Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

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

Postby alecsandros » Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:22 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
Steve Crandell wrote:Oahu's defenses were very strong from a military point of view, and the Japanese would not have had shore based air power with which to oppose them. Their only air support would have to have been provided by carriers, which were themselves vulnerable to air attack. Ships couldn't come close enough to provide shore gunfire support to an invasion because of the heavy shore batteries. Diamond Head alone was a significant fort, and there were others, including 16" guns. The latter were able to traverse 360 degrees, unlike the Singapore defenses. There were 360 degree heavy mortars in Diamond Head and other places. There were railway guns. This is not a push over, and the IJN would have been very far from home with no significant logistics capability. The US on the other hand had some aircraft which could be easily modified to self deploy from the US, like the heavy and medium bombers and the P-38 fighter.

The initial invasion would have been by far the most difficult part, and that ignores the resistance in the very unlikely event it would have succeeded.


The Japanese would probably establish an airbase and logistics center on one or more of the nearby islands (which would be relatively easy to take and hold) so they would not need to maintain a large naval task force in the area over an extended period of time. Meanwhile they would isolate and cut off US military forces and facilities throughout the Islands, and only later take Oahu when they are good and ready, only after establishing complete air superiority.

... Historically, complete air superiority was achieved as of Dec 7th 1941, 10:00hr.

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

Postby RF » Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:39 pm

Yes, but in the following days more planes are flown in - albeit bombers rather than fighters, but still air supremacy would not be 100%. Also there would be substantial AA artillery.

During the actual PH air raid a flight of B17 bombers arrived and managed to crash land without being shot down. Not all the US airfields were identified by the Japanese - the airfield from which Lieutenants Taylor and Welch took off were missed by the Japanese and not attacked. It is thus likely that some fighter planes will remain serviceable for post PH raid action.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Postby Steve Crandell » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:38 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:
Steve Crandell wrote:Oahu's defenses were very strong from a military point of view, and the Japanese would not have had shore based air power with which to oppose them. Their only air support would have to have been provided by carriers, which were themselves vulnerable to air attack. Ships couldn't come close enough to provide shore gunfire support to an invasion because of the heavy shore batteries. Diamond Head alone was a significant fort, and there were others, including 16" guns. The latter were able to traverse 360 degrees, unlike the Singapore defenses. There were 360 degree heavy mortars in Diamond Head and other places. There were railway guns. This is not a push over, and the IJN would have been very far from home with no significant logistics capability. The US on the other hand had some aircraft which could be easily modified to self deploy from the US, like the heavy and medium bombers and the P-38 fighter.

The initial invasion would have been by far the most difficult part, and that ignores the resistance in the very unlikely event it would have succeeded.


The Japanese would probably establish an airbase and logistics center on one or more of the nearby islands (which would be relatively easy to take and hold) so they would not need to maintain a large naval task force in the area over an extended period of time. Meanwhile they would isolate and cut off US military forces and facilities throughout the Islands, and only later take Oahu when they are good and ready, only after establishing complete air superiority.


If they attempted to do that it would be overwhelmed by the force on Oahu and pounded mercilessly with air attack. Any ships trying to remain in the area would suffer the same fate. IMO any attempt to establish a base on one of the other islands within air range of Oahu would be hopelessly doomed. This would be a really good place for the US to employ all those old battleships.

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

Postby Garyt » Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:29 pm

Compare that with American-Filipino resistance in Bataan and Corrigedor, which would likely be repreated in Hawaii, not least because it was much closer to the mainland USA.


We have a lot more land mass in the Philipines than either Singapore or Hawaii - this makes it a lot tougher for the attacker, or in different terms longer might be a better word. On a much larger scale it's similar to the differences between France and the Russian Front.

Resistance would be organised and largely directed from outside, with the targeting of airfields and fuel supplies as first priority. Reducing Japanese search capability would be a key objective, allowing clandestine landings of weapons and men in increasing numbers - the distance from the west coast I don't think would be too great a problem


I don't think we should look at the Philipines as an example - a closer one would be again Singapore. The resistance there was not very substantial. As I said, I see most of the population being indifferent, not strongly motivated guerrilas.

The Japanese would probably establish an airbase and logistics center on one or more of the nearby islands (which would be relatively easy to take and hold) so they would not need to maintain a large naval task force in the area over an extended period of time.


That makes a lot of sense to me.

We need to remember this is not '43 or '44 or even '45 US troops that are fighting - these are the poorly prepared ones of the early period of the war.

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

Postby Steve Crandell » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:00 pm

Garyt wrote:We need to remember this is not '43 or '44 or even '45 US troops that are fighting - these are the poorly prepared ones of the early period of the war.


You mean early like the ones on Guadalcanal?

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

Postby Garyt » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:06 pm

You mean early like the ones on Guadalcanal?


I guess my point was that the US was just not well prepared at the outbreak of the war, whereas Japan was expecting war and was prepared.

I am of the opinion (and not alone in this from what I have read) that much of Japan's early war success had to do with the discrepancy in how well they were prepared vs. how well the Allies were prepared.

Please feel free to dispute this if you wish.

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

Postby Steve Crandell » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:18 pm

Garyt wrote:
You mean early like the ones on Guadalcanal?


I guess my point was that the US was just not well prepared at the outbreak of the war, whereas Japan was expecting war and was prepared.

I am of the opinion (and not alone in this from what I have read) that much of Japan's early war success had to do with the discrepancy in how well they were prepared vs. how well the Allies were prepared.

Please feel free to dispute this if you wish.


No I agree that the US was not well prepared at all. However, Oahu was probably the most important US military base in the world. I believe the military establishment there was much larger that PI or Singapore (counting USAAF and USN), and the US would have pulled out all the stops to prevent it from falling into Japanese hands, or retaking it if necessary. "Germany First?" Gone. Essentially all US war output would be directed to Oahu until that situation was resolved. Any aircraft that with simple modification could be flown there from the US would have been in the hopper, so to speak. I believe that would include large numbers of P-38s, B-24s, PBYs, and B-25s as they came out of the training establishment and any that were available initially.

When one considers the comparative logistical capability, I really think the Japanese would be simply overwhelmed. To tell the truth, I just don't believe they were capable of coming up with the necessary invasion fleet in the first place.

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

Postby Garyt » Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:08 am

When one considers the comparative logistical capability, I really think the Japanese would be simply overwhelmed.


100% agree with that.

I do wonder, early war, what the Japanese merchant capability was like. One thing the Japanese would have an advantage in as well was the range of their aircraft. Not that "battle range" matters on a battle for Hawaii, but as far as ferrying the planes to Hawaii, Japan would have an advantage. Japanese planes would usually have at least a 1k nile range, with a 2k or better for Zeroes and their land based planes. Most US planes were lucky to have a 1k range, and even most of our land based planes did not have the range of the Japanese planes.

But as far as reinforcing the respective sides, I'm not sure how much time the US would have.

Even with a "fast" merchant ship of approximately 15 mph cruising speed, we are looking at a week to get to Hawaii. It's going to take some time just to get the units one one be planning on sending ready to go. I'd think 2 weeks minimum for fairly ready to go units.

If Japan conquers Hawaii in 2 weeks or less, any reinforcements are now invaders, not reinforcements. I would not look at the Philipines again, as this was a much larger scale in both size of territory to be conquered and there were well over 100k combatants per side. And I don't think we can compare to later invasions against Japanese held islands, as they were very dug in. I think with surprise being a factor, Singapore is the best comparison, other than it too was a larger scale by far, both in square miles and combatants. The fall of Singapore might be the best comparison.

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

Postby RF » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:09 am

Garyt wrote:I don't think we should look at the Philipines as an example - a closer one would be again Singapore. The resistance there was not very substantial. As I said, I see most of the population being indifferent, not strongly motivated guerrilas.


I don't think that using Singapore is a very good example - there wasn't much resistance in the last few days because of weak British command and unpreparedness for a landward invasion. Yamashita bullied them into surrender amid fears of water shortages. The key point is that the troops - all 130,000 of them, a large number who had only just arrived and never got involved in the fighting, were ordered to surrender, they did not capitulate of their own volition. Even then a few individual officers disobeyed orders and went under cover into organised resistance groups. A substantial resistance also developed in Malaya, largely communist led and again largely overlooked in the history books. Harsh Japanese rule provided that resistance with a flow of recruits who were readily indoctrinated into the communist cause.

Compare the weakness of British command with the resolute American command at say Wake Island - a much tougher resistance before going down.

I don't think that stereotyping of Polynesians as ''apathetic'' is a justifiable generalisation. As I have already mentioned they can be stirred up as much as anyone else.

The other big difference from Singapore is relative geography. Singapore was remote from Allied reinforcement once the Japanese had overrun Malaya, Java and Sumatra. Hawaii is right in the middle of the open Pacific with a clear access to the west coast of the US and to Panama. Much easier for the US to get at, more difficult for Japan, simply on grounds of distance.

With respect to merchant shipping, most Japanese merchant men were relatively slow and not very manoeuvrable - which made them such easy targets for submarine attack. Japan's mercantile marine wasn't as well prepared for war as the German Handelsmarine and certainly not as well as the British Merchant Navy.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Postby alecsandros » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:53 am

RF wrote:

The other big difference from Singapore is relative geography. Singapore was remote from Allied reinforcement once the Japanese had overrun Malaya, Java and Sumatra. Hawaii is right in the middle of the open Pacific with a clear access to the west coast of the US and to Panama. Much easier for the US to get at, more difficult for Japan, simply on grounds of distance.

.

... Distance to US West Coast was still some 3000km, and with the Japanese mantaining sea and air control reinforcements and resupply would be near impossible to do without a huge invasion fleet.

As previously mentioned, a large Japanese population was already in Hawaii, and resistance movements would have been extremely unlikely to develop, given the small American percentage.

The key would be IF and HOW would the initial Japanese invasion force manage to take Hawaii...

IF they would manage to take them WITH fuel stores, port facilities, airstrips, more or less intact, THEN the US couldn't hope for retaking of the islands earlier then autumn 1943, and thus completely changing the EUropean war (Italy , Sicily, etc)

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

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:41 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:If they attempted to do that it would be overwhelmed by the force on Oahu and pounded mercilessly with air attack. Any ships trying to remain in the area would suffer the same fate.


Big land based high altitude bombers formed the key component of the US strategy to deter further Japanese aggression and to control the shipping lanes in the Western Pacific pre-Pearl Harbor. US planners placed a lot of faith in the B-17 in particular. Indeed it was this faith in the B-17 that was one of the primary factors that lead the British to send Force Z to the Far East. The US promised that B-17s in the Far East, in place of fleet units, would help protect and support a token force of British capital ships. The Japanese were concerned enough about these developments to send a team to Europe to see if big bombers could really dominate naval forces. The Luftwaffe laughed at these prospects, providing evidence that big high altitude bombers could only sink ships at sea if they got lucky. Evidence was provided that bombing accuracy of big bombers was measured in kilometers rather than meters, and that they suffered badly in the face of fighter opposition. Armed with this information and the Intel from the capture of top secret British diplomatic mail by a hilfkruezer that the British would not a send a powerful battle fleet to Singapore and would seek a policy of appeasement instead, the Japanese pushed forward their plans.

But surely the Japanese would eliminate US airpower in Hawaii as they did historically with the first stroke, before landing occupying forces on adjacent islands.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Mar 17, 2015 2:49 pm

RF wrote:I don't think that stereotyping of Polynesians as ''apathetic'' is a justifiable generalisation. As I have already mentioned they can be stirred up as much as anyone else.


Indeed, Pacific Islanders actively participated in fighting against the Japanese throughout the Pacific throughout the war.
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

Postby Dave Saxton » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:09 pm

RF wrote:With respect to merchant shipping, most Japanese merchant men were relatively slow and not very manoeuvrable - which made them such easy targets for submarine attack. Japan's mercantile marine wasn't as well prepared for war as the German Handelsmarine and certainly not as well as the British Merchant Navy.


USN submarine commanders almost always comment that the Japanese ASW capabilities was rather poor compared to what the German U-boats faced. The capabilities are usually described as "pitiful" or "abysmal" and just plain "bad". But part of the problem was that the Japanese merchant marine was expected to provide its own ASW protection along with the Japanese Coast Guard, and the organization of convoys was not systematic. It was considered beneath the IJN to provide such services. That wasn't considered the IJN's job! When the IJN did use its resources for ASW it was usually much more potent. During late summer 1944 US submarine losses began to increase at a rather alarming rate, and that was when the IJN started to use its own forces more to combat Allied subs. It was too little too late. By Dec 1944 Japan no longer had a merchant marine.

Additionally, the Japanese industrial capacity could not adequately replace merchant ship (or warship) losses. US subs sank 5 million tons of Japanese shipping. That was the entire Japanese merchant marine plus. German U-boats sank 14 million tons of Anglo American shipping, but by 1944 the Allies had, if I remember correctly, more tons of merchant shipping in operation than they did in 1939.
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

Postby Steve Crandell » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:55 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:But surely the Japanese would eliminate US airpower in Hawaii as they did historically with the first stroke, before landing occupying forces on adjacent islands.


Except they didn't eliminate it. They destroyed many of the easily attacked aircraft sitting out in the open, but the next day would have been much more difficult. If they couldn't eliminate Henderson field, they sure couldn't eliminate the many air strips on Oahu.

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

Postby alecsandros » Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:41 pm

Steve Crandell wrote:
Except they didn't eliminate it. They destroyed many of the easily attacked aircraft sitting out in the open, but the next day would have been much more difficult. If they couldn't eliminate Henderson field, they sure couldn't eliminate the many air strips on Oahu.


... according to Wiki, from the 390 US aircraft available on Dec 7th, 188 were destroyed and 159 damaged in the 2 attack waves. Total 347...


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