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Courageous

Most probably a stupid question but....

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Whilst casually browsing the WWW looking at all things Fleet Air Arm at this particular time and came across images of aircraft mounted on gun turrets, novel I thought :blink:, and here's my question.

How did the said warships recover their aircraft after they had done their job:hmmm:?

 

:fool:Stuart

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they didn't. pilots had to ditch close to the convoy they were escorting and hope that they would survive the impact of crash landing on waves, be able to get out of the sinking aircraft, and to be picked up again by a ship.

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Thought it was a stupid question... pretty much a one shot wonder then. A waste of material and a pilot if nothing was gained from his little adventure.

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18 minutes ago, Courageous said:

Whilst casually browsing the WWW looking at all things Fleet Air Arm at this particular time and came across images of aircraft mounted on gun turrets, novel I thought :blink:, and here's my question.

How did the said warships recover their aircraft after they had done their job:hmmm:?

 

:fool:Stuart

 

erm, they are float planes,  and were then craned back on board

eg  Walrus

54df43c685ba236fcfb33401e30bec66--royal-

14 minutes ago, elger said:

they didn't. pilots had to ditch close to the convoy they were escorting and hope that they would survive the impact of crash landing on waves, be able to get out of the sinking aircraft, and to be picked up again by a ship.

 

that's a CAM ship,   

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAM_ship

Quote

CAM ships were World War II-era British merchant ships used in convoys as an emergency stop-gap until sufficientescort carriers became available. CAM ship is an acronym for catapult aircraft merchant ship.[1]

They were equipped with a rocket-propelled catapult launching a single Hawker Hurricane, dubbed a "Hurricat" or "Catafighter" to destroy or drive away an attacking bomber. Normally the Hurricane fighter would be lost when the pilot then bailed out or ditched in the ocean near the convoy.[2] They continued to carry their normal cargoes after conversion.

 

7 minutes ago, Courageous said:

Thought it was a stupid question... pretty much a one shot wonder then. A waste of material and a pilot if nothing was gained from his little adventure.

the loss of a semi obsolete Hurricane to protect a convoy was considered a good trade off

Edited by Troy Smith

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Cheers for that Troy. Still makes you wonder why they didn't use float planes from the beginning, at least you could recovery plane and pilot.

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13 minutes ago, Troy Smith said:

 

erm, they are float planes,  and were then craned back on board

eg  Walrus

 

that's a CAM ship,   

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAM_ship

 

the loss of a semi obsolete Hurricane to protect a convoy was considered a good trade off

 

ah yes that's what I was thinking of.

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28 minutes ago, Courageous said:

Cheers for that Troy. Still makes you wonder why they didn't use float planes from the beginning, at least you could recovery plane and pilot.

I don't think a Walrus has much chance of catching a Fw200,   which was one of the main threats to Convoys.  

 

I was a make shift solution until MAC ships https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_aircraft_carrier and escort carriers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escort_carrier  were used.

 

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Interesting postings but not answering the original question.  Aircraft taking off from ramps mounted on gun turrets was a WW1 innovation, preceding the invention of the aircraft catapult and hence the WW2 CAM ship.  With such short runs, even with the help of the wind and the ship's speed, only light scouts were used with the intention of shooting down, or at least driving off, Zeppelins which were used as scouts for the German fleet.  Such aircraft were cheap, especially compared with a Zeppelin.  This would initially be done by Royal Naval Air Service rather than the Fleet Air Arm, but the practice did last briefly into the post-war years, I believe.  However by then the first aircraft carriers were in use so the practice died out.

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Hello

I agree with Graham, this is more a WWI stuff. In 1918 destroyers, with lighters in tow, had been used against Zeppelins. I guess cruisers and battleships had been needed elsewhere and there had not been enough of them to patrol waters of North Sea below every possible Zeppelin flightpath anyway. Scouts, taking off either from lighters either from turrets, had been inexpensive enough (I somewhere picked an information that they had been cheaper than 12-inch grenades, but I am not quite positive about it) to be deemed expendable, although in fair weather and calm seas many of them floated long enough to be picked from the water along with their pilots, as was the case with Sopwith 2F1 Camel N6812 of Lt. Culley. I understand this Camel is today on display in IWM. Even when kite of a plane had been too battered by the sea to be of any further use, recovery had been considered a success if at least rotary engine, the most expensive single part of a plane anyway, had been salvaged.

Post-war Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters had been sometimes used. Parnall Panther, equipped folding fuselage, water vane and flotation gear, had been specifically designed for such a task before the war ended, but only a handful had been produced. Strutters took off from turrets and I suspect their primary task was spotting. I believe this type had been also used on US Navy battleships for the same purpose. I would have to check TV program, taped decades ago on this one, but unfortunately my VCR is non-operative at the moment. I guess there were so many of Strutters around that it did not really matter if they went to the bottom at the end of every sortie. Catapult launched seaplanes ended this, from today's perspective questionable but at the time quite acceptable, (mis)use or resources. Cheers

Jure

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All info gratefully received, all interesting stuff. As you have said, the launching of spotters/ fighters from non carrier/ mac ships have been been going on for some time; both WW's. IIRC, wasn't a spotter used during the Graf Spee and their was no carrier there?

After the mission, unless you had floats, carrier or dirt, you had to ditch into sea. As mentioned earlier, these planes were often not front line and dispensable, more than can be said about pilots! After all, you can build an aircraft faster that you could to train a pilot.

 

Stuart

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11 minutes ago, Courageous said:

All info gratefully received, all interesting stuff. As you have said, the launching of spotters/ fighters from non carrier/ mac ships have been been going on for some time; both WW's. IIRC, wasn't a spotter used during the Graf Spee and their was no carrier there?

After the mission, unless you had floats, carrier or dirt, you had to ditch into sea. As mentioned earlier, these planes were often not front line and dispensable, more than can be said about pilots! After all, you can build an aircraft faster that you could to train a pilot.

 

Stuart

From memory, the spotter plane was used to "spot" the fall of shot from Achilles Ajax and Exeter onto the GrafSpee in order that adjustment could be made.

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Hello

I think it was the Fairey Seafox from Ajax, which spotted for three cruisers during Rio del Plata battle. HMS Achilles also had Seafox on board, while HMS Exeter was equipped with Walrus. Graf von Spee had two Arados Ar 196 B, but I doubt they had been catapulted into the battle. Here is a wartime news footage, which also shows Graf von Spee after the battle in Montevideo harbour. At about 4:20 one of Arados can be seen, or at least what was left of her after naval engagement. Cheers

Jure

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From memory Juer The Spee was sited by a smidgeon of her smoke on the horizon by a seaman on one the masts.

 

Again from memory (sorry I cannot get at my book on the stuff to confirm) Spee's catapult was out of action.

 

I remember all this so well. I was 13 months old at the time.

 

Laurie

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Dedicated spotter aircraft were not normally "one flight wonders". They were usually seaplanes or small flying boats and the intention would always be that they could land close to the ship and be recovered by crane.

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Hello

Amazing attention to details for a toddler, Laurie! Yes, according to several books, it was a lookout on Ajax who first spotted Graf von Spee's funnel smoke. Sources divide upon the reason why Graf von Spee did not launch her aircraft: one mentions trouble with catapult cylinder and other state that one of her Arados damaged one of her floats in heavy landing. The same source states, that the second plane's engine broke down, so she had been stripped of useful components and dumped overboard.

A correction of my previous post: Graf von Spee carried two Ar 196 A-1 floatplanes and not those of B subtype, of course. Cheers

Jure

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4 hours ago, Jure Miljevic said:

Hello

I think it was the Fairey Seafox from Ajax, which spotted for three cruisers during Rio del Plata battle. HMS Achilles also had Seafox on board, while HMS Exeter was equipped with Walrus. Graf von Spee had two Arados Ar 196 B, but I doubt they had been catapulted into the battle. Here is a wartime news footage, which also shows Graf von Spee after the battle in Montevideo harbour. At about 4:20 one of Arados can be seen, or at least what was left of her after naval engagement. Cheers

Jure

 

The Seafox was Ajax's - Lt Edgar Lewin and Lt Kearney onboard. It wasn't a total success due to various communication failures (possibly the result of a green crew) leading to Achilles's fall of shot being reported as Ajax. No other aircraft took part. Ajax's aircraft then came in very useful for flying reconnaissance while Graf Spee was in Montevideo.

 

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