Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

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G J Powell

Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby G J Powell » Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:47 pm

RF wrote:They only just managed to beat the Russians in 1904-1905.

Indeed without Japan's alliance with Britain in 1902 I could well imagine Germany or even France siding with Russia and joining in that war The Battle of Tsushima would have been very different if the Russians were backed by some of the Kaisers early dreadnoughts....


Quite, although the Germans were training the Japanese Army and the Kaizer's help with the logistics of the Baltic Fleet was more to keep the Tsar away from European events than any alliance! The last hurrah of the pre-dreadnought era. Because of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1902, France did not dare join in with Russia against Japan and risk war with Britain. Not even a great deal of help for the Baltic Fleet in getting to Port Arthur/Vladivostok....

The trouble for the IRN was an inability to concentrate naval forces, with the Black Sea Fleet trapped by the Dardanelles and the Pacific Fleet sunk or scuttled before the Baltic Fleet can reinforce it with 4 of the 5 new Borodino class pre-dreadnoughts and another Peresviet class pre-dreadnought - new ships, but poorly designed (top heavy without the additional coal of a long voyage) and with untrained crews.

For the IRA, it was the poorly built,single track, incomplete at Lake Baikal, Trans-Siberian Railway.......

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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby RF » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:07 am

Yes, the Russians could have saved themselves a great deal of trouble if they hadn't (along with the French and Germans) forced Japan to give up their seizure of Port Arthur as part of the settlement of the 1894-95 Sino-Japanese War.

But it could have been a great deal worse for the Russians - and the French.

Just suppose what would have happened if in 1899-1900 the Kaiser made an agreement with Britain for an agreed size of the new German Navy, along with an alliance that would pledge German support for British imperial interests against the claims of the French and Russians. And that Germany then became the third member of the 1902 alliance with Japan.
The war of 1904 could have led to Germany declaring war on Russia, the Russian Baltic Fleet being destroyed by the Germans, the Germans seizing Poland and the Baltic states with France facing the dilemma of supporting Russia and facing war with both Germany and Britain - and of course Japan as well.
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G J Powell

Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby G J Powell » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:23 am

The trouble was that Wilhelm II had a natural antipathy towards his British relatives and the British Empire, and he was more interested at that time in trying to detach Russia from France and draw it in with Germany and Austria-Hungary - see the Treaty of Bjorko in 1905. Germany should not have terminated the earlier Reinsurance Treaty with Russia, which leads Russia into alliance with France. Wilhelm II then built up a navy he didn't need, because Germany would have remained the strongest European power without a single ship, and alienated a global maritime empire that was totally dependent upon its naval strength. The pointlessness of the German Navy was shown by the WW1 blockade and Jutland. All the best sailors are eventually transferred to the U-Boat arm, and that brings in the USA against Germany and Germany loses. But, yes, a German/British/Japanese alliance would have radically altered Russian foreign policy in Manchuria/Korea pre-1904!

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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby RF » Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:59 am

G J Powell wrote:The trouble was that Wilhelm II had a natural antipathy towards his British relatives and the British Empire, and he was more interested at that time in trying to detach Russia from France and draw it in with Germany and Austria-Hungary


An over inflated ego and a lack of strategic vision. An alliance with Britain would have been of far greater value strategically to Germany than one with Russia - even with the feared ''war on two fronts'' the French would have faced a far worse scenario in that respect. Economically Germany would have been better off as well, without having to pour resources into building up such a large navy.
Its what I think Bismarck would have done.
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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby Guest » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:45 pm

Nagumo, knowing full well that the US carriers had not been present at Pearl on Dec. 7th, was rightfully apprehensive about being found by the Americans. He was also tasked with ensuring his task force made it safely back to Japanese waters with the minimum of loss. Thus he dared not risk sending out a third wave. What if his position had been sighted by an American submarine or an aircraft that had survived the attack?

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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:22 am

... Nagumo had 6 Fleet carriers vs 3 US fleet carriers operational in the area.
A strong force of Zero fighters was kept for close protection of the fleet even while the 2 waves of assault pounded Oahu.
Many say he should have stayed in the area and search for the US fleet carriers. Because letting them safe and sound permitted the US to wage important battles (Coral Sea, Midway, Solomons, Guadalcanal etc)

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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby RF » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:38 pm

But even with hanging around searching for the US carriers Nagumo becomes exposed to counterstroke.

The real problem for the Japanese is that even six carriers weren't enough to complete the job. What the Japs should have done - if they weren't fighting a war in China - was send a full scale invasion force to follow up the initial air strikes and invade and occupy Midway and Hawaii
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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby alecsandros » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:08 am

Indeed...

However, many consider Nagumo's decision to head back to Japan as weakness. Some follow up strikes in the next 2-3 days and possible confrontation with the US carriers would do much damage to the US.
Of course there was the possibility of heavy damage to the Japs, but what is war without risk ? At the end of the day, he had over 300 serviceable aircraft, and a sizeable surface fleet.

As Yamamoto said, the attack only woke up a sleeping bear... and that without causing sufficient "damage" to him.

"At a conference aboard Yamato the following morning, Yamamoto initially supported Nagumo.[91] In retrospect, sparing the vital dockyards, maintenance shops, and oil depots meant the U.S. could respond relatively quickly to Japanese activities in the Pacific. Yamamoto later regretted Nagumo's decision to withdraw and categorically stated it had been a great mistake not to order a third strike.[93]"

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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby RF » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:52 pm

But even a third strike at the dock and fuel facilities would only be temporary in effect, even if completely successful. It merely delays US recovery by a further few months afterwhich PH functions as a forward central Pacific base backed by the huge US war potential which makes further Japanese attacks there suicidal. Japan has to avoid an attritional war simply because with conventional weapons they cannot win. Failure to catch all the US carriers at PH made that scenario even more stark.

The PH attaack has to be a knockout blow if Japan is to win - that means complete destruction of the whole US Pacific Fleet plus occupy Hawaii and put the US west coast in the front line. Japan simply did not have a big enough navy or a big enough war economy to do that.
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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby alecsandros » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:24 pm

Well, they gambled a lot attacking Pearl. They might as well go all the way and at least try more...

It was difficult to win the Pacific war , even with the entire Hawaian chain completely occupied by the Japanese.

Attacking the USA was a grave mistake, and that they learned soon after - at Midway, Guadalcanal, etc.

But if they decided to do something, at least they should have done it better .

And better in this case means more dedication into taking out the enemy assets.

By the way, wainting another day and preparing 2 more waves of assault would imply that 2 of the 3 US "missing" carriers would be within striking range of the Japanese fleet. More to it, the 2 carriers (Enterprise and Saratoga) were operating individualy.
Thus they were more vulnerable than operating together, and there were very few planes left serviceable at Pearl to help them.

Hypothetically, if Nagumo would have waited one more day, and launched another attack, and IF the scout planes would have discovered ENterprise and Saratoga, THAN the total damage that could have been done on the US Navy assets on the 8th of December would have been larger than the one done on the 7th of December. With 2 fleet carriers taken out, and with facilities on Oahu badly damaged, the USN woudl be delayed by maybe 1 year, if not more.
[and YES, that means possible damage suffered by the Japanese fleet, but what is war without risk ?]

That means no Midway in June, no Guadalcanal in late 1942, etc...

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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby RF » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:15 am

alecsandros wrote:It was difficult to win the Pacific war , even with the entire Hawaian chain completely occupied by the Japanese.

Attacking the USA was a grave mistake, and that they learned soon after - at Midway, Guadalcanal, etc.


The mistake more specifically was in going to war without identifying how to win it. The Japanese were relying on the US politically caving in, with no alternative means of winning if they didn't. The only insurance policy the Japs had was the Tripartite Pact and that Germany was also at war with the USA - but Germany couldn't concentrate on the US because they were bogged down in the USSR, a fact the Japanese could plainly see immediately prior to the PH attack.

They operated on the same basis in 1904 when they went to war wth Czarist Russia. That war, as the Japanese calculated, went on until Russia caved in. But there were two important differnces: firstly Japan wasn't at war with anyone else and secondly there were no substantial Japanese defeats against an overstretched and much weaker Russia.
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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby RF » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:18 am

alecsandros wrote:
That means no Midway in June, no Guadalcanal in late 1942, etc...


But there would still ultimately be the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The end result remains the same because there is still no knockout blow to force and obtain a US unconditional surrender.
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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby alecsandros » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:25 am

Agreed,
my opinion is that the Japanese could not win the Pacific War with or without the atom bombs.

But if they started it... they should have tried harder.

A strong attack on Pearl, and possibly taking out 2 US carriers would mean prolonging the war by at least 6 months, if not 1 year...
In turn, this might have offset plans for Torch, thus allowing Rommell to have a chance against the British in 1942.

Small events can lead to important consequences...

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Re: Pearl Harbor: Possible third wave

Postby RF » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:45 am

They do indeed, but as you say the Axis can't win without getting atom bombs first. Which Germany could have done and aircraft/missiles to deliver them upon mainland USA.
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