Following Sloan's arguments, the japanese were not aware of the presence of the American fleet. Anyway, the "what if" reconstruction in the epilogue includes these arguments:
- The American fleet made a slow travel from its base, allowing the admiral Kajioka japanese fleet arrive first with all its power. But if the relieving force had arrived first, the result of the battle might have been different.
- The Japanese didn't have a good strategy to attack the island. They expected to win only by the force of numbers, with massive air raids and the power of their guns.
- The information system failed during the battle and the command officers didn't have a clear image of the fight. Cunningham has been blamed for his lack of decission in those moments. He did not send patrols to know the real situation and his vision of the battle was very weak. Moreover, his radio message was misunderstood as "all is lost".
- Sloan recognizes that a number of other factors could have changed the final result: the lack of a radar station, the loss of the main part of the Wildcat fighters in the first air raid, the early loss of the telephones lines, the lack of confidence of admirals Pye and Fletcher in Wake's garrison...
Obviously, there are other arguments, as you mention, that point to another direction: The disaster was almost impossible to prevent and even the quick intervention of the American fleet could not guarantee the complete success. Sloan mentions that the planes on the Saratoga were the obsolete Brewster Buffalo fighters, no match for the Mistusbishi Zeros. Perhaps the American fleet was under the risk of being attacked (and defeated) by the Japanese force and therefore the supposed balance between a possible victory and a sure and safe escape was not an option. Wake was relatively important but the Americans had more important goals and troubles in those days.
But a the end, a relevant fact remains: on december 11th 1941 the Americans achieved their first victory at war, although it has been almost forgotten or little considered. Anyway, as far as the Japanese didn't achieve a complete success in the first year of war, they had little hope of winning the war against a great industrial power as the USA, as predicted by Admiral Yamamoto.
|Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||928||Titus Livius||02-Apr-11 12:19|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||393||Avatar||02-Apr-11 14:49|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||380||Hoppy||02-Apr-11 15:17|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||273||Titus Livius||02-Apr-11 16:40|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||365||Eddie Larry||02-Apr-11 15:18|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||291||Titus Livius||02-Apr-11 16:22|
|Re: Japan - missed opportunities||383||Thunderbird||03-Apr-11 04:53|
|Re: Japan - missed opportunities||318||Titus Livius||03-Apr-11 09:38|
|Re: Japan - missed opportunities||260||Thunderbird||04-Apr-11 04:32|
|Re: Japan - missed opportunities||295||Titus Livius||04-Apr-11 08:43|
|A few final thoughts||289||Titus Livius||05-Apr-11 10:54|
|Re: Battle of Wake, 1941: an alternative history episode||572||Pete Vanderzwet||05-Apr-11 14:26|