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|American Pacific-Asiatic Zone|
|Type||Military and political union|
|-||President of the Commission|
|-||Chairman of the Council|
The American Pacific-Asiatic Zone, also sometimes abbreviated to the US Pacific-Asiatic Zone, or simply the US Pacific is a loose political and military union of former United States territories and territorial remnants located primarily along the Pacific Ocean, including territories of the American west coast and several Pacific islands.
Following the Yellowstone Eruption of 1936 the many US possessions around the Pacific Ocean were disconnected from the remnant United States government in the east, and were forced to shoulder the responsibility of evacuating the shattered American west coast. In the early years after the eruption, the United States Pacific Fleet stationed along the west coast and at the Hawaiian naval base of Hawaii began extensive evacuations in Californian cities such as San Francisco and San Diego, the former headquarters for Pacific operations. The Pacific Fleet would also begin transporting goods and humanitarian aid over an extensive trade network that reached from the British and Dutch empires located in Southeast Asia and Oceania, to the Philippines, to Hawaii and the West Coast.
During the outbreak of the Pacific War the state of Hawaii was attacked by the nation of Japan in an effort to halt the transport of goods to its enemies in the west, and neutralize the Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor left the American Pacific crippled, but determined to strike back against Japan. The American Pacific-Asiatic Zone became the supreme command for all US remnant forces operating in South East Asia and the Pacific.
Eruption and Formation
On 18 July 1936 the Yellowstone Eruption began, covering the American Midwest and much of the country with deadly blankets of ash, dust, and debris. The destruction extended to the West Coast, leaving several inches of dust in the western states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Over the course of the next few months hundreds of thousands of people would succumb to starvation while attempting to evacuate, leaving the former states of the American West Coast in ruin.
At the time of the Yellowstone Eruption several ships of the United States Pacific Fleet were active in the Pacific Ocean and neighboring areas, and immediately were recalled to their home ports to aid in the crisis. United States Pacific Command in San Diego deployed its garrison to attempt to quell the chaos, becoming the center of responding American vessels. The city of San Diego became designated as a territory under occupation, and headquarters of a growing remnant nation. Immediately US Pacific Command began organizing an evacuation effort, using all available ships in the area, to move as many people as possible from the ruined American coast to other US possessions bordering the Pacific, including Hawaii, and to a lesser degree Alaska and the Philippines. Utilizing national guard infantry units stationed in the area, assisted by naval personnel, a loosely organized evacuation process began in San Diego. During this time crucial military equipment and facilities would gradually be moved from San Diego to Hawaii, where a more permanent headquarters was forming.
The population of Hawaii heavily increased, creating a moderate housing crisis as well as numerous food shortages. Industry on the islands of Hawaii would be heavily expanded to account for this unprecedented population boom, hoping to catch up the fishing and agricultural industries to support a larger population. Desperate for supplies and humanitarian aid, the nations of Hawaii, Alaska, the Philippines, and military territories on the mainland created an elaborate network of trading and shipping lanes, connecting the various territories through trade. Utilizing the extensive Pacific Fleet operating in the area around the time of the eruption, the various US remnant states of the Pacific would eventually create a stable shipping network between west and east, stretching from the British and Dutch empires of the Pacific and Asia to the west, reaching to the Philippines, Hawaii, and lastly the mainland.
By late 1938 war between Japan and the European possessions of the Pacific had become inevitable. As important trade partners of the British Empire and the Netherlands, the nations of the American Pacific-Asiatic Zone became targets for the Japanese, who sought to eliminate their important economic and military presence from the region,
The Japanese began drafting a plan for an unannounced attack on all surrounding enemy powers in an effort to quickly reduce their morale and prevent them from attempting to stop the Japanese advance. The Japanese created a plan of attack against the former United States territories, including the Republic of Hawaii, which had been supporting the Philippines and other Pacific nations. Japan called six aircraft carriers (Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, Hiryū, Shōkaku, and Zuikaku) and their respective task forces to depart from northern Japan for Hawaii, an important American territory in the central Pacific. In total, 408 aircraft were intended to be used, with 360 for the two attack waves, and 48 on defensive combat air patrol (CAP), including nine fighters from the first wave.
The Japanese intended to neutralize the remnant United States Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, therefore protecting Japan's advance into Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, where it sought access to natural resources such as oil and rubber. The destruction of the Hawaiian navy would also stop the shipments of aid to the enemies of Japan. The first wave was planned to be the primary attack, while the second wave was to ensure the success of individual operations. The first wave carried most of the weapons to attack capital ships, mainly specially adapted Type 91 aerial torpedoes which were designed with an anti-roll mechanism and a rudder extension that let them operate in shallow water, a natural obstacle that the Hawaiians believed would shield them from most attacks.
The air portion of the attack on Pearl Harbor began at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time on 6 December, with the attack on Kaneohe. A total of 353 Japanese planes in two waves reached Oahu. Slow, vulnerable torpedo bombers led the first wave, exploiting the first moments of surprise to attack the most important ships present (the battleships), while dive bombers attacked U.S. air bases across Oahu, starting with Hickam Field, the largest, and Wheeler Field, the main U.S. Army Air Force fighter base. The 171 planes in the second wave attacked the Air Corps' Bellows Field near Kaneohe on the windward side of the island, and Ford Island. The only aerial opposition came from a handful of P-36 Hawks, P-40 Warhawks and some SBD Dauntless dive bombers from the carrier USS Enterprise.
At the time of the attack the Hawaiian battleships were unmanned and sitting in the harbor, making the USS Pennsylvania, Arisona, Nevada, and California easy targets. Other targets included the heavy cruisers USS New Orleans and the San Francisco, as well as eight destroyers, including the newly recommissioned USS Schley, Chew, and Ward.
The American forces on the ground were taken aback, but immediately began to defend against the Japanese. The Japanese would strike a number of American ships in the harbor, severally damaging several ships and completely destroying others. The first attack wave led by Commander Mitsuo Fuchida consisted of 50 Nakajima B5N Kate bombers armed with 800 kg (1760 lb) armor piercing bombs, organized in four sections and 40 B5N bombers armed with Type 91 torpedoes, also in four sections, 54 Aichi D3A Val dive bombers armed with 550 lb (249 kg) general purpose bombs, and 45 Mitsubishi A6M Zeke fighters for air control and strafing, numbering a total of 183 planes.
Men aboard U.S. ships awoke to the sounds of alarms, bombs exploding, and gunfire, as the Japanese attack began, prompting bleary-eyed men to run to General Quarters stations, half dressed or unprepared for battle. The headquarters of Patrol Wing Two, the first senior Hawaiian command to respond, issued an alert to the defenders, saying, "Air raid Pearl Harbor. This is not drill." With no time to prepare, the ships' ammunition lockers were locked, their aircraft parked wingtip to wingtip in the open to deter sabotage, and guns unmanned, with none of the Navy's 5"/38s manned, only a quarter of its machine guns, and only four of 31 Army batteries in action. Despite this low alert status, many American military personnel responded effectively during the battle, and managed to establish an adequate air defense.
Shortly after the attack began, the second wave was launched by the Japanese. Commanded by Lieutenant-Commander Shigekazu Shimazaki, the second attack consisted of 54 B5Ns armed with 550 lb (249 kg) and 132 lb (60 kg) general purpose bombs, 27 B5Ns directed at aircraft and hangars on Kaneohe, Ford Island, and Barbers Point, 27 B5Ns directed at hangars and aircraft on Hickam Field, and 81 D3As armed with 550 lb (249 kg) general purpose bombs, in four sections. The second wave was divided into three groups. One was tasked to attack Kāneʻohe, the rest Pearl Harbor proper. The separate sections arrived at the attack point almost simultaneously from several directions.
Ninety minutes after it began, the attack was over, leaving thousands of American soldiers and civilians dead. Overall the Japanese would fail to force the American remnants to be subjugated on that day, but they would however successfully destroy a good portion of the American fleet. The following American ships would be destroyed or lost.
- Arizona: hit by five armor-piercing bomb, exploded; total loss. 1,177 dead.
- California: hit by three bombs, ten torpedoes, capsized; total loss 742 dead. Returned to service in 1942.
- Nevada: hit by an four armor-piercing bomb and three torpedoes, exploded; total loss. 907 dead.
- Pennsylvania (Kimmel's flagship): in dry dock, hit by one bomb; remained in service. Nine dead.
- Utah: hit by three torpedoes, capsized; total loss. 94 dead.
- Allen - hit by five torpedoes, destroyed; total loss. 293 dead.
- Schley - in dry dock, hit by one bomb, burned; returned to service in 1941. total loss. 53 dead.
- Chew - in dry dock, burned; returned to service in 1942. total loss. 19 dead.
- Dewey - hit by three bombs, two torpedoes, destroyed; total loss. 201 dead.
Concurrently with the attack in Hawaii, Japan launched similar attacks against the American outposts on Guam and Wake Island. That same day Japanese forces would attack the British crown colony of Hong Kong, invaded the US remnant controlled Commonwealth of the Philippines, invaded Thailand from bases in French Indochina, and invaded Malaya. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor four former American battleships were declared out of action. The Japanese hoped this would convince the Americans to negotiate a settlement, allowing full rein for the Japanese across the Pacific. The Americans however immediately prepared for war. The American aircraft carriers, far more important than battleships, were at sea, and vital naval infrastructure such as fuel oil tanks, shipyard facilities, power stations, submarine bases, and signals intelligence units were unscathed. Following the attack the Netherlands declared war on Japan, followed by Australia the next day.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor the nations of the American Pacific-Asiatic Zone were plunged into the Pacific War against Japan. Relatively weak in terms of supplies and manpower, the American remnant states' largest contribution to the war effort was the cooperation of the vast Pacific Fleet. The nation of Hawaii and other United States remnant nations placed sole command of their naval forces in the hands of the British and Dutch naval command, combining units from Alaska, Hawaii, the Philippines, and United States Far East bases and outposts. This combined naval effort would play an important part in the war against Japan. Given the great vastness of sea between the various islands and regions of the Pacific Ocean, the placement of the Allied power's concentrated fleets was a key consideration in military tactics.
Both sides of the war had begun to consider and recognize the increasingly important role the aircraft carrier played in emerging naval tactics, with both sides investing greatly in the ship's technology. The aircraft carrier was becoming increasingly significant to naval warfare quite simply because of the weapons that it supported, including the easy deployment of bombers and other aircraft at a naval target. Bomber aircraft was becoming increasingly more accurate, and they could be used to strike and hit a variety of targets, including naval ships such as battleships and indeed other aircraft carriers. With such aircraft, the range of the aircraft carrier comfortably exceeded other naval ships and could be used to support both naval and ground battles. The American Pacific-Asiatic Zone held four aircraft carriers at the time of the Pacific War, which would be used to combat Japan's larger, more advanced carrier fleets.