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(AP)   FTW: U.S. Navy marks Battle of Midway's 70th anniversary. Japan's vessels outnumbered U.S. ships 4-to-1, Japan's aviators had more experience, and its Zero fighter planes could easily outmaneuver U.S. aircraft   (hosted.ap.org) divider line 29
    More: Spiffy, F T W, U.S. Navy, Battle of Midway, U.S., vice admirals, Japan, midway, U.S. ships  
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9745 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Jun 2012 at 12:15 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-04 09:14:08 AM
3 votes:
Of course, the fact that we had broken the Japanese code and were laying in wait for them helped, too... :)

My great uncle flew a Dauntless from the USS Hornet at Midway, and scored a hit on the Japanese destroyer, Asashio.
2012-06-04 01:43:57 PM
2 votes:

Rwa2play: Mad Scientist: Lucky LaRue: Of course, the fact that we had broken the Japanese code and were laying in wait for them helped, too... :)

HaXXORs!

HaXXORing before it was cool.

/Still laughs at the fact the Japanese couldn't break our code
//Unless they spoke the Navajo (or another of the native people's) language


Actually, from a cryptographic standpoint, the only reason that the Navajo code wasn't broken is because the Japanese were pretty damned incompetent at that sort of thing.

Plus, anything of real importance beyond the immediate exigencies of a local battle wasn't handled by codetalkers, who were a tactical system, but by the naval version of the ECM Mark II. Also, remember that in Europe, instead of using codetalkers, we used a relatively simple and reasonably secure machine, the M-209, instead.

Japan actually had a chance to break the code used by the codetalkers. They had captured a native Navajo speaker, but he told them that the wire recordings they played for him were gibberish. They then beat the shiat out of him for a while, and left it at that. Had they been *SMART*, they would have instead said "That's OK, it doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense, just write down what you hear". They could have then had a cryptanalyst work on the relatively simple code used.
2012-06-04 01:32:21 PM
2 votes:

Ricardo Klement: Carousel Beast: GatorHater: Yamamoto should have brought all six of his fleet carriers. The USN moved mountains to get the Yorktown operational. Also, the poor design of Japanese carriers and their pathetic damage control training and preparation doomed many brave men to a fiery death.

GO Navy!

Zuikaku was fresh out of pilots; they were slaughtered at the Coral Sea, which was - though it didn't seem so at the time - as much a tactical as strategic victory for the US, despite the loss of the Lexington. Shōkaku was pretty beat up and I don't believe they would have had time to repair her even if they'd been so inclined. Japanese support operations (especially damage control) were inferior in every way, from concept to execution, compared to pretty much everyone.

Not a single operation the Japanes planned after the war started succeeded.


One thing that almost never gets mentioned is how singularly *BAD* their signals intelligence program was. Of all the major combatants in WWII, Japan had the worst SIGINT program. What makes it even worse for them is that we *KNEW* how bad they were, and we exploited that fact. We figured out where the main Japanese thrust was by assuming that the locator they used, "AF", was for Midway, then we cabled Midway and told them to radio back back to Pearl that their desalination plant was broken, and they'd need a barge with fresh water sent. Couple days later, we intercept a communication from a Japanese SIGINT unit reporting to its higher echelons that "AF is short of water".

It wasn't just that sort of thing, though. For example, they largely failed to break the ciphers used by the coast watchers, even though they were generally easy to solve Playfairs and the like. Something that would have given a competent US, British, German, Soviet, or even Italian cryptanalyst relatively little trouble seemed to be beyond them.
2012-06-04 01:27:47 PM
2 votes:
Anyone that thinks an arms race is img1.fark.net is either a military contractor or an idiot.
2012-06-04 01:09:49 PM
2 votes:

lunchinlewis: Speaker2Animals: James Hornfischer's "Neptune's Inferno" tells the story of the naval battles in excellent fashion.

I've read that. Great book.


Metaluna Mutant: Great book and big THIS. Midway gave us the initiative, but Guadalcanal (and the accompanying naval battles) got our land forces in gear and showed what the rest of the pacific war would be like.


An equally great book of his: "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors," about the guys who paid for Halsey's goof at Leyte Gulf.
2012-06-04 01:04:07 PM
2 votes:

groppet: GatorHater: Yamamoto should have brought all six of his fleet carriers. The USN moved mountains to get the Yorktown operational. Also, the poor design of Japanese carriers and their pathetic damage control training and preparation doomed many brave men to a fiery death.

GO Navy!

Yeah IIRC the Japanese navy had wooden decks. If that wasent a call for an inferno I dunno what is.


US carriers had wooden decks during all of WWII. The Midway class was the first to have steel flight decks. The theory behind the wooden flight decks was that you weren't going to stop a bomb from going through the flightdeck without making the ship so top heavy that it would roll over, so, you might as well make it easy to repair.

US carriers had their armored deck at the hangar bay level which protected the engines and weapons storage. The open hangar bay sides prevented gasoline fumes from building up and causing huge explosions. US carriers survived horrific damage due to their design and the high trained and heroic damage control parties.

Skillfully flown using tactics that took advantage of its strong points, the Wildcat was at least a match for the A6M.
2012-06-04 12:44:39 PM
2 votes:
ecx.images-amazon.com

Read this. Best book on Midway since, well, ever. Virtually every iconic "legend" from the Battle of Midway is misleading or outright wrong - Best japanese pilots where all killed there, it was very long odds, the American forces were hopelessly outnumbered, the Aleutian Campaign was supposed to be a distraction from the real goal of Midway, the japanese planes were on deck, littered with fuel and bombs and a few minutes away from launching when the SBDs attacked, some japanese scout planes were launched late and therefore (by dumb luck) saw the american forces, the land based attacks launched from Midway itself did no damage to the Kito Budai etc -- All ether outright wrong or very misleading.

Basically, Japans first major defeat was long overdue thanks to Japans muddled thinking and failed short sighted and over complicated strategy. It's what happns when you have excellent tactics but poor strategy - a good lesson that other superpowers often ignore...

Breaking the Japanese code was of paramount importance, but virtually everything the Japanese did was either wrong headed or overly complicated and rigid. This was a long time coming and very nearly happened at the Coral Sea. Yamamoto promised beforehand he could only dominate the pacific for 6 months after Pearl Harbor and he was right almost to the day.
2012-06-04 12:23:44 PM
2 votes:
Lesson: Don't fark with US SIGINT.
2012-06-04 12:19:53 PM
2 votes:
The US Navy in 1942:
farm8.staticflickr.com
2012-06-04 06:06:55 PM
1 votes:

Speaker2Animals: An equally great book of his: "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors," about the guys who paid for Halsey's goof at Leyte Gulf.


What goof? You're not claiming that Halsey acted schtupidly, are you?
2012-06-04 03:53:41 PM
1 votes:
Another factor is if you lose all of your carriers, you also lose all of your pilots - specifically your experience pilots, this bit them on the ass in the long run.

Japan had a policy of keeping pilots flying until the got killed - that whole die for the emperor thing. America had a policy of using their experienced pilots to train new pilots.

All the stuff about the maneuverability of the Zero is meaningless if your pilots are becoming less proficient while your enemy is becoming more proficient.

After Midway, the kill ratios began to really skew heavily towards the American pilots, as the war progressed, US pilots were downing Japanese planes like they were PEZ.

And the more I think about the war, I realize that Japan commited the classic blunder. The did get involved in a land war in Asia, plus the really pissed off the United States. You wouldn't like us when we're angry.
2012-06-04 03:22:00 PM
1 votes:

Marcus Aurelius: It was 4 carriers versus 2 carriers and an island. And what Lucky LaRue said.


Also we had better admirals. Well, Yamamoto was a truly awesome admiral, but Nagumo was not. And since he was the one calling the shots at Midway, that didn't help the Japanese any.

Of course, Yamamoto himself said he had six months at the outside in the Pacific after Pearl Harbor to either win or perish; and Midway was right on the money time-wise. He hadn't won by then, and he knew he was doomed to lose.
kgf
2012-06-04 02:44:47 PM
1 votes:

GOB: kgf: capt.hollister: '...and its Zero fighter planes could easily outmaneuver U.S. aircraft'

But they did not outgun them and, more importantly, lacked armor protection and self-sealing tanks making them extremely vulnerable to battle damage.

More important was the Thatch Weave. It was the Thatch Weave that allowed our outdated fighters to compete with Zero's before Lightnings and Hellcats showed up. Tactics can always outweigh technical specs.

This may sound sappy, or corny, but here goes- I am an atheist, but our victory at Midway is the closest I've ever seen to evidence that proves the existence of God (and that He was on our side).

Thach Weave. Also, the fact you think god was helping the US win Midway isn't sappy or corny, just idiotic.


Nah, the only thing I did idiotic was forget morons like you can actually learn to read.
2012-06-04 02:40:10 PM
1 votes:

Lucky LaRue: Of course, the fact that we had broken the Japanese code and were laying in wait for them helped, too... :).


Not only had we broken Purple, the Japanese High Command was convinced Japanese was impossible for Westerners to learn. So signals security wasn't exactly up to scratch
2012-06-04 02:33:18 PM
1 votes:

whither_apophis: It was a vortex of bad luck for the Japanese, all the above plus fuel lines and unstored bombs on deck when the dive bombers showed up.

/Fortune favors the bold


There are better quotes for this battle: "No plan survives first contact with the enemy." - Helmuth von Moltke.

The Japanese had an elaborate plan, based on their strengths. Unfortunately, those plans did not include knowledge that the Americans had broken their codes and knew Midway was the target, and so the Japanese basically assumed the American fleet would not be there. The USN had time to repair the Yorktown and show up at Midway, and not much more than to prepare an ambush, which meant a plan that wasn't much more than "Attack!." At the point of encounter, then "Fortune favors the bold" becomes operative.
2012-06-04 02:24:49 PM
1 votes:

clovis69: Japanese Navy commanders had gone to US colleges, had the same ideas about Mahanian warfare, they just didn't get KISS.


That's because simplicity is antithetical to the whole Japanese worldview. Take whatever you like, they will refine and twist and distill and squeeze into the most complex perversion imaginable. Oh sure, they make some great stuff, but simple, it ain't. From electronics to cars to porn, they can take something simple and plain and straightforward and make it all but unintelligible to anyone but themselves.

Take tea, for example. England gets the tea, they put it in a little bag, drop it in the boiling water, they drink it. Done. God Save the Queen. The Turk doesn't even use a bag, just dumps it in, takes care not to agitate it, drinks it down. The Japanese turn the whole thing into an elaborate ceremony and guys are falling on their swords when they're hosting and it goes wrong.

They're a brilliant, resourceful people and I love 'em, but they don't do simple. No.
2012-06-04 02:14:01 PM
1 votes:

GatorHater: Yamamoto should have brought all six of his fleet carriers. The USN moved mountains to get the Yorktown operational. Also, the poor design of Japanese carriers and their pathetic damage control training and preparation doomed many brave men to a fiery death.

GO Navy!


The IJN couldn't bring Shokaku and Zuikaku to the Midway battle. One was damaged from the Coral Sea fighting, the other lost so many planes she couldn't get a full complement of planes and crews up and trained in time. Had they delayed until both were ready, the IJN planners feared the weather would start working in the USN's advantage. They could have brought Zuikaku with a scratch force of planes and pilots, but the IJN just didn't think that way, and besides, they estimated at most the USN only had only one or two CV's left. Saratoga had been torpedoed and was repairing, Lexington sunk, and they believed Yorktown was so damaged she could never be ready in time. IIRC they didn't know Hornet had transferred to the Pacific, so that left only Enterprise to face 4 CV's, so why wait for two more?

As for their damage control efforts, let's just say they blew big chunks. They hadn't bothered with draining fuel lines and refilling them with CO2, had fueled and armed planes on the hangar deck of all the CV's (none were on the flight decks, despite what the movie showed), and stacked bombs/torpedoes on the hangar deck instead of storing them in magazines. Throw in the utter lack of back up fire fighting gear, nonexistent fighter control and direction, only a few fighters actually having radios, and needing destroyers to provide early warning of approaching planes by firing guns in the air, and it was only a matter of time before the IJN suffered a catastrophic defeat in WWII. Everything that could go wrong for them, did at Midway.
2012-06-04 01:50:48 PM
1 votes:

Animatronik: Nobody mentioned it yet so -

the most important decisive factor was the carrier fire control systems and crews - location of decks has already been mentioned.
Yes, the Japanese carrier decks were littered with planes and bombs when the dive bombers hit. Hwoever, the Japanese did not have carriers that were designed with fire control in mind either, so they tended to be incapacitated by a good hit anyway.

The Yorktown never would have made it back for repairs after Coral sea had it been a Japanese carrier. And it never would have stayed up for as long as it did at Midway. The Japanese were still attacking it after it had been severly damaged - they thought it was another carrier.

So in my mind, some of the biggest heroes of that battle were the U.S. engineers and fire control crews as much as anyone, who designed and manned those carriers. In reality, 2 U.S. carriers could match 4 Japanese carriers in toughness, which by the way, was probably true of the wildcat vs. early zeros. The Japanese tended to skimp on steel as well wherever they could (shortage of steel being a justifcation for their pacific expansion) and this was part ofthe problem in both ships and planes.


The Japanese carrier did not have planes fuel bombs etc on deck when the SBDs appeared. That's probably the biggest myth of midway. They did all rearming etc in their hangars. Only when planes are spotted and ready to launch are they on deck.
The only planes on deck of the 4 japanese carriers at the time of he attack were 1 or 2 cap fighters landing for rearm and refuel.

One major deadly Japanese carrier "innovation" was to store avgas in compartments integral to the carrier hull. That means they couldnt seal seam leaks in battle or jettison fuel. If for example a tiny seam would open you would neither have a way to repair it in battle AND have avgas squirting into a battle damaged area. With no way to shut it off. Inferno.

The sbd bombs set off all this, and basically melted the hangars and entire ships interiors. Horrific death for the air crews trapped there. All the carriers didnt sink- the Japanese had to torpedo them all eventually before leaving for home.

As for skimping on steel for naval planes, that was Japanese design doctrine. The Japanese plane were faster, much more maneuverable, had a faster climb rate, etc - the reason wasn't magical engineering, they were simply much more lightly built, didnt have self sealing fuel tanks etc . And their air doctrine was 100% offense -attack fast and hit hard. Don't worry about defense because the bad guy will be dead. Unfortunatly it meant when you did eventually get hit, the plane either exploded or disintegrated. Very high pilot attrition as time went on.
2012-06-04 01:37:18 PM
1 votes:
Okay, Neptune's Inferno, Shattered Sword. On my list. Thanks fark.
2012-06-04 01:30:12 PM
1 votes:
Nobody mentioned it yet so -

the most important decisive factor was the carrier fire control systems and crews - location of decks has already been mentioned.
Yes, the Japanese carrier decks were littered with planes and bombs when the dive bombers hit. Hwoever, the Japanese did not have carriers that were designed with fire control in mind either, so they tended to be incapacitated by a good hit anyway.

The Yorktown never would have made it back for repairs after Coral sea had it been a Japanese carrier. And it never would have stayed up for as long as it did at Midway. The Japanese were still attacking it after it had been severly damaged - they thought it was another carrier.

So in my mind, some of the biggest heroes of that battle were the U.S. engineers and fire control crews as much as anyone, who designed and manned those carriers. In reality, 2 U.S. carriers could match 4 Japanese carriers in toughness, which by the way, was probably true of the wildcat vs. early zeros. The Japanese tended to skimp on steel as well wherever they could (shortage of steel being a justifcation for their pacific expansion) and this was part ofthe problem in both ships and planes.
2012-06-04 01:00:21 PM
1 votes:
Nobody mentioned this guy yet?.....Ens. George Gay

Imagine a front row seat to the whole battle, and being the sole survivor of your entire squadron.
2012-06-04 12:42:20 PM
1 votes:

rtaylor92: Maybe it's cost prohibitive of something (but then they did just make that "Battleship" thing) but this really does seem like possibly the single best military event ripe for a modern era film.


Yeah, people thought that about Pearl Harbor too.
2012-06-04 12:40:59 PM
1 votes:

clovis69: vossiewulf: Japan's plan was way too complex and assumed that the Americans were afraid of them and would hide in Pearl Harbor

If they'd kept it simple like Pearl Harbor, they could have pulled it off. But they were trying for a grand Mahanian victory across the entire theater.

Japanese Navy commanders had gone to US colleges, had the same ideas about Mahanian warfare, they just didn't get KISS.

From Midway on, the US did get KISS, concentrate your force, go smash the enemy.


Guadalcanal was a much sterner test of the American spirit. The Japanese came very close on several occasions to smashing the Marines and thus lengthening the Pacific War. A little-known fact is that for every one Marine killed on 'canal, there were three sailors killed in battles nearby. James Hornfischer's "Neptune's Inferno" tells the story of the naval battles in excellent fashion.
2012-06-04 12:34:33 PM
1 votes:
'...and its Zero fighter planes could easily outmaneuver U.S. aircraft'

But they did not outgun them and, more importantly, lacked armor protection and self-sealing tanks making them extremely vulnerable to battle damage.
2012-06-04 12:29:31 PM
1 votes:
Let's not forget the shipyard workers who got the Yorktown back to fighting shape in only a few days. So impressive was that feat that the japanese admiralty didn't believe their scouts when it was sighted out at sea
2012-06-04 12:27:38 PM
1 votes:
This past weekend we attended a memorial service for SS209 the USS Grayling which is on Eternal Patrol with all crew.

My darling's father went down with the Grayling September 1943.

USS Grayling SS209 memorial Page

I mention this because had not the sub-mariners of the day performed with astounding courage and determination to harass, harry and engage the Japanese navy so relentlessly, Midway could well have been a different footnote in History ...

"We shall never forget that it was our submarines that held the lines against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds."
Fleet Admiral C. W. Nimitz, U.S.N.

"I can assure you that they went down fighting and that their brothers who survived them took a grim toll of our savage enemy to avenge their deaths."
Vice-Admiral C. A. Lockwood, Jr., U.S.N.
P.F.S. 59 Commander Submarine Force 1943-1946

May Go have mercy on the souls on eternal patrol.
May God Bless and send His Angelic Protection around all who serve in our military.
2012-06-04 12:13:53 PM
1 votes:
Also, the Americans had lasers that shot in three different directions.

www.exotica.org.uk

(1943?)
2012-06-04 11:23:14 AM
1 votes:
And don't forget the pride goeth before the fall factor, Japan's plan was way too complex and assumed that the Americans were afraid of them and would hide in Pearl Harbor. And that even if the Americans didn't hide, the fancy Japanese sub screen would detect them. Two false assumptions that left the Japanese unprepared to deal with carrier strikes on top of land-based strikes, plus some lucky timing having to do with the order of American attacks that left the Japanese CAP out of position when the US carrier divebombers arrived overhead.
2012-06-04 11:00:45 AM
1 votes:

notmtwain: Is Midway really one of the Hawaiian islands?


It's where Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam take place
 
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