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Something goes right for the Japanese at Midway

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  • Something goes right for the Japanese at Midway

    If there was ever a more one sided battle in terms of luck, I would like to know what it was. If just one of countless things had gone right for Japan at Midway Yamamoto might have pulled off exactly what he planned, the destruction of the U.S. Fleet.

    Lets start with a simple one, no catapult malfunction on the CA Tone. The exact area where the American fleet was is the last to be patroled by recon. If it had launced on time, Nagumo could have launced against us instead of cluttering his ships with ordinance.

    If Genda had been at his duties his influence would have given Nagumo backbone that he seemed to lack in going back and forth about how to arm and attack.

    Japan had been able to recon Pearl Harbor to determine what ships were there.

    Submarine deployment was made days earlier and found the American carriers at Point Luck.

    etc etc etc
    "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
    It doesn't matter in the long run. Do a search for the hundreds of similar threads and read them to find out why.

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    • #3
      Actually Coral Sea might have made a bigger "What if?" difference...

      If the Japanese had taken Port Moresby and completed the airfields on Guadalcanal...They could have seriously threatened the lines of supply and communication between the US and Australia...The IJN may have then been able to spring a Midway-like ambush within range of land-based aircraft in the Solomons.

      Ultimately the industrial power of the US would have prevailed...But the war would have lasted maybe a year or two longer if the US Navy had lost four or five CV's at Coral Sea and in the Midway-equivalent instead of just two and the IJN only lost one or two instead of four.
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      • #4
        I know midway has probably been what if'd to death but

        Its still the most important battle fought by the U.S. and has the most possibilies for alternate timeline discussion.
        "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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        • #5
          Originally posted by mojolocobell99 View Post
          Its still the most important battle fought by the U.S. and has the most possibilies for alternate timeline discussion.
          All a loss at Midway does is push back the US vicotry in the Pacific a while. With the sheer numbers of planes and ships being produced by the United States and the lack of production ability by Japan, even a complete victory by Japan at Midway (all 3 US carriers sunk and Midway lost with no Japanese carriers sunk) by late 1943 the United States once again has more carriers and carrier based planes than the Japanese and most likely more escort warships of all classes too. A very good article to read showing this can be found at CombinedFleet.com at this link,
          http://www.combinedfleet.com/economic.htm
          About half way through the article there is a good table showing how these numbers play out.

          For my money, this interesting question might be can the Japanese make things more difficult for the US by abandoning Guadacanal from the outset, pulling back their forces and shortening their lines of defense and utilizing there subs more in there traditional way of attacking the enemy battle fleets as they approach the home islands? Also, if they do not go after Midway in the first place, how would the addition of those 4 top line carriers and their planes and crews impact the battle for Guadalcanal?
          Last edited by cst784; 06 Apr 09, 11:39.
          Bill

          "God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy"

          Billy Currington

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          • #6
            Actually while a lot did, not all went well for the U.S. at Midway. For example the air strikes could have been better coordinated and the U. S. Midway bomber attacks not ineffective.

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            • #7
              The Japanese were about an hour from being able to launch their strikes when torpedo planes showed up from the US carriers. The Japanese CAP system was far too rudimentary to handle multiple raids at varying altitudes and coming from varying directions. Nothing is going to change these factors.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by cst784 View Post
                All a loss at Midway does is push back the US vicotry in the Pacific a while. With the sheer numbers of planes and ships being produced by the United States and the lack of production ability by Japan, even a complete victory by Japan at Midway (all 3 US carriers sunk and Midway lost with no Japanese carriers sunk) by late 1943 the United States once again has more carriers and carrier based planes than the Japanese and most likely more escort warships of all classes too. A very good article to read showing this can be found at CombinedFleet.com at this link,
                http://www.combinedfleet.com/economic.htm
                About half way through the article there is a good table showing how these numbers play out.

                For my money, this interesting question might be can the Japanese make things more difficult for the US by abandoning Guadacanal from the outset, pulling back their forces and shortening their lines of defense and utilizing there subs more in there traditional way of attacking the enemy battle fleets as they approach the home islands? Also, if they do not go after Midway in the first place, how would the addition of those 4 top line carriers and their planes and crews impact the battle for Guadalcanal?
                True, however would the Japanese conquest of Midway have made Hawaii untenable? Could the Japanese have attacked Hawaii by October or November 1942? If so, America would not have been able to reinforce the islands. Without Hawaii; could we have been able to dislodge the Japanese from the Central Pacific at all?
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                • #9
                  Had Midway been occupied the Japanese could not have used it to harass Hawaii. Only the longest range Betty's could reach the Hawaiian Islands and with bomb loads too light to matter. These bombers would not have had escorts and the US P-40s and P-38s would have torn them to shreds.

                  Furthermore, by late summer 1942 the US defences were far beyond anything the Japanese could have overcome. Had the Japanese carriers approached within range of the US land bases the fleet would have been mauled. Midway would have been a Pyrrhic victory.
                  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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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 2nd Rangers View Post
                    True, however would the Japanese conquest of Midway have made Hawaii untenable? Could the Japanese have attacked Hawaii by October or November 1942? If so, America would not have been able to reinforce the islands. Without Hawaii; could we have been able to dislodge the Japanese from the Central Pacific at all?
                    Not likely, as Midway was too far away. The Japanese had no aircraft with enough range to make it to Hawaii and back to Midway. The only aircraft the Japanese had planned to be kept at Midway, once they'd won the battle, were fighter planes.

                    October or November, 1942 would be far too late for the Japanse to do anything of a military nature to Hawaii, as the islands had already been heavily reinforced and the Japanese did not have the transport, logistics and support ships needed to pull of such a massive invasion undertaking.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cst784 View Post
                      For my money, this interesting question might be can the Japanese make things more difficult for the US by abandoning Guadacanal from the outset, pulling back their forces and shortening their lines of defense and utilizing there subs more in there traditional way of attacking the enemy battle fleets as they approach the home islands?
                      That would in the short run save a lot of the remaining trained and experinced pilots. The air battles over the Eastern Solomon islands did as much if not more damage to Japans airpower as Midway. With those pilots preserved the new graduates of the flight school would have a larger group of experinced pilots to train them for combat. So, in 1943 the airbattles would have more skill on the Japanese side.

                      Originally posted by cst784 View Post
                      Also, if they do not go after Midway in the first place, how would the addition of those 4 top line carriers and their planes and crews impact the battle for Guadalcanal?
                      If there is no Midway victory for the US there would be no Guadacannal battle as we know it. The attack was based on the estimate that the Japnese were weakened enough that a counter offensive had a chance.

                      Through the remainder of 1942 and into 1943 the US fleet would continue marking time by raiding Japanese bases and stalking a chance for a serious blow. Eventually the new Essex class carriers are available and so are tens of thousands of well trained aircrew.

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                      • #12
                        Here is another point to make though. If Midway had been lost and the US Pacific Fleet defeated again in such a manner so soon after the disaster that was Pearl Harbour leaving for a time anyway America fairly impotent in the Pacific. What effect might this have had on Government policy. The public would have though Hawaii is next and the West Coast. We in hindsight can tear that idea apart as is the same with the Sealion scenario but those that lived those times did not know this and believed it posible.Public morale wouldn't have been good with the idea that the West Coast is open to attack and the concept of Germany First may well have been reversed. That is a history altering decision.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                          Here is another point to make though. If Midway had been lost and the US Pacific Fleet defeated again in such a manner so soon after the disaster that was Pearl Harbour leaving for a time anyway America fairly impotent in the Pacific. What effect might this have had on Government policy. The public would have though Hawaii is next and the West Coast. We in hindsight can tear that idea apart as is the same with the Sealion scenario but those that lived those times did not know this and believed it posible.Public morale wouldn't have been good with the idea that the West Coast is open to attack and the concept of Germany First may well have been reversed. That is a history altering decision.
                          A look at what the plans for this situation existed would provide some indication. There are hints scattered in the historys. One of Eisenhowers biographys (G Perret's 'EisenHower') refers to this question as Eisenhowers months on staff duty in Washington are discussed. Similarly there are hints in Marshalls and MacAurthurs biographys. I expect it would not take much digging to find some magazine artical or book chapter that discusses directly the plans or staff estimates prepared and debated for this situation.

                          A look at the reaction and adjustment of plans from 1940 tthrough 1942 can give another clue. There was a lot of change and give & take in priorities and allocations. Over two years the plans went from seperate War Plans Black and Orange to a series of consolidated Rainbow plans. The original Orange plan for not reinforcing the Phillipines was altered and a attempt to build a army there was made. After 7 December 41 the plan for imeadiatly sending two corps to Britian was cut back to one corps and the number of USAAF aircraft proposed for Europe/Africa were reduced. The proposed Operation Gymnast was posthoned, and postphoned again as ships and aircraft were diverted to the Pacific to deal with the continuing emergency there.

                          To say what the decisions of King, Marshall, and Rossevelt would have been were Midway a defeat I'd wnat to seen what the contingency plans actually were and what the internal staff arguments were as wrtitten in the memos and reports writtn by and for King, Marshal, and Roosevelt,

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                            Here is another point to make though. If Midway had been lost and the US Pacific Fleet defeated again in such a manner so soon after the disaster that was Pearl Harbour leaving for a time anyway America fairly impotent in the Pacific. What effect might this have had on Government policy. The public would have though Hawaii is next and the West Coast. We in hindsight can tear that idea apart as is the same with the Sealion scenario but those that lived those times did not know this and believed it posible.Public morale wouldn't have been good with the idea that the West Coast is open to attack and the concept of Germany First may well have been reversed. That is a history altering decision.
                            Its a fair point but 'Germany first' only truly matters from June 6th 1944.

                            Before this the US are mainly hitting Germany with B-17's and B24's and in the Pacific they need carriers, subs and marines. Its only when either theatre needs land forces that there's a debate about where those forces come from. In 1943 aircraft like P47's are only any use in Europe, likewise US tank production will mostly be heading to Europe too as there is limited need for armour until Japanese islands are invaded and even then all thats needed is small quantities of support tanks.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by peter_sym View Post
                              Its a fair point but 'Germany first' only truly matters from June 6th 1944.

                              Before this the US are mainly hitting Germany with B-17's and B24's and in the Pacific they need carriers, subs and marines. Its only when either theatre needs land forces that there's a debate about where those forces come from. In 1943 aircraft like P47's are only any use in Europe, likewise US tank production will mostly be heading to Europe too as there is limited need for armour until Japanese islands are invaded and even then all thats needed is small quantities of support tanks.

                              Yes that a fair point and its well made. Im kind've thinking more on the lines of public perception. Hey look, our navy has been battered by the Japs, theres no stopping them, Hawaii is next, then the West Coast is ripe for invasion ( this was a genuine fear) we need our coastline defending and your sending off all our stuff to help those Europeans. What about about the home front? What are you going to do about it Mr. President?!!!
                              That sort of thing.

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