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

Husband E. Kimmel during Pearl Harbor

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

Tags:
  1. OpanaPointer

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

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    1,731
    Short focused on sabotage to the detriment of the other possibilities. You don't guard against ONE threat, or give 99% of your effort to one single issue. 20-20 says he should have guarded against sabotage AND air attack/naval gunfire.
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,073
    Likes Received:
    1,050
    With reguard to Kimmel/Short any US commander who suffers the loss(or near loss) of his command without inflicting comsurate damage on the enemy is almost sure to lose their command. It is not always fair, but it is the way its done. The military eleventh commandment - thou shall not be embaressed or allow the President to be so.

    MacArthur retained his command for Four reasons,

    1) His fame and stature within the military.
    2) His close ties to the Phillipine Government.
    3) His command was still under attack and the threat to Pearl Harbor was at an end. Hard to replace him, easy to replace them.
    4) Best summed up by the line in the film ZULU, the empire cannot have two disasters in one day, it upsets the public at the dinner table.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

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

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    1,731
    Embarrass the country would be more appropriate.
     
  4. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,073
    Likes Received:
    1,050
    FDR was the country!, but you are right as well. By the way I know your avatar is from the master race and all, but doesn't his arms ever get tired?
     
  5. OpanaPointer

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

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    1,731
    There are people who would disagree with that. :D
    Adolf was doing meth that night. Took forever to get him out of the club and he went home with a rent boy as soon as we did.
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,073
    Likes Received:
    1,050
    Forgive me, tounge was planted firnly in cheek!!
     
  7. OpanaPointer

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

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    1,731
    I was kidding back. :D
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,073
    Likes Received:
    1,050
    I do not really fault Mac for the loss of his air force, it was too small and most of its aircraft were obsolete (P-26/B-18). Being cought on the ground may have save quite a few aircrew lives. In any event his air commanders should take the bulk of the blame on that one.

    What he cannot escape blame for was his use of ground forces. The Phillipine army (bulk of his force) was incompletely trained and equipped. The small US Army/Marine contingent was in 1941 not a first class force, good men, but equipped and trained to refight WWI.

    This was well known before Dec.7th, and war plans took this in account. As I understand it the plan called for all US/Phillipino troops to fall back to Bataan and Corrigadore with all available supplies and wait for the Pacific Fleet to sail over the horizon.

    MacAuther in his wisdom took his illtrained and illequipped army into the field to engage the army, with understandable results. The now battered and somewhat demoralized remnants fall back to Bataan/Corregadore but are forced to leave some supplies behind.

    MacAurther was leading small contingent of regulars and militia against veteran combat units. He should have known better.
     
  9. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    9


    Exactly. You have to take into account the differing responsibilities inherent to each level of command. Pinning Kimmel and Short and not MacArthur was correct because the disaster at Oahu was the result of failures within the commanding officer’s jurisdiction, and at Luzon the defeat came about at a lower level despite MacArthur having prepared his command for battle.

    With respect to his conduct of the land campaign, it was flawed. Then again, there wasn’t a commander in the free world that was not going to lose that battle. The responsibility on this score was in Washington, where the Rainbow Five war plan had failed to identify a coherent purpose or objective to the Far Eastern Command within the context of a coalition war against Japan.
     
  10. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    4,617
    Likes Received:
    1,656
    Location:
    God's Country
    Very well said, I agree.
     
  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    4,617
    Likes Received:
    1,656
    Location:
    God's Country
    Glenn239 wrote:
    The Army Air Forces in the Phillipines (FEAF) were within MacArthur's jurisdiction (Commander USAFFE), the Air Commander, Gen. Brereton, was a direct subordinate of MacArthur's. I do agree with Belasar that the Air Commander should take the bulk of the blame but not because MacArthur was not also at fault. The Air Commander in the absense of direction from his Commanding Officer (MacArthur) should have taken some action. Especially when radar reports were received of the incoming strike while it was still an hour out. In the end the air forces were weak and probably wouldn't have accomplished much, even though they were the largest USAAF unit outside CONUS (91 P-40's, 35 B-17's plus older types).

    That's questionable. Had MacArthur staged his supplies properly, deployed his forces as planned and fought a delaying action as was planned the campaign could have been drawn out. In fighting this type of action the lack of training in the Phillipine Forces could have been greatly negated, but MacArthur's ego got in the way. He got beaten, his forces fell back and he was forced to destroy the majority of his supplies to keep them out of the hands of the Japanese. The rapid Japanese victory allowed them to pull forces from the Phillipines and accelerate their schedule of conquests.
     
  12. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,073
    Likes Received:
    1,050
    Why MacArthur chose to engage the Japanese in open battle is a mystery to me. Yes the PacFleet was not comming to the rescue as planned, but that did not change anything in real terms. Did MacAuthur have a 'senior' moment, thinking he was back with the Rainbow Division? Or did he want to go out like some kind of western samuri? Or perhaps he was under pressure from the Phillipino Government to defend the Islands to the fullest?

    MacArthur was egotistical and vain, and could give drama lessons to both Monty and Patten, but he was not a complete hack like Gamelin in France. He could adapt to new tactics and weapons, or at least surround himself with people who could.

    USMCPrice is correct, following the plan as written would have allowed Bataan/Corregidore to hold out much longer than it did proving to be a severe embaressment to Imperial Japan. In fact if you look closely at some of Japan's attacks they were very near things indeed.

    The first Wake assualt was thrown back. Singapore was also a near thing. If the original plan had been followed, Japan would have needed reinforcements to take the Phillipines, and Guadelcanal may never have happened.
     
  13. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,051
    Likes Received:
    81
    There is a fairy detailed description in John Costello's 'The Pacific War 1941-45' of the events at the several airfields on Luzon. Costello describes Bereton first sending messages to Mac from around 0400 to 0600, then attempting to personally see Mac. Col Sutherland turned Bereton away. Bereton claimed his messages & attempt to see Mac concerned launching the proposed airstrike at the Japanese airfields on Formosa. No bombers were launched with bombs or orders to attack Formosa. There may have been a reconissance mission sent using a B17, I'd have to check.

    Around 10:00 two events caused the bombers to be sortied & sent south to a holding point. One was the attack by a small flight of enemy bombers on a small auxillary airfield in Northern Luzon. the other was a interpretation of a RADAR return as a flight of enemy aircraft nearing central Luzon. Most of the fighters were sortied and the bombers were sent south out of the way. Some folks misinterpreted this bomber sortie as a an aborted attack on Formosa. I recall my father, a AF Lt at the time, refering to this years later.

    After 11:00 the bombers were ordered to land. There were several options for bringing them down, but Clark Field was choosen as it had the only bombs for the B17s. (thats what Costello claims anyway). The fighters were also brought in to refuel, tho I've seen claims some were on CAP over Manilia harbor some twenty miles from Clark Field.

    At this point my fathers version & Costello are the same. After the bulk of the aircraft landed between 11:00 & 12:00 discipline broke down. The air and ground crew had been awake since called to their posts around 03:00, most had missed breakfast, so far too many drifted off looking for lunch & coffee. & thats when the Japanese showed up.

    Mac later claimed he was at his HQ that morning. Sutherland & the others of the inner circle suposedly back him up on this. i've not read many personal accounts but the claim by Costello is that no one outside Macs inner circle saw him at the CP or anywhere else that morning.

    It may be Bereton lost control of events from 11:00. Someday I hope to take a look at other detailed accounts of the events that morning. What I have to wonder is WI Bereton had risked his ass & ordered up the attack on Formosa without Macs permission. While they might not have done much damage the bombers would have not been caught awaiting fuel & bombs that lunch hour.
     
  14. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    6,516
    Likes Received:
    955
    Today marks the date of the bombing of Hiroshima but this article goes to the beginning of the War.

    JACKSON, Miss. -- Seventy-two years after Rear Adm. Husband Kimmel was blamed for the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, his grandson is still fighting to clear his name.
    Kimmel and Maj. Gen. Walter Short, both now deceased, were deemed "solely blamable" for the attacks that killed 2,400 Americans in Hawaii that December, and both were demoted in punishment.
    But Tom Kimmel is telling anyone who will listen that Short and his grandfather were scapegoats for an American military that needed someone to blame.
    Tom Kimmel brought his message to Mississippi State University's Meridian campus on Monday, months after a student, Dustin Phillips, contacted him regarding a research paper he was writing.
    Phillips and his professor jumped on the opportunity, so Tom Kimmel on Monday night told his grandfather's story.
    It goes something like this:
    After the attack, a special commission was set up to investigate and ruled Kimmel and Short derelict in their duty.
    But as the years have gone by, the commission's version of events — Pearl Harbor's two top officers ignoring a Japanese threat — has come under fire by historians and military personnel alike.
    [​IMG]In this Dec. 7, 1941, file photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the USS Arizona is pictured in flames after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.(Photo: U.S. Navy AP)
    The first to take up the cause was Navy Capt. Laurance Safford, who looked into the matter on his own 2½ years after the commission's ruling.
    Tom Kimmel said Safford found his grandfather a broken, despondent man who wasn't just being blamed by others.
    He blamed himself, too — until Safford came along.
    Code name
    The captain asked Kimmel how much he knew about codename "magic" — the War Department's secret file of intelligence on the Japanese threat.
    "Admiral Kimmel turns to Captain Safford and says, 'what in the world are you talking about?' " the grandson said.
    That meeting reinvigorated the admiral, who spent the rest of his life trying to clear his name. Since the attacks, eight of the 10 formal investigations into Pearl Harbor were sparked directly by the admiral's efforts.
    “Without the efforts of Admiral Kimmel, the American public would have no idea what happened out there.”
    — Tom Kimmel, grandsonAfter his death, the cause was taken up by Kimmel's two sons, and now his grandson.
    "Without the efforts of Admiral Kimmel, the American public would have no idea what happened out there," Tom Kimmel said.
    Now, numerous historians say Kimmel and Short weren't apprised of any intelligence that would indicate an attack. And Tom Kimmel can produce letter after letter, book after book written by military leaders who say that Adm. Kimmel was unfairly blamed.
    "Any admiral worth his stars would have made the same choice," wrote Fleet Adm. William Hasley Jr., who commanded the South Pacific Area during World War II.
    But history — and the U.S. government — have been slow to correct what many say was a grievous error. Congress in 2000 passed a bill, sponsored by then-Sen. Joe Biden, urging that Kimmel be returned to his highest held rank before he was demoted.
    That's ultimately Tom Kimmel's end goal; but it requires a presidential nomination and Senate approval, and four presidents later, it hasn't happened yet.
    Phillips' interest in Pearl Harbor dates to long before his research paper — and he was particularly drawn to the controversy surrounding Kimmel.
    "History books simply don't teach it — they teach the dates, what happened, that's it," Phillips said. "It was fascinating how you have an admiral with 40 years of impeccable military service, and just to keep the blood off someone else's hands, they sacrificed him."
    In a metaphorical sense, "an innocent man lost his life," Phillips said. "There were even death threats mailed to his wife."
    But with neither the admiral, nor his son alive to see it, why continue the push?
    "Because it's right," Phillips said. "A lot of people say history would have to be rewritten. Well, so be it."
    For Tom Kimmel, it's more personal. He said the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association asked his dad and uncle to take up the cause back in 1984.
    "They thought, 'If the people who suffered the most in this attack want our assistance, who are we to deny them the effort?' " Tom Kimmel said.
     
  15. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2007
    Messages:
    17,250
    Likes Received:
    2,010
    Location:
    Alabama
    I've always thought they got the shaft. Why were they held solely responsible for what happened at Pearl Harbor when Douglas MacArthur was not similarly castigated for the disaster that occured 8 hours later in the Philippines?
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,961
    Likes Received:
    1,699
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    They didn't get the "shaft," they got what they rightfully deserved. Just because MacArthur did not get his "just desserts" does not excuse Kimmel and Short for their multitude of failures.
     

Share This Page