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  • The Doctor
    replied
    Originally posted by bubblehead View Post
    The Japanese fleet was in two separate groups, the carriers and their battle group, and further behind them the invasion fleet with the battleships, transports and auxiliaries. If I had prior knowledge of this fact, I would attack the carriers with my air assets and use my surface assets against the invasion fleet. Your comment seems to indicate the air battle only. I agree that the American air component would have had their work cut out for them, but I think your pessimism is misplaced. Just as at Midway, a surprise attack can have davastating effect. Even if the torpedo bombers do not draw off the zeros, catching the carriers full of armed and fueled aircraft on deck should make up for some of the inexperience of the air crews. (No, I do not expect as decisive a victory as Midway)

    Meanwhile, the surface assets and their excellent gunnery should have ample opportunity to wreak havoc on the invasion fleet.

    Overall, I think the element of surprise gives the Americans a slight edge. I also think there would be huge reamifications for both sides down the road.

    Is there a reason you think this impossible?
    First... There was no invasion fleet; there were two supply trains with a total of eight fleet oilers and replenishment ships. The supply trains were well back of the carrier divisions and battleship division.

    The Japanese did not think they would catch us by such total surprise. They had their eyes open all the way in.

    If our fleet did sortie, the carriers could not have effectively operated with the battleships. Enterprise and Lexington carried very few fighters at that time. Lexington had 17 F2A Buffaloes and Enterprise had 14 F4F-3 Wildcats. The Japanese had over 80 Zeros. Our aviators were inexperienced. The Japanese were highly trained with some combat experience.

    31 fighters, more than half of which were obsolete (VMF-221's Buffaloes were annihilated by Zeros at Midway), couldn't provide CAP for the carriers and the battleships and provide adequate escorts for the SBD's and TBD's.

    I just don't think our old BB's could have closed on Kirishima and Hiei during daylight hours without being devastated by air attacks. If it was a night engagement, the IJN DD's and CA's would have wreaked havoc with torpedo attacks.

    Hiei and Kirishima could make 30 kts... Our old BB's were doing good if they made 20 kts.

    For this scenario to have had a happy ending for the US Navy, it would have required a bigger miracle than Midway.

    Leave a comment:


  • bubblehead
    replied
    The Japanese fleet was in two separate groups, the carriers and their battle group, and further behind them the invasion fleet with the battleships, transports and auxiliaries. If I had prior knowledge of this fact, I would attack the carriers with my air assets and use my surface assets against the invasion fleet. Your comment seems to indicate the air battle only. I agree that the American air component would have had their work cut out for them, but I think your pessimism is misplaced. Just as at Midway, a surprise attack can have davastating effect. Even if the torpedo bombers do not draw off the zeros, catching the carriers full of armed and fueled aircraft on deck should make up for some of the inexperience of the air crews. (No, I do not expect as decisive a victory as Midway)

    Meanwhile, the surface assets and their excellent gunnery should have ample opportunity to wreak havoc on the invasion fleet.

    Overall, I think the element of surprise gives the Americans a slight edge. I also think there would be huge reamifications for both sides down the road.

    Is there a reason you think this impossible?

    Leave a comment:


  • The Doctor
    replied
    Lexington and Enterprise get sunk at sea.

    Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma, California and Tennessee get sunk at sea.

    Few, if any, Hawai'ian based aircraft find the IJN fleet. If any did manage to find it, the results would mirror Midway.

    IJN aircraft all had longer range than US aircraft. IJN has 6-2 advantage in carriers. IJN pilots are experienced. IJN was on high alert... They assumed we would spot them.

    Maybe... Just maybe... One or two IJN CV's suffer significant damage.

    Leave a comment:


  • bubblehead
    started a topic Alternative to "Final Countdown"

    Alternative to "Final Countdown"

    Just for fun, how about if we try something a little more realistic, but the same idea (I hope I am not stepping on any toes here).

    Suppose the US manages to steal the Japanese naval codes within six weeks of the actual attack date at Pearl. The decision is made to spring an ambush on the attackers using only the assets on-hand rather than try to reinforce the islands with assets transferred from other locations. Let's further assume that they manage to compromise the information intelligence assets are sending to Japan so the Japanese Navy is ignorant of the fact the US fleet has sortied.

    So, the US fleet springs the trap at sun-up on the morning of the 7th while the Japanese fleet is in the thick of readying aircraft but have not yet launched any other than standard CAP.
    1) American aircraft surprise and attack the Japanese carrier groups.
    2) American surface assets attack the Japanese surface battle groups.
    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.

    Whaddya' think: can the US fleet, using only the assets that were already available in the Hawiian Islands at the time inflict sufficient damage to the Japanese fleet to appreciably alter the course of the war? If so, what are the effects of the engagement?

    Let's have fun with this!

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