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 Dave Saxton » Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:57 pm

Keeping Oahu re-supplied and keeping those airstrips in operation will surely be much more difficult than Henderson field.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Postby Garyt » Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:50 pm

It's tough to use Wake as a comparison. 3 Square miles vs about 600 for Oahu, which is not even the largest Hawaiian Island. But, Wake fell in less than 24 hours of the actual invasion taking place.

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

Their shore batteries had some initial success, but once a true invasion took place resistance stopped within 24 hours.

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.


When the have eliminated about 90% of the aircraft as they did, the airstrip becomes rather irrelevant.

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


I would not call the residents of Hawaii "Pacific Islanders". The population was a polygot of Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese and to a lesser extent Americans mixed with the native population. And again, the natives were not that far removed from armed strife with their American masters. I don't see a huge motivation to help either side, kind of like the Middle Ages serf who has to decide between helping his current masters or providing no resistance to what may well be his future masters.

It is interesting how much better the Japanese could have done if the had done more than lip service to the idea of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, truly making it an "Asia for Asians".

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.


Agree here as far as distance from Japan. But it's not easy for the US to get at either. It's a good distance, with really nothing else around the Hawaiian islands from a friendly base standpoint. Any attempts at attacking or re supply would have to be done as an invasion. I don't think the US would have gotten much of anything as far as reinforcements go to Hawaii prior to it's capitulation if the Japanese launched a full scale invasion.

IMO for an invasion to be a success - don't commit the forces to the Philipines until Hawaii falls. Then the Philipines can be assaulted at the leisure of Japan.

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

Postby RF » Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:03 pm

alecsandros wrote: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.


I have already pointed out that they are almost certainly likely to be regarded with suspicion by the IJA and the community itself won't be that pro-Tojo, any more than the German and Italian communities in the eastern USA were pro-Axis. After a short period of occupation the indigenous Japanese community is likely to be the worst treated by the occupier, on the same level as the Chinese in China. That in itself would spark serious resistance as that community would show they are Japanese Americans and not indoctrinated Japanese colonists. Many of the families there were very reluctant to support Japan prior to the PH attack because of the war in China, some were there to escape the draft into Japanese forces; if they loyally supported Japan they would have gone to Japan before the war started. They didn't. All this in spite of the racist attitudes to them by white Americans.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Postby Steve Crandell » Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:16 pm

alecsandros wrote:
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...


Right, and the Japanese lost 26 with another 74 damaged. A bit less than 25% of their force. What do you think would have happened if they had attacked again the next day? You think they could just hang around for a few weeks getting av gas, aircraft, and bombs out of thin air?

I was stationed there and probably should not be part of this discussion. I really don't think you have any idea the effort that would have been involved in taking the place.

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

Postby tameraire01 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:34 pm

The war in the pacific is hell in a hand basket, the Americans struggle and the Brits have to face the Japanese in the pacific, the Nazis in Europe and north Africa along with the Italians in the med alone (until the US rebuilds there fleet) the Empire is pushed to breaking point and possible use of chemical weapons to stem the axis advance. The RN push the lions and vanguard as fast as possible in response to being out numbered and out gunned.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Postby Garyt » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:08 pm

Right, and the Japanese lost 26 with another 74 damaged. A bit less than 25% of their force. What do you think would have happened if they had attacked again the next day? You think they could just hang around for a few weeks getting av gas, aircraft, and bombs out of thin air?


Would not make to big of a deal about the damaged planes. Most could be back up in a day or two. The Fuel and Ordinance is anther issue.

I'd think Kido Butai would carrier in the 150,000 gallons of AVGAS per carrier. A fully loaded with fuel A6M2 is about 240 gallons with drop tank, and has a range of about 2,000 miles, so a miles per gallon in the 8 mpg range. This 240 gallon tank is similar to a Kate's fuel capacity (albeit lesser range). My guess is you can get about 2 sorties flights out of one full fuel up (Or at least 1.5), averaging out short and long range strikes as well as CAP.

This means roughly 10-15 sorties for a full load of say 70 aircraft, or 700-1000 total sorties. Not sure on the ordinance capacity, though I would think it to be roughly comparable, though this is roughly a guess.

This would give some additonal strike power, but not a force that could hang around very long.

My thought if the Japanese would totally commit to an invasion of Hawaii is that they would have merchants following behind with the landing force carrying AVGAS and ordinance, and propbably some of the "non fleet" carriers (Zuiho, Shoho, Ryujo, Hosho, Taiyo) to ferry about 150+ Planes to the islands to be used as land based after an airstrip is captured.

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

Postby Garyt » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:40 pm

I have already pointed out that they are almost certainly likely to be regarded with suspicion by the IJA and the community itself won't be that pro-Tojo, any more than the German and Italian communities in the eastern USA were pro-Axis. After a short period of occupation the indigenous Japanese community is likely to be the worst treated by the occupier, on the same level as the Chinese in China.


Not sure if you meant to say what you did.

But I can't see in any way how the Japanese occupiers treated the Chinese in occupied China would have anything to do with how they as occupiers would treat Japanese in a US territory.

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

Postby Steve Crandell » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:57 am

Garyt wrote:Would not make to big of a deal about the damaged planes. Most could be back up in a day or two. The Fuel and Ordinance is anther issue.


I mentioned it because you seemed to want to count it on the US side.

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

Postby Steve Crandell » Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:59 am

I think I'm through with this debate. To me the idea is ridiculous, but you seem to think it was quite doable and that is a huge gulf between our respective positions. No point in going further from my point of view.

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

Postby Francis Marliere » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:44 am

Gentlemen,

an invasion of Hawaii on 7th december 1941 is IMHO imposible. The attack on PH was a success because the Japanese fleet achieved surprise. It was an exploit for Nagumo's fleet of 6 carriers and their screen remain undetected and under radio silence. I can't believe that the same level of surprise can be achieved with an invasion fleet of 3 divisions, dozen of transports plus their escort.
With no surprise, the attacks against the Pacific Fleet and the airbases will not be as succesfull as they were historicaly. Japanese will achieve less and will loose more planes (and may be carriers). The IJN hence may not be able to support much the landing, which will be opposed by alarmed and entranched troops. In this scenario the odds are not very good for the Japanese.

Best,

Francis Marliere

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

Postby alecsandros » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:17 am

Francis Marliere wrote:Gentlemen,

an invasion of Hawaii on 7th december 1941 is IMHO imposible. The attack on PH was a success because the Japanese fleet achieved surprise. It was an exploit for Nagumo's fleet of 6 carriers and their screen remain undetected and under radio silence. I can't believe that the same level of surprise can be achieved with an invasion fleet of 3 divisions, dozen of transports plus their escort.
With no surprise, the attacks against the Pacific Fleet and the airbases will not be as succesfull as they were historicaly. Japanese will achieve less and will loose more planes (and may be carriers). The IJN hence may not be able to support much the landing, which will be opposed by alarmed and entranched troops. In this scenario the odds are not very good for the Japanese.

Best,

Francis Marliere


... It was not logistically possible, IMHO.

In a hypothetical scenario in which the IJN has enough fuel and tankers, spare airplanes and spare pilots, it could be done...

But the initial attack should be done by all 9 carriers (adding Zuiho, Ryujo, Shoho), totaling 500 warplanes.
The screen should comprise 6 battleships, 40 destroyers and 20 cruisers, half of which would carry elite troops - some 5000 men with enough supplies and equipment for 6 months.

The entire submarines force should have been previously positioned all around the Hawaian archipelago.

After the intial hammer attacks (4 waves of bombing attacks on Dec 7th), the battleships would converge on a single island (Kauai ?)and ensure continous bombardment, helped by the carriers. At night, the destoryers and cruisers would debark the troops, that would be tasked in taking that single island. and keep it. an airfield would be prepared, if none was available, or was destroyed by the retreating US troops.

Having secured that one foothold, the Japanese could get to phase 2 - hauling a huge convoy across the Pacific, with 30.000 embarked troops, tanks, airplanes, supplies.
With speed limited to 8kts, and requiring a secure route, the convoy would require 6 weeks to get to Hawaii.

In those 6 weeks, the 6 battleships and 9 carriers would interdict all inbound and outbound traffic to/from Hawaii, would sporadically bombard various positions, and certainly reduce all airfields and airplanes to rubble.

Losses would be felt - possibly some capital ships sunk to US submarines - but they would be so many of them that the armada would endure, provided enough fuel, ammo and men were available on the escorting tankers.

IF a coordonated answer could be performed by the USN+RN in those 6 weeks (ex: transferring all Atlantic assets to Pacific and attempting an all out attack on the armada), things would be very very intersting.
IF not, Hawaii will fall to the Japanese....
Last edited by alecsandros on Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby RF » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:23 am

tameraire01 wrote:The war in the pacific is hell in a hand basket, the Americans struggle and the Brits have to face the Japanese in the pacific, the Nazis in Europe and north Africa along with the Italians in the med alone


They were not alone. Nazi Germany was involved in a life or death struggle against the Soviet Union. A theatre that took in a large part of the Italian Army. Italy itself was by then no serious threat and indeed was on the way to political collapse.
....the Empire is pushed to breaking point


It wasn't.

and possible use of chemical weapons to stem the axis advance.


Apart from being illegal the use of chemical weapons would have little effect and would invite retaliation.
The RN push the lions and vanguard as fast as possible in response to being out numbered and out gunned.


Not quite sure what is mean't here. The USA by 1943 was producing more weapons and ordnance than Germany, Italy and Japan combined. Britain was outproducing Germany. The Soviet Union was also outproducing all the Axis powers combined and at that stage wasn't even at war with Japan.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Postby RF » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:35 am

Garyt wrote:
But I can't see in any way how the Japanese occupiers treated the Chinese in occupied China would have anything to do with how they as occupiers would treat Japanese in a US territory.


Why not?

The track record of the IJA, how it behaved, how it fought, is quite clear. In the words of William L Shirer, the American journalist in Berlin in respect of Japan's ambassador to Nazi Germany they were more Nazi in attitude and thought than were the Nazis.
If the Americans can regard their own Japanese Americans as an inferior people with dubious loyalties, how would you think that the fanatics of the IJA would regard them? They despised even those Japanese militarists in the IJN who were not supportive of Army rule, and were in favour of murdering political opponents at home.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Postby RF » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:53 am

Steve Crandell wrote:I think I'm through with this debate. To me the idea is ridiculous, but you seem to think it was quite doable and that is a huge gulf between our respective positions. No point in going further from my point of view.


Logistically Japan was incapable of invading Hawaii because of its military commitments elsewhere and because of the distance from its home bases..

The only way the Japanese could assemble the required forces - in terms of troops a minimum of six divisions would be required and I doubt that that would be enough - would be for there to be no war in China. In which case there would be nothing with which to trigger the war in the Pacific.

However there is nothing wrong in considering it as a hypothetical scenario, as the US General Staff would certainly have done.

Even as a hypothetical scenario an invasion tied in with the 7 December attack would not be feasible, because the original attack would lose the advantage of surprise. Once the first attack is successful, then a hypothetical invasion as a later follow up can be considered. However that invasion force would have to undertake invasion without any element of surprise, which is why at least six divisions would be needed - and logistically it would be a colossal undertaking. With proper organisation and leadership, without interservice infighting and with full allocation of resources it just might have been possible.
Having said that I think that even in the best case scenario Japan had no chance of seizing and holding Hawaii for any length of time.
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Re: Pearl Harbor - all 3 USN carriers are discovered and attacked

Postby Francis Marliere » Wed Mar 18, 2015 10:04 am

alecsandros wrote:... It was not logistically possible, IMHO.


We agree on this point

alecsandros wrote:In a hypothetical scenario in which the IJN has enough fuel and tankers, spare airplanes and spare pilots, it could be done...


Just for the sake of the argument (you have the right to imagine whatever you want), I would remark that your scenario does neither care with IJN strategy, doctrine and mindset.

alecsandros wrote:the initial attack should be done by all 9 carriers (adding Zuiho, Ryujo, Shoho), totaling 500 warplanes.
The screen should comprise 6 battleships, 40 destroyers and 20 cruisers, half of which would carry elite troops - some 5000 men with enough supplies and equipment for 6 months.


I guess that a fleet of 9 carriers, 6 battleships, 20 cruisers and 40 destroyers carrying 5000 elite troops cannot 'disappear' as Nagumo Fleet did historically. It is unlikely that IJN, in your scenario remains undetected.

alecsandros wrote:After the intial hammer attacks (4 waves of bombing attacks on Dec 7th), the battleships would converge on a single island (Kauai ?)and ensure continous bombardment, helped by the carriers. At night, the destoryers and cruisers would debark the troops, that would be tasked in taking that single island. and keep it. an airfield would be prepared, if none was available, or was destroyed by the retreating US troops.


Doctrine matters. IJN thinks that the role of a battleship is to sink warships, not to shell land. No battleship was tasked to fire against land at midway. The Japanese acted against doctrine for the first time in October at Guadalcanal because of their difficult situation, and that move was stronly resisted and criticized.

Landing by night from cruisers and destroyers means few men and no heavy equipment. How could an airfield could be build from scratch or even repaired in this conditions ?

alecsandros wrote:Having secured that one foothold, the Japanese could get to phase 2 - hauling a huge convoy across the Pacific, with 30.000 embarked troops, tanks, airplanes, supplies.
With speed limited to 8kts, and requiring a secure route, the convoy would require 6 weeks to get to Hawaii.


Well, since Japan is short on land forces and shipping, an attack on Hawaii means no attack on south-east Asia. It makes no sense because the objective of the war is to capture the Dutch Indies oil refineries.

alecsandros wrote:In those 6 weeks, the 6 battleships and 9 carriers would interdict all inbound and outbound traffic to/from Hawaii, would sporadically bombard various positions, and certainly reduce all airfields and airplanes to rubble.


USN could not stay in operation for so long before 1944. Even if in your scenario, the IJN has dozens of tankers, there is still the problems of wear and tear, battle damage and ammunition. Heavy ordnance cannot IMHO be refilled at sea. Surface units will run out of shells and carriers will lack bombs.


Best,

Francis


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