Helldiver Debut at Rabaul

Details of the combat debut of the U.S. Navy’s Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bomber at the Battle of Rabaul from Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, February 1944.

HELLDIVER
The Navy’s New Dive Bomber Makes Debut In Smash at Rabaul

The Navy’s newest air weapon, the Curtiss Helldiver (SB2C), is in action. With the Vought Corsair (F4U) and Grumman Hellcat (F6F) fighters and the Grumman Avenger (TBF) torpedo bomber, it completes, to date, the Navy’s war-born aerial attack team. All four planes incorporate the lessons of modern warfare taught by battle experience since Pearl Harbor.

A fifth Navy combat plane placed in service since America entered the war is the Ventura (PV) patrol bomber.

Helldivers on a carrier roll forward to take off.

Helldivers on a carrier roll forward to take off. Official U.S. Navy photographs.

In its first combat action, the 11 November raid on Rabaul, the Helldiver–bigger and heavier than any dive bomber previously used by our armed forces–accounted for the bulk of the extensive toll taken of Jap shipping.

Continue reading Helldiver Debut at Rabaul

German Z-26 Destroyer

New naval kit in 1/350th-scale from Dragon Models: No. 1064: German Z-26 Destroyer. The German Zerstörer 1936A-class destroyers were referred to as Narvik class by the Allies.

German Z-26 Destroyer

 

Battleship’s Main Battery Directors

Illustration of U.S. Navy WWII battleship’s main battery directors. Source: Naval Ordnance and Gunnery, NAVPERS 16116, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Training Division, May 1944.

Main battery of directors.

Main battery directors.

 

Destroyer Z-17 “Diether Von Roeder”

New German WWII destroyer kit in 1/350th-scale from Zvezda: No. 9043: Zvezda 1/350 German WWII Destroyer Z-17 “Diether Von Roeder”.

Diether von Roeder WWII German Destroyer
 

Navy Educational Services

us-navy-educational-services

Source: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, March 1944.

 

Fire Control

Fire control notes from the September 1944 issue of C.I.C. (Combat Information Center) published by the U.S. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

Fire control notes and comments

fire control notes and comments...

Excerpts from ship reports with comments by the Bureau of Ordnance.

ON THE RADAR MARK 12

There is no comparison between the Mark 12 and the Mark 4 equipment in the ability to pick up targets at long range. Destroyers of the MAHAN and BUCHANAN types have been picked up consistently and easily in the 25,000 to 30,000 yard range band, in complete darkness, on CIC designation. “The maximum range on a DD recorded to date is 30,000 yards. Larger targets have not been tracked to extreme ranges.

A series 60 sled with radar screen was tracked easily to 20,000 yards. Aircraft are easily tracked to 55,000 yards. A drone was picked up at 36,000 yards over land. Approaching aircraft of combat types are easily detected at 40,000 yards.

The improved performance of the Mark 12 radar over the Mark 4 radar is due to the difference in transmitted peak power, the Mark 12 power being four times that of the Mark 4. This factor alone should increase range performance on targets above the horizon by about 40 per cent. The higher frequency also improves antenna gain.

ON TARGET WITH SEARCH RADAR HELP

A considerable amount of drill at picking up planes from search radar designation has been carried out, with extremely encouraging results. The average time to get the director on a low-flying plane at a range of 10 miles is about 25 seconds. That time includes training the director at least 90 degrees.

During a very recent drone firing one director picked up the drone over land at 35,000 yards. The plane had immediately faded on the SK radar, but the Mark 12 got the target, and a good Baker run was eventually fired.

The Mark to true bearing indicator now installed in Mark 37 directors is very helpful in picking up targets from CIC designation.

The pip-matching indication, superimposed oil the long range sweep on the train and elevation scopes was particularly designed to improve target acquisition. This presentation gives the pointer and trainer a complete view of all targets in the radar beam, and enables them to start getting on target before the target pip is notched. When notched, a change to “spot” or “meter” indication for more accurate tracking can be made.

DIRECTORS ON SEARCH RADAR PHONE CIRCUITS

During the night of 21 February 1944, while under plane attack off Saipan, the forward Mark 34 director, equipped with a Mark 8 radar, was able to pick up and track low-flying planes at will. Contacts were made as far out as 14,000 yards, generally between 6,000-8,000 yards, tracked as close as 1,900 yards, and then as far out as 25,000 yards (opening). Naturally, getting “on” was the most difficult problem due to the delay in surface and air search ranges and bearings reaching the directors from the radars through CIC. This lag was greatly reduced by the directors cutting in on the search radar phone circuits.

The ease with which the director crew tracked these low-flying planes offers serious possibilities worth investigating, of using the generated ranges resulting from such tracking in assisting the 40mm and 20mm gun batteries in opening fire.

NURSING MACHINE GUN BATTERIES ON LOW-FLYING AIRCRAFT

Single low-flying planes of both twin and single engine type, can be tracked from 15,000 yards on into the ship. The relative bearing and range obtained from the main battery directors is used to get the machine gun battery “on” low-flying night torpedo planes. The Mark 8 radar in some measure fills the need for information on enemy planes when they close within 6,000 to 8,000 yards, data not obtainable from the SK.

In one instance fire was opened at 1,900 yards using this information when it is believed the target would not normally have been seen until the range closed to 1,000 yards.

 

40-mm Twin Gun Assembly

40-mm Twin Gun Assembly (Source: Naval Ordnance and Gunnery, NAVPERS 16116, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Training Division, May 1944.).


 

Life on a Raft

Life on a Raft

Answers: 1. 2, 2. 3, 3. 4, 4. 4, 5. 2, 6. 3 (Naval Aviation News, August 1, 1944.)


 

Identify when Approaching Allied Ships

Identify when Approaching Allied Ships

Note to Pilots: This could be YOU!
Identify when Approaching Allied Ships!

GO AHEAD! Fly over one of our ships without identifying. Test the crew’s quickness on recognition… if you want that plane you’re flying punctured like a hunk of swiss cheese! Then, should you live to add up the count–you undoubtably won’t!–you can flatter the AA crews on how accurate their lead is!

But it’s saner and safer, to identify. Remember, AA crews are plenty yough and trained to shoot. If you approach Allied ships and leave them doubtful as to whether you’re friend or foe, they won’t ask too many questions, wait too long…

Don’t expect crews to take chances. They’ve had ships blown from under them, seen shipmates machine-gunned to death because they were slow to act. And most of the unfortunate cases where friendly planes were shot out of the sky were the fault of pilots who failed to identify their planes as friendly.

So don’t you take chances. Ships will challenge, but don’t wait. It’s the pilot’s responsibility to identify first.

Ships will recognize, but don’t stake your social security on it. They may not be sure, there may be clouds, enemy planes…

In the final analysis, it’s that ship and its big complement against your plane and lonely little you. You’re valuable, but you know which counts more with the Fleet!

RECOMMENDED READING: (1) Recognition and Identification Sense, (2) Identify… or Else! reprint from Naval Aviation News.

Source: Naval Aviation News, August 1, 1944.
 

5-Inch Naval Gun Turret

Cutaway drawing of the Mark 12 5″/38 caliber U.S. naval gun. (Source: Naval Ordnance and Gunnery, NAVPERS 16116, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Training Division, May 1944.)