« Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Show 64 - Supernova in the East III

2019-10-24 | 🔗
Japan's rising sun goes supernova and engulfs a huge area of Asia and the Pacific. A war without mercy begins to develop infusing the whole conflict with a savage vibe.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
What you're about to hear is part three of a multi, Part series on the Second World WAR in the Asia Pacific Theater. If you don't mind your story, starting in the middle, and you haven't heard the first couple of additions. Well, this is a perfect place to start. If you like your stories with the background in the context and all that well, you might want to catch you on the first two shows, if you already caught up on the two shows well welcome to the long awaited sorry about that part. Three apart using it's a little long awaited. Is I wrote a book you want to find out more about it, go to our website fast forward to the end of this show, or just wait till you get there. Naturally, in the meantime, Supernova in the east part three. December seventh, one thousand nine hundred and forty one its history a date which will live in in Pornhub.
The events dial. I do this. The figure, the more than that from this time and place? In the words Ish Bin Ein the Alina, the drama, Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall play music. The deep questions welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their president surprised, but I'm not a crook if we dig deep and artistry in our document and remember that we are not descended from fearful It's hard
History. One of the reasons you can't put much trust in the idea of the lessons of history, especially when it applies to specifics Nations is that we human beings see the sorts of behaviors that we admire, and then we choose the examples that fit our bias. So, for example, we all have this tendency to celebrate resolute defiance and strength and willingness to confront things like and we'll be like Archer chilean confrontation with evil, Well, the idea is the strong ideas of we learned from nineteen thirty, eight in Munich, that you can't appease dictators knobs. This idea of strength is much lauded in the lessons of history, but we never take the opposite lesson, assuming that this is some kind of lesson to heart, and that's that sometimes
one might suspect it would be worth putting a statue up to somebody in a government that cave into his adversaries that submitted that cried uncle. The reason I bring that up is because, if you could have found somebody in the japanese leadership- and that may be who did the emperor? Who would have done something like that? He would have saved his country from the worst disaster it ever had and yet think of how impossible it is to imagine a person in situation, doing that one of the reasons we spend so much time and everybody else does on the dysfunctional development of the japanese government- is because this December. Seventh, one thousand nine hundred and forty one incident is where it fails in the worst possible way me to quote one of well Ninety seven percent of the historians of the world who think this is the like one
worst decisions ever naval historian, Kreegel Simons, called the attack at Pearl Harbor or the most reckless and Eris possible decisions in the history of warfare and the reason it's reckless and irresponsible is because, chances of success in this japanese war plan are so small mean when these gambles. Ok, if you're talking about risking an entire country right when the cost? Benefit ratio lining up all right for you. I often wonder how much better life would be for the average german today, if you know we had won the war in the Second World WAR and they all living like Kardashian's today or are they might we better off than they would be anyway right. How much of this actually filters down to the average person as a sort of a counter balance to balance out the risk that you're? taking that you might lose the war. If you look at Germany's risk in one thousand nine hundred and fourteen when they march into Belgium, assuming that the British won't get involved- and we're And breaks out anyway, say
you want an it's a horrible risk, as it doesn't just lead to World WAR one, but the inner war years the rise of Nazis in World war. I mean it's a disaster, but germ we had a decent chance in that war, they could have won it. Radically in the last year of the conflict. So is out of decision, is that was its worlds apart from the Beneze decision, which has just as much in the way of cataclysmic, ramification, if you lose, but your chances of winning are so much smaller tile, percentile, dice, you dungeons and dragons fans. Ninety seven or above Japanese come out of this in any way, shape or form. Okay, let's review shall we. There are you know. If you go to the japanese optimist society that the military I'm I made this up, but the imagine the most rose- colored glasses of the army, Navy, guys and and thinking about the multiple ways they could win this war? We already talked about the first one, that's going to come into play right after Pearl Harbor, and that is the idea that they are going to
explode across the region. Take over a whole, you know think about circular area sort of roughly kind of like an egg. Maybe that encompasses all the resources they need to be self sufficient and then they're going to fortify it all and make the other side take it back in what would be in there lines are the rose, colored glasses, wearing optimists here, an island in archipelago version of the First World WAR western front trenches. That would also include a a web of air cover, as the japanese So number one. Is we take it all we make you take it all back this is where, by the way, the japanese hope to maximize one of the few advantages they have as they see it. Over the other side, and that is morale. We start off this entire series. Talking about these japanese people who stayed on the islands decades after the war was over. How do you live bridge that into winning somehow. While this strategy of
keeping islands fortifying them and then making the allies taken back. It's maximizing them right because you're assuming they're, going to get tired of losing people for these little sandy atolls in the Pacific more quickly than you are now number two possible way that the japanese win here. If you're in the optimists room the axe, the war the Germans win, then maybe everything changes it should noted, by the way that as Pearl Harbor is happening, the so unions. Red army are mustering their forces for the big counterattack at Moscow that will change the entire complexion of the war in Europe. The timing on this could not be worse right as we're finding out the head of Germany's, probably not going to win the war is basically and right around the same time period we're at right now. Finally, three- and this is the most interesting way that Japan wins this war somehow, What happens if this pan asianism idea that a lot
japanese leadership sort of sees a more pr marketing tool, although some really believe it, but that catches on remember what that is. All of asian this time here, with the exception of Japan and know one or two scant other places are cologne, possessions or places like the Philippines, that aren't officially colonies, but have a relationship with the United States that subordinate, let's put it that way. There is a lot of anger, as you might imagine, seething in these areas, and these people have never been able to confront the western. Colonizers in any sort of military sense, but here's a power. From Asia that can and that, at least with the getting material, is suggesting that that's exactly what they're doing in the fantastic rose, colored, glasses dreams of the optimist in Japan. They see a giant rising of all peoples of Asia, to sort of rally to Japan's
banner in leadership. But if those things don't happen, Japan is going to be, as Winston Churchill said, ground to powder a better metaphor. If you want to be more, accurate would be burnt to cinders and the only person who perhaps could have saved them. Been somebody who stood up and said at the last minute when there were no real options uncle when we don't put statues up to people they give in to our enemies, even if they save our entire society by do so now? In all fairness, people have always made the argument that this is exactly the role the emperor eventually played. Ending the war more on that later, of course, but that he bravely as the only person who really could said enough, but
Vester Gators looking into these things at the Tokyo war crimes trials, wanted to know that if you have the power to do that at the end of the war, why didn't he use it before the war broke out? And that's when you get back to the whole dysfunctional John? these government and all the reasons it was. Let's not forget. For example, about assassinations and how much of a tool to prevent thinking that wasn't patriotic enough from being in a publicly expounded upon, I mean there was a period in Japanese, history that we talked about where historian sometimes call it government by assassination, and it was the extreme in any society sort of driving the bus. If you will and remember, Japan was following the trend of places like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, where any sort of dissent or not towing. The party line was less and less accepted and super page
Tysm was sort of the new minimum standard allowable and unquestioning loyalty to the state was required and Japan it's been at least a decade previous to this purging itself of leftist and anarchists and people that wrote bad things but the government and the ones who were in prison or under surveillance, were cathode, so the voices that might get up and speak inst suicidal decisions. Really in a position to do that by the time December. Seventh rolls around, and let's remember, Almost every country in this story has a nice proportion of its citizens who believe that phrase- my country, right or wrong will remain in Japan. They not only believe that phrase, probably at higher levels than most people. A significant chunk of them believe their emperor is a living God. So if you want to sort of have unquestioning loyalty in the state, When the state is a living God, you can just ratchet
normal level of patriotism that most people think is good way two hundred and eleven off into Super patriot land when he can become destructive. But of course, let's remember It take somebody like a super patriot, sometimes or, as we said in the Second World WAR here in the United States, a fanatic to be willing to kill them so diving their aircraft into an enemy ship in the hopes of making any little difference in the war effort for their country or their emperor for their beliefs and the believe, Sir interesting from a really human standpoint. There's a great book called Japan at war, an oral history by her rukutai, yet Cook and Theodore F Cook. That is an oral history with the japanese voices talking about all the
Different kinds of things in the introduction talks about how there are certain wartime phrases that were really only used in wartime, but they came out in the interviews. 'cause there's nothing else that describes them, and I was interested in why some of these people fought It's like every army during this period, there's a lot of conscripts. There's a lot of people that go because they have to as everyone else is going, who don't think too much about the causes. But there's a lot of these people especially the super patriots, the ones who feel very strongly? Who have thought deeply about what they're doing and why I was interested in the similarities between. University and high school professors in Germany, in the first World WAR and in Japan before the second If you go read any number of accounts, but all quiet on the western front, the most famous they all talk about how their professors it's funny. It's like the
instead of today's stereo type of the marxist leftist, professor, that corrupts the young minds that come into the classroom and makes them anti government. Before the first World WAR, These german high school professors were famous for whipping their students the patriotic frenzy getting them to join the military. What are you going to do for the empire? What do you know and and getting them all fired up periodically and in the second world, before the Second World war. You see the same dynamic going on Japan and in the book, Japan at war in oral history, one of the people that they quote is one of these young people who gets fired up for id. Listed reasons that you know it's funny. You could see college students getting fired up about today in a broad sense, this His name is no, HI, Romy CHI and he talks about getting fired up by a professor quote the man who really got me all stirred up about colonialism was
sir. I am a suki. He was the founder and head of the Department of Colonial economic at Nihon University. The private college we called Nichidai he'd, say in class Yes, I've been to Shanghai, where signs say dogs and yellow people. No entry, I've been to the South Seas, an area controlled entirely by the white man. He Ask us: what are you going to do to knock down the structure he had I in America and was a professor of current events, but he devoted him After rousing speeches like this, my feelings resonated with him I burned with the desire to act given an opportunity. I want to go to the front. I want to go to China. I want to do something myself, that's what we all said he can. News this gives us an idea of how some of the passionate people you know,
the other side, especially the young. Idealist. Might have felt given what they were being taught quote: America Britain had been colonizing China for many years, Japan came to this late. China was such a backward nation. At the time of the Manchurian incident in nineteen thirty one we felt Japan should go out there and use japanese technology and leadership to make China a better country. What was actually happening on the battlefield was all secret, then, but I felt sure that the EAST Asia, CO prosperity sphere would be of crucial importance to the backward races. An in Germany would only have to combine forces to break the Anglo Saxon Hold on Asia and re distribute the colonies. That's how we felt then, and quote it's interesting. If you compare why that person thinks they're going to go off and fight to, why say, Americans in Korea, or in
NAM, felt like they were going off to fight a high minded. You know I knew people like this who went there because they thought they were helping to keep or to free other piece Oh right, we were risking our own blood and treasure not for our own strategic interest, but literally to help these other people. It was the mission of mercy. Now, as everyone knows, once you get onto the battlefield and see what's going on ideas like mission of mercy, sound very different, but what motivates a person to want to go? Do these things are sometimes the most idealistic and high minded reasons. So there's a real here in NY there, when the japanese army will go act, the way that they act in all these other countries, that so many of them felt so idealistically connected to you know when their professors whipped them up into the idea of a crusade to help the other yellow peoples. You know the term of the time right. The yellow races
white races. Now me pause for a second, because it may seem as though we're artificially injecting some of the modern. Racial discussion into these events from the past, in other words, viewing it through that lens, but nothing could be further from the truth. Many of you have read the primary source As you know, what I'm talking about this is a major component of the whole thing I mean. The racial aspect forget about the Pacific and the man in the yellow man we're going to use those terms, 'cause, that's the terminology of the time, but forget about all of that just remember, what's going on in Europe where we have the con, except of the master race and slave races, like Slavs and untermenschen who are to be wiped out in camps mean so this whole quest of ethnicity and race in superior and inferior beings, this was
really going on in the Second World war. Before this whole part of the world was officially part of the Second World WAR and question of colonialism was long standing, obviously, in a push the United States, just for those of you who, maybe don't remember in a very strange position in this whole affair, because, unlike Britain, France, Netherlands and these other countries that have been in the colonial game for a long time. The United States is officially, in anti colonial country flirted during the spanish American WAR, but even when they have a pseudo colonial relationship in a place like the Philippines. We don't the same way the we have a self image. This is we're not a colonial people, and the job by the way I bought into some of that marketing too, and Sometimes the most interesting stuff you'll read about the second world. War comes from authors and LEN Deighton, who wrote an interesting book on the whole war, asked a question that I've seen before, but you don't even think about it very much and that's why the Japanese have
involve the Americans in this at all. They could have been fighting Anti Colonial WAR against the colonial powers in Asia left the United States, out of it might leave themselves alaus in a war. Well, there's a lot of reasons, including the Philippines and whatnot in Growing antipathy in the United States, it was a public opinion poll. He quotes taken two days before Pearl Harbor. That's it seventy percent of Americans wanted some sort of controls, on Japan's expansion and the you s always had a soft spot in his heart for China, which was being basically raped by the Japanese. So things were edging towards this point way, but this is more than a racial war. On very simplistic, you know: yellow and white questions japanese themselves are involved in this. Let's call it trend of this era of Perior an inferior beings, Doctor Seuss, is star. Bellied sneetches, the Jap
Please do not see themselves as the equals of all these yellow peoples in Asia that they are freeing using my fingers as air notes from their european Colonial master, they don't see themselves as the equals of the Koreans or the Chinese or the malaise or the Filipinos. They see themselves as superior to them in a racial and ethnic sense, the same way that the German see themselves as superior to the slavic people. Now, let's put an asterisk next to this whole affair. So that when the time comes to talk about it continually in the future, all understand that within all these countries- and I always try to remember this, whether we're talking about Nazi Germany or Japan or the Soviet Union or well any country you can think of, there are people that do not match the tenor of the times that do not match the attitudes of the
and the government. You know Anti Nazi Germans in Germany, you have to have their house bombed during the bombing range, just like the Nazi next door, who supported the government every step of the way right there are japanese humanitarians who hate what's going on here, every step the way and who would never behave like this and, of course, who, because we're all caught up in the gears of history and subs to the randomness or the cosmic decision. However, you want to phrase it or put it born when were born and where were born. We sometimes avoid such terrible dilemmas, but so, let's under When I talk about how Germany is around Japan is the maybe a national sort of stance, the master race id in Germany, but it doesn't mean that every German believed in that at all just like. It doesn't believe that every japanese person believed in the superiority of the Yamato race and that you know the idea. As we said from that student, I mean it's a spectrum. Let's call it a spectrum thing of how Japan felt about the rest of Asia
one end of the spectrum- is that student that we just quoted that makes the peoples of Asia like the chinese people sound like native Americans or Originals in Australia. Just you know, sort of a backwards, primitive people. All they need is some. You know they would have said in the old western christianizing will send into some indian schools will bathe. Them will dress him up right. Will you get rid of all that mumbo jumbo. They grew up with a generation or true you'll have good old american the blend right in the Japanese? Were: let's do I was feeling similarly about the Chinese. They just need leadership how technology some of our values and ethics will shape from right right will help those people that's one into the sect that's the one that wants to go help right, there still inferior, but they can be fixed. This is a chat this version of the peace core. My goodness, then all the way over the opposite end of the spectrum, where you will find these japanese thinker,
who remind you of like nazi scientists. Who have a racial view of people like the Chinese as subhuman genetically inferior, to be sterilized at least wiped out. Maybe in there the kind of people that we might as well just try some experimentation like infecting a bunch of fleas with the Bubonic play dropping them over their cities and see what happens which, by the way they did so it runs the gamut right but the same idea the Japanese you're, fighting their own race war on two fronts. One is against these white folk I think they are so superior and have taken over almost all of Asia. The other is install these Asians, who aren't good enough to be japanese people, but would be better off with us running an empire. I mean from the standpoint of a lot EAST colonial peoples. They are being throne,
out of the frying pan into the fire. The transition moment from frying pan to fire for a lot of these people will be. At about the same time that the bombs are actually dropping on Pearl harbor. It's easy for Americans, myself included to get focused on what's going on in Hawaii in the surprise attack, it was so shocking that we list. The many other aspects of this japanese blitzkrieg occuring. Many cases simultaneously and completely coordinated around Asia and the Pacific. For the first forty eight to seventy two hours of this affair. I mean at the The bombs are falling on Pearl Harbor there, a japanese bombers in the air en route to wake island to bomb there a couple hours before pearl, harbor there're landings of japanese Troops in northern Malaysia, they will bomb the and there will be a bomb Guam, they will bomb wait. They will bomb midway, uh huh,
calling all in the first few hours they will bomb Singapore and kill sixty one people before Singapore even knows there at war. This is astounding and the the scope of Japa These operations is breathtaking. Let's remind ourselves the chutzpah involved. Here, though I mean you could easily describe the Japanese right at the time of Pearl Harbor, remember bogged down in China for years now, a country the size geographically about the United States. They are trying to eat an elephant figuratively speaking and they're choking on it. Not December seventh, one thousand nine hundred and forty one. They decided to order a couple more elephants, because that's what they're doing here. If this were a movie- and you are the and who's writing it. You love this idea, because I mean this is swinging for the fences right but, as we said earlier, the chance is. A success are so small, and yet the Japanese
These are trying to maximize those chances. There are a bunch of things they're going to do at every level to try to compensate for their deficiencies. Ah grand strategy level. What we're talking about here when you go attack all these countries that are so much bigger and have more industrial might and more man more than you. What do you do? Well, you use things like speed and audacity the to disorient your opponent. Give you an early edge. Take it. I mean think about it, like a pro wrestling match and there's always those matches where the champion turns around the good guy and he starts to take off his robe and he's not looking and the little guy from behind when no one is looking hits him in the back of the head and then for the first five min kick some around and tries to take advantage of making him groggy. But The big guy comes to that's kind of what the plan he is here. Surprise me audacity. Will confuse and disorient an opponent least for awhile. I mean think about the Americans, who wake
the next morning after Pearl Harbor, open up their newspaper to find out that there at war in the very same newspaper they find out that their pacific fleet has already been illuminated for the most part. That will compensate for some deficiencies. Won't it and it's not the only thing that Japanese are doing, because when the bombs are falling on Pearl Harbor, as we said, the Japanese are attacking locations all over Asia and the Pacific, if not simultaneously the near simultaneous they have advantages. In addition to surprise all the ways we said, I mean the idea that the Japanese were going to attack was not a complete surprise, because people have seen troop ships and whatnot, but there've to do this and carry out effectively in the speed at which they were doing it and, most importantly, if you read the primary sources, the aircraft in the air,
I mean the Japanese really established almost air supremacy quickly, and this was unexpected. There were a bunch of unexpected things by the way you open up. Winston history of the Second World WAR, which is of course more like a personal memoir. But it's I was going to count how many times he talked about the Japanese and say that we underestimated them. Here we threw in the Americans to to diffuse the blame a little bit. The the British and Americans under estimated. The japanese capabilities. We can tie this back sort of, though into the racism thing to too and there's So many sources that point out that A lot of these I mean the British are famous for it in this particular case, but it affected everyone where they just didn't see The Japanese is a capable of opponent, and because of that under estimated them and because of that are now paying the price I mean. Take
example. I was use this example 'cause 'cause it's. I think it highlights the whole thing, but there is a plane that will be the one of the big fighter planes in the in the earliest part of this conflict on the american side, and the Americans gave it to the british and some other flyers. It's called the Brewster Buff hello, it's a bad plane, the bad fighter plane. The only reason that the Brewster Buffalo is here in the Pacific is because it's a sue to be good enough in the Pacific people, like the Americans and the British are going to be shocked when they run to the japanese fighter planes and how good they are in the famous zero, for example, and this goes back to underestimating the Japanese as a people, because the stereo type of before the Second World WAR when it came to things like innovation and design and building was that they were a kind of a copycat people that they could build a good public of some other persons design, but they weren't, capable of coming up with their own advanced designs themselves. Which is why, when they run
Into these fighter planes- and they are better than anything, the allied powers have in the theater it's a shock, and it will be just the first of many get an idea of how, the racism allows the Japanese to be under estimated Arthur Lang Dayton quotes a number of people to this sort of sniffy superior attitude that some colonial British had concerning the locals and he quotes, for example, air chief marshal, Sir Robert Brooke Popham, who that whole region and it's in japanese soldiers close up in December, eighteen, forty and date and said that he didn't think much of them and now quoting the AIR Chief Marshall quote, I had a good close up The barbed wire, a various sub human specimens, dressed in dirty gray, uniform, which I informed were japanese soldiers. End Quote Dayton says he told
masters in London, and then added quote. I cannot Believe they would form an intelligent fighting force and quote Dayton, continues quote low opinions of the Japanese were prevalent in the british Far eastern forces, more realistic estimations were not welcomed in April the the british military attache in Tokyo, told office there's Singapore garrison that he regarded japanese army is a first class fighting force well trained well office. And possessing high esprit de corps. As the talk ended intended General Lionel Bond Head of Malaya Command, rose to declare that h, talk was quote far from the truth. He added you can good for me that we have nothing to fear from them and quote when the british general woke up the governor Singapore to tell him that the Japanese were landing north of them in Malaya. The
governor and this according to date, and also was recorded as saying quote. Well I suppose you'll shove, the little man off end quote so we're now bringing up this racism stuff to make some sort of racism point where pointing out that it helps explain how the Japanese were so sofa ITALY. Under estimated I mean if you watch how they dominate the skies in this region and that how that allows them to do everything else sit there wonder where are all the great plains from earlier in this war, where of the spitfires and all these planes just know are cutting edge they're, not really in this theater in any sort of real numbers. You know why Is there in all the other theaters in the british? fighting recently in Greece, their life or death in North Africa, they're sending planes to their russian ally to keep them fighting? This is well first of all, five minute a peaceful theater. Second, you can't really spare planes. You don't have
and the Americans are still working on developing fighters that can compete with the japanese fighters. The thing is, though, that five minutes ago they didn't know they had that problem. Five minute after the war starts, they're running into these zeros everywhere and another thing that the primary sources stress a heck a lot more than the more modern stuff, because you know they were There- is how disruptive it was to have aircraft like fighter aircraft just come over you and if stuff, with their machine guns and cannon? And it's funny because you know, theoretically, you don't have to be a Mentale inventive to see how devastating that would be. If I took a machine gun in my hand and shot it at a bunch of stuff, it's going to do great damage, but if you have three or more of them, and maybe a twenty millimeter cannon or two two and you're shooting from above? Usually things are least defensible. You know from the air that would be disruptive
as heck. But you don't see a ton of that in the modern sources, 'cause they're, focusing on the fact that these people are also dropping big bombs at the same time, I was reading an australian journalist more on him later. Who was continually talking about how disruptive it was I have a couple of planes: come over every few hours and shoot up everything I mean all you have to do is injuring a few people and it's chaos for awhile and it before you solve that chaos. The planes come back and do it again, that's what the first forty seventy two hours, this look like I mean the Japanese are seemingly everywhere in its air power that allows them to be. We should point out by the way, that everywhere, in this particular case, is a distance. That is hard to get your mind around. I believe we said in the last segment this this is the largest battlefield in human history, and it's not even really close. If you look at where operations in the first six months of this war will take place, I mean
just mentioned in we operations as close to us shores as Hawaii. Well, the Japanese will attack into the center of the Indian Ocean in the near future, look at how far apart those are they'll, be attacking islands off Alaska and will be an operations down by places like Fiji for comparison purposes. The distance between LOS Angeles and New York is about two thousand seven hundred or two thousand eight hundred miles. This battlefield is more like six thousand miles by four thousand five hundred miles. I read that somewhere, but it's close to that I mean it's. The distances are crazy and when you look at what a country that has more industri strength than Japan, has and the kind of problems that they're having trying to take over and digest the Soviet Union. And, of course, I'm talking about the vera mocked and friends December, seven,
December eight one thousand nine hundred and forty one there involved in maybe the most crucial operations of the war outside of Moscow ad. A number of historians would tell you that they feel that the war is decided there and the Germans. Those of you who know this story, no. It well are dealing with headaches, appan headaches over logistical supply lines being stretched. So far and remember, they've got railroads to help and it's still nightmarish and those distances that they're dealing with are nothing compared to the kind of distance. Is that the Japanese, you're going to be dealing with once they unleash once they go supernova right when the rising sun of Japan explodes to create this fence perimeter that includes all of the resources. They need to be self sufficient. Take a look at the geography too, because it will be a crucial element.
The story. First of all, we said before, and I still find it fascinating if you're going to deal with the human part of a story like this, the environment is going to be key to the experience and the kind of bad feel that is most hellacious is a personal question. It's a different answer person to person to to I of the beholder sort. Thing. What bothers you? The most may not bother me the most, so we may have different ideas of where the most hellish place to fight. For example, in the Second World WAR, was I have a friend who can't stand even the slightest bit of cold he's going. To have thought that something like what the Germans are dealing with right about now outside of Moscow is his worst nightmare in a cold to the nth degree,
other hand. You go read some of the accounts of the veterans of the Pacific WAR, for example, and it's a completely different kind of nightmare if you're bothered by spiders and snakes and centipedes and night time, but I mean it: everybody's got the things that scare them or bother them the most for a lot of p all the conditions that allied forces will see in the Pacific and let's be on at the Japanese, didn't like spiders and snakes and centipedes anymore than the next people either for some people, the Pacific is the worst of all possible battlefield conditions. If you look at the way that you like, if I put a map in front of you and said, I want you to figure out how to strategize, you know winning this way. Take a look at the island problem for a second, because it seems to me that this is the key issue for anyone. Besides the distances in the fact that you know they're covered by water, you have to try to figure out what to do with the islands, because the Pacific has twenty five thousand islands
the Philippines alone, which is a single data point on this battlefield, has seven thousand or more actually, seven thousand plus islands, just in the Philippines. How you attack that, if you're the japanese commander or how do you defend? It is an equally valid question. It's a very Houston kind of war. Here's the other thing to take note of all these twenty five thousand islands in the Pacific. One of them, are little more than you know. So sand out in the middle of the water away from everything or little coral reefs or at the problem is: is that there big enough for someone to convert into an airfield there, big enough for you to think about taking it to keep the enemy from having one or for you to create an airfield there yourself. The japanese defense perimeter idea here involves making a lot of these islands building airfields on them if they don't have them already and then creating a sort of web of defense. That makes count
attacks by the allies trying to retake their territory brutally costly. When the second World WAR breaks out, the Japanese already have a pretty good start, to this island defense perimeter, they own a lot of these islands already, ironically, they took a bunch. From there now allies, the Germans in the last world war the early stages of this conflict. They'll snap up a bunch more they'll quickly be in possession of more than a thousand of them. If who are the allied strategists? This is a difficult strategic nut to crack. If you think about it and that's exactly what the Japanese are hoping for and while, a bunch of these islands, fit that stereotype that I just sort of laid out earlier. These coral reefs are atolls or little spitz of sand. Lot of these islands don't fit that stereotype, and some of them are very large indeed with dramatically diff,
called to rain. I mean look at places and this is what the maps used to call them. As I think I said, all these places have different names now, which makes it more confusing, but I mean the Borneo and the Sumatra's in these place. That have heavy duty jungle combined with big land masses. I mean, for goodness, sake, take a place, that's a very important strategic value in this conflict, and that is you're going to see a ton of fighting how bout new Guinea North of Australia New Guinea is the largest island on the planet. If you measure the british miles from Dover in the south to the Orkney islands, you know in the scottish area? and then you multiply that by three times it's still not as long as new guinea is we mentioned earlier that the worst bad conditions in the world is an eye of the beholder sort of thing. Well, Guinea has something for everyone's nightmare in that regard.
Because it is an improbable mix of terrain types. First of all, Ed As for the most part, just like your stereo, typical Pacific jungle, island, heavy jungle, island now, I would say a rain forest, but it doesn't really conjure up the right vibe. Not so sure one of the veterans of that campaign I would think Rainforest did justice to the conditions I Minnesota conjures up these mental images of unicorns running around and there weren't any unicorns. Obviously there were, however, man eating crocodiles in all the rivers hue huge man, eating crocodiles, so little bit of a different sort of feel to new guinea than the rainforest idea. Might act? The jungle is so thick in places that vegetation just rots and stinks and attracts also of insect life, while
finding out the sun in some places, new guinea has all of the creepy crawly that haunt a lot of people's nightmares, whereas in some places wake up and have a sigh of relief to know that dream about that giant? Poisonous centipede crawling on you was nothing but a dream in new guinea, it's all too real and they might be crawling on you after twenty straight days of for downpour. Now what new guinea brings to the table? That's a little different from a lot of these Pacific, Islands is that, in addition to the jungle, it's also God in delete all mountains. Borneo does to some of these other places. Do too and there's a lot of volcanoes are extinct volcanoes in the region, but new guinea has towering mountain ranges so tall that some planes can't quite make it over the hump and have to try to work the third
updrafts a little bit to get it over the really, if they're heavily weighted the really tip of the mountain range, but It creates an environment that one of my books describes as alpine jungle. That sounds sort of mutual exclusive or contradictory alpine jungle. I haven't encountered that elsewhere. But to do a sense of the challenges I mean, how do you equip a force to fight in alpine Single. What's more, this is a very remote area, so once you away from the coastline line toward the interior. You know there are no roads. There's none of that. There's like dirty foot and so isolated in the interior that before the Second World WAR Anthropology, from the west that we're trying to get examples of how human beings operated before cities first arose and stuff. Like that, trying to see us you, as we existed, most of human history
thousand years ago or whatever they ventured to the interior of places like new Guinea to watch for exam. Or tribes of people on the island go to war. Some of these anthropologists by the way never made it home Bunch of the soldiers who had to fight their suffered. You know our fates and they never made it home either. If you look at a map to you can see why new guinea is such a dramatic island of importance to the people in Australia, because if you had japanese air fields and troops as cool Post to the United States in the California or New York as the Australians have new guinea close to them. We would be losing our minds during the Second World war. The Australians are directly threatened by the Japanese. Finally, you have that area
that the Japanese are really. I mean this is the prize in this gamble. The whole reason to take this giant risk add a couple more. Funds to the menu is for the potential payoff. The potential payoff is a number of territories, but most of them are islands there known as the dutch E indies during this time period, their names used to be place. White Sumatra, as I said in Borneo out, the area of Malaya North of Singapore's also very valuable: lots of ten lots of rubber a lots of interesting exotic sort of hard to find resources and, of course, oil. Today, these uber valuable resource, rich territories, are the independent nation states of countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, but when the Second World WAR in Asia and the Pacific,
biggest starting. These are like most of the region under the colonial domination of european states, and these particular place is this treasure chest of regional resources is almost like a legacy colony. If you want to think about it because they are controlled by the Dutch and the Dutch Heaven a major military power for some time. They remind you a little bit of the Belgians who are also a colonial power, and you think to yourself. The Belgians are a colonial How are they could? Hardly, you would think, defend their homeland if they were in trouble, but there are colonial power and, speaking to that point, when wars breaking out right around the time of the Pearl harbor attacks. The Dutch can't defend themselves in Europe there, actually occupied by the Nazis during this time period and by the way so are the French. We also have a puppet government set up control by Nazi Germany.
So some of these colonial powers are having a hard time, keeping their act together back at home in Europe, but they still want to control these oratories and maintain their domination in the region and who wouldn't it's human nature. It's just like the Japanese I wanted to take them over right. That's the sort of power of politics mankind's become accustomed to ever since Sumeria and before right, but before the Japanese can exploit these territories and use them as sort of the equivalent of the nuclear reactor powering their future empire. They have to take the places for and that's what the early stages of safe from December to late February or March are going to be. So if you look at this campaign in chapters or sections, the first section is the Japanese, blitz section and the first forty eight to seventy two hours, is we send little crazy? I mean with landings
North of Singapore. As we said, Hong Kong's attacked immediately there're landings on Philippine Islands Guam's attacked immediately and taken over quickly. Wake island will be attacked quickly, although the Marines will prevent it from falling quickly on December tenth, so a couple days after pearl, harbor famously a british naval attack force goes to based in Singapore by the way, since there right before war broke out by Winston Churchill in a move that reminds you. What the US constantly does today will send a carrier group to a place like the straits of Hormuz too, to display resolver will send other task force to the straits of Taiwan to show the flag whatever it might be. These are old. Naval maneuvers in the british of course, the greatest navy of all time at this particular moment in history, and so Churchill sends task force to Singapore as a way of sending a message to the Japanese before Pearl Harbor, saying: let's remember what you're going to be tangling with. If you decide to mess with us,
you're not going after Chinese now, you're, not fighting the soul. Yeah. I mean this is the Navy. That's so great. You model your navy after us, now famous Really there will not be an aircraft carrier with this task force and the reasons for that account. As is everything that happens next, as is almost everything from the early failures on the allied side in this conflict. Pretty typical, though, isn't it whenever you have beginnings of wars, there's going to be screw ups and you've had years of peacetime, maneuvers in war games and all sorts of things to prepare you for all this stuff. That's going to happen, but when real war happens, Murphy's law gets involved in a way. It just doesn't east I'm more games and you see screws after screw ups and look at pearl. Burn how many years they're going to be investigating whose fault that was right right. War breaks out at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese will. Mostly bomb Clark Field in the Philippines, which is you held and destroy like half of the planes on the runway when the
Mirror command in the Philippines. Already knows that the UN is at war and that Pearl Harbor's been bombed again finger start getting pointed the scene or situation, see a ton of fingers pointed in bridge, military circles and and on December tenth, the capital ships, the battleship Prince of Wales, the battle cruiser Else and their destroyer complement, add out to sea or continue their search for japanese troop transports to sync off of the Malayan Peninsula, get spotted by japanese reconnaissance, forces there are planes all over that area, submarines Japanese, initially see them and then lose them, and then they find them and pick them up again, and then they send land based bombers out to go. Get these ships. Now we told you earlier
That was an interesting. It's called an rma these days, a revolution in military affairs happening in naval warfare during this period. Whenever something like that happens, it has to fight the inertia of the prevailing military beliefs, because there's so much invested in so many different places and on so many different levels in the way things are think about the reputations at stake in people. Who've assured, for example, people and governments who decide to throw money into some particular weapon system, that this weapon system is cutting edge and will determine everything in the next war, so we've got reputations on the line. Then you get the reputations of the people that decide make the decision to spend the money to build the systems. Then you have the people who support the systems, It's a silly as sometimes the fact that something like a battleship. If you are a naval commander who wants to command a ship at sea that is one of the top prestige jobs. I remember from STAR Trek Captain
work is to say, there's only twelve enterprises in the fleet. I mean it's this great honor to be a starship captain. Well, would you get that from that's taken directly from the idea of commanding a ship of the line, or in this case a battleship? So even have that kind of inertia working against the idea that the weapon that's got the highest prestige and the most investment in the Navy's around the world. Most states can't even build battleships. Let's emphasize that right, that's how rare find the areas here. Not every country can even build these battleships. So what happens? If the evidence continually begins to show over and over that they're obsolete, nobody really wants to hear that. By the time Pearl Harbor happens, you've had in two years of war in places like Mediterranean, the Atlantic or the North Sea. I mean british in the Germans and Italians are all tangling with each other, so there's ever accruing and if you're a fan of bat
she's like I am. It hasn't been necessarily very good news, but there's mitigating circumstances. That's what the person like me, who doesn't want to hear with the mounting evidence, seems to show and what a lot of other people would say to mitigating circumstances I mean we talked about. The bridge raid against the italian fleet anchored at the port of Tehran right where a bunch, have old biplanes by the most primitive level of like air to naval combat, you can think of primitive biplanes planes. The top speed is something like a forty miles per hour, are able to bull or sink ' italian battleships and they lost two planes. People love battleships put their fingers in their ear, as I do and say not a fair test. These ships were tied up at port. They weren't maneuver their crews weren't manning the Anti aircraft weapons at full strength. I mean not a fair test and that sort of has been the case for the war so far and on December seventh,
forty one, you get another, not fair test when the US Lee tied up at port a A similar treatment, but, worse too, with the italian fleet got a tear in tow the reason. So many historians pay so much extra attention to this December tenth, one thousand nine hundred and forty one naval incident is because it's the best. By far the best test case scenario, we have the new revolution in military affairs in action, because you have to little ships here in one of them is new commission this same year you can't say the paint. In scratch, because for a brand new if it's already seen a lot of action, entangled with the Bismarck, for example, the prince sales, though, has the latest anti aircraft system heavily armored both these ships by the way, the repulse the battle cruiser. That's with it and the Prince of Wales about the length of two and a half US football. If you think about them like stubby versions of the Titanic, that's not far wrong the repulsive something like
one thousand tons in weight the principle sales, almost forty thousand tons, they are ridiculously heavily armed, especially the of Wales. These are mid, 20th century death stars and it is hard not admire them, as of the most technologically sophisticated naval chilling machines I mean if, if there's a diabolical side to you, where you could admire that kind of weapons perfection I mean you can see why people could fall in love with a weapon system like yes, and refuse to see the new reality. It's going to be the that that happens on the morning of December, one thousand nine hundred and forty one. That is, if you'll pardon the pun, capsizing moment for many people on the fence about this were trying legitimately to figure out what the data points suggest. Now we mentioned earlier that there was supposed to be an aircraft carrier with this task force, the british Ney
is fully aware of the value of aircraft in enable situation. They are not stupid. They would have liked to have had it. The indomitable, though, had run aground earlier. Wasn't up until the last minute air power from the land bases around there were potentially be involved, but that didn't happen either the key to whole thing, though, and understanding that this is going to be a capsizing moment. Is when the ships went out into the South China Sea without air power, they did not think of this an extremely dangerous thing to do. If this were nine in forty five. This would be an almost suicidal thing to do when everyone would have known it. But of course the reason that they would have known this. Is by one thousand nine hundred and forty five plenty of battleships had been sunk by aircraft.
Up to the point. We are in the story right now, late, one thousand nine hundred and forty one December tenth, one thousand nine hundred and forty one that had never happened in naval history. What's more, if these ships, their crews were not unduly concerned about going off without air cover. You would imagine they had every right to be considering the amount of anti aircraft weaponry. These ships were loaded with there's a war correspondent named O Gallagher, who writes for the british paper the Daily express he's on board the repulse and in his rundown of this incident he focuses intensely on the anti aircraft on the ship. You can tell he's overwhelmingly impressed with it and it's in fear. Year to what's on the Prince of Wales, he talks, something that has a firing rate
two thousand rounds a minute. I had to go, look it up and it's basically four hundred and fifty caliber machine guns, strapped together on a rack. If you look at the way that Anti aircraft will actually evolve at the end of the war. There's actually some good footage you can find of a late war. You naval task forces opening up against. I think it's kamikazes What you see is I mean the US have perfected this by late war, they've got picket lines of destroyers out in advance. They've got a bunch of smaller ships surrounding the big ships and they all open up once the sky fills with explosive metal. They have it set, and off by altitude, so you have certain kinds of guns, firing right at sea level, for the low flyers and then they've got it graduated in steps every way up the altitude chain, it's all synced.
Radar. It's awesome, awe inspiring and all you can think of is how could anybody ever fly through that? What would it be like to try to fly through that? But here's the dirty little secret about it all enough planes always get through, so that you can't defend these ships with anti aircraft alone, often times the numbers, look pathetically small of planes taken out by anti aircraft. But even in the battles where you know you see, a lot of enemy planes are destroyed by gunfire from the ships A lot of times it's after the plane has already conducted its torpedo, run or bombing run, and it's passing over and and passed a lot of these planes. We'll make it back to their base and then be declared total losses. Now, that's great you've reduced enemy aircraft numbers, but it didn't stop the attack on the ship at the time
So how many planes are you willing to take out and call it an even day if you lose a battleship and they lose thirty flames the planes are being put a number on it. Army, General Billy Mitchell, who said in the years between the two were old wars that the US shouldn't even build anymore battleships 'cause, you could buy a thousand bombers for the price of one battleship he's the kind of guy that might say I'd be willing to lose a thousand planes. Nine hundred and ninety nine planes and call it a victory. If I took out a battleship, you can begin to see that, in order to protect the ships, you have to expect a level of efficiency on the part of the anti aircraft weapons. That's not realistic! To expect now another reason that the people on board the ships are confident that they have nothing to worry about is because they realize that they are not up against the kind of enemy that there used to facing a lot of these people. Just came from Europe where they were facing the Luftwaffe
Germany, and these are notoriously good military forces highly trained, very efficient, and the people on this ship think that they're facing people who don't measure up to european standards for all of the bigotry reasons I mentioned earlier, so nothing to worry about that's another thing that this is going to be a data point, for this is part of the allies discovering that they Wolfley underestimated their enemy here and war. Correspondent ODI Gallagher is on board the repulse he writes for the british paper the Daily Express, as I believe I said, he recounts what happened on this fateful day. When the japanese aircraft find this strike, again, the battle itself begins about eleven, a dot m, one thousand one hundred and fifteen, with japanese aircraft attacking from all different sides and all different altitudes different times as they sort of arrive, so you have six planes. Eight planes, ten planes, some hugging, the way
games with heavy torpedoes on the horizon. Other flying in this case, they had level bombers so medium bombers. It would fly straight overhead in like ten thousand feet and drop big bombs very hard to hit the ships at that height. But if you do they're very big bombs, oh dear, Gallagher says that at one thousand one hundred and fifteen am the Prince of Wales. Anti aircraft, weapons, open fire and explosion makes him jump, and then he says, and let me warn you these- are primary source- quotes from the arrow, so they're going to have all the bigoted wartime propaganda type terms you might expect. But we don't censor primary sources and you wouldn't want us to imagine trying to do that. For example, With stuff from before the: U Dot S civil war, you have huge gaps in anything. You might try to say so before one but Gallagher writes about the one thousand one hundred and fifteen a dot m aerosol
quote that was the beginning of a superb air attack by the Japanese, whose air force an unknown quantity officers in prince of Wales. He writes whom I met in their wardroom when she arrived here last week said they expected some uh nor rocks flying from the Japs, the great Danes, there will be the possibility of these chaps flying their whole aircraft into a ship and committing harakiri. He quotes them as saying he continues quote. It was nothing like that it was most the docs they even came at us in formation flying low and close aboard the repulse. He says I found observers as qualified as anyone to estimate jet flying abilities. They know from first and experience what the royal air force in the Luftwaffe are like there, it was now quoting their verdict. The Germans I've never done anything like this in the North Sea, Atlantic or anywhere else. We have been and quote the
the ships begin maneuvering. They both do about thirty, not so there fast there, as we said long, which makes it hard to Manu but these are all the sorts of things- that defenders of battleships suggested that they be able to do and by these encounters and by the way, throughout these air attacks the a list is dajing torpedo after torpedo, so there's some truth to the whole maneuvering thing they dodge like nineteen of them. But this is a numbers game and over the space of about an hour and a half, almost one hundred aircraft will participate. In what looks very much like the taking down of a large animal on the Serengeti by a persistent horde of smaller predators, and that is, I should point out one of the two ways that these big
Ships tend to be sunk way, number one is pretty classic and very dramatic, and it's been around ever since you had magazines filled with explosive things in naval warfare. The critical hit is always a possibility You saw it against the Bismarck, where the Bismarck or the cruiser with it was able to penetrate, The magazine of the battle cruiser hood, the beautiful british battle cruiser fighting it somehow got into the magazine and boom it explodes and out of a crew of something like a thousand three people survived. I mean it was at the bottom of the sea extremely quickly part of it, sank in like a second and a half, the other one lasted a couple of minutes before boom, so the critical hits always been around in naval warfare, but with a
these big ships, it's more like a process of weakening them and what often happens is a lucky hit will happen, but if you're trying hard enough a lucky, it's inevitable right, I mean you, take polls, even at the old slot machines in LAS Vegas, designed to take your money from you, it'll eventually pay off the air combats too, dissimilar after dodging ninety, torpedoes, for example, the repulsive eventually gets hit by one, and what these torpedoes often do is make you more vulnerable, so they'll jam the rudder or deal damage the power that happens to the Prince of Wales. Eventually, when she gets hit, They're dropping these very big bombs from very high altitude. The chance of hitting these ships is very small, but if you drop enough bombs, you have uh chance of striking with one and they're big enough. Some of them are thousand that if you hit the ships with something like that,
take me to slow them down and if you slow them down, then they become meet the Prince of Wales after being hit and seeing its power levels drop and its speed drop begins to take a list and Gallagher on board. The repulse Watching this says quote one thousand two hundred and twenty pm the End is near, although I didn't know it, a new wave of planes appear flying found this in formation and gradually coming nearer. The of Wales lies about ten cables, a stern of our port side. She is helpless. They are making for, I don't know how many they are sliding are guns as they realize they are after her, knowing she can't dodge their torpedoes, so we fire at them defend the prince of Wales rather than attend to our own safety. The only analogy I can think of to give an impression of the Prince of Wales. In those last moments,
so by Mortale Woon did Tiger trying to beat off the coup de GRAS, her out Mine is hardly distinguishable in smoke and flame from are guns except the fourteen inchers. I can see lane release a torpedo. It drops no heavy into the sea insurance up a small wake as it drives straight at the Prince of Wales? It explodes against her vows A couple of seconds later, another explodes amidships and another a stern gazing her turning over on the port side, with their stern going under and with dots of men. Leaping from her I was thrown against the bulk buy a tremendous shock as the repulsed takes a torpedo in its portside stern end quote the also take a few more in Gallagher will go down with the ship. Only to be SH from the water file
story and have it appear a mere two days later. In the british morning papers more than eight hundred men died and it would have been much much Had there not been destroyers nearby to pick up survivors, the British admiral on board the Prince of Wales, went down with the ship and round when told of this event, Winston Churchill says it was one of the biggest shocks he got it entire war, cost for sending these two ridiculously expensive technologically sophisticated. Nearly impossible for most people to build mid twentieth century death, stars between four and seven japanese aircraft.
That is a change in the cost to benefit ratio in naval combat that will create a revolution in military affairs. We should also point out another angle that makes this important, and that has to do with how long it takes to build these giant ships. For example, these big battleships take generally between three and four years to build the aircraft carriers that are going to take over as the big important ships are more like. Two to years to build, but that's a significant amount of time when Julius Caesar invaded Britain in fifty four BCE. He says he built a fleet of six to eight hundred vessels over the winter well, when you're building, although they were pretty sophisticated, but when you're building wooden vessels, like that, maybe you can pull that off
for with these very sophisticated machines, it is a process, but what that means is on land warfare and unlike AIR more fair, mean you never want to lose an army, and you never want to lose an air force in something like the battle of Britain have a ground down to the nub. You never want that to happen, but if it doesn't, through the war. Somehow, within a year, most of the top powers will have restored. Something like that. Now you can't restore the veteran nature of groups and whatnot that you lose, but in the air force you might argue, it might be a plus. I mean you replace the old stuff with brand new stuff, but it's something that you can deal with naval warfare is different because it takes so long to replace these big ships that, if you would choose something like four aircraft carriers in an afternoon. That's devastating.
Because the ships that you lay down to replace them probably won't be ready in time for you to use them in this war. So the value nature of the main fleet assets, skyrockets and all of a sudden. These aircraft carriers are going to be seen as like queens on a chess board and they will need to be handled with care error. Now, when these two capital ships go down December, tenth, one thousand nine hundred and forty one, you have a fantastically weird and interesting situation in global affairs going on, and I find it interesting that more attention isn't paid. Do it, because the alternative history potentials just why but you don't have the second World war going on as we understand it today, yet you have two global, or maybe you could say, hemispheric wars, going on at the same time in
having some but not all, of the same participants and often in different com. For example the british and friends. That's how put it there and friends and allies without the, U S are already fighting the Germans and the Italians and the smaller axis powers, now after December seventh December, eight they're fighting the Japanese to the germ. Things are fighting the British, an l as in France in there also fighting the Soviets, the Soviet Union are fighting the Germans, but not fighting the Japanese. The Japanese are not fighting the Soviet Union, but are fighting the Chinese and now have attacked the british and french and I'll have attacked the United States. The United States is fighting the Japanese because the Japanese attacked them, but they're not fighting the Germans, well, now, there's an undeclared sort of war going on with submarines on the east coast in the? U is pushing the boundaries of neutrality by helping where they and but there is no official war going on against the Germans right and the didn't bomb Pearl harbor. So you have this.
A situation that might have continued for quite a bit longer and it's interesting to speculate how it might have gone. Had it continued long 'cause, remember the state of affairs in the United States at this time. This is the end of the period and I hate this, but that's often referred to in the history. Looks as the isolationist period of american history. It's if you look at public opinion poll it's definitely getting more interventionist, but guess just coming from a low point. There are a lot of people want to go to war in Europe. Franklin Roosevelt, who Now, in his third term, which is unprecedented, we still haven't had a president who served more than two and that worries people who never like Roosevelt to begin with right he's like the third term he ever leaving office. Roosevelt ran platform that he wasn't going to send american boys to go die in another european war boom. He wins the presidency's back in the White House and now he's going to go, start a war against Germany, not likely lease
not without much more set. So. How long could this state of affairs have continued, where you know they're all I mean it's wild to think about on December 11th, one thousand nine hundred and forty one though in move that must have, you know, put a little have a bomb on Winston Churchill still trying to recover from news of the you know, sinking of those two capital ships out of Hitler takes all the pressure off of Franklin Roosevelt and solves all his problems, if he really wanted to get the United States into european wars. Some think Declaring war on the United States Bam now, I'm not saying that there was an ample excuses to justify such a move, but why would you do it if you didn't have to? Well? Maybe you get something for this
right. So this is what has me thinking back to some of the great german diplomats in history. One of the greatest of all times, Auto VON Bismarck right they named the battleship after him, he was a live in Hitler's life time. I can't think on a level high enough to wonder what Bismarck would have done. But I know enough about him to know what he wouldn't have done. He would not have in Germany involved in any sort of diplomatic commitment that didn't offer something of tangible value to Germany. That would extremely unlike him to ever make a bad deal. This is a bad because the Germans aren't going to get anything for it, what might they want? Well, my goodness, their life or death at the time period outside the gates of Moscow right the Soviet Union, go, look at a map, wouldn't it be wonderful, if you're Nazi Germany the japanese attack the Soviet Union from the from the back, for the asian side and then you've got them in a vice, and you can you can squish them
both sides, but the Japanese never attacked the so union in this whole war, even though they kind of like to a lot of them. So what do the germ let's get for all this. Well. It's an even worse deal because kind of Lately, the Yuan Britain have already had talks about what they might do, should a war break out and we find ourselves working together. Wink wink nod nod so one of the things they agreed apon in principle was that if war that were in the second World war. This whole big war, we're going after Germany. First in the history books, there's a couple of different names for this policy. Some called Germany, first policy, others, the Europe First policy, but basically says: is the allies agree, the Germans or the number one enemy, we're going to concentrate the lion share of manpower, resources, attention, money and lives to defeating the Germans, and then after that's done, we will go
and grind the Japanese to powder at our leisure. The agreement basically calls for a holding pattern in the Pacific. While the Germans are defeated. This will be reinforced and codified at a conference at the end of the year. It's called the Arcadia Conference by and Winston Churchill takes a battleship over to the United States. And has his wonderful moment where a lot of Americans fall in love with the churchillian approach he goes to. College says, those famous words I'll try to not butcher here, He says you know I can't help but think had my father been american in my mother british instead of the other way around. I might have gotten here myself and you everybody loves that, and he goes He brings a lot of his military staff with him he in Roosevelt and the staffs of the United States and Great Britain Meet for a putting together a
coalition military approach. Now let me stop for a minute and talk about how hard this is to do think about putting your country's true under the command of another nation in any way, shape and form. It's a very hard thing to do. We just look at the axis powers, for example, and see how hard it's going. Do they are aligned to each other Right Japan's in now? But what can they do to help each other when they are so far away from each other you're not going to have Aramark troops as we guarding Pacific islands, for the Japanese and you're, not going to the imperial japanese fleet cruising amount around the Mediterranean sinking british battleships either, but in their defense it's hard to have these you know, coalition military organizations work. So that's what makes what the USA and Britain do at the Arcadia Conference so monumental, they were able to craft an arrangement for how this war is going to be fought.
And there are a lot of people whose noses get out of joint a lot of hard decisions to be made, but, according to Winston Churchills Doctor Lord more and who was there a church. Churchill was Lee overwhelmed by the production figures that the- s- was promising. He couldn't even see any of the getting their nose out of joint part of this, and just you know. I I've often thought about this, because I was reading it again in the image popped into my head of the analogy here and may it's because I've actually lid this analogy. So I know how it feels like, but so have many of you it's almost as if the WAR for to date without the Americans is like a startup company, that's gotten big in the people who were in it the beginning really know what they're doing now in their proud of their work and all these kinds of things, and that would be the british and allies and all this I mean, after all, they survived the blitz and look at how well they're doing in there and they're helping keep a lot of other nations in the war with supply. But there I mean pushing to the end, extremes, I mean in terms of debt and resources,
reduction in their own peoples, lives and all that kind of stuff and the United States is like the big. Outside investor comes in, got all the money, so you have to listen to they say at the same time it's a little bit. Calling to the people that have been there for some time to have these new come in and tell you how to do things, no matter how much money they're providing the United States going to have a very big footprint in this war and in the Pacific. It's going to be overwhelmingly large But, as Lord Moran said, all Churchill could see was all the tanks, planes and ships that the United States was going to bring to the table that was the ease. Finally, this huge burden that the British are carried. You know throughout the entire two plus years of the war. So far in his book, the rising Sun author, John Toland, quotes Churchill's physician, Lord more and about the Arcadia COM,
for instance, the agreements on unity of command and all the hard decisions that have been worked out and he writes about it quote. Arcadia lasted for another two weeks. Much had been accomplished, but some of the british left disgruntled now, quoting Lord more and quote the Americans have got their way and the war will be run from Washington. Lord Moran wrote in his diary, but they not be wise to push us so unceremoniously in the Future RP You are very unhappy about the decision and the most agree to is to try it out for a month. End quote toll and continues quote Churchill himself went home in great good humor. Exalting The final joint production estimates reached at the conference, forty five one thousand tanks and forty three thousand planes in nineteen. Forty two and seventy five in tanks and a hundred planes. The following year quote: he is drunk with the figures. Commented more in end quote. Well it
you had been a startup company that avoided being. Liquidated already getting by by the skin of your teeth and looking for every row, to grab onto to continue the struggle you might be drunk with the production. Verse, two all of a sudden, the British don't have to worry about money and stuff anymore because arsenal of democracy is going to provide that and having to put up the enormous american footprint is just going to be the cost of doing business here. Now the whole time this Arcadia Conference is going on, and I should point out it will stretch from December one thousand nine hundred and forty one into the new year of January, one thousand nine hundred and forty two, the allied foot. In EAST Asia and the Pacific and all
Those central Pacific areas isn't growing, it's shrinking by leaps and bounds. The Japanese are taking allied possessions at a speed that is shocking and from a military geek out perspective, as I think I've said, it's hard to find anything like this, because it appears almost reckless the amount of operations that they have, and in almost like domino tumbling fashion, try to try to sync up complicated events and you'll, see how tough it now try to sync up so many complicated events in such a short period. Time that is historian. Cragg L Simons writes the allies barely had time to catalog the advances of the Japanese let alone respond effectively. I can tell you that even trying to keep track of all the conquests on a timeline is
using because they go on at the same time and they overlap, and you have stories happening across a wide range of Asian Pacific Territories, and we take, for example, the first couple of days, you're going to have a tax in Malaya, which is now Malaysia. You're going to have Hong Kong attacked you're going to have the Philippines attack you're going to have the Gilbert Islands attacked you're, going to have Tarawa, attacked, wake, attacked, Guam attacked Makin island attacked Siam, which is now Thailand invaded Burma in rated N Borneo invaded and that's just in December, they're going to kick off another round of conquest the next month. It is sounding, as I said, it almost appears reckless, but at the same time there's a certain breathtaking. This isn't there in the audacity of it all and then to be successful. The fact they are successful. This has been something
but I think we mentioned people have been pointing fingers about all the time, because there's all sorts of mistakes and problems and and Sorts of pre war. Different theories The best thing to do is which the acid test of combat settles right. We have an argument here between the war you know whether or not there should be defenses or whether defenses make the troops less aggressive, who's right who's wrong. Well, it's just one guys opinion until pearl, harbor right and then you begin to see some of these things worked out Unfortunately, as always, it is the every soldier on the ground who gets to pay the price rite for underestimation, Miss assessments, or even something but today seems so obvious, but the the racism of some of these people involved? Won't let them to assume that the Japanese are going to be as good fighters as they are, which and when they are again, the troops on the ground suffer. As we said, the Brewster Buffaloes that are being
shot down by the japanese Mitsubishi zero fighter planes all over this region. Don't just mean that the poor pilot stuck in those fly. Coffins as they were sometimes called pay the price, but then, when there is no fighter cover for the allies to defend the troops on the ground, those as go strafing all day, long matter of fact. The one thing, if you look at the primary source accounts from allied soldiers during this first period. It's it's interesting. How often they talk about the japanese aircraft. Just around a few times a day and strafing up everything and shooting up everything the amount of chaos that causes in on a day to day basis how much it wears you down. And let's remember when they're my have been some very veteran troops, for example on the british empire side of things in this area. But the Americans, for example in the Philippines, most of the guys have never heard a shot fired in anger. So when these means, come over head and bomb and strafe all the time. A lot of these people are seeing their first casualties and facing death for the first time,
maybe a little unnerving Hong Kong, you have situation that will be replicated in a bunch of these small, rylands. Remember, Hong Kong is smaller than the islands of who or Maui in Hawaii, but they have like a million and a half people living on it, so it's a very densely populated place, but it's right off the coast of China and that coastline. Of course, during this time period is occupied by the Japanese. All of these smaller islands are really tough to defend against determined attack. Right 'cause. You just surround him by the sea and and pummel am I mean that's? What may the Wake island defense by the Us Marine such a big deal early on in War, it's one of the notches on the Marine corps belt of heroism by the way one of their famous stories, but deserve what they get. I mean there's uh few one hundred Marines who win the japanese show they blow them out of the water kill several hundred
invaders they sink. A destroyer were to damage a light cruiser and provide one of the few bright spots, in american newspapers that Americans are waking up to every day to a bad news after bad, as this falls they're defeated here and all of a sudden on. Tiny little island, a few one hundred Marines are able to provide some good news, the Good NEWS, by the way, One of my historians was that I read said that this is obviously you know just the the began to arm of the. U media trying. You know gin up some good stuff, and it says that when the can government or military cabled the Marines on wake and said you know, do you need anything? The Marines reportedly send a message back saying yes send more and then Tori and said it was very unlikely that they really wanted more Japanese, because, after a very short period of time before the you could mount any kind of rescue or reinforcement operation. They got more japanese, they got Eric,
carriers an overwhelming force, and they were already the Marines running out of ammunition, so they end up having to capitulate. In a situation where and again they've got this on the belt of heroism, so it wasn't for no reason, but a lot more Marines died with the same outcome then maybe would have had to in a different circumstance. I mean this is something you're going to be replicated all over the region during this first japanese blitzkrieg period, because you're going to have group of allied soldiers after group of allied soldiers in situations where they pay a much higher price than they would have had to had people been will the simply acknowledge the reality of the situation. This is the situation Hong Kong's, in, for example, you wish it like one thousand seven hundred and forty or fifty, and you Maybe the British in the French going at it and and the each commander Lord Cornwallis type figures as well, Hong Kong's indefensible. We know what they know it, so I'm going to go out and I'm going to hand my sword of the french general and I'm going to say. Please take care
civilians. We surrender there's no way for us to win this time. Better luck! Next time, we'll get you! It can't do that, for all sorts of reasons number one reason is something we talked about earlier. The british and the Americans have sort of different goals at the very last fork. Road. You there's a lot of things they see eye to eye on. This is the second world war in twenty years. After all, where they've been working together as either official allies were pseudo allies. None The very last fork in the road Winston sure who, let's understand Americans forget this- is a politician. Politician on the very, very, very conservative side of the british ledger during this time period. He outcome serves other conservatives and he is fully a man of the 19th century when it comes to his values and outlook and his Victoria empire sorts of views he's a man who to preserve the british empire? He's got guys on the opposite side of parliament, who are thinking that
Empire is a concept that's not going to last much longer. So how do you get a soft landing from it right, but in a place like Hong Kong british prestige is on the line. The people who live there, the one point, five million civilians or whatever are under the section of the british government: that's a crown colony, which means the british prestige is at stake, prestige thing is a weird amorphous quality? Isn't it it's nothing tangible in the sense that it's one of the things that every historian writing about colonialism will identify as one of the pillars holding up colonial. Domination, because the reason the country can hold down a a nation of many many many millions of people with a tiny little force from the mother country and some mutually beneficial deals with local elites is in part because of the prestige involved, the british or the greatest colonial empire that has ever been and this wasn't just the self opinion of the british people themselves, many of the people that they governed
felt the same way and it was very important. With the continuation of the british Empire, that they continue to feel this way in his book. Here he does war author, Francis Pike Quote something written by the man who will later be hailed as the founding Father of Singapore Lee Kwan YU. We He talks about the view they had of the british before the invasion of Malaya, and you wrote quote. The superior status of the british government and society was simply a fact of life. After all, they were the greatest people in the world. They had get empire that history had ever known stretching over all time zones across all four oceans and five continents we learn that in history lessons at school. I was brought up by my Aaron's and grandparents to accept that this was- natural order of things. End quote: if they're press
These were somehow crumble it's not an amorphous thing: it's going to mean lives all for the british empire, Non white people are watching the Japanese punch, the greatest people in the world. According to some of the people who grew up under british Empire rule in the nose- and it is something Winston jewel in the books that he penned in night- thousand. Forty, nine hundred and nineteen fifty he says in this time period, when manpower is absolutely at a premium that he would like to divert some forces to India and then tells the command that he's writing the letter to that he publishes in his own history that they don't have. We fully equipped to take on the Japanese 'cause they're. Not there to take on the Japanese they're there to handle any revolts by the Indians who, during this time period, are under the control of Britain, their part of the british empire, although they are
Just the arrow were, Gandhi is rising to the, for this is the era where the simmering an bubbling long term. Indian cry for independence, is becoming much much more heated and angry and loud and Winston Churchill is this. You know old fashioned british Empire supporter, wants to make sure the warrior aims in this conflict include protecting his vision of what he wants to outlive this war, and that's not really something. That's part of the american priority list in a place like Hong Kong though it determines why there has to be some sort of resistance put up, and there is there's fourteen or fifteen thousand offenders in Hong Kong, but it's tiny island and the Japanese have overwhelming force right over this little strip of water. They control the air they control the sea and very shortly after attacking Hong Kong. They get control of the water supply and then it's game. Over
then you're, looking at a seed from the middle ages right and everybody dying first time, something ridiculous, and that can't happen. So Hong Kong is surrendered by Christmas by the way, one thousand nine hundred and forty one in Malaya, where japanese troops actually disembarking from there Phoebe assault vehicles in the of the night before the Pearl Harbor attack even happens. They storm the beach at a place called Kotoba. Who, in northern Malaya now northern Malaysia sort of up by the border with Thailand, they I actually have a defended beach there, which which will be rare in Malaya, where the Japanese won't have to face a lot of prepared or certainly long term prepared, defenses but they're at this beach, and so japanese land, four five, six thousand guys in the middle of the night and run into land mines on the beach barbed wire pill.
Boxes. With machine guns artillery cited on the beach, the whole nine yards right. It's like a mini saving, private Ryan, a storm the defense kind of deal in his book, the battle for Singapore, author Peter Thompson, recounts this storming and in it He has the troops. I mean it really does sound like all these similar kinds of assaults, because what happens is the first wave, so storms onto the beach from the from the ships at sea the transports, and they as fast as they can toward the enemy and then eventually, they run into the first line of defense. Is there getting blown up by the land mines, but when they run into like the barbed wire they all have to stop for a minute and working on the barbed wire, so they go right to the ground because there's a storm of steel flying over their head right. But what ends happening. Is the next wave disembarking from the transports? Does this same thing. They run across the beach and then they have to stop with the previous wave stop. So you start to get this bunching up effect where, Artillery is just going to have a field day if you can start dropping shells into the middle of this crowd.
Prone men Thompson recounts. How and this the kind of thing that, interestingly enough, makes it into history books, sometimes how how one japanese soldier suicidally throws himself over the vision slit in one of these pillboxes The machine gunner inside can't see for a minute because there's a body blocking the view so that the Japanese, This was just suicidally sacrificed his life. His buddies can go into the pill box, bayonets and hand grenades and clear the thing out the the confirmation for some of these allied troops- and we should remember this- is the which time in history you've had either angle or american troops fighting japanese forces so there's a lot of myths and testaments and in the same way that the british forces for those two capital ships that were sunk on the tenth get to find out. You know how if their assumptions about japanese capabilities or wrong allied force, on the ground get to find this out now that they are locking horns with japanese forces
do some of the rumors are true. They are fanatical they are more willing to lay down their lives than any other army, any other major army. Certainly, you can think of that. Peter Thompson story is an example of of how a general maybe can actually plan to use the lives of his soldiers. That way like an air, so in his command quiver, and it's been very interest reading some of the various ideas about you know both what accounts for this and what it does in the military sense. First of all, we had spent some time earlier discussing how there was already a long, japanese cultural, a uniqueness when it comes to duty and loyalty willing to sacrifice one's life and all these kinds of things and suicide. Even but then you get this or with this modern government, with this tinge of militarism involved is this is a way to to infuse an ancient samurai spirit with the willingness to lay down your life. It's it's! It's a fusion of old and new ideas that creates a situation where the expectation level is amongst
all these soldiers that this is something you did to do an willingly and without hesitation, historian Eric Berger written his run down says this is something that western troops simply would not do. They simply would not follow in order that was suicidal and gave them no way out. He writes quote extreme veneration of death of the Japanese was unique and dangerously close to becoming a cult of oblivion. It struck at the nature of the warrior code is understood in the west. In the west death in war had value only if it had purpose sold or ask to risk their lives in battle not commit aside and office intentionally putting his men in a position where they had no reasonable chance of survival would not be made in a western army. End quote. He then goes on talk about. You know the centuries of time it took to develop. You know the code of honor. Surrender and how this surrender
code that was understood in Europe help prevent the worst of the atrocities, and them was good for both sides. Right you get to save the men were surrendered, lived you didn't have to spend more. True skill in the mall also mutually beneficial, understood, long term military custom and it says the Japanese saw this as a sign of weakness burger. It says something else. That's interesting. He portrays the average japanese soldiers put into these positions as almost a victim too, and we've talked endlessly haven't. We about people who get caught in the gears history right. The place you're born in the time you're born in a lot of people, all the second World war. Armies are just human beings put in extreme situations where they're expected to behave a certain way and they often have limited options. What's or sometimes they don't even see that they have such limited options because they were used in an environment with customs with carrots and sticks in their society. That sort of set
them on a path like we all have with troll blinders on another words, these japanese soldiers may indeed be victims, but they may not have seen themselves that way. Burger. It writes quote. The japanese army did nothing blatantly suicidal on the strategic level in the South Pacific, We shall see it went to great lengths to evacuate. Elated units and retreated when conditions demanded it tactically, he writes The situation was very different. Time. Time, Japanese soldiers fought when circumstances for the unit involved were hopeless. The slight delay pause to the allies, almost never had genuine purpose. He was an exercise rather in mutual bloodletting that had no reason beyond fulfilling the requirements of soldierly honor, as the Japanese saw it thousand
men perished. Consequently, for no reason it was a form of political murder. Most of the victims wearing japanese uniforms. By breaking down the fragile restraint afforded by honorable surrender. He writes the Japanese open the floodgates war without mercy we should examine later there. Strale and american opponents proved rather good at the new rules and quote you can see the war without mercy element on display, with hindsight now in the first place, is fault of the Japanese during this initial offensive. In fact, as we've already talked about, you see it in China years before this, but the AL guys get a first hand, taste of it, even when Kong falls and there are already going to be atrocities. Rumors rumors begin to leak out of the japanese executing pows and what not? Those rumors will get stronger as the number of places that fall continues to pile up
the japanese landing at Kota Bharu on December eighth, one thousand nine hundred and forty one December seventh, one thousand nine hundred and forty one of the other side of the international date line will quickly be followed by in advance inland another landing that goes into Thailand and then goes to the other most of Malaya and very quickly. The Japanese begin conquering their way down both the long coast of the Malayan Peninsula right six hundred miles long jungle both sides with a mountain range sort of running down the middle and at the very tip of this six hundred mile long peninsula on the opposite. End of the peninsula, from with the Japanese are now is the fortress Island of Singapore, the job culture of the east, as some call it, and the is where so, many who really don't know the inside scoop are placing their. Hopes for a worst case. Scenario of stopping japanese there. Of course, there's a lot of people. Think of the Japanese are going to get anywhere near Singapore,
because there's lots of allied troops here in Malaya to stop the japanese right where they are, and then the Japanese, start blowing through them. Like in so many of these cases in this phase of the war, What you see on paper, if you're a general on the allied side, where you see these units that look like they should be able to put up a good fight, has very little connection to what's actually- the ground you'll see this in the Philippines, to which, by the way will be invaded on the first islands, will invaded almost simultaneously with the Pearl harbor attacks and then the Japanese. Will have landings one. This week, another week, you'll have another. I mean you can't even keep track of all the landings they do, but there are going to be four there that the commanders you know sitting back miles and miles and miles away at headquarters. Think these units are going to be able to resist the Japanese on the beach
When is several of these books that have nothing to do except talk about these early stages of the philippine conflict. Point out. One of these soldiers were newly raised in a lot of these units expected to defend the beaches against these veteran japanese landing forces had never even seen the weapons or the ammunition that they were expected to use to defend the beach first time they saw it as when the Japanese are right, offshore how's that going to work work out well, the Japanese landed in the Philippines, they start moving inland and again you can't keep track of the defeats and a lot these defeats are because the Japanese keep landing troops after the initial landings in new places. This is what All of the air in the c gives you the freedom to do right, while at the same time denying the allies the freedom to easily reinforce their own troops easily supply their own troops are in the worst situations he's
evacuate their own troops in Malaya. The british empire has a few options, but the american forces and there's between, like fourteen and sixteen thousand american troops in the Philippines, For all intents and purposes, they might as well be under siege after about the first week in December, because the job these are going to be letting any resupply in that area, including no new troops and no Dunkirk like evacuation of the ones who were there. What is that for those troops. It means that they're going to have the same thing in a broad sense happened to them that are going to happen, the british imperial forces in Malaya, which is there going to be continually pushed back, outflanked and forced continually pull the line you know backwards, to keep from being How did destroyed any in short order? They will both the british imperial troops in Malaya and the Filipino an american forces in the Philippines find themselves sort of like it a lot. Ditch situation off the very coast of the place. There post to defend in.
Castle with a moat type situation in Malaysia. It will be. Fortress City of Singapore. In the Philippines. It will be the island of corregidor in the Philippines though, and it helped quite a bit. The Americans had some tanks, which is a good thing, because the Japanese had tanks to in Malaya the Japanese, also had tanks, but none of the british Empire forces did there are no allied tanks in Malaya, and the japanese tanks are not great tanks at all very mediocre, but they become super weapons, if they don't have to face other tanks and if the anti tank weapons on the other side are limited and ineffective. That might be a good way to put it, not numerous limited and ineffective may be a better way to put it. They have a gun called the two pounder, which is about thirty seven millimeter gun for we Americans
during this period it's obsolete, but the better stuff is just coming down the pike and they were a couple years of war that had to happen before everyone realize what we're going have to have some really good anti tank weapons, and you know, design, lag and all that and put it into production and testing all that, so the good stuff is on the way, but even when the Stuff arrives: he goes to places that needed against. You know german tanks in North Africa. Maybe so there are some two pounders which give great service, but there's not enough of them and a bunch of the rest of the Anti tank weapons are like glorified big rifles with steel bullets mean they're, not the kind of thing. Let's put it this way to get so dang close to a tank to use the thing effectively and a tank. Besides. The big gun, of course, usually has multiple machine guns, and when you use the weapon and don't knock out the tank, it's a little like knocking on the side of the tank and saying by the way, I'm right here behind you. If you need to kill me for any reason,. It over and over again. You know, there's so
heroism is a weird word: I'm not a military glorification person, I don't believe in military heroism per se I believe, as I said earlier, the human beings find themselves in extreme position sometimes, and I believe in human heroism and oftentimes because will like a lot of other people, dangerous jobs, the people in the military, are in positions where all right you're in one of these heroic human situations and the troops in the Philippines at home long, and these other islands, of course, in Malaya to are not fighting a fair fight. They have one hand tied behind their back initially and to hang behind their back soon. In the Philippines, it's going to be a starvation, once they retreat back to Brigador, eventually they're not going to have enough food there's no way to get a lot more to him. Can't resupply him and these control. The air and sea lanes
and in Malaya it's going to be more question of exhaustion, because the same troops are going to be fighting day your day after day in Malaysia, they're going to be doing rearguard action after rearguard action, and those are right like when the one superhero know tells the rest of seem to go on and by themselves tries to hold off the ten thousand aliens in a suicidal move, but it allows the rest of the team to fight again another day. It's a particularly scary thing to think about because most of the time, the only reason you need to rearguard action is because this For me, you have to hold off for your buddies, but so strong your buddies had to leave. So these things that are also called Phased withdrawals are sort of number one tactical, maneuver you'll see done by the allies in both these areas, Malaya and the Philippines, and it will be the these tanks in Malaya that will allow Tell them to burst through these attempts to hold some kind of line over and over again an and they do it. Often at night the Japanese like to fight at night, it's uh
equalizer they do it on land. They do it at sea. They are probably until the really good radar start showing up to the Americans in the mid 1940s. Changing the game a little bit there, probably the Navy, you least want to face. In a night very well trained, very good at night. It's very scary to fight at night because all of the normal panic scariness and uncertainty that plagues a daytime well lit battlefield gets much worse at night. The Japanese also probably the I would say I would save all the armies that fought in the Second World war. Major forces right states are the japanese are the most enamored in like hand to hand combat the most. You can find individual groups Kirk, which are A special elite force in the British Empire Army, for example, they like hand to hand combat too, but it's not like one of the major players in the war, an axis power. The Japanese will engage and look forward to and keep
hand to hand combat is something in their tool belt. In a much more, you know, upfront fashion, I mean we're talking about generals and office. Going to battle carrying samurai swords. So there's a there's. A little bit of a throwback those involved By this error, when people don't do that very often there's a psychological effect- I don't know I could put a finger on what the effect is, but there are some great books written from a psychological perspective, often by military mental health professionals. Talking about the effect of chilling, combat, and one of the theories is that this is heavily influenced by proximity, to the farther you are away from the person you're you're, killing the easier it is to do in there the less damage it does to you psyche wise You can shell them from miles away with artillery, for example, or drop bombs from ten thousand feet, and it's one thing having
to shoot them in the face from fifty yards away. Is another thing having to use a band on them or strangle them at close range? Is a is a different thing altogether, and the combination of the japanese pension for both night attacks and hand to hand combat, is it one of those unique, not unique you you could run into this any front of the war, but you had this chance of running into it in a place like the Pacific. In some of these night encounters that you as troops, for example, would deal with in these fall. Holes in these pitch black you know areas around the islands where they were separated from the other foxholes and the would launch a night attack and dive into these foxholes with bayonets. It is like a horror movie. The other thing that will work well in Malaya. Besides the surprise attacks, and we should also point out because we would be remiss if we did not the phantom
the generals on the japanese side. At this point they certainly have a lead in that, especially on Malaya. All that's that's generally my stuff and he's awesome and you have hallmark in the Philippines and he's great to he makes you know few blunders. But then again, the guy on the other side is General Douglas Macarthur, and he makes a few blunders too. The real killer, though in in a place like Malaysia and the Philippines, is the japanese ability to outflank They do it on land by running into the jungle anytime. They held up by an allied, roadblock and in trading around in and threatening to surround, it forces. So then the allied forces have to pull back to avoid being surrounded. So that means your line is moving back and all the work you did prepare it and get it ready is wasted, because now you have to pull back to the next line of defense, but Really kills them is by controlling the see the Japanese are able to use and it sounds like improvisation, is a couple of things. They do that sound now, like improvisation, which, when
growing up, it was assumed, was all part of the plan, and I've heard hybrid theories where it's a little of both the Japanese will Take everybody's bicycles that they find in Malaya Bring them with them again, that's the old theory and riding down the few main roads in Malaya making great progress. They can even go down some of the jungle paths on those things. They will also pick up every little fishing boat or skiff or landing craft or anything. They can get their hands on tied up at a doctor or pulled up on the beach, throw as many soldiers as they can. Ten. Twenty thirty into this fishing boat and just take a little joy ride down the coast a few miles and then embark them behind AL. I'd, maybe at night, crazy chaos and conditions here make that more likely. It's not just a question of the night time stuff. The terrain plays a factor hard to see things in jungles. These mountains are in the way, the rain is incredible, and I have not brought that up enough because it plays a huge role in everything from obscuring site of the Japanese.
Change could be on you at night in the driving rain too. Taking the morale of the troops just sag more with have for these soldiers in Malaysia and the Philippines are rarely undercover. This rain is wrench that can go on for days. Imagine fighting rearguard action after rearguard action, losing your buddies, never getting a chance to rest by the time you finally stop. Instead of resting, you have to build defenses as quickly as you can, which should have been built before the war, but that's one of the screw ups or acid tests of combat so there you are just dying and it would be awful if it were seventy two degrees and wonderful short, sleeve weather. Instead, you been out in the rain for two or three days. You can see why the people began to fall apart, Himalaya, they fall apart from exhaustion, and, unlike the Philippines, the British get some reinforcements into Malay. They can't spare troops anywhere cuz they're fighting a bunch of places, but the reinforcements will come in in dribs and drabs A little at a time, and
allowing them to get acclimated to the climate. To wait till the next ship, with all their stuff arrives to form a nice mobile reserve that we can then throw in at the key moment to turn the tide of battle they get thrown into the meat grinder as they arrive as quickly as possible, and what that does is just wear them out and make them exhausted too. So by the time, you know. The japanese are pushing down towards Singapore, and the allies are pulling back toward Singapore, The allied armies out number or the japanese but shadow of their former self. They can't fight anymore without some Ray and some refitting and some Iraq, duration some help somebody to hold the line while be right. I mean it's well, Churchill put it best. I think when he talked about the campaign a little bit, and I had one of those lines that echo down into history. You know you can love him or hate him, but the guy had a way with words, and he was talking about the I mean how does a smaller force beat a larger force. This is what Churchill rights and
when he uses the word because way by the way, it's sort of like a a lot a bridge, but it's a little bit more substantial than that connecting Singapore to the mainland and he writes quote, japanese mastery of the air arising, as has been described from our bitter needs elsewhere, and for which the local, commanders were in no way responsible was another deadly fact. In the result, the in fighting strength of such an army, as we had assigned to the defense of Singapore and almost all the reinforcements sent after the japanese declaration of WAR were used up in gallant fight on the peninsula, and when these had cross the causeway to what should I've been there Supreme Battleground their punch was gone here. Rejoin the local garrison and the masses of base details which
Well, darn numbers, though not our strength he's talking about what some have called the useless mouths: the civilians who require food, but don't really help much in the defense. He continues there remains the two fresh brigades of the 18th british division, newly did from their ships in strange and unimagined surroundings. After their long voyage, the army, which could the decisive struggle for Singapore and had been provided for that Supreme Objective in this theater was dissipated before the japanese attack began? It be a hundred thousand men, but it was an army. No more end quote. Once again. The many many mistakes that have been focused on during this whole affair mean you do hours and hours just on each one and examining the pros and cons one of the more interest
aspects of Winston Churchill's books about this, and you need the unabridged version. If you really want to see what's going on because part of it remember is a diff of himself, and he includes very self serving defense, because if there's any place you in this war and there's a couple where guy, really would seem like the obvious person to blame for some failure. This is it even says. You know, then writes in the book that if, if Singapore were to fall of the labor to forget this giant scandal will who's in charge of the country is the prime minister? Well, there you go any. Even falls on his sword. At one point in one of these moments where he says I should we have known. I should have asked my stash should have known my staff should have asked, there's no excuse, and then he proceeds to give an excuse which is interesting. Remember the adjective attached to this fortress city of Singapore them at the gym of the east right. It's a fortress city and Churchill says in my defense.
I basically didn't think to ask whether something called a fortress had defenses that I would know sooner ask if a battleship that you had just launched had a bottom, So why were there no defenses it's complicated? Some of it was part of a particular branch of the military theories right in the pre war you saw in the First World WAR Ii. This idea of the defenses are bad for morale troops get accustomed to the safety of living behind each walls or fortifications or whatever. Then you need to go on the aggressive, they're soft, another some of the generals in Malaya said that they didn't want defenses, they thought was bad for the morale of the civilians that the troops were protecting. There's a lot of reasons. Problem is is that if you turn to be wrong about that at the acid test of combat proves that it would be very nice to have some defenses and they're, not there once again, who gets screwed in that situation and the allied troops will be forever trying to. Old, ad hoc defenses in
pouring rain as quickly as they can five minutes after escaping combat with the Japanese still on the way, often at night, the These soldiers were going to fight an entire campaign against the Japanese, with the chances so stacked against. That you look at this. The same way, the Marines on wake situation looked like a sort of inevitable amount of suffering that has to be born because, The alternative is incomprehensible and I should point out what's interesting is if you actually like delve into each of these situations, you'll find that in in almost every case The soldiers on the ground believe that there was some light at the end of the tunnel or some rescue operation or some some alternative to suicide. They had a ray of hope in each one of these situations and often I modern authors and some modern historians will be very harsh condemnation of the people that gave them the false hope. For example, I have a book on the defense of the Philippines and the author is scathing against president,
Roosevelt for continually again a Roosevelt fan would argue yes, but continually seeming to give the people defending the Philippines. Hurricanes and the Filipinos, false hope that help was on the way and don't worry you just hold out will get when they knew that there was nothing of the sort happening. I would chalk that up to just one more tragedy. The average soldier on the ground has to deal with for some sort of. We would hope. Big picture aspect that aids the war effort, helps the cause and shortens the conflict and we'll try not to go into the cynical territory where we think it might be. Cover peoples rear ends too deflect blame into a different direction or to get a bunch of doom. People to fight on longer and suffer more Is there some other positive element down the road that this provides? A lot of these soldiers? I should point out, are fighting for time
for no other reason than they are involved in these many rearguard actions and their fighting so that the rest of the force that they are a part of can get away. We're treat a few more miles set up a new defense line and try again- and if you read the accounts from allied soldier, during this phase in the war really in the entire Pacific war, when you're dealing with land warfare stuff on the ground, This is a different kind of war in the Pacific and it's different because of the Japanese, and they do things differently and that prompt different sort of responses from their opponents. Each of the major theaters in this war have a so a different vibe? If you wanted to say that any theater had a sort of a gentleman's approach to war, then that would be, something like the western front. Maybe you could say North Africa, where you had the british. And Germans mainly facing off. There could be bad incidents between the two. Don't get me wrong same thing with the Americans and the Germans. I mean Malmedy massacre. Anyone during the battle of the bulge when mean it happened, but by
Are you at a pretty good chance of surviving the war? If you fell into the enemies prison camps. Are they fell into yours? The Germans would treat the Soviets and vice versa, very differently. On the eastern front, you had your Malmedy many massacres regularly, so different sort of over on the eastern front, where you had this ideological war of annihilation. Throw in the racial superiority. Jewish thing anti commissar thing, and I mean he was just set up for extreme state, sponsored nastiness. The stuff the Japanese were doing, it had a flavor all its own. This wasn't state sponsored anything. It was so have a weirdness that people have been trying to explain. Japanese people, especially ever since, because it didn't make any sort of a lot no sense, for example, you will get incidents where the japanese general in Malaya Yamashta will find out that his troops did some of the is that the Japanese are routinely accused of doing the rapes, the killing of the you all the things things
will get into more in a minute by the way, and he would be appalled, he would punish them, and he had specifically ordered that this stuff not happen matter fact. He was executed after the war for some of this stuff, but it was really other generals and people who disagreed with that sort of an attitude could have their troops just run wild either through just benign. Neglect or outright hostility and cold blooded ness In other words, it was a sort of a spotty track record that the commanders in Japan would have, and you could have that are well behaved under a vigilant and are another troops that are poorly hey under another one and of course listen. It doesn't take a whole lot of commanders for a lot of troops to be acting out of line in a lot of places, which is what you have by the way in Hong Kong, the Japanese will come in and do something that will become a lid
bit of a trademark for them in this early part of the war. They will walk into one of these. It's a college that is being used as a hospital or behind the front lines in Hong Kong right before the city surrenders on Christmas, one thousand nine hundred and forty one and the japanese troops will start going two injured soldiers lying in their cots and bayonet ing them. Nurses get raped other people, I mean the it becomes one of the many occasions where you will find super patriots, as you can find in every country right who will try to say that this is proper and this is contrived- that's been disproven. I mean, I guess, I'm perfectly willing to listen to stories of all that kind of stuff 'cause, I'm very cynical myself about wartime propaganda and all that kind of stuff. The problem is, is in some situations that prepon prince of evidence becomes overwhelming, even with admissions from the very people who did this on the japanese side too. So I think this falls into a similar place with the holocaust and a number of other things which
just seen it wouldn't matter. If you could disprove this aspect or that occasion, the preponderance of the evidence is overwhelming and graphic and unbelievable to these allied people, in some respects and it takes a while to adjust and he just what creates this war mercy, it's not hard by the way to make a pretty good case, these sorts of incidents of atrocious conduct, really hurt the japanese Anet. Her them on a macro level and a micro level, and there are influential thinkers and military leaders who saw this at the time as well. But on a macro level, remember, there's something the japanese empire selling here and while it's tempting to think of things like propaganda and global marketing, as a fluff and window dressing. Let's realize that the thing
the Churchill, is most scared of. Is people like the ians, buying into the fluff and window dressing. In other words, if you think about japanese war aims are so are deliciously expansive that it's almost impossible to imagine them ever coming true, but one of the small little paths towards attaining that goal would be for you know the millions and millions and millions of people that this marketing strategy is aimed towards to buy into it and these sorts of atrocious incidents don't reflect well on the brand. Do they and let's Call it's not a brand of that is without tarnish already, because they, all those incidents in China going back to at least be early 1930s? Then you get these newly liberated peoples. You know you know the malayans, who the japanese sort of free as there driving the imperial british forces backwards, the
the Pinos, who don't even realize they need freeing, in some cases from the Americans being freed an and they get it and to see, forget the marketing message. They get a chance to see what it's going to be like to live this new leadership and as we said, I think it the last segment it's like for a lot of these people. You know getting out of frying pan and thrown into the fire it's going to be really rough and a lot of these places I mean they're. The stories from the Philippines are classic, but I mean classic and horrible. Obviously, but I mean people who get their heads chopped off in the streets by japanese officers wielding samurai swords for not bowing low enough. The comfort women, the women from some of these localities, who are co, opted to first forced into prostitution to serve the japanese army. I mean these the kind of things that are the reality of living in this EAST Asia, CO prosperity sphere. So maybe a lot of people that you know
Winston Churchill was worried, might throw off the yoke of british oppression are going to try to find a third of option rather than adopt the cloak of japanese oppression so on the macro level really really makes the job of the japanese soldiers in the field fighting for this sort of goal. Harder and by the way, a lot of them really believe in the goal: and then on the micro level, it's really hard in the soldiers themselves, and I keep trying to figure out how many people in an army have to act a certain way right commit atrocities, for example before you can make it just viable case that everybody in the other army deserves to be punished for it, you'd like to think hey one bad apple commit atrocity so hopefully that guy gets what's coming to him
but we all know that in warfare and in combat looks in skate. Let's just say Caveman times, I'm going to assume this idea that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction definitely applies and so you don't have to have too many american soldiers or filipino soldiers or impure british soldiers from India or the highlands of Schottland or Canada, or Australia or a indigent local malay person. Fighting for the british. You don't have to have too many of those people chopped into pieces and positioned, grotesquely and put road junction to make sure that the people on there, I'd see this. You don't have to have too many of those stories circulating via the scuttlebutt between soldiers to decide I that everyone of these Japanese deserves to be treated like they did it themselves personally now before. We think that this is just. Something that happens in every war everywhere it didn't
now? The russian front, which we all consider if we know anything about it right to be a particularly nasty place? You would see people just figured and mutilated, but in a place like N Africa are the two sides. I mean, if there's a tally in there too, and you the British, might berry and it's Alianora, german foe, on the back, field with honors that they might do the same. For someone on the other side, almost a gentleman kind of thing, going on a very christian sort of way: ACT: one's enemy, of course, the more standard b to just leave them where they lay in the field. But rarely do you have people mutilating each other right away kind of war, but it was in the Pacific and it was 'cause once I'd like to do it an you wonder you think yourself. What did they get from all this, maybe some ancient time it was considered intimidating. I know that the Vietminh used to do that when they were fighting the French in Indochina. After this period
Maybe you didn't and it did you this way to say screw you in this is what's going to happen to all of you. Maybe you get a psychological edge when intimidation factor involved in that, but in this case it really fire, there was a terrible boomerang effect that just made allied troops often think that these were not people deserving of any mercy. What's more, you have the other problem involved, and this is can did to the other side of the japanese character that just kills the average Japa soldier in this period. It's the fanatical question I think we said when we started this story There was a different way that the allied propaganda is sort of, and this is after the war to sort of portrayed the germ is in the Japanese. They portrayed them both in kind of a robotic sense right that they fought for the leader robotically, that they were machines but german machines were cold and logical,
the Japanese were also portrayed as machines, but they were like unstoppable and fanatical in and they would fight to. The last fingertip was destroyed in the finger would come chasing you as that kind of a sort of thing and that led to the other problem, which is the Tri cities, one of our hot blood thing where people act because they feel angry and they want the revenge and you cut up are people so we're going to you know we're going to mistreat your corpses. But the cold blooded side of this were a logical person who never wanted to commit an atrocity in his life just operating with common sense. Just once as unit you know, to get back home I see the guys under his command get back to their loved ones in the Pacific because of japanese conduct in the way that they acted in and part of the fanaticism that probably one could make a case is a part of their soul that led them to being a people that sort of punched above their weight class Historically speaking that never
they die. The last finger of the robot. That's going to keep chasing you! That's! What's going to do a lot of japanese soldiers to simply being liquidated on the battlefield, and the reason. Why is because they were seen as extremely dangerous even wounded, even while surrendering even while seemingly dead, the Japanese would come back to life and kill you on the battlefield. Don't believe me it's one of the wonderful Perverse mean that the war is so interesting, but it's also darkly interesting, but I mean the first hand, accounts are everywhere long lasting and they will be a part of this story until an atomic bomb begins to end the story. But in Singapore burning, author Colin Smith has a lot of these first hand, stories and he describes it, he didn't say a Lazarus moment, but he said everyone sort of had their own personal lazarus and what he was talking about was remember. This is the first time in Malaya in the Philippines, in these places, with the anglo american troops are clashing with japanese
forces, so they're learning a lot quickly right. What's true, what's false, they they are every bit as fanatical as portrayed that robotic finger will chase you down the street or the equivalent, but you can't take chances with. Not only will they come after you until totally destroyed; sometimes they try all the little tricks. You know wait till you come. To check on them and then whip out a grenade and blow you and a couple of buddies in themselves up, and while this is not behavior, that's in human and not seen anywhere else, it's rare elsewhere, like we said about, kamikazes. You can see people suicidally fly planes into structures, our troops or ships or whatever you can see it in other armies. It's just really rare and unusual. The Japanese do it well, comparatively call it regularly on the russian front. You could see a russian Who knows he's Woon did badly wait till the Germans come to check on him and then blow himself in a bunch of Germans up that sort of stuff happened, but the Japanese
He did so often that the allies stop taking chances with them. In his book, Singapore burning it has a story from an australian fighting in this whole malayan situation being pushed back toward Singapore name is Patrick Reynolds and he talks about, As you know, sort of Lazarus moment and I've got to say, You read: accounts of the Pacific WAR in no other theater in the Second World WAR, It sounds so much like movie combat, like doesn't even sound real, like Rocky is to boxing, because you go to the front and you're like wow. This is a lot more mechanized in the distance is a really great another. The Pacific. War is a little like Vietnam, sometimes depending on where you are 'cause, it's not all jungle, but where as jungle in overgrowth. It's like Vietnam was in the sense that the war is off and fought in a very small perimeter of a clearing or whatever you can see, because everything else is blocked off by the jungle, canopy your vegetation or everything else, so everything is right around you. It gives a very claustrophobic
isolated sort of feel to it. And the stories just sound like you're right up close with the other side it's very movie one guy against one guy or two guys against one guy lots of stabbing lots of edged weapons. It's really quite nasty and Smith quotes. Loot. Patrick Reynolds in the malay campaign fighting down towards Singapore quote, the section on my right was again pinned down by automatic fire lying amongst the heap of about fifteen apparently dead Japs. I was signaling to the other section when Suddenly, one of the corpses came to life sing a grenade in his right hand and raising himself from the ground with his left I shot at him. The eight exploded. Simultaneously and half his head was blown off two pieces of the grenade hit me,
he one under the right arm and one on the other side of my head and quote Smith, has another story of a sergeant, Desmond Mulcahy, and he talks about his particular Lazarus, meaning his learning moment the learning curve when he realized that, just because these Japanese look dead, doesn't mean they won't come back to life. Unexpectedly and Smith. Writes quote sergeant Desmond Hey he's particular Lazarus was fallen sergeant of the Connoy guards. He was about to Jim for the letters in unit identification beloved by battalion intelligence officers when the dead man sprang indignantly to his feet. With a grin made in his right. Fist mulkey He grabbed his left hand to stop him pulling the pin. This was good thinking but it allowed his opponent to bludgeon him about the head with his grenade. While he did his best defend him off with left jabs
okay, he shouted for help and while is holding the man's arms the gar NCO so far from the pomp and circumstance which had molded his military career was first bayonet and then shot and quote Smith and points out that there was another case where somebody ended up dead on the japanese side when maybe they didn't need to and that this is signaling part of the learning curve and how they're going to start to deal with these unpredictable fanatical people, the ones whose robotic finger will keep coming at you. Even when you think you destroyed that whole thing- and he writes quote there appears to be no good reason why this particular Japanese could not have been restrained an captured, but it seems that it quickly became the norm as it did on, everywhere. The imperial japanese army ever met western troops, Guard, almost any attempt to take them alive as much too risky and quote now, quoting a
teen. Yes, sixteen year old soldier fighting for the british empire, quote from that first thing edgmont, we learn not to trust their woon did end quote: Smith had an interesting line, though he pointed out that majority of japanese playing dead were probably playing headed for the same reason. Anybody soldiers would play dead in that situation, hoping to be over looked by the enemy, and maybe they be left alone. It could get away, but some of these people really didn't and, as I said, you could see that on any front in the war, just not as regularly, as you saw it here, what percentage The Japanese had to act this way for every japanese potential p, o w to get the same treatment just in case not fooling around and there's video. I have to say one of the most shocking things I ever saw 'cause. I definitely grew up in the era where our side was was the unequivocally good side and the other side was the
they quickly bad side, and there was not much gray area until I got to the maybe the 1980s, and I saw a piece of film footage and it was part a british documentary and you could not get it in the United States at the time. It was something that I believe was released relative recently, and eventually, some of that footage made it into american documentaries, but because you hadn't seen it in the Ui who had seen all the footage over and over one thousand times the black and white stuff. You know all this everything you could ever see. I've never seen stuff. I was transfixed. I was transfixed for two reasons: one it was late war officers in color, which of course makes all seems so much more real. The second reason: why is it showed the stuff It would never have made it on the official war footage that the US government would have approved and released even after the war. It showed things like the Possum patrol, which one veteran described is the the point where they would rush out onto the battlefield after the fighting at sea before the officers could stop them,
and kill all the wounded. Japanese. I was struck, I remember by this american soldier. He was killing these grievously, wounded, japanese soldiers, by shooting them in the head with a pistol, and he had a corn cob pipe that he was smoking in his mouth. While he did this over and over again- and I just I was struck by, and reminded of the very nonchalant nature of the soldiers who killed every day and had and which it was just chilling day. I mean he was It was a reminder that when you a war without mercy. It's one thing: when you see it it's another, and when you see your own side doing it and you realize, of course they can still be the good guys in this war and have to do terrible things in order to fight it. What do you think war is right? Well, some times. It can be gentlemanly and both sides can treat the other with respect and bury their dead and and
defy the other side of the of the death so that their families can be told. You saw this in the first World WAR, for example, and sometimes you killed or wounded, kill the prisoners and just tell the people back at you know based. Commander that once again, those fanatical Japanese refused to surrender and died to the last man hard, not to see it as a tragedy for the poor the japanese Kato ended up in the army at this time. Fighting this war in this place, but for every action there is an equal and visit reaction and it's hard not to notice that the Japanese were, in this particular case reaping what they sowed. Of course, where we are in the story right now- the Japanese are doing a lot more sewing and it's the allies that are doing the reaping. This is one of the times in the story to when there seems to be a particular spike in atrocities in the story.
There are two kinds, the kind that you could see the allied troops engaging in as well and the kind you can't so, for example, the last battle of concert. Once during the Malayan campaign right. This japanese drive down the Malayan Peninsula, which, by the way by the time they reach Singapore in January they will have fought an advanced six hundred miles in seven weeks against one of the armies with the highest reputations in military history, and I think it's fair to say it's very fair to say this is not the first string if we're talking about this- like a college football game, this may be Alabama, but this isn't the first string but they're still wearing the uniforms. As we said, the first string is probably in North Africa right now. Fighting the desert Fox Erwin Rommel. But in this last battle of consequence in the Malayan campaign, MID January
Australians and indian troops ambush japanese column on a bridge knockout, a bunch of tanks inflict like five hundred to one thousand casualties, get. What I think is a pretty, there to say is a tactical victory time when they're already strategically defeated, and at this point the allied troops on fighting with one hand tied behind their back to fighting both hands tied behind their back and the the Australians in indian troops will get out flanked in infiltrated. You know that the typical routine, that all the allies get in this time period after retreat back in at a certain point during the retreat, the These will get their hands on more than a hundred australian and Indian wounded had to left behind by trap troops and they will butcher them now as we said later in the war, you might see, allied troops do this depends. But you might that's part of that tip for tat thing. We were just talking about it's the other kind of atrocities that Japanese engage in that are relatively inexplicable
and that allied troops would never engage in, certainly not on any large scale. A perfect example of it will happen in February. There will be an attempt by some people to get away from Singapore, and a ship will be sunk by the Japanese. The survivors will make it to shore and the japanese military. There will kill the survivors now they were, like, I think, number like fifty or the troops british troops in and friends, but there were also more than twenty australian nurses. I mean these are girls in their 20s that, it appears were raped and then forced to walk out into the surf and when they got to waste less were machine gunned. These are the things that allied troops did not do, this is a different level of atrocity, and it's the part that makes again you know if you think human beings
interesting species. The questions related to why and how do these things happen, and why do they happen when and where they do? Is a fast getting study, and it should be emphasized that Seriously, this is something we've seen. I mean they find the mass graves of people. This is happened to in prehistory, but situation seems to be colored by the specifics, and in this case this has something to do with the japanese military, especially the japanese military of this period. What's going on well, it can make a lot of people hate you, but is not stuff that anybody's broadcasting we should point out. The japanese public certainly knows nothing about this. The other thing we should mention is with all these atrocities sometimes stories don't come out till after the war. Sometimes they come out and and drab. Certainly no one like a biblical era. Ruler is broadcasting this right. We massacred, we raped to mass
a whole bunch of nurses in the last town that we took and to where were and for you I mean it ain't that kind of deal in fact denials continue to this day, so a lot of stuff comes out in war crimes, trials later, an obviously by their very nature, these things do not lend themselves to witnesses because the perpetrators are always hoping to kill all the witnesses. It does sort of lay out the stakes a little bit for the people that might fall into japanese hands and enough of the but will be making it through. To the general public that they will. Do things in Malaya and Singapore like make sure that all the alcohol is destroyed. If it's in the path of where the Japanese, army is going to march through you know, just you don't want to take any chances at the commanders of those groups are trying to keep him in line. The last thing you want to have happen is for them to stumble wanna bunch alcohol to just maybe a little bit, maybe choose them over the edge if they need to be pushed over the edge after that last, in count
in MID January late January, the allies are forced, over the causeway in the big bridge that separates Singapore from the mainland of Millenia, the fortress of Singapore, they all blow the causeway and there they are now basic be besieged of their own choice in Singapore, which is a two hundred and seventy square mile place. Oh, you think about LOS Angeles, greater area of LOS Angeles. It's like half that got a million people basically there in about eighty five thousand soldiers, the Japanese army- that's going to come right up to the edge of the moat that separates Singapore from the mainland has like thirty to thirty five thousand troops. I don't have to tell you and you don't have to be a math major to know. That's like a third what they're facing maybe a little less than one slash three but the british empire. There when they do get defeated, especially a guy? Like Churchill, who remembers the much you know, should we Kipling, Ized history
victorian british colonial conquest, when, when the British are defeated, that it's it's done, as a plucky englishman that are over run after killing thousands of the tens of thousands that of Zulus or dervishes or tribesmen in Afghanistan, whatever it might be. It's a total flip of the script here to have the non european forces, be the ones that are badly outnumbered and yet have the imperial forces on the run. It's embarrassing, and more than that, the optics for the british Empire could be deadly. This forces, Churchill into all kinds, interesting decisions of the sort that are fascinating reading today, but have to make If you have any empathy in you at all, have to make you glad that you don't of the soul, crushing decision making responsibility that people, like Churchill, have in this situation, not that he makes right choice at all, but think about what the choice is at the beginning of January,
church you'll still seems to be operating under the idea, because he's led to believe this that the fortress Singapore is going to be this great defensive, bastion that no matter what happens in Malaya will hold out a thorn in the side of the japanese empire. Be this place. They could rally in and form a counter attack me. We would still be the the Lynch pin of the defense of the entire region and by the end of January, virtual because again, what he's been told by people in the scene now believes that no matter how many true, thrown into Singapore is basically indefensible. You can't stop it from falling. So what do you do? The first of the two hard choices for Churchill concerns what you do once you connect the dots and decide Singapore. We held now there are, shall we call them the ultimate Monday morning, quarterbacks today, who will
point out the knowing what we know now. Singapore could have been held. The japanese room, precarious supply situation, to be a lot of things, run out there, but remember there's this thing called the fog of war, which is connected to what commanders on the ground no and oftentimes they can be blocked, and it's. This is a well known. I mean you, Maschner was bluffing and hoping that the enemy wouldn't know his weaknesses, but that's a pretty traditional thing church. It was getting information from the people. The ground that Singapore couldn't be held. So do you send more reinforcements there because reinforcements are on the way already Churchill points out that there are places like Burma where these reinforcements could the difference between saving or losing burma- and he says we make the wrong choice here. We could end up losing both but understand something. The British have not publicly written off the people in Singapore, the millions of billions of eighty five thousand soldiers.
So if you divert reinforcements from there, what are you saying to them? What's more watch, which, having these meetings that are supposed to be pretty close door. Sometimes they're not as close or as everyone who and somehow the australian Prime Minister gets word that Churchill's, considering this with his staff and talking about it and writes a letter that church Delicious in his works, basically saying. After all, we've done for you. You run in abandoned Singapore, which we've you if your assurances made a linchpin of our defense strategy to and our troops are way off, fighting for you in North Africa and places like that in the allied cause and the seven in thousand or so that are here close by our in Singapore now and you're, telling me their trap there and you're. Not. I mean the optics of this become a problem. How many people are you willing to sacrifice for optics, though so Churchill has to debate
questions and eventually he will decide that it's more important to send troops to the island. Even if you're just adding to the number of prisoners, the Japanese will eventually get to take there's another question, and this has to do with how hard everybody has to resist on this island. In sure. I think it's fair to say that he goes from from from being pretty sure of things in the beginning of January to write around its the 19th and the 20th of January, one thousand nine hundred and forty two. When the the call goes on and has my opinion only, but he almost looks like he panics a little bit of freaks out about the situation and decides that, because he and says this, because the Russians are fighting so fiercely against the spearheads of elite german divisions. You know for their life in Moscow and putting a pretty darn good account of themselves and
Americans are resisting stubbornly in the Philippines. It would look terrible if we didn't resist well to Churchill issues commands I mean he's the prime minister on multiple occasions on the first one that I see is on pretty much. The nineteen three tells the people in Singapore that you've got a fight to the death and as time goes on basically looks like he wants this to be Berlin in nineteen, forty, five and every strong when is going to be destroyed individually officers will die with their man in the in the ruins of Singapore will be our tune kind of thing, for example, on January 19th, one thousand nine hundred and forty two. This is right, win He becomes aware that this is an issue. He will issue a bunch of different orders to the commander on the scene Listed a through J, I believe the list and starting with that point h. This is by the way this is a Churchill to General is high point H, says and continuing quote.
The entire male population, meaning of Singapore, should be employed upon constructing defense work the most rigorous compulsion is to be used up to the limit where shovels are available not only must the defensive Singapore Island be maintained by every means, but The whole island must be fought for until every unit, and every single strong point has been separately destroyed. Finally, here right The city of Singapore, must be converted into a citadel and defended to the death. No surrender can be contemplated. End quote so. You have here a place that he's now Believing is indefensible right if you have no options of winning, but you have to lose like this, for depends on what you want to label it optics or pride or honor, and before we just This stuff is window dressing. That's not worth the lives of real people. Let's
realize that you know you're, only a couple of dominoes tumbling before those seemingly amorphous hard to quantify. Words actually equals real people and think how much the prestige of the bridge empire forms one of the pillars that holds it up and what, if something like, that is badly damaged. If people in India were for example, revolting India is a little like China in the sense that whenever there's an I p evil, it ends up costing a lot alive because there's a lot of people, it would also cost of the war effort where the British, had to then send forces to India to quell problems and maintain it may sound like a non real thing: the pride in the honor and the prestige of the british empire, but believe me thing in the middle of this war is going to devolve to the same thing at lowest common denominator, that's going to be life and death and Churchill. Once these p to put a good showing because it will help cement. You know the british
pride and honor, and he basically says that openly when on February. When things are much much worse and the situation in Singapore has changed dramatically, Churchill is still of the opinion that there has to I got a damn wrong here. He writes a letter to general Wavell, who is the overall commander in the theater and says quote. I think you to realize the way we view the situation in Singapore. It was reported to the and by Ci Gs. That Percival Mean General Percival in Singapore. Over one hundred thousand men, of whom thirty three thousand or british and seventeen thousand australian. It is doubtful whether the These have as many in the whole malay peninsula, namely five division. Forward in the six coming up in circumstances. He writes the defenders must go. We outnumber japanese forces have crossed the straits and in a welcome
did battle they should destroy them there, must at this stage we know thought of saving the troops or sparing the population. The battle must be fought to the bitter end at all costs. The 18th division has a chance to make its name in history. Commanders and senior officers should die with their troops, the owner of the empire british Army is at stake. I rely on you to show no mercy to weakness in any form with the fighting as they are and the reckon so stubborn at lose on the whole rip your of our country and our race is involved, it is expected that every soon, it will be brought into close contact with the enemy and fight it out and quote when that particular order, I should say, reaches Wavell where I'll add some more things to it. Mentioning hey in the Chinese have been fighting for four years against these people so adds a little bit more hands. Or down to general Pursifull in command at the scene, person
adds a little almost chastisement, which you can see in Churchill's writing to a little bit of like hey, you outnumber the enemy and then Percival and this note to his underlings were supposed to distribute the message to the troops, and I was read I think it was in the battle for Singapore, Peter Thompson's book, where he says a bunch The commander simply ripped up. The order and most never told them what the commanders were saying, because they knew that the troops on the and we're being treated as though they were. You know top It's ready to go right off the parade grounds, but also veterans instead of these people, who have been fighting in these will conditions over and over since the Japanese landed on Malaya December eight. A bunch of people who've already who are exhausted and they're being Astis Renard, putting up a good enough fight when we've ordered you to die to the death, because it doesn't look good. I think if you were on the ground- and you were one of these soldiers are- you might be a little bit bitter at a bunch of people- that basically in Ferd, you haven't, thought well enough
when you've been fighting with both hands tide behind your back now for weeks, because on the last, of January, as we said, the cause is blown up. Singapore. Shut off. You have a moat separating the thirty to thirty five thousand japanese troops from the eighty five thousand imperial troops in Singapore, with the million civilians in Singapore and in a fail As of this war, where we've pointed out over and over there's a ton of finger pointing when it was responsible for Pearl Harbor was responsible for this is not. This is the finger pointing moment of all where the hell the defenses in Singapore, the fortress city. If this fortress Singapore idea is like a marketing scam, Winston Churchill kind of portrays himself as the most prominent person to buy deeply to the hype, and if we take him at his word- and he was thinking
of maybe what defenses were like in places that had good defenses, ineffective though they may have been from this time period you think of the no line in France. Think of the czech defenses that so unnerved Hitler before he was able to get them through negotiation instead and intimidation. If that were the case on Singapore might have been a really hard nut to crack. But of course, as Churchill points out, he found out several all at once. You found out those big guns that everybody counts on to be so formidable and disrupt anything really are meant to be used against naval targets. We used to be taught that they couldn't around hit anything on land. But apparently that's not true at all. The problem has to do more with the fact that they have a lot of armor piercing shells and not a lot of high explosive ones in those big armor piercing shells just bury themselves in the jungle or the or, if they don't do much damage, and because these are the naval go
when's. The trajectory is pretty flat on these things, which makes them useless in a counter battery role, and what that means is, when the Japanese pull up their artillery to Shell Singapore they're going to these howitzers and things that lob shells you know in a high arc. They can be behind Forrester, hills or whatever those flat trajectory guns can't hit them. So if you have nothing to stop the Japanese from pulling or re close up and bombarding Singapore Singapore to big trouble, there is the land word stuff? This boils down the reason we spend so much time on these pre war plan, under estimated japanese capabilities, because when the Japanese proved that they can do things that the pre war planners didn't think they could do the defense is that Singapore was relying on a completely inadequate truth told most armies could not launch an amphibious assault across the straits of Johore under fire successfully and if you're
cherry planner in nineteen, thirty, nine, some of those the Japanese do that a lot of these military, are you crazy. I can count the number of armies that can do that on half of one hand right, but the Japanese could do that, an prove it. On February, eighth, one thousand nine hundred and forty two. Night, of course, when they launch a deed day type assault under fire at night, which they didn't even do it Normandy, and by morning, have landed thirteen, ten thousand guys and it established a beachhead. Now they did have one of the heavy bombardments from the japanese side of things for the worn out. The Japanese were not big land artillery people specially not massed artillery, but here they lobbed. Almost ninety thousand shells against the northern coast of Singapore, creating chaos disrupted all kinds of things and then, when these Japanese hit the water to cross this in a little less than a mile in some places wide, I called it a moat when they, when they cross it there.
Crossing it in some places on armored troop ships. You know armored barges, I mean talk about planning, talk about capabilities, there's an elegance to this- that you expected to see only in the best armies, a coordination. This is hard stuff to do and not screw up, and by February ninth one thousand nine hundred and forty two. They are in place in the northwest part of Singapore Island with an established beachhead. By the way. The next day is when Churchill right order. We just quoted the standard I order and by then he would have known that there were japanese troops on the island. The japanese assault force did not have to face the heavy defenses that everyone had thought. Might be there they didn't have to face. The bunker is to face a lot of pill, boxes and land mines and barbed wire. What they did have to face was put together rather hastily. We should point out that some of these japanese troops are Imperial Guard force,
they're are considered the emperor's own samurai. They are veteran troops as well. They are particularly tip of the spear type guys and, from this moment on, the Singapore situation will degenerate to the point where it won't, even a week after Churchills stand and die, orders that Singapore will capitulate. That doesn't look good lot of people have been hammered for why this happens, but if you actually get a book and read all the Specif x, it's Murphy's law could not have intervened more and there's all kind. Things where you have no idea who to blame, although different people always do take. For example, there's more than one swear key orders are misinterpreted, so who's at fault there, the the command that issued the order that was misinterpreted or the lower commanders. That read the order in misinterpreted. There's a bunch of
those kinds of things I mean WH units in parts of the line will pull back in. Directly threatening the most of the line that has to then buy me and the Japanese or infiltrating like crazy, and I had to think for awhile what might even account for why they were so effective at this and just my own theory here, probably already been proposed by much smarter people. But let me just throw it out there because infiltration as you history nut snow is not a new thing that the Germans were doing it with storm troopers in the last world war, bunch of militaries this war, but infiltrate essentially means sort of hiding behind things and moving up and bypassing strong points and whatnot. Well, doing this. On a golf course, it's got one level of effectiveness. If you're doing in the jungle. Think about how much more affective it's an amplifier to the infiltration tactics, the I think that the Japanese have going for them is kind of you need to say it's kind of cool 'cause I mean, but it's we talked about earlier, how
the willingness to expand human lives on the part of japanese commanders, gave them an arrow in their decision. Quiver their command quiver that most military leaders don't have, and one of them is the willingness to allow their troops to trap themselves behind enemy lines, because that's what infiltration essentially means, what's the worst thing can happen, you want a battlefield he gets around. By the enemy right infiltrators are deliberately moving behind enemy lines and putting themselves in a situation where they are surrounded. It's dangerous. In fact it's practically suicidal, sometimes if I'm an american commander, when you tell me, you want my trip to infiltrate the way the Japanese infiltrate. I'm going to say are you out of your mind, I'm not going to will do most of those troops. The Japanese could live with that. If the results are worth it and so they're infiltrators and they would poke the allied lines and then find an opening and boom there through it in the back, causing trouble. They'll throw star shells in flares to tell the
people on their side of the lies that there, through the japanese use of infiltration takes on Singapore Island are just as effective there as they have been throughout the whole campaign. So far, and the other elements of the recipe in this japanese blitzkrieg are equally successful. I mean go, read the primary source accounts. The people on the ground are talking all the time about being pounded from the air. Strafed bombed, just pounded. All the time If you look at the first day or two on Singapore Island, the only thing missing from the recipe that was successful. The whole way down Malaya is the Japanese, armor and General Yamashita will start ferrying that over within about forty eight hours and then the Japanese will get the inadequately destroyed cause way. That used to separate singer or from the mainland back up and running, so that,
now the japanese armored columns can just drive right on over, and this war will quickly move from the jungle and rubber tree areas to the suburbs, and it will get kind of weird there again. This is uh not something Americans are so aware of, but we're talking about sidewalks and streets and fire hydrants and front lawns and and people's two story homes the sort of thing we're. Now. All of a sudden, the japanese sniper is hiding in the little girl's bedroom in the upper right hand, in a flow. From the window in the sniping imperial troop understanding in the middle of the park where the kids used to play. I mean it's that kind of fighting knee, that to say in this is an under appreciated side of the story. Sometimes, when we get into all the military stuff, are civilians who live there,
for a while. They start moving away from the fighting, and I had a guy who was in the war in Bosnia. He explained it this way, 'cause he was living in southern California at that time, and he said it's like when you get a forest fire I did not force for their brushfires in southern California, and you see it off in the distance and there's all this smoke in the sky, and you know that you know twenty five minute drive from here and it very, very, very heavy over there, but right now, life continues in this section of the city, just fine, but of course the fire can move as anyone in the path of one of those will tell you, the war can move to, and so for a while, if you're a resident in the urban area, Singapore. The war just looks off in the distance all that smoke and, of course, the bombing that's even going on near you, but that smoking that flame in that fire comes closer and the friendly lines are Curling inward in the refugees are being compacted into a place where, within a couple you have. A million people crammed into like three square miles and the Japanese are
dancing on the reservoirs that have the water supplies and the ammunition is dwindling, and this is where you get to some of the finger pointing stuff at the troops themselves. There will be pointed, for example, at australian troops, which is so weird because they are some of the best troops in the war. They've been some of the best troops in the entire malayan campaign, but now it's the they're going to get flagged sometimes, but the fighting intense and when you read about the fighting in a lot of it going on at night, which is extra, chaotic right in city streets. Sometime it it's just it's very difficult, and you read: accounts, and they sound wicked mean heavy. Fighting, I take this one from this was Peter Thompson's book, but he quotes a soldier from the eighteen division, another pulling back behind roads and we pulled by behind Thompson Road. I mean I, I always had the hardest time picturing, these sorts of urban conflicts like the battle of Berlin in nineteen, forty five, always so difficult. For me. To get my mind around, but that's
This is right. People are pulling back to the intersection where you know the supermarket is I mean it's that kind of thing, so in this case this unit that this first hand account comes from head back and set up a defensive position in a chinese graveyard that had a really good field of fire and he writes Quote- we dug trenches and that night, the japanese start attacking we were in action against them continuously, sometimes in hand to hand fighting. We could see on various helocs in this enormous graveyard, they try intimidating tactics, my screaming out, or they tried to imitate us by saying they were friends and they were advance. They made a tremendous noise. I had two four: platoons on little hills and on one, Ashley occasion they got in amongst one of the sections in the night and bayoneted some of the men. The screams in rise of anguish were really quite terrable on and uh, occasion. I was watching out
my command post, when I saw we saw japanese officer and about a dozen men crawling up behind one of the forward positions for Lately, our machine gun battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers were with us and we had a action of machine guns. It was a very good time and in a very short time we had put paid to that attack. End quote, but I mean you do you think of like the pie, sneaking up on you with the knife between the teeth at night. There's there's a particular horror to the Pacific WAR and it's that, but these troops hardly seem like they're flinching very much right. Why are they getting some blame? Some of it appears to be the difference. As we said, between what units look like on paper back at the command post, which is almost always in Singapore too, far away from, what's going on for the commanders to really know, what's going on the difference between what their maps look like these paper,
icons representing these units at full strength, fully equipped fully highly morale, well rested the whole thing and the troops on the ground. There will come a point when the Australians are accused of not fighting. You read the commanders letters to each other. The troops, morale is not what it should be and australian, australian, general stranger, named Bennett, will sort for in an offhanded way complained to this captain. That is part of one of these units. That's been fighting the whole time and this is how did in Collin Smith's book, and he says quote: criticism also came from a surprising quarter quote, I don't think the men want to fight and quote General Bennett, informed and exhausted captain Frank Gavin. Let me stop here Gavin's one of these australian officers, that's and fighting like the devil for weeks and now remember he speaking as a captain to a general here Smith continues Quote Gavin did not mince words. Now, according Gavin, the men
very tired he told Bennett their rations have been irregular, an and inadequate. They have been constantly in contact with the enemy, and they feel that they have been play let down. I feel that too end quote, but when you think about it, there are incidents that people point to sometimes there's one in Smith's book. That involves. Adding that just is one of those moments that reminds you know combats one of those things that sort of on a spectrum and on one end of the spectrum, let's call it the ten or the one. Whichever, however, we designated, but on one end of the spectrum is the heroic combat fighting that makes you well real combat, sometimes, and then themes of soldierly conduct going back to Ajax and Achilles in Homer and uh
but but I mean the Schwarzenegger Stallone face off, you know whatever it might be, and that stuff happens. People listening to my voice. Now it's probably been involved in those kinds of things right that level of fighting. Now, if you go all the way the other side of the spectrum, though, when you go away from bravery and heroism and all that stuff you get to the other aspect of combat the pathetic not a no billing dirty the thing that leaves a stain on the victims and the victimizers, and one of these incidents involve the Australians on Singapore running to some degree. Now let me just defend them for a second. Before I go into this because when you realize that these guys had just been acting as a rear guard for the rest of their units, are the ones holding off the enemies of the rest of their forces can get away the enemy you're holding off happened to be elements of the japanese Imperial Guard and, at a certain point, the Imperial Guard,
elements will outnumber the australian rearguard elements and then the m your guard without the bayonets and charge this all happening. I believe at night. It certainly gives you the field like an urban situation in terms of the terrain. Smith picks up the narrative and he got it from the remembrances of a japanese corporal, who was a member of the Imperial guard. So he wrote about this incident Smith. Sort of translates it for us and writes quote the imp Rio Guard having passed through the torments of buddhist hell is what the word means: the torments of Buddhist Hell had their blood up and we're looking for revenge first, corporal sushi Connie. I hope I pronounced that correctly was involved, in a grenade duel with the australian rearguard in his excitement. The baseball pitching skills he had acquired at senior high school, almost undid him because he threw the first much too long and was nearly old by the pineapple variety of hand, grenade that came back and
old within two meters of the rubber tree. He had dived behind the second one he got right, then they, all charged with fixed bayonets, some of Australians, now badly outnumbered started. Running sushi. We chased one down, pushed him to the ground and heard a quote deathly yell. Is he impaled him with his bayonet and then with the blade the corporal noticed, that. Others were neither running nor fighting not directly, quoting the corporal quote. Having lost their nerve. Some soldiers were simply cowering in terror squad, down and avoiding the hand to hand combat in a wait and see position. They too, Orbeton editor shot without mercy. End quote: that's the pathetic side of combat where you just feel like here, you have a bunch of people that are trapped in a place in the top,
and you see this over and over again and if this is considered to be the troops not giving a good account of themselves or what have you you want to just like the soldier that said that they feel like they've, been let down. You just want to flip some we often hear how how much you get the aircraft out of the skies and make them stop strafing us all the time, and maybe we won't run so quickly when we're charged with band. That's by the Imperial Guard that out numbers us, I don't know we in a short period of time. The Japanese have advanced into a position where at first they start to threaten the water supply of Singapore, and then they begin to capture those places now you have a humanitarian disaster looming, the letters between Churchill and the commanders locally begin to soften. In terms of this, everybody has to stand, and I thing and
of all the commander in Singapore will end up having to accept surrender conditions where the British are photographed, caring, a whitefly. Bag and surrendering. I think, if it's not the largest, it's one of the largest number of imperial troops to a foe in the british Army's history, oh yeah, and there's more atrocities. While all this is going on, I don't know how to what death to go into the atrocities. There's a famous another one of the hospital attacks like the one in Hong Kong, this one will see upwards of one hundred and fifty closer to maybe two hundred and once again we have the rates with have the band adding of of wounded soldiers in their cots. It's awful stuff. And the eighty thousand, or so allied troops that have to surrender to the Japanese on February 15th, one thousand nine hundred and forty two will be carted off into a captivity
that is nightmarish by the standards of any other power. You want a grade against in the Second World WAR. I need Let's just say that, while those troops will go often suffer for several years in captivity, including General Percival, by the way off to captivity himself these, citizens all the different ethnic groups, they Chinese, the Malays, all the people in Singapore are all going to suffer under the japanese occupation. There too, there are books written some of them. Just in Chinese that diagram on a regular basis, the local homicides and rapes and mistreatment at the hands of the new colonizers right, the ones that are doing it under the banner of Asia for the Asians, they didn't say it was gonna, be nice necessarily and it's not going to be church
earlier, had been embarrassed and said that he know this was a shock that we we can't perform better when the Russians are doing amazing, feats and dying last man against the Germans and the Americans are doing so well in the Philippines Luzon. Well, it is because the Luzon stuff, all the Philippines stuff, is happening simultaneously with the stuff going on in Singapore, Malaysia and everything. But there are some key differences. First of all, it's the whole campaign really kicks off a little later, like two weeks later troops land instantly, but I think it's, the twenty second third or something of December, one thousand nine hundred and forty one when, like forty thousand japanese troops, land on the big island Luzon, where Manila is and then everything gets real right away. But
unlike Malaya, where there are few or no tanks, one of the other, some people say few, but every every place used to just say there are no tanks Malaya, there are tanks in the Philippines, and it makes a very big difference against the japanese tanks that are landed right if only the imperial troops that had a bunch of thanks. Emily are even bad ones. These are big monster, tanks that you're going to get later in the war. Alot of them are light tanks, but listen you just glad to have anything and they give good service, because when the Americans in the Philippine Those will continually get pushed back the same way. The imperial forces are right, infiltration being outflanked, amphibious, outflanking, the whole thing. The tanks and other troops will be able to provide some sort of cover, that allow, in this case the allied troops for the Americans in the Filipinos to pull back and- and I get rolled up momentum, wise they're able to stop and consolidate for a minute which allows a more so vigorous and stubborn defense in Malaysia, the forces never got a chance to
stabilize the other difference in the Philippines. It's going to be different, is you don't have general Perceval in charge of things you have Douglas Macarthur you're in charge of things- and that is a very different animal- well anyway, you slice it to go from talking about Churchill inordinately to going and talking about Macarthur like we're two makes me feel like we're completely embracing the great man theory of history, and we just going from one great, usually male figure to another dominating the historical scene at will standing astride history like a colossus, but you know that's an old theorem in Greeks and Romans all wrote that the great men moved the world and what not and then there's all kinds of other theories that have cropped up since the trends and forces. One right, you can't have a Hitler and less the conditions, for example, or set up correctly for one to rise, and then, if they are set up correctly, one will rise
my counterpoint to that, because I happen to believe the trends and forces, but I believe it interacts with the great man theory. My counterpoint is yeah, but the figure that arises because of the trend and forces at the time doesn't have to be a quirky nut right, you didn't say you had to be weird. You just said so. The time was right for somebody and to me. That's where you put the personal stamp on the whole trends and forces thing. I feel similarly with Macarthur, because he These are fascinating dude, but his personality is actually going to impact how the whole war is fought and why things go the way they do, and you turn around and go well wait a minute, even if the trends and forces make it just perfectly ripe for a guy like in regard that arise, they didn't have to produce a guy. Like Macarthur this just so we make it perfectly clear, is a diva and he's a diva in the way. You know it's funny. Re sort of a group of people that has a diva last amongst them, whatever they may
singers actresses whatever it might be. Generals are another one of those types for they just produce these prima donnas. It was once led by somebody that I read that one of the great gifts that Eisenhower had when he was the commander of allied forces in Europe was that he was the one guy who could sort of mediate between a group of Prima Donna, allied generals, who you know we're tough to Nate and interact and get to work together. The patents in the Montgomery's and all those guys, Martha Gellhorn, who was the second World WAR. I war correspondent married to Ernest Hemingway for awhile. Definitely one of the more interesting journalistic figures in war correspondents and, needless to say, a very early woman on the scene and tough as nails, and she went to all these places and talk to all these people in all these governments and systems, and she said and I'm quoting from memory, but she basically said the politicians and the generals are the same, everywhere you go. It doesn't matter what the
system is or anything they just there a type, and it made me think that either the kind of people who are going to turn out or likely to turn out or most of the time turned out to be prima donnas and divas in literary sense, are those the kind of guys that have the drive to become generals in the first place, so does it attract those kind of people or does being a general and all the perks, come along with that turn you into a military diva, I don't know, but Macarthur, is the best. Example of type ever see, he's a character of himself and he's been lamp. Moon for his sort of type more than anybody. I've ever seen him from mash to the simpsons everybody they got. The corn cob pipe okay. Dark sunglasses, I mean iron jawed I mean Macarthur is a unique figure, but he's weird I mean I have a line in the sand psychologically speaking
are on the far side of that line. I can't say what you have. I just know you're on the far side of the line of most of us. Do normal people are on this side of the line the dividing line is people who seriously riff rid themselves regularly in the third person. I don't know what it means to do that, but Arthur's on the far side of that, like as he does that um he's these people know that it's hard to move would make. Some really interesting is not that he's weird like that, but kind of lives up to the hype of his own imagination. Also, the way his story, hi, Gale Simon's runs down. You know a little bit of this guy background he sort of the golden child from the time he first appears on the military scene and Simons writes, quote Doug Macarthur was then and remains today, a lightning rod both admirers and critics. The a child of general, Arthur Macarthur, who had been uh
or did the medal of honor for his heroism on missionary ridge during the civil war, the young, Macarthur had been something celebrity, even during his cadet days at West Point, where he graduated first in the class of one thousand nine hundred and three during the first world war, he had performed brilliantly return from the war in nineteen nineteen? As thirty, nine year old, brigadier general with two english service crosses and no fewer than seven silver stars. He became West Point superintendent, in nineteen thirty at the age of fifty. He became the, best Army chief of staff and quote. Macarthur had a mixed reputation, though, amongst troops pens on who you ask like they were a bunch of troops that had a sour taste in their mouth, because it was Macarthur who, with a an extreme forceful hand broke up some well, they became riots.
You could say that there was a long term protest during the Hoover administration by people during the depression who were veterans in who won veteran bonus payments given out to them earlier than originally specified because well it was the great depression and Macarthur. You know these are all veterans, Macarthur, sort of crush this encampment, the bonus marchers. They were called a roughly and- and there were people that help- that against him forever afterwards, and then there were people like Eisenhower and it depends on what you read from Eisenhower 'cause. You can find him saying good things and bad things. I mean he just he thought Macarthur's mind. Was crazy, interesting and good, but at the same time that the guy was over Matic well, Simons continues. He talks about the other side right that goes with Macarthur. Is this glittering golden child from long ago just like born to the role from a military hero, Father and Simons. Writes, quote then there was the man himself in addition to his obvious intellectual gifts. Macarthur's per
demeanor included in all too evident self regard that put off many this contemporaries he seemed ever, just of himself as a historical figure and freak we behaved even in private as if he were declaiming. From a stage pacing back and forth, and gesturing theatrically with this corn cob pipe. He discounted even dis. Averaged the opinions of others and criticism as less disagreement than treason historian MAX Hastings put it now, quoting Hastings Quote: Macarthur's belief Critics were not merely wrong, but evil verge, on Derangement Simon's continues, quote these characteristics, held many of the men he had to work with, including and Nimitz make Arthur, had an astonishing memory, a deep knowledge of history and a quick incisive mind
need to be seen. However, if he also possessed the diplomatic sensitivity to Orca right: the land, air and sea forces of several countries, a ski also evident in his former aide, Dwight Eisenhower and quote. I personally don't think that there's any doubt that this guy had what it look to do any of these monumental things in terms of his raw talent and the polishing of the diamond that he had done since he was young. This is a very accomplished very gifted person, but with it comes the rest of this package and it's interesting as Heck his great book rampage Macarthur, you must, in the battle of Manila, author, James M, Scott, tries to flush out, the Macarthur figure any quotes us several people talking who worked with and we'll talk about the good to great brain right he's just brilliant man. Genius genius. These generals are all saying he quotes Philip, lawful. Let who,
served on Macarthur staff, as saying quote his mind, was a beautiful piece of almost perfect machinery and quote so everybody admires this guy's brain. But it's weird. You're being alone with him and having him. Refer to himself in the third person. Scott quotes, Dwight Eisenhower is saying about the experience quote the sensation was unusual in time. I got used to it and saw it not as objectionable. Just odd. He then goes on to say that the word discuss or discussion is not the right word to you. When you're having a discussion with Macarthur, it's more like a monologue and he had an interesting way of talking the in a way flushes out the characters like those theater folk who come off stage and they still sound like they're onstage when they talk right, very dramatic, using maybe archaic words, Mccarthy, used archaic words. Scott quotes a journalist. Trying to give you a sense of the way Macarthur talked, and he says quote he off
used archaic words and terms as one might, a rare spice for extraordinary flavor end quote well, that explains present Roosevelt's line also quoted in Scott's book. Roosevelt said that he talks in a voice it might come from an Oracle's cave. Well, if you spice it up with those archaic words and terms of yourself in the third person and use it. Like a stage voice. Well, yeah, you sound like an Oracle. You just know how to play to the crowd right, but it's a weird part of the guy's character makes it more interesting as a historical figure, but then, of course, I don't have to work with him. This is a person who also knows how to use the media of his time. I mean if twitter or any The other social media outlets have been around in his day. He'd have a billion followers He had his own direct pipeline
from the Philippines, were he was commanding to the US media outlets who were hungrily waiting for any info he gave and when he provided that info most the time it only mentioned a single person. Him historian, Ronald H, Spector in Eagle against the sun, writes about the Macarthur press machine and says quote Nick Arthurs great stature in the United States was in part, due to his own highly efficient public relations organization. Of the war news from the Philippines which the american public Read came from, a There's communication press releases of one hundred forty two communiques released by his head coach, between December and March nine mentioned only one individual, Macarthur and quote specter then quotes another historian. Points out that Macarthur had a way of getting his name into the
press releases in multiple places. Even when it's not about him particularly like so of saying the Us Army's right flank of Bataan. The press release would say, Macarthur's right, flank some Bataan and instead Something like you know, that regiments soldiers, it says Macarthur's man and that history, said, the communiques omitted the names of combat units, commanders and individuals who had performed exceptional, exploits Arthur. Also had this other side, which way something it was part of the the rumor mill back in Washington DC between the two world wars I mean Macarthur was accused of going or Jill. It was. It was called at one point wearing kimonos around the office fanning himself with a japanese fan and Smoking A jeweled cigarette holder. Just an interesting guy. All the way around the problem was is that there is he's been a spectrum of views on Macarthur, and I want
spectrum are the Macarthur groupies the Superfans, and they are the people. Who buy into Macarthurs view that he's been stabbed in the back by everyone from the? U S navy to multiple presidents, whatever it might be that this the greatest soldier in american history, that he was the person who was in the right in those confrontations with the president's and infection fact have been the president someday himself and then on the opposite end of the scale. You have the people who think- and this was always part of the lampooning when I was a kid in the 1970s that make This is sort of delusional that The real world is sort of blocked from his vision through the cataract of his own greatness and he's kind of like Blyth Lee out of it sometimes you'll see him issue orders to in here. He does were Francis Pike at some of this. He deals with he'll issue. These orders that are or at These demands on Washington that are so out of touch with reality that you wonder about the man himself, for example, in the
early days of the fighting on the Philippines after the Pearl Harbor Attack, Arthur is urging Washington to strike the japanese home islands now with naval assets right away since they're all occupied fighting him well, this is delusion because that's the same time that the Navy's telling Roosevelt they can't even defend the Philippines forget about. Launching a strike on the japanese home islands. Michael, so quotes admiral heart. Who was the naval command review assets in the Philippines and who worked closely with Macarthur between the wars and who consider him a friend himself. A friend of my car until the war got close in the friendship broke down and Pike quote several artist telling his wife he's. Not sure Macarthur is quote ' together, saying and quote, and then he adds that he may not have been altogether saying for some while now
does that even mean I've read a ton about Douglas Macarthur over my lifetime and I still find him as a figure completely impenetrable. I don't know how to process this idea that maybe he's he's this out of touch thing living in his own world, like a Mr Magoo stumbling on from from one Terry, a good thing to another trying, but he's done it going to do a lot of things in the rest of his life that seem like really hot things to do under the best of conditions? I would think if you weren't, grounded in reality they would they would be impossible. That's just my view. At the same time, this guy is so complicated that sometimes it's difficult to know how you feel bottom. Unless you find yourself unreservedly on one of the two polarities on the guy either way of looking at him to which is the crazy. Like a fox way. We mentioned earlier. You know how many twitter followers this guy would have how well he used the media of the day well. How much of this is all for publicity purposes right, a buddy said
Putting us on Isaac or said about his old boss, that he would have made a great actor and then he study, dramatics under him for seven years. Basically, when he worked for him, Is this all part of branding right? Maybe you think about it this way, maybe Macarthur's positioning himself for an eventual presidential run in this is all part of the brand and before you This is out of hand, some writers, Historians over the areas have made similar charges against other public figures from that time, Churchill even for exam the cigar the ever present booze that had the v sign. You could put it on a poster. Couldn't you one Brand, you know exactly who you're dealing with it serves two purposes. It promotes. Rachel personally and what 'cause. He wants to push at the same time. Well, if Churchill could do at Macarthur could do it. So maybe it's a put on My response to that is in know, I'm a cynical. I all those kind of
I see right through this is the kind of put on that would work even for me and it's possible it's geared toward king on people? Exactly like me? Let me tell you one of my favorite Macarthur stories and I'll just give you an idea of how hard this guy is to pin down for this kind of stuff, so he gets accused of not visiting the troops. Often enough in the Philippines, during the whole disaster were just about to get into. He only does it once, but it's a highly. Let's get to be deal right. He's coming to the fox holes from he's he's been safe underground on the island of Corregidor, putting out press releases about how terrible things are here It hasn't actually gone there in the mud and the blood, but there are generals out there who have been wainwrights out there. You know getting I mean just working his tail off. Zero Macarthur is going to It's this big deal. He comes in some of the troops talked about how dress. They were there in a tree Ste Hanson Shine Shoes Mccarthy's got the corn cob pipe. The dark glasses he's got the cap, good luck, finding that cap
any other US military officer in any other service. It's basically in a self designed he Gus heated up a bit, it's the Macarthur cap and he shows up any tour tours the defenses The whole day lot of people saw him that day and my buddy would have said. That's probably part of the plan, our press would have known about. It would have been one of those things where I mean if this was today there be a brazilian retweets and he trending. You know the number one things down: Twitter Douglas Macarthur visits the troops in Bhutan. There are multiple accounts of different people who saw Macarthur that day in undefeated bill. Sloan gives an account from a U soldier who was in a fox hole in an area that was being hit particularly hard at that time by japanese aircraft. Lots I mean lots of strafing and this soldiers in the foxhole just powering down trying not to die. He looks up, and here
General Macarthur strolling casually towards them with another general and staff officers. This soldiers name by the way is Captain Ralph Hibbs and Sloan has Hibbs explaining what happens when he sees Macarthur in these men trailing behind him. You know coming over the hill in the battle zone towards him. Captain Hibbs says quote jumped out of the foxhole and gave a rather clumsy salute without thinking Hibbs later recalled, Macarthur waved to stay. Foot and swinging his riding crop vigorously, with great strides, moved across open meadow, has more zeros came winging in a couple of his A these were tugging on his shirt and telling him to get down. But he shrugged them off and kept walking the bombs landed fairly close, but the general was. Can Lee oblivious to them me I was in
Fox Foxhole. There is a really brave man. I thought end quote: Macarthur's courage has never in doubt. My buddy might ask the interesting question, though, that some of asked about Macarthur and some of these other really Super star generals by the way, all of them a little bit media overly media, savvy who's Douglas Macarthur. Doing all for he would say, he's doing it for the men and there's no doubt that guy is Marie skyrocketed, so maybe that's the truth, but is that the whole truth Douglas Macarthur's a hard got to figure out I'll? Tell you this, though, if this is a city stunt, and I said this to my friend. I think I used a different analogy. I came up with a better one, but this is a publicity stunt. It's the kind of book bliss he's done to remind you of like a person who string, a tightrope between two skyscrapers and walk across it carrying a pole,
I mean he may have invited the media to come and watch. It may be an excuse for everybody to come and cover him, but it's not phony and what Macarthur did that day is not phone either. I was walking past the tv, the other night and I'll thinking about Macarthur and a light bulb went on over my head when I heard something on the television and my wife begged me not to use this reference because she said you embarrass yourself, because I know nothing about it. I know nothing about the character. I know I don't know why it has. This nickname new. When I heard it that that should be Douglas Macarthur's nickname it should be Douglas. The situation Macarthur me that sounded exactly like what his code name should be in Washington DC. That's what they should call him in the White House when they're talking about him, because to people like Roosevelt and General Marshall and most of the admirals a lot of other people Douglas Macarthur is the situation, and the funny thing about Douglas Macarthur is, if he found out nickname was the situation he might like that too, because he
I wanted to be on the minds of all these people thought he should have been on their minds in fact thought he should have been a higher priority in fact hated the Germany First policy that had just been agreed to be it meant his theater was going to be the one that was DE emphasized and make there's a big fish in the theater and made a lot of promises to the locals. I mean heck, he was the field marshal of the Philippines for whatever that was worth at time. So he's got a lot of personal contacts and his relationship by the way, still complicated with the the money and the power in the philippine power structure again depends on your image of the man But the reason this guy, such a situation or two more checkboxes on the- are you a diva test that he checks off. I number one he's a pain in the ass to his cohorts and his superiors. Franklin, Roosevelt's relationship with him started off sort of lukewarm and degenerated from there, by
the end of Roosevelt's life, Macarthur hated him and Roosevelt had said that Macarthur was one of the two most dangerous man in America. The other that I think he was thinking of was Louisiana. Senator Huey long, the kingfish Macarthur famously had problems with the next american president to he had problems with the Washington Army Brass in DC had problems with most of the admirals, although he liked and worked well with Bull Halsey, but pain in the axon, see normally when you get these kind of people and your you're. Looking for a better level of unity. These people are not worth the trouble, especially if they don't perform well. At a certain point, you take those opportunities to axe. Those those malcontent poisonous people, you know divas, unless, of course, you know they're like Frank Sinatra or Judy Garland, or one of these Sammy Davis, Junior, Michael Jackson, any of the giants right out there, where you just go, I don't care how weird they are. But, however,
many green eminems they want in the in their dressing room. I don't care just get me Frank Sinatra. What that means, though, is that people like that you invest really high hopes and they become so valuable of. If you sold out the palladium for Frank Sinatra, you can't cancel Frank Sinatra. Without there being big problems and the US takes the opportunity that Doug Macarthur stature, provides them to invest a lot of hope in Douglas Macarthur. They turn him into a hero by the way the US government the guy who's. Already two slash three of the way to fitting that mold already pours the Disney like propaganda. Hose on him gives congressional medal of honor in the near future. To make a super out of Macarthur the reason this is important as well. What if you're sitting in the philippines- and you realize you are screwed- you are doomed there's. No, hey, this is going to work out. The odds are totally against you, the only
and gives you any hope in the Philippines is that you have a transcendental military leader in charge. It's hard to describe what people thought, especially the Filipino thought. Mccarthy was cape love. He could pull a rabbit out of his hat militarily speaking at any can't rule out Douglas Macarthur. So you can't remove Douglas make Arthur either without that whole pillar of hope, collapsing, he's too big to fire, and he knows it so you're stuck with and the problem is, is that initially he does not perform well at all historian Ronald each sector said that the government would have been fully. Justified in removing Macarthur to be on Once again, I tend to cut people slack in this situation. Make author and the Americans in the Filipinos are going to face the same kind of acid test of combat exposure moment that the british imperial troops in Malaya got to experience right, all of your pre war. Estimations are put to the test, your
our assumptions your plans, all that stuff gets the final exam as usual in this is always the problem with war games and whatnot. I mean you generally, don't assume for situations that seem too wild to contend with, and I can aren't you Macarthurs, Macarthur's war plans, did not take into account the idea that the Japanese might contain the air and the sea contest Control, the air in the sea. By the way, that's generally in your assumptions and that's be the case so right there little difference between the pre war as in the actual war conditions, the other problem that they hadn't Millay will be replicated here as well, which is that the decisions made before the conflict breaks out, will doom everybody. Before I start criticizing General Macarthur.
Plan for defending the Philippines and, of course, there's a history fan, I'm totally entitled r Nydick criticized that one of the? U dot s is major general start a tissue totally qualified to do that. But before I do, let's acknowledge something right away. There are no good plans for defending the Philippines. It's not like Macarthur's plan is up against a bunch of players that were better and it just didn't There are no good plans, there's a sizable contingent of top military lead Especially in the navy who considers the Philippines indefensible, if the Japanese want them, they can and then, if for no other reason than proximity right, look how close Japan is compared to the United States and remember these are people who think the Philippines or in the vincible who are assuming there's still going to be a robust United States Navy to contend everything if they're indefensible under those conditions there really indefensible after Pearl Harbor, but if they are indefensible, do you,
just not defend him. Do you say that the war policy for the United States in the Philippines? Remember? We have no military assets there. It's one of our base our work, fine, the japanese attack, we're leaving and we're leaving philippine islands to. You know the conquerors that is so politically unpalatable for people that at least we mark it as a big brother, little brother relationship in a lot of Filipinos buy into that. We are certainly are making a lot of noise about protecting the islands. We have military, it's there we have General Douglas Macarthur there. Who's wonderful cap is proof that he's all in because that's the cap of the Philippine in Army's top Rank field, Marshall, which he holds, which is a little weird. He had fights with Eisenhower about Eisenhower, basically saying you're, a four star US general: that's something to be proud of. What are you doing? A holding a gaudy field, Marshall Baton for the Philippine, but you know I mean,
honors, and honor and Macarthur like that stuff anywhere. That cap all throughout the war. Signature field marshal cap, but Midgard also out there telling the Filipinos in the rousing speeches, don't worry we're here, you're or the entire weight of the great democracies of the world are here at your side I mean come on your work and has to do better than we're going home. If we're attacked so sometimes the politics get involved in ways in the diplomacy gets involved in ways that sort of isn't considered too much, what's actually going to happen on the battlefield because of the island's really are indefensible. What happens to the people you send over there to defend them? That's the situation You will find themselves in on the ground here the same way that those in Hong Kong, fighting for Canada and empire and all these other places had to continue to fight on, or what have you for. The honor of empire wall. We have to have uh
playing here in the United States for an indefensible place. Because to not have a war plan to defend the indefensible places indefensible. If you know what I mean, this is as old as armies by the way, there's nothing new at all about putting troops into militarily dubious situations for diplomatic purposes happens all the time and it's a reason that I just some war planners have to account for mean they'll understand that sometimes the best we can hope for in a situation is to perhaps not be victorious, but have a add a GA plan to not lose or to lose. Really slowly hold out for a long time under siege and then be rescued, any of those things might be applicable in certain six Haitians in between the two world wars, there were war plans that accounted for things like that, and the basic attitude was that, if
Couldn't defeat the enemy a you would retreat to the Bataan Peninsula and hold out there. The Bataan peninsula is a wonderful place to retreat for all sorts of reasons. The first one is is, if you control it, look at a map, it's sort of right by Manila Bay. If you can try it and the bone in the throat fortified little teeny island of Corregidor. You control Manila Bay, There is Manila, the giant urban center of the Philippines right there as well. Macarthur said that if you who had an invasion, take the rest of the island if he control Corregidor and Bhutan than they might have the bottle, but he'd have the cork. Allied troops would be doing damage to the Japanese simply by holding out on Bataan and Corregidor them. Thorn in the side of all their operations. So this is a good strategic spots retreat to in terms of having importance, but it's also a good spot to retreat. You 'cause, it's very defensible. Nature begin.
In that process by creating this peninsula. That is some of the heavy jungle, you will ever see- and I lack the adjectives to distinguish between all the different levels of heavy jungle in this theater, but it's very heavy jungle. Indeed, you would never want to have to go root, an enemy out of there. That was waiting for you In addition to the heavy jungle, there is not one but two volcanoes in this space that something like fifteen by thirty miles or twenty by twenty five miles. I've read both the on a very big area to have two volcanoes they're, not spewing, lava at the moment there dormant or their dead. I don't know but look at a map. They take up a huge chunk of the the state in this area that's going to be defended and there going to be used as part of the defense line. Right I mean, if you want to anchor a defense line, you want to have the middle covered by something that should keep the enemy at Bay will put a big volcano in the middle of it, and they do.
Then, once you decide you're going to use the Bataan Peninsula for this purpose, you bring in the combat engineers and you improve on what nature started. You layout. The minefield should build the tank traps. You clear, FI, The fire you cite artillery you build pillboxes and bunkers, and you can make this the kind of place that armies will break them selves trying to get into and then, of course, you have to make sure that the people that end up under siege here 'cause, that's what everybody thinks is going to happen is gonna, be like the Alamo right. Hopefully a happier ending they're going to need stuff. Aren't they so you going to stockpile all the food and all the ammunition and all the medical supplies on Bataan. So there's plenty to keep people happy healthy and fighting. While await rescue from the? U S navy most of these plans, Vision Douglas Macarthur does not like these plans. He does not like the whole gist of these
hands the idea that you would assume and plan for defeat, and Julie prepared to be besieged by the enemy he called it defeatist, he can call it anything. He wants, doesn't really matter until mid one thousand, nine hundred and forty one when he's put in charge of american and philippine forces in the philippines- and this is several months before war breaks out so now this is the guy who has to decide what the plan for the defensive Philippines is going to be, and it is not going to be that we're going to assume were defeated and we're going to prepare the besieged epitaph and going throw the enemy back into the sea, I mean, would you expect any less of one of these superstars? Some might say: super Ego generally. Just doesn't suit them to say, I'm going to plan, I'm going to lose, I'm going to retreat and I'm going to try to hold out. Then I'm going to let the bloody Navy come and rescue me or he you didn't. He had always had a good job for the navy you're going to realize it was not going to happen to Macarthur comes up with this plan,
that doesn't look like a bad plan at all. If he's got a first class military Carey have you got the USA military from nineteen. Forty four, it's a good plan. He doesn't have that. He has something paper looks large enough to be mistaken for that, but those number July. It is Macarthur's own team, though, that he built from scratch and it might have clouded his it's one of the miracles. Here there is a Philippine. Me that is somewhere between eighty to two hundred thousand men, that's going to be put into action here in the Philippines. Let's understand only ten years. Before this time there was no philippine army, there was no institute. There was nothing Macarthur Damian and it's really over the previous five or six years that he's built up this entire institution from scratch and when you think of everything that you have to do, to create a foundation for a eight eight. Armed forces of all kinds, not just army, it's incredible
There are as many Filipinos that could meet the Japanese and defeat them in this army, as there are now and there's the twelve thousand philippine scouts that are: U Dot S regular, there's a units in the field. First, philippine division that are so no knock on them. But when you at eight thousand two hundred thousand men and a military institution. That's only been around five hundred and sixty seven years lot of those people are not going to be ready to face the Japanese. And this is something Macarthur should have known when you have great minds right. That runs like a machine. You would think you would understand that you cannot put some of these units in place. Where, if they lose, the entire plan goes to hell, but that's just what Macarthur will do Now you don't know it. It's all theoretical right until you get the acid to combat- and it's not just theoretical- it's backed by Mccarthy, himself, so that's the golden seal of approval that just because you think there might, reservations, you're, not dealing with a normal mortal here. Believe me, this will work. I built this from scratch. I know these men
They will resist the Japanese on the beaches on December 22nd. Nineteen The one you get a chance to find out whether Macarthur's, right or wrong about that he's wrong and he's wrong quickly. Macarthur is accused here by critics of re, king sluggishly to the initial japanese moves, and I think that's true, but on the other hand, let's look at the japanese side of this two part of it is that they are doing things at warp speed and we had mentioned earlier in the melee a story that speed and audacity is something Japanese are using to compensate for some of their deficiencies, and it worked great in Malay. It's part of this early, japanese blitz, we plan, and now it's working well in the Philippines and a completely discombobulated every and this is one of those stories where it's the it of what it is sometimes sometimes if you go into a war story talking about where the troops move in with generals are doing all that stuff sort of illuminates and clarifies the situation, but sometime
does the opposite and you sort of lose the forest for the trees, and this is one of those situations. Part of the reason. Why is the military moves? Don't matter that much, because nothing that the great so just is going to do, is going to change the outcome. It's not a question of well. If you'd only moved your night and Paul over here I mean he never you're not going to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat here. This is a foregone conclusion, because these most of these philippine units cannot fight the Japanese. They wouldn't probably be able to fight them equal terms, but they were in an extremely disadvantaged situation as we said that the American AIR Force, which is really the Army AIR Force has, for all intents and purposes in this part of the Philippines, by this time cease to exist, and these troops. These green to have almost certainly never heard a shot fired in anger are being bombed in
straight from the air they're being pounded with artillery the Japanese have tanks, they have offshore naval guns. This is a slaughter, so this is a plan that was doomed already and the Japanese push inland so that that you don't realize unless you look at a timeline when a up to events, how quickly it's happening, I mean we in the United States celebrate the heroism of the philippine units. Wainwright's forces the 26th regiment, which is the Philippine Scouts and american forces in slowing the japanese down and his heroic. It mean the stuff that's done. This is some of the Alamo type moments. Two kinds of military history at the tryouts, where you're marching through the enemy's city victoriously and it's all great and advancing offensives and smashing the enemy and that's great. And then you have the Alamo he's these wonder: Thermopylae the wonderful defeats that you celebrate. Maybe in the United States and the Filipinos we celebrate these delaying actions, but when you actually
the timeline and their heroic as heck. But but they didn't delay them very long. I mean by the either the afternoon of the 23rd and remember it's the morning of the twenty second, that the big invasion happens so a day and a half later General Wainwright is asking for permission to retreat to the to to a defense line. I mean they're already saying we're done, and more power. To him I mean he's commanding the 26th regiment, the Filipino scouts, which, by the way, are who, cavalry yes, horses, men on horses in the jungle, it's awesome they're getting decimated him, he said that this whole time period began in era and I'm loosely quoting here from memory of killing Japs being killed and pulling back, and he learns in is exquisitely good at keeping the Japanese chasing him and then setting up as if he's going to The battle making the Japanese stopped set up for a whole set piece battle which takes hours and everything gets everything in place and then pulling back. So it's wonderful
our actions, and it serves a great purpose. These people are all dying during these rearguard actions in these leapfrog backwards actions. For time and the reason we said, it's 'cause everything's happening so quickly, the Japanese will be speeding on their way on the roads towards Manila within forty eight hours. They have also landed on the other side of Manila, with seven to eight thousand guys Macarthur, who knew the amphibious. We're going to come somewhere after all, Malaya was seeing that in spades maybe wasn't expecting it quite here 'cause. This move now is going to catch a Manila Pincer movement and close. It in a ring and threatened to cut Macarthur's forces into pieces so that they can defeated one by one, so Macarthur has to do something drastic, his plan is failing. So he changes. The plan within forty. Eight hours make
there's new plan is one of the older plans. This call war plan Orange three w three and it's. The sort of planet Macarthur would have called defeatist. In fact, he did call it defeatist, but now that his troops were being defeated, it didn't sound so bad to retreat to the Bataan Peninsula and hunker down there for a seat. Except, of course, that none of the things that you would have had in place there had this been the and the whole time or in place there anymore 'cause. It hasn't been the plan for months. The troops that might have been in position to easily retreat to Bhutan Tanner, now spread out all over the island, some of them a hundred and forty hundred and fifty miles away the stuff that should have been stockpiled, the ten to feed. The wounds and disease of and supply the weapon Four of all these troops- that's not in Bhutan, either. Most of that's been captured by the Japanese as they
overrun the supply depots there's this horrible heartbreaking moment. If you know this story act, I like to think it's like, twisting the knife in a wound that hasn't been made yet where the Japanese will burn rice pyramids of rice they'll, capture, tens of millions of bushels of rice that will soon desperately needed by all these allied forces, and it's rice, of course, that would have been in the TAN had war plan orange the new plan been, in effect the whole time so Macarthur critics have a field day with that one at the same time, when the initial plan fails, you have to do something. Don't you don't want to stick with the other plan there's going to be this chaotic move now for all of these people to get down to Bhutan before the siege starts there. Essentially it's going to be the only place So if you want to be on the allied side of things, you need to get down to Bataan and Philippine Army units,
and Us Army units with ton of civilians. Added are going to make their way down to Bhutan as quickly as they can to be safe. The only problem for all of them is the philippine highway system. Time cannot handle that kind of traffic and you have massive traffic jams. Reason. Those are extra hard is General Wainwright in his troops, are literally dying for time to keep the door to put an open a little bit longer so that these people and the supplies that they can salvage and get down to Bhutan can make it down there and they're stuck in a traffic jam. Let's extra awful. In my opinion, And Wainwright, by the way, conducting a heroic leap, frog, rearguard action or he will destroy more than one hundred and eighty bridge is sometimes in heartbreaking situations. Where he's got to make decisions about tr being friendly's on the wrong side. 'cause the Japon
just shown up? He will his way with his troops down to Bataan on the twenty fixed by the way December. Twenty six, the remember the invasions only on the 22nd, the big invasion amid will be declared an open city. So essentially Arthur and the allies are conceding Manila to the Japanese, which is partly for humanitarian reasons. Cultural reasons you don't you want to hope that the city doesn't get leveled, it's a beautiful, great city, right, it's like Paris. You always want to hope that it doesn't get caught up in vicious street. Fighting that destroys the cultural heritage all that great city. At the same time, the japanese sort of misread this Macarthur catches a break here of the japanese sword. I think this means they one kind of they sort of slow down before they scored the touchdown before they reached the end zone and it gives Macarthur and and the allied troops a little extra chance to get away down to Bhutan. Well,
I was a kid learning history growing up and it shows you how much your national lens can influence. How you see things that was all kind of thought that this was a kind of a mini victory. This part here for the United States and the Teams right we got away how can get us. It's like a mini Dunkirk right. The Japanese failed. Destroy as we get across blow the last bridges to Bhutan, ten, fifteen thousand Americans sixty five thousand filipino troops, twenty to twenty. One thousand refugees are sitting there in Bhutan. Flipping off the japanese haha you missed us was older. I cannot see it more from the japanese viewpoint, I mean who's captured, who here. There's hardly enough food to last, like twenty days for this amount of people in Bhutan, the medical supplies are are dwindling the ammunition, I mean what going do they're holding on by the skin of their teeth and is actually advised by some of his underlings General Homma that you should just leave them there just put up a
and so they can't get away and let starvation in the jungle just do their work. Right. They'll dwindled off till shrivel on the vine. But for reasons that are still not figured out conclusively, because different people can still argue about them. Houma decides that they have to be attacked and destroyed. Frances Pike. Think he's one of the people, thinks the emperor had something to do with it. John told him back in the 1980s thought that harness pride required at all. The other generals are chicken. Everybody else is rear end all over this first phase, the, japanese blitzkrieg everywhere else, he's going to be alone guy in front of the emperor who can't get the job done and right before about to get the job done. He gets his best taken away from him, and this is sort of a key moment in the whole affair, because some historians a tribute everything going the way that they go to the fact that Homma doesn't have the cocky unit of veterans that had spear. Did. This whole assault into the Philippines. Up to now, they get taken
from him for all the right reasons right, because the japanese high command is looking at this whole first phase of the Japanese blitzkrieg and thinking wow this one better than x, Victory can go to your head and you already were susceptible to it. So far things are going so great you're already thinking. Let's move up the timetable on phase two, which is just what they do so they're going make this unit away from home am more quickly than they'd expected. But you shouldn't miss it right. I mean the Japanese walk in the open city of Manila, which was bombed anyway on January. Second, I think it is and pulled on the U S flag and stop on in the poor. Filipino people get to find out what life is going to be like under the EAST Asia, CO, prosperity sphere. Here the rules. But to the japanese high command. That unit looks like you know you can afford to part with it. Now will replace it with a bunch of guys you've been doing garrison duty on Formosa. One of the officers quoted in one of my books said that they were in no way shape or form ready for combat bunch of older guys. I can
each of them they seem like the kind of guys who would be much happier. A directing forgetting not too busy intersection in an exotic, recently captured japanese city like Manila and maybe sampling the nightlife from time to time. Instead, they are going to face the bid nearest, combat the bitterest, sustained combat that the Japanese have gotten since Pearl Harbor, and they are not expecting this and this poor unit that certainly wasn't ready for is going to take it on the chin and that's going to happen when the battle of Bataan opens. Let me set that up a little for you, though, because after all, rear guard actions and all these preliminary lines- the General Wainwright Headset and that had gotten turned or infiltrated or whatever fine Any of the allied forces are at Bataan waiting, in two battle lines for the enemy. The first battle line is across the
Could the insula there's another one across the neck of the peninsula several miles behind it? So if the first one breaks you have another one to retreat to, the first line is the one we referred to earlier, the one that has the four thousand two hundred foot extinct volcano in the center of it. And it's more than that, it's the crags and the rocks in the cliffs and the ravines and the heavy heavy undergrowth of jungle at the foot of this mount, really that makes it seem to General Wayne right to, I think it is, is laying out the troop dispositions here. Then it's just impossible that you don't have to worry about troops going through their kiss troops can't get through there. So, instead of laying out his troops in an unbroken line across the whole neck of the peninsula. You know where they can have one flank guarded by the sea on one side and the other flying guarded by the sea? In the other side, he decides that he could get away with just a few patrols around the mountain area.
And instead of having the unbroken line he'll, have two groups of troops one. On the east side of this mountain slash volcano one on the west side of the mountain, Slash volcano, each of them about twenty to twenty five thousand men thrown Together in sort of an ad hoc formation that happens once you've had a defeat and everybody's trying to reorganize and get their act together, to resist the next. You know, punch for the Japanese arrived, there were consultations, I think even Mccoy Their weight in where they best Wainwright. Are you sure you don't want to put troops up in front of the the mountain there in case in Wayne Right set of two or the thing no one can get through there. This is sort of the fatal mistake of for those who are aficionados of this battle, but that doesn't preclude the heavy fighting. That's going to happen, because this will be really the first time since Pearl Harbor, that any allied forces have really had a chance to stop breathe for
Even one second, which is only one second and d again for minute, I'm on a wide front, be ready. For this I mean it's far optimal. The air is still in Japanese and I mean still a million disadvantages, but about half as many as normal so far in this campaign in ask the british forces in Malaya right all in in the case on January, ninth, that poor force of Garris Troops from Formosa starts approaching almost lined up like bowling pins and as they Do the american artillery opens up and begins to teach the Japanese what it's going to be like when you have Americans and big guns they just handle them. Well an have for a very long time. People are sometimes surprised by american artillery and I go. Why would you be surprised about Americans? You know handling big guns with some sort of elegance. The british, though, do it very well in this war, as do the Germans, it so
cyantific at this point that the farther ahead, your science is generally the better your artillery is. An american artillery will give great service in every front the United States fights on in the Pacific. It will take a horrific toll on the Japanese and this poor unit of garrison troops who were just hoping for a nice cushy stationing in Manila, get torn to ribbons by american artillery, and they will throw themselves against this prepared line, and you will have what historian Eric Berger recalls the most vicious Light Infantry war ever readout between industrialized nations, and by that he means this is now
like the wars in Europe with the field, marshals and generals will command thousands of vehicles and people across huge wide strokes, swaths of territory with their job is to focus the amazing killing power of modern states. In in, in specific break point to me, it's it's. It's a great science that you carry out on battlefields to look more like golf courses, because these battlefields look any But like that, in most of this theater and the terrain inhibits everything, this is a war that is not fun mainly by field marshals and generals, burger. It points out by captains, lieutenants and sergeants with bayonets and sub. In guns, where you don't see the enemy, sometimes until they're right on top of you and you will see it in the battle of Bataan and over again, because the japanese infiltrators are nightmarish, They are so bad that they will actually super Why is General Wainwright who, as we
amongst all the american generals, is the guy, with the most experience so far, fighting the Japanese and he's the one. That said, don't worry about the middle there. No one can get through there. Now, as we said earlier, this is the point where it doesn't do a whole lot of good to talk about thrusts and parries and and sensors in counter attacks, because it just becomes confusing this Small scale, jungle, warfare, and, if you snapshot of any sector at any given time, you could, one side on the attack. One side on the counter attack another side on the defensive. One thing start. To see, though, is that the Japanese, get lessons and what it's like fighting Americans, but Americans and Filipinos begin to get the real hard lessons of what it's like fighting the Japanese and it is a unique experience that soldiers on other fronts do not get with. The Japanese is like we said earlier It's the old Shakespeare line, just turned in a room in they're like everyone else. Only more so everything else Japanese, do here that we're going to talk about You can find examples of them doing elsewhere and other people doing on other fronts in in other theaters, there are
isolated example, the Japanese will just do this stuff, sometimes as a matter of course. For example IRA for a story specifically were on the eastern front, the Russians charge across a wide front with bayonets. You know all yelling a deep throated yell. At the same time, I think it was like across the snow- and it's amazing right. You think who does that well in the eastern front, it was rare on the western front, it almost never happened in the Pacific, it happened all the time There was a name for them. The american soldiers called in bonsai charges and for the first time the war. The Americans get to see what those are like they are somewhat unnerving even for the side that is just mowing these people down by the way. There are photos that do exist. They are not pretty of the aftermath of some of these bonds side charges. It is what Eric Berger had said that we quoted earlier, where it is almost like. A form of political murder carried out on the japanese troops by their officers, because you could.
Boost and suicidal charges, which is what the Bonzy charges are suicidal charges into the teeth of. Modern combat. You could understand they achieve something practical or a value, but they almost never did. One of the first people to witness at least in american uniform of these bonds. I charges is quoted in Bill Sloan's book undefeated. He the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Philip FRY, and he one of these attacks on January tenth, which is the same day that Macarthur was touring the battleground we mentioned earlier. You know standing up when the planes were dropping bombs nearby. And US loan quotes fry is describing this first banzai charge. He witnessed quote it. Slaughter, all of are guns had been carefully cited for mutual support and the jobs were by terrific fire, both frontal and flank,
Even now, I can't understand why the Japs launched an attack of this kind against modern weapons. My only. Explanation is that they hadn't faced train troops before and thought of no noise were made. The opposition would simply fade away the attack smashed before it got underway and quote Sloan then adds quote in future pacific battles on other islands. Many US field commanders would be as puzzled as fry by such suicidal tactics. End quote some. Goes on to point out what we had talked about earlier, that it is. It is a weird the nation of something that is very old and very japanese. That is then bid more often corrupted and re imagined and propagandized by a modern twentieth century regime to create this hybrid sort of thing.
Where these japanese soldiers think that they have to go die when they're commanded to do this, and these japanese officers somehow think there's value in having them do it. By the way that same source later in the work talks about the firepower of a? U battalion, is simply talking about the rifle fire, here alone of hundreds of men, and he says it was beyond the powers of his description. So now imagine the battalion, with all its machine and mortars, twenty millimeter or two hundred and thirty, seven millimeter or two and now think about those bonds. I attacks well. You've got men in close order yeah. Playing and charging in the open with fixed bayonets. Again I mean it's unnerving for the people who have to kill them and is Eric Berger it. It said this is not something you could have western forces reliably do regularly. It reliably regularly regularly reliably. You might get him to do it once
So these bonds are charges, though, are part of what is convincing. All the allied troops that they're up against a crazy fanatics. Here I mean I remember my step: does it they just crazy and that changes the way you see them and it's very easy to depersonalise somebody when just write them right. In other words, this is not a thinking feeling normal human being that I can associate with or relate to. This is a crazy person. But in a way I mean if this were a war game and we weren't talking about human beings, and you were talking about cool things you get. If you were the japanese player, I mean the Japanese had this psychological I'm going for them. I mean I wouldn't want to lose a lot of people in fruitless charges in order to create that sort of mystique, but it was a mystique and they maximized it in a bunch of different ways of