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Topic: USN Carrier Force, Was the USN Lucky ??< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Philip Payton Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2001,2:17  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was just reading the Franklin D. Roosevelt Speech.  With all the attacks that the japanese launched during the 7th and 8th in the Pacific region how in #### did the Japanese NOT sink a carrier.

Given that Halsey was heading South West away from Pearl the morning after the attack, the Lexington should have been stuck in between two forces.  Nagumo's fleet heading home and the Japanese forces attacking Midway..

Quote from the Roosevelt speech (8/12/41).....

"Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya."

"Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong."

"Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam."

"Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands."

"Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island."

"This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.....................
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............................... I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.....


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Larry Jewell Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 13 2001,2:41 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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Quote: from Philip Payton on 1:17 pm on July 13, 2001
Given that Halsey was heading South West away from Pearl the morning after the attack, the Lexington should have been stuck in between two forces.  Nagumo's fleet heading home and the Japanese forces attacking Midway..

Halsey was in Enterprise, 200 miles west of Hawaii and headed home.  Lexington was 400 miles northwest of Hawaii and heading for Midway.  Both carriers were diverted to search for the enemy.

There was considerable luck involved.  Enterprise should have returned to port on Dec. 6th.  Bad weather delayed her, but she was still trying to get into port at 7 am on Dec. 7th.  Still no joy with the weather, but she was close enough to send ahead her aircraft.  (Which had the bad taste to fly into a war zone where everybody was trigger-happy.)  

The luck continues in that they were at sea at all.  Enterprise had been scheduled to be in port that weekend, and only Adm. Kimmel's decision as to how and when Wake and Midway were to be reinforced with additional fighters got her out of port and far enough away that the weather could slow her down.  It's interesting to note that the schedule that put her in port for that weekend was "published" in August, and never changed.  Odd, isn't it, that a carrier purported by some to be "hustled safely out of port" were in fact supposed to be in port that day.  Odder that carriers "safely" at sea would be ordered to "search and destroy".  

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Tracy White Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 15 2001,2:47 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another "fortunate" thing, strategically, was that with the loss of the battleships the USN was forced over into the carrier war. There had been considerable resistance to this from the admiralty who were predominately battleship sailors. With the Battlewagons gone for the first year, they didn't have the option.

But at such a cost of life...

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Dobbins Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 23 2005,12:23 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Aloha Tracy,

I Can't agree that the loss of the Battleships at Pearl is what forced us into a carrier war.

The Mississippi and the Idaho returned to the Pacific in January of 1942. The  Tennessee and the Maryland were repaired by the end of Febuary of 1942. The Colorado finished it's overhaul that kept it out of Pearl Harbor during the attack at the end of March, 1942. In April of 42 the Pennsylvania rejoined the fleet. Before Coral Sea we were back up to having 6 Battleships in the Pacific.

It wasn't a lack of Battleships that forced us to use the carriers, it was the nature of our Battleships. Think of Frankenstien's Monster in the old movies. Big, strong, dangrous, but slow. He just lumbered along. Our Battleships were like that.

A Fleet can't move any faster than it's slowest ship. Pearl Harbor (along with the Germany first policy) forced us into a defensive postion in the early stages of the war in the Pacific. We had to react to Jappanese moves, and that requires the one thing that our Battleships lacked, speed.

The Carriers could race to the Coral Sea and to Midway. That was an ability that our Battleships lacked.

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John Dobbins

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Tracy White Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 23 2005,12:37 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

While I agree with much of what you say, I'd like to make one point. *IF* the US had had all of its battleships at the beginning of the war we probably would not have fought so defensively. If Idaho and Missisippi had still joined the fleet in Jan 1942 that would have given us ten battleships. I do agree that the characteristics of the battleships in the Pacific were significant reasons for the way we fought, but I also think that the catastrophic loss of so many ships effectively destroyed any power the battleship admirals had in setting doctrine.

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Let's see what this does...

Tracy White
http://www.ResearcherAtLarge.com
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 23 2005,1:01 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My objection is based mostlly on the misconception that Battleships were instantly relics of the past, and everyone realized it by 8:15 AM on December 7th.

The idea that the Battleship was no longer the Queen of the seas took some time to sink in. They were still considered Major Capital assets well into 1942, and likely would have been used more if they had been faster.

Even today I don't think that some of the design ideas of a Battleship are obselete. They could take far more punishment than other ships. The Missle that damaged the USS Stark and the Boat that damaged the USS Cole wouldn't have caused much more than a need to repaint the side of a Battleship.

The problem with Battleships wasn't that they were easy to sink, because they were harder to sink than other ships, including Carriers. It was that Carriers were faster and had a far longer offensive range. They could attack a Battleship long before it came within range of the Battleship's guns. If one of them had managed to get within gun range of a Carrier where it could fight back, it would have made short work of the Carrier.

Missles instead of guns to give the platform a long range combined with Armor and better speed would make a BBG an a formidable weapon capable of operating in a high threat enviroment.

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John Dobbins

No government which fails to provide for its own preservation against the assaults of every probable foe is entitled to the support of its people. (Carl Vinson)
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herbw2 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2005,9:35 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Really good post, John.  Regarding the battleships, according to Rainbow 5, Admiral Kimmel's plan was to maneuver the Japanese into a large-scale  surface battle off Wake "Island two weeks or so into the war.
Also, Halsey, at Leyte Gulf, raced north to meet the Jpanese in what he hoped would be a decisive surface engagement,
Herb Wasserman
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2005,1:00 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Aloha Herb,

I Think the "ghost" of Mahan was quite busy "haunting" both sides and whispering decisive battle in their ears. Memories of the Battle of Tsushima Straits made it even more alluring to the Jappanese. They spent much of the war hoping for another Tsushima.

Admiral Kimmel's actions at Pearl Harbor prior to the attack showed a mindset of placing defensive measures far behind ideas of Offense. His lifelong aim of "clearing his name" included a refusal to admit the possibility that he had made any errors in judgement. That would have made him a dangrous leader in his plans for a decisive battle early in the war.

Japan had plans to deal with just the kind of action that Kimmel was planning. An attrition campaign waged from the mandates as the American Battleline steamed accross the Pacific, followed by strikes at the Carriers to strip the Americans of Air cover and ending with a classic Battleline against a weakened American fleet. An American Admiral with a "#### the torpedos, full speed ahead" attitude would have been a liability in the campaign Japan had planned, and Kimmel showed every sign of having that mindset. Kimmel's Battle of Wake Island could have turned out being an even bigger diaster than Pearl Harbor was.

The "favor" that Japan did for the USA by attacking Pearl Harbor may have been stopping Kimmel's plans for the Naval Battle of Wake Island.

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John Dobbins

No government which fails to provide for its own preservation against the assaults of every probable foe is entitled to the support of its people. (Carl Vinson)
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 24 2005,4:27 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Dobbins,
No one will ever  know.  It was a high risk plan to draw the Japanese into  battle, but might have worked, just as the Japanese. could have been surprised at Wake Island in early 1942.  That's what makes military history so interesting.

To many Japanese the Pearl Harbor attack was considered foolhardy.

You're right about Kimmel  being very aggressive and not considering that the Japanese would do to him what he wanted to do to the Japanese.
Appreciate your contributions to this board.
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