A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

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A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by robdab » 22 May 2020 02:57

Being that Terry Duncan locked my thread on this same subject viewtopic.php?f=11&t=249362 yesterday, it seems that I must start over again with a more proper "What IF" format. I hope that which follows now meets that standard ?


Historically the Japanese began planning their air attack on Pearl Harbor many months before it actually occurred, against a rising tide of tensions all across the Pacific Ocean. From the Dec. 7'41 entry at http://www.combinedfleet.com/Tatsuta_t.htm we know that the US State Department requested the scheduling of both American and Japanese repatriation ships to provide for the return of their citizens to their own home countries, in a time of fast rising tensions between the two Nations.

Beginning on page # 313, Prange's tome "At Dawn We Slept" provides historical details of the 4 Japanese repatriation voyages. The first voyage by the Tatsuta Maru arrived at Honolulu on Oct.23'41 with a cargo of American nationals and 2 Japanese agents delivering secret instructions for their Honolulu Consulate, along with a supply of radios. The pre-war Japanese were not ones to miss a good intelligence opportunity.

The second repatriation vessel, the Nitta Maru, departs Yokohama on October 20 '41 for Seattle, Washington direct, historically arriving there on Nov. 1 '41. A good opportunity to scout that area and very relevant to this hypothetical scenario. She passed right by NAS Seattle (Sand Point) and could not have failed to note the number of American PBYs moored just offshore there. Her time in Seattle could easily allowed her to record the departure / return times of their recon. patrol missions. Neihorster's December 1941 USN Pacific Fleet Battle Order, which can be seen at
http://pacific.valka.cz/forces/admin4112.htm only lists 2 x PBYs based there though …

The third repatriation vessel, the Taiyo Maru, historically departs Yokohama for Honolulu on Oct. 22 '41. On board are 3 disguised Japanese naval officers sent to scout out Oahu's defences. Prior to their departure Genda would have briefed all three on what information he needed in order to better plan his KB air strikes. The submarine expert in the group of 3, one Commander Toshihidi Meaejima, might well have commented unfavourably on Genda's intent to have 3 usually surfaced IJN submarines lead Nagumo's Kido Butai task force across the Northern Pacific towards Oahu. His broad experience would have allowed him to predict that no low freeboard submarine would make a good spotting platform amid the high waves of a stormy north Pacific December winter.

The 4th historical repatriation voyage, to also be made by the Tatsuta Maru, was in reality, an elaborate ruse designed to lull the Americans into a false sense of security as the Kido Butai bored in towards Pearl Harbor. Tickets were sold in Japan, in Hawaii, up and down the US West Coast, in Mexico and in Panama but it was always Japan's intention that she would be ordered to turn back towards Japan at midnight on Dec.6/7 '41, without having actually reached Honolulu. See http://www.combinedfleet.com/Tatsuta_t.htm once again.

Next we visit PHA Volume 12, page #310 at http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/congress/Vol12.pdf which reveals the historical Nov. 10 '41 message sent by undercover Japanese agent Sato from Seattle to Tokyo, which stated that the USS Saratoga had arrived at the Puget Sound Naval Yard at Bremerton, Washington on Nov. 9 '41.

This brings us to my simple Point of Departure (PoD) from the historical original timeline (OTL) …

Genda was STUNNED by this unexpected report and thought that his Gods were smiling down on him. He had long wished to catch the US Pacific Fleet's carriers moored within Pearl Harbor with Nagumo's by surprise air raids but could never guarantee that any of the 3 would be within PH at that time. As was historically the case. But HERE was a golden opportunity to catch one of them, the Saratoga, in confined coastal waters. AS long as NO attack on her of any kind was made before Nagumo's air raids pummelled PH by surprise. How to take advantage of the opportunity ?

First was an order to Sato in Seattle to provide detailed DAILY intel reports on the activities of the Saratoga. Further review of the pages before and after Vol 12 page #310 will reveal many of the data collection techniques used by undercover Japanese agents at that time, including by Yoshikawa on Oahu. A subtle still peacetime Seattle bar girl or two, well paid by Sato, soon coaxed the Sartoga's expected Bremerton departure date from a drunken Saratoga sailor, as well as revealing that Sara had left all of her airgroups well to the South, at San Diego, for further training, while she was drydocked at the Puget Sound Naval Yard for a refit.

After quickly receiving the approval of his IJN superiors, Genda set to work … His first request was made to the Japanese government, asking them to contact the US State Department for a "no interference" approval of a slightly earlier Honolulu arrival time for the Tatsuta Maru. Next, he re-assigned that now IJN crewed NYK fast cargo-liner to lead Nagumo's Kido Butai as an advanced guard, across the northern Pacific to Oahu, with a roughly 100 mile gap between them. Once the KB's 6 carriers began their high speed rush south, she was ordered to drop back behind that TF, to function as an observation platform to ensure that no American vessel(s) slipped in to block their eventual northward return towards their refueling group.

An added BONUS for Nagumo was that now he could contact Tokyo by radio in urgent situations as any American RDF interceptions of radio transmissions from the northern Pacific would automatically be attributed to the US State Department approved Tatsuta Maru repatriation voyage.

Genda's racing mind then re-assigned the 3 fast IJN submarines he had originally intended to give as Nagumo's advanced guards, along with a 4th B1 class boat, the I-17, as the assassins of the CV-3 USS Saratoga. The I-17, the I-19, the I-21 and the I-23 were all ordered to depart Japan asap on a fast eastwards surfaced sprint to refueling at Kwajalein, followed by a Pacific transit around Hawaiian waters to avoid being spotted by any Americans. http://www.combinedfleet.com/type_b1.htm displays the important characteristics of "my" proposed 4 x B1 class IJN submarines.

Three (3) were to lurk, submerged on the sea bottom by day, outside of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego harbours until Saratoga's post Dec.7'41 destination might be determined by the Japanese. Only rising to the surface at night in order to charge their batteries and receive radio transmissions from Tokyo and the I-17, which similary lurked far to the north, near the western end of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, which was the sea exit lane for the entire Seattle / Vancouver area. Which had so recently been historically scouted by the Nitta Maru.

There, I-17 would hide, launching her "Slim" floatplane, now repainted in American civilian colours to aid in avoiding detection, from a calm inlet or bay on the edge of that busy Strait, to watch the westbound shipping lane for the departing USS Saratoga. Once spotted, her course from Cape Flattery, northwest towards Alaska, southwest towards Oahu or southbound for one of the US West Coast ports would have been promptly reported to Tokyo for retransmission at previously agreed times to my other 3 hypothetical lurking IJN submarines. She would then follow the by then known to be warplane deprived USN carrier at a discrete distance in order to be able to report her position regularly. Granted, such was risky in waters patrolled by the few (just 2) American PBYs assigned to the Pacific Northwest, but it was still peacetime and FDR had not yet historically ordered live weapons release on any suspected Japanese submarine NOT found in official Defensive Sea Areas such as that immediately off of the entrance channel into Pearl Harbor. The Japanese would NOT wished to "spook" the Saratoga though, as she was capable of 35 kts vs the surfaced 23.5 kts maximum of an IJN B1 class submarine.

Historically, the USS Saratoga slipped into San Diego harbor in the late morning of Dec. 7'41, after a brisk 3 day voyage down the length of the US West Coast. There to hear by radio of the historical Pearl Harbor air raids just after lunchtime local. Niehorster's Pacific Fleet December 1941 Battle Order which can be viewed at http://pacific.valka.cz/forces/admin4112.htm indicates that 4 operational PBYs were then based at San Diego, with another 27 PBYs there allocated to training. http://www.niehorster.org/013_usa/_41_usn/nd-011.html lists the limited number of USN warships assigned to San Diego as of Dec. 7 / 8 '41.

In my hypothetical scenario I would expect "my" lurking I-23 would, by an extremely good stroke of timing luck, pump a full spread of 4 torpedoes into Saratoga's starboard side at roughly 11:30 local time (08:30 PH time), as she slowed to enter the long and narrow San Diego Harbor entrance channel. Quickly followed by another 4 into her more exposed to the open ocean port side from at least one of my other trailing IJN submarines. With more complete 4 torpedo spreads to follow as needed. Genda had ordered her GUTTED, to sink in deep water, with no mercy shown. With NO potential for future salvage. All within easy sight of mainland USA civilians and press corps.

The Damage Report of her historical single Jan. 11 '42 torpedo hit can be reviewed at https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... no-19.html and has some very relevant things to say about the state of her anti-torpedo protection systems at that time.

I wouldn't expect her loss to either shorten or extend the Pacific War since two historical single torpedo hits had taken her out of the Pacific War for most of 1942 anyway but USN operational flexibility would certainly be greatly reduced by her (hypothetical) sinking, the morale of the American public strained even further, with Japanese morale heading into "Victory Disease" territory even more quickly that it did historically. No 1942 Doolitle Raid and not likely any fight over Midway would be the largest results that I would expect from this hypothetical scenario.

And, last but not least, a quick promotion for Genda Minoru.

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by glenn239 » 23 May 2020 14:42

8 out of 8 torpedo hits? Is there a single instance in the history of warfare where two submarines went 8 for 8 against one target? Why not just 1 or 2 hits?

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by T. A. Gardner » 23 May 2020 15:31

This is just one of those All the if's in the world coming together to produce a winning lottery ticket cases.

As a chart of San Diego harbor shows doing what this scenario wants "...in sight of land..." is a virtual impossibility. That's just one aside to this scenario.

Image

One might note that the depth of water everywhere on that chart off San Diego in the Pacific Ocean is about 200 feet or less in depth to bottom and stays that way pretty far out to sea when the bottom drops from the continental shelf.

As glenn239 points out, two subs coordinating an attack on a ship so precisely as to get 8 out of 8 torpedo hits is on the high on the ludicrous scale.

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 May 2020 16:01

Stop feeding the you know what.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by robdab » 23 May 2020 16:04

glenn239 wrote:
23 May 2020 14:42
8 out of 8 torpedo hits? Is there a single instance in the history of warfare where two submarines went 8 for 8 against one target? Why not just 1 or 2 hits?
Sorry, just poor wording on my part … meant to indicate that each IJN submarine would pump out full spreads of 4 from their 4 torpedo tubes because the Saratoga was a warship target, not that they would limited to just one torpedo to be expended against each target, as they were for their historical US West Coast torpedo attacks.

I think that by surprise torpedo spreads of 4, against a LARGE target like the Saratoga, which would have been SLOWING, on an obvious KNOWN COURSE, to enter the narrow San Diego Harbor entrance channel, would be likely to produce more than just 1 hit out of 4. With my 2nd IJN submarine having an even greater chance of numerous torpedo hits as the Saratoga slowed even more from the 1st submarines torpedoes hits … didn't even mention the chances of submarines #3 and #4.

Or for follow on 4 torpedo spreads from any of "my" 4 IJN submarines.

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by glenn239 » 23 May 2020 16:20

robdab wrote:
23 May 2020 16:04
Sorry, just poor wording on my part … meant to indicate that each IJN submarine would pump out full spreads of 4 from their 4 torpedo tubes because the Saratoga was a warship target, not that they would limited to just one torpedo to be expended against each target, as they were for their historical US West Coast torpedo attacks.
"Pumping a full spread of 4 torpedoes into Saratoga's starboard side" to me implies 4 hits out of 4 shots.

I'm just not a believer in submarines as reliable instruments of naval power projection in WW2 until 1944-1945. General impression of your hypothetical is that the risk of detection exceeds probable expectation for results. Here's the Bremerton order of battle,

http://niehorster.org/013_usa/_41_usn/nd-013.html

The 5 guard destroyers of Division 12, while older second line units, still did ASW work in 1941-1942 and along with other patrol boats and aircraft, would have been covering Saratoga's exit from port. It would not have been an easy target as Sara moved out of the 13th ND region.

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by Takao » 23 May 2020 18:04

T. A. Gardner wrote:
23 May 2020 15:31
This is just one of those All the if's in the world coming together to produce a winning lottery ticket cases.
Correction...All the if's in the world coming together to produce a lottery ticket for today, with yesterday's winning numbers.

What is overlooked/ignored is that Sato's cable was sent on the 6th, saying that Sara left on the 5th. The Japanese I-Boat will not receive orders until that evening. Thus, the I-Boat is already 24-36 hours behind Sara. Assuming a modest speed of 16 knots, she is already 384-576 miles behind Sara. And, the I-Boat does not even know where Sara is headed.

Robdab's What If has already fallen flat on it's face, and the war has not even started.

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by Richard Anderson » 23 May 2020 21:15

Takao wrote:
23 May 2020 18:04
T. A. Gardner wrote:
23 May 2020 15:31
This is just one of those All the if's in the world coming together to produce a winning lottery ticket cases.
Correction...All the if's in the world coming together to produce a lottery ticket for today, with yesterday's winning numbers.

What is overlooked/ignored is that Sato's cable was sent on the 6th, saying that Sara left on the 5th. The Japanese I-Boat will not receive orders until that evening. Thus, the I-Boat is already 24-36 hours behind Sara. Assuming a modest speed of 16 knots, she is already 384-576 miles behind Sara. And, the I-Boat does not even know where Sara is headed.

Robdab's What If has already fallen flat on it's face, and the war has not even started.
Sato's cables also did not go to"Tokyo" they went from the Japanese Consulate in Seattle to the Japanese Embassy in Washington DC and then were transmitted to Japan, al la the "Fourteen-part Message", along with all of the other classified message traffic routed through the Embassy from Hawaii, California, and so on. We have zero idea when "Tokyo" got it, decoded it, and distributed it to various organizations.

Also, yet again, Sato had not "stated that the USS Saratoga had arrived at the Puget Sound Naval Yard at Bremerton, Washington on Nov. 9 '41" - that is standard robdab editing of reality. Sato simply reported the ships at anchor in Bremerton on 9 November 1941, which is quite a different thing. He actually never reported her arrival. Since we know that he transmitted the message a day after the he observed her and the same with regards to her departure, we can surmise he would take one of the ferries from Seattle to Bremerton on a regular basis, do his surveillance and return, compose and encode his message, and then have it transmitted to Washington...call it a 12 to 24-hour lag time, which is probably about right. See "Magic" Background of Pearl Harbor for more details on what Sato reported and what and when he was directed to reporton.

Anyway, Saratoga arrived at Bremerton on 2 November, something Sato never reported. So the Japanese had no knowledge of when she arrived, how long should would be there, when she would depart, and where she would go.

Meanwhile, no, sorry, no floatplanes carried on the boats dispatched to the West Coast, the hanger spaces - and apparently some torpedo stowage - were used for food. While the subs had the fuel endurance they apparently did not have the food locker space.

BTW, it's going to be difficult for any Japanese sub to "pump" any torpedoes into Saratoga at San Diego at "11:30 local time" because at 1100 hours she was tying up tp the dock. Nor did she take "a brisk 3 day voyage", she departed Bremerton on 5 December, so two days or less.

Oh, I really enjoyed the bit about launching floatplanes from "from a calm inlet or bay on the edge of that busy Strait". It's pretty obviious robdab has never done winter storm watching on the PNW or have any real idea of where they might be able to do that. Makah Bay? Neah Bay? Grays Harbor? Willapa Bay? The Mouth of the Columbia? :lol:

And I nearly forgot...just why were they going to eschew possible sub targets at Pearl to chase a chimera on the West Coast with about one-third of their sub force?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by robdab » 25 May 2020 04:06

.
Richard Anderson wrote:
23 May 2020 16:01
Stop feeding the you know what.
Wow !

I take the weekend off and the heavy hitters here at AHF all want to take shots at my hypothetical, even Richard Anderson himself, who ordered all here to "Stop feeding the you know what" in his posting #4 here on this thread !!

I stand honoured indeed ! LoL !

Responses to follow here tomorrow !

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by T. A. Gardner » 25 May 2020 05:17

robdab wrote:
23 May 2020 16:04
I think that by surprise torpedo spreads of 4, against a LARGE target like the Saratoga, which would have been SLOWING, on an obvious KNOWN COURSE, to enter the narrow San Diego Harbor entrance channel, would be likely to produce more than just 1 hit out of 4. With my 2nd IJN submarine having an even greater chance of numerous torpedo hits as the Saratoga slowed even more from the 1st submarines torpedoes hits … didn't even mention the chances of submarines #3 and #4.

Or for follow on 4 torpedo spreads from any of "my" 4 IJN submarines.
The entrance to San Diego harbor is a very easy and straight forward one. Until you pass Point Loma you can be steaming at whatever speed you like so long as you are in the marked (by buoy) channel. As you pass Pt. Loma, you reduce speed and continue to do so until you are slowed where you won't leave a wake as you pass North Island on your starboard side.
Almost two NM beyond the end of the channel marked on the chart I provided, the ocean is less than 75 feet deep (10 to 12 fathoms) per charts (I have the charts for San Diego Bay). Adjacent to Pt. Loma there is a submerged jetty with a light at the end on the opposite side of the channel.
The ocean to either side of the channel is less than 200 feet deep outside this area, much of it less than 100 feet. Also, as marked on charts there are anchorages (the circles) off North Island and the Silver Strand for ships that are waiting to enter. Some of these are frequently occupied by merchant ships waiting their turn to dock at one or another pier.
So, you have several submarines maneuvering in shallow water among commercial traffic along with civilian craft and who knows what naval vessels besides Saratoga trying to line up a shot on the carrier without being detected.

This is not what I'd call a good plan.

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by Terry Duncan » 25 May 2020 12:21

Sadly I have come to this rather late, but from this point forward everyone is to avoid making personal comments. Such actions are against the rules so people need to seriously consider what they post as they will be held accountable for it.

Terry Duncan

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by robdab » 25 May 2020 16:31

Takao wrote:
23 May 2020 18:04

What is overlooked/ignored is that Sato's cable was sent on the 6th, saying that Sara left on the 5th. The Japanese I-Boat will not receive orders until that evening. Thus, the I-Boat is already 24-36 hours behind Sara. Assuming a modest speed of 16 knots, she is already 384-576 miles behind Sara. And, the I-Boat does not even know where Sara is headed.

Robdab's What If has already fallen flat on it's face, and the war has not even started.
No so my learned friend … I think that it is rather you who have bloodied your own nose with your posting above.If you would be so kind as to actually READ the hypothetical scenario which I posted to begin this thread, you will note that pretty much the first thing that I had "my" Genda do after seeing that historical Nov. 10 '41 Sato report was ...

"First was an order to Sato in Seattle to provide detailed DAILY intel reports on the activities of the Saratoga. Further review of the pages before and after Vol 12 page #310 will reveal many of the data collection techniques used by undercover Japanese agents at that time, including by Yoshikawa on Oahu. A subtle still peacetime Seattle bar girl or two, well paid by Sato, soon coaxed the Sartoga's expected Bremerton departure date from a drunken Saratoga sailor, as well as revealing that Sara had left all of her airgroups well to the South, at San Diego, for further training, while she was drydocked at the Puget Sound Naval Yard for a refit."

Which rendered your own posting quoted above, irrelevant, well before you even made it.

Historically Saratoga also would have exhibited several days worth of visual clues that she was preparing to leave Bremerton after re-fit.

First, and easily noticeable by anyone watching was that she was ushered OUT of that drydock, to be shuffled over to a munitions pier so that all of her gun and aircraft munitions, unloaded prior to, her drydocking, could be reloaded. It was Standard Operating Practise (SoP) at the time that USN warships were thusly unloaded when being drydock for anything but the most quick, minor repair / adjustment. Since their usually below the waterline firefighting water intake ports would be "high & dry" while drydocked, any fire started by a stray welding or grinding spark could NOT be easily fought. With a resulting huge potential for disaster.

Also for the simple expedient of reducing her hull weight as it rested on numerous large wooden blocks while she sat suspended in the air in drydock.

Then on to the fueling pier so that all of her tanks, drained prior to drydocking, could be refilled.

Next to the provisioning area so that food, drinking water and MANY other sundry provisions required by her personnel at sea, could be loaded before her full crew (less her historically absent airgroup pilots and mechanics etc.) arrived dockside to re-board. Quite visible to anyone watching.

Only then could she have departed for San Diego sometime on Dec.4 ' 41 with "my" lurking somewhere in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, hypothetical I-17, having those several days worth of Sato's updates on her daily pre-departure progress.

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by robdab » 25 May 2020 16:55

glenn239 wrote:
23 May 2020 16:20

"Pumping a full spread of 4 torpedoes into Saratoga's starboard side" to me implies 4 hits out of 4 shots.

I'm just not a believer in submarines as reliable instruments of naval power projection in WW2 until 1944-1945. General impression of your hypothetical is that the risk of detection exceeds probable expectation for results. Here's the Bremerton order of battle,

http://www.niehorster.org/013_usa/_41_usn/nd-013.html

The 5 guard destroyers of Division 12, while older second line units, still did ASW work in 1941-1942 and along with other patrol boats and aircraft, would have been covering Saratoga's exit from port. It would not have been an easy target as Sara moved out of the 13th ND region.
Were I to live my life based on implications, I would have been roasted on a BBQ spit well over a decade ago by certain posters to this site. LoL !

In my hypothetical scenario, Saratoga would only have been attacked inside, or just as she left the 13th Naval District (Puget Sound) if she had stayed there longer than Dec.7'41 under refit. I've already stated in my scenario that Sato could have determined that her expected departure date was prior to that, form local intel. sources and would have transmitted that back to Tokyo via his new daily reports on the USS Saratoga.

Can you perhaps provide any information as to whether Saratoga historically sailed alone, back to San Diego, from her Bremerton refit ?

You also appear to have missed my error with respect to the number of B1 class torpedo tubes. I had erroneously claimed only 4. Further readings on the I-19 TROM at http://www.combinedfleet.com/I-19.htm indicate 6 bow torpedo tubes rather than just 4. The Sept. 15 '42 entry there lists her as having fired a full spread of 6, with 2 (and possibly 3) hitting and eventually sinking the American carrier USS Wasp. Due to their long range, another hit the American battleship USS North Carolina, and yet another the American destroyer USS O'Brian. Her 6th torpedo carried on to only narrowly miss the American carrier USS Hornet. Quite a spread I'd have to say.

And now my 4 hypothetical IJN B1 class Saratoga assassin submarines are 50% MORE deadly !

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by robdab » 25 May 2020 17:28

T. A. Gardner wrote:
23 May 2020 15:31
This is just one of those All the if's in the world coming together to produce a winning lottery ticket cases.

As a chart of San Diego harbor shows doing what this scenario wants "...in sight of land..." is a virtual impossibility. That's just one aside to this scenario.

Image

One might note that the depth of water everywhere on that chart off San Diego in the Pacific Ocean is about 200 feet or less in depth to bottom and stays that way pretty far out to sea when the bottom drops from the continental shelf.

As glenn239 points out, two subs coordinating an attack on a ship so precisely as to get 8 out of 8 torpedo hits is on the high on the ludicrous scale.
TA,

Thanks for posting that chart … I searched but was NOT able to find one that nice anywhere … perhaps I should switch search engines ?

However, my poor eyesight and low computer screen resolution still prevent me from reading any depth numbers on it. Will just have to take your word for it. Though, since the B1 class IJN submarines were designed to operate down to some 330', I don't yet understand what point(s) you were trying to make with it ?
Last edited by robdab on 25 May 2020 18:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A "What IF" Ambush of the USS Saratoga

Post by robdab » 25 May 2020 18:34

my responses in red text follow intermingled below
Richard Anderson wrote:
23 May 2020 21:15

See "Magic" Background of Pearl Harbor for more details on what Sato reported and what and when he was directed to report on.

Ah Richard, we meet yet again ! I always learn lots form our encounters, that source you mentioned above being just one of those ...

Anyway, Saratoga arrived at Bremerton on 2 November, something Sato never reported. So the Japanese had no knowledge of when she arrived, how long should would be there, when she would depart, and where she would go.

Yet, as my hypothetical scenario outlined, they might easily have done so ...

Meanwhile, no, sorry, no floatplanes carried on the boats dispatched to the West Coast, the hanger spaces - and apparently some torpedo stowage - were used for food. While the subs had the fuel endurance they apparently did not have the food locker space.

Interesting but in "my" scenario Genda ordered them out towards the US West Coast, from Japan, as soon as was possible. No time to unload floatplanes and replace them with extra food stores. etc. Just go and get the Saratoga. Sources credit the IJN's B1 class with a 100 day endurance so a roughly 60 day maximum mission to assassinate the USS Saratoga seems reasonable, without any such substitutions. Granted though, "my" I-17 might be low on fuel after a high speed pursuit of the Saratoga down the length of the US West Coast from Cape flattery to San Diego. Fortunately for her, the other 3 assassin I-boats would have used little of their fuel while lurking near the 3 major US harbor bottoms along that route, so some sub to sub refueling from them, to get her home after Saratoga was sunk, would have been possible.


BTW, it's going to be difficult for any Japanese sub to "pump" any torpedoes into Saratoga at San Diego at "11:30 local time" because at 1100 hours she was tying up tp the dock.

Also interesting.

Your source being ?

I was relying on the DANFS report found at https://www.history.navy.mil/research/h ... oga-v.html which states "When the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Saratoga was just entering San Diego after an interim drydocking at Bremerton."

Just entering at 1100 San Diego time, not yet tying to a dock, as you claim.


Nor did she take "a brisk 3 day voyage", she departed Bremerton on 5 December, so two days or less.

IIRC Sato's historical Dec.5'41 DOESN'T say when Saratoga left Bremerton, just that on Dec.5'41 she WASN'T included in his list of warships there. Now who is playing "fast and loose" with their quotes ? Oh, I forgot, you rarely post any of those. Her voyage to San Diego from Bremerton might have taken 3 days, 4 days or even 5 days … AFAIK, we just don't know at this time

Oh, I really enjoyed the bit about launching floatplanes from "from a calm inlet or bay on the edge of that busy Strait". It's pretty obviious robdab has never done winter storm watching on the PNW or have any real idea of where they might be able to do that. Makah Bay? Neah Bay? Grays Harbor? Willapa Bay? The Mouth of the Columbia? :lol:

I'm always happy to entertain you, provided that I learn something truthful from you, in the process ...

I don't imagine that most of the readers here could make that claim either. Of course, you live in Bremerton so its easy for you to make that claim ! Its a small World sometimes ! But what rule of warfare says that "my" I-17 might not have found a lonely bay or inlet on the Canadian side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, in another Nation, where the Americans would be less likely to search ?


And I nearly forgot...just why were they going to eschew possible sub targets at Pearl to chase a chimera on the West Coast with about one-third of their sub force?

IIRC the Japanese historically ordered some 30 IJN submarines to Hawaiian waters in support of Nagumo's air raids there. Sending just 4 subs out of 30 to the US West Coast earlier than they went there historically would only have reduced their Hawaiian strength by some 13%, NOT by about one third as you claim. Well worth it in trade for an American aircraft carrier NOT at all likely to be ported inside PH when Nagumo's air raids went in because she was undergoing a refit at Bremerton in the days just previous to that "Infamous Day."

Even if the Saratoga escapes my hypothetical assassination attempt, those 4 IJN B1 class submarines are then well positioned to intercept the first rush of American reinforcements to Hawaii just after Dec.7 '41. Hardly a waste of Japanese resources./color]
Last edited by robdab on 25 May 2020 20:02, edited 2 times in total.

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