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A Bit More USMC Propaganda--Enjoy! ;-)

#1
From a rather well known (and yes conservative) American commentator who is obviously quite insightful :D :

Marinestan
By Victor Davis Hanson

HBO's 10-part series on the Pacific campaign of World War II just ended. That story of island-hopping was mostly about how the old breed of U.S. Marines fought diehard Japanese infantrymen face-to-face in places like Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Guam and Okinawa.

We still argue whether it was smart to storm those entrenched Japanese positions or whether all those islands were strategically necessary. But no one can question the Marine Corps' record of having defeating the most savage infantrymen of the age, thereby shattering the myth of Japanese military invincibility.

Since WWII, the Marines have turned up almost anywhere that America finds itself in a jam against supposedly unconquerable enemies - in bloody places like Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir in Korea, at Hue and Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War, at the two bloody sieges of Fallujah in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan.

Over the last two centuries, two truths have emerged about the Marine Corps. One, they defeat the toughest of America's adversaries under the worst of conditions. And two, periodically their way of doing things - and their eccentric culture of self-regard - so bothers our military planners that some higher-ups try either to curb their independence or end the Corps altogether.

After the Pacific fighting, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson wanted to disband the Marines Corps. What good were amphibious landings in the nuclear age? Johnson asked. His boss, President Harry Truman, agreed and didn't like the cocky Marines either.

Then came Korea - and suddenly the Pentagon wanted more Marines. The fighting against hard-core North Korean and Communist Chinese veterans was as nasty as anything seen in three millennia of organized warfare. The antiquated idea of landing on beaches proved once again a smart way of outflanking the enemy.

The Marines survived Korea, Louis Johnson and Harry Truman - and continued to carve out their own logistics, air-support and tactical doctrine. Marine self-sufficiency was due to lingering distrust of the other services dating back to the lack of air and naval support in World War II, and to Marine paranoia that the other services liked their combative spirit but not their independence.

We are once again seeing one of those periodic re-examinations of the Corps. This time, the old stereotype of the lone-ranger, gung-ho Marines supposedly doesn't fit too well with fighting sophisticated urban counterinsurgency under an integrated, international command.

After all, America is fighting wars in which we rarely hear of the number of enemy dead, but a great deal about the need to rebuild cities and infrastructure. In Afghanistan, there have been rumors about a new medal for "courageous restraint" that would honor soldiers who hesitated pulling the trigger against the enemy out of concern about harming civilians.

The Marines are now starting to redeploy to Afghanistan from Iraq and are building a huge base in Delaram. They plan to win over southern Afghanistan's remote, wild Nimruz province that heretofore has been mostly a no-go Taliban stronghold. While NATO forces concentrate on Afghanistan's major cities, the Marines think they can win over local populations their way, take on and defeat the Taliban, and bring all of Nimruz back from the brink - with their trademark warning "no better friend, no worse enemy."

So once again, the Marines are convinced that their own ingenuity and audacity can succeed where others have failed. And once again, not everyone agrees.

The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, retired three-star Army General Karl W. Eikenberry, reportedly made a comment about there being 41 nations serving in Afghanistan - and a 42nd composed of the Marine Corps. One unnamed Obama administration official was quoted by the Washington Post as saying, "We have better operational coherence with virtually all of our NATO allies than we have with the U.S. Marine Corps."

Some officials call the new Marine enclave in Nimruz Province "Marinestan" - as if, out of a Kipling or Conrad novel, the Marines have gone rogue to set up their own independent province of operations.

Yet once again, it would be wise not to tamper with the independence of the Marine Corps., given that its methods of training, deployment, fighting, counterinsurgency and conventional warfare usually pay off in the end.

The technological and political face of war is always changing. But its essence - organized violence to achieve political ends - is no different from antiquity. Conflict will remain the same as long as human nature does as well.

The Marines have always best understood that. And from the Marines' initial mission against the Barbary Pirates to the battles in Fallujah, Americans have wanted a maverick Marine Corps - a sort of insurance policy that kept them safe, just in case. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/05/21/marinestan_105658.html
 
#2
Just finished watching it on Sky TV here in the UK. Very, very good. I'll be buying it on DVD when it comes out later this year. Alreday bought the book.

I wonder which conflict HBO will turn their attention to next?
 
#3
Colonel,

What I found fascinating in the series was the ending. As a Marine, I had no clue the invasion of Okinawa was completed by primarily the US Army. The Marines had such high casualties, through the entire island hopping campaign, they were pretty much decimated. This is truly an unforgotten aspect to WWII. When you think of that war, most people directly go to Europe.

Very interesting show and I am actually, right now, reading the books by many of the main characters.
 
#4
jumpinjarhead said:
In Afghanistan, there have been rumors about a new medal for "courageous restraint" that would honor soldiers who hesitated pulling the trigger against the enemy out of concern about harming civilians.
I'm guessing that medal will mainly be awarded posthumously.
 
#5
Here's a link to a book that I've just finished about one of the toughest and the longest campaign of WWII, the British/Indian fight against the Japanses in Burma which lasted from 1942 all the way until the surrender in August 1945. For all the US arrser's out there this worth a read:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0007132409/?tag=armrumser-21

I'm not taking anything away from the USMC - at all - but I recommend this to any student of the war in the pacific theatre.
 
#6
Phil306 said:
Colonel,

What I found fascinating in the series was the ending. As a Marine, I had no clue the invasion of Okinawa was completed by primarily the US Army. The Marines had such high casualties, through the entire island hopping campaign, they were pretty much decimated. This is truly an unforgotten aspect to WWII. When you think of that war, most people directly go to Europe.

Very interesting show and I am actually, right now, reading the books by many of the main characters.
I did the same as I had read them long ago and forgotten a lot of detail. Unfortunately, as was apparent in reading the books, the film shows the heavy hand of the producers own biases (Tom Hanks' overbroad and unfair assertion the the Pacific War was "merely" one of racism) and the rather usual "Hollywood" themes of disrespect for authority etc. (although Leckie's book did have a good deal of this but it was within the context of a larger respect for the Corps etc. that the film did not appear to bother with).

I attended a special premiere showing in Atlanta attended by many WWII Marine veterans (many in pretty bad physical condition) and a number of them left about half way through in disgust. One example of the heavy hand of the producers' and screenwriters' bias was the wholly gratuitous (it was not in any of the books on which the film was supposedly based) cowardly captain in the first battle sequence. While undoubtedly there were those of every rank who may have reacted in that way to battle, to focus in the way they did underscores the usual agenda of most post-modern films that seem unable to depict unambiguous characters.

Your point about the differences in coverage and the resulting general understanding of WWII as between the ETO and PTO has been studied. TA good example of the phenomenon is the D-Day landings that, while immense and strategically very significant, is overshadowed by the Okinawa campaign in terms of scale and, more importantly, casualties--both in terms of rates and numbers.

Here is an excerpt that summarizes this climactic battle:

Beginning in April of 1945, over fifty years ago on an island in the Pacific, American and Japanese men fought and killed each other as never before. Caught in the crossfire between these warring powers were the native inhabitants of Okinawa. The battle's significance has been lost despite the unprecedented events that occurred during those eighty-two days.

The Battle of Okinawa is distinguished among battles, yet often unrecognized when referring to the great battles of the Second World War. Over 250,000 people lost their lives. Approximately 150,000 Okinawans, about a third of the population, perished.[1] At the battle's end, somewhere between a third and half of all surviving civilians were wounded.[2] No battle during the Second World War, except Stalingrad, had as massive a loss of civilian life. The stakes were high. The Japanese, determined to fight to the last man, almost achieved their objective, but in defeat 100,000 Japanese combatants died rather than surrender.[3] In the end, fewer than 10,000 of General Mitsuri Ushijimas's Thirty-Second Army were taken prisoner.[4]

United States loss of life was staggering as well. The United States Navy sustained the largest loss of ships in its history with thirty-six lost and 368 damaged.[5] The Navy also sustained the largest loss of life in a single battle with almost 5,000 killed and an equal number wounded.[6] At Okinawa, the United States Tenth Army would incur its greatest losses in any campaign against the Japanese.[7] The Tenth Army, which initially was made up of 183,000 army, navy, and marine personnel.[8] During those eighty-two days, the Tenth Army would lose 7,613 men and over 30,000 men would be evacuated from the front lines for a minimum of a week due to wounds.[9] Moreover, the largest numbers of U.S. combat fatigue cases ever recorded would occur on Okinawa.[10]

A new motivation existed for resistance in the bloody fighting in the Pacific. The stakes had just become higher. Now in the spring of 1945, for the first time, Japan's military machine began defending home territory. Although the Japanese may not have seen the Okinawans as their equals, or even as Japanese, the island had been their colonial possession. The Satsuma clan, a feudal shoganate, had conquered the island during the seventeenth century and over the centuries had subsequently impoverished the once wealthy kingdom.[11] Everyone involved, the Okinawans, the Japanese, and the Allies realized that Okinawa, within 350 miles of Kyushu, the southern tip of mainland Japan, would be the stepping-stone for the United States.[12] Okinawa would be a virtual 'springboard to victory' for the Allies.[13] From Okinawa, the Allies could launch an attack on the mainland by air or sea.

The Battle of Okinawa would generate many 'firsts' for the history books beyond the first time that United States troops fought on Japanese soil. The battle occurred during a time of unprecedented historical significance. The two highest-ranking officers to die during the Second World War were the commanders on Okinawa, General Mitsuri Ushijima and General Simon B. Buckner.[14] Furthermore, when General Roy Geiger, a Marine aviator, assumed temporary command until General Joseph W. Stillwell arrived, it was the first time that a Marine would command a fighting force as large as a field army.[15]

The operation on Okinawa was named Operation Iceberg. It began on Okinawa on April 1, 1945, Easter Sunday. The landing would be referred to as 'L Day' or 'Love Day' and perhaps in keeping with April Fools Day, the landing encountered virtually no opposition. This lack of opposition was unexpected and unprecedented. The Tenth Army itself was unique. With the combination of Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas MacArthur's forces, a joint task force had been assembled. Not just a U.S. joint task force, but one that included Great Britain. The British Task Force, commanded by Vice Admiral Sir Bernard Rawlings, turned over operational control to Admiral R.A. Sprunce, U.S. Navy, Commander, Fifth Fleet.[16] This combining of marines, soldiers, and naval personnel created the largest group of Americans and Allies to land in the Pacific, 548,000, before it was all over.[17]

The United States Navy assembled an unprecedented armada in April of 1945, with 1,300 ships laying in wait off the coast of Okinawa.[18] In fact, the effort in the spring offensive of 1945 was far greater than the previous spring offensive in Europe. During the Normandy invasion, the Allies had employed 150,000 troops, 284 ships, and 570,000 tons of supplies, all of which required a very short supply line. On Okinawa, in Japan's back yard, maintaining the supply line seemed an incomprehensible feat. In the invasion of Okinawa, there were 183,000 troops, 327 ships, and 750,000 tons of supplies.[19]

Events even larger than the life and death struggle on Okinawa occurred during the spring of 1945. All of these events were common knowledge to the troops fighting and those on the home front, and these events did shape contemporary perspective regarding Okinawa. Ironically, because Okinawa is the final battle of the Second World War, the war's end would obscure the battle's accomplishments.

http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/okinawa/default.aspx
 

Travelgall

MIA
Kit Reviewer
#7
JJ - Cowardly Officer Stereotyping by Hollywood. No! Surely not.

I just finished a good book on the Battle of Okinawa. Quite interestingly it discussed in some detail the Royal Navy's contribution to the battle in supressing Japanese activity in the Sakishima Islands and CAP over the US Fleet. If I can I'll find a linky.
 
#8
Travelgall said:
JJ - Cowardly Officer Stereotyping by Hollywood. No! Surely not.

I just finished a good book on the Battle of Okinawa. Quite interestingly it discussed in some detail the Royal Navy's contribution to the battle in supressing Japanese activity in the Sakishima Islands and CAP over the US Fleet. If I can I'll find a linky.
Thanks!!
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
Book on the British contribution: 'The Forgotten Fleet' by John Winton. Winton (Lt Cdr J W Pratt RN) was an engineer officer who had served on board a carrier in the 1950s and was involved in a nearly disastrous hangar fire, so understood what he was writing about.

"When Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser hoisted his flag as C-in-C British Pacific Fleet in November 1944, the US Navy had already waged war against the Japanese on a scale the Royal Navy could not hope to match and for the first time in its long history it had to take second position. Nevertheless, on VJ Day in 1945 the British and Commonwealth Fleet consisted of over 600 ships and almost a quarter of a million men - mostly veterans from the war with Germany - and the contribution of this force was not inconsiderable and has never received the recognition it deserves, either at home or from its American ally. Its very arrival in the Pacific was treated by a long period of political controversy and US suspicion, and the fleet faced enormous supply difficulties despite generous American assistance in this area. John Winton provides the first balanced assessment of the British and Commonwealth contribution in the war against Japan and gives an account of British and joint Anglo-American operations which were far more extensive than is generally believed on both sides of the Atlantic" (bookseller's writeup lifted from abebooks.com)
 
#10
seaweed said:
Book on the British contribution: 'The Forgotten Fleet' by John Winton. Winton (Lt Cdr J W Pratt RN) was an engineer officer who had served on board a carrier in the 1950s and was involved in a nearly disastrous hangar fire, so understood what he was writing about.

"When Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser hoisted his flag as C-in-C British Pacific Fleet in November 1944, the US Navy had already waged war against the Japanese on a scale the Royal Navy could not hope to match and for the first time in its long history it had to take second position. Nevertheless, on VJ Day in 1945 the British and Commonwealth Fleet consisted of over 600 ships and almost a quarter of a million men - mostly veterans from the war with Germany - and the contribution of this force was not inconsiderable and has never received the recognition it deserves, either at home or from its American ally. Its very arrival in the Pacific was treated by a long period of political controversy and US suspicion, and the fleet faced enormous supply difficulties despite generous American assistance in this area. John Winton provides the first balanced assessment of the British and Commonwealth contribution in the war against Japan and gives an account of British and joint Anglo-American operations which were far more extensive than is generally believed on both sides of the Atlantic" (bookseller's writeup lifted from abebooks.com)
Good reminder. Ships like the Prince of Wales and Repulse also come to mind as well as the many Commonwealth POWs who suffered horribly at the hands of the Japanese.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#12


In spite of the Kamikaze inflicting a two-foot dent in her armoured flight deck, HMS Formidable was operating her aircraft (less eleven destroyed in the deckpark) again within six hours.

Formidable to Flag: 'Little Yellow Bastard'. Admiral Vian: 'Are you addressing me?'

OK Jarhead you can have your thread back ..
 
#14
guzzijon said:
jumpinjarhead said:
In Afghanistan, there have been rumors about a new medal for "courageous restraint" that would honor soldiers who hesitated pulling the trigger against the enemy out of concern about harming civilians.
I'm guessing that medal will mainly be awarded posthumously.
Be grateful Colonel that the USMC doesn't have the same political masters that we have! The last administration here have sold out our Para's with the blatently IRA biased Saville enquiry into Bloody Sunday, this being compounded by Camerons ludicrous apology! :x
 

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