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"The Principle of the Objective--Nagumo vs Spruance" Topic

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Tango0101 Dec 2020 10:34 p.m. PST

… at Midway

"The sea battle of Midway in early June,1942 resulted in a stunning, resounding victory for the United States over the Empire of Japan. Prior to this epic battle, the Japanese Striking Fleet spearheaded an unchecked advance of Japanese forces over one-third the span of the globe. By losing the four core aircraft carriers of her Striking Fleet and her highly trained aviators, Japan relinquished her dominant edge in seaborne airpower over the United States. Without those carriers the planned Midway invasion was canceled, Japan's ability to project seapower was vastly diminished, and her weak industrial base never made up those crippling material losses for the duration of the war. The United States, on the other hand, with her vast untapped material and training resources, used the reprieve granted at Midway to check Japan's advances in the Solomons while building the largest and greatest Navy ever seen for her own march across the Pacific slightly over a year later. Though many elements of luck, hard work, and skill contributed to America's victory and Japan's defeat at Midway, perhaps the most crucial was the application of the "Principle of the Objective" to the battle by the two key commanders: Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance (U.S.) and Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo (Japan). These two admirals, though not technically in charge of the overall operation, made the key tactical decisions relative to that "Principle" that affected the outcome of the battle.

The nine "Principles of War" were codified in the early twentieth century by British Major John Fuller. Good battle commanders had always understood and applied these 'well-known' fundamental principles long before they were ever written down. The principles are: Objective, Offensive, Simplicity, Unity of Command, Mass, Economy of Forces, Maneuver, Surprise, and Security. Foremost among them is the "Principle of the Objective". As stated in the official US Army Field Manual:

"Every military operation must be directed toward a decisive, obtainable objective. The destruction of the enemy's armed forces and his will to fight is the ultimate military objective of war. The objective of each operation must contribute to this ultimate objective. Secondary objectives of any operation must contribute to the attainment of the principal objective"…"
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian01 Dec 2020 11:44 p.m. PST

Spruance had better intelligence; Nagumo was unlucky.

hindsTMP Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2020 8:41 a.m. PST

A poorly-informed "analysis" which writes Fletcher out of the picture. It also seems oblivious of the screw-ups of "Halsey's Staff". These and other issues are probably due to the author's inadequate bibliography; I notice it lacks any of Lundstrom's books, such as "The First Team".


Tango0102 Dec 2020 12:32 p.m. PST



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