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Mantanikau River

Mantanikau Guadalcanal

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lostwingman #41 Posted Oct 27 2012 - 08:48

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View Postthandiflight, on Oct 27 2012 - 05:44, said:

Fundamentally then, Japan's ambition exceeded its capability but it refused to recognise it? So the problem is not my logic, but Japan's leadership.
Your logic is ignoring the fundamental limitations of the Japanese economy and industrial capacity so yea, there is a problem with your logic.

thandiflight #42 Posted Oct 27 2012 - 09:47

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View Postlostwingman, on Oct 27 2012 - 08:48, said:

Your logic is ignoring the fundamental limitations of the Japanese economy and industrial capacity so yea, there is a problem with your logic.

Oh for heaven's sake! Economic ability limits your ambition. If you can afford to do one part, but not another, and both parts are necessary for an effective campaign, then you limit your ambition to what you are capable of doing. You do not plan to build a house, then spend all the money on the doors. It had nothing to do with the Japanese economy or industrial capacity. That was finite and that is accepted, but they engaged in a process of expansion which they could not afford, and engaged in a war for which the Army's tactical doctrine, although initially successful (and there are a multitude of reasons for this) was simply not up to the task of a sustained, modern war. Quit blaming the economy and industrial capability and accept that the Army's leadership was not up to the job.

Edited by thandiflight, Oct 27 2012 - 10:25.


Kankou #43 Posted Oct 27 2012 - 16:01

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No one disputes that the IJA leadership was negligent and incompetent, but your premise from the start was "Japan never had priorities for tanks because it was stuck in an infantry doctrine without any will to change". Basically, you are saying that the IJA was flawed from the start from the lack of will, which is different from saying that the IJA bit off more than it could chew and thus was unable to consider changing without breaking the bank, and this isn't considering the political aspect of the government as a whole which pushed on the IJA.

thandiflight #44 Posted Oct 27 2012 - 22:33

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View PostKankou, on Oct 27 2012 - 16:01, said:

No one disputes that the IJA leadership was negligent and incompetent, but your premise from the start was "Japan never had priorities for tanks because it was stuck in an infantry doctrine without any will to change". Basically, you are saying that the IJA was flawed from the start from the lack of will, which is different from saying that the IJA bit off more than it could chew and thus was unable to consider changing without breaking the bank, and this isn't considering the political aspect of the government as a whole which pushed on the IJA.

THe IJA never had an amoured warfare doctrine. Their use of tanks was as infantry support. So like the British and the French and the Americans they were fighting WW1. But unlike the British, the French or the Americans they encountered a need for an armoured warfare doctrine BEFORE they engaged in a major campaign - and the lessons of others were already apparent. They had not broken the bank yet, they had an opportunity to revise their priorities and they had the ability to produce the goods. In some ways the Japanese tanks at the time were better than their international counterparts so clearly there was a platform for development. So all the arguments about lack of funding, lack of industrial capability and lack of technical capability are moot. The problem was planning. Period. Whether that be political or military or both is of little impact when the fact is it didn't happen. The fact is ambition exceeded capability and this was the source of all the problems.

Edited by thandiflight, Oct 27 2012 - 22:33.


Kankou #45 Posted Oct 28 2012 - 03:37

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Japan was already struggling to modernize its army during the Ugaki consolidation (1924-1927) while the IJN was building to the Washington Treaty limits. The fact that you've been constantly ignoring such examples of the fundamental lack of capacity of Japan is truly baffling. It seems you're blinding your eyes to facts in order to support your own theory.

thandiflight #46 Posted Oct 28 2012 - 05:35

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View PostKankou, on Oct 28 2012 - 03:37, said:

Japan was already struggling to modernize its army during the Ugaki consolidation (1924-1927) while the IJN was building to the Washington Treaty limits. The fact that you've been constantly ignoring such examples of the fundamental lack of capacity of Japan is truly baffling. It seems you're blinding your eyes to facts in order to support your own theory.

And why did Japan have a need to build up to the Washington Treaty limits? They wanted to run with the big boys before the could even walk. The problem may well have bee that Tsushima made Japan over-confident in its abilities. It is not me that ignored the facts, it is the Japanese leadership. It is you that is trying to justify or make excuses for their actions and failures. I am saying the bit off more than they could chew - and they knew (or at the very least should have known) that they were doing this even before they started! What does that say? So a middle-weight managed to knock-out a heavy-weight once (Tsushima), now the middle-weight thinks it can run with the heavy-weights? Japan was not the military power that it wanted to believe it was - but it was the regional power. It was not a "super-power" - but it aspired to be, and believed it was.

Kankou #47 Posted Oct 28 2012 - 07:59

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And your current argument has changed from your initial one:

View Postthandiflight, on Oct 25 2012 - 05:38, said:

The Japanese encountered Soviet tanks at Khalkin Gol in 1939 - more than 3 years before they encountered any American tanks. At this stage they discovered the inadequacy of their tanks even compared to the Soviet tanks of the time. Clearly they weren't that good on picking up on the lessons. Nor did they learn anything about flanking maneuvres on the battle field. Frontal assault remained the stipend until tactics became defensive.
You first clearly stated that the IJA was not good at picking up lessons.

View Postthandiflight, on Oct 25 2012 - 10:50, said:

IJA tactical doctrine did not change from China to the end of the War although the posture changed. It went from offense to defense. Armour did not fit with the tactical doctrine.
You cannot blame stretching your resources beyond what they are capable of as the source of the problem, you have to look at the ambition that exceeded capability. This meant that the resources were over-stretched. Every Country has to achieve a balance between what it would like and what it can afford.
At no point did Japan have an established "armoured warfare doctrine". No doctrine = no appropriate equipment (whether or not they could be afforded). So you cannot lay the blame for a lack of an armoured warfare doctrine at the feet of the IJN. IJA did not have a doctrine. The only thing they responded to was that their tanks were clearly incapable of fulfilling the limited "infantry support role" that they had and hence they did some development to address those short-comings. Whether these new vehicles would even have been adequate for the roll is conjecture as they were never really fully tested against an opponent. Your argument appears to be that they did not develop an armoured doctrine because they could not afford one. A doctrine costs very little, its the equipment that costs money. No doctrine = no need for equipment. IJA never saw the tank as anything more than armoured cavalry and infantry support - essentially a WW1 approach. Others moved on, IJA never did.
Then, you blame the lack of a doctrine.

View Postthandiflight, on Oct 25 2012 - 20:15, said:

There is no doubt that the IJN received a large proportion of resources. One has to ask "why?". The evidence seems to be "because the Army never asked". Again the question has to be "why?". They studied the problem, determined there was a problem....then did nothing. Yet again "why?". The IJN prepared for a new type of warfare, a type of warfare that it was increasingly apparent would be the way the next war would be fought. They led the World with carrier building and advanced ships and submarines. The IJA was preparing to fight Kublai Kahn and the Mongolians - just with more modern weapons.
You go on say it was because the IJA did not prepare without really asking why.

View Postthandiflight, on Oct 26 2012 - 14:20, said:

The Chi-Nu was developed in 6 months in 1943 - at the height of the expansion and with resources at the maximum, but it was given a low priority for production. By the time it did enter production in 1944 resources were scarce. The truth is Japan NEVER gave much priority to armoured warfare. You simply do not asign a low priority to what the Army regards an essential item unless the Army does not regard it an essential item.
Then it's something about low priority

View Postthandiflight, on Oct 26 2012 - 21:39, said:

None of these issues existed in 1939. In 1943 it took only 6 months to develop the Chi-Nu. What happened between May 1939 and March 1943 (when Chi-Nu development began)? Resources were not that restricted then. The problems were known. And yet it took 4 years to respond. Yes, when it came round to producing the Chi-Nu the Japanese were facing declining resources - but not before then, at least not to the extent that would cripple production.
Also saying that Japan could have done production but chose not to (after constant mentioning of domestic incapability to fill any large orders).

After some more going back and forth, you finally arrive at this conclusion, while throwing what could be considered a personal attack:

View Postthandiflight, on Oct 28 2012 - 05:35, said:

It is not me that ignored the facts, it is the Japanese leadership. It is you that is trying to justify or make excuses for their actions and failures. I am saying the bit off more than they could chew - and they knew (or at the very least should have known) that they were doing this even before they started!
At no point have your arguments been consistent until the end when you finally arrive at the conclusion which I have been arguing from the start: Japan never had the capacity to build up a large armor force without either stripping the navy of resources or breaking the bank, which led to a stagnation of doctrine adaptations and a focus on infantry. Add to this the incompetence of Japan in biting more than it could chew, and you have the perfect disaster scenario of overextension while being technologically behind. The fact that Japan managed to get the Chi-Tos developed is in itself a miracle  and points to what could have been if Japan was in a more favorable position or had its internationalist wing withstand the pressure of the ultranationalists, thus freeing up resources for army development. That is the core issue.

thandiflight #48 Posted Oct 28 2012 - 12:36

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View PostKankou, on Oct 28 2012 - 07:59, said:

And your current argument has changed from your initial one:


You first clearly stated that the IJA was not good at picking up lessons.


Then, you blame the lack of a doctrine.


You go on say it was because the IJA did not prepare without really asking why.


Then it's something about low priority


Also saying that Japan could have done production but chose not to (after constant mentioning of domestic incapability to fill any large orders).

After some more going back and forth, you finally arrive at this conclusion, while throwing what could be considered a personal attack:

At no point have your arguments been consistent until the end when you finally arrive at the conclusion which I have been arguing from the start: Japan never had the capacity to build up a large armor force without either stripping the navy of resources or breaking the bank, which led to a stagnation of doctrine adaptations and a focus on infantry. Add to this the incompetence of Japan in biting more than it could chew, and you have the perfect disaster scenario of overextension while being technologically behind. The fact that Japan managed to get the Chi-Tos developed is in itself a miracle  and points to what could have been if Japan was in a more favorable position or had its internationalist wing withstand the pressure of the ultranationalists, thus freeing up resources for army development. That is the core issue.

The IJA were not good at picking up lessons, history shows this. They did not have a doctrine for armoured warfare. As a consequence they did not make the development of an armoured doctrine and the production of tanks a priority. The capability to produce tanks did lie within their capacity. At no point did I say Japan could not develop tanks, I have stated that they chose not to develop tanks because they did not see a need. They did not see a need because they had not observed the lessons, learned the lessons and established a doctrine, so it was not given the priority. They did however choose to build a large navy. Those resources could have been used more equitably - but then Japan would not have been a naval power. Japan wanted to be a naval power so devoted what resources it had to this end - and neglected to develop an armoured doctrine in the process. Then it chose to engage in a programme of expansion and to broaden the Empire - invading countries that did not necessarily want the Japanese there in the first place. As a consequence they had to maintain large armies in these regions in order to control them. Yes, they gained resources through the conquests, but most if not all these resources then had to be used to maintain the conquests and could not be used for further development. You seem to be arguing that had it not been for Japan's recent past it would have been able to accomplish these things and that the failures were a failure of the history. Rubbish. Japan bit off more than it could chew because it wanted a big bite.

The core of the issue is the Japanese belief that it was a "super-power" rather than a mere "regional power". This self-belief may have had a lot to do with the initial successes that they had, but it certainly could not sustain an expanded empire. You seem to cling to the dogma that had it not been for certain individuals Japan would have been great. By your argument the fact that Japan managed to develop anything is outstanding. My argument is that Japan had the capability to do these things - but not in sufficient numbers to ever sustain their ambition. And that is the problem: ambition.

If you cannot see that the that the problem was that both the political and military ambition were always going to exceed the capacity of the nation to deliver ALL the goods necessary for the sort of war that it was inevitable that they would have to fight. If you cannot see that some of this ambition and belief resulted from a simple failure to understand the potential complexity of the war they were going to have to fight and thus not see the need or set the priority for these items. It had nothing to do with being technologically behind. Japan had demonstrated that it had the technical nous for many things but it was NEVER going to be able to do ALL the things it needed to be successful. Not because it lacked the capability but because it lacked the capacity. Expansion to get raw materials to increase capacity also increased demand and so capacity would never match demand - especially in a war. Stop blaming the failures before the war and a lack of capacity during the war. The fundamental problem is that the leadership never understood the real problem, nor did they plan adequately given the resources available. Resources were always finite, capacity was always finite, but the over-confidence was infinite. Trying to blame the lack of capacity for failure sounds very desparate, especially in the face of the over-confidence. Failure was inevitable. Failure occured. No matter what argument you make, failure would have occured. It was not an "if only" situation, it was an inevitable situation. The self-belief was that despite all the short-comings Japan could "pull it off". Perhaps if there had been a more balanced force, a more balanced doctrine, then it would have been apparent that the capacity to deliver enough of everything did not exist and would not exist, and as a consequence the expansion would not have occured. But given the ambition and self-belief I am not too sure that this would not have happened anyway. What happened was inevitable and this is what you need to see.

Edited by thandiflight, Oct 28 2012 - 12:41.


Zinegata #49 Posted Nov 10 2012 - 03:44

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View PostKankou, on Oct 25 2012 - 18:42, said:

No one argues with the fact the IJA basically did not change. However, whether it was a purely cultural/institutional problem or an industrial capacity problem is where there would be differences of opinion.

It was an industrial capacity problem really, coupled with a lack of terrain where tanks can be profitably employed. You can't do blitzkrieg on a small island like Guam.

But the few Japanese tanks that did see extensive action did fairly well. Their 3rd Tank brigade (which had 228 tanks, mainly the light Type 95s) were a big factor in winning the Malayan campaign.

thandiflight #50 Posted Nov 11 2012 - 05:20

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View PostZinegata, on Nov 10 2012 - 03:44, said:

It was an industrial capacity problem really, coupled with a lack of terrain where tanks can be profitably employed. You can't do blitzkrieg on a small island like Guam.

But the few Japanese tanks that did see extensive action did fairly well. Their 3rd Tank brigade (which had 228 tanks, mainly the light Type 95s) were a big factor in winning the Malayan campaign.

Because they fought against the Chinese and they had no tanks and no anti-tank guns. When they fought the Soviets they were badly beaten. As for Malaya that was a fiasco for the British - it depended on a plan that they could not run. As a consequence the only thing that can be said is that the tanks they had were under-gunned and were never truly tested outside of one heavy defeat to the Soviets (which should have been enough of a lesson but wasn't)

Kankou #51 Posted Nov 11 2012 - 05:22

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Blind stubbornness is really a problem..... The Japanese (or humans) cannot just will tanks into existence. If that was possible Japan would have long become an armored military before the Pacific War.

Beausabre #52 Posted Jan 21 2019 - 19:34

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1. I would draw your attention to the Battle of the Tenaru, where USMC tanks were used in the counterattack role:

https://en.wikipedia...e_of_the_Tenaru

The results were horrific - "Aircraft from Henderson Field strafed Japanese soldiers that attempted to escape down the beach and, later in the afternoon, five Marine M3 Stuart tanks attacked across the sandbar into the coconut grove. The tanks swept the coconut grove with machine gun and canister cannon fire, as well as rolling over the bodies, both alive and dead, of any Japanese soldiers unable or unwilling to get out of the way. When the tank attack was over, Vandegrift wrote that, "the rear of the tanks looked like meat grinders."[

2. As for Japan's amazingly inadequate logistics and industrial capacity to wage war, I refer you to the Nihon Kaigun (Japanese Navy) site (it's in English) and the essay, "Why Japan Really Lost The War" http://www.combinedf...om/economic.htm

3. Because of Japan's lack of industrial capacity it's tank production was a sad joke - 2,515 for 1940 to 1945 versus 88,410 for the US for the same period https://www.wwiivehicles.com/world-war-ii/production.asp



Beausabre #53 Posted Jan 25 2019 - 17:35

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The ship pictured unloading an M2A4 is probably the attack cargo ship USS Alchiba (AKA 23) as the markings of the LCM Mark 2 alongside (K23-1) indicate it is boat 1 of (A)K(A) 23







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