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Frank Jack Fletcher

Discussion in 'Naval Warfare in the Pacific' started by Tristan Scott, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

    Feb 20, 2008
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    I don't think this is accurate. Kimmel was relieved on the 17th, the day after TF 16 left Pearl. On the 21st Wake was hit by carrier based aircraft, alerting Pye that there was at least one carrier in the area. This was where Pye's resolve started to waver, he now considered this an evacuation operation instead of a reenforcement operation. This is somewhat ironic as this is exactly the situation Kimmel was hoping for when he organized the operation. But at this point, Fletcher's TF 16 was still 600 miles from Wake. Pye did decide to allow the Enterprise and Lexington groups to position themselves to aid Fletcher. I wasn't until after Commander Cunningham's "Issue in doubt" message the next day that Pye decided to recall the ships. Probably about the same time that our guys surrendered. It should be noted that while Wake was over-run, the Marines on Wilkes actually repelled the attack on that Island, however without any possibility of relief surrender was the only viable option.
  2. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

    Aug 21, 2009
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    Good catch - in re-checking Lundstrom Pye's recall went out at 0641 Wake time (I thought Hawaii time). Actually 0940 Hawaii time, which was after the issue in doubt message.

    TF-11 advised Fletcher on the 23rd they would be within support distance on the morning of the 25th. Until then, Fletcher was on his own and outnumbered. Fletcher loitered in the area after the recall notice, apparently hoping for Pye to change his mind.

    The Wilkes defenders eliminated a small (80 man) invasion, but if there had been no surrender the still largely intact invasion force would have taken the island, and given the total annihilation of the original force and the Japanese tendency towards atrocity, one can fear the garrison would have been killed in reprisal.

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