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[Pacific] Balance of Force & Operating Conditions in 1941

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1,287 posts
4,052 battles

He completely missed one of the most important aspects of the Pacific war...  That was, civil engineering and the necessary mobile logistics train to go with it.

Since about 1912, the USN put a massive effort into building a mobile fleet train that would allow their fleet to operate on the opposite side of the world, whether there were bases available or not.  By 1941 it had developed into a very formidable service fleet and the Japanese had nothing like it.

The first time this was put into action was Maduro Atoll Southeast of the Gilbert Islands and Tarawa in late 1942.  Maduro was unoccupied by the Japanese.  The USN brought in a half dozen CB battalions along with detachments with specialized construction equipment.  They dredged two channels to allow any US ship access to the lagoon which was also cleared of obstacles like coral heads in spots.  This gave the US a 100 ship anchorage.  Other construction units built a base ashore along with an all-weather airfield.  The whole process took less than 60 days.

The USAAF then flew in B-24 squadrons that began to regularly bomb Tarawa.

The US fleet train showed up and anchored a number of barges and ships in the lagoon along with several mobile dry docks making the atoll into an instant shipyard capable of doing all but the heaviest repairs on a ship.

A tanker train was set up such that any US ship could find a tanker at one of several locations of remote ocean nearby and refuel and replenish whenever they needed to.

Later this operation moved to Ulithi atoll...

Maduro, for the Gilberts and Marshall island campaign gave the US the capacity to operate ships continuously close to a fully functioning naval base rather than have to sail all the way to Hawaii or the US.  Japanese ships generally had to go to Japan for these services.  They couldn't even count on full replenishment of ammunition and food at sea like the US could.

This was a huge force multiplier as the US could now operate their fleet as if it were near the US coast rather than thousands of miles away from it.  Even the Royal Navy was astonished at how adept the US was at replenishment at sea.  Two destroyers could come alongside a tanker, and refuel completely in about 30 minutes then break away and resume their duties.


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1,909 posts
26,641 battles

Well the City of Los Angelesos is going to take about 50 yrs to repave a few miles of road, so we've got that going for us.

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