What was more dangerous to fly: Dive or Torpedo Bombers?

I find WWII naval aviation really interesting, perhaps because aircrews piloting dive and torpedo bombers had to basically fly into the teeth of their enemy to release their payloads.

So in, say 1942, which was more dangerous to fly: Dive Bombers or Torpedo Bombers? I know that the initial torpedo bomber attack the US delivered against the Japanese was unsucessful and I believe all the bombers were shot down.

I would guess dive bombing would be safer, since the planes would seem to be traveling faster (considing they’re practically flying straight down) compared to torpedo bombing where the planes are very low but also slow.

Are there any statistics showing different bomber losses and their causes? (i.e. X Torpedo bombers shot down from AA fire, X torpedo bombers shot down from fighters, etc) it would probably be a good way to examine their effectiveness and deployment.

Everything I have read leaned heavily against torpedo bombers. Some things to consider being lack of manuverability on final approach and sheer lack of altitude. Skimming just over the water means anything that messes with your level flight like a nearby flak burst could equal instant splash, even with an intact airframe. Dive bombers have alot more room to manuver and recover from near misses and such.

In addition the weight of their payload pretty much cancelled any hope of manuvering to avoid enemy fighters who drop in on their tail. Later TBF avenger models carried 1-2 rear gun positions to help offset this risk.

After midway it was less common to see torpedo bombers used in their primary role for several years, being pressed into service as light bombers carrying more conventional bomb loads untill 1944 or so due to our torpedos being so poor.

I seem to recall that in order to have any chance at all of a hit a torpedo plane had to make a straight on level and steady run of considerable time, in excess of 30 seconds, giving the enemy all the time in the world to shoot them down. They were also wide open and easy pickings for enemy fighters. Dive bombers also had a run, but much faster and harder for fighters to follow. Fighters aside, I think the dive bombers had a psych advantage, as a threat coming staight down on you inspires more fear than a slow moving threat coming at you. And fear affects accuracy of return fire. Case in point, a fellow police officer of mine who was an ace on the range, was attacked by a vicious dog during a drug raid. His gun was already drawn, and at a range of less than ten feet missed. Got nailed by the dog. I would think the same is true of dive bomber vs. torpedo plane. The percieved threat would be higher with the dive bomber, and thus harder to deal with. I think the torpedo planes were at higher risk. I will add though that to pilot either you would have to be insanely brave.

I suppose that depends upon how you define success. Wasn’t it the case that the destruction of the first wave of bombers meant that the Japanese fighters were out of position for the next waves?

By the end of the war any attack on a US task force, because of all the AA guns bristling on the decks of US ships, was pretty much suicidal; this is why (in part) the Japanese turned to the kamikazie, as at least they had a chance of doing damage without “wasting” the life of the pilot. The AA for the IJN was not quite at the same level as it was in the USN, so our boys had it a lttle better, but even then the torpedo bomber was gradually phased out (for reasons others have stated above). Even the TBF Avenger went out with bombs instead of a fish more often than not in the last year or so of the war.