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Destraex
07-17-2004, 11:21 PM
Ok now I have seen the pics of the British Carriers and their Spitfire Compiliments I was wondering how well Spitfire pilots did in the Pacific Theatre?
I have a few of the Osprey books on the spitfire but the info is very basic and does not detail any of the Pacific battles the British or Commonwealth was involved in.

I guess I want to know what marks were available and how they faired against the Japanese A/C at the time. I mean the Spitfire did well in the battle of Britain but seems to be a short ranged fighter, how then do you use them off of carriers in the huge pacific theatre?
It seems the Brits have smaller carriers that are tougher and shorter ranged fighters.
Thanks to any who answer as this may have been asked before.

Any good sites with detailed info appreciated.

I already know pretty well how the American A/C did but British info is pretty sparse especially on battles, perhaps because there were no big ones onvolving the Brits after the fall of singapore.

Destraex
07-17-2004, 11:21 PM
Ok now I have seen the pics of the British Carriers and their Spitfire Compiliments I was wondering how well Spitfire pilots did in the Pacific Theatre?
I have a few of the Osprey books on the spitfire but the info is very basic and does not detail any of the Pacific battles the British or Commonwealth was involved in.

I guess I want to know what marks were available and how they faired against the Japanese A/C at the time. I mean the Spitfire did well in the battle of Britain but seems to be a short ranged fighter, how then do you use them off of carriers in the huge pacific theatre?
It seems the Brits have smaller carriers that are tougher and shorter ranged fighters.
Thanks to any who answer as this may have been asked before.

Any good sites with detailed info appreciated.

I already know pretty well how the American A/C did but British info is pretty sparse especially on battles, perhaps because there were no big ones onvolving the Brits after the fall of singapore.

Brakovitch
07-18-2004, 01:29 AM
Commander R. "Mike"Crosley, DSC, RN in his book "They gave me a seafire"identifies his plane towards the end of the Pacific War as a Seafire L111 and talks about its turning deficiencies in comparison with the A6M, but says it could be overcome by using the yo-yo principle. He flew from the Implacable which used her Seafires to excellent effect in ground attack roles in mainland Japan.

Tooz_69GIAP
07-18-2004, 01:34 AM
Well, the Illustrious with it's deck full of Seafires is a little misleading.

The Illustrious only ever had one FAA squadron aboard (No.894 Sqn) that were equipped with MkIIc Seafires (navalised version of Spit with tail hook and folding wings, etc).

This squadron was aboard Illustrious from around July 1943 - Oct 1943, long before the Illustrious was sent to the Pacific.

Mostly she carried Corsairs and Avengers in the later years while she was in the pacific from 1944 onwards.

Check out this link for more details about the Illustrious itself (http://www.fleetairarmarchive.net/Ships/ILLUSTRIOUS.html)

However, I do know that Seafires were used in the pacific, but I am really not too sure on details. Also, I think that some RAAF and RNZAF squadrons were equipped with Spits.

whit ye looking at, ya big jessie?!?!

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biggs222
07-18-2004, 01:57 AM
the land based mkVIIIs around Burma also had to fight teh Zeros differently. they no longer had the turning advantage like they did in the ETO, so they used BnZ more....they were very succesful.

i remember reading that one time 4 mkVIIIs fought against a dozen Ki 34s they were able to down all of them with only one spitfire lost....i remember one pilots quote went somethign like...they fought to the death, where as most other pilots would break off "bug out", these pilots would stay and continue the fight even tho thier own fuel supply was runnign low..... Japanese pilots were very respected.

Destraex
07-18-2004, 02:30 AM
biggs222 where did you read this? Would love to read a good source.
As for Corsairs is this what the Brits mainly used from all carriers in late war Pacific?

k5054
07-18-2004, 02:49 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
Well, the Illustrious with it's deck full of Seafires is a little misleading.

The Illustrious only ever had one FAA squadron aboard (No.894 Sqn) that were equipped with MkIIc Seafires (navalised version of Spit with tail hook and folding wings, etc).
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The Seafire II did not fold, and was always kept in the deck park on Illustrious or her sisters. In the Pacific, those carriers operated Corsairs or Hellcats. The folding mkIII did fit in the hangar deck of the later carriers, Indomitable, Inplacable and Indefatigable, and that's where they served in the BPF. Seafire IIIs destroyed 16 Zekes in total for one loss.

Destraex
07-18-2004, 02:58 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Seafire IIIs destroyed 16 Zekes in total for one loss.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I take it this is from one carrier and not in the whole pacific war. I guess the japanese pilots had little training by this time

biggs222
07-18-2004, 03:15 AM
Flight Lieutenant Don Healey
No17 Sqn
1944 to '46

"...If you got into a dogfight with Japanese Army Ki 43 "Oscar IIs", as we frequently did, the mkVIII had two great plus points, should the enemy get astern of you: 1) you could out climb them if you could maintain a sustained ascent; and 2) if you had the hight you could out dive them as well, as the mkVIII weighed almost twice as much as any enemy fighter likely to be encountered. The manuverability of the Nakajima fighter was well known by this stage in the war, and woe betide anyone who thought they could horizontally out-turn on in a spitfire."

EDIT on my last post i mentioned the "Ki 34" i ment to say "Ki 43" or better known as the "Oscar".

theRealAntEater
07-18-2004, 04:38 AM
Over Darwin, Spitfires were not so terribly successful in early 1943, they often had losses to 3rd Kokutai Zeroes. One one occasion, 14 Spitfires were lost against one or no Zeroes (forgot). And that is from Australian loss records, not japanese claims (I suppose they claimed 30 or so http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif).
But keep in mind those were tropicalized Spitfire VCs, not exactly the best Spitfire ever build. Later Mk VIIIs were much better, but then there was hardly any japanese left for them to fight.
The Zeros in question were Model 32 A6M3 "Hamp". I suppose the british pilots, who came from the med theater were accustomed to use their maneuvrability against 109s and 190s and suddenly this did not work anymore.
In fact it seems the early 1943 Raids on northern Australia were the last Operation in which the G4M Betty did come out with tolerable losses.

Mr_Nakajima
07-18-2004, 05:34 AM
India/Air Command South East Asia had 5 fighter and 1 recce spitfire squadrons in Jan 1944, increasing to 14 fighter squadrons by July 1945. Though short-ranged, the Spitfire usually had things its own way in the CBI theatre.

Source: 'The Forgotten Air force: The Royal Air Force in the War against Japan, 1941-1945' by Air Commodore Henry Probert.

k5054
07-18-2004, 06:32 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> quote: Seafire IIIs destroyed 16 Zekes in total for one loss.

I take it this is from one carrier and not in the whole pacific war. I guess the japanese pilots had little training by this time <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Nope, whole war. Seafire had 37 or so kills total, 1942-45, over German, French and Japanese a/c. The BPF got another 100 or so with all a/c types. The FAA as a whole scored 400 kills in WW2, the highest scorer being the ...Fairey Fulmar.
In the Pacific the BPF was not usually deployed for the big ops like the Tokyo raid of Feb 1945, the USN kept those for itself. Some say there were political reasons for this. Either way they had no big combats, but did pretty well in the few combats they did have.

VW-IceFire
07-18-2004, 09:26 AM
Biggest problem for the Seafire/Spitfire in this theater was already mentioned and that being that while the Spitfire had a fantastic turn advantage over German fighters...it did not against Japanese fighters and the pilots had to adjust their tactics accordingly.

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RCAF 412 Falcon Squadron - "Swift to Avenge"

charshep
07-18-2004, 11:52 AM
The problem that the first Spits arriving in theater had was that, as already mentioned, they had to adjust their tactics. Once that adjustment was made the Spit was an effective BnZ fighter in the Pacific. The real problem that the Spit had was its lack of range and lack of "operational durability". A lot more Spits sat on the runways waiting to be fixed in the Pacific than they did in Europe.

At the risk of sounding like a patriotic chest beater, these two facts highlight some of the strengths that US fighters had over their European counterparts that we don't see in sims. US fighters from the beginning had to operate from bases ranging from as far as Alaska to Panama and Hawaii to Virginia so right from the start they were designed with range and a wide variety of inclement climates in mind. European fighters on the other hand were conceived under the assumption that they would only operate in Europe where climate and, to a lesser extent, range were not as high a priority. These facts, coupled with the fact that high altitude performance was not as important in the Pacific as it was in Europe, made the P-40 a more successful fighter in that theater.

As to the Seafire specifically, it was basically a Spitfire and performed accordingly in combat. The real problem with it was that it wasn't designed to be a carrier fighter. In fact, its characteristics made it completely wrong for a carrier fighter and the Seafire was a total hack brought on by England's desperate need for a carrier fighter. Seafires just were not up to the grueling demands of operating off of carriers on a continuous basis and, if I remember right, any complement of Seafires got chewed up pretty quickly in operations just from wear and tear.

The need for a real carrier fighter on the part of the British was so great, even with the Seafires already present, that they accepted lend lease Corsairs that had been rejected initially by the US as unacceptable for carrier operations and worked the bugs out themselves, even clipping 9 inches from the wings so they'd fit in their carriers' smaller hangar decks. So, its the British FAA that deserves credit for pioneering carrier-born Corsairs, along with many other aircraft carrier developments. Once the British showed the US how to do it, the US began operating Corsairs from carriers as well.

Check out Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific (the best WW 2 book I've ever read btw) for more details on early air craft development, including European aircraft, and anything and everything you ever wanted to know about the air war in the Pacific, including Spitfire/Seafire operations.

Also check out Corsair: The F4U in World War II and Korea by Barrett Tillman for all things Corsair including a fair amount about the FAA, the story of its development of the Seafire and its transition to the Corsair, and a summary of its operations.

k5054
07-18-2004, 04:41 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Check out Fire in the Sky: The Air War in the South Pacific (the best WW 2 book I've ever read btw) for more details on early air craft development, including European aircraft, and anything and everything you ever wanted to know about the air war in the Pacific, including Spitfire/Seafire operations.

Also check out Corsair: The F4U in World War II and Korea by Barrett Tillman for all things Corsair including a fair amount about the FAA, the story of its development of the Seafire and its transition to the Corsair, and a summary of its operations. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Bergerud is not sound on aircraft development, that chapter of his book is best if you check the facts for yourself. No problem with the historical and anecdotal chapters, but his "Touched with Fire" about the ground war is a far better book.
Anything by Tillman can be recommended.

Spitfires worked well on all fronts, they operated with decent serviceability in spite of the apparent fragility on dirt strips in the desert, Burma and Normandy. There was a little trouble in Oz though, probably because of tired planes.
Not all Seafire ops were tainted by bad serviceability, although some were, like the Salerno op. Experienced squadrons built a record with the Seafire as good as the US fighters. It never had enough range to get to the war though, it had to wait for the war to come to it. That's what interceptors do. However, its low kill numbers with the BPF had more to do with the overall lack of IJ opposition where the BPF was, all the fighters had low kill numbers and very low combat losses, and that's a sign of lack of targets.

SkyChimp
07-18-2004, 05:38 PM
Here are some Seafire specs:

http://members.cox.net/us.fighters/seafire.jpg

Source: Supermarine Aircraft: Since 1914 Andrews & Morgan

http://members.cox.net/us.fighters/seafire_1.jpg



Regards,
http://members.cox.net/us.fighters/signature.jpg

[This message was edited by SkyChimp on Sun July 18 2004 at 04:51 PM.]

VW-IceFire
07-18-2004, 06:07 PM
I hope they give us a proper FAA Corsair too. That'd be great fun to have as well. I know we could easily reskin a standard Corsair but a FAA Corsair, with the wings ever so slightly clipped and with FAA markings as default. That'd be great.

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RCAF 412 Falcon Squadron - "Swift to Avenge"

Salfordian
07-19-2004, 07:23 AM
hey Biggs, I've got a book with that quote in from Don Healey, it is called Spitfire Flying Legend (see here http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1855325942/ref=ase_wwwlink-software-21/026-7578882-5000445). It is one of my favourite books with so many great aerial shots of warbird spits from the Mk1 to Griffon spits.
The MkVIII section says how there was little aerial opposition left and that the MkVIIIs and later MkXIVs were mainly used in support of the advancing army in the CBI theatre, and that the E-wing models were a particular favourite due to their 50s and cannon.

With regards to the Seafire in the pacific here are two quick pieces of info which I dug up for two of my first skins for the Spit V on IL2Skins:
Seafire L MkIII S121 (LR866) of 887NAS British Pacific Fleet. On 15th August 1945 this aircraft was flown by Sub-Lieutenant Victor Lowden leading a flight of Seafires escorting Fireflys & Avengers attacking targets south of Tokyo. Running into around 15 A6m5 Zekes 1 Seafire & 1 Avenger were lost for 8 Zekes confirmed and 4 probables. S/L Lowden was credited with 2.5 confirmed & 2 probables. This dogfight was the last air combat of WW2 as shortly after recovery onboard the carrier the ceasefire flag was run up and flown onboard the ship.

Seafire L MkIII S112 (NN212) of 887NAS. Based aboard HMS Indefatigable, Sub-Lieutenant G. J. Murphy used this aircraft to down 2 A6m Zekes over Odaki Bay, Japan, on 15th August 1945

biggs222
07-19-2004, 03:01 PM
yeah salfordian, i have that book too....the edges on it are starting to ware because ive looked at it so many times http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif.

flying-flea
07-20-2004, 09:40 AM
They could hold this many lol

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/zonegod/hms-indefatigable.jpg