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Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:16 pm
by Langenator
Another potential source of more divisions for northwest Europe would have been Italy. Offensive operations there became largely irrelevant beginning in the summer of 1944, especially after the DRAGOON landings in August, 1944. (IMHO, offensive operations in Italy became pointless once the air bases in the Foggia area had been captured, allowing Fifteenth Air Force strategic bombers to attack German-held industrial targets from the south.)

Stripping Italy of divisions not needed to simply hold a defensive line across the peninsula MIGHT have garnered enough divisions to give each field army a single division reserve, Maybe. (IIRC, ETO had 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 9th Armies on the American side. There were 7 U.S. divisions in Italy at the end of 1944. So you'd have to pull out just over half to give each army a division.)

Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Posted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:32 pm
by MiddleAgedKen
Langenator wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:46 pm
(As a side note, those Essex-class carriers? The first 10 or so had actually been ordered in 1941, before Pearl Harbor. Ships that size take time to build.)
Yep. Also, Essex was the first class of fleet carrier that was designed with (1) carrier experience in hand and (2) not constrained by political factors (Lex and Sara were under construction as battlecruisers when they were converted to carriers under the Washington Treaty, and the Yorktown class design was predicated on leftover Washington Treaty tonnage -- that's why Wasp was a little smaller than the three Yorktowns). The Navy built only one Ranger, because they learned quickly the design wasn't suitable. If I remember right, it pitched excessively in heavy seas.

Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:39 am
by Langenator
To clarify: the Yorktown class (Yorktown, Enterprise, Hornet) were built to treaty specs as far as max per ship tonnage, and the Wasp was built a bit undersized to use up the remaining total tonnage.

Ranger's major problem was that she was too slow for 'fast carrier' fleet ops.

Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:36 am
by MiddleAgedKen
Langenator is correct.

One of the things I'm noodling for a WWII naval campaign is this idea: What if the Japanese had foregone building Shinano and instead devoted the tonnage used to, say, two or three more Shokaku or Hiryu/Soryu types?

I wouldn't propose they be so foresighted as to not build Yamato and Musashi (though they really shouldn't have, in 20/20 hindsight), but their habit (apart from the Kongo class) was to build two of each class, so an argument for not building Shinano wouldn't do undue violence to history or national character.

With eight or nine fleet carriers in Kido Butai in December 1941 they might have gotten the tank farm at Pearl, and the 1942 engagements would have been a much different proposition for the Pacific Fleet, had they been fought at all. In the long run the Japanese still could not hope to match US industrial might, but in a longer war of attrition (especially one that might not have gotten underway in earnest until the Germans' hash had been settled), war-weariness in the American public may have become a factor.

Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:53 pm
by Langenator
Interesting thought problem: which target would it have benefitted Japan more to bomb at Pearl Harbor, the fuel tank farm (almost certainly the easier target) or the subs and sub tenders?

Semi-related to the tank farm: I read somewhere that it actually didn't really matter that all the BBs got sunk/damaged, because the Pacific fleet didn't have enough fleet oilers to support both the CVs and the BBs. So the BBs probably would have been stuck at Pearl Harbor during the initial battles anyway. (and, in further analysis, maybe the best target would have been any fleet oilers present. No oilers, and the fleet is limited to a certain radius around its base(s).)

Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:30 pm
by Greg
Langenator wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:39 am
To clarify: the Yorktown class (Yorktown, Enterprise, Hornet) were built to treaty specs as far as max per ship tonnage, and the Wasp was built a bit undersized to use up the remaining total tonnage.

Ranger's major problem was that she was too slow for 'fast carrier' fleet ops.
Ranger had a number of problems. She was the first purpose built carrier, after we'd gotten some experience operating them (but not nearly enough). They maybe got a little ambitious and tried to be very tonnage-efficient - make it small enough that remaining treaty tonnage after Lex and Sara would allow 5 Rangers- cramming the most aviation capability into the smallest hull.

She was slow for any fleet operations, and very fragile (minimal armor, no underwater protection at all, relatively light construction, etc). She had some cool features - I believe she had the very first deck edge elevator.

Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:04 pm
by Langenator
I think the first deck edge elevator was on the Wasp.

Probably the most insteresting feature on the Ranger, from what I've seen, and this was designed but not built, was putting a catapult in the hangar deck to allow double-deck launches. Again, part of the initial design, but later deleted.

The two most noticable features were the hinged stacks, which were lowered when conducting flight ops, and the mostly open hangar deck, which had roll down 'doors' to protect from the weather, if not enemy fire.

Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Posted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:50 pm
by Greg
Ah, memory playing tricks on me.

Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:02 am
by Jered
Langenator wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:53 pm
Interesting thought problem: which target would it have benefitted Japan more to bomb at Pearl Harbor, the fuel tank farm (almost certainly the easier target) or the subs and sub tenders?
Probably the tank farm. The Navy had a huge amount of oil stored there. The loss of that oil would probably have crippled the Navy's operations. A Pennsylvania class BB could carry 11,000 barrels of fuel oil and the tank farm at Pearl stored 4.5 million barrels. If the Japanese destroyed that, then we're stuck trying to run our fleet from San Diego until we can get that rebuilt.

I'd say that the tank farm was probably a more important target than the battlefleet.

Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:29 pm
by randy
When I was CINCPAC I ran across a study done by the targeting shop on Pearl Harbor as it was in December 1941.

Bottom line was that hitting the fuel depot and the dry docks would have a much greater impact on the course of the war than hitting the fleet.

That fuel vulnerability was recognized at the time hence the construction of the Red Hill underground fuel facility still in use today (or was in the 90's)