The Battle at Dawn: The first battle between the United States and Japan December 7-10, 1941

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IIRC IJN losses at Pearl (OTL) were 15 dive bombers, 9 torpedo bombers and 5 fighters. However there were many damaged aircraft, some of which became operational losses. Each carrier carried a few reserve aircraft so there were some replacements. I can't remember losses here but they must have been a lot more...
IIRC IJN losses at Pearl (OTL) were 15 dive bombers, 9 torpedo bombers and 5 fighters. However there were many damaged aircraft, some of which became operational losses. Each carrier carried a few reserve aircraft so there were some replacements. I can't remember losses here but they must have been a lot more...

203 all causes, plus 63 write offs (does not includes losses on December 10) of 459 embarked (included partially assembled spares)
aircrew losses: 155 pilots, 196 other aircrew
ship losses thus far for iJN: 2 CV, 1 CA, 2 DD (plus some submarines and midget submarines) sunk, plus 1 CV damaged plus some light damage to 3 CA
Okay, so regardless of what damage they do to the USN, they will have done it at the expense of castrating the Kido Butai...

Yes indeed ... basically the cost of Midway (in aircrew) to knock out the American battleship fleet which lacked the logistical support to seriously threaten the Japanese offensives in the Southern Resource Area. Frankly I think Pearl Harbor, the more I examine it, was a mistake at every level for the Japanese even with the historical result. A more prepared Pearl Harbor with a competent and well managed American defense would still have been costly to the US, but a long term disaster for the Japanese.

Of course the long sought "Decisive Battle" would still likely have been a disaster for the Japanese if they waited for the USN to show up later on. Really the Japanese are screwed no matter what when it comes to fighting the USN long term. There are simply going to be too many ships and aircraft for them to deal with.
It's interesting how each Japanese carrier division has either had a carrier sunk or heavily damaged. They keep this up, and it will really destroy any future operations.
This has Pyrrhic victory written all over it, and what's worse is that there is a good chance that the only person on the Japanese side who will recognize this fact is Yamamoto.
Battle of Midway: Hammer Blows and Finale
Battle of Midway: Hammer Blows

East Island Midway Atoll
The Japanese battleships steam at 26,000 yards from the Atoll, firing a steady stream of 14 inch rounds into the airstrip and other facilities on East Island (the Kongo, Kirishima and Hiei) and Sand Island (Haruna). The American Marines only have a few 5 inch guns available to reply and the Japanese are hopelessly out of range. The Japanese shoot unmolested until an airstrike from the Lexington arrives.

However, the two islands suffer terrible damage, particularly East Island. The airstrip is left a field of craters, every building is burning or destroyed, over half the gun positions have been blasted into wreckage along with their guns, and personnel casualties number of 200 dead on East Island, while over 50 are dead on Sand Island. The wounded are similarly heavy and indeed the ability of the Americans to resist with anything more than small arms has been eliminated. Among the seriously wounded is Halsey, who lies unconscious in a slit trench, dragged there by a pair of Marines after the command post was destroyed.

0747 hours
The strike from the Lexington arrives overhead. Appalled at what he sees below, Lieutenant Commander Dixon ignores his instructions to attack the carriers and orders his torpedo planes and dive bombers to hit the Japanese battleships. The Japanese have only 9 fighters overhead, as most of the rest are still being rearmed and refueled or are providing cover for the carriers. Another 12 Zero's are en route to cover the Invasion Fleet as Yamamoto is concerned that the Americans might hit it with their strike aircraft and he does not know where the American carriers are yet but they must be close by.

The 15 aircraft of Torpedo 2 focus on the Haruna, which is some distance from the rest of the Japanese force and are immediately spotted by the Japanese fighters, who swarm them. The slow poorly armed torpedo bombers suffer appalling losses, with 7 being shot down, and the Japanese battleship is well armed and supported by a destroyer which downs 3 more of the TBDs. Only 6 manage to drop their torpedoes and indeed they score 2 hits but none of the torpedoes explode.

The SBDs have more success, pushing over into their dives and 6 each attack the Hiei and Kirishima and 3 attack the Kongo. Although near misses splash all around the Japanese battleships, only two hits are scored, with a single 1,000 pound bomb penetrating the thin 1 inch deck armor and starting a flash fire that forces the flooding of the rear magazine, effectively knocking C and D turrets of the Hiei, while another 1,000 pound bomb hits the Kongo amidships, knocking out several secondary 6 inch guns and inflicting heavy personnel losses as well as starting a serious fire that takes nearly an hour to put out.

The Japanese fighters are too far away to catch the American dive bombers before they escape into the clouds and have instructions to not pursue but to defend the fleet. The surviving American aircraft flee the scene.

0806 Hours
Yamamoto is still digesting this latest blow and listening to appeals to withdraw when a report is received that a float plane from the Tone managed to get off a contact report reporting 1 carrier, 4 cruisers, and 10 destroyers 130 miles SSE of Midway and within strike range. There were no further reports. Yamamoto orders Yamaguchi to attack immediately with his entire strike force.

0811 Hours
Lieutenant Commander Wade McClusky arrives overhead of the Japanese Invasion Fleet with 28 dive bombers, while Lieutenant Commander Smiley leads 30 torpedo bombers. The Japanese fighter cover is at medium altitude, and spots the dive bombers first, attacking Bombing 5 but only down 3 SBDs and damage 2 more at the cost of 2 of their own. The dive bombers have split into 4 elements, aiming at the four largest Japanese transports and rapidly convert all four into burning wreckage as 1,000 pound bombs wreck them and slaughter hundreds of soldiers. The torpedo bombers follow up, concentrating on four other transports, and manage to score hits that detonate on each, leaving all four dead in the water and sinking. A few moments over a third of the South Sea Detachment of the Japanese Army have been killed or wounded, and urgent efforts are being made by the Japanese to rescue soldiers and sailors.

The Americans have broken off by 0830 and are returning home, having lost only 4 dive bombers and 2 torpedo bombers, although several of each have suffered damage. The Japanese have 8 transports burning and sinking and over 1,600 soldiers are dead or wounded. In moments the invasion threat to Midway is over.


At the same time the carriers Hiryu, Shokaku and Akagi complete the launch of 42 torpedo bombers, 48 dive bombers and 18 fighters which are winging their way toward Task Force 3.

0821 hours
Yamamoto is stunned by the devastating losses to the invasion fleet, and orders all task groups to regroup 75 northwest of Midway. Only the destroyers and patrol craft are to remain with the transports to recover as many of the soldiers as possible, and he sends 4 more destroyers to join them to add to the rescue force.

All 8 ships are sinking wrecks, but in all 2,000 soldiers are lost either aboard their ships or in the water.

0826 Hours
The submarine Trout fires a spread of 6 torpedoes at the Kongo, scoring 2 hits that are duds. The Japanese counterattack forces her far below and out of the fight. The skipper of the Trout is simply convinced he missed the fast moving enemy ship.

0905 Hours
The Lexington finishes recovering its strike. Brown is appalled by air group losses, and aware that his group has been spotted, he orders Spruance to send fighters to support him and for Spruance and his own task force to retire east at 30 knots as soon as the last aircraft have been recovered and combat air patrols launched.

0910 Hours
16 Wildcats (8 each) from the Enterprise and Yorktown are launched and begin winging their way to the Lexington which is 75 miles away.

0913 Hours
Midway manages to restore the cable connection to Pearl Harbor and sends a message advising Pearl Harbor that Admiral Halsey is severely wounded and is no longer able to command. A request for reinforcements and assistance with the wounded are also sought.

0935 Hours
A message is sent to Vice Admiral Brown informing him that he is now acting commander of the US Pacific Fleet.

0938 Hours
Radar aboard the Chicago and Lexington picks up the Japanese strike passing to the northeast. For a few brief moments there is hope that they will miss spotting the American fleet in the increasingly cloudy conditions but then the Japanese begin a box search and it is clear that they are going to find the American task force.

0947 Hours
The American combat air patrol of 6 Buffalo and 14 Wildcat fighters move to engage the Japanese. The Wildcats engage the fighter escort, and outnumbered 14 to 18 still give a good accounting, shooting down 5 Zero's and damaging 3 more, but 6 Wildcats are shot down and 3 more damaged. Meanwhile the Buffalos dive on the Japanese torpedo planes, shooting down 5 of them and damaging 4 more and suffer only little damage themselves.

But the sheer numbers of Japanese strike aircraft are overwhelming. In spite of furious flak that downs 5 more torpedo planes and 3 dive bombers, the Japanese land 10 bomb hits and 5 torpedoes against the Lexington, as well as 6 bombs and 3 torpedoes on the Astoria, which happened to be the closest cruiser to the stricken carrier. Both ships are left burning and sinking, and indeed the Astoria rolls over within 14 minutes of the attack, taking nearly 650 men down with her.

In all the Japanese lose 6 fighters, 12 torpedo bombers and 4 dive bombers in the attack or forced to ditch on the way home. However by 1100 hours the Japanese have finished recovering their aircraft and are retiring northwest at the speed of the slowest transport (15 knots).

The Americans too are retiring. The Lexington rolls over and sinks at 1055 hours, taking over 400 men down with her.

The Battle of the Hawaiian Islands is finally over.....

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The Battle of the Hawaiian Islands is finally over.....

Of course, I still have to say, Well done, sir!!! A most excellent, well written, engaging & entertaining read. Had me hooked right from the title, and did not disappoint! Thanks GB, for all the hard work, and a very thought provoking ATL.
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