Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

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RF
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by RF » Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:57 pm

Garyt wrote:
I don't think any o Japan's senior military leaders expected Japan to win a long drawn out war with the US.
This is the point - if you go to war with the aim of a quick win, then what if it doesn't go to plan? You need Plan B if the original plan fails, so you still come out on top, with a Plan C and D as well.

Japan's senior officers had no Plan B other than getting Germany and Italy to declare war on the US. Yamamoto was asked his opinion by Konoye, who avoided attacking the USA. Stark outlined to the Japanese ambassador in Washington exactly how he expected a war with Japan to run and explained in detail how and why Japan would lose.

No calculation was done by either Tojo or Hirohito at the fatal meeting which decided on war, as to what should be done if Japan couldn't get the Americans to the table for a negotiated peace. Relying on Germany - a country they had no real influence on - to win the war for them was a pipedream, especially as Germany wasn't liked or trusted anyway.

To me, IMHO, that ranks as criminal stupidity.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by RF » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:00 pm

Garyt wrote:
The US sub campaign would become much more difficult, the Japanese may capture a fair amount of fuel, and US Pacific operations would have to likely be based on the West Coast.
This is the reason for going all out to occupy Hawaii - and force the USA to negotiate a peace, and not demand unconditional surrender.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by alecsandros » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:38 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:

In any case, it would be retaken ASAP to support the submarine offensive and to protect Hawaii. The Japanese couldn't adequately defend it that far from their next nearest base.
... true,
but to retake Midway, the USN would require a significant squadron, protecting a significant troop convoy.
This would move slowly, between Hawaii and Midway, and would require at least 10 days to get to Midway.

That means they might be discovered, and attacked by submarines and long-range Japanese bombers.
Closer to Midway, the assortment of ~ 100 warplanes would start doing to the USN squadron pretty much what Cactus did to the Japanese in Guadalcanal.

The only realistic way to re-take Midway seems to involve USN carriers...

(And now that I think of it, this may have been an excellent trap devised by the Japanese to attract the American surviving carriers... Knowing how important Midway was to them, and knowing that sometime, at some point in 1942, the USN would try to take Midway back... how many carriers could they spare from the Atlantic ? 2 ? 3 ? By mid-1942, the Japanese had 8 fleet carriers and 5 light carriers, totaling between them 600 warplanes...Without the heavy attrition of Coral Sea, Midway, E. Solomons and Santa Cruz, all those forces would remain largely intact....)

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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by Garyt » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:01 pm

This is the reason for going all out to occupy Hawaii - and force the USA to negotiate a peace, and not demand unconditional surrender.
While it may have severely daunted the US war efforts, I don't think it would be enough to force the US to the table. Japan could do little or nothing to the US mainland - and they were not great at either submarine warfare or strategic bombing themselves. And the bombing would need a base closer than Pearl even if Japan was capable of mounting a bomber offensive. So Japan sits on it's Pacific conquests, the US stays on the mainland, a draw that allows the US industrial base to build a strong navy.

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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by Steve Crandell » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:05 am

The US Army had two infantry divisions on Oahu, plus whatever the Marines had at Kaneohe, plus the many thousands of naval and air force personnel. The Japanese are going to invade that, 3800 miles from Japan? Seriously?

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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:19 am

Steve Crandell wrote:The US Army had two infantry divisions on Oahu, plus whatever the Marines had at Kaneohe, plus the many thousands of naval and air force personnel. The Japanese are going to invade that, 3800 miles from Japan? Seriously?
While I tend to agree, nobody seriously thought Manila and Singapore could fall to the Japanese-before they did.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by Dave Saxton » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:33 am

If the Japanese had succeeded in taking Hawaii, the US will transfer primary headquarters and operations to Australia rather than to the west coast. Politically we would have had to provide something for the west coast and Panama, but Australia then becomes the primary place from which to prosecute the war. This is part of the problem for the Japanese-the USA (at least 1940s America) isn't going to negotiate, especially after the loss of Hawaii, anymore than than after the historical sneak attack. Japan really had no practical way of ending a war with America in Japan's favor.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by Francis Marliere » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:48 am

RF wrote:I think the final verdict on that will be harsh - in terms of the absolute defeat that Japan suffered the decision to go to war cannot be described as anything other than stupid, on the part of Tojo and Hirohito.
RF, I think that Tojo was more a fool than an idiot, in the sense that he had both a kind of intelligence and a large kind of intelectual blindness. Anyway, I was refering to Japanese admirals such as Yamamoto or Nagano, who cannot, IMHO, be qualified of stupid or incompetent men.

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Francis

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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by RF » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:55 am

The senior officers of the IJN had little real influence over Japan's policies once Konoye had been replaced with Tojo, it was the senior IJA officers who wielded effective power and manipulated Hirohito.

Could a resolute IJN leadership have blocked Tojo's appointment as Prime Minister? Could they have persuaded Hirohito not to give his automatic assent to war? These are the key questions, did they try to lead policy instead of simply follow what was happening as it happened?

Tojo himself is somewhat difficult to fanthom. He had considerable military experience, had been to Germany in the 1920's but he had no real knowledge of the Americans or the USA. He did prevent Foreign Minister Togo from pursuing Roosevelt's offer to mediate personally with Hirohito as it would threaten the IJA's hold over Hirohito. He would have been aware that the IJA had its limitations, given the two defeats inflicted on the Kwantung Army by Zhukov. Whether fool or idiot he carried the largest responsibility for Japan's direction and acted rather like a Latin American Caudillo as Prime Minister. He is the most culpable for what happened, as the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal identified. At that trial, unlike the other Axis leaders, he was given the opportunity to defend himself and justify his actions. In attempting to do so he appeared entirely vacuous and without any real substance. Saddam Hussein would have come over as a more credible leader.

No, my conclusion is that ''stupid'' is the most accurate description for Tojo's actions.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by Garyt » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:51 pm

Could a resolute IJN leadership have blocked Tojo's appointment as Prime Minister? Could they have persuaded Hirohito not to give his automatic assent to war? These are the key questions, did they try to lead policy instead of simply follow what was happening as it happened?
I think we have to factor in culture and custom as well here. Not that it is an over realistic movie, but look at The Last Samurai. Katsumoto has strong opinions about what should be done, but leaves the decision to the emperor and does not directly influence the decision. Not that it as a good historical movie, it's just that action there that makes me think we must include cultural issues as well.

Looking at the real Japanese army and Navy leaders prior to WW2, the Army leaders do not seem to have the same quality of reticence the Navy leaders did. Or perhaps even throwing out tradition, maybe the Army leaders did a better job of threatening and acting upon those threats to see there aims pursued.

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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by RF » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:31 am

Dave Saxton wrote:If the Japanese had succeeded in taking Hawaii, the US will transfer primary headquarters and operations to Australia rather than to the west coast. .
The problem with this is that Australia is very distant from the mainland US and moreover a Japanese occupied Hawaii lies between them. Logistically it would be a huge problem and wouldn't give the US the means at striking back directly at Japan - because the central Pacific is ceded to the Japanese.

No, there has to be a US counter-thrust starting from the central Pacific, which would mean retaking Hawaii. I think that US public opinion would demand it as a matter of honour.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by alecsandros » Thu Mar 12, 2015 10:47 am

RF wrote:
Dave Saxton wrote:
No, there has to be a US counter-thrust starting from the central Pacific, which would mean retaking Hawaii. I think that US public opinion would demand it as a matter of honour.
... But in this extremely hypothetical scenario, with the Japanese in control of Hawaii, how could the Americans retake it ?

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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by Steve Crandell » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:44 pm

alecsandros wrote:
RF wrote:
Dave Saxton wrote:
No, there has to be a US counter-thrust starting from the central Pacific, which would mean retaking Hawaii. I think that US public opinion would demand it as a matter of honour.
... But in this extremely hypothetical scenario, with the Japanese in control of Hawaii, how could the Americans retake it ?
The same way the Japanese took it in the first place. It is over 1,000 miles closer to the USA, and the USA had much greater logistical resources than did Japan.

In any case, I believe the chance of Japan taking it in the first place was close to zero. They couldn't bring enough resources to bear to do it. They could grab an outlying island for a short time.

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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by alecsandros » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:59 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:
No, there has to be a US counter-thrust starting from the central Pacific, which would mean retaking Hawaii. I think that US public opinion would demand it as a matter of honour.
[/quote]
... But in this extremely hypothetical scenario, with the Japanese in control of Hawaii, how could the Americans retake it ?[/quote]

The same way the Japanese took it in the first place. It is over 1,000 miles closer to the USA, and the USA had much greater logistical resources than did Japan.

... The Japanese would use 6 fleet carriers and 3 light carriers... In the proposed scenario, the US would not have this force until 1943...
In any case, I believe the chance of Japan taking it in the first place was close to zero. They couldn't bring enough resources to bear to do it. They could grab an outlying island for a short time.
Agreed, but for discussion's sake.

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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Post by RF » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:28 pm

alecsandros wrote:
... The Japanese would use 6 fleet carriers and 3 light carriers... In the proposed scenario, the US would not have this force until 1943...
That assumes that these carriers are available, are not urgently needed elsewhere, haven't been sunk by Allied submarines etc.

The Americans can start by using small forces, and drawing the Japanese into a war of attrition at the end of a very long supply line that can be easily interdicted. An American retake would be easier for the attacker than the original Japanese invasion, which would have to be immediate and all out to succeed, and not be piecemeal.
Also the Americans would be greatly aided by a resistance /guerrilla movement on Hawaii itself.
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