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Hellcat Dropping Torpedoes?

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by BigEFan, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. BigEFan

    BigEFan recruit

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    Recently I was reading about the F6F Hellcat in Wikipedia.org and learned it could carry up to 4,000 lbs or ordinance. Has anyone ever heard of Hellcats used to carry torpedoes, since they could carry a one-ton torpedo easily. It would be better as a torpedo bomber because it was much faster than the Avenger and after it dropped its' torpedo it could function as a fighter.

    Grumman F6F Hellcat - Wikipedia

    "Bombs: up to 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) full load, including:
    • Bombs or Torpedoes: (Fuselage mounted on centerline rack)
      • 1 × 2,000 lb (910 kg) bomb or
      • 1 × Mk.13-3 torpedo
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I have never heard of it, but I suspect it would be dependent on where the 'hard points' were on the aircraft and how much each could carry. Also aerodynamics and ground clearance would be a factor as well.
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It was experimented with, but the F6F never carried a torpedo into combat. It took some time for the USN to develop a decent airborne torpedo, and by then, bombs could sink anything less than a battleship or carrier. Thus it was easier and more profitable to outfit the Hellcats with bombs as opposed to torpedoes.
     
  4. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ..also, wouldn't it decrease combat range significantly?
     
  5. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Probably not much worse than hauling a 2000 lbs bomb, weighed only slightly more, in the neighborhood of 2150, maybe. OTOH, carrier-based F6F's dropped not a single 2000 lbs bomb in the entire war, not one. Most if not all of the 2000 lbs bombs dropped by USN or USMC fighter pilots were hauled by F4Us.
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Indeed, by 1944 TBFs were often carrying bombs instead of torpedos for antiship attack, even though the issues with the Mark 13 had been largely worked out.
     
  7. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    And TBMs dropped some 624 2000 lbs bombs, about 260 of those were dropped during the final TF-38 strikes on the Japanese home islands, 10 July through 15 August 1945. The TF-38 TBMs during those last strike days dropped not a single torpedo, not even in the Kure strikes of 24-28 July.

    About the same time, torpedoes were being ordered removed from CVE's. The TBMs of the CEVG and VC squadrons were to be henceforth strictly bomb haulers . . . torpedoes require worthy targets . . . there were none.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
  8. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    There are two problems with an F6F jock carrying out a torpedo attack.

    #1 A torpedo needs to be dropped from a low level at a constant speed far lower than an F6F usually flew. It might have been hard to maintain 150 kts at 150 ft in a straight line in the face of AA fire when flying a machine capable of dodging the incoming.
    .
    #2 Dropping torpedoes was a specialist operation that needed practice and teamwork. Teamwork mattered because the idea was to drop a pattern of torpedoes. This wasn't a job for a fighter squadron. They had other things to do.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
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  9. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    No, there was no problem with the concept. Somebody got the bright idea to see if it could be done. Yes, it could. That does not mean anyone was go to actually do it. And the Germans hung at least one torpedo off an FW190. For that matter the SB2C could also haul a torpedo, but you couldn't fully close the bomb bay doors in that configuration. What do you know . . . it worked . . . that's nice. What's next on the 'will this work?' list. Wildcats on floats . . . golly, what will they think of next? A surprising number people just can't resist the urge to tinker.

    By 1945 the Mark 13 could be dropped from a lot higher than 150 feet and at a speed greater than 150 kts, so, nope, not a problem. Flying straight? Well the TBM drivers were already doing that. And speaking of TBM drivers, as the VT squadrons got smaller as the war went on, most of the pilots shed ended up in VF squadrons which were getting bigger, so there were at least a few VF pilots wandering around who had a pretty good handle on executing a torpedo attack.

    None of which means there was ever a plan to deploy torpedo toting F6Fs . . . certainly some wise old head looked up and said something along the lines of: "That's nice, boys. Now go find something useful."
     
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  10. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ....plus, the ships needed fighter cover......the dive bombers/etc needed fighter cover...that doesn't leave too many for attacking with torps, does it? plus, a lot [ if not the majority of battles ] did not involve the US attacking ships/large ship formations/etc? = very inefficient to arm them with torps....?
    ..when did F6Fs get into the fleet? well after Guadalcanal
    ...after Guadalcanal, I didn't think there were too many large naval battles until Marianas/Philippines/etc? -not many IJN large vessels to attack? ....they ran away before the US got there?
     
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    In the long-range strike at the end of the Marianas battle, some of the F6Fs carried bombs, and this became more common as Japanese fighter opposition declined. And of course a Hellcat had the option of jettisoning its bomb if enemy fighters were encountered.
     

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