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MidwayŚ77 Years Ago, Today.


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#1 shep854

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 1214 PM

Torpedo 8
https://m.youtube.co...h?v=ajlKvA48IXU
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#2 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 1251 PM

Could somebody sum up the major ways in which "Shattered Sword" supposedly shed new light on the course of the battle? I could never really figure it out, although maybe it was because I only started reading seriously about Midway after the book came out?


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#3 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 1507 PM

I was with a couple of PBY's at an air show some time back

Can you just imagine spotting the Japanese fleet?

 

"Many planes, heading Midway..."


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#4 JasonJ

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 0444 AM

midway.jpg


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#5 Nobu

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 0920 AM

I sometimes wonder what the consequences would have been if the USN had simply declined to offer battle.
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#6 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 1120 AM

Midways defenses were pretty beefed up so I think a successful invasion was by no means a certainty, and Japan would have had trouble holding it given supply lines etc. of course it was all about the carriers, not midway, but refusing battle would have been a perfectly justifiable position.
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#7 RETAC21

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 1237 PM

Could somebody sum up the major ways in which "Shattered Sword" supposedly shed new light on the course of the battle? I could never really figure it out, although maybe it was because I only started reading seriously about Midway after the book came out?

 

Classical view of the battle was one in which the outnumbered Americans, by luck or divine wisdom, defeat the Japanese and avoid a decisive thrust up the middle of the Pacific.

 

"Shattered Sword" shows a more nuanced view, where, after bean counting, the Americans had about parity in the relevant asset, aircraft, where assisted by superior intelligence and caught the IJN by surprise.

 

Other findings showed that the torpedo planes sacrifice was useless as Japanese CAP cycles pretty much ensured that the dive bombers wouldn't be oposed and disaster was inevitable once they found the Japanese. That IJN poor damage control was as much to blame as the bombs for the losses. That having Yamamoto on a flagship that couldn't use its radio because surprise was singularly stupid. 


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#8 RETAC21

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 1238 PM

Midways defenses were pretty beefed up so I think a successful invasion was by no means a certainty, and Japan would have had trouble holding it given supply lines etc. of course it was all about the carriers, not midway, but refusing battle would have been a perfectly justifiable position.

 

Giving up Midway and the using it as a kind of target to use for practice would have suited the US too.


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#9 Nobu

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 1331 PM

The no-battle option certainly would have been frustrating to the IJN, based on the fuel expenditure alone.

 

If there was a USN intelligence officer in the room who recommended it, there is no record of it as far as I am aware.

 

Midway in Japanese hands would have been an albatross in various ways.


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#10 RETAC21

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 1509 PM

The gist of the Pacific War was that no matter what Japan did, it couldn't do enough damage to stop the US eventually overwhelming it. Going out on a limb for an isolated atoll in ths hope that the USN will play the role desired in Japan's plan was wishful thinking.


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#11 shep854

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 0930 AM

Most of my knowledge about Midway came from Incredible Victory by Walter Lord and Morrison's history.

If anything could be called 'inspired', I think it would be the 'water ruse', that proved Midway was the Japanese objective.  Had the US Navy not fought, Midway atoll would have been a roach stomp for the Japanese, given their heavy battle line being available for bombardment, and the morale damage would be disastrous for the US.  How that would have affected prosecution of the war is anyone's guess, but it's not hard to imagine some sort of movement for a negotiated settlement with Japan--which was their goal, after all.

What might the war have progressed if the Japanese had sunk the American carriers?


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#12 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 1422 PM

Shattered Sword (just rereading it) made a pretty good case that Midway's defenses would be a tough nut to crack -- something like 3500 Marines, substantial artillery and AA, Japanese amphibious doctrine was pretty weak (troops disembarking from barges etc.) and not much of a history of naval gunfire support. Not sure I'm entirely convinced -- like you said, the IJN had lots and lots of guns... the authors' best guess was that the Japanese would probably wreck Midway but have a really hard time actually conquering it.

 

One interesting point the book raised was that Japanese aircrew losses from Midway weren't especially terrible; 72 from Hiryu, 21 from Kaga, 10 from Soryu and 7 from Akagi. They suffered similar losses at Battle of the Eastern Solomons and 24 more than that at Battle of Santa Cruz. Overall, the authors argue that the real turning point wasn't Midway but rather the attrition battles in the Guadalcanal Campaign, which I find pretty convincing. 


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#13 shep854

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 1532 PM

The End of the Beginning is a good way to characterize it, IMO.
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#14 Ken Estes

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 1610 PM

Even if the USN had lost all three carriers at Midway, how would it explain the need to quit the war with so many CVs CVLs and CVEs already ordered and on the building ways? The Two-Ocean Navy was a given by 1943, and the Germans and Italians were no-shows by then. The IJN would get its desired decisive battles, and then some.

 

Naval aviators were coming out of the Pensacola system by the thousands, whereas the IJN produced a trickle of replacements and had no fuel for training more by 1944.

 

As Ned Willmott originally advanced, the IJN lost WWII on 7 Dec 41.


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#15 Nobu

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 1747 PM

The seeds of that defeat were planted at the Washington Naval Conference 20 years earlier with the termination of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, much to the satisfaction of the United States.


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#16 JasonJ

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 1919 PM

Even if the USN had lost all three carriers at Midway, how would it explain the need to quit the war with so many CVs CVLs and CVEs already ordered and on the building ways? The Two-Ocean Navy was a given by 1943, and the Germans and Italians were no-shows by then. The IJN would get its desired decisive battles, and then some.
 
Naval aviators were coming out of the Pensacola system by the thousands, whereas the IJN produced a trickle of replacements and had no fuel for training more by 1944.
 
As Ned Willmott originally advanced, the IJN lost WWII on 7 Dec 41.


The victory at Midway enabled the US to take a greater offensive. If it was a draw or defeat, the offensive would be delayed or weakened.

The lose of three carriers instead of one would also mean the loss of more experienced pilots than had occured. And then on the other side, if none of the 4 were lost, it would also mean fewer loss of experienced pilots. By 1944, Hellcats and better radar were introduced but the ratio of experienced pilots and carriers would not. If the Battle of the Philippines Sea was played out again, more experienced Japanese pilots would nagate the fuel shortage for training and would improve damage dealt. There wouldn't have been a Turkey shoot. Likely another draw or perhaps better success on the raids against US carriers.

So then the question comes, how important was CKS to US interests? US wasn't fighting for its surival.

Edited by JasonJ, 06 June 2019 - 1959 PM.

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#17 JasonJ

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 1922 PM

The seeds of that defeat were planted at the Washington Naval Conference 20 years earlier with the termination of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, much to the satisfaction of the United States.


Naval treaty benefit was pretty much removed by the PH attack.
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#18 nitflegal

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 1934 PM

 

Could somebody sum up the major ways in which "Shattered Sword" supposedly shed new light on the course of the battle? I could never really figure it out, although maybe it was because I only started reading seriously about Midway after the book came out?

 

Classical view of the battle was one in which the outnumbered Americans, by luck or divine wisdom, defeat the Japanese and avoid a decisive thrust up the middle of the Pacific.

 

"Shattered Sword" shows a more nuanced view, where, after bean counting, the Americans had about parity in the relevant asset, aircraft, where assisted by superior intelligence and caught the IJN by surprise.

 

Other findings showed that the torpedo planes sacrifice was useless as Japanese CAP cycles pretty much ensured that the dive bombers wouldn't be oposed and disaster was inevitable once they found the Japanese. That IJN poor damage control was as much to blame as the bombs for the losses. That having Yamamoto on a flagship that couldn't use its radio because surprise was singularly stupid. 

 

That's what I found most interesting in the book.  I grew up on the stories of how the desperately outnumbered Americans won by cunning, code breaking, bravery, sacrifice and luck at a level that indicated God was assisting us.  The book blew up most of those simplistic ideas which I appreciated, even if the loss of Torpedo 8 wasn't an act of great sacrificial significance.


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#19 Nobu

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 2126 PM

Agree regarding the book's accounting of IJNAF aircrew losses, which were a revelation.

 

The IJN was essentially considering 3 options that summer. Had  Yamamoto's preference not been chosen, the Indian Ocean and the RN may have been.

 

The irony was the search for decisive battle in 1942, as it had already been lost politically 20 years earlier.


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#20 R011

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 2257 PM

Had the Washington Treaty not been signed, Japan would have had perhaps six more capital ships and the USN ten. The pre war carriers on both sides might have been a few thousand tons larger and there might have been two or three more each.

Japan was going to be destroyed in about the same time as they did in real life no matter what unless the US did nothing- and there was no realistic chance of that.
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