Could Japan have won at Midway? And if so, what would change?

After debut of the latest 20th Century Fox feature

REPORTER: any regrets about your masterpiece, Mr Ford?
FORD: I ran out of film before the Japs ran out of men to put on the Beach. Goddammit, four more reels! just four more!
LOL

Looking into it, I'm kind of stunned that Ford was able to edit his Midway footage and get the film short into theaters on September 14. That's, like, 3 months. Apparently it took a personal intervention from Roosevelt. "I want every mother in America to see this film."

But if he's got footage of Ichiki's troops storming the beach, and being repulsed, that's going to be far more dramatic to show to American audiences. This could even make Midway operate as a net morale boost. No one is going to see a pair of Yorktowns sink, but they'll be able to see a Japanese invasion smashed to pulp.
 
Virtually all of the landing sites are, however, beyond the range of land based air. Gibraltar to Casablanca, for instance, is 218 miles; the Spitfire tops out at 175 miles at this time and the P-40 can only do 240 miles. As for the CVEs, my understanding is that most, if not all, were carrying land based planes and thus have no real sustaining power in terms of air cover.
In regards to Torch, this is an area in which I have recently been obliged to gain some knowledge. By the end of November 8th, one squadron of Hurricanes and 3 of Spitfires were operating out of Masion Blanche airfield bear Algiers (1132 km from Gibraltar). The next day 28 Spitfires would fly into Tafaraoui near Oran (439 km from Gibraltar). The last 4 were attacked by DW 520’s. 1 Spitfire was lost for the loss of 3 DW 520’s. AIUI the Spitfire Vb had a Service range of 1830 km.

As to Carriers.The RN Carriers (exceptArgus) we’re actually a part of Force H. They were designated as the covering force. Once it was clear that the Italians were not coming out to play (they had no fuel to do so) Furious was released to assist the landing forces. They obviously wouldn’t know this at the time, but they could have stripped most of the Fleet Carriers from Force H without making much difference to the Torch Landings.
 
USN would send their subs to target the IJN oilers as they sailed back to Japan.
Good luck trying to get back.

Overall, a Japanese victory at Midway doesn't do much.
It only encourages the US to step up their game and strike back, except the US are now harder, faster, and stronger than they were at Pearl Harbor.
Only one problem with that, American torpedoes did not work in 1942
 
In regards to Torch, this is an area in which I have recently been obliged to gain some knowledge. By the end of November 8th, one squadron of Hurricanes and 3 of Spitfires were operating out of Masion Blanche airfield bear Algiers (1132 km from Gibraltar). The next day 28 Spitfires would fly into Tafaraoui near Oran (439 km from Gibraltar). The last 4 were attacked by DW 520’s. 1 Spitfire was lost for the loss of 3 DW 520’s. AIUI the Spitfire Vb had a Service range of 1830 km.

As to Carriers.The RN Carriers (exceptArgus) we’re actually a part of Force H. They were designated as the covering force. Once it was clear that the Italians were not coming out to play (they had no fuel to do so) Furious was released to assist the landing forces. They obviously wouldn’t know this at the time, but they could have stripped most of the Fleet Carriers from Force H without making much difference to the Torch Landings.
Helpful information!
 
The ones on USS Growler and USS Nautilus in the Aleutians worked well enough that they decimate several IJN destroyers of a supply convoy to Kiska.
That was a stroke of luck The Mk 6 magnetic detonator actually functioned at those latitudes.
I suggest you look into the great torpedo scandal, you will wonder why several admirals were not court-martialed
 
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That was a stroke of luck The Mk 6 magnetic detonator actually functioned at those latitudes.
I suggest you look into the great torpedo scandal, you will wonder why several admirals were not court-martialed martialed
Still kind of surprised that Ernie King didn't pack up the entire senior staff of BuOrd and send them off to Point Barrow to count mosquitoes.
 

nbcman

Donor
Only one problem with that, American torpedoes did not work in 1942
Mark 14 torpedoes didn’t work. But Mark 10s did other than running 4’ below the set depth. And the BuOrd admitted the issue with Mark 10 torpedoed in early 1942:

The Mark 10 torpedo had the same "deep running" problem (where actual running depth was greater than that set before launch) as the Mark 14.[10] By January 5, 1942 the Bureau of Ordnance informed Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet the Mark 10 torpedoes ran four feet deeper than set. Because the Mark 10 used Mark 3-1 and Mark 3-3[clarification needed] exploder mechanism with contact-only firing,[11] it suffered none of the problems with prematures or duds the Mark 14 did. However, for a short period at the beginning of the war, the Mark 10 was viewed as more reliable, and in some cases preferred over the Mark 14.
Per wiki page for Mark 10 torpedoes.
 
The IJA takes over New Guinea and the Solomons, resulting in the isolation of Australia and thus better acquisition of NEI oil. Between this and the American public's reaction to the defeat, President Roosevelt will be forced to adopt a Japan-First Strategy, at least for a time, and this will result in the abandoning of TORCH as American naval assets are transferred to the Pacific. Possible from here the USSR could collapse in 1942/1943, with all the implications from that. Back in the Pacific, the USN will find itself in an absolute slugging match for the Solomons come late 1943 when they finally have enough carriers; the IJN has enough to match them and has the benefit of land based air.
The Japanese taking the Solomons and New Guinea does not isolate Australia. It merely means that U.S. naval and other traffic has to temporarily take a longer and less convenient route to get there--not through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific but by going down the Atlantic and across the Indian Ocean to Perth in Western Australia. There, cargo and troops can be offloaded and sent on to eastern Australia by the continental railroad, or convoys can skirt the south of Australia to get there under the protection of land based air power. And Perth gives this access not just to and from the U.S. but to and from Britain (around the Cape or later through the Suez Canal), India and British naval bases on Ceylon.

If ships want to go directly from the U.S. West Coast or Hawaii to southeastern Australia, they could just steer a little farther south than usual beyond the range of Japanese planes in the Solomons and New Guinea. If for some odd reason the Japanese have one or more aircraft carriers lurking south of the Solomons, just dip down into the Roaring Forties a bit and come up to Melbourne from the South. (One thing about the Roaring Forties, you probably can't take off or land World War Two planes from any World War Two carrier there.)

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Australia could build up sizable air bases in the southeastern part of the country and around Darwin; any Japanese ships, air bases or troops around Port Moresby (if the Japanese actually seized it) and on the island of Timor would be in range of U.S. bombers. And the OTL Battle of the Bismarck Sea proved that U.S. skip-bombing from land bases could wipe out Japanese transports on an awesome scale. With the support of land-based air power, U.S. troops, tanks, etc. could be transported to New Guinea (and also to Timor) to seize territory and build airfields to bring in fighter planes to protect the bombers even if the latter are coming from the Australian mainland. So for instance you use air power from Australia to seize Timor and then building air bases along the way to protect your troops and ships you work your way up the chain of large Japanese occupied islands with oil (Java, Sumatra and Borneo). Aircraft carriers if they show up can be sunk from land as well as from sea.

I can't see how Midway would affect Operation Torch, the logic of which was just too strong for late 1942. The number of U.S. troops and planes involved was not all that great until it turned into a huge battle for Tunisia (which, thanks to Hitler's stupidity, was a chance too good to miss). And wasn't the naval power more British than American anyway?
 
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The Japanese taking the Solomons and New Guinea does not isolate Australia. It merely means that U.S. naval and other traffic has to temporarily take a longer and less convenient route to get there--not through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific but by going down the Atlantic and across the Indian Ocean to Perth in Western Australia.
You are correct that that is always an option, but nothing I've seen indicates that the Roosevelt administration would take such a drastic step if the Japanese secured Port Moresby and Guadalcanal. More likely they would just route the convoys a little further south.

I can't see how Midway would affect Operation Torch, the logic of which was just too strong for late 1942.
Honestly, it's the one "gimme" offensive option the U.S. and Britain have in the second half of 1942. Even WATCHTOWER was a roll of the dice.
 
You are correct that that is always an option, but nothing I've seen indicates that the Roosevelt administration would take such a drastic step if the Japanese secured Port Moresby and Guadalcanal. More likely they would just route the convoys a little further south.



Honestly, it's the one "gimme" offensive option the U.S. and Britain have in the second half of 1942. Even WATCHTOWER was a roll of the dice.
I'm not sure the Allies would have to re-route convoys one bit. Brisbane is 1300 miles from Guadalcanal, Sydney over 1700. Even Townsville and Cairns are over 1000 miles from Guadalcanal.
 
LOL

Looking into it, I'm kind of stunned that Ford was able to edit his Midway footage and get the film short into theaters on September 14. That's, like, 3 months. Apparently it took a personal intervention from Roosevelt. "I want every mother in America to see this film."

But if he's got footage of Ichiki's troops storming the beach, and being repulsed, that's going to be far more dramatic to show to American audiences. This could even make Midway operate as a net morale boost. No one is going to see a pair of Yorktowns sink, but they'll be able to see a Japanese invasion smashed to pulp.
John Ford must first escape the island
 
Plus Midway is within B-17 and PBY ferry range of Hawaii
If the Japanese somehow manage to take the island they will have a heck of a time logistically supporting such a far flung outpost that post battle probably looks like it got hit by a good sized chunk of something from outer space. Then you add in that it will get used the USN and USAAF as a practice target range with real live targets. I'm thinking they would abandon it before long.
 
If the Japanese somehow manage to take the island they will have a heck of a time logistically supporting such a far flung outpost that post battle probably looks like it got hit by a good sized chunk of something from outer space. Then you add in that it will get used the USN and USAAF as a practice target range with real live targets. I'm thinking they would abandon it before long.
Reading the surviving Japanese evidence, it almost feels like it was more about denying Midway to the U.S. than actually doing much useful with it themselves.

Supply would indeed have been an absolute nightmare.
 

History Learner

Kicked
Banned
If Roosevelt goes and tells Stalin that there will be no Allied offensive operations in the ETO in 1942, or even worse, none in 1943, either, he is courting the likelihood that Stalin sends peace feelers to Hitler - at whatever the cost. (In fact, we now know Stalin had already made such an attempt in February 1942.) He'd be risking the breaking of the entire coalition by doing that.

Everything we know of Roosevelt's think at that point in the war indicates that is a risk he was not willing to take.
Again, I have no doubt where Roosevelt's thought process is but he is not all powerful; his military chiefs and Stimson both were advocating for Pacific First and the public clearly favored such, a bad recipe for his preferred strategy in a Democracy.
 

History Learner

Kicked
Banned
The Japanese taking the Solomons and New Guinea does not isolate Australia. It merely means that U.S. naval and other traffic has to temporarily take a longer and less convenient route to get there--not through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific but by going down the Atlantic and across the Indian Ocean to Perth in Western Australia. There, cargo and troops can be offloaded and sent on to eastern Australia by the continental railroad, or convoys can skirt the south of Australia to get there under the protection of land based air power. And Perth gives this access not just to and from the U.S. but to and from Britain (around the Cape or later through the Suez Canal), India and British naval bases on Ceylon.

If ships want to go directly from the U.S. West Coast or Hawaii to southeastern Australia, they could just steer a little farther south than usual beyond the range of Japanese planes in the Solomons and New Guinea. If for some odd reason the Japanese have one or more aircraft carriers lurking south of the Solomons, just dip down into the Roaring Forties a bit and come up to Melbourne from the South. (One thing about the Roaring Forties, you probably can't take off or land World War Two planes from any World War Two carrier there.)
Which is a win for Japan even if they don't sink any merchant tonnage thereafter. As I pointed out earlier, if it takes, say, four weeks to drop off the same cargo as you did before in two weeks, the Japanese have effectively halved the supplies reaching Australia even if they aren't sinking ships. This is before you even begin to consider things like capacity limits in both ports and railways; you can't just go "Brisbane is closed off, so everything goes to Melbourne now" because ports and railways can only handle so much cargo at once.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Australia could build up sizable air bases in the southeastern part of the country and around Darwin; any Japanese ships, air bases or troops around Port Moresby (if the Japanese actually seized it) and on the island of Timor would be in range of U.S. bombers. And the OTL Battle of the Bismarck Sea proved that U.S. skip-bombing from land bases could wipe out Japanese transports on an awesome scale. With the support of land-based air power, U.S. troops, tanks, etc. could be transported to New Guinea (and also to Timor) to seize territory and build airfields to bring in fighter planes to protect the bombers even if the latter are coming from the Australian mainland. So for instance you use air power from Australia to seize Timor and then building air bases along the way to protect your troops and ships you work your way up the chain of large Japanese occupied islands with oil (Java, Sumatra and Borneo). Aircraft carriers if they show up can be sunk from land as well as from sea.
Eventually, sure, but a bombing campaign against the NEI wasn't undertaken until 1943 and that was without major shipping disruptions to Australia.

I can't see how Midway would affect Operation Torch, the logic of which was just too strong for late 1942. The number of U.S. troops and planes involved was not all that great until it turned into a huge battle for Tunisia (which, thanks to Hitler's stupidity, was a chance too good to miss). And wasn't the naval power more British than American anyway?
Ranger would have to be diverted to the Pacific, and the British can't pull their aircraft carriers out of the Indian Ocean; there simply isn't enough air cover for the landings in their OTL style or, arguably, at all.
 
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