Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by DogFather, Jun 11, 2010.
Good, now we're getting somewhere. You admit that K&S were blamable. This is why they didn't get retired at their highest rank. (And don't bother going relativistic on us.)
Be careful OP. The message may reappear:
These questions are largely irrelevant to the assessment of Kimmel's performance. Special intelligence was an added bonus which the lack of in no way diminished the requirement of a district commander to take action to secure his command. The idea that Kimmel could refrain from active patrol because he had no specific intelligence pointing to an attack is preposterous; it was entirely possible for such an attack to arrive with no prior warning.
Kimmel had about 80 PBY’s and 50 warships, and yet dispensed with almost all patrolling. Kimmel being relieved of command was an appropriate and well measured response to his gamble that he would not be subject to a major attack. IMO, it was the fact that he was caught with two entire PBY PAT WINGS almost completely on the ground that cooked his goose. Getting unlucky with searches in bad weather was one thing. Not searching - that was incompetent.
Thank you for your opinion. Perhaps some facts will help:
Admiral Kimmel’s Reconnaissance Decision The patrol planes in Oahu were not uselessly employed prior to the attack. They were not standing idle. There was a definite program for their operation, which was consistent with creating, and preserving their material readiness for war. In the week preceding the attack, there was a daily scout by patrol planes on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, of a sector to the north and northwest of Oahu to a distance of four hundred miles, after which the planes required maintenance and upkeep. This was not distant reconnaissance, as such, although the distance covered was greater than that searched at the time of the June 17, 1940 Alert—the only Alert sent to Hawaii prior to the attack. In addition, there was the daily dawn patrol out three hundred miles to cover the areas where the fleet operated.
Kimmel had been ordered, not once but twice, to be prepared to carry out the raids on the Marshalls under WPL-46, which meant the extended use of the fleet patrol planes from advance bases in war operations.
Kimmel had to decide what was the best use of the patrol planes as a matter of policy for the foreseeable future, and with their war tasks in front of him.
Had Kimmel directed their use for intensive distant searches from Oahu, he would have faced the peril of having those planes grounded when the fleet needed them and when the war plan was executed.
Kimmel had no way of knowing that the war was to start on the 7th of December. He could not decide the matter on the basis of five days or ten days of distant searches. Kimmel did not have the MAGIC messages with their indications of the time, place, reason, and deceit plan of the attack, Kimmel knew that any distant search he could make on an intensive basis, straining the planes to the breaking point, would be in its nature partial and ineffective.
He took account of his resources. They were slender.
He took account of his probable future needs and of his orders from the Navy Department.
He decided that he could not risk having no patrol plane force worthy of the name for the fleet's expected movement into the Marshalls.
He considered the nature and extent of the distant reconnaissance he was effectuating with his task forces at sea and the patrol plane sweeps to and from the outlying islands.
He considered the necessity of permitting the essential replacement and material upkeep program for the new patrol planes in Oahu to be continued to get them into war condition.
He considered the need for patrols of the fleet operating areas against the submarine menace and these he carried out.
He considered the need for some reserve of patrol planes tor emergency distant searches.
He considered the need for patrol planes in covering fleet movements in and out of the harbor, which might have to be quickly and unexpectedly executed.
He considered the endurance of his patrol plane man power, and the absence of any spare crews.
He decided he could not fritter away his patrol plane resources by pushing them to the limit in daily distant searches of one sector around Oahu, which within the predictable future would have to be discontinued when the patrol planes and crews gave out.
The three admirals who composed the Naval Court of Inquiry (Admiral Orin G. Murfin, former commander in chief, U.S. Asiatic Fleet, Admiral E. C. Kalbfus, former commander battle force, and Vice Admiral Adolphus Andrews, former commander of the scouting force) scrutinized his decision after extensive testimony. Each of the admirals could view the matter from the point of view of the commander in the field.
They summarized the problem:
The task assigned the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, was to prepare his Fleet for war. War was known to be imminent--how imminent he did not know. The Fleet planes were being constantly employed in patrolling the operating areas in which the Fleet's preparations for war were being carried on. Diversion of these planes for reconnaissance or other purposes was not justified under existing circumstances and in the light of available information.
If so diverted, the state of readiness of the Fleet for war would be reduced because of the enforced suspension of Fleet operations.
The value of the Fleet patrol planes to the Fleet would be reduced seriously after a few days because of the inability of planes and crews to stand up under the demands of daily long-range reconnaissance.
The Court concluded: (Finding XIII)
The omission of this reconnaissance was not due to oversight or neglect. It was the result of a military decision, reached after much deliberation and consultation with experienced officers and after weighing the information at hand and all the factors involved.
You forgot to mention this. It's also from the findings of the Court of Inquiry.
Based on Finding V, the Court is of the opinion that the relations between Admiral Husband E Kimmel, USN, and Lieut. General Walter C. Short, U. S. Army, were friendly, cordial and cooperative, that there was no lack of interest,  no lack of appreciation of responsibility, and no failure to cooperate on the part of either. And
that each was cognizant of the measures being undertaken by the other for the defense of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base to the degree required by the common interest.
The relations between Adm Kimmel and Gen Short are so cordial, friendly and informative at Adm Kimmel forget to mention:
Based on Finding VIII, the Court is of the opinion that the defense of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base was the direct responsibility of the Army, that the Navy was to assist only with the means provided the 14th Naval
District, and that the defense of the base was a joint operation only to this extent. The Court is further of the opinion that the defense should have been such as to function effectively independently of the Fleet, in view of the fundamental requirement that the strategic freedom of action of the Fleet  must be assured demands that the defense of a permanent naval base be so effectively provided for and conducted as to remove any anxiety of the Fleet in regard to the security of the base, or for that of the vessels within its limits. Based on Findings IV, VIII and IX, the Court is of the opinion that the duties of Rear Admiral Claude C. Bloch, U.S.N., in connection with the defense of Pearl Harbor, were performed satisfactorily.
Based on Finding IX, the Court is of the opinion that the detailed Naval Participation Air Defense plans drawn up and jointly agreed upon were complete and sound in concept, but that they contained a basic defect in that naval participation depended entirely upon the availability of aircraft belonging to and being employed by the Fleet, and that on the morning of 7 December these plans were ineffective because they necessarily were drawn on the premise that there would be advance knowledge that an attack was to be expected within narrow limits of
time, which was not the case on that morning.
The Court is further of the opinion that it was not possible for the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, to make his Fleet planes permanently available to the Naval Base Defense Officer in view of the need for their employment with the Fleet.
Adm Bloch had two PBY aircraft at Johnston Island available to 14 ND. These aircraft were the only aircraft available to provide long range reconnaisance for the entire Hawaiian area.
OP is right. A GCM would have exposed Adm Kimmel.
The Long Range reconnaissaince and 80 PBY's are a red herring. The 14th Naval District was responsible for Long Range searches. They had two (2) PBY at Johnston Island on 7 DEC 41.
The 80 PBY's that you cite which basically composed VP-11, 12, 22 and 23 were organic to the Pacific Fleet. Their purpose was not to search for enemy shipping, but rather to train for ASW service when PacFlt sortied to the Marshall Islands. It was not their mission to detect and engage, nor to alert the PacFlt. It was how to conduct ASW sweeps.
Lon Range Reconnaissance was a mission assigned to the two (2) PBY's belonging to Adm. Bloch and the 14th Naval District. Those are not the opinions of Adm. Kimmel. They are the findings of the Naval Court of Inquiry.
Thank you for your opinion. Here are some more facts to consider:
Professor Michael Gannon:
On the Question of Distant Aerial Reconnaissance “After Kimmel was relieved of his Pacific command he was subjected to investigation by a so-named Roberts Commission, which, after only 34 days of study and with minimal attention to communications intelligence, charged Kimmel with 'dereliction of duty.' In 1944 a more thoroughly informed Navy Court of Inquiry exonerated Kimmel of that charge. Later in the same year, however, Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations, single-handedly overturned the findings of the Court and reinstated the charge of 'dereliction.' It is the cloud of that single flag officer's peremptory judgment that the Kimmel name lives under to this day.
“Why did King act as he did? Because, he wrote in his denial of the court's findings, Kimmel, even with his limited patrol plane assets, had not conducted as he could long-range aerial reconnaissance over the 'more dangerous' sectors of approach to Oahu Island. Which sectors were the more dangerous? He did not say.
“Recent research has disclosed that there were no Navy-specified 'more dangerous' sectors. A Hawaiian Islands Army-Navy study, endorsed in Washington by both the War and Navy Departments, acknowledged as much. Both Kimmel and his relief Admiral Chester W. Nimitz believed that only a 360° search around an island base was a search deserving of the name. Said Nimitz on January 7, 1942: 'Neglect of any sector is apt soon to be known.' For such a complete sweep 200-to-250 patrol aircraft would be required. How many did Kimmel have? Forty-nine. Recent research has also found that Kimmel's few available operational patrol planes, Navy PBY Catalinas could not conduct full-range surveillance over any one or two sectors for more than 'four or five days.' This was so because the PBYs were prone to mechanical breakdown and the crews similarly would be incapacitated by daily 18-hour flights. Thus, if, following the so-called 'War Warning' of November 27--a warning that pointed away from Pearl Harbor rather than toward it--Kimmel had thrown all his patrol aircraft into a one or two sectors search, the entire force would be down for repair or overhaul by December 2, or a day or so thereafter, leaving the balance of days prior to December 7 unattended. Instead of throwing his patrol force away on a token search, Kimmel saved his aircraft for offensive actions specified in the Navy's Pacific War Plan. As Vice Admiral William F. Halsey said, 'Any admiral worth his stars would have made the same choice.'
“This was hardly dereliction of duty.”
See website: http://www.pearlharbor911attacks.com for much more.
So, Tom, do you think Admiral Husband E. Kimmel did everything he could have to prevent or blunt the attack on Pearl Harbor? (We can skip the "it's their fault, not mine" part, we've already handled that.)
I try to deal in facts; not opinions, especially my own; nor hypotheticals, no doubt, in part, because of my FBI training. Here is a good example since it deals factually with the number one accusation against Kimmel:
ADMIRAL KIMMEL AND THE QUESTION OF
DISTANT AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE
by Michael Gannon University of Florida
Under an agreement signed with the Army in Hawaii on 11 April 1941, the Navy assumed the responsibility for conducting distant aerial reconnaissance, when required, of the ocean approaches to Oahu, while the Army Air Corps would conduct inshore patrols. It is well-known that Admiral Husband E. Kimmel did not undertake such distant reconnaissance during the weeks immediately prior to 7 December. There were two reasons why he did not. The first, and lesser reason, which appears in Annex II of the Pacific War Plan WPPac-46, was that he was not obligated to mount such an air search until W-Day, that is, the day when Japan declared war or opened hostilities, or both. The second and greater reason was that he did not have sufficient patrol aircraft to make searches possible on a full 360° arc.
For a complete sweep of the compass to a distance of 700 nautical miles, eighty- four aircraft would be required each day to make the sixteen-hour flights. Since the same planes and crews could not make such punishing flights every day, the Navy required a fleet of 200 to 250 operational aircraft if it hoped to conduct effective reconnaissance over a protracted period. How many operational (i.e. flyable) patrol aircraft did Kimmel have? He had 49 operational Catalinas, PBY-3s and PBY-5s, plus, upon request, six B- 17D Flying Fortresses being used to train crews of the Philippine Air Force. (The Navy Department in Washington had promised Kimmel 100 additional PBYs but they were sent to Great Britain instead.) For the Navy planes at hand spare parts were extremely scarce--many of the Catalinas were grounded by cracked engine nose sections--, experienced aviation machinist mates were also in short supply, and there were no spare crews.
If Kimmel lacked the air assets required for a 360° search--the only type of search around an island base that deserved the name, said Kimmel, backed up by his relief Admiral Chester W. Nimitz on 7 January 1942 when Nimitz said, "It cannot be assumed that any direction of approach may safely be left unguarded.... Neglect of any sector is apt soon to be known"--if Kimmel could not have performed the ideal search, should he not at least have covered the most dangerous sectors of an enemy air approach with the aircraft he had available? That was the charge made against Kimmel in 1944 by Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations. Earlier that year Kimmel had been exonerated of the judgment "dereliction of duty" made against him two years earlier by the Roberts Commission, first of many bodies to investigate the Pearl Harbor attack. The exonerating body was a three-admiral Navy Court of Inquiry. Without reading any of the testimony given before the court, as he himself admitted, Admiral King overturned the findings of the court and reinstituted the charge of "dereliction of duty." (As we learn later, King did not author his "negative endorsement" nor did he even read it before it was published.)
Why did King act as he did? Because, he told Kimmel to his face, the Pacific Fleet commander, with his limited patrol plane assets, could have covered at least the "more dangerous" sectors of approach to Oahu. Which sectors those were he did not say. It is important to note that it is under the cloud of that single flag officer's peremptory charge of dereliction that the Kimmel name lives to this day.
The same accusation of having neglected coverage of the "most dangerous" sector was made against Kimmel in 1986 by Gordon W. Prange and associates in a book titled Pearl Harbor: The Verdict of History, and in a chapter pointedly entitled "His [meaning Kimmel's] Most Grevious Failure."
Kimmel had enough patrol planes to cover the north and northwest sectors, charged Prange and his associates, which had clearly been identified to Kimmel as "the most dangerous sectors" by the Martin-Bellinger estimate of 31 March 1941. The Martin- Bellinger report, they wrote, was an "historic work" "famous to all students of the Pacific war." So it may be. But it also seems to be the most famously unread work of the Pacific war.
Martin was Major General Frederick L. Martin, commander of the Army's Hawaiian Air Force. Bellinger was Rear Admiral Patrick N. Bellinger, commander of the Navy's air patrol squadrons. Their estimate cannily predicted that a surprise air attack on Oahu would be launched around dawn, prior to a declaration of war, and from a distance inside three hundred nautical miles.
Kimmel exercised poor judgment, Prange and his associated wrote, in not heeding Martin-Bellinger's direct warning about the "most dangerous" north and northwest sectors and for not initiating limited air searches in those directions with his 49 PBYs and 6 B- 17Ds. But Martin-Bellinger says no such thing. Following Prange and his associates naval historian Paolo E. Coletta wrote that Martin-Bellinger predicted that such an attack would come from the "south." Martin-Bellinger says no such thing. Historian Michael Slackman wrote that Martin-Bellinger predicted that such an attack would come from the "north." Martin-Bellinger says no such thing. And, as late as summer, 2001 naval historian and technical writer Norman Polmar wrote that Martin-Bellinger stipulated that the Navy should "initiate limited air searches to [the] most likely direction of attack [as] recommended by...Martin-Bellinger." But Martin-Bellinger says no such thing. Will someone please read the Martin-Bellinger estimate? In fact, the famously unread estimate names no "most dangerous" or "most likely" directions of attack, neither "north," "northwest," nor "south," nor any equivalent nautical or numerical terms. Nor does it recommend "limited air searches" to any "most likely direction of attack." What apparently happened here, after the original charge was made, has been deftly, though unwittingly, expressed by one of the offenders: Elsewhere in his book Target: Pearl Harbor Slackman writes: "A volume of folklore has developed around the Pearl Harbor attack as stories and 'facts' are passed from source to source with little critical examination."
In history nothing substitutes for examination of the original documents.
If Kimmel had ordered "limited air searches" with what aircraft he had over, say 128° of arc to a distance of 700 miles, Bellinger said in May 1945 that the PBYs would have been incapacitated after "perhaps four or five days." That means that if Kimmel had established what he called "largely token searches" over a sector or two off Oahu on the day following the so-called "war warning" of November 27th the patrol bomber force would be down for repair or overhaul by December 2nd or a day or so thereafter, leaving the balance of the days prior to December 7th unattended. Kimmel stated:
"I decided that I could not fritter away my patrol-plane resources by pushing them to the limit in daily distant searches of one sector around Oahu--which within the predictable future would have to be discontinued when the patrol planes and crews gave out."
And that was a central consideration, since the U.S. Navy war plan WPPac-46 required that the patrol plane force on Oahu advance in "maximum practicable strength" prior to W-Day plus 5 to Wake, Midway, and Johnston Islands, as part of the Marshall Raiding and Reconnaissance Plan. As Kimmel's war plans officer Captain Charles H. "Soc" McMorris expressed it, "...If we were called upon to conduct a war, [then] we would find a large proportion of our planes needing engine overhaul at the time we most required their services." For that reason, and also because WPPac-46 mandated distant aerial reconnaissance only from W-Day forward, Kimmel decided to concentrate his aircraft on expansion training until more aircraft, or more information, became available. As Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, senior Navy air commander in Hawaii, said: "Any Admiral worth his stars would have made the same choice." Indeed, Kimmel's replacement as CINCPAC Admiral Chester W. Nimitz stated in 1960: "Admiral Kimmel had been given no information which would justify interrupting a very urgent training schedule."
Guys, we seem to be chasing our tails with the repetition of the same arguments ad nauseam. Lets try to move forward with the topic before the inevitable occurs.
Since Michael Gannon name seems to keep poping up in some of the postings I decided to do a little research.
Here's the wiki page on him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Gannon_(historian)
His books seem to concentrate on Florida history with two excursions into WW2 one on the U-boat war off the East coast and Pearl Harbor Betrayed
Looking around for some details on the latter I found two relavent pages at Barnes & Noble. Each with one anonymous revew one 4 star review and one 1 star review.
See: Pearl Harbor Betrayed, Michael V. Gannon, Book - Barnes & Noble
and: Pearl Harbor Betrayed, Michael Gannon, Book - Barnes & Noble
here are short exerpts from both:
From the 4 star review which seems to me to have taken a very uncritical look at it. The same cannot be said for the 1 star which starts off with:
The Amazon page at: Amazon.com: Pearl Harbor Betrayed: The True Story of a Man and a
Contains 8 reviews averageing 4.5 stars
However one who rated it 5 stars admited to never reading it and the most well recieved revew only rated it 3 stars.
IMO the Amazon review who cautioned about using Gannon as a single source looks to be on the mark.
Kimmel’s failure to scout adequately despite being lavished with ample resources (over 70 PBY’s alone at Oahu on the day of the attack) was central to the decision to relieve him. The fact he had two entire PAT WINGS caught and destroyed on the ground underscored how badly he had miscalculated.
The danger zones for Oahu was a sector starting at about 20 degrees and ending at about 160 degrees. Within this 200 degree arc, two sectors of about 10 degrees each at Midway and Johnston could be omitted, leaving an area of about 180 degrees.
With war going out you'd think Kimmel would have authorized "very realistic training". The PAT WINGS could have trained on searches around T.H.
Is that from the Martin-Bellinger report? I don't recall exact what they established.
With war going out you'd think Kimmel would have authorized "very realistic training". The PAT WINGS could have trained on searches around T.H.
See my estimate below. I think .25 sorties per day for the heavy aircraft at Oahu was sustainable.
Is that from the Martin-Bellinger report? I don't recall exact what they established.
No, it’s from pulling out a map of Hawaii and looking at the approach routes. The attackers will not sail between Johnston and Midway, so that entire sector is eliminated. In fact, draw 500nm mile circles around Midway and Johnston and Palmyra – these arcs can be omitted from Oahu 75% of the time without incurring much risk. Only every now and again does it have to be covered, just in case the Japanese figure out that they never are.
The entire 180 degree sector east of Oahu is a low-risk area. It may be possible to omit it altogether (I do for the estimate below). Alternatively, about a 1-in-10 coverage rate might be required for minimal deterrence. These were the types of decisions Kimmel was paid to make and less reckless commander would have sweated bullets over.
Apparently he didn’t bother.
I took a quick look at the recon problem. Kimmel had a number of basic options using different resources:
1 – 180 degree search to 700nm requiring 40 x PBY or B-17.
2- Truncated long range search assuming enemy TF will not pass between Johnston and Midway and will remain over 400nm from either. Northern sector from 20 degrees to 320 degrees and southern sector from 180 degrees to 210 degrees. Requirement = 20 x PBY or B-17
3 – B-18 search starting before dawn to 300nm with 110 degree search arc in north and 50 degrees in south. Required – 16 x B-18
4 – Heavy cruisers on station at 150nm from Oahu searching an area between 150-250nm from Oahu. 4xCA in the north required (12 sorties) and 2xCA in the south (6 sorties).
5 - a picket lines using light forces at intervals of approximately 30nm. Assuming a 28kt closing rate and a launch point of 250nm from Oahu, the picket line would be 590nm out in order to catch the incoming TF at 6pm on the day previous to the attack. At this range each picket covers about a 3 degree sector.
Assume that Kimmel has the light resources to maintain only 5 pickets on station at all times (permanently covering 15 degrees of high-risk arc).
Assuming that Kimmel and Short do not wish to have any PBY, B-18 or B-17 devote more than two sorties per week to long range scouting (1 day on, 2.5 days off) then each of the appr. 75 long range aircraft has a daily sortie rate of .28
Assume that 6xCA are available for defensive scouting 4 days a month.
1 – 155 degree search to 700nm requires 36 x PBY/B-17 = 756 sorties over 21 days with only 449 sorties available.
2 – Truncated LR search requires 16 PBY/B-17 = 336 sorties over 21 days with 449 available.
3 – B-18 short range search requires 13 aircraft = 273 sorties over 21 days with 191 sorties available.
4 days out of 30 – heavy cruisers with seaplanes.
10 days out of 30 – B18’s doing early morning search to 300nm with Wheeler on full alert until they reach their dogleg (130 sorties).
9 days out of 30 – full 180 degree search to 700nm. (324 sorties)
7 days out of 30 – truncated long range search to 700nm (112 sorties).
So by using various resources in a coordinated fashion Kimmel could have done the job with a high degree of certainty he would detect Nagumo prior to the strike reaching Oahu. But Kimmel instead gambled that no attack would materialize, preferring to Husband his resources for a diversionary offensive scheme in the Marshalls of little apparently utility.
I see no reason whatever that relieving him of his command was inappropriate. He mis-estimated the situation and the results were catastrophic.
Just for fun, compare your estimate to the Martin-Bellinger Report and see if they agree with you. It's been a while since I went over it so I have no clue.