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Posted: 1/13/2002 1:46:38 PM EST
Just a question for you Pearl Harbor historians. There have been attempts in the recent past by the family of Admiral Kimmel to get him exonerated. A lot of testimony and a few witnesses were not seen or heard during the official inquiry in '95. I say the two were denied crucial intercepts in the winter of 1941, which might have saved the day on December 7th. Thanks, John
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:09:28 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 3:28:33 PM EST
Not an expert either. However someone had to "go down" and these two were chosen. Right or wrong. I believe by the time of the Pearl Harbor attack we had broken and were reading the Japanese Diplomatic code and I further believe the machines in use may have been code named "Purple." (Or maybe we had code-named the diplomatic code purple.) None of these machines were at Pearl. Hopefully I'm not getting history mixed-up with a movie but I believe the attack warning from Washington was sent in a telegram and was delivered during the attack my a young Japanese mesenger. Even in 1941 radio communications between Pearl and the mainland were routine. I've never quite understood why the warning was not sent via radio. Early the morning of December 7, 1941 a Navy destroyer attacked and sunk a Japanese midget submarine. Somehow this message was not accurately reported up the line. Maybe the whole thing was just a cluster f**k but I don't believe so. Once a decision has been reached the Navy is very reluctant to alter that decision even years later.
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 5:29:04 PM EST
There were stations in the Philippines and San Francisco that were reading the Japanese well before the attack. These messages went to Washington, but not to Kimmel. This not revisionist history. This happened. The FOIA has allowed much this to be read. I cannot say why. Lots of conflicting theories there. Plus, you had the Navy and the Army butting heads in peacetime America. The Japanes made a big mistake in not attacking the fuel reserves. I do feel a little sorry for Kimmel and Short. John
Link Posted: 1/13/2002 7:20:44 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/13/2002 7:38:15 PM EST by Benjamin0001]
I don't know how anyone feels about this, but I posed a question to myself. Is it reasonable, or wise to bring forth hatred for ones enemy by sacrificing American lives thus uniting the whole country for the war effort???? I cannot for one see how this would ever be reasonable. It is insane in fact. Although a politician may think in these terms (ie, Bill Clinton, and the man who commited suicide by shooting himself 20 times) I for one would still like to believe that under these grave and serious circumstances all these screw ups occurred in line (messages scrambled , notes not passed, radars unattended, washington uninformed) How could this occur you ask, How bad does a nation want to NOT go to war??? Is it possible that each persons own decision and the weight of it on them caused them to mentally screw things up because to do the right thing would also force one to accept the fact that war was inevitable??? Could 20 people do this all at the same time for each part of the WHOLE screw up??? I think it is possible to have such extra-ordinary pressure on those people. All knew war was comming, all knew they did not want war and I think that each of the screw ups mentioned or brought to light were mental screwups in a last ditch effort to not realize (by their own minds) that they must go to war. Would anyone concur with this ???? Benjamin EDITED TO ADD: For each and everyone of them would know that the peices of information they held within their hands of were supposed to ship would bring the nation closer to war. Each new that the war could end terribly in lives Their own, their friends, their families, their loved ones all over the world. And so I don't think it is too far fetched to reason or make the leap that this kind of pressure can bring one to screw up or messup or do something not quite right in order to hopefully delay, for the sake of goodness, that which they did not want. for example: You are a crypto guy and you uncover ramblings about a possible attack and there are 20 of you all getting one peice and playing on top of that is the fact that the nation has been stumbling, being dragged and slowly inexorably making its way toward a war it did not want at the same time you are so hopeful that war can still be avoided. And as you turn to push this top secret bit of information into the pipeline you KNOW that as it is being transmitted it will bring the nation one step closer to war! Could it be possible for this to cause one to slightly down play the message : Changing possible to MIGHT BE POSSIBLE changing Could to PERHAPS MIGHT. you get the picture. Kinda like a child screaming NO!! I DON"T WANT TO GO. As many of the people in service were young even if they were and did have huge responsibilities some part of them probably screamed NOOOO!! Benjamin
Link Posted: 1/14/2002 11:07:24 AM EST
If one were to discuss villians, we need to include Gen. Douglas MacArthur. He knew of the suffering of the US POW's by the Japanese & did nothing. He knew the Philippines would fall yet did not have plans for an evacuation ala` Dunkirk. (Yes, I'm aware of the space & logistical differences.) Not to mention his ignorance in the Korean War that resulted in who knows how many casualties in the retreat from Chosin Resevoir (sp?).
Link Posted: 1/14/2002 1:30:53 PM EST
Amen, BC - MAC should have been tried for both incidents. pitiful..... Tate
Link Posted: 1/14/2002 2:56:22 PM EST
MacArthur was larger than life - according to MacArthur, that is. I would totally agree with both of your opinions. Prima Donna ,big time. Poor General Wainwright. As Korea, that's another story in itself. John
Link Posted: 1/14/2002 6:17:37 PM EST
MrClean: My opinion is that Gen. Short and Adm. Kimmel were given strong warning in advance, and they were negligent in their duties. I base my opinion on what Gordon W. Prange wrote in detail about in "At Dawn We Slept". I realize that info keeps surfacing often on past historical events but to date I haven't seen anything that changed my mind (knock on wood). Gen. Short received this message on 27 November 1941: ( I'm numbering the sentences for comment) " 1) Negotiations with Japan appear to be terminated to all practical purposes with only the barest possibilities that the Japanese Government might come back and offer to continue. 2) Japanese future action unpredictable but hostile action possible at any moment. 3) If hostilities cannot, repeat cannot be avoided the United States desires that Japan commit the fires overt act. 4) This policy should not, repeat not, be construed as restricting you to a course of action that might jeopardize your defense. 5) Prior to hostile Japanese action you are directed to undertake such reconnaissance and other measures as you deem necessary but these measures should be carried out so as not, repeat not, to alarm civil population or disclose intent. 6) Report measures taken. 7) Should hostilities occur you will carry out the tasks assigned in Rainbow Five so far as they pertain to Japan. 8) Limit dissemination of this highly secret information to minimum essential officers." Prange describes Gen short going over the message with his chief of staff (a Col Tige Phillips) "almost word for word" and getting the priorities bass ackwards: "Short seized upon all the things he must not do: Alarm the local population; offend the Japanese; confide in more than the essential officers. The rest sailed smoothly over his head." Gen Short put top priority to defending against sabotage. The clustered fighter aircraft at Hickam Field and other air bases is well known. Brig Gen Sherman Miles, assistant chief of staff for Army Intelligence (G-2) in Washington stated that Washington thought Hawaii was alerted from 27 November onwards that "hostilities might occur at any time on the initiative of the Japanese" and "That fortress, like a sentinal on post, had been warned of the danger which was its sole reason for being. Anything else was considered to be redundant." In other words, up to date info like Japan's embassy burning their codes was not passed on because it was considered redundant after 27 November. Next post: the Navy's warning
Link Posted: 1/14/2002 6:32:25 PM EST
Also from "At Dawn We Slept": Adm Kimmel at Pearl Harbor received this message on 27 November: (again I'm numbering them for discussion) "1) This despatch is to be considered a war warning. 2) Negotiations with Japan looking toward stabilization of conditions in the Pacific have ceased and an aggressive move by Japan is expected within the next few days. 3) The number and equipment of Japanese troops and the organization of their naval task forces indicates an amphibious expedition against either the Phillipines Thai or Kra Peninsula or possibly Borneo. 4) Execute an appropriate defensive deployment preparatory to carrying out the tasks assigned in WPL 46. 5) Inform district and army authorities. 6) A similar warning is being sent by War Department." Adm Kimmel's chief of staff Lt Commander Edwin T. Layton described the words "a war warning" as a shock and "never saw anything like it before, and... was impressed by it" Adm Kimmel had Layton paraphrase the message and pass it on to Gen Short. Still, it made little impact on him. "He considered the expression 'a war warning' as meaning 'no more than saying that Japan was going to attack some place.'" Prange describes Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner, CNO's chief of staff for war plans back in Washington who wrote the dispatch, "would have gone up in smoke had he known how comparatively little impact the key phrase made on Oahu. The term 'war warning' was his own, 'to express the strong conviction on the part of the Department that war was surely coming...' He did not see how 'there was any possibility of misinterpreting that sentence.'" Next post: some more comments on USN high command comments on that message
Link Posted: 1/14/2002 6:40:17 PM EST
Navy Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm Harold R. Stark took Adm Turner's "war warning" message to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox "because it was an all-out" and he "feared that he might be going a little too far, but 'time was creeping up...'" Adm Stark describes that the words "war warning" were "put at the beginning of the message to accentuate the extreme gravity of the situation...we felt taht there was grave danger of Japan striking anywhere." Adm Stark: "We went to what we thought was an all-out on this dispatch... We considered it an unequivocal war warning...we gave most careful consideration before making this a war warning, for we had no definite information or evidence indicating an attack on the United States." Nevertheless, the southern situation appeared "so greav that we should warn our forces to be prepared for the worst." RADM Turner: "We expected all war scouting measures to be undertaken, submarines to be sent out to protect our Fleet and territory...the carriers with their protective vessels to put to sea and stand in readiness for war... a high degree of readiness of defensive troops, including antiaircraft. The dispatch was prepared jointly with the Army. We expected a deployment of the Army on shore appropriate with the defensive state of readiness, such as manning the coastal guns, and moving up troops out to their deployment positions for defense of territory." More in next post
Link Posted: 1/14/2002 7:11:21 PM EST
Gordon Prange quotes Navy CNO Stark as saying the strong "war warning" message had President Roosevelt's knowledge and OK: "within 24 hours, if not before,...it had his full approval." There are several more quotes and references to a great degree all foot stomping the same thing that Adm Kimmel and Gen Short were warned to be ready for war. NOTE: The Navy "war warning" message and similar "war-gram" sent to the Army are different from the telegram that didn't arrive to Gen Short until after the attack. This message was from Chief of Staff George Marshall: "Japanese are presenting at one pm eastern standard time today what amounts to an ultimatum also they are under orders to destroy their code machine immediately. Just what significance the hour set may have we do not know but be on alert accordingly. Inform naval authorities of this communication." My own opinion: I don't see message traffic on that level, but I've seen low level unclassified military message traffic and in general everyday messages are extremely dry and boring. The Navy message really does have some hard hitting language IMHO. In plainer terms, I don't think Adm K and Gen S could have been warned much harder since they basically got told THE JAPS ARE COMING AND GET YOUR BUTTS READY FOR WAR. On the surface it seems amazing that a US military command could be so casual after receiving such a warning. However, the more I look at US history, the more I see examples of this sort of unalert attitude. Besides the WTC, the USS Cole had a boat full of explosives chug right up alongside and blow a hole through the hull. I also think of the USMC Beirut barracks in 1983 where the guards weren't allowed to have rounds chambered in their rifles. I could go on... Anyway, I highly recommend the book and I can hardly do justice to Prange's 800+ pages. I'm sure y'all are asleep with boredom now and I haven't changed anyone's mind. Nuts my fingers are tired. Edmund
Link Posted: 1/14/2002 7:18:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/14/2002 7:19:11 PM EST by MrClean]
Edmond, it looks as though you are a reader of good books as am I. I have also read that book a while ago, I guess I had similar opinions, but subsequent to that writing, other scholars, using the FOIA, have unearthed documents that support the ancestors of Admiral Kimmel. If you looked at the hearings, you might take a different view, or at least give the family their due. I am not saying your opinions are incorrect, I am just suggesting that sometimes authors like Mr Prange can write books without the benefit of unclassifid documents. One little thing not reported in the 1945 hearings: Rufus Bratton was tracked down on the Autobahn, in Germany, and told to change his prior statements. This was according to another author. Anyway, I guess we could debate for a long time. I just was looking for something for the History Group to yak about. Yaks? Hmmm... John
Link Posted: 1/15/2002 5:17:22 AM EST
Originally Posted By Edmund_Rowe: MrClean:My opinion is that Gen. Short and Adm. Kimmel were given strong warning in advance, and they were negligent in their duties. /quote] I certainly don't argue any of you points but quite frankly, can we name a single instance where the US WAS properly prepared for a foreign attack? For example: 1) The British invasion during the War of 1812. 2) The attack on Harper's Ferry by John Brown. 3) The (alledged) attack on the USS Maine. 4) The attack on the US Embassy in Tehran. 5) The attack by the North Koreans in 1950. I'm sure there's others I'm forgetting but it seems we always get caught with our pants down & our wee-wee flapping in the breeze.
Link Posted: 1/15/2002 10:38:19 AM EST
Do any of you think that the Japanese could have pulled off a surprise amphibious invasion of Hawaii instead of just an aerial attack? Seizing the islands might have accomplished something of strategic value.
Link Posted: 1/17/2002 2:08:53 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/17/2002 2:13:13 PM EST by DC8-73]
Villains. Notice or no notice, there should have been better force dispersion and advance screening. The storm clouds and warnings were there. Question: were the 'villains' told by higher up to put all the eggs in one harbor? At this present day, are we still suffering fom pants down syndrome?
Link Posted: 1/18/2002 5:44:31 PM EST
Originally Posted By MrClean: Anyway, I guess we could debate for a long time. I just was looking for something for the History Group to yak about. Yaks? Hmmm... John
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Yup, we got some good (and civil!) yakking going on!
Link Posted: 1/18/2002 6:18:13 PM EST
Originally Posted By Renamed: Do any of you think that the Japanese could have pulled off a surprise amphibious invasion of Hawaii instead of just an aerial attack? Seizing the islands might have accomplished something of strategic value.
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Renamed: If the Japs could have seen accurately on how unprepared I think the US military at Hawaii was, YES, unfortunately they might have pulled of an amphib landing. Of course, amphib landings would create many huge problems: -troop transports might go 18 knots at best, while the carrier group may make up to 30+. Therefore, the carrier group would have to go as slow as the fastest transport. This creates problems like the task force has to leave sooner, travel longer, and risk detection more than a fast carrier group (with escorts of course) -The carrier group launched planes at 220 miles north of Oahu (Gordon Prange's book "At Dawn We Slept" is my reference) which is a whole lot farther away than any troop transports would have to go. As a SWAG say the transport group goes 20 mph, and covers the last 220 miles in 11 hours. Note that location of landing site could easily add several hours depending on where on Oahu they landed (north coast, west coast, etc.) That's a large margin of time where they might be spotted by recon planes, patrolling surface ships, or even a stray freighter. -As Hawaii was the location of Schofield Barracks and at least one infantry division there would be 10,000+ Army soldiers to contend with. Add to this support personnel, US Marines, shipwrecked sailors, and armed citizens, and an invading force would have a BIG job on their hands. -If only one battleship survives the air attack, an invading force may have to deal with some very heavy arty fired maybe even from a ship an anchor still in Pearl Harbor. One might picture the troop commander: "Have all US naval and air forces been neutralized?" "Yes, send in the troops" "Are you SURE all air and surface forces have been neutralized???" "Yes, send in the troops" "Are you ABSOLUTELY SURE etc." -Even if an amphib landing is successful, supporting a combat unit that far from Japan would have been a huge problem. -Amphib troop transports were probably assigned to higher priority and lower risk targets throughout the Western Pacific. For all this, I think an amphib assault might still have succeeded if a string of incredible good/bad events hit the Japs/US. I can picture the Jap planners, though: "Naw, the US can't be THAT stupid." Edmund
Link Posted: 1/19/2002 6:31:28 AM EST
I thought that pulling off a surprise amphibious landing would be quite a long shot. Then again, since Japan didn't have much hope of winning the war of attrition that eventually followed the Pearl Harbor attack, taking Hawaii right at the start when they were at their strongest might have been the only winning strategy. Hawaii is a long way from Japan, but it's a long way from California, too. As it was, the tactical victory at Pearl Harbor didn't do much for the Japanese strategically. Perhaps they could have done better if they'd caught the American carriers in port.
Link Posted: 1/19/2002 8:17:53 AM EST
Originally Posted By Renamed: Do any of you think that the Japanese could have pulled off a surprise amphibious invasion of Hawaii instead of just an aerial attack? Seizing the islands might have accomplished something of strategic value.
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Not a chance. Attacking with carrier based aircraft is relatively easy when compared to an amphibious assault. The supply train, totally over water remember, would have been beyond the Japanese empire's ability to maintain. The military infrastructure and the sheer numbers of American servicemen on Oahu made the defenses of the islands far too great for the Japanese to overcome. Typically, a 3:1 ratio is required to successfully assault and hold a beachhead. No way the Japanese could do that. They simply didn't have the ship bottoms required to transport the soldiers and all their equipment all the way from Japan to Hawaii...plus attack south to the Java oilfields, which is what they REALLY wanted. Lastly, even had they somehow been able to land and take the islands, then they have to HOLD the islands. Since Hawaii is much closer to the USA than Japan, and since there is no nearby staging base from which the Japanese could provide addiional air cover and assaults, their position would have become untenable very soon. I don't see them putting their fast carriers at risk trying to hold such a far outpost either. They needed those six carriers (Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu, Soryu, Shokaku, Zuikaku) far too badly for other battles. Taking the Hawaiian islands was never under serious consideration in Japan. It would have been counterproductive to their overall goals of setting up a stout defensive perimeter and forcing the Americans to try to breach it.
Link Posted: 1/19/2002 6:33:42 PM EST
Did the Japanese ever give any serious consideration to invading Australia?
Link Posted: 1/19/2002 6:39:41 PM EST
Not after the Battle of Coral Sea & Midway. They had a few victorious naval battles here and there, but they were pretty much on the defensive after June of 1942. There was a long protractive fight for Guadalcanal, which they finally lost in 1943. At least that is my opinion. John
Link Posted: 1/20/2002 1:40:53 PM EST
It would have been a doomed operation from the start If they would have Landed on Midway and Hawaii simultaneously then they may have had a chance. However, the minute a US task force got to Australia The jig would have been up as they could at that point just cut the flow of supplies. however, that would have put the US under in the Japanese Sphere. Without remembering what a map looks like, I would say the only chance at success would be a Massive invasion of Midway and a simultaneous Invasion of Hawaii. The United States would have had hell to pay for something like that. Especially if the Air raid went the same. But They would still have to get within Launching distance of the beach. So it could have been done, but it would have been 1000 times more hard. The Air attack would have to have been 300 planes more. I don't know. I just can't convince myself that they could have done that. Benjamin
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