A self-destruction feature was in process of being added to VT fuzes as the war ended. This feature would permit firing in the direction of our own ships with less danger of damaging them. Projectiles containing this feature would destroy themselves at 8, yards. The arming time of these projectiles was lowered to yards.
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VT fuzes proved approximately three times as effective as time fuzes in the destruction of enemy planes, operational analysis indicates. The trend in armament during the war was toward heavier guns, increased velocity, range, destructiveness, and rate of fire. Also, the policy was established to install as many guns as space, weight, and personnel limitations would permit. For the heavy AA. Before the end of the war the regunning of destroyers was undertaken.
One torpedo tube was removed from and class DD's and replaced by a mm. All torpedoes were removed from other classes in favor of increased mm. The general policy was established at the same time of replacing mm. Postwar development must be toward extremely high-velocity, long-range AA. During this month there was an all-out attempt by the enemy to prevent us from securing our position on Okinawa. During May, the enemy effort against ships decreased by about 50 percent as compared to April, and during June the number of enemy planes fired on by our ships was only about 10 percent of the number fired on during April.
Since the suicide attacks in the Philippines had caused much more damage to our ships per plane attacking than conventional bombing and torpedo attacks, it was to be expected that suicide attacks would continue to the maximum possible extent.
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As a matter of fact, a higher percentage of suicide planes were used in Okinawa than in the Philippines. However, both suicide and conventional attacks were less successful in the Okinawa campaign than they had been earlier in the war. This was probably due in part to the decreasing level of training of the enemy pilots after the great attrition in the Philippines but a more important factor was undoubtedly the greater skill with which our antiaircraft was used, as a result of previous battle experience, especially in the Philippines campaign.
A new suicide weapon--the Baka--was tried out by the enemy in April and May. As noted previously in this report, this was not very effective for two reasons.
In the first place, the planes which carried the Bakas near enough to the ships to allow them to attack were slow and extremely vulnerable to the CAP and consequently only a small number of Bakas were brought near enough. Secondly, although the very high speed of the Baka made it a difficult AA. Table I gives a measure of enemy effort during the Okinawa campaign. Numbers of planes fired on by ships are given by month, for both suicide and non-suicide attacks. Since some planes which had suicide intent were shot down by AA. The tremendous scale of enemy effort is indicated by the fact that there was an increase of 49 percent in the number of planes fired on at Okinawa as compared to the large number of planes in the Philippines campaign.
Thirty-nine percent of the planes were suiciders, as compared to 26 percent in the Philippines. Of the suicide planes which arrived over ships in the Okinawa area, 23 percent hit ships; 95 12 percent did not hit, but caused. Suicide planes tended to concentrate on smaller ships in the Okinawa actions. Eighty-six percent of the suicide planes aimed at DD's or smaller ships, as compared to 61 percent in the Philippines. This may have been partly due to opportunity and also to the fact that the enemy concentrated much effort on radar picket ships.
The comparative AA. Although the number of non-suicide planes which attacked ships in the Okinawa campaign rose to unprecedented magnitude, they accomplished very little damage to our ships. The 1, such planes fired at by AA. Two hundred sixty-two, or 21 percent of the planes were destroyed by AA.
Table II details the results of non-suicide attacks at Okinawa. The failure of this type of attack is even more striking than the decrease in the effectiveness of suicide attacks. The relative effort expended by the enemy in suicide and conventional attacks has been shown in table I. Table III shows the cost to the enemy at Okinawa in both types of attack per ship sunk or damaged.
Non-suicide Suicide 1. Average number of planes per ship sunk or damaged 51 3. Percentage of planes lost to AA. Average number of planes lost to AA. Since a large percentage of the planes attempting to attack our forces were shot down outside of AA.
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If we assume that 60 percent of the planes which sortie are lost to CAP, then the total losses to the enemy per ship damaged is 88 planes for non-suicide attacks and 8. Composed of approximately of the Navy's fastest and best-equipped ships, it spearheaded the drive across the Pacific, and during the last weeks of the war was bombarding Japan itself. Fire control was the best available, and on some ships included the Mark 57 and Mark 63 directors. Since improvement of antiaircraft performance in the fleet will have to start from the performance of AA. This analysis starts with Task Force 38's decisive defeat during October , of the Japanese fleet units which attempted to disrupt the Leyte landings, and concludes on 21 March , just before the Okinawa campaign commenced.
Actions during this period saw the beginning and expansion of Japanese suicide attacks, which were to reach their climax at Okinawa in April. From 30 December to 21 January the force supported the Luzon phase of the Philippine operation.
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In the 5-month period between 24 October and 21 March, 14 ships of the fast carrier task force were damaged by suicide hits or near misses. All targets, except 2 destroyers, were carriers. No ships were sunk, and of those damaged 5 carriers and both destroyers were put out of action.
It is estimated that 43 aircraft with suicide intent arrived over the task force. What happened to these planes is shown below with results of all suicide attacks during the Philippine campaign from 17 October to 13 January. The record for the period February-April follows:. In the actions against non-suicide planes for the period October-March one ship, the Princeton, was sunk and seven were damaged.
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Only in the case of I lie Franklin was a damaged ship put out of action. A comparison of the results of these actions with similar actions against "All Ships, Philippines," follows:. Fast carrier task force All ships, Philippines Number of planes attacking Number of planes lost per ship sunk, damaged 5. Out of a total of 33 suicide attacks, 31 were aimed at carriers, and out of 9 damaging non-suicide attacks, 8 were against carriers.
Carriers are the most strategically important ships, and because of their size the most vulnerable targets in the fast carrier task force. Thus the enemy's concentration on carriers was highly to his advantage. Most suicide and non-suicide attacks were made during the daytime.
Night and twilight attacks were pressed less vigorously than against other surface forces in the Philippines campaign, being largely of a snooping nature. The percentage of non-suicide planes shot down by fast carrier forces was considerably greater than other forces during the daytime percent as compared with 18 percent--but about the same for all periods combined percent vs.
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However, in daytime attacks the fast carriers shot down only four planes per plane damaging ships--about the same as other ships. The following table presents, for the four major weapons used in AA. A satisfactory result for 5-inch VT ammunition, especially in suicide actions, is indicated. Planes shot down Rounds per bird 20 mm. The following table shows the roles played by different types of ships under different conditions of attack.
Battleships are most effective in shooting down planes in suicide actions, but least effective in non-suicide actions. Effectiveness is measured by dividing the number of planes shot down by the number of ship-plane actions. It is interesting to determine the "expected" distribution of kills by type of ship, and to compare it with the actual distribution. The "expected" kills are obtained by assuming that in each ship AA. The following comparison is for suicide actions:. Thus, in suicide actions, battleships appear to have shot down twice as many planes as would have been expected on the basis of their opening ranges, the amount of ammunition they fired, and the average success attained by all ships under similar conditions.
The assignment of kills in suicide incidents results in the conclusion that about 40 percent of the planes shot down in suicide actions were destroyed by the target ships, and about 60 percent by screening ships. Since on the average, four ships in addition to the target ship fired at each attacking plane, this means that each supporting ship was about one-third as effective in defending the target ship as was the target ship itself.
In both suicide and non-suicide attacks the AA. The volume of ammunition fired per ship-plane action by ships which were attacked but not hit was considerably greater than that fired by ships which were hit, indicating that the volume of ammunition which a ship under attack was able to fire at the plane had a definite effect upon the plane's success.
In general, there appears to have been little difference in the AA. However, Task Group This ratio was 13 to 1, as compared with other task groups' records varying between 1 to 1 and 7 to 1.
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These weapons will unquestionably include:. The first of these weapons alone--the atomic bomb--has been widely advertised as the doom of seapower as we know it. The same outcome was predicted as a result of the growth of air power before the war which recently ended. However, such improvements in ship defenses as the VT fuze, fire control, radar detection of aircraft and radar control of guns, were sufficient to diminish to an important extent the effectiveness of those enemy aircraft which avoided our CAP and came within gun range.
In a discussion of atomic bombs, several basic factors must be taken into consideration. They include:. Atomic power is important for its strategic value rather than its effectiveness when applied to tactical uses. Because of the limited number of atomic bombs which will be available to an aggressor nation, and because of the high cost of their construction, it is not likely that atomic bombs would be wasted against ships unless by so doing a certainty existed of destroying a number of important ships with a minimum number of bombs.
Dispersion of ships, therefore, both in peacetime and in war, is the first essential in the Navy's defense against atomic explosives.
Such dispersion, employed tactically, implies that each ship, rather than depending upon mutual support, must be capable of defending itself to a greatly increased extent. Although far exceeding in power any other known explosive, the atomic bomb has definite calculable limitations on its effective radius.