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Husband E. Kimmel during Pearl Harbor

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by niima master, Oct 11, 2007.

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  1. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    The criticism of MacArthur in the thread relates back to Falcon Jun's original statement:
    While the first two things you mention are true, and no doubt there is truth in the third. I am sure there was indecision and shock up the chain of command, MacArthur did display the same. The point is if Kimmel and Short are relieved because of their performance, why not MacArthur? The first two were surprised and MacArthur did have warning (albeit only eight hours or so) and due to his access to "Magic" should have had a better appreciation of the actual threat level.
    I agree with Falcon Jun, how can you give Mac a pass if you sack Kimmel and Short? If the latter two's performance was lacking was not Mac's equally so? What did Mac do to prepare for war that the other two didn't?
     
  2. OpanaPointer

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

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    You have to factor in politics. It was politically expedient to give Dougie a pass.
     
  3. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Politically expedient to whom? Douglas Macarthur was the most unpolitical General in the Army. He had a mind for Phillipino politics, but his influence on the Stateside political scene was non-existent....

    Macarthur was simply too well performed elsewhere to send to the scrap-heap. Kimmel and Short had never held active commands in wartime, (to my knowledge anyway). Its rather like the British policy of Second Officers on submarines. When they fail "The Perisher", they never set foot on a submarine in any capacity again, no matter how good a second officer they may have made in the past.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

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

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    "We need a hero . . . "
     
  5. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    oh I see. So it was a matter of MORALE rather than politics....yes, makes sense
     
  6. OpanaPointer

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

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    And MacArthur was the senior US Army in the area, "thoroughly familiar with the region." It made sense to keep him. If he was "defeated" along with everybody else in the area morale would be lower than it was. That little speech he made at that Australian train station was a booster for the folks back home, and in the P.I.
     
  7. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    I think so too, Opana. Mac's "I shall return" speech was a morale booster, no matter what we think of his character. And you were right in pointing out that Mac's knowledge of US Army inner workings made him too valuable to fall into enemy hands. Mac was lucky that he had all those brownie points going for him. Kimmel didn't. I can't help but recall that Kimmel wished he was killed during the Pearl Harbor attack. If he had died, then he could've been a martyr, not a scapegoat.
     
  8. OpanaPointer

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

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    It's unfortunate for the SWPA that he did survive his gaffes in my opinion. I've never been happy with the New Guinea campaigns.
    If he hadn't avoided his day in court we could have settled all that. His trying to make an end-run around the facts by going to the court-of-public-opinion just made him look lame, IMNSHO.
     
  9. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I had a great uncle, my grandmother's brother, that served in New Guinea for the entire campaign, he hated MacArthur. She had another brother that served in the Marines in the Solomons and later at Guam he hated MacArthur but spoke glowingly of Halsey, Nimitz and his Marine Corps leadership. Two more brothers fought in Europe and they both were proud, and always bragged about serving with Patton. My uncle that served with the First Marine Division in Korea had no use for MacArthur. He blamed him for the mess they found when they arrived at the Pusan Perimeter. He also blamed him for the disaster that befell 8th Army and the near disaster at the Chosin Reservoir in the winter of 1950.
    I wonder why you never hear vet's bragging that they served ubder MacArthur?
     
  10. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    The failure in Luzon occurred at the tactical level and that on Oahu was at the strategic level.
    Short should not have been dismissed, IMO. Kimmel got off lucky.
     
  11. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Mac and Brereton both got off lucky. They had 8 hours notice and still managed to let the FEAF get caught on the ground.
     
  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Glenn239 wrote:
    If the failure at Oahu was at the strategic level then you'd think that they'd have relieved individuals higher up the food chain than Kimmel. Kimmel's post at the time was more of the operational level than strategic. While poor tactics did play a part in the Phillipines loss, MacArthur also acted on the operational level. It was his decisions that led to their loss not just poor tactics.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

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

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    Kimmel was to implement strategy to enforce the policy set in Washington. The "net" was not nearly fast enough to allow strategic control from DC if TSHTF.
     
  14. OpanaPointer

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

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    Marshall told Short: "Your whole reason for being there is to protect the fleet." Total failure. Short got canned with cause.
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    OpanaPointer,
    The original poster stated that the failure at Oahu was strategic. The strategic level decisions were made in Washington not by Kimmel or Short. As you stated:
    , I would agree, but would reinterate that Kimmel only had operational control of the Pacific Fleet. He did not have control over other assets such as the Army Air corps or Army Ground Forces in his AO, so the best he could do would be to coordinate with other commanders to implement Strategic Level plans.
    MacArthur's position on the other hand was closer to that of a strategic level commander. He did control the ground forces and he had control over the Air Forces commander. So why claim his defeat in the Phillipines was a tactical level failure? He had operational control, he chose not to implement the defensive strategy originally planned for his command. His failure would come closer to fitting the "strategic level" failure attributed to Kimmel and Short. In fact Short's failures come closest to being a failure at the tactical level.
     
  16. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    It really is strange when the country (the Philippines) that suffered because of his errors and misjudgements still generally look up to him and still regard him as a hero. That's all I have to say about Mac here because this is a thread about Kimmel.
     
  17. OpanaPointer

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

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    Mac was a legend in his own mind. Some people bought into this. Me, I don't think we needed to re-fight WWI just to give him some closure.
     
  18. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    Whats funny to me, according to Manchester's bio, is that Mac's soldiers absolutely loved him in WWI when he commanded the Rainbow Division. He was just as goofy back then. Is it because the soldiers saw him more in the field back then that made them revere him? Or was it just a "generational difference"?
     
  19. OpanaPointer

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

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    He started off with a defeat. That's not a good stage-sitter.
     
  20. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    What else would you call your air intercept officer over-committing his resources to false alarms early in the morning, stacking up on the deck for refuelling and then having a key communications misstep just before noon? Did MacArthur sneak into the intercept hut and cut off that critical phone call from the radar station that was somehow overlooked?
    Next we’ll be blaming Nimitz or Halsey for the Enterprise’s botched intercept at Santa Cruz that sank the Hornet!

    Sure – now where is the order from Washington telling Kimmel to keep his strategic recon assets - his PBY’s - on the ground?

    And how. Failed to understand primary mission. Failed to prepare his command for battle or maximize the potential in the considerable assets he had been lavished with. Failed to liason with the navy or to even adapt the proper mindset given the gravity of the situation. Golfing while Rome burned.
    All that said, if Kimmel’s incompetence was an 8 out of 10, Short’s might have been a 5.
     

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