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

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This TL certainly deserved it. Best Pacific War TL since A True And Better Alamo by Fearless Leader. Speaking Pacific War TLs, anyone know where the Wake Island Relieved TL is on Naval Fiction Forum?
Wow I'm impressed. I just write stuff and let the story unfold as it develops...

I tend to go through several different versions of a battle to see how it looks, usually a 'bad' version for both sides, and a 'good' version for both sides and then I finally get to the version that I write (when it comes to outlining), after I explore the repercussions of the various versions and plausibility checks from historical examples.

Now if only I could illustrate a map successfully using the computer (chuckle)

For now my mapping is paper and pencil with the help of some old table top wargames for helping me picture the scene
Congrats and good luck with the next timeline. As I have stated before, I really enjoy enjoy your style and amount of research you do.
Editing and final epilogue are on hold due to real life issues (January is a really bad month for my family due to a horribly painful loss in January four years ago). Hopefully I will finish this up next month.

I am still planning and prepping for the next project, which will be called "Shoe String Warriors: The Air War over the Philippines 1941-42"

Which will be about the US and Philippine Air Force against the Japanese
If you can get ahold of a copy of "They Fought With What They Had" I think you will find it very useful. Best wishes for you and yours, the board will be here when you get back, take care of the important stuff first.
My sincerest wishes GB for you and your family. Please take all the time needed and update when you are able. Thanks again for a wonderful story.
The Consequences of the Battle of the Hawaiian Islands

The principal engagements at Pearl Harbor, Kure and Midway are officially described by both Navies as the Battle of the Hawaiian Islands. The Japanese claim (and believe) they have sunk 4 battleships, 1 aircraft carrier, 8 cruisers, several destroyers and several other support ships as well as destroying in the air or on the ground over 500 American aircraft. The Americans claim two carriers definitely sunk and believe they may have sunk another until radio chatter from the Zuikaku is picked up later in December. They also claim a cruiser and several destroyers sunk as well as heavily damaging three Japanese battleships and over 300 Japanese aircraft destroyed.

American Losses
Of course the real losses are serious enough. The battle has cost the United States Navy 3 battleships sunk (Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada) of which only one is repairable as well as 3 others heavily damaged and in need of months of repair (Pennsylvania, California, Tennessee) leaving only the Maryland, West Virginia and after refit the Colorado rejoins the fleet in April 1942. One of the first things Admiral Nimitz does when he takes command of the Pacific Ocean Area and becomes CINCPAC is send all of the battleships to San Francisco, San Diego and Bremerton for upgrades to their anti aircraft and sensors. He would not see them again for some time as the 3 Colorado class ships end up in the Atlantic for much of the war.

Also lost are the heavy cruisers Astoria and Chester off Midway, as well as heavy damage to the heavy cruisers San Francisco and New Orleans (knocking both out of the war for weeks), as well as serious damage to the light cruisers Honolulu and St Louis. Also lost are the destroyers (or converted destroyers) Gamble, Cassin, Downes, Hull, Dobbin, Thornton, Alywin, Lamson, and Porter, as well as the submarine Cachelot, fleet oiler Neosho, repair ship Vestal and the target and training ship Utah plus several PT boats. Damaged is the destroyer Selfridge as well as the fleet oiler Ramapo.

The worst loss is the over 8,000 American sailors and marines killed and the loss of the carrier Lexington and the virtual destruction of 1 carrier fighter squadron, 1 carrier torpedo bomber squadron, 2 carrier scout bomber squadrons and heavy losses to several other squadrons. Several float and patrol planes are also lost in accidents or to Japanese fighters or bombs.

The death of Admiral Richardson is also a severe blow as is the severe wounding of the next two men in line to take over the fleet (Pye and Halsey). Admiral Pye is forced to take a medical retirement while Admiral Halsey is out of the war until July 1942 recovering from his wounds. Admiral Richardson and Admiral Halsey are both awarded the Medal of Honor for their efforts leading up to or during the battle.

The Army took losses too, with over 100 aircraft destroyed in the air or on the ground or written off as not worth repairing, as well as over 300 dead or dying. Hickam and Wheeler are both heavily damaged but the Army has its airpower mostly restored and reinforced within weeks of the battle.

Japanese losses
For the Japanese it is a costly and incomplete victory. Although the American battle line is shattered and one of the American carriers was sunk, it cost the Japanese Navy the carriers Kaga and Soryu sunk, the carrier Zuikaku damaged and knocked out of the war until April, plus the cruiser Aoba and two destroyers and heavy damage to the battleships Hiei and Kongo, knocking them out of the war until May 1942. Among the nearly 3,000 Japanese dead or missing is Admiral Nagumo, commander of the 1st Air Fleet killed during a strafing attack on the Akagi on December 7. His place is taken by Admiral Yamaguchi.

The most important loss is of 343 aircraft (including those lost aboard carriers sunk or suffering fire damage as well as those written off) and 200 pilots that have been killed in air combat or from flak or lost at sea with their ships. This, along with two carriers sunk is tremendous blow.

A serious blow to Navy prestige is the lost of 8 transports and 2,000 soldiers, and that the entire South Seas Detachment (a brigade group) has been reduced to an effective force of a single infantry battalion and the remainder of the outfit will have to be reformed, refitted and reequipped.

After the battle
The embarrassing defeat at Wake Island on December 11th infuriates Yamamoto, and he detours his fleet on its return to Japan to provide fire and air support in the second (and successful) attempt on the islands by a humiliated Admiral Inoue and his 4th Fleet. Yamaguchi is infuriated that he loses five more aircraft and two more pilots in this operation. Only 200 American Marines and Sailors, as well as 900 civilian workers survive to surrender in the fierce attack.

In the weeks that follow the Japanese Navy forms the carriers Akagi, Hiryu, Ryujo, Zuiho, Shoho into the 1st Air Fleet. Aircraft are taken from the Shokaku as well as new construction to replace the outdated A5M fighters currently embarked, giving this force a total of 90 fighters, 78 torpedo bombers, and 51 dive bombers. There are no spares embarked, but this force is ready for action along with its escorts of 2 battleships, 2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser and 8 destroyers by mid January 1942.

The Shokaku and Zuikaku are out of action until May 1942 to replace their air groups, repair damage and increase their anti-aircraft capability. The Japanese also immediately order the seaplane tenders Chitose and Chiyoda to urgently return to Japan for conversion into aircraft carriers, however it will be late 1943 before either are ready for action. The work on the Hiyo and Junyo, both converted ocean liners, is ordered rushed, but neither will be ready before June 1942. The Hiyo, Junyo, Shokaku, and Zuikaku will be formed into the 2nd Air Fleet under Admiral Hara once they are ready for combat. Meanwhile work on the battleship Shinano is ordered halted and within a few weeks she is ordered scrapped on the ways in a deal with the Army (with the Army getting her steel) in exchange for troops needed for operations already being planned.

The US Navy meanwhile orders the carrier Hornet to the Pacific as soon as she completes her work up, and she arrives at Pearl Harbor on April 10, 1942. In the short term, the Navy sends the Saratoga to Pearl with fighter squadrons VF3, VF5 (stripped from the Ranger) and Wildcats and pilots stripped from VF71 and VF72 (from the Wasp) adding 44 Wildcats to the fleet and allowing the Yorktown and Enterprise to have 2 fighter squadrons of 18 Wildcats each, as well as 2 scout bomber squadrons of SBD Dauntless each after the 2 squadrons from the Saratoga are stripped from her. This gives the Americans 2 fully operational carriers by mid January 1942. The Saratoga is sent back to California with all the remaining TBD Devastators and F3A Buffalos that survive where they are sent to the Atlantic as the Ranger and Wasp are less likely to need immediate fighter cover as their primary mission for the moment is not likely to face anything more threatening than the occasional German Condor patrol bomber and the TBD is a perfectly adequate anti-submarine aircraft. Torpedo bomber squadrons do not return to the Pacific War for the US Navy until August 1942, when they arrive with the new TBF Avenger.

On her second trip carrying P40s for the Army and Wildcats for the Marine Corps, the Saratoga completes her delivery but is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on January 24, 1942, knocking her out of the war until mid June 1942. This in turn causes Admiral Stark to send the Ranger and Wasp to the Pacific for a few months in early 1942, with consequences to the War in Europe. Admiral Nimitz, impressed by the performance of Spruance in his handling of the attack on the Japanese invasion fleet, promotes him to permanent command of the Enterprise and Yorktown task force and sends him to raid the Japanese Marshall Islands in February 1942.

Meanwhile in the Southwest Pacific Area, the Japanese juggernaut begins to roll over American, British and Dutch possessions.
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