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We knew the Japanese were coming on Dec. 7th.

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  • We knew the Japanese were coming on Dec. 7th.

    Note the forum, please.

    If we did know they were coming, what would we have done to meet them. Besides the obvious (guns manned, damage control manned up and ready, etc.) I would have ordered a string of DDs anchored nose-to-tail from Nevada to California. I would also have had smoke pots every damn where.

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  • #2
    Think we did this a few years ago. Conclusion was that if alerted the defenses at Pearl Harbour were more than sufficient to repell the Japanese air attack. The most important thing would have been to have a CAP up and the rest of the fighters at readiness. The Japanese air strike could have been defeated and a counter strike carried out on the Japanese fleet by the ground based bombers.
    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Surrey View Post
      Think we did this a few years ago. Conclusion was that if alerted the defenses at Pearl Harbour were more than sufficient to repell the Japanese air attack. The most important thing would have been to have a CAP up and the rest of the fighters at readiness. The Japanese air strike could have been defeated and a counter strike carried out on the Japanese fleet by the ground based bombers.
      What numbers would be sent against the KB?

      Would it have been good or bad to send the PBYs hauling ass east just before dawn?
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      • #4
        need to bookmark these more throughly. I remember at least three discussions of this general subject in the past year. Glen was in one of them, maybe he has a link to it.

        A lot depends on how much warning here was. One hour? One day? One week?

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        • #5
          How much in advance do we know?
          Minutes?
          Hours?
          Days?

          BTW, your map shows Nevada as "sunk", but it got up steam, attempted to leave port, then beached.
          "Nevada: hit by six bombs, one torpedo, beached; returned to service October 1942. 60 dead."
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor
          TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

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          • #6
            I didn't write the map, just used it.

            As for time, the more warning, the better the counter. So state the window you want to address.
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            • #7
              How much warning does the US get?

              With say 3 or 4 hours I'd say:

              Every ship in harbor has steam up and most have left harbor steaming SSE away from Oahu. The radar stations remain manned and the incoming raids are detected and taken seriously. The USAAF puts up their CAP while the USN has sent as many Catalina as possible out for sector searches.
              The US Army is sending units to their war stations and these are beginning to dig in for defense of the island. All of the coast defenses and AA are manned up and ready.

              With the fleet now 20 to 30 NM SSE of Oahu and underway it is going to be a mess for the Japanese. Few ship targets are present, and next to none for torpedo planes. Since the original first wave didn't arrive together the dive bombers, that arrive first with minimal escort, get the attention of the USAAC and are shot to pieces. (Historically, they milled around just off Oahu waiting for the attack planes and their escort to arrive.)

              That means when the Zeros arrive in force (likely separate from the attack planes) there will be a fight for air superiority. But, with heavy losses among the dive bombers and losses among the torpedo and attack planes, not to mention a dearth of targets for torpedoes, the Japanese warn the second wave inbound that it's a hornet's nest.

              There will be no third wave attack, it is even possible that the second wave is recalled and does not engage. The Japanese would likely be far more worried about heavy losses of aircraft and being counter attacked at sea than about a successful strike on Pearl at that point.

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              • #8
                With 2-4 hours warning it is possible Admiral Nagumo will abort the raid. How would he know? The IJN had a fair signals intel capability & typically a section was aboard at least the admirals flag ship in these operations. Radio discipline in the USN was not the best that month, & even if the radio operators/supervisors had been on the ball the surge in radio messages that morning would tip off Nagumos intel officer.

                While the Japanese could not read the codes the USN was using their analysis was first rate & it would have been fairly clear from the nature of the messages that the US fleet was behaving like a flock of startled pigeons. Nagumo would have to think over the possiblity the enemy was alerted and balance that against his orders to abort the attack were his fleet 'discovered'

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                  With 2-4 hours warning it is possible Admiral Nagumo will abort the raid. How would he know? The IJN had a fair signals intel capability & typically a section was aboard at least the admirals flag ship in these operations. Radio discipline in the USN was not the best that month, & even if the radio operators/supervisors had been on the ball the surge in radio messages that morning would tip off Nagumos intel officer.

                  While the Japanese could not read the codes the USN was using their analysis was first rate & it would have been fairly clear from the nature of the messages that the US fleet was behaving like a flock of startled pigeons. Nagumo would have to think over the possiblity the enemy was alerted and balance that against his orders to abort the attack were his fleet 'discovered'
                  I don't think that would do it. The US military uses mostly FM radio for tactical communications and things like TBS are completely undetectable by the Japanese at like 200 miles. Most of the Army's initial communications would be by telephone not radio.
                  The strikes themselves have zero means to do ESM or detect things like radar. So....

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                  • #10
                    Dolittles biography described how Japanese signals intel stations in Japan detected the radio transmissions from the Hornets escorts and judged from the location and nature of the chatter that a US carrier was headed into the north western Pacifc. Their intel officers warned of a possible US carrier raid on the home islands & predicted it for 18 through 20 April, with the 19th being the most likely date.

                    USN fleet radio chatter was picked by the IJN signals det. aboard the fleet approaching the Coral Sea warning them of possible USN surface forces to the SE. Ditto for most of the Guadalcanal/Solomons campaign. Both sides depended on signals analysis & it went worse when they missed telltale signals.

                    Again, little or none of this included breaking any codes. Boiler plate signal analysis of frequency, strength, operators fist, message length, message structure, subsequent transmissions from other stations gave away a mass of clues. There is a good reason why the Kido Butai kept strict radio discipline during its operation against Oahu. They were very aware of the signals intel they were getting from the USN transmissions & as a practical matter had to assume the reverse was valid.

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                    • #11
                      Pearl and Lahaina were scouted by air before the attack. Given the time of year the daylight time before colors was under two hours.
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                      • #12
                        This is exactly what would have happened, the USN discovers the KB and decides to launch a pre-emptive strike on the IJN, so the ships steam up and leave Pearl to attack the KB however the mother subs see that the ship are heading out and signals the KB, IJN subs already in position are ordered to report the make-up of the USN Fleet, from there IJN subs report that they are heading towards the KB, IJN scouts are sent out to report and sure enough they head towards the KB.

                        The 6 IJN Fleet Carriers launch their attack aircraft, The USN sans Carriers as the Enterprise and Yorktown are still returning from delivering aircraft. The IJN aircraft catch the USN in open water and without air cover, they begin their torpedo and dive bombing attacks, during this IJN subs arrive and add to the attack, within minutes the USN Fleet is under severe attack with many ships heavily damaged or sinking, the USN Fleet tries to escape, but they can't outrun the Carrier Taskforce, after returning to their carriers the aircraft reload and refuel and return for more torpedo and divebombing, ship after ship is being lost, the USN suffers 3 waves of attacks until land based aircraft from Pearl can add covering protection. From there the KB retreats after their fighters inflict heavy casualties on the US fighters.

                        The next day the US Fleet limps back to Pearl suffering heavy losses, only to run into IJN subs that have been waiting and they attack the Fleet unprepared for such an attack losing more ships sunk, the survivors reach safety inside Pearl, only to be attack by Midget subs who launch Torpedoes and suicide attacks inflicting more losses as already heavily damaged ships can no longer cope with the damage and sink.

                        Several days later the two US carriers return to Pearl and are attcked by IJN subs sending them to the bottom.

                        The USN Pacific Fleet is virtually wiped out with ten's of thousands of USN personell dead.

                        Then the KB returns and then gets nasty.

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                        • #13
                          Okay then.
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                          Hyperwar, Whats New
                          World War II Resources
                          The best place in the world to "work".

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                          • #14
                            USN Wet Dream

                            The US fleet first deploys east, then after dark heads NW on a intercept course to the estimated enemy launch point for a air raid on Oahu. On Oahu the shore based aircraft spend the night preparing for launching two hours before dawn.

                            Twelve hours later the first wave of reconissance planes are wining well north of Oahu, formed up bombers are a hundred miles behind. Far to the north the leading USN crusiers have located the KB with radar & radioed the location. The Japanese pick up the signals & suspect they have been spotted. The search plan is modified. Nagumo orders the air strike readied with a 'Go/No Go' signal to be given as the situation clarifys.

                            The US battle line closes on the KB from the west. As the first hint of dawn the outer screen of the KB spots shadows in the murk to the west, the KB is silloutted by the rising sun, & the first salvos of 14" projectiles are fired at the decks thick with aircraft.

                            The following two days the US carriers sweep the north Pacifc assisting the cruisers in chasing down survivors of the 6th Dec massacre.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                              The US fleet first deploys east, then after dark heads NW on a intercept course to the estimated enemy launch point for a air raid on Oahu. On Oahu the shore based aircraft spend the night preparing for launching two hours before dawn.

                              Twelve hours later the first wave of reconissance planes are wining well north of Oahu, formed up bombers are a hundred miles behind. Far to the north the leading USN crusiers have located the KB with radar & radioed the location. The Japanese pick up the signals & suspect they have been spotted. The search plan is modified. Nagumo orders the air strike readied with a 'Go/No Go' signal to be given as the situation clarifys.

                              The US battle line closes on the KB from the west. As the first hint of dawn the outer screen of the KB spots shadows in the murk to the west, the KB is silloutted by the rising sun, & the first salvos of 14" projectiles are fired at the decks thick with aircraft.

                              The following two days the US carriers sweep the north Pacifc assisting the cruisers in chasing down survivors of the 6th Dec massacre.
                              The 20kts BBs will never get close enough to the 30kts carriers once they know they have been detected, if anything they'll just make the KB pilots job easier by sailing closer and away from air cover... and leave no chance of refloating those BBs, as the other poster pointed out.

                              It would be a massacre allright, those slow BBs wont have even the limited survivability the fast CVs had against the Kates, specially with the only threat being the lousy pre-war USN flak.
                              "'Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

                              - Steven Weinberg

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