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Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

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  • Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy



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  • #2
    Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

    Couple of random thoughts: if there are bigger scapegoats in our military history than General Walter Short and Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, I can't imagine who they would be.

    In the Russo-Japanese war, the Russians complained about a Japanese "sneak" attack on (IIRC) Port Arthur. The NYT editorialized that the existence of a far flung military outpost presupposes someone with hostile intent might attack. And the Russians, in effect, should stop b*tching. I'd imagine the Times, along with everyone else, had a slightly different take on 12/7/41.

    I first watched "Tora, Tora, Tora," at a theatre in Tokyo. International edition, with subtitles for both languages. My old man, who had been an Army doctor in the south Pacific (think Hawkeye Pierce) thought that was as good an indication as any of how the world had changed.

    Speakng of "Tora, Tora, Tora," at the time it was made, there was a good deal of controversy about the fact that a number of active duty Navy dudes used as extras were injured in the attack scenes. Nothing life threatening, but some burns and fractures. If you look carefully at those scenes you can see some guys scrambling around and it sure looks like they might have been hurt.

    The quote attributed to Admiral Yamamoto: "I fear all we've accomplished is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve," is apocryphal. But it nevertheless accurately described what was about to happen to Japan. As many may recall, we sent some P-38's which blew the Admiral to h*ll.
    2011 Poser of the Year & Pulitzer Prize winning machine gunner.

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    • #3
      Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

      Originally posted by Old Pio View Post
      The quote attributed to Admiral Yamamoto: "I fear all we've accomplished is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve," is apocryphal. But it nevertheless accurately described what was about to happen to Japan. As many may recall, we sent some P-38's which blew the Admiral to h*ll.
      He did, however, make the even more precise prediction, "In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success." The Battle of Midway, one of the major turning points in the Pacific, lasted through June 7, 1942, exactly 6 months after Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto studied at Harvard and served as a naval attache in DC; he had great respect for the US's industrial might, knowing that Japan had no answer for the sheer volume of war materials the US would be able to produce once it got into gear.
      If you don't change the world today, how can it be any better tomorrow?

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      • #4
        Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

        Originally posted by LynahFan View Post
        He did, however, make the even more precise prediction, "In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success." The Battle of Midway, one of the major turning points in the Pacific, lasted through June 7, 1942, exactly 6 months after Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto studied at Harvard and served as a naval attache in DC; he had great respect for the US's industrial might, knowing that Japan had no answer for the sheer volume of war materials the US would be able to produce once it got into gear.
        Four of those front line carriers that had participated in the raid on Pearl Harbor were sent to the bottom at Midway. The beginning of the end of Japan's efforts to dominate the Pacific. Yamamoto knew what he was going to face.
        2011 Poser of the Year & Pulitzer Prize winning machine gunner.

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        • #5
          Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

          Originally posted by LynahFan View Post
          He did, however, make the even more precise prediction, "In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success." The Battle of Midway, one of the major turning points in the Pacific, lasted through June 7, 1942, exactly 6 months after Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto studied at Harvard and served as a naval attache in DC; he had great respect for the US's industrial might, knowing that Japan had no answer for the sheer volume of war materials the US would be able to produce once it got into gear.
          Midway proved to be an amazing "serendipitous' turn of events in the war in the Pacific, which please do mistake as a comment that our forces were "lucky". Decisions made by Nagumo (to our favor), followed by mis-cooridination of planes form the Hornet, scout planes having to be ditched due to running out of fuel (which were headed in the right direction btw) to finally sighting the first carrier (by Waldron's squadron, but the name of the carrier embarrisingly now escapes me). That of course is barely a 1% summary of events but it's perhaps the most fascinating part of WWII for me.

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          • #6
            Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

            Originally posted by Old Pio View Post
            Yamamoto knew what he was going to face.
            Well, perhaps in foresight, but probably not on that day. The US broke their code, and rightfully reciprocated with their own surprise attack. Result - near-smashing victory.

            My late grandfather served in WW2 Pacific Theatre and Korea. I only knew him until I was 10. He almost never discussed his service, preferring, I think, to respect the deaths of many friends. Bless his soul.

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            • #7
              Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

              Originally posted by FadeToBlack&Gold View Post
              Well, perhaps in foresight, but probably not on that day. The US broke their code, and rightfully reciprocated with their own surprise attack. Result - near-smashing victory.

              My late grandfather served in WW2 Pacific Theatre and Korea. I only knew him until I was 10. He almost never discussed his service, preferring, I think, to respect the deaths of many friends. Bless his soul.
              Yeah, I meant he knew what was coming down the road from the US--what they had bitten off. The attack appeared to be a huge tactical success. But they didn't get the carriers and they didn't blow up the fuel supplies. Strategically, the attack sealed Japan's fate. Their only real hope was convincing us to sue for peace after their initial successes. But our rage after Pearl Harbor meant there was no way we were going to settle with them. Except on the deck of the Missouri.

              My father was a chest surgeon (a specialty in big demand in war time) and he and his cronies were always willing to reminice--particularly after a couple of beverages. His only regret was not becoming a Navy doctor. He had visions of patching up wounded Marines then retiring to the ward room where the Filipino mess boys could serve him martinis and dinner. Didn't quite work out that way. He'd had some mandatory Army ROTC as an undergraduate and that was all the Army needed to snap him up. He spent some time on Guadalcanal, watching "Japs fly up into the air" after US artillery hits. Then on an island called Espiritu Santo, where they had fruit bats with about 3-4 foot wingspans. For the rest of their lives the old man and his best buddy (also a surgeon) referred to each other at "Chet" and "Bull."
              Last edited by Old Pio; 12-07-2012, 11:42 PM.
              2011 Poser of the Year & Pulitzer Prize winning machine gunner.

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              • #8
                Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

                Originally posted by Slap Shot View Post
                Midway proved to be an amazing "serendipitous' turn of events in the war in the Pacific, which please do mistake as a comment that our forces were "lucky". Decisions made by Nagumo (to our favor), followed by mis-cooridination of planes form the Hornet, scout planes having to be ditched due to running out of fuel (which were headed in the right direction btw) to finally sighting the first carrier (by Waldron's squadron, but the name of the carrier embarrisingly now escapes me). That of course is barely a 1% summary of events but it's perhaps the most fascinating part of WWII for me.
                Luck, or good fortune, is part of the game. Let's see, the Japanese carriers were: Hiryu, Soryu, Kaga and Akagi. Don't remember which was the first to go. Like Henry Fonda says in the movie: "I want that 4th carrier."
                2011 Poser of the Year & Pulitzer Prize winning machine gunner.

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                • #9
                  Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

                  Originally posted by Old Pio View Post
                  Then on an island called Espiritu Santo, where they had fruit bats with about 3-4 foot wingspans. For the rest of their lives the old man and his best buddy (also a surgeon) referred to each other at "Chet" and "Bull."
                  IIRC, wasn't Espiritu Santo where Pappy Boyington and the Black Sheep Squadron were based?
                  Growing old is mandatory -- growing up is optional!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

                    Originally posted by SteveP View Post
                    IIRC, wasn't Espiritu Santo where Pappy Boyington and the Black Sheep Squadron were based?
                    I don't know. The old man was in the Army and if Boyington and Marine flyers were there, they probably wouldn't have crossed paths often, if at all. Okay, maybe in the "O" club. He never mentioned it in any case.
                    However, I got to interview Pappy once. Guy obviously was a brave son of a b*tch. Also a world class drinker. Only Medal of Honor winner I've ever met.
                    2011 Poser of the Year & Pulitzer Prize winning machine gunner.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

                      I've been interested/fascinated by WWII since I was a boy (and even more particularly the Pacific). At age 5-6 I was in a mall in downers grove IL w/my mom and some WWII vets were selling pictures (or paintings I don't recall). they explained to me what the planes were and seemed to be thrilled that such a young kid had gravitated toward their stand. The one plane I recall certainly from those photo/paintings was the corsair.

                      I remember saying thank you to them and I think I shook their hands when my mom was trying to pry me away (cause I wasn't going to leave anytime soon with all the pictures of those awe-inspiring planes!)...whatever inspired me to initially walk over to them I guess I somehow knew these were incredibly important/venerable people even at that age.

                      anyway, 6 years ago I met a guy named Homer Ralph, Corsair pilot who then lived in Grant County,Wisconsin. Funny as hell, quick wit and was surprised when I asked him what it was like to land on a carrier (I refrained from asking about battles, etc). he explained to me what it was like as if he'd just done it the prior week. unreal.

                      salut to all these men and women.
                      Everything in its right place, Wisconsin Hockey National Champs!


                      "but you're not as confused as him are you. it's not your job to be as confused as Nigel". Tap pt 1.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Dec. 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy

                        there is a book out recently called " Freedom's Forge" that is about the mobilization of industry. it's a very interesting read.

                        Kimmel wasn't very good.
                        The Corsair was a fine airplane and carried a lot of bombs etc.It had some teething problems initially. Another book if you are interested in WWII aircraft development is " Corky Meyers flight Journal" Mr. Meyers was a test pilot for Grumman during the war.
                        MTU: Three time NCAA champions.

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