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Thread: Japanese Military Strength

  1. #16
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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by DavisC12 View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    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!
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  3. #18
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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by herman2 View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    ...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...

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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by herman2 View Post
    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.
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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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".

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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    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

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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    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/nichi...up/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
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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    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/nichi...up/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...

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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    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/nichi...up/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

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    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.

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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View 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.
    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...

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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Wizard; 01-14-2010 at 11:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    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

  14. #29
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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    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...

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    Default Re: Japanese Military Strength

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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".

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    ...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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.....

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