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New Movie Alert! "Midway", coming November 2019!

Discussion in 'WWII Films & TV' started by George Patton, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Hearings have several maps, of varying quality. You should check with Center of Military History for good quality maps, I think. They may redirect you to the Archives.
     
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  2. Stuka1942

    Stuka1942 Member

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    The Hearings have several maps, of varying quality. You should check with Center of Military History for good quality maps, I think. They may redirect you to the Archives.

    (Thanks Opana for the map info). Since this thread is originally about Midway - I've never understood what made the Japanese think Midway was a worthwhile place to target. Midway is small, and although it is an unsinkable airbase, it patrols a stretch of ocean that is not that important. If Midway were close enough to Hawaii to provide a base for Midway-based air so as to reach, THEN that would be significant, (as setting up for a Hawaii threat). But only the most long-ranged of land-based air would even get near Hawaii from Midway. If a threat to Midway was meant to draw out the U.S. fleet, wouldn't the Japanese need a more convincing target? I don't see that loss of Midway (the island itself, NOT the carrier battle) would have had that much consequence for the U.S. It seems like another example of vague Japanese strategic thinking. The list of targets the U.S. would HAVE to react to is pretty short - Hawaii & Panama - and could the Japanese even manage a viable invasion threat to either of these? The Japanese could threaten carrier air raids on these targets, so this might be enough to draw the U.S. Navy reaction that they wanted - for a big showdown battle. (The U.S. West Coast would have been beyond Japanese capability - raiding maybe, but not invasion.) Alaska is not much of a threat - even if the Japanese took all of Alaska, all it leads to is miles and miles of Canadian tundra, with no completed Alaska Hwy yet, and a rocky mountain coastline. Good luck with that, ... and supplying it.

    The Japanese strategy was poor, not only due to the Army-Navy rivalry (with their aims at odds with each other), but especially by the NATURE of Japanese decision-making. We simply cannot relate to it; their culture and ways are completely foreign to us Westerners. It is our way, in key planning and decision-making meetings, to ARGUE points to sift out what is poor. (Let logic prevail, and too bad if your ideas do not hold water.) The Japanese in their meetings, (be it with or without the Emperor) went to great pains to AVOID causing loss of face to any of their members. That meant that they kept discussion rather vague, and non-confrontational. The Admirals and Generals also did not want to appear as anything but rabid nationalists. Often, they would confide to their personal diaries about what they really thought (and a GREAT MANY privately thought that war with the West would be a disaster), but before their peers in conference, when it was their chance to speak, they put on a show of being confidant and aggressive. They did not want to appear to be the one member of their faction (Army / Navy) that was defeatist. The Emperor had a veto, but he never showed himself to be strong enough in character, or decisive enough, to use it. It was the Japanese way, to insist that conferences reach a UNANIMOUS outcome. In order to achieve that, it would tend to water-down any agreed upon statement, to a point of almost meaninglessness. Therefore, the Japanese somewhat blundered into war, and key points were off the negotiation table (giving up the gains in China and Indo-China) as being a loss of face for the Nation that would be too difficult to bear. There was nothing grand about Japanese grand strategy. (The Emperor had no clothes, but no one dared say it.)

    Despite this baffling process, the Japanese actually managed to run amok for 6 months, starting in Dec. '41. This can partly be attributed to much Western focus on the war in Europe, leaving only leftovers on defense. Japanese operational planning, along with a very healthy dose of pre-war spying of Allied targets, should also be credited as having been of considerable worth, in producing those 6 months of (seeming) triumph. But after that run, the poor strategic planning started to show itself for what it was - never mind the economic disparities that had not been heeded.

    REFERENCE for the middle paragraph is a book by Eri Hotta, "Japan 1941; Countdown to Infamy". This is highly recommended because the author is Japanese, so it gives the Japanese perspective, as well as access to research of Japanese documents, that would be hard for a Westerner to manage.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Midway was the bait that would draw in the USN CVs and eliminate the threat to the Home Islands the carriers presented. Then mission bloat took over.
     
  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    It was the 37mm AA Gun M1A2 on Carriage M3. Only about 469 had been completed and only 20 (IIRC) had reached Hawaii, along with 5,000 rounds. AFAIK none were operational until after 7 December. There were also zero 37mm AT Guns M3 on Carriage M3 on Hawaii AFAIK.
     
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  5. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    How do they maintain an element of surprise? If the Kido Butai plu invasion fleet sail the northern route to maintain surprise, then they are going to take about one-third again as long...the transports sustained speed is around 12-15 knots as opposed to the 20+ knots of the Kido Butai. They also require more escorts...and thus more fleet oilers, which were essentially maxed out for the Kido Butai. Then how do you coordinate an air attack to knock out the defenses while simultaneously getting your slow transports in position a couple of miles off a hostile shore so you can land the landing force? So, the Kido Butai made a high-speed run into position some 200 miles north of Hawaii for its pre-dawn launch. How do you get those transports the distance from there to the beaches simultaneously?

    Sorry if I lecture, but yes I did used to lecture on this attack. Meanwhile, I, and many of the others responding here, also know quite a bit about it, especially after a couple of years of researching and responding to serial lunacy posted on the subject by he who shall not be named. Plus, I have no idea what info is new or not to you.

    What does not impress you with the Japanese strategic planning, other than the shear insanity of them attacking simultaneously the US and Britain?
     
  6. Stuka1942

    Stuka1942 Member

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    Midway was the bait that would draw in the USN CVs and eliminate the threat to the Home Islands the carriers presented. Then mission bloat took over.

    The U.S. CV's were in short supply, at least for the moment, so unlikely they go near Japan (again) with its air patrols, subs, etc. The Doolittle Raid was pretty much a one-off, not to be repeated. CV's without Medium bombers on board, are only a (Home Islands) threat to Japanese ships in the Sea of Japan, but this seems way too early for any kind of sustained pressure there. (Raids on Truk & outer islands, maybe.) And if you wanted to trap the U.S. CV's, what makes Midway attractive? Wake Isle, Midway, ... these seem relatively unimportant in the long run. I just don't get the Japanese thinking here; they are not threatening a crucial U.S. asset - so the U.S. might just as well ignore that particular threat. (Code-breaking gave the the U.S. the initiative...therefore cashing in on this advantageous opportunity to put everything in one place at Midway and fight it out.)

    What does not impress you with the Japanese strategic planning, other than the shear insanity of them attacking simultaneously the US and Britain?

    Well, beyond that obviousness (economic impossibilities), they have a 6-month operational program worked out, followed by a vague hope for winning an annihilating sea battle and then holding back, wearing out the U.S. by defending the Pacific Perimeter. So, ultimately, their plan is to hand initiative to the U.S. (!) In general, it reminds me of the U.S. plan in Vietnam - where is the actual plan for victory? (Without one, don't go to war !) Axis Victory is a major long-shot, and only even a faint hope, EVEN IF the Germans, Italians & Japanese work very closely together, sharing staff planning like the Brits & U.S. Of course we know this would never happen (not in the nature of these regimes to trust / cooperate), but it does not change the fact that the possibility of cooperation DID exist. They chose to ignore it. Even after the war, I can't say I've seen any interviews of Axis generals lamenting the lack of inter-Axis cooperation. But they should have been lamenting it...they missed whatever bus there was there, for them. A coordinated Axis enemy would have given the Allies a much more daunting task. We should be glad that dictators / military cliques (Japan) tend towards hopeful thinking, over sound strategy.
     
  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    That's very rational, and thus not very in line with the Japanese thinking after the Doolittle raid.
     
  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Solomons:
    [​IMG]

    Is this the right carriage? (Bataan)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well, Midway would allow the Japanese reconnaissance flights over Pearl, as well as H6K & H8K long-range bombing attacks, it controlled the area through which the Doolittle task force passed through, it would keep an eye on any USN attacks on that flank, it would provide a submarine base for the short-ranged RO classes of submarines to easily reach and return from Pearl. Lots of reasons the Japanese would want Midway, these are the same reasons the US would want to keep these islands.

    No. Midway is to close for comfort to Pearl, both from a submarine and air aspect.

    It wasn't, the primary purpose was the destruction of the US carriers, which would certainly be there to defend. The capture of the island was "sauce for the goose."
    Nothing vague there

    They might, and that is a big might, threaten Hawaii...Panama was out of the question.

    No...They were too far away for the Japanese to concentrate their fleet. Just to do Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had to turn Soryu, Hiryu, and Akagi into floating oilcans - cramming barrels of fuel oil into every available space(cruisers Tone, and Chikuma too). Not to mention the effect a prolonged battle around Hawaii would have on the fuel hungry destroyers. The big showdown battle was supposed to happen around the Marianas, but the raid on Pearl Harbor through all that out the window.

    The weather, also, was usually less than cooperative for air operations.

    I believe that this only pertained to the top level IJA-IJN meetings. The meetings of the IJN alone could get quite rancorous - didn't Yamaguchi Tamon once put Nagumo Chuichi because Yamaguchi's Carrier Division 2(Hiryu & Soryu) had been left out of the Pearl Harbor attack. I believe that the IJA meetings were similar. The problem was when one of the heads, Yamamoto was a prime example, got an idea in his head, he fought for it all the way, and would not quit until he got his way. Didn't matter how bad the plan was, he still fought for it. Halsey was somewhat similar in this regard.

    Finally, the Japanese strategy was poor...Beause there was no "End Game", ie. "Once we accomplish X, the war is over. The Americans, on the other hand, always had an "End Game." Essentially, for the longest time, the US strategy was; we fight our way across the Pacific, then blockade Japan until they surrender.

    Nice, if it were true. Japan struck because the iron was hot.

    Yes, the all knew that war with the US would be a disaster, if it became a prolonged war. They also knew that if Japan caved in to US demands, she would have to forever after cave in to US demands, and Japan would become subservient to the US.
    The Japanese also knew that if they ever had a chance to win a war with the US, it was now...1941. The British were tied down fighting German forces, and would be able to provide little in the way of meaningful support. The US was dithering about entering the European War, thus strengthening the Japanese belief that the US was a weak nation unwilling to fight. Finally, Japan was in a position of great strength opposing the US & Britain - Japan, if she waited, would only get weaker, and the US only get stronger as the ships & planes of the various US naval expansion plans were completed. If Japan had a chance at winning a war with the US, this was it...There would never be a better chance to fight the US.

    Of course he didn't, the Generals and Admirals convinced him that this was their best and only chance to achieve a favorable outcome for Japan. It was only after the war had gone south, that the Emperor began having second thoughts.

    The Japanese did not blunder their way into war...They knew exactly what they were doing.

    Of course gains in China & Indo-China were "off the table." Japan had all but gone bankrupt financing her war in China, and lost many lives doing so. To sacrifice it all for nothing, is beneath contempt.

    That is because, there was no Japanese "Grand Strategy," they threw their "grand strategy" out the window when they attacked Pearl Harbor. After that, they were just freewheeling hoping things would turn out alright.
     
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  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Continuing, forgot the 10,000 cap...

    There is nothing baffling about the process.

    Not really, there was a sizeable British land contingent, as well as, an American one. American airpower was the best on hand, with the largest gathering of the new B-17 bomber outside the continental US, the British airpower - well, not so much. Now, where the Allies suffered...
    1. Poor Generalship - the were grossly overconfident, and mired down in their peacetime training ways, none were ready for defending against the Japanese.
    2. Divergent Strategies - The British were focused on the Malay Peninsula, the Americans were focused on the Philippines, and the Dutch were focused on the DEI. There was no common strategy, and each nation essentially went it's own way
    3. Impotent Navies - None of the three main players had a large naval contingent in the area, basically there were there to buy time for the main US fleet to arrive. They were also hampered by the fact that the nations never had their warships train together as one unit, and this caused many problems with handling the fleet.

    Other will likely add more...

    It is not the "healthy dose" of pre-war spying...After all, all nations did it...What do you think all of those military and naval attaches were doing?

    Rather, it is what the Japanese did with the information they got...They put it to good use.

    The Allies on the other hand...
    The 24-inch "Long Lance" torpedo that the Allies didn't know about until 1943 - Had it's diameter measured and rough specs figured out by a British naval attache who boarded a Japanese destroyer.
    A British military attache actually sat in the cockpit of an A6M Zero before the war. Not to mention the A6M reports sent to the US by Claire Chennault.
    All filed away and mostly forgotten about.

    Not "poor strategic planning". but "no strategic planning."

    The Japanese had done everything they planned to do, and the West had not surrendered. After that, the Japanese were just making it up as they went along.
     
  11. Stuka1942

    Stuka1942 Member

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    Presuming the U.S. did NOT have the code-breaking intel ahead of time, (which they used to win at Midway), are we then saying that as Nimitz you would come out and defend Midway, risking the only main strength left (U.S. CV's) because you valued Midway that much? I am not saying Midway had NO value, I'm saying it did not have ENOUGH value to justify such U.S. risk. Remember we are analyzing a situation where the U.S. is flying blind, w/o the code-breaking bonus. Staying strong back in Hawaii, while Midway falls, is not that bad. (Hawaii is a vital asset, Midway not.) Since U.S. Naval builds are in the pipeline, such patience would eventually be rewarded. Without the intel, and if you guess wrong on Japanese intentions in June '42, you could easily make a tricky situation much worse. That is why I question Midway as a target the Japanese thought would have to prompt a U.S. response.

    Instead, I would propose a Japanese strategy of feints elsewhere (in hopes to draw-off some U.S. assets), and a return to Hawaiian Waters in June, 1942. The defenses would be that much stronger now, so not necessarily to air raid, again. But the mere presence, maybe on the very edge of U.S. land-based Hawaii air patrols, would alert the U.S. of Japanese presence, but be at the limit of U.S. air reach. The hope would be to prompt an emotional response (Pearl Harbor being a sore spot) and draw out Hawaii forces. If the Japanese finessed it, maybe the battle could be coaxed beyond the land-based air umbrella. Bringing along empty transports, simply as a feint, might also help raise the stakes. I see a U.S. response required at Hawaii, that is not necessary over Midway. (For one thing, there are U.S. civilians in Hawaii to protect.)
     
  12. EKB

    EKB Member

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    Midway was an overreach of Japanese expansion. Why do you propose that they should reach further?



    A Japanese invasion and occupation of the Hawaii is an idea for dreamers that never wake up. Not to mention 24/7 maintainence and defense of a supply line covering vast distances over open ocean, which makes for a striking contrast to Operation Sealion fantasies that we read about so often.
     
  13. Stuka1942

    Stuka1942 Member

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    There is nothing baffling about the process.

    Baffling is very apt. (i.e. the Reference mentioned, Eri Hotta, "Japan 1941; Countdown to Infamy".)

    I believe that this only pertained to the top level IJA-IJN meetings.

    Well, that is the subject of the book, as well as the meetings involving the Emperor.

    Not really, there was a sizeable British land contingent,

    Yes, I called them leftovers...a sizeable British land contingent of leftovers...divisions with poor leadership, no combat experience, very little training, and considered not good enough for the ETO or Med. The Pacific was a dumping ground, until it became active.
     
  14. Stuka1942

    Stuka1942 Member

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    Just to do Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had to turn Soryu, Hiryu, and Akagi into floating oilcans - cramming barrels of fuel oil into every available space(cruisers Tone, and Chikuma too). Not to mention the effect a prolonged battle around Hawaii would have on the fuel hungry destroyers. The big showdown battle was supposed to happen around the Marianas, but the raid on Pearl Harbor through all that out the window.

    All valid, good points... however, you as the Japanese in June '42 are tasked with producing the showdown. You must do it while you still have the initiative, (you cannot wait until the war conveniently moves to the Marianas), and to force that showdown you have to threaten something more vital that Midway. Hawaii might be logistically difficult, but tell me then, what do you propose instead?
     
  15. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yup. In the previous photo the outriggers are hidden by the emplacement and the wheels have been removed. A nice carriage really, which it should have been, since it had been in development for about 14 years when they finally standardized it in 1940.
     
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  16. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Attache who sat in the A6M2 cockpit was Lieutenant Stephen Jurika, USN, a naval aviator, the deed done at an air show, probably at Haneda airfield in January 1941 where the A6M was pitted in competiton with IJAAF fighters.

    From John Prados Combined Fleet Decoded page 39:
    "There in front of him stood a static display - a parked aircraft of novel configuration. It was the Zero fighter, developed with the usual Japanese secrecy by the veteran Mitsubishi design team under Horikoshi Jiro, who had also designed the A5M Claude, Japan's first low-wing monoplane aircraft. Jurika walked right up to the plane and climbed into the cockpit. He found a plaque in English bearing such essential specifications as the plane's weight and engine horsepower. Jurika also looked at the metal used, the type of landing gear, the construction of wing covers, and other features. Smith-Hutton [Ed. Commander Henri Smith-Hutton, Jurika's boss in the Naval Attaché office] naturally seemed startled by the detail in Jurika's report, but the air attaché explained that he had taken the information right out of the airplane."
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    From some of the posts it sounds like you may not have read Shattered Sword. If not I highly recommend it.
    Arguably the IJN and IJA did the same thing on a national level.
    They had fundamentally different goals. The allies on the other hand shared the primary goal of defeating the Axis powers.
    Taking out the Soviets does little for the Japanese and they really can't wait long the new USN ships are in the pipe line and their oil reserves are dropping quickly. Even if the Germans take Baku when or if it becomes operational are open questions as in whether and when Japan would benefit from it in any way.
     
  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Dittoness for Shattered Sword.
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    There is more to intelligence than code-breaking...There is traffic analysis(Japanese radio traffic spiked prior to Midway), there is the Mark 1 Eyeball(Japanese submarines were increasingly detected around Midway & Oahu), etc., all of which pointed to Midway-Oahu as the target. By positioning the carriers near Midway allowed them to both cover Midway and Oahu. US Land-based air was considered sufficient to defend Oahu, thus allowing the US carriers to be positioned off Midway, but still be able to cover Oahu if and when necessary.

    You really should read through the Nimitz "Grey Book"
    American Naval Records Society (ANRS): Nimitz Gray Book


    They were not "flying blind", even without the code-breaking bonus...

    Yes, yes Midway is vitally important for reasons already discussed.

    Further, Hawaii already had much beefed-up defenses from December 7th, 1941. Not to mention a fairly large air contingent with reserves ready to defend the island. Midway, could not withstand a strong assault, while Oahu/Hawaii could.

    You don't get it...Midway was considered vital to defending Oahu/Pearl Harbor. Eliminating Midway, left a wide gap in American defensive ring...One that could not be covered from Oahu. By attacking Oahu, you are flying right into the heart of US land-based airpower(that is now on a war footing). Midway is a far less formidable opponent, as it could support far fewer aircraft.

    If you guess wrong, and the attack goes against Oahu, the US land-based air is sufficient to hold off such an attack, and the US carriers can move to cover Oahu, and likely attack from an unexpected direction while Japanese attention is focused on Oahu.

    Makes no sense...If the primary objective is to sink the US carriers...Why draw them off somewhere else? It defeats the purpose.

    A Japanese feint on Oahu, accomplishes nothing, but to waste fuel. Also, you seem to be assuming some very dimwitted Americans are in control of the battle, and are foolish enough to send their ships beyond the range of the American land-based air umbrella. It was done at Midway, because it was necessary. At Pearl, it is a different story. The Americans can wait until the Japanese make their move on Oahu, or attack them when the Japanese need to retreat because they are short on fuel.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    What exactly baffles you...As I find nothing baffling about the matter, it is all fairly clear cut.

    But, the top level meetings are not where the war was fought. That was done at the lower level. Further on this matter, the IJA and IJN had divergent responsibilities, the IJA was primarily responsible for planning the war in China, and the IJN was responsible for planning the war in the Pacific. The goals of one did not coincide with the other.

    That's funny...The British 18th Division was on it's way to the Med, when the Japanese attacked, and it was diverted to India & Singapore - eventually winding up wholly in Singapore.
     

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