Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

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donsor
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by donsor » 15 Jun 2012 15:34

But didn't the B-29s had a nagging mechanical problems initially which caused many to crash?

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Jun 2012 15:50

It had hundreds, or thousands of mechanical problems. It was no different than dozens of other US, Brit, German, Soviet... aircraft that were made from cutting edge technology and rushed into wartime production. I've seen extreme claims both ways, for mechanical failure and for fixes and reliability. The B29 was in full scale production and flying massed combat missions in barely four years from issuing specifications. Most prewar aircraft like the B17 or The He111 were still in batch testing after four years.

Like Takao wrote, with the aircraft that did not return there was no reliable way to know why they were lost. A few crew were recovered eventually, but that did not provide a large enough data base to grasp a accurate cause of losses. When large numbers of distressed aircraft started making emergency landings on Iwo the statistics resolved somewhat into usefullness.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by sonofsamphm1c » 15 Jun 2012 18:30

It's the opposite. Before Iwo Jima the statistic are useful. Once B-29s started landing on Iwo Jima the statistics reflect an intentional disinformation campaign.

The vastly overworked ground crews, set up to service fighters, had to beg for the disinformation campaign to end.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Jun 2012 19:06

Ah, the classic modern canundrum. Does one take the uncited claim of someone who will not even post his real name, or the word of several recent historians who have searched past this "disinformation", cross checked records, considered eyewitnesses, ect... Historians like John Costello or Roberrt Sherrod are hardly so credulous that 1945 reports would be used verbatim. Even writers like Carl Berger back in the 1970s were better than that.

You are not doing yourself any favors here, & one has to wonder what your point is in making that remark repeatedly without any clear connection to the core or the thread or other points. If you are trolling for a fight over some other agenda go elsewhere.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by sonofsamphm1c » 16 Jun 2012 00:14

During the battle, after the first B-29 landed on Iwo Jima:

"we are paying, and shall pay, a very high price... potentialities must be fully exploited. ...B-29 emergency use." - Admiral Spruance

Meaning: Chester, taking this freakin' island is proving to be ungodly expensive...the reasons we gave for its capture are totally insufficient...oh happy day, some B-29 pilot ran low on fuel and landed and the excitement exuded by Marines and the press (Sherrod?) during its reception is something we really really need to exploit.

'Airmen running the air facility on Iwo Jima considered many landings of "doubtful necessity." - Burrell/1 CTF 93 to CTF 93.2, secret communique, 13 March 1945, incoming tele- cons to the Twentieth Air Force, Air Force Historical Research Agency

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kgbudge
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by kgbudge » 16 Jun 2012 03:30

Except Spruance wasn't that kind of man, and I distrust your ellipsis.

... Well, actually, given what you've posted so far, I distrust everything you say.

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Takao
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Takao » 16 Jun 2012 13:41

Why sonofsamphm1c didn't just post a link to the article he used is beyond me.
http://frank.mtsu.edu/~dfrisby/burrell.pdf
The Spruance quote is on page 1175-1176 , and the "doubtful necessity" quote is on page 1182.

I found the "doubtful necessity" quote somewhat amusing. Since, what constitutes an "emergency" will vary greatly considering the airmen are safely relaxing on the ground, and the B-29 crew is facing a flight of some 800 miles over open water in what, may or may not, be a balky B-29. I could see the ground crewman becoming much more "anal" about the "little" things if he was faced with the prospect of "getting his feet wet" and a long swim home.

Burrell does make his own questionable assumptions, and I found this one particularly egregious.
Given the redundancy of the B-29's four engines, the need for so many landings is improbable enough, because the bomber could actually fly on just two working engines, even if both were on the same side.
pg. 1178

While it is true that the B-29 can fly back from Japan on two engines, even if both are on the same side. Several B-29s returned to Tinian, Saipan, and Guam on two engines. The record holder for this harrowing adventure is the B-29 "Pride of the Yankees"(s/n 42-24676), which did it twice! And, yes, her first return was with with two engines out on the same side(engine # 2 was shot up over Japan, and shortly after leaving Japan the prop on #2 came off and hit the #1 engine severely damaging engine #1 and it's propellor). However, because of combat damage, problems were rarely limited to the loss of two engines. So, just because a B-29 can fly on two engines, does not guarantee that the B-29 will.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by sonofsamphm1c » 17 Jun 2012 05:09

I have the book in which the article first appeared.

The number reduced to flying on two engines on one side/both sides in route to Iwo Jima is how much larger than the number reduced to flying on two engines in route, prior to Iwo Jima being taken, to Tinian/Saipan/Guam?

Burrell is not assuming all B-29s operating on two engines would have made it to Tinian/Saipan/Guam. He's saying the airplane was capable of doing that. And you agree with him. As for how chipper a B-29 crew felt after landing on Iwo Jima for no reason, a battlefield where my father, wounded on D-day by shrapnel in the knee, the abdomen, the chest, the shoulder, and the head, returned to action 4 days later and resumed saving shot-to-crap Marines when he could, I hope they felt guilty as hell.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by LWD » 18 Jun 2012 16:10

I seem to recall reading that prior to the above emergency situtations they didn't expect a B-29 to be able to make it home on two engines especially if they were on the same side. Even if they could do it some of the time there's no guarantee that they could every time and the possiblity of a third engine shutting down could not be dismissed especially as flying on two would likely put a signficant strain on the those two.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Trackhead M2 » 18 Jun 2012 18:52

LWD wrote:I seem to recall reading that prior to the above emergency situtations they didn't expect a B-29 to be able to make it home on two engines especially if they were on the same side. Even if they could do it some of the time there's no guarantee that they could every time and the possiblity of a third engine shutting down could not be dismissed especially as flying on two would likely put a signficant strain on the those two.
Dear LWD,
In Jablonski's Flying Fortress there are photos of B-17s coming in on 2 or even one engine. Why would the B-29 be any less capable with more advanced technology?
Strike Swiftly,
TH-M2

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LWD
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by LWD » 18 Jun 2012 19:08

Trackhead M2 wrote:
LWD wrote:I seem to recall reading that prior to the above emergency situtations they didn't expect a B-29 to be able to make it home on two engines especially if they were on the same side. Even if they could do it some of the time there's no guarantee that they could every time and the possiblity of a third engine shutting down could not be dismissed especially as flying on two would likely put a signficant strain on the those two.
Dear LWD,
In Jablonski's Flying Fortress there are photos of B-17s coming in on 2 or even one engine. Why would the B-29 be any less capable with more advanced technology?
Strike Swiftly,
TH-M2
B-17's weren't suppose to be able to fly on one engine either or even two on the same side from what I recall. Part of that was that engineering of the time was as much an art as a science and they tended to err on the side of caution. The B-29 may have been more advanced technically but it was also quite a bit bigger just looking at the wiki pages
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-1 ... g_Fortress
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-29_Superfortress
The B-29 had about 60% more engine power but was weighted in empty at bit over twice as much as a B-27 and loaded well over twice as much so had a significantly lower power to weight ratio. Then if you have two engines on the same side because of the torque you essentially loose even more power. If I'm judging things from the pictures correctly the outboard engine on the B-29 is also further from the fusalage porportionally than the B-17 accentuating this.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Jun 2012 19:48

Trackhead M2 wrote:
LWD wrote:I seem to recall reading that prior to the above emergency situtations they didn't expect a B-29 to be able to make it home on two engines especially if they were on the same side. Even if they could do it some of the time there's no guarantee that they could every time and the possiblity of a third engine shutting down could not be dismissed especially as flying on two would likely put a signficant strain on the those two.
Dear LWD,
In Jablonski's Flying Fortress there are photos of B-17s coming in on 2 or even one engine.
Some did, most did not. My father had some stats from his bomber groups maintinance officers. The further away from the friendly airfields the lower the odds & if more than a hour away the odds were fairly low. My father also observed B17s & B24 bombers making emergency landings at his groups airfield in eastern Belgium & France. Technically those 'made it back' but they were very unlikely to have made it another 500 km back to their home base in the British Isles.
Trackhead M2 wrote: Why would the B-29 be any less capable with more advanced technology?
Strike Swiftly,
TH-M2
Advanced technology does not mean more robust. The B29 was rushed into production, with a high proportion of new systems that had inadaquate lab testing and little or no operational use. The B17 models that rolled out of the factories in 1943 had a decade of development and refinement behind them. The B29 with many untried components compared poorly in durability to another rush job the B26 which was mostly of off the shelf parts. In that case a mechanically reliable durable aircraft went into production in less than two years. The down side was it became obsolete in four.

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Takao
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Takao » 18 Jun 2012 23:42

sonofsamphm1c wrote:Burrell is not assuming all B-29s operating on two engines would have made it to Tinian/Saipan/Guam. He's saying the airplane was capable of doing that. And you agree with him.
His use of the words "improbable enough" make it clear what he is implying.

Regretfully, contrary to Burrell's implication that the B-29 "could" fly on two engines, some could not even fly far enough to make Iwo Jima on two engines. Take, for instance B-29 s/n 42-24767 piloted by 1st Lieutenant William Beyhan. His B-29 came out of Japanese airspace with 2 engines and electrical system out. The plane went into the drink 100 miles short of Iwo Jima. Sadly, while six men were seen in rafts, he and his crew were never seen again.

There are a lot of factor to take into account as to whether a B-29 can remain flying on two engines or not. But, if I were a pilot flying a B-29 on two engines, I would much sooner have to fly a short distance than a long one, because you are right on the razor's edge of success or failure, and you don't know what may go wrong next. "Pride of the Yankees" got lucky the first time, because they were able to transfer fuel at the last moment or else they would have bailed out over the ocean.
sonofsamphm1c wrote:As for how chipper a B-29 crew felt after landing on Iwo Jima for no reason, a battlefield where my father, wounded on D-day by shrapnel in the knee, the abdomen, the chest, the shoulder, and the head, returned to action 4 days later and resumed saving shot-to-crap Marines when he could, I hope they felt guilty as hell.
Why? Those aircrews are doing their part to win the war just as those marines and your father on Iwo Jima. Just as the next invasion could be a marine's last, the same went for B-29 crews - their next mission could be their last.

What about the B-29s that flew out of or refueled at Iwo Jima during their missions during "Operation Starvation"? Do you consider those landings to be "for no reason"?

Have you ever heard of "The Spearhead"? Probably not, that's a shame.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Juha » 19 Jun 2012 11:43

Hello
After rapidly looking through the first part of Burrell’s article, IMHO while interesting and rightly pointing out that the 2100+ B-29 landings to Iwo didn’t mean that they all would have been lost without that possibility, it had a certain propagandist POV. Firstly he seems to dismiss those which stopped only for refuelling. Now IMHO B-29 wasn’t very good glider, so IMHO at least some of those stopping for refuelling would have forced to ditch before they had reached Marianas without the possibility to refuel on Iwo. Secondly he clearly gives too low number of P-51Ds based on Iwo, IMHO it would have been impossible to launch 108 Mustangs to escort 107 B-29s on 6th Apr 45 (the 1st escort mission), 128 on 25 May, or 148 on 1 June (the Black Friday when 24 P-51 pilots were lost because the formation had to fly through a storm front) etc. if there were only 100 Mustangs stationed on the island as Burrell claims. And Iwo fighters claimed 452 air and ground kills during those VLR sorties and lost 130 Mustangs

Juha

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by binder001 » 19 Jun 2012 15:40

It's interesting to see the arguments about the B29 and the emergency landings. From a safe distance of 67 years we are trying to second guess a 20-something pilot who usually had only been a military man for 2-3 years (sometimes less) and was responsible for the aircraft and the lives of his crew (which usually included some close friends). Given the American attitude towards higher authority, those kids didn't care which general or admiral wanted to "justify" anything. They were only too glad to have a safe haven to put down on, especially when there was a lot of empty water between them and their home base.

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