7th December - 1941

Discussion in 'History' started by BillyNoMates, Dec 15, 2007.

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  1. I don't get it, Billy :( Why have you posted it now? Is there a comical error in the account of the attack that I ought to know about? Give me a clue! :)
  2. Ha ha Nice one, Billy. pmsl. :thumright:
  3. Dec 7th will always have significance. As one who was there, I remember the impressive Jap start to that war; the sinking of our two great ships; not only a major blow to the Royal Navy, but also to British prestige all over the Far East.
    For the next six months, every day brought bad news as we and our Allies were humiliated by the Japanese onslaught. This included the greatest Allied Naval defeat of WW2, the Battle of the Java Sea, which was barely heard of in the UK.

    Conspiracy theorists have a fertile area in the prelude to December 7th .
    The world faced global war, with only two major nations still neutral, America and Japan; those already in play tried every means to find out not only their intentions, but also to influence them. The survival of Britain, in particular, depended on America entering the war as soon as possible; the canny W.S. Churchill made it plain that he would strive, using any means, to bring that entry about.

    The sinking of the AUTOMEDON, in November 1940 is most interesting. This Blue Funnel steamer was intercepted by the German raider Atlantis, which seized confidential documents from the ship’s safe. The most important being a top secret War Cabinet document intended for the Commander of British Forces in the Far East. This not only listed plans for the defence of Singapore and Malaya, but even worse, stated that the Royal Navy could not commit major fleet units to the defense of the Far East in the event of war with Japan.
    On being told of the document, Hitler ordered the Atlantis to immediately convey it to Japan.
    Shortly afterwards, Admiral Yamamoto first proposed the preemptive strike on the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor - knowing the Royal Navy was not coming in any strength.
    Similarly, on the island of Hainan, the Japanese Army would shortly play war games simulating the invasion of Malaya.

    Why was a Most Secret document sent in this manner on board a Merchant ship? Why was there talk of important documents being carried on board this ship?
    What was the radio message sent from an unknown source in Colombo on the sailing of Automedan for Penang? Who received this message?

  4. Very interesting theory Como, and not one without grounds. I do believe WC and Eisenhower for that matter wouldve have done anything to get the USA involved. What is shocking is after watching FLags of Our Fathers, I didnt realise how bad the America nation lost its stomach for a fight during the last years of the war. This is a nation that never suffered mainland bombing.

  5. A lot of Nations start to worry in war time especially when the casualty lists begin to make their mark.

    As for Japan ----- America had decided that the European war was becoming a problem --they split the Pacific Fleet to reinforce the Atlantic operations.
    Also the Americans had frozen Japanese assets meaning the purchase of oil and basic minerals was becoming a hardship. They had to expand their ''empire '' or become toothless . Japan has no natural assets .
    The Russians signed a neutrality agreement with the Japanese in 1942 meaning that the Japanese could divert their forces elsewhere . The obvious was becoming easier ---- the Pearl Harbour attack was planned as early as October -[based on the Taranto attack] and midget subs aswell.
    The only thing that saved the US was the fact that the carrier group was not at Pearl harbour on the Sunday -they had remained at sea.
    Britains Navy was embroiled in the Uboat war and had no spare ships or aircraft carriers.

    Sigint would have made little difference .

    :nemo: :nemo:
  6. WSC had more than casualty lists to worry about. Britain's condition was indeed desperate; British investments (& patents) were sold offf to pay for munitions and materials bought in the United States. Britain's reserves of it's last negotiable asset, gold, had been collected by a US cruiser sent by Roosevelt. (His aid was very calculated).

    I think Greenie meant 1941 for the Russo-Japanese pact; which readied each of them for the coming struggle.

    November 1940 was helpful to the Japanese for Taranto, where the RN (The Jap Navy's old mentor) had demonstrated a succesful harbour attack on capital ships; also for the incredible intelligence swag carried on board Automedan, which gave them the 'key' to Malaya.
    Roosevelt's oil embargo was indeed forcing the Japanese to war; the alternative was to withdraw from China, but this meant 'loss of face', and many changes in Japan.

    As Greenie says, 'The only thing that saved the US was the Carrier Group was not in Pearl Harbor'. Japanese naval veterans were very
    superstitous about this, also the effects of the Cruiser Tone's No.4 search plane at Midway.

  7. Which American cruiser evacuated Britain's gold reserves ?
    As for TONE's No 4 scout plane, pure coincidence ....as was Earl McClusky's following the trail of a Japanese DD which had just unsuccesfully attacked an American SS.. on such tiny things are the fate of Nations decided..............
  8. I think the Midway air fleets encounter was a true piece of modern warfare the japanese drew the short straw .I think from then on they started on the slippery slope .

    :nemo: :nemo:
  9. The Jap who planned the attack on the US Fleet in Pearl Harbour was a naval attache in London at the time of the attack by the FAA on the Italian Fleet in Taranto harbour…
  10. Same Japanese fleet that hit Pearl also hit Darwin [sinking I think 8 ships for no losses] and then raced across the Indian Ocean to surprise the Brits at Colombo. The escape of the US carriers certainly helped save the US in the Pacific but the real factor was that the US had broken the Japanese naval codes which led to the fleet ambush at Midway and the sinking of 4 Japanese carriers together with 350 irreplaceable pilots. Yamamoto had predicted the eventual outcome of the war prior to Pearl Harbour.

  11. wet_blobby

    wet_blobby War Hero Moderator

    It's also worth remembering that the Allies Uk/USA/Aussies/kiwi etc were always fighting less than 50% of the Japanese army, 52% of the Jap war machine was in china, bit like the majority of the german army was embroiled in Russia.
  12. I've always wondered why the Japanese decided to bomb Pearl Harbour on my Mother-in-Law's birthday.
  13. Luck, Fate or ‘The Gods’ were certainly involved as that Japanese spearhead (The First Carrier Striking Force), rampaged from Hawaii to Ceylon, from Darwin to the Aleutians; around half the globe.

    ‘Midway’ was the last of three ‘carrier forays’, two Japanese and one American; ie.
    1) The Indian Ocean Raid by Nagumo’s First Carrier Striking Force, of early April 1942.
    2) The Tokyo Raid by Doolittle’s fliers, from the U.S. Hornet on April 18th 1942.
    3) Midway, where the First Carrier Striking Force was destroyed, in early June 1942.

    WSC’s most anxious time (and he had a few), was after the Striking Force showed it’s mastery of the Indian Ocean in April. He knew the Japs planned bases in Ceylon and Madagascar, from these they could cut the vital shipping lines to the Middle East.
    Afterwards the Striking Force had returned to Singapore, to refuel, rearm, then return
    to possibly establish a base in Ceylon, probably at Trincomalee.
    However fate, would prevent this disastrous scenario.
    The Doolittle raid by B.25 bombers did little damage, but created alarm and despondency in the civilian population; also they had flown near the Emperor’s palace. To avenge this insult and prevent a recurrence, the Striking Force was ordered back home.
    From this the great sea battle of Midway would eventuate; in turn the loss of the Carrier Striking Force would cripple Japan’s offensive.

    At Midway the Americans were outclassed, facing the mightiest Navy in the world.
    Even worse, hopelessly outclassed in the vital area that would decide the battle – Naval Aviation, where the enemy was fully experienced and completely professional.
    The U.S. naval force was positioned at ‘Point Luck’ to the North East of Midway; the name of this vital location was no accident; Admirals Nimitz and Spruance knew that they needed all the luck they could get in the coming battle. If they lost their vital aircraft carriers, Hawaii and the West Coast would be wide open.
    Although they had broken the Japanese Naval Code, and knew enemy intentions; Nimitz feared this could be a double edged sword with the large imbalance between their forces.
    Luck was certainly involved with the dive bombers from Enterprise and Hornet; coming from different directions, arriving almost together over Nagumo’s unguarded carriers.
    However, many torpedo pilots such as John Wadron, C.O. of Torpedo 8 paid for that luck with their lives.

    Looking back to that time; on the Allied side it seems incredible how the results of Midway were not known for so long. In Colombo, where I was after being in hospital, people worried about Japanese invasion until the end of 1942. Naturally we weren’t told anything officially, only rumours and scuttlebutt trickled through.
    It wasn’t till June ’43 when we put in for repairs to the U.S. base at Massawa; here the U.S. Armament’s Officer gave us not only details of Midway but also much needed 20mm Oerlikon ammunition. (He had pilot’s wings and implied he’d been there).
    The readiness of this fresh faced Yank to pass on information to us A/A gunners, (in contrast to our officers) gave us much needed confidence, knowing we faced the Med and it’s dive bombers in this old tub.

    If this is rather long, then please excuse the blabberings of an oldie about a time that still is very real to him

  14. Ramblings Como?? Far from it. You were witness to some of the greatest military events of the 20th Century and it is obvious from what you have written that you also understand the bigger picture behind those events. Do everyone a favour, get a tape-recorder and commit your knowledge to tape. Your memories are priceless and you have my respect.

  15. Agree with Bergen there is a lot of History still unwritten outwith the
    Official accounts of WW2 . I think as a vet you should write down your experiences so that others can learn of them .

    Lot of guys in my Submarine Association branch come out with some
    real life stories of how WW2 really was.

    :nemo: :nemo:

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