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MB_Avro_UK
06-10-2007, 06:08 PM
Hi all,

In November 1940 Royal Navy carrier borne Swordfish biplane torpedo aircraft attacked the Italian fleet at Taranto harbour in Italy.

The Italian fleet suffered massive damage against the loss of two Sworfish aircraft.

This was the first use of carrier borne aircraft against a navy fleet in harbour. It has been suggested that the Japanese were inspired by this success and using similar tactics attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Here's a clip from a documentary of the Taranto attack:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jieyKROMvo4&mode=related&search=

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/MB_Avro/250px-Fairey_Swordfish_on_Airfield.jpg


Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

leitmotiv
06-10-2007, 08:03 PM
Indisputably. See AT DAWN WE SLEPT by Prange. This one is a fact.

BillyTheKid_22
06-10-2007, 08:04 PM
Howdy!! MB_Avro_UK, WoW!! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif Great video!!! <span class="ev_code_RED">COOL</span>



http://www.longmontfyi.com/galleries/pics/fair080606-7.jpg



Cowboy up!! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/sleepzzz.gif



http://www.sandrasue2.com/StationeryIndex/The_OldWest/A_CampFire.gif

XyZspineZyX
06-10-2007, 08:15 PM
The USN conducted a study on a Pearl Attack in the 1930s

VW-IceFire
06-10-2007, 08:25 PM
I want to do that in Storm of War sometime... That was really interesting!

The Taranto raid and Pearl Harbor are compared fairly frequently when one or the other is mentioned. It seems the idea to attach wooden fins to the torpedoes so they wouldn't run as deep influenced the Japanese to do the same. Is there truth to that?

leitmotiv
06-10-2007, 08:27 PM
Well, for that matter, Billy Mitchell predicted an attack on Pearl Harbor during his Court Martial in the 1920's, but the idea never occurred to the Japanese until Taranto, they never even prepared a speculative staff plan. Yamamoto saw what the Royal Navy did with one modern carrier and a small force of obsolete torpedo planes, and decided that with all six of Japan's fast carriers concentrated, he could smash the Pacific Fleet.

Solving the problem of making the Japanese torpedoes avoid plowing into the bottom was essential to the conduct of the raid. The solution was not easy, and was not found until nearly the last minute. It involved 4 "C"-shaped fins placed between the standard fins, and a wooden airfoil placed behind the fins.

BfHeFwMe
06-10-2007, 09:45 PM
Lets stick with actual history. Feb 1904 Japan pulled it's first Pearl against the Russians in Port Aurthur with a surprise torpedo attack on the Russian Pacific Fleet in harbor. It was also undeclared, a sneak attack. It succeeded in putting the Russians on the defensive, and they lost.

Big difference, Britain was already in a declared war. Sure they adopted some tactical aspects but the overall strategy, you could say, was most definitely home grown. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

leitmotiv
06-11-2007, 12:21 AM
Gee, that was a subtle, trenchant sally, BfHeFwMe....

ake109
06-11-2007, 03:18 AM
I believe that was an earlier 20s/30s USN fleet exercise where the Lex/Sara was up against the surface ships. The objective was to avoid getting spotted by the surface units while getting the planes over the Panama Canal locks to simulate an attack on the locks. The carriers won that exercise.

Apparantly the IJN observers were there to take note.

Tooz_69GIAP
06-11-2007, 03:39 AM
I'd always thought that the Japanese were considering similar plans to this, and the Taranto raid merely confirmed the viability of such an attack, so they proceeded with planning Pearl.

But it's difficult to say one way or the other, I'd say, it being nearly 70 years after the fact.

leitmotiv
06-11-2007, 04:36 AM
Read Prange. The Japanese strategy hsd always been a strategic defensive in the event of a war with the U.S. Let the U.S. carry out War Plan Orange---the great strategic thrust across the Pacific---and the Japanese planned to attrite the U.S. Navy every step of the way using every means they had. The culmination would be a grand battle fought on their terms, in their home waters, with a badly depleted U.S. fleet. That was the plan. They NEVER planned to reach out across the Pacific to hit the U.S. Navy in it anchorage: (1) because the Pacific Fleet was never based at Pearl Harbor, it was based on the West Coast of the United States until a Presidential order sent it to Hawaii in the fall of 1940 against the advice of the C-in-C of the Pacific Fleet who was sacked by FDR. (2) The entire strategy of the Japanese Navy was based on luring the U.S. Navy forward to its destruction, not in presenting their heavy warships to the Americans on a platter. Yamamoto reversed the grand strategic plan, and this caused a great deal of unease in the fleet. Furthermore, one of his closest advisors, Admiral Ugaki, warned him the Americans would be enraged by a surprise attack on the fleet. Yamamoto ignored his warnings. Pearl harbor was only the first of many strategic blunders made by Yamamoto.

ploughman
06-11-2007, 05:16 AM
The Italians withdrew their fleet to 'safer' bases further up the boot of Italy after Taranto. Often people see what they want or need to see when they examine an event, I wonder if the Japanese planners saw, as a result of the Italian withdrawal, a Pearl Harbor attack forcing the USN out of the central Pacific and back to bases on the west coast.

leitmotiv
06-11-2007, 06:14 AM
Heh, heh---there was one guiding light for PH, and that was Yamamoto. He rammed the plan down the throat of the fleet against fierce resistence. He might have been hoping he'd force the Pacific Fleet back to the West Coast. As a matter of fact, he did force the line of battle to the West Coast. All the surviving battleships were based in San Francisco after the 7 Dec attack. Only the carriers and their screens and the submarines stayed in Pearl, i.e., the real offensive weapons left after 7 Dec. Yamamoto had difficuly separating wish from fact---see the superb SHATTERED SWORD on how he made a shambles of the dreadful Midway plan.

ploughman
06-11-2007, 06:27 AM
I will keep an eye open for that one Leit. I've Prange's mighty At Dawn We Slept holding a door open somewhere, perhaps I might revisit it in the near future.

For those in the UK Pete and Dan Snow's "20th Century Battle Fields" is covering the Battle of Midway tonight at 9pm on BBC2.

Kurfurst__
06-11-2007, 08:15 AM
Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:

The Italian fleet suffered massive damage against the loss of two Sworfish aircraft.

It has been suggested that the Japanese were inspired by this success and using similar tactics attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

I think it's a bit of an exaggrevation in both cases. The Italian Navy basically temporarily lost one of it's modern BBs and an older WW1 BB due to torpedo damage for a couple of months. The third and only BB that sunk, the WW1 CdC was also salvagable and sent to be repaired and refit, though they never actually finished repairing it. While the damage was heavy, the fact that the Italian navy was sill very much capable of fighting multiple sea battles after that should not be ignored - it's new and modern battleships were intact, the one that was damaged at Taranto returned to service soon after.

It's difficult to see what was foundamentally new in Taranto.. aircraft attacking ships? aircraft attacking ships with torpedoes? aircraft attacking ships in their port? Ships are vulnerable in port, and were often attacked there - ask the captains of Royal Oak, Gneisenau, Queen Elisabeth or the Valiant. It wasn't the first case that aircraft attacked ships in their harbour either.. already happened in WW1.

Speculation of the difference of pre-war Japanese battle plans simply ignore the fact how many things changed in the meantime : US embargo being put in place, the US battlefleet being deployed on the pacific etc. promted the Japanese to change their defensive plan into an all-out agressive one with a deadly pre-emptive strike to secure all possible advantages before the enemy could retaliate... neutralising the US battle fleet in it's vulnerable position at Pearl Harbour was a natural result of this change of strategy for which the only possible tool were the aircraft carriers.

While Taranto did considerable damage to the Italian Navy a little cost (once again proving that ships need to fear aircraft, but that was already proven by that time), I'd say it seem to be exaggrevated out of proportion compared to it's importance. The loss of one old WW1 battleship was not anywhere near paralyzing for the Italian navy, nor was Pearl Harbour just a simply 'copy' of Taranto, even if some wish for that.

Tooz_69GIAP
06-11-2007, 08:40 AM
After Taranto, the Italian navy moved further north up the Adriatic coast, and never again ventured out into the Med in force. This was an amazing tactical victory for the British in the Med. Essentially, the Italian fleet was immobilized through fear of losing their big ships, and so the Royal Navy had a far more easier time of in the theatre.

As to the importance of the strike in military terms, it was the first time a major strike had been performed from an aircraft carrier and it was done with only one carrier and 'obsolete' aircraft against a formidable target. Not to mention the stones these guys had to have to pull it off, or even attempt the attack, and only lose 2 aircraft in the process!! I'd say it was a great success, and one of the most important actions of the war.

whiteladder
06-11-2007, 08:51 AM
I'd say it seem to be exaggrevated out of proportion compared to it's importance. The loss of one old WW1 battleship was not anywhere near paralyzing for the Italian navy, nor was Pearl Harbour just a simply 'copy' of Taranto, even if some wish for that.


I would say that pretty much every historian would disagree with you on this point. Taranto is a classic example where a tactical action has a profound strategic impact.

Cunningham stated

The crippling of half the Italian battle-fleet at a blow at Taranto had a profound effect on the naval strategical situation in the Mediterranean. The enemy promptly moved the rest of their fleet to Naples, whence they could still operate in the central Mediterranean by coming south through the Strait of Messina; but only under the closer observation of the Royal Air Force reconnaissance from Malta.


It allowed the British to move 2 battleships out of the Med.

It also meant that the Italians only had one modern battle ship available for the Battle of Matapan.

More striking still is the psychological effect the attack had on Italian naval strategy. The Navy became loss adverse and in many situations where they subsequently had an advantage they let that slip beacuse of the fear of losses.

Kurfurst__
06-11-2007, 09:34 AM
Originally posted by Tooz_69GIAP:
After Taranto, the Italian navy moved further north up the Adriatic coast, and never again ventured out into the Med in force. This was an amazing tactical victory for the British in the Med. Essentially, the Italian fleet was immobilized through fear of losing their big ships, and so the Royal Navy had a far more easier time of in the theatre.

Uhm... no. Battle of Cape Spartivento, Battle of Cape Matapan, First Battle of Sirte, Second Battle of Sirte, Operation Harpoon, Operation Vigorous, Operation Pedestal... Were the Royal Navy fighting ghosts there ?

In the same month as Taranto, November 1940, the Italians fought the naval battle of Cape Spartivento with two battleships (Vittorio Veneto, Giulio Cesare) participating.

The 1st Battle of Sirte, no less than 4 Italian battleships participating : Caio Duilio, Andrea Doria, Giulio Cesare, and Littorio. Familiar names ? Caio Duilio and Littorio were damaged at Taranto.

It's actually amazing how little credit the Italian navy gets, they are easily to most underestimated of all WW2 military organisations. They did not do bad at all.

Not to mention the Brits had no battleships at all in the Med a not very long after Taranto. They took a beating at Crete from the Luftwaffe, Barham was sunk by an Uboot, Valiant and QE mined and sunk by Italian frogmen in Alexandria. I'd not call that 'easy time'.


As to the importance of the strike in military terms, it was the first time a major strike had been performed from an aircraft carrier and it was done with only one carrier and 'obsolete' aircraft against a formidable target.

That doesn't make it particularly important, carriers were around for a long time by then, the capability existed and known. Ships were sunk in the Norway campaign from carriers. It's a trivia of a first carrier based torpedo plane attack on ships in harbour.


Not to mention the stones these guys had to have to pull it off, or even attempt the attack, and only lose 2 aircraft in the process!!

No doubt they were very skilled and brave.


I'd say it was a great success, and one of the most important actions of the war.

An obsolate Italian BB being put out of action, two others going for the docks for a couple of months? That one of the most important action of the war? Disagree 100%. A great success - definietely.

darkhorizon11
06-11-2007, 09:50 AM
It depends how you mean inspire...

Taranto was over a year before Pearl and politically, although they were in the same war they were very different. The strategy of the Japanese used at Pearl WAS similar and probably served as a model but there were some stark differences as well.

The similarties are that the British attacked suddenly and ferociously. And in one fell swoop managed to cripple the Italian Navy and their efforts to hold the Mediterranean. It also showed the glaring weakness of even the heaviest battleships too low level torpedo attacks.


There are some major differences too though.

1. The UK was already at war with the Italians, this really revealed the inadequances of their defensive screen toward the enemy RN which they knew were out there. On the other hand, all politics to the side, before Dec. 7 the US Navy was not at war and although it is ignorant to let ones guards down, you simply can't be at battle stations 24/7.

2. The British attacked at night, the Japanese attacked in the early morning. Part of this is because an attack with Stringbags on a major military installation (not a single ship at sea like the Bismarck) during the day is suicide, but also for the scare factor.

3. The Japanese chose to attack on Sunday morning which is of course a holy day for Christians and Jews. When Pearl's defense was it its most lax both as soldiers at leave are concerned, and the awareness of the base personel itself. An interesting but far parallel for those who remember was when Elian Gonzalez was taken into custody from his Aunt's home, the SWAT team stormed the place at 5AM when of course everyone would be tired, sleepy, and completely unprepared. The same daze was over the USN for the first few minutes of the attack at Pearl.

4. Also this made the attack much more distinguishable and blatant for political purposes. With hundreds of aircraft with red circles whipping overhead there would be no doubt who was responsible. Whereas the Italians just woke up to have half their Navy sunk.

5. At Pearl, Yamamoto knew he needed to disable the USN quickly and efficiently, he knew attacking at daytime made the job much easier for the torpedo bomber pilots and he probably would sink more ships with perhaps a few more casualties, furthermore it can be certain that if Pearl was attacked at night many Japanese pilot would have become disoriented and been lost at sea and picked up by American patrol boats or even worse crash landed somewhere on Pearl with their aircraft relavitely intact. I know this did happen with at least one Val Dive Bomber, but those aircraft were obsolete by early 1942 and there was little to learn. Picking up an intact Zero on the other hand, illuded the US military until that one was picked up in the Aleutian islands some time in late 1942? maybe?

Anyways my point is that Taranto proved that a devastating one time assualt was feasable, but the Japanese definitely changed some of the fundamentals and ideas of the attack suit their own needs and therefore can claim some ownership tactics exploited at Pearl as well.

Dance
06-11-2007, 10:04 AM
Here's a fairly interesting article on the subject. I can't vouch for the sources as they aren't quoted.

http://www.geocities.com/ed_morris_inc/grandfather/Taranto.htm

Apart from the extensive info on the dispostion of the opposing forces, it reminded me of a true event I haven't heard anyone mention yet. That a Japanese Naval delegation was sent to Taranto immediately following the raid.

Wether that was just to confirm what they already knew, scout for ideas or just inspect the damage, who knows for sure http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

M_Gunz
06-11-2007, 10:49 AM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
Read Prange. The Japanese strategy hsd always been a strategic defensive in the event of a war with the U.S. Let the U.S. carry out War Plan Orange---the great strategic thrust across the Pacific---and the Japanese planned to attrite the U.S. Navy every step of the way using every means they had. The culmination would be a grand battle fought on their terms, in their home waters, with a badly depleted U.S. fleet. That was the plan. They NEVER planned to reach out across the Pacific to hit the U.S. Navy in it anchorage: (1) because the Pacific Fleet was never based at Pearl Harbor, it was based on the West Coast of the United States until a Presidential order sent it to Hawaii in the fall of 1940 against the advice of the C-in-C of the Pacific Fleet who was sacked by FDR. (2) The entire strategy of the Japanese Navy was based on luring the U.S. Navy forward to its destruction, not in presenting their heavy warships to the Americans on a platter. Yamamoto reversed the grand strategic plan, and this caused a great deal of unease in the fleet. Furthermore, one of his closest advisors, Admiral Ugaki, warned him the Americans would be enraged by a surprise attack on the fleet. Yamamoto ignored his warnings. Pearl harbor was only the first of many strategic blunders made by Yamamoto.

I keep reading that Yamamoto did NOT want to attack and warned that they would have 6 months
before they'd be in trouble. I guess that Prange had to write something different and I can
only guess why.

The clowns in charge of the Japanese push to conquer are the ones that mandated the attack.
The US position gave them no big choice either. They could stop with the conquest or they
could strike before the US beefed up defenses clear to the Phillipines.

50 years after the war there was material released showing that the attack was known about
and that all direct communication to the White House about it was blocked. Even from the
Japanese diplomats who were made to sit cooling their heels until it was over despite the
US having broken the code and knowing the message. That includes vocal testimony of a
Navy decoder who personally tried and was blocked.

All the carriers and escorts sent were out on maneuvers alone.

Onshore leaves were canceled for Sunday, Dec 7th 1941 when normally the sailors would have
them and many would have gone to church or at least said they were.

No PROOF, just a trail of well documented anomalies.

The Japanese in command just got way too full of themselves and seemed to have forgotten
that they weren't the only ones capable of strategy. Or strength. Or winning.

ploughman
06-11-2007, 12:15 PM
"I keep reading that Yamamoto did NOT want to attack and warned that they would have 6 months
before they'd be in trouble. I guess that Prange had to write something different and I can
only guess why."

I've got my Prange out...

Prange's monumental At Dawn We Slept was published in 1981, the culmination of over 30 years of study. Perhaps it is everyone else that 'had to write something different.'

According to Prange Yamamoto actually considered, albeit briefly, a one way torpedo attack on Pearl, so convinced was he that a devastating raid on the Pacific Fleet would knock America out of the war as it began that he actually considered sacrficing his offensive naval air groups. It's pretty clear that Yamamoto was making gross errors in assessing the psychological impact of an attack on Pearl both on the US population and its military.

"The clowns in charge of the Japanese push to conquer are the ones that mandated the attack.
The US position gave them no big choice either. They could stop with the conquest or they
could strike before the US beefed up defenses clear to the Phillipines."

Sure, and with 20/20 hindsight I can conclude that the US rarely fights wars that seek the total military subjugation of its enemies and total and unconditional surrender. The US fought limited wars in Asia after 1945 in Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere, a Japanese blow that was directed at the periphery of US interests in 1941 might well have resulted in an outcome that was more in line with initial Japanese hopes for the war. It's ironic that Pearl Harbor was a blow delivered so near to the centre of gravity of the interests of the United States that it provoked exactly the level of intractability the Japanese had been seeking to avoid.

"50 years after the war there was material released showing that the attack was known about
and that all direct communication to the White House about it was blocked. Even from the
Japanese diplomats who were made to sit cooling their heels until it was over despite the
US having broken the code and knowing the message. That includes vocal testimony of a
Navy decoder who personally tried and was blocked."

I didn't know that, but it was of course always suspected. A Gulf of Tonkin, long before the Gulf of Tonkin.

"The Japanese in command just got way too full of themselves and seemed to have forgotten
that they weren't the only ones capable of strategy. Or strength. Or winning."

Well, knocking the cr@p out of a fleet at anchor is almost universally considered a good thing. Nelson at Copenhagen, the Dutch at the Medway, Nelson again at The Battle of Aboukir Bay (Nile), the Japanese at Port Arthur, the British at Taranto. I think Pearl Harbor remains the single example I can think of where, with the benefit of hindsight, it was actually the wrong move and probably would've been even if they'd nailed the carriers too.

Kurfurst__
06-11-2007, 12:24 PM
Originally posted by Ploughman:
I think Pearl Harbor remains the single example I can think of where, with the benefit of hindsight, it was actually the wrong move and probably would've been even if they'd nailed the carriers too.

True, of course, but here's the catch : the USN was just about as conservative as the Japanese, or any other Navy. For them it was the mighty BATTLESHIP that was the main thing, the core of the forces, the final arbiter of the sea. Carriers - no. Nice support vessels. Unproved.

The destruction of the US BBs a PH actually forced the USN to begun operate with pure carrier task forces. Not because carriers were so cool, but because carriers were the capital vessels they had at hand.

Who knows how the Pacific War would have gone if the IJN goes after the carriers and not the battleships.. I guess they'd have re-visited the good ole Skagerrak-style. IJN BBs vs. USN BBs. Carriers doing the recon and providing air support. No independent carrier strikes because it gives away the position of our precious battle line...

Blutarski2004
06-11-2007, 02:22 PM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
True, of course, but here's the catch : the USN was just about as conservative as the Japanese, or any other Navy.

..... Give the IJN due praise. They opened their war with a beautifully coordinated mass airstrike involving six carriers. Nothing on such a scale had ever been executed (even attempted?) before. The USN struggled with multi-carrier strike tactics until mid-1943 or so.




Who knows how the Pacific War would have gone if the IJN goes after the carriers and not the battleships.. I guess they'd have re-visited the good ole Skagerrak-style. IJN BBs vs. USN BBs. Carriers doing the recon and providing air support. No independent carrier strikes because it gives away the position of our precious battle line...

..... One original mission for carriers was to obtain local air superiority in order to allow the use of aerial spotting for BB fire. Although there were " true believers" in the carrier concept (the black shoes versus the brown shoes), the emergence of the carrier as an offensive weapon system in its own right was a slow and evolutionary process. As an aside, the development of the carrier as an important offensive weapon system was probably due in no small degree to the development of the dive-bomber.

One small nit to pick. Not to diminish in any way the great impact of the PH attack, but technically speaking only two of the eight US BB's attacked at Pearl Harbor were permanently lost (ARIZONA and OKLAHOMA). The others were repaired and put back into active service -

Apr 42 - PENNSYLVANIA
May 42 - MARYLAND
Aug 42 - TENNESSEE
May 43 - NEVADA
May 44 - CALIFORNIA
Sep 44 - WEST VIRGINIA

leitmotiv
06-11-2007, 04:08 PM
Kurfurst, if you are going to play at being a historian, you have to have some understanding of how the people of the time thought. Taranto was an extremely significant battle. The Italians thought they had covered themselves more than adequately with AA, barrage balloons, and fighters. They never expected the nefarious Royal Navy to dare to make a highly risky, long-range strike at night after sending their prize fleet carrier on a high speed run at the main Italian anchorage covered only by light warships. The Swordfish had special long-range tanks, and the pilots were highly-trained, and night-trained. Only the U.S. Navy was able to carry out comparable operations, and three years later. The Royal Navy had trained for the Taranto mission since the early 1930's! It was their ace in the hole versus the Italians, and they were dying to play it. As usual, you miss the devil in the details. The British temporaily knocked out the newest Italian battleship with 15" guns, and permanently wrecked a modernized old battleship, and damaged one of the best modernized old battleships which gave them temporary superiority in the Med. More important, it gnawed away at the Italian high command's elan. Throughout its history, the greatest weapon the Royal Navy has had has been its tremendous spirit of aggression combined with brilliant operations like Taranto, the Nile, Trafalgar, you name it. Right after Taranto, Force H bombarded Genoa! Talk about a kick in the nadgers! The Royal Navy has always understood that the psyche is the weakest link in the enemy's defenses.

So, Taranto was a radical operation. So was Pearl Harbor---PH was one of the great seafaring feats of history---sending several squadrons across the north Pacific to strike Hawaii. It was strategically idiotic (enraged the U.S.), but an incredible naval feat.

MB_Avro_UK
06-11-2007, 05:19 PM
Hey leitmotiv,

It may be of interest that the Taranto attack was originally planned for October 21st to coincide with Nelson's Trafalagar Day success of 1805. (My old employer the Royal Navy certainly planned in style as ever!).

The impact of the attack in my opinion went beyond the mere physical damage to the Italian Fleet.

It raised the morale of the Royal Navy at a difficult time and caused the Italian Navy to take a defensive posture.The attack was due to be repeated the following night but the weather closed in and prevented operations.

Yes,the Royal Navy suffered badly during the evacuation from Crete the following year at the hands of the Luftwaffe as mentioned earlier.

But the evacuation of British troops at this time wes performed without air cover. Also, the German Parachute invasion of Crete was a disaster. Hitler refused to allow the use of airborne troops again.

History is a rather complex subject. Maybe we are all right and wrong.. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Best Regards,
MB_Avro.

WWSensei
06-11-2007, 07:06 PM
I think Taranto and PH proved one thing.

Torpedo attacks on Battleships in harbor can be successfully done and are pretty much meaningless in the scope of the war. Why? Because battleships were pretty much obsolete as a viable naval platform. Sinking them didn't matter one bit.

Taranto didn't cripple the Italians much. Within 6 months most of the Japanese veterans of Pearl Harbor were Happy Warriors having served their Emperor and resting at the bottom of the Pacific--and not long after the US had most of her Battlewagons back.

Not that it mattered.

Because in the end all they really proved was that you could attack outdated warships at anchor. The era of the battleship was over and the carrier was the real battlewagon now.

And yes, before anyone starts rattling off action seen by battleships the reality is the US didn't expose theirs until they had air superiority and once the Japanese couldn't effectively cover theirs they were just big, expensive targets.

If Pearl Harbor had seen the Enterprise, Yorktown, Lexington and Hornet sunk the Japanese could have most likely dictated action in the Pacific for a couple of years until the US rebuilt carriers. Arguably, they may have even gotten us to agree to a non-aggression pact. Had every battleship survived PH they would have accomplished zilch without carrier air cover (just ask the Brits about TF 17 without air cover).

leitmotiv
06-11-2007, 07:37 PM
Taranto did matter because, without air superiority in the Med, battleships could act as decisive weapons in the convoy battles to keep the lines of supply to Malta and to Egypt (through the Med) open. With the Italian line of battle temporarly KOed the British could build up their positions in Malta and Egypt without hindrance until the Germans decisively intervened with Fligerkorps X in Jan 1941 which creamed ILLUSTRIOUS, sank cruiser SOUTHAMPTON and put the RN on notice the happy days were over. They plastered Malta, and later, more Luftwaffe units contributed to the Balkans/Crete debacle. The Med battle was a see-saw fight with the advantage shifting constantly. All arms did matter. Battleships remained useful at night throughout the war. When the German air units were shifted to Russia, the British regained advantage. The Italians KOed two British battleships in Alexandria with Chariots in Dec 1941, right after a German sub sank another, and the Italians had the advantage in the Med. Etc.

M_Gunz
06-11-2007, 10:47 PM
I think that most of the "power" of such attacks relies on how much of the enemy strength gets
destroyed and how fast they can replace it.

At Pearl the repair yards were almost untouched for example, just as with Taranto. The PH attack
only kissed off and polarized the politics of the US. It was more like a slap than a punch but
then there was no really decisive blow that the Japanese could have launched short of taking
Oahu and every other main island with a port, and good luck there! No matter what, the US
would launch back but Hawaii is a LONG WAY from San Fran and no base in between. IIRC the PH
attack did not even take out the PH fuel reserves but I could be wrong there. The 25th Inf was
stationed up in the mountains so an invasion would have had to have been major as well... was
the Kaneohe Marine base also there back then? If the IJN and IJA had been much bigger then
they -might- have been able to pull it off and figure two plus years before it would have been
taken back.

I dunno what the Brits could have done to make the Taranto attack more effective except for far
more planes bombing out the whole port. For sure they were not about to invade Italy!

Kurfurst__
06-12-2007, 03:04 AM
Originally posted by MB_Avro_UK:
Also, the German Parachute invasion of Crete was a disaster. Hitler refused to allow the use of airborne troops again.

This is rather more Churchill's way to nicen up things and the first place you'll find it is Churchill, The Politician's book. It's entirely baseless without factual basis. He made it up simple because if we put Create on the table, it was a disaster for the British. The Royal Navy suffered a lot, why : no air cover, why no air cover, uhm, because the RN carriers were all chasing Bismarck by Churchill's orders... for the same reason the RN just couldn't operate around Crete, the LW was free to pound the island which in end resulted 15 000 German para and mountain troops without heavy weapons kicking out 40 000 British, Greek and CW troops out of the island inflicting a damage of 3,500 dead, 1,900 wounded (incl. RN) ca 23,500 captured, at the cost of ca 4000 KIA and MIA and 2000 missing. Three RN cruisers and six destroyers sunk, seven ships damaged.

Churchill had plenty of reasons making up the story about Crete.

Paratroops were considered later for an operation on Malta, which was turned down because of the Italians lack of support rather than paratroopers, which were extensively used in Russia, Italy (Monte Cassino rings a bell), Normandy and the Ardennes, the attempt to capture Tito etc.

Using airborne troops have special conditions, they can only support a fast offensive, they can only capture and hold limited objective until relieved (Crete being the exception). The circumstances rarely present themselves. Just look at how many times were British and US paratroopers used in paradrops. Normandy and Arheim being the only two I can think of..

OD_
06-12-2007, 03:32 AM
~S~
Seems to be the same German biased bumf from Kurfurst!

Taranto proved a point, as numerous people have said now, it showed the Royal Navy could still strike back, it pushed the Italian fleet largely on the defensive, they never came out in large numbers again.

Crete did stop the Germans using Paratoopers in their intended role again. We know you don't like Churchill, but this is fact. The loss to transport aircraft can hardly be ignored. As for lack of air cover...not much to do with the carriers, the carrier borne fighters for the Navy were cr@p at that time. There was not much air cover in the area anyway, this was 1941...USSR not yet in the war, fighters needed for the expected rerun of the Battle of Britain in the coming summer. North Africa and the Med theatre did not exactly take a huge priority, up until this point the Italins were taking a beating in the desert and the Greeks had held them off well until the Germans intervened.

Yes the Navy yet again lost ships, and it was a defeat which may well have been avoided.I took forces away from North Africa when they were needed, but sometime politics does have to come into war and you have to live up to the treaties you made to defend nations.

Taranto gave the Royal Navy a much easier time in the Med when it came to worrying about surface battles. The Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica were still big threats but torpedo attacks aren't going to change that.

Just wish you could see more than one side for once.

ploughman
06-12-2007, 03:34 AM
Also major drops in Sicily and the Rhine crossings. Air bridge techniques to establish and supply air-heads (mwuahahaha), which is slightly different, were also used in Burma.

Kurfurst__
06-12-2007, 04:14 AM
Originally posted by OD_:
Taranto proved a point, as numerous people have said now, it showed the Royal Navy could still strike back, it pushed the Italian fleet largely on the defensive, they never came out in large numbers again.

Crete did stop the Germans using Paratoopers in their intended role again. We know you don't like Churchill, but this is fact.

Nice examples of wishful thinking, but I doubt they can do much to challange the historical fact that the Italian navy continued to operate the same in the med as before, and that the first one to claim the 'paratrooper disaster' story is Churchill, who was largely responsible for the Brit's catastrophe at Crete, like for many others before (Gallipoli, Norway etc.). He just likes to nicen things up in his memoires.

John_Wayne_
06-12-2007, 04:23 AM
Just be thankful we don't have to read Hitler's nicened up memoires. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Gumtree
06-12-2007, 04:24 AM
I believe that there was also some operations planed to support the Normandy breakout but the Ground war moved past the drop zones and thus rendered the drops invalid.

This happened a few times as the German resistance crumpled, para's became unusable to the best effect until the line stabilised. They also dropped over the Rhine to help the bridge head for the river crossing. Oops just saw this was already mentioned.

John_Wayne_
06-12-2007, 05:06 AM
Operation Dragoon, invasion of southern France.

ploughman
06-12-2007, 05:43 AM
Cretans aside. Interesting input their Leit, do you know anything about the use of torpedoes in the shallow anchorages at Taranto and whether or not this affected the nature of the attack on Pearl?

John_Wayne_
06-12-2007, 06:47 AM
Taranto certainly showed an attack on a fleet at shallow anchorage was possible. If it didn't inspire the Japanese, it certainly reinforced belief. As mentioned, they were quick to send a delegation to see the damage first hand. Been looking for photo's of said delegation - have one in a book here somewhere - no luck so far.

Pretty fair assesment on Wiki, mentions modded torps:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Taranto

ploughman
06-12-2007, 07:16 AM
Bit confused now. That wiki article refers to a anchorage depth of 40 ft at Taranto but I thought it was 70 ft which is 30ft less than the generally accepted minimum of 100ft for aerial torpedo operations at the time. Pearl was 40ft.

luftluuver
06-12-2007, 07:24 AM
It would be nice if Mr Kettle would, for once, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, without putting his hatred of the British spin on events.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Crete

For the loss on 2 cruisers and a destroyer, the German seaborne assault was replused with heavy casualties.

British Commonwealth 3,579 KIA, 1,900MIA, 12,254POW = 17,733 total


Yes German paras were used as combat troops but they NEVER again jumped, which is what ppl are saying.

Blutarski2004
06-12-2007, 07:26 AM
Originally posted by Ploughman:
Cretans aside. Interesting input their Leit, do you know anything about the use of torpedoes in the shallow anchorages at Taranto and whether or not this affected the nature of the attack on Pearl?


.... From "The Attack on Taranto - Blueprint for Pearl Harbor"; T P Lowery & J W G Wellham:

"...the Fleet Air Arm used a fine wire cable, coiled on a drum, which connected plane and torpedo. When the torpedo was dropped, the carefully calculated length and breaking point of the wire placed the falling torpedo at the correct depth and angle." - note: personal recollection of J W G Wellham, who was a participant in the attack.

Torpedo in use: 18-inch RNTF Mark IX; 2,000 yds @ 29 knots; warhead 250 lbs (probably TNT at this early stage in the war)

Tactical result of attack: Battleships LITTORIO and DUILIO were returned to service in five and six months respectively. CAVOUR was still under repair when the war ended.

Strategic impact of attack: Limited. The British enjoyed a period of capital ship superiority of numbers in the Mediterranean, but were were unable to meaningfully exploit it due to domination of the air by the LW.

WilhelmVonPrang
06-12-2007, 07:27 AM
Prange published 11 years before Ralph Nader pushed the Freedom of Information Act through senate. The latter enabled researchers to uncover some glaring anomalies in the original record.

Has anyone made a study of the life histories of the capital ships that were sunk in Pearl Harbor?

Blutarski2004
06-12-2007, 07:34 AM
Originally posted by luftluuver:
It would be nice if Mr Kettle would, for once, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, without putting his hatred of the British spin on events.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Crete

For the loss on 2 cruisers and a destroyer, the German seaborne assault was replused with heavy casualties.

..... Lufty, two German convoys WERE turned back, but the Germans did succeed in landing reinforcements by sea, including a large fraction of the 5th Mountain Division.




British Commonwealth 3,579 KIA, 1,900MIA, 12,254POW = 17,733 total

..... Those figures are good, but they omit the returns from the Greek Army. No data available on KIA/WIA/MIA, but 5200+ out of about 10,000 men were captured on Crete.

luftluuver
06-12-2007, 07:46 AM
During the night of May 20-21, a British light naval force broke through the German aerial blockade and searched the waters north of Crete. Admiral Schuster thereupon decided to call back to Milos the first naval convoy, which was approaching Crete under escort of an Italian destroyer. At dawn on May 21, German planes sighted the British ships and subjected them to heavy air attacks. One destroyer was sunk and two cruisers damaged. At 09:00 the waters north of Crete were cleared of enemy ships and the convoy was ordered to continue its voyage in the direction of Maleme. During the day German dive bombers based on Skarpanto and Italian planes flying from Rhodes scored several hits on British ships returning to Crete waters, thereby preventing them from intercepting the Axis convoy. The German troops on the island were anxiously awaiting the arrival of artillery, antitank guns, and supplies, but poor weather conditions so delayed the convoy that it could not reach the island before darkness.

When it finally came around Cape Spatha at 23:00, a British naval task force suddenly confronted the convoy, which was on the way to Suda Bay to land reinforcements and supplies. The British immobilized the Italian escort vessel and sank most of the motor sailers and freighters. Many German soldiers, most of them mountain troops, were drowned. Sea rescue planes, however, picked up the majority of the shipwrecked. The second convoy, which had meanwhile reached Milos, was recalled to Piraeus to save it from a similar fate. No further seaborne landings were attempted until the fate of Crete had been decided.

J.M.LLOYD
06-12-2007, 08:10 AM
I would say that the Japanese were very much inspired by the British air attack on the Italian fleet at Toranto,they studied it such that it became almost a blue print of their own attack at Pearl Habour, the Imperial Japanese fleet was modeled on the Royal Navy,her officers being encouraged to display the Nelson touch,the British were even building warships for the Japanese. The KONGO 26,000 ton Battlecruiser/Battleship[1913-1944] was built in the United Kingdom at the Barrow-in-Furness dockyard. In 1941 the Japanese Navy was the most powerful in the world

Blutarski2004
06-12-2007, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by luftluuver:
No further seaborne landings were attempted until the fate of Crete had been decided.[/i]


..... You are correct, Lufty. I misread my sources; All the 5th Mtn Division troops were flown in.

I'm going to stand in the corner now for the rest of the class.

BfHeFwMe
06-12-2007, 10:30 PM
A. It was never Yamamoto's plan, all Pearl Harbor strike plans were the responsibility of Minoru Genda, a Naval Academy Grad and Fighter Pilot.

B. He theorized and drew up an initial carrier attack plan in 1934. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

C. This wasn't the major thrust or operation, just a small cog in an initial strike. Singapore, the Philippines, and Dutch Indies among others were.

D. Romania was a Superpower militarily compared to the USA in 1941.

Kurfurst__
06-13-2007, 02:32 AM
Originally posted by Blutarski2004:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Ploughman:
Cretans aside. Interesting input their Leit, do you know anything about the use of torpedoes in the shallow anchorages at Taranto and whether or not this affected the nature of the attack on Pearl?


.... From "The Attack on Taranto - Blueprint for Pearl Harbor"; T P Lowery & J W G Wellham:

"...the Fleet Air Arm used a fine wire cable, coiled on a drum, which connected plane and torpedo. When the torpedo was dropped, the carefully calculated length and breaking point of the wire placed the falling torpedo at the correct depth and angle." - note: personal recollection of J W G Wellham, who was a participant in the attack.

Torpedo in use: 18-inch RNTF Mark IX; 2,000 yds @ 29 knots; warhead 250 lbs (probably TNT at this early stage in the war)

Tactical result of attack: Battleships LITTORIO and DUILIO were returned to service in five and six months respectively. CAVOUR was still under repair when the war ended.

Strategic impact of attack: Limited. The British enjoyed a period of capital ship superiority of numbers in the Mediterranean, but were were unable to meaningfully exploit it due to domination of the air by the LW. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

... That's a pretty fair assessment with I can agree with completely.

Kurfurst__
06-13-2007, 02:34 AM
Originally posted by J.M.LLOYD:
In 1941 the Japanese Navy was the most powerful in the world

I don't know much about the IJN, but I believe most of their BBs were example rather old ones, the 2 Yamatos being the only modern units..? Of course that was not much different from the pre-PH USN, which also featured lot of old BBs, but they had more modern units coming of the line, the NC and SD classes.

whiteladder
06-13-2007, 02:53 AM
I don't know much about the IJN, but I believe most of their BBs were example rather old ones, the 2 Yamatos being the only modern units..? Of course that was not much different from the pre-PH USN, which also featured lot of old BBs, but they had more modern units coming of the line, the NC and SD classes.


They did have a fair proportion of relatively old BB, but so did every navy ( with the exception of Germany who were basically starting from scratch).

But Japan probably had the most successful prewar modernisation program for its older ships, which made them superior to contemporaries in other countries.

ploughman
06-13-2007, 04:16 AM
Originally posted by BfHeFwMe:


D. Romania was a Superpower militarily compared to the USA in 1941.

While I understand the point you are trying to make (the size of the US Army in 1939 was tiny, utterly dwarfed by large conscript continental European armies) this is not true, especially in the sphere that mattered in the Pacific. The US Pacific Fleet consisted of 9 battleships, 3 aircraft carriers, 12 heavy cruisers, 8 light cruisers, 50 destroyers, 33 submarines, and 100 patrol bombers in mid-1941. This makes it, in its own right, independent of the rest of the US Navy, one of the largest and most well balanced fleets afloat in the world at that time.

After all, the Japanese didn't attack Pearl Harbor because the US Pacific Fleet represented a smaller threat to them than the Romania. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

ake109
06-13-2007, 04:31 AM
Originally posted by Kurfurst__:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by J.M.LLOYD:
In 1941 the Japanese Navy was the most powerful in the world

I don't know much about the IJN, but I believe most of their BBs were example rather old ones, the 2 Yamatos being the only modern units..? Of course that was not much different from the pre-PH USN, which also featured lot of old BBs, but they had more modern units coming of the line, the NC and SD classes. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

In 1941, the Yamato wasn't in full service yet. The most modern BB they had were the Nagatos and the refurbished Kongos.

What made the IJN tough for 1941 was their 6 fleet carriers staffed with well trained crews flying Zeros/Vals/Kates.

joeap
06-13-2007, 11:27 AM
You know I don't know why so many of you are focused on "old BBs" as somehow less effective. Against an enemy with air superiority it didn't matter squat for Prince of Wales, Tirpitz and Yamato.

The Italian rebuilds were handsome, modern looking, if underarmed and armoured, ships (I don't mean the modern Littorio class, they were fine powerful ships).

Warspite did alright with her modernisation. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

I would say the modernised Kongo class were also very good investments, sure were a lot more active than the 2 white elephant Yamatos.