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"MacArthur's Failures in the Philippines, December 1941..." Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2022 10:33 p.m. PST

… – March 1942

"The 7 December 1941 Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by Japanese Admiral Chichi Nagumo's naval strike force suddenly and fully thrust the United States into World War II, a war which would last for nearly four years and cost 407,316 American military lives and wound another 671,846.[1] Nearly every year since this attack, on its anniversary, Pearl Harbor has been commemorated by veterans and non-veterans alike, and rightly so.

What is not as well known is that the attack on Pearl Harbor was just a part of the Japanese offensive planned for 7 December. The overall plan called for simultaneous attacks not only on Pearl Harbor, but also on several other American and Allied locations throughout the Pacific. Most of these simultaneous attacks went as planned.[2] However, due to bad weather over the Island of Formosa—the location of the airbases from which the Japanese were to launch their bombers and fighter planes against the Philippines—the initial air strike on the American protectorate of the Philippine Islands was delayed for several hours…."
More here


Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2022 8:18 p.m. PST

MacArthur was told he had to be ready by April 1942. He was told to hold out for six months and the fleet would return with troops and supplies to kick out the Japanese.

The intelligence that he got from the US government was wrong and they sent almost zero supplies once war started, they even diverted supplies that were enroute to the Philippines to other places.

The Japanese air strike on the Philippine Islands got lucky, just as they did in Pearl Harbor. But unlike at Pearl Harbor the Philippines did not get any replacement aircraft, troops or ships. They did not even send enough quinine to prevent malaria, resulting in almost everyone having it by the end of the campaign.

Imagine the landings in North Africa or D-Day getting ashore and then being told, no more supplies for six months. How well would those generals have fared?

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2022 8:36 a.m. PST

As part of my own research on the Philippines campaign I attempted to uncover who was to blame for the failures on Luzon. I was able to track down a day-by-day list of Japanese airstrikes on every airfield on the islands. The initial strike on Clark may have been mere luck, but the systematic methods used to gain air superiority show the Japanese were no dummies. The worst part about those dark days is that the USFEAF had several hours warning. While the Japanese bombers were revving their engines on Formosa, held down by heavy fog, the U,S, could have launched their own B-17s and caught the Japanese on the ground. As it turned out, the reverse happened and the American bombers and their figjter escorts were caught refueling and having lunch. The Japanese strike wiped out 1/3rd of American airpower in the region in about a half hour. By the time the 14th Army made its landings, the Japanese had total control of the air.

rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2022 8:38 a.m. PST

The failure appears to lie with Sutherland.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Mar 2022 2:17 p.m. PST

The US Army Official History of the campaign (the famous "Green Books") "Fall of the Philippines" is really excellent. It clearly shows that even with the early loss of the air force, MacArthur could have done vastly better in the ground campaign. He was clearly stunned by the early losses of his planes and was wandering around in a daze, leaving everything to subordinates (who had no orders) for weeks afterward. Nothing was going to save the Philippines, but they could have held out for far longer.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2022 3:06 p.m. PST



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