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Battle of Midway

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by corpcasselbury, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    A few points.
    (legal note - Not in any way am I disparaging the efforts of the US airmen)

    1) How many planes actually bombed?

    2) The large slice of luck comes into it more because the dive bombers arrived at almost exactly the right time. Too late for the CAP to notice that there were 2 threats and react accordingly, and too early for the CAP to have regrouped after chasing down the torpedo bombers. Oh, and the matter of the Japanese carriers being in the middle of a turn-around, and therefore rather vulnerable.
     
  2. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    Ricky wrote:

    Difficult to say how many planes total. Multiple strikes took place.
    The B-17 level bombing strikes were of couse useless but I think the practice was discontinued after Midway as ineffective, so something was learned.
    The strike from the Yorktown that landed the 3 direct hits on Soryu consisted of about 17 divebomers IIRC.

    As I indicated in my post the gods of war smiled on the American forces that day there is no doubt. However all the fortuitous circumstances and lucky breaks have been well reported and discussed in many books and articles. My point is that in all that discussion the undeniable effectiveness of the US airmen is submerged and IMO unduly minimized.

    Lucky breaks and fortuitous circumstances don't sink aircraft carriers..accurately delivered bombs do.
     
  3. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Fair point, and no arguments from me on this one.
     
  4. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Fair comment really, I committed the cardinal error of making a sweeping statement. :oops:

    Certainly the US defence of Midway up until the point that the aircraft left the carrier decks and the runways of Midway itself was pretty much a classic example of luring a superior enemy (Numerically at the least) into a well positioned ambush, the repair of Yorktown as well can be considered pretty much unprecedented in naval warfare.

    After that Luck does seem to play a part in favour of the US as a whole.

    Contrasting that with the Japanese who seemed to commit to a series of basic errors before the battle even commenced, not even bothering to attempt to repair the carrier damaged at Coral Sea in time (Shokaku?), the diversionary effort of the Aleutians, separating out the Battleship and Carrier groups at Midway itself, the failure of the fighter controllers to keep at least a few fighters in reserve in the CAP.

    There's no real way obviously of telling whether any of these would or even could have changed the course of the battle to a Japanese victory but it does seem that Yamamoto was determined to stack things in favour of the US.

    The luck factor really comes into play for the US in the following way, first the Scout plane from the Tone was delayed in its takeoff due to mechanical reasons (Faulty catapult or engine trouble, can't remember which), it was this scout plane that radioed the contact with some of the US vessels back to Nagumo, and this in turn (Due to the vague wording) caused his famous indecisiveness that caused the decks to be crammed with inadequately stored bombs and torpedoes.

    Japanese incompetence (Nagumo and the Scout crew?), or US luck...? A lot depends on whether you believe in luck I guess! :lol:

    Second the order in which the US strikes found the Japanese carriers was of course not pre-planned, it just happened. The fact that with the exception of the B-17s the initial waves were all torpedo bombers (Except a handful of glidebombing Marine SBDs and a handful of Marine Vindicators) caused the Japanese to draw their entire fighter cover down to wave top level so that they were completely surprised by the appearance of the SBDs, and unable to do anything about them until after they'd bombed.

    Luck may not entirely help the getting bombs on target, but I would have thought that the fact they bombed pretty unopposed by anything other than AAA may have helped their accuracy, and the fact that those bombs that hit landed in amongst other bombs, torpedoes and fueled up planes equally may (I'd suggest almost certainly must*) have increased the devastation caused.

    Of course Greig is right, there's no way to prove this, and it may not have made any difference to the outcome of the battle at all, plus as I've commented how much of this can really be ascribed to Luck and how much to Japanese incompetence/unforced errors on the day is a matter of conjecture.

    Either way in my initial comment "Disaster" was almost certainly too strong a word, but one less unforced error by the Japanese or one less lucky break for the US and Midway could so easily have been a costly defeat.

    (* I say this because Peter C Smith's "The Battle of Midway" describes the Japanese firefighting crews being basically wiped out by the secondary explosions and he seems to attribute this to at least hastening the demise of the Kaga, Akagi and Soryu.)
     
  5. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Given how much courage and determination the American aircrews showed, no one can say that they didn't do the best they could at Midway. My hat is, always has been, and always will be, off to them.
     
  6. Stonewall phpbb3

    Stonewall phpbb3 New Member

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    luck?

    Most certainly..

    Lucky if you call me out in a fight and then you drop your guard and lead with your chin. :bang:

    Real lucky- for me... :grin:


    Now if you could just cover your face with "hit me" buttons...
     
  7. lynn1212

    lynn1212 New Member

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    damage control crews

    no doubt the loss of the DC crews did hasten the sinkings i do not belive in the end they could not have saved the ships and in any case they were out of the fight anyway. even if none of them had sunk they could not handle planes so the loss of pilots { the real damage at midway] would not have changed. all 4 were finished as fighting units for a long time even if they made it back to port.
     
  8. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Agreed 100%
     
  9. fsbof

    fsbof Member

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    In '92, I attended the 50th anniversary reunion for the Battle of Midway, in Arlington, VA. It was a 2 day affair, with a lot of the famous personalities from the battle in attendance - Dick Best (VB-6), George Gay (VT-8), Scott McCuskey (VF-3), Bert Earnest (VT-8 Avenger), Bill Esders (VT-3), Forrest Baird (Hypo Crypto Unit), Tom Cheek (VF-3), Jack Reid (who first spotted the Japanese fleet from his PBY) - well known authors - Walter Lord, John Lundstrom - as well as a host of ordinary seamen and air crew who participated in the battle. But the most touching moment occurred when one of the personalities stopped the presentation to introduce a man in the audience - a sailor and survivor from the USS Hamman, which was the destroyer sunk while tied up alongside Yorktown. Everyone in the room stood up to give him a rousing round of applause. That was the caliber of men who fought at Midway - no matter their own accomplishments, they acknowledged the contributions and sacrifices of everyone involved in the battle.
     
  10. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    And that is as it should be...
     
  11. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Just as a point of curiosity, say the Japanese had managed to capture Midway. How long do you think they could have held it? Or could they have held it?
     
  12. DesertWolf

    DesertWolf Member

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    That really does depend on the battle of Midway itself. If the Americans had lost all their carriers as well as most of their fleet during the battle, whilst the Japanese having suffered minimal casaulties, then it would probably have postponed the Japanese defeat by a significant amount of time.

    It is always easier to replace aircraft and ships but the experienced and battle hardened men are a loss that can never be easily replaced.
     
  13. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    if the american carriers could all escape, a couple months. the americans would draw back, wait untill the jap carriers leave the area and then return to strike back.
    or, sending B-17 to bomb midway so that the japs don't want it no longer
     
  14. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    There were a number of officers in both the IJN and the USN who felt that if Midway were occupied by the Japanese, they couldn't keep it supplied. What do you think, everyone?
     
  15. fsbof

    fsbof Member

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    For an insightful new look at the battle, read the recently published Shattered Sword by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully.
     

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