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Topic review - Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor
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  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Jim21680 wrote:
Pearl Harbor footage from Spring 1942. Maybe some of you have seen this before...I have not.
I found it pretty incredible!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5cqIT6_Cbs



Thanks Jim21680 for sharing the link. Very interesting to see the battleships being pumped out and the civilians and military personnel milling about. So rare to see colour footage!
Post Posted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:43 am
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Pearl Harbor footage from Spring 1942. Maybe some of you have seen this before...I have not.
I found it pretty incredible!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5cqIT6_Cbs
Post Posted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:59 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
I think too much emphasis is placed on the tank farm. Its destruction may have delayed the counter offensive by 6-12 months.

Japan may have made certain advances that she was unable to do in the historical scenario. Her lack of resources would limit her advances (her China adventure was consuming the major portion of what resources she had).

But, the A bomb would still be ready in '45 and the B-36, given higher priority than historically, would be operational no later then '46. Japan would be A bombed into the stone age from bases in the Western Hemisphere.

In the end Japan would lose whether or not the tank farm was destroyed.

PS. The Yamamoto quote was written for the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora."
Post Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:14 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Walt wrote:
History has shown us that this oversight ( or mistake whatever) was very contributory to what was to become their ruin in short order. These are also facts that to a military planner are all very obvious.

I do not think so. The Japanese attack was gambling. They risked everything by attacking, because their industrial base was clearly inferior. A long war Japan could not won - does not matter, what they would have hit in Pearl Harbor. There only chance was a decisive blow against the USN fleet, which would enable them to conquer the areas they aimed for - and would forced the USA to peace. The succeeded in destroying most of the USN battlefleet and to conquer most of those islands. But the reaction of the Allies to this disastrous defeat was not that the Allies sued for peace - as the Russians did in 1905 - but a counter attack using the industrial base of the USA to produce a dramatic quantitative superiority.

The effect of the destruction of the fuel farms and submarine base would clearly less impressive than the sunken battlefleet - also they would have been repaired in time for the counter attack. Actually they would have been much easier and cheaper to repair than the sunken battleships.
Post Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:40 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Tracy White wrote:
Walt wrote:
Yamamoto was quoted as saying about awaking sleeping giants .having great resolve etc etc...

.. snip ..

I'm only wondering 'What were they thinkin" lol


Please... for the love of God and History, Ready the damned books I suggested, or read them again and commit more to memory before you start wondering such things. Yamamoto never said that, and all that you are doing here is showing that you have enough knowledge to be dangerous - you have assumptions based on that which would not be there if you re-read or expanded your reading. Zimm's book is a great analysis, but Prange's is a good narrative of the lead-up to the attack (it's not without it's faults though). There were decisions and constraints that reflected on what the Kido Butai could do.

So much of the "what if" I see is so god-awfully bad that it has left an intense distaste in my mouth for any sort of what-if. Most people do not do enough to study the history in depth, to understand the players, the circumstances. I'm not faulting the desire to play, but generally I find that armchair admiraling does history a disservice and is disrespectful to the people who sacrificed so much for their friends, families, and countries. Saying "the Japanese made this mistake" and "any military organization knows..." overly simplifies things.

You get the last word, I'm unsubscribing from this thread as I'm too passionate about this subject.


Tracy whether or not that Yamamoto said this has never been verified. either way..If so by who..I am ready to be corrected by facts..I did not "quote " him verbatim.... I referred to the folklore..or fact.
I don't know what you don't understand about "What Ifs" The topic of this tread was Pearl Harbor Revisited. I did read the books ..and several others in my life long study of Military history..Many have conflicting theory and almost all were written in 3rd person years after so many facts were lost in the fog of time. I have also been there ( home ported) I know the size of the base and how easy it would have been to cripple the logistical support there.
I also understand that there are several official historical opinions on the attack and it's planning etc. I am also a serious student of military history and especially tactic. My questions about the Japanese plans are very real. If they had followed "common Military procedure" in a preemptive strike especially after learning that their "main objectives" ( CVs ) were not present at Pearl..No options were thought of or given to the attackers apparently? One big difference in Military disciplines between Japan and the West the IJN were trained to follow plans to an objective outlined to them by command and the Allies often adjusted on the fly as to what was presented them when the objective was not presented in real time. Many examples can be found of this difference throughout the War.. ( Midway for one) A serious difference in operational tactic. Be it Cultural or historical with the Japanese.
Most successful military planners would have had a secondary target. There was no option for the attackers..they took the attack to the BB fleet and airfields ignoring the fuel farm, warehousing, other base support facilities like cranes and docking/piers etc.. as well as the dry docks and SS Base to a great extent. . All because they were of a different discipline be it cultural or military incompetents or both.

History has shown us that this oversight ( or mistake whatever) was very contributory to what was to become their ruin in short order. These are also facts that to a military planner are all very obvious.
So back to my original question What if The Logistical targets at Pearl were given higher priority? A very simple question knowing all we do 70 years on.

To say or even suggest that The IJN did not blunder by concentrating most of their resource by hitting the BBs....Obsolete BBs... especially after they discovered that their "main targets" the CVs were not in port and leaving the USN's "major Naval Base" in the Pacific mostly untouched and very viable to continue it's support thousands of miles from Stateside..With the CV and Cruiser & SS fleet mostly intact as well as their supports.. If so Then I say someone is reading too many books..Or not the right books eh? Just look to the results less than 6 months down the road..all because the USN was able too get into the game quickly with a great logestical support system still in place.( Pearl Harbor).. It was an opportunity lost to history by Japan...

We all know what happened and how it happened Tracy.. I am not trying to "change" history. I am just bringing up a very real tactical mistake made by the IJN and almost every WW2 historian I know or have read would agree. There is no over simplifying things when the critic has already seen the play Tracy..It's no big deal it's only bathtub pirate stuff..really.

Just a what if???? Golly gee sergeant!!! lol
Post Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:19 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Walt wrote:
Yamamoto was quoted as saying about awaking sleeping giants .having great resolve etc etc...

.. snip ..

I'm only wondering 'What were they thinkin" lol


Please... for the love of God and History, Ready the damned books I suggested, or read them again and commit more to memory before you start wondering such things. Yamamoto never said that, and all that you are doing here is showing that you have enough knowledge to be dangerous - you have assumptions based on that which would not be there if you re-read or expanded your reading. Zimm's book is a great analysis, but Prange's is a good narrative of the lead-up to the attack (it's not without it's faults though). There were decisions and constraints that reflected on what the Kido Butai could do.

So much of the "what if" I see is so god-awfully bad that it has left an intense distaste in my mouth for any sort of what-if. Most people do not do enough to study the history in depth, to understand the players, the circumstances. I'm not faulting the desire to play, but generally I find that armchair admiraling does history a disservice and is disrespectful to the people who sacrificed so much for their friends, families, and countries. Saying "the Japanese made this mistake" and "any military organization knows..." overly simplifies things.

You get the last word, I'm unsubscribing from this thread as I'm too passionate about this subject.
Post Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:30 am
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Vlad wrote:
Walt wrote:
All I am doing is questioning the acts of a military operation whose planners seemed to disregard the basic tactical and strategic priorities of a preemptive strike and the hoped for advantage of surprise that the IJN possessed at the time( be it intentional or just ignorance).


Your question is understandable but you are looking at the priorities through "West" tinted glasses. I do not claim to be an expert, but the Japanese had (and still have) a very specific culture and a strong warrior spirit and concept of honour rooted in Samurai history. Their targeting priorities reflect this in that high profile front line units are seen as more worthy of destruction, fighting these units is seen as glorious and honorable while things like war on trade and supply lines might be perceived as degrading or dishonorable to various degrees.

Whatever seems tactically and strategically right in hindsight is clouded by significantly different cultural values and priorities. This can lead to a lot of military operations or tactical decisions that don't appear logical to a western observer.

In addition, the attack was made on the assumption that its result would be the US essentially giving up the Pacific. This belief is rooted in Tsushima, but it was a genuine belief that the US response to a devastating first strike would be weak and submissive.

The whole thing (the Pacific war itself, not just Pearl Harbor) is based on assumptions within assumptions, honor, national pride, faith in divinity. Such things aren't always rational. Japan in 1941 believed it was entitled to a west-Pacific and east-Asian empire, did not have the resources to properly build or defend such an empire, but tried anyway because they had utter faith in the idea that their warrior spirit, honor and divine prerogative would see them through a decisive and quick war.


Vlad, I do understand "the Culture" and it's their "assumptions" that I am queationing... I am only looking at this through a "what if" theory. The attack on Pearl Harbor even though causing great damage to most of the Pacific Fleet's mostly obsolete BB fleet as well as some damage to the base in general it did not cripple the USNs ability to stay offensive and on station in short order. The USN carried out offensive ops right after the attack in early 42. Pearl was still a active and excellent repair and support facility for the Pacific Fleet for the rest of the War.
In hindsight the biggest damage done by this attack was as Yamamoto was quoted as saying about awaking sleeping giants .having great resolve etc etc... As he was soon to find out in the Coral Sea and Midway engagements. Neither engagements would have had any of the BBs hit at Pearl involved in except to give the Americans a War Cry.
I'm only wondering 'What were they thinkin" lol
Post Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:41 am
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Tracy White wrote:
Hey Walt -

"At Dawn We Slept" by Gordon Prange
"Attack on Pearl Harbor: Strategy, Combat, Myths, Deceptions by Alan Zimm
"The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 by John Toland

These books are highly recommend for a better understanding of the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Tracy, thank you I have read Zimm's book as well as Toland's both excellent books that attempt to shed light on the Pacific war and the Japanese mindset two of my favorites.
All this I understand. However my tread line on this subject is all about the "why" when common Military Knowledge even in 1920s and 30s was to bleed your enemy..Especially in the heavily mechanized warfare scenario (which includes shipping) that Armies and Navies were facing back then as well as today.
The USSR knew this all too well as did the Kriegsmarine in the N Atlantic...To a great effect which almost bleed GB to death if not for code breaking and ASW improvements.
What happened ,......happened this is not the debate.. What could have happened is. As we saw later at Midway luck is a fickle finger in the fog of War.
Post Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:25 am
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Walt wrote:
All I am doing is questioning the acts of a military operation whose planners seemed to disregard the basic tactical and strategic priorities of a preemptive strike and the hoped for advantage of surprise that the IJN possessed at the time( be it intentional or just ignorance).


Your question is understandable but you are looking at the priorities through "West" tinted glasses. I do not claim to be an expert, but the Japanese had (and still have) a very specific culture and a strong warrior spirit and concept of honour rooted in Samurai history. Their targeting priorities reflect this in that high profile front line units are seen as more worthy of destruction, fighting these units is seen as glorious and honorable while things like war on trade and supply lines might be perceived as degrading or dishonorable to various degrees.

Whatever seems tactically and strategically right in hindsight is clouded by significantly different cultural values and priorities. This can lead to a lot of military operations or tactical decisions that don't appear logical to a western observer.

In addition, the attack was made on the assumption that its result would be the US essentially giving up the Pacific. This belief is rooted in Tsushima, but it was a genuine belief that the US response to a devastating first strike would be weak and submissive.

The whole thing (the Pacific war itself, not just Pearl Harbor) is based on assumptions within assumptions, honor, national pride, faith in divinity. Such things aren't always rational. Japan in 1941 believed it was entitled to a west-Pacific and east-Asian empire, did not have the resources to properly build or defend such an empire, but tried anyway because they had utter faith in the idea that their warrior spirit, honor and divine prerogative would see them through a decisive and quick war.
Post Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:13 am
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Toland's book is a must read!
Also good is: "The Pearl Harbor Papers: Inside the Japanese Plans" edited by Donald Goldstein
Post Posted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:40 am
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Hey Walt -

"At Dawn We Slept" by Gordon Prange
"Attack on Pearl Harbor: Strategy, Combat, Myths, Deceptions by Alan Zimm
"The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945 by John Toland

These books are highly recommend for a better understanding of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:30 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
In most military operational planning the life line or support issues are a very high priority even in 41. No military machine no matter how well trained or how large they are can maintain an offensive posture for long without supply and support. The Japanese realized this in their Philippine operations and it was done by them to great effect They also used similar tactic in Singapore. The Allies used this tactic of prioritizing the logistics of the Africa Corp and choking them out.
The US Submarine fleet crippled the logistic planning of the Japanese. Even early on when they had older Boats and unreliable Mk 14 torpedoes as well as too many skippers relying on the early Sonor sets and procedures..
It is well know that the Japanese high command was still very fond of the BBs..putting much too high a priority on them..Especially what was at Pearl. This was a mistake that as Tracy points out is only realized by Monday morning quarterbacking.
In almost every successful military campaign since the Romans "choking out" your adversary was the root to victory especially in a longer campaign.
The fact is if the IJN hit the logistical support center of the Pacific Fleet many thousands of miles from Stateside they could have bottled up the Fleet long enough ( maybe several months) to have at them on positive terms. Maybe even causing the Pacific fleet to withdraw from Pearl. Midway never would have happened..
I remember back in my Navy days having a conversation with a few Annapolis grads and they said that this scenario was kicked around during their study of the attack while at school.
In hindsight thank Goodness they did what they did it allowed us to get into the game a lot quicker.
Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:01 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
In most military operational planning the life line or support issues are a very high priority even in 41. No military machine no matter how well trained or how large they are can maintain an offensive posture for long without supply and support. The Japanese realized this in their Philippine operations and it was done by them to great effect They also used similar tactic in Singapore. The Allies used this tactic of prioritizing the logistics of the Africa Corp and choking them out.
The US Submarine fleet crippled the logistic planning of the Japanese. Even early on when they had older Boats and unreliable Mk 14 torpedoes as well as too many skippers relying on the early Sonor sets and procedures..
It is well know that the Japanese high command was still very fond of the BBs..putting much too high a priority on them..Especially what was at Pearl. This was a mistake that as Tracy points out is only realized by Monday morning quarterbacking.
In almost every successful military campaign since the Romans "choking out" your adversary was the root to victory especially in a longer campaign.
The fact is if the IJN hit the logistical support center of the Pacific Fleet many thousands of miles from Stateside they could have bottled up the Fleet long enough ( maybe several months) to have at them on positive terms. Maybe even causing the Pacific fleet to withdraw from Pearl. Midway never would have happened..
I remember back in my Navy days having a conversation with a few Annapolis grads and they said that this scenario was kicked around during their study of the attack while at school.
In hindsight thank Goodness they did what they did it allowed us to get into the game a lot quicker.
Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:01 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Carriers and battleships were the main targets for the attack in Pearl and it was a most important target for the attackers and actually well thought of. The purpose of the attack itself is to deny the USA the capability of projecting power immediately that can eventually threaten any Japanese venture towards Malaya, Dutch East Indies and obviouly the Philippines. This could have been done with battleship-carrier forces. Think of the Orangle Plan. The Japanese simply sought to make it not happen by simply destroying the US battleships and carriers at Pearl. That way they would have free hand dealing with the remaining forces that were in their way. Apart from the carriers being outside Pearl and not sunk the IJN actually achieved what they were bidding for.
The submarine was not regarded as trade warfare weapon to the IJN. Its main job was to scout ahead of the fleet and take on naval targets when the situation arised. WWI lessons were not followed by the IJN in terms of submarine use against supply lines. Probably, and now I am uncertain, they would not accept that other navies would use the submarines in an all-out campaign against trade. This also reflected on how poor the IJN was early in war in terms of ASW capabilities..the reluctance to accept that the submarine was a serious threat. Plus, adding the poor performances of the Allied submarines in the first 6-9 months of the Pacific Campaign, just contributed more to their insight that the submarines were not good for trade warfare (perhaps they were not paying much attention of what was going on in the Atlantic in past 3 years).
Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:49 am
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Tracy White wrote:
You say that with the benefit of seventy years of hind sight and visibility into the forces of both sides. A true historian tries to understand what the subjects they are studying saw and experienced.


This is true Tracy, however this is exactly what I am doing trying to understand what the IJN was or was not doing . This and the fact that a "True Leader" learns or should learn from the mistakes made made by others decades before their study of the matter.
This is one of the benefits of being a Monday morning quarterback. Even 70 years down the road the mistakes made by the IJN are still as visible and viable as they were on 12/07/41. All I am doing is questioning the acts of a military operation whose planners seemed to disregard the basic tactical and strategic priorities of a preemptive strike and the hoped for advantage of surprise that the IJN possessed at the time( be it intentional or just ignorance).
Things like this and the fact that the US still defeated the IJN dispite Halsey :thumbs_up_1:
This is what makes History so interesting to us who enjoy it. Education comes in many forms eh?
Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:49 am
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
You say that with the benefit of seventy years of hind sight and visibility into the forces of both sides. A true historian tries to understand what the subjects they are studying saw and experienced.
Post Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:12 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Maybe true however a proactive approach in the attack planning would have hurt the USN harder,,cripple their logistic base and then take on what was still left of the fleet.. The DD and SS Tenders and SS piers as well as the Fuel farms should have been targeted as a major target on one of the attack waves anyway. The Hospital and communications should have been prioritized also. This would have bottled up the Pacific fleet at Pearl for many more months..Forcing the CVs to return Stateside for support and materials and having their SS operations delayed many months. The base support systems were overloaded with damage control and salvage and repair operations.. The untouched tenders were able to maintain a excellent and flexible support system early on. I am a surprised bathtub pirate wondering why or how the IJN failed to realize the Achilles heel of any military machine is it's logistic and material support system. It was this piece of the puzzle that put the US Pacific fleet back on the playing field so quickly.

And in a area I am a little familiar with the USN SS force literally brought the IJN War machine to a halt by taking out their logistic support. Same thing that was going on in the North Atlantic...The IJN actually in a terrible way did the US USN a favor by forcing the old battlewagon hanger-ons to accept that the CV was and is the Queen of Battle not the Iron hulks sitting on the bottom of the harbor.

BTW As my old friend Werner knew I don't play video games.
Post Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:19 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
And no reset button!
Post Posted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:46 am
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Tracy,

It boils down to a pretty simple reason that kids who play video games with unlimited "ammo" don't really understand ... So many targets, so little time, a limited number of bombs, and only so much fuel. :mrgreen:
Post Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:56 pm
  Post subject:  Re: Revisiting the attack on Pearl Harbor  Reply with quote
Walt wrote:
Many Historians cannot understand why the fuel farm was not hit especially during the 2nd wave.


Only until they look at the facts and realize that's more of an armchair admiral statement than anything. You have to ask:

1) How would they attack the fuel farms in question with enough hits to cause a good amount of damage.

2) What is a good enough ratio of damaged / destroyed to have an effect?

3) Does allocating aircraft to attack the fuel farms take away enough forces from other targets that you increase the likelyhood of a US counter-attack on their carriers?

Strafing the tanks would not have been enough to set the on fire or seriously empty the tanks. Bomb hits might, but the main fuel tank farm at the time had at least 27 tanks, by this photo. The air over Pearl Harbor was already congested and the Japanese had sequenced things so that not everyone arrived at the same time. For various reasons, this fell apart and there were cases of aircraft having to abort their runs and circle around because of too many other aircraft in the air space they needed.

In order to take out the fuel tanks, you're going to need to assign at least one plane to each tank. They are heavily bermed, so you can't trust that one will burn and spread to the others. Once you have one or two lit, the smoke plume is going to make it extremely difficult to target others.

The fuel farm is a nice, inviting target, but it is not an easy one. It would take a dedicated plan to damage or destroy enough of the tanks to have a significant impact on operations. That would have subtracted from the forces Japan used to bat down aircraft that could have followed the raid back to the carriers and inflicted damage there.
Post Posted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:00 pm

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