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Was the Dispersal of the Japanese Fleet at Midway an Error???

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by bronk7, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The battleships of the First Fleet - Main Force(Yamato, Nagato, and Mutsu) could have kept pace with the carriers during all but flight operations and evasive maneuvers. As it was, the United States operated their slower battleships(North Carolina class and South Dakota class with their carriers).

    Further, the Kaga(slowest of the four Japanese carriers at Midway) was only slightly faster than the Yamato, Nagato, and Mutsu.

    You have to remember that most of the time, the carrier forces were not operating at full speed, but at a cruising speed. As operating at full speed burns up massive quantities of fuel and greatly reduces range.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not as many as you presume


    Well, the "Main Force" was part of First Fleet, and it was divided. Part was sent against Midway, and part was sent against the Aleutian Islands.


    This was all fell under the auspices of one fleet - Second Fleet.


    They were spotted by American PBY about 1 day before the carrier battle, they were attacked about 12 hours before the start of the "actual" battle.


    Yamamoto was not relying on surprise, but on deceit. He expected to lure the American fleet out and then crush it. Given the Japanese confidence in the aviators of the Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu, and Soryu, I would think that they would have expected an easy victory over three American carriers.


    It was not a question of panic, but doctrine that Nagumo had to wrestle with.
     
  3. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    Let me replace "fleet" by "group" and then it less confusing.
    The main battle was on 4th, i always forget this, so it is correct, the landing forces were spotted and attacked one day before. The carrier group only heard the engines of Catalinas, but wasn't spotted thanks to poor visibility that day.

    The japanese fleet never sighted Hornet and Enterprise, didn't they? It wasn't a question of wrong identification.

    A slower invasion force as a bait fpr the US-carriers would have been a clever choice, i agree. With the slower Carriers Junyo/Ryuho and the new Hiyo, maybe Hosho to and the 4 Fuso/Ise-Class BBs. Never understood why they didn't wait until more carriers were available, it was planned as a decisive battle, no reason to save ships.
     
  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It is usually presumed that Tone's #4 aircraft spotted Task Force 16, so that would mean that it saw either Enterprise or Hornet. The usual reason given that it was TF16, is that Tone #4 reported to many ships for TF17.

    All 3 American aircraft carriers were spotted, but not until hours later. And the fact only became known around 13:00, when the Soryu's D4Y1 dropped a message tube on Hiryu's flight deck.
     
  5. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    They spotted Hornet or Enterprise and found Yorktown?

    Was the "Judy" used as a reconnaissance aircraft?
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    That is the conventional wisdom, as the Tone scout plane spotted and reported more ships than were in TF17. Also position plotting was not an exact science during World War II.

    Even at the Battle of Midway, you have Ring's "Flight to Nowhere", in which the Hornet's fighters and divebombers fly all around the Japanese carriers, but never spot them
    [​IMG]
    The returning Hornet F4Fs spot their own TF17, but think it is Japanese, so they keep on flying out into the empty Pacific.

    Further, had not Wade McCluskey spotted the Japanese destroyer Arashi returning to Kido Butai, the Enterprise divebombers would have missed the Japanese carriers.


    Yes, the Soryu carried two of these, then experimental, aircraft.
     
  7. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    The IJN Cruisers had to use floatplanes, which were slow and had to be very careful when observing enemy carriers. So their messages could only be vague informations for sure.

    It is also a common myth that an immediate start of the airplanes equipped with the bombs against Midway could have saved the 3 carriers. The Dauntless dive bombers were already on the way.
     
  8. OpanaPointer

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

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    There was a collier that looked like a carrier. It was called "The Covered Wagon". :cool:
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The collier that looked like a carrier, called "The Covered Wagon", was changed into a Convertible.

    Sorry...Had to.
     
  10. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    How far away was the Saratoga's battle group when the battle got underway?
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not certain, but she pulled into Pearl on the 6th of June.
     
  12. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    It would have been interesting if she would have been there a few days earlier.
     
  13. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I would not say that with certainty. When McCluskey spotted Arashi, he was within about five minutes of turning for home, which as it turns out would have been towards Kido Butai. He had flown his original course roughly SW until he considered he had passed the enemy (which turned out to be correct). At about 0945 he turned right to NW to fly a dogleg for 15 minutes, and would then turn right again to fly NE back towards TF16. The homebound leg would be about 50 miles NW of his outbound track, enabling him to search water he had not covered previously.

    McCluskey spotted Arashi about 0955, heading NE, and turned NE himself, which put him on a heading towards the center of the Japanese formation. Without the sighting, he would have flown another five minutes/15 miles before turning. Kido Butai, twenty ships spread out over an area as much as twenty miles wide, firing guns, making smoke, making wakes with high-speed maneuvers, would have been on his right rather than directly ahead, but it seems likely that thirty pairs of American eyes might have seen them.
     

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