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Re: are there any incidences where spotter planes were used in combat?
In fact Ajax's aircraft DID pass spotting messages to its parent ship - but not until twenty minutes or so after being launched. In the haste to get airborne, the aircraft's W/T set was left tuned to the reconnaissance frequency. When the observer retuned the set to the spotting frequency, his fall of shot reports were received by Ajax.
Incidentally the aircraft was not a Fairey Fox, a landplane which had been retired from Royal Air Force service in 1933. Ajax carried two Fairey Seafox floatplanes. Apart from the maker's name and the biplane configuration, there was no connection between the two types of aircraft.
ISTR the Fairey Fox that was launched during the Graf Spee action went aloft with the wrong radio crystals - or have I mis-remembered?
They spotted and ranged on their targets with onboard optics. But, it got harder as the range of guns got greater than what could be seen from the platform doing the shooting. During the 1920-30's the use of seaplanes was intended to help with providing feedback as to where the target was and how shots were landing on or near the target. That and recon was why seaplanes were deployed on battleships.
I was always wondering how capital ships could score hits on one another without seeing each other without radar let alone satellites. Thanks
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