Assuming however, that the raid was ill conceived, the assumption that in the absence of the raid, HORNET and ENTERPRISE would then have been available for Coral Sea does not necessary follow, because once you begin changing history, you cannot then predict what will follow therefrom. Had the ships not been employed against Tokyo, they likely would have been sent on some other foray, with uncertain consequences.
As for SARATOGA lacking an air group, although her group was dispersed to other carriers, by June 2nd at Pearl she had a full airgroup, though composed of a variety of different squadrons including veterans from YORKTOWN and LEXINGTON. Could she have had an airgroup one month earlier? Probably.
: Excellent observations, although I think you
: missed my point somewhat. "At the time
: the Doolittle Raid was planed" - The
: point being that planning it in the first
: place was ill conceived.
: Your query on Saratoga getting a five month
: long overhaul, might have something to do
: with the fact that her January 1942 air
: group was dispersed to the other available
: carriers, and had to be rebuilt, so time for
: a more complete modernization was available,
: instead of just repairing torpedo damage.
: Perhaps I gave an erroneous impression with
: my first post. I am not against risk, as
: manifested in the raids on the Gilberts and
: Marshalls. I am against risk that transcends
: the word and tumbles into the area of
: rashness. There is a fine line of difference
: that I, as a former commander, do not cross.
: I do not know if Nimitz was familiar with
: Sun Tzu, but his movements from January to
: July 42, make me think he was familiar with
: the principles Sun Tzu expressed so well.
: --Previous Message--
: Good points. But here's the problem: at
: time that the Doolittle Raid was planned
: U.S. intelligence services had no knowlege
: of any plans by the Japanese regarding what
: would become Operation MO. In fact the
: earliest inklings occurred only in early
: April and it wasn't until TF 18 was on it's
: way back from the raid that Nimitz had
: sufficient information to move his forces
: into place to counter the Japanese in the
: Coral Sea.
: 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
: 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
: --Previous Message--
: ... 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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