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What did they gain?

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by Watson, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Watson

    Watson Member

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    In hind sight, it's fairly easy to criticize the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It was indeed a brilliantly planned operation, but in the end what advantage did they really gain? They sank a number of soon to be obsolete battleships, most of which were later salvaged from the bottom of the shallow harbor. More importantly, they forced the Americans to revise their equally obsolete naval strategy of using the battleship as their mainstay and replacing it with the aircraft carrier. A move which in the end would cost Japan the war.
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It was a gamble on a long shot. The Japanese leadership saw that the only way to "win" the Pacific war was to induce the US to surrender after Japan had had inflicted upon her a series of humiliating losses. This went according to plan. However, the US was made of sterner stuff than the Japanese expected and she did not sue for peace. It was "win" or "lose," there was no middle ground. For the most part, this derives from the fact that Japan had no clear cut strategy once she had completed her conquest other than hoping that the US would then sue for peace and the war would be over.

    However, once the tide in the Pacific turned against Japan, the Japanese attempted to hold on to there possessions for as long as possible. The idea was to make the US sue for peace, on terms favorable to the Japanese, because the Japanese were making the battles more costly than the American public was willing to accept. Again, the came to the wrong conclusion.
     
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  3. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Well put, and the Japanese militarists clung desperately to that hope of America's not having the stomach for a "bloody and most costly" war right to the end. Look at the Ketsu-Go plans! The hope there was to hold up the Allied invasion forces with such fierce fighting by the Japanese civilian population that the Allied nations would become discouraged and sue for peace.

    Of course mis-understanding your opponent wasn't simply a Japanese problem, most (but not all) Americans totally DIDN'T understand the Japanese either.
     
  4. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I take exception to this; especially as to the battleships at Pearl, they were neither totally "obsolete" nor worthless, older perhaps but they had been "modernized" in the recent past.

    Some were rather slow at 21 knots compared to the next generation of BBs from the North Carolina class of the 1930s on. But, I feel they were very useful, because only three of the eight present were "out for the duration", the Arizona (BB-39) was of course lost, the Oklahoma (BB-37) was re-floated but deemed too extensively damaged for repair and decommissioned later. The USS Utah (AG-16) was the only completely obsolete BB, and had been removed from the ranks of "Battleship" and become a "target ship". And the Arizona’s sister-ship, the Pennsylvania (BB-38) was in dry-dock when the attack came.

    Within a few months the first of them was back "on station", and before too very long the rest of them re-joined the fleet.

    The Pennsylvania went on to earn eight battle stars and a Navy unit citation in WW2. The Pennsylvania was scuttled off Kwajalein Island on February 10th, 1948.

    The Maryland (BB-46) would serve with distinction and she would receive seven battle stars before being decommissioned in 1947.

    The West Virginia (BB-48) would receive five battle stars for meritorious service before she too was decommissioned in 1947.

    The Nevada (BB-36) was the only Battleship to attempt to steam out of Pearl but grounded herself to keep from blocking the channel outlet, she was re-floated in February 1942, she served valiantly through the war, was inspected and reassigned as a target ship during the Bikini atomic experiments. The toughness of this ship showed through once again as she survived the Crossroads atomic tests and returned to Pearl Harbor to be decommissioned on August 29, 1946.

    The Tennessee (BB-43) was the least damaged after the attack of the Battleships, she would earn a Navy Unit Commendation and 10 battles stars for World War II service and be placed in "mothballs" on February 14, 1947.

    The California (BB-44) was re-floated on March 26, 1942 and for valiant service during the war, she received seven battle stars and was decommissioned on Valentine’s Day, 1947.

    So older and slower some of them might have been, but refitted with even more AAA they did yeoman's work through out the war. It did force us to focus on our carriers and submarines, since those were what we had to work with, but the BBs continued to be useful throughout the war, just not for their original missions.
     
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  5. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    In one of those ironic twists of fate five of those ships listed above were present as part of Oldendorf's battle line at Surigao Strait. Defeating the Japanese in the long awaited decisive battle.
     
  6. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    The survivors of the savage beating at Savo Island would probably have laughed aloud at a suggestion the battleships the Japanese and US high command had denied to them could not have been put to good use against the attacking Japanese cruiser fleet.
     
  7. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Things would have been a weebit different had all carriers been in port and lost. That would have delayed US action in the Pacific by 12 months I would say. The plan was brilliant in design and in implementation, it just turned out differently.
     
  8. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    That, along with Nevada participating in D-day. These had to be some of the proudest moments of the Navy's history!! Its incredable to think about this feat.
     
  9. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

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    The Japanese Navy General Staff actually had a plan since 1938, as a step in the consolidation of the Southern Seas areas after the initial push through the Pacific, called Operation Mo, involving the occupation of New Guinea, & later operations to take Fiji, the Samoan islands and New Caledonia.

    The only problem was they didn't lend enough force to it & fought a more or less equal battle at Coral Sea, when they shouldn't have been seriously challenged at that point.

    And Yamamoto's plan to bring the US fleet to battle at Midway was like other Japanese Naval plans, convoluted, & made the cardinal sin of dividing his forces.

    Anyway I guess it didn't matter what the Japanese did after PH, by attacking Pearl they virtually committed national Hara-Kiri, trying to fight a three front war against Britain & the Commonwealth & the US, with nearly two million of their best troops fighting in China, & keeping an eye on Stalin in Manchuria.

    And all because the Japanese high command was [mistakenly] certain any attack on the British Southeast Asian colonies would bring the U.S. into the war, a devastating preventive strike appeared to be the only way to avoid U.S. naval interference.

    If they only knew.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    What makes you think it was mistaken?
     
  11. ANZAC

    ANZAC Member

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    Roosevelt told Churchill that he could not commit the US to entering the war if the Japanese attacked British or Dutch possessions in the East.

    At the Placentia Bay Conference in answer to Churchill's urging that the US commit to war with Japan if the Japanese moved against British possessions, Roosevelt stated that –'I shall never declare war,' – he could not without Congressional consent – 'If I were to ask Congress to declare war they might argue about it for three months.'......

    Churchill eventually settled for... 'Any further encroachment by Japan in the South-West Pacific would produce a situation in which the United States government would be compelled to take counter-measures, even though these might lead to war between the United States and Japan.'.... be inserted in a note Roosevelt intended to hand to the Japanese ambassador in Washington. Roosevelt agreed to append these phrases to the note.

    A serious disappointment for the British followed. The statement which Roosevelt had prepared merely announced that they had met at sea to discuss the workings of Lend–Lease, and that the accompanying naval and military discussions had in no way involved any future commitments other than as authorised by Act of Congress. Churchill was deeply shocked at this proof of how far Roosevelt was in fact shackled by Congress and the law.

    http://www.fpp.co.uk/books/Churchill/2/Pt1.pdf
     
  12. OpanaPointer

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

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    FDR had to work with Congress, and within the law, but he gave as good as he got. The US system of government varies from the British system just enough for confusion to rule when the two heads of state met, IMHO.
     

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