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What if Yamamoto was not killed?

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by jebib, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. jebib

    jebib recruit

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    My thoughts are that the war might not have lasted as long. Was he not known as an aggresive strategist? Examples are Pearl Harvbor, Coral Sea, and Midway. Could he have adapted himself to a purely defensive strategy? His death was somewhat the result of his wanting to be upfront and personal in the Solomons Campaign, no? His pursuit a Hitler-like decisive battle at sea might have brought Japan to defeat sooner, perhaps?
     
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  2. AmericanEagle

    AmericanEagle Member

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    Was not the IJN on the aggressor side up to Yamamto's death? I don't know timelines in any great detail, but my opinion was that Japan still had a formidable force right up to the time of his death and challenged the U.S. when it could. Up till the time the US started geting their Essex class carriers in larger numbers that the IJN stayed on the defensive, which I believe more or less corresponded with Yamamoto's death. The decisive sea-battle mentality was prevalent throughout the IJM not just with Yamamoto, I believe the battle of the Phillipine Sea was their best attempt at the decisive battle, but came at a time when their pilots were mere novices compared to their American counterparts and the amount of firepower available to the Americans would have overwhelmed anything the IJN could have brought to any battle.
     
  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Japan was on the defensive by the time of Yamamoto's death - April 18, 1943. The US had concluded the Guadalcanal campaign, and Yamamoto was trying to forestall the American advance up the Solomons and in New Guinea.

    Yamamoto was an inspirational leader, but his strategies after the first few months of the war had not been very successful. His plan for Midway with its excessive dispersion of forces led to disaster and ended the offensive phase of the war; everything after was responding to American moves. More recently he hade conceived the idea of deploying the carrier air groups to land bases for protracted combat with Allied land-based air, which accelerated the deterioration of Japan's carrier capability.
     
  4. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    American production could not be stopped, the Americans could not be stopped....they could hit just about anywhere
     
  5. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

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    Yamamoto's mistakes were contributioners to the defeats of Midway, Coral sea and such. Despite his rep, I question if he really appreciated what carriers could be.
     
  6. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Yamamoto alive or dead would not have made a lick of difference. The only way japan could have won the war is if they actually used their submarines to their full effect (attacking merchant vessels), had the carriers at Midway closely packed together (provide over lapping AA defense), Not had the US crack their codes, and be smarter in the use of their merchant fleet.

    Yamamoto may have gone to win some battles but far to much was being done wrong for any battle he won to have made any difference.
     
  7. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    I don't see them winning at all for any reason, except maybe getting the Big bomb before us.....the US production [ and manpower ] in ALL categories was overwhelming, to say the least...subs would've been deleted by air/DDs....and our subs would've been blasting their ships,etc etc
     
  8. dude_really

    dude_really Doesn't Play Well With Others

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    strange this contradiction between the theory/idea/concept of decisive battle (concentrate all to defeat opponent all material on one occasion) and the what is always said to be japanese strategy thinking of winning by controlling areas more/sooner than the opponent (the "Go" game board philosophy as opposed to western Chess = decisive battle type theory) and which I detect in the decision to go for Midway after all (where they could have done it immediately in dec 1941?!).

    The more I read/learn about Yamamoto, the less I am impressed with his supposedly strategic mastermind.
    Perhaps he was only good in setting up a begin strategy/plan during peacetime, but by the time war has started he was incapable of adjusting and optimising the war on his terms.
    The only forethought he is credited with and applauded is to guess that Japan can meet its objectives within 6 months, after that the US is unstoppable, only to be slowed down at best.
    Well, you don't have to be a genius for that.
     
  9. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    good point.....it takes a long time just to mobilize active troops/call in reservists/etc....loading ships/etc....
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    How so? The US was not vulnerable to submarine warfare like the Great Britain and Japan were. At best, the Japanese might have prolonged the war by dedicating their submarines to commerce warfare, however, the Allied advances in ASW warfare would have trumped that card in 1943.


    The dissimilarity between carrier speeds will render that almost impossible once air attacks start coming in, The Hiryu and Soryu made 34 knots, the Akagi was good for 30-31 knots and the Kaga 28 knots. As we have seen, the Hiryu and Soryu worked up to full power when attacked, and pulled away from the Akagi and Kaga. Further, Japanese AA doctrine focused on each ship acting independently, rather than as a whole task force. Then, you have to cope with the mediocre Japanese AA guns and fire control, not to mention, that the escorting destroyers main armament intended primarily for surface action and was ill-suited for AA defense. Finally, the best AA defense in the world will not matter worth a darn if you do not see the incoming aircraft attacking you - the distracted Japanese AA defenses did not notice the American divebombers until it was already too late to stop them
     
  11. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    Despite his great commanding potential, I believe that, much like as if Hitler died on July 20, 1944 and someone replaced him, no matter what happened the outcome of the war for the Axis would have most likely been the same.
     
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  12. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    If Japan had used Germany's U-Boat doctrine from the start, there might have been a Happy Time for the axis on both coasts. But I think it would have prolonged the war by about a year. Eventually US production would have forced the issue, but in the mean time Japan might have been able to strengthen their perimeter and hold on conquered territories. Making things more difficult to take back later.
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Guess again!

    Operation Drumbeat puts 5 U-Boats of the American East Coast and they proceed to sink some 25 ships for about 157,000 tons...

    The Imperial Japanese Navy puts roughly double that number, 9, of I-Boats off the American West Coast shortly after Pearl Harbor...Their bag?
    About 5 ships for a little over 30,000 tons.

    Your supposed Japanese "Happy Time" sounds more like
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM8tROzp4Dc
     
  14. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    Sigh. You're not playing, what if.
     
  15. dude_really

    dude_really Doesn't Play Well With Others

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    not an equal comparison; german uboat crews/commanders were experienced and skilled , whereas the jap crews and commanders were at best "trained".

    And without knowing where the jap Uboats loitered exactly; I am sure there was much more cargo traffic around New York (going/from/to other big centers on east coast, canada and to UK, mexico east coast?) than there was around San Francisco (go/from Seatle ? to Hawaii ? to mexico west coast ?).
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, I am.

    However, to me, a "What If" has to be based in fact and at least be in the realm of possibility.

    It is impossible for Japanese submariners to gain the two years combat experience that their German compatriots had overnight.

    Therefore, to me, your

    rates with other nonsensical "What Ifs", such as "What if the Germans had 50,000 Tiger tanks."
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    All you have to do is read a book on the subject, and the are several,

    I-26 patrolled of Cape Flattery/Seattle area.
    I-25 patrolled around the mouth of the Columbia River.
    I-9 patrolled of Cape Blanco, Oregon, before moving south to patrol off San Diego.
    I-17 patrolled of Cape Mendocino, California the moved south to San Francisco.
    I-15 patrolled off San Francisco.
    I-21 and I-23 patrolled of Point Arguello, California.
    I-19 patrolled of Los Angeles.
    I-10 patrolled off San Diego.

    As you can see the Japanese submarines essentially covered the whole of the West Coast, and all of the "hot spots." Yet, there was little return on this investment.

    Claiming that there was a lack of shipping traffic, is dubious at best, laughable at worst. You were right the first time, when you compared the experience of the German submariners to Japanese submariners. The Germans had two years to refine and perfect their submarine tactics, whereas the Japanese had only their pre-war training tactics to go on.

    Basically, the lack of Japanese success boils down to the fact that they stayed submerged, hidden, and immobile during the day, and only came up to hunt at night. As per their pre-war training.

    As an aside, the American submariners were also hindered by this same problem.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Also form what I recall reading only a few of the IJN subs could make it to the US west coast. Furthermore these tended to be big subs and slow divers. This is not a perscription for survival in an area that can be readily patrolled by air.
     

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