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Prince of Wales and Repulse survive

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by MastahCheef117, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    After having read "Japanese Destroyer Captain," it's very possible that if the PoW and Repulse were still alive and kicking, and part of the ABDA fleet, things might have been a little different. The vast majority of the Type 98 torpedos the Japanese launched missed their targets in the first battles. (Not until the Allies were running for the Sunda Straight did the Japanese really score with torpedos).

    But toss in the PoW and Repulse in the mix early on with the Houston, Perth, Exeter, etc, and it might have made a huge difference. According to the Japanese, they were not prepared to meet large capital ships when they were sailing to Java.

    Yes, the British would have lost Malaya anyway, but the Japanese might have been thwarted for awhile in obtaining the oil supplies in the DEI. At least until Nagumo and the carriers showed up.
     
  2. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Interesting choice for the Japanese. After the Oahu raid the carrier group was stationed at Truk where it could quickly react to any USN probe into the Central or South Pacific. Going after this hypothetical British fleet takes the IJN temporarily out of intercept range of a USN sortie or raid.

    Of course from 8 through 12 December the IJN carrier force is still returning to Japan & Truk from the Oahu raid. That leaves it unable to interfere with any British interception of the amphibious fleet supporting the invasion of Maylasia that week.
     
  3. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The British did have a few FAA Fulmars on Celyon that could have been put aboard Hermes if she was to be used for this purpose. But, in any case I still think the best British move would be to have the whole of their naval forces converge on the DEI and join ABDA fleet.
    A principle of naval warfare, unlike land warfare, is that you need a concentration of forces such that you will win a major naval battle.
    If you lack such a force the best you can manage is to be a spoiler and try raiding tactics or switch to a guerre de course.
     
  4. LouisXIV

    LouisXIV Member

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    The Hermes was, if I am not mistaken, the first aircraft carrier built from the keel up. She was old and slow and had a miniscule and odd-shaped flat top. I doubt she could have handled anything other than biplanes. I also imagine 25 knots would be on a really good day.

    But then again, I seem to recall that the RAF still had a squadron or two of Gloster Gladiators in Singapore. Since many Fleet Air Arm pilots had just converted from them recently.... But then again, were there any Gladiators strengthened and equiped for carrier operations in the theatre? Probably in India. The British never threw anything out.

    However, I also recall that the aircraft that attacked Force Z were bombers only. Any kind of CAP - including Gladiators - would have disrupted their attack considerably, and possibly made the difference.

    As far as Nagumo's six carriers are concerned, don't forget that after Pearl they made a sortie into the Indian Ocean. I could imagine they could easily have taken care of the Prince of Wales and Repulse on the way past, if the surviving SOBs were still in Singapore.
     
  5. CTBurke

    CTBurke Member

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    I think if POW and Repulse had not been sunk together, they would have been sunk separately. History just gave us a SPECTACULAR lesson on operating surface ships near significant enemy air assets on Dec. 10th, 1941. The two BB's nearly survived the encounter, as the 22nd Air Flotilla had already made a fruitless sortie earlier that morning, and the successful interception was their SECOND long-range sortie of the day. So, if they miss the two BB's again, the British still have insufficient naval power to stop the Japanese. Sure, a couple of Kongos might not be a match in a gunfight, but it seems the "writing was on the wall" that the British would under-estimate the range and power of the 22nd Air Flotilla and get "whacked" some other time.

    Retention of the two BB's would not alter the situation much---Japan was on the move with overall superior naval forces backed by a competent anti-shipping air armada, and the British hold on the Far East was untenable.
     
  6. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    The Japanese used G4M's and G3M's to sink the Repulse and PoW. The Gladiators had very little extra speed over those two aircraft, and likely would have done nothing to impede the Japanese attack.
     

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