Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Discussions on all aspects of the United States of America during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Carl Schwamberger.
daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 04 May 2021 22:09

rcocean wrote:
04 May 2021 14:55
King had some rather strange strategic ideas. The first was we had to take Formosa, bypass the Philippines, and seize a port on the China coast. Even when Nimitz explained we needed to neutralize the airfields around Manila to invade Formosa, King still objected to invading Leyte. He also had the odd idea that we needed invade France in 1944, because Stalin wasn't going to invade Eastern Europe but might stop at the 1939 USSR borders! You wonder if King understood that Stalin was a life-long Bolshevik revolutionary with the goal of world-wide revolution.

King also supported the invasion of Guam and Saipan but opposed landing on Iwo Jima, and had to be convinced we needed to attack Okinawa. It probably would've been better if Admiral Leahy had been called back from France and put in charge of the Navy after Pearl Harbor, and King given some fleet command. I think he was the victim of the peter principle and his ceiling was probably Atlantic Fleet Commander.
And yet, FDR and Knox promoted EJK to relieve Stark, and kept EJK in place until after VJ Day.

rcocean
Member
Posts: 497
Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by rcocean » 04 May 2021 22:22

Again quoting from the "They fought with what they Had". Arnold was never satisfied with Bretton's excuses for having his planes caught on the ground at 1240 PM. And the official historian notes that his diary was obviously written AFTER the event. In any case, the air force had been on full war alert since Nov 28th, and the B-17s were sent up in the air at 0800 when an attack warning was received. They then landed back at 1000, refueled and were waiting to go on their late PM bombing after the Photo recon arrived.

Its amazing that so much ink has been spilt over 16 B-17s, which even if they'd bombed Formosa (on their first bombing raid), would've done nothing of importance. But it allowed published authors to write the most ridiculous nonsense. There was some British author, Costello, who wrote how if only those B-17s had hit the Japanese AF on December 8th, the whole war would've changed. :lol: Of course, Costello didn't understand that P-40s didn't have the range to escort B-17s to Formosa, nor did they have the oxygen to operate above 20,000 feet. Nor did he understand that the HARBOR not the Airfields were the target when Bretton supposedly asked MacArthur to bomb at 5 or 6 Am.

As for MacArthur, he was the theater commander. Not the AF commander. Other than supposedly denying the request to strike Formosa till 10 AM, he had zero to do with the AF on December 8th. He had plenty of other things to do. BTW, Sutherland had ordered all the B-17s to Del Monte in early December by Bretton had only sent half of them. It seems that like Brett, Bretton had a poor relationship with MacArthur, and later in the war would have a poor relationship with the British and others.

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 04 May 2021 22:32

Richard Anderson wrote:
04 May 2021 20:51
LineDoggie wrote:
04 May 2021 18:40
Where to bomb on Formosa? I dont know, maybe the Jap airfields that sent the planes that later wiped out the US Air element? surely you cant be that obtuse? you think now we had no intel on what facilities existed
By my count there were six IJN and five IJA airfields scattered about Formosa, none of which the USAAF had much direct knowledge of. There were no photo-recon assets in the Philippines and due to international tensions, the War and Navy departments had been very careful not to cross international boundaries during the run-up to war. This is probably best illustrated by the routes taken by the B-17 flights to the Philippines.

On 26 November, MacArthur and Brereton were notified that two B-24 photo recon aircraft were to be placed at their disposal so that flights could begin observing Japanese positions in the Mandates, then Formosa, while the Navy began doing the same in Indochina. However, the aircraft, which were brand new, never arrived. It wasn't until the attack on Pearl that Brereton requested permission to use the B-17 in the Philippines to do armed reconnaissance to lay out bomb plots for the airfield targets, but MacArthur, in an excess of caution, refused until the first Japanese bombing attack on Philippine soil.

One ready aircraft took off for Formosa at 0800, but returned due to engine problems, while three others were prepared for the recon mission. Meanwhile, attention was fixed on the approaching Japanese invasion fleet and additional aircraft were sent off to locate them. After deducting those and aircraft out of commission, there were probably fewer than twenty ready to fly off into the unknown.
Comes down to this WHO WAS USAFFE COMMANDER? Brereton or MACARTHUR ? who would give Brereton his Orders? a random Filipino or the Commander?
See above. MacArthur felt constrained by the political climate - the warnings not to instigate a Japanese attack - and so acted very cautiously.
A "cautious" commander would have ordered the only long-range strike assets in his theater to a base where they were out of reach of the enemy pending reconnaissance, presumably...

Hart was cautious, and because of his caution, his command's major assets were not caught at anchor; if only MacArthur, Short, and Kimmel had been as cautious...

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 04 May 2021 22:37

rcocean wrote:
04 May 2021 22:22
Again quoting from the "They fought with what they Had". Arnold was never satisfied with Bretton's excuses for having his planes caught on the ground at 1240 PM. And the official historian notes that his diary was obviously written AFTER the event. In any case, the air force had been on full war alert since Nov 28th, and the B-17s were sent up in the air at 0800 when an attack warning was received. They then landed back at 1000, refueled and were waiting to go on their late PM bombing after the Photo recon arrived.

Its amazing that so much ink has been spilt over 16 B-17s, which even if they'd bombed Formosa (on their first bombing raid), would've done nothing of importance. But it allowed published authors to write the most ridiculous nonsense. There was some British author, Costello, who wrote how if only those B-17s had hit the Japanese AF on December 8th, the whole war would've changed. :lol: Of course, Costello didn't understand that P-40s didn't have the range to escort B-17s to Formosa, nor did they have the oxygen to operate above 20,000 feet. Nor did he understand that the HARBOR not the Airfields were the target when Bretton supposedly asked MacArthur to bomb at 5 or 6 Am.

As for MacArthur, he was the theater commander. Not the AF commander. Other than supposedly denying the request to strike Formosa till 10 AM, he had zero to do with the AF on December 8th. He had plenty of other things to do. BTW, Sutherland had ordered all the B-17s to Del Monte in early December by Bretton had only sent half of them. It seems that like Brett, Bretton had a poor relationship with MacArthur, and later in the war would have a poor relationship with the British and others.
1. Who is "Bretton"?
2. You do understand that with his status as (essentially) theater commander, every Army officer in the PI worked for MacArthur, right? Brereton was not his co-commander, or equivalent. Hart was, and amazingly enough, Hart's ships were, generally, out of harm's way on Dec. 8, because Hart was thoughtful enough to understand the threat posed by Japanese air power.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4141
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 May 2021 22:41

daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 22:32
A "cautious" commander would have ordered the only long-range strike assets in his theater to a base where they were out of reach of the enemy pending reconnaissance, presumably...
Sorry, but I was not - shudder - defending Dugout Doug - I was just pointing out the real world intelligence constraints the USAFFE was operating under, which in part led to Dougies decision making failures. Yes, MacArthur, Hart, Short, and Kimmel each acted slightly differently to the war warnings and the various contradictory cautionary instructions that floated about at the time. However, it was never a simple matter of Dougie telling Brereton to execute a bombing attack on "Taiwan" with the 20-odd available B-17 and thus the U.S. thwarts the Japanese invasion and Big Mac becomes a hero that rescues America in the Pacific.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

rcocean
Member
Posts: 497
Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by rcocean » 04 May 2021 22:58

If you're "Defending" or "attacking" a historical figure from WW2, based on personal like or dislike, you probably should seek help. I find the emotional dislike of certain WW2 figures like Monty, MacArthur, Halsey, etc. rather odd but it takes all kinds. I guess if someone gets a kick out it...well, it certainly doesn't harm anyone, since they've all been dead for 40 years or more.. :lol:

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4141
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 May 2021 23:02

daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 22:37
1. Who is "Bretton"?
2. You do understand that with his status as (essentially) theater commander, every Army officer in the PI worked for MacArthur, right? Brereton was not his co-commander, or equivalent. Hart was, and amazingly enough, Hart's ships were, generally, out of harm's way on Dec. 8, because Hart was thoughtful enough to understand the threat posed by Japanese air power.
Better still, what "16 B-17"? There were 36 assigned to the 5th Bomber Command as of 8 December 1941 (Manila time) of which 33 were operational. Two, of the 19th Bomb Group took off at 0400 and were flying reconnaissance over Mindanao, looking for possible Japanese invaders (so was one B-18). The 30th Squadron, 19th Bomb Group, which was preparing for a possible Formosa strike along with the three intended recon aircraft (one of which broke down in route to Formosa), took off at 0930 when the air raid warning was given, they did not land till 1130. One B-17D from the 93d Squadron took off from Del Monte for Clark for needed repairs (oh, Del Monte Airfield couldn't repair B-17?) at 0945 and arrived during the attack on Clark. One B-17 took off from Clark for a recon over the east coast of Luzon at 1030 and did not return until 1600. Maybe 16 were operational and ready, but none got a green light until it was too late and it would have done diddly squat anyway, since most would have probably dropped their bombs on targets of opportunity, since they had little to no idea what the Japanese facilities were or where.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4141
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 May 2021 23:08

rcocean wrote:
04 May 2021 22:58
If you're "Defending" or "attacking" a historical figure from WW2, based on personal like or dislike, you probably should seek help. I find the emotional dislike of certain WW2 figures like Monty, MacArthur, Halsey, etc. rather odd but it takes all kinds. I guess if someone gets a kick out it...well, it certainly doesn't harm anyone, since they've all been dead for 40 years or more.. :lol:
I defend or attack the historical record as I see fit, but I have no emotional stake in the game. I dislike MacArthur for the same reason I dislike Trump, they were/are both odious personalities in many ways...there simply is not much there to admire. My dislike is also based, again on both, for their poor decision making at critical points. I don't get a "kick" out of it either way, but I do find those who pretend to have godlike views absent personal opinion odd as well. So, yes, it takes all kinds, even you.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 04 May 2021 23:19

Richard Anderson wrote:
04 May 2021 22:41
daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 22:32
A "cautious" commander would have ordered the only long-range strike assets in his theater to a base where they were out of reach of the enemy pending reconnaissance, presumably...
Sorry, but I was not - shudder - defending Dugout Doug - I was just pointing out the real world intelligence constraints the USAFFE was operating under, which in part led to Dougies decision making failures. Yes, MacArthur, Hart, Short, and Kimmel each acted slightly differently to the war warnings and the various contradictory cautionary instructions that floated about at the time. However, it was never a simple matter of Dougie telling Brereton to execute a bombing attack on "Taiwan" with the 20-odd available B-17 and thus the U.S. thwarts the Japanese invasion and Big Mac becomes a hero that rescues America in the Pacific.
Agree with the operational reality laid out by your final sentence; hence, the point that when in doubt of the enemy's capabilities and intentions, staying out of harm's way until the situation can be resolved is good policy. Hart figured it out (and Halsey, for that matter, during the prewar operation to reinforce Wake); MacArthur, Kimmel, and Short did not.

daveshoup2MD
Member
Posts: 805
Joined: 01 Feb 2020 18:10
Location: Coral and brass

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 04 May 2021 23:28

Richard Anderson wrote:
04 May 2021 23:02
daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 22:37
1. Who is "Bretton"?
2. You do understand that with his status as (essentially) theater commander, every Army officer in the PI worked for MacArthur, right? Brereton was not his co-commander, or equivalent. Hart was, and amazingly enough, Hart's ships were, generally, out of harm's way on Dec. 8, because Hart was thoughtful enough to understand the threat posed by Japanese air power.
Better still, what "16 B-17"? There were 36 assigned to the 5th Bomber Command as of 8 December 1941 (Manila time) of which 33 were operational. Two, of the 19th Bomb Group took off at 0400 and were flying reconnaissance over Mindanao, looking for possible Japanese invaders (so was one B-18). The 30th Squadron, 19th Bomb Group, which was preparing for a possible Formosa strike along with the three intended recon aircraft (one of which broke down in route to Formosa), took off at 0930 when the air raid warning was given, they did not land till 1130. One B-17D from the 93d Squadron took off from Del Monte for Clark for needed repairs (oh, Del Monte Airfield couldn't repair B-17?) at 0945 and arrived during the attack on Clark. One B-17 took off from Clark for a recon over the east coast of Luzon at 1030 and did not return until 1600. Maybe 16 were operational and ready, but none got a green light until it was too late and it would have done diddly squat anyway, since most would have probably dropped their bombs on targets of opportunity, since they had little to no idea what the Japanese facilities were or where.
Agreed. Set aside the question of MacArthur; what was it that made Hart order his forces dispersed? Two flag officers, roughly the same age and experience, and the one with actually more experience in Asia underestimates the Japanese...

rcocean
Member
Posts: 497
Joined: 30 Mar 2008 00:48

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by rcocean » 04 May 2021 23:48

I don't see any resemblance between Trump and Douglas MacArthur. Or between Joe Biden and Douglas MacArthur. Or any resemblance between MacArthur and Abe Lincoln. But good to know your opinion is based on historical research. :D

MacArthur certainly made mistakes. But then so did every WW 2 General. Its strange that most of the people who worked with him liked him, but SOME who didn't really had some odd hatred for him. Eisenhower had probably the most balanced view of MacArthur and was well aware of his strengths and MacArthur's weaknesses. Ike also kept in touch with MacArthur till Mac died in 1964.

Delta Tank
Member
Posts: 2330
Joined: 16 Aug 2004 01:51
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Delta Tank » 05 May 2021 01:41

daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 22:01
Delta Tank wrote:
04 May 2021 13:25
daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 03:52
Delta Tank wrote:
03 May 2021 14:52
daveshoup2MD wrote:
02 May 2021 19:36
Given MacArthur's poor record in positions of high responsibility, his defeat on Luzon, his constant complaints about the Navy, and his inability to work with the SWPA Allies,
I could change a couple words and and your statement would fit Admiral Ernest King.

During the war General Marshall had to remind FDR that the US Army was not the enemy.

Mike
King was a great CNO and JCS member; strong advocate of Germany First; a master of joint and coalition warfare; and the most successful US naval senior commander in history ... MacArthur was surprised three times by three different enemies as a theater commander.
The reason why King “appeared” to support Germany First and support Marshall was he hated the British with a passion.

Didn’t King screw the Pooch on not implementing the convoy system on the East Coast in the beginning of the war? Our merchantmen were getting slaughtered to the point that an unknown Brigadier General named Eisenhower stated something along the lines “we won’t have enough ships left to go overseas to fight”

“In the diary, according to the newspaper, General Eisenhower in early 1942 described Adm. Ernest J. King, commander of the United States fleet as World War II began, as an “arbitrary, stubborn type” and a “mental bully.” One way to help win the war, General Eisenhower is reported to have written, was “to get someone to shoot King.” Admiral King became Chief of Naval Operations, the Navy's highest‐ranking officer.” Found this online here: https://www.nytimes.com/1979/09/19/arch ... in-42.html

Mike
Go look up who was the CNO for most of Q1 in 1942, when PAUKENSCHLAG got underway, and ask yourself why that individual was replaced ... and who replaced him.

Oh, speaking of Brooke, please provide any evidence EJK "hated the British with a passion."
This is from Wikipedia.
Historian Michael Gannon called it "America's Second Pearl Harbor" and placed the blame for the nation's failure to respond quickly to the attacks on the inaction of Admiral Ernest J. King, commander-in-chief of the U.S. fleet. Because King also refused British offers to provide the US navy with their own ships, the belated institution of a convoy system was at least in substantial part due to a severe shortage of suitable escort vessels, without which convoys were seen as actually more vulnerable than lone ships.[5]

I don’t have my copy of “Master of Sea Power” by Buell nearby, maybe I will find it tomorrow. I read it in the summer of 1984, while on leave in the UK of all places. But, I believe and I will find some credible sources that claim, that King hated the British with a passion. But, maybe he hated the US Army more, don’t know. King was a passionate man, he loved women, particularly other officers wives, even though I read that may not be true, but all the participants are dead, so we will never know.

https://www.quora.com/Why-did-Admiral-K ... ch?share=1

https://warisboring.com/fifty-years-of- ... e-us-navy/

“In World War One, King served as a member of Vice Admiral Henry T. Mayo’s staff and occasionally saw action aboard British ships. It was during his time with the Brits that he developed a deep dislike of them, though he would later mimic one of their traditions of wearing a breast-pocket handkerchief under his ribbons for the rest of his career (a nod to Royal Navy Admiral David Beatty). No man has successfully carried out the tradition since.”

Mike

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4141
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 May 2021 01:43

daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 23:19
Agree with the operational reality laid out by your final sentence; hence, the point that when in doubt of the enemy's capabilities and intentions, staying out of harm's way until the situation can be resolved is good policy. Hart figured it out (and Halsey, for that matter, during the prewar operation to reinforce Wake); MacArthur, Kimmel, and Short did not.
The idea that multiple war warnings went out seems incomprehensible to us today. OTOH, we gave multiple warning in 2002 that what the government thought it was doing WRT Iraq was harebrained, the idea we would be greeted with flowers was insane, and an occupation force similar to that required for postwar Germany was necessary, but we and others expressing similar qualms were pooh-poohed...then look at Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, and so on, and you might infer that "figuring it out" in advance is not the norm, but rather is an exception.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4141
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 May 2021 01:50

daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 23:28
Agreed. Set aside the question of MacArthur; what was it that made Hart order his forces dispersed? Two flag officers, roughly the same age and experience, and the one with actually more experience in Asia underestimates the Japanese...
Yep. Go figure. I suspect that Hart simply read the war warning from CNO and said something on the order of "HOLY SHIT! Maybe we ought to prepare for a possible war." MacArthur worried about overstepping his bounds with the Philippine government and playing into the hands of the Japanese...along with wondering how to be the very model of a modern generalissimo. Stark and Short worried about a myriad of other irrelevancies. Sometimes its the commanders who can simply focus on the single most important thing of the moment that wins...sort of like Alexander the Great going straight for Darius hell for leather.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4141
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Chief of Staff Choices 1939?

Post by Richard Anderson » 05 May 2021 01:52

daveshoup2MD wrote:
04 May 2021 22:06
rcocean wrote:
04 May 2021 14:40
Yes, Ike was very upset at King because of his rude, obnoxious behavior. But then King couldn't get along with anyone. The British hated him. Stimson and Forrestal disliked him. Marshall and Leahy got along with him because they had to, for the good of the USA. Even FDR came to dislike him.

King was also terrible at "Selling the Navy" in front of Congress or at making speeches. When he retired in 1946, he was almost completely forgotten unlike Marshall and MacArthur. Not many King Biographies.
Oh, grown men who have made the military their careers are "rude" - heavens, forfend.

Try reading Buell.
Better still, look at Braxton Bragg. :D
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Return to “USA 1919-1945”