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How could US Offensive Tactics have been improved?


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#1 John Dudek

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 10:46 PM

Offhand, I would suggest much more ship to shore naval bombardments, lasting for weeks on end, rather than a paltry day or two. I would have also listened to Admirals like Halsey, who suggested to cancel the Peleliu Invasion and instead, concentrate on the Philippines.

#2 John Dudek

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 10:58 PM

I would also suggest clamping a tight submarine blockade on every island group that the US intended to invade, several months in advance of the actual invasion date, in order to cut their supplies of weapons, construction material and food. It almost worked on Saipan, but not nearly enough.

#3 syscom3

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 11:01 PM

You cant keep capital ships around for too long due to their logistical needs, plus each day on one spot meant more and more Japanese attacks.

I see the need for the AAF B24's to carry larger capacity bombs on a more frequent operations rate. Even if it meant the AAF had to request Lancasters from the RAF, so be it.

Other than that, the allies learned a lot in each invasion and progressively got the tactics, doctrine and specialized eqmt down to an art.

#4 John Dudek

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Posted 03 January 2009 - 11:10 PM

I can't agree. The US Navy Fleet Train capabilities after 1943 were practically infinite. At sea and underway replenishment was down to a science by that time. This was "a fleet that came to stay."

#5 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 12:28 AM

I can't agree. The US Navy Fleet Train capabilities after 1943 were practically infinite. At sea and underway replenishment was down to a science by that time. This was "a fleet that came to stay."


No, the capabilities of the US Navy Fleet Train weren't "practically infinite" at any time during WW II. The size and abilities of the US Navy Service Squadrons grew while barely keeping pace with the requirements of each succeeding military operation.

You need to read "Beans, Bullets and Black Oil" by Worrell R. Carter.

HyperWar: Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil (FLeet logistics in the Pacific)

Edited by Devilsadvocate, 04 January 2009 - 12:53 AM.
edited for spelling and grammar


#6 Tiornu

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 12:49 AM

There were specific errors, certainly, but I don't see much to condemn generally. The most common criticism I hear regards the effort in the Solomons. A single-prong advance is offered as a superior alternative. I have no opinion on the subject.
A simple way to improve matters would be to give the fleet a decent set of torpedoes--not a policy matter, but a big improvement nonetheless.

#7 syscom3

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 03:14 AM

There were specific errors, certainly, but I don't see much to condemn generally. The most common criticism I hear regards the effort in the Solomons. A single-prong advance is offered as a superior alternative. I have no opinion on the subject.
A simple way to improve matters would be to give the fleet a decent set of torpedoes--not a policy matter, but a big improvement nonetheless.


After fall 1943, they became redundant. The conversion of the mounts to AA served the ships better in the long run.

As for single prong or double prong, history showed that the allies had enough men and material to do both.

One thing I would have done as soon as as possible, is to go on a sustained oil offensive against the oil refineries in the NEI that were within range of Darwin. The 380th BG did hit them on occasion, but nothing sustained.

#8 OpanaPointer

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 04:30 AM

After fall 1943, they became redundant.

Battle of Leyte Gulf.

"One of our King Tigers could take five of your Shermans, but you always had six of them."


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#9 syscom3

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 04:40 AM

Battle of Leyte Gulf.


Radar controlled gunfire was far more effective.

Surigao Straight proved that.

#10 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 04:57 AM

....One thing I would have done as soon as as possible, is to go on a sustained oil offensive against the oil refineries in the NEI that were within range of Darwin. The 380th BG did hit them on occasion, but nothing sustained.


From August, 1944, until June, 1945 a squadron of B-24's was stationed at Darwin and carried out very long range bombing attacks against oil refineries such as those at Balikpapen on Borneo. These were, however, fairly small refineries and bombing them did not severely affect Japanese oil production. The other refineries on Borneo, such as Miri (where my wife's family was in WW II) were beyond the range of air attack from Darwin.

The two largest oil refineries (capable of a combined output equal to 75 % of Japan's requirement for aviation gas) were at Palembang on the Island of Sumatra. These also, were far beyond the range of any Allied bombers stationed at Darwin during WW II. The Palembang refineries were raided by British carrier aviation in January, 1945, but by that time, no petroleum products of any kind were reaching Japan or most of the rest of her far-flung empire.

#11 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 05:01 AM

Radar controlled gunfire was far more effective.

Surigao Straight proved that.


Most of the damage at Surigao Strait appears to have been inflicted by torpedoes.

#12 Tiornu

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 05:41 AM

After fall 1943, they became redundant. The conversion of the mounts to AA served the ships better in the long run.

I think history showed that submarines could not mount AA firepower sufficient for self-defense purposes, though I don't recall any that sacrificed their torpedoes for that extra edge against planes.

#13 OpanaPointer

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 01:55 PM

Radar controlled gunfire was far more effective.

Surigao Straight proved that.

The Northern Force didn't turn back because of 5" gun fire, they weren't happy steaming into torpedo water, as one cruiser proved right away. (Forward 1/4, approx., blown off.)

The destroyer attacks in Surigao Strait were also effective, and they were purely torpedo attacks.

"One of our King Tigers could take five of your Shermans, but you always had six of them."


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#14 syscom3

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 05:09 PM

I think history showed that submarines could not mount AA firepower sufficient for self-defense purposes, though I don't recall any that sacrificed their torpedoes for that extra edge against planes.


I am referring to the destroyers that mounted the tubes.

Youre being sarcastic?

#15 syscom3

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 05:18 PM

The 380th BG was based at Darwin beginning May 1943 and flew several missions to Balikpapin and others. But because of the reality of having only a single B24 group in that part of the world, most missions were of a dozen AC or less.

As for the importance of this refinery, it was #2 in the scheme of things and a very high value target. With a little fore sight from the 5th Bomber Command, more B24 assetts could have been made available to the 380th (or move a B24 group there permanently in late 1942), and a systematic bombing campaign against all refineries within range could have been done.

#16 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 06:01 PM

The 380th BG was based at Darwin beginning May 1943 and flew several missions to Balikpapin and others. But because of the reality of having only a single B24 group in that part of the world, most missions were of a dozen AC or less.

As for the importance of this refinery, it was #2 in the scheme of things and a very high value target. With a little fore sight from the 5th Bomber Command, more B24 assetts could have been made available to the 380th (or move a B24 group there permanently in late 1942), and a systematic bombing campaign against all refineries within range could have been done.


The Balikpapen refinery was "#2 in the scheme of things"?

In size? In output? What "scheme of things"? According to my sources it was small and contributed very little to Japan's stock of refined petroleum products. So who says it was that "high value"?

The fact is very few of the refineries in the NEI were within B-24 range of Darwin. Being able to bomb some of the smaller ones just didn't make that much difference. And because most were a long way from Darwin, the B-24's couldn't carry useful bomb loads.

Besides that, in 1942 the Japanese were still bombing the hell out of any air bases near Darwin. So how do you conduct a "sustained bombing campaign" with the enemy destroying your airfields, equipment, ordnance, aircraft, and personnel?

Edited by Devilsadvocate, 04 January 2009 - 06:15 PM.


#17 OpanaPointer

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 06:16 PM

In size? In output? What "scheme of things"? According to my sources it was small and contributed very little to Japan's stock of refined petroleum products. So who says it was that "high value"?

Balikpapan produces "light, sweet crude" straight from the ground, better in grade than the Bunker Oil the USN used, in point of fact. Except for one small problem. It is not refined, so it outgasses the lighter fractions, such as gasoline, and those fumes could fill a ship with explosive vapors. c.f. Midway.

"One of our King Tigers could take five of your Shermans, but you always had six of them."


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#18 Tiornu

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 07:27 PM

Youre being sarcastic?

No, more roundabout. We can't say that improved torpedoes in late 1943 would be redundant, as there remained a vast harvest of ships that torpedoes could account for--in fact, DID account for, as this was the period when quality torpedoes gutted the Japanese merchant fleet. My suggested change makes these quality torpedoes available at the outset of the fighting. Maybe it would be redundant in late 1943 if the successes to that date left a paucity of worthy targets, but it's hard to forecast that.
It's also worth noting the possible changes to the Midway battle, with the Devastators carrying a decent weapon. Yorktown survives?

#19 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 07:44 PM

Balikpapan produces "light, sweet crude" straight from the ground, better in grade than the Bunker Oil the USN used, in point of fact. Except for one small problem. It is not refined, so it outgasses the lighter fractions, such as gasoline, and those fumes could fill a ship with explosive vapors. c.f. Midway.


Sorry, but I don't understand your reference to Midway in this context?

If Balikpapen crude is not refined, why was there a refinery there?

#20 OpanaPointer

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:03 PM

Sorry, but I don't understand your reference to Midway in this context?

If Balikpapen crude is not refined, why was there a refinery there?

The fumes from the unrefined fuel collected in the carriers, turning them into FAE bombs waiting for a spark. The Japanese committed hara kiri by conquering the N.E.I. and using the resources they went to war to obtain.

You can burn the light sweet crude right out of the ground in a boiler (back then, anyway). You couldn't run a diesel or gasoline engine on it. And you wouldn't want it in a kerosene heater for the same reason it was a bad idea to put it in the carriers. So the fractioning plants were needed to produce different grades of refined petroleum products.

"One of our King Tigers could take five of your Shermans, but you always had six of them."


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#21 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 04 January 2009 - 11:30 PM

The fumes from the unrefined fuel collected in the carriers, turning them into FAE bombs waiting for a spark. The Japanese committed hara kiri by conquering the N.E.I. and using the resources they went to war to obtain.

You can burn the light sweet crude right out of the ground in a boiler (back then, anyway). You couldn't run a diesel or gasoline engine on it. And you wouldn't want it in a kerosene heater for the same reason it was a bad idea to put it in the carriers. So the fractioning plants were needed to produce different grades of refined petroleum products.


That didn't happen at Midway. In June, 1942, the Japanese were still burning refined bunker grade oil in their ships, including the carriers at Midway. The carriers at Midway were doomed because of the av-gas in the tanks of the planes, and the ordnance in their hangars.

Two years later, at Philippine Sea, fumes from unrefined Miri (on the other side of Borneo from Balikpapen) crude were probably a factor in the loss of Taiho (hit by one torpedo and later destroyed by induced explosions) and possibly other Japanese ships as well. By that time, the Japanese didn't have enough tankers to move oil, reined or not, to where they needed it.

The problem with Borneo crude were not only that it gave off volatile fumes, but also that it was contaminated by a high sulpher content which fouled ships boilers and necessitated frequent shutdowns for cleaning. During WW II, there were no refineries at Miri and no way, besides shipping, to get the crude to a refinery, so the Japanese burned Miri crude unrefined. My father-in-law was an oil-field production engineer at Miri prior to the war and told me that. When the Japanese invaded Borneo, he went into hiding, leaving his wife and family at Miri under Japanese occupation.

The largest and most important petroleum refineries in the NEI were at Palembang on the Island of Sumatra and in the surrounding area. Sumatran crude did not contain that much sulpher, but neither could it be burned without refining.

Edited by Devilsadvocate, 04 January 2009 - 11:33 PM.
edited for spelling and clarity


#22 OpanaPointer

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:55 AM

So we can assume that the tankers that refueled the Midway Strike Force stopped in the N.E.I. to drop off fuel?

"One of our King Tigers could take five of your Shermans, but you always had six of them."


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#23 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 06:33 AM

So we can assume that the tankers that refueled the Midway Strike Force stopped in the N.E.I. to drop off fuel?


I don't know why you would assume that.

Of the 17 Japanese oilers which were involved in the Midway/Aleutians operation, I believe most eventually returned to Japan. One was sunk in the Aleutians; one, or possibly two, went to Truk before returning to Japan, others called at Guam and other Japanese Pacific bases. I don't have all the TROMS, however.

Japanese tankers were extremely busy in mid-1942, either transporting crude from the NEI to Japanese refineries, or keeping Japanese naval bases and combat fleets supplied with refined oil. By the early fall of 1942, the Japanese fleet was beginning to feel the fuel pinch, not so much because Japan didn't have enough oil, but because it didn't have enough tankers to get it where it was needed on a timely basis.

Edited by Devilsadvocate, 05 January 2009 - 06:38 AM.
edited for grammar and spelling


#24 OpanaPointer

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 12:02 PM

Some of the tankers went directly from N.E.I. to the Strike Force. So why the stop in N.E.I. except to tank up?

"One of our King Tigers could take five of your Shermans, but you always had six of them."


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#25 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 05 January 2009 - 07:02 PM

Some of the tankers went directly from N.E.I. to the Strike Force. So why the stop in N.E.I. except to tank up?


Oh? Which oilers departed directly from the NEI for Operatation MI?

I find only two unaccounted for, all the others departed from the Japanese Home Islands, and most returned there or to Truk.

Please cite your source for the departures from the NEI.

YUSOSEN!




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