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Heres another "what if"



  • What if
    The Typhoon of Dec. 16 1944 or the Typhoon of June 4 1945 had sunk the American Fleet
    Have fun and enjoy
    That would have been a hard one to take on the jaw


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 Customizer 2013 2012 2011 2010

    The December 1944 typhoon – in which Admiral Halsey was famously involved – didn’t hit “the American fleet” in the Pacific as a whole, it hit the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet, which was only one component of the USN’s total strength in the Pacific at the time.  More precisely still, it hit just one part of the Third Fleet, Task Force 38, which comprised 13 carriers (7 fleet, 6 light), 8 battlships, 15 cruisers and 50 or so destroyers.  Many of the ships in the TF were damaged – some severely – but only three ships were actually lost; all three of them were destroyers, the smallest of the ship types, which capsized and sank.  A loss of every ship in the task force, including the carriers and battleships, would probably have required an asteroid strike rather than a typhoon.  Even assuming such a worse-case scenario, however, and fully recognizing that even just the real storm’s effects were serious and unwelcome and damaging (including to Halsey’s career), the total loss of TF 38 at that point in the war probably wouldn’t have had any history-changing repercussions.  The Battle of Leyte Gulf, about six weeks earlier, had more or less eliminated what was left (which wasn’t much at that point) of the IJN’s carrier forces, along with three battleships (including the superbattleship Musashi), and Japan’s stores of fuel oil were getting dangerously low, so the IJN was pretty much on its last legs.  The USN, by contrast, had an abundance of warships in late 1944 (and carrier planes and pilots) of all types, all the fuel it needed, an armada of supply ships able to keep the fleet operating at sea for months on end, and a considerable network of naval bases and repair facilities (some of them in forward operational areas of the western Pacific).  By June 1945, the imbalance was ever larger and Japan was just two months from surrender.



  • @CWO:

    The December 1944 typhoon – in which Admiral Halsey was famously involved – didn’t hit “the American fleet” in the Pacific as a whole, it hit the U.S. Navy’s Third Fleet, which was only one component of the USN’s total strength in the Pacific at the time.  More precisely still, it hit just one part of the Third Fleet, Task Force 38, which comprised 13 carriers (7 fleet, 6 light), 8 battlships, 15 cruisers and 50 or so destroyers.  Many of the ships in the TF were damaged – some severely – but only three ships were actually lost; all three of them were destroyers, the smallest of the ship types, which capsized and sank.  A loss of every ship in the task force, including the carriers and battleships, would probably have required an asteroid strike rather than a typhoon.  Even assuming such a worse-case scenario, however, and fully recognizing that even just the real storm’s effects were serious and unwelcome and damaging (including to Halsey’s career), the total loss of TF 38 at that point in the war probably wouldn’t have had any history-changing repercussions.  The Battle of Leyte Gulf, about six weeks earlier, had more or less eliminated what was left (which wasn’t much at that point) of the IJN’s carrier forces, along with three battleships (including the superbattleship Musashi), and Japan’s stores of fuel oil were getting dangerously low, so the IJN was pretty much on its last legs.  The USN, by contrast, had an abundance of warships in late 1944 (and carrier planes and pilots) of all types, all the fuel it needed, an armada of supply ships able to keep the fleet operating at sea for months on end, and a considerable network of naval bases and repair facilities (some of them in forward operational areas of the western Pacific).  By June 1945, the imbalance was ever larger and Japan was just two months from surrender.

    My great uncle was stationed on a destroyer in the Third Fleet during the Typhoon. He spent the entire next day sewing up sailor lacerations.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 Customizer 2013 2012 2011 2010

    @ABWorsham:

    My great uncle was stationed on a destroyer in the Third Fleet during the Typhoon. He spent the entire next day sewing up sailor lacerations.

    Interesting; thanks for sharing that.  If it might interest you, part of the movie The Caine Mutiny, which stars Humphrey Bogart and which is set aboard a destroyer-minesweeper, depicts the December 1944 typhoon.  The film is based on the novel of the same name, by Herman Wouk, who served on this type of ship during WWII.



  • Thanks guys! Great work and awesome personal experience, and a Bogart movie to watch
    S.A.



  • @CWO:

    @ABWorsham:

    My great uncle was stationed on a destroyer in the Third Fleet during the Typhoon. He spent the entire next day sewing up sailor lacerations.

    Interesting; thanks for sharing that.  If it might interest you, part of the movie The Caine Mutiny, which stars Humphrey Bogart and which is set aboard a destroyer-minesweeper, depicts the December 1944 typhoon.  The film is based on the novel of the same name, by Herman Wouk, who served on this type of ship during WWII.

    That same uncle got a pair of sun glasses and a front seat at the Bikini nuclear test.

    He went into the Navy. My grandfather went the Army route with the US 2nd Inf Div.


  • 2018

    @ABWorsham:

    That same uncle got a pair of sun glasses and a front seat at the Bikini nuclear test.

    He went into the Navy. My grandfather went the Army route with the US 2nd Inf Div.

    My grandfather, an Army officer, witnessed a post-war atomic bomb test in New Mexico or Nevada (I can’t recall which). He was in a slit trench with a large group of officers and dignitaries. They were instructed to sit down in the trench, backs to the bomb, close their eyes and put their hands over them. Grandfather said even with his eyes closed, in the flash of the blast, he could see every bone in his hands - a perfect X-ray. After a few seconds, they were told to stand up, turn around and take a look at the mushroom cloud. My grandfather slipped and fell back into the trench. This was quite lucky, as the others stood and turned just in time to get a face-full of the radioactive dust billowing across the desert floor.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 Customizer 2013 2012 2011 2010

    @The:

    This was quite lucky, as the others stood and turned just in time to get a face-full of the radioactive dust billowing across the desert floor.

    He was definitely a lucky fellow.  There was another A-bomb test back in those days which included an exercise by US tank and mechanized infantry units to test out the concept of armoured forces exploiting a breach in a simulated enemy line created by the use of a tactical nuclear weapon.  The exercise, as I recall, is mentioned in Richard M. Ogorkiewicz’s book Technology of Tanks, and I think the armoured force in question was designated Task Force Razor.


  • 2018

    @CWO:

    He was definitely a lucky fellow.  There was another A-bomb test back in those days which included an exercise by US tank and mechanized infantry units to test out the concept of armoured forces exploiting a breach in a simulated enemy line created by the use of a tactical nuclear weapon.  The exercise, as I recall, is mentioned in Richard M. Ogorkiewicz’s book Technology of Tanks, and I think the armoured force in question was designated Task Force Razor.

    I shudder to think of the price paid by our service personnel back then. In the same vein, another winning idea from the era was the “Davy Crockett atomic mortar” (actually a recoilless rifle):

    https://armyhistory.org/the-m28m29-davy-crockett-nuclear-weapon-system/

    The Davy Crockett’s chief shortcoming was its inability to hurl the nuclear projectile far enough to ensure the gun crew didn’t fall victim to their own weapon. Key takeaway from the article:

    “Since the warhead also posed a threat to the crew firing it, the Army recommended that soldiers manning the Davy Crockett select firing positions in sheltered locations, such as the rear slope of a hill.  Soldiers were also encouraged to keep their heads down to protect themselves from the warhead’s detonation.”

    Not mentioned in the article is a quote from a soldier who served on a Davy Crockett crew, which I heard years ago. He said the most valuable piece of equipment in that weapon system was an e-tool, used by the crew to dig foxholes in the event they had to fire the weapon.


 

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