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Thread: Biggest mistakes.

  1. #31
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    They simply didn't listen to Gen. Chennault on how to combat the Japanse airforces. With that knowledge the HUGE losses we sustained for the first six months fighting the Japanse would not have happened.

    They didn't ask Charles Lindbergh how he got the range out of his airplane. With that knowledge they could have had fighter escort in the ETO from day one.

    And all because of EGO. Not Chennault's, not Lindbergh's, but the top brass in the military.

    Deaf
    “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality” Ayn Rand

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
    They simply didn't listen to Gen. Chennault on how to combat the Japanse airforces. With that knowledge the HUGE losses we sustained for the first six months fighting the Japanse would not have happened.
    This is mostly a myth.

    There were aviation officers in the US Armed Forces who believed that Chennault's intelligence report unduly exaggerated the capabilities of the Japanese fighters, which it did to a certain extent, but plenty of US airmen read the report and started thinking about tactics to counter superior Japanese fighters.

    Chennault's report circulated among naval officers in February, 1941. My father, who was then a USN carrier pilot, claimed he read it and discussed it with his colleagues. Also, John Thach, another USN carrier pilot is quoted in "Fire In The Sky", by Eric Bergerude, as having read Chennault's report and giving it serious thought. Thach credits the report with causing him to think up tactics which resulted in better results against the Japanese than otherwise would have been the case. It was one of the reasons that many US air units adopted the "Finger-four" fighter formation before the outbreak of war.

    The air losses the US sustained in early fighting against Japanese air forces were largely due to obsolete aircraft, inexperienced pilots, and planning staff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
    They didn't ask Charles Lindbergh how he got the range out of his airplane. With that knowledge they could have had fighter escort in the ETO from day one.

    And all because of EGO. Not Chennault's, not Lindbergh's, but the top brass in the military.

    Deaf
    It was not as simple as that and really had nothing to do with ego. The reason the USAAF did not develop long range fighter escorts before the war was because the bomber cult wanted all funding to into bomber development and did not want to admit that strategic bombers needed escorts;

    "Yet bomber advocates wanted no competitors for funds and influence and sought to keep Chennault's followers in their place. The worst self-inflicted wound centered around fighter escort. Some bomber advocates (probably most) believed escort was unnecessary altogether....The idea that fighters should be designed to possess great range of their own was considered a threat to the whole bomber doctrine, because if escort was required then the implication was that fighters were a threat and bombers not invincible. Therefore the Air Corps simply forbade the development of long-range fighters. Although auxiliary drop tanks were already in use in the 1920's, they were banned in the 1930's....the Navy never made such a mistake..."

    "Fire In The Sky", Eric Bergerude, page 234.

  3. #33
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
    They simply didn't listen to Gen. Chennault on how to combat the Japanse airforces. With that knowledge the HUGE losses we sustained for the first six months fighting the Japanse would not have happened.

    They didn't ask Charles Lindbergh how he got the range out of his airplane. With that knowledge they could have had fighter escort in the ETO from day one.

    And all because of EGO. Not Chennault's, not Lindbergh's, but the top brass in the military.

    Deaf
    I agree that Chennault was ignored and this resulted in many more casualties than may have been incurred otherwise, the success of the AVG proves his tactical theories were valid. But I not so sure of his strategic views. Gen Chennault’s over reliance on Air Power resulted in his losing ground , men, bases and aircraft when the Japanese conducted offensives in 1944 and 1945. Despite his efforts when the war ended the Japanese still held a great part of China.
    Even if the US had heeded Chennault’s tactical advise there is no reason to assume that the British would have. Greg Boynton (Ba Ba Blacksheep) related that British commanders in Burma threatened their pilots with punishment if they used the same tactics as the AVG.
    In the first six months after Pear Harbor I think the superiority of Japanese Equipment and training would have overcome what resistance we could provide, especially in the air, no matter what tactics we used.
    As to Charles Lindbergh he was persona no grata due to his pro-Nazi activities prior to the war. But he was later consulted and he went to the Pacific where he flew combat missions (may have even shot down Japanese planes).

    There are times when the only choices you have are bad ones.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    My father was wounded in Market Garden with the 506th.
    He was repaired and reissued to the 506th before the bulge.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    Mistakes in WWII

    Mistakes b the US in the Pacific - I can think of two prior to the War:
    1. The decision to move the Pacific Fleet to Pearl Harbor. If the capital ships had remained dispersed along the W. Coast, at the very least, the Japanese would have had a much harder task and the probability of success would have been much lower. At best they would not have risked the attack.
    2. Poor logistical planning by Gen McAuther and his staff. Huge amounts of supplies, of all types, were destroyed by the Allies because the material could not be transported. If these supplies would have been available to the US and Philippine forces on the Bataan Peninsula the course of the war might well have been altered. I have read the Japanese were about tapped out when Gen Wainwight surrendered.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by muscogeemike View Post
    Mistakes in WWII

    Mistakes b the US in the Pacific - I can think of two prior to the War:
    1. The decision to move the Pacific Fleet to Pearl Harbor. If the capital ships had remained dispersed along the W. Coast, at the very least, the Japanese would have had a much harder task and the probability of success would have been much lower. At best they would not have risked the attack.
    If keeping the Pacific Fleet from being attacked by the Japanese had been the primary aim, moving it to the Atlantic would have guaranteed it's complete safety and would have made more sense. But that was not the primary objective. Moving the Pacific Fleet's base to Oahu can only be considered a mistake in the narrowest tactical sense; it was more of a calculated risk with unforeseen results that paid off handsomely for Roosevelt.

    Roosevelt was certainly aware of the risk; Admiral J.O. Richardson, the Pacific Fleet commander, was very vociferous about that matter, but Roosevelt had also read Mahan and knew that a fleet that couldn't be put to occasional risk was useless, and given that certain defensive steps could, and should, have been taken, the risk was judged minimal. Ultimately, the move forced the Japanese to take an action that meant it could not pursue it's strategy for ending the war successfully; in effect, the Japanese lost the war on the morning of December 7, 1941.

    Quote Originally Posted by muscogeemike View Post
    2. Poor logistical planning by Gen McAuther and his staff. Huge amounts of supplies, of all types, were destroyed by the Allies because the material could not be transported. If these supplies would have been available to the US and Philippine forces on the Bataan Peninsula the course of the war might well have been altered. I have read the Japanese were about tapped out when Gen Wainwight surrendered.
    It wasn't just poor logistical staff work by MacArthur's staff that caused the problem; it was much worse. The original plan had been to fortify and prepare the Bataan peninsula as a fallback position where the US forces could hold out for an extended period of time while awaiting rescue. The plan called for field fortifications and supply dumps with enough food, ammo, fuel, and medical supplies to last for many months.

    However, MacArthur did not like the plan because he felt it was "defeatist". MacArthur believed that he could use his troops in a battle of of maneuver to successfully defend Luzon. Accordingly, he asked Marshall for permission to ignore the Army's long-standing defense plan; Marshall gave his permission. MacArthur, however, badly overestimated his own abilities and completely underestimated the abilities of his opponents; this was especially true of his airpower which he allowed to be almost completely destroyed on the ground in the first twenty-four hours of the campaign.

    By the time MacArthur was willing to admit his mistake, there was little time to either fortify Bataan or move the required supplies. Poor staff work did play a role as thousands of tons of food and other supplies were left in warehouses to be either bombed or captured by the Japanese. In fact, MacArthur's troops were barely able to get onto the Bataan peninsula with their artillery and an ammo reserve; food, fuel for their vehicles, and medical supplies were grievously short. The resulting battle was lost due more than anything to hunger and lack of ammo, and resulted in many American and Filipino POW's dying of malnutrition because they were already suffering from it when they were captured.

    Whether or not a more timely and better planned move to the Bataan peninsula would have significantly altered the war is highly speculative. True, the American and Filipino troops probably would have held out longer, but they were serving no useful strategic purpose, and were simply an annoyance to the Japanese. The Japanese could easily have afforded to wait for reinforcement and resupply before launching any final offensive against Bataan. On the other hand, there was little chance of even well-supplied troops holding out on Bataan until the Americans could launch a successful counter-offensive.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    Whether or not a more timely and better planned move to the Bataan peninsula would have significantly altered the war is highly speculative. True, the American and Filipino troops probably would have held out longer, but they were serving no useful strategic purpose, and were simply an annoyance to the Japanese. The Japanese could easily have afforded to wait for reinforcement and resupply before launching any final offensive against Bataan. On the other hand, there was little chance of even well-supplied troops holding out on Bataan until the Americans could launch a successful counter-offensive.
    Even with MacArthur's consistently botched defence, the Japanese eventually stalled in the Philippines in attempting to reduce the Filipino/American forces in what the Japanese intended to be the final phase.

    While a range of factors not exclusively attributable to the defence caused this, it remains that if MacArthur had been stronger, in the sense of being better supplied by better planning and execution, in those defensive positions he might have been able to exploit the weaknesses of the stalled Japanese.

    The 14th Army was indeed, as Homma remarked at his trial in Manila four years later, "in very bad shape." Altogether Homma had in his army at that time, he estimated, only three infantry battalions capable of effective action. Had MacArthur chosen that moment to launch a large-scale counterattack, Homma told the Military Tribunal which sentenced his to death, the American and Filipino troops could have walked to Manila "without encountering much resistance on our part."
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/...A-P-PI-19.html

    Such a turnaround at that early stage of the war would have had a huge morale effect on the Filipino / American forces in the Philippines and upon Allied forces and peoples more widely.

    More importantly, the failure to control the Philippines would have been crucial for Japan, opening the risk of American land, sea and air forces being able to operate in the centre of Japan's recent conquests.

    Most probably this would have led to Japan concentrating forces on the Philippines, but in turn this would have altered future operations because of the diversion of Japan's relatively meagre southward advance forces to the Philippines.

    If it took Japan another six months or so to win in the Philippines, assuming it won, that probably would have resulted in the Guadalcanal and Papua campaigns not occurring, not least because the difficulties in the Philippines might have been an antidote to the 'victory disease' which led to those ambitious eastward thrusts.

    As you say, it's all speculative and nobody can be certain what effect it would have had on the future conduct of the war, but if MacArthur had been sufficiently adventurous to strike (with better supplied forces than he had) when Homma's forces were weakest it would certainly have been a potential tipping point in the early phase, and perhaps longer term phases, of Japan's war.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Even with MacArthur's consistently botched defence, the Japanese eventually stalled in the Philippines in attempting to reduce the Filipino/American forces in what the Japanese intended to be the final phase.

    While a range of factors not exclusively attributable to the defence caused this, it remains that if MacArthur had been stronger, in the sense of being better supplied by better planning and execution, in those defensive positions he might have been able to exploit the weaknesses of the stalled Japanese.
    It is extremely unlikely that MacArthur's troops, even with the benefit of all of the supplies originally available to them on Luzon, could have launched any kind of successful counter-offensive once they had withdrawn to Bataan. It must be remembered that the Japanese enjoyed complete control of the sea and air. Any American counter-offensive on Luzon would have been road-bound, and at the mercy of Japanese air attack. Moreover, MacArthur had already declared Manila an "open city", and there was no place for his troops to go; there was no objective more defensible than Bataan which they already occupied.

    As your own source states;

    "What the proponents of a general counteroffensive failed to consider was the fact that a local victory could not change the strategic situation in the Philippines. So long as the Japanese controlled the sea and air MacArthur's forces would be unable to gain a decisive victory. Even if they fought their way back to Abucay, Layac, or Manila, they would ultimately have to retire to Bataan again, for the Japanese could reinforce at will.

    The effort required for a general offensive might well have jeopardized the primary mission of the Philippine garrison--to hold Manila Bay as long as possible. To accomplish this task it was necessary to conserve carefully all human and material resources....Moreover, the advance, if it proved successful, would bring additional problems: it would lengthen the front line, increase the area to be defended and the line of communication, leave exposed beaches to the rear, and greatly complicate an already difficult supply situation. It was for these reasons that all proposals for an offensive, while feasible tactically and desirable for reasons on morale, were strategically unsound."


    http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/newr...reply&p=172330

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Such a turnaround at that early stage of the war would have had a huge morale effect on the Filipino / American forces in the Philippines and upon Allied forces and peoples more widely.

    More importantly, the failure to control the Philippines would have been crucial for Japan, opening the risk of American land, sea and air forces being able to operate in the centre of Japan's recent conquests.
    Yes, Allied morale would have improved temporarily and Japanese morale would have suffered. But no counter-offensive by MacArthur's troops, no matter how well it was supplied locally, nor how successful it might have proved, could have total Japanese control of the sea and air surrounding the Philippines. For that reason, any counter-offensive was doomed from the start. Any local success by MacArthur on Luzon would not have substantially upset the Japanese timetable for the conquest of the Southern Resources Area (SRA).

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Most probably this would have led to Japan concentrating forces on the Philippines, but in turn this would have altered future operations because of the diversion of Japan's relatively meagre southward advance forces to the Philippines.
    The conquest of Luzon was not critical to the Japanese as long as they could neutralize the American air and sea forces on Luzon and prevent any disruption in their communications with the SRA. This had already been accomplished in early December, 1941. Rather than diverting forces from their offensive in the NEI, the Japanese would have probably shipped a fresh division from Manchuria or north China since the Soviet Union was preoccupied with the German attack and posed no real threat to Japan's position in northern Asia.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    If it took Japan another six months or so to win in the Philippines, assuming it won, that probably would have resulted in the Guadalcanal and Papua campaigns not occurring, not least because the difficulties in the Philippines might have been an antidote to the 'victory disease' which led to those ambitious eastward thrusts.

    As you say, it's all speculative and nobody can be certain what effect it would have had on the future conduct of the war, but if MacArthur had been sufficiently adventurous to strike (with better supplied forces than he had) when Homma's forces were weakest it would certainly have been a potential tipping point in the early phase, and perhaps longer term phases, of Japan's war.
    I think it's a stretch to assert that the Japanese thrusts into New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago was due to "victory disease". After all, Rabaul was seized by the Japanese beginning in January, 1942, and the operation was planned before the Japanese had even made their main landings on Luzon. The seizure of Lae-Salamaua was begun in early March before MacArthur left the Philippines. Clearly, the Japanese did not attach a great deal of significance to the American stand on Bataan or the other Philippine islands, nor were their later assaults predicated on complete victory in the Philippines.

  9. #39
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    Not making a greater effort to interdict the Axis withdrawl from Siclly, or Sardinia for that matter. Despite reading a half dozen books on the Sicillian & Italian campaigns it is still not clear to me why this was not planned for from the start.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Schwamberger View Post
    Not making a greater effort to interdict the Axis withdrawl from Siclly, or Sardinia for that matter. Despite reading a half dozen books on the Sicillian & Italian campaigns it is still not clear to me why this was not planned for from the start.
    They should have listened to Patton

  11. #41
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    Default Re: Biggest mistakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Schwamberger View Post
    Not making a greater effort to interdict the Axis withdrawl from Siclly, or Sardinia for that matter. Despite reading a half dozen books on the Sicillian & Italian campaigns it is still not clear to me why this was not planned for from the start.
    I agree. From what I've read, it seemed the Allies were not dissimilar to the Germans in their seeming view prior to the British evacuation of Dunkirk: that Allied relative air superiority and naval supremacy would seriously inhibit the transfer of German arms and troops to the mainland. And that perhaps the assumption was that the German maritime capabilities were more limited than they actually were? Unfortunately, it seems the reverse was true...

    But then again, some have made the case that the over emphasis on the entire Italian Campaign was itself a major Allied blunder...
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 12-15-2010 at 01:54 PM.

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