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Derek Jackson
July 21st, 2006, 06:53 PM
WI the decrypts had been understood properly and Pearl Harbor was a full alert. How much could Japan have been damaged in December 7?

Assuming it is still clear that Japan started it would the US still be united in going to War?

1940LaSalle
July 21st, 2006, 07:06 PM
The former, I'm not sure about (it's difficult to evaluate the tactical capabilities of Adm. Husband Kimmel, and how much he might have been hamstrung by the Secretaries of the Navy and War, given that war had not been declared).

The latter, I think, would still hold since the mentality would essentially be that nobody attacks the US and gets away with it. Arthur Vandenberg wised up quickly and remained a force in the Senate after WW II; Gerald Nye didn't and became a footnote to history.

Johnnyreb
July 21st, 2006, 07:17 PM
It depends on the forces available and who gets the first strike in.

How many American carriers will be in the area? Two or three? The Japanese strike was launched at extreme range - do the Americans manage to spot their fleet first?

What was the number of American anti-shipping aircraft available on the airfields at Pearl? More importantly, were their crews any good at the job at that stage?

We can assume the USN carriers will do their job, as all carrier boys have high training. We can also assume that an alert at Pearl will enable the P40s to get airborne and the AA to be ready. I don't think we can assume anything else. So it all depends on who sights whom first.

Tom_B
July 21st, 2006, 08:37 PM
Electric Joe once undertook to game this on the Nval Fiction Board but then had some second thoughts about some assumptions and never finished it.

CalBear
July 21st, 2006, 09:35 PM
The problem might be how much warning Pearl Harbor receives.

If it's a little much, say 6-8 hours, Kidd will try to sortie his ships, if one of the battleship were to sink in the channel, that would put the base out of action for months. The Japanese also had a couple of subs on patrol just in case a ship or two got out. If it's a couple of days Kimble will sortie the whole Fleet to seek out & engage the IJN. That would be a disaster. The Japanese would tear the old battleships apart without air cover, but no one understands that yet. That means the same ships are sunk, but this time in open ocean, where they can't be salvaged. That means Oldendorf's gun line isn't available for shore bombardment or to stop the Japanese surface force at Leyte Gulf. (Of course with two days warning, the Japanese probably won't launch the strike.)

Now, if it's about three hours, that's ideal. You can get the alert to the fighters, scramble everything so it's not caught on the ground. The ships in the Harbor can get enough steam up so the powered equipment is on line, they can set full watertight status, and survive one or two torpedo hits without sinking (or turning turtle like the Oklahoma).

The results of an attack with the defenses on full alert would be interesting. The U.S. had a lot of P-40's on the Island. They were outclassed by the Zeros, but bombers are meat on the table. It isn't unlikey that the Japanese could lose 1/3 of their airwing (perhaps more). the U.S. at least half of the fighters, easily more. Figure less than half the overall damage that occurred IOTL. No Battleship actually lost (excepting a miracle hit like occurred on the Arizona) and reduced damage to the remaining ships in harbor.

The overall impact on the war is hard to gauge. The Japanese would probably be more cautious & the U.S. is likely to be overconfident. The end will still proably be in mid-late 1945 but it would not be hard to project an earlier end. It seems very likely that the course of the war, starting with Wake, would likly change.

Johnnyreb
July 22nd, 2006, 12:51 AM
I'm interested in the idea of the battleships getting out as I didn't think of it first time around. Granted the Pennsylvania could never get out, it was in dry dock, what about the rest? Did the whole thing of Notice-to-steam still apply? If it did, how long would it take for all the battleships to get out? Granted, Nevada was reasonably ready. What about the rest? How long would it take to get up steam?

Secondly, would it make a difference? The Japanese targets were the battleships. If they found them just outside Pearl, they wouldn't bother with Pearl, they'd go straight for the ships - see the Japanese raid on Columbo.

What's more interesting is early warning to the B17s in the Phillipines. Brereton had them bombed up and ready to slag off the Japanese airfields in Taiwan. Historically, MacArthur couldn't be bothered to get out of bed and his staff told Brereton to de-bomb. The B17s were then destroyed on the ground by Japanese aircaft from Taiwan. With earlier warning, things might be different. But then again maybe not, knowing MacArthur - I am not a fan.

The Mists Of Time
July 22nd, 2006, 02:50 AM
I don't think this changes a lot of things. We wouldn't have defeated Japan and ended WWII in the Pacific right then and there at Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor would be only one battle in World War II even if it is one The US had won in TTL.

The bottom line in all this would still be the same. Japan attacked The United States, The United States declares war on Japan, Germany declares war on The United States, America enters WWII. Everything else would be pretty much as in OTL.

Tony Williams
July 22nd, 2006, 08:33 AM
The problem might be how much warning Pearl Harbor receives.
I agree with your analysis, though I'd put the ideal time of warning at somewhat less than three hours. It normally took a battleship that long to get up steam, but they could get moving in half the time if they had to. One hour would be safer.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk) and discussion forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/)

Dave Howery
July 22nd, 2006, 03:26 PM
one big difference would be the lack of the whole 'victory disease' thing in Japan... with a defeat at PH, they would still probably go ahead with their attacks on the ABDA areas (they still need the oil), but I can't see them striking at Midway or into the Indian ocean; I think they'd hunker down and rebuild their fleet...

Michael B
July 22nd, 2006, 03:35 PM
What's more interesting is early warning to the B17s in the Phillipines. Brereton had them bombed up and ready to slag off the Japanese airfields in Taiwan. Historically, MacArthur couldn't be bothered to get out of bed and his staff told Brereton to de-bomb. The B17s were then destroyed on the ground by Japanese aircaft from Taiwan. With earlier warning, things might be different. But then again maybe not, knowing MacArthur - I am not a fan.
Once they have hit Taiwan, the B17s could be used to catch some of Japenses carriers. Sinking or crippling a couple of them will crimp Japanese operations, a sort of pre Midway.

Torqumada
July 22nd, 2006, 03:43 PM
Once they have hit Taiwan, the B17s could be used to catch some of Japenses carriers. Sinking or crippling a couple of them will crimp Japanese operations, a sort of pre Midway.

I am not sure how effective B-17s would be against mobile targets like ships. I don't think their bomb sites are designed for that. Now, if the ships are anchored, they could be more effective.

Torqumada

stevep
July 22nd, 2006, 04:05 PM
I don't think this changes a lot of things. We wouldn't have defeated Japan and ended WWII in the Pacific right then and there at Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor would be only one battle in World War II even if it is one The US had won in TTL.

The bottom line in all this would still be the same. Japan attacked The United States, The United States declares war on Japan, Germany declares war on The United States, America enters WWII. Everything else would be pretty much as in OTL.

Just had a nasty thought. If the Japanese had a bloody nose against the US and lost a sizeable proportion of their fleet would Hitler have stayed neutral? That might have made it even more difficult getting the US into the European conflict with various groups arguing for fighting 'our war' in the Pacific.

Steve

Kurt_Steiner
July 22nd, 2006, 04:32 PM
Once they have hit Taiwan, the B17s could be used to catch some of Japenses carriers. Sinking or crippling a couple of them will crimp Japanese operations, a sort of pre Midway.

The B-17s were used against ships during Midway: no success.

Redbeard
July 22nd, 2006, 05:46 PM
If the result is the the IJN suffering heavy losses among the carriers the Japanese will be seriously handicapped from the start, and the war in the Pacific over years ahead of OTL. I doubt if the Japanese even can gain a foothold in SEA - and without the natural resources there the Japanese steamroller will very quickly loose momentum - and anyway be short of the histiorical "victory extacy". I wonder if that will mean a collapse of the military regime in Japan by 1942 and a Japanese wish for a pease ASAP?

If the result is just the USN Pacific Fleet battleships being spared I fear the USN have a disadvantage. In OTL the absence of most of the battlefleet after PH forced the USN to wholeheartedly adopt new thoughts on how to use carriers. Not new thoughts or doctrines but before OTL PH in constant rivalry with the BB school and usually being the junior partner. With the fleet intact there will be immense political pressure to start the offensive across the Pacific to come to the brescue of the PI immediately. The USN wasn't ready for that (which was known in at least military circles), but if the leaders yield to ill-considdered political pressure (seen before) the result could be disastrous. An ill-prepared US battlefleet with obsolescent doctrines would just be the dream scenario of the IJN and exactly what they had trained for.

If some months (at least six) preparation time is given the fleet will at least logistically be able to perform the operation, but still be in great danger of suffering heavy and crippling losses.

But actually I think too heavy USN losses will be a disadvantage to the Japanese - just setting off the badger like determination after PH to avenge the humiliation. The worst scenario for the US probably would be a limited defeat clearly revealing incompetence in own rows. That could lead to political fatalism and wanting to end the war ASAP. It would however also require a flexible Japanese diplomatic stance, which would in its own require a major PoD.

Regards

Steffen Redbeard

mattep74
July 22nd, 2006, 09:00 PM
Why not set the POD by having the radaroperators warning sounding like this

"controll. we have a flight of planes coming in"

controll answers B17s from the mainland

now POD
"SIr, how many are there becauce we have dozens of planes coming from due north"

controll say the exakt number of planes and from what direction

radaroperator say the number is higher

Maybe then the aircrafts is scrambled. They dont get destroyed on the ground etc etc

Grimm Reaper
July 22nd, 2006, 09:24 PM
1) The B-17 was practically worthless against warships able to maneuver and shoot back.

2) The IJN expected losing two or three carriers at Pearl Harbor. A major reason that Nagumo withdrew without making a final strike on the oil farm and other facilities was that he had achieved roughly 90% of his goal while paying practically nothing of what he feared. He asked himself, now aware that American carriers were in the area, if he should risk paying what he originally expected for the last 10% and decided to leave.

MerryPrankster
July 22nd, 2006, 09:28 PM
If the Japanese take losses at Pearl, the war might actually last a bit longer.

No "victory disease" to make the Japanese foolish and overconfident.

CalBear
July 22nd, 2006, 09:29 PM
I am not sure how effective B-17s would be against mobile targets like ships. I don't think their bomb sites are designed for that. Now, if the ships are anchored, they could be more effective.

Torqumada

Actually the B-17 was designed to attack enemy shipping. They were envisioned to be "Flying Fortress" that would fly out and destroy enemy fleets before they reached America's shores. The B-17 was a direct result of the Billy Mitchell wing of the AAF becoming dominant.

The B-17 A - D were not really heavily armed with defensive weapons, the tail Gunner and powered turrets tht we think of as standard on the aircraft didn't appear unitl the "E" model, while the remote chin turret wasn't installed until the "G" model.

The irony is that the B-17, which would up being almost synonymous with thr strategic bombing of Europe, was initially designed to make it unnecessary for the United States to even become entangled in foreign wars.

A second bit of irony is that, while the aircraft has, correctly, been lionized as a "Great Plane", it absolutely sucked at the mission it had been built to perform. At Midway, performing their designed role, the B-17's dropped tons of bombs, all they killed were fish. High Level bombing was quickly abandoned as impractical against ships in open water, the #$@#%^ ships didn't play fair and turned away from the falling bombs.

Tony Williams
July 23rd, 2006, 02:12 AM
High Level bombing was quickly abandoned as impractical against ships in open water, the #$@#%^ ships didn't play fair and turned away from the falling bombs.
Quite so - it wasn't the fault of the plane, but the tactic proved useless whoever tried it - until the Germans fielded the radio-controlled bombs.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk) and discussion forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/)

Johnnyreb
July 23rd, 2006, 07:40 AM
Level-flying bombing (perhaps not at high altitude) was not entirley useless. The Prince of Wales and the Repulse were sunk by a combination of medium level bombing and torpedoes.

Besides, the line between dive-bombing and level-bombing sometimes got a bit blurred. Most layman think that dive-bombing was a steep swoop, followed by release and pull-out, like the Ju 87. In fact many used a very shallow dive, followed by an aimed release. The Royal Navy Skuas which sank the Konigsberg did that. So did the Luftwaffe specialist anti-shipping units' Ju 88s, which caused so much damage off Crete and against the Arctic convoys.

I am not suggesting the B 17s go dive-bombing. The difference is, these crews were highly trained in anti-shipping work. The B17 crews were not, and such training cannot be given in two weeks. It took the RAF about a year to set up their Beaufighter/Mosquito anti-shipping wings.

BTW, the IJN did not need to use carriers to get the raw materials Japan wanted. Malaya, the Phillipines and the Indonesian archipelago were seized by surface forces and land-based air. Only one IJN light carrier was in the sector: The fleet carriers were back in Japan getting their bottoms scraped or whatever carriers do when they're in port.

It's true some fleet carriers went down there later, but the area was secured by then.

Tony Williams
July 23rd, 2006, 11:39 AM
Level-flying bombing (perhaps not at high altitude) was not entirley useless. The Prince of Wales and the Repulse were sunk by a combination of medium level bombing and torpedoes.

It was the high-altitude level bombing I meant - obviously, torpedo bombers attacked in level flight (otherwise they would have disappeared in a series of splashes) but at very low level. This type of attack was the real ship-killer, because unlike most bomb hits, torpedoes let the water in - and that's what you need to do to sink a ship. That's what did for the PoW and Repulse.

Besides, the line between dive-bombing and level-bombing sometimes got a bit blurred. Most layman think that dive-bombing was a steep swoop, followed by release and pull-out, like the Ju 87. In fact many used a very shallow dive, followed by an aimed release. The Royal Navy Skuas which sank the Konigsberg did that.
The typical Skua dive angle was 60 degrees in that raid (individual planes attacked at 50-70 degrees) which I wouldn't call a shallow dive, although admittedly it wasn't as steep as the Stuka used.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website (http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk) and discussion forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/)

Bulldawg85
July 24th, 2006, 03:11 PM
Don't forget that the problem was that MacArthur left them sitting on the airfields after PH got attacked. Having the US win at PH isn't going to make a bit of difference in the Philippines if MacArthur is just going to sit there like he did in OTL.

JLCook
July 24th, 2006, 08:00 PM
I would think that over a fairly short (by B17 strategic bombing standards) range that a B17 ought to be able to carry perhaps 3 or more torpedoes. If these were fairly long ranged torpedoes, allowing a low level launch from 8000+ yards and being deployed in slavoes, from multiple aircraft, how exactly would a surface warship evade a salvo launch of torpedoes, say 16 or so in each launch, and with there being at least one other, simultaneous launch from another direction.

CalBear
July 24th, 2006, 09:07 PM
I would think that over a fairly short (by B17 strategic bombing standards) range that a B17 ought to be able to carry perhaps 3 or more torpedoes. If these were fairly long ranged torpedoes, allowing a low level launch from 8000+ yards and being deployed in slavoes, from multiple aircraft, how exactly would a surface warship evade a salvo launch of torpedoes, say 16 or so in each launch, and with there being at least one other, simultaneous launch from another direction.

Torpedo planes have a very specific design, once that enhances their low level, low speed performance. B-17's were designed for the exact opposite, high altitude performance, they tended to be a bit sloppy very low to the ground. You also need to look at the envelope for dropping the MK. 13 torpedo. It could be dropped from a maximum of 50 feet and 100 knots, torpedoes dropped at 150 MPH showed 100%+ failure rates (many had more than one failure point). B-17's stall at about 85 knots. This means you would have a large aircraft, close to the water, at the verge of falling out of the sky. The plane would have been unable to defend itself, manuever, or handle the loaded/unloaded transition after weapon launch.. There are more productive ways to kill bomber crews.

There is also the problem of the MK. 13 itself in 1941. It was slow (33 knots), carried a surprising small warhead (401 LB TNT), and was, overall, not a weapon that would have justified a massive redesign of a High Altitude bomber into a massive low speed, low level torpedo bomber. Worse, at least for the scenario here, it's MAXIMUM range was 6,700 yards. Later in the war (1944-45) the drop envelope was expanded to 2,400 feet and 410 knots. The B-17 could have been used to drop the weapon at this stage, but the destruction of the IJN by this point made such considerations unnecessary.