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What if Japan.............?

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by P5, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. P5

    P5 Dishonorably Discharged

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    What if Japan succeded in destroying the 5 aircraft carriers it was hoping to hit in Pearl Harbor?

    What do you think might have happened?
     
  2. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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  3. Balderdasher

    Balderdasher Dishonorably Discharged

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    I want to respect your question as asked. I'm assuming you mean what would have happened if the Japanese plan at Pearl went exactly as planned destroying the carriers meant to be there?

    If so, my answer is
    Politically speaking, FDR's Administration could be forced to resign. America re-inforce Isolationism and kill Interventionist/Imperialist aspirations, at least in the Pacific.

    As long as the Carriers were still operational, FDR could insist on the support of the Navy as well as scapegoat responsibility to others. But if the carriers were casualties as well, no Administration should expect the continued support of the Navy.
    The Isolationists were more influential in America at the time than the Interventionists/Imperialists. FDR wouldn't survive without the Navy's support and if the carriers were lost as well, that would be far, far less likely. An Isolationist Presidency might be able to end the war by negotiation in time to save the American army and airforce and control of the Philippines. It all becomes a domino effect, a rippling effect like a drop of water in a pond. Those carriers were alot more important even politically than some might think.
    Unlike the Japanese who hid their Midway losses from the public, America couldn't do that so easily.

    However, even if negotiations were resolved to each side's satisfaction, it would take far, far more time and effort to repair Nippon-American relations after that, even if the declaration of war had been delivered on time than say how long it took Anglo-American relations to get back to normal after the Americans invaded Canada or the British burned down the White House in the War of 1812. But for the Japanese, it would be the lesser of two evils given the status quo.

    Strategically speaking...without carriers to challenge them, the IJN would probably win more of the Pacific faster, Guadalcanal, Solomons even Port Moresby. Whether this 'Victory Sickness' would make them crazy enough to try for even more than origninally planned, as in Australia. At the very least they would extend their ability to blockade Australia/NZ from the Americas, no doubt. Whether the loss of the carriers and this would force the British to seek terms for Australia with Japan as well, who knows? Britain did have it's hands full at the time.

    However, IF, the carriers weren't too badly damaged in the attack, IF they didn't blow up and were just holed and sunk, then 6-12 months later those that could, would be raised and ready for action again just like most of the battleships. Even if that was possible, it would set the Allied Pacific capabilities back at least another 6 months to year over historical, at least. The USN lost a large % of their total torpedo stockpiles just in one base at the Philippines. It wasn't just fuel that would burn up if the tanks had been destroyed, it would have been the munitions and vital port facilities themselves. The heat alone could be a problem.

    That's the failing of the Pearl Harbour attack. In a sense, they did the US a favour planning it that way.
    Like the Italian ships sunk by the RN at Taranto, they should have known they could be raised again.
    The plan incredibly prevented attacks on the Pearl fuel and munitions stores which their destruction alone could have set the US back at least 6 months to a year and to some US Admiratly, have forced the US to return the Home Base of the Fleet from Hawaii(which was considered a provocative move by the Japanese) back to San Francisco?(West Coast).

    The IJN could have done far better to take on and destroy the US fleet at sea, where the sunken ships couldn't be raised and used again.
    For those here who will invariably say the USN couldn't lose the Pacific War no matter what happened,
    the below is a neat English documentary series using USN interviews on the issue.
    If the link I try to post isn't allowed here, do a search on YouTube for 'Unsolved History, Myths of Pearl Harbor' I think it's called.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=599oByAMyek&mode=related&search=
     
  4. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    If the carriers had been sunk, all of the remaining operations would have relocated to San Diego and the Islands abandoned. What was even more of a mistake by the Japanese, was to not take out the fuel farms and repair facilities. Policy at the time would have meant the same thing, Move everything to the mainland. That would mean that the ships sunk would have not been resurrected, and all actions against the Japanese would have much more distance to travel.
     
  5. Balderdasher

    Balderdasher Dishonorably Discharged

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    Very true Sd,
    did you watch the entire series I linked there?

    Some say there was a general order not to attack 'private industry' and that's why certain facilities were incredibly untouched.

    Some even claim that they were deliberately left off the target list in case of a possible future invasion in which the Japanese Navy would need them.

    Others say they were to be targeted in the 3rd planned wave that never happened because Nagumo was unjustly worried about the 2 missing carriers(for which he never redeemed himself of that criticism).

    I tend to pull for Theory 3.

    The problem is that we don't have the original untampered Japanese records on this.
    What records we do claim to use are often considered suspect as there are claims we changed them after the war.

    I think those targets were left for the 3rd wave. Because if they hit the oil tanks in the first wave, the sky would be too polluted and area too hot for accurate air vs sea operations.

    But no doubt Nagumo screwed up. Some say it was deliberate as he resented the 'carrier theory' over the 'battleship theory'.
    Regardless, he could have stayed around long enough to find the carriers, or gone looking for them and he I agree with his critics that he should have sent the 3rd wave to finish off the fuel tanks and destroy the port facilities(assuming they were targets), which as you say, would have forced the fleet back to San Francisco anyways.

    2 carriers vs 6, he could still launch #3 and fight off 2 enemy cvs till his main attack force returned.

    Agreed.
     
  6. Kibblesnbits

    Kibblesnbits Dishonorably Discharged

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    Good point Sea. Not the great victory it's represented in history huh?
    Like being proud of scoring a touchdown in the 1st Quarter when you should have scored several.

    Sorry bout all the football analogies, am coach ;).
     
  7. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    Okay, first of all, there were only three American Aircraft Carriers in the Pacific, the USS Enterprise, Lexington and Saratoga on 7 December. The Enterprise was delivering fighter planes to Wake Island and on her way home. The Lexington was on her way to deliver scout bombers to Midway Island and the Saratoga was on the West Coast undergoing routine maintainence. The old carrier Langley had been relegated to the status of carrying aircraft for delivery and half of its flight deck had been removed. IIRC, the converted merchant ship, aircraft carrier, the USS Long Island was on her way to the Pacific.

    The USS Yorktown and Ranger were with the Atlantic Fleet and the USS Hornet and Wasp were in various stages of completion/working up.

    There were already plans in motion for the US Navy to quickly convert civilian ocean liners into ad hoc aircraft carriers, much like the Japanese did, until replacement, purpose built, aircraft carriers could take over for them.

    I can't see the US abandoning Hawaii, simply because of the high degree of existing, military infrastructure and manpower already there, not to mention, the extreme difficulty that it would take for the Japanese to successfully invade the islands. With over two US Army Divisions, Marine Defense Battalions, not to mention thousands of Navy Bluejackets, those islands would have been a very tough nut for anyone to crack.
     
  8. Marienburg

    Marienburg Member

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    I agree with John; Hawaii would not have been given up. That would have been political suicide for the administration and would never have been an option on the table. What likely would have happened is that the Atlantic fleet would be cannibalized in the short term to keep a supply line to Hawaii secure. Then, once American production had replaced the lost ships and carriers, the war would continue quite as it did in the real timeline, with Americans going on the offence. Yes, in the meantime Japan would have had time to further entrench themselves in the Pacific. However, this would have only prolonged the inevitable final defeat of the Japanese at the hands of the Americans and Allies. If Japan had tried to capture Hawaii during this inbetween time, well, that could have been interesting, but I doubt it would have succeeded. Unless they already had an invasion planned immediately following Pearl Harbor the US would have had time to secure the islands and they wouldn't have been surprised the second time around.
     
  9. nuvolari

    nuvolari Member

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    The Yanks would have dropped the Atom Bomb sooner !
     
  10. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    That may be if they had created one sooner ;)
     
  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Yep, slon, you're right on that one.

    How many days between the Trinity and Hiroshima detonations-24 days? Looks to me as thought they dropped as soon as they could.
     

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