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 Post subject: John Ford's Midway footage
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:51 am 
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http://www.archive.org/details/the_battle_of_midway

At 8:45 into the reel there is a sweet shot of a Japanese plane catching fire from ground fire.

At 9:01 a val takes a death dive. At least I think it's a val. Very blurry but the rudder looks right and I think I see spatted fixed landing gear underneath.

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 Post subject: Re: John Ford's Midway footage
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:59 am 
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When you watch the 1977 Heston et al. Midway it's annoying that they mix in late war footage of American a.c. Most of the carrier shots in the Hollywood thingie are of F6Fs. But there's lots of footage on the Ford reels of F4Fs (presumedly not shot by John Ford but by some other naval photographer).

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 Post subject: Re: John Ford's Midway footage
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:38 pm 
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I always shake my head at how lucky we were at Midway.
Imagine the "good guys" (couldnt resist swipe at matrix fanbois) losing Hornet, Yorktown and Enterprise and the IJN losing none. :shock:
It could have happened, right?
Look at the incredible timing of the way thing went down, the pure grit of the Dauntless squadrons not turning back because running low on gas, while searching, searching...and finally some guy sees a destroyer wake. And within 15 minutes (?) Japs lose their best shit forever.
Midway was divine intervention, there is no argument.


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 Post subject: Re: John Ford's Midway footage
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:57 pm 
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We were the opposite of lucky. We were about as unlucky as one could be, but our operational plan was vastly superior to the Japanese operational plan. For us to have lost, the Japanese would have to have located our Task Forces a half an hour before sunrise -- something that they couldn't do with aerial recon at the time.

The Japanese plan at Midway was the height of foolish. As it stands, an entire American carrier mostly didn't get involved in the fight. Yorktown's groups alone accounted for 3 of the 4 IJN carriers sunk at Midway, IIRC. We could have won that fight with one less carrier.

If we'd been luckier, the Japanese Tone #4 scout plane would have flown its operationally planned flight. In that event, Yorktown would never have been spotted. The Japanese would have lost 4 carriers w/o so much as scratching the paint on any American ship.

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 Post subject: Re: John Ford's Midway footage
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:16 pm 
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Dang Mdiehl!
I always thought the Japs knew where our carriers were at the moment when we hit him, while they were re-arming, after re-arming.
They were just behind the info/time/reaction cycle. Imagine better Jap use of their subs....the horror!
I've seen these arguments that even if we lost all 3 carriers and IJN none, WIP would have been longer but ultimately not winnable for Japan. Yes, it's hard to see them landing in California. I'm glad we were in Okinawa by '45 and not '47.
Still, there really ain't a gram of soul in you that doesnt think we got lucky at Midway?
Heck, this was among top 3 of all American victories....What do you compare this to?


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 Post subject: Re: John Ford's Midway footage
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:34 pm 
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Quote:
I always thought the Japs knew where our carriers were at the moment when we hit him, while they were re-arming, after re-arming.


No. They only knew where Yorktown was. They inferred that more carriers were in the area and assumed they'd sunk Yorktown after Yorktown got underway after being hit in the first Japanese strike. So when they hit Yorktown a second time they assumed they'd hit a different carrier.

Tone #4s scout plane launched roughly half an hour late, and as a result flew a different flight plan than the one established in the Japanese recon plan. Rob Ballard has demonstrated that if Tone #4 had launched on time, it would never have found Yorktown. Tone #4 was the plane that provided the first contact with Yorktown, and it was Tone #4s contact report that provided the target location for the first Japanese anti-ship strike of the battle.

Parshall and Tulley analyzed the battle and determined that in order to have located the American a.c. in time to take deliberate action to avoid the incoming American strikes, the Japanese would have to have found the US carrier almost a half an hour before they began their morning strikes on Midway. In short, the Japanese would have to have assumed that the US had CVs in the area, not attacked Midway, and instead focused on finding the American carriers. But we already know that their whole battle plan was premised on the assumption that there would be no American carriers in the area.

Beyond all that, the Japanese knew damned well that even ONE American CV in the area would be a big problem unless every aspect of their recon plan and Midway strikes were executed with perfect timing and with no flaws in execution. It was a fragile plan and it produced almost exactly the results that the Japanese obtained in a War Game exercise they conducted a month before the operation.

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Imagine better Jap use of their subs....the horror!


They had their subs out in a very good recon line. It's just that the recon line was in a position to intercept American carriers presumed to still be in Pearl Harbor. The whole flaw in the Japanese plan was the requirement that the USN not show up for the fight. There were lots of reasons for the Japanese to suspect that the US knew something was up, but they ignored all the evidence of heightened American preparation.

Quote:
Still, there really ain't a gram of soul in you that doesnt think we got lucky at Midway? Heck, this was among top 3 of all American victories....What do you compare this to?


It was a great victory. Luck had almost nothing to do with it. If the US had worse luck at Midway, the US would have had no luck at all. If the US had even slightly better luck, Yorktown might not have been damaged at all.

The outcome at Midway was the likely result of a very good US battle plan, that was simple and robust: use Midway to rope a dope the Japanese strike capability, and use the American carriers to sink the Japanese carriers. The outcome at Midway was also the result of an extremely fragile and weak Japanese plan, that assigned too many tasks to too few carriers and required perfection in both timing and excution of the operation.

Ultimately, the most damning thing that can be said about the Japanese is that they knew how the US could win the fight, but they made NO provisions to account for that possibility. What the US did to the Japanese at Midway was PRECISELY what the Japanese intended for the Midway op to do to the US. The Japanese wanted to seize Midway so that they could lure the US CVs into range of Midway, attrit US CV combat power using Japanese land based air stationed at captured Midway, and sink the American CVs using Japanese carriers. They knew that Midway could be used that way. They simulated a war game in which the Americans wreaked havoc to the Japanese strike force. Then they ignored their war game exercise results, ignored their own strategic assessment of the threat that carriers with an island support could pose, and went ahead with their lame-assed operation anyhow. And they very predictably had their lunch eaten as a result.

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 Post subject: Re: John Ford's Midway footage
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:57 pm 
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NATO wrote:
I.
Imagine the "good guys" (couldnt resist swipe at matrix fanbois) losing Hornet, Yorktown and Enterprise and the IJN losing none. :shock:
It could have happened, right?


So? The USA could have lost everything at Midway and would still outnumber Japan in carriers by 1944 (the first Essex class CVs starts to arrive in early summer of 1943. The lighter CVLs somewhat earlier).

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 Post subject: Re: John Ford's Midway footage
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:02 pm 
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Thanks Mdiehl for a more nuanced view. Truly appreciate you taking time to type this all out.

Those (Yorktown?) Dauntless squadrons ignoring their gas meters was gritty though. And it was only Yorktown planes that sunk Akagi, Kaga and Soryu in those famed few minutes?
Never knew Japanese actually war-planned the operation and then ignored their own worst-case scenario?!
And really?, they thought they were going to capture Midway before American CVs even showed up?


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 Post subject: Re: John Ford's Midway footage
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:09 pm 
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JDR_Dragoon wrote:
NATO wrote:
I.
Imagine the "good guys" (couldnt resist swipe at matrix fanbois) losing Hornet, Yorktown and Enterprise and the IJN losing none. :shock:
It could have happened, right?


So? The USA could have lost everything at Midway and would still outnumber Japan in carriers by 1944 (the first Essex class CVs starts to arrive in early summer of 1943. The lighter CVLs somewhat earlier).


Losing everything at Midway would have been a very heavy blow, too awful to contemplate in June 1942, things were not going so well on the approaches to Rabaul, dontcha think?
The "morale" thing would have been difficult. Wonder also if the "Europe first" policy wouldnt have seen a major revision?


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 Post subject: Re: John Ford's Midway footage
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:12 pm 
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Yorktown caught two Japanese flat-tops in the initial American strike. Nailing the fourth carrier was a joint op as I recall between Yorktown and Enterprise pilots. And yeah, flying the extra miles was a ballsey decision, but it was only necessary because the Japanese altered course and no one bothered to inform the American outbound strike when it was finally determined that the Japanese had moved.

More's the irony. The Japanese altered course to avoid an American submarine. As a result the submarine took a lousy pot shot and missed, at Soryu. The submarine was then pursued by a Japanese DD, and it was THAT DD that McCluskey's dive-bomber group followed back to the Japanese TF.

And yeah, the Japanese wargamed the whole thing about a month before the actual battle. In their exercise, one American CV sank three Japanese CVs. Then because the results were unpalatable, they reduced the damage inflicted by the theoretical American CV to one Japanese carrier sunk and one damaged, declared that that the American CV had been magically found by the Japanese search plan, and "sank" it.

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