View Full Version : Most powerful ww2 general from each country


commie_21
Jan 21, 2002, 02:36 PM
What are your choices for best general/admiral from the following countries:
US
UK
Russia
Germany
Japan

Mine are:
Eisenhower(almost everything the Americans did)
Percy Hobart(Hobart's funnies)
Zhukov(Stalingrad)
Gulderian(Blitzkreig)
Yamamoto

Case
Jan 21, 2002, 03:58 PM
USA
Best General: Bradley (more carefull and sensible then Patton)
Best Admiral: Hasley

UK
Best General: Montomery
Best Admiral: Cunningham (often compared to Nelson)

USSR
Best General: Zukov - probably did more to win WW2 then any other single man
Best Admiral: Whoever was in charge of the Volga flottila during the Battle of Stalingrad

Germany
Best General: Gulderian
Best Admiral: Donitz

Japan
Best General: Yamashita (the 'tiger of Malaya', and defender of Luzon)
Best Admiral: Yammato (sp?)

Lefty Scaevola
Jan 21, 2002, 08:30 PM
Nimitz
Tedder
Zukhov
Guderian
Yama****a

kobayashi
Jan 22, 2002, 03:21 AM
For Germany I must go with Erich von Manstein - as the descriptive 'powerful' is not really aligned with Guderian whose contribution was the reorganization of the Werhmacht with limited time spent leading troops into battle. Manstein on the other hand devised the invasion of France and had many successful campaigns on the Eastern Front. If there was to be a close second then I'd have to pick Hasso Von Manteuffel instead of Guderian.

Keygen
Jan 22, 2002, 04:10 AM
US: Patton & Mac Arthur
Germany: Rommel
Russia: Zukov

DingBat
Jan 22, 2002, 08:48 AM
There we go with the "powerfull" again. Do you mean "most skilled" or "most authority"?

I'll assume you mean most skilled:

US General: Patton
Mainly because the rest were so incredibly mediocre.

US Admiral: Nimitz
Honorable mention: Halsey


UK General: Guy Simonds
Very innovative Canadian general who is credited with developmnet of the armoured personnel carrier. Described by Montgomery as one of the best of the Allied generals.

UK Admiral: Cunningham


USSR General: Rokossovski
He was in command at Stalingrad. Most normally give the credit to Zhukov but he was actually up at Rhzev getting his ass kicked by Model.

USSR Admiral: ?


German General: Manstein
Hands down the best military thinker of the war, including Guderian who gets the honorable mention.

Germal Admiral: Donitz


Japanese General: Yama****a
Japanese Admiral: ?
Yamamoto does not deserve this title. Neither does Nagumo. Both were outfought in any "fair" fight during the war.

/bruce

DingBat
Jan 22, 2002, 08:55 AM
Originally posted by commie_21
What are your choices for best general/admiral from the following countries:
US
UK
Russia
Germany
Japan

Mine are:
Eisenhower(almost everything the Americans did)
Percy Hobart(Hobart's funnies)
Zhukov(Stalingrad)
Gulderian(Blitzkreig)
Yamamoto

There's only one problem: Zhukov was NOT in command at Stalingrad. That was Rokossovsky, a very talented general in his own right.

At the time that Operation Uranus was launched, Zhukov was launching Operation Mars against Model's 9th Army in the Rhzev salient. Model handed Zhukov his ass, to the tune of almost half a million casualties.

This disaster was covered up by the Soviets at the time in order to keep Zhukov's "legend" alive.

Btw, Operation Mars shows that the Germans could have withstood the Soviet counterattack at Stalingrad, since the ratio of forces actually was better there than at Rhzev. The difference?

- Model had mobile reserves.
- 9th Army made extensive use of the "fortified village" tactic which broke up Soviet penetrations and prevented reserves from moving up.

/bruce

Kennelly
Jan 22, 2002, 10:38 AM
US:Patton+Nimitz
UK:Montgomery+Cunningham
USSR:Schukow+?
Germany:Rommel+Dönitz
Japan:?+Yamamoto

Knowltok
Jan 24, 2002, 02:24 PM
US: Patton / Nimitz
UK: Not Monty. no real briliance and well known for his timidity / Cunningham
Germany: Guderian / Doenitz
USSR: Zhukov / They had a navy? j/k
Japan: Yama****a / Dingbat brings up a good point.

Warlord Sam
Jan 24, 2002, 02:53 PM
Patton was my type of guy... he wanted to drive on through and take the Soviet Union down, and then go south and make sure that the democrats in China won their little civil war. Huzzah for Patton!! Besides that, my grandpa served under him. If you could hear some of those stories, you'd know Patton was of the two best dang Generals for America during WWII.

MacArthur is also the man.

Case
Jan 24, 2002, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by Warlord Sam
Patton was my type of guy... he wanted to ... go south and make sure that the democrats in China won their little civil war.

Who were the democrats in China? :confused: Chaing Kai Check (sp!) was nothing more then an incompetent and murderous despot, and the communists were hardly democratic. Also, I'd hardly call the Chinese civil war 'little'.

Patton's main problem was that he was headstrong and didn't know when to call it quits.
As an example he caused major problems for the Allies in late 1944 by advancing after he had been ordered to stop (he kept pushing 'recon' forces forward, and getting into pitched battles so that he could keep his main forces moving). This worsened the Allies supply problems and was at least partly to blame for the Allies poor dispositions in the north just before the Battle of the Bulge (various newly arrived American divisions were hanging around in Normandy simply because there wasn't enough supplies to keep them in the front line)

Knowltok
Jan 25, 2002, 05:42 AM
The main part of the supply problem was in dividing it and shifting priority based upon politics. There wasn't enough supply to support both the American and British armies. The shifting back and forth caused major problems for both armies.

As far as newly arived divisions in Normandy go, better to have Patton's third army disengage and wheel north to relieve Bastogne than to rush green troops all the way from Normandy to try and do it.

Crazy Eddie
Jan 25, 2002, 11:36 PM
I don't think that Eisenhower would have been able to stop Patton from counter-attacking, Patton was one hell of an agressive General. :)

My personal favorite British Admiral during WWII - although certainly not the most powerful - was Admiral Sir Walter Cowan. He was retired by the outbreak of WWII (he had joined the Royal Navy in 1884) but wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, so despite having only being given the post of RN liason officer to the the Commando forces there, he swindled his way into raids in N. Africa and Italy. He was captured by the Italians once, who repatriated him on the grounds that he was too old to fight (he was in his 70's) but he just kept going. He never managed to get himself killed during the war and died in 1956, aged 84.

Case
Jan 26, 2002, 02:49 AM
Knowltok, I was refering to the fact that Patton's actions in late 1944 limited the number of divisions that the Allies could field before the German offencive. Had Patton followed his orders, then the Allied offencive in the North would have been stronger, and the German counter offencive would have been an even bigger disarster. :cool:

As for British Admirals, Admiral Ramsey also deserves a mention. In 1940 he returned from early retirement to command the British evacuation from Dunkirk, and then went on to mastermind all the other major Allied amphibious operations in Europe.

Oda Nobunaga
Jan 27, 2002, 09:37 PM
DingBat does not have a good point ; Yamamoto was not outfought in a fair fight during the war - mostly because he never actually comanded a fleet in any so-called fair fight. He was not a "field" officer, so to speak - and in his role of planning strategies, he did quite well with the limited resources he had.

Yamamoto masterminded Pearl Harbor (yes, he had help from Genda and co, most general does) and his Midway plan was quite good - but two factors played out on him. First being the american having broken the japanesse code, second - and more important even perhaps being the fact that the US Navy had one of those unbelievalbe strike of good luck. On papers, no matter how you look at it, EVEN with America aware of the Japanesse plan, Japan should have won.

Only, the plane that was to check out the very area of sea were the carriers where didn't take out in time due to a technical failure on the cruiser Tone. This caused the whole mess with planes being rearmed by the time the US attack force arrived.

Only, the Japanesse Zero, which would have BUTCHERED the dive bombers in any given circumstances, were already at sea level intercepting the torpedo bombers when the dive bombers showed up - because the American planes had gotten separated during the flight and through random luck arrived with a perfect timing - it was NOT planned out.

IE, no one can fault Yamamoto for the failure of his plan there, except for a few minor details. The US Navy winning Midway was a one-in-a-million shot. America won the lottery, so to speak.

Yamamoto's other campaign was Guadalcanal and the Solomons, were *SEA* battles swung one way and the other, without any sides being able to claim a clear edge there - Japan lost a battleship or two, and maybe a few carriers (not sure on the carriers, I would have to check) but the US lost the Hornet and Wasp, got the Saratoga badly wounded (again) and even the Enterprise had to be removed from operation for a while due to damage.

Yamamoto was never in direct command, but most of his plans were quite good. Pear Harbor was a mistake overall, he knew it (Sleeping Giant quote), but Japan had decided to go to war with America, and it was the best opening move to make - though Nagumo really blundered by not ordering that third strike. Knocking out the oil tanks and repairing dock of the Pearl Harbor base would have hampered the navy seriously. Not to mention that with the orders they were giving out at that point, they had at least a fair chance of luring out the Enterprise (and Lexington possibly) to attack - and taking THAT one out on day 1 would have been another major edge.

Yamamoto's plan was good, Nagumo blundred when it came time to set it in motion.

The plan for Midway was just as sound ; only the US had broken the "unbreakable" Japanesse code, which allowed the Navy to avoid the Aleutians trap, and the USN was, as said earlier, extremely lucky.

Oda Nobunaga
Jan 27, 2002, 09:41 PM
Incidentaly, on DingBat's comment, there's never a fair fight in war. There's always one side that has a clear edge on the other. From 1943 onward the Pacific War saw no true fair fight. Midway wasn't fair either when you get right down to it ; one side knew exactly what the other was up to, and while Japan had one more carrier on the field, I do believe overall American carriers had more planes each. Not to mention American luck.

So insisting that Yamamoto was consistently outfought in fair fights would get me to ask you, in which fair fight was Yamamoto in dirrect command?

Adebisi
Jan 28, 2002, 07:11 AM
edit

DingBat
Jan 28, 2002, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by Oda Nobunaga
Incidentaly, on DingBat's comment, there's never a fair fight in war. There's always one side that has a clear edge on the other. From 1943 onward the Pacific War saw no true fair fight. Midway wasn't fair either when you get right down to it ; one side knew exactly what the other was up to, and while Japan had one more carrier on the field, I do believe overall American carriers had more planes each. Not to mention American luck.

So insisting that Yamamoto was consistently outfought in fair fights would get me to ask you, in which fair fight was Yamamoto in dirrect command?

Seem to have hit a nerve. Sorry, no offense intended.

Since you bring "direct" command into it, we have to define this. At what level does a general cease to be in direct command. Montgomery get's all sorts of abuse during his command of 21st AG yet no one ever says he wasn't in "direct" command.

Midway was Yamamoto's plan. That's enough for me. I don't really care what swung the balance in the fight. This is what's called the "grit" of battle and it happens to everyone.

Yamamoto assumed that the Americans would do exactly as they planned. In fact, the Japanese continually came up with convoluted, complicated plans that relied on the enemy behaving in a particular manner. Leyte Gulf is just the most extreme example of this.

Calling Yamamoto a strategist, while valid, only makes him look worse. Japan's strategy was flawed from the very beginning. It depended entirely on command of the sea. When that was lost, their vast "empire" was shown to be exactly what it was: a series of small, worthless, isolated islands that drained resources and manpower to no good end.

If it makes you feel better, I will withdraw my "fair fight" comment and ammend it to read that, except for Pearl Harbor, Yamamoto was just plain outfought.

Is that better? ;)

/bruce

DingBat
Jan 28, 2002, 03:31 PM
Originally posted by Adebisi
Since noone else will mention it...

Finland - Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim (http://www.mannerheim.fi/tori_e/tori.htm)

This is actually an excellent nomination.

Simply for Finland to remain intact and independent after the war was an incredible feat of military achievement, diplomacy, whatever.

Good post.
/bruce

Bill_in_PDX
Jan 28, 2002, 03:58 PM
Originally posted by Oda Nobunaga
Incidentaly, on DingBat's comment, there's never a fair fight in war. There's always one side that has a clear edge on the other. From 1943 onward the Pacific War saw no true fair fight. Midway wasn't fair either when you get right down to it ; one side knew exactly what the other was up to, and while Japan had one more carrier on the field, I do believe overall American carriers had more planes each. Not to mention American luck.

But why did the Japanese fleet only have the advantage of one extra carrier? Because Yamamoto's plan had split his force, including the meaningless occupation of Attu up north, designed to draw out the US fleet to just a about the spot they actually attacked from.

Worse still for Yama' was that he knew full well from the Pearl Harbor planning on that he was on borrowed time and had to achieve a decisive victory before the US mobilized. This was even more evident following the Doolittle raid. Yet he failed to mass his forces for that decisive strike.

We CIVIII players who love to complain about combat results could learn the same lesson here. If you have decisive force, but fail to concentrate it, you are playing into the opponents hand.

Bill

Oda Nobunaga
Jan 28, 2002, 05:08 PM
Yamamoto was just plain outfought?

While Yamamoto was in command of the IJN, Japan suffered one major defeat, due to the failure of their codes and extreme american luck - Midway.

Other than that?

Coral Sea was a stalemate - Japan didn't take Port Stanley, but America took far heavier losses there (heavy carrier + oiler + destroyer to a light carrier).

The battles around Guadalcanal went both way. Both sides took heavy losses - 2 carriers for the USN, 2 battleships (I believe) for the IJN, and cruisers and destroyers aplenty for both sides.

And the whole naval campaign prior to Coral Sea with perhaps the exception of a single battle (around the Java coast) can be summed up as "Japan win".

As for Leyte, the plan was very sound ; and it came very close to being a MAJOR american defeat - only, one of the commanders on the field for Japan chickened out at the last moment. If the Yamato task force, after routing the light carriers, had gone on to attack the transports, there was NO one to oppose them - because the Americans had done exactly what the Japanesse had planned, which is, rush north to attack the carriers. Oldendrof had expended almost all his naval ammo at Surigao straight the night before sinking about two old battlewagons, so there was only a handful of small carriers, a few of them wounded, to cause any trouble to the IJN at that point.

The Japanesse commander chickened out, like Nagumo at Pearl Harbor. These two officers really cost a lot to Japan.

Oda Nobunaga
Jan 28, 2002, 05:17 PM
Originally posted by Bill_in_PDX


But why did the Japanese fleet only have the advantage of one extra carrier? Because Yamamoto's plan had split his force, including the meaningless occupation of Attu up north, designed to draw out the US fleet to just a about the spot they actually attacked from.

Worse still for Yama' was that he knew full well from the Pearl Harbor planning on that he was on borrowed time and had to achieve a decisive victory before the US mobilized. This was even more evident following the Doolittle raid. Yet he failed to mass his forces for that decisive strike.

We CIVIII players who love to complain about combat results could learn the same lesson here. If you have decisive force, but fail to concentrate it, you are playing into the opponents hand.

Bill

Failed to mass his forces his hardly obvious.

He sent AFAIK a light carrier (perhaps two) up north. They would hardly have made a difference at Midway. What would have made a difference were the Shokaku and Zuikaku and their experienced crews, but both had to undergo repair after the Coral Sea, which battle happened to close to the planned attack on Midway to allow for the attack to be postponed. Yet, since the Japanesse high command had decided to take on Port Stanley, he could hardly tell them "Screw you, I'm not sending my carriers there."

His mistake, I reckon, was to not keep the battleships of the main fleet with the carriers. He would have had spare seaplanes to send out at that point, and the US carriers would not have sneakend up on him. A minor change in plan, a little detail that appear insignificant - their were enough scout planes to send out, or would have been without the defectuosity on the Tone.

DingBat
Jan 28, 2002, 05:52 PM
Originally posted by Oda Nobunaga
Yamamoto was just plain outfought?

While Yamamoto was in command of the IJN, Japan suffered one major defeat, due to the failure of their codes and extreme american luck - Midway.

Other than that?

Coral Sea was a stalemate - Japan didn't take Port Stanley, but America took far heavier losses there (heavy carrier + oiler + destroyer to a light carrier).

The battles around Guadalcanal went both way. Both sides took heavy losses - 2 carriers for the USN, 2 battleships (I believe) for the IJN, and cruisers and destroyers aplenty for both sides.

And the whole naval campaign prior to Coral Sea with perhaps the exception of a single battle (around the Java coast) can be summed up as "Japan win".

As for Leyte, the plan was very sound ; and it came very close to being a MAJOR american defeat - only, one of the commanders on the field for Japan chickened out at the last moment. If the Yamato task force, after routing the light carriers, had gone on to attack the transports, there was NO one to oppose them - because the Americans had done exactly what the Japanesse had planned, which is, rush north to attack the carriers. Oldendrof had expended almost all his naval ammo at Surigao straight the night before sinking about two old battlewagons, so there was only a handful of small carriers, a few of them wounded, to cause any trouble to the IJN at that point.

The Japanesse commander chickened out, like Nagumo at Pearl Harbor. These two officers really cost a lot to Japan.

What you say about Coral Sea and Guadalcanal MIGHT be considered valid and relevant if a simple tally of carriers lost decided the war. Obviously it doesn't.

Coral Sea might look like a draw on paper, but the Japanese were checked in their advance for the first time in the war. That was significant. I sincerely doubt that Yamamoto considered this a win in any way. Or even a stalemate.

Who really cares how many ships were sunk around Guadalcanal. The end of the campaign saw the area under U.S. control and the major Japanese base at Rabaul had been rendered irrelevant. I don't care what accounting practices you use, that's a loss.

Leyte came close to being a MINOR American setback because Halsey behaved stupidly. The plan was ridiculously complex and depended on incredible luck for success. The fact that the Japanese actually got some luck initially doesn't alter the fact that the plan was desparate to begin with. In the end the battle wasn't even a minor inconvenience to the Americans.

So, yes, Yamamoto was outfought.

/bruce

Bill_in_PDX
Jan 28, 2002, 06:53 PM
Originally posted by Oda Nobunaga


Failed to mass his forces his hardly obvious.

He sent AFAIK a light carrier (perhaps two) up north. They would hardly have made a difference at Midway. What would have made a difference were the Shokaku and Zuikaku and their experienced crews, but both had to undergo repair after the Coral Sea,

He sent two light carriers and several cruisers up north in a meaningless deception move.

The light carriers would have provided additional fighter escort, and yes, having himself on the Yamato 500 miles behind the carrier group with a couple other light carriers if I recall correctly, lead to him being out of control of the battle (maintaining radio silence even after the Yorktown was spotted) as well as depriving the carrier group of additional (impressive) anti-aircraft support.

The Coral Sea battle itself hurt him due to the loss of the use of Sho and Zuikaku as you point out, but it was also yet another split of force. Was the goal Australia or Hawaii? In early 1942 the IJN had the power to dominate one area or the other, but clearly not both, the supply chain would be untendable, and thanks to the lack of a credible surface threat in Europe, the US was sending reinforcements from the East Coast.

He should have massed force and either taken the key cities of Australia, or taken out Pearl Habor permanently (something not accomplished on Dec 7th, and in my opinion, a far better strategic move). If he would have done that, the US would have needed several years to counter strike from West Coast bases, and the Europe first strategy would have been reality, vice just a way to placate the English and Russians.

There is just no way to justify the split of his navy. Far better to follow the doctrine of massing your superior force and beating the hell out of the opponent.

The US of course almost committed the reverse blunder at Leyte, though the IJN plan there also split their forces such that when the opportunity appeared thanks to Halsey's (Patton II) recklessness they were unable to bring the force to bear.

Bill

Oda Nobunaga
Jan 28, 2002, 08:07 PM
America won the Guadalcanal campaign in the end, yes.

Losing the overall campaign doesn't make one a bad tactician, far from it. When you can't hope to win - and ultimately Japan had decided to start a war it couldn't win - the best thing you can hope for is to set an high price. Yamamoto did that well enough in the Solomons.

And what you say about Leyte. It's interesting that when Japanesse fleets are defeated, it's their own fault, but when they hit America hard, it's always because of inept officers. IE, Japan can't come up with a good plan.

Leyte wasn't much of a complex plan : it went on a very reasonable assumption ("The sight of the carriers will draw the enemy north"). - especially reasonable since Mitscher had been blamed heavily for NOT doing that at Saipan.

With the carriers out of the way, the Japanesse attacked. A pretty good plan, all in all. Would have worked, if the admiral onboard the Yamato hadn't chickened out.

Right up to Coral Sea Japan ruled the seas. At the Coral Sea they were forced back but America paid a high price for it. Certainly, Yamamoto wouldn't have considered it a victory. But considering the price America paid to the price Japan paid, not much of a defeat either.

Then came Midway. The plan in itself wasn't so bad. Oh, there were weakness - a major one being the idiot on the bridge of the Akagi ; Nagumo should never have been allowed anywhere near a carrier - but it was hardly a bad plan. As was said before, extreme luck played for the Americans, as well as their knowledge of the japanesse plans. When you come right down to it, Halsey's only good move was to lauch its attack at the time where they would catch the planes refueling. The rest of the US triumph at Midway can be put pretty squarely on the back of US inteligence and Lady Luck. It wasn't Yamamoto's best plan, to be sure - that was, by far, Pearl Harbor, especially in its original form (including invasion of Hawaii right off the bat) which was rejected by Japanesse high command), but it was hardly THAT bad a plan.

The Solomons campaign was ultimately lost by Japan - but Yamamoto was noticeably dead at that point. The Guadalcanal campaign wouldn't have lasted half as long (thanks to army incompetence) if the IJN hadn't made life so hard for the American with such things as the "Tokyo express".

To put it another way, if you won't make Yamamoto the "best Japanesse admiral" , who will you? Midway is hardly enough to put him below any competitors.

DingBat
Jan 28, 2002, 09:06 PM
Originally posted by Oda Nobunaga

To put it another way, if you won't make Yamamoto the "best Japanesse admiral" , who will you? Midway is hardly enough to put him below any competitors.


Is that supposed to be a ringing endorsement? The fact that most other Japanese admirals are unknown compared to Yamamoto?

I would prefer to simply leave the category unfilled.

/bruce

Oda Nobunaga
Jan 28, 2002, 09:32 PM
Originally posted by DingBat


Is that supposed to be a ringing endorsement? The fact that most other Japanese admirals are unknown compared to Yamamoto?

I would prefer to simply leave the category unfilled.

/bruce

No. What I say is that despite his shortfalling, he was the best they had - and one of the best around. Unless you happen to have a better name to offer, the question is "Who was the best Japanesse admiral in WW II?". Answering "no one" is nonsense.

Japan had many admirals. They were of varying skills. Therefore, one of them had the best. IMHO, Pearl Harbor makes Yamamoto qualify.

andycapp
Jan 28, 2002, 09:37 PM
Originally posted by Bill_in_PDX


Was the goal Australia or Hawaii? ..........

......He should have massed force and either taken the key cities of Australia,



The goal was to isolate Australia and thereby hinder any attempt to mount an Allied millitary buildup and counter atttack from Australia that would pose a threat to the Japanese 'co-prosperity sphere' in Southeast Asia.

The Japanese had no immediate plans to invade Australia - at that time they didn't have the resources. Key islands between Australia and the US west coast were their targets to achieve the isolation of Australia.

Bill_in_PDX
Jan 28, 2002, 10:10 PM
Originally posted by andycapp


The goal was to isolate Australia and thereby hinder any attempt to mount an Allied millitary buildup and counter atttack from Australia that would pose a threat to the Japanese 'co-prosperity sphere' in Southeast Asia.

The Japanese had no immediate plans to invade Australia - at that time they didn't have the resources. Key islands between Australia and the US west coast were their targets to achieve the isolation of Australia.

I don't disagree with you at all. I think you are missing the context of the discussion that I responded to.

Either Yamamoto had the power to perform just that isolation you discussed in the New Guinea area, or he had the power to take out the bases in Hawaii, if not outright invade them. But he didn't have the power to do both. Nevertheless he squandered two of his best operational carriers at Coral Sea, both of which (heck, either of which) would have saved the battle at Midway.

So the question remains the same, what was his goal Australia or Hawaii, clearly he tried to keep the initiative at both locations, and further blundered by splitting his force at Midway.

The issue is, was he defeated by luck, as postulated above, or did he take decisive actions that lead to his early (he would have lost either way eventually) downfall.

Bill

DingBat
Jan 29, 2002, 05:33 AM
Originally posted by Oda Nobunaga


No. What I say is that despite his shortfalling, he was the best they had - and one of the best around. Unless you happen to have a better name to offer, the question is "Who was the best Japanesse admiral in WW II?". Answering "no one" is nonsense.

Japan had many admirals. They were of varying skills. Therefore, one of them had the best. IMHO, Pearl Harbor makes Yamamoto qualify.

I see we're going to agree to disagree here.

I admit to not knowing much about the more junior Japanese admirals. However, what I do know about Yamamoto makes me confident that, if I did a little reading, I would find a better candidate with little trouble.

So, I will elect to NOT vote Yamamoto as the best Japanese general and make my selection "someone else".

/bruce

Oda Nobunaga
Jan 29, 2002, 08:27 AM
Originally posted by Bill_in_PDX


I don't disagree with you at all. I think you are missing the context of the discussion that I responded to.

Either Yamamoto had the power to perform just that isolation you discussed in the New Guinea area, or he had the power to take out the bases in Hawaii, if not outright invade them. But he didn't have the power to do both. Nevertheless he squandered two of his best operational carriers at Coral Sea, both of which (heck, either of which) would have saved the battle at Midway.

So the question remains the same, what was his goal Australia or Hawaii, clearly he tried to keep the initiative at both locations, and further blundered by splitting his force at Midway.

The issue is, was he defeated by luck, as postulated above, or did he take decisive actions that lead to his early (he would have lost either way eventually) downfall.

Bill

You are missing an important point though. HIS goal was Hawaii, but he was forced by commands from higher up to also send forces to help isolate Australia. IE, he had no choice to send the Zuikaku and Shokaku there to support the planned offensive, because he wasn't in charge of the whole Japan military, and thus there were people above him to give him orders.

Bill_in_PDX
Jan 29, 2002, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by Oda Nobunaga


You are missing an important point though. HIS goal was Hawaii, but he was forced by commands from higher up to also send forces to help isolate Australia. IE, he had no choice to send the Zuikaku and Shokaku there to support the planned offensive, because he wasn't in charge of the whole Japan military, and thus there were people above him to give him orders.

I don't disagree, there are always people above you to give orders :D

If he would have concentrated his force at Midway he would have been prepared to deal with the remainder of the US Fleet. If he didn't have the force necessary to take chance into account, he should have waited until Sho or Zui were repaired. Even if the strategic split was flawed (and it was), the tactical split was worse, and if, as you say, Nagumo was not qualified to command the carrier group (and I'd be curious as to why you feel that way) then Yamamoto was the guy who put him in that position.

Politics always enters into it to be sure, and the Japanese Army seemed to carry the most weight in decisions, probably based upon culture, and the years of battle in Asia leading up to Pearl Harbor, but if he had any influence at all, it would have be during the early '42 timeframe, when these decisive decisions were made.

I think Yamamoto was a good strategist, but what is surprising about him is that while he was one of the few in the Japanese high command who knew that they had to complete their offensive moves, and win decisively within 18 months, or they would be overwhelmed, he failed to really execute on that knowledge in key instances:

1) He failed to destroy Pearl Harbor as a port / base of operations, instead focusing on sinking what he knew to be symbolic battleships. All the worse because of the blundered notification of US officials of the state of war, thus creating a huge motivation for the "sleeping giant".

2) He constantly planned for decisive battles to take out the carriers of the US fleet, but would often split his force so that when the opportunity presented itself he would not have the necessary assets to finish the job.

I personally think luck worked against him in two instances that of themselves wouldn't have made a big difference if his plan had not dwindled his force, first, the US was lucky in catching the carriers with planes and bombs on deck, leading to catastrophic effects when the dive bombers came (and yes it was fortuitous that the torpedo bombers sacraficed themselves and brought the escort low, but that may be Nagumo's blunder as well considering that a Japanese strike would have mirrored the US, i.e. both dive bombers and torpedo, yet he allowed his entire fighter cover to go low). Second, his counter attack found the ship most "expendable" from a strategic perspective, as the Yorktown was going to be shipyard housed for a couple years after this battle in any case.

Bill

Mikoyan
Jan 29, 2002, 10:06 AM
U.S: Patton
U.K: Monty
Soviet Union: Zjukov
Germany: Guderian or Rommel
Japan: Yamamoto
Finland: Mannerheim (Ok, Finland was'nt listed, but this guy was one hellova leader)

Oda Nobunaga
Jan 29, 2002, 12:07 PM
By the time Coral Sea had cost him Sho and Zui though, it was already too late to postpone Midway. As for Pearl Harbor, the exact details of the Air Raid were worked out by Genda, who wanted to launch a third wave to knock PH as a base.

Nagumo, however, was basically a chicken without much experience of airborne operation. He had no reason to be afraid with teh damages to Pearl and the firepower he had - he could have swept over Pear Harbor easily. The cost of a third wave would have been little in comparison to the gains to be had from it. Yamamoto could have ordered him to launch a third wave, but he decided to trust his commander in the field at that point.

Yamamoto's original plan, as well, was literally to invade Pearl. He was overruled by high command though.

veal
May 24, 2002, 08:05 AM
The Japanese had no immediate plans to invade Australia - at that time they didn't have the resources. Key islands between Australia and the US west coast were their targets to achieve the isolation of Australia.

I don't know if this is a dead argument but I feel I must chime in here. Japan definitely had plans to invade and occupy Australia.

You want proof?

They had already printed currency to be used in the new Japanese occupied Australia...