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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles
AuthorMessage
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 556
Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 12:03:23 AM
Why are Kimmel and Short found guilty by the Roberts Commission of errors in judgement and dereliction of duty for being surprised at Pearl Harbor but MacArthur isn't when he is surprised after the attack at Pearl Harbor warned him the Japanese were coming? Why are Kimmel and Short relieved of command for their defeat yet MacArthur is promoted for his? Why do we need scapgoats for Pearl Harbor and not the Philippines?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Larry Purtell
, USA
Posts: 522
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 7:05:55 AM

Quote:
Why are Kimmel and Short found guilty by the Roberts Commission of errors in judgement and dereliction of duty for being surprised at Pearl Harbor but MacArthur isn't when he is surprised after the attack at Pearl Harbor warned him the Japanese were coming? Why are Kimmel and Short relieved of command for their defeat yet MacArthur is promoted for his? Why do we need scapgoats for Pearl Harbor and not the Philippines?
--John R. Price


I found myself asking the same question after watching numerous Pearl Harbor specials yesterday. MacArthur seems to have skated on his whole time commanding in the Philippines in 1941-42.


Larry
---------------
"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 559
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 7:11:58 AM
They needed something resembling a hero.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 556
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 7:53:11 AM
But MacArthur didn't do anything heroic. While I don't buy into the "shakin on the Rock" crap his judgement was a lot worse than Kimmel and Short because the Philippines were supposed to be a main target.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 559
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 8:20:41 AM

Quote:
But MacArthur didn't do anything heroic. While I don't buy into the "shakin on the Rock" crap his judgement was a lot worse than Kimmel and Short because the Philippines were supposed to be a main target.
--John R. Price

I never said he did anything heroic.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 3052
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 9:38:33 AM
I can see you gentlemen come from the "Dugout Doug school"? My late father John fought under him with the 1st US Cavalry, & he never thought badly of General MacArthur? I'm not questioning that what you say is true, but am just wondering why he was held under such a dark cloud? He was for the most part a victorious general after all??

cheers,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 559
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 11:45:23 AM
He refought WWI in the Pacific, despite the knowledge that WWI wasn't all that great.

His ego was monumental. When he gave the "I shall return" speech he elected to formulate US policy without consulting with his superiors, "I have come to Australia with the intention, as I understand it, of return to the Philippines..." Nobody told him that was why he was there, but he was soooo important he could make policy without having to get any of it from FDR.

And it's fun to note that his staff had to be advised to remove their "MacArthur for President" buttons before they landed in Hawaii to discuss the future course of the war in the Pacific. I can just picture someone NOT wearing one of those while he was in the headquarters of his Lordship.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 556
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 4:09:37 PM
Dave,

Did I not say I didn't buy into the whole "Dugout Doug sits a shakin on the Rock?" I do not question his personal bravery I question his strategy and tactics. When the entire war plan of the US government is to fight a delaying action with a very limited force holding a limited section of the Philippines why are you not called to task for adopting a defend all territory local defense plan as he did? How does you air force get caught on the ground and basically destroyed a half a day after Pearl Harbor? Why are you indecisive in ordering air attacks on Formosa? If you do plan to defend all territory why is no major defense offered in the only two really suitable landing locations on Luzon?

AS for your "victorious general" comment I'd suggest reading any number of books on the Frozen Chosin or "Pacific Hurtgen." I also Think Peleliu was a questionable decision because with the supply lines to it cut and the air power knocked out it wasn't a flank threat to the Leyte landings.


Edit And I agree with Opana Pointer in that his troop dispositions ensured frontal attacks as the only possible choice. In my opinion he tried to do too many operations at the same time and lost interest in ongoing operations to focus on the next and he didn't pay enough attention to the details.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
Posts: 3052
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 5:04:06 PM
John,

I just wanted reasons for his somewhat low regarded standing as far as his Generalship, and the reasons you give certainly merit some factual base for it!

Thanks, & Regards,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Larry Purtell
, USA
Posts: 522
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 8:26:01 PM

Quote:
John,

I just wanted reasons for his somewhat low regarded standing as far as his Generalship, and the reasons you give certainly merit some factual base for it!

Thanks, & Regards,
MD
--Michigan Dave



Without Dug Out Doug would there have been an Iwo Jima or Okinawa?
---------------
"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 1546
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 9:07:49 PM
Larry, is that a leading question?

"Dugout" Doug was, IMHO, a creature hard for US folks to deal with. He was clearly out to pasture in the 1930s, but continued to believe his own press releases. Hell, he continued to write them! Yes, he buggered up the defence of the Philippines. Yes, he locked the remnants of his troops into Corregidor, that marvellous trap. He was long out of war and long into American Empire building by that time, and had quite clearly forgotten what little he might have learned in Europe under French military direction.

You say:
Quote:
Without Dug Out Doug would there have been an Iwo Jima or Okinawa?
.

Yes. The Japanese weren't successful simply because Dugout Doug was incompetent. The took control of huge territory within a couple of months. And the Allies (sure, largely the US but always with Aussie, NZ, and many Indian support and commitment) found a counter-attack approach. The Japanese no more held all the islands in their sphere of influence in 1942 than the Allies could claim they had reclaimed massive island groups by taking a single island. But both Japanese possession and Allied reclamation were based on a concept that left Dugout Doug in the dust.

To be honest, I'm thankful that Gen. MacArthur was not given supreme command, and that the Navy (and, God bless them, the US Marines) were required to play with a large theatre of war.

Iwo and Okanawa were, IIUC, largely USMC commitments. They were also late in the war, and came after earlier island assaults which, if less bloody, determined what might be expected. I don't think anybody on MHO forgets Tarawa, e.g.

Larry, I'm struggling here. Did MacArthur have any quality, insight, concept or vision that would have cleared those atolls more quickly? I can't find one. To be honest, I think even his personal presence was increasingly negative.

I will give MacArthur this. I think that, whoever his advisors were, he became the face of a relatively benign, relatively decent Occupation Force in Japan. Had he stopped at that point, his reputation might be higher.

Cheers
Brian G

PS: I didn't like him in Korea. I didn't like him against Truman. Sorry if that reflects in my comments.
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 556
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/8/2017 10:39:53 PM
Brian,

If MacArthur hadn't pushed retaking the Philippines and the Navy had its way and took Formosa landings on Iwo and Okanawa wouldn't have been needed.

Edit Iwo was a Marine Campaign but Okanawa was a joint operation with 10th Army being commanded by a Army General, Buckner, and consisting of a Army Corps of 4 Divisions and a Marine Corps of 3 Division and the 2nd Marine Division saw very little combat.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 559
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/9/2017 7:15:09 AM
Note: Nimitz agreed to the Philippines track after the air bases that would have supported the Formosa landing were captured by the Japanese.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 556
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/9/2017 4:26:47 PM
OpanaPointer,

What airfields in China are you referring to at that point in the war? I'm seeing at least 4 that were within operational range of Formosa for both bombing and fighter sweeps that stayed in US hands until the end of the war. With respect either Formosa or the Philippines it was going to be the carrier air doing the heavy lifting in any invasion until airfields could be captured and made operational by the invasion or even built as was the case in the Philippines.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 559
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/9/2017 4:51:12 PM
I didn't research the exact fields, I was after a different mouse. Given my peccable memory they could have been talking about fields to be captured that didn't get captured in time. Or the fields Nimitz wanted were patently not going to be captured in time to be useful. I read it en passant while researching the decision made at Hawaii.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
Posts: 556
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/9/2017 10:01:54 PM
OpanaPointer,

I'm just not sure I buy it as a valid reason. Air operations in China were limited by logistics in that it took so much to get supplies and equipment there that I just don't believe Nimitz would rely on it as a major part of a invasion plan. Plus from everything I've read about Nimitz he would have been "on board" as soon as FDR gave the order. I think there was a point at Hawaii in which he understood the politics of the idea to retake the Philippines and because of those factors Formosa wasn't going to happen but I don't think what air fields in China the US could use was a factor in coming to that point.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 559
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 12/10/2017 6:58:33 AM
That's okay by me. Always good to question information without provenance.

sergio007
new york, NY, USA
Posts: 1
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 1/4/2018 4:35:03 PM
Dear Mr. Price,

i have also asked this question about MacArthur and find it puzzling. Even the movies on MacArthur never start from Dec 8th 1941 but always from Corregidor and his defense of the Philippines. But, i believe it all boils down to General Marshall. He knew what was happening and could have easily put his weight into defending Kimmel/Short and just as easily could have exposed MacArthur on the mistake of Dec 8th. I believe they wanted to limit the negative publicity of the Pearl Harbor disaster which was just 24 hours. Else, MacArthur should have been fired just like Kimmel/Short.

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 559
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 1/4/2018 4:56:35 PM
There was no reason to defend Kimmel and Short. Kimmel had the fleet on "bankers' hours", so Yamamoto could guarantee a big bag for the raid. Being predictable is a major mistake. Short was determined to protect his assets, when he should have been ready to expend every single one to protect the Fleet, that's why he was there in the first place.

The very last exhibit in the Congressional Investigation into the Attack on Pearl Harbor is a letter to Kimmel and Short telling them that a court martial during the war would be against the country's interests, but guaranteeing them one after the war. Short died in 1947. Kimmel never took up the offer, preferring to do his talking without that awkward oath.

Killroy63
Pinson, AL, USA
Posts: 17
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 1/13/2018 11:31:56 AM
Post-Pearl Harbor, America needed a hero, and the closest thing we could come up with was MacArthur.

Post-Pearl Harbor, American needed scapegoats, and the closest thing we could come up with was Kimmel and Short.

There were plenty of mistakes made in Hawaii. But there were also plenty of mistakes made in Washington, D.C.

One example among many:

On....November 27th (going from memory), 1941, Washington sent a dispatch that began "This is to be considered a war warning." It went to, among others, MacArthur, Kimmel and Short.
MacArthur promptly responded that his command was ready to deal with all contingencies (it wasn't). Kimmel replied that he was conducting business as usual (he did). Short replied that he had alerted his command to be prepared to deal with potential sabotage.

Of all three commanders, Short most closely fulfilled the promise of his reply, wrongheaded though it obviously proved to be.

As for the potential of Courts Martial of Kimmel and Short, much of the evidence that might have- or might not have- exonerated the two was classified until the 1970s. Perhaps the powers that be would have allowed some of it to be declassified earlier or allowed select members of the Court to examine the documents in camera. It is interesting to note that neither Kimmel nor Short were aware of the extent of our code breaking successes during the first two investigations, so they would have been entirely unable to spill any secrets contained within those decrypted messages. Given the prejudice engendered against them by the incomprehensibly poor Roberts Commission and the incompletelness of subsequent wartime investigations (again, of necessity), there was simply no way that the two could ever have received a fair trial.

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 559
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 1/13/2018 12:37:10 PM
By request: The last exhibit in the Hearings is a letter to Kimmel and Short advising them that a court-martial before the end of the war is not in the national interest. It promises them a court-martial when they request it after the war. Short avoided this by dying. Kimmel never asked to appear before a court where he would have to testify under oath, prefering to go with the court of public opinion.

Truman issued to orders to the Joint Chiefs to release all relevant Magic documents. If Kimmel had requested a court-martial they would have been released.

Bottom line for Kimmel was the fact that he allowed the US Fleet to go on banker's hours, 9-5, Mon-Fri, in a wholly predictable pattern. When Yoshikawa Takeo reported this to the Kaigun Yamamoto was able to tell them that he could get a "big bag" by attacking on a weekend, just about any weekend. If there was one person in the US who facilitated the IJN's raid planning, it was Kimmel.

As for Short, his job was to make sure the US Fleet had a safe harbor in which the ships could stand down, do repairs, replenish, and recreate. His mindset shifted to protecting his own assets and it stayed that way until roughly 8 AM, Dec. 7th, 1941, TH time.


Killroy63
Pinson, AL, USA
Posts: 17
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 1/13/2018 6:10:57 PM
"Truman issued to orders to the Joint Chiefs to release all relevant Magic documents. If Kimmel had requested a court-martial they would have been released. "

This statement is an outright lie.

In the run-up to the 1944 Presidential election, Gov. Thomas Dewey, the GOP nominee, learned about our code breaking successes. When he threatened to "go public" and claim that FDR might have known more in the lead up to Pearl harbor than the public had been led to believe, he was contacted by Gen. George C. Marshall, who asked that Dewey not reveal the secret, as the Japanese were still using essentially the same codes. Dewey was incredulous, but Marshall took great pains to assure him that was the case. Marshall sent an emissary three times to Dewey to make his- and FDR's- case. Dewey agreed to keep the secret, putting country ahead of personal ambition.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1981/08/17/us-pleaded-with-dewey-on-code-breaking-secret/5f4cc090-51ec-447e-9cee-131f9a3421a1/?utm_term=.5aad97baca7e

The above story was from a document which remained classified until the late 1970s. If I recall my history, Truman was no longer President at that time.

"Bottom line for Kimmel was the fact that he allowed the US Fleet to go on banker's hours, 9-5, Mon-Fri, in a wholly predictable pattern. When Yoshikawa Takeo reported this to the Kaigun Yamamoto was able to tell them that he could get a "big bag" by attacking on a weekend, just about any weekend. If there was one person in the US who facilitated the IJN's raid planning, it was Kimmel."

Are you familiar with the Fleet Exercise from 1932?

In this example of full-scale wargaming, a US Admiral (Yarnall) was given the task of planning and executing an attack on Pearl Harbor. What he came up with was uncannily similar to what the Japanese did nine years later. Yarnall left his battleships behind and took only his aircraft carriers and fast escorts to a point north-northwest of Oahu. He launched his attack on a Sunday. In the early morning. His surprise attack neutralized the defending aircraft and took a heavy toll on the ships riding almost defenseless at anchor.

Yamamoto took notice, even if certain individuals in Hawaii and Washington did not.

Once again, to be perfectly explicit, I am NOT claiming that no mistakes were made in Hawaii by the commanders on scene. But mistakes were made elsewhere, up to and including 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
Posts: 559
Re: Dec 7, 1941 related question
Posted on: 1/13/2018 6:14:22 PM
The Truman orders are in the Hearings.