Skip to comments.(VANITY) What if the USN had a terrible defeat at Midway?
Posted on 06/05/2012 1:21:45 PM PDT by moonshot925
Enterprise, Hornet and Yorktown are sunk with their 231 aircraft. The Japs take Midway. All 4 Jap CVs are undamaged.
Can the Japanese launch an invasion of Hawaii before the American carriers roll off the line in 1943?
4 Essex class CVs and 5 Independence class CVLs will be in commission by 1 July 1943.
7 Essex class CVs, 9 Independence class CVLs and 19 Casablanca class CVEs in commission by 1 January 1944.
Things would probably be different now.
I’m thinking that Crocodile Dundee would have ended up speaking Japanese. We would have won eventually, but the process would have been longer and less pleasant.
Then at least 5 million Americans, men and women with guns and the knowledge to use them would be behind every rock, tree, building, sand dune, and would have killed Japanese soliders.
Japs take Hawaii (after heck of a fight), and cripple themselves doing it. It goes down in history as "an island too far". USN builds carriers and Montana class BBs ... Manhattan project carried out more or less on schedule ... Japan gets nuked more than twice in 1948 ...
Then the war would have taken an extra 2-3 years, but the result would have been the same.
Japan perhaps could have taken Midway, and threatened Hawaii. Nimitz would have been under pressure to back off on confronting the Japanese until carrier strength was re-built. Japanese perhaps would become more entrenched in Philippines and SE Asia, perhaps also buying them more time in Burma and China.
The USA would still have had massive industrial capacity, the Japanese would still have had massively overstretched supply lines, and the A-bomb development would not have changed.
VJ Day gets bumped the spring of ‘46.
If you’re really interested in Midway and its effects on the war, read “Shattered Sword”.
For what it’s worth, the author of the book maintains that the overall outcome of the war with Japan would not have changed; once the sleeping industrial giant was awakened, Japan’s defeat — sooner or later — was all but guaranteed.
At best (from their POV) we would've temporarily moved command & control fm HI to the west coast, delaying the inevitable US offensive for 6 months or so.
It would still have ended in 1945. Maybe in Oct instead of Aug,’cause we might have had to use more nukes.
The Japanese were planning an invasion of Hawaii for September 1942. They would have had Hawaii within land based bomber range from Midway.
I read an anthology of alternative history and the author of one piece argued the US would of attacked Japan via Aleutians and Northern Pacific. As others have posted a Japanese victory at Midway would of just delayed the inevitable.
thread can end here
It would have taken us another year. No matter what victories the Japanese won at that stage, they simply did not have the ability to project invading power into our mainland.
They could not interdict our oil, our steel, our factories. If they won Midway, then it would have taken us about 6 months to replace the losses, and we would have been probably more angry, more focused, and less likely to waste time on the MacArthur approach.
Also,, the Bomb was on the way.
The Japanese had no chance to ultimately prevail. Yamamoto himself knew that.
One now has to wonder why the liberal governmental policy post-WWII worked so feverishly to destroy that industrial capacity and leave the US so dependent on other nations and outsourcing that we cant even build our own refueling planes but give the order to Airbus, and buy Eurocopters too. Never mind all the bogus computer chips from China that infect our military hardware . . .
The USA would still have had massive industrial capacity
You’re rather more optimistic than I am ...
I doubt the Japs could have invaded Hawaii. The distances are just too vast for the Jap Navy to accomplish and then resupply. Just look at the failure (on a much smaller scale) of the Aleutians Islands.
However, it probably would have allowed the Japs to push south again hard. And if the Japs were smart - they would have made iron rings of outer islands that would have been tough to crack. And then sue for peace.
After a bad route at Midway - we might have taken it.
Good speculations - though the Navy would've first finished building all planned Iowa - class ships, rather than the curtailed list. Part of me really wishes that the Montana class had been built.
I'd add that some of those nukes would've possibly been carried by B-36s, rather than B-29s. If we'd lost Hawaii, the longer-range, higher-altitude bomber (already in the development "pipeline") would have come into play.
I agree with everyone.
The idustrial capacity of the USA was so great.
Just look at how much steel we produced in 1939
USA = 51.4 million tons
Germany = 23.3 million tons
USSR = 18.8 million tons
UK = 13.2 million tons
France = 6.2 million tons
Japan = 5.8 million tons
Italy = 2.3 million tons
We produced 9 times more steel than Japan in 1939
Sushi would’ve been our country’s staple but there would not have been any muslims here.
Nazis would’ve won and communism would have been defeated.
The subject was covered in a book called ‘Refighting the Pacific War’ published by the Naval Institute Press. Those scholars interviewed were unanimous in their view of the Japanese capability to successfully invade Hawaii - they simply lacked the assets required. They might have made it ashore, but not in a million years could they have stayed ashore.
BTW, I had the book vetted and endorsed by the "Battle of Midway Rountable" of Midway vets.
From what I have read, both American and Japanese war games outcomes defined Japan’s defeat sooner rather than later.
Admiral Yamamoto did not believe Japan could defeat the U.S. and said he only believed he could mount effective offenses for six months—a prediction that proved accurate. And the Japanese Army command determined what has been stated elsewhere here, once they found out Americans owned guns—any Japanese offensive across the continent would have been a disaster because American civilians would have shot their army to pieces. Besides, not only would we have had a mounted American military presence of the Word War II army, Marines and Navy, we would have had the veteran survivors of WWI on the ground. The WWI guys were not all old men. Many or even most were middle age. In short, by the time the Japanese Imperial army got to Dallas, they would have been surrounded by hundreds of thousands of thoroughly urinated Americans. (Except I really think they would have been in real trouble by the time they got to Yuma.)
I've read extensively on the Aleutians war. That route would be problematic at best. Our commercial airlines who fly high over the Aleutians and ride the gulf stream from Tokyo to Seattle and back are uneventful because the fly far above the weather which is typical of that region: fog and constant storms.
Aviation had not advanced to that point in the 1940's. Even until the mid-1980's, direct flights were becoming common with the workhorse 747's, but refueling stops in Anchorage were even more common with lesser aircraft.
More sorties had to be canceled in the Aleutians theater of operations than were carried out. Japanese resupply of the two Aleutians which they occupied (Attu and Kiska) had to be done almost entirely by submarine. Even fast moving destroyer shuttles from the Japanese Kurile Island base at Parashimaro became too risky by the winter of 1942-43.
That just went on my “nook”. I read “Shattered Sword” last year ...
Jon Parshall is interviewed in 'Refighting' as well.
Not much different. Just would have taken longer, that’s all.
Our submariners would have suffered through a longer, even more intensive unrestricted submarine warfare campaign while we replaced our carriers and trained up some new naval aviators. Might have lost New Guinea and had a land campaign in Australia.
But we would have swept them from sea, any darn way.
We’d have started island-hopping in Hawaii, and we’d have started using nukes instead of Marines in any of the invasions after 1944.
Their Army was stretched mighty thin, too.
“... Japan gets nuked more than twice in 1948 ... “
And where would those bombers have taken off from?
You are assuming that we would have gone island hopping like we did in the early forties so as to make a slow approach to the Japanese islands in order to secure Pacific bases.
And what about Europe? No way that we could’ve maintained the lend-lease program, all of Europe would have fallen to the nazis, no shipping to Murmansk to help the Russkies, nazis riding roughshod all the way to the Urals and beyond, Britain defeated, mid-east oil in nazi hands, etc. etc., no D-Day.
In His mercy the Good Lord gave us Admiral Fletcher (The American Lord Nelson) and good and lucky decision making at Midway.
Yes, the vast bulk of it was tied down in China & Manchuria for the entire war.
What if your aunt had a p***s?
She’d be your uncle, I suppose, but in the end the question is pointless along with all possible answers.
Unless you’re Harry Turtledove, in which case you write another book and give your wife the kitchen makeover she’s been pestering you for.
Probably would have kept Yamamoto alive for at least a little while longer. Don't thinks that the Japanese would have tried to take Hawaii.
Take a look at “Midway Inquest”. Great book.
The loss of the four carriers was devastating to Japan. They could neither replace the ships or their flight crews.
However, what exactly was Japan’s plan to win the war?
Initially, they thought to knock the U.S. out, negotiate a peace, and continue undeterred by us with their crazy idea of creating a Japan-dominated East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. In other words, at some point, instead of continually sinking resources into their extended empire, they were to be enriched by it.
This is like thinking socialism, central planning, high taxes, and slavery works.
The key to us winning WWII was the Supreme Court declaring the National Recovery Act unconstitutional, delaying the socialization of the U.S. economy until Obama’s second term.
Because we still had a basically capitalist economy, we were able to not only supply our military, but Russia’s as well. Almost all their trucks were U.S.-built 2 1/2 tons, and more of their tanks were Shermans than T-34s. Ditto their warplanes.
But they didn't. And, if they had, the US would have doubled down and defeated the Japanese somewhere else in the Pacific. The Japanese supply lines were stretched too far by the time they got to Midway and Navy successes against their shipping were having a significant impact on the Japanese ability to re-supply their troops at the farthest points.
However, in light of current events upon which the very future of America as the beacon of freedom in an increasing oppressive world depends, discussing "what-if" questions about events that ocurred ~70 years ago is pretty pointless. Why not pose the question "What would the world be like today had Napoleon NOT have been defeated at Waterloo??" It's the same pointless exercise.
Japan was working on the Atom bomb as well and was very close, if not already successful in 1945. What would a delay of six more months have brought? Could you imagine first Pearl Harbor being nuked, then San Francisco, Seatle, and LA? Japan had already developed a sub that carried a plane. They had no shortage of suicide pilots and submariners either. If they couldn’t fly a bomb in, they could submarine one in. Japan was working on a lot of nasty stuff besides the Atom bomb too. I say it was close.
If we could come back from Pearl Harbor, we could come back from a loss at Midway. Japan could possibly have invaded Hawaii, but I don’t think they were capable of indefinitely holding it. They were capable of causing massive damage to the mainland, but not capable of holding it. American productive capacity and the overstretch straddling the Pacific would ultimately be too much.
US submarines and land based aircraft could have probably isolated and starved a garrison on Midway.
How else to attack the Japanese Empire in the 1940s?
“Then at least 5 million Americans, men and women with guns and the knowledge to use them would be behind every rock, tree, building, sand dune”
The famous quote is that we’d be behind every blade of grass, which I think is a better image and much scarier.
By August 1945 the American war machine was just getting “warmed up”. There were 15 long-hull Essex class CVs, 2 Iowa class BBs and 5 Montana class BBs planned. In early 1946 the production of atomic bombs was ramped up to 3 a month.
US would have had to supply Hawaii at the end of a very long logistical train. IJN submarines would have had the use of Midway as a base. Of course, Japan would have had to supply Midway ...
“Then the war would have taken an extra 2-3 years, but the result would have been the same...the A-bomb development would not have changed.”
These two comments don’t jive with eachother. I should think that even with Japan possibly in Australia and Hawaii and without Americans on the homeland (if Okinawa is actually Japanese homeland), Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be too much to walk off.
Not bad for a computer guy. I was sufficiently impressed to get a signed copy & give to my youngest son in law, also a Marine and naval aviator.
For those interested in Navy history, also try our Sea of Thunder.
Oh I agree, but I did not want to plagiarize so I made up my own. Churchill’s fight them on the beaches etc. was also pretty good.
There was a story that Gen. DeGaulle was in a conference with some staff around Dec. 7, '41 when an officer rushed in and breathlessly declared that Japan had attacked America. DeGaulle told his staff "We have won the war". (This was even before Germany committed suicide by declaring war on the U.S.) His staff looked at him as if he was crazy, as their backs were against the wall.
DeGaulle knew that America's industrial might would crush the enemy. As did Yamamoto.
“And where would those bombers have taken off from?”
Where did Doolittle’s raid, which was prior to Midway, take off from? The Japanese homeland was within reach even without island hopping. Maybe not reliably, and maybe those in charge would be reluctant to risk so expensive a thing as a nuke on a suicide mission. But it was possible, and unlike with conventional bombing runs it only takes one plane and one hit.
“Japan was working on the Atom bomb as well and was very close, if not already successful in 1945”
That’s not true at all.
The Japanese nuclear research project was FAR FAR FAR behind the Manhattan Project.
The Japanese didn’t have the knowlage, resources, facilities or technology to produce weapons grade HEU or a working bomb.