repulse was the weakest link in the AA , since she only had 6 HA 4 inch guns in single mountings and somewhat poorly distributed over the ship, besides just 24 2pdr's in three octuple mountigns, with the same problems as HMS Prince of Wales. (Problem was that the cardridges seperated in high moisture conditions, such as found at Singapore.) HMS Repulse shipped just four 20mm guns as well.

      The proposed Dutch battleship upgrade should be comparable to HMS prince of wales, with a smaller number of heavy AA guns (12 opposed to 16), but better number of 40mm guns, which were very well possitioned as well with good arcs of fire. (Six octuple mountings and one single on HMS Prince of Wales, opposed to most likley sixteen twinmountings on the Dutch ship.) An unknown number of 20mm guns is also likely to have been included.

      One major problem for the IJN landbased airforce in South East Asia was the limmited number of torpedoes and heavy bombs. AP bombs were completely missing, as all the 800 kg AP bombs were shipped in the Kido Butai for the Pearl Harbor raid. There were some 800 kg HE and 500 kg HE bombs, but the majority of bombs was much smaller and lacked any AP capacity.

      Simmilarly the airgroups of the IJN in the region were short in torpedoes as well, since only the Kanoya Air Corps Attack Group flying G4M-1 Betty Bombers was fully equipped (27 in all) with the Type-91 model 2 with a 450 lbs warhead, while the Genzan Air Corps Group, flying with the G3M-2 Nell Bomber only had 18 torpedoes and the third squadron had to do with bombs only. Simmilarly the entire Mihoro Air Corps Group was loaded with bombs, as the torpedoes had not jet arrived from Japan. (also a G3M-2 group)

      By the way, the remaining IJN Bombergroups in SE Asia, the Takao and Kokutai air Corps Attack Groups were badly needed in the Philippines, since the IJA airforce lacked the long ranged planes needed to cover the vast distances to the targets. The best they had was the Ki 213 Sally, which had only a third of the range of the Navy's G3M type. Only the IJN Airgroups could reach Clark Field from Formosa airfields, so they were essential.


      Phillips not only virtually invited the air attack, he also got within 9km of a force of 6 cruisers and escorting destroyers and was spotted by 2 subs. That is a hell of a lot of Long Lances, and its submarine variants, that Phillips was within range of, making the concentration on air defences seem a touch overfocused to me. I could easily imagine the 6 buffalos that 456 sqn RAAF planned to keep over Force Z during daylight breaking up the air attacks but Force Z then being attacked by the cruiser force with Long Lances. Phillips made gross strategic errors that more AA guns couldn't correct.

      If the Dutch had a capital ship force would ABDA have formed earlier, perhaps starting as BDA before the shooting started to shakedown joint procedures?

      Admiral Alexandra

      Wouldn't the IJN notice the dutch buildup, and strike there as well with a PH style attack? PH shows us that battleships are very vulnerable to air raids when they are in port.


      One major problem for the IJN landbased airforce in South East Asia was the limmited number of torpedoes and heavy bombs. AP bombs were completely missing, as all the 800 kg AP bombs were shipped in the Kido Butai for the Pearl Harbor raid. There were some 800 kg HE and 500 kg HE bombs, but the majority of bombs was much smaller and lacked any AP capacity.

      Simmilarly the airgroups of the IJN in the region were short in torpedoes as well,

      By the way, the remaining IJN Bombergroups in SE Asia, the Takao and Kokutai air Corps Attack Groups were badly needed in the Philippines, since the IJA airforce lacked the long ranged planes needed to cover the vast distances to the targets. The best they had was the Ki 213 Sally, which had only a third of the range of the Navy's G3M type. Only the IJN Airgroups could reach Clark Field from Formosa airfields, so they were essential.

      Capital ships need not woory much about bombs. Japanese dive bombers could only carry 250kg bombs and those are much to small to sink a battleship. But they could destroy the triple-A which would be lethal in case of a joined attack by torpedo- and dive bombers. But dive bombers means "Vals", means carriers, means difficulty to get within range unseen. Bettys and Nells have the range but they can level bomb only and that`s a waste of bombs when you attack any kind of fast warship.

      I expect there to be no torpedo shortage ITTL.

      Ohhh yes, army bombers are downright short-legged compared to G3M and G4M. The IJN would have to increase the number of operational bomber units -which is difficult as the training of crews it takes time- or the JAAF would have to equip some of its bomber units with Navy bombers. As the Betty production was about to gain speed, this lookes like a sollution. G4M enters mass production a bit sooner, JAAF gets G3M for attacks on the PI, IJN air units concentrate in FIC.




      HMS Warspite

      Capital ships need not woory much about bombs. Japanese dive bombers could only carry 250kg bombs and those are much to small to sink a battleship. But they could destroy the triple-A which would be lethal in case of a joined attack by torpedo- and dive bombers. But dive bombers means "Vals", means carriers, means difficulty to get within range unseen. Bettys and Nells have the range but they can level bomb only and that`s a waste of bombs when you attack any kind of fast warship.

      I expect there to be no torpedo shortage ITTL.

      Ohhh yes, army bombers are downright short-legged compared to G3M and G4M. The IJN would have to increase the number of operational bomber units -which is difficult as the training of crews it takes time- or the JAAF would have to equip some of its bomber units with Navy bombers. As the Betty production was about to gain speed, this lookes like a sollution. G4M enters mass production a bit sooner, JAAF gets G3M for attacks on the PI, IJN air units concentrate in FIC.

      Just for the record, the LL was not efficient in long range day battles. At Java Sea three out of 164 hit. At Komandorski Islands all 42 missed.

      There is one big problem in giving the Army Airforce a Navy bomber (G3M), the political troubles between the two armed forces, always competing with eachother. The Navy simply would not allow the Army to take control of its long range bombers, who already were on short supply and all of them were already needed by the Navy. The Army had to do with its own aircraft and nothing else.

      The OTL line shows, the IJN bombers at Saigon at least had some large HE bombs in their store of 500 kg (1100lbs) of which one scored a hit on HMS Prince of Wales in the final attack. This HE bomb did not endager the ship, as it failed to penetrate the armored deck admidships, between the two funnels, but it caused lots of casualties, as this deck, directly below the crosdeck catapult was used as a stagingerea for wounded personel. The bomb made a bloody mess of this deck, killing some 200 men instantly.

      It is also an underestimation to think that the 250 kg (551lbs) AP bomb used frequently by the IJN divebombers of the carriergroups, is not capable to endagering a battleship. It could seriously harm any large warship, with the sole exception of the most modern ones, who had at least an armored deck of some 6 inches or more (Only the Nelson, King George V, Litorio, Richelieu and Yamato Classes had this.) Anything less could in theory be breached, including the new USN BB´s, who had only 5.3 inch armored decks. Any well placed hit, could penetrate armored decks of less than 6 inch thick, with unknown consequenses. All older battleships, especially the ones denied a complete rebuilding, such as the USN Big Five, prior to war and most Royal Sovereign class BB´s, except the illfated HMS Royal Oak, plus the HMS Barham, Hood and Repulse.

      Don Lardo

      Again, where's the money?

      Three rebuilt battlecruisers complete with modern secondary batteries, new heavy cruisers as consorts, destroyers, aircraft, munitions, crews, bases, docks, all of it.

      Where is Holland going to get the money for this naval masturbatory fantasy?


      CalBear said Betty production was about to go in high gear. Do that a bit sooner and you got the planes but I agree about the potential political problems.

      HMS Warspite

      During the FAA attack on Tirpitz, the 1680 lbs AP special bombs indeed were dropped too low, without the needed kinetic energy to do much harm, although during the same attack, one 550 lbs AP bomb did breack through the main armored deck and ended up in a boilerroom, without exploding. (This one was dropped by a highflying aircraft, not doing a divebombingattack. Appearently it was not even aimed at the Tirpitz, but most likely at a bunkercomplex nearby, in the Flaksurpressingattack cooperating with the attack on the ship. This bomb breached the upperdeck of 45mm armor and the main armored deck over the boilerroom of 80mm thick, as well as the lower splinterdeck of 20mm.)

      During the Pearl Harbor Attack the primary target ot the divebomberforce was the airfields and not the ships in port, as these were left to the level and torpedobombers in the first wave. The priority of this divebomber (and fighter) force was to deny the USA to get aircraft in the air, possibly disrupting the main attack. So the whole divebomberforce went out to destroy as many aircraft on the ground as possible, simply ignoring the ships in the port. (If they did not do this, the second attack would have faced much heavier odds and would possibly have been whiped out from the sky.)
      The Second Attack group was under orders to attack leftovers of the first wave, primarily on the airfields, but also the ships in port, which were considered softer targets, or not enough damaged. This force was almost entirely a divebomber force, doing their best to destroy vessels in the docks and also USS Nevada, who was limping through the harbor to the chanal. The dmaaged battleship already had been hit by a torpedo in the first wave and a few near misses of heavy bombs. The divebombers hit her again, causing her to beach, before sinking in the chanal, blocking the harborentrance. (She was already in a sinking state, due to the torpedohit.)
      The Second wave completely missed the opportunity to do much more damage to the dock and fueldepots, as most were drawn to the USS Nevada. Had they ignored the battleship, which was not going to do much harm anyway in her state she was, the entire base could have been delivered a severe blow. (Possibly forcing the entire US Pacific Fleet to retire for a few crucial months to the Westcoast as Pearl Harbor was out of action for some considerable time.)

      By the way, USS Yorktown was hit by a single 551 lbs SAP bomb at Coral Sea, which put a few boilers out of action permanently, untill these could be repaired in port. This bomb went all the way through the ship's decks, including the main armored (lower hangar) deck. It blew out the fires in the stricken boilers reducing the ship's speed to about two thirds at best. Some sources claim it was an 80 kg bomb, but USS Yorktown was not hit by torpedobombers, normally doing such heavy bomb attacks. All B5N's were using torpedoes that day against the US Carriers. D3Y's could not carry anything larger than their normal 551 lbs bomb. (and on shortrange missions some additional two 60 kg (132 lbs) bombs as well.


      Again, where's the money?

      Three rebuilt battlecruisers complete with modern secondary batteries, new heavy cruisers as consorts, destroyers, aircraft, munitions, crews, bases, docks, all of it.

      Where is Holland going to get the money for this naval masturbatory fantasy?

      first of all I like the discussion.

      I made some errors with the modernisation of the BC/BB, the secondary armament is dual purpose 12 cm, something simmilair as the British and Americans were using or planning to use at that time.

      The first serie of 3 cruisers were intend io be build in the twenties but due to budget cuts started in the early thirties, and more as economic aid for the dutch ships yards.
      A tight budget is also the reson to re-use, after modernisation, of the secondary 15cm guns and turrets of the BC's in to the cruisers.
      The batlecruisers were not complete re-build, ( as the Italian did) just modernised.

      The decision to build a 2nd batch of cruisers was made just a few years later and had to replace the Java class cruisers.

      The Netherlands was not a poor country but not a wealhy State either, during the debates prior to WW1 there were concerns how to fund the planed fleet of 6! battle ships (original 9!) with cruisers, destroyers and basses. There were plans to fund it with triffs on fuel, colonial goods and more of that thing.
      What now is build in the twenties and not modernised until the mid thirties, is just what was thought to be a responsible fleet in OTL plus 3 BC's. Do not forget that the defence budget of the Nerherlands in OTL was so low it was far from responsible. Also all cost were made in a period of 20 years.
      As example for a comparble defence budget, look to the budget of Belgium in OTL in the same period, that was around 5% - 7%.

      The battle cruisers, fast battle ships were build to show the wordl the dutch goverment was seriuos in defending thier posessions and neutrality and when hostilities broke out to have a more equal share with a future ally.

      Aircraft cariers prove to be the ships of to comming war only when that war broke out.
      The trials and test performed in the interbellum showed that airial bombing is a danger for ships, but not neccisarily leathal for large naval units.


      Dutch fleet plans as submitted in parlaiment OTL.
      Fleet plan 1913 was build up around 9 battleships.
      The number of 9 battleships was copied from the Japanese building program and were later changed in 6 and most likeley 4 ships at the end.
      Plan was never executed due to the outbreak of WW1.
      9(4) Battleships
      6 Cruisers ( 3 newly build, 3 exisiting armored cruisers)
      8 Destroyers
      22 submarines

      Fleetplan of 192 2 was much smaller and was rejected by 1 vote in 1923.
      For the home waters, as extended coastal defence:
      10 submarines
      2 submarine minelayers
      13 mine layers
      60 airplanes planes

      for the Dutch East Indies:
      3 Cruisers
      12 Destroyers
      16 large submarines, oceangoing
      2 large submarines mine layers, oceangoing
      98 airplanes
      Both plans were the investments spread out over 10 to 12 years. Both plans included several smaller vessels and extension of the naval bases in the Nehtelands and the DEI.

      3 Battleships ( Mackensen battlecruiser hulls)

      6 Cruisers ( for cost saving, 3 new build and 3 by now old armored cruisers of the Gelderland class)

      12 Destroyers
      16 large submarines, oceangoing
      2 large submarines mine layers, oceangoing
      98 airplanes, several types, flyboats, waterplanes, bombers reconnaisance etc.

      For the home waters as extended coastal defence:
      10 submarines
      2 submarine minelayers
      13 mine layers
      60 airplanes .

      Modernisation plans:
      1934 order for 3 new cruisers to replace the complete worn out armored cruisers
      1935 order for modernisation of the Battleships and to re-use the secondary armament in the new cruisers
      1937 order for 3 new cruisers, intend to replace the 3 Java class cruisers
      order for 6 new destroyers
      order for 12 new submarines
      order for 72 airplanes (flying boats)
      order for 100 torpedo bombers
      the airplanes were to replace the older ones.