Yamamoto's huge blunder in Midway




 
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November 25th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 

Topic: Yamamoto's huge blunder in Midway


Before Midway Yamamoto had sent a carrier to the Aleutian Islands and 3 to the Coral sea, both missions achieving nothing and costing a lot. Yet for the invasion of Midway Yamamoto still had a formidable fleet including 4 fleet carriers, 2 light carriers, 7 Battleships, 56 support ships (including many cruisers, destroyers, tankers, etc,).
However, Yamamoto made the huge mistake of sending only 4 fleet carriers, 2 battleships and 15 support ships several hundred km ahead of the rest of the fleet. The Japanese fleet carriers had to use their planes to attack Midway, scout for the American fleet and defend the carriers simultaneously.
The Americans spotted the Japanese first and attacked the carriers at the most vulnerable time, when their decks were full of bombs, torpedoes, fuel, planes, etc, sinking all 4 carriers and causing an irreparable loss for the Japanese Navy.
The huge fleet in the rear did not contribute to the battle, but simply sailed back after consuming a lot of the extremely scarce fuel.

Had Yamamoto kept his huge fleet together, all the scouting planes from his battleships and cruisers and especially from the light carriers would have helped to detect the Americans earlier and then the light carrier planes would have helped to attack the American carriers and to defend the Japanese fleet better. The large number of ships with AA would have made it more difficult for the planes to attack the carriers and would have drawn some bombs away from the invaluable carrriers into the less valuable ships.

Had the Japanese carriers survived and the American carriers and support ships been sunk and Midway invaded the situation would have been quite different.
November 25th, 2011  
George
 
The big mistakes was not sending the planes after the US carriers with what they were armed with. Had they done so instead of trying to rearm, @ least the planes, bombs, ect cluttering the decks would have been airborne. Also not maintaining controll of fighters, allowing them to go to sea level after the torpedoe planes w/o anyone staying @ altitude, sealed the deal.
November 25th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
Had they detected the American fleet before, they would have attacked it instead of Midway, with the right bombs and tropedoes and wiped it out. The numerous American torpedo planes were good only for cannon fodder, since their torpedoes were pretty useless, while in a timely attack the Japanese torpedoes would have been devastating.
Had the fleet been together, the American dive bombers would have had a hell of a time deciding whether to bomb the huge Yamato or Musashi, the 4 fleet carriers or the 2 light carriers, etc, the American torpedo planes would have had a dificult time attacking so many large ships at a short distance from each other.

Regarding sending the Japanese bombers as they were, you don't send slow bombers on a several hundred mile round trip to drop bombs for ground attack than would do little damage on ships.
Anyway two of the carriers were sunk later, when their decks were clear and the patrolling fighters were there.

Had the 4 Japanese carriers attacked first, concentrating on only 3 carriers with their excellent torpedoes and dive bombers, the carriers would not have stood a chance and then the same thing would happen to their escorts and support ships.

Then the huge fleet could have bombed and shelled Midway and invaded it easily. The 18" shells of the Yamato and Musashi would have done a lot more damage to the fortifications than the bombing.

As it occured, the incredibly expensive 70,000 ton Yamato and Musashi just wasted fuel, men, etc, sailing around the Pacific throughout the war without doing any damage. The smaller Bismarck at least sank the Hood.

It is ironic that the only American torpedo that exploded and sank a ship was launched by a slow Catalina from Midway and it sank a tanker.
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November 25th, 2011  
George
 
Doesn't matter what they would have done IF they had discovered them before hitting Midway, they didn't. They had the choice of going as armed or rearming. Rearming caused them to have ordnance everywhere when they were hit, since you agree with the rearming you'd have to hope you could have had better controll of the CAP that went to the deck killing the torpedo planes.
November 26th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
You know that the American torpedo planes had lost most of their torpedos when they armed them and that the torpedoes were useless. The Japs didn't, had they not shot them down and the American torpedoes been as good as those of the Japs, they would have definitely sunk the carriers (1 ton torpedoes detonating below the water line are a worse threat than bombs). So they had to go after them.
In any case the torpedo planes arrived long before the dive bombers, had they arrived together CAP would have been useless.

My point is that Japan had more than enough resources to crush the wimpy American fleet but lost only because Yamamoto split his massive fleet and deprived his most valuable assets, the carriers, of a large number of planes, AA and additional targets for the American bombers.
November 26th, 2011  
VDKMS
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by samneanderthal
You know that the American torpedo planes had lost most of their torpedos when they armed them and that the torpedoes were useless. The Japs didn't, had they not shot them down and the American torpedoes been as good as those of the Japs, they would have definitely sunk the carriers (1 ton torpedoes detonating below the water line are a worse threat than bombs). So they had to go after them.
In any case the torpedo planes arrived long before the dive bombers, had they arrived together CAP would have been useless.

My point is that Japan had more than enough resources to crush the wimpy American fleet but lost only because Yamamoto split his massive fleet and deprived his most valuable assets, the carriers, of a large number of planes, AA and additional targets for the American bombers.
The Japs were overconfident and thought they were invincible. The Americans new the Japs were comming (they broke their code) and were eager for revenge. The Japs sailed into the trap and were beaten.
November 26th, 2011  
samneanderthal
 
The American were very lucky that only a few fell in the trap, otherwise the Americans would have been trapped.
The Japs knew the Americans would defend Midway. I just cannot see any justification for Yamamoto to split his formidable force.

However, Yamamoto had made the same mistake of splitting his invinceble fleet to attack almost simultaneously PH, the Phillipines, Hong Kong, etc, Had he used his combined fleet to attack and invade Hawaii and finish off all the carriers, battleships, etc, He would have captured many salvageable ships, a lot of fuel, scrap aluminum, steel, etc, and eliminated the Americans from the Pacific. He would then have had plenty of time ot beat the British and finally to invade the Philippines and Indonesia.
It seems that Yamamoto didn't know realize how powerful his fleet was.
 


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