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Pearl Harbor Defense



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 25th 04, 12:31 PM
Dave
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Default Pearl Harbor Defense

I have always wondered how the attack would have played out if the Americans
had correctly interpreted the reading from the Army radar site on the north
tip of Oahu.
The attacking Japanese planes were picked up at a range of 132 miles at 7
o'clock Sunday morning. The radar operators phoned the duty office, Lt.
Kermit Tyler and told him (paraphrase) that ".... a large formation of
planes is approaching from the north."
Tyler knew that eleven B-17s were due to arrive and assumed that the radar
operators were seeing the B-17s and told them "Well, don't worry about it."
The operators had interpreted the signal that they were seeing as
representing over fifty planes. They did not know about the B-17 flight. If
they had told Tyler that there were over fifty planes approaching instead of
saying a 'large number', Tyler might have sounded the alarm.

If he had sounded the alarm the Americans would have had about thirty
minutes to get ready for the attack. I don't know how long it would take
the sailors to get to their battle stations but I assume that 30 minutes
would give them enough time to get to their AA guns and get them loaded. At
least they would all be out of their bunks and all water tight doors and
hatches could have been closed. The AA defenses on the ships were nothing
like the late WWII batteries but there were dozens if not hundreds of 1.1"
quad mounts on ships in the harbor when one considers the number of
destroyers and auxiliaries present. The 1.1" had a lot of long term
reliability problems but put out a lot of firepower when they were working.
There were probably even more .50 caliber machine guns in addition to the
sixty or seventy 5'' dual purpose mounts. The Army also had substantial AA
batteries and the infantry and marines had .30 LMGs and BARs.
On the other hand, many soldiers and sailors might have been off base or
ashore.

Could the Army have gotten their P-40s and P-36s up in time? The P-40s were
more than a match for the Zeros (contrary to popular myth) and would have
been going after the Kates and Vals anyway. I don't know how many P-40s were
in Hawaii that morning of if there were any Navy or Marine fighters on Ford
Island or at Ewa air station.

I think the American carries were about 200 miles west of Pearl Harbor on
the morning of the attack. Could they have sent approximately 80 Wildcats
into the battle? They probably could not have gotten there by 7:55 but they
could have been there by the time the second wave arrived. The second wave
would probably have been canceled by the Japanese if surprise had not been
achieved.

Another twist I have wondered about is what would have happened it
anti-torpedo nets had been deployed at Pearl Harbor. I think more than half
the Kates in the first wave were armed with torpedoes. The Navy had not
completely discounted the possibility of torpedo attacks due to the
relatively shallow depth of the harbor. I also don't know how well the nets
would have worked but the possibility of neutralizing a large portion of
the first wave would surly have affected the battle.
Admiral Furlong, the day's Senior Officer Present Afloat ordered all ship to
sortie as soon as the attack began. If he had been given a 30 minute warning
would he have ordered the sortie if nets had been present? They probably
couldn't get steam up in 30 minutes anyway.

I looking forward to hearing the group's thoughts.

Thanks,

Dave Kennedy
Atlanta



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  #2  
Old August 25th 04, 02:18 PM
Keith Willshaw
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Dave" wrote in message
...
I have always wondered how the attack would have played out if the

Americans
had correctly interpreted the reading from the Army radar site on the

north
tip of Oahu.
The attacking Japanese planes were picked up at a range of 132 miles at 7
o'clock Sunday morning. The radar operators phoned the duty office, Lt.
Kermit Tyler and told him (paraphrase) that ".... a large formation of
planes is approaching from the north."
Tyler knew that eleven B-17s were due to arrive and assumed that the radar
operators were seeing the B-17s and told them "Well, don't worry about

it."
The operators had interpreted the signal that they were seeing as
representing over fifty planes. They did not know about the B-17 flight.

If
they had told Tyler that there were over fifty planes approaching instead

of
saying a 'large number', Tyler might have sounded the alarm.

If he had sounded the alarm the Americans would have had about thirty
minutes to get ready for the attack. I don't know how long it would take
the sailors to get to their battle stations but I assume that 30 minutes
would give them enough time to get to their AA guns and get them loaded.

At
least they would all be out of their bunks and all water tight doors and
hatches could have been closed. The AA defenses on the ships were

nothing
like the late WWII batteries but there were dozens if not hundreds of 1.1"
quad mounts on ships in the harbor when one considers the number of
destroyers and auxiliaries present. The 1.1" had a lot of long term
reliability problems but put out a lot of firepower when they were

working.
There were probably even more .50 caliber machine guns in addition to the
sixty or seventy 5'' dual purpose mounts. The Army also had substantial

AA
batteries and the infantry and marines had .30 LMGs and BARs.
On the other hand, many soldiers and sailors might have been off base or
ashore.

Could the Army have gotten their P-40s and P-36s up in time? The P-40s

were
more than a match for the Zeros (contrary to popular myth) and would have
been going after the Kates and Vals anyway. I don't know how many P-40s

were
in Hawaii that morning of if there were any Navy or Marine fighters on

Ford
Island or at Ewa air station.


There's a wealth of information on this at the Pear harbor hearings
website, the congressional hearing is rather useful

http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/pha/congress/part_0.html

In short there around 94 pursuit aircraft, including 30 obsolete
types available for combat. However its likely that not all
of those could have been got airborne since the
units were not on standby and the probablity is it
would not have been possible to get the aircraft
armed and fuelled let alone find the pilots and get
them ready in the time available.

The situation with regard to the army Anti-aircraft batteries
was little short of appalling and alone justifies the
sacking of General Short IMHO.

Of the 31 army antiaircraft batteries, 27 were not in position and
ready to fire until after the attack and in several instances not for
a considerable period of time after the attack. None managed
to engage the first wave.

The mobile units were not in field position and had no ammunition.
It was only through the intervention of General Burgin
who collared Short in person that the fixed sites had
any munitions and even these were boxed and with
ready use provision. It seemed the quartermaster was
unhappy about shells geting dirty !


I think the American carries were about 200 miles west of Pearl Harbor on
the morning of the attack. Could they have sent approximately 80 Wildcats
into the battle? They probably could not have gotten there by 7:55 but

they
could have been there by the time the second wave arrived. The second wave
would probably have been canceled by the Japanese if surprise had not been
achieved.


Not a good idea IMHO

The carriers were not operating together and their aircraft would
have arrived short on fuel and heaviliy outnumbered. Moreover
this would have left the only surviving naval assets in the
pacific wide open to air attack

Another twist I have wondered about is what would have happened it
anti-torpedo nets had been deployed at Pearl Harbor. I think more than

half
the Kates in the first wave were armed with torpedoes. The Navy had not
completely discounted the possibility of torpedo attacks due to the
relatively shallow depth of the harbor. I also don't know how well the

nets
would have worked but the possibility of neutralizing a large portion of
the first wave would surly have affected the battle.


It wouldnt have affected the bomb attacks anyway

Admiral Furlong, the day's Senior Officer Present Afloat ordered all ship

to
sortie as soon as the attack began. If he had been given a 30 minute

warning
would he have ordered the sortie if nets had been present? They probably
couldn't get steam up in 30 minutes anyway.



A sortie would have been disastrous. The ships would have been lost
irretrievably at sea instead of being salvageable in harbour
and the number of lives lost much higher.

Keith




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  #3  
Old August 25th 04, 07:52 PM
John Carrier
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I think the single biggest undone defense would have been torpedo nets, but
the reality was no one thought torpedoes could be used effectively in Pearl
Harbor's shallow waters.

Buttoning up the ships and manning battle stations would probably have
helped to some degree. A combination of some opposing fire and some aerial
opposition would have had an impact on the success of the strike ...
probably more in line with Japanese expectations in terms of impact on the
fleet.

I don't think the returning CV's could have accomplished anything of
significance. Worst case would be have been to find the Japanese ...
because they in turn would have been found and likely destroyed.

I think 30 minutes lead time would be insufficient to sortie the fleet ... a
good thing considering the likely outcome had they been caught just clearing
Pearl and entering deeper water.

R / John


  #4  
Old September 16th 04, 12:12 AM
John Mullen
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Default

"John Carrier" wrote in message
...
I think the single biggest undone defense would have been torpedo nets, but
the reality was no one thought torpedoes could be used effectively in
Pearl
Harbor's shallow waters.


So news of Taranto had not reached the US then? Because it had obviously
reached Japan ok....

John


  #5  
Old September 16th 04, 01:20 AM
Mike Dargan
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Default

John Mullen wrote:
"John Carrier" wrote in message
...

I think the single biggest undone defense would have been torpedo nets, but
the reality was no one thought torpedoes could be used effectively in
Pearl
Harbor's shallow waters.



So news of Taranto had not reached the US then? Because it had obviously
reached Japan ok....


The US commanders were such bigots that they couldn't imagine the
slanty-eyed nips daring to attack.

A good example of hubris.

--mike


John


  #6  
Old September 16th 04, 01:53 AM
vincent p. norris
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Default

So news of Taranto had not reached the US then? Because it had obviously
reached Japan ok....


John, is the harbor at Taranto as shallow as the one at Pearl?

vince norris


  #7  
Old September 16th 04, 03:29 AM
Steve Hix
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Default

In article i%[email protected]_s53,
Mike Dargan wrote:

John Mullen wrote:
"John Carrier" wrote in message
...

I think the single biggest undone defense would have been torpedo nets, but
the reality was no one thought torpedoes could be used effectively in
Pearl
Harbor's shallow waters.



So news of Taranto had not reached the US then? Because it had obviously
reached Japan ok....


The US commanders were such bigots that they couldn't imagine the
slanty-eyed nips daring to attack.


The Brits were similarly surprised when the lost the Prince of Wales and
Repulse, not to mention Singapore.

A good example of hubris.


More than enough of that going around.
  #8  
Old September 16th 04, 07:25 AM
Eunometic
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Posts: n/a
Default

"John Carrier" wrote in message ...
I think the single biggest undone defense would have been torpedo nets, but
the reality was no one thought torpedoes could be used effectively in Pearl
Harbor's shallow waters.


The US Navy had fallen well behined in torpedo technology. For
instance the IJNs Japanese Navy Long Lance Torpedo could manage 46
knots for about 22 knautical miles and 35 Knots for about 36 nautical
miles. It had 50% more speed and 10 times more range. It used pure
oxygen not air and didn't usually leave a trail. When under attack by
Japanese subs the Americans sometimes thought they were being attacked
from multiple directions when in fact a single Japanese sub had fired
through their fleet to the other side!

The problem was eventualy traced to the USN rotating its staff through
its torpedo division every 2 years or so thus it never developed any
expertise in developing torpedoes or envisaging what the enemies might
be capable of.

It must have been the same for aircraft lauched torpedoes. The
Japanese ones presumably being better in every aspect such as launch
height, speed, range and minimum depth.






Buttoning up the ships and manning battle stations would probably have
helped to some degree. A combination of some opposing fire and some aerial
opposition would have had an impact on the success of the strike ...
probably more in line with Japanese expectations in terms of impact on the
fleet.

I don't think the returning CV's could have accomplished anything of
significance. Worst case would be have been to find the Japanese ...
because they in turn would have been found and likely destroyed.

I think 30 minutes lead time would be insufficient to sortie the fleet ... a
good thing considering the likely outcome had they been caught just clearing
Pearl and entering deeper water.

R / John

  #9  
Old September 17th 04, 02:59 AM
Mike Dargan
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Posts: n/a
Default

Steve Hix wrote:
In article i%[email protected]_s53,
Mike Dargan wrote:


John Mullen wrote:

"John Carrier" wrote in message
...


I think the single biggest undone defense would have been torpedo nets, but
the reality was no one thought torpedoes could be used effectively in
Pearl
Harbor's shallow waters.


So news of Taranto had not reached the US then? Because it had obviously
reached Japan ok....


The US commanders were such bigots that they couldn't imagine the
slanty-eyed nips daring to attack.



The Brits were similarly surprised when the lost the Prince of Wales and
Repulse, not to mention Singapore.


A good example of hubris.



More than enough of that going around.


The Pearl Harbor debacle is often blamed on lack of resources caused by
inadequate support from the politicians. Wrong. Short and Kimmel had
both quantitative and qualitative superiority but were hopelessly inept.

cheers

--mike
  #10  
Old September 17th 04, 04:29 AM
vincent p. norris
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Default

..... the IJNs Japanese Navy Long Lance Torpedo could manage 46
knots for about 22 knautical miles and 35 Knots for about 36 nautical
miles.


Impressive but is there even the slightest chance of hitting a ship
22 nm away?

vince norris
 




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