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29 October 2017

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turcopolier

mike

He was the theater commander. Where would you have had him be? His headquarters with its communications was in the Malinta tunnel complex. To attribute his actions to the presence of his family is really inappropriate. If you want to condemn him for something, do it for obeying FDR's order to leave for Australia. pl

mike

Colonel -

I mentioned his obeying orders to leave for Australia. See above where I said "...and not contested orders to evacuate to Down Under."

And it was some of his own troops at Bataan and Corregidor that gave him the Dugout Doug nickname, not me.

charly

One of the rebel fighters ate the liver of a soldier.

turcopolier

mike

OK. Macarthur was an ass. Puller was a saint. The USMC won WW2 in the Pacific. ok? pl

optimax

The Bonaparte quote is portrayed quite well in a movie called Command Decision, starring Clark Gable, Walter Pigeon, Van Johnson, about the high cost in men and planes of the Flying Fortress's bombing of military factories deep inside Germany.

R.Eckels

Which one?

T'other piece I fried and ate?

Fred

Optimal,

The 8th air force suffered more casualties during the war than the marine corps. If you get the chance I recommend a visit to the Mighty 8th Air Force museum in Pooler SC.

http://www.mightyeighth.org

charly

Khalid al-Hamad aka "Abu Sakkar"

turcopolier

optimax

"12 O'clock High" and "Pork Chop Hill" also make the same point the latter at the company command level. pl

mike

Fred -

The Navy suffered more casualties than the entire Army Air Force, or the Marine Corps. US Army ground troops took the largest number.

But Red Army casualties dwarfed the US casualties of all branches. The war against Hitler was won by the Soviets along with a great deal of help from US factory workers and farmers.

turcopolier

mike et al

Yes, and without Zhukov and Konev the Red Army would not IMO have been so successful. p

Fred

Mike,

You are getting to be rather predictable.

optimax

Fred

My father was a navigator on the Madame Shoo Shoo, 91st Bombardment group. He's Jack Swisher in the following photo. He was 20yrs old in the picture.

http://www.91stbombgroup.com/crewphotos/madame.html

optimax

Col.

Those were all great movies. I like the older war movies compared to the newer ones. From sports to the president, everything these days is about personal glory. And I'm sick of it.

LondonBob

'Moxie and fortitude of the typical Confederate soldier' wasn't much on show in the Western theatre. Far superior commanders in the East. Someone like Wellington or Cromwell made their troops what they were through training, management and leadership.

turcopolier

LondonBob

There were three theaters of war; eastern, western and trans-Mississippi. Which do you mean by "western?" pl

mike

Fred -

Not sure what you mean by that, did my comment offend you? I hope you are not turning snowflake on us. There was no slur intended on the Eighth Air Force. BTW a better read on the air war over Germany is "Top Turret" by Oral Lindsey:

https://www.amazon.com/Top-Turret-Mission-Adventures-Engineer/dp/1420812378/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1509494285&sr=1-2&keywords=top+turret

optimax

Mike

Of course Russia had more casualties; they were invaded. Also Stalin wasted many lives at the beginning of the invasion because he did not believe in tactical retreat and sent soldiers to the front line without rifles.

As for the Ruskies running over the Kwantung Army in Manchukuo, the following reason for their quick defeat is a quote from wiki which corresponds to what Max Hastings wrote:

"However, as the war situation began to deteriorate for the Imperial Japanese Army on all fronts, the large, well-trained, and well-equipped Kwantung Army could no longer be held in strategic reserve. Many of its front line units were systematically stripped of their best units and equipment, which were sent south against the forces of the United States in the Pacific Islands or the Philippines. Other units were sent south into China for Operation Ichi-Go."

mike

London Bob -

I assume you are referring to the militias. Yes, there was no moxie there, only blood lust. But I remain impressed with the average Johnny Reb at Chickamauga, Stones River, and Shiloh. Their leadership was not as good as the other side, and they were at a definite disadvantage in supplies, but the troops gave their all. Even at the Siege of Vicksburg. When Pemberton surrendered he had 32,000 casualties and his remaining troops were walking skeletons, eating their own shoes and belts, and suffering from all the diseases that go hand in hand with malnutrition: dysentery, scurvy, pneumonia, et al. Yet they fought on until commanded to lay down their arms by their own officers.

I will have to take your word for it on Wellington and Cromwell. Wellington certainly was a damn fine troop leader, although my copy of Longford's "Wellington" never once mentions training. Any references to his training regimen?

Cromwell's roundheads did well against the Royalists. But why was their reign such a short 20-year flash in the pan? And I was not impressed by their war against Irish priests. That seems more like blood lust than soldiering.

Larry Kart

One of the key "The Men' in WW2 -- Chester Nimitz.

LondonBob

Anything west of the Appalachian mountains, I pay as much attention to that area as the Confederate leadership did.

Croesus

Was Zhukov a Great Man or a glory- loving brute? I understand he used his troops like Kleenex.

turcopolier


Croesus

I guess you did not get the point. Successful combat generals use their men like Kleenex. pl

turcopolier

LondonBob

IMO it is overstated to say that the CS government was indifferent to what happened west of the Appalachians but it is true that when you don't have enough troops you have to concentrate somewhere. I guess we should see you as a member of the "Western Concentration Bloc." pl

David Habakkuk

Croesus,

I think it is much too simple to dismiss Zhukov as a ‘glory-loving brute.'

There is however an interesting discussion of contrasting Red Army leadership styles in a 2009 PhD thesis on Konstantin Rokossovskiy by Stephen Michael Walsh, into which unfortunately I have only had time to dip.

(See https://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk/bitstream/1826/4315/1/Walsh.pdf .)

In any case, I am not competent to evaluate his argument. But two points made in his conclusion seem to me interesting. One is that Zhukov’s command style was that common among most of the major Soviet generals on the Eastern Front, but that Rokossovskiy’s was quite distinct:

‘In character and in style of leadership, Rokossovskiy was different from his peers and contemporaries. Rokossovskiy’s style of leadership was based on his authority, his dignitas, his referent, legitimate and expert power, not his formal coercive power. In a sense, he was part of the Red Army’s system, but not a product of it and his style of leadership was very much his own. A man whose record as a soldier bore comparison with any of his colleagues, Rokossovskiy led with fine judgement, moving betwixt and between different styles of leadership: authoritative, democratic and occasionally authoritarian with the ease of a natural leader. He was by instinct and considered judgement, primarily an authoritative leader, a man who, even in this Stalin’s Red Army, understood that in the final analysis, true leadership was borne of ability, trust and personal example, not the pitiless wielding of power. In Stalin’s state and Zhukov’s Red Army this was a radical philosophy of command and a truly distinct style of leadership, one that challenges the traditional image of Soviet military leadership during the Great Patriotic War.’

Another point is that in one sense commanders like Zhukov were more ‘German’ than was Rokossovskiy. So Walsh notes that the very strong commitment to the ‘Napoleonic’ strand in the Clausewitzian tradition, and neglect of the other strand in that great thinker which emphasised the strengths which, in appropriate circumstances, the defence may have, antedated Stalin’s coming to power. It goes back to the victory of Tukhachevskiy over Aleksandr Svechin in the arguments of the ‘Twenties.

In a longer historical perspective, one might then see the Pole, Rokossovskiy, may be, ironically, both a better Clausewitzian, and a more ‘Russian’ general than Zhukov. In Walsh’s view:

‘In contrast to Zhukov, Rokossovskiy’s deep operations were dominated by the idea of depth and the physical and psychological unhinging of the enemy rather than operational encirclement and annihilation. In this Rokossovskiy was the heir to Brusilov, Varfolomeyev and a long tradition of Russian military thinking stretching back into the nineteenth century, indeed back to Genghis Khan. Furthermore, in his rejection of what Aleksandr Svechin called the obsessive tyrannical needle of operations designed to annihilate the enemy force in the field, and in his criticism of an unthinking, blind commitment to relentless attack, Rokossovskiy’s operational art had much in common with Svechin, the intellectual father of Russian operational art.’

An important and neglected part of the Gorbachev-era ‘new thinking’ was the recovery of Svechin’s ideas by figures like General-Mayor Larionov and Andrei Kokoshin, among others.

A paper published by the Belfer Center at Harvard in June 2016 on ‘The German Blitzkrieg Against the USSR, 1941’ is also interesting in this context.

(See https://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/files/Blitzkrieg%20Final.pdf .)

I have been wondering, ignorantly, whether elements in Svechin’s thinking – the very Clausewitzian insistence on the need to integrate the military and political dimensions of strategy, as well as the need carefully to judge when ‘attrition’ is appropriate, and when conditions are right for ‘destruction’ – may be relevant to the conduct of the war in Syria.

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