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CommodorePerryIPA

Real-Life and In-Game BB Question - Spotter Plane

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Why don't the ship's rear guns shoot off the spotter plane and catapult in-real life when shooting at enemies behind the ship?  Do they stow away the plane before battle, or maybe only take the plane out when ready to launch?

I look at the ship models and it looks like it should be in the way for a lot of ships.

Edited by CommodorePerryIPA
Clarified I was asking about the ship's rear guns, not the plane's rear guns.

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12 minutes ago, CommodorePerryIPA said:

Why don't the rear guns shoot off the spotter plane and catapult in-real life?  Do they stow away the plane before battle, or maybe only take the plane out when ready to launch?

I look at the ship models and it looks like it should be in the way for a lot of ships.

One plane vs a squadron and your pilot isn't Stanley Winfield "Swede" Vejtasa.

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42 minutes ago, CommodorePerryIPA said:

Why don't the rear guns shoot off the spotter plane and catapult in-real life?  Do they stow away the plane before battle, or maybe only take the plane out when ready to launch?

I look at the ship models and it looks like it should be in the way for a lot of ships.

It was fairly common doctrine to dump the things over the side when getting ready to engage. Just one more fire hazard a ship does not want to deal with unless it had to. The Yamato when sailing on her final mission, flew her spotters back to safety of an air base the day before they expected to begin making contact with the enemy.

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Planes for the most part were on the catapult ready to go, just had to wake up the pilot, observer/gunner and off they go. They were used to spot for shell splash at long range.  This was standard doctrine for most navies, except the Japanese, who had double use for their planes.  Doctrine for navies is not very well known or understood by most people reading about or playing a naval game.  How navies did things were spelled out (Doctrine)  One reason why all the carriers at Midway were destroyed was based on Japanese doctrine, they hesitated to withdraw for any reason, so the Hiryu was sunk when she could have run away to fight another day.  The Japanese used their CA and some specially trained BB aircrews (Kongo class) to SPOT for their CV fleets...sound crazy but they relied on them.   So if contact was expected in an area, the Japanese would have already launched their spotter aircraft for SEARCH. (not fighters btw...lol lol)  Other navies, as stated would either launch if enemy surface ships were spotted, to help with shell splash correction, it was pretty effective or they could not launch for whatever reason, they may have been dumped right over the side... as FIRE was a real and very dangerous hazard on warships....or any ship for that matter.  But again this wasn't a doctrine, that I can find, but seemed to be what a lot of Captains did...some didn't.  If surprised, there was no time...so like in the Guadalcanal night battles, some planes were hit on the Allied CAs and started fires, that at night just made them even better targets for Japanese.

Having a rear gunner shoot his peashooter moral machine gun vs a flight of fighters is soooo insignificant that WG rightly does not have them shoot...they just die.  Picture yourself in an open cockpit with a 30 cal machine gun, in a plane that is built for stability, not speed or maneuver, facing at best 4-6 50cals or 6-8 30 cals (allied) or 2 30 cal and 2 20mm cannon (Axis)  Your probably dead in a few seconds... maybe got a couple bursts off, better get REAL lucky.

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Thanks for the great responses everyone.  From reading them, I can see my original wording was ambiguous.  I edited my original question to clarify I was asking why the ship's rear guns didn't blow the plane up.

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1 minute ago, CommodorePerryIPA said:

Thanks for the great responses everyone.  From reading them, I can see my original wording was ambiguous.  I edited my original question to clarify I was asking why the ship's rear guns didn't blow the plane up.

Magic because it is a game. In reality that plane would look like the Samsonite gorilla had its way with it. Many years ago before the days of the internet I saw a picture of I think was the Vittorio Veneto's float plane after they had fired the rear turret in a night action.

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21 hours ago, CommodorePerryIPA said:

Why don't the ship's rear guns shoot off the spotter plane and catapult in-real life when shooting at enemies behind the ship?  Do they stow away the plane before battle, or maybe only take the plane out when ready to launch?

I look at the ship models and it looks like it should be in the way for a lot of ships.

"At a range of 18,100 yd (16,600 m) three of the leading Japanese ships were sighted from the bridge of South Dakota. Washington fired on the lead Japanese ship, thought to be a battleship or heavy cruiser. A minute later, South Dakota's main battery opened fire on the nearest Japanese ship. Both South Dakota's initial salvos struck and started fires on the respective targets. South Dakota then fired on a second target, continuing firing until the ship disappeared from its radar. South Dakota's Turret No. 3 then began firing over her stern on another Japanese target, demolishing South Dakota's own aircraft in the process." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_South_Dakota_(BB-57)#Naval_battle_of_Guadalcanal

"9. SOUTH DAKOTA changed course at 0036 to clear two of our damaged destroyers and then resumed base course which had been changed to 300° true. At 0040, Turrets I and II commenced firing on targets close to Savo Island which were tentatively identified as eight destroyers. Turret III was firing over the stern at a target at 0042. The blast from the guns of Turret III set fire to the planes, but the next salvo blew two planes overboard and extinguished most of the fires. At 0045 the target astern exploded and was lost on the radar screen and the main battery ceased firing. The SOUTH DAKOTA identified this target as a cruiser; however, other reports indicate that it probably was the destroyer AYANAMI." - http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/WarDamageReports/WarDamageReportBB57/WarDamageReportBB57.html

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8 hours ago, Royeaux said:

"At a range of 18,100 yd (16,600 m) three of the leading Japanese ships were sighted from the bridge of South Dakota. Washington fired on the lead Japanese ship, thought to be a battleship or heavy cruiser. A minute later, South Dakota's main battery opened fire on the nearest Japanese ship. Both South Dakota's initial salvos struck and started fires on the respective targets. South Dakota then fired on a second target, continuing firing until the ship disappeared from its radar. South Dakota's Turret No. 3 then began firing over her stern on another Japanese target, demolishing South Dakota's own aircraft in the process." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_South_Dakota_(BB-57)#Naval_battle_of_Guadalcanal

"9. SOUTH DAKOTA changed course at 0036 to clear two of our damaged destroyers and then resumed base course which had been changed to 300° true. At 0040, Turrets I and II commenced firing on targets close to Savo Island which were tentatively identified as eight destroyers. Turret III was firing over the stern at a target at 0042. The blast from the guns of Turret III set fire to the planes, but the next salvo blew two planes overboard and extinguished most of the fires. At 0045 the target astern exploded and was lost on the radar screen and the main battery ceased firing. The SOUTH DAKOTA identified this target as a cruiser; however, other reports indicate that it probably was the destroyer AYANAMI." - http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/WarDamageReports/WarDamageReportBB57/WarDamageReportBB57.html

Thanks Royeaux!

So it looks like it not only could happen, but did.

 

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On 2/8/2019 at 4:29 PM, CommodorePerryIPA said:

Why don't the ship's rear guns shoot off the spotter plane and catapult in-real life when shooting at enemies behind the ship?  Do they stow away the plane before battle, or maybe only take the plane out when ready to launch?

I look at the ship models and it looks like it should be in the way for a lot of ships.

In real life, battleships sail and fire broadside at targets, in order to maximize the guns brought to bear, and to limit the accuracy of incoming fire. A Major difference between real life and in game, accuracy in deflection is much better than in range, sailing bow on as is done in game would be making a ship a bigger target, and make it more vulnerable. Many battleships couldn't actually safely fire their guns end on with superimposed turrets, as the upper turret would destroy rangefinders and sighting equipment in the lower turrets. Eventually most ships moved the sighting hoods and rangefinders to the rear of the turrets, as to not be in front of the muzzles of the upper turrets.

In many ships, there are hangers in the hull or superstructure to store the airplanes in when not in use. In preparation for combat, aircraft would either be flown off to spot, or stowed away.

In other cases, such as US Navy battleships, aircraft were disposable, if they were on board, and the guns needed to be fired in that direction, they just got wrecked. Same with AA guns.

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26 minutes ago, SgtBeltfed said:

In real life, battleships sail and fire broadside at targets, in order to maximize the guns brought to bear, and to limit the accuracy of incoming fire. A Major difference between real life and in game, accuracy in deflection is much better than in range, sailing bow on as is done in game would be making a ship a bigger target, and make it more vulnerable. Many battleships couldn't actually safely fire their guns end on with superimposed turrets, as the upper turret would destroy rangefinders and sighting equipment in the lower turrets.

This I suspected because every description I read or saw on video of battleship battles has them trying to go broadside (like the British at Jutland).  People sometimes seem so smug about "angling properly" and learning the "correct" way.  But from what you wrote, it sounds like the exact wrong thing to do in real life.

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10 hours ago, CommodorePerryIPA said:

This I suspected because every description I read or saw on video of battleship battles has them trying to go broadside (like the British at Jutland).  People sometimes seem so smug about "angling properly" and learning the "correct" way.  But from what you wrote, it sounds like the exact wrong thing to do in real life.

The thing is it depends on who was fighting who in what situations. Example the Hood was angling enough to try and bring her rear turret into action while at the same time trying to close on Bismark to mitigate the dangers of plunging fire.

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Another instance would be at the Second Battle of Sirte, Littorio's final salvo was fired aft over her floatplane, blowing the catapult over to starboard and setting the Ro.43 aflame.

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