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What IF: The Dec.7'41 Pearl Harbor Attacks Included a Blockship ?

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by dabrob, Jul 31, 2009.

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  1. dabrob

    dabrob Dishonorably Discharged

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    John,

    Please read the entire OTL tale in context rather than just snipping out the bits that make you feel good.

    IIRC the minesweepers Condor & Crossbill were out doing their nightly sweep of the PH entrance channel when Condor spotted what they thought was a submarine following them up the channel. Ward was called inshore, off of her "patrol box" route, to check it out with sonar but found nothing.

    Later on, the cargo vessel USS Antares noticed a minisub trying to follow her as she approached the PH entrance channel. Ward was again called over and with the aid of a PBY overhead made gun and depth charge attacks on it at 0645 that (as we know from the 2002 finding of it's wreckage) resulted in it's sinking.

    It was the OTL attempts of the IJN minisubs to get thru the nightly closed nets (by very closely following US ships thru) that caused the Ward to abandon it's routine 15 knot "patrol box" further out to sea and move inshore at 5 knots for sonar searches.

    In my ATL, the IJN minisubs would NOT be trying to sneak into PH thru the nets at all since they would be carefully closing in on the USS Ward instead. Without any OTL sub contacts to check out, that lone gateguard DD would have stayed on it's routine "patrol box" route, as ordered.
     
  2. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    You have 5 US Naval vessels: Condor, Crossbill, Anthares, Helm, and Ward and you don't think any of them are going to see 5 midget subs in broad daylight?

    These 5 subs are going to be at periscope depth looking for the Ward and they are not going to be seen?......please.

    Have you ever even been to Pearl Harbor?
     
  3. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    If the Japanese were successful in bottling up the fleet, it would have put the American naval operations behind by the time it took to remove the ship, say a couple of months. Would that have affected the outcome of the war...no. Would it have affected the timeline...I don't believe so. The question here is what did the US Navy do in the first 3 months of 1942? If the answer is nothing, then that blocking ship would have done nothing to save Japan.
     
  4. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    AND you should not leave out history, inconvenient facts and military standard operating procedure because it interferes with your quirky little fairy tale. In an earlier incarnation, you swore and maintained that all troops of the 24th and 25 Infantry Divisions were tucked in their beds at Schofield Barracks, where in reality, I found out and posted information stating that since November 27, there were company sized contingents on multiple duty deployments all around the island ranging from Honolulu, to Fort Shafter, Bellows Field, Kanehoe Bay and beyond, stringing wire, building anti-invasion beach defenses and on bivouwac in the field, even though General Short's proclamation was in effect, warning only about sabotage. Oh yeah, they were all armed with live ammunition too, in spite of prohibitions, so the unobserved Japanese invasion beach landings are simply out of the question.

    I still maintain that due to the severe inexperience of those sub crews, 2-3 of them will still get lost just trying to get to the Ward's patrol box and when the ones that do make it actually show up, then the Ward's sonar will pick them up, causing Captain Outerbridge to ring up 14 knots, so that he can still hear the 2 submarines, while manuevering at a better, more manueverable rate of speed. Once your ocean liner simultaneously crosses into the restricted zone, Outerbridge will start thinking that something is amiss, given that all this is happening at the same time. By this time frame too, he could probably also see large formations of Japanese aircraft rendesvousing over Diamond Head. He will go to GQ, use his radio to warn off the maru, while flashing a clear warning signal, before firing a shot across her bow. As soon as the Japanese on the maru start unmasking her guns, Outerbridge will open fire, while avoiding the 2 midget sub's torpedoes, before firing a spread of 4 of her own torpedoes into the maru, causing a sympathetic detonation of all her scuttling charges and causing her to sink in 1,200feet of water. The Ward will then make quick work out of the two midget submarines, now bobbing like corks in the water, while their crews frantically try and take on ballast water to trim their subs back below the surface.
     
  5. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    Why don't you also mention that the reason for their better attack score is because after the disasterous and abysmal results of the midget sub raid at Pearl Harbor, the IJN ordered all midget submarine crews to undergo rigorous additional training not only to improve their ability to handle their craft while underway, but to actually hit what they were aiming at.
     
  6. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Because that would run contrary to his logic of exploiting weaknesses that weren't apparent untill after the attack.

    'tis this and 'tis that; but, no matter what the Japanese did or how he twists the historic timeline Tokyo is bombed in April of 1942 and in August of 1945 Japan gets two big buckets of sunshine dropped on them.

    There is nothing that is going to change the fact that Pearl Harbor was Japan's last large scale success of the war; no amount of english speaking uber ninjas in American uniforms with silenced sniper rifles or Transformer Barges blocking the entrance to Pearl Harbor is going to change that.
     
  7. dabrob

    dabrob Dishonorably Discharged

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    Sigh.

    Condor ans Crossbill had already returned to their moorings inside of PH before sunrise so they wouldn't see squat out near the Ward. To much land/base/buildings in between.

    The DD, USS Helm, was heading for the USN's deguassing station in the West Loch area of Pearl Harbor. Again, no LOS out to the Ward's "patrol box" area.

    In the OTL, the Antares was delayed from entering the PH entrance channel by all of the anti-submarine searching and shooting done by the USS Ward. In my ATL, none of that would have happened since the IJN minisubs would be ordered further out in my ATL, closing instead on the Ward's "patrol box". The Antares would have been met by the Navy tug Keosanqua would have towed in her barge while the tug YT-153 delivered her PH pilot well ahead of the KB's air attack time. So, no line of sight from Antares to the Ward's "patrol box" area either.

    You've overlooked the USCGCs Tiger and Reliance and the USN's submarine Plunger too.

    The leaves only the slowing Ward, distracted by her Honolulu Harbor pilot responsibilities to the in-bound ATL Tatuta Maru (blockship), to watch for the 5 IJN minisubs carefully stalking her.

    I must use this opportunity to report an accidental error that I have made. Burlingame's book, "Advance Force: Pearl Harbor" (AFPH) reports on page #165 that the 3 PBYs were scheduled that morning to search for submarines 120 miles south of Oahu when I had previously reported only 30-60 miles to the south. Sorry about that. Such are the perils of ongoing research.

    Sigh.

    You haven't even done the most basic research, have you.
     
  8. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Sigh.........sob............sniffle.......tisk tisk.

    Too bad you have to distort the historic timeline to make a point. This is the second thread of this type you have started and you have been repeatedly slapped down.

    In keeping with your "Alternative Time Line" do you forget that there is a Nimitz Class Super Carrier about to enter an electronic storm that will put it right in the path of your "ATL" ?

    I am sure that the CAG will have no qualms launching an Alpha Strike against your KB fleet as soon as his recon photos show your Blockship moving into the harbor.

    Basic research?........How in the hell are your midget subs going to engage a target without going to periscope depth? have you bastardized something else that youare going to try and pawn off as standard practice?
     
  9. dabrob

    dabrob Dishonorably Discharged

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    Finally, a poster who looks at the bigger picture.

    But then, as a moderator you have already "had a peek" at the "what IF" proposal that I had to submit for pre-screening, haven't you.

    Yes indeed, in the perfect 20/20 hindsight of 68 years, a blockship on it's own gives no real benfit to the OTL Japanese air strikes on Pearl Harbor.

    BEFORE those air strikes were actully flown however, the Japanese might have seen some benefit in bottling up the USN's Pacific Fleet warships inside that harbor, so that none could escape out to sea before their OTL 2nd air attack wave arrived.

    Or as I will later propose, before a hypothetical 3rd wave could be flown in against them. That might slow down the American war against Imperial Japan.
     
  10. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    Pot calling the Kettle black? This from the person who refused to answer questions and post sources in your previous WI?

    Well then I present to you this series of posts
    In which your basic reply was...
    Now, I'm just trying to get the situation straight.

    You have 5 mini-subs making a torpedo attack on a USN destroyer. They do not need to know the exact location of the destroyer since it is in a 2 x 2 mile box. They will then sink the destroyer with multiple hits, without using the perescope, therfore they can't be noticed.

    Despite the fact that a few subs got lost, In your scenario it just won't happen. They will be there and on time.

    Despite the fact that the IJN mini-subs were not able to hit a stationary target at anchor they will score perfect hits on a moving target (all without aiming properly so as not to be seen) and still remain un-noticed.

    We also have the PBY's on patrol. So they are 30 miles south of Oahu they can't see the Ward get hit, despite the fact that one can spot a ship at 20 miles while on another ship. What is the visual capabilities of a pilot in the air? At 15000 feet they can still see the Ward.

    Nobody on Oahu will take notice because historicly depth charges were set off and nobody cared, so obviously nobody will take notice to a burning and sinking destroyer just outside the harbor.

    Responce time for returning fire on your block ship is also mute because historicly the moments it took to open up AA fire on the Japanese air raid are ignored because sub's don't fly.

    Even if your block ship is sunk, it doesn't matter because she wants to sink? What happens if she only gets two of the three miles before being sunk? Oh I'm sorry, it just won't happen because "SHE WANTS TO BE SUNK"!
     
  11. JagdtigerI

    JagdtigerI Ace

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    I haven't read this whole thread, but I have been reading bits and pieces of it. I still don't understand your point. What does a blockship achieve? Even if Japan was able to get the right sized ship close enough to be sunk in a spot which would perfectly block the entrance, so what? The US takes a few months to move it and the war goes on. What do you think is going to happen?
     
  12. dabrob

    dabrob Dishonorably Discharged

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    Your whining is "off topic" for this discussion but I will point out for those that care to check, the source that you refer to was posted in that other thread on July 21/09 by lwd in his posting #89, for all to READ, in CONTEXT. Yes indeed there were detachments of US Army troops spread out all over Oahu on the anti-sabotage watch duties ordered by General Short. Where did you think that the security guards came from ? The remainder of the troops of those two US Divisions (at least those not out on weekend passes) were indeed tucked in their billets at Schofield Barracks.

    Should you care to re-open that closed debate, please start your own thread and I will happily join in.

    Wow, that Outerbridge guy sounds just like "Captain America" or "Sgt. Rock". Or Arnie's character in that "True Lies" film with Jamie Lee Curtis.
     
  13. dabrob

    dabrob Dishonorably Discharged

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    Please see my posting #69 here.
     
  14. dabrob

    dabrob Dishonorably Discharged

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    Because I wasn't aware until I just read your posting that such was the case. Can you provide a source where I might further educate myself on the topic and confirm your claim ?

    Certainly your posting #44 here, quoted below in it's entirety:

    "For another glaring example of the lack of expertise of the Japanese midget submarine service, read about the Battle of Sydney Harbor. Several subs were sent against the Allied shipping anchored there. In the single successful torpedo attack made, a midget sub fired on the Heavy Cruiser USS Chicago and instead sank an auxiliary ship moored nearby."

    makes no such re-training claim. Were you intentionally trying to mis-lead the readers of this thread ?
     
  15. JagdtigerI

    JagdtigerI Ace

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    For fun lets pretend that a 3rd strike from Japan is reasonable :lol: You say that America is slowed down in its war against Japan. By how much? Do you agree it would still be an Allied victory?
     
  16. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    "The Japanese navy used five Ko-hyoteki class midget submarines in an unsuccessful operation against US battleships during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The navy hoped that upgrades to the submarines, intensified crew training, and the selection of a less well defended target would lead to better results and an increased chance of the crews of the midgets to return alive from their mission.[21] Therefore, on 16 December 1941, the navy initiated plans for a second midget submarine operation.[21]" Taken from wiki Lastly, if that isn't a claim as to the submariners inexperience, then I don't know what is.
     
  17. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    More from wiki: "Despite the blackout order, the Garden Island floodlights remained on until 12:25 am.[58] About five minutes later, M-24 fired the first of its two torpedoes; it delayed firing the second torpedo for several minutes as the midget submarines would lose longitudinal stability immediately after firing a torpedo.[61] Historians are divided as to the exact paths of the torpedoes relative to Chicago, although all agree that the US cruiser was the intended target. Both torpedoes missed Chicago, while one torpedo may have also passed close to Perkins' starboard bow.[62][63] One of the torpedoes continued underneath the Dutch submarine K-IX and HMAS Kuttabul, then hit the breakwater Kuttabul was tied up against.[63] The explosion broke Kuttabul in two and sank her, and damaged K-IX.[11][64] The attack killed nineteen Royal Australian Navy and two Royal Navy sailors, and wounded another ten.[65] The explosion shook residences in the area and damaged Garden Island's lights and telecommunications.[64] The other torpedo ran aground on the eastern shore of Garden Island without exploding.[64] M-24 then dived and moved to leave the harbour.[66]"

    The submarine delayed firing its second torpedo for several minutes because it would lose its "longitudinal stability." Now where have I heard that before? I would imagine the sub would bob on the surface like a cork if both of their torpedoes were fired at the same time.
     
  18. dabrob

    dabrob Dishonorably Discharged

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    Yeah. I just got fed up with doing all the research work. No one else was posting sources so I wasn't learning anything new in exchange for all of the hours that I was putting in.

    A similar situation. A claim was made by another poster that the Germans scuttled 28 ships in Bizerte but no further information, nor any sources were ever provided. Additionally it was claimed that the the American just explosively flattened all of those ships into the Bizerte harbor bottom but when I asked for information on the type of bottom present in that harbor, no information nor a source was ever provided.

    Based on that I can only conclude 28 small fishing boats and a deep muddy bottom for Bizerte. I'd be happy to change my mind as soon as somebody, anybody can provide a published source that tells me otherwise. Nothing at all like the rock hard dredged coral bottom of the Pearl harbor entrance channel or like the 17,000 tons of cargo-liner that I plan to use as a PH blockship.

    Always a noble goal ...

    The gateguard destroyers "patrol box" was in a fixed location so the minisubs would know where it was within two miles. All that they had to do was wait until it came in close by and stopped to transfer the Honolulu Harbor pilot to my ATL Tatuta Maru. That 17,000 ton cargo-liner would be a BIG marker for where the Ward was heading.

    This I have never typed.

    Once close by the Ward's patrol box, the minisubs just need to hold station until the Tatuta Maru approaches and stops to await her Honolulu Harbor pilot. As the Ward approaches her, the 5 already nearby minisubs can slowly close in (so as to raise minimal periscope wake "feathers" which might give them away) until within torpedo firing range. i believe that a Ward, NOT yet alerted to mystery submarine activity in the area, would be more concerned with the Tatuta Maru and pilot than in searching for minisub periscope wakes.

    One sub, the one with the malfunctioning gyro-scopic compass got lost everytime that it submerged. The rest, didn't, even at night.

    In my ATL scenario, it is daytime, the island of Oahu fronts Mamala Bay on the north and east sides and the peacetime operational Diamond Head lighthouse has been visible all night long. The Saturday liberty night peacetime City of Honolulu has also been lit up all night long. How could they get lost ?

    Do you really think that the IJN minisubs were the first to have ever missed a torpedo shot ? At least they didn't sink themselves with their own circling torpedos as several American subs are known to have done.

    As stated in the first posting of this scenario thread, I expect the USS Ward to be stopped to transfer the HH pilot when she will be attacked with minisub torpedos.

    I have never typed that they would not aim properly. Where did you get that idea from ?

    I have no doubt that the exploding Ward will be noticed. What I question , based on the historical (lack of) performance by the OTL Oahu defenders, is how long that it will take them to accomplish anything useful defendsivly.

    [QOUTE]We also have the PBY's on patrol. So they are 30 miles south of Oahu they can't see the Ward get hit, despite the fact that one can spot a ship at 20 miles while on another ship. What is the visual capabilities of a pilot in the air? At 15000 feet they can still see the Ward.[/QUOTE]

    That distance has since been corrected (with a source listed) to 120 miles.

    in the OTL, Ward's gunfire & depth charges AND PBY depthcharges also.

    No doubt some will notice but will they DO ANTHING about it ? Or just conclude that the smoke/fire was just part of YET ANOTHER realistic US training exercise ? Oahu was both an Army and Navy training area. Exercises were constantly ongoing. The sounds of gunfire and explosions were NOT at all rare to Oahu's residents.

    Actually it was more like "blockships don't fly".
    You don't have ANY sense of humor at all do you ?

    Historically General Short had 86x3" AA guns on hand on Oahu. He ordered the permanent emplacement of only 26x3" AA guns to defend his CAC installations (in 4 groups of 4 AA guns and 1 group of 2 AA guns) while another 60x3" AA guns remained depot stored for deplyment around Pearl Harbor after Kimmel provided him with long range PBY search warning of an inbound attack.

    Only one battery of 4 of those AA guns ahd the range or field of fire to bear on the Tatuta Maru's path up the PH entrance channel. I expect that her 6" hidden deck guns could keep the gunners of those 4x3" AA guns somwhat suppressed as the Tatuta Maru charged past.

    As long as the Ward's 12x21" torpedoes are quckly "taken out of the picture" then I don't think that there is much ordnance close by big enough to sink here BEFORE she gets to a proper channel blocking position in 10-15 minutes.
     
  19. dabrob

    dabrob Dishonorably Discharged

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    I'll go with Admiral Nimitz's OTL prediction of another two years of hard Pacific fighting.

    Sure. There was no way that Japan was going to outproduce the United States in a long drawn out production war. Which many Japanese (like Yamamoto) recognized even before the shooting started on Dec.7'41.

    As I have argued elsewhere on this board, I believe that Japan's only (and still remote) hope of Imperial survival was to (as they historically wished to) force a short war on the Americans via an early war ceasefire. Hw to have done that, remains an unsolved challenge ...

    And that is without even mentioning the American A-bombs, which neither side knew about on Dec.7'41
     
  20. dabrob

    dabrob Dishonorably Discharged

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    Ah yes, wiki.

    The source where anyone can change the data and then claim that it supports their position. I am embarassed to have to admit that I have refered to it myself at times when no other information was available.

    Might I at least have the URL so that I can check the context of the quote portion that you have lifted from it ?

    I would also point out that the quote that you have provided does NOT actually indicate that the IJN DID provide any additional training for it's minisub crews at any time after Pearl Harbor.

    It merely speaks to what the navy HOPED before beginning to plan a second minisub mission on Dec.16'41 ...
     
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