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  • Japan continues the Midway invasion

    What if Yamamoto had decided to continue the Midway invasion after the loss of his four carriers? Let's say he recalls the Alaskian invasion forces to join his at Midway bringing in Hiyo and Junyo to reinforce the aircraft he still has available (Honsho and Zuiho along with a good number of float planes).
    The two remaining US carriers both have pretty shot up air wings. They both are minus any torpedo planes. Midway still has a some operational aircraft available but almost no fighters left.

    Now, while I doubt the Japanese physical invasion would have succeeded... they only alloted about 2400 combat troops to the invasion.... could the Japanese successfully close on the island and make an attempt to land without losing considerable numbers more ships?

  • #2
    I suppose it depends on how quickly more aircraft could be flown in from Hawaii.
    Could they have arrived before the Alaska-raid group?

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    • #3
      Saratoga had arrived @ Oahu on the 6th, refueled, switched off some personnel, took on extra aircraft & joined Fletchers little fleet on the 9th. 32 extra aircraft/crew went to replenish the Hornet & Enterprise.

      After the January torpedo hit Saratoga was sent back to the US for a major repair & overhaul. Among other things the older heavy 8" guns were replaced with more modern models of the 5" guns. There are questions about the number of new pilots among the aircrew aboard. More important would have been the recent experience of the cadre. The Hornets air crew had some problems with some of its squadron leaders and air group staff having just returned to carrier duty after a rotation to shore duty. Perhaps some the Saratogas air crew would have been the same?

      After the 9th Fletcher did hie off to the north to intercept a potiential move south by the Hiyo and Junyo. That move was canceled after a day or two & Fletchers group returned to Oahu.

      i dont know if there were any other twin engine aircraft flown to reinforce Midway after the 6th. there were several more squadrons of twin & four engine bombers on Oahu.

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      • #4
        It would have taken several days for Japans additional Carriers to get there during which the U.S. could have found and sunk the Invasion portent of the Japanese fleet. That would have been much easier than going after their warships.
        Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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        • #5
          I agree...Ryujo and Junyo were too far north to get there in time (U.S. carriers weren't exactly going to hang around waiting for the fight to resume), Zuiho was further south with Kondo's Main Body, and Hosho really doesn't even count at this point. She had eight outdated biplanes for anti-submarine screening, and basically she was just along for the ride. Had Yamamoto tried to use her in a fight she would've been knocked off in the blink of an eye.
          SGT, 210th MP Battalion, 2nd MP BDE, MSSG

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

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          • #6
            The US could have flown the remaining CV air to Midway and withdrawn the surface elements (minus a light harassment force). With a few more aircraft flown in from Hawaii especially P-40s(were any P-38s avaiable from CONUS yet?), the island would have been secure unless the BBs decided to bombard in preparation to a landing.

            This would have pitted a small land based force backed by one carrier (Saratoga) against a battleship and cruiser force supported by light carriers later on (perhaps by Jun 9 or 10). Would have been interesting. As the Guadalcanal campaign showed, the Japanese CVs could get the better of the US CVs when they were able to take advanatge of their longer ranged a/c (3 US Fleet CVs sunk/damaged for 0 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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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Purist View Post
              The US could have flown the remaining CV air to Midway and withdrawn the surface elements (minus a light harassment force). With a few more aircraft flown in from Hawaii especially P-40s(were any P-38s avaiable from CONUS yet?), the island would have been secure unless the BBs decided to bombard in preparation to a landing.
              While the former is possible, the later is not. Midway is too distant for a P-40 to ferry in. A P-38 might make it but it would be a tight flight. The nearest P-38's I know of are in Anchorage Alaska at the time.

              This would have pitted a small land based force backed by one carrier (Saratoga) against a battleship and cruiser force supported by light carriers later on (perhaps by Jun 9 or 10). Would have been interesting. As the Guadalcanal campaign showed, the Japanese CVs could get the better of the US CVs when they were able to take advanatge of their longer ranged a/c (3 US Fleet CVs sunk/damaged for 0 Japanese)
              The big if here is could the Japanese fleet defend itself using antiaircraft guns, a few fighters available (say about 10 to 15 Zero and about 40 F1M Pete float planes)? They have the advantage in medium and short range scouts having lots of float planes aboard their ships and a couple of seaplane tenders with them. The Zuiho has a handful of torpedo planes aboard too.

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              • #8
                Whatever the tactical result here I see this as a earlier start to the attritional battles of the Solomons campaign. Even if Midway is taken the IJN loses yet more irreplaceable trained/veteran aircrew, making the fleet air arm even weaker should Yamamoto choose to continue the South Pacific advance, or a offensive anywhere else.

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                • #9
                  While the former is possible, the later is not. Midway is too distant for a P-40 to ferry in. A P-38 might make it but it would be a tight flight. The nearest P-38's I know of are in Anchorage Alaska at the time.
                  The Japanese used French Frigate Shoals for refueling and recon of PH.

                  Was there an airfield there as well in 41-42? It could have been used to ferry in P40's. It is well within range of the P40 600 mile range. F4F's could also have been ferried in using that route, if there was a field at FFS.
                  "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                  Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                  you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                    The Japanese used French Frigate Shoals for refueling and recon of PH.

                    Was there an airfield there as well in 41-42? It could have been used to ferry in P40's. It is well within range of the P40 600 mile range. F4F's could also have been ferried in using that route, if there was a field at FFS.
                    I thought they cancelled that recon to look to see if the carriers were there because there was a US submarine at French Frigate Shoals preventing the refuel.

                    During the early months of the U.S.-Japanese conflict in World War II, Japanese seaplanes used French Frigate Shoals as a clandestine landing and refueling site for reconnaissance missions against Pearl Harbor. Since it was the only protected seaplane anchorage within range of Pearl Harbor that was not under US control, the shoals were a priceless asset to the Japanese, enabling them to maintain constant surveillance of the US fleet at anchor. The intelligence gained from these flights was used to devastatingly precise effect in the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, the shoals were subsequently misused for numerous small nuisance bombing raids that caused minimal damage and accomplished nothing except spurring the US to launch a methodical search for the hidden anchorage the aircraft were launching from. This culminated in the shoals being discovered and occupied by US forces prior to the Battle of Midway, effectively cutting off the Japanese from their greatest single source of intelligence on the US fleet. Several historians have noted that if the Japanese had chosen to bide their time rather than provoking the US with nuisance bombing raids, the shoals would still have been available to the Japanese reconnaissance forces during the Midway operations and would have given them advance knowledge that the Americans had sortied in force from Pearl much earlier than expected. This would have given the Japanese at least a day's worth of warning that the US carriers were on their way, easily enough time to reorient their force disposition in time to avoid being caught unawares.
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Frigate_Shoals

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                      The Japanese used French Frigate Shoals for refueling and recon of PH.

                      Was there an airfield there as well in 41-42? It could have been used to ferry in P40's. ...
                      Short answer is no, not in June 1942. FFS was & is a reef, frequently covered by storm surges. I remember it was surveyed for potiential air strip, refueling, and garrison sites in 1941 or 1942. No idea if any of that was attempted. Making any installation secure against storm flooding would have required extensive dredging & build up. If you look at the Wiki map you will see the small size of the bits above normal high tiide.

                      The IJN used submarines to refuel the large four engine seaplanes for reconissance & harrasing attacks on PH.

                      The USN shut off Japanese use in May 1942 by frequent ASW patrols and posting a seaplane tender inside the lagoon at intervals. It was the sight of the tender & patrol planes that caused the IJN refueling submarine to cancel the pre Midway reconissance of PH.

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                      • #12
                        FFS was & is a reef, frequently covered by storm surges
                        FFS has an air field today.
                        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                        • #13
                          If both sides begin to reinforce as soon as the climax of the main battle passes within 4-5 days it could be Saratoga (75ish a/c if full) vs the Ryujo, Junyo and Zuiho but not counting Hosho (perhaps 100 a/c). The raw numbers give Japanese the advantage provided Enterprise cannot take on another CV air component by Jun 10 or so. If not, she might be used to ferry a couple or three dozen P-40s to Midway, if it could be organised in just a few days (probably unlikely).

                          This would put the Saratoga in a position where she would have to withdraw in the face of an approaching surface force supported by the CVs. The US could not risk the remaining active CV at Midway if the Japanese push on. Then the Japanese blow up Midway from sea and air until there is little left of the garrison and its few shore guns.
                          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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                          • #14
                            I guess my question is, even if both sides reinforced their fleet air arms, the Japanese still didn't have the troops to ensure success. So then, with surprise lost and even if the IJN used troops from the ships and the outcome would still be in doubt, continue? Just sayin'...
                            In Vino Veritas

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dongar1 View Post
                              I guess my question is, even if both sides reinforced their fleet air arms, the Japanese still didn't have the troops to ensure success. So then, with surprise lost and even if the IJN used troops from the ships and the outcome would still be in doubt, continue? Just sayin'...
                              Wake Island didn't do all that bad without reenfocements. Why should Midway not have done better with reenfocements. Sooner or later the bill to be paid for IJ would have been higher than what Midway was worth. Even IF they occupied Midway, what would they have gained. A post hard to maintain and easly cut off from supply. Could they have used it for a build up of forces to invaded the main Islands? I doubt it. For IJ it would have been an island to far.
                              "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                              Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                              you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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