Advanced Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific . . .
Actually, PS, there was no way the Japs could have invaded Hawaii, much less supply it after they did, in 1941, they WERE spread pretty thin. MAYBE Naval Landing troops would have taken Midway, but they would have been unable to supply them any better in 41 or early 42 than they could have if they took it in June 42.....even WITHOUT our remaining subs blockading it.
And it was just a "Navy" show, the Army was tied up in China, with actually very few troops committed even for the Philippines and indonesia. (You can't forget the REAL war the Japs were fighting was between the IJA and the IJN, with only OCCASIONAL fighting against the OUTSIDE enemies....)
Now having pooh-poohed your last couple of points, I think your first points are good ones, and it WAS a close run thing....lucky we didn't lose the carriers, but more important than even that was saving the Oil Farms and the repair facilities.
Without the third strike, the Japs actually LOST the "Battle of Pearl Harbor," but you have to give the devil his due, Nagumo was doing what no one had ever done before, nobody REALLY knew even then that Carriers had eclipsed surface forces, his "Strike force" was not very big or heavy, except in carriers, and he WAS told to "Be careful...." Plus he had taken SOME losses, and a third strike would have taken some time, to rearm and refuel, all the while in range of landbased air that he did NOT know for SURE was totally knocked out, plus where WERE those carriers......
Actually, I still do not think they could have won, BUT it might have changed the whole concept of "Germany First." Politically, FDR would have had to put EVERYTHING into the pacific, and Germany, (and England) would have had to wait.
We had Yorktown, and Wasp, in the Atlantic, even not bringing along Ranger, we would have had a viable fleet left, and we had quite a few ships left in Diego and the Atlantic, including subs and BBs. And ALL those ships laid down in 1938-1941 for the Naval expansion would have been put on a fast track for construction and launching, spare no expense, no diversion of effort. We might have even seen Essex, and the Princeton class converted cruiser CVLs in action in late 42, instead of late 43, granted, flying Wildcats instead of Hellcats....but still deadly....
We would have based the remaining reinforced US Pacific Fleet (still powerful) on the West coast, if we couldn't use Pearl, and later based them in New Zealand or Australia.
I'm not COMPLETELY sure the outcome in the Pacific would change much, if 90% of our effort and output went to the pacific, instead of the shoestring we actually fought it with diverting so many men and material to Europe.
But the KEY would probably have been no North Africa, Italy, or cross channel attack in 1944, maybe even 1945..... but then again, without planning those operations, there wouldn't have been the delay in producing DDs and DEs and SCs caused by giving landing craft and LSTs priority....
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