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Pearl Harbor vs. open seas

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by sPzAbt 503, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. OpanaPointer

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

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    I'd hazard a guess that this was not the full battleline.
     
  2. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    A point can be made that "critical hits" greatly contributed to many large warships losses, a large percentage of ships lost were doomed by one "critical hit" rather than pounded to the bottom. Speaking of ships not designed for withstanding 250Kg bombs, far less the vertically dropping modified battleship shells some Kates were carring, we can expect a number of them.

    BTW are we talking about Ark Royal or Royal Oak?, I believe the massive damage control mistakes relate to the CV not the BB.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed. But suggesting that they are likely to get multiple such hits is rather stretching things. They are called "lucky" after all because they are not expected.
    Possibly but unlikely that they will do much of anything. to get the penetration they wanted they had to drop from about 10,000 ft. Level bombers didn't have much of a record of accuracy in general particularly against maneuvering ships.

    Not to say that some of the US BBs may not get beat up a bit by IJN aircraft but I don't think they are going to come close to sinking the battle line. Indeed they'd be lucky to sink one BB.
    I rememberd that Royal Oak was in harbor when sunk. Didn't remember a whole lot more than that. Looking at Wiki looks like it wasn't a single torpedo as we were told: Here is the quote:
    HMS Royal Oak (08) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    June 42 the US battleline was 7 ships.

    Colorado
    Tennessee
    Maryland
    Idaho
    Mississippi
    New Mexico
    Pennslyvania
     
  5. OpanaPointer

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

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    Very.

    So comparing Pye's force with the full battleline is hardly appropriate. And given that the attack on the Japanese Midway force was supposed to be a hit and run operation bringing the BBs wouldn't be an option at all. Apples to apples, shall we?
     
  6. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    7 battleships for Pye, 7 for Kimmel.





    The fact remains; Nimitz kept the battleships well clear of Midway for fear that they would be sunk.



    IMO, the USN would have witnessed a miracle if only two battleships were sunk. I would not think five out the question. When about 12 Vals put the Nevada in a sinking condition, it would be highly optimistic to imagine that 80 Vals are not going to do some serious damage on top of the 3 (or so) kills that the Kates would get.

    If Kimmel goes to sea his best bet is to run southeast and not stop.
     
  7. OpanaPointer

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

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    "7 battleships for Pye, 7 for Kimmel."

    14 for the full battleline then. We agree.
     
  8. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    Keep in mind too that by June, 1942, the improvement of the older battleship's anti-aircraft suite, although not complete, was far improved over the ships that were caught in Pearl Harbor on 7/12/41. Each battleship had received splinterproof shields over each 5" gun. They also received four, quad mount, 1.1" automatic guns and 20mm Oerlikon guns that replaced the .50 caliber watercooled machine guns. This made a decided difference in the battleship's ability to survive Japanese dive bomber and torpedo plane attacks. During the Pearl Harbor attack, only the Maryland had received her 1.1 gunmounts.
     
  9. sPzAbt 503

    sPzAbt 503 Member

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    Sorry, but I have been away on business, and have not had an opportunity to log in. Let me start by saying my original premise was not “who” would win in an open-seas fleet engagement. It was whether the United States would have been more likely to have settled for a negotiated peace, had the results of an open-seas fight been the same as Pearl Harbor, i.e. the destruction or incapacitation of a majority of the US Pacific Fleet.
    It appears the Japanese grand strategy was to seek out a single, decisive fleet engagement with the US, which would enable them to conquor and consolidate a Pacific empire. Through heavy attritional losses, they would eventually wear down the US will to continue, and end up keeping a majority of their conquests.
    My theory is that because of American ideology, culture, persona, etc., a sneak attack made the US completely unwilling to negitiate a settlement. There would be no quarter given to someone who had “stabbed us in the back”. Therefore, while tactically brilliant, Pearl Harbor ultimately led to the Japanese demise because it had attacked the US in a way which enraged it, and could only be absolved via the complete and total destruction of its’ enemy.
    However, if the US had lost in an open-seas engagment, in what could be described as a “fair fight”, would the US have been more likely to settle? Would an open-seas defeat have galvanized the American public to such a degree as Pearl Harbor did, and would they have continued a struggle to the bitter end against an enemy that had not insulted their honor via a sneak attack? Enjoy!
     
  10. OpanaPointer

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

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    Having read several thousand speeches and Op-Ed pieces from the period '39-'41 I'd hazard a guess that the US public opinion would not have tolerated a negotiated peace with Japan. We knew this wasn't a game and that one side or the other would have to fall before it was over.
     
  11. sPzAbt 503

    sPzAbt 503 Member

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    I concur. In generalized terms, any military action which advocates a “holding” strategy versus the complete defeat and occupation of the enemy is more likely to fail. I am not saying it was pre-ordained that the Japanese would lose the war in the Pacific (strange things can happen), but it would seem the overall Japanese strategy was doomed from the start. However, having just finished a book about the Eighth Air Force, and the concern the public and some military leaders were having over the indiscriminate bombing of civilians toward the end of the European conflict, I wondered if America would have pursued it with the same gusto in the Pacific had it not been attacked at Pearl Harbor.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

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

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    I think that the battles of the Pacific would have had the same result in the long run. Guadalcanal gave us an good indication of the type of war we had to fight.
     
  13. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Historically "total war" is the exception not the rule, most "wars" have limited objectives and intelligent leaders are very careful NOT to destoy the opponent's political infrastructure with the result of finding themselves with nobody to negotiate with. Sun Tzu's maxim that the best victories can be achieved without actually fighting still hold true, the last thing you want is pushing your opponent into a corner where they will fight to the last man. The Japanese totaly misunderstood US resolve, and paid for it, but it could have worked against a different opponent, it did in 1905 after all.
     
  14. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    The USN only had 7 at Pearl ready for sea.





    Fair enough, but even with the improved anti-aircraft, Nimitz felt they were too vulnerable.

    BTW – Lexington and Yorktown were better armed with 20mm and 1.1” at Coral Sea, and their A-A still did not perform well.




    I suspect the racial nature of the conflict and the intensity of the Japanese in battle would cause US opinion to go for total war regardless.

    p.
     
  15. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

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    This has probably been touched on before but besides not attacking Pearl Harbour as stated in the thread, that Japan didn't attack 'any' American bases and instead just attacked the European colonial possessions while doing their best to placate the U.S. would/could America declare war on Japan?

    By making that undeclared attack on PH, it stirred up a hornets nest, and made sure the Americans would never stop until Japan was crushed, no matter how long or what the cost & it certainly solved Roosevelt's most pressing problem, how to overcome the American public's opposition to involvement in the war that had been going on in Europe for the previous sixteen months & given the isolationist temperament of the U. S. at the time, the polls showing that 74% of Americans didn't want to be involved in the war in Europe [even when Britain was the last major Democracy fighting the Nazi's and when American warships were being sunk and Americans killed] and 64% didn't want war with Japan, is it questionable, even doubtful, that that the United States would have responded directly to the seizure of those foreign Colonial possessions by declaring war on Japan?


    Roosevelt needed something cataclysmic to fire up the American people, & sending young men off to fight & die to save European colonies wasn't it, especially as he promised the American people not to become involved in any overseas war...unless attacked.... guess he could probably conjure an entry into the war against Japan somehow, [ without going as far as the conspiracy theories of Theobald or Toland or the many others around today about Roosevelt's implication in the PH attack, there was more then one way to skin a cat] but it would take some pretty devious footwork to get the public behind him.

    And would the US public feel that outrage and overwhelming support for US involvement that the PH attack inspired?

    I've seen from three to twelve months before the US got involved in the Pacific in those circumstances, three months might be OK for all down under, but twelve months, scary.

    Who knows?
     
  16. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    ANZAC, this scene has been discussed before but I'm not sure where it is exactly. There is one "fly in the ointment" however. The very month that Japan joined with the other Axis powers, Sec. Hull made the announcement that America would make it's bases in the Pacific available to the UK and/or Dutch warships and airplanes if they were attacked by the Japanese in their colonies and needed them.

    This would put the bases on the Philippines and Guam at the disposal of the UK and Dutch, and the Japanese couldn't avoid or ignore them even if they were on "American" soil. PH was the "best" option for the Japanese in that sense, eliminate the Pacific Fleet in Pearl (or at least cripple it), gain as much territory as possible before America could recover, and then settle with the US at the new borders.

    At least that was their hope, didn't work out that way though. Even though Yamamoto never muttered the "sleeping giant" line, he may as well have.
     
  17. OpanaPointer

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

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    When you have no good long-term solutions your remaining option is to chose the best short-term solution.
     
  18. OpanaPointer

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

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    "Roosevelt needed something cataclysmic to fire up the American people,..." Actually, he didn't. He was confident the Axis would provide such and all he had to do was react to it when it happened. He was, of course, very accurate in that prediction.
     
  19. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Found the old post that discussed the bases:

    In 1940, when Japan occupied French Indochina (Vietnam area) upon agreement with the French Vichy government, and joined the Axis powers Germany and Italy in The Three Power Pact (in Sept), these actions intensified Japan's conflict with the United States, and the other powers which were to evolve into the western allies. With Japan’s European partners over-running the Low Countries, the Dutch government in exile in London became a de facto partner with the British, and Secretary of State Hull said; "...it was certain that Japan would assume that, whether or not the United States and Great Britain had definite agreements in regard to naval and air bases in the Pacific including Singapore, the special relations between these two countries were such that they could overnight easily establish cooperative relations for the mutual use of all these bases.", this was an open secret, and well understood by the Imperial Japanese. Sec. of State Hull then publicly stated in 1940 that American bases for both ships and planes would be made available to either UK or Netherlands forces if needed.

    This would/could put both British and Dutch sea and air power in the Philippines, Guam, Midway, and any other American bases which would be of any aid. Even then the Imperial Japanese knew that the USN Pacific fleet would need to be "neutralized" before they could fully expand into their "Co-prosperity Sphere". So trying to keep the US out of the Pacific problem and attacking the either just the Dutch or British colonies alone, was more than unlikely.

    With that position stated, and it must be remembered that the following month (October, 1940), Hull re-enforced this point with; "nothing could be more dangerous for our nation than for us to assume that the avalanche of conquest could under no circumstances reach any vital portion of this hemisphere. (He added that)… oceans gave the nations of this hemisphere no guaranty against the possibility of economic, political, or military attack from abroad; that oceans are barriers but they are also highways; that barriers of distance are merely barriers of time. (emphasis mine)

    Should the would-be conquerors gain control of other continents
    (the Secretary said), they would next concentrate on perfecting their control of the seas, of the air over the seas, and of the world's economy. They might then be able with ships and with planes to strike at the communication lines, the commerce, and the life of this hemisphere, and ultimately we might find ourselves compelled to fight on our own soil, under our own skies, in defense of our independence and our very lives". (Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 [Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943], pp.79-86)

     
  20. OpanaPointer

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

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    United States Department of State Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, Japan: 1931-1941: Volume I (1931-1941)
    United States Department of State Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, Japan: 1931-1941 (in two volumes): Volume II (1931-1941)
     

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