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Slide 4 of 41
TOFFLERIANS ARE EVEN WRONG ABOUT AIRCRAFT CARRIERS AND ARMORED BATTLESHIPS
Mythology of the large aircraft carrier winning the Pacific sideshow in WW2:
Where is Task Force 34? Where is the U.S. Navy and marines as we fight a global war on terrorism? Will they transform or pretend its still their mythical version of WW2?
If America's military does not refocus from air and maritime firepower onto decisive land maneuver she will not win the war against global Islamofascist terrorism and is at risk at nation-state war defeat by rival techo-economic peer competitors
During the Battle for Leyte Gulf in WWII, Admiral "Bull" Halsey was led away by a Japanese decoy fleet leaving the invasion force exposed to Japanese battleship attack. Admiral Nimitz grew confused about the situation off Samar, he requested that Halsey be given a gentle nudge, to ask what the location was of Admiral Lee and his fast battleships. The message sent by Admrial Nimitz and received aboard the New Jersey was "TURKEY TROTS TO WATER GG WHERE IS RPT (repeat) WHERE IS TASK FORCE THIRTY FOUR RR THE WORLD WONDERS". When the message was delivered to Halsey, the padding "Turkey trots to water" had fortunately been removed, but the signalman recording the message failed to remove "the world wonders" from the end of the message. Halsey read the message as a stinging slap from his friend and advocate, and with great emotion threw his cap to the deck. And then, reluctantly, he ordered his battleships to proceed South in an attempt to respond to Nimitz and to save Kinkaid. Unfortunately, due to his northern position, he would arrive off Leyte a day after the Japanese had left. Had Halsey stayed on station off San Bernardino Straight, he would have had his massive surface battle. Had he continued on to the north, a different yet still massive surface battle would have resulted. But, instead, his fleet of fast battleships sailed ineffectually between the two engagements, unable to participate in either.
Are the U.S. Navy and marines off on a "from the sea…" techno-tangent like Halsey was at Leyte Gulf, as the real war on terrorism rages elsewhere on land?
How did we go so far astray?
Myth #1: the large deck aircraft carrier won WWII
The shocking revelations that are coming out from internet information sharing is that we have totally misunderstood WWII naval history.
The cliché' is that the war at sea was won by large deck aircraft carriers which made gun battleships obsolete which U.S. establishment historians have foisted upon us. Commentator Dave B. writes:
Aerial dominance over battleships: a reality check.
Sunday, 13-Dec-98 13:02:11
First a disclaimer; this in know way is intended to discredit aircrews at all. It takes balls the size of which you use to bowl to strap yourself in a cockpit and go to war. I have much admiration and respect for aircrews and the incredible job they have done. This is simply to point out that maybe the idea that battleships are relegated to "aircraft targets" is a bit premature. Now to the point.
Keep in mind that when I refer to "modern" battleships, I am referring to those which were designed and built after WWI.
We have all heard and read that the airplane relegated the battleship to a secondary role proving it was the dominant threat. While this may essentially be true, I believe it is overstated in reference to how vulnerable battleships were to WWII aircraft. Let me explain.
A reality check is needed to demonstrate the actual results of aircraft versus battleship in WWII. The first step is to realize that only THREE modern battleships succumbed to combined aerial ordnance: Prince of Wales, Mushashi, and Yamato. In the case of the Japanese battleships, coordinated torpedo attack was almost impossible until bombs neutralized the massed AA firepower. In any event, Mushashi required 20 torpedoes & 33 bombs, while Yamato required 10 torpedoes & 23 bombs to sink using an overwhelming force of aircraft. We have read the excellent post on this board which pointed out that air interdiction of Kurita's force was an abstract failure: they failed to halt the Japanese surface fleet and only succeeded in sinking one battleship. Also keep in mind the Japanese air protection was non- existent when they lost these two battleships. In the case of Prince of Wales, she was hampered by inadequate AA, lack of escorts and air cover. In addition a torpedo impacted the stern bending a propeller shaft while she was underway hastening her demise. (Others here are far more qualified to analyze damage that a bent propeller shaft can cause. This situation also happened to Pennsylvania, but, fortunately, she was at anchor at the time minimizing the damage in contrast to POW)
I have to wonder why only THREE modern battleships succumbed like this if the aircraft were, supposedly, SO MUCH MORE POWERFUL. Look again at the Japanese battleships and you can see than ONE CV sinking ONE BB is not very probable at all. Many of our battleships were hit, but few seriously damaged and none sunk after Pearl Harbor.
As a way of contrast let's look at list of some battleships destroyed while they were stationary targets (moored, laid up, etc.):
Royal Oak - U-Boat torpedoes.
Strasburg - aircraft bombs.
Oklahoma - aircraft, 5 torpedoes.
Arizona - aircraft, 1 torpedo & 8 bombs.
Marat - aircraft, 1+ bombs.
Tirpitz - aircraft bombs.
Schleswig Holstein - aircraft bombs.
Gneisenau - aircraft bombs.
Schliesen - aircraft bombs.
Lutzow - aircraft bombs.
Scheer - aircraft bombs.
Conti di Cavour - aircraft torpedoes.
Haruna - aircraft bombs.
Hyuga - aircraft bombs.
Ise - aircraft bombs.
15 battleships, 5 modern and 10 old. (Okay, I know I'm considering the Deutschlands as battleships instead of extremely heavy cruisers) I don't think I forgot any, but add to the list if I did. Again, not to take away from aircrews, but destroying stationary warships is a far cry from doing the same thing when they are at sea and readied for war. Keep in mind that some of these vessels were attacked repeatedly, even though sitting stationary & unable to much about the attacks against them.
How about battleships destroyed in surface actions?
Hood, Bretagne, Bismarck, Scharnhorst, Hiei, Kirishima, Fuso, and Yamashiro. Now it's 2 modern and 6 old.
In addition, we have the following victims (Mutsu, Kongo, & Roma all have additional factors involved. Roma was destroyed by glider bomb, but she was not prepared for action and little better off than our BB's at Pearl Harbor)
Barham (underway)- U-Boat, 3 torpedoes.
Graf Spee - scuttled after surface action.
Mutsu - accidental explosion.
Kongo (underway) - slowed down & blew up two hours after Sealion torpedoed her.
Roma (underway, barely) - German glider bomb.
If I missed any or if I made any mistakes on this list feel free to correct me.
The question: is destroying stationary battleships a testament to their vulnerability to aircraft? I think not. If air power was so much more dominant, then why were 8 battleships sunk in surface actions yet only 3 during air actions? (Roma was technically an air action, so we could say 4 instead of 3) Also remember how many battleships were damaged by air attack but failed to sink. The only American battleship that even came close to this was Pennsylvania. North Carolina, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Mississippi, California, & Colorado, to name as many as I can off the top of my head, all received major damage in WWII after Pearl Harbor. They all survived the war. The aircraft proved for certain their power over battleships sitting stationary, but I think the ability of aircraft to destroy battleships which are underway AND ready for war is quite overstated.
Even Pearl Harbor needs to be looked at. Oklahoma was hit by 5 torpedoes. Even this was not the critical factor in her turning turtle, but the fact that there was no time to set condition Z, nor was damage control even close to attempt counter flooding, and the fact that she was hit so many times so QUICKLY spelled her doom. Her outer strakes simply flooded too fast and without counter flooding, she rolled over. Arizona, it is thought, was destroyed because the converted 16" shell used as a bomb set off the highly unstable black powder magazine (used for the catpault) which in turn set off the main magazine. A fluke. Others had the time to counter flood so as to prevent Oklahoma's fate. West Virginia was struck by SEVEN torpedoes, and counter flooding saved her. My point is this; even Pearl Harbor does not prove that battleships are totally vulnerable to air power.
I posted this a result of a "Heated" discussion I just had. Take the bible: remove anything out of context and you can prove anything you damn well want to. As a comparison, simply shooting off with statements about how events in WWII prove how battleships are helpless against aircraft is simply untrue. You must get the big picture and see the WHOLE thing. Carrier aircraft are valuable and can strike deep into enemy territory, and are very versatile. But battleships too can deliver destructive blows and are still needed today. Besides, WWII proved just how rugged battleships are, and in the big picture of actual events, aircraft were not nearly as dominant over battleships as so many have professed.
Aircraft victims (including Roma): Stationary = 14 battleships, underway = 4 battleships.
Surface action: 8 battleships.
Other (including Royal Oak): 5 battleships.
God bless ALL our vets!
The truth is that both the Japanese and American Navies still believed in armored gun battleships and these vessels were sunk far less often than unarmored aircraft carriers were during all of WWII. Furthermore, to sink other enemy ships there are other, better ways to include seaplane patrol bombers and submarines than large deck aircraft carriers. American subs and PBY seaplanes did far greater damage to Japan than the large deck aircraft carriers. These truths have long been suppressed by a U.S. Navy bureaucracy bent on creating the large aircraft carrier myth. Another one is that the U.S. Navy created the aircraft carrier. Details:
The one thing that quickly became apparent to the Japanese after Midway was that pilots to FLY aircraft cannot be mass-produced. When aircraft carriers launch all their aircraft they are defenseless and easily sunk. This happened repeatedly during WWII with aircraft carriers even sunk by gunships if they ventured too close. This is the rub, the primary benefit of the aircraft at sea is STAND-OFF, the ocean is still a very large place and if you can see the enemy's ships hundreds of miles away first and strike them first they will not get within gun range. The problem is that once the carrier loses its planes its unarmored easy meat for battleships and today missile ships on top of the previously mentioned submarines and patrol bombers. Aircraft carriers are one dimensional threats. The U.S. Navy works around aircraft carrier weakness by surrounding them with missile and anti-submarine ships to protect them when they are threatened by these asymmetric weapons. However this entire "house of cards" soon collapses once the carrier's deck is wrecked and planes and pilots start splashing into the water. America today is not fully mobilized ala WWII to mass-produce pilots. If we lose pilots there will be none to replace them for the war at hand. In a major nation- state shooting war, we will only have the pilots we had when the war began, and when we lose them we could have carriers with decks empty of both planes and pilots like the Japanese found themselves at the end of WWII. It will not be 5 years of war that brings about this condition, it will be 5 weeks or 5 days of modern war.
Myth #2: the U.S. Navy invented the large deck aircraft carrier
Another lie that needs some FYI is this BS that "in the 30s" the U.S. Navy did all of this pioneering work on aircraft carriers blah, blah, blah, blah, BULLSHIT. The British already created aircraft carriers and used them IN COMBAT IN WORLD WAR ONE. The U.S. Navy has NOT been at the forefront on war excellence until forced to by circumstances (asses getting kicked ie; Pearl Harbor). The truly think ahead pro- active types are in smaller navies with less resources and less smugness.
In July 1918 Furious launched the first significant carrier strike in naval history. Seven Sopwith Camels each with two 50-pound bombs, attacked Zeppelin sheds at Tondern. The attack successfully damaged the sheds and destroyed two Zeppelins. From that point carrier aviation was off and running, with Furious being the first aircraft carrier. In 1921 Furious went back in and was converted to a true full flight deck carrier. Oddly enough, although Furious was first, she was also the only survivor of the early 1920s British carriers. Hermes, Eagle, Courageous and Glorious were all gone by 1942, while Furious sailed on to triumph in World War Two and the torch of the boneyard in 1948. (History from Aircraft Carriers of the World by Roger Chesneau)
If you doubt how screwed up the large aircraft-carrier-centric U.S. Navy is, here's a web site:
Myth #3: we need large deck aircraft carriers to have combat aircraft power at sea
Operating wheeled land planes from a large flat deck at sea is an unsafe and un-natural act. Its born of desperation to keep short- range airplanes out of the water so they stay dry and do not have to have their flight performances lessened by a boat hull shape or floats. In essence, we are WORKING AROUND THE AIRPLANE which needs a running take-off and landing. Turning the carrier into the wind, catapults are all work-arounds to get more lift over fixed-wings for wheeled aircraft to fly. The large Nimitz-class CVN is a giant work- around for land planes which indeed are burdened by navalized heavy landing gear that reduces their flight performance versus land planes.
The truth is today in 2004, we do not need large aircraft carriers to operate superior fighter-bomber aircraft with the advent of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter with lift fan and vectored thrust for Short Take- Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) capabilities. These means increase the F-35's flight performances not decreases as heavy landing gear dead weight does. In fact, the need for aircraft carriers for fighters lie was untrue back in 1943. Both the Japanese and the American navies had for years catapulted gunnery spotter float planes from their battleships and cruisers. We will call this Short Take- Off, Water-Landing (STOWL). The early STOWL spotter planes were slow and lightly armed and could be shot down if they encountered wheeled fighter planes from aircraft carriers or land bases. By 1943 we had gotten smart and began building Curtis SC-1 SeaHawk fighter planes with floats that could hold their own in a dogfight against the latest Japanese fighters. So SeaHawks could do more than just gunnery spot, it could actually do air defense for their surface ships below. The Japanese were even further along having their Aichi Seiran STOWL fighter-bomber compact to fit inside I-400 class submarines that could catapult them to do surprise attacks, with the war ending before they could smash the Panama canals' locks. STOWL aircraft like the Kingfisher and SeaHawk could also land on the water and pick up shipwrecked sailors and downed pilots. There is substantial space at the rear of American Iowa class battleships for two SeaHawks on catapult planks, yet after WWII we lost 350+ mph STOWL fighters in favor of 100 mph helicopters that could hover take-off and land on the ship's stern deck. The U.S. Navy got away with this emasculation and laziness because no one was challenging her at sea. Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan and the wars in Iraq have all been fought primarily on land with the sea a basing location not a battleground. In the future when the American Navy is finally challenged at sea every ship had better be able to fight with its own aircraft lest their survival goes down when their mother large deck aircraft carrier does up in flames.
With the advent of the F-35 STOVL, every Navy ship can have one or more manned fighters for superior target stand-off engagements and air defense and strikes far beyond what anemic helicopters can do. A F-35 STOVL with skis and pop-out floats could also land and remain on the water in event of battle damage or the ship deck is not able to receive them. We do not have to today suffer any aerodynamic penalties to have STOWL capabilities.
Now on to some TRUTHS that we need to face today.
Truth #1 Navies are shrinking and costs are rising, but the oceans are still large
As the Japanese Navy lost her aircraft carriers in WWII, she tried to compensate by adding flight decks to two of her battleships to operate STOWL fighter-bomber float planes. However, by the Battle of Leyte Gulf there were no planes or pilots. This is a drawn-out example of what could happen in a modern, high-intensity war lasting hours and days with no time to draft citizens and train them to be pilots or for industry to convert to military aircraft production. The U.S. Navy is run on a multi-billion-dollars yet fragile shoe string of hand-built airplanes and hand-picked pilots, that in time of war cannot be replaced. We are the Japanese Navy of 1945 and do not even know it. At least the Japanese knew it and were trying to innovate with more efficient means to stay in the fight, we are dying in Congress on paper and on computer screens with our own self- delusions.
As the costs of surface ships are now essentially $1 BILLION each or more, the size of the U.S. Navy is decreasing and the current 300 ships will become 200 ships within 10 years. RMA Tofflerians can boast all day about how more qualitatively capable these new high- tech ships are giving us an WWII aircraft carrier vs. battleship mythological "edge" but the fact is the oceans of planet earth are still vast and need lots of platforms if we are to control them.
Divide whatever the number of ships the U.S. Navy has into two for Pacific and Atlantic oceans. That leaves us 100 ships for each ocean. Then subtract the 1/3 are in port after being on station and that leaves only 66 ships. Since we narrow-mindedly only think aircraft carriers can operate fighter aircraft, our 12 carriers become 6 for each ocean and only 4 on duty. The apologists will say we can "surge" all our carriers and transit the Panama Canal to mass on either ocean.
1. Not if the enemy is smart and destroys the Panama canal.
2. Not if the enemy starts scoring hits on the carriers that do get to the fight.
Once hit, our super carriers will withdraw back to base for repairs lest they be sunk and lost forever. It takes at least 5 years to build just one aircraft carrier. At this rate, in just one sea battle like a Midway, if we are on the losing end, the loss of 4 carriers would mean 1/3 of the fleet lost for the next 20 years. If we lose half our carriers, 30 years. Can the U.S. Navy control the seas and skies near a belligerent nation-state which has the ability to use its funds not on floating cities but thousands of fighter-bomber aircraft that are not only more numerous have a qualitative edge of not needing heavy landing gear navalization? We could lose naval superpower status in just one battle against Red China in a day if we venture too close to their shores to intervene to try to save Taiwan. Fleets being sunk and super powers smashed has happened many times before; think Drake versus the Spanish Armada in 1588, Lord Nelson against the French at Trafalgar in 1804, and the Japanese defeating the Russians at Tsushima in 1904, with a young Yamamoto (architect of 1941 Pearl Harbor surprise attack idea borrowed from Army General Billy Mitchell) present. We are setting ourselves up for failure.
Consider for the cost of a $4 BILLION super carrier, a peer nation- state competitor not needing to globally power project could build 400 x $10 million dollar fighter-bombers that could carry 800 super- carrier killing anti-ship missiles and of course bombs. Instead of skill training 6,000 men to operate a floating city, their "floating city" is the earth itself so instead of barnacle scrappers, they have thousands of pilots BEFORE THE WAR. On top of these 400 fighter- bombers, for the cost of the 100 planes on a Nimitz class carrier (actually 85) at $40 million each, they can have another 400 land- based fighter-bombers. So for the costs of one CVN, the enemy can have 800 land based fighter-bombers launching 1,600 missiles, and at least another set of 800 pilots to effect 24 hour operations. It doesn't matter how Tom Cruise "Top Guns" the Navy's F/A-18 pilots think they are. They only carry at best 8 missiles to shoot down another 8 aircraft or anti-ship missiles. Do the math. Of the actual 85 planes on a CVN, only 24-48 are fighter-bombers. In a fantasy best case beyond visual range scenario, only 384 anti-ship missiles theoretically be swatted from the skies. We are talking about hundreds of miles from the carrier battle group so escort ship anti- missile, missiles are not in play here. Its all wishful thinking to swat 384 ASMs because the Hornets DO NOT carry anti-ASMs like the expensive AIM-54 Phoenix missiles that are retiring with their F-14 Tomcat platforms. So actually, all 1,600 ASMs are going to get a free ride towards the many assembled ships of the CBG, and despite all the ECM, chaff, desperation RAM missiles, Phalanx guns, some are going TO HIT, and they only have to hit once to turn a flight deck packed full of fuel, bombs and aircraft into an inferno that takes the ship out of the fight. Think Okinawa in 1945 and the USS Forrestal fire during Vietnam. Putting all your hopes on waiting to swat ASMs miliseconds before they impact your ships is madness.
The amphibious transport situation for the USMC is also bleak. 3 amphibious ships form an "Amphibious Ready Group" containing a dwarf infantry battalion called a marine expeditionary unit or "MEU". While the new Landing Ship Dock model 41s ("LSD-41s") can carry 4 x LCAC hovercrafts, (more than the much larger LHA/LHD amphib aircraft carriers) the old Landing Platform Dock model fours (LPD-4s) can only carry 1 x LCAC. The old LSD-36s have been retired. The Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) that Winston Churchill created to bow land real combat maneuver tracked tank forces to win WWII have been retired. The 11 x LPD-4s are over 30-years old and the Navy wants all retired by 2008. The Trent Lott pork project LPD-17s are overdue and overbudget costing $1 BILLION each. 12 x LPD-17s have been ordered years ago but only 1 LPD-17 is in service.
We have 5 x LHAs set to retire.
7 x LHDs, 1 being built.
8 x LSD-41s
1 x LPD-17
11 x LPD-36s set to retire.
THAT'S IT FOR AMPHIBIOUS SHIPS!
We will be down to just 16 amphib ships TOTAL in a few years. Because the Navy/mc in narrow-minded emulate WW2 lock-step only want to replace old amphib ships with slightly improved newer ones at a rate slower than the current ones are retiring. Things like actually landing forces equipped with tracked tanks are of no interest to the Navy or USMC so LSTs are retired in favor of slowly landing by handfuls of LCACs rubber-tired trucks that can't fight. The Navy bureaucracy SAYS a 36-ship amphib ship fleet is their desired end- state....which will not arrive until 2010. If it ever does. Reality is we will have a amphib fleet half that size after the LHAs and LPD- 4s retire soon. The Navy is going out of business.
Divide 16 into Pacific and Atlantic oceans and you have 8 ships or just 2 MEUs which can't do jack shiite because they are loaded with BS trucks. One MEU is on 6 month float while the other is resting/refitting. One midget battalion in either ocean. Some "force- in-readiness". We spend over $10 BILLION each year on a 172,000 man/woman USMC and we get one battalion on duty in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Am I missing something here?
The USMC doesn't want to be an inland maneuvering combat force and likes being light so they can be lazy and trash talk the other services knowing they won't stay long.
Truth #2 Surface ships are endangered species in a world covered by surveillance means
WWII's true lessons learned is that surface ships must be heavily armored to survive against aircraft with high explosive bombs, torpedoes and missiles. The debacle off Okinawa in 1945 when human Kamikazes dove planes into our unarmored aircraft carriers is an ominous warning of what guided missiles/bombs are like today, but this danger sign has been ignored for 6 decades because the U.S. Navy has been given a free pass at sea with no one attacking it. The 1982 Falklands War almost ended badly for the British had not the Argentine bomb fitters failed to properly fuse bombs for A-4 SkyHawks and Mirage III jets. Our days of being lucky at sea are about to end.
Our globally connected world has many satellites in space flying overhead that can spot surface ships creating what the Russians call a "Surveillance Strike Complex" (SSC). The side that then has the most platforms to then take this info and hunt down the other's surface ships has the edge. However, the U.S. Navy is physically emasculating itself into LESS PLATFORMS and less coverage of the seas and skies. Less is less, not more. Furthermore, a littoral strategy of trying to remain relevant in today's 4th Generation Wars (4GW) which are fought by dissatisfied sub-national groups has large blue- water ships coming to the enemy which simplifies his task of locating our fleet even easier. With the possible land-based cost effectiveness "edge" if a nation-state backs the sub-national foes, they could rain down upon the American fleet thousands of lethal, guided missiles that are sure to damage and kill. Because the U.S. Navy is based on faulty assumptions from WWII that everything must center around the large deck aircraft carrier which causes physical cost emasculation by less platforms we are setting ourselves up for a modern-day Gallipoli type amphibious failure on the watery edges of land and HMS Repulse/Prince of Wales large loss of life at sea.
How to Fix this Impending Naval and Geostrategic Disaster?
To defeat enemy nation-state SSCs and have the Navy/marines contribute to defeating sub-national foes, we need to reorganize and remove the large deck aircraft carrier as our centerpiece and black hole for the majority of our naval funds. We must have MORE not less platforms and MORE not fewer platform types to present different and asymmetric threats to our enemies instead of one monolithic, predictable means that they can easily counter by quantitative SSC flooding. We need a Surveillance Strike MANEUVER capability (SSMC). To MANEUVER at sea you need to be able to land on the water, be armored enough to survive if you stay on the water and operate beneath the water. Naval power is more than just destroying other ships and aircraft in feel-good ego duels, its about controlling sky/seas around belligerent and friendly humans so commerce and flow or not flow. If the belligerents do not need sea commerce, then the sea is a mobile base for inland MANEUVER operations. Platforms need to be:
a. Heavily Armored to prevail in event of SSC detection/strikes
b. Able to Submerge to avoid SSC detection
c. Fly in the air and land on the water for maneuver advantage
d. Sealift ships deliver decisive Inland forces in tracked AFVs
1. Land and sea- based Jet Seaplane Patrol Bombers
The USAF will rightfully tell you that the handicap of aircraft range which created the aircraft carrier no longer applies today with long range aircraft and in-flight refueling. However, the ability to flood the oceans with patrol seaplanes that could land on the water and refuel, switch crews etc. from surface or submarine tenders has been lost when the Navy unwisely cancelled the P-6M Seamaster jet seaplane patrol bomber in 1960. Since we have to replace our aging P-3 Orions that can't land on water, now is the time to get at least 100 x Russian A-40 jet seaplane patrol bombers which can not only land in the water to dip sonar to hunt submarines, can attack both surface ships and inland targets. Furthermore against sub-national groups, A- 40 MMAs can insert/extract Navy SEAL teams and rescue our men stranded in the water.
A-40 MMAs will enable us to locate in conjunction with our own SSCs the enemy fleet and air forces and then begin to destroy them as we mass air and sea forces to engage and/or invade. Forces on patrol are designed to seize the initiative until the "sunday punch" can arrive and are either heavily armored on the surface or can submerge.
2. Iowa Class Aircraft Armored Battleships with organic fighter- bombers
The stage is set today for F-35 STOVL fighters to operate from the stern deck area of Iowa class armored battleships like the SC-1 SeaHawk STOWLs of old. The Iowas are the only ships in the Navy today that could survive a SSC missile bombardment. We need an Iowa class fast BBG on each coast for each ocean manned by reserve crews to speed to the scene of a conflict and then stay there on station and not be run off by enemy missile attacks. While on station, I estimate 6 x F-35 JSF STOVLs could be parked and operate from two angled take- off planks with ski jumps on the port and starboard sides of the Iowa class BBG. The F-35s would enable the Iowas to see and attack enemy aircraft and fighters (without them necessarily seeing the stealthy JSF on radar) to self-protect the ship. Small scale inland strikes could be done using F-35 JSFs in advance of the sunday punch arrival. "Gunboat diplomacy" in time of peace when sub-national groups appear would mean F-35 strikes against these targets as soon as they pop up not waiting for days for a carrier battlegroup to reach the scene.
Once the landing ground maneuver forces arrive, the Iowa class battleships can rain lethal and saturating fires upon landing beaches to clear them for our troops to land safely using their 9 x 16" naval guns. Without these powerful and long reaching fires to at least suppress dug-in enemies, our troops landing could be repelled by withering guided missile and RPG fires that make the D-Day opening scenes of the movie "Saving Private Ryan" look like child's play. An anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) can with nearly 100% certainty hit any landing craft we send to the beach, destroying it and everyone inside. The Germans did not have this on Normandy in 1944 but our enemies of 2004 have them today. We are going to need every ounce of fire support possible to even have a chance of prevailing on today's non-linear SSC battlefields. Avoidance of the enemy via costly and absurd Over-The-Horizon (OTH) means which only delay the problem of what happens when you land is a deluded pipe dream. A smart enemy will be dispersed, camouflaged and will wait to mass and deliver his knock out blows upon the landing forces after we are already committed to our destinations. Landing vulnerable, temperamental-to- control "V-22 tilt-rotors without suppressive guns onboard and offloading troops on foot without AFVs is sheer lunacy. Trying to waterski AAAVs from 50 miles out and then retracting skis in a huge target with a smother-the-dozen-infantry-in-back-turret on top is more stay-in-your-WW2-Iwo-Jima-frontal-assault-lane madness.
For SSC fires to be effective against enemies who know to hide using Camouflage, Cover, Concealment, Deception and Deceit (C3D2), the ugly truth is that we need spotters ideally on the ground and in the air. The Iowa's F-35 STOVLs would be two-seat versions with an observer in back facing aft to help spot enemy targets below and in the air during dogfights. Underwing JPODs that could carry two men inside could also be carried to insert/extract 4-man special forces teams to spot for air strikes and the Iowa's 16 inch naval guns. These teams could also laser target designate for aircraft bombs and guided 16 inch shells to land with precision. JPODs and skis with pop-out floats would enable the F-35 to land and rescue servicemen in the water.
Even with good terminal guidance, air strikes are expensive and not often effective against deep dug-in targets like belligerent nation- states that are developing weapons of mass destruction hidden from the rest of the world. If we are to strike at these deeply buried targets we need more MUSCLE not just hair-splitting mental guidance. The current trend towards guiding smaller and smaller ordnance has failed and DoD is wanting to develop small earth-penetrating nuclear bombs. The emasculation of DoD through misguided visions of precision guidance as a firepower panacea has brought us on the verge of ruin inland where our neglected maneuver forces are losing control. Reversing this trend by opening the "nuclear genie" is a desperate and unwise action. If we nuke (WMD) even a remote area of the world where we think the enemy is developing WMDs, we will be in no position to condemn what they are doing because we just launched a WMD of our own. In 4GW, legitimacy of effort in the eye's of the world is vital to success. And if the enemy's WMD facilities are in the middle of civil populations are we going to Hiroshima millions of people to pre-empt a similar WMD attack on our own people? Earth penetrating nuclear bombs dropped by aircraft that can get shot down is fraught with more negatives than positive outcomes.
What we need is to take the largest gun cannon we have and fully develop its physical powers to strike deep enemy C4I and WMD targets with morally justifiable high chemical---not nuclear explosives. That weapon is the 16 inch guns on the Iowa class battleships. We can extend its nearly 25 mile ranges to 500 miles with scramjet technology that then dive at hypersonic speeds to penetrate deep into the earth to destroy enemy hardened facilities. And facilities like this are BIG---we need more than a handful of $1 million missiles, we need hundred and thousands of scramjet shells to take these targets out with areas saturation and not risk men overhead trying to drop bombs looking for bull's eyes when there are none.
The Japanese aircraft battleships, Hyauga and Isa were never supplied their floatplane STOWL fighter-bombers to give the concept its "day in court". Gerald Bull never got to fully develop large caliber guns as a means to reach space cheaply or to strike military targets from super long ranges. The full potential of our Iowa class battleships has yet to be fulfilled. We should modify and bring back the first two Iowas in mothballs and get the USS Missouri and New Jersey back from talk about the good `ole days museum duty (sorry, national security comes first) as soon as possible.
3. Submarine Aircraft Carriers and F-35 JSFs
Bolstering the unfortunately at first only two Iowa class BBGs with JSF capabilities would be nuclear submarines converted to carry F-35s with a special watertight hanger top-sail and flat deck top with ski jump. The concept of operating either STOWL or STOVL fighter-bombers was investigated by Boeing in the 1950s and is still considered very desirable as a way to launch surprise attacks like the Japanese almost did to the Panama Canal in WWII with their Achi Seiran/I-400 combination. On the SSC battlefield surprise to catch an enemy air force, IAF 1967 6-day war style is difficult to achieve but necessary if we want to win with low casualties. Details:
4. Jet Seaplane Amphibious assault Transports
Another lie is that the only way we can get marines to shore is from expensive amphibious ships with flooding well-decks. Cramming thousands of marines in unarmored amphibious ships for 6 months at a time is an open invitation to a huge loss of life in event we tangle with an enemy SSC darkening the skies with ASMs. We have been very, very lucky. During the Cuban missile crisis, Russian submarines had nuclear torpedoes that would have sank the American invasion fleet in a horrific loss of life had the situation gone hot. What's unbelievable is that the marine force structure fills amphibs full of vulnerable, rubber-tired trucks which are fatally dead meat on the non-linear battlefield against RPGs, roadside bombs and garden- variety AKMs. Details:
A 4-engined version of the Russian A-40 jet seaplane (A-80) with a nose that opens to offload troops in "M113 Amphigavin light tracked AFVs should be purchased to assault enemy beaches. The Navy in the `50s had such a "Flying LST" with its R3Y Tradewind nose-opening turboprop seaplanes but gave up on the concept. Details:
5. RO-RO ships with LCACs full of tracked Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) not vulnerable rubber-tired trucks to provide decisive MANEUVER
After beaches are secured by A-40 and A-80 seaplane special forces team insertions and amphibious AFV assaults, we need real combat follow-on forces of significant sizes that are in light, medium, and heavy tracked armored fighting vehicles to do decisive 2D and 3D maneuvers inland. This "sunday punch" can come from RO-RO sealift ships which interface with LCAC hovercraft carried on the ships by cranes without need of expensive flooding well decks. The LCACs can fly over any enemy sea mines and keep the RO-RO ships off the horizon to protect against enemy fires. Details:
At least one of these RO-RO ships should be converted into a Special Operations "Commando" aircraft carrier: The idea of a jeep carrier or escort carrier (CVE) is not new but is proven, the U.S. built and used the most and the Japanese did what they could but were hampered by lack of pilots and planes.
The U.S. Navy and marines are drying up into physical emasculation and irrelevancy as costs increase for fewer and fewer ill-conceived techno-cashcows that render pork for Senators Lott and Warner's home states. America needs more not less naval combat platforms to do relevant MANEUVER things in today's 4GW world. Our warning could be the near-debacle at Leyte Gulf in 1944. The clever Japanese baited Admiral Halsey's powerful fleet of large aircraft carriers and battleships north after their empty aircraft carriers. Meanwhile, the 7th Fleet which was landing General MacArthur's U.S. Army troops to take back the Philippines were left for the two Japanese battleship task forces to blast them to smithereens. Fortunately, wiser heads had realized it's the AIRCRAFT that are what's important not the aircraft carrier, and had created dozens of escort carriers using merchant ship hulls. In order to get more platforms ie; more aircraft into the fight since we had both pilots and planes, they went with a no-frills approach. The CVEs were to employ fighter-bomber aircraft to primarily render Close Air Support (CAS) by bombing and strafing for the ground maneuver troops ashore. When the Japanese battleships' pagoda like masts were spotted on the horizon, a desperate and courageous fight ensued with destroyers laying smokescreens and firing torpedoes as the CVEs turned into the wind and launched every plane they had to stop the Japanese. Without armor-piercing bombs it was nearly hopeless to sink the battleships but the courageous pilots strafed and fragmentation bombed the Japanese battleships which included the Isa and Hyuga aircraft battleships---without floatplane fighter-bombers into thinking that they had bumped into Halsey's fleet. The Japanese turned away just when they were getting into gun range and wipe out our invasion fleet. Details:
The message here is clear with 20-20 hindsight. Had the Japanese Isa and Hyuga battleships had the 28 x Aichi E16A Paul floatplane fighter- bombers they were supposed to have they could have seen that they had hit pay dirt and caught the American invasion fleet. Furthermore, they could have shot down some of the CVE's aircraft and bombed the CVEs into flaming ruins such that their returning aircraft would have had to ditch into the sea. On the positive side, the fact that we did not put all our aircraft "eggs" in expensive and few fleet aircraft carriers, we had enough AIRCRAFT to turn away the Japanese who did not have aircraft. The key was to have aircraft in multiple platforms any way you could get them. Many in DoD are fond of saying we need "effects based operations" (EBOs). The ultimate "effect" is having enough and superior qualities of platforms and capabilities to prevail over our enemies, a truth we have forgotten and need to relearn before its too late.
So where is Task Force 34?
Where is the U.S. Navy and marines as the U.S. Army is stuck fighting the global war on terrorism on land?
Do they want to help or continue to chase their feel good dream foes?
A Navy veteran writes:
Excellent new article on your website. Yes, the Navy is vastly overrated, as is the entire U.S. military, for the most part. But I don't have to tell you that!
Unfortunately, the Navy is an extremely screwed-up organization: shitty uniforms, lousy chow, poor force structure, weak discipline, inadequate training, no cameraderie or fighting spirit, and nonexistent battle doctrine. The Navy is much like you describe the marine corps, only worse. The Navy is a worn-out, rusting barge that needs to go into drydock for a complete overhaul. Much of the Navy's problems stem from the fact that it is a copy of the old British Royal Navy, and adopted their "culture". The officers live like oriental potentates, complete with domestic servants, while the enlisted men are treated like shit--except for the "chiefs", who think they're so much better than the other enlisted Sailors they are supposed to "represent". In fact, the so-called "CPO community" is a khaki boy's club for lifers who are skilled at the art of brown-nosing. They get their own separate messing and berthing spaces, just so they can feel special and exclusive. The Navy is the only branch of the service that considers E-6's "junior enlisted". A Sailor spends 20 years in the Navy, retires at E-6, and he's "junior enlisted"? The Navy likes to brag that they're the only service that puts E-7's through E-9's in their own little category, apart and above from the other enlisted. Well, there's a good reason why no other branch of the service does this: It's a bad policy! It creates resentment and division within the ranks, and that's exactly what it was designed to do. "Divide and rule" is a tactic to be used to defeat an enemy: Why the fuck are we waging war on our own people? We should be doing everything possible to being these men together, "close ranks" like a team. But the Navy, like the marines, wants, as you put it, weak, co-dependent little toy soldiers they can push around like pawns on a chessboard. They don't want lower-ranking enlisted men to think for themselves and make decisions, even in a combat environment. They don't even like to issue the men arms and live ammunition. How in the hell are they supposed to fight? Oh, I forgot, the Navy doesn't want to fight. They want to hide "over-the-horizon" because their ships have no armor and pea-shooter firepower. It's enough to make any proud Sailor want to barf!
It's no secret (and no surprise) that of all the services, the Navy has the worst 'customer satisfaction': when I was in, nobody gave a shit about anything except marking time until discharge/retirement. Morale was very low, and this was during the so-called 'glory years' of Ronnie Reagan. I can only imagine what it's like now. I feel bad for those poor Sailors, most of whom are good guys who only wanted to serve their country. Yet they get no credit, no recognition, no respect. The Navy needs to make wholesale changes if it wants to be an effective fighting force that defends our country, instead of an armed yacht club that wastes billions of dollars on bullshit 'show-the-flag' photo ops. The MEU/ARG's are a joke. The marine corps should be either disbanded or made part of the Army. The Navy is developing its own security forces now, and doesn't want or need to use jarheads for fleet security. This is a step in the right direction. The Navy needs to develop its own Military Police force just like the Army has. They seem to be moving in this direction, so that's all the more reason to shitcan those arrogant, useless gyrenes. I think the best thing to do would be to get rid of the marines altogether. They serve no useful purpose.
By the way, I dislike the corps, but I have tremendous respect for the Air Force and especially the Army. The Army always gets the shitty end of the stick, but you guys just keep on getting the job done, with no credit, while the marines try and steal all the glory (same old shit!). So here's a salute to the Army: you guys deserve it!
Your article was on-time and on-target.
I totally agree that carriers are outdated. Navy aviation should consist of a fleet of seaplanes, plus helicopters and a few fighters for fleet defense. Seaplanes are a very versatile platform that could a variety of missions: antiship/antisubmarine patrols, battlefield C3 (AWACS), cargo/troop transport, air-sea rescue, amphibious insertion/extraction, and underway refueling/replenishment. They could have retractable helo platforms and flight decks for VSTOL aircraft. Battleships should be resurrected, too. Four would probably be enough. Scrap the carriers and amphibious ships. Amphibious military operations should be limited to SpecOps missions. Huge amphibious landing fleets are a thing of the past, and will only result in the deaths of tens of thousands of troops. The Coast Guard should be abolished. It's as foolish and wasteful to maintain two separate fleets/navies as it is to maintain two separate armies. The Navy's surface warship fleet should be used to patrol our territorial waters, intercepting threats to our country. The old SOSUS system should be replaced by a modern sensor net, and minefields laid in strategic areas to prevent unwanted access to our territorial waters. And you're so right about Navy personnel being taught to think of themselves as 'technicians' rather than warriors. The Navy must put fighting skill/ability first, over and above technical expertise. SRB's and other financial incentives are no substitute for pride, discipline, and fighting spirit. Most servicemen don't care about the money, they want to be warriors who are trained to defend their country. So let's get in step. Full speed ahead!
I think we need a fundamental change in our force structure.
The military is a profession, and we want professional fighting men. Get rid of the service academies, and combine ROTC into a single, joint, multi-service program. All able-bodied young men should get basic military training at school as part of their education. Recruiters would select the best performers to attend a military ROTC high school, where cadets would learn about all aspects of modern warfare (sea/air/land/space/SOF). This would prepare the cadets for future command positions. Also, they would understand how to utilize all military assets at their disposal. The top 20% of cadets would qualify for OCS and become commissioned officers; the rest would become enlisted troops in the Army/Navy/Air Force. This would improve relations between officers and enlisted, because they all trained together. The officers would earn respect by being the top performers in ROTC. Also, this would greatly reduce interservice rivalries and instill a spirit of teamwork and cameraderie. Army/Navy/Air Force personnel would would think of themselves as different limbs attached to the same body, rather than as separate and distinct entities apart from each other. We don't want men to enlist because they couldn't find a job, or they need vocational training or college tuition funds. This should be provided in the civilian sector. Four years of military high school, plus visits to Army/Navy/Air Force facilities, would allow these young men to experience what the the military is all about, and they could make an informed decision if this is what they want to do with their lives. After they complete military high school, they would be prepared for a military career. They would also be thoroughly indoctrinated, eliminating the need for "boot camp" head games and humiliation. Every member of every branch of the service would be trained to fight first and foremost. The "civilians" who received basic military training in school would belong to local militias, thus no need for Reserve/Guard units. I have nothing personal against 'weekend warriors', but being a Soldier is a full-time job for highly-trained professionals.
I just wanted to let you know that there are a lot of us out here who appreciate what you (and others) are doing. In fact, you've inspired me! I think I'm going to start my own web site, with an emphasis on the Navy, since most of the military reform sites I've seen are focused on the Army. I don't know if it will do any good, but all I can do is try. Our troops deserve better, and it's way past time we started doing right by them."
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1. Aircraft Battleships
As a direct result of the Japanese fiasco at Midway, on April 28, 1943 Hyuga went into another major refit, which lasted from May to November 1943. Ise had preceded her in this refit from February to August 1943. This time they were rebuilt into curious battleship/carrier hybrids. With the removal of the last two turrets, the aft 40% of the ship was greatly built-up by incorporating a hangar 60 meters long and flight gear for 22 13-Shi D4Y4 Suisei "Judy" wheeled dive bombers. The bombers could not fly from or land on the flight deck, which was primarily used for handling, preflight operations and storage. Two new catapults were added just aft and on either side of the forth turret. Using the turntables and rails on the nonfunctional flight deck, the bombers would be loaded onto the catapults to be launched and would have to be recovered at a land strip or fully functional carrier.
In any event, the Judys were not available so Hyuga received 14-Shi Aichi E16A1 "Paul" floatplanes instead of the planned Judys. In addition Ise appears to have received some Aichi D3A1 "Val" bombers, while running trials in August 1943. All of the original 5.5-inch secondary guns were landed and the 5-inch AA gun fit increased to sixteen. Light AA also jumped up to 57 25mm guns. Because the weight of the removed turrets was greater than the additional fittings, to balance the ship, the flight deck received an 8-inch layer of concrete. Lastly, in a belated effort to keep pace with the ever- increasing edge that the USN enjoyed in technology, Ise was fitted with Type 21 radar and Hyuga with Type 22 radar. Throughout 1944 the pair received greater numbers of light AA guns. In June 1944 the total was 108 25mm guns, organized in 31 triple mounts and 15 single mounts. September saw a new addition. Six mounts, each of which contained 28 4.7-inch rocket tubes were added to the aft end of the flight deck with three mounts on sponsons on each side. Since by that time the twins had no operational aircraft, extra AA was mounted on the flight deck and the two catapults were landed to improve the arc of fire of turret numbers three and four.
IJN Ise/Hyuga BBCV
By: Daniel H. Jones
Prior to World War II several navies operated aircraft carriers or aircraft support ships. The three major powers, England, the USA, and Japan developed what came to be known as fleet carriers and gave much thought as to their most effective employment. From a glance at the ship listings it might seem that the aircraft carrier was the dominant force but this was not so. The "gun club" element still dominated strategic thought in all three navies. Carriers were regarded as supporting ships to the battle line, providing scouting planes to locate the enemy and to launch strikes to "soften up" the opposing fleet so they could be finished off by the battleships. Nowhere was the cult of the battleship as "queen of battle" more strongly entrenched than in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Their strategic plan for fighting the U.S. Navy was to lure the American fleet across the Pacific for a great climactic battle in home waters. The total destruction of this invading force was to be accomplished by... the battleships, much as the Russian fleet was annihilated at the Battle of Tsushima. That the battleship was still predominant in IJN planning is supported by their commitment to the construction of the most powerful examples of the type ever built, the Yamato class. With the formation of the Kido Butai, (the Nagumo task force), the Japanese invented the carrier task force concept that proved so effective later in the war. Obviously there were many officers with advanced ideas regarding carrier aviation but they were still in the minority. In the IJN the "gun club" still controlled planning and policy decisions.
Ironically, the Japanese Navy was to prove the fallacy of this thinking with their preemptive strike on the USN battle line at Pearl Harbor. With no battleships available the USN was forced to shift their emphasis to the aircraft carrier as the center of a striking force, though they still continued to build a new generation of battleships. At the Battle of the Coral Sea neither fleet sighted the other, the entire battle being decided by carrier aircraft. At Midway, when four Japanese carriers were lost orders were issued to continue the operation. The battle fleet was to close and destroy the American ships. After a few hours of steaming towards Midway the orders were rescinded and the surface fleet withdrew. The lesson was obvious and could not be ignored. A surface fleet could not survive without carriers when facing a fleet that had them. The battleships were impotent in the face of this new threat.
In the days following the debacle at Midway, the Japanese Navy frantically sought ways to make good their carrier losses. Some submarine tenders and seaplane tenders were available for conversion to carriers, (they had been designed with this in mind). Suitable liner hulls were taken over for conversion to light carriers. Most radical, especially in the eyes of traditional line officers, was the plan to take four battleships out of the battle line and modify them to operate aircraft. The Fuso, Yamashiro, Isa, and Hyuga were selected for this conversion which consisted of removing the aft two turrets and constructing a handling deck, hangers and two catapults. The decks would not be large enough for take off or for landing aboard so the aircraft would have to be catapult launched and be equipped with floats to land alongside and be hoisted aboard. A new type of fast seaplane, capable of both scouting and attack, was to be designed for these ships. Conversion began on the Ise and Hyuga but the planned work on Fuso and Yamashiro was held back pending testing results from the first two ships. Work on the seaplane, the "Norm", went forward but very few were built. Neither Ise or Hyuga ever operated aircraft apart from some limited testing. There were never enough aircraft to equip the ships and there was also a shortage of trained pilots. In their only sortie in this configuration, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, both ships were part of the Ozawa decoy force and had no aircraft on board. Almost all of the carriers in this group were sunk but both Ise and Hyuga sustained only minor damage.
After returning to home waters, both ships had their catapults removed. This was done to improve the arcs of fire for the center turrets. The IJN was now totally on the defensive and the concept of operating seaplanes on Ise and Hyuga was abandoned. Both ships remained anchored in home waters for the remainder of the war. Both were sunk at Kure Harbor in shallow water by air strikes from US navy carrier planes.
In 1/700 scale Hasegawa has kits of this class in both versions, as a battleship, (Hyuga), about 1941 and as the unique BB/CV, (Ise), after conversion. This article will primarily concentrate on the Ise, the BB/CV version. This is one of the earlier efforts in the waterline series and has a number of omissions and inacuracies, mainly due to the need for many parts to be common to both kits. Too many compromises have been made for the sake of ease of production but most can be dealt with. Bridge levels and platforms are essentially correct for the Ise and apart from cleaning up and adding better parts and photo etch there is little to be concerned with here. (If you are doing the earlier battleship version some major rework is needed on the bridge). One omission should be added, the supporting legs of the underlying tripod structures that the platforms are built on. From the back and side of the bridge these legs are external and very visible. Locate the positions on each level and drill boles on each platform. When assembled, except for the top two levels, insert two lengths of plastic rod through the platforms down to main deck level. This will make a tremendous improvement in the appearance of the bridge structure.
The main problem with the Ise is in the area of the catapults. Hasegawa has the catapults standing alone from the aft structure and this is wrong. A structure connects the catapults to the aft area and this will have to be added. It looks formidable but it is really quite easy to do. See the sketch drawings and the templates for guidance. Note also the forward legs of the aft tripod structure are exposed also. These can be added from plastic rod as was done for the aft side of the bridge.
Masts, particularly the large mainmast, should be replaced with scratch built assemblies from plastic sprue or brass wire. Most of the splinter shields could be improved by replacing with Evergreen plastic strip. Gold Medal Models makes a photo etch sheet, IJN Battleships, that contains the lattice supporting structure around the funnel as well as two catapults. Adding this will improve the model very noticeably.
The supports under the aircraft deck edges are solid triangles of plastic on the kit. These are individual strut supports on the ship and can be improved upon by either replacing or by carving away the back side of the plastic. I prefer the latter method, see sketches. Also, at the stern, the supporting lattice structure is solid and has been simplified. This should be cut away and a scratch built replacement fabricated. This is the hardest job and there is really no short cut that I have discovered. You may opt to forget about doing this as the overhang hides much of the area when looking at the model from above.
All of the guns can be improved by replacement from the Skywave weapons sets, particularly the 25mm which should come from set E-7. Some of the Skywave ship's boats are nicer also. For railings, I recommend the Tom's Model Works, two bar set.
Aircraft: If you resolve to display aircraft on board or on the catapults, there is no "Norm" available but testing was done with the Nakajima "Pete" and with the Kawanishi "Jake". Both types are available from the Skywave sets or from other kits in the waterline series. I would recommend replacihg the Hasegawa "Jakes" with other parts as they are a little crude in appearance compared to some of the other planes available.
As you can see, some considerable investments in both time and money for extra materials are necessary to bring this kit up to speed. Whether it is worthwhile depends on how well you like the subject. Ise is one of my favorite ships, having built four models of her over the years in four different scales. If you do all of the suggested modifications and additions the results are very noticeable and the kit can look right at home with other ships in your collection. An old kit is not especially a bad kit, it just needs more work.
2. Aichi E16A STOWL floatplane
E16 A "Paul" Cat. No. SH 72013
The Aichi E16A floatplane was designed as an AM-22 project in order to meet the Navy 14-shi requirements for a two seat reconnaissance floatplane, possessing dive bombing capabilities. Changes in the specification during design, resulted in redesignation to a 16-shi type. The first prototype was finished in May 1942, however a lot of improvements had to be completed before series production started. With perforated dive brakes mounted on the front legs of the N- struts, strengthened floats, and improved actuation system of Fowler- type flaps, the E16A1 was accepted for production in August 1943. 252 series aircraft were built. This airplane designated as a Navy Reconnaissance Seaplane "Zuiun" Model 11, was armed with two 20 mm cannons in the wings, and one flexible 13 mm machine gun. It could also carry one 250 kg bomb under the fuselage. The "Zuiun" (known as a "Paul" by the Allies) entered service during the defense of the Philippines in 1944, and due to the enemy air superiority suffered heavy losses. Most surviving "Zuiuns" were used for suicide attacks and training. Specifications: Wingspan: 12,81 m, Length 10 833 m, height 4.791 m, engine MK8A Kinsei 51 or MK8D Kinsei 58 (1300 hp), maximum weight 4553 kg, max. range 2420 km, max. speed 440 km/h.
4. USN Amphibs for USMC
Naval Technology - LHD Wasp Class - Amphibious Assault Ships
The vehicle storage area typically accommodates five M-1 tanks, 25 Light Armoured Vehicles, eight M-198 guns, 68 military trucks (HMMVVVs), ten logistics vehicles, twelve five-ton trucks, two water trailers, a fuel service truck, four rough terrain forklifts and two generator trailers. These vehicles can be loaded aboard landing craft, and the majority can be rigged for transportation to the beach by helicopter.
Off the beach, landing craft are launched and recovered through the very large stern gate, which opens the well deck to the sea. This well deck is 267ft long, 50 ft wide and is designed specifically for the fly-in/fly-out capabilities of the air-cushioned landing craft (LCAC).
The LHDs carry three LCACs. The LCAC is a high-speed landing craft capable of carrying a 60t to 75t payload. It can carry payloads, such as an M1A1 tank and 5t trucks, at a speed of more than 40 knots (73.6km/h). The air cushion allows the LCAC to reach more than 70% of the world's coastline. Conventional landing craft can land at only 15% of coasts.
To launch and recover conventional landing craft, the ship can ballast over 15,000t of seawater to allow these craft to float into and out of the well deck.
LSD WHIDBEY ISLAND/HARPERS FERRY CLASS DOCK LANDING SHIPS - SPECIFICATION
Crew 340 including 22 officers
LCAC Attachment 418 enlisted men (air cushioned landing craft attachment)
Landing Force 441 marines, 102 surge troops
Length 186 metres
Beam 25.6 metres
Height 177 feet 2 inches
Draft fully loaded 6.3 metres
Displacement, full load 16,400 long tons
Propulsion four Colt SEMT-Pielstick 16 PC2.5 V 400 diesels
Speed in excess of 20 knots
Range 8,000 miles at 18 knots
Harpers Ferry Class - capacity
Military lift two air cushioned landing vehicles
Cargo 67,000 cubic feet for marine cargo 20,200 sq feet for vehicles
Whidbey Island Class - capacity
Military lift four air cushioned landing vehicles
Cargo 5,000 cubic feet for marine cargo 12,500 sq ft for vehicles including the 4 preloaded air cushioned landing craft in the well deck