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Was Battle of Midway fought using “Decisive Battle” ideals?

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Was just doing some research on the Battle of Midway, and while looking through the Order of Battle I found it interesting that both sides had deployed subs to be used in the battle!?

Which I have heard that both sides had actually been doing “Decisive Battle” planning leading up to the war. And that of course centered around the Battleships, with Cruisers, Destroyers, and maybe some Carrier usage, but also included usage of decent numbers of Fleet Submarines to aid innthe battle? Which resulted in some interesting situations including  a couple USN subs getting damaged by B-17 bombs. And one USN sub was held responsible for allowing Mogami and some other IJN ships to escape out of fear for the sub, and after that battle several USN submarine captains pulled from active sub duty for being timid in their actions, but that seems to have partially due to flaws in pre war training doctrine. Honestly I could not blame the commanders of the subs for not wanting to pursue the retreating IJN CAs by running full speed on the surface until they got close to the enemy ships since no garrentee that the subs would not have been detected by aircraft or run into some DDs or something. And a surfaced sub vs a CA much less small group of CAs would not have gone well for the sub, and a Captain is responsible for safety of their vessel and lives of it’s crew.

So makes me wonder if they were not ending up using that “Decisive Battle” idea, although retailored some with what both sides had been able to send.

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I personally don't think so because of the context of Midway. The USN was defending the island from a Japanese attack, not searching out the IJN fleet. In my opinion, the actual "decisive battle" of WWII was Leyte Gulf. The USN leveled its full power at the IJN there and utterly shredded them.

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Yamamoto definitely wanted a decisive battle, but that would have required surprise and a reactive response from Nimitz. The code was broken though, so instead he got ambushed. Nimitz didn’t have the ship’s to crush Yamamoto, so he did the next best thing to get the most value out of the opportunity presented. 

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27 minutes ago, Thornir said:

Yamamoto definitely wanted a decisive battle, but that would have required surprise and a reactive response from Nimitz. The code was broken though, so instead he got ambushed. Nimitz didn’t have the ship’s to crush Yamamoto, so he did the next best thing to get the most value out of the opportunity presented. 

Not bad as a preliminary analysis. The USN was badly outnumbered. Yamamoto was using almost the entire Combined Fleet. A successful defensive ambush was the only option available given the limited resources available to Nimitz. The JN25 fleet code was changed in the week of the battle and real-time decoding for tactical intelligence went out the window during the battle itself until the new code was broken after the battle. Nimitz had the good sense to give a broad directive to his task force commanders and left the how-to up to them. Fletcher and Spruance (both black shoe admirals-ie., non-flyers) did a superb job, and Fletcher had the good sense to devolve command to Spruance once Yorktown was hors de combat. The results of the battle were decisive in the sense that the intiative then passed to the Allies, especially the US fleet. Winning the initiative is half the battle.

Yamamoto was looking to destroy the USN carriers in a decisive fleet action, giving the IJN control of the whole of the western, central and south Pacific ocean areas. Decisive battle through pre-emptive attack was his idea. This attack was a departure from pre-war IJN policy, which was based on a decisive fleet action in the western Pacific nearer Japanese-controlled waters, the counterpoint to the USN's numerous War Plan Orange war scenarios. Any Japanese victory was predicated on attrition tactics which allowed them to wear down the numerical advantage possessed by the USN from the treaty structure and fight them on equal terms with ships possessing qualitative superiority and superior tactics and battle proficiency.

Yamamoto's rationale was strike while the iron is hot, before the US makes up for its' Pearl Harbor and other losses with their massive fleet construction and expansion programs, and while they were without a viable battle line and Japan still had a chance of gaining what they wanted, a peace treaty that left them in control of the Asia-Pacific area. He fully understood the US' resource and industrial advantages, having studied at Harvard in the early 1920s. He gauged it properly, but lackluster planning, poor tactical decisions by Nagumo and his staff, and the cracked codes ruined his chances. History lesson for today....

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The IJN's institutional approach to battle planning had been overly scripted and depended on doing what you want the enemy to do. You can see it happen again in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and Battle of Leyte Gulf. The problems begin when the USN does not do what the IJN wants (Midway) or is too optimistic about IJN prospects.  Yamamoto would had been better off using a sledgehammer approach towards Midway. 

Even with all the problems the IJN had, you'll have to admit it was a near run thing.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Bill_Halsey said:

The IJN's institutional approach to battle planning had been overly scripted and depended on doing what you want the enemy to do. You can see it happen again in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and Battle of Leyte Gulf. The problems begin when the USN does not do what the IJN wants (Midway) or is too optimistic about IJN prospects.  Yamamoto would had been better off using a sledgehammer approach towards Midway. 

Even with all the problems the IJN had, you'll have to admit it was a near run thing.

 

 

oh my god yes. The Vindicators pulling the fighters down just before the SBDs begin their uncoordinated but perfect attacks after stumbling onto the IJN carriers independently...it was a freakin' miracle.

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13 minutes ago, Thornir said:

oh my god yes. The Vindicators pulling the fighters down just before the SBDs begin their uncoordinated but perfect attacks after stumbling onto the IJN carriers independently...it was a freakin' miracle.

That is what the revisionists are trying to disprove. That the U.S. could had pulled a victory at Midway regardless. Change a timeline of events slightly and it would had been a Japanese Victory.

1. Nagumo made a prompt decision to go for the carriers immediately upon receipt location, using the spotted aircraft in reserve. that would had given the IJN a near simultaneous blow. No fueled planes and ordnance scattered about would had mean fewer carriers lost. 

2. Commander McClusky  decided to run back rather than press on with the search.

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35 minutes ago, Bill_Halsey said:

The IJN's institutional approach to battle planning had been overly scripted and depended on doing what you want the enemy to do. You can see it happen again in the Battle of the Philippine Sea and Battle of Leyte Gulf. The problems begin when the USN does not do what the IJN wants (Midway) or is too optimistic about IJN prospects.  Yamamoto would had been better off using a sledgehammer approach towards Midway. 

Even with all the problems the IJN had, you'll have to admit it was a near run thing.

 

 

If Ozawa had been allowed to train his air groups, especially his carrier fighers and fighter-bomber squadrons, to the same level as the veteran USN air groups, Phillipine Sea would have been a lot closer than the turkey shoot that it was. Richard O'Kane and his fellow submariners prevented that. Ozawa's plan for strikes from outside US aircraft strike range was decent in that respect, with long range strikes, and succeeded. I don't think the IJN could have won it, but they could have done significant damage to Mitscher's carriers despite his superiority in numbers of ships and planes with strikes from outside USN carrier planes attack range. The IJN's weakness was the lack of understanding of task group defensive air fighting using radar and shipboard fighter controllers, both by the USN, and with their own radars in defence.

Spruance's decision to cover the Saipan invasion force and keep the carrier task groups under a tight leash was, IMHO, the only correct solution. Fleet Admiral King said as much after the battle, in the face of fierce criticism by the airdales. Once Spruance turned the carriers loose, they discovered that the IJN ships were operating at the extreme limits of USN air strike range. Even with that, the carriers did a lot of damage on the one offensive strike that they did make.

The 1st prize at Phillipine Sea goes to Cavalla and Albacore (+1 to the subs all around!) for sinking Taiho and Shokaku. 2nd place goes to the flyers and fighter controllers shipboard, who did a superb job and killed what was left of the IJN's conventional air striking power, leaving nothing but the Kamikaze nightmare as an option, implemented at Leyte Gulf and later, in spades, at Okinawa.

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25 minutes ago, GrandAdmiral_2016 said:

If Ozawa had been allowed to train his air groups, especially his carrier fighers and fighter-bomber squadrons, to the same level as the veteran USN air groups, Phillipine Sea would have been a lot closer than the turkey shoot that it was. Richard O'Kane and his fellow submariners prevented that. Ozawa's plan for strikes from outside US aircraft strike range was decent in that respect, with long range strikes, and succeeded. I don't think the IJN could have won it, but they could have done significant damage to Mitscher's carriers despite his superiority in numbers of ships and planes with strikes from outside USN carrier planes attack range. The IJN's weakness was the lack of understanding of task group defensive air fighting using radar and shipboard fighter controllers, both by the USN, and with their own radars in defence.

You mean, to the same levels of prior Kido Butai pilots? The training practices of IJN and USN differ. USN rotate pilots back to become trainers and leaders of new formations. That allows knowledge gained to be disseminated to newbies. IJN pilots normally stay until they're dead. 

Consider also that the USN had replaced the 1.1 inch Chicago pianos with Bofors. VT fuses for 5 inchers are in use. 2-4 carriers are now grouped into TF's with attendant escorts rather than being singletons as before. Add radar and TF fighter control, even the 1941-42 Kido Butai pilots would have had tough time getting through.

Edited by Bill_Halsey

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16 hours ago, Admiral_Thrawn_1 said:

Was just doing some research on the Battle of Midway, and while looking through the Order of Battle I found it interesting that both sides had deployed subs to be used in the battle!?

Which I have heard that both sides had actually been doing “Decisive Battle” planning leading up to the war. And that of course centered around the Battleships, with Cruisers, Destroyers, and maybe some Carrier usage, but also included usage of decent numbers of Fleet Submarines to aid innthe battle? Which resulted in some interesting situations including  a couple USN subs getting damaged by B-17 bombs. And one USN sub was held responsible for allowing Mogami and some other IJN ships to escape out of fear for the sub, and after that battle several USN submarine captains pulled from active sub duty for being timid in their actions, but that seems to have partially due to flaws in pre war training doctrine. Honestly I could not blame the commanders of the subs for not wanting to pursue the retreating IJN CAs by running full speed on the surface until they got close to the enemy ships since no garrentee that the subs would not have been detected by aircraft or run into some DDs or something. And a surfaced sub vs a CA much less small group of CAs would not have gone well for the sub, and a Captain is responsible for safety of their vessel and lives of it’s crew.

So makes me wonder if they were not ending up using that “Decisive Battle” idea, although retailored some with what both sides had been able to send.

I would answer no, the USN was not using "Decisive Battle" at Midway.  Pearl Harbor forced the the USN to be cautious due to being outnumbered in the Pacific.  The slow USN Battleships wanted to get involved at Midway, but eventually decided not to because of their speed. If this was the Decisive Battle, they'd have been committed.  Also, the escorts of the USN CVs were being considered to move forward and attack IJN escorts in a risky decisive battle, but again, they thought better of it because the USN was being cautious and wanted their CVs protected.  The USN was holding back at Midway, so they wouldn't risk losing it all.

 

Details found in this documentary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w30FkSXyTE

Edited by Sventex
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1 hour ago, Bill_Halsey said:

You mean, to the same levels of prior Kido Butai pilots? The training practices of IJN and USN differ. USN rotate pilots back to become trainers and leaders of new formations. That allows knowledge gained to be disseminated to newbies. IJN pilots normally stay until they're dead. 

Consider also that the USN had replaced the 1.1 inch Chicago pianos with Bofors. VT fuses for 5 inchers are in use. 2-4 carriers are now grouped into TF's with attendant escorts rather than being singletons as before. Add radar and TF fighter control, even the 1941-42 Kido Butai pilots would have had tough time getting through.

The solution is 360-degree attacks in small groups from all points of the compass at short intervals. The kamikaze attacks were made in this fashion against TF 38/TF 58/off Okinawa, were deliberately done in this manner, and they overloaded the CIC/fighter controller system to the point wher the fighters could not cope with all the attackers, and managed to hit and damage many carriers and other vessels as a result. Attacking in this fashion also overloads ship AA fire control as well. Cruise missile attack is what kamikaze is..the jury is still out because no large-scale attacks with cruise missiles has occurred since...

Edited by GrandAdmiral_2016

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Yamamoto wanted a decisive battle, as did the IJN.  They had been preparing for one for more than a decade.  When they finally decided to push the US into one, their carrier forces were smashed and the rest of the IJN refused to push forward and instead refused battle.

By comparison, the US only put their carrier forces into the battle and withheld their battle line entirely.

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5 hours ago, GrandAdmiral_2016 said:

Yamamoto's rationale was strike while the iron is hot, before the US makes up for its' Pearl Harbor and other losses with their massive fleet construction and expansion programs, and while they were without a viable battle line and Japan still had a chance of gaining what they wanted, a peace treaty that left them in control of the Asia-Pacific area. He fully understood the US' resource and industrial advantages, having studied at Harvard in the early 1920s. He gauged it properly, but lackluster planning, poor tactical decisions by Nagumo and his staff, and the cracked codes ruined his chances. History lesson for today....

If Yamamoto actually understood these things, he never would have executed the Pearl Harbor attack(which ensured that the US would never actually give Japan the treaty they wanted), nor would he have allowed the IJN's carrier force to be so cavalierly risked in operations like Port Moresby. He seized control of the IJN's strategic decision making and proceeded to bungle it all away in a series of poor decisions through 41-43. The whole rationale behind the Midway operation was terrible- it involved using lots of IJN resources and risking critical ships defending an amphibious operation for a virtually worthless island that would have been easily suppressed by Pearl had it been taken. The correct thing to do would be to wait for the USN to be forced to act- had something like Guadalcanal and the Solomons campaign occurred with the IJN's carrier arm intact, the IJN could actually have had a decisive battle on the terms they wanted.

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59 minutes ago, GrandAdmiral_2016 said:

The solution is 360-degree attacks in small groups from all points of the compass at short intervals. The kamikaze attacks were made in this fashion against TF 38/TF 58/off Okinawa, were deliberately done in this manner, and they overloaded the CIC/fighter controller system to the point wher the fighters could not cope with all the attackers, and managed to hit and damage many carriers and other vessels as a result. Attacking in this fashion also overloads ship AA fire control as well. Cruise missile attack is what kamikaze is..the jury is still out because no large-scale attacks with cruise missiles has occurred since...

And, the USN didn't sit still.  They initiated a number of projects to counter all of that.

Cadillac:  Development of an AEW aircraft with fighter direction capacity that moved the detection radar off the ship.

TBM-3W_NAN4-46.jpg

Bumblebee:  Development of a SAM for fleet area defense

This led to the Talos, Terrier, and Tartar missiles

bmbleb.gif

Gorgon:  Development of an AAM for fleet defense:

US_Navy_KU3N-1_Gorgon_IIIA_missile_in_19

And Typhon:  This was the integrated system for fleet defense that eventually became Aegis.

avm1_bw_1967a.jpg

That's the USS Norton Sound with the "beehive" test rig for Typhon aboard.

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1 hour ago, GrandAdmiral_2016 said:

The solution is 360-degree attacks in small groups from all points of the compass at short intervals. The kamikaze attacks were made in this fashion against TF 38/TF 58/off Okinawa, were deliberately done in this manner, and they overloaded the CIC/fighter controller system to the point wher the fighters could not cope with all the attackers, and managed to hit and damage many carriers and other vessels as a result. Attacking in this fashion also overloads ship AA fire control as well. Cruise missile attack is what kamikaze is..the jury is still out because no large-scale attacks with cruise missiles has occurred since...

It's fine for attackers who are not coming back?. For conventional forces?

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25 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

And, the USN didn't sit still.  They initiated a number of projects to counter all of that.

Cadillac:  Development of an AEW aircraft with fighter direction capacity that moved the detection radar off the ship.

TBM-3W_NAN4-46.jpg

Bumblebee:  Development of a SAM for fleet area defense

This led to the Talos, Terrier, and Tartar missiles

bmbleb.gif

Gorgon:  Development of an AAM for fleet defense:

US_Navy_KU3N-1_Gorgon_IIIA_missile_in_19

And Typhon:  This was the integrated system for fleet defense that eventually became Aegis.

avm1_bw_1967a.jpg

That's the USS Norton Sound with the "beehive" test rig for Typhon aboard.

I've read Friedman and was aware of it from other sources as well. As I said, on cruise missile effectiveness, the jury is still out, especially with  low altitude supersonic missiles and supersonic vertical divers. Even modern computer fire control systems have a saturation point, related to the limitations of synthetic aperture radars and the number of targets that can be handled. Offloading some of the task on the defensive missile itself does not solve the problem given the size limitations of the onboard missile sensor suites involved. MIRV suborbital missiles with warhead sensor suites are in testing. Try 4 miles per second closure rates with a nuclear warheads, because given the size of the target, nukes are the preferred solution even if they are illegal by treaty.

For the case discussed here, combat forces rapid evolution of methods to protect resources and personnel. Put an airborne radar in service and it becomes the prime target of the initial raids and the follow-up raids follow close behind, rushing in to overload the shipboard-based control and staturate the AA as well. The Japanese already understood this quite well. The airborne control works fairly well, but ship defenses, even on USN ships of the day, would have been oversaturated. If the attackers, a mix of kamikazes and conventional attack aircraft, break through the outer defenses and obtain even a 20% hit rate, they will have done their job of inflicting maximum battle casualties, which was the whole object of this style of attack by the Japanese armed forces

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5 minutes ago, GrandAdmiral_2016 said:

I've read Friedman and was aware of it from other sources as well. As I said, on cruise missile effectiveness, the jury is still out, especially with  low altitude supersonic missiles and supersonic vertical divers. Even modern computer fire control systems have a saturation point, related to the limitations of synthetic aperture radars and the number of targets that can be handled. Offloading some of the task on the defensive missile itself does not solve the problem given the size limitations of the onboard missile sensor suites involved. MIRV suborbital missiles with warhead sensor suites are in testing. Try 4 miles per second closure rates with a nuclear warheads, because given the size of the target, nukes are the preferred solution even if they are illegal by treaty.

For the case discussed here, combat forces rapid evolution of methods to protect resources and personnel. Put an airborne radar in service and it becomes the prime target of the initial raids and the follow-up raids follow close behind, rushing in to overload the shipboard-based control and staturate the AA as well. The Japanese already understood this quite well. The airborne control works fairly well, but ship defenses, even on USN ships of the day, would have been oversaturated. If the attackers, a mix of kamikazes and conventional attack aircraft, break through the outer defenses and obtain even a 20% hit rate, they will have done their job of inflicting maximum battle casualties, which was the whole object of this style of attack by the Japanese armed forces

The object of all of that was to move the intercept point as far from the ship's being attacked as possible.  Off Okinawa the USN used radar picket destroyers to detect raids out 100+ miles from the main body of the fleet.  These would then direct their CAP onto the incoming strike.  The purpose of the systems I described was to do the same.  The Phoenix AIM 54 missile, and its predecessor, the Sparrow AIM 7, were designed in the same vein.  Long range engagement of the attacker before they could even launch their weapons and if they did launch engagement of the incoming missile as far away as possible.

While saturation is still possible, by extending the engagement range as far as possible it gives the defender the most time possible to defeat the incoming strike / missiles.  That makes saturation harder.

Even in the 30's the USN had worked out that problem for air defense.  The earliest version of this was the circular formation of escort ships with the valuable capital ship at the center of the ring.  This meant as an air strike approached (ideally) the escorts would spot it further out giving the defending CAP planes more time to go and intercept.  It also meant that the escorts in AA range could fire on the attackers for a longer period of time as they approached the escorts, then had to fly past them, and fly to the target in the middle of the ring.  More time firing meant more likelihood of shooting attacking planes down.

It's the same principle:  A layered defense in depth.

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10 minutes ago, Bill_Halsey said:

It's fine for attackers who are not coming back?. For conventional forces?

The only solution is drones and cruise missiles in saturation numbers. Attacking a carrier battle group or amphib battle group is a risky business for manned aircraft. To have any chance of success at all requires more drones and cruise missiles fired from all sources and all directions than the task force has onboard missiles in their magazines. Expensive at best,even firing from a standoff distance.

In the historical context, the only solution for the attacker was at low level inbound and attacking at nought feet at high speed, using whatever cloud or land cover was available to counter radar detection. Even today, picking up low-flying targets from ground or wave clutter with radar is not simple. Vertical attack was possible, but the attackers would have to fight their way through all the defenses to dive vertically into a ship. Some of them succeeded, if you can imagine it. Imagine what it was like for those who fought in 1944-45. My hat goes off to all of them

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10 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

The object of all of that was to move the intercept point as far from the ship's being attacked as possible.  Off Okinawa the USN used radar picket destroyers to detect raids out 100+ miles from the main body of the fleet.  These would then direct their CAP onto the incoming strike.  The purpose of the systems I described was to do the same.  The Phoenix AIM 54 missile, and its predecessor, the Sparrow AIM 7, were designed in the same vein.  Long range engagement of the attacker before they could even launch their weapons and if they did launch engagement of the incoming missile as far away as possible.

While saturation is still possible, by extending the engagement range as far as possible it gives the defender the most time possible to defeat the incoming strike / missiles.  That makes saturation harder.

Even in the 30's the USN had worked out that problem for air defense.  The earliest version of this was the circular formation of escort ships with the valuable capital ship at the center of the ring.  This meant as an air strike approached (ideally) the escorts would spot it further out giving the defending CAP planes more time to go and intercept.  It also meant that the escorts in AA range could fire on the attackers for a longer period of time as they approached the escorts, then had to fly past them, and fly to the target in the middle of the ring.  More time firing meant more likelihood of shooting attacking planes down.

It's the same principle:  A layered defense in depth.

I agree, The only thing about dispersing outward in a layered manner against the air threat is that you open the door to the underwater threat, big time. Even with modern resources, the dual threat cannot be handled cleanly. Even with SSNs as offset escorts that threat is very real. An AIP-powered stealthy sub can carry the same weapons as an SSN. AIP-powered subs have routinely penetrated carrier battle groups in exercises, to distances where conventional torpedoes could not miss the main targets (ie., inside 1000 meters).

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5 hours ago, Aetreus said:

If Yamamoto actually understood these things, he never would have executed the Pearl Harbor attack(which ensured that the US would never actually give Japan the treaty they wanted), nor would he have allowed the IJN's carrier force to be so cavalierly risked in operations like Port Moresby. He seized control of the IJN's strategic decision making and proceeded to bungle it all away in a series of poor decisions through 41-43. The whole rationale behind the Midway operation was terrible- it involved using lots of IJN resources and risking critical ships defending an amphibious operation for a virtually worthless island that would have been easily suppressed by Pearl had it been taken. The correct thing to do would be to wait for the USN to be forced to act- had something like Guadalcanal and the Solomons campaign occurred with the IJN's carrier arm intact, the IJN could actually have had a decisive battle on the terms they wanted.

Yamamato did understand that Japan could not win a war of attrition with the US. He argued against going to war with the US. He lost that argument. That he made some strategic errors in attempting to execute the "knock out" plan is clear, but Japan's armed forces weren't built for the war they attempted to conduct.

More interesting still, was that while the Japanese were at the forefront of CV tactical and strategic employment, it was the US, not the Japanese, that properly employed them (and yes, I'll grant that the US had little choice after Pearl Harbor, but I also think that had the battleships survived, they would not have been employed due to their fuel requirements (SD and WA were available at Solomons, but not employed for months after arriving on station due to fuel requirements), and / or would have not faired well had they engaged).

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9 hours ago, GrandAdmiral_2016 said:

If Ozawa had been allowed to train his air groups, especially his carrier fighers and fighter-bomber squadrons, to the same level as the veteran USN air groups, Phillipine Sea would have been a lot closer than the turkey shoot that it was. Richard O'Kane and his fellow submariners prevented that. Ozawa's plan for strikes from outside US aircraft strike range was decent in that respect, with long range strikes, and succeeded. I don't think the IJN could have won it, but they could have done significant damage to Mitscher's carriers despite his superiority in numbers of ships and planes with strikes from outside USN carrier planes attack range. The IJN's weakness was the lack of understanding of task group defensive air fighting using radar and shipboard fighter controllers, both by the USN, and with their own radars in defence.

Spruance's decision to cover the Saipan invasion force and keep the carrier task groups under a tight leash was, IMHO, the only correct solution. Fleet Admiral King said as much after the battle, in the face of fierce criticism by the airdales. Once Spruance turned the carriers loose, they discovered that the IJN ships were operating at the extreme limits of USN air strike range. Even with that, the carriers did a lot of damage on the one offensive strike that they did make.

The 1st prize at Phillipine Sea goes to Cavalla and Albacore (+1 to the subs all around!) for sinking Taiho and Shokaku. 2nd place goes to the flyers and fighter controllers shipboard, who did a superb job and killed what was left of the IJN's conventional air striking power, leaving nothing but the Kamikaze nightmare as an option, implemented at Leyte Gulf and later, in spades, at Okinawa.

The IJN had a year to try to make good on their aircrew and aircraft losses of 1942-1943.  Their training was passable.  Remember, most of those Elite IJN aircrews from the Pre-Pearl Harbor and going into the start of Guadanal, are almost all dead.  Japan was never, ever going to regain that lost expertise from their dead elite pilots.  They were squandered in 1942-1943.

 

There was absolutely NO WAY the Japanese had any chance of even contesting the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

http://www.navweaps.com/index_oob/OOB_WWII_Pacific/OOB_WWII_Phillipine_Sea.php

Japan

6 CVLs

3 CVs (Both Shokaku-class + brand new Taiho)

222 Zeroes

182 carrier based bombers

250 land based aircraft

5 BBs (Both Yamato-class, Nagato, 2 Kongo-class)

11 CAs

2 CLs

26 DDs

 

United States... Take a deep breath now...  Also keep in mind, a lot of these American aircrews have extensive flying time, combat experience now.  The Japanese aircrews were GREEN.

8 CV

7 CVL

473 Hellcats

3 Corsairs

426 carrier based bombers

7 BBs (2 NC-class, 3 SD-class, 2 Iowa-class)

8 CAs

13 CLs

58 DDs

 

It's good that the Japanese bailed when they did, because if they had pushed harder they'd have been massacred.

 

There was no surprise for IJN naval aviation.  Radar killed that idea.  The longer range of the Japanese planes was no longer an advantage in 1944.

 

IMO, the IJN had zero chance on winning any significant naval engagement once they withdrew from the Solomons in 1943.  The American Steamroller was well under way.  The eventual contribution of the British Pacific Fleet to join the Americans in 1945 made it even worse.

8 hours ago, Sventex said:

I would answer no, the USN was not using "Decisive Battle" at Midway.  Pearl Harbor forced the the USN to be cautions due to being outnumbered in the Pacific.  The slow USN Battleships wanted to get involved at Midway, but eventually decided not to because of their speed. If this was the Decisive Battle, they'd have been committed.  Also, the escorts of the USN CVs were being considered to move forward and attack IJN escorts in a risky decisive battle, but again, they thought better of it because the USN was being cautious and wanted their CVs protected.  The USN was holding back at Midway, so they wouldn't risk losing it all.

 

Details found in this documentary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w30FkSXyTE

 

12 hours ago, Thornir said:

Yamamoto definitely wanted a decisive battle, but that would have required surprise and a reactive response from Nimitz. The code was broken though, so instead he got ambushed. Nimitz didn’t have the ship’s to crush Yamamoto, so he did the next best thing to get the most value out of the opportunity presented. 

On board with these assessments.  If anything, once the Americans were outside the Solomons, they were fighting nothing but a series of Decisive Battles to get the IJN to come out and play.  The commitment by the Americans was full and overwhelming.  Everything was being used, even the old USN Standard BBs.

 

Saipan was what drew out the IJN to play, what we got was the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the "Marianas Turkey Shoot."  It's interesting to note that numerous IJN officers felt that the loss of Guadalcanal wasn't the end, but Saipan / Battle of the Philippine Sea to them was the first truly shocking event that sh*t had gone bad with no way to come back.

 

The invasion of the Philippines as expected, drew out the IJN once again.  The Philippines sat atop the convoy routes of the strategic resources in the Dutch East Indies.  It's bad enough US Subs were camping the routes already, but the loss of the Philippines would sever this completely.  The IJN had no choice but to join in battle.  What we got was the various engagements of the Battle of Leyte Gulf and a catastrophic disaster for the IJN.  If the Battle of the Philippine Sea killed off what was left of the Kido Butai and their aircrews, Leyte Gulf castrated, killed what was the only thing left the IJN had:  Big Guns.

 

Okinawa was a battle to get the Japanese to come out and play, and play they did with Yamato and Operation Ten-Go.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway
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Just now, Thornir said:

Yamamato did understand that Japan could not win a war of attrition with the US. He argued against going to war with the US. He lost that argument. That he made some strategic errors in attempting to execute the "knock out" plan is clear, but Japan's armed forces weren't built for the war they attempted to conduct.

More interesting still, was that while the Japanese were at the forefront of CV tactical and strategic employment, it was the US, not the Japanese, that properly employed them (and yes, I'll grant that the US had little choice after Pearl Harbor, but I also think that had the battleships survived, they would not have been employed due to their fuel requirements (SD and WA were available at Solomons, but not employed for months after arriving on station due to fuel requirements), and / or would have not faired well had they engaged).

Ah yes, staging a near-coup where you insist on attacking pearl using your personal plan in opposition to your superior officer, who wants to avoid attacking the USA at all and only attack the DEI. That sort of losing. This is a 100% false narrative. Yamamoto did not understand how to use the IJN to actually achieve Japan's goals, and forced it into a war it could not win.

Hmm, I wonder whose fault IJN employment of carriers during the opening of WWII was? Who was responsible for the IJN's operational activity, and the office which had seized control over much of its strategic planning as well early in the war? That sounds an awful lot like the commander-in-chief of Combined Fleet. 

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“If I am told to fight regardless of the consequences, I shall run wild for the first six months or a year, but I have absolutely no confidence about the second and third years.”

– Admiral Yamamoto

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20 hours ago, Thornir said:

“If I am told to fight regardless of the consequences, I shall run wild for the first six months or a year, but I have absolutely no confidence about the second and third years.”

– Admiral Yamamoto

Per Shattered Sword, pg. 24. "Yamamoto had insisted in 1941 that if Japan chose to conquer the resources of the south through war, that war also had to include the United States." "In this view he was opposed by several senior members of the Naval General Staff, including its head, Admiral Nagano Osami." "In the midst of the Pearl Harbor debate, he had let it be known that he and the entire command staff of Combined Fleet were prepared to resign if his views were not confirmed."

Yes, Yamamoto thought he couldn't win a war with the USA. No, he didn't oppose it. He was in fact one of the loudest voices arguing that if Japan went to war for the DEI(which was absolutely necessary given the state of the IJN's oil reserves), they also had to go to war with the USA. He was an officer of the IJN. Were you expecting rationality?

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Only way Japan could have wonnthe war or at least achieved Armistice would have been either to not have had the Kido Buntai CV force divided up and part of it put out of commission for the Midway battle. In which case some experts feel the IJN could have achieved a victory at Midway which would have rattled the USN if even with the code breakers they had still failed!?

Or as I debated in another thread the IJN had avoided Pearl Harbor and the ensuing American public outrage over the “unprovoked and dastardly attack” and instead had focused on the western Pacific conquests. USN might have decided to go and engage the IJN which would have been focused around the BBs, CAs, DDs, and IJN would have brought in the subs and CVs as well. Questionable if USN would have relied upon on their CVs as much, since unlike Japan the CV in USN was still felt as auxiliary ships and the debate of their usefulness had not yet been settled. Naval planners had still been planning BB centric battle plans just as much of the world had still been doing. Pearl Harbor was the major wake up call that pretty much forced the debate to be settle both by the display of the power CV aircraft had and the fact CVs were pretty much main power USN Pacific Fleet has left shortly after Pearl Harbor attack. Had Oearl Harbor not have happened it likely would have been months or years until USN had settled the CV debate. 

If the USN has decided to have a Decisive Battle with the IJN without Pearl Harbor attack happening, odds are the USN would have engaged the IJN forces including Yamato class BBs. If USN had suffered heavy losses on such a battle the warships would not be able to be raised like in Pearl Harbor, the loss of life would likely have been higher since likely no shore to swim to or immediate responses by rescue teams. And since USN would have been the ones crossing ocean to attack there would not have been the American Public outrage towards Japan, instead it would have probably been the USN or Government held to Blane for the loss of American life and ships in an Asian Matter.

Although from the Japanese position and point of few it would have been risky gamble and waiting game to see if USN came to engage them and to be able to be ready for them. Instead of being able to potentially wipe out the entire USN Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

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