Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Understanding the Pearl Harbor disaster, using its historical context & few other pieces of solid da

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by DogFather, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. DogFather

    DogFather Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2008
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    5
    It's clear an attack on Pearl Harbor, had been a concern, for 20 yrs before it actully happened. George Patton wrote a paper, in the early 1930's, that "outlined almost exactly the plan used by the Japanese" (source, pattonhq.com/pattonbio.pdf). Several
    simulations had suggested the possiblity as well. Many were also concerned about the large concentration of ships and other high value military assets, all in one place. Some
    of which could have been, kept on the west coast, further away from the likely enemy.

    We know Adm Richardson was fired for voicing his concerns, about the lack of anti-aircraft weapons and pursuit aircraft (fighters), needed to protect the Pac Fleet.
    (source, ibiblio.org/pha/pha/misc/defense.html).

    It's also important to understand, Adm Nimitz, turned down this coveted command, only to accept it after the war started.

    After the attack, in the Knox Investigation, these same issues come up.
    (source, ibiblio.org/pha/pha/knox/knox_sec.html)

    "In view of the attack and the serious damage inflicted by it, the usefulness and
    availability of the Naval station must be restudied. Its air defenses must be strengthened
    immediately by the despatch of as many fighter planes and anti-aircraft guns as can
    be assigned to it. Special defenses against aerial torpedoes, such as balloon barrages
    and deep floats to be moored alongside important combatant units must be developed.
    Pending studies and the addition of satisfactory safeguards, no large concentration of Naval vessels can be permitted at Pearl Harbor."

    The other very important, info in the Knox Investigation, is the "Activities of Japanese fifth columnists' and the spying going on.

    "It cannot be too strongly emphasized that there was available to the enemy in Oahu
    probably the most efficient fifth column to be found anywhere in the American
    possessions, due to the presence of very large numbers of alien Japanese. The intelligence work done by this fifth column before the attack provided the Japanese navy
    with exact knowledge of all necessary details to plan the attack. This included exact
    charts showing customary position of ships when in Pearl Harbor."

    From this it's clear, the Pearl Harbor commanders were facing both an external and internal threat. A threat that was not know and could only be estimated. No wonder
    Nimitz turned down the job.

    From the Naval Court of Inquiry, many other problems with the fleet being a Pearl
    Harbor are expressed. Like the high land around PH, preventing visability of approaching hostile planes and helped the spying activities, that were going on before the PH attack.
    Along with how barrage ballons and smoke, as means of defence, could not be used.
    Due to navy airfields near-by and the prevailing winds.

    The Naval Court of Inquiry, goes on to give many other reasons, the disaster took place.
    Adm Stark not keep Adm Kimmel informed, about the diplomatic situation. How Gen Marshall and Adm Stark sent a joint memo to FDR, on 5 Nov, 1941, not to give the Japanese an ultimatum. Because the ultimatum would mean war and the US military was
    not ready for war, and the Japanese had an existing numerical superiority, in terms of
    their fleet.

    The Naval Court of Inquiry, may well be the most objective, investigation into the PH
    disaster. It also explains the reason, no long distance recon was being done at the
    time. How the Army was responsible for the AWS (Aircraft Warning Service) as part of the, JOINT COASTAL DEFENSE PLAN. This should have given warning, of approaching
    hostile aircraft, and in fact it did. However, there was a failure of execution, after the
    detection was made. The ships in the harbor had ammo, and were firing in about 5 mins,
    after the start of the attack. Had they been given more time to get ready, they may
    have been able to drive off, the 1st and 2nd waves of planes, like they did the 3rd.

    I also read some where that Japanese cruiser recon planes, were also detected, before
    7AM, and also dismissed as our own planes, by more experienced officers, than Lt Tyler.

    Didn't seem like anyone really took a possible attack seriously, in either Pearl Harbor
    or Washington DC. The vulnerability of ships to air power, just seemed to be a lesson
    that had to be learned the hard way. Considering Force Z, lacking any air power, was
    sent anyway and quickly destroyed.
     
  2. machine shop tom

    machine shop tom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    430
    Likes Received:
    42
    It was a decidedly un-funny comedy of errors.

    tom
     

Share This Page