Jump to content

Fear of armed American citizenry deterred Japan from invading Oahu on December 7, 1941...


Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, Angrybk said:

Wouldn’t have made much difference though I guess?

If the DoW had come less than an hour before the attack I'm sceptical PH would have gone to a sufficiently higher alert. They already knew that war was a matter of weeks, not months. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

46 minutes ago, Markus Becker said:

If the DoW had come less than an hour before the attack I'm sceptical PH would have gone to a sufficiently higher alert. They already knew that war was a matter of weeks, not months. 

Yeah I think it was basically just another example of Yamamoto being kind of a weird guy, and also being anti-war. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Angrybk said:

Going back to actual reality stuff, Toll claims that Yamamoto was insisting on a declaration of war before attacking Pearl and the fact that it didn’t happen was mostly bureaucratic snafus. Wouldn’t have made much difference though I guess?

Many participating IJN officers after the war were sweating bullets that they'd be tried and executed as war criminals for the Pearl Harbor attack.   (These fears proved unfounded).   Yamamoto had died during the war of course, but had he survived the more he could show the Americans he wanted to do it 'by the book' at Pearl Harbor with a DOW and all that, the better he would have felt about his chances in court after the war.

Edited by glenn239
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, JasonJ said:

The old fart is spoiled with honors and purple badges for talking with Glenn.

The post he responded to was plenty tentative in tone. 

 

The raid on Pearl Harbor was seeking primarily the capital ships, the carriers, the battleships.  Whether or not the attack would be a one-off hit and run, (Port Darwin) or an extended assault over the course of some days, (Indian Ocean Raid), was not known in advance because the results of the attack had to have occurred before Nagumo's staff would know whether attacking again or retreating would be the next move.  So, the attack was structured in advance to allow Nagumo either option - to stay and attack again, or to call it a day and go home.  Now, this is where it gets a bit tricky, because you have to keep in mind that different historical players were approaching the question from different points of view. 

From Nagumo's perspective, the oil tanks were not an important target because the US Navy had tens of millions of tons of oil in California and exposing his carriers was more risk than it was worth.  What interested him was that, (a) the mission had already achieved the results against capital ships that he was allowed an immediate withdrawal and (b); that the location of the US carriers was unknown and Oahu had some level of residual airpower that posed a threat.  Add those two points together and you get, "withdraw".

With respect to Nimitz, what interested him was that the oil tanks at Pearl Harbor were from the American perspective, vulnerable to attack and vital to US operations for some time into the war.  He knew that the US carriers were out of position, (Lexington) or chasing rabbits, (Enterprise), and that Oahu's aviation was down hard.  From his point of view, hitting the base infastructure was a no-brainer.

With respect to Fuchida, he was the air strike commander  and tasked with, upon return to Akagi, presenting the battle damage assessment and give follow-up targeting options in case Nagumo wanted to attack again.   From his point of view, if a third attack would be made the harbor was already saturated in smoke and damaged targets, but the shore facilities were fairly intact.  The tanks were a logical target.  Not from Nimitz's post-war point of view of serious strategic consequences, (that was a purely American argument), but from practical operational criteria, (big targets easy to hit even through dense smoke).

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, glenn239 said:

Many participating IJN officers after the war were sweating bullets that they'd be tried and executed as war criminals for the Pearl Harbor attack.   (These fears proved unfounded).   Yamamoto had died during the war of course, but had he survived the more he could show the Americans he wanted to do it 'by the book' at Pearl Harbor with a DOW and all that, the better he would have felt about his chances in court after the war.

For good reason, as there was also some social pressure in this time frame for them to take their own lives.

A DOW was important to the Japanese government, or else it would not have made the attempt. The execution of it was laughable, however.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Americans were shocked enough at the attack that an official declaration of war an hour or so before would have made little difference to public opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, R011 said:

Americans were shocked enough at the attack that an official declaration of war an hour or so before would have made little difference to public opinion.

It does not speak well for Japanese competence that its diplomatic corps was literally (and farcially) unable to break off relations with the United States at 1:00 p.m. EST on December 7, 1941. One would think the embassy staff, and the ministry staff in Tokyo, could have set their alarm clocks 10 hours earlier to ensure this...

What a well-timed DOW would have created was lasting historical face for Japan and the Japanese nation.

What I should have been is clearer about USA Today's reporting. There was some outrage involved in my reading of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I doubt an ultimatum delivered at 0700 hours Hawaii time would have been much diplomatic cover, especially as it wasn't even a declaration of war.  It still would have been spun as a sneak attack during the war and most people don't care that the lateness of the ultimatum was known to the US government to be an accident almost the same time as the Japanese Embassy knew it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/19/2021 at 7:52 AM, Markus Becker said:

If the DoW had come less than an hour before the attack I'm sceptical PH would have gone to a sufficiently higher alert. They already knew that war was a matter of weeks, not months. 

The problem was getting word the DoW - if there was one - from Washington to Pearl. They were already at a "higher alert", but for the wrong type of attack. The critical thing was reacting to the attack that was coming rather than the attack Short and Kimmel thought was coming. With 45 minutes to an hour notice, it is possible the attack would have been a disaster for the Japanese. For example, with perhaps just 15 minutes notice, probably every single Kanko of the 24 assigned to attack Battleship Row would have been lost or badly damaged, likely disrupting the attack. With 45 minutes notice, every battleship would have set Condition ZED. With an hours notice, the aircraft at Wheeler and Hickham would have been dispersed, with the ready interceptors all in the air from there and the dispersal fields. Imagine what would have happened to the bomb-laden Kanko stream in its tightly constrained formation and course directed at Battleship Row if they were bounced by a half-dozen P-40...or even P-36, given they had no escorts? Does Arizona blow up? And so on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, RichTO90 said:

The problem was getting word the DoW - if there was one - from Washington to Pearl. They were already at a "higher alert", but for the wrong type of attack. The critical thing was reacting to the attack that was coming rather than the attack Short and Kimmel thought was coming. With 45 minutes to an hour notice, it is possible the attack would have been a disaster for the Japanese. For example, with perhaps just 15 minutes notice, probably every single Kanko of the 24 assigned to attack Battleship Row would have been lost or badly damaged, likely disrupting the attack. With 45 minutes notice, every battleship would have set Condition ZED. With an hours notice, the aircraft at Wheeler and Hickham would have been dispersed, with the ready interceptors all in the air from there and the dispersal fields. Imagine what would have happened to the bomb-laden Kanko stream in its tightly constrained formation and course directed at Battleship Row if they were bounced by a half-dozen P-40...or even P-36, given they had no escorts? Does Arizona blow up? And so on.

But on the other hand it could go like this, Dec 5, Japan declares war, Dec 7 PH is attacked unexpectedly. After all, they caught the Philippines by surprise...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, RETAC21 said:

But on the other hand it could go like this, Dec 5, Japan declares war, Dec 7 PH is attacked unexpectedly. After all, they caught the Philippines by surprise...

December 5th was Friday...and the Hawaiian Islands were on its full alert. All Army aircraft were manned, armed, and ready, all Army and Navy AAA was manned and ready, and all Army coast defense personnel were manning the proposed beach defense positions. I also suspect the Air Defense Center would be fully manned as would the Opana Point radar site...and possible some of the other five radars would be deployed too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, RichTO90 said:

Imagine what would have happened to the bomb-laden Kanko stream in its tightly constrained formation and course directed at Battleship Row if they were bounced by a half-dozen P-40...or even P-36, given they had no escorts?

Nothing good, as the few Army pilots who made it into the sky to engage the IJN's elite did a concerning share of damage to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, RETAC21 said:

But on the other hand it could go like this, Dec 5, Japan declares war, Dec 7 PH is attacked unexpectedly. After all, they caught the Philippines by surprise...

Not really. The fighters had been in the albeit on a wild goose chase and were refueling when the bombers appeared. Bad luck or rather bad radar coverage and communications. 

If "War were declared" by Japan a day or two earlier not even someone like Short would have had the air defence on the lowest readiness. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, Nobu said:

Nothing good, as the few Army pilots who made it into the sky to engage the IJN's elite did a concerning share of damage to it.

IMO, both sides showed their inexperienced at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese notwithstanding the fact that they had combat experience in China.  The second wave dive bombers rendezvous point was not covered by fighters - these apparently had wandered off to attack ground targets.  Some of the Vals ready to return unwisely decided to do some extra-curricular strafing at Wheeler.  Low and slow against fighters without escort was never a good idea for dive bombers, (the USN found out the same thing at Coral Sea when SBD's on torpedo attack defense went up against Zeros down on the deck).

Anecdotal accounts of ultra-low strafing runs at Pearl Harbor also indicated lack of experience and will no doubt have contributed to the losses amongst the fighters to anti-aircraft.  On the torpedo attack, they were trying to run 24 bombers up the same 'string' from the south against Battleship Row.  This proved to be about 6 too many, as 5 out of the last 7 planes were the Kates shot down.  All part of the brutal learning curve.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see Frick, or is it Frack?, still has as many problems with honest assessment as he does with reality.

Five Kanko of Hiryu and Soryu blundered into the stream of Akagi and Kaga aircraft intended for Battleship Row (the control of the attack by the so-lauded IJN pilots was atrocious). Two of the five were hit and damaged, one, Mori's ditching on return.

Of the 12 Akagi Kanko leading the attack on Battleship Row, 4, including the lead aircraft that dropped at 0757, were hit and damaged, 2 severely.

Of the 12 Kaga Kanko in trail, 5 were shot down and 6 were damaged, at least 2 badly.

So of 29 aircraft attacking over the space of approximately eleven minutes, 6 were lost and 11 damaged, at least 4 badly. Worse, if we negate the surprise and assume that all guns were manned and ready, then the result is probably more similar to what happened to the Kaga Kanko, which likely suffered its losses almost entirely to Bagley's two machine guns, the first of which opened on the tail end of the Akagi stream and the Hiryu/Soryu clusterF and the second got into action probably about midway. They had a perfect firing solution, firing at ranges under 300 yards at crossing aircraft flying just 100 feet off the deck at under 160 knots.

Even the Navy's heavy AA got in licks. Kasajima's Kanko from Hiryu, which did not blunder into the Battleship Row attack, but instead attacked Oglala and Helena, was hit 29 hits, including one hole measured as 15cm, so likely a 5" round from the 375 fired by Helena.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, RichTO90 said:

I see Frick, or is it Frack?, still has as many problems with honest assessment as he does with reality.

Five Kanko of Hiryu and Soryu blundered into the stream of Akagi and Kaga aircraft intended for Battleship Row (the control of the attack by the so-lauded IJN pilots was atrocious). Two of the five were hit and damaged, one, Mori's ditching on return.

Of the 12 Akagi Kanko leading the attack on Battleship Row, 4, including the lead aircraft that dropped at 0757, were hit and damaged, 2 severely.

Of the 12 Kaga Kanko in trail, 5 were shot down and 6 were damaged, at least 2 badly.

The 5 which were shot down being from Kaga, and all at the tail end of the 24, as I just said.    Some of the Hiryu and Soryu crews aborted their runs from the north because their assigned targets, (the carriers) were not on Carrier Row.  They did not 'blunder' into the southern stream, they deliberately came around  to attack Battleship Row.

 

Quote

 Worse, if we negate the surprise and assume that all guns were manned and ready, then the result is probably more similar to what happened to the Kaga Kanko

Yes, were the guns firing at the beginning of the torpedo attack as they were at the end, then the 'line ahead' attack method could easily see very heavy losses amongst the torpedo carrying aircraft.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Markus Becker said:

Not really. The fighters had been in the albeit on a wild goose chase and were refueling when the bombers appeared. Bad luck or rather bad radar coverage and communications. 

The bad case of American ass-covering postwar regarding the crushing defeat of American airpower in the Philippines points to more than just bad luck and radar/coms being the reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 minutes ago, Nobu said:

The bad case of American ass-covering postwar regarding the crushing defeat of American airpower in the Philippines points to more than just bad luck and radar/coms being the reason.

The only "ass-covering" was by MacArthur, Sutherland, and Brereton, all of whom blamed each other. MacArthur essentially lied about everything, Sutherland tried to gain cover from MacArthur for his own part in the debacle, and Brereton never explained his own lapses of judgement (or, looking at his later carer, perhaps his indolence?)

Hap Arnold probably said it best in 1949, “I have never been able to get the real story of what happened in the Philippines.”

Fundamentally, it was piss poor planning and preparation, confused reactions, and sheer contrariness that resulted in the Philippine disaster. Two of the seven radars sent to the Philippines were operational and tracked the inbound Japanese. The assessment that the attack was directed at Manila was wrong, which left the Pursuit squadrons out of Nichols, Del Carmen, and Nielsen chasing their tails, while for some unknown reason, the Bomb and Pursuit squadrons at Clark and Iba were never notified the Japanese were inbound and so remained on the ground, happily munching on sandwiches as the bombs began to fall.

Worse though than the lack of reaction was the failure to disperse aircraft at Clark and Iba, which can be directly laid on Brereton, the squadron, and the station commanders.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, RichTO90 said:

I see Frick, or is it Frack?, still has as many problems with honest assessment as he does with reality.

Five Kanko of Hiryu and Soryu blundered into the stream of Akagi and Kaga aircraft intended for Battleship Row (the control of the attack by the so-lauded IJN pilots was atrocious). Two of the five were hit and damaged, one, Mori's ditching on return.

Of the 12 Akagi Kanko leading the attack on Battleship Row, 4, including the lead aircraft that dropped at 0757, were hit and damaged, 2 severely.

Of the 12 Kaga Kanko in trail, 5 were shot down and 6 were damaged, at least 2 badly.

So of 29 aircraft attacking over the space of approximately eleven minutes, 6 were lost and 11 damaged, at least 4 badly. Worse, if we negate the surprise and assume that all guns were manned and ready, then the result is probably more similar to what happened to the Kaga Kanko, which likely suffered its losses almost entirely to Bagley's two machine guns, the first of which opened on the tail end of the Akagi stream and the Hiryu/Soryu clusterF and the second got into action probably about midway. They had a perfect firing solution, firing at ranges under 300 yards at crossing aircraft flying just 100 feet off the deck at under 160 knots.

Even the Navy's heavy AA got in licks. Kasajima's Kanko from Hiryu, which did not blunder into the Battleship Row attack, but instead attacked Oglala and Helena, was hit 29 hits, including one hole measured as 15cm, so likely a 5" round from the 375 fired by Helena.

IIRC, Rich you recommended a book -- maybe a recent one --  about this? From memory, you stated it mentioned Bagley's shooting? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Rick said:

IIRC, Rich you recommended a book -- maybe a recent one --  about this? From memory, you stated it mentioned Bagley's shooting? 

Bagley's Action Report:

https://www.history.navy.mil/research/archives/digital-exhibits-highlights/action-reports/wwii-pearl-harbor-attack/ships-a-c/uss-bagley-dd-386-action-report.html

Alan Zimm's Attack on Pearl Harbor: Strategy, Combat, Myths, Deceptions covers most of the problem's with the Japanese planning and execution.

David Aiken's Torpedoing Pearl Harbor, especially the version published in a Japanese aviation magazine, covers the operations of the Kanko by pilot. Sadly, he died in November 2018 before completing his magnum opus Above Pearl.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Zimm's book is useful but needed a good editor.  Wemeth's Beyond Pearl Harbor has a number of first hand accounts of B5N2 crewmembers that attacked Pearl Harbor, (both in the torpedo and level bombing roles).  Tagaya's Aichi 99 Kanbaku book has gobs of detail on the D3A1 attack at Pearl.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...