Did the Loss of the BB's affect the War! Oct 7, 2013 12:24:53 GMT -5
Post by oldpop2000 on Oct 7, 2013 12:24:53 GMT -5
The Pearl Harbor generation is almost gone and the association has shut down. The event is now receding into written history and video. It is now time to dispense with the hyperbole, emotion and simply analyze how this event really affected the Pacific War. We don't need to re-analyze the actual event, or the intelligence failures that led to it, there are thousands of pages of both english and japanese language books and documents that have done this. I am going to focus on how the loss of those ships actually affected the strategic and operational plans for the Pacific war. This series of personal monographs will compare what the US fleet consisted of in December of 1941 with what was actually lost in the attack. These monographs will describe what the original Pacific war operational plan consisted of, how it changed and what was the final product. They will also, in a brief manner, attempt to provide a narrative of what transpired in the interwar period and how it affected the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Let's start with the established force level of the US Pacific Fleet as of December 1941.
The US Pacific Fleet consisted of 111 ships excluding smaller craft such as mine layers, sweepers and patrol vessels. It had nine battleships and most of the modern submarines. It was organized into three task forces; TF I under Admiral Pye consisting of six battleships, one aircraft carrier, five light cruisers, eighteen destroyers, and five mine vessels; TF II under Admiral Halsey consisting of 3 battleships, 1 aircraft carrier, 4 heavy cruisers, eighteen destroyers and four mine vessels; TF III under Admiral Brown consisting of one aircraft carrier, eight heavy cruisers, nine destroyers, thirteen mine vessels and six attack transports. Records show that half of the total force was absent on December 7th. This left the following ships in the harbor at the time: eight battleships, two heavy cruisers, four 10,000 ton cruisers, 2 7000 ton cruisers, 30 destroyers and four submarines. There was also one gunboat, nine minelayers, fourteen minesweepers and twenty seven auxiliaries such as repair ships, tenders, store ships and tubs.
Let's examine the results for the battleships. USS Pennsylvania was repaired and rejoined the fleet on 20 December. USS Maryland was fully repaired and ready for action by 20 December. The USS Tennessee was ready for service as of 20 December also. Two battleships; Oklahoma and Arizona were total losses. USS California, West Virginia and Nevada had to be pumped out, holes patched and then were sent to the West Coast for major repairs and upgrades, lost to the fleet until 1944 in the case of the first two, the USS Nevada returned to the fleet by December of 1942 after repairs and upgrades to her AAA gun tubs and other schedule upgrades that were never actuated on. So, out of eight battleships, three were back in the fleet by the end of December and that means the fleet had four battleships ready for action including the one on the West Coast.
As to the cruisers, the USS Honolulu was fully repaired and back in the fleet by 12 January 1942. USS Helena was eventually sent to Mare Island for repairs. The USS Raleigh was sent after temporary repairs to Mare Island also.
Two other vessels; the Vestal, a repair ships was back in the fleet by 18 February, The Curtis was in the yards until around May 28th, 1942. The destroyer Helm was dry-docked on 15 January and lost to the fleet for a period of months.
Besides the Arizona and Oklahoma, the USS Shaw, a destroyer was lost, Floating dry-dock number two, the tub Sotoyomo, destroyers Cassin and Downes, and the USS Oglala, built in 1906. last but not least, the USS Utah, no longer a battleship but a target training ship. She was lost also.
Using the first year of the war as the critical time period, we lost at Pearl Harbor, five battleships, three destroyers, one old repair ship and a target training ship. Of course, the 2400 men lost was the greatest tragedy. Not counting the Utah and Oglala, we lost out of 111 ships in the Pacific Fleet, eight ships or 7% of the total fleet. Remember that the number is based on the first year of war, which most assessments was the critical year.
In the next personal monograph, I will try to present the context in which those losses should be viewed. What was the original operational plan for the Pacific and how did it evolve.