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Re: Little Giants discusses the air to ground development
Quote: "direct sinking was always the aim, though fire may well have been a better weapon than 500 lb impact bombs ."
Well put. US Navy carrier strike aircraft of the period were dive bombers and torpedo bombers, suited to such direct sinking. I have found that napalm was dropped by USAAF P-47 fighters at Tinian, and by USMC F4U Corsairs at Peleliu. I have read it was used on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, but did not find info on what delivered it. The USAAF B-29s then used it in their firebombings of Tokyo and other cities. It was considered an "area" weapon.
The point would be that it seems to have been used tactically by fighter-bomber type aircraft, and it looks also like land-based fighter-bomber type aircraft, in support of James' statement of not wanting it aboard in mixed form. Carrier based Corsairs of the time were night fighters, and the Hellcat was similarly meant as an air-to-air platform. The dive and torpedo bombers were then meant for "direct sinking."
So, while indeed an interesting thought, I don't think it fit "operationally" with any US Navy thinking or equipment of the time.
NAPALM AS AN ANTI SHIP WEAPON IS INTERESTING especially considering the effect fire has had on ships in war and peace, from Midway to the Falklands, and since, up to last week!
it is possible it was used by TAFFY2 at Leyte if already loaded but i have never seen any reference to its deliberate use, or to any damage caused! direct sinking was always the aim, though fire may well have been a better weapon than 500 lb impact bombs .
The book Little Giants explains development and its first uses. CV aircraft may have made initial massive strikes but ground support and anti-submarine warfare became the responsibility of the CVEs this in addition to flying CAPs and fighter sweeps. Responsibility of protecting the CVEs then fell upon the CVs if they remained. Think Saipan and Leyte.
I have never read of napalm being used in an anti-ship role; it was dropped by USN/USMC aircraft in an anti-personnel role quite frequently, including against shore based AA emplacements.
I am uncertain about its deployment from CVs, but I can't imagine it being used on a CV strike due to the inherent dangers associated with a bad launch. Given the losses of 1942, mostly due to failure of damage control doctrine (learned the very hard way), I would think BuShips would vehemently oppose its storage (in mixed form) on a CV.
Does anyone know if napalm was used by the USN in the AA suppression role in 1944-45? Given that it was available in the Pacific, I would have thought it would have been ideal for targets such as the Yamato.
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