Which Japanese admiral stopped the attack on Pearl Harbor, and why?

Mudassir Ali
Jan 22, 2020 08:48 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Jan 22, 2020 08:48 AM

Admiral Nagumo declined a third wave attack on Pearl Harbor for several reasons.
What many people don’t consider was that Nagumo was not under orders to actually destroy the infrastructure and oil storage of Pearl Harbor.
Nagumo’s primary mission was the destruction of the U.S. Pacific battleship fleet and if possible, the three U.S. carriers, if those were in port.
Nagumo achieved his primary mission. The U.S. Pacific battleship fleet was sunk. The carriers were no where in sight and the Japanese did not know where they were. Two were on the high seas and one was on the West Coast.
For decades, the U.S. held the belief that Nagumo declined to destroy Peart Harbor itself because the Japanese High Command intended to later return and invade the Hawaiian islands. That being the plan, the Japanese Imperial Navy needed a fully-working port at Pearl Harbor. Japan had no time and little physical assets to rebuild a destroyed Pearl Harbor. It would have taken years to rebuilt a devastated Pearl Harbor.
Japan knew that had it seized Pearl Harbor in a lightning invasion in later 1942, the Americans would be sure to counter-invade as soon as they could. That is why Japan needed a fully functional Pearl Harbor to station a naval task force that would later repel an American counter-invasion.
Had Nagumo destroyed the Pearl Harbor infrastructure, he would be later handing a worthless port to Japan when the invasion came. Such a huge mistake would have required Nagumo take his own life.
History records something different.
The Japanese Imperial Army refused to countenance the prospect of lending two army divisions to invade Oahu, the main island containing Pearl Harbor and all of the U.S. military installations.
The Japanese Imperial Navy discussed an invasion informally among themselves but Hawaii was simply too far away and beyond the limits of Japanese logistical supply lines.
However, the prospect of invading Hawaii was left open should the Pacific War miraculously go stupendously in Japan’s favor, for example, the Americans suffer defeat at Midway, leaving the path to Hawaii wide open. Still, the reality would have been Hawaii beyond the extreme practical limits of Japanese logistical supply line capabilities. Pearl Harbor lay 2,200 plus miles from the American West Coast. It was another 8,000 plus miles to Tokyo from Hawaii. Do the math. Which side would have found resupplying and holding Hawaii easier.
Given the U.S. vast industrial capacity, it would be only a short time before the Americans launched an overwhelming naval force to retake Hawaii.
In Harry Turtledove’s alternate history books, “Days Of Infamy”, and, “Beginning Of the End”, the Japanese overlook all their practical reservations and do just that, invade Oahu and after a short, fierce fight, force the Americans to surrender Pearl Harbor and the rest of the island.
Problems begin almost immediately. Oahu is too far away and Japan can spare few assets to resupply their military forces at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere on Oahu. Pearl Harbor is totally wrecked and offers little use to the Japanese except the anchorage for its ships. Wreckage from the Pearl Harbor attack litters the waters of Pearl Harbor, limiting its usage to the Japanese.
Japanese re-supply ships enter Pearl Harbor in just ones and twos. But in the meantime the U.S. Navy gears up an active submarine blockade around Oahu. More Japanese ships get torpedoed just outside of Pearl Harbor than get inside. Soon, no Japanese supply ship can reach Pearl Harbor.
Meanwhile, the occupying Japanese military subjects the local population to harsh occupation and American POWs are subjected to incredible brutality.
While the Japanese ably defeat a quick American counter-invasion attempt which matches 3 Japanese carriers against 3 American carriers, it only buys time for Japan.
Almost twenty months after Pearl Harbor, the Americans return with a massive naval fleet of seven, fleet carriers, five light carriers, and twelve escort carriers plus cruisers and destroyers. Against this juggernaut armada, the Japanese can only field two carriers, the third carrier having been torpedoed and heavily damaged upon its return from Japan to Pearl Harbor.
Both Japanese carriers are sunk in quick order while damage is inflicted upon two American carriers. A massive American amphibious invasion takes place. The Japanese occupying army puts up a fierce resistance as it later would on other islands like Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. Without reinforcements, lacking effective armor capability, the Japanese are forced back upon Honolulu where fierce street fighting takes place. Ultimately the Japanese are simply overwhelmed.
The flag of the United States of America finally flies over Hawaii once more.
The book does not state it, but as news and knowledge of Japanese atrocities on Oahu become known, the nature of the war in the Pacific would doubtless shift not to subjugation of Japan but one of vengeance.
The war against Japan is now one-year behind schedule as in real history. Guadalcanal will be invaded by the U.S. Marines at the end of 1943 instead of late summer 1942.
The war against Japan will end in 1946 instead of 1945. Massive B-29 bombardment of all Japanese cities begins in late 1944 whereas B-29 bombing missions started in late spring 1944 and focused on Japanese industrial and military targets.
More than two Japanese cities suffer the fate of the atomic bomb.
General of the Army, Dwight Eisenhower leads the occupation of Japan after its unconditional surrender.
The Allied post-war tribunal trials in 1948 place the Japanese emperor Hirohito on trial for crimes against humanity. The tribunal convicts Hirohito and hands down a sentence of life imprisonment.
Aboard a four-engine, Constellation passenger plane droning its way across the north Pacific, Hirohito, former emperor of Japan, contemplates his years ahead in prison on the U.S. mainland

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