Dec 7th, Pearl Harbour

Discussion in 'Post-War' started by Hunter368, Dec 7, 2005.

  1. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Here is a little different post about one of the most well known days in USA history.

    Has there ever been a greater and more successful military attack (first attack/battle) by one country on another than when the JA Empire attacked and crushed the USA Pacific fleet. (maybe Germany's attack on Russia was better)

    Has any country buried its head in the sand or messed up as badly as the USA did around Dec 7th, knowing full well that an attack someplace soon was going to happen from Japan.

    Pearl Habour is a military classic, David vs Goliath, Japan vs USA. The underdog used what he had to to win. When I remember this day I think of alot of people who died, a great military success and a great military failure. It all depends on your view point.
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I wouldn't necessarily say the Pacific fleet was "crushed". They certainly did some significant damage, but they didn't get the carriers.
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The Pacific Fleet might have been fortunate to be sunk in the shallows of the harbor, where they were all raised and repaired.

    If they would have been at sea, they would have been sunk and lost for good.

    Plus the oil tanks, repair facilities, and numerous other ships in the harbor where not damaged.
     
  4. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Very true they did not get the carriers. But at the time most people still thought that Battleships ruled the sea, Japan proved that wrong on Dec7th and with sinking two British ships (Repulse, and Prince Of Wales). The Pacific fleet for the USA was pretty much a total write off after Dec7th for months until they could repair ships. All they had for a while was their carriers. By any objective point of view it was a huge huge defeat on the part of USA and huge victory by Japan. At the time USA around the world was still thinking that it would stay out of WW2 (like in the WW1) until events dragged them into it. It was a huge blunder on the part of USA commanders to let such a attack happen and be sooo totally stunned by it. Really Pearl Habour (which is most often referred to as a surprise attack) should never been a surprise a tall, it should of predicted. In the end it would not of mattered even if Japan sank the carriers, it would not of changed the war, just maybe delayed it.
     
  5. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    A salute goes out to the planners and most of all the flyers of Japan for a well planned and carried out attack. A salute goes out to the USA service men and woman who's commanders let them down and they actually paid the greatest price of all.
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Lets not forget that while the japanese were busy at Pearl, they were also getting ready to attack the Philipines. Another complete and total debacle.

    It was America's good fortune that Gen MacArthur was a genious when it came to figuring out his mistakes in strategy and tactics then recovering to quickly come up with a plan to stop the Japanese (although it wasnt untill he was in Australia that he could do anything about it).
     
  7. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Speaking of that, I read a great book years ago about a group of 18 guys that took a small boat (a minesweeper) out of Corregidor after the surrender and made it to Australia. It was called "South from Corregidor". It was a great read, written by one of the survivors, John Morrill. It's out of print now and hard to find, but would make a great movie.
     
  8. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Very true about the Philipines, very badly handled by the Americans. But I would not agree with Mac Arthur. I have read a fair amount about him (althought I do not claim to be a expert on him) and he would seem more like a jackazz, brutal General and a coward. But that is just my humble thoughts, like I said I am not an expert on him or a fan of his. From what I have read alot of what happened in the Philipines was his fault and instead of takes blame for it like a man, he blamed his commanders under him. It then does not take a genious to retake an island when you totally out number and out class and enemy. Like I said I am not a fan of his. There is alot and I mean alot better Generals out there then him.
     
  9. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    In 1942, he had little support from Washington, except an abundance of promises. It wasnt untill spring of 1943 that he and the Aussies under his command had enough troops and firepower to go on the rampage through New Guinie.

    As many faults he had, he still was one of the best Generals to ever wear the stars.
     
  10. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    I agree that he did not have alot of support early on, but when he did retake the island, it was not a stroke of genius, just sheer numbers and better tech (support) on the USA side. That is the hard thing about rating USA Generals, see I cannot think of many times where a USA General was out numbered and his enemy had better tech and still the USA Gereral won. When USA armies win battles most times that I can think of they have outnumbered and/or had much better tech and support. ie attacking a island with 35000 marines when the defender has 65000 men sounds good but if the USA battleships pound away at the enemy for days and planes bomb them around the clock........ well the USA should win that battle. What I am saying is that it is hard to say if a USA General is good or is it the better support and numbers and tech that wins the battles. I would say most times it is the numbers,tech, and support that wins them the battles.
     
  11. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    That may be true but all of those things don't mean squat if you have bad tactics or command. If you read about the battle of Iwo Jima, you will see that even with numerical superiority, advanced bombing and better technical equipment, it was a hard slog for the Marines.

    Any time you attack an enemy, the defensive forces have the advantage because they have built defensive encasements and fields of fire. It would be unwise to attack a numerically superior force, especially when you are talking about the campaigns of the Pacific.
     
  12. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    True, but with bad tatics you still might win but with higher deaths on your side or it might take you longer than it should of with better tatics. Hard slog for the Marines is only relative speaking for what they were used to. The "deaths" that they (Marines about 6800 from what i have just seen on the net) suffered was still small compared to many battles that the German or Russian suffered in their massive battles.

    Yes attacking a larger force with a smaller would be .... unwise but I still have not heard of alot of battles where the USA was attacked with a enemy with numbers, tech and support all on their side and the USA won. Can you point any or many out where they have won under these conditions? That is what I am saying, when you always have everything on your side and you win, well you get no credit, you only get credit when you pull off being the underdog and rarely has the USA forces been the underdog and won.
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Not totally true. My wife's grandfather was an intelligence officer under him and was captured on Bataan. MacArthur was devastated about the while situation and was ready to violate evacuation orders from Washington.

    Pearl harbor was a "battle victory" for the Japanese, no denying that, but then again, for all their cunning and planning they allowed a major portion of their fleet to be obviated 5 months later at Midway, at that point the Japanese was on the defensive for rest of the war. I think if you look at the errors made by the Japanese at that time far outweighed the Pearl Harbor blunders by the US Military. It one think to allow your self to be subject to a "sneak attack" without a declaration of war, it another thing to allow yourself to be "ambushed" by a smaller and supposedly technically inferior opponent when you know you had the advantage....

    I give credit to the Japanese for pulling off Pearl Harbor, but the diplomatic foul-up of making this action occur prior to a formal declaration or war is treacherous. Even if the diplomatic message arrived as planned, Japan's declaration or war would of came down right as the first bombs were being dropped on Pearl Harbor. This was just the tip of the iceberg of Japanese treachery.
     
  14. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Hunter, I suggest you read up about MacArthurs campaign in New Guinie. It wasnt untill late in 1943 that he had numerical superiority over the Japanese. And his "navy" if you can call it that was a motley collection of a couple of light cruisers, an occasional Aussie heavy cruiser, and some destroyers.

    When MacArthur finally had enough troops and material, he performed a series of brilliant maneuvers across the New Guinie at almost no cost. And although NG is an island, its also a HUGE island, larger than most countries in Europe.
     
  15. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    i'm not trying to ruffle nationalistic pride but wasn't most of the tough ground slogging in probably the second worst combat zone after the eastern front done by tha aussies .The US army did a lot of end runs (also extremely tough) and from what I've learned the aussies came in a cleaned up the isolated areas not withstanding the great efforts of US air and sea power over the 4 year length of the campaign
     
  16. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The Aussies deserve plenty of credits and accolades for their actions in NG. The US 31st Infantry Division also saw some really tough action too. In fact the Aussies and American troops in NG had a far tougher fight than the Marines on Guadalcanal.

    Untill mid 1943, most US troops were going to the Solomons, and MacArthur had to make do with his motley crew.

    I think the fighting conditions in the SW Pacific was probably the worst on earth. Disease, tropical conditions, insects, wildlife and above all, rain, all sapped at the strength and fighting ability of both sides.
     
  17. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    And this coming from someone who has never been in combat.

    Dont forget the men who fight the battle. It is not the General in the rear who wins a battle, it is the men on the ground who win the battle.
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    YEP!!!!

    Midway! We know that story....

    Lete Gulf, Taffy 3

    http://www.battleship.org/html/Articles/History/Leyte5.htm
     
  19. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Excellent example, Joe! Otherwise known as the Battle off Samar. Clifton Sprague was one hell of a commander! :salute:
     

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  20. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    At Guadalcanal, we usually were out numbered on the ground, air and sea.
     
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