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

Food for Thought when posting here

Discussion in 'Counter-Battery Fire' started by Mussolini, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2000
    Messages:
    5,663
    Likes Received:
    537
    Location:
    Festung Colorado
    "It is pointless to consider any battle critically without relating it to the precise circumstances and conditions prevailing at the time and place. This may be a truism, but military critics more often than not ignore it. Recollecting in the tranquility of their studies an engagement at which they were not preset, they will murmur placidly that 'more divisions should have been thrown in' or 'more boldness might have been shown'.

    A commander's decisions can be properly appraised only if they are set against the background of the exact and peculiar circumstances, atmosphere, climatic conditions, and pressure under which they are made." ~Fred Majdalany in 'Cassino: Portrait of a Battle' on page 108

    I think this passage applies quite well to these forums, especially when discussing WW2 related themes, especially battles and strategies etc. I find that we are quite removed from the events and its easy for us to paint a different picture in hindsight (oh, if X had done Y, then Z would have been the result). I feel like we don't always look at the big picture or paint with too broad a brush. There are socio-economic, political and cultural reasons behind every decision.
     
    PzJgr, Otto, The_Historian and 3 others like this.
  2. chibobber

    chibobber Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    46
    Human nature.Monday morning quarterbacking.What if this,what if that. An honest discussion of tactics can bring things to light,but asking if a commander had more men and equiptment does not bring anything but speculation and an exercise in futility.Nothing would be learned. Reminds me of the old "Twilight Zone" episode where a National Guard Sherman finds itself on the Little Big Horn battlefield.Show ends with them entering the battle.Interesting premise,but useless in discussing this battle.
     
    Otto likes this.
  3. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    13,228
    Likes Received:
    2,029
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I think you are correct, Matt. Too often we look at the results of a battle, or a commander's decisions knowing what the results would be. That leads to a fatal flaw in our conclusions. Using current knowledge often results in incorrect endings. We have to keep in mind what was known at the time and discuss what options were available at the time. Arbitrarily changing one factor would lead us into the realm of Alternate History. The realities faced by those charged with decision making need to be kept in mind.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    9,330
    Likes Received:
    1,336
    Any battle plan can be improved by reviewing the results of the implementation of that plan. War gaming allows us to do so beforehand. If that is reality-based it can be useful. If we descend into cloud-kuku land then we're veering away from reality and the exercise becomes idle speculation at best, useless fantasy at worst.
     
    LRusso216 likes this.
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    13,228
    Likes Received:
    2,029
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I think Yamamoto and Japan were gulty of that. Instead of realistic war-gaming, Yamamto kept changing premises until he got the results he wanted. Other officers were afraid to contradict him.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    9,330
    Likes Received:
    1,336
    Got a source for that? As I understand it they tried different scenarios. One had three carriers (IIRC) sunk outbound. However, if that didn't happen they'd still need to know about the rest of the trip. So they continued on as if that hadn't happened.
     
  7. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2009
    Messages:
    13,228
    Likes Received:
    2,029
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Maybe I overstated Yamamoto's influence on Midway, but in Shattered Sword, pp61ff, the influence of Yamamoto and Ugaki can be seen. However, I found this which seems to contradict it. http://navalwargames.blogspot.com/2011/12/original-japanese-gaming-of-midway-pt-2.html
    Now I'm unsure of what to believe. It's a it of a muddle. And then there's this
    In contrast, the Japanese wargame prior to the Battle of Midway is usually cited as the best example of how not to wargame. During the game, the American side’s airpower sank two Japanese carriers. Rear Adm Ukagi Matome, commander of their carrier force for the actual operation, unilaterally reversed the judgment of the umpires. With the carriers restored to the game, the Japanese side went on to capture Midway
    www.au.af.mil/au/afri/aspj/airchronicles/apj/apj00/fal00/caffrey.htm
     
  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    11,730
    Likes Received:
    1,118
    Location:
    Michigan
    Sometimes something like that is justified. If the IJN lost two carriers particularly if they hadn't sunk any US carriers then retreat may have been the best option. In that case nothing more to be learned from that branch (although the lesson it taught should be taken to heart).
     

Share This Page