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RE: Question with no answer - 3/26/2013 7:05:56 PM   
Kwik E Mart


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...well, i know one thing...ben affleck would have been the first american ace of the war, no doubt!

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/26/2013 7:56:29 PM   
jeffk3510


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kwik E Mart

...well, i know one thing...ben affleck would have been the first american ace of the war, no doubt!


He was a very busy guy in the war...I mean, I heard. I've never seen the movie

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/26/2013 10:42:00 PM   
sventhebold


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A lot of the ships at dock had auxiliary hatches open for fresh air that were not open when on sea duty. In the press to come to action stations most were probably still open when the bombs rained down.

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/26/2013 10:59:29 PM   
wdolson

 

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When at peace, it takes a while to wake up forces and get on a war footing. Especially a large country like the US. The u-boats had a field day for over a month after the war started within sight of land on the US East Coast. They used the lights from US coastal cities that were still lit up like peacetime to hunt ships going up the coast. When a shadow blotted out the lights, they fired.

US ASW was slow to respond to the threat. That went on for almost two months and only ceased because Doenitz got nervous and pulled the u-boats back.

The powers that be did not believe Pearl Harbor was at risk from air attack. Short especially was far more concerned about sabotage than air attack. That's why all the planes were grouped together. Joseph Reeves was the US's first carrier admiral. He pioneered carriers working together as a unit and he conducted two mock air raids on Pearl Harbor at two different times showing that Pearl was vulnerable to air attack.

Reeves was retired by 1941, but while the US was beginning to forget his lessons, the Japanese were students of it. Reeves never had more than 3 carriers to work with, but the Japanese trained for all 6 of their CVs to work as a single unit. The US never expected that anyone would do that.

Look at the timeline for other surprise attacks. Even in the modern era with instant communication around the globe, most countries are slow to react outside of the immediate attack zone. In WW II the Philippines were attacked many hours after Pearl Harbor and the Japanese were able to pretty much destroy most naval facilities in the PI and destroy most aircraft on the ground. The US did put most aircraft into the air when they heard about Pearl, but there was no planning of CAP and all the fighters were on the ground refueling when the Japanese showed up. Nobody thought to disperse the bombers to other fields less likely to be attacked in the first wave.

As a result, a lot of aircraft and support facilities were destroyed in the first attack.

And that was in a location that knew it was on the front line in the event of war. Pearl Harbor had much less reason to believe it was under any threat. If the PI had been attacked hours before Pearl, they would have been out recalling liberty, and would be getting the battleships ready to go, but they would be thinking in terms of many days rather than hours. Facilities probably would have been on a slightly higher alert level, but nothing like a full war footing.

The majority of humans think very locally. War on the other side of the world is a remote thing and most people aren't going to think it could happen here. In the first months of WWII the US government commissioned a bunch of films to tell the public why we were at war. They were propaganda to some degree (I've seen a couple of them), but they drove home the reality that the US was at war. A type of war that would require everyone's contribution.

On the morning of Dec 7, 1941, the sailors of the Pacific Fleet and the soldiers of the Hawaiian department would be waking up figuring that they had some tough fighting in the months ahead, quite possibly in and around the Philippines. Very few would be thinking that bombs could be falling on their heads that day. Even the top brass in the islands would have been little concerned about air attack.

Reports from the PI probably would have lulled the US into thinking the KB was around the PI. The first air attacks were escorted by Zeroes, which at that time were barely known to US intelligence (which was far more amateurish than it became in the next year). Nobody thought that the Japanese had any fighter with the range to escort bombers all the way from Formosa to the PI and back. They would have assumed that all the fighters were coming from carriers in the area.

The ships at Pearl would have been stirring to life, planning on leaving within days, not hours. Mostly to get the crews thinking about war footing, a few captains and a few NCOs would have taken upon themselves to have AA guns manned and ammo broken out, but it would have been local initiative rather than a fleet wide order. Similarly, the army would have been flying a few CAP aircraft during daylight hours mostly to let people on the ground know they were there.

Japanese losses would probably have been a little higher due to a slight step up in security at Pearl, but I think the attack would have largely gone as it did. The US was preparing for war in December 1941, but the idea hadn't percolated down much by then. Peacetime habits are hard to give up, even in the military. Because of PH, the US military reacts a lot faster now to threats, but back then the US had never had a surprise attack. The last time a foreign enemy had attacked was 1812, 130 years earlier. The concept that the US was vulnerable anywhere took a while and a hard lesson to sink in.

The US had a very different attitude about war and it's place in the world in 1941. Probably nobody on this forum has ever experienced that US. After WW II the US never returned to that mindset.

Bill



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RE: Question with no answer - 3/26/2013 11:25:17 PM   
crsutton


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They would have worked up steam and sailed out to meet the enemy. And all of those old BBs would have gone to the deep bottom rather than sink in the shallow mud where they could at least been salvaged. One day's notice would not have made the American Pacific fleet a more ready or efficient fighting force. It took them six months to learn that.

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/26/2013 11:30:03 PM   
spence

 

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IIRC KB lost 29 a/c outright during the attack and 77 of those that made it back to KB were write-offs due to battle damage. That is around 30% losses for that single "total" surprise attack due solely to flak and the 10 or so CAP planes that got aloft. Given that production of replacement attack aircraft (Vals and Kates) had been severely cut due to the "imminent start-up" of the newer models (Judys and Jills) any greater loss might have proved a bigger disaster for IJ than the extended (temporary) loss of old BBs was for the US..

Did the fighter pilots of the KB actually demonstrate the kind of superiority in A2A combat on that day against those American planes that actually got aloft that would have prevented an even higher loss rate than the 30% actually sustained. Irrespective of that the flak would have been murderous if the guns had been manned and provided with ammunition. As it was the approach used by the torpedo bombers was terribly constrained by the geography of the harbor. No surprise, low altitude and heavy flak along a narrow approach lane would in all likelihood have resulted in significantly fewer torpedo hits (IRL = 50%). Combined with a nearly 60% dud rate (or low order detonation) for the 800kg bombs it seems unlikely that the Pacific Battlefleet would have been put so completely out of action.

Given 12 hours warning (a late daylight attack in the PI), a coherent and effective counterattack by the US forces was unlikely I would guess. But buttoning down open hatches, manning the AA guns, flying "the dawn patrol" with all other aircraft on alert and dispersed were easily implemented by troops which had been practicing those very things in the months prior. Once the war had "really" begun in the PI planning on surprise at Pearl Harbor would have been delusional.

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/27/2013 12:17:23 AM   
adsoul64


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IMHO the real question is why the Japanese should have announced their main attack striking elsewhere? Pearl Harbour attack has no reasons to exists but by surprise. In short, I agree with you your question is without answers because that scenario is unrealistic. The Japanese should have strike in the PI on December 6th but they would haven't send the KB to PH in this scenario. Where the KB could have be sent is an interesting question IMHO

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/27/2013 12:29:11 AM   
tocaff


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Even if the ships remained in port the AA fire would've reduced the effectiveness of the attack. The US forces had just come off of prolonged exercises and many planes were undergoing overhauls, many had their MGs removed. Many AA guns were removed from their combat positions to rest areas. I think 7 hours notice would've made a difference, but how much is just conjecture.

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/27/2013 3:40:03 AM   
DivePac88


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The main points I can see if there was a 12 hour warning of attack are;

# If the Battleships remained in port, they would have been closed-up, and powered-up. Meaning that their was less chance of sinking, plus all there ammunition hoists and gun directors would have been working.

# If the Battleships would have sortied, there was a very slim chance of intercepting the Japanese force overnight. The outcome would have been more likely be, that most of them being sunk in deep water.

# It is not likely that the USN would have dispersed it's battle-fleet, as the power of the KB was not fully understood at this time.

# Halsey would almost certainly have been back in the vicinity of PH, and because of his nature would have closed and attacked the KB. With the predictable result of the loss of one CV, and very little chance of doing any significant damage to the enemy.

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/27/2013 5:07:46 AM   
Emmor


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I really like wdolson's comments. The US military planners just did not take seriously an air attack at the time. Many were war gaming and preparing for an amphibious landing at Hawaii. The fact that they did not understand the possibility and the stated scenario of an attack in the PI would have fulfilled their exactions. The US would expected that all the enemy forces were in the PI and began preparing to execute the prepared for surge across the Central Pacific to relieve the PI. I really doubt that given the preparedness level of the US forces at the time they would have reacted within 7', 12 or 24 hours for the mad dash. They would have taken sometime to get going for all the reasons people have stated.

I have been reading At Dawn We Slept, an excellent in depth examination of the run up to the attack from both sides point of view. I am not done yet, but I highly recommend it. It is really hard for us to imagine the realities and attitudes of the day in our instant information and voluminous age. The book does a good job of putting you in the proper frame of reference to understand what was happening at the time as well as the larger context of the world in which these events were occurring.

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/27/2013 11:59:35 AM   
Ranger5355

 

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There's the possibility that the BB fleet gets to sea but could not have gotten far. I think they would have stayed together, not scattered. Imagine what would have happened if they were spotted by search planes from KB. Think of Prince of Wales and Repulse. More than 200 Kates and Vals available would have left a lot of the US BB fleet lost forever.

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/27/2013 12:55:11 PM   
1EyedJacks


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quote:

ORIGINAL: tigercub

What if japan started its attacks in the philippines on dec 6 1941 in the late after noon and carried out its dec 7 attack at pearl would they be any more ready on that sunday morning?

I think they have only a few more planes in the air but not more at best?

your view?



I think American aircraft were no match for the Zero. Even with CAP. Even with radar identification of the strike. No one had gone up against the Zero B4 and no air combat tactics to take advantage of the weaknesses of the Zero had been implemented.

I think the carriers would have returned to Pearl @ full speed.

I think all ships would have recalled their troops and boilers would be hot. I don't think American warships would leave the port in this time frame - I think most of the captains would have been tied up in meetings or getting their ships ready for war. I think the Americans would still be planning initially for a naval response that featured battleships as the king of the seas.

If the carriers are at Pearl I think America would have lost a carrier or two - they were the primary target for the attack on Pearl Harbor. And their aircraft would fare poorly against a Zero. And the air-to-air combat training available to navy pilots was less then to be desired. I also think that if Nagumo knows where the carriers are and the American carriers were successfully attacked in the first strike there would have been a second air attack to go back against any remaining battleships.

I think Japan would have lost more aircraft but that total surprise would not be the greatest factor in the attack - the superior training of the Japanese pilots that had been training and planning for this mission would be the biggest influence in outcome.



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RE: Question with no answer - 3/27/2013 1:03:42 PM   
HansBolter


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quote:

ORIGINAL: tigercub

good points Hans but I am not really talking about the game so much as what they would really have done 7 hrs after the attack in the Philippines ,I think they still would have been very slow to get up to speed...and not as ready as some would think.

but it is a Question with no real answer.

Tigercub



My comments included a mix of RL and game. Th reference to having a different take on spotting the so called incoming B17s on radar was RL all the way. I only made the reference to the game as I have played a first turn without surprise and it isn't pretty for the KB. Granted a player will react in very different ways than Kimmel and Short would have, but it's fair to assume that they would have at least had CAP up and search out. How well they performed after that is anyone's guess.

Some one else did a good job of pointing out how skittish Nagumo was and how he might have reacted to being spotted.

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/27/2013 1:58:34 PM   
Alfred

 

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Another thread with an American centric viewpoint.

Castor Troy hit THE essential point in post #26. There was zero possibility of Japan launching uncoordinated attacks which is what the OP is posing.

1. Against Japanese military doctrine to not take out main enemy force in a surprise attack.

2. Japanese military SOP was to launch attacks on Western nations on least prepared day viz a Sunday/public holiday, this being consistent with surprise attack doctrine.

3. Irrelevant what level of better preparedness might have been achieved by the defenders, the fact is that they would have been better positioned to respond with any sort of prior warning. Why make the task unnecessarily harder for yourself by not following standard national military doctrine.

4. An early attack on the Philippines would have unnecessarily complicated the diplomatic negotiations and ultimate fig leaf of the war declaration.

5. Absolutely no benefit gained from achieving surprise in the Philippines. There was never any doubt that the IJN would easily deposit the troops on the beaches. Had there been any doubts then (a) the strike against Manila port would not have been delayed until 10 December, and (b) all the landings would have been scheduled early rather than the staggered timeline which ensued.

6. The real target was the economic resources of the SRA. The American fleet and the Philippines were targeted to allow access to the SRA resources. Targetting the Philippines first definitely risked Operation Matador being implemented. If that had occurred there was a very good chance that Malaya could have been successfully held until the reinforcements arrived. Nor would there be any certainty that Force Z would be lost. Plus to compound the matter, the already spotted invasion fleet might have been hit from the air before reaching the beaches. All unkowns made possible by not adhering to the national military doctrine.

7. Delay in Malaya makes defence of Sumatra and Java much easier. What sealed the fate of those two key islands was the logistical isolation imposed by losing Force Z, Singapore and the Timor/Bali airbridge.


Japanese military planners had to take into account many other factors other than the location of American units. The genius of Yamamoto was that he devised a plan which simultaneously dealt with the whole gamut of conditions. He had no margin for error which is why he adhered to the national military doctrine. To do otherwise merely invited gremlins to intrude and dislocate the finely honed plan.

Alfred

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/27/2013 2:42:09 PM   
witpqs


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Just an interesting side note, the Wikipedia article on Operation Matador has the monsoon season backwards!

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RE: Question with no answer - 3/27/2013 2:45:04 PM   
CV 2

 

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The only thing that would have maybe changed ANYTHING about the attack was the mini-subs. That might have been taken seriously and caused a fleet reaction and alert hours before the attack.

Remove the mini-subs from the equation, and I think the attack at Pearl would have been just as effective as it was.

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