Blog powered by Typepad

« Mad or bad? | Main | Damn, that young Fraser Nelson beat me to it - again! »

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

A large part of the Japanese ruling class was scared of assassination if it stepped out of line. It had become a bonkers gangster society at the top. Very rum.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I doubt that many understood that battleships were "old and virtually useless" in 1941. That was proved by subsequent events. The Japanese high command still thought in terms of Mahan's "decisive battle" doctrine. They expected a final battleship duel and events of the previous months such as the sinking of the Hood and the Bismark tended to reinforce that. [It's clear now that the decisive event in the latter was the carrier, but that's not how the British Navy portrayed it at the time].

Even the success of the British at Taranto was not sufficient to change America thinking at Pearl.

In essence you're right, DM, although I think the assassination teams and the gung-ho warriors were mainly middle-ranking army officers - the types who nearly always make trouble where-ever they are! There were ardent militarists at the top but it is surprising (to me, at any rate) how many of the top brass and the governing circles were extremely fearful and doubtful concerning the war and its outcome. Hirohito, pulling strings from behind his screen, was a prime-mover in overcoming their doubts.

Interesting point, TDK, because most navies everywhere were still wedded to the idea of the big-gunned battleship being the queen on the naval chessboard. Yamamoto came round to the notion that the aircraft carrier had taken its place but could never quite shake off his love of the 'Big Battleship', hence, his flagship, the Yamato with 9x 18" guns which could hurl a shell 25 miles! That was what he thought would eventually sink the Americna navy.

Also, I read that Taranto did have some effect at the tactical level. Orders were issued from Washington in late Nov/early Dec '41 to place small and older ships on the outside of the big battleships in Pearl Harbour to protect against torpedo attack. The problem was that whilst many in the American command knew that an attack on Pearl Harbour was a *possibility*, no-one thought it was other than totally theoretical.

"There is no doubt in my mind that Hirohito was the luckiest war criminal of all time. He it was who with enormous and lengthy deliberation led his country into an utterly useless and disastrous war that it was bound to lose and who not only survived but continued his reign as emperor!"

Never fear, he got his comeuppance! At his funeral, we only sent Prince Phillip, who pointedly declined to bow at his war-mongering remains, and merely sent him on his way with a curt nod.

Let tyrants take note!

"The problem was that whilst many in the American command knew that an attack on Pearl Harbour was a *possibility*, no-one thought it was other than totally theoretical.

I am refreshing what passes for my, er, you know, my, um . . . memory…"

Hmmm. Think I posted this somewhere some time ago. Now where was that...


On Dec 7 the Japanese launched two waves against pearl harblor.

The third wave was scheduled for the shore facilities. The Fleet commander called it off. He did not belive the reports about how much damage had been done, especially the destruction of both the Army and Navy aviation, and he did not know where the Carriers were. He canceled the third wave and skedaddled befor the Counter attack h was sure would at least damage a major part of the Japanese fleet.

Both the American and Japanese Navies believed in Mahan's doctrine of naval war.

In the post Pearl Harbor period those who had not already done so came to realize that just as the Dreadnaughts replaced the 72 gun Ship of the Line in Mahan's doctrine the Aircraft Carrier was replacing the Battleship. The doctrine in not technology dependent. Actually it was semi rote application of the doctrine that sent Halsey north during the Battle of the Philippine Sea leaving the landing force exposed to a Japanese attack.

David, Australians, especially old Australians and/or those living in Far North Queensland, think the Coral Sea "skirmish" was rather more important than your flippant and dismissive remark.

'W', a curt nod from Prince Phillip - a fate worse than death!

JK, yes, I remember your link from before but it doesn't alther the fact that the American High Command did not take the threat of an attack on Pearl Harbour seriously - a possibility, yes; a probability, no. Not even all of the Japanese were convinced of its efficacy, either.

Hank, I'm not sure that a third wave was actually planned for. There were a total of 353 planes in the attack force. The first wave was composed of 183 and the second wave was 134 strong. The air commander of the attack force was Mitsuo Fuchida who led in the first wave and then waited to see in the second. He reported back to the Fleet Commander, Nagumo, that a third attack was required. However, in a conference on board the flagship carrier all concerned agreed that whilst a third attack was desirable the fact that the main target (the US carriers) were absent the need for it was not pressing when set against the risk to the Japanese fleet itself. Mitsuo actually pressed for a third attack not for the purpose of destroying yet more but simply as a bait to induce the American carriers to come back and attempt to defend the Islands.

Midway: The Battle that Doomed Japan by Mitsuo Fuchida and Masatake Okumiya

Andra, not like you to be silly! No one, least of all me, is denigrating in anyway the Battle of the Coral Sea. In strategic terms it was secondary to Pearl Harbour and Midway. The battle itself was meandering and inconclusive with both sides stumbling around like two fighters in a dark room.

The comments to this entry are closed.