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DavisC12
02-12-2009, 08:43 PM
The Japanese probaly had the strongest military during WWII.Their navy was also incredibly powerful.It was by far the largest during the whole war.The Japanese also had considerible air power.

Nickdfresh
02-12-2009, 08:59 PM
Really?

Rising Sun*
02-12-2009, 09:14 PM
The Japanese probaly had the strongest military during WWII.Their navy was also incredibly powerful.It was by far the largest during the whole war.The Japanese also had considerible air power.

Care to elaborate, such as by letting us know the number of Japanese divisions deployed against the Allies in the Pacific and Burma theatres with, say, the number of Russian and German divisions, and comparing the USN fleet with the IJN fleet?

Chevan
02-13-2009, 12:29 AM
Really?
And how the has Japanese broke the US/UK otherwise during first year of war?

Chevan
02-13-2009, 12:44 AM
Care to elaborate, such as by letting us know the number of Japanese divisions deployed against the Allies in the Pacific and Burma theatres with, say, the number of Russian and German divisions, and comparing the USN fleet with the IJN fleet?
The numbers of divisions is not everything yet.You yourself wrote that Japanes were outstanding warriors.
Soviet did have an impressive number of division in 1941 , but poorly managed , they were not capable to stop Germans ( but , at lest, the German have been critically dalayed till the most winter, thus haven't finished barbarossa in time ).
If to look at the some yearly pacific balltes when Japanese were able to crush the superior forces ( kinda battle of Singapoo) , having twice less strenghts - the Japanes officer corp was acting like a professional one.( except whom have been "busy" , commited the crimes against civils and pows)

Rising Sun*
02-13-2009, 05:10 AM
The numbers of divisions is not everything yet.You yourself wrote that Japanes were outstanding warriors.

And as a nation they were outstandingly stupid in some respects, essentially revolving around a poor or virtually absent appreciation of the response of the US and Japan's ability to resist it and to hold what it grabbed in its initial advance phase.


Soviet did have an impressive number of division in 1941 , but poorly managed , they were not capable to stop Germans ( but , at lest, the German have been critically dalayed till the most winter, thus haven't finished barbarossa in time ).

Maybe, but the Soviets gave the Japanese a flogging in 1939 which was sufficiently harsh to discourage the Japanese from (a) attacking the Soviets in 1941 in pursuit of their primary objective of expanding into China and Siberia, deciding instead to go south, and (b) not attacking the USSR during the whole of the war.

If, as the OP asserts, Japan probably had the strongest military in WWII, it was careful to avoid any conflict with the supposedly weaker Soviets. Which doesn't suggest that Japan was stronger than the USSR.


If to look at the some yearly pacific balltes when Japanese were able to crush the superior forces ( kinda battle of Singapoo) , having twice less strenghts - the Japanes officer corp was acting like a professional one.( except whom have been "busy" , commited the crimes against civils and pows)

This brings us back to the problem of determining whether numerically superior forces were incompetent by being defeated by numerically inferior forces just by comparing the numbers, which goes back to your point that the numbers aren't everything, or whether one had to look at other factors.

In Malaya / Singapore Japan, on my analysis, actually had a numerical advantage where it mattered because the British and Commonwealth forces were dispersed in tactically bad positions to defend dispersed airfields and related areas. Japan, on the other hand, was able to concentrate its forces on an advance which largely ignored these areas which the defender had to defend, so that the defender's forces often were where the war wasn't.

It also needs to be recognised that Japan had huge air superiority; about 200 tanks against zero British tanks; generally battle hardened troops from China against green British troops; Japanese troops unified in their cause unlike elements of Britain's Indian troops; and the huge advantage of being able to land unopposed in the initial phases because Britain wanted to avoid being seen as an aggressor by invading Thailand to reinforce the beachheads where Japan was expected to, and did, land. If the attacker can get ashore completely unopposed; establish his beachhead; and advance many miles inland and past the defensible choke points before he encounters his enemy, the 3:1 or thereabouts ratio which favours the defender is irrelevant.

Japan's conquest of Malaya was a great piece of planning and soldiering, and put together very quickly by the relevant Japanese commanders, but if poor old General Percival had been given a free military hand to do what was necessary then Japan might not even have got past the Thai beachheads.

Carl Schwamberger
02-13-2009, 07:51 AM
Do I smell a troll???

Rising Sun*
02-13-2009, 08:15 AM
Do I smell a troll???

It is difficult to discriminate between the scent of a troll and a fool, for both spring from the same worthless womb.

Chevan
02-13-2009, 08:19 AM
In Malaya / Singapore Japan, on my analysis, actually had a numerical advantage where it mattered because the British and Commonwealth forces were dispersed in tactically bad positions to defend dispersed airfields and related areas. Japan, on the other hand, was able to concentrate its forces on an advance which largely ignored these areas which the defender had to defend, so that the defender's forces often were where the war wasn't.
It also needs to be recognised that Japan had huge air superiority; about 200 tanks against zero British tanks; generally battle hardened troops from China against green British troops

That i was meaning. The ability to concentrate the forces proper and fast is a right sign of professionalism of the command and officer corps.
The Bitain still had have enough troops in Asia.But hasn't concentrate it.
Honestly , their primitive "200 tanks" wasn't match even for ..dozen of Shermans, and might be destroyed with Molotov coctail,if to meet them proper.
Aslo the Singapore's garrison did has a number of Artillery,that could be used with better effect.
The other hand is - did even Brits want to resist Japane harsh?I heard the Gen Percival did not plan to defend the city seriously:)

Nickdfresh
02-13-2009, 07:44 PM
And how the has Japanese broke the US/UK otherwise during first year of war?

A lot of reasons, many of which involved a well executed, as well as a wasted opportunity, attack on Pearl Harbor which severally disrupted the US Navy's "Plan Orange" coupled with the "Germany First" policy that was agreed upon prior with Britain. The US Navy quicly realized that there was no hope of relieving the Philippines after Pearl..

I'm not saying the Japanese were terrible or anything, as soldiers they were excellent. But they lacked the industry, mechanization, and modern doctrine to wage a strategic war against first class powers...

Nickdfresh
02-13-2009, 07:56 PM
That i was meaning. The ability to concentrate the forces proper and fast is a right sign of professionalism of the command and officer corps.
The Bitain still had have enough troops in Asia.But hasn't concentrate it.

It doesn't matter. You can have all the troops in the world, but if they get cut off and are isolated, they're done for.

An interesting stat I recently read is the same amount of shipping that could sustain five (American) soldiers in the European Theatre could only sustain two in the Pacific because of the immense distances of the Pacific Ocean. One of the main reasons why the "Anglophobe" contingent, such as Admiral King, in the US Navy and Army were marginalized in strategic planning circles by 1942...


Honestly , their primitive "200 tanks" wasn't match even for ..dozen of Shermans, and might be destroyed with Molotov coctail,if to meet them proper.

The 200 tanks were effective against infantry that had few antitank weapons, and I believe they were coming out of the jungle with swarms of infantry support...


Aslo the Singapore's garrison did has a number of Artillery,that could be used with better effect.
The other hand is - did even Brits want to resist Japane harsh?I heard the Gen Percival did not plan to defend the city seriously:)

Not as much artillery as you might think, the British expected an amphibious landing and I believe the coastal guns were virtually useless against inland targets. I believe Percival also feared for the civilian population if he persisted vainly, as he had no hope of relief..

Chevan
02-16-2009, 12:49 AM
I'm not saying the Japanese were terrible or anything, as soldiers they were excellent. But they lacked the industry, mechanization, and modern doctrine to wage a strategic war against first class powers...

Nick , when they bombed Perl Harbour , they din't even look like they felt shortage of modern doctrine and mechanization;)
Their doctrine was effective , ther fleet and aviation were modern.

Chevan
02-16-2009, 01:35 AM
It doesn't matter. You can have all the troops in the world, but if they get cut off and are isolated, they're done for.

Singapore had a big stocks of ammunition and food.Japanes had not.
The CHurchil was in fury when has learned that Percival surrendered the city.
Besides you forgetting, that Yamashita himself had a shortage of supplies and amunition.
His attack was a .....pure bluff.But excellently organized bluff ( that again proves the hight professionalism of Japan corp).
BTW that what CHurchill wrote himself.

I think you ought to realise the way we view the situation in Singapore. It was reported to Cabinet by the C.I.G.S. [Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Alan Brooke] that Percival has over 100,000 [sic] men, of whom 33,000 are British and 17,000 Australian. It is doubtful whether the Japanese have as many in the whole Malay Peninsula… In these circumstances the defenders must greatly outnumber Japanese forces who have crossed the straits, and in a well-contested battle they should destroy them. There must at this stage be no thought of saving the troops or sparing the population. The battle must be fought to the bitter end at all costs. The 18th Division has a chance to make its name in history. Commanders and senior officers should die with their troops. The honour of the British Empire and of the British Army is at stake. I rely on you to show no mercy to weakness in any form. With the Russians fighting as they are and the Americans so stubborn at Luzon, the whole reputation of our country and our race is involved. It is expected that every unit will be brought into close contact with the enemy and fight it out
Obviously Percival didn't wish to die at all, neither with his troops nor in Japane camp alone:)
The Shame of Singapore just proves that at the moment, the British hight staff wasn't able to manage the troops proper.
Even the SOviet officer corp ( usialy claimed as "purged out from professionals") fought much more desperative in Kiev pocket to stop the GErmans advancing to East, that the British idiotic generals in Singapore.


An interesting stat I recently read is the same amount of shipping that could sustain five (American) soldiers in the European Theatre could only sustain two in the Pacific because of the immense distances of the Pacific Ocean. One of the main reasons why the "Anglophobe" contingent, such as Admiral King, in the US Navy and Army were marginalized in strategic planning circles by 1942...

But you are ignoring tha fact that Japanes also felt the same suppliing problems.
My attack on Singapore was a bluff - a bluff that worked. I had 30,000 men and was outnumbered more than three to one. I knew that if I had to fight for long for Singapore, I would be beaten. That is why the surrender had to be at once. I was very frightened all the time that the British would discover our numerical weakness and lack of supplies and force me into disastrous street fighting.
—- Tomoyuki Yamashita
You see, the Japanes themself was close to surrender indeed.
But they even can't to hope that the destiny presents them such a great "profesional" like a Percival.


The 200 tanks were effective against infantry that had few antitank weapons, and I believe they were coming out of the jungle with swarms of infantry support...

Oh don't make me to laugh ...
Their stupid "tanks" might be easy destroyed even with the 20 mm AA gun with all their "swarms of infantry"( endeed just couple of soldiers in best case)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/Bosjaptankbukitimah.jpg


Not as much artillery as you might think, the British expected an amphibious landing and I believe the coastal guns were virtually useless against inland targets. I believe Percival also feared for the civilian population if he persisted vainly, as he had no hope of relief..
You believed in vain, Nick..
The Coastal big caliber artillery ( that act around 360 degrees) endeed migh be very effective against infantry troops.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/15/Coastal_defence_gun_at_Singapore.jpg/439px-Coastal_defence_gun_at_Singapore.jpg
In Sevastopol during the last assault of 1942 , the ONLY Coastal artillery whole 2 months hold the superior german forces, leading by Mainstain ( the probably best general of ww2). Germans had to use the monstrous Karl and Dora guns to destroys the Coastal bunkers.
If the Persival was charged to defend the Sevasopol , the city would be surrender befor the GErmans even arrived to Crimea:)

Rising Sun*
02-16-2009, 03:56 AM
That i was meaning. The ability to concentrate the forces proper and fast is a right sign of professionalism of the command and officer corps.
The Bitain still had have enough troops in Asia.But hasn't concentrate it.

Percival couldn't concentrate his forces because he was forced to defend airfields dotted around Malaya in tactically bad positions, to prevent the Japanese landing troops on them. It wasn't his fault the airfields had been constructed in places virtually designed to create the maximum problem for a commander in disposing his forces.


Honestly , their primitive "200 tanks" wasn't match even for ..dozen of Shermans, and might be destroyed with Molotov coctail,if to meet them proper.

200 tanks of any type is 200 tanks better than an enemy with none, which is what Percival had. Or, more accurately, didn't have.


Aslo the Singapore's garrison did has a number of Artillery,that could be used with better effect.

No, that's an enduring myth.

The arcs of fire and ranges didn't reach where they needed to be to be of any real value in resisting the final Japanese assault on Singapore and the types of ammunition available weren't much help either as they were designed to resist naval ships attacking from the sea, not infantry attacking from the mainland.


The other hand is - did even Brits want to resist Japane harsh?I heard the Gen Percival did not plan to defend the city seriously:)

Percival did the best he could with what he had, which was a shithouse hand carefully dealt to him by Churchill who refused to provide Malaya command with what the chiefs of staff, and a very accurate pre-war assessement by a staff officer being Percival, rightly said was needed to defend Malaya from accurately anticipated Japanese attacks.

Maybe somebody else could have done a bit better than Percival, but the end result was always going to be the same.

What buggered Percival, and what would have buggered any other commander, in the end was the loss of water supply to Singapore, without which the defenders could not continue to fight and without which the civilian population would be subjected to dehydration and disease.

I have yet to see anyone come up with a solution to the absence of water for a force and population under siege. Until someone does, Percival can't be blamed for surrendering and, in my view, he made the right decision to minimise military and civilian suffering and death by surrendering instead of continuing a doomed defence.

Churchill deserves all the blame for losing Malaya, not poor bloody Percival who was hamstrung in his defence by Churchill from the outset by, chiefly, denying him the air forces he needed and preventing him initiating Matador until after the Japanese had attacked, which was at least 24 hours and probably 48 to 72 hours too late.

Rising Sun*
02-16-2009, 05:41 AM
Singapore had a big stocks of ammunition and food.Japanes had not.
The CHurchil was in fury when has learned that Percival surrendered the city.

Churchill's fury at the loss of Singapore and Malaya, which was almost entirely his fault through another of his spectacularly bad military tactical decisions (but not necessarily a bad strategic political decision by avoiding circumstances which would lose Malaya but avoid Britain being seen as the aggressor in isolationist America which might have influenced America to keep out of the war, ignoring Pearl Harbor which Churchill could not foresee - and I am not getting into the 'Churchill let Pearl Harbor happen to drag America into the war' conspiracy theory), does not demonstrate that Singapore had ample stocks of anything.

Churchill's reactions, beliefs and comments are not always accurate guides to the true situation.

For example, Churchill blamed the Australians for losing Malaya, of which Singapore was the last part. The fact that he did this does not demonstrate that Australians, who were a relatively small proportion of Britain's forces, actually managed to lose Malaya and Singapore all by themselves. They had some considerable assistance from the rather larger British and Indian forces who in most cases were also doing their best at the same time to resist the Japanese, also without any sign of continuing success.

Rational assessments of disasters brought about by his own actions or inaction were not Churchill's strong point, not that that makes him any different from most of us.



Besides you forgetting, that Yamashita himself had a shortage of supplies and amunition.

He didn't bother to tell Percival that before he unleashed a huge and sustained artillery attack to cover his amphibious assaults on Singapore.

The fact is that the Japanese very quickly brought up a lot of artillery ammunition for the assault, as they were very good in quickly bringing up ordnance and heavier weapons in their advance phase. Yamashita was a long way short of being down to his last artillery round when he attacked Singapore. He was actually adequately supplied for the assault he planned and succesfully executed, which is all a commander needs.


His attack was a .....pure bluff.But excellently organized bluff ( that again proves the hight professionalism of Japan corp).

It was not a bluff.

It was a serious, sustained and successful amphibous assault supported by artillery and, most people seem to be unaware, air attacks including on the coastal guns which are the focus of so much myth and which suppressed or put some of them out of action.

It was the Japanese troops who got ashore in large numbers and who pressed the defenders back who delivered the final blows, including getting control of the water supplies.

It was a series of vicious battles, and nothing like a bluff. Many men died and were injured on both sides during them.


BTW that what CHurchill wrote himself.

I think you ought to realise the way we view the situation in Singapore. It was reported to Cabinet by the C.I.G.S. [Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Alan Brooke] that Percival has over 100,000 [sic] men, of whom 33,000 are British and 17,000 Australian. It is doubtful whether the Japanese have as many in the whole Malay Peninsula… In these circumstances the defenders must greatly outnumber Japanese forces who have crossed the straits, and in a well-contested battle they should destroy them. There must at this stage be no thought of saving the troops or sparing the population. The battle must be fought to the bitter end at all costs. The 18th Division has a chance to make its name in history. Commanders and senior officers should die with their troops. The honour of the British Empire and of the British Army is at stake. I rely on you to show no mercy to weakness in any form. With the Russians fighting as they are and the Americans so stubborn at Luzon, the whole reputation of our country and our race is involved. It is expected that every unit will be brought into close contact with the enemy and fight it out

Big and empty words from an arrogant man who created the whole ****ing problem and who had no solution to it other than to demand that the poor bastards he'd put into a hopeless position should fight to the death in an unwinnable situation, from the man who denied Malaya the air support that lost the Repulse, Prince of Wales, Malaya and Singapore.

Churchill is full of shit in these statements.

As is his post-war statement to the effect that he didn't realise during the war how bad the situation was in Malaya before and during the campaign. Well, it was his ****ing job to know, particularly when he had excellent advice from his military advisers and he was making the decisions about what Malaya command could and could not have and do. He was an arrogant fool at best and a woefully negligent and incompetent leader at worst, Or maybe the other way around.

Churchill chose to give priority to things closer to home, notably the Med (where as far as I am aware he didn't, as apparently he did in Malaya, require several divisions to fight to the death to any purpose, let alone no good purpose). And so the poor bastards in Malaya were doomed from the outset and ended up in incredibly bad conditions as POWs of the Japanese.

But still poor old Percival gets blamed for being a poor commander and for losing Malaya.

If MacArthur had been hobbled with the same constraints as Percival, he would have lost in Papua New Guinea and would never have returned to the Philippines. And so on for other commanders.

Percival mightn't have been the best commander in WWII, but he was competent with what he had in a shithouse situation designed to deprive him of every element for a successful defence of Malaya, some of which came from Churchill and some of which came from other factors.

Percival doesn't deserve the ridicule and contempt which has been heaped upon him since he surrendered.

I'd like to see an armchair, or any other, general who could fight the Malayan campaign better and win when operating under all the constraints placed upon Percival.



Obviously Percival didn't wish to die at all, neither with his troops nor in Japane camp alone:)
The Shame of Singapore just proves that at the moment, the British hight staff wasn't able to manage the troops proper.
Even the SOviet officer corp ( usialy claimed as "purged out from professionals") fought much more desperative in Kiev pocket to stop the GErmans advancing to East, that the British idiotic generals in Singapore.

So what should Percival have done when he was on the verge of military defeat and having his troops and civilians in Singapore die from dehydration and disease?

Follow Churchill's idiotic demands about fighting to the last man so that the loss of Malaya, as well as being Britain's greatest military defeat, could also go down as losing every man in several divisions? And what would people then say of Percival? Call him The Butcher of Singapore, and so on, and revile him for ever more as the general who lost thousands of British soldiers to absolutely no point?

I think that Percival is one of the most unfortunate commanders in WWII, as are the troops under his command, as they are still subjected to unfair criticisms based on simplistic assessments of the Malayan campaign by people who have not studied it in even slight detail and who cling to untenable assertions and myths about Singapore, such as the various myths surrounding the coastal guns.

Well, here's a fact which never appears in all the uninformed comment about the coastal guns pointing the wrong way, which guns in fact in various emplacements could be and were brought to bear on the enemy attacking from the mainland: Percival, the supposedly stupid commander of the island with the guns supposedly pointing the wrong way, requested HE shells for the coastal guns before the war, to overcome the lack of effect of naval AP on infantry and counter-battery fire etc, but it was never supplied.


But you are ignoring tha fact that Japanes also felt the same suppliing problems.
My attack on Singapore was a bluff - a bluff that worked. I had 30,000 men and was outnumbered more than three to one. I knew that if I had to fight for long for Singapore, I would be beaten. That is why the surrender had to be at once. I was very frightened all the time that the British would discover our numerical weakness and lack of supplies and force me into disastrous street fighting.
—- Tomoyuki Yamashita

There is nothing unusual in military history in commanders at the limit of their resources gambling everything on one final assault. Sometimes it works and they are heroes, sometimes it doesn't and they are fools. Both assessments ignore the realities of the difficulties facing commanders in these situations. Rommel was perhaps the greatest gambler of WWII but most people think he was a genius when often he was just lucky, and they ignore his failures and poor planning.


You see, the Japanes themself was close to surrender indeed.

I think you omitted a smiley there. ;)

Wizard
01-12-2010, 08:13 PM
The Japanese probaly had the strongest military during WWII.Their navy was also incredibly powerful.It was by far the largest during the whole war.The Japanese also had considerible air power.

And the evidence for that statement is....what?

That they defeated a poorly trained and ineptly led army in the Philippines?

That they defeated a poorly trained and ineptly led Army in Malaya/Singapore?

That it took the USN five months to stop them cold in the Southwest Pacific?

That it took the USN six months and only one major battle to seize the initiative from them in the Pacific?

That the Japanese were not once able to defeat an amphibious assault?

The Japanese Navy never ranked as more than the third largest during the war and by the end didn't exist at all.

I would submit that the Japanese military and naval forces, though fanatically courageous as individuals, were collectively hopeless amateurs at the art of modern warfare.

herman2
01-13-2010, 11:58 AM
And the evidence for that statement is....what?

That they defeated a poorly trained and ineptly led army in the Philippines?

That they defeated a poorly trained and ineptly led Army in Malaya/Singapore?

That it took the USN five months to stop them cold in the Southwest Pacific?

That it took the USN six months and only one major battle to seize the initiative from them in the Pacific?

That the Japanese were not once able to defeat an amphibious assault?

The Japanese Navy never ranked as more than the third largest during the war and by the end didn't exist at all.

I would submit that the Japanese military and naval forces, though fanatically courageous as individuals, were collectively hopeless amateurs at the art of modern warfare.

How often I hear people saying, it took USA only 3 mths to do this to the Japanese and it took the USA only 2 weeks to do this and that to the Germans……What you are forgetting is that while Germany and Japan were actively engaged at war for years prior to the introduction of USA into the war, they had spread their troops and lost a lot of troops and gear during the years Japan invaded China etc, and Germany advanced into Russia etc… the USA did nothing before the axis countries were actively engaged in war. THE USA entered the war after the axis had already been heavily involved for years already with various other countries. I am sure if the war last 10 years that a country like Lichtenstein could have easily joined the war and claim to win battle after battle over the axis countries, and people would boast that Japan and Germany were amateurs cause Lichtenstein beat them in battle so easily.I wonder if USA never entered the war, who would have won!

Wizard
01-13-2010, 04:13 PM
How often I hear people saying, it took USA only 3 mths to do this to the Japanese and it took the USA only 2 weeks to do this and that to the Germans……What you are forgetting is that while Germany and Japan were actively engaged at war for years prior to the introduction of USA into the war, they had spread their troops and lost a lot of troops and gear during the years Japan invaded China etc, and Germany advanced into Russia etc… the USA did nothing before the axis countries were actively engaged in war. THE USA entered the war after the axis had already been heavily involved for years already with various other countries. I am sure if the war last 10 years that a country like Lichtenstein could have easily joined the war and claim to win battle after battle over the axis countries, and people would boast that Japan and Germany were amateurs cause Lichtenstein beat them in battle so easily.I wonder if USA never entered the war, who would have won!

Well, let's see. I'm not sure of your argument here; are you disputing the facts, or merely looking for reasons to rationalize the poor performance of the Japanese military in the Pacific in mid-1942?

First, let's specify that I was only addressing the relative performance of the Japanese and Americans in the Pacific Theater, and that the German situation in Europe is irrelevant to this discussion.

With that as a starting point, it seems that your main point is that the Japanese military suffered crippling losses in their war with China, which they weren't able to make good before their attack on Pearl Harbor. I must admit I wasn't aware of this aspect of the Second Sino-Japanese war. After many years of studying the Japanese, both before and during the Pacific War, I was under the impression, that they, while not being able to subdue China, more or less had things their own way militarily. But as you assert otherwise, perhaps you could enlighten me as to how many Japanese divisions were destroyed in China prior to December, 1941? And since the US was mainly fighting the Japanese Navy in the Pacific, perhaps you could also tell me how many major Fleet units the Japanese Navy lost in China before Pearl Harbor? Also it would be instructive to know how many Japanese air units were rendered nonoperational by the Chinese.

It seems to me that the Japanese military did well against the American and Filipino troops in the Philippines, and certainly experienced little trouble against the British forces in Malaya/Singapore. Furthermore, in the tomes I have read on these campaigns, the historians, rather than dwelling on the debilitating Japanese experiences in China, credit their activities with hardening the Japanese troops and endowing them with an overwhelming advantage due to priceless combat experience in China; an experience, BTW, which was sadly lacking in American troops in the Pacific.

Moreover, it must be pointed out that not only did Japanese forces gain excellent combat experience in China, but that by striking first, and unexpectedly, they gained the initiative over American forces in the Pacific, allowing them to concentrate their forces and strike at places and times of their choosing.

Finally, I think it proper to remember that the Americans were fighting a two-front war, and that less than 20% of American war material and equipment was allocated to the Pacific Theater during the first year of the war. Figuratively, the Americans in the PTO in the early stages of the war were fighting with one hand tied behind their back.

Seriously, unless you are prepared to argue that the Japanese experienced crippling losses to their Army, Navy and air forces in China between July, 1937, and December, 1941, I just don't think your statements have much merit. In any event, the facts speak for themselves; the Japanese military was stopped cold in the Pacific during the months of May/June, 1942, by American military forces of superior quality. This fact certainly does not support the idea that the Japanese fielded the "best" military during WW II.

Nickdfresh
01-13-2010, 07:05 PM
...In any event, the facts speak for themselves; the Japanese military was stopped cold in the Pacific during the months of May/June, 1942, by American military forces of superior quality. This fact certainly does not support the idea that the Japanese fielded the "best" military during WW II.

The Japanese weren't necessarily stopped by "superior quality" in 1942, they were stopped by (increasingly) superior tactics and firepower as by Guadalcanal, the myth of IJA superiority on land died a hard death as they were unable to cope with US infantry organic firepower and artillery. The Japanese were no longer able to launch offensive operations on land against dug in US Marine and Army infantry after 1942. However, it should be noted that when the high command, under the likes of Gen. Kuribayashi, finally realized their best option was to not launch suicidal and idiotic "Banzai charges," it was to draw down US ground forces via a bitter battle of attrition where intricate fortifications volcanic and mountainous terrain largely negated the massive US advantage in mobility and firepower. The Imperial Japanese Army and Naval Fleet Landing forces proved they were able to not only fight as mindlessly fanatics--but to fight fanatically AND smarter. There was a very real concern that the fierce resistance posted against the Americans could lead to a protracted and bloody ground campaign to conquer Japan that could possibly lead to the American population demanding something short of an unconditional surrender, and a negotiated settlement.

I agree overall with the premise of the Japanese soldiers' duality. One side being the courageous fanatic that truly "fought to the last bullet, to the last man"; and I alternately agree to him as the "dangerous amateur" adhering to a fraudulent Code of Bushido and one who was more successful at getting himself impaled on a bullet or a piece of shrapnel than actually defeating a modern mechanized force in combat. But this doesn't mean that protracted in bloody infantry fights--where US technology, numbers, and mobility could be marginalized--the Japanese soldier couldn't inflict appalling casualties and successfully attrit US ground forces, and perhaps even the Navy, if the War had gone onto Honshu. This could have possibly led to political consequences, and a slightly more ignominious end to the War in the eyes of some US planners of "Downfall." Fortunately, we'll never know...

Rising Sun*
01-13-2010, 08:42 PM
I wonder if USA never entered the war, who would have won!

In Eastern Europe, who knows? Without America to contend with, Japan might well have pursued its preferred plan of pushing into Siberia at the end of 1941 instead of going south. This may have improved Germany's chances against the Soviets in the west, although the Soviets may have had adequate forces already deployed against Japan. But given the circumstances which impelled Japan to war, it had to be the war which actually happened as attacking Siberia would not have done anything to relieve Japan of the embargoes or give it access to the NEI oil and other resources it needed southwards to overcome the Allied embargoes.

In Western Europe, probably Germany, and certainly Germany if the Soviets were defeated.

In the Pacific, if Japan went the route it actually did, Japan would have won hands down without America coming in. Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Portugal had no hope of regaining their colonial possessions from the Japanese. Australia probably could not have resisted an invasion without American support, although that depends on where the Japanese landed and how many troops they used.

It was primarily America which won the Pacific war, as distinct from the war against Japan as that involved other Allies in China, Burma and the Indian Ocean, with useful help from Australia, the Netherlands, and Britain, in that order.

The non-US Allies did not have the military, naval, air, merchant naval capacity and industrial capacity to undertake the offensive phase of the war against Japan beyond New Guinea from 1944 onwards.

Without that offensive phase, Japan would still be in the NEI.

Wizard
01-13-2010, 10:47 PM
The Japanese weren't necessarily stopped by "superior quality" in 1942, they were stopped by (increasingly) superior tactics and firepower as by Guadalcanal, the myth of IJA superiority on land died a hard death as they were unable to cope with US infantry organic firepower and artillery. The Japanese were no longer able to launch offensive operations on land against dug in US Marine and Army infantry after 1942. However, it should be noted that when the high command, under the likes of Gen. Kuribayashi, finally realized their best option was to not launch suicidal and idiotic "Banzai charges," it was to draw down US ground forces via a bitter battle of attrition where intricate fortifications volcanic and mountainous terrain largely negated the massive US advantage in mobility and firepower. The Imperial Japanese Army and Naval Fleet Landing forces proved they were able to not only fight as mindlessly fanatics--but to fight fanatically AND smarter. There was a very real concern that the fierce resistance posted against the Americans could lead to a protracted and bloody ground campaign to conquer Japan that could possibly lead to the American population demanding something short of an unconditional surrender, and a negotiated settlement.

Actually, I believe the Japanese were stopped by superior quality naval forces in the May/June 1942, time frame. These were the naval battles of Coral Sea and Midway, of which I was speaking. And by "quality" I mean in the widest possible sense of the word. The IJN was certainly no pushover during this period, but the USN proved slightly better, not in every area, mind you, but in the areas that happened to count. American naval pilots were slightly better trained, (but much less experienced) than Japanese naval pilots particularly in the areas of carrier doctrine, scouting, team tactics, aerial gunnery, and fleet air defense. American naval officers were better at planning, fleet tactics, engineering, and intelligence The IJN was no doubt far more skilled in small unit night fighting, and torpedo tactics, but as it eventuated, these areas did not assume a great deal of importance until later in the year.

In the Guadalcanal campaign, beginning in August, the Japanese faced troops with superior equipment, superior tactics, and superior supporting arms, for the first time since August, 1939, when the Soviets bested them at Nomahan. In later years, when the Japanese were on the defensive in the Pacific, they developed better defensive tactics, but never really figured out how to defeat an amphibious assault or stop a ground campaign; all they could realistically hope for was to inflict heavy casualties on their attackers


I agree overall with the premise of the Japanese soldiers' duality. One side being the courageous fanatic that truly "fought to the last bullet, to the last man"; and I alternately agree to him as the "dangerous amateur" adhering to a fraudulent Code of Bushido and one who was more successful at getting himself impaled on a bullet or a piece of shrapnel than actually defeating a modern mechanized force in combat. But this doesn't mean that protracted in bloody infantry fights--where US technology, numbers, and mobility could be marginalized--the Japanese soldier couldn't inflict appalling casualties and successfully attrit US ground forces, and perhaps even the Navy, if the War had gone onto Honshu. This could have possibly led to political consequences, and a slightly more ignominious end to the War in the eyes of some US planners of "Downfall." Fortunately, we'll never know...

No, we'll never know what the ultimate ground battle would have been like, thanks to the atomic bombs. I suspect, however, that the Japanese would have lost after inflicting heavy casualties. I doubt very seriously that it would have been enough to win them any concessions at the negotiating table.

When I mentioned the Japanese soldier as being fanatically courageous, I was thinking of the average grunt in the field; his officers, going all the way up to the staff honchos, were the ones I was thinking of as amateurs. None of the senior officers, after the first six months seemed to have a clue as to what modern warfare was all about. Their standard solution to every problem seemed to be to exhort every one to "try harder".

Wizard
01-13-2010, 11:30 PM
In Eastern Europe, who knows? Without America to contend with, Japan might well have pursued its preferred plan of pushing into Siberia at the end of 1941 instead of going south. This may have improved Germany's chances against the Soviets in the west, although the Soviets may have had adequate forces already deployed against Japan. But given the circumstances which impelled Japan to war, it had to be the war which actually happened as attacking Siberia would not have done anything to relieve Japan of the embargoes or give it access to the NEI oil and other resources it needed southwards to overcome the Allied embargoes.

The Japanese actually made their decision to "go South" in July, 1940, with the adoption of the "The Principles to Cope with Changing World Situation" as national policy. At the same they accepted the possibility (actually near inevitability) of war with the US and Britain, and began measures to mobilize industry, the Navy, and the civilian population and to stockpile strategic materials. The Japanese were aware that the international conditions would probably never again be as favorable to them as at that moment. Japan was also aware of the USN's expansion program; a program which would, in a matter of less than three years, make it virtually impossible to complete their plans. It was this American naval expansion program that drove the Japanese schedule for their plans of conquest of the SRA. They calculated that the USN's new ships would start coming off the ways no later than mid-1943, therefore it was necessary for the Japanese to fight and resolve any war with the US before that time frame.

So the prerequisites for their policy were;

1. A stabilization of relations with Soviet Russia.

2. A military alliance with Germany and Italy.

3. Early resolution of the Chinese war.

4. Acquisition of bases in Indochina from which to strike at British and Dutch defenses in the SRA.

In practical terms, the IJN began preparing immediately for war with the US and Britain. The Tri-Partite Pact with Germany and Italy was signed in September, 1940, and a Neutrality Treaty was signed with the Soviet Union in April, 1941.

See; http://ibiblio.org/pha/monos/146/index.html

Rising Sun*
01-14-2010, 03:18 AM
The Japanese actually made their decision to "go South" in July, 1940, with the adoption of the "The Principles to Cope with Changing World Situation" as national policy.

But the Siberian option was still actively considered and remained a possibility after that. It became a stronger possibility after Germany attacked the USSR in mid-1941.

It wasn't until the Imperial Conference of 2 July 1941 that a final decision was made to go south, and then only after arguments were put in favour of the Siberian option.

Summary here http://www.jacar.go.jp/english/nichibei/popup/pop_10.html and policy here http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/PTO/Dip/IR-410702.html.

Policy paragraph 2 still leaves the Siberian option open for the future.

"The Imperial Government will continue its effort to effect a settlement of the China Incident and seek to establish a solid basis for the security and preservation of the nation. This will involve an advance into the Southern Regions and, depending on future developments, a settlement of the Soviet Question as well."

The Kwantung Army was being beefed during 1941, which was consistent with a possible assault on Siberia.

A contemporary US assessment considered that the Kwantung Army could well attack in Siberia independently of Tokyo's policy, which would be consistent with the Kwantung Army's previous conduct. See paragraph 6 at
http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/timeline/411021amie.html

Nickdfresh
01-14-2010, 01:33 PM
But the Siberian option was still actively considered and remained a possibility after that. It became a stronger possibility after Germany attacked the USSR in mid-1941.

It wasn't until the Imperial Conference of 2 July 1941 that a final decision was made to go south, and then only after arguments were put in favour of the Siberian option.

Summary here http://www.jacar.go.jp/english/nichibei/popup/pop_10.html and policy here http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/PTO/Dip/IR-410702.html.

Policy paragraph 2 still leaves the Siberian option open for the future.

"The Imperial Government will continue its effort to effect a settlement of the China Incident and seek to establish a solid basis for the security and preservation of the nation. This will involve an advance into the Southern Regions and, depending on future developments, a settlement of the Soviet Question as well."

The Kwantung Army was being beefed during 1941, which was consistent with a possible assault on Siberia.

A contemporary US assessment considered that the Kwantung Army could well attack in Siberia independently of Tokyo's policy, which would be consistent with the Kwantung Army's previous conduct. See paragraph 6 at
http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/timeline/411021amie.html

Yeah, as I recall, the Imperial Army was chomping at the bit to get at the Soviets in conjunction with the coming German offensive, and it was the Navy strongly arguing in favor of the option of the "Go South" war-plan...

I'll have more later...

Wizard
01-14-2010, 06:59 PM
But the Siberian option was still actively considered and remained a possibility after that. It became a stronger possibility after Germany attacked the USSR in mid-1941.

It wasn't until the Imperial Conference of 2 July 1941 that a final decision was made to go south, and then only after arguments were put in favour of the Siberian option.

Summary here http://www.jacar.go.jp/english/nichibei/popup/pop_10.html and policy here http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/PTO/Dip/IR-410702.html.

Policy paragraph 2 still leaves the Siberian option open for the future.

"The Imperial Government will continue its effort to effect a settlement of the China Incident and seek to establish a solid basis for the security and preservation of the nation. This will involve an advance into the Southern Regions and, depending on future developments, a settlement of the Soviet Question as well."

I think the July 2, 1941, Conference was reiterating a decision which had already been made in 1940. Preparations for the the move to the South had been underway since early September, 1940. I note the "Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere" (GEACPS) was announced at this conference as cover for Japaneses intentions. Certainly, this was not something that flashed into full conception on the same day the Move South decision was made. In effect, the Japanese were well along in their plans to seize the SRA and were simply affirming their intention.

However, I agree that the "Move North " option was still being debated especially by the IJA because of the German attack on the Soviet Union. Things were happening fast in that particular time period and the Japanese did not want to prematurely foreclose any options that might suddenly become more appealing


The Kwantung Army was being beefed during 1941, which was consistent with a possible assault on Siberia.

Yes, because the IJA had never completely given up on the possibility of an attack on the Soviets, even after, maybe particularly after, they had signed the neutrality treaty with the Soviet Union.


A contemporary US assessment considered that the Kwantung Army could well attack in Siberia independently of Tokyo's policy, which would be consistent with the Kwantung Army's previous conduct. See paragraph 6 at
http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/timeline/411021amie.html

I agree, it was probably viewed as possibility by the US planners. The Japanese, on their part, also saw a distinct possibility of a joint US-Soviet air and submarine campaign aimed at Japanese interests, and operating out of Soviet bases in Siberia. It should also be noted that the B-17's sent to the Philippines could not possibly effectively bomb Japan without the cooperation of the Soviet Union in providing bases in Siberia. No country involved in this area could afford to ignore the confusing array of possible conflicts and alliances that might arise in this region, but that doesn't mean Japan, or any other country, held concrete plans for either a military confrontation, or cooperation, with the Soviets.

Nickdfresh
01-14-2010, 11:08 PM
Actually, I believe the Japanese were stopped by superior quality naval forces in the May/June 1942, time frame. These were the naval battles of Coral Sea and Midway, of which I was speaking. And by "quality" I mean in the widest possible sense of the word. The IJN was certainly no pushover during this period, but the USN proved slightly better, not in every area, mind you, but in the areas that happened to count. American naval pilots were slightly better trained, (but much less experienced) than Japanese naval pilots particularly in the areas of carrier doctrine, scouting, team tactics, aerial gunnery, and fleet air defense. American naval officers were better at planning, fleet tactics, engineering, and intelligence The IJN was no doubt far more skilled in small unit night fighting, and torpedo tactics, but as it eventuated, these areas did not assume a great deal of importance until later in the year.

I don't know exactly where you ever divined that American carrier pilots were "better trained" than they Japanese foes. Everything I've ever read or heard on the subject indicates a very clear, concise, and very palpable Japanese superiority early in the War. While the American pilots were also certainly no pushovers, they clearly were inferior to the IJN aviators at first. What benefit was their training if the Japanese had vastly more experience anyways? It wasn't really until after Midway that the American Navy began to field experienced, superior pilots simply because the US pilot training system could not only make good its losses, but could expand the pilot base even in the face of much greater losses than they were sustaining as the Japanese qualified pilot numbers withered...

And I would also contend the the notion that American offers "were better at planning?" Planning what? A series of haphazard tactical defeats around Iron Bottom Sound? Yes, indeed the Japanese were vastly superior at night fighting in 1942, because they had a damn fine navy with very highly trained, elite personnel. The difference was American mass production and shipbuilding that could make good losses whereas the Japanese had most of the fleet they would ever have at the beginning of the War, and they certainly were cognizant of this fact. USN training and leadership caught up, and even surpassed the Japanese, but not by June of 1942...

Incidentally, there is something that is missing from this conversation. The massive advantage the USN enjoyed in their bevy of intelligence as the codes had been broken, and they largely knew the Japanese plan (to attack "AN," aka Midway) as it unfolded. Now, of course this does not in anyway detract from the glorious victory the US Navy won at Midway; because it was won by: courage, seamanship, superior use of reconnaissance assets, and the dedication of the aircrews. But let's face it, man. The breaking of the Japanese codes was a huge trump card! American naval aviators were in many respects flying inferior machines and launching shitty torpedoes and could not match the early Japanese expert skill in a combined air fleet attack until probably 1943. They were brave and aggressive, but not as skilled for a while..


In the Guadalcanal campaign, beginning in August, the Japanese faced troops with superior equipment, superior tactics, and superior supporting arms, for the first time since August, 1939, when the Soviets bested them at Nomahan.

I only partially agree. Superior equipment, supporting arms: yes. Superior tactics? Not so much. The Japanese were expert jungle fighters and were certainly a match for the marines and soldiers (ARNG) on Guadalcanal. When using proper infiltration tactics, the Japs were deadly and could be quite difficult to stop. It should be noted that when the main epic, pivotal battle took place around Henderson Field, the Japanese units had marched for days through the Jungle on little food or water, and became disoriented in the nighttime attack (as any formation would) in their desperate attempt to eject the marines, which is why they were decimated. But we can also argue that US forces benefited from much better shipping and resupply while the IJA was slowly starved--and even then--the emaciated soldiers of the Emperor still offered tough going for the final clearing of Guadalcanal...


In later years, when the Japanese were on the defensive in the Pacific, they developed better defensive tactics, but never really figured out how to defeat an amphibious assault or stop a ground campaign; all they could realistically hope for was to inflict heavy casualties on their attackers

Well of course! The US had naval and air superiority, and vastly greater firepower. How could they defeat an amphibious assault when even the Heer and SS couldn't at Anzio--even when the Germans enjoyed parody in the air and armored superiority on the ground? The only sensible thing to do for Japanese garrisons was to offer difficult, intractable resistance in order to bleed the US forces white. Okinawa for instance was a classic example of avoiding US firepower and mobile superiority using deception and terrain...


No, we'll never know what the ultimate ground battle would have been like, thanks to the atomic bombs. I suspect, however, that the Japanese would have lost after inflicting heavy casualties. I doubt very seriously that it would have been enough to win them any concessions at the negotiating table.

Perhaps. The Japanese would have broken at some point. Probably when US Pershing and Sherman tanks were rolling up the Tokyo Plain with no way for the IJA to stop them...


When I mentioned the Japanese soldier as being fanatically courageous, I was thinking of the average grunt in the field; his officers, going all the way up to the staff honchos, were the ones I was thinking of as amateurs. None of the senior officers, after the first six months seemed to have a clue as to what modern warfare was all about. Their standard solution to every problem seemed to be to exhort every one to "try harder".


Some were and some weren't. But I believe as the War went on, the more realistic and competent Japanese commanders where allowed to rise to the top. Kuribayashi was a prime example of this and was thought highly of by his marine counterparts, who actively searched for his body on Iwo in order to bury it was honors...

Wizard
01-15-2010, 12:46 AM
I don't know exactly where you ever divined that American carrier pilots were "better trained" than they Japanese foes. Everything I've ever read or heard on the subject indicates a very clear, concise, and very palpable Japanese superiority early in the War. While the American pilots were also certainly no pushovers, they clearly were inferior to the IJN aviators. What benefit was their training if the Japanese had vastly more experience anyways? It wasn't really until after Midway that the American Navy began to field experienced, superior pilots simply because the US pilot training system could not only make good its losses, but could expand the pilot base even in the face of much greater losses than they were sustaining...

I didn't divine it, I did some careful questioning of American naval pilots who participated in the early battles in the South Pacific, one of whom happened to be my father (he flew SBD's until early 1943). And I carefully read a number of books by historians who actually did some scholarship before writing their books. Only the greenest of USN pilots were generally inferior to Japanese naval pilots. American naval pilots were far better trained in aerial gunnery, for example, assiduously practicing deflection shooting, of which the Japanese pilots usually had only a rudimentary training. American pilots also had, for the most part, better overwater navigation skills, and were much better trained in team tactics, something the Japanese never spent much time on. Some Japanese had picked up elements of these skills on their own, not as a result of training courses, but this was haphazard, and not uniform within the ranks of Japanese pilots. Most of the Japanese didn't have "vastly more experience"; a few had a few hundred hours in combat over China, but most had very little such experience. Some American pilots had well over thousand hours in type. My father, for example, had been in the US navy for over two years and had 960 hours in dive bombers, much of it in the SBD.


And I would also contend the the notion that American offers "were better at planning?" Planning what? A series of haphazard tactical defeats around Iron Bottom Sound? Yes, indeed the Japanese were vastly superior at night fighting in 1942, because they had a damn fine navy with very highly trained, elite personnel. The difference was American mass production and shipbuilding that could make good losses whereas the Japanese had most of the fleet they would ever have at the beginning of the War, and they certainly were cognizant of this fact.

If you think that's all the USN experienced during 1942, then you are dead wrong.

American carrier officers were not only better at carrier doctrine, but surface warfare officers were better at screening major units, ASW, and fleet air defense. The US planning that went into Coral Sea and Midway was clearly far better than the bungling approach of the IJN. As an example, the Japanese deployed a major portion of their navy at Midway with the intention of annihilating the American Pacific Fleet, yet their planning was so poor they were able to bring their firepower to bear on only a single American ship. They wouldn't even have been able to sink that ship, if it hadn't been for the fortuitous intervention of a Japanese submarine. Yeah, they were real good at planning.

I've already acknowledged that the Japanese were better at night fighting, particularly with small units. But the skirmishes that took place in the Solomons during the latter half of 1942 were not strategically significant. Take Savo Island, for example, a clear Japanese victory, but it didn't stop, or even delay the landing on Guadalcanal and the Japanese failed to even attack the real target, the American transports. Good planning again.


Incidentally, there is something that is missing from this conversation. The massive advantage the USN enjoyed in their bevy of intelligence as the codes had been broken, and they largely knew the Japanese plan (to attack "AN," aka Midway) as it unfolded. Now, of course this does not in anyway detract from the glorious victory the US Navy won at Midway, because it was won by: courage, seamanship, superior use of reconnaissance assets, and the dedication of the aircrews. But let's face it man, the breaking of the Japanese codes was a huge trump card! American naval aviators were in many respects flying inferior machines and launching shitty torpedoes and could not match the early Japanese expert skill in a combined air fleet attack until probably 1943...

Yes, intelligence was another skill in which the Americans clearly outclassed the Japanese, and if you had read my last post, you'd know I mentioned it. Well, the American aircraft may have been marginally inferior to Japanese naval aircraft, but you sure couldn't tell it by the relative losses in battle. You'll find it difficult to name a carrier battle in which the American aircraft losses were greater than the Japanese losses in 1942. Aerial torpedoes? Yep, definitely inferior to Japanese torpedoes in 1942, so what? Of the four carrier battles in 1942, the edge definitely went to the USN; the Japanese lost 4 CV's and 2CVL's to 3 CV's lost on the American side. Given the relative productive capacities of the US and Japan, that's not exactly a comforting ratio for the Japanese.


I only partially agree. Superior equipment, supporting arms: yes. Superior tactics? Not so much. The Japanese were expert jungle fighters and were certainly a match for the marines and soldiers (ARNG) on Guadalcanal.

The Japanese were expert jungle fighters on Guadalcanal? A match for the Marines and soldiers? Where do you get that?

You're probably thinking of the Japanese troops who were specially trained in jungle warfare on Formosa and Hainan, and who defeated the poorly trained, shabbily equipped, and ineptly led British, Australian, and Indian troops in Malaya and Singapore. Not the Japanese troops encountered on Guadalcanal, who tended to get lost in the jungle on that island.

The Marines and soldiers on Guadalcanal defeated the Japanese in every major ground battle on Guadalcanal, and in every case inflicted far more casualties than they suffered. Not once did the Japanese on Guadalcanal break an American defensive line, nor did their infiltration tactics ever produce any significant results. The Japanese on Guadalcanal fought like hopeless amateurs, the annihilation of the Ichiki Detachment being a case in point.


When using proper infiltration tactics, the Japs were deadly and could be quite difficult to stop. It should be noted that when the main epic, pivotal battle took place around Henderson Field, the Japanese units had marched for days through the Jungle on little food or water, and became disoriented in the nighttime attack (as any formation would) in their desperate attempt to eject the marines, which is why they were decimated. But we can also argue that US forces benefited from much better shipping and resupply while the IJA was slowly starved--and even then--the emaciated soldiers of the Emperor still offered tough going for the final clearing of Guadalcanal...

In reality, several of the Japanese main units involved in the major ground battles around Henderson Field got lost in the jungle and either got into the battle late, or never arrived at all. The Japanese troops were decimated (actually much worse than that) because the Japanese plans were unrealistic, unimaginative, and very poorly coordinated. The disparity in logistics was a symptom of superior American planning. But even though it was far superior to the haphazard Japanese effort, the American logistics could have been much better organized; the Japanese would have never had any chance at all if that had been the case.


Well of course! The US had naval and air superiority, and vastly greater firepower. How could they defeat an amphibious assault when even the Heer and SS couldn't at Anzio--even when the Germans enjoyed parody in the air and armored superiority on the ground?

I think you mean "parity"; "parody" is a form of satire.

It's a given that defenders will almost always face air superiority and enemy control of the sea, since those two things are considered mandatory pre-requisites for successful assault landings. However, the Allies twice defeated Japanese amphibious assaults, three times if you count the "Battle of the Points" on Luzon, and in every case, the Japanese enjoyed control of the sea and air.


The only sensible thing to do for Japanese garrisons was to offer difficult, intractable resistance in order to bleed the US forces white. Okinawa for instance was a classic example of avoiding US firepower and mobile superiority using deception and terrain...

And still it didn't work; the American Marines and soldiers on Okinawa ended up hunting down and killing the Japanese defenders like so many burrowing rabbits.


Some were and some weren't. But I believe as the War went on, the more realistic and competent Japanese commanders where allowed to rise to the top. Kuribayashi was a prime example of this and was thought highly of by his marine counterparts, who actively searched for his body on Iwo in order to bury it was honors...

Maybe so, but he was one of the very few who seemed to understand they couldn't win, and resolved to simply take with him as many of the enemy as he could.

Nickdfresh
01-15-2010, 11:02 AM
I didn't divine it, I did some careful questioning of American naval pilots who participated in the early battles in the South Pacific, one of whom happened to be my father (he flew SBD's until early 1943).

My regards and respect to your father for his service. But asking a pilot who the best pilots were is a bit like asking an NFL veteran what the best team was. It's not exactly the stuff of scholarship as they might be a bit biased. I never said US pilots were amateurs and they quickly adapted to to compensate for their pre-War weaknesses in tactics and equipment and to exploit Japanese ones. But that's not to say the Japanese did have tactical victories and inflict real losses when the opportunity afforded them...


And I carefully read a number of books by historians who actually did some scholarship before writing their books.

Like whom? What specific comparison is made?


Only the greenest of USN pilots were generally inferior to Japanese naval pilots. American naval pilots were far better trained in aerial gunnery, for example, assiduously practicing deflection shooting, of which the Japanese pilots usually had only a rudimentary training.
American pilots also had, for the most part, better overwater navigation skills, and were much better trained in team tactics, something the Japanese never spent much time on. Some Japanese had picked up elements of these skills on their own, not as a result of training courses, but this was haphazard, and not uniform within the ranks of Japanese pilots. Most of the Japanese didn't have "vastly more experience"; a few had a few hundred hours in combat over China, but most had very little such experience. Some American pilots had well over thousand hours in type. My father, for example, had been in the US navy for over two years and had 960 hours in dive bombers, much of it in the SBD.

More than a "few" Japanese pilots had significant combat time over China, and even the ones who didn't benefited greatly from that experience and leadership gleaned by their commanders, and IIRC, the average Japanese pilot (up until Midway and a few other skirmishes began to kill off the elite veteran corp) had more hours of training than did the average USN/MC or USAAC pilot. Far more I recall reading. Your father, the tip of the spear, was the exception more than the rule.

The Japanese weren't "good at team tactics?" That's quite a revelation as I was under the impression that a combined Japanese fleet air arm strike (early in the War) could be quite well coordinated and devastating within the operating limits of their machines. Also, possibly America's greatest naval victory was partially enabled by US Naval Aviators and their commanders own lack of planning and coordination. You might recall a certain torpedo strike which led to the near total annihilation of two squadrons of Devestators at Midway.


If you think that's all the USN experienced during 1942, then you are dead

I don't, nor did I ever imply as such. What I'm saying is that just because the USN overall was competent and able to overcome its initial weaknesses at points doesn't mean the Japanese sucked. Nor does it mean that the US Navy was flawless and didn't have it's share of awful commanders and peacetime "deadwood" at the senior level needing removal...


American carrier officers were not only better at carrier doctrine, but surface warfare officers were better at screening major units, ASW, and fleet air defense. The US planning that went into Coral Sea and Midway was clearly far better than the bungling approach of the IJN.

As evidenced by what? The US Navy was fighting for its life and very carefully picking its battles. And while the US Navy certainly shared in the pioneering of carrier battle, their was still an element of the "battleship-happy" that were "an island of faith in a sea of doubt" as Gabel once said of the US Tank Destroyer Doctrine. I'm not really sure how one can prove or disprove your statements as one would be hard pressed to to find concrete examples of direct comparisons. The Imperial Japanese Navy was one of the finest in the world, within certain constraints (material being the biggest and the impossible task of matching US shipbuilding and industrial might being the biggest). I never said they were "better" than the US Navy overall, but is some areas they clearly were superior--initially. Their "bungling" approach as compared to what? There are several examples of certain USN officers "bungling" things as well. But I am curious to know what actual evidence you base the above specifics on? As I recall, the Battle of the Coral Sea was no walk over, and the US Navy also suffered significant losses in battle and failed to achieve a decisive victory without the "trump card" that was Rochefort's codebreaking team would give them at Midway. Knowing and telegraphing your enemy's exact moves is one hell of a bit of "planning"...


As an example, the Japanese deployed a major portion of their navy at Midway with the intention of annihilating the American Pacific Fleet, yet their planning was so poor they were able to bring their firepower to bear on only a single American ship. They wouldn't even have been able to sink that ship, if it hadn't been for the fortuitous intervention of a Japanese submarine. Yeah, they were real good at planning.

The Japanese plan was hastily implemented, true. That didn't make their overall planning any more poor than some the anachronistic American planning at points in the War. The Japanese "poor planning" was only able to be exploited because the codebreakers had determined exactly WHERE AND WHEN the Japanese attack was going to take place enabling the USN to exploit this by laying an ambush. A huge advantage that goes a long way in exploiting the enemy's mistakes? No? Incidentally, "fortuitous" is a word that points both ways as the US Navy was also very lucky at points in the battle and they finally had things go their way, as in the example above where a suicidal torpedo attack cleared the upper air cover enabling a decisive, brilliantly executed divebombing attack on a carrier that was refitting its planes with ordnance and fuel. That's not a bit fortuitous? The Americans were also a bit lucky. But of course US aviators were also good and certainly created their own luck to an extent, and I've never said anything other.

Incidentally, the Japanese were able to pretty much decimate air cover at Midway--with virtually no losses. And had Nimitz not known their plan, they may well have taken it and the War made even bloodier and more prolonged...


I've already acknowledged that the Japanese were better at night fighting, particularly with small units. But the skirmishes that took place in the Solomons during the latter half of 1942 were not strategically significant. Take Savo Island, for example, a clear Japanese victory, but it didn't stop, or even delay the landing on Guadalcanal and the Japanese failed to even attack the real target, the American transports. Good planning again.


The Japanese were also quite clearly better at command and control in tactical circumstances and I recall several scathing reports of failures resulting in losses in men and material to the USN that were unnecessary. Savo Island did not stop the marine landings because they had already taken place as it was largely a strategic surprise and shock to the IJN and Army and the GIs took Henderson Field with almost no resistance. And of course, they didn't get to the transports as they destroyed numerous cruisers and other ships, which did in fact delay and prolong the agony of the marines and soldiers on Guadalcanal denying them precious naval gunfire support, also leaving them precariously vulnerable to their opposition's for sometime afterword. You can also pick apart anything as far as failures in planning, but I believe that is also called "hindsight."


Yes, intelligence was another skill in which the Americans clearly outclassed the Japanese, and if you had read my last post, you'd know I mentioned it.

Not at Pearl Harbor, nor for the first few months they didn't. But yes, after the initial blunders, the Americans clearly did and certainly some of there procedures for seeking out the enemy were clearly superior to the IJN's. But failing to mention the fact that the US Navy (Fletcher and Nimitz) knew the gist of the Japanese plan and target, and were effectively able to ambush them as a result--then ascribing the following actions as merely the result of qualitative superiority of the US Navy seems a tad disingenuous to me. A bit of a glaring omission really..


Well, the American aircraft may have been marginally inferior to Japanese naval aircraft, but you sure couldn't tell it by the relative losses in battle.

Of course not. US pilots were good and adaptable, compensating for their disadvantages while taking advantage of the enemy's idiotic "samurai" macho ethos of getting their pilots killed in unarmored tinderboxes. Though ones that were fantastically maneuverable...

But those samurai pilots were still great overall (up until many were sent down to Davy Jones Locker at Midway, in their burning carriers)...

Cont'd

Nickdfresh
01-15-2010, 11:03 AM
You'll find it difficult to name a carrier battle in which the American aircraft losses were greater than the Japanese losses in 1942.

You'll also find that American losses in 1941 were much greater than the Japanese! So what? That does not prove nor disprove individual competence and skill in certain facets. There weren't really that many carrier battles, certainly in the first half as the Americans spent it biding their time and judiciously avoiding major engagements and the Japanese seeking the "one-more-push" to finish what they had started at Pearl. Midway was the tipping point, which assured "parity" and even quantitative superiority of the USN as the Japanese could never make good their losses in trained men and machines. This allowed the American Navy to become more aggressive and to go onto the offensive, finally. Their vastly superior training programs could produce a standard of sailor in the USN expansion the Japanese simply couldn't match, especially after their losses.


Aerial torpedoes? Yep, definitely inferior to Japanese torpedoes in 1942, so what?

Aerial, sub, and ship torpedoes. The Long Lance was the bane to the Allies for much of 1942, and helped kill 1000s of Allied sailors in Iron Bottom Sound and severally hindered the US fleet at Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, I also think the courageous aviators of VT6 and VT8 might also think differently, as they were butchered in a suicidal attack with pointless weaponry. A valiant charge and good men wasted firing duds. Sickening!!


Of the four carrier battles in 1942, the edge definitely went to the USN; the Japanese lost 4 CV's and 2CVL's to 3 CV's lost on the American side. Given the relative productive capacities of the US and Japan, that's not exactly a comforting ratio for the Japanese.

Right, largely based on the turning point at Midway. And that is exactly my point. But the American Navy's most decisive advantage was the broken code which telegraphed most of the Japanese plans to an extent. And any battle of attrition would clearly turn to America's favor. Yamamoto delivered exactly what he promised, "six months" of chaos and worry for the US. After that, all bets were off and an American victory in the absence of a hugely decisive "coup de main operation" the Japanese never really were able to achieve meant they were just prolonging the inevitable after June of 1942...


The Japanese were expert jungle fighters on Guadalcanal? A match for the Marines and soldiers? Where do you get that?

Um, a seminal work on Guadalcanal by Richard Frank (among just about every testimony I've ever read on the subject). It's not in my personal library, but he goes on about the (futile) fighting prowess of the Japanese soldier, as they tended not to give up even when starving...


You're probably thinking of the Japanese troops who were specially trained in jungle warfare on Formosa and Hainan, and who defeated the poorly trained, shabbily equipped, and ineptly led British, Australian, and Indian troops in Malaya and Singapore. Not the Japanese troops encountered on Guadalcanal, who tended to get lost in the jungle on that island.

The Japanese ethos in itself was one that suited the jungle and I believe many, if not most had some form of basic instruction. And the Americans certainly didn't do any better in the Jungle. They simply took the airfield (the best part of the island, granted :) ) and hunkered down defensively while many of their probes and small operations inland were rebuffed, and sometimes wiped out to almost a man...


The Marines and soldiers on Guadalcanal defeated the Japanese in every major ground battle on Guadalcanal, and in every case inflicted far more casualties than they suffered.

Not once did the Japanese on Guadalcanal break an American defensive line, nor did their infiltration tactics ever produce any significant results. The Japanese on Guadalcanal fought like hopeless amateurs, the annihilation of the Ichiki Detachment being a case in point.

Yes, but, there weren't that many "major ground battles" on Guadalcanal. They certainly inflicted more casualties, but that is irrelevant to the overall point that the Japanese soldier was a fierce one capable of sometimes great feats, and sometimes pointlessly getting himself killed under poor leadership. However, I might also point out that a starving Japanese force was outnumbered and cut off after a time, and held out in spite of horrifying deprivations. And I think merely painting them as hopeless amateurs (which I agree they were when balanced with the view that they were fanatically tough, skilled in certain ways, and were no ****ing pushovers!!) also only tells part of the story and is a bit of a disservice not only to their history, but to the ones of the US marines, sailors, and soldiers that fought them there. They didn't defeat the Japanese easily nor was anything a walkover and they also suffered deprivations.

I might also point out that there were several smaller unit actions in which various Marine and Army units were annihilated by the Japanese--which would also indicate some poor leadership and "amateurish" TO&E on the part of the USMC and Army. They were largely fighting a defensive battle against an under supplied enemy largely ignored and abandoned by their high command. Yet they still held up final victory for months. I also believe the US Army also made some critical, amateurish blunders in the final push that cost needless casualties..


In reality, several of the Japanese main units involved in the major ground battles around Henderson Field got lost in the jungle and either got into the battle late, or never arrived at all. The Japanese troops were decimated (actually much worse than that) because the Japanese plans were unrealistic, unimaginative, and very poorly coordinated. The disparity in logistics was a symptom of superior American planning. But even though it was far superior to the haphazard Japanese effort, the American logistics could have been much better organized; the Japanese would have never had any chance at all if that had been the case.

Correct. But IIRC the Japanese on the ground on Guadalcanal were saddled with unrealistic expectations and orders from idiots chairs sitting in hundreds, even thousands, of miles away who were willing to fight to the last of the men on the the island. The garrison was not properly supported in any way and was ill-advisedly considered expendable. Any major action constrained by time is going to be frustrated by a large night movement through the jungle. But again, albeit on a much smaller scale, the US military also pissed away the lives of marines and soldiers into ill-advised operations on the islands. The disparity in logistics was a fact that the Japanese would have to live with as they expanded their empire quickly without the shipping necessary to sustain operations overall, not just on the Canal.

I might also add that other US military formations also pissed themselves in the New Guinea such as a certain National Guard division (the 32d ID?) that virtually quit and took the excellent leadership of Gen. Eichelberger to turn them back into an effective formation...


I think you mean "parity"; "parody" is a form of satire.

I think I was tired and a bit drunk...


It's a given that defenders will almost always face air superiority and enemy control of the sea, since those two things are considered mandatory pre-requisites for successful assault landings. However, the Allies twice defeated Japanese amphibious assaults, three times if you count the "Battle of the Points" on Luzon, and in every case, the Japanese enjoyed control of the sea and air.

The Allies also suffered a string of ignominious defeats inflicted by the Japanese, and took four years to roll back their empire the IJ military won within a few months, even weeks really. This despite having numerical, industrial, and maritime superiority...


And still it didn't work; the American Marines and soldiers on Okinawa ended up hunting down and killing the Japanese defenders like so many burrowing rabbits.

It gave the US pause, and caused a projection of frightful (if possibly exaggerated - we'll never know) casualties for Operation Downfall. The blood bath that took over 100,000 Japanese lives (an expendable sum to them) forced the Americans to kill those "rabbits" at the decimation of some of the Marine and Army line units at casualty rates that might have been unacceptable to an already war-weary US public had they continued to the other Home Islands. The Battle served its purpose in delaying the inevitable and giving planners a pause about Downfall--specifically the first phase of the operation which could have been horrific if we believe the tales of suicide strikes on American and British troopships and the like (which I think might be a tad overboard)...


Maybe so, but he was one of the very few who seemed to understand they couldn't win, and resolved to simply take with him as many of the enemy as he could.

Correct, which fit into the wider goal of "saving face"--and the Emperor--and some of regime, via negotiations...

Wizard
01-15-2010, 03:36 PM
My regards and respect to your father for his service. But asking a pilot who the best pilots were is a bit like asking an NFL veteran what the best team was. It's not exactly the stuff of scholarship as they might be a bit biased. I never said US pilots were amateurs and they quickly adapted to to compensate for their pre-War weaknesses in tactics and equipment and to exploit Japanese ones. But that's not to say the Japanese did have tactical victories and inflict real losses when the opportunity afforded them...

Who would better know the real facts? Some sportswriter who never played the game? And who is to say that ingrained bias isn't present in every commentator? The facts are the USN pilots won the battles and inflicted greater losses than they suffered in 1942. To me, and I think, to any objective observer, that is what counts. It's not imaginary or subject to rationalization by someone who has preconceived notions about the situiation. That is the very definition of "better".


Like whom? What specific comparison is made?

Like John Lundstrom (The First Team) and Eric Bergerud (Fire In The Sky). Both make specific comparisons as to pilot training, aerial teamwork and tactics, as well as myriad other subjects. Perhaps you could cite the historians who support your position?


More than a "few" Japanese pilots had significant combat time over China, and even the ones who didn't benefited greatly from that experience and leadership gleaned by their commanders, and IIRC, the average Japanese pilot (up until Midway and a few other skirmishes began to kill off the elite veteran corp) had more hours of training than did the average USN/MC or USAAC pilot. Far more I recall reading. Your father, the tip of the spear, was the exception more than the rule.

First of all, I am speaking only of USN pilots and have never mentioned American Army pilots who routinely received far less training than naval pilots, so let's stick to discussing naval pilots only, Ok? Specifically what proportion of Japanese naval pilots in the Pacific had combat experience in China? And who says so? And just how many hours of real training did the Japanese pilots receive compared to US pilots, and again, who says so?


The Japanese weren't "good at team tactics?" That's quite a revelation as I was under the impression that a combined Japanese fleet air arm strike (early in the War) could be quite well coordinated and devastating within the operating limits of their machines.

A coordinated naval strike is one thing, and I grant you the Japanese were fairly good at that. However, even when achieving well coordinated attacks on ground or ship targets, Japanese pilots often fell victim to American pilots flying inferior planes, but employing better team tactics in aerial combat. Examples of this would be the American use of the "Finger Four" formation, and the "Thach Weave". According to Bergerud, the Japanese were never able to, or perhaps never inclined, to employ team tactics in aerial combat. My father is credited with three Japanese planes shot down while flying the SBD; one was an A6M, which he downed while employing the Thach weave in conjunction with another SBD.


Also, possibly America's greatest naval victory was partially enabled by US Naval Aviators and their commanders own lack of planning and coordination. You might recall a certain torpedo strike which led to the near total annihilation of two squadrons of Devestators at Midway.

Yes, torpedo aircraft on both sides suffered heavily for little results, but this had little to do with executive planning and coordination and more to do with the nature of carrier warfare. Of all the aerial torpedo attacks launched at Midway only three torpedoes actually struck a target; one American and two Japanese. Of the torpedo planes launched against the Yorktown, half were shot down by American CAP before reaching their launch point. The opther half managed just two torpedo hits. In the case of the American torpedo attacks, poor torpedo performance, and obsolete torpedo planes were far more instrumental in the failure that any other factor.


I don't, nor did I ever imply as such. What I'm saying is that just because the USN overall was competent and able to overcome its initial weaknesses at points doesn't mean the Japanese sucked. Nor does it mean that the US Navy was flawless and didn't have it's share of awful commanders and peacetime "deadwood" at the senior level needing removal...

I never claimed the Japanese "sucked"; are you implying that I did?

Nor I have I ever said or implied that the USN was flawless, where did that idea come from?

And yes, the USN still had senior commanders who needed removal. Fortunately neither Nimitz nor King were shy about doing that once they became convinced of a lack of competence or aggressiveness. I'm not sure the same could be said of the Japanese; Nagumo for instance continued to serve as Commander of the Japanese carrier striking force after Pearl Harbor and until he completely botched the battle of Midway.


As evidenced by what? The US Navy was fighting for its life and very carefully picking its battles. And while the US Navy certainly shared in the pioneering of carrier battle, their was still an element of the "battleship-happy" that were "an island of faith in a sea of doubt" as Gabel once said of the US Tank Destroyer Doctrine....

As evidenced by the USN winning most of the important carrier battles of 1942. The USN was NOT carefully "picking it's battles" until after August, 1942, for the simple reason the IJN still held the initiative until it's defeat at the battle of Midway and the USN had to respond when the IJN moved. Despite the fact that many senior commanders still believed in the "Big Guns" of the battleship, this was much less a factor in the USN than the IJN. As far back as July, 1940, the USN had opted for the carrier as the most important capital ship, by ordering 14 new Essex-class (and only six new battleships) and affording those carriers absolute top priority in construction materials, labor and yard space. As a result, the Navy's battleships did not become available until 1944, but the Essex-class carriers were built in an average of 18 months, the first one being commissioned on 31 December, 1942.


...The Imperial Japanese Navy was one of the finest in the world, within certain constraints (material being the biggest and the impossible task of matching US shipbuilding and industrial might being the biggest).

Something I've never disputed. My position is that the USN was slightly better overall than the IJN, as demonstrated by it's performance in the second half of 1942.


I never said they were "better" than the US Navy overall, but is some areas they clearly were superior--initially. Their "bungling" approach as compared to what?

Compared to the winning approach of the USN in the really important battles in 1942.


There are several examples of certain USN officers "bungling" things as well. But I am curious to know what actual evidence you base the above specifics on?

Well, I've been citing authorities to support my conclusions, but the ultimate authority is the fact that by the end of 1942, the USN, from an initial position of disadvantage, unreadiness and inferior aircraft, fought the IJN to a standstill, and inflicted severe and crippling attrition on the IJN, which prevented it from ever recovering the initiative


As I recall, the Battle of the Coral Sea was no walk over, and the US Navy also suffered significant losses in battle and failed to achieve a decisive victory without the "trump card" that was Rochefort's codebreaking team would give them at Midway. Knowing and telegraphing your enemy's exact moves is one hell of a bit of "planning"...

No battle in the Pacific in 1942 was a "walkover" and no one, least of all me, has so indicated. I don't know why you keep implying that I have stated these obviously incorrect things as a fact. Is it that you find countering the assertions that I have made so difficult?

As for codebreaking and general intelligence, you keep citing it as a factor in the USN victories as though it was a gift from the gods; it wasn't. The superior intelligence enjoyed by USN commanders was the result of years of intensive effort and study to learn the secrets of the IJN. As such, it was part of the USN's general superiority over the IJN and evidence that the USN was the better of the two services, especially in the area of planning. USN intelligence didn't just happen as a matter of good fortune it was planned and executed by senior naval commanders as a necessary component of Command and Control.

Continued.....

Wizard
01-15-2010, 03:38 PM
The Japanese plan was hastily implemented, true. That didn't make their overall planning any more poor than some the anachronistic American planning at points in the War. The Japanese "poor planning" was only able to be exploited because the codebreakers had determined exactly WHERE AND WHEN the Japanese attack was going to take place enabling the USN to exploit this by laying an ambush. A huge advantage that goes a long way in exploiting the enemy's mistakes? No?

No. The Japanese plan for Midway, was seriously flawed whether it was compromised by poor communications security, or not. The American ability to learn the Japanese plans was simply another area wherein the USN proved superior to the IJN. The IJN could have equaled the USN in intelligence had it applied the same amount of effort to intelligence matters; it did not and throughout the war discounted the value of intelligence in planning operations, another failure of the Japanese to understand modern warfare.


Incidentally, "fortuitous" is a word that points both ways as the US Navy was also very lucky at points in the battle and they finally had things go their way, as in the example above where a suicidal torpedo attack cleared the upper air cover enabling a decisive, brilliantly executed divebombing attack on a carrier that was refitting its planes with ordnance and fuel. That's not a bit fortuitous? The Americans were also a bit lucky. But of course US aviators were also good and certainly created their own luck to an extent, and I've never said anything other.

Actually, this was less fortuitous in nature than a result of astute planning by the Americans. It's a matter of record that Captain Miles Browning on Spruances' air staff, calculated the moment of maximum vulnerability for the Japanese carriers (when the Midway strike was returning to be refueled and rearmed), and advised Spruance to launch his planes in time to arrive over the Japanese carriers at that moment.


Incidentally, the Japanese were able to pretty much decimate air cover at Midway--with virtually no losses. And had Nimitz not known their plan, they may well have taken it and the War made even bloodier and more prolonged...

Not true. The Japanese suffered losses over Midway according to Tully and Parshall in "Shattered Sword", page 204;

"The total casualties to the Midway strike force was eleven aircraft lost, with another fourteen heavily damaged, and twenty-nine more shot up to some degree. Fully half the aircraft involved had been hit. Counting missing aircraft and those rendered out of commission, the mission had lost 23 percent of it's strength in about thirty minutes of combat. Twenty aviators were dead or missing, and several more had been wounded. The kanko crews on board CarDiv 2 must have been stunned. Between the American fighters and the flak, their formations had been decimated. Four had been shot down, four more damaged so badly they had to ditch, and another nine put out of commission after they made it back. Every other Kanko in CarDiv 2 had been damaged to some extent. In the ready rooms, the talk was grim. If this sort of defensive fire (and casualty rate) was going to be the norm when flying against the Americans, the carrier attack squadrons would be totally annihilated in the course of a couple more strikes. This did not bode well for coming operations."


The Japanese were also quite clearly better at command and control in tactical circumstances and I recall several scathing reports of failures resulting in losses in men and material to the USN that were unnecessary.

Do you have specific instances where the Japanese demonstrated superior command and control? I really can't recall any where the Japanese significantly out performed the USN in this area.


Savo Island did not stop the marine landings because they had already taken place as it was largely a strategic surprise and shock to the IJN and Army and the GIs took Henderson Field with almost no resistance. And of course, they didn't get to the transports as they destroyed numerous cruisers and other ships, which did in fact delay and prolong the agony of the marines and soldiers on Guadalcanal denying them precious naval gunfire support, also leaving them precariously vulnerable to their opposition's for sometime afterword. You can also pick apart anything as far as failures in planning, but I believe that is also called "hindsight."

Well, of course, history is, by definition, based entirely on "hindsight". Or do you have some other way of perceiving history?

Yes, the landings had already commenced by the time the Savo island action was fought, but the Japanese had a golden opportunity to stop it cold by destroying the transports, which, after the defeat of the Allied cruisers were entirely open to destruction in detail. The action was a Japanese victory, but only a partial one; after all the mission wasn't to sink a few Allied cruisers (which, BTW, were under the command of a RAN officer), but to stop the landing on Guadalcanal by destroying the transports. The Japanese failed to do this and in this respect the Allies achieved their objective, while the Japanese failed in theirs.

Nor did the defeat at Savo delay anything; the unloading re-commenced the next morning, and the Marines continued with their scheduled tasks. I do not remember any instances where the Marines called for "precious NGS" and were denied. In fact, there was no need for NGS for several days. In any case, had the Marines required NGS, Turner still had undamaged one CA, three CL's and six destroyers available.


Not at Pearl Harbor, nor for the first few months they didn't. But yes, after the initial blunders, the Americans clearly did and certainly some of there procedures for seeking out the enemy were clearly superior to the IJN's. But failing to mention the fact that the US Navy (Fletcher and Nimitz) knew the gist of the Japanese plan and target, and were effectively able to ambush them as a result--then ascribing the following actions as merely the result of qualitative superiority of the US Navy seems a tad disingenuous to me. A bit of a glaring omission really..

One failure, as embarrassing as it was, does not mean the Japanese were inferior to the US in intelligence gathering and analysis.

I did mention intelligence as an American strength. And there is nothing disingenuous about it. It was not "luck" and was not a God-given gift, but the result of years of intensive effort and study in the pre-war years. You seem to think that American intelligence capability should somehow not count in the balance of strengths and weaknesses between the IJN and USN; I disagree. It was as much to the credit of the American Navy as pilot skill, planning or command and control abilities.


Of course not. US pilots were good and adaptable, compensating for their disadvantages while taking advantage of the enemy's idiotic "samurai" macho ethos of getting their pilots killed in unarmored tinderboxes. Though ones that were fantastically maneuverable...

But those samurai pilots were still great overall (up until many were sent down to Davy Jones Locker at Midway, in their burning carriers)...

Something I never denied. But, in fact, the consistent ratio of higher Japanese aircraft losses and overall defeats, in the carrier battles of 1942 (and I'm not counting Japanese debacles like the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot) points to serious deficiencies amongst either Japanese aircraft, pilots, air doctrine, planning, aerial combat tactics, or some combination thereof. Suffice it to say, the USN stopped the Japanese Navy cold after six months and in the first carrier to carrier battles in history, and began pushing them into eventual total defeat. To me that argues that the USN , for whatever reasons, was superior to the IJN in 1942.

Rising Sun*
01-15-2010, 04:54 PM
And just how many hours of real training did the Japanese pilots receive compared to US pilots, and again, who says so?

IIRC the IJN pre-war pilot training program was two years or maybe a bit longer. I don't recall seeing flying hours for that course but my recollection is that it involved intensive training in air combat, inlcuding an emphasis on team tactics contrary to comments that the Japanese didn't employ them.

I seem to recall that all Pearl Harbor IJN pilots had at least 500 hours and many had a lot more than that.

One of the reasons the IJN was less able to counter USN increases in carrier pilots from 1942 onwards was that the IJN persisted with its long course, where the USN adapted to wartime conditions and shortened its course.

The IJN also persisted with its highly selective recruitment, which limited numbers and, in conjunction with the long course, kept replacements below losses, where the USN focused on training as many pilots as possible and replacements exceeded losses.

My recollection is also that the training problem for the IJN was compounded during the war by fuel scarcity with limited flying time compared with the USN, so that IJN pilots trained during the war had less air time than pre-war trainees.

I can't recall a specific source. Just what I recall from general reading.

Rising Sun*
01-15-2010, 05:03 PM
The discussion on IJN v USN so far has focused primarily on carrier encounters and Coral Sea, Solomons, and Midway.

The Java Sea and related battles indicate that even outnumbered and outgunned non-carrier IJN forces could be more than a match for the USN and other Allied navies.


The invasion of Bali was carried out by a relatively small advance force of Japanese warships covering a pair of transports. The transports successfully disgorged their troops in Sanur Roads, but were attacked during the day by Allied airpower. One of the transports was severely damaged. The Japanese withdrew the majority of their force to the north, detailing one pair of destroyers (Michishio and Arashio) to escort the cripple, and another pair (Oshio and Asashio) to bring up the rear with the undamaged Maru. Just as this latter pair was getting underway, the first of two Allied squadrons charged with breaking up the landings appeared. Composed of a Dutch and Australian light cruiser and three destroyers, it heavily outgunned the Japanese force. However, the Japanese bravely gave battle, first driving off the light cruisers through the channel northward, and then turning to attack the Allied destroyers. A successful torpedo attack resulted in the sinking of one of the Allied destroyers, which then shortly drew off to the south.

Shortly afterwards, however, the second Allied squadron of four U.S. destroyers and a Dutch light cruiser came up the Strait from the south as well. Oshio and Asashio again returned to defend the damaged transport against a second superior enemy force. In short order they had attacked the U.S. destroyers so fiercely as to force them to withdraw through the Strait to the north, leaving only the Dutch light cruiser Tromp to be dealt with. This they quickly did, hitting the cruiser eleven times in the superstructure in rapid succession. She, too, fled.

The final act was played out as some of the Allied warships retreating northward ran into Michishio and Arashio. A sharp fight developed, in which Michishio was heavily damaged. However, the Allied ships continued on their way without giving a serious fight.

The final result of this rather confusing action was that two superior Allied squadrons had been manhandled almost singlehandedly by a lone pair of audacious Japanese destroyers. It was a most embarrassing performance by the Allies, who were admittedly heavily fatigued, but who possessed more than enough firepower to deal handily with their Japanese adversaries. This was the first of the impressive night-fighting performances the Japanese Navy would turn in throughout the war. http://www.combinedfleet.com/battles/Java_Campaign

Wizard
01-15-2010, 07:15 PM
You'll also find that American losses in 1941 were much greater than the Japanese! So what? That does not prove nor disprove individual competence and skill in certain facets. There weren't really that many carrier battles, certainly in the first half as the Americans spent it biding their time and judiciously avoiding major engagements and the Japanese seeking the "one-more-push" to finish what they had started at Pearl.

LOL! Well if you want to pick one battle where one side didn't even know there was a war going on, yes, I guess I have to admit that the Americans lost more aircraft in that one battle.

But in the four carrier battles in 1942, the Americans won three of them and in every one suffered fewer aircraft losses than the Japanese. Overall, the Americans also lost fewer CV's and CVL's. I think that is a pretty good indicator that either American aircraft, pilots, aerial combat tactics, or some combination thereof were superior to their Japanese counterparts.


Aerial, sub, and ship torpedoes. The Long Lance was the bane to the Allies for much of 1942, and helped kill 1000s of Allied sailors in Iron Bottom Sound and severally hindered the US fleet at Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, I also think the courageous aviators of VT6 and VT8 might also think differently, as they were butchered in a suicidal attack with pointless weaponry. A valiant charge and good men wasted firing duds. Sickening!!

We are discussing aerial torpedoes here, so let's stick to that subject, Ok? The Long Lance was a destroyer/Cruiser torpedo and was not a factor at Pearl Harbor or Midway. And yes I agree that the US aerial torpedo was a dud, however, at Midway it was not primarily the cause of the slaughter of the US torpedo squadrons; most torpedo planes were shot down before they could even launch their weapons. It was the obsolescent nature of the aircraft themselves that was the problem. Without armor, self-sealing tanks, deficient in speed, and defensive armament, they would have been shot down no matter what kind of torpedo they were carrying. The Japanese torpedo planes that managed to get into action, with their superior torpedoes, did not fare much better than their US counterparts, losing half their number before getting into range to launch.


Right, largely based on the turning point at Midway. And that is exactly my point. But the American Navy's most decisive advantage was the broken code which telegraphed most of the Japanese plans to an extent. And any battle of attrition would clearly turn to America's favor. Yamamoto delivered exactly what he promised, "six months" of chaos and worry for the US. After that, all bets were off and an American victory in the absence of a hugely decisive "coup de main operation" the Japanese never really were able to achieve meant they were just prolonging the inevitable after June of 1942...

Whether or not the USN's intelligence capabilities were the "most decisive advantage" is debatable. But, in any event, just knowing what the enemy intends to do is not much of an advantage unless you can position superior forces and defeat his intentions. It took skill, courage, and superior fighting ability to defeat the Japanese naval forces even after their plans were known.


Um, a seminal work on Guadalcanal by Richard Frank (among just about every testimony I've ever read on the subject). It's not in my personal library, but he goes on about the (futile) fighting prowess of the Japanese soldier, as they tended not to give up even when starving...

Interesting that you should cite Richard Frank's work, as I have it here on my desk as I write. I can find no reference to "expert Jungle fighters", or a "match for the Marines". If anything, Frank gives the very opposite impression. Page 70; "But Captain Monzen rallied a body of stalwarts and led them southeast to seek battle in the dark. They became lost in the jungle and returned before making contact with the Marines."

Page 231-32,

"When the three battalions, numbering 2,506 men, went forward they lost their sense of direction, almost entirely missed the ridge, and instead drifted into the low, waterlogged swath of jungle between the ridge and the Lunga....he [General Kawaguchi] reported that 'because of the devilish jungle, the brigade was scattered all over and completely beyond control. In my whole life I have never felt so helpless'"

Page 346,

"Early on October 23, Japanese soldiers dropped their packs and each unit began to slice it's own trail north toward the American perimeter. Scouts radiated out, but many failed to return, and those who did could only gasp that there was jungle in every direction."

These are "expert jungle fighters"??


The Japanese ethos in itself was one that suited the jungle and I believe many, if not most had some form of basic instruction.

Well, at the very least a lot of Japanese met their demise in the Jungle.


Yes, but, there weren't that many "major ground battles" on Guadalcanal. They certainly inflicted more casualties, but that is irrelevant to the overall point that the Japanese soldier was a fierce one capable of sometimes great feats, and sometimes pointlessly getting himself killed under poor leadership. However, I might also point out that a starving Japanese force was outnumbered and cut off after a time, and held out in spite of horrifying deprivations. And I think merely painting them as hopeless amateurs (which I agree they were when balanced with the view that they were fanatically tough, skilled in certain ways, and were no ****ing pushovers!!) also only tells part of the story and is a bit of a disservice not only to their history, but to the ones of the US marines, sailors, and soldiers that fought them there. They didn't defeat the Japanese easily nor was anything a walkover and they also suffered deprivations.

The bottom line was that American tactics were superior and they won the battle. That's the only thing that counts in war.


I might also add that other US military formations also pissed themselves in the New Guinea such as a certain National Guard division (the 32d ID?) that virtually quit and took the excellent leadership of Gen. Eichelberger to turn them back into an effective formation...

You keep posting allegations that the Americans made plenty of mistakes too, as if that changes the basic equation that the Americans and Australians beat the Japanese soundly in the South Pacific; it doesn't. The Allies were clearly superior in military expertise to Japanese forces in the Pacific.


The Allies also suffered a string of ignominious defeats inflicted by the Japanese, and took four years to roll back their empire the IJ military won within a few months, even weeks really. This despite having numerical, industrial, and maritime superiority...

You are comparing apples and oranges; The Japanese were advancing in to what amounted to a military vacuum with the twin advantages of surprise and the initiative. And it took only three years to roll back the Japanese despite their having had a year in most cases to consolidate their defensive positions. Had the circumstances been reversed, the Japanese would never have been able to accomplish what the Allies did.


It gave the US pause, and caused a projection of frightful (if possibly exaggerated - we'll never know) casualties for Operation Downfall. The blood bath that took over 100,000 Japanese lives (an expendable sum to them) forced the Americans to kill those "rabbits" at the decimation of some of the Marine and Army line units at casualty rates that might have been unacceptable to an already war-weary US public had they continued to the other Home Islands. The Battle served its purpose in delaying the inevitable and giving planners a pause about Downfall--specifically the first phase of the operation which could have been horrific if we believe the tales of suicide strikes on American and British troopships and the like (which I think might be a tad overboard)...

Oh, I believe Japanese could have inflicted the casualties they hoped for. I'm equally convinced it would have been to no avail; the Allies would have simply rolled Japan under and buried it in a communal grave.

It reminds me of the kamekazi campaign; the Japanese hoped to overawe the Americans and impress them with the determination and loyalty of the Japanese people. But it backfired. The Americans were not impressed, but came to despise the Japanese for their stupidity and willingness to die for no good reason.


Correct, which fit into the wider goal of "saving face"--and the Emperor--and some of regime, via negotiations...

But it failed. The Japanese still ended up surrendering unconditionally with their hopes of negotiations unfullfilled

Wizard
01-15-2010, 07:50 PM
The discussion on IJN v USN so far has focused primarily on carrier encounters and Coral Sea, Solomons, and Midway.

The Java Sea and related battles indicate that even outnumbered and outgunned non-carrier IJN forces could be more than a match for the USN and other Allied navies.

http://www.combinedfleet.com/battles/Java_Campaign

Well, the reason the discussion has focused on the carrier battle is because my original statement was to the effect that the USN stopped the IJN cold in these battles, about six months into the war. I have never claimed the USN was able to stop the initial advances of the Japanese in South East Asia.

However, I would feel constrained to point out that the Japanese were seldom outnumbered and outgunned, and were almost always operating under conditions of at least Japanese air superiority, if not air supremacy.

In the specific example that you posted, the forces involved were hardly dominated by the USN, the largest US ship being a WW I-era destroyer. All of the ships were under ABDA command, and were under the tactical command of a Dutch naval officer. These vessels were remnants of the US Asiatic fleet which had been fleeing south ever since MacArthur managed to get his air force wiped out at the beginning of the war.

In fact, the first Allied Naval victory of the war was won by four American destroyers (Paul Jones, Pope, Parrot, and John D. Ford), at Balikpapan on the night of 23/24 January, 1942.

Rising Sun*
01-16-2010, 10:44 AM
You keep posting allegations that the Americans made plenty of mistakes too, as if that changes the basic equation that the Americans and Australians beat the Japanese soundly in the South Pacific; it doesn't. The Allies were clearly superior in military expertise to Japanese forces in the Pacific.

I think you need to pick your period and campaign for that.

So far as the Australians were concerned, the level of their 'military expertise' against the advancing Japanese and in recognition that the Japanese would try to advance overland to Port Moresby was, in the first half of 1942, to:

1. Send at the beginning of 1942 a battalion which included about 100 men who had yet to see a rifle, and many of the rest not much better. This was one of the two battalions which would face the Japanese on the critical Kokoda campaign.
2. Use both those battalions primarily as fortification labourers and stevedores from the time they arrived at Port Moresby at the start of 1942 until the time they went into action against experienced Japanese troops in mid-1942.
3. Fail to supply those battalions adequately by air or with air evacuation of wounded.
4. Fail to provide air fields necessary for 3 due to poor planning and poor airfield selection.
5. Send Blamey, MacArthur’s 2iC, to Morseby in a panic by MacArthur at risk of losing his SWPA command which infected Blamey, always a military politician of similar vein but vastly inferior to MacArthur, to sack the best commander he had, Rowell. http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=526
6. Have Blamey exhorting his commanders on the Kokoda Track to do various things which were impossible, as Blamey would have known if he had bothered to view the ground himself. Which is the same for MacArthur, several thousand miles south in Brisbane and shitting himself that the Australians could lose the command of the greatest general America ever had.
7. While the Australians fought a valiant and reasonably effective fighting retreat on Kokoda, when Gen Hori and his exhausted troops were almost in sight of Moresby it was Japanese command which ordered him to retreat for reasons more to do with the US situation in Guadalcanal than anything local to the Kokoda campaign.

Nickdfresh
01-16-2010, 10:47 AM
No. The Japanese plan for Midway, was seriously flawed whether it was compromised by poor communications security, or not. The American ability to learn the Japanese plans was simply another area wherein the USN proved superior to the IJN. ...


But what if the US hadn't broken the code or the Japanese had changed it? How "superior" would US planning have been? And yes, having superior codebreaking and SIGINT along with IMINT is part of being better overall. But you were segmenting things and implying as if the US Navy was vastly superior to the Japanese in 1942 as far as combat, when in fact the Japanese may have had initially superior fire control, damage control, etc...


Actually, this was less fortuitous in nature than a result of astute planning by the Americans. It's a matter of record that Captain Miles Browning on Spruances' air staff, calculated the moment of maximum vulnerability for the Japanese carriers (when the Midway strike was returning to be refueled and rearmed), and advised Spruance to launch his planes in time to arrive over the Japanese carriers at that moment.

Right, all allotted by the fact that the US had clearly identified that Jap target. I should **** well hope they could figure out a basic precept of warfare, and "ambushing" the IJN aviators. This was no more brilliant or laudable than the Japanese attacking on Sunday morning.

Incidentally, the hero behind all of this, Rochefort, was detested by many of the "genius" spit-and-polish admirals in the USN. But I'm not sure why you're arguing on this point, we're not that far apart. But the Americans also got "lucky" and the Japanese luck and mojo were running out. Granted, the USN was also good enough to create and take advantage of their own luck. I think I've acknowledged this several times...


Not true. The Japanese suffered losses over Midway according to Tully and Parshall in "Shattered Sword", page 204;

"The total casualties to the Midway strike force was eleven aircraft lost, with another fourteen heavily damaged, and twenty-nine more shot up to some degree..
.."

Yes, but they also destroyed nearly every US aircraft on Midway and according to Wiki, only two remained flyable. I think Wiki (citing the same work) says roughly seven were downed in air to air and the rest by "intense" AAA with 16 US fighters shot down, albeit mostly very obsolete Brewster Buffalo (Coffins)...


Do you have specific instances where the Japanese demonstrated superior command and control? I really can't recall any where the Japanese significantly out performed the USN in this area.

Really? Have you forgotten Savo Island already? Or are you going to imply that that somehow doesn't count or didn't matter? Because, you seem to be rather selective at points. :)


Well, of course, history is, by definition, based entirely on "hindsight". Or do you have some other way of perceiving history?

Yes. The that explains what happened with greater detail than just linear "cause-and-effect." For instance, I'm not interested in simply denouncing the French as "surrender monkeys" or calling Gen. Gamelin and idiot--I'm more interested in the intrinsic reasons for the Fall of France and how it was allowed to happen...


Yes, the landings had already commenced by the time the Savo island action was fought, but the Japanese had a golden opportunity to stop it cold by destroying the transports...

Because the US and Australian navies were generous enough to donate several heavy cruisers to the locker of Davy Jones in One Iron Bottom Sound. :(

Nice job of spinning and making excuses though. You seem to do that a lot and have a very partisan, overly nationalistic view of history--which is fine. I'm pretty sure that if the reverse had been true, you'd be crowing about what a huge victory The Battle of Savo Island was and pointing out to us all that the glorious US Navy managed to eat the Japs lunch at night (even if a few transports got away)...


Nor did the defeat at Savo delay anything...

No? It afforded the marine and army garrison several months of hell and allowed the Japanese to wage a losing campaign in what otherwise could have been a swift coup de main victory that could have shortened the War...


One failure, as embarrassing as it was, does not mean the Japanese were inferior to the US in intelligence gathering and analysis.

I did mention intelligence as an American strength. And there is nothing disingenuous about it. It was not "luck" and was not a God-given gift, but the result of years of intensive effort and study in the pre-war years. You seem to think that American intelligence capability should somehow not count in the balance of strengths and weaknesses between the IJN and USN; I disagree. It was as much to the credit of the American Navy as pilot skill, planning or command and control abilities.

I never said US intell had anything to do with "luck." What I said was they were lucky at points. And I think you mean that the one defeat did not mean the Japanese WEREN'T inferior? Again, I think I've made myself clear that I agree with you in certain aspects. However, as far as overall strategic intelligence, it would be hard to argue that the US wasn't severally ignorant of Japan in many respects, even at the end of the War...you seem to be actually missing my wider point though, as I never argued that SIGINT wasn't a testimony to the Naval, and overall US, intelligentsia. Pearl Harbor notwithstanding. But my point is that you can't sit here and carp about the brilliant, almost infallible US Navy and be overly critical of Japanese commanders without considering that the individual US commanders had a significant advantage in the broken code. I think many commanders in the US Navy or any other service might tell you the same thing, you're not considering everything and omitting much. Not very helpful in AAR. Nagumo may have been a stogy, static personality; but he was competent. He had a massive disadvantage in that his enemy knew full well his intentions. Had the US not, how "superior" would US aviation and naval skills really have been apparent? The codes allowed the US admirals to play poker with a marked deck, and it's hard to say what genius they were at poker after they won the pot. I'm saying they could afford to make errors and the Japanese had to be perfect. I am not saying the US was dumb to play with a marked deck though. Nor am I saying that Nimitz wasn't one hell of a poker player... :D..



Something I never denied. But, in fact, the consistent ratio of higher Japanese aircraft losses and overall defeats, in the carrier battles of 1942 points to serious deficiencies amongst either Japanese aircraft, pilots, air doctrine, planning, aerial combat tactics, or some combination thereof....

No, it doesn't. What it shows was the Japanese suffered an appalling loss of aviators, deck crews, and equipment in a seminal battle which was a tipping point (Midway). It tells me that the US had a vastly superior industrial base and resources to train new pilots and replace and improve their machines. The Japanese didn't--and even if Wildcat pilots suffered about the same number of deaths as the Zero and Oscar pilots--inherent superiority of skill sets or Thach Weaves were great, but new pilots and machines were coming in 1943 irregardless. Lots of new pilots whereas the Japanese couldn't even really make good their losses. There were few air battles where US naval aviators scored significant advantages in kills in air to air combat prior to them "getting up to speed" by the middle of 1942 in a straight up fight and I recall things mostly being roughly equal at best...

In fact, even after, according to Franks Guadalcanal, combat losses on both sides in the Cactus Air Force and the Japanese flying from Rabul were roughly even with perhaps a slight advantage in numbers to the CAF. But of course, the Japanese IJN and IJA flyers were flying long endurance and had a clear disadvantage...


Suffice it to say, the USN stopped the Japanese Navy cold after six months and in the first carrier to carrier battles in history, and began pushing them into eventual total defeat. To me that argues that the USN , for whatever reasons, was superior to the IJN in 1942.

To me, it points to a nationalist's bantering of favorite service is better than yours. :) To me, it's irrelevant and a disingenuous and useless over generalization that fails to tell the story nor adequately explains what happened. Because it doesn't really tell us "why" the US Navy came out on top and discounts an "all things being equal" process and that the Japanese clearly were dominant in the first half of 1942 as Yamamoto predicted. And that they could not maintain "parity" with the US as even with equal losses, or even if they inflicted slightly greater ones; they could never replace as the US managed to expand. That has nothing to do with the skills or competence of commanders, pilots, etc...

Nickdfresh
01-16-2010, 11:40 AM
Who would better know the real facts? Some sportswriter who never played the game?...

YES! A sportswriter pouring over pages of declassified documents and who was NOT emotionally involved in how great his team and career was...


Like John Lundstrom (The First Team) and Eric Bergerud (Fire In The Sky). Both make specific comparisons as to pilot training, aerial teamwork and tactics, as well as myriad other subjects. Perhaps you could cite the historians who support your position?

Thank you, I'll see if I can find them but I am going through a slight "Eastern Front phase" now.

I named one of my sources in Franks' Guadalcanal. And many of my sources are long forgotten as I read a lot of this a decade or more ago in the high school and college library until I realized that chasing girls was more fun & rewarding--if less fulfilling...

For instance, I cannot remember the dry work I read on the Japanese Army that referred to the soldier's paradox of the "dangerous amateur" and the skilled, dedicated warrior using a "Third Force" (the first two being men and equipment [where the Western armies stopped] and the third being the "spirit warrior" ideal via the perverse, "bastardized" version of Bushido shoveled by the high command onto its peasant soldiers. This was expanded on in Bradley's Flyboys).


First of all, I am speaking only of USN pilots and have never mentioned American Army pilots who routinely received far less training than naval pilots, so let's stick to discussing naval pilots only, Ok?

Why limit ourselves? In any case, the USAAC/F shot down far more Japanese aircraft than the USN ever did!


A coordinated naval strike is one thing, and I grant you the Japanese were fairly good at that. However, even when achieving well coordinated attacks on ground or ship targets, Japanese pilots often fell victim to American pilots flying inferior planes, but employing better team tactics in aerial combat. Examples of this would be the American use of the "Finger Four" formation, and the "Thach Weave". According to Bergerud, the Japanese were never able to, or perhaps never inclined, to employ team tactics in aerial combat. My father is credited with three Japanese planes shot down while flying the SBD; one was an A6M, which he downed while employing the Thach weave in conjunction with another SBD.

Certainly the lack of teamwork was a weakness of the IJN aviation. The finger four was a German invention, and although the Wildcat was not as maneuverable, it was far more rugged and Japanese fighters could be deathtraps without self-sealing tanks. However, the US pilots were generally only holding their own until they got better and more numerous while the experienced, better Jap pilots were hunted down over time and the newbs were cannon fodder...


Yes, torpedo aircraft on both sides suffered heavily for little results, but this had little to do with executive planning and coordination and more to do with the nature of carrier warfare. Of all the aerial torpedo attacks launched at Midway only three torpedoes actually struck a target; one American and two Japanese...

I believe it was stated that more like six US torpedoes may have hit their marks (we'll never know for sure as the men are dead and the ships were sunk shortly thereafter). I also might add that shitty torpedoes like the Mk13 and obsolete aircraft are hardly the mark of a "superior" service? And perhaps showed deficiencies in US Naval planning? Eh? :)


I never claimed the Japanese "sucked"; are you implying that I did?

I wasn't quoting you, but you certainly come across as dismissive of whatever fails to build your prosecutorial like, sophist argument and dismiss as irrelevant what doesn't quite fit...


And yes, the USN still had senior commanders who needed removal. Fortunately neither Nimitz nor King were shy about doing that once they became convinced of a lack of competence or aggressiveness. I'm not sure the same could be said of the Japanese; Nagumo for instance continued to serve as Commander of the Japanese carrier striking force after Pearl Harbor and until he completely botched the battle of Midway.

Yes, well. King was hardly competent or aggressive regarding the U-boats blowing the shit out of our merchant fleet in the "happy days" of 1942. And Nimitz or King may well have botched any battle where their mail was read! Even Enigma and Anglo-forewarning didn't prevent King from ****ing up! Overall, I do think King was an organizational genius though...

And Pearl went about as well as it feasibly could for the Japanese, its deficiencies could not all be put on Nagumo...


As evidenced by the USN winning most of the important carrier battles of 1942. The USN was NOT carefully "picking it's battles" until after August, 1942

I don't recall providing an exact date, sensibly, as they were greatly weakened by Pearl Harbor. They did hold back until they had a clear intelligence telegraph of Japanese plans, or only to parry a Japanese thrust at Australia...


...Despite the fact that many senior commanders still believed in the "Big Guns" of the battleship, this was much less a factor in the USN than the IJN. As far back as July, 1940, the USN had opted for the carrier as the most important capital ship, by ordering 14 new Essex-class (and only six new battleships) and affording those carriers absolute top priority in construction materials, labor and yard space. As a result, the Navy's battleships did not become available until 1944, but the Essex-class carriers were built in an average of 18 months, the first one being commissioned on 31 December, 1942.

But yet the USN failed to grasp the Japanese threat of a carrier born strike despite the British demonstration using even obsolete torpedo planes. And it was the Japanese that conducted the carrier-born strike at PH...


Something I've never disputed. My position is that the USN was slightly better overall than the IJN, as demonstrated by it's performance in the second half of 1942.

Compared to the winning approach of the USN in the really important battles in 1942.

Which were largely won with the aid if knowing the exact Japanese intentions. without that key advantage, how superior can we really claim the US Navy was in terms of aviation, command, damage control, etc.? And by your own logic, the Japanese WERE better for the first six or seven months of the War, as they were winning. My point is that neither the US nor IJ Navies were fixed, static organizations, and furthermore they were very different organizations at the beginning and the end of 1942...


Well, I've been citing authorities to support my conclusions,

Congratulations. So have I...


...but the ultimate authority is the fact that by the end of 1942, the USN, from an initial position of disadvantage, unreadiness and inferior aircraft, fought the IJN to a standstill, and inflicted severe and crippling attrition on the IJN, which prevented it from ever recovering the initiative

So the Japanese were "better" in the beginning of 1942? :)

It was very nice of the US Navy (and Army) to graciously give the Japanese a nice head-start and hand them most of the Pacific. :)


No battle in the Pacific in 1942 was a "walkover"...

But when you callously dismiss the IJA as just "dangerous amateurs," (a phrase I introduced to the conversation I might add) you sort of imply selectively that the US military was vastly superior. Something which took time to actually achieve...


As for codebreaking and general intelligence, you keep citing it as a factor in the USN victories as though it was a gift from the gods...

Continued.....

We've been over this. What I said is that it's hard to call Spruance a genius naval commander and Nagumo a fool when they were playing a game like the New England Patriots were a few years back in "spygate." (intercepting the radio transmitted play-calling of opposing offenses and defenses for those of us not a fan of American football) Direct comparisons are difficult, just like I believe Montgomery had a significant advantage over the Desert Fox with Enigma, and this idea was put forth by one of his own British staff officers in a documentary interview in which he implied that he didn't like Monty all that much and that he was overrated even if Monty had introduced many reforms critical to the British victories and the British Army recovered from early defeats to sweep the desert of the Afrika Korp. That doesn't mean I'm removing that facet from the game, just that it's not a fair direct comparison. Just like Adm. Kimmel cannot be solely be blamed for the losses at Pearl Harbor--no matter how he was scapegoated by both military and civilian authorities..

Nickdfresh
01-16-2010, 11:58 AM
IIRC the IJN pre-war pilot training program was two years or maybe a bit longer. I don't recall seeing flying hours for that course but my recollection is that it involved intensive training in air combat, including an emphasis on team tactics contrary to comments that the Japanese didn't employ them.....

I recall reading as much and this is pretty much the "conventional wisdom" here, despite boasting the the contrary...

Nickdfresh
01-16-2010, 12:33 PM
I grow weary of this and I'm beginning to think of the girls walking into my college library as I was reading page after page of fifty year old events.... :( So, just a few points as I think I've clarified mine and this is devolving into a pedestrian "flamefest"... Irregardless Wizard, I think you're a solid, knowledgeable poster.

But, we'll agree to disagree as:


...
But in the four carrier battles in 1942, the Americans won three of them and in every one suffered fewer aircraft losses than the Japanese....

The Coral Sea was far from an unambiguous victory. But I think my point that the singular, one-sided victory at Midway caused a systemic breakdown in Japan's naval war effort making a true comparison impossible and making saying "we won all the carrier battles" ad hominem...



We are discussing aerial torpedoes here, so let's stick to that subject, Ok? The Long Lance was a destroyer/Cruiser torpedo and was not a factor at Pearl Harbor or Midway.

Um, lol wut? I think you're sorely mistaken...


And yes I agree that the US aerial torpedo was a dud, however, at Midway it was not primarily the cause of the slaughter of the US torpedo squadrons; most torpedo planes were shot down before they could even launch their weapons....

My point was that even that slaughter was made futile by the duds that were the Mk13s, and their sacrifice might have been even more poignant had one of as many as six torpedo strikes on the carriers had actually detonated. And as stated, shitty torpedoes carried by obsolete planes flying unsupported by fighter cover hardly makes some of your claims of inherent US naval aviation superiority seem valid in the context of June 4th, 1942. (my birthday actually, not in 1942 though :) --June 4th is truly a magnificent day!)


...

Interesting that you should cite Richard Frank's work, as I have it here on my desk as I write. I can find no reference to "expert Jungle fighters",

Well, as I recall it was like 700 or 900 pages (often fraught with extraneous, but interesting details). In any case, I wasn't "quoting" him. I was pretty much stating the conventional wisdom held by almost everyone--except you of course. :)


or a "match for the Marines". If anything, Frank gives the very opposite impression. Page 70; "But Captain Monzen rallied a body of stalwarts and led them southeast to seek battle in the dark. They became lost in the jungle and returned before making contact with the Marines."

Page 231-32,

"When the three battalions, numbering 2,506 men, went forward they lost their sense of direction, almost entirely missed the ridge, and instead drifted into the low, waterlogged swath of jungle between the ridge and the Lunga....he [General Kawaguchi] reported that 'because of the devilish jungle, the brigade was scattered all over and completely beyond control. In my whole life I have never felt so helpless'"

Page 346,

"Early on October 23, Japanese soldiers dropped their packs and each unit began to slice it's own trail north toward the American perimeter. Scouts radiated out, but many failed to return, and those who did could only gasp that there was jungle in every direction."

These are "expert jungle fighters"??

Well, I think I pretty much referred to the botched attack on Henderson Field, so congratulations on preaching to the choir. But thanks to testifying to my memory, which I'll have to rely for now despite years of alcohol rot. :) And on finding selective quotes to "build your case."

I think he also testifies to the courage of the Japanese soldier and clearly mentions several instances where US marines or soldiers had their asses handed to them in straight up small unit engagements. and some US units were wiped out almost to the man in ill advised movements?

You could also make the contention (a false one I think) that the US ground pounders were far too reliant of their superior firepower over the Japanese and tended to fall apart in small unit actions where they didn't have direct support. Marine Raiders notwithstanding....



The bottom line was that American tactics were superior and they won the battle. That's the only thing that counts in war.

They were superior only after they learned how to fight the Japanese forces properly and to conduct proper defense in depth and from proper mutually supporting positions on the tactical level. They also had a clear superiority in industry giving them huge advantages over the IJA in firepower and mobility, something I've said here dozens of times--and the reason why the IJA was heavily dependent on the "spirit-warrior" ethos...

If you've read Franks closely, he also pretty clearly indicates that many in the West thought the Japanese be something of 'fanatical savages' virtually undefeatable on the ground by the soft boys raised under a democracy, a sentiment echoed in Atkin's An Army at Dawn as an overall fear in going against the Axis powers. And that US morale was questionable and shaky prior to the initiation of ground operations and the taking of Henderson Field, where shocked Japanese soldiers and ground crews simply ran--as they often went into shock during unpleasant surprises despite their ferocious reputation. August Storm is a great example of this...


You keep posting allegations that the Americans made plenty of mistakes too, as if that changes the basic equation that the Americans and Australians beat the Japanese soundly in the South Pacific; it doesn't. The Allies were clearly superior in military expertise to Japanese forces in the Pacific.

Then they took over most of the Pacific rim how?

Another overgeneralization with no context... :rolleyes:


You are comparing apples and oranges;

Quite contraire my friend, not I.


The Japanese were advancing in to what amounted to a military vacuum with the twin advantages of surprise and the initiative. And it took only three years to roll back the Japanese despite their having had a year in most cases to consolidate their defensive positions. Had the circumstances been reversed, the Japanese would never have been able to accomplish what the Allies did.


So it took three years to rollback what the Japanese took in three months? Bataan and Corrigador were hardly "military vacuums."


Oh, I believe Japanese could have inflicted the casualties they hoped for. I'm equally convinced it would have been to no avail; the Allies would have simply rolled Japan under and buried it in a communal grave.

An interesting seperate discussion. I believe the US and Commonwealth would have suffered huge casualties initially in the first phase (Olympic?). But the Japanese didn't deal well with open, mobile combined arms battle as evidenced in Manchuria, and may have collapsed according to, or depending on, the terrain and their ammunition shortages...


It reminds me of the kamekazi campaign; the Japanese hoped to overawe the Americans and impress them with the determination and loyalty of the Japanese people. But it backfired. The Americans were not impressed, but came to despise the Japanese for their stupidity and willingness to die for no good reason....

I agree that it backfired, but I think you're wrong if think Americans were not impressed! And a single plane killing hundreds or thousands in an Allied troop ship would have been a good trade-off. But the Japanese decimated what was left of their air forces with little gain overall. And it's hard to predict what the American people would have thought of coffins with flags rolling into their graveyards in small towns if the US began suffering true Eastern Front-numbers of casualties. "If"..

Wizard
01-16-2010, 05:58 PM
I grow weary of this and I'm beginning to think of the girls walking into my college library as I was reading page after page of fifty year old events.... :( So, just a few points as I think I've clarified mine and this is devolving into a pedestrian "flamefest"... Irregardless Wizard, I think you're a solid, knowledgeable poster.

But, we'll agree to disagree as:

That's probably best, I have no intention of starting a flamefest or pissing contest over these issues.


The Coral Sea was far from an unambiguous victory. But I think my point that the singular, one-sided victory at Midway caused a systemic breakdown in Japan's naval war effort making a true comparison impossible and making saying "we won all the carrier battles" ad hominem...

True. Both sides regarded Coral Sea as decisively in their favor at the time. However, it's clear in hindsight that the Japanese really lost. Not only were they forced to abandon their operation to capture Port Moresby, but they permanently lost a useful CVL, and lost the services of their two best CV's, scheduled to be in the Midway operation. Had the Shokaku and Zuikaku actually been at Midway, it's doubtful the USN could have overcome the quantitative disadvantage they posed.

Excuse me, but I didn't say "we won all the battles". I said we won three out of the four in 1942. We won the first three and lost the last one. However, even in losing we always inflicted heavier casualties in planes and aircrew than we received, which I think is the most telling fact of all.


Um, lol wut? I think you're sorely mistaken...

Actually, it's you who is mistaken. The term "Long Lance" was bestowed by Samuel Eliot Morison in his monumental "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II". In context, it specifically referred to the Japanese Type 93 torpedo. This was a 24 inch oxygen-fueled torpedo designed to be launched from cruisers and destroyers; no other torpedo platforms used this weapon during WW II.

The standard submarine torpedo was the Type 92 (a version of a German-designed torpedo), and later the Type 95 which was purely a Japanese designed, 21 inch torpedo, used only in submarines.

The standard Japanese aerial torpedo was the Type 91, a 17.7 inch torpedo, originally designed in 1931. It used a kerosene-air wet-heater type of propulsion unit and was rather short-ranged (2,200 yards), but was considered fast for it's day. The Japanese upgraded their torpedoes with minor improvements over the years, as did most navies. Incidentally, the US Mk 13 aerial torpedo (the one used at Midway) was also upgraded and eventually became the best aerial torpedo of WW II, achieving an enviable 50% hit probability by the end of the war; it remained in service with the USN for a considerable period post war.

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WTJAP_WWII.htm


My point was that even that slaughter was made futile by the duds that were the Mk13s, and their sacrifice might have been even more poignant had one of as many as six torpedo strikes on the carriers had actually detonated. And as stated, shitty torpedoes carried by obsolete planes flying unsupported by fighter cover hardly makes some of your claims of inherent US naval aviation superiority seem valid in the context of June 4th, 1942. (my birthday actually, not in 1942 though :) --June 4th is truly a magnificent day!)

Actually, the same torpedo and aircraft had performed magnificently less than a month before in the attack on the Shoho at Coral Sea. The Shoho was overwhelmed by a reported seven torpedo strikes (some sources claim as many as 13 torpedo hits), and went down in minutes.


...In any case, I wasn't "quoting" him. I was pretty much stating the conventional wisdom held by almost everyone--except you of course.

Well, Frank, as well as quite a few other historians, does not hold with the conventional wisdom that all Japanese were "expert Jungle fighters". In fact, it now seems to be recognized that very few IJA units received any kind of special jungle training. Certainly not those on Guadalcanal, as they seemed to have a propensity for getting lost in the jungle at the drop of a hat. Much of this may be attributive to their senior officers, who seemed to have no idea of the difficulty of jungle navigation.


Well, I think I pretty much referred to the botched attack on Henderson Field,And on finding selective quotes to "build your case."

Selective quotes to build my case??

Come on, I provided three quotations about three different events, involving three different Japanese units, and all on Guadalcanal, which I believe was the focus of this part of our discussion. Moreover, I used the same source which you had previously cited! At least give me credit for supporting my assertion with relevant data.


I think he also testifies to the courage of the Japanese soldier and clearly mentions several instances where US marines or soldiers had their asses handed to them in straight up small unit engagements. and some US units were wiped out almost to the man in ill advised movements?

Again your assertions are pretty vague; the only episode where any Marines were "handed their asses." or "wiped out to a man" on Guadalcanal was the Goettge Patrol. There were, on the other hand, numerous times when the Japanese were ambushed and suffered extremely heavy losses at the hands of the Marines, such as the Shibuya detachment from Ichiki's command. Ichiki, himself, and his 900 men met the same fate shortly later, when they were so foolish as to attack the Marine lines. This supposedly elite assault unit were defeated in hand-to-hand fighting with Marines, losing about 800 of their number, while the Marines lost forty-four dead and seventy-one wounded.


They were superior only after they learned how to fight the Japanese forces properly and to conduct proper defense in depth and from proper mutually supporting positions on the tactical level....

Well, what ground battles did the Americans lose in the South Pacific? They began engaging the Japanese at Guadalcanal, where were they deficient in fighting the Japanese? I'd say it was the Japanese who needed to learn to fight the American forces. Apparently, they never did, because I can't think of a single ground battle the Japanese won against American ground forces after Corregidor.


If you've read Franks closely, he also pretty clearly indicates that many in the West thought the Japanese be something of 'fanatical savages' virtually undefeatable on the ground by the soft boys raised under a democracy, a sentiment echoed in Atkin's An Army at Dawn as an overall fear in going against the Axis powers. And that US morale was questionable and shaky prior to the initiation of ground operations...

No, that is not what Frank says, or implies, at all.

"Guadalcanal", Page152;

"For nine months, Allied [As opposed to American] units had sometimes bolted to the rear abandoning duty and dignity when confronted by shrieking Japanese infantry like Ichiki's veterans. Pollock's Marines were grass-green, but resolute....Stories of courageous and desperate struggles by individual Marines abounded, but one episode involving the three-man crew of a machine gun....entered American folklore. The gunner, Private John Rivers,... slammed hundreds of rounds into the on-rushing phalanx until a bullet struck him in the face and killed him....Corporal Lee Diamond then fired the gun until wounded in the arm. His place was taken by Private Albert A. Schmid, who fired until an exploding grenade flung him from the gun...and blinded him, but he crawled back to his post and fought on with a pistol."

Page 157;

"If Japanese strategists hoped this willingness to die virtually to the last man would cause westerners to blanch at the brutal implications of such battle ethics, the actions of the Marines...would have given them food for thought. If the Japanese wanted to fight to the death with no quarter asked or given, the Marines were ready to oblige them fully."



Then they took over most of the Pacific rim how?

Another overgeneralization with no context... :rolleyes:

Oh, come on, That's too easy. The Japanese took over areas that were lightly defended by poorly trained, equipped, and led troops, or areas not defended at all, such as Borneo. They expanded into millions of square miles of territory that, for the most part was worthless and thus undefended. The territories of Sumatra, Java, and Malaya were the only real prizes. Even Singapore was worthless because the naval base there had no ships, and the airfields few if any planes that weren't obsolete.

Ask yourself when did the Japanese first encounter large numbers of American troops with adequate air power and naval support? Then ask yourself if they won any territory after that point in time. If you're honest you'll have to admit the answer is no.


I agree that it backfired, but I think you're wrong if think Americans were not impressed!....

Certainly not in the way in which the Japanese hoped. It didn't cause the Americans to be awed at a people who were so willing to die for a principle; it caused the Americans to become angry at the Japanese because they were so intransigent about admitting defeat. I've spoken to men who went through that campaign; the dominant feeling was, "How can people be so stupid as to throw their lives away after the war is so obviously lost?" There was no respect for the kamikaze pilots, only disgust.

Rising Sun*
01-18-2010, 08:00 AM
IIRC the IJN pre-war pilot training program was two years or maybe a bit longer. I don't recall seeing flying hours for that course but my recollection is that it involved intensive training in air combat, inlcuding an emphasis on team tactics contrary to comments that the Japanese didn't employ them.

I seem to recall that all Pearl Harbor IJN pilots had at least 500 hours and many had a lot more than that.

Well, Alzheimer's notwithstanding, I was reasonably close.

A better informed than me short article here, based on sources that both Nick and Wizard have quoted.


Aircraft Pilots

Aircraft proved a decisive weapon during the Pacific War. However, no weapon can be better than the men who use it. The Japanese had a clear edge in pilot skill when war broke out, but the Pacific War was characterized by a steady improvement in Allied aircraft pilot skills and a steady degradation in Japanese pilot skill.
Japanese pilots

The Japanese Navy began the war with superbly trained pilots. None of the Japanese pilots involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor had logged less than 600 hours of flying time, and many flight leaders had over 1500 hours’ experience. Flying the excellent Zero, these pilots were able to sweep opposing aircraft out of the skies of the southwest Pacific in the early months of the war.

Japanese naval pilot training emphasized quality over quantity. Selection criteria were so strict that no more than 100 pilot candidates were accepted in some years. The training course took more than two years and was brutally demanding. Emphasis was placed on aerial maneuvers appropriate for dogfights, such as the characteristic hineri-komi or “turning-in” maneuver that many Allied pilots described as a “falling-leaf” maneuver. Navy fighter pilots were trained to work in the three-plane shotai, and this training continued after assignment to operational units, so that the pilots in a shotai developed a sixth sense for each other’s reactions. This helped compensate for the very poor radio equipment in most Japanese aircraft. (The radios were apparently spoiled by unshielded ignition systems.)

Japanese Army pilot training was somewhat less demanding than that of the Navy. The complete training course took two years and pilots graduated with 300 hours' flying time. Basic flight training was conducted in the Ki-17 "Cedar" biplane trainer and continued in the Ki-9 "Spruce" medium trainer. Final operational training took place in the Ki-55 "Ida". Pilots were then assigned to a flying training unit for six months, followed by assignment to a fighter squadron, where they received a final three months' training before entering combat. The Japanese Army started the war with inferior aircraft such as the Nate and took heavy casualties over Burma and China even in the early days of the war. However, the Army shared the Navy’s emphasis on dogfighting and had similar personnel policies.

The majority of Japanese pilots were noncommissioned officers. This was in marked contrast with the U.S. Army and Navy, where most pilots were commissioned. Japanese noncommissioned officers drawn from fleet service were trained by the Pilot Trainee System (Sōjū Renshūsei, or Sōren), while young men aged 15 to 17 drawn directly from civilian life were trained by the Flight Reserve Enlisted Trainee System (Hikō Yoka Renshūsei, or Yokaren). Only a small number of college students were recruited into the Student Aviation Reserve (Kōkū Yobi Gakusei) to become reserve ensigns, although this program expanded rapidly after war broke out, training over 10,000 pilots in 1943. A dark side of the Japanese system was the great social gulf between officers and enlisted men. Even such superb noncommissioned pilots as Sakai Saburo, Japan’s second leading ace to survive the war, were frequently mistreated by their officers. Corporal punishment was an integral part of training.

Because Japanese culture discouraged emphasis on the individual, Japanese aces were not given the same attention as Allied aces. However, especially productive pilots would be rewarded with a promotion, which amounted to a nice pay raise for the enlisted pilots. Officer pilots ran the risk of being promoted out of command of flying units.

There was no system of regular rotation of pilots. Japanese pilots usually flew until they died or were crippled. Sakai survived the war because he was half-blinded over Guadalcanal: He mistook a flight of Avengers for a flight of Wildcats and approached incautiously from the rear, making himself an easy target for the Avengers’ rear gunners. Wounded in the head, he somehow made it back to Rabaul, but lost his sight in one eye, was sent back to Japan, and did not again participate in combat missions until the last, desperate days of the war.

The Japanese system was suitable for a nation that hoped to win quick, limited wars. When the Japanese attacked in the Pacific, they held nothing back. There was no reserve of skilled pilots to speak of. Indeed, Peattie (2001) has pointed out that, when war broke out, 11 Air Fleet had been drawn on so heavily for cadre for the new Shokakus that its rosters already included significant numbers of incompletely trained pilots. As attrition set in, particularly during the Guadalcanal campaign, the training system proved entirely inadequate to replace losses. Though Japanese pilots continued to show superb combat skill through the end of 1942, by mid-1943 Allied pilots began to notice a sharp decline in their opponent’s flying skills. By 1944, Japan's supply of skilled pilots was so limited that many flight instructors were reassigned from training units to Ozawa's Mobile Force at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, in an all-or-nothing effort to stop the American counteroffensive. The outcome was the slaughter of the Japanese pilots in what the Americans dubbed "The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot."

When war broke out, the average Japanese Navy pilot had 700 hours' flying time while Army pilots averaged 500 hours' flying time. This had dropped to 275 hours in the Navy and 130 in the Army by 1 January 1945, reflecting a precipitous decline in the level of training of replacement pilots. By late 1944, a new Japanese Navy pilot graduated with just 40 hours flying time, while his American opponent had at least 525 hours flying time. Relative losses in combat were correspondingly disproportionate. The Japanese Army was likewise forced to reduce pilot training to 60 or 70 hours' flight time by 1945, while the U.S. Army held firmly to its requirement of at least 200 hours' flight time to the end of the war.
American pilots

During the 1920s, the U.S. Navy trained its pilots almost as thoroughly as the Japanese Navy. Pilot candidates had to be college graduates who met strict physical standards. All received commissions. Flight training took two years and emphasis was placed on deflection shooting and cooperative tactics. However, in the years just before the war, the Navy shifted its emphasis towards producing larger numbers of good pilots rather than small numbers of superb pilots. The flight time requirement dropped to just 305 hours. As a result, when war broke out, 75% of U.S. Navy carrier pilots had fewer flight hours than the least qualified Japanese Navy carrier pilot.

However, the Americans were able to vastly expand their training program, in part because they had a much larger pool of qualified pilot candidates to draw on. It was estimated that 500,000 men in the U.S. had the necessary aptitude to become pilots, although arbitrary eligibility requirements cut this figure to a total of 193,400 pilots trained during the war. These included 35,000 U.S. Army fighter pilots. By contrast, the Japanese graduated just 46,000 pilots. The Americans also had a policy of rotating experienced pilots out of combat units into training units before combat fatigue made them careless. There were experiments with training noncommissioned pilots, but eventually the experiment was abandoned and most of the pilots involved received their commissions.

Rising Sun*
01-18-2010, 08:01 AM
.....

With seizable numbers of reserve pilots and a large training program, and with the new Essex carriers not due to start joining the fleet until late 1943, the American Navy actually increased its training requirements. The pilots who manned the new carriers all had a minimum of two year’s training and 500 hours’ flight time.

Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Army gave its fighter pilots solid aviation training, but almost none in gunnery. Pilots arriving at Wheeler Field had 200 to 300 hours flight time, but some had never fired a weapon. Because the Army required large numbers of pilots for the European theater, it never attempted as thorough of training as the Navy. Quantity had to be emphasized over quality throughout the war, and an Army Air Force pilot won his wings in just 9 months with about 200 hours' flight time. Basic training typically began with in the Stearman PT-17, a biplane trainer, and continued in the Vultee BT-13/15 monoplane trainer. Advanced training took place in the legendary T-6 Texan and was followed by assignment to an operational unit. However, in December 1942 the Army Air Force organized Fighter Replacement Training Units (FRTUs) where new fighter pilots polished their skills for two months. In some cases, training was much better: P-38 pilots were selected on the basis of highly competitive mock dogfights after 350 hour’s flight time. In other respects, Army policies resembled those of the Navy.
Tactics

Prior to the Second World War, air combat was centered on the dogfight, in which fighter aircraft attempted to outmaneuver each other and get on their opponent's tail to deliver a fatal burst of fire. Most Japanese fighters of the Second World War were optimized for dogfighting, and they were probably the most maneuverable monoplanes ever built. The Allied pilot who attempted to out turn his Japanese opponent in a dogfight rarely survived.

However, American air tacticians, such as Claire Chennault, came to the conclusion that hit and run tactics had superseded dogfighting. Allied pilots looked for opportunities to hit the enemy by surprise and from above, and if they failed to destroy their target, they simply kept going. If they were themselves surprised, they would head for the deck and perform a sharp turn to try to shake their pursuers. Maneuverability became the least important performance category for most American fighter aircraft designers, who chose to optimize speed, protection, and firepower instead.

In addition, Jimmy Thatch pioneered cooperative tactics such as the scissors or Thatch Weave. A pair of Allied fighters would fly a few hundred yards apart and keep an eye on each other's tails. If one of the fighters was jumped by an enemy fighter, his wingman would immediately turn sharply towards him, which warned him that he was under attack. He would then turn sharply towards his wingman, forcing his pursuer to either break off or be vulnerable to attack by his wingman. These tactics were so effective that a saying began to go around: A lone Wildcat against a lone Zero was outnumbered ten to one, but two Wildcats against ten Zeros outnumbered their opponents ten to one.

The effects of the uneven battle of attrition became evident as early as mid-1943. On 25 April 1943, a group of just four Corsairs defending Henderson Field engaged a group of 16 "Bettys" and 20 "Zeros" and shot down five aircraft at the cost of two of their own. On 5 June 1943 a sweep by 81 "Zeros" opposed by 110 Allied fighters over the Russell Islands cost the Japanese 25 aircraft versus seven for the Allies. A sweep on 12 June had a similar outcome. Such lopsided outcomes would have been unthinkable a year earlier.
Aces

The Allies gave much more publicity to aces (pilots who destroyed five or more enemy aircraft) than the Japanese did. An ace was almost certain to be decorated for his accomplishment, and particularly outstanding performance could win an American pilot the Medal of Honor. On the other hand, the brass saw no need to promote an ace unless he also displayed superb leadership qualities. Many aces, such as Jimmy Thatch and Joe Foss, had such qualities and would achieve high rank. Others did not.
Top Imperial Japanese Navy Aces
1 Nishizawa Hiroyoshi 87+ kills KIA 1944 as a passenger on a transport aircraft
2 Iwamoto Tetsuzo ~80 kills Survived the war
3 Sugita Soichi ~70 kills KIA 1945
4 Sakai Saburo 64 kills Survived the war
5 Okumura Takeo 54 kills KIA 1943
6 Ota Toshio 34 kills KIA 1942
7 Sugino Kazuo 32 kills Survived the war
8 Ishii Shizuo 29 kills KIA 1943
9 Muto Kaneyoshi 28 kills KIA 1945
10 Sasai Jun-ichi 27 kills KIA 1942
Top Allied Aces of the Pacific War
1 Richard I. Bong Army 40 kills Killed 1945 in a flying accident
2 Thomas McGuire, Jr. Army 38 kills KIA 1945 by ace Sugita Soichi
3 David McCambell Navy 34 kills Survived the war
4 Gregory Boyington Marine 28 kills
6 kills with AVG 1941-42 POW from 1943
5 Charles W. MacDonald Army 27 kills Survived the war
6 Joseph J. Foss Marine 26 kills Survived the war
7 Robert M. Hanson Marine 25 kills Survived the war
8 Cecil E. Harris Navy 24 kills Survived the war
9 Eugene A. Valencia Navy 23 kills Survived the war
10 Gerald R. Johnson Army 22 kills Survived the war
11 Neil E. Kearby Army 22 kills KIA 1944 over Wewak
12 Jay T. Robbins Army 22 kills Survived the war

As these tables show, the top Japanese aces claimed many more kills than their American counterparts. There are a couple of explanations for this. Many of the Japanese aces were credited with a large number of kills over China against inferior pilots and aircraft. American claims required confirmation from gun cameras or a second pilot, and postwar analyses of Japanese loss records tend to support their claims. Japanese claims were not nearly so well verified and may be badly exaggerated.

References

Bergerud (2000)

Dunnigan and Nofi (1998)
Frank (1999)

Hastings (2007)
Molesworth (2008)

Morison (1950)
Peattie (2001)

Prange (1981)

Tillman (2005)

Rising Sun*
01-18-2010, 08:16 AM
Ask yourself when did the Japanese first encounter large numbers of American troops with adequate air power and naval support? Then ask yourself if they won any territory after that point in time. If you're honest you'll have to admit the answer is no.

That's a post hoc, propter hoc argument that proves nothing.

It could equally well be applied to the Australians on Kokoda or at Milne Bay or Gona, Buna, Sanananda.

Although at Buna the Japanese encountered large numbers of Americans (32nd Div) with adequate air support and, as Nick pointed out earlier, the Americans stalled and then pretty much gave up until Eichelberger arrived.

I think that on a proper analysis of the 1942 Pacific war it will be seen that the sea and air wars individually and certainly together contributed at least as much, probably rather more, to Allied successes on land and overall than did American or any other troops on land, with or without naval and air support (e.g. Coral Sea and Midway being naval and air battles with no land troops).

Wizard
01-18-2010, 02:36 PM
That's a post hoc, he New Guineapropter hoc argument that proves nothing.

So you really think that there is only a coincidental correlation between the fact that the Japanese were brought to a screeching halt when they first met American troops with adequate air power and naval support in the Southwest Pacific? If that is the case, what do you think was the real reason the Japanese took no more territory?


It could equally well be applied to the Australians on Kokoda or at Milne Bay or Gona, Buna, Sanananda.

And should be. The Australians fought very well in the New Guinea campaign. BTW, there was An American Engineer Regiment involved in the Milne Bay battle, along with the Australians. And air power in the New Guinea campaign was decidedly of an Allied nature, involving Australian and New Zealand personnel, not just Americans.


Although at Buna the Japanese encountered large numbers of Americans (32nd Div) with adequate air support and, as Nick pointed out earlier, the Americans stalled and then pretty much gave up until Eichelberger arrived.

I didn't claim that the American forces always decisively defeated the Japanese, only that they (the Japanese) were unable to take any more territory.


I think that on a proper analysis of the 1942 Pacific war it will be seen that the sea and air wars individually and certainly together contributed at least as much, probably rather more, to Allied successes on land and overall than did American or any other troops on land, with or without naval and air support (e.g. Coral Sea and Midway being naval and air battles with no land troops).

I think the contributions of sea, air, and land forces in the Pacific war are inseparable, and that it is impossible to determine which was more important in any given campaign. It's like saying the heart is more important to the human body than the lungs or the brain. Unlike the ETO, most objectives in the PTO involved building or capturing air strips which would then support further operations by sea and land forces, therefore it might arguably be said that air power was the arbiter of most offensive and defensive operations, but successful campaigns required the participation of all three arms.

Rising Sun*
01-19-2010, 04:00 AM
If that is the case, what do you think was the real reason the Japanese took no more territory?

In part, the points I made about air and naval battles on the sea, but there is no ‘real’ or single reason.

Among the many reasons is a significant contribution by Japan because it over-extended itself under the impetus of the victory disease and encountered the American, and Australian, troops on land at that point, which limited its ability to conduct the sustained campaigns in Papua and Guadalcanal at the same time.

The impact of those campaigns on Japan was primarily due to their sustained length which drew in more resources than Japan originally contemplated committing, and which bled Japan in troops and logistically,

There was another significant contribution by Japan in its logistics policies, which were deficient for jungle warfare in the South East Pacific by issuing troops with an initial ration and then expecting them to live off the land to a fair extent. They got away with it in Malaya, the Philippines and the NEI where sufficient rations could be obtained as they were more heavily populated and more developed countries. This problem is reflected in the starvation which beset Japanese troops in Papua and Guadalcanal after the early phase of those campaigns. Perhaps no better illustrated than by the food supply dumps which the Australians fouled on the Kokoda retreat and which the Japanese fell upon greedily in their retreat, thus rendering themselves too ill to fight or, in some cases, to continue the retreat.

There was a range of other Allied advantages relative to Japanese disadvantages, such as the proximity to Papua and Guadalcanal of Australia as a troop staging and supply base against Japan’s bases and Allied access to sulfa drugs which kept Allied troops in the field while Japanese troops were succumbing to illness for want of a similar medicine.

Also the basic flaw in Japan’s war plan of lacking the merchant shipping to sustain its conquests and the troops in distant occupied territories, compounded by the requirement to live off the land. In Papua New Guinea and surrounding areas as early as 1943 and very much by 1944 some supposed combat and many other units spent most of their time tending vegetable gardens for subsistence rations.

It is too simplistic to attribute Japan’s advance stalling purely to meeting American troops with adequate air and naval support. There were multiple factors involved beyond American success on the land battlefields on Guadalcanal and in Papua, some of which I have outlined.

The fact that Japan didn’t take any territory in the South Pacific after 1942 isn’t terribly significant by itself as there wasn’t much more to take. The only strategic value in succeeding in Operation FS would have been to try to strangle the sea routes between America and Australia, but that was probably beyond Japanese capacity to any great degree by early 1943 even if Japan had succeeded in the Solomons.

Wizard
01-19-2010, 01:08 PM
In part, the points I made about air and naval battles on the sea, but there is no ‘real’ or single reason.

Among the many reasons is a significant contribution by Japan because it over-extended itself under the impetus of the victory disease and encountered the American, and Australian, troops on land at that point, which limited its ability to conduct the sustained campaigns in Papua and Guadalcanal at the same time.

The impact of those campaigns on Japan was primarily due to their sustained length which drew in more resources than Japan originally contemplated committing, and which bled Japan in troops and logistically,

Now I think we are dealing with what might be termed a circular argument. The primary reason the Japanese campaigns in the South Pacific were of a sustained length was because the Japanese had finally encountered troops, ships, and air forces, which were equal to, and in some aspects, superior to, their own forces. What you are really saying is that the Japanese found that they could no longer achieve their objectives in a matter of days or weeks, as they had been accustomed to in earlier conquests. And the reason for that was superior American and Australian fighting techniques. Not in every detail of course, but where it counted, and in the overall results.

As a side note, I remember reading in one of Willmott's books that, for every six ounces of material and equipment the Japanese supplied to their troops in the Pacific, the US supplied two tons to their forces in the Pacific. The point being made; that a considerable amount of Japanese supply still lies on the bottom of the Pacific.


There was another significant contribution by Japan in its logistics policies, which were deficient for jungle warfare in the South East Pacific by issuing troops with an initial ration and then expecting them to live off the land to a fair extent. They got away with it in Malaya, the Philippines and the NEI where sufficient rations could be obtained as they were more heavily populated and more developed countries. This problem is reflected in the starvation which beset Japanese troops in Papua and Guadalcanal after the early phase of those campaigns. Perhaps no better illustrated than by the food supply dumps which the Australians fouled on the Kokoda retreat and which the Japanese fell upon greedily in their retreat, thus rendering themselves too ill to fight or, in some cases, to continue the retreat.

I would be interested in any sources which you might have to the effect that it was either IJA or IJN strategic or tactical planning policy to dump their men into a theater and ignore their sustenance requirements. I know it occasionally happened that IJA field commanders ordered attacks without sufficient rations, such as at Kohlima and on the Kokoda trail, but this was more often the result of making unrealistic assumptions about their ability to quickly achieve their objectives against well equipped, well, led, and well motivated troops, than a deliberate policy of requiring their forces to "live off the land". I have seen a translation of a Japanese logistical planning manual which sets forth daily nutritional requirements for soldiers engaged in combat in various climates and terrains. While the Japanese certainly did not lavishly supply their troops, neither did they expect them to live off the land for any significant period of time.

I would argue, specifically in New Guinea and the Solomons campaigns, that it was the ability of the Americans and Australians to force the Japanese into situations where it was physically impossible for them to fight through supplies, not only of food, but of small arms ammo, ordnance, spare parts, fuel, medical materials and equipment, and every other kind of basic human necessity. Thus it wasn't a Japanese failure of logistical planning or policy, that defeated them, but a failure to cope with the fighting abilities of the Australian and American forces.

I will grant that the Japanese often underestimated their logistical needs, but I feel this was due more to an underestimation of the ability of American and Australian forces to interdict their supply routes, than any perceived advantage the Japanese might have in living off the land.


Also the basic flaw in Japan’s war plan of lacking the merchant shipping to sustain its conquests and the troops in distant occupied territories, compounded by the requirement to live off the land. In Papua New Guinea and surrounding areas as early as 1943 and very much by 1944 some supposed combat and many other units spent most of their time tending vegetable gardens for subsistence rations.

This was an improvisation prompted by the Allied strategy of by-passing some very large garrisons whenever possible; it was not originally foreseen that entire garrisons would be required to produce their own crops. I remember reading about a Japanese submarine early in 1944, making a supply run which consisted largely of agricultural hand tools, seeds, and fishing gear, which was sorely needed by one such garrison.


The fact that Japan didn’t take any territory in the South Pacific after 1942 isn’t terribly significant by itself as there wasn’t much more to take. The only strategic value in succeeding in Operation FS would have been to try to strangle the sea routes between America and Australia, but that was probably beyond Japanese capacity to any great degree by early 1943 even if Japan had succeeded in the Solomons.

Considering that the Japanese, in the Spring of 1942, appeared to be bent on taking every significant island in the Pacific, I would consider the Allies preventing such an event to be highly significant.

The Sea routes between the US and Australia could not be cut off solely by the acquisition of territory, as anyone with a large scale map could perceive.
Even if every single island in the Pacific were occupied and equipped with an airfield and planes, the US could still make shipments to Australia via the South Atlantic and, of Good Hope and Indian Ocean, much as Britain was making shipments from the Middle East via that route. It would have added approximately 3,000 miles, but would still be quite feasible.

In any case, I hope you'll forgive me if I continue to believe that it was no coincidence that the Japanese were first forced to a standstill and then put in reverse, at the very moment they first came into contact with the Australians and Americans in New Guinea, at Midway, and in the Solomons.

Rising Sun*
01-19-2010, 11:45 PM
The primary reason the Japanese campaigns in the South Pacific were of a sustained length was because the Japanese had finally encountered troops, ships, and air forces, which were equal to, and in some aspects, superior to, their own forces.

Not on Kokoda. The Japanese advanced steadily and effectively to within sight of Port Moresby. While the Australian retreat certainly impeded Japanese progress it was still a constant retreat in the face of successive Japanese victories. The Japanese were beaten as much by supply deficiences as their LOC lengthened and the Australian LOC shortened and by being sicker than the Australians.


What you are really saying is that the Japanese found that they could no longer achieve their objectives in a matter of days or weeks, as they had been accustomed to in earlier conquests.

I'm not saying that at all, because it's not the case. The Kokoda-Gona etc campaign was about the same length and Guadalcanal campaign about a month shorter than the six month long Philippines campaign, where Japanese soldiers also encountered severe food shortages in the advance phase after Manila because they couldn't supply their front line units properly.


And the reason for that was superior American and Australian fighting techniques. Not in every detail of course, but where it counted, and in the overall results.

Not during the Japanese advance on Kokoda. While there were some valiant defences, the Australians had no effective counter to Japanese infiltration techniques, in small unit engagements or even against an Australian brigade at Brigade Hill (aka Mission Ridge).
The Australian victory was significantly assisted by sulpha (=sulfa in US) drugs which the Japanese lacked. The Australian Official History notes that without sulpha drugs dysentery could easily have reduced the Australians to impotence on Kokoda: Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 5 – Medical - Volume I – Clinical Problems of War, p. 3 http://www.awm.gov.au/cms_images/histories/35/chapters/01.pdf It was noted that development of Australian production of sulphaguanidine “played a vital role in saving Australia from Japanese invasion …Had the drug not been available, the course of the New Guinea campaign might have been unfavourable to our cause.” L.R Humphreys, Trikojus: A scientist for our times, Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, 2004, p. 44 The Japanese were treating their troops with a useless mixture of creosote, charcoal and tannic acid (ibid., p.43)
The Allies were also ably assisted by deficiencies in Japanese rations which rendered their troops avoidably ill with beri-beri, which did not afflict Allied soldiers (unless they were POWs of the Japanese) to the extent that U.S. Army intelligence concluded that of the approximately 37,000 Japanese soldiers deployed on Guadalcanal, more than one-half of those who had been on the island over 3 months had beri-beri. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3912/is_200604/ai_n16350305/?tag=content;col1



As a side note, I remember reading in one of Willmott's books that, for every six ounces of material and equipment the Japanese supplied to their troops in the Pacific, the US supplied two tons to their forces in the Pacific.

Even if that estimate is accurate, and I don’t know where the Japanese figures would come from, it is not just food.

It is difficult to compare ration weights as the Japanese relied heavily on rice which when dry weighs considerably less than when cooked and as the Japanese also relied on dried foods, where the Allies relied much more on tinned food which weighs considerably more.


I would be interested in any sources which you might have to the effect that it was either IJA or IJN strategic or tactical planning policy to dump their men into a theater and ignore their sustenance requirements

I didn’t say their sustenance was ignored but that their initial rations could be expected to be supplemented by ‘living off the land’, meaning getting what they could locally. This is consistent with the following reference to rations including local supplies.


Field. (a) Rations and forage supplies in the field may be both "imported" or "local". The former was manufactured and purchased by base supply depots operated by the Intendance Bureau in Japan. The latter are obtained by purchase, requisition, or confiscation. The field ration in the Japanese Army is fixed by regulation as consisting of the following:

1. Standard, or normal field ration (total, about 4 1/8 pounds), consisting largely of rice and barley, fresh meat and fish, fresh vegetables, and various condiments and flavorings.

2. Special field ration (total, 3 pounds), consisting largely of rice; dried, canned, or pickled items. This ration is the one most likely issued in combat.

3. Reserve (emergency) ration. Class A (total, 2 1/2 pounds) consisting of rice, canned meat, and salt. Class B (total, 1 3/4 pounds) consisting of rice or hardtack, canned meat, and salt.

4. Iron rations, weighing about one-half pound for one meal, include special Japanese biscuits and extracts that have been successfully tried out in various climates.

5. Nutritious rations, consisting of extra amounts of all kinds of food are allowed to men who need them.

6. Substitute items according to a regular system.

7. Supplementary articles, to be issued as available, consisting of cigarettes, either sake or sweets.

War Department Technical Manual TM-E 30-480, Handbook on Japanese Military Forces, 1 October 1944 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1944) p.178 http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Japan/IJA/HB/HB-8.html#I


As every soldier knows, what is prescribed in army manuals and what actually reaches the front line soldier are often very different things, in all armies.

During the Japanese advance on Kokoda there were adequate food supplies at the Japanese beachhead but the further the Japanese advanced the more they had to rely on getting local supplies, primarily by raiding the natives’ relatively meagre gardens which were soon exhausted.


I would argue, specifically in New Guinea and the Solomons campaigns, that it was the ability of the Americans and Australians to force the Japanese into situations where it was physically impossible for them to fight through supplies, not only of food, but of small arms ammo, ordnance, spare parts, fuel, medical materials and equipment, and every other kind of basic human necessity. Thus it wasn't a Japanese failure of logistical planning or policy, that defeated them, but a failure to cope with the fighting abilities of the Australian and American forces.

So far as Papua was concerned one of the main reasons the Japanese were forced back to their beachhead was that the American resistance in Guadalcanal made the Japanese military leadership decide that they couldn’t maintain the fight on both fronts so they ordered Gen Hori to withdraw to his Gona beachhead until Guadalcanal was decided. He had the misfortune to have to do this while his troops were sick and starving and pressed by fresh Australian troops who had been brought up in the time gained by the fighting retreat on Kokoda, as well as encountering problems he hadn’t faced in his advance and notably the surprise of Australian artillery being brought up where it was thought impossible.

While the Japanese ended up starving at their beachhead, they nonetheless gave a good account of themselves in well prepared defensive positions which caused the Australians and Americans considerable problems in trying to defeat them.

If the Japanese had concentrated all their forces on Papua instead of splitting them with Guadalcanal they would almost certainly have won on Kokoda and most probably in Papua as a whole. As for concentrating all their forces on Guadalcanal, that might well still have ended up with a Japanese defeat as the substantial Allied naval forces came into play in support of their troops where they were irrelevant on Kokoda plus air support was virtually non-existent on Kokoda while it was significant on Guadalcanal.

I still attribute the Japanese failure as much to the over-extension, attributable to over-ambition, by the Japanese as any fighting or other qualities the Allies might have had. I'm not disputing that the land campaigns were decisive in the way they turned out, but for the reasons I've outlined there was more to it that just better fighting qualities of Allied troops. And I don't accept that the Allied troops were inherently better than the Japanese.

Rising Sun*
01-20-2010, 01:38 AM
The Sea routes between the US and Australia could not be cut off solely by the acquisition of territory, as anyone with a large scale map could perceive.

Then the IJA and IJN must have had only small scale maps, because they thought differently.

The strategic purpose of Operation FS was to strengthen a blockade of the sea routes from America to Australia to isolate Australia and force it to surrender.


Imperial Headquarters decided on an operational plan on 18 May[1942]. The main points of this plan are as follows:[23]

No. 1 Operational objective

1. The objective of operations by the 17th Army is to invade key locations in the New Caledonia, Fijian islands, and Samoan islands areas. In addition to strengthening the blockade of the communication route between the United States and Australia, Port Moresby will be invaded, thus bringing the Coral Sea under control and smashing enemy plans for a counter-offensive in that region.

http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/AJRP/AJRP2.nsf/017f5db0d9c8cf61ca256d9500143041/a0d182cb29d68514ca257057001c73ff?OpenDocument#con2 .1


The Fiji-Samoa (FS) Operation was subsequently considered (operation to blockade Australia--US supply lines). Related to this operation was the determination to construct an airfield on Guadalcanal. http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember.nsf/Web-Printer/818086D3F9E5BA08CA256AC3001EBCF0?OpenDocument



The offensive operations against Port Moresby in this plan were to be conducted by sea. The operations commenced as planned with the departure of the invasion force from Rabaul on 4 May. From 7-8 May, the first ever carrier-based air battle over sea took place. Losses on the Japanese side in the Battle of the Coral Sea amounted to one light carrier, with heavy damage to regular carriers, and the loss of numerous aircraft and crew. The Port Moresby invasion was stopped forcing the postponement of the operation until July. In June, the Navy suffered a defeat at the Battle of Midway resulting in a heavy loss for the Japanese. This defeat of the Japanese Navy was, among other things, a heavy setback for the short-term decisive engagement strategy of YAMAMOTO. Even so, the concept of a blockade of supply between the US and the Allied base of counter-attack in Australia was still foremost in the minds of the Naval General Staff. It had been stalled by the FS operation, but not as yet cancelled. Ditto



Even if every single island in the Pacific were occupied and equipped with an airfield and planes, the US could still make shipments to Australia via the South Atlantic and, of Good Hope and Indian Ocean, much as Britain was making shipments from the Middle East via that route. It would have added approximately 3,000 miles, but would still be quite feasible.

It would have been feasible but it probably wouldn’t have happened. Retaining Australia wasn’t high on the list of American, or British, priorities.

I recall seeing somewhere that an alternative route down the west coast of South America and then across to Australia was considered by America but dismissed as putting too high a demand on oil and because it increased ships’ transit time unacceptably, thereby depriving America of the use of those ships elsewhere. For example, the extra 3,000 miles you give is roughly the same distance as from the US to Britain across the Atlantic, so given a choice between the highest priority of ‘Germany First’ and the much lower priority of retaining Australia it’s obvious where the ships should be used.

Wizard
01-20-2010, 02:06 AM
Not on Kokoda. The Japanese advanced steadily and effectively to within sight of Port Moresby. While the Australian retreat certainly impeded Japanese progress it was still a constant retreat in the face of successive Japanese victories. The Japanese were beaten as much by supply deficiences as their LOC lengthened and the Australian LOC shortened and by being sicker than the Australians.

This, of course, ignores one thing; that the Japanese never were able to achieve their objective on the Kokoda Trail. They may have been in sight of their objective, but they were stopped short of it. And there is another matter regarding supplies; the Japanese were able to amass sufficient supplies at their end of the Kokoda trail head. But the Japanese staff planners had assumed that the Kokoda trail was a road capable of supporting motorized vehicle traffic; it was, in fact, little more than a foot path, and almost everything that moved over it was carried by human or animal traffic.


I'm not saying that at all, because it's not the case. The Kokoda-Gona etc campaign was about the same length and Guadalcanal campaign about a month shorter than the six month long Philippines campaign, where Japanese soldiers also encountered severe food shortages in the advance phase after Manila because they couldn't supply their front line units properly.

There was one big difference between the Philippines and Guadalcanal/New Guinea. The Japanese did achieve their objectives in the Philippines. They never did in New Guinea and the Solomons. The Japanese supply problems in the Philippines were temporary in nature and limited to a few front-line situations; they were never general in nature as they were at Guadalcanal for instance, and they were mostly caused by poor staff planning, not a real shortage of food supplies.


Not during the Japanese advance on Kokoda. While there were some valiant defences, the Australians had no effective counter to Japanese infiltration techniques, in small unit engagements or even against an Australian brigade at Brigade Hill (aka Mission Ridge). drugs which the Japanese lacked. The Australian Official History notes that without sulpha drugs dysentery could easily have reduced the Australians to impotence on Kokoda: It was noted that development of Australian production of sulphaguanidine “played a vital role in saving Australia from Japanese invasion …Had the drug not been available, the course of the New Guinea campaign might have been unfavourable to our cause.”

The Allies were also ably assisted by deficiencies in Japanese rations which rendered their troops avoidably ill with beri-beri, which did not afflict Allied soldiers (unless they were POWs of the Japanese) to the extent that U.S. Army intelligence concluded that of the approximately 37,000 Japanese soldiers deployed on Guadalcanal, more than one-half of those who had been on the island over 3 months had beri-beri.

Again, the diseases the Japanese suffered in New Guinea and the Solomons were often the consequence of logistical shortages caused by superior American and Allied tactics and destruction of logistical resources. The Japanese knew about Beri Beri because it had been endemic in their military forces for years, even, perhaps especially, in peace time. The IJN had stopped issuing polished rice to their crew because it was found that contributed to Beri Beri; polished rice was considered a luxury in the IJN.


Even if that estimate is accurate, and I don’t know where the Japanese figures would come from, it is not just food.

The same place Allied logistical figures came from. The Japanese operated shipping agencies controlling logistical shipping; there was one for the Navy, one for the Army, and one for civilian shipping. These agencies kept records of everything that was shipped, just like the US Quartermaster Corps. And of course, it was not just food, I thought I made that clear in my last post.


It is difficult to compare ration weights as the Japanese relied heavily on rice which when dry weighs considerably less than when cooked and as the Japanese also relied on dried foods, where the Allies relied much more on tinned food which weighs considerably more.

Yes, and there is another complicating factor especially with rations. Because the Japanese protective packaging was much less sophisticated than Allied packaging, the wastage of Japanese rations was much higher, thus a lot of the food which did reach the combat zones could not be preserved, and ended up inedible. The US also experienced wastage of certain items, but on a much smaller scale than the Japanese.


I didn’t say their sustenance was ignored but that their initial rations could be expected to be supplemented by ‘living off the land’, meaning getting what they could locally. This is consistent with the following reference to rations including local supplies.

War Department Technical Manual TM-E 30-480, Handbook on Japanese Military Forces, 1 October 1944 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1944) p.178 http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Japan/IJA/HB/HB-8.html#I

That appears to be similar to the "fresh rations" of both meat and vegetables that appeared in ration issues to American troops from time to time. For example, there were about 300 head of cattle which had belonged to the Lever Brothers plantation at Lunga Point on Guadalcanal. These cattle were slaughtered by Marine cooks as needed to supplement the rations of various Marine units. This wasn't unusual and certainly didn't imply that the marines were "living off the land". For example, the Australian Army during WW II, maintained Field Butchery Platoons whose job it was to butcher cattle for distribution to the field kitchens. One of these platoons was the 2/3rd. Australian Field Butchery platoon which operated the Manbulloo Abbattoir near Katherine in the NT during the early part of the war, to supply fresh meat to various Allied forces defending the NT.


As every soldier knows, what is prescribed in army manuals and what actually reaches the front line soldier are often very different things, in all armies.

That goes without saying. It may be even more true of the Navy.


During the Japanese advance on Kokoda there were adequate food supplies at the Japanese beachhead but the further the Japanese advanced the more they had to rely on getting local supplies, primarily by raiding the natives’ relatively meagre gardens which were soon exhausted.

Yes, see my post about the erroneous Japanese assumptions about the Kokoda Trail itself.


So far as Papua was concerned one of the main reasons the Japanese were forced back to their beachhead was that the American resistance in Guadalcanal made the Japanese military leadership decide that they couldn’t maintain the fight on both fronts so they ordered Gen Hori to withdraw to his Gona beachhead until Guadalcanal was decided. He had the misfortune to have to do this while his troops were sick and starving and pressed by fresh Australian troops who had been brought up in the time gained by the fighting retreat on Kokoda, as well as encountering problems he hadn’t faced in his advance and notably the surprise of Australian artillery being brought up where it was thought impossible.

That supports what I've been saying about the superior tactics and fighting qualities of Austr5alian and American troops.


While the Japanese ended up starving at their beachhead, they nonetheless gave a good account of themselves in well prepared defensive positions which caused the Australians and Americans considerable problems in trying to defeat them.

No doubt, and in fact, the Japanese were the ones who lost the campaign.


If the Japanese had concentrated all their forces on Papua instead of splitting them with Guadalcanal they would almost certainly have won on Kokoda and most probably in Papua as a whole. As for concentrating all their forces on Guadalcanal, that might well still have ended up with a Japanese defeat as the substantial Allied naval forces came into play in support of their troops where they were irrelevant on Kokoda plus air support was virtually non-existent on Kokoda while it was significant on Guadalcanal.

Another way of saying they got outfought. Even though the Japanese expended substantial naval assets in fighting the Allies in the Solomons and in sustaining their garrisons on New Guinea, they still lost. Had they managed to secure Papua, they would have been outflanked by the American drive up the Solomons chain toward Rabaul; the Japanese had to take both Papua and The Solomons; one region was strategically useless without the other being secured.


I still attribute the Japanese failure as much to the over-extension, attributable to over-ambition, by the Japanese as any fighting or other qualities the Allies might have had. I'm not disputing that the land campaigns were decisive in the way they turned out, but for the reasons I've outlined there was more to it that just better fighting qualities of Allied troops. And I don't accept that the Allied troops were inherently better than the Japanese.

The Japanese had been "overly ambitious" for decades, it was not something new in the South Pacific. And I agree that that many factors converged to thwart Japanese plans, but in my opinion without the superior tactics, doctrine and fighting qualities of the Australian and American forces, those factor would have been no more consequential than they were in the NEI, Borneo, or Malaya.

Wizard
01-20-2010, 02:28 AM
Then the IJA and IJN must have had only small scale maps, because they thought differently.

The strategic purpose of Operation FS was to strengthen a blockade of the sea routes from America to Australia to isolate Australia and force it to surrender.

Did they? If so, I haven't read about it. Perhaps they did, but if so they were wrong. It would be impossible to "blockade Australia" by capturing the islands of the the Southeast Pacific. there are thousands of miles of empty ocean between the US and New Zealand, even if one does not want to use the South Atlantic Indian Ocean route. The Japanese might have been able to make supply of Australia more time consuming and costly, but they could never cut it off completely. And certainly not by constructing an airfield on Guadalcanal. Whoever wrote that just wasn't thinking.


It would have been feasible but it probably wouldn’t have happened. Retaining Australia wasn’t high on the list of American, or British, priorities.

I recall seeing somewhere that an alternative route down the west coast of South America and then across to Australia was considered by America but dismissed as putting too high a demand on oil and because it increased ships’ transit time unacceptably, thereby depriving America of the use of those ships elsewhere. For example, the extra 3,000 miles you give is roughly the same distance as from the US to Britain across the Atlantic, so given a choice between the highest priority of ‘Germany First’ and the much lower priority of retaining Australia it’s obvious where the ships should be used.

I wouldn't bet on it not happening. The US listed the maintenance of the Hawaii-Australia communication route just under the defense of the "Strategic Triangle (Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal)". The defense of the Strategic Triangle was a higher priority than the Europe First policy since it was considered vital to the Defense of North America itself. Therefore, the security of sea communications with Australia was at least on par with the Europe First policy.

Besides that, Roosevelt had a personal interest in retaining Australia as a viable US base for an offensive campaign in the Pacific. Roosevelt needed Australia as a base to keep MacArthur out of the US. He didn't want Mac messing in US domestic politics and Australia was conveniently distant from the US to accomplish that.

Rising Sun*
01-20-2010, 05:18 AM
Did they? If so, I haven't read about it. Perhaps they did, but if so they were wrong. It would be impossible to "blockade Australia" by capturing the islands of the the Southeast Pacific. there are thousands of miles of empty ocean between the US and New Zealand, even if one does not want to use the South Atlantic Indian Ocean route. The Japanese might have been able to make supply of Australia more time consuming and costly, but they could never cut it off completely. And certainly not by constructing an airfield on Guadalcanal. Whoever wrote that just wasn't thinking.

It remains the case that Operation FS and its aim of cutting off Australia from the US was the purpose of Japanese operations from New Guinea eastwards. See, for example, Henry Frei's book "Japan's Southward Advance and Australia"

Oddly enough, as the Japanese advanced in pursuit of Operation FS Admiral King saw the importance of holding the islands you dismiss as unimportant, so that America could maintiain communication with Australia. He must have been just as mistaken as the Japanese about the importance of those islands to preserve communication with Australia.


Operation FS (the Occupation of Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia)

The next best option was to cut the entire Australian continent off from US supplies by occupying Fiji, Samoa and New Caledonia. This was known as Operation FS.[35] It was a timely change of options and had it been acted on speedily, it might have forestalled US moves into those positions. At the time that Navy General Staff, Combined Fleet and the army were discussing Operation FS, a memorandum from Fleet Admiral E.J. King warned President Roosevelt on 5 March 1942 about these three strategic locations:

After our primary concern to hold Hawaii and Midway, our next care in the Pacific is to preserve Australasia. It requires that its communications be maintained via Samoa, Fiji and New Caledonia. We have now - or will soon have - "strong points" at Samoa, Suva (Fiji) and New Caledonia. ..- When the "strong points" are made reasonably secure, we shall be able to cover Australia and drive back the Japanese in the same fashion of step-by-step advances that the Japanese used in the South China Sea.[36]

The Japanese Navy General Staff's redirection from an amphibious landing on Australia of enormous proportions to an operation that involved the occupation of three smaller islands was nevertheless daunting. It would still extend greatly Japan's original plans in the South-west Pacific Theatre. It would certainly not allow for a withdrawal of the army's South Seas Detachment back to Palau as reserves.

It is really this huge extension of original operations in the Pacific - from mopping up and occupying a few islands in the Pacific, to a new plan that encompassed the entire isolation of a continent - that eventually had the greatest impact on the extension of war into New Guinea on a large scale. With Operation FS in the making, greater contingencies were necessary. In fact, the simmering war of attrition in the Bismarck Islands and the New Guinean littoral made Imperial Headquarters think of creating a new army, the 17th Army, and a new fleet, the 8th Fleet. http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember.nsf/pages/NT00002FAA

The islands you dismiss as unimportant also happened to be crucial in the ferry route for aircraft from the US to Australia.


United States aircraft and supplies would be rushed to Australia by way of the newly opened South Pacific ferry route whose island bases--Hawaii, Christmas Island, Canton Island, Samoa, Fiji, and New Caledonia--formed steppingstones all the way from the west coast of the United States to the east coast of Australia. http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Papua/USA-P-Papua-1.html p.2

US Military historians didn't see the plan as incapable of success.


Instead of approving an operation against the Australian mainland, the Japanese agreed to seize Port Moresby as planned and then, with the parallel occupation of the southern Solomons, "to isolate Australia" by seizing Fiji, Samoa, and New Caledonia.

The plan said nothing about invading Australia; it did not have to. If everything went well and all objectives were taken, there would be time enough to begin planning for the invasion of the Australian mainland. Meanwhile, it would be possible to squeeze Australia and render it harmless without invasion and at much less cost.

It was clear from the circumstances that the Japanese had not given up the idea of invading Australia. They had merely laid it aside in favor of measures that, if successful, would make invasion--in the event they found it necessary later on--a comparatively easy matter. The immediate object was to isolate Australia, and the plan for doing so was ready to go into effect. Japanese naval aviation was now within 170 air miles of Port Moresby, close fighter distance. The 4th Fleet was spreading rapidly through the northern Solomons, with the southern Solomons next. The final step, after Port Moresby was taken, would be to seize New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa, thereby severing the line of communications between the United States and Australia. http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Papua/USA-P-Papua-1.html p.12

Nickdfresh
01-20-2010, 08:53 AM
...
True. Both sides regarded Coral Sea as decisively in their favor at the time. However...
...

The Japanese still managed to destroy a US carrier--and further delay the US recovery and extended their run a bit. But I think I already mention that the Coral Sea "halted" the Japanese advance and represented and almost "high-water-mark" in their "first six-months" mentality...


Actually, it's you who is mistaken. The term "Long Lance" was bestowed by Samuel Eliot Morison in his monumental "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II". In context, it specifically referred to the Japanese Type 93 torpedo....

The Type 95 was directly based on the Type 93. And yes, the Type 91 was a separate development, my bad. However, I would also like to point out this further undermines your "blanket statement" mentality regarding supposed universal US Naval superiority over the Japanese, as the US Navy could never have conducted a Pearl Harbor type operation--as they believe the harbor was impervious to torpedo attack, even though the IJN had perfected the use of wooden aerodynamic stabilizers as early as 1936.


Actually, the same torpedo and aircraft had performed magnificently less than a month before in the attack on the Shoho at Coral Sea. The Shoho was overwhelmed by a reported seven torpedo strikes (some sources claim as many as 13 torpedo hits), and went down in minutes.

And the Japanese sank two carriers with theirs. What does that prove? Painfully obsolete British Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers also in no small part helped doom the Bismark. Would you want to fly that in combat in the PTO? But against a target properly defensed by air and AAA assets, they were hopeless and not worth using as they were 'supplicating the deity' with the sacrifice of our pilots. The Type-91 was still a far better weapon and far more innovative than anything the USN possessed until after mid-War...


Well, Frank, as well as quite a few other historians, does not hold with the conventional wisdom that all Japanese were "expert Jungle fighters". In fact, it now seems to be recognized that very few IJA units received any kind of special jungle training. Certainly not those on Guadalcanal, as they seemed to have a propensity for getting lost in the jungle at the drop of a hat. Much of this may be attributive to their senior officers, who seemed to have no idea of the difficulty of jungle navigation.

They received in-theater jungle training, and were better suited to a jungle warfare mentality overall and I've heard quite a bit of testimony that the Japanese were often inherently better psychologically suited for fighting in enclosed spaces that negated much US firepower and mobility, though not their organic firepower advantages. They "got lost" in one major instance of a desperate, worthless night attack ordered by a distant, indifferent higher headquarters. Not at all much different then some of the blunders committed by US ground forces in this theater and others...

He also goes on to relate that the Japanese were intractable, even in certain defeat and did not give up easily despite suffering deprivations in the final securing operations in early 1943, where the US Army also had their own 'blunders' or sorts that were accurately, if symbolically through fiction, depicted in The Thin Red Line...

I would also urge you to reread Frank's bitter assessment of some of the US Navy's TO&E and its commanders around the Savo Island debacle, and other naval engagements where the Japanese came off better initially...


Selective quotes to build my case??

Yes. You also simply ignore, or claim irrelevant, instances which disprove your gratuitous assertions and blanket statements, which is a disservice to overall history. I don't believe it should be about a nationalist chest thumping...


Come on, I provided three quotations about three different events, involving three different Japanese units, and all on Guadalcanal, which I believe was the focus of this part of our discussion. Moreover, I used the same source which you had previously cited! At least give me credit for supporting my assertion with relevant data.

You provide anecdotes, then try to render anyone else's as somehow meaningless or irrelevant. Hardly the stuff of analysis, and more the stuff of partisan case building...


Again your assertions are pretty vague; the only episode where any Marines were "handed their asses." or "wiped out to a man" on Guadalcanal was the Goettge Patrol. There were, on the other hand, numerous times when the Japanese were ambushed and suffered extremely heavy losses at the hands of the Marines, such as the Shibuya detachment from Ichiki's command. Ichiki, himself, and his 900 men met the same fate shortly later, when they were so foolish as to attack the Marine lines. This supposedly elite assault unit were defeated in hand-to-hand fighting with Marines, losing about 800 of their number, while the Marines lost forty-four dead and seventy-one wounded.

Right, but the Marines were holding a static line (or position) and conducting largely defensive operations, which gave them the classic advantage of the defender once they were properly supported with the weapons an industrialized nation could give them.

The Japanese were overall poorly supported, and already beginning to suffer malnutrition--and ultimately--starvation. They also fought onto a point that no Western military ever would on the 'Canal...


Well, what ground battles did the Americans lose in the South Pacific? They began engaging the Japanese at Guadalcanal, where were they deficient in fighting the Japanese? I'd say it was the Japanese who needed to learn to fight the American forces. Apparently, they never did, because I can't think of a single ground battle the Japanese won against American ground forces after Corregidor.

They didn't have to "win" an offensive battle after Bataan, because they had reached the high-water mark of their offensive operations and pretty much achieved their (somewhat aimless) goals. The Japanese also won numerous tactical, small unit engagements in New Guinea and pretty much pissed the 32nd ID until probably one of the War's most underrated Generals turned them around. You could also state that the US won no major actions until 1943, when victory on Guadalcanal was secured...


No, that is not what Frank says, or implies, at all.

"Guadalcanal", Page152;

"For nine months, Allied [As opposed to American] units had sometimes bolted to the rear abandoning duty and dignity when confronted by shrieking Japanese infantry like Ichiki's veterans...."



"If Japanese strategists hoped this willingness to die virtually to the last man would cause westerners to blanch at the brutal implications of such battle ethics, the actions of the Marines...would have given them food for thought...."



Again, anecdotal (if true) generalizations. But the "Allies vs. the Americans" comment is just silly. The marines were well trained and specifically hardened to meet what was known to be a fierce foe. They were properly conditioned as opposed to the pre-War troops often told racist shit notions such as that the "Jap's" were "squint-eyed" and therefore could not aim their rifles, or fly planes well. That doesn't mean that Americans are innately superior (or inferior). They were also backed up by a massive superiority in firepower and logistics, which really comes down to industrial output.

Americans are just as capable of shitting-their-pants and running when facing shock troops and a technically superior foes as anyone else had been. Kasserine Pass, the Hurtgen Forest, and initial shocks in the Battle of the Bulge proved that! US service members were also capable of gallantly fighting to almost the bitter end, and having their lives pissed away in ridiculous attacks ordered by a distant, tactically ignorant, and inflexible command...



...

Certainly not in the way in which the Japanese hoped. It didn't cause the Americans to be awed at a people who were so willing to die for a principle; it caused the Americans to become angry at the Japanese because they were so intransigent about admitting defeat.

But when Americans conduct fruitless, suicidal attacks, it's all honor and glory. The Alamo, Wake Island (the "Alamo of the Pacific")--in which the US public was either mistakenly or intentionally made to believe the marine garrison died fighting to the last man--or the strategic bombing campaign in which US and British crews suffered horrifying casualties for often fruitless results are all examples where Western lives were expended either unwisely, or where heroism and sacrifice tied to "the last man, to the last bullet, to the bayonet" notions. The only difference was that Allied flyers had a chance of making their set number of missions, even if many accepted their death or dismemberment as more than likely..


I've spoken to men who went through that campaign; the dominant feeling was, "How can people be so stupid as to throw their lives away after the war is so obviously lost?" There was no respect for the kamikaze pilots, only disgust.

Of course. But I've talked to and have seen interviews with men that were somewhat shattered and haunted by images of their dismembered friends laying on the deck flooded with blood. Had those Kamikaze pilots hit US troop ships, the horror would have come home quickly, and I'd also remind you the battle would have gone on well into 1946 without the US nukes. The US Army troops in the ETO were already on the verge of severe morale problems and outright protest over the prospect of being sent to the Pacific...

herman2
01-20-2010, 10:06 AM
I am getting a headache reading this thread. I don't know who to believe. You guys have so many facts and yet different perspectives on the topic.
Thanks for making it interesting for us lay people who eagerly read away:)

Nickdfresh
01-20-2010, 10:06 AM
...

I would be interested in any sources which you might have to the effect that it was either IJA or IJN strategic or tactical planning policy to dump their men into a theater and ignore their sustenance requirements. I know it occasionally happened that IJA field commanders ordered attacks without sufficient rations....


If you read Bill Bradley's Flyboys, he goes into a bit of depth about the often callousness and indifferent disregard by the Japanese command of their troops basic needs, and how this ultimately contributed to the horrific, vile atrocities inflicted on the Chinese people. Entire villages were often seized largely for their rice and other foodstuffs, which caused famine. Though, to be fair the IJA troops often murdered much of the young male population and ****ed the female one to death, reducing the number of mouths to feed. But also reducing the agrarian populace thus insuring hardship for both occupier and occupied alike in the process...

Wizard
01-20-2010, 04:50 PM
The Japanese still managed to destroy a US carrier--and further delay the US recovery and extended their run a bit. But I think I already mention that the Coral Sea "halted" the Japanese advance and represented and almost "high-water-mark" in their "first six-months" mentality...

Perhaps, but then so did the USN. And, effectively the USN put three carriers out of action at a very crucial time, May through July, the period during which the Battle of Midway was fought. Overall, the loss of the Japanese carriers and the inability to achieve their objective made the Coral Sea a defeat for the Japanese.


The Type 95 was directly based on the Type 93. And yes, the Type 91 was a separate development, my bad. However, I would also like to point out this further undermines your "blanket statement" mentality regarding supposed universal US Naval superiority over the Japanese, as the US Navy could never have conducted a Pearl Harbor type operation--as they believe the harbor was impervious to torpedo attack, even though the IJN had perfected the use of wooden aerodynamic stabilizers as early as 1936.

The wooden "stabilizers" for the Type 91 torpedoes, which the Japanese used at Pearl Harbor were not developed until the summer of 1941, and then only in sufficient quantity to conduct a single attack at Pearl Harbor. if you will look at the picture of the Mk 13 aerial torpedo being loaded on an Avenger, on the same site, you will see the American version of the wooden stabilizer, developed shortly after Midway, to allow the Mk 13 to be used in shallow waters. According to one source I have read, the wooden stabilizer for the American torpedo was rushed to the American carrier forces and was in use before the end of 1942.


And the Japanese sank two carriers with theirs. What does that prove? Painfully obsolete British Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers also in no small part helped doom the Bismark. Would you want to fly that in combat in the PTO? But against a target properly defensed by air and AAA assets, they were hopeless and not worth using as they were 'supplicating the deity' with the sacrifice of our pilots. The Type-91 was still a far better weapon and far more innovative than anything the USN possessed until after mid-War...

And the US sank one. So what? The Japanese actually managed to sink only one carrier, the Lexington, solely with aircraft torpedoes. The Hornet absorbed 12 torpedo hits before sinking, but only two were Japanese aerial torpedoes and they did not fatally damage her; six were US Mk 15's fired in an attempt to scuttle Hornet when the US fleet had to retire, and four were Japanese Type 93's fired by two Japanese destroyers. In addition the Hornet suffered five bomb hits, at least one kamikaze crash and over 400 5" shell hits. Ton for ton, that was more explosive than it took to dispatch the Yamato.

And Japanese warships were not properly defended by AAA at any time in the war. At Midway, during the height of the battle on June 4, there were only two confirmed kills of USN aircraft by AAA. The Mk 13 was not "hopeless" as it did sink an IJN carrier and sank and damaged other warships and transports in 1942. And Japanese torpedoes, with the exception of the Type 93 were not "far more innovative" than the US. The Mk 13 was quite an advanced design, admittedly with bugs that needed to be worked out. Not saying the performance of the Mk 13 was better than the Japanese, but it was no where near as bad as you have intimated.


They received in-theater jungle training, and were better suited to a jungle warfare mentality overall...[?QUOTE]

The Japanese at Guadalcanal? Sources please?

[QUOTE=Nickdfresh;164406]...and I've heard quite a bit of testimony that the Japanese were often inherently better psychologically suited for fighting in enclosed spaces that negated much US firepower and mobility, though not their organic firepower advantages...

Again sources? Are you sure your not referring to the Japanese defensive phase later in the war when they made extensive use of caves and bunkers?


....They "got lost" in one major instance of a desperate, worthless night attack ordered by a distant, indifferent higher headquarters. Not at all much different then some of the blunders committed by US ground forces in this theater and others...

On the contrary. I've already cited at least two instances of the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal getting lost. I will now list those instances;

1. August 8 - Captain Monzen's scratch force failed to find the Marines in the Jungle and aborted a night attack on on them. (Frank, Guadalcanal, Page 70.)

2. September 12-13, Edson's Ridge, a brigade sized attack under General Kawaguchi goes awry because the various Japanese elements get lost in the jungle and fail to coordinate their attacks.(Frank, Guadalcanal, Page 231)

3. October 20-27, The Japanese 17th Army (whose staff is on Guadalcanal) plans an attack with a reinforced Division, that has to be postponed five times because the various Japanese elements are out of position or lost in the jungle. When all is finally ready and the order to attack is given, two of the three Japanese regiments lose their way in the jungle and attack at widely scattered times and places, frittering away their offensive power, and allowing the Marines to shift their reserves to meet Japanese threats. (Frank, Guadalcanal, Pages 341-356)

The fact is that according to Frank, these well-trained "jungle fighting experts" seldom seemed capable of navigating their way through the jungle and usually botched their attacks because they were lost in the jungle. I can't recall a single instance of them being where they thought they were except when they were on or near the beach. Frank's assessment of the failure of the Japanese October offensive, is that the Marines had two factors in their favor; "massed artillery fire, and the Jungle." (Frank, page 366)

This seems strangely at variance with your contention that the Japanese were "well trained jungle fighters".


He also goes on to relate that the Japanese were intractable, even in certain defeat and did not give up easily despite suffering deprivations in the final securing operations in early 1943, where the US Army also had their own 'blunders' or sorts that were accurately, if symbolically through fiction, depicted in The Thin Red Line...

Of course, but remember, that the Japanese were "intractable" in the face of "certain defeat". So what? They still got outfought and faced "certain defeat" because their fighting ability was less than that of the Marines. The individual Japanese soldiers were usually courageous, but collectively or individually, they were seldom a match for the Marines.

And if you want to accept the citation of works of fiction, then I can prove practically anything about the Pacific war.


I would also urge you to reread Frank's bitter assessment of some of the US Navy's TO&E and its commanders around the Savo Island debacle, and other naval engagements where the Japanese came off better initially...

It should be obvious to you by now that I have read Frank very closely, including his accounts of the naval war in the Solomons. Despite losing several of the naval skirmishes in the Solomons, the USN was obviously much better at keeping their forces on Guadalcanal well supplied and this was the deciding factor in the campaign. Even when the Japanese enjoyed apparent victory as at Savo Island, they still failed to achieve their objective whic was the destruction of the transports.


Yes. You also simply ignore, or claim irrelevant, instances which disprove your gratuitous assertions and blanket statements, which is a disservice to overall history. I don't believe it should be about a nationalist chest thumping...

I don't make gratuitous assertions; every assertion I make is backed up by either original source documents or statements by recognized authoritative sources. and It is not about chest thumping. The facts are the facts, you just haven't been able to disprove them and that is what you find so frustrating.

Continued....

Wizard
01-20-2010, 04:50 PM
Continued.....


You provide anecdotes, then try to render anyone else's as somehow meaningless or irrelevant. Hardly the stuff of analysis, and more the stuff of partisan case building...

Actually, it is superior analysis. Nothing you have posted has altered or disproven anything I have posted.


Right, but the Marines were holding a static line (or position) and conducting largely defensive operations, which gave them the classic advantage of the defender once they were properly supported with the weapons an industrialized nation could give them.

Yes, it is true that Marines on Guadalcanal were holding a static defensive position. And it is true that the IJA wasn't equipped with the artillery and other supporting equipment you would expect of an Army engaged in modern warfare. So what? The Japanese thought they could compensate by attacking at night and with "great martial spirit"; they were wrong, the Japanese fighting spirit wasn't as consequential as they thought. In the October offensive, the Japanese, if their army was as well trained as they thought, should have been able to mass a 9:1 advantage at the point of attack; they couldn't.

The Japanese miscalculated and were outfought by the Marines.


The Japanese were overall poorly supported, and already beginning to suffer malnutrition--and ultimately--starvation. They also fought onto a point that no Western military ever would on the 'Canal...

Again true. So what? This was caused by poor Japanese staff work, and superior USN strategy in effectively interdicting Japanese reinforcement and resupply efforts.


They didn't have to "win" an offensive battle after Bataan, because they had reached the high-water mark of their offensive operations and pretty much achieved their (somewhat aimless) goals.

Interesting statement. I guess you are contending that it really didn't matter if the Japanese failed at Coral Sea, Midway, Kokoda Trail, Guadalcanal, Milne Bay, and Buna? They were just expending the resources at those battles for the hell of it? And are you saying they achieved their goals? Because by any objective measure, the didn't.


The Japanese also won numerous tactical, small unit engagements in New Guinea and pretty much pissed the 32nd ID until probably one of the War's most underrated Generals turned them around.

Don't deny it. Now tell me what good it did them. MacArthur's forces won many small unit engagements in the Philippines, but it didn't save the Philippines or deny t6he Japanese their final victory there in the spring of 1942. It isn't about small unit engagements, it's about achieving your strategic objectives, that's what wins wars.


You could also state that the US won no major actions until 1943, when victory on Guadalcanal was secured...

You could state that but you'd be wrong. Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal were all decided in 1942. The Japanese IGHQ decided to pull out of Guadalcanal in December, 1942, because the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal had been decisively defeated inn their last offensive, and their was no hope of further reinforcment and resupply because the USN had won the the First and Second Naval Battles of Guadalcanal.


Again, anecdotal (if true) generalizations. But the "Allies vs. the Americans" comment is just silly. The marines were well trained and specifically hardened to meet what was known to be a fierce foe. They were properly conditioned as opposed to the pre-War troops often told racist shit notions such as that the "Jap's" were "squint-eyed" and therefore could not aim their rifles, or fly planes well. That doesn't mean that Americans are innately superior (or inferior). They were also backed up by a massive superiority in firepower and logistics, which really comes down to industrial output.

Yeah, sure. I keep forgetting the Japanese troops were eight feet tall, could fly like eagles, could live in the jungle on a single grain of rice each day, and could move like ghosts. Again these are the anecdotes you want to believe.

Here's a fact which isn't an anecdote. The Japanese failed to win a single major ground battle on Guadalcanal in 1942. Now you can call up all the excuses you want, and they don't change that fact one iota. I don't care if the Japanese weren't supported, were starving, or whatever, or that the Americans were better equipped, better supplied, had more artillery or whatever. Get it
through your head that the Americans won, and that is all that counts in war.

[QUOTE=Nickdfresh;164406]Americans are just as capable of shitting-their-pants and running when facing shock troops and a technically superior foes as anyone else had been. Kasserine Pass, the Hurtgen Forest, and initial shocks in the Battle of the Bulge proved that! US service members were also capable of gallantly fighting to almost the bitter end, and having their lives pissed away in ridiculous attacks ordered by a distant, tactically ignorant, and inflexible command...

We aren't talking about the ETO; we are discussing the PTO. if you want to discuss the ETO, start a new thread. The fact is the American troops on Guadalcanal didn't run. They faced the Japanese troops in battle and beat them on almost every occasion. You haven't posted anything that disproves that and until you do I will continue to assert the fact. Moreover, the USN despite some defeats, also decisively beat the IJN, and proved it by keeping the US ground troops adequately supplied. In the air the USN and Marine pilots consistently defeated the Best of the Japanese pilots. If you want you want me to believe otherwise, post some facts and figures, not just vague statements of opinion.


Of course. But I've talked to and have seen interviews with men that were somewhat shattered and haunted by images of their dismembered friends laying on the deck flooded with blood. Had those Kamikaze pilots hit US troop ships, the horror would have come home quickly, and I'd also remind you the battle would have gone on well into 1946 without the US nukes. The US Army troops in the ETO were already on the verge of severe morale problems and outright protest over the prospect of being sent to the Pacific...

Yes! Thank God for the Nukes. My father was one of those who had fought the war from Day One and was afraid that his luck would run out if he had to fight another campaign in the Pacific. But what does that have to do with the American victories in 1942, which stopped the Japanese cold in their tracks?

The fact is the kamikazes didn't have the effect the Japanese had hoped for. It backfired and instead of respecting the Japanese for their determination, the Americans despised them for their unavailing stubbornness. It was an ironic reverse of the early days of the war, when Americans and others surrendered when the fight became hopeless; the Japanese despised them for surrendering, and ignored the fact that they had survived to fight another day.

Wizard
01-20-2010, 05:25 PM
It remains the case that Operation FS and its aim of cutting off Australia from the US was the purpose of Japanese operations from New Guinea eastwards. See, for example, Henry Frei's book "Japan's Southward Advance and Australia"

Oddly enough, as the Japanese advanced in pursuit of Operation FS Admiral King saw the importance of holding the islands you dismiss as unimportant, so that America could maintiain communication with Australia. He must have been just as mistaken as the Japanese about the importance of those islands to preserve communication with Australia.

Admiral King was anxious to fortify the islands between Hawaii and Australia long before the Japanese began their advance into the Southeast Pacific. And there were two reasons for this; the first was he wanted to be able to easily move air elements around the area to make it more difficult for the Japanese to operate there. The second was that he wanted secure bases from which he could mount offensives in the Pacific despite the "Europe First" Policy, which he never fully agreed with.


The islands you dismiss as unimportant also happened to be crucial in the ferry route for aircraft from the US to Australia.

I did not dismiss any islands as "unimportant"; I said they were not necessary to maintain the sea route to Australia, that's a big difference. The air ferry route from Hawaii to Australia relied on these islands and that, in itself, was important, but only so far as long range aircraft were concerned. Neither a significant amount of supply or reinforcement depended on these islands.

Even if the Japanese had seized Fiji and Samoa, this would not have allowed them to cut, or even significantly hinder, the transport of supplies and reinforcements to Australia. The Great Circle route between the Port of Los Angeles to the Port of Auckland is 5,666 nm.(for shipments from San Francisco, approximately 290 nm's are added by steaming south to the Los Angeles area) At the GRC's closest approach to either Samoa or the Fijis, (at Suva in the Fiji's), it is 743 nm's distant.

The Japanese had only two types of aircraft, the H6K (Mavis) and the H8K (Emily), which could operate with a bomb load of any kind over that kind of distance, find a convoy, and possibly make an attack. This would be at the extreme edge of their combat radius. Furthermore, there were only about 17 H8K's and 140 H6K's in the Japanese inventory in 1942, and these represented the entire long range air search assets of the Japanese Navy. They would hardly have been any kind of deterrence to the USN convoys at that range, and using them in such a role would have seriously crippled the Long range search efforts of the entire IJN.

So no, the Japanese capture of Fiji and/or Samoa would not have cut, or seriously hindered, the sea communications between the US and Australia.

Wizard
01-20-2010, 05:47 PM
If you read Bill Bradley's Flyboys, he goes into a bit of depth about the often callousness and indifferent disregard by the Japanese command of their troops basic needs, and how this ultimately contributed to the horrific, vile atrocities inflicted on the Chinese people. Entire villages were often seized largely for their rice and other foodstuffs, which caused famine. Though, to be fair the IJA troops often murdered much of the young male population and ****ed the female one to death, reducing the number of mouths to feed. But also reducing the agrarian populace thus insuring hardship for both occupier and occupied alike in the process...

I don't have to read Bradley's "Flyboys" to learn about Japanese treatment of native populations during WW II. My wife is Chinese, and while she wasn't born until 1950, her parents and older siblings lived through the Japanese occupation of Borneo; they told me of their experiences with Japanese "requisitioning" of food and other items. Much of it was just plain old looting. My mother-in-law told me that during the four years of Japanese occupation, she would grow two crops; a small one in plain sight, and a larger one further back in the jungle. The Japanese always confiscated about 75% of the smaller crop, but never found the larger crop.

My wife's eldest brother, then about 17, was conscripted as a laborer for the Japanese; they never saw him again.

Nickdfresh
01-22-2010, 11:14 AM
...the loss of the Japanese carriers and the inability to achieve their objective made the Coral Sea a defeat for the Japanese.

It is also acknowledged that it would have been considered an overall victory for the Japanese had Midway not been a decisive victory for the US Navy...


And the US sank one. So what?..

None of this really has anything to do with what I said...


And Japanese warships were not properly defended by AAA at any time in the war. At Midway, during the height of the battle on June 4, there were only two confirmed kills of USN aircraft by AAA. The Mk 13 was not "hopeless" as it did sink an IJN carrier and sank and damaged other warships and transports in 1942. And Japanese torpedoes, with the exception of the Type 93 were not "far more innovative" than the US. The Mk 13 was quite an advanced design, admittedly with bugs that needed to be worked out. Not saying the performance of the Mk 13 was better than the Japanese, but it was no where near as bad as you have intimated.

Actually, I was referring to the aircraft they flew as "hopeless" while suffering nearly 100% losses. And the Mk13 was subject to several improvements and a change in launch tactics IIRC. It was generally acknowledged that the Devastator was a "flying coffin" type aircraft at the time. And VT-6/8 made a home movie that was essentially a "goodbye".


The Japanese at Guadalcanal? Sources please?

Firstly, where is your source regarding the training of the average Japanese soldier or Naval Landing Force infantrymen in 1941-42? You're the one making the assertion that only the Japanese in the Malayan Campaign received any sort of specific jungle training...

Secondly, sources abound that the Japanese were generally considered better fighters in harsh mountainous and jungle terrain INITIALLY. IIRC the US Marines on Guadalcanal also received jungle fighting training, and were also trained to a high standard before being dispatched. That in no way implies that US, Aussie, and British troops also undergoing jungle fighting training could not equal or better them...

From:http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember.nsf/pages/NT00002F06


The speed, ferocity and effectiveness of the IJA and the mountainous operational environment in New Guinea came as a powerful shock to the militia battalions that initially comprised New Guinea Force. Australian military authorities learned several important lessons during the opening rounds of the fighting in New Guinea. The futility of sending insufficiently trained, badly equipped and poorly led militia units into action against the IJA under jungle conditions quickly became clear as troops of 39th and 53rd Battalions fell back in disorder under heavy Japanese pressure. It was also evident that operational conditions in the jungle-covered Owen Stanley Mountains were far worse than in Malaya in terms of the rugged terrain, harsh climatic conditions and the endemic diseases that cut swathes through the ranks. Moreover, the almost total absence of land communications forced recourse to native carrier transport and aircraft to maintain forward units. A combination of these factors meant that the relevance of the lessons of Malaya were quickly called into question and possessed only limited value. Finally, following the commitment of reinforcements from the 7th Australian Division, even troops of the AIF needed specialised instruction and a period of acclimatisation and psychological adjustment to the almost completely alien, apparently hostile and bewildering environment in which they operated before being committed to battle.[24]


Again sources? Are you sure your not referring to the Japanese defensive phase later in the war when they made extensive use of caves and bunkers?

Well, Captain Obvious, it's hard to fight in a jungle when one doesn't exist on a volcanic atoll or island chain. The Japanese adapted their tactics to maximize their strengths and to compensate for their weakness in equipment...


On the contrary. I've already cited at least two instances of the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal getting lost. I will now list those instances;
...

You've narrowly pointed out one circumstances to draw a blanket statements conclusions. That's like saying that the entire US Army and Marine Corp were incompetent at command and control because the commander at Wake Island surrendered prematurely as he thought the Japanese had taken most of the island based on planted battle ensigns (flying over dead Japanese NLF infantry)...

Just because the Japanese "got lost" in these instances in desperate attacks does not mean the Japanese soldier did not receive better jungle fighting than his adversaries initially...


The fact is that according to Frank, these well-trained "jungle fighting experts" seldom seemed capable of navigating their way through the jungle and usually botched their attacks because they were lost in the jungle....

I don't think Frank makes any such overweening assertion, as real historians generally don't. I think he was implying that well trained US ground troops could match the Japanese and the faulty notion some had that the "boys of democracy" had some in inherent disadvantage against the boys toughened by autocracy. It was about training and equipment--in all theaters..


Of course, but remember, that the Japanese were "intractable" in the face of "certain defeat". So what? They still got outfought and faced "certain defeat" because their fighting ability was less than that of the Marines. The individual Japanese soldiers were usually courageous, but collectively or individually, they were seldom a match for the Marines.

I never really said anything different, other than the fact that the marines usually enjoyed a massive advantage in firepower. Secondly, the USMC was a very different organization in August of 1942 than it was in December 1942 after garrisons suffered successive defeats by IJA and IJN forces enjoying numerical and material advantages...

Points which continue to sail over your head...I've never said the Japanese were inherently superior to the marines or US soldiers. That's a strawman argument you keep recirculating. I said the Japanese initially had some advantages in prewar readiness and planning, and it took time for the US to make good...


And if you want to accept the citation of works of fiction, then I can prove practically anything about the Pacific war.

You mean like your contention that US Navy pilots were inherently superior and had more hours of training than US pilots did in December of 1941?

I think you're selectively arguing bogus and chest thumping blather...


It should be obvious to you by now that I have read Frank very closely, including his accounts of the naval war in the Solomons.

You've certainly read him selectively...


Despite losing several of the naval skirmishes in the Solomons, the USN was obviously much better at keeping their forces on Guadalcanal well supplied and this was the deciding factor in the campaign. Even when the Japanese enjoyed apparent victory as at Savo Island, they still failed to achieve their objective whic was the destruction of the transports.

Right. Because the Japanese had a large Pacific Empire and had violated the classic military treatise of overextending their supply lines while launching simultaneous operations. They neither had the merchant fleet nor the ability to make good their losses in a multitude of areas, but that has a lot to do with the inherent advantages in US shipbuilding, geographical proximity, and education. This is true on any facet of the War whether it was the Eastern Front or the US liberation of France. The Japanese would blow their wad and become static at some point that the United States, having a smaller space to defend, adeptly exploited this. That has no bearing on my argument whatsoever...


I don't make gratuitous assertions; every assertion...The facts are the facts, you just haven't been able to disprove them and that is what you find so frustrating.

Continued....

You cite make selective facts as a wider proof without acknowledging that it was not (for instance) solely US skill which defeated the Japanese, but their massive advantage in industrial base and output, which afforded them inherent firepower and mobility advantages--amounting to chest-thumping...

Nickdfresh
01-22-2010, 12:02 PM
Continued.....
Actually, it is superior analysis. Nothing you have posted has altered or disproven anything I have posted.

Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one...


Yes, it is true that Marines on Guadalcanal were holding a static defensive position. And it is true that the IJA wasn't equipped with the artillery and other supporting equipment you would expect of an Army engaged in modern warfare. So what? The Japanese thought they could compensate by attacking at night and with "great martial spirit"; they were wrong, the Japanese fighting spirit wasn't as consequential as they thought. In the October offensive, the Japanese, if their army was as well trained as they thought, should have been able to mass a 9:1 advantage at the point of attack; they couldn't.

The Japanese miscalculated and were outfought by the Marines.

I don't disagree with most of this, but I believe Japanese tactical doctrine did not rely on night attacks (or banzai charges), but emphasized flanking, infiltration,, and wheeling maneuvers, which did prove initially effective against unprepared and shocked Western adversaries. The Japanese also really didn't have proper reconnaissance as the attack was launched ad hoc out of desperation. It was again a Japanese HHQ that was inflexible and ordered a hasty attack, ill-advised attack. The Marines (and National Guardsmen) did fight heroically and expertly, I've never contended anything else. Once they were properly trained and supported, they were certainly the capable of victory...


Again true. So what? This was caused by poor Japanese staff work, and superior USN strategy in effectively interdicting Japanese reinforcement and resupply efforts.

The offensive in Guadalcanal simply did to the Japanese what they had previously done to the Allies--launched a surprise attack effectively--isolating the garrison. Not unlike the Japanese had done in the Philippines, frustrating much US prewar planning...


Interesting statement. I guess you are contending that it really didn't matter if the Japanese failed at Coral Sea, Midway, Kokoda Trail, Guadalcanal, Milne Bay, and Buna?...

Not as interesting as your statement, as I never implied any thing of the sort...


Don't deny it. Now tell me what good it did them. MacArthur's forces won many small unit engagements in the Philippines, but it didn't save the Philippines or deny t6he Japanese their final victory there in the spring of 1942. It isn't about small unit engagements, it's about achieving your strategic objectives, that's what wins wars.

What "good it did for them" in the outcome of the War has little bearing in what I'm saying. But nice job at qualifying things, which is sophism at its finest...


You could state that but you'd be wrong. Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal were all decided in 1942.

Not in the first half of 1942, where the US began to enjoy several decisive advantages that many in Japan knew they could never match. I recall reading something of a Japanese engineer fresh out of school claiming that victory was imminent right after Pearl Harbor to his veteran design colleagues, and they laughed at him asking him if he knew how much steel the US was capable of producing in a single year --and how much Japan could produce...


The Japanese IGHQ decided to pull out of Guadalcanal in December, 1942, because the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal had been decisively defeated inn their last offensive, and their was no hope of further reinforcment and resupply because the USN had won the the First and Second Naval Battles of Guadalcanal.

It was too late...


Yeah, sure. I keep forgetting the Japanese troops were eight feet tall...

Wow. Another strawman argument that has absolutely nothing to do with what I said as I was commenting on the overall Allied deficiencies in training and preparations against the Japanese...


Here's a fact which isn't an anecdote. The Japanese failed to win a single major ground battle on Guadalcanal in 1942....

They won "small unit engagements," and did hold up the US advance at points, which sort of makes your comments regarding the Philippines as a bit silly and again an example of "qualification" of an instance as 'irrelevant' just because it doesn't quite fit your paradigm...


We aren't talking about the ETO; we are discussing the PTO. if you want to discuss the ETO, start a new thread. The fact is the American troops on Guadalcanal didn't run. They faced the Japanese troops in battle and beat them on almost every occasion.

I'll post whatever the hell I want and broaden the argument as I see fit....


You haven't posted anything that disproves that and until you do I will continue to assert the fact....

You don't even get what my point is...


Yes! Thank God for the Nukes. My father was one of those who had fought the war from Day One and was afraid that his luck would run out if he had to fight another campaign in the Pacific. But what does that have to do with the American victories in 1942, which stopped the Japanese cold in their tracks?

Nothing. I don't think I linked them, other than to say the Japanese were capable of inflicting severe losses despite a massive industrial and numerical advantage the US enjoyed. And furthermore that some of their leadership was capable and even respected by their US Marine and Army adversaries..


The fact is the kamikazes didn't have the effect the Japanese had hoped for. It backfired and instead of respecting the Japanese for their determination, the Americans despised them for their unavailing stubbornness. It was an ironic reverse of the early days of the war, when Americans and others surrendered when the fight became hopeless; the Japanese despised them for surrendering, and ignored the fact that they had survived to fight another day.

I don't know how you can draw any such conclusions as strategic planners indeed thought the Kamikaze threat to be severe at the hypothetical outset of Operation Downfall, especially in the Olympic phase. Not all Americans "despised" them as fighting to the last and not quitting is hardly a solely a Japanese trait. But yes, the savage Japanese high command was a bunch of bastards willing to fight to the last school child in order to preserve some sort of "face".

Wizard
01-22-2010, 05:57 PM
It is also acknowledged that it would have been considered an overall victory for the Japanese had Midway not been a decisive victory for the US Navy...

Not really. Coral Sea was a strategic loss for the Japanese because they did not achieve their objective which was the capture of Port Moresby, and that remains true no matter what happened at Midway.


INone of this really has anything to do with what I said...

It has everything to do with what you falsely asserted.

BTW, I ran across a statement by Eric Bergerud (Fire In The Sky, page 424, to the effect that the USN won every carrier battle of the war; "In my opinion the Americans won all the carrier battles of World War II. Every carrier battle was precipitated because one side or the other was supporting and invasion or supply convoy and the other side tried to stop it. Because the US-protected convoys achieved objectives - and thus the Japanese failed in theirs - strategically the US came out on top."



Actually, I was referring to the aircraft they flew as "hopeless" while suffering nearly 100% losses....It was generally acknowledged that the Devastator was a "flying coffin" type aircraft at the time. And VT-6/8 made a home movie that was essentially a "goodbye".

Never heard of any "home movie" by any torpedo crews. Maybe the TBD was a "flying coffin". But that could be, and was, said of many aircraft types in WW II, including the Val, The Betty, the Nel, the F2F, the P-39. So what? You fight with what you have. BTW, the Japanese torpedo planes weren't much better off, they lost over half of all the torpedo planes they launched against the Yorktown.


IFirstly, where is your source regarding the training of the average Japanese soldier or Naval Landing Force infantrymen in 1941-42? You're the one making the assertion that only the Japanese in the Malayan Campaign received any sort of specific jungle training...

Where is yours? You were the one who claimed that Japanese Army troops were "well-trained expert jungle fighters". You never cited a source; apparently it was just your opinion. Certainly the experience on Guadalcanal doesn't support any such conclusion.

My statement that only the Japanese troops in Malaya and Burma received special jungle training was based on H. P. Willmott's statement to that effect in "Empires In the Balance".


Secondly, sources abound that the Japanese were generally considered better fighters in harsh mountainous and jungle terrain INITIALLY.

So list a few along with the page numbers. I doubt that many considered them better than US troops in such environments because there was not much actual experience4 to base an assessment of relative performance on, early in the war.


it's hard to fight in a jungle when one doesn't exist on a volcanic atoll or island chain. The Japanese adapted their tactics to maximize their strengths and to compensate for their weakness in equipment...

A remarkable grasp of the obvious. The point, however, is that they were never4 more than partially successful.


IYou've narrowly pointed out one circumstances to draw a blanket statements conclusions.

My intention was not to discuss the entire panorama of World War II, but to only take certain events in a limited context and draw conclusions with the acknowledgment that the conclusions could only be considered valid within that context. It is you who keeps trying to widen the discussion so that you can "make points" in a different argument.


IJust because the Japanese "got lost" in these instances in desperate attacks does not mean the Japanese soldier did not receive better jungle fighting than his adversaries initially...

Well, let's see, One of the first things that should be taught "expert jungles fighters" is how to move effective through the jungle without getting lost, otherwise, any other training is useless.

You in initially claimed (in error) that the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal only "got lost once". When I proved it was more than once, and that the Japanese troops, in fact, consistently, got lost and fumbled offensive attacks because of it, now it "doesn't prove" they did not receive "better jungle training".

Well, I agree with you that it doesn't prove that, but it is certainly strong evidence of it. So where are the authorities that state the Japanese received "better jungle training" than their adversaries? I think the fact that Japanese troops on Guadalcanal consistently couldn't find their way through the jungle discredits your opinion that the Japanese on Guadalcanal were well trained jungle fighters. Unless you can find some authorities that say otherwise, I think your opinion has been proven to be in error.


II don't think Frank makes any such overweening assertion, as real historians generally don't.

Well, as you might imagine, I am no longer impressed by what you think. That is EXACTLY what Frank is asserting, and he has numerous examples to back up his assertion. I suggest you read Frank's book in it's entirety; it will then become clear that the poor Japanese had little chance against the Marines on Guadalcanal at any level.


I never really said anything different, other than the fact that the marines usually enjoyed a massive advantage in firepower.

You keep mentioning the superior "fire power of US Troops, as if it were something to be ashamed of. It wasn't and in fact was part of what gave the Marines and other US troops their fighting superiority ov er Japanese Troops.


IPoints which continue to sail over your head...I've never said the Japanese were inherently superior to the marines or US soldiers. That's a strawman argument you keep recirculating. I said the Japanese initially had some advantages in prewar readiness and planning, and it took time for the US to make good...

That's not all you initially said.

But now, you're willing to agree that the only real advantage the Japanese had was in waging an aggressive war. So we're coming closer together; The first time the Japanese meet troops that are well-equipped, well led, and well trained, they get stopped cold. That was my originally contention too.


You mean like your contention that US Navy pilots were inherently superior and had more hours of training than US pilots did in December of 1941?

Don't put words in mouth; I never said USN pilots were Inherently superior to Japanese pilots. Nor did I ever say that USN pilots had more hours of training. What I said was that USN pilots were comparable to the Japanese in skill, and in many ways were better trained than Japanese naval pilots, particularly in gunnery (deflection shooting), team tactics, Fleet air defense, and aerial combat doctrine.[/QUOTE]


I think you're selectively arguing bogus and chest thumping blather...

Well, I think you are juust plain ignorant of the topic, so I guess we're even.


IYou've certainly read him selectively...

At least I've read the book, which is more than I can say for you.


IRight. Because the Japanese had a large Pacific Empire and had violated the classic military treatise of overextending their supply lines while launching simultaneous operations. They neither had the merchant fleet nor the ability to make good their losses in a multitude of areas, but that has a lot to do with the inherent advantages in US shipbuilding, geographical proximity, and education. This is true on any facet of the War whether it was the Eastern Front or the US liberation of France. The Japanese would blow their wad and become static at some point that the United States, having a smaller space to defend, adeptly exploited this. That has no bearing on my argument whatsoever...

Well, that certainly sounds reasonable, even if it is an erroneous assumption in 1942. The reality is that the Japanese and Americans in the Guadalcanal campaign were on essentially even terms as far as naval power and logistical assets were concerned. Actually the IJN had a slight edge in naval power and Guadalcanal was just as distant from San Francisco as it was from Tokyo. The US had no real advantage in material or troop strength over Japan in the summer of 1942; the advantages and disadvantages were just about as equally balanced as they could possibly be considering the US was supply less than 20 % of it's industrial output to support it's war effort in the Pacific. I will grant, however, that by the end of the campaign, the Japanese had managed to squander just about every advantage they had formerly enjoyed.


You cite make selective facts as a wider proof without acknowledging that it was not (for instance) solely US skill which defeated the Japanese, but their massive advantage in industrial base and output, which afforded them inherent firepower and mobility advantages--amounting to chest-thumping...

Well, let's get something straight, here; my obligation is to supply the facts that support my contentions. If you disagree with them, it is YOUR obligation to support your disagreement with pertinent facts. I must say, you have certainly failed to execute your obligation. You appear to expect me to prove my contentions with facts, and yours as well.

Sorry, it doesn't work that way, and that is why your case is not compelling.

Nickdfresh
01-23-2010, 11:15 AM
Not really. Coral Sea was a strategic loss for the Japanese...

A strategic defeat but a tactical victory, they were still in the game and had also weakened a US fleet still largely on the defensive...


It has everything to do with what you falsely asserted.

BTW, I ran across a statement by Eric Bergerud ..."In my opinion the Americans won all the carrier battles of World War II.....


What have I "falsely asserted?" Yes, the US won the carrier battles, but largely because they had a decisive intelligence "trump-card," and without Rochefort's team, the War could have been far bloodier than it had been, and the Japanese may well have won an engagement or two. I'm not saying the US didn't win, I'm providing context and explaining why they won other than is simple "we were better" terms..

You can't simply ascribe the US victories to superior aviators and commanders without acknowledging that key advantage...


Never heard of any "home movie" by any torpedo crews.....

Some planes yes, some no. The P-39 was hardly a "coffin" when flown within its limitations (high level interception was out of the question). The Soviets loved it for its low level maneuverability...

The Japanese may have lost half their planes, but at least their torpedoes mostly detonated after hitting their targets...


Where is yours? You were the one who claimed that Japanese Army troops were "well-trained expert jungle fighters"...

Where's mine? Stop asking for what you haven't provided. You said that only the Japanese IA troops in the Malayan campaign received any, "special" jungle training...

And Guadalcanal is meaningless in drawing definitive conclusions--one battle does not an army make.


My statement that only the Japanese troops in Malaya and Burma received special jungle training was based on H. P. Willmott's statement to that effect in "Empires In the Balance".

But you're wrong. Perhaps I am too. The IJA developed light infantry tactics in China that were applied throughout their infantry ranks. Pulled this one out:


The Japanese quickly revealed themselves as being formidable opponents, enjoying the incalculable advantage, deploying well led, highly trained, disciplined and in most cases battle-tried divisions qualitatively far superior to their opponents...possessing by far the greatest relative mobility in jungle, swamps, and plantations...(The IJA) achieved immediate results by applying light infantry fighting methods successfully developed in China to the jungle using troops who displayed little fear of their surroundings...This was not a revolutionary development in tactics. As Edward Drea observed: 'this was standard Japanese doctrine, and its execution gave tall tales of Japanese jungle warfare...


The jungle, the Japanese and the British Commonwealth armies at war, 1941-45 By T. R. Moreman (p.15-16)

The Japanese TO&E overall gave them some inherent advantages in the Jungle when fighting unprepared Western troops...


So list a few along with the page numbers. I doubt that many considered them better than US troops in such environments because there was not much actual experience4....

They drove US forces from the jungles of the Philippines and forced a chaotic retreat to Bataan and Corregidor. I would think that that is common knowledge by now...

But oh wait! That doesn't count. :rolleyes:


A remarkable grasp of the obvious. The point, however, is that they were never4 more than partially successful.

I never contended that they were more than partially successful. They lost, but still fought skillfully against impossible odds. They weren't always "amateurs" when they applied new discipline and gave up "Banzai charges," which only achieved a good effect once in the Aleutians IIRC...


My intention was not to discuss the entire panorama of World War II, but to only take certain events in a limited context and draw conclusions with the acknowledgment that the conclusions could only be considered valid within that context. It is you who keeps trying to widen the discussion so that you can "make points" in a different argument.

I'm just contextualizing things...


Well, let's see, One of the first things that should be taught "expert jungles fighters" is how to move effective through the jungle without getting lost, otherwise, any other training is useless.

Which makes them no different from US troops and marines who "got lost" in say, the Philippines.

There are also numerous examples of well supported Japanese IA troops fighting skillfully, conducting infiltration and small unit infantry tactics, and even mobile armored warfare when so equipped against an enemy that was lacking in tactics and equipment. The marines in the 'Canal defeated the Japanese because they used superior defensive tactics and took advantage of experience of their own and others...

[i]You in initially claimed (in error) that the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal only "got lost once"....[/quote]

Big deal! I don't have the book in front of me, I'll grab it later today though and perhaps point out how many times US marines and soldiers also got lost or ****ed up tactically...


Well, I agree with you that it doesn't prove that, but it is certainly strong evidence of it. So where are the authorities that state the Japanese received "better jungle training" than their adversaries?...

I'll agree that the IJA weren't necessarily trained in "jungle warfare," but that their operation tactics were superior initially and that their army was better suited for jungle warfare (initially, as I've stated repeatedly). With a large number of veterans and experience in China, this was to be expected. But the US Marines, Army, and the Commonwealth forces soon caught up training in jungle and tactics to counter IJA infiltration...


Well, as you might imagine, I am no longer impressed by what you think...

I just felt my heart break a little.... :(


You keep mentioning the superior "fire power of US Troops, as if it were something to be ashamed of....

Why would that be shameful? I merely stated it as a "fact." Just like the Japanese had an advantage or armor in Malaya/Singapore whereas the British effectively had none, in addition to almost no portable anti-armor weapons. That doesn't negate the fact that the capture of Singapore was a spectacular coup...



But now, you're willing to agree that the only real advantage the Japanese had was in waging an aggressive war. So we're coming closer together; The first time the Japanese meet troops that are well-equipped, well led, and well trained, they get stopped cold. That was my originally contention too.

I don't think we were ever really that far apart. My contention is that the IJA, and to a lessor extent, the IJN enjoyed certain early advantages largely due to their experience in China, and even perhaps other areas of occupation such as Korea. But yes, well trained Western troops indoctrinated and properly schooled at countering their tactics proved the Japanese very fallible...


Don't put words in mouth; I never said USN pilots were Inherently superior to Japanese pilots. Nor did I ever say that USN pilots had more hours of training. What I said was that USN pilots were comparable to the Japanese in skill, and in many ways were better trained than Japanese naval pilots, particularly in gunnery (deflection shooting), team tactics, Fleet air defense, and aerial combat doctrine.

Then we'll have to agree to disagree. While USN aviators gradually became more than a match for the Japanese. But not at the outset of the War...


Well, I think you are juust plain ignorant of the topic, so I guess we're even.

Maybe, but I'm not counting the trees in the forest...


At least I've read the book, which is more than I can say for you.

Dead wrong. I don't own the book, but I've read it, rereading portions (about a year ago) and have the overdue library charges to prove it!


Well, that certainly sounds reasonable, even if it is an erroneous assumption in 1942. The reality is that the Japanese and Americans in the Guadalcanal campaign were on essentially even terms as far as naval power and logistical assets were concerned. Actually the IJN had a slight edge in naval power and Guadalcanal was just as distant from San Francisco as it was from Tokyo. The US had no real advantage in material or troop strength over Japan in the summer of 1942; the advantages and disadvantages were just about as equally balanced as they could possibly be considering the US was supply less than 20 % of it's industrial output to support it's war effort in the Pacific. I will grant, however, that by the end of the campaign, the Japanese had managed to squander just about every advantage they had formerly enjoyed.
...
Sorry, it doesn't work that way, and that is why your case is not compelling.

Distant from San Francisco or Hawaii? I don't want to keep going on and on with this. I agree the Japanese had more surface fighting power, but they had a distinct, and an innate, weakness in merchantmen along with huge armies of occupation siphoning off their already strained, limited logistical base. The Cactus AF was also a decisive factor. They simply got caught with their pants down, and yes, I wholeheartedly agree they squandered their advantages. But they were also pretty damn good.

I also disagree regarding troop strength, I don't have the numbers, but the US hadn't yet embarked for Torch, and both sides had parity in mobilization for a while, and again, the IJA would always have large numbers tied down in China...

Wizard
01-23-2010, 02:26 PM
A strategic defeat but a tactical victory, they were still in the game and had also weakened a US fleet still largely on the defensive...]

Your logic makes no sense. Of course, the Japanese were "still in the game"; so was the US, so what makes it a "tactical victory" for the Japanese but a tactical defeat for the US, if both sides are "still in the Game"?

Furthermore, The results of Coral Sea meant that the Japanese lost the next big carrier battle. Some "victory"!


Yes, the US won the carrier battles, but largely because they had a decisive intelligence "trump-card," and without Rochefort's team, the War could have been far bloodier than it had been, and the Japanese may well have won an engagement or two. I'm not saying the US didn't win, I'm providing context and explaining why they won other than is simple "we were better" terms..

What part of "having better intel" is a contradiction of the idea that "we were better"?


You can't simply ascribe the US victories to superior aviators and commanders without acknowledging that key advantage...

I didn't. I said that the USN had better intel almost throughout the war. Go back and actually read the thread, and you will see that I mentioned that intelligence was one of the superior strengths of the USN.


Some planes yes, some no. The P-39 was hardly a "coffin" when flown within its limitations (high level interception was out of the question). The Soviets loved it for its low level maneuverability...

Yes, WW II is full of examples of planes that were falsely maligned as "flying coffins" by people who never even flew them and don't understand that practically all planes that are flown within their technical limitations will perform satisfactorily. BTW, how many hours do you have in the TBD?


The Japanese may have lost half their planes, but at least their torpedoes mostly detonated after hitting their targets...

My you do bounce around, don't you?

First I challenged your data on torpedoes, so then you say you were mainly criticizing the TBD. Then when I pointed out that lots of serviceable planes were called "Flying coffins", it's back to criticizing the torpedoes. You know, you'd have a great future as a politician.....


Where's mine? Stop asking for what you haven't provided. You said that only the Japanese IA troops in the Malayan campaign received any, "special" jungle training...

And Guadalcanal is meaningless in drawing definitive conclusions--one battle does not an army make.

Well, my goodness, who brought up specialized jungle training in the first place? It was YOUR claim that the Japanese on Guadalcanal were "expert jungle fighters". I pointed out, and proved, that they sure spent a lot of time lost in the jungle for "expert jungle fighters". I personally don't care if you manage to establish that the Japanese troops in Malaya were NOT trained jungle fighters, so I'm not going to look up and post the sources I have that say they were.

But as far as Guadalcanal is concerned, it is the campaign we ARE discussing and if you want your contention that the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal were "trained jungle fighters" to be taken seriously, especially in light of the evidence that I have presented, and documented, you had better com,e up with some evidence, or documentation to support your silly claims.


But you're wrong. Perhaps I am too. The IJA developed light infantry tactics in China that were applied throughout their infantry ranks. Pulled this one out:

The jungle, the Japanese and the British Commonwealth armies at war, 1941-45 By T. R. Moreman (p.15-16)

I especially like the author's reference to "tall tales of Japanese jungle warfare".

I further note that the Author specifically refers to China and Chinese troops as adversaries. But other than that, we have a small context problem; is the author describing a situation in Malaya? Or Burma? The title would lead one to believe his observations were limited to one or both of those regions.

He certainly isn't talking about Guadalcanal, because Japanese light infantry tactics seldom seemed to work there, and certainly weren't effective against the Marines. Moreover, since the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal couldn't find their way through the jungle, and spent a lot of time completely lost, they sure weren't trained in "any standard doctrine". Either that or the so-called "standard doctrine" didn't exist.


The Japanese TO&E overall gave them some inherent advantages in the Jungle when fighting unprepared Western troops...

Like what? This should be interesting.


They drove US forces from the jungles of the Philippines and forced a chaotic retreat to Bataan and Corregidor. I would think that that is common knowledge by now...

Actually they didn't. The US troops retreated into the jungles on Bataan after trying to stop the Japanese on the Central Plain of Luzon where there was a relatively well developed road net. The retreat was one of the few things that was conducted properly by Mac's forces, even though the administrative aspects were bungled by Mac and his staff. It was the jungle on the Bataan peninsula that stopped the Japanese temporarily and allowed the Americans to hold out for awhile.

I would think that a purported scholar, like yourself, would understand that by now.


I never contended that they were more than partially successful. They lost, but still fought skillfully against impossible odds. They weren't always "amateurs" when they applied new discipline and gave up "Banzai charges," which only achieved a good effect once in the Aleutians IIRC...

Well, "skillfully" is a subjective judgment; If you ask me they fought courageously, but hardly skillfully, they were slaughtered on Guadalcanal. The odds the Japanese fought against were largely created by their own poor command hierarchy, which frankly, was pathetic.

[QUOTE=Nickdfresh;164554]I'm just contextualizing things...

No, what you are trying to do is widen the argument because you are losing it. Keeping the debate centered on specific points within a specific campaign (Guadalcanal) is not to your advantage because the points I am making are too focused and too well documented.

CONTINUED.....

Wizard
01-23-2010, 02:29 PM
CONTINUED....


Which makes them no different from US troops and marines who "got lost" in say, the Philippines.

Except that no one is claiming the American troops in the Philippines were "expert Jungle fighters". And could you please list and document specific examples of battalion-size, or larger, US Army and Marine units got lost in the Philippines?

You in initially claimed (in error) that the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal only "got lost once"....[/quote]


Big deal! I don't have the book in front of me, I'll grab it later today though and perhaps point out how many times US marines and soldiers also got lost or ****ed up tactically...

That would be progress. Why don't you make a list and post it?


I'll agree that the IJA weren't necessarily trained in "jungle warfare," but that their operation tactics were superior initially and that their army was better suited for jungle warfare (initially, as I've stated repeatedly). With a large number of veterans and experience in China, this was to be expected. But the US Marines, Army, and the Commonwealth forces soon caught up training in jungle and tactics to counter IJA infiltration...

Oh yes! Why don't you mention all of the wonderful [I]initial successes the Japanese enjoyed on Guadalcanal, like the Ichiki Detachment infiltrating across the sand bar. LOL! Against US Marines and Army troops Japanese infantry tactics simply got them killed in great numbers.


Why would that be shameful? I merely stated it as a "fact." Just like the Japanese had an advantage or armor in Malaya/Singapore whereas the British effectively had none, in addition to almost no portable anti-armor weapons. That doesn't negate the fact that the capture of Singapore was a spectacular coup...

Why state it as "fact" when it's not being disputed? I agree that superior firepower was one of the factors that made US troops generally superior in fighting power to Japanese troops.


I don't think we were ever really that far apart. My contention is that the IJA, and to a lessor extent, the IJN enjoyed certain early advantages largely due to their experience in China, and even perhaps other areas of occupation such as Korea. But yes, well trained Western troops indoctrinated and properly schooled at countering their tactics proved the Japanese very fallible...

Well, if you consider mass murder and atrocities good war-fighting experience, you might have a case. I would contend that the Japanese experience in China actually did them a disservice, as the Chinese forces fought a completely different war than the Japanese encountered in the Pacific against US and Australian troops. In fact, when the Japanese initially came up against US and Australian troops in New Guinea and Guadalcanal, they were stunned that their China tactics seldom worked.


Then we'll have to agree to disagree. While USN aviators gradually became more than a match for the Japanese. But not at the outset of the War...

You aren't paying attention; I never said anything about the "outset" of the war. I claimed it was when the USN pilots first encountered Japanese naval pilots at Coral Sea and Midway. And the fact is obvious, in every encounter between Japanese naval pilots and US naval pilots, the USN pilots consistently destroyed more Japanese planes than the Japanese were able to destroy American planes. That was true in EVERY encounter in the latter half of 1942. How, if USN pilots weren't better than their Japanese counterparts, do you explain that inconvenient little fact?


Maybe, but I'm not counting the trees in the forest...

Actually it appears you aren't even aware of the forest.


Dead wrong. I don't own the book, but I've read it, rereading portions (about a year ago) and have the overdue library charges to prove it!

Well, I own a copy. I've read it carefully, studied the maps, read the notes section very carefully, and inserted my own notes into the margins. Maybe that's why I remember Frank's statements more accurately,


Distant from San Francisco or Hawaii?

The distance from San Francisco to Guadalcanal (via Noumea, which was the advance logistical base for the campaign) is 6,298 NM.

The distance from Tokyo to Guadalcanal (via Rabaul) is 3,093 NM.

The distance from Oahu to Guadalcanal (via Noumea) is 4,208 NM. This distance is misleading since every once of food, fuel, ammo, and equipment destined for Guadalcanal, originated in San Francisco, not Oahu.

As you can see the US was at a distinct logistical disadvantage in terms of the distance it had to transport supplies to Guadalcanal.

I agree the Japanese had more surface fighting power, but they had a distinct, and an innate, weakness in merchantmen along with huge armies of occupation siphoning off their already strained, limited logistical base.[/QUOTE]

Which was partially offset by the disparity in distance.


The Cactus AF was also a decisive factor. They simply got caught with their pants down, and yes, I wholeheartedly agree they squandered their advantages. But they were also pretty damn good.

Just not good enough.

I also disagree regarding troop strength, I don't have the numbers, but the US hadn't yet embarked for Torch, and both sides had parity in mobilization for a while, and again, the IJA would always have large numbers tied down in China...[/QUOTE]

I don't think I ever made any representation about troop strength on Guadalcanal. But since you don't have the numbers, I'll specify that throughout the Guadalcanal campaign, the Japanese consistently underestimated the strength of the Marines, and usually were able to concentrate in only marginally superior numbers at the point of contact when attacking. The "large numbers" of Japanese troops "tied down" in China were actually less significant than the IJA's reluctance to get involved in a campaign it considered the responsibility of the IJN.

Wizard
01-23-2010, 02:49 PM
CONTINUED....


I'm just contextualizing things...

No, what you are trying to do is widen the argument because you are losing it. Keeping the debate centered on specific points within a specific campaign (Guadalcanal) is not to your advantage because the points I am making are too focused and too well documented.


Which makes them no different from US troops and marines who "got lost" in say, the Philippines.

Except that no one is claiming the American troops in the Philippines were "expert Jungle fighters". And could you please list and document specific examples of battalion-size, or larger, US Army and Marine units got lost in the Philippines?


Big deal! I don't have the book in front of me, I'll grab it later today though and perhaps point out how many times US marines and soldiers also got lost or ****ed up tactically...

That would be progress. Why don't you make a list and post it?


I'll agree that the IJA weren't necessarily trained in "jungle warfare," but that their operation tactics were superior initially and that their army was better suited for jungle warfare (initially, as I've stated repeatedly). With a large number of veterans and experience in China, this was to be expected. But the US Marines, Army, and the Commonwealth forces soon caught up training in jungle and tactics to counter IJA infiltration...

Oh yes! Why don't you mention all of the wonderful initial successes the Japanese enjoyed on Guadalcanal, like the Ichiki Detachment infiltrating across the sand bar. Against US Marines and Army troops Japanese infantry tactics simply got them killed in great numbers.


Why would that be shameful? I merely stated it as a "fact." Just like the Japanese had an advantage or armor in Malaya/Singapore whereas the British effectively had none, in addition to almost no portable anti-armor weapons. That doesn't negate the fact that the capture of Singapore was a spectacular coup...

Why state it at all, when it's not being disputed? I agree that superior firepower was one of the factors that made US troops generally superior in fighting power to Japanese troops.


I don't think we were ever really that far apart. My contention is that the IJA, and to a lessor extent, the IJN enjoyed certain early advantages largely due to their experience in China, and even perhaps other areas of occupation such as Korea. But yes, well trained Western troops indoctrinated and properly schooled at countering their tactics proved the Japanese very fallible...

Well, if you consider mass murder and atrocities good war-fighting experience, you might have a case. I would contend that the Japanese experience in China actually did them a disservice, as the Chinese forces fought a completely different war than the Japanese encountered in the Pacific against US and Australian troops. In fact, when the Japanese initially came up against US and Australian troops in New Guinea and Guadalcanal, they were stunned that their China tactics seldom worked.


Then we'll have to agree to disagree. While USN aviators gradually became more than a match for the Japanese. But not at the outset of the War...

You aren't paying attention; I never said anything about the "outset" of the war. I claimed it was when the USN pilots first encountered Japanese naval pilots at Coral Sea and Midway. And the fact is obvious, in every encounter between Japanese naval pilots and US naval pilots, the USN pilots consistently destroyed more Japanese planes than the Japanese were able to destroy American planes. That was true in EVERY encounter in the latter half of 1942. How, if USN pilots weren't better than their Japanese counterparts, do you explain that inconvenient little fact?


Maybe, but I'm not counting the trees in the forest...

Actually it appears you aren't even aware of the forest.


Dead wrong. I don't own the book, but I've read it, rereading portions (about a year ago) and have the overdue library charges to prove it!

Well, I own a copy. I've read it carefully, studied the maps, read the notes section very carefully, and inserted my own notes into the margins. Maybe that's why I remember Frank's statements more accurately,


Distant from San Francisco or Hawaii?

The distance from San Francisco to Guadalcanal (via Noumea, which was the advance logistical base for the campaign) is 6,298 NM.

The distance from Tokyo to Guadalcanal (via Rabaul) is 3,093 NM.

The distance from Oahu to Guadalcanal (via Noumea) is 4,208 NM. This distance is misleading since every once of food, fuel, ammo, and equipment destined for Guadalcanal, originated in San Francisco, not Oahu.

As you can see the US was at a distinct logistical disadvantage in terms of the distance it had to transport supplies to Guadalcanal.


[QUOTE=Nickdfresh;164554]I agree the Japanese had more surface fighting power, but they had a distinct, and an innate, weakness in merchantmen along with huge armies of occupation siphoning off their already strained, limited logistical base.

Which was partially offset by the disparity in distance.


The Cactus AF was also a decisive factor. They simply got caught with their pants down, and yes, I wholeheartedly agree they squandered their advantages. But they were also pretty damn good.

Just not good enough.


I also disagree regarding troop strength, I don't have the numbers, but the US hadn't yet embarked for Torch, and both sides had parity in mobilization for a while, and again, the IJA would always have large numbers tied down in China...

I don't think I ever made any representation about troop strength on Guadalcanal. But since you don't have the numbers, I'll specify that throughout the Guadalcanal campaign, the Japanese consistently underestimated the strength of the Marines, and usually were able to concentrate in only marginally superior numbers at the point of contact when attacking. The "large numbers" of Japanese troops "tied down" in China were actually less significant than the IJA's reluctance to get involved in a campaign it considered the responsibility of the IJN.

Nickdfresh
01-23-2010, 03:38 PM
Your logic makes no sense. Of course, the Japanese were "still in the game"; so was the US, so what makes it a "tactical victory" for the Japanese but a tactical defeat for the US, if both sides are "still in the Game"?

Your inability to grasp "my logic" "makes no sense."


Furthermore, The results of Coral Sea meant that the Japanese lost the next big carrier battle. Some "victory"!

What part of "having better intel" is a contradiction of the idea that "we were better"?

Intell? Nothing, except that you childishly omitted for your first post on the subject as if Midway was only the result of supposed superior airman and seamanship when there was also a good deal of luck involved, and a good deal of the of the US command's job was made vitally easier as they knew the IJN plan. Just like the Japanese had luck involved with their attack at Pearl Harbor.


I didn't. I said that the USN had better intel almost throughout the war.

Only after I confronted you about it, see the above comment. You completely, disingenuously omitted it..


Yes, WW II is full of examples of planes that were falsely maligned as "flying coffins" by people who never even flew...their technical limitations will perform satisfactorily. BTW, how many hours do you have in the TBD?

One of the most idiotic comments you've made! :lol: You're getting into troll-land here. We can't criticize a plane now unless we've flown it? How many hours do you have in it? How many Jap fighters have you shot down in it doing "The Thatch Weave?" :) That's it! No one can talk about anything unless they've driven, flown, or shot it!


My you do bounce around, don't you?

First I challenged your data on torpedoes, so then you say you were mainly criticizing the TBD. Then when I pointed out that lots of serviceable planes were called "Flying coffins", it's back to criticizing the torpedoes. You know, you'd have a great future as a politician....

Actually, you made some silly ****ing contention that the US finally modified the Mark 13 in late 1942, which was completely irrelevant to my comment as the Japanese had done this since 1936, and the US could not have attacked a shallow harbor as the Japanese had on Dec. 7, 1941...

I ignored it, because it shows that you're either extremely dull and completely missed the point, or just a fightclub troll...

I'm beginning to suspect the latter...


Well, my goodness, who brought up specialized jungle training in the first place?

YOU DID supergenius!! YOU mentioned that the IJA in the Malayan Campaign received "special jungle training" and that they were the only ones to have...
'
And you were proved WRONG! I even acknowledge that my statement was wrong semantically, though not in spirit...


It was YOUR claim that the Japanese on Guadalcanal were "expert jungle fighters". I pointed out, and proved, that they sure spent a lot of time lost in the jungle for "expert jungle fighters"....

"Lost in the Jungle" has ****all to do with jungle training or tactics in this instance, and is more about command and control. And after a cursory browsing/rereading of Guadalcanal, there were a whole host of factors that went into the dismal attack, including lack of naval gunfire support and the inability of Kawaguchi to coordinate his plans with higher headquarters and the Navy...

You've obviously have never been in a line-unit...


But as far as Guadalcanal is concerned, it is the campaign we ARE discussing...

LOL We're "discussing" only what you think we should be discussing, because you're wrong and I'm beginning to believe to be reliant on Wiki, Google-books, etc. Just a hunch...


I especially like the author's reference to "tall tales of Japanese jungle warfare".

Right! Because you're a fraud who leaches onto some pedestrian flaming and can't admit you're wrong, which is sort of the first sign of a troll...

But that also completely contradicts your unsupported statements, that have no specific quotes or "page numbers."


I further note that the Author specifically refers to China and Chinese troops as adversaries. But other than that, we have a small context problem; is the author describing a situation in Malaya? Or Burma? The title would lead one to believe his observations were limited to one or both of those regions.

What? Chinese troops? He was talking about the Malayan and Burmese campaigns conducted by combat hardened IJA divisions who received no more specific jungle training than did the IJA on the 'Canal...


He certainly isn't talking about Guadalcanal, because Japanese light infantry tactics seldom seemed to work there, and certainly weren't effective against the Marines. Moreover, since the Japanese troops on Guadalcanal couldn't find their way through the jungle...

Ad hominem simpleton's take. The Japanese didn't just bumble about and just "get lost." They were often disoriented, starving, and exhausted. Any other troops would have become so as well under the circumstances, including the US Marines had they attempted something similar on such a scale. There were a whole host of factors against them launching a proper attack. Not because they, "couldn't read a ****ing compass in the jungle!" ..


Like what? This should be interesting.

Reread the quote I provided earlier. The one on Chinese fighting... :)


Actually they didn't. The US troops retreated into the jungles on Bataan after trying to stop the Japanese on the Central Plain of Luzon where there was a relatively well developed road net. The retreat was one of the few things that was conducted properly by Mac's forces, even though the administrative aspects were bungled by Mac and his staff. It was the jungle on the Bataan peninsula that stopped the Japanese temporarily and allowed the Americans to hold out for awhile.

The Americans were attempting to drive the Japanese back into the sea, which they failed to do, much like the opposite was true on Guadalcanal. And oh, you mean Mac ****ed up? Really? You mean like Kawaguchi inappropriately "divided" his forces at Edison's Ridge? MacArthur violated the fundamental principle of Warplan Orange, hastening the US-Filipino collapse and leading to a premature surrender at the very least...


I would think that a purported scholar, like yourself, would understand that by now.

Oh right! I understand silly double standards. That's just basic competence, not being scholarly...



Well, "skillfully" is a subjective judgment;

It's a "selective judgment" made by people far more qualified than you or I, including their USMC adversaries...


If you ask me they fought courageously, but hardly skillfully, they were slaughtered on Guadalcanal. The odds the Japanese fought against were largely created by their own poor command hierarchy, which frankly, was pathetic.

They weren't just "slaughtered," the held up the US occupation of the island for several months, and their apparent "lack of skill" (which incidentally, is again an insult to the Allied servicemen who fought them there) has more to do with the fact that they were cut off, like the Germans at Stalingrad. They fought while outnumbered, outgunned, out supplied, and with little air support. Who's "skill" can overcome that?


No, what you are trying to do is widen the argument because you are losing it. Keeping the debate centered on specific points within a specific campaign (Guadalcanal) is not to your advantage because the points I am making are too focused and too well documented.

CONTINUED.....

You'd actually have to know what the argument was to actually "win" it. It's not my problem if you're "ignorant" about WWII overall. But Google-phu is your friend..:)

Nickdfresh
01-23-2010, 04:21 PM
CONTINUED....
No, what you are trying to do is widen the argument because you are losing it. Keeping the debate centered on specific points within a specific campaign (Guadalcanal) ....

"Specific about Guadalcanal????" WHHHAAAATTTT???? What is the title of this thread again? We've been discussing many facets of the PTO in relation to Japanese performance (or lack of therein)


Except that no one is claiming the American troops in the Philippines were "expert Jungle fighters". And could you please list and document specific examples of battalion-size, or larger, US Army and Marine units got lost in the Philippines?

Which has ****all to do with anything!! Would they have defeated the Japanese there if they had been?

And I'll "list" them after you list all the ones that swiftly found their way through the jungle without suffering losses!


That would be progress. Why don't you make a list and post it?

Because I'm getting tired of this, and I am questioning your motivations for it...

But perhaps we'll get back to the instance portrayed in "The Thin Red Line," which you previously dismissed as just "fiction." Yes, it is a novel. But the author, James Jones, was in the infantry at Guadalcanal and based the battles on ones that took place, and closely modeled the reality. It's also mentioned on pg. 617 of Frank's work in a very positive light...


Oh yes! Why don't you mention all of the wonderful initial successes the Japanese enjoyed on Guadalcanal, like the Ichiki Detachment infiltrating across the sand bar. Against US Marines and Army troops Japanese infantry tactics simply got them killed in great numbers.

Because I wasn't using the words "initial success" in any way related to Guadalcanal, strawman...since the battle began in August of 1942, it would hardly qualify as "initial" other than the Japanese initially occupied it...


Why state it at all, when it's not being disputed? I agree that superior firepower was one of the factors that made US troops generally superior in fighting power to Japanese troops.

But I never "disputed it." WTF? seriously! :rolleyes:


Well, if you consider mass murder and atrocities good war-fighting experience, you might have a case.

I ****ing don't! The US Army also gained good experience in the Filipino-American War, in which they too committed horrific atrocities. Same thing with the marines in various occupations from Nicaragua to Haiti, though certainly not on the scale of the IJA in China.


I would contend that the Japanese experience in China actually did them a disservice, as the Chinese forces fought a completely different war than the Japanese encountered in the Pacific against US and Australian troops.

Not true at all. Combat experience is combat experience, and the Chinese were a very motley force of units of varying effectiveness, but it was skill combat experience. Just like the USMC gained some experienced officers in Haiti and central America...


In fact, when the Japanese initially came up against US and Australian troops in New Guinea and Guadalcanal, they were stunned that their China tactics seldom worked.

WTF are you talking about? "China tactics?" There were no "China tactics," just the codification of small unit infantry tactics that served them well until the Allies learned how to counter their tactics in tight defensive formations and by using massed firepower with effective fields of fire.

Those tactics served the IJA very well initially in New Guinea, among other places...


You aren't paying attention; I never said anything about the "outset" of the war. I claimed it was when the USN pilots first encountered Japanese naval pilots at Coral Sea and Midway. And the fact is obvious, in every encounter between Japanese naval pilots and US naval pilots, the USN pilots consistently destroyed more Japanese planes than the Japanese were able to destroy American planes.

Not true at all, the count was even at best overall. And you can't just cherry-pick battles in which a number of IJN aircraft were destroyed on-board their carriers by Dauntless pilots "lucky" enough to catch them rearming

In air-to-air, things were mixed at best. And only made even through the use of tactics such as the "Thatch Weave."


That was true in EVERY encounter in the latter half of 1942. How, if USN pilots weren't better than their Japanese counterparts, do you explain that inconvenient little fact?

It's been pointed out here multiple times that the Japanese aviation began to decline precipitously after Midway after the deaths of their best, and inability to replace those crews...


Actually it appears you aren't even aware of the forest.

This is really getting old...


Well, I own a copy. I've read it carefully, studied the maps, read the notes section very carefully, and inserted my own notes into the margins. Maybe that's why I remember Frank's statements more accurately,

You don't really seem to point to any specific, overall assessments actually. You just quote the same text over and over...if you've read it "closely," you read that Frank goes into (almost nauseating) detail and explains the problems the Japanese had. And it was a bit more complex than compass reading skills..


The distance from San Francisco to Guadalcanal (via Noumea, which was the advance logistical base for the campaign) is 6,298 NM.

The distance from Tokyo to Guadalcanal (via Rabaul) is 3,093 NM.

The distance from Oahu to Guadalcanal (via Noumea) is 4,208 NM. This distance is misleading since every once of food, fuel, ammo, and equipment destined for Guadalcanal, originated in San Francisco, not Oahu.

That's not true, actually. Not "everything." There were forward staging bases all over the Pacific rim, including in New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Port Moresby, etc. Another meaningless point...


As you can see the US was at a distinct logistical disadvantage in terms of the distance it had to transport supplies to Guadalcanal.

Actually they weren't, as again, the Japanese had huge numbers of formations scattered around the Pacific whereas the men on Guadalcanal were one of the few large US formations oversees in 1942...



I don't think I ever made any representation about troop strength on Guadalcanal. But since you don't have the numbers, I'll specify that throughout the Guadalcanal campaign, the Japanese consistently underestimated the strength of the Marines, and usually were able to concentrate in only marginally superior numbers at the point of contact when attacking. The "large numbers" of Japanese troops "tied down" in China were actually less significant than the IJA's reluctance to get involved in a campaign it considered the responsibility of the IJN.

The Japanese certainly underestimated the marines strength often, but they couldn't have gotten many more in than they did anyways. And there was significant infighting between the IJA and IJN, but I recall most of it being something of the Army's disgust at the Navy's inability to keep their troops supplied properly, exacerbated by ignorance of the plight of the average soldier, and expectations they should soldier on regardless of disease, malnutrition, and shortages...

Wizard
01-23-2010, 06:55 PM
Your inability to grasp "my logic" "makes no sense."

Ok, we'll let that one go. You can keep on thinking Coral Sea was a Japanese victory; Bergerud and I know better.


Intell? Nothing, except that you childishly omitted for your first post on the subject as if Midway was only the result of supposed superior airman and seamanship when there was also a good deal of luck involved, and a good deal of the of the US command's job was made vitally easier as they knew the IJN plan.

If you could read, you'd have noticed I did mention intelligence as one of the USN strengths, but I should have guessed you'd fail to notice, since you seem to have the same trouble reading Frank.


Only after I confronted you about it, see the above comment. You completely, disingenuously omitted it..

Ok, here's my post:

"Actually, I believe the Japanese were stopped by superior quality naval forces in the May/June 1942, time frame. These were the naval battles of Coral Sea and Midway, of which I was speaking. And by "quality" I mean in the widest possible sense of the word. The IJN was certainly no pushover during this period, but the USN proved slightly better, not in every area, mind you, but in the areas that happened to count. American naval pilots were slightly better trained, (but much less experienced) than Japanese naval pilots particularly in the areas of carrier doctrine, scouting, team tactics, aerial gunnery, and fleet air defense. American naval officers were better at planning, fleet tactics, engineering, and intelligence The IJN was no doubt far more skilled in small unit night fighting, and torpedo tactics, but as it eventuated, these areas did not assume a great deal of importance until later in the year."


That was from post #21 in this thread. I believe I was the first to mention superior American intelligence. If you have other information, post it.


One of the most idiotic comments you've made! :lol: You're getting into troll-land here. We can't criticize a plane now unless we've flown it? How many hours do you have in it? How many Jap fighters have you shot down in it doing "The Thatch Weave?" :) That's it! No one can talk about anything unless they've driven, flown, or shot it!

Comment? I made no comment; I asked a question, which BTW, you haven't answered.

My point is still valid; lots of planes were labeled "flying coffins" during WW II, by people who were not qualified to determine their merits. It's irrelevant whether you think the TBD was good or bad. What counts is it was what the USN had and that it did give good service under circumstances where it was used as it was meant to be.


Actually, you made some silly ****ing contention that the US finally modified the Mark 13 in late 1942, which was completely irrelevant to my comment as the Japanese had done this since 1936, and the US could not have attacked a shallow harbor as the Japanese had on Dec. 7, 1941...

My, my, such language! Something must have gotten under you skin. A debate isn't worth getting so upset.

I was merely correcting you mistaken impression of the Mk 13 with data that indicates the US could make attacks in shallow water by late 1942.

Now, as for your "silly, fornicating" contention that the Japanese had modified it's torpedoes in 1936, it's simply wrong.

Dr. Ken Kotani, in "The Pacific War Companion, pages 34-35, says the following;

"Genda stressed the IJN's superiority of aircraft carriers and the necessity of the task force for the operation. He also addressed technical problems, such as the fact that Pearl Harbor was too shallow to permit the use of torpedoes. Yamamoto read the draft, and realized that it would be necessary to modify torpedoes for Pearl Harbor."

The "draft" in question was dated April, 1941, and the author cites Japanese records as his source. So it is obvious that the Japanese didn't have any "modified" shallow water torpedoes before the summer of 1941.


I ignored it, because it shows that you're either extremely dull and completely missed the point, or just a fightclub troll...

I'm beginning to suspect the latter...

Well, I'm beginning to suspect that you are in way over your head, and rather than admit it and learn something, you are resorting to accusations of "trolling", and other name calling.


YOU DID supergenius!! YOU mentioned that the IJA in the Malayan Campaign received "special jungle training" and that they were the only ones to have...
'
And you were proved WRONG! I even acknowledge that my statement was wrong semantically, though not in spirit...

No, I said I believed that the Japanese troops in Malaya had received specialized jungle training, and that they were the only ones to my knowledge who had.

As for being proven wrong, no I haven't been. Your source talks about jungle fighting in realtion to Japanese troops, but never specifies which troops received any training, or where, or when, or even "If".


"Lost in the Jungle" has ****all to do with jungle training or tactics in this instance, and is more about command and control. And after a cursory browsing/rereading of Guadalcanal, there were a whole host of factors that went into the dismal attack, including lack of naval gunfire support and the inability of Kawaguchi to coordinate his plans with higher headquarters and the Navy...

Goodness, please calm down. Getting lost in the jungle and being unable to find one's way or navigate through jungle growth does have a lot to do with fighting in the jungle, as Frank makes perfectly clear. Yes, the Japanese did have problems with command and control (another weakness relative to the Americans), but the fundamental reason that was true was because the Japanese soldiers and their officers were not at home in the jungle. NGS wouldn't have made much difference because the Japanese troops could not coordinate and execute the precise timing required to take advantage of NGS. You are obviously looking for a rationale for the Japanese troop's inability to fight effectively in the Jungle. It was simple, they had never been trained to live, move, or fight efficiently in the jungle.

Wizard
01-23-2010, 06:57 PM
Continued.....


You've obviously have never been in a line-unit...

Correct, I was in the Navy. That's why I rely on military historians rather than my own opinions in those areas.


We're "discussing" only what you think we should be discussing, because you're wrong and I'm beginning to believe to be reliant on Wiki, Google-books, etc. Just a hunch...

Well, consistency is often considered a virtue, but not when you are consistently wrong. You are wrong ....again.


Right! Because you're a fraud who leaches onto some pedestrian flaming and can't admit you're wrong, which is sort of the first sign of a troll...

But that also completely contradicts your unsupported statements, that have no specific quotes or "page numbers."

I'm a fraud? You certainly haven't done very well in proving it. I've established my points and documented them. Have you turned up a single one of my sources that says something other than what I have represented? No, not a single one.

In fact, you have come out looking pretty silly when I have posted my sources. I could go back and list all the mistakes you've made and erroneous information you've posted, but why pour salt in a wound?


What? Chinese troops? He was talking about the Malayan and Burmese campaigns conducted by combat hardened IJA divisions who received no more specific jungle training than did the IJA on the 'Canal...

Well, then either the quotation is taken out of context, or it doesn't refer to jungle fighting training as you originally claimed.

"(The IJA) achieved immediate results by applying light infantry fighting methods successfully developed in China"



The Japanese didn't just bumble about and just "get lost." They were often disoriented, starving, and exhausted. Any other troops would have become so as well under the circumstances, including the US Marines had they attempted something similar on such a scale. There were a whole host of factors against them launching a proper attack. Not because they, "couldn't read a ****ing compass in the jungle!" ..

Hmmm....

Who are you quoting in your last sentence? Certainly not me, as I never said that?

I have never characterized why the Japanese seemed to keep getting lost in the jungle, just that they did, and that this cost them severely in several battles.


Reread the quote I provided earlier. The one on Chinese fighting... :)

You wrote; "The Japanese TO&E overall gave them some inherent advantages in the Jungle when fighting unprepared Western troops..."

And I asked "Like what?". The previous source you quoted mentions nothing about the Japanese TO&E, or what advantages it might confer.

Oh, it just dawned on me; you probably don't understand what "TO&E" means, you are just using the term to appear knowledgeable about military matters. The term "TO&E" means Table of Organization and Equipment. It refers to how the troops are organized, command structure, and what equipment (mainly weapons and vehicles) is authorized for a given unit.

So now, I ask again, what advantages against western opponents, were conferred on Japanese troops by their TO&E?


The Americans were attempting to drive the Japanese back into the sea, which they failed to do, much like the opposite was true on Guadalcanal. And oh, you mean Mac ****ed up? Really? You mean like Kawaguchi inappropriately "divided" his forces at Edison's Ridge? MacArthur violated the fundamental principle of Warplan Orange, hastening the US-Filipino collapse and leading to a premature surrender at the very least...

Well, not actually. It was Mac's plan to drive the Japanese back into the sea and he'd convinced ("deceived" would probably be a better word) the JCS that he could do it with his understrength American division, and the woefully inadequately trained and equipped Filipino levees; Washington should have known better. The retreat into the Bataan peninsula was the only part of the Philippines defense that was done in a reasonably professional manner, except for the administrative details. The original plan had been to let the Japanese have everything but Bataan and Manila Bay and hold out as long as possible. Not sure what you think Kawaguchi's botched attack has to do with Mac in the Philippines, so I'll not comment on that aspect until you elaborate a bit


Oh right! I understand silly double standards. That's just basic competence, not being scholarly...

It's a "selective judgment" made by people far more qualified than you or I, including their USMC adversaries...

No, I doubt you understand anything about it, you certainly haven 't shown any real knowledge of what happened, just the conventionally accepted "wisdom" that the "History 101" student is expected to regurgitate on demand.


They weren't just "slaughtered," the held up the US occupation of the island for several months, and their apparent "lack of skill" (which incidentally, is again an insult to the Allied servicemen who fought them there) has more to do with the fact that they were cut off, like the Germans at Stalingrad. They fought while outnumbered, outgunned, out supplied, and with little air support. Who's "skill" can overcome that?

Not really. The US occupied the tiny portion of the island that was important to them, and began operating the airfield (which was the reason for being there in the first place) after a matter of 13 days. The Japanese troops on the Island kept attacking the airfield, and it was the security of the airfield (not it's operation) which was in question until about December 15, 1942. The Japanese decided to pull their troops out about this time and their forces on the island switch over to defensive operations.

The Japanese got themselves into a bad spot over Guadalcanal because they underestimated the fighting ability of the Americans and over estimated their own.


You'd actually have to know what the argument was to actually "win" it. It's not my problem if you're "ignorant" about WWII overall. But Google-phu is your friend..:)

Granted, it's difficult to keep the argument focused with you jumping all over the map when your points are shot down, but then I'm not really interested in "winning" anything, just making sure that the events are accurately presented and their significance underst0od.

Now I know you will come back and claim that I don't know anything because I don't hold with your popular misconceptions and generalizations about the Japanese, but that doesn't matter. I'm confident that I have far better knowledge of the Pacific war than do you.

As for being "ignorant" about WW II, that should be much more your concern than mine; I haven't had any problem refuting your erroneous assertions so far.

Wizard
01-23-2010, 10:00 PM
"Specific about Guadalcanal????" WHHHAAAATTTT???? What is the title of this thread again? We've been discussing many facets of the PTO in relation to Japanese performance (or lack of therein)

Regardless of the title of the thread which was something about JAPANESE MILITARY STRENGTH, I have specifically limited my statements to issues which mainly occurred in the Guadalcanal campaign or the associated New Guinea campaign. and Naval battles which took place during 1942. You may post anything you want, of course, but I will not discuss any matter ouitside the limits I have stated above.


Which has ****all to do with anything!! Would they have defeated the Japanese there if they had been?

And I'll "list" them after you list all the ones that swiftly found their way through the jungle without suffering losses!

Ok, so I guess you can't find any sources which support your assertion; I'll just mark it down as conceded.


Because I'm getting tired of this, and I am questioning your motivations for it...

But perhaps we'll get back to the instance portrayed in "The Thin Red Line," which you previously dismissed as just "fiction." Yes, it is a novel. But the author, James Jones, was in the infantry at Guadalcanal and based the battles on ones that took place, and closely modeled the reality. It's also mentioned on pg. 617 of Frank's work in a very positive light...

Well, you were the one who claimed there were plenty of instances where US troops did even more poorly that the Japanese in jungle fighting, so I just assumed you could put together a list of those instances. But now I can see that is just one of your empty opinions, and more of your ignorant bluster.

With reference to James Jones "Thin Red Line", yes, Frank does mention it; he says, "This book deserves far more recognition than it has yet received." LOL! I'm not sure if he's is referring to Jones' literary talent, or if he thinks its a rip-snorting action read, but he certainly doesn't claim it is highly accurate. Maybe he'll be impressed enough by the movie to call it a documentary?


Because I wasn't using the words "initial success" in any way related to Guadalcanal, strawman...since the battle began in August of 1942, it would hardly qualify as "initial" other than the Japanese initially occupied it...

Well, I guess that is another in put of your data we can forget.


But I never "disputed it." WTF? seriously! :rolleyes:

Either you are really forgetful, or you are trying to back away from assertions that you now realize you can't support with evidence. Either way, it just makes you look ignorant.


I ****ing don't! The US Army also gained good experience in the Filipino-American War, in which they too committed horrific atrocities. Same thing with the marines in various occupations from Nicaragua to Haiti, though certainly not on the scale of the IJA in China.

Then you don't have a case. I certainly don't believe any atrocities committed by American troops (an undocumented assertion by you) in Haiti or the Philippines gained them any useful combat experience.


Not true at all. Combat experience is combat experience, and the Chinese were a very motley force of units of varying effectiveness, but it was skill combat experience. Just like the USMC gained some experienced officers in Haiti and central America...

I doubt you will be able to find anyone, combat veteran or otherwise, who will agree that "combat experience is combat experience". That is simply a moronic statement. It assumes that you can use the same techniques and tactics against highly trained, well-motivated, well-led, and well equipped US Marines, as you would against lightly armed and equipped, poorly trained, and poorly led, Chinese conscripts. I certainly invite you to try; the results surely would be interesting.


WTF are you talking about? "China tactics?" There were no "China tactics," just the codification of small unit infantry tactics that served them well until the Allies learned how to counter their tactics in tight defensive formations and by using massed firepower with effective fields of fire.

Well, you can't have it both ways; you were earlier boasting of the highly effective infantry tactics the Japanese learned in China. Now it's they didn't learn how to fight in China, it was just something that they, uhm, well...just sort of learned at their mother's knee. I think it more appropriate to ask WTF are YOU talking about?


Those tactics served the IJA very well initially in New Guinea, among other places...

Yeah, like the poor untested Marines learned at such great cost at the Battle of the Tenaru, ROTFLMAO! Took them all of of two minutes too!

CONTINUED.....

Wizard
01-23-2010, 10:02 PM
Continued.....


Not true at all, the count was even at best overall. And you can't just cherry-pick battles in which a number of IJN aircraft were destroyed on-board their carriers by Dauntless pilots "lucky" enough to catch them rearming.

You think I'm "cherry-picking" certain battles? That's not what I'm saying; I'm saying in EVERY MAJOR NAVAL AIR BATTLE DURING 1942 the USN pilots destroyed more Japanese aircraft than they lost themselves. There wasn't a single major naval air battle in which the Japanese gave better than they got. That includes Coral Sea, Midway, Eastern Solomons, and Santa Cruz. If you think it's untrue, why don't you post an example where it wasn't true?

And no, the count was not even. Not even close to being even where just naval pilots are concerned, and overall, the Allies destroyed more Japanese planes than vice versa. According to Bergerud, "Fire In The Sky", page 428; "We have unusually good [numbers] to illustrate the grim flow of events at Guadalcanal. Authors John Lundstrom and Richard Frank have conducted careful studies of both US and Japanese losses during the Guadalcanal campaign...Frank, who employs much of Lundstrom's research, concluded that the Allies lost 615 aircraft during the entire campaign, including the carrier battles, and the Japanese lost 682.


In air-to-air, things were mixed at best. And only made even through the use of tactics such as the "Thatch Weave."

It's been pointed out here multiple times that the Japanese aviation began to decline precipitously after Midway after the deaths of their best, and inability to replace those crews...

That may have been true after Midway, where carrier-based pilots are concerned, but where land-based naval and military pilots are concerned, the Japanese had a noticeable edge at the very beginning of the Guadalcanal and New Guinea campaigns. This edge however, quickly evaporated, for whatever reasons, and by October, 1942, the Allied pilots at Henderson field felt they held a definite advantage over Japanese pilots and air crew. (Frank, "Guadalcanal", page 345).


You don't really seem to point to any specific, overall assessments actually. You just quote the same text over and over...if you've read it "closely," you read that Frank goes into (almost nauseating) detail and explains the problems the Japanese had. And it was a bit more complex than compass reading skills..

No assessments? LOL! they just aren't assessments that support your opinions, so you ignore them. No, I'm not quoting the same text over and over, although it might feel that way to you because so many of your assertions are being proven wrong because of the many different sources I have quoted.

And yes, Frank does go into detail about why the Japanese kept getting lost, and no, it wasn't just about reading a compass; it was a fundamental lack of understanding of jungle terrain and a profound feeling of uneasiness in the jungle.


That's not true, actually. Not "everything." There were forward staging bases all over the Pacific rim, including in New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, Port Moresby, etc. Another meaningless point...

Translation: another point you'd better stay away from.

No, you made the assertion that the logistics for the US were easier where Guadalcanal was concerned and I just proved you wrong once again.

On Page 136, Frank says; "In April [1942] the Army set up it's supply line to run directly from San Francisco, and, lacking resources at Pearl Harbor, the Navy soon followed suit."


The only "forward staging bases" in August, 1942, was Auckland in New Zeal Land, 5,680 NM from San Francisco, and 1,825 miles from Guadalcanal, a total of 7,505 NM. Auckland was chosen because it was the only port in the area where cargoes could be unloaded and reloaded combat style, which of course, was necessary for Guadalcanal-bound cargoes.

Noumea ended up as the ultimate advanced base because of it's relative proximity to Guadalcanal, but there too there were problems. The other "advanced staging bases" you mention are all in your imagination. All logistical supplies bound for US forces on Guadalcanal were shipped from San Francisco to Auckland in the early days, and later from San Francisco to Noumea.


Actually they weren't, as again, the Japanese had huge numbers of formations scattered around the Pacific whereas the men on Guadalcanal were one of the few large US formations oversees in 1942...

Yes, the Japanese had men scattered all over the Pacific, but so did the US and in overall numbers the Americans needed far more logistical resources than the Japanese did. And as far as the needs of forces on Guadalcanal, the Americans were at a far worse disadvantage than the Japanese were, so, once again you are wrong.[/QUOTE]


The Japanese certainly underestimated the marines strength often, but they couldn't have gotten many more in than they did anyways.

Well, it's true, they couldn't feed the ones they already had on the Island, and while they continuously kept running reinforcements into Guadalcanal, they could neither feed them properly nor keep them supplied with ammo, fuel and medical supplies, so that is true also.

But the problem of accurately estimating enemy forces on Guadalcanal stemmed from poor intelligence and reconnaissance methods and a tendency towards wishful thinking.


And there was significant infighting between the IJA and IJN, but I recall most of it being something of the Army's disgust at the Navy's inability to keep their troops supplied properly, exacerbated by ignorance of the plight of the average soldier, and expectations they should soldier on regardless of disease, malnutrition, and shortages...

True, and the Navy was exasperated by the Army's inability to control and coordinate their forces so the Navy could lend support. It was kind of a mutual recrimination society.

Rising Sun*
01-24-2010, 05:36 AM
Wizard v Nick (aka Nick v Wizard)

;) :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuW4pfr85MI

Rising Sun*
01-24-2010, 06:14 AM
In fact, when the Japanese initially came up against US and Australian troops in New Guinea and Guadalcanal, they were stunned that their China tactics seldom worked.

Which tactics would they be?

The ones that steadily pushed the Australians back down the Kokoda Track under pressure of relentless Japanese attacks and infiltration tactics for which the Australians had no counter?

Or the ones that saw the US 32nd Div collapse in the field at Buna in the face of Japanese defences, never mind an assault by the Japanese?

Or do we exclude the inconvenient Japanese successes in Papua and just look to the later New Guinea campaigns?

Where are the primary sources from Japan that their troops were stunned that their China tactics failed to work?

Rising Sun*
01-24-2010, 06:36 AM
Even when the Japanese enjoyed apparent victory as at Savo Island, they still failed to achieve their objective whic was the destruction of the transports.


I suppose Vice-Admiral Mikawa just had to be content with destroying four Allied cruisers and encouraging the American transports to depart without unloading most of their vital stores to avoid being caught by the Japanese, in the same way that Mikawa departed without pressing on to destroy the transports to avoid his ships being caught by the Allies.

The Japanese decision not to press on to the transports was as rational as the Allied decision to withdraw them, even if 20/20 hindsight says they shouldn't have. Neither decision proves any inherent strength or weakness in either nation's people or tactics.

Any more than the way the Japanese luck in the way it encountered the US cruisers at Savo makes the IJN superheroes any more than the final piece of luck which brought the US into contact with the IJN carriers at Midway.

It's all summed up in my signature.

Rising Sun*
01-24-2010, 06:37 AM
The distance from San Francisco to Guadalcanal (via Noumea, which was the advance logistical base for the campaign) is 6,298 NM.

The distance from Tokyo to Guadalcanal (via Rabaul) is 3,093 NM.

The distance from Oahu to Guadalcanal (via Noumea) is 4,208 NM. This distance is misleading since every once of food, fuel, ammo, and equipment destined for Guadalcanal, originated in San Francisco, not Oahu.

As you can see the US was at a distinct logistical disadvantage in terms of the distance it had to transport supplies to Guadalcanal.

Not necessarily in practice.

After the US transport ships withdrew with most of the US supplies after the Battle of Savo Island the US had to make do with the limited supplies carefully transported all the way from the US and actually landed on Guadalcanal, which luckily for the US were supplemented by captured Japanese stores which enabled them to continue without the supplies taken away by the transports.

Lucky for the USMC that the Japanese had a shorter supply line to make up the deficiency in US stores coming from much further away.

Rising Sun*
01-24-2010, 06:49 AM
I agree that superior firepower was one of the factors that made US troops generally superior in fighting power to Japanese troops.

How are we to reconcile that with your following statement at #56?


Of course, but remember, that the Japanese were "intractable" in the face of "certain defeat". So what? They still got outfought and faced "certain defeat" because their fighting ability was less than that of the Marines. The individual Japanese soldiers were usually courageous, but collectively or individually, they were seldom a match for the Marines.

I understood the latter comment to mean that American soldiers individually were better in their 'fighting ability', which I took to mean skills in individual combat, than Japanese.

But the former quote refers to military advantages beyond a 'one for one' basis.

So, which is it?

Japanese soldiers were not the equal of American soldiers one on one?

Or regardless of their combat ability, even if Japanese soldiers were the equal of American soldiers one on one then ultimately they were not because the Americans had advantages beyond the personal combat skills of individual and collective Japanese soldiers?

Nickdfresh
01-24-2010, 12:46 PM
Ok, we'll let that one go. You can keep on thinking Coral Sea was a Japanese victory; Bergerud and I know better.


Here we go with Strawman "101." I never said it was a "Japanese victory," liar. I said it is generally considered mixed as a "strategic American" victory and 'tactically' a Japanese one (which is almost universally accepted)...



If you could read, you'd have noticed I did mention intelligence as one of the USN strengths, but I should have guessed you'd fail to notice, since you seem to have the same trouble reading Frank.

"Actually, I believe the Japanese were stopped by superior quality naval forces ...American naval officers were better at planning, fleet tactics, engineering, and intelligence [/B]The IJN was no doubt far more skilled in small unit night fighting, and torpedo tactics, but as it eventuated, these areas did not assume a great deal of importance until later in the year."


That was from post #21 in this thread. I believe I was the first to mention superior American intelligence. If you have other information, post it.


Rather disingenuously. "Intelligence" can mean many things including superior USN fleet reconnaissance procedures (a factor of course). But the breaking of the code was the fundamental reason for the battle being fought to begin with, I as attacking your overall critique of the Japanese command decisions as opposed to the inherently superior US ones without acknowledging that the US command had a huge advantage of a 'marked deck' and could read his enemy's hands...

It was the key factor and a massive "force-multiplier" in the US victory, not just another subset of "superior" US skills...

YOU CAN'T just claim the US was inherently superior in all (or most) facets of skill in that battle without acknowledging they had a massive trump card and the USN was able to accurately predict the basic battle plan of the IJN...


Comment? I made no comment; I asked a question, which BTW, you haven't answered.

I have no idea what it was but I'll answer it if you re-ask it, I'm honestly tired of pouring over who said what...:)


My point is still valid; lots of planes were labeled "flying coffins" during WW II, by people who were not qualified to determine their merits....

I've never heard of some of the aircraft you've mentioned being called "flying (or suicide coffin in the case of the TBD) coffins." The Devastator was marked by some its aircrews as being such. Any aircraft that is somewhat obsolete will certainly be marked with such a moniker...but according to Barrett Tillman (TBD Devastator units of the US Navy), the TBD Devastators launched 108 sorties, resulting in 95 torpedo drops and four confirmed hits, and two ships destroyed. It was simply past its prime by 1942. The point is that the USN was fielding an obsolete aircraft armed with inferior torpedoes which hardly supports any of your contentions...


My, my, such language! Something must have gotten under you skin. A debate isn't worth getting so upset.

Since when is an old salt offended by such language? Upset? Yes, because I'm typing here with a huge NFL game day--and a lady to meet and make things good with. But that has nothing to do with you, so I cannot blame you for it.

It's all my choice...


I was merely correcting you mistaken impression of the Mk 13 with data that indicates the US could make attacks in shallow water by late 1942.

Now, as for your "silly, fornicating" contention that the Japanese had modified it's torpedoes in 1936, it's simply wrong.

Dr. Ken Kotani, in "The Pacific War Companion, pages 34-35, says the following;

"...Yamamoto read the draft, and realized that it would be necessary to modify torpedoes for Pearl Harbor."

The "draft" in question was dated April, 1941, and the author cites Japanese records as his source. So it is obvious that the Japanese didn't have any "modified" shallow water torpedoes before the summer of 1941.

But I said 1941, meaning the IJN was ahead...

The IJN began mounting wooden plates in experiment dating back to 1936...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_91_torpedo

The project revised Type 91 aerial torpedos, as the revision 1 supporting wooden tail plates, taken off on water entry, in 1936. The team demonstrated the launching tests of Type 91 aerial torpedoes wearing wooden shock-damper objects at altitude 500m (1,640 ft) and 1,000m (3,281 ft) in the following year, 1937....

It enabled to keep Type 91 rev.2 aerial torpedo running under the water no deeper than 20 meter (65.6 ft). Actually the cutting-edge pilots of torpedo-bomber squadrons in Dai Ichi Koku Sentai or The 1st Air Flotilla of the carrier strike force were able to launch their torpedo so as to sink in the water depth no more than 10 meter (32.8 ft) after water entry. Anti-rolling controller made aircraft possible to torpedo-bomb not only warships anchorage in shallow military port but also warships steam in chopped waves of heavy sea in full speed.


Well, I'm beginning to suspect that you are in way over your head, and rather than admit it and learn something, you are resorting to accusations of "trolling", and other name calling.

LOL "Over my head?" Oh, quite contraire. I think your just repeating the same blanket, silly assertions now with selective facts and post hoc argument...

But I am drowning in text...


No, I said I believed that the Japanese troops in Malaya had received specialized jungle training, and that they were the only ones to my knowledge who had.

Nice backpedal, apology accepted (who's the "politician" now?)...


As for being proven wrong, no I haven't been. Your source talks about jungle fighting in realtion to Japanese troops, but never specifies which troops received any training, or where, or when, or even "If".

It says that they were generally thought of as better conditioned for jungle warfare overall and their infiltration tactics more adaptable. It also basically said the Japanese had perfected and adapted these tactics from their experiences in China...

Is it really that hard?


Goodness, please calm down.

But it was Saturday night!! :mrgreen:


Getting lost in the jungle and being unable to find one's way or navigate through jungle growth does have a lot to do with fighting in the jungle, as Frank makes perfectly clear.

Of course it "has a lot to do" with jungle fighting skills. It also has nothing to do with the skill set of the individual Japanese soldier, nor does it adequately account for the difficulties that the Japanese encountered there.

It's a blatant oversimplification and a silly conclusion tantamount to "concluding" that the IJA was better at mobile armored warfare because they defeated a US armored unit in the Philippines in a tank battle...


Yes, the Japanese did have problems with command and control (another weakness relative to the Americans),

In that particular case they did. In others, they enacted skillful tactical movements such was the fallback operation on Okinawa...


...but the fundamental reason that was true was because the Japanese soldiers and their officers were not at home in the jungle.

Being "at home in the jungle" is a rather obtuse, relative notion. No one is "home" in the jungle that hadn't much time in one, and I'm sure members of the Chindits, Marine Raiders, Merrill's Marauders were not necessarily "at home" in the jungle, even if they were very skilled at fighting in it. The Japanese were conducting a difficult tactical movement at night, and failed. But they cannot be solely judged on this one instance just as US troops cannot be judged merely on their lacking performance in the Hürtgen Forest...


NGS wouldn't have made much difference because the Japanese troops could not coordinate and execute the precise timing required to take advantage of NGS. You are obviously looking for a rationale for the Japanese troop's inability to fight effectively in the Jungle. It was simple, they had never been trained to live, move, or fight efficiently in the jungle.

I'm looking to explain a single operation without stereotyping, blanket generalizations, and selective isolation and cherry-picking of facts, which you are very guilty of. You're using "facts" to engage in a greater lie and the simplistic notion that "we were better" which is hollow and meaningless pronouncement to a degree..

Wizard
01-24-2010, 03:45 PM
How are we to reconcile that with your following statement at #56?

I understood the latter comment to mean that American soldiers individually were better in their 'fighting ability', which I took to mean skills in individual combat, than Japanese.

But the former quote refers to military advantages beyond a 'one for one' basis.

So, which is it?

Japanese soldiers were not the equal of American soldiers one on one?

Or regardless of their combat ability, even if Japanese soldiers were the equal of American soldiers one on one then ultimately they were not because the Americans had advantages beyond the personal combat skills of individual and collective Japanese soldiers?

There is nothing to reconcile, and there is no "either or" answer.

My comments were based on documented historical events. I think everyone can agree that during the fighting in the Pacific war, whether in the early days of Guadalcanal and Attu, when the numerical odds were nearly even, or in the closing months of the war, when there was little hope left for Japan's military fortunes, that one of the most important factors in their defeat was the overwhelming advantage in fire power, that the Allies wielded.

The Japanese had always known that, in a war with the US and it's Allies, they would likely face superior firepower, and in fact, had a foretaste of the reality at Nomohan in 1939, so that came as no surprise. But the Japanese believed that this factor could be overcome by superior Japanese military skills, and tactics, such as inherently superior Japanese hand-to-hand fighting (the emphasis on the use of the bayonet and close quarters fighting), use of darkness for closing with the enemy, infiltration tactics to neutralize artillery, and the indoctrination of the individual Japanese soldier to the point where the willingness to sacrifice one's life for minor tactical advantages, was a given.

This outlook received some justification in the fighting in China, Malaya, Philippines, and Burma. But only when coupled with the fact that the Japanese held the initiative, was on the offensive, and the opponent was cut off from resupply and significant reinforcement, or was poorly trained and/or led. When the adversary was not fighting under such physical and psychological burdens, when free rein to use the superior technological advantages of the western way of making war was available to their opponents, the Japanese were proven to have badly miscalculated the relative merits of various military strategies.

At Iwo Jima, for example, the Japanese all but abandoned their fantasy that bayonets against heavy artillery made any military sense. The Japanese on Iwo Jima planned to fight the battle of Iwo Jima almost entirely underground; they dug thousands of bunkers and something like eleven miles of fortified tunnels. They dug in artillery on a scale unprecedented for the Japanese, forbade "Banzai" charges, and vowed not to survive the battle. It was, by any measure, a tacit admission that their pre-war tactical conceptions were badly flawed, that "Japanese fighting spirit" could not compensate for the disparity in artillery, tanks, automatic weapons, massive preparation and logistics.

The more controversial calculation, the assessment of individual fighting skill's, the inherent, as the Japanese perceived it, racial superiority of the Japanese soldier, is a touchier subject, because we, in the West, supposedly reject theories of racial superiority/inferiority. Furthermore, such comparisons are, inevitably generalizations and someone will always be willing to point out the "yeah, but..." exceptions to the rule.

So, with some trepidation, because no matter how much I might buttress my arguments with incontrovertible facts, some moron will always charge me with racism, jingoism or "ultra-nationalism", I will state that the Japanese soldier seldom demonstrated the kind of superior one-on-one fighting skill, that would have made the Banzai charges, the bayonet attacks, and the in filtration tactics, ultimately successful. In instances where Japanese troops engaged Allied troops in hand-to-hand fighting, the Japanese usually suffered higher casualties than they inflicted on their opponents.

Part of this is attributable to the advantage of heavier firepower which rested with the Allies, however, where the firepower ratio was more or less even, and in battles where superior firepower, could not be brought to bear for whatever reason, and the Japanese were able to close to the length of a rifle with their adversaries, they still usually suffered higher casualties and seldom achieved their objective. Examples would be the battle of Wake Island, Attu, the Points, Makin, the Tenaru, and Gavutu-Tanambogo.

It must also be noted that one of the Allied policies was to fight battles in such a way that casualties were kept to a minimum, so reliance on superior firepower, numerical advantage, and isolation of the battle field were standard features of Allied tactics. Yet even when it was not possible to create these ideal conditions, Japanese soldiers usually either failed to achieve their objectives, suffered prohibitive casualties, or both.

What caused this oddly consistent outcome in battle after battle? We've mentioned the Allies' superior fire power, but there were other factors, as well. Most can be lumped under the rubric of better "battlefield management". Far superior battlefield communications, command, and control made it easier for the Allied commanders to direct events and create conditions prejudicial to Japanese chances of success. Generally speaking, Allied Staff work was more professional and based on more realistic calculations and assumptions. With the exception of pre-war planning of "First Phase" operations, Japanese battle planning ranged from the merely mediocre, to the fantastically mystical and delusional. This obviously cost the Japanese military many chances to at least delay ultimate defeat.

Finally, the art of military intelligence was not held in as high regard as on the Allied side, and incalculable harm was done to Japanese efforts top prosecute the war. John Prados, in "Combined Fleet Decoded" comments that the Japanese viewed intelligence differently than the Western Allies; the Japanese saw intelligence as something that was valuable in overcoming difficulties which might be encountered on the offensive, but seldom paid much attention to defensive applications. Be that as it may, as the war progressed, Japanese intelligence became less and less a factor, while Allied intelligence grew progressively more comprehensive and timely. It is impossible to quantitatively measure the effect of this issue on actual battles, but it could not help but have a deleterious effect on the Japanese war effort.

I therefore conclude that, from the time that the Japanese first threatened the regions that the Allies regarded as "must defend" positions, they were up against forces that were, at the very least on a basis of parity, and in many cases, were superior to the Japanese in overall fighting power. And furthermore, that the records of various clashes establish that, as a rule, Japanese air, ground, and naval forces failed to achieve their objectives in these clashes, while suffering greater losses than the Allies. To me this is not a fluke, or the result of luck, or coincidence. To me this consistent trend demonstrates that the "fighting ability" of the Japanese was less than that of the Allies. In some cases the reasons for this are clear, in others not so clear, but the fact that usually "we won", and "they didn't", is, to me, conclusive evidence that the Allies' enjoyed, both individually and collectively, advantages which the Japanese were unable to compensate for in their tactics, training, and strategy.

Wizard
01-24-2010, 04:25 PM
Not necessarily in practice.

After the US transport ships withdrew with most of the US supplies after the Battle of Savo Island the US had to make do with the limited supplies carefully transported all the way from the US and actually landed on Guadalcanal, which luckily for the US were supplemented by captured Japanese stores which enabled them to continue without the supplies taken away by the transports.

The US transports withdrew with "most of the US supplies..."??

I don't think so. Frank in "Guadalcanal" does not elaborate on what supplies went with the transports, but says that it included 1,800 troops and most of the Marine's heavy equipment. But other sources I have read indicates that the Marines had at least 17 days worth of food and four units of fire for all their weapons. And they did have a considerable amount of artillery; two battalions of 75 MM pack howitzers, one of 105 MM howitzers, and a battery (12 guns) of 90 MM AA. It was mostly the food and Japanese construction equipment that was useful, but without spare parts, that usefulness was very limited.

As for captured Japanese materials, it was considerable, and there were also 200-300 head of cattle originally belonging to the nearby Lever Brothers plantation. But all of this was a one-shot deal, the captured food, fuel, and equipment was only a fraction of what was needed to sustain the Marines in fighting trim. In practice the Marines would ultimately have to rely on the US logistical effort, which in practice, required much greater effort than that of the Japanese, if only because the far greater distance (almost twice as far as the Japanese route) between the US West Coast and Guadalcanal


Lucky for the USMC that the Japanese had a shorter supply line to make up the deficiency in US stores coming from much further away.

Not really. The captured items were helpful, but as noted above, were only a temporary boost. Even though the US logistical effort was at great disadvantage on Guadalcanal, it was the fact that US logistics effort succeeded, where the Japanese did not, that allowed teh American forces to prevail.

boyne_water
01-24-2010, 05:12 PM
I have never really had a great intrest in the Pacfic war before now.But thanks to Wizard and Nick{and to Rising Suns objective comments} im going to read up a bit.

Wizard
01-24-2010, 06:03 PM
I never said it was a "Japanese victory," liar. I said it is generally considered mixed as a "strategic American" victory and 'tactically' a Japanese one (which is almost universally accepted)...

Ok, you never said it was a Japanese victory, except you just said it was, 'tactically', a Japanese one [victory].

To me, that is the same thing, whether or not you claim it was only "tactically" a Japanese victory is a minor detail. You can qualify it any way you want but we are going to have to agree to disagree on this issue.

As for for your view being "almost universally" accepted (an oxymoron BTW), no, it is not "almost universally" accepted. I posted two examples of historians (Bergerud and Willmott) who reject that notion.


Rather disingenuously. "Intelligence" can mean many things including superior USN fleet reconnaissance procedures (a factor of course). But the breaking of the code was the fundamental reason for the battle being fought to begin with....

Disingenuously??

Why? Because it shows you were lying when you claimed to have mentioned the intelligence factor first?


It was the key factor and a massive "force-multiplier" in the US victory, not just another subset of "superior" US skills...

I would tend to agree with you, IF superior intelligence was a factor limited to the one battle of Midway, but this was not the case. I would recommend that you acquire John Prados' "Combined Fleet Decoded". Prados demonstrates convincingly that the gathering, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence by the Allies was a consistent, ongoing, and constantly improving skill practiced by the Allies, but neglected by their Japanese opponents. Therefore, it was not just Midway, but Coral Sea, Santa Cruz, Eastern Solomons, and a long string of other battles in which the Allies benefited from superior intelligence. Yes, it was a massive "force multiplier", but was only available to the Allies through the expenditure of great resources, hard work, and development and application of specific skills.

BTW, it was not just an effort put forth by the US, but all of the Allies in the Pacific, including the Dutch.


YOU CAN'T just claim the US was inherently superior in all (or most) facets of skill in that battle without acknowledging they had a massive trump card and the USN was able to accurately predict the basic battle plan of the IJN...

Why not? Intelligence gathering and analysis was something that could have been available to the Japanese if they had practiced the same skills as assiduously as the Allies. It was no God-given "trump card" as you seem to think. The Allies (again, not just the US) were superior to the Japanese in intelligence precisely because their intelligence skills gave them the ability to accurately predict basic battle plans, and orders of battle. It was poor Japanese communications security that allowed the Allies to do this, not something magical that was unfairly denied to the Japanese.


I have no idea what it was but I'll answer it if you re-ask it, I'm honestly tired of pouring over who said what...:)

Never mind, you're so good at confusing issues, you've even managed to confuse yourself. Not an important point.


I've never heard of some of the aircraft you've mentioned being called "flying (or suicide coffin in the case of the TBD) coffins." The Devastator was marked by some its aircrews as being such. ...but according to Barrett Tillman (TBD Devastator units of the US Navy), the TBD Devastators launched 108 sorties, resulting in 95 torpedo drops and four confirmed hits, and two ships destroyed. It was simply past its prime by 1942. The point is that the USN was fielding an obsolete aircraft armed with inferior torpedoes which hardly supports any of your contentions...

Actually, my point was that lots of obsolete planes, then or later, labeled as "Flying Coffins" were being used by lots of air services on both sides in WW II. So what? If you want a good basis in WW II air combat in the Pacific read Bergerud's "Fire In The Sky" but be warned; it's 723 pages long.


But I said 1941, meaning the IJN was ahead...

The IJN began mounting wooden plates in experiment dating back to 1936...

Well, the IJN was ahead by only a few months, it's a moot point since the USN did not plan any peace-time surprise attacks against shallow water harbors.

As far as the IJN is concerned, that isn't what you said, you said they had "developed" shallow running torpedoes in 1936, which most certainly was not the case. Maybe you could post the sources for your assertion of 1936 Japanese shallow running torpedoes. The Navweaps site I referred you to clearly shows that the torpedoes used at Pearl Harbor were a a 1940 design, delivered to the fleet only in April, 1941,

"45 cm (17.7") Type 91 (1931) Mod 2
.
Ship Class Used On Aircraft
Date Of Design 1940
Date In Service 1941
Weight 1,841 lbs. (935 kg)
Overall Length 216 in (5.486 m)
Negative Buoyancy 271 lbs. (123 kg)
Explosive Charge 452 lbs. (205 kg) Type 97
Power / Range / Speed 140 HP / 2,200 yards (2,000 m) / 41-43 knots
Propulsion Kerosene-air wet-heater
Wander Left or Right (max) N/A
Notes: Compared to Mod 1, Mod 2 had a heavier explosive charge, a thinner air vessel and anti-roll stabilizers. It was first delivered in April 1941 and was carried into action by "Betty" (G4M) bombers against the Prince of Wales and Repulse. A version of this torpedo heavily modified for use in shallow waters was carried by "Kate" (B5N) attack planes at Pearl Harbor."


Nice backpedal, apology accepted (who's the "politician" now?)...

Most people would think mistaking a correction of your misrepresentation of my comment, as a "backpedal", would be a sign of a serious personality disorder. But, I would charitably dismiss it as just poor memory. Don't try to put that "apology" in the bank.


It says that they were generally thought of as better conditioned for jungle warfare overall and their infiltration tactics more adaptable. It also basically said the Japanese had perfected and adapted these tactics from their experiences in China...

So what the citation was really saying is that the British thought the Japanese were physically better suited for jungle warfare. I'm assuming the comparison was being made to British, Australian, and Indian troops?

The citation also was saying that infiltration tactics were more adaptable than British tactics in Malaya or Burma; that has no reference to the American tactics used in New Guinea and Guadalcanal. Isn't that correct?


It's a blatant oversimplification and a silly conclusion tantamount to "concluding" that the IJA was better at mobile armored warfare because they defeated a US armored unit in the Philippines in a tank battle...

There is nothing "silly" about it.

The definition of "better" in warfare is the side who wins their objective; of course, if the Japanese won an armored battle in the Philippines against an American tank unit, then by definition, on that day, in that place, under those circumstances, they were "better" at armored warfare. Which BTW, is a pretty succinct summation of my contentions.


In that particular case they did. In others, they enacted skillful tactical movements such was the fallback operation on Okinawa...

But that skillful "fallback" on Okinawa cost them dearly, and in no way improved their overall position. In any case, they lost the battle for the island.


Being "at home in the jungle" is a rather obtuse, relative notion. No one is "home" in the jungle that hadn't much time in one, and I'm sure members of the Chindits, Marine Raiders, Merrill's Marauders were not necessarily "at home" in the jungle, even if they were very skilled at fighting in it. The Japanese were conducting a difficult tactical movement at night, and failed. But they cannot be solely judged on this one instance just as US troops cannot be judged merely on their lacking performance in the Hürtgen Forest...

Call it what you want, the Japanese on Guadalcanal can't be characterized as "expert Jungle fighters", and they weren't very skilled at fighting in the jungle; not once on Guadalcanal were the Japanese able to use the jungle to their advantage. As far as "difficult tactical maneuvers at night", That was one of the "superior skills" the Japanese were supposed to possess, yet they screwed up such maneuvers on more than one occasion, on Guadalcanal.


I'm looking to explain a single operation without stereotyping, blanket generalizations, and selective isolation and cherry-picking of facts, which you are very guilty of. You're using "facts" to engage in a greater lie and the simplistic notion that "we were better" which is hollow and meaningless pronouncement to a degree..

Frankly, that's bovine fecal matter.

If you could find an example of me "cherry-picking facts", you'd have posted it by now, not just flung an unsupported accusation around. The very definition of "better", as I've pointed out, is which side won their objective. So I guess it's your contention that the Allies lost in New Guinea and Guadalcanal? That the inferior side won the war? That kill-ratios, casualty comparisons, loss ratios, and have no validity in deciding relative fighting power? I ask you this; if none of those quantitative measurements have no relevancy, what does?

Rising Sun*
01-24-2010, 07:25 PM
The US transports withdrew with "most of the US supplies..."??

I don't think so. Frank in "Guadalcanal" does not elaborate on what supplies went with the transports, but says that it included 1,800 troops and most of the Marine's heavy equipment.

My recollection was that it was most, being more than half, but on checking my source it appears it wasn't quite. Only half.


On 9 August, the transports withdrew to Noumea. The unloading of supplies ended abruptly, and ships still half-full steamed away. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-C-Guadalcanal.html


... but says that it included 1,800 troops

Including the significant 2nd Marines' HQ element.


... they also took the Marines still on board, including the 2d Marines' headquarters element. Dropped off at the island of Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides, the infantry Marines and their commander, Colonel Arthur, were most unhappy and remained so until they finally reached Guadalcanal on 29 October. ibid.


But other sources I have read indicates that the Marines had at least 17 days worth of food ...

Which included captured Japanese supplies.


The forces ashore had 17 days' rations--after counting captured Japanese food ... ibid.


... and four units of fire for all their weapons.

Not sure what a unit of fire is, but if it's a day then that's what they had. My source refers to it as "only four days' supply" which suggests that it wasn't sufficient for the intended purposes.


... and only four days' supply of ammunition for all weapons. ibid.

Wizard
01-24-2010, 08:58 PM
My recollection was that it was most, being more than half, but on checking my source it appears it wasn't quite. Only half.

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-C-Guadalcanal.html

That sounds about right based on the accounts I have read. But it was not precisely "half" of every item category; some items were laded in their entirety, in other categories little or nothing was landed. For example, only 18 rolls of barbed wire was landed and no land mines, but almost all the artillery ammunition was landed.


Not sure what a unit of fire is, but if it's a day then that's what they had. My source refers to it as "only four days' supply" which suggests that it wasn't sufficient for the intended purposes.

ibid.

I think your source is incorrect to refer to it as "four days supply". A Unit of Fire is currently defined as a "basic load of ammunition". This is an arbitrary amount of ammunition that each unit is authorized to have in it's possession. Basically, it is calculated by figuring out how much ammunition each unit can carry and still reasonably perform it's mission. I remember reading that a Unit of Fire for a division, or the equivalent unit, would be measured in "hundreds of tons." Four units of fire would then be approximately four times what the First Marine Division normally could carry. But remember, for the Guadalcanal operation, most of the First Marine Division's heavy transport vehicles had been left behind because they did not intend to move far, therefore a unit of fire for the First Marine Division would represent perhaps several times the ammunition it could carry.

Frank says, in Guadalcanal that it took four days of "concentrated labor" for the Marines, using captured Japanese Chevrolet trucks, to move their supplies off the beach to dispersal dumps. That suggests to me that they had more than enough ammo for all arms to fend off any possible Japanese counter attacks. I don't recall reading any account where concern for the ammo supply was expressed. On 12 August, the first plane, Admiral McCain's personal PBY amphibian, flew into Henderson Field and evacuated two wounded Marines, so, worst case, additional ammunition could have been flown in by DC-3's.

Deaf Smith
01-24-2010, 10:10 PM
Surely at the 'Canal they would have combat loaded the transports. That is, the most necessary equipment was loaded onboard last so it would be off loaded first.

And thus most of the vital equipment they needed was on the beach in the first days.

Deaf

Wizard
01-24-2010, 11:33 PM
Surely at the 'Canal they would have combat loaded the transports. That is, the most necessary equipment was loaded onboard last so it would be off loaded first.

And thus most of the vital equipment they needed was on the beach in the first days.

Deaf

Well, no, the transports carrying the First Marine Division were not combat loaded on leaving San Francisco; they were commercially loaded. They arrived at Wellington, New Zealand in two echelons, each of which had to be unloaded, and reloaded under the most difficult of circumstances. Wellington's port facilities were severely limited to only five berths. The local longshoremen refused to work extra shifts, insisted on the traditional tea break in the afternoon, and since the shelter from the weather was limited, refused to work at all when a pelting rain storm developed just as the second echelon ships pulled into port. The Wellington police ended up ordering them off the docks, whereupon all dock labor became Marines.

The Marines, 300 per ship, worked around the clock, hampered by the heavy rains which destroyed the flimsy cardboard cartons much of the rations were packed in, dumping the contents into the puddles of rain, and turning the docks into dunes of soggy corn flakes, piles of cans without labels, intermingled with sodden paper pulp, clothing, decomposing candy bars and shredded cigarettes.

The Division supply officers realized that there were not be enough ships to combat load everything which had formerly fit into the same ships when commercially loaded, so much equipment, heavy transport vehicles for example, were left behind due to space restrictions. Also, the time element was lacking, so the landing was rescheduled from 1 August, to 7 August to allow enough time to finish reloading.

When the landings were commenced, much of the materials and equipment could not be unloaded because of the limited amount of labor available at Guadalcanal, and the severe shortage of heavy lighters, and large landing craft with ramps. Some supplies were left on the beach and lost to water damage for the same reason. Finally, unloading was delayed by Japanese air attack. Admiral Turner had estimated that complete unloading of the transports would take five days, but the US carriers under Fletcher, who had promised to stay for three days, withdrew after only 36 hours, and the Japanese thereafter had a free hand over the area of the landing beaches. Turner made a gutsy call after Fletcher had hot footed his carriers out of the combat zone, by continuing to unload without any air support or an adequate surface screen, but even he had to stop unloading when the Japanese bombers attacked and could only resume it after they left.

Richard Frank covers all this, and more, in his book, "Guadalcanal", and explains why the logistical support effort was so difficult. The two big factors that emerge are poor planning by the US planning staff, and the fact that Europe and Operation Torch had priority over the Pacific, and received everything they needed; Operation Watchtower (Unofficially Operation Shoestring) got the leftovers.

Rising Sun*
01-25-2010, 09:43 AM
I think your source is incorrect ...

I thought that Shaw, as an official historian for four decades of the USMC in WWII and later wars, was a fairly reliable source as the author of First Offensive from which I quoted.


FIRST OFFENSIVE: The Marine Campaign for Guadalcanal
by Henry I. Shaw, Jr.

Sources

The basic source work for this booklet is the first volume in the series History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II, Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal, written by LtCol Frank O. Hough, Maj Verle E. Ludwig, and Henry I. Shaw, Jr. (Washington: Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1958). Other books used in writing this narrative were: BGen Samuel B. Griffith II, The Battle for Guadalcanal (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1963); Gen Alexander A. Vandegrift as told to Robert B. Asprey, Once a Marine: The Memoirs of General A. A. Vandegrift, USMC (New York: W.W. Norton, 1964); Col Mitchell Paige, A Marine Named Mitch (New York: Vantage Press, 1975); Burke Davis, Marine: The Life of Chesty Puller (Boston: Little, Brown, 1962); George McMillan, The Old Breed: A History of the 1st Marine Division in World War II (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1949); and Richard W. Johnston, Follow Me! The Story of the Second Marine Division in World War II (New York: Random House, 1948).

The correspondence of General Vandegrift with General Holcomb and other senior Marines, held at the Marine Corps Historical Center, was helpful. Equally of value were conversations that the author had had with General Vandegrift after his retirement. In the course of his career as a Marine historian, the author has talked with other Guadalcanal veterans of all ranks; hopefully, this has resulted in a "feel" for the campaign, essential in writing such an overview.

The literature on the Guadalcanal operation is extensive. In addition to the books cited above, there are several which are personally recommended to the interested reader: Robert Leckie, Helmet for My Pillow (New York: Random House, 1957); Herbert Merillat, Guadalcanal Remembered (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1982); John Miller, Jr., The United States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific; Guadalcanal, The First Offensive (Washington: Historical Division, Department of the Army, 1949); T. Grady Gallant, On Valor's Side (New York: Doubleday, 1963); Robert Sherrod, History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II (Washington: Combat Forces Press, 1952); Maj John L. Zimmerman, The Guadalcanal Campaign (Washington: Historical Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1949); RAdm Samuel E. Morison, The Struggle for Guadalcanal: History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Vol V (Boston: Little, Brown, 1950); and a recent, comprehensive account, Richard B. Frank, Guadalcanal (New York: Random House, 1990).
Henry I. Shaw, Jr.


About the Author

Henry I. Shaw, Jr., former chief historian of the History and Museums Division, was a Marine Corps historian from 1951-1990. He attended The Citadel, 1943-1944, and was graduated with a bachelor of arts cum laude in history from Hope College, Holland, Michigan. He received a master of arts degree from Columbia University. Mr. Shaw served as a Marine in both World War II and the Korean War. He is the co-author of four of the five volumes of the official history of Marine Corps operations in World War II and was the senior editor of most of the official histories of Marines in Vietnam. In addition, he has written a number of brief Marine Corps histories. He has written many articles on military history and has had more than 50 signed book reviews. http://www.nps.gov/archive/wapa/indepth/extContent/usmc/pcn-190-003117-00/sec7.htm



... to refer to it as "four days supply". A Unit of Fire is currently defined as a "basic load of ammunition".

Was that the definition applied to the Marines in 1942 on Guadalcanal?

Nickdfresh
01-25-2010, 10:19 AM
...
So, with some trepidation, because no matter how much I might buttress my arguments with incontrovertible facts, some moron will always charge me with racism, jingoism or "ultra-nationalism", I will state that the Japanese soldier seldom demonstrated the kind of superior one-on-one fighting skill, that would have made the Banzai charges, the bayonet attacks, and the in filtration tactics, ultimately successful. In instances where Japanese troops engaged Allied troops in hand-to-hand fighting, the Japanese usually suffered higher casualties than they inflicted on their opponents.
....

I don't recall anyone referring to you as a "racist" here, and I think we share what I believe are your general attitudes towards the, say, present refusal of the Japanese gov't admit--and indeed--to largely ignore, minimize, or rationalize its WWII war-crimes as a "advances" or "exaggerated instances" in China, against Allied POWs, and just about any place they occupied. I'm no fan of the IJA's wartime conduct and their wanton brutality and the commands hoisting the pseudo-Code of Bushido onto the average (peasant) soldier, to whom such a code was never meant to apply too as codified by its Samurai adherents, many of whom would have found such policies offensive and alien IIRC. I think Bradley covers this pretty well in Flyboys, where he examines the complete shift in Imperial Japanese Army attitudes in the 1920s to the "third force," spirit warrior mentality was fostered after the Russo-Japanese War, a conflict predating such notions and in which surrender was not necessarily considered dishonorable beyond any western exceptions regarding the "means to resist". Furthermore, the Japanese captured thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of Russians servicemen and treated them relatively well along the lines of what would be the Geneva Convention, and accepted the repatriation of their POWs after the war with no stain of dishonor.

I can only guess that you took one of my comments regarding Allied prewar attitudes, specifically those of the British on the Malayan peninsula, regarding the Japanese as racial inferiors who--because of their sloping eyes--couldn't accurately fire rifles, fly aircraft, nor match western tactics. Such notions were falsely comforting for the average Tommie. I believe this was somewhat mirrored in the US commands (sink-us CINCUS :lol: ) and contributed to the shock of the initial Japanese successes. I wasn't attacking you personally, I was merely stating the obvious, that one must "know thy enemy" as Sun Tzu stated, and that hubris (false conceptions) is one of the factors that loses battles. And of course, the Japanese false belief, or hope, that the Allies would never be able to fight it out in brutal infantry engagements, or the spirit warrior could overcome the superiority of enemy organic (weapons carried by infantry) firepower, was a xenophobic farce on the other end of the spectrum--as was their treatment of western POWs as "cowards," Japanese POWs were not regarded at cowards necessarily only a generation earlier as the IJA had originally been organized along the lines western militaries, as had their codes of conduct....

I think my point was also that some in the west began to have a trepidation and a, I false notion that the 'animalistic' Japanese could not be defeated by western troops raised under democracy and enlightened humanism. This notion, and I've never said anything different, was equally false and I believe even in the Malayan campaign, the Australians holding their ground and surprising the Japanese, cycling to victory after victory on their bicycles, and massacred several hundred IJA in a series of tactical engagements and showed the IJA certainly would panic and run when their expectations were confounded, and that they were certainly no 'supermen'...

I agree with pretty much everything else you said, with perhaps one exception. The infiltration tactics that the Japanese favored (when they were fortuitous enough to be on the offensive) were largely adopted by the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army and again used to good effect against US soldiers in Korea. The marines performed much better there, but the US Army apparently forgot how to tie in their flanks, conduct defense in-depth, and organize mutually supporting positions until Gen. Ridgeway virtually retrained, and rewired the brains of the US Army in 1951. But that is a digression to another thread...

Rising Sun*
01-25-2010, 10:59 AM
I think my point was also that some in the west began to have a trepidation and a, I false notion that the 'animalistic' Japanese could not be defeated by western troops raised under democracy and enlightened humanism. This notion, and I've never said anything different, was equally false and I believe even in the Malayan campaign, the Australians holding their ground and surprising the Japanese, cycling to victory after victory on their bicycles, and massacred several hundred IJA in a series of tactical engagements and showed the IJA certainly would panic and run when their expectations were confounded, and that they were certainly no 'supermen'...

You're probably thinking of the large scale Gemas ambush, although the Australians didn't hold their ground after the ambush for reasons largely beyond their control but that was typical of the Malayan disaster where a cascading series of defeats and disasters saw the Commonwealth forces fall back in some disarray towards Singapore:


On the ground, British and Indian troops were also pushed back during December and early January. Some Australian transport and ambulance drivers saw early action alongside Indian troops, but the first major Australian battle was not until 14-15 January 1942. A company of the 2/30th Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick Galleghan, mounted an ambush which cut down hundreds of Japanese soldiers riding bicycles through a cutting and over a bridge on the Sungei Gemencheh river. Their plan was to withdraw and let the main battalion group at Gemas fight the main battle. As the ambush party withdrew, they found themselves encircled by Japanese patrols but most managed to get through. The battle for Gemas raged that night and next day and on the afternoon of 15 January the Japanese called in aircraft and tanks and the Australians withdrew. http://www.ww2australia.gov.au/japadvance/malaya.html

The Japanese didn't panic in these circumstances but rallied and regrouped and pushed on hard against the Commonwealth forces until the Commonwealth forces duly surrendered in Singapore.

Wizard
01-25-2010, 01:58 PM
I thought that Shaw, as an official historian for four decades of the USMC in WWII and later wars, was a fairly reliable source as the author of First Offensive from which I quoted.

http://www.nps.gov/archive/wapa/indepth/extContent/usmc/pcn-190-003117-00/sec7.htm

Well, it appears Shaw should be a reliable source, but based on the various military manuals and articles I have read, I still think he is wrong to equate a "unit of fire" to a "day's worth of ammunition".

First of all, a "day's worth of ammunition", quantitatively, is a very imprecise measure, especially for a large unit like a regiment or a division. The Marines on Guadalcanal were seldom all in action at the same time; a routine day might see minor patrols, and maybe some small firefights to suppress sniper activity on the perimeter. There might be a few artillery fire missions to harass suspected Japanese activities within a few miles of the Marine's positions, but in perspective, these would involve a very small fraction of the entire Marine force. And the ammunition expended certainly wouldn't amount to a "unit of fire", so how would that be a "day's worth of fire"?

On the other hand, there were times when practically every Marine on Guadalcanal was on the highest alert because a major Japanese attack was expected. If it developed, a major proportion, or even all, of the Division's "basic load of ammunition" might might be expended in a few hours, so it seems difficult, and rather pointless, to define a unit of measure of ammunition in terms of a specific time period like a day.

Over a long term, in a similar environment, and against the same enemy using the same tactics, it might be possible to develop average expenditures of ammunition, but early in the war, with no recent experience in large scale combat operations, that seems like a rather dangerous way to approach the issue.

The definition of "unit of fire" in terms of what could be transported by a given unit of troops seems to make much more sense, at least for the purpose of planning operations. Moreover, everything I have read points to the conclusion that a "unit of fire" was meant to represent a logistical concept linked to moving and storing ammunition and ordnance from factory (or depot) to an operational zone, and finally down to the individual Marine or soldier. Since, they were combat troops, support troops, and specialists all mixed into large units like divisions, who would have differing needs, in terms of ammunition supply on a daily basis, defining a unit's, say a platoon's, needs in terms of time doesn't really make much sense.


Was that the definition applied to the Marines in 1942 on Guadalcanal?

I believe it was, but I can't yet confirm that, all the sources I have found, save one, are post war. Obviously, the concept behind the term was in use in 1942. The one source that discusses a "unit of fire" strictly in WW II context is a US Army publication, and the Marines, of course, were US Navy. The term "unit of fire" was a logistical measurement, but I do not know if it was used the same way in Navy logistics jargon, as it was in Army logistics speak.

Deaf Smith
01-25-2010, 11:05 PM
Wizard,

Pity they didn't beach the ships like the Japanese later did and accept the lost of a few ships for the benefit of the supplies on the beach. Those Marines sorely need everything they could get!

As for the longshoremen, I understand even in Germany many of them didn't work extended hours till near the end of the war! Funny how people will declare war and try to kill the other guy but won't be so serious as to generate as much material as they can till they are neck deep in trouble.

Deaf

Wizard
01-26-2010, 12:35 PM
Wizard,

Pity they didn't beach the ships like the Japanese later did and accept the lost of a few ships for the benefit of the supplies on the beach. Those Marines sorely need everything they could get!

Well, I guess Turner wasn't quite that desperate. He needed those ships for continued resupply, and he had Japanese air attacks to worry about. Remember, when the Japanese beached their ships on Guadalcanal to facilitate unloading, they still lost more than 50% of their cargoes to air attack, either on the beach before the material could be dispersed, or on the ships themselves when they were set afire.


As for the longshoremen, I understand even in Germany many of them didn't work extended hours till near the end of the war! Funny how people will declare war and try to kill the other guy but won't be so serious as to generate as much material as they can till they are neck deep in trouble.

Deaf

I didn't know about the German Longshoremen, but it doesn't surprise me. Civilian labor problems were a feature of logistics in the Pacific. I understand there were sometimes similar problems encountered in Australian and other ports. Also American civilian seaman, who were mostly unionized, sometimes refused the orders of military authorities when they did not accord with union work rules.

Deaf Smith
01-26-2010, 10:39 PM
Wizard,

It wasn't just longshoreman in Germany. The German government didn't even push for two and three shifts in the factories till late in the war! And women didn't work in those factories till near the end.

Some of this undoubtedly is because they had slave labor, but still their population didn't get serious about it till it was too late.

I think the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey while indicating the bombing did slow down the manufacture, the Germans still upped the production because they had slack (that is, the factories were idle at night and by making a third shift they increased production to make up the difference.)

But I guess you are right, at Guadalcanal we didn’t have all that many transports. But we sure did need those supplies!

I often wonder how the Marines would have faired if the Army had given them Garands to take to the 'canal. I bet more dead Japanese!


Deaf

Wizard
01-27-2010, 12:16 AM
Wizard,

It wasn't just longshoreman in Germany. The German government didn't even push for two and three shifts in the factories till late in the war! And women didn't work in those factories till near the end.

Some of this undoubtedly is because they had slave labor, but still their population didn't get serious about it till it was too late.

That's interesting. I have heard others on various forums saying the same things. However, since my interests lie mainly in the Pacific war, I haven't studied Germany or Europe all that extensively. I have read Adam Tooze's book, "The Wages of Destruction". Tooze claims that Germany's economy was one of the most highly mobilized of all the belligerents during WW II. If that is the case, I don't know why most factories weren't running at least two shifts, and a third, if possible. Perhaps it was a shortage of manpower?

As for women, Tooze says (pages 513-515), "One obvious solution was a further mobilization of German women. It has become a commonplace to compare the mobilization of Germany's female labor force in World War II unfavorably to that of Britain. This, however, ignores the obvious. As we have seen, German women in 1939 were already more actively engaged in the labor force than Britain's women were to be even at the end of the war. When the chief statistician of the Reich Labor Ministry investigated the issue in the autumn of 1943, using data that were very unfavorable to Germany, he arrived at the conclusion that the share of women in war work was 25.4 per cent in the United States, 33.1 per cent in Britain and 34 per cent in Germany. Another comparative study in the spring of 1944 arrived at the same conclusion."

But Tooze also states, "These are not the kind of figures which could have made much difference. Germany needed not hundreds of thousands but millions of additional workers."



I think the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey while indicating the bombing did slow down the manufacture, the Germans still upped the production because they had slack (that is, the factories were idle at night and by making a third shift they increased production to make up the difference.)

As I speculated, it would seem that Germany's problem wasn't underutilized manufacturing capacity (which did exist), but lack of manpower to utilize it. But I am just guessing.


But I guess you are right, at Guadalcanal we didn’t have all that many transports. But we sure did need those supplies!

Yes, but as it turned out that wasn't the critical issue. What allowed the Marines to hold out, was denying supplies to the Japanese on the island, and that was accomplished by quickly putting Henderson Field into operation, and keeping it operating


I often wonder how the Marines would have faired if the Army had given them Garands to take to the 'canal. I bet more dead Japanese!

Deaf

An interesting question. Having seen practical demonstrations of what a few ex-Marines can do with an '03, I wouldn't give the Japanese good odds in either case.

Rising Sun*
01-27-2010, 05:46 AM
I understand there were sometimes similar problems encountered in Australian ... ports.

Yes, but it wasn't by any means a straightforward issue involving a consistent oppostion to the Allied effort or even just plain bloody-mindedness and selfishness, although there were certainly some deplorable instances of wharfies (stevedores / longshoremen) refusing to work ships when we were in our greatest peril and later when our servicemen were putting their lives on the line overseas as we rolled Japan back.

The wharfies' union had significant communist elements and alignments which resulted in strong opposition to Japan before the war because of its actions in China, partly as opposition to fascism and partly in support for the communists in China. These attitudes were to some extent compounded by White Australia (i.e. exclude Asian migrants) policies and attitudes which were hostile to the perceived 'Yellow Peril' on labour and cheap import grounds of concern to workers.

This resulted in refusals to work some Japanese ships and ships taking war materials to Japan and in a major confrontation between the wharfies and the Federal Government in 1938 over exports of potential war materials to Japan, which the wharfies more or less won.

The Moscow aligned elements in the wharfies' union saw the European war 1939-41 as essentially a conflict between imperialists which they opposed. But when the USSR was attacked they did an about face and generally supported the Allied effort as it represented a defence of the USSR and communism.

The foregoing is a vast oversimplification of complex issues and events, but it'll do to sketch the bare bones of it.

After the war the wharfies were opposed to the Dutch attempts to suppress Indonesian independence and carried this through to bans on working on Dutch ships and on handling arms etc destined for the Dutch in Indonesia.

History has shown that those radical and determined wharfies, although condemned by the establishment and other political (notably the social - or socialist depending upon your point of view -democratic Labor Party which governed Australia for most of the war) and social elements at the time, were generally ahead of their time in their opposition to and support for such things. It's ironic that they did it very much in support of communism as represented by the USSR, where they would not have been allowed the same liberty to protest against government policies and actions, not that that's the only time that particular irony has been played out in a democratic nation.

Nickdfresh
01-27-2010, 08:56 AM
...
I think the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey while indicating the bombing did slow down the manufacture, the Germans still upped the production because they had slack (that is, the factories were idle at night and by making a third shift they increased production to make up the difference.)

The Germans upped production in 1944 despite massive bombing because Albert Speer was a genius (one of the few truly capable 'golden eagles' in the Nazi leadership caste). Part of this is because the Germans only went to a full War economy very late, not until 1942 IIRC. Hitler also had some bizarre fetish for still trying to provide the illusion that he could give the German people both guns AND butter by still manufacturing consumer goods until late. The other reason is that they simply dispersed factories away from urban centers that were so convenient for bombing. We can also argue the overall effectiveness of strategic bombing in terms of cost vs. benefit, and in the humanitarian concerns of incinerating and suffocating civilians whose morale never really broke. Remember too, the Germans had an acute labor manpower shortage that had to be partially rectified by using unreliable slave labor.

As a side note, for instance, I've been told NEVER to fire a Browning High Power 9mm manufactured under the period of German occupation in Belgium --as you might get a meal of steel. :)


...

I often wonder how the Marines would have faired if the Army had given them Garands to take to the 'canal. I bet more dead Japanese!

Deaf

Well, they always could have clubbed an Army National Guardsman over the head and taken his. :) I imagine a few were able pick up weapons and exchange their Springfields for M-1s from casualties...

Nickdfresh
01-27-2010, 09:10 AM
Yes, but it wasn't by any means a straightforward issue involving a consistent oppostion to the Allied effort or even just plain bloody-mindedness and selfishness, although there were certainly some deplorable instances of wharfies (stevedores / longshoremen) refusing to work ships when we were in our greatest peril and later when our servicemen were putting their lives on the line overseas as we rolled Japan back.
....

Interesting. I don't know much about it, but there are strong rumors that the US Naval Intelligence were sort of forced to bed the devil and make deals with La Cosa Nostra in order to fully secure the Port of New York and to prevent 'accidents' from happening...


I imagine it went something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXJk72St01Q

:)

Deaf Smith
01-27-2010, 11:00 PM
Well, they always could have clubbed an Army National Guardsman over the head and taken his. :) I imagine a few were able pick up weapons and exchange their Springfields for M-1s from casualties...

I wouldn't have been shocked if they did now and then....

John George, in his book, "Shots Fired in Anger", spoke of how an American rifle squad with Garands could and did take on a whole platoon of Japanese, and win.

He was on the 'Canal near the end after the Army took over alot of the responsiblities. He was very impressed when a large number of Japanese did a banzai charge and three GIs in a fox hole in front of him chopped them to bits (with his help as he had a '03 with scope, but he had only 3 rounds in the gun.)

I feel at Edson's ridge they would have stopped them much quicker with less casualties. Same goes for at Alligator Creek (Battle of the Tenaru.)

Nothing back then would beat 30 or 40 GIs firing aimed rapid fire with Garands.

Deaf

royal744
06-29-2010, 10:43 AM
We can argue all day and all night about the quality of the Japanese troops and their equipment, but the more interesting argument, it seems to me, is about the the people who directed their forces and determined their strategy. I think the attack Pearl Harbor was a death wish on the part of the Japanese, a kamikaze operation guaranteed to result in their defeat. The Japanese tactics in this attack were pretty brilliant, but they had no follow through worthy of the name, and "brilliance" has to be taken with a grain of salt too because the failure to either 1) occupy Hawaii or 2) destroy its vast oil storage facilities didn't help the Japanese either.
The worst mistake of all was the most basic - they didn't need to attack to US at all because of the neutrality act the US would not have been able to declare war on Japan, period. This fact is poorly understood in this forum, it seems, and it shows just how incredibly stupid the Japanese really were.

As for equipment. the Japanese aircraft were well up to the task and their torpedoes were second to none; the latter were never surpassed by anyone during the war, but the former were quickly surpassed and had some pretty bad Achilles' heels. The use of aircraft carriers showed that, tactically, the Japanese for the most part, were well ahead of the US and Great Britain in naval doctrine, but that superiority didn't last very long - Coral Sea and Midway settled that issue.
Most of the world's navies and armies didn't get along all that well, but the Japanese made a virtue out of interservice hatred that set a whole new standard for no one to emulate.

Wizard
06-29-2010, 01:52 PM
We can argue all day and all night about the quality of the Japanese troops and their equipment, but the more interesting argument, it seems to me, is about the the people who directed their forces and determined their strategy. I think the attack Pearl Harbor was a death wish on the part of the Japanese, a kamikaze operation guaranteed to result in their defeat. The Japanese tactics in this attack were pretty brilliant, but they had no follow through worthy of the name, and "brilliance" has to be taken with a grain of salt too because the failure to either 1) occupy Hawaii or 2) destroy its vast oil storage facilities didn't help the Japanese either.
The worst mistake of all was the most basic - they didn't need to attack to US at all because of the neutrality act the US would not have been able to declare war on Japan, period. This fact is poorly understood in this forum, it seems, and it shows just how incredibly stupid the Japanese really were.

As for equipment. the Japanese aircraft were well up to the task and their torpedoes were second to none; the latter were never surpassed by anyone during the war, but the former were quickly surpassed and had some pretty bad Achilles' heels. The use of aircraft carriers showed that, tactically, the Japanese for the most part, were well ahead of the US and Great Britain in naval doctrine, but that superiority didn't last very long - Coral Sea and Midway settled that issue.
Most of the world's navies and armies didn't get along all that well, but the Japanese made a virtue out of interservice hatred that set a whole new standard for no one to emulate.

I agree with just about everything you write except for your reading of the US Neutrality Act of 1939. The Japanese did not need to attack Pearl Harbor, but certainly not because of the Neutrality Act. The reasoning Admiral Yamamoto advanced for the very risky air attack on PH was that the IJN needed to be able to operate in the western Pacific free of any interference from the US Pacific Fleet stationed at PH. Neither he, nor the Japanese High Command, realized that the US war plan for the Pacific was to stand on the defensive in the Pacific, until the defeat of Nazi Germany had been assured. The US plan was to initially defend only a strategic line from Alaska to Hawaii to the Panama Canal, and the sea lanes of communication to Australia. Admiral Kimmel, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, apparently had some plan for an early war excursion to the Marshall islands, part of the Japanese Mandate, with hopes that the Japanese fleet would respond and open itself to an ambush. But with the reality of a 2 to 1 Japanese superiority in carriers, such a plan probably would have resulted in a US defeat had it been implemented. Admiral Kimmel, absent the attack on PH, almost certainly would have found that the Pacific Fleet, already short of the required supporting ships that any sortie into the western Pacific would have necessitated, would have found his forces further eroded by transfers to the Atlantic theater. The response that Admiral Yamamoto imagined the US Pacific Fleet would automatically launch against Japan just wasn't in the cards, thus the Japanese attack on PH was absolutely unnecessary.

The Neutrality Act of 1939 would not have prevented a declaration of war against Japan had that country attacked only British and Dutch possessions in the western Pacific. It certainly had not prevented an undeclared war at sea against Germany in the Atlantic in the Fall of 1941. The Neutrality Act provisionsw dealt primarily with trading arms and war materials to belligerent nations by US citizens, with US merchant ships being armed and carrying war materials to belligerents, and with US citizens taking passage on the ships of belligerent nations. (see http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/WorldWar2/neutrality.htm)

The question that does arise, is would Roosevelt have been able to command enough votes in Congress had Japan not attacked PH, or any other US possessions? In my opinion, it would have been almost certain that the US Congress would have eventually declared war against Japan if they had attack only Malaya, Borneo and the NEI, although probably not immediately. Attacks on these possessions would have been tantamount to Japan joining the European war on Germany's side, and the US was already fully committed to ensuring that Britain was not defeated in that war. As it was, Japan originally planned on attacking the Philippines concurrent with the attacks on the British and Dutch, without an attack on PH. The plan to attack PH was only added, at Yamamoto's insistence, to the Japanese strategic plan after much opposition and debate within Japanese military circles.

royal744
06-29-2010, 04:22 PM
I agree with just about everything you write except for your reading of the US Neutrality Act of 1939.

Thanks, Wizard. I do respectfully disagree. I do not believe that Roosevelt could have gotten the votes in Congress to declare war on a country that had not attacked us - witness the struggles he had in dealing with the Germans. There was a very significant isolationist movement in the country that vexed Roosevelt incessantly. You say that Malaysia, Indonesia and other locations would have been sufficient cause for a declaration of war, then what about England, Poland, Norway, Denmark, France, Belgium and Holland? Were those not important enough? Your point about the Neutrality Act may be right, but I think it's debatable. The Japanese, in my opinion, completely misread the US from the get-go. Maybe we didn't understand the oriental mind - whatever that is - but they surely didn't have the slightest understanding of our mindset. The surest way to ensure their defeat was to attack us. The surest way to ensure their victory - albeit temporarily - was NOT to attack us.

Wizard
06-29-2010, 05:45 PM
Thanks, Wizard. I do respectfully disagree. I do not believe that Roosevelt could have gotten the votes in Congress to declare war on a country that had not attacked us - witness the struggles he had in dealing with the Germans. There was a very significant isolationist movement in the country that vexed Roosevelt incessantly. You say that Malaysia, Indonesia and other locations would have been sufficient cause for a declaration of war, then what about England, Poland, Norway, Denmark, France, Belgium and Holland? Were those not important enough? Your point about the Neutrality Act may be right, but I think it's debatable. The Japanese, in my opinion, completely misread the US from the get-go. Maybe we didn't understand the oriental mind - whatever that is - but they surely didn't have the slightest understanding of our mindset. The surest way to ensure their defeat was to attack us. The surest way to ensure their victory - albeit temporarily - was NOT to attack us.

Well, that is what forums are for; reasoned disagreement.

I believe that the influence of the isolationist and pacifists movements in the US have been overly exaggerated, especially in the period of 1941. The American public was concerned about being dragged into the European war as it had been in WW I. and that is what the Neutrality Acts between 1935 and 1939 were all about. This is obvious when one reads the provisions about arming US merchant ships and US citizens taking passage in belligerent ships. Public opinion polls taken in 1940 and 1941 clearly show that Americans felt differently about fighting in the European war and fighting the Japanese. By mid-1941, these polls demonstrate that a slight majority of Americans were resigned to having eventually to fight the Japanese.

Furthermore, the Roosevelt administration was committed to preventing the defeat of Britain by the Axis, by any means possible; an attack by Japan on British and Dutch possessions in the western Pacific made such an event far more likely, and would almost certainly have resulted in military action by the US. In fact, the Roosevelt administration warned Japan of exactly that possibility in the autumn of 1941. Upon the fall of France in 1940, Congress had easily passed the "Two Ocean Navy Act" specifically designed to create a Navy capable of simultaneously fighting both the Japanese in the Pacific and the Germans in the Atlantic. I think it's significant that on December 5th. 1941, Admiral Philips, the British commander in the western Pacific, was in Manila meeting with Admiral Hart, his American counterpart. The British had been offered the use of American base facilities in the Philippines in case Japan attacked Malaya. This alone would would have been sufficient reason for the Japanese to declare war on the US. In that case, Roosevelt would have had no trouble getting enough Congressional votes for a declaration of war against Japan.

The Japanese, in any case, planned on attacking the Philippines even if the Pearl Harbor attack had not been approved; this would have automatically resulted in a war with the US. The Japanese had actually sealed their fate when they seized airfields in southern Indochina in July, 1941. The US and Britain realized that the only possible reason for such a seizure was to prepare for an attack on Malaya, Borneo and the NEI. Even the isolationists could not ignore this threat because such an attack would make Britain's defeat in Europe much more likely, which, in turn, would render the US vulnerable to Axis attach in the Atlantic. In my opinion, the US could not stay out of a Pacific war without seriously jeopardizing it's own security and both the American public and Congress realized this.

I agree that the Japanese, besides ignoring economic and industrial realities, completely misread American determination and will. The Japanese also misread the international situation especially as to the American perception of the threat that the Axis posed to the western democracies. They simply did not realize that by aligning themselves with the Axis, they became part of that perception of threat. By attacking in the Pacific, even without a direct attack on US territory, they would have forced the US to use military force to counter them.

Nickdfresh
06-29-2010, 11:31 PM
We can argue all day and all night about the quality of the Japanese troops and their equipment, but the more interesting argument, it seems to me, is about the the people who directed their forces and determined their strategy. I think the attack Pearl Harbor was a death wish on the part of the Japanese, a kamikaze operation guaranteed to result in their defeat. The Japanese tactics in this attack were pretty brilliant, but they had no follow through worthy of the name, and "brilliance" has to be taken with a grain of salt too because the failure to either 1) occupy Hawaii or 2) destroy its vast oil storage facilities didn't help the Japanese either....

I don't disagree with everything stated here. But the Pearl Harbor strike was anything but a simple suicide mission and death wish. On the contrary, the Japanese interpreted the American blockade of hydrocarbons as their downfall. The attack on Pearl Harbor was simply viewed as an extension of the IJN's premise of "decisive battle," in which a coup de main strike could cripple a power with far greater resources--as they had done to the Russians at Port Arthur, and force a separate peace. We can also argue all day as to the shortcomings of the IJA air-strike at Pearl, but if the carriers had been at port, it would have been a much greater setback for the Americans--though certainly not necessarily the end of things....

Uyraell
06-30-2010, 02:04 AM
I don't disagree with everything stated here. But the Pearl Harbor strike was anything but a simple suicide mission and death wish. On the contrary, the Japanese interpreted the American blockade of hydrocarbons as their downfall. The attack on Pearl Harbor was simply viewed as an extension of the IJN's premise of "decisive battle," in which a coup de main strike could cripple a power with far greater resources--as they had done to the Russians at Port Arthur, and force a separate peace. We can also argue all day as to the shortcomings of the IJA air-strike at Pearl, but if the carriers had been at port, it would have been a much greater setback for the Americans--though certainly not necessarily the end of things....
Had the carriers been in port, the USA would have been at minimum, a year before being able to retaliate with any hope of success. This, is not from any lack of skill or will on the part of either the US or the US Navy, but rather, from the sheer necessity of raising the sunken vessels, rebuilding and refitting them, all the while attempting to defend, with next to no resources in place, a large area at sea and ashore.
Accepting the above as logical, we then have a situation where the war may well have gone on into 1950 and beyond.
While I've no wish to turn this thread into a "what if", the above seems, imho, to be a reasonable, and logical conclusion.

I cannot see the IJN strike against Pearl Harbour as a "suicide mission" of any kind.
However, though it was indeed exceedingly well executed, it was flawed, in as much as the vital carriers were simply not in port.
That fact alone doomed Japan: the USA was not going to be waiting long to retaliate with every resource it had available.
Once that happened, the result, was inevitable, as the Japanese themselves knew: witness Isoroku Yamamoto: "I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant." , and "I can give you a year, perhaps 18 months at most, BUT: if we have not by that time gained decisive victory, we will have earned a result that shall prove disastrous."

Like you, Nick, I take the view that Japan felt it had its' back against the wall, in terms of access to hydrocarbon, and various other resources. That alone foretold some form of attack from Japan as equally inevitable.

Kind and Respectful Regards, Uyraell.

Rising Sun*
07-01-2010, 09:32 AM
The worst mistake of all was the most basic - they didn't need to attack to US at all because of the neutrality act the US would not have been able to declare war on Japan, period. This fact is poorly understood in this forum, it seems, and it shows just how incredibly stupid the Japanese really were.

I've never considered the Neutrality Act before your post in this context, but in light of Wizard's link http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/WorldWar2/neutrality.htm and applying my Australian lawyer's mind to American legislation I agree with Wizard's interpretation that it merely limits American citizens rather than the United States in actions involving belligerents. This is sufficiently clear from the second paragraph of the preamble which outlines the purpose of the detailed leglislative provisions:


Whereas the United States, desiring to preserve its neutrality in wars between foreign states and desiring also to avoid involvement therein, voluntarily imposes upon its nationals by domestic legislation the restrictions set out in this joint resolution; and Whereas by so doing the United States waives none of its own rights or privileges, or those of any of its nationals, under international law, and expressly reserves all the rights and privileges to which it and its nationals are entitled under the law of nations

Perhaps there are constitutional issues under American law which are not apparent to me from a jurisdiction where we don't have anything remotely comparable to the American constitution, but in the absence of such issues Wizard's interpretation seems to me to be correct that the Neutrality Act limited only American citizens and not America in belligerent actions.

From a more basic perspective on domestic and international law, it is impossible in international law for a nation to bind itself by domestic legislation not to exercise its rights against another nation as other nations are not subject to and have no rights under the first nation's domestic law.

Nickdfresh
07-01-2010, 09:39 AM
I don't know if the Japanese were "incredibly stupid," but the Germans sure were. They certainly made it easier for FDR and the Congress as there was no compulsion in their pact with Japan, legal or moral, to declare war on a power in which Japan attacked first...

Rising Sun*
07-01-2010, 09:45 AM
I think the attack Pearl Harbor was a death wish on the part of the Japanese, a kamikaze operation guaranteed to result in their defeat.

With hindsight it may seem that way, but at the time it was a necessary, well considered, and reasonably well executed (but wold have been much better executed with the final wave which was not launched), and modestly successful for a time, attempt to neutralise the response which would come from Hawaii to Japan's southern thrust.

It was also a very effective, if unintended, psychological blow in creating at least apprehension and at worst panic on America's west coast about a Japanese invasion which in turn infected wider America, albeit apprehension and panic balanced by anger and resolve to avenge Pearl Harbor which in time was vastly more damaging to Japan than anything Japan managed to damage at Pearl Harbor.

Rising Sun*
07-01-2010, 09:58 AM
The use of aircraft carriers showed that, tactically, the Japanese for the most part, were well ahead of the US and Great Britain in naval doctrine, but that superiority didn't last very long - Coral Sea and Midway settled that issue.

With huge amounts of luck, or lack of it, on both sides.

For example, Pearl Harbor would have been worse for the US if all the US carriers were in the harbour and Midway would have been better for Japan but for a lucky find and some lucky strikes by the American planes.

Coral Sea didn't settle much at the time on the water so far as ships and tonnage sunk, but strategically it was critical as it prevented the invasion of Port Moresby which would have been devastating, but not necessarily fatal to the Allies, at that point in the war.

Midway settled much on the water, luck or not, which forced Japan to pull its horns in and to a fair extent go on the defensive for the rest of the war after its brief early but impressive victories. But on that aspect the stunning psychological impact of the earlier Doolittle Raid should not be ignored as it made Japan realise that it was vulnerable in its home waters and islands early in the war and caused it to pay more attention to home defence and to rein in its territorial ambitons in the Pacific.

Rising Sun*
07-01-2010, 10:20 AM
Most of the world's navies and armies didn't get along all that well, but the Japanese made a virtue out of interservice hatred that set a whole new standard for no one to emulate.

Mate, I'm sorry if my dissection of your post makes it look like I'm targeting you. It's just that responding to your post occurs because you touch upon so many important points and open a range of discussions about the Pacific war, and Japan in other respects. This might well result in others dissecting my posts and more useful discussion. Anyway, mate, it ain't personal.

Back to the quote: America and Japan both had air forces attached to their armies and navies at the time, and their armies and navies undoubtedly had a degree of inter-service rivalry which threatened to impede the common cause, but the Japanese managed to elevate it to a science or art which undermined their war effort.

With vast oversimplification, the problem for the IJN was that the IJA was dominant and, worse, had garnered for itself the riches and benefits of land operations and looting etc in China. The remaining opportunity for the IJN was to advance across the water, which meant southwards and eastwards.

Japan lacked a government which, like America and its fighting Allies (France is excluded due to the Vichy Government), imposed democratically elected political will and objectives on military leaders. Indeed, in Japan it was largely the reverse. So there was no overriding power in Japan which, unlike Roosevelt and Churchill's, dictated national strategic objectives to the defence force leaders who in turn converted them into what the army and navy and their respective air forces would do.

Japan's problem was in part that the Emperor, despite being an enthusiastic little militarist when things were going Japan's way, was in many ways a captive of his military leaders where the military leaders among the Allies were ultimately subject to the control of their democratically elected governments.

In short, in Japan the tail wagged the dog, and in due course the dog suffered for want of controlling its tail.

Rising Sun*
07-01-2010, 10:31 AM
Had the carriers been in port, the USA would have been at minimum, a year before being able to retaliate with any hope of success. This, is not from any lack of skill or will on the part of either the US or the US Navy, but rather, from the sheer necessity of raising the sunken vessels, rebuilding and refitting them, all the while attempting to defend, with next to no resources in place, a large area at sea and ashore.
Accepting the above as logical, we then have a situation where the war may well have gone on into 1950 and beyond.


Or maybe a willingness by America to come to terms with Japan, which by the end of 1942 had (a) won the Battle of the Coral Sea which enabled the invasion of Port Moresby and victory on Guadalcanal and imminent threat to American lines of communication to Australia and (b) then won the Battle of Midway and reinforced all the foregoing reasons for America to cut its losses in the Pacific.

Which was pretty much the Japanese strategy, to the extent that Japan had one, of grab it and hold it and they'll accept it after a while.

Rising Sun*
07-01-2010, 11:04 AM
royal 744
Wizard
Uyraell

It's good to see you all back here on a serious debate, and I hope you'll stay.

We've missed such informed debates on the Pacific War.

Uyraell
07-03-2010, 01:43 AM
Or maybe a willingness by America to come to terms with Japan, which by the end of 1942 had (a) won the Battle of the Coral Sea which enabled the invasion of Port Moresby and victory on Guadalcanal and imminent threat to American lines of communication to Australia and (b) then won the Battle of Midway and reinforced all the foregoing reasons for America to cut its losses in the Pacific.

Which was pretty much the Japanese strategy, to the extent that Japan had one, of grab it and hold it and they'll accept it after a while.

While I don't disagree that Japan's basic strategy -- to the extent it can be said to have had one -- was as you say, my friend, I have severe doubts about the USA being willing to come to terms with Japan, albeit the USA would have had its' back against the wall.
In Europe, US commercial interests would have (and largely did) survived intact, and though in some cases with reduced profitability, the money was still coming through often enough to make the till ring.
The same cannot be applied to the CBI/Pacific theaters, where US commercial interests where not only under continuous ongoing threat, but were in fact (on the accountants' Profit/Loss sheets) already a loss, in as much as either the relevant respective resource (Oil, cotton, grains, ores, manufacturing plants: all "offshore") was in Japanese hands or close enough to being so.
Simply put; the money was not coming in (in some cases, at all) and was, in P/L terms, a Loss, that could nonetheless NOT be written-off qv & cf Commercial Law, which consequently meant the relevant Commercial Insurance could not be Claimed either, and thus was (cf) Total Loss.
This meant , in turn, That the US would have had no choice but to continue the fight, from no-matter how disadvantageous a position, which is where and why I suggest the war itself may well have gone on into 1950 and beyond.
In other words, America, it's commitment to UK, Australia, and the southern Pacific nations notwithstanding, would have had to struggle on somehow, regardless, much as the USSR did when having to transfer much of it's internal industry deep inland while still defending against the German invasion of '41/'42. This would take vast money and time, hence My referring 1950.
Commercial pressures would have been the cause, regardless public will or sentiment, perceived or actual.

Kind and Respectful Regards RS*, Uyraell.

{P.S: My Thanks, my Aussie mate, for your kind words about the other gentlemen and myself, and reasoned debate.
Your kind compliment is well appreciated, Sir. --- Kind and Warm Regards RS*, Uyraell.}

Rising Sun*
07-03-2010, 08:31 AM
While I don't disagree that Japan's basic strategy -- to the extent it can be said to have had one -- was as you say, my friend, I have severe doubts about the USA being willing to come to terms with Japan, albeit the USA would have had its' back against the wall.

I think you're probably correct, but given the 'Germany first' policy I'm not sure that a series of convincing defeats in the Pacific mightn't have made coming to terms with Japan a political consideration to free America to focus on Germany.

Against that was the popular outrage, shared by national politicians, which required vengeance upon Japan.

But politicians usually end up being pragmatists.


In Europe, US commercial interests would have (and largely did) survived intact, and though in some cases with reduced profitability, the money was still coming through often enough to make the till ring.
The same cannot be applied to the CBI/Pacific theaters, where US commercial interests where not only under continuous ongoing threat, but were in fact (on the accountants' Profit/Loss sheets) already a loss, in as much as either the relevant respective resource (Oil, cotton, grains, ores, manufacturing plants: all "offshore") was in Japanese hands or close enough to being so.
Simply put; the money was not coming in (in some cases, at all) and was, in P/L terms, a Loss, that could nonetheless NOT be written-off qv & cf Commercial Law, which consequently meant the relevant Commercial Insurance could not be Claimed either, and thus was (cf) Total Loss.
This meant , in turn, That the US would have had no choice but to continue the fight, from no-matter how disadvantageous a position, which is where and why I suggest the war itself may well have gone on into 1950 and beyond.
In other words, America, it's commitment to UK, Australia, and the southern Pacific nations notwithstanding, would have had to struggle on somehow, regardless, much as the USSR did when having to transfer much of it's internal industry deep inland while still defending against the German invasion of '41/'42. This would take vast money and time, hence My referring 1950.
Commercial pressures would have been the cause, regardless public will or sentiment, perceived or actual.

Something I have yet to understand in detail is the riches China offered the West, but that was much of what the war was about with competition between Japan and the West for those riches, which stretches back to the West's rampant exploitation of China beginning in the previous century.

It all turned out to be rather futile from the West's viewpoint as the Nationalists were defeated by the Communists who excluded the West. Which goes some way to explaining subsequent Western policies towards China.


{P.S: My Thanks, my Aussie mate, for your kind words about the other gentlemen and myself, and reasoned debate.

I never said any of you were gentlemen. ;) :D

Still, I'd like to see more serious discussion on the Pacific war as it's a welcome relief from idiotic polls on which rifle was the best etc.

Wizard
07-23-2010, 04:04 PM
I think you're probably correct, but given the 'Germany first' policy I'm not sure that a series of convincing defeats in the Pacific mightn't have made coming to terms with Japan a political consideration to free America to focus on Germany.

Against that was the popular outrage, shared by national politicians, which required vengeance upon Japan.

But politicians usually end up being pragmatists..

Yes, and as pragmatists American politicians in the 1940's realized that they wouldn't have a political career for long if they even hinted at an accommodation with the Japanese. After Pearl Harbor, there wasn't a snowball's chance in Hell of anything but the complete destruction of the Japanese Empire. The Germany First policy was a pragmatic strategy that had to literally be forced down the American electorates throats; it was Japan which carried the overwhelming burden of American animus.


Something I have yet to understand in detail is the riches China offered the West, but that was much of what the war was about with competition between Japan and the West for those riches, which stretches back to the West's rampant exploitation of China beginning in the previous century.

It all turned out to be rather futile from the West's viewpoint as the Nationalists were defeated by the Communists who excluded the West. Which goes some way to explaining subsequent Western policies towards China.....

While it is true that the US had an irrational love affair with the potentiality of Chinese trade, the reality is that China was only part of the reason for the war with Japan. US investment in China and trade with China, was far below US investment in, and trade with Japan in the 1930's. We had far more to lose by going to war with Japan than we did by letting Japan dominate China's commercial possibilities.

The other causes of war were national interests which today we would characterize as "vital". Probably of the most immediate concern was preventing Britain, already under attack by Germany, from losing important possessions in Asia, thereby making more probable Britain's defeat in the European war. Allied with this factor was keeping Dutch possessions out of the clutches of Germany's Axis ally. The US was thoroughly committed to preventing Germany from completely dominating Europe and that meant Britain had to be kept in the war.

Another factor, not usually cited by historians, was that the European possessions in Asia accounted for some very critical US imports. Three colonies alone, Malaya, the Philippines, and the NEI, accounted for one fifth of all American foreign purchases. The United States, with the largest rubber-goods industry in the world, bought 98 % of it's rubber and 90 % of it's tin from Southeast Asia. Overall, the Southeast Asian area provided over half of America's needs for at least 15 vital commodities, including chromium and manganese, metals essential in the steel making process.

Frank Knox, in his 1940 Congressional confirmation hearings for the post of Secretary of the Navy, testified that, "We should not allow the Japanese to take the Dutch East Indies, a vital source of oil and rubber and tin.....we must face frankly the fact that to deny the Dutch East Indies to Japan may mean war."

Finally, when the Japanese signed the Tri-Partite pact in 1940 they placed themselves squarely in Roosevelt's sights as an ally of Nazi Germany, a regime neither he nor the country was willing or able to tolerate for any length of time. Thus, restricting the causes of the war with Japan to trade with China, misses some other very important reasons the US was willing to go to war. I think trade (or the potential of trade) with China has been way too much overemphasized and others ignored.

Tenshinai
10-30-2010, 02:25 PM
Yes, and as pragmatists American politicians in the 1940's realized that they wouldn't have a political career for long if they even hinted at an accommodation with the Japanese. After Pearl Harbor, there wasn't a snowball's chance in Hell of anything but the complete destruction of the Japanese Empire. The Germany First policy was a pragmatic strategy that had to literally be forced down the American electorates throats; it was Japan which carried the overwhelming burden of American animus.
While mostly i dont disagree, reality could very well have forced USA into a settled "peace".

When the war started, Japan had planning done and finished for the attack on Pearl, East Indies, Philippines etc etc... Planning that had been made slowly and painstakingly by IJN together with IJA, with compromises and agreements planned out almost to perfection. Once they reached the end of that preplanning however, the cooperation was but a memory most of the time.
This was one big part of why Japan had such stunning early victories, followed by far less impressive actions once the cooperation between IJN and IJA vanished and went back to the earlier cutthroat animosity.

However, as Rising Sun postulated above, lets say the strike on Pearl not just sinks, but utterly destroys at least 2 USA carriers, and that the Solomons and New Guinea campaigns are the stunningly rapid victories they were dangerously close to becoming, followed by another decisive naval defeat that puts 2 or more of USAs remaining carriers on the bottom of the sea, because the need for a fast reaction/revenge pushed a damaged USN to go into battle despite the Pearl losses, and then followed by another success where Japan takes posession of New Caledonia, Santa Cruz and the Vanuatu islands...

Such a string of events, which is totally realistic as long as it doesnt take too long to happen(and if some undesirable ideas, like the Aleutian strike which also gave USA access to a Zero, bringing its huge flaws into common knowledge, but above all else diverted time and assets to unimportant tasks), USA could very well find itself looking at a minimum of 2-3 years before it could respond effectively, during which time continuing the war would cause huge problems for Australia among many others, not to forget risking yet another severe strike at something important...
USA might simply find itself unable to respond to Japan for the foreseeable future and in a very unhappy situation in the Pacific. Some sort of peace in such a situation is far from impossible, even if it would be extremely disgusting to USA and i doubt they would stick to such a peace "agreement" any longer than they had to.

However, an alternate version that might really knock USA into a peacedeal, is if Japan had successfully invaded Hawaii instead of the historical attack on Pearl.
This is an option that has been gamed out in simulations many times, and overall, its completely doable although rather tricky.
The big caveat that most consider as the "dealbreaker" is the problem that it would delay the Japanes attacks southwards by at least 2-3 months more likely a bit more(transports and the troops needed as well as the shipping needed for supplying Hawaii).
Taking Hawaii however is such a huge advantage that it makes up for it more than enough in at least my view(not that im nearly alone in that!). Also, one of the most important parts of going south was the NEI oil, and if Hawaii can be captured quick enough, the oil stores there alone would be enough to keep Japan fighting at "full speed" for at least 1-2 years. And even if the oil on Hawaii is completely destroyed (unlikely really, as USA was surprisingly coy about both protecting them as well as preparing to sabotage them in case of invasion, there was very little thought about either), Japan still had enough to still take NEI, repair the fields if they are sabotaged as historically and resume production before running out.

And with Hawaii gone as a base for USA, it would mean no forward base of significance, and make connections with Australia very chancy, making resistance against their delayed southern offensive less effective.


Oh, and the OP:

The Japanese probaly had the strongest military during WWII.Their navy was also incredibly powerful.It was by far the largest during the whole war.The Japanese also had considerible air power.
:mrgreen:
That is just such a JOKE!

Wizard
10-30-2010, 04:00 PM
While mostly i dont disagree, reality could very well have forced USA into a settled "peace".

When the war started, Japan had planning done and finished for the attack on Pearl, East Indies, Philippines etc etc... Planning that had been made slowly and painstakingly by IJN together with IJA, with compromises and agreements planned out almost to perfection. Once they reached the end of that preplanning however, the cooperation was but a memory most of the time.
This was one big part of why Japan had such stunning early victories, followed by far less impressive actions once the cooperation between IJN and IJA vanished and went back to the earlier cutthroat animosity.

The "cooperation" between the IJA and IJN to which you credit much of Japan's early success was largely illusory. In fact, most of the planning which went into the initial Japanese offensives in the western Pacific and southeast Asia carefully separated the operational roles of the IJA and IJN, and sought to minimize the reliance of each service on the other. The only real area where cooperation between the Japanese Army and the Japanese Navy was anything more than minimal was in the convoying of Japanese Army transports by Japanese naval warships. In the face of the meager Allied air attacks and occasional pin-pric-k naval raids or attacks by submersibles, this convoying proved just adequate to avoid major losses en route to the invasion points.

The early Japanese successes had more to do with the fact that the Japanese enjoyed having the initiative and the ability to pick when and where to attack, coupled with comparatively extremely weak and/or incompetently led defense forces.


However, as Rising Sun postulated above, lets say the strike on Pearl not just sinks, but utterly destroys at least 2 USA carriers, and that the Solomons and New Guinea campaigns are the stunningly rapid victories they were dangerously close to becoming, followed by another decisive naval defeat that puts 2 or more of USAs remaining carriers on the bottom of the sea, because the need for a fast reaction/revenge pushed a damaged USN to go into battle despite the Pearl losses, and then followed by another success where Japan takes posession of New Caledonia, Santa Cruz and the Vanuatu islands...

Such a string of events, which is totally realistic as long as it doesnt take too long to happen(and if some undesirable ideas, like the Aleutian strike which also gave USA access to a Zero, bringing its huge flaws into common knowledge, but above all else diverted time and assets to unimportant tasks), USA could very well find itself looking at a minimum of 2-3 years before it could respond effectively, during which time continuing the war would cause huge problems for Australia among many others, not to forget risking yet another severe strike at something important...
USA might simply find itself unable to respond to Japan for the foreseeable future and in a very unhappy situation in the Pacific. Some sort of peace in such a situation is far from impossible, even if it would be extremely disgusting to USA and i doubt they would stick to such a peace "agreement" any longer than they had to.

I will not dispute that such an alternative is possible, but I will assert that it is highly unlikely, especially in combination.

Your first flawed assumption is that the US Navy would rashly attack the Japanese main fleet with inferior and/or poorly prepared forces due to a "need for fast reaction/revenge". The pre-war plan for the US Navy was to stand on the defensive and hold the "Strategic Triangle" of Alaska-Hawaii-Panama Canal. The defense of this Strategic Triangle was considered, for military planning purposes, to be part of the defense of the North American continent, and as such, had absolute first priority over all other war time considerations, including the "Europe First" policy. Thus, the destruction of any carriers at Pearl Harbor would have resulted in their replacement by transferring carriers from the Atlantic to the Pacific Fleet.

BTW, the capture of an intact Zero in the Aleutians, while useful, did not provide much information which was not already known to Allied pilots. General Claire Chennault, serving in China since 1937, had written a report detailing the Zero's weaknesses which circulated among American military pilots in February, 1941. My father, who was at that time a carrier pilot in the USN, read it and had numerous discussion with his colleagues about tactics to take advantage of those weaknesses. Moreover, the prototype F6F, which was far superior to the Zero, first flew in October, 1942, just two weeks after the captured Zero was first flown by an American pilot, so, contrary to several accounts, the F6F did not incorporate specific design features to exploit the Zero's flaws.

Finally, rather than the "2-3 years" required for a response to Japanese aggression, the US Navy could have gone on the offensive within twelve months of the scenario you describe. The fruits of the "Two-Ocean Navy" act were already coming off the ways and by mid-1943, US carriers and carrier planes would have outnumbered IJN carriers and carrier planes. There is no way any US politicians would have suggested negotiations with Japan, even if the situation had forced a postponement of a US counter-offensive in the Pacific. It would be much more probable that the European war would have been put on the back burner until teh Japanese had been contained in the Pacific.

See;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akutan_Zero

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


However, an alternate version that might really knock USA into a peacedeal, is if Japan had successfully invaded Hawaii instead of the historical attack on Pearl.
This is an option that has been gamed out in simulations many times, and overall, its completely doable although rather tricky.
The big caveat that most consider as the "dealbreaker" is the problem that it would delay the Japanes attacks southwards by at least 2-3 months more likely a bit more(transports and the troops needed as well as the shipping needed for supplying Hawaii).
Taking Hawaii however is such a huge advantage that it makes up for it more than enough in at least my view(not that im nearly alone in that!). Also, one of the most important parts of going south was the NEI oil, and if Hawaii can be captured quick enough, the oil stores there alone would be enough to keep Japan fighting at "full speed" for at least 1-2 years. And even if the oil on Hawaii is completely destroyed (unlikely really, as USA was surprisingly coy about both protecting them as well as preparing to sabotage them in case of invasion, there was very little thought about either), Japan still had enough to still take NEI, repair the fields if they are sabotaged as historically and resume production before running out.

And with Hawaii gone as a base for USA, it would mean no forward base of significance, and make connections with Australia very chancy, making resistance against their delayed southern offensive less effective.

Far from being "doable", a successful Japanese invasion of Hawaii at any point during the war is simply far-fetched fantasy.

The Japanese simply did not have the ability to assault a heavily defended island such as Oahu, and maintain the requisite naval forces offshore for the period of time it would take to subdue the defenders. Furthermore the logistics of defending Hawaii against an American counter-attack would put the Japanese at a severe disadvantage.

And even should the miraculous occur, the US would view the loss of Hawaii in the same light as an invasion of the West Coast. The response would be an all out attack to recover the islands regardless of the cost. The Japanese would be forced into a battle of attrition that would make the Guadalcanal campaign look like a day at the beach, and under circumstances that would be far less advantageous to the Japanese. Such a battle would so cripple Japanese forces that the Pacific war would probably end earlier than historically.

See;

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



Oh, and the OP:

:mrgreen:
That is just such a JOKE!

I heartily concur.

Tenshinai
10-30-2010, 11:10 PM
The "cooperation" between the IJA and IJN to which you credit much of Japan's early success was largely illusory.
I didnt say they were happily playing along nicely with each other. I referred to how all that preparatory planning meant that they cooperated because everyone knew what their mission was and BOTH IJA and IJN HQs had agreed on the plans so there was no room for pissing contests "out in the field".


The early Japanese successes had more to do with the fact that the Japanese enjoyed having the initiative and the ability to pick when and where to attack, coupled with comparatively extremely weak and/or incompetently led defense forces.
Except where they wiped the floor with stronger and sometimes even decently led forces...
Having a well done plan to follow can be a BIG bonus. That they had also spent a few months flying around G3Ms with national markings removed to recon as many areas as possible helped make that planning very good indeed.


I will not dispute that such an alternative is possible, but I will assert that it is highly unlikely, especially in combination.
Not as unlikely as you might think. While the hard numbers favours an outcome closer to the historical, Japan did have some very unlucky occasions whose absence could have made a big difference, or a similar occurence for USA and so on... No, early on, before USA could make use of its advantages, the odds were really quite fair.


Your first flawed assumption is that the US Navy would rashly attack the Japanese main fleet with inferior and/or poorly prepared forces due to a "need for fast reaction/revenge".
You mean like what actually happened historically? Where USA sent off its carriers to go be a pain in the butt for Japan in a very risky fashion. This happened for real, and it could VERY easily have resulted in more USN carriers lost even than what did happen. Lexington and Yorktown at Coral Sea, those were not "safe" deployments. Wasp was certainly taking quite some chances when struck. Likewise Hornet.

And up until USA started getting newbuilt units, and had improved air defenses on their existing big ships, they certainly were taking a lot of risks.
As it happened, they didnt get a visit from Murphy(of the -anything that can go wrong will- type of visit...) but even then, they lost quite a lot of man and equipment. So i can certainly not see that they would pull back unless utterly and soundly defeated. But then it becomes mostly a moot case anyway.


The pre-war plan for the US Navy was to stand on the defensive and hold the "Strategic Triangle" of Alaska-Hawaii-Panama Canal.
But thats not what happened. USA considered it an absolute necessity to be aggressive and take action, and they did, and with a bit of luck it worked out very well.


Thus, the destruction of any carriers at Pearl Harbor would have resulted in their replacement by transferring carriers from the Atlantic to the Pacific Fleet.
You mean Ranger, Wasp, Yorktown and Hornet.
You realise that the latter three of those WERE transferred to the Pacific, seeing as they were all sunk there in 1942. Although the Yorktown sinking wasnt really because of risktaking.

Meanwhile, Ranger was slow, small, poorly armored and had much more limited supplies than all other USN fleet carriers. Guess why she mostly stayed in the Atlantic?
So if Lexington, Saratoga or Enterprise, or 2 or all of them gets sunk or damaged, exactly HOW do you propose to reinforce any more than was done historically. Sure you can send the Ranger as well, but she was rather busy as it was and would probably have been a very easy "kill" if any Japanese forces had gotten a chance to strike at it. Ranger was really a light carrier in the disguise of a fleet carrier.


BTW, the capture of an intact Zero in the Aleutians, while useful, did not provide much information which was not already known to Allied pilots. General Claire Chennault, serving in China since 1937, had written a report detailing the Zero's weaknesses which circulated among American military pilots in February, 1941. My father, who was at that time a carrier pilot in the USN, read it and had numerous discussion with his colleagues about tactics to take advantage of those weaknesses. Moreover, the prototype F6F, which was far superior to the Zero, first flew in October, 1942, just two weeks after the captured Zero was first flown by an American pilot, so, contrary to several accounts, the F6F did not incorporate specific design features to exploit the Zero's flaws.
I most certainly would never claim something as silly as the F6 having any design features based on countering the Zero as thats rubbish, and something i must say that i have never before heard even a peep about.

If that report was so good, then please explain why the tactics that later became very successful against the Zero, didnt appear until after the Zero got captured and tested?
Sorry but your claim goes utterly in contradiction with history and i cant put any trust in it unless you provide one heck of a lot more to support it.
For the simple reason that as i said above, the tactics that worked, was created based on the tests of the captured Zero, this is known, and if that report was circulated, then why ever did the Zero create havoc far beyond its abilities and outright panic in some cases during much of 1942?
The claim simply does not agree with any known facts.


Finally, rather than the "2-3 years" required for a response to Japanese aggression, the US Navy could have gone on the offensive within twelve months of the scenario you describe. The fruits of the "Two-Ocean Navy" act were already coming off the ways and by mid-1943, US carriers and carrier planes would have outnumbered IJN carriers and carrier planes.
:mrgreen:
Oh now you ARE dreaming seriously!

Apart from the Indepence class lights, USN comissions 7 CV from late 1942 to end of 1943. The lights were desperately needed in the Atlantic at the time and would be a bad idea to bring in as the centerpieces of carrier groups.
Meanwhile, including historical losses at Midway, which i very much doubt would have happened with even just a slightly "luckier" IJN, there´s 11 Japanese carriers floating at the end of 1943. Although that includes their lights, but most of those were more suited for independent action than the USN Indepence ships, which OTOH were very good at what they were built for.

So, up until USN starts comissioning its new carriers from december 1942 with Essex and then the others in the same class, up until then you have at minimum Shokaku, Zuikaku, Ryuho, Hosho, Junyo and Hiyo able to operate offensively, and the only thing USN can do that it didnt do historically is to send off Ranger to get sunk, because thats the most likely outcome if its sent into battle alone. Also, my alternate string of happenings makes the big loss at Midway extremely unlikely, which means any of Soryu, Hiryu, Kaga and Akagi might still be around as well.

At the END of 1943, USN will have somewhere from rough parity to half the carrier aircrafts and be outnumbered in number of carriers by at least 50% up to more than 100%.

And of course, my Alternate History variant would of course include completely reducing the naval facilities of Hawaii to as finegrained rubble as is possible, unless Hawaii is invaded.
USA had near zero fuel west of mainland California if the stores on Hawaii are trashed. its going to take your 12 months just to get the infrastructure back up and running and have it starting to refill.
And if Japan captures the depots, then Japan will have interesting advantage of having plenty of regional fuel supplies while USA has a severe fuel shortage, and will be forced to ship any fuel needed in the Western and South Pacific, widely around Hawaii, which will take a lot of time.

And if USA gets to keep Hawaii, its also going to take at least 6 months to get a welltrashed harbour back in business enough to even consider contemplating having it support largescale action.

I´m sorry but in this case you´re daydreaming.

Lol, managed to write a post twice as long as the forum allows... :mrgreen:

Tenshinai
10-30-2010, 11:11 PM
There is no way any US politicians would have suggested negotiations with Japan, even if the situation had forced a postponement of a US counter-offensive in the Pacific. It would be much more probable that the European war would have been put on the back burner until teh Japanese had been contained in the Pacific.
I rather doubt that. While the Japanese attack was very convenient for those in USA that wanted to enter the war on UK/USSRs side, USA didnt consider Japan to be a serious enemy. While that changed somewhat during 1942, along with mounting losses and experience of the Japanese skill at jungle warfare especially but also in general, something that prewar was unthinkable.
Which was also why the reports of encounters with modern Japanese fighters in China was dismissed as unreal and filed away into oblivion.

So, what do you do? Pull Ranger to the Pacific, and get her sunk as well, while taking away the advantage of her in the Atlantic?
Send out Essex alone the instant it comissions?
THAT i doubt extremely!
Also, any real additional movement of forces from Atlantic to Pacific means the German submarine warfare will be even more successful. Do you really want the "happy days" to be extended by another half year or perhaps even more before enough replacement light units are built?

German submarines operating within visual range of USAs coast, sinking ships in sight of ports, Japan running wild and having a blast halfway across the Pacific(IF they took Hawaii) or on the OTHER side of the Pacifc, 1/4 around the earth...
Let me guess which threat USA will give preference... I can pretty much guarantee that it WONT be "those primitives halfway on the other side of earth" as a congressman at the time so neatly put it.



Far from being "doable", a successful Japanese invasion of Hawaii at any point during the war is simply far-fetched fantasy.
Go find a realistic simulation of it. I think there´s a few around you can get for free even. Even if you use the most optimistic variants favouring USA heavily, Japan can still achieve it. Although the cost against such is severe.
Give the most realistic conditions and an invasion WILL succeed, its just a question of how fast and how much a reaction force from California can hurt it.
Put a couple of USAs carriers in port when the attack starts and there´s just about zero chance of failing.


The Japanese simply did not have the ability to assault a heavily defended island such as Oahu, and maintain the requisite naval forces offshore for the period of time it would take to subdue the defenders. Furthermore the logistics of defending Hawaii against an American counter-attack would put the Japanese at a severe disadvantage.
The first claim is only correct if Japan tries to conduct the southern attacks historically as well, which would be very stupid as Hawaii is a far more important target. Without trying to do both at the same time, they have plenty enough ability even if the distance will strain logistics.
The key here is that at the time the invasion comes, Hawaii ISNT heavily defended, because Japan has strategic surprise. If that is lost, unless it happens within no more than a few hours ahead of the invasion, odds goes down alot for Japanese success, but unless USA gets at least half a day to prepare, they´re pretty much screwed.

Where do you presume to stage USAs counterattack from? Doing it from the West coast will make it hell for the troops. USA at this time doesnt have any real ability to conduct such a mission at all against even an unprepared opponent. Japan at the time had practised enough to be able to do it, even if they weren´t exactly good at it anyway.
But USA simply wouldnt be able to do it at such a distance at the time.
It would probably be mid-1942 at minimum before it could even be considered as wishful thinking. Even more so without the experience gained from Guadalcanal, which probably wouldnt happen in this scenario.
Instead their main experience source would be Africa, and to turn that around and over to the Pacific forces isnt going to be quick.

Its a BIG difference to perform a seaborne invasion over a short distance of water, and doing it over a distance that takes weeks to get across.
My guess is that USA could retake Hawaii starting sometime in 1943, but they would risk severely heavy losses in trying. Japan would likely post a bunch of its Emily and Mavis fliers on Hawaii as the basic part of keeping it, and probably leave 1 probably 2 light carriers as mobile support there, if the losses at Midway doesnt happen, maybe 2 fleet carriers instead.
USA OTOH, would have zero landbased airsupport.
They would be in strike range for the heavy flying boats for a couple of days before even getting into striking range of Hawaii, and in this situation the otherwise quite poor Japanese submarine doctrine would probably be a big advantage.

In short, even if USA takes all of its newbuilt Essex carriers and puts together a massive force overall, there is a serious risk that they wont even get into striking range of Hawaii before suffering big enough losses to be forced to turn back.
The distance simply favours the holder of the islands too much as long as the holder isnt on peacetime duties. And while USA was moving towards wartime readiness in late 1941, they were not AT such readiness when the historical attack came.

Oh and of course, you have considered the little fact that if Japan takes Pearl, it will also capture any ships it sunk in the harbour... If that included one of the USN carriers, and its easy to patch up, that could be a nasty additional surprise for any counter attack attempt by USA.


And even should the miraculous occur, the US would view the loss of Hawaii in the same light as an invasion of the West Coast.
No the most certainly would not.
If it happened today, yes they would. But not in 1941.


The response would be an all out attack to recover the islands regardless of the cost.
You mean the attack that you above said couldnt ever happen?
The attack that the Japanese would be absolutely delighted to see coming you mean?


The Japanese would be forced into a battle of attrition that would make the Guadalcanal campaign look like a day at the beach, and under circumstances that would be far less advantageous to the Japanese. Such a battle would so cripple Japanese forces that the Pacific war would probably end earlier than historically.
:shock:
:lol:
Do you have ANY idea what you´re talking about here? Im sorry but no you appear not to. Guadalcanal happened because conditions there were rather special, among other things including a lot of islands that allowed the Japanese to send in additional troops the sneaky way during nighttime runs with destroyers patched up to carry troops. And they could do so because they had large bases not far away. USA also had the same. But neither had enough airpower close enough to shut the other side down completely.
If Hawaii is taken, Japan would have a whole bunch of airfields to use, and would almost be guaranteed to also position a pair of carriers nearby in mobile support similar to how USN did at Guadalcanal...

HOWEVER, unlike the Japanese attempts at retaking Guadalcanal and Tulagi, USAs nearest large base is a WEEK away even at high speed. At Guadalcanal, Japan sent lots of air raids against Henderson field from Rabaul, and while ineffective, they were still troublesome and forced USA to stay far more cautious and keep its carrier support "in the rear" most of the time.
No such support for USA when trying to retake Hawaii. The best they can hope for is that the civillian population rebels and causes enough problems for Japan that it allows USA the time it needs to establish a bridgehead.
All that happening perfectly together as needed is in the vicinity of pipedreams however.

Oh yes, USA can take Hawaii back, no doubt there. But its going to be very costly, and it wont be able to start doing it until very late 1943 or sometime 1944 when it has enough newbuilt carriers and has gained enough experience in invasions to be able to plan for such an extreme distance opposed landing.

Because thats the only real reason why a Japanese invasion can and most likely will work, because their initial landing will be made against an undefended beach. Or if they have good intel and feel really daring, against an undefended port. Thats why it wont work if USA has a few days of warning, because then they will be able to react within hours or even minutes anywhere on the main islands, and will have troops on all the likely landing sites, and that will kill the operation. Given several hours warning, a Japanese invasion will take a lot of casualties, but will still probably succeed.

Tenshinai
10-30-2010, 11:12 PM
Its quite possible also that a USA attempt to take back Hawaii leads to a bunch of ships sunk or damaged and a force limping back to USAs west coast.
Oh and cutting off USAs internal lines by taking Hawaii also means that it is very likely that combat experience will not be transferred nearly as much as historically, because the Solomon campaign is unlikely to happen, and when Japan attacks south, USA troops will have to go to Australia or westwards, and the easy route from Australia to USA is cut off, so any combat experience propagation will have to go westwards around the globe.
So when a USA counterattack comes, IF it does, they will probably still not have good intel on Japanese aircraft especially.
And although USA by this time will have clearly superior equipment at least in aircraft, if they dont know how to use it, its very likely that a lot of pilots will still be lured into turning fights, and that will make the initial large scale fights over Hawaii VERY messy. And probably not messy in USAs advantage (although quite possibly not in EITHERs advantage, as the other flaws in Japanese planes and antiaircraft guns will still be there).



See;

http://www.combinedfleet.com/pearlops.htm
And exactly what has that got to do with anything?
If you consider an attack against Hawaii in mid 1942 to be in any way or shape similar to an invasion done during the first hours of the war starting you must be delusional. An attack in 1942, or even just several weeks after the war starts is totally doomed.

That article is based on going with the historical strike at Pearl AND the southern campaign. Let me repeat again shall i? The invasion of Hawaii will force a few to several months of delay to the southern campaign.
BUT, even though that sucks for Japan in the short term, taking Hawaii means essentially taking control over the Pacific west of Hawaii... The advantage is immense.

Nickdfresh
10-30-2010, 11:28 PM
....

Except where they wiped the floor with stronger and sometimes even decently led forces...
....:

When and where? Please be specific...

Tenshinai
10-31-2010, 12:09 AM
When and where? Please be specific...

Oh the most obvious one is probably Singapore, should i really need to tell you that?
NEI and Philippines both had numerical superiority.

Highly simplified...

Nickdfresh
10-31-2010, 12:20 AM
Oh the most obvious one is probably Singapore, should i really need to tell you that?

Are you asking or answering?


NEI and Philippines both had numerical superiority.

Highly simplified...

Meaning what?

Wizard
10-31-2010, 01:37 AM
I didnt say they were happily playing along nicely with each other. I referred to how all that preparatory planning meant that they cooperated because everyone knew what their mission was and BOTH IJA and IJN HQs had agreed on the plans so there was no room for pissing contests "out in the field".

Your contention though, was that the succ es of the early Japanese operations could be attributed to "cooperation" between the IJA and IJN. This cooperation was, in fact, minimal, and the careful planning did not feature much in the way of real "cooperation". There was plenty of pissing contests between the IJA and IJN from Day One of the war and even before; the apparent smoothness of the Japanese operations early in the war had more to do with the fact that contact between the two services was minimized by all that planning.


Except where they wiped the floor with stronger and sometimes even decently led forces...

Which was where, exactly?

The Japanese never encountered "decently led" forces in the early months of the war except at Wake (and they only won there through an American command failure). The "stronger" forces they defeated were the Brits in Malaya/Singapore and the Americans on Bataan, and they were "stronger" in numerical terms only; the Allied leadership in both cases was pathetic. Having uncontested air supremacy and complete control of the sea certainly helped the Japanese, as did being able to pick the timing and locations of their battles. Inter-service cooperation was not a significant factor in early Japanese victories.


Not as unlikely as you might think. While the hard numbers favours an outcome closer to the historical, Japan did have some very unlucky occasions whose absence could have made a big difference, or a similar occurence for USA and so on... No, early on, before USA could make use of its advantages, the odds were really quite fair.

Such as?

The odds early in the war completely favored the Japanese because they were attacking into what amounted to a military vacuum. It wasn't until they attempted to extend themselves beyond the NEI in the south, the mandates in the west, and Bismarck archipelago in the southwest, that they started to suffer real defeats. Luck might have played a part in some individual battles, but over entire campaigns luck evens itself out for both sides. That is why I say that the combination of events that you string together to allow the Japanese to advance further than they did historically is highly unlikely to have occurred.


You mean like what actually happened historically? Where USA sent off its carriers to go be a pain in the butt for Japan in a very risky fashion. This happened for real, and it could VERY easily have resulted in more USN carriers lost even than what did happen. Lexington and Yorktown at Coral Sea, those were not "safe" deployments. Wasp was certainly taking quite some chances when struck. Likewise Hornet.

What actually happened historically is that the USN launched a series of hit and run raids that were actually not risky at all, given Japanese naval dispositions and American intelligence of those dispositions. The USN lost not a single ship on these raids and very few planes and pilots. The riskiest was probably the Doolittle raid which resulted in no unanticipated losses for the US (it was accepted that most, if not all, of the B-25 bombers would be lost) and some tremendous strategic gains.

The Lexington and Yorktown deployment to stop the Japanese Port Moresby operation was taken as a calculated risk to achieve a strategic objective of great value. In fact the loss of the Lexington and the damage to the Yorktown paid dividends of removing one light carrier from the Japanese fleet, and two very effective fleet carriers from the next battle (Midway), not to mention mauling two Japanese carrier airgroups. The results of risking these two carriers was that the odds at Midway were evened up and a crushing defeat inflicted on the IJN.

The Hornet and Wasp were both lost after the US launched it's counter-offensive against the Japanese in the Pacific, and both were lost in furthering that counter-offensive. The Wasp was sunk by submarine torpedo on 15 September 1942 while covering a convoy of transports conveying the 7th. Marine Regiment as reinforcements to Guadalcanal. These reinforcements were landed and made a crucial difference in that campaign.

The Hornet was lost on 27 October 1942 in the battle of Santa Cruz Islands which had been prompted by an IJN attempt to fight reinforcements and re-supply through to Guadalcanal. The IJN lost the CVL Zuiho and had the Shokaku badly damaged and put out of action for several months. The Japanese were not successful in delivering significant supplies or reinforcements to Guadalcanal, thus Hornet was lost but the success of the first US counter-offensive in the Pacific was materially advanced.

Naval wars cannot be successfully fought by refusing to risk one's naval assets; the Japanese found that out in preserving their super battleships, Yamato and Musashi. The sacrifice of the US carriers in the southwest Pacific was certainly worth the results and not at all due to excessively risky deployment. In actual fact, the IJN carrier force was so badly mauled between April and October, 1942, that it attempted no further interference with US offensives until June, 1944.


And up until USA started getting newbuilt units, and had improved air defenses on their existing big ships, they certainly were taking a lot of risks.
As it happened, they didnt get a visit from Murphy(of the -anything that can go wrong will- type of visit...) but even then, they lost quite a lot of man and equipment. So i can certainly not see that they would pull back unless utterly and soundly defeated. But then it becomes mostly a moot case anyway.

Certainly no more risks than the Japanese carriers were taking in attacking the US forces. And they were successful in rendering the IJN incapable of offensive action until June, 1944. That was not a matter of luck, for as I pointed out, luck tends to evenly distribute itself to both sides over time. Nor did the USN lose more men and equipment than was commensurate with the severe damage inflicted on the IJN, that, after all, is what war is about.


You mean Ranger, Wasp, Yorktown and Hornet.
You realise that the latter three of those WERE transferred to the Pacific, seeing as they were all sunk there in 1942. Although the Yorktown sinking wasnt really because of risktaking.

Yes, but none of them were transferred to the Pacific immediately after Pearl Harbor. Had two US carriers been destroyed in the Japanese attack, they would have been. And yes, they were sunk in the Pacific, but not before inflicting more than commensurate damage on the Japanese Fleet.


Meanwhile, Ranger was slow, small, poorly armored and had much more limited supplies than all other USN fleet carriers. Guess why she mostly stayed in the Atlantic?
So if Lexington, Saratoga or Enterprise, or 2 or all of them gets sunk or damaged, exactly HOW do you propose to reinforce any more than was done historically. Sure you can send the Ranger as well, but she was rather busy as it was and would probably have been a very easy "kill" if any Japanese forces had gotten a chance to strike at it. Ranger was really a light carrier in the disguise of a fleet carrier.

As I indicated above, by transferring at least two carriers immediately to the Pacific.

As for Ranger, she was definitely NOT a light carrier. My father served on her before the war and claimed she could put as many fighters and strike aircraft in the air, and just as fast, as Enterprise (which he also served on). She was smaller and somewhat cramped, but she was just as big as Wasp and could operate more planes than either Wasp or Hornet. Her hangar was actually larger than either Lexington or Saratoga. There is no doubt whatsoever that Ranger would have gone to the Pacific had the USN lost two carriers at Pearl Harbor.

CONTINUED......

Wizard
10-31-2010, 01:38 AM
CONTINUED FROM ABOVE……….



If that report was so good, then please explain why the tactics that later became very successful against the Zero, didnt appear until after the Zero got captured and tested?

They did appear long before the Zero was captured and flown by US pilots. Coral Sea, and Midway both featured air battles between US planes and Zeros and the kill ratios were quite good for the US. The Zero in question was not flown until September, 1942, yet over Guadalcanal American naval pilots were more than holding their own by September.



Sorry but your claim goes utterly in contradiction with history and i cant put any trust in it unless you provide one heck of a lot more to support it.
For the simple reason that as i said above, the tactics that worked, was created based on the tests of the captured Zero, this is known, and if that report was circulated, then why ever did the Zero create havoc far beyond its abilities and outright panic in some cases during much of 1942?
The claim simply does not agree with any known facts.

Sorry, but in this case you are just ignorant of the facts.

From "Fire In The Sky" by Eric M. Bergerud, page 451;

"After the war [John] Thach gave credit to Chennault's warning for prodding him and his comrades to come up with superior formations to even the playing field against the formidable Zero;"

Bergerud quotes Thach thusly;

"It was in the spring of 1941 that we received an intelligence report of great significance. The report described a new Japanese aircraft, a fighter, that performed far better than anything we had. Some of our pilots just didn't believe it and said, 'This can't be. It is a gross exaggeration.'.....I felt we should give it some credence because it sounded like a fighter pilot who knew what he was talking about. As it turned out, this Japanese plane did have a rate of climb of about three thousand feet per minute. It could turn inside of anything and it did have a lot more speed than we did, even carrying more gasoline. This was the Zero. I decided we had better do something about this airplane.....But without that intelligence report that was said to have come out of China, I think we would have gone right along fat, dumb, and happy, and eventually run into the Zero and not had nearly the success we did have...in fact we would have been in far worse shape in the early battles of the war."

Notice Thach says the report was issued in "the spring of 1941". In fact, my father recalled reading it in February, 1941, and discussing it with his fellow pilots throughout the spring and summer of 1941. The Zero might have surprised some Allied pilots, but the US Navy carrier pilots were well aware of the Zeros characteristics, including it's strengths and weaknesses.


Oh now you ARE dreaming seriously!

Apart from the Indepence class lights, USN comissions 7 CV from late 1942 to end of 1943. The lights were desperately needed in the Atlantic at the time and would be a bad idea to bring in as the centerpieces of carrier groups.
Meanwhile, including historical losses at Midway, which i very much doubt would have happened with even just a slightly "luckier" IJN, there´s 11 Japanese carriers floating at the end of 1943. Although that includes their lights, but most of those were more suited for independent action than the USN Indepence ships, which OTOH were very good at what they were built for.

Better recheck your facts.

None of the Independence class light carriers served in the Atlantic except for very brief shakedown cruises. All were sent to the Pacific where they were partnered with Essex class CV's in two- or three-carrier task forces. Had the US lost everything at Midway, and not sunk the four Japanese carriers, a very unlikely scenario, by July 1943, the USN would have 7 CV's and 7CVL's with 850 planes in the Pacific to the Japanese 6 CV's and 2 CVL's with 561 planes. Moreover, the Japanese were still training their new carrier pilots in 1943 after their tremendous losses in 1942.

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



So, up until USN starts comissioning its new carriers from december 1942 with Essex and then the others in the same class, up until then you have at minimum Shokaku, Zuikaku, Ryuho, Hosho, Junyo and Hiyo able to operate offensively, and the only thing USN can do that it didnt do historically is to send off Ranger to get sunk, because thats the most likely outcome if its sent into battle alone. Also, my alternate string of happenings makes the big loss at Midway extremely unlikely, which means any of Soryu, Hiryu, Kaga and Akagi might still be around as well.

The only really effective true fleet carrier in that list is Zuikaku, the rest are either very unsatisfactory light carriers not even able to stand up to Ranger, or a training carrier like Hosho. And you are, of course, assuming that the Japanese carrier forces suffer NO losses whatsoever, something that historically is laughable.


At the END of 1943, USN will have somewhere from rough parity to half the carrier aircrafts and be outnumbered in number of carriers by at least 50% up to more than 100%.

This is simply wrong. The USN will outnumber the IJN in both flight decks and planes by the end of 1943, even if Midway turns out to be a defeat.


And of course, my Alternate History variant would of course include completely reducing the naval facilities of Hawaii to as finegrained rubble as is possible, unless Hawaii is invaded.

Just how will the Japanese accomplish that fantasy?


USA had near zero fuel west of mainland California if the stores on Hawaii are trashed. its going to take your 12 months just to get the infrastructure back up and running and have it starting to refill.

More very wishful thinking. There was plenty of fuel in California and plenty of tankers could have been diverted from the East Coast to carry it to Oahu. Two months and Pearl harbor is back up and operating.


And if Japan captures the depots, then Japan will have interesting advantage of having plenty of regional fuel supplies while USA has a severe fuel shortage, and will be forced to ship any fuel needed in the Western and South Pacific, widely around Hawaii, which will take a lot of time.

I think you have it backwards.

Even if Japan captures the fuel storage tanks on Oahu intact, and that's a very big IF, they still have to get the tankers out there to move it. Either that or they have to base their fleet there. And that makes it vulnerable to attack by the US fleet that would be transferred from the Atlantic. The US won't operate in the South Pacific until Hawaii is recaptured and by that time the IJN has exhausted itself trying to hold a base that is logistically a "bridge too far" for them.


And if USA gets to keep Hawaii, its also going to take at least 6 months to get a welltrashed harbour back in business enough to even consider contemplating having it support largescale action.

Probably not. The USN performed near miracles in getting temporary forward bases operating in weeks not months; the same could be done in Hawaii

Wizard
10-31-2010, 04:15 AM
I rather doubt that. While the Japanese attack was very convenient for those in USA that wanted to enter the war on UK/USSRs side, USA didnt consider Japan to be a serious enemy. While that changed somewhat during 1942, along with mounting losses and experience of the Japanese skill at jungle warfare especially but also in general, something that prewar was unthinkable.
Which was also why the reports of encounters with modern Japanese fighters in China was dismissed as unreal and filed away into oblivion.

You simply have no idea of the conditions in the US in early 1942.

The American public was outraged at Japan and viewed the European war as something that the Europeans should handle. They were willing to help out with war supplies and equipment, but the Germans were Europe's problem, not America's. Roosevelt did not feel that way and knew Japan was a loser no matter what they did, but he still had to accommodate the public's feelings and opinions.

Moreover, the US military had already determined, and Roosevelt had agreed, that if Hawaii fell it would be the same as an invasion of the west coast of the US and preventing that was the absolute top priority which came before defeating Germany or even participating in the European war. So it was guaranteed that the full force of the US naval and military might would fall on the Japanese if they tried to invade Hawaii


So, what do you do? Pull Ranger to the Pacific, and get her sunk as well, while taking away the advantage of her in the Atlantic?
Send out Essex alone the instant it comissions?
THAT i doubt extremely!
Also, any real additional movement of forces from Atlantic to Pacific means the German submarine warfare will be even more successful. Do you really want the "happy days" to be extended by another half year or perhaps even more before enough replacement light units are built?

German sub warfare was never that successful and certainly not enough of a threat to prevent the US from going all out to defend Hawaii. Furthermore, the US could easily have pulled every major Fleet unit out of the Atlantic without affecting the ASW war in that area. Planes were much more effective than surface units; the US could simply have told Britain that the next 500 B-24's will be used in ASW patrols rather than bombing Germany. It might set the air war back a few months, but it absolutely ends the threat iof the U-boat in the Atlantic.


German submarines operating within visual range of USAs coast, sinking ships in sight of ports, Japan running wild and having a blast halfway across the Pacific(IF they took Hawaii) or on the OTHER side of the Pacifc, 1/4 around the earth...
Let me guess which threat USA will give preference... I can pretty much guarantee that it WONT be "those primitives halfway on the other side of earth" as a congressman at the time so neatly put it.

And you'd be wrong.

If Japan even looked like they were thinking about invading Hawaii, Roosevelt has to transfer every possible plane and ship to the Pacific to defend Hawaii. I don't think you really understand that was the plan all along anyway. The absolute number one priority of the US was to defend the North American continent, and Hawaii was considered part of that continent. Nothing else had as much importance in the US defense plan.


Go find a realistic simulation of it. I think there´s a few around you can get for free even. Even if you use the most optimistic variants favouring USA heavily, Japan can still achieve it. Although the cost against such is severe.
Give the most realistic conditions and an invasion WILL succeed, its just a question of how fast and how much a reaction force from California can hurt it.
Put a couple of USAs carriers in port when the attack starts and there´s just about zero chance of failing.

Are you seriously suggesting that computer games are authentic enough to determine something like that? That pretty much scotches your credibility as far as I'm concerned.


The first claim is only correct if Japan tries to conduct the southern attacks historically as well, which would be very stupid as Hawaii is a far more important target. Without trying to do both at the same time, they have plenty enough ability even if the distance will strain logistics.
The key here is that at the time the invasion comes, Hawaii ISNT heavily defended, because Japan has strategic surprise. If that is lost, unless it happens within no more than a few hours ahead of the invasion, odds goes down alot for Japanese success, but unless USA gets at least half a day to prepare, they´re pretty much screwed.

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

Surprising Oahu's defenses with an air attack launched from 250 miles out is one thing, surprising Oahu's defenses with a slow moving invasion convoy that has to close to within five miles of the coast is quite another. To be successful, both forms of attack have to be surprises, and that is impossible. W hen I was in the Navy, I had a friend who wrote his Navy War College dissertation on a hypothetical invasion of Hawaii; every staff officer who reviewed it said it had zero chance of succeeding, even with today's technology.


Where do you presume to stage USAs counterattack from? Doing it from the West coast will make it hell for the troops.

Why? they'd spend far less time at sea than the Japanese invasion troops.


USA at this time doesnt have any real ability to conduct such a mission at all against even an unprepared opponent.

Says who?


Japan at the time had practised enough to be able to do it, even if they weren´t exactly good at it anyway.

The Japanese had absolutely no experience with multi-divisional assault landings against defended beaches. They had no experience at all with NGF support, nor close air support; they couldn't even communicate by radio between ships and troops or ships and planes, or troops and planes. Nor did Japan have enough landing craft to land more than a single regiment at a time.


But USA simply wouldnt be able to do it at such a distance at the time.

What time period are you talking about?


It would probably be mid-1942 at minimum before it could even be considered as wishful thinking.

Actually, this applies more to Japan than the US. Japan simply didn't have the troop transports and supply ships to lift the required number of divisions that far, let alone support the warships it would have required.


Its a BIG difference to perform a seaborne invasion over a short distance of water, and doing it over a distance that takes weeks to get across.
My guess is that USA could retake Hawaii starting sometime in 1943, but they would risk severely heavy losses in trying.

You sound like a rank amateur. Do you have any idea of the distances between Hawaii and Japan? Hawaii and the West Coast of the US? Japan could never take Hawaii even if they could somehow scrape up the logistical shipping. Where does the air support required to achieve air superiority come from? Japan's carriers can launch a raid, but in 1942 they couldn't maintain a sustained air campaign in a hostile environment like Oahu. Even the US couldn't do that until mid-1944.



CONTINUED……

Wizard
10-31-2010, 04:16 AM
CONTINUED FROM ABOVE…….



....they were not AT such readiness when the historical attack came.

Man, are you ever wrong! Oahu was surprised by an air raid, not a ground invasion. Hawaii's ground and naval defenses were extremely heavy in December, 1941. Japan would have had to land at least four divisions with tanks and plenty of artillery to have even a 50-50 chance of being successful. And the weather might have easily have prevented any landing for days; Oahu's only possible landing beaches are closed out by heavy surf about half the time in winter. And those beaches were zeroed in by the heaviest concentration of artillery in the Pacific at the time.


Oh and of course, you have considered the little fact that if Japan takes Pearl, it will also capture any ships it sunk in the harbour... If that included one of the USN carriers, and its easy to patch up, that could be a nasty additional surprise for any counter attack attempt by USA.

Sure, if they manage to tow it back to Japan, make a lot of spare parts, overhaul the engines, etc, etc, they might have an operational carrier in a couple of years.


No the most certainly would not.
If it happened today, yes they would. But not in 1941.

Actually, it was a given in 1941-42. The JCS had approved the plan for Hemisphere Defense that included Oahu as part of the North American continent. The number one priority of the military was defending the continent and that came before Europe, aiding Britain, defending South America, or anything else. If the Japanese attacked Oahu, the plan required the US Army and US Navy to drop everything else every where in the world and defend the island. Roosevelt had signed off on the plan so there was no question that Oahu would be defended with everything the US had.


Do you have ANY idea what you´re talking about here? Im sorry but no you appear not to. Guadalcanal happened because conditions there were rather special, among other things including a lot of islands that allowed the Japanese to send in additional troops the sneaky way during nighttime runs with destroyers patched up to carry troops. And they could do so because they had large bases not far away. USA also had the same. But neither had enough airpower close enough to shut the other side down completely.
If Hawaii is taken, Japan would have a whole bunch of airfields to use, and would almost be guaranteed to also position a pair of carriers nearby in mobile support similar to how USN did at Guadalcanal...

Well, I actually know a lot more about it than you, that's pretty obvious to any informed person. You obviously have noi idea how difficult the logistics would be for Japan in defending Oahu, IF they mange to take it. They will be much easier for the US because the US is much closer and because the US gas a larger pool of logistical shipping.

You say if Hawaii is taken then Japan will have a bunch of airfields to use, but you obviously haven't realized that BEFORE they take Oahu the reverse is true for the US, and that is why Japan CAN'T take Hawaii.


Because thats the only real reason why a Japanese invasion can and most likely will work, because their initial landing will be made against an undefended beach.

Really, how ignorant can you be? There were no "undefended beaches" on Oahu in December, 1941, or later for that matter.


Or if they have good intel and feel really daring, against an undefended port. Thats why it wont work if USA has a few days of warning, because then they will be able to react within hours or even minutes anywhere on the main islands, and will have troops on all the likely landing sites, and that will kill the operation. Given several hours warning, a Japanese invasion will take a lot of casualties, but will still probably succeed.

Yes, that's the main problem for the Japanese. They need air superiority before launching the beach assault, but in order to gain it they need to attack a day or two before the landing. That means no surprise for the beach defenses which were very strong. Every beach that was a possible landing point was zeroed in by coastal artillery as well as mobile 155 MM guns which were pre-position in the mountains overlooking the beaches. The defenders had tanks, 75 MM anti-boat guns, dug-in machine guns, mines, barbed wire, you name it. Anyone who thinks Oahu was undefended on December 7 1941, is just plain ignorant. The Japanese had absolutely no intelligence about Oahu's ground defenses and weren't even aware of the strength of the infantry on the island. They had no chance whatsoever.

Wizard
10-31-2010, 04:55 AM
Its quite possible also that a USA attempt to take back Hawaii leads to a bunch of ships sunk or damaged and a force limping back to USAs west coast.

It almost surely will for Japan as well, and they will have twice as far to limp, if they make it at all. So there is no advantage for Japan at all in trying to defend Oahu.


Oh and cutting off USAs internal lines by taking Hawaii also means that it is very likely that combat experience will not be transferred nearly as much as historically, because the Solomon campaign is unlikely to happen, and when Japan attacks south, USA troops will have to go to Australia or westwards, and the easy route from Australia to USA is cut off, so any combat experience propagation will have to go westwards around the globe.

Japan won't be attacking south because they are going to be so crippled from trying to take Oahu, they won't have the resources, and besides that, they no longer have the element of surprise which was so valuable to them in their conquest of Malaya and the Philippines.

No, the Japanese will, if they even manage to take Oahu, be forced to use every ship and plane in their fleet to defend it from US counter-attacks and they will be forced to use their logistical shipping in a hopeless attempt to keep those forces supplied over 4,000 miles of open ocean. They will use up every bit of their captured oil (IF they capture it) just operating their warships to cover their supply convoys. When they run out, they won't be ab le to attack south or in any other direction. And the attrition factor will eventually force them to retreat from Oahu having accomplished nothing except to enrage the US.


So when a USA counterattack comes, IF it does, they will probably still not have good intel on Japanese aircraft especially.

As I've already proven, the US pilots knew enough to hold their own against the Japanese aircraft from Day One of the war.


And exactly what has that got to do with anything?
If you consider an attack against Hawaii in mid 1942 to be in any way or shape similar to an invasion done during the first hours of the war starting you must be delusional. An attack in 1942, or even just several weeks after the war starts is totally doomed.

So is an attack that follows an air raid on Pearl Harbor. That would alert Oahu's defenses as it did historically. Within two hours Oahu's considerable beach defenses were completely manned and ready to repel any attempt at an invasion. And if you think Oahu wasn't defended on December 7 1941, then you are just plain ignorant. The Army had two infantry divisions on the island along with tanks and huge amounts of artillery of every description.

See; http://www.cgsc.edu/carl/download/csipubs/gudmens/Gudmens_pearl_b.pdf

That article is based on going with the historical strike at Pearl AND the southern campaign. Let me repeat again shall i? The invasion of Hawaii will force a few to several months of delay to the southern campaign.
BUT, even though that sucks for Japan in the short term, taking Hawaii means essentially taking control over the Pacific west of Hawaii... The advantage is immense.[/QUOTE]

Don't bother because it doesn't make any difference. First, Japan can't take Hawaii and even if it does it would never be able to "control" it. The US military would counter-attack with everything in it's arsenal; it has to because that was what the Hemisphere Defense plan called for. There would be no "immense advantage" for Japan because it immediately becomes bogged down in an attritional battle it can't win. It can't win that battle because the US has all the advantages. When Japan loses that battle, the war is essentially over because Japan has no reserves it can bring to bear and it's fleet has been depleted.

Rising Sun*
10-31-2010, 06:28 AM
Oh the most obvious one is probably Singapore, should i really need to tell you that?
NEI and Philippines both had numerical superiority.

Highly simplified...

Vastly over-simplified as far as Singapore is concerned.

200 Japanese tanks against zero British and Commonwealth tanks.

Close to complete Japanese air superiority over British and Commonwealth forces.

Japanese freedom of tactical movement against British command being tied to the defence of strategically disastrous airfields dotted over Malaya.

Japan given the initiative because Churchill tied Percival's hands by precluding implementation of Matador until after Japan attacked, by which time Japan had landed and advanced unopposed past the defensive choke points available to Percival.

Study the campaign and you'll find that Churchill gave Japan a huge tactical advantage in almost every respect.

That doesn't take anything away from Tsujii's and Yamashita's great planning and execution in a fairly short preparation time, but Japan was in fact the superior mobile force given a free run in the crucial invasion stage.

Nickdfresh
10-31-2010, 09:49 AM
Oh the most obvious one is probably Singapore, should i really need to tell you that?
NEI and Philippines both had numerical superiority.

Highly simplified...


Highly simplified indeed. Because, you said "Except where they wiped the floor with stronger and sometimes even decently led forces"...

Many would argue that there was a definite failure of leadership in Singapore and that while I believe that Gen. Percival is made the goat, the scapegoat, for the overall British Commonwealth defeat--there's no escaping the fact that large numbers of his "Army" became a riotous rabble rampaging throughout the city just prior to its fall and during tenuous negotiations. I think this could quite clearly be attributed to a failure of leadership on ALL levels of the British Army there. Especially when one considers the fact that if Percival had kept his command right, against all odds I'll concede, he may well have called what was Yamashita's bluff and forced a bloody street fight against an Imperial Japanese Army running low on ammunition and supplies and could well have defeated them.

Of course, this is written with the benefit of hindsight, and I'm a great "Monday Morning Quarterback" but a pretty shitty Sunday afternoon one!

Secondly, the British had no real armor in the Malaysian Pennsinsula and lacked artillery and other supplies and were forced to fly with a very second rate air force there. "Stronger?" Hardly, unless one blindly accepts superficial numbers on paper...

Thirdly, you'd have to be very specific about what constituted "stronger, decently led" forces in the Philippines as there were actually relatively few actual American units there, and the Philippine Army was a badly uneven force comprised of everything from elite Filipino Scouts that were a match for anyone, to poorly trained and equipped units little better than militia using ancient weapons. Many, as previously posted by Wizard and RS*, would question the leadership's command decisions there...

Deaf Smith
10-31-2010, 07:36 PM
One must keep in mind the Japanese could strike when and wherever they wanted while the British had to play a defensive and not offensive game due to supplies (or lack of them.) Add to this the Japanese airforces , navy, and army was better overall as they had been at war for years.

And remember that Z force as about their only real offensive run, and it ended badly.

In reality all the British could do, like the Americans, was to hold out as long as they could and upset the Japanese timetable. And they did that. But sooner or later the allies would have to lay down their arms as supplies ran out.

Deaf

Rising Sun*
11-01-2010, 08:54 AM
One must keep in mind the Japanese could strike when and wherever they wanted while the British had to play a defensive and not offensive game due to supplies (or lack of them.) Add to this the Japanese airforces , navy, and army was better overall as they had been at war for years.

Also, the best equipped and best trained and battle hardened British and Commonwealth forces were fighting the Germans.

While there were some very good unit actions against the Japanese in Malaya, notably the British Sutherland and Argyll Highlanders and the Australians, even those troops were not always all that well trained and, unlike many of the Japanese attacking them, they weren't battle hardened.

Rising Sun*
11-01-2010, 09:17 AM
Many would argue that there was a definite failure of leadership in Singapore and that while I believe that Gen. Percival is made the goat, the scapegoat, for the overall British Commonwealth defeat

In my view, he was and is most unfairly held responsible for a defeat which Churchill forced upon him by denying Percival almost everything he needed for a proper defence, apart from a large number of often poorly trained troops who lacked all sorts of support necessary for a useful defence.


--there's no escaping the fact that large numbers of his "Army" became a riotous rabble rampaging throughout the city just prior to its fall and during tenuous negotiations.

Churchill blamed all that on the Australians.

Which, as an Australian, I think is entirely possible as we are by nature, training and experience a riotous rabble. ;) :D

It was in fact a fairly minor issue, much of it IIRC arising from fairly recently arrived troops who lacked the discipline of the fighting troops who were mostly at the front rather than in the rear area. REMFs, and all that.

The main problem for Percival was that once the Japanese captured control of the water supply they could force the defenders into surrender within a few days.


I think this could quite clearly be attributed to a failure of leadership on ALL levels of the British Army there. Especially when one considers the fact that if Percival had kept his command right, against all odds I'll concede, he may well have called what was Yamashita's bluff and forced a bloody street fight against an Imperial Japanese Army running low on ammunition and supplies and could well have defeated them.

But Percival couldn't fight for more than a few days once the Japanese had control of the water supply.

Fighting on would only have subjected the troops and civilians to a dehydrated agony with the only option as eventual surrender, within a matter of days after the actual date of surrender and to no purpose.

I think Percival was correct to avoid unnecessary suffering by surrendering sooner rather than later.

Percival was, in my view, most unfairly blamed for a defeat which Churchill forced on him by denying him the resources, and most of all the air power, which the military planners said were necessary for the defence of Malaya. And the opportunity to implement Matador before Japan tried to land, which by itself could have altered the Malayan campaign.

Deaf Smith
11-02-2010, 09:08 PM
Also, the best equipped and best trained and battle hardened British and Commonwealth forces were fighting the Germans.

That's true. Most were way 'over there'. I suspect like most militaries they kept their 'B' team back home while they 'A' team was on the field (North Africa.)

I had a nephew in the Marines in Desert Storm I. Being uh, not the most Gung Ho, they kept him in the motor pool until it was over. Then his bunch were shipped out to load the ships to go back home. I'm serious. All he saw of Saudi Arabia was the docks!

Deaf

Nickdfresh
11-02-2010, 10:02 PM
In my view, he was and is most unfairly held responsible for a defeat which Churchill forced upon him by denying Percival almost everything he needed for a proper defence, apart from a large number of often poorly trained troops who lacked all sorts of support necessary for a useful defence.

Agreed. For the most part...


Churchill blamed all that on the Australians.

Which, as an Australian, I think is entirely possible as we are by nature, training and experience a riotous rabble. ;) :D

Well, maybe Churchill was worried they were still pissed at him for his Gallipoli debacle?!


It was in fact a fairly minor issue, much of it IIRC arising from fairly recently arrived troops who lacked the discipline of the fighting troops who were mostly at the front rather than in the rear area. REMFs, and all that.

The main problem for Percival was that once the Japanese captured control of the water supply they could force the defenders into surrender within a few days.



But Percival couldn't fight for more than a few days once the Japanese had control of the water supply.

Fighting on would only have subjected the troops and civilians to a dehydrated agony with the only option as eventual surrender, within a matter of days after the actual date of surrender and to no purpose.

I think Percival was correct to avoid unnecessary suffering by surrendering sooner rather than later.

Percival was, in my view, most unfairly blamed for a defeat which Churchill forced on him by denying him the resources, and most of all the air power, which the military planners said were necessary for the defence of Malaya. And the opportunity to implement Matador before Japan tried to land, which by itself could have altered the Malayan campaign.

These are all good points and as I stated, I'm damn good at Monday Morning hindsights... :)

But the problem I have with Percival was that he was slow to react to the lightening Japanese advance and made the same cliche mistakes of the "logical" military thinker and always expected the Japanese to logically do the expected when it was pretty bloody obvious that they hadn't ever been predictable throughout the campaign...

Rising Sun*
11-03-2010, 07:33 AM
Well, maybe Churchill was worried they were still pissed at him for his Gallipoli debacle?!

He should have been.

Some of us still are. ;)


But the problem I have with Percival was that he was slow to react to the lightening Japanese advance and made the same cliche mistakes of the "logical" military thinker and always expected the Japanese to logically do the expected when it was pretty bloody obvious that they hadn't ever been predictable throughout the campaign...

You're probably correct in seeing him as an uninspired, and by all accounts a rather uninspiring, commander. Nonetheless, I think he was still quite competent.

Around 1937 (relying on memory) as the chief staff officer in Malaya he did an assessment of a likely war with Japan and correctly predicted where and how the Japanese would attack.

The problem which is always overlooked in the popular comments on Percival, and by Churchill and his ilk, was that there were airfields (can’t recall number – something like eight or so?) widely dispersed over Malaya, rather foolishly built to accommodate aircraft which, courtesy of Churchill ignoring his own military advisers’ advice, weren't provided to Malaya when it most needed them. The airfields weren't where the Japanese land line of advanced would go.

Percival's dilemma was to leave the airfields undefended and thus offer them to the enemy to land troops, supplies and to use as forward bases for offensive air action, or to defend them and risk diverting troops a long way away from the line of Japanese advance where they couldn't be utilised against the Japanese line of advance. It was a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation. He quite reasonably decided to defend the airfields, not least to prevent the Japanese landing in force and establishing offensive airfields in his rear, while trying not to divert unnecessary forces to that purpose.

Percival’s major tactical mistake was probably in refusing to build defensive positions at the bottom of Malaya to prevent an assault on Singapore. Some of his advisers recommended this when there was ample time to build effective defences, but Percival refused on the basis that construction of defences before the war had started would be bad for morale. As it turned out, if he had been able to hold the Japanese long enough on the Malayan side of the causeway they might well have stalled as they were getting short of ammunition in the final phase of the capture of Singapore, while Percival would not have had the problems caused by Japan getting control of Singapore’s water supply which led him to surrender. Then again, in all probability it would just have delayed things as Japan consolidated its forces and made Singapore a grinding victory like Bataan rather than the rapid victory it really was.

But if he’d had tanks and planes which Churchill chose to divert elsewhere or not to deploy to Malaya, it would have been a much more equal contest with a greater prospect of a Japanese failure. Assuming that Japan didn’t divert armour and air to Malaya to compensate, although whether that was possible at the time is debatable.

But I’m also being a Monday morning expert here, with the benefit of a lot of hindsight which wasn’t available to Percival and his commanders, or Churchill who was juggling a lot of balls of which Malaya wasn't the largest or most important, at the time.

royal744
12-18-2010, 03:10 PM
The Japanese probaly had the strongest military during WWII.Their navy was also incredibly powerful.It was by far the largest during the whole war.The Japanese also had considerible air power.

Rubbish.

royal744
12-18-2010, 03:15 PM
Percival couldn't concentrate his forces because he was forced to defend airfields dotted around Malaya in tactically bad positions, to prevent the Japanese landing troops on them. It wasn't his fault the airfields had been constructed in places virtually designed to create the maximum problem for a commander in disposing his forces.



200 tanks of any type is 200 tanks better than an enemy with none, which is what Percival had. Or, more accurately, didn't have.




No, that's an enduring myth.

The arcs of fire and ranges didn't reach where they needed to be to be of any real value in resisting the final Japanese assault on Singapore and the types of ammunition available weren't much help either as they were designed to resist naval ships attacking from the sea, not infantry attacking from the mainland.



Percival did the best he could with what he had, which was a shithouse hand carefully dealt to him by Churchill who refused to provide Malaya command with what the chiefs of staff, and a very accurate pre-war assessement by a staff officer being Percival, rightly said was needed to defend Malaya from accurately anticipated Japanese attacks.

Maybe somebody else could have done a bit better than Percival, but the end result was always going to be the same.

What buggered Percival, and what would have buggered any other commander, in the end was the loss of water supply to Singapore, without which the defenders could not continue to fight and without which the civilian population would be subjected to dehydration and disease.

I have yet to see anyone come up with a solution to the absence of water for a force and population under siege. Until someone does, Percival can't be blamed for surrendering and, in my view, he made the right decision to minimise military and civilian suffering and death by surrendering instead of continuing a doomed defence.

Churchill deserves all the blame for losing Malaya, not poor bloody Percival who was hamstrung in his defence by Churchill from the outset by, chiefly, denying him the air forces he needed and preventing him initiating Matador until after the Japanese had attacked, which was at least 24 hours and probably 48 to 72 hours too late.


It's a pity Percival surrendered. Had he not done so, the Japanese attack might have faltered, as he was understrength, short of everything and outnumbered by the British.

Deaf Smith
12-18-2010, 10:52 PM
It's a pity Percival surrendered. Had he not done so, the Japanese attack might have faltered, as he was understrength, short of everything and outnumbered by the British.

But that is war. It's know what you have or they have but what you THINK they have and they THINK you have that matters. War is more than a bit like poker.

Deaf

Wizard
12-19-2010, 01:05 AM
It's a pity Percival surrendered. Had he not done so, the Japanese attack might have faltered, as he was understrength, short of everything and outnumbered by the British.

Not really.

Without significant naval forces and an adequate air force, Singapore was indefensible. In 1942, Britain was in no position to send either aircraft or ships to the aid of Singapore and would not be for at least two years. In fact, without a fleet there was no point in defending Singapore, as H. P. Willmott has pointed out in his book "Empires in The Balance".

Had Percival delayed his surrender, the Japanese would have simply kept chipping away at Singapore's defenses as they did at Bataan's, and Singapore would eventually have fallen to them in a few weeks or months. The delay would not have been significant in terms of the overall Japanese Pacific offensive.

Rising Sun*
12-19-2010, 08:14 AM
It's a pity Percival surrendered.

But the Japanese would have had control of the water supply to Singapore whether or not he surrendered, resulting in Percival having to deal with an insurrection or other problems from the dehydrated civilian population in his rear. Not to mention his own troops running out of water, which gave them about two to three days before their health and fighting capacity was reduced to the point of being ineffective or dead from dehydration.

Percival didn't have any choice but to surrender once he'd lost control of the water supply. It was only a question of when, with a time frame of a few days at most. He couldn't hold out beyond that, so he made what I think was the proper decision to avoid unnecessary suffering of the civilian population by surrendering.

Of course, he couldn't have foreseen the Sook Ching massacres and sundry other evils visited upon the civilian population by the victorious Japanese. It's a pity that more odium isn't visited upon the abhorrent Japanese conduct after Percival's surrender than is visited upon him for making the only decision reasonably available to a responsible commander and a good man.


Had he not done so, the Japanese attack might have faltered, as he was understrength, short of everything and outnumbered by the British.

That was the position during the whole of the Malayan campaign, during which the Japanese consistently defeated the British forces and forced them back to the island of Singapore.

And then launched amphibious attacks upon the island which overwhelmed the British forces and pushed them back on the island.

The British were not going to hold out militarily on Singapore, and they had no hope once Japan had control of the island's water supply.

Nickdfresh
01-08-2011, 07:56 AM
There is nothing unusual in military history in commanders at the limit of their resources gambling everything on one final assault. Sometimes it works and they are heroes, sometimes it doesn't and they are fools. Both assessments ignore the realities of the difficulties facing commanders in these situations. Rommel was perhaps the greatest gambler of WWII but most people think he was a genius when often he was just lucky, and they ignore his failures and poor planning.

Not to get off topic, but Rommel WAS a genius. His actions in the French campaign testify to that, even among his (many, even German) critics. He was indeed a gambler on the verge of being reckless and was very much a general that fed off momentum. Poor planner? Perhaps. But he was hamstrung by a battle of logistics he couldn't control or impact while the British enjoyed a steady stream of supplies and Ultra. Rommel was pretty fearless and always led from the front close to the lines, even if this could be problematic as it often gave him a myopic view of the battle. But he also shifted from an infantryman to a premier armor theorist, perhaps surpassing Guderian in its practical application, almost overnight and relatively late in his career...

Rising Sun*
01-08-2011, 09:04 AM
There is nothing unusual in military history in commanders at the limit of their resources gambling everything on one final assault. Sometimes it works and they are heroes, sometimes it doesn't and they are fools. Both assessments ignore the realities of the difficulties facing commanders in these situations. Rommel was perhaps the greatest gambler of WWII but most people think he was a genius when often he was just lucky, and they ignore his failures and poor planning.

True, but Rommel had a lot of room to move in North Africa while Percival had nowhere to go in Singapore.

In gambling terms, Rommel always had a varying number of chips in his hand, but by February 1942 Percival had none. A final assault by Percival would just have increased the Commonwealth casualties, without changing the final result.

Nickdfresh
01-08-2011, 06:21 PM
True, but Rommel had a lot of room to move in North Africa while Percival had nowhere to go in Singapore.

In gambling terms, Rommel always had a varying number of chips in his hand, but by February 1942 Percival had none. A final assault by Percival would just have increased the Commonwealth casualties, without changing the final result.

Right. In North Africa, armies quickly became victims of their own success and overran their supply lines after major advances. The Japanese had done this to some extent. But Percival's poor intelligence information, largely the result of fighting an alien culture, would have effectively blinded him to IJA ammunition shortages. But he was well aware he didn't have much fresh water left. It still would have been interesting to see if the Commonwealth forces could have inflicted a bitter urban battle on the Japanese and what would have happened had they did. But as pointed out previously here, it would have mattered little in the grand scheme of the War as the British had no way to reinforce successes and prevent an overall defeat even with a tactical victory...

Deaf Smith
01-08-2011, 10:09 PM
'Gamblers' tend to come up from the side that is forced to use new ideas to overcome big odds. Hence Germany’s use of Panzers, dive bombers, U-boats, and blitzkrieg tactics.

And in a way Japan was the biggest gambler of them all for they did know America was ten times their size and the odds were low of them succeeding.

But the Japanese didn't come up with many new ideas except the use of naval airpower as the primary striking arm, and even that came only after watching the British attack the Italian fleet at Taranto coupled with their own sneak attack(s) on the Russian fleets in the Russo-Japanese war. Note the attack on Port Arthur happened 3 hrs BEFORE the declaration of war! Kind of like Pearl Harbor, right?

Rising Sun*
01-09-2011, 04:43 AM
It still would have been interesting to see if the Commonwealth forces could have inflicted a bitter urban battle on the Japanese and what would have happened had they did.

I think that to attempt that would probably have backfired on the Commonwealth forces, because it would have compressed large numbers of troops, many of whom were not combat troops, and civilians into a very small area where the Japanese could have reduced them at a vastly greater rate than any damage the Commonwealth forces could have inflicted on the Japanese.

Add in the water problem and it was a doomed exercise, without sanitation and other issues which would rapidly have destroyed the garrison from within.

Wizard
01-09-2011, 02:39 PM
But Percival's poor intelligence information, largely the result of fighting an alien culture, would have effectively blinded him to IJA ammunition shortages.

Even had Percival known about the Japanese shortage of ammunition, it wouldn't have done him much good. That was a temporary situation which the Japanese could have quickly rectified since they controlled the seas around the Malayan peninsula where the Japanese forces were deployed.


But he was well aware he didn't have much fresh water left.

There was no shortage of water in Singapore until the Japanese forces managed to get onto the island and capture the water supply, which, if I remember correctly, was a reservoir.


It still would have been interesting to see if the Commonwealth forces could have inflicted a bitter urban battle on the Japanese and what would have happened had they did. But as pointed out previously here, it would have mattered little in the grand scheme of the War as the British had no way to reinforce successes and prevent an overall defeat even with a tactical victory...

Singapore sits on an island which is roughly 28 miles long and about 16 miles wide at the widest point. The built-up area was heavily populated with civilians. The island itself is surrounded on three sides by the lower end of the Malayan peninsula and separated from it by a narrow, shallow waterway scarcely a mile wide at most points. The Japanese held control of both the sea and the air in the vicinity and could have quickly starved out the defenders. There was absolutely no point to a prolonged battle to hold Singapore since the Japanese cared nothing about their losses, and a protracted defense denied them nothing except the island itself.

Churchill wanted a heroic defense to save face since the city had been touted as "Fortress Singapore", and it's quick surrender would make the British look bad. That's why he gave the order to hold it until the last man fell, but that was just propaganda. Nothing the British could do would have been worth the lives lost in a last ditch defense of Singapore.

flamethrowerguy
01-09-2011, 03:23 PM
There is nothing unusual in military history in commanders at the limit of their resources gambling everything on one final assault. Sometimes it works and they are heroes, sometimes it doesn't and they are fools. Both assessments ignore the realities of the difficulties facing commanders in these situations. Rommel was perhaps the greatest gambler of WWII but most people think he was a genius when often he was just lucky, and they ignore his failures and poor planning.

Hey, that's a comment from this very thread by Rising Sun* from 2-16-2009, you plagiarist.
Still it's a shame he didn't dispute your post but approved it.:mrgreen:
Anyway, off you go, nikole95.7

tankgeezer
01-09-2011, 03:39 PM
Hey, that's a comment from this very thread by Rising Sun* from 2-16-2009, you plagiarist.
Still it's a shame he didn't dispute your post but approved it.:mrgreen:
Anyway, off you go, nikole95.7

Artfully done sir!

Rising Sun*
01-09-2011, 11:24 PM
Hey, that's a comment from this very thread by Rising Sun* from 2-16-2009, you plagiarist.
Still it's a shame he didn't dispute your post but approved it.:mrgreen:
Anyway, off you go, nikole95.7

I didn't realise it was mine. It seemed too intelligent to be one of mine. ;) :D

tankgeezer
01-09-2011, 11:37 PM
I didn't realise it was mine. It seemed too intelligent to be one of mine. ;) :D
Perhaps he was channeling you.

Rising Sun*
01-09-2011, 11:42 PM
Perhaps he was channeling you.

Well spotted! This could explain where my intelligence and memory have been leaking to at an accelerating rate in recent years.

Iron Yeoman
01-10-2011, 05:24 AM
Well spotted! This could explain where my intelligence and memory have been leaking to at an accelerating rate in recent years.

That, or an over consumption of lager.

Rising Sun*
01-10-2011, 05:44 AM
That, or an over consumption of lager.

It is not, in my respectful view, possible to over consume lager, ale, pilsener or anything else of the beer variety.

Cider, certainly, as it is too sweet, but beer: No! Non! Nein! Nyet!

Rising Sun*
01-10-2011, 05:55 AM
There was no shortage of water in Singapore until the Japanese forces managed to get onto the island and capture the water supply, which, if I remember correctly, was a reservoir.

My recollection is that the capture of pumping stations rather than reservoirs was the problem for Percival.

Unfortunately my books are stored in anticipation of moving to a new house, the building of which ideally will be completed some time in the next decade (if that's not putting too much pressure on the ****ing builder), but my recollection is that Percival in his account focused on a critical pumping station, or perhaps a small number of pumping stations, which when captured by the Japanese gave them control of the water supply to the Allied area. However, I'm reasonably sure that there was one critical pumping station which, when lost, put the Japanese in control and which in combination with other factors discouraging a pointless defence moved Percival to surrender.

Which, I think, was the correct decision at the time and on the knowledge available to him, to preserve civilian and Allied lives.

Iron Yeoman
01-10-2011, 08:38 AM
My recollection is that the capture of pumping stations rather than reservoirs was the problem for Percival.

but my recollection is that Percival in his account focused on a critical pumping station, or perhaps a small number of pumping stations, which when captured by the Japanese gave them control of the water supply to the Allied area. However, I'm reasonably sure that there was one critical pumping station which, when lost, put the Japanese in control and which in combination with other factors discouraging a pointless defence moved Percival to surrender.

Which, I think, was the correct decision at the time and on the knowledge available to him, to preserve civilian and Allied lives.

Very true, however, with the gift of hindsight, had he known what was going to befall his men I doubt he would have surrendered. Personally (and perhaps this is the inner cavalryman talking), I would have tried to break out and try one last attack. That said, the old adage 'amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics', rings true. Without any water it would have been jolly difficult to mount an effective attack.

Rising Sun*
01-10-2011, 09:30 AM
Very true, however, with the gift of hindsight, had he known what was going to befall his men I doubt he would have surrendered. Personally (and perhaps this is the inner cavalryman talking), I would have tried to break out and try one last attack.

I share your sentiment, but where would he break out to?

The only way out was by sea, and pretty much all of the ships and most of the boats had left by the surrender.

There was no opportunity for a mass break out, by arms or of POWs, in any direction.

I still think the major legitimate criticism of Percival relates to failing to fortify the Malayan side of the causeway before hostilities started and to fight to the end there.

Iron Yeoman
01-10-2011, 11:46 AM
I share your sentiment, but where would he break out to?

The only way out was by sea, and pretty much all of the ships and most of the boats had left by the surrender.

There was no opportunity for a mass break out, by arms or of POWs, in any direction.

I still think the major legitimate criticism of Percival relates to failing to fortify the Malayan side of the causeway before hostilities started and to fight to the end there.

Don't get me wrong, I'm with you there, his situation didn't give him many options. But personally I would have launched my combat effective units at the enemy in order to retake control of the water, it wouldn't have been pretty and I imagine he would have lost a fair chunk of his forces but any chance to keep the strategic port & city in British hands would be worth it, imho.

Wizard
01-10-2011, 01:03 PM
Don't get me wrong, I'm with you there, his situation didn't give him many options. But personally I would have launched my combat effective units at the enemy in order to retake control of the water, it wouldn't have been pretty and I imagine he would have lost a fair chunk of his forces but any chance to keep the strategic port & city in British hands would be worth it, imho.

Singapore's only strategic value was as a naval base, but since there were no fleet elements at Singapore (after the quick elimination of Force Z), and no possibility of exerting offensive force from the base, Singapore's strategic value was zero. The only thing being defended at Singapore was British prestige.

Theoretically, Singapore could serve as the western anchor for an Allied defense of the NEI islands of Sumatra and Java, but such a defense was hopeless without significant naval and air reinforcements which simply weren't available.

Iron Yeoman
01-10-2011, 02:05 PM
I would agree that it's immediate strategic value was negated by the the destruction of force z, however, its better to have an asset for future use than not have it when you need it.

Wizard
01-10-2011, 03:21 PM
I would agree that it's immediate strategic value was negated by the the destruction of force z, however, its better to have an asset for future use than not have it when you need it.

Yes, that is generally true.

Prior to the outbreak of the Pacific War, Churchill tried to get the US Navy to deploy a significant portion of the US Pacific Fleet to the naval base at Singapore, averring that Singapore was so important to the British Empire that it's loss would possibly cause the British Empire to disintegrate.

However, Roosevelt saw through such exaggeration and declined to be dragged into a defense of such a worthless base. In fact, throughout WW II, the British saw no need or reason to recapture Singapore, and any potential strategic value in the area remained unrealized. Defending Singapore simply because of the possibility of future strategic value certainly wasn't worth the 138,000 troops, 200 aircraft, and 2 capital ships it cost Britain in 1942.

Rising Sun*
01-11-2011, 07:30 AM
But personally I would have launched my combat effective units at the enemy in order to retake control of the water, it wouldn't have been pretty and I imagine he would have lost a fair chunk of his forces but any chance to keep the strategic port & city in British hands would be worth it, imho.

Again, I understand your sentiment, but the first problem you, as commander, have to confront is that you're getting rather low on combat effective units and, worse, your communications with them and other units are badly disrupted as they fall back in considerable confusion, resulting in you not always being too clear on where they, or the enemy, are, and on what your and the enemy troops are doing or are capable of.

Even if you knew of your enemy's artillery ammunition shortage, you are conscious that your own troops are running short of ammunition.

While a 'do or die' attack to recover control of the island's water supplies (as distinct from any supplies coming from the mainland which now is under Japanese control) has some attraction, and would even if unsuccessful have cheered Churchill when he should have been hanging his head in shame for failing to provide the fairly readily available aircraft necessary to give Percival a fighting chance, the assessment of the commanders in the field was that it was not feasible, as summarised below.


Early on the 14th the water situation became serious; mains broken, owing to bombing and shelling, were causing losses that repairs could not keep pace with, and it was estimated that at most the supply would last for forty-eight hours - possibly only for twenty-four.

General Wavell in reply to a report on the situation urged that resistance should continue , and said, "Your gallant stand is serving purpose and must be continued to limits of endurance".

During the night l4th/15th February, Japanese infantry infiltrated in the central sector, and there was bitter fighting on the extreme left, where the 2nd Bn. The Loyal Regiment, which bore the brunt of the attack, was now reduced to only 130 fighting men. The water situation. was reported in the morning to be critical, ammunition reserves were very short, and only a few days' military food stocks remained, although there were large reserves in the area now occupied by the Japanese, and there were civil reserves. There were only two alternatives: a counter-attack to regain control of the reservoirs and the food reserves and to drive Japanese artillery back; or capitulation. A counter-attack was judged by all to be impossible; so at a meeting in the afternoon, terms of surrender were agreed with the Japanese commander, Lieutenant-General Yamashita, and hostilities ceased at 8.30 in the evening. of the 15th February (British Time). http://www.army.gov.au/2_30trggp/Malayan_Campaign_WW2.asp

royal744
08-10-2011, 12:33 AM
As Wizard said, the damage to Britain's prestige was considerable.

I have always been puzzled why Churchill sent the Prince of Wales and the other cruiser - Perth? - to Singapore without air cover. This seems unaccountably stupid. Hadn't the Bismarck already been crippled by Swordfish biplanes (for God's sake) making it a sitting duck for the rest of the Royal Navy? I have admired Churchill for many reasons but this was not one of them.

I suppose it has already been mentioned that the British outnumbered the Japanese attacking them and that the Japanese forces were in a bad way by the time they reached Singapore. Of course, Percival had no certain way of knowing that and he could not be gainsaid for imagining that his enemy was a giant of unknown size and strength. Japanese originality and daring in attacking from the landward side is very much to their credit, though crediting them leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that Singapore's heavy-caliber artillery could not be turned around reminds me of Lawrence of Arabia's successful attack on Aqaba from another "impassable" landward approach.

leccy
08-10-2011, 06:53 AM
royal744
It was the Battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the Battlecruiser HMS Repulse. They should have been accompanied by the Aircraft Carrier Indomitable but it ran aground and was not replaced.

Singapore was a disaster for the British but they were simply outfought by a better and more daring Japanese General. The British lacked air cover, some units were under strength and many did not have their full compliment of artillery. Some units had not even completed basic training when sent, very few had any jungle experience or training. There was a lack of AA ammunition for the guns they did have.

All in all it was a sign of the defense cost cutting through the 20's and 30's. When re-armament was started Britain spent the majority on the RN and RAF and centered initially on the defense of the UK. The Army had a huge amount of catchup to do and by 1939 it scraped the barrel to equip the BEF as well as it did (still not fully equipped by 1940).

Rising Sun*
08-10-2011, 07:21 AM
Singapore was a disaster for the British but they were simply outfought by a better and more daring Japanese General. The British lacked air cover, some units were under strength and many did not have their full compliment of artillery. Some units had not even completed basic training when sent, very few had any jungle experience or training. There was a lack of AA ammunition for the guns they did have.

I'm not trying to take anything away from Yamashita, because his marshalling, transport, landing and fighting of his forces was masterly, but he faced an inferior enemy.

Numerically, the British Commonwealth forces in Malaya and Singapore were superior, but as you point out they lacked the training and especially the air cover necessary for an effective defence. Plus Perceval was hamstrung by various political and tactical factors not of his own making but which deprived him of the flexibility of the Japanese at every step of the campaign.

As you say, much of that lies at the door of defence cuts, but the most recent decisions which led to the disaster lie at Churchill's refusal to provide Malaya with the air forces all his advisers said were necessary. Well trained troops do not retreat while they feel they have a chance of resisting, but the paucity of Commonwealth air cover combined with, in many cases, inadeuate training allowed the Japanese to press the Commonwealth land forces back.

Japanese success was compounded by the presence of many Japanese units with battle experience in China (but not the Imperial Guards, who Yamashita did not want as he regarded them as show ponies and they lacked battle experience, and in due course distinguished themselves by their prominence in various war crimes in the campaign) fighting Commonwealth troops with virtually zero battle experience and those few who had it were reviving it from WWI.

Japan also had the advantage of armour against nil armour on the Commonwealth side.

It was an unequal battle, but not one which the Japanese would have been bound to win if the Commonwealth forces had not been hamstrung by deficiencies imposed from home and local tactical necessities which forced Percival to split and deploy his forces in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' fashion.

Chevan
08-10-2011, 08:03 AM
Japanese success was compounded by the presence of many Japanese units with battle experience in China (but not the Imperial Guards, who Yamashita did not want as he regarded them as show ponies and they lacked battle experience, and in due course distinguished themselves by their prominence in various war crimes in the campaign) fighting Commonwealth troops with virtually zero battle experience and those few who had it were reviving it from WWI.

Which units from CHina do you mean? the reinforsement from Kwantung Army?


It was an unequal battle, but not one which the Japanese would have been bound to win if the Commonwealth forces had not been hamstrung by deficiencies imposed from home and local tactical necessities which forced Percival to split and deploy his forces in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' fashion.
Oh , i thought only STalin made to their generals such a 'proposal";)
But it seems the higly professional Commonweal command suffered of brain disaster and competence no less then their "not-executed" soviet collegues.;)

Rising Sun*
08-10-2011, 09:34 AM
Which units from CHina do you mean? the reinforsement from Kwantung Army?

Leaving aside the Imperial Guards and various tank, artillery and support units, the main elements of Yamashita's force were the 5th and 18th Divisions, both of which had substantial experience in China.

Much as it embarrasses me to use wiki as a source, it gives a relevant summary of both divisions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5th_Division_%28Imperial_Japanese_Army%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18th_Division_%28Imperial_Japanese_Army%29


Oh , i thought only STalin made to their generals such a 'proposal";)

This would be because Stalin was a democratic benevolent leader. ;) :D


But it seems the higly professional Commonweal command suffered of brain disaster and competence no less then their "not-executed" soviet collegues.;)

I've posted in this forum in past years (but can't readily find now) some quite detailed stuff on why I think that Percival was unfairly blamed for the loss of Malaya.

Percival was a sound professional soldier who did his best in a bad situation not of his own making. Given a free hand (i.e. not restricted tactically by Churchill for political reasons to do with bringing America into the war, which in the larger picture was an entirely sound strategy by Churchill) he could have done a lot better, and even better if given the air forces Churchill denied him because Churchill was focused elsewhere.

Several years before the war Percival, as a senior staff officer in Malaya, accurately predicted where the Japanese would land and how they would conduct their subsequent campaign, at least in the early stages. He was not suffering from a brain disaster then or in 1941-42 when he was in command.

My view is that, although with the benefit of hindsight he could have done better (who couldn't) , Percival has been made the scapegoat for the loss of Malaya / Singapore when Churchill really bears that responsibility. Although Churchill didn't so much blame Percival for it as the Australians who, though a minor part of the force, in Churchill's view were somehow responsible for the greatest defeat of British arms in history.

Then again, Churchill in his memoirs did say something to the effect that, at the time, he didn't realise how bad the situation was in Singapore. If you read up on it you may come to the view that Churchill was on this, as on some other major things, blinded to the realities of the situation by his ill-informed beliefs and sentiments.

royal744
08-10-2011, 02:07 PM
Sounds right to me, RS. Thanks. I don't blame Wainwright for the fall of Bataan and Corregidor either. Or Husband Kimmel for Pearl Harbor. On the other hand, I do blame Macarthur for allowing his air force to be destroyed on the ground due to brain-freeze dithering on his part.

flamethrowerguy
08-10-2011, 02:24 PM
Or Husband Kimmel for Pearl Harbor.

Completely off-topic I know but why on earth would someone call his child "Husband"?

Chevan
08-12-2011, 06:52 AM
I've posted in this forum in past years (but can't readily find now) some quite detailed stuff on why I think that Percival was unfairly blamed for the loss of Malaya.

Percival was a sound professional soldier who did his best in a bad situation not of his own making. Given a free hand (i.e. not restricted tactically by Churchill for political reasons to do with bringing America into the war, which in the larger picture was an entirely sound strategy by Churchill) he could have done a lot better, and even better if given the air forces Churchill denied him because Churchill was focused elsewhere.

Several years before the war Percival, as a senior staff officer in Malaya, accurately predicted where the Japanese would land and how they would conduct their subsequent campaign, at least in the early stages. He was not suffering from a brain disaster then or in 1941-42 when he was in command.

My view is that, although with the benefit of hindsight he could have done better (who couldn't) , Percival has been made the scapegoat for the loss of Malaya / Singapore when Churchill really bears that responsibility. Although Churchill didn't so much blame Percival for it as the Australians who, though a minor part of the force, in Churchill's view were somehow responsible for the greatest defeat of British arms in history.

Then again, Churchill in his memoirs did say something to the effect that, at the time, he didn't realise how bad the situation was in Singapore. If you read up on it you may come to the view that Churchill was on this, as on some other major things, blinded to the realities of the situation by his ill-informed beliefs and sentiments.
Yes , i remember that talk and i do agree with you the Parsival can't be ONLY the scapegoat. However the Malaya was lost , i'ts a fact , due to military incompetence of british command. whatever it was Churchil's operative blindness or lacks of locals officers. Japanes took Singapoore haveing almost TWICE lesser troops then defenders.
But i'm puzzled by the another thing - if the incompetence of Red Army in western historiography is explained purely by "Stalin's purges" or "fear of NKVD" or "fear by anything else" , then how does the historians explain the military impotence of Allied command for the first period of war in asia in general sense? Even in the Europe union western powers by the strange way lost such a giant territories for few month. I mean almost all the continental Europe had fall into GErmans hands for such a short period of war. I still inconceivably for me.

Rising Sun*
08-12-2011, 08:58 AM
Sounds right to me, RS. Thanks. I don't blame Wainwright for the fall of Bataan and Corregidor either. Or Husband Kimmel for Pearl Harbor. On the other hand, I do blame Macarthur for allowing his air force to be destroyed on the ground due to brain-freeze dithering on his part.

Agree entirely.

MacArthur was, in the opening phase of the war with Japan and in his planning leading up to it, the worst commander in the sense of having had almost unlimited flexibility before the war (and vastly more than Percival had tactically and politically) which he squandered. He was by far the worst commander in his immediate response, or more accurately his complete lack of response, to the Japanese attack by going missing in action for most of the first day of his war and in failing to give orders to bomb Formosa in accordance with the war plan. And, despite repeated requests from his air force commander, in failing to give any orders in relation to his air force until after he'd lost half of it on the ground despite the best efforts of his air force commander to keep his planes safe from ground attack. It says a lot about MacArthur, and none of it complimentary, that soon after they were both in Australia he sacked his air force commander and sent him out of the theatre. My impression is that this petty act was because MacArthur didn't want anyone around to contradict his propaganda about his (non-existent) brilliant defence of the Philippines.

None of this detracts from MacArthur's later successes (the real ones as distinct from his self-promoting press propaganda), but I can't think of any other Allied commander who was guilty of anything even approaching such incompetence and loss who ever commanded any battle formation again. I doubt that anyone on the Axis side did so either.

The biggest mystery for me is why our Prime Minister was so keen to have MacArthur down here as Allied commander. It's something I've researched at times but there is a gap in a detailed understanding of it which I suspect can be filled only by our Prime Minister, and his government, being desperate to have the Americans involved in our defence; being unaware of what a spectacular failure MacArthur really was in the Philippines; and Roosevelt being delighted to have MacArthur quarantined in the SWPA for the duration. In any other circumstances, MacArthur would and should have been relegated to the command of a training unit or something similar in a remote part of America, if not forced to retire.

I don't subscribe to the view that MacArthur deserted his Philippine force or left Wainright in the lurch by doing so, because MacArthur clearly resisted the original orders to leave. Nor do I subscribe to the view that MacArthur was cowardly in leaving the Philippines. He left because he was ordered to, and the purpose of those orders was to fulfil various longer term strategic and political aims of importance to America and Australia, which in the long term he did very well and often showed great personal courage in doing so, depsite the unfair epithet 'Dugout Doug'. But the fact remains that Wainright bore the odium of being the surrendering commander when, if MacArthur had been the military genius he presented himself as, Wainright would not have been put in such a parlous tactical and logistical position and, given the faltering Japanese advance in the closing stages, might have done significantly better than he was able to do.

I think that Wainright and Percival both bear the unfair burden of being responsible for surrendering their forces when they were put in an invidious position by those above them which pretty much guaranteed that they would be defeated by the generally better Japanese forces facing them.

Rising Sun*
08-12-2011, 09:26 AM
Yes , i remember that talk and i do agree with you the Parsival can't be ONLY the scapegoat. However the Malaya was lost , i'ts a fact , due to military incompetence of british command. whatever it was Churchil's operative blindness or lacks of locals officers. Japanes took Singapoore haveing almost TWICE lesser troops then defenders.

Agreed, but apart from Japanese troops being perhaps only about a third of British forces, there were many factors which favoured the Japanese and hampered the British apart from the political and tactical constraints preventing Percival from a proper response in the critical early stages of the Japanese landings, notably:

1. Percival had to defend widely separated airstrips in Malaya to deny them to the Japanese, which forced him into static defence and provisional / reserve defence of positions of no other tactical significance and most of which turned out not to be in the Japanese line of advance.

2. Unlike Percival, the Japanese had complete freedom of movement, which they cleverly enhanced with low-tech bicycle transport, which also enhanced their speed of advance.

3. The Japanese had ample air support. Percival had very little.

4. The Japanese had ample armour. Percival had none.

5. The Japanese troops were largely battle hardened from China. Percival's troops were not battle hardened.

Essentially, the Japanese were better trained, better experienced, generally better led at junior and senior levels, and better supported troops than the British and were able to dictate the pace and places of battle, and the Japanese duly won.


But i'm puzzled by the another thing - if the incompetence of Red Army in western historiography is explained purely by "Stalin's purges" or "fear of NKVD" or "fear by anything else" , then how does the historians explain the military impotence of Allied command for the first period of war in asia in general sense? Even in the Europe union western powers by the strange way lost such a giant territories for few month. I mean almost all the continental Europe had fall into GErmans hands for such a short period of war. I still inconceivably for me.

There's a lot there that is beyond me as I don't have the necessary depth of knowledge on the issues you've raised as Europe isn't my field of main interest, but as a general comment I suspect that it mightn't be much different to some elements which explain the Japanese successes: the Germans were better troops; better led at senior and junior levels; had greater mobility and flexibility of movement, and certainly in dealing with static defences in France, so the Germans were better able to dictate the pace and place of battles.

And then there's the big factor, which is luck, which nobody can predict or control. As von Clausewitz said, "No plan survives the first battle."

Rising Sun*
08-13-2011, 09:56 AM
OOOOOH!

Spooky!

I just landed on the first page of this thread by accident and found that two and a half years ago I was making the same points I made recently.

Which indicates that at least I'm consistent.

It comforts me that my knowledge is still intact, but it disturbs me that the same issues are still coming up in a thread which, as its title suggests, has almost unlimited scope for discussion.

Anyone want to widen the discussion on other aspects of Japanese military strength?

Nickdfresh
08-13-2011, 07:44 PM
...
2. Unlike Percival, the Japanese had complete freedom of movement, which they cleverly enhanced with low-tech bicycle transport, which also enhanced their speed of advance.

They also had a certain tactical "can-do!" attitude for over coming obstacles, which I think perhaps the British lacked. For instance, after bridges were blown in retreat, the Japanese still frustrated the British timetables for defense by using human bridges to quickly expedite their advance while Commonwealth forces were often still setting up a defense whilst assuming that it would take the IJA troops far longer to cross rivers. Then of course, the British never had an answer for the "Scorpion Manoeuvre" tactic of envelopment.


...
There's a lot there that is beyond me as I don't have the necessary depth of knowledge on the issues you've raised as Europe isn't my field of main interest, but as a general comment I suspect that it mightn't be much different to some elements which explain the Japanese successes: the Germans were better troops; better led at senior and junior levels; had greater mobility and flexibility of movement, and certainly in dealing with static defences in France, so the Germans were better able to dictate the pace and place of battles.

And then there's the big factor, which is luck, which nobody can predict or control. As von Clausewitz said, "No plan survives the first battle."

For the most part correct. I'm not sure overall the Heer was necessarily much better troop-wise--a large percentage of German soldiers were over 40 and the Heer too had large numbers of under-trained, poorly equipped soldiers--but the Germany Army certainly was better led tactically and strategically.

One of the often overlooked problems in the Fall of France was that French officers were trained to be sort of detached from the battle and to remain in rear bunkers, leading to massive systemic communications failures all the way from the top where Generalissimo Gamelin didn't even have a radio at his isolated HQ. This was based on experiences from WWI that officers often got killed at the front leaving formations of men leaderless and the premise that battles would be slow moving slogging matches, not battles of encirclement. It was also believed that this allowed them to remain more level-headed and logical whereas being in the middle of the carnage of battle would lead to rash, defeatist action. Not to mention that French generals spent a massively inordinate amount of time driving around looking for each other through traffic jams of refugees and fleeing troops. One can contrast this with the general attitude of the German officer corp where battlefield commanders suffered an inordinate number of casualties but whose actions on the spot often changed the course of the fighting and turned near catastrophe to victory.

Rommel's taking command on the Meuse crossing is one example of this where German troops were initially stunned by heavy French fire and heavy casualties causing some of the men to waffle. But Rommel's physical courage and ability to bring order out of chaos turned a very close-run thing. And yes, the Germans were very lucky as well as good, whereas the French were seemingly cursed..

Rising Sun*
08-14-2011, 08:13 AM
They also had a certain tactical "can-do!" attitude for over coming obstacles, which I think perhaps the British lacked.

Undoubtedly.

There was a 'press on' mentality in the Japanese in Malaya which was not countered in all the British forces by the necessary 'hold on and counter-attack' mentality, although elements of all nations in the British forces at times demonstrated the necessary determination (starting with Indians resisting the first landings) in defence but were let down by a lack of resolution elsewhere in their force and or were just overwhelmed by the speed and weight of the Japanese advance and infiltration tactics.

There was a degree of misconceived racial superiority among some in the British forces which led to over-confidence, which perhaps resulted in a negative over-reaction to defeats by the Japanese and helped to stimulate what at times was close to a rout in the retreat down Malaya.

It was never an 'equal' fight in the sense of two forces operating on more or less the same basis, as was the case with the British and Germans. For example, the Japanese crammed their troop transports with troops in ways the British would never have begun to imagine and so were able to land vastly larger forces in Malaya than the British could have done with the same ships. Once landed, the Japanese were outstanding in their ability to bring up support weapons, from heavy machine guns to mortars to artillery, to bear upon their defenders, which they did in Malaya and the advance phase in Papua which indicates that it was the result of sound training. The Japanese displayed an ingenuity lacking in the British forces in Malaya in dealing with various aspects of their advance, but perhaps none more striking and simple than using bicycles to speed their advance. A lucky byproduct of that was that the tyres didn't stand up to the conditions so the Japanese, again demonstrating their 'can do' attitude, tore off the tyres and proceeded, uncomfortably, on the rims which on at least one occasion caused noise which led the British troops to believe that Japanese tanks were advancing so they retreated. Much as I loathe the man, and even allowing perhaps for some misty-eyed memories of the devotion and sacrifice of Japanese troops, Tsujii's account of the Malayan campaign shows a devotion to duty and determination to overcome resistance which was not, and for cultural reasons probably could not have been, matched by the defenders.

There is a useful treatment of the Japanese lower and higher level tactics here http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA421611 albeit framed in academic terms for the author's purposes. The authors seem unaware of some factors which assisted the Japanese such as Churchill's determination to avoid Matador going into Thailand, thus giving the Japanese a free hand there and giving them the initiative, but it is still a good summary of the big picture.

royal744
10-07-2011, 06:12 PM
Well then, perhaps I can be forgiven if I have mentioned before that MacArthur personally prevented Wainright from receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor after the war. It didn't stick, however, and Congress later presented it to him anyway. Odious character that MacArthur.

Rising Sun*
10-08-2011, 10:00 AM
Well then, perhaps I can be forgiven if I have mentioned before that MacArthur personally prevented Wainright from receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor after the war. It didn't stick, however, and Congress later presented it to him anyway.

I didn't know about that. Do you have more information?

My understanding of MacArthur and Wainwright after the war was that MacArthur tried to be (can't think of an appropriate word - nice; pleasant; respectful - none of them work) to Wainwright by ensuring that he was present (much thinner and worse for wear than MacArthur after Wainwright's time in captivity, thanks to some degree to MacArthur's stuff-ups in the Philippines) at the surrender ceremony on the USS Missouri.

http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/s200000/s211872.jpg
Caption: General of the Army Douglas MacArthur signs the Instrument of Surrender, as Supreme Allied Commander, on board USS Missouri (BB-63), 2 September 1945. Behind him are Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright, U.S. Army, and Lieutenant General Sir Arthur E. Percival, British Army, both of whom had just been released from Japanese prison camps. http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/s200000/s211872.jpg


Odious character that MacArthur.

True, but like a lot of great men - and women - his bad characteristics were offset by some good ones.

On balance, I think he was (after presiding over his magnificent fiasco in losing the Philippines) a quite competent but not historically brilliant military commander. He never did well when faced with superior forces on their offensive. In the early stages he either went into a funk where he did nothing when faced with the offensive (Philippines - Day 1 of WWII) or panicked and demanded impossible actions by troops on battelfields he didn't understand but was rescued by junior commanders better than him and the usual luck in all wars (Kokoda and Buna). He didn't launch his offensive until he'd had the luxury of mostly Australian troops carrying the brunt of a long war in Papua New Guinea while he built up his forces and logistics as the Japanese were worn down into often pathetically starving and diseased forces by actions by Australian troops and actions outside his SWPA command as the USN and others cut off the lines of communication to the Japanese forces spread throughout the island chain to MacArthur's north.

His early grasp of public relations combined with his personal conceit, and Sutherland as his energetic bum boy, allowed him to project himself as one of the historically great commanders while cynically ignoring everyone else who contributed to 'his' successes.

That lasting public impression is testament to his and Sutherland's careful manipulation of the press etc, but it carefully avoids the many flaws in his conduct and character.

All that said, I still think he was an inspirational leader at a time when Australia, and to a lesser extent America, badly needed one in the face of Japan's relentless southward advance. In early 1942 that was rather more to do with his oratory than his recent military successes as a commander (there being none of the latter until 1944), but the same can be said of Churchill whose interference in military operations in two world wars contradicts his own view of himself as a great strategist and commander but it remains that Churchill's clear eyed view of what needed to be done in the big picture was correct despite, like MacArthur, his many failings at more detailed levels.

muscogeemike
10-08-2011, 07:53 PM
I’m a late comer to this thread and really do not have any new insight into the subject - other than I’ve often wondered how much racism played into the early defeats of the W. Powers.
To what extent were white Eropeans unable to seriously consider a “colored” Asian race defeating them?

Maybe American, British, Dutch, and the other W. Sr. Officers should have paid more attention to an incident during the Chinese Boxer Rebellion in 1900. The small Japanese force of one officer and 24 sailors commanded by Colonel Shiba (defending the Foreign Compound in Peking) distinguished itself in several ways. It had the almost unique distinction of suffering greater than 100 percent casualties. This was possible because a great many of the Japanese troops were wounded, entered into the casualty lists, then returned to the line of battle only to be wounded once more and again entered in the casualty lists.

Rising Sun*
10-09-2011, 08:29 AM
I’ve often wondered how much racism played into the early defeats of the W. Powers.
To what extent were white Eropeans unable to seriously consider a “colored” Asian race defeating them?

To such a significant extent among some British leaders that they discounted Japanese troops and equipment as hopelessly inferior to their British counterparts, and thus failed to make proper preparation for an enemy which had shown in China that they were effective, relentless and brutal troops.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham was the British Commander in Chief Far East from November 1940 until November 1941 when he was replaced by Major General Sir Henry Royds Pownall, although Brooke-Popham remained in charge for a few weeks afterwards while Pownall headed east so Brooke-Popham was effectively the Commander in Chief Far East in the lead up to Japan's attack on Malaya. The first full paragraph here http://books.google.com.au/books?id=xLzaWFbT7BYC&pg=PT26&dq=brooke-popham+%22I+had+a+good+close+up%22&hl=en&ei=SXqRTtf4CIidmQXxj-QJ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=brooke-popham%20%22I%20had%20a%20good%20close%20up%22&f=false exemplifies Brooke-Popham's unfounded contempt for the Japanese as an enemy. See also the third paragraph for another example of a similar attitude.

Brooke-Popham also thought that the Brewster Buffalo was more than adequate against any Japanese planes, despite reports in January 1941 about the effectiveness in China of the Type 96 IJN fighter, which was a forerunner of the Zero. His opinion was not borne out in action. For example, Buffalos were involved in the defence of Midway Island in June 1942.


The Marines shot down and damaged several Japanese bombers before the escorting Zero fighters struck viciously. The Marine fighters were not only heavily outnumbered, but completely outclassed by the faster and more agile Zeros. In quick succession, sixteen Buffalos and Wildcats were sent plummeting into the sea. http://www.pacificwar.org.au/Midway/Midway_air_defence.html

In response to the January 1941 reports about the Zero forerunner’s effectiveness in China, in February 1941 the chief of Australia’s air staff, Sir Charles Burnett who was a Briton on secondment to the RAAF, assured the Australian War Cabinet (we had been at war from the commencement of hostilities between Britain and Germany in 1939) that the Australian Wirraway fighter was adequate to deal with any advanced Japanese fighter planes over Australia in the unlikely event that any actually came here. Quite a lot came here a year after Burnett’s assurance when a Japanese attack on Darwin utilised about the same number of aircraft as were used at Pearl Harbor, while Wirraways were found badly wanting when they actually encountered Zeros.


By the time the war began the RAAF owned seven Wirraways. They would later prove to be greatly outmatched by the Japanese aircraft models, in early 1942 eight Wirraways were Rabaul's main air defence against a raid of 100 Japanese aircraft. Even though there were generally poor results when Wirraways engaged the Japanese aircraft, a Wirraway did manage to down a Zero near Gona in 1942. http://ww2db.com/aircraft_spec.php?aircraft_model_id=245

On 13 November 1941, barely three weeks before Japan attacked Malaya, General Archibald Wavell (having been sacked as commander in the Middle East and appointed Commander in Chief India) wrote to Brooke-Popham saying “Personally I should be most doubtful if the Japs ever tried to make an attack on Malaya, and I am sure they will get [it] in the neck if they do.” http://books.google.com.au/books?id=xLzaWFbT7BYC&pg=PT41&dq=wavell+brooke-popham+%22I+should+be+most+doubtful+if+the+Japs%22&hl=en&ei=B4iRTqXUO-rvmAX0yZkL&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=wavell%20brooke-popham%20%22I%20should%20be%20most%20doubtful%20if %20the%20Japs%22&f=false

Not all British or British Commonwealth political and military leaders at any level necessarily shared the same opinions, but enough did to allow them to think they were not facing the formidable foe they actually faced.

At the other end of the picture, in Malaya in 1941 a senior British officer lectured Australian troops on the Japanese, describing them in terms that they were bespectacled little men incapable of defeating British Commonwealth forces. After he left an Australian officer instructed the troops along the lines “Ignore everything that stupid bastard said and don’t underestimate the Japs.” (I think I posted a more accurate version of that event quite some time ago when it was fresher in my mind, but I don’t know where it might be.)

The British weren’t unique in their dismissive views of the Japanese. Many Australians suffered from the same attitude, as did many Americans, but I suspect that the misconception might have been worse in the British because their colonial experience in India, Malaya, China and Hong Kong reinforced from personal experience and wider imperial arrogance an attitude of racial superiority towards Asians. Then again, if one looks at the pre-war history of American attitudes towards the Japanese and especially in California it’s debatable whether the British were any worse in their belief in Japanese inferiority.


Maybe American, British, Dutch, and the other W. Sr. Officers should have paid more attention to an incident during the Chinese Boxer Rebellion in 1900. The small Japanese force of one officer and 24 sailors commanded by Colonel Shiba (defending the Foreign Compound in Peking) distinguished itself in several ways. It had the almost unique distinction of suffering greater than 100 percent casualties. This was possible because a great many of the Japanese troops were wounded, entered into the casualty lists, then returned to the line of battle only to be wounded once more and again entered in the casualty lists.

Or the Russo-Japanese war some 35 years before WWII where Japan shocked the world by defeating a major European power, or Japan's activities in China since 1933.

On a different aspect of the same issue of contempt for the Japanese, I think that Japan's stupendous victories all over Asia in a few months had a doubly great impact on Allied morale because it was so unexpected and it made the Allies realise that they had been outclassed by a supposed inferior.

royal744
10-20-2011, 07:01 PM
[QUOTE=Rising Sun*;180649]To such a significant extent among some British leaders that they discounted Japanese troops and equipment as hopelessly inferior to their British counterparts, and thus failed to make proper preparation for an enemy which had shown in China that they were effective, relentless and brutal troops.


Of course racism played a part. The attack on Pearl Harbor only reinforced the stereotype of the "sneaky Japanese" (true), but this flew in the face of an earlier stereotype of the Japanese as a "small doll-like people with bad eyes" (untrue) who, unaccountably, according to this latter stereotype, had conducted an unbelievably brutal atrocity in its attack on Nanking, which event did not get much publicity in the West at the time. The Americans quickly learned just how tough and intractable the Japanese were and did not underestimate them for long since the cost could be one's life.

Carl Schwamberger
11-07-2011, 10:35 AM
Came back to this thread by accident after several years. Dont have time to wade though all the pages to find the good parts, but this caught my eye...


Yes , i remember that talk and i do agree with you the Parsival can't be ONLY the scapegoat. However the Malaya was lost , i'ts a fact , due to military incompetence of british command. whatever it was Churchil's operative blindness or lacks of locals officers. Japanes took Singapoore haveing almost TWICE lesser troops then defenders.
But i'm puzzled by the another thing - if the incompetence of Red Army in western historiography is explained purely by "Stalin's purges" or "fear of NKVD" or "fear by anything else" , then how does the historians explain the military impotence of Allied command for the first period of war in asia in general sense? Even in the Europe union western powers by the strange way lost such a giant territories for few month. I mean almost all the continental Europe had fall into GErmans hands for such a short period of war. I still inconceivably for me.

The question of why the Axis nations were able to conquor so much with seeminingly little efort is a legitamate question. It of course has been asked in detail many many times. ie; The Fall of France, conquest of Norway, Balkans/Crete campaign, Maylasia, Burma, Phillipines are all oft discussed seperately. A discussion searching for a unified causual theory, or perhaps more practical a comparative study discussion could be worth the effort. If anyone starts one please let me know I like to help get it off the ground.

Rising Sun*
11-08-2011, 07:50 AM
The question of why the Axis nations were able to conquor so much with seeminingly little efort is a legitamate question. It of course has been asked in detail many many times. ie; The Fall of France, conquest of Norway, Balkans/Crete campaign, Maylasia, Burma, Phillipines are all oft discussed seperately. A discussion searching for a unified causual theory, or perhaps more practical a comparative study discussion could be worth the effort. If anyone starts one please let me know I like to help get it off the ground.


Sounds like an interesting topic I'd like to discuss, but I'm not sure what aspects you'd like to pursue.

Would you like to start a thread to outline the areas of interest to you?

muscogeemike
11-08-2011, 11:19 AM
I would be intersted in this thread as well - I think that WWI and its immediate aftereffects would play a significant part.

royal744
11-22-2011, 11:34 AM
I didn't know about that. Do you have more information?

My understanding of MacArthur and Wainwright after the war was that MacArthur tried to be (can't think of an appropriate word - nice; pleasant; respectful - none of them work) to Wainwright by ensuring that he was present (much thinner and worse for wear than MacArthur after Wainwright's time in captivity, thanks to some degree to MacArthur's stuff-ups in the Philippines) at the surrender ceremony on the USS Missouri.


Yes, RS, Wainwright was there, as were many imprisoned general officers and MacArthur was courteous to each of them to a fault. This did not prevent the owner of his towering ego from putting a roadblock between Wainwright and the Congressional Medal of Honor. As the awardee of the same medal (and his father won one too), perhaps he was galled that a defeated general should be so honored as well. As I said, his intransigence was not successful.

Rising Sun*
11-22-2011, 06:07 PM
As the awardee of the same medal (and his father won one too), perhaps he was galled that a defeated general should be so honored as well.

MacArthur was a defeated general in the Philippines, too. He just happened not to be there at the surrender of his forces.

Unlike Wainwright in captivity 1942-45, MacArthur built himself up through remorseless personal propaganda so that his later successes obscured his profound incompetence, worse than Percival's in Malaya given their respective resources and circumstances, in the Philippines in 1941-42.

muscogeemike
12-01-2011, 11:04 PM
MacArthur was a defeated general in the Philippines, too. He just happened not to be there at the surrender of his forces.

Unlike Wainwright in captivity 1942-45, MacArthur built himself up through remorseless personal propaganda so that his later successes obscured his profound incompetence, worse than Percival's in Malaya given their respective resources and circumstances, in the Philippines in 1941-42.

I agree that MacArthur is overrated - but you’ve got to give him credit for Inchon.

Rising Sun*
12-02-2011, 05:32 AM
I agree that MacArthur is overrated - but you’ve got to give him credit for Inchon.

I'd give him credit for a lot more than that. Although I think he was driven by personal ambition and conceit, as amply demonstrated by his contol of the press and steady stream of personal propaganda which was at times an outright lie in placing him at the battlefront in the early part of the Papuan and New Guinea campaigns, he was a very much better commander on the offensive (admittedly with the advantage of sound resources) when the tide turned against Japan than he was on the defensive in the opening months of the war.

The wartime American perspective on him would be rather different to the Australian one. Down here, he arrived and was presented to us in the face of the remorseless Japanese advance towards us as the hero who would save us (despite having stuffed up the defence of the Philippines, which was conveniently overlooked then and usually now in popular opinion). He was inspirational in that capacity. Like Churchill, his inspirational capacity was not matched by perfection as a military commander, but each landed on their stage at a critical moment and by force of personality and oratory inspired people to follow them to victory, regardless of the dire circumstances each faced.

Like most great men, and women, his real life didn't live up to the popular image, but it doesn't detract from him being the architect of some great achievements against the Japanese. Even if he was a mammoth p rick in some other respects.

royal744
12-13-2011, 04:09 PM
Like most great men, and women, his real life didn't live up to the popular image, but it doesn't detract from him being the architect of some great achievements against the Japanese. Even if he was a mammoth p rick in some other respects.

History is littered with great military geniuses who were numb nuts in other domains. The list is long, but it might be fun to see how many we can come up with.