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Allied surface raider vs Japan in 1942?

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  • Allied surface raider vs Japan in 1942?

    I watched a YouTube clip by drach on the Town class cruisers the other day. The interviewee said that one of the roles of the Town class was to attack enemy merchant shipping like a raider. He gave the example of use against Japan though said it was never implemented.

    In 1942 the Allies were on the defensive in the Pacific. Raiders are generally used by the side which has the weaker navy, Could a British or American cruiser have had any success raiding Japanese shipping or would it have been virtually certain to be rapidly found and sunk by Japanese aircraft?
    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

  • #2
    A prime role for Cruisers has always been to be able to operate independently and attack enemy shipping.
    If they had the bases in range of the Japanese shipping lanes and the Cruisers to hand I dare say the Allies would have used them in this role. Until the 'Betttys' took their toll anyway. But after the loss of Singapore and the Phillipines not really possible.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Gooner View Post
      But after the loss of Singapore and the Phillipines not really possible.
      I agree. Besides, in the age of aircraft, the submarine was a much better raider.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by OttoHarkaman
        Perhaps the sinking of Task Force Z (battleship HMS Prince of Wales, battlecruiser HMS Repulse) had some influence on thinking independent ships could operate without air cover? Interesting that there were a couple German raiders operating in the Pacific at an early stage of the war.
        While the German raiders were a long way from their bases they did get resupplied by disguised German merchantmen. That wouldn't by practical for an Allied cruiser. However while a Town class's range was only 5300nm, the US equivalent the Brooklyn class could travel 10000 nm without refueling. Not sure if that would be enough to operate out of Pearl without refueling.
        "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Surrey View Post
          I watched a YouTube clip by drach on the Town class cruisers the other day. The interviewee said that one of the roles of the Town class was to attack enemy merchant shipping like a raider. He gave the example of use against Japan though said it was never implemented.

          In 1942 the Allies were on the defensive in the Pacific. Raiders are generally used by the side which has the weaker navy, Could a British or American cruiser have had any success raiding Japanese shipping or would it have been virtually certain to be rapidly found and sunk by Japanese aircraft?
          Hi

          The success of the German raiders was down in part to the vastness of the S.Atlantic and Indian oceans in which they could hide. Given the geographical realities of the time and also the relative low Japanese merchant traffic, what operating area do you foresee these RN raiders operating?

          Regards

          Andy H
          "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." Churchill

          "I'm no reactionary.Christ on the Mountain! I'm as idealistic as Hell" Eisenhower

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Andy H View Post

            Hi

            The success of the German raiders was down in part to the vastness of the S.Atlantic and Indian oceans in which they could hide. Given the geographical realities of the time and also the relative low Japanese merchant traffic, what operating area do you foresee these RN raiders operating?

            Regards

            Andy H
            The only place they could would be Australia?
            "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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            • #7
              With Japanese air bases all over, too tricky for independent Cruiser ops. from Australia.
              Submarines gave a much higher risk/reward ratio.

              ffb05858df9dc104f42a83c9d465a1a0.jpg

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              • #8
                They could have based in India. The targets would have been traffic around Malaya and the Dutch East Indies.

                Pruitt
                Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

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

                by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                • #9
                  The British had spread their cruisers all over the world. All I am saying is basing them in India or Ceylon would have given them more bang for the buck. The targets would have been Malayan Tin and DEI Oil shipments. Heck even laying a few mine fields would have had advantages.

                  Pruitt
                  Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

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

                  by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                    The British had spread their cruisers all over the world. All I am saying is basing them in India or Ceylon would have given them more bang for the buck. The targets would have been Malayan Tin and DEI Oil shipments. Heck even laying a few mine fields would have had advantages.

                    Pruitt
                    Against the airpower Japan has in the region it would probably have ended up a suicide mission even for an Abdiel class.

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                    • #11
                      After the Java Sea battles, any thought of Allied cruisers operating independently would've been foolish.

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                      • #12
                        Interestingly, the Free French submarine SURCOUF was on her way to the Pacific...possibly for use as a raider, that is until she mysteriously was sunk in Feb. 1942 in the Gulf of Mexico.
                        You'll live, only the best get killed.

                        -General Charles de Gaulle

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by asterix View Post
                          Interestingly, the Free French submarine SURCOUF was on her way to the Pacific...possibly for use as a raider, that is until she mysteriously was sunk in Feb. 1942 in the Gulf of Mexico.
                          While clearly fiction I remember reading a novel by Douglas Reeman, Strike from the Sea, about what could have been if she had been used against the Japanese.
                          "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                            I watched a YouTube clip by drach on the Town class cruisers the other day. The interviewee said that one of the roles of the Town class was to attack enemy merchant shipping like a raider. He gave the example of use against Japan though said it was never implemented.

                            In 1942 the Allies were on the defensive in the Pacific. Raiders are generally used by the side which has the weaker navy, Could a British or American cruiser have had any success raiding Japanese shipping or would it have been virtually certain to be rapidly found and sunk by Japanese aircraft?
                            I haven't seen the clip to which you refer, but the suggestion that the Southamptons were ever intended for use as raiders seem highly unlikely.

                            The Southamptons were in the direct line of Trade Protection Cruisers in accordance with Admiralty thinking, which identified two cruiser types, the small 'fleet' type, such as the Arethusa or Dido classes, and the larger Trade Protection, type, such as the Leander & Modified Leander classes.

                            Following the 1930 London Naval Treaty, the Admiralty had become increasingly alarmed at reports about the Japanese 'Mogami' class cruisers, and US plans for the 'Brooklyns' both of which would carry 15 x 6 inch guns, and would thus outclass the Leanders. As a result, from August, 1933, the DNC was instructed to produce plans for a cruiser similar in range to the Leanders, but with 12 x 6 inch guns, and this was the design which evolved into the 'Southamptons.' I have never come across any suggestion that the idea that this cruiser would have the ability to operate as a 'raider' played any part in Admiralty thinking. Indeed, the Royal Navy mindset, given the world wide commitments it faced, revolved around ships which could locate and dispatch a raider, rather than ships which could perform as one.

                            As I say, I haven't seen the particular clip, so it is possible that I have misunderstood some element of the argument.

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