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Thread: The US Navy's Greatest Battle...Leyte Gulf

  1. #16
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    What has been historically ignored is the sheer naval brainpower that the USN pocessed throughout the entire war. The USN succeeded where the Kreigsmarine failed and had routinely out-Yamamotto Yamamotto. Everytime I read this battle, the sheer out-thinking the IJN that was done by the USN boggles the mind. It should have been a Japanese victory. The carriers were lured away and the IJN had the superiority of force. The USN should have been clubbed like baby seals. Instead, the USN chosed their waters and presented a force that litterally scared the shit out of the IJN. Bluff? Maybe but the beating the IJN endured would have made them minced meat once the USN carriers returned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    What has been historically ignored is the sheer naval brainpower that the USN pocessed throughout the entire war. The USN succeeded where the Kreigsmarine failed and had routinely out-Yamamotto Yamamotto. Everytime I read this battle, the sheer out-thinking the IJN that was done by the USN boggles the mind. It should have been a Japanese victory. The carriers were lured away and the IJN had the superiority of force. The USN should have been clubbed like baby seals. Instead, the USN chosed their waters and presented a force that litterally scared the shit out of the IJN. Bluff? Maybe but the beating the IJN endured would have made them minced meat once the USN carriers returned.
    Colonel, and also how many of those of the USN who engaged in the battle were civilians 3 or 4 years earlier. And the vast number of vessels engaged did not exist on 7 DEC 41.

    It was warfare on an industrial scale no other nation could hope to match.
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    Looked at a certain way an argument could be mounted that the USN circa 1944-45 was the most powerful military force that had ever existed. It could basically move more military power than most nations possessed to virtually anywhere in the world with a coastline. Nothing on water could begin to match it and it possessed impressive air power. Granted, it didn't posses its own land units, but it could drop an army & keep it supplied & reinforced more or less indefinitely. That is a stunning amount of power for a single military organisation. The Red Army is the closest equivalent. Both products of vast, modern industrial concepts of warfare.


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    Pete, probably the largest accomplishment was the damage control abilities of ships crews and the ability to flex afloat service forces into the forward areas.

    Read this about Ulithi....

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulithi#Second_World_War

    Floating drydocks which could take battleships, an ice cream plant, a metalurgical vessel....

    And then they boxed the whole thing up and moved it to Leyte....frickin amazing.
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    To add to that, It was the US Navy's ability to conduct honest After Action assessments and quickly make changes.

    It was Yorktowns Aviation Fuel Officer that noted that one of the major reasons that Lex went down at Coral Sea was the fires caused by aviation fuel on her hanger deck. He had the idea to purge the fuel lines after refueling ops and fill them with CO2.

    One month later, at the battle of Midway, that was SOP fleet wide.

    i don't think any other service in any nation could have /would have made fleet wide changes so fast. Especially an idea that came from a JO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Grape View Post
    To add to that, It was the US Navy's ability to conduct honest After Action assessments and quickly make changes.

    It was Yorktowns Aviation Fuel Officer that noted that one of the major reasons that Lex went down at Coral Sea was the fires caused by aviation fuel on her hanger deck. He had the idea to purge the fuel lines after refueling ops and fill them with CO2.

    One month later, at the battle of Midway, that was SOP fleet wide.

    i don't think any other service in any nation could have /would have made fleet wide changes so fast. Especially an idea that came from a JO
    Gunny,

    The ability of the US military to incorporate the experience of 'boots on the ground' types in WW2 was impressive. I seem to recall the things they stuck on tanks to plough through the bocage country in France had a similar origin & a fairly short development time. Not saying you folks always got it right, but the fact it happened as often as it did said something about the nature of the organisation.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Gunny,

    The ability of the US military to incorporate the experience of 'boots on the ground' types in WW2 was impressive. I seem to recall the things they stuck on tanks to plough through the bocage country in France had a similar origin & a fairly short development time. Not saying you folks always got it right, but the fact it happened as often as it did said something about the nature of the organisation.
    Culin's Rhinos

    SGT Curtis Culin and his crew cooked up the idea. The troops first used angle iron from the Normandy Beach obstacles. Later ones were made in the UK and applied there.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_G._Culin

    Gunny,

    Absolutely on the AAR applications. Submarine war patrol after action reports and conferences allowed the USN to rapidly adjust tactics, techniques & procedures to counter Japanese ASW tactics. Review of antitank doctrine after Kasserine resulted in change of doctrine and organization by the time Sicily rolled around. The US Army airborne division organization & structure changed 3 or 4 times 42 - 45. The list goes on and on.
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    on the fliphand side, and i know i'm speaking complete heresy as i work for the USAF here, strategic bombing against Germany was not worth the candle and was continued despite all evidence to the contrary.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    on the fliphand side, and i know i'm speaking complete heresy as i work for the USAF here, strategic bombing against Germany was not worth the candle and was continued despite all evidence to the contrary.
    Eric, one of the things it did do was it forced the Luftwaffe to fight. And that allowed 8th Air Force fighters to shred them. Most fighters got pulled back from France and the Low Countries, leaving the beaches of Normandy clear of German aircraft. The bombers were, essentially, bait. And they were probably most useful in crippling German transportation systems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Eric, one of the things it did do was it forced the Luftwaffe to fight. And that allowed 8th Air Force fighters to shred them. Most fighters got pulled back from France and the Low Countries, leaving the beaches of Normandy clear of German aircraft. The bombers were, essentially, bait. And they were probably most useful in crippling German transportation systems.
    The air campaign certainly wasn't as effective as advertised, but, as you say, it sucked up resources Germany couldn't afford to expend and was particularly useful when properly focused. I would add the caveat that the sort of unescorted bombing raids that marked the early phases of the bomber offensive were of questionable value and got a lot of good men killed for limited return.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Culin's Rhinos

    SGT Curtis Culin and his crew cooked up the idea. The troops first used angle iron from the Normandy Beach obstacles. Later ones were made in the UK and applied there.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_G._Culin
    Thanks Buck, I knew someone here would know the detail. The remarkable piece of information there is that by the start of Operations Cobra - only 7 weeks after D-Day - something like 60% of US tanks had these things on them. The speed with which that idea went from some guy being laughed at around a campfire to standard equipment is dizzying. Quite remarkable.

    Gunny,

    Absolutely on the AAR applications. Submarine war patrol after action reports and conferences allowed the USN to rapidly adjust tactics, techniques & procedures to counter Japanese ASW tactics. Review of antitank doctrine after Kasserine resulted in change of doctrine and organization by the time Sicily rolled around. The US Army airborne division organization & structure changed 3 or 4 times 42 - 45. The list goes on and on.
    Just so we don't get too carried away, there was the saga of the Mk.14 torpedo. They fired off a year's worth before anyone senior took the problems seriously enough to test them, and close to two years in total to properly fix them. Not the USN's finest moment.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Just so we don't get too carried away, there was the saga of the Mk.14 torpedo. They fired off a year's worth before anyone senior took the problems seriously enough to test them, and close to two years in total to properly fix them. Not the USN's finest moment.
    That had a lot to do with budgets in the 1030s which resulted in inadequate operational testing of the torpedo, it's guidance system & Mark 6 exploder. Commanders at sea knew as early as December 1941 that the torpedoes & exploders were defective but it ran up against entrenched prewar thinking. It was these failures, coupled with the failures of the USN off of Guadalcanal, that forced the Navy to take hard, cold looks at itself and make changes rapidly. Slow at first then accelarated.

    The US Army had it's own issues....by mid 1941 every National Guard division commander who had been in command a year earlier had been relieved by Marshall...the Maneuvers revealed a lot. Troy Middleton was one of the few NG commanders who survived the bloodbath.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    The US Army had it's own issues....by mid 1941 every National Guard division commander who had been in command a year earlier had been relieved by Marshall...the Maneuvers revealed a lot. Troy Middleton was one of the few NG commanders who survived the bloodbath.
    But the Officer corps, both naval and army, that came out of that was unparallelled. I mean the books for what they did were not even written yet. Hell, they wrote the books. Patton's swing north to relieve Bastonge is to this day the most bold and most daring manuever operation ever devised. Patton got the credit for it but it litterally could not be done without the Colonels down to the Captains who can understand the intent, disengage from attack, refusing a new flank, swing north and know exactly where and when to receive supplies ... and logistics know where to meet them.

    This was the age of pencil, not even pens, and paper. I would have loved to read those scrabbled notes just to see how they think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    But the Officer corps, both naval and army, that came out of that was unparallelled. I mean the books for what they did were not even written yet. Hell, they wrote the books. Patton's swing north to relieve Bastonge is to this day the most bold and most daring manuever operation ever devised. Patton got the credit for it but it litterally could not be done without the Colonels down to the Captains who can understand the intent, disengage from attack, refusing a new flank, swing north and know exactly where and when to receive supplies ... and logistics know where to meet them.

    This was the age of pencil, not even pens, and paper. I would have loved to read those scrabbled notes just to see how they think.
    Great point, Colonel.

    I read a recent article that the Twelfth Army Group (Bradley) and 3rd Army G-4 staffs sent LNOs in jeeps all over the rear areas to plan to route of march an resupply locations and assets for every single 3rd Army unit. Lieutenants, Captains & Majors in open jeeps doing exactly what you said. Within 36 hours of the German breakthrough they had accumulated the data needed to make the move.
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