Alas said fleet isn't carrying late 1944 levels of AA guns and fighter compliments if it did I'd say it would be too tough a nut for the KB to crack.
Sadly true. However, there is one advantage. If the USN gets the warning on December 4th, Halsey won't fly off the planes of VMF-211. So Enterprise will have a heavier than normal complement of Wildcats. Plus, Enterprise has radar. One of only 14 ships in the Navy to be equipped with it at the time. Is that enough to counter balance the KB? No. Between them, Enterprise and Lexington had about 200 planes. The KB had around 360. If Kimmel is smart, he'll keep the fleet under cover of land based air as well.
 
If Kimmel is smart, he'll keep the fleet under cover of land based air as well.
Would he try to bait the Kido Butai into attacking him near Hawaii with fighter cover, while the Big E and Lex wait to the northish and(along with what bombers can be mustered from Pearl) hit the KB, which has less planes due to having theoretically fairly high losses going after the BB's? Or would the fact that BB's were still regarded as the #1 ships in the fleet mean they couldn't be used as bait?
 
How likely would it have been that the fleet would have sailed out toward Kido Butai if it was spotted early? Which ships were even ready to sail on short notice considering that Pacific fleet had two carriers TFs with escorts away and many of the ships in Pearl were there for maintenance. And Kimmel probably understood that the BBs were not fast enough to catch Japanese carriers even if getting near them.
Most of the ships were at their lowest power plant setting. Just one boiler set for housekeeping on a anchored/docked ship. A few at the docks had their power plants completely shut down & were powered off the shoreside electric grid. The Nevada got emergency power up and underway because the boilers were being switched over. A second had just been brought up to power levels in preparation for shutting the in use boiler down. Under emergency conditions it took 3-4 hours to bring a Standard BB up from a single low use boiler. Less for the destroyers, cruisers, ect...

See Scott's reply above. I'd be very curious to find out where you're getting your information that most of the ships in Pearl were there because they were broken? The ships were in port that weekend to give their crews some R&R. As for escorts, that's a pretty solid escort. Plus, if Kimmel has been warned in enough time to coordinate getting the fleet to sea, he'll order Halsey to get his ass back to Pearl ASAP with Enterprise and her escorts to join up with the battle fleet. Likewise, TF12 (Lexington three heavy cruisers and five destroyers) will not be sent on her OTL ferry mission on December 5th. Additionally, Minneapolis was only 8 miles from Pearl on December 7th conducting gunnery drill. And Indianapolis was also in Hawaiian waters then. So that's another two heavy cruisers available.

If we say that the KB is spotted on December 4th, Kimmel will have the entire Pacific Fleet at sea by midday on the 5th. So with a warning on the 4th, this is Kimmel's fleet by December 7th:

2 Aircraft Carriers
7 Battleships
8 Heavy Cruisers
6 Light Cruisers
39 Destroyers
Kimmels & Pyes plan for a emergency sortie was to head the ships to the SE. that would be a rendezvous point over the horizon from a enemy surface ship or sub near Oahu, but close enough for a CAP. This would also be a good assembly area and starting position to intercept enemy ships approaching from the Japanese Naval base of Truk in the Marianas. That was the closest major Japanese naval base, and considered the likely direction of a attack. There were other contingencies that had been planned & gamed out, but this was the primary plan. The Japanese airstrike could have reached this rendezvous point, but they'ed be bingo fuel, more strung out and vulnerable & might suffer triple losses in air crew.
 
Would he try to bait the Kido Butai into attacking him near Hawaii with fighter cover, while the Big E and Lex wait to the northish and(along with what bombers can be mustered from Pearl) hit the KB, which has less planes due to having theoretically fairly high losses going after the BB's? Or would the fact that BB's were still regarded as the #1 ships in the fleet mean they couldn't be used as bait?
Be really tough to organize that on the fly. But if the air strike tries to hit the fleet at sea & SE of Hawaii, then the two US carriers have a chance to do some damage before the KB can land & reorganize its depleted air wing.
 
For a tail chase of the KB, the real question is how long the KB can steam at 21 knots before running short of fuel, to stay out of the Standards gun range before they can't get back to a friendly base.

They didn't have the fuel reserves for faster travel than the12? 14? Knot cruise over to Hawaii
 
How likely would it have been that the fleet would have sailed out toward Kido Butai if it was spotted early?
Something I want to point out here is a question of "would he?" since we're more than a little bit playing from hindsight here.

Keep in mind that despite the FleetEx "raid" on PH most higher ups were not under the impression that aircraft alone could be that effective against a prepared and ready defense. Taranto was used as an exampl of an air attack on unprepared and unorganized defesnes IIRC right up until Dec 7th. He would likely sortie the fleet to the standby position but woud he go aggressive against KB? I'm not so sure as I've a suspicion that he more likely be looking for the 'other' shoe. Where's the 'rest' of the Japanese forces after all? Aircraft carriers are not the 'main' combatent units but 'supporting' players so I'd suspect he would wonder if it wasn't part of a ruse?

Dangling the KB out there to GET him to sortie the fleet... Maybe right into the other half of the Japanese forces waiting for him to the South? Maybe into a submarine screen? Unlikely? Heck yes but so was/is a Japanese carrier force north of him in the first place. If that managed that, there's a possibity leaving PH puts him in a position of getting caught between two forces and he has to consider that. As for the deployed carriers, we know they are currenlty clear but what may be between them and Hawaii? Might he lose both, (and their missions) by recalling them? Should he just stay in land based air range and let KB go? (After all if it IS just the carriers then all he has to do is make a credible sortie towards them and they should run solving his problem for the moment)
How long does he look for the 'other' threat before he gets off the mark?

He'll need the carriers to chase the KB as it was known that harrasing strikes pretty much ensured some significant delays in a tail-chase as the attacked forces needed to re-group and get back up to the chase after an attack. (Not much but any little bit would help the one being chased) And again he's got to keep the possiblity of ambush and flanking in mind. How long can he go out before he needs to turn back? Was chasing the KB even an option?

As for the KB am I correct in recalling that Nagumo had an option to retreat/abort if the attack wasn't going to be effective? Having the bulk of the US fleet at sea and/or PH obvioulsy 'prepared' would seem to fit that critieria I'd think.

Randy
 
how much time would PH need to mobilise the army and navy to withstand an air raid without giving the navy enough time to slip their moorings and head for deeper waters? 30 minutes? 45 minutes? an hour? more?
 
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Would a massive deployment of the entire fleet out of Pearl Harbor on the 4th or 5th December really go unnoticed?
Where there any agents left that would be able to report on the fleet shipping out?
And what about the Japanese subs that were inbound?

Furthermore: Provided the Kido Butai is spotted on the 4th. How do the Americans know that the target is Hawaii?
 
Would a massive deployment of the entire fleet out of Pearl Harbor on the 4th or 5th December really go unnoticed?
Where there any agents left that would be able to report on the fleet shipping out?
And what about the Japanese subs that were inbound?

Furthermore: Provided the Kido Butai is spotted on the 4th. How do the Americans know that the target is Hawaii?
I can't answer the first part of your post, but the second part, Hawaii is the only target in the area worth that much firepower
 
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How do the Americans know that the target is Hawaii?

December 4?
Wherever they are going, they are up to no good.
What's the cover story?

Compass must have been stuck, and we didn't notice that yellow ball in the sky rising in the East every day, the direction we have been traveling for the past week

Hmm.
 
Furthermore: Provided the Kido Butai is spotted on the 4th. How do the Americans know that the target is Hawaii?
I can't answer the first part of your post, but the second part, Hawaii is the only target in the area worth that much firepower

December 4?
Wherever they are going, they are up to no good.
What's the cover story?

Compass must have been stuck, and we didn't notice that yellow ball in the sky rising in the East every day, the direction we have been traveling for the past week

Hmm.
"Er, just a standard fishing protection patrol... Haven't seen a rouge tuna boat around here have you? We've heard the surf... Nope too soon. Oh look, a squirrel! Er, squid, something... Well we'll just be moving on now..."

Randy
 

December 4?
Wherever they are going, they are up to no good.
What's the cover story?

Compass must have been stuck, and we didn't notice that yellow ball in the sky rising in the East every day, the direction we have been traveling for the past week

Hmm.
East Coast of the US? People were paranoid back then...
Midway would also be an option.
 
See Scott's reply above. I'd be very curious to find out where you're getting your information that most of the ships in Pearl were there because they were broken?
Some years ago a came across a listing of the statuses of the DDs at Pearl Harbor before the strike, but cannot find it now. The after action reports however give some information:

And based on them:
USS Allen Ready
USS Aylwin Ready
USS Bagley was moored at the Navy Yard Pearl Harbor, T.H., (Berth B22) for restricted availability (repairs to starboard bilge keel)
USS Blue Ready
USS Case undergoing regular scheduled overhaul
USS Cassin Drydock
USS Chew Ready
USS Conyngham The ship was undergoing routine tender overhaul with all main engines, boilers and generators disabled
USS Cummings Restricted availability status undergoing preliminary radar installation work (got underway 10:26)
USS Dale Initially OK, but developed engine problems during the day and needed tender to do the repairs
USS Dewey Under tender overhaul
USS Downes Drydock
USS Farragut Ready
USS Helm Ready
USS Henley Ready
USS Hull Undergoing tender overhaul
USS Jarvis Restricted availability status, got underway 10:18
USS MacDonough Undergoing scheduled overhaul
USS Monaghan Ready
USS Mugford Ready
USS Patterson Ready
USS Phelps Some overhaul work being done, got underway 09:26
USS Ralph Talbot Ready
USS Reid Undergoing repairs, got underway 10:10
USS Selfridge Ready
USS Shaw Drydock
USS Tucker Ready
USS Ward Ready
USS Worden undergoing routine upkeep, got underway 10:40

I count 14 that did not mention any handicaps regarding their readiness, but not sure if that is the full truth. Of course in emergency you may cut any minor overhaul short as was done with many of the ships.

But then again even during an emergency there is a need to maintain anti-submarine patrols at the harbor entrance.
 
how much time would PH need to mobilise the army and navy to withstand an air raid without giving the navy enough time to slip their moorings and head for deeper waters? 30 minutes? 45 minutes? an hour? more?
Discounting any time wasted getting the word to the top commanders and getting them to believe the warnings, then from the moment the orders to get ready for battle go out until every AA gun is manned and ready, and every aircraft is either in the air or ready to take off, you are probably looking at a couple of hours. You could probably reach a 75% readiness state in an hour or so. Keep in mind this was a Sunday morning and a lot of personnel would not be at their bases.
 
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