View Full Version : napalm use against aircraft carriers
As a amateur military historian I was wondering if napalm would be effective against ships, especially carriers.
Did we ever use it on enemy ships in WW II?
If not, why not?
Did any nation use it on our ships?
Does our navy train for napalm attacks?
Any input would be appreciated as I have never seen this topic raised before.
Having made 3 carrier cruises (Constellation and Coral Sea) I can say with certainty that napalm would not be an effective weapon against a carrier. First off, carrier crews are well versed in all types of fire fighting, especially anything that may happen on the flight deck. Second, for an enemy to even attempt to use napalm against a carrier it would have to get through some pretty tight security, ie.. alert fighters, asw choppers, and the ships own 20mm computer controlled weapon system. Inbound enemy aircraft would be detected by the ship's radar and appropriate actions taken to make sure it never even got close enough to use napalm.
Did we use it? That I don't know for sure, but we certainly could have. ;f
Anything napalm could do to a carrier, a bomb could do better.
Napalm might cause a big fire on the deck and toast some men and planes, but the crew would probably get the fire out, push the planes overboard, and still have a carrier. Put a bomb through the hull and you stand a good chance of taking out engines, transmissions, catapults, arresting gear, the magazine, fuel tanks, CVIC, or, worst of all, the auto-dog, i.e. the carrier would be incapacitated.
I was aboard the USS Midway (CV-41) when a A-6 tanker hit the round down. (yeah everyone made it out) There was a wall of flames from the back of the flight deck to the end of the angle deck where the wreckage slid off. The fire was out in 1 minute and 48 seconds. I remember it well.
Thanks for the input, it is illuminating to have experienced sailors provide the info instead of more theory.
The reason I was curious is that during the battle of Midway we sunk 3 Japanese carriers at the crucial point where ordinance was being removed and replaced with other more suitable ordinance.
The flight deck was covered in torpedoes and bombs.
At another site I posed the question and was reminded that napalm was used on the USS Liberty during that incident of the Egyptian coast.
Although to what effect I am not sure.
Thanks again for the input.
I served on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) as a firefighter. Believe it or not there is a sprinkler system on the flight deck. It consists of "flush deck" nozzles that shoot water straight up and "deck edge" nozzles which shoot water in from the sides. This is also tied in with the AFFF system so there's foam on the whole lenth of the flight deck. 99% of the exterior of the ship has water running to it. We used it also as a counter-measure washdown system. Chemical agents can't stick to the ship if it's wet. The Navy learned alot after the Forestal disaster in Vietnam.
Yep, just like that!
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