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The Kido Butai - Where Did It Go?

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  • The Kido Butai - Where Did It Go?

    I've read that U.S. Naval Intelligence lost the location of the Japanese carrier force (the one that attacked Pearl Harbor) from about November 26 to December 7. But I've also seen documents indicating that the six carriers of the force were accounted for by USNI in Japan's home waters. Does anyone know what we knew about these carriers shortly before PH, and where we documented this intel?

    Many thanks to all!!

    Jon
    "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
    -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

    (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

  • #2
    It was North of the island of Hakkaido. The weather up there hid them from view. I believe it was technically the Sea of Okhotsk between Sakhalin and the Kuriles.

    Pruitt
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    • #3
      Naval Intelligence was also tracking them by the radio operators. So the Japanese kept the regular radio operators in the home islands sending signals so USNI assumed the carriers were still there.
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      • #4
        Jon J,

        This article:

        “CATCHING THE FOX UNAWARE”

        Japanese Radio Denial and Deception and
        the Attack on Pearl Harbor

        Robert J. Hanyok

        United States Naval War College Review

        2008

        http://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/2...o-Denial-.aspx

        might go some way towards answering your question.

        .....
        This article will first briefly consider major changes the Japanese navy made
        to its strategy and to the operational organization of its carrier forces and how
        these changes facilitated the denial and deception plan. Second, it will examine
        the technical and operational details of the Japanese plans for radio silence, de-
        ception, and monitoring. Finally, the article steps through the chronology of the
        Japanese denial and deception, beginning with the Kido Butai rendezvous at
        Saeki Bay in the second week of November 1941 and following it to the attack. As
        we recount the Japanese actions, we also will consider the American intelligence
        estimates of those actions produced in the Pacific and Asiatic Fleet commands,
        as well as in Washington, D.C. This parallel examination should illustrate how
        the Japanese convinced American intelligence that their carriers, the spear point
        of the Imperial Japanese Navy, were still in the home islands on 7 December
        1941.
        .....
        Last edited by At ease; 06 Jan 13, 17:54.
        "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
        "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

        "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
        — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

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        • #5
          One of the deceptions the Japanese used to hide these carriers was to have their radio operators stationed at Sasabo and operating from shore there to make it look like the carriers were in Southern Japan.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by At ease View Post
            Jon J,

            This article:

            “CATCHING THE FOX UNAWARE”

            Japanese Radio Denial and Deception and
            the Attack on Pearl Harbor

            Robert J. Hanyok

            United States Naval War College Review

            2008

            http://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/2...o-Denial-.aspx

            might go some way towards answering your question.

            Thanks so much! I read this article a while back but completely forgot about it. This is great stuff!!

            Edit: Turns out it was a different article on op security and deception that I read, so this is fresh stuff to me. Thanks!!


            With gratitude,
            Jon
            Last edited by Jon Jordan; 06 Jan 13, 19:24.
            "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
            -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

            (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

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            • #7
              Kido Butai mustered here: 44°58'15.06" N 147°41'50.84" E

              The IJN left the telegraphers with the most recognizable "fists" on ships in the Sagami Wan and shore installations to make the USN think their ships were in home waters. Rochefort's reports noted that they were sending some messages 2-3 times and that old messages were being retransmitted. Assumptions, all wrong, were made based on this information.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
                Kido Butai mustered here: 44°58'15.06" N 147°41'50.84" E

                The IJN left the telegraphers with the most recognizable "fists" on ships in the Sagami Wan and shore installations to make the USN think their ships were in home waters. Rochefort's reports noted that they were sending some messages 2-3 times and that old messages were being retransmitted. Assumptions, all wrong, were made based on this information.
                OP - I figured you'd have some detailed data on this point. Thanks very much for sharing!!

                - Jon
                "There are only two professions in the world in which the amateur excels the professional. One, military strategy, and, two, prostitution."
                -- Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

                (Avatar: Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, Republic of Texas Navy)

                Comment


                • #9
                  When Fuchida talked of 'victory disesase' helping cause the Midway disaster, no doubt he was thinking of the excellent security measures taken by the Japanese prior to Pearl Harbor vs. the (comparatively) lax security for the Midway operation.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Glenn239 View Post
                    When Fuchida talked of 'victory disesase' helping cause the Midway disaster, no doubt he was thinking of the excellent security measures taken by the Japanese prior to Pearl Harbor vs. the (comparatively) lax security for the Midway operation.
                    The IJN really went all out befor the midway battle getting all their ships into port facilities for overhaul and repairs so that every thing could be up to date. The repairs really worked overtime so that most of their fleet was ready for action. Armament, engines, paint, etc. was brought up to date. Something like 26 ships in 6 months!!! A huge undertaking!

                    After the defeat of Midway though the IJN port facilities were building ships and no time was spent for repairs and many ships cruised from place to place and port to port with damages and no real repairs being made. The IJN really went from being on top, to just being able to function. The "victory disease" that Fuchida had talked about had had its desired effect...
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                    • #11
                      This document:

                      http://www.thestormunleashed.com/fil...ning_at_ph.pdf

                      commenting on the recollections of radio operator Leslie Grogan aboard the Matson Line ship S.S. Lurline which arrived at Pearl Harbour on December 3, seems to contradict the widely held view that the KB observed complete radio silence on it's journey across the North Pacific.

                      He reports logging extensive radio traffic on HF(high frequency) which would normally not travel very far.

                      When atmospheric conditions are just right, a phenomenon familiar to "ham" radio operators and C.B.er's(which I used to be) known as "skip" apparently allowed signals to reach further than intended.

                      The transmissions were, of course, in coded Japanese so he did not understand their meaning but he did track their movement across the North Pacific for several days using DF(direction finding) and was surprised because of the previous lack of such signals from such regions on his frequent previous passages on the Lurline.

                      The document I quoted in post #4 was uncategorical in it's assertion that complete radio silence was observed, and described some measures taken to ensure compliance.

                      The radio log kept by Grogan and requisitioned by the USN shortly after Lurline's return to the mainland and subsequently filed away somehow disappeared from storage in 1970.

                      Oddly enough, I have just carried out searches of the WW2 forum using the search terms: "Grogan", "Lurline", and "Matson".

                      No results.

                      It seems no previous comment about this matter has been made on ACG.
                      Last edited by At ease; 29 May 13, 10:48.
                      "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                      "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                      "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                      — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

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                      • #12
                        Hitokappu Bay in the Kurile Islands is where Nagumo's fleet gathered before departing to attack Pearl Harbor. From what I understand, it's a desolate anchorage, and with the winter weather closing in, less chance of being detected.
                        SGT, 210th MP Battalion, 2nd MP BDE, MSSG

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                        • #13
                          This is what happened to the Kido Butai
                          Attached Files
                          "You hit somebody with your fist and not with your fingers spread." -Heinz Guderian.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Matt Jones View Post
                            Hitokappu Bay in the Kurile Islands is where Nagumo's fleet gathered before departing to attack Pearl Harbor. From what I understand, it's a desolate anchorage, and with the winter weather closing in, less chance of being detected.
                            45°00'56.87" N 147°36'17.90" E

                            Only a few hundred people on the island, and the military "advised" each of them that they were seeing nothing.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by At ease View Post
                              The radio log kept by Grogan and requisitioned by the USN shortly after Lurline's return to the mainland and subsequently filed away somehow disappeared from storage in 1970.

                              Oddly enough, I have just carried out searches of the WW2 forum using the search terms: "Grogan", "Lurline", and "Matson".

                              No results.

                              It seems no previous comment about this matter has been made on ACG.
                              Kido Butai did not transmit. Grogan's story doesn't hold water because he had only one DF bearing and that line points right back to Japan.
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                              Hyperwar, Whats New
                              World War II Resources
                              The best place in the world to "work".

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