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Posted: 1/14/2006 9:39:11 PM EDT
I just finished reading "Shattered Sword:The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway".

Absolutely outstanding.It dispels many of the myths of the battle such as Torpedo Squadron 8's sacrifice kept the Japanese fighters on the deck while the dive bombers flew overhead unnoticed and the myth that but for 5 minutes more the Japanese would all have been in the air.In no way does it degrade our brillant victory,it just sets the record straight.If you are a student of the Pacific war this book easily ranks with John Lundstroms or H.P. Willmotts work.
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 9:55:20 AM EDT
How so with respects to Torpedo 8? I know it was purely coincidental and that their arrival was earlier than the dive bombers and that Torpedo 8 didn't just sacrifice themselves for the cause. That is to say, it wasn't planned that way.
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 10:59:25 AM EDT
Hey, I was on amazon.com last night ordering a book on the Boar War and ran into this book. I'll have to check it out.

What does the author say about Torpedo 8? Is he just saying there was to much time between the arrival of the torpedo bombers and the dive bombers? I've heard it talked about before that it was more a screw up of the Japanese CAP than the actual fight with Torpedo 8 that allowed the dive bombers to attack unhindered; as the torpedo bombers had been dealt with leaving enough time for the CAP to have climbed back to operational altitude. Yet they had not.
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 11:14:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/15/2006 11:17:36 AM EDT by GreyGhost]

Originally Posted By Spiff:
Is he just saying there was to much time between the arrival of the torpedo bombers and the dive bombers? I've heard it talked about before that it was more a screw up of the Japanese CAP than the actual fight with Torpedo 8 that allowed the dive bombers to attack unhindered; as the torpedo bombers had been dealt with leaving enough time for the CAP to have climbed back to operational altitude. Yet they had not.



Exactly.According to the timeline of the torpedo and dive bomber attacks from the Japanese records there was plenty of time for the Japanese CAP to get back up to altitude to meet the dive bombers.The main problem wasn't the altitude of the CAP but the location of the CAP.The Japanese CAP wasn't near as co-ordinated as an American CAP as far as -flight 1 you search this area,flight 2 you search this area, etc etc and don't you leave that area unless ordered/radioed to do so.

Because of a lack of radios on most Jap fighters and no radar it was extremely hard to vector the fighters back into their correct search areas once they were out of them.In a nutshell the Japanese CAP was in the wrong sector (not altitude)of the battlefield when the dive bombers came in.
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 11:44:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/15/2006 11:46:36 AM EDT by GreyGhost]
The book also questions the myth of Yammamoto being this brillant tactician.For example...

1.Exactly how were they supposed to supply Midway if they did capture it?With their conquests already,the Japanese merchant fleet was at the breaking point.Every supply ship would have had to run a gauntlet of submarines and long range American bombers.And the Island was too small to hold more than a minimum of fighters for defensive purposes.

2.If the Midway operation was designed to really just draw out the American fleet why send 2 carriers off to the Aleutian Islands?If our fleet wouldn't come out for the Midway Islands why should we come out for some frozen God forsaken islands up by Alaska?Instead of the odds being 4-3 (carriers) against us it could have been 6-3.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 3:16:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GreyGhost:

Originally Posted By Spiff:
Is he just saying there was to much time between the arrival of the torpedo bombers and the dive bombers? I've heard it talked about before that it was more a screw up of the Japanese CAP than the actual fight with Torpedo 8 that allowed the dive bombers to attack unhindered; as the torpedo bombers had been dealt with leaving enough time for the CAP to have climbed back to operational altitude. Yet they had not.



Exactly.According to the timeline of the torpedo and dive bomber attacks from the Japanese records there was plenty of time for the Japanese CAP to get back up to altitude to meet the dive bombers.The main problem wasn't the altitude of the CAP but the location of the CAP.The Japanese CAP wasn't near as co-ordinated as an American CAP as far as -flight 1 you search this area,flight 2 you search this area, etc etc and don't you leave that area unless ordered/radioed to do so.

Because of a lack of radios on most Jap fighters and no radar it was extremely hard to vector the fighters back into their correct search areas once they were out of them.In a nutshell the Japanese CAP was in the wrong sector (not altitude)of the battlefield when the dive bombers came in.




IIRC, the Japanese task force was attacked multiple times before the SBDs arrived. First by Torpedo 8, then by Torpedo 6 & Torpedo 3. Then after the carrier torpedo squadron attacks came the Midway aircraft. Six TBF Avengers (also from Torpedo 8 BTW), and several B 26 Marauders also attacked, followed by Major Henderson with the Midway based dauntlesses and Vindicators. There also was a bombing run by B-17s. I`m not saying the author is entirely incorrect, but these uncoordinated attacks played havoc with the Jap CAP and ate up a lot of time. With their inability to coordinate or communicate quickly, no one kept an overall picture. i don`t believe the IJN ever developed the Fighter Director Officer to coordinate the CAP.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 3:26:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GreyGhost:
The book also questions the myth of Yammamoto being this brillant tactician.For example...

1.Exactly how were they supposed to supply Midway if they did capture it?With their conquests already,the Japanese merchant fleet was at the breaking point.Every supply ship would have had to run a gauntlet of submarines and long range American bombers.And the Island was too small to hold more than a minimum of fighters for defensive purposes.
I think Midway was primarily going to be a weather station and reconniasance base. With the USN effectively eliminated, it would have held a token defence force and air group to monitor Pearl Harbor.
2.If the Midway operation was designed to really just draw out the American fleet why send 2 carriers off to the Aleutian Islands?If our fleet wouldn't come out for the Midway Islands why should we come out for some frozen God forsaken islands up by Alaska?Instead of the odds being 4-3 (carriers) against us it could have been 6-3.



That was the japanese operational art at the time. They believed in multiple feints to confuse the enemy.Remember, the aleutians were attacked at least a full day before Midway was. Then USN was supposed to rush north to defend the aleutians and North America and run a gauntlet of japanese submarines, then when Midway was attacked, they were supposed to turn south wasting time & fuel. Then both Nagumo`s carriers and Yammamoto`s battleships would close in and crush Pac Fleet in a giant pincer.
Link Posted: 1/24/2006 9:37:22 PM EDT
Midway was going to be a stepping stone to Hawaii (because the American fleet was going to be annihilated and unable to take offensive actions) , but remember the goal of the operation was to draw out the fleet and destroy it, NOT capture Midway.main

You need to also remember that the Japanese were terminally ill with victor's disease at this point. And most of the higher level leadership had been infected for years.

It is and was a fault in the Japanese culture that the person in charge is always right and subordinates are to obey blindly. If the person in charge is brilliant, that's not a bad way to go. If the guy in charge is mediocre or worse, this is a very bad way to go. Plus, once a plan was adopted, changing it is almost impossible (to change is to say the planners were wrong). Yamamoto was a brilliant tactician and strategist, BUT, he was still under the guidance and control of the Imperial Naval Staff, and they weren't. The Japanese also loved multifaceted plans and this lead to all mthe various groups proceeding more or less independently, instead of concentrating in one force and bulling ahead. Had they concentrated and bulled ahead they would have swept us off the seas. Ignore Midway, their contrated forces were far stronger than anything we could have put together.

The Japanese had decided they were right, and superior to the soft Americans, that the Americans were not willing to fight for the Phillipines or the British or Dutch colonies. And if the Pearl Harbor attack was successful, the Americans would appease and negotiate rather than fight.

This view of America's unwillingness to fight was reinforced by the Panay Incident and the removal of US forces from Shanghai, etc. Their technical superiority views were reinforced by the success of the Zero, their torpedos , naval night fighting abilities and the possibility that the Yamato class BBs were superior to anything at sea, and those items were great, and may have been best, but they had little or no follow up programs. However, many of their weapons were obsolete and their employment was faulty. Hence the failure to use the Japanese long range subs to interdict reinforcements of Hawaii, feeble attacks on the CA coast instead of attacking the major ports, a plan to blockade Hawaii after the attack, etc. By the time the Japanese realized that their views on the United States and it's fighting ability it was too late.
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