US Pacific war planning regarding the Philippines

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by DogFather, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. DogFather

    DogFather New Member

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    My understanding is the US knew we would lose the Philippines in a war with Japan.
    The Philippines were too far away to keep supplied and very near Japan. So, why
    didn't we evacuate our troops, ships and aircraft as the war neared? Instead B-17s
    were being sent to the US base there. Would it not have made more sense to send
    them to a base we could likely hold like Wake island?

    This also made the Philippines a target. I guess the Japanese would have occupied
    the Philippines no matter what. But, our building up of air power on the Philippines
    made it a much bigger target. Before Dec 7, 1941, US planners had to know, Japan
    would not let the US continue to building up offensive capabilities, so near Japan and
    right in the middle of their shipping lanes. I have heard from many Douglas MacArthur
    was to blame for some of what went wrong. With the limited spending available before
    the war started. It seems like we would defend what we realistically could, in a war
    with Japan.
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A lot of times Military strategy gets mixed with politics. We had promised to defend the Philippines and to leave it without a fight would not have gone down well with regards to dealing with other countries.

    The Japanese would not have reacted well to an enlarged Military presence on Wake either, seeing it as thereat to the Marshall Islands. Wake's ability to support a large air group without large logistic problems is also rather suspect. There is no fresh water on Wake.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Philippine President Quezon proposed that idea several times prior to December 1941. That would allow the Philippines to remain neutral during the struggle between the USA and Japan.

    The U.S. Government rejected the proposal as we would lose our air bases within heavy bomber range of Japanese territory.
     
  4. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I think the official plan was for them to hold until the US Pacific Fleet could arrive.
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The chances of the Philippines remaining neutral in the middle of the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" were Slim to none and Slim had already left town.
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's speculation. However it's a fact that President Quezon had more faith in Japanese promises to respect Philippine neutrality then in U.S. promises to defend the Philippines against a Japanese attack.
     
  7. starling

    starling Member

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    Did the U.S.codebreakers not get wind off any possible Japanese attack,or was the U.S."blind".Starling.
     
  8. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
    Staff Member Moderator

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    No. The only major Japanese code broken prior to WW2 was JN39. JN25 which gave vital intel at Midway wasn't broken until late May, 1942.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Why do people place so much emphasis on code breakers? Most WWII military intelligence was obtained from other sources such as agent reports, signals analysis, aerial recon etc. The below message based on information from the Dutch Legation provided ample warning of the small IJN amphibious force which seized Davao (Mindanao) a month later.

    21 November 1941. USN message to Asiatic and Pacific Fleets.
    "Have been informed by Dutch Legation that they have received a dispatch as follows: "According to information received by the Governor General of The Netherlands East Indies a Japanese expeditionary force has arrived in the vicinity of Palau. Should this force, strong enough to form a threat for The Netherlands Indies or Portuguese Timor, move beyond a line between the following points Davao (Philippine Islands) Waigeo (Island, Netherlands East Indies) Equator the Governor General will regard this as an act of aggression and will under those circumstances consider the hostilities opened and act accordingly." Inform Army authorities of foregoing. Request any information you may have concerning development of this Japanese threat against the Dutch East Indies and your evaluation of foregoing information."
     
  10. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #10 oldcrowcv63, Jun 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2012
    This message seems to provide an excellent example of the connective tissue between the political and miltary aspects of policy leading to war that is being discussed in another forum thread. We have an essentially political authority (of the NEI) with evidently some military functionality (probably perculiar to the position of 'governor-general') providing information to another sovereign nation's military: the USN heirarchy, for distribution to its military units. The basis for this message is apparently detailed negotiations (between the nations who would soon comprise the ABDA command) that occurred during the summer when confronted with the IJ occupation of Vichy bases in Indochina. The occupation precipitated the final slide to war when in response the US embargoed US Oil going to Japan.

    Surprising, as apparently Roosevelt didn't intend the embargo to be as draconian and all inclusive as it certainly became. IIUC, in the original embargo, licenses for certain oil imports were to be issue by the US Commerce department. But I've recently read it claimed that the Commerce Department dithered with whatever applications were made and never issued a single license! If true, did the Pacific war come prematurely due to bureaucratic ineptitude? That's a dimension I never suspected and find hard to believe!
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Thinking way too hard again. :)

    Nederlands-Indiƫ Marine Luchtvaartdienst, KNIL
    Netherlands East Indies Naval Forces had plenty of long range seaplanes for aerial recon.
    24 x Do-24K. BTW, Dornier built this seaplane specifically for East Indies service.
    6 x PBY.
    plus a bunch of older Fokker seaplanes.
    5 x seaplane tenders.

    oceania_pol01.jpg
    Palau is within normal patrol distance from the seaplane detachment located at Sorong (western New Guinea). So unless Dutch aircrew are sleeping in the cockpit they cannot help but to notice IJA transport ships collecting in the harbor at Palau. Probably took some aerial photographs too. The Dutch admiral is going to pass a summary of this information to the Dutch Governor.

    Neighboring governments on friendly terms often share information. Recon information from Philippine based PBYs would be passed to the Dutch consulate. Recon information from East Indies based Do-24s would be passed to the American consulate.
     
  12. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I believe that the PI on December 7,1941, had a larger contingent of B17s than any other location in the world. The reason those B17s were there was that it was believed that B17s could be effective against ships in a sea borne invasion. They could possibly make up for the lack of well trained and well equipped ground forces in MacArthur's army Many of those B17s were caught on the ground and destroyed but experience during the war proved that high flying heavy bombers were not very effective against ships at sea or even in a harbor. If the B17s had not been destroyed on the ground the outcome in the PI would have probably been no different.
     
  13. starling

    starling Member

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    Hey guys,I've just read the wiki bit about the Japanese attack,it all seems very mixed up.
    I don't understand why the order of battle segment has both the U.S.and philipino units separate .? I know there were differences,but why.? Starling.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Philippine units were federalized into the U.S. Army 26 July 1941. For all practical purposes they were American soldiers operating under American leadership. No different from other U.S. Army units.

    Here is a better OOB for USAFFE as of December 1941.
    USAFFE, United States Armed Forces, 8.12.1941
     
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