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  • #16
    Originally posted by Surrey View Post
    Thanks, from looking at your link there were more than enough fighters based at Pearl to stop the Japanese attack, if they had been on alert. Plus they would have had the critical fuel advantage of operating over their bases and not having to go far to fight.

    I wonder how different ww2 in the east would have turned out had it opened with the Japanese fleet being forced to flee back to Japan after doing minimal damage and losing a large proportion of its aircraft.
    Worst case is the USN gets caught in a naval battle near the Phillpines and loses a carrier or two there plus some BB & crusiers, trying to escourt a resupply convoy in.

    There is a popular idea that had the US battle fleet survived or escaped the PH attack it would have imeadiatly been sunk at sea rushing out to fight. The USN leaders understood the limits of the aging battle fleet, and were unsure of how effective their carriers might be. In the regular war games the USN leaders used for planning a Pacific the USN side often came out badly when early aggresive strategies were used. The course regarded as more sucessfull was of keeping at arms length, stalking the Japanese with raids, or battles at the extreme limts of Japanes reach. After US industry provided the quantity of weapons and logistics a general offensive would be undertaken.

    I am not exactly sure when the USN accepted its current battle fleet was not capable of decisive defeating the IJN at the outset of any likely war. Possibly as early as 1928, or perhaps earlier. In any case the attitude in the years just before WWII seems to have been one of enaging the IJN decisively only under obviously favorable circumstances. All this suggests that except for a few like Halsey the USN leaders of the Pacific fleet are going to exercise restraint. They still may error in many ways but a overconfident blind charge east is very unlikely.

    Preserving the bulk of the battle fleet means a half dozen aged BB available to operations in the South Pacific in 1942. Some will be sunk there and some will do some damage to the IJN as it fights its way to empty fuel bunkers. In the case of Midway, or the Coral Sea battles, or the several carrier raids of early 1942 the older BB will still be left to the rear covering the naval bases.

    By mid 1943 the cargo ships begain arriving in large quantity, along with the amphibious craft & later in the year the new Essex class carriers start becoming operational, so the general offensive will kick off as in OTL.
    Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 21 Aug 09, 18:31.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      Worst case is the USN gets caught in a naval battle near the Phillpines and loses a carrier or two there plus some BB & crusiers, trying to escourt a resupply convoy in.

      There is a popular idea that had the US battle fleet survived or escaped the PH attack it would have imeadiatly been sunk at sea rushing out to fight. The USN leaders understood the limits of the aging battle fleet, and were unsure of how effective their carriers might be. In the regular war games the USN leaders used for planning a Pacific the USN side often came out badly when early aggresive strategies were used. The course regarded as more sucessfull was of keeping at arms length, stalking the Japanese with raids, or battles at the extreme limts of Japanes reach. After US industry provided the quantity of weapons and logistics a general offensive would be undertaken.

      I am not exactly sure when the USN accepted its current battle fleet was not capable of decisive defeating the IJN at the outset of any likely war. Possibly as early as 1928, or perhaps earlier. In any case the attitude in the years just before WWII seems to have been one of enaging the IJN decisively only under obviously favorable circumstances. All this suggests that except for a few like Halsey the USN leaders of the Pacific fleet are going to exercise restraint. They still may error in many ways but a overconfident blind charge east is very unlikely.

      Preserving the bulk of the battle fleet means a half dozen aged BB available to operations in the South Pacific in 1942. Some will be sunk there and some will do some damage to the IJN as it fights its way to empty fuel bunkers. In the case of Midway, or the Coral Sea battles, or the several carrier raids of early 1942 the older BB will still be left to the rear covering the naval bases.

      By mid 1943 the cargo ships begain arriving in large quantity, along with the amphibious craft & later in the year the new Essex class carriers start becoming operational, so the general offensive will kick off as in OTL.
      So essentially the battleships sunk/crippled at Pearl would have been more of a hinderence than an asset if they had survived.

      I suppose the main effect of a Japanese defeat at Pearl would have been psychological, without a quick victory elsewhere perhaps the Japanese would have even sued for peace.
      "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Surrey View Post
        So essentially the battleships sunk/crippled at Pearl would have been more of a hinderence than an asset if they had survived.
        Consider the historical record.

        The BB still available after 7 December were kept out of the way, near PH or the west coast. They were not sent to the ADBA command trying to defend Indonesia, to accompany the raids on Japanese bases and convoys from December through April. In preparing for the Midway battle the BB based at PH were positioned to cover the US west coast (against a cruisier raid??). The BB did very little in the way of offensive action until the Solomons campaign picked up in the late summer of 1942.

        Originally posted by Surrey View Post
        I suppose the main effect of a Japanese defeat at Pearl would have been psychological, without a quick victory elsewhere perhaps the Japanese would have even sued for peace.
        Well, Japan still would have had the sucessfull landing in Maylasia/Thailand, sunk the British BB, and destroyed the US airforce on the Phillpines islands. I suspect the IJN leaders had some sort of contingency plan were the carrier strike repulsed. My best guess is the Battleship Admirals would have abruptly returned to acendency and both sides planned for more aggressive use of the BB. Particularly in the case of the IJN who had the faster BB fleet afloat that winter.

        But, again lets take a look at the historical IJN actions during the winter. The campaigns in the PI, Maylasia, an Indonesia were largely fought with land based army aircraft. Some naval air wings participated but those were mostly land based with few carrier ops. For the most part the Japans carriers hung out in Japan or the Central Pacific patroling or futilly milling about after the USN raids. Was not until Febuary that a major strike force was asembled for operation C in the Indian Ocean.

        With the US Pacific fleet largely undamaged probablly the IJN would have sought the decisive fleet action at sea later that winter. Where & how that might occur depends on exactly how and where the USN risks its BB, if they are risked at all. Perhaps a effort to resupply the PI would be the one action deemed worth the risk.

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        • #19
          The older battleships.

          ..would not have been of much use in early 1942 except to guard the Pacific Coast (which is what Nimitz had them do). An excellent book on the Battle of Midway is Shattered Sword by Jon Parshall and Tony Tully. It exposes many myths about Midway.
          Under Plan Rainbow Five, the USN would have done exactly as it did in the Pacific, march slowly across, taking airfields and setting up logistical support for the next invasion. This was to have been in the Central Pacific and the New Guinea campaign was not forseen but did draw from Japanese strength. Rabaul and Truk would have been bypassed.
          Only if Japan had lost two or more carriers of the Kido Butai would the war at sea in the Pacific been changed to any large degree. While Japanese pilots were more experienced in 1942, the USN made up for it with sheer guts and tenacity. Coral Sea and Midway were indicative of what the USN could do despite the almost total devastation of two torpedo squadrons.
          Peace is Our Profession

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          • #20
            I think another question is once Nimitz's avgas bunkers are low or nearly dry, do you put the rest of it in the still flyable tankers, then send the rest of the CAG to the beach?
            Following that, do you put 1940's avgas in the bunkers, then base a CAG of 1940's aircraft on Nimitz?

            If so, how many aircraft on the flight deck and the hanger deck could the Nimitz keep on board. I know the Essex-class hit 100 aircraft and the Midway class 150. Could the Nimitz hold 200 aircraft and still conduct flight ops?

            With Nimitz holding 200 and the rest of the CVs (Enterprise, Yorktown, Hornet, Saratoga, Ranger, Lexington) your talking about 600 A/C.

            Obviously the other CAG's would be sprinkled with "advisors" from Nimitz's now-beached CAG. Then even if FDR (with probably SecNavy concurring under two-man control) orders scorching Japan with Nimitz's nuc's, I can see the war with Japan lasting no more than 6 months.

            Which target cities in early 1942 would be worth hitting? Definitely not Tokyo (to paraphrase a line from a movie "somebody has to be there to turn this thing off.")

            For targets in Germany, I recommend Rastenburg (hopefully with one of his Fuehrer conferences in progress), Maybach I and II at Zoessen, Doenitz's HQ in France, a demostration one west of Rome for Il Duce'. Then the big city-busters at Kiel, Bremen and Hamburg to take out a good junk of the subs under construction (plus the training facilities).

            konev

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            • #21
              Truk and Rabaul would be good nuke targets...

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Konev View Post
                I think another question is once Nimitz's avgas bunkers are low or nearly dry, do you put the rest of it in the still flyable tankers, then send the rest of the CAG to the beach?
                Following that, do you put 1940's avgas in the bunkers, then base a CAG of 1940's aircraft on Nimitz...

                konev
                I think you're in the wrong thread...

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                • #23
                  There wasn't as much performance difference between the USN and IJN battleships as some of you think. The Nagato-class was a good ship but the Fuso and Ise-classes were nothing to write home about. The Kongo's got their speed from being battlecruisers, not battleships. They gave up armour for speed and as Jutland and the Hood showed, it wasn't a fair trade. The US battleships were a few knots slower but had significantly thicker armour than any of the IJN ships. I don't think the USN brass was as concerned about the Japanese battleships as the attached carriers...they had 6 vs 3-4 in the Pacific fleet.

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                  • #24
                    Johns,

                    This thread is an alternative to "FC" not the movie itself.

                    I posted alternatives to what possibl happen after 7 Dec.

                    konev

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                      There wasn't as much performance difference between the USN and IJN battleships as some of you think. The Nagato-class was a good ship but the Fuso and Ise-classes were nothing to write home about. The Kongo's got their speed from being battlecruisers, not battleships. They gave up armour for speed and as Jutland and the Hood showed, it wasn't a fair trade. The US battleships were a few knots slower but had significantly thicker armour than any of the IJN ships. I don't think the USN brass was as concerned about the Japanese battleships as the attached carriers...they had 6 vs 3-4 in the Pacific fleet.
                      Weren't the Kongo's upgraded with heavier armor and torpedo bulges, thus being thm re calssified as battleships.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by IDonT4 View Post
                        Weren't the Kongo's upgraded with heavier armor and torpedo bulges, thus being thm re calssified as battleships.
                        Yes, they were up-armoured, but not to the protection standard of contemporary battleships.
                        Another point that people seem to be missing is that the North Carolina was a pre-war ship. Yes, I know she was in the Atlantic, but since this is Alternate Timelines, think if she was in the Pacific... She was more than a match for any Japanese BB.

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                        • #27
                          Gents,

                          Just a couple of points that have yet to be mentioned ...

                          Prior to 0755 on Dec.7'41 a state of peace existed between the American and Japanese Empires. Since FDR KNEW that America was NOT yet ready for war, he had specifically issued ORDERS stating that Japan was to be allowed to make the first hostile move. America's armed forces were prohibited, by Presidential order, from starting the war that this scenario suggests. And attacking the Japanese first, out in international waters where they had every right to be, was definitely out of the question.

                          Only two (2) underway re-fueling capable Fleet oilers, the USS Neosho (which had only arrived at Pearl Harbor on the afternoon of Dec.6'41, fully loaded with avgas) and the old and slow USS Ramapo were in Hawaiian waters at the time that you suggest for this scenario. The Neosho would take another two full days to refill with "bunker C" naval fuel and the Ramapo was further burdened by a deckload of PT boats bound for delivery to the Philippine Islands. The only other uwr capable fleet oiler anywhere near Hawaii was the old and slow US Neches, still some 1,200 nmiles (a week) east of Oahu on Dec.7'41. The USS Enterprise was inbound and very short of fuel after her Wake Island fighter delivery run. In summary, due to logistical shortfalls, the US Pacific Fleet wasn't in any fit state to make a full sortie from Pearl Harbor, let alone to go racing around the Pacific chasing the much faster Kido Butai strike force.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by dabrob View Post
                            Gents,

                            Just a couple of points that have yet to be mentioned ...

                            Prior to 0755 on Dec.7'41 a state of peace existed between the American and Japanese Empires. Since FDR KNEW that America was NOT yet ready for war, he had specifically issued ORDERS stating that Japan was to be allowed to make the first hostile move. America's armed forces were prohibited, by Presidential order, from starting the war that this scenario suggests. And attacking the Japanese first, out in international waters where they had every right to be, was definitely out of the question.
                            Thats treating Roosevelts thinking and that of his key staff as a bit too set in stone. A large carrier strike force, with battleships headed for US territory and military bases might very well be interpreted as warlike. When Roosevelt on the evening of 6th December recieved the reports of Japanese cargo/warship convoys headed south from the South China into the Gulf of Siam, he imeadiatly refered to it as 'this means war', and inititated the actions that led to the war warning order to Oahu the following morning. News on 5th or 6th December of a IJN fleet headed for the Hawaiian islands would only result in a adherance to strict nuetrality? Difficult to see Roosevelt, King, Marshall, Kimmel, or Short as that stupid.

                            Originally posted by dabrob View Post
                            Only two (2) underway re-fueling capable Fleet oilers, the USS Neosho (which had only arrived at Pearl Harbor on the afternoon of Dec.6'41, fully loaded with avgas) and the old and slow USS Ramapo were in Hawaiian waters at the time that you suggest for this scenario. The Neosho would take another two full days to refill with "bunker C" naval fuel and the Ramapo was further burdened by a deckload of PT boats bound for delivery to the Philippine Islands. The only other uwr capable fleet oiler anywhere near Hawaii was the old and slow US Neches, still some 1,200 nmiles (a week) east of Oahu on Dec.7'41. The USS Enterprise was inbound and very short of fuel after her Wake Island fighter delivery run. In summary, due to logistical shortfalls, the US Pacific Fleet wasn't in any fit state to make a full sortie from Pearl Harbor, let alone to go racing around the Pacific chasing the much faster Kido Butai strike force.
                            Perhaps expert knowledge will indicate otherwise, but I'd have thought operations within a few hundred miles of Oahu during 48 to 72 hours would not require fuel tankers. The scenario of the original post implies discovery of the IJN strike force far enough in advance, on 5th or 6th December that some actions can be taken to remedy a portion the logistcs shortfalls. In any case it is very unlikely the US fleet will go racing about the Pacifc. The fleet and map exercises of the previous years indicate stalking and harrasing the Japanese fleet the probablle course of action.

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                            • #29
                              Getting back to the original question

                              Originally posted by bubblehead View Post
                              3) American submarines pick off targets of opportunity that evening and harry the remainder of the fleet for 1000 miles of their retreat to Japan.
                              Were the discovery/warning to occur 5 December would that be enough time for US submarines to (theoretically) intercept the IJN fleet during daylight on 6 December? Was the weather the IJN fleet went through 6 Dec. bad enough to obviate the chance of a USN submarine setting up a torpedo attack? A actual torpedo attack might not be necessary. The Japanese had no idea how effective US submarines might be. How would Nagumo react to a submarine siting on the 6th? He would have had his last intel report indicating the USN was moving the fleet out of the harbor, and possibly of the aircraft on Oahu going on alert. His signals intercept unit aboard the fleet would have picked up the surge of radio traffic from Oahu, and perhaps the US.

                              Does anyone here know exactly what Nagumos orders or guidance were if the USN fleet had sortied? Or what Nagumos thoughts were if that event happened? Is there any indication that he was confident enough in his carriers to seek a decisive fleet action with only two 'BB' in his battle fleet?
                              Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 24 Aug 09, 08:07.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                                News on 5th or 6th December of a IJN fleet headed for the Hawaiian islands would only result in a adherance to strict nuetrality? Difficult to see Roosevelt, King, Marshall, Kimmel, or Short as that stupid.
                                Why not ? They surely all "got caught with their pants down" in the origianl timeline.

                                None of the American commanders that you listed had the advantage of 68 years of hindsight on Dec.6'41 and their President had ordered that American Armed Forces would NOT make the first deadly attack. Although as we all now know thanks to that 2002 minisub discovery off of Oahu, the USS Ward actually did. Under her ASW orders, of course.

                                I'm NOT suggesting that they would do nothing if an early warning was somehow received but I think it clear that FDR was DEFENSIVELY minded at that time. Surely Oahu's defenses and the US Pacific Fleet would be ordered to deploy defensively, with the expectation of a Japanese attack on Oahu but that is far different from attacking Japanese ships legally at sea somewhere far to the north of Midway. Well OUTSIDE of any American territorial waters.

                                Perhaps expert knowledge will indicate otherwise, but I'd have thought operations within a few hundred miles of Oahu during 48 to 72 hours would not require fuel tankers.
                                True enough but the discussion here has been suggesting some USN operations far in excess of those distances.

                                Even getting ALL of the Pacific Fleet out of Pearl Harbor that quickly would have been difficult as there were only 6 old fueling barges in service within PH at that time. Just six could not possibly hope to fill all the fuel tanks of every ship in port within that tight a timeframe.

                                I would also point out that by that time Esign Yoshikawa of Japan's Honolulu Consulate AND several IJN submarines had already taken up station near/within Mamala Bay and would have reported the paniced exodus of the US Pacific Fleet to Tokyo via radio. Hence, no surprising the Kido Butai.

                                The scenario of the original post implies discovery of the IJN strike force far enough in advance, on 5th or 6th December that some actions can be taken to remedy a portion the logistcs shortfalls.
                                What actions do you propose ? As previously posted here, the nearest USN Fleet oiler was still a week away, longer if found by an IJN I-boat.

                                In any case it is very unlikely the US fleet will go racing about the Pacifc. The fleet and map exercises of the previous years indicate stalking and harrasing the Japanese fleet the probablle course of action.
                                With 28 I-boats (and 5 minisubs) lurking in Hawaiian waters and alerted to the rushed sortie of the US Pacific Fleet, I'd suspect that it would NOT be the fast retreating Kido Butai that would be stalkied and harassed via 21" or 18" torpedo.

                                Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                                Getting back to the original question
                                Were the discovery/warning to occur 5 December would that be enough time for US submarines to (theoretically) intercept the IJN fleet during daylight on 6 December?
                                That would leave the US submarines patroling off Midway too far behind.

                                IIRC there were 6 USN submarines in Pearl Harbor at the time but only one was fit for sea duty due to underway repairs. Another US boat arrived at Honolulu on the morning of Dec.7'41 after a passage from the US West Coast and another was inbound towards PH with a US DD escort about 60 miles to the SW. Short answer, maybe one on Dec.5'41, armed with defective torpedoes.

                                Was the weather the IJN fleet went through 6 Dec. bad enough to obviate the chance of a USN submarine setting up a torpedo attack? A actual torpedo attack might not be necessary. The Japanese had no idea how effective US submarines might be. How would Nagumo react to a submarine siting on the 6th?
                                How likely is it that just one US submarine would miraculously find the Kido Butai amid the rain squalls, at dawn, after its 24 knot southerly overnight run down to 200 miles north-northeast of Oahu ? The Pacific is a BIG ocean.

                                He would have had his last intel report indicating the USN was moving the fleet out of the harbor, and possibly of the aircraft on Oahu going on alert. His signals intercept unit aboard the fleet would have picked up the surge of radio traffic from Oahu, and perhaps the US. Does anyone here know exactly what Nagumos orders or guidance were if the USN fleet had sortied ?
                                On the assumption that sortied can be read the same as discovered, I present:

                                "No shipping was encountered, but if the attack force was discovered prior to "X-2" day the force was to return to Japan without executing the attack. If discovered prior to "X-1" day the decision became the responsibility of the attack force commander, but if discovered on "X-1" or "X" day the attack was to continue. If the United States Fleet interfered in any way it was to be attacked and sunk."

                                from http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/.../Wallin-6.html

                                Or what Nagumos thoughts were if that event happened ? Is there any indication that he was confident enough in his carriers to seek a decisive fleet action with only two 'BB' in his battle fleet?
                                At 2 lightly armored battlecruisers vs 8 US battleships odds, and 3,400 nmiles from home ? Sure, the Combined Fleet's 6 remaining battleships (2 had been sent south in distant support of Japan's "Southern Operation") had sortied to the Bonin Islands in distant support of the Kido Butai but they were still some 2,800 nmiles away.

                                Nah ...

                                Just the opposite. During planning discussions for the PH mission he had always argued against it because of the risk that he perceived. A quick google search will show that Naugumo's naval career was torpedoes and battleship command. Rather than being confident in his carriers, he relied on Kusaka's opinions whenever a naval warplane decision was required.

                                Prange's book "At Dawn We Slept" indicates on page 374 that he and his chief of staff, Kusaka, had already decided that there would only be one, two wave, air attack on Pearl Harbor even BEFORE the Kido Butai had gathered in Hitokappu Bay for it's eastward trans-Pacific trip to Hawaii.

                                Nagumo was a man of duty and DID follow his orders to the letter but NO further. Had the Americans discovered the Kido Butai on X-2 day, I'm sure that he would have followed his orders (quoted above) by exercising his perogative as the KB's commander and turning back for Japan immediately.

                                While heaving a huge personnal sigh of relief.

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