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Ark Royal's Aircraft
 
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Flakstruk

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Post subject: Ark Royal's Aircraft  Reply with quote   (Liked by:0)  Like this post
Obviously the loss of the AR was a big deal for the RN, but I was wondering if the loss of her air-group affected the FAA significantly, in a lot of the early med battles, the British Carrier were operating very limited air-groups.
By Nov 41 was this still the case?
PostSat Jul 11, 2015 2:32 am
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Shinnentai

 

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If anything the loss of Ark Royal meant that replacement planes that would have gone to her had she been able to continue operations could instead go to other carriers, as could her experienced air crews.

Undoubtedly the loss of Ark Royal greatly diminished the overall capability of the British carrier force, but I don't see how this loss would negatively impact the remaining carriers?
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PostSat Jul 11, 2015 6:36 pm
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Flakstruk

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I hadn't thought of that. Captain Maund probably made the best of a bad situation by getting his men off as a priority.

And within the month pearl happened, and the USN could offset the losses of the air and its planes
PostSun Jul 12, 2015 12:29 am
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While the loss of planes and the ship were significant, the survival of the air crew was significant.  These men could reform with another group, or split up and use their experience to train newer pilots.
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PostSat Jul 25, 2015 6:54 am
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'Warspite'

 

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Many of the aircrew went to shore-based squadrons where they did sterling service. I have just finished reading a book about the Swordfish and Albacores operating out of Malta and North Africa.

Both types caused enormous damage to Axis shipping mostly with night strikes using ASV radar and flares or with mine-laying sorties on established routes or across harbour entrances. One squadron operating out of Malta started with 18 aircraft and ended with just one original machine (due to losses) and a couple 'borrowed' from visiting squadrons.

Many of their intercepts were based on 'Ultra' decrypts. To try to cover this source they used recce aircraft to 'find' the convoy which was already known about, then the Stringbags and Applecores went in.

For one key intercept - as Rommel was falling back from Alamein and screaming for fuel - there was thick fog and no way a recce flight could find the convoy by chance. Eventually a successful attack went in on Ultra information only and the convoy was decimated. To cover the true source the British secret service broadcast a 'thank you' to an imaginary spy in the convoy's home port on a code and wave length known to have been broken by the Germans. They even gave the phantom spy a 'pay rise'. Shortly after the Germans sacked an Italian admiral on suspicion of being that spy!   Smile  Smile  Smile

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Last edited by 'Warspite' on Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:14 am; edited 1 time in total
PostThu Aug 13, 2015 8:47 pm
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Toronado3800

 

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That was a good read. Thank you. The whole topic really.
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PostThu Aug 13, 2015 9:38 pm
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Shinnentai

 

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There's a short passage in Engage the Enemy More Closely which refers to Adm Somerville bemoaning in Feb'42 that his Fleet Air Arm crews (of HMS Indomitable, Formidable & Hermes of the Eastern Fleet) were well below the standard of his old carrier Ark Royal.
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PostThu Aug 13, 2015 10:13 pm
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Flakstruk

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Did he mean in terms of training or equipment?
PostThu Aug 13, 2015 11:01 pm
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'Warspite'

 

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Flakstruk wrote:
Did he mean in terms of training or equipment?


As the equipment was substantially the same I would assume that he meant in training terms.
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PostFri Aug 14, 2015 6:16 am
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Shinnentai wrote:
There's a short passage in Engage the Enemy More Closely which refers to Adm Somerville bemoaning in Feb'42 that his Fleet Air Arm crews (of HMS Indomitable, Formidable & Hermes of the Eastern Fleet) were well below the standard of his old carrier Ark Royal.

That would make sense. Indomitable was a brand new ship, with a green crew, and Hermes had been on backwater duty all of WW II, mostly in the Far East. Hardly a place to fine tune skills.


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PostTue Aug 18, 2015 3:50 am
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