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How many Japanese aircraft were lost to American AA(Ship based only) fire in all carrier battles of

Discussion in 'Air War in the Pacific' started by USS Washington, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    What was the confirmed number of aircraft the Japanese lost to AA fire alone in all of the early war carrier battles in 1942, from Coral Sea to Santa Cruz, what percentage did these make up the total number lost in each of these battles, and how many aircraft did each of these AA guns account for(5"/38 all the way down to the water cooled .50 Cal)? I ask this because I'm curious of how effective our AA was in 1942, I know the Battleships North Carolina and South Dakota shot down 15 aircraft at Eastern Solomons and 26 at Santa Cruz, respectively, but what about all our AA fire in general? Thanks for any responses in advance.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Read...
    http://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/online-reading-room/title-list-alphabetically/a/antiaircraft-action-summary.html

    However, don't take this as definitive, few such reports on any kind of gunfire ever are, but think of it as "best guess."

    WRT the South Dakota claims, I have always thought the number was high - the Enterprise also claimed a great many plane shot down by her gunners. But, the SoDak's kill number for the battle is likely in the mid-teens. While still impressive, it is not near as great as the upper-20s to low 30s that she is usually credited with.
     
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  3. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    (1)I noticed that at the beginning of the first chapter, the report estimated 43 Japanese planes were shot down at Pearl Harbor, when it is now known that only 29 were downed, but being filed so soon after the end of the war, and long before more information was found, that's understandable, but I agree with you on not taking the report as gospel, should still be an informative and helpful read nonetheless, much appreciated Takao. :salute:
    (2)True, over claiming is a common occurrence in war, and thinking about it now, SoDaks claim does seem a bit high, no doubt she still did a credible job, nonetheless.
     
  4. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    It's mostly because battle is confusing and while you know you are engaging a particular target, others may be engaging the same target. When you see it go down or be destroyed it does actually appear you're the one that "killed" it. In the case of ships AA crews, if three ships are engaging a particular target from different locations, to each it appears you're on target and then it goes down, it's only logical that all three would believe they downed it. Even if the aircraft were recovered, intact, it would probably be hard to determine which was the kill shot, and even harder to determine who fired the shot, especially because all three were probably engaging with the same weapons systems. Add to that at Santa Cruz the South Dakota maintained position 1,000 yards from Enterprise, so they were basically on top of one another. SoDak was probably the more stable gun platform as Enterprise was maneuvering to avoid torpedoes and bombs, she was the primary target. Given the numbers and type of AA weapons shipped, proximity, platform stability, and fire control systems (numbers and type). South Dakota's claim of 26 aircraft is probably not too far off the mark.

    This is the amount of ordinance expended by South Dakota during the engagement and the ships Captain's estimate of each types efficacy:
    "firing 890 rounds of 5 inch, 4,000 rounds of 40mm, 3,000 rounds of 1.1 inch and 52,000 rounds of 20mm ammunition during the action. Captain Gatch made the following assessment of the relative effectiveness of each weapon type in bringing down enemy aircraft during the action: 5 inch: 5%, 40mm and 1.1 inch: 30% and 20mm: 65%"

    Let's assume they did down the number of aircraft claimed. That would break down to these numbers per weapons type. The 20mm was at relatively close range so probably the gun crews had a more accurate assessment as to their effect.

    5"=1.3
    40mm/1.1"=7.8
    20mm=16.9

    59,890=2303rds fired per kill claimed.
     
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  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Glatch's assessment is even odder, given hindsight, that the 20mms were barely adequate for point defense(target coming at you), and far less effective against "crossing targets"(aircraft attacking another ship). Also worth noting, is that SoDak's air defense officer, Lieutenant Commander Milton Pavlic thought the SoDak's success was due to her newly installed 40mm battery. Pavlic was certain of 7 kills, the OOD believed 14, the gunnery officer 21, and the XO 28.


    Also, at least in the SoDak's case...You have to figure that there are upteen different gunners and gun captains, aboard ship, all firing at the same target. All likely claiming the same kill.
     
  6. chibobber

    chibobber Member

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    Not to get to far off track but illustrative of confusion on a claim of a kill. The case of the shooting down of the Red Baron in WW1. I am sure all claimants thought they did the deed.
     

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