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Thread: Fall of France

  1. #391
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Kinda hard to find monkeys in Europe.

    Explaination: Japanese soldiers and marines were living off the land. They learned what to eat by watching monkeys. If the monkeys eat something, then they could eat it as well ... and the monkeys.
    Japanese troops excelled at the traditional European method of scavenging - stealing from peasants.


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  2. #392
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Ludendorf would have salivated at the use of the infiltration tactics the IJA/IJN used in 41 to outflank and bypass British and Dutch strong points.
    No doubt. Japanese troops did some things very, very well.


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  3. #393
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    No doubt. Japanese troops did some things very, very well.
    Imagine being 19 suffering from trench foot, horribly hungry and dehydrated and knowing that when the sun was up snipers would put a bullet in any piece of you that got exposed, and that was still safer than then infiltration and banzai attacks that would come at night.

  4. #394
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Imagine being 19 suffering from trench foot, horribly hungry and dehydrated and knowing that when the sun was up snipers would put a bullet in any piece of you that got exposed, and that was still safer than then infiltration and banzai attacks that would come at night.
    Fortunately I can't. My Uncle can. His battalion, the 2/29th, was surrounded and overrun in Malaya in early 1942 at Muar River. He & 130 others managed to fight their way out. Sadly they only stayed free until Singapore fell. I've read accounts of the unit's experiences and talked to him. Much as he & his comrades hated the Japanese for what happened to them as POWs, they understood their qualities as soldiers.


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  5. #395
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    I found this funny. From Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon.

    Shaftoe: "Haven't you guys figured out that banzai charges don't f-cking work?"
    Goto Dengo: "All the people who learned this were killed in the banzai charges."

  6. #396
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    That made me laugh Ironduke.

    Russian tanks don't care how brave you are with a bayonet in hand.


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  7. #397
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    I found this funny. From Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon.

    Shaftoe: "Haven't you guys figured out that banzai charges don't f-cking work?"
    Goto Dengo: "All the people who learned this were killed in the banzai charges."
    Concur, Peter.

    But just like in Europe concentrated NGFS and dedicated DS artillery were the real banzai busters for American troops, both Marine & Army. In Europe they broke up and halted armored attacks by the Wehrmacht.

    Massed firepower applied in a narrow space...devastating.
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  8. #398
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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Imagine being 19 suffering from trench foot, horribly hungry and dehydrated and knowing that when the sun was up snipers would put a bullet in any piece of you that got exposed, and that was still safer than then infiltration and banzai attacks that would come at night.
    It may work once or twice but soon adaptation would appear. Specifically, a dog can detect bellycrawlers traversing no-mans-land for 100s of meters.

    But I'm trying to imagine the tactic and I'm having a hardtime. It worked in WWII because no-mans-land was not as defined as they were WWI. You just spent hours bellycrawling through mud, knowing one single sound would bring artillery and machine guns to bear. If you made it through and be able to do a banzai charge, you only took the first trench line, there are 2 more and their reserves behind that and you're spent. The envitable counter-attack would just wreck all your gains.

    What am I not seeing?

  9. #399
    Senior Contributor Triple C's Avatar
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    I think it was about the Battle of Okinawa that IJA commander began forbidding bayonet charges as an extravagant waste of his soldiers' lives. I suppose the Japanese either did not failed to draw from their WWI experience to understand just how deadly modern radio-facilitated, fire direction center-controlled infantry-artillery cooperation had become, or that their technological limits blinded them to its potential when deployed by a more advanced army.

    Recently reviewed Japanese tanks during the war. Yikes! Those mediums don't look quite well-equipped to handle American lights.
    Last edited by Triple C; 30 Jan 18, at 21:04.
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    Japan did not really embroil itself in ground warfare in World War I, and not at all in trench warfare.

    (actually, did they take part in any ground warfare at all other than the one-week siege of Tsingtao? the Marianas and Carolines surrendered without combat)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Someone will probably come along and pick apart all my points, but that is how we learn.
    I also like the fact that WAB members are not afraid to ask questions that we know there are no answers but can work through the history to arrive at insights that didn't appear before. I am startled that how much I learned from the members here.

  12. #402
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    I also like the fact that WAB members are not afraid to ask questions that we know there are no answers but can work through the history to arrive at insights that didn't appear before. I am startled that how much I learned from the members here.
    Agreed. These discussions often send me scrambling off to do some reading just so I can keep up and hopefully not look too dumb. :-)


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  13. #403
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post
    I think it was about the Battle of Okinawa that IJA commander began forbidding bayonet charges as an extravagant waste of his soldiers' lives. I suppose the Japanese either did not failed to draw from their WWI experience to understand just how deadly modern radio-facilitated, fire direction center-controlled infantry-artillery cooperation had become, or that their technological limits blinded them to its potential when deployed by a more advanced army.
    Part of the problem is that people & institutions get wedded to the things that were successful even when they no longer work. The other part of the problem is that ideology so often trumps observation or makes it impossible to integrate. The insane courage/attacking spirit that the banzai charge was a part of worked for quite a while, especially against forces who were inexperienced or sub par. Then throw in the power of ideology - the fear even officers had of being seen as insufficiently aggressive. Some powerful institutional drivers there.

    They didn't really face a top notch army performing at its best with all that nice artillery support until they had walked a long way down both the paths laid out above. An argument might be put for facing the Russians being close to such an experience (though Red Army 1939 was still far from its best), but that was a relative sideshow that could be easily ignored by those wanting to ignore such lessons.

    Recently reviewed Japanese tanks during the war. Yikes! Those mediums don't look quite well-equipped to handle American lights.
    They ain't great. The best were capable of taking on a Stuart or the earlier Russian tanks (BT & T-26), but even a Matilda Mk.2 might as well have been a Tiger (with a crappier gun). Shermans pretty much were Tigers in the Pacific war. Fortunate for Japan they didn't end up in that sort of war until right at the end.


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  14. #404
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Part of the problem is that people & institutions get wedded to the things that were successful even when they no longer work. The other part of the problem is that ideology so often trumps observation or makes it impossible to integrate. The insane courage/attacking spirit that the banzai charge was a part of worked for quite a while, especially against forces who were inexperienced or sub par. Then throw in the power of ideology - the fear even officers had of being seen as insufficiently aggressive. Some powerful institutional drivers there.
    Like

    So as always it's a combination of many things at once and defies simple generalisation or cliche. Is it not the case that the charges usually occurred when the Japanese faced defeat anyway?, so they wasted lives instead of opportunity?

    The reality is that most Japanese problems started at the grand strategic level,or from limited understanding in advances in military doctrine in the years preceding the war and everything else that follows are bad choices versus terrible choices stemming from that reality.

    Often I have seen the Japansese kamikaze program as another example of Japanese folly but when you consider Japanese losses in the air before the initiation of the program, a strong case can be it was that it was an effective use of the resources at hand and delivered good results. It was just meaningless in the context of the outcome.
    Last edited by tantalus; 31 Jan 18, at 12:12.

  15. #405
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Agreed. These discussions often send me scrambling off to do some reading just so I can keep up and hopefully not look too dumb. :-)
    I gave up on the not looking dumb part years ago!
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