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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. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    The short answer is, NO. Japan won't have two years before the American counter-offensive becomes a reality. Peaceful skies above Japanese factories will not stave off starvation of the vital raw materials due to the American submarine campaign which shifted into high gear in mid 1943. The Japanese war machine will still be short of oil, rubber, copper, bauxite, zinc, chromium, and hundreds of other scarce, yet vital commodities.


    Consolidation of the Conquered islands/Defensive Line

    The Japanese military historically did little to "consolidate" their hold on any of the captured islands in the South Pacific until 1943 when it became painfully obvious that their calculations about American determination to seriously prosecute total war were totally wrong. So it's unlikely that they would do any "consolidation" in the absence of American pressure. Admiral Paul Wenneker, the German naval attache to Japan, made a visit to the conquered territories and had this to say about what he witnessed; "Early in the war I made a trip through the South Sea Islands (NEI) and up through the MARIANAS to see conditions with my own eyes. I was astounded in the South Seas. The Japanese there were thoroughly enjoying the lush life. They had parties continually and were drinking all the liquor they had captured [at Singapore]. I asked them why they did not prepare fortifications and do something to make these places stronger, but they said that the Americans would never come, that they could not fight in the jungle and that they were not the kind of people who could stand warfare in the south. As far as I know all those people in those places, both Army and Navy, once they had got into a place where there was no fighting, would do nothing more about the war."


    USSBS: Interrogations of Japanese Officials -- 70/359


    The Invasion of Australia

    The Japanese did discuss the invasion of Australia, but the discussion went nowhere and, indeed, could not have gone anywhere for the simple reason Japan lacked the necessary logistical shipping to even consider supporting such a large scale offensive. The Japanese Navy initially favored an invasion, but only the Japanese Army had enough troops to launch an invasion of a country which approached China in size. The IJA calculated (rather optimistically) that such an invasion would take a minimum of 10-12 divisions and, having been bogged down in China for four years, it had no intention of making such an open-ended manpower commitment. In addition to that, the IJA (correctly) claimed that supporting 10-12 divisions in addition to those already engaged in the Pacific was beyond the logistical capacity of all the shipping available to Japan. So there is not going to be an invasion of Australia no matter what befalls the US Navy.

    "Shattered Sword", Parshall and Tully, page 27


    The US Production Tsunami

    As for US production, historically, the US Navy began commissioning the ships that would overwhelm the Japanese Navy at the end of 1942. In 1943, the USN commissioned either a CV or a CVL every three weeks; This was far beyond the capabilities, or even the imagination, of the Japanese. By mid-1943, the USN had enough carriers, even without the pre-war ships, to crush the IJN. It could have launched the planned Central Pacific offensive without reference to the South Pacific, and it would have been just as fatal to the Japanese defenses. It was the politics of the divided command in the Pacific that delayed the launching of the long awaited assault.
     
  2. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    Even with the damage at Pearl most of the carriers would have been repaired by the end of 42, at the latest mid 43.

    Even without any US action Japan only had enough oil for a short war. Yes After the Southern Operation they had more coming in but it was not enough.

    Japanese industry was not that well founded. The fighters that took place in the Pearl Strike only received their guns a week before they left.

    American bombing of Japan was not to destroy industry but to destroy industrial workers.

    Japan would have been a little stronger but not much. Good post though.
     
  3. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    D...m you. I was gong to pull that one out of the box. The Bearn had already been used to transport US made aircraft to France. I wonder if much refurbishment would have been needed?
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    If they do the above then how can they do this:
    Especially when they are doing this:
    Take a look at this article to see what kind of problems the Japanese were having with oil. Operating more vessels and planes isn't going to help.
    Oil and Japanese Strategy in the Solomons: A Postulate
    Also look at this page
    http://www.combinedfleet.com/economic.htm
    Note that in 1942 the US produce 18 carriers of various flavors compared to the Japanese producing 17 for the entire war. Note also that in 43 the US produced 65.
     
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  5. bobddude

    bobddude Member

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    The outcome of victory would have been delayed for 6-12 months. The shipbuilders built and the Navy commissioned 18 escort carriers and CV-9 in 1942 The carriers at Pearl would have been refloated and repaired and back by early 1943. The escorts would have been put to the test long before Oct 1944 and could/would have proved their worth while the US industry really caught up in 1943 and 1944
     
  6. bobddude

    bobddude Member

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    If the 5 carriers were sunk at Pearl none of the escort carriers would have been lend-leased to the Royal Navy.
     
  7. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    According to Janes Fighting Ships of WW2 the US had built close to 140 carriers of all classes and had several dozens more on order.

    Simply put Japan would have had a major battle victory, and if she had taken out the Oil Tanks she may have written off Pearl, but in the end American Industrial Might would win out.

    v.R.
     
  8. W Marlowe

    W Marlowe WWII Veteran

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    Gentelman:

    If you check the Naval Records there was never over two carriers in Pearl Harbor at one time. Adm. Halsey always had the Enterprise training at Sea because of their green aircrews. The Enterprise' Diver Bomber Squadron had a very bad record and Halsey was determined to improve it. The reason the Enterprise and Lexington were not there on Dec. 7 was that they were both delivering Marine Fighter aircraft to Midway and Wake Islands. Accompanying them were their crusiers and destroyers.

    Two Carriers operational in San Diego and a new carrier working up to being accepted. Plus the Langley and Long Island that could operate fighters and Dive Bombers.

    The realy big target the IJN negelected was The Olier Neosho with 20,000 tons of avation gas on board. Look it up.

    As Ever,

    Walter L. Marlowe

    ( Airborne all the Way)
     
  9. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Its alive, my thread is alive!!
     
  10. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    The Neosho tanker would have gone up like a roman candle, mostly because she had off-loaded most of her avgas at both Hickam (sp?) tank farm (Sat.), and started unloading on Ford Island in the morning of the 7th.

    Her captain managed to get the fuel transfer lines disconnected, used an axe to cut the mooring lines, back away from her berth at Ford Island, and pull into an open berth across the channel from Ford Island and Battleship row. That ship being hit might surely have altered the damage done to the port facilities at Pearl. She was a "bomb", and especially as so much of her cargo had been off-loaded, and the fumes were being pumped free. A real KA-BOOM if she were hit!

    See:

    http://www.delsjourney.com/uss_neosho/pearl_harbor/neosho_at_pearl.htm
     
  11. Bomber Harris

    Bomber Harris Member

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    Well, I think along the same lines as a lot of others in this thread. If by some chance all five carriers were in Pearl Harbour at the time of the attack, and If they had all been taken out of action, then I think Japan would have had the opportunity to gain an even better foothold in the Pacific.

    However, I don't think they would have done. At that point in the war, traditional Naval thinking was that the Battleship was the king of the waves, and for this reason I doubt the Japanese would have considered themselves in any better position if they had managed to sink the carriers than they did having failed to sink them. So I don't think they would have acted any quicker than they did. And the speed at which new carriers could be built, and old ones repaired, by America would have ensured they wouldn't have been out of action for long.

    So all in all, I don't think it would have had much of a difference to the outcome of the war. If anything, all it would have slightly prolonged the conflict, but I don't think by much.
     
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