Armchair General: Iwo Jima

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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by randy » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:50 pm

MiddleAgedKen wrote: B29s operated waaaaaay up there. :)
Actually, not in this context. When LeMay took over XXth AF one of the changes he made (along with stripping weapons and armor from the B-29's and having them go in at night) was to deliver firebombs from comparatively low altitude (10,000 ft or lower).

Altitude restrictions would not have been an issue for USN carrier borne fighters, but extensive night operations might have been. In addition to the previously posted concerns about keeping your Carrier TF inside a constrained predictable box.
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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by Langenator » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:29 pm

mekender wrote:
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...
There were two times when the carriers had to remain offshore of an island/landing area for extended periods of time, both to provide air cover for troops ashore and to provide close air support.

The first was at Leyte, due to the fact that, even though the U.S. had controlled the Philippines for 40+ years and GEN MacArthur had actually been stationed on Leyte as a Lt., the engineers' predictions as to the suitability of the terrain for the construction of airfields was very, very wrong, which greatly delayed getting airfields built so land-based planes could take over the job.

The second was Okinawa.
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Re: Armchair General: Iwo Jima

Post by Greg » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:23 pm

Vonz90 wrote:
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.
You can't really argue with that, no.
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.
The island *was* quite useful, there was just the issue of paying too much for it.

At this point in the discussion, one wonders how deep the problem went. What would it have taken to fix whatever it was that caused us to consistently underestimate enemy forces available (in what I've read recently, it was most noticeable to me in our estimates of air strength), and could we realistically have done it while the war was underway?
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