Stilwell; the worst US General?

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rcocean
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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by rcocean » 23 Dec 2021 23:33

Credit where credit is due; once Buckner got hismself killed show-boating at the front
Wow, tough crowd. :lol:

Poor guy tries to show up at the front, is full of bravado (like Patton, Eichelberger, Krueger, Ridgeway, Ike, MacArthur, etc. etc.) and has the misfortune to get killed. Interestingly, I've never read about Bradley, Hodges, or Clark getting in any danger.

BTW, Patton wasn't the crazy man he's often portrayed as. When patton was visiting 1st Division, with Teddy Roosevelt jnr, and General Lucian Allen, an air raid began. The Generals only had a 2 man slit trench, so Teddy offered Patton his place. And he was quite miffed when Patton took it. :D

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by AnchorSteam » 26 Dec 2021 08:31

rcocean wrote:
23 Dec 2021 23:30
Key difference; MasArthur went back and did to the Japanese what had been done to him. Bonus; Mac was out numbered by the Japanese defenders (and it wasn't a force of 90% barely-trained recruits with the IJA) AND he did it cleaner, suffereing amazingly few casualties in the process. He didn't even have to blackmail the enemy commander into surrendering mass numbers of troops!
You'd think that if Big mac's defense of the Philippines was so bad, we'd have a record of him ignoring all the great Advice on HOW TO WIN from Marshall, Ike, Wainwright, Stimson, FDR, and General King. Yet, weirdly they all thought the Philippines were lost on December 7th, 1941.

In fact, I will give a "Genius Award" to anyone who can explain how any US General on December 7th 1941, could have defeated the japanese on Luzon and held Corriegidor and Bataan till the US Fleet arrived. Expected response:
well he couldn't have won, but...
- :lol:
Ah, but you blew it by adding "could have" .... and since that implies a chance instead of a certainty, well; 8-)

1) by alllowing the Air Force to do what they wanted and attack the Japanses Air bases on Taiwan. The weather was crappy over Taiwan in the early morning that day (December 8th, BTW) which was why the Japanese did not arrive until mid-day. By leaving Clark at Dawn the US planes, which still had a numerical advantage at that point) would have done to them what the IJA planes did to them historically.
Mac really muffed that one...

2) By sticking to the original plan and putting their supplies in Battan, with the idea of holding out there.

3) fall-back bases for the Flyboys in Mindanao or other central islands, and setting up a stronger and more flexible defense down there. Re-routing the Marine Regiment down there instead of Corrigedor would be a huge help, especially if some small ships/large boats were there to help them move from one island to the other.

All of this and other measures would have done nothing but buy time, but if that one corner of Luzon that closed traffic in and out of Manila could be held, along with half of the rest of P.I...... then forget what the US would have done, what would Japan have done?
THey had to pull Yamashita out of Malaya and send him to Luzon to finish the job, what else did they have available in the Spring of 1942, spread thn from Burma to the Carolines.
What would they have had to cencelle or delay? The Solomons, the Aleutians, Port Moresby? It would have had to be one of those.

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by LineDoggie » 27 Dec 2021 03:11

rcocean wrote:
23 Dec 2021 23:33
I've never read about Bradley, Hodges, or Clark getting in any danger.

Maybe not from the enemy but Clark survived several friendly fire incidents

Clark came close to becoming a blue on blue casualty when PT 201 (a 78'Higgins built) he was traveling in came under fire by the USS Sway (AM-120) on the way to Anzio in January 28th, 1944, there were 5 casualties.

His HQ was also bombed by US aircraft near Monte Cassino in another blue on blue and a L4 he was flying in ran into a barrage balloon cable, stalled, and the wing was damaged spraying him and the pilot with fuel.
Last edited by LineDoggie on 28 Dec 2021 00:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by G, Y? » 27 Dec 2021 06:00

John P. Lucas gets my vote.

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 27 Dec 2021 06:26

AnchorSteam wrote:
26 Dec 2021 08:31
...

All of this and other measures would have done nothing but buy time, but if that one corner of Luzon that closed traffic in and out of Manila could be held, along with half of the rest of P.I...... then forget what the US would have done, what would Japan have done?
THey had to pull Yamashita out of Malaya and send him to Luzon to finish the job, what else did they have available in the Spring of 1942, spread thn from Burma to the Carolines.
What would they have had to cencelle or delay? The Solomons, the Aleutians, Port Moresby? It would have had to be one of those.
OTL the 48th Inf Division was detached from the 14th Army January and sent to the 19th Army where it occupied a Dutch East Indies City. It never fought on Battan.

The Battle of Battan was fought by the 16th Inf Div, 56th Inf Div, & 65th Mixed Brigade. As part of reorganization the 4th Inf Div (Arriving March) was included in the Battle of Battan. In May the 4th Division was returned to Japan for 'security duties'.

Its unlikely the 48th Div is retained as its orders came long before this extended campaign is recognized. The second possibility is the 4th ID remains on Luzon longer, not returning to Japan in May.

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by AnchorSteam » 27 Dec 2021 08:21

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
27 Dec 2021 06:26
OTL the 48th Inf Division was detached from the 14th Army January and sent to the 19th Army where it occupied a Dutch East Indies City. It never fought on Battan.

The Battle of Battan was fought by the 16th Inf Div, 56th Inf Div, & 65th Mixed Brigade. As part of reorganization the 4th Inf Div (Arriving March) was included in the Battle of Battan. In May the 4th Division was returned to Japan for 'security duties'.

Its unlikely the 48th Div is retained as its orders came long before this extended campaign is recognized. The second possibility is the 4th ID remains on Luzon longer, not returning to Japan in May.
I thought the 56th Div. was in Burma, and died there?
The 48th had to go secure Timor, where a Company(?) of Marooned Aussies were screwing everything up for the Japanese and apparetnly having a hell of a good time doing so. :thumbsup:
It seems like a waste of a good division to me, but they could not have let the Allies keep a foothold there, and they even left them there until the end.

The 4th had just been reduced to a triangular Division and I have heard that some folks were calling it the worst Division in the IJA. It was intended (and armed) as a Garrison unit. Those poor guys caught hell when used against formed troops, the cassualty raite was horrible, even on Corrigedor.
Sending them home might have been preperation to disband them, but they were eventually sent to Thailand, just about the least-threatened garrison post of all, and there they stayed.

And my point is; in that scenario with US Airpower staying healthy for a longer period of time and the Southern command indepently operating (but with Luzon 95% occupied even more quickly by Japan) a lot of things would have to happen differently.
Mac might not have stayed to fight to the bitter end, but he might have stayed on in Mindanao unless the situation was truly catastrophic. Regiments had to be detatched from Army Divisions in other theaters to deal with Central P.I. as it was, and if their airpower in Taiwan had been decimanted....

Opps, started to get into Alternate territory, aren't we?

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by Delta Tank » 27 Dec 2021 18:03

Anchorsteam,

Anchorsteam wrote:
“Mac might not have stayed to fight to the bitter end, but he might have stayed on in Mindanao unless the situation was truly catastrophic. Regiments had to be detatched from Army Divisions in other theaters to deal with Central P.I. as it was, and if their airpower in Taiwan had been decimanted....”
The Japanese had between 11-20 airfields on Formosa (I have read both numbers) with approximately 500 airplanes. It would require a miracle of biblical proportions for General Brereton’s air component to decimate Japanese AirPower on Formosa.

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by G, Y? » 27 Dec 2021 18:20

Stillwell had to work with Chiang Kai Shek and the two were not the best possible combination in the war. Before Stillwell Hans von Seeckt was in China as an adviser and so was Chuikov (commander of the 62nd Army at Stalingrad). von Seeckt at least brought a small corps of 80k to a high level of efficiency (before Chiang let it be ground down defending Nanking). I think Chiang's strategy once Pearl Harbor happened was to let the West (primarily the Americans) defeat the Japanese while conserving his own strength for the post-war battle against the commies.

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by rcocean » 28 Dec 2021 01:32

Ordinarily I wouldn't waste time responding but you seem to be making good faith arguements, so...
1) by alllowing the Air Force to do what they wanted and attack the Jaanses Air bases on Taiwan. The weather was crappy over Taiwan in the early morning that day (December 8th, BTW) which was why the Japanese did not arrive until mid-day. By leaving Clark at Dawn the US planes, which still had a numerical advantage at that point) would have done to them what the IJA planes did to them historically.
Mac really muffed that one...
Wrong. The AAF wanted to attack SHIPPING. The 18 B-17s with 2 tons of bombs each, were to take off at dawn and attack SHIPPING. There were no photos of "airfields" in Southern Taiwan. That's why a photo recon order was ordered at 10 AM, so the B-17s could see what they were going to bomb at sunset. This myth of the 18 B-17s attacking crowded airfields was started after the war. in any case, the 18 B-17s were so small in number the idea of them doing anything substantial was impossible.
2) By sticking to the original plan and putting their supplies in Battan, with the idea of holding out there.
The problem is that (1) many of those supplies were moved back to Bataan later (2) The "Plan" called for six months of supplies for 30,000 men and actual number was 60,000 men and 40,000 civilians and (3) Malaria and disease was more important in reducing resistance than hunger.
3) fall-back bases for the Flyboys in Mindanao or other central islands, and setting up a stronger and more flexible defense down there. Re-routing the Marine Regiment down there instead of Corrigedor would be a huge help, especially if some small ships/large boats were there to help them move from one island to the other.
Yes, this would've been the better plan. Except, the official US War plan ever since the 1920's called for the US to hold Manila Bay until the US fleet arrived. That's why we had a strongly held fortress on Corregidor. In order for a massive defense of Mindanao to work, it would've had to been the official "Prewar" plan. There wasn't enough time to improvise.

People forget that MacArthur had retired from the US Army in Dec. 1937. He was NOT in charge of prewar planning. In May 1941, he told General Marshall that he was going to close his office, and retire to the USA. On July 31, 1941 Marshall informed MacArthur he was recalled to duty and put in charge of Philippines. Over the next four months MacArthur mobilized as much of the Filipino army as he cound and sent messages to Washington asking for supplies and additional troops.

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Dec 2021 07:14

...I thought the 56th Div. was in Burma, and died there?
If the unit history I have is of any accuracy it was in the 14th Army through the Philippines campaign & Burma campaign subsequently.

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by AnchorSteam » 29 Dec 2021 02:23

Delta Tank wrote:
27 Dec 2021 18:03
The Japanese had between 11-20 airfields on Formosa (I have read both numbers) with approximately 500 airplanes. It would require a miracle of biblical proportions for General Brereton’s air component to decimate Japanese AirPower on Formosa.

Mike
If we look at the higher number, that means one airfield for less than a dozen aircraft, a ludicrous level of dispersal.
The IJA aircraft would have been concentrated on 2-4 airfields for the sake of efficiency if nothing else.
Which ones?
I am sure the PBYs found out, they were snooping around and giving the Japanese fits prior to the war, similar to how their descendants gave the Soviets one headache after another during the cold war. Never underestimate what a bored American pilot in the middle of nowhere will do, just for the hell of it.

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by Delta Tank » 29 Dec 2021 02:34

AnchorSteam wrote:
29 Dec 2021 02:23
Delta Tank wrote:
27 Dec 2021 18:03
The Japanese had between 11-20 airfields on Formosa (I have read both numbers) with approximately 500 airplanes. It would require a miracle of biblical proportions for General Brereton’s air component to decimate Japanese AirPower on Formosa.

Mike
If we look at the higher number, that means one airfield for less than a dozen aircraft, a ludicrous level of dispersal.
The IJA aircraft would have been concentrated on 2-4 airfields for the sake of efficiency if nothing else.
Which ones?
I am sure the PBYs found out, they were snooping around and giving the Japanese fits prior to the war, similar to how their descendants gave the Soviets one headache after another during the cold war. Never underestimate what a bored American pilot in the middle of nowhere will do, just for the hell of it.
Did the Navy PDYs share their intelligence that they acquired while bored with the US Army? This topic has been discussed on this Forum before, the answer no it appears they did not.
35 B-17s were not going to destroy the air forces that Japan had stationed on Formosa, no way, no how. 35 unescorted B-17s would of accomplished virtually nothing except being target practice for Japanese fighters.

Mike

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by AnchorSteam » 29 Dec 2021 03:41

rcocean wrote:
28 Dec 2021 01:32
Ordinarily I wouldn't waste time responding but you seem to be making good faith arguements, so...
I wsa wondering if you would aknowledge me answer, but.... hey!
Why would you not assume that?
rcocean wrote:
28 Dec 2021 01:32
Wrong. The AAF wanted to attack SHIPPING. The 18 B-17s with 2 tons of bombs each, were to take off at dawn and attack SHIPPING. There were no photos of "airfields" in Southern Taiwan. That's why a photo recon order was ordered at 10 AM, so the B-17s could see what they were going to bomb at sunset. This myth of the 18 B-17s attacking crowded airfields was started after the war. in any case, the 18 B-17s were so small in number the idea of them doing anything substantial was impossible.
I don't care what they wanted to do, I'm telling you how they would have been most effective. and if they wouldn't follow orders that's their Court Marshal, not mine.

And let's have a look at what was actually there-

5th Bombardment Group;
35 x B-17
18 x B-18/A "bolo" meduim bombers
3 Martin B-10A

5th Interceptor Group
105 x P-40 Warhawks
8 x A-27
26 x P-35A
12 x P-26a "peashooters"

Philippine Air Corps;
48 x P-35s (some still in packing crates, some partly assembled)
12 x P-26
2 x P-12e (probably advanced training)
3 x B-10b

A considerable force, and 2 x tons means a stick of 8 x 500-pound bombs from each of those 35 x B-17s. Let's see what they were up against -

IJA, 5th Air Division; (Taiwan)
27 x Ki-48 Light bombers
18 x Ki-21 (Sally) "heavy" bombers
31x Ki-30 light bombers
9 x Ki-15 recon
2 x Ki-46 (Dinah) recon
72 x Ki-27 (Nate) fighters

19th Independant air unit (probbly earmarked for early deployment to Luzon)
13 x Ki-51 dive bombers
10 Ki-36 Liaison/recon

The IJN also had the 11th Air Fleet, and I have found the 23rd AIR FLOTILLA based on Taiwan (Specifically Takeo) were;
72 x GM4 "Betty" medium bombers
53 x Zero fighter
7 x Claude fighter
6 x H6K Mavis flying boats
9 x CM5

At Tainan (also formosa) was 21st air Flotilla;
48 x G3m "Nell" bombers
54 x Zero
at Palau-
18 x H6K Mavis
13 x "Claude" fighters

Also significant, but hardly overwhelming. US aricraft did well against longer odds than that in other places at other times.
Also; I certainly know which two bases I would have concentrated my effort on with that first raid!
rcocean wrote:
28 Dec 2021 01:32
The problem is that (1) many of those supplies were moved back to Bataan later (2) The "Plan" called for six months of supplies for 30,000 men and actual number was 60,000 men and 40,000 civilians and (3) Malaria and disease was more important in reducing resistance than hunger.
Like I said; stick to the plan, don't let all those extra people in there. Sending one of those divisions from the South Luzon force to Mindoro would not have been a bad idea.
rcocean wrote:
28 Dec 2021 01:32
Yes, this would've been the better plan. Except, the official US War plan ever since the 1920's called for the US to hold Manila Bay until the US fleet arrived. That's why we had a strongly held fortress on Corregidor. In order for a massive defense of Mindanao to work, it would've had to been the official "Prewar" plan. There wasn't enough time to improvise.
Yes, but not all of the 10 Divisions raised (kinda) were in Luzon. at least one was there, and they held out until ordered to surrender in May. another one or two could have been placed there or nearby, and the Japanese managed to ferry troops around P,I, under condistions that were just as bad in 1944.
rcocean wrote:
28 Dec 2021 01:32
People forget that MacArthur had retired from the US Army in Dec. 1937. He was NOT in charge of prewar planning. In May 1941, he told General Marshall that he was going to close his office, and retire to the USA. On July 31, 1941 Marshall informed MacArthur he was recalled to duty and put in charge of Philippines. Over the next four months MacArthur mobilized as much of the Filipino army as he cound and sent messages to Washington asking for supplies and additional troops.
Yes, and a lot of what they did have was terrible. 18-Pounders left over from WW1, and Enfields that had extractors and firing pins that broke when they got too hot, but the Philippine troops still fought, improvised and sometimes did amazing things. With better plans that would have allowed them to take better advantage of their home turf, they could have kept a lot of real estate out of Japanese hands for much longer.

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by AnchorSteam » 29 Dec 2021 04:00

Delta Tank wrote:
29 Dec 2021 02:34
Did the Navy PDYs share their intelligence that they acquired while bored with the US Army? This topic has been discussed on this Forum before, the answer no it appears they did not.
35 B-17s were not going to destroy the air forces that Japan had stationed on Formosa, no way, no how. 35 unescorted B-17s would of accomplished virtually nothing except being target practice for Japanese fighters.

Mike
Fine, if everyone in P.I. was too stupid to share even the most basic information with each other then they all deserved to die, case closed.
But I don't think so.

Also, as we see above
(source http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/J/a/Japanes ... Fleet.html )
There are just over a hundred Zeros on Taiwan that day, each armed with 2 x 7.7mm MGs and two (unless they were shorted one, which happened in 1941) 20mm guns with 60 rounds. Low rate of fire and muzzle velocity.
There are also 72 x Nates with just two 7,7mm MGs and not great endurance.

I don't expect much from the B-18s, but they are there and coud make for a good diversionary raid. If the gang was fixated on shipping, what better place to find them than in Taiwan's ports?

The B-17s were not the "Forts" that they would later be, but even the D models had 6 x 50 cal. MGs, plus a 30 in the nose. That is a hell of a lot of firepower in 1941, I don't know of any bomber that had that kind of armament, but I think we all know how tough those planes were in practice.
Loosing half of them trying to smash the IJN's air bases is a far better way to go than what happened to them historically, isn't it?

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Re: Stilwell; the worst US General?

Post by rcocean » 29 Dec 2021 05:36

Hey, you had me fooled for a while. I thought you knew something about Military matters and WW2 history, but now its just down to "Gee, everybody should have just attacked because what the hey, suicide mission, whatever!"

Just to repeat for the 10th time on this forum. On Dec 8th 1941:

1) 18 B-17s on their first mission weren't going to do anything important
2) The misssion turned down at 5-6 AM was bomb the harbor NOT the airfields
3) No Photo-recon was done of the Formosa Airfields. US patrol planes taking pictures of Japanese airfields prior to Dec 7th would have been an act of war.
4) The idea of having a B-17 do a photo recon of the airfields and then bombing at sunset was the best plan available.
5) The failure to protect Clark Field at Noon on Dec 8th wasn't anyone's fault except the person who failed to get the word to Clark Field after picking up the planes on radar.
6) Sutherland had ordered ALL the planes to Del Monte, Bretton only sent 17. SO if they were there to be destroyed on Dec 8th, its not Sutherland's fault.

All this is from the official AAF histories and Bretton's own diary. We've been over this again and again. Too bad we can't keep this board clear of people who want to avoid real history and historical fact.

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