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OK my next 'What if' - Midway.

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  • OK my next 'What if' - Midway.

    During the classic attack by the Enterprise's air group VB-3 attacked the Hiryu but failed to score any hits. Assume VB-3s attack was instead successful and they score a hit. Just one hit. This attack, while not as crippling as the single hit on the Akagi does cause enough damage to seriously delay and weaken Hiru's first and second counter attacks.(That's if the second can be launched at all because of the delay before the US taskforce locates and destroys Hiru.) Damaged or not the Yorktown survives Midway having maintained enough engine power to avoid the fatal submarine attack.

    How does the presence of the one additional carrier effect the Pacific naval campaign for the next 6 to 12 months? Given all other parameters remain the same.
    Last edited by Monash; 29 Dec 20,, 04:38.
    If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

  • #2


    Well maybe there would have been no need for the USS Robin.

    https://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive....arrier-part-i/

    More than likely a greater success would require a better commander than Frank Jack Fletcher. For the rest of the war he seemed overly cautious and risk averse. His attitude towards other commanders at Guadalcanal just about guaranteed near failure early in the campaign. He over cautiousness resulted in poor decision which resulted in Savo and required Turner to leave well before enough supplies, men & equipment got landed on Guadalcanal. Hell, an entire Marine regiment remained afloat when Turner was forced to pull out since Fletcher pulled his aircover.

    So in my estimation after Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz the US has, maybe, one carrier left. Keep in mind the Coral Sea between New Caledonia and Guadalcanal was a real Torpedo Alley with the numerous successful attacks by Japanese subs.

    So to me...unless Kincaid or Halsey is in command sooner not much other than having one US & one British deck in play.

    But really getting the 2 airfields on Guadalcanal operating as well as expanding further Naval airfields to support that campaign is what made the difference.

    Keep in mind there was still a critical shortage of fleet oilers avaialable.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
      Keep in mind there was still a critical shortage of fleet oilers avaialable.
      Which is why the available prewar battleships weren't dispatched to Guadalcanal.

      Imagine a First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal where a couple of 16-inch gunned battleships (USS Colorado and Maryland) were present.
      “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
      ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

        .......So in my estimation after Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz the US has, maybe, one carrier left. Keep in mind the Coral Sea between New Caledonia and Guadalcanal was a real Torpedo Alley with the numerous successful attacks by Japanese subs.

        So to me...unless Kincaid or Halsey is in command sooner not much other than having one US & one British deck in play.

        But really getting the 2 airfields on Guadalcanal operating as well as expanding further Naval airfields to support that campaign is what made the difference.

        Keep in mind there was still a critical shortage of fleet oilers avaialable.
        The question remains though how many carriers would the Japanese have left, especially after Santa Cruz? Wouldn't the odds be significantly raised that both the Zuiho and Shokaku would have been sunk instead of just being badly damaged? If so Japanese carrier operations would have been badly crimped for the rest of the war.
        If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Monash View Post

          The question remains though how many carriers would the Japanese have left, especially after Santa Cruz? Wouldn't the odds be significantly raised that both the Zuiho and Shokaku would have been sunk instead of just being badly damaged? If so Japanese carrier operations would have been badly crimped for the rest of the war.
          I am not going to assume battle damage and/or losses. There are so many variables...will the attacking aircraft even find the enemy target based on weather? Will they get hits? What about damage control measures?

          While the Japanese got out of the battle with their carriers, they were damaged for months. And the next emergence of Japanese airpower was at Philippine Sea where they got crushed.

          Airpower for the remainder of 1942-43 in the Solomons & SW Pacific was land-based...a calculus that favored the Allies as more and more American aircraft production came on line as well as more and more air groups. The Japanese had to pull back to protect Rabaul...with bad results for them.
          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
          Mark Twain

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          • #6
            The US was launching escort and light aircraft carriers at a rapid rate. The Essex was just months away. I don't think it would even amount to "For want of a nail.the battle was lost." The US just couldn't count on number alone, but this pretty well sums it up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9ag2x3CS9M

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post

              I am not going to assume battle damage and/or losses. There are so many variables...will the attacking aircraft even find the enemy target based on weather? Will they get hits? What about damage control measures?

              While the Japanese got out of the battle with their carriers, they were damaged for months. And the next emergence of Japanese airpower was at Philippine Sea where they got crushed.

              Airpower for the remainder of 1942-43 in the Solomons & SW Pacific was land-based...a calculus that favored the Allies as more and more American aircraft production came on line as well as more and more air groups. The Japanese had to pull back to protect Rabaul...with bad results for them.
              Good points especially about the length of time it took the Japanese to get both carriers back on line. My thinking was simply that in the real world the US Pacific fleet was down to one carrier by the end of 42. To the extent the Japanese carrier fleet had also suffered dramatic losses this didn't matter. Neither side was ready for continued campaigning in the first half of 43. My point was simply that with even 2 fleet carriers operational in early 43 would the US have been in a position to press home attacks on Japans outer defense perimeter and perhaps breach it by say, the middle of the year.
              Last edited by Monash; 07 Jan 21,, 04:42.
              If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Monash View Post
                Good points especially about the length of time it took the Japanese to get both carriers back on line. My thinking was simply that in the real world the US Pacific fleet was down to one carrier by the end of 42. To the extent the Japanese carrier fleet had also suffered dramatic losses this didn't matter. Neither side was ready for continued campaigning in the first half of 43. My point was simply that with even 2 fleet carriers operational in early 43 would the US have been in a position to press home attacks on Japans outer defense perimeter (and perhaps breach it by say the middle of the year.
                You're forgetting the other part, albeit not well advertised but extremely effective, of the Pacific Naval war, US submarines. To put it bluntly, IJN ASW sucked and US subs may not need to challenge Japanese carriers at all. Those oilers would do just fine in crippling the Japanese carrier force.

                Chimo

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                  You're forgetting the other part, albeit not well advertised but extremely effective, of the Pacific Naval war, US submarines. To put it bluntly, IJN ASW sucked and US subs may not need to challenge Japanese carriers at all. Those oilers would do just fine in crippling the Japanese carrier force.
                  Yes sir, by way of checking went back and looked at the figures again and 43 was the year the US Submarine campaign really kicked in and started reducing Japanese merchant marine tonnage. (In 42 the impact was marginal.) So this would obviously be a factor effecting Japans abilities to resist US Pressure in the first half of 43 as per my hypothetical. Question is could the US have done anything useful with just two carries before mid 43? And by useful I mean pushed the Japanese back from their outer defenses at any point.

                  If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

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                  • #10
                    The problem with this scenario is the US doing two simultaneous offenses at once - Europe and the Pacific. Again, if either the USSR or the US went on Japan first while holding Nazi Germany at bay, WWII would have ended much sooner. So, to answer your question. Yes, the US would have been able to go on the offensive. She just had to sacrifice something in the Atlantic
                    Chimo

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                    • #11
                      Monash & OOE,

                      1943 was a pivotal year for the Allies in the Pacific regarding the counteroffensive against Japan.

                      1. 1942 was about holding the line (Coral Sea & Midway) and defending the supply line to ANZACs....hence the Guadalcanal & Port Moresby Campaigns. What limited resources existed went into those 2 campaigns. Meanwhile American combat power was building.

                      2. 1943 would continue to be a buildup of power with a continuous push up the Solomons and New Guinea with the goal of isolating Rabaul. In May 43 the US & Canadians started the push back in the Aleutians. But it would be November before enough shipping and forces were available to attack the Gilberts. Meanwhile the North African Campaign kicked into high gear as well as Sicily & Italy as well as the air campaign against Germany began. 1943 was really the only year of the war where Germany First was truly followed.

                      3. Per the American Submarine Campaign the US Sub fleet had its hands tied in 1942 due to poor doctrine & shitty weapons. Pre-war doctrine was to use the subs as eyes and ears of the surface force and any attacks were to be done underwater based on sound bearings. Magnetic exploders were intended for torpedoes to explode under keels and to break a targets back. Both guaranteed failure. In 1943 a new breed of aggressive submarine commanders switched to attacking on the surface and utilized their improved radars to find targets. Then they said screw BUORD and set torpedoes shallow and deactivated the magnetic exploders and set them to shallow. They went hunting, some (Mush Morton on the Wahoo for one, Sam Dealey in Harder for another) started seeking out and attacking ASW vessels, especially destroyers. Hits started climbing. When 1944 hit the US Pacific Submarine Force would rip the guts out of the Japanese Merchant Marine.
                      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                      Mark Twain

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