If The Japanese Got Hawaii (Ignoring The How) Could The H8K Bomb The West Coast?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Sputnik 1, Jan 11, 2019 at 10:38 PM.

  1. Sputnik 1 Well-Known Member

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    The Kawanishi H8K "Emily" is widely considered to be the best flying boat bomber of the Second World War. It had astounding range, and, unlike most Japanese aircraft of the time, good armor and self sealing fuel tanks.

    Say in 1941 the Japanese get Oahu and its facilities. There's a version of the Doolittle raid against Hawaii. (They take off from the carriers, bomb, ditch in the Pacific and are rescued by destroyers) As retaliation, the Japanese send three to five Emily's against Seattle or San Francisco or Los Angeles or San Diego. How much damage could they do, and what would the US reaction and response be?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sputnik 1 Well-Known Member

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    !!! I accidentally posted it twice !!!

    Could a moderator delete one please?​
     
  3. MrMonsterGuy18 Ultraviolet Troubleshooter

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    Beside the edit button is the delete button.
     
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  4. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    It's a little over 4400 miles from Honolulu to San Francisco and back. Given the range of the H8K is given as 4400 miles this makes making this a 2 way trip means refueling somewhere otherwise given any maneuvering or bad winds its a one way trip. Capacity is ~4,000 lbs of bombs (say 8x 500lb bombs) roughly. The first H8K became operational in February, 1942. IMHO this means the raid is unlikely before April, 1942 at the soonest. If Oahu has been taken, the USA IS going to beef up their defenses on the west coast especially air defense. whether or not there will be radar and coordination is another story. If the Japanese approach during daylight, between AA and fighters they are going to take losses, if they bomb at night they may have no losses but the accuracy is going to be crap. Either way absent incredibly good luck actual damage will be minimal, panic/upset is another matter. Actually have a couple of those aircraft suicide dive with full bomb loads in to either end of the Golden Gate Bridge will bring it down, and potentially bottle up ships in San Francisco Bay until wreckage can be cleaed.
     
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  5. BiteNibbleChomp I like watching Survivor.

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    Range of the H8K is 7150 km (Half of that is 3575)
    Hawaii -> San Francisco (the closest West Coast city) is 3783 km

    On a one-way flight, or ditching on the return trip ~500km east of Hawaii is possible.

    5 bombers won't do anything that matters.

    US reaction will be to build a huge fleet, take Hawaii back, and stomp Japan as hard as they did IOTL.

    - BNC
     
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  6. BiteNibbleChomp I like watching Survivor.

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    Oh, and the US air defence probably kills all the bombers before they get anywhere near the city. 5 bombers aren't that hard to shoot down, and no escort can come close to their range in 1941.

    - BNC
     
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  7. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    The aircraft are coming in from the ocean, and unless there is radar up, the odds of any CAP spotting them before they are almost on top of SF is minimal. Unless there is radar up and decent ground to air coordination the bombers may not be intercepted until they are over SF or even after bombs dropped. In spring, 1942 I wonder how good US air defenses are - unlike the UK/RAF they have not been practicing this for 18-24 months
     
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  8. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    Unless refueled the H9K's are going to be lost. Given Japan's frame of mind crews will probably be considered expendable.

    Agreed, unless caught on radar or spotted by someone they may very well get though. However, five H8K's dropping four 250kg bombs each won't do a lot of damage.

    It will infuriate the US, defenses will be strengthened and vengeance will be coming when the Essex's come on line...
     
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  9. Geon Well-Known Member

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    Some things I think that bear consideration.

    First, if Japan did successfully invade Hawaii - and that as has been noted several times on this site is a very big if - they would have to spend a LOT of time pacifying the population there. It is likely that a lot of American troops would have escaped into the mountains to continue guerilla warfare against the invaders. And one of the targets would most likely be the airfields the Japanese would try to use. The Japanese would be constantly dealing with sabotage at all their occupied airfields.

    As to radar, there was already a radar system put in place on the West Coast. Witness the Japanese submarine attack on Fort Stevens which had a radar installation.

    Also, there would be pressure to build even more radar installations on the West Coast if Hawaii fell. Including having portable radar stations. And there would be even more fighters and antiaircraft at cities and major installations.

    Finally, expect the U.S. war effort would be geared to one mindset-get Japan off Hawaii. Europe first would be amended to Hawaii first then Europe. The Americans would move heaven and earth to make certain the Japanese stay on Hawaii was as short and as unpleasant as possible.
     
  10. DougM Well-Known Member

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    In the real timeline the typical American citizens were upset beyond belief with Japan over things like Peril Harbor and Batton, If they actually invaded Hawaii then this would be even worse and the US will insist on a Japan First war where Germany only gets things when they are not needed in the Pacific.
    But if they bomb the west coast then to put it bluntly the US is going to go “Ape Shit” crazy. In short they will exterminat every single Japanese they can get thier hands on. You will see the US doing even more. The fire bombing of pretty much every City, town, village and Hamlet will be just a start. And as for excepting that the Emporor is not guilty for the way and can atick around. Let’s say that he will be tried at best. And that insistence will result in the US having to take extreme measures as Japan will not surrender after the 2nd nuke.
    You will see as many Nukes as possible as well as fire bombing and if it gets nasty enough you may see chemical attacks.

    On top of this because of pushing the Pacific first you will see a longer war in Europe and the result of that will be a lot more casualties and a lot nastier war in general. The US will insist that we build up HUGE defenses along BOTH coasts and of course that will require resources tha will have to be pulled from someplace and that will be Europe as obviously the Pacific is much harder green in the OTL

    So overall the war will be MUSH nastier overall and the Americans will be much much more harsh and the treaty and treatment after the war will be a lot worse. The British having to deal with Europe without as much assistance as OTL will also become harder and less forgiving.
    The increased nastiness in Europe and its increased length may see things go a lot worse for France, the collaborationist will have more time and more incentive to collaborate and you may see Vichy became more pro Germany in order to survive, That and the changed circumstances could very well result in the US and England being less inclined to indulge DeGall etc etc.

    So this Change, first the loss of Hawaii and then the attack(s) on the west coast will make things go a lot worse ultimately for everyone.
    This is a war that will see its ramifications extended for the rest of the Century. As the peace will be much harsher and you will may well see the Citizen of the US insist on punishing Germany (and definitely on punishing Japan) after the war vs rebuilding them. So you won’t see as much of an economic powerhouse develop Japan and Germany as a LOT of that came from the US (and a much lesser degree it allies) rebuilding the infrastructure of those countries it had destroyed giving them a sound bass to start with of new Factories and utilities and such.
    Frankly I would not be surprised if the US went to far as to actively resist Japan rebuilding.

    This is going to be a very very ugly world.
     
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