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The Pearl Harbor Disaster

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by DogFather, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. DogFather

    DogFather Member

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    Who do you all think was to blame for Peral Harbor? I think somebody
    should have thought about an air attack, from carriers. After what
    the Brits did to the Italian Navy at Taranto, measures should have
    been taken to guard against an air attack. Italians used aircraft engine, sound detection, to protect their fleet. So, the Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy), knew the Brits, in their Bi-Planes were comming. Yet, the raid was
    still very effective and the Regia Marina was relocated.

    The US should have had a well trained and staffed, 24 hr radar station, as well as other defences.

    Also, did it make sence to create such a big target, as 7 battleships
    in a neat row, in a harbor, with a lot of other tempting targets. Like
    carriers, cruisers, dry docks, subs, oil storage etc. I know the carriers
    weren't there, but that was just by luck. Somebody was asleep at
    the switch.
     
  2. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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  3. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Many people did, in the period prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, warn of exactly such a possibility and even described various measures the Japanese might use to effect a surprise raid. In fact, in the 1938 fleet exercises, Admiral Earnest King pulled off a surprise carrier attack on Pearl Harbor that was judged successful. His forces approached from exactly the same direction and in the same manner as the Japanese forces did on December 7, 1941. It wasn't that no one thought of such an eventuality or was unaware of the potential; it was that there were so many other much more likely targets that the Japanese could attack, and these other possibilities distracted the US military leadership. However, no one person was to blame for the success of the attack; it was a case of many people "dropping the ball" in Washington as well as Pearl Harbor. As for sound detection devices for air warning systems, the US had experimented with sound detection for several years before determining that it was basically a dead end technology compared to radio detection technology. The US therefore had decided to use all it's resources to pursue effective radar systems.
    The Army and Navy on Oahu were in the process of establishing an air warning system with which to defend the island. Several pieces of the system were already in operation, and the radar sets did indeed detect the incoming raid. Unfortunately, the part of the system that could have provided a warning to the interceptor aircraft and anti-aircraft artillery units, was still being formed, and the men to man it still being trained; it was just a matter of a week or ten days before the entire system would have been operational and able to provide an effective warning. See; Pearl Harbor Radar - December 7, 1941 and INDEX TO WITNESS TESTIMONY REGARDING OPANA POINT RADAR.
    Given the political, military, and geographic, circumstances, there was no choice. Hawaii was the only location where a forward defense base for the West Coast of CONUS was possible, and Oahu had the only sheltered, defensible fleet anchorage available. Pearl Harbor was a cramped and crowded base, which nevertheless offered the only reasonable site for a fleet base. As such, the US had spent a considerable amount of time, resources, and money developing it. The US Navy was committed to this development from a period when aircraft didn't even exist, so foreseeing an air attack on the anchorage when it first began to be developed was impossible. As for the deployment of the Pacific Fleet from the West Coast of the US to Oahu, it was a political decision which was, it was felt, required to exercise some deterrence on Japanese aggression in the Pacific. As it eventuated, such a deterrence factor was too little and too late, and the decision proved to be questionable. However, the defenses established on Oahu offered the best possible situation, in the case of war with Japan. That these defenses essentially failed their first test was not an error of planning, but of execution.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

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

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    Hey, DA, stop quoting my site before I can.
    :mad:
    :D
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Check OpanaPointer's 2nd listing in his signature. It will probably answer many of your questions. OP, I'm surprised you didn't point that out yourself, it's a great link.
     
  6. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    LOL! ONE time I get lucky and beat you to the draw, and you complain about it!
     
  7. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Just a question here guys, wasn’t that February of 1932 (not 1938), when the US Navy’s Fleet Problem 13 was carried out? With Adm. Harry Yarnell (not King)?.


    I thought that mock attack on Pearl excercise happened when Harry Yarnell’s command launched 152 aircraft from the Saratoga plus Lexington and executed a Sunday, dawn surprise attack on Army air bases and US Navy facilities in Hawaii from a position over 100 miles northwest of Oahu. Wasn't that the one?
     
  8. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    It's true that Yarnell did it in 1932, but King repeated it using four carriers in 1938. This was before Genda thought of it and it was the newsreels of King's attack that gave Genda the idea.
     
  9. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Thanks, didn't know that. I though King got "side-tracked" on the promotion list somewhere along the line and was skipped over by Stark, and Kimmel was given the CINCUS position. At any rate, thanks for that, I didn't know it was done twice by ourselves and once by the IJN. All three successful, did King also launch his to arrive at dawn on Sunday morning like Yarnell?
     
  10. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    King was commander of the Pacific Fleet carriers in 1938; I think his title was Commander Air Battle Force, or something to that effect. He was "passed over" after that, and ended up serving on the Navy General Board (which was generally considered the last stop for a Navy career before retirement) and participating in a number of studies about what was needed in the coming war. King was largely responsible for the USN entering the war with the best AA armaments of any belligerent; He chaired the King Board which led to greatly improved AA batteries on most US combatants.

    Admiral Stark got the "Cincus" command and Admiral Kimmel went to command the Pacific Fleet in 1941, much to his misfortune. I'm not sure of all the details of King's practice attack on Pearl Harbor, but I know he approached Oahu from the Northwest, used all four Pacific Fleet carriers, and I think he launched a dawn attack.
     
  11. OpanaPointer

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

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    Wasn't "CinCUS" Kimmel's rank? I understand Nimitz changed it when he took charge.
     
  12. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    Kimmel was CINCUS. (Commander In Chief US) Nimitz changed the term for obvious reasons of (SINK US) and became CINCPAC. (Commander In Chief Pacific)
     

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