Carrier air war "what if"....

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Lucky13, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Was just wondering with all the WWII aircraft "what ifs" and thought, what if WWII had continued in such a way that more Shinano and Taiho carriers had seen action for the IJN and the Midway class for the USN. What would the aircraft be that they would have carried? Maybe Bearcat, Tigercat and Skyraider for the USN, but what for the IJN? How does these carriers compare to each other, I know that Shinano and Taiho had armored decks and the Midways wooden....
     
  2. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Not much difference in the war IMHO. By the time both sets of carriers were operational, the Carrier war had been pretty much decided. Japanese air groups were not up to snuff with the US Carrier Groups. Aircraft were lagging in production as well, less so in design.

    On top of that, the US was mass producing carriers while the Japanese were putting them out in ones and twos. In short, by the time the Shinano and Taiho came out, the war had become one of mass production to the extent that one or two ships really didn't matter. Just a couple more targets for the US Carrier Groups.
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    #3 syscom3, Jun 24, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2009
    Check this artical out at the IJN website.

    Grim Economic Realities

    Even without factoring in US land based airpower or escorts carriers, the Japanese were outnumbered 2-1 just by fleet carriers alone.
     
  4. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Yes, it could be considered a sad state of affairs when attempting to compare the technical abilities of nations but the fact of the matter is production won the war.
     
  5. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Even if the Japanese had been able to build the carriers, they would have struggled to find planes to put on them and pilots to fly the planes. IJN fighter resources were frittered away in lending plnes to the defence of islands and strongpoints - IIRC the defence of Rabaul led to the loss of some 120 planes drawn from carriers, leaving the IJN short of aircraft at the Marianas Turkey Shoot.

    On a more general note, carriers with armoured flight decks tended to carry fewer planes - compare British Illustrious class fleet carriers with 36 planes to Essexs with over 90. This would leave the Japanese at an even greater disadvantage...
     
  6. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    True, but the US got around that simply by building bigger carriers (ie Midway).
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Bigger carriers like the Midway didnt translate into better.

    The navy discovered that it carried so many aircraft (of ww2 types) that it couldn't launch them all at once and more than a few sat in the hanger as a reserve.

    Of course, once the AC got larger with the advent of jets, things changed a bit.
     
  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    All this inevitable demise stuff aside, I think as a sheer technical excercise, both the jpoanese and the allies would have fielded some intersting aircraft.

    The Japanese were intending to field the A7M "Sam" or Reppu fighter, and the the B7M "Grace". They also seem to have been toying with the idea of the C6 Saiun (I forget the code name). I am not so impressed with the Sam, but the strike aircraft appear to be awesome....fantastic ranges, well protected and extremely high speed, with top speeds whilst fully loaded in the high 300 knot range. They would have been hard to catch.

    The Americans of course had their Bearcats and perhaps even the skyraiders, whilst the brits were intending to ambark the Sea Fury

    Yjere may be others as well...and of course I dont know about carrier born jets... But just glancing over this, I would probably say that the Skyraider was the best bomber, whilst the B was the best torpedo bomber. I happen to think the Sea Fury was the best all round fighter out of this bunch.

    But ther is no doubt, by 1945, even under the most favaourable of circumstances, the Japanese were going to be in deep trouble
     
  9. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I read somewhere that 60% of aircraft produced during the war in the US never left the country. If that is true, it just demonstrates the overwhelming industrial power of the US once it got into its stride
     
  10. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Too true Parsifal.

    I was doing the math, just as an oddball exercise, of the financial affect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The cost, in terms of ships, planes and other damage, came out to be a little under 100 million. Or at least that is the figure I heard thrown around. Further, the GDP of the United States in 1941 was 121Billion. So, if you take that number and consider the losses at Pearl Harbor as a function of GDP (considering GDP a function of industrial capacity), the attack on Pearl Harbor cost the US economy .08 of 1%. Put another way, the industrial capaicty of the US could've replaced all the equipment destroyed at Pearl Harbor in a little under 15 hours.

    While this number does not take into consideration all the ins and outs of the economy, other requirements and is just an exercise in back of the cocktail napkin math, it does show the relative insignificance of the attack when taken with the capacity and potential of the US in 1941.

    You seriously have to wonder if Yammamoto (or any Japanese Senior Military Staff) actually sat down and did the math. War might've gone a different way if they had.

    Probably could've used an economist on their staff.
     
  11. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I believe they did. Yamamoto was well known for being against the war I believe it was he who coined the phrase that they had woken a sleeping Tiger or something similar. In the UK the Japanese ambasador made a formal protest to his seniors that Japan was bound to lose any conflict simply because of the economic situation of both Japan and Germany. Unfortunately it wasn't the politicans who were in charge of policy, it was the Military.
    His price was to be dismissed, but the world would have been a different place had they listened to him.
     
  12. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    Like everybody else has said, I think by that point it would be little signifance. I know the US had at least a dozen or more Essex class out in the Pacific, plus a horde of the smaller Escort carriers. Taking into the account of the lesser trained IJN pilots, low production in aircraft. I don't see the Shinano and Taiho class turning the tide of the war.
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Well, lets just assume they do clash.

    USN has F8F's and F4U-4's for fleet defense (Hellcats relegated to 2nd string), F7F's for specialized uses, and Skyraiders for attack.

    Can the Japanese put up anything to counter them?
     
  14. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    Hardware aside, skilled pilots didn't exist for the IJN. IIRC, some of the pilots assigned to Ozawa's carrier force at Leyte were instructed to fly to land fields because they weren't carrier qualified. This alone makes this otherwise fine whatif a moot point.

    Btw...the Yamamoto quote about the sleeping tiger is now believed to be a post-war quote. Kinda like Washington chopping down the cherry tree. Nice, but it didn't happen.
     
  15. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    I know Yammamoto understood the potential of the US, but I don't know that he actually did the math on it. He was so apposed to the war that the powers that be had him transfered to a fleet command to keep him from being assasinated. And, he had spent some time up at Harvard, no doubt studying economics amongst other things, and probably had a pretty good line on the forces involved.

    My thought was, did he, at any time during the planning of the attack, actually sit down and figure out what the cost would be in real dollars even if the attack was wildly successful? Did he tab it up, using even a wildly positive estimate of all the carriers being sunk and a couple of BBs as well? Toss in all the aircraft on the islands and you're still looking at under 100 million. Same numbers as before.

    At any time during the planning, did he say (paraphrasing), "Look, Guys, even if we hit every target available, destroy them all. Kill the carriers and the battleships and every airplane in sight, we're still looking at a nation that can replace all of it in the industrial equivelant of 2 working days. How are we going to beat these guys if our best shot is little more than a pinprick in real economic terms?"

    I know the Japanese plan was to bleed the US into a negotiated settlement, believing they wouldn't fight. But you have to wonder is anyone had sat down and thought out what they would do if the US did fight.

    Seems a monumental underestimation of the potential and realities of their enemy.
     
  16. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    Don't know about that, but there is the famous quote that he could run wild for 6-12 months, but could guarantee nothing after that. The Japanese view from the beginning was that the US didn't have the will to fight. With that in mind, early victory was imperative. Responsible Japanese were under no illusions that they could fight a protracted war with the US.
     
  17. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Yamamoto did say that he could only win for the first six months - an estimate that proved eerily accurate as events unfolded at Midway. The only prospect for Japanese victory was to smash the US fighting capability, grab all the bits of SE Asia they needed to acheive autarky, and then get to the table and agree favourable terms. IMHO, if the US hadn't been backing the Allied Nations and gunning for revenge, they might have got away with it. But Yamamoto was under no illusions about the need to win a quick victory. His main mistake seems to have been in misjudging just how far the US was willing to go to seetle the account...

    EDIT: Diiddy, you read my mind mate :lol:
     
  18. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    Yamamoto knew that Imperial Japan had a chance to grab the South Pacific and other vital areas and then set up a good line of defense and sue for peace. I think that after the early victories he was drawn into the popular way of thinking that the Japanese were blessed by god and their destiny could offset the material mismatch. After Midway he quickly realized his error.
     
  19. chip haehnel

    chip haehnel New Member

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    Past mind exercise is good , future exercise is necessary.I often wonder how well our Sino manufactured military equipment wii perform in the next conflict.ch
     
  20. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    What Chinese-made systems does the US use?
     
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