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Midway

Discussion in 'Air War in the Pacific' started by GunSlinger86, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    Intelligence and code-breaking gave us an advantage for knowing and being prepared for a Midway attack. It still seemed we had lack of ground aircraft for intercepting. Could the P-38, P-39, P-40, all excellent at lower altitudes, been available and used at Midway by the time of the Japanese attack for better defense of the base?
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Army fighter pilots weren't trained in over the water navigation. The B-17 navigators were frequently making their first long overwater flight on their way to the P.I. just before the war.
     
  3. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Even at Guadalcanal the air force commitment was initially limited, mixing units with different command chains and trainings in a very small base can work as an emergency measure, but also easily turn into a disaster. It's not the plane characteristics that are an issue here but the crews and C3i. I also believe the only way to get single engined planes to Midway safely was to use a carrier, and diverting one of the 3 available ones for that was not a great idea.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I wouldn't call the P-39s, P-40s, or the early P-38Es "excellent at lower levels." They were adequate, at best, but not excellent.


    The P-38Es were in, IIRC, Washington State, and were sent north to protect Alaska. I have not found any source confirming or denying that these 38Es were capable of carrying drop tanks - They were retrofitted for drop tanks, but the question is when was this done. Still, they would have had to be sent from the stated by ship to Midway. However, the USAAF did not consider the P-38E model to be combat ready.

    The P-39s were being shipped to Australia at the time, I can't remember if any were sitting ready at Pearl in late May, 1942.

    The P-40s were, IIRC, being held to defend Pearl in case of Midway being a Japanese feint or US loss.
     
  5. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    So the numbers weren't available yet of those models. Being stationed on the island for direct defense at lower altitudes, if they happen to be over the sea they are still very close to the base, I'm sure if they needed that for defense they would regardless if they weren't trained for over the water.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Problem: Target fixation can lead a pilot to losing his point of reference, and his plane, and his life. This was frowned upon.

    Remember that CINCUS has rejected Army planes for Wake and Midway in November, 1941, specifically because they didn't have the skills. And this was before the shooting actually started.
     
  7. KoryMiller

    KoryMiller recruit

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    The P-39 was really not much of a match for Japanese fighter aircraft.

    Although it's true that the P-39 was better at lower altitudes, it was more successful as a ground attack aircraft, which would not have helped at Midway.
     
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not according to Prange...
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    I trust Prange less every year.
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    For some reason, I don't buy the idea that USAAF pilots suddenly develop a case of the raging stupids once they fly 10 miles off shore.

    The Navy was still trying to live down
    [​IMG]
     
  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    You don't have to believe anything.
     
  12. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Well, the theory was tested out once. General Billy Mitchell proved that Army flyboys could bomb and sink battleships during Project B (anti-ship bombing demonstrations).
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    What does that have to do with over-water navigation? (And Mitchell sank an unmanned, undefended ship that was motionless. Quite a challenge, that. But he still had to go outside the agreed parameters of the test to accomplish it.)
     
  14. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    What does that have to do with over-water navigation, probably not much. Just pointing out that land-based aircraft, even Air Corps elements could successfully attack ships at sea. Still at the time it was quite an accomplishment. Raised a lot of eyebrows too.

    All the bombers in the air forces in the ETO and PTO flew from the states to their destination assignments. Lots of over the water navigation undertaken there too.

    Also on the morning of June 4 in the Battle of Midway, USAAF B-17s and B-26s flew from Midway to attack Kido Butai. Over the water navigation was used there too. The Army Air Force had trained navigators too. Naval targets were probably not the best employment of Army bombers, but at the time I figure that they had to use all assets available.

    Here's some photographic evidence that Army bombers successfully attacked IJN ships at sea, where over the water navigational techniques were sure to be used.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    The deficiency was corrected, of course. There was a wee bit of over-the-water navigation required when we assassinated Yamamoto.
     
  16. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Yeah, I forgot about that one.
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    In the case of Army pilots, there never was one to correct...The deficiency was more with Navy brass, than any Army pilots.

    Of course, you could "cherry pick" events to "prove" the "efficiency" of Navy pilots at the Battle of Midway...VF-8 for example...But cherry-picking would get us nowhere.
     
  18. DT1991

    DT1991 New Member

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    A-58 you realize that was much later in the war right?
     
  19. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    So if need be, if P-38, P-40, P-39 had been at Midway or brought there for emergency, they could have been employed regardless of AAF over-sea training.
     
  20. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    Simple answer, there weren't any Army fighters to be had. Most Hawaii based P-40's were destroyed in the Dec. 7 attack. More whole squadrons were sent to the Phillipines, Java, and Darwin. All lost or severely decimated. By June of 1942, the US wartime production hadn't hit its stride yet. They had to do some barrel scraping to replenish the Hawaii loses, and they kept those in the islands in case the Japanese won at Midway. P-38's and P-39's were still working up, being sent to the Aleutians or Iceland. Remember at Guadalcanal, almost three months after Midway, the only Army fighters that could be scraped up, were P-400's that were supposed to go to Britain.

    All that being said, why are you asking this question again?

    http://www.ww2f.com/topic/58329-fighters-at-midway/
     

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