T. A. Gardner wrote:For the Junyo to operate with the rest of the big Japanese carriers means either they go slower or the Junyo tries to push as hard as it can to keep up. The problem there is going to be fuel. The Junyo will run dry much sooner trying to keep up at 20 to 25 knots.
That would not be an insurmountable problem. Historically Junyo (rated at 26kts) steamed with Ryujo (rated at 29kts) to attack Dutch Harbor. They were required to do refueling at sea, and that's what they did a few times.
The other problem comes when the US shows up for an air attack. The Junyo will fall behind the rest of the group as the other ships crank up to top speed to avoid being torpedoed and bombed.
That would be different depending on the location of Junyo in the Japanese carrier formation. In any case, her slower speed would make re-forming (after the attack) of the formation more slow, but again, not impossible
I doubt it would have made any significant difference to Midway's operations. Overkill is what the US later specialized in where they'd bomb an island day and night for a week with half-a-dozen battleships, dozens of smaller ships, and hundreds of aircraft, before invading.
Perhaps, but usualy that was done with ample intel and a thorough prior observation of enemy combat strength.
Historically, Nagumo was advancing as of May 31st under strict radio silence, with any radio emission being able to alert the enemy of the presence of his force somewhere in the north Pacific. As we know (and as Nagumo dutifully recorded in his action report), because of the dense fog existing on June 3rd, Nagumo was required to send radio signals to his ships for reforming (that he feared betrayed his position and helped the enemy to prepare). In addition to that, his transport ships came under bombing attack from B17s on June 3rd in the morning, - 24 hours before his first strike against Midway atoll.
24 hours notice may not seem like much, but it would be enough for long range bombers to be relocated from Oahu to Midway, and for elements of US Navy in patrol in the northern waters of Hawaii to arive within ~ 300-400km south of the atoll (we should remember the failure of operation K, and the total lack of timely information on US carriers available to Nagumo).
This is different from the "total surprise" that Nagumo HOPED to achieve on the surprised defenders of Midway.
Thus, sending a 200-wave strike from 7 decks (and keeping ~ 40 fighters as CAP) would leave him with only ~ 60-80 machines available for a anti-shipping strike, recon, and any other mission that may come up.
My opinion is that a division of objectives would be more beneifical to IJN Kido Butai then using all ships at the same time to do the same mission...
That doesn't change that doing so is not what the Japanese considered optimal. That was considered a waste of an asset. The D4Y aboard were supernumerary to the air group and intended for that purpose. But, that's a big exception to sending out a dozen + B5N to do the scouting. Sending the E13A floatplanes made more sense.
Certainly, but there weren't enough floatplanes readily available to conduct complete search of the horizon. THat's because they only sent 2 cruisers to help Nagumo... Had they sent 2 seaplane carriers with Nagumo, things could have been much much different. BUt they didn't.
THus, to ensure successfull recon , Nagumo was obliged to enforce his search , by adding some planes. What planes ? The B5N was the longest ranged, and their pilots were historically used for that kind of missions.
The A5M by 6/42 is a nearly worthless fighter, so you really have just 20.
On the morning of June 4th, Nagumo was so low on available fighters that he used several D3As as combat air patrol. I'm sure he would have prefered some Claudes in their stead.
Maybe, maybe not. The big failing of the Japanese CAP at Midway was its near total lack of coordination by any sort of fighter direction system. Because the Japanese relied on the CAP spotting the incoming strike(s) on their own the intercept usually was under 20 miles from the carrier, often under 10. The extra planes won't stop the strike. They don't have the time necessary.
That is what the latest published research shows us - that Nagumo's combat air patrol ultimately failed, catastrophically, to stop enemy air attacks.
However, we should take notice of the details published (in "Shattered Sword" and "Why did the Japanese lose the battle of Midway"): the combat air patrol was fighting non-stop for 3 hours before the dive bomber attack. The combat air patrol attempted to land for refueling/rearming, but either there wasn't enough deck space (because the 4 decks were busy retrieving the return flight from Midway first strike), OR there wasn't any stable deck to land upon (for a lot of time, the 4 carrieres were doing eavasive manouvres to avoid bombs and torps). Even so, the combat air patrol successfully destroyed at least 60 incoming planes, while losing 18 machines to all causes. AFAIK, Nagumo launched several combat air patrols, of 3 to 6 machines from each carrier. He couldn't retrieve them for the above stated reasons, and they expeneded their fuel and ammo, starting to hover around the carriers.
In this proposed scenario, some (let's say 2) carriers would be tasked with mantaining continous combat air patrol. That means no more time wasted in retrieving the MIdway strike. That means no more space and time wasted with arming the 2nd strike. Only CAP. In that way, when the SBD arive, there would be a good chance that some fighters would be in the air at medium altitude, and, allthough a total block of the attack is extremely unlikely, some deflection can be anticipated, and the ultimate result (8 to 10 bomb hits from 54 bombs launched) may be less then the historical one.
And the cycle time is an issue. Take the historical situation. Now, the Japanese carrier group is moving slower than historical because they have to accommodate Junyo which is struggling to stay up with the other carriers. The first strike from Midway has returned and the carriers aren't spotted for a second when the US shows up. CAP ops prevent this. Even if there was no confusion over armament of the planes, the second strike would be nowhere near ready to launch. The US might even pull back once their own strikes return, and the slower Japanese strike launch finds itself not being within range now.
If Nagumo woudl opt for the "classic" method, of doing an all-out strike with all available decks, then at 10:20AM he would be in the same (bad) situation as the historical one, with 7 decks packed with gasoline and bombs, and a huge combat air patrol hovering awround them trying to land (low on fuel and ammo).
As the 55 SBDs beging their dives, total surprise would be obtained, and (at least) 3 carriers hit and left in flames.