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Pearl Harbor attack one big SNAFU?

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by OpanaPointer, Oct 5, 2011.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Minor Correction; Helena was escorting USS Long Island to Guadalcanal in August.

    Thanks, I had't run across anything prior to her participation at Santa Cruz. Makes the same point, hitting ships inside a major naval base has a very transitory effect. If I may ask, are you Researcher from the old History Channel website?

    OP, that must be fascinating working with your Japanese friend. Much as with mokukatsu at the end of the war, there's a big difference between understanding the literal words and the meaning.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

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

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    It's going slowly, but Sato-san jokes that it would go much slower if we were in the same place, due to a mutual love of a good beer.
     
  3. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    HA! WW2 seems to be the mother of all wars for excellent one line quotes. "..died of fright". lol. The guys who come up with lines like that are the guys you want to drink with.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

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

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    Drink with a bunch of CPOs and you'll know how to drink!
     
  5. ResearcherAtLarge

    ResearcherAtLarge Member

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    I posted there under the name Pilikia as far as I remember (Hawaiian word for trouble) but don't remember if I had Researcher@Large anywhere in my signature. The only place I distinctly remember using just researcher was at J-aircraft some time ago.
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Thanks, just curious how many of my old friends migrated over here.
     
  7. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    at least one
     
  8. Markus Becker

    Markus Becker Member

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    I also think he has valid points. Yes, in the long run a few less CA would not have made a difference but the Japanese planned for a very short war. Also, didn´t the battles around GC cost the USN a lot of cruisers? With less to begin with something could have changed. Overconcentration on BB is another valid point and by that I don´t just mean the torp attack but also the diver bomber attacks on Nevada. Seriously, 550lb bombs are wasted on a BB. They should have put them into a cruiser. And last but not least there is the thing with the flares to signal the planes their attack pattern. Instead of choosing different colors, a different number of flares of the same color was choosen. Some planes missed a flare, the CO fired the flares again and one half of the attacking force choose the wrong pattern, therby alerted the Americans and that cost the other half some valuable Kates.
     
  9. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    didn´t the battles around GC cost the USN a lot of cruisers?

    Indeed they did, 16 of 19 cruisers in surface action from August 1942 through July 1943 were sunk or crippled, plus HMAS Canberra and HMNZS Leander (all but two by torpedo). On the other hand there were six cruisers in PacFlt that saw no surface combat, nine that remained in LantFlt at least through the end of '42, and by January '43 the new Cleveland class CLs began arriving in the South Pacific*. The two cruisers torpedoed at Pearl Harbor, Helena and Raleigh, were back in action before we started losing ships in the Solomons. So while I'll agree that a few more hits on cruisers might have been more useful than piling on battleships, I don't see it significantly affecting the course of the war or even the Guadalcanal campaign.

    Note - except for citing Raleigh as an example of repair time, I leave the old Omaha class out of these discussions.

    * 3 of these were the 3 undamaged out of 19. They, with 3 DDs, encountered two Japanese destroyers which had just completed a supply mission and dispatched them in a short action (battle of Blackett Strait, March 6, 1943).
     
  10. JohnFrank

    JohnFrank Member

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    One of the untold stories of December 7th was of the USS Pyro, AE-1, and the USS Nevada. Apparently,in early December of '41, the Pac Fleet was in the process of removing main battery shells and powder bags from the 14" armed BB's and replacing them with redesigned shells and bags.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Nevada_(BB-36)
    ... but the other exploded within the ship near the gasoline tank; leakage and vapors from this tank caused intense fires around the ship...The gasoline fires that flared up around Turret 1 might have caused more critical damage if the main magazines had not been empty. For several days prior to the attack, all of the 14 in (360 mm) gun battleships had been replacing their standard-weight, main-battery projectiles with a new heavier projectile that offered greater penetration and a larger explosive charge in exchange for a slight decrease in range. All of the older projectiles and powder charges had been removed from the magazines of Nevada, and the crew had taken a break after loading the new projectiles in anticipation of loading the new powder charges on Sunday.[SUP][62][/SUP]
    On December 7th, the USS Pyro, AE-1, was docked at the West Loch ammunition depot. Among other things she was loaded with new powder bags for the USS Nevada.
    USS Pyro at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941
    With stores of ammunition (being readied for transfer to the USS Nevada) piled upon the dock, the ships crew faced dire straights.

    If the USS Pyro had been hit and its cargo exploded next to the ammunition bunkers at West Loch, Lord only knows what the results may have been.
    The USS Nevada may have been the luckiest ship in Pearl that day. She suffered damage to her avgas tanks with subsequent fires in the lower areas in the vicinity of the foward magazines. Unlike the Arizona, her magazines were empty.

     
  11. OpanaPointer

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

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    The machismo of Bushido prevented the attack of non-combatants. The Japanese missed several "golden opportunities" because of this.
     
  12. arthur45

    arthur45 Member

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    The book was long overdue. The Japanese were just plain lucky that commanders as incompetent as Short and Kimmel
    were in charge. And their allocation of ordinance can only be characterized as bizarre. As was their torpedo plane
    approach flight paths. The attack plan could rightly be termed "amateurish." And the followup operations at Coral Sea
    and Midway validate that judgment. The Japanese were just plain lousy when it came to tactics.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

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

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    Can you share what sources you are using to base that evaluation, and could you expand on those points, especially the "ordinance" one?
     

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