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Pearl Harbor vs. open seas

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by sPzAbt 503, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Would it be needed? If you take a look at Midway a couple of cruisers and say half a dozen DDs could pretty much insure that no significant number of planes would be launched from there any time soon. That's if what survived constituted much of a threat in any case. Remember they don't have room for a huge number of planes at Midway. That's also going to affect the probability of scouts detecting the raiding force before hand. If they make the run in at 30 knots they can start 300 nm away and still reach the island in 10 hours.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

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

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    The war games were played out with and without carriers, and with and without air cover for the Bombardment Unit. The Orange forces slipped two carriers in on the Blue forces and caught the BU at dawn. So, yeah, I'd have air cover meet them at dawn on the way out.
     
  3. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Judging from the Japanes lack of success with bombarding Henderson field, or the siege of Corregidor, I'm not sure that's going to work. Midway is a much more concentrated target but if that sort of thing had worked reliably long term there would be no need for costly landings. IMO a raiding force would need surprise, otherwise it could trigger just the kind of encounter the USN most needed to avoid in 1942.
    The Betty had a huge range but sacrificed almost everything else to it, problem with Midway based Bettys is not an attack on PH, that would fail, but the need to escort all shipping in an otherwise secure rear area that would tie up large forces.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I thought Henderson was hit pretty hard a couple of times. Given the more exposed nature of Midway and the probable lack of engeneering equipment I would think it would be much more suseptable to both destruction of equipment and supplies as well as being rendered temporarily unuseable due to cratering.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    However in a Midway bombardment(s) it would seem to me that there were a fair number of occasions when intel would show that the Japanese carriers weren't in the area. If it causes them to tie up carrier forces protecting Midway that's another huge plus.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

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

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    We had lost track of carriers before.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    True but for instance when they are positivly repoted as being in the Indian Ocean you have a pretty good chance of sneaking a raid in. Particularly if you have subs scouting some of the area in between. I'd think you could get away with it the first time but if you try for repeated attacks sooner or later there'll be a carrier or two in the wrong spot.
     
  8. OpanaPointer

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

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    Okay, but would we need to obliterate the garrison more than once?
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    That was for the Doolittle Raid.

    For Halsey's February raid, the carriers were pegged at Truk which was much closer. While unlikely, a carrier battle was not outside the realm of possibility.
     
  10. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    The Wake relief did have a chance, if Pye had been more aggressive. It is quite interesting what might have happened since the Japanese were not expecting. THe main result even if the Japanese won is that it would have thrown a worry wrench into Japanese plans.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I didn't realize we were talking about "obliterateing" the garrison. I would see such raids as inflicting at best severe damage on the airfield infrastructure and causing sigificant losses to planes and supplies. Although if they took out any fresh water generation capacity the garrison could be in trouble if replacements couldn't be shipped ASAP.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That was simply an example. If the carriers are more than a few hundred miles away they aren't catching the raiding force. Given the location of Midway it's unlikely they will be that close unless they are being specifically sent to support Midway.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

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

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    "Rendering them ineffectual" if you prefer. (I find total obliteration to be an effect form of preventing the need for revisits.)
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That would be the desired goal but a rather difficult one to achieve. If even a few Japanese are left they could recondition the field and fly in new troops, planes, and supplies or send them by sea. Indeed that might be the ideal situation. Keep them putting more men and equipment in a postion where it cost us less to take them out than it cost them to get them there. Could become one of the proverbial "monkey traps".
     
  15. CTBurke

    CTBurke Member

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    "Ruining" Midway for the Japanese?: Don't need to run in "cruisers" or anything else, really. A couple of US Subs with 5" guns is all you need. We knew where the fresh water tanks were. Hit them, and the garrison is "kaput" within a week. OR... shell the flight lines (can't be very many aircraft on the tiny island) at night, then hit Midway with a carrier raid at dawn the next day. Midway is WAAAAY too isolated from Japanese supply, and WAAAY too far from Hawaii to use as a bomber base, AND there is no air-warning radar. It is also WAAY too close to Hawaii to be "protected" from American nuisance raids. Midway in Japanese hands is a LIABILITY to the Japanese, NOT an asset.
     
  16. OpanaPointer

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

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    <br>"Rendering them ineffectual" if you prefer. (I find total obliteration to be an effect form of preventing the need for revisits.)
    If we sent in Nautilus and Narwhal with some Raiders we could mess things up pretty badly.
     
  17. JohnFrank

    JohnFrank Member

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    Boy, we just send those cruisers in or boy we just hit them with a dawn carrier raid. How simple. Except your forces will have to sail several hundred miles into enemy territory, all of which is within range of IJN bombers, and 2/3 of those miles will be in daylight. You guys might get lucky and not be seen or you might be found and get your head handed to you. That is a possibility, don't you agree? Japanese aircraft losses during the Guadalcanal campaign was at least several hundred aircraft. I don't think there would be a shortage of Japanese aircraft if the IJN brass wanted to duke it out over Midway.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    How many planes can Midway handle? I suspect it's around a couple of carrier loads at most. Their patrol range isn't likely to range out more than 300 or 400 miles even if it does if the bombardment group enters this radius in late afternoon the chances of an air strike are pretty low. Say they get within 400 miles two hours before dark. If they aren't spotted immediatly and a raid launched against them in a few minutes it won't get there until after dark. In the mean time they up speed to 30+ knots and a bit before dawn the next day they can commence shelling the air strips on Midway. There's a pretty good chance they do enough damage that Midway isn't operational that day even if it is getting any sort of coordinated strike off is going to be a serious problem for the Japanese. In the mean time they are out of range in another 12 hours or so so not much more than half of the time is going to be at risk from air attack if that.
     
  19. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    I expect Midway's airfield was about at capacity for the June battle; for example we had eighteen new Avengers of Torpedo 8 detachment on Oahu but only deployed six to Midway. At that point there were about sixty single-engine aircraft, four B-26s, and nineteen B-17s.

    Scouting was mainly by PBYs which could range out to about 700 miles. The IJN had flying boats also, but in nowhere near our numbers; I doubt they could have anything like the 31 we had at Midway. As mentioned earlier, the probability of detection depends as much on the numbers of planes as their range.

    Halsey's raid on the Marshalls provides points for both sides. His cruisers were able to approach and bombard Wotje and Maloelap without being detected or attacked. On the other hand, Chester's bombardment of Taroa airfield on Maloelap, plus air attack, did not prevent Japanese bombers taking off and attacking both her and Enterprise.

    Rambling a bit off topic, Pownall's raid on the Marshalls in December 1943 was a model of timidity and led to his relief by Mitscher. Despite having six carriers and 386 planes, Pownall managed to let the Japanese carry out several air attacks and eventually put a torpedo into his flagship Lexington. I imagine it would have gone a bit differently if Halsey was in charge - with one carrier, three CAs, and destroyers he managed to hit every potential Japanese base. Oddly enough our battle force - five fast BBs under "Ching" Lee - was off conducting a bombardment of lonely little Nauru on Dec 8; hardly seems the best use for them.
     
  20. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    The biggest weakness for Japan would be the need to supply Midway if taken which is doubtful. A couple of subs on patrol near Midway to interdict transports.
     

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