Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What if MacArthur goes on the offensive on Bataan in early 1942?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What if MacArthur goes on the offensive on Bataan in early 1942?

    Okay, bear with me for a minute. Let's just say that MacArthur successfully pulls off his double retrograde manuver into Bataan, as he historically did, with all of his troops, equipment, but not enough food. After the first major Japanese attack on Bataan that drives the Filippino-American forces partially down the peninsula, MacArthur mounts a blitzkrieg style attack and counterattacks using the two main north/south running roads with all of his armor, anti-tank gun mounted half tracks, support vehicles and troops under a friendly artillery barrage from his still sizable number of artillery pieces. Hindsight being 20-20, we now know that the Japanese never outnumbered the Filippino-American forces on Bataan during the campaign, something that the USAFFE forces never knew.

    Let's say that MacArthur's mobile armored forces break through and gets well into General Homma's rear, cutting off the main Japanese Army from any support behind them. How much death and destruction could they mete out? Could the USAFFE Forces catch Homma's forces in a pincer movement, crush them and turn the tables temporarily on the Japanese?

    Granted, given the time frame, there were only a few dozen P-40 and P-35 fighterplanes left in his air force, but they might have kept Japanese air support at bay. Also, considering Bataan's double canopy forests, how much would that have limited the effectiveness of a USAFFE counterattack?
    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

  • #2
    Rommel would have, no mistake!

    I think he should have, and he would have succeeded.

    Japan would have landed a larger Army, in fact; they did. But meanwhile, he could have recovered much of his abandoned supplies, and held out for much longer when he was eventualy forced back into Batann.

    His Tanks and half-tracks would have been worn-out very soon, but they were not decisive in the defence of mountanous Batann anyway.

    If it looked as if he could hold out all through 1942, how would that have altered Jap strategy? Would they have tried for Port Moresby, or even Guadalcanal?

    Comment


    • #3
      Exactly what were the motor vehicals & tanks remaining?

      Some historians analyzing the inital resistance in the first week suggest that Mac should have been able to destroy the landing sites, had he properly trained command saffs running the tactical units. That is the battalion and regimental command lacked the staf skills to pull off the rapid and focused atacks needed to defeat the landings. If this is correct then it is unlikely the tactical commanders could have organized and executed a corps or even brigade size mechanized attack.

      Perhaps a exam of the counter attacks that were made would provide some clues.

      My own take is that if there had been the rations and artillery ammo available it would have been easier to shoot the Japanese attacks apart until their army collapsed or at least could not longer attack. On New Guneia this is part of what the Australians did to the Japanese. ditto for Gudacannal. The Japanese tactical leaders were used to fighting third rate Chinese soldiers and their tactics were less than optimal for dealing with disciplined motivated infantry with proper artillery support.

      In either case it would have been a shock to Japans Army. Ulike the obscure battlefields in the SE Pacific a major seetback on Luzon would have been impossible to conceal or misinterpret. The Navy could not have been blamed, tho someone would have tried. Instead the Japanese Army would have been confronted directly with a major failure of its methods.

      Comment


      • #4
        Are you talking about after the Japanese broke through the first defense line at Bataan? It took all of the good manpower to re-establish another line. While this was going on the Japanese were staging amphibious landings behind the Americans/Filippinos. These Japanese died, but it took attention away from the front.

        The problem in my mind is there were not enough trained regiments to go into an attack. There were three good Infantry Regiments (two Philippine Scout) and one understrength Cavalry Regiment (PS). The Tanks were not in good shape either, as the proper maintenance on them had not been done on them when they arrived. The Japanese also used all their artillery in the antitank role. While the Americans could have surprised Homma, the Japanese artillery would have eventually taken out all the light tanks and half-tracks.

        I just don't see MacArthur holding the rest of the line with unreliable Philippine Army units.

        Lastly, MacArthur was no Rommel!

        Pruitt
        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
          Are you talking about after the Japanese broke through the first defense line at Bataan? It took all of the good manpower to re-establish another line. While this was going on the Japanese were staging amphibious landings behind the Americans/Filippinos. These Japanese died, but it took attention away from the front.

          The problem in my mind is there were not enough trained regiments to go into an attack. There were three good Infantry Regiments (two Philippine Scout) and one understrength Cavalry Regiment (PS). The Tanks were not in good shape either, as the proper maintenance on them had not been done on them when they arrived. The Japanese also used all their artillery in the antitank role. While the Americans could have surprised Homma, the Japanese artillery would have eventually taken out all the light tanks and half-tracks.

          I just don't see MacArthur holding the rest of the line with unreliable Philippine Army units.

          Lastly, MacArthur was no Rommel!

          Pruitt
          According to records, the 70 something surviving M-3 Stuart tanks managed to take all of their spare parts, tracks, POL and ammunition into Bataan with them. The bren gun carriers, halftrack-mounted 75mm guns, scout cars, deuce and a half trucks and jeeps did so as well. Colonel James Weaver's Provisional tank group was in pretty good shape overall after the long retreat into Bataan. The only thing lacking was an aggressive officer who understood the break through possibilities of armored warfare.
          "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

          Comment


          • #6
            There were two Light Tank Battalions on Luzon, yet at Lingayen Gulf how many were used? I know of only one Company used. MacArthur's people used them to establish defense lines. This is a fairly novel use of a Light Tank. The troops on Luzon were so short of machine guns that they removed two of the five mgs from the Stuarts and installed a mild steel plate to cover the holes. This created a weak spot in the frontal armor.

            I am a bit curious as to just how "hands on" Douglas was to the operational plans on Luzon. My impression was he gave tasks to his subordinates and then never went to check how they were implemented.

            Pruitt
            Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

            Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

            by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
              The only thing lacking was an aggressive officer who understood the break through possibilities of armored warfare.
              Break through possibilities? Hold on a sec.

              It's one thing to understand the break through possibilities in Poland, or France, with a good road network, secure supplies, years of experience playing with the doctrine, well trained staff, and air superiority or at least parity, etc, etc, etc.

              I'm not saying you're wrong, but what makes you believe that:

              a. European blitzkrieg type warfare would have worked in the Phillipines
              b. That MacArthur's army was even remotely capable of that kind of maneuver

              Again, you may be right. I'd just like to point out that the mere presence of tanks does not turn an army into a mobile force.

              Comment


              • #8
                By the time MacAuthur pulled back onto Bataan he had no airforce left. The only operational airfields were far to the south on Mindinao.
                Most of the tanks he had had been lost in the retreat and those that were left were short on fuel and had had no maintenance.
                The US / Philippine forces were just too fragmented and disorganized to make a useful offensive by that point in the campaign.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pruitt View Post

                  Lastly, MacArthur was no Rommel!

                  Pruitt
                  Mac was capable of inovative thinking when the pressure was on. Underneath the ego & other baggage was a farly capable man.

                  Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                  I am a bit curious as to just how "hands on" Douglas was to the operational plans on Luzon. My impression was he gave tasks to his subordinates and then never went to check how they were implemented.
                  Judging from Eisenhowers testmony, Ike served on Mac staff in the Phillipines for several years, Mac checked his staff work throughlly. He was one of the many WWI comanders that swore the US Army would never repeat the gastly staff failures of WWI. Eichelberger and many other commanders had something to say about Mac peering over his field commanders shoulders. Their remarks give the impression that he swung across the complete spectrum from micromanaging one day, to completly igoring things another day.

                  During the Battan campaign Mac spent most of his time on Corrigidor. Wainright and the corps commanders ran the actual battle.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That is my point, though. MacArthur spent too much time in Manila and on Corregidor. While Krueger and Eichelberger caught a lot of heat from MacArthur later looking over their shoulder, at least they went to the front to find out why things were not working when things stalled. How often did Douglas go to the front on New Guinea? Not after the battle was over...

                    MacArthur did do some good work in the SWPOA, I just don't see any evidence of him being a good Armor Attack officer. This just means his talents lay more in the Infantry line of work.

                    Pruitt
                    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      To make Johns WI work we have to postulate: 1. Adaquate supply for a mechanized force/s. 2. Enough mechanized/motorized battalions to overcome the kown Japanese defense ability in Bataan. 3. Enough leaders and staff, from battalion up, with the experince to organize a coherent and sustained brigade/divsion size attack.

                      I certainly dont have the numbers available for either side to provide for this. If someone else does then we could try to estimate how far short the Bataan army was from executing such and attack.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                        By the time MacAuthur pulled back onto Bataan he had no airforce left. The only operational airfields were far to the south on Mindinao.
                        Most of the tanks he had had been lost in the retreat and those that were left were short on fuel and had had no maintenance.
                        The US / Philippine forces were just too fragmented and disorganized to make a useful offensive by that point in the campaign.
                        Actually, there were two operational airfields on Bataan by January 1, 1942. There was Cabcaben and Bataan airfields. Both had flak gun emplacements and revetments for their aircraft. There were at least a dozen P-40's and P-35 fighterplanes left in the USAFFE Airforce at this time, give or take a few, because the mechanics were busy canabalizing aircraft.

                        Lastly, only about 30 US tanks were lost in the long retreat into Bataan, leaving about 70 effective Stuart Tanks in the Provisional tank group's TOE.
                        "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          John,

                          When you say there are about 70 effective Stuarts are you using a source that says they were effective or are you assuming they were effective? While they may have run, they did not get depot maintenance when they arrived and the main guns were not in effective shape. They made large mobile machine gun nests until they were hit. The plus is the Japanese 4th Armor Regiment left for other places in January of 1942.

                          Those halftrack 75s might have been better used as SP artillery than in a antitank role. From what I recall about American Halftracks they were not exactly well armored. While normal small arms fire will not penetrate, armor piercing ammo from machineguns will penetrate. They are also quite vulnerable to mortar and artillery fire.

                          One reason the Japanese had so much trouble breaking into Bataan is they withdrew the 48th Division and the above 4th AR and the 5th Air Wing and 11th Naval Air Corps at this time. This left one Infantry Division (16th) and one Imperial Mixed Brigade (65th) with one Armor Regiment (4th) to complete the conquest of the entire archipelago. They had to bring in significant reinforcements plus heavy artillery to finish the job.

                          Pruitt
                          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                            John,

                            When you say there are about 70 effective Stuarts are you using a source that says they were effective or are you assuming they were effective? While they may have run, they did not get depot maintenance when they arrived and the main guns were not in effective shape. They made large mobile machine gun nests until they were hit. The plus is the Japanese 4th Armor Regiment left for other places in January of 1942.

                            Those halftrack 75s might have been better used as SP artillery than in a antitank role. From what I recall about American Halftracks they were not exactly well armored. While normal small arms fire will not penetrate, armor piercing ammo from machineguns will penetrate. They are also quite vulnerable to mortar and artillery fire.


                            Pruitt
                            The three historical narratives that I read all seemed to say that the tank's support units were able to get their spare parts, fuel and etc safely into Bataan. One paragraph said that the first spare tracks the tanks ever saw since the beginning of the war was when they retired behind the lines into Bataan. Also, those 70+ tanks made it to Bataan under their own power, as there were no prime movers in the PI at this time.
                            "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DingBat View Post
                              Break through possibilities? Hold on a sec.

                              It's one thing to understand the break through possibilities in Poland, or France, with a good road network, secure supplies, years of experience playing with the doctrine, well trained staff, and air superiority or at least parity, etc, etc, etc.

                              I'm not saying you're wrong, but what makes you believe that:

                              a. European blitzkrieg type warfare would have worked in the Phillipines
                              b. That MacArthur's army was even remotely capable of that kind of maneuver

                              Again, you may be right. I'd just like to point out that the mere presence of tanks does not turn an army into a mobile force.

                              a. They worked just fine for Mac when he returned in 1944-45

                              b. They were just as capable, abliet on a much smaller scale, as the German Army was at the start of Barbarossa.

                              Only 17 of the 150 German DIvisions were Panzers, and there were about 10 infantry Divisions that had captured French trucks, and thus coudl be called mechanized... I think you will find that the ratio was not so different on Bataan.
                              The biggest, and most distressing diference, was in the quality and drive of the officers involved.

                              There was a fourth Regiment of high quality available; the Marines stuck on Corrigedor. Instead of using them as Mac's Preatorian guard, they should hav been used to lead the offensive, or to make landings along the shores of Manilla bay. It is easy to forget, but the only warships in that bay were American gunboats. THere probably were not enough boats to move them all, but a battalion showing up at the right place at the right time could have caused the Japs all kinds of trouble. They might even have pulled all the way back to Manila itself, as incredible as it may seem... but the Army (corps, realy) that threw itself against Bataan the first time was a wreck
                              , it had litterly died on its feet trying to duplicate Yamashita's feat on Malaysia.

                              The armor on a US Halftrack was just as good, if not better, than what was on Jap light tanks... just thought I ought to mention that.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X