Sea Power and Maritime Affairs Lesson 12: The US Navy in the Pacific, 1941-1945 Learning Objectives Comprehend the political and economic forces that led Japan to strike at Pearl Harbor and the Far East.
Comprehend the Japanese strategy for an early victory and their concept of the postwar Pacific power balance. Comprehend the impact of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent Battles of Coral Sea and Midway on the transformation of the aircraft carrier's role in naval warfare.
Know the significant highlights of the evolution of US operational strategy in the Pacific, including major battles or campaigns and instances where strategy was flawed or ambiguous. Know the strategic significance of the employment and refinement of amphibious landing tactics by the US Navy and US Marine Corps.
Comprehend the reasons the geopolitical world order was changed as a result of Japans actions in striking at the Western powers in 1941. Background Information
Japanese-American Relations tense: Japan challenged Americas Open Door policy by attacking Manchuria in 1931. In 1937, Japanese expansion in China resulted in attack on American gunboat, the Panay, by Japanese aircraft. Roosevelt adopted economic sanctions leading to an oil
embargo by Americans, British and Dutch (July 1941) Background Information The Japanese struck for the oilrich Dutch East Indies(Indonesia), Singapore, and the surrounding Britishowned Malaya, Thailand, the
Philippines, and Hong Kong. The Japanese camouflaged their plans with diplomatic negotiations in Washington. The United States expected an assault somewhere in the Pacific because cryptanalysts, in a technique called Magic, had broken the Japanese Diplomatic Code.
Background Information The attack on Pearl Harbor surprised the Americans, who had not anticipated a strike so far east or one mounted solely by carrier-born aircraft.
Japan WWII Strategy Secure Resources in Southeast Asia Create Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere (Like Asuan Monroe Doctrine) Attempt to Fight Limited War (Pearl Harbor is major
error) Create defense perimeter to force costly frontal assualts Negotiate when the US is exhausted/frustrated by casualties Pearl Harbor: Japans Plan Southern drive into Indochina and Dutch East Indies for oil.
Strike at Philippines and Singapore to knock out local American and British Forces. US WWII Strategy Secure line of Communications to Australia Solomons/ Guadal Canal (6 month campaign)
Two Pronged Offensive: South and Central Pacific Meet at Philippines Island Hopping/ Leapfrogging US WWII Strategy
Island Hopping/ Leapfrogging Rather than engage sizable Japanese garrisons, these operations were designed to cut them off
let them "whither on the vine. approach of bypassing Japanese strong points, such as Truk, was applied on a large scale as Allies moved across the central Pacific. Known as "island hopping," US forces moved from island to island, using each as a base for capturing the next. Seized one or two key Islands in a chain, destroyed Japanese air and naval units on neighboring Islands Japanese troops were thus isolated, unable to affect the war Far fewer US casualties and less time than Japanese anticipated US WWII Strategy
Key is Fast Carrier Striking force Large Aircraft Carriers (CV) of 20,000 33,000 tons with 80 100 Aircraft and over 30 knots speed Enormous firepower (60 bomber aircraft with bombs or torpedoes Vulnerability is wooden flight decks, fire danger when hit Tactics
carrier raids hit and run carrier versus carrier battles amphibious landing support. Forces at the Start of WWII Japan 10 CVs:; US has 7 CVs US WWII Strategy
US Advantages Produce more ships and have more man-power US builds 14 CVs, 10 BBs dozens of Cruisers and Destroyers and Dozens of Escort and Light Carriers Japan only 4 CVs , 10 Light Carriers MAGIC program allows US to read Japanese Codes Not completely deciphered but critical to US victory
Radar installed on most US ships and used for fire control Also used by submarines Japanese Advantages Early Air superiority
Planes are faster, more maneuverable, but vulnerable due to lack of armor and self sealing gas tanks Superior Night vision devices at start of war More Aircraft carriers at start of War Larger surface ships BBs, CA,s DDs due to Washington Treaty violations before WWII
Better torpedoes and these torpedoes were mounted on CAs as well as DDs (Critical during Guadalcanal/Solomons Campaign) Pearl Harbor Pearl Harbor Japanese Plans Attack on Pearl Harbor conceived by Admiral Yamamoto:
Great risk U.S. would surely enter the war. Greater potential gain U.S. Pacific Fleet would be knocked out of the war. Japan would then consolidate gains throughout China and the Pacific. Possibility of U.S. agreeing to Japanese territorial gains to make peace. Good possibility of U.S. involvement in Europe as well.
Will drain naval resources from Pacific Ocean. U.S. Atlantic Fleet already involved in convoy escort against U-boats. The Attack Aftermath of Pearl Harbor Battleship Carriers
fleet effectively destroyed survive and become new capital ships Submarines, repair facilities, and oil tanks also left unharmed by attack Result
generally not anticipated by American naval planners before Pearl Harbor Naval tactics change to support carrier strikes Circular formations developed to protect carriers Aftermath of Pearl Harbor U.S. declares war on Japan Day of Infamy - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Hitler declares war on the U.S. American public opinion changes in favor of war U.S. Defensive Organization/ Plans Admiral
Chester W. Nimitz relieves Kimmel as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet Nimitz - Commander in Chief Pacific Ocean Areas Includes North, Central, and South Pacific Areas
MacArthur - Commander in Chief Southwest Pacific Area Australia, New Guineau, East Indies, and Philippines Fleet elements in this zone remained under Nimitz's control U.S. Defensive Organization/ Plans
Controversial command structure No common superior -- two separate wars in the Pacific Overwhelming superiority
U.S. industrial and logistical Allows divided command until forces converge on Philippines in 1944 Island Hopping MacArthur leapfrogs up coast of New Guinea Nimitz Island Hopping across central Pacific
Goal is to create secure supply line to seize Marianas Islands Establish airfields there for long range bombers to attack Japan then Meet MacArthur at the Phillipines Despite Germany First Policy the Two Commanders get all the resources they need Submarines in the Pacific
Unrestricted Submarine Warfare Commences against Japan immediately following Pearl Harbor attack by order of CNO Admiral King. We shall never forget that it was our submarines that held the lines against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds.
- Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, 1947 U.S. Submarine Warfare Simultaneously with Dual advance, US conducts war on commerce Unrestricted Submarine Warfare ordered immediately after Pearl Harbor -- new role for U.S. submarines Early operational problems - 1942-43:
Undependable torpedoes - poorly designed magnetic fusing. Refuse to test them ($10,000 a piece) Many commanders were excessively cautious. US Fleet subs best of the war
55 Days at sea, 24 torpedoes, fast diving, air conditioned U.S. Submarine Warfare Dont fix problems to 1943
1/3 of Commanders relieved and replaced with aggressive younger ones Abandon scout role and switch to night attacks Target all ships Eventually emphasize oil tankers Finally fix torpedoes that ran too deep and failed to explode 1944 have good equipment, right doctrine
Also crack the Japanese Merchant ship code (Maru Code) Japanese refuse to convoy (defensive war is not consistent with Warrior Code Refuse to build escorts until 1943 By 1945 Japanese Merchant Marine is totally destroyed Japanese Submarine Warfare
Long Lance torpedo - smaller variant for submarines I-Boat is big, slow to submerge and noisy Focused attacks on U.S. warships and avoided supply ships Used to screen and scout for battle fleets Warrior ethos of Japanese naval leaders
Used for supply of bypassed garrisons and exotic missions Japanese Submarine Warfare Battle of Midway
Failed to intercept U.S. carrier forces Torpedoed USS Yorktown under tow Guadalcanal Campaign USS Saratoga torpedoed January 1942
USS Wasp sunk USS Indianapolis sunk -- July 1945 - shark attacks Mitsubishi A6M Zero TBD-1 Devastator Torpedo Bombers USS Yorktown (CV 5)
SBD-3 Dauntless Dive Bombers F4F Wildcats USS Enterprise (CV 6) USS Hornet (CV 8) Captain Marc Mitscher, Commanding Officer USS Yorktown (CV 5)
Damaged by air strikes on 4 June. Sunk by submarine torpedo attack on 7 June. Japanese Carriers Kaga, Akagi, and Soryu USS Yorktown (CV 5)
USS Yorktown (CV 5) Break Time. When We Resume: The US Navy and the Offensive Phase A6M Zero or Zeke Fighter U.S. Aircraft Production Japan
and Germany had early advantage in air war: Messerschmit ME-109 Mitsubishi A6M Zero U.S. aircraft industry produces higher performance aircraft American industrial base allows rapid and mass production
New flight training programs developed U.S. gains advantage in air warfare Air supremacy eventually established in both European
and Pacific theaters F2A Buffalo Fighter F4F Wildcat Fighter Wildcats on the Prowl F6F Hellcat
TBF Avenger Torpedo Bomber PBY Catalina Scout Prelude to Guadalcanal Japanese Cancel Must
leadership shocked by defeat at Midway plans to take Fiji, Samoa, and New Caledonia proceed with plan to take Port Moresby Within bomber range of major naval operating base at Rabaul
Japanese begin building airfield at Guadalcanal Prelude to Guadalcanal Nimitz moves to reinforce South Pacific Area Protect vital sea lines of communication with Australia. Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley
Commander South Pacific Ocean Area (Subordinate to Nimitz). Two bases established in New Hebrides. Army - Navy Dispute MacArthur proposes retaking Rabaul
Wants Navy to let him borrow First Marine Division Admiral King Objects to Macarthur's plan Proposes step-by-step advance through Solomons to re-take Rabaul.
Nimitz and Ghormley in command with Marines making amphibious assaults and Navy providing support. Army forces used as garrisons for islands Operation Watchtower Compromise Initial Three-Stage Plan of Operations
advance in Eastern Solomons under Nimitz Boundary between Areas moved west MacArthur takes command after Tulagi secured
Gudalcanal Campaign Aug 1942-Feb 1943 Guadalcanal Whoever controlled an airfield would control air over the Solomons Vital For
SLOC both sides it symbolized offensive rather than defensive warfare Force Commanders Admiral Robert L. Ghormley overall command of Watchtower
Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner - Amphibious Forces Vice Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher carrier group Provided support against Japanese fleet during day
General Archer Vandegrift Commander - First Marine Division Amphibious landing
virtually unopposed Marines take Henderson Field - Cactus Air Force. Guadalcanal River Crossing See-Saw Pattern Japan
dominates nighttime action. Tokyo Express down The Slot into Ironbottom Sound U.S. dominates daytime with shore and carrier aircraft
Actions Battle of Savo Island, 8-9 August 1942 Battle of the Eastern Solomons, 24 August 1942 Battle
of the Santa Cruz Islands, 26-27 October, 1942 Naval Battle of Gudalcanal, 12-13 November, 1942 Guadalcanal Campaign
Battle of Savo Island - Allies defeated in night surface action Battle of the Eastern Solomons - carrier battle
USS Enterprise damaged by bombers USS Wasp sunk and Saratoga damaged by Japanese submarines Battle of Santa Cruz Islands Halsey Rear Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid
Hornet relieves Ghormley - 18 October 1942 sunk and Enterprise damaged No operational carriers left Zuiho
and Shokaku badly damaged Tactical defeat by strategic victory?maybe Naval Battle Rear Admiral Willis A. Lee
uses RADAR to his advantage to win nighttime naval battle Washington and South Dakota outfight Japanese battleships Warships flee Transports beach themselves Guadalcanal Campaign
1st Marine Division relieved by Armys 25th Infantry Division Japanese U.S. forces evacuate Guadalcanal forces begin advance up Solomon Islands
Land-based airfields established Marine Corps Black Sheep Squadron (VMF-214) Commanded by Maj Greg Pappy Boyington Medal of Honor Recipient MacArthur drives Japanese from eastern Papua
Captures main Japanese base at Buna Aftermath Both sides suffered heavy losses U.S loses more tonnage at sea, carriers Japan loses more lives
Japan allowed to dominate sea at night while U.S. dominates day Battle drags on from Aug 42- Feb 43 Aftermath MacArthur
successful in driving Japanese from Papuan Peninsula By Feb 43 Jap plans for offensives in S. and W Pacific stopped cold King uses Casablanca Conference to allocate more resources to Pacific
Reconquest of Attu and Kiska Aleutian Islands No (January - May 1943) real threat to security. Necessary
to end Japanese control of American territory for political reasons. Battle of the Komondorskis Last classic surface ship battle.
Americans attack heavily guarded Japanese convoy. Minimal resistance on Attu, none on Kiska. Operation Cartwheel
The Solomons Campaign Halsey goes to work for McArthur Leads Amphibious Assault from Guadalcanal along Solomons McArthur wants direct assault on Rabaul King and Marshall overrule him
Capture every island BUT Rabaul to isolate it Rabaul becomes isolated and insignificant On to the Phillipines (October 1944) The Defeat of Japan
Objective: The Philippines and the penetration of the Japanese inner defense zone! The Advance Pacific Thrust Amphib support Vice
Admiral Raymond Spruance Significant Gilberts Marshalls Marianas campaigns:
Essex Class Fast Carrier The Gilberts (Tarawa)
New fleet organization due to new Essex Class carrier fleet production Objective to gain airfield on Betio Island to launch further attacks in Central Pacific Drive 3 days cost US > 3,000 marines
Marines at Tarawa Kwajalein Atoll Tarawa The Marshalls
After the Gilberts, concern for death toll in Marshalls Nimitz orders RADM MITSCHER attack on Airpower Destroys Japanese Force
Kwajalein success furthers to the rest of the islands Total Marshall loss less than first day of Tarawa Onto Marianas The Marianas Draws out Japanese
Fleet Battle of Philippine Sea, 19-20 June 1944 The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot 346 Jap planes downed 3 Jap carriers sunk Classic Mahanian engagement
Liberation of the Philippines U.S. advance continues after Marianas Campaign Macarthur's forces capture New Guinea Air strikes in the Phillipines wipe out two hundred aircraft
Bypass smaller islands and head to Leyte Gulf early from 20 December to 20 October Battle of Leyte Gulf
Battle of Leyte Gulf Largest 24-25 October 1944 battle in all of naval history U.S. command structure remains divided and confused
U.S. landings in Leyte Gulf MacArthur returns Battle of Leyte Gulf
In case opportunity for destruction of the major portion of the enemy fleet is offered or can be created, such destruction becomes the primary task. -- Standing Order of Fleet Admiral Nimitz Where is, repeat where is, Task
Force 34? The world wonders. -- Nimitz (message to Halsey during the battle.) Admiral Marc Mitscher Commander Fast Carrier Task Force Battle of Leyte Gulf
Battle of Leyte Gulf Japanese Combined Fleet divided into three forces: Northern Central Southern Japanese
defeated in a series of separate engagements. Effective end of Japanese Navys ability to control the sea. Battle of Leyte Gulf Japanese Kamikaze Squadrons Explosives
loaded aboard aircraft. Japanese pilots fly one-way suicide attack missions against U.S. fleet. First used at Leyte Gulf. USS Lexington (CV 16) Essex Class Fast Carrier Mitschers Flagship -- Battle of Leyte Gulf Admiral
Thomas Kinkaid Commander U.S. Seventh Fleet Battle of Leyte Gulf The Sands of Iwo Jima Mount Suribachi The Road to Japan Iwo
Jima Okinawa Emergency Iwo Jima landing field and fighter escort base desired. Midway between Marianas and Tokyo
Support B-29 strategic bombing of Japan 26,000 casualties 2,400 Emergency landings - 27,000 aircrew General
Iwo Jima was the most savage and most costly battle in the history of the Marine Corps. Admiral Holland Smith Nimitz Uncommon valor was a common virtue.
Okinawa Campaign April-June 1945 Staging Joint base for invasion of Kyushu amphibious operation Marines under Army command
Japanese use delaying tactics at the beach Continued heavy resistance inland Okinawa Campaign Kamikaze
raids continue 34 U.S. ships sunk 4,900 Sailors killed in action Over 40,000 U.S. casualties Carrier
islands. groups begin raids on Japanese home U.S. has established complete control of the seas. USS Benjamin Franklin -- Damaged in Kamikaze raid during invasion of Okinawa - March 1945.
Japanese Battleship Yamato Sunk by U.S. carrier-based aircraft during Okinawa Campaign. 7 April 1945 U.S. Carrier Raids on the Japanese Home Islands
July 1945 Manhattan Project = Atomic Bombs President Truman orders two bombings.
Hiroshima - 6 August 1945 Nagasaki - 9 August 1945 Believed potential for casualties during a prolonged struggle for the Japanese home islands is too high. Hiroshima
Japan Surrenders Japanese officially surrender aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. MacArthur
commands U.S. army of occupation. Discussion Next time: The US Navy in the Early Cold War, 1945-1953
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