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Author Topic: Could Japan have won the pacific war?  (Read 1439 times)

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August 29, 2017, 09:31:33 PMReply #20

Offline Lord Xizer

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2017, 09:31:33 PM »
I've read a few of these Duel on aviation topics, can't say I was impressed (I now avoid them but maybe I was unlucky on those I read or maybe only the ones on aviation topics were dispensable), but I enjoyed much of the Aircraft of the Aces, Aviation Elite Units or Combat Aircraft series.

If I can advice book on the air war over the Pacific :

John Lundstrom's The First Team serie
Shattered Sword : The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jon Parshall & Anthony Tully

As I said, I read most at tactical level :
Genda's Blade : Japan's Squadron of Aces : 343 Kokutai by Henry Sakaida & Koji Takaki (they lately produced a more general on a more wider subject Aircraft of the Aces on the subject)
Eagles of the Southern Sky - The Tainan Air Group in WWII by Luca Ruffato & Michael Claringbould (the book
For USAAF bomber unit histories in the Pacific, have a look here : http://irandpcorp.com/current-projects-2/

I have also : Bruce Gamble's serie about Rabaul and William Wolf's serie about V Fighter Command, but not sure how good it is.

Thanks for the link BTW

You are most welcome for the link, I do have Shattered Sword, not sure how I forgot to list it. I do highly recommend the vs books that deal with naval ships, far more interesting and in depth than the aircraft ones in my opinion.
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August 30, 2017, 10:26:48 AMReply #21

Offline DarthRevansRevenge

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2017, 10:26:48 AM »
Another Book on the Pacific War, Victory at Sea, has everything on why and how they won. very good read
do you know what really makes me mad? that the NR didn't make as many different SSDs as the empire. they would have won much faster had they done so. it's just not fair. but, if their were more NR SSDs, they would be absolute SUPER-CARRIERS.

but, i'm a member of the PA at heart, and my wish here is to join the ranks of grand admirals... sorry, the elite imperial alignment

August 30, 2017, 01:48:07 PMReply #22

Offline Lord Xizer

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2017, 01:48:07 PM »
Another Book on the Pacific War, Victory at Sea, has everything on why and how they won. very good read

Also a great tv series
"I do not intend to be the Emperor's servant forever..."-High Inquisitor Jerec

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February 11, 2018, 10:29:49 AMReply #23

Offline Daanishmalik

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2018, 10:29:49 AM »
IMO the pacific war was being lost the moment after the midway crisis where enterprise and hornet were the last 2 aircraft carriers left in the pacific until 1943 while japan did sink hronet they could never finish off the enterprise they lost too many of their ace pilots and carriers too early on to match americas industrialization of 1943.

February 11, 2018, 10:40:01 AMReply #24

Offline kucsidave

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2018, 10:40:01 AM »
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.
And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee." - Friedrich Nietzsche

February 11, 2018, 10:25:25 PMReply #25

Offline Lord Xizer

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2018, 10:25:25 PM »
"I do not intend to be the Emperor's servant forever..."-High Inquisitor Jerec

"The New Order has never fallen. Only the Emperor."-Grand Moff Ardus Kaine

February 12, 2018, 06:34:10 AMReply #26

Offline kucsidave

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2018, 06:34:10 AM »
Glad you like it :)
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.
And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee." - Friedrich Nietzsche

February 12, 2018, 10:40:12 AMReply #27

Offline Admiral Stephen

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2018, 10:40:12 AM »


I too have enjoyed watching these videos; I just watched this one the other day coincidentally enough. I agree with this video. The United States still would have won in the end. They had so many advantages over Japan in terms of manpower, industry, technology, etc, that it would have always been a matter of time until the United States won, especially with Japan so spread out over the Pacific. With this, I don't think Japan would have been able to win the war.
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February 12, 2018, 05:38:05 PMReply #28

Offline Pali

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2018, 05:38:05 PM »
Winning in the sense of conquering the US was never on the table.  Winning in the sense of hurting the US enough that it wouldn't keep fighting over control of the Pacific?  Still highly unlikely, I think, but Midway going the other way would've made it at least a possibility.

What I do think the video is wrong about is that the Japanese would not have been able to take Midway Island had the naval battle gone their way.  Yes, US troops managed to take islands defended by larger numbers of Japanese troops later on in the war, but this was done under cover of naval and air supremacy that could support landings and diminish the ability of Japanese land forces to concentrate strength effectively.  The US garrison was about equal in number to the Japanese landing force brought along, and I see no reason to simply assume that Japanese naval and air dominance couldn't have supported their own troops just as effectively - if Japanese forces were as pathetic as this video makes them out to be, they'd never have conquered the Philippines as easily as they did (23,000 US troops killed/captured there).

Now, even had Midway fallen, Hawaii by this point was already too heavily defended by land-based planes to make a naval invasion feasible, so Midway would've been as far as the push east went - Japan afterward would have likely tried to consolidate control over Pacific islands to deny the US potential bases among them to support a counter-attack.  Forcing the US to accept de facto Japanese control over the Pacific at this point would not have been beyond the realm of possibility, especially as the US and other allies were trying to concentrate their efforts on the European front and things weren't going the Allies' way there yet either.

February 12, 2018, 09:08:54 PMReply #29

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2018, 09:08:54 PM »
Winning in the sense of conquering the US was never on the table.  Winning in the sense of hurting the US enough that it wouldn't keep fighting over control of the Pacific?  Still highly unlikely, I think, but Midway going the other way would've made it at least a possibility.

What I do think the video is wrong about is that the Japanese would not have been able to take Midway Island had the naval battle gone their way.  Yes, US troops managed to take islands defended by larger numbers of Japanese troops later on in the war, but this was done under cover of naval and air supremacy that could support landings and diminish the ability of Japanese land forces to concentrate strength effectively.  The US garrison was about equal in number to the Japanese landing force brought along, and I see no reason to simply assume that Japanese naval and air dominance couldn't have supported their own troops just as effectively - if Japanese forces were as pathetic as this video makes them out to be, they'd never have conquered the Philippines as easily as they did (23,000 US troops killed/captured there).

Now, even had Midway fallen, Hawaii by this point was already too heavily defended by land-based planes to make a naval invasion feasible, so Midway would've been as far as the push east went - Japan afterward would have likely tried to consolidate control over Pacific islands to deny the US potential bases among them to support a counter-attack.  Forcing the US to accept de facto Japanese control over the Pacific at this point would not have been beyond the realm of possibility, especially as the US and other allies were trying to concentrate their efforts on the European front and things weren't going the Allies' way there yet either.

I would bring up a couple points here, had Midway been a total IJN victory, the follow up operation later in the year specified Hawaii as a priority target for acquisition along with the Aleutian islands. Without its carriers a combined IJN CV force of six to eight CVs could suppress the islands air garrison while the IJN BBs and CAs bombarded it. Had they been inclined to commit fully to it, Japan could have taken Hawaii, they just wouldn't be able to hold it. Each success they had in the Pacific also only fueled US desire  for revenge. There was no scenario where Japan goes to war with the US that would end favorably for them.
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February 12, 2018, 10:45:45 PMReply #30

Offline Pali

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2018, 10:45:45 PM »
Agreed regarding US resolve, which makes me think stopping at Midway after a Japanese victory would have been the smart move - prior to the war I doubt most Americans could have named Midway, but Hawaii was already “ours” in people’s minds and was well on the way to statehood.  Stopping after a Midway win and seeking a truce that recognized Japanese supremacy in the west Pacific would have been Japan’s best hope (and Hitler tried asking Britain for a similar treaty after conquering France), but it is definitely questionable that the US would have accepted such.

February 13, 2018, 12:06:43 AMReply #31

Offline Schräge Musik

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2018, 12:06:43 AM »
It is easy to forget the importance of events in Europe. However, the USSR did fight Japan in Manchuria during the last weeks of the war. Any speculation is incomplete without considering the impact of the Soviets turning their attention eastward.

February 13, 2018, 02:27:18 AMReply #32

Offline Pali

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2018, 02:27:18 AM »
It is easy to forget the importance of events in Europe. However, the USSR did fight Japan in Manchuria during the last weeks of the war. Any speculation is incomplete without considering the impact of the Soviets turning their attention eastward.

Had the fighting in the Pacific died down after a Japanese victory in the summer of 42, with Japan being recognized by the US and other Allied powers (which were in no condition to oppose Japan in the Pacific at this point) as ruler of a Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere involving most Pacific islands west of Midway and north of Australia (including New Guinea and Indonesia, and any already held or soon-to-be-seized territory in China and Manchuria), I honestly wouldn't expect the USSR to declare against Japan in late 45.  They'd have had 3 years at that point of uncontested fortifying of their new holdings, along with having successfully secured the time and territory required to develop the resources to support their expanded military.  The Soviet Pacific fleet was of minimal strength, and couldn't have possibly stood up to an IJN that hadn't been smashed by US naval power - hell, even in late 45 in the real history the Soviet Pacific fleet was a pathetic thing consisting of only a few dozen light ships, and while the Soviets were able to push Japan out of Korea and Manchuria they were in no position to invade Japan itself.

February 13, 2018, 02:23:12 PMReply #33

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2018, 02:23:12 PM »
Had the fighting in the Pacific died down after a Japanese victory in the summer of 42, with Japan being recognized by the US and other Allied powers (which were in no condition to oppose Japan in the Pacific at this point) as ruler of a Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere involving most Pacific islands west of Midway and north of Australia (including New Guinea and Indonesia, and any already held or soon-to-be-seized territory in China and Manchuria), I honestly wouldn't expect the USSR to declare against Japan in late 45.  They'd have had 3 years at that point of uncontested fortifying of their new holdings, along with having successfully secured the time and territory required to develop the resources to support their expanded military.  The Soviet Pacific fleet was of minimal strength, and couldn't have possibly stood up to an IJN that hadn't been smashed by US naval power - hell, even in late 45 in the real history the Soviet Pacific fleet was a pathetic thing consisting of only a few dozen light ships, and while the Soviets were able to push Japan out of Korea and Manchuria they were in no position to invade Japan itself.
Recall too that the only reasons the USSR attacked Japan in 1945 was as part of a deal with the US and because they saw an opportunity to create a puppet government in Manchuria to back up their goals in the region. If Japan is victorious in the Pacific these two reasons do not exist in that alternative scenario.
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February 15, 2018, 03:14:35 PMReply #34

Offline Skyline5gtr

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #34 on: February 15, 2018, 03:14:35 PM »
Once they attacked Pearl H and the American War Machine mobilized it was over. They could never match it , they needed to cripple the fleet in that initial strike

February 15, 2018, 07:37:56 PMReply #35

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #35 on: February 15, 2018, 07:37:56 PM »
Once they attacked Pearl H and the American War Machine mobilized it was over. They could never match it , they needed to cripple the fleet in that initial strike

Even if they had fully annihilated that fleet at Pearl it would have bought them 8 months tops as nearly every main ship there minus the carriers were already obsolete and replaced before August 1942.
"I do not intend to be the Emperor's servant forever..."-High Inquisitor Jerec

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February 16, 2018, 03:28:43 AMReply #36

Offline Jagen Eripsa

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2018, 03:28:43 AM »
Japan is an isle, with few minerals and a lot less population than the United States. Pearl Harbor was for them the beginning of the end. Their eyes were bigger than the belly, like the Nazis with the USSR.
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February 16, 2018, 04:30:37 AMReply #37

Offline 0ffkilter

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #37 on: February 16, 2018, 04:30:37 AM »
Well they never wanted to completely "beat" the US - the plan was to get as much territory and then the US would sue for peace/not attack back.  But since when has a large slap in the face ever gone unreturned?

February 16, 2018, 05:48:22 AMReply #38

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2018, 05:48:22 AM »
Even if they had fully annihilated that fleet at Pearl it would have bought them 8 months tops as nearly every main ship there minus the carriers were already obsolete and replaced before August 1942.

The battleships were almost obsolete once the dive-bombers and torpedo aircraft were introduced (battleships could only be used with the advantage of surprise and preferably by night). The Japanese know that but they nevertheless targeted them in priority and not the stock of oil of Pearl Harbor (had it been destroyed that would have delayed US effort in the Pacific for about 6 month). In my opinion, Pearl Harbor was a psychological attack and on this aspect it was a success.

February 16, 2018, 09:42:17 AMReply #39

Offline Admiral Stephen

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Re: Could Japan have won the pacific war?
« Reply #39 on: February 16, 2018, 09:42:17 AM »
Japan is an isle, with few minerals and a lot less population than the United States. Pearl Harbor was for them the beginning of the end. Their eyes were bigger than the belly, like the Nazis with the USSR.

This was their big problem. An island like that could not have hoped to keep up with the United States industrial might once the war started. Their technology also didn't advance much during the war either. For instance, their planes were pretty much outdated by 1944-45, and the United States was blasting them out of the sky. The Japanese also couldn't replace their losses, and it got to the point where they thought kamikaze attacks on American ships would be more effective than trying to engage them by conventional means (torpedoes, dive bombers, etc.) Nearly every factor (Industry, resources, replacing losses, technology, etc.) was working against Japan against the United States in the Pacific War. As others in the thread have said, unless the U.S. gave up the Pacific War if the Japanese had won at Midway, they were going to lose regardless of what happened.

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