Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Jul 2022 07:34

Hi paulrward,

If the Japanese were really "an overwhelmingly strong enemy" in the Philippines, then they presumably would have rolled right over the US/Philippino defenders immediately. It would appear that the Japanese attacked initially at 1:2 numerical odds against, which is just one sixth of the 3:1 odds normally recommended for an attacker. They had to bring more men in precisely because they were not able to use overwhelming force from the start. Nevertheless, they chased the US/Philippino forces into the Bataan Penisnsula in pretty short order.

It is highly improbable that MacArthur could have held on in the Phillippines until relieved. The real question is could he have done better with what he had. Was the decision to ignore the existing WPO-3 plan and try to fight forward a mistake?

You say, "the Philippine and U.S. Guerillas..... continually inflicted losses on the Japanese until MacArthur was able to 'Return' ". As a matter of interest, what did these losses amount to? I seem to recall that during the Marcos era he inflated his own role and the effectiveness of the resistance for political reasons. Do we have any dispassionate analysis of what the Philippino resistance actually achieved?

Cheers,

Sid.

Delta Tank
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Delta Tank » 18 Jul 2022 20:54

Sid Guttridge wrote:
18 Jul 2022 07:10
Hi Guys,

It is very interesting that not one of the replies addresses the central point of the link that MacArthur ignored the existing WPO3 plan to fall back immediately on Bataan and instead tried to fight forward. He seems to have overestimated the capacity of his Philippino forces and/or underestimated the Japanese (as, in fairness, did everyone else). Any thoughts?

Cheers,

Sid.
The intelligence estimate stated that the Japanese would not attack until April, apparently because the weather is better at that time of year. So, with four more months time to train, get equipment, and make other preparations. . .the outcome would of been the same, we would of lost. It took the US 3 plus years to get back to Luzon and there was no way in hell anyone could of held out that long.
The thing that must be remembered is the Philippines were written off before the war began, but MacArthur convinced everyone that we could win if given time, equipment, trainers, (IIRC he wanted US Army divisions sent also) etc. However, I doubt that an army could be formed in that amount of time. I think I stated this before but you just can not snap your fingers and create a tactically and technically competent force. It would take a decade to train the leadership to lead a force of 10 small divisions.

Before we returned to the Philippines the Japanese commander stated that he needed 16 divisions to defend his area of responsibility. So, I doubt that 10 small Philippine divisions would of been enough.

Mike

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fredleander
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by fredleander » 19 Jul 2022 00:27

Sid Guttridge wrote:
18 Jul 2022 07:10
Hi Guys,

It is very interesting that not one of the replies addresses the central point of the link that MacArthur ignored the existing WPO3 plan to fall back immediately on Bataan and instead tried to fight forward. He seems to have overestimated the capacity of his Philippino forces and/or underestimated the Japanese (as, in fairness, did everyone else). Any thoughts?

Cheers,

Sid.
Hi, Sid - as a matter of fact he did not ignore it, he had actually received, after much pressure, the blessing of General Marshall on a "defense of the beaches". As it didn't work out he, quite prudently, went back to the old plan, that of the Bataan last-stand. Whether he should have tried to defend the beaches is a matter of opinion. It should be understood, however, after War Plan Oange was worked out in the beginning of the 1900s, and modified through the years, much had changed in the Philippines.

MacArthur's role in the Philippines in the years leading up to the war, and its invasion, is much misunderstood, too.

Fred
River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book about Operation Sealion:
https://www.fredleander.com
Saving MacArthur - an eight-book series on the Pacific War:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D3 ... rw_dp_labf

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fredleander
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by fredleander » 19 Jul 2022 00:37

paulrward wrote:
09 Jul 2022 19:16
Hello All ;

It is easy to try to Scapegoat MacArthur for the defeat in the Phillppines. But, it must be
remembered, he was fighting a losing battle with insufficient forces against an overwhelmingly
strong enemy, and that, during his fight, he received not a single bit of support in terms of
supplies, equipment, or reinforcements from the United States. He fought with what he had.

And, do not forget: The Japanese assumed they would overwhelm the Philippines in about six
weeks, just as they had done with French IndoChina, British Malaya, and the Netherlands East
Indies. In fact, it took them almost FIVE MONTHS to defeat the U.S. and Philippine forces on
Bataan and Corregidor, and the Japanese NEVER defeated the Philippine and U.S. Guerillas who
continually inflicted losses on the Japanese until MacArthur was able to ' Return ! '

Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
Thank you, Paul - you saved me a lot of ink (read: computer time).

Just a little correction - in March he did receive three P-40s in cases which arrived in a round-about way and were assembled under very primitive conditions in the southern Philippines. That was about all.
River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book about Operation Sealion:
https://www.fredleander.com
Saving MacArthur - an eight-book series on the Pacific War:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D3 ... rw_dp_labf

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 Jul 2022 22:56

Hi DT,

You post, "Before we returned to the Philippines the Japanese commander stated that he needed 16 divisions to defend his area of responsibility. So, I doubt that 10 small Philippine divisions would of been enough."

This is not to compare like with like.

In 1941-42 the Japanese over ran the entire Philippines with just two divisions and finished Bataan and Corregidor after the arrival of a third. By contrast, the US invasion of 1944 was massive on land, sea and air. 13 divisions were used against five Japanese and some fighting was still going on 10 months later, only ending with Japan's overall surrender.

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by ljadw » 22 Jul 2022 14:00

paulrward wrote:
09 Jul 2022 19:16
Hello All ;

Actually, what it shows is that:

1) The Philippines had, for many years, been accepted by the U.S. as a 'Write-off' in case of war-
it was only at that last moment, when it was too late, that Freewheelin' Franklin decided to try
to coerce the Japanese with a fortified Philippines that had offensive bombers stationed on the
islands. Freewheelin' Franky is quoted as saying that " MacArthur is the most Dangerous Man
in America ! " ignoring the fact that it was Roosevelt's last minute charade of trying to
reinforce the Philippines and his embargoes against the Japanese that led to the War in
the first place. And, let us NOT mention that it was Freewheelin Franky's idea to move the
Pacific Fleet to Hawaii, where they could ' Threaten the Japanese....'

You want to find the real culprit for the disaster in the Philippines ? He was rolling around the
hallways of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue !


2) The war came about five months too early for the U.S. - if the U.S. had continued according
to the existing plans for another five months, the P-40s would have been operational, there would
have been more artillery for the Philippine Army, and there would have been a much more developed
infrastructure to carry out a successful defense of the islands. MacArthur was trying to do too much
with too little, but his alternative would have been simply to do nothing, and surrender, like the
British in Malaya.


3) The first morning of the war, Brereton, one of the ' Bomber Barons ' of the USAAF, was constantly
trying to get his bombers on a strike against Formosa, despite the fact that HE HAD NO MAPS OF THE
JAPANESE INSTALLATIONS ON FORMOSA TO ATTACK ! Brereton literally wanted to send his aircraft on
a mission where, when they arrived over Formosa, they would begin flying around in circles at 25,000
feet LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO BOMB !


4) It shows how the Fighter Defense of the Philippines was essentially knocked out on the first
day of fighting, due to the lack of training and experience of the USAAF fighter pilots. Most had
just come from flight school, few had ever flown in even an obsolete fighter, and NONE had ever
flown a P-40 prior to arriving in the Philippines.

It does NOT mention the fact that there was NO INFRASTRUCTURE in the Philippines to support
the Heavy Bomber force, no repair facilities, insufficient fuel trucks, no supply of Oxygen for
the high altitude breathing systems, and no single place where all 35 bombers could be located
to equip them for a long range strike. IT IS A FACT that two weeks prior to the attack, MacArthur
had ordered ALL the B-17s to be move to Del Monte Field in the Central Philippines, where they
would have been out of range of the Japanese Bombers. Brereton ignored this order, and so
half the bombers were left vulnerable to attack, in which 12 were destroyed and another four
damaged, though these four were made flyable and evacuated to Australia. ( One of these four
B-17s managed to take off with the left inboard engine belching black smoke and venting oil, and
the pilots, as soon as they were off the ground, hoisted up the landing gear, and with barely
enough flying speed, shut down the dying engine, feathered the prop with the last bit of
oil pressure left, and then flew non-stop to Darwin, Australia on three engines ! )


5) It also shows how Admiral Hart's Asiatic Fleet ( and, it should be noted, a slang term for a sailor
in the USN at that time who was acting in a deranged manner was that ' He had gone Asiatic...." )
did little or nothing in the fighting for the Philippines. The surface ships ran away as fast as they
could steam, while the USN submarines sank very few ships in the defense of the islands, being
mainly used to evacuate Philippine Gold and Station Cast codebreakers to Australia.


6) It is easy to try to Scapegoat MacArthur for the defeat in the Phillppines. But, it must be
remembered, he was fighting a losing battle with insufficient forces against an overwhelmingly
strong enemy, and that, during his fight, he received not a single bit of support in terms of
supplies, equipment, or reinforcements from the United States. He fought with what he had.

And, do not forget: The Japanese assumed they would overwhelm the Philippines in about six
weeks, just as they had done with French IndoChina, British Malaya, and the Netherlands East
Indies. In fact, it took them almost FIVE MONTHS to defeat the U.S. and Philippine forces on
Bataan and Corregidor, and the Japanese NEVER defeated the Philippine and U.S. Guerillas who
continually inflicted losses on the Japanese until MacArthur was able to ' Return ! '

Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
I agree almost totally,with the exception for the claim that the culprit lived at the Pennsylvania Avenue . No : the culprit lived in Tokyo.And this is no defense of FDR !
The big mistake of FDR (for the Pacific ) was that he almost continually provoked Japan, without increasing his forces in the Pacific :he did stop the oil export to Japan ,and he could expect a Japanese reply, but,at the same time,he was unwilling,or unable to reinforce the Philippines :MacArthur was left with 16000 men ,waiting on 1,1 million tons of supplies,who never arrived .

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Delta Tank » 24 Jul 2022 01:30

Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 Jul 2022 22:56
Hi DT,

You post, "Before we returned to the Philippines the Japanese commander stated that he needed 16 divisions to defend his area of responsibility. So, I doubt that 10 small Philippine divisions would of been enough."

This is not to compare like with like.

In 1941-42 the Japanese over ran the entire Philippines with just two divisions and finished Bataan and Corregidor after the arrival of a third. By contrast, the US invasion of 1944 was massive on land, sea and air. 13 divisions were used against five Japanese and some fighting was still going on 10 months later, only ending with Japan's overall surrender.

Cheers,

Sid.
Sid,

I will get back to you soon, (3 August or so 😞) my books are in another location. The Japanese reinforced Leyte tremendously after our invasion in October 1944. Those reinforcements came from Luzon and I can’t remember if more Japanese troops were sent to Luzon from other areas. I believe there were more than 5 Japanese divisions in the Philippines.

Mike

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Delta Tank » 24 Jul 2022 01:48

Sid,

From: https://totallyhistory.com/battle-of-leyte/

“The Battle of Leyte was a major defeat for the Japanese Empire, with almost 50,000 combat troops lost in its failed defense. 26 substantial warships were also lost, as well as several hundred merchant ships. Conventional Japanese air power was cut by half, forcing Japan to rely increasingly on the desperate measure of using kamikaze pilots.

Although 250,000 soldiers were still on Luzon, without air and sea support from Leyte, the only option for General Yamashita was a defensive one. Losing the battle allowed the Allies to establish a base from which Japan itself could much more easily be attacked.”

This rings true.

From: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pacifi ... hilippines

“The 6th Army, in order to prepare for future operations, turned over the task of mopping up to the 8th Army, and the XXIV Corps was relieved by the Americal Division. American and Filipino troops fought against the 20,000 Japanese left on Leyte for the rest of the year. Mopping up operations actually continued into 1945 until almost 75,000 Japanese had been killed or captured. Even before Leyte was cleared of enemy forces, the 6th Army had started to move toward the next objective, the island of Luzon.”

This is just for Leyte, does not include Luzon.

This is from: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... mph-5.html

“The bulk of the units Yamashita commanded on Luzon could by no means be fitted into the category of first-class combat organizations. Divisions recently formed from former garrison units were badly organized, ill equipped, poorly officered, and miserably trained. In even worse state were the multitude of provisional infantry and artillery units that the Japanese organized on Luzon from the Manila replacements, ship survivors, convalescents, and, in some cases, Japanese civilians stranded in the Philippines. Even the regular units were in poor shape, many having suffered morale-shattering losses of men and equipment on their way to Luzon. The 23d Division, for instance, had lost its chief of staff, most of the other officers of division headquarters, and fully a third of its men. The 10th Division had suffered similarly, while only two-thirds of the 19th Division reached Luzon from Formosa before the Allied invasion put an end to further shipments.

Yet Yamashita had a respectable force, and one that was far stronger than General Willoughby, MacArthur's intelligence chief, had estimated. Instead of the 152,500 troops of Willoughby's estimate,

--93--
Yamashita actually had nearly 275,000 men.17 Willoughby, of course, could not know exactly what Yamashita planned to do with these troops; he did not anticipate an essentially static defense.”

I believe this is larger than 5 divisions and I don’t know if this includes the Japanese Navy soldiers that defended Manila.

Mike

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Jul 2022 05:54

Hi Delta Tank,

My apologies. There were 13 Japanese divisions in the Philippines in 1944-45.

Your first source says, "Losing the battle allowed the Allies to establish a base from which Japan itself could much more easily be attacked."

Except, of course, it wasn't. The 1944-45 Philippines campaign seems to have been almost completely irrelevant to the outcome of the war against Japan.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Delta Tank » 24 Jul 2022 14:00

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 Jul 2022 05:54
Hi Delta Tank,

My apologies. There were 13 Japanese divisions in the Philippines in 1944-45.

Your first source says, "Losing the battle allowed the Allies to establish a base from which Japan itself could much more easily be attacked."

Except, of course, it wasn't. The 1944-45 Philippines campaign seems to have been almost completely irrelevant to the outcome of the war against Japan.

Cheers,

Sid.
Sid,

The Japanese knew if they lost the Philippines that there ability to get raw materials from their Southern Empire would cease, their ability to move those materials was already in bad shape. The Philippines were to be the logistics base for the assault on Japan. Read this chapter in the book entitled “Command Decisions”, it is about 10 pages long. The War ended before the value of the Philippines could be realized.

https://history.army.mil/books/70-7_21.htm

Mike

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Jul 2022 15:34

Hi DT,

You write, "The War ended before the value of the Philippines could be realized." Yup!

As it turned out, all MacArthur's efforts were negated by the A-Bomb, which was dropped at the end of a long line of supply that came across the mid Pacific via islands that had not been captured by MacArthur's forces. Retaking the Philippines was a necessary precaution in the event Japan had to be invaded, but proved no more necessary in the end than retaking Malaya would have been.

None of that is MacArthur's fault, but it didn't give him any real opportunity to play Caesar. His campaigning was arguably in the end even more peripheral than that of Britain's 14th Army in Burma, which famously dubbed itself "forgotten".

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by fredleander » 24 Jul 2022 23:03

Sid Guttridge wrote:
24 Jul 2022 05:54

Except, of course, it wasn't. The 1944-45 Philippines campaign seems to have been almost completely irrelevant to the outcome of the war against Japan.

Cheers,

Sid.
Was not the main part of the Japanese fleet destroyed (Battle of Leyte) during the fight for the The Philippines?

Regds

Fred
River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book about Operation Sealion:
https://www.fredleander.com
Saving MacArthur - an eight-book series on the Pacific War:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D3 ... rw_dp_labf

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2022 06:43

Hi Fredleander,

Yes. However, this was accomplished by the US Navy, not by forces under MacArthur's command.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by fredleander » 25 Jul 2022 09:22

Sid Guttridge wrote:
25 Jul 2022 06:43
Hi Fredleander,

Yes. However, this was accomplished by the US Navy, not by forces under MacArthur's command.

Cheers,

Sid.
Certainly, but that battle was fought because of MacArthur's drive against the Philippines, was it not? I mean - it was his strategy - that the Navy was there at all. Was it not?

Fred
River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book about Operation Sealion:
https://www.fredleander.com
Saving MacArthur - an eight-book series on the Pacific War:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D3 ... rw_dp_labf

ljadw
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by ljadw » 26 Jul 2022 06:51

Sid Guttridge wrote:
20 Oct 2021 23:46
Hi rcocean,

Max Hastings is anything but "left wing". He was editor of the Daily Telegraph, which has been described as the house magazine of the Conservative Party. You could hardly be more wrong! Where did you get this ridiculous idea from? It needs following up to source.



Cheers,

Sid.
Who was the author of this description ?
And is this description correct ?

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