Hey, lets discuss WWII!

Tyrant

Spaceman
I've been thinking: What would of happened at The Battle of Denmark Straights if instead of the Bismarck, the Yamato had been there instead. Could it go differently, or would it still end in tears for the Axis?
 
The loss of the Bismarck wouldn't have changed if it had been the Yamato. In the BoDS, Bismarck was superior to both the Hood and Pr. of Wales. Yamato would have been arguably more dangerous. However, the Yamato's lower top speed would have prevented him from escaping, also.

The British had Bismarck followed by a superior mix of ships of the line and aircraft carriers. It was simply a matter of time. The only way he was going to get out of that was if he'd been able to break contact and flee into the North Atlantic (or home to the cover of the French coast). He almost succeded, but was located again by the hunter group just shy of friendly waters.

At that point, it was all over. Bombing runs by aircraft, shelling by British battleships, harrying torpedo and shelling attacks by cruisers and destroyers. ANY battleship caught in that situation would have to be terrifically lucky to survive. Yamato wouldn't have been able to make even the one evasion, being larger (taller out of the water) and slower.
 

Tyrant

Spaceman
So it basically boils down to the Yamato being able to thrash the Hood and PoW, but not being able to get back to Axis waters before they get found.

Seems like quite a limited situation.
 

Houkiboshi

Rear Admiral
So it basically boils down to the Yamato being able to thrash the Hood and PoW, but not being able to get back to Axis waters before they get found.

Seems like quite a limited situation.

But one that I agree with... we're talking about one ship against the british Home Fleet...
 

Raptor_Pilot

Rear Admiral
I didn't read the whole thing, but I have a quick thing to say:

The Japanese never intended to beat the U.S. in the Pacific. They only wanted to delay the U.S. long enough to consolidate their power throughout the pacific and thus become spposedly unassailable due to the fact that they intended to control all the major islands and such in the pacific. They counted on the fact that the U.S. wouldn't be willing to engage in a long war digging out the japanese from every single island, and thus hoped to avoid having to fight the U.S. en masse.
However, their failure to destroy the U.S. aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbor threw a wrench into their plans, as the carriers were always their primary targets, to keep the U.S. from projecting power into the pacific.

As for Germany, the winter of 1941 and the Summer of 1943, both on the Eastern front ended their chances of winning pretty thoroughly. They lost about 1million men in the winter of '41 outside moscow and leningrad, although mostly due to no winter gear and subsequent frostbite among other problems. In the summer of '43 the Army had finished rebuilding itself after the disaster of winter '41 and Stalingrad in '42 and was finally back to something resembling it's old self, when Hitler (damn the man) launched Operation Citadel and thus ended up destroying most of the newly re-fitted panzer divisions which were the backbone of the German's mobile striking power.

Basically: The Germans had lost the war by the summer of '43, and the Japs had lost the war on December 7, 1941. All the rest was one huge mop up operation.
 

Raptor_Pilot

Rear Admiral
Wow.


Just... wow :rolleyes:.

Hey Yamamoto said it best:

"I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant, and fill him with a terrible resolve."

EDIT: and i guess I should actually get some sleep before posting, but I have researched WWII extensively and the post above are the conclusions I have been able to reach though said research.
 

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
Anyways, the more I've read WWII history books and documentaries, the more it seems that the Axis Power's loss was simply inevitable, because of the Allies' overwhelmingly superior manpower and production capabilities, and they were just runing the Clock out.

Also, I've also read up on the Battleships, the more it becomes apparent that the US' Battleships were superior to everybody elses Navy.

Is this an accurate summery, generaly?

Just trying to start a discussion.

Japanese yes, Germans no. The Japanese had little to no research and developement, though they had a strong military, the moment the United States wartime economy kicked in, any hope for the Japanese died out. They had minimal resources, and it got to the point where they were too scared to send out thier most powerful warships for fear of air attack.

Though most of the polichickens and military leaders in Japan felt confident of Victory, thier leading Naval mind and commander himself said that after the first year or so he saw no clear outcome of victory for the Japanese. I will grant you that had Admiral Nagumo (lead the attack on pearl) not been so damn cautious. I understand his thinking, he didn't want to put his ships at risk when they couldn't find the American carriers, had he just sent out maybe one or two more air strikes to knock out the US drydocks and actually SINK the USS Nevada before she could beach herself, then the best Naval base we would have had would've been San Diego, which would be too far away.

The Germans however, though thier naval strength was small in numbers, it was huge in power. It took two full task forces for the Royal Navy to knock out a single battleship. That very same battleship, Bismarck knocked out the pride of the British navy, as well as thier newest warship.
They were a technologically advanced people who jumped ahead technology-wise, and almost beat us in the race to build atomic bomb.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
They were a technologically advanced people who jumped ahead technology-wise, and almost beat us in the race to build atomic bomb.

No, they didn't. The Germans had two competing atomic projects and neither of them ever recieved the necessary government support. There's a strong argument to be made that Heisenberg didn't even have the theoretical science worked out correctly. The war ended before Germany had even finished building a single experimental reactor - they never had any hope of creating the massive infrastructure that the United States had to put in place to produce the bombs themselves.

Also, this doesn't really have anything to do with being technologically advanced - producing a Uranium bomb is a matter of brute industrial force, not complex science. The country that could devote resources to creating the massive amounts of U235 necessary to built the weapon was the one that would get the bomb first... Germany couldn't do that and the United States could. Note that the Japanese had an atomic project, too - but it never went anywhere because the Empire had no access to Uranium...
 

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
No, they didn't. The Germans had two competing atomic projects and neither of them ever recieved the necessary government support. There's a strong argument to be made that Heisenberg didn't even have the theoretical science worked out correctly. The war ended before Germany had even finished building a single experimental reactor - they never had any hope of creating the massive infrastructure that the United States had to put in place to produce the bombs themselves.

Also, this doesn't really have anything to do with being technologically advanced - producing a Uranium bomb is a matter of brute industrial force, not complex science. The country that could devote resources to creating the massive amounts of U235 necessary to built the weapon was the one that would get the bomb first... Germany couldn't do that and the United States could. Note that the Japanese had an atomic project, too - but it never went anywhere because the Empire had no access to Uranium...

Granted, I'll tip my hat to you on that point. But what about the weapons of war? They were the first country to have jet propelled planes, and went from a country with almost no ships and a laughable army, to having perfected tank warfare, built some of the strongest Battlecruisers afloat, and having a huge sub fleet. My one regret about the way WW2 went was that we never got a chance to see the German air power used on an Aircraft carrier. The Graf Zepplin never got a chance to go on duty.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
EDIT: and i guess I should actually get some sleep before posting, but I have researched WWII extensively and the post above are the conclusions I have been able to reach though said research.
Ok, ok, I'll explain more what I mean.

Your claims are glaring generalisations - they're so broad that even if there was any truth to them (and there isn't), you'd never be able to prove it to any convincing degree.

You say the Japanese never intended to beat the US. Yes, at some basic level, it's true, but only if you think that total war is the only way to wage war. But total war, the kind where the intention is to completely crush the other side is nowhere near as common as that - I'd go as far as to say that it's the exception, rather than the rule.

So yes, the Japanese never intended to beat the US in the sense that they didn't want to crush and destroy America. But they most certainly did intend to win the war - I don't think you even need any knowledge at all to realise that people don't start wars with the intention of losing. And what's the point of citing Yamamoto? You're talking about a man who spent most of his military and political failing miserably to persuade the political leadership of the country to his point of view. So how could his views be in any way representative of what the Japanese intended to do?

To counter your more specific claims about them planning only to delay the enemy - even the Japanese themselves never made up their minds about what specific strategy to use to win the war... and here you are, rising above their divisions and presenting us with their grand unified strategy? :)

Similarly, it's all-out ridiculous to claim that the Japanese lost the war on December 7th 1941 - that makes about as much sense as claiming that a man dies the moment he's born, and the remaining seventy years are just a really drawn-out period of agony. There was so many things Japan could have done afterwards to turn things around - heck, before Midway, Japan's string of victories had such an impact on Allied morale that, on a number of occasions, major battles were lost by the Allies because they had been convinced that their defeat was inevitable. Maybe ultimately there really was no way for Japan to win if we go by dry logic alone - but as long as the people the Japanese were fighting against remained convinced that they could lose, Japan had a chance to win.

And this kind of thing pervades all the posts in this thread. I've read here that the Bismarck was doomed right from the start... but when that final torpedo damaged its rudder, the Bismarck had appeared to have just about gotten away (though not entirely - nobody knows for certain how things would have gone without that torpedo). How does that happen - how do we go from a ship that was only sunk as a consequence of an incredibly lucky shot, to the claim that it would have taken incredible luck for this ship to have survived at all?

Don't get me wrong, discussions like this are always fun, and I'm not saying this is either pointless or stupid. But the amount of sheer, baseless certainty in this thread is just astonishing. Have a little humility, especially when it comes to telling people what you think somebody you've never met was trying or able to do sixty years ago. I think that as you read more books on the subject, you'll find that the history of World War II isn't as clean and settled as it might seem - we still have new sources appearing these days that change the way we look at things, we still know that there's many important sources that either aren't available yet (in particular, a great deal of the British secret ops stuff is still classified), or just plain never will be (so much of German and Japanese documentation was destroyed during the war). And even with the sources already available, historians still argue back and fourth about what it all means. In this context, it's really, really silly to go around making big claims. So, you know, just don't be so damned categorical about this stuff - there's people out there who devoted their whole lives to the subject, and even they wouldn't dare make statements as categorical as some of the stuff I see in this thread.
 

Tyrant

Spaceman
.
They were a technologically advanced people who jumped ahead technology-wise, and almost beat us in the race to build atomic bomb.


You'd have a point... if the Nazi atomic programme didn't actually turn out to be one of the Great Secret Comedies of WWII. Hitler was literaly stupid enough to think that a single Nuke could set the entire world's atmosphere on fire.

Quartro said:
Similarly, it's all-out ridiculous to claim that the Japanese lost the war on December 7th 1941 - that makes about as much sense as claiming that a man dies the moment he's born, and the remaining seventy years are just a really drawn-out period of agony. There was so many things Japan could have done afterwards to turn things around - heck, before Midway, Japan's string of victories had such an impact on Allied morale that, on a number of occasions, major battles were lost by the Allies because they had been convinced that their defeat was inevitable. Maybe ultimately there really was no way for Japan to win if we go by dry logic alone - but as long as the people the Japanese were fighting against remained convinced that they could lose, Japan had a chance to win

To be fair to him, Japan's best shot was Pearl Harbour. Japan at its absolute peak could only do 10% of the US' total production capabilities, and their peak was short-lived.

Let's say Task Force 16 and 17 are sunk at Midway, and the IJN do get their toe-hold onto the Hawiian islands. They're not going to go any farther.

Okay, how well is Oahu set up for defense? Very Well. Oahu is one of the most heavily defended areas in the world of 1942. The Hornet could be called up at any time, the first CVL/Es are coming online, and the Essex will be finished by late 1942. Aircraft construction is ramped up heavily.

Okay, hows about the Imperial Japanese Navy. They're screwed, to put it bluntly. The IJN historically burned up half of their year's oil on the Midway operation. The fact that they win in this RAR(Ramdom Alternate history) would have not changed this situation one bit. While the IJN is over-extended, which spells trouble at any point. The only difference is that we his the Solomon Islands in '43, not '42 like what happen originally.

Come 1944 the Japanese is going to face a huge air and Naval armada which will pound and grind them into nothing, and we'll still be where we were in 1945: Banging on Japan's door.

Yeah, we all like the ~~~~~~~~~ and all, but Japan simply never had a chance against the US.
 

BenShami

Rear Admiral
important facts.. the brunt of the fighting was done by the Russians on eastern block and Russian soil. the Largest armored battle in the history of the world was fought between the Russians and Germany near a town called Kursk, over 6oo units division size or larger participated. Germans were attempting to secure eastern oil fields and the Russians fought them to a stand still.. although the Germans technically won the battle it diminished their forces enough to allow the win of the Russians at Stalingrad . . had Russia fallen to the Germans, we would be speaking something other than english today..Naval Power was our long suite but the attack on December 7 th 1941 at Peale Harbor eliminated us as a major threat in the pacific for a short period... campaigns in the Pacific, North Africa, and Italy kept us Busy until 1944. The Russians by that time had beaten the Germans back from Stalingrad all the way back near or on the Original German border with the eastern block countries and it was then that we officially started operations in Europe proper with the landings in Normandy. I hope I got that all the way it was supose to be.. if not someone help me out.. hehe
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
Had the Japanese won at Midway, wiped out the US carrier presence in the Pacific, taken an island that we would have had to take back before any advance against Japan was possible, and put Hawaii under threat of air attack, it is POSSIBLE that U.S. politicians may have agreed to some sort of negotiated peace with Japan, so as to concentrate better on Germany. This may have happened even though the US would have had a numeric superiority of troops within a year. This is what Japan was playing for, at least. I'll grant that it is unlikely, but it is possible. Remember, the US was a democracy, and there was a minority anti-war party in Congress that opposed Roosevelt. They had little actual power because most of the American people were behind the war (just as politicians preaching pacifism had little power after 9/11), but I think current events, or even Vietnam, should serve as a reminder that, even if we have the industrial power to win a war, all it takes is a few nasty setbacks, combined with a little time, to turn public opinion against it and give the pacifist politicians support. And losing at Midway would have been one big setback to crown a whole year of setbacks. Real wars are a lot more complicated than "Axis and Aliies".

And even if the US had continued to prosecute a war after losing at Midway, a loss at Midway likely would have prompted the US to redirect more resources towards the pacific theater, which would have delayed Torch, and Overlord, and who knows if Germany might have had a chance to re-arm or recover in that extra time and actually reverse their fortunes against Russia, or maybe actually get their nuclear weapons program right so it COULD have had a chance of making it to the bomb.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
Regarding the bomb...there are two ways to build a bomb--implosion, or gun style. The gun style is relatively easy to engineer, but requires much harder to manufacture nuclear materials. It's much easier to procure the nuclear materials for an implosion type weapon, but it requries a much higher standard of engineering. Given Germany's engineering prowess, I don't think it's a certainty that they never would have been able to build an implosion style weapon...not as quickly as the US did, certainly, but at some point. Remember, a lot of folks in the US government were convinced that the Soviet Union was 10 to 20 years away from a bomb in 1945, and yet they first detonated one in 1948? or so... Granted, they "borrowed" a lot of US technology, but it goes to show that it's dangerous to underestimate an opponent.

After all, Henry V was doomed to lose in his campaign against the French from the start. France had an army that was better armed and more modern, by the standards of the day, that outnumbered Henry's by about 5-1. Pretty much the war was over as soon as Henry invaded France. Agincourt was just a formality on the way to Henry's defeat...oh, wait a minute...
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
You'd have a point... if the Nazi atomic programme didn't actually turn out to be one of the Great Secret Comedies of WWII. Hitler was literaly stupid enough to think that a single Nuke could set the entire world's atmosphere on fire.

I... don't know what this is referring to. One of the huge problems with the German atomic projects was that they just didn't capture Hitler's imagination. He had the power to personally sway projects that interested him - so charismatic rocket designers with effectively useless weapons beat out scientists who admitted that they weren't even sure what if anything they could do with a reactor.

(Plenty of American scientists worried that the bomb might burn off the atmosphere - there was one famous point where a miscalculation to that effect set the project into chaos, convincing everyone up to Oppenheimer and Groves that it was a danger. Teller went back and proved the error in the math, but that didn't stop someone from guessing that the bomb would ignite the atmosphere and destroy the world when the scientists were taking bets on the yield of the Trinity test...)
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
To be fair to him, Japan's best shot was Pearl Harbour. Japan at its absolute peak could only do 10% of the US' total production capabilities, and their peak was short-lived.
[...]
Yeah, we all like the ~~~~~~~~~ and all, but Japan simply never had a chance against the US.
Argh. You're treating this like some damned idiotic Space-Battles.com debate, where victory or defeat depends on which ship has more turrets than the other.

It's not about bloody stats. You don't look at Japan's production capabilities vs. America's production capabilities and decide that whoever has more wins. That's just plain wrong - the real world doesn't work that way.

I'm not gonna get into the details of this - it's a waste of time, discussing all the various potential what-ifs. What it comes down to is this - you are sitting here, sixty years after the fact, talking about how inevitable Japan's defeat was. Meanwhile, the people who were there sixty years ago were quite convinced that Japan could indeed win. So, how do you figure that would turn out? You might know that, within a few months of Midway, America would be churning out cheap, mass-produced CVEs, ramping up production of a new carrier-based fighter superior to the Japanese Zero, etc., etc... but they didn't know that. The people in command at the time didn't make their decisions based on the kind of all-encompassing hindsight we have today. They barely knew what was going on directly around them (since the enemy was doing his best to mask his own actions), let alone what would happen in six months time. When making their decisions, they had to consider not just what would happen, but also a dozen other possible scenarios that could unfold.

We just don't know how Midway could have affected things. Maybe it would have screwed over the Japanese Navy, leaving them with a distant, more or less useless outpost constantly crying out for supplies, and not really of any use in advancing further eastwards. But maybe the Americans, stunned by the loss of their carrier force, would have pulled their fleet back to the west coast, leaving most of the Pacific out of range of American subs, and allowing the Japanese to import virtually unlimited amounts of oil and other resources from South-East Asia. Maybe Midway would have spurred the American public into demanding that all war efforts be focussed on the Japanese, and actually would have sped up the outcome of the war in the Pacific (...at the cost of the war in Europe)... and maybe it would have instead caused the American public (which was fairly isolationist at the best of times) to demand that their government stop wasting money on a war for some island in the middle of nowhere. I mean, today, when Hawaii is a state, it might seem inconceivable that America would give it up - but it certainly wasn't out of the question back then.

...This is just a few possibilities that need to be taken into consideration. I'm sure if we spent a few hours researching this, we'd come up with a dozen other possible scenarios to come out of Midway. And this is just Midway we're talking about - while there's still so much else to think about. In Australia, at the point when the Japanese seemed on the verge of launching an invasion, there was serious talk of abandoning all of North Australia to them - as I understand it, one of the options being considered was to set up a line of defence just north of Brisbane. This may seem impossible for us today, but it certainly didn't look that way back then - it wouldn't have taken much for the Japanese to capture Port Moresby, and even less for them to recover (or simply never lose!) Guadalcanal and move on, perhaps even all the way to New Caledonia. And again, what happens then, with America essentially cut off from Australia, with no bases at all west of Hawaii?

In short, there's just so many factors to consider, so many possibilities, that talking about the Japanese being inevitably defeated is... well, pretty stupid, frankly. I mean, had the Japanese lost the battle of Tsushima fifty years earlier, you'd be telling us now - again, with utter certainty - that they never stood a chance against Imperial Russia, and they were foolish to even try to fight them. After all, the Japanese, barely out of the middle ages, were attacking a nation that literally could build or buy in the space of two years more ships than Japan had built since the Meiji Restoration...
 

Toast

Space Marshal
Argh. You're treating this like some damned idiotic Space-Battles.com debate, where victory or defeat depends on which ship has more turrets than the other.

It's not about bloody stats. You don't look at Japan's production capabilities vs. America's production capabilities and decide that whoever has more wins. That's just plain wrong - the real world doesn't work that way.

hear, hear. Anyone can lose a war. If it were only about numbers and machines and resources, then the conflicts in eastern europe, Afghanistan, Vietnam War, and a few other conflicts I won't honor by mentioning would also never have turned out they way they did. I wish I could remember who said it, but I think some military historian said that the random dice rolls in a game of Risk are about as accurate in predicting the outcome of a large-scale conflict as anything else. Even military exercises and wargames follow sets of rules that don't necessarily apply in actual conflict.
 
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