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  • Japanese occupation of Pearl Harbor/Oahu?

    Just a another "what if" because I'm bored. I'm sure it's been brought up before, but here it goes anyway.....

    In the immediate aftermath of the Pearl harbor attack,the US forces are in somewhat of a disarray, the Japanese land soldiers from 5-6 troopships, enough to control the base itself.....could it have been feasible? Given that the Japanese fleet approached under radio silence and were undetected prior to the attack, I wonder if they could have also deployed enough troops to control the US base until reinforcements arrived. Enough the take over Oahu...perhaps the remaining Hawaii islands soon afterwards?

    Could this have been possible? Would there have been enough US troops to thwart an invasion/takeover, or the necessary organization to defend the base given the mess Pearl Harbor was in the 48 hours after the initial air attacks?
    You'll live, only the best get killed.

    -General Charles de Gaulle

  • #2
    Two full divisions of US Army, plus assigned units and the USN. 5-6 troopships of dead or captured IJA. Japan had better uses for them.
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    • #3
      Somewhere around here we examined an actual Japanese staff study about invading Hawaii. The short answer is they abandoned the idea because they did have the shipping or troops or support to attempt an invasion so far from their major bases.

      Edit: Found this about plans for Austalia and or Hawaii when being discussed by the Japanese on what to do next after their initial offensives went so well. Haven't found the original thread but since its my post,...

      Hawaii could not be done in Dec, that much is certain,.... but later??


      One of the reasons the Japanese were forced to spread their amphibious assaults between December and March was because much of the shipping required to carry troops and supplies had to be withdrawn from the movement of economic goods. By late March and April the navy was under increasing pressure to return this shipping to movement of goods and material for both the civilian and military economy. This had its impact on future plans then being discussed by the Imperial staffs of the Japanese military.

      The army wanted to stick to the original strategy of establishing a web of interlocking land and naval bases to screen the conquests and force the enemy to come out from their own bases to fight on Japanese terms. The navy, somewhat carried away by its own success came up with the three major operations mentioned above. The Indian operation was dismissed as it would place too much of the navy’s strength in the Indian Ocean for too long and expose Japanese bases in the central Pacific to attack from USN’s carrier forces. Some already blamed the success of the US Doolitle raid and the raids by US carriers on the fact that the navy had been raiding British bases in the Indian Ocean.

      The most ambitious plan, the invasion of Australia, by Captain Tomioka of the Naval General Staff, would have involved 5 divisions. The plan was attacked by Colonel Hattori of the Army General Staff as being too light, countering that the plan would require 12 divisions and a whopping 1.5 million tons of shipping. Japan had neither the 12 divisions nor the shipping to spare.

      Likewise the Pearl harbour operation *could* be done but only if some half dozen divisions and the estimated shipping could be found. The problem was not in getting to Hawaii but it was a matter of staying there and then keeping the invasion force supplied, supported and reinforced. The operation was eventually dropped because it was considered too risky and too far from supporting bases to be considered viable.

      During the March 7 liason conference, General Moritake Tanabe of the army high command reinforced Col Hattori’s view that main objective was to establish “a political and military structure capable of withstanding a long war.” The agreed pre-war strategy of drawing the enemy onto Japanese defenses and away from their own supporting bases was to be adhered to.

      The debate continued to rage within the Japanese command for some weeks, in the meantime Hattori and Tomioka reached a compromise involving the Port Moresby operation and the conquest of Samoa, Fiji and New Caledonia. These operations were designed to severe the supply lines between the US and Australia, forcing the US fleet to fight on Japanese terms all the while not drawing too heavily on Japanese shortages of manpower and shipping. In other words, they would keep the enemy on the defensive and reacting to Japanese moves.

      The two members of the General Staffs presented their plan to the Emperor and the compromise was accepted by everyone except a certain Admiral Yamamoto, who now proposed the Midway operation. Yamamoto’s plan found little support among the Naval staff even after he sent Commander Watanabe to make the argument in person. Captain Tomioka and a Commander Kizunari Miyo, the naval staff’s aviation operations officer were not convinced. The same arguments that spoke against the invasion of Hawaii applied themselves to Midway. It was too far from Japanese bases in the central Pacific and could not be supported by land-based aircraft. The fleet could sail to Midway but could not remain there for long and the island, if it was taken could neither be supplied or developed into a major station due to its small size, lack of facilities and close proximity to the Hawaiian Islands.

      In the end the decision was made in favour of the Midway operation mainly because Yamamoto threatened to resign if he did not get his way. Naval Chief of Staff Adm Nagano stated: “In that case, we might as well let him try his plan.” And Midway was on....
      Last edited by The Purist; 02 Jan 12, 23:21.
      The Purist

      Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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      • #4
        Between the Army, Navy, and Marines present in the area, it's suicide for the Japanese.

        The Japanese had a hard enough time taking Wake and that was without a large and well established US presence.

        Pearl had far more shore defenses than Wake did, along with more troops, a populace that will be hostile to the Japanese, and the USAAF isn't destroyed, only mauled. Every wave of aircraft going in after that 2nd wave would have met stiffening resistance. Assuming the Japanese tried to piggyback on their success, they'd risk losing a bit of their cadre of pilots cleaning out the skies. Then they'd have to finish off every ship in Pearl Harbor, because even DDs can make life hell for landing craft. Then they'd have to put bombers and BBs on suppression duty for the shore batteries. Lastly they'd have to ensure they got the Army disorganized before landing, otherwise they'd be mown down in droves as they hit the beach.

        Pearl Harbor was a shock, but the US wasn't out, only reeling. The Japanese didn't have the firepower or stamina to stay out at Hawaii and knock the US out.

        And IMHO, if they had, the US would have adopted a Japan First policy and moved very quickly to land Marines and soldiers on Hawaii and retake the islands.
        Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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        • #5
          Useless for the Japanese...supply lines would be way too long.

          -Matt
          SGT, 210th MP Battalion, 2nd MP BDE, MSSG

          Fervently PRO-TRUMP, anti-Islam and anti-Steelers!

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          • #6
            If i understand the situation that at that time the Japanese had over 100,000 ex-pats living in Hawaii at the time, how many of them would help the invading IJA troops.

            But i would have to say that the Japanese would need to land troops almost immediatly after the attack or as the attack was taking place to take vital beach-heads and that a full blown invasion force lands the very next day.

            Is it possible, anything is possible.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
              If i understand the situation that at that time the Japanese had over 100,000 ex-pats living in Hawaii at the time, how many of them would help the invading IJA troops.
              168,000+ none of which were ever charged with any kind of disloyal actions during the war. I think they would have been little, if any, help to the IJA.
              But i would have to say that the Japanese would need to land troops almost immediatly after the attack or as the attack was taking place to take vital beach-heads and that a full blown invasion force lands the very next day.

              Is it possible, anything is possible.
              24th and 25th IDs, Coastal Artillery Command, etc., plus "National Guard" units, with in situ supplies and C3 would have been enough to control "5-6 troopships" worth of IJA.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
                168,000+ none of which were ever charged with any kind of disloyal actions during the war. I think they would have been little, if any, help to the IJA.

                We will never know, it would have been worth knowing when push came to shove how many of those 168,000 would help their fellow Japanese troops, besides any help it better than none.

                24th and 25th IDs, Coastal Artillery Command, etc., plus "National Guard" units, with in situ supplies and C3 would have been enough to control "5-6 troopships" worth of IJA.
                Yes i agree, but, the Japanese only needed to take full advantage of the situation, one or two Beach-heads, then a full blown and fully supported invasion force, with naval aviation and naval bombardment, remember the US had more assets in the Philipines and still were defeated, remember the bulk of you Navy is just been sunk, most of your aircraft are destroyed, you have hundreds of dead and thousands of wounded, you then overlay that with a general panic amongst the general public, it is a very unique situation, how many of those troops you mention would be sequestered to help restore the situation, those defenses would be weakened, then within 24 hrs a major invasion takes place.

                I can only speculate, the very next day an additional 4 aircraft carriers launch more raids, on other installations to draw out the USAAF and as the USAAF is been decimated, the IJN with its heavy naval units lay off the coast and begin heavy naval bombardment, all the while the Japanese Amphibious forces begin landings, how many green US troops are affected by panic, or are frozen to the spot, how would the local command structures cope, they will be tested like nothing they have faced before. This is not a war game, this is pure kill or be killed scenario, just 48 hrs previously those US troops are comfortable in some cosy holiday paradise and now they have the full effect of being in a bloody warzone, some will cope, many won't and facing an enemy that is bouyed by the sense of Bushido, this for them is akin to some holy war, their devine right.

                There is no right or wrong answer.

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                • #9
                  Unfortunately the Japanese cannot linger at Hawaii after the air attacks of Dec 7th. They are already running low on fuel and if troops are landed, the fleet would need to depart in a day or two. The Japanese command staffs believed they would need 6 divisions and more than 1.5 million tons of shipping for a Hawaiian operation. They had neither.

                  As noted above the navy was having to surrender huge amounts of tonnage to do such things as feed the homeland's population and the war industries. This is inescapable. Its the old story of logistics and resources, these too were also lacking for the Japanese.
                  The Purist

                  Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                    Yes i agree, but, the Japanese only needed to take full advantage of the situation, one or two Beach-heads, then a full blown and fully supported invasion force, with naval aviation and naval bombardment, remember the US had more assets in the Philipines and still were defeated, remember the bulk of you Navy is just been sunk, most of your aircraft are destroyed, you have hundreds of dead and thousands of wounded, you then overlay that with a general panic amongst the general public, it is a very unique situation, how many of those troops you mention would be sequestered to help restore the situation, those defenses would be weakened, then within 24 hrs a major invasion takes place.

                    I can only speculate, the very next day an additional 4 aircraft carriers launch more raids, on other installations to draw out the USAAF and as the USAAF is been decimated, the IJN with its heavy naval units lay off the coast and begin heavy naval bombardment, all the while the Japanese Amphibious forces begin landings, how many green US troops are affected by panic, or are frozen to the spot, how would the local command structures cope, they will be tested like nothing they have faced before. This is not a war game, this is pure kill or be killed scenario, just 48 hrs previously those US troops are comfortable in some cosy holiday paradise and now they have the full effect of being in a bloody warzone, some will cope, many won't and facing an enemy that is bouyed by the sense of Bushido, this for them is akin to some holy war, their devine right.

                    There is no right or wrong answer.
                    You over-simplify the Japanese problem and disregard the US forces to too great an extent.
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                    Hyperwar, Whats New
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      Yes i agree, but, the Japanese only needed to take full advantage of the situation, one or two Beach-heads, then a full blown and fully supported invasion force,
                      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                      Unfortunately the Japanese cannot linger at Hawaii after the air attacks of Dec 7th. They are already running low on fuel and if troops are landed, the fleet would need to depart in a day or two. The Japanese command staffs believed they would need 6 divisions and more than 1.5 million tons of shipping for a Hawaiian operation. They had neither.
                      The only way such a invasion force could be provided would be to take it from the Maylasian, Phillipines, or Netherlands East Indies invasions. Those three offensive were essential to securing the NEI oil. Are the Hawaiian sugar plantations that important?


                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      with naval aviation and naval bombardment,
                      The IJN had no doctrine for effective naval bombardment, & their air support doctrine was ineffcient

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      remember the US had more assets in the Philipines and still were defeated,
                      A undersupplied, underequipped, and undertrained army with no air suppport required nearly five months to be defeated by the best Japan could find

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      remember the bulk of you Navy is just been sunk,
                      Some battle ships and few other are not "most", even of the fleet at Oahu and certainly not most of the USN. Both the submarines and aircraft carriers based at PH remained untouched, as did the bulk of the cruisers, destroyers and auxillarys.

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      most of your aircraft are destroyed,
                      Not even a majority. The combat worthy land based aircraft remainning at PH Sunday afternoon still out numbered those on the IJN carriers. Those on the USN carriers were untouched.

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      you have hundreds of dead and thousands of wounded,
                      The dead and wounded were dealt with farily effciently by the existing medical services, supplemented by the crews of the sunken battleships. All of those fit for duty were organized into work crews before the end of the next day, many of the beached crews were organizing into ad hoc working parties before sunset Sunday.

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      you then overlay that with a general panic amongst the general public,
                      There was no general panic. A large portion of the civilians, including the Japanese immigrants dealt wit the situation by reporting to their military employers Sunday afternoon or early Monday. No mobs stampeded for the hills.

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      it is a very unique situation, how many of those troops you mention would be sequestered to help restore the situation, those defenses would be weakened, then within 24 hrs a major invasion takes place.
                      Historically none were "sequestered" . There were a large number of MP units for that purpose, plus the civilian police were reinforced in the pre.

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post

                      I can only speculate, the very next day an additional 4 aircraft carriers launch more raids, on other installations to draw out the USAAF and as the USAAF is been decimated,
                      The six IJN carrier present had depleted the bulk of their bombsand a large part of their torpedos. Are you adding 3-4 more carriers of somehow replenishing the ships magazines at sea?

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      the IJN with its heavy naval units lay off the coast and begin heavy naval bombardment,
                      The IJN had no doctrine for heavy naval bombardment and barely trained at it. What training there was concerned light ships.

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      all the while the Japanese Amphibious forces begin landings, how many green US troops are affected by panic, or are frozen to the spot,
                      Historically they went to their battle stations and distributed ammunition. The 24th Divsion was very well trained and had some of the best cadre in the US Army and a low portion of short service draftees. Ditto for the Marines battalions present. The 25th Division also had a high protion of long service cadres, and its draftees were from the earliest inductions of the previous year. Few of either division had less than 12 months service and the average total service was over two years. That compares favorablly to the Japanese infantry divisions of the period which were routinely taking in large batches of conscripts in 1940-41, and which had their cadres thinned by the expansion of the previous three years.

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      how would the local command structures cope, they will be tested like nothing they have faced before.
                      The "command structures" were largely WWI veterans, and the Marines leaders were also filled with veterans of the Hatian and Nicaraguan Wars. neither of which was particualry 'easy'. the Japanese experience had been against the Chinese, which served when fighting ill led & ill trained enemies. Against other "green" units like the Phillipines scouts, the Marines on Guadacannal, of the Australians in New Guinea the 'veteran' Japanese infantry usually failed.

                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      This is not a war game, this is pure kill or be killed scenario, just 48 hrs previously those US troops are comfortable in some cosy holiday paradise and now they have the full effect of being in a bloody warzone, some will cope, many won't and facing an enemy that is bouyed by the sense of Bushido, this for them is akin to some holy war, their devine right.
                      You are obviously over estimating the tactical skill and discipline of the Japanese infantry. They were good, but their tactical deficiencies and fanaticism led to serious failures when things got really tough


                      Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                      Unfortunately the Japanese cannot linger at Hawaii after the air attacks of Dec 7th. They are already running low on fuel and if troops are landed, the fleet would need to depart in a day or two. The Japanese command staffs believed they would need 6 divisions and more than 1.5 million tons of shipping for a Hawaiian operation. They had neither.

                      As noted above the navy was having to surrender huge amounts of tonnage to do such things as feed the homeland's population and the war industries. This is inescapable. Its the old story of logistics and resources, these too were also lacking for the Japanese.

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                      • #13
                        Well, nothing is really impossible, but Japan had to plan everything to perfection to get the results they did in the first month of the war, and had almost nothing to spare, transport-wise.

                        So, what operation would Japan have had to cancelle to take Oahu? PI or Malaya, and either would have thrown other ops off balance.

                        Not worth it, not given the actual war aims.
                        "Why is the Rum gone?"

                        -Captain Jack

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                          Well, nothing is really impossible, but Japan had to plan everything to perfection to get the results they did in the first month of the war, and had almost nothing to spare, transport-wise.

                          So, what operation would Japan have had to cancelle to take Oahu? PI or Malaya, and either would have thrown other ops off balance.

                          Not worth it, not given the actual war aims.
                          Quite true.

                          As noted above, there are no right answers. There are, however, quite a few wrong ones.
                          Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
                          Hyperwar, Whats New
                          World War II Resources
                          The best place in the world to "work".

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                            Unfortunately the Japanese cannot linger at Hawaii after the air attacks of Dec 7th. They are already running low on fuel and if troops are landed, the fleet would need to depart in a day or two. The Japanese command staffs believed they would need 6 divisions and more than 1.5 million tons of shipping for a Hawaiian operation. They had neither.

                            As noted above the navy was having to surrender huge amounts of tonnage to do such things as feed the homeland's population and the war industries. This is inescapable. Its the old story of logistics and resources, these too were also lacking for the Japanese.
                            What's more, the Imperial Japanese Navy did not posess a "Fleet that Came to Stay" Bluewater Navy that the US itself didn't have until after 1943.
                            "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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