PDA

View Full Version : AHC: The Biggest Possible Screw Up in the Pacific War by Americans


General Tirpitz
May 25th, 2013, 02:25 PM
It's quite clear that Americans were gonna win the Pacific War. Still, I think it's interesting to think what could they have done wrong. So, your challenge is to screw American war efforts in some way in that front. It should be something realistic and something the USA could have done but didn't. We aren't searching for something which means a victory for Japan but just something which will be later remembered as a mistake by Americans which shouldn't have been done.

Dustin
May 25th, 2013, 02:29 PM
Going through with operation overlord for some reason, any reason.

Invading China would also be a bad idea.

Cook
May 25th, 2013, 02:32 PM
Going through with operation overlord...
You mean Operation Downfall.

deathscompanion1
May 25th, 2013, 02:37 PM
You mean Operation Downfall.


But think about it, the Krauts would never expect an invasion from the Pacific!

General Tirpitz
May 25th, 2013, 02:37 PM
You mean Operation Downfall.

Attacking France in 1945 when trying to defeat Japan would have been a rather bad move by Americans.

Dustin
May 25th, 2013, 02:39 PM
You mean Operation Downfall.

Well fuck... I feel stupid :o:mad:

Willmatron
May 25th, 2013, 03:15 PM
Letting McArthur get captured would lower morale a lot. Maybe skipping island hopping for a more direct attack against Japan. Maybe that's too ASB.

Alternate History Geek
May 25th, 2013, 03:33 PM
Letting McArthur get captured would lower morale a lot. Maybe skipping island hopping for a more direct attack against Japan. Maybe that's too ASB.

Wouldn't getting MacArthur captured improve the war effort?

marcus_aurelius
May 25th, 2013, 04:06 PM
Wouldn't getting MacArthur captured improve the war effort?

:D:D:D

Seriously, though, I can think of these ones...

1. Coral Sea: a) some bad decision on Fletcher's part could've doomed the American fleet and allow IJN to press home with the Port Moresby invasion fleet, and b) the Yorktown could've been lost

2. Midway: IOTL McClosky turned in the right direction which led him right to the IJN carriers. A wrong turn and he'd have to retire, leaving the Japanese fleet intact and possibly dooming TF 16 and 17. Now I don't think that'll be enough to knock the US out, but the morale loss would be significant

3. Guadalcanal: I'm no expert on this one, but AIUI the 1st Marine Division's position on the island was incredibly tenuous, and some misshap could really screw things up for them

4. Formosa: I believe there were plans to invade the island (which were eventually scrapped for reasons I don't remember :o). If that went through that'd be... troublesome, shall we say

Marc A

The Kiat
May 25th, 2013, 04:23 PM
I remember reading an essay about the disasterous outcome of launching War Plan Orange. Basically it ended up with air attack on the 7th Fleet while it was in the middle of the Phillippine Sea. Yeah, kind of hard to raise ships off the bottom of the ocean and repair them.

phx1138
May 25th, 2013, 04:39 PM
Wouldn't getting MacArthur captured improve the war effort?
It would shorten the Pacific War a minimum of 8mo, & might shorten the European War a couple, too, by making more shipping & LC available...

It's pretty hard to find places the U.S. really could screw up badly.

Fletcher pursuing Nagumo at Midway is the biggie.:eek::eek: It risked putting his CVs into contact with Yamamoto's heavies in the dark, when Fletcher's escort had no hope of defending successfully.:eek:

Pulling back from cover at Guadalcanal earlier? (Fletcher pulled back, but might have sooner.) Not putting enough men ashore would have been the big mistake.

Spruance chasing the CVs at Saipan? (Have I got my location right?:confused: It's something he was criticised for not doing, & IMO he was right.)

Didn't MacArthur propose a major attack on Rabaul very early in the war? That could have been a disaster.:eek:

Sending more subs to Australia or the Aleutians would've been stupid, but I doubt anybody thought to do it. Detailing more to supply runs for the P.I. would've been, too. (There were enough wasted patrols in the Aleutians & P.I. supply ops as it was.:rolleyes:)

amphibulous
May 25th, 2013, 05:14 PM
Letting McArthur get captured would lower morale a lot.

The practical benefits would outweigh the morale loss a hundred times.

Living in Exile
May 25th, 2013, 06:09 PM
Despite being spotted by a patrol boat, Admiral Halsey and General Doolittle decide not to launch early and press onward with the attack. The task force is then intercepted and ingloriously sunk. :p Also, Halsey makes it back alive.

The Battle of the Coral Sea goes roughly as OTL. Lexington sunk, Yorktown crippled, Shokaku and Zuikaku out of action for months.

To make up for the losses, the USS Wasp, USS Washington, and USS Ranger are pulled from the Atlantic.

When the Battle of Midway rolls around, the Yorktown isn't fully repaired. Instead, the USS Saratoga, USS Wasp, and USS Ranger are committed to battle. It goes poorly. The USS Saratoga, as in all timelines, is a torpedo magnet, and a Japanese sub disables her. The sub reports the location to the Kido Butai. Airstrikes result in a two-for-two exchange: The Wasp and Ranger are crippled, as are the Amagi and Kaga. Halsey, humiliated by the disaster of the Dootlittle Raid, has tried to tough out his illness aboard the USS Washington. The sickness and desire for redemption lead to the...questionable...decision to accept a night time surface battle. That goes about as well as you can expect, and the next day the Japanese forces mop up American cripples and tow their own to safety.

The USS Yorktown is returned to service and sent to Guadalcanal. A carrier battle, roughly equivalent to the Eastern Solomons is fought. USS Yorktown is sunk, but for the moment, all Japanese carriers are out of action. The US cruisers suffer their lopsided historical losses, and the new USS South Dakota is, as OTL, committed as their replacement. Unfortunately, she suffers her historical electrical failure. Without USS Washington (sunk at Midway) to bail her out, the most advanced and modern US fast battleship is subjected to the disgracing fate of being sunk by a WWI battlecruiser. The US fails to take Guadalcanal.

By this time, the Japanese carriers have been repaired and the US leadership is desperate for a victory. General MacAuthur's plans are endorsed instead of the failed USN strategy. He is given control over the green USS Essex and USS Independence. Needless to say, this is a horrible idea, and MacArthur inexplicably manages to get them sunk by land based aircraft.

At this point, the pilot situation is reversed compared to OTL, as the Americans throw increasingly inexperienced pilots into combat against the battle hardened Japanese. After a couple more carriers are sunk as the USN is forced to throw them away to satisfy political pressure, MacArthur is even more inexplicably, given comprehensive control over the Pacific War.

In 1952 MacArthur is elected on the basis of his 1947 victory over Japan on the platform of "nuking the commies is the right think to do." Global nuclear holocaust in 1953.

lionhead
May 25th, 2013, 07:42 PM
It's quite clear that Americans were gonna win the Pacific War. Still, I think it's interesting to think what could they have done wrong. So, your challenge is to screw American war efforts in some way in that front. It should be something realistic and something the USA could have done but didn't. We aren't searching for something which means a victory for Japan but just something which will be later remembered as a mistake by Americans which shouldn't have been done.

Imagine them failing the Doolittle raid and getting the USS Hornet sunk before any planes even make it off the deck.

ouch.

phx1138
May 26th, 2013, 01:58 AM
USS Wasp, and USS Ranger are committed to battle
Never. Ever. Ranger was so totally unfit, it's almost scary.
At this point, the pilot situation is reversed compared to OTL, as the Americans throw increasingly inexperienced pilots into combat
Not a chance. The U.S. training program was more than capable of keeping up with losses inflicted by Japan. Japan's never was.

elkarlo
May 26th, 2013, 02:10 AM
Operation Rainbow? ie trying to relieve the siege ongoing in the Philippines.

NothingNow
May 26th, 2013, 03:12 AM
Ignore Roebling's Alligator, and thus go without the LVT series.

Seriously, the logistical and operational constraints that'd put in place would make a good number of pacific operations impossible.

Alternately, do that and deploy Ranger to the Dutch East Indies, and give the Langley a squadron of N-3PBs serving as fighter bombers.

EDIT: Seriously, I'm trying to think of a worse combination, and it's the worst thing I can think of that someone might actually try. Although an N-3PB with a more powerful version of the R-1820 would actually make for a pretty solid torpedo bomber in the Dutch East Indies.

Chris Triangle
May 26th, 2013, 07:11 AM
It would shorten the Pacific War a minimum of 8mo, & might shorten the European War a couple, too, by making more shipping & LC available...

It's pretty hard to find places the U.S. really could screw up badly.

Fletcher pursuing Nagumo at Midway is the biggie.:eek::eek: It risked putting his CVs into contact with Yamamoto's heavies in the dark, when Fletcher's escort had no hope of defending successfully.:eek:

You mean, stumbling into range of the battleships?

mattep74
May 26th, 2013, 09:29 AM
2. Midway: IOTL McClosky turned in the right direction which led him right to the IJN carriers. A wrong turn and he'd have to retire, leaving the Japanese fleet intact and possibly dooming TF 16 and 17. Now I don't think that'll be enough to knock the US out, but the morale loss would be significant


Marc A

Even if McClosky had been forced to return Yorktowns squadron would show up and achive complete surprise of their own and taking out Soryu at least. Since McCloskys wing were able to take out two japanese carriers then Yorktowns squadrons could have taken out two also.

Wouldnt the bigest screw up beeing Halsey trying to find the japanese carriers post ww2 along with Lexington and Yorktown as three separate groups and the japanese also sinks the carriers on dec 7?

phx1138
May 26th, 2013, 08:34 PM
You mean, stumbling into range of the battleships?
Exactly. There was a message from Murphy in Tambor, & it caused Fletcher (Spruance) to pull back to defend, expecting invasion. Had this not happened (or had there been some delay, thanks to more terrible staff work by English), it could have gone very badly...

Derek Jackson
May 26th, 2013, 09:55 PM
Somehow Lets Japan know that codes are compromised

BlondieBC
May 26th, 2013, 10:15 PM
1) We leak we have the codes broken. We had it printed in a paper after Midway. One guy seized a maritime Jap code book prewar, so they changed their codes. It takes a minor flaw (POD) somewhere to let the Japanese learn of the broken codes. Then have it change some battle to a worse result.

2) Let the breaks go the way Japanese way at Midway. Slows down war effort for a while.

spdoyle
May 26th, 2013, 10:43 PM
1) We leak we have the codes broken. We had it printed in a paper after Midway. One guy seized a maritime Jap code book prewar, so they changed their codes. It takes a minor flaw (POD) somewhere to let the Japanese learn of the broken codes. Then have it change some battle to a worse result.

2) Let the breaks go the way Japanese way at Midway. Slows down war effort for a while.

Combine the two somehow, so the IJN is victorious at Midway, with 1-3 of the US carriers sunk?

BlondieBC
May 26th, 2013, 10:53 PM
Combine the two somehow, so the IJN is victorious at Midway, with 1-3 of the US carriers sunk?

It would work pretty well. Japan learns of codes broken in April 42, sends fake plans to USA in codes, then wins the battle at Midway. I guess if they knew the carriers would show up, they could cancel the invasion force entirely for Midway and just send carriers. Give them a clean win of all 3 USA carriers, with they keep all 4. If we are going to load the dice, lets load them. ;) Then USA is months behind OTL until the new ships show up in 1943, and then the USA starts to catch up. We need to keep MacArthur in power, so we still do two prong USA attack. Maybe with busted navy cred due to Midway loss, Mac can get the Central Pacific part of warplan cancelled. Who knows, maybe Mac can attack into Indonesia since USN is "too weak" to take on IJN.

spdoyle
May 26th, 2013, 11:24 PM
It would work pretty well. Japan learns of codes broken in April 42, sends fake plans to USA in codes, then wins the battle at Midway. I guess if they knew the carriers would show up, they could cancel the invasion force entirely for Midway and just send carriers. Give them a clean win of all 3 USA carriers, with they keep all 4. If we are going to load the dice, lets load them. ;) Then USA is months behind OTL until the new ships show up in 1943, and then the USA starts to catch up. We need to keep MacArthur in power, so we still do two prong USA attack. Maybe with busted navy cred due to Midway loss, Mac can get the Central Pacific part of warplan cancelled. Who knows, maybe Mac can attack into Indonesia since USN is "too weak" to take on IJN.

If the dice are going to be loaded in this scenario, just have the IJN capture Midway after the victory. Load the island to the brim and hold on in an attempt to consolidate elsewhere.

Either way, the USSR is the biggest winner.

Shadow Master
May 27th, 2013, 12:08 AM
How about, after winning at midway, but without replacing their air crew losses, Nimitz orderes the Enterprise and Hornet into the Aleutians in search of the Japanese fleet. And finds them.:eek:

IIRC, the US carriers were recalled before they actually got all the way up their, but what if....

Anyone have the names of the four Japanese carriers that were operating there at the time?

Craig
May 27th, 2013, 12:25 AM
A President of Hope and Change hears of the Pearl Harbor attack and vows to bring the perpetrators to justice. The FBI is directed to investigate the alleged attacks in Hawaii and the Philippines. He reaches out to the government of Japan and announces that, pending a thorough investigation that, perhaps, rogue elements of the Japanese military may have taken part in some "Lone Wolf" operations.

Rules of Engagement are drafted to ensure that no military operations may be conducted without direct West Wing clearance. Soldiers are given sensitivity training to ensure that there is no Asiatic-phobic or Shinto-phobic troops in military service.

What could possibly go wrong?

phx1138
May 27th, 2013, 12:42 AM
Combine the two somehow, so the IJN is victorious at Midway, with 1-3 of the US carriers sunk?
Japan learns of codes broken in April 42, sends fake plans to USA in codes, then wins the battle at Midway.
There's an easier way, maybe, with bigger effects.

ONI used a lot of Japanese linguists, & a few Nisei (tho IDK exactly when that started). It doesn't take a huge step for Japanese intelligence in Hawaii to wonder about these whites speaking Japanese, or for an indiscrete somebody to let on what's up.:eek::eek:

Do that, you've handed Japan a win at Coral Sea & Midway both, & then some.:eek::eek:

One early option (but not sure if "screwup" fits): let Brown sail to relieve Wake, instead of having Pye lose his nerve. Meeting engagement between 2 U.S. & 2 IJN CVs, & USN loses?:eek:

Carl Schwamberger
May 29th, 2013, 02:12 AM
MacAurthur somehow gets his way and the central Pacific offensive is delayed for many many months, with the supplies and cargo ships space instead used to support his return to the Phillipines. Result is the US invades PI a few months early, but is just starting to capture island bases for the B29 and blockading Japan in 1945. Tens of thousands of additional US soldiers die eradicating Japanese soldiers from the forrests and hills of the PI while waitng extra months for Japan to be forced into surrender.