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Re: Strategic Capabilities of IJN
Posted: 2017-04-22 08:43pm
Sea Skimmer wrote:The problem remains the lack of troops to actually take the island, and as the Japanese never had much bombardment ammunition, or ammo at all frankly, and would have wanted to be ready for a surface action adding lots of ships doesn't add much firepower for land attack in the terms Japan operated. If the Aleutians invasion force was also added and actually made an assault alongside the other troops (only half of whom were even to be an assault force, the rest were like aircraft mechanics and AA gunners) the Japanese odds of actually taking the islands would go way up, but since Japan plainly learned nothing from Wake and had poor intelligence their would be no real reason for them to do this.
THe Aleutions force had two carriers though, its about like adding another fleet carrier to the battle, and more importantly another independent task force. The Japanese would certainly win the naval battle, the Japanese had several other CVLs in play too after all, but an occupation of the islands would kinda remain in doubt.
Japanese advantages like superior range of plane would also remain very difficult to exploit, and Japanese ASW remains pathetic, and while the Mk14 torpedo doesn't really work the Mk10 sure did and a lot of US submarines were in the area/
Right, so I am wondering whether or not Nimitz would still commit his forces to Midway (as he probably would have known about the total combined fleet via intelligence) if a Japanese naval victory would be certain under the OP scenario . If the USA was going to lose the OP scenario wouldn't it have been better for Nimitz to wait for the Japanese finish their attack and withdraw their fleet, then retake the island over risking his carriers in a battle he couldn't realistically hope to win? Or would it still be worth committing them in the hopes of taking at least taking out a couple of Japanese carriers and trying to mess up the landing even if potentially meant the USA would be down to just the Saratoga after the battle? Would that have still been worth the risk?
Re: Strategic Capabilities of IJN
Posted: 2017-04-22 09:17pm
No American force exists to retake the island, zero landing craft existed in the US inventory in the Pacific theater at that date and all Marine infantry units were either already deployed to defend strategic islands throughout the central and southern pacific or still forming and training stateside.
So any counter invasion would have to take place on a lengthy timescale, functionally replacing the Guadalcanal landing, just to restore the strategic situation that existed on June 1st 1942. That's really unappealing.
And then you have the utterly enormous propaganda and moral issue at stake, in a war in which Japan had already stunned the world with the speed and scale of conquest (basically made possible by very accurate prewar intelligence) and in which Corregidor had only just fallen May 5th, three days before the battle of the Coral Sea finally gave the Allies a real victory against Japan.
To abandon over 3,000 US Marines to a Japanese invasion is really just unthinkable. The point of a military is to fight back, and with 1942 carrier warfare basically anything could happen, I can see no reason why 3 carrier groups, with the Saratoga coming up fast behind and seven battleships as a fallback option to protect Hawaii and the US west coast would ever decline battle. Nimitz might be relieved of command in the process.
Nothing will ever be that certain with carrier warfare in 1942, the Japanese have no radar and American radar provided unreliable coverage; a large raid would almost certainly be detected but you couldn't count on it to detect and track lone Japanese reconnaissance aircraft that might snoop for considerable lengths of time before being detected. Additionally the skill and quality of US aircrews advanced rapidly in this period, and the carriers constantly gained more fighters and better operating procedures, the force that fought at Midway was better then even what fought at the Coral Sea. Nimitz was aware of this; results of the earliest US strikes in the war had been dismal even by pilots own claims, and he was looking for a fight.
I think the American force would loose against some optimal and unlikely all out IJN offensive on Midway sure, but I'd also expect it to inflict a serious amount of damage, and probably still cripple the Japanese main striking force in the process. Even one of the big fleet carriers being lost would be serious, Japan had no direct replacement for such a hull before 1944. Its also clear from the results of the Midway anti aircraft batteries that repeated Japanese carrier strikes would have probably gutted the air groups on it's own.