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Factors that contributed to the debacle off Savo Island.

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by USS Washington, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    It wasn't just having radar, it was how to use and interpret the signals. My understanding is that the crew and or commander did not properly understand the radar and thus did not use it to their advantage
     
  2. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Well said Steve.
     
  3. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    I have Richard Newcomb's book about the battle. I have no idea how it stacks up against more modern studies, but from reading it I gather that the most fundamental problems were lack of alertness and underestimation of the enemy. This is rather remarkable when you realize that the Pacific War had already been going on for eight months. The screwed-up command structure didn't help, of course.
     
  4. USS Washington

    USS Washington Active Member

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    Do any of you think that Admiral Richmond K. Turner' assessment on why our forces lost the battle of Savo island is correct and is also perhaps one other factor that contributed to the debacle?

    Turner:
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well, it is not all that remarkable when you consider the fact that outside of the early surface battles of the US Asiatic Fleet, the Pacific war had been a carrier war. Then, when you consider the early Asiatic surface battles, the USN warships were mostly overage and under the control of a foreign admiral.
     
  6. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    To requite Mill, war is a brutal Darwinian process
     
  7. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    The IJN proved to be superior in most aspects of carrier warfare (torpedo attacks in shallow waters, dropping torpedoes with higher speed than the US and the RN could, aircraft with longer ranges, aircraft), their torpedoes were vastly superior. So, hoping that they were afraid of the night was childish.

    The unexpected and lucky victory of Midway could have been the reason, neglecting the fact that it was owed to the Codebreakers.
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I'm not sure how much of that was apparent at the time except for the torpedos dropped at PH.
     
  9. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    The longer range of the Japanese aircraft came at the expense of being easily destroyed. Once the Us developed some pilot experience and better aircraft they performed as well as the Japanese. In order to combat the maneuverability of the Zero, fighter commander Thach came up with a weave technique that could negate the Japanese advantage.
     
  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I'd agree with lwd; if we're considering the American attitude towards the Japanese, the carrier battles made them feel they were holding their own or better. They had sunk five carriers and lost two. Our fighters had shot down more Zeros than they had lost F4Fs. The range of Japanese aircraft had not been a factor, the sides had traded strikes, and our fighters and flak had inflicted heavy losses on the attackers. American carriers had conducted successful raids and beaten off land-based attacks as well.

    The only surface battles had been in the Far East, with the Allied forces disorganized, outnumbered, and lacking air support. The Americans at Savo may have taken for granted that the "Japs" could be beaten in a "fair fight".
     
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  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Unlike the British and the Japanese the US had also rather neglected thier night time training prewar. The Japanese on the other hand saw that as an area where they might be able to sieze an advanatage they desperately needed.
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    That is a very very debatable statement.


    Which they did once, and against an unprepared target. IIRC, roughly 50% of the torpedoes found targets and most of those hit were due to an overconcentration on two of the battleships.


    This was as much due to the superiority of the Kate over the Devastator, as it was to torpedo construction. Don't forget that one of the IJN's requirements for their twin engine bombers was that they be capable of dropping torpedoes. Both the G3M and G4M were capable of flying at higher speeds with a payload than either the Kate or Devastator. As such, the Japanese had to construct a stronger torpedo body than the Americans.

    Even if the American torpedoes could be dropped at higher speeds, the TBD Devastator simply could not fly that fast...They were hard pressed to get above 110 knots carrying a torpedo.


    Already addressed by other posters.


    Which was unknown to the Americans until middle/late 1943, when an intact copy was found found run up on a beach in the Solomons.


    All-in-all, none of these factors that you have mentioned would have any effect on how the American's would have viewed the possible outcomes of a night surface action.
     
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  13. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    All of these factors showed, that the IJN could be superior in (small) areas of naval warfare. So it was just logical, that there was a possibility of superior night-tactics.

    By the way, i am sure that Yamamoto/Nagumo underestimated the US Navy until Midway far more than the other way round.
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    But only one was obvious at the time and that was the one off attack on PH. Making logical deductions from information that isn't present yet is kind of hard.
     
  15. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It would be logical?

    Hardly.

    The only night surface action that would likely be well known in the USN was that by DesDiv 59's attack at Balikpapan. That was hardly indicative of any superior Japanese night tactics.
     
  16. Triton

    Triton New Member

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    Not logical but possible.
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    There is possible, than there is probable. One's logic will dictate what is what.

    It was possible that the Japanese had developed far superior torpedoes. However, the Allied naval logic decided that it was more probable that the "Long Lance" successes were due to Japanese mines or Japanese submarines.
     
  18. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    There was a reason no other major navy used Long Lance type torpedos.
    They were very dangerous to use. Japan considered the user casualty rate acceptable, where other navies were rightly concerned about using that type of fuel.
    Was it pretty much the same concoction that blew up so many German rocket powered fighters?
    T stoff and F stoff (whatever) but a large explosion could result in either, if something went wrong.

    And once the bugs/firing info were worked out, the US had a very good torpedo.
    Methinks.
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Pure Oxygen which was used by the Type 93 (and some of the other IJN torpedoes) is a dangerous substance to have around. Fuel burned in its presence is more efficient thus the long range of the type 93s. The Type 93's did have their own teathing problems though. At the Java Sea battle as many as 1/3 or more of them may have detonated before reaching allied vessels. As mentioned oxygen fires and subsequent torpedo detonations may have been responsible for the loss of several cruisers and their long range resulted in the loss of several IJA transports (and an IJA general going for an unplanned swim). Their arial torpedos at the start of the war were reliable and as mentioned could be dropped at faster speeds and higher altitudes than the US torpedoes at the start of the war. By the end of the war US arial torpedoes packed more punch and could be dropped from higher altitudes and greater speeds than the IJN ones although finding a target became proplematic.

    The German fighter propellants were T-stoff (the oxidizer filling the role of O2 in the Type 93) and C-stoff (the propellant). Both of the German propellants were quite toxic which was not a serious concern in regards to the type 93's fuel and oxidizer. Here's a wiki page on it:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-Stoff
     
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  20. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    Curious about the evolution.
    Got it.

    Who first discovered that propulsion and attempted to implement into a torpedo?

    There were some good bits regarding an (American? Brit?) who had a home made torpedo tear up a beach. ..That was a great thread...ill try to look it up.


    edit- reading comprehension
     

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