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Uss Pennsylvania Rebuild - Why?
saransk
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 06:14 AM UTC
Of all the battleships that survived the Pearl Harbor attack, the USS Pennsylvania has an unanswered question - why did this relatively undamaged battleship have such an extensive rebuild.
Of the surviving battleships, the USS Nevada and the USS Pennsylvania were the two closest in design and fit. The Nevada was almost sunk during the attack and wasn't re-floated until 2/42, the Pennsylvania was almost immediately back in service.
Yet, the Pennsylvania was rebuilt in 1942 in the same manner that the Nevada was - new 01 deck superstructure with twin 5" turrets, removal of the mainmast with small superstructure - and a host of 40mm guns and directors.
I've always wondered why, given her age and lack of serious damage, she was rebuilt before any of the other "Standard" battleships were updated. There doesn't seem to be any necessity for the level of rebuild.

Michael
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 07:11 AM UTC
I don’t post over here on ModelShipways very often, but because I’m interested in the US Navy in the Pacific during WWII, and studied a bit about it at the NWC, I’ll give your question a shot—You’ve kind of answered your own question in fact. New radars eliminated the need for those tall observation decks, and new guns with more effective ranges required different mounts and turrets. The early Pennsylvania was designed in response to a battleship driven world, but it was now expected to fill the gap between air and surface defenses until the arrival of the newer fast battleships. As the war went on, these older ships would be relegated to supporting roles as gun platforms for amphibious warfare, a task they were never intended for. As tactics and strategy changed, so did the ships. It’s interesting to juxtaposition the pre-war Washington accords with the “no holds barred” approach after December 1941. We literally went from a peacetime “battleship threat Navy” to an air attack/defense Navy almost overnight. The Pennsylvania (and Nevada, Texas,etc.) are examples of the upgraded required for these new tactics and strategy.
VR, Russ
saransk
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 07:44 AM UTC
That explains what was done but the Texas and New York had 40mm and 20mm guns added, and radar to the directors, etc., but this was done without major structure rebuilding. It wasn't until 1944 that any of the New Mexico class had significant rebuilding.
If you use the Texas as an example, much of the anti-aircraft suit the Pennsylvania carried could have been added without the 01 deck rebuild. I just find it interesting that her whole upper deck was rebuilt to carry the dual 5" guns even though she didn't sustain much damage at Pearl.
I just came across a drawing that shows a pre-Pearl Harbor proposed configuration for the Pennsylvania/Arizona showing the 5" turrets added - closer to the setup on the Nevada. Maybe they decided to go ahead once the Nevada was rebuilt.
I've read that the rebuilding of the very damaged battleships using essentially the North Carolina/South Dakota superstructure design was done because the plans and parts were available.
Quincannon
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 09:00 AM UTC
You're asking a very interesting question, one that I am not sure has an answer about one ship alone.

Personally I think that any of the battleships that pre-date the New Mexico's were nothing more than floating junk piles, unfit for any form of combat, and ones that would be better used, if all, in a training role. Had the situation been different and we stuck to the treaty, the New York's, Nevada's, and Pennsylvania's were due to be retired as soon as the North Carolina's and South Dakota's were in commission and worked up.

Sticking to the treaty though became impossible, being overcome by events, and each of these ships had a hastily prepared class improvement package drawn up, and modernization of the big five, something always intended treaty or not, postponed.

I too have seen the pre-Pearl modernization drawings of Pennsylvania and Arizona, and understand a similar one was done for Nevada, but not Oklahoma, which had engine issues, and had she not been sunk at Pearly was due to either be retired from first line service or decommissioned in 1942. Probably the former. There were even plans that existed to re-arm Wyoming and bring her back into the battle line.

Now with all the situational hoo ha out of the way, I believe your answer lies in the fact that Pennsylvania was the easiest to fix, upgrade, and get back into full service, taking a lot less time and precious west coast dockyard space. Colorado and Maryland were still serviceable after Pearl. The rest in the Pacific were pretty beat up. Tennessee was also back in service by February 42 and had a limited re-fit at Mare Island. By early 1943 she was back in the yard again for a major rebuild. West Virginia and California were heavily damaged at Pearl, both being sunk. By the time they were raised and sent back to the west coast, there was plenty of time for them to be rebuilt before they would again be urgently needed in 44 and 45, as the battle for the Pacific was edging closer and closer to Japan.

I hope the above build a fairly comprehensive picture for you, but it all comes down to urgency of need, time required to repair and upgrade, and priority of yard space.
PzDave
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 05:40 PM UTC
Maybe it's because we needed to pound the heck out of Japanese held islands before landings by Marines/Army troops. The newer Iowa and South dakota Class battleships would be needed to take on the japanese fleet on the high seas. Just a thought.
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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 - 10:13 PM UTC
A further thought:
When we look at the Japanese attack on the ships at Pearl Harbor the Japanese pilots were wild in their attacks. Not following up on more hits and going after ships that were not that critical. I will look up the sources for that in my library but that seemed to be the view of some authors. If they had focused more on the targets we probably would not have been able to recover any battleships.
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Posted: Monday, June 17, 2019 - 05:45 AM UTC
Several of the authors I've read have stated that the Japanese were very "offense" minded and that shaped their thinking in several ways. One result was that they disdained armor and other protection for their fighters, choosing to sacrifice protection for speed. Ultimately the availability of radios in every US fighter, armor protecting the pilot and self sealing fuel tanks (and the "Thatch Weave") allowed us to hold our own until the Hellcat arrived.

Another result was to focus on more militarily "worthy" targets such as capital ships and believing that attacking logistical and infrastructure was not as worthy.

Admiral Nagumo should in all probability have risked a third attack on Pearl Harbor with an emphasis on crippling the repair facilities and destroying the fuel reserves. Despite the fact that a "prepared" defense would no doubt have inflicted higher losses than those sustained during the first two attacks, it is extremely likely that in doing so, he could have significantly affected two key pieces which contributed to his later defeat at Midway.

That is not only the ability to launch the Doolittle raid and send out units to fight at the Coral Sea (both of which actions had contributing consequences to the later battle at Midway) due to the availability of plenty of fuel, but had the repair facilities been destroyed, Yorktown (assuming she DID fight at Coral Sea and sustained the same damage) would never have been able to be repaired enough to be available for Midway.

But of course hindsight is always at LEAST 20/20.
PzDave
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Posted: Monday, June 17, 2019 - 06:12 AM UTC
A third attack was discussed. But check out the number of planes lost in the attack. Also the number of planes that were damaged and could not be repaired at the time also many of those were just pushed over the side of the carriers. Their second wave was hit hard by our flak. The first wave was not hurt as much. A third wave would have taken even more hits. The Japanese at the time thought themselves they had been pretty lucky.Hence "let's get out after a second wave'.
saransk
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Posted: Monday, June 17, 2019 - 07:11 AM UTC
IN hindsight, the Japanese failed both tactically and strategically at Pearl Harbor, still the fear of a follow-up attack on either the Hawaiian Islands or the West Coast was very real. As soon as they could the US Navy moved the New Mexico and Colorado class battleships from the East to West Coast and the fleet was on 48 hour readiness. From a numerical standpoint the US actually had the same number, and overall newer, battleships in the Pacific Fleet. Considering the North Carolina's were in service and South Dakota's were coming, I don't believe the US Navy needed to rebuild any of the Pearl Harbor survivors from a military reason.
Even if it was for purely political/propaganda reasons, it still begs the question - why was the "old" but undamaged Pennsylvania rebuilt to the same level as the Nevada? The Texas has a huge number of anti-aircraft guns added but never had the radical rebuild that the Pennsylvania had.
thathaway3
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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 01:57 AM UTC
While the availability through repair and rebuild of the older battleships wasn't particularly important from a "battleline" perspective (that pretty much had become obsolete as of December 7 anyway), all those ships did serve a valuable function as fire support ships for all of the amphibious landings the Allies made, in the Pacific, Mediterranean, and of course Normandy.

While it can certainly be argued that naval gunfire from the larger caliber guns from the battleships may not have been as effective as planners had hoped, having 13 pre-war battleships available for this work allowed the "fast battleships" to be used with the carrier task forces.

And those that served in the Battle of the Atlantic allowed planners to have something in their back pocket for convoy protection as a hedge against the possibility of further attacks by German surface units.

Plus the six pre-war battleships in the 7th Fleet were certainly welcome at the battle of Leyte.

So on balance I'd say the work to put them all into commission was worth it, particularly as it never negatively affected any other building and repair work to a major degree.
babaoriley
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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 12:33 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Several of the authors I've read have stated that the Japanese were very "offense" minded and that shaped their thinking in several ways. One result was that they disdained armor and other protection for their fighters, choosing to sacrifice protection for speed. Ultimately the availability of radios in every US fighter, armor protecting the pilot and self sealing fuel tanks (and the "Thatch Weave") allowed us to hold our own until the Hellcat arrived.

Another result was to focus on more militarily "worthy" targets such as capital ships and believing that attacking logistical and infrastructure was not as worthy.

Admiral Nagumo should in all probability have risked a third attack on Pearl Harbor with an emphasis on crippling the repair facilities and destroying the fuel reserves. Despite the fact that a "prepared" defense would no doubt have inflicted higher losses than those sustained during the first two attacks, it is extremely likely that in doing so, he could have significantly affected two key pieces which contributed to his later defeat at Midway.

That is not only the ability to launch the Doolittle raid and send out units to fight at the Coral Sea (both of which actions had contributing consequences to the later battle at Midway) due to the availability of plenty of fuel, but had the repair facilities been destroyed, Yorktown (assuming she DID fight at Coral Sea and sustained the same damage) would never have been able to be repaired enough to be available for Midway.

But of course hindsight is always at LEAST 20/20.



My understanding is that the Japanese always planned to hit the fuel tanks but they were to be attacked last so smoke from them burning would not interfere with strikes on the warships. If not for the final wave being held back, the USN would have had a tougher time fueling the fleet following Pearl Harbor and who know how that would have played out? I don't think the end result would have been different, but it would have taken longer and the cost in lives been higher.
Quincannon
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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 01:04 PM UTC
It has been quite a while since I got into the weeds on Pearl Harbor, but if memory serves me well, Nagumo never seriously considered a third strike on Pearl, and it was largely a figment of Fuchida's literary imagination in his early work, "Midway, The Battle that doomed Japan".

Like I said it's been a long time, so if my memory is faulty, please tell me. I don't mind being mistaken. I do mind being mistaken about the same thing twice
thathaway3
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Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - 07:08 AM UTC
It's hard to say just how much the total destruction of the fuel storage area would have affected subsequent US operations. But refueling was always a significant factor in planning operations and had all of the fuel reserves been destroyed by a theoretical third attack, the lack of enough fuel MIGHT have kept the Navy from mounting the raids they made in the early months of the war, and could easily have significantly impacted the Coral Sea and Midway operations.

If you DON'T fight the Coral Sea, then in theory you haven't lost Lexington, and Yorktown is undamaged. Assuming that you still send Enterprise and Hornet on the Doolittle Raid in April and it goes the same way, that leaves FOUR carriers for the US at Midway, again assuming there's enough fuel to send them out.

However, without the losses inflicted on the Japanese at Coral Sea, they almost certainly send both Shokaku and Zuikaku to Midway.

Give Nagumo two more experienced carriers, and his dilemma of having to rearm plans held back for a possible NAVAL counter strike with bombs for another ground strike, and then deciding to AGAIN change ordnance once the US fleet was discovered, PERHAPS goes away.

And if he doesn't lose all that time, MAYBE he doesn't get caught when Yorktown and Enterprise dive bombers finally find him. And if there's no Coral Sea battle, Midway becomes the FIRST engagement and the lessons learned at Coral Sea haven't been learned.

NOW the results of the battle could have been COMPLETELY different.

So on balance would the higher losses incurred by a third Pearl Harbor strike and the potential dividends it MIGHT have provided for the next six months including a possible 6 v 4 carrier engagement instead of a 4 v 3 at Midway, been worth what the Japanese ultimately lost at Midway? I'm betting that if Nagumo had been able to foresee the future, he'd have risked it.


It's an interesting theory to speculate about, and we can never know for sure, but I think I know what Patton's approach would have been: "L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace."


As far as Fuchida's book is concerned, recent works, especially "Shattered Sword" have uncovered several discrepancies in what Fuchida wrote in his book, much of it to paint a less critical picture of decisions made.

Fuchida's assertion that the Japanese carriers had FINISHED rearming with torpedoes and armor piercing bombs for a naval attack and had their decks full of planes and were JUST about to turn into the wind to launch when the US dive bombers showed up has been disproved by the Japanese naval records themselves which actually show otherwise.

The decks were mostly clear, because they had to continuously launch and recover the fighters in the CAP due to an almost continuous series of (ultimately unsuccessful) attacks by various US aviation units, launched mostly from Midway itself.

Certainly interesting to consider "what if"!!
saransk
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Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - 08:09 AM UTC
Even if the Japanese had been able to win at Midway - given your scenario - they ultimately would have lost the War. Maybe it would have been in 1946, but the Japanese lost the war on December 7th.

Had they attacked the various European possessions in the Western Pacific, including the Philippines, even forgoing the surprise attacks, two things probably would have happened.
1 - There initial strategy would have still succeeded. None of the combatants really had the resources to affect the outcomes of 1942.
2 - The US might have been willing to accept some of the conquests, or at least fought a less than total destruction war against the Japanese. Some form of armistice would have been reached, especially if the Japanese were seen as anti-communist.

But the surprise attack on Pearl gave the US no choice but to fight for the complete and utter defeat of Japan. The A-bomb would still have been developed and the US would have found a way to start using it no matter where its forces were in 1945. (I suspect the development of a 16" atomic warhead would have been accelerated) The US fleet still would have had a major numerical edge over the Japanese and the US Navy would have been able to sell the idea of just starving the Japanese.
It might have taken another year, maybe 2, but then more than 2 cities would have been turned to atomic ash, the US most likely would have had no qualms about using nerve & mustard gas against Japanese military targets. Instead of Island hopping the US might have just turned Japanese held Islands into Atomic Rubble.
d6mst0
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Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - 11:54 PM UTC

Quoted Text

It has been quite a while since I got into the weeds on Pearl Harbor, but if memory serves me well, Nagumo never seriously considered a third strike on Pearl, and it was largely a figment of Fuchida's literary imagination in his early work, "Midway, The Battle that doomed Japan".

Like I said it's been a long time, so if my memory is faulty, please tell me. I don't mind being mistaken. I do mind being mistaken about the same thing twice



Just about everything Fuchida wrote in that book and been proven false by his own government and researchers. Don't believe any of it. Read Shattered Sword to get real thoughts by the Japanese on Midway and why it happen and the politics between the Japanese navy and army just to get the army to supply a landing force for Midway invasion.

Mark
d6mst0
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Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 12:00 AM UTC
" As far as Fuchida's book is concerned, recent works, especially "Shattered Sword" have uncovered several discrepancies in what Fuchida wrote in his book, much of it to paint a less critical picture of decisions made.

Fuchida's assertion that the Japanese carriers had FINISHED rearming with torpedoes and armor piercing bombs for a naval attack and had their decks full of planes and were JUST about to turn into the wind to launch when the US dive bombers showed up has been disproved by the Japanese naval records themselves which actually show otherwise.

The decks were mostly clear, because they had to continuously launch and recover the fighters in the CAP due to an almost continuous series of (ultimately unsuccessful) attacks by various US aviation units, launched mostly from Midway itself."

Photos take by B17 bombers less then 20 minutes before the IJN carriers were hit clearly shows only 2 - 3 planes on the flight deck, mostly likely CAP fighters.

Mark
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Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 06:49 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Even if the Japanese had been able to win at Midway - given your scenario - they ultimately would have lost the War. Maybe it would have been in 1946, but the Japanese lost the war on December 7th.

Had they attacked the various European possessions in the Western Pacific, including the Philippines, even forgoing the surprise attacks, two things probably would have happened.
1 - There initial strategy would have still succeeded. None of the combatants really had the resources to affect the outcomes of 1942.
2 - The US might have been willing to accept some of the conquests, or at least fought a less than total destruction war against the Japanese. Some form of armistice would have been reached, especially if the Japanese were seen as anti-communist.

But the surprise attack on Pearl gave the US no choice but to fight for the complete and utter defeat of Japan. The A-bomb would still have been developed and the US would have found a way to start using it no matter where its forces were in 1945. (I suspect the development of a 16" atomic warhead would have been accelerated) The US fleet still would have had a major numerical edge over the Japanese and the US Navy would have been able to sell the idea of just starving the Japanese.
It might have taken another year, maybe 2, but then more than 2 cities would have been turned to atomic ash, the US most likely would have had no qualms about using nerve & mustard gas against Japanese military targets. Instead of Island hopping the US might have just turned Japanese held Islands into Atomic Rubble.



No arguments from me on this. It was the NATURE of the attack on Pearl Harbor which galvanized American public opinion about the war. Until then there really wasn't any overwhelming support for going to war, and since until that point "the war" was almost entirely in Europe as far as the average American was concerned, a war against Japan for what she was doing in China was probably a non-starter.

But launching a sneak attack had the effect of totally pissing off the population and the ability to conduct a total war against Japan no doubt sealed her fate to the eventual outcome.

I don't believe that had the infamous "Fourteenth Part" message been delivered PRIOR to the attack, it would have softened the blow. But the fact that we could state that the Japanese didn't DELIVER it until after the attack took place worked out very poorly for them.

And I am NOT among those who believe in a conspiracy on the part of Roosevelt and others to "allow" the attack to hit Pearl Harbor in order to produce that reaction. Sure we had broken the DIPLOMATIC code and were aware of the text of the "Fourteenth Part", but there has been NO EVIDENCE uncovered which shows that the text of that message caused anyone to suspect that Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked.

An attack on the Philippines was certainly expected but no one SERIOUSLY consider Pearl Harbor to be at risk.

On the contrary, like most peacetime military organizations, the US tended to project onto potential enemies the capabilities of their own organization, and the idea of combining SIX carriers into a single strike force was hardly firm doctrine, despite the Fleet Problem Exercises which had been conducted. And of course we totally didn't believe that the Japanese could possibly conduct serious warfare.

In my opinion the two biggest strategic blunders committed by the Axis in WW II occurred within the four day period of December 7-11, 1941. The first was the sneak attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, and the second was Germany's decision to declare war on the US on December 11. THAT decision completely eliminated a huge problem for President Roosevelt by allowing a declaration of war on Germany to be approved by Congress.

It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that we would have to fight Germany and put a priority there, but it is nowhere near certain that Roosevelt could have convinced Congress to go to war against Germany had they not already stated that THEY had done so. Hitler solved the problem for us.

All that said, Hitler also made a huge blunder by invading the USSR. While the US DID supply a lot of things which kept Russia in the war, we here tend to underestimate just how BIG a toll fighting the USSR took on Germany and how much more difficult it would have been to invade had Germany not been involved so deeply on the Eastern Front.
d6mst0
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Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 08:42 AM UTC
Tom,

Can't agree more with your account except to say Hitler just begun to realize in December 1941 the problems of a two front war. Something his generals learned in WWI.

Mark
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Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 01:30 PM UTC
In 1941 battleships were still considered viable and potent weapons. Just a few months before Pearl Harbor the Bismark had sunk the Hood and in turn was sunk a few days later. The threat they posed was real enough.

No only were warships needed in a navy that didn't have enough to cover two oceans at that time, there was a considerable morale boost to take ships knocked out at Pearl and return them to battle. They would all need extensive modernization in order to operate and survive. Radar and anti-aircraft defenses were a major component. Another big factor was the simple fact that the US could manage the rebuild because the resources existed. Japan and German both had steel, oil and other critical material shortages towards the end. The US had plenty. Not only were battleships build, but every other class of ship. Look at the production numbers. Ships were built that were either unwanted or unnecessary. Escort carriers came off the slipways and into the scrapyard at the end of the war.

As for the attack on Pearl Harbor, I have read that there was no plan for a third wave. By the time the second wave had returned the deck crews were exhausted. Most had been up all night getting the aircraft primed and ready to go. There was real concern from the Japanese that the American carriers would show up and inflict losses on the IJN. They couldn't afford to lose any ships because their timetable and plans were too tight.

The Japanese competitive sports and games focused on individual technique or complex strategy and planning that anticipated your adversaries actions-they did what you expected and planned for them to do. This shaped how they designed weapons and planned battles. Their aircraft were initially extensions of the pilot, who fought like a swordsman in a battle of skill. They planned for dogfighting because they expected their enemies to dogfight. When they did the Japanese aircraft were unmatched. When they didn't and used speed and armament to the advantage, the Japanese aircraft were at a severe disadvantage. Pearl Harbor was a carefully thought out plan whose primary purpose was to prevent the US fleet from interfering with Japanese expansion in the Pacific. The plan was to cripple the ships, which they did. If the plan had been to eliminate Pearl Harbor as a staging area and operating base, their plan would have been different, but that didn't fall into their bigger vision.

The Japanese plan was based on a book written by a British officer, a fictional account of war between Japan and the US. In that book the US Pacific Fleet was based in Manila. Japan launched a surprise attack and pushed the US out to sea where they were defeated by the IJN. The book was reprinted in Japan and became an unofficial manual of instruction on preparing for war. Only the last chapter of the book, where the US defeats Japan through overwhelming production of war material and far greater resources was omitted.

thathaway3
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Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 05:38 AM UTC
Excellent comments, Russ!

saransk
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Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 07:04 AM UTC
While I am certainly not the first to say this, the attack on Pearl Harbor was a perfect example of the non-military "forces" that often are far more important than the actual conflict itself. In this case, the Japanese completely misread how the shock of the Pearl Harbor attack would affect the US.
Not only did the attack not have effect of slowing the US's response and allowing the Japanese to better consolidate their gains, the US and its allies began to launch offensive attacks within a couple of months.
I think the Japanese never did understand how we reacted. They always seemed to believe we would eventually settle for a negotiated peace. Even as the casualty rates went up during 1945, I think that even without the A-bomb, the US was prepared to use nerve gas, maybe biological attacks, a full blockade, and firebombing to, if necessary, return Japan back to the pre-industrial state. I think there were war planners who were quite ready to wipe out the Japanese en mass if that is what it took to end the war.
thathaway3
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Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 01:54 PM UTC
And on the other side, I believe that it took something as drastic as the atomic bomb to force Japan to surrender. Despite the fact that by "our" standards" they were thoroughly beaten militarily by August 1945, most of the militarists were totally prepared to fight out the war to the death. They were certain (and perhaps not to far from wrong) that they could inflict enough casualties on our forces that the American public would clamor for the end of the war, and the Empire could negotiate some sort of peace which left them "unbeaten". (We all know how the strategy of bleeding the Americans until they get tired managed to work some 25 or so years later.)

The sheer magnitude of what the atomic bombs could do allowed the Emperor to force a peace, even though there was still a hard core group which was willing to kill him and keep fighting.

I'm not a big fan of MacArthur, but I do give him MAJOR props for two things. One, his plan to invade Inhcon during the Korean was absolute genius. (His subsequent decisons....not so much.)

And the manner in which he "ruled" post war Japan has resulted in that country becoming a strong country and powerful ally, without the militarism which led to war in the first place. To those who say "war never solves anything", while that may have some merit, it's how you END it and the peace that follows which makes the difference. Look at how things have worked out (finally) for Germany and compare the results with the aftermath of the First World War.
SpurnWater71
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Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2019 - 01:50 PM UTC
Suggest that there was a operational temp strategic value to modernizing USS Pennsylvania and her contemporaries. It enabled the USN to employ constant pressure on the enemy with both amphibious assaults and carrier raids. Doctrine dictated that amphibious assaults be supported by naval gunfire. Naval doctrine also considered a (fast) battleship in a carrier air group a very valuable resource, not just for its awesome anti-aircraft battery but as a big gun platform that would quickly and decisively dealing with any stray surface raider that might have the bad luck to chance upon the carrier group.

If Pennsylvania and others of her type had not been modernized they would not have been suitable for amphibious bombardment - old, slow, and notoriously poor maneuverability made for too great a risk. In this case, one would have had to use a fast battleship or two to generate the bombardment, reducing the number of adequately screened carrier available, reducing the carrier group raid operational tempo.

To get to the point, having the old battleships modernized freed up the fast battleships for carrier escorts - in essence, this raised the operational tempo for both amphibious assaults and blue water carrier ops simultaneously. A stroke of genius in mind as constant pressure was kept on a logistically-challenged enemy on multiple fronts over the vastness of the Pacific.
SpurnWater71
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Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2019 - 09:39 AM UTC
Perhaps the answer is as simple as flag staff accommodations.

In her 1929 refit, USS Pennsylvania received an enlarged bridge structure and additional accommodations for her role as fleet flagship (Emphasis on fleet - not a Force, Squadron, or Div flagship). This made her ideal for an amphibious force flagship since she could not only accommodate the force flag officer's staff but the embarked Army or Marine staffs as well.

USS Idaho also had flagship facilities added in her between the wars modernization.
saransk
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Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2019 - 01:28 PM UTC
All of this makes perfect sense but it doesn't answer the fundamental question - why, when she was essentially undamaged, was the Pennsylvania rebuilt to the same level as the Nevada? None of the later classes of "Standard" battleships had this much work done, aside from the California & West Virginia which were severely damaged, until much later in the war.
The Washington & South Dakota were in the Pacific already and Tarawa, the first place the use of the older battleships for amphibious support, was still a ways way.
The level of upgrade for an essentially undamaged battleship has always been a question that I can find no real answer in Naval documents. The Nevada is understandable, but why the Pennsylvania.