Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
Byron Angel
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby Byron Angel » Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:53 am

RF wrote: Yamashita bluffed it out and got the surrender. That wasn't down to the RN but General Percival deciding to jack it all in and ordering the garrison to surrender.



..... That is indeed an interesting interpretation of events.


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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby RF » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:46 pm

It is rather more than an interpretation, as after the Japanese surrender in Singapore in 1945 the true situation when the Japanese had landed on Singapore Island became apparent from those Japanese staff officers interogated by the British. Their evidence was that the IJA was very short on ammunition, particulary artillery shells. The landings were done to force the issue on the British while the Japanese only realised that they were outnimbered by 130,000 to 35,000 after the British surrender and they counted the prisoners.

The opinion of those Japanese officers was that if Yamashita's attack had failed to achieve British capitualation then the Japanese would have had to withdraw back across the Johore Strait because of a shortage of ammunition.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby Byron Angel » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:02 am

RF wrote:It is rather more than an interpretation, as after the Japanese surrender in Singapore in 1945 the true situation when the Japanese had landed on Singapore Island became apparent from those Japanese staff officers interogated by the British. Their evidence was that the IJA was very short on ammunition, particulary artillery shells. The landings were done to force the issue on the British while the Japanese only realised that they were outnimbered by 130,000 to 35,000 after the British surrender and they counted the prisoners.

The opinion of those Japanese officers was that if Yamashita's attack had failed to achieve British capitualation then the Japanese would have had to withdraw back across the Johore Strait because of a shortage of ammunition.




..... All I can say is that the works on the topic that I have read paint a rather different picture. It is true that Yamashita had serious concerns about shortages of both artillery and small arms ammunition, but that was AFTER his army had already driven the British out of the Malay peninsula, forced its way across the waters which separated Singapore from the Malayan mainland, overrun most of the island of Singapore incuding the highest elevations overlooking the city, and taken control of all the city's fresh water reservoirs. Singapore at this point had two days supply of fresh water in the city. Despite the shortages of ammunition (the Japanese artillery was down to 100 rounds per gun by this point) Yamashita never went over to the defensive and fighting had advanced into the outskirts of Singapore city by the time Percival himself sued for surrender. I have no idea where your personnel figures come from. At the time when Yamashita was planning to force his way onto the island, the data I have seen credits the Japanese with 110,000 men (mostly veterans from China) and the British with about 85,000 men, divided among untrained replacement formations, demoralized and disorganized combat elements which had retreated into Singapore from the Malayan fighting and rear echelon administrative personnel of whom an estimated 15,000 were unarmed. The complete Japanese air supremacy and local naval superiority must also be weighed. There is no question that certain British/Commonwealth formations acquitted themselves very well at times in defense of the north shore of the island, but their efforts went for naught due to divided and uncoordinated command and the Japanese were able to force their way ashore within two days of fighting.

There were many reasons why Singapore fell as ignominiously as it did, but they do not include Percival being bluffed out of a strong hand. Percival had no cards left to play other than surrender.


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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby RF » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:05 am

Byron Angel wrote:. It is true that Yamashita had serious concerns about shortages of both artillery and small arms ammunition, but that was AFTER his army had already driven the British out of the Malay peninsula, forced its way across the waters which separated Singapore from the Malayan mainland, overrun most of the island of Singapore incuding the highest elevations overlooking the city, and taken control of all the city's fresh water reservoirs. Singapore at this point had two days supply of fresh water in the city. Despite the shortages of ammunition (the Japanese artillery was down to 100 rounds per gun by this point) Yamashita never went over to the defensive and fighting had advanced into the outskirts of Singapore city by the time Percival himself sued for surrender.

This I can agree is correct to the published historical sources.

I have no idea where your personnel figures come from.

There are two sources, both going back to the 1970's. Firstly Purnell's History of the Second World War and secondly the Thames Television series ''The World at War'' including the detailed book accompanying the series.

At the time when Yamashita was planning to force his way onto the island, the data I have seen credits the Japanese with 110,000 men

The IJA invaded Malaya with three divisions so the figure of 110,000 overall would seem realistic but this number covers the Japanese forces on the Kra isthmus and mainland Malaya, of which 35,000 were on Singapore Island itself. The British garrison at Singapore had swelled from about 85,000 to 130,000 in the last week before surrender as ill-eqquiped and inadequately trained''reinforcements'' arrived.

Thee were many reasons why Singapore fell as ignominiously as it did, but they do not include Percival being bluffed out of a strong hand. Percival had no cards left to play other than surrender.

Agreed. I didn't claim that Percival was in a strong position, he was, from the accounts given, bullied into surrender by Yamashita, who banged on the table and demanded ''Will you surrender?''.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby Byron Angel » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:12 am

I'm having trouble with that word "bullied". At its core, Yamashita's approach was no different than that which was customary for the Allies - a demand for surrender, immediate and unconditional. Japanese supply concerns may have made an immediate end to the fighting highly desirable, even necessary; but Yamashita was under no obligation whatsoever to offer any sort of special concessions to a clearly defeated opponent who had voluntarily come forth to seek terms.

Strictly my opinion.

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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby RF » Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:08 pm

I agree that Yamashita had no intention of offering any concessions, he wanted unconditional surrender. Percival tried to stall him by asking for British troops to maintain ''order'' in Singapore city which the Japanese would not entertain.

Of course it was no different from Allied atitudes to the Axis surrendering. Witness for example the atititude taken by Eisenhower when Keitel came to his HQ to surrender German forces - Keitel was given a stern telling off for failing to give the correct military salute instead of the nazi salute...... and then was told that the surrender must be to Soviet forces as well as the western Allies, which Keitel didn't want to do, but had no choice but to accept.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby Djoser » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:48 am

Let's not forget, when discussing the great success of the Red Army from late '43 on, that the US basically mobilized that army by providing it with almost half a million vehicles. US Lend Lease aid to Russia:

"14,795 aircraft, 7056 tanks, 1800 self propelled guns, 131,633 Submachine guns, 345.735 Short tons of explosives, 90 cargo vessels, 105 submarine chasers, 197 torpedo boats, 7784 marine engines.

1981 locomotives, 11,155 freight cars; 51,503 jeeps; 375,833 trucks,
35,170 motorcycles, 3,786,000 tires, machinery & equipment worth more than a billion dollars

2,800,000 short tons of steel, 802,000 short tons of non-ferrous metals, 2,670,000 short tons petrochemicals, 842,000 short tons ordinary chemicals.

106,900,000 yards of cotton cloth, 62,500,000 yards of wool cloth,
49,860 short tons of leather, 15,417,000 pair of army boots and
4,478,000,000 short tons food."

Basically, the US to a large degree fed, clothed, and shod the Red Army, & most definitely gave it the trucks necessary to win the kind of victory it did. Without US trucks those Russian Tank Armies wouldn't have had the mobility to overcome the few panzers they actually had to beat.

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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby RF » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:36 am

Yes, this almost implies that the British and Americans did to much to help the Soviets, and brought the Cold War upon themselves.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby Byron Angel » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:09 pm

Djoser wrote:Let's not forget, when discussing the great success of the Red Army from late '43 on, that the US basically mobilized that army by providing it with almost half a million vehicles. US Lend Lease aid to Russia:

"14,795 aircraft, 7056 tanks, 1800 self propelled guns, 131,633 Submachine guns, 345.735 Short tons of explosives, 90 cargo vessels, 105 submarine chasers, 197 torpedo boats, 7784 marine engines.

1981 locomotives, 11,155 freight cars; 51,503 jeeps; 375,833 trucks,
35,170 motorcycles, 3,786,000 tires, machinery & equipment worth more than a billion dollars

2,800,000 short tons of steel, 802,000 short tons of non-ferrous metals, 2,670,000 short tons petrochemicals, 842,000 short tons ordinary chemicals.

106,900,000 yards of cotton cloth, 62,500,000 yards of wool cloth,
49,860 short tons of leather, 15,417,000 pair of army boots and
4,478,000,000 short tons food."

Basically, the US to a large degree fed, clothed, and shod the Red Army, & most definitely gave it the trucks necessary to win the kind of victory it did. Without US trucks those Russian Tank Armies wouldn't have had the mobility to overcome the few panzers they actually had to beat.



..... Absolutely spot on, Djoser - to which can be added the fact that the US supplied almost all the high octane aviation gasoline used by the Soviet air force.

The amount of steel provided was equivalent to about 70,000 T34s.

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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby Dave Saxton » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:45 am

Although, most of the material came through southern ports as it turned out, the data underscores the importance of the role of the Tirpitz in northern waters. A modern battleship is best suited for such a role. It was of vital importance for Germany given the strategic circumstances. The concept and the Tirpitz's tacit success seemed to fly over the heads of Hitler and Goering, but it wasn't missed by the Royal Navy or Churchill. The British invested much effort toward eliminating this one battleship, and the German high command did a poor job of protecting this asset.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby Djoser » Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:17 am

RF wrote:Yes, this almost implies that the British and Americans did to much to help the Soviets, and brought the Cold War upon themselves.


It's a mystery to me as to just how complacent the US in particular was about allowing the USSR to overrun Eastern Europe. Well of course there wasn't much choice about the actual physical overrunning, if Germany was to be defeated. But the ensuing total domination of those nations (with the exception of Yugoslavia) will invariably lead to irritation when the reader learns just how quickly those 'liberated' nations became potential enemies, in alliance with the USSR (albeit not always enthusiastically).

Obviously it was a question of 'the lesser of two evils'. But why in god's name did the US allow itself to be browbeaten so thoroughly by Stalin's demands and histrionics for 3-4 years, while attempting to gloss over the myriad faults of the Soviet system in propaganda, etc. Only to turn around within a few months, and attempt to persuade its citizenry that the Soviet Union represented the greatest threat to freedom and democracy (which it arguably did of course).

It just seems like a really embarrassing variety of very poorly timed amnesia on a massive, national scale.

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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby Byron Angel » Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:00 pm

Dave Saxton wrote:Although, most of the material came through southern ports as it turned out, the data underscores the importance of the role of the Tirpitz in northern waters. A modern battleship is best suited for such a role. It was of vital importance for Germany given the strategic circumstances. The concept and the Tirpitz's tacit success seemed to fly over the heads of Hitler and Goering, but it wasn't missed by the Royal Navy or Churchill. The British invested much effort toward eliminating this one battleship, and the German high command did a poor job of protecting this asset.



.... There was also an oceanic supply route from the USA across the Pacific to Vladivostock, permitted by the Japanese because they were officially at peace with the USSR.

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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby Djoser » Sun Dec 02, 2012 4:03 am

^^^They apparently even had US ships, with US crews, that were bought or leased or whatever by the Russians, sailing right under the noses of the Japanese to deliver US raw material and food. According to one source I found, almost half of US aid to Russia got there this way--though apparently it was mostly non-military equipment and material, strictly speaking.

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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby RF » Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:18 pm

Actually it wasn't quite under the noses of the Japanese, but a substantial distance from the Home Islands and the Jap occupied part of Sakhalin.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Postby neil hilton » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:47 pm

Djoser wrote:It's a mystery to me as to just how complacent the US in particular was about allowing the USSR to overrun Eastern Europe. Well of course there wasn't much choice about the actual physical overrunning, if Germany was to be defeated. But the ensuing total domination of those nations (with the exception of Yugoslavia) will invariably lead to irritation when the reader learns just how quickly those 'liberated' nations became potential enemies, in alliance with the USSR (albeit not always enthusiastically).

Obviously it was a question of 'the lesser of two evils'. But why in god's name did the US allow itself to be browbeaten so thoroughly by Stalin's demands and histrionics for 3-4 years, while attempting to gloss over the myriad faults of the Soviet system in propaganda, etc. Only to turn around within a few months, and attempt to persuade its citizenry that the Soviet Union represented the greatest threat to freedom and democracy (which it arguably did of course).

It just seems like a really embarrassing variety of very poorly timed amnesia on a massive, national scale.


This sounds very much like two faced politics. New President new foreign policy.
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