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Impressive Pic Of Ijn Musashi


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The bottomline is that the IJN had drunk too much Mahanian koolaid and betted all on a massive, decisive battle that in the event wasn't one or decisive and ended up being grinded up by a power far superior to them.

 

From the IJN pre-war point of view, the war was "won" by 1942 when most of the pre-war USN had been sunk or was damaged out of action, but unsportingly the US built a practically new fleet that outnumbered the IJN in terms of numbers and quality instead of giving up as Russia had done.

 

The lessons lost from Trafalgar, Tsushima and Jutland was that the war wasn't decided by naval victories. it took 10 more years to defeat Napoleon and the heavy pulling wasn't done by the RN, but by Russia, After Tsushima, the Russian empire could go on fighting a war on land which, by the numbers, they could eventually win, but lost the will to do so. And even if the German fleet had been anihilated at Jutland, the Baltic would still be closed and the war would go on and end like it did historically.

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There are still examples in history of a numerical superior side still losing. Even if when 1943 and 1944 came by with the new material goods such as the essax class, new hellcat fighters, new Iowa BBs, etc., the strategic situation would be what has come to past in 1942. IDK, I could be biased towards Japan's chances, but the US forces in 1942 needed to perform well and overall, they did. The US did a good job in fighting during the battle of Midway and a good job fighting throughout the Guadalcanal campaign.

 

I guess it is sort of for the sake of wide open speculation, but had Midway been the opposite result, such as the US losing three carriers, and Japan losing a max of 1 or so, then how does that influence the rest of 1942? And then consequently, how does that change the strategic situation in 1943?

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The bottomline is that the IJN had drunk too much Mahanian koolaid and betted all on a massive, decisive battle that in the event wasn't one or decisive and ended up being grinded up by a power far superior to them.

 

From the IJN pre-war point of view, the war was "won" by 1942 when most of the pre-war USN had been sunk or was damaged out of action, but unsportingly the US built a practically new fleet that outnumbered the IJN in terms of numbers and quality instead of giving up as Russia had done.

 

The lessons lost from Trafalgar, Tsushima and Jutland was that the war wasn't decided by naval victories. it took 10 more years to defeat Napoleon and the heavy pulling wasn't done by the RN, but by Russia, After Tsushima, the Russian empire could go on fighting a war on land which, by the numbers, they could eventually win, but lost the will to do so. And even if the German fleet had been anihilated at Jutland, the Baltic would still be closed and the war would go on and end like it did historically.

 

Very true. For all of those, for the maritime based power, it could have meant curtains overnight. For what were more broad based land powers, it just mean business as usual.

 

I suppose it could be said Japan had lost the war at Midway, but that didnt seem to do a damn thing for the following 3 years of island hopping, other than it would have only once conclusion.

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There are still examples in history of a numerical superior side still losing. Even if when 1943 and 1944 came by with the new material goods such as the essax class, new hellcat fighters, new Iowa BBs, etc., the strategic situation would be what has come to past in 1942. IDK, I could be biased towards Japan's chances, but the US forces in 1942 needed to perform well and overall, they did. The US did a good job in fighting during the battle of Midway and a good job fighting throughout the Guadalcanal campaign.

 

I guess it is sort of for the sake of wide open speculation, but had Midway been the opposite result, such as the US losing three carriers, and Japan losing a max of 1 or so, then how does that influence the rest of 1942? And then consequently, how does that change the strategic situation in 1943?

 

Perhaps it would have dragged on longer, but you still had a US that had a Submarine effort only just getting into gear. Their performance was wholly independent on what the surface fleet was doing, and they only really got into their stride by 1944, and the IJN seemingly never really got a handle on it. So Japan could have won all the surface actions coming their way, and they would have been starved of resources, food, oil, to keep the war going. And it was a war of resources at its very heart after all.

 

It also wouldn't have stopped development of the Atomic Bomb. But if the US was not proceeding successfully in its island hopping, they already had the design of the B36 waiting in the wings which they had been working on in case the UK had not survived, it could bomb Nazi Germany from the CONUS. The propaganda film 'Victory through airpower' was promoting this as a possiblity as early as 1942.

https://youtu.be/tUeKeN9bXSE?t=3230

 

In actual fact, the first B36 flew as early as 8th of August 1946, which is considerably earlier than I had first thought.

https://archive.org/details/1946-08-15_Biggest_Bomber

 

Japan, as Yamamoto believed, was doomed to lose the war. The only question left was how long it was going to take to achieve it. They could play for time and hope for some kind of political settlement, but that was about it.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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There are still examples in history of a numerical superior side still losing. Even if when 1943 and 1944 came by with the new material goods such as the essax class, new hellcat fighters, new Iowa BBs, etc., the strategic situation would be what has come to past in 1942. IDK, I could be biased towards Japan's chances, but the US forces in 1942 needed to perform well and overall, they did. The US did a good job in fighting during the battle of Midway and a good job fighting throughout the Guadalcanal campaign.

 

I guess it is sort of for the sake of wide open speculation, but had Midway been the opposite result, such as the US losing three carriers, and Japan losing a max of 1 or so, then how does that influence the rest of 1942? And then consequently, how does that change the strategic situation in 1943?

 

Perhaps it would have dragged on longer, but you still had a US that had a Submarine effort only just getting into gear. Their performance was wholly independent on what the surface fleet was doing, and they only really got into their stride by 1944, and the IJN seemingly never really got a handle on it. So Japan could have won all the surface actions coming their way, and they would have been starved of resources, food, oil, to keep the war going. And it was a war of resources at its very heart after all.

 

It also wouldn't have stopped development of the Atomic Bomb. But if the US was not proceeding successfully in its island hopping, they already had the design of the B36 waiting in the wings which they had been working on in case the UK had not survived, it could bomb Nazi Germany from the CONUS. The propaganda film 'Victory through airpower' was promoting this as a possiblity as early as 1942.

https://youtu.be/tUeKeN9bXSE?t=3230

 

In actual fact, the first B36 flew as early as 8th of August 1946, which is considerably earlier than I had first thought.

https://archive.org/details/1946-08-15_Biggest_Bomber

 

Japan, as Yamamoto believed, was doomed to lose the war. The only question left was how long it was going to take to achieve it. They could play for time and hope for some kind of political settlement, but that was about it.

 

 

Those are all very good points. I'm not going to claim to have good rebuttals ready on hand. But that doesn't mean rebuttals aren't there. I think there are many variables that would need to be considered and adjusted to correlate with a different 1942 Pacific speculation, thus creating new circumstances that are not entirely, closely, and carefully explored IMO, for those points to address. In basic principal, the better 1942 Pacific speculationit probably should mean Japanese resources being more secured, outer island defenses ahead being tougher, experienced pilots still in large numbers, Japanese industry less concerned with making what is currently in production and perhaps better positioned and less limited to shift to upgrade and successor for aircraft designs, etc. Well possibly food for thought I guess. I know its an old topic and wildly debated topic so maybe it has been thoroughly explored. But anyway, I generally prefer to avoid history changing speculation.

Edited by JasonJ
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Yamato and Musashi were designed to overpower the US battleships in order to make up for the difference in numbers. At the time of PH (which comes round tomorrow), Japan had just 8 BBs (soon to be 9 with Yamato getting commissioned later in Dec 41). US had 17 or so, 9 of which in the Pacific if I'm not mistaken. The PH attack reduced that number of 9 down to 1. One would return after a few months, and two more (IIRC) later in mid and late 1942. But even with those coming back and additional newly made ones coming about, the purpose of the Yamato class had largely been removed by the PH attack for the early part of the Pacific War. Had the American BBs not been lost at PH, Yamato probably would have had higher chances of putting its original purpose to the test.

Mr. Picky -- your close. The IJN had 10 battleships on Dec. 1941: Fuso, Yamashiro, Ise, Hyuga, Mutsu, Nagato, Kongo, Kirishima, Hiei, and Haruna. The Yamato would be service ready by the middle of 1942 and the Musashi by the end of 1942.

The USN had 15 battleships by Dec. 1941: Arkansas, New York, Texas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennslyvania, Arizona,

New Mexico, Mississippi, Idaho, Tennessee, California, Colorado, Maryland, and the West Virginia. The North Carolina and Washington were running trials trying to figure out their vibration problems. IIRC, both were battle ready -more or less--by the spring of 1942.
Of the 8 battleships at Pearl Harbor, only the Pennslyvania could have been ready shortly after the attack. The Colorado was in Bremerton , WA, and the Tennessee and Maryland were ready to join the fleet by February 1942. All the other battleships were in the Atlantic and transferred over to the Pacific by the end of 1942 save the Arkansas, Texas, and New York.
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Yamato and Musashi were designed to overpower the US battleships in order to make up for the difference in numbers. At the time of PH (which comes round tomorrow), Japan had just 8 BBs (soon to be 9 with Yamato getting commissioned later in Dec 41). US had 17 or so, 9 of which in the Pacific if I'm not mistaken. The PH attack reduced that number of 9 down to 1. One would return after a few months, and two more (IIRC) later in mid and late 1942. But even with those coming back and additional newly made ones coming about, the purpose of the Yamato class had largely been removed by the PH attack for the early part of the Pacific War. Had the American BBs not been lost at PH, Yamato probably would have had higher chances of putting its original purpose to the test.

Mr. Picky -- your close. The IJN had 10 battleships on Dec. 1941: Fuso, Yamashiro, Ise, Hyuga, Mutsu, Nagato, Kongo, Kirishima, Hiei, and Haruna. The Yamato would be service ready by the middle of 1942 and the Musashi by the end of 1942.

The USN had 15 battleships by Dec. 1941: Arkansas, New York, Texas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennslyvania, Arizona,

New Mexico, Mississippi, Idaho, Tennessee, California, Colorado, Maryland, and the West Virginia. The North Carolina and Washington were running trials trying to figure out their vibration problems. IIRC, both were battle ready -more or less--by the spring of 1942.
Of the 8 battleships at Pearl Harbor, only the Pennslyvania could have been ready shortly after the attack. The Colorado was in Bremerton , WA, and the Tennessee and Maryland were ready to join the fleet by February 1942. All the other battleships were in the Atlantic and transferred over to the Pacific by the end of 1942 save the Arkansas, Texas, and New York.

 

 

Fair enough post. To make 17, the Wyoming and Utah would have to be counted, but they were just a trainer and a target ship, so yeah, shouldn't count.

 

Although I'm pretty sure the Yamato was commissioned on December 16th 1941 (god forbid Japanese wiki be wrong!). It became the flagship of the combined fleet on February 12th, 1942. The flagship role for the combined fleet transferred to Musashi on January 22nd, 1943.

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The reosurces if spent on a few more carriers and cruisers.......

Would only give them 2 more carriers, and the Japanese didn't run out of carriers, they ran out of aircrews.

 

The US had more CVs at the battle of the Philippines sea then the IJN had at any single point for the entire war. And the Essex class was superior in most every way; certainly in terms of aircraft when compared to any IJN class short of Shinano which was never really operational. And that still didn't even represent every fleet CV active in the Pacific and ignores escort carrier strength. Add superior pilots and aircraft at that point in the war. A half dozen more carriers wouldn't have helped the Japanese in the longer term; it was just a matter of having the will to apply overwhelming force in the long term.

Edited by Josh
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How would the Japanese approach to war with the US have been different had they recognized that naval air power would supplant the battle line?

I don't think that was the problem. The problem was they were outmatched ten to one in terms of population and economic output. Their fundamental assumption was that the US would give up. The flaw in their plan had nothing to do with specific platforms or strategies.

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Jason, a reversal for the USN at Midway would have meant no Allied offensive before mid-1943. Japan would therefore been free to threaten the Allied communications to Australia by resuming to their offensives directed at Port Moresby [although it would have been a hellish outpost vs the air power and submarines building up in Australia], and the Guadalcanal-Tulagi steppingstone could have ended up with the JA occupying New Caledonia. But the sea lanes to ANZUS allies still could have been sustained, and the JA only had notions of sending a single regiment to secure Fiji and that probably would have failed. Outposts such as Midway and Dutch Harbor [what-if in larger scale] would have remained problematic for JA and IJN.

 

The only roads to victory for Japan after defeating the USN at Midway would have been even more grandiose operations than occupying the Pacific island defense belt and the East Indies: India or Australia [choose one; Hawaii effectively was a third but probably too far and not even decisive, and the JA was not interested]. The Japanese Army could not wage a campaign in Australia without shutting down the China War, the very impossibility that led them to war vs the US. India proved a much tougher nut to crack after initial successes. A purely naval campaign in the IO could only have worked in combination with German-Italian successes in the Eastern Mediterranean, but Germany bogged down in Russia and lost initiative in North Africa, The European Axis in any event could do little to assist Japan apart from a diplomatic line drawn East of Aden to deconflict their wishful conquests, leaving Middle East oil in German spheres. Speaking of which, the long term value of the Axis was already dwindling with the German refusal to provide badly needed machine tools to Japan, while the latter refused any German economic exploitation of occupied China.

Edited by Ken Estes
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I think the only real chance Japan had of winning the war after Dec. 1941 (or avoiding catastrophic defeat, at least) would be extensive strategic-level cooperation with Germany, which neither party really seemed to think was useful or necessary. I actually don't think that Germany's defeat was by any means a foregone conclusion, but there was basically no way Japan could win without Germany winning.

 

As an aside, I think one under-reported facet of the war (which I can't find a source for right now, argh) was that Hitler was actually extremely happy about Japan declaring war on the US/Britain, because Samurai vs nation of mongrel shopkeepers etc. This goes a lot to explain the eternal question of why Germany declared war on the US when it didn't have to.

 

One thing I've never been able to figure out is why both Germany and Japan thought the US wasn't going to fight that hard, given our country's rather bloody history from 1776-1918 and the fact that we'd more or less won every war in which we'd participated.

Edited by Brian Kennedy
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The diplomatic coup of the century would have been for Japan to declare war on Germany and Italy in Britain's darkest hour, with the oil of the Dutch East Indies and British recognition of Japan's sphere of influence in China in the balance.

 

The military decision equivalent would have been to allow the Strike North faction of the IJA to coordinate an attack on the USSR with Germany in 1941.

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The diplomatic coup of the century would have been for Japan to declare war on Germany and Italy in Britain's darkest hour, with the oil of the Dutch East Indies and British recognition of Japan's sphere of influence in China in the balance.

 

The military decision equivalent would have been to allow the Strike North faction of the IJA to coordinate an attack on the USSR with Germany in 1941.

 

I guess the problem was Japan's antipathy to the US for the US having problems with Japan raping China to death.

Edited by Brian Kennedy
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The termination of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance occurred in 1923, not enough time in my opinion for British or Japanese public or political opinions to turn against each other to any great extent.

 

In Britain's darkest hour, news of Japan's entry into the war on its side would have resurrected the alliance between the two that the United States sought to destroy at the Washington Naval Conference.

Edited by Nobu
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The termination of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance occurred in 1923, not enough time in my opinion for British or Japanese public or political opinions to turn against each other to any great extent.

 

 

I'm not good at math but I think 1941-1923 = 18 years?

 

The idea of a Germany vs. Japan war is pretty hilarious though -- two opposing parties that almost literally had no physical way of firing a shot at each other. :)

Edited by Brian Kennedy
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The termination of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance occurred in 1923, not enough time in my opinion for British or Japanese public or political opinions to turn against each other to any great extent.

 

I'm not good at math but I think 1941-1923 = 18 years?

 

The idea of a Germany vs. Japan war is pretty hilarious though -- two opposing parties that almost literally had no physical way of firing a shot at each other. :)

Was the case in WW1.

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The termination of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance occurred in 1923, not enough time in my opinion for British or Japanese public or political opinions to turn against each other to any great extent.

I'm not good at math but I think 1941-1923 = 18 years?

 

The idea of a Germany vs. Japan war is pretty hilarious though -- two opposing parties that almost literally had no physical way of firing a shot at each other. :)

Was the case in WW1.

 

 

Would have freed up Soviet forces in the east, and there is a possibility of Japanese divisions being transported by the trans Siberian Railway to assist Soviet forces.

 

But I strongly doubt that would have happened in any case.

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The termination of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance occurred in 1923, not enough time in my opinion for British or Japanese public or political opinions to turn against each other to any great extent.

 

 

I'm not good at math but I think 1941-1923 = 18 years?

 

The idea of a Germany vs. Japan war is pretty hilarious though -- two opposing parties that almost literally had no physical way of firing a shot at each other. :)

 

 

You mean like USA and Germany, unless either side use bases allied to them.

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The termination of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance occurred in 1923, not enough time in my opinion for British or Japanese public or political opinions to turn against each other to any great extent.

I'm not good at math but I think 1941-1923 = 18 years?

 

The idea of a Germany vs. Japan war is pretty hilarious though -- two opposing parties that almost literally had no physical way of firing a shot at each other. :)

Was the case in WW1.

 

 

Where Japan snapped up a few inconsequential German-held islands.

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...and proceeded to get butthurt and scream treachery when the UK dumped them for the US, and put them at a disadvantage at the Washington Naval Conference, as well as signalling that there were hard limits to Japanese influence in East Asia. Obviously these kinds of things would put the Japanese in the mind to ally with the UK against Germany with nothing to gain that the UK or the Netherlands were willing to give up.

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