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Could the Japanese Defensive Tactics have been improved?

Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by Hufflepuff, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Perhaps true, but the point is that the reason the Gallipoli landing was abandoned by the British is because it was a failure.

    I suppose the British could have regrouped and tried again somewhere else (although there was no other location which would allow them to accomplish their original objective), but Gallipoli was considered such a failure that no one on the British side even had the will to suggest it. In fact, Churchill, who had advocated the original plan, lost his job in the Admiralty over the outcome.
     
  2. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    If you mean, the Allies managed to get the troops onto dry land without drowning them, then yes, in the narrowest sense, the amphibious part was successful. But they were never able to sustain any kind of operation that could accomplish their objective, and in the wider sense, the amphibious landing was a failure.
     
  3. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    An amphibious operation is a failure when it is pushed back into the sea. Simply containing a landing, say as at Anzio, buys the defenders nothing. The force landing is ashore and cannot be dislodged. The landing force still has the initiative to withdraw to sea and land elsewhere. The Persians did this at Marathon for an ancient example.
    Once ashore and established the landing becomes no different than a set-piece land battle. I'll use Kursk as the example. There is no difference here.
    Amphibious assaults only fail when they cannot establish themselves ashore.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    So what, during WWII, would we say was the change-over point from an amphibious assault to a land campagin? When the ground forces commander came ashore? Or something else?
     
  5. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Well, that's wrong.

    An amphibious landing which is contained and able to go nowhere is a failure. It uses up resources, logistics, and manpower, does not accomplish it's objective and gains the invaders nothing. Successfully containing a beachhead is a defensive success.

    Yes, an amphibious force can sometimes withdraw, but if it doesn't accomplish it's objective, it has to make another landing which may, or may not, succeed. In the meantime the invaders have suffered serious losses in material, troops, equipment, and morale and gained nothing. But, in any case, the defenders, whether they push the invaders back into the sea or simply stalemate them in the beachhead, have frustrated the purpose of the landings, and the landings have failed.

    I must say you have adopted a rather odd position in trying to justify amphibious operations whether they accomplish anything or not..
     
  6. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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  7. bf109 emil

    bf109 emil Member

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  8. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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  9. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    No, by definition, Trobuk is most definitely not an "amphibious landing". Trobuk is a port; the military definition of an amphibious landing is a landing performed across a beach where there are no port facilities whatsoever. There are many important differences between an amphibious landing and a port-to-port movement.

    First of all, moving supplies across a failed beachhead is extremely difficult had Trobuk merely been an amphibious landing it could not have handled a significant amount of supplies and Trobuk would not have served any useful purpose, as it would ave cost the British as much, if not more, to maintain as it cost the Germans to contain. So you are confusing a port facility in the enemy's rear with a failed amphibious landing behind enemy lines, two completely different things.

    You make a good point. A failed amphibious landing which is either pushed back into the sea, or is abandoned before it achieves the objective, entails a cost not only in material, equipment, and troops, but in morale as well, while the defending troops enjoy a boost in morale.
     
  10. vcs-WW2

    vcs-WW2 WWII Veteran

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    The classic operation of World War Two, which arguably would have determined when an amphibious action ended and a land-based action started – TO THE VERY MOMENT, might have been an operation that never actually took place.

    Operation Olympic – the invasion of Kyushu on the Japanese mainland – was broken into two distinct operations by the Joint Chiefs of Staff– one under the command of Admiral Nimitz and the other under the command of General MacArthur.

    The AMPHIBIOUS part of Operation Olympic was to be under the complete and absolute command of Admiral Nimitz and his man on the scene Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner – Commander, Amphibious Forces Pacific Fleet

    The LAND-BASED part was under the complete and absolute command of MacArthur and his man on the scene Army General Walter Kreuger – Commander, Sixth Army.

    The defining moment of the change of commands would have occurred when a man set his first foot on the beach or when a tank or LTV entered the beach at the waters edge. Every soldier, every sailor, every Marine, starting at that exact moment, would come under the command of General Kreuger. Period!

    The only exception to this setup were the Navy Beachmasters and their people, who were responsible for getting supplies ashore to be turned over to Army Beach parties.

    During Iwo Jima and Okinawa (operations to which I had personal contact) the transformation was a little more casual. First of all, the Navy and the Marine Corps got along much better than either of them got along with the Army.(Especially MacArthur!)
    During what one would call the amphibious part of the operations General Holland Smith and General Harry Schmidt (Top Marine commanders) controlled their forces from a command ship from the very start. They worked hand-in-hand with Admiral Turner. As soon as possible Harry Schmidt and his generals moved their commands ashore. So there was no actual moment where the commands separated. It was strictly a cooperative venture.

    Hope this helps.
    vcs-ww2
    . – . – .
     
  11. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    If you have naval superiority you will practically always be able to pull out some troops and in WW1 and WW2 naval gunfire was so powerful that "pushing the enemy bach from the beaches" was a practical impossibility against it, Milne bay, and the soviet landings near Novorossisk are the only instances I can think of were this happened against an opponent who meant to stay, in the latter you could even argue the soviets had naval superiority but unless they risked the few heavy ships still operative the german field artillery could counter the black sea fleet's light ships. So I agree with TA in the sense that only without naval superiority will an invasion turn into a disaster. But a military operation that fails to achieve it's objective is a defeat, if you apply TA's logic to normal attacks the attacker can never loose a battle as he always be able to pull back, regroup and attack somewhere else. As someone said after Dunkirk (Churchill ?) "Wars are not won by evacuations".
    Back to the original topic Japanese tactics were not great, infantry charges paricularly were wasteful, it might have been different if they had developed a good SMG as they look a lot like the effective soviet tactics. After 1942 the Japanese suffered from shortages of nearly everything except morale, so what they did in the Pacific, (Burma and China are a different story) was fight a huge delaing action in the hope the Allies would overextend themselves, unfortunately for them US production only made the gap wider as time went on and when they finally commited the fleet (Philippines/Leyte) we all know the results.
    Splitting the defence over more islands would have been a bad idea as it would only have made troop density thinner, the Allies island hopping strategy was based on attacking only one island in a group with the double objective of establishing a base and wiping out Japanese reaction forces (Air and naval) in the area. Once that was done the troops on other islands were left alone as they were practically incapble of any offensive action.
     
  12. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Are we talking about the 1942 Tobruk raid here or the siege? IMO the raid was a failed landing. I also don't agree with "an amphibious landing is a landing performed across a beach" this would rule out operations like Dieppe or the German Norway operations that targetted enemy held ports, I would replace "beach" with "enemy held coast".
     
  13. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Whether you agree with the definition or not, there is a definite distinction between an "amphibious landing" or "amphibious assault" which is made across a beach, and an assault on a port or a port-to-port movement of troops and supplies. Norway was most definitely NOT an amphibious landing because the Germans did not make their assaults across beaches, but only port to port. Had Norway required an amphibious landing, the Germans wouldn't have been able to accomplish it.

    An amphibious landing is one where troops, supplies and equipment have to be moved from the ships across a beach. Anything else is simply debarkation at a port.

    As far as Trobuk is concerned, the main difference is that Trobuk had port facilities which allowed large amounts of material to be quickly unloaded. Had Trobuk been merely a beachhead, the supplies available would have been greatly reduced.
     
  14. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    We can split hairs on a definition. But, in the end it is still taking out the attacker's fleet that is virtually the only sure way to stop an amphibious assault / landing.
     
  15. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    I never claimed otherwise.

    But having control of the sea, as you originally claimed, does not guarantee the success of an amphibious assault landing
     

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