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Rising Sun*
03-08-2008, 05:54 AM
This isn't a thread that gets a lot of traffic.

Which members are interested in Japan's war, apart from me?

What aspects are you interested in?

Nickdfresh
03-08-2008, 07:58 AM
I am. And would like to get more into the mind set of the Japanese Imperial Army, one that was so ridiculously unrealistic and devoid of rationale one wonders how these people functioned or ever achieved command positions above the platoon level...

Chevan
03-08-2008, 08:53 AM
nevertheless they were fighting enough succesfull in first period of war.
I puzzled ,how they had conquered so great territory.
How they have captured Singapoor so soon?
I know they recieved a combat experience in pre-ww2 war with China.However they had so great advantage over European armies in the 1941.
This is still mystery for me.

KMDjr
03-08-2008, 09:20 AM
Hello,

I am quite interested in the Imperial armed forces of Japan in the first half of the century. But the fact remains that in terms of quantity AND quality the Western opposition they faced in SE Asia was mediocre at best. For fighting qualities their navy (IJN) seems to me the most formidable in this period, but it too suffered from much of the same infighting & turf-wars that marred other the services' performance. Only the weakness & vacillating of their opponents allowed the Japanese to undertake the operations which led them into WWII. It's worth noting they made no such attempts --or, serious ones--after 1939 against Russia, by whom they were (rightly) intimidated...

Boff
03-08-2008, 12:48 PM
I am intrested in nothing BUT the Japanese in WW2. My main focus jumps between Army and Navy (and their corresponding air forces), but its always there. Sadly its a very overlooked part of the war, with their allies Germany getting about 95% of the attention.

Go to a bookstore, if your lucky 1/12 books are pacific. Maybe 1 or 2 of those are actually on Japan. And then usually its mostly a book that isnt JUST on Japanese, but also American or other Allies. Thank god for amazon haha.

I think their is TONS of first hand accounts and untapped info out there in Japan. Just doesn't get translated (obviously because of the difficulty compared to German to English for example).

Rising Sun*
03-08-2008, 05:30 PM
nevertheless they were fighting enough succesfull in first period of war.
I puzzled ,how they had conquered so great territory.
How they have captured Singapoor so soon?


Here's some reasons, in random order, off the top of my head. They all add up to the Japanese being better than their enemy in all the areas that mattered, in the beginning.

1. Air power. Numerically superior. Better trained fighter pilots in general. Better fighter planes in general.

2. Excellent planning.

3. Ability to do more with less, such as cramming a lot more troops into a transport ship than Westerners would and carrying little in the way of rations as they were expected to live off the land after the first few days.

4. Greater determination by the troops, backed up by most being battle hardened in China. Nonetheless, the Imperial Guards hadn't heard a shot fired in anger for more than a generation and weren't regarded as desirable troops for the Malayan invasion, but they fought about as well as any other Japanese troops.

5. Shorter lines of communication. In Singapore it was just from Vietnam. Contrast that with the distance from Britain and America, the Netherlands being irrelevant by that stage as it was occupied by Germany.

6. Unified leadership, weaponry, ordnance, and troops. Contrast that with the short lived American British Dutch Australian (ABDA) command, which also had three sets of weaponry and ordnance (British and Australian were the same). Also difficulties in Malaya with the commitment to the British cause of some Indian troops (e.g. Mohan Singh and what became the First Indian National Army) and in the NEI with some Javanese troops not as keen as the Dutch, or even actively opposed to them.

7. Clear aims and excellent execution of the plans. Contrast that with the shambles in Malaya when Percival had clear plans but was prevented from responding properly by invading Thailand because of political considerations. Or MacArthur's disastrous loss of half his bomber force on the ground on the first day in the Philippines which resulted in failure to carry out the clear plan to bomb Formosa, although that by itself probably wouldn't have altered the course of the war. He also lost half his food supply, and gave the Japanese a huge windfall in rations, because he stupidly stored it in an exposed postion he couldn't hold.

8. Psychological advantage when the Japanese were advancing hard and fast and seemingly invincible.

9. Although there was some informal planning between senior military officers, in general there was an absence of pre-war co-ordination and preparation between ABDA nations, so that initially they were all fighting their own little wars on their own turf and by the time they came together several weeks after the war started it was too late. If the Dutch had been able to move forward into Malaya to resist the Malayan invasion, that might have turned the tables and stopped the Japanese advance. But the Dutch, like the British and Americans, were concerned with protecting their own colonial turf. So, for example, 25,000 KNIL troops sat in Java from 7 December 1941 until the Japanese invaded on 1 March 1942. Whether they would have been a help or a hindrance in Malaya is debatable as many of the Indonesian troops weren't well trained and their presence wouldn't overcome the lack of air power in Malaya, but it illustrates the problem of having separate nations protecting separate interests against a common enemy. If the NEI had been a British colony, or Malaya a Dutch one, there is obvious scope for utilising other forces in the critical battle for Malaya to stop the Japanes acquiring it as one of the jumping off points for Japanese advances south east. Conversely, it might have made more sense strategically to abandon Malaya and let the Japanese have the rubber and tin but move the forces to the NEI to deny Japan oil, which it desperately needed and couldn't fight the rest of the war without.

10. Ruthlessness, towards their own men and the enemy, which enabled the Japanese to achieve things that Westerners couldn't.

11. Sea power. They had the best navy in the Western Pacific, and plenty of it, with sound tactics for large scale battles and night battles, plus an excellent torpedo, while the Americans had an unreliable torpedo.

12. Luck. If Churchill had provided Malaya with proper air resources as recognised by all the British military leaders, the Japanese mightn't have taken it. They were lucky to find the US fleet neatly berthed and moored at Pearl Harbor instead of being at sea or at dispersed anchorages. They were lucky that MacArthur was paralysed by inaction for the first day of the war. They were lucky that Admiral Tom Phillips didn't think planes could sink battleships and that the Repulse and Prince of Wales didn't have air cover, and that those two ships didn't get in among the troop transports for the Japanese landings. They were lucky that Churchill wanted, needed, America to join the war and didn't want to alienate American public opinion by being seen as the aggressor, so he wouldn't allow Percival to initiate action by invading Thailand to deny bases to the Japanese which ensured that the Japanese landed unopposed in Thailand and secured air bases which were critical to their advances. And so on.

13. Western arrogance. Too many military people thought the Japanese would be a pushover, although many recognised their real ability.

Chevan
03-11-2008, 02:20 AM
Well tnak you for such detailed tell.
So i could conclude that the allies make almost the same mistakes ( without the few exceptions) in strategis planning, management of troops and supplieng of wearponry as the Soviet do befor the ww2.
They also have made a lot of simular serious mistakes about the GErmans intentions and plans.
BTW do you seriously think that Japanes famouse Ruthlessness to its own troops was a thing that made the their soldiers stronger:)?

Rising Sun*
03-11-2008, 03:16 AM
BTW do you seriously think that Japanes famouse Ruthlessness to its own troops was a thing that made the their soldiers stronger:)?

Initially, yes.

They pressed on where Westerners often wouldn't.

But in the end the idiotic idea that spirit could overcome everything, like no rations and resultant malnutrition, brought them down because they were so obsessed with their own set of beliefs in their superiority that they thought they could overcome the basic laws of human nutrition and survival.

It's more complex than just that aspect, because it's bound up in Japanese group think and reverence for the Emperor and a suicidal culture, at some leveles, and so on, but it still made them very formidable foes.

Not unlike current Islamic zealots who aren't afraid to die makes them difficult for us to handle.

Chevan
03-11-2008, 04:15 AM
Initially, yes.

They pressed on where Westerners often wouldn't.

But in the end the idiotic idea that spirit could overcome everything, like no rations and resultant malnutrition, brought them down because they were so obsessed with their own set of beliefs in their superiority that they thought they could overcome the basic laws of human nutrition and survival

But in the end of war they had nothing except the spirit:)
No food , no ammo, no fuel and no enough wearpon.
So may be they were right?


Not unlike current Islamic zealots who aren't afraid to die makes them difficult for us to handle.
Just try to use so much drugs as the Islamic zealots befor the action...and you will wonder how easy you will be ready to die:)

Rising Sun*
03-11-2008, 05:56 AM
But in the end of war they had nothing except the spirit:)
No food , no ammo, no fuel and no enough wearpon.
So may be they were right?


They were as wrong about that as they were about just about everything else that mattered for the long war they started but which they planned and fought as a short war to gain territory, in the absurd belief that if they held it long enough the other nations would let them keep it.

Japan was just about unbeatable in the early phases, and their spirit certainly contributed to this, but they didn't have what was needed for the war they provoked, starting with the ability to see how ill-conceived it was.

Then again, in the second half of 1941 when it looked like Germany was going to defeat the USSR and Britain was on the defensive, the prospects looked pretty good from Tokyo, as long as the Soviets didn't beat the seemingly invincible Germans and the British didn't come back.

Why on earth anyone would want to drag America as an enemy into such a promising picture is beyond me, but some of that goes back to Japan long seeing America as its rival for control of the Pacific and thinking it was a good idea to try to impose a decisive defeat on America. There was as much arrogance on the Japanese side in its belief about its superiority as there was on the Western side. Both sides were wrong about the other.

Nickdfresh
03-11-2008, 08:58 AM
Here's some reasons, in random order, off the top of my head. They all add up to the Japanese being better than their enemy in all the areas that mattered, in the beginning.

1. Air power. Numerically superior. Better trained fighter pilots in general. Better fighter planes in general.

2. Excellent planning.

3. Ability to do more with less, such as cramming a lot more troops into a transport ship than Westerners would and carrying little in the way of rations as they were expected to live off the land after the first few days.

4. Greater determination by the troops, backed up by most being battle hardened in China. Nonetheless, the Imperial Guards hadn't heard a shot fired in anger for more than a generation and weren't regarded as desirable troops for the Malayan invasion, but they fought about as well as any other Japanese troops.

5. Shorter lines of communication. In Singapore it was just from Vietnam. Contrast that with the distance from Britain and America, the Netherlands being irrelevant by that stage as it was occupied by Germany.

6. Unified leadership, weaponry, ordnance, and troops. Contrast that with the short lived American British Dutch Australian (ABDA) command, which also had three sets of weaponry and ordnance (British and Australian were the same). Also difficulties in Malaya with the commitment to the British cause of some Indian troops (e.g. Mohan Singh and what became the First Indian National Army) and in the NEI with some Javanese troops not as keen as the Dutch, or even actively opposed to them.

7. Clear aims and excellent execution of the plans. Contrast that with the shambles in Malaya when Percival had clear plans but was prevented from responding properly by invading Thailand because of political considerations. Or MacArthur's disastrous loss of half his bomber force on the ground on the first day in the Philippines which resulted in failure to carry out the clear plan to bomb Formosa, although that by itself probably wouldn't have altered the course of the war. He also lost half his food supply, and gave the Japanese a huge windfall in rations, because he stupidly stored it in an exposed postion he couldn't hold.

8. Psychological advantage when the Japanese were advancing hard and fast and seemingly invincible.

9. Although there was some informal planning between senior military officers, in general there was an absence of pre-war co-ordination and preparation between ABDA nations, so that initially they were all fighting their own little wars on their own turf and by the time they came together several weeks after the war started it was too late. If the Dutch had been able to move forward into Malaya to resist the Malayan invasion, that might have turned the tables and stopped the Japanese advance. But the Dutch, like the British and Americans, were concerned with protecting their own colonial turf. So, for example, 25,000 KNIL troops sat in Java from 7 December 1941 until the Japanese invaded on 1 March 1942. Whether they would have been a help or a hindrance in Malaya is debatable as many of the Indonesian troops weren't well trained and their presence wouldn't overcome the lack of air power in Malaya, but it illustrates the problem of having separate nations protecting separate interests against a common enemy. If the NEI had been a British colony, or Malaya a Dutch one, there is obvious scope for utilising other forces in the critical battle for Malaya to stop the Japanes acquiring it as one of the jumping off points for Japanese advances south east. Conversely, it might have made more sense strategically to abandon Malaya and let the Japanese have the rubber and tin but move the forces to the NEI to deny Japan oil, which it desperately needed and couldn't fight the rest of the war without.

10. Ruthlessness, towards their own men and the enemy, which enabled the Japanese to achieve things that Westerners couldn't.

11. Sea power. They had the best navy in the Western Pacific, and plenty of it, with sound tactics for large scale battles and night battles, plus an excellent torpedo, while the Americans had an unreliable torpedo.

12. Luck. If Churchill had provided Malaya with proper air resources as recognised by all the British military leaders, the Japanese mightn't have taken it. They were lucky to find the US fleet neatly berthed and moored at Pearl Harbor instead of being at sea or at dispersed anchorages. They were lucky that MacArthur was paralysed by inaction for the first day of the war. They were lucky that Admiral Tom Phillips didn't think planes could sink battleships and that the Repulse and Prince of Wales didn't have air cover, and that those two ships didn't get in among the troop transports for the Japanese landings. They were lucky that Churchill wanted, needed, America to join the war and didn't want to alienate American public opinion by being seen as the aggressor, so he wouldn't allow Percival to initiate action by invading Thailand to deny bases to the Japanese which ensured that the Japanese landed unopposed in Thailand and secured air bases which were critical to their advances. And so on.

13. Western arrogance. Too many military people thought the Japanese would be a pushover, although many recognised their real ability.

Excellent post. The only thing I can add is that the early combat heavily favored the Japanese ethos of "Third Force" warfare. The first two forces were thought of as man and machine, the third was "spirit" something the Japanese arrogantly often thought that their Western opposition lacked. But the truth is that the early Japanese offensives faced opposition with little serious armor or artillery support, the possible exception to this being the US forces on the Philippines, but most of their armor was no better than the Japanese tanks and their most of their guns were fixed at Corregidor and Bataan. But cut off, and without any sort of air support, these forces fell victim to the aggressive onslaught by the Japanese, who did have artillery and armor support, by way of naval gunfire and and complete air superiority. They also did have some armor assets, of mostly outmoded tanks. But these were enough to press the Americans in the Philippines.

The Japanese Third Force ethos was developed in the late 1920s because of the heavy casualties that the Japanese forces suffered in the Russo-Japanese War in the face of a better armed adversary. Relying heavy on an complete bastardization of the Code of Bushido, this made the Imperial Japanese Army quite formidable when fighting in terrain that did not favor mechanized warfare and limited the numbers of their adversaries. In specific circumstances, the IJA could quickly advance on their enemy and attempt to roll up the flanks and surround and annihilate their foe. The IJA was great in the Jungle and in mountainous island terrain, evolving into a force adept at fortress warfare from underground lairs, forcing the island hopping Marines to fight a sort of what they termed "prairie dog warfare." Terrain where the Japanese could maximize the effect of their inferior firepower while marginalizing naval gun fire, tank support, air power, etc. However, when caught in the open in Burma, Manchuria, and even on the ill-fated Wake Island, the Japanese were vulnerable to firepower against fortified positions and massed, maneuvering armor alike.

On Wake Island for instance, which at the time was erroneously considered the "second Alamo" by the American press, and Japanese force landed to face a force of Marines assisted by their civilian contractor engineers and laborers, that were cut off and had little hope of relief. The Marines were able to completely wipe out the first wave of Japanese Landing Force (marines/naval infantry) members while suffering few casualties. The only reason they ultimately surrendered was that their commander emerged from his CP to see Japanese ensigns flying all over the island, after the communications to his forward positions had been cut. He believed that the Japanese controlled much of the island and decided to surrender. Unfortunately, he failed to realize that the only Japanese on the island were either dead under the ensigns, or captured...

gumalangi
03-11-2008, 06:13 PM
This isn't a thread that gets a lot of traffic.

Which members are interested in Japan's war, apart from me?

What aspects are you interested in?

ow man,. check on my avatar,.. His death was consider a great contribution to Allied,... i do love Pacific theatre from the heart,. as the stories inhereted to me by my late father,.. he was an IJN auxillary at the age of 15,.

I like the carriers, battleships and heavy cruisers (the fat looking ship and always look as they sit back)

Infact now,. am doing my own reading issues obout the IJN subs doctrines,.
very interested,.. but sad,.. a great weapon but not proper use..

Rising Sun*
03-12-2008, 06:23 AM
The only thing I can add is that the early combat heavily favored the Japanese ethos of "Third Force" warfare. The first two forces were thought of as man and machine, the third was "spirit" something the Japanese arrogantly often thought that their Western opposition lacked.

I don't know about arrogantly. They were correct.

Their Western opposition did lack the same spirit, and never found it, or wanted it, or suffered for the lack of it.

One of the biggest differences between the Western forces and the Japanese was that the West based its cultures on post-Enlightenment individualism with super-imposed notions of loyalty to the nation or monarch, where the Japanese were much more a family oriented group mentality extending from the immediate family to the squad family to the platoon to the company etc to the national family with the Emperor at its head, with no concept of individualism akin to Western notions and all that flowed from it. It made them bloody fearsome in any military group, but not very original outside one. When their well trained swarm tactics broke down, there tended to be a lack of individual initiative to redress the situation. Westerners tended to be more original as individuals. Not that there werenít plenty of contradictory examples on both sides.

One curious aspect of WWII Japanese group mentality focused on the Emperor was that the Emperor had been a powerless and at times fearful figurehead under the shogunate which was destroyed after Japan was forced to engage with the West in the mid 19th century, but social and political necessity saw him elevated to a new significance in the later part of the 19th century to provide a unifying force for a nation fragmented by the destruction of the old shogunate and the removal of the samurai and all that went with them as Japan moved to a new industrial and more modern capitalist rather than feudal culture. This produced the zaibatsu, the handful of major corporations which were seen by the 1920s by many in the growing non-samurai officer and other classes of rural and urban background as being closely aligned with the social, economic and political Ďestablishmentí, and corrupt and due for overthrow and replacement by what they thought would be a better form of rule by the Emperor. Although there were many different and conflicting forms of such beliefs, along with many views completely opposed to them.

One consequence was, however, that the Emperor became much more significant in the thinking of many Japanese officers who were pretenders to the samurai heritage which had actually treated the Emperor with contempt for much of the shogunateís reign.

As the old samurai class were deposed they became the core of the Japanese officer corps in the 19th century, but by the 1920s they were largely displaced by others of wider backgrounds who, even more curiously, often found inspiration in their understanding of the samurai code. Itís reminiscent of the Nazi search for a warrior code in old Nordic myths which produced SS vigils and so on. All bullshit, but highly inspirational bullshit for believers and, in one form or another, followed by all armies in lesser forms, at least in elite units or units with proud histories which expect the new troops to uphold the unitís honour.

I have to say that Iíve read a little on these issues and I have a vague general understanding of the evolution of the Japanese military and society to WWII, but my brain hurts whenever I try to understand the detail of the many and varied and vigorous debates and actions of the various groups in the Japanese military, society, commerce and government. I donít know of anything remotely like it outside Japan, even Germany in the 1920ís which was a hotbed of intellectual debate and political action. The Japanese were deep and serious and very well informed thinkers about a whole range of issues inside and outside Japan and shouldnít be lumped into any sort of stereotypical groups, although itís easy to do this after the militarists gained control in the 1930s and suppressed debate and dissent.

In WWII, I think the ultimate problem for and failure of the Japanese military leadership was that they lacked concern for the individual soldier in ways that Western commanders didnít (not that the Westerners were exactly a bunch of wet nurses). This gave them great advantages in attack, but reduced them to often pointlessly wasteful defences of their scattered island conquests which allowed them to waste their troops where they didnít matter and waste the remainder where they did matter. A lot of that was due to a failure or, more probably a refusal from pride, to recognise by 1944 that they were going to lose because the USN was going to throttle them regardless of what happened on land.

That was also largely a consequence of the failure of Japanese naval strategy and the triumph of primarily American naval strategy which strangled Japan and its soldiers marooned in island outposts, but that was just another aspect of Japanese inability to plan and fight a large scale and protracted modern war where industrial might and resolution balanced empty spirit.

I forget the exact figures, but Japan had barely enough shipping tonnage to meet its advances to Papua New Guinea and other requirements, and Guadalcanal started to stretch it. By the end of the war it had about half that tonnage, even allowing for new production and captured tonnage, which was supposed to supply its troops around the Pacific as well as ship back the riches from its conquests.

If there had been less arrogance and less pride of conquest, Japan could probably have withdrawn from many of its conquests and kept a few places such as Indo China, because the fighting Allies would have given France's conquered territories to a rabid dog (which was a bit like colonial France on a bad garlic day but much better than the Belgians on any day :D) if that's all it took for peace.

But Japan could never withdraw from the oil in the NEI, which was its biggest prize in the war and almost the whole purpose of it, while the Allies could never let it keep those possessions, so things probably had to play out more or less as they did, with lots of silly Japanese boys from the sticks and cities living out some suicidal samurai fantasy while lots of silly American and British and Australian boys from the sticks and the cities lived out their own version of duty and honour derived from the same sort of schooling that imbued the Japanese boys with their desire to fight for their nation.

And all of that so that America and Australia could start importing Toyotas and Japanese transistor radios about fifteen years after the war ended and increasingly afterwards, which shows just how much commerce triumphs over war every time, and how little the spirit of all the men on all sides counted for in the end.

I left Britain out of importing Toyotas etc, because Britain buggered itself fighting the Germans when nobody else was and had a bit of trouble with the Japanese, so it couldnít afford to participate in Japanís post-war prosperity as it was still busy cleaning up the mess from German bombing raids while trying to pay off its Lend Lease debt without income from India and a few other useful places it had before the war.

Australia ended the war with a Lend Lease credit and nice profits from sending primary produce to Britain, while America was a few hundred miles above us on that scale, while Britain still had rationing years after the war. And no Toyotas or transistor radios.

To the victor the spoils.

Yeah!

Right!

(I sort of drifted a bit there, but as usual I'm on the piss, so what do you expect? :D)

Rising Sun*
03-12-2008, 06:41 AM
In specific circumstances, the IJA could quickly advance on their enemy and attempt to roll up the flanks and surround and annihilate their foe. The IJA was great in the Jungle and in mountainous island terrain Ö

Iíd just add that in the jungle in attack in 1941-42 the Japanese flank attacks were supported by very effective infiltration from all angles to sow alarm among the defenders, assisted by simple tactics like blowing bugles and setting off firecrackers to cause confusion, and cause the defenders to retreat or rout.

At section / squad and platoon level they were unbeatable in many cases, not least because they faced inferior enemy through lack of training by the Allies. If you win most of the time at those basic levels, you win every way up the levels of military units and formations.

The Japanese were also very adept at bringing up and getting mountain guns and heavy MGs into action, often in the thick of infantry action.

It's instructive that at the end of the Kokoda retreat (which most Australians nowadays who rely on television and the moron press for information seem to think was a series of victories which Australia continually reinforced by surrendering more ground to the Japanese so the Australians could emphasize their military skill and heroism by allowing the Japanese to beat them again :confused:) it was a sterling effort by Australian gunners, contrary to higher command's expectations and initial refusals to allow the attempt, getting their howitzers up supposedly impossible ground and bringing them into action which pounded the Japanese backwards in about the worst artillery country imaginable, both for getting the guns up and firing in heavily forested country against unplotted targets.

Probably the most effective and damaging response to Japan's swarming and infiltration tactics on a large scale was Slimís at Kohima etc when the British held and the Japanese blunted themselves against the boxes, and lacked tactics to overcome the failure of their long successful tactics.

An earlier example was the Australians at Milne Bay in 1942, luckily aided by virtually impassable country on one flank and the sea on the other, which greatly reduced the use of standard Japanese infiltration and flanking tactics.

The USMC did something similar at the Tenaru River (strictly it wasnít the Tenaru, but thatís what itís always called) around the same time as Milne Bay.

What all these instances all showed is that well trained, resolute, well led, and reasonably well supplied Allied troops could respond to Japanese tactics, without the suicidal spirit of the Japanese. If anything, the suicidal spirit of the Japanese just came to the fore in such attacks and got them mauled to no purpose, the Tenaru River being the best example when the Japanese were in the ascendant and still advancing, and the USMC destroyed their attackers.

Rising Sun*
03-14-2008, 04:12 AM
For some excellent but, unlike much academic writing, readable essays on the strengths and weaknesses of the IJA and its Pacific adventures, Edward Drea's In the Service of the Emperor is hard to beat.

Here's the essay titles.
http://www.questia.com/library/book/in-the-service-of-the-emperor-essays-on-the-imperial-japanese-army-by-edward-j-drea.jsp

gumalangi
03-14-2008, 04:57 AM
I've been to Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, for couple of time. Over there, there is a gigantic labirynth built by IJA, It is so complicated, that it is now marked for directions. People could lost there w/out proper direction.

And there is another one near Manado, north Sulawesi. S ome folks say, originally, the tunnel was connecting 2 cities, Menado and Bitung. Due to bombardments, natural causes etc, several sections are down and made it into smaller sections.

These really shows the enginuity of IJA, in such a short period of times able to create those subterranian fortresses.

Rising Sun*
03-14-2008, 06:04 AM
I've been to Bukit Tinggi, Sumatera, for couple of time. Over there, there is a gigantic labirynth built by IJA, It is so complicated, that it is now marked for directions. People could lost there w/out proper direction.

And there is another one near Manado, north Sulawesi. S ome folks say, originally, the tunnel was connecting 2 cities, Menado and Bitung. Due to bombardments, natural causes etc, several sections are down and made it into smaller sections.

These really shows the enginuity of IJA, in such a short period of times able to create those subterranian fortresses.

IJA defensive engineering and defensive tactics at the end of the war when they didn't matter so much were very good, as at Okinawa, if you don't mind being a commander who loses his whole force to no purpose in a futile defence in human and strategic terms which should never have got to that stage because what was lacking was a comprehensive strategy which dictated why they should not even build them, or be in many of the places they were from Sumatra eastwards.

New Guinea destroyed the IJA by years of attrition http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember.nsf/pages/NT00002FAA
after Guadalcanal stopped its advance.

If you read Drea and others who've studied the subject well, what comes out is that the IJN got carried away expanding into the vast Pacific and dragged the IJA with it, leaving the IJA to defend largely indefensible outposts which couldn't survive without the IJN and the Japanese merchant navy, which weren't up to the task for various reasons.

The essential problem was that the IJA and IJN operated as separate forces with separate objectives. This oversimplifies it, but it's fair enough to say that before Pearl Harbor the IJA expanded into China which wasn't available to the IJN, and after that the somewhat jealous IJN expanded into the Pacific which wasn't available to the IJA.

A unified Japanese army and navy command with clear strategic objectives would have avoided this, as it did with the Americans in their Pacific actions, although there was certainly friction between the US army and navy but not to the extent that it destroyed the achievement of clear national strategy.

The American forces lacked the constitutional presence of the IJA and IJN at government level in formulating and deciding policy, so they had to conform with political direction which, whatever the many and great failings of politicians, was directed to America's national strategic aims rather than being fragmented by turf wars between the IJA and IJN in advising the Emperor at Imperial Conference on national strategy.

Japan's essential problem, independent of the IJA and IJN issues, was that it had a clear national strategy for expansion but no clear and unified army and navy strategies to achieve and hold what was achieved, or even clear strategic reasons for taking and holding anything after Rabaul to protect Truk which led to invading Papua to take and hold Port Moreseby to protect Rabaul from bomber attacks from Townsville in Australia which could reach Rabaul by refuelling at Moresby on the return leg, when Japan didn't have an equivalent capacity to strike at Townsville, so the first thrust at Moresby led to the Battle of the Coral Sea which had adverse implications for the Japanese at Midway a bit later and a long way away. If the Japanese process of taking and holding something to protect something further back continued to its ultimate, they would have been in Buenos Aires and Antarctica by the end of 1943.

The IJA's other big failing was that its soldiers and officers were brilliantly schooled in and very proficient in small to medium unit infantry tactics, up to battalion and perhaps brigade level, but those tactics relied on spirit and infiltration and envelopment and remorseless assaults against the enemy, which were devastating against a retreating enemy but suicidal against a tenaciously defending or successfully advancing one, such as Slim at his best in Burma or the Australians and Americans in New Guinea 1943-44.

The IJA's senior commanders lacked the training and skills of the American and British in dealing with formations (and even the Australians with less than formations), and associated strategic manouevres. So they dug some brilliant holes in rocks and popped up from spider holes and were excellent at interlocking arcs of machine gun fire and mutually supported entrenchments, but they never bothered to ask themselves at a national strategic level whether it was worth doing all that in far flung outposts, notably New Guinea, which had modest strategic value and almost no economic value and which should never have been invaded for no benefit, while they were being slaughtered and starved and isolated when they should have been concentrated closer to Japan's major conquests and LOC to defend them effectively.

In the defensive phase of the SWPA land war, Japanese commanders had a spectacular capacity to reinforce failure, and an even more spectacular inability to recognise that they were doing it to the detriment of Japan's larger strategic benefit.

gumalangi
03-14-2008, 09:04 AM
You got things that you said sir!,.. after all this while, when i read about certain events in Pacific. It just the event per se that absorb my attention. Perhaps I am kinda ignorant type guy. Somehow now i realize how true it was, that both IJN and IJA seems having their own war. In China, Burma, parts of indonesia were mainly performed by IJA, and far flung oceans,. dominated by IJN, IJA also has to came up their own mode of transport for their fighting troops and how to re-supply them.

As for IJN, they even have their own Parachute Unit,..

KMDjr
03-14-2008, 09:12 AM
Hello Gumalangi,

I'd like to learn more about the work by the Japanese in Menado, Sulawesi. I am interested in the Japanese in Celebes during WWII & haven't heard of this before now.

TIA

gumalangi
03-14-2008, 10:05 AM
Hello Gumalangi,

I'd like to learn more about the work by the Japanese in Menado, Sulawesi. I am interested in the Japanese in Celebes during WWII & haven't heard of this before now.

TIA

Hello TIA

Regret that i cannot do much with your request, As those things i knew about the Japanese activities in Menado, are most of them came from word of mouth from so called 'Pai Tua' or old persons. For the accuracy of the story, it is certainly hard to be prooven. The other story of one small Dutch Gun-boat play hide and seek with IJN Armada,I obtained during an afternoon-tea story from my late father.

It is only the help of Mr George Eller, the story can be guaranteed. However, I can't always ask others to do my homework . For me, History reading is only one of my part time activities.

However, I knew, few years back, one surviving Kaigun-ho, who was still alived and well. He was very close friend to my father. I am yet to check on his well being. I Lost contact with him when i Moved to Singapore.

Cheers

KMDjr
03-14-2008, 01:51 PM
Hello Gumalangi,

Thank you for the reply. I wonder if there are many "Pai Tua" still living who remember the Japanese occupation of Celebes (Sulawesi)? I know some Dutch who were imprisoned as youngsters in the internment camps on Java and Sulawesi. Their memories are still quite vivid.

Nickdfresh
03-15-2008, 06:47 AM
....but they never bothered to ask themselves at a national strategic level whether it was worth doing all that in far flung outposts, notably New Guinea, which had modest strategic value and almost no economic value and which should never have been invaded for no benefit, while they were being slaughtered and starved and isolated when they should have been concentrated closer to Japan's major conquests and LOC to defend them effectively....


RS*,

Wasn't the Japanese plan in New Guinea largely a ruse to draw both Australian and US forces away from other parts of the Pacific by conducting what were thought to be preparations for what turned out to be a pseudo-invasion of Australia?

Rising Sun*
03-15-2008, 09:12 AM
RS*,

Wasn't the Japanese plan in New Guinea largely a ruse to draw both Australian and US forces away from other parts of the Pacific by conducting what were thought to be preparations for what turned out to be a pseudo-invasion of Australia?

Mate, I hate to contradict you so bluntly, but: No.

(If you have a source for that opinion, I'd like to know it. Could be interesting to follow up.)

Just the opposite.

Japan as a nation never had any plan (as distinct from a long term ambition) to invade Australia, or even to pretend to invade it, although the IJN was keen to try an invasion with its marines. That doesn't mean that Japan wasn't posturing and threatening to do so in 1942, as Tojo did several times in radio and parliamentary comments.

Invading New Guinea and invading Australia were a Japanese cluster **** from beginning to end. (I donít actually know precisely what a cluster **** means in American usage, but I love the expression and if New Guinea wasnít one then I donít know what would be. :D )

There wasnít anywhere for a Japanese ruse to draw land forces away from by the second half on 1942 when the Papua New Guinea, and Guadalcanal, campaigns were launched by the Japanese. They held just about everything to the north and north west. The Aleutian aspect was too far away to be relevant.

New Guinea was never more than a provisional target in Japan's original war aims.

It was, like most Japanese advances after the initial aims were secured, opportunistically rather than strategically inspired.

To understand in a relatively few words how Japan ended up there, and how in many respects they lost the war there, you wonít do much better than the link I gave earlier to Henry Freiís paper http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember.nsf/pages/NT00002FAA

To expand on a few points in Freiís paper.

(Without wanting to teach you how to suck eggs :D) Anyone who doesn't have a clear picture of the geography and distances, read what follows with a map beside you.

Rabaul was, strategically for the IJN, a sensible target to support Truk, but that in itself caused problems. The IJA regarded holding Rabaul as protecting Truk as a centre of IJN operations threatening the US in the central Pacific, but the IJN saw Rabaul as a centre of operations itself.

Iím oversimplifying it (I like saying that. It makes me sound like I know more than I do ;)) and Iíll expand on some earlier comments, but the IJN perception of Rabaul as a centre of operations led to the IJN seeing a need to protect Rabaul from Allied attacks, where the IJA was just defending Rabaul (after massacring a lot of Australians and others and doing other things youíd expect of that mongrel bunch at the time in and around Rabaul).

The problem for the IJN with Rabaul as a centre of operations was that the Allies could fly bombers from Townsville in north Queensland in Australia to bomb Rabaul and then land at Port Moresby in Papua on the way back to refuel on a round trip they couldnít have made otherwise. The Japanese lacked a corresponding, and any, route to hit Townsville and its base which threatened Rabaul. So, if they took Moresby out of the equation, Rabaul was safe from Allied air attack.

Just to grasp the significance of Townsville, fairly early in the war Townsville was the biggest American air base outside the continental US.

Another advantage for Japan in taking Moresby was that itís one of the few deep water natural harbours in the region, which of course backed up Rabaul and presented itself as a fresh centre of operations which might strangle Australian and Allied shipping through the relatively narrow Torres Strait between PNG and Australia.

This was important as just about everything that mattered in Australia, from productive capacity to things and people landed from the US, was on the east coast from Brisbane southwards to Melbourne and had to move by sea through the Torres Strait to Darwin or the north west to build a real threat to Japanís southern flank in the NEI. Rail links lacked the capacity, while there were barely roads for some links.

Alternatively, any attempt to avoid the Torres Strait problem meant either an invasion fleet steaming through the Torres Strait where it was vulnerable to attacks from whatever was based at Moresby on sea or in the air, or a huge and probably insupportable expenditure in oil and tonnage in moving everything to assemble at Perth / Fremantle on the south west coast of the Australian continent and then steaming up from there, whether to Darwin as a fresh reassembly point or direct to somewhere in the NEI etc.

The IJN got carried away with victories and by early 1942 some elements were putting forward ideas like a one to two division raid down the middle of Australia from Darwin to Adelaide, which they thought might rattle us into surrender. Whether or not it would have worked, those plans show something that was consistently fatal in Japanís understanding and planning and strategy. The people running the show had no idea what they were dealing with.

Read Henry Freiís excellent Japan's Southward Advance and Australia and youíll see how ignorant the Japanese were of what was down here and how ambivalent they were about it, and how little they understood of it.

In a different way, itís the same problem many of their leaders had with America. They didnít understand it and they didnít realise what was going to happen when they attacked it, because they were too bound up in their own narrow conceptions of Japanese excellence nurtured in a closed society lacking a real understanding of the outer world.

The same criticisms could be made of the Allies, and the Americans in particular, but America had everything Japan didnít that mattered for war.

Too many leaders in Japan were too unsophisticated to realise that, and to realise that pissing off the remarkably diverse Americans unanimously as a nation is a very hard thing to do. But when anyone does it, then look out. About the only other time itís been achieved before or after Pearl Harbor was 9/11, another sneak attack.

So, Iíll bring all this back to New Guinea, but first a digression.

In 1942 there was Papua, which was Australian soil thanks to a bit of aggressive colonial annexation by the Australian colony of Queensland in the late 19th century before Australia federated into a nation in 1901. New Guinea was a former German colony mandated to Australia after WWI. Ignoring Dutch New Guinea on the western half of the island, which was a colonial Dutch possession.

All the fighting in 1942, which was Japanís initial assault in Papua New Guinea, took place on Australian soil in Papua, on the Kokoda Track, Milne Bay, Buna, Gona, and Sanananda. New Guinea came later.

All of that fighting was, from the Japanese side, aimed at little more than the short term tactical reinforcement and protection of Rabaul and support of Operation FS. There wasnít any grand plan about invading Australia, let alone creating the impression that Australia was about to be invaded.

At best, Japanís Papuan campaign was part of the Operation FS compromise between the IJA and IJN to allow the IJN to move eastwards to Fiji and the Solomons after the IJA had comprehensively rejected any attempt to invade Australia.

Operation FS and the IJNís ambitious expansion pushed Japan into Guadalcanal, which was the campaign which finished Japanís Pacific expansion and its attempts to implement Operation FS to isolate Australia from America, while Japanís failure in Papua under Australian and American defence and then attack started the roll up of Japan back to its homeland.

Japanís whole problem in the SWPA land area was that it never had a strategy, at grand strategy or military strategy levels, to explain why it went past the oil fields in the NEI which were the most important aim of its war, and why it failed to consolidate its forces to protect those gains instead of drifting further east and eventually bogging itself in a casualty and logistical killing field in Papua New Guinea from the point of its greatest early triumphs to its defeat, which is the only place it did that.

Japanís land war southwards and eastwards after conquering the NEI was largely the consequence of IJN ambition and hubris rather than any coherent national or military strategy.

It demonstrates the wisdom of those pain in the arse MBA syndicate papers about a business usually ending up in deep shit if it doesnítí know exactly where itís going, and plan properly to get there.

Or just the old saying: Donít throw good money after bad.

Rising Sun*
03-15-2008, 08:23 PM
Nick, maybe you were thinking of the IJN trying to draw the USN into the 'decisive battle' at Midway?

This was linked to the Battle of the Coral Sea and Operation MO (invasion of Port Moresby in Papua) through the Doolittle Raid. The relationship between these geographically distant and seemingly unconnected events is explained here. http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar/CoralSea/CoralOverview.html

Ashes
03-26-2008, 11:17 PM
The IJN got carried away with victories and by early 1942 some elements were putting forward ideas like a one to two division raid down the middle of Australia from Darwin to Adelaide, which they thought might rattle us into surrender

By all accounts, in February 1942, Yamamoto, proposed an immediate invasion of Australia. He had just implemented his bombing raids on Darwin in the Northern Territory. He pleaded with the Japanese General Staff, to land two Japanese Army Divisions on the northern coastline of Australia which was very poorly defended. They were to follow the north-south railway line to Adelaide, thus dividing Australia into two fronts. Once Adelaide had been taken, a second force would land on the south east coast of Australia and drive northwards to Sydney and southwards to Melbourne.

General Yamashita agreed with Yamamoto's Invasion Plan and even volunteered to lead the invasion. However, the plan was opposed by Japanese Prime Minister, General Tojo, as he believed that there were no contingency plans considered for Yamamoto's Invasion Plan.

Emperor Hirohito decided to postpone the Invasion Plan until Japanese forces had taken Burma and joined forces with the rebel Indian Nationalists. The outcomes of the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway ensured the Invasion Plan for Australia was never revisited.

Perhaps Yamamoto was on the right track to invade, although the Japanese might have been stretched, Australia at the time had their best divisions overseas and the Navy and Air force were pretty threadbare, the Japanese were on a roll against very limited opposition.

The best chance of an Japanese invasion of Australia would not have been through a Perth or Darwin axis. These points could be essentially neutralized by minor attacks.

The focus of invasion would have been the south-eastern boomerang. What would have happened if Japan had won the battles for Papua and the Solomon islands? In the event of a delayed response from the United States the Japanese would probably have attempted to invade Australia. This would have been only possible if they were able to withdraw troops from China and find sufficient shipping to land the troops on the east coast. A successful lodgment would have extended their supply lines further and only in the event of a rapid rout of Australian forces could the invasion have been sustained.


Or at least concentrated on taking Port Moresby, Fiji, the New Hebrides, Samoa and the Solomons to isolate Australia instead of moving Westward into Burma and the Indian ocean.

Rising Sun*
03-27-2008, 06:48 AM
By all accounts, in February 1942, Yamamoto, proposed an immediate invasion of Australia. He had just implemented his bombing raids on Darwin in the Northern Territory. He pleaded with the Japanese General Staff, to land two Japanese Army Divisions on the northern coastline of Australia which was very poorly defended. They were to follow the north-south railway line to Adelaide, thus dividing Australia into two fronts. Once Adelaide had been taken, a second force would land on the south east coast of Australia and drive northwards to Sydney and southwards to Melbourne.

My understanding is different.

I don't recall Yamamoto being an advocate for invading Australia. My recollection is that at the most senior levels it came from the Chief of Navy General Staff, Admiral Nagano while Yamamoto was pursuing other aims. Ultimately Yamamoto was still pursuing the decisive battle aim leading to Midway but also taking Ceylon from the British to keep pressure on the main Allies. He had discounted Australia as a target of strategic significance.

As I understand Yamamotoís thinking at the time, his main interest in Australia would have been in using any thrust at it to lure the USN into the decisive battle for control of the Pacific. Although Nagano was nominally responsible for national naval strategy at imperial high command level, Yamamoto as Commander in Chief Combined Fleet had become perhaps more influential after Pearl Harbor and carried more sway in some respects. So the question about invading or raiding Australia reflected disputes and power struggles both between the IJA and the IJN and within the IJN.

I donít know why General Yamashita would be significant in the discussions, or why his volunteering to lead the raid would matter. He was in Singapore and fully occupied consolidating his victory and occupation there after the surrender on 15 February 1942 and until Imperial General Headquarters rejected the IJNís Australian invasion proposal on 4 March 1942. Yamahsita was not in great favour with some higher authorities, notably Tojo, as shown by the subsequent treatment accorded the ĎTiger of Malayaí by being posted to the boondocks in Manchuria in mid 1942. I canít see him being consulted as part of the high strategy conferences occurring in Tokyo, some of the most important of which actually occurred between officers of lower rank, as often happened with Japanese planning.

The Australian invasion / raid was an ill considered notion fuelled by Japan's victories and the belief that it was virtually invincible. Nothing unusual about that. The same hubris got Hitler into the USSR.

The Darwin raids weren't an attack on Australia per se but a strike to miniminse responses from Australia to Japan's coming invasions of Java and Timor.

There were various proposals for landing in mainland Oz, the main ones being a three division occupation of northern Australia, along the usual Japanese lines of taking something and then having to take something further away to protect it until they overstretched themselves, and the raid down central Australia. I haven't heard before of a force landing between Melbourne and Sydney to support the Adelaide conquest and moving towards both capitals at once. The Japanese didn't have the shipping or the troops to do it, and if they tried it they'd just end up with Milne Bay on a major scale. Although, with a bit of luck, they might have got geographically confused and obliterated Canberra before we got rid of them, and done the nation a lasting favour. ;)

A one or two division raid would have been a long way short of what was needed for an invasion, which has been discussed here http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4574

The hare brained Adelaide raid idea was essentially to land in Darwin and plunge down to Adelaide, sweeping almost nothing before the forces advancing through the middle of nowhere, and hope it rattled Australia into surrender while the primary south east corner and the naval base at Fremantle were well out of range and risk. If only the Japanese knew how little the rest of Australia values Adelaide. ;) (This is probably the point at which you embarrass me by telling me that you live in the City of Churches. :( )

In addition to the points I made in the forum link, Japan also had the problem of transporting and supplying its troops along the 1,000 kilometres or so between the end of the railway from Darwin at Bidum and the start of the railway to Adelaide at Alice Springs. What a beautiful killing ground for air attacks. As would be troops crammed on trains on the only railways going down the middle of Australia. Assuming Australia was generous enough to leave any tracks or locomotives or rolling stock for the Japanese.

Building on the point I made in the link about Japanese rations, it was a problem even for Australians running up and down the track as mentioned here about the army supply farms. http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/ww2/bfa/dusty_track.html

The IJA showed rather more sense in military and strategic terms than the IJN in rejecting the invasion / raid ideas, but the event illustrates again that Japan had a serious problem the Allies didn't by having, effectively, two armed forces which operated independently of each other when it suited them and without a unifying high command. Perhaps the best illustration of how far apart they were is that the IJA wasn't informed immediately about what a disaster Midway was. Imagine a similar approach by the Americans to Pearl Harbor.

I don't have the book, but IIRC there's a description in John Toland's The Rising Sun (no relation :D) of the intense conflict in Tokyo in February - march 1942 between the IJA and IJN over invading Australia, which involved officers nearly coming to blows and threats of resignation.

Rising Sun*
03-27-2008, 06:50 AM
I'm a total idiot!

And your historical point is? :confused:

Ashes
03-27-2008, 11:55 PM
(This is probably the point at which you embarrass me by telling me that you live in the City of Churches. )


No worries there, lovely city, but not my domicile.;)



I don't have the book, but IIRC there's a description in John Toland's The Rising Sun (no relation :D) of the intense conflict in Tokyo in February - march 1942 between the IJA and IJN over invading Australia, which involved officers nearly coming to blows and threats of resignation.

Ive always thought, thank god the army won the barny and not the Navy, although I suppose Tojo would have the final say.

H. P. Frei's book ''Japan's southward advance and Australia from the Sixteenth Century to World War II'' gives an interesting analysis.

Frei examined Japanese government archives and found no evidence of a strategic plan or intention to invade or hold any part of Australia before Japan's spectacular military successes of 1941-42.


But goes on to say....

Australia was included in Japan's geopolitical considerations. There was a planned advance into Portuguese Timor in 1936 through the operations of the Nanko or NKKK, which co-operated closely with the Navy. The plan was to meet the wishes of the local governments and to guide the people to pro-Japanese attitudes through propaganda. Australia, therefore, had to be neutralised. There was concern that Broome offered safety to the Dutch, and Darwin to the US Pacific Fleet. Japan did not want Australia to become a strategic springboard for a counter-offensive by the United States. Thus early in 1942, Australia was seen as a menace to Japanese occupied territory in the "inner nan'y*" [or ''Southern Expansion,'' formally declared by Japan in 1935.] This led the Navy to push for total control of Australia, but the Army felt that ten divisions would be needed to hold the territory. Army-Navy conferences in February 1942 argued about invasion, but could only agree on the occupation of New Guinea and that the destruction of Darwin was important for Timor and Java.



http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Interpreting+%22Japanese+activities%22+in+Australi a,+1888-1945-a0120109445

Rising Sun*
03-28-2008, 01:11 AM
H. P. Frei's book ''Japan's southward advance and Australia from the Sixteenth Century to World War II'' gives an interesting analysis.

Frei examined Japanese government archives and found no evidence of a strategic plan or intention to invade or hold any part of Australia before Japan's spectacular military successes of 1941-42.


Agreed.

There is no evidence of any approved operational plan to invade Australia at any time.

However, Japan's long term strategic aim was to include Australia in the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, while the acquisition of the GEACPS was the overall strategic purpose of the war.


Japanese Imperial Policy
Policy Adopted at Imperial Conference, 2 July 1941
An Outline of the Policy of the Imperial Government in View of Present Developments
(Decision reached at the Conference held in the Imperial Presence on July 2)
I. Policy

The Imperial Government is determined to follow a policy which will result in the establishment of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and world peace, no matter what international developments take place. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/PTO/Dip/IR-410702.html

There's some discussion of the GEACPS here at #34 and# 36
http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4617&page=3

As with Japan's attitude to Australia as discussed by Frei, the extent of the outer limits of the GEACPS shifted, but by about March 1942 Japan's Total War Institute was talking about Australia as a definite part of it. My recollection is that the Imperial Conference decision that approved Operation FS mentioned something to the effect that the question of Australia and India would be left to a later date. I can't lay my hands on the sources for either of those statements, but the first comes from a paper prepared by the TWI around that time and the second from the text of Imperial Conference - or maybe the Liaison conference which effectively resolved the issues to be put before the Emperor.

It's also instructive that Tojo was calling for Australia's surrender during 1942 and threatening dire consequences if we didn't surrender.

So, while no immediate military threat of invasion ever existed, Japan still wanted to conquer us, which inevitably meant an invasion or occupation after surrender.

Twitch1
03-28-2008, 01:49 PM
Interesting and knowledgable thread fellows. I enjoy your points of view. Thankfully it will continue to not attract arguementative nationists who can't stand to give credit to any place but their native lands.

Rising Sun*
03-29-2008, 07:52 AM
Ive always thought, thank god the army won the barny and not the Navy, although I suppose Tojo would have the final say.


He largely did in the early stages of the war.

It should be remembered that the IJA in China and elsewhere wasn't purely a salaried officer corps just doing good works for the Emperor.

More like some South American or Asian governments (and especially China, but that's heresy for a communist nation, especially since it went semi-capitalist and being in a senior army position didn't advance one's position and finances in the past ten or fifteen years) since WWII where army progression could equal social and financial progression.

Ashes
03-29-2008, 11:14 PM
What gets me is that the Japanese rampage through the Pacific was done with only eleven of their 54 or so divisions [although with strong air and naval forces]

Must have been scary times in Aus, with Singapore falling in Feb, and Darwin being bombed shortly after, [the first of over 60 raids on Darwin and almost 100 in total on Australian soil] Japanese midget submarines entering Sydney Harbour, and talk of a so called ''Brisbane line''

Have you [or anyone] read the papers of Dr Peter Stanley [principal historian at the Australian War Memorial for 20 years] called "He's (not) coming South - the invasion that wasn't".

He seems to have opened a can of worms, with his opponents taking him to task on.......

http://www.users.bigpond.com/battleforaustralia/battaust/AustInvasion/References/Stanley's_claims.html

His book'' Invading Australia: Japan and the Battle for Australia, 1942'' is due to be published by Penguin in July 2008. Might be worth a read.

Rising Sun*
03-30-2008, 05:51 AM
Have you [or anyone] read the papers of Dr Peter Stanley [principal historian at the Australian War Memorial for 20 years] called "He's (not) coming South - the invasion that wasn't".

He seems to have opened a can of worms, with his opponents taking him to task on.......

http://www.users.bigpond.com/battleforaustralia/battaust/AustInvasion/References/Stanley's_claims.html

Not only have I read them, I've dissected them in detail. It'd take far too long to go into here, because just about every paragraph can be pulled apart.

Stanley's papers are superficial and illogical, and don't inspire confidence in the standard of historical analysis about Australia in the Pacific War coming from the AWM if those papers are representative of it, which I don't think they are as the Australia Japan Research Project shows.

Cutting through all the crap, and allowing that it's a long time since I've read either paper, Stanley's very weak premise is that because Curtin had a Magic intercept (?May 1942?) and MacArthur's assurance on arrival in Australia in March 1942 that Japan wasn't going to invade Australia (cf. MacArthur's private fear at the same time that Japan would invade Australia: William Manchester, American Caesar, Hutchison, Melbourne, 1978, p. 251) while everything else it was doing demonstrated that it was going to invade while demanding our surrender, then Curtin shouldn't have misled the Australian people during 1942 into thinking that Japan intended to invade; that victory on Kokoda didn't save Australia from anything; and that the war in the Pacific was won on the steppes of Europe, which must be a consolation for all those relatives of Allied service people who died fighting in the Pacific. This is all somehow linked, in Stanley's confused mind anyway, to his post-war debunking of irrelvant myths about alleged and extremely trivial Japanese landings in Australia which show that Curtin (along with all the other Australian people who had worked out without any help from Curtin that Japan's actions showed it intended to invade) was wrong during the war in thinking there was any risk of invasion.

Basing just about everything on the Magic decrypt, as Stanley does, shows that the possibility of false Japanese signals for strategic or tactical purposes is beyond Dr Stanley's limited grasp of the subject and relevant considerations. It also shows that he wasn't aware, or chose to ignore, the fact that the Allies hadn't broken all Japanese codes and didn't have knowledge of what might be passing under other codes. For all Curtin knew, the Magic intercept was one of countless false messages to deceive the enemy. Curtin didn't have Stanley's luxury sixty five odd years of knowledge and hindsight. Curtin just had the Japanese advancing remorselessly towards Australia while Tojo was demanding our surrender. Which, according to Stanley, should have forced Curtin on the basis of the Magic decrypt (and Stanley's subsequently disproved myths of Japanese landings in Australia which had no bearing on Curtin's thinking at the time) to the obvious logical conclusion that Japan had no intention of invading Australia. FFS!

Stanley's total misconception and large ignorance of the GEACPS and Japan's war aims affecting Australia are masked by a plethora of irrelevant trivia about minor events and myths which don't bear on the larger, and real, picture.

If you want to see how deficient Stanley's knowledge is and how he distorts the historical record, (I'm taking the references in this post from my dissection notes) just look at his statement on p. 8 of He's Not Coming South that Curtin confirmed in an off the record briefing in March 1944 that there wouldn't be any more risk to the eastern side of Australia but he was still raising the possibility of Japanese attacks on Darwin. Stanley presents this as evidence of some sort of deception or delusion by Curtin about the Japanese threat. His source for this comment is Clem Lloyd and Richard Hall, Backroom Briefings: John Curtin’s War, Canberra, 1997. Stanley ignores the following outline in that source of the developing situation which indicated that the Japanese might attack the major naval base at Fremantle. The threat was taken sufficiently seriously by the Chiefs of Staff, who made their own assessment and communicated it to Curtin rather than vice versa, to make major dispositions of naval and air craft to meet the threat. See the Official History, Australia in the War of 1939-1945, Series 3 – Air., Volume II, Air War Against Japan, 1943-1945 (1968 reprint) pp 134 -9. http://www.awm.gov.au/cms_images/histories/27/chapters/08.pdf

I encountered the site in your link a couple of years ago but haven't followed it since. I don't think the author is wrong in challenging Stanley's silly papers and castigating the AWM for its sponsorship of sloppy scholarship.

So far as Stanley himself is concerned, a postgraduate military history student told me last year that he is extraordinarily approachable and helpful.

My impression of his papers is that he put something together for the first paper without having the detailed grasp of his subject that it required, as a busy public historian with wide knowledge but a lack of deep knowledge might do, and then, wounded by adverse responses, tried to justify his position but merely reinforced failure with the second paper.


His book'' Invading Australia: Japan and the Battle for Australia, 1942'' is due to be published by Penguin in July 2008. Might be worth a read.

Not if it's as silly as his two vacuous papers.

Rising Sun*
03-30-2008, 05:58 AM
As with Japan's attitude to Australia as discussed by Frei, the extent of the outer limits of the GEACPS shifted, but by about March 1942 Japan's Total War Institute was talking about Australia as a definite part of it.

Here it is, but it was a January rather than March 1942 paper.



Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

Ryusaku Tsunoda, Wm. Theodore De Bary, Donald Keene, Sources of Japanese Tradition (New York: Columbia University Press), Volume II, 1958, pp. 294-298.

***************************

THE WAR GOAL

Japan's war planners envisioned a long struggle, in several stages, to achieve their new Asia. The new Asia was to be known as the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Southern region would supply raw materials and surplus food, while Manchuria and North China provided the materials and basis for a heavy industry complex. The rest of Asia would become a vast market, defended and integrated by Japanese planning, tools, skills, and arms.

DRAFT OF BASIC PLAN FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF GREATER EAST ASIA CO-PROSPERITY SPHERE

[From Draft of Basic Plan, IMTFE, International Prosecution Section, Document 2402B, Exhibit 1336]

Part I. Outline of Construction

This document, produced as a secret planning paper by the Total War Research Institute, a body responsible to army and cabinet, in January of 1942, reveals the nature of long-range planning during the early war years before defeats began to take their toll of optimism and confidence.

The Plan. The Japanese empire is a manifestation of morality and its special characteristic is the propagation of the Imperial Way. It strives but for the achievement of Hakko Ichiu, the spirit of its founding.... It is necessary to foster the increased power of the empire, to cause East Asia to return to its original form of independence and co-prosperity by shaking off the yoke of Europe and America, and to let its countries and peoples develop their respective abilities in peaceful cooperation and secure livelihood.

The Form of East Asiatic Independence and Co-Prosperity. The states, their citizens, and resources, comprised in those areas pertaining to the Pacific, Central Asia, and the Indian Oceans formed into one general union are to be established as an autonomous zone of peaceful living and common prosperity on behalf of the peoples of the nations of East Asia. The area including Japan, Manchuria, North China, lower Yangtze River, and the Russian Maritime Province, forms the nucleus of the East Asiatic Union. The Japanese empire possesses a duty as the leader of the East Asiatic Union.

The above purpose presupposes the inevitable emancipation or independence of Eastern Siberia, China, Indo-China, the South Seas, Australia, and India.

Regional Division in the East Asiatic Union and the National Defense Sphere for the Japanese Empire. In the Union of East Asia, the Japanese empire is at once the stabilizing power and the leading influence. To enable the empire actually to become the central influence in East Asia, the first necessity is the consolidation of the inner belt of East Asia; and the East Asiatic Sphere shall be divided as follows for this purpose:

The Inner Sphere- the vital sphere for the empire-includes Japan, Manchuria, North China, the lower Yangtze Area and the Russian Maritime area.

The Smaller Co-Prosperity Sphere- the smaller self-supplying sphere of East Asia-includes the inner sphere plus Eastern Siberia, China, Indo-China, and the South Sea.

The Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere- the larger self-supplying sphere of East Asia-includes the smaller co-prosperity sphere, plus Australia, India, and island groups in the Pacific....

For the present, the smaller co-prosperity sphere shall be the zone in which the construction of East Asia and the stabilization of national defense are to be aimed at. After their completion there shall be a gradual expansion toward the construction of the Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Outline of East Asiatic Administration. It is intended that the unification of Japan, Manchoukuo, and China in neighborly friendship be realized by the settlement of the Sino-Japanese problems through the crushing of hostile influences in the Chinese interior, and through the construction of a new China in tune with the rapid construction of the Inner Sphere. Aggressive American and British influences in East Asia shall be driven out of the area of Indo-China and the South Seas, and this area shall be brought into our defense sphere. The war with Britain and America shall be prosecuted for that purpose.

The Russian aggressive influence in East Asia will be driven out. Eastern Siberia shall be cut off from the Soviet regime and included in our defense sphere. For this purpose, a war with the Soviets is expected. It is considered possible that this Northern problem may break out before the general settlement of the present Sino-Japanese and the Southern problems if the situation renders this unavoidable. Next the independence of Australia, India, etc. shall gradually be brought about. For this purpose, a recurrence of war with Britain and her allies is expected. The construction of a Greater Mongolian State is expected during the above phase. The construction of the Smaller Co-Prosperity Sphere is expected to require at least twenty years from the present time.

The Building of the National Strength. Since the Japanese empire is the center and pioneer of Oriental moral and cultural reconstruction, the officials and people of this country must return to the spirit of the Orient and acquire a thorough understanding of the spirit of the national moral character.

In the economic construction of the country, Japanese and Manchurian national power shall first be consolidated, then the unification of Japan, Manchoukuo and China, shall be effected.... Thus a central industry will be reconstructed in East Asia, and the necessary relations established with the Southern Seas.

The standard for the construction of the national power and its military force, so as to meet the various situations that might affect the stages of East Asiatic administration and the national defense sphere, shall be so set as to be capable of driving off any British, American, Soviet or Chinese counter-influences in the future....

CHAPTER 3. POLITICAL CONSTRUCTION

Basic Plan. The realization of the great ideal of constructing Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity requires not only the complete prosecution of the current Greater East Asia War but also presupposes another great war in the future. Therefore, the following two points must be made the primary starting points for the political construction of East Asia during the course of the next twenty years: 1) Preparation for war with the other spheres of the world; and 2) Unification and construction of the East Asia Smaller Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The following are the basic principles for the political construction of East Asia, when the above two points are taken into consideration:

a. The politically dominant influence of European and American countries in the Smaller Co-Prosperity Sphere shall be gradually driven out and the area shall enjoy its liberation from the shackles hitherto forced upon it.

b. The desires of the peoples in the sphere for their independence shall be respected and endeavors shall be made for their fulfillment, but proper and suitable forms of government shall be decided for them in consideration of military and economic requirements and of the historical, political and cultural elements peculiar to each area.

It must also be noted that the independence of various peoples of East Asia should be based upon the idea of constructing East Asia as "independent countries existing within the New Order of East Asia" and that this conception differs from an independence based on the idea of liberalism and national self-determination.

c. During the course of construction, military unification is deemed particularly important, and the military zones and key points necessary for defense shall be directly or indirectly under the control of our country.

d. The peoples of the sphere shall obtain their proper positions, the unity of the people's minds shall be effected and the unification of the sphere shall be realized with the empire as its center....

Continued

Rising Sun*
03-30-2008, 05:59 AM
CHAPTER 4. THOUGHT AND CULTURAL CONSTRUCTION

General Aim in Thought. The ultimate aim in thought construction in East Asia is to make East Asiatic people revere the imperial influence by propagating the Imperial Way based on the spirit of construction, and to establish the belief that uniting solely under this influence is the one and only way to eternal growth and development in East Asia.

And during the next twenty years (the period during which the above ideal is to be reached) it is necessary to make the nations and peoples of East Asia realize the historical significance of the establishment of the New Order in East Asia, and in the common consciousness of East Asiatic unity, to liberate East Asia from the shackles of Europe and America and to establish the common conviction of constructing a New Order based on East Asiatic morality.

Occidental individualism and materialism shall be rejected and a moral world view, the basic principle of whose morality shall be the Imperial Way, shall be established. The ultimate object to be achieved is not exploitation but co-prosperity and mutual help, not competitive conflict but mutual assistance and mild peace, not a formal view of equality but a view of order based on righteous classification, not an idea of rights but an idea of service, and not several world views but one unified world view.

General Aim in Culture. The essence of the traditional culture of the Orient shall be developed and manifested. And, casting off the negative and conservative cultural characteristics of the continents (India and China) on the one hand, and taking in the good points of Western culture on the other, an Oriental culture and morality, on a grand scale and subtly refined, shall be created.
http://www.international.ucla.edu/eas/restricted/geacps.htm

It's obvious what Japan had planned for Australia in those thoughts when we reconcile them with its actions elsewhere.

Rising Sun*
03-30-2008, 06:16 AM
My recollection is that the Imperial Conference decision that approved Operation FS mentioned something to the effect that the question of Australia and India would be left to a later date. I can't lay my hands on the sources for either of those statements, but the first comes from a paper prepared by the TWI around that time and the second from the text of Imperial Conference - or maybe the Liaison conference which effectively resolved the issues to be put before the Emperor.



Here it is.



GENERAL OUTLINE OF POLICY OF FUTURE WAR GUIDANCE,
ADOPTED BY LIAISON CONFERENCE 7 MARCH 1942 AND
REPORT OF PRIME MINISTER AND CHIEFS OF STAFF TO EMPEROR
13 MARCH 1942

In order to bring BRITAIN to submission and to demoralize the UNITED STATES, positive measures shall be taken by seizing opportunities to expand our acquired war gains, and by building a political and military structure capable of withstanding a protracted war.

By holding the occupied areas and major communication lines, and by expediting the development and utilization of key resources for national defense; efforts shall be made to establish a self-sufficient structure, and to increase the nation's war potential.

More positive and definite measures of war guidance shall be adopted by taking the following situations into consideration: Our national power, the progress of operations, the German-Soviet war situation, the relations between the UNITED STATES and the SOVIET UNION, and the trend in CHUNGKING.

Our policy toward the SOVIET UNION shall be based on the "Plan for Expediting the Termination of the War against the UNITED STATES, BRITAIN, the NETHERLANDS, and CHIANG Kai-shek," adopted on 5 Nov 4a; and the "Measures to be Immediately Effected in Line with the Development of the Situation," adopted on 10 Jan 42. However, under the present circumstances, no efforts shall be made to mediate a peace between GERMANY and the SOVIET UNION.

Our policy toward CHUNGKING shall be based on the "Matters Concerning Measures to be taken toward CHUNGKING, in Line with the Development of the Situation," adopted on 24 Dec 41.

Cooperation with GERMANY and ITALY shall be based on the "Plan for Expediting the Termination of the War against the UNITED STATES, BRITAIN, the NETHERLANDS and CHIANG Kai-shek," adopted on Nov 41.

Report to the Throne
We humbly report to Your Majesty on behalf of the Imperial General Headquarters and the Government.

At this point, when our initial operations are about to come to a favorable end by dint of the august virtue of Your Majesty, the Imperial General Headquarters and the Government have, after a careful appraisal, since the latter part of February, of our acquired war gains and their effect, the changes in the world situation, and the present war potentialities of our Empire, agreed on the "General Outline on Future War Guidance." We will now give our explanations.


--611--

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Regarding the general outline on war guidance to be effected hereafter in the war against the UNITED STATES and BRITAIN:
Various measures must be planned and executed in anticipation of a protracted war. It will not only be most difficult to defeat the UNITED STATES and BRITAIN in a short period, but, the war cannot be brought to an end through compromise.

It is essential to further expand the political and military advantages achieved through glorious victories since the opening of hostilities, by utilizing the present war situation to establish a political and strategic structure capable of withstanding a protracted war. We must take every possible step, within the limits of our national power, to force the UNITED STATES and BRITAIN to remain on the defensive. Any definite measure of vital significance to be effected in this connection will be given thorough study, and will be presented to Your Majesty for approval each time.


Regarding the need for building national power and fighting power for the successful prosecution of a protracted war.
We deem it highly essential to constantly maintain resilience in our national defense, and build up the nation's war potential so that we will be capable of taking the steps necessary to cope with the progress of situation.

If a nation should lose its resilience in national defense while prosecuting a war, and become unable to rally from an enemy blow; the result would be short of her desired goal, no matter what victory she might achieve in the process. This is amply proved in the precious lessons learned from the annals of war.

Consequently, in our Empire's war guidance policy, we have especially emphasized that, while taking steps to bring the enemy to submission, we must fully build up the nation's war potential to cope with a protracted war.


Regarding the adoption of a new and more positive measure of war guidance. We have made it clear that the question of whether to adopt new and more positive measures for war guidance for the attainment of the objective of the Greater East Asia War should be decided after careful study, not only of the war gains acquired so far, but other factors of extensive and profound significance; such as, the enemy's national power and our's, especially the increase in the fighting power on both sides; the progress of our operations, our relations with the SOVIET UNION and CHINA, the German-Soviet war, and various other factors.

By "more positive measures of war guidance" we mean such measures as the invasion of INDIA and AUSTRALIA.

Regarding the measures to be immediately taken toward the SOVIET UNION.
We have made it clear that the measures to be taken toward the SOVIET UNION will be based on the established policy which was adopted earlier at a liaison conference. The essentials of that policy are as follows:


Utmost efforts shall be made to prevent the expansion of hostilities.

JAPAN shall endeavor to the utmost to prevent war with the SOVIET UNION while operations are being conducted in the Southern Area.

--612--

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



While maintaining peace between JAPAN and the SOVIET UNION, efforts shall be made to prevent the UNITED STATES and BRITAIN from strengthening their cooperation with the SOVIET UNION, and to alienate the latter from the former, if possible. However, this does not imply that our military preparations against the SOVIET UNION will be neglected, and it is our belief that all possible operations preparations should be made to achieve a quick and decisive victory in case of war.
With regard to the peace between GERMANY and the SOVIET UNION, not only does a compromise seem utterly hopeless, under the present circumstances, but we fear that our mediatory efforts at this point would be detrimental to Japanese-German relations, and would also mean risking a complication in Japanese-Soviet relations. Consequently, we have made it clear that we have no intention of taking any positive steps toward mediation.


Regarding the measures to be immediately taken toward Chungking: We have made it clear that measures toward Chungking will be based on the policy which was adopted at the earlier conference that, "taking advantage of the restlessness in the Chungking Regime which was caused by our application of strong pressure on a vulnerable spot of theirs; our measures toward Chungking shall be shifted, at a proper time, from intelligence activities to activities to bring the regime to submission. The time and method therefore shall be decided at a liaison conference."
Meanwhile, the campaign in BURMA is progressing faster than originally expected, and RANGOON is already in our hands. We believe that our progress in BURMA is already having serious effects on the Chungking Regime, but since we greatly fear that any attempt to bring the Chungking Regime to submission, at too early a stage, would produce an adverse result, our intention is to postpone it to a date that will be decided later.


Regarding measures to be taken toward GERMANY and ITALY.
Since we keenly realized that strengthening cooperation with GERMANY and ITALY will become increasingly necessary to achieve our war aims, we have decided that we must adhere closely to the established policy regarding cooperation with GERMANY and ITALY.

We hereby respectfully report to Your Majesty.


13 Mar 42
Prime Minister TOJO Hideki
Chief of the Naval General Staff NAGANO Osami
Chief of the Army General Staff SUGIYAMA Gen ..... http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Strategy/Strategy-B.html

Ashes
03-31-2008, 10:01 PM
Good stuff RS.

A 'what if'......... and I know it's easy talking in hindsight.

''What if'' Japan, as part of the Axis, didn't attack Pearl Harbour, and instead just attacked the European colonial possessions while doing their best to placate the U.S. would America declare war?


The attack against Hawaii was probably the worst possible thing that Japan could have done.

But by making that undeclared attack on PH, it stirred up a hornets nest, and made sure the Americans would never stop until Japan was crushed, no matter what the cost.

Given the isolationist temperament of the U. S. Congress at the time, and the polls showing that 74% of Americans didn't want to be involved in the war in Europe [even when Britain was the last Democracy fighting the Nazi's and when American warships were being sunk and Americans killed] and 64% didn't want war with Japan, is it questionable, even doubtful, that that the United States would have responded directly to the seizure of those foreign Colonial possessions by declaring war?


Roosevelt would probably conjure an entry into the war against Japan somehow, [and someone said without going as far as the conspiracy theories of Theobald or Toland or the many others around today about Roosevelt's implication in the PH attack, there was more then one way to skin a cat] but it would take some pretty devious footwork.

Rising Sun*
03-31-2008, 10:50 PM
''What if'' Japan, as part of the Axis, didn't attack Pearl Harbour, and instead just attacked the European colonial possessions while doing their best to placate the U.S. would America declare war?

Depends on whether Japan attacked the Philippines and America's reaction to any attack there.

Up till about 1939-40, American war planning was based on letting the Philippines fall, if it came to that. That changed in the year or two before the war.

My inclination is that the American people wouldn't respond too well to American troops and ships being attacked in the Philippines, so that an attack there could have led to war anyway.

Which was Japan's problem. If America responded to an attack on the Philippines it was going to come from the fleet based at Hawaii, so Japan needed to neutralise that risk as part of its overall strategy.

If it didn't take the Philippines, there would, or at least could, be allied air and naval bases astride its LOC from Malaya and the NEI, thus threatening its military and commercial LOC and the exploitation of its conquests.

Once Japan was going to take Malaya and the NEI, it was virtually forced to take the Philippines, which then virtually forced it to attack Pearl.

I think some other issues would have affected American military and perhaps political thinking even if Japan didn't attack America anywhere. Notably, access to NEI oil, which overcame the Allied oil embargoes on Japan and gave it about a third of the world's oil supply, with the potential to fight on forever and exclude Westerners from all resources and trade in the GEACPS.

Ashes
03-31-2008, 11:12 PM
Depends on whether Japan attacked the Philippines and America's reaction to any attack there.



Yep, I meant the U.S. or U.S. bases.

Roosevelt would probably conjure an declaration of war against Japan somehow, but I don't think it would be easy, plus I wonder how much commitment would there be, if Americans thought they were fighting to preserve European colonialism.

Rising Sun*
04-01-2008, 05:03 AM
I wonder how much commitment would there be, if Americans thought they were fighting to preserve European colonialism.

Not much sympathy there, at popular or government levels, but governments are more pragmatic than the people and will always do deals with the devil if it suits them.

I always liked Admiral King's hostility to the Limeys and his opposition to helping them to regain their colonies. In a way, he was ahead of the effects of WWII which destroyed European colonialism.

But what about Americans attitudes to preserving American colonialism in the Philippines?

Or China, which is where much of WWII started with the Western and certainly American contest for access to it?

I don't know that it mattered that much to the average American at the time, but it mattered to the American government, as did access to China which was being strangled by Japan.

Ashes
04-01-2008, 10:31 PM
Not much sympathy there, at popular or government levels, but governments are more pragmatic than the people and will always do deals with the devil if it suits them.


No doubt the U.S. government had an agenda of coming to grips with Japan sooner or later, but It probably needed something cataclysmic like the sneak attack on PH to fully galvanise the congress and the population out of the mind set of no war unless attacked isolationist stance, to a determined America willing to fight to the end no matter what the cost.

Japan solved all that at PH.

Major von Mauser
04-01-2008, 10:57 PM
I'm interested in the Japanese, only if the information about them is unbiased, as it so often seems.

Cojimar 1945
04-08-2008, 02:37 AM
While attacking Pearl Harbor doubtless could be expected to anger America I don't think Americans were necessarily determined to win at any cost. After all, the North Koreans were not crushed.

Nickdfresh
04-08-2008, 05:56 AM
But the North Koreans never in any way directly attacked America nor undertook anything near Pearl Harbor (unless you're South Korean)...

Rising Sun*
04-08-2008, 06:14 AM
While attacking Pearl Harbor doubtless could be expected to anger America I don't think Americans were necessarily determined to win at any cost. After all, the North Koreans were not crushed.

What is now North and South Korea was a single Japanese colony of the Korean peninsula acquired in pieces by Japan late in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and entirely by 1910 as a result of the 1905 war.

Korea did not exist as a separate nation before WWII, or since.

What is now North Korea was, however, 'crushed' by being occupied by Soviet troops at the end of WWII, which is a consequence of the proximity of Soviet land forces to Korea on the mainland. Allied (American) troops occupied what is now South Korea. At the time of those occupations, and throughout the war, it was still Japanese territory.

As an aside, Koreans were often the worst bastards as guards of Allied POW's during WWII, but they were also among those treated worst on the Japanese side by the Japanese so it probably fed down the line a bit.

Egorka
04-09-2008, 03:37 AM
Illingworth, Leslie Gilbert
[Japan's army arrives at New Guinea] - January 24, 1942

http://keep4u.ru/imgs/b/080409/38/38f2a8889e604821fb.jpg

http://community.livejournal.com/warhistory/1257298.html#cutid1

Rising Sun*
04-09-2008, 07:46 AM
Illingworth, Leslie Gilbert
[Japan's army arrives at New Guinea] - January 24, 1942

http://keep4u.ru/imgs/b/080409/38/38f2a8889e604821fb.jpg

http://community.livejournal.com/warhistory/1257298.html#cutid1


Cartoon is close, except that on 24 January 1942 the Japanese soldier should have been coming from the right of New Guinea where the Japanese invaded Rabaul in New Britain at that time, which wasn't regarded in Australian military circles or by the Japanese as part of a thrust at Australia but essentially as securing the back door to protect and support the IJN naval base at Truk, although the IJN subsequently made Rabaul a base of operations.

It might have been unintentional and unwitting by the cartoonist, who was probably making the point that we'd dropped sport for war, but the inclusion of the cricketing gear relates to something that you don't hear now in the popular war histories, which was people like the Australian commander General Blamey railing at the Australian public to wake up that it was time to give up sporting events and focus on fighting the Japanese. Even at that stage there were still people here who wanted life to go on as normal!

Cojimar 1945
04-10-2008, 02:51 AM
The North Koreans/Chinese killed a number of Americans in the Korean conflict. Shoulden't Americans have been upset about their soldiers being killed in Korea? In this instance, as with the Japanese, the enemy was the aggressor.

royal744
04-16-2008, 10:43 PM
nevertheless they were fighting enough succesfull in first period of war.
I puzzled ,how they had conquered so great territory.
How they have captured Singapoor so soon?
I know they recieved a combat experience in pre-ww2 war with China.However they had so great advantage over European armies in the 1941.
This is still mystery for me.

I wouldn't be too surprised, Chevan. How was it the Germans achieved such stunn ing success in the beginning? No surprise there either because people just didn't want to believe it would happen. At Singapore, the English really should not have surrendered so quickly - they weren't even outnumbered. Had they persevered, they could have done much damage to the Japs though probably would have lost if they lost access to fresh water supplies.

In Hong Kong, well, it was fairly indefensible to begin with and there weren't that ,mny troops there.

In Java, in spite of a bunch of trumped up hoopla, the Dutch KNIL was very weak and did not have the support of the Indonesians who were only too glad to betray them at every opportunity. The Dutch navy, brave though it was, was heavily outgunned by the Japanese, and the British, Australian and American presence on the sea foiught bravely but suffered from being primarily a pre-war naval force and served only as a minor speed bump along the road. The air forces were weak as well, and the Brewster Buffaloes they flew were terrible in a dogfight with the Zero.

In the Phillipines, the US Army did a good job in holding out as long as it did, but the majority of troops were actually Phillipine Scouts, under-officered and under armed. But they never defected to the Japanese and did not betray the numerous American guerrilla groups that survived the war. America's primary naval weapon was sunk in the Sunda Strait in a desperate and forlorn attempt to stop Japanese landings in Indonesia.

The American Air Force (Army Air Force) in the Philippines might have given a good account of itself had it not been for a singular act of stupidity and craven indecision on the part of General MacArthur, who ordered the planes to stay on the ground as the Japanese air force winged its way to Manila from Taiwanese bases. He should have been court martialed for that, but instead expended his monumental ego in trying to stop General Wainwright, the chump he handed the hot potato to, from being decorated instead.

We were naked before the Japanese for a while, but not for long.

So, Chevan, surprise is the biggest reason; an inability to believe that the little yellow men could be so smart and ingenious; a continued belief in the superiority of the white man over the asiatics; and a lack of modern, up-to-date equipment and large numbers of troops available.

But, as the Japanese learned to their bitter consternation, it's not the first victories that count; it is the last victory that matters. Just like the Germans who couldn't believe that after rounding up literally millions of Russians on the battlefield, they still lost the war against the Russians. In the end they were both crushed. Of the Italians we shall not speak.

royal744
04-16-2008, 10:50 PM
His book'' Invading Australia: Japan and the Battle for Australia, 1942'' is due to be published by Penguin in July 2008. Might be worth a read.

Just like the Germans being incapable of actually occupying the endless steppe of Russia, Japan could never have occupied Australia. In spite of Japanese bellicosity to the contrary, such an invasion was wholly impractical and infeasible. Although, to those who saw themselves in the crosshairs they could not have known that at the time.

Rising Sun*
04-17-2008, 07:33 AM
At Singapore, the English really should not have surrendered so quickly - they weren't even outnumbered. Had they persevered, they could have done much damage to the Japs though probably would have lost if they lost access to fresh water supplies.

The destruction of the water system was, in conjunction with Japanese penetration of the defences on the island, primarily what finally impelled Percival to surrender. It's covered in his book The War in Malaya but here's an internet version to the same effect.


TUESDAY, 12 February .... The administrative situation now began to cause great anxiety. The military food reserves under our control were sufficient for only about seven daysí consumption, though in addition to this units held reserves of varying quantity and there were also the civil food reserves. We only had one small dump of petrol on the island in addition to what was in vehicle tanks. But the water situation caused most concern. In the Singapore Town area breaks in the mains from bombing and shelling began to gain steadily over repairs with the result that from 11th February pressure failed seriously. Royal Engineer personnel and military transport were called in by the Director-General of Civil Defence to assist the civil staff, and special water-carrying parties were organized. But the high-level reservoir at Pearlís Hill near the General Hospital was already empty and the Fort Canning reservoir was losing water rapidly.

.....

It was early on 14 February that the water situation really became serious when the municipal water engineer reported to the Director-General of Civil Defence that he considered a complete failure of the water supply was imminent. At about 10 a.m. I held a conference at the municipal offices at which the chairman of the municipality was present in addition to the above two officials. I was informed that, owing to breaks in the water mains and pipes caused by bombing and shelling, a heavy loss of water was going on, though the two pumping stations at Woodleigh and Mackenzie Road were still working. The municipal water engineer estimated that the water supply would last for forty-eight hours at the outside and that it might only last for twenty-four hours. I promised additional Royal Engineer assistance, but that could not be provided till the afternoon as all available Royal Engineer personnel were at that time fighting as combatant troops.

.....

Along the Braddell Road the enemy gained some ground, but on the Serangoon Road front a strong attack was stopped by the 11th Indian Division when within a few hundred yards of the vital Woodleigh pumping station. The staff of this station stuck to its work manfully under close range small arms fire and continued pumping to the end.

.....

Sunday, 15 FebruaryóBlack Sunday ..... That was the situation which I had to report when the conference assembled. The D.G.C.D. was asked to report on the water situation in more detail. He confirmed what he had said before and added that, if total failure took place, it would be some days before piped water could be obtained again. Ways and means of overcoming our various difficulties were discussed. None of them were really vital except the water problem. Heath stressed the danger of the water shortage as it affected the Indian troops, while the danger to the civil population was also taken into account. I felt that there was no use in remaining passively on the defensive as we were. There seemed to be only two possible alternatives, i.e. either to counter-attack to regain control of the reservoirs and of the military food depots and to drive back the enemyís artillery with a view to reducing the damage to the water supply system, or to capitulate. I put these alternatives to the commanders. They were unanimously Qf the opinion that in the existing circumstances a counter-attack was impracticable. Some of them also doubted our ability to resist another determined attack and pointed out the consequences that might result to the crowded population in the town. It was in these circumstances that I decided to capitulate.

.....

After the cessation of hostilities it was five and a half days, with engineers and water parties working at full pressure, before water again reached the lower levels of Singapore Town which had been deprived of it. It was ten days before water again reached the General Hospital and many other buildings on the higher levels. My bold
http://www.fepow-community.org.uk/arthur_lane/html/fall_of_singapore.htm

Nickdfresh
04-17-2008, 09:39 AM
Wasn't there something too about the lack of effective artillery and no armor available to the Singapore garrison? I've read that the coastal guns either could not be transversed to fire into the jungle, or that their shells were mostly AP shot for use against ships and were largely ineffective against infantry...

Rising Sun*
04-17-2008, 09:38 PM
Wasn't there something too about the lack of effective artillery and no armor available to the Singapore garrison? I've read that the coastal guns either could not be transversed to fire into the jungle, or that their shells were mostly AP shot for use against ships and were largely ineffective against infantry...

My recollection is that there were few or no Commonwealth tanks but some armoured scout cars available in Malaya / Singapore, while the Japanese landed maybe a couple of hundred tanks and used them to considerable effect in the campaign. (Their bicycles helped too. The tubes burst so the soldiers tore off the tyres and rode on the steel rims. The clattering of hundreds of tyreless bicycles on the road convinced many Indian troops tanks were coming and they fled.)

It might have helped if Percival could have deployed some tanks at the Singapore (and Malayan) beachheads to repel the landings. Although the Japanese artillery would probably have wiped them out at Singapore. No doubt tanks would have helped against infantry once they got further inland, but the game was already in the bag for the Japanese by that stage.

My impression is that it wasn't so much lack of Commonwealth artillery that prejudiced the defence of Singapore as two other artillery factors.

First, Commonwealth artillery was under-used against the invaders on the critical first night of the landings in the Australian sector on the north west of the island. Perceval comments on this in The War in Malaya and is mystified by it, even allowing for problems in wire communications destroyed by artillery.

Second, the Japanese surprised the defenders by bringing up guns and landing craft very quickly, so they were able to land after a serious artillery bombardment and with artillery cover after landing. They also brought up special armoured landing craft which weren't vulnerable to small arms fire and helped the landing immensely in the first waves.

The immobile coastal guns is an enduring myth. See the text in the link below for a detailed description.

You're right about the AP problem, but it has to be remembered that the whole Singapore defence concept had been based for decades on Singapore holding out against an enemy fleet until the British fleet arrived. The guns were intended for naval targets during that period awaiting relief. IIRC Perecival recognised the problem before the war started and (maybe?) requested HE shells but they didn't materialise.

I don't know anything about munitions, but I wonder if a solution would have been to arm the shells with contact or air burst fuses? Or weren't any made to suit those AP shells?

As an aside, AP can be very effective against dug in troops. Australian tanks used it in Vietnam against enemy bunkers. Went in under them and blew them out.

Even if they couldn't traverse, they weren't the only guns on the island. And even if they had HE, 15 inch is a bit of overkill against scattered enemy infantry squads and platoons on Singapore but it would have been very handy against massed artillery and infantry on the mainland, except the enemy they wanted to hit were on the mainland facing the north west of the island while the guns were out of range on the north east of the island, where they'd been sited to protect the channel to the naval base. The causeway blocked the western approach.

Even if they could all have traversed 360 degrees, their arcs of fire (see p 120 http://books.google.com.au/books?id=V8jctMNMbN4C&pg=PT124&lpg=PT124&dq=coastal+guns+singapore+range&source=web&ots=lzEsTtLIzk&sig=xYYwLk1pb0Ph7iyMPTSOAztipQc&hl=en#PPT148,M1 ) didn't permit them to support the defenders on the north west of the island or, better still, pulverise the massed Japanese artillery, invasion force and landing craft on the mainland. I don't know if this influenced the Japanese in picking their assault point, but they had a very good knowledge from pre-war spying about the fortifications and weapons on the island and it's a remarkable coincidence when you look at the arc of fire map.

Rising Sun*
04-18-2008, 06:05 AM
Just to add to my last post, the trajectory and elevation of the big coastal defence guns lacked the (relatively) close support abilities of infantry support weapons like the standard WWII Commonwealth 25 pounder.

A 25 pounder in the centre of Singapore island would have gone close to covering the same arc of fire to the west as the coastal guns. A battery of them properly positioned would have been more use to infantry than a single coastal gun at Changi etc.

Far too much has been made of the coastal guns, as if they were some super weapon which could have decided the battle for Singapore. They couldn't, even if they could spin all day through 360 degrees.

Nickdfresh
04-19-2008, 06:48 AM
...You're right about the AP problem, but it has to be remembered that the whole Singapore defence concept had been based for decades on Singapore holding out against an enemy fleet until the British fleet arrived. The guns were intended for naval targets during that period awaiting relief. IIRC Perecival recognised the problem before the war started and (maybe?) requested HE shells but they didn't materialise.

I don't know anything about munitions, but I wonder if a solution would have been to arm the shells with contact or air burst fuses? Or weren't any made to suit those AP shells?

As an aside, AP can be very effective against dug in troops. Australian tanks used it in Vietnam against enemy bunkers. Went in under them and blew them out.

Armor piercing is effective when used against hardened (concrete and steel rebar) binckers and blockhouses I believe. Part of the reason why US tank destroyers were able to find a mission in the Pacific is their 76mm guns were effective as indirect fire artillery (using HE) and could also be used to destroy bunkers reinforced with lumber, rocks, and other construction materials...


So, the coastal guns would have been useless I guess unless shells were able to hit landing craft.


Even if they couldn't traverse, they weren't the only guns on the island. And even if they had HE, 15 inch is a bit of overkill against scattered enemy infantry squads and platoons on Singapore but it would have been very handy against massed artillery and infantry on the mainland, except the enemy they wanted to hit were on the mainland facing the north west of the island while the guns were out of range on the north east of the island, where they'd been sited to protect the channel to the naval base. The causeway blocked the western approach.

Even if they could all have traversed 360 degrees, their arcs of fire (see p 120 http://books.google.com.au/books?id=V8jctMNMbN4C&pg=PT124&lpg=PT124&dq=coastal+guns+singapore+range&source=web&ots=lzEsTtLIzk&sig=xYYwLk1pb0Ph7iyMPTSOAztipQc&hl=en#PPT148,M1 ) didn't permit them to support the defenders on the north west of the island or, better still, pulverise the massed Japanese artillery, invasion force and landing craft on the mainland. I don't know if this influenced the Japanese in picking their assault point, but they had a very good knowledge from pre-war spying about the fortifications and weapons on the island and it's a remarkable coincidence when you look at the arc of fire map.

Interesting. How did the air forces stack up? Didn't the RAF have Hurricane fighters available?

Rising Sun*
04-19-2008, 07:49 AM
Interesting. How did the air forces stack up? Didn't the RAF have Hurricane fighters available?

Yes, but far too late. See #49 http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4781&page=4 for a very well informed ;) comment and #50 for total British air strength.

There is a remarkably erudite ;) post in the archives which indicates how Malaya was lost because of the absence of air power on the British side.


Kota Bahru serves as an example of how, in my view, Malaya was lost in London long before Japan attacked.

I think the faults on the British side come down to two things: London (in large part synonymous with Churchillís ill-conceived opinions and interference in matters military for reasons political) and lack of air power. The second is really just a consequence of the first.

The first requirement was to implement the preparatory plans, devised in Malaya and agreed in London.

This failed because Malaya command was never given the resources to do so. That was Londonís fault.

Malaya command was left to prepare for defence on the basis of the agreed plans, while London never bothered to tell it that it had no intention of giving it the necessary resources and that it had better come up with some different ideas, quick smart.

In the agreed plans Malaya command recognised the need for air power, in particular in northern Malaya to cover the likely, and accurately identified, Japanese landing points and subsequent advances.

Malaya command therefore embarked on building airfields at strategic points. As a result of Londonís failure to provide resources, these potentially decisive strategic airfields became millstones around Malaya commandís neck.. Of the 9 airfields in the north-west at the time the Japanese landed, only 3 had planes; only 2 of the 3 in the north-east had planes; and only 3 of the 7 in the south had planes. Not only were these airfields unable to fulfil their function in the plans, and thus totally useless, but they also needed to be defended to deny them to the enemy, thus dictating tactical dispositions which hampered Malaya commandís ability to respond with an otherwise free hand to the Japanese attack.

The Chiefs of Staff considered Malaya command needed 336 planes to defend Malaya, while Malaya command said 582 at its latest pre-invasion estimate. London gave it 13 squadrons totalling 158 aircraft, less than half of what London thought it needed. The aircraft it had, and certainly the fighters, were woefully inferior to the Japanese planes. What aeroplanes were in Malaya were doomed before they took off, but take off and fight gallantly they did.

The consequences of these failings were that Malaya command lacked the capacity to repulse the Japanese landings with air power. If we contrast the great effect of the fighters at Milne Bay which flew air support for ground troops and damaged troop landing and supply barges with the mpact of the bombers at Kota Bahru, which had to withdraw fairly quickly as the airfield was in early danger of being taken by the Japanese, it is likely that even two or three squadrons of top line British fighters with good pilots in ground support roles could have tipped the scales at Kota Bahru. The Indian troops at Kota Bahru fought bravely and effectively at the landing point, to the extent that Col Tsuji said it was the most costly fighting in the Malayan campaign. With air support it might have been a lot more costly, perhaps to the point of victory.

The IJN escort at Kota Bahru wanted to leave fairly early in the piece because of the damage they were suffering from air attacks. The IJA commander persuaded them to stay, because he wanted support for his advancing troops on the ground. Had his troops been subjected to solid air attack he might have had a different opinion.

Another consequence of the lack of planes was the loss of the Repulse and Prince of Wales. In part this was due to Admiral Phillipsí radio silence and failure to call for air support in the latter part of the disaster, but in the early part he was informed that air support would not be forthcoming as he moved towards Singora. Had the British held Kota Bahru and had they had decent air forces stationed there, consistent with its strategic and tactical importance, Phillips would have steamed on to Singora. Or he could have backed up at Kota Bahru, where the Prince of Wales, Repulse, and the three remaining RN / RAN destroyers would have faced an IJN heavy cruiser, light cruiser, and four destroyers. The IJN commander at Kota, already worried about the risk of damage from the air with the meagre forces actually used, might then have withdrawn. At the very least, he would have had to fight and head for sea room to do it, which then deprived the landing forces and transports of naval support, leaving them easy prey for air forces. Phillipís force might have destroyed or dispersed the Kota naval force, and even got in among the landing force with devastating results. One or two British destroyers against troop transports would be enough.

Or maybe Japan would have diverted sufficient air forces to neutralise or defeat the air power at Kota and sunk the British naval force there instead of further south. Who knows?

Whatever might have happened, the Kota example illustrates how improved air force could have altered dramatically what actually did happen. As the first battle of Wake Island, and Coral Sea on a much larger scale, showed it was possible to repulse a Japanese landing force if its naval force could be sufficiently mauled before landing, and as Milne Bay showed it was also possible to repulse it after landing with ground troops with adequate air support. http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4781&page=2

See also #1 and # 19 in the link for, respectively, ignorance and modified ignorance. :D

Ashes
04-20-2008, 12:41 AM
It shows what havoc a small army of battle hardened veterans, with some armour, air supremacy, [and don't forget the push bikes] and good infiltratration tactics can do.

Yamashita was a top class commander, was unconquered [and frustrating MacArthur] in the Philippines at the end of the war.


The Aussies first toe to toe battle with the Japanese was in the battle of Muar, the last major battle of the Malayan campaign. It took place from 14 January to 22 January 1942 around Gemensah Bridge and on the Muar River. Allied soldiers, under the command of Major General Gordon Bennett, inflicted severe losses on Japanese forces. Members of the Australian 8th Division killed more than 700 personnel from the Japanese Imperial Guards Division, in an ambush at the bridge.

In Malaya and Singapore, the Imperial Guards Division was involved in notorious Japanese war crimes such as the Parit Sulong Massacre and the Sook Ching massacre. Lt Gen. Takuma Nishimura, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by a British military court in relation to the Sook Ching killings, was later convicted of war crimes by an Australian Military Court in relation to the Parit Sulong massacre. He was executed by hanging on June 11, 1951.

alfiechan
09-27-2008, 03:36 AM
Is anyone out there interested in Japanese soldier's accounts?
alfiechan in Japan

Rising Sun*
09-27-2008, 05:18 AM
Is anyone out there interested in Japanese soldier's accounts?
alfiechan in Japan

I am, very much.

I have read parts of the diaries of Japanese soldiers in New Guinea published in various books and on the internet and they were often existing in the most appalling conditions while still trying to fight, such as at Gona, Buna and Sanananda in late 1942 - early 1943. The diaries show the Japanese soldiers to be different in some respects to their Australian and American opponents because of their view of their family and national duties, but in other respects to be the same as their opponents in wishing to return safely to their homeland. Given the way most diaries came into Allied hands, they weren't the ones who returned to Japan. I'd be very interested in the accounts of those who survived.

This site, a collaborative project between Australian and Japanese military historians, might interest you http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/

alfiechan
09-29-2008, 10:18 AM
That is a good one. I sent them some info before. I interviewed lots of Japanese veterans of the Pacific War and have over 100 stories never published in English before. Also have lots of stories published only in Japanese. Anyone interested? If anyone out there wants to get together we might be able to publish this stuff! Your thoughts, please!

Walther
10-12-2008, 02:28 PM
While I can't contribute much to this topic (about which there is almost no information available in Germany), I'm very interested in the history of the war in the Pacific area and individual accounts, since my fiancee comes from the Philippines.

Jan

Django
11-10-2008, 10:08 PM
I am mostly interested in Japan's actions before Dec 7/41 and their Air and Tank forces and equipment during all conflicts of the 1930's and 40's.
Always on the hunt for info on their Tank's which is not a heavily covered subject in my experience.

Rising Sun*
11-11-2008, 06:56 AM
Always on the hunt for info on their Tank's which is not a heavily covered subject in my experience.

I expect you know this already, but the Malayan campaign provides some good examples of their use of tanks, against forces with no tanks but at times well used anti-tank guns.

Major Walter Schmidt
11-11-2008, 08:13 AM
Tanks? I call 'em "heavey armoured bathtubs on tracks" 重装甲バスタブor JB tank :mrgreen::mrgreen:

Rising Sun*
11-11-2008, 08:17 AM
Tanks? I call 'em "heavey armoured bathtubs on tracks" 重装甲バスタブor JB tank :mrgreen::mrgreen:

The Allied infantry who faced them didn't dismiss them so lightly.

Major Walter Schmidt
11-11-2008, 08:20 AM
Good for anti-infantry but was never good for anti-tank roles (acording to a Japanese site www.Luzende.com I think the 56mm AT gun was worse than the german 20mm AT gun used on the Panzer II).

Major Walter Schmidt
11-11-2008, 08:21 AM
Correction: Luzinde.com

Rising Sun*
12-25-2008, 04:37 AM
i think pacific war is the most spectacular war in human history. US carriers vs Japan united fleet.

You think a few relatively brief if furious naval engagements were substantially more spectacular than, to pick just a few, naval supported USMC and US Army landings in the Pacific; Kursk; D Day and subsequent advances in Normandy; Stalingrad; the Russian pulverisation of Berlin; the Allied bombing of Dresden, Cologne and Hamburg; the Battle of Britain; the German airborne invasion of Crete; German wolf packs ranging across the Atlantic; German commerce raiders ranging across the globe; and the Japanese conquests of Malaya, Burma, the Philippines and the NEI?

As for the 'Japan united fleet', a good many of the major ships of Japan's Combined Fleet spent much of the war safely anchored in Hashirajima or Truk or wasting precious fuel steaming between the two or other places where the most spectacular thing they did was look good.

ww2artist
12-28-2008, 05:34 PM
Rising Sun, thanks for outlining some very interesting points. I have a personal interest in both the Japanese army and naval air forces of WWII.

grenadier99
12-28-2008, 06:28 PM
i consider the 6 month battle for guadalcanal aka starvation island to be one of the most interesting campaigns.Also interesting are the coastwatchers who immensely helped the early battles.Lots of sea battles.

herman2
12-29-2008, 12:22 PM
All I can say, is that when RS wak3es up tomorrow, he ain't gonna be too happy reading about the Coral sea AGAIN!!...uh oh!

grenadier99
12-31-2008, 06:55 AM
here is a nice little description of a japanese tank action on peleliuhttp://home.sprymet.com/~kier/peleliu.htm

R-type
03-16-2009, 11:19 PM
Though it may be a little late in the post, the Japanese Army interests me very much. I don't know why but I am fascinated with their armor though it seems pretty inferior to western Armor. I think I am interested becasue I know so little about it.

robbielynne
05-24-2009, 10:09 PM
I am also interested in Japan during the war..I don't know alot about it but what I do know makes me want to learn more about their role in the war...Since I read about my Grandfather's duty in the Philipines during WWII..I have really gotten interested in it..
Regards,
Robbielynne

herman2
05-26-2009, 09:15 AM
I am also interested in Japan during the war..I don't know alot about it but what I do know makes me want to learn more about their role in the war...Since I read about my Grandfather's duty in the Philipines during WWII..I have really gotten interested in it..
Regards,
Robbielynne

If you can, read the Rising Sun by John Toland...it's a big book but a Great book about Japan in the War. I read it when I was in school and still remember it as if it were yesterday. There is also another Great person on this forum named Rising Sun but this is not to be confused with the book. The RS I am thinking about probably taught John Toland about the war to write his book!:D

robbielynne
05-31-2009, 03:07 PM
Thanks for the info..John Toland didn't he also write a book on Hitler? part 1 and part 2? I have read alot of Rising Sun's threads and posts...they are very educational and well written...thanks again:D
Regards,
Robbielynne

Lilly Von Blitz
07-27-2009, 08:52 AM
Japanese is not one of my favorites topic of mine,but this might interest the members that love the Japanese ww2 war efforts,which this thread is all about.

http://natgeotv.com.au/Programmes/the-war-in-colour/photos/pacific-hell

royal744
10-21-2009, 09:00 PM
I'm interested. I almost hate to say this, but the Japanese had a fondness for surprise attacks against much weaker enemies. It's hardly surprising that they won early on. Evenly matched, they nearly always lost. Heck, the Nazis were highly successful against Polish horse cavalry - no surprise there, and against an initially sclerotic and emasculated Red army. Once they met an enemy who could trade space for time - the Russian steppe and English channel come to mind - they began to lose. The Japanese lost the war the minute they attacked Pearl Harbor because, frankly, they were stupid and narcissistic.

Wizard
01-11-2010, 01:01 AM
I'm new on this forum, but I'm fascinated by the enigma of WW II Japan. I don't think anyone, here or in Japan, can really explain why Japan pursued such a rigid and unyielding course to war in the 1920's and 1930's, or the incredible lack of study of the implications of modern global warfare. How could a country manage to both start, and lose, a war in one morning? Why were the Japanese so astonishingly successful for five months, and so miserably inept for the next six months?

Why did the Japanese not recognize the seriousness of the American plan for total war? How could they enter a war with no plan for ending it? Was there any realistic strategy the Japanese could have followed to get what they wanted? Why did they so profoundly misjudge the determination of the Western countries? Finally, why have they failed to at least take an introspective look at their failure in WW II?

These are some of the questions I have, and would like to explore on this forum.

forager
01-11-2010, 02:24 AM
My father and all his friends wer WW2 Vets.

My uncle was a Seabee and my dad was 506 PIR.
My buddies fathers were all WW2 vets.

They were about evenly matched as to where they served.

Guys who failed to serve were regarded as somewhat lesser beings.
I collected lots of stories and souveniers as a youngster.
There was a "Jap Rifle" or sword behind about every kitchen door in the county.
They still turn up.

I did lots of reading on it as a kid.

Just re read Toland's stuff this year.

It is interesting to hear the 1st hand stories of families on the home front and how they were affected.

We did not experience bombing or occupation, but the war effort was quite a huge deal on how folks lived.

Most families had ties to the European old country.

Nobody was related to the Japanese and they were quite villified.

Wizard
01-11-2010, 11:39 AM
My father and all his friends wer WW2 Vets.

My uncle was a Seabee and my dad was 506 PIR.
My buddies fathers were all WW2 vets.

They were about evenly matched as to where they served.

Guys who failed to serve were regarded as somewhat lesser beings.
I collected lots of stories and souveniers as a youngster.
There was a "Jap Rifle" or sword behind about every kitchen door in the county.
They still turn up.

I did lots of reading on it as a kid.

Just re read Toland's stuff this year.

It is interesting to hear the 1st hand stories of families on the home front and how they were affected.

We did not experience bombing or occupation, but the war effort was quite a huge deal on how folks lived.

Most families had ties to the European old country.

Nobody was related to the Japanese and they were quite villified.

Interesting experience; mine is pretty similar.

Both my mother and father were in the US Navy during WW II; my mother served as a parachute rigger at Moffett Field in California, my father was a carrier pilot and flew SBD's the first year of the war, initially on the old Ranger in the Atlantic on Neutrality Patrol, then was transferred to the Enterprise just before Pearl Harbor.

That inspired me to read everything I could get my hands on about the Pacific War. Currently I'm reading "Empires In The Balance" by H. P. Willmott. And next I will probably re-read "Fire In The Sky" by Eric Bergerud.

My wife is Chinese and former Australian citizen; she was born after WW II, but her parents and older siblings were on the island of Borneo when WW II broke out and experienced at first hand the Japanese occupation of that island. When I met them and heard their stories, I was appalled and fascinated at the same time.

As I indicated before, There are so many interesting questions about WW II in the Pacific, and the more I read about it, the more questions seem to be raised.

imi
10-01-2010, 06:58 AM
interest the germans,Japan was in the axis side,Hiter new construction was the Messerschmitt Me 264 a long range scout plane.
If Japan helps the Germans in the Soviet front that time,Hitler won the Europian,English and the African seat of war.
Take a guess if the germans captured whole Europe,England,Soviet Union&Middle East,the Kaukazus,and Afrika,who's next?

Wizard
10-01-2010, 12:50 PM
....Take a guess if the germans captured whole Europe,England,Soviet Union&Middle East,the Kaukazus,and Afrika,who's next?

That's just never going to happen. The flaw in the Axis thinking was that they could attack and capture each region individually, one at a time, and while they were doing that, the rest of the world would just stand idly by and let them have their way.

It didn't work that way. The Axis never had enough war-making capability to win their objectives and in the end three pathetic little countries were fighting practically the whole world; end of story.

Rising Sun*
10-02-2010, 08:18 AM
The flaw in the Axis thinking was that they could attack and capture each region individually, one at a time, and while they were doing that, the rest of the world would just stand idly by and let them have their way.

The essential flaw in 'Axis thinking' was that it didn't exist.

The Allies had a common aim and devoted their resources to it, being 'Germany first' and then Japan.

The Axis powers, as you say, just pursued their own objectives, without regard to the interests or objectives of their Axis partners. The most egregious example is Italy with its absurdly over-ambitious thrusts into North Africa and Greece which required Germany to intervene to rescue Italy, with adverse consequences for Germany's thrust into the USSR but probably of no real consequence to Germany's ultimate failure in that enterprise.

Although there were serious disagreements and divisions between the Allies on various issues, there was no lack of consensus about the common aim of defeating the Axis powers and devoting their resources to that aim. The Axis powers never went close to achieving that level of common purpose.

Wizard
10-02-2010, 04:35 PM
The essential flaw in 'Axis thinking' was that it didn't exist.

The Allies had a common aim and devoted their resources to it, being 'Germany first' and then Japan.

The Axis powers, as you say, just pursued their own objectives, without regard to the interests or objectives of their Axis partners. The most egregious example is Italy with its absurdly over-ambitious thrusts into North Africa and Greece which required Germany to intervene to rescue Italy, with adverse consequences for Germany's thrust into the USSR but probably of no real consequence to Germany's ultimate failure in that enterprise.

Although there were serious disagreements and divisions between the Allies on various issues, there was no lack of consensus about the common aim of defeating the Axis powers and devoting their resources to that aim. The Axis powers never went close to achieving that level of common purpose.

It's true that the three major Axis partners, Germany, Italy, and Japan, did not have common goals and objectives, except in each case, the goal was to expand their respective empires. This meant that they pursued quite different geographic objectives; circumstances conspired to drive them to different political/military strategies.

The Allies, on the other hand had only one goal, to defeat the most threatening Axis power, Germany. This meant that, while there might be different military strategies advocated to achieve that goal, there was only a single objective and all resources could be committed to achieve that objective.

I think, however, to say that "Axis thinking did not exist" is to completely misstate the case.

Obviously, Hitler gave a great deal of thought to his objectives and goals; he even wrote a book about them. Hitler clearly hoped to be able to achieve his ultimate goal in a phased manner; a series of political/military campaigns, including, if required, a sequence of short, limited objective, wars against single opponents, or combinations, who were not unreasonably powerful when compared to Germany's modest resources.

The Japanese leadership also had made certain political calculations relating to the balance of power and also considered it could achieve it's goal of empire expansion by staging a period of aggressive military action against foes preoccupied by a major European war, followed by negotiations aimed at what they viewed as a reasonable compromise between costly warfare and acceptable territorial concessions.

In both cases, the logic, on it's face, was not unreasonable. However, the underlying assumptions were either false, or hopelessly optimistic. In the case of the Japanese, they assumed, correctly, that the European masters of the territory they coveted would, due to the war then raging in Europe, not be able to successfully contest Japanese aggression. The Japanese assumptions regarding the material resources of the US, however, were gross underestimates, and their assumptions relative to the political will of the US were simply wrong.

Hitler badly overestimated Germany's military might and fatally underestimated the will of both the Soviets and the British. This led to a two-front war he could not win.

Strangely enough, two of Japan's leaders, who should have been among the most knowledgeable about American resources and will, played leading roles in, first, putting the seal of inevitability on a war between Japan and the United States, and second, starting that war in a manner calculated to make a negotiated settlement impossible.

It was Matsuoka (Frank) Yosuke who, as Japanese Foreign Minister in 1940, advocated joining Germany and Italy in the Tripartite Pact. This pact, in my opinion made an eventual war between Japan and the US inevitable. Yet Matsuoka, who had spent nine years in America as a student, and a further two as First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Washington, claimed that Japanese membership in the Axis would cause the US to accord Japan more respect and lead to a toned down American foreign policy.

The other personage was no other than Yamamoto Isoroku, the Admiral who spent several years in the United States, and was acquainted with many Americans in the Naval and Washington Establishments. Yamamoto was solely responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor, the nature of which, insured that the Pacific war would be neither limited, nor the subject of negotiations between Japan and The US.

Another point I would like to make is that, even if Japan and Germany had been willing to engage in much more war time cooperation against the Allies, neither country had the resources to make it possible. Japan and Germany did not have anywhere near enough logistical shipping to make military cooperation practical anywhere in the world. In any case, coordination of Axis military enterprises was made extremely difficult due to the fact that the British and American navies effectively controlled the sea routes between Japan and Germany. Cooperation between Japan and Germany prior to, and in, WW II was limited to exchanges of technical data relative to certain chemical processes such as synthetic fuel production, and military weapons, ships, aircraft, and vehicles

imi
10-02-2010, 06:04 PM
That's just never going to happen.

if the axis captured rest of the world,that's meaning giant mass,attack the states from many angles,it's impossible to hold up every way.
We don't know about Hitler's objectives from the US,but think about the nazi germany communist sovjet union friendship,it was not too long.

Wizard
10-02-2010, 06:37 PM
if the axis captured rest of the world,that's meaning giant mass,attack the states from many angles,it's impossible to hold up every way.
We don't know about Hitler's objectives from the US,but think about the nazi germany communist sovjet union friendship,it was not too long.

No, not a snowball's chance in Hell.

Even if the German-Soviet alliance had lasted for another year or two, a highly unlikely event, Germany, it's western European conquests, and the Soviet Union, did not have the economic and military resources to "capture the rest of the world".

The German-Soviet alliance was highly unstable, not in the least because the Soviets held the upper hand in the alliance, a situation which Hitler was not prepared to accept. Moreover, the alliance with the Soviets stood in the way of Hitler's political objectives, which included the acquisition of significant portions of Soviet territory.

Nickdfresh
10-03-2010, 10:03 PM
...

I think, however, to say that "Axis thinking did not exist" is to completely misstate the case.

Obviously, Hitler gave a great deal of thought to his objectives and goals; he even wrote a book about them. Hitler clearly hoped to be able to achieve his ultimate goal in a phased manner; a series of political/military campaigns, including, if required, a sequence of short, limited objective, wars against single opponents, or combinations, who were not unreasonably powerful when compared to Germany's modest resources.

Not really. While I do agree that Hitler may have had some nebulous outlines to his ultimate goals, he hardly had any sort of even vaguely realistic blueprint as to how to achieve them. In fact, Hitler conducted his foreign policy in a largely haphazard manner bringing Germany into a situation of total War far faster than ever envisioned or desired. There was little in the way of rational planning for "short, limited objective wars" as Germany anticipated anything but that when, for instance, invading Poland. The Battle of France was hardly envisioned as a "limited" war it turned out to be and was largely achieved in spite of Hitler's meddling rather than as a result of it. Hitler would have probably destroyed his regime far quicker had he not been initially tempered by his more conservative, lucid generals--many of whom hated him ironically enough...


Hitler badly overestimated Germany's military might and fatally underestimated the will of both the Soviets and the British. This led to a two-front war he could not win.

Hitler somewhat overestimated his might, and yes, he did underestimate the Soviets. But I don't think his ramblings can be regarded as 'thinking.' Because serious strategic thought implies a sort of logical basis that Hitler lacked in his vision. in fact, in his invasion of the Soviet Union, Hitler was not acting on some rational predetermined ideological thread, but was reacting to what he saw as the increasing inevitable and decisive industrial power of the United States as she aided Britian...


Strangely enough, two of Japan's leaders, who should have been among the most knowledgeable about American resources and will, played leading roles in, first, putting the seal of inevitability on a war between Japan and the United States, and second, starting that war in a manner calculated to make a negotiated settlement impossible.

It was Matsuoka (Frank) Yosuke who, as Japanese Foreign Minister in 1940, advocated joining Germany and Italy in the Tripartite Pact. This pact, in my opinion made an eventual war between Japan and the US inevitable. Yet Matsuoka, who had spent nine years in America as a student, and a further two as First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Washington, claimed that Japanese membership in the Axis would cause the US to accord Japan more respect and lead to a toned down American foreign policy.

The other personage was no other than Yamamoto Isoroku, the Admiral who spent several years in the United States, and was acquainted with many Americans in the Naval and Washington Establishments. Yamamoto was solely responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor, the nature of which, insured that the Pacific war would be neither limited, nor the subject of negotiations between Japan and The US.

Another point I would like to make is that, even if Japan and Germany had been willing to engage in much more war time cooperation against the Allies, neither country had the resources to make it possible. Japan and Germany did not have anywhere near enough logistical shipping to make military cooperation practical anywhere in the world. In any case, coordination of Axis military enterprises was made extremely difficult due to the fact that the British and American navies effectively controlled the sea routes between Japan and Germany. Cooperation between Japan and Germany prior to, and in, WW II was limited to exchanges of technical data relative to certain chemical processes such as synthetic fuel production, and military weapons, ships, aircraft, and vehicles

Interesting, I agree on many points here. BUT--if Japan had not signed the Nonagression Pact with the Soviets, the USSR would not have been so readily able to release fresh troops from the far-eastern provinces for the Battle of Moscow...

Wizard
10-03-2010, 10:45 PM
Not really. While I do agree that Hitler may have had some nebulous outlines to his ultimate goals, he hardly had any sort of even vaguely realistic blueprint as to how to achieve them. In fact, Hitler conducted his foreign policy in a largely haphazard manner bringing Germany into a situation of total War far faster than ever envisioned or desired. There was little in the way of rational planning for "short, limited objective wars" as Germany anticipated anything but that when, for instance, invading Poland. The Battle of France was hardly envisioned as a "limited" war it turned out to be and was largely achieved in spite of Hitler's meddling rather than as a result of it. Hitler would have probably destroyed his regime far quicker had he not been initially tempered by his more conservative, lucid generals--many of whom hated him ironically enough...

Hitler's strategic thinking was sound enough, if, and that's a monumental "if", his underlying assumptions had been valid; they were not. I never said Hitler's strategy was realistic, although it did have a certain logic, but false assumptions will always undermine the most logical of reasoning.

In fact, every campaign, including Barbarossa, Hitler embarked on was predicated on the result being a quick and decisive war. That was why Hitler was so discomfited by Britain refusing to admit defeat after the fall of France. Hitler's military planning was entirely based on short, limited objective wars; Germany could not afford protracted attritional warfare with anyone because the German economy constantly teetered on the brink of disaster. If it had not been for the quick conquest of France, for example, and the subsequent looting of that country, Germany could not have continued the war for any length of time. In the Barbarossa campaign, Germany literally had no strategic reserves and either had to win in the first six to eight weeks or lose the war entirely.


Hitler somewhat overestimated his might, and yes, he did underestimate the Soviets. But I don't think his ramblings can be regarded as 'thinking.' Because serious strategic thought implies a sort of logical basis that Hitler lacked in his vision. in fact, in his invasion of the Soviet Union, Hitler was not acting on some rational predetermined ideological thread, but was reacting to what he saw as the increasing inevitable and decisive industrial power of the United States as she aided Britian...

Actually, Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union would have made perfect strategic sense if he had not so badly overestimated his own military power and underestimated the resiliency of the Soviet armed forces. And of course he was reacting to the growing industrial and military power of the United States, and correctly so. Time was running out for Hitler and he knew it. That doesn't mean his reaction was illogical; in fact, it was most logical and would have worked save for the bad assumptions Hitler made about his military's capabilities.


Interesting, I agree on many points here. BUT--if Japan had not signed the Nonagression Pact with the Soviets, the USSR would not have been so readily able to release fresh troops from the far-eastern provinces for the Battle of Moscow...

I do not disagree that the neutrality treaty between Japan and the Soviet Union had a role in allowing the Soviets to move some troops to the Eastern Front, thereby rendering German prospects even dimmer, if that was possible. But when that strategic transfer happened, Japan still had to consider the possibility that, as a member of the Axis, the Soviets who had been recently attacked by the leading Axis country, might very well consider Japan with considerable suspicion, and thus the Soviets had to keep their guard up on their borders with Japan.

But that point is irrelevant to my contentions. Japan felt it had to sign the neutrality pact with the Soviets if it wanted to make it's move against the Southern Resources Area. But it should be remembered that when Japan signed the treaty in question, on April 13, 1941, the Soviets and Germany were still ostensibly allies. As far as the US was concerned, the neutrality treaty between the Soviets and Japan changed nothing in the balance of international politics; Japan was still part of the Axis and simply appeared to be settling it's differences with another country that was cozy with the Germans.

Nickdfresh
10-05-2010, 09:00 AM
Hitler's strategic thinking was sound enough, if, and that's a monumental "if", his underlying assumptions had been valid; they were not. I never said Hitler's strategy was realistic, although it did have a certain logic, but false assumptions will always undermine the most logical of reasoning.

I think this is a bit of a contradiction. I'd first have to understand Hitler's strategy as I'm not sure it was ever actually predicated on anything verifiable nor workable, or whether he had any sort of predetermined strategy at all. If it wasn't realistic or workable, it certainly wasn't logical...


In fact, every campaign, including Barbarossa, Hitler embarked on was predicated on the result being a quick and decisive war.

Incorrect. Hitler was reacting and eventually blundering into one crisis after another rather than adhering to any grand plan. In fact, Hitler was gambling that Britain and France would not declare War and his bluffing finally failed when they called his invasion of Poland and ended the policy Appeasement (or delay). I would put forth that there sure was no such plan for a quick and decisive War against France, and none could be waged against Britain since the Kreigsmarine would not be ready to come near challenging the Royal Navy for five to ten years. This is of course the German high command assuming the French and British were not undertaking serious arms buildups and modernizations of their own, which they were...

Secondly, there was no such 'quick and decisive' war-plan against Germany's ancient bloodfeud co-belligerent of France in 1939. In fact, the impetuous Hitler wanted an immediate invasion of France to be conducted in 1939--a move that may have fundamentally altered the outcome of the second World War--it was only the bulwarking of his general staff, and the confrontation between the Fuhrer and Gen. Brauchitsch, that avoided what would have been a military stalemate at best, a catastrophe at worst. The war-plan that would have been enacted in such an event would have meant the Heer plodding relatively slowly through Belgium and the projection of over half-a-million German casualties for modest gains, and a battle which would have dragged on for months if not years.

The actual battle plans used in May of 1941, Fall Rot/Fall Gelb/Sickle Cut, were the result of confrontations between Hitler and his generals as well as a host of revisions germinated from the genius of a relative small minority in the German armed forces such as Guderian, Manstein, and later, the individual initiative of generals such as Rommel and the aforementioned Guderian. It also should be noted that no one was more shocked by the speed and success of the coup de main attack into the Sedan than the German high command whom thought it would still take months to crush France, even in the best case scenario...


That was why Hitler was so discomfited by Britain refusing to admit defeat after the fall of France. Hitler's military planning was entirely based on short, limited objective wars; Germany could not afford protracted attritional warfare with anyone because the German economy constantly teetered on the brink of disaster. If it had not been for the quick conquest of France, for example, and the subsequent looting of that country, Germany could not have continued the war for any length of time. In the Barbarossa campaign, Germany literally had no strategic reserves and either had to win in the first six to eight weeks or lose the war entirely.

The German economy was in some respects no worse that their enemies'. They outproduced both the French and British in some important areas such as aircraft, and their main disadvantage was actually in raw materials and the Achilles Heal of food production--something the Allies were hoping to put a stranglehold on as the basis for their long war strategy. The French also felt they had weaknesses to address and would only be ready to launch a full offensive into Germany, through the Belgian corridor, only during the summer of 1941 at the earliest. But while the Germans were of course greatly aided by Allied blundering, the German invasion of France was in many ways an accident of history with a chain of events rather fortuitous to Hitler's Germany as well as the result of a true group consciousness involving Hitler and his most conservative generals such as Halder and Brauchitsch and his military progressives such as Guderian and Manstein --vetting and tweaking the plan until it was one of the finest in military history. Something that would never actually happen again...


Actually, Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union would have made perfect strategic sense if he had not so badly overestimated his own military power and underestimated the resiliency of the Soviet armed forces. And of course he was reacting to the growing industrial and military power of the United States, and correctly so. Time was running out for Hitler and he knew it. That doesn't mean his reaction was illogical; in fact, it was most logical and would have worked save for the bad assumptions Hitler made about his military's capabilities.


Of course it made strategic sense, unless of course you have a resilient island nation on your west flank! Hitler did envision the Soviet Union as a "rotten structure." But I believe there was also a great deal of dissension within the Wehrmacht as to whether the vastness of the Soviet Union would be too great even for Hitler's war machine at their zenith. It's hard to imagine Hitler as logical when he stifled any sort of contrarian opinion in his armed forces and stifled opinions into what amounted to a cult leader's kool aid of rigidly enforced group think and the dissenters somewhat silenced by Hitler's high water mark after France. Yet the German analysis of the Soviets was highly racist and irrational on some points, and rather self-servingly optimistic on others. Stalin was certainly initially incompetent; the the sheer size and scale of the USSR and the fact that they outnumbered Germany almost three-to-one in everything might have tempered a more sane leader...

Wizard
10-05-2010, 12:41 PM
I think this is a bit of a contradiction. I'd first have to understand Hitler's strategy as I'm not sure it was ever actually predicated on anything verifiable nor workable, or whether he had any sort of predetermined strategy at all. If it wasn't realistic or workable, it certainly wasn't logical...

Just because you don't understand Hitler's strategic thinking doesn't mean it wasn't logical. It was certainly logical and workable if the assumption s that were made in arriving at the strategic plan were valid. The problem was that they were not valid. You obviously are criticizing from the standpoint of hindsight.


Incorrect. Hitler was reacting and eventually blundering into one crisis after another rather than adhering to any grand plan. In fact, Hitler was gambling that Britain and France would not declare War and his bluffing finally failed when they called his invasion of Poland and ended the policy Appeasement (or delay). I would put forth that there sure was no such plan for a quick and decisive War against France, and none could be waged against Britain since the Kreigsmarine would not be ready to come near challenging the Royal Navy for five to ten years. This is of course the German high command assuming the French and British were not undertaking serious arms buildups and modernizations of their own, which they were...

This is a quite fashionable view of Hitler and his strategic thinking, but it really only makes sense in the later war years after all of Germany's options had been foreclosed by the huge alliance against her. In 1939-1941, Hitler's strategy was quite successful. It was only after his invalid assumptions about Germany's military power relative to the Soviet Union were prover false that Hitler began reacting to events rather than leading them.


Secondly, there was no such 'quick and decisive' war-plan against Germany's ancient bloodfeud co-belligerent of France in 1939. In fact, the impetuous Hitler wanted an immediate invasion of France to be conducted in 1939--a move that may have fundamentally altered the outcome of the second World War--it was only the bulwarking of his general staff, and the confrontation between the Fuhrer and Gen. Brauchitsch, that avoided what would have been a military stalemate at best, a catastrophe at worst. The war-plan that would have been enacted in such an event would have meant the Heer plodding relatively slowly through Belgium and the projection of over half-a-million German casualties for modest gains, and a battle which would have dragged on for months if not years.

The actual battle plans used in May of 1941, Fall Rot/Fall Gelb/Sickle Cut, were the result of confrontations between Hitler and his generals as well as a host of revisions germinated from the genius of a relative small minority in the German armed forces such as Guderian, Manstein, and later, the individual initiative of generals such as Rommel and the aforementioned Guderian. It also should be noted that no one was more shocked by the speed and success of the coup de main attack into the Sedan than the German high command whom thought it would still take months to crush France, even in the best case scenario...

I think you are confusing the process of strategic planning with the results. By your own argument, any plan that is workable and realistic is logical. The German plan to quickly crush France worked quite well and proved eminently realistic. To say that the Germans simply blundered into that success ignores actual history.


The German economy was in some respects no worse that their enemies'. They outproduced both the French and British in some important areas such as aircraft, and their main disadvantage was actually in raw materials and the Achilles Heal of food production--something the Allies were hoping to put a stranglehold on as the basis for their long war strategy. The French also felt they had weaknesses to address and would only be ready to launch a full offensive into Germany, through the Belgian corridor, only during the summer of 1941 at the earliest. But while the Germans were of course greatly aided by Allied blundering, the German invasion of France was in many ways an accident of history with a chain of events rather fortuitous to Hitler's Germany as well as the result of a true group consciousness involving Hitler and his most conservative generals such as Halder and Brauchitsch and his military progressives such as Guderian and Manstein --vetting and tweaking the plan until it was one of the finest in military history. Something that would never actually happen again...

Your contention that the German conquest of France was an historical fluke that could never be repeated is interesting but hardly supportive of your argument that Hitler did no strategic thinking and simply blundered into history with phenomenal luck in 1939-1940. The Germans were following a plan whether it was Hitler's alone, or a collaboration between him and some brilliant generals is irrelevant.

And the statement that Germany's economy was no worse off than those of the Allies is ludicrous and certainly not supported by any evidence that I have seen. Being able to out produce Britain and France in aircraft production in 1940, even if true, is not indicative of the overall economic state of the belligerents.


Of course it made strategic sense, unless of course you have a resilient island nation on your west flank! Hitler did envision the Soviet Union as a "rotten structure." But I believe there was also a great deal of dissension within the Wehrmacht as to whether the vastness of the Soviet Union would be too great even for Hitler's war machine at their zenith. It's hard to imagine Hitler as logical when he stifled any sort of contrarian opinion in his armed forces and stifled opinions into what amounted to a cult leader's kool aid of rigidly enforced group think and the dissenters somewhat silenced by Hitler's high water mark after France. Yet the German analysis of the Soviets was highly racist and irrational on some points, and rather self-servingly optimistic on others. Stalin was certainly initially incompetent; the the sheer size and scale of the USSR and the fact that they outnumbered Germany almost three-to-one in everything might have tempered a more sane leader...

The strategy made sense given the overall circumstances; Britain was in no position in 1941 to launch any significant offensive against Germany where it counted, on the Continent. That is why it was imperative that the Soviet Union be quickly crushed. The problem came again in the form of invalid assumptions. Those assumptions were that the German Army was much more powerful than it actually was and that the Red Army was the product of a rotten political system that was bound to implode under pressure of war.

Hitler realized that Britain would be stalemated only so long as the United States remained out of the war. Thus Hitler's strategy was to engage, and quickly crush the enemies arrayed against Germany in sequence. This dictated that no active enemy should be able to stand against German military might for more than a few months. It wasn't the strategy that was flawed, but the assumption that Germany's armed forces were powerful enough to force the issue in each case.

I notice that with reference to Japanese strategic thinking, you have advanced no arguments, so may I assume that you agree with my analysis of that aspect of Axis war planning?

Deaf Smith
10-05-2010, 06:24 PM
I really don't think Japan had any strategic thinking .vis. any other nation, including their Axis partners.

They sure didn't tell Hitler they were going to drag Germany in a war with America. Nor stop if Hitler said don't.

Deaf

Wizard
10-05-2010, 06:58 PM
I really don't think Japan had any strategic thinking .vis. any other nation, including their Axis partners.

They sure didn't tell Hitler they were going to drag Germany in a war with America. Nor stop if Hitler said don't.

Deaf

Nor did Germany tell Japan that it intended to attack the Soviet Union, but that doesn't mean either nation was not considering it's strategic options. The Japanese military went through as series of planning exercises that developed a military campaign that was quite successful in it's first phase. It only failed because the assumptions that Japan made about American power, and it's will to use it, were seriously flawed.

Rising Sun*
10-05-2010, 07:41 PM
Nor did Germany tell Japan that it intended to attack the Soviet Union, but that doesn't mean either nation was not considering it's strategic options. The Japanese military went through as series of planning exercises that developed a military campaign that was quite successful in it's first phase. It only failed because the assumptions that Japan made about American power, and it's will to use it, were seriously flawed.

There is no question that the first phase military operations were very well planned and very well executed military strategies, and generally a great triumph of Japanese arms although they stalled a bit in the Philippines. From New Guinea onwards it became increasingly ad hoc and increasingly detached from any conception of a grand strategy.

It was the absence of a comprehensive grand strategy which was part of the reason for Japan's eventual downfall. The problem with the "let's grab what we can and hold it until our enemies accept it" thinking was that it was an incomplete grand strategy because, although it set out objectives for conquest, exploitation and management of territory and the associated resources, it failed to contemplate and prescribe a realistic, and necessarily a political or diplomatic, process by which Japan would conclude the war and retain its conquests.

The most glaring deficiency at the grand strategy level was that it was accepted from the outset that Japan could not and would not defeat Britain and America, but would nonetheless grab some of their Pacific and Asian territory. Somehow Britain and America would eventually accept the loss of that territory and Japan would be left alone for ever more.

Leaving aside the motivation to defeat Japan caused by the Pearl Harbor attack and the disparity in shipping, industrial and military capacity between Japan and its enemies, there was little prospect of compelling Britain and America to accept the loss of territory unless they were defeated militarily by Japan. That wasnít going to happen and there were no political or diplomatic levers Japan could use against America and Britain to persuade them to relinquish their territory. So the enterprise was almost certainly doomed from the start because the aggressor lacked the military, political and diplomatic ability and, even more absurdly, the intention to defeat its enemies.

I agree with Deaf that Japan lacked a feasible grand strategy against the Allies.

Wizard
10-05-2010, 08:51 PM
There is no question that the first phase military operations were very well planned and very well executed military strategies, and generally a great triumph of Japanese arms although they stalled a bit in the Philippines. From New Guinea onwards it became increasingly ad hoc and increasingly detached from any conception of a grand strategy.

It was the absence of a comprehensive grand strategy which was part of the reason for Japan's eventual downfall. The problem with the "let's grab what we can and hold it until our enemies accept it" thinking was that it was an incomplete grand strategy because, although it set out objectives for conquest, exploitation and management of territory and the associated resources, it failed to contemplate and prescribe a realistic, and necessarily a political or diplomatic, process by which Japan would conclude the war and retain its conquests.

The most glaring deficiency at the grand strategy level was that it was accepted from the outset that Japan could not and would not defeat Britain and America, but would nonetheless grab some of their Pacific and Asian territory. Somehow Britain and America would eventually accept the loss of that territory and Japan would be left alone for ever more.

Leaving aside the motivation to defeat Japan caused by the Pearl Harbor attack and the disparity in shipping, industrial and military capacity between Japan and its enemies, there was little prospect of compelling Britain and America to accept the loss of territory unless they were defeated militarily by Japan. That wasnít going to happen and there were no political or diplomatic levers Japan could use against America and Britain to persuade them to relinquish their territory. So the enterprise was almost certainly doomed from the start because the aggressor lacked the military, political and diplomatic ability and, even more absurdly, the intention to defeat its enemies.

I agree with Deaf that Japan lacked a feasible grand strategy against the Allies.

I disagree.

Japan's strategy in the Pacific War was quite feasible; it was the underlying assumptions that were fatally wrong. It was precisely what you would like to "leave aside" that made the difference.

Japan's strategy in the Pacific was to seize the Southern Resources Area (belonging to Britain, France, and the Netherlands) plus certain vital defensive areas (Singapore, the Philippines, and New Guinea), while the US and Britain were distracted by the European war. The end game to this initiative would be diplomatic negotiations resulting in recognition of this fait accompli by the Americans and Europeans. Some minor concessions by Japan were foreseen.

The underlying assumptions were;

1. The European powers, fully engaged in the European war, would be unable to present significant military opposition.

2. The US, pre-occupied with supporting Britain in Europe, would not be able to take counter action until the second half of 1943, by which time Japan would have a solidly fortified defense perimeter based on islands in the Pacific.

3. When the US was able to launch a counter-offensive, Japanese defenses would be able to inflict severe casualties on US forces.

4. The American public, faced with such casualties, and with the prospect of an expensive military campaign simply to regain Europe's colonies, would not support the war and would demand a negotiated settlement.

In 1941, these were not unreasonable assumptions. But, of course, they were, first of all, based on the Japanese perception of American production capabilities which they badly underestimated. So, right off the bat, Assumption number 2 was faulty; The US was able to strike back in the Pacific August, 1942, long before the contemplated Japanese defensive perimeter could be established.

Secondly, the idea that Americans were a "nation of shopkeepers" who cared solely about the financial bottom line, proved grossly incorrect. The nature of the attack on Pearl Harbor humiliated and infuriated the American public, fostering an anger that inoculated Americans against a loss of will due to a high casualty count. So Assumption number 4 was also fallacious, but after the fact. Moreover, the fact that the Japanese obviously planned and executed the Pearl Harbor attack while ostensibly engaged in "peace negotiations" poisoned American's minds against future negotiations of any sort with the Japanese, and justified the Navy's pre-existing plans for total war against Japan, rendering Japan's exit strategy null.

So it was not a defective strategy that defeated Japan, but rather relying on poorly calculated data, and an event that radically altered the domestic American political situation, and negated a basic assumption as the war started. The Japanese stubbornly refused to acknowledge the errors in their assumptions and thus pursued a strategy that no longer made any sense.

Deaf Smith
10-05-2010, 09:27 PM
For all I suggest reading this article below written by Jonathan Parshall (BTW the whole website is excellent and has many excellent contributors.)

http://www.combinedfleet.com/economic.htm

And you will see why there was NO strategy the Japanese could have had that would have worked. They lost the war the first second a bomb as dropped.

Deaf

Wizard
10-05-2010, 09:56 PM
For all I suggest reading this article below written by Jonathan Parshall (BTW the whole website is excellent and has many excellent contributors.)

http://www.combinedfleet.com/economic.htm

And you will see why there was NO strategy the Japanese could have had that would have worked. They lost the war the first second a bomb as dropped.

Deaf

I'm thoroughly familiar with the Combined Fleet web site and have read the cited article many times and even used it as an authority to support my contentions in numerous debates.

The article simply demonstrates that the Japanese assumptions regarding American productive capacity, as I have already pointed out, were gross underestimates. In fact, the Japanese government did undertake, prior to the war, a study of American war production capacity, but the study concluded that the US could only produce enough ships to support the European war, and furthermore, that such production could not be ramped up until at least the end of 1943 (thus the belief that the US could not possibly launch a Pacific counter-offensive until the latter half of 1943.), The Japanese, for example, accustomed to building times of five years for fleet carriers, could not believe that a fleet carrier could be completed in much less time than three or four years even when pushed by war time contingencies; in reality, the first batch of Essex-class carriers were completed in an average of 18 months.

Japanese strategy was logical enough in itself, provided the assumptions underpinning it were correct, but they were not. Moreover, as you say, the first bomb (on Pearl Harbor) created a situation that meant the Japanese exit strategy was no longer valid and that meant that a short war for limited objectives was no longer possible, voiding Japanese strategic assumptions.

Nickdfresh
10-05-2010, 10:24 PM
Just because you don't understand Hitler's strategic thinking doesn't mean it wasn't logical.

Feel free to school me on how you understand Hitler's strategic thinking. Because I'm pretty sure many of his generals didn't understand his thinking either...


It was certainly logical and workable if the assumption s that were made in arriving at the strategic plan were valid. The problem was that they were not valid. You obviously are criticizing from the standpoint of hindsight.


Um, no, it wasn't logical OR workable. And if neither were logical or workable, then how could they be valid? I don't understand what you're saying. Hindsight? Really? There was actually quite a bit of foresight in the German command. Especially amongst the generals who hated Hitler and wanted to kill him if the moment presented itself. unfortunately, he got very lucky in some sense. This of course led to his doom...


This is a quite fashionable view of Hitler and his strategic thinking, but it really only makes sense in the later war years after all of Germany's options had been foreclosed by the huge alliance against her. In 1939-1941, Hitler's strategy was quite successful. It was only after his invalid assumptions about Germany's military power relative to the Soviet Union were prover false that Hitler began reacting to events rather than leading them.

Hitler's strategy didn't actually exist as he violated every tenet of his initial directive and led Germany to war far sooner than anticipated. And his "strategy" in what way? Hitler wasn't actually a strategist. Hitler's assumptions about military power were certainly exaggerated by his clinger-on's in his inner circle to an extent. But then, you could argue that both the French leaders of Daladier/Reynaud and Britain's PMs of Chamberlain/Churchill could say the same...


I think you are confusing the process of strategic planning with the results. By your own argument, any plan that is workable and realistic is logical. The German plan to quickly crush France worked quite well and proved eminently realistic. To say that the Germans simply blundered into that success ignores actual history.

Except, the "plan" didn't exist prior to France declaring war on Germany, which sort of makes the argument that Hitler had a strategic plan a bit silly. And "ignores" which history exactly?


Your contention that the German conquest of France was an historical fluke that could never be repeated is interesting but hardly supportive of your argument that Hitler did no strategic thinking and simply blundered into history with phenomenal luck in 1939-1940. The Germans were following a plan whether it was Hitler's alone, or a collaboration between him and some brilliant generals is irrelevant.

Sure! Tell me how! When were Operations Fall Gelb and Fall Rot actually conceived? There was actually no plan for the attack on France prior to very late in 1939. Feel free to point out any of "Hitler's plans" to invade France in 1939/1940. He made no such plans and relied on the ironically tepid Halder for his plans..


And the statement that Germany's economy was no worse off than those of the Allies is ludicrous and certainly not supported by any evidence that I have seen. Being able to out produce Britain and France in aircraft production in 1940, even if true, is not indicative of the overall economic state of the belligerents.

Okay, why? What evidence have you seen? And the superiority in fighters and medium bombers is one of the key reasons why France folded as the Luftwaffe's control of the air is no small reason the Heer achieved a breakthrough at the Sedan. Not to mention that if France had had a viable tactical bomber arm supported by fighters, the war might have ended very differently...


The strategy made sense given the overall circumstances; Britain was in no position in 1941 to launch any significant offensive against Germany where it counted, on the Continent.

So? What about 1942? 1943? What kind of strategy in concerned only with the short view?


That is why it was imperative that the Soviet Union be quickly crushed. The problem came again in the form of invalid assumptions. Those assumptions were that the German Army was much more powerful than it actually was and that the Red Army was the product of a rotten political system that was bound to implode under pressure of war.

Hitler was in many cases disabused of his notion to the infallibility of the German soldier/airman/sailor/marine, and he chose to ignore such information to the extent that he actually almost came as close to fisticuffs with his senior Heer general Brauchitsch when informed that some Heer soldiers had not performed well in Poland and that much of his army needed retraining. Much of the German Army was in fact over 40 years old, needed training/retraining, and and imbalance in equipment existed. Hitler was made aware of this, but let his clouded ideological beliefs and racist notions pervert any realistic assessment...


Hitler realized that Britain would be stalemated only so long as the United States remained out of the war.

Really? I doubt Hitler ever had such a thought. I think he may have been operating on the assumption that Britain could be bombed and blockaded into a settlement provided the USA was left on the sidelines. But there was little in the way of an actual "plan"..


Thus Hitler's strategy was to engage, and quickly crush the enemies arrayed against Germany in sequence.

There is no such coherent strategy, saying such is perpetuating a myth. In fact, Germany was prepared to fight against France for years if necessary...


This dictated that no active enemy should be able to stand against German military might for more than a few months. It wasn't the strategy that was flawed, but the assumption that Germany's armed forces were powerful enough to force the issue in each case.

When was this dictated?


I notice that with reference to Japanese strategic thinking, you have advanced no arguments, so may I assume that you agree with my analysis of that aspect of Axis war planning?

I can't be bothered. I don't fundamentally disagree with you that the Japanese war planning was largely irrelevant to whatever hitler did and there wasn't any real coherent Axis war-planning. Perhaps on this, we agree. The Japanese were shit allies, and the Soviets were able to win their first major victory with fresh troops rolling into Moscow forever sinking the notion of German invincibility. Thank you, Japan!

Nickdfresh
10-05-2010, 10:28 PM
I really don't think Japan had any strategic thinking .vis. any other nation, including their Axis partners.

They sure didn't tell Hitler they were going to drag Germany in a war with America. Nor stop if Hitler said don't.

Deaf

One important point here is that Japan didn't "drag" Germany into War with the United States. There was no obligation on the part of Germany to declare War if the Japanese launched and unprovoked attack--only if the Japanese were the victims of such...

Wizard
10-05-2010, 11:38 PM
Feel free to school me on how you understand Hitler's strategic thinking. Because I'm pretty sure many of his generals didn't understand his thinking either...

What's the point? You've obviously closed your mind to any possibility that Hitler may have had thoughts that in any way bore on strategic issues.


Um, no, it wasn't logical OR workable. And if neither were logical or workable, then how could they be valid? I don't understand what you're saying. Hindsight? Really? There was actually quite a bit of foresight in the German command. Especially amongst the generals who hated Hitler and wanted to kill him if the moment presented itself. unfortunately, he got very lucky in some sense. This of course led to his doom...

Obviously you don't.

Strategies start with assumptions about current situations, that should be pretty easy to understand. If those assumptions are reasonably close to reality, it's possible to chart a course of action that should logically bring one to a specific objective or goal. The strategy, or course of action, is distinct from the assumption; one can be logical (or "correct" if you will) without the other being correct. But a strategy is only "workable" if both are valid.

I'm saying that German strategy made sense provided the underlying assumptions were valid. Unfortunately for Germany and Hitler, their assumptions about the world situation, and in particular German military capabilities, and the military capabilities of their potential opponents, were NOT valid. Therefore, even though their strategy was logical, invalid assumptions made it unworkable; shouldn't be too difficult to understand.


Hitler's strategy didn't actually exist as he violated every tenet of his initial directive and led Germany to war far sooner than anticipated. And his "strategy" in what way? Hitler wasn't actually a strategist. Hitler's assumptions about military power were certainly exaggerated by his clinger-on's in his inner circle to an extent. But then, you could argue that both the French leaders of Daladier/Reynaud and Britain's PMs of Chamberlain/Churchill could say the same...

The mistakes the French or British made are irrelevant in assessing German strategies. And who says Hitler went to war "far sooner than anticipated"? Anticipated by whom? The timing of The European war in no way constitutes evidence that Hitler had no strategy. In fact, such a statement implies that there was a strategy that was amended for some reason.


Except, the "plan" didn't exist prior to France declaring war on Germany, which sort of makes the argument that Hitler had a strategic plan a bit silly. And "ignores" which history exactly?

Hitler did not expect Britain and France to declare war as a result of his invasion of Poland, but that doesn't imply he had no plan if they did, nor does that mean he didn't create a plan to deal with Britain and France after they declared war. Your reasoning really doesn't make any sense and seems to suggest that Hitler existed in some sort of vacuum that insulated him from thinking about the potential consequences of any actions he might take. That's just simply not true. It ignores all historical evidence of the period.


Sure! Tell me how! When were Operations Fall Gelb and Fall Rot actually conceived? There was actually no plan for the attack on France prior to very late in 1939. Feel free to point out any of "Hitler's plans" to invade France in 1939/1940. He made no such plans and relied on the ironically tepid Halder for his plans..

So what? There was still a strategic plan and it was successfully followed. Just because it didn't exist in 1937 or 1938 means what exactly? That Hitler didn't have a crystal ball and could foresee every event on the world scene? In that, Hitler was exactly like every person ever involved in strategic planning. Strategic plans aren't conceived and engraved in stone, to be forever blindly followed no matter what happens subsequently; strategic plans evolve and change according to events that change situations.


Okay, why? What evidence have you seen? And the superiority in fighters and medium bombers is one of the key reasons why France folded as the Luftwaffe's control of the air is no small reason the Heer achieved a breakthrough at the Sedan. Not to mention that if France had had a viable tactical bomber arm supported by fighters, the war might have ended very differently...

You have an amazing talent for going off on meaningless tangents. Who cares why France folded?

The issue was the fragility of Germany's economy compared to those of the Allies. The proof is the subsequent performance of each; Germany's gradually declined in power, while those of the allies became more robust with time. Germany's economy was unable to support the measures necessary to sustain a successful war of attrition, a war the Allied economies won.


So? What about 1942? 1943? What kind of strategy in concerned only with the short view?

Strategies are time-phased; Germany's was to engage it's opponents in sequence and defeat them in detail. Plans for 1942 and 1943 depended on what happened in 1940 and 1941.


Hitler was in many cases disabused of his notion to the infallibility of the German soldier/airman/sailor/marine, and he chose to ignore such information to the extent that he actually almost came as close to fisticuffs with his senior Heer general Brauchitsch when informed that some Heer soldiers had not performed well in Poland and that much of his army needed retraining. Much of the German Army was in fact over 40 years old, needed training/retraining, and and imbalance in equipment existed. Hitler was made aware of this, but let his clouded ideological beliefs and racist notions pervert any realistic assessment...

Yes, in other words, Hitler's strategy was based on invalid assumptions.


Really? I doubt Hitler ever had such a thought. I think he may have been operating on the assumption that Britain could be bombed and blockaded into a settlement provided the USA was left on the sidelines. But there was little in the way of an actual "plan"..

I don't find your "doubt" very convincing. In fact, Adam Tooze in "The Wages of Destruction" says on page 333, "Since the spring of 1939, at the latest, Hitler had been driven forward by the sense that time was not on Germany's side. Once war was declared, the gathering strength of the Western coalition, reinforced by the United States, contrasted with Germany's economic vulnerability and it's new dependence on the Soviet Union only reinforced this motive." Obviously Hitler was, in 1939, thinking strategically about the future role of the United States.


There is no such coherent strategy, saying such is perpetuating a myth. In fact, Germany was prepared to fight against France for years if necessary...

According to who? The citation above belies any such dubious "fact".


When was this dictated?

In 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1939, 1940, and 1941.


I can't be bothered. I don't fundamentally disagree with you that the Japanese war planning was largely irrelevant to whatever hitler did and there wasn't any real coherent Axis war-planning. Perhaps on this, we agree. The Japanese were shit allies, and the Soviets were able to win their first major victory with fresh troops rolling into Moscow forever sinking the notion of German invincibility. Thank you, Japan!

Of course, Japan's action in signing a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union occurred in April, 1941. The significance of that fact seems to escape you. April, 1941, was before the Germans attacked the Soviet Union; Japan had no idea that such an attack was going to take place until it actually happened, so to imply that the Japanese disregarded Germany's future interests indicates a complete lack of understanding as to the actual sequence of events.

However, we do agree that there was precious little coordination or cooperation between Germany's and Japan's war planning. But to claim that neither Germany nor Japan had any strategic plans, or did any strategic planning simply doesn't hold water.

Nickdfresh
10-06-2010, 05:44 PM
What's the point? You've obviously closed your mind to any possibility that Hitler may have had thoughts that in any way bore on strategic issues.


Not at all! In fact, I think Hitler had big ideas and certainly his often (but certainly not always) poor decision making impacted and set the tone for the eventual German strategy. I've only stated that if Hitler had any long term strategy to meet his goals or objectives (which I think are better words), he almost certainly abandoned such a line of thought in late 1939...


Obviously you don't.

Right, much like I don't understand how Hitler blamed the Jews for "stab in the back" in 1918 and contentions that the German Army had never been defeated in the field. Though he certainly had much input and even a few good ideas, Hitler wasn't much of a military strategist, unless you count his scheming and putsches in order to gain power. He was a political strategist in the Nazi Party, he had enunciated goals, but these were not what could be called an actual 'strategy' to win. But he only indirectly had anything to do with strategic planning. There was no Nazi grand scheme of "Blitzkrieg" and Hitler got by prior to Barbarossa by winging-it in no small part...


Strategies start with assumptions about current situations, that should be pretty easy to understand. If those assumptions are reasonably close to reality, it's possible to chart a course of action that should logically bring one to a specific objective or goal. The strategy, or course of action, is distinct from the assumption; one can be logical (or "correct" if you will) without the other being correct. But a strategy is only "workable" if both are valid.

Um, Hitler had goals, but it was his general staff's job to articulate a strategy to obtain his nebulous end game. And while he had many strengths, few would state that Hitler was much of a logic-based person, if we're talking about the Fuhrer who was defensing Berlin with phantom divisions that no longer existed while entertaining wonder weapons fantasies and the tealeaves of FDR's death meant German victory as the Allies fell apart and fought each-other. In any case, he had no coherent "strategy" once Poland fell and the Allies declared war on him. I don't believe the German command even had a war plan to attack France other than dusty copies of the old Schlieffen Plan.


I'm saying that German strategy made sense provided the underlying assumptions were valid. Unfortunately for Germany and Hitler, their assumptions about the world situation, and in particular German military capabilities, and the military capabilities of their potential opponents, were NOT valid. Therefore, even though their strategy was logical, invalid assumptions made it unworkable; shouldn't be too difficult to understand.

How in the world could anyone have a valid strategy without considering the state of their armed forces? That would be like a football team gameplanning to their own weaknesses! Secondly, while I have read that Hitler was misinformed about the state of his Wehrmacht, he was had a serious row with his COS Brauchitsh when informed that his army was only half trained, somewhat overage, and some units did not perform well in Poland despite the resounding victory (not too mention that stocks of ammunition were dangerously low). Furthermore, had the French seriously attempted the Saar Offensive and penetrated the West Wall, many German officers believed they could have made it to Berlin.


The mistakes the French or British made are irrelevant in assessing German strategies.

Wrong. It was their blundering that allowed the Germans to affect a "strategy" to defeat them


And who says Hitler went to war "far sooner than anticipated"? Anticipated by whom? The timing of The European war in no way constitutes evidence that Hitler had no strategy. In fact, such a statement implies that there was a strategy that was amended for some reason.

By his own military that felt that they were not ready for such a monumental clash with the French. According to Alistair Horne, "The studied view of the Army (O.K.H.) at this time (Oct 1939 I think) was that there could be no successful offensive against the French until 1942." --p.174 2nd para.


Hitler did not expect Britain and France to declare war as a result of his invasion of Poland, but that doesn't imply he had no plan if they did,

The fact the Western Germany was defended by about 32 half-trained reserve divisions with no tanks, little artillery, and almost no mobility probably indicates that Hitler, nor his Army, were prepared for a significant clash with the French and Germany was wide open to a determined invasion the French seemed too timid to commit too. There was no War Plan, sorry:

On Gen. Halder's initial "Gelb" plan against the French written up weeks after the start of hostilities, Horne writes, "It was a manifestly bad plan, so conservative and uninspiring that it might well have been thought up by a British or French General Staff of the inter-war years, and through its many imperfections glimmered the half-heartedness of O.K.H. and the Army commanders..." p.175


...nor does that mean he didn't create a plan to deal with Britain and France after they declared war.

A plan was certainly created, initially a very awful one! But not by Hitler, by is GS. And it was eventually worked into a brilliant one; and yes Hitler did have little input, but mostly he forced his generals to revise and revise to his credit I suppose...


Your reasoning really doesn't make any sense and seems to suggest that Hitler existed in some sort of vacuum that insulated him from thinking about the potential consequences of any actions he might take. That's just simply not true. It ignores all historical evidence of the period.

Well, Hitler didn't live in a vacuum, however, his entire career is one of bluffing and bullying and posturing his way to power. He got back the Rhineland, took Austria, and Czechoslovakia firing nary a shot. Perhaps he was expecting more of the same? Or to make peace even if the Allies did declare war? He in fact offered peace 71-years ago today. What evidence? I think we can point to many instances where Hitler stoked fantasies about signing an armistice with the British, or simply ignoring facts when he found them inconvenient...


So what? There was still a strategic plan and it was successfully followed.

No, there was no "strategic plan" actually. You'll have to point us to one. I recall something about Fuhrer directives, but those are sort of general outlines. Nothing specific nor concrete enough to be called strategy. The closest thing to that was FŁhrer-Directive Number 6 issued in early October (9th?) of 1939 regarding an attack into the Low Countries prior to launching into staging areas in France...


Just because it didn't exist in 1937 or 1938 means what exactly? That Hitler didn't have a crystal ball and could foresee every event on the world scene? In that, Hitler was exactly like every person ever involved in strategic planning. Strategic plans aren't conceived and engraved in stone, to be forever blindly followed no matter what happens subsequently; strategic plans evolve and change according to events that change situations.

Of course Hitler couldn't predict the future, he thought his shitty Reich would last 1000 years. But I think Hitler rather blundered his way from one crisis to the next when he wasn't starred down by the Entente as opposed to having any real plans, which means he tended to instigate crisis's and then he reacted as necessary. It got him pretty far actually...


You have an amazing talent for going off on meaningless tangents.

Thank you! They are called "threads" for a reason, though...


Who cares why France folded?

I do.


The issue was the fragility of Germany's economy compared to those of the Allies. The proof is the subsequent performance of each; Germany's gradually declined in power, while those of the allies became more robust with time. Germany's economy was unable to support the measures necessary to sustain a successful war of attrition, a war the Allied economies won.

Which Allies? The United States was not at War with Germany, England and France were in the Fall of 1939, and the Fatherland had struck a deal with the USSR. If you measure the German economy against the French, it wasn't so bad at all. The Germans could outproduce the French something on the order of 3:1. But yes, despite this, Germany was in a severe strategic disadvantage as I've mentioned. France had many problems with the Great Depression, the Popular Front rising of the mid-30's, and the fact that her factories were scaled back to a 40-hour work weeks (until the War I think) as relations with Germany were already eroding severely effecting not only production of planes, tanks, etc., but also of spare parts which greatly hindered French readiness.


Strategies are time-phased; Germany's was to engage it's opponents in sequence and defeat them in detail. Plans for 1942 and 1943 depended on what happened in 1940 and 1941.

There were no such phased plans and the invasions of Norway, France, and the one that never was: Sealion. They were all ad hoc affairs or various sorts. And there certainly was no expectation of defeating France in six weeks! I think the closet I recall to a very optimistic time prediction may have been three months IIRC...

Con'td

Nickdfresh
10-06-2010, 05:44 PM
Yes, in other words, Hitler's strategy was based on invalid assumptions.

True. But not always.


I don't find your "doubt" very convincing. In fact, Adam Tooze in "The Wages of Destruction" says on page 333, "Since the spring of 1939, at the latest, Hitler had been driven forward by the sense that time was not on Germany's side. Once war was declared, the gathering strength of the Western coalition, reinforced by the United States, contrasted with Germany's economic vulnerability and it's new dependence on the Soviet Union only reinforced this motive." Obviously Hitler was, in 1939, thinking strategically about the future role of the United States.

Great book, isn't it? Anyhoo, Tooze is correct. But this wasn't limited to Hitler. In one of the great ironies of the War to me, one of his key generals who hated him and probably wanted Adolf dead, Gen. Franz Halder, constructed a war plan infamously horrific and wanted to stop the war with France as soon as possible. Once the war was initiated fully, he came on-board as a believer in strategic envelopment and despite being one of the 'conservative German generals,' he began to argue for the strategic gamble of the "Sickle Cut" through the Ardennes to the Channel Coast over the objections of many officers who thought it was suicide. His argument was that it may not work, but neither would fighting a long war of attrition with France and Britain...


According to who? The citation above belies any such dubious "fact".

See the above quote from Horne. There are numerous others however as the initial war plans involved staged, limited offensives in the Low Countries at first, to be followed months later by incursions into France mainly through the Belgian corridor based on logistical reasonings. Too many war plans and revisions to count and list actually...

The actual introduction of "Sichelschnitt" into Fall Gelb only took place in late February of 1940 as a decisive gamble in hopes of a "cheap victory" for Germany...


In 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1939, 1940, and 1941.

He may have issued directives until his little mustached piehole turned blue, but hitler only made a specific directive regarding the invasion of France around this time in 1939...


Of course, Japan's action in signing a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union occurred in April, 1941. The significance of that fact seems to escape you. April, 1941, was before the Germans attacked the Soviet Union;

The significance that seems to escape you is that they were well aware of hitler's bloodfeud with Bolshevism, and it was only one month prior to Barbarossa. The extent of contacts between the Germans and Japanese we'll never know, but Axis partners were certainly selective and self-serving re. whom they chose as their common enemies. In any case, the Imperial Japanese didn't seem to renounce their nonaggression pact despite huge numbers of the Red forces being tied down or destroyed in the West. Had they done so, the Germans might have made it into Moscow, how that would have effected the war's outcome I know not...


Japan had no idea that such an attack was going to take place until it actually happened, so to imply that the Japanese disregarded Germany's future interests indicates a complete lack of understanding as to the actual sequence of events.

Are you sure about this? I thought I recall something of a communist agent in either the Japanese gov't or at the German diplomatic mission in Tokyo that actually warned the Soviet secret police and dum dum Stalin of an impending attack based on information received, but that's purely from distant memory and I could be wrong on that. One of a number of HUMINT sources reporting such an attack actually...


However, we do agree that there was precious little coordination or cooperation between Germany's and Japan's war planning. But to claim that neither Germany nor Japan had any strategic plans, or did any strategic planning simply doesn't hold water.

They both had goals and objectives, and the Japanese seemed far more meticulous in their planning as there was far more consensus despite bitter rivalries between the Army and Navy. Although, didn't said rivalry also prove troublesome in terms of strategy?

Nickdfresh
10-06-2010, 06:17 PM
Are you sure about this? I thought I recall something of a communist agent in either the Japanese gov't or at the German diplomatic mission in Tokyo that actually warned the Soviet secret police and dum dum Stalin of an impending attack based on information received, but that's purely from distant memory and I could be wrong on that. One of a number of HUMINT sources reporting such an attack actually...

Side note here, I was thinking of Richard Sorge of the Soviet GRU who was indeed a spymaster in Japan. I have no idea if he obtained the invasion date (22 June-correction, I thought it was May) through Japanese gov't channels though...

Wizard
10-06-2010, 06:42 PM
Not at all! In fact, I think Hitler had big ideas and certainly his often (but certainly not always) poor decision making impacted and set the tone for the eventual German strategy. I've only stated that if Hitler had any long term strategy to meet his goals or objectives (which I think are better words), he almost certainly abandoned such a line of thought in late 1939...

Well, I guess what that gets down to is an admission that Hitler and German military leaders in general, were making strategic plans and giving thought to strategic matters, which was my original contention.


Right, much like I don't understand how Hitler blamed the Jews for "stab in the back" in 1918 and contentions that the German Army had never been defeated in the field. Though he certainly had much input and even a few good ideas, Hitler wasn't much of a military strategist, unless you count his scheming and putsches in order to gain power. He was a political strategist in the Nazi Party, he had enunciated goals, but these were not what could be called an actual 'strategy' to win. But he only indirectly had anything to do with strategic planning. There was no Nazi grand scheme of "Blitzkrieg" and Hitler got by prior to Barbarossa by winging-it in no small part...

Strategy is strategy whether you understand it or not.


Um, Hitler had goals, but it was his general staff's job to articulate a strategy to obtain his nebulous end game. And while he had many strengths, few would state that Hitler was much of a logic-based person, if we're talking about the Fuhrer who was defensing Berlin with phantom divisions that no longer existed while entertaining wonder weapons fantasies and the tealeaves of FDR's death meant German victory as the Allies fell apart and fought each-other. In any case, he had no coherent "strategy" once Poland fell and the Allies declared war on him. I don't believe the German command even had a war plan to attack France other than dusty copies of the old Schlieffen Plan.

It matters nor whether Hitler or his generals made the strategic plans; the point is they weren't simply academic exercises. By 1944, the time was over when any strategy had any chance of working for Germany, so of course I'm referring to the period prior to 1942.


How in the world could anyone have a valid strategy without considering the state of their armed forces?.....

No one said anyone in Germany did that, so stop trying to rephrase things to suit your arguments.

I said Hitler and the German military itself, badly overestimated German military power and badly underestimated Soviet military resiliency; two completely different issues than you are trying to portray


Wrong. It was their blundering that allowed the Germans to affect a "strategy" to defeat them

No, it was the Allied mistakes that proved Germany's pre-existing strategy workable.


By his own military that felt that they were not ready for such a monumental clash with the French. According to Alistair Horne, "The studied view of the Army (O.K.H.) at this time (Oct 1939 I think) was that there could be no successful offensive against the French until 1942." --p.174 2nd para.

As Hitler once said, no senior military officer ever feels completely prepared to fight.


The fact the Western Germany was defended by about 32 half-trained reserve divisions with no tanks, little artillery, and almost no mobility probably indicates that Hitler, nor his Army, were prepared for a significant clash with the French and Germany was wide open to a determined invasion the French seemed too timid to commit too. There was no War Plan, sorry:

You're speculating. That fact simply means it was Germany's strategy to bet on a short and very decisive campaign. They believed the French would not launch a counter-offensive until they had safely contained the German offensive and that never happened.


On Gen. Halder's initial "Gelb" plan against the French written up weeks after the start of hostilities, Horne writes, "It was a manifestly bad plan, so conservative and uninspiring that it might well have been thought up by a British or French General Staff of the inter-war years, and through its many imperfections glimmered the half-heartedness of O.K.H. and the Army commanders..." p.175

So what? What does that prove?


A plan was certainly created, initially a very awful one! But not by Hitler, by is GS. And it was eventually worked into a brilliant one; and yes Hitler did have little input, but mostly he forced his generals to revise and revise to his credit I suppose...

Again, so what? Strategies and plans aren't always created without defects, and the fact that a plan is finally perfected means there are planners who always thinking of the possibilities. Doesn't matter if they are Hitler or relatively low ranking staff specialists.


Well, Hitler didn't live in a vacuum, however, his entire career is one of bluffing and bullying and posturing his way to power. He got back the Rhineland, took Austria, and Czechoslovakia firing nary a shot. Perhaps he was expecting more of the same? Or to make peace even if the Allies did declare war? He in fact offered peace 71-years ago today. What evidence? I think we can point to many instances where Hitler stoked fantasies about signing an armistice with the British, or simply ignoring facts when he found them inconvenient...

Ok, you don't like Hitler; fine, neither do I. But just saying he was a bastard who schemed his way through life hardly rebuts my argument that he gave considerable thought to strategic matters and planned his actions, both military and political. Yes, he sometimes ignored facts when he found them inconvenient, so did Churchill and Roosevelt, so what?


No, there was no "strategic plan" actually. You'll have to point us to one. I recall something about Fuhrer directives, but those are sort of general outlines. Nothing specific nor concrete enough to be called strategy. The closest thing to that was FŁhrer-Directive Number 6 issued in early October (9th?) of 1939 regarding an attack into the Low Countries prior to launching into staging areas in France...

Strategy doesn't have to be detailed or written down in an order somewhere. It can be as nebulous as simply avoiding certain situations considered to be disadvantageous. Hitler's strategy was to use aggressive foreign policy to get what he wanted. When that pushed him into a war he had bet against, his strategy was to engage his opponents in a series of sequential, very quick, campaigns and count on superior Germany military power to defeat those opponents in detail. That strategy broke down because Hitler had overestimated German military power and underestimated the will and determination of his opponents.


Of course Hitler couldn't predict the future, he thought his shitty Reich would last 1000 years. But I think Hitler rather blundered his way from one crisis to the next when he wasn't starred down by the Entente as opposed to having any real plans, which means he tended to instigate crisis's and then he reacted as necessary. It got him pretty far actually...

That in itself is a strategy. And it was successful until he ran up against the consequences of his invalid assumptions.


Thank you! They are called "threads" for a reason, though..

Yes, but not, as you seem to think, so you can go rambling off on irrelevant soliloquies.


I do.

Bully for you! But it does nothing to advance your argument so kindly keep it to yourself.


Which Allies? The United States was not at War with Germany, England and France were in the Fall of 1939, and the Fatherland had struck a deal with the USSR... [QUOTE]

The Allies, as in Britain and France. Germany's economy was far more fragikle than either Allied country's. Your assertions that Germany could produce more of this or that than one country or another are meaningless.

[QUOTE=Nickdfresh;172015]There were no such phased plans and the invasions of Norway, France, and the one that never was: Sealion. They were all ad hoc affairs or various sorts. And there certainly was no expectation of defeating France in six weeks! I think the closet I recall to a very optimistic time prediction may have been three months IIRC...

Three months is still a very short period of time to defeat what was supposed to be the strongest Army in Europe. And the plans for Norway were timed to take place before the invasion of France, while Operation Sea Lion was to take place after the Fall of France; like it or not that means the planes were phased with each operation taking place as a separate phase. What don't you understand about that?

Wizard
10-06-2010, 07:26 PM
True. But not always.

In the cases you cited they were.


Great book, isn't it? Anyhoo, Tooze is correct. But this wasn't limited to Hitler.....

Then your contention that the thought of the US limiting his actions in time never occurred to Hitler is proven incorrect.



See the above quote from Horne. There are numerous others however as the initial war plans involved staged, limited offensives in the Low Countries at first, to be followed months later by incursions into France mainly through the Belgian corridor based on logistical reasonings. Too many war plans and revisions to count and list actually...

This seems to contradict your basic theory;that Germany never formulated any war plans or strategies.


The actual introduction of "Sichelschnitt" into Fall Gelb only took place in late February of 1940 as a decisive gamble in hopes of a "cheap victory" for Germany...

Which confirms my contention that Germany did, in fact, have a strategy for defeating France.


He may have issued directives until his little mustached piehole turned blue, but hitler only made a specific directive regarding the invasion of France around this time in 1939...

Which proves...what, exactly?


The significance that seems to escape you is that they were well aware of hitler's bloodfeud with Bolshevism, and it was only one month prior to Barbarossa. The extent of contacts between the Germans and Japanese we'll never know, but Axis partners were certainly selective and self-serving re. whom they chose as their common enemies. In any case, the Imperial Japanese didn't seem to renounce their nonaggression pact despite huge numbers of the Red forces being tied down or destroyed in the West. Had they done so, the Germans might have made it into Moscow, how that would have effected the war's outcome I know not...

Sure, the Axis partners were self-serving, so were the Allied partners. But to blame Japan for signing a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union when Germany had already done exactly the same thing is ridiculous. BTW, Germany never renounced it's neutrality pact with the USSR either. And Germany was continually urging the Japanese to attack Malaya and Singapore; in order to do that Japan had to have a neutrality pact in place with the Soviet Union. You really ought to study the global situation in more detail.


Are you sure about this? I thought I recall something of a communist agent in either the Japanese gov't or at the German diplomatic mission in Tokyo that actually warned the Soviet secret police and dum dum Stalin of an impending attack based on information received, but that's purely from distant memory and I could be wrong on that. One of a number of HUMINT sources reporting such an attack actually...

Yes, I'm sure. What Sorge informed Stalin about was that the Japanese government had no intention of attacking the territories claimed by the USSR in the Far East. Japan had no inkling of German plans to attack the Soviet Union until it actually happened.


They both had goals and objectives, and the Japanese seemed far more meticulous in their planning as there was far more consensus despite bitter rivalries between the Army and Navy. Although, didn't said rivalry also prove troublesome in terms of strategy?

Actually, there was far less consensus in Japan's case than in Germany's strategic planning, but the IJA and IJN eventually agreed that the attack on the Southern Resources Area had priority because the Army realized it also needed more oil to fight the war in China. Japan's short-term planning was more meticulous, but it's long-term strategy was left in a bare-bones outline form. The rivalry between the Army and the Navy actually caused more trouble at the operational level than the strategic planning level. This was because a basic division of responsibility based on geography had been reached; the Army was responsible for the Asian mainland and the Navy was responsible for the Pacific and most of the islands therein. The operational breakdown came when circumstances forced the IJN to cooperate with the IJA in New Guinea and the Solomons.

Germany also suffered from a bitter rivalry between the Navy and the Air force, but because Germany was basically a land power, it was less consequential. As for Axis planning in general, it was crippled by the fact that Axis war aims were almost exclusively focused on the acquisition of territory. Each Axis country had it's eye on different territories, so naturally their strategies were different. Since each country was forced by their meager economic resources to concentrate on very short, decisive wars, the Axis didn't have the luxury of prioritizing it's goals, as did the Allies. In essence, each Axis country was trying to do too much with too little, too quickly.

Rising Sun*
10-06-2010, 07:42 PM
Strategy is strategy ...

Not quite.

Military strategy is not the same as political strategy or diplomatic strategy, while all of them, along with a lot of other things, are but components of grand strategy. As Liddell Hart stated:


[T]he role of grand strategy Ė higher strategy Ė is to co-ordinate and direct all the resources of a nation, or band of nations, towards the attainment of the political object of the war Ė the goal defined by fundamental policy.

Grand strategy should both calculate and develop the economic resources and man-power of nations in order to sustain the fighting services. Also the moral resources Ė for to foster the people's willing spirit is often as important as to possess the more concrete forms of power. Grand strategy, too, should regulate the distribution of power between the several services, and between the services and industry. Moreover, fighting power is but one of the instruments of grand strategy Ė which should take account of and apply the power of financial pressure, and, not least of ethical pressure, to weaken the opponent's will. ...

Furthermore, while the horizons of strategy is bounded by the war, grand strategy looks beyond the war to the subsequent peace. It should not only combine the various instruments, but so regulate their use as to avoid damage to the future state of peace Ė for its security and prosperity. Strategy, London, Faber & Faber, 1967. 2nd rev. ed. p.322, lifted from Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_strategy

Problems arise when military strategy is divorced from, or contrary to, grand strategy. Or when there is no grand strategy to dictate military strategy or, more accurately, when there is no sound grand strategy to dictate military strategy.

When political leaders begin to dictate military strategy in response to immediate issues but without regard to grand strategy there will usually be problems for both military strategy and operations and for the achievement of the grand strategy.

This was not confined to Hitler in WWII. Churchill did it in Greece and duly lost forces and resources which in turn compromised Britain's ability to pursue its grand strategy. Ironically, Hitler also did it in Greece with the same result by hampering the impending Barbarossa. Hitler should have left the Italians to sort out their own problem with Greece (as he should have left them to sort out the mess they created in North Africa), while Churchill should have left the Greeks to deal with the German invasion which was always going to end in defeat with or without the inadequate forces Churchill squandered in a (foreseen by Allied commanders at the time) futile attempt to save Greece.

Two quotes summarise some of the problems which flow from military strategy not being informed and dictated by grand strategy, both of which are apposite to Germany and Japan in WWII:


Grand strategy depends upon policy, and policy upon political knowledge of war. If this knowledge is nil, policy will be nil, and grand strategy will follow suit. In other words, generalship becomes impossible. J.F.C. Fuller, in The Army in My Time


War is ďtoo serious a businessĒ for the destinies of nations to be controlled by mere strategists. There is a need for the wider horizon of grand strategy, which embraces the state of peace that lies beyond every war. Liddell Hart, in Thoughts on War

Wizard
10-06-2010, 07:48 PM
Are you sure about this? I thought I recall something of a communist agent in either the Japanese gov't or at the German diplomatic mission in Tokyo that actually warned the Soviet secret police and dum dum Stalin of an impending attack based on information received, but that's purely from distant memory and I could be wrong on that. One of a number of HUMINT sources reporting such an attack actually...

Side note here, I was thinking of Richard Sorge of the Soviet GRU who was indeed a spymaster in Japan. I have no idea if he obtained the invasion date (22 June-correction, I thought it was May) through Japanese gov't channels though...

Yes, I'm absolutely certain.

Japan had no idea that Germany was going to attack the Soviet Union in June, 1941. There were a lot of rumors flying around Europe, but no hard information.

Sorge, a German, (and holder of a WW I Iron Cross) supposedly reported to the Soviets that Germany would attack the Soviet Union on 20 June, 1941, but he got that information not from the Japanese government or military, but from a German military attache at the German embassy in Tokyo. Stalin, according to what I have read, ridiculed the information and dismissed it completely.

In September, 1941, just before the Japanese discovered Sorge's espionage activities, Sorge reported that the Japanese Army had no intention of attacking the Soviet Union unless the Germans were able to capture Moscow. It was this information that allegedly led to the transfer of Soviet forces to the defense of Moscow.

Wizard
10-06-2010, 08:00 PM
Not quite.

Military strategy is not the same as political strategy or diplomatic strategy, while all of them, along with a lot of other things, are but components of grand strategy. As Liddell Hart stated:

Strategy, London, Faber & Faber, 1967. 2nd rev. ed. p.322, lifted from Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_strategy

Problems arise when military strategy is divorced from, or contrary to, grand strategy. Or when there is no grand strategy to dictate military strategy or, more accurately, when there is no sound grand strategy to dictate military strategy.

When political leaders begin to dictate military strategy in response to immediate issues but without regard to grand strategy there will usually be problems for both military strategy and operations and for the achievement of the grand strategy.

This was not confined to Hitler in WWII. Churchill did it in Greece and duly lost forces and resources which in turn compromised Britain's ability to pursue its grand strategy. Ironically, Hitler also did it in Greece with the same result by hampering the impending Barbarossa. Hitler should have left the Italians to sort out their own problem with Greece (as he should have left them to sort out the mess they created in North Africa), while Churchill should have left the Greeks to deal with the German invasion which was always going to end in defeat with or without the inadequate forces Churchill squandered in a (foreseen by Allied commanders at the time) futile attempt to save Greece.

Two quotes summarise some of the problems which flow from military strategy not being informed and dictated by grand strategy, both of which are apposite to Germany and Japan in WWII:

J.F.C. Fuller, in The Army in My Time

Liddell Hart, in Thoughts on War

Despite the attempt to make it seem like something akin to a bureaucracy, strategy is strategy.

Either you are thinking about what you should do in certain circumstances or you are not. You can separate it into "political strategy", "military strategy", and "grand strategy" (whatever that might be), but the process is the same, planning for future contingencies. In reality, it is extremely difficult to define any sort of hard line between the arbitrary categories of strategy listed above.

All good strategy evolves with changing conditions, and is based on valid assumptions (realistic assessments of conditions). Logical strategies that would otherwise be quite workable, can easily be undermined by invalid assumptions. In fact, this is the most common reason why strategies fail.

Nickdfresh
10-06-2010, 08:02 PM
Well, I guess what that gets down to is an admission that Hitler and German military leaders in general, were making strategic plans and giving thought to strategic matters, which was my original contention.


I just told you specifically which German 'military leaders' formulated which strategy...

And what would have to admit? I said the following right off the bat talking specifically about the outset of the Phony War:

I think this is a bit of a contradiction. I'd first have to understand Hitler's strategy as I'm not sure it was ever actually predicated on anything verifiable nor workable, or whether he had any sort of predetermined strategy at all. If it wasn't realistic or workable, it certainly wasn't logical...


Strategy is strategy whether you understand it or not.

Which strategy are you talking about? The Jews stabbing the German Army in the back in 1918?

I thought we were talking about Hitler's capacity for logic, not strategy there...


It matters nor whether Hitler or his generals made the strategic plans; the point is they weren't simply academic exercises. By 1944, the time was over when any strategy had any chance of working for Germany, so of course I'm referring to the period prior to 1942.

Thanks for the admission and you're welcome! But it does matter! Because you said "Hitler" conducted strategy and I said his staff officers did the actual work under the guise of his direction. I was specifically talking about the period prior to June 1941, as there was no actual plan by the Heer to attack France until after the War started, and there was no real workable strategy until the early spring of 1940.

Why are you making "points" to me? I've never stated that German strategy was an 'academic exercise'. I said the Germans were reacting and creating strategy ad hoc as events moved them and that WWII unfolded far faster than anticipated or desired...


No one said anyone in Germany did that, so stop trying to rephrase things to suit your arguments.

Um, you stated that Hitler had misconceptions regarding his Armed Forces, which he did to some extent but his misconceptions were clearly his own fault as he listened to liars and yesmen and effectively silenced most dissent in his armed forces....


I said Hitler and the German military itself, badly overestimated German military power and badly underestimated Soviet military resiliency; two completely different issues than you are trying to portray

I was speaking more in terms of prior to the Battle for France, not so much Barbarossa where I concur that Hitler and, some but certainly not all, his senior officers overestimated their forces--especially when accounting for logistics. They may or may not have underestimated the Soviet Red Army however. The Heer did indeed inflict huge losses, and many Soviet soldiers fought hard. But the Red Army was also blessed with time and space giving them breathing room to hearken back to "Deep Battle" and rid Stalin's inept political cronies and his total control over the armed forces...


No, it was the Allied mistakes that proved Germany's pre-existing strategy workable.


Which Allies? The French? What "preexisting" strategy was that?


As Hitler once said, no senior military officer ever feels completely prepared to fight.

And as one of Hitler's anonymous generals once said, "he's just a ****ing Austrian Corporal!" :)


You're speculating. That fact simply means it was Germany's strategy to bet on a short and very decisive campaign. They believed the French would not launch a counter-offensive until they had safely contained the German offensive and that never happened.

Nope. No speculating here. I've actually read about it several times over. There were no "plans" for a "short decisive campaign" until well into the Phony War. And some Germans may well have believed that. Some German officers shit their pants over the Saar Offensive the French decided to abandon despite encountering no actual resistance. The French under Gamelin surely wanted the Germans to attack first in order to blood them. But in fact, the French General Staff was planning an offensive sooner than the German OKH were!


So what? What does that prove?

That there were no war plans against France prior to the Phony War, and that you're giving the Fuhrer way too much credit...


Again, so what? Strategies and plans aren't always created without defects, and the fact that a plan is finally perfected means there are planners who always thinking of the possibilities. Doesn't matter if they are Hitler or relatively low ranking staff specialists.

There was no plan prior to hostilities (or nonhostilities in 1939). How often can I say this? How much more can you be wrongheaded?


Ok, you don't like Hitler; fine, neither do I. But just saying he was a bastard who schemed his way through life hardly rebuts my argument that he gave considerable thought to strategic matters and planned his actions, both military and political. Yes, he sometimes ignored facts when he found them inconvenient, so did Churchill and Roosevelt, so what?


No one likes Hitler, well a few do, but they're banned. :) But firstly, I'm talking about a specific period, Hitler certainly put significant thought into strategic action and he certainly had a long term goal. But he also blundered into WWII and his actions had thus far exceeded his capacity for strategy. All I'm saying is that Germany was in many ways completely unprepared for the War with France initially, and the quick and decisive battle that ensued had little to do with any preexisting war plans and more to do with a plan borne out of desperation that was ultimately a gamble. The German plan was brilliant, because it had to be. But it was something that didn't exist until at least the Spring of 1940. I've also said that Hitler deserves enormous credit here for being a general manager or project manager of sorts in pushing his generals, but his contributions to strategy were marginal at best, and again made only after the War was declared...


Strategy doesn't have to be detailed or written down in an order somewhere. It can be as nebulous as simply avoiding certain situations considered to be disadvantageous. Hitler's strategy was to use aggressive foreign policy to get what he wanted.

I don't disagree...


When that pushed him into a war he had bet against, his strategy was to engage his opponents in a series of sequential, very quick, campaigns and count on superior Germany military power to defeat those opponents in detail. That strategy broke down because Hitler had overestimated German military power and underestimated the will and determination of his opponents.

Here's where you're getting it wrong. There was no "strategy" to engage his enemies of "sequential, quick campaigns." Historians since the 1970s have painted this notion as a "Blitzkrieg legend" (by Bundeswehr Colonel Karl-Heinz Frieser) or "myth." The secret blitzkrieg plans never existed and the attack on France was merely the continuation of the previous tradition of mobile forces attempting envelopment --but now with mechanization. I have been saying this and am well grounded in my contentions. The actual plan carried out was born out of necessity and pieced together ad hoc out of sheer desperation. In the case of Barbarossa, things are different as the Germans fully implemented what is erroneously called 'Blitzkrieg' into a more formal codification. But the original plans against France were anything but "short and decisive," and involved various phases lasting months or a couple of years. The plan was evolved, not revolutionary nor was it in existence prior to the War..


That in itself is a strategy

Yes, a political one. But even here, Hitler is more poker than chess IMO...


Yes, but not, as you seem to think, so you can go rambling off on irrelevant soliloquies.

Stop! you're making me blush! I know, you're welcome!


Bully for you! But it does nothing to advance your argument so kindly keep it to yourself.

Actually, I think it did. We were talking about production, and the supposed inferiority of German industry. But clearly, they were more efficient than the French were. And the tactical and medium bomber Luftwaffe air arm had a huge impact in the short, decisive campaign...



The Allies, as in Britain and France. Germany's economy was far more fragikle than either Allied country's. Your assertions that Germany could produce more of this or that than one country or another are meaningless.

Well, I haven't read much of Tooze's book, but I'd love to know how he compares them with the French. Horne (To Lose a Battle) absolutely buries the French system of military procurement as corrupt and parochial as well as prone to strikes and slowdowns...


Three months is still a very short period of time to defeat what was supposed to be the strongest Army in Europe.

I certainly agree. But an army devoid of a strategic reserve and saddled with so many poor preconceptions is only as strong as its weakest point.


And the plans for Norway were timed to take place before the invasion of France, while Operation Sea Lion was to take place after the Fall of France; like it or not that means the planes were phased with each operation taking place as a separate phase. What don't you understand about that?

Nothing.

Nickdfresh
10-06-2010, 08:41 PM
In the cases you cited they were.

I was being open ended, yet agreeing with you. Relax.


Then your contention that the thought of the US limiting his actions in time never occurred to Hitler is proven incorrect.

I dunno what occurred to Hitler and didn't occur. But I'm pretty sure that the United States wasn't at the forefront of his mind in 1940. But of course the phantom of U.S. industrial production surely haunted him in later phases, yet prior to the American entry in the War...


This seems to contradict your basic theory;that Germany never formulated any war plans or strategies.

Um, seriously. WTF are you talking about? I've never said nor implied any such categorical statements of the sort, and I grow weary of having such trash statements tied to me...


Which confirms my contention that Germany did, in fact, have a strategy for defeating France.

Um, yeah, after the war started and Hitler blundered into it. But okay...


Which proves...what, exactly?

That he had little direct involvement in actual military strategy...


Sure, the Axis partners were self-serving, so were the Allied partners. But to blame Japan for signing a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union when Germany had already done exactly the same thing is ridiculous. BTW, Germany never renounced it's neutrality pact with the USSR either. And Germany was continually urging the Japanese to attack Malaya and Singapore; in order to do that Japan had to have a neutrality pact in place with the Soviet Union. You really ought to study the global situation in more detail.

Not blaming Japan for anything. The Japanese were good, fearful saps when it came to the Soviets after being whipped at Khalkhin Gol. It was very honorable for them not to break their sacred neutrality pact until the Red Army spanked them again in August Storm...


Yes, I'm sure. What Sorge informed Stalin about was that the Japanese government had no intention of attacking the territories claimed by the USSR in the Far East. Japan had no inkling of German plans to attack the Soviet Union until it actually happened.

I'll take your word for it...


Actually, there was far less consensus in Japan's case than in Germany's strategic planning, but the IJA and IJN eventually agreed that the attack on the Southern Resources Area had priority because the Army realized it also needed more oil to fight the war in China. Japan's short-term planning was more meticulous, but it's long-term strategy was left in a bare-bones outline form. The rivalry between the Army and the Navy actually caused more trouble at the operational level than the strategic planning level. This was because a basic division of responsibility based on geography had been reached; the Army was responsible for the Asian mainland and the Navy was responsible for the Pacific and most of the islands therein. The operational breakdown came when circumstances forced the IJN to cooperate with the IJA in New Guinea and the Solomons.

Interesting. Agreed...


Germany also suffered from a bitter rivalry between the Navy and the Air force, but because Germany was basically a land power, it was less consequential. As for Axis planning in general, it was crippled by the fact that Axis war aims were almost exclusively focused on the acquisition of territory. Each Axis country had it's eye on different territories, so naturally their strategies were different. Since each country was forced by their meager economic resources to concentrate on very short, decisive wars, the Axis didn't have the luxury of prioritizing it's goals, as did the Allies. In essence, each Axis country was trying to do too much with too little, too quickly.

I would go beyond that as far as rivalries in the Third Reich. In fact, one of Hitler's tenets to maintaining power seems to have been to foster rivalries in nearly every facet as sort of a form of 'divide and conquer.' As for the second part of your statement, I agree that the Axis in general wasn't ready and were trying to do too much too soon.

Wizard
10-06-2010, 09:18 PM
I just told you specifically which German 'military leaders' formulated which strategy...

I never limited my contention about German strategic thinking to Hitler, that was your assertion. My original contention was that the Axis countries did, in fact, plan their strategies.


Which strategy are you talking about? The Jews stabbing the German Army in the back in 1918?

I thought we were talking about Hitler's capacity for logic, not strategy there...

No, aside from your excursions into Hitler's mental processes, what we are discussing is the issue of whether Germany and Japan, as Axis countries, ever considered planning for war and strategic objectives. My contention is that they did, and your contention, as far as I can decipher, is that they didn't.



Thanks for the admission and you're welcome! But it does matter! Because you said "Hitler" conducted strategy and I said his staff officers did the actual work under the guise of his direction. I was specifically talking about the period prior to June 1941, as there was no actual plan by the Heer to attack France until after the War started, and there was no real workable strategy until the early spring of 1940.

No it doesn't matter because you have already admitted that there was a strategy. Yes, it changed somewhat after the war started but that is a characteristic of all strategy. It doesn't matter who did the strategic thinking, Hitler or some railway clerk, it ended up as part of Germany's strategic plan.


Um, you stated that Hitler had misconceptions regarding his Armed Forces, which he did to some extent but his misconceptions were clearly his own fault as he listened to liars and yesmen and effectively silenced most dissent in his armed forces....

Not only Hitler, but it doesn't matter since the essential issue is that the assumption of overwhelming German military power was invalid.


Which Allies? The French? What "preexisting" strategy was that?

I'm beginning to suspect you are just trying to confuse the issue when you keep asking the same questions. The term "the Allies" refers to the British and French, no one else, as I've stated before. The pre-existing strategy refers to the German plan to attack France. Are you now going to claim the Germans didn't have a plan of attack?


And as one of Hitler's anonymous generals once said, "he's just a ****ing Austrian Corporal!" :)

And that is relevant in what way?




Nope. No speculating here. I've actually read about it several times over.

Then provide some citations. When someone uses the qualifier "probably" it's a dead giveaway that they aren't certain.


There were no "plans" for a "short decisive campaign" until well into the Phony War.

According to who? citation please.


That there were no war plans against France prior to the Phony War, and that you're giving the Fuhrer way too much credit...

It proves absolutely nothing of the sort. War plans and revisions are written up all the time, often without reference to prior plans. And no, I am not giving Hitler any credit at all; I'm simply saying he had input into German strategic thinking.




There was no plan prior to hostilities (or nonhostilities in 1939). How often can I say this? How much more can you be wrongheaded?

You can say it as often as you like, doesn't prove a thing though.




No one likes Hitler, well a few do, but they're banned. :) But firstly, I'm talking about a specific period, Hitler certainly put significant thought into strategic action and he certainly had a long term goal. But he also blundered into WWII and his actions had thus far exceeded his capacity for strategy. All I'm saying is that Germany was in many ways completely unprepared for the War with France initially, and the quick and decisive battle that ensued had little to do with any preexisting war plans and more to do with a plan borne out of desperation that was ultimately a gamble. The German plan was brilliant, because it had to be. But it was something that didn't exist until at least the Spring of 1940. I've also said that Hitler deserves enormous credit here for being a general manager or project manager of sorts in pushing his generals, but his contributions to strategy were marginal at best, and again made only after the War was declared...

I guess this gets down to the crux of the argument.

My contention is that Germany did give considerable thought to strategic plans. That doesn't require that Germany have a detailed war plan for hostilities with France. It simply means that Germany did have a general plan for dealing with it's enemies and that plan was to engage them sequentially rather than all at once. Germany's final plan to invade France didn't exist prior to September, 1939, so what? Germany did have a plan to invade France under certain circumstances, and although it was not the version that was actually put into practice really doesn't matter. And Hitler's contribution, big or small, also doesn't matter. My contention is that Germany and Japan did give thought to strategic planning and produced some initially pretty successful plans. All the BS about who was involved, or when, I don't care about.


Here's where you're getting it wrong. There was no "strategy" to engage his enemies of "sequential, quick campaigns."

No, here's where you're getting things wrong. You are getting all wound up in specific campaign plans which are really not relevant.

Both Germany and Japan realized that they were outclassed economically by their potential opponents and that rendered them extremely vulnerable to attritional warfare. But attritional warfare takes time to be effective so, regardless of the fact that there may not have been detailed war plans for dealing with specific enemies, both countries planned to avoid long wars which might involve them in attritional slugging matches.

Where such plans unraveled in both cases was in the assumption that their respective militaries would be able to so overwhelm their opponents that the enemy's determination to continue the struggle would be broken. This came about because both Japan and Germany overestimated the effectiveness of their own military, and underestimated the will of their adversaries.


Actually, I think it did. We were talking about production, and the supposed inferiority of German industry. But clearly, they were more efficient than the French were. And the tactical and medium bomber Luftwaffe air arm had a huge impact in the short, decisive campaign...

I know you did, but you're wrong. Production of a single class or weapon or even several classes of weaponry does not provide conclusive proff of the staying power of a given economy. To assert something like that is extremely naive. You've apparently read Tooze, you should know that.


Well, I haven't read much of Tooze's book, but I'd love to know how he compares them with the French. Horne (To Lose a Battle) absolutely buries the French system of military procurement as corrupt and parochial as well as prone to strikes and slowdowns...

A comparison to the British economy (or a combination of British and French economies) would be more pertinent, after all, Germany was fighting both. I suggest you read the rest of Tooze's book; it's not easy, but well worth wading through it

Wizard
10-06-2010, 09:40 PM
....I dunno what occurred to Hitler and didn't occur. But I'm pretty sure that the United States wasn't at the forefront of his mind in 1940. But of course the phantom of U.S. industrial production surely haunted him in later phases, yet prior to the American entry in the War...

Tooze disagrees with you and actually suggests that Hitler viewed the United States as Germany's primary enemy. I don't know if that is true, but I think Hitler had to view the US as the eventual arbiter of the war, if only because of it's latent productive potential.


Um, seriously. WTF are you talking about? I've never said nor implied any such categorical statements of the sort, and I grow weary of having such trash statements tied to me...

Well, my basic contention is that both Germany and Japan gave considerable thought to strategic planning and you seem to expending serious effort to disprove that argument, although you have focused on issues that I have never disputed. So an admission by you that either Germany or Japan did indeed have strategic plans would seem to contradict your theories.



That he had little direct involvement in actual military strategy...

Which is fact not in dispute


Not blaming Japan for anything. The Japanese were good, fearful saps when it came to the Soviets after being whipped at Khalkhin Gol. It was very honorable for them not to break their sacred neutrality pact until the Red Army spanked them again in August Storm...

The implication in your comments on the issue certainly seemed to be a criticism of Japan for not being more supportive of Germany's attack on the Soviet Union.

In fact, The Japanese never did break their neutrality pact with the Soviets. The Soviet Union, on April 5, 1945, renounced the pact with Japan, one year before it's original expiration date.

Rising Sun*
10-07-2010, 07:30 AM
Despite the attempt to make it seem like something akin to a bureaucracy, strategy is strategy.

I didn't attempt to make it seem like a bureaucracy and I don't understand how you could have got that impression, nor that strategy is akin to a bureaucracy.

However, there is a great degree of irony in your analogy with bureaucracy because any type of national strategy for or in war is the product of various military, government, diplomatic, and industrial bureaucracies which devote a great deal of time and resources to gathering information, analysing it, and developing strategies based on that information and analysis.

You seem to think from your simplistic assertion that 'strategy is strategy' that the development of strategy existed outside the bureaucracies which all the major powers utilised for a couple of decades before the war in their progressive planning for the outbreak of war.


You can separate it into "political strategy", "military strategy", and "grand strategy" (whatever that might be)

Liddell Hart's quote makes it quite clear what grand strategy is.

It is vastly more than military strategy, which is what most of the discussion in this thread has been about.


In reality, it is extremely difficult to define any sort of hard line between the arbitrary categories of strategy listed above.

Agreed.

That is why they are all part of grand strategy.

And a nation's failure to have a grand strategy for a war represents a failure to contemplate and plan on all those levels, which is exactly what Japan failed to do and a large part of the reason it was never going to win a war it would not have got into if it had engaged in proper grand strategic thinking before starting its war.


Logical strategies that would otherwise be quite workable, can easily be undermined by invalid assumptions. In fact, this is the most common reason why strategies fail.

No, strategies which fail because of invalid assumptions are just examples of inadequate research, analysis and planning.

Facts are what matter in all research, analysis and planning.

A 'logical' strategy based on invalid assumptions is just a stab in the dark by someone who didn't do their homework and who deserves the consequences of assuming that things would be as they thought rather than as they are.

Wizard
10-07-2010, 12:29 PM
I didn't attempt to make it seem like a bureaucracy and I don't understand how you could have got that impression, nor that strategy is akin to a bureaucracy.

However, there is a great degree of irony in your analogy with bureaucracy because any type of national strategy for or in war is the product of various military, government, diplomatic, and industrial bureaucracies which devote a great deal of time and resources to gathering information, analysing it, and developing strategies based on that information and analysis.

You seem to think from your simplistic assertion that 'strategy is strategy' that the development of strategy existed outside the bureaucracies which all the major powers utilised for a couple of decades before the war in their progressive planning for the outbreak of war.

Liddell Hart's quote makes it quite clear what grand strategy is.

It is vastly more than military strategy, which is what most of the discussion in this thread has been about.

Agreed.

That is why they are all part of grand strategy.

And a nation's failure to have a grand strategy for a war represents a failure to contemplate and plan on all those levels, which is exactly what Japan failed to do and a large part of the reason it was never going to win a war it would not have got into if it had engaged in proper grand strategic thinking before starting its war.

No, strategies which fail because of invalid assumptions are just examples of inadequate research, analysis and planning.

Facts are what matter in all research, analysis and planning.

A 'logical' strategy based on invalid assumptions is just a stab in the dark by someone who didn't do their homework and who deserves the consequences of assuming that things would be as they thought rather than as they are.

No, My reference to a "bureaucracy" was in response to your referencing people like Liddell Hart and Fuller, who, in my opinion try to put entirely too much emphasis on "defining" things like strategy, much like bureaucrats who develop their own mysterious terminology in an attempt to puff up what they are doing and mystify the uninitiated. Hart and Fuller, were, after all part of a military bureaucracy who were trying to keep themselves employed in tough times for the military.

I sense we are just going to have to disagree on this.

To me, strategy is simply making assessments of a given situation and charting a logical course of action for getting from the current situation to some desired goal or objective. You can talk about political strategy, military strategy, grand strategy, global strategy, universal strategy, this strategy, and that strategy; but what it all comes down to is the rather simple, straightforward, two-step process that I have suggested. Anything else is just trying to make your resume look more impressive.

As for Japan, prior to WW II, it had a strategy in place to achieve it's goals and it was, given the Japanese leadership's understanding of the situation, a logical strategy. Unfortunately, the Japanese military and civilian leadership had accepted rather cursory assessment processes and the results of those assessments were erroneous assumptions that invalidated the strategic planning when it was put into practice.

Yes, another way of putting it is that the Japanese failed to do their "homework", and the result was a strategy based on unrealistic assumptions; same thing as I have always maintained. But to say the Japanese never considered strategic matters or war planning is incorrect, they just went about it in a way that replaced cold hard judgment, and acknowledgment of unpleasant facts, of with wishful thinking.

Nickdfresh
10-07-2010, 09:43 PM
I never limited my contention about German strategic thinking to Hitler, that was your assertion. My original contention was that the Axis countries did, in fact, plan their strategies.

No, aside from your excursions into Hitler's mental processes, what we are discussing is the issue of whether Germany and Japan, as Axis countries, ever considered planning for war and strategic objectives. My contention is that they did, and your contention, as far as I can decipher, is that they didn't.



No. We were speaking specifically of Hitler, if you want to include a more broad interpretation, than you should have stated that. My 'excursion into Hitler's mental processes?" You're the one that was intimating that he was "logical" and was following some sort of rational plan or strategy. Much of Hitler's "plans" had to do with annihilating the Jewish threat, something that didn't exist to an actually logical person. Logical people tend not to be driven by conspiracy theories and blind racist/anti-Semitic ideology. And, as much of Hitler's so-called "strategy" of Lebensraum involved getting rid of the Jews as it did expanding the German state and acquiring the raw materials vis-ŗ-vis the conquest of the Soviet Union. Nor were his plans (or stated goals) purely about economics and military strategy as they were a hybrid of ideological and racist demagoguery...

Secondly, I've never debated anything other than the Axis did plan their strategies. My "contention" is that Hitler was not really on the same page as his strategists and more or less bluffed his way through crisis' he initiated and put Germany in a precarious military situation far sooner than his generals had anticipated or advised him too. A subtle nuance that never seems to fail to escape you...


No it doesn't matter because you have already admitted that there was a strategy.

I never said anything of the sort!


Yes, it changed somewhat after the war started but that is a characteristic of all strategy. It doesn't matter who did the strategic thinking, Hitler or some railway clerk, it ended up as part of Germany's strategic plan.

Um, what? How can one have a plan/strategy/outline as a means to reach a goal, then completely ignore it in practice?

Tell me. What was Hitler's "strategy" involving the Rhineland reoccupation? That the French hopefully wouldn't attack German troops? To pre-order his Heer to quickly turnaround and exit the Rhineland in the face of any French resistance? Is that what you would call a rational, logical strategy? A gutsy political one? Perhaps. An actual military one? Nope. Hitler was an impulsive gambler, and a bluffer. But I wouldn't call many of his actions any sort of coherent strategy as they seemed to ignore the basic tenets of such...


Not only Hitler, but it doesn't matter since the essential issue is that the assumption of overwhelming German military power was invalid.

What was his assumption based on, then?


I'm beginning to suspect you are just trying to confuse the issue when you keep asking the same questions. The term "the Allies" refers to the British and French, no one else, as I've stated before. The pre-existing strategy refers to the German plan to attack France. Are you now going to claim the Germans didn't have a plan of attack?

And I'm beginning to suspect that you have no idea what you are talking about in regards to German strategy and haven't really researched or read anything regarding the period we're discussing other than Tooze. Unfortunately, Tooze is writing of macroeconomics and not actual "strategy" and a lot of bad assumptions are being made thusly...


And that is relevant in what way?

As relevant as any Hitler quote you can come up with!


Then provide some citations. When someone uses the qualifier "probably" it's a dead giveaway that they aren't certain.

I already have. Try reading the book. Why don't you come up with some citations that in any way support your "quick war" theory regarding German military operations where none actually existed other than in the traditional German precepts of "Annihilation Battle," "Mission to tactics," and "Schwerpunkt." Because you seem to fail to grasp any specifics regarding the aforementioned and certainly have provided no "citations" regarding such and you have no idea what you are talking about!

I would at least hope that you realize that Blitzkrieg wasn't even a term used in any significant capacity by the Wehrmacht prior to its popularization after the Polish Campaign...


It proves absolutely nothing of the sort. War plans and revisions are written up all the time, often without reference to prior plans. And no, I am not giving Hitler any credit at all; I'm simply saying he had input into German strategic thinking.

No one said he didn't have 'input.' He certainly did. Then he usually provided his generals crisis' to deal with after ignoring the fact that Germany would not be ready to actually actuate a conclusive victory over the West until the mid 1940s....


I guess this gets down to the crux of the argument.

My contention is that Germany did give considerable thought to strategic plans. That doesn't require that Germany have a detailed war plan for hostilities with France. It simply means that Germany did have a general plan for dealing with it's enemies and that plan was to engage them sequentially rather than all at once. Germany's final plan to invade France didn't exist prior to September, 1939, so what? Germany did have a plan to invade France under certain circumstances, and although it was not the version that was actually put into practice really doesn't matter. And Hitler's contribution, big or small, also doesn't matter. My contention is that Germany and Japan did give thought to strategic planning and produced some initially pretty successful plans. All the BS about who was involved, or when, I don't care about.

What "argument?" I've never said that Germany didn't give considerable thought to strategic plans--only that Hitler largely ignored them and often ignored any advice or planning, and of course, the capabilities, of his Army. And if you think that Germany had plans to invade France prior to 1939, by all means cite a legitimate source for them! How could they? The German Army was a very small constabulary force incapable of significant action until the mid-to-late 1930s and to plan for an offensive would have been laughable. They were barely able to defend Germany until the mid-1930s, and after the renunciation of Versailles and the re-institution of conscription, it still took the Heer a long time to train the requisite number of troops. What point would there be of only the most academic of war plans?


No, here's where you're getting things wrong. You are getting all wound up in specific campaign plans which are really not relevant.

Really? Then how could your contention of nebulous "plans for quick wars" at all be true if Germany didn't even have a specific war plan to attack her archenemy?


Both Germany and Japan realized that they were outclassed economically by their potential opponents and that rendered them extremely vulnerable to attritional warfare. But attritional warfare takes time to be effective so, regardless of the fact that there may not have been detailed war plans for dealing with specific enemies, both countries planned to avoid long wars which might involve them in attritional slugging matches.

It depends how you define attritional warfare. In fact, the German birthrate was twice that of the French, the Germans anticipated far higher casualties than the actually suffered, and in fact the Polish campaign involved many of the same artillery-infantry slugging matches one associates with battles of attrition. In fact, the key German strategy was "annihilation battle," and really wasn't all that different from their conceptualizations in WWI--only faster.


Where such plans unraveled in both cases was in the assumption that their respective militaries would be able to so overwhelm their opponents that the enemy's determination to continue the struggle would be broken. This came about because both Japan and Germany overestimated the effectiveness of their own military, and underestimated the will of their adversaries.

Well, as far as the Germans, many in the Heer actually overestimated the French and rated their own capabilities realistically. I think that's a bit of an overstatement though, but one firmly based on the truth that both Germany and Japan were overconfident after being flush with initial victories...


I know you did, but you're wrong. Production of a single class or weapon or even several classes of weaponry does not provide conclusive proff of the staying power of a given economy. To assert something like that is extremely naive. You've apparently read Tooze, you should know that.

No I'm not wrong, because I'm not actually saying what you're trying to imply I am. I implied a singular example demonstrating that the German industry was at least capable of besting their immediate foes in some aspects. I fully realize the German industrial sector had many weaknesses, even without reading much of Tooze yet. Extremely "naive?" Well, then please explain how the Germans defeated the French? I'm pretty sure an economist like Tooze certainly cannot adequately answer that and attempting to do so would be rather limiting to ones' knowledge. In no small part was it due to the significant advantage in every facet of the air war, which affected the very demoralization of Hitler's enemies you outlined above...

Nickdfresh
10-07-2010, 09:43 PM
A comparison to the British economy (or a combination of British and French economies) would be more pertinent, after all, Germany was fighting both. I suggest you read the rest of Tooze's book; it's not easy, but well worth wading through it

Perhaps, but the British had a very small and relatively lightly equipped, if well trained and highly mobile, Army. The British economy would have only been a marginal threat to Hitler's Germany for some time and they were far behind. As far as a strategic war, Britain could not have been a significant continental threat to Germany for years as she also suffered a severe manpower disadvantage and was largely only able to build up her Air Force recently, largely due to Chamberlains own actions during Appeasement...

Nickdfresh
10-07-2010, 10:07 PM
Tooze disagrees with you and actually suggests that Hitler viewed the United States as Germany's primary enemy. I don't know if that is true, but I think Hitler had to view the US as the eventual arbiter of the war, if only because of it's latent productive potential.

No, your interpretation of Tooze does. I read the forward in between coffees and talking to girls at the bookstore, and I'm pretty sure Tooze states that Hitler certainly viewed a hegemonic America as a threat. But not an immediate one necessarily nor could have Hitler predict the Attack on Pearl Harbor. And could anyone actually call Hitler's impulsive declaration of War something in anyway strategically viable?


Well, my basic contention is that both Germany and Japan gave considerable thought to strategic planning and you seem to expending serious effort to disprove that argument, although you have focused on issues that I have never disputed. So an admission by you that either Germany or Japan did indeed have strategic plans would seem to contradict your theories.


Then apparently, you're reading a completely separate one, as I've never stated nor argued anything of the kind. I've merely stated that Hitler never actually abided by a coherent strategy and was never on the same page as his actual military strategists and was often impulsive, irrational, and bullheaded..


The implication in your comments on the issue certainly seemed to be a criticism of Japan for not being more supportive of Germany's attack on the Soviet Union. In fact, The Japanese never did break their neutrality pact with the Soviets. The Soviet Union, on April 5, 1945, renounced the pact with Japan, one year before it's original expiration date.

Or that Japan gained nothing by not being more supportive, in the end. Not that it mattered much either way..

Wizard
10-08-2010, 02:09 AM
No. We were speaking specifically of Hitler, if you want to include a more broad interpretation, than you should have stated that. My 'excursion into Hitler's mental processes?" You're the one that was intimating that he was "logical" and was following some sort of rational plan or strategy....

Only in your imagination. I was talking about the Axis countries; specifically Germany and Japan. You included Hitler in the equation, not I, and my contention has nothing to do with Hitler or his relationship to his military officers.


Secondly, I've never debated anything other than the Axis did plan their strategies...

Good, then we agree.


My "contention" is that Hitler was not really on the same page as his strategists and more or less bluffed his way through crisis' he initiated and put Germany in a precarious military situation far sooner than his generals had anticipated or advised him too. A subtle nuance that never seems to fail to escape you...

Not as simple as that. I refer you to "The Wages of Destruction", page 333, "Since the Spring of 1939, at the latest, Hitler had been driven forward by the sense that time was not on Germany's side. Once war was declared, the gathering strength of the Western coalition, reinforced by the United States, contrasted with Germany's economic vulnerability and it's new dependence on the Soviet Union only reinforced this motive."

Germany may not have been militarily ready for war, but waiting wasn't going to improve that situation; Germany's economy was shaky and delay on ly played into the hands of the United States.



I never said anything of the sort!

So either Germany had a strategy or it didn't; which is it? I'm tired of listening to you blow hot and cold on that issue.


Um, what? How can one have a plan/strategy/outline as a means to reach a goal, then completely ignore it in practice?

So you're saying strategy has to be set in stone and followed rigidly no matter how conditions might change? Otherwise it can't be considered a strategy?


What was Hitler's "strategy" involving the Rhineland reoccupation? That the French hopefully wouldn't attack German troops? To pre-order his Heer to quickly turnaround and exit the Rhineland in the face of any French resistance? Is that what you would call a rational, logical strategy? A gutsy political one? Perhaps. An actual military one? Nope. Hitler was an impulsive gambler, and a bluffer. But I wouldn't call many of his actions any sort of coherent strategy as they seemed to ignore the basic tenets of such...

That, in itself, is a strategy; testing the will of one's opponent makes a lot of sense in certain circumstances. So, yes, that was a strategy that was both political and military. I


What was his assumption based on, then?

If you're referring to Hitler's assumption, I'd say it was based on his belief in the racial superiority of the German people


And I'm beginning to suspect that you have no idea what you are talking about in regards to German strategy and haven't really researched or read anything regarding the period we're discussing other than Tooze.

Well, it's been obvious to me since we started that you neither know what you are talking about, nor understand what is meant by "strategy". You keep saying Hitler was "bluffing" or was a "gambler" or similar dismissive adjectives, but that doesn't really address whether he was following a strategy. And my contention really doesn't involve Hitler; I'm talking about Germany as a country.


As relevant as any Hitler quote you can come up with!

Well, not really. My quote demonstrated that no general ever really believes his forces are ready for battle. That feeling isn't unique to Hitler. I believe Marshall also said something similar and Eisenhower also voiced similar sentiments. your citation doesn't demonstrate anything except that Hitler's troops didn't think much of him.




Why don't you come up with some citations that in any way support your "quick war" theory regarding German military operations where none actually existed ....

Ok, how about "Wages of Destruction", pages 333-334; "Given the constellation of 1939, even with the support of the Soviet trade deal, Hitler had no interest in fighting a protracted war. Everything depended on winning a decisive victory in the West at the earliest possible opportunity."

Your problem is you really have no idea what was going on in Germany in 1938-39 and are focused exclusively on military war planning, not overall strategy which included political, economic, and military considerations.


I would at least hope that you realize that Blitzkrieg wasn't even a term used in any significant capacity by the Wehrmacht prior to its popularization after the Polish Campaign...

Yeah, I'm aware of that, and it has absolutely no significance.


No one said he didn't have 'input.' He certainly did. Then he usually provided his generals crisis' to deal with after ignoring the fact that Germany would not be ready to actually actuate a conclusive victory over the West until the mid 1940s....

And what you don't seem to realize that by the mid-1940's, Germany, militarily and economically, would be so far behind the Anglo-American coalition that it would have been impossible to wage any kind of warfare at all. Hitler did understand that.


What "argument?" I've never said that Germany didn't give considerable thought to strategic plans--only that Hitler largely ignored them and often ignored any advice or planning, and of course, the capabilities, of his Army. And if you think that Germany had plans to invade France prior to 1939, by all means cite a legitimate source for them!....

Detailed plans to invade France? No, none existed to my knowledge before the fall of 1939. But yes, there were certainly plans for war with France as early as 1935 (Fall Rot, or Case Red). And no, Hitler didn't ignore Germany's strategic planning, he drove it.


Really? Then how could your contention of nebulous "plans for quick wars" at all be true if Germany didn't even have a specific war plan to attack her archenemy?

You don't need a detailed plan for war in order to have a strategy of pursuing only short wars for limited objectives.


It depends how you define attritional warfare. In fact, the German birthrate was twice that of the French, the Germans anticipated far higher casualties than the actually suffered,....

So what? The German economy couldn't sustain a long war regardless of the disparity in birthrates between Germany and France


No I'm not wrong, because I'm not actually saying what you're trying to imply I am. I implied a singular example demonstrating that the German industry was at least capable of besting their immediate foes in some aspects. I fully realize the German industrial sector had many weaknesses, even without reading much of Tooze yet. Extremely "naive?" Well, then please explain how the Germans defeated the French? I'm pretty sure an economist like Tooze certainly cannot adequately answer that and attempting to do so would be rather limiting to ones' knowledge. In no small part was it due to the significant advantage in every facet of the air war, which affected the very demoralization of Hitler's enemies you outlined above...

I disagree. You are focusing on a single issue among dozens. The air war in the Battle of France was important but not the sole decisive factor, and certainly not indicative of relative economic strengths. The Germans defeated the French by getting inside their decision cycle and initiating successive battles before the French could respond; that has nothing to do with economics.

Wizard
10-08-2010, 02:17 AM
Perhaps, but the British had a very small and relatively lightly equipped, if well trained and highly mobile, Army. The British economy would have only been a marginal threat to Hitler's Germany for some time and they were far behind. As far as a strategic war, Britain could not have been a significant continental threat to Germany for years as she also suffered a severe manpower disadvantage and was largely only able to build up her Air Force recently, largely due to Chamberlains own actions during Appeasement...

Actually, that's incorrect. Britain's economy was in far better shape than Germany's, and was, by 1940, out producing Germany in aircraft and ships. The British economy supported a Navy that was actually, by the end of 1939, strangling Germany's ability to import materials crucial to Germany's war production, while Germany could hardly scratch Britain's ability to import crucial materials. If that wasn't a significant threat to Germany, I don't know what was. Britain's manpower "disadvantage" had no real significance since Britain had no intention of challenging Germany on the continent, and German had no means of projecting it's manpower beyond Continental shores. If you really had studied the European war as much as you like to pretend, you'd realize that naval power trumps land power any day.

Wizard
10-08-2010, 02:48 AM
No, your interpretation of Tooze does. I read the forward in between coffees and talking to girls at the bookstore, and I'm pretty sure Tooze states that Hitler certainly viewed a hegemonic America as a threat. But not an immediate one necessarily nor could have Hitler predict the Attack on Pearl Harbor. And could anyone actually call Hitler's impulsive declaration of War something in anyway strategically viable?

You're kidding? You read the forward while talking to "the girls" at the bookstore? Actually, there is a preface, and an introduction, but no forward in "Wages of Destruction". I thought maybe you'd at least read the Cliff's Notes version. Makes me wonder what are the other books in which you've read the forward?

I suggest you read the whole book before telling me what Tooze does or doesn't say. In fact, I never said the US was an "immediate" threat to Germany, I said that Hitler viewed the US as the "primary" threat to Germany. In fact, Tooze, early in the book, on pages 7-11, makes it plain that Hitler regarded the United States as the ultimate threat to Germany and the rest of Europe. According to Tooze, Hitler saw the struggle in Europe as merely the preparatory phase before a grand "war of the continents" could be successfully (for Germany) pursued. Of course no one could foresee Pearl Harbor in 1939, but that is irrelevant.

Hitler's declaration of war against the US only acknowledged the inevitable in Hitler's mind, and the action was taken because he felt he could at least gain some temporary political advantage by declaring a war which he knew would eventually occur


Then apparently, you're reading a completely separate one, as I've never stated nor argued anything of the kind. I've merely stated that Hitler never actually abided by a coherent strategy and was never on the same page as his actual military strategists and was often impulsive, irrational, and bullheaded..

Well, Hitler is completely beside the point that I am arguing. I disagree that he never abided by a coherent strategy, but I guess you can make that interpretation if you like. I don't think you will convince many who have actually studied Hitler's behavior. As for being impulsive, irrational, and bullheaded....so what? So were Roosevelt and Churchill at times.


Or that Japan gained nothing by not being more supportive, in the end. Not that it mattered much either way..

No, that implication never emerged in your comments; it seemed more of a criticism of Japan for not standing by her Axis partner Germany. When someone writes; "Thank you, Japan!", it's difficult not to sense a certain rancor toward that country.

As for gaining nothing, well, I'd hardly call gaining a three-front war an advantage. Japan's industrial and economic situation was really far too constrained to fight on a single front successfully, so not intervening in the German conflict with the Soviet Union made a lot of sense.

Nickdfresh
10-11-2010, 08:28 PM
Please help me understand your fascinating thought processes on the following:


Only in your imagination. I was talking about the Axis countries; specifically Germany and Japan. You included Hitler in the equation, not I, and my contention has nothing to do with Hitler or his relationship to his military officers.
...
Well, it's been obvious to me since we started that you neither know what you are talking about, nor understand what is meant by "strategy". You keep saying Hitler was "bluffing" or was a "gambler" or similar dismissive adjectives, but that doesn't really address whether he was following a strategy. And my contention really doesn't involve Hitler; I'm talking about Germany as a country.
...
Detailed plans to invade France? No, none existed to my knowledge before the fall of 1939. But yes, there were certainly plans for war with France as early as 1935 (Fall Rot, or Case Red). And no, Hitler didn't ignore Germany's strategic planning, he drove it.

It seems when it suits your arguments, you're not really talking about "Hitler," but of the "strategy" of greater Germany. But then you state that, "Hitler didn't ignore Germany's strategic planning, he drove it." That's a rather fascinating contradiction that seems to be a bit of a self-serving intellectual undulation. If Hitler "drove (presumably German) strategy," then how can your "contention" "(not) involve Hitler?" Secondly, YOU mentioned Hitler by name in this discussion long before I did, in a retort to Rising Sun*. Thirdly, if Hitler didn't have a real war plan for a "quick and decisive" victory over the French (and ultimately the British) knowing they were going to declare war on Germany, then how could he have had a "coherent" strategy?

Tooze writes, in his "preface," using some of the same "dismissive adjectives" several times:

“The devastating effectiveness of the panzer forces, the deux ex machina of the early years of the war, certainly did not form the basis for strategy in advance of the summer of 1940, since it came as a surprise even to the German leadership...We are thus left with the truly vertiginous that Hitler went to war in September of 1939 without any coherent plan as to how actually to defeat the British Empire, his major antagonist.

Why did Hitler take this epic gamble?...Hitler's conduct of the war involved risks so great that they defy rationalization in terms of pragmatic self-interest.”

--Wages of Destruction, p. xxv


Not as simple as that. I refer you to "The Wages of Destruction", page 333, "Since the Spring of 1939, at the latest...

Yes. In fact, I recall another instance in the book where Hitler thought that time wasn't really on Germany's side as early as 1933 and 1936 with Hitler giving no specific indication as to when it might be time to launch a war. Germany was worried about long term economic viability and it is true that a long war of attrition was actually part of Allied strategy during the Phony War. We'll look at a few other things Tooze states to clarify the above in this and in following posts...


Germany may not have been militarily ready for war, but waiting wasn't going to improve that situation; Germany's economy was shaky and delay on ly played into the hands of the United States.

The above was Hitler's (mainly ideological) perception and the result of his aggressive, belligerent foreign policy as much as as anything else. This hastened his self-fulfilling prediction of an epic clash between a German-Unified Europe and the United States, one supposedly dominated by 'Jewish interests,' and turned it into a self-fulfilling prophecy in accordance with his conspiratorial Nazi ideology. However, Hitler was actually fighting against globalization of foreign economies and interdependence as much as he was inherent Allied economic superiority. Tooze states that Hitler made a conscious choice to continue the emphasis on rearmament in the late 1930s rather than switching things over to consumer production and exports in order to gain market share...


So either Germany had a strategy or it didn't; which is it? I'm tired of listening to you blow hot and cold on that issue.

And I'm tired of listening to you rephrase or bastardize my arguments into something I never actually said. In any case, I've already answered that. But that's a tough nut to crack due to your apparent unwillingness to decipher the different categories of strategy as evidenced with your prior exchanged with Rising Sun*...


So you're saying strategy has to be set in stone and followed rigidly no matter how conditions might change? Otherwise it can't be considered a strategy?

No. I've said Hitler had no actual military planning that in anyway legitimized his strategy, and that you've repeated many of the myths Tooze himself goes to great lengths to debunk regarding the typical “quick war” assertions and Germany’s premeditated ability and intentions to carry one out. Hitler wanted to win a quick war like most people want to win the lottery. So what? His policies prior to 1940 did little to actually achieve that.


That, in itself, is a strategy; testing the will of one's opponent makes a lot of sense in certain circumstances. So, yes, that was a strategy that was both political and military.

Political? perhaps. Military? hardly.


Well, not really. My quote demonstrated that no general ever really believes his forces are ready for battle. That feeling isn't unique to Hitler. I believe Marshall also said something similar and Eisenhower also voiced similar sentiments. your citation doesn't demonstrate anything except that Hitler's troops didn't think much of him.


Actually my quote demonstrates that his generals thought Hitler was an incompetent ****wit that would quite possibly cause the downfall of Germany --and they were correct in the end. Marshall may have said something similar, but ironically it was Marshall that wanted to land Allied troops onto the Continent prematurely in 1942...


Ok, how about "Wages of Destruction", pages 333-334; "Given the constellation of 1939, even with the support of the Soviet trade deal, Hitler had no interest in fighting a protracted war. Everything depended on winning a decisive victory in the West at the earliest possible opportunity."

Your problem is you really have no idea what was going on in Germany in 1938-39 and are focused exclusively on military war planning, not overall strategy which included political, economic, and military considerations.

I’ve done nothing but speak of overall strategy! Tooze goes a long way to discuss that there was no unified "coherent strategic synthesis" (p. 371) in Germany and contradicts the very premise you’re supposedly attributing to him in your basic misunderstandings. And didn't you nihilistically state that "strategy is strategy" in the aforementioned previous exchange with RS*? Why separate strategy into subcategories now? Really? At least attempt consistency in your arguments…

http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?6516-Japan-s-war-interests-whom/page8

On this, Tooze writes (p.372):

“...what is most characteristic of Hitler's is the lack of of any clear strategic rationale, the lack of a realistic vision of the war Germany might actually expect to fight. The Gigantic armaments plans of 1936 and 1938 were certainly not premised on any clear-sighted anticipation of the Blitzkrieg...Hitler's rearmament drive Amidst the procurement crisis of the summer of 1939, it is hard to discern any coherent strategy at all.”


And what you don't seem to realize that by the mid-1940's, Germany, militarily and economically, would be so far behind the Anglo-American coalition that it would have been impossible to wage any kind of warfare at all. Hitler did understand that.

In 1939, there really wasn't much of an "Anglo-American coalition" although Hitler’s actions went a long way towards forging one…


Detailed plans to invade France? No, none existed to my knowledge before the fall of 1939. But yes, there were certainly plans for war with France as early as 1935 (Fall Rot, or Case Red). And no, Hitler didn't ignore Germany's strategic planning, he drove it.

No, not "detailed" plans. No plans to invade France whatsoever --outside of fantasy or speculations. The 1935 version of "Fall Rot/Fall Blau" were strictly defensive contingency plans not to be confused with the 1940 Fall Rot to consolidate Fall Gelb...


You don't need a detailed plan for war in order to have a strategy of pursuing only short wars for limited objectives.

Really? Then why did the Germans bother spending months forging Fall Gelb/Rot to the last detail. In fact, it had to be extremely detailed. The Battle for France featuring up until then the largest tank battle in history, upwards of 200,000 battle deaths, and the near complete subjugation of a major European power could hardly be called “limited”..


So what? The German economy couldn't sustain a long war regardless of the disparity in birthrates between Germany and France

Well, since the German leadership felt they had little alternative prior to the late Winter of 1940, evidently they were prepared for that eventuality as their initial invasion that Hitler was clamoring for in Oct.-Nov. of 1939 would have resulted in at best a stalemate, and probably strategic defeat. You simply cannot argue that Hitler had a coherent strategy for a quick and decisive war when if he had actually had his way, Germany would have fought anything but..

Nickdfresh
10-11-2010, 08:28 PM
I disagree. You are focusing on a single issue among dozens. The air war in the Battle of France was important but not the sole decisive factor, and certainly not indicative of relative economic strengths. The Germans defeated the French by getting inside their decision cycle and initiating successive battles before the French could respond; that has nothing to do with economics.

Disagreeing with what? I'm providing an example of at least one decisive advantage the Germans had over the West. It certainly wasn't the sole decisive factor, but the breakthrough at the Sedan was in no small part enabled by the Luftwaffe. And France's Armťe de l'Air inability to destroy the vulnerable traffic jam of Heer vehicles in the Ardennes were no small factors in the Battle...

Actually, that's incorrect. Britain's economy was in far better shape than Germany's, and was, by 1940, out producing Germany in aircraft and ships. The British economy supported a Navy that was actually, by the end of 1939, strangling Germany's ability to import materials crucial to Germany's war production, while Germany could hardly scratch Britain's ability to import crucial materials. If that wasn't a significant threat to Germany, I don't know what was. Britain's manpower "disadvantage" had no real significance since Britain had no intention of challenging Germany on the continent, and German had no means of projecting it's manpower beyond Continental shores. If you really had studied the European war as much as you like to pretend, you'd realize that naval power trumps land power any day.

The British economy was also struggling to rearm and equip an Army that was essentially being reconstituted from scratch equipment-wise, and of course was producing more aircraft as the Luftwaffe started out with more, and had more modern types and wasn't beset by flying-coffins such as the Fairy Battle. Whether Britain's economy in better shape in 1939 or 1940 doesn't really matter as Germany now controlled the continent and was able to now pilfer resources from France, the Low Countries, Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc. Barbarossa, budding American support in 1940 after the shock of the defeat of France, and Pearl Harbor were the important factors here. Britain certainly had an interest in "staying on the continent" as evidenced by many of her actions following the ejection from France.

Britain could no longer challenge the Germans in Europe; it was not that she had "no interest" in doing so. There's a difference! Both the Kreigsmarine and Luftwaffe were waging an effective naval air-sea war of her own, though whether they would have been decisive enough to actually "starve Britain" in the long run is another matter. I agree the Kreigsmarine wouldn't, even with her Italian Allies and even if she had hypothetically seized what remained of the French fleet, been able to have challenged the Royal Navy directly for some time. But I think you'd have a hard time finding any sort of historian that would contend that Britain would have held out indefinitely without huge numbers of the German men and machines tied down in the inner recesses of the Soviet state--and without U.S. production of shipping, planes, tanks and the "Anglo-American Alliance" that Hitler so feared, yet made inevitable by his own actions...

Nickdfresh
10-11-2010, 08:47 PM
You're kidding? You read the forward while talking to "the girls" at the bookstore? Actually, there is a preface, and an introduction, but no forward in "Wages of Destruction". I thought maybe you'd at least read the Cliff's Notes version. Makes me wonder what are the other books in which you've read the forward?

I suggest you read the whole book before telling me what Tooze does or doesn't say.

And I suggest that you reread Tooze, including the preface and chapter II. Because you've obviously either missed a good deal of what he was saying; or you misrepresented specific parts of his text pertinent to the discussion in order to "win-an-argument-on-the-internet." Iím seriously wondering WTF you were reading at all!

For all your talk of "strategy" here, you seem to have either missed,or ignored, that Tooze goes a long way to state that Germany had no "strategic synthesis" of Blitzkrieg in the beginning of the Victory in the West - Sieg im Westen chapter. That is to say that there was no set plan of economic plan of production, military planning, nor a "coherent" geopolitical outlook prior to February of 1940 (the very date I actually posted here WITHOUT reading Tooze substantially) He also states that indeed Hitler was an 'epic gamble(r)' and refers to Hitler's 'gambles' numerous times in his text, using the same "adjective" you were so critical of me for using. You specifically seem to go a long way towards perpetrating the same "Blitzkrieg" strategic planning legends that Tooze goes a long way to dispel and seem to confuse the the fact that while Hitler may have had some sound reasons as to why he pushed for war against the Allies so early, he had no actual plans to conduct one and the "strategic synthesis" was more or less a myth used by both the Allies and Axis. For the French and British, it was a way to explain away their military incompetence in 1940, and the Germans enjoyed a mythic status of near invincibility. A notion that would lead to the seeds of their defeat on the Russian steppes and North African planes..


In fact, I never said the US was an "immediate" threat to Germany, I said that Hitler viewed the US as the "primary" threat to Germany. In fact, Tooze, early in the book, on pages 7-11, makes it plain that Hitler regarded the United States as the ultimate threat to Germany and the rest of Europe. According to Tooze, Hitler saw the struggle in Europe as merely the preparatory phase before a grand "war of the continents" could be successfully (for Germany) pursued. Of course no one could foresee Pearl Harbor in 1939, but that is irrelevant.

I never said you did, I merely put what Tooze is actually saying in his text in context. Because you so often fail to do so. Tooze does indeed state that Hitler regarded the United States (in his little mind run by 'hook-nosed' Jewy JEWS controlling the media, finance, etc.!) based on Hitler's Second Book as an "epic" adversary. But if Hitler couldn't foresee Pearl Harbor, he also couldn't foresee a rapid, complete victory over the Western Allies in 1939-1940. Indeed, his early actions nearly prevented one! There's a difference of what Hitler actually wished for, and how it was actually achieved.


Hitler's declaration of war against the US only acknowledged the inevitable in Hitler's mind, and the action was taken because he felt he could at least gain some temporary political advantage by declaring a war which he knew would eventually occur

Then he was a pretty shitty strategist that was out-of-touch with political realities upon reaching a certain level beyond his basic political competence. Because a better one would not have declared war and forced a potentially bitter debate within the United States...


Well, Hitler is completely beside the point that I am arguing. I disagree that he never abided by a coherent strategy, but I guess you can make that interpretation if you like. I don't think you will convince many who have actually studied Hitler's behavior. As for being impulsive, irrational, and bullheaded....so what? So were Roosevelt and Churchill at times.

Hitler is NOT completely beside the point! You brought him up first and Tooze focuses on him. Tooze questions Hitler's coherence at several points in his book, which was my only contention. He's just more articulate and better edited. And those that have studied Hitler's behavior, from the OSS to contemporary historians might well at least partially agree with me. And yes, both FDR and Churchill had their moments, but they didn't essentially dissolve the powers of their general staffs and both knew how to take advice...


No, that implication never emerged in your comments; it seemed more of a criticism of Japan for not standing by her Axis partner Germany. When someone writes; "Thank you, Japan!", it's difficult not to sense a certain rancor toward that country.

My only rancor is for Japan's Imperial policies that resulted in the deaths millions across Asia, including her own subjects/citizens.


As for gaining nothing, well, I'd hardly call gaining a three-front war an advantage. Japan's industrial and economic situation was really far too constrained to fight on a single front successfully, so not intervening in the German conflict with the Soviet Union made a lot of sense.

Well, Japan didn't actually have to go to war. Just appear as menacing as an army can while possessing few crappy tanks and little ability to contend with a mechanized, mobile enemy in open terrain favoring such warfareóin order to continue to tie down significant numbers of Soviet troops and tanks. Whether this would have made a difference in the end, but they were going to lose anyway...

Rising Sun*
10-12-2010, 08:14 AM
No, My reference to a "bureaucracy" was in response to your referencing people like Liddell Hart and Fuller, who, in my opinion try to put entirely too much emphasis on "defining" things like strategy, much like bureaucrats who develop their own mysterious terminology in an attempt to puff up what they are doing and mystify the uninitiated. Hart and Fuller, were, after all part of a military bureaucracy who were trying to keep themselves employed in tough times for the military.

Understood.

But the fact remains that the development of strategy at any level in any 20th and 21st century war or warlike action requires a huge bureaucratic effort, from the civil and military bureaucracies after the politicians have determined the aims.

The better the bureaucrats, in the sense of their grasp and analysis of all relevant factors, the better the strategy.


I sense we are just going to have to disagree on this.

Perhaps not.

It may be a case of each of us agreeing on what constitutes the elements and formulation of strategy but not on the elements of the fabric which, in my view, should clothe strategy as a fully formed suit.



To me, strategy is simply making assessments of a given situation and charting a logical course of action for getting from the current situation to some desired goal or objective.

Definitely.

But history is littered with so many failures in that regard, and most recently Iraq and Afghanistan. In the latter cases the first phase military strategy was sound and the execution brilliant, but there does seem to be an absence of any strategy beyond that point (in the sense of defining the aims before these long involvements which would justify and produce results from these long involvements). They’re not really all that much different to Japan’s doomed ribbon defence. Or Vietnam and other inadequately thought out exercises.

The common fault is the failure to do the first step in military operational and strategic planning: Define the aim.

At grand, or national if you prefer, strategy level the aim to be defined is the ultimate end point of the whole process. 'Go into Afghanistan and eliminate al Qaeda, then leave' is a clear aim. 'Go into Afghanistan and eliminate al Qaeda and convert Afghanistan into a democracy and stay there until we have done it and don't let the Taliban back in even if Karzai is going to negotiate a separate peace with them once he learns we're going to pull out' is not an aim but an ad hoc evolution which loses whatever the original aim was and makes it impossible to achieve the original aim, assuming anyone can remember what it was, and assures political parsimony in the commitment of forces while also assuring the continued presence of forces to avoid anyone thinking we've been beaten. And so on to no purpose because nobody knew what the aim was or when it had been achieved, unlike the 'Germany first' policy when Germany surrendered and the aim was achieved. The Marshall plan wasn't part of the aim, but something that followed in a different context.



You can talk about political strategy, military strategy, grand strategy, global strategy, universal strategy, this strategy, and that strategy; but what it all comes down to is the rather simple, straightforward, two-step process that I have suggested. Anything else is just trying to make your resume look more impressive.

I think it’s much more involved than that, in part for the reasons outlined by Liddell Hart in my earlier quote.

A nation which doesn’t devote its resources fully to victory and accept nothing less than victory isn’t going to have one. e.g. U.S. and allies in post-WWII conflicts such as Korea, Vietnam, Iraq 1 and II, Afghanistan and sundry minor conflicts.

So, because the numbnuts in the political or military didn’t think it through, we end up with potentially endless engagements in places of ultimately little significance like Vietnam and Afghanistan where we waste troops and resources in pursuit of ill-defined objectives (Vietnam was never intended to be more than holding the fort while, apart from the commendable objective of removing bin Laden et al, Afghanistan is equally inconclusive but with an even less clear long term initial objective).



As for Japan, prior to WW II it had a strategy in place to achieve it's goals and it was, given the Japanese leadership's understanding of the situation, a logical strategy. Unfortunately, the Japanese military and civilian leadership had accepted rather cursory assessment processes and the results of those assessments were erroneous assumptions that invalidated the strategic planning when it was put into practice.

Yes.

Exactly.

Japan began the war on the basis of so many things it got wrong in its assessments of its enemy, and how it thought the war would end in its favour.

I say that that was a spectacular failure at the grand strategy level.

Japan’s conduct of the war and its eventual defeat supports my view.

We can say that hindsight is marvellous here, or we can do the arithmetic on Japan’s merchant and naval shipping and conclude that Japan was buggered before it started. Even without looking at its determination to persist with pilot training which took much longer than American pilot training and sundry other aspects of Japan vs US where the US was overwhelmingly dominant and, worse, Japan knew that before it started the war.



Yes, another way of putting it is that the Japanese failed to do their "homework", and the result was a strategy based on unrealistic assumptions; same thing as I have always maintained. But to say the Japanese never considered strategic matters or war planning is incorrect, they just went about it in a way that replaced cold hard judgment, and acknowledgment of unpleasant facts, of with wishful thinking.

I agree largely with that statement, except that I think you’re being unduly kind to Japan in attributing its strategic assessment failures to wishful thinking.

For example, Tsujii’s flights over and plans for the Malayan invasion, along with Yamashita declining extra forces for that campaign, demonstrate an acute ability (or stunning luck) at staff level which translated into success at operational level.

Japanese military strategy and operations in the first phase were outstandingly successful. Wishful thinking had nothing to do with these great achievements. Every conquest was in pursuit of clear and sound plans for the southern advance.

The problem is that Japan’s superb military effectiveness in the first phase was not supported by a comprehensive and properly thought out (as distinct from based on false assumptions) grand strategy of which the military strategy was but one thread.

Even without the increasingly ad hoc deviations from the original firm and provisional aims up to Papua New Guinea, Japan’s grand strategy, to the extent it had one, was based on so many profound misunderstandings about its enemies and their capacity to wage war against Japan, and its own capacity to wage war and hold its conquests, that it reflected more of a wishlist about how the war would proceed and end rather than the requisite coldly objective strategic assessment.

I think that much of that can be laid at the door of rampant nationalistic thinking in Japan, which was not limited to the militarists, which created a degree of hubris which was reinforced immensely and fatally by its stunning successes in the first phase operations.

The delusions were compounded by the resurgence of notions of Bushido etc which elevated Japanese conceptions of themselves and their potential and were reinforced by the rampant racism towards and apparent victories over the Chinese from the 1920s onwards which also elevated Japanese self-conceptions. These and related factors encouraged the Japanese at all levels to believe that they were capable of considerably more than they were. A ‘reality check’ after four years of unsuccessful and inconclusive war in China should have told them that they weren’t really all that good, and that it was foolish to dilute their forces by thrusting south when their shipping resources were so precarious.

But, impelled by the oil embargoes and the consequent concerns about the erosion of their ability to wage war, they embarked on a war to gain the oil and other resources they needed to wage a war to, ultimately, retain the oil and other resources they needed to wage that war. The circularity in that strategy never seemed to penetrate the strategists’ thinking as they seemed to work on the basis that once they had the oil and other resources all problems would be solved by Japan being allowed to keep them. That makes about as much sense as a bank robber believing that if he can grab the money and hostages and stay in the bank long enough to outlast the law enforcement forces deployed to capture him, and who control what goes into the bank, he will win in time. Strategy it may be, but sound strategy it ain’t.