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How would you have avoided the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by OpanaPointer, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Festung Guam wouldn't have been ready in time. SecWar and SecNav saw the writing on the wall for that one.

    There's a report from King and Stark dated around the end of Oct. that sums up the state of our defenses. I'll see if I can dig it out of the PHA.
     
  2. dna

    dna New Member

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    To close the loop on Morrison, he does state the Japanese aircraft had the fuel to persue the 7th fleet 150 miles south, if necessary. This seems to be based on Fuchita's interrogation. He also notes they were prepared divert the attack, if the Pacific Fleet had turned up at a different island. The referenced document seems to confirm the other island searches and were directed to sink enemy ships- presumably including the target ships.
     
  3. dna

    dna New Member

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    I'd make Guam the 51st state and use the Chinese idea of territorial waters to claim the pacific from there to the west coast. Then convince Formosa to cede itself to Japan and have them do the same.
     
  4. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Once Roosevelt started the the fuel restriction on Japan he knew the Japanese fleet had 6 months of fuel to spend on operations. After that the Japanese fleet was worthless. You either prepare or you don´t.
     
  5. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    With the oil from the dutch colonies, they estimated to have enough oil for 2 years at war. Which was a good guess.
    And there was no way to change the situation soon, to build up a synthetic oil production would require sources which were needed otherwise.
     
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  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    How successful were the Dutch efforts to sabotage the NEI oil fields?
     
  7. SURLANT

    SURLANT New Member

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  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Were the logistics in place to handle all that?
     
  9. SURLANT

    SURLANT New Member

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    Hello OP and the rest of crew. Just found your interesting web-site and signed up forthwith. I should like to put my oar in as to OP's question on how to avoid the pre-condition that contributed to the success of the attack on Pearl Harbor and his suggestions.
    1. Fleet be in Pearl in an unpredictable manner. This would entail employing tugs used to help moor capital ships in an unpredictable manner too. One of the problems Admirals RICHARDSON and KIMMEL faced was operating the Fleet on a tight budget. It should be noted as well that Fleet often trained while underway with other Fleet units, and Army and Navy aircraft. These too would be on an unpredictable schedule. Desirable as it might have been, having the Fleet out for a 10 days, back for 4 days, out again for two, etc wasn't practical or within budget constraints.Training times would have been erratic and skewed. Inevitably a "habit pattern", perceivable to a trained Naval Observer (Takeo YOSHIKAWA), is the result of basing the Fleet where it might be observed.
    2. That some of the Fleet, when not in Pearl, show up at the west coast at various places. One reason the Fleet was based at Pearl according to Admiral RICHARDSON in his book On the Treadmill to Pearl Harbor was the "deterrent effect" it had and was having on the Japanese. He was told this by President ROOSEVELT. That "effect", if any, would be less effective with fewer warships present. In June 1941 YORKTOWN, Battleship Division 3 (three NEW MEXICO class battleships) three cruisers and twelve destroyers were ordered to the Atlantic thus reducing the "effect" of the Pacific Fleet even further. Sending other ships of the Fleet on long distance cruises to the west coast would only would have exacerbated this result. Additionally, as mentioned supra, budget constraints were a real fact of life for the CINCUS, he did not have the fuel oil to send his warships on unproductive cruises.
    3. That the Fleet make cruises to the Canal Zone, Darwin, & Manila Bay. In addition to objections I urged in point 2., supra, I would add: A cruise to the Canal Zone where there were no refueling or maintenance facilities would consume precious and expensive fuel, and take the Fleet thousands of miles away from where the Commander in Chief wanted it to exert its "effect". Fleet cruises to Darwin and/or Manila Bay were not possible without a Fleet Train (supply ships) which the Fleet did not have.
    4. Finally one must remember that being Commander in Chief of a Fleet does not mean that Officer may order it about willy-nilly as if it were his own possession. He commands it under the orders of his Superior, the Chief of Naval Operations, and directs its operations under existing orders.
    5. What might have minimized damages to the Fleet at Pearl Harbor?
    a. A better appreciation of the "Bomb Plot" messages by G-2 and ONI, they really seemed to have sailed right over their heads. Sharing them with Admiral KIMMEL and General SHORT would have been a good idea too.
    b. Better (clarity and precision) war warnings than those transmitted on 27 November 1941.
     
  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    The "bomb plot" term was never used by the Japanese because they were just using the system to save expenses on telegrams. The "plot" was not relayed to the KdB, and they wouldn't have needed it anyway. they had windows in their airplanes, so they could just look out and see where the ships were. By

    Agreed that the Fleet needed to be unpredictable, but you could tell who was in harbor by the rockers on the sailors uniforms. The real problem was Yamamoto could guarantee a "big bag" due to the fact that a significant portion of the fleet was always in on the weekends. That was Kimmel's fault.
     
  11. dna

    dna New Member

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    The harbor was too tight too move big ships around much. Regardless, Kimmel had received a war warning and should have put ships at sea and aircraft in the air, where they would have been safer. He and other US leaders couldn't breakout of peacetime thinking. iBooks has published my first book. It is: Pearl Harbor Interactive Alteratives. It is highly touch responsive with video and photos from the national archives. It explores 4 alternative realities and might be interesting.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Put the Fleet to sea in November, when they got the war warning, and keep it there how long? The protection of the harbor was the assigned task of the US Army. The whole reason we had two divisions and ancillary units was to allow the Fleet to stand down, do repairs and get some rest. When Gen. Short got the war warning his thought was to protect his assets.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Regarding the harbor: I don't understand what you mean by "too tight". There was not going to be any fleet maneuvers, it was a "parking lot". It seems that it was possible to move ships around in there, they'd been doing it for decades.
     
  14. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    The fleet n
    I don't think that you could have avoided Pearl Harbor. The fleet was where it was suppose to be and the assets to protect it were available. The problem, as I see it, was the different mindsets of the commanders. Yamamoto won his argument for where to start the war, sent the fleet, and they were operating with a wartime mindset. Short and Kimmel, plus the higher ups in Washington, were operating more in a peacetime frame of mind. As OpanaPointer pointed out, Short and the Army where responsible for the protection of the Hawaiian Islands and Pearl Harbor. Kimmel had the assets for long range search. They both operated like accountants, who had to justify every expense, rather than commanders who didn't worry about costs but were preparing for war.

    Short was responsible for the defense of the Hawaiian islands. How many aircraft did his defensive plan keep ready for takeoff at the first sign of trouble. The experience of the officer, on duty and whose decision it was to act on the radar information,
    Kermit A. Tyler dies at 96; officer didn't act on radar warning about Pearl Harbor raid "He was never trained for that job," Martinez said. "He had a walk-through the previous Wednesday, but had never spent a full day there." I would imagine that everything looked good, as far as the accounting books were concerned, but, as history has recorded, fell woefully short when push came to shove. As for Kimmel, did he utilize his long range search aircraft, as if his life depended on it, or did he follow the maintenance guides?
    Once the first bomb dropped, in the Pacific, the peacetime mindsets would have disappeared and would have been replace with a shoot first ask questions later wartime mindset. If Japan had started the war elsewhere and them tried to attack Pearl Harbor, I have no doubt that Lt. Tyler would not have hesitated to sound the alert. In that event, there would have been no Tora, Tora, Tora, message only the mangled remnants of the air groups flying back to the carriers.
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Kimmel's job was not to defend Pearl Harbor. The Army was there specifically to do that job, to allow the Fleet to stand down and repair, rest, and recreate. The Martin/Bellinger Report said that to do a thorough job of scouting 150 B-17s would be needed. No other aircraft in the US inventory had the range and speed to allow detection of an approaching enemy before nightfall of the day preceding the attack. If the aggressor force was not detected by that time they could move in under cover of darkness and launch at dawn.

    As for the Air Information Center, it was not ready for operations. The Army Public Works Officer had dragged his feet on construction and equipping of the AIC and the Army Air guys had only recently got control of it. They still couldn't direct air intercepts from there. (Or anywhere else for that matter.)

    BTW, Kermit Tyler was never blamed for his actions and retired as a Col. after a full career in the USAAF and USAF.
     
  16. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    I disagree. ADM Kimmel's most important job was to protect his men. There are many ways to do this, some he did and some things just makes you wonder just what the hell was going on. Even though it was clear that the Army was responsible for the protection of naval installations, Kimmel still ordered the fleet watch to have half the shipboard AA guns manned and ammo available, why, if the Army was responsible for the defense of Pearl. He had destroyer patrols protecting the harbor entrance against unauthorized entrance. He apparently had issued an order for these patrols to open fire and sink any unauthorized attempts to penetrate the harbor, even though it was still peacetime, and, to their credit, the Navy didn't hesitate. But, on the negative side, What happened to the USS Ward reports concerning the sighting, attacking, and the probable sinking, with loss of crew, of a unknown vessel? Knowing that the Army couldn't provide long range search patrols,why did Kimmel have so few PBY's in the air that morning. Under his command there were over 60 of the finest long range search /patrol planes to have ever served, in any World War II war theater,sitting idle and only 7 in the air. Whether or not a search patrol would have stumbled onto the Kido Butai or visually seen the Japanese formation flying inbound, we'll never know but they damn sure were not going to do it sitting on the ground.
    Pearl Harbor Attacked » Printable Version of Topic » Us aircraft in hawaii
    Gen Short and the Army was an even worse good and bad cluster. The Army radar intercept net may not have been finished, but the parts that came into play that morning worked perfectly. It was the human element that declined to issue an alert. Even if the alert had been issued, Short didn't have the Air Corp organized for a quick response.
    The Army and Navy brass did some things to prepare against an attack but like the Titanic, with it's lifeboat quota, did just enough to get by and didn't realize that a just enough mindset, which may have been good for career advancement, was just good enough to get a lot of people killed.
     
  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Regarding the AAA, there had been a war warning sent on Nov. 27th. Extra precautions were logical.

    The Exclusion Zone around the channel entrance was forbidden to submerged craft. Legit craft wouldn't have been submerged.

    PBY's weren't adequate for the search pattern needed.

    I'm glad you like the board I helped start.

    The Air Intercept Center wasn't functioning because the officers and men were not yet ready to do that job. It would have been foolish to put a half-cocked program into the mix of a sudden raid.
     
  18. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    Regarding the AAA, there had been a war warning sent on Nov. 27th. Extra precautions were logical. That's one point for Kimmel and the Navy. Short should have received the same warning. His logical reaction was, nothing, nada, zilch. Navy 1 Army 0.

    The Exclusion Zone around the channel entrance was forbidden to submerged craft. Legit craft wouldn't have been submerged. And another point for Kimmel and the Navy.The Navy attacked and sunk the target. There was never any "don't worry about it" message with them. Navy 2 Army 0.

    PBY's weren't adequate for the search pattern needed. Due to their longer range, the Army bombers may have been a better choice but they lacked one ability. AVAILABILITY. Kimmel had 60+ purpose built long range recon craft available for duty. According to, Pearl Harbor Attacked » Printable Version of Topic » Us aircraft in hawaii
    The Navy had seven in the air with approximately 13 others ready on 10 minutes notice and a further couple of dozen available on four hours notice. They may not have been adequate for the type of search mentioned in the Martin Bellinger Report but they damn sure were available. If they had taken off at sunrise, who knows what might have been but they never got the chance. -1 point for Kimmel and the Navy. Navy 1 Army 0

    I'm glad you like the board I helped start. I do and thank you for starting it.

    The Air Intercept Center wasn't functioning because the officers and men were not yet ready to do that job. It would have been foolish to put a half-cocked program into the mix of a sudden raid. Foolish or not the IJN put them right in the middle of a sudden raid. The system worked right up to the point where the inexperienced Lt Kermit Tyler decided not to wake up Generals, Admirals, and POTUS's early on a Sunday morning. The intercept command may not have been complete but they did have a phone and someone's number to call but the Army just wasn't in the frame of mind to pull that trigger. There are things that Kimmel and the Navy could be criticized for but they did pull the trigger. However, Why didn't the Navy hit the alert button when the USS Ward fired on and dropped depth charges on an unknown craft trying to breach the harbor? -1 for the Navy. Navy 1 Army oooooooooooo.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    The AIC did not work. Tyler wasn't in the chain of command there, he had been assigned to the 4 to 8 watch and the Center had closed at 7. He had no authority to order anything and just a telephone to relay such orders. And he thought Elliott and Lockard had spotted a flight of incoming B17s, said flight landing during the attack.

    The Martin-Bellinger Report said they'd need 150 B-17s to make a minimally proper search. The United States had 112 total. And which direction do you have them search? The most likely direction was toward Johnston Island, very south of Hawaii. This was deemed credible enough to send Halsey that way before the Army shared the Opana Point information with the Navy.

    As for the Navy alerted, they did. The "five minute" destroyer sortied, the next ready destroyer got it fires hot, and Adm. Kimmel left Gen. Short standing in his front yard wearing his golf togs. They played every Sunday morning. The issue here is really, "Do we have one lone submarine doing something stupid or do we have six enemy carriers almost exactly opposite the action on the compass dial and over a hundred miles away?" From Ward's sighting they only had "one submarine."
     
  20. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Active Member

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    He did receive a similar warning. Stark warned his Navy commanders and Marshall his Army commanders in separate messages on 27 November. Most problematically though, neither specified Hawaii as being threatened, both focused on the Philippines and Malaysia. Short reacted by putting the Hawaiian defenses on alert and in the field for nearly nine full days. By the weekend of 6-7 December it was felt a rest day was needed. Saturday was spent "making and mending" and Sunday was a leave day...just because that is the way it's done. Like so much else, it was a "failure of imagination".
     

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