Originally Posted by polishshooter
Pat, do you really think much would have changed if we lost at Midway?
I mean, obviously, if the Japs didn't lose any carriers, and we lost all of ours, it would have been disastrous for us, BUT Spruance was under orders to be careful, and besides he was a prudent admiral, I think we may have bloodied Nagumo a little, and lost the Yorktown regardless, and the results would have resembled Coral Sea, a tactical defeat...
This is probably what WOULD have happened had we not broken their code, we wouldn't have been blundering around with everything hanging out in the breeze BEFORE they took Midway if we didn't kNOW.
So what then would have happened? Yes they take Midway, BUT there was NO WAY they could have held it that far from ANY logistic support. Their fleet could NOT have been in range indefinitely, in fact only a few DAYS per month at best. And their CLOSEST base for support was Wake, too far away for any air service except perhaps a few trips by their scarce mavis Flying Boats, or "stripped down" Betty's...nothing in the way of any "air bridge...."
EVERY sub we had would be blockading Midway, our remaining carriers would be shuttling attacks virtually EVERY day, with B-17s hitting it from Pearl with impunity. They would NOT have a chance to get Midway operational as a base, and it's aircraft would be destoyed on the ground, without spare parts, and without fuel or ammo.
No, Midway could ONLY have been a "loss" for us had we followed Yamamoto's script in his overly complicated ballet and ALSO sought the Mahanian "Decisive battle," committing EVERYTHING we had in a "last ditch" fight. And there is no way Nimitz falls for it even if we didn't have "Magic."
The A-Go operation was doomed from the start for Japan, too many conflicting objectives, not enough logistics to support ANY of the many facets, really just a waste of precious fuel and resources to do SOMETHING.....the fact we knew it was coming and jumped them the way we did just was icing on the cake.
Ahhhhhhhh, Polish. My Bersa loving friend. The scenarios, or some combination of them, would have indeed painted a dire picture for the U.S. Forgetting for a moment the indisputable historical facts, if Midway would have seen OUR Navy losing three carriers (and Japan none), AND if Pearl Harbor would have included three to four devastating sweeps (including our critical infrastructure to wage war), then it's not beyond the realm of possibility that we would have lost the ability to project enough force to slow the Japanese down - let alone stop them.
The wild card is the Manhattan Project. No matter how we could have gotten our asses whipped in a host of wild, ficititious scenarios, we could have still brought them to their knees if we dropped about five or ten Fat Boys on major centers of Japanese population at some point. Question: if we would have gotten our asses whipped in the Pacific, it would seem likely that we would have no bases close enough to launch the B-29's for multiple strikes on the Japanese mainland to deliver a little atom-splitting fun. So, where could we have launched such an attack under this scenario? Who knows?
We're all home boys and its great fun to cheer for our brave American forefathers who fought this awful war. But don't delude yourself; providence was on our side, random chance smiled upon us repeatedly, and we were bold battle planners. However, there were plenty of strategic dice rolls that if wouldn't have rolled in our favor, would have meant a succession of crushing losses that would have made it hard to sustain a defense against Japan. A loss on our part was a real possibility.