If US lost the battle of Midway


  • Would there be any chance of US suing for peace and give Japan some of what they captured?

    The strength between the two naval forces was pretty equal, and Japanese aircraft spotted the US carrier groups first (?) as seen on WW2 documentaries.

    If the outcome was opposite, a decisive Japanese victory, did the US have lots of other naval assets to use against the Japanese, as compared to the eastern front when Russia could send more soldiers than the Germans?

    I guess if Japan won the battle of Midway it would only prolong the inevitable, the war in the Pacific could last a year or 5 years longer. FDR would not give in, he would produce more carriers and DDs and CAs etc, and ftrs, and send them against the Japanese.
    And if US had different president than FDR he would never sue for peace, b/c the American people would not allow it?
    This is what I believe, what do you think?


  • I think United States would have rely on long range Bomber and Submarine if Japan win at Midway.

    Japan not able to attack United States direct so United States have safe zone on West Coast to build ship and attack Japan.  Hawaii would be main United States outpost in Pacific, with PBY to spot and B-25 and Submarine to sink Japan ship that try to move past Midway.

    Nuclear Weapon still end Pacific War in 1945 even if second Doolittle raid required to get bomb in range.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The loss would only extend the war. There is no way in hell that the US is going to surrender if they lose 3 carriers. In a years time they outnumber the japanese pilots and carriers and it just gets worse from that point.

    In the mean time Japan would have another crack at Port Moresby and attack Australia and gain more traction in China and have an airbase at Midway and start bombing Hawaii. They would take Christmas Island, the Solomons and a few other islands, but nothing more. They had no plan except to get us to “grow tired” of the war, which was not gonna happen based on the Dec 7th bombing. Never.


  • If the U.S lost the Battle of Midway the war would have only been lengthed by no more than another year. I say this for the point, the Japanese could not restock trained aircrews and ships as the U.S could. The lust of revenge on Peaerl Harbor would keep the U.S in the war.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    yep


  • The Japanese Aircraft models, which had little in the way of pilot or aircraft protection, demanded that Japan needed to turn out a large number of skill air crews. Had the Japanese won Midway the IJN could not easily replenish thier carriers.

    Much like Wake Island, if Midway were occupied by Japanese troop, the IJN would been hard pressed to resupply the Midway garrison.


  • @ShadowHAwk:

    @ABWorsham:

    The Japanese Aircraft models, which had little in the way of pilot or aircraft protection, demanded that Japan needed to turn out a large number of skill air crews. Had the Japanese won Midway the IJN could not easily replenish thier carriers.

    Much like Wake Island, if Midway were occupied by Japanese troop, the IJN would been hard pressed to resupply the Midway garrison.

    Well it all depends on how you define winning. If the tables had been turned and US would have lost all 3 carries while IJN would only loss a handfull of pilots it would be quite different. Not much to replace, control of the ocean, abbility to take out pearl and capture it, the possibilities are pretty big there.
    It will be hard to determine if the US public would still support a war if the IJN could bomb cities at the coast and when the huge loss of lives would become known.
    The US would not surrender ofcourse but a peace treaty would not be impossible imo.

    It would have been foolish for the IJN to start bombing West Coast Cities. This action would place IJN carriers in danger of shore based aircraft and submarines. The bombing of these cities would cause a strong public out cry for revenge. The U.S public demanded a strong response when the Japanese ocupied the worthless frozen Aleutian Islands, multiply that response if the U.S Pacific Fleet is destroyed and California cities are damaged.

    Had the Japanese targeted the Panama Canal early in the war, what effects would this have on U.S logistics?

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Thats what i would have done. Sink a large japanese ocean liner in the middle of the canal. That would buy the japanese 6 more months of delay of American military power projection to the Pacific.

    But a 3rd strike and even a go for broke invasion of Hawaii in Dec 41 would have done us much more damage.

    USA would have no ships available except a few carriers against 6 front line carriers.

    At Midway Japan brought 4 real carriers against 3 of ours and we DIDN’T know they were coming. This would have been a huge victory if they pressed for the all out go for broke approach.

    Doing all 3 would have really been Japans best bet.


  • Agreed with pervious post. Its not that Americans had a “better military” They did but the advantages are overexagerated. Its only because Americans knew Japans codes that we were able to defeat them. A victory at midway would have prolonged the inevitable.


  • @ABWorsham:

    Much like Wake Island, if Midway were occupied by Japanese troop, the IJN would been hard pressed to resupply the Midway garrison.

    This get’s to the point.  In my opinion, the Japanese plan to attack Midway was foolhardy and a misuse of their resources.  If Japan had won the battle decisively, say killing all three US carriers and losing only one themselves, they still have one major challenge that the US will beat them up with.  I do not think Japan could have supplied Midway and would be forced to abandon the men there in a few months.  I believe this because of the different approach to the use of Submarines by both sides.  The Japanese used subs to augment their naval strategy against the US naval forces.  We used our subs to disrupt their supply lines.  Because of this philosophical difference, the Japanese appear to have neglected planning for how they would use Midway.  The US could and would have used subs to prevent any ship from ever making it to Midway.  Without resupply by ship, the Japanese forces on Midway would have been forced to surrender.

    In the meantime, Japan would have initially tried to get a substantial base there to work on the remainder of the Hawaiian Island chain, oblivious to the long term logistics problem.  Initially supplies would trickle in until the US sub net was firmly established.  The Japanese might well try and ferry in gas and bombs from carriers operating west of Midway and then continue to use the airfield to attack Hawaii.  Unfortunately for the Japanese, this would strain their petroleum reserves and place at least one carrier group in danger of US attack.  It would have probably taken two carrier groups just to maintain the supply lines to Midway eating up more petroleum and naval assets.

    This is similar to the events that played out at Guadalcanal.  One difference is that Guadalcanal was much closer to the Japanese supply base so it wasn’t the strain the Midway campaign would have been.  Also, the many islands in the Guadalcanal theatre helped protect the Japanese supply lines.

    Midway was a wonderful success for the US as everyone knows.  However, even a Japanese victory would have become a defeat which actual history managed to conceal.


  • an even better what-if: what if the US high command saw japanese coming to pearl harbour?
    the leading admiral (forgotten name) said that if he knew the japs were coming, he would of assaulted them with carriers and entire fleet, and he most likely would of lost entire fleet.

    or smaller: what if carriers were at pearl harbor at 7 december 1941?


  • if the Japanese had attacked Pearl a third time and destroyed the fuel depot and oil reserves…that would have damaged the US a lot more than if they lost ALL their battleships in the harbor…

    However…if the US had lost the battle of Midway…i agree with a lot of the posters here…it would have prolonged the war maybe an extra year…thats about it…

    Rem:  The US had broken the JN5 code and knew practically everything what the Japs were going to do…also…US war production was AWESOME!!!..Yamamoto said so…the US had access to better production facilities than the Japanese did…

    sooner or later…the Japanese would have started running out of materials and trained pilots, soldiers and sailors to continue the Pacific War


  • I don’t know, it would be difficult to determine.  It would have slowed the US in the pacific by atleast a year maybe two or three depending on the extra details.  If Germany would have still fallen at the same time it did, I could see the US sueing for peace and allowing Japan to keep some of her spoils as in 45 we were quite tired of the war.  I don’t think we would have allowed her to keep everything, but some perhaps.  Another possible outcome could be Russia deciding not to stop in Berlin, along with an alliance with Japan.  Its very far fetched, but man that would have been something very very bad.


  • It definitely would have lengthened the war in both theaters. It probably would not have changed the outcome because we could out produce Japan in every capacity. Also some of the Japanese leader understood they could not beat the United States in a drawn out war. That was one of the reasons for the strike on Pearl Harbor, keep the US out of the war long enough to secure the pacific. The only way the eventual outcome could have changed is a loss of support for the war. A democracy is the hardest government to fight a war with and public opinion can do a lot more damage to campaign than a lost battle.

    On the other hand, midway would have been the second successful “Long Shot” gamble that Japan had undertaken. It may have only been a matter of time until they took one that failed.


  • remember also…even if the Japs had taken midway…the logistics of supply and overall command would have been very difficult for the Japanese from the that distance from the home islands


  • As long as the topic is “What if?”, what if Japan recognized that carriers were the new super weapon and not battleships and had built a dozen carriers instead of the Yamato-class battleships and other less valuable warships?  And then add in, “What if they had sunk the US carrier fleet either at Midway or Pearl Harbor?”  Picture Japan with a dozen fleet carriers and denying the US access to Hawaii and Midway so the US has to operate from the West Coast.

    It is hard to say if the United States would have been able to take back control of the Pacific by 1945 to have dropped anything on Japan, let alone an atomic bomb.  Furthermore, Japan might have gotten one by then too.  The US was not the only power researching atomic weapons.  And they were prohibitively expensive.  Had we sent a B-29 with one aboard and it didn’t make it, that would have been half a billion dollars in irreplaceable uranium and plutonium.

    Also, a Japan not worried about the US as much in the Pacific could have brought far more trouble to bear on Russia in 1942 or 1943 making Russia’s fight against Germany more difficult.  And Japan could have reduced India’s output to the UK war effort if they controlled the Pacific as controlling the Indian Ocean would have been much easier as well.  Suddenly the UK doesn’t have enough raw materials to fight Germany with.

    And as the war progressed, Japan did realize carriers were the real threat, not battleships.  Had they won at Midway, or before, I think they would have focused on a strategy of keeping the US tied to the West Coast as long as possible.  But it is clear what happens the moment Japan loses control of the Pacific.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Epiphany:

    As long as the topic is “What if?”, what if Japan recognized that carriers were the new super weapon and not battleships and had built a dozen carriers instead of the Yamato-class battleships and other less valuable warships?  And then add in, "What if they had sunk the US carrier fleet either at Midway or Pearl Harbor?"  Picture Japan with a dozen fleet carriers and denying the US access to Hawaii and Midway so the US has to operate from the West Coast.

    A detailed article which discusses these kinds of questions can be found here:

    http://www.combinedfleet.com/economic.htm


  • Very cool link CWO, thanks for that!


  • How would the War have played out, if Japan launched a 3rd strike at Pearl Harbor and located the USS Enterprise and sank the carrier during the raid?

    Is this question poll question worthy?

  • '12

    I read somewhere (linked to from here I believe) that even if the entire Pacific fleet had been wiped out by mid 1942 it would have set the US back about 6-12 months only.


  • @MrMalachiCrunch:

    I read somewhere (linked to from here I believe) that even if the entire Pacific fleet had been wiped out by mid 1942 it would have set the US back about 6-12 months only.

    Had the entire U.S fleet been destroyed the U.S would have taken the offensive in late 43-44.


  • @ABWorsham:

    @MrMalachiCrunch:

    I read somewhere (linked to from here I believe) that even if the entire Pacific fleet had been wiped out by mid 1942 it would have set the US back about 6-12 months only.

    Had the entire U.S fleet been destroyed the U.S would have taken the offensive in late 43-44.

    I agree.  The US was supposedly able to pump out carriers at the rate of one every six months.  I have heard three months. (This might have been light carriers though rather than fleet carriers.) However they would have needed five or six to feel comfortable sailing off to meet the Japanese fleet.  Also, when you have lost catastrophically, you tend to want to over-compensate before trying again, so the US might have wanted seven or eight carriers.  And if the Japanese had won, with no losses, you’d think they would have considered trying to bottle the US up against the West Coast rather than just sail away and hope the US simply gives up and leaves them alone.  If they had at least tried to hit Panama and damage the canal and struck shipyards on the West Coast, I could see late 1943 or even 1944 being the start of a new, major offensive.

    And, the Japanese might have built a couple of more for themselves too.  Of course Japan might have been stupid and built a bunch of Yamato’s instead.  Hitler didn’t start building Me-262’s when he first had the chance.  Nobody went all out when Sikorski showed off his helicopter.  So it is no guarantee that just because you win, you suddenly gain great wisdom and make all the right choices in the future.  But if the subject is “What if?” and you want to give a side the best possible chance, then Japan wins, bottles up the West Coast production, starts sending I-400’s to hit Panama, puts more subs in the Pacific and concentrates on bulking up its carrier fleet.  I still think the best they could hope for was buying time.  I really don’t see the US giving in and agreeing to terms.  But Japan could hope.  Maybe… if the US built a new fleet and lost that too.


  • @Epiphany:

    @ABWorsham:

    @MrMalachiCrunch:

    I read somewhere (linked to from here I believe) that even if the entire Pacific fleet had been wiped out by mid 1942 it would have set the US back about 6-12 months only.

    Had the entire U.S fleet been destroyed the U.S would have taken the offensive in late 43-44.

    I agree.  The US was supposedly able to pump out carriers at the rate of one every six months.  I have heard three months. (This might have been light carriers though rather than fleet carriers.) However they would have needed five or six to feel comfortable sailing off to meet the Japanese fleet.  Also, when you have lost catastrophically, you tend to want to over-compensate before trying again, so the US might have wanted seven or eight carriers.  And if the Japanese had won, with no losses, you’d think they would have considered trying to bottle the US up against the West Coast rather than just sail away and hope the US simply gives up and leaves them alone.  If they had at least tried to hit Panama and damage the canal and struck shipyards on the West Coast, I could see late 1943 or even 1944 being the start of a new, major offensive.

    And, the Japanese might have built a couple of more for themselves too.  Of course Japan might have been stupid and built a bunch of Yamato’s instead.  Hitler didn’t start building Me-262’s when he first had the chance.  Nobody went all out when Sikorski showed off his helicopter.  So it is no guarantee that just because you win, you suddenly gain great wisdom and make all the right choices in the future.  But if the subject is “What if?” and you want to give a side the best possible chance, then Japan wins, bottles up the West Coast production, starts sending I-400’s to hit Panama, puts more subs in the Pacific and concentrates on bulking up its carrier fleet.  I still think the best they could hope for was buying time.  I really don’t see the US giving in and agreeing to terms.  But Japan could hope.  Maybe… if the US built a new fleet and lost that too.

    You’ve made good points about America’s production advantage over Japan; as well as about how nations do not always choose the right production priorities.

    The story of the jet is an interesting one. In 1940 Goering slashed the number of engineers allocated to Germany’s jet development effort.

    A few years later, Germany had developed a guided air-to-surface missile. It used a test version of this guided missile to destroy a British warship in the Mediterranean. Goering lied to Hitler about this, and told him the British had jammed the missile’s guidance. He said the British ship had had to be destroyed by more normal means instead. Goering’s reason for this was his belief that Hitler was too fascinated with new technology, and needed to be steered toward tried and proven weapons instead.

    Despite Goering’s interference, Germany managed to begin producing small numbers of jet aircraft late in the war. There were two versions of jets, both based on the Me 262 airframe. One was an air superiority fighter; the other was a fighter bomber.

    Had the air superiority fighter been produced in large numbers, it could have defended German cities from massive Allied bombing raids. It could also have blunted the Allied air supremacy which existed over the (future) battlefields of France. Further, German air superiority on its eastern front was gradually slipping away. The air superiority Me 262 variant could have reversed that.

    On the other hand, there was the fighter-bomber version of the Me 262. A plane like this could deliver a payload to its target, and safely return, without the Allies being able to do a whole lot to stop it. (Except to attack it as it tried to take off or land.) As the Allied fleet headed to the Normandy beaches, large numbers of Me 262 fighter bombers could, had they existed, taken a significant bite out of that fleet. Each time that fleet shuttled back and forth between Normandy and Britain (necessary to supply the troops and add reinforcements), the Me 262 fighter-bombers would have taken another bite. Eventually, the Allies would have had no choice but to evacuate the invading forces.

    Of the two variants of the Me 262, Hitler favored the fighter-bomber over the air superiority fighter. Some have blamed his preference for interfering with the production of the air superiority variant. But it’s not clear how much, if any, delay his involvement actually caused. The truth is that Germany desperately needed large numbers of both variants of the Me 262, but was not in a position to produce significant quantities of either. The overwhelming majority of its aircraft production continued to consist of piston-driven aircraft.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @MrMalachiCrunch:

    I read somewhere (linked to from here I believe) that even if the entire Pacific fleet had been wiped out by mid 1942 it would have set the US back about 6-12 months only.

    Nimitz essentially agreed with this.  He felt that it would have really hurt the US if Japan had destroyed Pearl Harbor’s fuel tank farms and shipyards, to the point of prolonging the war by a year, but that the US would ultimately have prevailed anyway.  And I think it was Nimitz who described the battleships sunk at Pearl as “just old inventory” whose loss helped turn the US Navy into a modern carrier-based force.


  • The biggest advantage Japan would Have gotten from a victory at Midway is largely psychological. On the tactical I think they would have used the time to solidify their control over the South East Pacific with landings in Port moresby in Papua as well as the Solomon Islands, having their float plane base operational without any US interference. But these are largely minor accomplishment that wouldn’t have major far reaching effects on these theaters of operations(aside from increased pressure on Australia, but an invasion is extremely unlikely). The psychological advantage that there was next to no naval defense between the West coast of the US and the Japanese combined fleet would have been tremendous for Japan and its effect on the US should not be under-estimated. The panic this would have caused among the US population centers on the west coast would have had a slight economic effect, as well as creating a wave of refugees fleeing the area for fear of a Japanese attack. The bigger problem is the large number of aircraft design companies that were working on out of the west, like Northrop Grumman, that would have had their work relocated inland to protect them from Japanese attack and the disruption to production of newer aircraft, like P-51, that would have caused.

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