Armchair General: Iwo Jima

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Aesop
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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by Aesop » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:34 am

Which is why I still say, gas the f**k out of it, and we're up by 20,000:0.
Quickest victory, no friendly casualties (or so few as to be inconsequential), the fleet free and at large, and no targets for kamikaze strikes.
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Jericho941
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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by Jericho941 » Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:51 am

MarkD wrote:My Dad earned a silver Star on Iwo. Just tossing that out there.

Hindsight is always 20/20. They expected it to be a cakewalk. It wasn't. Once they landed they had to take it. Intel notwithstanding, once you put the marines ashore you need to take the island.

Knowing then what we know now of course we might have done things differently. Nobody wanted to kill 6,000 marines and wound another 20,000. But they didn't know. They thkught t it was lightly defended and had a nice airfield we could use. They hadn't experienced the kind of defense the japs would use from then on, including if we'd invaded the home islands.

So imagine we bypassed Iwo jima. And maybe okinawa too. Then would we have dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Or would we have invaded and suffered a million more casualties?
It would take someone with better available info than I to answer this conclusively. However. I think it's worth considering that we're looking at the island battles with the benefit of hindsight, and not conferring the same for what came after. For example, instead of fighting to the last for those islands, imagine how much more panic-inducing the threat of Allied invasion would've been when they reach you that much faster.

Greg
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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by Greg » Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:58 am

MiddleAgedKen wrote:
JustinR wrote:Ok, let me clarify what I meant here.

Let's say you bypass invading Iwo Jima. Why can't carrier-based fighters launch to rendezvous with the B-29 formations and provide the same fighter escort that the P-51's did, and then return to their carriers?
Carrier fighters are pretty short-legged compared to P-51s, if memory serves (caveat: it may not). I'd also want to look at the service ceilings of F6Fs and F4Us (and more to the point, performance at altitude) before commenting further. B29s operated waaaaaay up there. :)
Yes, those carriers would have to be on station rather close to the home islands.

In the immortal words of Sallah (from RotLA) "Very dangerous. You go first."

Note, we didn't really like to keep our carriers on station to cover amphibious attacks, left them too vulnerable. And that was far from the home islands, where the Japanese were isolated with crappy logistics, and after (we had a policy of doing this) we had not only raided and brutally suppressed nearby airfields, but all the other airfields within reinforcing range of the nearby airfields.
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JustinR
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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by JustinR » Thu Feb 04, 2016 3:46 pm

I saw this on Facebook this morning, and is worth watching in it's entirety.

https://archive.org/details/TheLastBomb1945
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Vonz90
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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by Vonz90 » Fri Feb 05, 2016 1:56 am

Carrier raids on the Japanese mainline started in February '45, so it was certainly feasible from that point forward.

On the other hand, my point is that Iwo Jima screamed to be bypassed. If you want to take an island for an airbase, either take one that is easy to take (which they thought would be Iwo) or take one with enough strategic value to warrant the effort. Which was not Iwo.

Bypass it, if you can't find one easy to take, then take Okinawa earlier. Okinawa was important as a jumping point into the mainland and also provided the same (actually better) situation for airfields.

If you want to take some lightly defended island for an airbase, make sure it is lightly defended.

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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by Greg » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:12 am

Vonz90 wrote:Carrier raids on the Japanese mainline started in February '45, so it was certainly feasible from that point forward.
There's a major difference between a raid, and being on station.

The one is in and out quickly enough that you face only local resistance - from what's there, at that moment. That's important.

If you want to use carrier aircraft to escort B-29 raids, you're going to have to position yourself in a relatively constrained area, over and over, for a long period of time. That kind of predictability makes your life much more dangerous. (Aside from all the other problems previously mentioned.)
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Sanity is the process by which you continually adjust your beliefs so they are predictively sound. -esr

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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by Greg » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:16 am

Vonz90 wrote:
On the other hand, my point is that Iwo Jima screamed to be bypassed. If you want to take an island for an airbase, either take one that is easy to take (which they thought would be Iwo) or take one with enough strategic value to warrant the effort. Which was not Iwo.

If you want to take some lightly defended island for an airbase, make sure it is lightly defended.
On the whole, the argument for bypassing Iwo is that they should have acted as if they knew something that they did not, in fact, know.

It boils down to 'they were wrong about it being lightly defended'. OK then.
Maybe we're just jaded, but your villainy is not particularly impressive. -Ennesby

If you know what you're doing, you're not learning anything. -Unknown
Sanity is the process by which you continually adjust your beliefs so they are predictively sound. -esr

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mekender
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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by mekender » Fri Feb 05, 2016 7:41 am

Greg wrote:
Vonz90 wrote:Carrier raids on the Japanese mainline started in February '45, so it was certainly feasible from that point forward.
There's a major difference between a raid, and being on station.

The one is in and out quickly enough that you face only local resistance - from what's there, at that moment. That's important.

If you want to use carrier aircraft to escort B-29 raids, you're going to have to position yourself in a relatively constrained area, over and over, for a long period of time. That kind of predictability makes your life much more dangerous. (Aside from all the other problems previously mentioned.)
The practice of having carriers on station for combat operations was not one that was used very often during WWII I believe...
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D5CAV
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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by D5CAV » Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:45 am

Vonz90 wrote: Bombard and bypass. They had no offensive capability away from the island. We did it to provide a drop off base for damaged B-29's coming back from the Japan. Very much not worth is as we lost more lives taking it than we gained from having the airfield.
Agree, but I'd save the ammo and forget about bombard.

The Japanese had no way to continue supplying that island with what little naval power they had left.

Leave a couple of subs and an escort carrier to interdict any supply ships that try to get close and continue on

20,000 men on a desert island get hungry pretty fast.

As Patton said, "Fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man."

Unfortunately for the soldiers who had to fight and die on Iwo Jima, Patton wasn't in charge, just another stupid man with a very well politically connected mother.
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Vonz90
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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by Vonz90 » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:36 pm

Greg wrote:
Vonz90 wrote:
On the other hand, my point is that Iwo Jima screamed to be bypassed. If you want to take an island for an airbase, either take one that is easy to take (which they thought would be Iwo) or take one with enough strategic value to warrant the effort. Which was not Iwo.

If you want to take some lightly defended island for an airbase, make sure it is lightly defended.
On the whole, the argument for bypassing Iwo is that they should have acted as if they knew something that they did not, in fact, know.

It boils down to 'they were wrong about it being lightly defended'. OK then.
If this was and isolated incident, then maybe.

Except that they used the same methods to estimate the Japanese force that time and again proved to vastly underestimate the level of Japanese forces on different islands. At this point, when you made the same mistake dozens of times over the course of 3+ years, it is past the normal fortunes of war and well into general screw up territory.

Short answer was that did not do their due diligence before they committed a bunch of lives to a major battle. There are times when that is necessary, but by that point we were fully in possession of the initiative so there was no particular reason not to make sure you know what you need know first.

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