The endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal:
I think the USN in 1945 *could* have done it.Just attempting to take Oahu would have required roughly double the personnel that the IJA devoted to the entire Southern Resource Area. It would also require the Japanese to conduct an opposed, heavily opposed at that, landing 3,700 miles from Japan and 2,500 miles from their nearest basing in the Marshalls. Logistically, I am unsure if any country, including the United State in 1945 could have managed that.
Are you talking about Midway Atoll, or Oahu?I think that Japan could have successfully taken the island if they put more emphasis on using their aircraft and ships and blow apart the islands defense. It still would be notable casualties, but Japan could pull it off.
For Japan to take the Midway Island would require a POD before the Battle of Midway. It could not just be their winning the naval battle. Even if the Enterprise and the Yorktown vanished into thin air, the landing parties would enter a meatgrinder. At any rate, the major consequence of Japan winning the battle of Midway isn't capturing the island, because that wouldn't happen with that POD. It's that their carriers would be around a bit longer. They'd still go down. There's not way Japan could win a war with the USA. Given Japan's lack of natural resources, all of the PODs I can think of that could potentially give them that capability would be hundreds of years in the past, and have so many butterflies that the Asia-Pacific war would not be recognizable. Imperial Japan can have earlier PODs than Germany whilst still being recognizable, but not that far back.I think that Japan could have successfully taken the island if they put more emphasis on using their aircraft and ships and blow apart the islands defense. It still would be notable casualties, but Japan could pull it off.
Interesting. Real quick, since I am knew and I have seen this quite a bit, what does POD mean? I know it has to do with a time when something changes (at least I think), but I am unsure of its exact meaning.For Japan to take the Midway Island would require a POD before the Battle of Midway. It could not just be their winning the naval battle. Even if the Enterprise and the Yorktown vanished into thin air, the landing parties would enter a meatgrinder. At any rate, the major consequence of Japan winning the battle of Midway isn't capturing the island, because that wouldn't happen with that POD. It's that their carriers would be around a bit longer. They'd still go down. There's not way Japan could win a war with the USA. Given Japan's lack of natural resources, all of the PODs I can think of that could potentially give them that capability would be hundreds of years in the past, and have so many butterflies that the Asia-Pacific war would not be recognizable. Imperial Japan can have earlier PODs than Germany whilst still being recognizable, but not that far back.
Point of divergence. Generally it means the first time things go different. If there's only one divergence, that means all other differences are a result of that first POD, but sometimes people write timelines with multiple PODs.Interesting. Real quick, since I am knew and I have seen this quite a bit, what does POD mean? I know it has to do with a time when something changes (at least I think), but I am unsure of its exact meaning.
Thank you for the compliment; it's always nice when I can have a disagreement with someone but it still be an enjoyable conversation due to mutual respect.You know I enjoy chatting with you, HL, but . . . I just completely disagree with that assessment, from start to finish.
There's no land based fighters that can offer much cover for sea borne shipping at this time given the distances but, more importantly, it only takes a few Japanese successes. See PQ-17 for a contemporary example of the Allies having one disaster and then forced to make serious adjustments just due to the threat.The Japanese can secure Guadalcanal in the absence of WATCHTOWER, obviously, though by itself that doesn't give them real capability to interfere with American supply lines to Australia or New Zealand. Bettys can reach that far, but they weren't great anti-shipping weapons, they would only have had a couple dozen thre at most, and they would have been flying into Allied dominatd air space without any fighter escort for much of the flight.
I didn't really put a timeframe on it, so I could accept the Spring '43 idea but I still think earlier is possible. With IJAAF airbases in the Solomons, the logistics to Port Moresby are under threat and now there is the added danger that the IJN can flank it via either side with no American carriers to counter them.The Japanese have no appreciable chance to take Port Moresby by August (or later) given the size of the Australian garrison there at that point and the weakness of IJN and IJA logistics. They could have done it in the spring, possibly.
Firmly disagree here.It will take more than a Midway defeat to make Roosevelt abandon "Germany First," no matter how much grumbling West Coast governors engage in. That's clear from the record. There isn't much of value they can divert from TORCH that would be of value beyond RANGER, and even that can be substituted by the Brits with one of their decks. You'll see a handful more Baltimore-class conversions to Independence-class CVL's, and some additional beefing up of Pacific garrisons, but otherwise, not that massive of a shift.
Sure.If Nagumo's losses of air crew and decks at Midway are negligible, they probably try some variant of Operation FS in August-September. But given the limits of IJN logistics and the strength of air forces in the New Hebrides, it's highly unlikely they can get farther than Efate, and only at heavy risk to their carriers. Taking New Caledonia, Fiji, or Samoa by that point is impossible for the Japanese.
Not politically tenable in the long run given the pressure on Australia.In this case, it is far more likely Nimitz simply skips the Solomons, beyond perhaps air and submarine attacks on IJN forces there. Strategically, the Solomons don't have any real value. But Micronesia has some.
In terms of winning, I'm totally in agreement. I just think Japan can lose much less than it did ATL compared to OTL.Japan is utterly and completely overmatched in warmaking power and natural resources, and it's going to lose the war, completely. Jon Parshall is right: Midway cannot really be decisive in this regard, because Japan had lost the war the moment the first bomb fell on Pearl Harbor.
I've always expected the U.S. in such scenarios would do a free trial runs in late 1943, and then go for a major offensive in 1944 when they have sufficient carriers. With an unbloodied IJN and a green USN, it's going to be an absolute slugfest.I agree on this point, because on both Hellcat/Corsair development and CVE construction the US were already going flat out by summer 1942. There is not much slack room here.
But the US could convert as many as an additional half dozen Baltimores to Independence CVLs and have them in theater by late 1943, based on what was in the slipways. (I tend to think it would be more like another 3-4.) Not as good as an Essex, but still very valuable. That's upwards of another 250 additional aircraft you can add to your fast carrier task force, which is not far off what Nagumo brought to Midway, FWIW.
I wouldn't count on that, given the OTL Japanese experience of what happens when your opponent had superior naval capabilities and uses them to isolate your garrisons logistically.By the time the Japanese could try to advance in the south Pacific area, there were plenty of forces there or heading there to stop them cold. Carl Schwamberger made a detailed summary of the units that were in or enroute to the south Pacific in another Midway thread:
This is a decisive Japanese win if they force the Allies to do that route, even if they don't sink a single bit of tonnage. If it takes you four weeks to deliver the same amount of cargo you used to do in two weeks, your tonnage has been halved; that's even if your enemy fails to sink a single ship. The problem is also that it doesn't matter what route you use to avoid the Japanese, as this diversion strategy eliminates many Australian ports.And even if somehow the IJN miraculously takes all of the objectives of Op FS and takes Fiji it is still 2600 kms from Fiji to Wellington. Convoys would only have to sail further south to avoid any Japanese air attacks from Fiji - assuming the Japanese can find convoys in the wide open Pacific expanses. There will be no 'isolation' of NZ and Australia, period even with incredibly lucky Japanese performance.
I wouldn't be so sure of that:Yeah, but the Allies weren't.
I know, but you've quoted this source before, and, no disrespect, but I'm just not buying it. I think Marshall consistently overstated the American public's war weariness.I wouldn't be so sure of that:
In one way or another, George C. Marshall, the U.S. Army's Chief of Staff, had long been expecting a sharp reduction in military morale. He had witnessed, as aide-decamp to General John J. Pershing, America's mood after World War I. Once Germany asked for an armistice (and before it signed a surrender), Congress and the public had demanded a swift demobilization. This indelible memory of November 1918 shaped Marshall's resolve to minimize military responsibilities after the Nazi capitulation. In Europe, this meant an end to operations in the eastern Mediterranean, where internal political conflicts and instabilities might require a large and long-term occupation by an army about to be drastically reduced in size. In the Pacific, the Japanese would have to be beaten into a position where their surrender would occur shortly after V-E Day. Otherwise, there might not be a capitulation at all, something Marshall predicted in 1943: "the collapse of Germany would impose partial demobilization and a growing impatience ... throughout the United States." This mood could lead to a compromise settlement along the lines the Japanese Army was hoping to obtain: that is, the retention of the core empire it still occupied (Formosa, Manchuria, and Korea) and no change in the political institutions of Japan.2 America's military timing was exceptionally good, considering the enormous perplexities of the war. When Germany surrendered in May, the United States had already made what Marshall called the "preparation for the final kill." Its armed forces surrounded the home islands of Japan from the south and the east. It had also obtained from Russia a pledge to attack the Japanese Imperial Army in Manchuria, thereby completing the ironclad blockade that the U.S. Navy once planned to execute alone. However, the denial of imports of strategic items, from oil to coal and protein, did not mean that a mere mop-up operation was in the works, Most of the U.S. military, especially the Army, conducted planning on the premise "that defeat of the enemy's armed forces in the Japanese homeland is a prerequisite to unconditional surrender." Even before Japan strongly reinforced Kyushu, the first home island the United States would invade, the American military calculated that America would still have to conduct the toughest landings and follow-up battles seen in World War II --- actions that would likely result in some 200,000 casualties and 50,000 fatalities.3 Admiral William D. Leahy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an advocate of the blockade strategy, would later complain that "the Army did not appear to be able to understand that the Navy, with some Army air assistance, already had defeated Japan."The flaw in Leahy's argument was that the Japanese Imperial Army refused to accept the fact that it had lost the war, at least by the standard of unconditional surrender. That demand was completely unacceptable to an institution that ordered wounded soldiers to commit suicide rather than become prisoners of war.4 Leahy admitted however, that there was "little prospect of obtaining unconditional surrender" in 1945, Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations, would write that the Navy "in the course of time would have starved the Japanese into submission" (Italics mine). Time, however, was a waning asset, especially to Marshall, who would later say that American "political and economic institutions melted out from under us [the U.S. military]". The Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion told the JCS what magazines and newspapers had been printing since late 1944: there was overwhelming public pressure to increase production of consumer goods. I am "afraid of unrest in the country," said Director Fred Vinson. I have never seen "the people in their present frame of mind." Aside from reports about the "national end-of-the-war psychology among [the] citizens" of the United States, the JCS heard from its own military intelligence community. Their best estimate was that total victory through encirclement, blockade, and bombardment might well take "a great many years."5
It wasn't just Marshall though. Indeed, further in the source:I know, but you've quoted this source before, and, no disrespect, but I'm just not buying it. I think Marshall consistently overstated the American public's war weariness.
It's hardly even obvious, in fact, that a scenario where the United States draws a loss at Midway - a naval loss, that is, since Kondo ain't taking Midway - would even see the war end any later than it did in OTL, since it is just as likely - more likely, I think - that both Nimitz and MacArthur just end up doing more island hopping to accelerate the drive on Tokyo.
And in OTL, we should be damned glad - and I know I am editorializing here - that the United States didn't. A world where the military dictatorship of Japan survived the war intact does not bear easy thinking about.
I'm going to reply to this bit by way of also responding to your last post.Firmly disagree here.
In February of 1943, 53% of Americans according to Gallup listed Japan as the number one enemy. In light of an unchecked Japan, the political necessity for the diversion of further resources to the Pacific would become acute; it's not just the people on the West Coast with this view, as the overall numbers show. Unlike OTL 1943, however, ATL 1942 has an unchecked Japan and is a Midterms year. If the national vote shifted overall just 1% further Republican, the following Congressional races would flip:
New York 16
West Virginia 2
Wyoming At Large
That's 16 seats in total, and given their OTL win of 209 seats, more than sufficient to take control of the House. In the Senate, Montana and Colorado would both be flipped; enough to prevent cloture on filibusters, IIRC. FDR can't ignore this political threat here at all if he maintains Germany First. Adding to this, Marshall was already calling for a Japan First strategy anyway since London had vetoed an invasion of France.
What I actually meant here was the spring of 1942, not 1943. In short Operation MO, or some variant of it. Because much of the Australian reinforcement of Moresby only came in the summer.The Japanese have no appreciable chance to take Port Moresby by August (or later) given the size of the Australian garrison there at that point and the weakness of IJN and IJA logistics. They could have done it in the spring, possibly.
I didn't really put a timeframe on it, so I could accept the Spring '43 idea but I still think earlier is possible. With IJAAF airbases in the Solomons, the logistics to Port Moresby are under threat and now there is the added danger that the IJN can flank it via either side with no American carriers to counter them.
To boil it down to just "industrial strikes" is to create a Strawman. Both Fred Vinson and Henry Stimson both make particular note of the state of overall morale of the American public, buttressing the points made by Marshall; all of these men had ready access to polling data as well to confirm what they were seeing and hearing. That Truman echoed this speaks volumes, and forces us to pick between two options:I'm going to reply to this bit by way of also responding to your last post.
As I believe I've said before, I think Pearlman played fast and loose with his sources, selectively quoting where necessary to paint a picture of overwhelming war weariness in America by summer of 1945, and worse, fearful appreciation by some by senior leaders in the Truman Administration. I don't think the balance of evidence bears that out, no matter how many industrial strikes you can point to.
I don't doubt Roosevelt's commitment, I just recognize the man didn't enjoy the same benefits Stalin, Hitler and Tojo did in terms of being able to force his opinion through no matter what given he is the leader of a Democracy. He personally might not be up for re-election, but his Party as a whole is in 1942 and if the public turns sour on him, the political retribution would be, in a word, fierce. I also think overall you're engaging in a bit of rose tinted glasses with Roosevelt; as you note, even IOTL the 1942 midterms were close and public opinion polling clearly showed-as did the actual results in 1944-that opinion on him could and did fluctuate and his continued rule was largely dependent on fears of switching leadership during the war. Case in point: see how after 1938 his domestic agenda was completely stalled out by the Conservative Coalition of Southern Democrats and the GOP.I think you also fail to provide an appreciation for the depth of Roosevelt's commitment to "Germany First." The record here, from Roosevelt's own correspondence and eyewitness testimony, is extensive. And Roosevelt, a wartime president who had fought and won three landslide elections to the presidency and, more amazingly, had never lost either house of Congress in that time, was notably bulwarked against public opinion, especially given that even as late as mid-summer, polling suggested that Democrats might actually *gain* seats in the House. In a scenario where the U.S. loses at Midway, we can't so easily characterize how it would be received back home, since the Navy - while more honest than its Japanese counterpart - was not going to provide a comprehensive or detailed picture of losses on both sides, but it *would* play up the propaganda value (complete with John Ford's on-the-scene footage) of the Marine demolition of Kondo's invasion, which would look like Wake Island times five. We also don't know how U.S. strategy would have adjusted to this alt-Midway, but it is hard to think that Nimitz would simply stand pat. And, above all, it would likely push Roosevelt even harder in Germany's direction, since TORCH was the one obvious major operation in the hopper that the Allies could mount and reasonably count on quick success for - and FDR would, even more than in OTL, want to see it moved up a few weeks, to be sure to have an impact before the November midterms. (And Churchill, being sensitive to the need to keep Roosevelt on side, would be as accommodating as he was in OTL.)
A defeat at Midway and likely following Japanese victories gives such an opening, no? See American Popular Opinion and the War Against Germany: The Issue of Negotiated Peace, 1942 by Richard W. Steele,The Journal of American History , Dec., 1978, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Dec., 1978), pp. 704-723:Also, there is not evidence of a consistent push by congressional Republican candidates for an explicit switch to a "Japan First" strategy.
Could the GOP have won the House in 1942 in the wake of a U.S. defeat at Midway? Sure. It's possible. Obviously in OTL they came fairly close to doing so. But in the first place it has to be perceived by Roosevelt that this is a likelihood. And in the second place, it actually has to force Roosevelt to make a fundamental switch in war strategy, a switch would risk a grave breach with both of its wartime allies - Britain and the USSR. And doing so, no less, at a time (summer 1942) where the Soviet Union looked like it was on its last legs. "Hey Joe, I know you've got your backs to the wall at the Volga, but we really need to focus on Japan for a few years here. You can hang on, can't you?" They were afraid enough as it was that Stalin would make a separate peace that fall even *with* a Germany First strategy.
To quote from Steele again:The question of the public's perception of who was Enemy #1 is an interesting one. Through 1942, the public consistently saw Germany in that slot. It was only in early 1943 that there was a dramatic shift to Japan, and it looks like the reason why had much to do with Soviet successes on the Eastern front at Stalingrad and the Caucasus (though one has to think that TORCH played a role, too). Allow me to excerpt some things from "Japan: An American Problem," by Louise Merrick van Patten, Far Eastern Survey Vol. 14, No. 9 (May 9, 1945), pp. 114-117:
But there's much more interesting things than that in von Patten's survey, which she published in May 1945. Because what polls also showed was that the public was much more hostile in its perception of the Japanese - something that also cuts against emerging war weariness. The public, across the board, wanted the Japanese to pay, and pay good and hard, an attitude that remained strong as ever by spring of 1945 - a sentiment driven no doubt in part by racialist attitudes as much as by Pearl Harbor and treatment of American POW's:
Primarily because it doesn't really contradict the underlying issues; the public may hate Japan and want a harsh peace, but that doesn't invalidate the growing war weariness all the same. Again, either the entirety of American leadership was incompetent or they recognized a growing problem. Non-withstanding the opinions of a minority of 13%, I firmly feel the data points into the "problem" category.Note that bit: "13 percent who would kill all the people of Japan left alive when the war is over." Yikes.
Note that Gallup didnt even have a significant response to any option that looked like a Versailles treatment. Half the country wanted Japan hacked up. A little over a third favored something that looked like what the U.S. actually did after the war.
A pity that Pearlman never incorporated discussion of this aspect of American public opinion in the last year of the war.
The fundamental problem is, however, that New Guinea is an island far away from both the U.S. and even Australia and is thus, as all islands are during warfare, dependent on SLOCs. Beyond having air bases in the Solomons upon which to threaten said SLOCs, the Kido Butai is available and there isn't much in the way of a counter at this point to that. MacArthur can send all the divisions he want, but without logistics, it's a pointless exercise.One other thing I overlooked I would like to address:
What I actually meant here was the spring of 1942, not 1943. In short Operation MO, or some variant of it. Because much of the Australian reinforcement of Moresby only came in the summer.
More reinforcements followed. MacArthur sent in the U.S. 32nd Division in mid-September. And so on.
Sure, they could do this and indeed, I even expect them to; such, however, makes Operation TORCH impossible as I said previously by stripping it off air cover. It would be under the aegis of a Pacific-First Strategy, necessarily.Now by this point, we are, granted, in an Alt-timeline. Stuff will start to change. But the point is, MacArthur and the Australians had the ability to reinforce Moresby significantly in the summer and fall, and it is very hard to see how they wouldn't feel more obliged to do so here. And given 1) the difficulties that the Owen Stanleys posed to Japanese air interdiction over Moresby and surrounding sea lanes, and 2) the fact that the Kido Butai could not possibly be ready for an operation in the area any sooner than that even after a pretty big win at Midway - I mean, it could be sent directly, but Yamamoto had planned on a return to Japan for refit, to be joined by Zuikaku and Shokaku - it is hard to see how the Japanese could interfere consistently with such reinforcement.
The other point is, it's certainly not true that Nimitz has no carriers to interject into the area. Even with a total wipeout at Midway (the OP does not specify US losses), he'd have Wasp and Saratoga on hand by July, and if Ranger is dispatched post haste, its feasible for it to be on hand by August. That is not a match for the full Kido Butai (assuming Nagumo keeps all of his decks, which is not specified in the OP), but it is a reasonably formidable force, especially if Spruance is still around to wield it; and American Magic intercepts would probably give him the heads up needed to put these in the Coral Sea at the right time to at least try a flanking parry. It is also far from inconceivable that Churchill could be induced to send over one of Somerville's carriers from the Indian Ocean - an anticipation of the "USS Robin" loan of OTL - to add to Nimitz's carrier group.
Both approaches are now screened by Japanese airpower and the IJN has naval superiority; they stand a good chance of choking off the logistics to it and, of course, they can always attempt an updated Operation MO later on once the Commonwealth and American forces there are sufficiently weakened.In any event, it's difficult to conceive that even with the Kido Butai on hand, that it could easily take Port Moresby at any point from th 3Q of 1942 onward. The geography and logistics work hard against Japan. I have long said in the forums here that, nonetheless, it is the one offensive strategic move I would likely take in the wake of a win at Midway, just the same, because it is the one with the best chance of success. But I'd do it as fast as I possibly could. Every week works to MacArthur's advantage. Winter of 1943 is just too late.