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"Dooming Japan to defeat."

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by JCFalkenbergIII, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    In the Dec 2007 issue of Military History magazine Col. Malcolm Muir makes this statement,

    "In the fall of 1941,the Japanese army was an excellent light infantry army,and Prime Minister and army General Hideki Tojo told the emperor of Japan,"Wars can be fought and won with ease". He'd seen the Japanese army in the field was very potent. But he's not taking into account the economic or political considerations. His view is so narrow that he is dooming Japan to defeat."

    Do you agree? Was it the lack of consideration of economics and politics that doomed Japan?
     
  2. travelinbabs

    travelinbabs Member

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    Hmm... an interesting topic. I need to think on this before replying.
     
  3. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Most decidedly. Japan failed to realize in 1941 that they had attacked a country that could enjoy the relative safety provided by the largest ocean on the planet to decided when and where to exact vengence and had the population and industrial might to accomplish it.
     
  4. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    I agree with the idea that overconfidence was a factor in the overall equation, but that was the Japanese army. It was very different with the Japanese Navy. Their leadership was not so confident, Yamamoto had informed the Emporer that the only chance Japan had was a short war, hoping that America would agree to terms after Japan had secured the resources in the south. Unfortuantely the Army had the most influence.
     
  5. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Member

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    Not sure exactly what he means by this - perhaps industrial might and the will to fight?

    Japan was doomed the minute the trigger was pulled on Dec. 7, 1941. As far as Japan's army in particular, the IJA enjoyed a string of easy victories over inferior opponents, victories which led to overconfidence, even arrogance.

    It was this sort of "superman" mentality that led to the destruction of the Ichiki Force on the Ilu River at Guadalcanal in August of 1942.

    JT
     
  6. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    I think Col. Muir is completely wrong. The Imperial Japanese Army was an excellent World War 1 infantry army trying to fight a far more modern mechanized / technological war. As for being "light infantry;" they really weren't any more than any other leg infantry orgainzation in any other army in WW 2 was.
    Their standard division orgainzation was roughly the same as anyone else's with the closest equivalent probably being that of the Red Army. The Japanese, like the Soviets held to the obsolsent five company battalion with three rifle, a machinegun, and a light support company.
    In tactics, the Japanese were generally unimaginative but highly aggressive. Against troops with poor orgainzation or communications Japanese tactics often caused sufficent confusion to decide battles in their favor even when outnumbered. Once Allied forces learned what to expect the Japanese fell apart offensively. The massed assault WW 1 style was generally the alternative for the IJA and rarely did these assaults go in their favor.
    The Japanese also showed little real ability to coordinate the various arms of their military, particularly real-time. Tactical air support was virtually non-existant. Artillery relied heavily on WW 1 era methodology and map fires without reliance on foward observers. Japanese tank tactics were plodding and could best be characterized as using tanks as mobile bunkers for fire support.
    On the whole, the IJA was an unimaginative, less than modern conscript infantry army in the most traditional sense of that concept from the mid to late 19th century. In many ways it is impressive that they were able to accomplish what they actually did in roughly the first 6 months of the Pacific war.
     
  7. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    I agree T.A. But do you think that ignoring, or at least discounting, the political and economic considerations put the nails in the Japanese coffin and doomed them?
     
  8. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Even discounting political and economic considerations the Japanese were doomed. Division for division their military was badly inferior to their opponets virtually from the opening of the war. The Allies biggest problem early on was simply lack of numbers to deal with the Japanese in a fashion their mostly peacetime generals were accustomed to. That is, the Allies had a overly cautious concern for flanks, did not recognize the major weakness of the Japanese as being an inability to overcome an entrenched and determined enemy.
    Instead, they sought early on to defend everything. In doing so they were unable to defend anything. Had the US in the Philippines followed their original doctrine of fortifying on Bataan with a massive amount of supplies in good order the Japanese would have expended themselves in that campaign. Even historically, they won by the thinnest of margins.
    The same goes in Malaysia. The British tried to defend the whole of the country. Had they fortified and focused on Singapore alone the Japanese would never have taken the island. It would have become an Asian "Malta."
    Wake is a good example of what might have occured elsewhere in the Pacific. There the Japanese were initially rebuffed, actually defeated. They had to heavily reinforce their operation and even then took substancial casualties against a relatively weak US Marine defense.
    With the Japanese penchant for ad hoc improvised forces, underestimating their opponet's in terms of ability and strength along with having inferior orgainzation and equipment even one-on-one Japanese units of any particular size are overmatched by their Allied counterparts.
    At sea the Japanese were no better. Outside of a handful of surface actions in the opening days of the war and off Guadalcanal their navy lost battle after battle at sea. In the critical field of carrier operations they were never able to do better than a draw and in most cases lost badly to the US.
     
  9. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Well they did do a good job in the beginning at estimating on how the Allies would react and taking chances on that. But after that their arrogance and belief that their "code" would suffice for their shortcomings did them in too. Part of their sucesses were because of the shortcomings of the Allies themselvses of course.But they should have known in the long term what would eventually happen to them. And basing their plans on the assumptions that the Allies would just let them do what they want.
     
  10. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    hardly something i'd listen to. there are ways to win a war despite that.
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    the Japanese had to decide in 1941 what they were up to. The US made restrictions to the amount of oil that Japan could get due to the politics in China and I recall it was calculated that in some six months the Japanese Navy could not do anything at all. So they decided to attack which was not a surprise in my opinion. So I don´t know which side of the economics or politics they really missed or did they?!!
     
  12. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    I think he might have been referring to either the economics of the US or perhaps thier own economics in that thier economy could not sustain a long term war against the US. Not really thinking it through as to how much the US could produce and for how long.
     
  13. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    As far as i am aware that one individual knew something like international diplomacy and that was Yamamoto, he knew that attacking America would awake the sleeping industrial giant, he knew that to attack America would eventually doom Japan, this he constantly warned those even to the Emperor, but the Emperor was the final arbitor of the decision to attack America, this from an Emperor who had almost no knoweldge of International politics, and international political rammifications.

    And the one critical shortfall for the Japanese land Army that eventually led to it's defeat and that was heavy weponary, almost the entire bulk of the Japanese Army was the 75mm light artillery guns, plus Japan never developed a heavy tank to take on the Soviets, when the Soviets did luanch their assault on Japanese units their Heavy and Super Heavy artillery guns made mince meat of the Japanese front, then the Japanese were confronted with heavy tanks of the T-34's IS-1 and the like, the Japanese had virtually no anti-tank gun to take on these beasts.
     
  14. acker

    acker Member

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    Let's see...

    -No appreciable concern of logistics.
    -Bad equipment.
    -Army/Navy rivalry. This was actually very serious; the Army didn't know about the seriousness of Midway until 1945. And there was little interchangeability between the two arms of the military.
    -Worse spare-parts problem than Germany.
    -Relatively small war production capability.
    -Outdated Technology.
    -Outdated Tactics. Some of their generals were pretty good, though.
    -Outdated tanks.
    -Outdated aircraft.

    Logistics comes in ahead of all the rest. Then equipment/armor, then tactics. About the only thing Japan has for them is high-quality soldiers. The only army to actually obey "fight to the last man" on a regular basis...pity that that doesn't win wars.
     
  15. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Here's an interesting part of the above list:

    Japan during WW 2 was actually pretty far advanced on theoretical and scientific development in the field of radar. If anything, they actually were in advance of the Germans in many ways. But, their program was severely hampered by several problems that had to do with the things mentioned above.
    First, the Army and Navy had seperate programs. In several cases, there were companies that had contracts with both services. These companies were instructed such that they could not use scientists or technicians working for one service on projects for the other service. The company could not share data or research between the two services in any way shape or form! Literally, there were two completely seperate programs for radar development.
    Of course, some companies ignored such restrictions but only at the risk of being shut out of any further development contracts should either service find out that they were ignoring those restrictions.
    The Imperial Army also drafted many of the staff working on radar development. Once the war started the pre-war staffing levels of about 1000 personnel per service fell by almost 50% overnight due to drafts. There was no deferment for being on a critical war project or other protection like occured in most other nations.
    In the US, the last resort was simply for the military to put such people in uniform and return them to work as a means of avoiding losing their services. This resulted in a number of cases of scientists and technicians being made Chiefs or First Sergents overnight to maintain the civilian pay these individuals recieved to some degree. This had the unusual effect of having very senior NCOs with no medals, no service stripes, no time in service stripes or medals and being looked at by officers and regular service NCOs very strangely. It also had the effect sometimes of an NCO "commanding" officers including fairly senior ones like Majors and Lt. Colonels due to their technical expertise versus their military rank!
    Nothing like this happened in Japan. Instead, scientific projects took a back seat to military demands for cannon fodder much as happened in Germany more than once. It was a costly mistake.
     
  16. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

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    A couple of "goodies" to add;

    1. Bushido,
    "the Way of the Warrior"

    Gunjin Wa,
    "A Soldier/Sailor is",

    Brave
    Frugal
    Trustworthy
    Polite
    Loyal

    Translation:
    Banzai Charge, when ordered
    Suicide, rather than failure/capture
    Treat Prisoners, as "non-existent" (for they've failed in their "only/every" worth)

    2. Yamato Damashii
    "Japanese Spirit", or "Soul of Japan"

    This alone could/would overcome Material, Technological, Logistical, Numerical & All human weaknesses and bring victory.


    um............no.
     
  17. PactOfSteel

    PactOfSteel Dishonorably Discharged

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    Japan only attacked Pearl Harbor because of the American embargo, it faced a choice between death of the empire or fighting for its life, Japan decided to seize the oil fields of the Indies. And the only force capable of interfering was the U.S. fleet that FDR had conveniently moved from San Diego out to Honolulu.
     
  18. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Let's see, death of an Empire? Does this include the continued war with China? Love the term "conveniently". How about "intentionally"? I prefer that word, as in he intentionally moved it there it assist the years previous plans prepared for the eventual war with Japan. I guess your next little tid bit will allege that Roosevelt intentionally had the carriers out of the harbor on the day of the attack?

    None of this holds water when viewed in the glaring light of day.
     
  19. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    How dare the US make the Japanese attack because of the embargo? LOL. I guess Singapore and the DEI,Ect just were in the way?
     
  20. acker

    acker Member

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    So, waging an aggressive war, The Rape of Nanking, and various other actions had nothing to do with this embargo of war material to Japan?

    By the way, the "Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere" was a bad thing. It didn't exactly live up to its name, you see...
     

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