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Did it work or didn't it?

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  • Did it work or didn't it?

    When the Americans decided to split command authority in the Pacific between MacArthur and Nimitz did it really work? It always struck me as more of a compromise than a real command decision. It was indeed a huge theater, but not so huge that a single commander with a good staff couldn't have handled it.
    If there are no dogs in Heaven, then I want to go where they went when they died-Will Rogers

  • #2
    Originally posted by sherlock View Post
    When the Americans decided to split command authority in the Pacific between MacArthur and Nimitz did it really work? It always struck me as more of a compromise than a real command decision. It was indeed a huge theater, but not so huge that a single commander with a good staff couldn't have handled it.
    It worked. Nimitz took the northern route, which was devoid of significant land masses anyway. MacArthur had the south which included New Guinea and the Philippines (which MacArthur had promised to return to). The Japanese could not counter a three pronged approach (including CBI).
    "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
    — Groucho Marx

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Catman View Post
      It worked. Nimitz took the northern route, which was devoid of significant land masses anyway. MacArthur had the south which included New Guinea and the Philippines (which MacArthur had promised to return to). The Japanese could not counter a three pronged approach (including CBI).
      Well, did we need to hold all of NG? Did we really need to go into the PI's? CBI was to prevent the IJA from gaining India and keep the supply line into China open.

      I would have gone with one commander and that being Nimitz with Formosa as the goal instead of the PI. Formosa would have taken a big load off the supply lines out of India, plus totally cut the IJN off from the SEA.

      OF course it worked with two commanders, we won.
      Last edited by Half Pint John; 29 Jun 10, 08:07.
      "Ask not what your country can do for you"

      Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

      you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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      • #4
        There was always friction, however, and second guessing...
        ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th
        IN MARE IN COELO

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Catman View Post
          It worked. Nimitz took the northern route, which was devoid of significant land masses anyway. MacArthur had the south which included New Guinea and the Philippines (which MacArthur had promised to return to). The Japanese could not counter a three pronged approach (including CBI).
          I would agree except for Leyte Gulf. Unified command might have prevented Halsey's ill-fated rendezvous with Ozawa at the Battle of Cape Engano.
          http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...php?groupid=75

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          • #6
            Count me in for one who thinks this duplication of effort strategy only worked because there were so many assets at disposal!

            'The violence of inter-service rivalry in the United States in these days had to be seen to be believed and was an appreciable handicap to their war effort', reported a British observer.

            Of course, the IJN and IJA were worse, the Army not only building its own planes but operating its own troop transports and submarines.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
              Well, did we need to hold all of NG? Did we really need to go into the PI's? CBI was to prevent the IJA from gaining India and keep the supply line into China open.

              I would have gone with one commander and that being Nimitz with Formosa as the goal instead of the PI. Formosa would have taken a big load off the supply lines out of India, plus totally cut the IJN off from the SEA.

              OF course it worked with two commanders, we won.

              figure the USA had to take the Phillipines back
              was an American Territory.
              not to mention Dugout Doug said he was coming back
              and he had an ego that wouln't allow him not to. LOL

              not to mention, the two prong method alleviated some of the friction between the Army and the Navy(and the Marine Corpse)... cant see King or Nimitz falling under control of the Army and MacArthur, or vice versa.. putting it all under one commander would have created a bigger war than they had with the Japs.
              Human beings are the only creatures who are able to behave irrationally in the name of reason.

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              • #8
                Didn't Curtis LeMay say during the Cold War "The Soviets are our adversaries, but our enemy is the navy"?
                Reaction to the 2016 Munich shootings:
                Europe: "We are shocked and support you in these harsh times, we stand by you."
                USA: "We will check people from Germany extra-hard and it is your own damn fault for being so stupid."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Acheron View Post
                  Didn't Curtis LeMay say during the Cold War "The Soviets are our adversaries, but our enemy is the navy"?
                  Sounds about par for the course....Particularly during the Admiral's Revolt.
                  http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...php?groupid=75

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                  • #10
                    I think it also gave the US two options, so that all the eggs weren't in one basket.

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                    • #11
                      Broderick, the two axes strategy resulted from selfish interservice politics, not objective military reasons.

                      At the Quadrant Conference, the British CIGS questioned its wisdom.

                      In his memoirs, Air Force general 'Hap' Arnold wrote:
                      we continued operating in our inefficient way, with first three, then two commands ... both working towards the same end - the defeat of Japan, with overlapping lines of communication, overlapping air operations, overlapping sea operations, and finally, overlapping land Army operations. In my opinion, that was one hell of a way to run a war

                      As one academic wrote: "The logical solution, was of course to name a single commander for the entire Pacific with separate air, ground and naval commands."

                      For me, that would have been Chester Nimitz, not MacArthur, although Big Mac (with his string puller Richard Sutherland) would probably unavoidably ended up the ground commander under such a system.

                      Service interests and personality problems stopped the JCS even debating this sensible arrangement, but I would have thought that's why you have Marshall and Roosevelt, on behalf of the nation, sorting out these fighting children!
                      Last edited by clackers; 01 Oct 10, 22:31.

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                      • #12
                        tisn't like their wasn't any inter-service and nationalistic rivalries that had to be accommodated in the ETO is there?

                        before skewering what is basically a 100% American operation in the Pacific, need to look at all the compromises that were made in the ETO before we throw too many stones.
                        Human beings are the only creatures who are able to behave irrationally in the name of reason.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KICK View Post
                          before skewering what is basically a 100% American operation in the Pacific, need to look at all the compromises that were made in the ETO before we throw too many stones.
                          It was basically 100% in the Central Pacific, Kick.

                          Less so in the SW Pacific.

                          Even less so in Burma.

                          Less again in China, where from 1937-45 the bulk of the Japanese Army fought.

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                          • #14
                            While there was friction between the two approaches and commands, it was also remarkably successful. There was tension between the services, but Nimitz and MacArthur worked well together. The dual advance also never allowed the Japanese to concentrate on one approach. Consequently, the Japanese forces were whipsawed between offensives advancing on the home islands on two axes. Good evidence of this was provided during the Biak invasion which the IJN was preparing to oppose when they got news of the Saipan operation. Instead of attacking the transports off Biak, the carrier force went to its' doom in the Marianas.
                            "The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace." General William T. Sherman , 20 July 1865

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pmririshman View Post
                              There was tension between the services, but Nimitz and MacArthur worked well together.
                              They ignored each other, PMI!

                              That's not desirable, to fight your own wars, diverting resources from each other.

                              Originally posted by pmririshman View Post
                              The dual advance also never allowed the Japanese to concentrate on one approach.
                              Broadfronts make sense against an opponent able to move reserves between areas of a front, but in the Pacific the Japanese were scattered out over a vast perimeter, and the garrisons left stuck on their islands without the shipping to redeploy them, or even resupply them.

                              They could be defeated in detail at the Allies' choosing by an efficient single thrust strategy aimed at Luzon or Formosa, and by 1943 there was very little the Japanese could do to stop it. Mitscher's carriers would have made a mess of them wherever they sortied.
                              Last edited by clackers; 04 Oct 10, 20:23.

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