Hawaii

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by renrich, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    The next step if the Japanese had been able to eliminate the US Navy's carrier force at Midway might possibly have been the invasion of Hawaii. Assuming that the Enterprise, Yorktown and Hornet had been sunk with only light damage to the IJN carriers, how would the Japanese have fared in a subsequent invasion and occupation of Hawaii? Bear in mind that there had been a big build up of US troops and aircraft in Hawaii since Pearl Harbor.
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The IJN was probably going to lose the invasion of Midway outright, regardless of what happened at sea. Think Tarawa and Aligator Creek (Guadalcanal). And think of the IJN not having "squat" in the specialized equipment and doctrine needed to invade heavily defended beachheads.

    As for invading Hawaii, its a non starter any way you look at it. There simply was not enough shipping in the whole Japanese navy to support a multi division invasion of Oahu.

    See this for a better write up on why an invasion of Hawaii was, and always will be, a pipe dream.

    The Hawaiian Invasion, and other Nonsense
     
  3. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    I just do not believe Japan had the resources or ships available to mount a invasion that had a chance of succeeding. With all the other operations going on near or at the same time frame as Pearl Harbor, they were stretched to thin to mount a effective and long lasting invasion force.
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I think their biggest obstacle would be the US Submarine force. That's a long way to travel.
     
  5. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    The plan after Pearl Harbor was writen on a book titled "Nichibei Kessen Chikashi (War with the US coming close)" published in early 1941 which my grandfather possessed. It is hard for me to recall all details but it said "Japanese troops will land on the westcoast of US and get over the Rocky Mountains to reach Washington DC "

    :shock::shock::shock: Sorry but that was what I had read!
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Events soon proved the US submarine force was as close to inept as you can define the word.
     
  7. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    It wasn't the US Submarine Force that was at fault, it was the damn torpedos. This took quite a while
    to correct because no one wanted to believe the torpedos were faulty.

    The Mark 14 was central to the torpedo scandal of the US Pacific Fleet Submarine Force during World War II. Due to inadequate depression-era peacetime testing of this torpedo and its Mark VI exploder, it had defects that tended to mask each other. Indeed, much of the blame commonly attached to the Mark 14 correctly belongs to the Mark VI exploder. These defects, in the course of fully twenty months of war, were exposed, as torpedo after torpedo either missed, prematurely exploded, or struck targets (sometimes with an audible clang) and failed to explode.

    Blame for the inadequate weapon must be laid at the feet of the Bureau of Ordnance, which specified an unrealistically rigid magnetic exploder sensitivity setting and oversaw the feeble testing program. BuOrd hampered wartime investigation into Mark VI exploder problems by assigning the mechanism "secret" status, limiting knowledge of its inner workings to a few high-ranking officers, refusing to believe word of active duty sailors, laying blame for failures on these very same men, even deliberately mis-setting torpedoes to conceal defects. Servicemen were forbidden to disassemble the exploder. Additional responsibility must be assigned to the United States Congress, which cut critical funding to the Navy during the interwar years, and to NTS, which inadequately performed the very few tests made. BuOrd failed to assign a second naval facility for testing, and failed to give Newport adequate direction.

    More info here..... Mark 14 torpedo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Charles
     
  8. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #8 renrich, Nov 27, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2009
    Sys, on your recommendation, I recently read "Shattered Sword" and thoroughly enjoyed it. I realise that the defense force at Midway may have been able to thwart landings there even if the US fleet was defeated. However, I believe the authors too easily dismissed the ability of the IJN to reduce the island defenses with carrier air power and naval gunfire. Regardless, occupying Midway was not essential for an invasion of Hawaii. What if, instead of putting an invasion force on Oahu, the Japanese landed at one of the other islands. The Kido Butai with the other two carriers from the Aleution campaign, with it's air power intact could have probably suppressed the US air power in the islands. The other islands had air fields which once captured would be used by the Japanese. Once one of the other islands was occupied and an air field was put to use, suface ships and IJN subs could blockade Oahu. Oahu was dependent on supplies from the mainland. An attempt to break the blockade would have to be made by a US fleet which did not exist in late 1942. Would not Oahu be in somewhat the same circumstance as Bataan? I believe that any other than a raid on the US mainland would have always been impossible but using the Hawaiian Islands as a honey trap to sink US Navy warships makes sense. Oahu under seige and blockade could also not be used as the base for US subs like it was.
     
  9. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    So your torpedo issues were across the board, not just the ones being dropped by torpedo bombers
     
  10. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The submarine torpedo's were so horribly tested (which would have brought out the defects to be fixed) that it is used today as textbook example of how not to produce new hardware and then fail to test it under actual conditions.

    And then there was the issue of the captains of the subs that had been indoctrinated for two decades to be cautious then being expected to be bold and audacious once the shooting began.

    And then there was the doctrine that was written up prewar and had been shown by experience within a few months of war, to be ineffectual.

    The issues involving the US Sub fleet were not to change untill well into 1943 when the poor performance of the sub fleet could no longer be ignored, and "fighting" captains finally moved up the chain of command to actually change things.

    Somewhere in this forum, I posted a couple of poems that were written up during the war, and summed up the whole sad state of affairs. One of the poems is called "squatdiv 1"
     
  11. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Within 11 days of Pearl Harbor, the US Subs started sinking ships. Betwteen Pearl Harbor and Midway, the Japanese Merchant fleet lost approx 102 ships or 275,000 tons (only counting ships greater the 500 tons). 57% of them were due to US submarines.

    Pig Boats by Theodore Roscoe, pages 447-449
     
  12. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Have you ever seen the patrol lists with the JANAC credits? Patrol after patrol after patrol with no or one solitary sinking. Look at your own figures there. Seven months of war and the whole US sub force was sinking two whole Japanese ships per week.

    Dozens of subs out for weeks at a time, and nothing to show for it.
     
  13. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    But look at the results. The "dozens of ships" accounted for 57% of the Japanese Merchant fleet losses. The other 43% was due to the thousands of aircraft and hundreds of surface ships of ALL the Allied forces in the PTO. All this while dealing with the problems of torpedoes as you've already pointed out. Not too shabby IMO.
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Look at the macro economic effects.

    The sub force was contributing NOTHING to the defeat of Japan.

    The loses were so low that the Japanese considered them acceptable and well within their replacement capabilities. And that fact was not going to change till Q3 of 1943
     
  15. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Where exactly do you get that the Japanese felt there was no impact?

    Japan had to import most raw materials, oil, and a chunk of their food. During the time period we are discussing, Japan lost more in merchant tonnage then they were able to produce.

    From 12/41 to the end of 1942 Japan was only able to launch 111,000 tone of merchant ships Silent Victory by Blair, (pages 360, 552, 816, 878, 970, 975, 977, 979, 980, 982). This vs the 275,000 they lost in roughly the first 6 months of the war. Add another 6 months and count all of 1942, they lost 725,000 tons.

    They were not able to keep up.

    I have not mentioned their value in re-con, resupplying/evacuating bases or their damage they inflicted on warships (during the same time period they sank 47,000 tons of warships ranging from Submarines to Seaplane Carriers).
     
  16. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    #16 syscom3, Nov 27, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2009
    Every single naval history on the Pacific war has the same conclusion.

    And one other thing .... the US sub performance at Midway was so bad, it nearly caused a complete leadership change in the sub fleet. Nimitz was furious and everything stunk about it.

    The US sub effort through mid 1943 was pathetic and had no effect on the Japanese war effort. Since most of the ships sunk by the subs were auxiliaries, the effect was nil.

    I have the JANAC reports and looked through them. Hardly any cargo or oilers were sunk, and the losses were well within what the Japanese had planned for.
     
  17. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    On the topic of Midway - Of the 25 US Subs there, Task Groups 7.2 7.3 were stationed east of Midway and off of Oahu, another 6 were steaming in from distant patrols, that left 12 boats that could be used. As quoted from Pig Boat, page 133:

    "Lack of search radar for night tracking was seen as the primary reason for submarine frustration at Midway."

    They were also stationed in defensive positions.

    The numbers I've quoted are based on the JANAC. 67% of the Merchant losses were Cargo Tankers and half of the warships were non-auxiliary.

    What exactly is your source that the US Subs had no impact until mid-43 and what exactly are the merchant losses Japan planned for?
     
  18. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    My sources are;
    Silent Victory; Undersea Victory; Nihon Kaigan Website and numerous "Naval Institute Press" articles over the years.

    Sample of the poor performace of the sub fleet:
    Dec 1941/Jan 1942, Manila Based Boats:50 patrols and 8 ships to show for it.
    Pearl Based: Jan/March 1942:17 Patrols and 15 to show for it. Or about 5 ships per month.
    Pearl Based: Apr/June 1942:38 Patrols and 22 to show for it. An improvement of sorts, as now its 7 ships per month.

    As for subs at Midway, their poor performance was attributed more to uninspired staff work giving poor coverage. And poor performance by a couple of skippers, one of which materially effected the battle itself.
     
  19. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    There is some question as to how effectively the Japanese could have supported a lodgement at Midway, much less Hawaii. Getting enough materiel to support multiple divisions across 3,000 miles with coal or oil fired ships is, at best, problematic-much less having enough for the IJN to fulfill its obligations. Then what happens when the IJN takes damage to their warships-where is the nearest drydock? I can't see it happening.

    And the west coast? Forget it!
     
  20. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Think diddy has it right. The problem wasn't the effectiveness of the Japanese military, it was the carrying capacity and effectiveness of the logistics system. While the Japanese could've invaded some of the islands of the Hawaiin chain, they would've been on the end of a very long supply route. Think something similar to what happened at Guadalcanal or the Aleutians. Getting there is possible, staying there effectively is another problem. Guadalcanal was called "Starvation Island" by the Japanese for a reason.

    Simpac's note of the need for the Japanese to cross the Rockies and head for DC is exactly right. It was also impossible for the Japanese to do, if for no other reason than the inability to sustain a drive logistically. But the idea is accurate. The only way the Japanese could concievable win the Pacific war is to take over Washington, capture or destroy the Government and win.

    Even the capture of DC might not be enough. The Brits didn't win in 1815 when they did it nor the French when they did the same thing to the Russians in 1812. Still, it is interesting that somebody in Japan was thinking along those lines. It always bothered me that the Japanese, who put together some brilliant planning (and fought some excellent campaigns) on what was later realized to be very limited logistics, would start a war with the US with no real concept of how to end it as a win.
     
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