Greatest admiral of all time

General naval discussions that don't fit within any specific time period or cover several issues.

Who was the greatest admiral in History?

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Byron Angel
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by Byron Angel » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:44 am

RF wrote:
frankwl wrote: crushed the very competent Empire of Japan. Spruance took one of the greatest gambles in naval history and won against all odds.
competant? I don't think so. The Empire of Japan was brutal but competant it was not.

..... Would that be a uniform indictment of incompetence? Are you discussing the Japan that roused itself from an isolated semi-feudal agrarian state to modern industrialized nation in less than 50 years? Are you talking about the Japan that was a faithful acolyte of the RN and a loyal ally to Great Britain andFrance in WW1? Are you talking about the Japan that was a world leader in optics before WW2?

Or are you focusing selectively upon the Japan that we fought against in WW2?

Just curious.

B

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:11 am

And let's remember that what Japan did was, after all, defensive in nature. They just didn't want to become a second China to be perverted by the Western Powers. They were cruel, but that was their way for centuries and the way of it's neighbors also.
But they were (and are) pretty efficient and competent. For example: do you think the US or UK will have handled the Fukushima incident as well as the japanese? For all we know by now the idiotic enviromentalists will be marching to close all nuclear plants (as the idiotic socialistic germans are doing nowadays by the way).
Japan lost the war not because of being competent or not, but because they were over conscious of their own weakness.
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RF
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by RF » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:07 am

Byron Angel wrote: Or are you focusing selectively upon the Japan that we fought against in WW2?

Just curious.B
I am focussing on the sentence that contained that statement and responded in its context. Japan as a colonial ruler was not efficient. It failed to get the best out of any of its colonies, be it Korea, Taiwan, Malaya or the Dutch East Indies, not least because their administrators were not up to the job.
Japanese industry was not efficient either, in terms of organisation and production techniques. Quality control was also deficient, along with transport logistics and the allocation of materials. Quality of materials towards the end of the war also became increasingly deficient. Another failure was to obtain a proper dispersion of the location of industry in the face of Allied bombing.

Japan was of course under military rule through this period, where even the senior officer corps were not very well educated or knowledgeable of the rest of the world. Business acumen and enterprise was not particulary valued. The military even made a pigs ear out of the use of forced POW labour to build railways, where proper working conditions would have achieved far more than the regime of brutality for its own sake.

Japan post WW2 is a very different nation in its atitudes and outlook on the world. Having learned from WW2 and incorporated American business atitudes their industries and economy became far more efficient because their work ethic and discipline was more properly focussed.

And yes, the Japanese - given time - will deal with the tsunami damage and the Fukushima nuclear plant damage completely. Again a combination of a disciplined work ethic and intelligent planning will turn that disaster to advantage, and the signs are that Japan is starting to pull out of the worldwide recession and slump that the Japanese economy has been in for the last fifteen years.
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RF
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by RF » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:14 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:And let's remember that what Japan did was, after all, defensive in nature. .
Which of course was expressed in aggression, in copying the western colonial powers. Up to 1930 it was basically defensive. From then until 1945 it was attack, not defence.

Compare that with another far eastern country that was never colonised. Thailand. I don't see any desire on the part of that country to rule the world, yet with both the British and French right on their borders they were far more exposed to being colonised than Japan was. In fact Japan was the only country to succesfully invade and occuppy Thailand, in WW2.
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RF
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by RF » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:17 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:But they were (and are) pretty efficient and competent. For example: do you think the US or UK will have handled the Fukushima incident as well as the japanese? .
Wrong question. Try asking ''would Tojo and the militarists have dealt with the tsunami and the Fukushima damage any better than the current administration?''
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RF
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by RF » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:20 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote: Japan lost the war not because of being competent or not, but because they were over conscious of their own weakness.
If that were the case they would never have started the war.

The problem for the Japanese was the opposite - they were grossly overconfident of their military abilities and grossly underestimated the will to fight and the industrial/military capabilities of their enemies.
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by lwd » Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:25 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:And let's remember that what Japan did was, after all, defensive in nature. They just didn't want to become a second China to be perverted by the Western Powers. ...
That is very debateable. While they clearly didn't want to "become another China" there path was one of aggression. In the late 1800's and early 1900's it was on a par with the European powers but agression it clearly was. Post WW I I don't see how it is reasonable to continue to refer to it as "defensive in natrue". It was pretty pure Emperialism.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:44 pm

RF:

I am answering just to you. No need to get into arguments for egomaniac needs:

Karl Heidenreich wrote:
And let's remember that what Japan did was, after all, defensive in nature. .
Which of course was expressed in aggression, in copying the western colonial powers. Up to 1930 it was basically defensive. From then until 1945 it was attack, not defence.

Compare that with another far eastern country that was never colonised. Thailand. I don't see any desire on the part of that country to rule the world, yet with both the British and French right on their borders they were far more exposed to being colonised than Japan was. In fact Japan was the only country to succesfully invade and occuppy Thailand, in WW2.
You are missing the point. As Rome started to invade it's neighbors in order to avoid a second destruction at the hand of the "barbarians" Japan did the same. Their way to protect themselves was to surround their home islands with posesions that will provide raw materials and "buffers" for future agressions. Thailand never developed a society as Japan with industrial capacity and ambisions. It is the same that we can say of the German Empire prior to WWI: they got in the middle of their need to progress and the threat of the already established powers such as Britain, France and Russia. In certain point of view which option they had? Bow to the anglosaxons of Britain and the US? Become a satelite as the Philipines? You are looking all of this in the conventional western way and there is more than that: there is a contextualized reality which you are not addressing.
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lwd
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by lwd » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:54 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:You are missing the point.
Am I?
As Rome started to invade it's neighbors in order to avoid a second destruction at the hand of the "barbarians" Japan did the same.
Rome began it's expansion before any barbarian invasions I'm aware of. Now it can be argued that part of that expansion was to make it easeir to defend Rome but I'm still not sure I'd buy into calling it defensive. Furthermore the situation with Japan is a bit different. Japan hadn't been successfully invaded in centuries. Furthermore it's clear that some of the campaigns at least had nothing to do with defence of Japan.
In certain point of view which option they had? Bow to the anglosaxons of Britain and the US? Become a satelite as the Philipines? You are looking all of this in the conventional western way and there is more than that: there is a contextualized reality which you are not addressing.
There were other ways as is obvious by looking at Japan nowadays. Imperialism, prestige, and conquest seem to have been more the motives than defence.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:41 pm

lwd:
Am I?
Of course: the answer is for RF not you. I made it plain evident:
RF:

I am answering just to you. No need to get into arguments for egomaniac needs:
:negative:
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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:44 pm

In order to dispell the ignorance of some forum members that know nothing of History I came forward with this:
The first non-apocryphal Roman wars were wars of both expansion and defence, aimed at protecting Rome itself from neighbouring cities and nations and establishing its territory in the region.[32] Florus writes that at this time

“ ...their neighbours, on every side, were continually harassing them... and, at whatever gate they went out, were sure to meet a foe."[33] ”

In the semi-legendary period of the early republic, sources record Rome was twice attacked by Etruscan armies. In around 509 BC war with Veii and Tarquinii was said to have been instigated by the recently-overthrown king Tarquinius Superbus,[34] [35]. Again in 508 BC Tarquin persuaded the king of Clusium, Lars Porsenna to wage war on Rome, resulting in a siege of Rome and afterwards a peace treaty.[33][34][36]

Initially, Rome's immediate neighbours were either Latin towns and villages[37] on a tribal system similar to that of Rome, or else tribal Sabines from the Apennine hills beyond.[38] One by one, Rome defeated both the persistent Sabines and the local cities that were either under Etruscan control or else Latin towns that had cast off their Etruscan rulers, as had Rome.[38] Rome defeated the Lavinii and Tusculi in the Battle of Lake Regillus in 496 BC,[37][39][40] the Sabines in an unknown battle in 449 BC,[39] the Aequi in the Battle of Mons Algidus in 458 BC and the Battle of Corbione in 446 BC,[41] the Volsci[42] in the Battle of Corbione[43] in 446 BC and the Capture of Antium in 377 BC,[44] the Aurunci in the Battle of Aricia,[45] and the Veientes in the Battle of the Cremera in 477 BC,[46][47] the Capture of Fidenae in 435 BC[47][48] and the Siege of Veii in 396 BC.[43][47][48][49] After defeating the Veientes, the Romans had effectively completed the conquest of their immediate Etruscan neighbours,[50] as well as secured their position against the immediate threat posed by the tribespeople of the Apennine hills.

However, Rome still controlled only a very limited area and the affairs of Rome were minor even to those in Italy: the remains of Veii, for instance, lie entirely within modern Rome's suburbs[43] and Rome's affairs were only just coming to the attention of the Greeks, the dominant cultural force at the time.[51] At this point the bulk of Italy remained in the hands of Latin, Sabine, Samnite and other peoples in the central part of Italy, Greek colonies to the south, and, notably, the Celtic people, including the Gauls, to the north. The Celtic civilization at this time was vibrant and growing in strength and territory, and stretched, if incohesively, across much of mainland Europe. It is at the hands of the Gallic Celts that Rome suffered a humiliating defeat that temporarily set back its advance and was to imprint itself upon the Roman consciousness
The only point that I may missed was to call the Etruscan "barbarians"... but it was very much how the romans could have defined them anyway...
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RF
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by RF » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:05 am

Karl, I don't think I am missing any point. Neither do I believe that I am locked into any conventional western way of thinking.

Aggression is often legitimated by perceived threats in which the aggression is justified as a pre-emptive strike. Even Hitler attempted to justify genocide by arguing ''by defending myself against the Jews I am doing the Lords work.''

But was there as genuine threat to Japan's existence in 1929? I don't believe there was. In 1854, when Perry arrived in Japan? Almost certainly yes, but the Japanese responded to that without directly threatening the US. in 1895? Yes, but that was dealt with by two later wars against Russia and Germany. in 1931 we reach a tipping point in which defense becomes attack. This is not a conventional western view, as the language used by the Japanese on attaining that tipping point changed to incorporate a need for Japan to dominate the far east and no longer in terms of defending Japan itself. The end result of that propaganda was the Co-Prosperity Sphere and the wording of the Tripartite Pact over ''the leadership of Japan '' in creating a New Order in east Asia.

Germany seems to be placed in the same paradigm. Here we have the most powerful nation in contintal Europe. None of its neighbours could seriously threaten it, even working together. What may start as a legitimate question over defence gradually fits itself into a pattern of thinking that survival is only attainable by eliminating perceived rivals whose ''threat'' is grossly overstated. And who benefits from this paradigm? The leadership and ruling elites in Germany and not the general population as a whole. My conclusion is that this is nothing to do with defence at all. It is a smokscreen for control internally and conquest externally.

My note about Thailand underscores this argument. Whether Thailand industrialised or not isn't relevant, it has natural resources which could have caused the country to be colonised. But it remained independent and didn't require wars of aggression to achieve that. Until of course it was overunn by Japan. And Thailand didn't pose any threat to Japan. Like Belguim, its offence was its geographical position, its proximity to the victims and targets of aggression, so it became a victim itself.
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RF
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by RF » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:11 am

Karl, the Roman Empire was in a different age. There was no framework of international law or international agreements or judicial process as post WW1.

And the Roman Empire had a value set based on its alleged superiority and right to rule by force of arms. That was before any real concept of democracy or self -determination or of nation states. A bit like the European Union actually....
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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by lwd » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:27 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote: ...Of course: the answer is for RF not you. I made it plain evident:
...
In case you didn't notice this is a public forum. And it turns out you were talking about the Etruscans as the "Barbarians" that "destroyed" Rome????

Please also note that your wiki quote mentions "expansion and defence". Rather a different age as well as others have noted.

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Re: Greatest admiral of all time

Post by frankwl » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:05 pm

Oh, all right, the Empire of Japan was incompetent. But that makes their opposition look really stupid at battleship row on Dec. 7, 1941, Bataan and Corrigidor, when Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk, Clarke field, chasing the Royal Navy (!) out of the Indian Ocean, the fall of Singapore, Hong Kong, Tassagfronga, (I mean what kind of an incompetent uses Long Lance torpedoes to defeat a U.S. heavy cruiser flotilla with destroyers?), Savo Island, Burma, taking and controlling half of China. Pity there are so few U.S. marine veterans of Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Okinawa etc, to tell that they needn't have stormed ashore into some of the most gruesome battles in history because Japanese incompetence was the true telling factor. Same goes for the aviators and sailors at Midway; all they had to do was wait for the incompetent Japanese to open the wrong sea cocks and sink themselves. Would Admiral Nimitz agree that he was fighting an incompetent IJN when the only allied aricraft carriers left in the Pacific were the Victorius, a British loaner, and old Sara? Considering the scale of the conflict in the Pacific and southeast Asia, Nimitz, MacArthur, Slim, the Australians at Kokoda, the Brits at Imphal, there is something a little distateful in implying they were fighting an incompetent enemy.

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