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  • What if Hawaii had radar stations in 1941?

    What if, in 1941 the Hawaiian Islands had been protected by a chain of radar stations similar to the type that watched over England's south coast.

    As I understand it, there was one mobile radar station operating on December 7, 1941. The operator of which, dismissed the approaching attack force as a flight of returning B-17's. A chain of radar stations linked to a central command, couldn't possibly make the same mistake, or could they?

    If given enough time, the element of surprise is lost and the attackers beaten off with heavy losses, would the United States still go to war? The Japanese sent two officials to deliver their intent to wage war but mis-timed it.

    With the attack thwarted and Admiral Kimmel still in command, how would the Admirals Nimitz, Halsey and Spruance have fought against the Japanese, for instance a search and destroy camapaign against the Japanese carriers?
    Hitler played Golf. His bunker shot was a hole in one.

  • #2
    It was not the operators that decided the Japanese attack force was a flight of B 17's. It was a duty officer back at , IIRC Hickam Field.

    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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    • #3
      I think because the US was at "peace" it would have likely still be discounted until it was too late. At most they would have gotten an hour or so notice it would have taken that long for word to reach somebody who could make the decisions.
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      • #4
        Not much would have changed IMHO

        The Americans still would not have had sufficient air resources to launch a serious search and attack raid on the Japanese carrier fleet.

        And the Americans would still have gone to war. Why wouldn't they? The Japanese had attacked them.

        The only difference would have been probably higher Japanese combat aircraft losses and perhaps a few less obsolete American battleship lost. Perhaps some of the bombers might have gotten away. Can't think of much else.

        On the other hand......what if the Japanese had attacked the USSR instead and tried to maintain peace with the US?

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        • #5
          The Japanese would have suffered much higher aircraft losses because there would have been a couple of hundred P-40's, P-36's and F4F's waiting for them.

          On the down side for the US...Kimmel might have sortied the BB's to attempt to engage the IJN...That would have been catastrophic. Worse...Halsey would have probably tried to engage Nagumo with the Enterprise task force. That would likely have cost the USN a CV and a couple of CA's.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
            The Japanese would have suffered much higher aircraft losses because there would have been a couple of hundred P-40's, P-36's and F4F's waiting for them.

            On the down side for the US...Kimmel might have sortied the BB's to attempt to engage the IJN...That would have been catastrophic. Worse...Halsey would have probably tried to engage Nagumo with the Enterprise task force. That would likely have cost the USN a CV and a couple of CA's.
            Could they have got many of those aircraft armed and in the air in time to do any good with only an hour or so advanced radar warning on a sunday morning while at "peace"?

            I would be surprised.

            Remember during BoB the planes were sitting armed and fueled with the pilots standing by ready to go.

            If the Hawaii had been alreted on Saturday totally different ballgame.
            FoxNEWS "The World is unfair and we are running scared"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PatBC View Post
              Could they have got many of those aircraft armed and in the air in time to do any good with only an hour or so advanced radar warning on a sunday morning while at "peace"?

              I would be surprised.

              Remember during BoB the planes were sitting armed and fueled with the pilots standing by ready to go.

              If the Hawaii had been alreted on Saturday totally different ballgame.
              I think they could have. A lot of fighters were able to get airbrone between the first and second wave of IJN attacks.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
                I think they could have. A lot of fighters were able to get airbrone between the first and second wave of IJN attacks.
                25 US aircraft got in the air to defend.

                In the twenty-five sorties flown, USAF Historical Study No.85 credits six pilots with ten planes destroyed: 1st Lt Lewis M. Sanders (P-36) and 2nd Lts Philip M Rasmussen (P-36), Gordon H. Sterling Jr. (P-36, killed in action), Harry W. Brown (P-36), Kenneth M. Taylor (P-40, 2), and George S. Welch (P-40, 4). Three of the P-36 kills were not verified by the Japanese and may have been shot down by naval anti-aircraft fire.

                Of the 402[7] American aircraft in Hawaii, 188 were destroyed and 159 damaged,[7] 155 of them on the ground. Almost none were actually ready to take off to defend the base. Of 33 PBYs in Hawaii, 24 were destroyed, and six others damaged beyond repair. (The three on patrol returned undamaged.) Friendly fire brought down several U.S. planes on top of that, including some from an inbound flight from USS Enterprise. Japanese attacks on barracks killed additional personnel.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_...r#cite_note-35


                Despite Ben Aflicks dumb movie, getting an unready aircraft in the air is not quick.
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                • #9
                  Doc,

                  It takes a while to light the boilers in Battleships and to get enough pressure up to sail. I think the USS California was able to sail because they were having an inspection that morning and they had steam in their boilers. We were lucky this ship did not sink in the channel and block it! Destroyers and other small ships are easier.

                  Pruitt
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                    Doc,

                    It takes a while to light the boilers in Battleships and to get enough pressure up to sail. I think the USS California was able to sail because they were having an inspection that morning and they had steam in their boilers. We were lucky this ship did not sink in the channel and block it! Destroyers and other small ships are easier.

                    Pruitt


                    It takes two hours for a pre-WWII battleship to go from "cold iron" to raising enough steam in their boilers for manuverabilty status. The reason that the USS Nevada was able to sortie at 0845 Hours was because the Officer of the Deck during the last peacetime watch, Ensign Joseph Taussig, saw from the ship's log that the Nevada had used the same boiler to provide the ship's electricity load during its entire stay in port and as a result, he switched the power load to a different boiler. When the Japanese attacked, the Nevada still had two hot boilers online that soon were able to provide propulsion.

                    It was standard operating procedure for a battleship to keep one boiler lit and online to provide necessary plant services and power for the ship while tied up in port.

                    The USS California indeed was scheduled for an Admiral's Inspection on Monday Morning and as a result, she had her double bottom opened up for that inspection. That was why she sank moored at her berth after only a few torpedo hits. There was no way for her to gain full watertight integrity with her double bottom opened.

                    The Opana Point Radar could have given US Forces on Oahu only an hour's worth of warning time had their sightings been taken seriously. There would be plenty of time to get some US fighterplanes scrambled and into the air, while other aircraft were dispersed into revetments and hangars. However, only the destroyers and a few cruisers would be able to sortie from Pearl Harbor. The Battleships would still be gaining a head of steam to get underway at the time of the attack. They would be at General Quarters and with full, watertight integrity established, while their anti-aircraft batteries would be fully manned and ready, with their ammunition train from the magazines in place.
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                    • #11
                      Admiral Husband Kimmel was a very aggressive. offensive minded, Admiral. He was responsible for sending the US Aircraft Carrier's Lexington and Enterprise to deliver Marine Divebombers to Midway Island and Wildcat Fighterplanes to Wake Island the week before the Japanese attack.

                      He would have undoubtedy sent the Pacific Fleet to Wake Island's relief, rather than allow it to be successfully invaded by the Japanese like his interum successor, Admiral Pye did. Kimmel probably would have fought the war in the very same manner that Nimitz later did. Kimmel's entire Staff became Nimitz's when he took over.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
                        Admiral Husband Kimmel was a very aggressive. offensive minded, Admiral. He was responsible for sending the US Aircraft Carrier's Lexington and Enterprise to deliver Marine Divebombers to Midway Island and Wildcat Fighterplanes to Wake Island the week before the Japanese attack.

                        He would have undoubtedy sent the Pacific Fleet to Wake Island's relief, rather than allow it to be successfully invaded by the Japanese like his interum successor, Admiral Pye did. Kimmel probably would have fought the war in the very same manner that Nimitz later did. Kimmel's entire Staff became Nimitz's when he took over.
                        He had sent a relief fleet to wake. They were only a day or so away when they got orders to return to Pearl. Had they continued they would have been able to catch a couple of Japanese destroyers and cruisers without air cover.
                        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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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tsar View Post
                          He had sent a relief fleet to wake. They were only a day or so away when they got orders to return to Pearl. Had they continued they would have been able to catch a couple of Japanese destroyers and cruisers without air cover.
                          Kimmel planned and organized the Wake Island relief expedition. Pye screwed everything up from the get-go and eventually cancelled it. Had the Aircraft Carrier USS Saratoga's task force been reinforced by the Lexington and Enterprise's task forces, they might have caught two fat, Japanese Aircraft Carriers ripe for the picking close offshore. Instead, Admiral Pye cancelled the operation and the Marine Garrison on Wake Island went into Japanese POW cages for the duration. Pye was never again given an important naval command assignment during the war. Even Nimitz thought that Pye had no guts and took an inordinent amount of council in his fears.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PatBC View Post
                            25 US aircraft got in the air to defend.






                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_...r#cite_note-35


                            Despite Ben Aflicks dumb movie, getting an unready aircraft in the air is not quick.
                            Twenty-five got airborne after the first wave hit Hickam, Wheeler and Ewa. George Welch and Ken Taylor alone nailed 6 IJN planes. If twenty five could get up in the middle of a surprise attack...I think at least a few dozen could have been airborne with an hour or more warning. If the Hawai'ian Islands had been covered by a series of actively manned RADAR stations and had the USAAC effectively used that system, a CAP would have almost certainly been up and waiting for the first wave. Pilots would have been alerted, planes armed and fueled, anti-aircraft batteries manned, B-17's, B-18's and PBY's might have even been launched (or at least prepped) for air-sea searches in the direction of the approaching aircraft.
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                            • #15
                              Nevertheless...nothing significant changes. More Japanese planes shot down...perhaps a few less obsolete ships sunk. Aircraft carriers still get away. Fuel storage still untouched. ....America and Japan at war. Unless the American air force manages to find and sink an aircraft carrier or two, I don't see much affecting the overall course of the war. IMHO

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