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Was Hawaii ever truly in danger?

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by squidly the octopus, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    slipdigit, Of course the island was cut off as the Navy moved West into the Pacific. And like other Japanese island garrisons they were allowed to sit and starve. The question is when did the supplies stop coming?
     
  2. OpanaPointer

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

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    Let me know if this thread gets back to Hawaii.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That is far from clear. Indeed even if Midway falls I simply don't see a serious threat to Hawaii.

    That's not quite right though is it. Historically the US was not willing to risk Saratoga against the Wake invasion force. Especially if the IJN force is detected ahead of time that doesn't mean that they might not have been willing to risk an engagment at Midway especially if more carriers were available. Certainly they did so just a few months later at the Coral Sea. Midway was also closer which has a number of advantages for the US. For one thing crippled ships don't have as far to travel for another they can be under cover of land based air in fairly short order. The opposite applies for the IJN any of their damaged ships have much further to go and if they don't take Midway US air assets can deploy directly from Hawaii to potentially launch attacks against the cripples. Or for that matter vs the invasion fleet coming in. Remember at Midway the only US air launched torpedo to hit was launched by a plane from Midway.


    Really? I think you are going to need to be a bit more precise in your timing of things before many of us will agree to that.

    History also shows that the first Wake invasion failed and the 2nd one came within a hairs breath of failing as well. Furthermore Midway for a number of reasons was a bit tougher nut to crack than Wake even if there were roughly the same number of defenders. The long range planes wouldn't have been much use if they didn't take Midway. If they do they are vulnerable to air attacks as well as shellilng from naval forces. There's also the amount of fuel and munitions they will have to supply if Midway is to be an active base, which is compounded by the likely US raids. That close to PH the subs are also likely to be far more efficient. True they won't stop the flow of supplies but they are likely to create a "bleading ulcer" that will cost Japan ships, planes, men, and supplies while generating little benefit.

    Indeed they could create a nuisance campaign. A night one however isn't very likely. They would simply loose too many planes for the number of times they would actually drop bombs on Hawaii. It also wouldn't be all that long before the US figured out how to use night fighters and radar. The Britts already had a fair amount of experiance in that regard and were more than willing to share. Subs could also shell the Midway facilities with near impunity and cruisers and destroyers could make occasional raids to do the same. So could carriers if warrented and likely could do so at minimal risk. Look at some of the early carrier raids launched during the war for examples.

    What "long voyage" to Midway.

    ??? Force Z had no CAP and if I remember correctly the only good AA platform was PoW and some of her radars were out. That's a lot different than a US multi carrier task force. It also brings to question just how many planes and what kind do you think the Japanese would keep on Midway?

    Very possibly but I doubt it would have helped the Japanese very much and it certainly doesn't look like much of a threat to Hawaii.
     
  4. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    one of the very few reasons in which they had an advantage was that the US was still recovering from the blow at Pearl Harbor. The US was still regrouping their navy. Also it was hard to maintain this advantage they had because the Japanese were beginning to seriously overstretch themselves. The nearest Japanese held island was Wake which was over 2,000 miles from Hawaii. And Japan itself was 3,850 miles away from Hawaii. It would have been overly difficult to supply and support an invasion of Hawaii or Midway. This advantage the Japanese had was short lived.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

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

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    The ships that were destroyed or severely damaged at Pearl were, for the most part, no longer front line units. The old battleships struggled to make 20 knots.They wouldn't have been in the van of any attack westward. Even after they were available for action they were kept in reserve while smaller and newer ships slugged it out around Guadalcanal.
     
  6. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    That is true OpanaPointer. A lot of the battleships at Pearl Harbor were considered old, a few had even been commissioned before World War One. They were beginning to be a little obsolete. Compared to the Japanese which had a bit more modern navy at the time.
     
  7. OpanaPointer

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

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    "A bit more" modern, yeah, but both sides had a lot of dead wood, proportionally to their total strength. The kicker at Pearl was that we could put all but three of the ships back in service while still building up a modern force of overwhelming strength.

    You might find this interesting: A War It Was Always Going To Lose: Why Japan Attacked America in 1941 by Jeffrey Record.
     
  8. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    I've always thought the Japanese signed their death warrant at PHarbor...much thanks for the title....I will try to get it...it didn't matter if they attacked 30 minutes before or after the notice....that is a very interesting topic<>the timing of the ultimatum...
     
  9. OpanaPointer

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

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    Here's my boilerplate post on that matter.

    The 14-part message (Teikoku Seifu no Taibei Tsucho Oboegaki) was not a declaration of war. It did not break off negotiations with the US. It was not an ultimatum.

    The declaration of war is here: http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/paw/269.html

    Teikoku Seifu no Taibei Tsucho Oboegaki (A note to the U.S. by the imperial government) is here: http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/timeline/411206d.html

    In Japanese here: http://royallibrary.sakura.ne.jp/ww2/text/taibeikakusho.html

    The timing of the delivery of the 14-part message, 1/2 hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor, ensured that it would have no effect on the attack. For a warning to occur based on that message the following events would have had to happen:
    (Note: No parties in Washington would have any idea that there was a deadline looming. FDR could have easily have waited until Monday to make a reply. Yamamoto would have been aware of this possibility.)
    Japan delivers note on time.
    Hull reads note.
    Hull responds to Nomura and Kurusu.
    They reply, etc.
    Hull talks to FDR, explains note.
    FDR correctly interprets this as a war warning.
    FDR advises SecWar and SecNav to alert all forces.
    SecWar and SecNav compose warning message.
    Warning messages are handled through military channels, if available, to all commands.
    Local commanders assimilate warning message and act properly.

    On the other hand, if the US had acceded to every demand in the 14-part message:

    Japan delivers note on time.
    Hull reads note.
    Hull responds to Nomura and Kurusu.
    They reply, etc.
    Hull talks to FDR, explains note.
    FDR agrees to completely change US policy without consulting Congress.
    FDR communicates this to Hull.
    Hull explains things to Nomura and Kurusu.
    They discuss any fuzzy details.
    Nomura and Kurusu return to their embassy to contact Tokyo.
    (Originally they were ordered to destroy all codes, but got permission to retain one low level code.)
    Somehow they get the information to Tokyo.
    Gaimudaijin receives message.
    Foreign Minster interprets message correctly.
    Foreign Minster goes to Prime Minister and explains message.
    Prime Minister contacts SecWar and SecNav, who contact their forces to halt attack.

    In both the above cases you can see that more than 1/2 hour was needed. So the timing issue is just a farce.
     
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  10. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    What is to prevent the US from taking Midway right back?? Wake was closer to Japanese islands and could be reached by Betty's from the Marshalls. The reason Japan did not take Midway at the start is it was not a priority and there were a lot of other places that were more important. You are making the mistake of looking at Midway in terms of the battle and not from Japan's point of the start. Why not invade Alaska at the start or the Panama canal?? Japan wanted oil and resources and Midway would do nothing to achieve that objective
     
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  11. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    roger that Opana, ..I realize that, that's what makes it so interesting..I thought they [Japanese] were negotiating, or pretending to, after the carriers were given the ''no turning back signal''??.....I couldn't find that book at our library, but got 2 others from Record that look good.....thanks
     
  12. OpanaPointer

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

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    The need for the "missed opportunity" appears to be so Yamamoto wouldn't seem so piratical after the war. I can only picture the chaos in Kido Butai if the order had come to abort the mission while the planes were actually in the air.
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Be still my beating heart...


    If you define "close", as being within 1,000 miles of Wake, then your hypothesis that there were some subs "close" to Wake might hold water. However, in my experience, "close" is defined under somewhat more restrictive terms than that.

    USS Trout ended her 1st war patrol on December 20, 1941, and was docked at Pearl during the Wake Relief run. So, even with you very loose definition of "close", the USS Trout was not close to Wake Island, or for that matter, Midway.



    Your welcome to call it whatever you like. However, swearing about it is not going to make it any more factual.

    First things first. The Japanese do not and never did possess a Mark I Crystal Ball, thus they could not foresee the future, nor make a living doing so. Thus, historically, Midway as an invasion objective, did not become so until after the Doolittle Raid. Thus, at the time, the Japanese are quite certain that their position is secure in the Pacific without the invasion of Midway.

    Second, you are forgetting that Wake Island, was within support range of Japanese bases in the Marshalls, as opposed to Midway, which is not. Thus, Wake and the Marshalls will become part of a mutually supporting chain of Japanese advance bases in the area. Midway does not allow the Japanese this luxury(not that this helped Japan in February, 1942, but the principal is sound).

    So you have yet to provide a valid reason, other than hindsight, why the Japanese should invade Midway in December, 1941, as opposed to their original objective of Wake Island.


    See the above...Yamamoto lacked any valid reasons to invade Midway. As he had neither a Mk 1 Crystal Ball or the benefit of hindsight.
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    From all your posts I have read...yes, you are.


    Well, he succeeded on attacking Pearl and crippling the Pacific Fleet. Yes, he did succeed in taking Wake, however, he failed in using Wake to push his recon ability out thousands of miles towards Hawaii. The Japanese made a good start building up Wake Island as an advance recon base, however, when it underwent naval bombardment and air raids in February, 1942, the Japanese were decidedly less enthusiastic about maintaining Wake Island as an advance recon base. Indeed Wake Island served the Americans far better under Japanese control, as a training raid for new pilots, than it ever served the Japanese Navy.


    In all actuality, the answer is still a resounding "No", even if the Japanese had taken Midway.

    Historical Fact - Hawaii was in more "danger" from it's volcanoes and the occasional hurricane/typhoon than it ever was from Bed Check Charlie.

    Historical Fact - History tells us that the Americans were willing to risk a carrier vs carrier battle when it came to Midway...Or is this another famous Battle of Midway that I keep reading about.

    Historical Fact - Kido Butai could not be kept "chained" protecting Midway indefinitely.

    Historical Fact - the American carrier and naval forces raided these advance Japanese bases several times early in 1942, while Kido Butai was off accomplishing very little in the South and in the Indian Ocean.

    Historical Fact - The Japanese could not keep Wake Island properly supplied, they could not even keep it properly defended with mutually supporting bases. Taking Midway only worsens a bad situation for them.

    Historical Fact - The Japanese Force "advantage" was rapidly moving back to Japan. Once it was gone, it was "open season" for the Americans.

    Historical Fact - Yes, the Japanese did have the ability to man, transport, and land an invasion force. Historical Fact also shows us that once Wake Island proved vulnerable, the Japanese showed much less interest in it.

    Historical Fact - Does not show that the Japanese could have funneled Long-range bombers and recon planes from the Marshalls to Midway. In fact, it shows almost the polar opposite to this. Perhaps, you have mistaken Midway for Rabaul? Although Rabaul was along on of their major supply routes.

    Historical Fact - The Americans gave Wake Island a good pasting in February, 1942.
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USN-CN-Raids/USN-CN-Raids-3.html
    And you have shown nothing that this would not be the same outcome for a Japanese held Midway. Had the Americans so decided, they could have easily retaken the island after this raid. They would also do the same to a Japanese held Midway.


    Bed Check Charlie is not going to effect American strategy a whit. Nor will nuisance raids bring about the outcome you cling to.

    Are you seriously comparing the loss of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse to what might happen to an American carrier task force? And you expect us to buy this fallacious argument?
    Historical Fact - The Japanese tried that with the USS Lexington. It didn't go at all well for Japan.
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USN-CN-Raids/USN-CN-Raids-2.html


    Sorry, but it would not have rewritten the first few chapters, it is also highly doubtful that it would rewrite even one chapter. At best, it would have rewritten a few sentences and added a footnote.
     
  15. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    Even when Wake was the invasion objective, the IJN had overwhelming force advantage until the 16th. On the 16th, the Kido Butai was retiring through the area. It released the Soryu and the Hiryu (cardiv2) to support the 2nd Wake Island invasion. These historical dates indicate that the IJN had overwhelming force advantage by having 6 massed carriers as opposed to 2 Pac Fleet carriers, in the area around Midway until at least the 16th. If cardiv2 could hang around until the successful 2nd invasion of Wake, on the 23th, how do we know that the other 4 carriers couldn't have?

    Posters are saying that the schedule requirements for the Kido Butai would have kept them from hanging around the area between Wake and Midway for an extended period of time. How can we know what they could or could not do? How do we know how flexible the schedule was? Cardiv2 made Kure on the 29th, almost a full week after Akagi,Kaga (cardiv1) and Zuikaku, Shokaku (cardiv5). All three cardiv's stayed at Kure until at least January 5th after which they scattered for round 2.

    Steverodgers801, says that Japan's priority was to go after the oil and that taking Midway would do nothing to achieve that and what would stop the U S from taking Midway right back? I disagree. Japan realized that the only Pacific naval force that could cause them problems, during their invasion of the Philippines and the oilfields of the Dutch East Indies, was the Pac Fleet. It had to go and the longer that the Pac Fleet was forced to stay in its own back yard, the better. What better way to achieve these goals than to sucker punch Pearl and take over Midway, where you could stock pile long range bombers and recon ships, thus making any Westward move, by the Pac Fleet, subject to air attack. Again, if the Japanese proved that they could strike Pearl from Midway, regardless of the amount of damage done, that threat would have to be eliminated.If the Pac Fleet goes after Midway, then the carriers would have to be involved. A lot of bad things could have happened, possibly resulting in no Battle of the Coral Sea and possibly no Battle of Midway as we know it or maybe not. Nothing is certain but historical fact tells us, that other than submarines, the only offensive weapons available to the Pac Fleet were the carriers and there was a finite number of them available until the Essex class started arriving in May of '43.

    coulda, woulda, shoulda, who knows.
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    2 carriers or 6 is meaningless to the premise of your argument. The fact that they were all gone by January, 1942, is what is salient. They had business elsewhere, and could not be "chained" defending any one location. Especially Midway, which had no easy way to resupply/repair any major warships.

    And once, the Japanese carriers leave...Midway is wide open to anything the Americans wish to do to it...This is what you fail, or refuse to grasp, as it is the vital lynchpin to this What If.


    First, Japan did not have the necessary H6Ks to keep stockpiling at Midway, as they had a whole ocean that needed patrolling, and 212 H6Ks is only going to go so far. Not to mention replacing any losses, and keeping the aircraft in good operating condition. Then you would have to keep Midway supplied with fuel, ammunition, spare parts, stores, etc. Unfortunately, for this What If, the Japanese never really did this to any of their far flung Pacific advance bases.

    Any western move might, and I say might, be subject to air attack(after all the Americans could move out at night, and be out of Japanese bomb range by morning). But, you should also add that the air attack would come in the form of flying boats, that would be very ill-suited to defend themselves against American F4F combat air patrols. As any H6K air attack, by it's very nature, would be without fighter cover. Between American radar and their fighters, any Japanese flying boat air attacks would be suicide at best.


    Again, Bed Check Charlie is a non-issue to overall American strategy, especially if he cannot hit the broad side of a barn.

    If the American carriers go after Midway, yes, a lot of bad things could happen. However, history show us that it was a lot of bad things happening to the Japanese, and not the Americans...Again, you refuse to accept this historical fact.

    Odd, quite odd...I could have sworn that it was American destroyers, cruisers, and some assorted battleships that carried the offensive to the Japanese late in 1942. The carriers and submarines were the best weapons the Americans had to take the offensive in 1942, but they were not the only weapons...And a naval bombardment of a Japanese held Midway is not out of the question.
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    As the proponent the burden of proof is on you. What was the fuel situation of those carriers and more importantly the escorts. The DD's had the shortest "legs" and they are going to be burning lots of oil between flight ops, ASW work, and possibly rescueing downed aviators. Hanging around that close to Midway also risks the IJN carriers to both subs and a possible surprise attack from the US carriers. Even then there's the wear and tear on the ships and planes. Remember that over the course of the war about half the planes lost were lost to operational factors and not combat.

    Here's a hint. Simply voicing disagreement isn't very convincing.

    So that's why they were in such a hurry to take Singapore and launch the Indian Ocean raid. The USN may have been the most important such force but it was not the only one by any means.

    But they simply had no way of making it go or even holding it in place.

    I see a lot of unwarrented assumptions there. Given that fuel both aviation and naval were in short supply and this isn't forwarding the conquest of additional sources while consuming large quantities how is it improving the situation. The long range planes from Midway are not going to prove a significant threat to PH or US forces in Hawaii particuarly if they are launching night raids only. It's also worth noteing that Midway is in range of both B-24's and B-17's. Then consider the impact if say a Brooklyn or Cleveland class CL and a couple of DDs show up at dawn and start shelling the island. All they have to do is wait for the Japanese carriers to leave the area. That's if they consider the threat worth the effort. Your assumption that it would have to be eliminated is unwarrented. You also seem to not understand just how dangerous long range flights especially at night were during this period. There was no GPS.
    Indeed and in this scenario most of them are likely to happen to the IJN.

    Indeed this could result in the IJN carriers being damaged or lost well before those battles. Come to think of it Japan might even last a little longer if their offensive was cut short.

    History also shows that the IJN didn't have an excess of offensive weapons either and their pipeline was much smaller. Surface ships were also used offensively during that period by the way.
     
  18. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    It's also worth noteing that Midway is in range of both B-24's and B-17's.

    Only if it is a one way mission. There was no plane in the US arsenal that could make a round trip between Hawaii and Midway. The only way to project airpower onto Midway was by carrier aircraft.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

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

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    Or take off and nuke it from orbit.

    It's the only way to be sure.
     
  20. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    if they couldn't take Midway, and bomb it continuously, how are they going do to that to Hawaii when it's how many more miles away?
    you keep going, though Drac...keep trying to hammer Midway......we love ya....
    the US was hard pressed to get supplies/troops to the Canal with Espiritu port ''close by''....I thought at one time, fuel supplies were low?? I know the situation was different, but it shows how difficult it is to supply forward bases.....the Japanese had to use the Express at night using destroyers/barges/etc....you know why they called it Starvation Island?? not enough supplies! then look what happened when they tried to get the cargo ships through in November<>total wipe out
     

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