Recommend
16 
 Thumb up
 Hide
43 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Two articles at least some of you have missed about the IJN doctrines. rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Steve
Thailand
flag msg tools
1st, an interesting article I found.

Examples using 2 quotes. It is not that long.

Quote:
The militarism of the 1930s was the culmination of the military’s political activism during the Meiji-Taisho periods. It first took the form of political boycotting against the civil authorities that controlled the budgetary process. In 1900, Navy Minister Yamamoto was the first service minister to threaten the dissolution of the government by refusing to sit on the cabinet.[30] In 1912, the army carried out just such a threat, and by the 1930s, this form of coercion had become an accepted political tactic.[31] In 1922, the intimidation became violent when PM Hara Takashi was assassinated in protest of Japan’s involvement in the Washington Naval Conference. PMs were assassinated again in 1930 and 1932.[32] It worked; by 1938, the military accounted for seventy percent of Japan’s national budget with the zaibatsu receiving a lion’s share of the proceeds.[33] These assassinations not only succeeded in cowing the civil government, but the Emperor as well. The Privy Council feared a coup attempt to place one of the militarily active members of the royal family on the throne. By the 1930s, what little authority the Emperor possessed was gone, and he was powerless to stop the intrigues of his own military.[34]


Quote:
By the 1930s, the Navy Staff College had ceased to be the vibrant source of new ideas that it had been at the turn of the century. It became instead the promulgator of static dogma. There emerged a tradition of believing in theoretical solutions to theoretical situations and *ignoring anything* [i.e. "everything"] that did not fit the success of the past. In June 1936, Captain Ohishi Takijiro, Chief of the Education Bureau of the Naval Ministry, was ordered not to study air power strategy. As a lecturer in 1938, Genda Minoru, the planner of the air attack on Pearl Harbor, was ordered to suspend his lectures on air strategy and tactics at the College as they, “would spoil the strategical thinking of student officers of various schools.”[79] As a student at the Naval Staff College in 1943, Commander Chihaya Masataka had command of the American fleet in a war game exercise. The instructor judged that a Japanese air fleet of just fifty Ginga-Tai planes, which were *not yet invented*, annihilated his force. The instructors [plural] deemed them ten times more powerful than America’s new Hellcat fighter that was dominating the skies over the Pacific.[80] This righteous orthodoxy permeated the fleet.


If it is correct it is no wonder Japan could not change their thought patterns.

The link: http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/articles/strategic...

2nd, another article. A little longer.

Quote:
. . . The split in Japanese doctrine that was present during Operation MO was superficially resolved by the time the plans for Midway were finalized. The Japanese were firmly committed to seeking the decisive battle. However even though the split in doctrine was resolved, two other questions arise What did the Japanese see as the capital ship (the operational COG [center of gravity])? And how would the decisive battle be conducted?
. . . Following the battle of Coral Sea, the Japanese believed ENTERPRISE, HORNET, and SARATOGA were the only carriers ready for combat action." They correctly understood the carrier's position as the American "center of gravity" [COG]. In 1942, this was quite a conceptual
leap as the battleship was still considered, by many, the capital ship of the fleet. It is ironic that the Japanese considered the American carriers as the COG, while still believing that the battleship was
their principal capital ship
. This is evidenced in the way they planned to redeploy the five main forces to intercept and defeat the U.S. fleet. Admiral Yamamoto's Main Force Main Body, which contained the principal battleships, was to be 600 miles northwest of Midway. A subgroup of the Main Force, the Guard Force, would position itself 500 miles north of Yamamoto's group. Vice Admiral Nagumo's carriers would be in a position 300 miles east providing a screen for Yamamoto's [BB] group. The Second Carrier Strike Force, a subset of the Northern Force would detach [from the Northern Force] and proceed from the Aleutians to a point 300 miles east of the Guard Force [to also screen it?]. Lastly, three submarine cordons would be established using 15 submarines from Submarine Squadrons One, Three, and Five." It is clear from this arrangement of forces that the Japanese firmly believed that the battleship remained the heart of their fleet. As Captain Fuchida points out the whole plan for Midway rested on an obsolete concept, still dominant in the Japanese Combined Fleet Headquarters, that "battleships rather than carriers constituted the main battle strength of the Fleet....and the fallacy of this concept was to be driven home with tragic force."
Emphasis are mine.

Link: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a279663.pdf

Obviously their minds were too closed. As he said, it is strange that they wanted to get the USN COG [= the USN CV], but intended to use their own BB to do it. How clueless can you be?

Here &/or elsewhere in 2 places I have read that the IJN commanders let their staff make the plans and they just rubberstamped them. So I conclude that, because the lower ranking staff members had no authority to change the doctrine they *had* to plan using the old doctrines.

20 
 Thumb up
0.55
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Seth Owen
United States
Norwich
Connecticut
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This is why many "what ifs" dreamed up by wargamers are highly unlikely. Structural factors such as tactics and doctrine cannot be tossed aside willy nilly even if someone can conceive of the alternative.

While Yamamoto has been criticized for the overly complex Midway plan, it seems to me that nearly every Japanese plan exhibited the same characteristics. Basically, you aren't going to get a Japanese staff to devise a simple plan.

The more I read about the Japanese WW2 military the more I'm amazed at its self-destructive mind set. These were extremely dedicated, professional and proficient men who were confined by beliefs that came close to dooming their cause. While all militaries sometimes fall prey to this, the Japanese seem to have been an extreme case. While certainly not perfect, the Americans were far more pragmatic.

Very interesting finds.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Man thinks, the river flows.
United States
Riva
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb

    IJN (and Japan in general) also had significant problems dealing with business process as well, and this hobbled them in many ways throughout the war. While the U.S. Nave was smart enough to recruit construction workers and turn them into soldiers for the SeeBees units, Japan took soldiers and tried to train them in construction, a much harder task.

    I've see a couple of dozen examples of similar concepts where the Japanese military just did not think through how to attack problems, and the result was that they could not generate the same kind of productivity out of their men nor materials. This means every piece of equipment, every warrior has to work hard to accomplish the same goal, and your enemy likely isn't going to be particularly accommodating of that.

    That said, the political system in Japan during their entire 14 years at war was a true catastrophe. It's part of the reason they could not bring themselves to discuss surrender at the end of the war.

             S.


3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Rochelle
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Steve1501 wrote:
Quote:
. . . The split in Japanese doctrine that was present during Operation MO was superficially resolved by the time the plans for Midway were finalized. The Japanese were firmly committed to seeking the decisive battle. However even though the split in doctrine was resolved, two other questions arise What did the Japanese see as the capital ship (the operational COG [center of gravity])? And how would the decisive battle be conducted?
. . . Following the battle of Coral Sea, the Japanese believed ENTERPRISE, HORNET, and SARATOGA were the only carriers ready for combat action." They correctly understood the carrier's position as the American "center of gravity" [COG]. In 1942, this was quite a conceptual leap as the battleship was still considered, by many, the capital ship of the fleet. It is ironic that the Japanese considered the American carriers as the COG, while still believing that the battleship was
their principal capital ship
. This is evidenced in the way they planned to redeploy the five main forces to intercept and defeat the U.S. fleet. Admiral Yamamoto's Main Force Main Body, which contained the principal battleships, was to be 600 miles northwest of Midway. A subgroup of the Main Force, the Guard Force, would position itself 500 miles north of Yamamoto's group. Vice Admiral Nagumo's carriers would be in a position 300 miles east providing a screen for Yamamoto's [BB] group. The Second Carrier Strike Force, a subset of the Northern Force would detach [from the Northern Force] and proceed from the Aleutians to a point 300 miles east of the Guard Force [to also screen it?]. Lastly, three submarine cordons would be established using 15 submarines from Submarine Squadrons One, Three, and Five." It is clear from this arrangement of forces that the Japanese firmly believed that the battleship remained the heart of their fleet. As Captain Fuchida points out the whole plan for Midway rested on an obsolete concept, still dominant in the Japanese Combined Fleet Headquarters, that "battleships rather than carriers constituted the main battle strength of the Fleet....and the fallacy of this concept was to be driven home with tragic force."
Emphasis are mine.

Link: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a279663.pdf

Obviously their minds were too closed. As he said, it is strange that they wanted to get the USN COG [= the USN CV], but intended to use their own BB to do it. How clueless can you be?

Here &/or elsewhere in 2 places I have read that the IJN commanders let their staff make the plans and they just rubberstamped them. So I conclude that, because the lower ranking staff members had no authority to change the doctrine they *had* to plan using the old doctrines.

I just finished reading Symonds' The Battle of Midway, so his conclusions are going to be a heavy influence on the following, but the above seems to be drawing a poor conclusion with respect to the IJN's plan and purpose for their CVs at Midway. In short:

1) The IJN's CVs were deployed closer to the anticipated position of the USN than were its BBs (300 miles generally in the direction of Hawaii, per the quote above; also, that's how I'm shorthanding the Yamato force). With the BBs being (relatively) short-ranged weapons, that's not a deployment you use if your CVs are just to provide backup to a surface force.

2) The CVs reserved half their air component for anti-shipping strikes while performing the initial bombardment of Midway (clear intention of possible use as an offensive weapon against the USN) while the BBs remained in the rear. Per this map, the BBs were ~9 degrees west (~600 nm, give or take a few, once the two-hour difference in position timestamps is accounted for) of the CVs when the pivotal USN attack hit -- which is to say, it wasn't even particularly critical to Yamamoto that the BBs be "in position" (i.e. within 300 nm, assuming the above quote) when the attack began.

3) That said, it's fair to say that the IJN saw the BBs as having a purpose in the engagement -- knowing that the USN BB fleet remained unavailable, they could plan for surface units to run down and destroy damaged stragglers.

But to conclude that the IJN saw its primary long-range weapon as a mere screen? When the whole portion of the operation, prior to US intervention, was carried out by the carriers even before the main body reached the area? That seems to be a much harder conclusion to draw than "the IJN saw the potential to bring its advantage in surface combatants to bear in addition to its anticipated carrier superiority".
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill the Pill
United States
Oneonta
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
I'd feel more comfortable about the authors' conclusions if the citations included some Japanese language sources.
8 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Flag Officers with Naval Aviator Wings. Arguably, one of the advantages that the US Navy Pacific Fleet had over the IJN was the number of senior officers with wings who happened to be (or become) flag officers.

Some, like Marc Mitscher, were naval aviators for virtually their whole careers and were in positions to command CVs and other naval aviation assets on the outbreak of war, from which they were promoted to flag rank as the carriers themselves were 'promoted' to capital ship status. They were pioneers in the early years of naval aviation, and as such, had been thinking through aviation challenges for decades.

Others were officers who'd commanded surface combatants before attending flight school and earning their naval aviator wings. Halsey earned his wings in 1935, while John S. McCain Sr. earned his in 1936; both were 52 years old when they qualified. While they were obviously too old to serve as pilots in the fleet, they were flag officers when war broke out, and US naval aviation instantly had a seat at the table, so to speak. These admirals were enthusiastic advocates of naval aviation, and while they never lost their appreciation for BBs and CAs, they were committed to carrier task forces -- making them bigger and improving their range and strike capacities.

After World War II, the naval aviators would dominate the CNO and Fleet command positions for a couple of decades (the legendary destroyerman ADM Arleigh Burke being an exception). During those years, US naval aviation had a monopoly on the USN's conventional power projection capabilities. The arrival of sub-launched and surface-launched cruise missiles aboard SSNs and surface combatants broke the monopoly, and the grip that naval aviation had on US Navy doctrine.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Attilio Tribuzi
United States
California
flag msg tools
mbmb
I don't disagree with the quoted premise. But your original post is based on work from this author:

Gary A Gustafson has a Master of Arts In Military History, Cum Laude, from Norwich University, Northfield, VT, and a Master of Business Administration from Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH.

Vermont is a long way from Tokyo, not to mention Annapolis...

So what I'm saying is that while this article explains a lot about IJN (and Imperial Japan's) doctrine, it does nothing to make me understand why the Japanese Army was in the driver's seat after 8 years of continual war in Manchuoko....what could have happened in Japan that would have made the public ignore the dead sons buried for 8 years in Manchuria?? The national mindset is what is most important here to achieve true understanding....Was the Pearl Harbor attack a national death wish in disguise? It seems so, but again I would LOVE to see some primary sources relating to the disconnect between Emperor, Army, Navy, Diplomats, Economic Ministers and the public during this time period.

Not to mention the Intelligence service...either they were totally ignored, or totally out to lunch.


I guess we will have to wait for some Japanese translations...which is weird, since we've figured out the German nazism thing back in the 1950's...but we are still in the dark regarding the Japanese....
1 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ethan McKinney
United States
El Segundo
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Shattered Sword has quite a bit to say about the Japanese plans and why they Japanese planned that way.

Love it or hate it, you have to read Shattered Sword to engage in any meaningful discussion. It's mostly based on Japanese sources.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve
Thailand
flag msg tools
Stephen (Steve?), you missed a critical point that I think was stated in the article.

1] The reserve planes on the CV were there solely just in case the US CV were already there. This was a result of the pre-attack wargame that saw the US CV surprise the IJN CV. It was a last minute change in the plan.

Then some more points.

2] All those BB were not there to sit where they were at dawn of 6/4. They were gong to move forward. Exactly where to, I have no idea. But, you can be 100% sure that Players of AH Midway are *not* doing what the IJN intended to do when they merge those BB with the CV of the 1st Air Fleet to beef up its AA screen.

3] It will take the US CV 3+ days to steam from their births in Pearl Harbor to Midway. This means the IJN has 2-3 days to reposition the BB where they want them to engage the US CV. Where that is I have no idea. It might be in the plan though. I've never seen a translation of the actual plan.

4] Those BB were being held way behind the IJN CV because it was an ambush. The CV and transports are the bait. The BB are the hidden force, hiding before the trap is sprung. Once the PBYs and air base at Midway are neutralized, then the BB can come forward AND remain in hiding.

5] The article [or another I read this week] flatly said that the IJN expected that the invasion would have happened and Midway taken BEFORE the US CV could get there. And therefore, the Zeros and Bettys would already be based at the air strip. [I think (if true) this is another example of Japanese wishful thinking. I doubt they could reopen the air base in 1 day of labor.]

6] If the Yamato was 600 nm west of the IJN CV which were 200 nm north of Midway, and the northern BB were 500 nm north of Yamato; then this puts the northern BB *about* 800 nm away from Midway. This puts then well out of search plane range from Midway. They are almost as close as they can be and still be out of recon range.


So, just because the BB [incl. the 4 old but 25 knot rebuilt BB of the northern BB "Guard Force"] are far away at dawn of 6/4 doesn't mean they will still be far away at dawn of 6/7. At 25 kn they can move 600 nm a day. Being 800+ nm away means they can be *anywhere* around Midway in 2 or 3 days.

The 4 fast BB of the 1st Air Fleet [with the 4 CV] and the 2nd Fleet covering the transports can easily sink any crippled USN CV. The other 7 BB the IJN brought to the battle must have had some other intended use. They are burning a lot of precious fuel oil to just watch the battle unfold. I wonder just what the plan for the next 5 days was?

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve
Thailand
flag msg tools
Attilio Tribuzi, have you read John Tolland's 3 books on the subject? The last [Infamy] is more his theory that FDR knew the Pearl Harbor attack would happen using new sources of info]?

He goes into Japanese politics from WWI to WWII pretty deeply.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Man thinks, the river flows.
United States
Riva
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
ttribuzi wrote:

Not to mention the Intelligence service...either they were totally ignored, or totally out to lunch.


    More likely they were given clear instructions on what they were allowed to report, and they did so. The Japanese government and military command at the time were not interested in reports that did not reinforce their already-formed opinions.

    Attacking the United States appears crazy in hindsight, but we know how it turned out. Truth be told the Japanese had a significant naval force at the time, and what they considered to be the hottest fighter airplane on the planet (still do if a Japanese documentary I just saw is representative of the current state of thought). The total economy of the land Japan occupied rivaled the United States at the time. This wasn't a pushover, certainly not on paper, especially with war raging in Europe.

    But . . . Japanese productivity in their occupied lands wasn't a fraction of what the U.S. economy's productivity was, and it was fractured, spread across multiple landmasses and requiring difficult logistics to manage. I'd wager that came up at some point in Japan, but I'd wager the Japanese government and military command didn't want to hear that either.

             S.


2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M St
Australia
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Steve1501 wrote:

Quote:
. . . The split in Japanese doctrine that was present during Operation MO was superficially resolved by the time the plans for Midway were finalized. The Japanese were firmly committed to seeking the decisive battle. However even though the split in doctrine was resolved, two other questions arise What did the Japanese see as the capital ship (the operational COG [center of gravity])? And how would the decisive battle be conducted?
. . . Following the battle of Coral Sea, the Japanese believed ENTERPRISE, HORNET, and SARATOGA were the only carriers ready for combat action." They correctly understood the carrier's position as the American "center of gravity" [COG]. In 1942, this was quite a conceptual
leap as the battleship was still considered, by many, the capital ship of the fleet. It is ironic that the Japanese considered the American carriers as the COG, while still believing that the battleship was
their principal capital ship
. This is evidenced in the way they planned to redeploy the five main forces to intercept and defeat the U.S. fleet. Admiral Yamamoto's Main Force Main Body, which contained the principal battleships, was to be 600 miles northwest of Midway. A subgroup of the Main Force, the Guard Force, would position itself 500 miles north of Yamamoto's group. Vice Admiral Nagumo's carriers would be in a position 300 miles east providing a screen for Yamamoto's [BB] group. The Second Carrier Strike Force, a subset of the Northern Force would detach [from the Northern Force] and proceed from the Aleutians to a point 300 miles east of the Guard Force [to also screen it?]. Lastly, three submarine cordons would be established using 15 submarines from Submarine Squadrons One, Three, and Five." It is clear from this arrangement of forces that the Japanese firmly believed that the battleship remained the heart of their fleet. As Captain Fuchida points out the whole plan for Midway rested on an obsolete concept, still dominant in the Japanese Combined Fleet Headquarters, that "battleships rather than carriers constituted the main battle strength of the Fleet....and the fallacy of this concept was to be driven home with tragic force."
Emphasis are mine.

I think this makes no sense at all. What this setup describes is exactly how the Japanese operated in other battles: the carriers were the spearhead. The heavies were there as a backup in case they came in useful, but carefully kept out of harm's way. Up to the point in the war where the Japanese carriers became impotent, in no situation did the Japanese expose their battleship force to a threat. The carriers were the main strike force and if they were beaten, the rest turned back. In no battle demonstrated more clearly than at Midway.

There is no doubt that there were battleship proponents in the Japanese navy, and I'm perfectly willing to believe that the battleships were carried with the fleet partly to placate them, partly in the assumption that they had a role to play. (Shades of Halsey trying to catch the carriers at Leyte Gulf with his fast battleships.) But there's also no doubt that Fuchida had an axe to grind wrt these people and a rear to cover, namely his own. The deployment itself "evidences" nothing.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn McMaster
Canada
flag msg tools
Steve1501 wrote:
Stephen (Steve?), you missed a critical point that I think was stated in the article.

1] The reserve planes on the CV were there solely just in case the US CV were already there. This was a result of the pre-attack wargame that saw the US CV surprise the IJN CV. It was a last minute change in the plan.


Nagumo's command used reserve waves in the Indian Ocean twice while attacking Ceylon. In the first case the reserve attacked two British cruisers, in the second raid the reserves sank the HMS Hermes.


Quote:
2] All those BB were not there to sit where they were at dawn of 6/4. They were gong to move forward. Exactly where to, I have no idea
.

It was assumed the USN's 21kt battleships would attend the party and when they did, Yamamoto's 27kt battlewagons would hunt them down and sink them.

Quote:
This means the IJN has 2-3 days to reposition the BB where they want them to engage the US CV. Where that is I have no idea.


Wouldn't Yamamoto and his staff have to be insane to think a 40,000 yard ranged 27kt battleship placed hundreds of miles to the rear could engage a 250nm air strike range 32kt carrier? The only capital ships that could execute the plan you're describing would be Soviet Kirov Class rocket cruisers.

Quote:
4] Those BB were being held way behind the IJN CV because it was an ambush. The CV and transports are the bait.


Kondo's BC force was to be the bait and Nagumo's force was the hammer.






2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve
Thailand
flag msg tools
My replies have the cyan background.

GLENN239 wrote:
Steve1501 wrote:
Stephen (Steve?), you missed a critical point that I think was stated in the article.

1] The reserve planes on the CV were there solely just in case the US CV were already there. This was a result of the pre-attack wargame that saw the US CV surprise the IJN CV. It was a last minute change in the plan.


Nagumo's command used reserve waves in the Indian Ocean twice while attacking Ceylon. In the first case the reserve attacked two British cruisers, in the second raid the reserves sank the HMS Hermes.

Your point is?
Quote:
2] All those BB were not there to sit where they were at dawn of 6/4. They were gong to move forward. Exactly where to, I have no idea
.

It was assumed the USN's 21kt battleships would attend the party and when they did, Yamamoto's 27kt battlewagons would hunt them down and sink them.

Source for this "assumption"?
Quote:
This means the IJN has 2-3 days to reposition the BB where they want them to engage the US CV. Where that is I have no idea.


Wouldn't Yamamoto and his staff have to be insane to think a 40,000 yard ranged 27kt battleship placed hundreds of miles to the rear could engage a 250nm air strike range 32kt carrier? The only capital ships that could execute the plan you're describing would be Soviet Kirov Class rocket cruisers.

I just said that they would not be 100s of nm to the rear on 6/7. And some Essex class CV would also be able to do it.
Quote:
4] Those BB were being held way behind the IJN CV because it was an ambush. The CV and transports are the bait.

Kondo's BC force was to be the bait and Nagumo's force was the hammer.


In my experience, the bait is shown to the enemy to draw them into the kill zone. The MG set up to do the killing are not shown.
. . . The CV of the 1st Air Fleet were clearly "shown" as were the transports which were so slow they have to be shown to get to Midway in time to take it before the US CV arrive. The 2 forces of slower BB were not shown to the US. They were kept back out of the [supposed] air search range for planes from Midway. But, they have 48 hours of time to be repositioned after Midway is blinded by the elimination of its long range search planes. But, as I said I have not seen the actual battle plan for how the BB were intended to be used. {Or the midget Subs that were dragged on 2 CVS to the battle. There must have been a plan for how to use them, right?]
. . . To me this makes the CV and tran. the bait and the BB equal the hidden MG.
. . . Because I have never seen *any hint* that Yamamoto intended to fight any US BB, I doubt that the IJN BB were dragged out there to engage the US BB "when" or "if" they showed up.



1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn McMaster
Canada
flag msg tools
Quote:
Steve Your point is?


You’d stated,
The reserve planes on the CV were there solely just in case the US CV were already there. This was a result of the pre-attack wargame that saw the US CV surprise the IJN CV. It was a last minute change in the plan.

The IJN tactic of maintaining a carrier reserve wave for naval combat contingencies while attacking an enemy base did not arise from the Midway wargaming. The practice was in existence beforehand with the earliest example being Yamaguchi’s 2nd Division at Wake Island, where in each of the two ‘softening’ attacks half the division’s aircraft were held back. Nor was it a ‘last minute’ change – the games in which this was hashed out were well in advance of the battle.

Quote:
Source for this "assumption"?


Shattered Sword, which I assume you’ve not read. Not only did Yamamoto’s command assume the US battleships would be committed to Midway, but that the US carriers would be operating in coordination with them. Recall from Hawaii planning that the IJN considered US battleships a parity target with carriers. That doctrine had not changed since 1941.

Quote:
I just said that they would not be 100s of nm to the rear on 6/7. And some Essex class CV would also be able to do it.


So Kirov Class rocket cruisers and Essex Class carriers could execute Yamamoto’s battle plan as you have outlined it? Did Yamamoto have either ship type in the Main Body? No? Then why would you assume he would order such a plan?

As per Shattered Sword the intended plan was that Yamamoto’s BB force would be hundreds of miles west of Nagumo’s carriers when the carrier battle was fought some days after the fall of Midway. The plan called for Nagumo to attrite the US carrier forces in that action so that the battleships could close in and destroy their battleship counterparts and other disabled ships under conditions of IJN air superiority. With Nagumo having done much of the “heavy lifting” by neutralizing US airpower, his air units could be depleted and less able, perhaps significantly less able, to deliver killing blows. But the Japanese battleships would be fresh, able after the elimination of US airpower, to move up and exploit the success gained. Combined arms tactics building on battle opportunities.

Quote:

The CV of the 1st Air Fleet were clearly "shown" as were the transports which were so slow they have to be shown to get to Midway in time to take it before the US CV arrive. .


Never did Yamamoto even once use the Nagumo Force as “bait” up to Midway. It was always the hammer.

Parshall says Kondo would “drag his coattails” near Midway while Nagumo withdrew to the north out of sight. It was Kondo's surface forces (2 BC’s, numberous CA’s) that were presented to the US navy as the bait, not Nagumo’s carriers.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve
Thailand
flag msg tools
Glenn, you are right I never read it.

Is it based on the actual IJN plan? Why has on one else mentioned it for the last many years?

If so, you are right and I'm wrong.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Glenn McMaster
Canada
flag msg tools
Steve1501 wrote:
Glenn, you are right I never read it.

Is it based on the actual IJN plan? Why has on one else mentioned it for the last many years?

If so, you are right and I'm wrong.



Parshall and Tully never used one word where ten would do, but if you stick to the the "Plans" chapter in Shattered Sword it's enough. Take SS with a grain of salt - a lot of their conclusions are wrong - but when they're relaying facts and not editorial opinions, they're the go-to.

In terms of methodology in situations where there is insufficient information, it's always better to assume a smart plan that failed in the details. In the words of the Great Big Bang Theory,

Stuart: Oooh Sheldon, I'm afraid you couldn't be more wrong.
Sheldon: More wrong? Wrong is an absolute state and not subject to gradation.
Stuart: Of course it is. It is a little wrong to say a tomato is a vegetable, it is very wrong to say it is a suspension bridge.


You're theory is saying Yamamoto thought a tomato is a suspension bridge. Try something more along the lines like Yamamoto believing a tomato is a vegetable.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Rochelle
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Some additional thoughts on the BB-vs-CV center-of-gravity (CoG) thing, as particularly informed by Shattered Sword.

1) One of Yamamoto's primary goals out of Midway was the engagement and destruction of the USN's Pacific carriers (whether the occupation of Midway was also a "primary" goal can, IMO, be set aside for this discussion). This matches OP article 2's point about the IJN seeing the USN CVs as the CoG.

2) The IJN sent out its BBs on the operation with a goal of using them in a final decisive engagement with the USN. The BBs were certainly seen as the "last word". Does that mean they were the IJN's CoG? Well, maybe. But....

3) Why might the IJN see the USN CVs as primary while the IJN BBs were primary on the other side? One key consideration is that the Pearl Harbor attack has happened. The USN BB fleet is not presently a factor; of 8 BBs at Pearl, only two have returned from the repair yards as of Midway (Maryland and Tennessee) and they still haven't actually deployed back to Hawaii. The USN doesn't have a BB force to consider the CoG as a practical matter (although the IJN considered it possible that some BBs might show at Midway). By default, therefore, the USN CVs are the CoG.

4) More interesting is to ask whether the conclusion about the IJN's CoG is correct, though. I note "decisive" and "last word" in point #2, but that's not the same as being of greatest importance.

4a) The IJN plans for Midway anticipated attriting the USN force via both submarine and airborne attack prior to whatever surface engagement emerged. This wasn't a matter of carriers "screening" (i.e. preventing damaging action and/or reconnaissance against) the IJN BBs; it was a deliberate intent to cause substantial damage to the USN via the carriers.

4b) The IJN has just spent six months shocking the world's premier naval powers by conclusively demonstrating the superiority of aviation as a striking force against surface warships. Suggesting that carriers were merely for "screening" implies that the IJN had somehow failed to notice how they'd sunk every capital ship that they'd sunk thus far.

4c) So, back to "decisive" and "last word": the IJN saw the opportunity to use BB superiority to fight a surface engagement against an inferior force after its carriers had established air superiority. Why didn't the IJN consider its aircraft sufficient to be that "last word", as the USN had already concluded? That's a fair question, but it's a separate question. At minimum, they could pretty reasonably say that the USN was highly unlikely to reduce both the IJN airwings and BBs without in the process being drawn into a catastrophic engagement. But the fact remains: the IJN's BBs were not the sole force prerequisite for launching Midway. Conversely, their CVs sailed with no more escort (2 BCs plus screen) than they'd had for the Pearl Harbor operation; there wasn't a perceived need to bolster that fleet group against possible ambush.

5) As noted above, the final piece of evidence is IJN behavior following the loss of their carriers at Midway. The IJNs surface strength is untouched. The USN air groups are heavily damaged, their torpedo units (what the IJN viewed, probably correctly, a greater threat than bombers to their BBs) all-but-annihilated (reasonably known as those aircraft were wiped out attacking the IJN, not lost unseen on flights to nowhere), and the position of one crippled USN carrier is known. Were the IJN BBs the true CoG of that fleet, they could have — would have — pressed for the last gasp of defeating the US carriers. They retreated, because they knew as well as anyone in the world that battleships without air support were just targets.

Short conclusion: "decisive, hard-to-damage, high-supply firepower if given the opportunity to use" is not the same thing as "the most important unit in the fleet".

---

Now, separately, there's the whole problem of this operation being a weird concept for an ambush. Two BBs and an invasion force are supposed to draw out the USN's CVs, but before that can possibly happen, a six-carrier (per the initial plan, prior to Coral Sea) airstrike is supposed to go in on Midway. Thus, the USN is supposed to sail out knowing that they're outnumbered both on the surface and in the air. This only works if the invasion target is something that must be defended at all costs, and it's not at all clear that this is the case. Certainly hindsight supports that, but more than one book makes a good argument that contemporary intel was sufficient to assure the US that Japan couldn't reasonably supply or protect a meaningful force at Midway; it was too far from every other Japanese possession to be of value — and thus its loss could be accommodated because the USN could interdict and retake it at will.
9 
 Thumb up
0.55
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve
Thailand
flag msg tools
GLENN239 wrote:
Steve1501 wrote:
Glenn, you are right I never read it.

Is it based on the actual IJN plan? Why has on one else mentioned it for the last many years?

If so, you are right and I'm wrong.



Parshall and Tully never used one word where ten would do, but if you stick to the the "Plans" chapter in Shattered Sword it's enough. Take SS with a grain of salt - a lot of their conclusions are wrong - but when they're relaying facts and not editorial opinions, they're the go-to.

In terms of methodology in situations where there is insufficient information, it's always better to assume a smart plan that failed in the details. In the words of the Great Big Bang Theory,

Stuart: Oooh Sheldon, I'm afraid you couldn't be more wrong.
Sheldon: More wrong? Wrong is an absolute state and not subject to gradation.
Stuart: Of course it is. It is a little wrong to say a tomato is a vegetable, it is very wrong to say it is a suspension bridge.


You're theory is saying Yamamoto thought a tomato is a suspension bridge. Try something more along the lines like Yamamoto believing a tomato is a vegetable.


Glenn, I asked a simple, key question, "Is it [Shattered Sword] based on the actual IJN plan?"

Instead of a direct answer I get that reply. Since you didn't answer the question asked, and instead gave me an ear full of insults about how I think a tomato is a suspension bridge, I will assume the SS is not based on the actual IJN plan for the upcoming attack on and battle of Midway.

So, if they don't have the actual plan just how do they and therefore you know that the IJN intended to keep their BB hundreds of nm west of the 1st Air Fleet and still thought they could engage in the battle in a meaningful way from that distance? As I already said the 4 fast BB of the 1st Air Fleet and the 2nd Fleet were more than enough to sink any crippled US CVs. Surely IJN intel. knew that the US BB were all back on the US west coast and would take a week to reach the battle area. How on earth could they think they would show up at Midway?

Further the plan [if I understand it correctly] is just stupid. Apparently it is to attack Midway with the planes from 4 CV and invade 3 days later. Keep the 2nd Fleet's 2 fast BB in plain sight [from where I have no idea] so it/they can be bait. Meanwhile the US is supposed to forget about the 4 CV they already know are in the area. So, the BB are the bait and the CV's planes are the Hammer, as you said. And what then are the 7 BB of the Northern Force and Main Body? Maybe they are the suspension bridge.

I'm done with you. Try answering simple direct questions in the future.
I take back my above statement, "If so, you are right and I'm wrong," because it isn't so.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Daniel Blumentritt
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
what could have happened in Japan that would have made the public ignore the dead sons buried for 8 years in Manchuria??


They didn't ignore them. It was more like "We cannot stop now, otherwise their deaths will have all been in vain!"
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve
Thailand
flag msg tools
Statalyzer wrote:
Quote:
what could have happened in Japan that would have made the public ignore the dead sons buried for 8 years in Manchuria??


They didn't ignore them. It was more like "We cannot stop now, otherwise their deaths will have all been in vain!"

Daniel, please provide a source for that quote. Without the source, I don't know what the context was.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dom Dal Bello
United States
Santa Maria
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Parshall and Tully's Shattered Sword:
https://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Sword-Untold-Battle-Midway/...
"Many consider the Battle of Midway to have turned the tide of the Pacific War. It is without question one of the most famous battles in history. Now, for the first time since Gordon W. Prange’s bestselling Miracle at Midway, Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully offer a new interpretation of this great naval engagement. Unlike previous accounts, Shattered Sword makes extensive use of Japanese primary sources. It also corrects the many errors of Mitsuo Fuchida’s Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan, an uncritical reliance upon which has tainted every previous Western account. It thus forces a major, potentially controversial reevaluation of the great battle.

Parshall and Tully examine the battle in detail and effortlessly place it within the context of the Imperial Navy’s doctrine and technology. With a foreword by leading World War II naval historian John Lundstrom, Shattered Sword is an indispensable part of any military buff’s library."



3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Owen Edwards
United Kingdom
Durham
County Durham
flag msg tools
badge
Together down the ages we have fought the long defeat.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This has descended into a really weird thread already (even by BGG standards), but Stephen R's post is frankly excellent. Also enjoyed the OP quotes.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Rochelle
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Some further things:

1) Shattered Sword is referenced extensively in the current "Coral Sea and Beyond" thread. It's not a matter of "no one else mention[ing] it". It is, however, substantially newer than LCDR Culora's paper you reference that has the CoG discussion (2005 vs 1994).

2) Critically, Culora's paper is heavily dependent on Fuchida's Midway, which later scholarship -- particularly Shattered Sword, but also Symonds' work I mentioned above as well as other recent works -- have cast substantial doubt on Fuchida's accuracy on many matters. Here's a BGG discussion on that particular issue from a few years back.

2a) Specifically, the very "CoG as evidenced by IJN dispositions and intentions" line we're spending a lot of time on is footnoted to Fuchida. The veracity of the information informing Culora's conclusion is explicitly in doubt ("As Captain Fuchida points out the whole plan for Midway rested on an obsolete concept....", p. 16).

3) Further, the rest of Culora's analysis doesn't agree with the point you're trying to make about the role of the carriers:
Quote:
The operational plan [for Midway] called for the Main Force (i.e. the Yamato and other heavy battleships) to destroy the enemy fleet by decisive naval action and to support both the Mobile Force (i.e. the carriers) and the Occupation Force (i.e. the "bait"). The Mobile Force was to destroy the enemy fleet by decisive naval action and to support the Midway Occupation Force by air attacks on aircraft, surface craft, and base facilities on Midway Island. (p. 15; emphasis mine)

4) Symonds goes into particular detail about the manner in which the IJN parceled out its forces, particularly with respect to the Aleutians operation. While two carriers were present, both were small and could not carry a substantial or type-complete air component. Had they operated with the Midway force, four key points would remain:

4a) The USN approach would not have materially changed. The USN was not fully clear from pre-battle intel on how many IJN carriers were in the operation nor where they'd deploy, so shifting the CVLs probably wouldn't have changed the USN's impression of the coming battle.

4b) The half-full carrier deck situation at the time of the USN attack would have remained as historically happened, because that sort of all-carriers half-strike approach was standard IJN doctrine. There just would have been two more (small) air groups hitting an empty Midway Airfield.

4c) Thus, the USN attack proceeds as historical, with USN aircraft probably proceeding to prioritize the attack against the largest visible carriers. A few extra Zeros on CAP remain unable to meaningfully engage USN dive-bombers; Symonds notes that the IJN had no real central control of CAP assignments to avoid over-committing to the initial threat axis. Figure it's still three fleet CVs down. As above, neither of the CVLs diverted can handle all types of aircraft nor many, so not much extra strike strength is retained.

4d) The counterattack on the Yorktown is somewhat stronger. The Yorktown sinks immediately. But as its airgroup had no further participation after it was mission-killed, this doesn't affect things. The Enterprise and Hornet remain undetected, and the second strike still goes for the largest remaining IJN flight deck. 4 fleet carriers down, and maybe even one of the CVLs in the bargain if the residual strikes target them instead of a couple of cruisers at the tail end of the battle.

5) Symonds' reconstruction of the timeline makes a good argument that the discussion about re-arming the on-deck aircraft is a red herring in a discussion of what the IJN did wrong. The near-constant stream of US air attack on the morning of the battle (starting with a few waves of land-based aircraft, then carrier torpedo planes, then carrier dive-bombers) left the IJN in a constant state of evasion for a period of hours. The carriers were unable to launch a strike even once the Yorktown's location was known because they weren't able to steady into the wind for launch operations, plus they were also in dire need of landing airborne aircraft and replenishing their CAP as well.

Moving back to Culora's paper, his section on Leyte Gulf says:
Quote:
[E]ven though the Japanese had come to appreciate the carrier's role in naval warfare, they nonetheless held steadfast to the belief that their battleships and heavy cruisers could still win a decisive victory. At this point in the war, holding on to [this] belief may have been born of desperation, as they simply could not match America's carrier task force.

Culora gets his cause and effect backwards here. The IJN didn't "come to appreciate" the carrier's role; they defined it. And they fell back on surface ships because they couldn't put together a meaningful carrier air group in the wake of Philippine Sea. However, they recognized the threat of their carriers as a fleet in being, and the probable response of the USN to that fleet, as a means to clear a path for the surface ships that were their only remaining source of actual naval power. Thanks to Halsey's willingness to chase the bait (contrast with Spruance's behavior at Philippine Sea; see Hornfischer's The Fleet at Flood Tide for a detailed treatment of Spruance's command of Fifth Fleet), it worked right up until the point that Kurita inexplicably disengaged from some jeep carriers and destroyers. Which is all to say that I see Culora mistaking "necessity and opportunity" for "preference" here much as he does with the analysis of IJN intent at Midway.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dom Dal Bello
United States
Santa Maria
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I will add two cents.

I read have read Shattered Sword's . From what I recall, IJN's plan for Operation MI plan was:

Attack a target significant enough to draw the USN into a significant battle and then strike the death blow.

The target selected was Midway. While an airfield within range of Hawaii, as someone noted above, it would be very difficult for the Japanese to effectively supply Midway to make it a creditable threat. Regardless, that was the target the IJN chose.

IJN planned 6 CVs to move on Midway. Two CVs were assigned to the Aleutians campaign to appease the Army. They would be out of supporting distance for Midway, but they would at least provide confusion as to the what the IJN was actually doing, if not being a full diversion to the Midway operation.

Nagumo's 4 carriers would attack Midway. Landing forces of a destroyer task force would then take the island. The planes on the reserve flight were armed for dive bombing and torpedoes, as one attack on Midway was deemed to be sufficient. With Midway taken, the USN would come take it back. The ships would be attacked by the plans, and when crippled, Yamamoto's big ships would come up. The CV's were not a screen, but the primary hammer in the campaign... Midway, the IJN believed, would be sufficient bait.


In many ways, it seems the IJN was very "unlucky" - a combination of bad planning, good code-breaking, missed opportunities, brave individual actions, etc. Among these, per Shattered Sword:

1. the 5th Carrier Division was detached to the Aleutians, weakening Nagumo's hammer (was the Operation AL useful?)
2. the pilots and planes on the 1st and 2nd Division were tired and stretched thin from long campaigning.
3. the Yorktown was back in service (unknown to IJN).
4. the Japanese code was broken to some degree(unknown to IJN), which allowed reinforcement planes to be sent to Midway ... essentially adding a flight deck in the area of operation (how effective it actually was in debatable). The USN could also position CVs appropriate for a
5. aerial reconnaissance for IJN failed to locate USN CVs in a timely manner.
6. the first flight from the IJN navy did not knock out Midway, causing Nagumo to switch from dive bombs/torpedoes to general purpose bombs.
(one may argue that since attacking Midway was only the bait, that this is where things might have gone off track...Nagumo switching to actually pounding/taking Midway without having located the American fleet. Another issue was the design of the carriers themselves, which were not as efficient as they could have been in getting plans on the deck. But even if the bombs were not switched out, they flight decks would soon be under heavy pressure from US planes, and seemed to have enough challenge keeping air cover up to defend the CVs.
7. The US planes got lucky in finding the IJN CVs (not sure if they knew from the broken code if the 4 IJN CVs were concentrated).
8. US attacks were piecemeal.
9 Japanese air cover of their ships was very understrength.
10. The battle was in the balance until "the end", with the US having enough planes in the game, even if uncoordinated, to finally overwhelm/get through Japanese defenses.





This Wikipedia page (which I have not contributed to, and only skimmed briefly) references Parshall and Tully heavily.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Midway
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.