Best Or Most Competent WWII Admiral - By Nationality

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by parsifal, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    This is a list I have compiled of the various Officers of higher flag rank (Admiral and above for the British, American, German and Japanese Navies. I have tried to be as complete as possible for Vice Admirals and above, but have included some of the more famous Rear Admirals that I can think of.

    The purpose of the list is to assist people in selecting the best, for each nationality or most competent admiral of the war. Notice I am not looking for the most successful. The war at sea was anything but a level playing field.

    Having said that, I would think it appropriate to judge each nationality according to doctrinal limitations that that navy.

    Basically, this is what I would ask people to do…..for each nationality, I would like each participating forum member to select whom they consider to be the best officer of flag rank or above (ie admirals) for that nationality

    Eg

    A Britain: Cunningham

    B USA : Nimitz

    C Japan Tanaka

    D Germany Donitz

    You can nominate for other Navies if you want, but I don’t have a complete or comprehensive list of Admirals for these other navies.

    At the end of 30 days I then intend to tally up the numbers and shortlist the top two admirals for each nationality and run a poll in a new thread. We will then have what this forum considers to be the most competent admirals for each nationality and also the most competent overall.
     
  2. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    To help people consider, I have tried to list the main admirals of each nationality. Here they are

    Japan:

    Admirals Of the Fleet Prince Fushimi Hiroyasu Osami Nagano Isoroku Yamamoto (posthumous), Mineichi Koga (posthumous) Admirals Ryokitsu Arima Shigeyoshi Inoue Seiichi Itō (posthumous) Saitō Makoto Chūichi Nagumo (posthumous) Keisuke Okada Mineo Ōsumi Uryū Sotokichi Dewa Shigetō Shigetarō Shimada, Kantarō Suzuki Takeo Takagi (posthumous) Isamu Takeshita Soemu Toyoda Nishizō Tsukahara Mitsumasa Yonai Matome Ugaki Vice Admirals Hiroaki Abe Teruo Akiyama (posthumous) Masafumi Arima (posthumous) Kōsaku Aruga (posthumous) Masami Ban (posthumous) Tadashige Daigo Shigeru Fukudome Aritomo Gotō Chūichi Hara Kiyoshi Hara Kiichi Hasegawa (posthumous) Shintarō Hashimoto Sueto Hirose Boshirō Hosogaya Toshihira Inoguchi (posthumous) Shunji Isaki Takeo Kaizuka (posthumous) Kakuji Kakuta Masami Kobayashi Nobutake Kondō Tomiji Koyanagi Takeo Kurita Kiyoshi Kusagawa (posthumous) Jinichi Kusaka Ryūnosuke Kusaka Hajime Matsushita Gunichi Mikawa Shigeyoshi Miwa Giichiro Nakahara (posthumous) Shōji Nishimura Sentarō Ōmori Takijirō Ōnishi Miki Otsuka (posthumous) Jisaburō Ozawa Tomoshige Samejima Kiyohide Shima Shigetarō Shimada Toshio Shimazaki (posthumous) Katsukiyo Shinoda (posthumous) Kaju Sugiura (posthumous) Ibō Takahashi Enomoto Takeaki Raizō Tanaka Nashiba Tokioki Tamon Yamaguchi (posthumous) Rear Admiorals (incomplete) Kōsō Abe Toshio Abe (posthumous) Tsutau Araki Kaoru Arima Bunji Asakura Ruitaro Fujita Kenzaburo Hara Kaku Harada Shinzaburo Hase Mikio Hayakawa Kouichiro Hatakeyama Masamichi Ikeguchi Keishi Ishii Kenzo Ito Takatsugu Jojima Eiichiro Jyo Tomeo Kaku (posthumous) Ikuzo Kimura Yoshiyuki Kishi Yuji Kobe Gunji Kogure Keizo Komura Kaname Konishi Kyuji Kubo Toshi Kubota (posthumous) Chiaki Matsuda Takamatsu Matsuda (posthumous) Shutoku Miyazato Teruhiko Miyoshi (posthumous) Nobuei Morishita Kakuro Mutaguchi (posthumous) Ko Nakagawa Nobuki Nakaoka (posthumous) Noboro Nakase Tomekichi Nomura Sueo Obayashi Jisaku Okada (posthumous) Tametsugu Okada Tomesaburo Okura Ichiro Ono Takeji Ono Masao Sawa (posthumous) Kazue Shigenaga Kiichiro Shoji (posthumous) Michio Sumikawa Tamotsu Takama Gihachi Takayanagi Jo Tanaka (posthumous) Yoshioki Tawara Nobumichi Tsuruoka Kamenosuke Yamamori Iwata Yamamoto (posthumous) Ryusaku Yanagimoto (posthumous)

    Selected USN Flag Admirals
    Bernard L. Austin David W. Bagley Donald B. Beary Wilson Brown (admiral) Daniel J. Callaghan Charles M. Cooke, Jr. Arthur C. Davis Aubrey Fitch Frank Jack Fletcher Robert L. Ghormley Robert C. Giffen William Halsey, Jr. Henry Kent Hewitt John H. Hoover Olaf M. Hustvedt Royal E. Ingersoll Isaac C. Kidd Husband E. Kimmel Ernest King Thomas C. Kinkaid William D. Leahy Herbert F. Leary Willis Augustus Lee Charles A. Lockwood John S. McCain, Sr. Charles McMorris Marc Mitscher William R. Munroe George D. Murray Chester W. Nimitz Jesse B. Oldendorf Charles Alan Pownall William S. Pye S Norman Scott (Medal of Honor) Clifton Sprague Thomas L. Sprague Raymond A. Spruance Harold Rainsford Stark Mahlon Tisdale John Henry Towers Richmond K. Turner WJohn W. Wilcox, Jr. Russell Willson Carleton H. Wright

    Selected Royal Navy Admirals

    Conolly Abel Smith Albert Addison William Gladstone Agnew Geoffrey Arbuthnot Ernest Archer (Royal Navy officer) Claud Barry Henry Blagrove Geoffrey Blake Denis Boyd Patrick Brind Harold Burrough C William Scott Chalmers William Boyle, 12th Earl of Cork and Orrery John Gregory Crace George Creasy Victor Crutchley Andrew Cunningham, 1st Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope John Cunningham Alban Curteis Berwick Curtis Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton Charles Daniel Richard Bell-Davies Gerald Charles Dickens Percy Douglas Cyril Douglas-Pennant Martin Dunbar-Nasmith John Edelsten Douglas Fisher Charles Forbes Wilbraham Ford Bruce Fraser, 1st Baron Fraser of North Cape, Wilfred French Irvine Glennie John Henry Godfrey Louis Keppel Hamilton Henry Harwood Lancelot Holland Henry Horan Max Kennedy Horton William Milbourne James Howard Kelly Charles Kennedy-Purvis Roger Keyes, 1st Baron Keyes Charles Lambe Richard Lane-Poole Geoffrey Layton Ralph Leatham Charles Little Hubert Lynes George Hamilton D'Oyly Lyon Lumley Lyster Philip Mack Loben Maund Desmond McCarthy Rhoderick McGrigor Sidney Meyrick Henry Ruthven Moore Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma Edward Evans, 1st Baron Mountevans Gerard Muirhead-Gould Gresham Nicholson Percy Noble Dudley Burton Napier North Herbert Annesley Packer Arthur Palliser Tom Phillips Dudley Pound Arthur Power Lionel Preston Henry Pridham-Wippell Robert Raikes Bertram Ramsay Charles Ramsey Bernard Rawlings Eric Gascoigne Robinson Guy Royle Guy Russell James Somerville Ernest John Spooner Gilbert Stephenson Charles Gage Stuart George Swabey Edward Neville Syfret William Tennant Bertram Thesiger John Tovey, 1st Baron Tovey Thomas Hope Troubridge Hugh Tweedie Philip Vian Frederic Wake-Walker Fischer Watson William Whitworth Algernon Willis Norman Wodehouse


    Selected KM Admirals

    Conrad Albrecht Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière Hans Benda Kurt Böhmer Helmuth Brinkmann Theodor Burchardi Hans Bütow Wilhelm Canaris Otto Ciliax Karl Dönitz Robert Eyssen Kurt Fricke Friedrich Frisius Eberhard Godt Walter Hennecke Hellmuth Heye Kurt-Caesar Hoffmann Rolf Johannesson Otto Kähler Gustav Kieseritzky Theodor Krancke Werner Lange Ernst Lucht Günther Lütjens Wilhelm Meendsen-Bohlken Wilhelm Meisel Hans Michahelles Karl-Jesco von Puttkamer Bernhard Rogge Friedrich Ruge Ernst Schirlitz Hubert Schmundt Otto Schulz Hans Stohwasser August Thiele Hans-Erich Voss Paul Wenneker Kurt Weyher Eberhard Wolfram Adalbert Zuckschwerdt
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Going to have to do some research here. Navies have always been an interest of mine, but certainly a weaker point for me.
     
  4. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #4 oldcrowcv63, Nov 29, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
    I could complicate the thread and poll by dividing into categories and times. For example Tanaka seems to me to be an excellent overall IJN choice but I don't believe he ever commanded a major task force. In that category, I'd nominate Ozawa, although between those two (in terms of major commands), is Mikawa, who had major type commands (CA BB) and won some significant battles (Savo Island and the bombardment of Henderson between the first and second naval battles of Guadalcanal). He was saddled with sole responsibility for losing the Solomons, which seems to me to be more a Yamamoto failure than Mikawa's.

    In terms of catelgores:

    I Light to medium forces (SS, DD CL, CA CVE), (A: early: 41-43) (B: late: 44-45)
    II Heavy forces (CV, CB, BB Theater) early, late

    That's 4 categories. 2 based on size and 2 based on time.

    On second thought this is just too da*ned complicated.

    USN: Anyone but Halsey. Probably Nimitz with honorable mentions to Scott, Spruance, Mitscher (ignoring Midway where he was borderline competent) and Lee.
    RN: Cunningham and Somerville
    IJN: Tanaka, Ozawa and Yamaguichi (If he had been commanding Kido Butai at Midway or had Nagumo taken his advice to launch immediately, the battle would probably have been more damaging to the USN and probably lasted longer, fought more savagely the IJN might have won.)
    KM: Doenitz and Raeder

    For RN and KM, they are really the only ones I know.
     
  5. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Its also complicated by the doctrine of that nationality.For amphibious operations, the most significant element in terms of the skill set needed might be a grasp of logistics. What you need, and in what order. For surface combat there is a different skill set required. Convoy escort yet another, guerre De Course another, submarine operations altogether different. So, people are going to have to think about what was most important to that Navy and whether the person they have in mind was really good in that regard. Its difficult to base that assessment on results, because at different times differnt Navies and different personalities were confronted with different challenges.

    Just thinking aloud for a minute, you cannot really compare say Scott to say Donitz. they each had different jobs and differnt national doctrines. Neither could you say that Germany was lacking in effective leaders because the performance of their surface fleet was poor. The failure of the KM surface forces arose from poor doctrine and the heavy odds against them. still within those nasty restrictions, the commanders on the spot still managed to achieve quite good results. I was particularly impressed with fleet commander Marschall.

    I weould tend to think the primary British objectives were the convoys and sea control, the Germans submarines and coastal defence, the USN was carrier warfare, strategic organizatiopn and force projection (incorporating amphibious warfare) and the japanese Force Projection, and "the decisive battle". who did these various things the best. Is my meandering thoughts close to what was important for each of the nationalities?
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    IJN 11th Air Fleet was in a class by itself. No other nation had a maritime attack air force anywhere near this capable.
     
  7. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    My choices would be

    IJN - Ozawa (Tanaka a very close second)
    USN - Nimitz (Mitscher a close second. I also like Spruance and Turner)
    Britain - Cunningham (Vian Ramsay Horton all honourably mentioned with Fraser mentioned because of his sheer doggedness and determination in the face of an extremely hostile ally)
    Germany - Donitz (with Marschall as their best fleet or surface admiral)
     
  8. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    Pars, look at the title of this forum you have this question in. Did you notice it's supposed to be about WWII Generals, not Admirals?

    Actually, that's my rather crude way of saying, there are too many Admirals, they're all decorated like Christmas trees, and I'm stymied.
     
  9. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    In general agreement, with my only exception to your list being Turner... He was a perfectionist who developed amphibious ops to a high art but was also quick to blame others for his own arrogance-based blunders. e.g. Savo Island; he blamed Fletcher who had little to do with the night action, for Pearl Harbor, he blamed Kimmel for the lack of intel he had a hand in withholding (read Layton: "and I was there" is both the title of his book and a rebuttal to Turner when he attempted to blame Kimmel for PH. Meaning he knew the real story. I am not sure of his hand in the Tarawa debacle but I suspect it was at least in part due to Turner's decisions, made in some cases in direct contradiction to the wise cautious counsel of Fletcher regarding the use of carriers when supporting an amphibious op. I am not saying he didn't make a valuable contribution, but that the negatives balanced the positive.
     
  10. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    #10 fastmongrel, Dec 1, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
    For the Number 1 Admiral of the war I would go with Max Horton he might not have been the best but he was in charge of the Battle of the Atlantic the longest most deadly naval battle of the war. Without ultimate victory over the u Boats you have no D-Day and therefore a good chance the Red Flag flies over all mainland Europe in early 46.

    With all due respect to the US and its brave boys (not forgetting the Commonwealth boys) the Pacific war though brutal and deadly didnt have such long term strategic importance. Against Japan the US was always going to prevail by weight of numbers it was just a matter of how long. Though of course that is with 20/20 hindsight a useful product not readily available.
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Im going to count "honourable mentions or "second choices" only as one vote. If one member mentions an admiral as "worth mentioning" and then other members also mention them, then all the subsequest "mentions" dont count as a vote. An admiral gains a maximum of one vote for honourable mention, thereafter they have to get primary votes.

    A member can only vote once.....

    At this stage the tally is

    USN: Nimitz (2), Scott, Mitscher, Turner, Spruance, Lee
    IJN: Tanaka, Ozawa(2) Yamaguchi , Tsukuhara
    RN Cunningham (2), Horton (2), Somerville, Vian, Ramsay, Fraser
    KM Donitz (2), Raeder, Marschall
     
  12. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    I would suggest:

    One of the most important fronts of the war, success in the Atlantic was critical for the Allied cause. Citing its importance, Prime Minister Winston Churchill later stated: "The Battle of the Atlantic was the dominating factor all through the war. Never for one moment could we forget that everything happening elsewhere, on land, at sea or in the air depended ultimately on its outcome..."

    Admiral Sir Percy Noble, RN
    Admiral Sir Max Horton, RN

    On his return to Britain, Admiral Noble was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches Admiral Noble commanded Western Approaches from his headquarters at Derby House, Liverpool, during a period stretching from early 1941 to November 1942. His work in reorganising escort groups, and revamping escort training methods are widely regarded as having been crucial foundational elements of the eventual success of the Allied navies in the Atlantic theatre. Noble was remembered by those who worked with him at Derby House as an easygoing commander, and an easy person to work with. Always conciliatory, Noble was an expert at building consensus around his chosen courses of action. Noble was, although not forced, certainly pushed out of Western Approaches to make room for Admiral Max Horton, whose combative personality and experience in the submarine service made him the ideal candidate in the eyes of some to take the war to the U-boats.

    Cheers
    John
     
  13. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #13 oldcrowcv63, Dec 2, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
    John,

    Do you mean that Horton (who I know little about except what has been written here) was combative in the sense of confrontational with colleagues and subordinates or with the Kriegsmarine? Or both?
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Hi John

    To maximize your voting effect, I will interpret your answer as Horton being your primary vote, and Noble as your "number 2". if I do that, both guys would get a vote from you. If I take Noble as your primary vote, I cannot add a vote for Horton, since I have already used his "honourable mention" vote.

    Let me know if you have any objection to the way I interpreted your submission.

    On the assumption you accept what I have done, the votiung tally changes to the following

    USN: Nimitz (2), Scott, Mitscher, Turner, Spruance, Lee
    IJN: Tanaka, Ozawa(2) Yamaguchi , Tsukuhara
    RN Cunningham (2), Horton (3), Somerville, Vian, Ramsay, Fraser, Noble
    KM Donitz (2), Raeder, Marschall

    On that basis, Horton is the admiral currently in the lead
     
  15. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Mal,

    Having been promoted to full Admiral on 9 January 1941, Horton was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Western Approaches Command on 17 November 1942. Here he instituted a series of tactical changes in the way the escort ships were to be used. In addition to the existing escort group system, in which groups of ships were assigned to defend the perimeter of convoy boxes, Horton instituted a system of support groups, who would also travel with the convoys, but have much more freedom in terms of pursuing submarines to the death, even if such action necessitated leaving the convoy for longer periods of time than were considered acceptable for escort groups. Horton's support groups proved to be decisive in the crucial spring of 1943, taking the battle to the U-boats and crushing the morale of the U-boat arm with persistent and successful counterattacks. Horton is widely credited, along with his predecessor, Admiral Sir Percy Noble, as being one of the most crucial figures in the Allied victory in the Atlantic. In August 1945, Max Horton, at his own request, was placed on the retired list in order to facilitate the promotion of younger officers. He was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

    Combative in the sense 'if they want a fight I'll fight harder' sense.
    His role is often over looked I feel as is the whole NA battle.
    Regards
    John
     
  16. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Horton first. Noble second please Glen.

    If Horton wins your poll that would be a good reflection on his work.

    Cheers

    John
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    The guys running the convoys probably did more to win the war than any other soldiers. without them, nothing else was possible.

    Similalry, on the other side, donitz was perhaps the single warlord on the german side with a shot at bring the allies to the peace table, or doing so much damage to their economic power as to make them incapable of victory.

    High stakes. Often forgotten, because the battle is not "sexy". o
     
  18. vinnye

    vinnye Member

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    Max Horton would get my vote for the reasons given in prior posts.
    If I were allowed a second choice it would be Cunningham - he had a big job in the Med with limited resources and often no air cover. Some of the missions were near suicidal jobs - evacuating troops from Grece ans Crete spring to mind! But, if the Battle of the Atlantic had been lost - so would the War.
     
  19. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    The North Atlantic was indeed the one critical battle that had to have been won (and could have been lost) for an Axis defeat. USN mythology suggests, without denying the critical role of effective ASW as practiced by the RN you describe above, that three other factors came into play with the US coming in to the war. 1. The eventual use of the Azores Air Base (1943?) to close the black hole by B-24/PB4Y, 2. the advent of large numbers of escort carriers with H-K teams of radar equipped A/C to suppress U-Boat surface time and last but not least, the implementation of lighter than air escort. My understanding is the battle reached its peak with significant Nazi successes during the winter/spring of 1942 but U-boat effectiveness declined fairly dramatically thereafter. How does that play out on your end? This is not to suggest the RN didn't do the heavy lifting in the NA, just some additional factors that contributed to the campaign.
     
  20. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Mal, Here's a wiki overview. Battle of the Atlantic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    You mention the RN but, we should not forget all the self sacrificial allied nations that endured the NA runs.
    This was the only campaign that really worried Churchill...had we ( using the royal 'we') lost then WW2 was lost.
    Its another national disgrace that the merchant marine role has taken so long to be commemorated.
    It is another irony with the revisionist version of the bombing campaign and the allied 'guilt' that we forget that U-30 sank the liner SS Athenia within hours of the declaration of war, Brave U boat boys eh....
    The BoA was 'won' ( if that is the right word) by air power, the American economy gearing to produce Liberty ships at the rate only you could,the long range patrols with Catalina's. Sunderland's etc, better convey systems and better naval protection.
    If you want a vision of hell..then for me it would be a 6 knot convey in a NA storm.
    Cheers
    John
     
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