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How much of our WWII history is really just propaganda and myth?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by KodiakBeer, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Never heard of it, do you mean "Marine Corps Tank Battles in Korea" by Oscar Gilbert? If so, could you post the passage, because I only have his book on the Pacific tank battles, not Korea or Vietnam.
     
  2. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    No media in the American Civil War? Ha ha ho ho!

    The print press were the ONLY media back then, and they had a hold on the public imagination that has not been equalled since!

    The American newspapers of both sides drove that conflict. Southerners inparticular, had their war effort screwed by politicians trying to pander to fight the war as the public wished it to be fought, rather than leaving strategy to the Generals. Southern newpapers were directly involved in the lead up and aftermath of the Battle of Shiloh. The death of albert Sidney Johnston can be directly attributed to pressure applied to him from the press. Lee's Pennsylvania Campaign was launched without the direct help of J.E.B. Stuart, galloping off to prove his worth as he had in the past, by listening to critics of his actions at Brandy Station. These are but two examples of a war run by the popular press as much as it was by the generals and politicians.

    So scratch that nonsense from your 'understanding'.

    As for Khalkin Ghol being a 'great strategic operation, I beg to differ. The simple envelopment of an isolated 7th Japanese Infantry division, a unit with no armor support, no heavy anti-tank guns, and no artillery worth mentioning anywhere nearby, does not add up to anything more than a border dispute. Khalkin Ghol was irrelevant to the fighting both in China, and what was coming in Europe. Lets look at why the Japanese went for the material resources in the Pacific, rather than fighting the russians as well as the Chinese for land that had no strategic value, no resources to exploit. And this is the real reason for the Pacific war, it was a grab for resources, mainly oil and rubber, by a Japanese government already overcommitted and down to their last 2 million tons of crude oil and other lubricants.

    Why attack in the opposite direction and have an offensive peter out in the middle of the Siberian plain for lack of resources to run the machine? Attacking the Western allies made perfect sense to the resource starved Japanese. They wanted to have the capacity to prosecute to a conclusion their war in China. Taking on the Russians would have no chance for achieving this.

    Lastly, I am critical of the US Marines, but not like you are. For all their faults, the United States Navy did a fine job in the Pacific theater. For that matter, so did the United States Army command in the South-West-Pac-Theater do a fine job with limited resources....much of what should have been travelling to americans in the Pacific instead went to YOU in the Soviet Union. And don't tell me you fought that war alone. Don't tell me either that the Soviet war effort was not grossly mismanaged. The casualty lists speak for themselves.

    If you want to come in here and start to bring up the same old Soviet 'Second Front Now' view of the war, you have come to the wrong place. We, in the West, have no place in our services for Soviet/Russian muddling that costs us far too many people. You, from a country that couldn't care less how many individuals it cost to achieve victory.
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I believe that CB is referring to August Storm, not Khalkin Ghol.
     
  4. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Pretty much the same thing on a much larger scale there.
     
  5. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    The 'August Storm' was a blatant attempt to muscle in on a war that was quite frankly a done thing.

    Excuses from Stalin about "Sticking to agreements" did not wash then, and don't now. The 'Storm' was a rabid dog, flushed with victory, poking it's cold nose into a war already won. It was a grab for territory in the fine old style of Stalinism. It achieved nothing toward the defeat of Japan, and did nothing for post-war relations with not only Japan, (who are still squabbling over their territory so ruthlessly taken from them. The Isle of Sakhalin was Japanese territory long before WW2. It should still be.

    "The August Storm" was niether a strategic success, nor was it a tactical jewel. It was the same old Red Army 'steamroller' doing what it does, and not for the best of reasons. The fact that you hold onto the memories of it shows just how bankrupt modern Russians are when considering their own government's role in WW2.

    For me personally, I don't beleive there would have been a world war without Stalinist expansionism. The Soviets had no compunction carving up Poland to suit themselves, nor did they spare the Polish Officer Corps. It was another example of what had been put into action in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bessarbia....they tried it in Finland.

    If the Soviets had anything left of self-pride, they would have restored autonomy to the European nations they spent so long in occupation of. One after another, these governments established to fulfill Soviet policy, fell of their own weight. Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland....all did not want Soviets there.

    Some liberators!

    Red Army occupation in 1944-45 = ENSLAVEMENT to the wishes of Moscow. Who wanted that? Nobody.

    We didn't want it then, we don't need it now. The Russians can't even run their oil business without corrupt practice. Fully one dollar in every four that Russia makes from overseas DISSAPPEARS to corruption. American oil companies hate dealing with Russian oil companies that can't pay their bills, can't afford to modernize, and yet expect everything on a platter from other foreign businesses they deal with.

    Arrogant idiots. Who needs em?
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    This is in part also the Marines fault (and those who support them).

    There has been a long standing political rivalry between the services and they each have looked for ways to expand their operational theaters to ensure their survival and more importantly funding.

    During WWI the Marines expanded to over 70,000 members and sent a Brigade sized
    unit to fight in the trenches. When you think about this logically and without emotion this does not make much sense. The WW I trench battle was properly a Army type endeavor.

    To fight in the Pacific the USMC expanded to several Corps sized formations
    , which again is more within the provence of the US Army.

    During these and later conflicts the Marines have justly earned a superb combat reputation, but did so by going well past their mandate of being Naval shock troops, whose job was to secure a beachhead. In anything that required a force larger than say a Brigade to secure a landing, should have properly been given to the Army which is designed to fight long term battles. Once a beachhead had been secured a 'heavier' Army formation should have passed though to finish off
    the objective.

    The Pacific War expansion of the USMC was done with the full support and eager wishes of the Corps.They created some 6 Divisions of Marines, in effect a Army. Nearly a half a million personnel, with their own air force. Nobody twisted their arm and forced them to expand to such a size.

    Washington politics can be brutal, and the Marines have accepted missions that would logically not be in their normal mandate to ensure their place within the US Military. This is not just the fault of the Marines, for the Army has been trying to 'prune' them back ever since WW II. During the 1950's each service went to at times absurd lengths to integrate nuclear weapons, so as to prove that they vital to the US defense.

    The Marines have certainly earned their swagger, but there is a measure of truth that the mythology of the Corps has been used by the USMC and its supporters to ensure its prominent place within the US Military machine. With that kind of prominence (and funding) they can't avoid commitments like you cite.

    I will now retreat to my bunker since I have already earned a spot on Brad's "Deck of Card's".
    :D

     
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  7. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    As a non Marine, i think that is an excellent answer to my statement...my observations back that up perfectly...Another reason why the Corp has its own aircraft also...
     
  8. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Belesar tells no lies. The Marine corps is now a national institution whose funding is guaranteed. I do feel they would have wanted known opponents of the Navy, like Macatrthur, out of the picture altogether. For the rest of it's life, the U.S. Marine Corps has to live with Macarthur's valid criticism of it's operations. He felt that the Corps "Was too concerned with ascribing Great Status to it's Pacific bloodbaths." Patton felt the same distaste of Corps propaganda....I'll dig his quote out from one of his biographies. Both of these Army Generals felt that the Marine Corps was an extravagence, and that the 'specialities' of the Corps could have been provided by regular Army divisions, at a fraction of the cost in people and money.

    Only Orde Wingate got more air support for the same numbers, or similar. And you should hear what I've read about his command style.

    Anyhow, Brad has me firmly in his sights, and Marine snipers are not to be f***ed with, so Ill crawl back into my funk-hole, with a Marine 'Death Card' firmly attached to my battledress.
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    MacArthur's valid criticism of it's operations???

    As opposed to the conduct of Army operations. Conducting their fighting so slowly to reduce their casualties, no matter how many ships and casualties it cost the Navy.
     
  10. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    That was the Marine excuse in all their island battles . They complained long and loud about Army divisions that 'could not keep pace'. Army divisions claimed tht this policy also upped their casualties by a wide margin.

    Units like the Army 27th division bore the brunt of Marine critics. They pointed to operations like Tarawa and the torpedoeing of the escort carrier Liscombe Bay as 'proof' of the veracity and correctness of their doctrine.

    Macarthur rightly pointed out that the Marines were too fond of frontal assaults, and had no capacity for avoidance of strongpoints, as he was doing, on a shoestring at that. Mac got a mere fraction of the resources allocated to the Pacific theater, certainly not as much to play with as Nimitzes Central Pacific Command. And yet, Mac managed to get his small forces all the way to the Phillippines with only Biak and Buna to be ashamed of. And Biak was as much about adjusting to Kuzumi's 'new' way of fighting, retreating inland, rather than trying to hold back the tide and defeat a landing on the beach.

    If Patton, the wars most thrusting and inexpensive General, agrees with Macarthur, the wars most economical Pacific commander, then something about their criticisms must have been in line with the truth.

    The facts are that with the exception of the Liscombe Bay at Makin, Macarthurs ideas didn't cost the Navy any more than they were likely to lose. Hell, the Navy could not even prevent it's landing in Leyte being interfeared with by the four prongs of the IJN! Not to mention that the Kamikazes flew for Okinawa no matter how fast the Marines may have shut down the fighting. On Okinawa, the Marines had to be strongarmed into a landing to turn the flank of the Shuri Line. The Army actually insisted that this second landing take place, against the advice of Marine commanders. Anyone would think the Marines simply wanted to do all the fighting from the front of the Shuri position!

    Mac and Patton were both alike in being prima donnas. But both had the welfare of their troops very much in the front of their minds. Marine genrals cared about one thing only, the bugetary allocations of the future Marine Corps, and it shows in their battles and statements, especially the Secretary of the Navy opening his mouth at Iwo Jima.

    Iwo could have been easily bypassed. Chichi Jima was nowhere near as strongly defended. Isolating Iwo, with an aircraft 'blanket' and a few thousand mines was the way to go. But the Marines had no intention of doing anything in the manner of anybody else.

    When General Pete Corbett went to the europe theater to advise on the upcoming Overlord, this squabble over tactics cost many lives at Omaha, and nearly put paid to the entire landing. Only German incompetance saved Omaha from being over-run by elements of the 352nd Infantry division. the Germans felt that they had the situation so well in hand at Omaha that the 352nd sent it's inland reserves to the British beaches, and stalemated what could have been a decisive victory for them.

    Omar Bradley deserves the 'credit' for that. Corbett's adbice was not followed, taking a leaf out of the Marine Corps practice of not listening to the Army in the Pac theater.

    Inter service squabbling such as described above cost many American lives in both theaters.
     
  11. OpanaPointer

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

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    Starting to sound like an NCO Club in here. :p
     
  12. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Thanks Mr Opana....

    The Australian Army places great store on the opinions of it's NCOs. they have a 'bottom up' command structure, where a corporal on the ground and at the sharp end can amke decisions that have much wider ramifications. This 'bottom up' style means that the high ranking officers listen more to the people on the ground than they do to their own superiors! A truly great way to run an Army.

    Your comment that we 'sound like a bunch of NCOs at the club' I take to be a very nice complement!
     
  13. OpanaPointer

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

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    "If you want to make it past Ensign, you better listen to your Chiefs." One of the best bits of advice I could give to Middies.

    On the other hand, I've been in more arguments about which service is better than I could possibly remember, most of which involved lots and lots of beers.
     
  14. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Marine rhetoric:

    MacArthur had no animosity towards the Marine Corps. He valued their experience so much that the Marines were his "Go to" force for the invasion of Inchon.
     
  15. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    So we are in a marine and airborne where they worth it fest...Yes they were. My view. Did they win ww2...No they did not. Were they understood by strategists committing them and their needs...Not always. Did they dilute rest of armed forces...To a point. Did they lead the way...On occasion.. Where they worth their invention..Absolutely. Elites were frowned on in UK forces in ww2..Not wanted or needed by the old school..then again the old school nearly lost us the war to start with.
     
  16. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    And they were correct. Capt. James Roosevelt, the President's son actually supported the charge that the 27th had been slow and un-aggressive at Makin. An Army General, General Jarman and the two Naval Commanders, Turner and Spruance agreed that the 27th was under preforming at Saipan and agreed that Ralph Smith needed to be relieved.

    Since when did MacArthur have to fight on a shoestring? He did not receive less resources than the Central Pacific command. Did you know that on many occasions they pulled the tank companies out of Marine Defense battalions and used them to augment MacArthur's forces. MacArthur controlled the bulk of the US Army Air Corps assets. MacArthur even went behind Nimitz's back and tried to get senior First Marine Division officers to protest their transfer back to the Central Pacific command. MacArthur was an arrogant arse more interested in his own image than on the welfare of his troops. MacArthur tried to take credit for "inventing" the leapfrogging strategy, when it was well known that an obscure Colonel had devised it and published his theories in the early 1930's. The Central Pacific campaign bypassed as many strong points as MacArthur did. MacArthur tried to convince Washington to allow his forces to attack Rabaul directly, instead of bypassing it. Fortunately, smarter individuals prevailed. Peleilu was originally at MacArthur's insistence. Strategic bombing of Japan's populace and industry became possible because of the Central Pacific commands seizure of Saipan and Tinian, not because of MacArthurs's advance. And the war was ended by Army Air Force B-29's dropping atomic bombs on Japan, flying out of the Marianas bases seized by the Central Pacific push not the Philippines advance.

    The Liscombe Bay was lost due to a non-aggressive division that took too much time taking a lightly held target.

    Where did this come from, are you an aspiring novelist? Were there no Kamikazes in the Philippines? The Navy did protect the Philippine invasion force, sinking the bulk of what was left of Japanese Naval forces. They were surprised at Samar, and they reacted aggressively and bravely and protected the landing. You did know that Okinawa was an Army operation correct? The land forces were commanded by General Simon B. Buckner until his death. Marines only made up 1/2 the ground combat element. You are also aware, I hope, that it was "Army" strategy used by Tenth Corps, at Okinawa?

    From Hyperwar: "Attrition Warfare. Disregarding the great opportunities for surprise and maneuver available in the amphibious task force, the Tenth Army conducted much of the campaign for Okinawa in an unimaginative, attrition mode which played into the strength of the Japanese defenders. An unrealistic reliance on firepower and siege tactics prolonged the fighting and increased the costs. The landings on Ie Shima and Oroku Peninsula, despite their successful executions, comprised the only division-level amphibious assaults undertaken after L-Day. Likewise, the few night attacks undertaken by Marine and Army forces achieved uncommon success, but were not encouraged. The Tenth Army squandered several opportunities for tactical innovations that could have hastened a breakthrough of the enemy defenses."

    Agreed, but only Patton turned in the performance to justify his self-image.

    That's why MacArthur, while troops were desperate for food and medical supplies kept transport aircraft dedicated to flying fresh lettuce into his headquarters? I'd like to see some proof that he had more regard for his mens welfare than most Marine Generals. (I can name some Marine Generals that were just as bad as MacArthur in this respect, but they were a scarce few).

    I'd like to see some facts to support this.

    Intelligence estimated that Iwo would be the easier of the two targets. Chichi-Jima was never captured and 25,000 Japanese troops surrendered there. They did not know of Kuribayashi's masterful defensive plan. You have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. Based upon what was known at the time the American military leaders, NOT the Marine Corps selected the target and decided to invade. Were they right? You nor I will never know.

    So now are you arguing with yourself? On the one hand you say they ignored Corbett's advice, then you blame the same advice for the casualties at Omaha Beach.
     
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  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    The one difference between the "elite" forces and the rest were that they were entirely volunteer forces (at least early in the war - the marines got draftees later). I have no doubt that such men were better motivated and hence, of better quality.

    I think the USMC entirely deserved their reputation, since they carried the burden of the island campaign.
     
  18. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Thats probably a little extreme, I think they did their fare share. The Marine Corps was just set up differently wich made them more conducive to ship borne operations.....small units, independant planning to achieve goals and what not. The Marine Corps was tasked with developing an "Amphibious Doctrine" in the mid thirties so, I am sure, they were better versed and equipped.
     
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Actually, Volga has made quite a mash of the facts to suit his needs.

    Regretfully, the US Marines did not have MacArthur's luxury of picking the most suitable landing sites that favored the attacker rather than the defender. As this map http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/US_landings.jpg shows MacArthur had many large islands from which to choose where to attack, most of the islands the Marines landed on are barely visible. As such, the "frontal" attack was the only way to attack their islands.

    As to the allocation of resources, while MacArthur may have operated on a "shoestring" in 1942, this was hardly true in 1943. MacArthur had his own Air Force and "Navy" by that time. Further, MacArthur had no need for the fast carriers until the Philippines because his islands fell mostly under the cover of his land-based air force.

    Patton may have been the ETO's "most inexpensive" general only because he was sitting on the sidelines almost as often as he was fighting. Further, Patton was, as you say, a "thrusting" general, Patton was second to none so long as he could keep the Germans running. However, when Patton ran up against a prepared enemy in good fortified positions, his men paid the price with their blood. In this way Patton was more like the Marine generals than he was to MacArthur.

    At no point in time was MacArthur's landings ever interfered with...All four Japanese "Prongs" were soundly defeated with heavy losses to the Japanese.

    As to Okinawa, the sooner it was "shut down", the sooner the fleet could leave - and the Japanese could fly all the Kamikazes they wanted to Okinawa, but they would not have any targets! However, such was not to be...


    This is wrong on so many levels.
    1.) The Marines were more than willing to fight, it was Admiral Sherman who turned down the proposal because he did not believe that the Marines on Saipan could be loaded and underway in the necessary period of time, even though General Vandegrift had assured him that the Marines would be ready.
    2.)Yes, the Army, specifically, Major General Andrew D. Bruce commanding the 77th Infantry Division, make such a landing once they had secured Ie Shima. However, it was not the Marines that turned this down, it was the Army.
    from United States Army in World War II Okinawa: The Last Battle

    Chapter X: Tactics And Tactical Decisions


     
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  20. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Overrated? No. Their combat performance proves that. Even when they were employed improperly or ineptly they managed to turn in a respectable performance.

    Overemphasized? Yes, they do have their contribution to the war effort overemphasized, part of this is due to the media, partly due to press coverage at the time. It is not their fault nor is it due for some ulterior motive. It was more due to military necessity and the situation they found themselves in.

    The 101st at Bastogne is an excellent example. The 101st was rushed to Bastogne, in spite of the fact that they were not designed nor equipped for such an action. The general strategic situation required that the 82d and 101st be pulled from reserve and sent in to help stop the Geman Ardennes offensive. The 82d being able to move out faster was sent to Werbomont and the 101st to Bastogne. Werbomont was just as critical, but it did not result in a siege like Bastogne, so not as much press coverage. The newspapers and newsreels for a number of days carried the story. No one knew which side would prevail. Would the 101st be destroyed or forced to surrender? It was front page news for a number of days and imprinted itself upon the public's collective memory. When the Allies prevailed, even though it was only a smaller portion of a much larger battle, it's the part that stuck. Same, same with Patton's relief of the siege. It was a big story, with a lot of drama, and no one knew if it would succeed so it held the publics attention and established a place in the public memory for the Patton and his Third Army.


    The same with the Marines at Guadalcanal. They got the job because the higher ups decided that they had to retake Guadalcanal before the Japanese could get their airfield up and running. Because Japan had seemingly effortlessly taken so many other areas in the Pacific, the Australian public feared, valid or not, that there might be an invasion of Australia. The 1st Marine Division was the only amphibiously trained division available. That's why they got the nod. After eight months of American and British ground forces suffering defeat after defeat at the hands of the Japanese, the United States finally launched an offensive. It made the headlines. Then things went south and for months the public's attention was drawn to the drama. Focussed on that one spot. Would the Marines be destroyed or captured? They were cut off could they hold out? News reports day after day burned it into the public psyche and fairly or not, other battles did not get the same attention. If you want to see something interesting look at movies that were made late war and early post war. Even if they're not war movies, there are a huge number of characters that have the I served on the 'canal as part of their backstory. It wasn't by design, it was because of the situation at the time and how the events unfolded.
     
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