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Wake Island Documentary

Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by PvtJohnTowle_MoH, Jul 1, 2014.

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  1. PvtJohnTowle_MoH

    PvtJohnTowle_MoH New Member

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    Did the marines defending this island ever get a presidential unit citation? What they did was something short of amazing !! A very captivating story and video.

    The marine pilot shot down the bomb aimer who took out USS Arizona at Pearl Harbour

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Os3PmiXl3DU
     
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The matter of which pilot sank the USS Arizona has always been a matter of contention. However, research has essentially proved that Noboru Kanai was not the one who sank the USS Arizona. He never made a claim for the hit, and further, his was assigned target C/D, the paired battleships West Virginia & Tennessee. Thus, you are faced with two options, this skilled bombardier totally botched his assigned task or else, he attacked a target on his own accord - neither option has much, if any, credibility.
     
  3. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Men who served on Wake were entitled to wear a silver "W" device on their Navy Expeditionary medal/ribbon.
     
  4. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    was it realistic to put a force on Wake Island, thinking they could be 'rescued' if war started??
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    In the absence of an attack on PH I suspect so. Since the common understanding at the time was that the IJN lacked the ability to launch a raid on Pearl ....
     
  6. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    seems like they were out on a limb
     

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  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Yes they were. On the other hand what benefit did Japan gain from holding Wake? It was a pain to supply and easily raided. As it was one could argue that it cost them a lot more than it was worth to take and hold it. The same would have been true of Midway had they managed to take it. Also note that if the Marines had been just a bit stronger the second invasion would have failed as well and in the absence of a PH attack the garrison could have been strengthened.
     
  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    In the prewar period, under the Orange etc. war plans, we were thinking in terms of our advance across the Pacific, for which Wake would be a valuable advance outpost. As some of us were discussing on the seaplane thread recently, it was expected that seaplanes would be important for both reconnaissance and attack. The book War Plan Orange by Edward Miller shows moorings for three squadrons in the lagoon at Wake. We thought Wake would be supporting and screening our assault on the Japanese bases in the Marshalls.

    As lwd noted, we weren't expecting anything like Pearl Harbor; everyone thought war would break out in the Far East. Although we had had to send part of the Pacific Fleet to the Atlantic earlier in 1941, we still expected to be able to support points Wake or Midway. Wake's defenses could hold against a small attack - as they did, in fact they came close to defeating the second attack - while a major Japanese operation might give us a chance to engage on favorable terms.
     
  9. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    appears far enough where engaging on 'favorable terms' and 'quickly' would not be easy...1000 miles from just Midway....would be problematical....couldn't keep carriers there permanently....would have to keep resupplying....farther from the main supply areas...appears very risky...possible, but risky...IIRC, they were still building, supplying, etc when the war started.....what was maximum aircraft total to be based there?? lines of communication long.....
    the Japanese couldn't leave that thorn in their back.....they would keep attacking it till eradicated.....
    thanks all replies
     
  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Well, let's look at all the distances, Truk, Hawaii, West Coast, home islands. Even as things were, we had superior forces at sea at the time of the second Japanese attack on Wake, although we may not have realized it:
    USN: 3 carriers, 9 heavy cruisers, 25 destroyers
    IJN: 2 carriers, 6 heavy and 3 light cruisers, 11 destroyers, most of them the oldest and smallest of their types
    A month after Wake fell, we were conducting raids on the Marshalls and Gilberts. Of course we had been shocked by Pearl Harbor, but we were hardly helpless. And as we were considering strategy prior to the outbreak of war, we had even less reason to consider Wake indefensible.
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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  12. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    as usual, another good read....thanks Takao....the old ''lure the enemy fleet out to destroy it'' trick
    1..only 1 squadron of attack planes? [ 1/2 torpedo, 1/2 dive Bombers ]....this doesn't sound like much...won't take much of an attack to greatly take away Wake striking ability---difficult to reinforce Wake
    2. Marshalls south....great for recon, etc
    3.closest point to Japan=farthest from supply, etc....
    sure, Wake looks like expendable bait.......the plan sounds just like what Yamamoto tried to do at Midway,= Wake/ Midway too valuable to let go without a fight.....lure the enemy out
    this is another example of Kodiak's article in the 'Troop effectiveness' thread=War/battle so dynamic, so unpredictable, while humans try to predict what humans wil do
    sure, it's great to have a ''picket line'' that far out...but they are vulnerable,no?
    , Feb 2016 Leatherneck Magazine has an article on Wake...it's Part 2........aircraft from the Marshalls did attack Wake....destroyed 7 F4Fs and damaged another
     
  13. dna

    dna New Member

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    Wake Island was the place RA Kimmel hoped to get At naval forces With naval forces. He tried to use the Relief Force to redeem his command. It might have worked. His replacement had no stomach for risking what was left of the 7th fleet for the new commander.
    Of course, on paper is not the same as "superior" forces. The 3 US CV's had 36TBD torpedo bombers. Since the USN aerial torpedoes were essentially useless, the opposing 36 Kate torpedo bombers were 5X more deadly. The about 54 US fighters were 2/3 F4F and 1/3 F2A ( useless) against 36 Zerosen fighters. Only the 108 SBD dive and scout bombers were ready equal to 36 Val's. The other difference is that the 2 Japanese Carriers were operating as a team but the US carriers were too widely separated to support each other. In fact, TF8 [Halsey-Enterprise] was tasked with protecting Midway and Pearl Harbor and might not have been involved at all.
     

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