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  • British refuse to provide requested fleet support

    When our inteligence service discovered Japans plan to invade Midway the United States made a formal request to Britain to provide warships to support our small pacific fleet. Even though most of the German and Italian navies had been either destroyed or severely damaged, the Brithish refuse to send ships to our aid. If elements of the Home Fleet had been dispatched, most importantly its battleships, the combined Fleet we could have sent to Midway should have been enough to cripple the entire Japanese Fleet and shorten the war by at least a year.
    "America has gone to hell since John Wayne died". - Al Bundy

    "One finger is all any real American needs"

    "A gesture is worth a thousand words - but you usually only need two"

  • #2
    My summation of midway (i'm none too hot on the pacific theater), is that primarily it was a carrier battle so therefore battleships would not have played too great a role. If the RN had been able to provide any carriers (at least one), then maybe the battle would have been more devastating to the Jap fleet and therefore having a greater impact throughout the rest of the war.

    edit: Battleships would have been useful in a follow up engagement once carriers were disposed of but still i see the battle being dominated by aircraft.
    "In Critical and baffling situations, it is always best to return to first principle and simple action." Sir Winston Churchill.

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    • #3
      Guns would have finnished them off

      Its true that the first day of Midway was a carrier battle, but with all jap fleet carriers destroyed by June 5, and the decimation of the American carrier squadrons, it would have fallen to gunships to finnish the battle. While the japanese were spread all over the area, the combined allied fleet could have easily destroyed any one part of their battlegroups, saving lives and shortening the war.
      "America has gone to hell since John Wayne died". - Al Bundy

      "One finger is all any real American needs"

      "A gesture is worth a thousand words - but you usually only need two"

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      • #4
        Exactly what British capitol ships were avaialble, and could they and their support squadrons have arrived in time? To have a chance of doing anything decisive the British battle fleet must have parity with the Japanese capitol ships. Was that possible with the ships avaiable? The US battleships were not sent along with the carriers, just a few crusiers and destroyers. What specific advantages would the British ships available have over the US battle line?

        Midway was a air battle becasue admirals Nimitz and Spruance choose to exclude significant surface forces. This may have something to do with the pounding the Allied surface ships took from the Japanese in the naval battles near Java, and the fate of the Repulse and Prince of Wales from air attack. At the start of the battle no one was willing to predict that the Japanese air power would be crippled in one afternoon.

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        • #5
          Quality vs Quantity

          While the japanese did have a total numeric superiority in all ship classes, they were spread out across the northern pacific. American battleships were either being repaired from Pearl Harbor or still working up in shipyards. The British had King George V class (arguably the best built under treaty limmitations) and Nelson class (second only to Yamato in firepower). The Panama Canal could have gotten these ships into position in time. There were also elements of the Far East and Mediteranean Fleets that could have joined. With all japanese forces available being pulled into Midway and Aleutians, most heavy units could be detached to contest those operations.
          "America has gone to hell since John Wayne died". - Al Bundy

          "One finger is all any real American needs"

          "A gesture is worth a thousand words - but you usually only need two"

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          • #6
            Brits actually send ships in December 1941, Repulse and Prince of Wales and both were lost to Japanese aviation. It is unlikely that RN would have sent BBs without proper air cover. And by this time CVs were badly needed in North Atlantic and Med.

            Even after Pearl Harbor, USN still had BB like USS Tenessee had took only minor damages, USS New Mexico or USS Washington to cite some. Americans had even a more than capable battleship fleet commander with admiral Wills A. Lee.

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            • #7
              At the point of Midway, the Uboat menace was at its height and causing serious problems( Churchill said it was the only thing that kept him up at night) and the med was a vital battle ground. Im not suprised not too much was sent over.

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              • #8
                Additionally, the Royal navy had to screen for the tirpitz attempting to sally into the Atlantic. This required at the least, 5 cruisers (for picket duty) and a battleforce of at least 3 new battleships.

                In the Med, the Italian navy still had its ships, while weakend and not sallying forth since toranto, they still posed a significant threat.

                Battleships were not really that involved with convoy escorts, there are a good few cases of them assisting, but that was mainly to discourage curiser surface raiders.

                Additionally, trying to use gunpower at midway was a very very bad idea, since the japanise had 7 battleships and over 250 support vessels, many of which were warships. In the unlikley event that the allies could match on gunpower, as soon as the sun went down, the Allies would be in serous trouble in a gunbattle.

                Towards the end of the war, the RN did dispatch a task force to help retake the pacific, i seem to remember them being employed somewhere around the time of leyte gulf...
                Who we are is but a stepping stone to what we may become.

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                • #9
                  The RN actually loaned the USN one of its Fleet carriers, HMS Victorious , just after Midway, to support the USS Saratogo as part of Task Force 14 in the invasion of Munda, New Georgia during May-July 1943.
                  She returned to the Atlantic, when replaced by the USS Essex.

                  http://www.fleetairarmarchive.net/Ships/Victorious.html

                  ps, a major problem for the RN when it later formed the British Pacific fleet in late 44-5 was logistics, it had major problems with refueling and replenishing while at sea ( the USN were the undisputed masters in this field) this greatly hindered its effectiveness in the pacific.
                  In early 43 I suspect the problems would have been far worse with the RN still being so heavily committed in the Med and Atlantic
                  Last edited by redcoat; 16 Jul 08, 06:04.

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                  • #10
                    post 41' i would guess the RN would indeed have large logistacal problems, since their main bases by then would have been taken by the japanise
                    Who we are is but a stepping stone to what we may become.

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                    • #11
                      USS Robin, a little know fact of WWII. I think this comes as a surprise to most Americans. I was when I first read the story many years ago.

                      HP
                      "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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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Greasel_burger View Post
                        Additionally, trying to use gunpower at midway was a very very bad idea, since the japanise had 7 battleships and over 250 support vessels, many of which were warships. In the unlikley event that the allies could match on gunpower, as soon as the sun went down, the Allies would be in serous trouble in a gunbattle.
                        Well Mojo is partially correct. The IJN battleships were not concentrated in a single squadron. Yamoto had his best four or five with him and the others with the landing forces, or the logisitcs train. I'm too presssed for time to walk across the room to look this up. On the third day of the battle Yamamoto also had a fifth carrier with the amphib fleet and two more with the Alteutians diversionary operation. The latter were less than fourtyeight hours away, and Yamamoto did order them south to join his fleet late on the second day.

                        As far as night battles go the Royal Navy proved to have a lot of skill at this Exactly how it compared to the IJN I cant say. In the latter half of 1942 in the Solomons campaign the USN was abloe to catch up with the IJN in night fighting skill. I suspect the IJN would have had a nasty suprise were it to run into a RN battle line at night in 1942.

                        Sending three or four Brit battleships, crusiers, and escourts around the globe on a few weeks notice, for imeadiate battle, sounds fraught with logistics problems. A engineering casualty that would ordinarily not be a problem in a Brit shipyard could very well not be quickly repaired in Oahu.

                        Then there are serious comunications and command problems lacking any workup. In the Atlantic it took weeks for a USN or RN destroyer to operate effectively with the other navy on convoy escourt. In Febuary and March 42 the ABDA combined fleet based in Indonesia was nearly ineffective in battle due to communications problems. Even with liasion officers posted on each ship and extra radios on some command and control failed at critical moments.

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                        • #13
                          Carl,

                          As far as night battles go the Royal Navy proved to have a lot of skill at this Exactly how it compared to the IJN I cant say. In the latter half of 1942 in the Solomons campaign the USN was abloe to catch up with the IJN in night fighting skill. I suspect the IJN would have had a nasty suprise were it to run into a RN battle line at night in 1942.
                          I'm not sure that even by end of 1942 USN could compete with IJN night fighting skill. When the USS Washington sunk Kirishima it was mainly due to Lee ability to use proprely the radar, an exception rather than the rules for USN commanders by this date.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Metryll View Post
                            Carl,



                            I'm not sure that even by end of 1942 USN could compete with IJN night fighting skill. When the USS Washington sunk Kirishima it was mainly due to Lee ability to use proprely the radar, an exception rather than the rules for USN commanders by this date.
                            The use of radar was changing the conditions or rules. Rather than focus on the existing technology and methods, and worse try top mimic Japanese methods as some suggested, the USN utilised a new technology to jump ahead a step. Reading through the historys of the US fleet units in the SE Pacific, and Japanese accounts it is clear the capability had improved.

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                            • #15
                              I agree with you about later use of radar but battle of Tassafaronga was by Nov 1942 and saw 1 cruiser sunk and 3 badly mauled for a single Japanese destroyer. And this eventough that Tanaka had been detected and fired at using radar.

                              "The famed SG radars, though providing useful spotting, were too frequently used to track shell splashes"

                              http://www.microworks.net/pacific/ba...ssafaronga.htm

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