On Tue, 10 May 2005 14:58:34 -0500, Kris Overstreet
In short, try and figure out *why* the Japanese didn't do what you are
There are three answers.
Not enough ships, basically. What there were weren't large enough or
fast enough. Not the glam glam warships. But the vitally important
Post by Kris Overstreet
Which were insufficient in the extreme for ANY supply of ANY Japanese
Sorry, but to my reading of things the Japanese considered logistics
only for offensive maneuvers. Once territory was siezed, they lived
off the land for the most part. The only things they needed to ship,
for the most part, was ammo and fuel. Food and medical supplies were,
at best, a luxury.
I can only, charitably, assume that your reading has been confined to
Japanese fanboy wankfest websites as the above statement and all that
followed (and which has been snipped) shows a complete and total lack
of even the most basic knowledge about Japanese logistic limitations.
Since you seem basically sincere and *n*o*t* grindingly stupid, the
only explanation is as I have posited ... a complete a total lack of
So, lets start Japanese Logistics 101.
* Why did the Japanese attack the US in 1941?
Answer: Because of oil. The US, for what seemed good and proper
reasons at the time, cut off Japan's supply of oil. Since Japan
imported something like 97% of her oil from overseas sources, this was
a problem <massive understatement>
This was made somewhat worse <massive understatement> by the fact that
almost 100% of the oil Japan imported was *not* carried in Japanese
tankers. For the simple reason that Japan *had* almost no tankers. The
oil was carried in US or allied flagged tankers. The US embargo ended
all access of the Japanese to these tankers.
So, Japan has a problem - they have reserves that will fuel the
military and the civilian economy for around 18 months, at which point
everything will essentially grind to a halt and they will be reduced
to the stone age *or* they can get out of China *or* they can get the
* So, where is the nearest oil?
Answer: In the Netherlands East Indies and Borneo.
Problem is, these are owned by Holland and the UK. Holland and the UK
have their own problems and need the oil themselves and, even if they
were inclined to thumb their noses at the US embargo, more
importantly, they don't have any tankers to spare to ship it to Japan.
Worse. The US embargo also involved a general trade embargo (more or
less) which meant that Japan was essentially out of the foreign
exchange she needed to buy the oil that wasn't available and that she
couldn't earn it, either.
So she had the same problem - 18 months of oil, then stone age *or*
get out of China *or* *s*t*e*a*l* the oil.
* Whose oil do they steal?
Answer: Dutch and British oil.
Problem. To get to Malaya, Borneo and the NEI, their invasion forces
*and* their merchant shipping have to pass close to the Phillippines.
Problem. The US owns (effectively) the Phillippines.
Problem. The US has significant armed forces in the Phillippines and
has well known plans to reinforce it with the bulk of PacFleet.
Problem. Who was it again who put Japan in this shithole? The one with
no oil, no hope of buying it and no hope of moving it?
Bingo! The US.
So, the Japanese High Command, not being Japanese Fanboy Wankers,
realised that the US had to be neutralised or they were even further
up shit creek, and arse deep in alligators to boot, with no paddles,
and a leaky canoe and no bailer.
* How do the Japanese ensure the US doesn't fuck with their stealing
the Dutch and British oil?
Answer: They neutralise the US PacFleet. This means attacking Pearl
Harbour. This means that the Phillippines cannot be reinforced and
will fall. It means that the British and Dutch positions in SE Asia
is, at best, dicey, at worst, unsupportable and doomed to defeat.
Problem. The US is 20 times <at least!> larger an economy than Japan
in all areas. The only advantage that Japan has, militarily, is that
it has spent ruinously huge amounts of money on her armed forces in
the inter-war years while the US has not. So, the *at start* forces
are somewhat in Japan's favour.
Problem. Yamamoto and the few sane Japanese commanders know that there
is no way that Japan can realistically force the US out of the war
militarily and that the chance of a political settlement once the
Japanese attack the US is less than nil. But they can't convince the
true lunatics of this. And the true lunatics are in charge of the
So, that sets the scene. But it gets worse.
From the Japanese bases in Formosa and China where their troops used
for the invasion of the PI and Malaya/NEI/Borneo were staged out of,
is around 2000 klicks each way.
The Japanese were so short of shipping that the initial stages of
their invasion of these areas involved the moving around of, IIRC,
50-70,000 troops (and certainly no more than 100,000). Even so, in
both instances, the Japanese almost ran out of supplies before
Singapore and in the PI. They simply didn't have the capacity to move
more men or, indeed, to effectively supply those that they could move.
From Japanese bases to the Hawaiian Islands is around 6000 klicks.
Each way. So divide the forces that the Japanese can lift and drop by
1/3 ... around 20,000 men ... and that's all they can get to the
But it gets worse.
The average Japanese Maru was around 3-5000 GRT and had a top speed of
around 5-6 kts.
The average Allied merchie was around 8-12000 GRT and had a top speed
of around 10-14 kts.
To move the same amount of troops and supplies on a ton for ton basis
the Japs need at least triple the number of ships.
But when you factor in the speed of the ships, you have to halve the
amount effectively available, at least ... meaning that the Japanese
can only move and supply 1/6 of the troops and supplies that the US
could for the same tonnage, not allowing for the inefficient design of
Japanese merchantmen compared to allied ones.
Now, consider the Normandy campaign. The Allies moved a hell of a lot
of troops 20 miles or so. And the campaign became a race between the
allies and the nazis to see who could get the most troops into
Normandy the fastest.
The Allies won, moderately handily.
The Japanese have to move and drop, and then supply, no more than
20,000 (and probably, realistically, 10,000) men across 6000 klicks
*each way* with a merchant marine that was woefully inadequate to the
task, and with troops untrained in amphibious warfare (read the record
of Japanese SNLFs ... woeful is being too generous), and face, IIRC,
the equivalent of 2 US divisions already in place, plus the Hawaii
National Guard, plus another full division that actually arrived,
IIRC, something like 4 weeks after the attack ... probably 80000 men
or so in those units alone, and you see the problem.
Worse, the Japanese did not have the oilers and tankers needed to keep
the Kido Butai in the area, and, in any case, operational losses would
soon have emasculated it (and that's only POL, the Japs had *no*
resupply vessels fitted for unerway replenishment of ordnance and
stores, so the KB would have to return to the Marianas or wherever
every 2-3 days ... probably a week or more for voyage time and loading
each way ... before heading back. Not a great way to maintain air
superiority), so the US will dominate the air very quickly.
And, well, no ... the Japanese are having a hard enough time supplying
the 10-20,000 ground troops on the islands, so forget about supplying
significant numbers of army fighters/bombers there.
And, well, have you realised what the biggest hole in the Japanese
Fanboy Wankfest is?
You guessed it.
To do the invasion of Hawaii, they have to completely forego *ANY*
attempt to take the Phillipines, Borneo, Malaya or the NEI.
Since these were close run things as it was, whatever residual forces
the Japanese can commit mean that they have zip or less chance of
So ... see the problem?
No hope of getting the oil.
And, if they take the Hawaiian islands (no chance) even minimal supply
with their specific merchant shipping problems (capacity, speed, range
etc.) mean that they won't be able to move or supply enough forces to
take the PI or the NEI or Borneo and Malaya even with the Hawaiian
OK. Finally, you propose that the US will, having lost the Hawaiian
islands (which is impossible, but just for the sake of refuting your
position), roll over and say to the Japanese "please! please! fuck me
up the bum!"
General sounds of mass ROTFL.
Right. Pull the other one. It plays "jingle bells."
The only thing that is going to happen if the Japanese manage to try
an invasion is that the 15% of the US War economy (i.e. 3x more than
the Japanese could produce) that was allocated to the PTO will be
boosted by as much more as is neede to fuck the Japanese over. as much
more as is needed.
And, lets get real here, the Japanese are (in December 1941)
congenitally incapable of committing multiple, ongoing, vicious,
brutal, inhumane atrocities on a mass scale against all the
inhabitants of the Hawaiian islands ... and there is no way the US
will roll over and let them fuck them in the bum for this.
As I said initially.
Author, Space Opera (FGU), RBB #1 (FASA), Road to Armageddon (PGD).