Of course, had they really wanted to put Zuikaku with the other four carriers, they could have cobbled together an air group. But they didnt.
Bringing everything you can to the battle is important. The Akagi will be sunk at Midway by one bomb. How many hits on the Hornet and Enterprise might a cobbled-together air complement on the Zuikaku have made? Perhaps enough to turn an American victory into a near-draw, with 4 Japanese carriers lost vs 3 American?
It might also be noted that the Shokaku had not yet even entered dry dock for repairs when the Battle of Midway was fought. “What's the hurry, it's not like there's a war on or anything.”
IJN Shokaku: Tabular Record of Movement:
posted on 05/08/2012 8:25:55 AM PDT
(It's legal to be out at night in spacesuits, even carrying a rag dolly. Cops hauled us in anyway.)
One theory has it that the Japanese could have made Zuikaku a “fighter carrier” with the assignment to provide a CAP for the fleet. The Japanese would later do exactly that with Zuiho as the CAP carrier for Shokaku and Zuikaku in the Battle of Santa Cruz. The Japanese knew the importance of a heavy CAP over their fleet by the number of fighters they had aloft at Midway. The problem was that their carriers could not spot aircraft for a strike while also conducting fleet defense. Having one carrier with the capacity of Zuikaku concentrating on the CAP frees up the other four for strike operations.
More on this later.
But, it goes to show that the Japanese were overconfident.
posted on 05/08/2012 8:38:40 AM PDT
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