Midway Lost

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Killer300, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. Killer300 Well-Known Member

    Sep 6, 2011
    This is purely hypothetical, and am quite glad things didn't go this way, to say the least.

    With that in mind, when hearing about Midway, it was apparently a rather luck driven event. The carriers were all opened up, for changing bombs apparently, when the US bombers arrived. If they had come only a few minutes later...

    Basically, what would've the outcome been if they lost in Midway? Would we see a Japanese invasion of the US homeland? Doubtful, but still...
  2. posbi Well-Known Member

    Aug 8, 2010
    The war in the Pacific would've become longer, since IIRC it took the US until 1944 to really throw its overwhelming numbers at the Japanese. With some bad luck, the Japanese may have been able to inflict a couple of localized defeats to the Allies. All in all, however, the US was never in danger of being invaded; hell, the Japanese didn't have the supply train to invade and hold Hawaii.
  3. Meadow but see, when Meadow does that, Monthly Donor

    Apr 8, 2010
  4. Baron Bizarre Is probably thinking about his next meal...

    Mar 18, 2010
    From everything I've read, the Japanese would've had trouble just holding Midway, let alone using it as a springboard for invading anywhere else. I suspect it would've slowed the US down a bit, but not changed the outcome of the war.
  5. Snake Featherston Banned

    Jan 23, 2004
    Lake Charles, Louisiana
    The United States can lose the naval battle, it will, however, win the land battle. The result would be a kind of Perryville scenario, Japan wins a tactical victory barren of strategic result.
  6. Killer300 Well-Known Member

    Sep 6, 2011
    Ah, okay, yeah, I thought the same, but had to make sure. Yeah... industrial power alone insures that. Well, I'm glad that's the case.
  7. Hyperion Banned

    Mar 22, 2005
    At best, a win at Midway would perhaps buy Japan three to six months.

    Even if all three US carriers are lost at Midway, most if not all of the cruiser and destoryer escorts will probably survive and retreat as fast as possible.

    Then you have to factor in that the US would still have the USS Saratoga, fresh from a shipyard repair job in Puget Sound. Also, the USS Wasp would be arriving near the end of June.

    As far as an invasion of Hawaii, Japan doesn't have the logistics, and the US has had over six months to replace aircraft losses, and reinforce Oahu. If Nimitz and whoever the US Army commander on Oahu is really thought the Japanese where going to attack, he can probably call Washington and request additional squadrons to be transported to Oahu.

    In OTL in anticipation of Midway, Nimitz sent every available aircraft that could be spaired to the island, over 100 aircraft total, fighters, bombers, patrol planes.

    Oahu, being a much larger island with more built up bases, can easily hold several hundred land based fighters and bombers, and would be a tough nut to take, even if the US doesn't commit it's last two available carriers.
  8. Riain Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    There are good articles on the Combined Fleet website, good articles.
  9. Blackfox5 Well-Known Member

    Sep 2, 2010
    There would definitely be no invasion of the US mainland or Hawaii. The Japanese had no plans to do so, and knew they didn't have the resources to do so.

    But a Japanese victory at Midway likely means no Guadalcanal operation. New Guinea may be taken, and the route to Australia threatened. It will likely not lead to an attack on Australia, but it will cause problems.

    Another thing that will likely happen is that Japan will extensively raid the Indian Ocean, probably take Ceylon, and support an offensive into India. Because convoys in the Indian Ocean were much less protected than the Atlantic, this could lead to some very bad results for the British.

    1942 and early 1943 is going to be very bad for the Western Allies. Probably not enough to decisively affect the outcome of the war, but it will lead to significant changes.

    By mid-1943, the new US carriers will be able to be deployed and the US will likely begin either a Central Pacific offensive, or might head south to reopen the lines to Australia. The problem for the US is that they won't have the hard experience they learned during Guadalcanal and will make a lot of mistakes they weren't making by 1943 IOTL.

    I would not be surprised if it would delay the progress in the Pacific by at least a year, although once the atomic bomb is available, it may not matter. More impact might be cultural after the war, as Japan will not have the significant defeats that discredited her military. There may be more Japanese who embrace the old Bushido spirit because the US had to "cheat" in order to win militarily.
  10. Finn Custom User Title

    May 4, 2008
    What? No, that would be more difficult than a successful Sea Lion.
  11. Hyperbolus gentleman lurker

    Nov 16, 2010
    Zenith, Winnemac
    Seeing as the Guadalcanal offensive leveraged off of post-Midway Japanese weakness, and that Operation Torch was being prepared at the time, I think a US loss could ultimately cause an earlier, clearer focus on Europe. With the IJN and especially the Kido Butai intact, the cost of a major offensive in the Pacific might be seen as prohibitively high, and the resources better utilized reinforcing offensives in W. Europe or the Mediterranean.
  12. Killer300 Well-Known Member

    Sep 6, 2011
    Yeah... this thread was kind of pointless in some ways. Considering a successful Sea Lion is about as possible as me waking up in the land of USAR one day because I changed dimensions, I think we can safely say the US(and UK in this situation) are now quite safe.
  13. NoOneFamous Well-Known Member

    Aug 17, 2008
    Central PA
    They could take it, but they would never be able to hold it
  14. Shadow Master Alternate Technologies Fan Banned

    Apr 21, 2008
    Let us assume then that the Japanese first wave against the US carriers would have taken out the Yorktown the first time (four carrier strike groups instead of one). Lets further postulate that the Enterprise and Hornet, with their torpedo squadrons savaged in the first attacks, fail to sink any of the Japanese carriers and soon follow the Yorktown to a watery grave.

    Blackfox5 beat me to it, as I was going to start off with the Solomons islands campaign as well.:(

    I would think that the US, down 4 carriers in two battles (and the Japanese being correspondingly up by four carriers that they historically lost but retain ITTL) is going to have to forgo offensive operations entirely for at least a year, which means that the Japanese are going to have a free hand in continuing their southeastward advance from the Solomons. With land based air entrenched on the south pacific islands, I would be surprised to see new guinea or new Zealand not being taken before the US can do anything about it.

    Also as blackfox5 pointed out, this will mean that the Japanese are going to be able to throw far stronger forces into the Indian ocean, as they will not only still have the four carriers they historically lost at midway, but they are not going to be having to counter any US offensives at all.

    One thing I disagree with in Blackfox5's post however is, the idea of a ground campaign in India. Would it not make more sense from the Japanese point of view to simply take the islands at the entrance to the red sea and slap down some good land based air to close the Suez/red sea to allied shipping? send some submarines just for spice, and the Indian ocean is going to become a far more costly theater for the allies. Far less manpower needed for this than jumping headfirst into yet another full fledged ground war in one the the most densely populated nations in the world (at the same time as they are already fighting in China). Also, what if they were to take and garrison parts of french Madagascar? I would think that subs and land based air there could cut off allied merchant shipping in the Indian ocean entirely. And this could lead to some major repercussions in the ground war in China, as there will be no allied reinforcements and supplies being sent 'over the hump'.

    All in all, this would have extended the war with Japan by at least two years, and perhaps as much as five (assuming the worst --- Britain sue's for peace w/Japan, and Japan conquers China), this would mean that Japan is hit by an American nuclear bombing campaign in 1947-1950.

    Just my two cents worth.....
  15. KyleB Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2009
    If the Japanese manage to sink all three carriers and capture Midway, they'll take New Guinea, but they still won't have the logistics to support successful invasions of Australia and New Zealand. In fact, just getting New Caledonia and Fiji would be very difficult for the Japanese. There would probably be Allied invasions of New Guinea, Midway and Guadalcanal in mid to late 1943, and eventually the Allies would make up for lost ground. Japan is still nuked and firebombed in 1945 and they'll surrender before the planned American invasion, which would be scheduled for late 1946. However, the Soviet invasion might come a lot earlier than that, so we would see a unified communist Korea post-war (so no Korean War) and perhaps a Soviet-controlled Hokkaido.
  16. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

    Oct 4, 2005
    The Japanese lacked the logistical lift to maintain a long term presence in the Indian Ocean. The strike there was exactly what it was called, a raid. There is no conceivable reason that the Japanese would even attempt to hold any part of the Red Sea or deny it to the Allies. The Japanese were co-belligerents with the Reich, not true allies with a common strategy, hence they had no reason, desire to, nor the ability to maintain, forces that far from base (once again, the reality of Pearl Harbor's logistics is instructive, the Japanese had to DECK LOAD drums of fuel oil on most of their ships, including a couple of the carriers, with other carriers filling their ballast tanks with fuel oil so the force could make it to Hawaii and back). The IO raid was only possible because the IJN was able to stage out of Staring Bay, Java.

    If the IJN manages to wipe out the entire U.S. carrier force at Midway, it reduces the U.S. Pacific Fleet from the prebattle available 3 carrier to post battle TWO (Wasp arrived in the Pacific on June 19th, Saratoga came in Pearl Harbor, after refitting at Bremerton, on June 6, 1942). The U.S. is reduced in offensive capacity, but is hardly a turtle on its back. By mid 1943, assuming the Japanese suffer NO losses, the U.S. carrier force can launch more, and decidedly better, aircraft than the Kido Butai. By Early 1944 the U.S. advantage is around 2-1 by mid-1944, again assuming no losses to the Japanese, it is 4-1.

    The IJN survives exactly as long as it takes the U.S. to bring here massive industrial advantage to bear. By 1944 the U.S. is in the Marianas. By the fall of 1945 it is Enola Gay time.
  17. KyleB Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2009
    With a Midway loss, the Randolph will probably be diverted from the convoy protection operations to help in the Pacific.
  18. Dunois Franco-British Patriot!

    Jul 4, 2009
    It would not make much a difference, since the American can still Island hop through the Aleut and then the Kuril island chain itself. By 1945 it would Enola Gay time as CalBear as said.
  19. Color-Copycat Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2010
    make america great again
    By the time Midway took place, US carrier production was already set to outpace that of the Japanese, even if the entirety of US forces at Midway had been lost.
  20. John Fredrick Parker Donor

    May 22, 2010
    Los Angeles
    See, I can see it going the other way -- particularly with the 1942 Midterms approaching, if the Pacific has nothing but bad news at Midway and Guadalcanal, "America First" Republicans could retake the House, and threaten to use the power of the purse to get FDR to focus on "direct threats" to the US.

    I've also wondered about the plausibility, in this scenario of cutting them off, of a separate peace with Australia, leaving only the East to threaten Japan...