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The Navies

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by corpcasselbury, May 29, 2004.

  1. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    How do you think the navies of WW2 compared to each other? Or how about how their 1945 versions compared to their 1939 or 1941 versions? Just something a little different for those of us in this forum who appreciate the vital role the navies of both sides played in the war.
     
  2. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    In 1945, the US surface fleet was more powerful than all others combined.
     
  3. Castelot

    Castelot New Member

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    A ranking of navies in 1939 could be as following:


    1.Great Britain
    2. USA
    3.Japan
    4.France
    5.Italy
    6.Germany
    7.Soviet Union
     
  4. Roel

    Roel New Member

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    It's amazing how few ships the SU actually produced during the war because their part in it was fought on land for at least 95%. When you compare the tens of thousands of ships built by the US each year to the few hundred built by the Soviets, you can just read the role of both countries during the war. Another tool for analyzing WW2.
     
  5. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    The poor Soviets. They had enough problems going into the war, and it only got worse. To complete a couple Gorki class cruisers, they had to excavate their prop shafts out of the ruins of a Stalingrad factory.
     
  6. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    You would rank the US Navy higher than the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1939? I'm curious as to why.
     
  7. colosseum

    colosseum New Member

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    It was because the US Navy had beebn building up capital ships since before WWI. Haven't you ever heard of the Great White Fleet?
     
  8. Keiraknightleylover

    Keiraknightleylover New Member

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    yeah, but that was in 1907. after ww1, almost all countries severely cut back on the military (except germany[in secret] and japan). i would think that the japanese and the u.s. navies would be about equally ranked at this time.
     
  9. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Lexington, Saratoga, Yorktown, Enterprise, Ranger
    vs
    Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu, Soryu, Ryujo

    Kongos, Fusos, Ises, Nagatos
    vs
    Colorados, Tennessees, New Mexicos, Pennsylvanias, Nevadas

    The Americans were ahead in the key items for Command of the Sea.
     
  10. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    The naval treaties between the wars set the ratio of capital ships of the UK, US and Japan as 5:5:3. The UK and US were allowed more since they had two ocean navies. The Japanese were considered a "Pacific" power only. The Japanese jingoists took this as an insult and one more reason to go to war.
    Fleet sizes at the start of the war. Says nothing of quality.
    CV/CVL/CVE BB CA/CL DD SS Escorts
    UK* (9/39) 8 12 58 100 38 99
    US (12/41) 8 17 36 171 112
    Japan (12/41) 10 10 36 113 63
    Italy (9/39) 0 2 22 59 115
    France (9/39) 1 7 19 70 77
    Germany (9/39) 0 5(?) 6 17 57
    (?) I think this includes the "pocket battleships", which are more properly heavy crusiers (CA).
    *UK includes Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India
    From The WWII Databook by John Ellis, not always the most accurate, but it should be close enough to give an idea.
     
  11. tankerwanabe

    tankerwanabe New Member

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    I'd put the Japanes as number one in 1939-1942 (up to Midway). The reason is due to tactics. They were the first to understand and apply the use of a Carrier Group - the grouping of several carriers together into one fighting force, supported and protected by cruiser/battleships/destroyers/subs.

    In 1939, we (Americans) were still tinkering with the battleship. We only went to the Carrier Group because of Pearl Harbor, after we saw how to really use carriers. As for the Brits, they were still using bi-planes to launch torpedos. The Japanese wipe them out near Singapore almost as fast at they wiped us out at Pearl. Didn't even need a sneak attack.
     
  12. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    I'd like to point out that the Japanese concept of the concentrating carrier group was an all-out disaster. It put all the eggs in one basket, and the basket had no effective means of fighter direction. The result was Midway.
    The Americans continued to split their forces into task units right through war's end. Probably the availability of escorts was the determining factor. And the Americans were successful in radar-aided fighter vectoring.
    It's not true that the Americans were prompted to lead with their carriers simply because of the Pearl Harbor losses. Kimmel's planned response to war with Japan was to send a carrier force into the Mandates, with the battleships as distant support for the carriers to fall back on if necessary. The Essex building program got its start well before Dec 1941.
     
  13. tankerwanabe

    tankerwanabe New Member

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    The Japanese got all their carriers to Midway together. The error was the decision to split them up. So the U.S. was able to pick them off piecemeal.

    The Navy didn't take Kimmel's plans seriously until after Pearl. Had Pearl not happenned, Kimmel's plans would have been disregarded.
     
  14. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Actually the carrier task force at Midway was not split up at all, (At least not until Kaga, Akagi and Soryu were sunk!), they operated as a single unit right up until the point the Dauntless divebombers had finished with them.

    If you're referring to the decision to split the entire Japanese carrier force up as part of Yamamoto's overly complicated plan to include the occupation of the Aleutians, the indifferent attitude to repairing the Shokaku and a carrier for the Battleship group that was following up the Carrier group, then yes the Carrier force as a whole was split up, but it was never all sent to Midway.

    Arguably concentrating all their carriers at Midway could be seen as a mistake since if one was found then they all were found (As occured), and in an extremely short space of time three of the four carriers were fatally damaged. By contrast the Yorktown having been delayed leaving Pearl Harbour after the miraculous repair jub that was done on her was the only one of the US Flat-tops that was located and attacked during the battle. If the American carriers had operated as a single unit at Midway, the Japanese would have had an opportunity to attack, and possibly sink all three.
     
  15. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    "The Navy didn't take Kimmel's plans seriously until after Pearl. Had Pearl not happenned, Kimmel's plans would have been disregarded."
    Hm. I guess you can start with War Plan Orange by Miller. It's quite good.
     
  16. Zhukov_2005

    Zhukov_2005 New Member

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    Yes, this is true. It was this reason why the Japanese lost those carriers at Midway. If the carriers acted individually, the Japanese probably would have won Midway.

    The American carriers and land based planes attacked the Japanese before they even got to Midway. The Japanese saw the planes coming and launched their own fighters, decimating the slower American planes. Little did the Japanese know that the Americans had a second wave of Dauntless dive bombers on the way. The bombers caught the almost all of the Japanese fighters refueling and rearming on the carriers, a big no-no in the war books. I believe only 12 out of 100 bombs actually hit the 3 carriers, but with the decks loaded with fuel and ammo, it did not take much to blow the carriers into the sky.

    Yes they had few ships, but their submarine fleet was the biggest during the war, with an active 700-900 subs.
     
  17. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Not wanting to split hairs, but in total the US forces attacked the Japanese Carriers at Midway in 9 separate waves, only the last two contained the divebombers that caused the destruction.

    Overall Midway was almost a textbook example of how not to carry out a Carrier battle from both sides. The US attacks went in piecemeal and unsupported and were slaughtered as a result. The differences really are that the Americans could learn from their mistakes and could afford their losses, the Japanese could not.
     
  18. tankerwanabe

    tankerwanabe New Member

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    A good argument. But I'd argue that an additional Japanese 4th carrier would have added a 25% increase in CAP plus its escort AA. Considering how close the battle was, the increase CAP and AA defense could have turned the battle, espescially in light of a finite American wing.

    Furthermore, the cause in the sinking of the 3 Japanese carriers was due to tactics and luck, rather than that they were discovered. Had the Japanese command not blundered in the re-arming of their airwing in wake of a preparation to attack Midway island, they wouldn't have left their pilotless planes on their decks filled to the teeth with bombs. This explains why it only took 12 bombs to take the out the 3 Japanese carriers. The 12 bombs were assisted by 100(?) Japanses aircrafts laden with their own bombs.

    As for the Yorktown, the counter-argument is that had it operated in unison with the other two, even if it had been discoverd, it could have been better protected under a joint CAP and joint AA. Assuming of course that the all three was operated from where the Yorktown was, rather than the location of the other two carriers.

    Tiornu, how much is that book you recommended? My summer book budget has only room for one more and I'm already eyeing the new John Keagan's "Iraq."
     
  19. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    You can get a good used copy of War Plan Orange for under $20, a brand new copy for less than $10 above that.
    One mustn't discount the American success at Midway as mere luck. The vulnerability of carriers to air attack was a fundamental factor in American battle planning. Why did the Americans content themselves to throw such disorganized strikes at the enemy? Not because they were idiots, but because they well understood the pulse concept that the first punch could catch the enemy in a vulnerable position and deal a crushing blow at the outset.
    Kaga alone suffered a dozen bomb hits.
    Concentration of CV force would work better for the US than for the Japanese because the Americans had radar to maximize their CAP. Japanese CAP technique was primitive, and remained so throughout the war.
     
  20. tankerwanabe

    tankerwanabe New Member

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    I think the strike's disorganization came from spreading the carriers around. Common carrier tactics is to strike at the enemy at maximum distant. To require American planes to strike together would mean they'd have to start from a common staging area. This would burn far too much fuel. And we're not even considering the limited window of opportunity the American fleet had. So the attack in multiple waves was probably a result of a calculated risk (or even "dumb-luck") rather than a "one-two" punch plan. And I may be wrong, but I swear that some Amercican air squadrons missed their rendevous with each other on their way to Midway. This showed that the multiple waves was accidental rather than premeditated.

    It's probably more effective if one uses a single mass strike, because you'd have a higher chance of getting your strike-aircrafts through the CAP, and AA. It's my opinion that the U.S. Navy was very lucky that their piecemeal attack succeed. Had the final strike been 20 minutes early or late, the U.S. Navy would have lost Midway.

    BTW, as I remembered it, I thought the Japanese had two more escort carriers that they could have, but failed to commit to the battle. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
     

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