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 (1939-1945) WWII
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17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/6/2023 3:56:43 PM
I am half way through John McManus's To the End Of the Earth, the third and final book in his series about the U.S. Army in the Pacific during World War II. The first two books in the series are Fire and Fortitude and Island Infernos.

Many people who have just a passing knowledge of World War II think the USMC did all the ground fighting for the U.S. Those same people probably don't know about the role of the Chinese, Australians, New Zealanders, Indians, British Soviets and several other nations.

By the numbers: At the end of the war, The U.S. Army had 21 divisions in the Pacific, 19 Infantry, one Cavalry (dismounted) and one Airborne. The USMC had 6.

A passages that to me tells much about the U.S Army's way of war:

In four months on the line the U.S. Army's 130th Infantry Regiment fighting on Luzon in the Philippines expended:

637 tones of ammunition resulting in 4,000 enemy casualties .... an average of 300 pounds per Japanese casualty.

There is a saying a I heard some where to the effect that it takes twice a mans weight in ammunition to kill him, based on ammunition expenditures to casualties caused. If the average Japanese weighed 150 pounds or less in the above case it would be twice a mans weight to kill him.

The 637 ton figure is actually low. It is taking into account only the ammunition fired by the regiment. Typically the division and corp level artillery would add much to the amount of ammunition fired. Plus air strikes in support of the regiment.

The Army preferred a methodical approach trading huge expenditure of ammunition to lesson U.S. casualties. Mothers and Fathers of troops serving would approve.

Early in the book as the invasion of Luzon Philippines is being planned there is a dispute between General MacArthur's theater command intelligence section's estimate of Japanese strength on Luzon and that of the Sixth Army's estimate.

MacArthur's military intelligence people estimated 152,000 Japanese troops on Luzon.

Sixth Army under General Krueger estimated 234,000.

The true number, 287,000. Obviously Sixth Army's estimate was much closer to the truth.

As a result, during the Luzon campaign MacArthur was often prodding Krueger to attack more aggressively and not worry about flank security. I seem to remember that not worrying about flank security would come back to haunt MacArthur about 6 years latter. MacArthur argued that the Japanese forces were hemmed into three main areas and had little mobility. Again I seem to remember a force that had little mobility by U.S. standards that six years latter would pose a serious threat to the flanks of U.S. forces.

Rather than put this in the book section I put it in the World War II section since it has been so slow over here.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
Joined: 2004
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/6/2023 6:32:45 PM
Excellent post, thanks.

“ There is a saying I heard somewhere to the effect that it takes twice a man’s weight in ammunition to kill him…”

I’ve heard that, too.

The American Civil War produced a similar comment.

I tried to apply it to one or two of the big battles.

Chickamauga, for example.

The Union Infantry expended 2,650, 000 rounds of small arms fire. Artillery very diminished in contribution on account of woods . Sixteen thousand rebels were killed or wounded by those bullets. That equates to about 165 fired for every hit. Every bullet weighs an ounce, and there are sixteen ounces to the pound. Roughly ten pounds of lead expended for every hit. Important to remember that only one in seven of all those hits resulted in the man being killed outright, the other six are wounded By those criteria, it seems that seventy pounds of lead was used to kill one confederate soldier in that battle, which equates to one half of the average soldier’s weight in that war.
These are very rough and ready figures, and it’s also important to remember that many of those wounded rebels were mortally hurt, and died later, thereby reducing the weight needed to inflict a fatality . Perhaps the arithmetic is all wrong, and I’ll have to check it.

The vastly faster rate of fire imparted by the automatic weapons of WW2 must have produced a very different ratio, and also modern battlefield practice resulted in infinitely wider dispersal of manpower. Chickamauga was muzzle loading black powder warfare, in which it was necessary to mass men in order to produce the weight of firepower necessary.

Artillery must’ve been the principal killer in WW2.

It certainly had been in WW1.

How much of the Luzon fighting was close quarters stuff ?

Editing: the Japanese casualties tended to include grotesquely high proportions of killed, didn’t they ? Rather than several men being wounded for every one killed, it was the other way round with them. Fighting to the death , literally, with no quarter expected or even desired. Suicide in many cases. Did the Japanese use terrain effectively, and disperse among the various forms of cover ? We tend to think of the massed banzai charges, but these didn’t happen often, did they ?
The weight of ammo per kill is phenomenally high in the example you cite. I’m worried that I’ve got my figures wrong !


Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1974
Joined: 2010
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/6/2023 6:42:51 PM
Artillery isn't that efficacious against men dug in in the jungle. Too easy to get below the "frag line" behind a tree or a fallen log. We relearned that again in Vietnam.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
Joined: 2004
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/6/2023 6:51:19 PM
Didn’t the trees themselves make deadly havoc when the shell bursts send branches and splinters of wood flying into the soldiers trying to hide in the forest ?

Hurtgen (spelling? ) comes to mind. I know very little about that battle in late 1944, but if memory serves me the Germans perfected the air bursts to make that effect.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/6/2023 7:33:26 PM
Quote:

Artillery must’ve been the principal killer in WW2.

It certainly had been in WW1.

How much of the Luzon fighting was close quarters stuff ?
Regards, Phil


Yes artillery was still the big killer in World War II and into Korea.

Even today in Ukraine fragments are a much higher % of casualties than bullets. Fragments can be from artillery, mortars, bombs, grenades and mines.

The U.S. would have preferred to do as much of the fighting at long range as possible since they had a huge fire power advantage. The Japanese would have preferred to close in to negate the U.S. firepower advantage. Even close in fighting would involve explosives in the form of grenades and detonation packs.

By late war banzai charges were not very common. The Japanese had learned that they could kill or wound more allied troops by fighting from prepared defensive positions than by charging like crazed mad men into allied machine guns.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/6/2023 7:48:55 PM
Quote:
Didn’t the trees themselves make deadly havoc when the shell bursts send branches and splinters of wood flying into the soldiers trying to hide in the forest ?

Hurtgen (spelling? ) comes to mind. I know very little about that battle in late 1944, but if memory serves me the Germans perfected the air bursts to make that effect.


The British and U.S. also used air burst artillery.

For most of World War II this was done by mechanical fuses. Late in the war variable time, a U.S. term, not sure what the British called it came into use. This fuse had a radar unit that would sense how close to the ground the shell was and set it off at the set height.

I was in artillery in the late 70's early 80's. I thought at the time that was incredible technology. Making a radar unit that small. And one that could survive the violent acceleration of the shell being fired. That they were able to make it in the mid 1940's is even more amazing.

If I remember correctly the British invented the Variable Time Fuse (VT). The U.S. mass produced them.

Initially they were used only over water in anti-aircraft guns, for fear of dud units falling into enemy hands. Late in the war they were used by field artillery. Supposedly General Patton said "the funny fuse won the Battle of the Bulge for us". Supposedly Patton also said the artillery won the war for us.

A quick family story. My Dad used VT and other fuses in Korea as part of the artillery. My mother mad VT fuses at a RCA factory at the same time.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/6/2023 8:05:49 PM
Quote:
Artillery isn't that efficacious against men dug in in the jungle. Too easy to get below the "frag line" behind a tree or a fallen log. We relearned that again in Vietnam.


Agreed that digging in and the jungle itself will reduce artillery effectiveness. Having overhead cover will reduce the effectiveness of air bursts.

But that is reduce, not totally eliminate the effects of artillery. If you pound an area long enough with artillery and mortars you will cause casualties. You will also make the enemy take cover.

You can keep an enemy position that is supporting another enemy position under artillery and mortar fire while your troops advance. You can keep the position you are advancing on under mortar and artillery fire until you troops are in the danger zone. This will reduce the time the enemy are able to fire upon your advancing troops.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1974
Joined: 2010
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/6/2023 8:29:13 PM
"But that is reduce, not totally eliminate the effects of artillery." Didn't think I had to make that point.
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4816
Joined: 2004
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/6/2023 8:43:56 PM
A comment on a point raised by Phil: Quote:
Editing: the Japanese casualties tended to include grotesquely high proportions of killed, didn’t they ? Rather than several men being wounded for every one killed, it was the other way round with them. Fighting to the death , literally, with no quarter expected or even desired. Suicide in many cases. Did the Japanese use terrain effectively, and disperse among the various forms of cover ? We tend to think of the massed banzai charges, but these didn’t happen often, did they ?

The bent Bushido practiced by Japanese troops included fighting to the death. Surrender stripped a warrior of dignity and honour. Hence a IJ soldier would continue to fight while he was able, and would also sacrifice his life to help his comrades. Most IJ forces accepted this concept as part of their own code; most applied it to enemy who surrendered.

Cheers
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
Joined: 2004
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 2:38:57 AM
Quote:
A comment on a point raised by Phil: Quote:
Editing: the Japanese casualties tended to include grotesquely high proportions of killed, didn’t they ? Rather than several men being wounded for every one killed, it was the other way round with them. Fighting to the death , literally, with no quarter expected or even desired. Suicide in many cases. Did the Japanese use terrain effectively, and disperse among the various forms of cover ? We tend to think of the massed banzai charges, but these didn’t happen often, did they ?

The bent Bushido practiced by Japanese troops included fighting to the death. Surrender stripped a warrior of dignity and honour. Hence a IJ soldier would continue to fight while he was able, and would also sacrifice his life to help his comrades. Most IJ forces accepted this concept as part of their own code; most applied it to enemy who surrendered.

Cheers
Brian G


You’re too right, Brian. !

A hideous record set thereby.

Others correct me if I’m wrong, please, but at Tarawa and Iwo Jima the Japanese garrisons were killed to a man : an exaggeration, but not by much. Those garrisons also inflicted casualties that were roughly tantamount to their total complement, about three thousand at Tarawa and twenty six thousand at Iwo.
The difference being that of those US casualties, the majority survived as wounded, although great numbers were killed.

Editing : was it McArthur who advocated a strategy of letting the Japanese strongholds “ wither on the vine “ ?
By pass and let the garrisons succumb to hunger and disease ? I remember reading that, despite the self sacrificial fury of the Japanese in battle, the greater part of their war dead were attributable to hardship and squalour.

Regards , Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 1072
Joined: 2005
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 4:38:47 AM
I remember an old sweat from the 14th Army saying they used to put the rare breed of Japanese captives into deepish pits in the ground whilst the second line troops came up to secure the captured area, which meant there was a period when they were only lightly guarded. Often, the Japanese captives would recognise this opportunity to escape and form a human pyramid and try to clamber out, whereupon the old sweat told me he had to turn his light machine gun on them on more than one occasion. Brutal stuff.

Cheers,

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1974
Joined: 2010
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 6:44:58 AM
War crimes make great stories.
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 1072
Joined: 2005
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 6:57:40 AM
Hi OP,

I wasn't defending him or his actions, just relating a story I had heard that I thought demonstrated some of the wanton brutality of that sphere of the conflict.

Colin
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
Joined: 2004
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 9:08:13 AM
Quote:
Hi OP,

I wasn't defending him or his actions, just relating a story I had heard that I thought demonstrated some of the wanton brutality of that sphere of the conflict.

Colin



Colin,

Have you read Quartered Safe Out Here, by George MacDonald Fraser, the author of The Flashman Books ?

He served as an infantryman in the Fourteenth Army, and encountered the Japanese in hand to hand combat.

It’s a powerful and angry book. I think I’ll revisit it.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1974
Joined: 2010
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 9:25:50 AM
Quote:
Hi OP,

I wasn't defending him or his actions, just relating a story I had heard that I thought demonstrated some of the wanton brutality of that sphere of the conflict.

Colin

I wasn't implying you needed to defend anyone. I do have my doubts about ANY war story, like the guy who was proud of his father for using a cutting torch to put his initials into the Eiffel Tower. Or the time it took seven shore patrol to put me in a paddy wagon. ;-)
Lightning
Glasgow  UK
Posts: 1072
Joined: 2005
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 9:36:50 AM
Quote:
Quote:
Hi OP,

I wasn't defending him or his actions, just relating a story I had heard that I thought demonstrated some of the wanton brutality of that sphere of the conflict.

Colin



Colin,

Have you read Quartered Safe Out Here, by George MacDonald Fraser, the author of The Flashman Books ?

He served as an infantryman in the Fourteenth Army, and encountered the Japanese in hand to hand combat.

It’s a powerful and angry book. I think I’ll revisit it.

Regards, Phil


Hi Phil,

I haven't, but I'll hunt it down.

Cheers,

Colin

P.S OP - all good here
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"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 8:19:13 PM
Quote:
Hi OP,

I wasn't defending him or his actions, just relating a story I had heard that I thought demonstrated some of the wanton brutality of that sphere of the conflict.

Colin


I don't think there is a need to defend his actions. If they were prisoners and they were trying to escape shooting them is legitimate.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 8:24:09 PM
Talking about Japanese prisoners. I have wondered how many were actually Koreans or from other occupied countries. The Japanese often used personnel from occupied countries for labor duties.

I would think Koreans were not enthusiastic about giving their lives for the Japanese Empire.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
DT509er
Santa Rosa CA USA
Posts: 1529
Joined: 2005
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 9:37:34 PM
Quote:
By late war banzai charges were not very common. The Japanese had learned that they could kill or wound more allied troops by fighting from prepared defensive positions than by charging like crazed mad men into allied machine guns.


IMO, Japanese land forces fought many battles on the islands of the Pacific in a method that replicated a mini banzai charge. Outside of the intrenched defensive schemes Japan developed, in the Philippines/Leyte Japanese forces in so many instances would in small packets of men charge well placed fighting positions established by US troops. The belief that they could overpower US/Allied forces by shear bravado and blind tactical fanaticism with these mini charges, developed small battles at the platoon/squad level extremely violent and up close but largely ineffective, holding positions were very difficult to manage with such small groupings. I am currently reading about the battle of Leyte and one after another after another battle has shown this to be consistent throughout the fighting there.

How often would Japanese Commanders get a small grouping of troops into position and not wait for the remainder of their, say, battalion, regiment etc., to catch up and allow to move into an attack position (Edson’s Ridge on Guadalcanal, the attacks along the Owen Stanleys toward Port Moresby, etc.), as a whole seems to me to be a continuous failure of Japanese land force battle command and management. This occurred elsewhere such as Iwo Jima and Saipan where the Japanese were largely fighting from the previously mentioned fixed defensive positions, and yet, sure enough a fanatical officer or senior non-com would gather a small grouping of men and attack the Marines, in these mini charges. At Saipan where the largest banzai charge of the war took place, the Japanese were literally a spent force with many soldiers/sailors attacking with no weapons until finding them from dead soldiers, Japanese and American alike. And while the sheer momentum of that banzai inflicted massive causalities on the Marines and Army troops, it was inevitable that Japanese forces would be obliterated.

Not meaning to digress into banzai charge history, far too often Japanese forces were up against tactics, manpower and logistics that I suspect frustrated many a Japanese warrior, and I believe that clearly shows in their poor application of tactics of not massing troops together in large assault formations that really ever had a chance of achieving and maintaining tactical victories. Surprisingly, they did it at the beginning of the war in Malaya, Hong Kong, Dutch East Indies, Rabaul, etc. But, overall, Japanese Commanders were poor leaders of tactics, top-down from General to Non-com, I guess they thought US and Allied forces were not much better than the Chinese peasants they had been beating on for years prior to the island campaigns.

Dan

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"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." German officer, Italy 1944. “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1974
Joined: 2010
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/7/2023 10:10:32 PM
Guadalcanal, aka "Starvation Island", was a good one for penny packet attacks by IJA.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
Joined: 2004
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/9/2023 2:45:25 AM
Quote:

The bent Bushido practiced by Japanese troops included fighting to the death. Surrender stripped a warrior of dignity and honour. Hence a IJ soldier would continue to fight while he was able, and would also sacrifice his life to help his comrades. Most IJ forces accepted this concept as part of their own code; most applied it to enemy who surrendered.

Cheers
Brian G


The earliest years of the twentieth century had revealed this Japanese self sacrificial code of honour in a rather different light.

The Russo Japanese war 1904-5 had seen Japanese triumph achieved by reckless and prodigal frontal attacks by infantry against entrenched and powerful Russian positions. The Japanese commander at Port Arthur was so remorseful about the loss of life his orders had entailed that he declared his intention to commit sepuku, a gruesome ritual suicide. The Emperor refused permission, saying “ not while I draw breath! “. As soon as the Emperor’s funeral had been finished, this Japanese general and his wife carried out their sepuku, years after the Port Arthur triumph.

A decade later, on a much smaller scale, similar Japanese tactics had overwhelmed a resolute German defence at the Kaiser’s colony at Tsing Tao, as Japan entered WW1 on the side of the Allies.

No bad treatment was meted out to the German prisoners: quite the contrary.

In both Port Arthur and Tsing Tao , however, the Japanese committed atrocious massacres of the indigenous Chinese population, something they perpetuated on a monstrous scale from 1937 onwards in WW2.

What had happened to the Japanese code in the 1930s that imparted such an amplified cruelty to its practice ?

Edit : sorry if I seem to be diverting the thread. Not my intention, let me assure you. The conduct of the Japanese in WW2 met with execration, and it still does, justifiably in my view. The earlier examples I cited exhibit traits which I find admirable, excluding the massacre of Chinese people. The 1930s imparted something horrific which was made very apparent in the warfare in the Far East a couple of years before the German onslaught against Poland. How far was this new manifestation a “ Japanese “ attribute ? Germany comes to mind, of course, and , to a lesser degree, Italy. Other examples are easy to cite. I’m inclined to the view that WW1 was the provenance of this. Or was the nihilism already developing before 1914, and just given a lethal impetus which was brought to its deadliest fruition in WW2.?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/9/2023 8:46:39 PM
Quote:


The earliest years of the twentieth century had revealed this Japanese self sacrificial code of honour in a rather different light.

The Russo Japanese war 1904-5 had seen Japanese triumph achieved by reckless and prodigal frontal attacks by infantry against entrenched and powerful Russian positions. The Japanese commander at Port Arthur was so remorseful about the loss of life his orders had entailed that he declared his intention to commit sepuku, a gruesome ritual suicide. The Emperor refused permission, saying “ not while I draw breath! “. As soon as the Emperor’s funeral had been finished, this Japanese general and his wife carried out their sepuku, years after the Port Arthur triumph.

A decade later, on a much smaller scale, similar Japanese tactics had overwhelmed a resolute German defence at the Kaiser’s colony at Tsing Tao, as Japan entered WW1 on the side of the Allies.

No bad treatment was meted out to the German prisoners: quite the contrary.

In both Port Arthur and Tsing Tao , however, the Japanese committed atrocious massacres of the indigenous Chinese population, something they perpetuated on a monstrous scale from 1937 onwards in WW2.

What had happened to the Japanese code in the 1930s that imparted such an amplified cruelty to its practice ?

Edit : sorry if I seem to be diverting the thread. Not my intention, let me assure you. The conduct of the Japanese in WW2 met with execration, and it still does, justifiably in my view. The earlier examples I cited exhibit traits which I find admirable, excluding the massacre of Chinese people. The 1930s imparted something horrific which was made very apparent in the warfare in the Far East a couple of years before the German onslaught against Poland. How far was this new manifestation a “ Japanese “ attribute ? Germany comes to mind, of course, and , to a lesser degree, Italy. Other examples are easy to cite. I’m inclined to the view that WW1 was the provenance of this. Or was the nihilism already developing before 1914, and just given a lethal impetus which was brought to its deadliest fruition in WW2.?

Regards, Phil


Your not diverting the thread.

I had seen some where that during the Russo Japanese War that Japanese forces would surrender rather than commit suicide.

So as you ask what had changed in Japanese military culture in less than 40 years?
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 3272
Joined: 2010
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/10/2023 2:50:42 PM
Quote:
Quote:


The earliest years of the twentieth century had revealed this Japanese self sacrificial code of honour in a rather different light.

The Russo Japanese war 1904-5 had seen Japanese triumph achieved by reckless and prodigal frontal attacks by infantry against entrenched and powerful Russian positions. The Japanese commander at Port Arthur was so remorseful about the loss of life his orders had entailed that he declared his intention to commit sepuku, a gruesome ritual suicide. The Emperor refused permission, saying “ not while I draw breath! “. As soon as the Emperor’s funeral had been finished, this Japanese general and his wife carried out their sepuku, years after the Port Arthur triumph.

A decade later, on a much smaller scale, similar Japanese tactics had overwhelmed a resolute German defence at the Kaiser’s colony at Tsing Tao, as Japan entered WW1 on the side of the Allies.

No bad treatment was meted out to the German prisoners: quite the contrary.

In both Port Arthur and Tsing Tao , however, the Japanese committed atrocious massacres of the indigenous Chinese population, something they perpetuated on a monstrous scale from 1937 onwards in WW2.

What had happened to the Japanese code in the 1930s that imparted such an amplified cruelty to its practice ?

Edit : sorry if I seem to be diverting the thread. Not my intention, let me assure you. The conduct of the Japanese in WW2 met with execration, and it still does, justifiably in my view. The earlier examples I cited exhibit traits which I find admirable, excluding the massacre of Chinese people. The 1930s imparted something horrific which was made very apparent in the warfare in the Far East a couple of years before the German onslaught against Poland. How far was this new manifestation a “ Japanese “ attribute ? Germany comes to mind, of course, and , to a lesser degree, Italy. Other examples are easy to cite. I’m inclined to the view that WW1 was the provenance of this. Or was the nihilism already developing before 1914, and just given a lethal impetus which was brought to its deadliest fruition in WW2.?

Regards, Phil


Your not diverting the thread.

I had seen some where that during the Russo Japanese War that Japanese forces would surrender rather than commit suicide.

So as you ask what had changed in Japanese military culture in less than 40 years?


A haughty (with rascist undertones) rejection of their legitimate wishes and considerations, especially by the British (Australians) and Americans, at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 ? Similar to the treatment of Italy.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 230
Joined: 2020
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/10/2023 3:31:47 PM

Group & Phil,

Pounds to a casualty data

Another source is the
Tactic and technique of infantry 1942 published by the Military Service Publishing Company.
Different perspective in looking from the ground up, the squad and company level.
So, when plotting defensive fire support for battalion areas there where “standard areas” assigned to batteries.
Example; A 155 mm How Battery of 4 guns would neutralize a 300 yd Dia area in 7 mins.
Neutralize means force troops moving in the open to halt and take cover.
Rate of fire 4 rpm proj wt 95p total rds 112 per battery.
If you do the math is about 0.15 pounds shell per sqyd.
Or about 7 sqyd per pound projectile.

A 105 mm How battery would neutralize a 200 dia area in 5 mins
Rate of fire 5 rds per min total 100 rounds proj wt 35 pds
That’s about 0.11 pounds per yard or
Or about 9 sqyd per pound projectile.
Obviously, these are the proving ground expectations and real-world results may be very different. But this was the training standard. This appears to be the minimum level of effective casualties.
But we have one real world operational case comparison with COBRA
COBRA covered A 6000X2200 yd area with about 7.9 million pounds bombs in about 3 hrs.
Works out to about 0.60 pounds per sqyd. Or about 5-6 times the standard for artillery in manual.
Rommel p489 characterized the effect “units in front almost completely wiped out”
“tanks overturned and buried”
“moon scape -bomb craters touching rim to rim”

Back figuring from your suggested 300 pd standard (theoretical)
155 batteries would produce up to 35 casualties; 10640pd / 300
Yes certainly a rough calc but may give and order of magnitude??
Yours MikeC
mikecmaps
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/10/2023 4:48:03 PM
Quote:

A haughty (with rascist undertones) rejection of their legitimate wishes and considerations, especially by the British (Australians) and Americans, at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 ? Similar to the treatment of Italy.

Trevor


I'm not familiar with Japanese post World War I demands. What did they want they didn't get? I had been under the impression that Japan had little involvement in World War I yet gained many former German possessions in the Pacific due to being on the winning side. . I'll admit to limited knowledge of Japanese efforts in World War I

And how would this dissatisfaction have such an effect on Japanese military culture?
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1974
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U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/10/2023 7:43:30 PM
The Nine Power Conference would be a good starting point. Need link?
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 4816
Joined: 2004
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/10/2023 8:43:00 PM
Quote:
”A haughty (with rascist undertones) rejection of their legitimate wishes and considerations, especially by the British (Australians) and Americans, at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 ? Similar to the treatment of Italy.

Trevor”

I'm not familiar with Japanese post World War I demands. What did they want they didn't get? I had been under the impression that Japan had little involvement in World War I yet gained many former German possessions in the Pacific due to being on the winning side. . I'll admit to limited knowledge of Japanese efforts in World War I

And how would this dissatisfaction have such an effect on Japanese military culture?

17th, Trevor’s argument fits within the standard arguments for Japanese policy changes between the wars. I’ve never studied the situation in any depth, but my understanding is that Nippon forces (army and naval) eased Western allied concerns re German surface raiders and German settlements. British forces in particular felt the need to maintain control of the Pacific sea lanes, but for troop movements and for primary resources used in war materiale. Japan eased the pressure on the RN in the Pacific. For their effort, the Japanese delegation at Versailles asked for two concessions: transfer of German-held Asian lands to Japanese control, and inclusion of some provisions for colour/culture neutral commitment. Japan received a small percent of German colonies; the rest went largely to Britiain, Austrailia and New Zealand. Its second request was ignored.

There are scads of articles, I find, explaining or delineating this. See, e.g.:[Read More].
How that impacted the restructuring of the values of the IJ forces between the wars is beyond me, but lends itself to blue-skying.

From as early as 1100, Japan was ruled in some ways by shoguns, powerful warlords. The last shogunate, the Tokugawa. lasted from 1603-1867 under 14 separate rulers. All, I believe, were samurai – members of the warrior class. At least in theory, they governed under an unofficial “code of honour”, which included a “code of duty” to one’s superior. To break the code of honour was to bring shame on your family, typically expiated only by sacrifice or by ritual death (seppuku). But your duty is to serve your master. He can demand you commit seppuku, but can also deny you that right. That covers at least part of Phil’s example.

Commodore Matthew Perry ‘s forced trade arguments in the mid 1850s led to the end of the Shogunate and the entry of Japan into the modern world. It had seen the economic sense of open trade, and realized it could only do so with a more modern system of governance. Like most modern nations, it created a military force to support its interests, and did so so successfully that in the Russian-Japanese war of the early 1900s its naval forces defeated Tsarist Russian naval forces at the Battle of Tsushima (1905). It was playing by Western rules, and winning. And it’s at least possible it was winning because Japanese military training included aspects of the samurai code of honour.

Japan entered WW1 on the side of the Western allies, acting in good faith. It expected to receive recognition for its commitment in the form of territory and influence. That was, it seems to me, what Versailles was all about; not just punishing the Germans but about financial, territorial and commercial retribution. Effectively, Japan got nada, and it was a populous nation with the need for access to modern raw materials of various sorts.

Is it possible that certain members of the governing parties of Japan said something like: “We’ve tried it their way for 50 years and gained nothing by playing by their rules. While still living within the modern milieu, why not look to our ancient claims?” Those claims were of Korea and Manchuria, going back long before 1603.

Sorry, getting terribly wordy here. But if Japanese troops (in whatever branch) were trained to certain aspects of the Samurai code of honour, they were by history and culture unprepared to grasp the subtleties of the Samurai code they had lived under. Bushido, it seems to me, was distilled from some parts of the noble values (honour, commitment, respect) of the Samurai without the cultural and religious significance of traditonal Japanese beliefs. That it went awry, or that it was misused to create a military ethic which condoned the killing of civilians and captives is, IMHO, one of the sadder actions of Japan’s 20th century history.

Sorry! Once I got started, I just couldn’t stop.

Cheers
Brian G

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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/10/2023 9:11:22 PM
Quote:
The Nine Power Conference would be a good starting point. Need link?



Yes, thanks!

My limited understanding had been that Japan had limited action in World War I and got a good deal of territory. Perhaps I was wrong.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/10/2023 9:11:22 PM
Quote:
The Nine Power Conference would be a good starting point. Need link?



Yes, thanks!
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1974
Joined: 2010
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/10/2023 9:31:02 PM
http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/policy/pre-war/9_power.html

Bonus:

http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/pre-war/1922/nav_lim.html
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
Joined: 2004
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/11/2023 6:26:22 AM
Thanks, Brian and Trevor, for your contribution.

I remember reading about Japanese grievances and their outrage at the racist disdain they experienced in Paris in 1919 : I think it must have been Margaret Macmillan’s book.

On a personal note, as a child I was left for a day or two in the care of a dear lady in the Gower Peninsula in Wales. She comforted me after an accident, and told me how, as a nurse in WW1, she was on a ship in the Mediterranean that was torpedoed and sank. She was pulled out of the water, virtually naked, by Japanese sailors who grabbed her by the hair to get her out of the water. The anecdote is relevant insofar as it alludes to Japanese naval assistance on the Allied side in European waters .

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
GaryNJ
Cumberland NJ USA
Posts: 254
Joined: 2010
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/11/2023 12:03:47 PM
The issue of anger with the West by both Japan and China at the peace negotiations at Versailles is covered by a number of historians. Here is part of what Zara Steiner had to say in her book The Lights That Failed: European International History 1919-1933.

Quote:
It is true that Wilson proposed that the League’s Covenant should require all new states and League members to bestow equality of treatment on ‘all racial or national minorities’, and to provide guarantees against interference or discrimination against any creed or belief which was not actually inconsistent with public order or public morals. His proposals, however, met with considerable opposition, even in the American delegation, on the grounds of violating state sovereignty and because of the practical problems of defining and enforcing a freedom-of-religion clause. Traditional attitudes and domestic purities also coloured the treatment of the Japanese recommendation in April that the Covenant be amended to include the recognition of ‘the principle of equality among nations and the just treatment of their nationals’. A number of states, in particular Australia and the United States, fearing that this might affect their ability to control foreign immigration, vetoed the Japanese clause. Wilson believed that the acceptance of a racial-equality clause would lead to Senate rejection of the treaty. For Americans, Australians, and South Africans, racial equality was a highly emotive issue. Liberal, internationally minded Japanese were deeply offended by the absence of a racial-equality clause, and the check by the ‘so-called civilized world’ was not forgotten. Japan was given a share of the victor’s spoils. It acquired the former German Pacific islands north of the Equator as ‘C’ mandates (Wilson opposed outright possession, despite Japanese occupation and the recognition of its claims by the British, French, and Italians in 1917). There were realistic American fears at the time, shared by Australia and New Zealand, that Japan would fortify the islands and exclude foreign trade. Japan also demanded Kiaochow and other key points on the Shantung peninsula, which the Chinese had leased to Germany in 1897 and which the Japanese seized at the start of the war. American and Chinese objections received only limited support from the British who, along with the French and tsarist Russians, had already recognized the Japanese position and who, in view of their own multiple concessions in the Yangtse, could not accept the presidential proposal that all foreign concessions in China be internationalized. In the end, engaged in a fierce contest with the Italians over Fiume and fearful that the Japanese would abandon the treaty negotiations and even reject the League, Wilson yielded. The Chinese, unmollified by the face-saving stipulation won by Wilson that Kiaochow was to revert to China at some unspecified date, were outraged. They left the conference and refused to sign the Versailles treaty. The Japanese victory was seen generally as a striking presidential defeat on the issue of self-determination. In China, fury over the Paris negotiations mobilized Chinese students; on 4 May 3,000 demonstrators converged on Tiananmen Square, in a massive rally that marked a new stage in the development of Chinese nationalism. Disillusionment with the west and disappointments with their own brand of western-style democracy led some to look to the new Bolshevik government in Russia as a role model, particularly when the latter promised to give up all the earlier tsarists’ conquests and concessions. A year after the peace conference a small Chinese Communist Party was formed. The Bolshevik promise was not kept.

(pages 44-46)

Gary
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
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U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/11/2023 3:09:06 PM
Hi Chi Minh , future leader of North Vietnam, was working in the kitchens in Paris and served the delegates to the Peace Conference in 1919.

Exquisite !

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
GaryNJ
Cumberland NJ USA
Posts: 254
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U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/11/2023 5:51:16 PM
Quote:
Hi Chi Minh , future leader of North Vietnam, was working in the kitchens in Paris and served the delegates to the Peace Conference in 1919.

Exquisite !

Regards, Phil


He was going by the name Nguyen Ai Quoc at the time and only later changed it to Ho Chi Minh.

Gary
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
Joined: 2004
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/12/2023 2:48:30 AM
Quote:
Quote:
Hi Chi Minh , future leader of North Vietnam, was working in the kitchens in Paris and served the delegates to the Peace Conference in 1919.

Exquisite !

Regards, Phil


He was going by the name Nguyen Ai Quoc at the time and only later changed it to Ho Chi Minh.

Gary


Thanks Gary .

If I’m right, he maintained warm personal relationships with either George Bernard Shaw or Betram Russel during that time, as his correspondence revealed.

It’s astonishing how quickly and effectively the Japanese people transformed from a kind of feudal warlord society to a first class military power capable of defeating Imperial Russia and, thirty six years later, achieving incredible success in overwhelming the British and Dutch Empires in the Far East and in putting the USA into a contest that was only concluded after the most intense and murderous warfare.

They’re surely unique in this respect.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6511
Joined: 2004
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/12/2023 4:00:39 PM
Is it true that the total number of US combat deaths in WW2 were roughly equally divided between the war against Germany and the war against Japan ?

In the case of the United Kingdom , only about one fifth of the battle deaths in all branches of the military were attributable to the war against Japan, although the proportion was significantly higher in the case of the Commonwealth as a whole.

Not being at home now, I’m asking questions that I’d normally be able to answer myself.

I’m relying on memory, an increasingly fragile resource as the years rush by !

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1974
Joined: 2010
U.S. Army in the Pacific
9/12/2023 5:49:22 PM
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/Casualties/index.html
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
11/27/2023 8:54:22 PM
Historians have argued the wisdom of the U.S. invasion of the Philippines. Most seem to come down on the side that the Army, Air Force and Naval units would have been better used else where.

Not only did General MacArthur have his troops clear the island of Luzon, where Manila is located, the most strategically useful part of the Philippines. He split his forces latter in the campaign to clear the southern islands in the Philippines.

Rather than concentrate on the Sixth Army's conquest of Luzon, he diverted some resources to Eighth Army's conquest of the islands in the southern part of the Philippines.

There would be isolated Japanese units fighting in the Philippines until the end of the war.

By the numbers the sacrifice of U.S. service members in the Pacific War:

The U.S. Army had 21 Divisions plus several independent battalions and regiments in the Pacific. The USMC had 6 divisions, basically the whole of the USMC deployed units in the Pacific.

The U.S. suffered over 111,000 fatalities in the Pacific. Of these:

41,592 were U.S. Army ground forces.

31,157 were U.S. Navy

19,733 were USMC

15,694 were U.S. Army Air Forces.

I am surprised how precise the figures McManus gives are.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1974
Joined: 2010
U.S. Army in the Pacific
11/27/2023 9:44:05 PM
MacArthur overstepped his authority when he said "I have come to Australia with the purpose, as I understand it, of returning to the Philippines." He took it upon himself to set US policy. The man's hubris knew no bounds. He was paralyzed for days when the Japanese invaded the PI, but he claimed to "understand" what is next for the US. Marshall should have made a different call.
17thfabn
Ohio OH USA
Posts: 206
Joined: 2008
U.S. Army in the Pacific
11/27/2023 10:05:30 PM
Quote:
MacArthur overstepped his authority when he said "I have come to Australia with the purpose, as I understand it, of returning to the Philippines." He took it upon himself to set US policy.

Marshall should have made a different call.


When General MacArthur said "I will Return" it did not set U.S. policy. The U.S. Chiefs of staff, or ultimately President Roosevelt could have said no, we are not invading the Philippines, we are using those forces for other operations. They were not bound by MacArthur's statements.

I do think MacArthur could, and should have been replaced early in the war. If he wanted to raise a ruckus they could have said he was to old for such an active command.
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Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy.
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