Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

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Bgile
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Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby Bgile » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:22 pm

68 years ago today, in a short period of time Kido Butai was left a shadow of it's former capability, decisively changing the balance of power in the Pacific.

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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby RF » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:38 pm

Yes indeed. But I think it would have happened anyway, and the later victories at Philipine Sea and Leyte Gulf I think confirm that.

In no open major fleet carrier action did the Japanese ever prevail.
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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:35 pm

Bgile:

68 years ago today, in a short period of time Kido Butai was left a shadow of it's former capability, decisively changing the balance of power in the Pacific.


A great deed of the US arms, most probably THE great deed in US History. However Parshall & Tully's book "Shattered Sword" (both of them webmasters of the www.combinedfleet.com site) bring light and uncover a series of facts that change, substancially, the way we must see this battle.

First we have Yamamoto as Fushida has presented him to us and how Parshall and Tully discovered him to really be. Yamamoto was far from being the great strategic master we had thought of. He not only manipulated the political and naval command of his country to have his way to conduct operations but those operations themselves worked against the Japanese. The previous Coral Sea operation, without any sound justification, only produced that two aircraft carriers become damaged and not usable for the Midway Operation. Also, Shattered Sword is clear that the Aleutian attack was not a "diversion" but in the mind of Yamamoto a "legitimate target" which took two other carriers from the critical point at the critical moment.

Yamamoto's order of battle was also flawed, in contrast to Nimitz. Nimitz concentrated all his forces in the focal point... Yamamoto spread them out in such a way one unit cannot help another which is in peril. Such is the case of the "Main Body" of battleships that were not in place to support Nagumo during and after the 10 am attack. Even after the three first carriers were damaged and burning a force of battleships could have given the edge again for the Japanese. But those battleships were far behind, escorting a single man.

Nagumo has been pointed out, specially by Fushida, as the one that carries the burden of defeat. Being his some of the worse decisions in the combat we cannot put the burden of guilt upon him... or not only on him. He did what he was instructed and the famous issue of the arming, disarming and re arming of the torpedo bombers that morning was only product of Yamamoto's ill concieved plan and not even resembles the chornology that Fushida estipulates. Parshall & Tully are quite clear on this, not making any case for defending Nagumo, who has without doubt ill suited to be the commander of Kido Butai then and there.

The performance of Nimitz, Fletcher and Spruance was indeed a good one, specially Nimitz. It was good luck that Halsey was sick and Spruance took his place. At Midway the US could have not afforded a blunder such as Halsey's one at Leyte, two and a half years later. But above them the courage, valor and boldness of the US naval aviators was decisive. It seems that only when in numerical inferiority men cast out the best of themselves, being this one of those rare ocassions in which the US forces were not in advantage but in serious disadvantage. However we cannot only give merit just to Clarence MaClusky, Thatch or Waldron but to other junior flight officers that, if doing what they were ordered and told, would not have accomplished the great deed they made that day. We must acknowldge that luck was an important factor here, as it is always in battle as Clausewitz recognized in his book, however luck not always operated in favor of the US but also against it, as the fate of some of the aviators from USS Enterprise shows, those poor souls that landed on the oceans and died there. But more dramatic, and less known, is the fate of the flight groups os USS Hornet that never got to their targets and never made it back to their carrier. It seems that the bad luck of some gave good fate to those that made it to get over Nagumo.

If a point deserves it's place in History is Point Luck, the US rendevouz point. The only thing that remains to be said is a salute to the memory of the American and Japanese crews, sailors and pilots, those that survived and those that died during that combat that, whichever way we decided to look upon it, is the same category of Salamis, Gaugamela, Actium, Carthage, Lepanto, Trafalgar, Waterloo and Stalingrad, where History sees a dramatic change of tides. Before Midway the US was losing the war... even if that was not exactly so, but after Midway it was a thing of seeing how victory tooks shape.

Anyway, with Saratoga and Gettysburg this is one of the great moments of US History which I do not understand why is not a national holiday.

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RF
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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby RF » Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:55 am

Yes it is one of the great events in US military history.

Trafalgar is one of the great events in British naval military history and yet in Britain that is not a public holiday either, not for want of trying I might add.
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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:41 am

I understand, is more political correct a day for gay marriage celebrated than for a battle that saved the nation.
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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby RF » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:20 am

There have been moves in our Parliament to have Trafalgar Day made a public holiday. However in Britain we have a fixed number of public bank holidays - eight - so creating a new one means one existing date is lost. And the candidate to be lost was the ''labour day'' at the start of May, which is why our ''socialist'' members of Parliament voted the move out......
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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby tnemelckram » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:18 am

Hi All!

The following IMHO:

History's Big Four:
Salamis
Lepanto
Trafalgar
Midway

Order of gratitude for Midway:
Spruance for his inspired decisions.
Fletcher for having the good sense to defer to Spruance when conditions required that.
Nimitz for giving them both the necessary tools, information and discretion.

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RF
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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby RF » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:15 pm

And James Doolittle for the air raid on Japan that made the battle possible?
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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby Seekanone » Tue May 31, 2011 8:06 pm

The loss of four fleet carriers was a major blow to the Nihon Kaigun. However, most of the pilots were rescued and enough of the technicians came through to form the core for crews of other carriers. Still on the list: Shokaku, Zuikaku CV, Junyo, Hiyo,CV, Zuiho, Ryujo, soon to complete Chitose and Chiyoda. The USN had two carriers, Hornet and Enterprise left in the Pacific after Midway.
What hurt the Japanese so much is their monthly production of aircraft was pitifully few so replacements for the A6M, D3Y and B5N were not plentiful. The real turning point in the Pacific came during the laborious, terrible conflict in the Solomon Islands which decimated the Japanese air crews. The Battle of Santa Cruz was a terrible blow to the NK.
Midway was important, it changed the momentum in the Pacific War but the Solomons Campaign was the true turning point.

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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby lwd » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:20 pm

Seekanone wrote:The loss of four fleet carriers was a major blow to the Nihon Kaigun. However, most of the pilots were rescued and enough of the technicians came through to form the core for crews of other carriers.

I thought Shattered Sword made apoint of the loss of the ground crews as being a major blow to Japanese carrier capability.
What hurt the Japanese so much is their monthly production of aircraft was pitifully few so replacements for the A6M, D3Y and B5N were not plentiful.

Again this doesn't really match with what I've seen. While production numbers never reached US levels it was pilot training and fuel that were the critical aspects.
The real turning point in the Pacific came during the laborious, terrible conflict in the Solomon Islands which decimated the Japanese air crews. The Battle of Santa Cruz was a terrible blow to the NK. Midway was important, it changed the momentum in the Pacific War but the Solomons Campaign was the true turning point.

In some ways Midway was clearly a turning point. The Japanese were not really capable of decisive offensive action afterwards. The Solomons can rightly be viewed as another because the Japanese were on the defensive afterwards. A change in momentum by the way is not a bad defintion of a turning point. Note also that a fair number of A6M's were lost in the Solomons even more than at Midway I believe. Indeed according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon_Islands_campaign
The Japanese lost around 1,500 planes in the Solomons on the other hand http://www.combinedfleet.com/turningp.htm lists Japanese production as over 8,800 planes in 1942. So about 17% of the years production were lost there.

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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:08 pm

lwd:

Again this doesn't really match with what I've seen. While production numbers never reached US levels it was pilot training and fuel that were the critical aspects.


Well... not exact (as usual). Shattered Sword made the point that Seekanone also raised: Parshall and Tully were clear in the less than ideal production figures of the Japanese industry caused serious problems afterwards Midway action. It was quite difficult for the Japanese to recover from it's losses.
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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:11 pm

On decisive Pacific actions I highly recommend Willmott's "Leyte Gulf Battle" book. It contains a much better explanation on this decisive actions scenarios and doctrine.
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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby lwd » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:36 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:lwd:
Again this doesn't really match with what I've seen. While production numbers never reached US levels it was pilot training and fuel that were the critical aspects.

Well... not exact (as usual). Shattered Sword made the point that Seekanone also raised: Parshall and Tully were clear in the less than ideal production figures of the Japanese industry caused serious problems afterwards Midway action. It was quite difficult for the Japanese to recover from it's losses.

It doesn't help all that much to build additional planes when you lack pilots to fly them and lack the fuel necessary to train the pilots to fly them.
See: http://worldwar2database.com/html/kaigun.htm
the biggest problem with Japan's navy during the war was the lack of training. The number of hours that the naval pilots had in 1941 would never be achieved again during the war. While American pilots had several hundred hours in the air, Japanese pilots were limited by lack of fuel to some 50 hours before combat. The Japanese never had a sustained pilot training program to turn out large numbers of pilots.

or: http://japaneseaircraft.devhub.com/air-warfare
Japanese training had suffered badly through fuel shortages and the need to replace the heavy casualties of 1942-44. During the winter of 1943-44 advanced combat training had been abandoned for the best pilots coming out of elementary/intermediate training, and although this decision was reversed in the spring of 1944, the damage had been done.

http://books.google.com/books?id=zDbaHg ... 02&f=false
also has a lot of info on this.

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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:02 am

lwd:

You are fighting against ghosts now. Nobody is claiming that the issues raised as the personnel lost in Midway were not vital. We are pointing out that the planes and aircraft carriers lost were also an issue for the Japanese.

And your argument
...It doesn't help all that much to build additional planes when you lack pilots to fly them and lack the fuel necessary to train the pilots to fly them...
is just one of your argumentative nonsense, as History shows.
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Re: Midway Anniversary, 68 years ago.

Postby lwd » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:23 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:You are fighting against ghosts now. Nobody is claiming that the issues raised as the personnel lost in Midway were not vital. We are pointing out that the planes and aircraft carriers lost were also an issue for the Japanese.

I never claimed that the material wasn't. Others claimed however it was of paramont importance. I disputed that.
And your argument
...It doesn't help all that much to build additional planes when you lack pilots to fly them and lack the fuel necessary to train the pilots to fly them...
is just one of your argumentative nonsense, as History shows.

How is it nonsense? Japan had a severe problem with fuel and training. They did manage to scrape up a fair number of planes for the Mariannas but it didn't do them much good did it?


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