Vengeance; at Midway and Guadalcanal, a novel of war. (Aviator Book 2)
In an account of a carrier battle, Sears writes that aerial torpedo strikes at p. The actual time was p. Sears invariably calls bombs that hit carriers "armor-piercing," but Japanese dive bombers did not use AP ordnance. He also claims that, after a Japanese bombardment of Guadalcanal, "butt plates of fourteen and eighteen-inch rounds lay everywhere" ; in fact, no Japanese ship mounting eighteen-inch guns ever bombarded Guadalcanal. Sears states that thirty-two Essex -class carriers were under construction or on order by August ; the correct number is twenty-three.
He claims that conversion of Cleveland -class cruisers to light carriers was "necessitated by 's devastating carrier attrition at Coral Sea [4—8 May], Midway [4—7 June] and Guadalcanal [August —February ]"; but the conversions had already begun in January and six of the nine were on order before the Battle of the Coral Sea. Sears gives the deck armor of the battleship California as fourteen inches, when it was actually 5.
Besides such disconcertingly frequent specific errors of fact, Sears also perpetuates a myth, manufactures history outright, and does a serious disservice to a living veteran. In this, he follows earlier aviation propagandists' exaggeration of the "Aviators vs. But Sears prefers to give his audience an opportunity to cheer the aviators and jeer the surface officers. Sears also meddles with history. In his version of a press conference held by Adm. John Towers, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, Towers says "'It's the aircraft carrier that will spearhead the action in the next war.
Sears is tracking here the account in Thomas Buell's Master of Sea Power ,  which says "The reporters at first were silent. Finally one spoke: 'Will you repeat that, Admiral? Worse, the fabrication is inaccurate. Sears presents Towers's statement as an attack against battleship proponents, in line with his aviators vs.
Gun Club theme. This is entirely out of character for Towers and inconsistent with his previous relations with surface officers.
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The Army Air Force AAF wanted to speed up the production of heavy bombers and take priority over naval aviation for critical materials. Wilson Brown: in February , when Brown, commanding the Lexington , communicated his desperate need for re-provisioning, King snapped: "Carry on as long as you have hardtack, beans, and corn willy. What the hell are you worrying about? John B.
Lundstrom has depicted the incident in Black Shoe Carrier Admiral  not cited by Sears : Lexington was nearly out of food and Brown requested permission to draw on supplies from a forward stores ship before departing on a return voyage to Pearl Harbor. King, who was anxious to build up forward stockpiles for later use, sent Brown a message to eat "beans and hardtack. Sears's version, for which no source is cited, has the sniff of contrivance. How, for example, could King have "snapped" at Brown, who was half a world away? With this in mind, the Luftwaffe began to take things seriously after Operation Millenium and began shifting more resources to the Nachtjagdgeschwader.
In addition to upgraded Bfs, the Germans fielded the JuC, which was basically an excellent day bomber with a nose full of cannons. However, as many a Lancaster crew could tell you, there was nothing smooth or mellow about two cannon dropping high explosive and armor piercing rounds upwards into a fully loaded bomb bay or unsealed fuel tanks:. Still, despite all these innovations and the ability to occasionally inflict severe losses on Bomber Command raids, at best ended with the Reich Defense Forces and Bomber Command at a draw.
Which, given all the other crazy stuff that was going on for the Reich around that time, probably made Adolf Galland , now General of Fighters , breathe a sigh of relief. Ja, things are bad. The Battle of Britain has probably been responsible for literally millions of gallons of ink being spilled. With so many authors out there choosing the final three books is going to be a bit, um, interesting. Similarly, given that France threw in the towel with most of its army still in the field and the Germans far from possessing overwhelming force, Great Britain was certainly capable of getting a case of the yips in mid Ergo, without further ado, let me tell you how Air Marshal Hugh Dowding was responsible for saving Western Civilization.
Mmm, maybe. Indeed, despite Churchill beating out Lord Halifax for the post of Prime Minister, half of his cabinet wanted to cut a deal in the interest of preserving the Empire…. To which Churchill gave a long, blunt reply that basically broke down to:. Negotiating with Nazis is like negotiating with a hungry lion. Have you bloody idiots not been paying attention for the last two years? All this makes great history and does show a head of state that is, in the vernacular, n ot messing around.
Buuuuuuttt, it ignores the fact that Churchill had not been Prime Minister from , was not particularly air minded and, despite his meddling nature, was not secure enough in his position to start meddling around with aerial defense of Great Britain. Hugh Dowding was not a dashing fellow.
Indeed, he is generally described as giving off the air of a particularly boring school principal who did not necessarily mix with those under his command. If there is a spectrum of leadership styles for aerial generals, Dowding is likely on the opposite side from Curtis Lemay. This is part of the reason he gets one or two sentences in most general histories, with the other being that he was cursed with back stabbers for subordinates more on that later.
However, one of the things Dowding was good at was organization. Another was remaining calm. Holy shit! In the final years of peace, Dowding had already begun putting together what would later be called an integrated air defense system IADS. That being said, the Germans found out a few things very quickly. One, while the RAF would still have village idiot squadron commanders flying in vics throughout the battle, self-preservation and attrition helped weed many of these men out. Ergo, it started becoming harder and harder to find quacking fighters with roundels.
Helping this process was the innate advantage of fighting over home turn. This fact underscores another point—the Luftwaffe , for the first time, found itself in an even fight. However, only recently have folks started taking into account things like German pilot fatigue, high engine hours, and the operational wear and tear of operating very far forward from their depots into account. As June turned to July, the Jagdwaffe was sucking wind like a welterweight that had been throwing nothing but haymakers for ten rounds. This analogy is particularly apt when one looks back at the map above.
Like most bomber disciples, Hermann Goering and his chief of aircraft development, Ernst Udet, had not invested in the development of a long-range, single-engine fighter. Once the red light started glowing, it was time to head for home…or figure out how long one could tread water. In the last blog post you told us there were two German fighters. What about the Bf?! At that point, things like slashing attacks from upsun become problematic, and people end up having to actually dogfight.
The , which had seemed quite capable on the continent, quickly found itself the equivalent of a station wagon in an Indy race.
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Although it still occasionally managed to surprise an unwary RAF fighter or two, by June it became apparent the could not even look after itself, much less escort German bombers. Speaking of escorting, also hindering the Jagdwaffe were tactical decisions forced upon them by higher headquarters.
This would be a common bomber refrain throughout the war for all sides. The Luftwaffe head shed, horrified at their losses, were the first to make the critical error of tying their fighter pilots to within visual range of the bombers as opposed to giving them free rein. As opposed to Goering, Dowding managed his end of the Battle of Britain like a maestro.
Ever cognizant of the fact that he just had to keep the issue in doubt until September 30th at the latest, Dowding conducted an aerial economy of force operation. Squadrons were committed as they became available, with the initial combatants wearing down the s so that later entries had free runs at bomber formations.
Despite the temptation to meddle in squadron tactics, Dowding let leaders figure their own methods.
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To follow our earlier analogy, the hard swinging welterweight found out that their opponent not only had one hell of a corner man, but had somehow put on 20 pounds in between bells. Hitler, not having really wanted to force England to the negotiating table through invasion, began to look east. Great Britain, bloodied and battered, had a brief moment where the cabinet once more suggested that the nation seek the best deal possible.
Churchill, as was his wont, quickly squashed this idea. Possibly with physical violence.
Air Marshal Dowding, despite having overseen the first successful defense of Britain proper in centuries, was forced out against his will in favor of the former commander of No. Nor did Leigh-Mallory address the fact that said big wings, by virtue of being easier to spot, would likely have suffered mightily at the hands of even the bomber-bound German escorts. Forced to retire…. Better wrap this up before I kill someone through rhetorical bludgeoning. For the first time, radar changed the course of a campaign.
The was arguably superior to both of the British front line fighters and had its way against just about everything else e. As the British would find out when they went on the offensive, gaining air supremacy required range. The devil is in the pilot and airframe replacement program. Whether one believes that Fighter Command was on the ropes or not a topic of much recent debate , the fact remains that the Jagdwaffe could not regenerate fighters nearly as fast as the RAF could.
Firepower improvement was relative. As mentioned above, aircrew being wounded but alive to kvetch about poor fighter protection ultimately led to German errors…yet the RAF expedited cannon armaments after the Battle of Britain for a reason. Overclaiming influenced the course of the campaign. This one is borderline between a book for the masses versus the monkhood. Duel of Eagles by Peter Townsend. Fighter by Len Deighton. Luftwaffe Fighter Aces by Michael Spick. You read the last blog post on aerial combat and liked it.