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Battle of Midway, 3-6 June 1942 “The Turning Point of the War in the Pacific” 15.2.17.

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Presentation on theme: "Battle of Midway, 3-6 June 1942 “The Turning Point of the War in the Pacific” 15.2.17."— Presentation transcript:

1 Battle of Midway, 3-6 June 1942 “The Turning Point of the War in the Pacific”

2 The Battle of Midway Yamamoto’s objective: Yamamoto divides his forces
Lure out and destroy U.S. carrier forces Yamamoto divides his forces Two carriers and invasion force attack the Aleutians Overly confident, but Japanese still have superiority U.S. disadvantages and advantages: Heavily outnumbered Inferior aircraft susceptible to attacks by Japanese “Zeros” Airfield on Midway Island - unsinkable carrier Interception and decoding of Japanese communications Virtually complete information regarding Yamamoto's fleet, tactical disposition, and routes of approach

3 The Battle of Midway Nimitz’s disposition of American forces:
Only 3 CVs, eight CAs/CLs, 14 DDs Deployed carriers Enterprise, Hornet & Yorktown under Fletcher before Japanese submarines arrived on station Reinforced aircraft on Midway to act as an unsinkable carrier Established air patrols on approaches to Midway Intelligence- U.S. broke Japanese code

4 Battle of Midway: Losses
American 307 lives 1 carrier 1 destroyer 147 planes Japanese 3500 lives (including many irreplaceable first line pilots) 4 carriers 1 heavy cruiser 322 aircraft

5 Battle of Midway: Significance
Turning point of the Pacific War Tactical and strategic victory for the American fleet despite technological superiority of Japanese aircraft. Intelligence had turned the tide in the Pacific End of Japanese offensive advance. Allied offensive advance about to begin

6 Post Midway Japanese leadership shocked by defeat at Midway
Cancel plans to take Fiji, Samoa, and New Caledonia Must proceed with plan to take Port Moresby Within bomber range of major naval operating base at Rabaul Japanese begin building airfield at Guadalcanal Nimitz moves to reinforce South Pacific Area Protect vital sea lines of communication with Australia

7 U.S. Air and Sub Warfare Air Warfare Submarine Warfare
Japan and Germany had early advantage in air war U.S. aircraft eventually produces better aircraft and the industrial base allows rapid and mass production. Air supremacy eventually established in both European and Pacific theaters Submarine Warfare Unrestricted Submarine Warfare ordered immediately after Pearl Harbor -- new role for U.S. submarines. Early problems ( ):Undependable torpedoes - poorly designed magnetic fusing. By 1945 – 75% of the Japanese merchant fleet sunk USS Indianapolis sunk -- July shark attacks. American industry adapted incredibly well Germans would build ten different kinds of tanks and twenty different kinds of aiplanes We’d have five design types Emphasis on training that exists today; we have the best trained people flying the best stuff 2,400 people died, but tactically speaking, Pearl Harbor wasn’t such a bad thing Japanese took out Battleships and airplanes (that wasn’t so great); left submarine fleet While we were making up for damage, submarines conducted unrestricted warfare (same thing Wilson had decried as immoral during WWI) Remember how subs helped McArthur Weren’t sure at first how to operate Had all of those conservative captains Lousy torpedoes (Mark-14) got better (Mark-18_ Wolfpacks? Better alone Not nearly as much video and photographs of the subs at work 7

8 Mark-14 torpedo steam-drven and lousy fuzes big wake EM fuze wouldn’t detonate when too far from hull back up contact fuze would dud all of the time if hit too hard Mark-18 electronic, butter fuze But sometimes circled around and hit the sub that fired it! Subs Guerre de Course and some fleet action

9 The Plan to Defeat Japan
Ultimate Objective: The Philippines and the penetration of the Japanese inner defense zone! 9

10 Dual Advance Mission: Drive through islands of central Pacific, capturing them as forward bases. Also, cut Japan’s SLOCs to mainland & SW Pacific. Central Pacific: Admiral Nimitz would be the main line of advance. South Pacific: MacArthur/Halsey and the Third Fleet would island hop up from the South Pacific and close in on the Philippines. Able to bypass some strongholds and attack at will. Major campaigns in the Gilberts, the Marshalls, and the Marianas McArthur wanted to push up from Australia with himself in command supported by land-based aircraft, which he would do as part of a two-pronged offensive on his way to the Phillipines. But the real thrust would be from Nimitz, who wanted a central Mahanian type (ie, condensed forces) push across the Pacific to island hop to the Phillipines and Japanese home islands- ie, War Plan Orange King, back in Washington, had brought Marshall over to this concept. This was going to be a Navy war. Admiral Nimitz developed an operational concept of seizing one island chain to support operations in the next chain. Before attacking the Marshall Islands, Nimitz's forces therefore had seized Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands, some 565 nautical miles south of the Marshalls, in November The U.S. Army's 27th Infantry Division had secured Makin against only light Japanese resistance, but the U.S. 2d Marine Division took strongly fortified and defended Tarawa only after suffering some of the heaviest American casualty rates of the war.

11 11

12 Where do you start the offensive?
MacArthur sees Midway as a chance to begin the process of retaking the Philippines. He proposes a direct assault on Rabaul in the Solomon Islands Admiral King objects to MacArthur’s plans Proposes step-by-step naval advance through Solomons Capture every island BUT Rabaul to isolate it Compromise: Initial advance in Eastern Solomons under Nimitz Command boundary between areas moved west MacArthur takes command after Tulagi secured McArthur sees Midway as a chance to start campaigning in his theater so he could get back to the Philippines Rabaul was a Japanese HQ base, extremely heavily fortified. It wasn’t a good idea to attack His idea is pretty simple: the Navy gives him everything he needs (ie, First Marine Division and few carriers) to go fight his war Admiral King says, “yeah, right!” Navy forces under Nimitz’ control

13 Pacific Theater Army Center for Military History

14 Think about how well the amphibious ops in Europe would go
Compromised reached This wasn’t strategy, but politics; you don’t “compromise” when fighting a war Think about how well the amphibious ops in Europe would go Marines would take the island of Tulagi, then McArthur would take command of ops Never got that far, because of intel about airfield being built in Guadalcanal while planning for Tulagi 14

15 Guadalcanal – Nov 1942 Whoever controlled an airfield would control air over the Solomons Guadalcanal = Vital SLOC For both sides it symbolized offensive warfare mindset. Japan dominates nighttime action. “Tokyo Express” down “The Slot” into “Iron Bottom Sound” U.S. dominates daytime with shore and carrier aircraft What did we say about the importance of SLOC to the Japanese? Marines very quickly take the Japanese built field and rename it “Henderson Field” after one of their aviators By day, the marines have air superiority and hold Japanese at bay By night the Japanese owned the “Slot,” a channel along the Solomons; able to reinforce themselves A perpetual pattern With 35,000 men and two hundred airplanes, the marines win Guadalcanal by December 1942 And, as usual, the marines do all of the grunt work, then hand it over to the army to hold Huge psychological victories for the allies Japanese are getting pushed back overland (island) 15

16 Guadalcanal Campaign Battle of Savo Island - Allies defeated in night surface action Battle of the Eastern Solomons - carrier battle USS Enterprise damaged by bombers USS Wasp sunk and Saratoga damaged by Japanese submarines Rabaul eventually becomes isolated and insignificant On to the Philippines (October 1944) 1) Battle of Savo Island: night of 8-9 August, while the transports were still unloading supplies for the marines a few miles to the south of Guadalcanal, the US Navy lost four heavy cruisers to night fighting Japanese cruisers Fletcher and his force were not around to give chase to the Japanese because they had retreated to the northwest to refuel. 2) Two weeks later, 24 August, Battle of the Eastern Solomons, Fletcher engaged the Shokaku and Zuikaku and a light carrier, the Ryujo. His bombers knocked out the Ryujo, but the Enterprise took three hits from Japanese planes USS Wasp is sunk and Saratoga damaged by Japanese submarines. 16

17 Aftermath of Guadalcanal
Both sides suffered heavy losses U.S loses more tonnage at sea, carriers Japan loses more lives Japan allowed to dominate sea at night while U.S. dominates day Battle drags on from Aug 42- Feb 43 MacArthur successful in driving Japanese from Papuan Peninsula By Feb 43 Jap plans for offensives in S. and W Pacific stopped cold King uses Casablanca Conference to allocate more resources to Pacific After Guadalcanal, Allies get together to plan the next phase of the war The British still want a focus on the Mediterranean- of course they do King is insistent on advancing gains in the Pacific The Casablanca talks produced no concrete plan for a defeat of either Germany or Japan- and no ironclad commitment to devote a greater percentage of resources to the Pacific. But the British chiefs of staff did conced that the Americans should somehoe retain their hard-won initiative in the the Pacific. Hagan: “for King this was a green light, however dim” and he successfully fought for more allocation in the Pacific theater in Washington 17

18 The Gilberts (Tarawa) – 20 Nov 1943
1st major island on the sea road to the Philippines Objective to gain airfield on Betio Island to launch further attacks in Central Pacific Drive 4,500 heavily entrenched Japanese. 3 days cost US > 3,000 marines JCS wanted invasion in November, but Spruance would have preferred December for tides and coral. Needed it in November so Brits could not back out of commitment to support in Pacific. Went in November, boats got stuck on the reefs. The island was captured, but at a loss of the 3,000 marines. McArthur jumped all over it of course, but the Pacific Campaign was underway- it was the Pacific Theater’s “Overlord” 18

19 The Marshalls After the Gilberts, concern for death toll in Marshalls
Nimitz orders RADM Mitscher attack to destroy Japanese Force Total Marshall loss less than first day of Tarawa Battle of Philippine Sea, June 1944 “The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” 346 Japanese planes downed 3 Japanese carriers sunk Classic Mahanian engagement Although the Japanese had expected an American fleet to appear somewhere in the Marshall Islands, they were surprised when one arrived off Kwajalein. Since Imperial Headquarters in Tokyo had reasoned that the American forces would begin at the outer islands and work inward toward Kwajalein, the building of fortifications on that island had received little priority. In addition, the Japanese believed that any landing would come from the seaward side of an island, as opposed to the lagoon side, and they had oriented their defenses in that direction. Only after receiving intelligence reports from Tokyo concerning the capabilities of the American LVT (landing vehicle, tracked), which had demonstrated its ability to climb over coral reefs, were they now finally beginning to construct defensive positions on the lagoon side of many islands. But ultimately, little in-depth defense was possible because most of the islands were so narrow. 19

20 Kwajalein Atoll Tarawa 20

21 Battle of Leyte Gulf 24-25 Oct 1944
Largest battle in all of naval history Japanese defeated in a series of separate engagements. Effective end of Japanese Navy’s ability to control the sea. Kamikaze attacks U.S. landings in Leyte Gulf MacArthur “returns” McCarthur’s in the picture Seventh Fleet- the fleet working for McArthur (ie, “McArthur’s Navy”) Third Fleet under Halsey The Japanese do a good job decoying Halsey out of the Gulf and he misses the battle Too late for Japan; they are defeated Their command of the sea is gone We’re looking to the Home Islands and another little island in between Iwo Jima 21

22 Pacific Theater Army Center for Military History

23 Liberation of the Philippines
U.S. advance continues after Marianas Campaign Macarthur's forces capture New Guinea Air strikes in the Philippines wipe out two hundred aircraft Bypass smaller islands and head to Leyte Gulf early from 20 December to 20 October 23

24 Iwo Jima Emergency landing field and fighter escort base.
Midway between Marianas and Tokyo Support B-29 strategic bombing of Japan 26,000 casualties 2,400 Emergency landings General Holland Smith “Iwo Jima was the most savage and most costly battle in the history of the Marine Corps.” Admiral Nimitz “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.” 24

25 Okinawa Campaign April-June 1945
Staging base for invasion of Kyushu Joint amphibious operation - Marines under Army command Heavy Japanese resistance 34 U.S. ships sunk USS Benjamin Franklin was damaged in a Kamikaze raid during the invasion of Okinawa - March 1945. 4,900 Sailors killed in action Over 40,000 U.S. casualties Carrier groups begin raids on Japanese home islands. U.S. has established complete control of the seas. 25

26 Manhattan Project: Atomic Bombs
President Truman orders two bombings. Hiroshima - 6 August 1945 Nagasaki - 9 August 1945 Believed potential for casualties during a prolonged struggle for the Japanese home islands is too high. During the Potsdam Conference with Stalin and Churchill outside of occupied Berlin, Harry S Truman learned that an atomic device had been exploded successfully in a test at Alamogordo, New Mexico. An atomic attack might obviate the need to invade Japan at an estimated cost of 500,000 American casualities. Truman gave the order to bomb Hiroshima. The atomic age was born on 6 August, 1945. Unconditional surrender 26

27 Japan Surrenders Japanese officially surrender aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. MacArthur commands U.S. army of occupation of Japan. 27

28 Battle History Video Chapter 2 "Fire and Water", Time 12:50-34:00. Chapter 3 "Steel Walls of Freedom", Time: 00:00-21:08

29 Enabling Objectives Comprehend the political and economic forces that led Japan to strike at Pearl Harbor. Comprehend the Japanese strategy for an early victory and their concept of the postwar Pacific power balance. Comprehend the impact of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent Battles of Coral Sea and Midway on the transformation of the aircraft carrier's role in Naval Warfare. List the significant highlights of the evolution of U.S. operational strategy in the Pacific, including major battles or campaigns. Understand the geopolitical and military implications of President Truman’s decision to utilize atomic weapons in ending the war.

30 Next time: The US Navy in the Early Cold War, 1945-1953
QUESTIONS? First Air Force One, FDR’s!!!! Lessons of World War II in the Pacific 1. The students should assess the relative importance of the various facets of sea power used by the United States to win the war in the Pacific: Carrier aviation, surface units, submarines, and amphibious forces. 2. The students should examine the role of strategic bombing in the Pacific in World War II, including fire-bombing and atomic bombing, and compare its efficacy with the European theater of operations. 3. The students should contrast Pacific war strategy with that employed in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and assess why there were such major contrasts. 4. The students should weigh the merits and salient characteristics of the outstanding leaders of the Pacific war: King, Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, and MacArthur. 5. The students should comprehend the revolution in naval technology and strategy that characterized the war in the Pacific: a. The unanticipated maturation of carrier aviation as an offensive weapon of war. This subject should include gaining an appreciation of the revolutionary logistical systems developed during the war, including forward basing and underway replenishment for the fast carrier task forces. b. The unexpected effectiveness of the American submarines as weapons of interdiction of the industrial base of Japanese war machine. 6. Discuss the long-term geopolitical effects of the Pacific war on the postwar order in Asia. a. An Asian nation forcibly overcomes Europe­an/American control of hundreds of millions of colonial subject peoples. b. These events accelerate national freedom movements -- India, Indonesia -- genesis of the "Third World." c. Have enormous significance in colonial areas around the world in reducing prestige of colonial powers. d. Forced colonial powers to make deals/acknowledge future independence claims in return for native population cooperation. Next time: The US Navy in the Early Cold War,

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