Midway, what if the Japanese had just pushed on?

Sparky

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Sorry, but no way.

The Japanese would not even have been able to supply Hawaii had they elected to assault it.

No chance whatsoever even under the most beneficial circumstances that they would have been able to supply anything on the US mainland.

von Marwitz
Oh I'd agree completely with that. My point was the direct threat to Hawaii that would have been the result of a decisive loss at Midway should have been enough to change the strategic thinking of the U.S. Now just what the Japanese would have done in the aftermath of MIdway, and making hay while the US was out of action for all intents and purposes in the Pacific is a completely different hypothetical question. Personally I think they would have gone back after isolating Australia and strengtening its positions in the s.w Pacific rather than go after Hawaii or Alaska. What the Japanese would have done? No one knows but that sort of the point I was trying to make, could the US take the chance and concentrate on Europe first? I don't see it.
 

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We have to go back to what I said originally. I never said it was a good idea, indeed I said they were wise for refusing to invade Midway. I only said that if they tried they have succeeded. It is more of a devil's advocate role I am taking. I also said what I would do to ensure success -- it is, after all, a what if. One of the great wonders of history is what would be necessary to effect a different outcome. That is one of the fun parts of history. Heck, that is one of the reasons we all play wargames! A game where one is locked into exactly the same actions performed in exactly the same manner as was done originally is no fun. So if I have the ships why not use them? The only sticking point for me is that the Japanese did not bring very many troops along that means I would have to maximize the use of my other assets. In this case, those assets are my ships. It all kind of reminds me of the old AH game Midway.
 

Bob Walters

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18 subs + any remaining air assets (and possibility of resupply from Hawaii) would have clinched it for me. Regardless of the ability to knock out the remaining gun positions, or overcome the ground odds, or deal with inadequate assault craft, or the fact an invasion would lead to nowhere, the IJN simply didn't have the strategic resources to be able to commit to such a dubious undertaking, especially should they be savaged again.
Very true if the Japanese had taken Midway I doubt they could have kept it very long.
 

MajorDomo

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Lots of what ifs, but the US ability to concentrate on Europe would not have passed muster with the American public in the unlikely event that Hawaii and Midway were attacked.

Despite FDR, the US was still a Republic and a westward major effort would have occurred.
 

jrv

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If Hawaii got a hundred extra aircraft the Pacific forces might consider themselves lucky. Although Hawaii is now a state, at the time it was not. The US lost part of Alaska without so much as a murmur. Midway? Where's that exactly?

JR
 

Bob Walters

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Lots of what ifs, but the US ability to concentrate on Europe would not have passed muster with the American public in the unlikely event that Hawaii and Midway were attacked.

Despite FDR, the US was still a Republic and a westward major effort would have occurred.
It is probably because of FDR we are still a republic. In any case, you may be right but it was had for the American public to take any country that wasn't white as a serious threat. Sure they wanted revenge but as long as most of the fighting was against the Chinese and Pacific Islands the US public probably would have gone along with the Europe first priority.
 

MajorDomo

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Isolationalists under Charles Lindbergh, Lillian Gish and Frank Lyod Wright had peaked at 800,000 paying members in 1940. Joseph Kennedy stated that Democracy in Britain was finished, just at it might be in the USA. The isolationists were polling around 40%, but the entire movement collapsed immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, canceling all meetings and rallies.

Remember that entire Ivy league graduation classes went en-mass to the recruitment centers after Pearl Harbor attack (not to hide in Canada}. The concept that we did not fear Japan because they were not "white" is simply deluded thinking. The House voted 388-1 for war, the Senate 82-0. Food and gas rationing, victory gardens, Civil Defense volunteers, scrap metal drives, War Bonds as Christmas gifts... George Herman Ruth Jr. (Babe) offered to buy $100,000.00 of Bonds (max allowed was $50,000).

This was a reaction against the Empire of Japan, not Germany. Now FDR, who basically became president for life (a separate discussion for sure), concocted the Europe First strategy.

My point is that he would have been forced to change the Europe first strategy had the Empire of Japan made significant gains at Midway and Hawaii (although I agree this was extremely unlikely) .

Now in hindsight, the US public mood appears less virulent versus the Japanese, but I had a girlfriend whose American citizen father of Japanese decent (who owed a butcher shop in LA) was interned and forced to butcher for free. They never even gave him his butcher shop back after he was released.

Midway and Hawaii, Meh, I doubt it.

Rich
 
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Bob Walters

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Hate and yes revenge but we did not feel they were anywhere near the equal of the white man I doubt Midway would have changed anything after all the Aleutian Islands didn't. You are right, a lot the interned Japanese had their property stolen, that was pretty common. That also happened to one of my high school teachers.
 

Sparky

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Lots of what ifs, but the US ability to concentrate on Europe would not have passed muster with the American public in the unlikely event that Hawaii and Midway were attacked.

Despite FDR, the US was still a Republic and a westward major effort would have occurred.
I don't know honestly if the american public and what they think would have really mattered. Any more than it ever really has. I don't think there is a General or Admiral alive who wouldn't have pressed Roosevelt or any Eurocentric policy wonk after losing the fleet and Midwaythat... well... he says it best...


so who in their right mind in the military leadership would say, sure let the Japs run free while we concentrate on Europe.

However.. taking this and kicking it up a notch. Regardless if the US did or did not concentrate on Japan instead of Europe. You do have to wonder how the nuclear bomb of 1945 would have been played. Figuring a loss of 6 months to a year in beginning to push back at Japan, and likely from further east than the Americans had to. Would Japan have surrendered.. and how would the Soviets play into this. Would they have beat the US to Japan's doorstep. As most would agree that a defeat at Midway might have set the US back 2 years (minimum) from reaching Japanese territory..
 

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Admiral King was already totally pro-Pacific (and anti-British). He basically got the extra hundred planes. Germany was the more dangerous opponent, and it would be dealt with first, regardless of the situation in the Pacific. If California had been threatened with invasion then you would have a case. Even with a win at Midway the Japanese weren't going to take Hawaii, much less invade California.

JR
 

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if that would have been the case it might have proven to have been the 2nd worse miscalculation of ww2, next to Stalin telegraphing his intent to attack Hitler. I thought Hasegawa made a flawless and conclusive case that it was not the nuclear bomb that knocked Japan out of the war, but the Soviet Unions attack. That a full year or two prior to the US having their foot on Japan's throat after a defeat a Midway? Coupounded by focusing on Europe first? The only thing more scary than the thought of Stalin having won all of Europe in 1942 with the British and Americans in no position to stop him, would have been Stalin with the whole of the Korean peninsula and displacing the US as military occupiers of Japan.

All the what if's that arose out of this battle, which sort of cements it as THE most single most defining and important battle of ww2. The more so since it was such a stroke of good fortune/fate that they did win. The Germans were screwed if they took Stalingrad or not, those shattered divisions were not going to stop the avalanche coming on the flanks. They didn't have enough troops to cover their extended flanks.

but if the US had lost Midway. One could argue they would have lost the Pacific War, not to Japan, but likely to the next enemy. The Soviet Union.
 

jrv

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The Soviets probably couldn't mount a major seaborne assault to Japan. They would be like the Germans looking across the Channel in 1940. They would probably score Korea, which would simplify a lot of present-day problems.

JR
 

Sparky

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who said anything about assaulting Japan.

New scholarship is showing that is was the Soviet entry into the Far East war and their destruction of the Kwautang Army, not a couple of nuclear bombs or imminent invasion, that tipped the balance between the peace factions and hardline military junta within Japan. Without the Soviets Op. Olympic would have likely happened, even with the bombs, for they still thought they could wear us down by attrition by sending hundreds of thousands of Americans home in body bags. So the point is the Americans themselves really had little to do with Japan's surrender, they were prepared to fight us to the death, especially directly threatening THEIR sacred lands.

What it was though it is argued, and very exactly by those like Hasegawa it was the Soviet intervention. The interesting alt-history of course coming out of Midway is that exact scenario happening after defeating Hitler and turning to their first, historical and great rival in the Far East, yet we are still island hoping out in the Pacific or just getting into the inner defenses. Who gets the spoils. My money would have been on Stalin to get the Japanese mainland on a platter.

Definitely read his books if interested.
 

Sparky

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and as an aside JR, the Soviets not only had the capacity to invade Japan, they planned to do just that. Secretly, the Americans had no idea what the Soviets were planning. Nor the Japanese who put nearly a million men in the south in the face of the expected American invasion. American intelligence? Had it as a third of that.

http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/122335

a lot of other documents on that site related to the Soviet plans for invading Japan.
 
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AdrianE

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The USA actually applied a Japan first strategy for the first half of 1942. Look at what left the USA for where and it becomes clear. Only after Japan was contained did the USA switch to a Germany first strategy.
 
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So, this is very late to this discussion, and picking on minutia to boot, but I can't help but wonder about one point raised earlier. Would the Japanese really have used spotter planes for directing shore gunnery while there was the possibility of hostile naval forces in the area (as opposed to search operations)? This seems a little extreme to me, but as Paul mentioned earlier, the Japanese at times loved their doctrine - so if it was their doctrine - maybe? I'm very much asking out of ignorance, but would be curious to hear the opinions of those who've done some research on the topic.
 

Paul M. Weir

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So, this is very late to this discussion, and picking on minutia to boot, but I can't help but wonder about one point raised earlier. Would the Japanese really have used spotter planes for directing shore gunnery while there was the possibility of hostile naval forces in the area (as opposed to search operations)? This seems a little extreme to me, but as Paul mentioned earlier, the Japanese at times loved their doctrine - so if it was their doctrine - maybe? I'm very much asking out of ignorance, but would be curious to hear the opinions of those who've done some research on the topic.
I don't know really, but the question of scouts was brought up in an earlier post. The cruisers did carry scouts. Japanese doctrine was that scouts from cruisers and the like were to be the main aerial scouting force, keeping carrier aircraft on deck and not "wasted" on reconnaissance. I would be very surprised if they did not also have fire direction training, especially for ship to ship action. At Savo Island they were used in both the scouting role and for dropping flares on the Allied ships, so I could see the scouts from the bombardment force getting similar tasks.

The 4 CAs in the bombardment force were not the only ones. The distant main battleship force had its own scouts from the BBs and CAs and there were also 4 Kongos acting as less distant anti-ship escort for the CVs and invasion force. Something like a total of 7 BB, 6 CA and 3 CVS (seaplane tenders) in addition to the 4 CA in the bombardment force, so the bombardment CA were only about a fifth of the scout capable ships.

At the same time, I would strongly doubt that the Japanese DD's would have trained much with scout aircraft fire direction other than benefiting from dropped flares.
 

Bob Walters

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So, this is very late to this discussion, and picking on minutia to boot, but I can't help but wonder about one point raised earlier. Would the Japanese really have used spotter planes for directing shore gunnery while there was the possibility of hostile naval forces in the area (as opposed to search operations)? This seems a little extreme to me, but as Paul mentioned earlier, the Japanese at times loved their doctrine - so if it was their doctrine - maybe? I'm very much asking out of ignorance, but would be curious to hear the opinions of those who've done some research on the topic.
The Japanese also had a number of seaplane carriers present.
 
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Well, yes, I'm aware that there were other scout planes available. What I was getting at is that it was surprising to me to think that they wouldn't have been using ALL their scouting assets to hunt for local hostile naval forces. I would have thought that would have taken priority over directing naval bombardment - is there precedent for thinking otherwise with Japanese naval forces?
 

Paul M. Weir

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Absent transcriptions of the original orders, I don't know the assigned tasks for the bombardment force scouts. The BF would have come in at night and from what I gather would have reached Midway in bad light. The BF would have been foolish not to employ their scouts locally as the Japanese had been unable to do photo recon prior to the battle and would not have wanted to be surprised by something unexpected from Midway.

They had enough to do both, so why not do both?

Scouts are both fleet and individual ship assets. I would be a bit surprised if a ship was not allowed to use its own stuff as it saw fit when going into harm's way as opposed to being sent to look for possible threats when the heavy stuff was catching up and had their own scouts. There is no point looking out for bear traps if your leg is already caught in one.

So contrary to you, I would be surprised if they didn't use the BF scouts over or in the immediate vicinity of Midway. Your Mileage Does Vary.
 
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