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  • Two PoD

    We all know why, or at least the short version, of why the USN battle fleet was not present at the Midway battle in June 1942. From that I'd present the first PoD. The USN leaders instead decide the battle ships are to be present.

    Second PoD. We all know the short version of why Yamamoto revresed his order to pursue the USN fleet on the night of 5-6 June. So, we are presented with a PoD of that order not being reversed. The Japanese fleet scattered in three groups still attempts to form a pursuit surface group to chase down the surviving USN fleet.

    Now to toss in a few items gleaned from the books to clarify Yamamotos thinking & perhaps that of his subordinates.

    1. The Japanese thought the USN battle fleet, such as it was, in fact was present. This was reinforced by their pilots misidentifying a couple US ships as "battleships".

    2. They thought they had largely destroyed the US carriers between the Coral Sea battle, and the 4 June battle. They judged that at best one carrier might remain, & that likely damaged.

    Now a couple thoughts on how the BB would have been deployed on 3-4 June.

    USN doctrine had changed drastically with the carriers now operating together in a unified group. The remaining battle line was not fast enough to manuver with the carrier group. I am guessing the BB group would have been seperate but near the carrier group. close enough fighter cover was practical, but far enough away it could manuver tactically without interferance. Perhaps a few miles to the east of the carrier group during daylight. At night I'm thinking the positions would be reversed so the surface ships would screen the carriers & other support ships.

    So, with these assumptions for the USN and probable facts for the IJN how might the battle develop during the night of 4-5 June & during the following day?

  • #2
    Is it Bad Breath?

    Hmm.. totally ridiculous propositions generate dozens of pages of posts. Something nominally plausible gets zilch. Am I on the wrong discussion board? Not feeling the love here.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      Hmm.. totally ridiculous propositions generate dozens of pages of posts. Something nominally plausible gets zilch. Am I on the wrong discussion board? Not feeling the love here.
      It's the thread title.
      Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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      • #4
        The US battleships that might have been available for Midway were all old, slow and no match for the IJN in a nightfight in June 1942. The only fast battleship that might have been available, North Carolina, didn't arrive in the Pacific until June. It is highly doubtful she could have sortied in time for the battle.

        In a night engagement, the US battleships would have been anihilated. With Yorktown sunk, all but 2 or 3 of the TBD's lost, depleted SBD squadrons might have inflicted heavy damage on the IJN fleet in a day engagement.

        I'm fairly certain Fletcher and Spruance would have resisted bringing along the old, slow BB's. They would have been more targets for the F4F's to protect and posed a serious risk to losing the element of surprise.

        It's debatable weather or not Yamamoto should have pursued and tried to force a surface engagement. It's not debatable weather or not Fletcher should have requested New Mexico, Mississippi, Colorado, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Maryland. They would have been fat, slow targets in June 1942. By the time of Surigao Straight, the old BB's were ready to take on the IJN at night... but not 6 months after Pearl Harbor.
        Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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        • #5
          Conversely the IJN warships were spread across three different groups. A look at their relative positions when the order to pursue eastwards came would indicate how many would be concentrated for a night engagement. Any US surface force would be split only two ways, with a bulk in the surface engagement group & a few cruisers & destroyers escorting the carriers.

          Second question would be the number of modern cruisers accompanying the surface group. In terms of state of the art firepower those would have considerable weight. Question is how many would there be.

          Third question would be the effect of USN radar in the open North Pacific where they had been training. One of the handicapps in the Solomons was the difference in weather. The numerous thunderstorms created conditions the operators were not trained for. Neither would there be islands masking the approach of any Japanese ships.

          Fourth question, relating to radar again, would be the communications arraignments between the operators & division commanders. In the Solomons the USN shot itself in the foot by having the primary equipment & operators on separated ships from the commanders. Adm Lee aboard the Washington was a exception in the Solomons. Would this same problem exist aboard the US BB & cruisers in June, or was the connection between the radar sets & commanders better in the BB?

          Fifth concerns surprise. At Savo Island &the USN was caught unaware, with the key commander absent, & a division commanders was cut out of communication at the start. Simlarly at Tassafaronga the Japanese managed a ambush in restricted waters. At Balikapan and three other battles @ Guadalcannal the USN was not surprised & managed to turn the IJN force around or cause significant damage. So, I don't think it is a given the US surface force is a lamb among wolves.

          There area lot of variables in those questions, which could take events either way.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
            It's the thread title.
            Too subtle?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
              Conversely the IJN warships were spread across three different groups. A look at their relative positions when the order to pursue eastwards came would indicate how many would be concentrated for a night engagement. Any US surface force would be split only two ways, with a bulk in the surface engagement group & a few cruisers & destroyers escorting the carriers.
              Let's assume the US BB's ran into the remnants of First Carrier Striking Force...
              Support Group
              8th Cruiser Division: Rear Admiral Hiroaki Abe in Tone
              • CA Tone - Captain Tametsugu Okada (3 E13A1 Type 0, 2 E8N2 Type 95)
              • CA Chikuma - Captain Keizo Komura (3 E13A1 Type 0, 2 E8N2 Type 95)

              3rd Battleship Division, 2nd Section: RADM Tamotsu Takama in Haruna
              • Haruna - RADM Takama (3 E8N2 Type 95)
              • Kirishima - Captain Sanji Iwabuchi (3 E8N2 Type 95)

              Screening Force
              10th Destroyer Squadron - Rear Admiral Susumu Kimura in Nagara
              • CL Nagara - Captain Toshio Naoi
              • 4th Destroyer Division - Captain Kōsaku Aruga (Nowaki - Commander Magataro Koga, Arashi - Commander Yusumasa Watanabe, Hagikaze - Commander Juichi Iwagami, Maikaze - Commander Seiji Nakasugi)
              • 10th Destroyer Division- Captain Toshio Abe (Kazagumo - Commander Masayoshi Yoshida, Yūgumo - Commander Shigeo Semba, Makigumo - Commander Isamu Fujita)
              • 17th Destroyer Division - Captain Masayuki Kitamura (Urakaze - Commander Nagayoshi Shiraishi, Isokaze - Commander Shunichi Toyoshima, Tanikaze - Commander Motoi Katsumi, Hamakaze - Commander Tsuneo Orita)


              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midway...le#First_Fleet

              A few months later, off Guadalcanal, the brand new battleship, USS Washington sank Kirishima in a gun fight; but USS South Dakota was damaged badly and several DD's lost. The US Navy fared very poorly in the early night actions off Guadalcanal (e.g. Savo Island).

              I just don't think any combination of pre-war US BB's could have defeated the IJN Support Group, much less Yamamoto's First Fleet Main Force with Yamato, Mutsu and Nagto.

              On top of that, one of the reasons Fletcher chose to not pursue the IJN surface combatants was the fact that his DD's were running very low on fuel. The DD's screening the BB's would be in similar condition.

              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg
              Second question would be the number of modern cruisers accompanying the surface group. In terms of state of the art firepower those would have considerable weight. Question is how many would there be.
              Not enough... And IIRC, most of the newer cruisers were CLAA's (Atlanta, Juneau, etc.)

              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg
              Third question would be the effect of USN radar in the open North Pacific where they had been training. One of the handicapps in the Solomons was the difference in weather. The numerous thunderstorms created conditions the operators were not trained for. Neither would there be islands masking the approach of any Japanese ships.
              The radar would have worked better in the open ocean... But the crews had no experience in night-fighting.

              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg
              Fourth question, relating to radar again, would be the communications arraignments between the operators & division commanders. In the Solomons the USN shot itself in the foot by having the primary equipment & operators on separated ships from the commanders. Adm Lee aboard the Washington was a exception in the Solomons. Would this same problem exist aboard the US BB & cruisers in June, or was the connection between the radar sets & commanders better in the BB?
              Don't know. Where was Lee at the time of Midway? He clearly seemed to have a firm grasp of surface actions right from the start.

              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg
              Fifth concerns surprise. At Savo Island &the USN was caught unaware, with the key commander absent, & a division commanders was cut out of communication at the start. Simlarly at Tassafaronga the Japanese managed a ambush in restricted waters. At Balikapan and three other battles @ Guadalcannal the USN was not surprised & managed to turn the IJN force around or cause significant damage. So, I don't think it is a given the US surface force is a lamb among wolves.
              Maybe not a lamb... But not much more than a Sheepdog puppy in June 1942. By the end of 1942, that Sheepdog had matured; but it was still a puppy at Midway.

              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg
              There area lot of variables in those questions, which could take events either way.
              Lee, North Carolina and effective use of radar would have been the key variables for the USN. A close-in night fight would have gone badly. A stand-off engagement, maybe could have turned out OK.
              Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                Too subtle?
                Too obscure... Great topic though...
                Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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                • #9
                  Ok, for my next: WI Hitler had a big penis?

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                  • #10
                    Seriously, here is what appears to be the USN line up. Got this third hand, but the writer is fairly reliable.

                    a) Task Force 1. would have been concentrated, so: Colorado, Maryland, Tennessee, Idaho, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, along with Long Island, Porter, Aaron Ward, Cushing, and (presumably) Smith; attach Theobald's force and that adds Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Honolulu, St. Louis, McCall, and Gridley. Presume the 11 four-pipers stay in Alaskan waters, but maybe not.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                      Seriously, here is what appears to be the USN line up. Got this third hand, but the writer is fairly reliable.
                      I'd take that battle line in 1944 at Surigao Straight with newer DD's, better torpedoes and more experienced crews... but not at Midway in 1942 with old DD's, bad torpedoes and inexperienced crews. Bringing the four-stackers along wouldn't make things any worse.

                      The old BB's had top speeds of 21 kts. The old IJN BB's could make 30 kts.
                      Last edited by The Doctor; 04 Feb 16, 06:27.
                      Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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                      • #12
                        Twenty years ago my naval gamer buds would have put this on the table w/o a second thought. Now they are old, dead, & cant remember which shelf the ships are on or their refrence books. I'll see if any have charts showing accurate positions & courses for when the reversal order was given.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          Twenty years ago my naval gamer buds would have put this on the table w/o a second thought. Now they are old, dead, & cant remember which shelf the ships are on or their refrence books. I'll see if any have charts showing accurate positions & courses for when the reversal order was given.
                          It would be a good gaming exercise...
                          Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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                          • #14
                            It kind of looks like it. About all I can do now is some scrap paper calculations.

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                            • #15
                              The US battle line at the time had seven older BB available. All of these were fitted with SC and SG radar along with Mk 3 FC radar.
                              This line could make, realistically, about 15 knots for any long period of time with short bursts to say 18 or so.
                              With the exception of Pennsylvania, they were actually some pretty vicious battleships. The three Idaho class present had more armor than any Japanese BB except Yamato. The Maryland and Colorado had 16" /45 guns that were considerably better than the ones on Mutsu or Nagato. The rest of the line had 12 14" guns each firing a better shell than any of the other Japanese BB had.

                              Had the IJN closed and the US battle line been closer to Midway the most likely engagement of the two would be at night unless the Japanese carriers were neutralized or not present.

                              As far as a fight between the two lines:

                              The Japanese have just one BB that really exceeds those the US has present: Yamato.
                              Other than that, their line is really pretty crappy. The four Kongo class are so armor deficient that they're going to be put out of action by any hits they suffer pretty quickly.
                              The Hyuga and Fuso classes have weak deck armor in particular and even their turret and barbette armor is pretty poor (11 - 12" max). The deck armor is 2 to 3" at most.
                              Compare that to any US one present other than Pennsylvania:

                              4 to 6" of deck armor, 18" turret faces, 13.5" barbettes.

                              These are some heavily armored ships. They are also much more compact in size making them smaller targets.

                              The Japanese speed advantage is only useful for disengaging from battle. It would prove meaningless in trying to engage the US.

                              The other big US advantage is in shooting. US BB proved repeatedly accurate and quick to get on target throughout the war. Japanese BB demonstrated pretty poor gunnery in every engagement they fought.

                              I doubt that torpedoes would make the difference up. It didn't anywhere else except at First Savo Island where the Japanese had surprise and were firing from relatively short range.

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