Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
rcocean
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by rcocean » 13 Jan 2022 02:39

There was no choice between "Shipping equipment to England" and providing equipment to the Filipino Army. Prior to June 1940 all requests for military equipment for the Philippines were not supported. After June 1940, the USA had plenty of BARs, Machine guns, 75 mm Guns, 155mm guns to send. Where did you get the idea the Brits needed BAR's or 75mm Guns - neither of which take UK army ammo? The BARs the Brits got were given to the Home guard.

daveshoup2MD
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by daveshoup2MD » 13 Jan 2022 05:34

rcocean wrote:
13 Jan 2022 02:39
Where did you get the idea the Brits needed BAR's or 75mm Guns - neither of which take UK army ammo?
Winston Churchill seems pretty convinced of it; in Chapter 7 of Their Finest Hour, one will find:

"As early as June 1 the President sent out orders to the War and Navy Departments to report what weapons they could spare for Britain and France… In forty-eight hours the answers were given, and on June 3 [General] Marshall approved the lists. The first list comprised half a million .30 calibre rifles manufactured in 1917 and 1918 and stored in grease for more than twenty years. For these there were about 250 cartridges apiece. There were 900 “soixante-quinze” field guns, with a million rounds, 80,000 machine-guns, and various other items… Since every hour counted, it was decided that the Army should sell (for thirty-seven million dollars) everything on the list to one concern, which could in turn resell immediately to the British and French. By these extraordinary measures the United States left themselves with the equipment for only 1,800,000 men, the minimum figure stipulated by the American Army's mobilisation plan."

You know, it's not hard to find this - it's in Churchill's freaking memoirs. And without those weapons, of course, the Home Guard would have either been a) unarmed, or b) armed with British-standard weapons, which were in very short supply because so much equipment had been lost in France.

Of course, prior to the third quarter of 1941, there was no embodied Philippine Commonwealth Army, other than a very small administrative staff, so there was no reason to send equipment.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Jan 2022 11:54

Hi daveshoup,

We may not be able to pretend that the Philipino army was much of an army, but it was an army nonetheless. Furthermore, its circumstances were largely dependent on decisions made by the USA and MacArthur had been in charge of it since its creation, so its condition cannot be entirely divorced from him.

We can also deconstruct the British forces in Malaya. The overwhelming majority had not been soldiers at the outbreak of war. For example, two-thirds of the Indian rank and file were more recent recruits because regular units were gutted of personnel to create new units for formations for use in the Middle East. Malaya was largely an operational training area for the British, who were heavily engaged in a major war elsewhere. One can find multiple such reasons, good and bad, for the poor performance of the British in Malaya, but that doesn't gloss over the fact that it was the largest unnecessary defeat in British military history. The same is true for the USA in the Philipines, (unless you can recall a bigger one?).

However, as I said eleswewhere to others, to point out that MacArthur's annihilatory defeat in the Philipines was not quite as bad as the greatest defeat in all British military history is to set the bar excruciatingly low for him. Perhaps "American Caesars" come cheaper than the usual variety?

Cheers,

Sid.

daveshoup2MD
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by daveshoup2MD » 13 Jan 2022 22:11

Sid Guttridge wrote:
13 Jan 2022 11:54
Hi daveshoup,

We may not be able to pretend that the Philipino army was much of an army, but it was an army nonetheless. Furthermore, its circumstances were largely dependent on decisions made by the USA and MacArthur had been in charge of it since its creation, so its condition cannot be entirely divorced from him.

We can also deconstruct the British forces in Malaya. The overwhelming majority had not been soldiers at the outbreak of war. For example, two-thirds of the Indian rank and file were more recent recruits because regular units were gutted of personnel to create new units for formations for use in the Middle East. Malaya was largely an operational training area for the British, who were heavily engaged in a major war elsewhere. One can find multiple such reasons, good and bad, for the poor performance of the British in Malaya, but that doesn't gloss over the fact that it was the largest unnecessary defeat in British military history. The same is true for the USA in the Philipines, (unless you can recall a bigger one?).

However, as I said eleswewhere to others, to point out that MacArthur's annihilatory defeat in the Philipines was not quite as bad as the greatest defeat in all British military history is to set the bar excruciatingly low for him. Perhaps "American Caesars" come cheaper than the usual variety?

Cheers,

Sid.
As has been stated in this same thread, MacArthur was a failure at matching resources to needs in peacetime with the organization of the PCA in 1936-41, and as a wartime theater commander in the Far East in 1941-42, and again in 1950-51; he was also fair, at best, in terms of serving as a theater commander in an era of coalition warfare in the SWPA in 1942-44.

Having said that, the PCA in the fourth quarter of 1941 was no more an "army" than the LDV in the UK was in the third quarter of 1940. It was a militia, under-armed and underequipped for its tasks, and incapable of anything approximating maneuver warfare, even on the defensive - much less combined arms. The PCA was not part of the armed forces of the United States until late in 1941, and was not funded by the United States; it was an entirely separate force, with its own chain of command, officer corps, facilities (such as they were), and budget (such as it was). Other than MacArthur - no longer on active duty with the US Army - and his small advisory staff, until late in 1941, there were no US officers assigned to it, and the PCA officers did not hold US commissions. At best, when hostilities began, the PCA amounted to the equivalent of 10 reinforced infantry battalions, each with an attached artillery battery, and with perhaps a month of training at the battalion level.

The closest equivalent in the panoply of British Empire units, in a legalistic sense, were the Indian Service Force organizations of the various princely states, in that they were not under British command in peacetime and only were so in wartime if their governments offered and they were, in fact, accepted by the British; in an operational sense, in terms of training, organization, and equipment, the LDV in the UK 1940 is far closer to the PCA than even the ISF.

The Philippine Constabulary was an armed police force; the equivalent of the various colonial police forces in the British Empire; when mobilized in 1941, they were the equivalent of MPs or poor light infantry.

In comparison, the two divisions/eight brigades of British/Indian infantry of the 9th and 11th divisions and the 44th and 45th brigades, the three brigades of the British 18th Infantry Division; and the two brigades of the 8th Australian Division, much less the British fortress troops, were all "active" troops of three armies at war, with common equipment and doctrine, and - at least on paper - all equally capable of maneuver, combined arms warfare.

There's really no comparison, which makes the collapse of the British Empire forces in Malay after two months, and the continued resistance of the American forces in Bataan for twice as long, that much more impressive.

Linkagain
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Linkagain » 14 Jan 2022 00:37

The Order of Battle for US/Phillippine Forces 1941 and casualties per unit ABMC records:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippin ... 80%931942)

By the way its been asked why the USN submarines didnt take more active offensive against the IJN Forces....
One reason is that while the germans had the best torpedoes in Europe and the IJN the best torpedoes in Asia..the USN Torpedoes MArk 14 and 15 1941-1943 were the worst......see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_14_torpedo

daveshoup2MD
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by daveshoup2MD » 14 Jan 2022 02:07

Linkagain wrote:
14 Jan 2022 00:37
The Order of Battle for US/Phillippine Forces 1941 and casualties per unit ABMC records:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippin ... 80%931942)

By the way its been asked why the USN submarines didnt take more active offensive against the IJN Forces....
One reason is that while the germans had the best torpedoes in Europe and the IJN the best torpedoes in Asia..the USN Torpedoes MArk 14 and 15 1941-1943 were the worst......see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_14_torpedo
Don't think those ABMC numbers for the PCA and PC organizations actually include any Filipinos; they were not eligible for burial in US national cemeteries until Nov. 1, 2000, so any US veteran buried by the ABMC and listed with a PCA or PC unit would been an American (US Army) assigned as an advisor, etc.

https://www.cem.va.gov/burial_benefits/eligible.asp

f. The Philippine Armed Forces

(1) Any Philippine Veteran who was a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States at the time of their death; and resided in the United States at the time of their death; and,

(a) Was a person who served before July 1, 1946, in the organized military forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, while such forces were in the service of the Armed Forces of the United States pursuant to the military order of the President dated July 26, 1941, including organized guerilla forces under commanders appointed, designated, or subsequently recognized by the Commander in Chief, Southwest Pacific Area, or other competent authority in the Army of the United States, and who died on or after November 1, 2000; or,

(b) Was a person who enlisted between October 6, 1945, and June 30, 1947, with the Armed Forces of the United States with the consent of the Philippine government, pursuant to section 14 of the Armed Forces Voluntary Recruitment Act of 1945, and who died on or after December 16, 2003.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Jan 2022 14:27

Hi daveshoup,

You post, "There's really no comparison, which makes the collapse of the British Empire forces in Malay after two months, and the continued resistance of the American forces in Bataan for twice as long, that much more impressive."

Unfortunately, the Americans weren't fighting the British, they were fighting the Japanese!

I am not here trying to defend the annihilatory British debacle in Malaya, but to point out that this was an absolute low point in centuries of British military history and that to compare it to the American annihilatory debacle in the Philippines is to set the bar fantastically low for the latter. To be "much more impressive" than the British in Malaya is not necessarily to be impressive at all. MacArthur seems to have overseen by far the biggest loss of American and American-led troops to a foreign power in US history after five years in the post to prepare.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Jan 2022 02:48

Sid Guttridge wrote:
14 Jan 2022 14:27
Hi daveshoup,

You post, "There's really no comparison, which makes the collapse of the British Empire forces in Malay after two months, and the continued resistance of the American forces in Bataan for twice as long, that much more impressive."

Unfortunately, the Americans weren't fighting the British, they were fighting the Japanese!

I am not here trying to defend the annihilatory British debacle in Malaya, but to point out that this was an absolute low point in centuries of British military history and that to compare it to the American annihilatory debacle in the Philippines is to set the bar fantastically low for the latter. To be "much more impressive" than the British in Malaya is not necessarily to be impressive at all. MacArthur seems to have overseen by far the biggest loss of American and American-led troops to a foreign power in US history after five years in the post to prepare.

Cheers,

Sid.
Percival was a poor combat commander at the (default) theater level in 1941-42; newsflash: so was MacArthur (IMHO).

The difference is the American officers and enlisted personnel on Bataan held out better than twice as long as their British/Indian/Australian equivalents in Malaya did, in very similar circumstances. Likewise, the "British/Imperial" troops that surrendered amounted to the number of 13 brigades/brigades of infantry; the Americans were (roughly) three RCT/brigade group equivalents.

And, of course, generals Wainwright and Lough, stayed with their troops after the surrender. At least one "British" division commander decided to leave, and made it home. Interesting contrast there, as well.

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Sid Guttridge » 15 Jan 2022 09:56

Hi daveshoup,

You are once again completely ignoring the Philipinos, who provided 85% of MacAthur's manpower. As pointed out above by yourself, there were originally ten "squared brigade" equivalents of Philipino troops. Add that to your three American brigade equivalents and you have 13. That is the same number as you give for British Commonwealth brigades in Malaya.

The headline figures for Allied troops in Malaya and the Philipines were similar and the casualties they inflicted on the Japanese were similar. We can break them down further using other factors, which certainly would benefit the Americans in the Philippines, but we can't pretend the Philipinos weren't there.

Earlier somebody tried to equate the Philipino forces with Britain's Home Guard. I am sure the Home Guard would have been delighted to have had the six months pre-war training the Philippinos had, limited though it was. In fact the Philipino troops seem not only to have had more training than the Home Guard, but more training that Britain's Territorial Army before 1939. By the time of the final surrender in Bataan they had theoretically had around a year with the colours. It is difficult to see how the Americans could have held a line in Bataan for more than a few days without the Philipino 85% of their manpower. Indeed, the link you gave above states that on at least one occasion Philipino troops held almost all front line positions.

Credit where credit is due.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by daveshoup2MD » 15 Jan 2022 21:14

Sid Guttridge wrote:
15 Jan 2022 09:56
Hi daveshoup,

You are once again completely ignoring the Philipinos, who provided 85% of MacAthur's manpower. As pointed out above by yourself, there were originally ten "squared brigade" equivalents of Philipino troops. Add that to your three American brigade equivalents and you have 13. That is the same number as you give for British Commonwealth brigades in Malaya.

The headline figures for Allied troops in Malaya and the Philipines were similar and the casualties they inflicted on the Japanese were similar. We can break them down further using other factors, which certainly would benefit the Americans in the Philippines, but we can't pretend the Philipinos weren't there.

Earlier somebody tried to equate the Philipino forces with Britain's Home Guard. I am sure the Home Guard would have been delighted to have had the six months pre-war training the Philippinos had, limited though it was. In fact the Philipino troops seem not only to have had more training than the Home Guard, but more training that Britain's Territorial Army before 1939. By the time of the final surrender in Bataan they had theoretically had around a year with the colours. It is difficult to see how the Americans could have held a line in Bataan for more than a few days without the Philipino 85% of their manpower. Indeed, the link you gave above states that on at least one occasion Philipino troops held almost all front line positions.

Credit where credit is due.

Cheers,

Sid.
Um, no, actually. I will try and spell this out, because it strikes me you must not know the historical reality of USAFFE in December, 1941:

There were three entirely separate pools of Filipino (spelled with an 'F,' by the way) manpower available to the US Army in 1941 in the PI (not including civilians); they were:

a) The Philippine Scouts. These were Filipino nationals who had enlisted - as volunteers - in the US Army, and who provided the enlisted manpower (and a small number of commissioned officers) for the US Army units with the designator "PS" - the 45th and 57th infantry regiments being the best known. Total number of PS personnel (which, of course, also included several hundred US citizens as officers) was less than 12,000, out of the 23,000 US Army personnel in the islands, and the breakdown in July, 1941, when MacArthur took command of USAFFE, was roughly 11,000 in the infantry division, 5,000 in the harbor defense organization, 2,500 in the air force, and 2,000 in various theater-level services and support elements. Other than the US Army two tank battalions, a US Army AA battalion equivalent, and some additional USAAF aviation personnel, that was about it when the war began in December (not including the Marines and beached sailors). And other than about one understrength PS battalion on Mindanao and a few odds and ends across the rest of the archipelago, the above was pretty much all on Luzon, and (for the most part) retreated into Bataan.

2) The Philippine Constabulary. This was a Philippine Commonwealth force, with its own budget, officer corps (mostly Filipino but with some Americans on temporary duty), chain of command, etc. It was - in peacetime - a paramilitary national/colonial police force, made up of volunteer law enforcement personnel, some 6,000 strong, and equipped with small arms. In wartime, PC personnel formed about four battalion equivalents of MPs (three on Luzon), and functioned about as well as infantry as one would expect - not very.

3) The Philippine Commonwealth Army. This was the militia, again a Philippine Commonwealth force, with its own budget, officer corps (mostly Filipino but with some Americans on TDY, including eight of the 10 military district commanders), chain of command, etc. It was - in peacetime - an almost entirely reserve force; the only active element (about 4,000) was made up of a small administrative/headquarters cadre, at the national and district levels, the faculty and cadets at the military academy, the (very small) aviation and maritime elements, and the full-time ground force personnel in the training and depot organizations, none of which were especially strong - and not organized for operations. Upon mobilization (ordered 1 September, 1941), the 10 military district were supposed to generate as many "divisions" using trained reservists (reserve training "began" in 1937); the problem, is that, for a variety of reasons that all can be laid at MacArthur's feet, the supposedly "trained" reservists were not.

The reality is that even IF the PCA reservists were trained, the yield of mobilization in 1941 would have been, at best, 10 "divisions" with a grand total of 8,600 men each, including nine infantry "battalions" (400+ officers and men each, however) and four artillery "battalions" (three field and one anti-tank, with ~400-600 men each and - at best - a dozen 75mm guns each), plus an engineer "battalion." Hence the "10 square brigades" equivalent.

However, even the above did not exist, in any meaningful way; as an example, the divisional anti-tank battalions had not been formed, much less equipped, so the actual strength - even on paper - would have been closer to 7,500 each when mobilization was ordered in September, even on paper. The other issue was there was very little in the way of existing camps (much less barracks, ranges, etc.) for these units; the PCA engineers - once activated themselves - basically had to build them.

So instead, each military district called up a single regiment/RCT-equivalent, which spent most of the next two months in remedial training - by the time the war began, these ten "regiments" (even at full strength, and with their attached FA battalion and engineer company, they were still only roughly 2,000 strong, significantly less than the US TO&E of ~3,000-4,000 in an RCT) and had been able to train at the battalion level for a few weeks, if that; not all of the FA "battalions" even had their guns. The "divisions" were not even activated at that point; that came later in the cycle - the 31st Division on Bataan was not activated until November, 1941, for example.

The second "RCT" equivalent in each military district might have had a month of active duty by December, and without any equipment much beyond small arms. The third "RCT" in each military district had not even been formed.

When the invasion began, various untrained PCA "soldiers" showed up, and the warm bodies were shoved into the paper organizations wherever possible, as well as a couple of provisional units (the military academy faculty and cadets, and the Constabulary, for example provided cadre for the 1st and 2nd "divisions," but were neither were ever equal in strength even to the PCA reserve "divisions"...

This is laid out in significant detail in Chapter 2 of "The Fall of the Philippines" linked above and again here; you may wish to read it before commenting again.

https://history.army.mil/html/books/005 ... _5-2-1.pdf

The end result was the Allied force in the PI in 1941-42 amounted to an understrength US division on Bataan (i.e, the US Army's "Philippine Division," the coast artillery defending Manila Bay, the remnants of seven PCA "divisions" (meaning understrength and raw RCT-equivalents) on Bataan (11th, 21st, 31st, 41st, 51st, 71th, 91st), two more (81st, 101st) on Mindanao, the last (61st) scattered across the rest of the archipelago, and various odds and ends in company to battalion strength - and in most cases, given the linguistic realities of the Filipinos and the lack of active experience of the PCA reserve officers, ANY British LDV battalion in England in 1940 was better situated than the vast majority of its PCA equivalents on Luzon a year later.

That's it. The IJA deployed a reinforced corps equivalent, with air and naval supremacy, to the PI, and not surprisingly, they won. The difference between Luzon and Malaya, of course, is the Americans held out until May. The British collapsed in February.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Sid Guttridge » 16 Jan 2022 10:33

Hi daveshoup,

I don't disagree with much of that.

What I object to is the Philipino forces being discounted in the headline figures. About 85% of MacArthur's forces in Bataan were Philipinos. At times they held almost the entire front line. They also took most of the casualties. MacArthur had, and lost, almost the same number of troops as the British in Malaya.

Below that, as I said before, "We can break them down further using other factors, which certainly would benefit the Americans in the Philippines, but we can't pretend the Philipinos weren't there."

However one looks at it, the US annihilation in the Philipines was a debacle. The "whataboutism" that the British did even worse in Malaya doesn't make it look any better, because that was itself the largest debacle in British military history.

You post elsewhere, "There's a "too little, too late" pattern, unfortunately, that the British (and Canadians) repeated in 1941-42 in Hong Kong, Malaya-Singapore, and Burma, and the Australians with the piecemeal defenses of Ambon, Timor, and Rabaul." Certainly true, but they were already engaged in a major war on the other side of the world. This is not an excuse available to the USA in the Philippines.

Cheers,

Sid.

Linkagain
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by Linkagain » 16 Jan 2022 15:03

Still the fact remains that In Phillippines 1941 and Korea 1950 MAcArthur was the Senior Military officer in Both theaters of War...
December 1941
His Chief of staff Richard Sutherland blocked Brereton attempt to have the USAFFE Bomb Formosa....
MacArhur had 8-9 hours warning that the Phillippines would be next..yet he did nothing {Manchester]
Nov 1950
Korea...A debacle..Two Seperate Armes MacArthur Forces....and Walton Walker Forces without any Unity of Command not even Working in concert....

MAcAthur..wasnt just satisfied with Uniting Korea under the uncrowned King of Korea...Syngman Rhee
He would Preemit President Truman by....making War with Mainland China...
MAcArhur Forces depsite being outnumbered ...9 to 1.......and composed of Koreans who spent 35 years surving Imperial Japanese Rule VS the Chinese Communits who spent over 25 years in War.....Would Smash the Chines Communitst armies..Capture Peking...overthrow Mao...withe help of Chaing Kai-shek (Qho had lost 25 years of War to Mao) and thus make China, Korea and
Japan a "protectorate of the United States" as had happened in 1900 during eh Boxer Rebellion....a protertorate which was almost similar nearly 40 years later during the Bush Administrations who tried to make the Arab/muslin states united under a US Protectorate.....1986-2021 :roll: :roll: :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:

daveshoup2MD
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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Jan 2022 21:33

Sid Guttridge wrote:
16 Jan 2022 10:33
Hi daveshoup,

I don't disagree with much of that.

What I object to is the Philipino forces being discounted in the headline figures. About 85% of MacArthur's forces in Bataan were Philipinos. At times they held almost the entire front line. They also took most of the casualties. MacArthur had, and lost, almost the same number of troops as the British in Malaya.

Below that, as I said before, "We can break them down further using other factors, which certainly would benefit the Americans in the Philippines, but we can't pretend the Philipinos weren't there."

However one looks at it, the US annihilation in the Philipines was a debacle. The "whataboutism" that the British did even worse in Malaya doesn't make it look any better, because that was itself the largest debacle in British military history.

You post elsewhere, "There's a "too little, too late" pattern, unfortunately, that the British (and Canadians) repeated in 1941-42 in Hong Kong, Malaya-Singapore, and Burma, and the Australians with the piecemeal defenses of Ambon, Timor, and Rabaul." Certainly true, but they were already engaged in a major war on the other side of the world. This is not an excuse available to the USA in the Philippines.

Cheers,

Sid.
The Filipinos - with the exception of the US Army's Philippine Scout units - were NOT trained soldiers in any sense of the word; they were an untrained to ill-trained (at best), poorly-organized, marginally-equipped, and woefully-officered militia that spoke multiple languages and were utterly incapable of anything approximating combined arms maneuver warfare.

Now, if you are willing to acknowledge that the British Army's 18th Infantry Division, the Australian Imperial Force's 8th Infantry Division, and the British Indian Army's 9th and 11th divisions, as well as the separate 44th and 45th brigades, and the British Army's fortress troops in Malaya and Singapore, were the same as the above, than sure, count the PCA and the PC as the equivalent of the British, Australian, and Indian armies.

If not, however, than the above points regarding the PCA and PC stand. Your call.

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by daveshoup2MD » 16 Jan 2022 21:45

Linkagain wrote:
16 Jan 2022 15:03
Still the fact remains that In Phillippines 1941 and Korea 1950 MAcArthur was the Senior Military officer in Both theaters of War...
True, and has failures as such are historically undeniable. He was not a great captain.

However, to defend William Manchester's choice of title: not all the caesars were either, were they? ;)

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Re: Douglas MacArthur was no Caesar

Post by rcocean » 16 Jan 2022 22:05

The fact remains that George Marshall was the top man during Pearl Harbor, the fall of the Philippines, the loss of wake island, and the U-boat "happy time" off the East Coast in 1942. Not mention, Kasserine pass AND the battle of bulge. And then there's Korea where he presided over as DoD head the disastorous loss to the Chinese Communists in Nov-Dec 1950.

He was no great captain. Lots of Failures!

Eisenhower was in top man in the ETO and responsible for the 8th AF. The Swinfurth mission in 1943. Failure to have long range escorts. Those debacles are his responsibility. HE was not a great Captain. Lots of failures!

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