Author Topic: The Japanese Were Ahead Of Their Time, and We Were Just a Bit Behind...  (Read 6154 times)

Offline COVER D

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Correction.

I meant there were 3 American carriers at Midway and Japan would have had 6
but 2 were getting repaired.

Also, does this site have an edit button to correct grammar mistakes?

As for the battleships, most of the battleships sunk at Pearl were obsolete built
before WW1. We surely needed the Arizona later on but won w/o it. At Guadacanal
they lost 23 ships and we lost 23 destroyers but we still won the island. The Japs
used it to  run troops in called the Tokyo Express. That's what we called it.

The battleships figured heavily into that battle and others like Leyete which turned
out to be a turkey shoot for us.


Offline Shooterman

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Correction.

I meant there were 3 American carriers at Midway and Japan would have had 6
but 2 were getting repaired.

Also, does this site have an edit button to correct grammar mistakes?

As for the battleships, most of the battleships sunk at Pearl were obsolete built
before WW1. We surely needed the Arizona later on but won w/o it. At Guadacanal
they lost 23 ships and we lost 23 destroyers but we still won the island. The Japs
used it to  run troops in called the Tokyo Express. That's what we called it.

The battleships figured heavily into that battle and others like Leyete which turned
out to be a turkey shoot for us.

I don't believe Leyte Gulf was considered a turkey shoot. Basically two things saved our bacon; typhoons and according to my Dad, whom was camped aboard a minesweeper in Leyte Gulf, the Navy and Marine pilots that kept the Japs at bay. We had most of our Pacific Theater ships in the Gulf, and the Japs threw everything at them.

The Marianas were considered a turkey shoot and the Philippines may be part of that chain, but Leyte Gulf was possibly a disaster in the making.
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Offline Solar

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Not exactly. I'm saying that battleships -- think Iowa class, USS Missouri -- not 'battle ships,' are outmoded. The last US navy battleship was decommissioned more that 20 years ago.

But my point was, the decline of the battleship took place during WWII, and it began at the beginning for the US -- at Pearl Harbor.
Frigates took their place, in the same way single wing fighters took the place of the Biplane.
But regardless, a navy is a projection of strength and despite it's limitations, it's still a force to be reckoned with.
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Offline COVER D

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Ok, but at Leyte the US Navy crippled the Jap fleet which allowed us to
land and MacArthur made his famous return. They lost 3 carriers sunk.

There was also another battle 4 months before Leyte that destroyed their navy.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/338453/Battle-of-Leyte-Gulf

tbone0106

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Correction.

I meant there were 3 American carriers at Midway and Japan would have had 6
but 2 were getting repaired.

Also, does this site have an edit button to correct grammar mistakes?

As for the battleships, most of the battleships sunk at Pearl were obsolete built
before WW1. We surely needed the Arizona later on but won w/o it. At Guadacanal
they lost 23 ships and we lost 23 destroyers but we still won the island. The Japs
used it to  run troops in called the Tokyo Express. That's what we called it.

The battleships figured heavily into that battle and others like Leyete which turned
out to be a turkey shoot for us.

Now, now. Let's be a bit more careful with that word "obsolete." First, a minor correction. Four of the battleships at Pearl Harbor were built before WWI: Nevada and Oklahoma were launched in 1914 and Pennsylvania and Arizona were launched in 1916. However, Tennessee and California were launched in 1919, Maryland in 1920, and West Virginia in 1921. Thus, the very oldest of them had been afloat 27 years, West Virginia only 20. In battleship terms, that ain't exactly 'obsolete.' And despite their age, they were all a match for their likely opponents -- the Imperial Japanese Navy's mini-dreadnoughts, built in compliance with naval treaties that went into effect after all the above battleships had entered service.

Two things to consider for perspective. First, the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle entered service in 1974 (the B model) and subsequent models are still in service with the USAF today. Trust me, no matter what your ass is strapped into, you do NOT want to go up against an F-15. I think its aggregate kill record is something like 104-0. Yeah, ZERO. Not one F-15 has ever been shot down. After 38 years, it ain't exactly 'obsolete.'

Second, Germany's most famous ship of any kind was the massive and ultra-modern Bismarck, launched in 1939 and commissioned on August 24, 1940. Bismarck was 823 feet long and displaced over 50,000 tons. She carried eight 15-inch main guns and a crew of over 2,000 men. Bismarck could steam at over 30 knots -- nearly 35 mph, an impressive number even by today's terms.

She was sunk on May 27, 1941 -- a total service life of 276 days -- thanks in large part to an attack by one of these:



The little Fairey Swordfish, with its fixed landing gear, fabric-covered, wire-braced, biplane wings, and unimpressive top speed of 139 mph, was called "Stringbag" by the pilots who flew it. Obsolete in 1941? Lots of folks said so. But a sharp-eyed Brit in a Fairey Swordfish put a torpedo right up Bismarck's ass as she running all-out for safe port. The explosion jammed the ship's steering gear, leaving her steaming in helpless circles as the Royal Navy moved in at its leisure for the killing blows.

Offline COVER D

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Sorry but I would call any ships 20 and 27 years old, well, old or obsolete.

I read where many of those ships were out-dated.

In the movie Midway, Henry Fonda asked the question - Yammato had power,
speed and experience but he still lost. Why? Were we that much better or
just lucky?

I'd say we were more advanced and after losing those ships at Pearl we still
had better ships then the Japs. The zero was a great plane in the beginning and
shot down a lot of our guys but we stream lined our planes made them better
faster and they could climb higher than the zero.

We also had what they didn't - the CODE BREAKERS - that told Nimitz where they
were. That's how we found them at Midway and they even found Yammato's
plane and Nimitz gave the order to kill him.


Offline COVER D

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BTW, I don't think the Bismark ever got out to the Atlantic did it?  The British kept it bottled up in the Channel. It sunk one of their ships and then all hell went lose
as the British got it as you say.



This is what I was trying to say about our obsolete ships in the Pacific. This guy says it better than me.

While the loss of five battleships and the resultant death of some 1,800 crewmen that morning was tragic, it must be recognized that these ships were far from being the powerful assets they are usually portrayed as being. Most were World War One era dreadnoughts at the end of their service lives (the newest of the them, the West Virginia, had been commissioned almost twenty years earlier) and as such, most were on the verge of being scrapped. In fact, it was probably the threat of war that had kept them from the wrecking yards as long as it had. Despite numerous upgrades and extensive modernizations, the fact of the matter is that these ships were clearly obsolete by 1941, a reality which was demonstrated by the fact that all of the surviving Pearl Harbor battleships all were either scrapped or sunk as targets within months of the end of hostilities, clearly implying that their combat capabilities were considered fairly limited even then. What Pearl Harbor saw was the demise of a weapons system that was already becoming obsolete; their destruction served only to quicken their end and underline their already diminished role.

Offline mdgiles

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If the Japanese exploded an atomic weapon, I've certainly never heard even a rumor about it. Considering the size, scope, and sheer cost of the Manhattan Project, a Japanese A-bomb seems a bit far-fetched to me. And one can only imagine what the Japanese would use to deliver one -- a submarine, I suppose. A Betty would never get off the ground with an A-bomb of that vintage.
They exploded a device. I saw it on a History channel program on Japanese weapons.The portion of Korea where they worked on the weapon disappeared behind the Iron Curtain. And of course much of the project was slowed down by the incredible bickering between the Imperial Army and the Imperial Navy. In any case the most difficult part of making an A-bomb is making it into a weapon.  If you can get enough Uranium 235 to achieve critical mass, you can make a device. Getting that device into a weapon that doesn't explode prematurely and/or kill the crew handling it of radiation poisoning is a tad trickier. Much of the B-29 program came about because they needed a bomber big enough, and fast enough, that could fly high enough to drop the weapon.
"LIBERALS: their willful ignorance is rivaled only by their catastrophic stupidity"!

tbone0106

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They exploded a device. I saw it on a History channel program on Japanese weapons.The portion of Korea where they worked on the weapon disappeared behind the Iron Curtain. And of course much of the project was slowed down by the incredible bickering between the Imperial Army and the Imperial Navy. In any case the most difficult part of making an A-bomb is making it into a weapon.  If you can get enough Uranium 235 to achieve critical mass, you can make a device. Getting that device into a weapon that doesn't explode prematurely and/or kill the crew handling it of radiation poisoning is a tad trickier. Much of the B-29 program came about because they needed a bomber big enough, and fast enough, that could fly high enough to drop the weapon.

Um, OK. If you say so. I was watching "Swamp People" the other day, and was stunned to notice that my cable box was set on History. Hmmm. Swamp people. History. Hmmm. Perhaps I'll kick it over to Arts & Entertainment... oh, no, that didn't work. Home Box Office... who the hell is Bill Maher? Cable just ain't what it used to be.

The trickiest part of making your basic A-bomb is not getting the U-235 or whatever; it's the machining of the fissionable material, a process that presents no end of problems. Producing the machining tools is hard enough -- and that was one of the major challenges of the Manhattan Project; manning them is another little problem. (The folks doing the work tend to glow when they go home at night, and they have really weird kids.) I read a while back that while the Soviets had all the information and enriched uranium they needed to make a bomb as early as 1946, it took them a couple more years to figure out how to machine the material precisely enough to support a workable weapon. (Probably because they had so many of their really good engineers reverse-engineering the B-29, but that's another story.)

Yeah, the B-29 and the A-bomb went hand-in-hand, but more by happenstance than by design. The original orders for B-29s were placed in May, 1941, six months before Pearl Harbor, The Los Alamos site in New Mexico where the A-bomb became reality wasn't even purchased by the federal government until late in 1942. The USAAF spec that resulted in the B-29 came out in 1939, years before work on an atomic weapon began. The two were simply not related.

When it came time to deliver the A-bomb, the B-29 was, of course, the obvious choice. Unlike the other two strategic bombers in the inventory, the B-17 and the B-24, the B-29 could haul the load easily at high altitude and deliver it with a reasonable chance for the crew to escape the blast. Either of the others would have had to be radically modified to even deliver one of the bombs, and even then, the planes were slow enough that the crews and planes would probably have been consumed in the fireball.

tbone0106

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BTW, I don't think the Bismark ever got out to the Atlantic did it?  The British kept it bottled up in the Channel. It sunk one of their ships and then all hell went lose
as the British got it as you say.



This is what I was trying to say about our obsolete ships in the Pacific. This guy says it better than me.

While the loss of five battleships and the resultant death of some 1,800 crewmen that morning was tragic, it must be recognized that these ships were far from being the powerful assets they are usually portrayed as being. Most were World War One era dreadnoughts at the end of their service lives (the newest of the them, the West Virginia, had been commissioned almost twenty years earlier) and as such, most were on the verge of being scrapped. In fact, it was probably the threat of war that had kept them from the wrecking yards as long as it had. Despite numerous upgrades and extensive modernizations, the fact of the matter is that these ships were clearly obsolete by 1941, a reality which was demonstrated by the fact that all of the surviving Pearl Harbor battleships all were either scrapped or sunk as targets within months of the end of hostilities, clearly implying that their combat capabilities were considered fairly limited even then. What Pearl Harbor saw was the demise of a weapons system that was already becoming obsolete; their destruction served only to quicken their end and underline their already diminished role.

You have a tendency to throw out your points via something akin to a sawed-off shotgun. It's hard to keep up.

The Bismarck was never "bottled up in the channel," but it never escaped the North Atlantic.

I don't care what your source says (no link?), the battleships lined up on December 7. 1941 were easily competent in any sort of fight with their expected Japanese adversaries. Their age -- dating back as far as 1914 -- doesn't matter much.

Consider their likely Japanese adversaries (there were really no likely adversaries from other places). Let's look at IJN battleship Hiei: launched in 1912, built as a "battlecruiser," but later converted to a (small) battleship. Or we can consider IJN battleship Kinishima, launched in 1913, similarly built as a battlecruiser, but later converted to a pocket battleship. These were the ONLY two Japanese "battleship-class" ships in the Pearl Harbor attack force.

It's true that Japan was about to unveil its "super-battleships," the Yamato class. But only two were ever built, and neither lasted the war out. On the other side, the Iowa-class battleship was under construction when the war began, and the ships of that line did us a hell of a lot more good than did anything the Japanese could do for themselves.

But finally, I agree with your source in his last sentence:

Quote
What Pearl Harbor saw was the demise of a weapons system that was already becoming obsolete; their destruction served only to quicken their end and underline their already diminished role.

The author speaks, of course, of the battleship/dreadnought theory of eye-to-eye, gun-to-gun slugging it out on the high seas. (Even though WWII battleships could sling a VERY large shell something like 25 miles...) It was on its way out, and died in large part precisely because the Japanese had demonstrated that fully eight battleships, along with a number of other capital ships, and along with land-based military and civilian targets, could be disabled and/or destroyed with the weapons of just exactly six old and rather small aircraft carriers. Within limits, I have to agree with him.

Offline COVER D

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Sorry, here's the link to the ships at Pearl and I'll go with what this author says.

I thought the Bismark was sunk in the English Channel but was in the Atlantic but I was right
that it sunk the Hood and the Prince of Whales and England sent a full court press on it.

Radar was the key.


http://www.ourcuriousworld.com/PearlHarbor.htm

Offline mdgiles

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Yeah, the B-29 and the A-bomb went hand-in-hand, but more by happenstance than by design. The original orders for B-29s were placed in May, 1941, six months before Pearl Harbor, The Los Alamos site in New Mexico where the A-bomb became reality wasn't even purchased by the federal government until late in 1942. The USAAF spec that resulted in the B-29 came out in 1939, years before work on an atomic weapon began. The two were simply not related.

When it came time to deliver the A-bomb, the B-29 was, of course, the obvious choice. Unlike the other two strategic bombers in the inventory, the B-17 and the B-24, the B-29 could haul the load easily at high altitude and deliver it with a reasonable chance for the crew to escape the blast. Either of the others would have had to be radically modified to even deliver one of the bombs, and even then, the planes were slow enough that the crews and planes would probably have been consumed in the fireball.
Actually the Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939. And the B-29 project was MORE expensive than the Manhattan Project $3 billion versus $2 billion. The payload of the B-17 and B-24 weren't equal to the task of carrying the bomb (B-17 =2.5 tons, B-24 =3 tons). The B-29 had a maximum bomb load of 10 tons. in addition the b-29 had greater range, which was really the driving force behind developing it. It was needed to bomb Japan from bases the US had or was likely to have, even with conventional loads.
"LIBERALS: their willful ignorance is rivaled only by their catastrophic stupidity"!

Offline mdgiles

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At Guadacanal they lost 23 ships and we lost 23 destroyers but we still won the island. The Japs
used it to  run troops in called the Tokyo Express. That's what we called it.
Actually BOTH sides lost 23 major ships at Guadalcanal. Cruisers on down to Destroyers for the US. Battleships on down to Destroyers for the Japanese. There was a reason the waters between Savo Island and Guadalcanal were called "Ironbottom Sound". The night battles off Guadalcanal were incredible. And many were fought at point blank range because often the two fleets simply stumbled into each other. The Japanese battleship Hiei was badly damaged (and eventually sunk by air) by cruisers and destroyers because they were so close to the Hiei that it couldn't depress its main battery low enough to fire back at them.
"LIBERALS: their willful ignorance is rivaled only by their catastrophic stupidity"!

tbone0106

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Actually the Manhattan Project began modestly in 1939. And the B-29 project was MORE expensive than the Manhattan Project $3 billion versus $2 billion. The payload of the B-17 and B-24 weren't equal to the task of carrying the bomb (B-17 =2.5 tons, B-24 =3 tons). The B-29 had a maximum bomb load of 10 tons. in addition the b-29 had greater range, which was really the driving force behind developing it. It was needed to bomb Japan from bases the US had or was likely to have, even with conventional loads.

You are correct in every respect. And in my opinion, the B-29 was worth the money spent. WOW, what a plane for the day!

My only point was, though they may have had their beginnings at around the same time, the B-29 and the Manhattan Project were not related. Even the best minds of the time would be challenged to spec a bomber to carry a bomb... that no one knows the first thing about, not size, weight, anything at all. Six years of peace and war intervened, and the two just happened to come together.

BTW, LeMay's B-29s were killing as many as 100,000 every night raid over Japan even before the A-bombs. Dropping a carpet of Willie Pete munitions on cities filled with paper and wood houses makes for one hell of a bonfire.

Offline mdgiles

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You are correct in every respect. And in my opinion, the B-29 was worth the money spent. WOW, what a plane for the day!

My only point was, though they may have had their beginnings at around the same time, the B-29 and the Manhattan Project were not related. Even the best minds of the time would be challenged to spec a bomber to carry a bomb... that no one knows the first thing about, not size, weight, anything at all. Six years of peace and war intervened, and the two just happened to come together.

BTW, LeMay's B-29s were killing as many as 100,000 every night raid over Japan even before the A-bombs. Dropping a carpet of Willie Pete munitions on cities filled with paper and wood houses makes for one hell of a bonfire.
Indeed. As I noted, the first driving force behind the B-29 was the need for a very long range bomber to bomb Japan. And of course there is no use going all that way, with a minuscule bomb load. But when the Manhattan Program really got going, it became obvious that you would need the B-29. The British Lancaster was big enough to carry the bomb, but flew too low and too slow to get out of the way of the blast - besides it wasn't American. Yes the fire raids were devastating to Japan; but it took awhile for the Army Air Forces to give up their preferred strategy of precision daylight bombing. Two things. The Jet Stream made it impossible to bomb with any precision over Japan and the way that Japanese industry was dispersed (tiny machine shops on the first floor of residential housing) made area bombing sensible. Millions of little shops producing small quantities of goods which were gathered and assembled, as opposed to major vertically integrated production centers, as they had in Europe (not to mention those paper and wood cities) made fire bombing a feasible strategy.
"LIBERALS: their willful ignorance is rivaled only by their catastrophic stupidity"!

 

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