Carl Schwamberger wrote: ↑
18 Jul 2022 17:50
T. A. Gardner wrote: ↑
31 May 2022 22:04
... Yes, the Ichiki detachment was about the only immediately available force, but the IJA didn't order Ichiki to wait until he was reinforced before engaging the US in combat. They let him land and launch a hasty assault on the US positions getting his forces wiped out. It was really just arrogance and over confidence on the IJA's part.
I may be over thinking this, but there may have been something more nuanced in the LtCols thinking.
Franks in his analysis if the Guandalcnal campaign commended Vandigrift for not following current US doctrine and the original plan for the defense of the airfield. He directed a much more compact and linear defense, eschewing a broader defense area, and strong points spread out more. Instead he ordered the denser defense positions closer into the airfield. It could be Ichikis reconnaissance found Marines on the east side of the airfield where they would logically be were the landing force only 5000 men. Following standard tactics of the era a 10,000+ man landing force would have placed their defense further out & further to the east. Ichikki looked at the information at hand, the actual position of the Marines defense & saw it confirming the assumption of a small enemy force.
I don't think so. I think Ichiki was basing his decisions on his combat experience in China. That is, he expected the Marine defenders to be armed primarily, or entirely, with rifles. Support weapons would be few in number and poorly utilized. His expectation was once his men closed with the enemy they would flee. That was what he was used to from China, and he had no understanding of how US Marines would vary from that scenario.
If you look at his combat command experience, he was extremely aggressive while being dismissive of his enemy.
What he ran into was a buzzsaw of interlocked machinegun fire, canister from 37mm guns, then artillery fire and tanks. It was completely different from what he would have expected.
that there were between 2 and 10,000 US troops on Guadalcanal, that's what his higher command told him. So, he knew he was facing a superior force in numbers. Yet, he still chose to lead a frontal attack on the Marine defense perimeter the first chance he got. Interestingly, Ichiki had sent his communications officer forward with a 38 man scouting party that ran into a Marine scouting party (about 60 men) who pretty much wiped the Japanese out, five men escaping to report the loss to Ichiki. His officers thought he should delay his attack and wait for reinforcement only to be dismissed and the plan carried forward.