From: Eastern US
ORIGINAL: mike scholl 1
Had they been able to get a two Division landing force close enough to invade on the 7th/8th of December they might have been able to land successfully. But an escorted force of transports that large and slow had virtually no chance of making it across the Pacific unseen and undetected. They would have had to travel a more southern route than KB to avoid the worst of the North Pacific winter weather, or the radio noise of trying to herd 50 transports together would have been heard in Berlin, let alone Oahu. And if they did, the landings would have had to be made into the teeth of Oahu's defenses on the South shore because the winter surf on the North shore would have drowned half the landing force. All in all, a most unlikely scenario IRL..., even if the game makes it seem feasible.
Both logistics and geography argue against a Japanese invasion.
Think of Oahu as a box. The south side has the main population centers and ports (Honolulu, Pearl Harbor), good beach gradients for an invasion and relatively calm water. But it was also defended by the strongest coastal defenses of any location in the United States. (Check out the "Oahu Coastal Defense" LCU in-game).
There are parallel ridges that stand between the East and West side beaches and the rest of the island. These ridges are several hundred feet high, range from steep to nearly sheer, especially on the east side, and make movement inland impossible for vehicles and artillery, and impractical for everyone else, except for light commando or ranger type forces. From the east side there was only one tunnel through the ridge, and the only other route was along the beach past Diamond Head. From the west, the ridge isn't quite as bad, with one or two, -but only one or two - locations where an invading force might move inland through steep, narrow defiles.
The north shore offers more inviting beaches, and from the shore it is a relatively gentle climb uphill to the center of the island. But as Mike notes, in the winter the Northern Pacific swells bring steady large waves crashing against Oahu's north coast; great for modern day world-class surfers; not so good for WWII landing craft. And there are no port facilities of any size to support a prolonged campaign, except on the south coast.
The US had two very understrength divisions on the island, and a mish-mash of other army, marine and navy troops. It is conceivable, that if the Japanese could have put a couple of divisions ashore under a competent, aggressive commander, at a point where they could maneuver inland, that the invaders might have routed the defending troops. (I'm not saying it would have happened; I just don't dismiss the possibility). But I don't see where they could have established an appropriate beachead.
And even if ashore, if the defenders put up any kind of effective resistance that delayed a quick conquest, I don't see how the Japanese navy could have supported a multi-division campaign and the necessary navy off-shore with a supply chain stretching back to Tokyo, and no major port to facilititate logistics on the island.
WitP-AE -- US LCU & AI Stuff
Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?