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Naval History of WWII Presented by Bruce. A. Apgar, Jr., CDR, USN (RET)

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Presentation on theme: "Naval History of WWII Presented by Bruce. A. Apgar, Jr., CDR, USN (RET)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Naval History of WWII Presented by Bruce. A. Apgar, Jr., CDR, USN (RET)

2 Naval History of World War II in the Pacific – Japanese invade China in the Atlantic – Germans invade Poland

3 What Caused the War Global Depression Japanese industrialization and expansionism – Rise of Militarists in Japan and Nazis in Germany After-effects of the The Great War

4 Naval Arms Race Push for peace and economic realities – Washington Naval Conference, 1922 Limits Capital Ships of US, UK, Japan, France, Italy Size and numbers of Battleships and Cruisers – 1 st & 2 nd London Naval Conference, 1930; 1936 Limits on numbers of smaller combatants – Civil War naval combat: yds vs. WWII naval combat 9-10 miles! (planes hundreds of miles) Limited growth of existing Navies…prompted Japan to replace many older generation ships. Also freed resources to the development of Naval Aviation…a new technology that would change the nature of Naval Warfare….Theory of Air Power: General Billy Mitchell

5 Tension Builds Japan’s growing economy demands raw materials – Iron, Oil, Rubber With these resources unavailable in the home islands, Japanese begin to look toward the rich resources of the island chains that surround the Pacific Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere – Similar to Manifest Destiny?

6 Tension Builds Europe’s economy in ruins after WWI Reparations devastated Germany Hitler’s rise to power – Remilitarization and the annexation of neighboring “German” Provinces

7 War Breaks out in Pacific 1937 Japanese invade China – Results in a series of diplomatic actions that culminate in US embargo of certain industrial materials to Japan, especially oil and scrap metal.

8 War Breaks out in Europe 1939 Germany (& USSR) invades Poland – Results in Britain and France declaring war on Germany. – Germany rolls over Allies and begins attempt to starve out the Allies through naval disruption of the military supplies to England. Evacuation of Dunkirk Germany invades Russia in 1941

9 US Sits By and Watches? Naval War between Great Britain and Germany neutralizes Germany’s surface fleet. Lend-lease program Submarine Warfare Military-industrial build-up – George C. Marshall – Harold R. Stark

10 DEC 7, 1941 Japan decides that the time to act has come – Massive raid on US base at Hawaii Devastates bulk of the US Battle Fleet Aircraft Carriers and fuel depots survive US declares war on DEC 8 th DEC 10 th Germany and Italy declare war on US – Had signed tripartite treaty with Japan in 1940 Only instance of Hitler honoring an int’l agreement!

11 Allied Strategy:“Germany First” Allies (Britain and US) decide to fight a holding action in Pacific while winning the war in Europe – Set priorities for men and material – US really can’t ignore Japan Homeland feels threatened Territories conquered They wanted revenge for being “suddenly and deliberately attacked” Britain had largely eliminated German Surface Navy which freed up the bulk of naval ship construction for the Pacific Fleet…Bismarck, Graf Spee, Tirpitz

12 Battle of the Atlantic German Unrestricted Submarine Warfare – Almost brings UK to her knees – Convoys – Escorts (air and naval) – Destroyer Escorts – Liberty Ships, LOSSES AlliesGermans 36,200 sailors30,000 sailors 36,000 merchant seamen 783 submarines 3,500 merchant vessels 175 warships

13 Battle for the Mediterranean North Africa – Operation Torch US Amphibious Assault in Morocco. French navy resistance from Dakar, Senegal. Malta – 3340 Air Raids Sicily – Operation Husky – Patton &/vs Montgomery vs. Germans Italy - Anzio Landing – Operation Shingle – LST

14 Landing Ship, Tank (LST) Often called the ship that won WWII

15 Normandy Operation Overlord Largest Armada ever assembled – 5000 ships – Delivered over 160,000 troops to Normandy beaches

16 Tomorrow

17 The Aftermath of Pearl Harbor What is left? – 3 Carriers – Destroyers – Fuel Depot

18 Japanese Advance Quickly eliminate British and French Naval Threat Between January and June 1942 Japan overruns much of Southeast Asia, Philippines, South Pacific, Guam, Wake

19 Japanese advance quickly

20 Coral Sea 4-8 May 1942 Japan plans for invasion of Port Moresby and Solomon Islands…eventually Australia? Ends in relative draw, but…stops advance, sets stage for Midway

21 Midway Turning Point of War… The US Navy’s Finest Hour? Japan’s plan to finish off US fleet and consolidate her expansion Incredible numerical advantage for Japan – 7 Aircraft Carriers and 11 Battleships – Japan – 3 Aircraft Carriers - US

22 Forces Move Into Position

23 The Battle Unfolds

24 Outcome US loses one carrier and one destroyer. Japan loses four carriers and two cruisers. Japan cannot replace the loses in manpower and material and never again returns to the offense. Better intelligence…knowledge superiority…key to victory.

25 US/Allies take the offensive Difference between building an empire and defeating an enemy? Nimitz in charge of Naval and Marine Forces; MacArthur in charge of Army Forces Dual pronged assault – MacArthur works up the island chains toward the Philippines – Nimitz across central Pacific

26 Island Hopping Campaign

27 Guadalcanal August 1942-February 1943 First major amphibious assault of the Pacific Campaign Hundreds of ships and hundreds of thousands of troops Carriers must leave after 72 hours First step in securing the Solomon Islands

28 Guadalcanal August 1942-February 1943 Iron Bottom Sound

29 New Guinea Japanese threat to Australia and Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) needed to neutralized. Huge army campaign supported by Naval Gunfire and Air. MacArthur’s first step to “Returning”

30 Philippines Series of major land and sea engagements

31 Tarawa November 1943 First step across the Central Pacific – Huge naval force (17 carriers) Horrific fighting – 3000 US casualties and 90% of the 3600 Japanese killed.

32 The Battle of the Philippine Sea “The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” June 1944

33 Guam July-August 1944 Final Push in the Marianas Campaign Difficult assault over coral reefs ringing the island. Over 18,000 of 22,000 defenders died. US casualties 8000 (K/W) of 36,000 Became B-29 Staging Base

34 Leyte Gulf Largest naval battle ever Eliminated Japanese Navy as an effective fighting force.

35 Leyte Gulf Three Separate Japanese Attacks Northern Group, Draw of Halsey and Aircraft Carrier Southern Group attack through Surigao Strait and destroy landing craft Central Group attack Naval Forces off Samar and join Southern Group

36 Kamikaze “Divine Wind” Last desperate attempt to stem the allied advance

37 Okinawa April – June 1945 The last gasp Largest amphibious assault of the war 1500 Kamikaze attacks sunk 20 ships and damaged 150 others. Last Japanese naval attack – 7 of 10 ships (including YAMATO) sunk by Naval Air To be a major staging area for Japanese Invasion

38 Conventional (explosives, incendiary) vs. Atomic Bomb vs. Land Assault Firebombing vs. Atomic bombing -considerations: purpose, targets, impact on Japan (and the USSR) Truman’s leadership/decisiveness/no regrets: acted with the best info available in the best interest of Americans and the Allies (and Japanese?—get it over with). Why at Hiroshima and Nagasaki (not many other urban centers not yet devastated) Role of Emperor (deity): wanted to preserve it

39 Good Resources Books – The United States Navy – Last Stand of the Tin Cans – At Dawn We Slept – Midway, Incredible Victory – The Longest Day – Run Silent, Run Deep – The Cruel Sea – Helmet For My Pillow – With the Old Breed Movies – Victory at Sea – Tora, Tora, Tora – Midway – Mr. Roberts – The Sands of Iwo Jima Websites – – – m m – The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb – Naval History Bibiliography Naval History Bibiliography


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