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Japan & decisive battle theory

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    Posted: 15 Jun 2019 at 09:32
In World War II, the Japanese had a decisive battle theory inspired by the American Admiral Mahan.
The idea was that you trap your opponent into a battle where you give their forces everything you got, that is why the Japanese built the super battleships Yamato and Musashi, which with their big guns, could
hit anything else at a distance that the opponents couldn't match.  This kind of strategy had worked for Japan in the Russo-Japanese War.  The Americans however, wouldn't oblige and would chip away at the edges.  The Pacific also was a carrier war, the age of the battleships, was largely over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jun 2019 at 01:17
Yes, Yamamotos pre-emptive strike on Pearl Harbour can be called a victory, but as he is quoted as having said, I fear we have awaken a sleeping tiger. He was correct.

As the result of this action. American industry quickly adapted to war industry, churning out ships, tanks and aircraft at a rate which was phenomenal for the time.

English Air Force went on to dominate western Europe skies, assisted by allied forces. Allied Navies took control over the seas, notwithstanding the success of the U Boat Wolf Packs.

Decisive battles won by the allies include The Battle of Britain, the North Sea Battle, Pacific Battles and eventual victories over Germany and Japan, however, wars end was somewhat marred by the fact that Russia was allowed to take part of Berlin, with all that that was later to follow.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2019 at 14:55
But, Yamamoto's pre-emptive strike victory was not a "decisive victory" as per the decisive victory theory.  Mahan was an American Admiral, and decisive victory theory pertains to naval battles.  Basically, hit someone so hard they won't get up.  If the Japanese had gotten the aircraft carriers, and the oil fuel tanks (I don't know if there were other potential high value targets), well, that didn't happen.  If Midway had gone bad for the Americans, but it didn't.  Japan had to finish it quickly, or over time, America and its industrial potential would bury them.  But, also their strategy was to try to catch the Americans and Allies in one big battle where there huge battleships could attack.  America was more into chipping away of a sub taking out a freighter here, and oil tanker there with a submarine.  Civlian ships (freighters) were not considered honorable for the Japanese navy.
On the other hand, the US bypassed Japanese islands in the end that were not strategic for going after Imperial Japan itself.

Battle of Britain was not a decisive victory in the sense Mahan meant it.  Battle of Britain was not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.  Churchhill could not win the war, but with the Battle of Britain he could have lost it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2019 at 15:18
If one limits the phrase "decisive victory" to the particular engagement, I submit that in fact Pearl Harbour was a Japanese victory. The attack caused major damage to the US Navy Pacific Fleet, and lives were lost.

Viewed as part of the big picture, of course the victory was not decisive, the US went on the defeat Japan in the Pacific.

Similarly, the Battle of Britain could be called a decisive victory, inasmuch as it was the end of German dominance of the skies.

Again, as part of the big picture, it was only a part of the entire victory.

From Wiki
Quote Mahan's views were shaped by 17th-century conflicts between the Dutch Republic, England, France and Spain, and by the nineteenth-century naval wars between France and Great Britain. British naval superiority eventually defeated France, consistently preventing invasion and an effective blockade. Mahan emphasized that naval operations were chiefly to be won by decisive battles and blockades.[11] In the 19th-century the United States sought greater control over its seaborne commerce in order to protect its economic interests which relied heavily on exports bound mainly for Europe.

Mahans views were forged, not as a war fighter, but as a theorist. His views, while to some extent valid, need to be viewed in modern context.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2019 at 13:04
Admiral Mahan wrote a book, in which he preposed the "decisive battle" _theory_.  Now I don't know if it was called by him or just called by others, a _theory_.  But, "decisive battle theory" is a name, not a phrase.  The Japanese subscribed to this theory, and in the Russo-Japanese War, it worked for them pretty well when they trounced Russia.

It is like the saying about the all-around good man, he didn't start fights but he finished them.  Well, the Japanese started a fight at Pearl Harbor, but they didn't finish it.  According to the "decisive battle theory" Pearl Harbor was ultimately not decisive.  The Japanese "merely" "woke the sleeping giant," as Yamamoto recognized.  So, you might recognize Pearl Harbor as a "decisive battle" but nobody, including the Japanese, who subscribed to the "decisive battle theory" would recognize it, as saying, a knock-down good for the count.  btw The "dreadnoughts" were (I think) spawned by this theory.

I apologize if I come across as a little aggressive, "decisive battle theory" is a phrase, but like "United States of America," it is also a name.

If you look at the Japanese defeat of the Russian Navy, "battle of Sekigahara"??  I think.  _That_ is a decisive battle (according to the decisive battle theory.)  Salamis is a decisive battle in 480 BC Greece, after it Persia couldn't support its land army and eventually had to withdraw.  The British defeat of the Spanish Armada.


Edited by franciscosan - 28 Jun 2019 at 14:07
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