Post by oldpop2000 on Apr 26, 2014 12:41:40 GMT -5
I just thought since there isn't much history being discussed, maybe a thread about interesting information might be fun.
According to the Japanese monograph created after the war, about the Midway operation; "Though the Pacific Operation will be carried out in two directions, one towards Midway and the other towards the Aleutians, they will operate together in one body, keeping close contact with each other". Now, according Google Earth, its 1451 Miles from Kiska to Midway Island. Allowing for 300 miles from the First Striking Fleet to Midway and the same for the Northern fleet from Kiska, that is still over 800 miles. Again if they approach from the NW to Midway and the Southwest towards Kiska. At 18 knots, that's about 400 miles per day not counting the fact that the destroyers will have to be refueled almost everyday. so, is that "operate together in one body"? Looks like another lesson learned by the Japanese. Two forces, supposedly supporting each other cannot be two days apart.
Last Edit: Apr 26, 2014 12:43:30 GMT -5 by oldpop2000
Post by oldpop2000 on Apr 26, 2014 12:55:50 GMT -5
Here is another interesting bit from the Japanese monograph about Midway. "KdB(Kido Butai or the First Striking Fleet) and the Main Force will wait for the opportunity to attack the enemy at sea, north or northeast of Midway, ..."
This might seem insignificant on first reading, however, the Main Force was over 300 miles behind the KdB. That's almost one days sailing. Also, the KdB will destroy the enemy fleet, which will counterattack etc. Now, it doesn't say when it will do this, I suspect they expected our fleet to be in Pearl. However, here is the failure to anticipate. What if it wasn't? There is nothing in this plan about that. This concept of operations, at this point was already badly flawed. The opponent had to do exactly what the plan predicted, or there might be trouble. There was trouble and the failure to adapt now rears its ugly head.
Post by oldpop2000 on Apr 26, 2014 14:42:28 GMT -5
Another interesting fact about the Japanese failure to learn which led to the disaster at Midway.
At 1030 on the morning of April 9th, 1942, dive bombers from the First Striking fleet; eighty of them, struck the British carrier Hermes, sinking it and her escort in 10 minutes with 40 bomb hits. This force had no combat air patrols up and no land based air support. This only proved that carriers were vulnerable to air attack, especially dive bombers.
On 8 May, 1942, the Yorktown attack group discovered and sank the Japanese light carrier Shoho during Operation MO, the invasion of Port Moresby. Air cover for the carrier lost eleven fighters to our attacking aircraft. On that same day, Shokaku was heavily damaged by the Lexington Attack group, with three defending fighter lost. We lost Lexington primarily due to failing to purge avgas lines and filling them with CO2, which we learned and instituted before Midway. Another carrier lost to dive bombers and a third heavily damaged by dive bombers.
On 4 June, 1942 near Midway, at 1020 hrs., the Japanese lost four fleet carriers to dive bombers coming in from the NE at about 20,000 feet. All defending fighters had left their assigned sectors to chase torpedo bombers, leaving many sectors unguarded. Also, due to a doctrine of offense, the Japanese allocated far too few defending fighters.
So, in two months, over six carriers were lost due to poor defensive air patrols and lack of adequate AAA support. It proved that carriers were a devastating weapon but also very vulnerable. We learned the lesson by upgrading our fighters in the air groups to 27 F4F's, but the Japanese did not. Also, their 25mm AA guns could only elevate to about 45 degrees whereas dive bombers during this time dove at 60 degrees, meaning that the carriers were vulnerable. The IJN had not learned the lesson, a lesson they actually were partly responsible for. One or two more carriers, like six they normally used at the beginning of the war, might have saved the day. Also, discipline in the CAP fighters. When assigned a sector, stay there and defend it, don't leave it unguarded.
Here endeth the lesson
Note: I will branch out into other wars, operations from ancient to modern times, patience.
Last Edit: Apr 26, 2014 14:45:24 GMT -5 by oldpop2000
Post by oldpop2000 on Apr 27, 2014 13:03:40 GMT -5
I was rereading "God's Samurai" about Mitsuo Fuchida and he states that he attempted to convince the Combined Fleet that the six flattops should be kept together and that the Fourth Carrier Division needed to be added to them. He suggested that the Fourth Carrier Division (Shoho and Ryujo) be used to provide protection to the carriers in the form of fighters for combat air patrols. Fuchida states that the Naval General Staff failed to exploit an advantage, that being the six to eight carrier advantage in a strong striking force. Interestingly, he claims that the "Japanese navy just cannot help stopping the chase. It just cannot go the limit."
The question some authors such as Jonathan Parshall have with this is that it sounds like 20/20 hindsight and that Fuchida never said what he claimed. However, we have Kusaka's interviews with Gordon Prange, the author, that in fact he did say it. So its hard to know. This is the problem with interviewing combatants after the fact, is their information reflecting what they learned afterward or what they were actually thinking at the time. There is no way to know without verification from other sources. We really can't know what was in Fuchida, Genda or Kusaka's mind at the time.