Hindsight is always 20-20. I have always wondered why the SARATOGA was submitted to a major refit that took five months, instead of just repairing the torpedo damage done in January and getting her back at sea as soon as possible. As a result, a major carrier missed the first two critical carrier battles of the war. Imagine if she had been at Coral Sea and Midway.
One could say that Nimitz erred in risking his carriers in February and March in spoiling attacks against the Marshalls, Marcus, Wake, Lae and Salamaua, etc. These raids did little in terms of damage. They didn't even slow down the Japanese. ENTERPRISE was very fortunate not to be hit during the Battle off Bougainville when 18 G4M bombers were sent to attack her. Perhaps Nimitz should have held all of his carriers back defensively during that time until he was certain that he could engage Japanese carriers. But having them at sea anywhere was a risk, as evidenced by SARATOGA's torpedoing near Hawaii in January.
As the saying goes, no battle plan survives first contact. In this case Nimitz wouldn't hold back his carriers for a battle that he didn't know would happen. He understandably felt the need to act offensively as much as possible.
: ... neither Lexington or Saratoga was
: available, and the Hornet deck outline, used
: to train her own aircrews ashore was the
: genesis of the idea.
: There is a larger issue though, that of the
: wisdom of the raid itself. I believe the
: raid to be totally unjustified, considering
: the slim, if any reward. The raid was
: nothing more than a publicity stunt that
: placed two very valuable carriers and their
: escorts at risk, not to mention the
: I believe Hornet and Enterprise rather
: should have been in a position to support
: the upcoming Coral Sea battle, reinforcing
: Lexington and Yorktown. The combat
: experience at Coral Sea would have been very
: valuable to Hornet especially, and just
: might have resulted in:
: The destruction of Shokaku, Zuikaku, and
: Shoho, along with their air groups,
: The avoidance of loss of Lexington.
: 3) A much better performance of Hornet's air
: group at Midway.
: Probably not a popular viewpoint on my part,
: but then again, I am totally against the
: risk of life and treasure just for headlines
: or revenge. None the less is was a moral
: boost, but the moral boost that could have
: potentially gained by a shattering defeat of
: the IJN at Coral Sea would have had lasting
: effects, where the Doolittle adventure, had
: only the lasting effects in legend and lore
: --Previous Message--
: As we are coming up on the 75th Anniversary
: the Doolittle Raid, I thought I'd ask for a
: bit of speculation. If I read the specs
: correctly, the Saratoga and Lexington had
: almost 100 feet more flight deck than did
: the Hornet. Given that the B-25 bomb loads
: were limited because of the need for extra
: fuel while remaining light due to the short
: length for take off, might Sara or Lex have
: not been better choices from which to launch
: the raid?
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