Author Topic: Five Things Japan Could Have Done to Beat America  (Read 634 times)

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Offline quidnunc

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Five Things Japan Could Have Done to Beat America
« on: February 14, 2013, 11:32:49 PM »

Online Oceander

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Re: Five Things Japan Could Have Done to Beat America
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 11:58:03 PM »
The comments that follow are very, very interesting.

Offline PzLdr

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Re: Five Things Japan Could Have Done to Beat America
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 11:43:09 PM »
As to point one, the Japanese were involved in a LAND war in China long before Pearl Harbor. Is the author recommending: [a] that NO Naval operations by the Japanese should have been undertaken, that since they were on land anyway, Japan should have followed the Army's lead and invaded the Soviet Union, or [c] pulled out of China, per the U.S position to wage a [then unecessary]naval war with the U.S?

As to point two, how do you not awaken a sleeping giant when the giant has cut off 90% + of your oil, both naval and aviation fuel, and the only way to get oil is to either: kowtow to the U.S and abandon China, or seize the nearest source, the Dutch East Indies by force. that then entails war with the Dutch, their ally, the Brits, and most likely the U.S. Which of the three has the only fleet capable of stopping you? [and this is a Naval /Army operation]. the U.S. No sound military planner would, or could leave a naval force the size of the U.S Pacific fleet on their flank while they moved south [and but for the slow fingers of a Japanese typist in the Washington embassy, the war declaration would have arrived at least a half hour before the planes of Kido Butai].

As to point three, the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor in anticipation of a short war, and a negotiaterd piece. That didn't happen, despite the fact Japan fufilled all its initial strategic objectives.

As for point five , I agree wholeheartedly. Throughout the war, from the opening through Midway to Leyte Gulf, Japanese plans were overly complex, using too much dispersion of forces, and too many feints.  :patriot: 
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Offline Atomic Cow

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Re: Five Things Japan Could Have Done to Beat America
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 12:25:50 AM »
Japan was fighting a war of attrition with the United States, and Admiral Yamamoto knew it from the beginning.  He told the Imperial General Staff that he could promise them 6 months of victory following Pearl Harbor and after that, nothing.  He knew the US had the industrial capacity to out build Japan by a factor of 20-1, even with us fighting Germany at the same time.

All the US had to do was keep the Japanese in check long enough to allow our forces to be built up to a level where we could go on the offensive.

But Japan did make a lot of mistakes, excluding having Pearl Harbor be a surprise attack.

- They should have launched the 3rd and 4th wave against Pearl Harbor to destroy the dry docks, fuel storage depots, and submarine pens.  This would have crippled the Pacific Fleet far more than the loss of some old battleships.

- They should have kept their carriers together, not split them off into separate operations, especially when the US was expected to oppose.  The temporary loss of Sh?kaku and Zuikaku at the Battle of the Coral Sea (Sh?kaku was heavily damaged and Zuikaku had it's air group shot to bits) and one light carrier sunk, it reduced the Japanese fleet's available carrier numbers to four fleet carriers, one medium carrier, and two light carriers.  This should have been more than enough to deal with the US Pacific Fleet.  However, they sent medium sized carrier and one light carrier on that worthless attack on the Aleutian Islands which meant that the Midway operation only had 4 fleet carriers available, and one light carrier.  The end result was the loss of 4 fleet carriers at Midway.  There were a lot of other tactical errors made at Midway, but that's for another time.

- They did not rotate their carrier pilots back home to train replacements like the US did.  They kept them on the front lines until they were killed or wounded too badly to fly.  As we killed their experienced aviators, they had no worthwhile replacements, while the US was constantly churning out pilots who had been trained and prepared by the veterans who had already fought the Japanese.

- Their land forces did not embrace new technology like the United States did.  Most Japanese soldiers ended the war using the same bolt action rifle they started with.

- Fighting a land war in China did not greatly reduce the number of troops they had in the Pacific.  Excluding the Kwantung Army, Japan still had around 4 million men in the army during the height of the war.  While many were in other areas such as Burma, Thailand, etc., they still had well over a million to oppose the US island hopping campaign.  What doomed those troops was the lack of naval support.  Either they were wiped out in an invasion, or left to starve as we moved past and used them for bombing practice.
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Offline PzLdr

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Re: Five Things Japan Could Have Done to Beat America
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 11:07:53 AM »
At Coral Sea, the SHOKAKU was badly damaged. The ZUIKAKU, while undamaged in any significant way, suffered heavy losses in air crew and aircraft. After returning to Japan, the repairs to SHOKAKU were done at a leisurely pace, as opposed to YORKTOWN, damaged severely at Coral Sea, but in the lineup at Midway.But because of the almost fetishistic doctrine of not transferring air wings between carriers, the Japanese failed to transfer SHOKAU's largely intact airwing to ZUIKAKU so she could participate in the Midway operation. That would have given the Japanese five fleet carriers instead of four. If the Japanese had stripped the Alaska operation [a brainchild not of Yamamoto, but the Imerial Naval General Staff, and the price of their consent for the Midway operation] of the two light carriers assigned to it, their aircraft would have given the KIDO BUTAI almost the functional equivalent of another air wing. They would have significantly added to the Zeros used on CAP.

Of some interest is the fact that the Japanese took nothing away from the U.S performance at Coral Sea, the first meeting of any significant carrier forces. The Americans, as noted sank SHOHO,  severely damaged SHOKAKU, and shredded ZUIKAU's air arm. Yet there was no analysis, doctrinal examination, nor change made to the plans for Midway.

And finally, the Japanese Naval Achilles' heel was that the KIDO BUTAI was a carrier force capable of raiding only. Unlike the U.S carrier fleets and Task Forces that followed Midway, the Japanese had no "trains" with them from which to re-supply except fuel], get repairs done, etc., and remain at sea.  :patriot:
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