Cold Warriors: The Essex Class in the Cold War

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February 15, 1959
Subic Bay, Zambales, Philippines
I was just thinking about bumping this to harass you on Sunday! Glad you're back putting pen to paper (so to speak)!
 

SSgtC

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February 15, 1959
Subic Bay, Zambales, Philippines
I was just thinking about bumping this to harass you on Sunday! Glad you're back putting pen to paper (so to speak)!
Yeah, it's just finding time to write to write this along with a couple fanfics I'm writing, plus work, plus the holidays.
 

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And before I forget, I meant to add a few author's notes here.

The ships listed here from the US and Royal Navies are the ships that were in the theater in OTL. Additionally, the USN had Ranger in Yokosuka and Midway departed Pearl Harbor for the Western Pacific on February 14th. Ticonderoga was almost home when she was turned around and sent back to WESTPAC. She's making a high speed run to get there quickly. (As a side note, this also extends the life of several of her fighter and attack squadrons that were disestablished in OTL on February 23rd).

On the west coast, Lexington was working up to deploy and in OTL would deploy in April. Hornet was also preparing to head to WESTPAC (also deployed in April, about 3 weeks before Lex).

On Bon Homme Richard, Captain David McCampbell was a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions as CAG of Carrier Air Group 15 during the battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf. He took command of Bonnie Dick only eight days before this situation blew up (he relieved Bon Homme Richard's previous CO at sea on February 5th).

With regards to Yorktown, "Steamboat" was her actual call sign (it was previously "Cactus"). I was unable to find what call sign VS-37 went by. They were nicknamed the Sawbucks, but Navy squadrons rarely used their squadron name as their call sign. In this case, I appropriated the call sign "Lightning" from HS-14. If anyone happens to know what VS-37 used as a call sign, feel free to post it.
 

Archibald

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This movie is eternal (and eternally hilarious).

One of my favorite moments (among the entire movie)

"They could be miles off course...
"Impossible, they are on instruments !
(Crew is seen playing as a jazz band)

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUOB-BkSMa8


Cracks me in laughter, every time.
 
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February, 16, 1959
Banda Sea, Western Pacific


Yorktown was not the only ship to hear the contact report from Lightning 108. USS Frank Knox (DDR-742) was listening too. Commander John Swank, her Commanding Officer, smiled grimly at the report. Admiral Colestock had positioned his ship directly on the most likely threat axis, and the Indonesians had obligingly done exactly what he thought they might. This was the mission that his ship was designed for. His Gearing class destroyer had been modified as a radar picket destroyer some ten years earlier.

It also made the most sense from an operational standpoint for his ship to be detached from the main formation. Until two days ago, she had been attached to the fast carrier attack group centered on Bon Homme Richard. But given where Yorktown was being sent, orders had come in detaching her from Bonnie Dick and assigning her to the Fighting Lady instead. Captain Swank's ship had been operating under a total radio and radar blackout, but his orders, which had come straight from Admiral Colestock, were to light off his ship's air search radars as soon as a contact report was made. Well, he had the report now. Captain Swank took a deep breath and gave the order. In moments, his ship went from unsuspected and undetected to broadcasting her presence for anyone to hear.

He could feel the tension in his gut ratcheting up with every minute that his ship was radiating. For long minutes there was nothing to be seen on the radar screens. In fact it would be nearly an hour before anything showed up on the screens in CIC. But when the targets did show up, Captain Swank and his crew were galvanized into a series of rapid actions.

As the first blips showed up on the radar screen, his men began calling out the contacts. Others of his men began updating the plot in CIC to keep track of everything. After a few hurried consultations with his intelligence officer and air warfare officer, the decision was made that, given the altitude, speed, and number of contacts, this could only be one thing: the Indonesian response to their transit. Within the next minute a message went out, "Viper calling Steamboat. Viper calling Steamboat. Raid warning! Multiple inbound bogies! Estimate zero-six contacts! Heading zero-seven-zero, speed five-two-five knots at angels five. Six-five miles south of my position. Repeat. Viper calling Steamboat..."

----------------​

Onboard Yorktown, the inbound raid was quickly plotted. While the inbound aircraft had not yet been identified, it was a safe bet that they were Badgers. So much for CIA estimates, Captain Bedell thought ruefully. Based on their current plot, the inbound Badgers wouldn't come directly over the formation, but they would certainly come close enough to find the formation on their surface search radar. What worried Captain Bedell was whether or not the Indonesian Badgers were armed with Kennel anti-ship missiles. There was no information on whether the Soviets had sold the missile to Indonesia or not. So far, there had been no proof that Indonesia had them, but Captain Bedell hadn't risen to command an aircraft carrier by taking foolish risks.

Picking up a shipboard phone, Captain Bedell called PriFly from his post in CIC and gave the order everyone was prepared for, but hoped would not come, "Launch the fighters. Inbound air raid, bearing one-nine-five, speed five-two-five knots at angels five."

On the flight deck, canopies came down on the four Banshee fighters on the Fighting Lady's deck. Even while the canopies were still closing on the fighters, their Westinghouse engines were lighting off. Four minutes and twenty seconds after the order had been given, the first F2H-3, flown by Lieutenant Commander Burttschell, was shot off the port catapult and into the sky. The Banshee on the starboard cat joined him five seconds later. Before the two fighters had even finished their clearing turns, their two squadron mates were already being maneuvered into place on the cats. The two remaining Banshees on board joined them in the air two minutes later.

As the four Banshees screamed like their namesake to try and intercept the inbound planes, currently assumed to be missile armed Badgers, they were given vectors to their targets by Viper, who was still tracking them on her radar. The radar picket destroyer was fulfilling her mission admirably. As yet, the four Banshees had yet to activate their own radars in the hope that they would be able to bushwhack the inbound bombers when they came in range. It was hoped that the bombers would turn back once they detected the APQ-41 radars of the fighters. But if not, all four aircraft had two Sidewinders hung from their wings and a full load of 20mm ammunition for their guns. Not one of the fighters would ever get the chance to use any of their armaments however.

The four fighters were vectored to what the air warfare officer on Viper thought would be a perfect intercept position, but when they got there and activated their radars, the Indonesian bombers did something unexpected. Instead of turning to run, they went to full power and began to accelerate toward where they thought the carrier would be. This caused alarm bells to ring in the cockpits of all four fighters. These suspected Indonesian planes were acting very much like they intended to launch an attack. Not to mention that the tactics seemed to be taken straight out of the Soviet playbook. And given the increasing speed of the bombers, what had been a perfect position ended up placing the four Banshees badly out of position considering their slow speed.

Given the short range of the Banshee radar, it wasn't long before what was strictly a radar contact became a visual one. The onrushing Soviet-built bombers resolved themselves into the familiar shape of the Badger in short order. As the ten aircraft began to merge into each other, Commander Burttschell noted the only thing that truly mattered. The bombers were not armed with the distinctive, stubby shape of the Kennel. As the aircraft rocketed past each other, the four Banshees turned as hard as they could to try and drop into a trail position on the bombers, but the Badger had a nearly one hundred mile an hour speed advantage over their old straight wing fighters and the Indonesian bombers quickly outpaced the Banshees of VF-92.

-------​

All the ships in the formation had gone to battle stations at the alert from John Knox, and they would remain there until the situation with the Indonesian bombers was resolved one way or another. Captain Bedell was weighing his options to try and make the Indonesian's job harder when the speaker on the wall began to crackle. "Silver Kite 217 calling Steamboat. Silver Kite 217 calling Steamboat. Visual contact! Zero-six Badger bombers inbound, heading zero-seven-two at angels six. Speed five-seven-zero knots. Contacts are NOT, repeat, NOT armed with Kennels. Repeating..."

In CIC onboard Yorktown, the entire crew let out a simultaneous sigh of relief. The inbound bombers had blown right past their fighters and the ships of the formation had a very limited ability to intercept them if it had come to it. Now, it seemed most likely that the Indonesians were simply sending them a message, the same way the Navy was sending them one. But this message was far more nasty. Had those bombers meant to attack them, it was doubtful that their Banshees would have been able to intercept them fast enough to stop them.

Beside him, Rear Admiral Colestock looked as if he had come to the same conclusion. This was something that needed to be reported up the chain of command. America's fleet of anti-submarine carriers were dangerously exposed to air attack, as the Indonesian's had just demonstrated to them. But not over the radio. This was something that needed to be reported on in person, where the chance of it being intercepted was significantly smaller.
 

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Author's Notes
USS John Knox was deployed to WESTPAC in 1959 with Bon Homme Richard and her call sign was, at various times, either Viper or Tomcat 1. Seeing as I couldn't find which she was using when, I went with the first one listed and had use her "Viper" call sign. Her captain, Commander Swank, actually was her Commanding Officer. Just not in 1959. I couldn't find a list of commanding officers for her, but Commander Swank took command of John Knox around 1961, so I just used him as my CO in this timeline.

VF-92, Det N was known as the Silver Kings and this was the final deployment for them both with the Banshee and aboard Yorktown. The squadron would convert to the F3H-2 upon their return to NAS Alameda and deploy aboard Ranger in 1960. I couldn't find many references to whether the Banshee was armed with Sidewinders in US service, but Yorktown's cruise book mentions the detachment training intensively with Sidewinders prior to the deployment, so it would appear that at least these Banshees had them. Their call sign of "Silver Kite" I found in a war journal from Vietnam when the squadron was flying F-4s. They were noted as escorting a strike package of A-7s and they used the "Silver Kite" call sign at that point in time, so it may not be entirely period correct here.

I hope everyone enjoyed the update and please feel free to post comments. And if I screwed up somewhere, don't hesitate to point it out.
 

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I wonder if fecal matter hitting the fan in Indonesia could led to a rescue of PA58 / 59 Verdun. By 1958 that third new French carrier looked like a 45000 tons non-nuclear proto-CdG; by 1959 it had become a clone of 33000 tons PA55 Foch - to cut its costs and get it funded. It died only in 1961, a colateral victim of the Force de Frappe enormous expense.

Note that the French Navy before the boomers (Redoutable, 1971) carved itself a niche in the FFP by putting AN-52 tactical nukes on its Etendard IVM. Now that was a smart idea. If they had had that idea earlier, maybe they could have argued about a third carrier... instead they wasted their time trying to navalize early Mirage IV concepts, A-5 Vigilante-style. PA58 was 45 000 tons because of that, and since the Vigilante was screwed by the "41 for freedom" and their Polaris... not a good idea.

I wonder if an Etendard IVM could drag a 1400 kg AN-11. EDIT: AN-22 was "only" 700 kg and not much heavier than an AS-30 so maybe they could have done it.

Back to the thread...
 
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I wonder if fecal matter hitting the fan in Indonesia could led to a rescue of PA58 / 59 Verdun. By 1958 that third new French carrier looked like a 45000 tons non-nuclear proto-CdG; by 1959 it had become a clone of 33000 tons PA55 Foch - to cut its costs and get it funded. It died only in 1961, a colateral victim of the Force de Frappe enormous expense.

Note that the French Navy before the boomers (Redoutable, 1971) carved itself a niche in the FFP by putting AN-52 tactical nukes on its Etendard IVM. Now that was a smart idea. If they had had that idea earlier, maybe they could have argued about a third carrier... instead they wasted their time trying to navalize early Mirage IV concepts, A-5 Vigilante-style. PA58 was 45 000 tons because of that, and since the Vigilante was screwed by the "41 for freedom" and their Polaris... not a good idea.

I wonder if an Etendard IVM could drag a 1400 kg AN-11. EDIT: AN-22 was "only" 700 kg and not much heavier than an AS-30 so maybe they could have done it.

Back to the thread...
The USN is about to run into the same problem with the problem with the "41 for Freedom" and Polaris. The boomers are going to wreck the Navy's shipbuilding budget for years.
 

Archibald

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Would you allow me to write a brief spinoff (depends wether French carriers are already part of your story or not) ?
 

starviking

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I wonder if fecal matter hitting the fan in Indonesia could led to a rescue of PA58 / 59 Verdun. By 1958 that third new French carrier looked like a 45000 tons non-nuclear proto-CdG; by 1959 it had become a clone of 33000 tons PA55 Foch - to cut its costs and get it funded. It died only in 1961, a colateral victim of the Force de Frappe enormous expense.

Note that the French Navy before the boomers (Redoutable, 1971) carved itself a niche in the FFP by putting AN-52 tactical nukes on its Etendard IVM. Now that was a smart idea. If they had had that idea earlier, maybe they could have argued about a third carrier... instead they wasted their time trying to navalize early Mirage IV concepts, A-5 Vigilante-style. PA58 was 45 000 tons because of that, and since the Vigilante was screwed by the "41 for freedom" and their Polaris... not a good idea.

I wonder if an Etendard IVM could drag a 1400 kg AN-11. EDIT: AN-22 was "only" 700 kg and not much heavier than an AS-30 so maybe they could have done it.

Back to the thread...
The USN is about to run into the same problem with the problem with the "41 for Freedom" and Polaris. The boomers are going to wreck the Navy's shipbuilding budget for years.
I wonder if the USN will attempt, IIRC, the RN move to have the strategic deterrent being funded separately to their service budget.
 

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I wonder if fecal matter hitting the fan in Indonesia could led to a rescue of PA58 / 59 Verdun. By 1958 that third new French carrier looked like a 45000 tons non-nuclear proto-CdG; by 1959 it had become a clone of 33000 tons PA55 Foch - to cut its costs and get it funded. It died only in 1961, a colateral victim of the Force de Frappe enormous expense.

Note that the French Navy before the boomers (Redoutable, 1971) carved itself a niche in the FFP by putting AN-52 tactical nukes on its Etendard IVM. Now that was a smart idea. If they had had that idea earlier, maybe they could have argued about a third carrier... instead they wasted their time trying to navalize early Mirage IV concepts, A-5 Vigilante-style. PA58 was 45 000 tons because of that, and since the Vigilante was screwed by the "41 for freedom" and their Polaris... not a good idea.

I wonder if an Etendard IVM could drag a 1400 kg AN-11. EDIT: AN-22 was "only" 700 kg and not much heavier than an AS-30 so maybe they could have done it.

Back to the thread...
The USN is about to run into the same problem with the problem with the "41 for Freedom" and Polaris. The boomers are going to wreck the Navy's shipbuilding budget for years.
I wonder if the USN will attempt, IIRC, the RN move to have the strategic deterrent being funded separately to their service budget.
This was not too long after the USAF tried to get Congress and the DoD to kill ALL of Naval Aviation, so I doubt it. The Navy came damn close to losing all of their carriers and only Korea saved them. They won't want to try and tricks like that so as to avoid giving the Air Force any more ammunition.

The USAF was also arguing, strenuously I might add, that they should be the only service with nukes and solely responsible for the nuclear deterrent. So the Navy trying to get Congress to fund boomers separately is just going to make the Air Force say, "see? They can't afford it. WE should be the only ones doing this."

Would you allow me to write a brief spinoff (depends wether French carriers are already part of your story or not) ?
I'm not against that. Just PM me when you're ready to write something with a brief outline so I can make sure it'll sync up with the rest of the story.
 

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February 16, 1959
Over the Banda Sea


Viktor Pavlovich Potapov was very pleased with the performance of his aircraft and crew this day. His Tu-16 had blown past the American fighter screen with ease. The old straight wing jets were no match for his sleek, swept wing bomber. The Americans must be mad, or grossly incompetent, to think that such an ancient design could seriously threaten the most advanced bomber deployed by Soviet Naval Aviation. He wouldn't lie, he had felt his ass tighten when his co-pilot called out that he saw missiles hanging from the wings of the American fighters. No matter how fast his bomber was, it couldn't outrun a missile. But the Americans never launched and he and his comrades had long since left them behind.

Speaking of comrades, Viktor glanced to his right at the man in the seat next to him. The man was an Indonesian, one of the pilots being trained by the detachment he was part of. Having the man in the right seat served two purposes. It gave the Indonesians some much needed experience in tracking and targeting a carrier group, it allowed the Indonesians to claim that it was there men who had made the simulated attack run (and indeed, half the crews on each of the bombers was an Indonesian) and it allowed his government to deny any involvement in the "demonstration" being flown.

For this mission, the planes in the formation were being flown unarmed. They wanted to send a message, not start a war. They had received their orders from Moscow once it became apparent that the Americans were taking a more active interest in the Indonesian-Dutch conflict than they expected. It was hoped that the American Navy would get the message and back off. If not, well, they could always fly the next mission with missiles on the wings.

But that was a discussion for another time and likely, another crew. He would be leaving Indonesia in just a handful of weeks. He finally received his orders to attend the Leningrad Naval Academy, Aviation Faculty. He would leave the Indonesians to their own devices then.
 

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February 17, 1959
Den Helder Naval Base, Netherland


A dozen Hawker Hunter aircraft from 323 Squadron are flown to the Naval Air Station and prepared for shipment to West New Guinea. The aircraft are to be loaded onto the Karel Doorman for a rapid redeployment to the air base on Biak in West New Guinea. Along with the fighters, spare parts for the fighters are crammed onto the overloaded carrier in every nook and cranny that can be found. Everyone was nervous about this arrangement. While the planes of 323 Squadron were embarked, the carrier would be unable to conduct any flight operations of it's own. The Americans and British had agreed to try and provide some air cover for the battle group during their transit, but promises between nations were rarely worth the paper they were written on.

With the Air Force squadron embarked, the carrier and her her crew found themselves overcrowded. What that meant for the pilots and ground crew of 323 Squadron was that they will have to hot bunk with the Doorman's own personnel. Though no one is happy with the berthing arrangements, they are only temporary. As part of the deployment to the Southwest Pacific, a port visit is hastily arranged for Freemantle, Western Australia. While in port, the Hunters and their air crew will be offloaded and flown to New Guinea to augment what remained of the Gloster Meteors of 322 Squadron. The spare parts and ground staff will be delivered directly to Biak by the Doorman once the remains of 322 squadron combined with the freshly arrived 323 Squadron establish air superiority over Biak. It is hoped that the carrier will only need to be in port for twelve hours to unload the equipment needed by the squadron. Getting caught in port by a hostile enemy force was not a situation any Navy wanted to find itself in.
 

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February 16, 1959
Over the Banda Sea




For this mission, the planes in the formation were being flown unarmed. They wanted to send a message, not start a war.

So how are they going to defend themselves if something happens.
 

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February 16, 1959
Over the Banda Sea




For this mission, the planes in the formation were being flown unarmed. They wanted to send a message, not start a war.

So how are they going to defend themselves if something happens.
It means they weren't bombed up with KS-1 missiles hanging from the wings. The Tu-16 has a tail gun similar to American designs of the time. But that's it. So there really is no defending themselves should the USN decide to start launching missiles. But that's a problem that's already been passed. The Badger is about 70MPH faster than the fighters that were launched to intercept them
 

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February 18, 1959
Den Helder Naval Base, Netherlands


Karel Doorman's air group, along with the planes of 323 Squadron, are craned aboard the aircraft carrier. While the air group would normally fly out to their ship and trap aboard the carrier, the addition of the dozen Hawker Hunters tied down on every open inch of her flight deck made that impossible. Doorman will deploy to New Guinea with ten Grumman TBF Avengers and fourteen Hawker Sea Hawks with two Sikorsky S-55 Helicopters providing ASW and SAR. Though the Sea Hawks are considered obsolete, they are newly equipped with American Sidewinder infrared guided air-to-air missiles.

An urgent request to the United States for an emergency purchase of Douglas AD Skyraiders or A4D Skyhawks is declined, as the United States Navy does not have enough spare airframes to part with and still meet their own operational needs considering the increasing tensions in the South West Pacific. The United States does offer to provide a squadron's worth of FJ-4Bs to the Netherlands as that aircraft type is being retired from the fleet. But after looking at the weight and performance of the aircraft, the Royal Netherlands Navy is forced to decline, as Karel Doorman would be unable to launch the Fury with a useful bomb load.

Several objections are made to deploying the Doorman with strike aircraft that first saw service in World War Two, but political considerations overrule the operational concerns. The Netherlands has to be seen to respond to Indonesian aggression in the region, and the best, and indeed only, way to do so was by deploying a carrier battle group to the region.
 

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February 20, 1959
Den Helder Naval Base, Netherlands


After the inevitable delays, the HNLMS Karel Doorman departs Den Helder Naval Base bound for the Pacific. Along with the Doorman, the Royal Netherlands Navy was also sending the light cruiser De Ruyter and the Friesland class destroyers Limburg, Groningen, Drenthe and Utrecht. The light cruiser would provide heavy shore bombardment and anti-surface firepower if needed while the four destroyers would use their 120mm guns to provide anti-air defense, along with their heavy anti-submarine armament to defend the carrier from underwater attacks.

After much discussion, it was decided to send the carrier around the Cape of Good Hope instead of through the Suez Canal. Serious concerns had been aired that the Egyptians may refuse them use of the canal. However, the added distance would cause issues with the endurance of the ships of the force. A decision had to be made with regards to the speed at which the task force would sail.

The Doorman had a normal cruising speed of fourteen knots, and at that speed, she could sail easily steam from Amsterdam to Fremantle nonstop. However, the voyage would take more than thirty days at that speed. Several options had been considered to solve the issue. The first option that had been brought up was to steam at eighteen knots, make a port visit at Cape Town in South Africa to top off the ships of the task force, then steam at twenty-five knots to Fremantle. Including the twenty-four hour stop in Cape Town, the task force could reach Australia in twenty-three days.

The second option would be to employ the turbine tanker Mijdrecht, which the Navy had been planning to charter anyway for the goodwill cruise to the United States, and use her as an underway replenishment ship. The task force could then sail at twenty-five knots all the way to Fremantle, only slowing to conduct refueling operations, and reach the Southwest Pacific in only twenty days.

Ultimately, operational considerations won out and the ships would steam to Cape Town in South Africa first, followed by a a high speed transit to Fremantle. The primary reason for the decision was concern over Indonesian submarines in the area. Indonesia had recently purchased several Whiskey class boats from the Soviet Union and the first had just entered service. By sailing first to Cape Town, it would allow the two Cannon class ships that had deployed on the thirteenth time to sanitize the approaches to Fremantle and join up with the carrier after to improve her anti-submarine defenses even further.

As an added precaution, the tanker Mijdrecht was also hired to sail with the task force to Fremantle to ensure none of the destroyers would run dry on fuel during the high speed transit. The entire task force would arrive in Fremantle on March fifteenth.
 
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Arjen

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Range for the Friesland-class, from wiki, was 4,000 nautical miles at 20 knots. Straight line distance between Cape Town and Fremantle ~4,700 nautical miles. Tanker on station midway?
 

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February 18, 1959
Den Helder Naval Base, Netherlands


Karel Doorman's air group, along with the planes of 323 Squadron, are craned aboard the aircraft carrier. While the air group would normally fly out to their ship and trap aboard the carrier, the addition of the dozen Hawker Hunters tied down on every open inch of her flight deck made that impossible. Doorman will deploy to New Guinea with ten Grumman TBF Avengers and fourteen Hawker Sea Hawks with two Sikorsky S-55 Helicopters providing ASW and SAR. Though the Sea Hawks are considered obsolete, they are newly equipped with American Sidewinder infrared guided air-to-air missiles.

An urgent request to the United States for an emergency purchase of Douglas AD Skyraiders or A4D Skyhawks is declined, as the United States Navy does not have enough spare airframes to part with and still meet their own operational needs considering the increasing tensions in the South West Pacific. The United States does offer to provide a squadron's worth of FJ-4Bs to the Netherlands as that aircraft type is being retired from the fleet. But after looking at the weight and performance of the aircraft, the Royal Netherlands Navy is forced to decline, as Karel Doorman would be unable to launch the Fury with a useful bomb load.

Several objections are made to deploying the Doorman with strike aircraft that first saw service in World War Two, but political considerations overrule the operational concerns. The Netherlands has to be seen to respond to Indonesian aggression in the region, and the best, and indeed only, way to do so was by deploying a carrier battle group to the region.
Are you positive on that? FJ-4B routinely launched from H-8 cats.. This is a section from a book by an FJ-4 pilot that transitioned to A-4's later.. As I understand KD's cats they should be able to launch the Fury with at least a 2/3's bomb load and a full A2A one.




Kearsarge was equipped with two of the old H-8 hydraulic catapults. To prepare for launch, you taxied onto the start of a 225-foot slot in the carrier’s deck that was the catapult track. A bridle made up of inch-thick steel wires was hooked to one point on each side of the plane’s fuselage (near the main mounts) and into the curved mouth on the front of the shuttle plate that rode the slot in the carrier’s deck. The shuttle was attached to a piston situated in a long tube underneath the catapult track.


The holdback fitting, a piece of ceramic that looked very much like a weight lifter’s dumbbell, was slipped into a slot under the plane’s tail and attached to the deck with another steel cable. The shuttle was then tensioned—hydraulics moved it forward until the bridle was taut. At this point, the plane squatted from the forward pressure of the shuttle fighting against the strength of the holdback fitting. A huge steel blast deflector, located a few feet behind the plane, was then raised up at a steep angle.

When the crew was ready to shoot you off the bow, the yellow-shirted catapult officer stepped over in front of your wing to prove you wouldn’t be fired off until you were ready. He then raised one arm over his head and twirled two fingers. You shoved the throttle forward to 100 percent power and grabbed a small metal rod that stuck out of the cockpit wall slightly ahead of the throttle. You held the throttle head and that metal rod together in your left hand to make sure that your hand, and the throttle, didn’t fly backward when the cat fired.

After a quick check of the engine instruments, you gave the cat officer a salute with your right hand. Then you tucked your right elbow into your gut and set your hand behind the stick; you didn’t want it to come back in your lap on the cat shot.

The cat officer stepped away from in front of your wing, fingers still twirling over his head, and made sure your path was clear. Then he made a balletlike sweeping motion that took him down on one knee, face and arm toward the bow. His outstretched fingers touched the deck…and the cat fired.


In that instant the hydraulic catapult distinguished itself from the more modern steam catapult. The “slug” that caught the shuttle and pushed you down the cat track started from a point about 20 feet behind your plane. It had accelerated to full bore by the time it picked up the shuttle—and you—on its way to the end of the track and a final speed of about 165 mph. When this force hit you, the holdback fitting snapped in two; it didn’t even slow the shuttle down.

The first time this happened, I blacked out. I woke up about 60 feet above the water, flying. I was so thrilled that I keyed the UHF radio button and yelled “Yah-hoo!”
 

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Range for the Friesland-class, from wiki, was 4,000 nautical miles at 20 knots. Straight line distance between Cape Town and Fremantle ~4,700 nautical miles. Tanker on station midway?
Yeah, that's why I needed the tanker with the force. Even the cruiser only has a range of 7,000nm at 12 knots. The only ship that could make a speed run to Cape Town without running dry (or from Cape Town to Fremantle) is the Doorman. I'll have to juggle the sailing times to reflect the restrictions imposed by needing tanker support to reach the area and the fact that the tanker can only make 15 knots.
 

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February 18, 1959
Den Helder Naval Base, Netherlands


Karel Doorman's air group, along with the planes of 323 Squadron, are craned aboard the aircraft carrier. While the air group would normally fly out to their ship and trap aboard the carrier, the addition of the dozen Hawker Hunters tied down on every open inch of her flight deck made that impossible. Doorman will deploy to New Guinea with ten Grumman TBF Avengers and fourteen Hawker Sea Hawks with two Sikorsky S-55 Helicopters providing ASW and SAR. Though the Sea Hawks are considered obsolete, they are newly equipped with American Sidewinder infrared guided air-to-air missiles.

An urgent request to the United States for an emergency purchase of Douglas AD Skyraiders or A4D Skyhawks is declined, as the United States Navy does not have enough spare airframes to part with and still meet their own operational needs considering the increasing tensions in the South West Pacific. The United States does offer to provide a squadron's worth of FJ-4Bs to the Netherlands as that aircraft type is being retired from the fleet. But after looking at the weight and performance of the aircraft, the Royal Netherlands Navy is forced to decline, as Karel Doorman would be unable to launch the Fury with a useful bomb load.

Several objections are made to deploying the Doorman with strike aircraft that first saw service in World War Two, but political considerations overrule the operational concerns. The Netherlands has to be seen to respond to Indonesian aggression in the region, and the best, and indeed only, way to do so was by deploying a carrier battle group to the region.
Are you positive on that? FJ-4B routinely launched from H-8 cats.. This is a section from a book by an FJ-4 pilot that transitioned to A-4's later.. As I understand KD's cats they should be able to launch the Fury with at least a 2/3's bomb load and a full A2A one.




Kearsarge was equipped with two of the old H-8 hydraulic catapults. To prepare for launch, you taxied onto the start of a 225-foot slot in the carrier’s deck that was the catapult track. A bridle made up of inch-thick steel wires was hooked to one point on each side of the plane’s fuselage (near the main mounts) and into the curved mouth on the front of the shuttle plate that rode the slot in the carrier’s deck. The shuttle was attached to a piston situated in a long tube underneath the catapult track.


The holdback fitting, a piece of ceramic that looked very much like a weight lifter’s dumbbell, was slipped into a slot under the plane’s tail and attached to the deck with another steel cable. The shuttle was then tensioned—hydraulics moved it forward until the bridle was taut. At this point, the plane squatted from the forward pressure of the shuttle fighting against the strength of the holdback fitting. A huge steel blast deflector, located a few feet behind the plane, was then raised up at a steep angle.

When the crew was ready to shoot you off the bow, the yellow-shirted catapult officer stepped over in front of your wing to prove you wouldn’t be fired off until you were ready. He then raised one arm over his head and twirled two fingers. You shoved the throttle forward to 100 percent power and grabbed a small metal rod that stuck out of the cockpit wall slightly ahead of the throttle. You held the throttle head and that metal rod together in your left hand to make sure that your hand, and the throttle, didn’t fly backward when the cat fired.

After a quick check of the engine instruments, you gave the cat officer a salute with your right hand. Then you tucked your right elbow into your gut and set your hand behind the stick; you didn’t want it to come back in your lap on the cat shot.

The cat officer stepped away from in front of your wing, fingers still twirling over his head, and made sure your path was clear. Then he made a balletlike sweeping motion that took him down on one knee, face and arm toward the bow. His outstretched fingers touched the deck…and the cat fired.


In that instant the hydraulic catapult distinguished itself from the more modern steam catapult. The “slug” that caught the shuttle and pushed you down the cat track started from a point about 20 feet behind your plane. It had accelerated to full bore by the time it picked up the shuttle—and you—on its way to the end of the track and a final speed of about 165 mph. When this force hit you, the holdback fitting snapped in two; it didn’t even slow the shuttle down.

The first time this happened, I blacked out. I woke up about 60 feet above the water, flying. I was so thrilled that I keyed the UHF radio button and yelled “Yah-hoo!”
Huh. I was under the impression that the H-8 was not strong enough to launch an FJ-4B. Or at least not with anything even approaching a useful bomb load. I know Melbourne, when she was equipped with A-4s, only used them in an A2A role because the BS4 she was equipped with couldn't launch a Skyhawk when it was bombed up and I assumed that the Doorman would be similar given that the A-4E only had a MTOW that was a thousand pounds higher than the FJ-4 (and the Skyhawk had a much larger wing)
 

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I'm wondering if/when the Dutch might seek assistance from the likes of Australia? Perhaps Darwin and/or Butterworth based EE Canberras? See below for map showing these with a 2000km operational range:

Image 30-12-21 at 4.58 am.jpeg
 

bobtdwarf

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February 18, 1959
Den Helder Naval Base, Netherlands


Karel Doorman's air group, along with the planes of 323 Squadron, are craned aboard the aircraft carrier. While the air group would normally fly out to their ship and trap aboard the carrier, the addition of the dozen Hawker Hunters tied down on every open inch of her flight deck made that impossible. Doorman will deploy to New Guinea with ten Grumman TBF Avengers and fourteen Hawker Sea Hawks with two Sikorsky S-55 Helicopters providing ASW and SAR. Though the Sea Hawks are considered obsolete, they are newly equipped with American Sidewinder infrared guided air-to-air missiles.

An urgent request to the United States for an emergency purchase of Douglas AD Skyraiders or A4D Skyhawks is declined, as the United States Navy does not have enough spare airframes to part with and still meet their own operational needs considering the increasing tensions in the South West Pacific. The United States does offer to provide a squadron's worth of FJ-4Bs to the Netherlands as that aircraft type is being retired from the fleet. But after looking at the weight and performance of the aircraft, the Royal Netherlands Navy is forced to decline, as Karel Doorman would be unable to launch the Fury with a useful bomb load.

Several objections are made to deploying the Doorman with strike aircraft that first saw service in World War Two, but political considerations overrule the operational concerns. The Netherlands has to be seen to respond to Indonesian aggression in the region, and the best, and indeed only, way to do so was by deploying a carrier battle group to the region.
Are you positive on that? FJ-4B routinely launched from H-8 cats.. This is a section from a book by an FJ-4 pilot that transitioned to A-4's later.. As I understand KD's cats they should be able to launch the Fury with at least a 2/3's bomb load and a full A2A one.




Kearsarge was equipped with two of the old H-8 hydraulic catapults. To prepare for launch, you taxied onto the start of a 225-foot slot in the carrier’s deck that was the catapult track. A bridle made up of inch-thick steel wires was hooked to one point on each side of the plane’s fuselage (near the main mounts) and into the curved mouth on the front of the shuttle plate that rode the slot in the carrier’s deck. The shuttle was attached to a piston situated in a long tube underneath the catapult track.


The holdback fitting, a piece of ceramic that looked very much like a weight lifter’s dumbbell, was slipped into a slot under the plane’s tail and attached to the deck with another steel cable. The shuttle was then tensioned—hydraulics moved it forward until the bridle was taut. At this point, the plane squatted from the forward pressure of the shuttle fighting against the strength of the holdback fitting. A huge steel blast deflector, located a few feet behind the plane, was then raised up at a steep angle.

When the crew was ready to shoot you off the bow, the yellow-shirted catapult officer stepped over in front of your wing to prove you wouldn’t be fired off until you were ready. He then raised one arm over his head and twirled two fingers. You shoved the throttle forward to 100 percent power and grabbed a small metal rod that stuck out of the cockpit wall slightly ahead of the throttle. You held the throttle head and that metal rod together in your left hand to make sure that your hand, and the throttle, didn’t fly backward when the cat fired.

After a quick check of the engine instruments, you gave the cat officer a salute with your right hand. Then you tucked your right elbow into your gut and set your hand behind the stick; you didn’t want it to come back in your lap on the cat shot.

The cat officer stepped away from in front of your wing, fingers still twirling over his head, and made sure your path was clear. Then he made a balletlike sweeping motion that took him down on one knee, face and arm toward the bow. His outstretched fingers touched the deck…and the cat fired.


In that instant the hydraulic catapult distinguished itself from the more modern steam catapult. The “slug” that caught the shuttle and pushed you down the cat track started from a point about 20 feet behind your plane. It had accelerated to full bore by the time it picked up the shuttle—and you—on its way to the end of the track and a final speed of about 165 mph. When this force hit you, the holdback fitting snapped in two; it didn’t even slow the shuttle down.

The first time this happened, I blacked out. I woke up about 60 feet above the water, flying. I was so thrilled that I keyed the UHF radio button and yelled “Yah-hoo!”
Huh. I was under the impression that the H-8 was not strong enough to launch an FJ-4B. Or at least not with anything even approaching a useful bomb load. I know Melbourne, when she was equipped with A-4s, only used them in an A2A role because the BS4 she was equipped with couldn't launch a Skyhawk when it was bombed up and I assumed that the Doorman would be similar given that the A-4E only had a MTOW that was a thousand pounds higher than the FJ-4 (and the Skyhawk had a much larger wing)
FJ-4 and 4B had wing areas of 338 sq.ft A4 was 259... some of the limit on the A4 may be coming from how lightly framed she was, her maximum G load at launch I think was lower than some other aircraft.. not saying she wasn't a sturdy bird in combat but am kind of saying you could rip her face off easier than some others.

Edit: Looking over the SAC for the 4B, which is somewhat skewed to a nuke fit... the ground support rocket package has a take off weight of 24,809 and a wing loading of 73.1. On the nuke missions that WL is 78.9-79.4... so you could probably swap the nuke and the 200 gallon drop tank for a pair of 1000 pounders pretty easy, at least a pair of 500's and four rocket packs should be nasty against DD's
 
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SSgtC

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I'm wondering if/when the Dutch might seek assistance from the likes of Australia? Perhaps Darwin and/or Butterworth based EE Canberras? See below for map showing these with a 2000km operational range:

View attachment 670601
The question is, how much can Australia do without getting drawn into a shooting war? A war they don't want. They can maybe fly some recon flights or do something similar to the USN with a "freedom of navigation" exercise with Melbourne. But that's about it.
 

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Hence why I said "if/when" ;).

If there is a war developing on their doorstep and given the concerns at the time the Australia might find themselves drawn in even if they would prefer not to be. The allowing of the Karel Doorman to dock at Fremantle may be enough of a trigger even...
 

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Huh. I was under the impression that the H-8 was not strong enough to launch an FJ-4B. Or at least not with anything even approaching a useful bomb load. I know Melbourne, when she was equipped with A-4s, only used them in an A2A role because the BS4 she was equipped with couldn't launch a Skyhawk when it was bombed up and I assumed that the Doorman would be similar given that the A-4E only had a MTOW that was a thousand pounds higher than the FJ-4 (and the Skyhawk had a much larger wing)
A fully bombed-up A-4F Skyhawk (the model the Australian birds were modified from), while 3000 lbs lighter than a bombed-up FJ-4, has about the same stall speed on takeoff, which means in practice the differences in takeoff performance are surprisingly small.

Argentina could fly Skyhawks off of Karel Doorman without unduly modifying her catapult equipment, but the Argentine A-4Q was based on the A-4B, which was another 3000 lbs lighter than the A-4F.

If the Dutch want a new fighter, fast, that's an improvement over the Sea Hawk, their best bet is probably the Cougar. It can't carry as many bombs as far as the Fury, but it's better than nothing and is actually flyable off Karel Doorman. The Argentines did it with Indepencia, thanks to the Cougar being surprisingly gentle on takeoff for a swept-wing jet.
 

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