Author Topic: The great naval "What If" of WW2.  (Read 306 times)

Offline Drydock

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The great naval "What If" of WW2.
« on: May 10, 2021, 07:35:13 PM »
Outside our time frame, but I think many of you would be interested in the exploration of the greatest Naval "What if" of WW2.

Civilize them with a Krag . . .

Offline ndnchf

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Re: The great naval "What If"
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2021, 05:56:42 AM »
A whole lot of "What ifs" here.  One of my favorite books is called "Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors". It is an incredible story of the Battle off Samar, and one that as a retired navy man, tears at my heart.
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Offline S. Quentin Quale, Esq.

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Re: The great naval "What If"
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2021, 07:38:27 AM »
I suspect the result would have been the destruction of Nagumo's force and a very extensive American casualty list (ships, aircraft, and men).

The Tin Can Sailors, in an amazing act of courage and resolve, took on a force that was orders of magnitude more powerful.  No war gamer of the time would have given then any chance at all of success.  But they were incredibly successful in their mission, protecting the landing force.  Their aggression and resolve so un-nerved Nagumo that he made a critical error (ordered a confusing course change for his force) which caused a complete loss of cohesion and command.  The confusion caused him to think he was dealing with a MUCH more powerful force than he was and he lost his resolve.  He ordered a general retirement. 

Interestingly, he was also the commander of the Pearl Harbor attack force and he did the same thing when he retired vice launching a third strike.  Had he done so he would have caused massive damage to the infrastructure at Pearl (dry docks, piers, POL storage, warehouses, etc.).  This would have made recovery from the damage suffered at Coral Sea impossible to repair meaning the Battle of Midway might never have occurred but if it did we would have had the really short end of the stick.

Our losses of Samar were large, in ships and men, but we could afford them.  And the mission they had was successful.

It's well to remember the crews of light carriers in all of this.  While under fire from Japanese heavy units they continued to launch and recover aircraft who attacked the Japanese units with light bombs and rockets and strafing attacks because they had no torpedoes or armor piercing bombs.  The job of the aircraft on those ships was ground support of the troops ashore and anti-ship weapons were not foremost in their inventory.  Two were sunk (GAMBIER BAY and ST. LO).  I don't know the number of aircraft lost.

It was an amazing event.  The crews of the U.S. vessels acted in the highest and best traditions of the U.S. Navy.

SQQ

Offline Drydock

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Re: The great naval "What If"
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2021, 08:55:42 AM »
Not Nagumo.  Center force commander was VADM Kurita. Nagumo was removed from sea command after Eastern Solomon's.
Civilize them with a Krag . . .

Offline DeaconKC

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Re: The great naval "What If"
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2021, 09:25:21 AM »
An interesting view was offered some years ago. If you observe, the Japanese Navy never would go all in on a fight once it was started. Pearl Harbor, Coral Sea, the Solomons, Bismarck Sea, etc. There was almost never the total commitment to win after getting their nose bloodied. It has been that way throughout history, look at the US Civil War. It was not won until Grant came in to the East and just wouldn't quit, even though Lee kept punishing him. He stayed in constant contact and battle until he just wore Lee out.
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Re: The great naval "What If" of WW2.
« Reply #5 on: Today at 10:09:42 PM »

Offline S. Quentin Quale, Esq.

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Re: The great naval "What If"
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2021, 08:08:50 AM »
Not Nagumo.  Center force commander was VADM Kurita. Nagumo was removed from sea command after Eastern Solomon's.

Thank you for the correction.  Getting old rates as SUX.  ;)

SQQ

Offline Trailrider

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Re: The great naval "What If"
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2021, 04:06:55 PM »
Not Nagumo.  Center force commander was VADM Kurita. Nagumo was removed from sea command after Eastern Solomon's.
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