Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

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Langenator
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Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Post by Langenator » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:06 pm

The IJN and the USN both had essentially Mahanian philosophies, and both emphasized. They just faced different problem sets. Both navies planned to fight the decisive battle in waters near to Japan. The IJN planned to attrit the USN as the USN fought across the Pacific. The USN planned to fight their way across, establishing forward bases as they went, then fight the decisive battle, defeat the IJN main battle fleet, and establish a blockade to force Japan to say uncle.* (Of course, the IJN planned on winning the decisive battle and forcing the US to come to terms.)

The submarine campaign against Japanese commerce was never incorporated into War Plan Orange as it existed before the war. In fact, it was both illegal according to existing pre-war treaties and against U.S. policy. Not that many USN officers hadn't thought about it, and argued in favor of removing the legal restrictions on subs. (The future Admiral Rickover was a major advocate.) After Pearl Harbor, they decided to throw all that out the window and go for unrestricted sub warfare - the exact thing, when conducted by Germany, that had brought the U.S. into WWI.

*Edward Miller's book War Plan Orange is the definitive work on this subject. The version of WP Orange in effect when the war started called for no attempt to be made to relieve the Philippines, on the understanding that any fleet that made the dash across the Pacific would arrive in no shape to fight and would be destroyed, as had happened to the Russians at Tsushima. The plan called for the defenders of the Philippines to hold out as long as they could, and for U.S. forces to methodically make their way across the central Pacific, capturing islands and establishing forward bases as they went. Ironically, the senior member of the Joint Board when this plan was approved was none other than then-Chief of Staff of the Army, Douglas MacArthur.
Fortuna Fortis Paratus

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Jered
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Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Post by Jered » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:46 pm

Langenator wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:06 pm
*Edward Miller's book War Plan Orange is the definitive work on this subject. The version of WP Orange in effect when the war started called for no attempt to be made to relieve the Philippines, on the understanding that any fleet that made the dash across the Pacific would arrive in no shape to fight and would be destroyed, as had happened to the Russians at Tsushima. The plan called for the defenders of the Philippines to hold out as long as they could, and for U.S. forces to methodically make their way across the central Pacific, capturing islands and establishing forward bases as they went. Ironically, the senior member of the Joint Board when this plan was approved was none other than then-Chief of Staff of the Army, Douglas MacArthur.
I have that book, too.
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Greg
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Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Post by Greg » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:48 pm

Now, as ever, Chapter 37 of Cryptonomicon is appropriate. The day Goto Dengo lost the war. (Fictional events based on the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.)

http://cnqzu.com/library/Anarchy%20Fold ... ide39.html

We could adapt. Our enemies, clinging a little too tightly to a fantasy ideology (because the people not ruled by the fantasy were afraid of being assassinated by those who were) , could not.
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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Vonz90
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Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Post by Vonz90 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:14 pm

randy wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:04 pm
I think it might have stemmed from the version of Bushido practiced by the militarists that effectively took over the government starting in the 20's. As with all movements based on nostalgia for a period in their "great" past, they exaggerated aspects of the old Samurai culture and became a parody of what they supposedly wanted to emulate (CF Italian Fascist party and German National Socialists).

The yearned to prove themselves in battle against worthy warrior opponents, disdained those that could nor or would not fight back, and fetishized their weapons (pot meet kettle ;) ) to the point that it was beneath them to attack anything other than enemy warships, or to degrade their weapons by soiling them on the unworthy.
From what I have read, it was several things. The Bushido side of things was a big part of it as you mention.

Also, the Japanese were very into Clausewitz, but did not have all that deep of an understanding of all of it, so since he mostly talked about battle centric ideas, they took that as confirmation that their approach was correct. (He actually qualified his analysis by stating that at various time any factor could predominate, including non combat related factors and his entire discussion of protecting one's own base / lines of communication while threatening the other's etc. seems not to have taken hold of them.)

Additionally, since they were in a come as you are condition relative to the war, they did not really comprehend that the potential enemies were not similarly in that condition. There were dissenters on this point (mostly those who had been educated or spent time in the west, famously Yamamoto but others as well) but they were not numerous and mostly ignored.

Langenator
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Re: Random Thoughts on WWII and replacement policy in the ETO

Post by Langenator » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:39 pm

It is interesting how "come as you are" both the major aggressors - Germany and Japan - were when their respective parts of WWII started.

The German army, which became famous and gained the image of an armored juggernaut for it's blitzkrieg tactics, had very few armored and mechanized units (although they made very effective use of the ones they did have.) The Luftwaffe was an entirely tactically focused force, and was utterly unprepared for a cross-Channel or strategic air war. The German navy had no surface fleet even remotely close to being able to challenge the Royal Navy, and actually had very few (like between 30-40) subs when the war started.

Now, I've seen it written that part of Germany's (largely Hitler's) problem was that they didn't expect France and England to keep at the 'war' once the conquest of Poland was a done deal. And then Hitler didn't expect England to stay in the war after the fall of France. The German's were great tactically, and really good at the operational level, but they absolutely sucked at the strategic level.

The Japanese had utterly failed to prepare for a long war with the U.S.. Inadequate stockpiles of strategic materials. Utterly inadequate programs for training replacement pilots. Probably most importantly, they started the war with less Japanese flagged merchant ship tonnage than they really need to supply the home islands and the war effort. They compounded this error by being largely indifferent to anti-sub warfare - they didn't even adopt the convoy system until around 1944. (Interestingly, the USN's submarine torpedo problems actually ended up working sort of in the USN's favor. The dud torpedoes helped disguise the extent of their own vulnerability to the Japanese, and then, in late 1943/early 1944, the torpedo problem was solved, lots of new subs were coming available, and their were young, aggressive experienced new skippers to lead them. All of it came together and hit the Japanese shipping HARD.)
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