Float Planes
Offensive actions against land and sea targets?
Floatplane display at Willow Grove
Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Pacific Ar 196 story
What floatplanes were catapult launched?
Mission To The Shortlands  (New)
Posted By: Dan Salamone, heroncreek@qwest.net
Date: Monday, 29 January 2001, at 8:40 p.m.
The nimble Pete was credited with some aerial victories. Quoting from Asahi Journal 4.2, the top profile on page 14 shows a Pete from the CHITOSE. The caption states: "CHITOSE opened the Pacific War in the Philippines. Later, her F1M's shot down a PBY on the heels of the Midway battle. Her #23 Reikan is credited with bringing down a B-17 by head on collision on 10-4-1942, while escorting NISSHIN up The Slot. The aircrew survived, although the Reikan did not."
Posted By: Jim Broshot <jbroshot@socket.net>
Date: Friday, 2 February 2001, at 10:45 p.m. In Response To: Pete air to air kills- other floatplanes as well? (Dan Salamone)
I am beginning to think I may be the only here who has a copy of AIR ENTHUSIAST 31 (Jul - Nov 1986) with the article: "Fighting Floatplanes of the Japanese Imperial Navy" (Izawa Yasuho with Christopher Shores). Focuses on the RUFE and GEORGE but has good historic detail:
5th, later 452nd Kokutai (Aleutians and Northern Japan)(disbanded 1 Oct 1943)
with A6M2-N - credited with 17 aircraft destroyed, 6 probables
losses - 8 A6M2-N and 6 pilots in air to air combat; 4 pilots lost to AA fire and unknown losses
KAMIKAWA MARU fighter unit and
14th, later 802nd Kokutai fighter unit (Solomons, SW Pacific) (assigned to 902nd Kokutai at Truk Oct 1943)
KAMIKAWA MARU with A6M2-N - 14 kills claimed plus one probable 4 Sep - 7 Nov 1942 (9 pilots lost)
14th/802nd Kokutai with A6M2-N - 13 kills, 1 shared kill plus 8 probables 13 Oct 1942 - 14 Feb 1943 (13 aircraft and 7 pilots lost
in combat)
Highest individual score: NAP3/c Jito Hisao, three kills
NEI Indies stuff is a little confusing, can't readily find total kills and losses
Posted By: Bill Turner <wturner@rclco.com>
Date: Friday, 2 February 2001, at 2:10 p.m. In Response To: Pete air to air kills- other floatplanes as well? (Dan Salamone)
I have read accounts of Capt. Joe Sailer (CO of VMSB-132, a Marine SBD squadron) being the victim of a PETE on 12/7/42, while leading an attack against shipping in the Slot off Guadalcanal.
Posted By: Ryan Boerema <ryann1k2j@aol.com>
Date: Friday, 2 February 2001, at 10:56 p.m. In Response To: Re: Pete air to air kills- other floatplanes as we (Bill Turner)
If we count tail gunners, leave us not forget Joe Foss was shot down in his Wildcat by an ill-fated Pete rear gunner.
Posted By: Allan Alsleben <Wildcat42@AOL.com>
Date: Friday, 2 February 2001, at 7:14 a.m. In Response To: Pete air to air kills- other floatplanes as well? (Dan Salamone)
While most of your High Profile actions were around the Solomons and Kiska, there was another little hot spot where your Type O observation aircraft and Type 2 Sea Fighter were involved. That was in the Kai and Aru area along the Barrier Rim. The Australian War Memorial can provide an excellent account of the actions of Dutch, Aussie and a squadron of US B.24's encountering these float types. Indeed, B.24's were brought down by these wily floatplanes. Those Australians, piloting their Beaufighters, had their collective hands full. While their exploits were overshadowed by the above areas, these little floats were not lacking in aggression. 934 Ku was credited with bringing down 2 B.24's, 4 Mitchells and 3 Beaufighters during their period in the area. Only the PBY appears to have escaped these attacks as the RAAF operated this type at night.
Indeed, it is sad that we tend to glorify one area but overlook another. Only late in the war, did the 936 Ku have an opportunity for a victory, where two Rufes encountered aircraft from TF 69 (Saratoga/Illustrious) on a strike on Sabang. Fortunately the SBD's from Saratoga were only slightly damaged from this encounter, but no floats were brought down either. Another area was Truk, as two Type O's attempted to intercept TF 58 on February 17th. They failed to return to base. One can only conclude that they were quickly overcome by the Hellcat's of TF 58.
And at Chichi Jima, had the Sasebo Ku had warning of an impending strike, they too undoubtedly would have intercepted Jocko Clark's aircraft, instead of being caught on the water with 21 being either destroyed or damaged beyond repair.
Posted By: Dan Salamone <heroncreek@qwest.net>
Date: Friday, 2 February 2001, at 10:52 p.m. In Response To: Re: Pete and 36th / 934 Ku (Allan Alsleben)
Thanks for the well thought out reply! While reading it, I thought about the Rufes that were based at Lake Biwa (in theory to intercept B-29's). I wonder if they had any aerial success against escort types or other Allied aircraft in the area?
Posted By: Allan Alsleben <Wildcat42@AOL.com>
Date: Friday, 2 February 2001, at 11:05 p.m. In Response To: Lake Biwa based Rufes.... (Dan Salamone)
Thanks for the feedback. You know, I had completely forgot about The Ostu Ku that was based on Lake Biwa. To my knowledge, they never were able to attain attack position to bring down a B.29, but it wasn't for lack of trying.
Posted By: Jim Broshot <jbroshot@socket.net>
Date: Friday, 2 February 2001, at 11:12 p.m. In Response To: Re: Lake Biwa based Rufes.... (Allan Alsleben)
AE 31 again, "Surviving pilots [from a forward detachment sent to Chichi Jima] returned to the Sasebo Ku, later participating without any success in interceptions of China-based B-29s."
Article notes that on 16 Feb 1945, two victories were claimed by A6M2-N pilots (no specific unit given) against a raid by F6Fs from VF-12 and VBF-12 against Kashima and Konoike. The Americans claimed 6 floatplanes shot down.
Offensive actions against land and sea targets?
Posted By: Jeff McGuire <jmcguire@j-aircraft.com>
Date: Monday, 5 February 2001, at 10:16 p.m.
It has been fairly well known that the at least a big part of the reason for the advent of the Rufe was to support troops in extreme forward areas where no land bases existed. However, can any one identify any specific or semi-specific sea targets of these missions? Or for that matter land targets?
Re: Offensive actions against land and sea targets
Posted By: François P.WEILL <frpawe@wanadoo.fr>
Date: Tuesday, 6 February 2001, at 1:36 a.m.
In Response To: Offensive actions against land and sea targets? (Jeff McGuire)
If I clearly understand your question, You are asking for precise targets the A6M2-N was designed for.
I don’t think — like most of the plane designs — the A6M2-N was specifically designed for a precise (or precise) target(s) with a geographical name. It was designed for a mission which resulted from tactical considerations.
So may I propose you to see how it was included in the global strategy of the Imperial Navy ?
First the global strategy of the IJN, under the influence of Adm. Yamamoto, was IMHO to BUY TIME. Yamamoto was well aware of the definitive handicap of his country in the industrial field. Clearly, the only chance to preserve the essential was for him to neutralize the allies in the Pacific long enough to permit the Empire to exploit its conquests to come. This was to be done by a kind of two pronged movement. One in the Central Pacific area (of which Pearl was the first manifestation) with a strictly tactical aim and one to the south with mainly economical aims. Then having neutralized the military power of the allies in the Pacific for some years and having stretched to the limit their abilities to go in contact with their opponents considering the state of the technology at this time, to obtain a kind of peace by compromise… (Yamamoto was never as foolish as to think of a total military victory).
To achieve these goals, though the IJN was by far the most powerful carrier force, the IJNAF knew perfectly they will have to fight in airfield less archipelagos in SWPA with the ever present menace for the landing parties of the intervention of long range heavy bombers
(And to a certain extent flying boats with bombing capabilities). We must understand that there was no equivalent in efficiency between the Japanese pioneers and the USN Seabees… The Japanese pioneers heavily relied on their hands and hand tools, the Seabees on machinery like Caterpillars and their achievement in airfield construction was stunning even for the US. Remember Henderson field at Guadalcanal was originally an unfinished Japanese airfield and no airfield was available beside those far North in Rabaul and New Guinea ! … The IJN knew also very well that, even with the most numerous carrier force in the area, there were not enough carriers to cover such a bewildering surface… So was born the idea to use a very flexible fighter force on floats which, attached to tenders, could operate from any relatively quiet water, from a lagoon to a sheltered bay. The purpose of this fighters on floats was not pure air to air combat with fighters supposedly absent from the theater of operation (available US carriers in the Pacific escaped miraculously at Pearl, they were supposed to be destroyed the very first day of the war and airfield were reputed non-existent) they were designed to intercept the heavy bombers and long range flying boats that should interfere with the landing operations (and until the B 29 came they fairly well succeed in so doing) and like their land planes counterparts they were also to perform strafing and light bombing operations as close support aircraft for the troops in contact. Thus, they were supposed to gain air supremacy and provide a valuable "flying artillery" when their was no enemy airfield so near as to permit fighter operations and to replace carriers that should be employed elsewhere when the defensive potential of the target included a fighter force and no "friendly" airfields was available for a land based fighter force.
Technically and tactically the concept was very valuable if things had happened the way Yamamoto anticipated. The loss of performances was minimal and only critical when fighter opposition was present. Facing a bomber of the B 17 — B 24 generation it was by no mean a handicap to perform interception.
Unfortunately for the Japanese, these ideal conditions failed to materialize. For example with Henderson field and Cactus Air Force at hand the Santa Isabel based floatplane fighters were just considered "pesky" and tough opponents, but not able to establish air superiority.
Beside, the Type 2 Floatplane Fighter was to be only an interim model before a specifically developed aircraft became available with much more power to compensate for the loss in performance induced by the floats. This was to be the Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu… But when it finally became operational the tactical situation has changed to a point it was useless (the reason for which, though technically successful, it was produced in such a small number).
After gaining some successes as bomber interceptors (and few in TIC flying artillery as its entry in operational service was almost contemporary to the end of Japanese expansion), the most useful role these models performed was probably convoy escort with depth charges or bombs against the submarines (though the plane was deprived of detection devices) and with more capabilities to intercept allied modern long range snoopers than the Pete. Their last successes in aerial combat were obtained in defense of the oil fields of the then occupied NEI against bombers as long as allied carrier based fighters didn’t put an end to their activities. The Kyofu was then the troublemaker as the Type 2 was now relegated to training or convoy escort duties.
All in all it was a clever idea that never had a chance to win. As an offensive weapon they came too late to be really useful. As a concept, they were rapidly obsolete because of the Seabees unexpected efficiency that came as a surprise and permitted the allies to have a fighter support in the most remote areas where no airfield was available before as quick as they advanced. Nevertheless, they were ever respected by their foes as potentially dangerous and surprisingly good performers. The allies tried to develop similar ideas (Spitfire,
Wildcat to quote but of a few) but abandoned them before they entered service because they knew they had better to rely in fast airfield construction capabilities which permitted the use of current fighter designs with no loss in performance.
Once again a clever Japanese idea has been defeated by the industrial capacity of the allies.
Re: Offensive actions against land and sea targets
Posted By: Allan Alsleben <Wildcat42@AOL.com>
Date: Tuesday, 6 February 2001, at 4:40 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Offensive actions against land and sea targets (François P.WEILL)
Floatplanes were used in minor operations during 1942. The 32 Ku was involved in clearing out pockets of resistance in Zamboangoa in March 1942, and in April, the Chitose did the same thing in Northern New Guinea. Elsewhere, in July 1942 in the Kai/Aru/Tanimbar islands by Sanyo Maru, and she lost one F1M2 to ground fire. But the most well known one was a flight of 6 Rufe's on a bombing mission to Amchitka, losing 2 of their number, while hitting nothing of value.
But all in all, your analogy is quite correct, they were used more in a defensive posture in the areas they were assigned.
"Dedicated" missions against subs?
Posted By: Dan Salamone <heroncreek@qwest.net>
Date: Tuesday, 6 February 2001, at 8:44 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Offensive actions against land and sea targets (Allan Alsleben)
Were Petes (or other floats for that matter) ever used in a concerted effort against Allied submarines, or other naval targets of opportunity? Or was it merely a case of patrolling floatplanes finding targets as they arose?
Re: "Dedicated" missions against subs?
Posted By: Allan Alsleben <Wildcat42@AOL.com>
Date: Tuesday, 6 February 2001, at 11:40 p.m.
In Response To: "Dedicated" missions against subs? (Dan Salamone)
Here it is:
Amberjack - 958 Ku (E13A1) assisted
Grenadier - 936 Ku (E13A1 / B5N2)
Wahoo - Ominato Ku (E13A1) Yet to be confirmed) assisted
Cisco - 954 Ku (F1M2) assisted (Probably sunk)
Gudgeon - 901 Ku (E13A1) Unassisted
Harder - 901 Ku (E13A1) assisted
Scamp - 453 Ku (A6M2N) Yet to be confirmed - unassisted
Bullhead - 73rd FCS (Ki 51) Unassisted
There were other attacks by air the forced submarines to abort patrols. Most notable was a MAD equipped G3M that damaged Salmon so badly, she never returned to service.
Floatplane display at Willow Grove
By: Ronald R. Hewitt Cohen <rcohen@mines.edu>
Date: Thursday, 1 February 2001, at 8:47 p.m.
Years ago, there was a Japanese float plane displayed outdoors along the fenceline of Willow Grove Naval Air Station, near Philadelphia, Pennsyvania. When last I visited (this past summer), it and other WW II aircraft (including an Me262) were no longer present. Anyone know the whereabouts of these unique planes?
Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu
Posted By: UCHIDA, Katsuhiro <katsuhiro.uchida@honeywell.com>
Date: Thursday, 1 February 2001, at 11:20 p.m.
In Response To: Floatplane display at Willow Grove (Ronald R. Hewitt Cohen)
(Sorry if you have already visited following page) Please visit "Walkarounds Corner" of this web site!
Some people contributed the pictures of N1K1 Kyofu.
Re: Floatplane display at Willow Grove
Posted By: Mike Quan <MnkQuan@worldnet.att.net>
Date: Thursday, 1 February 2001, at 9:50 p.m.
In Response To: Floatplane display at Willow Grove (Ronald R. Hewitt Cohen)
If I recall, the Japanese floatplane on display was a Rex. I believe that it has been sent to the US Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola for storage and preservation. (Is this correct Greg Springer?).
As for the other airplanes, i do not know their whereabouts, but the Me-262 was moved from Willow Grove to Ft. Worth Texas' Texas Aeroplane Factory and used as a pattern for the initial fabrication of the five replica Me-262s that are now being finished by a different outfit in Seattle, (actually Everett), Washington. The Navy lent the TAF the Me-262 as a pattern aircraft in return for it's restoration of serious corrosion from the elements all these years. It's current location is unknown by me.
Re: Floatplane display at Willow Grove
Posted By: Jeff McGuire <jmcguire@j-aircraft.com>
Date: Thursday, 1 February 2001, at 9:51 p.m.
In Response To: Floatplane display at Willow Grove (Ronald R. Hewitt Cohen)
According to Mikesh's "Broken Wings" book, the plane you saw was a Rex floatplane. Unfortunately as of the date of his book it was still there and I can't tell you where it went.
Re: Floatplane display at Willow Grove
Posted By: Ronald R. Hewitt Cohen <rcohen@mines.edu>
Date: Thursday, 1 February 2001, at 10:16 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Floatplane display at Willow Grove (Jeff McGuire)
Thank you for the information. I regret that while I was in college in Philadelphia in the 70s, I was not yet interested in WW II aircraft. Thus, I saw the display but never took photos or studied them. Now, with my interest peaked, I visited the site with great anticipation. The only aircraft on display were post WW II, although still interesting. There was the Sea Dart test aircraft, with its skies as landing gear. I also remember a Navy Fury and a few more modern jets.
Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: Dan Salamone <heroncreek@qwest.net>
Date: Sunday, 4 February 2001, at 7:13 p.m.
Very recently I became aware of the conversion of ISE and HYUGA to "battleship carriers". This fascinates me and I am interested as to the two ships' air units.
Being that the conversions were done later in the war I imagine that the aircraft variety was limited- page 73 (top) of FAOW#47 shows a Paul being launched off of HYUGA. The lower photo caption shows what appears to be the kanji for HYUGA as well, the aircraft are
marked 634-xx on the tail.
I imagine that it is a safe assumption that ISE also carried the Paul- is there any reference that states what aircraft types were carried, and if possible unit codes and total aircraft carried?
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: Jeff McGuire <jmcguire@j-aircraft.com>
Date: Sunday, 4 February 2001, at 7:59 p.m.
In Response To: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (Dan Salamone)
I have looked in my copy of Watts' "Japanese Warships of World War II", and it does not shed any light on types of a/c carried. It did however, say that it carried 22 aircraft. Also in a photo on page 13(ISE) it appears that there is a monoplane of some sort on the deck.
The photo was taken on 8-24-43, it looks like a Rufe but I know it can't be, can it? Anybody else has seen this photo?
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: Dan Salamone <heroncreek@qwest.net>
Date: Sunday, 4 February 2001, at 8:31 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (Jeff McGuire)
I don't see why it could not have been a Rufe- I guess the only other monoplane it could have been were a Jake at this time frame (I don't think the Paul was in use then?).
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: William Blado <wblad@msn.com>
Date: Sunday, 4 February 2001, at 10:48 p.m.
In Response To: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (Dan Salamone)
After conversion into hybrid BB/CVs, they were originally scheduled to carry twenty-two 13-shi experimental bombers (Judy), but this was changed to 14-shi floatplane dive bombers (Paul). However, the absence of trained pilots meant that they never carried any aircraft in combat. During trials Ise appears to have had some Aichi D3A1 "Vals" aboard while running full speed trials on 24 August, 1943.
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: Dan Salamone <heroncreek@qwest.net>
Date: Sunday, 4 February 2001, at 11:01 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (William Blado)
Thanks for the reply..... I have to ask- if they were in theory to carry Judys what kind of mission profile did that entail as it seems they would not have been able to land again on the small decks of the ISE class?
I suppose then that the photo in FAOW #47 shows a Paul being launched in trials and not actual operations- thanks for the feedback
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: Joern Leckscheid <Joern.Leckscheid@t-online.de>
Date: Monday, 5 February 2001, at 3:16 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (Dan Salamone)
If I recall correctly, Ise & Hyuga were intended to be used in unison with "regular" fleet carriers. The conversions were one of those post-Midway decisions made by panicking Navy brass, who wanted to increase the number of "aircraft carriers" as quickly as possible.
Of course the "Judys" were intended to land on the "regular" fleet carriers after the mission. Also, I remember reading several years ago that the complement of aircraft intended to be used on the hybrids was changed several times. At one point there were supposed to be 22 Judys, then 22 Pauls and also a mixed bag of 11 machines of each type.
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: Dan Salamone <heroncreek@qwest.net>
Date: Monday, 5 February 2001, at 9:19 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (Joern Leckscheid)
Thanks for the reply..... the plan for the Judys was interesting to say the least. Would have been a real task getting the airrcaft back to the ISE class ships after landing on a normal CV- some type of transfer would have to take place or else a "one shot" type of plan similar to the British CAM ships.
Still would make for an interesting modelling project! :-)
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: Jim Broshot <jbroshot@socket.net>
Date: Monday, 5 February 2001, at 10:32 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (Dan Salamone)
Both ships are discussed at some length in THE HYBRID WARSHIP (R D Layman and Stephen McLaughlin)(1991)
ISBN 1-55750-374-5 Naval Institute Press (originally published by Conway's)
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: Randy
Date: Thursday, 8 February 2001, at 7:24 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (Dan Salamone)
As I understand past readings from WD Dickson, one of the lessons the IJN studied was the fact that flight decks of dedicated CVs would be relieved due to losses.
Therefore, any gear equipped aircraft launched from the hybrid carriers would have decks to land upon -- assuming they were not shot down. So the purpose of the small decks provided by the hybrids appears to have been to augment the strength of the CVs during launch and any surviving aircraft would then land upon the CV flightdecks.
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: UCHIDA, Katsuhiro <katsuhiro.uchida@honeywell.com>
Date: Monday, 5 February 2001, at 5:32 p.m.
In Response To: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (Dan Salamone)
As far as I know, Ise and Hyuga belonged to the 4th Koku Sentai (Radm. Matsuda) of the 3rd Fleet (Vadm. Ozawa) in late 1944, and E16A Zuiuns of 634th ku would be carried on both ships. (634th ku became "usual" floatplane flying corps although the number "6" meant carrier flying corps.) But as you know, no planes had ever been carried on both ships in combat. And as many people know, D4Y Suisei Model 21s and Model 22s would be launched from their catapults, but this plan did not realize also.
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: Fred Carbon
Date: Tuesday, 6 February 2001, at 7:07 a.m.
In Response To: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (Dan Salamone)
The major problem is about the concept of the air group (634 ) .Apart the 2 pictures of a Paul launched by Hyuga in summer 1944( I am still sure that they are extract from a film), there is no picture evidence of a Judy (D4Y -radial or inline engine?) aboard Ise/Hyuga. It could be very interesting to get a picture of a Judy on a catapult . Some books give trials with E13 Jake , F1M Pete or even E15 Norm (I am sure for this case that the answer is negative) but there is no picture evidence.
My guess is that there were some Pauls on Hyuga and Ise and that is all .The use of D4Y was only a concept. I have no much documentation on D4Y Judy but pictures are numerous and I never see any prototype for a catapult launch (there must be some fixing points and reinforcements of the structure) .
ISE : E16 Paul 634-01 to 634-10
D4Y Judy 634-201 to 634-212
HYUGA: E16 Paul 634-11 to 634-20
D4Y Judy 634-213 to 634-224
Re: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA?
Posted By: William Blado <wblad@msn.com>
Date: Friday, 9 February 2001, at 9:17 p.m.
In Response To: Floatplanes carried by ISE and HYUGA? (Dan Salamone)
Ise and Hyuga have often been referred to as "seaplane carrier", but this was not the designers' intention. The 22 machines were originally to be Yokosuka D4Y Suisei (Comet) dive bombers (Judy). It began life as a high-speed carrier-based reconnaissance plane, as the IJN had finally come to the conclusion that its carriers needed a few aerial scouts of their own. It was developed, with several variants, into a dive-bomber to replace the Aichi D3A.
The D4Ys could not, of course, take off from or land on the hybrid BBs' small aircraft decks; they were to be launched by the catapults and either alight on accompanying carriers or fly to land bases. The decks were for aircraft handling, and were fitted with a system of rails, turntables, tie-down spots and trolleys similar to the arrangements on Mogami. It was calculated that this would permit an aircraft launching every 2 minutes on each catapult. Under ideal conditions, therefore, with both catapults functioning simultaneously, the entire complement could be in the air in somewhat less than 30 minutes. However, Rear Admiral Chiaki Matsuda, who commanded the two hybrids, noted that the airplanes were launched "broad on the the bow into the wind", so that both catapults could NOT be used at the same time. Theoretically, the ship could zigzag back and forth across a base course into the wind, using first one catapult, then coming about nearly 90 degrees to use the other; but it seems unlikely that she could have done so in the nominal 60 seconds between launches. One way or another, launching would probably have taken at least 45 minutes, and under operational conditions...it probably would have taken an hour or more. No such mass launchings were ever attempted.
Somewhere along the line it was decided that the ships should have some more easily recoverable and reusable aircraft, so the complement was altered to include a number of seaplanes. The type chosen was the Aichi E16A Zuiun (Auspicious Cloud) (Paul). It was
designed as a shipboard reconnaissance type, but was also fitted out as a dive bomber. Its respectable bomb load could have augmented the already heft punch of the Suiseis.
Most references give the complement of the hybrid BBs as 12 Suiseis and 10 Zuiuns, but Admiral Matsuda told the American questioners during a postwar interrogation that there were 11 of each type per ship, half carried in the hangar and half on deck, with a mix of types in both places.
Ise began working up in Nov, 1943 and Hyuga in Dec, 1943, but it would be months before they received any aircraft. In May 1944 the two hybrids and the carriers Junyo and Ryuho were formed into the Fourth Air Squadron under Admiral Matsuda.
By mid-August 1944 the 634th Air Group had been formed to provide Matsudas command with a total of 130 aircraft, but most of the aviators were inexperienced and required lengthy training in deck flying. This was still in progress when the American Invasion of the Philippines began. Because the fliers were judged unqualified for shipboard operations, all of Matsuda's planes and half of those from the other carriers were flown off to Formosa. The hybrid BBs, devoid of aircraft, acted purely as surface escorts, Ise screening Zuikaku and Zuiho, Hyuga guarding Chiyoda and Chitose.
Source: "The Hybrid Warship: The Amalgamation of Big Guns and Aircraft", by RD Layman and Stephen McLaughlin.
Pacific Ar 196 story
Posted By: Dan Salamone <heroncreek@qwest.net>
Date: Monday, 29 January 2001, at 8:44 p.m.
For those who may have not read the story in the "Stories of Japanese Aircrews" section, below is a link to a short story about a German Ar 196 that was based in the Pacific. Thanks to Hiroyuki Takeuchi for posting this story!
What floatplanes were catapult launched?
Posted By: Dave Rogers <dave.rogers@yahoo.com>
Date: Tuesday, 6 February 2001, at 8:51 a.m.
Apart from the obvious, that is; the E7K2, E8N, E13A, E15K, E16A and F1M from warships and the E14Y and M6A1 from submarines, I know about. I'm interested in finding out, though, whether the A6M2-N, the N1K1 and the E11A1 were (a) capable of catapult launching and (b) so launched in action. Francillon doesn't say, AFAIR; anyone knows?
Re: What floatplanes were catapult launched?
Posted By: Allan Alsleben <Wildcat42@AOL.com>
Date: Tuesday, 6 February 2001, at 5:10 p.m.
In Response To: What floatplanes were catapult launched? (Dave Rogers)
The Japanese had four purpose built Seaplane Tenders. They were Chitose, Chiyoda, Mizuho and Nisshin. They all had 4 catapults with a capacity of 24 aircraft. Of the four, Chitose and Mizuho were used extensively throughout the Indies Campaign. Chiyoda and Nisshin were converted to carry midget submarines until Nisshin would be sunk and Chiyoda would be converted to a Light Carrier. Mizuho also would be sunk, but Chitose remained at her role until converted also to a Light Carrier. The Maru Tenders had cranes to lift aircraft on and off their decks, but those would revert to their former roles as transports.
Re: What floatplanes were catapult launched?
Posted By: Dave Rogers <dave.rogers@yahoo.com>
Date: Friday, 16 February 2001, at 4:16 a.m.
In Response To: Re: What floatplanes were catapult launched? (Allan Alsleben)
Thanks. I understand Chitose and Kamikawa Maru were in the Midway invasion force, equipped with A6M2-Ns and F1Ms. Did the seaplane tenders carry (or were they intended to carry) N1Ks later in the war?
Re: What floatplanes were catapult launched?
Posted By: Allan Alsleben <Wildcat42@AOL.com>
Date: Friday, 16 February 2001, at 9:18 a.m.
In Response To: Re: What floatplanes were catapult launched? (Dave Rogers)
Neither Chitose or Kamikawa Maru carried the Type 2 Seafighter (A6M2N) during the "Midway" Battle. Most sources say that Kamikawa Maru had embarked 8 Type 0 Observation (F1M2) and 4 Type 0 (E13A1), while Chitose embarked 16 and 4 of the types.
Kamikawa Maru did transport the Type 2 to Kiska in July and did tender the type out of the Shortlands in the latter part of 1942.
With regard to the N1K1, that type was never embarked on tenders. It operated out of anchorage in Ambon, Manokwari, Balikpapan, Chichi Jima and other places late in the war. If memory serves me, all converted tenders were converted back to their former roles early in 1943, and had no role with the "N1K1".
Mission To The Shortlands 
Mission To The Shortlands Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Mission To The Shortlands (Part 1) *PIC*>
Date: Sunday, 13 May 2001, at 10:53 a.m.
During late March 1943, Imperial Japanese naval floatplanes attached to the Eleventh Seaplane Tender Division (No.11 Koku Sentai), consisting of the tenders Kamikawa Maru and Kunikawa Maru, had been making a thorough nuisance of themselves. Known locally as "Louie the Louse," the Mitsubishi Type 0 Observation Seaplanes (FIM), code named Pete, were being used for nocturnal harassment raids. The engine noise and the explosions of the 60-kg bombs dropped by "Louie the Louse" made sleep impossible for the American troops on Guadalcanal and around Henderson Field.
On the night of March 23, the Tulagi and Lunga areas were attacked by three floatplanes followed by a pair, which attacked Tulagi Harbor on the evening of the twenty-fifth. A single raider, off Cape Esperance, carried out another attack the night of the twenty-seventh. Photographic missions flown by Lockheed F-5As of the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron had pinpointed the Faisi-Poporang area in the Shortland Islands as the principal enemy seaplane base in the Solomons.
One photograph, taken March 28, revealed twenty-seven floatplanes at their moorings. Consequently an attack order was issued for a joint service fighter sweep of the base at daybreak on the twenty-ninth. The force scheduled for the mission consisted of eight Lockheed P-38 Lightnings from the 70th Fighter Squadron, USAAF, to be led by Captain Thomas Lanphier, and eight Chance-Vought F-4U-1 Corsairs attached to VMF-124, USMC. The circuitous route to be followed by the pilots, the time of take-off, the flight procedures to be followed en-route, and, even the size of the force, would later serve as a model for a more important mission which included some of the same participants. A similar mission was initiated on the morning of April 18 which ended the life of the Commander-In-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Navy, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.
The following account of the mission to the Shortlands is related by one of the participating pilots, Major General Robert L. Petit, USAF (Ret.).
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Mission To The Shortlands (Part 2) *PIC*>
Date: Sunday, 13 May 2001, at 11:00 a.m.
"'A Nice Faisi Roast Well Done'"
"For the previous several months we pilots of the 70th Fighter Squadron had been flying and fighting together in the skies over the Solomons. On March 29, 1943, we took off in our P-38s from Fighter Two on Guadalcanal for a fighter sweep of the Japanese floatplane base in the channel between Faisi-Poporang and Shortland (Alu) islands. The departure from base had been scheduled so that a combined force of eight P-38s and eight Marine Corsairs would arrive at the target area at first light, shortly before sunrise.
After takeoff we promptly formed up in a section of two flights. The Marines of VMF-124, including Ken Walsh, had also taken off from their base, but they had difficulty in making their rendezvous in the darkness. Captain Tom Lanphier, who was leading our section of eight, circled the area waiting for the Marines to show up. Since they did not appear to be making any progress toward assembly, Tom struck out independently. En route, my wingman experienced mechanical trouble and turned back. However, one of the Marines (1st Lt. Eben Dale), joined up with us near the Russells and became a part of my flight. Our formation now consisted of Tom's flight of four, with Lt. Rex Barber on his left wing and Lts. Joe Moore and George Topoll on his right; and my flight, with Lts. A.J. Buck and Jim McLanahan to my right and the lone Marine on my left.
We flew a few hundred feet above the water in complete radio silence. We did not take a direct course to Faisi-Poporang, but veered out to sea, about fifty miles west of New Georgia Island, then turned north. Maintaining formation in the darkness and beyond sight of land required extreme concentration. Near the Treasury islands we turned northeast toward our target. On our approach we ran into low scud and keeping visual contact with each other became more difficult, even 'though we were coming into a first light or predawn condition. Because we were in and out of clouds and near a jumble of islands at low altitude, it became a very dicey run. Finally, we broke into the clear and, looking around, I realized that Buck and McLanahan had lost us and must have returned to base. Tom quickly oriented himself and set course for Faisi. Our attack force had dwindled from sixteen scheduled to Tom's flight of four and my inter-service element of one Lightning and one Corsair!
Quickly our target area came into view and Tom put us into trail formation. I remember looking to my right and seeing a large harbor with many warships and transports at anchor or alongside docks. Also, in the harbor, there were ten or twelve large four-engine seaplanes. To my left was an island covered with a thick growth of trees (Shortland). We paralleled this island for a short time, skimming just above the water. We popped up to five or six hundred feet over land and reversed course. There, in a narrow neck of water, were the moored floatplanes. We commenced our attack. I was fifth in line. By the time I started my run, three floatplanes along the left shore were already on fire and others smoking, so I took the planes moored on the opposite shore.
Mission To The Shortlands (Part 3) *PIC*
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Mission To The Shortlands (Part 3) *PIC*>
Date: Sunday, 13 May 2001, at 11:11 a.m.
Numerous anti-aircraft guns were situated on both sides of the long, narrow channel where the floatplanes rested. The element of surprise no longer existed. The enemy guns seemed to be zeroing on me for my view on either side was filled with tracers. The effect was somewhat like entering a tunnel with arcing Roman candles flashing over your head. The thought crossed my mind that, normally, ammunition in that type of weapon was loaded with four regular rounds for every tracer and, surely, there were even more rounds heading my way than I could see! But, my mind and sight were now focused on the targets in front of me. I do not recall having fright or any real concern …that came later! Youth and inexperience were in control of my emotions and good fortune was at my side. I walked my rounds into the row of floatplanes and saw the flashes of the strikes. Completing my attack, I turned to the right and, hugging the treetops of the island, started my exit. I looked back and counted seven burning planes.
As we came off the target area and about nine miles south of Shortland (Alu), Tom, Rex, and I all spotted what we thought was a Japanese destroyer. We bore down on the ship, which was broadside to use. Tom, to my right, attacked the stern; I attacked amidships; and Rex, bringing up the rear, attacked the bow. The strafing proceeded in a somewhat coordinated manner… at least we did not shoot each other down! Moore, Topoll, and the Marine made their runs, as Tom, Rex, and I regrouped for another attack. We kept in touch by radio and positioned ourselves for each run. After several passes, the ship was in obvious trouble. It was listing, smoke was pouring out, and the hatch openings were jammed with sailors. The men topside wanted below to escape our machinegun fire, while those below wanted topside away from the flames and smoke. It does not seem possible that a pilot actively engaged in an attack could see this detail. Yet, this vignette of the sailors struggling in the hatchways is very clear in my mind when many details of other combat missions are fading from memory.
It was on the last pass that Rex stayed on his firing run a fraction of a second too long. By the time he pulled up, Rex had lost over forty inches of his left wing on the radiomast! We returned to base without further incident. Our last view of the ship was of a vessel spewing smoke from bow to stern with a substantial list. We were informed the next morning that a recon plane had flown over the area and that 'the destroyer had sunk.' After the war, official Japanese records revealed that we had actually attacked Subchaser No.28, not a destroyer, and, 'though it suffered numerous casualties and had been badly damaged, it had not sunk. On the same day as the mission, ComAirSols, Rear Admiral Mitscher, issued the following dispatch:
On April1, we also received an airmailgram from Admiral Halsey, Commander, South Pacific Forces:
Major General Robert L. Petit, USAF (Ret)"
Mission To The Shortlands (Part 4) *PIC*
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Mission To The Shortlands (Part 4) *PIC*>
Date: Sunday, 13 May 2001, at 11:22 a.m.
Postscript: For their roles in their attack on the floatplane base at Faisi-Poporang, 1st Lt. Benjamin E. Dale, USMC, and 1st Lt. Joseph H. Moore, USAAC, received the Award of the Silver Star. Captains Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr. and Robert L. Petit, and 1st Lt. Rex T. Barber, USAAC, received the Oak Leaf Cluster to their previous Award of the Silver Star. 1st Lt. George G. Topoll, USAAC, received his official recognition posthumously. Topoll was killed in his Lightning as he attempted an emergency landing shortly after takeoff for an evening patrol on April 6, 1943.
James F. Lansdale, ©2001 LRA
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