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Thursday, June 04, 2009

How to Win a Sea Battle

In preparing for a major sea battle, make sure of the following:
  1. Have your major surface combatants destroyed or seriously damaged and unavailable for use.
  2. Make sure the enemy has 4 aircraft carriers and some big battleships headed for you.
  3. Make sure you are outnumbered in aircraft carriers by 4 to 3.
  4. Have 1 of your 3 aircraft carriers severely damaged and limp into port unable to support flight operations.
  5. Have only a vague idea where the enemy fleet might be.
  6. Arrange to have your most aggressive, experienced aviator admiral come down with some sort of skin infection that puts him in a hospital bed, unavailable for duty.
  7. Replace him with a non-aviator admiral just in time for what you know has to be a battle largely fought by carrier aircraft. See #1.
  8. Have him hatch a scheme that hides the fleet way off to the north of where you think the enemy are headed. Just in case they aren't because your fleet is all that stands as a defensive barrier between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.
  9. Make sure the whole battle will turn on which fleet spots the other fleet first.
  10. Do hasty repairs on that banged up carrier and send her, after 24 hours out to sea with civilian workers to try and do more repairs underway.
  11. Don't have enough patrol aircraft out looking for the enemy fleet so that your coverage of possible avenues of approach is spotty.
  12. Make sure your torpedo attack planes are slow and carry torpedoes that can only o be dropped after a long, slow low level flight toward enemy ships.
  13. When you spot the enemy fleet, make sure it is at the maximum range of your aircraft.
  14. Make sure your tactics include the arrival of the low slow torpedo bombers and the dive bombers and fighters all at the same time, otherwise the torpedo bombers will be "sitting ducks."
  15. Make sure that the tactic described in #12 does not work out at all. Lose nearly all your torpedo planes early in the engagement.
  16. Arrange for an enemy sub to end up in the middle of your formation where it will eventually sink one of your carriers.
  17. Have ground based aircraft from Midway Island find the enemy fleet and carry the fight to him as well as they can.
  18. Have this fight cause the enemy fleet to be in the act of rearming reserve aircraft when your main air attack starts and fouling the deck with ordnance.
  19. Have the enemy distracted by the low and slow torpedo bombers while your dive bombers arrive to do their work.
  20. Scatter your aircraft so that instead of all arriving at once they appear to come in waves.
  21. Have a stubborn squadron leader who, instead of turning back with low fuel, kept searching until the enemy fleet was spotted and attacked.
  22. Have the non-aviator admiral make the decision to head his carriers toward the enemy fleet so he could cycle his aircraft faster.
  23. Sink all 4 enemy carriers, while only losing 1.
  24. Completely halt the enemy attack and turn the tide of the war.
  25. Be very, very lucky.
67 years ago. The Battle of Midway.

Remembered today in Boston. Remembered here.

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Art from the Navy Art Collection

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