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

WW 2 officers who got shafted & didn't deserve it

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by chromeboomerang, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. 36thID

    36thID Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    198
    Allow me to unload on this subject.

    The excellent and well respected General Fred Walker of the 36th ID, was hung out to dry by the underwhelming General Mark Clark.

    After the Rapido River fiasco, the Anzio fiasco, the Cassino fiasco, the Capture of Rome and the 10th Army escapement fiasco.....

    Remind you all of this preceded by the Salerno fiasco, when Clark sent in the invading 36th without prelanding bombardments so he could preform a sneak attack ??!!!

    Walker and his well trained troops deserved much better than to begin their initial active service under Clark. When he dismissed Walker and made him one of his scapegoats..... Just a shame.
     
  2. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,194
    Likes Received:
    346
     
  3. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,499
    Likes Received:
    1,397
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Thanks for the insight DA. I must read more about Mac now, and I'm sure that my dislike for him will increase as I go along. From what you said, it seems that FDR had a golden opportunity to finally be rid of Mac by letting him stay on in the Philippines to the bitter end. Was Mac's powerful friends and allies at home instrumental in getting FDR to order him out? Or was that FDR's idea? The only good thing that Mac did that I can agree with on the strategic level was his insistence on going back to the Philippines. The Navy wanted to go to Formosa and bypass the PI as best I can remember. Mac used the bully pulpit to successfully lobby his position and get his way. Please correct me if I'm wrong here, no problem with that. I have a lot of reading to do now.
     
  4. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,194
    Likes Received:
    346
    There were some drawbacks to letting MacArthur get captured or killed in the Philippines, mainly the propaganda value to the Japanese and the criticism that would have been generated in the US. MacArthur, thanks to his self-serving publicity, was the best known Army officer in the US. And with everything else going on in early 1942, Roosevelt hardly had time to contemplate what future problems MacArthur might present in Australia. There does seem to be some organized attempt, possibly orchestrated by Mac's political supporters, to get him ordered out of harm's way in the Philippines.

    As for the Philippines, MacArthur seems to have been compulsively driven to erase the personal humiliation of being driven out of the Philippines. It wasn't the Navy so much, as Admiral King, who wanted to invade Formosa. That, after all, was the strategic plan formulated early in the war by the JCS. But Formosa was only to be a stepping stone to a lodgement on the Chinese mainland, and by 1944, it was obvious to everybody that such a course was no longer as advantageous as it had originally appeared. Also, the logistics and troop requirements just weren't there to make the Formosa invasion practical.

    So the JCS eventually modified the strategic plan to include the capture of Leyte and Luzon as a substitute for the Formosa operation. But MacArthur screwed up even that concept. He ignored his engineers' advice that Leyte wasn't suitable for the rapid construction of air bases and that ended up costing thousands of needless American casualties due to air cover having to be provided by jeep carriers and later, the Third Fleet carriers. Then the Luzon campaign was botched by MacArthur's need to show off what a great general he was, and grandstand in front of the Filipinos. The Battle of manila which killed perhaps 800,000 Filipino civilians, was one manifestation of MacArthur's desire to be seen as the "Great Liberator" of the Philippines.

    And the JCS had authorized only the capture of Leyte, Mindoro (a small island just south of Luzon needed for air bases), and parts of Luzon, but Mac insisted on "liberating" practically every inhabited island in the Philippine archipelago. That required something like twenty major opposed amphibious landings which cost thousands of needless American casualties. These islands could easily have been by-passed and left until the final Japanese surrender, but MacArthur wouldn't have it. Max Hastings book "Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45" has an interesting chapter on MacArthur's misdeeds in WW II.
     
    A-58 likes this.
  5. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    "Big Mac" was surely an enigma. Loved by some, hated by others. There doesn't ever seem to be a middle ground in his case. Some of this next is from British historian John Costello’s work in his book Days of Infamy.

    Within two weeks, an invading army of the Imperial Japanese forced General Douglas MacArthur into a headlong retreat with the Filipino and American armies to the Bataan peninsula. Within three months, Malaya and Singapore and then Burma were overwhelmed in a tidal wave of conquest that brought the Japanese control of the Borneo oil fields, for which they had gone to war. A month later, shortly after MacArthur's escape to Australia, the remnants of his armies in the Philippines surrendered: Approximately 12,000 GIs and 64,000 Filipino troops laid down their arms on April 9th, 1942 at the finale of the greatest military defeat ever inflicted on the United States forces in the field.

    "On the ground, by God, on the ground!" President Roosevelt screamed in anger as he pounded his fist on the table as he expressed his frustration at all the planes that had been destroyed. "The US Navy had recovered from their initial setback to regain control of the Central Pacific within six months of the start of the war," continued Costello, "but it took more than a year for MacArthur to recover strategic initiative in the Southwest Pacific land campaign on New Guinea-at the cost of many thousands more Allied lives than were lost at Pearl Harbor."

    The commanders in Hawaii Adm. Husband E. Kimmel and Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short were summarily relieved and found guilty of dereliction of duty by a special presidential commission. But MacArthur escaped unscathed. To the contrary, he was given the Medal of Honor, awarded half a million dollars (in ’42 dollars!) worth of Filipino gold reserves, and he emerged a hero after the war. "But as the records were eventually to reveal," Costello said, "it was the Philippines command that had been more derelict for being caught unprepared a full half a day (about 10 hours) after the war had broken out. MacArthur was not only aware from his intelligence that the Japanese were about to commence hostilities, but that their air forces were massing to attack from Formosan airfield only two hundred miles north of Luzon. But even after receiving news of Pearl Harbor and telephone warnings from the war department not to get similarly caught with his planes on the ground, MacArthur did just that by failing to heed his air commander's urgent and repeated requests to launch the preemptive strikes against Formosa in accordance with the Philippines war plan that specifically called for him to conduct air raids against Japanese forces and installations within tactical operating radius of available bases.

    How could MacArthur, now a hero for most Filipinos and Americans, commit this blunder? Why did he stall an attack on the Japanese until it was they who attacked his planes on the ground? Official records provide circumstantial evidence for an answer. In 1951, General Dwight Eisenhower told C. Sulzburger of the New York Times that President Manuel Quezon had informed him that "…when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, MacArthur was convinced for some reason that the Philippines could remain neutral and would not be attacked by the Japanese." Among the papers in the National Archives is the only surviving copy of Executive Order No.1 of the President of the Philippines executed on Jan. 3, 1942. It authorized the wire-transfer to the general and his closest aides of $640,000 (in gold) from the Philippine Treasury "in recompense and reward, however inadequate, for distinguished services rendered between Nov. 15, 1935 and Dec. 30, 1945." MacArthur got $500,000, more than $5 million in current values, the balance went to his aides. This was done "by wire", not by actual movement of the gold bullion physically, just the movement of "gold" from one account to another by wire.

    According to Costello; Quezon and some members of the Philippine government "…had entertained the hope that the Japanese would not attack if they were not attacked first by MacArthur's forces." Thus began one of the most controversial moments in the controversial life of Douglas MacArthur, when he accepted that $500,000 from the Philippine government while the siege of Corregidor and Bataan was in progress. This fact remained a secret until historian Carol Petillo broke the story in a 1979 article, and while some of the details may never be known, the incident has received well-deserved attention. Excerpts from Carol Petillo’s article include these quotes:

    "The roots of the story go back to 1935, when MacArthur accepted the offer of Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon to become his country's top military advisor. Before he left, MacArthur convinced the War Department to make an exception to the rule forbidding U.S. officers from receiving compensation from the countries they advised. Quezon then promised MacArthur a bonus of 46/100 of 1 percent of Philippine defense spending up to 1942. When MacArthur retired from the U.S. Army in 1937 (but remained as advisor in the Philippines), Chief of Staff Malin Craig suggested to Franklin Roosevelt that he renounce the exception, but the President declined to do so. Fast forward to Corregidor, on a grim New Years Day, 1942. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall sends a cable making it depressingly clear that Washington would be able to do little for MacArthur's besieged forces and advising that Quezon leave Corregidor as soon as possible to set up a government in exile in the States.
    "Two days later, after discussing it with MacArthur and his cabinet, Quezon issued Executive Order # 1 of the Philippine Commonwealth, awarding MacArthur $500,000, with lesser amounts going to members of his staff. The grandly worded order called the payment "recompense and reward" for the "magnificent defense" engineered by MacArthur's Mission, whose "record of services is interwoven forever into the national fate of our people." MacArthur, feeling abandoned by Washington, surely welcomed both the words and the reward.

    Quezon's reasons for offering, and MacArthur's reasons for accepting, the fruits of Executive Order #1 will always remain something of a mystery, but Carol Petillo offers a compelling explanation. Regarding Quezon's offer, she cites the Filipino concept of "utang na loob," a kind of reciprocal bond of obligation between family or close friends. From his Asian/Filipino perspective, Quezon was cementing an already close bond that existed on two levels: on a personal level, between MacArthur’s father/family and himself; and on a national level, between their two countries. Thus the money was both a reward for MacArthur's past service to the Philippines and a further guarantee that MacArthur (and by extension the U.S.) would do everything in his power to help the Filipinos in the days ahead. MacArthur, having spent many years living in the Philippines, could easily have seen the situation the same way. Yet his acceptance of the gift is more problematic. Another of Costello’s excellent works is; The Pacific War 1941-1945, and might be the best condensation of the Pacific War I’ve ever read.

    As MacArthur biographer Geoffrey Perret has demonstrated, the payment was almost surely legal. And it's also true that given the dire situation on Corregidor, MacArthur might have assumed he'd never live to spend the money (although he had been informed as early as February 4, more than a week before the money transaction was wired, that FDR was considering ordering him out). Nevertheless, MacArthur would have known that for any American military officer to accept such a large amount of money from a foreign government would cast doubt on his motivations and actions, particularly in a time of war. Eisenhower seemed to understand this when Quezon offered him $60,000 later that year. He refused, later writing, "I explained that while I understood this to be unquestionably legal, and that the President's (Quezon) motives were of the highest, the danger of misapprehension or misunderstanding on the part of some individual might operate to destroy whatever usefulness I might have to the allied cause in the present War." MacArthur either failed to see or chose to ignore the fact that accepting such a gift compromised him, and left him open to accusations, true or not, of being bought off.

    Perhaps the most telling proof comes from the general himself. MacArthur assiduously avoided mentioning the award, in his own book Reminiscences he names every other award he ever received in his entire life, that monetary payment is NOT in the story. I was looking up something else about the General once upon a time, and found out that he had literally "recommended" himself for a MOH (it was rejected of course), after his service in Vera Cruz during the Pancho Villa business. The action report he submitted later stated something like after sneaking through both US and Mexican lines, he spied on the enemy and returned to the rear undetected by either side, and all without orders to do so. What a bunch of hooey, no wonder it was rejected. That doesn’t even pass the smell test! I have also read (can’t find the reference anymore) that he tried the same sort of application/self-nomination for the MOH post WW1, and John "Black Jack" Pershing nipped that one in the bud too. I wonder if MacArthur’s ego didn’t stem from his record of; "youngest this, best that and first at something else. Best record at the Point concerning demerits, Commandant of the Point, Chief of Staff, blah, blah, blah." Then he is called out of retirement, and has to even share this secondary position with a Navy man; Nimitz! What an insult!


    Of course he also managed to "put off" any number of Commonwealth commanders, sailors and soldiers while he was stationed in Australia too, and his use of the film crews for self promotion was blatant ego. Remember when he blew up at one of his PR guys for letting that film clip of him getting into or out of his Packard at the "front" in New Guinea (I think) escape his control and be shown in America?


    Yessir , here is the great and conquering American hero "arriving at the front". And being picked up, in his Packard? How did his limo meet him at the "front"? And how about his PR crew not editing out and burning the introduction seconds for the "I have returned" spot. The clipclop board shows up, "MacArthur arrives, take three" is clearly printed on the blackboard part, and smack, here he comes down the ramp and onto the beach.

    Huhh? How many times do you get to arrive? Did he change his pants, shoes and socks each time? Big Mac had his points, but many times his egomania disguised them well.


    In at least this case, MacArthur got the "gold mine", Wainwright "got the shaft". The only redemtion concerning Wainwright was MacArthur's having Wainwright sign the surrender documents along with himself, and recognizing him. Of course that ignores the fact he had called for Wainwrights "courts martial" for surrendereing in the Philippines. Hmmmm.
     
    A-58 and Wolfy like this.
  6. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,499
    Likes Received:
    1,397
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Thanks for the extremely informative posts DA and brndirt1. I need some time for this to soak in now, too much revealing information in two successive posts. It does not paint a favorable picture of Mac at all, but he earned it all by himself. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but I think it would have been better for FDR to let him stay on at Corregidor, and hopefully get KIA while "personally leading a spirited, but unsuccessful counter attack against superior enemy forces." At least that way the MOH awarding would have been a little more palatable, and he would have the status of Davey Crockett, Jim Bowie and William Barrett Travis....Talk about a PR victory by FDR's spinmasters! Thanks again for the information guys.
     
  7. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Messages:
    25,883
    Likes Received:
    855
    In a way, I think Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington also was a bit shafted because of his ways-were vastly different than the ways of hs superiors-even if thiey worked out very well.
     
  8. marc780

    marc780 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    55
    A discussion of the perfectly competent Generals dismissed by Hitler could fill a whole forum of its own.
    Hitler was content to let Von Brauchitsch function as Army overall commander until after the failure of Operation Typhoon (attack on Moscow) in winter 1941. After that Hitler dismissed him and assumed the role of Army commander in chief himself. The former corporal, with no formal officer training, now commanded the entire German armed forces. Among the blunders of WW2 this has to be right up in the top 5.

    Until the ending years of the war Hitler's decisions were often reasonable and often were correct, but more often than not Hitler ignored sound military advice from his superb general staff and based his decisions on whims, fantasies, ego, or delusions of his own. This inevitably led to the disasters at Stalingrad and Kursk in 1943, the failure to release the armor held at Calais area on D-day in France on june 6, 1944, and to the eventual loss of the war. Guderian was sacked, later recalled, and sacked again by Hitler, Rundstedt was sacked 3 times. After the failed bomb plot of July 1944 Hitler became even more paranoid about his army general staff and at the very end in 1945 army commands went to those Hitler personally trusted, no matter how incompetent, rather than to those with real military skill. Even Himmler wound up in charge of his own army group, the Volksturm army.
     
  9. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,499
    Likes Received:
    1,397
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    How did Boyington get shafted? He got awarded the Medal of Honor after being released from the POW camp, and promoted to Lt. Colonel as well. Yes he was a bit of a maverick, a trait that is found in many aggressive fighter pilots, but from what I've read, he was also a bit of a loose cannon, and rubbed his superiors the wrong way more often than not. I don't have anything against the man, he was a true warrior and a go-getter. There were many pilots and officers who did just as much or more while being the "team player" so to speak. Just my opinion of course....
     
  10. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    20
    but... but... i thought frank jack fletcher was the most successful american admiral of WW2?
     
  11. DT1991

    DT1991 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2014
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    What?

    No, I'd say Fletcher did about as well as he could have in his circumstances, but there were better carrier Admirals later in the war. Though it must be remembered they had advantages that Fletcher could only have dreamed of in 1942. Also a hell of a way to resurrect a six year old thread don't you think?
     
  12. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    8,499
    Likes Received:
    1,397
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Just as good as any I figure.
     
  13. DT1991

    DT1991 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2014
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    2
    I know but Mac came in probably sarcastically saying something about Fletcher when the man had been mentioned all of once at the top of the first page.
     
  14. Markus Becker

    Markus Becker Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    29
    Archibald Wavell!

    He was highly successful in North and East Africa and after that managed to deal with a deteriorating situation on three fronts(Western Desert, Greece/Crete, Iraq/Syria). He did everything he could and them some more. Churchill fired him for not meeting expectations that were IMO out of touch with the situation on the ground.


    As far as Short and Kimmel are concerned. The latter was guilty by omisson. Apparently he didn't bother to check what the Army was exactly doing to keep the fleet safe while it lay at anchor in PH.
     
  15. OpanaPointer

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

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    11,302
    Likes Received:
    1,861
    Kimmel allowed the US Fleet to go on "bankers hours". There were always a substantial number of ships in port on the weekend. It was this information that swayed the IJNHQ and got Yamamoto the go ahead for the attack. Rule No. 1, Don't Be Predictable. Kimmel was relieved with justification.

    Also, people keep trying to get him posthumously retired at the highest rank held. Every admiral in the USN at the time was a Rear Admiral permanently, and was promoted to higher rank when the job he held required it, as when he was would be in charge of other admirals. (IIRC, there were nine other admirals at Pearl in 1941.) To be retired at highest rank held a person would have had to have perform far beyond average in that position. This was not something Kimmel did.
     

Share This Page