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Factor in US Victory at Midway

 
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Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/26/2004 6:31:54 PM   
dereck


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I know this has been brought up in another thread but I can't find it and I'm too lazy and pressed for time to check.

In the other thread people have wondered if it was luck, tactics, etc that lead to the US victory at Midway but after watching a show on the History Channel there was something brought up which marked the big differences between the US and Japanese navies and could definitely have been a contribution to the loss of the 4 Japanese carriers.

Two words: fire fighting.

As a navy vet I can attest that in the US Navy now (as with during WWII shortly after Pearl Harbor on) fire fighting was drilled into sailors from boot camp on. Unfortunately the Japanese navy didn't train in fire fighting because they thought it fostered a "defeatist attitude" so when the fires started on the Japanese carriers (which even a 1st rate fire fighting crew wouldn't have been able to defeat) all the Japanese had were, at best, 2nd or 3rd rate fire fighters.

I know this isn't the MAJOR factor in the US victory but it does show a big difference in the cultures of the two navies. I'm not sure of this -- so correct me if I'm wrong -- but I don't think more than maybe 1 of all the US carriers lost in WWII were as a direct result of fire. Most of the carriers lost had been abandoned and sunk by destroyer torpedoes or by Japanese submarines after being abandoned before the US could scuttle them.

It appears that the US Navy could handle battle damage better than the Japanese navy could.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/26/2004 7:11:00 PM   
Ron Saueracker


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quote:

ORIGINAL: dereck

I know this has been brought up in another thread but I can't find it and I'm too lazy and pressed for time to check.

In the other thread people have wondered if it was luck, tactics, etc that lead to the US victory at Midway but after watching a show on the History Channel there was something brought up which marked the big differences between the US and Japanese navies and could definitely have been a contribution to the loss of the 4 Japanese carriers.

Two words: fire fighting.

As a navy vet I can attest that in the US Navy now (as with during WWII shortly after Pearl Harbor on) fire fighting was drilled into sailors from boot camp on. Unfortunately the Japanese navy didn't train in fire fighting because they thought it fostered a "defeatist attitude" so when the fires started on the Japanese carriers (which even a 1st rate fire fighting crew wouldn't have been able to defeat) all the Japanese had were, at best, 2nd or 3rd rate fire fighters.

I know this isn't the MAJOR factor in the US victory but it does show a big difference in the cultures of the two navies. I'm not sure of this -- so correct me if I'm wrong -- but I don't think more than maybe 1 of all the US carriers lost in WWII were as a direct result of fire. Most of the carriers lost had been abandoned and sunk by destroyer torpedoes or by Japanese submarines after being abandoned before the US could scuttle them.

It appears that the US Navy could handle battle damage better than the Japanese navy could.


And this is where the WITP damage model is a bit off in my eyes. Fire, not flooding was the major issue. The burned out hulks that were once KB had to be scuttled by torps. Sure, there was the odd case of progressive flooding (Kongo), but fire should be where Japan stinks in damage control, not flooding to the degree we see in the game.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/26/2004 7:34:58 PM   
dereck


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This isn't meant to be bigotted or anything but you must remember that during World War II the Americans and Japanese had far different cultures and attitudes. Both sides were racist towards each other and each side underestimated the other.

Americans would train in damage control and firefighting and would save many ships that otherwise would have been sunk whereas the Japanese thought such training "defeatist". Another difference between the two navies was that the Japanese captains and admirals, like the British navy, would go down with their ships. The American captains and admirals saved themselves and would go before a board of inquiry where they would explain what happened - not necesarrily to be courtmartialed - but to help prevent the same thing from happening again and thus would go back to sea more experienced.

Another major difference - though not sure how it would apply to WiTP - was the treatment of the wounded. An American marine could be wounded on the Solomons and within a month could have been transported from the battle zone to a hospital in the continental United States. For all practical purpose the Japanese had no medical treatment for wounded soldiers. A wounded Japanese soldier was as good as dead.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/26/2004 9:39:29 PM   
paullus99


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The Navy actually brought in the NYC (or what it Boston's?) fire marshal to assist with setting up fire damage control techniques at the beginning of the war. His suggestions (including flooding the fuel piping system with inert gases, like CO2, on carriers) saved many ships. With improved damage control techniques in place by 1944, it took a heck of a lot of damage to permanently disable an American warship (espeically carriers).

I've heard told that if those advanced techniques were available in 1941/42, only the Wasp would still have been lost given the damage taken at the time of its sinking (meaning the Lexington, Yorktown, & Hornet could have been saved).

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/26/2004 10:08:20 PM   
dereck


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quote:

I've heard told that if those advanced techniques were available in 1941/42, only the Wasp would still have been lost given the damage taken at the time of its sinking (meaning the Lexington, Yorktown, & Hornet could have been saved).


Actually the fire control techniques were available by the time of the Battle of Midway according to the episode on the History Channel.

Also:

Lexington wasn't done in by fires. It was actually American destroyers who scuttled her with torpedoes after a 10 hour struggle to save her. Technically though since the fires were uncontrollable and caused the ship to be abandoned I guess you could chalk it up to fires though it wasn't fire that caused the actual sinking of the Lex.

Yorktown wasn't sunk at all by fire. There was fear that she was going to capsize after a Japanese torpedo plane attack which crippled her and she was abandoned. Though she refused to sink on her own so a 170 man salvage team reboarded her at dawn on June 6 and by noon pumping caused her to be near even keel and all remaining fires were under control. By mid-afternoon though a Japanese submarine found her and torpedoed her and the destroyer Hammann. After that submarine attack the Yorktown was abandoned and finally sank.

Hornet, according to my one history book, was an embarassment to the US navy. The ship was abandoned but remained afloat and when it was decided to scuttle her but despite being hit by 9 American torpedoes and more than 400 rounds of gunfire she remained afloat. Fortunately there was a Japanese submarine in the vicinity which was kind enough to lend 4 of their torpedoes and they sank the Hornet for the Americans.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/26/2004 10:54:48 PM   
Mark VII


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I believe Japanese Destroyers finished off Hornet with torpedoes. edit: I also think the Americans abandoned her after the (above) failed to put her under as the USN DD's fled the scene. The IJN arrived to find the Hornet burning from stem to stern, decided she was not worth towing as a war trophy and pumped some long lances into her, down she went shortly there after.

< Message edited by Mark VII -- 10/26/2004 2:59:56 PM >

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/26/2004 11:16:51 PM   
paullus99


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Semantics - the damage to Lexington was under control until a fuel explosion caused the captain to order the ship abandoned.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/26/2004 11:21:59 PM   
dereck


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The book I have implied that the US destroyers were still there pumping shells into her when the Japanese submarine intervened. There was no way either navy would abandon a still floating carrier and risk any possibility of it falling into enemy hands. That's why ships are scuttled rather than just abandoned.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 12:06:46 AM   
irrelevant


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But Hornet was abandoned, following determined but unsuccessful efforts by Anderson and Mustin to sink her; she was sunk by Long Lance torpedoes from DDs Makigumo and Akigumo when they came upon her burning hulk. She was clearly beyond salvage.

< Message edited by irrelevant -- 10/26/2004 5:08:33 PM >


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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 12:16:39 AM   
dereck


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I was under the impression the Hornet was sunk by torpedoes from a Japanese submarine.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 12:30:55 AM   
irrelevant


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You may be thinking of Yorktown.

I Googled up several sites that mention IJN DD torps; here is one that has their names. I remember this from Morison as well.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 1:16:18 AM   
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My understanding was that IJN DDs did in the Hornet in the evening when they came upon her hulk...

Also, I believe Lady Lex had the up-to-date damage control measures in place, but a gas leak that wasn't detected set off a chain reaction putting her beyond salvage.

Finally, consider the Franklin in the end of the war - she took a more severe pounding than any other ship in history (mostly from her own stores that touched off) and was able to make 15 knots within 24 hours of the attack...

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 1:19:28 AM   
dereck


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quote:

You may be thinking of Yorktown.

I Googled up several sites that mention IJN DD torps; here is one that has their names. I remember this from Morison as well.


I stand corrected I misread the passage and after going back and checking it does clearly state that Japanese forces arrived forcing the Americans off before dispatching the Hornet.

*feels so embarrased*

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 1:23:27 AM   
dereck


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I'm asking this question because off hand I can't think of one but WAS there any American carrier that was sunk directly as a result of an air attack? I keep thinking that they were damaged - possibly mortally - but were either scuttled after the initial damage or sunk by submarines/enemy surface forces after the main damage was under control but found to be irreparable.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 5:26:25 AM   
irrelevant


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Princeton. St Lo. Ommaney Bay. Bismarck Sea. But no fleet carriers.

< Message edited by irrelevant -- 10/26/2004 10:31:23 PM >


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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 6:53:56 AM   
dereck


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How many of those were the results of Kamikaze attacks?

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 2:35:04 PM   
irrelevant


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The 3 CVEs were all sunk by kamikazes. Princeton was sunk by self-induced ammo explosions following a bomb hit from a lone dive-bomber. Ommaney Bay ws scuttled by DD torps in order to put her under before her stowed torpedoes could explode. The other two sank directly as a result of damage received. St Lo was hit by one of the very first kamikaze attacks, which arrived just minutes after the battle off Samar, in which she was damaged by gunfire, had ended.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 6:47:16 PM   
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One more difference between the navies was crew size. The Japs had just enough to maintain the bare minimum. Its CV, with crews of 1400 compared to the 2700 embarked in USN CV made the Japs one shot wonders. They couldn't maintain prolonged operations or handle battle damage well. Maybe the small crew size added to their problems at Midway. After the orders to change the ordinance on the bombers from naval attack to land bombs back to naval attack, the exhausted handlers failed to properly store their unneeded bombs in the magazines during the ensueing chaos. These later detonated added crippling damage and blazing fires. Also the planes being arranged on the flight deck with their combustable fuel added to the disaster.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 7:04:18 PM   
dereck


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Good point.

When I was in the Navy stationed on the Midway (homeported in Yokosuka, Japan by the way) we were the only forward deployed aircraft carrier and we were at a wartime manning level which meant instead of a normal compliment of 15 photographers we had close to 40. We were all cross-trained with at least one other photographer's duty for one simple reason: to be able to still function after taking combat casualties.

Maybe another intangible culture difference? Planning for casualties would be a "loss of face" for the Japanese whereas for the Allies it was just accepted you'd take casualties?

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 7:07:24 PM   
Sharkosaurus rex


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The final coup de grace was sometimes administered by one's own side. But it still remains that the ship(s) were sufficiently damaged or threatened by other means to force their own side to scuttle them. Not all CV are going to sink as quickly as little Shoho on the 7th May 1942. But the hors de combat have still prevented some ships from operating or the risk of capture.

(Just like the Bismarck- was it scuttled or sunk by the RN? The fact is it was destroyed regardless if the sole survivor unplugged the cork when it had 99 sys, 98 flotation, and 99 fires.)

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/27/2004 8:52:04 PM   
dereck


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quote:

(Just like the Bismarck- was it scuttled or sunk by the RN? The fact is it was destroyed regardless if the sole survivor unplugged the cork when it had 99 sys, 98 flotation, and 99 fires.)


The Bismark crew may have been trying to scuttle her but I don't think the British destroyers gave them a chance. I believe the RN kept hitting her until she finally sank.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/31/2004 1:00:41 PM   
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hi all,

i have to add something about the bismarck:

i work in a "retirement home" in germany and therefore, we had several old men who were in the "wehrmacht" during the WW 2.

one of them was a member of "kriegsmarine". he had for example some pictures of himself with some other sailors in the kriegsmarine-uniform in the military harbor of kiel and said, that he was serving on a destroyer which was sunk at narvik (norway) and then, he was displaced to the bismarck as the ship were doing its tests in the ostsee.

he said to me, that he cant belive that the RN was sinking the bismarck because the ship were still swimming even after some torpedo-hits. he said, that the crew opend the flood-ventils of the ship and then left the sinking ship.

now, he was (he died 2003) a old man but he had not a dementia or so. he was very clear and oriented. unfortunary, i cant say if his story is true or not. he didnt show me a picture of himself onboard the bismarck (maybe there were no pictures allowed for reason of safety?).

just wanted to write this down and also say, that the bismarck survivers (i think there were only 200 or so rescued by the RN) in germany were/are firmly convinced of it that they sunk the bismarck and not the RN.

about for the IJN damage control:

maybe the bushido-codex was one of the reasons why the japanese dient thought about safety and thought that this (for the japanese) dishonorable thoughts/deed would weaken the morale of the men. you know, like the 1st WW pilots who refused to wear a parachute earlier in the war.

bye all

< Message edited by bombata -- 10/31/2004 11:01:57 AM >

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/31/2004 2:08:32 PM   
Sharkosaurus rex


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I still count the Graf Spree as being sunk by the RN. It doesn't matter who or what was the final instrument of sinking. It was scuttled instead of facing a superior enemy (?) or tricked into it.

The Bismarck was extra flamy when the flood-ventrils were opened. But the RN forced it into a position of defeat, just because the Germans knocked over the king shouldn't take away from the RN victory.

No one can said that the Hood pulled the plug.

I'm sure your kriegsmarine story is true. The German sailors probably did pull the plug, but the ship was a wreck it just takes a while to fill with water. If you waited long enough it would have sunk with all the damage it sustained. Maybe the Germans were fearful of the RN capturing the Bismarck? But I don't think the British were in the mode for that on the 26th of May.


I think with the Japanese ships it was like picking a football team: the best recruits got picked first and went into gunnery and engineering. And the fat kids got the damage control jobs. They practiced what they were good at: so off to the park to shoot some guns and torpedoes into the goals. But they forgot to practice the hard unwanted jobs. Same with the radars. It was bad enough to have inadequate equipment but the skill of the radar team would have been as bad as the fat kids. They probably practiced sumo more than using the radar dials and stuff. Another problem for Japanese ships was their low crew per ship. After taking some hits suddenly there is a lot less people on board but 100 new jobs to be done to fight the fires, look after friends, and continue the battle. Also the Japanese needed to make their "NO SMOKING" signs a bit bigger!!!

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/31/2004 5:13:46 PM   
dereck


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I didn't mean to imply that the British destroyers were the only cause of the Bismark sinking. From all I've heard and read the British didn't wait around for the ship to be scuttled by the German crew and sent in destroyers to finish her off even though what I've read and heard ALSO said the crew had been in the process or already had scuttled her and she was sinking.

Seems the Brits were a bit obsessed about sending her to the bottom because of the loss of the Hood. They figured they could sink German ships but were perturbed when their ships were sunk it seems.

(Okay lambast me for that last statement but I'll stand by it )

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/31/2004 5:20:45 PM   
dereck


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quote:

I think with the Japanese ships it was like picking a football team: the best recruits got picked first and went into gunnery and engineering. And the fat kids got the damage control jobs. They practiced what they were good at: so off to the park to shoot some guns and torpedoes into the goals. But they forgot to practice the hard unwanted jobs. Same with the radars. It was bad enough to have inadequate equipment but the skill of the radar team would have been as bad as the fat kids. They probably practiced sumo more than using the radar dials and stuff. Another problem for Japanese ships was their low crew per ship. After taking some hits suddenly there is a lot less people on board but 100 new jobs to be done to fight the fires, look after friends, and continue the battle. Also the Japanese needed to make their "NO SMOKING" signs a bit bigger!!!


Any Navy veteran (American, British, etc) can attest to what I'm going to say. EVERYBODY on board a naval vessel is trained in damage control. If you don't have a combat-related job (CIC, flight crew, gun crew) you are assigned a damage control crew as your GQ station (General Quarters or for you landlubbers Battle Stations). When you take damage you can't call 911 and have the fire department, plumber or handyman come and fix it for you ... YOU are the fire department and repairman. If you're not then the next question is: how long can you tread water?

The simple fact of the matter was the Japanese navy DIDN'T train damage control and firefighting like the Allies did because such training was considered "defeatist" even though we'd call it common sense.

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RE: Factor in US Victory at Midway - 10/31/2004 6:38:06 PM   
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I can not remember the details but some of the USN CVs were abandoned becasue there were enemy forces near and they could not make enough headway to get out of the area. Remember that it would not just be any crew onboard the CV that would be at risk, but any other escorting ships also. This would also apply to other major combat ships.

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