US Marines island hopping.

#1
Dear ARRSers,whilst having read many books regarding the US in the Pacific campaign, and also having seen the series The Pacific.Why didn't the Yanks just bypass some islands for example Peleaue,(excuse spelling) and just starve them out,with a blockade etc. Would have saved a lot of casualtys?I am no historian just EX Cav that's why I'm asking the brethren please for a sensible answer.
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#3
Because that blokes collection of sand from each island would have been severely lacking if they hadn't.
 
#4
I'm sure leaving the Japanese at the rear to cause serious harm to your stretched supply lines would have been an excellent idea !!
 
#6
World War 2 is now CA?


Sent from my iPhone using my ARRSE
 
#7
#8
Think of every island as a aircraft carrier. If you by pass them then every ship in aircraft range of those islands is at risk.

Also as pointed out above you cant launch B29 bombers from aircraft carriers and US was launching thousand bomber raids into japan at the end of the war from islands captured.

US did use a by pass strategy in ignoring Japanese forces in China almost entirely.
 
#9
Simples--US Marines are not in the habit of bypassing any enemy forces....alive that is.
 

ehwhat

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#10
Actually, they did bypass islands - quite a few of them.

“After the Battle of Midway, the United States launched a counter-offensive strike known as "island-hopping," establishing a line of overlapping island bases, as well as air control. The idea was to capture certain key islands, one after another, until Japan came within range of American bombers. Led by General Douglas MacArthur, Commander of the Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific, and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, the first stage of the offensive began with the Navy under Nimitz, and Marine landings on Guadalcanal and nearby islands in the Solomons.

From that point on, Nimitz and MacArthur engaged in "island-hopping" amphibious drives that bypassed strongly-held islands to strike at the enemy's weak points. In an effort to liberate the people of the Philippine Islands, MacArthur pushed along the New Guinea coast with Australian allies, while Nimitz crossed the central Pacific by way of the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Carolines, and Palaus. Both campaigns would entail seemingly endless, bloody battles — ultimately leading to the unconditional surrender of the Japanese. “
 
#11
This place.

North Field (Tinian) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Captured by the Marines who took Saipan.
Correction the Marines werent the only force on Saipan. The Armys 27th Division was the object of the largest banzai attack of WWII while on Saipan.

Battle of Tinian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boom.

Enola Gay - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That and the Island Campaigns were an oportunity to fix the effective Japanese forces in one place and then kill them as the code of Bushido forbade surrender or retreat when defending the empire. We were skint, the US were skint, waiting them out was not an option.
The plan for the Home islands invasion was something else. And the fanaticism of the japanese prediucted very heavy casualties among Allied and Japanese.
 
#12
Think of every island as a aircraft carrier. If you by pass them then every ship in aircraft range of those islands is at risk.


US did use a by pass strategy in ignoring Japanese forces in China almost entirely.
If you shoot down all the Aircraft an island aircraft carrier is but a starving rock. Example: Rabaul, was pummeled to the point the Japanese there might as well have become farmers. Truk. IIRC there was a Australian island territory which didnt surrender till 45.
 
#13
Correction the Marines werent the only force on Saipan. The Armys 27th Division was the object of the largest banzai attack of WWII while on Saipan.

The plan for the Home islands invasion was something else. And the fanaticism of the japanese prediucted very heavy casualties among Allied and Japanese.
The Marines and Army may have not had a clue that an Atom bomb would have been the weapon used from an island airstrip but it was on the cards at higher levels, heavy casualties predicted for both sides or not the Japanese could not replace those troops but the US could. At that particular time it was worth throwing troops at the islands as even if the Japanese could inflict one to one or slighty higher casulties, as they did at Iwo Jima on the invading US forces, the US had the men there and then to do it all again if they had to and more in the pipeline. It was not a situation that would repeat it's self though as the money had run out.

The plan for the invasion of the home Islands was not the same thing as the plan for the Pacific Islands and possibly even a sideshow with quite possibly deliberate false talk of troops from Europe going to Japan, they even let the USS Indianapolis sink and half the men get eaten by sharks to protect the truth.
 
#14
For all it viciousness Iwo doesnt compare to Okinawa for casualties. It was Okinawa that convinced the Staff that resistance would be immense.

The idea that we let the USS Indianapolis sink and its crew be devoured by sharks to hide the A Bombs delivery, or even it's existance is a ludicris crack dream. And the invasion of the home islands plans were very real and can be accessed.

Orders of battle for Downfall - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chapter 13: "DOWNFALL"- The Plan for the Invasion of Japan
 
#15
Correction the Marines werent the only force on Saipan. The Armys 27th Division was the object of the largest banzai attack of WWII while on Saipan.

The plan for the Home islands invasion was something else. And the fanaticism of the japanese prediucted very heavy casualties among Allied and Japanese.
Something curiously "overlooked" by so many revisionist "historians" of today.
 
#16
When the Americans finally got their wartime production tooled up and running the real battle was between General MacArthur and Admiral King. Or between the US Army and the US Navy if you like. MacArthur was fixated on having his picture taken on a Philippine beach and telling the world: "I have returned!" The same kind of publicity driven mania which allowed the German 10th Army to slip through Mark Clark's fingers because he was determined to have the publicity of capturing Rome before all the media attention was taken up by D Day.

Big Mac had his own little failures to cover up in a blaze of glory as well -- it took a very special commander to contrive to have his air force taken by surprise and destroyed on the ground nine hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour. As for King, he was responsible for so much allied shipping being sunk of the American coastline he should have been awarded the Iron Cross with Swords and Diamonds.

Fortunately all the really important fighting in the Pacific was handled by Admiral Nimitz, the best naval leader since Nelson. He needed MacArthur's help like he needed a hole in his head. When the Japanese had drawn up their war planes they assumed that no matter how big the US fleet became, it could never assemble the logistic support necessary to fight on the other side of the Pacific. The Americans could no more invade Japan than Japan could invade California. It was impossible. Maybe they didn't know that it was Nimitz who invented the concept of underway refuelling. They certainly had no idea of what the American ship building industry was capable of. Of course, nobody else knew, either, not until the freighters started sliding down the slips like loaves on bread rolling out of a baker's oven.

But even the US Navy needed rungs in the ladder it stood on. The islands they captured were useful air bases until the war moved on but remained vital supply bases. The navy could use any slow civilian tankers under charter to bring in the oil they needed and moor them up as storage depots. Then the fast Cimarron class tankers would fill up from them and chase the fleet to keep the warships at sea for months at a time. It was Walmart warfare with the islands holding stocks of everything from steam turbines to toilet paper. Nimitz totally screwed up the Japanese Naval Staff's wargames by bringing California with him clear across the Pacific.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
Some glosses:

A contributor to the loss of shipping on the US East Coast (the USN's refusal to listen to our experience apart) was the want of blackout ashore, so that at night the ships were in silhouette. The was a macabre benefit to the US in that the lost ships were of all nations but all the replacements were American, largely thanks to Henry J Kaiser's epoch-making improvements in shipbuilding (which would never have been accepted by British Trades Unions).

By 1945 even America was running out of money; the Japs thought that if they strung the US along long enough there might be some sort of negotiation.

Thank goodness the US' only two atom bombs did the trick and saved all those casualties that invasion of the home islands of Japan would have incurred. Plus, also headed off more territory going to the Soviets.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#18
I have wondered once or twice if Stalin would have held off indefinetly for the bombs to be dropped. It is assumed that he knew thanks to British Spies of the production and availability of working bombs and neednt waste any of his own troops (not that saving own lives was a feature of Russian military planning) until the Nips were ready to tumble.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
I believe it was agreed at Yalta that Stalin would declare war on Japan three months after Germany was defeated. Which he did, invading Manchuria and taking the southern end of Sakhalin. Where he was going next, don't know.
 
#20
Good points here chaps. I know that certain islands had to be taken because of their runway / runway potential but certainly as things progressed and the USN destroyed the Japaneese aircraft carrier fleet, fighters can't fly that far by themselves, I was puzzled why so many had to be taken, perhaps a bit more 'withering on the vine'.

As for the commanders that absolute c**k MacArthur makes me seethe, surely the epitomy of the image over presence. Such a ****king ego but there again without that he wouldn't have got that far past Coy commander. |Compare and contrast with Nimitz, seemed by far more decent and together. After the war there wasa big move to have libraries set up named after the commanders, MacArthur was more than happy with that fanning his reputation but apparently Nimitz refused, the only way they would get him to go through with it was if they dedicate to the Sailors and Marines who had fought the campaign.

Also Nimitz was the only US theatre commander who had to fight whilst on the back foot from a position of weakness, Eisenhower and MacArthur could wait until they were in a position of strength. Seems a bit like our Slim compared to Monty in more ways than one!!

Also quite farsighted judged by his quotes Chester W. Nimitz - Wikiquote well perhaps they left the wrong ones out. And early in his career he ran a ship aground which would be a modern career ender, salutary tale about 'negative defect miliary'?

Also for beach assaults although the USMC take most of the credit, IIRC Army units did most of the assaults overall inc MacArthurs campaign but there again they don't 'have a propaganda machine equal to Stalin's'.
 

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