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Admiral_Thrawn_1

What Would Kamikaze Aircraft Have Done at Midway?

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Tried asking this question in another Midway thread, but decided it might be a better topic for separate thread.

The question is what effect would have late war Kamikaze tactics of had on the Battle of Midway?( Horrific / unthinkable idea  to use such human sacrificing tactics in my opinion, but IJN did use them later in the war so it’s worth considering for alternate history scenario.) Assuming you had some new pilots trained to be Kamikaze pilots like later in the war. Used the normal elite Kido Buntai pilots to help escort the Kamikaze pilots safely to the USN fleet.

And since the Kamikaze pilots would have needed a CV I guess off the top of my head they could have used the CV Zuikaku which had been foolishly sent to the Coral Sea along with her sister ship and resulting in both been put out of commission for the Midway operation with Zuikaku having aircraft depleted and her sister damaged . Kido Buntai as long as it was a united force had enjoyed nothing but success until the decision to split them up led to catastrophic results. So if Zuikaku could have been quickly restocked with Kamikaze aircraft you could have 72+ Kamikaze planes for Midway.

Additional support would have been available thanks to the escort DDs and CAs for Zuikaku being able to attend the Midway battle.

My big question is would the USN have lost the battle because of the unexpected appearance of Kamikaze tactics?

Would the USN AA guns at the time have been able to handle this? And if the USN had lost the battle how long would it have likely taken for the USN to be ready for a counter attack later on?( including possibly needing to develop new AA guns or at least come up with reinforced AA defenses to deal with Kamikaze aircraft like the USN used in later war.)

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Pretty much nothing because the Japanese pilots would push in extremely close to get hits that their squadrons were decimated anyway. Also it wasn't unknown even early in the war for individual Japanese pilots to try to ram allied planes or to suicide into a ship.

While this scene from the recent Midway movie didn't happen at Midway it really did happen.

 

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In terms of Midway, likely nothing.

 

remember, what wrecked the IJN CVs is they were in the process of launching their attack on the US CV that was spotted.

They had moved aircraft below to arm for ship attack, while landing the aircraft from the Midway island attack. Any Kamikaze aircraft would have been caught on the decks much like the other planes.

 

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The tactic did cripple the BIG E... It was believed by the Japanese it was sunk...

As far as I know, no other CV in the pacific theater, suffered an equal faith as the Big E...

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If we assume events played out as they did historically with the exception that Japanese offensive strikes against US carriers would include Kamikaze attacks, then the outcome of Midway would largely be exactly the same.

The two strikes Hiryu launched on Yorktown would still cripple the carrier.  The damage would likely be somewhat greater, but the result the same.  Yorktown is crippled and then sunk by submarine.  The Kamikaze would not sink the carrier, just wreck its capacity for air operations.  Kamikaze were proven later in the war to have no penetrative ability so they could not defeat armored decks or armored portions of ships.  As US carrier's flight decks and hanger bays at that time were light, unarmored, superstructure these would be wrecked.  The armored hanger deck however would prevent the Kamikaze from damaging the machinery and magazines.

So, the ship is wrecked but afloat and can eventually be withdrawn or withdraw on its own power after the fires are controlled and damage contained.

Since Hiryu alone didn't have the aircraft available for more strikes after the second one, most of the offensive strike planes being lost or seriously damaged, that leaves Enterprise and Hornet intact and they still demolish Hiryu.

 

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12 hours ago, Lord_Slayer said:

In terms of Midway, likely nothing.

 

remember, what wrecked the IJN CVs is they were in the process of launching their attack on the US CV that was spotted.

They had moved aircraft below to arm for ship attack, while landing the aircraft from the Midway island attack. Any Kamikaze aircraft would have been caught on the decks much like the other planes.

 

Except they had been confused about were whether they needed bombs for Midway island or torpedoes for attacking warships. This resulted in the decks being confused and strewn with explosive ordnance. The CV carrying the Kamikaze aircraft would have been free of said dilemma as they would of had 1 job, to take out the USN CVs. The other CVs would have focused on proving fighter escort and maybe some bombers to conceal their real attack. Then they would have focused the Midway island.

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8 hours ago, Murotsu said:

If we assume events played out as they did historically with the exception that Japanese offensive strikes against US carriers would include Kamikaze attacks, then the outcome of Midway would largely be exactly the same.

The two strikes Hiryu launched on Yorktown would still cripple the carrier.  The damage would likely be somewhat greater, but the result the same.  Yorktown is crippled and then sunk by submarine.  The Kamikaze would not sink the carrier, just wreck its capacity for air operations.  Kamikaze were proven later in the war to have no penetrative ability so they could not defeat armored decks or armored portions of ships.  As US carrier's flight decks and hanger bays at that time were light, unarmored, superstructure these would be wrecked.  The armored hanger deck however would prevent the Kamikaze from damaging the machinery and magazines.

So, the ship is wrecked but afloat and can eventually be withdrawn or withdraw on its own power after the fires are controlled and damage contained.

Since Hiryu alone didn't have the aircraft available for more strikes after the second one, most of the offensive strike planes being lost or seriously damaged, that leaves Enterprise and Hornet intact and they still demolish Hiryu.

 

Pretty much.

Like all thees Axis-boo threads coming up with miracles based on miracles to do something:  Nothing would have changed.  The result would still be the same.

 

Just like Operation Sea Lion to succeed, you'd need something crazy like Space Aliens coming down and abducting the entire US and Royal Navies.  Then MAYBE the Axis had a chance :Smile_veryhappy:

 

And let's say the Japanese get lucky and sink all the US CVs at Midway.  It wouldn't have mattered.  The tide was gathering somewhere, and when it hits, it will be the end.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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6 hours ago, Admiral_Thrawn_1 said:

Except they had been confused about were whether they needed bombs for Midway island or torpedoes for attacking warships. This resulted in the decks being confused and strewn with explosive ordnance. The CV carrying the Kamikaze aircraft would have been free of said dilemma as they would of had 1 job, to take out the USN CVs. The other CVs would have focused on proving fighter escort and maybe some bombers to conceal their real attack. Then they would have focused the Midway island.

So are you talking about one of the four Fleet CVs or one of the smaller CVs the IJN had?

The combined 4 IJN Fleet CVs held about 265 aircraft vs the USN CVs combined 270. That is if they were all carrying their max operational aircraft.

Half the IJN aircraft struck Midway, the rest waiting for the appearance of the US CVs. Yes, I know they had the confusion regarding unloading the anti-ship and going to Land attack, then reversing. They had also begun to refuel and re-arm the returned Midway attackers. When the USN Dive Bombers attacked, the IJN CVs were beginning to launch their first attacks on the USN CVs. 

Now, going by what I believe you are saying, having one CV to carry the Kamikazes. If set up like their late-war versions, not only would they be fully fueled, but also would have a bomb on the aircraft. Operationally, the Kamikaze CV should be operating with the 4 Fleet CVs. When the four CVs turned into the wind to launch, so would the Kamikaze CV. This means there is a high possibility that it could have been focused on by by the USN DBs as the Kamikaze aircraft were launching. One bomb among the fueled and armed aircraft: game over for the Kamikaze CV.

Let's say the Kamikaze CV survived the USN strike and launched its aircraft with Hiryu's strike. Only the Yorktown's position was known. Depending on how many aircraft made it through the CAP and then the AA, how many of those planes would find the CV? Remember you are sending out young inexperienced pilots. Late in the War, alot of the Kamikaze's that went out went for pretty much any ship they saw: DDs, CLs, CAs, BBs, and CVs. Worst case, Yorktown is taken out. But the IJN still had no idea where Hornet and Enterprise were. Thus Hiryu and the Kamikaze CV would also likely be taken out in return. So the tally would still be one USN CV lost, but now 5 IJN Cvs lost. 

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On 3/31/2020 at 8:15 PM, Admiral_Thrawn_1 said:

What Would Kamikaze Aircraft Have Done at Midway?

The question is what effect would have late war Kamikaze tactics of had on the Battle of Midway?( Horrific / unthinkable idea  to use such human sacrificing tactics in my opinion, but IJN did use them later in the war so it’s worth considering for alternate history scenario.)

History hung in the balance when an unknown B-26 Marauder pilot made a Kamikaze attack on the CV Akagi during the Battle of Midway.  "The aircraft, either attempting a suicide ramming, or out of control due to battle damage or a wounded or killed pilot, narrowly missed crashing into the carrier's bridge, which could have killed Nagumo and his command staff, before it cartwheeled into the sea. This experience may well have contributed to Nagumo's determination to launch another attack on Midway, in direct violation of Yamamoto's order to keep the reserve strike force armed for anti-ship operations." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_aircraft_carrier_Akagi#Midway

If that B-26 had succeeded, he would have decapitated the Kido Butai's leadership from the outset of the battle and might have setup for a crushing victory for the Americans if the Kito Butai was outright destroyed instead of scuttled.

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The IJN were not keen on throwing away their trained, experienced aviators in 1942.  Kamikazes only became a thing very late in the war to make use of pilots that Japan had neither the time nor resources to properly train them, never mind train them as naval aviators on top of that, to fly off and land on carriers.

 

IIRC, in a post war interview that IJN ace Saburo Sakai gave, he had heard about the criticism on the use of kamikaze pilots late in WWII by Japan.  The answer he gave was brutal.  Japan no longer had the time, fuel, resources to train these pilots.  The Americans were already in the Philippines where Japan first debut the kamikaze.  With the Philippines lost and the US continuing to drive up to Okinawa and eventually Japan itself, there were no time and resources to train these new pilots.  Sakai basically said kamikaze was the best use of these inadequately trained replacements.  Some young kid newly conscripted into the IJN / IJA aviation forces received hardly any training, nor flight time because of fuel shortages, sure as hell wasn't going to go toe-to-toe with seasoned Allied aviators.

 

That was 1944-45.

 

But we're talking 1942 with the IJN having the best it's ever going to have in fully trained, experienced aviators which took them years to get, and they're not going to purposefully throw them away.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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5 hours ago, Lord_Slayer said:

So are you talking about one of the four Fleet CVs or one of the smaller CVs the IJN had?

The combined 4 IJN Fleet CVs held about 265 aircraft vs the USN CVs combined 270. That is if they were all carrying their max operational aircraft.

Half the IJN aircraft struck Midway, the rest waiting for the appearance of the US CVs. Yes, I know they had the confusion regarding unloading the anti-ship and going to Land attack, then reversing. They had also begun to refuel and re-arm the returned Midway attackers. When the USN Dive Bombers attacked, the IJN CVs were beginning to launch their first attacks on the USN CVs. 

Now, going by what I believe you are saying, having one CV to carry the Kamikazes. If set up like their late-war versions, not only would they be fully fueled, but also would have a bomb on the aircraft. Operationally, the Kamikaze CV should be operating with the 4 Fleet CVs. When the four CVs turned into the wind to launch, so would the Kamikaze CV. This means there is a high possibility that it could have been focused on by by the USN DBs as the Kamikaze aircraft were launching. One bomb among the fueled and armed aircraft: game over for the Kamikaze CV.

Let's say the Kamikaze CV survived the USN strike and launched its aircraft with Hiryu's strike. Only the Yorktown's position was known. Depending on how many aircraft made it through the CAP and then the AA, how many of those planes would find the CV? Remember you are sending out young inexperienced pilots. Late in the War, alot of the Kamikaze's that went out went for pretty much any ship they saw: DDs, CLs, CAs, BBs, and CVs. Worst case, Yorktown is taken out. But the IJN still had no idea where Hornet and Enterprise were. Thus Hiryu and the Kamikaze CV would also likely be taken out in return. So the tally would still be one USN CV lost, but now 5 IJN Cvs lost. 

They actually had 6 Fleet CVs in the Kido Buntai until they foolishly split them up by sending 2 CVs to the Coral Sea battle where 1 CV was damaged and the other depleted of aircraft. I figure the trouble restocking the aircraft would have been needing to train some more excellently trained pilots to replace their losses. But the theory I am wondering about in this thread is if the CV that had simply lost its air group could be replaced by Kamikaze pilots both it and its escort ships could have joined the other 5 CVs in Midway. Which would have essentially been a guided missile ship for the Kamikaze CV and the extra DDs an CAs since each CV had some DDs and CAs assigned to each of them.

So you are taking everything the IJN had at Midway and adding at least 1 CV to that plus a few DDs and CAs.

And later in the war Kamikaze pilots managed to find their targets even with a loss less training plus better USN AA later on, so there is no reason to assume they would not be able to do so at Midway. And the Midway operation they would have had well trained pilots in the air escort with them to better ensure they could get to the targets.

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4 hours ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

The IJN were not keen on throwing away their trained, experienced aviators in 1942.  Kamikazes only became a thing very late in the war to make use of pilots that Japan had neither the time nor resources to properly train them, never mind train them as naval aviators on to of that, to fly off and land on carriers.

 

IIRC, in a post war interview that IJN ace Saburo Sakai gave, he had heard about the criticism on the use of kamikaze pilots late in WWII by Japan.  The answer he gave was brutal.  Japan no longer had the time, fuel, resources to train these pilots.  The Americans were already in the Philippines where Japan first debut the kamikaze.  With the Philippines lost and the US continuing to drive up to Okinawa and eventually Japan itself, there were no time and resources to train these new pilots.  Sakai basically said kamikaze was the best use of these inadequately trained replacements.  Some young kid newly conscripted into the IJN / IJA aviation forces received hardly any training, nor flight time because of fuel shortages, sure as hell wasn't going to go toe-to-toe with seasoned Allied aviators.

 

That was 1944-45.

 

But we're talking 1942 with the IJN having the best it's ever going to have in fully trained, experienced aviators which took them years to get, and they're not going to purposefully throw them away.

To be clear my theory for this thread hinges on Not using a single one of their elite Kido Buntai pilots, but rather collecting some Kamikaze grade pilots, using at least the one air group depleted CV \\\ and perhaps any other CVs they might have had built but not ready for carrying the Kamikaze aircraft and pilots. Meanwhile the 4 Kido Buntai CVs that were still fully combat capable would have provided air escort, perhaps some conventional bombers to join in the attack, then later on having them attacks a Midway Islands.

Or you could have done a 2 pronged attack where conventional bombers attacked Midway, while the Kamikaze pilots hit the USN CVs.

And we can’t discount the the fact the IJN would have been far more capable than they were historically simply from the fact that a 5th CV would be present with its AA guns, escort ships, and what I believe to be the all import scout aircraft launched from the cruisers. It’s all too easy to make judgments and comments about the IJN’s poor performance at Midway, which in some ways is warranted but not entirely from that battle itself but rather the lapse in judgement for the Coral Sea Operation. When you have had a group that was so used to working together and then had 2/6 of them missing suddenly it did have some bad effects on efficiency. Particularly in their recon / scout group having so many of their spotter planes missing thanks to 2 of the CVs plus their escorts gone for the historical Midway battle.

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4 hours ago, Admiral_Thrawn_1 said:

They actually had 6 Fleet CVs in the Kido Buntai until they foolishly split them up by sending 2 CVs to the Coral Sea battle where 1 CV was damaged and the other depleted of aircraft. I figure the trouble restocking the aircraft would have been needing to train some more excellently trained pilots to replace their losses. But the theory I am wondering about in this thread is if the CV that had simply lost its air group could be replaced by Kamikaze pilots both it and its escort ships could have joined the other 5 CVs in Midway. Which would have essentially been a guided missile ship for the Kamikaze CV and the extra DDs an CAs since each CV had some DDs and CAs assigned to each of them.

You could actually take that a step further without the Kamikaze.

Yorktown left Pearl with Saratoga's air wing.

Why couldn't the depleted IJN CV have just taken on board the Damaged CVs air wing, which was basically intact.

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3 hours ago, Lord_Slayer said:

You could actually take that a step further without the Kamikaze.

Yorktown left Pearl with Saratoga's air wing.

Why couldn't the depleted IJN CV have just taken on board the Damaged CVs air wing, which was basically intact.

That is an excellent question. However the answer was the damaged CV Zuikaku had been hit by bombs that rendered her unable to launch or recover aircraft. Which depending on the damage could have prevented aircraft transfer. 

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20 minutes ago, Admiral_Thrawn_1 said:

That is an excellent question. However the answer was the damaged CV Zuikaku had been hit by bombs that rendered her unable to launch or recover aircraft. Which depending on the damage could have prevented aircraft transfer. 

Did they need to be flown off though? Or could they be moved via Crane?

I seem to recall that US CVs had the ability to lift aircraft from shore to the main deck. Could the IJN do the same?

I fully understand that they normally would be flown off and land at base and perform the reverse when setting sail, but obviously these are unusual circumstances, much like Hornet being loaded with B-25s. 

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The problem for the Japanese with transferring planes between carriers is one of doctrine.  Each IJN carrier had an assigned air group that was specifically trained, sized, and equipped for the carrier it served on.  Since each Japanese carrier was of unique design at the time, the air group on one carrier couldn't readily be transferred to another carrier without retraining and restructuring.

So, the Japanese saw the correct procedure prior to Midway was to rebuild the Zuikaku's and Shokaku's air groups while the carriers were being repaired rather than transfer the available planes and pilots to other carriers.  This means that even if a Japanese carrier survives the battle while its air group gets decimated, there will be no quick turnaround with new squadrons.  Instead, replacement planes and pilots will be issued to the carrier and the air group has to undergo a fairly lengthy training cycle to get the new pilots and aircraft trained on that specific carrier.

US doctrine by comparison made any squadron available to any carrier and the composition of an air group could be made up of any combination of available squadrons.  Yes, the USN did know and try to keep certain squadrons working with each other in an air group, but if it became required to expand or change the composition of the group new units would be added on the basis of availability.

Saratoga during the Midway battle had been loaded with extra squadrons of aircraft and departed San Diego for Hawaii to deliver some of these while others were to be replacement squadrons for the carriers engaged at Midway to make up for the losses.  This was in addition to her own air group that was made up of available squadrons on the US West Coast.

 

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If Coral Sea wasn't fought, then that means Yorktown is functioning 100% and not limping into Midway with already critical damage that was hastily bandaged up.

It also means Lexington is still around.

 

@Murotsu Yes, the USN regularly switched out assigned squadrons.  Matter of fact, this site dedicated to Enterprise shows a revolving door of aircraft types and squadrons throughout her wartime service.

http://www.cv6.org/company/airgroups.htm

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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On 4/1/2020 at 10:33 PM, HazeGrayUnderway said:

Pretty much.

Like all thees Axis-boo threads coming up with miracles based on miracles to do something:  Nothing would have changed.  The result would still be the same.

 

Just like Operation Sea Lion to succeed, you'd need something crazy like Space Aliens coming down and abducting the entire US and Royal Navies.  Then MAYBE the Axis had a chance :Smile_veryhappy:

 

And let's say the Japanese get lucky and sink all the US CVs at Midway.  It wouldn't have mattered.  The tide was gathering somewhere, and when it hits, it will be the end. 

I could buy that for Midway.  If the Japanese managed to sink the Yorktowns, it would've bought them a bit of time, but the war was overwhelmingly still in the American's favor because the Essex-class carriers were already starting to roll off the line.

It just means that the Japanese carriers would either run out of oil, reducing them to AA batteries at the end of the war, or get obliterated by a vengeful US Navy armed with the biggest and best ships in their arsenal.

American production just went nuts and that was boosted by an American drive to win the conflict against the Japanese - the opposite of what the latter wanted against the former.

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3 hours ago, Battlecruiser_Yavuz said:

I could buy that for Midway.  If the Japanese managed to sink the Yorktowns, it would've bought them a bit of time, but the war was overwhelmingly still in the American's favor because the Essex-class carriers were already starting to roll off the line.

It just means that the Japanese carriers would either run out of oil, reducing them to AA batteries at the end of the war, or get obliterated by a vengeful US Navy armed with the biggest and best ships in their arsenal.

American production just went nuts and that was boosted by an American drive to win the conflict against the Japanese - the opposite of what the latter wanted against the former.

The IJN had captured Oil Production on I forget which islands, I think in Malaysia? Which was one of the reasons they started conquering islands / land for the resources they held. Then Japan expanded further on order to give them buffer zones in which to use while attempting to hold off Allied forces and maybe if they were extremely lucky they could of hoped for an Armistice in which both sides agreed to cease fire and end the war while keeping the lands they currently held. There was no chance the Japanese could have defeated mainland United States or even Hawaii as the American resources were simply too great, particularly on their home soil.

But if the IJN could have achieved enough victories while holding and even gaining increasing amounts of land in Asia they might have gotten into a position to negotiate if the war looked like it might last indefinitely with heavy losses on both sides and perhaps mysterious IJN weapons that caused losses in the USN forces in unexplainable ways. And I am giving the IJN the most optimistic outcome I could see happening post Pearl Harbor. I have made posts in other Historical Threads about what might have happened had the IJN not have attacked Pearl Harbor which in my opinion and in the opinions of some historians could have led to more favorable outcome for Japan as to sum it up the IJN might have lured the USN into decisive naval battle where the US government would be more at risk of looking really bad depending on the outcome. ( Isolationist ideals of the American people could have put their leaders in deep trouble had the USN instead went over to attack the IJN and suffered moderate to severe losses or even a full defeat. Having ships and men lost in a foreign matter during the Isolationist period for American would have looked rather bad and been difficult to cover up as when your loved ones never return after a while questions get raised.) The IJN attacking Pearl Harbor in surprise attack is what angled the American people and allowed the US Government to finally get fully into the war with the full backing and will of the people which was not a good thing for Japan at all.

Other matter I am not certain of is just how much oil the Japanese were getting produced from some of their conquests and if it was enough to fully fuel their war machine or not. So if anyone has that info they could share it would be most welcome. Currently my info shows the IJN suffering because of USN Commerce Raiding Japanese supply ships which led to server shortages of many things including oil. So that right there might have been the reason for fuel shortages instead of not being able to produce enough? Or could have just accelerated how fast the IJN became crippled. I know that in theory you could even be producing 1,000x the amount of oil you need, but if your losing 99.99999% of the oil in transit then you would be facing shortages. So that is the question that is suddenly raised now if what Japanese oil production levels were.

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On 4/4/2020 at 4:47 AM, HazeGrayUnderway said:

If Coral Sea wasn't fought, then that means Yorktown is functioning 100% and not limping into Midway with already critical damage that was hastily bandaged up.

It also means Lexington is still around.

 

@Murotsu Yes, the USN regularly switched out assigned squadrons.  Matter of fact, this site dedicated to Enterprise shows a revolving door of aircraft types and squadrons throughout her wartime service.

http://www.cv6.org/company/airgroups.htm

If the Coral Sea had not happened then yes the Lexington would still be around, but so would the extra 2 IJN CVs as well as all their escorts and having their full scout / spotter planes available instead of being short handed like they ended up being.

Having variable aircraft load outs on CVs is a smart idea so long as you have the pilots that can fly them well fully trained for when they arrive and as long as the Crews of the CVs could manage the aircraft. It can mean depending on the mission you can possibly have more optimal plane load outs, as well as being far more unpredictable for the enemy.

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5 hours ago, Admiral_Thrawn_1 said:

The IJN had captured Oil Production on I forget which islands, I think in Malaysia? Which was one of the reasons they started conquering islands / land for the resources they held. Then Japan expanded further on order to give them buffer zones in which to use while attempting to hold off Allied forces and maybe if they were extremely lucky they could of hoped for an Armistice in which both sides agreed to cease fire and end the war while keeping the lands they currently held. There was no chance the Japanese could have defeated mainland United States or even Hawaii as the American resources were simply too great, particularly on their home soil.

Other matter I am not certain of is just how much oil the Japanese were getting produced from some of their conquests and if it was enough to fully fuel their war machine or not. So if anyone has that info they could share it would be most welcome. Currently my info shows the IJN suffering because of USN Commerce Raiding Japanese supply ships which led to server shortages of many things including oil. So that right there might have been the reason for fuel shortages instead of not being able to produce enough? Or could have just accelerated how fast the IJN became crippled. I know that in theory you could even be producing 1,000x the amount of oil you need, but if your losing 99.99999% of the oil in transit then you would be facing shortages. So that is the question that is suddenly raised now if what Japanese oil production levels were.

You're thinking of Borneo.  As you can see from the later information, Japan could only get an adequate amount of oil through California.  Hence trying to fight a war with the US was the mistake to begin with.  The only way oil production in the Pacific could meet Japan's needs is if they weren't fighting any wars.

pacific_war_-_dutch_east_indies_1941-42_

As for oil production:

Japanese oil inventories in thousands of barrels

Fiscal Year Crude Petroleum Refined Products Starting Inventories Consumption
  Imports Production Total Imports Production Total Crude Refined Total  
1941 3,130 1,941 5,071 5,242 15,997 21,239 20,857 28,036 48,893 36,974
1942 8,146 1,690 9,836 2.378 16,674 19,052 12,346 25,883 38,229 41,790
1943 9,848 1,814 11,662 4,652 16,167 20,819 6,839 18,488 25,327 43,992
1944 1,641 1,585 3,226 3,334 9,615 12,949 2,354 11,462 13,816 25,045
1945 (first half) 0 809 809 0 1,933 1,933 195 4,751 4,946 ~6,576

 

Japanese tanker tonnage

Month Tonnage
January 1942 575,500
July 1942 584,500
January 1943 670,500
July 1943 809,800
January 1944 781,200
July 1944 775,300
January 1945 627,100
July 1945 257,600

As you can see, even with the Borneo oil fields under their control, their oil consumption was far greater than what they could import or refine.

"The Japanese Navy was well aware of the vulnerability of its fuel supply, and it had been stockpiling oil since shortly after the First World War. So great was the perceived need that, from 1925 through 1930, part of the appropriations for naval construction were secretly diverted to oil purchases, a fact the Navy concealed from its own government. The Navy also succeeded in pressuring the government to enact the Petroleum Industry Law in 1934, which required civilian oil companies to build up a reserve equal to half their annual imports. This was ostensibly to ensure that there would be a sufficient wartime supply of oil for civilian use without dipping into Navy stocks. After 1937, the Navy began a crash program to stockpile high-octane gasoline and isooctane as well.

By 13 March 1941, the Japanese had managed to stockpile about 42.7 million barrels of oil, primarily from California and Tarakan. This was stored in some 7000 oil storage tanks, also purchased from the United States. Navy petroleum product reserves on 1 December 1941 were 1,435,000 tons of crude oil; 3,634,000 tons of of bunker fuel; 473,000 tons of aviation gasoline; 27,000 tons of isooctane; 6400 tons of aircraft lubricants; 13,600 tons of ordinary lubricants; and 921,000 tons of petroleum derivatives already loaded on ships or distributed to overseas bases. This was thought to be sufficient for the first year of war, but consumption greatly exceeded prewar projections. The Army estimated it would require 5.7 million barrels of oil per year while Navy requirements were estimated at 17.6 million barrels per year and civilian requirements at 12.6 million barrels per year. This proved to be a considerable underestimate in the first two years of the war. 

The Japanese badly mismanaged their limited resources of oil. They took the logical step of trying to establish a synthetic oil industry based on their sizable supplies of coal, but this effort failed because of a lack of technical expertise and shortages of alloying and catalytic metals for the synthetic oil plants. The Japanese also suffered a serious loss when an American submarine chanced upon and sank a transport carrying equipment and expert personnel to the southern oil fields. However, demolition of the oil fields of the Netherlands East Indies was carried out rather poorly and production rebounded quickly. The real problem was getting the oil to Japan. The Japanese tanker fleet was never adequate, and insufficient priority was given to building more tankers. Hence much of the production from Southeast Asia never made it to Japan. Although production in Japanese-controlled areas peaked at almost four million barrels a month in 1943, imports to Japan never exceeded about 1.4 million barrels a month. In the last two years of the war, the Japanese Fleet lost its advantage of interior lines of communication because of the necessity of basing much of the fleet near its fuel sources, at Singapore or Tawi Tawi.

Once Allied forces were established in the Philippines and on Okinawa, Japan was cut off from the oil fields of southeast Asia. The last tanker from southeast Asia reached Japan in March 1945. So desperate was the need for oil that millions of civilians, including whole classes of schoolchildren, were assigned to dig up pine roots. These could be distilled to produce a low-quality oil. About 37,000 distillation units were improvised to yield 70,000 barrels of pine oil, from which just 3,000 barrels of aviation fuel were refined. The fuel was so contaminated with impurities that American jeeps that used the fuel during the occupation quickly suffered engine failure." - http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/O/i/Oil.htm

Edited by Sventex
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8 hours ago, Admiral_Thrawn_1 said:

If the Coral Sea had not happened then yes the Lexington would still be around, but so would the extra 2 IJN CVs as well as all their escorts and having their full scout / spotter planes available instead of being short handed like they ended up being.

Having variable aircraft load outs on CVs is a smart idea so long as you have the pilots that can fly them well fully trained for when they arrive and as long as the Crews of the CVs could manage the aircraft. It can mean depending on the mission you can possibly have more optimal plane load outs, as well as being far more unpredictable for the enemy.

The Americans still had the initiative and surprise.

 

Lexington would give even more power to the US force who will have surprise.

Yorktown would not be limping on one leg to Midway and would be at full strength.

 

@Sventex Those USN submarines :Smile_trollface:

Late in the war the area north and east of Luzon was known to the Japanese as "the Sea of the Devil". In 1944 a common saying in Singapore was that "one could walk from Singapore to Tokyo on American periscopes." - US Pacific Submarines in WWII.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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8 hours ago, Admiral_Thrawn_1 said:

If the Coral Sea had not happened then yes the Lexington would still be around, but so would the extra 2 IJN CVs as well as all their escorts and having their full scout / spotter planes available instead of being short handed like they ended up being.

If Coral Sea didn't happen you would have the 2 fleet carries Shokaku and Zuikaku as well as the light carrier Shoho.

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You want a truly big what if? What if Enterprise was sunk on December 7 1941? What if the Japanese detected her while she was heading to Pearl and decided to attack her?

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1 hour ago, IJN_Yamato_BB17 said:

You want a truly big what if? What if Enterprise was sunk on December 7 1941? What if the Japanese detected her while she was heading to Pearl and decided to attack her?

It wouldn't have mattered if all US Carriers were lost at or prior to Midway.

 

The industrial tidal wave of the Essex-class would start arriving in December 1942 and the juggernaught of US shipbuilding would have smashed the IJN.

55L8qwN.jpg

 

That's what I love about these Axis-boo threads.  There's all kinds of crazy "what ifs" that people dream of and stack altogether in unrealistic ways thinking the end was going to be any different.

None of that matters.

Germany would still get stomped.

Japan would get buried.

 

The Allies would come out on top, always.

The Gang Beats A Dude Up GIF | Gfycat

It would have to take something totally ridiculous like Space Aliens abducting the Royal Navy, the Red Army, and the United States Navy.

 

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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