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what if........The 5 aircraft carriers were based in Pearl Harbor and Japan sunk them

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by Sloniksp, Sep 11, 2006.

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  1. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    This could be interesting.......

    If the 5 carriers that would of been based in Pearl Harbor and were sunk by the Japanese at the time of the attack.What do u guys think could or would of happend?
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I am not that much into this area but anyway I did read that just bombing the oil tanks to kingdom come probably would have meant that the navy would have to move its ships to the American continent...

    So losing the carriers would mean even worse (??)
     
  3. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    Carriers or oil tanks, it would just mean a longer deadline for Japan. The production potential of the USA was simply mind boggling.

    The Japanese outran their supplies in the Pacific didn't they? So I don't see that it would help them too much.

    It might have reprecussions in Europe though. If the Americans got an even bloodier nose in the Pacific, and the Japanese were pressing south. Maybe the Americans would not go for Kill Germany First Strategy.
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    I don't see it changing things greatly. The US could have made up for the lack of naval air power (carriers) through greater use of land air power until new carriers became available. For the Japanese the same basic problem remains regardless of whether the US has carriers or not; the shortage of pilots and aircraft for replacement.
    While using land based air power would have had some limitations over the availability of carrier based, it would still be possible for the Allies to carry out most of their offensives that originally occured through the end of 1942 when new construction begins to arrive in service. Guadalcanal and New Guenia were both carried out primarily, if not entirely, using land air power and just surface naval assets. Midway could have successfully resisted simply by substitution of land air power for that of the carriers. Destruction of the Japanese air wings would have been nearly, if not just as, devastating as the loss of their carriers.
     
  5. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Yes guys i agree!!

    But remember that if the carriers would off been destroyed then midway would off fallen to the japs as well, no?

    overall i would say that in reality it probably wouldnt of made much of a difference because u.s. production was mind boggling like jaeger said. All this really might of done was give japan more time to secure more territory and try to find more oil. Also Australia might off been attacked.
     
  6. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

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    Hmmmm
    Interesting for sure.
    I suppose you are speaking of Enterprise, Yorktown, Hornet, Saratoga, and Lexington?
    Correct?
    There are also Langley, Ranger, and Wasp.
    Not as big, not as mean, but Carriers.
    Big if, that all (first five) were in Pearl (like they'd fit) and completely standing down, (no CAP, no Search).
    Let's suppose all this is true.
    Would the Japanese have enough bombs/torpedoes to sink them? Given the extra F4Fs and anti-aircraft guns? Counter attacks?
    Suppose they did, and all else happened besides.
    No Coral Sea, Santa Cruise, Midway.
    Austrailia/New Zealand fall (except for resistance everywhere) and the Japanese are on Midway. With 5 and 1/2 carriers they would have lost, and only 3 medium to small U.S. ones to oppose them.
    Ouch!
    Many Carriers of that year were not purpose built (from the bottom up) as carriers. Alot were yes, but I believe all Countrys had the conversions,
    Kaga...Battleship
    Akagi, Lexington, Saratoga...Battlecruisers
    Once America got motivated it would turn out "Jeep" carriers like "Liberty" ships...one a day. The Japanese would have to go a long way to get more bombs/torpedoes/fuel/food/fresh water through an angry network of "Pig-Boats", more every day.
    Americas other war production remains the same, unhampered, except for sugar cane and pineapples.
    The Hawaiian islands would be an airfied of immense proportion, like Okinawa was during Vietnam.
    Un Approachable.
    It would delay the inevitable, cost more lives, but would ultimately change ... not much.
    Even this much (what if) damage would not/could not force a surrender/negotiated(compromised) peace.
    The American anger of that "Sneak" attack pre-dertermined an unconditional surrender by the Japanese.
    No matter what.
     
  7. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    I would have to agree. Excellent points skunk works! Unless america got tired of the war.

    But I dont see that happening.
     
  8. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    Best estimates are that if the repair facilities and/or the carriers had been destroyed, the navy would have retreated to San Diego. This would greatly delayed the ability to react to Japanese forces.

    What if Japan had a more aggressive admiral that launched more attacks? And after Pearl, took Midway?
     
  9. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    I still dont see U.S. loosing to Japan. Maybe having a lot of setbacks, only due to the fact that U.S.'s primary concern was not Japan but Germany. After Germany's surrender Japan would have never stood a chance.
     
  10. Historian #6

    Historian #6 Member

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    What would have happened had the Japanese been able to catch the American CVs in Pearl Harbor in the first wave of the attack in 7 December, 1941?

    I have a very different read on this than you guys. I see the whole course of the war may have been changed. Starting with the premise of the sinking of the CVs, this would have freed the Secod, and possibly the third strikes of the IJN First Air Division. These were planned on paper but never executed due to the tumidity of Admiral Nugamo fearing a carrier reprisal on his own CVs.

    These additional waves of airpower would have found an alerted defense, for sure, but a dearth of primary targets. I imagine the striking at the secondary targets, the repair facilities and the Oil Tank Farm. This would, in turn, mean a delay of any American plans for any initiative, as the US Fleet would be forced back to the American West Coast. Even the US Submarines Tenders and the US ss campaign would have been delayed.

    Okay, all this means no Coral Sea, no Guadacanal, and probably no Midway. Oh, the Japanese air base probably would have been still constructed at Guadcanal, thus basing land-based aircraft there. This, in turn would have weakened the sea-route from US West Coast to ANZAC.

    So, the Japanese are going to have a longer time to run around consolidating their newly acquired territories. But they probably would have done the same stupid policies towards the locals, thus alienating them from the likes of the Philipinoes and the Vietnamese.

    Lets see... what would I do with the IJN? How about invadeing and occuping the Indian Ocean? With the lack of an American threat for at least a year (remember the Americans are forced back to the West Coast) the IJN could feel more comfortable about operating in the Indian Ocean. This then breaks the connection between Oz and the North African theater and the possibility of the IJN of grabbing the port facities that the Italians had established on the East African coast, denying them to the Anglo-Americans, who managed to restore them. This much overlooked port facility was used in a much overlook support of the East Mediterranian Fleet by the British. Okay, I admit it is a bit of a strech to think of the Japanese in East Africa, but we are just speculating.

    I can imagine took that the submarine traffic between the Germans and Japan may have more successful. In real life only a few trips were accommplished, I think only one round trip was made, but with are alternate scenario who knows what may have happened.

    We know the real life benefit of the submarine traffic did have great potential benefit for the Japanese. The Germans did send technology to Japan -- the ME 262 was copied by the Japanese but they did not have the technological base to fully exploit this. But in this scenaro, they now have some working jets!

    Imagine the devestation which could have been wrecked on the B-29s by a couple of squadrons of high altitude jets fighters.

    So, while the loss of the CVs at Pearl Harbor may seem like a small thing, but the American good fortune kept a series of bad events from occurring.
     
  11. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    I have to disagree (agree) with some points.

    US Land Based Air Power would have been useless. Their effective range might cover halfway to Hawaii. Thats why carriers were so important in the PTO. Land based aircraft didnt have the range. They couldnt island hop (except where the Islands were much closer together). Harry Turtledove has a work of fiction on the matter (a novel) about WWII Alternative History. In it, the Japanese sink 2 of the 3 carriers i believe AND invade Hawaii. The US Forces are captured as the Jungle on the Islands cant sustain people. In his book, its just a protracted War with the US eventually able to build up more aircraft carriers and retake the Islands after a very bloody and costly war.

    However, i think things would have been very different. The US wouldnt have been able to aid Russia or the UK as it would have more pressing concerns to deal with. Midway etc would all fall into Japanese hands, along with a small amount of oil. Potentially, i could see the PTO turning into a stalemate, esp if the Japs decide to land in Hawaii and secure it for themselves.

    Nevertheless, the loss of the Carriers would have been a MAJOR set back and a huge boost in all aspects for the Japanese, if not just by delaying their eventual defeat. But yes, it does make you wonder. It would allow the Japanese time to take out Australia and NZ and control their supplies, and present another 'Island' for the US to have to invade.

    Either way you look at it, it really just means thousands of more lives would be lost by both sides.
     
  12. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Well, first I doubt that five carriers could have been at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 based on current US dispositions of their fleet. The Wasp, Ranger, and Yorktown were all on the East coast with the Atlantic fleet at that time.
    The Lexington, Saratoga, and Enterprise were operating out of Pearl. The Hornet was still working up in local ops on the West coast having just barely being completed and put into commission less than 60 days before (27 October 41).
    Other than this, the US had a contengincy plan in place as part of War Plan Orange for rapid conversion of large merchant ships to carriers under WPL-10. These merchant ships, mostly liners, refered to as XCV, were to be taken in hand, converted, and re-commissioned as carriers from M+90 to M+360 per the above plans. Conversions included a total of 10 liners in 1941:
    California, Pennslyvania, and Virginia of the Panama-Pacific line (turbo-electric, 18.5 kts 600 ft, 30,250 grt)

    Manhattan and Washington of the US Lines (steam turbine, 705 ft, 21 kts, 32,000 grt)

    Mahlolo, Mariposa Lurline, and Monterey of the Matson line (Steam turbine, 20 kts, 632 ft 31,000 grt)

    President Hoover and President Coolidge of the President Line (Steam turbine, 654 ft, 21kts, 31,000 grt)

    These are all far larger and more capable designs than the two Japanese liner conversions, Junyo and Hiyo. First, since the late 20's the US Maritime commission had some input into these ship's design such that they were from the outset designed in part for this conversion. The 1940 - 41 P4P merchant hull which was to replace these ships for conversion was actually designed with not only conversion in mind but actual military features like a split plant.

    As converted it was expected these carriers would have an air wing of 55 aircraft (27 fighters, 18 dive bombers, 15 torpedo planes) and an armament of 8 5" 38 guns and up to 40 .50 machineguns. So, they were nearly the equivalent of fleet carriers except in speed.
    This would mean that the first conversion, if rushed (as likely would have been the case) could have been in commission by March or April 1942 with roughly a 60 day work up before deploying in May or June of that year. The planning had an additional carrier conversion per month (roughly).
    If the US was desperate for carriers, there is little doubt this plan would have been executed in short order to take up the slack until the Essex class could begin to be delivered.
    Japan has absolutely no equivalent to this. They lose their air wings or carriers, it will be a full two or more years until they can put another one to sea.
     
  13. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

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    Well one thing there were only two a/c based in the pacific at the time the Yorky and Lexington and they had prior warning to get out of Pearl on a so called exercise, no even had they had been sunk at Pearl, that not would have been a major set back but the destruction of the oil instillations one of the major targets of the third wave would have knocked Pearl out as a forward base of operations for over 12 months.
     
  14. Flying Tiger

    Flying Tiger Member

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    well the Yorky, and lexington are going to end up being sunk anyways. but as long as they wernt in Pearl, the Americans had the pacific.
     
  15. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Moderator Note - Thread merged with existing thread with same subject.

    What if the US carriers Lexington, and Enterprise were in port at Pearl Harbour when the japanese attacked, And in turn where sunk, What do people believe would have happened differently in the pacific theater as such?

    Also what if the japanese had fitted there carriers with radar and had bunched there own convoys up more for better defense.

    In my view i can see Midway falling, With out the japanese losing a single carrier..or any ship for that matter except for maybe some landing boats.

    Guadalcanal would have remained in Japanese hands as they would have been able to have a larger defensive force in the area in the form of a single carrier group, The airfield there would have been completed and coused havoc for US-Australia, Another run could have been made at Port Morsebury, And a small chance that either Australia or Hawii would be invaded,

    Australia-Easy to get there forces and build them up close to it but alot of land mass to take
    Hawii-Small amount of land mass, But a long sail to get there so supplying it would be difficult at best.

    If they choose Hawii they will stretch there navy even more, If they choose Australia there going to have to put up with a nation who wont go down with out a fight, Launching constant raids, sabotage, ambushes (we are a nation that was practically formed from criminals, I think us aussies know how to fight :) lol ) etc.

    Im guessing by the time this is all done either America will choose peace or fight on, In which case Japan would have to defend one key point .. Hawii .. With out Hawii the yanks cant launch any attacks.
     
  16. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    I am a little rusty on the Pacific, but having two carries in Pearl, would not have changed much in the long run. Yes the fight in the south would have gone much better but then the Japanese would have still had to fight the rest of the American fleet.

    Assuming that the focus of the attack would have been the carriers more of the surface fleet would have been spared. Granted another strike or two would have been possible but at the same time the number of fighters for the Americans would have been doubled.

    The net effect is to prolong the war

    Also here is a similar thread.

    http://www.ww2f.com/what-if/12099-w...-were-based-pearl-harbor-japan-sunk-them.html
     
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  17. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    From early 1940 the US warplans all were based on a Europe first policy. In 1943 this was modified slightly and first MacAurthur, then Nimitz were given the resources to begain offensive operations. The reasons were several, but the key was that the Japanese navy had been defeated and the opportunity to take the initiative existed. With the US carriers sunk and the Japanese navy undefeated at the begaining of 1943 the Europe first policy remains unmodified. The new aircraft carriers and other naval power remains on the defense until later in 1944.
     
  18. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Some questions that came up in my mind upon reading this thread: where would the carrier's aircraft be in Pearl? Would they be offloaded to the airfields while the carrier undergoes whatever maintenance work is needed?
    How about the pilots? I assume they wouldn't be anywhere near their planes because they would all be enjoying shore leave after being stuck in a ship for weeks or months.
    When I think about this more, the hypothetical loss of the US carriers at Pearl would be a very temporary advantage for Japan. The US would suffer a material loss with the sinking of the carriers but the important thing would be that there would hardly be any losses in the carrier's aircrew (if they were on shore leave as I assumed.) Material losses are easier to replace. Losses in aircrew, especially experienced aircrew, is somewhat not as easy to do so.
    I also point out that if the US carriers were lost at Pearl, Japan would probably not have struck at Midway. The Japanese attack there was made after the B-25's hit Japan from the carrier Hornet. No US carriers, no B-25 attack on Japan, thus no Battle of Midway.
    At Coral Sea, the absence of the US carriers might make it possible for the Japanese to carry out their invasion and reinforcement plans. But I am sure that even without carriers, the Allies would still attempt an operation to stop this with whatever long ranged aircraft available and a more vigorous use of submarines supported with surface naval craft. However, Allied losses would be very heavy.
    I know that Japan didn't have the same industrial output as the US did. The strategic goal of Japan was to create a buffering defense zone that would make it very costly for the US to penetrate. Maybe the loss of the US carriers at Pearl might give Japan time to establish a better defensive zone and consolidate their conquered resources. That's a tall order and the best I can see is Japan prolonging the war through naval attrition, which Japan cannot win, especially after Germany falls.
     
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  19. JagdtigerI

    JagdtigerI Ace

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    Let me get this straight...the Japanese attacked Midway when there were 3 carriers there to oppose them....but they wouldn't of attacked if there were no carriers there to oppose them because the Doolittle raid didn't happen.
     
  20. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    On carrier operating proceedure: Normal proceedure was to have the air wing fly off the carrier prior to entering port. In this case, the aircraft would have been on Ford Island or at MCAS Ewa depending on space available. Also, having all five carriers as the scenario calls for in port would be a problem as well. These would be docked in some odd berths.
    None would be particularly vulnerable to torpedo attack and several would have had to anchor out in various parts of the harbor simply due to lack of room where the carriers normally tied up.
    Odds are also good that the various naval squadrons would have been sent into the Pacific to island bases for defensive operations in the event of a lack of carriers. Also, damaging or sinking carriers in port is no guarrentee that they stay sunk. Depending on damage and priorities, one or more could probably have been raised in short order and put back into service.
     
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