Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Declassified Memo Hinted of 1941 Hawaii Attack

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by syscom3, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,605
    Likes Received:
    483
    Also, Frank Fletcher after two less then good performances at Coral sea and Midway was removed as task force commander and never got a job again as a TF commander.

    He commanded the landings on Tulagi-Guadalcanal, our first major offensive and the largest USN operation in the Pacific to date. He was relieved after the Eastern Solomons, the third successful carrier battle under his command. He was criticized for withdrawing the carriers after the Guadalcanal landing and for what many considered excessive caution on various occasions.

    I understand Fletcher's reluctance to have the carriers linger off Guadalcanal. After Midway we still had bare parity with the Japanese in carriers; we didn't need to expose ours to attack when there was no opportunity to inflict attrition on theirs. However it should have been properly coordinated, ideally during the preinvasion planning. Alternatively, after the carriers and transports had withdrawn, they might have planned a quick in-and-out operation to unload the rest of the cargo.

    Fletcher is often referred to as Frank Jack to distinguish him from his father, Admiral Frank Fletcher.
     
  2. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,605
    Likes Received:
    483
    100 B-17s in the Philippines just means that many more destroyed or retreating to the Philippines.

    Agreed. There was tremendous overestimation of the capabilities of heavy bombers; people spoke as though anything within their range - troops, ships, cities - would be wiped off the face of the earth.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,577
    Likes Received:
    1,945
    This is why I seldom indulge in what-iffy threads. Too many things that might have happened to say which would have happened.
     
  4. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    551
    Location:
    The Old Dominion
    That statement is wrong from just about any way you might want to read it.
     
  5. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,661
    Likes Received:
    69
    Explain why Fletcher never held a task force command again after Midway.
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    8,849
    Likes Received:
    1,874
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    I believe that you mean the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, not Midway.

    You might want to read "Black Shoe Carrier Admiral: Frank Jack Fletcher at Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal" by John Lundstrom
     
  7. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    551
    Location:
    The Old Dominion
    A very good suggestion . . . might clear up some ambiguity.

    I won’t guess what steverodgers801 was trying to write; he twice wrote, specifically, “Midway” as the last time Frank Jack Fletcher commanded a task force. Obviously that is not so. Even after Eastern Solomons there was still one last hurrah left where he commanded a force at sea. Would steverodgers801 care to take a guess as to where and when?

    What I’d really like to know is his reasoning behind the description “two less then good performances at Coral sea and Midway” . . . like some concrete examples instead of a drive-by smear.

    Regards,

    Rich
     
  8. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,661
    Likes Received:
    69
    My point is there had to be a reason he did not continue as a task force commander. Its not my opinion, it is simply reality that he stopped being in command and someone had to think he was not qualified to be in command. I know King was very harsh and once he decided you were unfit that was it.
     
  9. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    130
    A couple of points:

    R Leonard and several others have pointed out that he was awarded command of several task forces, including carrier task forces, after Midway. Perhaps you mean Eastern Solomons, which Leonard also disputes, but at least that's commonly believed, so I'll leave that be for now and wait to hear about which TF or TFs Fletched commanded after TF 61. But you state that "someone had to think he was not qualified," else he would not have been relieved. It's quite possible King had it out for him, but there could also have been several other reasons. Spruance and Halsey relieved one another several times. Whatever you or I might think of their performance, the record seems to show that they rotated so that the party relieved could rest and plan the next operation. Spruance famously relieved Halsey immediately before Midway because Halsey was ill, not because there was any doubt about his abilities. Arleigh Burke relieved Truman J. Hedding because of a directive from on high about how carriers should be staffed. As I recall, King had no personal animus towards Hedding, and was in fact acting generally to soothe aviators by requiring that non-aviators have aviator advisors and vice-versa, thus forcing the respected aviator Hedding to step down from the aviator Mitscher's staff to be replaced by a surface warfare specialist. Again, nothing about a lack of qualification, just the grinding wheels of bureaucracy.

    As far as it's concerned, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if King were sore with Fletcher more or less from Coral Sea forward since King had captained Lexington from 1930-1932. But that's beside the point. It's quite possible that King disliked Fletcher, or held some kinds of reservations about his abilities, but it's certainly not necessary. Officers are relieved for all manner of reasons and Fletcher held a variety of commands at sea and ashore after Eastern Solomons, all of which seem to indicate that someone in the Navy had some real degree of faith in his abilities.
     
  10. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,661
    Likes Received:
    69
    after the Solomons battle he was assigned to the 13th naval district command and then to the North Pacific command. It is suggested in Wiki that King was upset with how Fletcher handled his command in the solomons. Being sent to a shore command after being in charge of a task force is a demotion. He is similar to Ghormley, who held other commands after his relief, but never a significant combat command.
     
  11. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,605
    Likes Received:
    483
    My point......

    That may have been your point, but what you actually wrote was a specific statement that "Fletcher never held a task force command again after Midway" which is simply wrong, no question about it. We all do it from time to time; just say "Thanks for the correction" and move on.
     
  12. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    41
    I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken....
     
  13. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    130
    Being sent ashore after a combat command isn't necessarily a demotion. Halsey wasn't "demoted" to CinC SWPac, even though that was a command ashore. As a matter of fact, it was standard navy practice then (and probably still is) to rotate flag officers from commands at sea to commands ashore (often, but not always teaching commands) and back to commands at sea. The general practice was quite similar to what was done with aviators throughout the war, but on a lengthened time scale. It was even common for flag officers to do an informal tour with other flag officers to "learn" something (Makey Learns, I believe they're called) just before receiving such a command for themselves. It seems to have been a pretty systematic method of spreading acquired wisdom through the institution and preventing stagnation in particular posts or individuals. America's Fighting Admirals seems to paint a pretty good picture about the way it seems to work. Give it a shot. It's a solid little book and a fairly quick read that deals pretty specifically with command rotations.
     
  14. steverodgers801

    steverodgers801 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,661
    Likes Received:
    69
    You just stated the problem, rotated, Fletcher never held a sea command again. It has to be King who decided that his performance was lacking. After the 13th district job he assigned to the North Pac which was a backwater command once Attu and Kiska were retaken. Im not the one who says his job was bad I said someone thought his job was lacking because he never commanded a task force again.
     

Share This Page