What the odds that a third strike on Pearl Harbor. . .

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Art, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Art Well-Known Member

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    Would have been able to destroy the dry dock, repair facilities, and oil tanks? Is it known how many army and navy aircraft, and anti-aircraft batteries were still operational? Because more than 29 aircraft were put out of comission in the 1st and 2nd waves.
     
  2. Unknown Member

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    IMO, the odds aren't good for a successful third strike (waiting for @CalBear in three...two...one...)
     
  3. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    Not very. Days of Infamy not withstanding, that's not how the IJN trained. If a third strike were launched (and that's a hell of a big if) the IJN would have gone after damaged battleships, cruisers and probably the airfields again. Taking out infrastructure was so far down the list of priorities that it would have taken 5 or 6 strikes to work far enough down the target list for them to be targeted.
     
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  4. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    The odds?

    Zero.

    Zip.

    Nada.

    Machine tools are notoriously difficult to destroy by bombing. In fact if one looks at the BDA photos taken by American photographers after the attack one of the striking things is the sight of machine tools staging in the burned down hangers that had once housed them. This was also demonstrated time and again by the CBO in Europe, and close review of the aftermatch of the major firebombing attacks against Japan will show machine tools have survived the firestorms. Undoubtedly many tool would receive damage, especially to power cords, handles, etc., even to motors if the heat was high enough, but the actual tools, not so much. It would require actual close contact with something like thermite, which the IJN bomb inventory totally lacked, to do any actual damage to the machine tools.

    Dry docks are also quite difficult to destroy by bombing. Had there been a sufficiently long clear path it would have been possible to try to use torpedoes to destroy the dock doors or even the floating dock cassions, but given the layout of the harbor those did not really exist. The attackers did take numerous shots at 1010 Dock, all failed

    The fuel tank issue has been addressed so many times here that it is almost a meme. Fuel tanks are very difficult to destroy, being a fairly small target, especially for a level bomber, each tank was bermed, limiting splinter damage, and not a tenth as flammable as some folks imagine (fuel oil is about half a step over road asphalt, is as viscous as 35F molasses, and is surprisingly difficult to get to burn, drop a lighted match on it and the match will snuff out).

    All the targets were also increasingly difficult to see as the raid's two strikes continued, thanks to smoke from the fires (both structures and things like paint, diesel, gasoline, and some fuel oil that was ignited by things like burning gasoline.

    Lastly, the infrastructure of the base was, quite literally, the last thing on the target list provided to the Strike Force. There were still several battleships afloat (trapped by their sister's who had floundered after torpedo hits (both Maryland and Tennessee were damaged but combat capable with reduced effectiveness immediately after the attack; both went under their own power to Puget Sound for repair/refit and were back in Hawaii in a couple months. Pennsylvania, which was IN 1010 dock, took one bomb hit that wiped out one of the 5/25 guns, and was ready for sea as soon as the dock entry was cleared and the three shafts that were being repaired were reattached; she sailed for the West Coast in December 20th, again under her own power and was back at Pearl in about 10 weeks. If the Japanese had gone back for a third strike those three BB, all of which were continuing to fire throughout the attacks, making their operational status quite evident, would have been the primary targets of any third wave, followed by the numerous heavy (New Orleans and San Francisco, but under routine repair but effectively undamaged in the attacks) and light (Detroit, Phoenix, Honolulu, St. Louis) cruisers in the harbor and either undamaged or only lightly damaged. After those ships the next priority would have been the TWENTY-FIVE undamaged destroyers and 4 undamaged subs (although these would probably have been well away and hunting the task force before the fifth or sixth wave of attacks reached them on the targeting list somewhere around the afternoon of December 8th.
     
  5. nbcman Donor

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    If we are talking about the 5th or 6th wave of attacks, the Japanese CV armories would be pretty empty. What are they going to drop, depth charges? 60 kg GP bombs? The heavier bombs and torps would be in short supply or nonexistent. And that’s assuming they could put together enough aircraft to have that many strikes.

    EDIT: I was looking at an older PH thread which cited the CVs had far greater ammo loads than 6 attacks.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
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  6. Dorknought Well-Known Member

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    The KB did destroy oil storage in attacks on Darwin and Trincomalee. The main problem is that the 3 Pacific Fleet carriers are somewhere at sea and would need to be found before a 3rd strike is run. I did see somewhere that the 3rd strike would have been launched the next day at dawn not Dec 7.
     
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  7. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    The USAAF and RAF learned this in Germany, the Germans just removed the rubble and replaced the walls and roof. Machinery was usually not badly damaged and sometimes was being used while the walls and roof were being replaced. It really took Tall Boy's and Grand Slam's that completely blew out the floor and created enough over-pressure to damage the machinery to truly put a factory out of action.
     
  8. AlanJWhite reader, poster and author (illness permitting )

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    AFAIK neither the Grandslam nor even the Tallboy were used against conventional factories directly.

    Most were used against transport links or protected storage structures.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
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  9. Glenn239 Well-Known Member

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    They could have done minor damage to port facilities, substantial (but not overwhelming) damage to the oil tanks. Overall, the 3rd wave against infrastructure is vastly overhyped - to do real damage it would have taken multiple follow up waves over the course of several days.
     
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  10. King Augeas Well-Known Member

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    Sadly, one lesson of Coventry that the RAF really took to heart was that the best way to reduce factory production was to degrade its support services - electric, transport and humans. Hence the target became the urban area.
     
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  11. TonyA Curmudgeon like, but nastier

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    The large number of threads devoted to what more the IJN could have done to Pearl (specially as relates to oil storage) is beginning to remind me of something. Sorta gettin' to be a Pacific Theater Sealion look alike...not there yet, but...just saying.
     
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  12. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    Operation Sea Dragon...
     
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  13. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    怪獣作戦 (Kai-ju Sak-sen)
     
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  14. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    I'd prefer Dreamland, but Kai ju Sak sen would be more popular.
     
  15. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Cannot top that. There is no true Japanese equivalent for "looney-tune", ya know?
     
  16. Geon Well-Known Member

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    Assuming the Japanese did decide to launch more strikes this force of destroyers and undamaged subs while impressive, along with the light cruisers doesn't seem to me to be a significant counter-strike force to cause the Japanese much concern. Especially since they would have had air superiority for the later strikes. Also, if the Japanese did stick around is it likely they would have encountered the carriers returning (minus the war planes they had dropped off at Midway) to PH. If so, did these carriers have planes and weapons that they could have attacked and made a difference or would they have been cannon fodder?

    I remember in the film In Harm's Way a counter force of destroyers and a few light cruisers (led by who else? John Wayne) sortied to try and intercept the IJN strike force-with near disastrous results. Wouldn't the same be true for any real life attempt to go after the task force if they stuck around?
     
  17. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    Probably isn't a serious force. Doesn't matter. That was the IJN orders. The absolute last thing on the targeting list was things like machine shops and oil tanks.

    The Japanese almost literally didn't care about those targets. It would be a year before the USN could really do anything about the attack (actually it worked out to be about six months, but that was because both Enterprise and Lexington were at sea) and the war was supposed to be won by then. The Southern Resource Area would be taken, as would the British and American bases that could threaten the defensive perimeter. Once that was done all that was left was the negotiating the final deal after the Western countries accepted the change in colonial ownership.

    This is always the underlying issue in these "what about a third, fourth, fifth" wave scenarios. It requires the Japanese to want to do the absolute one thing they wanted to avoid, get into a long drawn out fight to the death with the West. They wanted to acquire new colonies from other colonial powers, that was it. The new colonies would aid them in establishing China, or most of it, as a new major colony, the Japanese version of the Raj. The Japanese were fighting what they thought was more of a Spanish American War circa 1898, where the winner gets new colonies, some cash changes hands (Hell, they actually planned to make the Philippines "independent" after the war on almost the same time table as the U.S. had announced, although with a bit more tribute taken every year, as part of expected war ending deal) or at worse a Pacific version of Queen Anne's War. They had failed to realize that the day of simple colonial acquisition had ended in blood soaked mud of Flanders.
     
  18. Alanith Well-Known Member

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    And hanging around that long will see the IJN down every destroyer in the fleet. Would suck if Akagi ate a few torpedos on the way home.
     
  19. eltf177 Well-Known Member

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    IIRC The fortified sub pens were their primary target. BB Tirpitz was eventually destroyed by one direct hit and two near misses.
     
  20. AlanJWhite reader, poster and author (illness permitting )

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    Note that the first target for the Tallboy was a vital railway link in June 44
    and the Grandslam was first used in 45 against the Bielefeld Viaduct in the Ruhr.
    Viaducts , tunnels and canals were attacked several more times before the end of the war.

    In Q3 44 many of the Tallboy attacks were on V weapon sites
    with some on protected ports but against the Eboats more than subs


    The sub pens were a late target because no other bomb could penetrate
    the Tirpitz for the same reason - there were in fact 3 raids which all did some damage.

    There were even a few "dam" raids - mostly to drain the headwater so the Nazis could not unleash floods.

    Ironically, none of the above were the primary targets for Barnes Wallis original 1940 conception of the "Earthquake Bomb"