18
   

Was Allied bombing of Germany Jan - April 1945 a war crime?

 
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 12:54 pm
@georgeob1,
Makes a whole lot of sense to this neophyte on the history of Midway. Looking at the big picture, it seems Japan didn't have the men or materials to concentrate all of their eggs in one basket, and decided to concentrate on all of Asia rather than the potential threat by the US - which was already acknowledged by Admiral Yamamoto soon after Pearl Harbor. They gambled and lost.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 02:08 pm
It was still dumb luck, O'George. The Devastators had altered course directly to the First Air Fleet when they received word of the latest sighting. The SBDs continued to the point to which they had originally been directed, and then altered course. There was no aspect of American intelligence or planning which resulted in the particular gap in time between the arrival of the Devastators and the arrival of the SBD, which was the fortuitous circumstance which allowed the SBDs to attack while there was no CAP overhead, and while aircraft were fueling and arming on the flight deck and the hanger deck. That's dumb luck because it didn't result from planning and it didn't result from operational or tactical doctrine, it simply resulted from the divergence of courses between the Devastators and the SBDs.
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 02:30 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

It was still dumb luck, O'George. The Devastators had altered course directly to the First Air Fleet when they received word of the latest sighting. The SBDs continued to the point to which they had originally been directed, and then altered course. There was no aspect of American intelligence or planning which resulted in the particular gap in time between the arrival of the Devastators and the arrival of the SBD, which was the fortuitous circumstance which allowed the SBDs to attack while there was no CAP overhead, and while aircraft were fueling and arming on the flight deck and the hanger deck. That's dumb luck because it didn't result from planning and it didn't result from operational or tactical doctrine, it simply resulted from the divergence of courses between the Devastators and the SBDs.


You reveal a lack of understanding of the reality of it. Actual engagements almost never go according to either plans or doctrine - on either side. The Japanese executed their plan but lost sight of their strategic objectives in the process - this a result of an excessive focus on the irrelevant details of a plan, as opposed to the objectives for which the plan was created.

The American forces operated under a far less detailed and complex plan, but all of them, from Admirals Spruance & Fletcher down to the most junior pilot in the attack squadrons, knew and understood the objectives of the operation, and adapted their actions to their fulfillment despite a host of distracting factors and the errors that inevitably accompany such an engagement.

It wasn't "dumb luck" that Cdr McClusky and his dive bombers found the Japanese carriers. They did miss an update communication as you noted, but they pressed on and found and utterly destroyed their targets. That isn't "dumb luck".
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 03:13 pm

I've not read all of this, but I remember someone once said

"No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy"
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 03:51 pm
@McTag,
So glad you said that, McTag, so a fellow ignoramus like me can join you in the sidelines.

I did read everything here, have nothing to say on either theory or history of the Pacific war, so all I can contribute is a photograph from the waters around Guadalcanal, serving as burial place for so many sailors and aviators:

http://tbn3.google.com/images?q=tbn:MP2_Pk-W9Pw1qM:http://bradsheard.com/web_images/solomons/GCanal_7282.jpg

http://www.wreckdivingmag.com/
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 04:25 pm
@georgeob1,
O'George, you reveal a lack of reality in anything touching the Navy. From your antic fulminations against MacArthur to your analysis of the battle of Midway, your motto is obviously "the Navy is always right, and the Navy can do no wrong." Does the Navy PR Department pay you? I've seen film of McClusky being interviewed, and he says essentially the same thing that i'm saying. That is that the spectacular results of the SBD attack on First Air Fleet resulted from the aircraft being fueled and armed on the flight decks and hanger decks of the aircraft carriers. He was there, you weren't, i'll take his word for it. Your "rebuttal" relies on a straw man argument. At no time did i say that the SBDs had missed any communications. What i said was (and what McClusky said in the filmed interview) that the Devastators altered course immediately, and the SBDs flew on to the point to which they had originally been vectored before they changed course for the new heading. That meant that the SBDs, rather than arriving at five minutes intervals as the Devastators had done, arrived about 15 or 20 minutes after the last Devastator attack had gone in. That was why the CAP was not there, that was why the flight and hanger decks of the Japanese carriers would covered by fuel hoses and piles of ordnance.

From the Wikipedia article on Wade McClusky:

Quote:
Lieutenant Commander McClusky became Enterprise air group commander in April 1942. During the Battle of Midway, while leading his air group's scout bombers on 4 June 1942, he made the critical tactical decision that led to the destruction of the Japanese aircraft carriers Kaga and Akagi. When he could not find the Japanese carriers where he expected them, and with his air group's fuel running dangerously low, he decided to trail a Japanese destroyer that he had spotted, which was steaming north at flank speed, and this led him directly to the enemy carriers. He then directed his dive-bombers into an attack which led to the destruction of both the Kaga and Akagi. A squadron from the Yorktown arrived at the same moment and took out the Soryu. Within minutes, three of the four Japanese carriers had been turned into burning hulks. McClusky, through his intelligence and courage, had thus made a vital contribution to the outcome of this pivotal battle. For his actions McClusky was awarded the Navy Cross. Later in World War II, he commanded the escort carrier Corregidor (CVE-58).


From the Wikipedia article on the battle of Midway:

Quote:
American carrier aircraft had difficulty locating the target in the vastness of the Pacific, despite the positions they had been given. Nevertheless, they did finally sight enemy carriers and began attacking at 09:20, led by Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8, from Hornet), followed by VT-6 (from Enterprise) at 09:40. Without fighter escort, every TBD Devastator of VT-8 was shot down without inflicting any damage, with Ensign George H. Gay, Jr. the only survivor. VT-6 met nearly the same fate, with no hits to show for its effort, thanks in part to terrible aircraft torpedoes. The Japanese combat air patrol (CAP), flying the much faster Mitsubishi Zero, made short work of the unescorted, slow, under-armed TBDs. However, despite their losses, the American torpedo attacks indirectly achieved three important results. First, they kept the Japanese carriers off balance, with no ability to prepare and launch their own counterstrike. Second, their attacks pulled the Japanese combat air patrol out of position. Third, many of the Zeros grew low on ammunition and fuel. The appearance of a third torpedo plane attack from the southeast by VT-3 at 10:00 very quickly drew the majority of the Japanese CAP to the southeast quadrant of the fleet. Better discipline, and employment of all the Zeroes aboard, might have enabled Nagumo to succeed.

By chance, at the same time VT-3 was sighted by the Japanese, two separate formations (a total of three squadrons) of American SBD Dauntless dive bombers were approaching the Japanese fleet from the northeast and southwest. They were running low on fuel due to the time spent looking for the enemy. However, squadron commanders C. Wade McClusky, Jr. and Max Leslie decided to continue the search and luckily spotted the wake of the Japanese destroyer Arashi. The destroyer was steaming at full speed to rejoin Nagumo's carrier force, after having unsuccessfully depth-charged the U.S. submarine Nautilus, which had earlier unsuccessfully attacked the battleship Kirishima. The American dive-bombers arrived at the perfect time to attack. Armed Japanese strike aircraft filled the hangar decks, fuel hoses were snaking across the decks as refueling operations were hastily completed, and the constant change of ordnance meant bombs and torpedoes were stacked around the hangars, rather than stowed safely in the magazines, making the Japanese carriers extraordinarily vulnerable.

Beginning at 10:22, Enterprise’s aircraft attacked Kaga, while to the south, Yorktown’s aircraft attacked carrier Sōryū, with Akagi being struck by several of Enterprise's bombers four minutes later. Simultaneously, VT-3 was targeting Hiryū, although the American torpedo aircraft again scored no hits. The dive-bombers, however, had better fortune. Within six minutes, the SBD dive bombers made their attack runs and left all three of their targets heavily ablaze. Akagi was hit by just one bomb, which penetrated to the upper hangar deck and exploded among the armed and fueled aircraft there. One extremely near miss also slanted in and exploded underwater, bending the flight deck upward with the resulting geyser and causing crucial rudder damage. Sōryū took three bomb hits in the hangar decks; Kaga took at least four, possibly more. All three carriers were out of action and were eventually abandoned and scuttled.


Note the times, O'George. The Devastators began their attacks at 9:20 am. McClusky and company began their attacks at 10:22 am. It does nothing to lessen the courage of the Devastator crew or the initiative of the SBD commanders to note that the latter were lucky to arrive over First Air Fleet exactly when they did.

I certainly don't need you to tell me how reliably military operations can be carried out with regard to the initial planning. As McT points out, plans are the first casualties of an operation. We would certainly have bloodied their noses, but the coincidental circumstances turned it into a debacle for Nagumo. We got lucky, whether or not you like to admit it.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 04:36 pm
From the Navy Historical Center page on the Battle of Midway:

Thanks to American signals intelligence, judicious aircraft carrier tactics, and more than a little luck, the U.S. Navy had inflicted a smashing defeat on the Japanese Navy.
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 05:00 pm
@McTag,

It was bothering me, so I looked it up.
It was of course Helmuth Graf von Moltke (the elder), a top dude.

"Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke (October 26, 1800 " April 24, 1891) was a German Generalfeldmarschall. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is widely regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter half of the 1800s, and the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field. He is often referred to as Moltke the Elder to distinguish him from his nephew Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, who commanded the German Army at the outbreak of WWI."
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 05:33 pm
@Setanta,
I've often heard that "luck" is often determined by what the individual does; or brought upon oneself by their own actions.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 05:37 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Certainly, "luck" is the act of capitalizing on unforeseen, fortuitous circumstances.
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 09:13 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Certainly, "luck" is the act of capitalizing on unforeseen, fortuitous circumstances.

There are many definitions of "luck". Another is that luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.

The U.S. dive bombers were indeed "lucky" to encounter four Japanese carriers all with their flight decks locked with fuelled aircraft still in the process of rearming from contact fused fragmentation bombs to torpedoes and delayed fused penetrating bombs - and unable at that moment to launch more fighters. In this condition they were ready to explode and relatively easy prey.

However this "luck, was the direct result of the slavish and misguided action of the Japanese commander, his staff and air wing commander in following the details of an overly complex plan in direct and obvious defiance of the fundamental and central objectives of that plan.

In the confusion and fog of battle the Japanese, with significantly superior forces and the benefit of the initiative in the engagement, lost sight of their central objective, leaving themselves vulnerable to attack by the very forces they set out to destroy.

Under those same conditions and subject to the vaguries of the same uncertainty and fragmentary, ambiguous information, the Americans (at all levels, from the fleet commander down to the newest, greenest pilot) stayed focused on their central objective, and, despite deficient weapons and serious tactical setbacks , pressed on to their objective - aiming every bomb only at the Japanese carriers, wasting none, and destroyed them all, without exception.

This was more than luck.

The dive bomber pilots were also lucky that the Japanese fighters were low on fuel and at low altitude after engaging the U.S. torpedo squadrons. However, that luck was purchased with the lives of the American torpedo pilots who, with the single exception of an Ensign pilot who watched the engagement from his life raft, were all killed that day, pressing home their attacks. Had the two groups of aircraft arrived simultaneously as planned the Japanese fighter defense would still have been saturated and the result almost certainly the same.

This too was more than luck.

Setanta is a bright, well-informed guy. However he lets an excessive appetite for detail obscure the essential points that I believe have been stated - and repeated - with more than sufficient clarity in this and earlier posts.
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2008 09:18 pm
@McTag,
McTag wrote:


It was bothering me, so I looked it up.
It was of course Helmuth Graf von Moltke (the elder), a top dude.

"Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke (October 26, 1800 " April 24, 1891) was a German Generalfeldmarschall. The chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years, he is widely regarded as one of the great strategists of the latter half of the 1800s, and the creator of a new, more modern method of directing armies in the field. He is often referred to as Moltke the Elder to distinguish him from his nephew Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, who commanded the German Army at the outbreak of WWI."

The Navy version of this aphorism that I grew up with was;
"Planning is everything: plans are nothing".

This evokes the principal that the value of planning is in preparing the minds of those who will execute it for the uncertainties involved and enabling them to better deal with the inevitable surprises that ensue. The resulting plan is of relatively little importance.

Another good one is from Homer; ...
"Zeus does not bring all men's plans to fulfillment."


0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 05:51 am
@georgeob1,
Oh, for Christ's sake, O'George, don't try to butter me up with you blather, and then come up with some snotty remark to the effect that my attention to detail blinds me to the big picture. Just what the hell was going on when you were whining about MacArthur, and ignoring the crucial contribution of the USAAF in the southwest Pacific theater?

Basically, what's going on here is that you just cannot stand to be contradicted. You're even prepared to ignore what the Naval Historical Center has to say on the subject. I haven't denied the quality of naval intelligence, nor the courage, initiative and skill of the naval officers involved--i've just pointed out that the spectacular nature of the Japanese debacle was a product of luck.

The Navy Historical Center says the same thing.

Give it up, O'George, your life won't end if you are contradicted. Your only recourse here to the fact of the extent that luck played in the extent of American victory is to make invidious comments on my understanding of historical events. That's pretty low brow, O'George, even by the ordinarily low standards of the Jesuits and their minions.
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 08:21 am
@Setanta,
You should reread your post, and look in a mirror.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 10:50 am
I haven't denied that naval intelligence benefited from their ability to crack the Japanese codes. I am aware that they used a clever ruse to confirm the Imperial Navy's code for Midway. I have not denied the prompt measures taken to counter the First Air Fleet. I have not denied the operational abilities of Spruance and Fletcher, and i have specifically praised the courage and initiative of Navy aviators.

My entire sin, in your eyes, is ascribing the scope of the victory over First Air Fleet to luck. For some reason, that seems to infuriate you (silly boy). But this is not a case of my being unwilling to accept contradiction when offering a dubious opinion. As i have pointed out, i have seen a filmed interview in which McClusky says essentially the same thing. I cannot link you to that film, but i did provide a quote from the Navy Historical Center (you know, the United States Navy Historical Center?) stating: Thanks to American signals intelligence, judicious aircraft carrier tactics, and more than a little luck, the U.S. Navy had inflicted a smashing defeat on the Japanese Navy., and i provided a link to that page. You have ignored it completely, because it is not consonant with your personal view of the battle. I have not been enraged by being contradicted, because it is not simply me whom you contradict, but the weight of the opinion of reputable historians, and even of the Navy Historical Center. You are the one who cannot deal with contradiction.

Throughout these discussions of the Pacific war, you have beaten the drum of "The Navy, and noone but the Navy." I said to you earlier: It certainly would be a mistake to overrate MacArthur's contribution. It would equally be a mistake to attempt to portray the Pacific War as the Navy and Marines marching from one triumph to another. But you have continued to attempt to portray the Pacific war as a series of Navy triumphs, to which no one else made a significant contribution. In fact, prior to the remark of mine which i have just quoted (and which was in response to this remark of yours), you wrote: By the end of 1942 our submarines had in addition cut off most of the deliveries of petroleum to Japan from Indonesia. They still had powerful surface naval forces and well entrenched positions on islands throughout the region, however were no longer capable of seriuous offensive operations -- the outcome of the war was no longer in doubt. MacArthur's campaign had very little to do with it. And this is evidence of another, more disturbing aspect of your willing blindness, and that is your unwillingness to admit any failings on the part of Navy. As this excerpt froman article at History-net-dot-com points out, the Navy's torpedoes, well into 1943, were a disaster:

Quote:
For 18 months, several flaws had combined to render the Mark XIV torpedo, upon which submariners’ lives and success depended, virtually impotent. From the onset of Mark XIV production, inherent defects had existed within the design of the torpedo and the Mark VI magnetic influence exploder mechanism. Each flaw that was discovered and corrected exposed another malfunction. As Theodore Roscoe, author of the official naval history of submarine operations, put it, ‘The only reliable feature of the torpedo was its unreliability.’


But you have been pleased to write: It is true that the South Asian air forces played an important role in the interdiction of shipping from the Java Sea. However it was at best a supplement to what the submarine cordon around Japan had already done. This completely ignores the uselessness of the Mark XIV torpedo, and the frustrations which it caused submariners, and the dangers to which it exposed them. As the linked article points out:

Quote:
What must never be forgotten is the fact that just over 50 years ago, submariners were forced to engage the enemy for 18 months with ordnance that proved to be at least 70 percent unreliable. Often, Japanese merchantmen would enter port with unexploded Mark XIV torpedoes thrust into their hulls.


Admiral Lockwood, commanding the submarine service in the southwest Pacific had no illusions about the lack of reliable ordnance. From the same source:

Quote:
Perhaps Admiral Lockwood encapsulated the submariners’ long frustration best when he suggested at a wartime conference in Washington that, ‘If the Bureau of Ordnance can’t provide us with torpedoes that will hit and explode… then for God’s sake, get the Bureau of Ships to design a boat hook with which we can rip the plates off a target’s side.’ Although his submarines never had to resort to such measures, history has tended to overlook their early months of struggle, focusing instead on the final two years of their campaign.


You, too are focusing on the last two years of the submarine campaign, and in the process, are pleased to denigrate the effort of Kenney's Fifth USAAF--which for most of the first 18 moths of the war, was the only effective force for interdicting Japanese shipping coming from the Dutch East Indies. You just can't accept either that the Navy could have done anything wrong, or that anyone else made a significant contribution to the Pacific War.

At the beginning of the Second World War, the Japanese Long Lance torpedo was the finest torpedo in the world. The Kagero class destroyer was the best destroyer afloat, superior to any American design then in service. The Mitsubishi "Zero" was superior to the Brewster Buffalo and the Grumman Wildcat, in every regard except armor. However, what is significant about all of these excellencies was the cost to the Japanese of their weapons systems. In absolute terms of resources need to produce a fighter plane, or a torpedo, or a destroyer, including the material costs of getting the manufacturing materials and delivering them to Japan, all of these weapons cost far, far more than American weapons systems cost the United States. To take the example of the Zero, in 1940, it cost Japan more than two and half times as much in absolute material terms to produce as the Wildcat. Although there was a brief period of time after the Southern Operation when the difference slipped slightly, the attacks of Kenney's 5th USAAF and the rapidity with which the United States geared up her war industry just made the equation worse for Japan. While the United States quickly replaced her older designs, and manufactured existing designs in the thousands and tens of thousands, the Japanese struggled just to produce spare parts to keep her existing weapons systems in operation. Few new Japanese weapons and weapons system designs were completed and put into service after late 1942. The efforts of Kenney's air forces (which began with the 5th USAAF and the Royal Australian Air Force, and later expanded with two more Army air forces) in the latter half of 1942 and the first half of 1943 were the true effective methods which were being taken to interdict Japanese shipping with the materials from the East Indies (minerals and petroleum) which were crucial to the Japanese war effort. But you, with your sacrosanct credo of "all Navy and only Navy," refuse to see that anyone else could have made a significant contribution.

Furthermore, you have twisted what i have written in your constant chant of Navy superiority. You write: It is true - as you say - that MacArthur's campaign in New Guinea was intended to protect Australia. However it occurred after Japan had completely lost any meaningful capability to threaten the subcontinent. In fact, you were the one who said that MacArthur's campaign in New Guinea was intended to protect Australia, and i simply acknowledged that that was one of the goals of the campaign. In the first place, you are wrong to say that the campaign occurred only after Japan had lost the capability to threaten Australia. The battle of the Coral Sea was a draw, and the fact that it turned back a convoy intended to reinforce Japanese troops on New Guinea, doesn't change that events did not occur in that war in a vacuum in which only U.S. Navy operations were significant. Japanese troops were already on New Guinea, and they were fighting to cross the mountains and take Port Moresby after the battle of the Coral Sea. The Coral Sea engagement took place in May, 1942, and the Japanese landed two more regiments on New Guinea near Gona in July of that year. Gona was at the eastern end of the island, so the Coral Sea engagement was not nearly so important as Navy men like to claim, and apart from the convoy which was turned back in May, the Navy did nothing to interdict further Japanese reinforcements to New Guinea. The new Japanese regiments forced the Australians out of Gona and across the mountains. The Australians sent another brigade to Port Moreseby, and even then, the Australians were obliged to retreat even closer to Port Morseby. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy was off fighting the Midway operation, and the Japanese with impunity made an amphibious landing in the attempt to take Port Morseby in September, 1942, more than four months after the Coral Sea battle. This force was defeated, thanks to the Australian troops,and the the RAAF and Kenney's 5th USAAF, both of which established permanent bases at Port Moresby to support the advance to retake Gona and Buna, and move west along the coast of New Guinea. While that was going on, the Navy was just beginning their Guadalcanal operation. Anyone familiar with that campaign, and especially with the naval battles in the Solomons and the successful Japanese resupply and reinforcement operations to Guadalcanal will be hard pressed to reconcile those facts with a claim that the Japanese had lost any meaningful capability to threaten the subcontinent. It was only because of the successful defense of Port Moresby, the Guadalcanal operation and the subsequent push over the mountains of New Guinea and west along the coast of New Guinea that the Japanese were finally put out of the ability to threaten Australia. Certainly, despite your unrealistic pride in the Navy, the single engagement of the Coral Sea did not accomplish that end by itself.

I did not claim that the only purpose of the New Guinea campaign was to protect Australia, and you ignore what i had already pointed out, which was that MacArthur's "hopping" operations on New Guinea relentlessly brought more and more of the Dutch East Indies, and eventually Borneo as well, under the bomb sights of Kenney's Southwest Pacific Air Force. In a period of time when Navy submariners could not rely on their torpedoes, when 70% of those torpedoes failed, it is absurd to claim that the efforts of Kenney's air forces were "at best a supplement" to what the submarine service was doing. Until late in 1943, there were precious damned few American submarines in operation in the Pacific, and by far the lion's share were pre-war models. And until mid-1944, those submariners didn't have a reliable torpedo to accomplish their mission. That high price the Japanese paid to manufacture their weapons systems was made much, much higher by Army air forces, from the very beginning.

I let a lot of this slide before, but your pig-headed insistence that no luck was involved in the Midway operation, and that in spite of the fact that the Navy Historical Center contradicts what you say, leads me to assume that you don't have the slightest grip on the reality of the events of the Pacific War, at any point at which historical reality conflicts with the Navy Gospel of Navy Excellence. Yes, it was largely a naval war, for obvious reasons. That doesn't mean that the Navy, and only the Navy, made a significant contribution, that the Navy never had any faults or failings, and that Navy could and did win it all by themselves. In fact, the end result of the Navy's operations in the central Pacific was to put United States Army Air Corps units in a position to support Navy operations against Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and to put USAAF units in a position to attack the home islands. At every step in the Pacific War, the Army's air forces, and GIs themselves marched every step at the Navy's side. Or maybe you don't think the GIs who died on Guadalcanal, and in every other prolonged invasion operation, and the thousands of USAAF aircrew who died in that war were really doing anything important. Will you now claim that the tens of thousands of casualties suffered by the Dutch and Australians were pointless?

You have a seriously unrealistic view of the Pacific War, and it's all founded in an irrational, blinkered prejudice for the United States Navy.

There is no doubt that the Navy fought the Midway campaign well. There is also no doubt that their spectacular success in nearly destroying the Japanese First Air Fleet (the carriers Zuiho and Hosho escaped) was a direct result of a stroke of wonderful good luck in bombing the Japanese carriers when their decks were covered with planes, fuel and ordnance.

Get over it, George.
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 01:50 pm
@georgeob1,
Aw, cut it out, the 2 of you - anyway this thread is about Germany, for crissakes. But the Pacific makes for better underwater photography:

http://www.ijn.dreamhost.com/Reference/Images%20-%20Reference/Historical/Return%20to%20Midway.jpg
http://www.ijn.dreamhost.com/Reference/Reference%20-%20Historical.htm
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 02:32 pm
@High Seas,
PS to George and Setanta - here's the definitive account of Midway from the point of view of the Imperial Navy, and it disagrees with both of you:
Quote:
At a deeper level, though, it is important to clarify that the defeat at Midway was
not just the product of flawed decisions by a handful of men at the top. Likewise,
Admiral Nagumo’s command decisions on the day of the battle, which have widely
been held up as having been the reason for Japan’s defeat, were not solely to blame,
either. Instead, we will show that Yamamoto, Nagumo, and indeed all the Japanese
forces involved, suffered from deep-seated flaws that were a product of the Imperial
Navy’s strategic outlooks, doctrinal tenets, and institutional cultures.

http://www.shatteredswordbook.com/ShatteredSwordIntroduction.pdf
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 02:58 pm
I'd never argue against the proposition that the Imperial Navy's officer corps had a flawed, a fatally flawed view of what the focus of the naval war would be. That doesn't change, however, the aspect of great good fortune which surrounds the success of the SBD attack on the First Air Fleet.
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 03:44 pm
@Setanta,
The last paragraph in the linked exerpt is dignified (typical Japanese attitude) but heartbreaking - it would apply as well to the people in Dresden as to the massive casualties on their 4 carriers, Akagi, Kaga, Hiryū, and Sōryū:

Quote:
All parties to a great battle"winner and loser"can benefit
from greater knowledge of the other’s story in this respect. Particularly in an age
where aerial warfare is often strangely antiseptic, and where violence is inflicted from
great distances and seemingly omnipotent heights, we would do well to remember
what the ultimate, intimate results of such activities are.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 03:50 pm
The last sentence is very apt. I am reminded of the claims of one of the members in this thread to the effect that the USAAF only practiced precision bombing in Europe. It certainly means nothing to those who lost family members that the bomb that killed them was dropped "with precision."
0 Replies
 
 

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