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Topic: Alternative outcome, If there was an advance word< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Scott Busser Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 03 2001,7:10  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A question for the experts:  would damage to the fleet and casualties have been greater if Kimmel had received warning of the impending attack and sent the fleet out to meet the Japanese task force?
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 04 2001,3:37 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Responding to Scott's Question:

With a two day  notice to Adm. Kimmel,  I would guess USN Loses to be:

2-Aircraft Carriers sunk
7 Battleships sunk (USS Pennsylvania still in dry dock)
1-2 cruiser sunk
1-3 cruisers badly damaged
[25,000 casualties]

The biggest loss = America's will to fight a protracted war with a with real foe!  Eventual outcome - a negotiated peace within 36 months due to heavy loss of life and the  continual loss of public will!

IJN Losess:
15 Fighters
30 Dive Bombers
35 Torpedo Bombers
0-Ships Sunk
1-2 ships moderately damaged
[180 air casualties + 200ship casualties]

This is my two cents....
John D

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John Burch Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 05 2001,12:20 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We agree to disagree...if...The army air force could have mustered a mere 40 to 50 fighter's in the air...it may have been a totaly different out come . Even being out numbered and , for the most part "outclassed" by more experienced pilots...and planes, the fighters would have made a dramitic difference.

The main difference, I feel would have been to the overall timing of the attack. The japanese pilots would not have had the ability to "run the table" as they did !

The american fighters would not have been caught on the ground. Outnumbered or not ...a determined defence would have brocken up some of the formations...and the "ease" of target selection the enemy enjoyed.

yes..the fleet may have taken some casualties...but not to the degree that you have suggested. And correct me if I am wrong...weren't the carriers of to Wake island, delivering fighters.

 Consider the "wild card"...A persitant attack, prior to launch of the enemy aircraft....may have even prevented the attack altogether....They [the Japanese] were relying on "suprise" to insure success. without this element....who knows ??

But in closing...this can be played out, and has been played out...in my humble opinion...A "bloody nose" to the japanese would have made a huge difference.

But...the American people may not have been as "galvanized" for the war effort. And thus the conspiricy experts have their day...As most of them believe that our government knew....and the "Roosevelt-Churchill" connection underestimated the Japanese ability to devastate "Pearl" All we can do ...IS LEARN FROM HISTORY.
                            Thank for your time.
                                                     John b.

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John DiVirgilio Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 05 2001,6:19 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

To John B.

I stand by my assessment on the USN & IJN loses.  Adm Kimmel was an offensive Admiral and was NOT a wait around leader.   This is reflected in his war plans - Draw out the emeny and attack.  

With a  "Two Day Notice", Adm. Kimmel would have recalled the carriers and set sail from Pearl to meet the incoming Japanese Task Force.     No USAAF fighters would be around to assist Kimmel's force at sea.  Remember - USAAF fighters are restricted to be in visual contact with land.  

USN Carriers are under strength (not carrying a full complment of AC)  and the torpedoes do not work!

The slaughter would have been devasting to the USN and the American populous.

By the way....this is not really my own assessment!  Adm. Nimitz made this same assessment 54 years ago!

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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 08 2001,4:37 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Concerning alternative outcomes, please add the following thoughts:

ADM Kimmel was a "Gun Club" officer through and through.  His understanding of aviation and submarine warfare was as limited as the majority of senior Navy officers of his era.  He was a product of his time.  

Kimmel's natural response to any event was to seek a gun-type engagement between ships of the line - battleships.  That is because of his training from before WW1 through the 20's and 30's, when everyone still believed in Mahan and Jutland.  

Kimmel was (in some respects) slightly ahead of his peers though.  He did understand that submarines had a need for freedom in operations rather than being merely scouts for the fleet.  Kimmel never had the chance to show how he would have conducted the submarine war, but I suspect the course of the war overall would have been very similar had he stayed on as CINCPAC.  There were far too many other players for one man to have influenced the outcome.  

The documented evidence of the time suggests that he would have moved southwest to the Marshalls, and eventually (as did Nimitz) into the Solomons.  Events of the war did not follow the Navy plans, and the drive across the Central Pacific would still have been forestalled by events in the South and Southwest Pacific.

One point to remember about Kimmel is that he was aggressive in peacetime, but never had the opportunity to show how he would have reacted in wartime.  The only small glimpse of his nature was the Wake Island relief (later cancelled by ADM Pye).  That showed Kimmel to have a certain willingness to take risks when he thought the returns would warrant any losses.  It also shows that he did not appreciate the strategic (rather than tactical) needs of such a large-scale war.  Wake was lost from the first day of the war and should have been evacuated rather than reinforced.  The strategic value of Wake was nil, yet ADM Kimmel placed all the air eggs in one basket to reinforce Wake.

This type of discussion is interesting to read, but in the end somewhat frustrating.  We will never know what he would have done, or could have done.  Nimitz was right though.  The fleet was better off in port at the time.  It ended up saving a lot of lives and ships.

Ken Hackler

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Scott Busser Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 11 2001,12:15 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

To follow up on my last post: can you recommend any good materials on Kimmel's plans if he had received proper notice and an assessment of likely outcomes?  Thanks.
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David Aiken Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 11 2001,12:48 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi Scott,
Of interest to Kimmel's plans, check out his orders in Rainbow 5, specifically WPL 46. This is covered well in the Congressional Investigation of Pearl Harbor Attack.

See the book INVESTIGATIONS OF THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR: INDEX TO GOVERNMENT HEARINGS by Pearl Harbor History Associates Past President/current Director Stanley H Smith [Westport CT: Greenwood Press; 1990]. This is the sole index of the "40 volume" investigation.

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USSBOWFINSS287 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 11 2001,10:31 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would like to know how many (and which, if possible) US subs were in the "area" around Pearl/Midway at the time of the attack?  (To keep things relatively simple, let's limit this to the # of subs that may have had a chance to affect the Japanese task force had they "known" about it's position.

I will attempt to email my uncle who, I believe, was probably on the USS Skipjack at the time of the attack.  He is not one to talk at length about  his wartime service, but I will be more than willing to share some of his experiences with you folks is he is forthcoming!

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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 12 2001,4:46 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If memory serves (check me on this) there were:

-  A couple of boats out near Midway or Wake, putting them at least 1500 miles to the west.

-  Thresher was south of Oahu with USS Litchfield, inbound for Pearl.

-  Gudgeon was at Lahaina Roads helping some PBY's conduct training.

-  Plunger, Pollack, and Pompano were about 125 miles to the northeast on their way inbound to Pearl from California.  

That's off the top of my head, so someone may want to verify that.  Clay Blair's "Silent Victory" is probably the best source, but I don't have my copy handy.

As far as who could have had an impact on the battle -

Gudgeon was over 200 miles south of the Japanese TF, and the three inbound boats from California were almost 150 miles from the TF when the positions are calculated.

They would have had to know at least 24 hours in advance to make a surface run at 10 knots just to get in position to submerge and wait for the Japanese TF to approach.  It's difficult to imagine them being able to do so unless the Japanese were sighted on 5 December, and then we are assuming the torpedoes would work even if the boats got into a firing position.  [Submarine torpedoes were more of a hazard to the submarines firing them than to the enemy in the early days of the war.]

Perhaps a submarine historian can look at this one for you.

Ken

(Edited by Ken Hackler at 4:58 am on Mar. 12, 2001)

Edited by David Aiken on --

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Ken Hackler

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John Burch Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 17 2001,10:15 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

     Hi john !

                 In regard to your comments on the "two day notice". I must keep reminding myself to think in terms of 1941 ..'tactics , and politics.

                 Your assesment is , more than likely, more accurate than mine. I suppose I am putting the Midway[1942] battle...in my thinking.

                  In comparison...weren't the odds about the same? Certainly the same types of aircraft available....decent fighter[wildcat]....good dive bomber[dauntless]...terrible torpedo bomber[devastator?].

                  If we had the opprtunity to "bush whack" them...then why the huge losses ? Was our military doctrin that wuch different in that short time span.

                  I realize that the element of luck...played a hand at Midway...but all things considered....do you not think that a "bloody nose" to the Japenese, at that time[12-7-41] would have changed their thinking?Possibly , thrown off the time line of the attack? Is it not remotely possible that , loosing the element of suprise the entire attack force may have withdrawn all to gether ?

              I may have seen one too many "John Wayne" movies...but I would like to think[wish?] the American fleet would have had a better day than what happened at Pearl[ 12-7-41 ]

              I must confess my backround is limited at best, and the thought of the army air corps staying in sight of land....####, that is amazing ! Well...in closing , I must be applying 1945 logic to a 1941 problem. without control...or some form of control of the air...it would have been a long day for the Navy.

                Hope I didn't bore you...thanks for a "great" site and you historical expertise.
                                                          John Burch

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