MacArthur vs. King

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by gjs238, Aug 28, 2009.

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Who was the better strategist?

  1. General Douglas MacArthur

    7 vote(s)
    53.8%
  2. Admiral Ernest Joseph King

    6 vote(s)
    46.2%
  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Who was the better strategist?
     
  2. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Afte3r Kings performance in the Atlantic in the early months of the war, he should have been sent to Greenland for the duration. His hatred of the English almost cost the allies the war.

    I have very little good to dsay about King.

    Macarthur was perhaps the best strategist of the war, right up there with Mountbatten or Nimitz
     
  3. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    Sorry, but I'm gonna disagree, Parsifal. MacArthur was monomaniachal in his desire to get back to the Phillipines. Overall strategy suffered for this, in my view.

    King.
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Youre right about King. Good thing he came to his senses.

    Macarthur drawback was indeed his obsession for reinvading the PI. Politically he was correct. But the war might have ended sooner had the allies invaded Taiwan/Okinawa/Iwo in 1944 when they had the chances.
     
  5. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    If I am honest these two were probably amongst the worst US leaders in the war and are amongst the worst in any nation. For that reason I cannot choose between them.
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Why?

    They had their faults, but also the capabilities to win when it counted.
     
  7. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Glider, you can't call them the worst....atleast MccArthur

    "He was... perhaps the most disliked Allied leader of World War II. Only British Field Marshal Montgomery may have had more enemies... King also loved parties and often drank to excess. Apparently, he reserved his charm for the wives of fellow naval officers. On the job, he "seemed always to be angry or annoyed."[25]"



    I do agree King wasn't close to an IDEAL strategist...... You cannot say MacArthur was the worst.

    I will go with MccArthur
     
  8. Ferdinand Foch

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    I gotta say MacArthur to King. King really screwed the merchant marine the first half of 42. I think even Eisenhower said that the war would be a lot better run if somebody shot King, or something like that.

    Can't say I'm a big fan of MacArthur, though. Kind of a pompous @@s. Could have led us into World War Three if Truman didn't put the foot down in Korea.
     
  9. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I'll be honest, I'm still not sure how King ever became an Admiral. He spent more time fighting the Royal Navy, American Army and common sense then he did the Axis.

    I have to go with McArthur.
     
  10. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    First of all General Macarthur.
    He had a habit of getting things wrong and then blaming anyone else, it was a pattern that started well before the war.

    WW1
    He was divisional commander of the 42nd Division when one of the battalions suffered heavy losses he berated the commander as to why. When told that the battalion lacked artillery support he blamed the artillery commander. He however was the divisional commander and the responsibility for such a failing in planning was his.

    Between the wars
    At the height of the depression in 1932 thousands of ww1 Veterans with their families who were destitute set up a peaceful camp to ask for monies due to them for service in WW1. Hoover ordered him to clear the camp which he did. He used tanks, mounted cavalry and infantry with fixed bayonets resulting in the death of a number of protestors including women and children. This time he blamed the protestors saying that 90% of the protestors were communists. This was proven by the investigating authorities to be a lie. He also claimed not to have received orders telling him not to clear the camp, a clam which has not been proved. Even if this was true it does not excuse the use of tanks to break up an unarmed crowd.

    WW2
    When war broke out he had 8 hours warning that an attack was coming and had been expressly ordered to commence defensive and offensive operations. He did nothing. Blame this time was assigned to his air commander who insisted that he had asked permission to launch raids on the Japanese fleet but that permission had been denied. The air commander was also with some reason blamed for not dispersing his aircraft but again, Macarthur was the man in charge, gave no orders and took no action to ensure that preparations had been made.
    The pre war plans called for Manila to be abandoned and not defended so no preparation had been made. He decided to fight and this resulted in a large number of US troops and civilians being trapped.
    He does get credit for the island hoping campaign but that was little other option, anyone else would have the same solution.
    Initially his best troops were Australian and their thanks, was to be excluded from some of the most important fighting towards the end of the war. So much so that RAAF officers threatened to resign their commissions in frustration. He was determined to make the Pacific War an American War, not an allied war.

    War Crimes Trials
    There were some concerns that he was personally involved in these in particular to protect the Emperor from blame. Also in some of the trials for example General Yamashita and in giving immunity to those involved in bacterial warfare tests on prisoners including allied soldiers.

    Korean War.
    The landing at Incheon was an undoubted success but his claim that the war was over at that point was the height of folly. He ignored a number of warning including ones from the Chinese themselves that they would get involved if the advance approached the Yalu river. He took no preparitory actions just in case the Chinese attacked, ordered no extra recce flights to cover the likely formation areas or had any back up plans, the result of which we all know.

    So in brief the only bit that worked for him was the Island hopping campaign which he had no option about the rest was less than impressive.
     
  11. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure Macarthur should be given credit for the Island Hopping strategy?
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    He was responsible for one part of the campaign and Nimitz the other so in some way yes he did play a part. The point that I was trying to make was that there was no choice, it was the obvious thing to do and any leader would have done the same. The only alternative would be to take every island regardless of their importance at a huge cost.
     
  13. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    #13 RabidAlien, Aug 29, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
    Wow. Its like choosing candidates in the 2008 Presidential elections again. Neither one a very good choice. I'm gonna bow out of the vote.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I have very little good to say about either King or MacArthur. Thanks to their incompetence Japan ran wild in the Pacific during the first 6 months of WWII.
     
  15. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    That is a stretch. Especially for King, who inherited a mess after the Pearl Harbor debacle.
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The US lost nothing of importance at Pearl Harbor except their self confidence. We still had as many CVs as Japan plus more battleships, cruisers, destroyers, land based aircraft and infantry divisions available for immediate deployment.

    HyperWar: Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-42 [Appendix G]
    The U.S. military had 529,164 tons of shipping in the Pacific as of Nov 30,1941. This doubled to 1,294,919 tons by Feb 28, 1942. The quantity of available shipping continued to increase through May 1942.

    There was nothing to prevent the USN from transporting ground troops and fighter squadrons from San Francisco to places like the Solomon Islands, Gilbert Islands and Rabaul during December 1941. All the pieces were in place except competent leadership.
     
  17. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Nothing of importance? 2,000 men, ships and aircraft are nothing of importance. OK.
     
  18. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #18 parsifal, Aug 29, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
    Pearl was a military defeat that allowed the Japanese to overrun the whole of South East Asia. It tipped the immediate military balance so heavily in favour of the Japanese that the US was unable to contemplate any sort of relief effort for many months. That applied to every class of warship, including carriers, and every category of aircraft.

    Immediately after the raid the US only possesed three carriers in the Pacific, the Enterprise, Lexington and Saratoga. Saratoga was soon to be put out of action for months asa result of a torpedo hit. The other ships of the US Carrier fleet were not in the theatre, and most of them were short of CAG components.

    The Japanese possessed 6 fleet and 4 Light carriers. Every one of the Fleet carriers was at full fighting efficiency with a more or less full complement of aircraft. My opinion is that the USN was simply not ready at that point in time to undertake any significant offensive action until the serious deficiencies in the fleet had been addressed. This process was seriously delayed by the attack at Pearl.

    In the air the Japanese demonstrated time and again their marked superiority. On average, the allies were losing approximately five aircraft for every one allied. That included the losses being suffered by the US (the only exceptions I can think to that observati0on were the operations of the US carriers).

    Above all else, Pearl drove home the realization that Japan was a first class veteran opponent that had been badly underestimated. The US never made that mistake again for the rest of the war. Only after the war did the notions that the Japanese were inferior to the west, easily beaten, arise. We would do well to take heed of the original wartime lessons in this regard
     
  19. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Considering on what happened to the Repluse and the POW, theres nothing the US surface fleet could have done to change the course of events for the several months after pearl.

    Any of the slow BB's that would have sortied into the Central Pacific would have been sunk without much effort by the Japanese in deep waters and would have been lost for good.
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    How about transporting ground troops to garrison strategically important islands? These units were certified combat ready and sitting in California awaiting transport to the Philippines:

    41st Infantry Division. Ship to Rabaul.
    34th Infantry Regiment. Ship to Guadalcanal.
    161st Infantry Regiment. Ship to Tarawa.

    These transport missions, conducted with no enemy opposition during December 1941, would likely shorten the Pacific War by a year.
     
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