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How much damage can straffing aircraft do to ships?

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  • How much damage can straffing aircraft do to ships?

    How effective were straffing runs against ships.

    It seems like this mostly happened in World War II.

    Straffing aircraft could easily take out unprotected personnel. This would include personnel manning light AAA weapons.

    Could straffing aircraft do any structural damage to ships? I would think cruiser and up would not be very prone to this type of attack on their structures. But destroyer and smaller ships not being as well armored, how much damage could straffing attacks do to them?
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
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  • #2
    A lot would depend on what the aircraft was shooting and whether the guns were mounted in the wings or in the nose. Pappy Gunn in the SW Pacific had a lot of success up gunning medium bombers. A P-38 or P-39 could cause a lot of damage using their nose mounted cannon and guns.

    Pruitt
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    • #3
      The battle of the Bismarck Sea is an example of strafing doing considerable damage to ships. Some of the aircraft had .50 cals and 20mm cannons in the nose as well as smaller calibre guns on the wings. I don't know how much damage to the ships was strictly due to the strafing and how much to the bombing, but the Japanese convoy was severely damaged and thousands of troops killed.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle...e_Bismarck_Sea

      Footage of the battle shot by legendary combat cameraman Damien Parer.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVLV67xILI4
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      • #4
        Beaufighters claimed the ability to saw a ship in two from strafe attacks.
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        • #5
          I doubt strafing could do much structural damage to a ship. At best you could hope to damage some of the steam pipes and slow it down or perhaps, if you're lucky, set fire to cargo Other than that its killing and wounding the crew and and maybe damaging fragile equipment like radar or radios, strafing would mostly cause only superficial damage I guess.

          Although more than one ship in this clip seems to suffer a major explosion

          Last edited by Gooner; 10 May 19, 05:03.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Herman Hum View Post
            Beaufighters claimed the ability to saw a ship in two from strafe attacks.
            Beyond the 20 mm's, maritime Beaufighters were also armed with HE and armour-piercing rockets designed to take out U-Boats, but could make a mess out of any light or auxiliary type warship. The "Tse-tse" Mosquito had a 6 pdr. cannon in the nose capable of full-auto for the same purpose, but there weren't many produced; the Hercules powered Beaufighter was more rugged and the preferred maritime heavy-fighter.
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            • #7
              PO S G Nunn pilot of a Mosquito FB 1944

              On 10th June his logbook records 'U-boat crippled by cannon and machine-gun fire, crew abandoned ship, sunk.
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              • #8
                We had a similar discussion here in this thread...
                https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/f...k-by-20mm-fire

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                  PO S G Nunn pilot of a Mosquito FB 1944

                  On 10th June his logbook records 'U-boat crippled by cannon and machine-gun fire, crew abandoned ship, sunk.
                  That was likely U-821:


                  On 25 March 1944, six 248 Squadron Mosquitos, including two Tsetses, attacked and sunk the German submarine U-976 off Saint Nazaire. During June 1944, the squadron was heavily deployed in support of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, flying 274 sorties that month. The squadron damaged U-212 on 6 June, sank U-821 in conjunction with a Liberator bomber of 206 Squadron on 10 June and damaged another U-boat, U-155 off Lorient on 23 June.
                  The source is Clay Blair

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._248_Squadron_RAF
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                  • #10
                    The Tsetse's (Mosquito FB 18's) had which was armed with a 6 pounder AT gun with an autoloader. Anyone know the rate of fire of that gun? I wonder how the prototype 32 pounder Mosquito would've done in Korea.

                    Did any of these ships with their big guns encounter ships or submarines and what was the result of their strafes?
                    (Do semi-auto guns with rotating magazines qualify as strafing?) 75 mm gun - B-25G, Hs 129B-3, Ju 88P
                    50 mm autocannon - Me-410A-1/U4
                    45 mm autocannon - Yak-9K
                    40 mm autocannon - Hurricane Mk IID, Ki-44
                    37 mm autocannon - Bf 110G-2/R1, Hs 129B-2, Ju 88, Ki-45, Ki-46, Ki-102, P-39, Stuka, Yak-9T,
                    30 mm autocannon - Bf 109G-6/U4, Bf 110G-2, Fw 190A-8, He 219, Hs 129B-2, Ju 388J, P1Y2-S, Ta 152H-1, Ta 154

                    Was there any advantage of the 23 mm used in the Il-2 and Il-10 over the ubiquitous 20 mm everyone used?
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                    • #11
                      The 75mm on the B-25 was hand loaded by the co-pilot. The P-39 kept its 37mm gun in Soviet service, but in American service it was replaced by a 20mm auto cannon.

                      Pruitt
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                      Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Frtigern View Post
                        The Tsetse's (Mosquito FB 18's)

                        Was there any advantage of the 23 mm used in the Il-2 and Il-10 over the ubiquitous 20 mm everyone used?
                        The 23 mm Soviet guns were pretty much the equivalent of the western 20 mm auto cannons.
                        "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                        Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                          The P-39 kept its 37mm gun in Soviet service, but in American service it was replaced by a 20mm auto cannon.

                          Pruitt
                          The 20 mm armed P-39s were for export. Some were taken into service by the U.S. Army Air Corps. Most U.S. P-39 had the 37 mm.
                          "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
                          Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post
                            How effective were straffing runs against ships.

                            It seems like this mostly happened in World War II.

                            Straffing aircraft could easily take out unprotected personnel. This would include personnel manning light AAA weapons.

                            Could straffing aircraft do any structural damage to ships? I would think cruiser and up would not be very prone to this type of attack on their structures. But destroyer and smaller ships not being as well armored, how much damage could straffing attacks do to them?
                            The type of ammuntion would play a big part.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 101combatvet View Post

                              The type of ammuntion would play a big part.
                              In the pacific .50 API was the favored round for aircraft. Now think of a 14 gun strafing run. I could easily see a dd getting cut in half.
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