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Here’s my movie review of Midway in Taki’s Magazine:

‘Midway’: Effective Bang-Bang-Boom-Boom
Steve Sailer

December 04, 2019

Midway is a surprisingly accurate and competent WWII movie about the most thrilling naval battle in American history. While only 38 percent of film critics gave the film a thumbs-up, 92 percent of its audience approved. It doesn’t rank with the best films of 2019, but gay German blockbuster director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) and screenwriter Wes Tooke wrestle a huge amount of history into a lucid and moving tale.

While today it seems inappropriate, even racist, that the USA defeated a Nation of Color in the War in the Pacific (1941–1945), Americans used to be hugely proud of our triumph. Up until Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 D-Day movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood may have devoted more attention to the U.S. WWII effort against Japan than against Germany.

The first small-type book for grownups I ever read was in 1967 when I was 8: a paperback history of the U.S.S. Enterprise aircraft carrier in World War II. So I have a lot to say about the Battle of Midway.

Read the whole thing there.

 
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  1. “So I have a lot to say about the Battle of Midway.”

    Mr. Sailer, have you by any chance read The First Team by John Lundstrom? It is a grueling account of Navy fighter pilots over the first 6 months of the war. It has accounts of every SBD lost on launch, every fighter pilot killed and almost every dogfight from the Gilberts and Marshalls, Lae and Salamaua, Coral Sea up to Midway. And it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

    I would only pick one nit with your review-Spruance was not in command for most of the battle. VADM Frank Jack Fletcher, at that point the most experienced carrier admiral from the US (and also a “black shoe”) led until he was tactically unable to command when Yorktown was hit. He also had the bad luck to run afoul of intraservice politics and was chastised (unfairly, in my view) by Morison.

    Also, good reading on Midway is Shattered Sword, giving the battle from a kido butai perspective.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right.

    The Navy command structure at Midway went Nimitz in charge of the whole Pacific, then Fletcher in charge of all 3 carriers at Midway, then Spruance in charge of the 2 carrier Task Force 16 (replacing Halsey who had shingles), then Browning captain of the Enterprise that Spruance was on.

    You can see why the filmmakers decided to simplify things and just have Nimitz (Woody Harrelson) do most of the admiral stuff, with Halsey (Dennis Quaid) in the first half of the movie. They mostly left out Spruance, Fletcher, and Browning.

  2. Anon[232] • Disclaimer says:

    Midway was great.

    By contrast, I was disappointed at how bad Once Upon A Time in Hollywood was, especially given the hype and rave reviews it got, including from Steve and the commenters here. The only good thing about the movie was the big cars, the driving around, and the incessant smoking. I’m sure the driving around LA was especially poignant for Steve, since it’s set in Steve’s childhood years, and would have been very nostalgic, but that wasn’t enough to save the movie.

    There was basically no plot or point to the movie, and the whole Manson family subplot seemed like it was tacked on as an afterthought just as an excuse for what happens during the bloody climax.

    You already know what happens in Midway and it was much better.

    Midway was great, and The Irishman was good. I have no idea how Once Upon A Time in Hollywood got good reviews.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    The movie was weak on plot but it was off the charts on capturing the atmosphere of the time and that is something. The plot of Tarantino movies rarely makes any sense but he is so good on a scene by scene basis that you forgive him. The one thing that I didn't like is that it made Sharon Tate out to be some sort of empty headed idiot.

    Casting the short NY Italian De Niro as the giant sized Philly Irishman Sheeran made no sense. Nor did it capture Sheeran's essence, which was that of a big Irish drunk. Nor did Pacino make a particularly convincing Hoffa. Doesn't Scorsese know any actors who are not Italian?
    , @Citizen of a Silly Country
    Tried to watch The Irishman, but, sorry, it was so, well, Boomer Porn. (I'm not a Boomer basher, btw.) It's obviously for a certain demographic - and that's fine. However, it wasn't a story; it was a more like a reunion.

    I can read books or watch movies from various ages and enjoy them. They don't demand that you were born at certain time. The Irishman isn't one of them. It's for Boomers and no one else. Maybe if I was born between 1945 and 1960, I could relate, but I wasn't.

    Watching it reminded me that the old United States is dying, but Boomers will never face that fact. They'll go to their graves remembering a 90% America and never apologizing for letting that go.
    , @Ian M.

    I was disappointed at how bad Once Upon A Time in Hollywood was, especially given the hype and rave reviews it got, including from Steve and the commenters here. The only good thing about the movie was the big cars, the driving around, and the incessant smoking.
     
    I agree. I found it long, boring, and tedious, especially the whole movie-within-a-movie part, which seemed to drag on forever.

    The one scene I did really like was the scene at the Spahn Ranch, culminating in Pitt's character punching the hippie.

    I did see Ford v Ferrari recently. I enjoyed that.
  3. Good review, I quite fancy seeing this now (if they show it in Blighty)

    >>To this day, nobody knows what the Japanese would have done if they had won at Midway: perhaps raid the West Coast or try to seize Hawaii and take the wives and children of the American servicemen as hostages. (The Japanese military had a track record of doing whatever would make the rest of the world hate them the most.)

    The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.<<

    My guess would be they'd try to take Hawaii as a base for further operations. There might be some raiding of the US West Coast, and maybe attempts at invading Alaska. Eventually the USA would have had enough carriers to win a Midway-style battle and then the war would have swung against Japan. The US would probably have prioritised carriers over nukes since they are of limited use in a carrier war, but I can imagine seeing atomic bombs being used to scatter Japanese carrier fleets. Japan would have tried to deploy its own nukes using Nazi technology, but probably not be able to make any in time to avoid defeat.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The American A-bomb project was hugely expensive. It replied upon giant hydroelectric dams that had only gone up in the last few years in the Tennessee Valley and the Columbia River. I dunno if anybody else had the resources and the peaceful homefront to do anything like this.
    , @Colin Wright
    'The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.'

    Midway was an epic victory, but US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war. It would have ended no later than 1946. After 1943, Japan simply was no longer in our league. It was like your basic small-college team suiting up against the Super Bowl champions. We started crossing all that open ocean, got within B-29 range, and put an end to it.

    What could Japan have done to slow that? She wasn't going to be able to seize the Hawaiian Islands -- not in the second half of 1942. Conquering Australia was out of the question. About all she could have done was to delay our march back across the Pacific by a few more months than she did.

    Japan, essentially, was simply not a fully modern state in the nineteen forties. She couldn't run with the big dogs, and got very badly burnt when she tried. There was a Japanese army major who visited Germany in 1940. Germany was hardly an industrial behemoth, but what that major saw sobered him up. He went back to Japan and tried to tell his superiors, 'we're not ready for this. We can't play in this league.'

    They wouldn't listen.

    , @Menschmaschine
    While less glamorous than aircraft carriers, I would argue that submarines were a more important factor: A key strategic error of the Japanese naval leadership was to employ their submarine fleet against warships instead of trade vessels. This essentially wasted them, since warships then were way faster than submarines and so the likelihood to get into position for a shot was small. This only did change with a new generation of subs with much improved underwater speed under development in Germany and Japan, but they were not ready until right at the end of the war.

    The Japanese could have slaughtered the allied supply lines which would also have impacted the European theater - a large part of the supplies for the British forces in North Africa and for the Soviet Union were delivered via the Indian Ocean.
    , @RAZ
    Agree overwhelming industrial superiority would've eventually turned the tide. If US sentiment held out. Japan maybe hoping victory at Midway and other early victories would be enough to turn popular sentiment towards a negotiated settlement.

    Speaking of Alaska - I never understood the significance of Japan attacking/invading the Aleutians. Even if they occupied it. Was there some geographical significance to this far off northern place not near anything else? Maybe someone can explain.



    "The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs."
  4. @I Have Scinde
    "So I have a lot to say about the Battle of Midway."

    Mr. Sailer, have you by any chance read The First Team by John Lundstrom? It is a grueling account of Navy fighter pilots over the first 6 months of the war. It has accounts of every SBD lost on launch, every fighter pilot killed and almost every dogfight from the Gilberts and Marshalls, Lae and Salamaua, Coral Sea up to Midway. And it's one of the best books I've ever read.

    I would only pick one nit with your review-Spruance was not in command for most of the battle. VADM Frank Jack Fletcher, at that point the most experienced carrier admiral from the US (and also a "black shoe") led until he was tactically unable to command when Yorktown was hit. He also had the bad luck to run afoul of intraservice politics and was chastised (unfairly, in my view) by Morison.

    Also, good reading on Midway is Shattered Sword, giving the battle from a kido butai perspective.

    Right.

    The Navy command structure at Midway went Nimitz in charge of the whole Pacific, then Fletcher in charge of all 3 carriers at Midway, then Spruance in charge of the 2 carrier Task Force 16 (replacing Halsey who had shingles), then Browning captain of the Enterprise that Spruance was on.

    You can see why the filmmakers decided to simplify things and just have Nimitz (Woody Harrelson) do most of the admiral stuff, with Halsey (Dennis Quaid) in the first half of the movie. They mostly left out Spruance, Fletcher, and Browning.

  5. Steve, there’s a genius poster from RRTI who suddenly up and ragequit last Sunday when an Alaskan Ulster so called “irishman” suddenly attacked the one true holy catholic and apostolic Church’s magisterium, specifically with regard celibacy and the priesthood.

    Just wanna say: Limestone John, if you’re out there at a second hand record store, eating fast food, alone in The Smiths’ aisles, I’ll always remember you for not only RRTI twitter but most especially your music

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2490&v=Hy5SThZC19A

    Come home, brother. (btw, John would have totally loved Midway, you never mentioned if it has any Idols?)

  6. I just can’t get behind those computer-generated aircraft. It may be more difficult and more expensive, but actual aircraft are perfectly possible and a lot more convincing: The Blue Max, Tora Tora Tora, Piece of Cake, Memphis Belle.

    • Agree: Dtbb, Old Prude, Ian M.
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    I just can’t get behind those computer-generated aircraft. It may be more difficult and more expensive, but actual aircraft are perfectly possible and a lot more convincing: The Blue Max, Tora Tora Tora, Piece of Cake, Memphis Belle.
     
    I agree. CGI-movies just look like video games to me, not movies. And the crazy way they shove all the planes (or all the ships, or all the tanks, or whatever) right up against each other in close order drill, arranging modern mechanized formations as if they were the phalanxes of Alexander, is ridiculous.
    , @Jack D
    As the years go on, it becomes more and more difficult to muster a convincing number of flyable warbirds. Even in Tora Tora Tora the Zeroes were not really Zeroes but Texans dressed up as Zeroes.

    These planes are now 75+ years old and are irreplaceable. Even flying them for joy rides is questionable and putting them thru combat stunts is criminal. The recent Collings Foundation B-17 crash not only destroyed the aircraft but took 7 lives for the sake of a joy ride. The plane was as well maintained as any 75 year old highly complex machine could be, the pilots were highly experienced and yet it still crashed. In the war, even putting aside all the combat losses, these things crashed by the dozens - they were just not very safe or reliable. Pilot error, mechanical failure, weather, whatever. The planes were built by the thousands, people were dying all around anyway, so one more plane crash was no big deal. But now we are in a different situation.

    You don't want these planes to be museum pieces but I'm not sure they should be flying for fun anymore either. Maybe take them out and taxi them around once in a while or fly them once a year on important anniversaries, but every time you take one of them up you are risking not only lives but the destruction of cultural treasures.

  7. While only 38 percent of film critics gave the film a thumbs-up, 92 percent of its audience approved.

    That alone is reason enough.

  8. • Replies: @Paul Jolliffe
    Reg,

    I've now seen the movie twice. No, Richard Fleming does not make an appearance. There is an authentic scene of a flaming B-26 damn near crashing into the bridge of the Akagi, which would have killed Admiral Nagumo. Wikipedia says that caused Nagumo to violate Yamamoto's orders to keep his reserves ready for another attack and instead caused Nagumo to order another attack on Midway itself, which of course, proved fatal.

    For all those who are complaining about the CGI effects, well consider this: how else could director Emmerich have shown the absolute stones of steel needed to make a bomb run in a Dauntless dive bomber?

    The movie shows the dives from Dick Best's perspective, and it is terrifying.

    I doubt any readers here have ever seen anything like that: a vertical drop from several thousand feet up, straight into the teeth of hellish ominpresent anti-aircraft fire in which the entire plane would disintegrate in a second.

    To me, Steve could have underscored just how brave the crews of those planes really were.

    A handful of American heroes turned the tied of the war in the Pacific because they possessed the level of courage that Homer would have immortalized . . .
    , @Anonymous
    WWII narrative is one of those national myths that will have to be fully evaluated, but as long the WWII generation is alive, it's understandable why the Narrative has preferred the 'legend'.
    Same with Soviets. As long as veterans of the war are alive, better to talk of heroism than the Soviet's share of war crimes and the like.

    Historians can discuss the truth academically, but the Grand Narrative must pay respect to the last of the national heroes.
  9. @Simon in London
    Good review, I quite fancy seeing this now (if they show it in Blighty)

    >>To this day, nobody knows what the Japanese would have done if they had won at Midway: perhaps raid the West Coast or try to seize Hawaii and take the wives and children of the American servicemen as hostages. (The Japanese military had a track record of doing whatever would make the rest of the world hate them the most.)

    The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.<<

    My guess would be they'd try to take Hawaii as a base for further operations. There might be some raiding of the US West Coast, and maybe attempts at invading Alaska. Eventually the USA would have had enough carriers to win a Midway-style battle and then the war would have swung against Japan. The US would probably have prioritised carriers over nukes since they are of limited use in a carrier war, but I can imagine seeing atomic bombs being used to scatter Japanese carrier fleets. Japan would have tried to deploy its own nukes using Nazi technology, but probably not be able to make any in time to avoid defeat.

    The American A-bomb project was hugely expensive. It replied upon giant hydroelectric dams that had only gone up in the last few years in the Tennessee Valley and the Columbia River. I dunno if anybody else had the resources and the peaceful homefront to do anything like this.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    'The American A-bomb project was hugely expensive. It replied upon giant hydroelectric dams that had only gone up in the last few years in the Tennessee Valley and the Columbia River. I dunno if anybody else had the resources and the peaceful homefront to do anything like this.'

    Exactly. Japan definitely couldn't have done it. Germany or Britain, likely could have, given leisure -- but not Japan.

    Even Russia -- with time, and with the plans -- had massive problems. For example, they had no way of refining graphite of the necessary purity for the reactor controlling rods. They had to develop that technology first.

    So, for them -- with the instruction manual and the certainty this thing will work -- 1949. For Japan?

    1955? Maybe -- if there's no war at all, but Japan somehow knows she has to sink her all into this project.
    , @Anonymous
    The Germans apparently were working on a less expensive, though cruder way to produce fissionable material today remembered as "The Nazi Bell". For decades cranks have promoted the idea that it was some sort of time machine, antigravity device, or method to communicate with aliens. Apparently the Allies really did almost certainly resort to skullduggery and outright assassination to "suppress the secrets" it entailed. They probably did this not to control time travel or antigravity, but because they figured that it would if perfected make it a lot easier for third world countries and nonstate actors to produce fissionable material, albeit of lower quality or more dangerously or more slowly than the accepted gaseous diffusion or centrifugal methods in use by the major players. It's possible that all the "woo-woo" theories were actually promulgated by US and/or British counterintelligence to deflect attention from the device's real purpose.

    The Manhattan Project was enormously expensive and tied up a great deal of manufacturing resources, and to have duplicated it exactly would have been beyond the wartime capacity of any other nation. If Germany had had a few more years of peace and quiet and actually had been motivated to do it, though, they might well have done it. Certainly, if the Germans today made the decision to become a nuclear power they could do it in a fairly short time, as could the Japanese, the Swedes, the Swiss, even the Italians.
    , @Pickle Rick
    Powers argued pretty much the same thing with the addition that Werner Heisenberg told the Nazi bigwigs in a meeting in 1940 that he couldn’t make a bomb before 1946. Thus, they never prioritized anything but a modest research effort dwarfed by the Manhattan Project, because the German war economy was always operating on the principle of blitzkreig. They never planned for a war of attrition. In fact, the most interest in nuclear fission came from the navy (to power U-boats) in the future Reich of the 1950s.
    Heisenberg didn’t want to make a bomb, whereas Oppenheimer desperately did. The motivation each had is a different story. https://www.amazon.com/Heisenbergs-War-Secret-History-German/dp/0306810115
    , @Menschmaschine
    The giant amounts of electricity were only necessary because the US used highly inefficient calutrons and gaseous diffusion for uranium enrichment. After the war german prisoners designed much more efficient centrifuges for the soviet nuclear program (Less than 5 percent of the energy needed compared to gaseous diffusion). Centrifuges had also been tested in the Manhattan program, but the designers were not able to come up with suitable engineering solutions and so centrifuges were abandoned as unworkable.
    , @Almost Missouri
    I was surprised to hear* that Germany's V1 and V2 programs were 50% more expensive than the Manhattan Project. Which implies that had Hitler focused on nukes rather than strategically useless but whizz-bangy V-weapons, Germany could have had them.

    *Maybe from Victor Davis Hanson's The Second World Wars?
  10. @Simon in London
    Good review, I quite fancy seeing this now (if they show it in Blighty)

    >>To this day, nobody knows what the Japanese would have done if they had won at Midway: perhaps raid the West Coast or try to seize Hawaii and take the wives and children of the American servicemen as hostages. (The Japanese military had a track record of doing whatever would make the rest of the world hate them the most.)

    The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.<<

    My guess would be they'd try to take Hawaii as a base for further operations. There might be some raiding of the US West Coast, and maybe attempts at invading Alaska. Eventually the USA would have had enough carriers to win a Midway-style battle and then the war would have swung against Japan. The US would probably have prioritised carriers over nukes since they are of limited use in a carrier war, but I can imagine seeing atomic bombs being used to scatter Japanese carrier fleets. Japan would have tried to deploy its own nukes using Nazi technology, but probably not be able to make any in time to avoid defeat.

    ‘The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.’

    Midway was an epic victory, but US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war. It would have ended no later than 1946. After 1943, Japan simply was no longer in our league. It was like your basic small-college team suiting up against the Super Bowl champions. We started crossing all that open ocean, got within B-29 range, and put an end to it.

    What could Japan have done to slow that? She wasn’t going to be able to seize the Hawaiian Islands — not in the second half of 1942. Conquering Australia was out of the question. About all she could have done was to delay our march back across the Pacific by a few more months than she did.

    Japan, essentially, was simply not a fully modern state in the nineteen forties. She couldn’t run with the big dogs, and got very badly burnt when she tried. There was a Japanese army major who visited Germany in 1940. Germany was hardly an industrial behemoth, but what that major saw sobered him up. He went back to Japan and tried to tell his superiors, ‘we’re not ready for this. We can’t play in this league.’

    They wouldn’t listen.

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian, AaronB
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The Japanese didn't have any depth. They terrified everybody in 1941-42 with a strike force of 6 carriers that could range over one third of the globe. But when they lost ~250 pilots and 3000 of their bet sailors at Midway, they never really were able to replace them.

    Their training process was not much good.

    I'm wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

    , @Anonymous
    Actually, the Germans in 1940 were an industrial behemoth as compared to any other nation besides the United States. And in advanced precision manufacturing they were ahead of us in many ways. We could not manufacture a camera as good as a Rolleiflex, a Leica or a Contax, optically or mechanically. And the Junkers Jumo opposed piston diesel aircraft engines are still paragons of efficiency and reliability, they were even more efficient than the turbocompound Wright R-3350 radials in the Constellation and a lot less maintenance intensive.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?
    , @CAL2
    It is not simply about having superior technology and numbers. The Japanese were on the brink of losing to the Russians in Russo-Japanese War. However, their naval victories made the cost too high for the Russians. It forced them to the negotiating table. The Japanese were going for the same formula with the US. If the Japanese had gambled and taken Hawaii, it might have been enough to force negotiations.
    , @Mr. Anon
    The only war plan that Japan could have carried out that would have led to victory would been to have coordinated their efforts with Germany, and attacked the Soviet Union out of Manchuria in 1941, instead of attacking the U.S. If they had knocked the Soviet Union out of the war (and together Germany and Japan very likely could have), the axis powers might have won, or been able to conclude a peace.
    , @The Cruncher

    US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war.

     

    "Why Japan had NO Chance in WW2", a display of comparative ship production over time:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9ag2x3CS9M
    , @MBlanc46
    Nicely put, Colin. Anyone with any serious knowledge of the war in the Pacific understands that it was only a matter of time. The individual Jap soldier was a crafty and completely dedicated fighter who could accomplish a lot with minimal resources, but the Jap nation was simply no match for the resources and technology of the US. The only chance they had is if the US had decided not to fight. Unlikely in general; impossible after Pearl Harbor
  11. @Colin Wright
    'The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.'

    Midway was an epic victory, but US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war. It would have ended no later than 1946. After 1943, Japan simply was no longer in our league. It was like your basic small-college team suiting up against the Super Bowl champions. We started crossing all that open ocean, got within B-29 range, and put an end to it.

    What could Japan have done to slow that? She wasn't going to be able to seize the Hawaiian Islands -- not in the second half of 1942. Conquering Australia was out of the question. About all she could have done was to delay our march back across the Pacific by a few more months than she did.

    Japan, essentially, was simply not a fully modern state in the nineteen forties. She couldn't run with the big dogs, and got very badly burnt when she tried. There was a Japanese army major who visited Germany in 1940. Germany was hardly an industrial behemoth, but what that major saw sobered him up. He went back to Japan and tried to tell his superiors, 'we're not ready for this. We can't play in this league.'

    They wouldn't listen.

    The Japanese didn’t have any depth. They terrified everybody in 1941-42 with a strike force of 6 carriers that could range over one third of the globe. But when they lost ~250 pilots and 3000 of their bet sailors at Midway, they never really were able to replace them.

    Their training process was not much good.

    I’m wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    I’m wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

     

    From Wikipedia:

    Between 1925 and 1936, the United States Big Three automakers' Japanese subsidiaries produced a total of 208,967 vehicles, compared to the domestic producers total of 12,127 vehicles
     
    By contrast, automobile production in the United States in those years sometimes exceeded 2 million cars annually, and fell as low as 900,000 for only a single year, 1932, the worst year of the Depression.

    We sometimes overlook the fact that America has been much bigger than most other industrial economies for a really long time, ever since total steel production in the US exceeded that of Great Britain in the 1880s.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_Japan#Timeline_of_the_Japanese_car_industry

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Automobile_Production_Figures

    , @james wilson
    As German prisoners of war were transported from Norfolk to camps in Colorado, winding through Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the industrial mid-west, excepting true believers Germans to the man now knew the war was over.
    , @HammerJack

    The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.
     
    Heck of an insight, and quite telling.

    Those were the days.
    , @Colin Wright
    Two minds working as one.

    Japan had developed a fairly impressive first-line military -- but with sharply limited industrial, technological, and even cultural resources behind it.

    Japan just wasn't a modern state -- not all the way through. Impoverished farmers still sold their daughters to be geisha. Compared to a modern state, the mentality in some ways was still virtually feudal. For example, the rivalry between the army and the navy was so extreme that right through the war, navy freighters would sail loaded from a to b then return empty to a while army freighters would sail empty from a to b and then return loaded to a -- this in a nation facing an acute shortage of shipping.

    And when you read about their military tactics...

    They were fine if they could overwhelm or outflank their opponents. But even as early as the East Indies campaign, if they faced determined troops in good positions they would promptly suffer appalling losses. My take on it is that they hadn't gone through the First World War, and fought accordingly. It was the French trying to carry out Plan 17, or the Germans in the Kindermord. Look at the fights on Guadalcanal. They simply had no ability to handle first-class, first-world troops. The Guadalcanal episode in that series The Pacific is dead on. That's what happened.
    , @craig h
    Alan D. Zimm, in Attack on Pearl Harbor: Strategy, Combat, Myths Deceptions writes that new Zero fighters were towed BY OXEN from the factory to the airfield .

    Then again, the Wehrmacht was a largely horse drawn army in 1940 .
    , @Antonius
    The axis did not seem to rotate there best pilots. This was evidenced by the German pilots aces cricket score tallies of downed aircraft, compared the relatively subdued allied tallies. Despite the increases in fighter production the critical loss of experience fighter pilots (due probably to non-rotation of pilots) led to critical losses in the Marianas and a loss of air superiority over Europe for the Luftwaffe. Then apart from the industrial might of the US one has to look at oil reserves, the axis oil reserves were woefully inadequate for giving pilots the adequate amount of flight time.
  12. @Steve Sailer
    The American A-bomb project was hugely expensive. It replied upon giant hydroelectric dams that had only gone up in the last few years in the Tennessee Valley and the Columbia River. I dunno if anybody else had the resources and the peaceful homefront to do anything like this.

    ‘The American A-bomb project was hugely expensive. It replied upon giant hydroelectric dams that had only gone up in the last few years in the Tennessee Valley and the Columbia River. I dunno if anybody else had the resources and the peaceful homefront to do anything like this.’

    Exactly. Japan definitely couldn’t have done it. Germany or Britain, likely could have, given leisure — but not Japan.

    Even Russia — with time, and with the plans — had massive problems. For example, they had no way of refining graphite of the necessary purity for the reactor controlling rods. They had to develop that technology first.

    So, for them — with the instruction manual and the certainty this thing will work — 1949. For Japan?

    1955? Maybe — if there’s no war at all, but Japan somehow knows she has to sink her all into this project.

    • Agree: jim jones
    • Replies: @dearieme
    Britain, likely could have, given leisure

    The atom bomb was invented by Leo Szilard on the kerb of Southampton Row in London. That's why the patent for the atom bomb was held by Szilard and the Admiralty.

    The British atom bomb project concluded that Britain couldn't do it quickly enough to be any use. That's why the British repeatedly nagged FDR to start an American project, eventually handing over their own work - a daring thing to do when the US was to be neutral for a while longer. Szilard, acting for himself and for Britain, persuaded Einstein to write his famous letter to FDR. Whether that letter much mattered I don't know. I suspect not: FDR's administration was rather disorganised.

    Anyway, Albert Einstein, British Secret Agent, wot larks! The name's Einshtein, Albert Einshtein!
  13. anon[710] • Disclaimer says:

    My review is based on the supplied trailer.

    The “Tour of Duty” quality graphics, as applied to represent the ships and carriers, are just fake enough to take the viewer out of the movie. The gratuitous plane crashes are video game creations that bear little resemblance to reality, undermining any sense of danger to develop, or empathy for the characters charged to deal with it. The actors seem to be missing the testosterone required for the normal development of men of that age, during the time depicted. Furthermore, genetic miscreants, with large, yet skinny, slightly deformed heads, are no substitute for the battle-worn look of a typical fighter pilot of that era.

    “Midway” is essentially watching someone else play a video game of girly men blowing the hell out of each other for an hour. Buy your favorite version of Tour of Duty, and play it yourself, girly man.

    Thank you for reading my review.

    • Agree: Old Prude
    • Replies: @Old Prude
    I should have read your fine review before I posted my own meager comments.
    , @Paul Jolliffe
    Unlike you, Old Prude, I actually saw the movie.

    Twice.

    There is simply no way to recreate the death-defying dives in a Dauntless without CGI.

    The movie shows the American pilot's perspective: virtually vertical, straight down from 5,000 feet for about 45 seconds into flak that would annihilate an aiplane in an instant.

    Those pilots were beyond brave - they had the kind of guts that the ancient Greeks recognized as god-like.
  14. Up until Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 D-Day movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood may have devoted more attention to the U.S. WWII effort against Japan than against Germany.

    That seems surprising to me, although I’m younger than you. We’re generally less interested in Asia than Europe so far fewer have heard of the Rape of Nanking compared to the Holocaust, its easier to get actors to play Euro-baddies than Japanese, and a lot of the fighting in the Pacific was over islands nobody cares about in a long slog against an outmatched enemy. I think we tend to find armies more interesting than navies as well, although I suppose a more maritime nation like the U.K could see things differently.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    I think we tend to find armies more interesting than navies as well, although I suppose a more maritime nation like the U.K could see things differently.
     
    Dunno. The USA has a pretty impressive maritime history:John Paul Jones, Stephen Decatur, "Old Ironsdes" (AKA The USS Constitution), David Farragut , George Dewey, Clipper ships, ......
    , @William Badwhite

    a lot of the fighting in the Pacific was over islands nobody cares about
     
    One advantage to that is huge amounts of war relics are still there. On a diving trip about 20 years ago I stopped for a day on Betio (sp?) atoll, which is where most of Tarawa was fought. You can wander in and out of the Japanese bunkers, all sorts of vehicles are just sitting there, rusting away.

    The below is not me, just a pic I found online. I have a zillion pics but not in electronic format.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OrTbAu_V-7A/UY8VyQD9TjI/AAAAAAAAASc/blBPtt-wGgI/s1600/Japanese+tank.JPG

    , @J.Ross
    Europe is sad and shared, the Pacific was pretty much just us and (once we got going) as deliriously one-sided as a video game or movie serial. Hollywood instincts point to the Pacific every time.
    , @Ian M.

    I think we tend to find armies more interesting than navies as well...
     
    Although submarine movies tend to be pretty popular, and pretty conducive to the generation of tense dramatic moments.
    , @Steve Sailer
    Naval battles don't kill civilians.
  15. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    The American A-bomb project was hugely expensive. It replied upon giant hydroelectric dams that had only gone up in the last few years in the Tennessee Valley and the Columbia River. I dunno if anybody else had the resources and the peaceful homefront to do anything like this.

    The Germans apparently were working on a less expensive, though cruder way to produce fissionable material today remembered as “The Nazi Bell”. For decades cranks have promoted the idea that it was some sort of time machine, antigravity device, or method to communicate with aliens. Apparently the Allies really did almost certainly resort to skullduggery and outright assassination to “suppress the secrets” it entailed. They probably did this not to control time travel or antigravity, but because they figured that it would if perfected make it a lot easier for third world countries and nonstate actors to produce fissionable material, albeit of lower quality or more dangerously or more slowly than the accepted gaseous diffusion or centrifugal methods in use by the major players. It’s possible that all the “woo-woo” theories were actually promulgated by US and/or British counterintelligence to deflect attention from the device’s real purpose.

    The Manhattan Project was enormously expensive and tied up a great deal of manufacturing resources, and to have duplicated it exactly would have been beyond the wartime capacity of any other nation. If Germany had had a few more years of peace and quiet and actually had been motivated to do it, though, they might well have done it. Certainly, if the Germans today made the decision to become a nuclear power they could do it in a fairly short time, as could the Japanese, the Swedes, the Swiss, even the Italians.

    • Replies: @Simon in London
    I remember reading about a Nazi U boat at the end of WW2 trying to get their nuclear stuff to Japan. They certainly seemed to think it conceivable Japan could make nukes.
    , @Pericles
    Sweden had a nuclear weapons program after WW2, but apparently decided it wasn't worth it (ended in 1966). There were a number of obstacles at the time, but strategically that decision seems like a mistake.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_nuclear_weapons_program

    , @gcochran
    The US spent about 300 billion on WWII, 2 billion on the Manhattan project.
    , @JMcG
    The B29 program cost 3 billion, 50% more than the Manhattan project.
  16. @Steve Sailer
    The American A-bomb project was hugely expensive. It replied upon giant hydroelectric dams that had only gone up in the last few years in the Tennessee Valley and the Columbia River. I dunno if anybody else had the resources and the peaceful homefront to do anything like this.

    Powers argued pretty much the same thing with the addition that Werner Heisenberg told the Nazi bigwigs in a meeting in 1940 that he couldn’t make a bomb before 1946. Thus, they never prioritized anything but a modest research effort dwarfed by the Manhattan Project, because the German war economy was always operating on the principle of blitzkreig. They never planned for a war of attrition. In fact, the most interest in nuclear fission came from the navy (to power U-boats) in the future Reich of the 1950s.
    Heisenberg didn’t want to make a bomb, whereas Oppenheimer desperately did. The motivation each had is a different story. https://www.amazon.com/Heisenbergs-War-Secret-History-German/dp/0306810115

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    Heisenberg did want to make a bomb, but was not the man for the job; one of the great theoreticians, he was not quite as good at administrative & engineering tasks. When you compare the names US had assembled for the MP, and what Germans had had at their disposal- US wins hands down.
    , @Jack D

    Heisenberg didn’t want to make a bomb
     
    "Those grapes were sour anyway." What Heisenberg really wanted and what he said he wanted after he had failed in his mission and Germany had lost the war were two different things.
  17. There are an excellent pair of YouTube videos on the Japanese perspective of Midway. It’s unbelievably detailed but the subject matter is just so compelling that it only makes it better.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Was coming on here just to post what you posted... brilliant... and riveting.
    , @Anonymous
    Saw this last year and couldn’t stop watching it.
  18. In contrast, for the first six months after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. was very much on the defensive against Japan, which conquered about one-eighth of the world’s surface. Japanese aircraft carriers attacked Hawaii in December, Australia in February, and Sri Lanka (over 8,000 miles from Pearl Harbor) in April 1942. Where’d they strike next was a mystery.

    This is a great review.

    Australians have a greater understanding of what happened in Europe today than how it was a close run thing here at home.

    Majority of Ozzie would have no idea about Milne Bay but instantly recognise D-Day

  19. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Colin Wright
    'The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.'

    Midway was an epic victory, but US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war. It would have ended no later than 1946. After 1943, Japan simply was no longer in our league. It was like your basic small-college team suiting up against the Super Bowl champions. We started crossing all that open ocean, got within B-29 range, and put an end to it.

    What could Japan have done to slow that? She wasn't going to be able to seize the Hawaiian Islands -- not in the second half of 1942. Conquering Australia was out of the question. About all she could have done was to delay our march back across the Pacific by a few more months than she did.

    Japan, essentially, was simply not a fully modern state in the nineteen forties. She couldn't run with the big dogs, and got very badly burnt when she tried. There was a Japanese army major who visited Germany in 1940. Germany was hardly an industrial behemoth, but what that major saw sobered him up. He went back to Japan and tried to tell his superiors, 'we're not ready for this. We can't play in this league.'

    They wouldn't listen.

    Actually, the Germans in 1940 were an industrial behemoth as compared to any other nation besides the United States. And in advanced precision manufacturing they were ahead of us in many ways. We could not manufacture a camera as good as a Rolleiflex, a Leica or a Contax, optically or mechanically. And the Junkers Jumo opposed piston diesel aircraft engines are still paragons of efficiency and reliability, they were even more efficient than the turbocompound Wright R-3350 radials in the Constellation and a lot less maintenance intensive.

    • Replies: @Epigon
    Compare mid- and late-war British, American and German aero engines - working volume, power, reliability, durability.

    Show me a German turbosupercharger approaching the qualities of P-47’s one.
    , @Jack D
    "Quantity has its own quality." There's no doubt that most of the German stuff was better on a 1 to 1 basis. Even German soldiers were better on a 1 to 1 basis. But it wasn't a 1 to 1 basis, it was more like a 1 to 10 basis and in the end that was decisive.

    Hitler's idea that he could take on not just the British but the US AND the USSR all at once was kinda nuts. In WWI, the Russian were weak, the Americans came late and the Germans STILL lost so how he thought he was going to win the rematch I dunno. The Blitzkrieg worked in France but once the war turned into a long slog then the outcome had to be the same as the last time.
    , @gcochran
    Germany was a distant second to the US.
  20. @Steve Sailer
    The Japanese didn't have any depth. They terrified everybody in 1941-42 with a strike force of 6 carriers that could range over one third of the globe. But when they lost ~250 pilots and 3000 of their bet sailors at Midway, they never really were able to replace them.

    Their training process was not much good.

    I'm wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

    I’m wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

    From Wikipedia:

    Between 1925 and 1936, the United States Big Three automakers’ Japanese subsidiaries produced a total of 208,967 vehicles, compared to the domestic producers total of 12,127 vehicles

    By contrast, automobile production in the United States in those years sometimes exceeded 2 million cars annually, and fell as low as 900,000 for only a single year, 1932, the worst year of the Depression.

    We sometimes overlook the fact that America has been much bigger than most other industrial economies for a really long time, ever since total steel production in the US exceeded that of Great Britain in the 1880s.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_Japan#Timeline_of_the_Japanese_car_industry

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Automobile_Production_Figures

    • Agree: Simon in London
    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    There is not much to argue on the topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_World_War_II

    Military production during World War II
    , @El Dato
    A problem of "gotta go fast using whatever is available" (including a wrong psychology to approach engineering problems) surprisingly well captured in the (not quite historically accurate) Hayao Miyazaki's ode to the designer of the Zero, "The Wind Rises".
    , @William Badwhite

    We sometimes overlook the fact that America has been much bigger than most other industrial economies for a really long time, ever since total steel production in the US exceeded that of Great Britain in the 1880s.
     
    So the hordes of immigrants arriving then and later didn't build America? Huh. That's odd and not what we're ceaselessly told by their descendants.
    , @B36
    I've sometimes wondered whether the Great Depression was really as bad as my parents claimed. Even in its depths magnitudes more Americans were driving cars, using washing machines, listening to radio, etc, than anywhere else in the world.
  21. I recommend you read James Dickey’s To the White Sea.

    It was at one time considered for a Coen brothers movie, and puts into perspective all war movies

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The Coens eventually gave up on raising enough money to make their man on a raft To the White Sea film with Brad Pitt and sold their script to Pitt's wife Angela Jolie for incorporation into her man on a raft movie Unbroken.
  22. @Steve Sailer
    The Japanese didn't have any depth. They terrified everybody in 1941-42 with a strike force of 6 carriers that could range over one third of the globe. But when they lost ~250 pilots and 3000 of their bet sailors at Midway, they never really were able to replace them.

    Their training process was not much good.

    I'm wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

    As German prisoners of war were transported from Norfolk to camps in Colorado, winding through Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the industrial mid-west, excepting true believers Germans to the man now knew the war was over.

    • Replies: @Lugash
    Did any of the Nazi leadership travel to the US before WW II or I? Hitler seemed to be rather provincial.
  23. @Steve Sailer
    The American A-bomb project was hugely expensive. It replied upon giant hydroelectric dams that had only gone up in the last few years in the Tennessee Valley and the Columbia River. I dunno if anybody else had the resources and the peaceful homefront to do anything like this.

    The giant amounts of electricity were only necessary because the US used highly inefficient calutrons and gaseous diffusion for uranium enrichment. After the war german prisoners designed much more efficient centrifuges for the soviet nuclear program (Less than 5 percent of the energy needed compared to gaseous diffusion). Centrifuges had also been tested in the Manhattan program, but the designers were not able to come up with suitable engineering solutions and so centrifuges were abandoned as unworkable.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    One of my longtime readers, who died a couple of years ago, was the son of the physicist who, along with Andrei Sakharov, was the Oppenheimer of the Soviet A-bomb project:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakov_Zeldovich

    I'd conconct controversies involving the reminiscences of Freeman Dyson to bring up his dad's name:

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/freeman-dyson-scientist-spies-arent-so-bad/

  24. @Steve Sailer
    The Japanese didn't have any depth. They terrified everybody in 1941-42 with a strike force of 6 carriers that could range over one third of the globe. But when they lost ~250 pilots and 3000 of their bet sailors at Midway, they never really were able to replace them.

    Their training process was not much good.

    I'm wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

    The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

    Heck of an insight, and quite telling.

    Those were the days.

  25. Steve, theres an anime called Azur Lane you should look into involving shipgirls (humans merged with ships) based off WWII ships, fighting against time traveling aliens.

    • LOL: El Dato
  26. @Steve Sailer
    The Japanese didn't have any depth. They terrified everybody in 1941-42 with a strike force of 6 carriers that could range over one third of the globe. But when they lost ~250 pilots and 3000 of their bet sailors at Midway, they never really were able to replace them.

    Their training process was not much good.

    I'm wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

    Two minds working as one.

    Japan had developed a fairly impressive first-line military — but with sharply limited industrial, technological, and even cultural resources behind it.

    Japan just wasn’t a modern state — not all the way through. Impoverished farmers still sold their daughters to be geisha. Compared to a modern state, the mentality in some ways was still virtually feudal. For example, the rivalry between the army and the navy was so extreme that right through the war, navy freighters would sail loaded from a to b then return empty to a while army freighters would sail empty from a to b and then return loaded to a — this in a nation facing an acute shortage of shipping.

    And when you read about their military tactics…

    They were fine if they could overwhelm or outflank their opponents. But even as early as the East Indies campaign, if they faced determined troops in good positions they would promptly suffer appalling losses. My take on it is that they hadn’t gone through the First World War, and fought accordingly. It was the French trying to carry out Plan 17, or the Germans in the Kindermord. Look at the fights on Guadalcanal. They simply had no ability to handle first-class, first-world troops. The Guadalcanal episode in that series The Pacific is dead on. That’s what happened.

    • Agree: jim jones
    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    Japan participated in World War I on the Allied side, but you're correct that it fought no major land battles. In the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, however, Japan fought Russian troops and suffered fairly serious losses taking or attempting to take fortified positions. I think that the Japanese Army put too much stock in its experience against not-too-well motivated or trained Chinese troops and thought that banzai charges would work against better equipped, trained and motivated adversaries. I also wonder how much artillery the Japanese could bring into play. Being able to plaster an opponent with artillery makes it much easier to advance, or even to defend.
    , @Paul Mendez
    The banzai charge was a very effective tactic when fighting the Chinese, which is where most Japanese officers cut their teeth. The Chinese had few automatic weapons and often little combat experience. So one ferocious charge could win the day.

    When faced with better-armed and more professional opponents, the banzai charge didn’t work. Here’s where the Japanese philosophy that if you fail at something it must be because you didn’t try hard enough exacerbated the problem. By the time they wised up, many of their best China veterans were dead.

    Patton made his soldiers conduct attacks similar to banzai charges - running while firing from the hip - when he went back on the offensive after the Battle of the Bulge.
  27. The first small-type book for grownups I ever read was in 1967 when I was 8: a paperback history of the U.S.S. Enterprise aircraft carrier in World War II.

    Mine was in 1971, about the 1944 Operation Herbstnebel, AKA The Battle of the Bulge. There was a cheesey movie with Eddie Albert, among others, sometime in the ’60s, but I can’t wait to see a more true-to-history remake of that story, because it perhaps did more to shape the world in which we grew up.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    My impression is that the 1965 movie "Battle of the Bulge" started out as a cowboy movie script and was then was repurposed to being a war movie without much more than nominal change in the plot.
  28. @Pickle Rick
    Powers argued pretty much the same thing with the addition that Werner Heisenberg told the Nazi bigwigs in a meeting in 1940 that he couldn’t make a bomb before 1946. Thus, they never prioritized anything but a modest research effort dwarfed by the Manhattan Project, because the German war economy was always operating on the principle of blitzkreig. They never planned for a war of attrition. In fact, the most interest in nuclear fission came from the navy (to power U-boats) in the future Reich of the 1950s.
    Heisenberg didn’t want to make a bomb, whereas Oppenheimer desperately did. The motivation each had is a different story. https://www.amazon.com/Heisenbergs-War-Secret-History-German/dp/0306810115

    Heisenberg did want to make a bomb, but was not the man for the job; one of the great theoreticians, he was not quite as good at administrative & engineering tasks. When you compare the names US had assembled for the MP, and what Germans had had at their disposal- US wins hands down.

    • Replies: @Pickle Rick
    I’m not so sure. Somewhat like our deep state moles fighting Trump inside the alphabet agencies, Heisenberg was a low key resister of his government. His team included people who were very close to the Valkyrie plot, he had been investigated by the SS security services as unreliable, and one of his team, Fritz Houtens, was a “former” communist. It’s entirely plausible he emphasized the difficulties of producing a working weapon and dragged his feet. Postwar, he pretty much said he deliberately discouraged the Party about the potential of a weapon, which earned him nothing but hatred from his former friends who worked furiously on Manhattan, who were salivating about the prospect of nuking Berlin. For Heisenberg to allude to resistance offended their carefully built justification for the bomb.

    As for the names Manhattan gathered, best not look too close for a pattern or you might be unpersoned by polite society. You don’t think they worked so hard on the project because they were red blooded Americans? Most of them signed up to melt Nazis or save the Soviets or pass the secrets to the Soviets.
  29. War films. American war films. American WW2 films.

    Sands of Iwo Jima – great & somehow strange movie, Old Hollywood style
    The Dirty Dozen – watchable, atypical
    The Longest Day – preachy but good
    To Hell and Back– Audie Murphy as Audie Murphy. Weird.
    Tora, Tora, Tora– surprisingly balanced & good
    Patton– perhaps great
    MacArthur– still don’t know, mixed feelings
    Saving Private Ryan -great first 15-20 minutes, the rest not convincing
    Flags of Our Fathers– good but not great
    The Thin Red Line– great

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    Pearl Harbor - excruciating

    I saw it in the theater.
    , @Richard P
    Letters from Iwo Jima was much better than Flags of Our Fathers.
    , @Abolish_public_education
    Kelly’s Heroes.
  30. @Anonymous
    The Germans apparently were working on a less expensive, though cruder way to produce fissionable material today remembered as "The Nazi Bell". For decades cranks have promoted the idea that it was some sort of time machine, antigravity device, or method to communicate with aliens. Apparently the Allies really did almost certainly resort to skullduggery and outright assassination to "suppress the secrets" it entailed. They probably did this not to control time travel or antigravity, but because they figured that it would if perfected make it a lot easier for third world countries and nonstate actors to produce fissionable material, albeit of lower quality or more dangerously or more slowly than the accepted gaseous diffusion or centrifugal methods in use by the major players. It's possible that all the "woo-woo" theories were actually promulgated by US and/or British counterintelligence to deflect attention from the device's real purpose.

    The Manhattan Project was enormously expensive and tied up a great deal of manufacturing resources, and to have duplicated it exactly would have been beyond the wartime capacity of any other nation. If Germany had had a few more years of peace and quiet and actually had been motivated to do it, though, they might well have done it. Certainly, if the Germans today made the decision to become a nuclear power they could do it in a fairly short time, as could the Japanese, the Swedes, the Swiss, even the Italians.

    I remember reading about a Nazi U boat at the end of WW2 trying to get their nuclear stuff to Japan. They certainly seemed to think it conceivable Japan could make nukes.

  31. @Colin Wright
    'The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.'

    Midway was an epic victory, but US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war. It would have ended no later than 1946. After 1943, Japan simply was no longer in our league. It was like your basic small-college team suiting up against the Super Bowl champions. We started crossing all that open ocean, got within B-29 range, and put an end to it.

    What could Japan have done to slow that? She wasn't going to be able to seize the Hawaiian Islands -- not in the second half of 1942. Conquering Australia was out of the question. About all she could have done was to delay our march back across the Pacific by a few more months than she did.

    Japan, essentially, was simply not a fully modern state in the nineteen forties. She couldn't run with the big dogs, and got very badly burnt when she tried. There was a Japanese army major who visited Germany in 1940. Germany was hardly an industrial behemoth, but what that major saw sobered him up. He went back to Japan and tried to tell his superiors, 'we're not ready for this. We can't play in this league.'

    They wouldn't listen.

    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    'What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?'

    Well, (1) we're likely to declare war on her at some point -- we were already getting pretty frosty about her behavior in China.

    (2) The Philippines are sitting right across Japan's sea links with the East Indies et al.

    I suspect Japan winds up fighting the same war on worse terms.
    , @Altai
    There is one school of thought that says if the Japanese had managed to destroy the US carrier fleet that existed prior to wartime production (Not an impossible feat, they very nearly got both the carriers at Coral Sea and could easily have done so without losses to themselves), that it may have been able to negotiate peace with the US and an end to the hostile trade environment that had largely motivated it's expansion across South East Asia to begin with. I'm not so sure about that, but it was the distant hope that the war was predicated upon since the existing situation was unsustainable.

    Ironically in total defeat Japan actually got this, being allowed to rapidly reindustrialise as a favoured client state in the US empire that would emerge from the war. But it came with an epic loss of life.
    , @Redneck farmer
    We'd be negotiating a FTA with the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.
    , @Gimeiyo

    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?
     
    The American colony of the Philippines was right there, potentially obstructing all their sea routes down to the Dutch East Indies. And the US had cut off their oil supplies in response to ultimata Japan had issued to the Vichy French government in Indochina, so they had reason to be concerned. I don't think they could ignore the US if they were going to make a play for the Dutch oilfields.

    Re training, it's certainly right that the US had a lot more civilian depth with modern industry. I think the critical gap was their production capacity, and resource constraints, particularly oil (for which the US had been their primary supplier for the invasion of China, up until the total occupation of French Indochina in 1941).

    Manpower and training were an issue, but the Japanese government could have done more with what they had. E.g. Japanese university students were largely exempted from conscription until late 1943, and until the start of 1944, they only allowed a couple thousand Koreans and Taiwanese to join the army despite hundreds of thousands of applications (I don't think the navy allowed any non-Japanese at all). Conscription in Korea and Taiwan did start in 1944, but by then it was too late to make much difference, e.g. in training new pilots. Truk fell in February 1944, and Saipan fell in July. If they had expanded conscription in 1941, in anticipation of war with the Western powers, they might have had a larger, better trained force by late 1942 and 1943, but they didn't.

    But production capacity was the big limiting factor. Another 50,000 pilots and engineers wouldn't have done anything without planes to fly.
    , @nebulafox
    Everybody is too dismissive of alternate possibilities here: had the 226 incident succeeded, very possible Japan ends up at war with the Soviet Union rather than the United States. You'd have to someone butterfly away or get army command to ignore the drubbing the IJA took at Khalkin Gol and not let the navy and foreign ministry get their way in the early 1940s with the peace treaty with the USSR, but it's quite possible. The mastermind behind the Manchurian Incident back in 1931, Lt. Col. Ishiwara, had views that were pretty normative among his milieu in the Kodo-ha: strike north and attack the Soviet Union first while keeping peace with the US... at least for now. Gain the natural resources that Japan needs in Siberia rather than Indonesia.

    Assuming things go according to schedule in Europe, this has profound implications: one of the things that saved Moscow in December 1941 were crack Siberian troops, used to fighting in brutal winter conditions, being transferred from the east. If the IJA is mucking about the east, Stalin can't do that.

    , @res

    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?
     
    If you are interested in hypotheticals like that wargames like
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearts_of_Iron_II
    or its sequels can be useful for getting an idea of what an overwhelming task the Axis faced. The geographic scope of their intended conquests dwarfed the combatants. Just maintaining control of that much territory and population after conquering it is difficult.

    In this case I think the other responses covered the main points. The two things I would emphasize are:
    1. Given the recent 1941 and earlier history and geopolitics could Japan avoid fighting the US eventually?
    2. The Japanese felt they had a temporary military advantage. Given the superior size, population, and resources of their potential enemies, and with the US and the Allies fighting at that time all ramping up war production, that was not going to last long.
  32. @Simon in London
    Good review, I quite fancy seeing this now (if they show it in Blighty)

    >>To this day, nobody knows what the Japanese would have done if they had won at Midway: perhaps raid the West Coast or try to seize Hawaii and take the wives and children of the American servicemen as hostages. (The Japanese military had a track record of doing whatever would make the rest of the world hate them the most.)

    The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.<<

    My guess would be they'd try to take Hawaii as a base for further operations. There might be some raiding of the US West Coast, and maybe attempts at invading Alaska. Eventually the USA would have had enough carriers to win a Midway-style battle and then the war would have swung against Japan. The US would probably have prioritised carriers over nukes since they are of limited use in a carrier war, but I can imagine seeing atomic bombs being used to scatter Japanese carrier fleets. Japan would have tried to deploy its own nukes using Nazi technology, but probably not be able to make any in time to avoid defeat.

    While less glamorous than aircraft carriers, I would argue that submarines were a more important factor: A key strategic error of the Japanese naval leadership was to employ their submarine fleet against warships instead of trade vessels. This essentially wasted them, since warships then were way faster than submarines and so the likelihood to get into position for a shot was small. This only did change with a new generation of subs with much improved underwater speed under development in Germany and Japan, but they were not ready until right at the end of the war.

    The Japanese could have slaughtered the allied supply lines which would also have impacted the European theater – a large part of the supplies for the British forces in North Africa and for the Soviet Union were delivered via the Indian Ocean.

  33. @Dave Pinsen
    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?

    ‘What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?’

    Well, (1) we’re likely to declare war on her at some point — we were already getting pretty frosty about her behavior in China.

    (2) The Philippines are sitting right across Japan’s sea links with the East Indies et al.

    I suspect Japan winds up fighting the same war on worse terms.

    • Replies: @Gimeiyo

    Well, (1) we’re likely to declare war on her at some point — we were already getting pretty frosty about her behavior in China.
     
    Eh, I kind of disagree. The reason our history books talk up the "moral" embargo is we didn't actually have a real embargo. We did withdraw from our trade agreement in 1939, but we didn't really restrict critical supplies for the war in China until 1940 (metal), when Japan started to make moves on European colonies. And we didn't cut off our most important contribution to the Japanese invasion -- oil -- until August 1941, after the total occupation of French Indochina. We offered China no meaningful support between 1937 and 1941, particularly compared to Nazi Germany (until June 1938), and the Soviet Union (until April 1941), although the Soviets were also conniving to turn Xinjiang into a Soviet client state, as they had done with Outer Mongolia and the Japanese had done with Manchuria, but hey, any port in a storm.

    To the extent we cared about what Japan was doing in China, it was mostly stuff like when they accidentally on purpose sank the USS Panay during the Rape of Nanking. There's nothing to be proud of about our response to the second Sino-Japanese war.
  34. @Dave Pinsen
    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?

    There is one school of thought that says if the Japanese had managed to destroy the US carrier fleet that existed prior to wartime production (Not an impossible feat, they very nearly got both the carriers at Coral Sea and could easily have done so without losses to themselves), that it may have been able to negotiate peace with the US and an end to the hostile trade environment that had largely motivated it’s expansion across South East Asia to begin with. I’m not so sure about that, but it was the distant hope that the war was predicated upon since the existing situation was unsustainable.

    Ironically in total defeat Japan actually got this, being allowed to rapidly reindustrialise as a favoured client state in the US empire that would emerge from the war. But it came with an epic loss of life.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    It is interesting when you look back on how things ended up, how pointless some wars seem. Another example is Vietnam. Imagine if the North Vietnamese had said to us: "We're going to become capitalist, and be friendly with you as a regional counterweight to China".
  35. @Dave Pinsen
    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?

    We’d be negotiating a FTA with the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

  36. Anon[602] • Disclaimer says:

    To this day, nobody knows what the Japanese would have done if they had won at Midway: perhaps raid the West Coast or try to seize Hawaii and take the wives and children of the American servicemen as hostages.

    A bit of projection? From Wikipedia on Curtis “I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal” LeMay:

    LeMay commanded subsequent B-29 Superfortress combat operations against Japan, including massive incendiary attacks on 67 Japanese cities and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This included the firebombing of Tokyo — known in official documents as the “Operation Meetinghouse” air raid on the night of March 9-10, 1945 — which proved to be the single most destructive bombing raid of the war. For this first attack, LeMay ordered the defensive guns removed from 325 B-29s, loaded each plane with Model M-47 incendiary clusters, magnesium bombs, white phosphorus bombs, and napalm, and ordered the bombers to fly in streams at 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,500 to 2,700 m) over Tokyo. LeMay described Operation Meetinghouse by saying “the US had finally stopped swatting at flies and gone after the manure pile”.

    • Replies: @Alfa158
    No projection needed. Just one example of Japanese behavior. The destroyer Akikaze at the opening of the war. From Wiki:
    On 18 March Akikaze was the scene of a war crime. During construction of a seaplane base at Kairiru Island Akikaze evacuated the personnel of the Roman Catholic mission headquarters on that island and also several individuals from Wewak. These included Bishop Joseph Loerks, 38 missionaries (31 of whom were German nationals) including 18 nuns, one New Guinea girl, and two Chinese infants (apparently the children of Wewak storekeeper Ning Hee). The vessel then called at Manus where it picked up 20 others, again mostly Germans, including six missionaries from the Liebenzell Evangelical Mission, three other nuns and three other priests, a European infant, a plantation owner named Carl Muster and plantation overseer Peter Mathies, two Chinese, and apparently four Malays. The ostensible intention was to carry them to internment in Rabaul. "Between Manus and Rabaul each of the adults was strung up by the hands on a gallows in the stern of the vessel, shot dead by rifle or machine-gun fire, and thrown overboard. The two Chinese infants and the European baby were thrown over alive."
    These were mostly Germans, allies of the Japanese, and it wasn’t a renegade captain. He was acting under direct orders from the chain of command. Imagine how they would have been willing to treat enemies.
    , @B36
    I recall that in "The World at War" series LeMay says something like by such and such date we had estimated that we would run out of any remaining viable targets to attack. Must be a poignant feeling for a military planner: there is nothing left to destroy.
  37. @Dave Pinsen
    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?

    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?

    The American colony of the Philippines was right there, potentially obstructing all their sea routes down to the Dutch East Indies. And the US had cut off their oil supplies in response to ultimata Japan had issued to the Vichy French government in Indochina, so they had reason to be concerned. I don’t think they could ignore the US if they were going to make a play for the Dutch oilfields.

    Re training, it’s certainly right that the US had a lot more civilian depth with modern industry. I think the critical gap was their production capacity, and resource constraints, particularly oil (for which the US had been their primary supplier for the invasion of China, up until the total occupation of French Indochina in 1941).

    Manpower and training were an issue, but the Japanese government could have done more with what they had. E.g. Japanese university students were largely exempted from conscription until late 1943, and until the start of 1944, they only allowed a couple thousand Koreans and Taiwanese to join the army despite hundreds of thousands of applications (I don’t think the navy allowed any non-Japanese at all). Conscription in Korea and Taiwan did start in 1944, but by then it was too late to make much difference, e.g. in training new pilots. Truk fell in February 1944, and Saipan fell in July. If they had expanded conscription in 1941, in anticipation of war with the Western powers, they might have had a larger, better trained force by late 1942 and 1943, but they didn’t.

    But production capacity was the big limiting factor. Another 50,000 pilots and engineers wouldn’t have done anything without planes to fly.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    Another contrary to fact hypothesis for greater Japanese success would be the use of kamikaze tactics much earlier in the war. After Guadalcanal a high percentage of Japanese bomber missions were one way in any event, so why not just instruct pilots to crash their planes into American ships? The kamikazes inflicted considerable losses on the much superior American fleet in 1945; what would have been the result if the tactic had begun in late 1942?
    , @Paul Mendez
    The Japanese thought that good pilots were made. The Americans thought that good pilots were found.

    Japanese pilot candidates were selected based on academics. Their flight schools were heavy on classroom learning, plus things like kendo and gymnastics. Because of chronic fuel shortages, actual flight time was limited.

    The US, however, screened every available candidate for physical aptitude, then put the promising ones into training aircraft as quickly as possible to see what they could do. A horrific number of flight crews died in training accidents.

    It also helped that the US had a larger population to draw from.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    In ignoring the U.S., Japan would, in my hypothetical, ignore the Philippines, at least initially. That would have put FDR in an interesting spot, as he wouldn't have had a casus belli at the end of 1941. Presumably, FDR would have come up with one in 1942, but it would have probably been against Germany: maybe using another ship sunk by them or something. In that case, Japan could have waited until we were fully engaged in Europe before going after the Philippines.
  38. @Colin Wright
    'The American A-bomb project was hugely expensive. It replied upon giant hydroelectric dams that had only gone up in the last few years in the Tennessee Valley and the Columbia River. I dunno if anybody else had the resources and the peaceful homefront to do anything like this.'

    Exactly. Japan definitely couldn't have done it. Germany or Britain, likely could have, given leisure -- but not Japan.

    Even Russia -- with time, and with the plans -- had massive problems. For example, they had no way of refining graphite of the necessary purity for the reactor controlling rods. They had to develop that technology first.

    So, for them -- with the instruction manual and the certainty this thing will work -- 1949. For Japan?

    1955? Maybe -- if there's no war at all, but Japan somehow knows she has to sink her all into this project.

    Britain, likely could have, given leisure

    The atom bomb was invented by Leo Szilard on the kerb of Southampton Row in London. That’s why the patent for the atom bomb was held by Szilard and the Admiralty.

    The British atom bomb project concluded that Britain couldn’t do it quickly enough to be any use. That’s why the British repeatedly nagged FDR to start an American project, eventually handing over their own work – a daring thing to do when the US was to be neutral for a while longer. Szilard, acting for himself and for Britain, persuaded Einstein to write his famous letter to FDR. Whether that letter much mattered I don’t know. I suspect not: FDR’s administration was rather disorganised.

    Anyway, Albert Einstein, British Secret Agent, wot larks! The name’s Einshtein, Albert Einshtein!

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    Spies aside, it is glaringly evident that Britain, Soviet Union, Germany...could not compete with the US re big science names who worked on nuclear programs. The list of them reads like Who is Who in physics & chemistry; of course, many less notable people had certainly contributed, sometimes, more than the big ones as regards solution of numerous technical problems.

    Just, one has to keep things in real perspective. Apart from Oppenheimer and Szilard, guys who worked on it included: E. Fermi, H. Bethe, V. Weisskopf, H. Urey, E. Lawrence, L. Alvarez, I.I. Rabi, S. Ulam, J. von Neumann, E. McMillan, G. Seaborg, R. Feynman, J. Schwinger, E. Wigner, J.A. Wheeler, E. Teller, J. Franck, G. Kistiakowsky, ..

    C'mon...
    , @Colin Wright
    'The atom bomb was invented by Leo Szilard on the kerb of Southampton Row in London...'

    Be that as it may, by the early 1940's, it was no longer a matter of 'inventing' the atomic bomb -- any more than by the sixties it was a question of 'inventing' the moon rocket.

    Everyone understood how an atomic bomb would work -- in principle. The Italians, the Japanese, the Russians, the Germans, the French, the Britons, the Americans -- they all understood it.

    It was a question of working out precisely how to actually build the thing -- an undertaking that still baffles most. That was an engineering problem -- and a big, expensive one. That's why we were the ones to actually accomplish it.

    It's the difference between understanding how a car works and actually making one. I understand most of the systems of a car -- well, through about nineteen eighty, anyway. I can even fix most of them.

    Put me on a desert island, and it might be a while before I can present you with that Ford Fairlane. How to spin copper wire...hmm.
  39. @The Alarmist

    The first small-type book for grownups I ever read was in 1967 when I was 8: a paperback history of the U.S.S. Enterprise aircraft carrier in World War II.
     
    Mine was in 1971, about the 1944 Operation Herbstnebel, AKA The Battle of the Bulge. There was a cheesey movie with Eddie Albert, among others, sometime in the '60s, but I can't wait to see a more true-to-history remake of that story, because it perhaps did more to shape the world in which we grew up.

    My impression is that the 1965 movie “Battle of the Bulge” started out as a cowboy movie script and was then was repurposed to being a war movie without much more than nominal change in the plot.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    Finally an explanation for that movie that makes sense.
    , @Mr. Anon
    I had assumed it was some kind of contractual obligation movie or tax-shelter or something. Although the tank battle must have been pretty expensive to arrange, unless they just filmed some Spanish army maneuvers. In any event Battle of the Bulge was a real stinker. A much better movie about those events (and probably one of the best war movies ever) was Battleground from 1949.
    , @Colin Wright
    'My impression is that the 1965 movie “Battle of the Bulge” started out as a cowboy movie script and was then was repurposed to being a war movie without much more than nominal change in the plot.'

    What I like about that one is how they diligently start out with snow and forest but later on visibly say 'fuck it' and just have the two sides fight it out in the Mojave Desert.

    Great song and Robert Shaw is compelling, but a real turkey, otherwise.

    ...The Eddie Albert movie referenced earlier would seem to be Attack!' That's a low-budget black and white film, but actually pretty good. Focusses on the conflict between a cowardly company commander and one of his platoon leaders.
  40. @Colin Wright
    'What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?'

    Well, (1) we're likely to declare war on her at some point -- we were already getting pretty frosty about her behavior in China.

    (2) The Philippines are sitting right across Japan's sea links with the East Indies et al.

    I suspect Japan winds up fighting the same war on worse terms.

    Well, (1) we’re likely to declare war on her at some point — we were already getting pretty frosty about her behavior in China.

    Eh, I kind of disagree. The reason our history books talk up the “moral” embargo is we didn’t actually have a real embargo. We did withdraw from our trade agreement in 1939, but we didn’t really restrict critical supplies for the war in China until 1940 (metal), when Japan started to make moves on European colonies. And we didn’t cut off our most important contribution to the Japanese invasion — oil — until August 1941, after the total occupation of French Indochina. We offered China no meaningful support between 1937 and 1941, particularly compared to Nazi Germany (until June 1938), and the Soviet Union (until April 1941), although the Soviets were also conniving to turn Xinjiang into a Soviet client state, as they had done with Outer Mongolia and the Japanese had done with Manchuria, but hey, any port in a storm.

    To the extent we cared about what Japan was doing in China, it was mostly stuff like when they accidentally on purpose sank the USS Panay during the Rape of Nanking. There’s nothing to be proud of about our response to the second Sino-Japanese war.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    What was really at stake was the Open Door policy. Roosevelt was willing to do some things for the businessmen, contrary to his public image, but he was definitely not willing to do everything for them: and he was far more focused on Germany than Japan. On the Chinese side of things, though the KMT managed to get it somewhat revised, it was still in effect. Chiang was too busy doing everything he could to modernize China ASAP during the republic years to pick a fight over it, and he knew-like Deng's successors would many decades later-that foreign investment had a role to play in China's rise. That meant a lot of American investors had capital to lose if the Japanese were to dominate China.

    I'm sure the (far worse) Japanese atrocities added fuel to the fire, to be sure: but count me deeply cynical about the "moral" embargo, especially in the context of the KMT deliberately drowning hundreds of thousands/millions of people to stop the Japanese advance. And I'd heavily agree that German and Russian assistance (coming from blatantly immoral regimes) was far more important for the Chinese than American help until Pearl Harbor.

    , @Diversity Heretic
    Japanese assets in the United States were also frozen in 1941. Even if Japan had found someone to sell her oil, she had no money to pay them. There's a good book, Bankrupting the Enemy, on the economic war waged by the United States on Japan beginning around 1938.
  41. Does this mean we are being prepared for a Big Naval Battle soon, possibly over Hong-Kong?

    I read about the battle of Midway in John Keegan’s “The Price of Admiralty: The Evolution of Naval Warfare from Trafalgar to Midway”.

    Lady luck smiled, that could all have gone differently, in spite of all the pwnage from cracking the Japanese ciphers.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The Battle of Midway was a very close run thing.
  42. @Steve Sailer
    My impression is that the 1965 movie "Battle of the Bulge" started out as a cowboy movie script and was then was repurposed to being a war movie without much more than nominal change in the plot.

    Finally an explanation for that movie that makes sense.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yeah, I watched "The Battle of the Bulge" expecting it to be like "The Longest Day," but it had almost nothing to do with the historical events. I don't have a link to the explanation I read once that the script had started as a Western and then got repurposed to the WWII epic genre popular at the time, but it makes sense of a movie that otherwise doesn't make much sense.
  43. @Menschmaschine
    The giant amounts of electricity were only necessary because the US used highly inefficient calutrons and gaseous diffusion for uranium enrichment. After the war german prisoners designed much more efficient centrifuges for the soviet nuclear program (Less than 5 percent of the energy needed compared to gaseous diffusion). Centrifuges had also been tested in the Manhattan program, but the designers were not able to come up with suitable engineering solutions and so centrifuges were abandoned as unworkable.

    One of my longtime readers, who died a couple of years ago, was the son of the physicist who, along with Andrei Sakharov, was the Oppenheimer of the Soviet A-bomb project:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakov_Zeldovich

    I’d conconct controversies involving the reminiscences of Freeman Dyson to bring up his dad’s name:

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/freeman-dyson-scientist-spies-arent-so-bad/

  44. @Pat Hannagan
    I recommend you read James Dickey's To the White Sea.

    It was at one time considered for a Coen brothers movie, and puts into perspective all war movies

    The Coens eventually gave up on raising enough money to make their man on a raft To the White Sea film with Brad Pitt and sold their script to Pitt’s wife Angela Jolie for incorporation into her man on a raft movie Unbroken.

  45. @El Dato
    Finally an explanation for that movie that makes sense.

    Yeah, I watched “The Battle of the Bulge” expecting it to be like “The Longest Day,” but it had almost nothing to do with the historical events. I don’t have a link to the explanation I read once that the script had started as a Western and then got repurposed to the WWII epic genre popular at the time, but it makes sense of a movie that otherwise doesn’t make much sense.

    • Replies: @res
    The contemporary NYT review makes a Western comparison:
    https://www.nytimes.com/1965/12/18/archives/screen-fonda-in-battle-of-the-bulgefilm-opens-at-warner-cinerama.html

    And it is a cruel deception to describe the climax of the Battle of the Bulge as a ranging of German tanks against Americans across a broad plain in the manner of a Western movie cavalry-and-Indian charge.
     
    This 2003 IMDB review sounds just like your explanation: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw0088356

    One has to assume that someone had a cavalry western script but realized westerns weren't selling any more, so they sold it by doing a quick rewrite to make it a war movie. Henry Fonda is the grizzled scout who insists the Indians are about to attack, based on his reading of the signs in the dirt, and who pulls his boss, the general, out of the fire time and again. Yes, it's Hank who, in the first skirmish, moves up to see if the Indians have a cache of rifles, who recognizes their leader as an escaped renegade fighter-Indian, who discovers that the friendly Crows at the pass are actually deadly Apaches in disguise, who, at a number of critical points, goes out with his young partner to scout around and comes back to the campfire with vital information, who realizes that the big battle is actually a ruse for the Indians to send a party to the water hole to fill their canteens with badly needed water, and who, with an arrow sticking through his shoulder, singlehandedly leads a few raw recruits in a clever maneuver to keep the Indians from the water hole and saves the day. In the last shot, the Indians march back to the reservation across the desert. The Fonda character, in particular, seems to still be in that western. He isn't just A scout, he's THE scout, the only scout, and all intelligence info that's important to the battle is his. The other characters fit the western mold pretty well also, including Shaw's Nazi. Only the Savalas character is indelibly out of WW II (or, more accurately, out of the Bilko show).
     
  46. @El Dato
    Does this mean we are being prepared for a Big Naval Battle soon, possibly over Hong-Kong?

    I read about the battle of Midway in John Keegan's "The Price of Admiralty: The Evolution of Naval Warfare from Trafalgar to Midway".

    Lady luck smiled, that could all have gone differently, in spite of all the pwnage from cracking the Japanese ciphers.

    The Battle of Midway was a very close run thing.

    • Replies: @I Have Scinde
    I agree, but not necessarily because of good luck on the American side. The Americans set up an ambush, and nearly botched it, with Hornet's air group in particular. There was plenty of good and bad luck to go around, in my opinion.

    I assume this is a Wellington reference?
    , @Desiderius
    Pyrrhic victory, given the events since?
  47. “To this day, nobody knows what the Japanese would have done if they had won at Midway:”

    It doesn’t really matter much. They would have lost regardless. And that even without atomic weapons.

    It is oft forgotten that the the atomic bomb did not bring victory, it brought an earlier victory and one considered less costly.

    • Replies: @B36
    So much depends on what happens in the Russo-German war. Imagine that the Germans manage to capture Moscow in December 1941, then go over to winter quarters. In the spring they renew the onslaught and Russia crumbles. In early summer 1942 the Japanese sink 3 American fleet carriers and occupy Midway. The Axis then presents unified terms to the Allies: peace and no further aggression in return for acceptance of current gains. Britain, alone on the edge of Eurasia, has no choice but to fold, and take Australia with it. Fortress America might have the industrial capability to soldier on by itself for a long war, but would it make sense?
  48. @Colin Wright
    'The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.'

    Midway was an epic victory, but US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war. It would have ended no later than 1946. After 1943, Japan simply was no longer in our league. It was like your basic small-college team suiting up against the Super Bowl champions. We started crossing all that open ocean, got within B-29 range, and put an end to it.

    What could Japan have done to slow that? She wasn't going to be able to seize the Hawaiian Islands -- not in the second half of 1942. Conquering Australia was out of the question. About all she could have done was to delay our march back across the Pacific by a few more months than she did.

    Japan, essentially, was simply not a fully modern state in the nineteen forties. She couldn't run with the big dogs, and got very badly burnt when she tried. There was a Japanese army major who visited Germany in 1940. Germany was hardly an industrial behemoth, but what that major saw sobered him up. He went back to Japan and tried to tell his superiors, 'we're not ready for this. We can't play in this league.'

    They wouldn't listen.

    It is not simply about having superior technology and numbers. The Japanese were on the brink of losing to the Russians in Russo-Japanese War. However, their naval victories made the cost too high for the Russians. It forced them to the negotiating table. The Japanese were going for the same formula with the US. If the Japanese had gambled and taken Hawaii, it might have been enough to force negotiations.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    'It is not simply about having superior technology and numbers. The Japanese were on the brink of losing to the Russians in Russo-Japanese War. However, their naval victories made the cost too high for the Russians. It forced them to the negotiating table. The Japanese were going for the same formula with the US. If the Japanese had gambled and taken Hawaii, it might have been enough to force negotiations.'

    Meh. I'm aware of the Japanese rationale for attempting war with the United States. I'm also aware of the usual commonplaces about them misunderstanding us and underestimating us.

    However, I think this was at least partially wishful thinking on the part of the Japanese. I think that by 1941, they had worked themselves into a place where there was no institutionally acceptable solution that didn't involve attacking and beating the United States.

    So they convinced themselves they could do that. Not because any rational analysis of the situation would have supported such a conclusion, but simply because all of the alternatives were too unpleasant to contemplate. Nobody could sit in a cabinet meeting and say, 'we need to cut the best deal we can and withdraw from China.'

    It's like the guy who goes to Mexico to take Laetrile for his liver cancer. He's convinced himself it'll work -- not because he has rationally decided it will, but simply because the alternative is too unpleasant to accept. Japan attacked the US, not because she actually thought it would work, but because thinking it would work was preferable to the alternatives.
  49. @Bardon Kaldian
    Heisenberg did want to make a bomb, but was not the man for the job; one of the great theoreticians, he was not quite as good at administrative & engineering tasks. When you compare the names US had assembled for the MP, and what Germans had had at their disposal- US wins hands down.

    I’m not so sure. Somewhat like our deep state moles fighting Trump inside the alphabet agencies, Heisenberg was a low key resister of his government. His team included people who were very close to the Valkyrie plot, he had been investigated by the SS security services as unreliable, and one of his team, Fritz Houtens, was a “former” communist. It’s entirely plausible he emphasized the difficulties of producing a working weapon and dragged his feet. Postwar, he pretty much said he deliberately discouraged the Party about the potential of a weapon, which earned him nothing but hatred from his former friends who worked furiously on Manhattan, who were salivating about the prospect of nuking Berlin. For Heisenberg to allude to resistance offended their carefully built justification for the bomb.

    As for the names Manhattan gathered, best not look too close for a pattern or you might be unpersoned by polite society. You don’t think they worked so hard on the project because they were red blooded Americans? Most of them signed up to melt Nazis or save the Soviets or pass the secrets to the Soviets.

  50. @Colin Wright
    I just can't get behind those computer-generated aircraft. It may be more difficult and more expensive, but actual aircraft are perfectly possible and a lot more convincing: The Blue Max, Tora Tora Tora, Piece of Cake, Memphis Belle.

    I just can’t get behind those computer-generated aircraft. It may be more difficult and more expensive, but actual aircraft are perfectly possible and a lot more convincing: The Blue Max, Tora Tora Tora, Piece of Cake, Memphis Belle.

    I agree. CGI-movies just look like video games to me, not movies. And the crazy way they shove all the planes (or all the ships, or all the tanks, or whatever) right up against each other in close order drill, arranging modern mechanized formations as if they were the phalanxes of Alexander, is ridiculous.

  51. @PiltdownMan

    I’m wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

     

    From Wikipedia:

    Between 1925 and 1936, the United States Big Three automakers' Japanese subsidiaries produced a total of 208,967 vehicles, compared to the domestic producers total of 12,127 vehicles
     
    By contrast, automobile production in the United States in those years sometimes exceeded 2 million cars annually, and fell as low as 900,000 for only a single year, 1932, the worst year of the Depression.

    We sometimes overlook the fact that America has been much bigger than most other industrial economies for a really long time, ever since total steel production in the US exceeded that of Great Britain in the 1880s.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_Japan#Timeline_of_the_Japanese_car_industry

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Automobile_Production_Figures

    There is not much to argue on the topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_World_War_II

    Military production during World War II

  52. “Effective bang-bang-boom-boom”

    While that’s certainly an accurate description of her rise to power, I thought we had agreed you weren’t going to pick on Kamala anymore?

    • LOL: Dtbb
  53. @Steve Sailer
    My impression is that the 1965 movie "Battle of the Bulge" started out as a cowboy movie script and was then was repurposed to being a war movie without much more than nominal change in the plot.

    I had assumed it was some kind of contractual obligation movie or tax-shelter or something. Although the tank battle must have been pretty expensive to arrange, unless they just filmed some Spanish army maneuvers. In any event Battle of the Bulge was a real stinker. A much better movie about those events (and probably one of the best war movies ever) was Battleground from 1949.

    • Replies: @Simon
    My father, an infantry private in the Battle of the Bulge, regarded Battleground as the most true-to-life WW2 movie he’d seen (and he saw a lot of war movies). I gather that Spielberg also rates it very highly.

    (P.S. Second on my father’s list was A Walk in the Sun.)
    , @p38ace
    The battle in the Ardennes (What you called the bulge) was a series of battles that all led up to victory. It needs a television series. There were the fighting in the twin villages and Eisenborg Ridge. The 28th division to keep the road to Bastogne open for three days. There was Parker's crossroads, the Malmedy massacre, The 2nd armor stopping the Germans at the furthest points. We must not forget the Damned Engineers. We need a cast of thousands for this. Done right it would be a great show. Remember this was the US army's largest battle.
  54. @Colin Wright
    'The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.'

    Midway was an epic victory, but US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war. It would have ended no later than 1946. After 1943, Japan simply was no longer in our league. It was like your basic small-college team suiting up against the Super Bowl champions. We started crossing all that open ocean, got within B-29 range, and put an end to it.

    What could Japan have done to slow that? She wasn't going to be able to seize the Hawaiian Islands -- not in the second half of 1942. Conquering Australia was out of the question. About all she could have done was to delay our march back across the Pacific by a few more months than she did.

    Japan, essentially, was simply not a fully modern state in the nineteen forties. She couldn't run with the big dogs, and got very badly burnt when she tried. There was a Japanese army major who visited Germany in 1940. Germany was hardly an industrial behemoth, but what that major saw sobered him up. He went back to Japan and tried to tell his superiors, 'we're not ready for this. We can't play in this league.'

    They wouldn't listen.

    The only war plan that Japan could have carried out that would have led to victory would been to have coordinated their efforts with Germany, and attacked the Soviet Union out of Manchuria in 1941, instead of attacking the U.S. If they had knocked the Soviet Union out of the war (and together Germany and Japan very likely could have), the axis powers might have won, or been able to conclude a peace.

    • Agree: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @CAL2
    Doubtful because Japan was being strangled by the US oil embargo. Also, Japan's army was second rate even compared to the Russians. When they tangled with the Russians in the 30's they got beat pretty easily.
    , @Colin Wright
    'The only war plan that Japan could have carried out that would have led to victory would been to have coordinated their efforts with Germany, and attacked the Soviet Union out of Manchuria in 1941, instead of attacking the U.S. If they had knocked the Soviet Union out of the war (and together Germany and Japan very likely could have), the axis powers might have won, or been able to conclude a peace.'

    Agree.

    Interestingly, that makes the Soviet victories in the 1939-40 border skirmishes with Japan some of the more significant events in history. Obviously, the bloody nose must have exerted a deterrent effect on the Japanese.

    It's still puzzling that they didn't go this route anyway. One would think that they would have realized that the best way for them to get the upper hand more or less for good would be to collaborate with Germany in picking off at least one of the other major powers. After all, that would have left three other major powers: Germany herself, Britain, and the United States. Since Germany was the only one of these with no immediately competing interests with Japan, it could have been the beginning of an extremely profitable alliance.

    Put Russia down and open an interior route across Asia to oil, etc. Then turn on Britain and the United States.

  55. @Anonymous
    Actually, the Germans in 1940 were an industrial behemoth as compared to any other nation besides the United States. And in advanced precision manufacturing they were ahead of us in many ways. We could not manufacture a camera as good as a Rolleiflex, a Leica or a Contax, optically or mechanically. And the Junkers Jumo opposed piston diesel aircraft engines are still paragons of efficiency and reliability, they were even more efficient than the turbocompound Wright R-3350 radials in the Constellation and a lot less maintenance intensive.

    Compare mid- and late-war British, American and German aero engines – working volume, power, reliability, durability.

    Show me a German turbosupercharger approaching the qualities of P-47’s one.

    • Replies: @Dtbb
    Not a turbo, but..
    https://worldwarwings.com/the-one-reason-why-the-bf-109-stayed-competitive-through-wwii/
  56. I had the privilege of meeting one of the pilots of Scouting Six (Dusty Kleiss), and have been fascinated by this battle since childhood. Having seen the movie, I was puzzled by the dings reviewers were giving it for “historical inaccuracy”. I’m glad Steve pointed out their invincible ignorance.

    I must take exception with Steve, however, on the idea that a loss for the US at Midway would have prolonged the war by years. Here, in one sentence, is proof Japan could not have kept the war up into the late forties:

    “Japan was in some ways still so backward that the plane [the vaunted Zero] had to be hauled by oxcart from the Mitsubishi factory twenty-nine miles to the airfield where it flew”

    Lots of great comments on this thread.

  57. I liked the current Midway, but I also liked the old one, with the exception of the ridiculous sub-plot about Charlton Heston’s son and his Japanese girlfriend. Of D-Day movies, I liked the longest day a lot better than Saving Private Ryan. Of Pearl Harbor movies, Tora, Tora, Tora is the best.

    • Replies: @David In TN
    The current Midway film is better than the 1976 version. One, for a sequence about Pearl Harbor in the story along with more on the Doolittle Raid. Two, for not having the "ridiculous sub-plot" the earlier film had.
    , @Abolish_public_education
    I must have watched the original Midway, on TV, dozens of times over the years. I still click on it.

    I’ve come to really enjoy the entire cornball subplot of Thom Garth and Hiruko Sikora.

    “There’s no future for us, Thom. I just don’t love you any more. It was a mistake.

    Say it to my face, [gosh darn it]!”

    But I have a vague recollection of Charleton Heston also having a love-interest in the film. The woman, played by the actress who was the Julie Prescott character in ABC TV’s Rich Man, Poor Man miniseries, is last seen on the dock, tearing up when she realizes that Heston didn’t make it.

    It’s almost as though she was cut out of the movie, years after its TV release, in order to save on residuals, while Thom’s swear was removed in order to qualify the film for a PG rating.

    , @Ian M.
    The special effects of Tora, Tora, Tora frankly put the CGI special effects of modern war movies to utter shame.

    However, I must admit I found Tora, Tora, Tora... boring. But then, I'm not much of a war movie guy (although I find reading about WWII interesting).

    The major exception being The Bridge on the River Kwai. But that's really more of a prisoner-of-war movie, not a war movie proper.
  58. I will never forget seeing the original Midway around my twelth birthday in an old fashioned theatre. It was the first movie I had seen in sensurround. The opening scene of the Doolittle raid taking off shook the theatre, and along with the other battle scenes, was imprinted forever on my hippocampus. It was an awesome experience for a young boy! I may have to go see this one in the theatre.

  59. Doolittle raider : one landed in USSR at Vladilovstok. How was that decision made by that pilot ? Why did not everyone have that contingency plan given the planes lack of fuel due to starting their flight further off Japan.

    • Replies: @B36
    I believe one issue was that since Russia and Japan were not at war pilots who came down in Russia were interned there for the duration, whereas those who came down in free China had a chance of getting home.
    , @Steve Sailer
    The Soviets had to impound the one crew of Doolittle's Raiders who landed in Vladivostok because they were neutral with Japan until 1945. But after a year they moved them to the Soviet border with Iran and helped them escape into the British occupied part, which was, by Stalin era standards, quite amiable of them.
    , @Anonymous
    There's a theory that the plane that went to Russia did so deliberately to test the Russian reaction, and possibly do a little snooping. The commander of that plane later went on to an intelligence career I believe. He was most likely acting under secret orders.
  60. @Anon
    Midway was great.

    By contrast, I was disappointed at how bad Once Upon A Time in Hollywood was, especially given the hype and rave reviews it got, including from Steve and the commenters here. The only good thing about the movie was the big cars, the driving around, and the incessant smoking. I'm sure the driving around LA was especially poignant for Steve, since it's set in Steve's childhood years, and would have been very nostalgic, but that wasn't enough to save the movie.

    There was basically no plot or point to the movie, and the whole Manson family subplot seemed like it was tacked on as an afterthought just as an excuse for what happens during the bloody climax.

    You already know what happens in Midway and it was much better.

    Midway was great, and The Irishman was good. I have no idea how Once Upon A Time in Hollywood got good reviews.

    The movie was weak on plot but it was off the charts on capturing the atmosphere of the time and that is something. The plot of Tarantino movies rarely makes any sense but he is so good on a scene by scene basis that you forgive him. The one thing that I didn’t like is that it made Sharon Tate out to be some sort of empty headed idiot.

    Casting the short NY Italian De Niro as the giant sized Philly Irishman Sheeran made no sense. Nor did it capture Sheeran’s essence, which was that of a big Irish drunk. Nor did Pacino make a particularly convincing Hoffa. Doesn’t Scorsese know any actors who are not Italian?

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian

    Doesn’t Scorsese know any actors who are not Italian?
     
    Leo DiCaprio is, basically, German.
    , @Anonymous
    The visuals were nice, but I don't think he really captured the atmosphere of the 70s. It was too sterile and sanitized.

    Tarantino is a writer and director, not a cinematographer and set designer. He's got to bring more to the table than big American cars from the 70s. I felt like he just exposed himself as a hack like lots of people have always suspected. As a writer/director, he brought nothing to the movie aside from the hacky gratuitous violence at the end. Seriously, without Pitt and DiCaprio, you'd think it was a B-movie from the Sci-Fi channel.

    I agree that De Niro and Pacino didn't make sense and weren't convincing as Sheeran and Hoffa. However, Sheeran is obscure enough and Hoffa is forgotten enough that it didn't matter much. I don't think Scorsese had much choice in the matter as I believe De Niro started and drove the project and was going to star in the movie from the outset.
    , @JMcG
    I just saw Once Upon a Time on a flight. Brad Pitt essentially plays my father. I thought there were some really terrific set pieces, as you point out Jack. I almost hate to admit how much I enjoyed the ending. I hate hippies.
  61. @Dave Pinsen
    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?

    Everybody is too dismissive of alternate possibilities here: had the 226 incident succeeded, very possible Japan ends up at war with the Soviet Union rather than the United States. You’d have to someone butterfly away or get army command to ignore the drubbing the IJA took at Khalkin Gol and not let the navy and foreign ministry get their way in the early 1940s with the peace treaty with the USSR, but it’s quite possible. The mastermind behind the Manchurian Incident back in 1931, Lt. Col. Ishiwara, had views that were pretty normative among his milieu in the Kodo-ha: strike north and attack the Soviet Union first while keeping peace with the US… at least for now. Gain the natural resources that Japan needs in Siberia rather than Indonesia.

    Assuming things go according to schedule in Europe, this has profound implications: one of the things that saved Moscow in December 1941 were crack Siberian troops, used to fighting in brutal winter conditions, being transferred from the east. If the IJA is mucking about the east, Stalin can’t do that.

    • Replies: @Sparkon

    Gain the natural resources that Japan needs in Siberia rather than Indonesia.

    Assuming things go according to schedule in Europe, this has profound implications: one of the things that saved Moscow in December 1941 were crack Siberian troops, used to fighting in brutal winter conditions, being transferred from the east. If the IJA is mucking about the east, Stalin can’t do that.
     
    There were no significant numbers of crack Siberian troops on the Moscow front in 1941, nor had any been transferred west between June and December 1941. Please see Nigel Askey's thorough debunking of the hardened Siberians myth:

    So the question is; who stopped the Germans in December 1941 if it couldn’t possibly have been hordes of newly arrived Siberian or East Front troops?

    The answer is a massive number of newly mobilised and deployed divisions and brigades. The Soviet land model shows that 182 rifle divisions, 43 militia rifle divisions, eight tank divisions, three mechanised divisions, 62 tank brigades, 50 cavalry divisions, 55 rifle brigades, 21 naval rifle brigades, 11 naval infantry brigades, 41 armies, 11 fronts and a multitude of other units were newly Mobilised and Deployed (MD) in the second half of 1941.
    [...]
    There is no doubt that the 1941 Soviet mobilisation programme was simply the largest and fastest wartime mobilisation in history. The multitude of average Soviet soldiers from all over the USSR that made up these units saved the day, and definitely not the existing units transferred west after June 1941, or the mostly non-existent and mythical Siberian divisions.
     
    http://www.operationbarbarossa.net/the-siberian-divisions-and-the-battle-for-moscow-in-1941-42/

    The long and short of it is that Stalin and the Stavka had no need to denude Red Army forces in Siberia or the Far East when the Soviets had as many as 18 million trained reservists available. Due to the fact that the Soviet rail network's focal point was Moskva, it was relatively easy for Stalin and his generals to muster large numbers of new formations in the immediate vicinity of the Soviet capital.

    The Japanese could not advance even 10 miles against the Red Army in 1937 at Khalkin Gol, a Soviet victory enabled in large part by Zhukov's ability to resupply his forces by assembling a large fleet of motorized vehicles to bring in supplies via truck convoy from Chita, 370 miles away.

    The idea that Japan would have been able to exploit natural resources in Siberia is, frankly speaking, laughable.
    , @Anonymous
    There's no oil in eastern Siberia though, and that was what the Japanese needed.

    Lots of oil in western Siberia and the Caucuses, but that would have fallen to Germany. Japan would just be exchanging economic dependence on the U.S. for economic dependence on Germany.
  62. @dearieme
    Britain, likely could have, given leisure

    The atom bomb was invented by Leo Szilard on the kerb of Southampton Row in London. That's why the patent for the atom bomb was held by Szilard and the Admiralty.

    The British atom bomb project concluded that Britain couldn't do it quickly enough to be any use. That's why the British repeatedly nagged FDR to start an American project, eventually handing over their own work - a daring thing to do when the US was to be neutral for a while longer. Szilard, acting for himself and for Britain, persuaded Einstein to write his famous letter to FDR. Whether that letter much mattered I don't know. I suspect not: FDR's administration was rather disorganised.

    Anyway, Albert Einstein, British Secret Agent, wot larks! The name's Einshtein, Albert Einshtein!

    Spies aside, it is glaringly evident that Britain, Soviet Union, Germany…could not compete with the US re big science names who worked on nuclear programs. The list of them reads like Who is Who in physics & chemistry; of course, many less notable people had certainly contributed, sometimes, more than the big ones as regards solution of numerous technical problems.

    Just, one has to keep things in real perspective. Apart from Oppenheimer and Szilard, guys who worked on it included: E. Fermi, H. Bethe, V. Weisskopf, H. Urey, E. Lawrence, L. Alvarez, I.I. Rabi, S. Ulam, J. von Neumann, E. McMillan, G. Seaborg, R. Feynman, J. Schwinger, E. Wigner, J.A. Wheeler, E. Teller, J. Franck, G. Kistiakowsky, ..

    C’mon…

    • Replies: @dearieme
    And yet after the war Britain developed its own A-bomb and then H-bomb.
  63. @Jack D
    The movie was weak on plot but it was off the charts on capturing the atmosphere of the time and that is something. The plot of Tarantino movies rarely makes any sense but he is so good on a scene by scene basis that you forgive him. The one thing that I didn't like is that it made Sharon Tate out to be some sort of empty headed idiot.

    Casting the short NY Italian De Niro as the giant sized Philly Irishman Sheeran made no sense. Nor did it capture Sheeran's essence, which was that of a big Irish drunk. Nor did Pacino make a particularly convincing Hoffa. Doesn't Scorsese know any actors who are not Italian?

    Doesn’t Scorsese know any actors who are not Italian?

    Leo DiCaprio is, basically, German.

  64. @Colin Wright
    I just can't get behind those computer-generated aircraft. It may be more difficult and more expensive, but actual aircraft are perfectly possible and a lot more convincing: The Blue Max, Tora Tora Tora, Piece of Cake, Memphis Belle.

    As the years go on, it becomes more and more difficult to muster a convincing number of flyable warbirds. Even in Tora Tora Tora the Zeroes were not really Zeroes but Texans dressed up as Zeroes.

    These planes are now 75+ years old and are irreplaceable. Even flying them for joy rides is questionable and putting them thru combat stunts is criminal. The recent Collings Foundation B-17 crash not only destroyed the aircraft but took 7 lives for the sake of a joy ride. The plane was as well maintained as any 75 year old highly complex machine could be, the pilots were highly experienced and yet it still crashed. In the war, even putting aside all the combat losses, these things crashed by the dozens – they were just not very safe or reliable. Pilot error, mechanical failure, weather, whatever. The planes were built by the thousands, people were dying all around anyway, so one more plane crash was no big deal. But now we are in a different situation.

    You don’t want these planes to be museum pieces but I’m not sure they should be flying for fun anymore either. Maybe take them out and taxi them around once in a while or fly them once a year on important anniversaries, but every time you take one of them up you are risking not only lives but the destruction of cultural treasures.

    • Agree: El Dato
    • Replies: @istevefan

    The recent Collings Foundation B-17 crash not only destroyed the aircraft but took 7 lives for the sake of a joy ride.
     
    I paid $450 several years ago to take a 30 minute ride on that exact plane.
    , @William Badwhite
    My uncle (flew P-38's and later P-51's in the Pacific theater) said in the late 80's of the Reno Air Races:

    "all they're doing is burning up priceless engines...and not doing anything that wasn't done 40 years ago by better men".
    , @B36
    YOLO. What an experience to ride in a B-17 today! The overwhelming noise, the smell of fuel, the vibration, the wind. What impressed me was the thinness of the skin (fortress indeed!) and how small the bomb bay. I highly recommend if you have a chance.
    , @Steve Sailer
    I tried to look up how many Americans died in World War II in airplane crashes not in combat. It was over 10,000, including Carole Lombard and Glenn Miller.
  65. @Anonymous
    The Germans apparently were working on a less expensive, though cruder way to produce fissionable material today remembered as "The Nazi Bell". For decades cranks have promoted the idea that it was some sort of time machine, antigravity device, or method to communicate with aliens. Apparently the Allies really did almost certainly resort to skullduggery and outright assassination to "suppress the secrets" it entailed. They probably did this not to control time travel or antigravity, but because they figured that it would if perfected make it a lot easier for third world countries and nonstate actors to produce fissionable material, albeit of lower quality or more dangerously or more slowly than the accepted gaseous diffusion or centrifugal methods in use by the major players. It's possible that all the "woo-woo" theories were actually promulgated by US and/or British counterintelligence to deflect attention from the device's real purpose.

    The Manhattan Project was enormously expensive and tied up a great deal of manufacturing resources, and to have duplicated it exactly would have been beyond the wartime capacity of any other nation. If Germany had had a few more years of peace and quiet and actually had been motivated to do it, though, they might well have done it. Certainly, if the Germans today made the decision to become a nuclear power they could do it in a fairly short time, as could the Japanese, the Swedes, the Swiss, even the Italians.

    Sweden had a nuclear weapons program after WW2, but apparently decided it wasn’t worth it (ended in 1966). There were a number of obstacles at the time, but strategically that decision seems like a mistake.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_nuclear_weapons_program

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Sweden had a nuclear weapons program after WW2, but apparently decided it wasn’t worth it (ended in 1966).
     
    Other issues occupied their minds. Like driving on the right, and switching to a four-stroke engine.


    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7w7VZw2rX-E/WAPqZue1fPI/AAAAAAAALgs/0vLJIB4TbXM145BPFDPBb64PRH5hKPDsQCLcB/s1600/dagen_H_sweden_2.jpg

  66. @Pickle Rick
    Powers argued pretty much the same thing with the addition that Werner Heisenberg told the Nazi bigwigs in a meeting in 1940 that he couldn’t make a bomb before 1946. Thus, they never prioritized anything but a modest research effort dwarfed by the Manhattan Project, because the German war economy was always operating on the principle of blitzkreig. They never planned for a war of attrition. In fact, the most interest in nuclear fission came from the navy (to power U-boats) in the future Reich of the 1950s.
    Heisenberg didn’t want to make a bomb, whereas Oppenheimer desperately did. The motivation each had is a different story. https://www.amazon.com/Heisenbergs-War-Secret-History-German/dp/0306810115

    Heisenberg didn’t want to make a bomb

    “Those grapes were sour anyway.” What Heisenberg really wanted and what he said he wanted after he had failed in his mission and Germany had lost the war were two different things.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    "Are we a bit uncertain here, Herr Professor Heisenberg, ja??"

    Did Heisenberg get to manage this effort?

    Good luck in having the Prof run it, in the context of a strict hierarchy and toxic bureaucracy where errors are career-ending and the deathhead-decorated boss knows best in any case.

    One would have to physically get rid of the functionaries and party delegates first to get anything done. MP44s at dawn!

    https://i.imgur.com/zygcbx9.png
  67. @james wilson
    As German prisoners of war were transported from Norfolk to camps in Colorado, winding through Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the industrial mid-west, excepting true believers Germans to the man now knew the war was over.

    Did any of the Nazi leadership travel to the US before WW II or I? Hitler seemed to be rather provincial.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    Ribbentrop spent the immediate pre-WWI period in Canada, but that's the only guy I can think of.

    Hitler himself knew surprisingly more about the United States than you'd expect (including that Germany had no chance of winning a conventional war with us-that wasn't his strategy after late 1941), though ultimately his pathologically militant nature undermined this knowledge and his ideology twisted it, along with his well demonstrated political abilities in general. I'd recommend Klaus Fischer's book on the topic.

  68. @Gimeiyo

    Well, (1) we’re likely to declare war on her at some point — we were already getting pretty frosty about her behavior in China.
     
    Eh, I kind of disagree. The reason our history books talk up the "moral" embargo is we didn't actually have a real embargo. We did withdraw from our trade agreement in 1939, but we didn't really restrict critical supplies for the war in China until 1940 (metal), when Japan started to make moves on European colonies. And we didn't cut off our most important contribution to the Japanese invasion -- oil -- until August 1941, after the total occupation of French Indochina. We offered China no meaningful support between 1937 and 1941, particularly compared to Nazi Germany (until June 1938), and the Soviet Union (until April 1941), although the Soviets were also conniving to turn Xinjiang into a Soviet client state, as they had done with Outer Mongolia and the Japanese had done with Manchuria, but hey, any port in a storm.

    To the extent we cared about what Japan was doing in China, it was mostly stuff like when they accidentally on purpose sank the USS Panay during the Rape of Nanking. There's nothing to be proud of about our response to the second Sino-Japanese war.

    What was really at stake was the Open Door policy. Roosevelt was willing to do some things for the businessmen, contrary to his public image, but he was definitely not willing to do everything for them: and he was far more focused on Germany than Japan. On the Chinese side of things, though the KMT managed to get it somewhat revised, it was still in effect. Chiang was too busy doing everything he could to modernize China ASAP during the republic years to pick a fight over it, and he knew-like Deng’s successors would many decades later-that foreign investment had a role to play in China’s rise. That meant a lot of American investors had capital to lose if the Japanese were to dominate China.

    I’m sure the (far worse) Japanese atrocities added fuel to the fire, to be sure: but count me deeply cynical about the “moral” embargo, especially in the context of the KMT deliberately drowning hundreds of thousands/millions of people to stop the Japanese advance. And I’d heavily agree that German and Russian assistance (coming from blatantly immoral regimes) was far more important for the Chinese than American help until Pearl Harbor.

  69. @Lugash
    Did any of the Nazi leadership travel to the US before WW II or I? Hitler seemed to be rather provincial.

    Ribbentrop spent the immediate pre-WWI period in Canada, but that’s the only guy I can think of.

    Hitler himself knew surprisingly more about the United States than you’d expect (including that Germany had no chance of winning a conventional war with us-that wasn’t his strategy after late 1941), though ultimately his pathologically militant nature undermined this knowledge and his ideology twisted it, along with his well demonstrated political abilities in general. I’d recommend Klaus Fischer’s book on the topic.

  70. “Up until Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 D-Day movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood may have devoted more attention to the U.S. WWII effort against Japan than against Germany.”

    The Pacific war was the one Americans felt righteous about: sneak attacked by an dastardly enemy openly practicing vile atrocities. The European war was the one that the FDR’s Bolshevik infiltrators, Churchill’s financial backers, and Hitler’s foolishness all conspired to pull us into against a cousin population.

    Needless to say, while the casus belli against Japan was blaringly obvious but the casus belli against Germany was mere diplomatic wrangling, FDR, Churchill and the Deep State massively prioritized German hostilities over Japanese hostilities.

    P.S. I think it took 72 hours, not 36 hours, to repair Yorktown. But given that the forecast was 3 months, this was still commendable.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    If Hitler had been less mentally rigid, he would have taken his own observation, written to Mussolini in 1940, about Stalin nailing all the largely Jewish Old Bolsheviks and turning the USSR from an agent of world chaos into a neo-Tsarist Muscovite imperium with atheistic, proletarian slogans to its logical conclusion... you cut a deal with the Georgian BDSM master and set up a totalitarian alliance block stretching from Madrid to Tokyo, oriented against the Anglo-Saxons. It was the zeitgeist of the age, if only for a brief moment.

    Hitler seemed to grasp that, but some inertia just kept him going toward the "other" option. His own nature was consuming him by 1940. He still had enough mental flexibility to recognize his choice, unlike a few years later. He recognized around the time of FDR's reelection it was either set up that alliance block, or conquer Russia, because if he didn't do either, the American juggernaut inevitably supporting England was eventually going to be too much for Germany in isolation to overcome, no matter what tried. Time was of the essence, and he needed to decide now while Germany still had a card to play. Hitler did perceive reality correctly here: time was not on his side.

    History knows the decision he made a month later.

    But if Hitler were less mentally rigid and had less contempt for reality, he likely would never have risen from nothing to become a dictator in the first place. So, in a sense, it isn't worth talking about.

    , @Jack D

    the casus belli against Germany was mere diplomatic wrangling,
     
    Hitler declared war against the US, not vice versa. Even putting that aside, I would say that the US had ample cause not to want Hitler to win the war, not just for the sake of the British and Jews as Lindbergh said nor to save Europe from tyranny but for its own long term interests. If Hitler had really won the war in Europe he would have inevitably turned his eye toward the US - the only thing better than being master of Europe would have been being master of the entire world (his Japanese allies could keep Asia for the time being). And at that point, he would have been even hard to take on. With von Braun's rockets and Heisenberg's A-Bomb he could have nuked Washington.
  71. Good review of the film considering military history is not your specialty (no disrespect meant by that). As you pointed out, the USA would have certainly won WWII despite the Midway outcome due to overwhelming material and technical superiorority but a loss would almost certainly have prolonged the war by at least a year. New US carriers did not see combat until late summer 1943 with the famed F6F Hellcats aboard. However Midway was a big morale booster as it showed the US Navy could stand one to toe with the IJN without relying in overwhelming numbers.

    One quibble tho, the Zero was not the outstanding fighters everyone thinks it was, that’s one myth that should be put to rest. If anybody wants an example of what great PR can do, the Zero is it.

    • Agree: JMcG
    • Replies: @Ozymandias
    Wasn't the Zero both faster and more maneuverable than the Wildcat? Sure it burned like a kite, but you had to hit it first. Until the Hellcat was developed, Japanese fighters were superior. And when Japan introduced the N1K "George," it was the match of any Allied fighter, with its sole weakness being that it had only cannon rounds and a limited number of them. The George was basically a giant Zero. If Japan had still had the production capacity to make them and the pilots to fly them in number, they would have had a significant impact on the war.
    , @HunInTheSun
    Yes! Let us here and now forever bury the Cult of the Zero. It was underpowered, underarmoured and undergunned compared to its rival, the Grumman F4F Wildcat, and couldn’t make up for these deficiencies with lower weight, greater speed and superior maneuverability. By New Years 1943 the best of the IJN air corps had fallen under the guns of the American fighter, particularly in the Guadalcanal/Solomons campaign of 1942 which is largely forgotten. By the time the Hellcat and Corsair showed up in 1943, naval air operations by the Japanese were a suicide mission, and this outcome was in large part due to the excellent qualities of the vastly underrated Wildcat and her pilots.
  72. @Steve Sailer
    The Japanese didn't have any depth. They terrified everybody in 1941-42 with a strike force of 6 carriers that could range over one third of the globe. But when they lost ~250 pilots and 3000 of their bet sailors at Midway, they never really were able to replace them.

    Their training process was not much good.

    I'm wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

    Alan D. Zimm, in Attack on Pearl Harbor: Strategy, Combat, Myths Deceptions writes that new Zero fighters were towed BY OXEN from the factory to the airfield .

    Then again, the Wehrmacht was a largely horse drawn army in 1940 .

    • Replies: @syonredux

    Then again, the Wehrmacht was a largely horse drawn army in 1940 .

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_DnRn9hyFU
    , @Mr. Anon

    Then again, the Wehrmacht was a largely horse drawn army in 1940.
     
    In 1939 the only country with a fully mechanized army was Great Britain. At least I read that once in a credible source.
  73. If somebody is looking for a truly outstanding Japanese weapon it was the famed “Longlance” torpedo. It was surprising the USN could compete with the IJN early in the war as it had to depend on dive bombers to sink Japan’s ships while the IJN had effective dive. And torpedo weapons.

    • Replies: @El Dato

    It was surprising the USN could compete with the IJN early in the war as it had to depend on dive bombers to sink Japan’s ships while the IJN had effective dive. And torpedo weapons.
     
    I seem to remember that dive bombers are a far more effective weapon against ships than torpedoes deployed from low-flying planes that can be easily shot down.

    You can just have the hardened bomb bore itself through the weakly armor-plated top, instead of hoping the torpedo will get through the heavy armor plate on the sides.
  74. While the Japanese attacked the island, the Americans, under novice carrier commander Raymond “Electric Brain” Spruance, operating under the old military doctrine of “get their firstest with the mostest,” sent wave after wave of Devastator torpedo bombers followed by Dauntless dive-bombers against the Japanese carriers.

    (Spruance, a battleship admiral who took over from the ill Bull Halsey, played by Dennis Quaid, only days before the battle, is given less screen time than he deserves. But it would be hard to make credible how Spruance somehow mastered carrier warfare command en route to Midway.)

    While indiscriminately throwing waves of bombers at the Japanese fleet turned out to be the correct strategy, this was mostly because of good luck. Spruance was a good commander, doing what he could with what he had, but it is too much to say he “mastered” carrier warfare. What he had was a cobbled-together carrier force with mediocre planes, bad torpedoes, spotty intelligence and meagerly experienced pilots. That they arrived when they did, where they did and how they did—to deliver the decisive blow—was essentially luck. But fortune favors the bold, perhaps.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    AM, it wasn't quite like that; I understand your larger point about serendipity/Lady Luck/Murphy's Law, etc. However, Fletcher/Spruance were executing by the book. They sent their standard recon flights to look for the IJN, and as soon as they were located, launched the standard doctrinal attack of that time: fighters, dive bombers, torpedo planes. They were supposed to fly to the target and attack simultaneously; fighters to occupy the enemy CAP, then the dive bombers/torpedo planes overwhelm the targets. Torpedo planes were supposed to attack from both starboard/port to increase the chance of target hits. Miscommunication, for of war and the three different formations got separated and off-course: the torpedo planes went to the target (Nagumo's carriers) but arrived before fighter cover and dive bombers (who, fortunately deduced the correct vector to the carriers). The torpedo planes pulled the CAP down to the water and though most were shot down, pulling the CAP down opened up a window of vulnerability that the dive bombers arrived just in time to exploit.
  75. @Anonymous
    Actually, the Germans in 1940 were an industrial behemoth as compared to any other nation besides the United States. And in advanced precision manufacturing they were ahead of us in many ways. We could not manufacture a camera as good as a Rolleiflex, a Leica or a Contax, optically or mechanically. And the Junkers Jumo opposed piston diesel aircraft engines are still paragons of efficiency and reliability, they were even more efficient than the turbocompound Wright R-3350 radials in the Constellation and a lot less maintenance intensive.

    “Quantity has its own quality.” There’s no doubt that most of the German stuff was better on a 1 to 1 basis. Even German soldiers were better on a 1 to 1 basis. But it wasn’t a 1 to 1 basis, it was more like a 1 to 10 basis and in the end that was decisive.

    Hitler’s idea that he could take on not just the British but the US AND the USSR all at once was kinda nuts. In WWI, the Russian were weak, the Americans came late and the Germans STILL lost so how he thought he was going to win the rematch I dunno. The Blitzkrieg worked in France but once the war turned into a long slog then the outcome had to be the same as the last time.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    . In WWI, the Russian were weak, the Americans came late and the Germans STILL lost so how he thought he was going to win the rematch I dunno. The Blitzkrieg worked in France but once the war turned into a long slog then the outcome had to be the same as the last time.
     
    All things considered, the Germans got closer to victory in 1914-18 than they did in 1939-45. After all, unlike in WW2, they actually managed to knock the Russians out of the war....Sending Lenin back to his homeland certainly paid-off big time for the Kaiser....

    In the treaty, Russia ceded hegemony over the Baltic states to Germany; they were meant to become German vassal states under German princelings.[3] Russia also ceded its province of Kars Oblast in the South Caucasus to the Ottoman Empire and recognized the independence of Ukraine. According to historian Spencer Tucker, "The German General Staff had formulated extraordinarily harsh terms that shocked even the German negotiator."[4] Congress Poland was not mentioned in the treaty, as Germans refused to recognize the existence of any Polish representatives, which in turn led to Polish protests.[5] When Germans later complained that the later Treaty of Versailles in the West of 1919 was too harsh on them, the Allied Powers responded that it was more benign than the terms imposed by Brest-Litovsk treaty.[6]
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Brest-Litovsk
    , @nebulafox
    >“Those grapes were sour anyway.” What Heisenberg really wanted and what he said he wanted after he had failed in his mission and Germany had lost the war were two different things.

    Leaving aside what Heisenberg really wanted, he was a theorist, not a manager. His interest after quantum mechanics was turbulence and vortices, for Chrissakes: I used to work on the quantum versions of those in cold atoms. I can vouch for the fact that ain't the skill-set needed. You might as well have put Schrodinger, Hahn, Born or Pauli in charge of making an atomic bomb.

    J. Robert Oppenheimer was a rare find in being a theoretical physicist with deep intellectual interests all over the place-and being a verbally skilled possible manager on top of that. American Prometheus, indeed.

    > In WWI, the Russian were weak, the Americans came late and the Germans STILL lost so how he thought he was going to win the rematch I dunno. The Blitzkrieg worked in France but once the war turned into a long slog then the outcome had to be the same as the last time.

    The Russians weren't quite as weak as conventionally supposed in WWI (although the Red Army was a far different, stronger beast than the Tsarist one was, something the Germans just refused to get in 1941), but the internal entropy of the Tsarist state just could not handle another war after 1905. Influential figures within the state knew that and wisely urged peace for the time being, but they weren't listened to. Nicholas II, like many dim bulb leaders in history, thought that gambling on a quick, patriotic war would be a costless way of stabilizing the regime without any effort on his part. By the time the Brusilov Offensive was in the works, it was already too late: Islamic inspired uprisings out in Central Asia were already breaking out. It wouldn't be until the mid-1920s that the Soviets ("we're for all oppressed colonial peoples!") finally put out those fires: using more brutal means than the Tsars ever did, which is saying a lot.

    As for Hitler, I alluded to it above: by late 1941, his goal was not winning militarily anymore. He knew that was no longer possible. He was opting for a Frederickian strategy instead.

  76. @TGGP

    Up until Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 D-Day movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood may have devoted more attention to the U.S. WWII effort against Japan than against Germany.
     
    That seems surprising to me, although I'm younger than you. We're generally less interested in Asia than Europe so far fewer have heard of the Rape of Nanking compared to the Holocaust, its easier to get actors to play Euro-baddies than Japanese, and a lot of the fighting in the Pacific was over islands nobody cares about in a long slog against an outmatched enemy. I think we tend to find armies more interesting than navies as well, although I suppose a more maritime nation like the U.K could see things differently.

    I think we tend to find armies more interesting than navies as well, although I suppose a more maritime nation like the U.K could see things differently.

    Dunno. The USA has a pretty impressive maritime history:John Paul Jones, Stephen Decatur, “Old Ironsdes” (AKA The USS Constitution), David Farragut , George Dewey, Clipper ships, ……

  77. @Almost Missouri

    "Up until Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 D-Day movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood may have devoted more attention to the U.S. WWII effort against Japan than against Germany."
     
    The Pacific war was the one Americans felt righteous about: sneak attacked by an dastardly enemy openly practicing vile atrocities. The European war was the one that the FDR's Bolshevik infiltrators, Churchill's financial backers, and Hitler's foolishness all conspired to pull us into against a cousin population.

    Needless to say, while the casus belli against Japan was blaringly obvious but the casus belli against Germany was mere diplomatic wrangling, FDR, Churchill and the Deep State massively prioritized German hostilities over Japanese hostilities.

    P.S. I think it took 72 hours, not 36 hours, to repair Yorktown. But given that the forecast was 3 months, this was still commendable.

    If Hitler had been less mentally rigid, he would have taken his own observation, written to Mussolini in 1940, about Stalin nailing all the largely Jewish Old Bolsheviks and turning the USSR from an agent of world chaos into a neo-Tsarist Muscovite imperium with atheistic, proletarian slogans to its logical conclusion… you cut a deal with the Georgian BDSM master and set up a totalitarian alliance block stretching from Madrid to Tokyo, oriented against the Anglo-Saxons. It was the zeitgeist of the age, if only for a brief moment.

    Hitler seemed to grasp that, but some inertia just kept him going toward the “other” option. His own nature was consuming him by 1940. He still had enough mental flexibility to recognize his choice, unlike a few years later. He recognized around the time of FDR’s reelection it was either set up that alliance block, or conquer Russia, because if he didn’t do either, the American juggernaut inevitably supporting England was eventually going to be too much for Germany in isolation to overcome, no matter what tried. Time was of the essence, and he needed to decide now while Germany still had a card to play. Hitler did perceive reality correctly here: time was not on his side.

    History knows the decision he made a month later.

    But if Hitler were less mentally rigid and had less contempt for reality, he likely would never have risen from nothing to become a dictator in the first place. So, in a sense, it isn’t worth talking about.

    • Replies: @Jack D

    you cut a deal with the Georgian BDSM master
     
    Stalin thought that he had such a deal already and was pretty shocked to find out that he had been double crossed. I guess there's no honor among thieves.

    Putting aside that Hitler was like the scorpion in the parable - it was in his nature to bite, he must have done the math and realized that Germany needed the Lebensraum. Stalin at that time and with his shitty system of collectivization could not feed his own population let alone Germany's so he wasn't going to be the bread basket for his German ally. Hitler's long term plan was to put together a nation that stretched from sea to shining sea just like the US so that he could punch against America with equal weight.

    Hitler actually liked and admired the Americans (and the British) in certain respects and wanted to be more like us, at least when it suited him. Unfortunately, one of the things that he liked was Henry Ford's anti-Semitism which was influential on this own thinking. Even the striped prisoner outfits was an American idea.

    , @Almost Missouri
    Agree. All our rationally-based Monday morning quarterbacking of WWII ignores the fact that key Axis leaders, Hitler in particular, were not acting rationally by 1941, so our rational arguments about what they coulda shoulda woulda done are basically irrelevant. And also agree that what made Hitler successful 1933-1940 also made him catastrophic 1941-1945.
  78. @Steve Sailer
    The American A-bomb project was hugely expensive. It replied upon giant hydroelectric dams that had only gone up in the last few years in the Tennessee Valley and the Columbia River. I dunno if anybody else had the resources and the peaceful homefront to do anything like this.

    I was surprised to hear* that Germany’s V1 and V2 programs were 50% more expensive than the Manhattan Project. Which implies that had Hitler focused on nukes rather than strategically useless but whizz-bangy V-weapons, Germany could have had them.

    *Maybe from Victor Davis Hanson’s The Second World Wars?

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
  79. @PiltdownMan

    I’m wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

     

    From Wikipedia:

    Between 1925 and 1936, the United States Big Three automakers' Japanese subsidiaries produced a total of 208,967 vehicles, compared to the domestic producers total of 12,127 vehicles
     
    By contrast, automobile production in the United States in those years sometimes exceeded 2 million cars annually, and fell as low as 900,000 for only a single year, 1932, the worst year of the Depression.

    We sometimes overlook the fact that America has been much bigger than most other industrial economies for a really long time, ever since total steel production in the US exceeded that of Great Britain in the 1880s.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_Japan#Timeline_of_the_Japanese_car_industry

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Automobile_Production_Figures

    A problem of “gotta go fast using whatever is available” (including a wrong psychology to approach engineering problems) surprisingly well captured in the (not quite historically accurate) Hayao Miyazaki’s ode to the designer of the Zero, “The Wind Rises”.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    Thank you for mentioning that! PiltdownChild2 has asked for, and will be getting, half-a-dozen blu-ray discs of movies by Hayao Miyazaki, for Christmas. I'm going to add The Wind Rises to that list.

    https://youtu.be/imtdgdGOB6Q
  80. @Almost Missouri

    "Up until Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 D-Day movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood may have devoted more attention to the U.S. WWII effort against Japan than against Germany."
     
    The Pacific war was the one Americans felt righteous about: sneak attacked by an dastardly enemy openly practicing vile atrocities. The European war was the one that the FDR's Bolshevik infiltrators, Churchill's financial backers, and Hitler's foolishness all conspired to pull us into against a cousin population.

    Needless to say, while the casus belli against Japan was blaringly obvious but the casus belli against Germany was mere diplomatic wrangling, FDR, Churchill and the Deep State massively prioritized German hostilities over Japanese hostilities.

    P.S. I think it took 72 hours, not 36 hours, to repair Yorktown. But given that the forecast was 3 months, this was still commendable.

    the casus belli against Germany was mere diplomatic wrangling,

    Hitler declared war against the US, not vice versa. Even putting that aside, I would say that the US had ample cause not to want Hitler to win the war, not just for the sake of the British and Jews as Lindbergh said nor to save Europe from tyranny but for its own long term interests. If Hitler had really won the war in Europe he would have inevitably turned his eye toward the US – the only thing better than being master of Europe would have been being master of the entire world (his Japanese allies could keep Asia for the time being). And at that point, he would have been even hard to take on. With von Braun’s rockets and Heisenberg’s A-Bomb he could have nuked Washington.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    '...If Hitler had really won the war in Europe he would have inevitably turned his eye toward the US – the only thing better than being master of Europe would have been being master of the entire world...'

    Without wishing to defend Hitler, that's a propagandistic fantasy.

    Hitler's ambitions were decidedly regional. Far from intending to eventually conquer the globe, he visualized a world of four great powers: Germany, the United States, Britain, and Japan.

    We claimed he had wider ambitions so as to justify an American build up for war -- he's coming to get us. but those ambitions never existed.

    , @Almost Missouri
    Not necessarily disagreeing,* just explaining why American popular interest was more with the Pacific war than with the logistically prioritized European war.

    *Okay, quibbling some:

    Yes, Hitler declared war on the US, much to the relief of FDR and Churchill who had been trying to sneak the US into the European war for years. No doubt the Axis leaders had noticed this, but then it was foolish of them to do the Allies' parliamentary dirty work for them and give them the unnecessary war they had been seeking.

    And suppose Germany had won in Europe? About the best case scenario for Hitler was nebulafox's "you cut a deal with the Georgian BDSM master and set up a totalitarian alliance block stretching from Madrid to Tokyo, oriented against the Anglo-Saxons." But even then, unlike the Anglo-Saxon (US-UK-Canada-Aus-NZ-ZA-etc.) alliance of intermingled command structure, mutual materiel support and interchangeable equipment, the Axis Eurasian alliance would be mutually suspicious bellicose dictatorships, in separate logistical stovepipes, rubbing their sharp elbows against one another's mutually abutting empires. At best for them, it would have been a recapitulation of the Cold War, just without the NATO Franco-West German beachhead on the Eurasian continent, which turned out not to matter anyway. But then, the Cold War is what happened anyway, so we're not really worse off inasmuch as we experienced a version of their best case scenario anyway.

    Likely this counterfactual Cold War would have ended the same way the real one did: with the Eurasian power succumbing under the weight its internal economic and spiritual contradictions, followed a generation later by the Anglo-Saxon power succumbing under the weight of its cultural and social contradictions.

    Nippo-Soviet oppression might have held back the rise of modern China a bit, though Communism did a pretty good job of holding China back without any outside help anyway. So once again the paradox that winning/losing epic wars doesn't seem to matter much in long the run. Winning/losing demographic displacements, OTOH...
  81. @Jack D
    "Quantity has its own quality." There's no doubt that most of the German stuff was better on a 1 to 1 basis. Even German soldiers were better on a 1 to 1 basis. But it wasn't a 1 to 1 basis, it was more like a 1 to 10 basis and in the end that was decisive.

    Hitler's idea that he could take on not just the British but the US AND the USSR all at once was kinda nuts. In WWI, the Russian were weak, the Americans came late and the Germans STILL lost so how he thought he was going to win the rematch I dunno. The Blitzkrieg worked in France but once the war turned into a long slog then the outcome had to be the same as the last time.

    . In WWI, the Russian were weak, the Americans came late and the Germans STILL lost so how he thought he was going to win the rematch I dunno. The Blitzkrieg worked in France but once the war turned into a long slog then the outcome had to be the same as the last time.

    All things considered, the Germans got closer to victory in 1914-18 than they did in 1939-45. After all, unlike in WW2, they actually managed to knock the Russians out of the war….Sending Lenin back to his homeland certainly paid-off big time for the Kaiser….

    In the treaty, Russia ceded hegemony over the Baltic states to Germany; they were meant to become German vassal states under German princelings.[3] Russia also ceded its province of Kars Oblast in the South Caucasus to the Ottoman Empire and recognized the independence of Ukraine. According to historian Spencer Tucker, “The German General Staff had formulated extraordinarily harsh terms that shocked even the German negotiator.”[4] Congress Poland was not mentioned in the treaty, as Germans refused to recognize the existence of any Polish representatives, which in turn led to Polish protests.[5] When Germans later complained that the later Treaty of Versailles in the West of 1919 was too harsh on them, the Allied Powers responded that it was more benign than the terms imposed by Brest-Litovsk treaty.[6]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Brest-Litovsk

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    The Germans never really stood a chance of winning WWII militarily. Operation Seelion was never going to take place because the Kriegsmarine just wasn't strong enough to eject the Royal Navy: and even if they were, what then? Hitler himself knew that if the Germans somehow occupied London, Churchill could just evacuate to Canada, and that'd directly bring in the USA. And Hitler's vision of merciless racial war and genocide in the east precluded any chance of letting Stalin sign a BL-esque treaty. I should add: Stalin was fully willing to do that around August/September 1941. Hitler, for his part, occasionally groped at the idea during particularly depressive moodswings late in the year, but inherently preferred the idea of apocalyptic war.

    WWI, by contrast, largely came down to American intervention. Had that not happened, we can safely say that history would be quite different. There would have had to have been some compromise peace on the Western Front for all the gung-ho rhetoric of uncompromising victory, because everybody involved was bled absolutely white. The French had to deal with serious internal military revolts a full year before the Germans did.

    As a side note, the interactions that took place at Brest-Litovsk are always entertaining to read about: the new Bolshevik intelligentsia leaders telling silent bespectacled Prussian officers cheerfully that they'll soon bring revolution to their country, too: and in a tone of voice that implies they should be happy about it.

  82. @dearieme
    Britain, likely could have, given leisure

    The atom bomb was invented by Leo Szilard on the kerb of Southampton Row in London. That's why the patent for the atom bomb was held by Szilard and the Admiralty.

    The British atom bomb project concluded that Britain couldn't do it quickly enough to be any use. That's why the British repeatedly nagged FDR to start an American project, eventually handing over their own work - a daring thing to do when the US was to be neutral for a while longer. Szilard, acting for himself and for Britain, persuaded Einstein to write his famous letter to FDR. Whether that letter much mattered I don't know. I suspect not: FDR's administration was rather disorganised.

    Anyway, Albert Einstein, British Secret Agent, wot larks! The name's Einshtein, Albert Einshtein!

    ‘The atom bomb was invented by Leo Szilard on the kerb of Southampton Row in London…’

    Be that as it may, by the early 1940’s, it was no longer a matter of ‘inventing’ the atomic bomb — any more than by the sixties it was a question of ‘inventing’ the moon rocket.

    Everyone understood how an atomic bomb would work — in principle. The Italians, the Japanese, the Russians, the Germans, the French, the Britons, the Americans — they all understood it.

    It was a question of working out precisely how to actually build the thing — an undertaking that still baffles most. That was an engineering problem — and a big, expensive one. That’s why we were the ones to actually accomplish it.

    It’s the difference between understanding how a car works and actually making one. I understand most of the systems of a car — well, through about nineteen eighty, anyway. I can even fix most of them.

    Put me on a desert island, and it might be a while before I can present you with that Ford Fairlane. How to spin copper wire…hmm.

    • Replies: @onetwothree
    *how to actually build the thing*

    Take two pieces of U-235 and slam them together with cannon. Heck, slam them together with your hands. Done. Of course, the hard part is getting the U-235.
  83. @Jack D

    Heisenberg didn’t want to make a bomb
     
    "Those grapes were sour anyway." What Heisenberg really wanted and what he said he wanted after he had failed in his mission and Germany had lost the war were two different things.

    “Are we a bit uncertain here, Herr Professor Heisenberg, ja??”

    Did Heisenberg get to manage this effort?

    Good luck in having the Prof run it, in the context of a strict hierarchy and toxic bureaucracy where errors are career-ending and the deathhead-decorated boss knows best in any case.

    One would have to physically get rid of the functionaries and party delegates first to get anything done. MP44s at dawn!

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    " MP44s at dawn!"

    The Heer really blew it in not developing a timely semi-automatic rifle for their soldier (G-43). If they put forth R&D and then manufacturing for such items, imagine how much more efficient their soldiers would be. The USA would not have had superiority with the 1936 M-1 Garand rifle over German Mauser bolt actions.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnXBshjGFo8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sRRn37PDaQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXkpFajH66A

  84. @Jack D
    "Quantity has its own quality." There's no doubt that most of the German stuff was better on a 1 to 1 basis. Even German soldiers were better on a 1 to 1 basis. But it wasn't a 1 to 1 basis, it was more like a 1 to 10 basis and in the end that was decisive.

    Hitler's idea that he could take on not just the British but the US AND the USSR all at once was kinda nuts. In WWI, the Russian were weak, the Americans came late and the Germans STILL lost so how he thought he was going to win the rematch I dunno. The Blitzkrieg worked in France but once the war turned into a long slog then the outcome had to be the same as the last time.

    >“Those grapes were sour anyway.” What Heisenberg really wanted and what he said he wanted after he had failed in his mission and Germany had lost the war were two different things.

    Leaving aside what Heisenberg really wanted, he was a theorist, not a manager. His interest after quantum mechanics was turbulence and vortices, for Chrissakes: I used to work on the quantum versions of those in cold atoms. I can vouch for the fact that ain’t the skill-set needed. You might as well have put Schrodinger, Hahn, Born or Pauli in charge of making an atomic bomb.

    J. Robert Oppenheimer was a rare find in being a theoretical physicist with deep intellectual interests all over the place-and being a verbally skilled possible manager on top of that. American Prometheus, indeed.

    > In WWI, the Russian were weak, the Americans came late and the Germans STILL lost so how he thought he was going to win the rematch I dunno. The Blitzkrieg worked in France but once the war turned into a long slog then the outcome had to be the same as the last time.

    The Russians weren’t quite as weak as conventionally supposed in WWI (although the Red Army was a far different, stronger beast than the Tsarist one was, something the Germans just refused to get in 1941), but the internal entropy of the Tsarist state just could not handle another war after 1905. Influential figures within the state knew that and wisely urged peace for the time being, but they weren’t listened to. Nicholas II, like many dim bulb leaders in history, thought that gambling on a quick, patriotic war would be a costless way of stabilizing the regime without any effort on his part. By the time the Brusilov Offensive was in the works, it was already too late: Islamic inspired uprisings out in Central Asia were already breaking out. It wouldn’t be until the mid-1920s that the Soviets (“we’re for all oppressed colonial peoples!”) finally put out those fires: using more brutal means than the Tsars ever did, which is saying a lot.

    As for Hitler, I alluded to it above: by late 1941, his goal was not winning militarily anymore. He knew that was no longer possible. He was opting for a Frederickian strategy instead.

  85. @nebulafox
    If Hitler had been less mentally rigid, he would have taken his own observation, written to Mussolini in 1940, about Stalin nailing all the largely Jewish Old Bolsheviks and turning the USSR from an agent of world chaos into a neo-Tsarist Muscovite imperium with atheistic, proletarian slogans to its logical conclusion... you cut a deal with the Georgian BDSM master and set up a totalitarian alliance block stretching from Madrid to Tokyo, oriented against the Anglo-Saxons. It was the zeitgeist of the age, if only for a brief moment.

    Hitler seemed to grasp that, but some inertia just kept him going toward the "other" option. His own nature was consuming him by 1940. He still had enough mental flexibility to recognize his choice, unlike a few years later. He recognized around the time of FDR's reelection it was either set up that alliance block, or conquer Russia, because if he didn't do either, the American juggernaut inevitably supporting England was eventually going to be too much for Germany in isolation to overcome, no matter what tried. Time was of the essence, and he needed to decide now while Germany still had a card to play. Hitler did perceive reality correctly here: time was not on his side.

    History knows the decision he made a month later.

    But if Hitler were less mentally rigid and had less contempt for reality, he likely would never have risen from nothing to become a dictator in the first place. So, in a sense, it isn't worth talking about.

    you cut a deal with the Georgian BDSM master

    Stalin thought that he had such a deal already and was pretty shocked to find out that he had been double crossed. I guess there’s no honor among thieves.

    Putting aside that Hitler was like the scorpion in the parable – it was in his nature to bite, he must have done the math and realized that Germany needed the Lebensraum. Stalin at that time and with his shitty system of collectivization could not feed his own population let alone Germany’s so he wasn’t going to be the bread basket for his German ally. Hitler’s long term plan was to put together a nation that stretched from sea to shining sea just like the US so that he could punch against America with equal weight.

    Hitler actually liked and admired the Americans (and the British) in certain respects and wanted to be more like us, at least when it suited him. Unfortunately, one of the things that he liked was Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism which was influential on this own thinking. Even the striped prisoner outfits was an American idea.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    Stalin looked at Hitler as a Teutonic version of himself, and Roosevelt thought that Hitler was essentially a puppet of the old Prussian aristocratic class. Both men were utterly, totally wrong: both views betray more about them than anything else.

    Winston Churchill, by contrast, uniquely got who Hitler was on an base, fundamental level. That's more than you can say for just about anyone else.

    > Stalin at that time and with his shitty system of collectivization could not feed his own population let alone Germany’s so he wasn’t going to be the bread basket for his German ally.

    My impression was that the USSR's famine years were over by 1940-if I'm wrong, then tell me-not that Stalin would have especially cared. It's worth pondering if the Bolshevik regime would have survived as long as it did if Barbarossa didn't happen, though. Paradoxical as it sounds, the war truly bound the people emotionally to the regime long after it became clear that Communism wasn't working. And the USSR was a very unnatural construct marked by its gestation... when I was reading Smele's book on the Russian Civil War, he makes the point that we really should have been more shocked the USSR lasted as long as it did than we were by the collapse.

    What is tellingly absent from Hitler's thinking is any interest in utilizing modern technology to gain more crops from less land. It shows how irrevocably stamped by his age he was.

    >Hitler’s long term plan was to put together a nation that stretched from sea to shining sea just like the US so that he could punch against America with equal weight.

    Yupper. My alternate history tangent above assumes Hitler had the mental flexibility to move away from such a vision. Historical singularities generally don't like to settle.

    This boils down to what I keep saying about Hitler every single time he comes up as a subject topic: it's ultimately useless to discuss him doing things differently, because I suspect mentally he was literally incapable of adjusting his strategic visions, if it became clear they were unlikely to work out. He could discuss letting go or intellectually think about doing so, and he was endlessly flexible when it came to tactical decisions during his "politician" phase, but that was it. This was something that was deeply consistent: you can see it as much in the Beer Hall Putsch as you can the declaration of war on the United States. The Hitler here and there are very much the same guy. There's no maturation or change, only a discarded mask.

    >Unfortunately, one of the things that he liked was Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism which was influential on this own thinking.

    Henry Ford was influential on everybody, including the Bolsheviks. Not arguing he didn't influence Hitler, but I don't think he was a particularly decisive one in terms of ideology: by his prison term after the putsch, Hitler's ideology was in the process of consolidation, not the first steps of formation. Economically, might have been a different story, to the extent that Hitler cared about economics.

    The White Russians and Baltic Germans he met around 1919/1920, though, are a different story. The whole thesis of Judeo-Bolshevism betrays very White Russian, Ungarn-esque origins. Not an accident that it was Alfred Rosenberg who introduced himself to Eckart as a "fighter against Juda" without preamble.

    Due to his personal circumstances and mentality at the time, I suspect that Hitler's brain probably had less barriers during this year or two than at any point before or after. That's not all of the story-I don't think Hitler was going to become an Anglo-Saxon style democrat or hanker for the restoration of the monarchy, no matter who he talked to-but that's not nothing, either. Note that notions of Slavic racial inferiority did not become particularly prominent until a few years later.

  86. @Jack D

    the casus belli against Germany was mere diplomatic wrangling,
     
    Hitler declared war against the US, not vice versa. Even putting that aside, I would say that the US had ample cause not to want Hitler to win the war, not just for the sake of the British and Jews as Lindbergh said nor to save Europe from tyranny but for its own long term interests. If Hitler had really won the war in Europe he would have inevitably turned his eye toward the US - the only thing better than being master of Europe would have been being master of the entire world (his Japanese allies could keep Asia for the time being). And at that point, he would have been even hard to take on. With von Braun's rockets and Heisenberg's A-Bomb he could have nuked Washington.

    ‘…If Hitler had really won the war in Europe he would have inevitably turned his eye toward the US – the only thing better than being master of Europe would have been being master of the entire world…’

    Without wishing to defend Hitler, that’s a propagandistic fantasy.

    Hitler’s ambitions were decidedly regional. Far from intending to eventually conquer the globe, he visualized a world of four great powers: Germany, the United States, Britain, and Japan.

    We claimed he had wider ambitions so as to justify an American build up for war — he’s coming to get us. but those ambitions never existed.

    • Replies: @Rupert
    Well put, and thank you.
  87. @Dave Pinsen
    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?

    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?

    If you are interested in hypotheticals like that wargames like
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearts_of_Iron_II
    or its sequels can be useful for getting an idea of what an overwhelming task the Axis faced. The geographic scope of their intended conquests dwarfed the combatants. Just maintaining control of that much territory and population after conquering it is difficult.

    In this case I think the other responses covered the main points. The two things I would emphasize are:
    1. Given the recent 1941 and earlier history and geopolitics could Japan avoid fighting the US eventually?
    2. The Japanese felt they had a temporary military advantage. Given the superior size, population, and resources of their potential enemies, and with the US and the Allies fighting at that time all ramping up war production, that was not going to last long.

  88. RE: Midway,

    For a TV mini-series budget, War and Remembrance did a fairly good job:

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    All I remember about that TV mini-series is the idealistic old professor, played by John Gielgud, getting gassed.
  89. @syonredux

    . In WWI, the Russian were weak, the Americans came late and the Germans STILL lost so how he thought he was going to win the rematch I dunno. The Blitzkrieg worked in France but once the war turned into a long slog then the outcome had to be the same as the last time.
     
    All things considered, the Germans got closer to victory in 1914-18 than they did in 1939-45. After all, unlike in WW2, they actually managed to knock the Russians out of the war....Sending Lenin back to his homeland certainly paid-off big time for the Kaiser....

    In the treaty, Russia ceded hegemony over the Baltic states to Germany; they were meant to become German vassal states under German princelings.[3] Russia also ceded its province of Kars Oblast in the South Caucasus to the Ottoman Empire and recognized the independence of Ukraine. According to historian Spencer Tucker, "The German General Staff had formulated extraordinarily harsh terms that shocked even the German negotiator."[4] Congress Poland was not mentioned in the treaty, as Germans refused to recognize the existence of any Polish representatives, which in turn led to Polish protests.[5] When Germans later complained that the later Treaty of Versailles in the West of 1919 was too harsh on them, the Allied Powers responded that it was more benign than the terms imposed by Brest-Litovsk treaty.[6]
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Brest-Litovsk

    The Germans never really stood a chance of winning WWII militarily. Operation Seelion was never going to take place because the Kriegsmarine just wasn’t strong enough to eject the Royal Navy: and even if they were, what then? Hitler himself knew that if the Germans somehow occupied London, Churchill could just evacuate to Canada, and that’d directly bring in the USA. And Hitler’s vision of merciless racial war and genocide in the east precluded any chance of letting Stalin sign a BL-esque treaty. I should add: Stalin was fully willing to do that around August/September 1941. Hitler, for his part, occasionally groped at the idea during particularly depressive moodswings late in the year, but inherently preferred the idea of apocalyptic war.

    WWI, by contrast, largely came down to American intervention. Had that not happened, we can safely say that history would be quite different. There would have had to have been some compromise peace on the Western Front for all the gung-ho rhetoric of uncompromising victory, because everybody involved was bled absolutely white. The French had to deal with serious internal military revolts a full year before the Germans did.

    As a side note, the interactions that took place at Brest-Litovsk are always entertaining to read about: the new Bolshevik intelligentsia leaders telling silent bespectacled Prussian officers cheerfully that they’ll soon bring revolution to their country, too: and in a tone of voice that implies they should be happy about it.

    • Replies: @Ozymandias
    "Hitler himself knew that if the Germans somehow occupied London, Churchill could just evacuate to Canada, and that’d directly bring in the USA."

    And the US would have based their beach landing from where?
    , @Colin Wright
    'The Germans never really stood a chance of winning WWII militarily. Operation Seelion was never going to take place because the Kriegsmarine just wasn’t strong enough to eject the Royal Navy...'

    I disagree. Seelowe wasn't going to work, but that wasn't the only arrow in the German quiver. The Germans could have wiped out the BEF at Dunkirk. That might well have tipped the British into suing for peace right there.

    Other moves include more aggressively seeking use of Spanish and French bases and going after Britain's sea lanes more vigorously and effectively. In the East, I'll insist the Germans could have simply driven for Moscow, taken it by September 1941, and brought about the collapse of the Soviet state. That doesn't win the war -- the US expected the Soviet Union to collapse and was planning accordingly -- but it sure helps.

    Probably the two winning moves are driving Britain out of the war in June 1940 along with France, and then going for the jugular against Russia. The US never enters the war, and Germany has won. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, and the destruction of the BEF in particular doesn't guarantee Britain doesn't fight on -- but the above scenario both consists of plausible moves and has a reasonable chance of resulting in final victory.
    , @Jack Henson
    That's kind of a massive assumption that the US would have been more hot to trot to get involved in a European War after Churchill fled the UK.
  90. @Steve Sailer
    Yeah, I watched "The Battle of the Bulge" expecting it to be like "The Longest Day," but it had almost nothing to do with the historical events. I don't have a link to the explanation I read once that the script had started as a Western and then got repurposed to the WWII epic genre popular at the time, but it makes sense of a movie that otherwise doesn't make much sense.

    The contemporary NYT review makes a Western comparison:
    https://www.nytimes.com/1965/12/18/archives/screen-fonda-in-battle-of-the-bulgefilm-opens-at-warner-cinerama.html

    And it is a cruel deception to describe the climax of the Battle of the Bulge as a ranging of German tanks against Americans across a broad plain in the manner of a Western movie cavalry-and-Indian charge.

    This 2003 IMDB review sounds just like your explanation: https://www.imdb.com/review/rw0088356

    One has to assume that someone had a cavalry western script but realized westerns weren’t selling any more, so they sold it by doing a quick rewrite to make it a war movie. Henry Fonda is the grizzled scout who insists the Indians are about to attack, based on his reading of the signs in the dirt, and who pulls his boss, the general, out of the fire time and again. Yes, it’s Hank who, in the first skirmish, moves up to see if the Indians have a cache of rifles, who recognizes their leader as an escaped renegade fighter-Indian, who discovers that the friendly Crows at the pass are actually deadly Apaches in disguise, who, at a number of critical points, goes out with his young partner to scout around and comes back to the campfire with vital information, who realizes that the big battle is actually a ruse for the Indians to send a party to the water hole to fill their canteens with badly needed water, and who, with an arrow sticking through his shoulder, singlehandedly leads a few raw recruits in a clever maneuver to keep the Indians from the water hole and saves the day. In the last shot, the Indians march back to the reservation across the desert. The Fonda character, in particular, seems to still be in that western. He isn’t just A scout, he’s THE scout, the only scout, and all intelligence info that’s important to the battle is his. The other characters fit the western mold pretty well also, including Shaw’s Nazi. Only the Savalas character is indelibly out of WW II (or, more accurately, out of the Bilko show).

  91. Japanese Destroyer Captain is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in a look at the WWII naval war in the Pacific through contemporary Japanese eyes.

    • Replies: @JMcG
    Thank you
  92. @Anon

    To this day, nobody knows what the Japanese would have done if they had won at Midway: perhaps raid the West Coast or try to seize Hawaii and take the wives and children of the American servicemen as hostages.
     
    A bit of projection? From Wikipedia on Curtis "I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal" LeMay:

    LeMay commanded subsequent B-29 Superfortress combat operations against Japan, including massive incendiary attacks on 67 Japanese cities and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This included the firebombing of Tokyo -- known in official documents as the "Operation Meetinghouse" air raid on the night of March 9-10, 1945 -- which proved to be the single most destructive bombing raid of the war. For this first attack, LeMay ordered the defensive guns removed from 325 B-29s, loaded each plane with Model M-47 incendiary clusters, magnesium bombs, white phosphorus bombs, and napalm, and ordered the bombers to fly in streams at 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,500 to 2,700 m) over Tokyo. LeMay described Operation Meetinghouse by saying "the US had finally stopped swatting at flies and gone after the manure pile".
     

    No projection needed. Just one example of Japanese behavior. The destroyer Akikaze at the opening of the war. From Wiki:
    On 18 March Akikaze was the scene of a war crime. During construction of a seaplane base at Kairiru Island Akikaze evacuated the personnel of the Roman Catholic mission headquarters on that island and also several individuals from Wewak. These included Bishop Joseph Loerks, 38 missionaries (31 of whom were German nationals) including 18 nuns, one New Guinea girl, and two Chinese infants (apparently the children of Wewak storekeeper Ning Hee). The vessel then called at Manus where it picked up 20 others, again mostly Germans, including six missionaries from the Liebenzell Evangelical Mission, three other nuns and three other priests, a European infant, a plantation owner named Carl Muster and plantation overseer Peter Mathies, two Chinese, and apparently four Malays. The ostensible intention was to carry them to internment in Rabaul. “Between Manus and Rabaul each of the adults was strung up by the hands on a gallows in the stern of the vessel, shot dead by rifle or machine-gun fire, and thrown overboard. The two Chinese infants and the European baby were thrown over alive.”
    These were mostly Germans, allies of the Japanese, and it wasn’t a renegade captain. He was acting under direct orders from the chain of command. Imagine how they would have been willing to treat enemies.

    • Replies: @black sea
    The Japanese atrocities in Nanking were so horrendous that the Nazis urged them to tone it down. Giving the brand a bad name, I suppose.
    , @Moses
    Japanese forces committed inhuman atrocities against prisoners of war as well as civilians as easily as breathing pretty much everywhere they went.

    One famous example during the Battle of Midway is throwing a captured American pilot into the sea in chains for "war crimes."

    Here's a good but by no means complete summary: https://www.enkivillage.org/japanese-war-crimes.html

    And an attempt to explain why the Japanese were so brutal: https://www.historynet.com/a-culture-of-cruelty.htm

    American commanders were shocked at the fanaticism of the Japanese during the Guadalcanal campaign.

    In the early days after American forces won a battle, American medics attempted to treat Japanese wounded. They found that Japanese booby-trapped themselves or otherwise tried to kill the medics.

    Commanders abandoned attempts to treat the enemy and resorted to running tanks over any Japanese body, dead or alive, on the field.

    Japanese sailors routinely drowned themselves rather than be picked up by American warships.

    Japanese soldiers even killed Japanese civilians. During the Battle of Saipan Japanese soldiers killed hundreds (perhaps many more) of Japanese civilians rather than risk that the civilians would "surrender" to the enemy. The civilians were supposed to kill themselves by jumping off 300 foot cliffs or commit seppuku, but not all did so.

    After studying the history of the War in the Pacific I completely understand the decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese militarist fanatics would have done the same as they did on Saipan but on a much larger scale had the Allies invaded Japan's home islands.

    Dropping the bomb, as horrific as it was, saved millions of lives on both sides.

  93. But what was the USS Enterpise book called????

  94. @Jack D

    you cut a deal with the Georgian BDSM master
     
    Stalin thought that he had such a deal already and was pretty shocked to find out that he had been double crossed. I guess there's no honor among thieves.

    Putting aside that Hitler was like the scorpion in the parable - it was in his nature to bite, he must have done the math and realized that Germany needed the Lebensraum. Stalin at that time and with his shitty system of collectivization could not feed his own population let alone Germany's so he wasn't going to be the bread basket for his German ally. Hitler's long term plan was to put together a nation that stretched from sea to shining sea just like the US so that he could punch against America with equal weight.

    Hitler actually liked and admired the Americans (and the British) in certain respects and wanted to be more like us, at least when it suited him. Unfortunately, one of the things that he liked was Henry Ford's anti-Semitism which was influential on this own thinking. Even the striped prisoner outfits was an American idea.

    Stalin looked at Hitler as a Teutonic version of himself, and Roosevelt thought that Hitler was essentially a puppet of the old Prussian aristocratic class. Both men were utterly, totally wrong: both views betray more about them than anything else.

    Winston Churchill, by contrast, uniquely got who Hitler was on an base, fundamental level. That’s more than you can say for just about anyone else.

    > Stalin at that time and with his shitty system of collectivization could not feed his own population let alone Germany’s so he wasn’t going to be the bread basket for his German ally.

    My impression was that the USSR’s famine years were over by 1940-if I’m wrong, then tell me-not that Stalin would have especially cared. It’s worth pondering if the Bolshevik regime would have survived as long as it did if Barbarossa didn’t happen, though. Paradoxical as it sounds, the war truly bound the people emotionally to the regime long after it became clear that Communism wasn’t working. And the USSR was a very unnatural construct marked by its gestation… when I was reading Smele’s book on the Russian Civil War, he makes the point that we really should have been more shocked the USSR lasted as long as it did than we were by the collapse.

    What is tellingly absent from Hitler’s thinking is any interest in utilizing modern technology to gain more crops from less land. It shows how irrevocably stamped by his age he was.

    >Hitler’s long term plan was to put together a nation that stretched from sea to shining sea just like the US so that he could punch against America with equal weight.

    Yupper. My alternate history tangent above assumes Hitler had the mental flexibility to move away from such a vision. Historical singularities generally don’t like to settle.

    This boils down to what I keep saying about Hitler every single time he comes up as a subject topic: it’s ultimately useless to discuss him doing things differently, because I suspect mentally he was literally incapable of adjusting his strategic visions, if it became clear they were unlikely to work out. He could discuss letting go or intellectually think about doing so, and he was endlessly flexible when it came to tactical decisions during his “politician” phase, but that was it. This was something that was deeply consistent: you can see it as much in the Beer Hall Putsch as you can the declaration of war on the United States. The Hitler here and there are very much the same guy. There’s no maturation or change, only a discarded mask.

    >Unfortunately, one of the things that he liked was Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism which was influential on this own thinking.

    Henry Ford was influential on everybody, including the Bolsheviks. Not arguing he didn’t influence Hitler, but I don’t think he was a particularly decisive one in terms of ideology: by his prison term after the putsch, Hitler’s ideology was in the process of consolidation, not the first steps of formation. Economically, might have been a different story, to the extent that Hitler cared about economics.

    The White Russians and Baltic Germans he met around 1919/1920, though, are a different story. The whole thesis of Judeo-Bolshevism betrays very White Russian, Ungarn-esque origins. Not an accident that it was Alfred Rosenberg who introduced himself to Eckart as a “fighter against Juda” without preamble.

    Due to his personal circumstances and mentality at the time, I suspect that Hitler’s brain probably had less barriers during this year or two than at any point before or after. That’s not all of the story-I don’t think Hitler was going to become an Anglo-Saxon style democrat or hanker for the restoration of the monarchy, no matter who he talked to-but that’s not nothing, either. Note that notions of Slavic racial inferiority did not become particularly prominent until a few years later.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    Good writing; how come you are so well-versed in that particulary part of history?
    , @Reg Cæsar

    The White Russians
     
    By "White Russians", do you mean the political faction or the ethnic group, i.e., Byelorussians?
  95. @Alfa158
    No projection needed. Just one example of Japanese behavior. The destroyer Akikaze at the opening of the war. From Wiki:
    On 18 March Akikaze was the scene of a war crime. During construction of a seaplane base at Kairiru Island Akikaze evacuated the personnel of the Roman Catholic mission headquarters on that island and also several individuals from Wewak. These included Bishop Joseph Loerks, 38 missionaries (31 of whom were German nationals) including 18 nuns, one New Guinea girl, and two Chinese infants (apparently the children of Wewak storekeeper Ning Hee). The vessel then called at Manus where it picked up 20 others, again mostly Germans, including six missionaries from the Liebenzell Evangelical Mission, three other nuns and three other priests, a European infant, a plantation owner named Carl Muster and plantation overseer Peter Mathies, two Chinese, and apparently four Malays. The ostensible intention was to carry them to internment in Rabaul. "Between Manus and Rabaul each of the adults was strung up by the hands on a gallows in the stern of the vessel, shot dead by rifle or machine-gun fire, and thrown overboard. The two Chinese infants and the European baby were thrown over alive."
    These were mostly Germans, allies of the Japanese, and it wasn’t a renegade captain. He was acting under direct orders from the chain of command. Imagine how they would have been willing to treat enemies.

    The Japanese atrocities in Nanking were so horrendous that the Nazis urged them to tone it down. Giving the brand a bad name, I suppose.

  96. I watched the trailer before I read your review. You nailed my impression from the trailer: “too much is not enough style.” Too bad, because that flash-bang-stuff-flying all over seems to distract from what could have been a fine telling of a great true story.

  97. @TGGP

    Up until Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 D-Day movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood may have devoted more attention to the U.S. WWII effort against Japan than against Germany.
     
    That seems surprising to me, although I'm younger than you. We're generally less interested in Asia than Europe so far fewer have heard of the Rape of Nanking compared to the Holocaust, its easier to get actors to play Euro-baddies than Japanese, and a lot of the fighting in the Pacific was over islands nobody cares about in a long slog against an outmatched enemy. I think we tend to find armies more interesting than navies as well, although I suppose a more maritime nation like the U.K could see things differently.

    a lot of the fighting in the Pacific was over islands nobody cares about

    One advantage to that is huge amounts of war relics are still there. On a diving trip about 20 years ago I stopped for a day on Betio (sp?) atoll, which is where most of Tarawa was fought. You can wander in and out of the Japanese bunkers, all sorts of vehicles are just sitting there, rusting away.

    The below is not me, just a pic I found online. I have a zillion pics but not in electronic format.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    Okinawa was a cool place to grow up. You could go wandering off on trails on your own and come across bunkers and leftover war material all the time: empty candy wrapper, bullet cases, inscriptions, anything that was a relic. There's something incredibly appealing about going hunting for trinkets for most boys, regardless of their temperaments, I think.

    And all without any adult supervision! As long as you avoided the habus, there was no danger: no crime or anything to worry about, and even if your parents had "helicopter" inclinations, they probably couldn't fulfill them effectively if your father was away and your mother was dealing with younger siblings. Even all these years later, those memories bring a smile to my face.

    , @Ozymandias
    "Blood. Guts. Tarawa" is a Marine Corps cadence (song that you sing while running to stay in rhythm). I recall this as my lip synching phase.
  98. @anon
    My review is based on the supplied trailer.

    The "Tour of Duty" quality graphics, as applied to represent the ships and carriers, are just fake enough to take the viewer out of the movie. The gratuitous plane crashes are video game creations that bear little resemblance to reality, undermining any sense of danger to develop, or empathy for the characters charged to deal with it. The actors seem to be missing the testosterone required for the normal development of men of that age, during the time depicted. Furthermore, genetic miscreants, with large, yet skinny, slightly deformed heads, are no substitute for the battle-worn look of a typical fighter pilot of that era.

    "Midway" is essentially watching someone else play a video game of girly men blowing the hell out of each other for an hour. Buy your favorite version of Tour of Duty, and play it yourself, girly man.

    Thank you for reading my review.

    I should have read your fine review before I posted my own meager comments.

  99. Steve’s review makes reference to “the old money-saving CGI trick of making the film rather dark”. How does making the film dark save money? And can’t the darkness of an image be adjusted by a simple button-twiddling modification, like on an analog TV set?

    • Replies: @Jack D
    The darker the image is the less detail is visible and the less CGI processing you have to do to make the CGI plausible looking and not an obvious animation.
    , @anon

    Steve’s review makes reference to “the old money-saving CGI trick of making the film rather dark”. How does making the film dark save money? And can’t the darkness of an image be adjusted by a simple button-twiddling modification, like on an analog TV set?
     
    Everything not dark must be rendered by a large room full of computers. The smallest change must be rendered. The more detail, the more time rendering takes. That's one of the problems of CGI realism. The more realistic it is, the longer it takes for the detail to conform to the laws of physics, tweak and render and tweak and render again.
  100. @Epigon
    Compare mid- and late-war British, American and German aero engines - working volume, power, reliability, durability.

    Show me a German turbosupercharger approaching the qualities of P-47’s one.
  101. @William Badwhite

    a lot of the fighting in the Pacific was over islands nobody cares about
     
    One advantage to that is huge amounts of war relics are still there. On a diving trip about 20 years ago I stopped for a day on Betio (sp?) atoll, which is where most of Tarawa was fought. You can wander in and out of the Japanese bunkers, all sorts of vehicles are just sitting there, rusting away.

    The below is not me, just a pic I found online. I have a zillion pics but not in electronic format.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OrTbAu_V-7A/UY8VyQD9TjI/AAAAAAAAASc/blBPtt-wGgI/s1600/Japanese+tank.JPG

    Okinawa was a cool place to grow up. You could go wandering off on trails on your own and come across bunkers and leftover war material all the time: empty candy wrapper, bullet cases, inscriptions, anything that was a relic. There’s something incredibly appealing about going hunting for trinkets for most boys, regardless of their temperaments, I think.

    And all without any adult supervision! As long as you avoided the habus, there was no danger: no crime or anything to worry about, and even if your parents had “helicopter” inclinations, they probably couldn’t fulfill them effectively if your father was away and your mother was dealing with younger siblings. Even all these years later, those memories bring a smile to my face.

  102. @Mr. Anon
    The only war plan that Japan could have carried out that would have led to victory would been to have coordinated their efforts with Germany, and attacked the Soviet Union out of Manchuria in 1941, instead of attacking the U.S. If they had knocked the Soviet Union out of the war (and together Germany and Japan very likely could have), the axis powers might have won, or been able to conclude a peace.

    Doubtful because Japan was being strangled by the US oil embargo. Also, Japan’s army was second rate even compared to the Russians. When they tangled with the Russians in the 30’s they got beat pretty easily.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    The Soviets were only able to save Moscow from the German advance in the Winter of 41/42 by throwing dozens of divisions from the Soviet far-east at them. And they were only able to do that because they had intelligence supplied by their man in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, that Japan was going to go to War with America and not with the Soviet Union. The Japanese wouldn't have had to win a decisive victory - they wouldn't have even been fighting in their own homeland - they would only needed to have applied enough pressure to the Soviets that the combined two-front assault on them caused them to fold and sue for peace. They might could have pulled it off.
  103. @Steve Sailer
    My impression is that the 1965 movie "Battle of the Bulge" started out as a cowboy movie script and was then was repurposed to being a war movie without much more than nominal change in the plot.

    ‘My impression is that the 1965 movie “Battle of the Bulge” started out as a cowboy movie script and was then was repurposed to being a war movie without much more than nominal change in the plot.’

    What I like about that one is how they diligently start out with snow and forest but later on visibly say ‘fuck it’ and just have the two sides fight it out in the Mojave Desert.

    Great song and Robert Shaw is compelling, but a real turkey, otherwise.

    …The Eddie Albert movie referenced earlier would seem to be Attack!’ That’s a low-budget black and white film, but actually pretty good. Focusses on the conflict between a cowardly company commander and one of his platoon leaders.

    • Replies: @El Dato

    and just have the two sides fight it out in the Mojave Desert.
     
    I think it was Spain.

    Yeah, that looks NOTHING like the area around Bastogne or Huertgen Forest a bit more to the north.

    "The Good, the Tank and the Nazi"
    , @David In TN
    I've always looked on Attack (1956) as a guilty pleasure. Some veterans told me the Eddie Albert character wouldn't have lasted 30 minutes in real life.
    , @The Alarmist
    OMG, I did indeed mistake Eddie Albert for Henry Fonda, which is a shame, because Albert was the better Actor ;)
  104. Anonymous[380] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D
    The movie was weak on plot but it was off the charts on capturing the atmosphere of the time and that is something. The plot of Tarantino movies rarely makes any sense but he is so good on a scene by scene basis that you forgive him. The one thing that I didn't like is that it made Sharon Tate out to be some sort of empty headed idiot.

    Casting the short NY Italian De Niro as the giant sized Philly Irishman Sheeran made no sense. Nor did it capture Sheeran's essence, which was that of a big Irish drunk. Nor did Pacino make a particularly convincing Hoffa. Doesn't Scorsese know any actors who are not Italian?

    The visuals were nice, but I don’t think he really captured the atmosphere of the 70s. It was too sterile and sanitized.

    Tarantino is a writer and director, not a cinematographer and set designer. He’s got to bring more to the table than big American cars from the 70s. I felt like he just exposed himself as a hack like lots of people have always suspected. As a writer/director, he brought nothing to the movie aside from the hacky gratuitous violence at the end. Seriously, without Pitt and DiCaprio, you’d think it was a B-movie from the Sci-Fi channel.

    I agree that De Niro and Pacino didn’t make sense and weren’t convincing as Sheeran and Hoffa. However, Sheeran is obscure enough and Hoffa is forgotten enough that it didn’t matter much. I don’t think Scorsese had much choice in the matter as I believe De Niro started and drove the project and was going to star in the movie from the outset.

    • Replies: @European-American
    Maybe because I only watched The Irishman on a small screen on Netflix, as expected I found it tedious and utterly unbelievable. Pleasant in a dull, predictable way, no doubt, but a strange limbo of a movie, where elderly actors play their usual tricks in a story that seems entirely fake and irrelevant.

    From the start, we know the Irishman-narrator's account is unreliable, so it's the looong, utterly implausible self-aggrandizing story of a blowhard performed by a bunch of self-aggrandizing blowhard actors. The myth of a myth. Glamorizing violent and criminal behavior by morons, to boot.

    And yeah, De Niro and Pacino looked and acted nothing like the people they were supposed to play.

    There, got that out of my system.

    Now, this Bang-Bang-Boom-Boom movie... Looks good to me!

    (fond memories of watching the 1976 movie as a kid in Sensurround)

  105. operating under the old military doctrine of “get their firstest with the mostest,”

    Their should be there.

  106. @Jack D
    As the years go on, it becomes more and more difficult to muster a convincing number of flyable warbirds. Even in Tora Tora Tora the Zeroes were not really Zeroes but Texans dressed up as Zeroes.

    These planes are now 75+ years old and are irreplaceable. Even flying them for joy rides is questionable and putting them thru combat stunts is criminal. The recent Collings Foundation B-17 crash not only destroyed the aircraft but took 7 lives for the sake of a joy ride. The plane was as well maintained as any 75 year old highly complex machine could be, the pilots were highly experienced and yet it still crashed. In the war, even putting aside all the combat losses, these things crashed by the dozens - they were just not very safe or reliable. Pilot error, mechanical failure, weather, whatever. The planes were built by the thousands, people were dying all around anyway, so one more plane crash was no big deal. But now we are in a different situation.

    You don't want these planes to be museum pieces but I'm not sure they should be flying for fun anymore either. Maybe take them out and taxi them around once in a while or fly them once a year on important anniversaries, but every time you take one of them up you are risking not only lives but the destruction of cultural treasures.

    The recent Collings Foundation B-17 crash not only destroyed the aircraft but took 7 lives for the sake of a joy ride.

    I paid $450 several years ago to take a 30 minute ride on that exact plane.

  107. @El Dato
    "Are we a bit uncertain here, Herr Professor Heisenberg, ja??"

    Did Heisenberg get to manage this effort?

    Good luck in having the Prof run it, in the context of a strict hierarchy and toxic bureaucracy where errors are career-ending and the deathhead-decorated boss knows best in any case.

    One would have to physically get rid of the functionaries and party delegates first to get anything done. MP44s at dawn!

    https://i.imgur.com/zygcbx9.png

    ” MP44s at dawn!”

    The Heer really blew it in not developing a timely semi-automatic rifle for their soldier (G-43). If they put forth R&D and then manufacturing for such items, imagine how much more efficient their soldiers would be. The USA would not have had superiority with the 1936 M-1 Garand rifle over German Mauser bolt actions.

    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    Gun Jesus saves!
  108. @Pericles
    Sweden had a nuclear weapons program after WW2, but apparently decided it wasn't worth it (ended in 1966). There were a number of obstacles at the time, but strategically that decision seems like a mistake.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_nuclear_weapons_program

    Sweden had a nuclear weapons program after WW2, but apparently decided it wasn’t worth it (ended in 1966).

    Other issues occupied their minds. Like driving on the right, and switching to a four-stroke engine.

  109. @nebulafox
    If Hitler had been less mentally rigid, he would have taken his own observation, written to Mussolini in 1940, about Stalin nailing all the largely Jewish Old Bolsheviks and turning the USSR from an agent of world chaos into a neo-Tsarist Muscovite imperium with atheistic, proletarian slogans to its logical conclusion... you cut a deal with the Georgian BDSM master and set up a totalitarian alliance block stretching from Madrid to Tokyo, oriented against the Anglo-Saxons. It was the zeitgeist of the age, if only for a brief moment.

    Hitler seemed to grasp that, but some inertia just kept him going toward the "other" option. His own nature was consuming him by 1940. He still had enough mental flexibility to recognize his choice, unlike a few years later. He recognized around the time of FDR's reelection it was either set up that alliance block, or conquer Russia, because if he didn't do either, the American juggernaut inevitably supporting England was eventually going to be too much for Germany in isolation to overcome, no matter what tried. Time was of the essence, and he needed to decide now while Germany still had a card to play. Hitler did perceive reality correctly here: time was not on his side.

    History knows the decision he made a month later.

    But if Hitler were less mentally rigid and had less contempt for reality, he likely would never have risen from nothing to become a dictator in the first place. So, in a sense, it isn't worth talking about.

    Agree. All our rationally-based Monday morning quarterbacking of WWII ignores the fact that key Axis leaders, Hitler in particular, were not acting rationally by 1941, so our rational arguments about what they coulda shoulda woulda done are basically irrelevant. And also agree that what made Hitler successful 1933-1940 also made him catastrophic 1941-1945.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Au Contraire.

    Hitler behaved quite rationally in 1941. Operation Barbarossa, given the circumstances, was a rational strategy, albeit based on bad intelligence about Soviet industrial capacity.

    (1) See the Hitler and Mannerheim Secret Audio Recording (1942). TL:DR: This is the one existing candid recording of Hitler, in which he said Germany goofed and completely underestimated Soviet industrial strength. He tries to put a good face on the situation, saying Germany will prevail, but he comes across as rational, making the same assumption most modern historians would make: it was a matter of time before the USSR invaded.

    (2) Declassified Soviet documents point strongly to a Soviet offensive, occurring sometime in 1941/42. While this is a revisionist stance, it's the most strongly supported by actual documented evidence.
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_offensive_plans_controversy
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27s_Missed_Chance

    Then there is the counterfactual history based on intuition. Assume Nazi Germany was not a militarized, totalitarian government, but rather a western-leaning democracy. Would this have stopped a conflict with the USSR? No. Furthermore, if the conflict occurred later, it would have likely involved atomic weapons, leading to an even larger body count for those unfortunate to reside on the battlefield -- i.e., Poles, Jews, Russians, etc.
  110. While today it seems inappropriate, even racist, that the USA defeated a Nation of Color in the War in the Pacific (1941–1945), Americans used to be hugely proud of our triumph.

    But… but… but… my professor told me the Tuskegee Airmen, the Navajo Code Talkers, and Crispus Attucks won the Battle of Midway all by themselves because the white boys were too incompetent…

  111. @Heymrguda
    Good review of the film considering military history is not your specialty (no disrespect meant by that). As you pointed out, the USA would have certainly won WWII despite the Midway outcome due to overwhelming material and technical superiorority but a loss would almost certainly have prolonged the war by at least a year. New US carriers did not see combat until late summer 1943 with the famed F6F Hellcats aboard. However Midway was a big morale booster as it showed the US Navy could stand one to toe with the IJN without relying in overwhelming numbers.

    One quibble tho, the Zero was not the outstanding fighters everyone thinks it was, that's one myth that should be put to rest. If anybody wants an example of what great PR can do, the Zero is it.

    Wasn’t the Zero both faster and more maneuverable than the Wildcat? Sure it burned like a kite, but you had to hit it first. Until the Hellcat was developed, Japanese fighters were superior. And when Japan introduced the N1K “George,” it was the match of any Allied fighter, with its sole weakness being that it had only cannon rounds and a limited number of them. The George was basically a giant Zero. If Japan had still had the production capacity to make them and the pilots to fly them in number, they would have had a significant impact on the war.

    • Replies: @mmack
    Different design concepts between Japanese and American (or Western) aircraft designers.

    The Japanese designed their early monoplane fighters (A6M Zero for the IJN, Ki-27 Nate and Ki-43 Oscar for the IJA) to be as light and maneuverable as the previous generation of biplane fighters they had built. This meant the planes did away with armor plate around the cockpit, self sealing fuel tanks, and were smaller and used much lighter construction than contemporary Western designs. In addition, contemporary Japanese aircraft engines weren't as powerful as Western designs so a light airframe means a speedy aircraft with less HP. All this combined meant in a traditional "dogfight" a Zero or Oscar was a deadly foe and could easily maneuver onto your tail and blast away.

    Western designers added armor plate, self sealing fuel tanks, bigger and more powerful engines, and stronger construction in an attempt to save the aircraft and the pilot. Japanese pilots really bought into the idea of being flying Samurai, so much so that to save weight at takeoff some flew missions sans parachute pack. Western pilots not so much. Coming back to base to fly another mission was key.

    Was the A6M Zero faster and more maneuverable than an F4F Wildcat or P-40 Warhawk, the primary USN/USMC and USAAF front line fighters of 1941-42? Yes, but starting with the Flying Tigers Western pilots figured out how to negate the advantages the Japanese had: Avoid getting into turning dogfights (like the ones you see in movies where Ace pilots square off and zoom around trying to get the kill shot) and instead do the aviation equivalent of a drive by shooting: Climb high above the enemy, zoom down, fire a heavy burst from your four or six 50 caliber guns, and keep diving away. Zoom up if possible to make a second pass and then
    GET
    THE
    HELL
    OUT
    OF
    THERE

    By diving away to the deck. That lightweight construction meant any Japanese pilot trying to chase you might very well literally rip the wings off his aircraft.

    By the second generation of Japanese fighters (N1K George, Ki-61/Ki-100 Tony, Ki-84 Frank), the designers came around to the Western view and started building bigger, more powerful aircraft with better pilot and fuel protection. Unfortunately engine issues (not powerful enough or reliable enough, or just plain not enough engines period) plagued the later series of planes, along with a real lack of high quality AV gas and a real shortage of spare parts.

    I'll stop the airplane nerd 🤓 bit now.
  112. @PiltdownMan

    I’m wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

     

    From Wikipedia:

    Between 1925 and 1936, the United States Big Three automakers' Japanese subsidiaries produced a total of 208,967 vehicles, compared to the domestic producers total of 12,127 vehicles
     
    By contrast, automobile production in the United States in those years sometimes exceeded 2 million cars annually, and fell as low as 900,000 for only a single year, 1932, the worst year of the Depression.

    We sometimes overlook the fact that America has been much bigger than most other industrial economies for a really long time, ever since total steel production in the US exceeded that of Great Britain in the 1880s.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_Japan#Timeline_of_the_Japanese_car_industry

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Automobile_Production_Figures

    We sometimes overlook the fact that America has been much bigger than most other industrial economies for a really long time, ever since total steel production in the US exceeded that of Great Britain in the 1880s.

    So the hordes of immigrants arriving then and later didn’t build America? Huh. That’s odd and not what we’re ceaselessly told by their descendants.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Who do you think was working in those steel mills and coal mines if not immigrants? You weren't going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.
  113. @Colin Wright
    Two minds working as one.

    Japan had developed a fairly impressive first-line military -- but with sharply limited industrial, technological, and even cultural resources behind it.

    Japan just wasn't a modern state -- not all the way through. Impoverished farmers still sold their daughters to be geisha. Compared to a modern state, the mentality in some ways was still virtually feudal. For example, the rivalry between the army and the navy was so extreme that right through the war, navy freighters would sail loaded from a to b then return empty to a while army freighters would sail empty from a to b and then return loaded to a -- this in a nation facing an acute shortage of shipping.

    And when you read about their military tactics...

    They were fine if they could overwhelm or outflank their opponents. But even as early as the East Indies campaign, if they faced determined troops in good positions they would promptly suffer appalling losses. My take on it is that they hadn't gone through the First World War, and fought accordingly. It was the French trying to carry out Plan 17, or the Germans in the Kindermord. Look at the fights on Guadalcanal. They simply had no ability to handle first-class, first-world troops. The Guadalcanal episode in that series The Pacific is dead on. That's what happened.

    Japan participated in World War I on the Allied side, but you’re correct that it fought no major land battles. In the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, however, Japan fought Russian troops and suffered fairly serious losses taking or attempting to take fortified positions. I think that the Japanese Army put too much stock in its experience against not-too-well motivated or trained Chinese troops and thought that banzai charges would work against better equipped, trained and motivated adversaries. I also wonder how much artillery the Japanese could bring into play. Being able to plaster an opponent with artillery makes it much easier to advance, or even to defend.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    The army learned the wrong lessons from the horrific losses they took at Mukden (it was the navy that won that particular war, which led to its elevation as an equal and the resulting toxic inter-service rivalry) against the Russians: essentially, that spirit was what primarily mattered, and if Japanese soldiers were more willing to charge and take the offensive, Mukden would have been taken quicker. This was the origin of the IJA's notoriously brutal treatment of private conscripts.

    On a broader level, the IJA was still fully in the "cult of the offensive" age by the time WWII came around. Suffice it to say, I agree that had Japan fought in the trenches in WWI, this would have forced them to reevaluate that conclusion.

    Interestingly enough, though, the nationalist Chinese were the first ones to employ things like suicide squads and death-charges, to the chagrin of German advisors who saw the futility of these kinds of tactics. Essentially, in China, the Chinese played the "IJA" role that the Americans would encounter in the Pacific in terms of tactics, if not level of total, all-encompassing intensity.

  114. @nebulafox
    The Germans never really stood a chance of winning WWII militarily. Operation Seelion was never going to take place because the Kriegsmarine just wasn't strong enough to eject the Royal Navy: and even if they were, what then? Hitler himself knew that if the Germans somehow occupied London, Churchill could just evacuate to Canada, and that'd directly bring in the USA. And Hitler's vision of merciless racial war and genocide in the east precluded any chance of letting Stalin sign a BL-esque treaty. I should add: Stalin was fully willing to do that around August/September 1941. Hitler, for his part, occasionally groped at the idea during particularly depressive moodswings late in the year, but inherently preferred the idea of apocalyptic war.

    WWI, by contrast, largely came down to American intervention. Had that not happened, we can safely say that history would be quite different. There would have had to have been some compromise peace on the Western Front for all the gung-ho rhetoric of uncompromising victory, because everybody involved was bled absolutely white. The French had to deal with serious internal military revolts a full year before the Germans did.

    As a side note, the interactions that took place at Brest-Litovsk are always entertaining to read about: the new Bolshevik intelligentsia leaders telling silent bespectacled Prussian officers cheerfully that they'll soon bring revolution to their country, too: and in a tone of voice that implies they should be happy about it.

    “Hitler himself knew that if the Germans somehow occupied London, Churchill could just evacuate to Canada, and that’d directly bring in the USA.”

    And the US would have based their beach landing from where?

  115. @Gimeiyo

    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?
     
    The American colony of the Philippines was right there, potentially obstructing all their sea routes down to the Dutch East Indies. And the US had cut off their oil supplies in response to ultimata Japan had issued to the Vichy French government in Indochina, so they had reason to be concerned. I don't think they could ignore the US if they were going to make a play for the Dutch oilfields.

    Re training, it's certainly right that the US had a lot more civilian depth with modern industry. I think the critical gap was their production capacity, and resource constraints, particularly oil (for which the US had been their primary supplier for the invasion of China, up until the total occupation of French Indochina in 1941).

    Manpower and training were an issue, but the Japanese government could have done more with what they had. E.g. Japanese university students were largely exempted from conscription until late 1943, and until the start of 1944, they only allowed a couple thousand Koreans and Taiwanese to join the army despite hundreds of thousands of applications (I don't think the navy allowed any non-Japanese at all). Conscription in Korea and Taiwan did start in 1944, but by then it was too late to make much difference, e.g. in training new pilots. Truk fell in February 1944, and Saipan fell in July. If they had expanded conscription in 1941, in anticipation of war with the Western powers, they might have had a larger, better trained force by late 1942 and 1943, but they didn't.

    But production capacity was the big limiting factor. Another 50,000 pilots and engineers wouldn't have done anything without planes to fly.

    Another contrary to fact hypothesis for greater Japanese success would be the use of kamikaze tactics much earlier in the war. After Guadalcanal a high percentage of Japanese bomber missions were one way in any event, so why not just instruct pilots to crash their planes into American ships? The kamikazes inflicted considerable losses on the much superior American fleet in 1945; what would have been the result if the tactic had begun in late 1942?

  116. @Gimeiyo

    Well, (1) we’re likely to declare war on her at some point — we were already getting pretty frosty about her behavior in China.
     
    Eh, I kind of disagree. The reason our history books talk up the "moral" embargo is we didn't actually have a real embargo. We did withdraw from our trade agreement in 1939, but we didn't really restrict critical supplies for the war in China until 1940 (metal), when Japan started to make moves on European colonies. And we didn't cut off our most important contribution to the Japanese invasion -- oil -- until August 1941, after the total occupation of French Indochina. We offered China no meaningful support between 1937 and 1941, particularly compared to Nazi Germany (until June 1938), and the Soviet Union (until April 1941), although the Soviets were also conniving to turn Xinjiang into a Soviet client state, as they had done with Outer Mongolia and the Japanese had done with Manchuria, but hey, any port in a storm.

    To the extent we cared about what Japan was doing in China, it was mostly stuff like when they accidentally on purpose sank the USS Panay during the Rape of Nanking. There's nothing to be proud of about our response to the second Sino-Japanese war.

    Japanese assets in the United States were also frozen in 1941. Even if Japan had found someone to sell her oil, she had no money to pay them. There’s a good book, Bankrupting the Enemy, on the economic war waged by the United States on Japan beginning around 1938.

  117. @Jack D
    As the years go on, it becomes more and more difficult to muster a convincing number of flyable warbirds. Even in Tora Tora Tora the Zeroes were not really Zeroes but Texans dressed up as Zeroes.

    These planes are now 75+ years old and are irreplaceable. Even flying them for joy rides is questionable and putting them thru combat stunts is criminal. The recent Collings Foundation B-17 crash not only destroyed the aircraft but took 7 lives for the sake of a joy ride. The plane was as well maintained as any 75 year old highly complex machine could be, the pilots were highly experienced and yet it still crashed. In the war, even putting aside all the combat losses, these things crashed by the dozens - they were just not very safe or reliable. Pilot error, mechanical failure, weather, whatever. The planes were built by the thousands, people were dying all around anyway, so one more plane crash was no big deal. But now we are in a different situation.

    You don't want these planes to be museum pieces but I'm not sure they should be flying for fun anymore either. Maybe take them out and taxi them around once in a while or fly them once a year on important anniversaries, but every time you take one of them up you are risking not only lives but the destruction of cultural treasures.

    My uncle (flew P-38’s and later P-51’s in the Pacific theater) said in the late 80’s of the Reno Air Races:

    “all they’re doing is burning up priceless engines…and not doing anything that wasn’t done 40 years ago by better men”.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ekv_mUb3yuo&t=180s
    , @JMcG
    That is awesome!
  118. @William Badwhite

    a lot of the fighting in the Pacific was over islands nobody cares about
     
    One advantage to that is huge amounts of war relics are still there. On a diving trip about 20 years ago I stopped for a day on Betio (sp?) atoll, which is where most of Tarawa was fought. You can wander in and out of the Japanese bunkers, all sorts of vehicles are just sitting there, rusting away.

    The below is not me, just a pic I found online. I have a zillion pics but not in electronic format.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OrTbAu_V-7A/UY8VyQD9TjI/AAAAAAAAASc/blBPtt-wGgI/s1600/Japanese+tank.JPG

    “Blood. Guts. Tarawa” is a Marine Corps cadence (song that you sing while running to stay in rhythm). I recall this as my lip synching phase.

  119. @nebulafox
    Stalin looked at Hitler as a Teutonic version of himself, and Roosevelt thought that Hitler was essentially a puppet of the old Prussian aristocratic class. Both men were utterly, totally wrong: both views betray more about them than anything else.

    Winston Churchill, by contrast, uniquely got who Hitler was on an base, fundamental level. That's more than you can say for just about anyone else.

    > Stalin at that time and with his shitty system of collectivization could not feed his own population let alone Germany’s so he wasn’t going to be the bread basket for his German ally.

    My impression was that the USSR's famine years were over by 1940-if I'm wrong, then tell me-not that Stalin would have especially cared. It's worth pondering if the Bolshevik regime would have survived as long as it did if Barbarossa didn't happen, though. Paradoxical as it sounds, the war truly bound the people emotionally to the regime long after it became clear that Communism wasn't working. And the USSR was a very unnatural construct marked by its gestation... when I was reading Smele's book on the Russian Civil War, he makes the point that we really should have been more shocked the USSR lasted as long as it did than we were by the collapse.

    What is tellingly absent from Hitler's thinking is any interest in utilizing modern technology to gain more crops from less land. It shows how irrevocably stamped by his age he was.

    >Hitler’s long term plan was to put together a nation that stretched from sea to shining sea just like the US so that he could punch against America with equal weight.

    Yupper. My alternate history tangent above assumes Hitler had the mental flexibility to move away from such a vision. Historical singularities generally don't like to settle.

    This boils down to what I keep saying about Hitler every single time he comes up as a subject topic: it's ultimately useless to discuss him doing things differently, because I suspect mentally he was literally incapable of adjusting his strategic visions, if it became clear they were unlikely to work out. He could discuss letting go or intellectually think about doing so, and he was endlessly flexible when it came to tactical decisions during his "politician" phase, but that was it. This was something that was deeply consistent: you can see it as much in the Beer Hall Putsch as you can the declaration of war on the United States. The Hitler here and there are very much the same guy. There's no maturation or change, only a discarded mask.

    >Unfortunately, one of the things that he liked was Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism which was influential on this own thinking.

    Henry Ford was influential on everybody, including the Bolsheviks. Not arguing he didn't influence Hitler, but I don't think he was a particularly decisive one in terms of ideology: by his prison term after the putsch, Hitler's ideology was in the process of consolidation, not the first steps of formation. Economically, might have been a different story, to the extent that Hitler cared about economics.

    The White Russians and Baltic Germans he met around 1919/1920, though, are a different story. The whole thesis of Judeo-Bolshevism betrays very White Russian, Ungarn-esque origins. Not an accident that it was Alfred Rosenberg who introduced himself to Eckart as a "fighter against Juda" without preamble.

    Due to his personal circumstances and mentality at the time, I suspect that Hitler's brain probably had less barriers during this year or two than at any point before or after. That's not all of the story-I don't think Hitler was going to become an Anglo-Saxon style democrat or hanker for the restoration of the monarchy, no matter who he talked to-but that's not nothing, either. Note that notions of Slavic racial inferiority did not become particularly prominent until a few years later.

    Good writing; how come you are so well-versed in that particulary part of history?

  120. @Mr. Anon
    The only war plan that Japan could have carried out that would have led to victory would been to have coordinated their efforts with Germany, and attacked the Soviet Union out of Manchuria in 1941, instead of attacking the U.S. If they had knocked the Soviet Union out of the war (and together Germany and Japan very likely could have), the axis powers might have won, or been able to conclude a peace.

    ‘The only war plan that Japan could have carried out that would have led to victory would been to have coordinated their efforts with Germany, and attacked the Soviet Union out of Manchuria in 1941, instead of attacking the U.S. If they had knocked the Soviet Union out of the war (and together Germany and Japan very likely could have), the axis powers might have won, or been able to conclude a peace.’

    Agree.

    Interestingly, that makes the Soviet victories in the 1939-40 border skirmishes with Japan some of the more significant events in history. Obviously, the bloody nose must have exerted a deterrent effect on the Japanese.

    It’s still puzzling that they didn’t go this route anyway. One would think that they would have realized that the best way for them to get the upper hand more or less for good would be to collaborate with Germany in picking off at least one of the other major powers. After all, that would have left three other major powers: Germany herself, Britain, and the United States. Since Germany was the only one of these with no immediately competing interests with Japan, it could have been the beginning of an extremely profitable alliance.

    Put Russia down and open an interior route across Asia to oil, etc. Then turn on Britain and the United States.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Or the southern route: Japan takes Indonesia's oil, Germany takes Iraq's, they link up in New Delhi.

    One of the biggest secrets that was kept secret during the war was the U.S. knowledge of how much oil there was in Saudi Arabia. A secret report to FDR said the Saudi oil was the greatest prize in history.

    , @nebulafox
    Japanese internal politics. The army and navy were more vicious rivals than colleagues, and woe be to any civilian politician who attempted to impose order in the 1930s. Japanese culture, then and now, discourages politicians and bureaucrats from openly voicing their differences in cabinet meetings: that means the private reality can often drastically diverge from the public image.

    (This had pretty severe consequences: Washington failed to understand just little control the civilians in Tokyo had over its army's decisions in the 1930s. And before the failure of the 226 coup, to an extent, the power the military HQ had over junior officers in the field.)

    Khalkin Gol was a major factor in that. But even more importantly, the army could not bring the China ulcer to a successful conclusion, and even with Tokyo's total war measures in 1938, the country was feeling it: Showa's uncharacteristic dressing down of Hajime Sugiyama illustrates just how much their credibility in Tokyo had eroded because of China by 1941. But since the military was so overwhelmingly dominant in Japanese politics by this point, this left the navy ascendant.

  121. @Colin Wright
    'My impression is that the 1965 movie “Battle of the Bulge” started out as a cowboy movie script and was then was repurposed to being a war movie without much more than nominal change in the plot.'

    What I like about that one is how they diligently start out with snow and forest but later on visibly say 'fuck it' and just have the two sides fight it out in the Mojave Desert.

    Great song and Robert Shaw is compelling, but a real turkey, otherwise.

    ...The Eddie Albert movie referenced earlier would seem to be Attack!' That's a low-budget black and white film, but actually pretty good. Focusses on the conflict between a cowardly company commander and one of his platoon leaders.

    and just have the two sides fight it out in the Mojave Desert.

    I think it was Spain.

    Yeah, that looks NOTHING like the area around Bastogne or Huertgen Forest a bit more to the north.

    “The Good, the Tank and the Nazi”

  122. @William Badwhite
    My uncle (flew P-38's and later P-51's in the Pacific theater) said in the late 80's of the Reno Air Races:

    "all they're doing is burning up priceless engines...and not doing anything that wasn't done 40 years ago by better men".

  123. @Heymrguda
    If somebody is looking for a truly outstanding Japanese weapon it was the famed "Longlance" torpedo. It was surprising the USN could compete with the IJN early in the war as it had to depend on dive bombers to sink Japan's ships while the IJN had effective dive. And torpedo weapons.

    It was surprising the USN could compete with the IJN early in the war as it had to depend on dive bombers to sink Japan’s ships while the IJN had effective dive. And torpedo weapons.

    I seem to remember that dive bombers are a far more effective weapon against ships than torpedoes deployed from low-flying planes that can be easily shot down.

    You can just have the hardened bomb bore itself through the weakly armor-plated top, instead of hoping the torpedo will get through the heavy armor plate on the sides.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    You often need torpedoes to sink an armored battleship. Dropping a bomb on a battleship often wasn't disabling.

    But then it turned out that battleships weren't as important in WWII as aircraft carriers, which back then didn't have armored decks, so they were highly vulnerable to dive-bombers.

  124. @Colin Wright
    Two minds working as one.

    Japan had developed a fairly impressive first-line military -- but with sharply limited industrial, technological, and even cultural resources behind it.

    Japan just wasn't a modern state -- not all the way through. Impoverished farmers still sold their daughters to be geisha. Compared to a modern state, the mentality in some ways was still virtually feudal. For example, the rivalry between the army and the navy was so extreme that right through the war, navy freighters would sail loaded from a to b then return empty to a while army freighters would sail empty from a to b and then return loaded to a -- this in a nation facing an acute shortage of shipping.

    And when you read about their military tactics...

    They were fine if they could overwhelm or outflank their opponents. But even as early as the East Indies campaign, if they faced determined troops in good positions they would promptly suffer appalling losses. My take on it is that they hadn't gone through the First World War, and fought accordingly. It was the French trying to carry out Plan 17, or the Germans in the Kindermord. Look at the fights on Guadalcanal. They simply had no ability to handle first-class, first-world troops. The Guadalcanal episode in that series The Pacific is dead on. That's what happened.

    The banzai charge was a very effective tactic when fighting the Chinese, which is where most Japanese officers cut their teeth. The Chinese had few automatic weapons and often little combat experience. So one ferocious charge could win the day.

    When faced with better-armed and more professional opponents, the banzai charge didn’t work. Here’s where the Japanese philosophy that if you fail at something it must be because you didn’t try hard enough exacerbated the problem. By the time they wised up, many of their best China veterans were dead.

    Patton made his soldiers conduct attacks similar to banzai charges – running while firing from the hip – when he went back on the offensive after the Battle of the Bulge.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    The banzai charge was a very effective tactic when fighting the Chinese, which is where most Japanese officers cut their teeth. The Chinese had few automatic weapons and often little combat experience. So one ferocious charge could win the day.

    When faced with better-armed and more professional opponents, the banzai charge didn’t work.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD3F16J42Eo
  125. @Jack D

    the casus belli against Germany was mere diplomatic wrangling,
     
    Hitler declared war against the US, not vice versa. Even putting that aside, I would say that the US had ample cause not to want Hitler to win the war, not just for the sake of the British and Jews as Lindbergh said nor to save Europe from tyranny but for its own long term interests. If Hitler had really won the war in Europe he would have inevitably turned his eye toward the US - the only thing better than being master of Europe would have been being master of the entire world (his Japanese allies could keep Asia for the time being). And at that point, he would have been even hard to take on. With von Braun's rockets and Heisenberg's A-Bomb he could have nuked Washington.

    Not necessarily disagreeing,* just explaining why American popular interest was more with the Pacific war than with the logistically prioritized European war.

    *Okay, quibbling some:

    Yes, Hitler declared war on the US, much to the relief of FDR and Churchill who had been trying to sneak the US into the European war for years. No doubt the Axis leaders had noticed this, but then it was foolish of them to do the Allies’ parliamentary dirty work for them and give them the unnecessary war they had been seeking.

    And suppose Germany had won in Europe? About the best case scenario for Hitler was nebulafox‘s “you cut a deal with the Georgian BDSM master and set up a totalitarian alliance block stretching from Madrid to Tokyo, oriented against the Anglo-Saxons.” But even then, unlike the Anglo-Saxon (US-UK-Canada-Aus-NZ-ZA-etc.) alliance of intermingled command structure, mutual materiel support and interchangeable equipment, the Axis Eurasian alliance would be mutually suspicious bellicose dictatorships, in separate logistical stovepipes, rubbing their sharp elbows against one another’s mutually abutting empires. At best for them, it would have been a recapitulation of the Cold War, just without the NATO Franco-West German beachhead on the Eurasian continent, which turned out not to matter anyway. But then, the Cold War is what happened anyway, so we’re not really worse off inasmuch as we experienced a version of their best case scenario anyway.

    Likely this counterfactual Cold War would have ended the same way the real one did: with the Eurasian power succumbing under the weight its internal economic and spiritual contradictions, followed a generation later by the Anglo-Saxon power succumbing under the weight of its cultural and social contradictions.

    Nippo-Soviet oppression might have held back the rise of modern China a bit, though Communism did a pretty good job of holding China back without any outside help anyway. So once again the paradox that winning/losing epic wars doesn’t seem to matter much in long the run. Winning/losing demographic displacements, OTOH…

  126. @Altai
    There are an excellent pair of YouTube videos on the Japanese perspective of Midway. It's unbelievably detailed but the subject matter is just so compelling that it only makes it better.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd8_vO5zrjo

    Was coming on here just to post what you posted… brilliant… and riveting.

  127. @Anonymous
    The visuals were nice, but I don't think he really captured the atmosphere of the 70s. It was too sterile and sanitized.

    Tarantino is a writer and director, not a cinematographer and set designer. He's got to bring more to the table than big American cars from the 70s. I felt like he just exposed himself as a hack like lots of people have always suspected. As a writer/director, he brought nothing to the movie aside from the hacky gratuitous violence at the end. Seriously, without Pitt and DiCaprio, you'd think it was a B-movie from the Sci-Fi channel.

    I agree that De Niro and Pacino didn't make sense and weren't convincing as Sheeran and Hoffa. However, Sheeran is obscure enough and Hoffa is forgotten enough that it didn't matter much. I don't think Scorsese had much choice in the matter as I believe De Niro started and drove the project and was going to star in the movie from the outset.

    Maybe because I only watched The Irishman on a small screen on Netflix, as expected I found it tedious and utterly unbelievable. Pleasant in a dull, predictable way, no doubt, but a strange limbo of a movie, where elderly actors play their usual tricks in a story that seems entirely fake and irrelevant.

    From the start, we know the Irishman-narrator’s account is unreliable, so it’s the looong, utterly implausible self-aggrandizing story of a blowhard performed by a bunch of self-aggrandizing blowhard actors. The myth of a myth. Glamorizing violent and criminal behavior by morons, to boot.

    And yeah, De Niro and Pacino looked and acted nothing like the people they were supposed to play.

    There, got that out of my system.

    Now, this Bang-Bang-Boom-Boom movie… Looks good to me!

    (fond memories of watching the 1976 movie as a kid in Sensurround)

  128. @Gimeiyo

    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?
     
    The American colony of the Philippines was right there, potentially obstructing all their sea routes down to the Dutch East Indies. And the US had cut off their oil supplies in response to ultimata Japan had issued to the Vichy French government in Indochina, so they had reason to be concerned. I don't think they could ignore the US if they were going to make a play for the Dutch oilfields.

    Re training, it's certainly right that the US had a lot more civilian depth with modern industry. I think the critical gap was their production capacity, and resource constraints, particularly oil (for which the US had been their primary supplier for the invasion of China, up until the total occupation of French Indochina in 1941).

    Manpower and training were an issue, but the Japanese government could have done more with what they had. E.g. Japanese university students were largely exempted from conscription until late 1943, and until the start of 1944, they only allowed a couple thousand Koreans and Taiwanese to join the army despite hundreds of thousands of applications (I don't think the navy allowed any non-Japanese at all). Conscription in Korea and Taiwan did start in 1944, but by then it was too late to make much difference, e.g. in training new pilots. Truk fell in February 1944, and Saipan fell in July. If they had expanded conscription in 1941, in anticipation of war with the Western powers, they might have had a larger, better trained force by late 1942 and 1943, but they didn't.

    But production capacity was the big limiting factor. Another 50,000 pilots and engineers wouldn't have done anything without planes to fly.

    The Japanese thought that good pilots were made. The Americans thought that good pilots were found.

    Japanese pilot candidates were selected based on academics. Their flight schools were heavy on classroom learning, plus things like kendo and gymnastics. Because of chronic fuel shortages, actual flight time was limited.

    The US, however, screened every available candidate for physical aptitude, then put the promising ones into training aircraft as quickly as possible to see what they could do. A horrific number of flight crews died in training accidents.

    It also helped that the US had a larger population to draw from.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    PT-17s were cheap enough and trainees were expendable enough. Better to have them wash out (or die) early than to lose a more expensive plane (and crew) later.
    , @Johann Ricke

    It also helped that the US had a larger population to draw from.
     
    Every gallon of aviation fuel/kerosene and plane had to be rationed, because of limited national resources, due to the relatively backward state of the Japanese economy. It made sense for them to limit access to only the best. It had plenty of people, but limited resources. Whereas the US had no lack of resources, and so could afford to waste aviation fuel and aircraft in the interest of generating as many operational bomber and fighter wings in the shortest time possible.
  129. @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    Steve's review makes reference to "the old money-saving CGI trick of making the film rather dark". How does making the film dark save money? And can't the darkness of an image be adjusted by a simple button-twiddling modification, like on an analog TV set?

    The darker the image is the less detail is visible and the less CGI processing you have to do to make the CGI plausible looking and not an obvious animation.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    I've also noticed a similar situation where they use smoke or fog to accomplish the same deal.
  130. @Heymrguda
    Good review of the film considering military history is not your specialty (no disrespect meant by that). As you pointed out, the USA would have certainly won WWII despite the Midway outcome due to overwhelming material and technical superiorority but a loss would almost certainly have prolonged the war by at least a year. New US carriers did not see combat until late summer 1943 with the famed F6F Hellcats aboard. However Midway was a big morale booster as it showed the US Navy could stand one to toe with the IJN without relying in overwhelming numbers.

    One quibble tho, the Zero was not the outstanding fighters everyone thinks it was, that's one myth that should be put to rest. If anybody wants an example of what great PR can do, the Zero is it.

    Yes! Let us here and now forever bury the Cult of the Zero. It was underpowered, underarmoured and undergunned compared to its rival, the Grumman F4F Wildcat, and couldn’t make up for these deficiencies with lower weight, greater speed and superior maneuverability. By New Years 1943 the best of the IJN air corps had fallen under the guns of the American fighter, particularly in the Guadalcanal/Solomons campaign of 1942 which is largely forgotten. By the time the Hellcat and Corsair showed up in 1943, naval air operations by the Japanese were a suicide mission, and this outcome was in large part due to the excellent qualities of the vastly underrated Wildcat and her pilots.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The Japanese thought it was contemptible for the Americans to try to protect the lives of their pilots with armor and self-sealing gasoline tanks. Not surprisingly, the Japanese ran out of pilots because all their old ones were dead.
    , @Jack D
    The state of the art in warplanes progressed rapidly during the war. The US started with biplanes and ended with jets. The Lockheed P-80 went from start of design to 1st delivery in 143 days. So at the start of the war the Zero was competitive but by the end it wasn't.

    No one is ever going to match that kind of pace again. We don't know how anymore. We couldn't design a doorknob in 143 days in the current year. Maybe the Chinese can but not us. The B-52 is going to be flying 90 years after it was launched.
    , @Diversity Heretic
    Do you have a similar evaluation of the P-40 and P-39 vis-a-vis the Zero and the Oscar, a Japanese Army fighter?
    , @Alfa158
    Also the Zero actually had a poorer turn rate than the Wildcat at high speeds because its very light weight construction made it flex under high loads. The two planes showed even loss rates against each other by the end of 1942. The Japanese had lost much of their advantage in pilot experience, and the capture of a crash landed Zero in the Aleutians allowed the Americans to quantify the performance differences and train accordingly. The Zero and Oscar were the last hurrah for low power very high maneuverability WW1 style dogfighters. After them, the zoom and boom school of high energy combat took over. The Luftwaffe’s Eric Hartmann scored 352 kills flying the low maneuverability BF-109 with his “see, decide, attack, break away” technique of operating like a diving falcon and avoiding a dogfight.
    , @I Have Scinde
    I believe the F4F-3 - the main fighter at Coral Sea-had a marginally higher speed than the Zero. But the F4F could never win in a 1-on-1 dogfight with a Zero. They were essentially purely defensive and reliant upon group tactics, like the "Thach weave." The Zero had first rate climb, maneuverability, and range (Wildcat's worst attribute). Even Corsairs would be dead in a slow speed turning battle with a Zero, if the pilot was stupid enough to get suckered into one. A major problem for the Japanese was the 20mm cannon having very little ammunition, and the 7.62 often not being enough to bring down any US plane alone. At Coral Sea, many pilots got separated into dogfights, and the survivors learned valuable lessons about sticking together.

    But to quote one US fighter pilot Midway veteran, the F4F-4 "was a dog." Heavier (due to extra guns but no extra ammo, so less firing time) and slower than -3, couldn't climb, low range, no maneuverability. It had self-sealing fuel tanks, armor, and most important, numbers (~50% more) due to its folding wings. When Halsey was delivering fighters to Wake Island in December 1941, he typically had 2-4 fighters on Combat Air Patrol. By Guadalcanal it was an order of magnitude higher.

    But if you look at the number of air-to-air victories in carrier fighter-to-fighter battles from Coral Sea to Midway, the count is something like 17-13 in favor of the Wildcat (US number might be inflated by a couple because IJN's sunk carriers could not confirm how the fighters were lost at Midway), which is basically a tie. Just having an aerobatic plane might make your pilots feel more confident, but it will not win the war of attrition. It did get into the heads of the Americans, though. There was even some talk of navalizing the P-40, though it did not go very far. I think a lot of the Zero lore comes from USN not knowing the IJN had a capable fighter at the war's onset, and being shocked.
  131. @Paul Mendez
    The banzai charge was a very effective tactic when fighting the Chinese, which is where most Japanese officers cut their teeth. The Chinese had few automatic weapons and often little combat experience. So one ferocious charge could win the day.

    When faced with better-armed and more professional opponents, the banzai charge didn’t work. Here’s where the Japanese philosophy that if you fail at something it must be because you didn’t try hard enough exacerbated the problem. By the time they wised up, many of their best China veterans were dead.

    Patton made his soldiers conduct attacks similar to banzai charges - running while firing from the hip - when he went back on the offensive after the Battle of the Bulge.

    The banzai charge was a very effective tactic when fighting the Chinese, which is where most Japanese officers cut their teeth. The Chinese had few automatic weapons and often little combat experience. So one ferocious charge could win the day.

    When faced with better-armed and more professional opponents, the banzai charge didn’t work.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    John Basilone; get a lump in my throat when I think of that guy.
  132. @Bardon Kaldian
    Spies aside, it is glaringly evident that Britain, Soviet Union, Germany...could not compete with the US re big science names who worked on nuclear programs. The list of them reads like Who is Who in physics & chemistry; of course, many less notable people had certainly contributed, sometimes, more than the big ones as regards solution of numerous technical problems.

    Just, one has to keep things in real perspective. Apart from Oppenheimer and Szilard, guys who worked on it included: E. Fermi, H. Bethe, V. Weisskopf, H. Urey, E. Lawrence, L. Alvarez, I.I. Rabi, S. Ulam, J. von Neumann, E. McMillan, G. Seaborg, R. Feynman, J. Schwinger, E. Wigner, J.A. Wheeler, E. Teller, J. Franck, G. Kistiakowsky, ..

    C'mon...

    And yet after the war Britain developed its own A-bomb and then H-bomb.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    Yeah, but years & years after war, as did the French & the rest.... I don't know enough about British nuclear program, but something so stunning & the real breakthrough in a relatively short time span, I think only US could have done.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_the_United_Kingdom
  133. @Paul Mendez
    The Japanese thought that good pilots were made. The Americans thought that good pilots were found.

    Japanese pilot candidates were selected based on academics. Their flight schools were heavy on classroom learning, plus things like kendo and gymnastics. Because of chronic fuel shortages, actual flight time was limited.

    The US, however, screened every available candidate for physical aptitude, then put the promising ones into training aircraft as quickly as possible to see what they could do. A horrific number of flight crews died in training accidents.

    It also helped that the US had a larger population to draw from.

    PT-17s were cheap enough and trainees were expendable enough. Better to have them wash out (or die) early than to lose a more expensive plane (and crew) later.

    • Replies: @William Badwhite
    There are still countless PT-17's (aka Stearmans) out in the general aviation fleet. The engines are getting a little long in the tooth (though there are scores of P&W radials that have replaced the old Continental 220 HPs) but the airframes are basically indestructible.

    The people that buy them insist on calling them "warbirds" (which they're not, PT stands for Primary Trainer, calling one a "warbird" is like calling whatever Jackie Stewart learned to drive in a race car) and don't seem to realize that if you're into open cockpit biplanes there are countless better options. I suppose it sort of looks cool if you don't know any better.

    The Stearman (I have about 100 hours in them) flies exactly like you'd expect an airplane designed so that ham-fisted farm boys couldn't break it would fly: Heavy, loggy controls with tons of play, climbs like a bathtub, pull the power and it drops like a stone, glacial roll rate (ailerons on only one wing), etc. From purely a flying perspective, its a terrible airplane.

    There's a story, likely apocryphal, about two primary flight instructors in Texas during the war. Bored out of their skulls and aggravated that they were flying PT-17s in Texas instead of something much better in combat, they decided to see if they could rip the wings off of one. So they climb in, take off, climb to around 10,000 feet, trim the airplane for level flight at full power, pushed the throttle all the way up and pointed the nose straight down. Once they maxed out airspeed they both yanked back as hard as they could on the stick...when they woke up the airplane was flying along aimlessly.

    Ok, rant finished.

  134. @Jack D
    The darker the image is the less detail is visible and the less CGI processing you have to do to make the CGI plausible looking and not an obvious animation.

    I’ve also noticed a similar situation where they use smoke or fog to accomplish the same deal.

  135. @Colin Wright
    '...If Hitler had really won the war in Europe he would have inevitably turned his eye toward the US – the only thing better than being master of Europe would have been being master of the entire world...'

    Without wishing to defend Hitler, that's a propagandistic fantasy.

    Hitler's ambitions were decidedly regional. Far from intending to eventually conquer the globe, he visualized a world of four great powers: Germany, the United States, Britain, and Japan.

    We claimed he had wider ambitions so as to justify an American build up for war -- he's coming to get us. but those ambitions never existed.

    Well put, and thank you.

  136. @William Badwhite

    We sometimes overlook the fact that America has been much bigger than most other industrial economies for a really long time, ever since total steel production in the US exceeded that of Great Britain in the 1880s.
     
    So the hordes of immigrants arriving then and later didn't build America? Huh. That's odd and not what we're ceaselessly told by their descendants.

    Who do you think was working in those steel mills and coal mines if not immigrants? You weren’t going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.

    • Replies: @anon

    Who do you think was working in those steel mills and coal mines if not immigrants? You weren’t going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.
     
    They sure as hell would. I think your problem is you find it impossible to view the United States before Welfare. As bizarre as you may find it to be, back then, if you didn't work, you didn't eat. Imagine that, dum dum.
    , @William Badwhite

    You weren’t going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.
     
    Plenty did. Anyway the point is that immigrants did not "build America" as we're so often told. Came to the largest economy in the world and worked in the mills? Sure. But that requires stuff to already be built.
    , @PiltdownMan
    http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/654.html

    As early as 1847, Chicago had six iron foundries. Steelmaking in Chicago began in 1865. As steel production grew nationwide during the late nineteenth century, steel production in Chicago grew too. For decades, immigrants came to Chicago because of the high wages available in the mills. Steel companies specifically recruited many of them.

    The first wave of immigrants to the mills, mostly Scots, Irish, and Germans, came in the 1870s and 1880s. The second wave, of Slavic immigrants, mostly Poles and Serbs, first arrived in the 1890s and continued to come until the beginning of World War I. The third wave, Mexicans and African Americans from the South, began during World War I. The Europeans tended to settle in largely homogeneous ethnic neighborhoods near the mills along the Calumet River on the South Side, although the dominant group in particular neighborhoods has changed over time. These areas have prospered and declined along with the firms that ran the mills. African American employment in the Chicago steel industry increased sharply after World War II, but hostility from white residents forced these workers to settle on the western and northern fringes of this area.

     
    , @gcochran
    Ha ha. You ever tried farming?
    , @Hibernian
    Southern mines and mills had a native born work force both White and Black.
  137. anon[710] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    Steve's review makes reference to "the old money-saving CGI trick of making the film rather dark". How does making the film dark save money? And can't the darkness of an image be adjusted by a simple button-twiddling modification, like on an analog TV set?

    Steve’s review makes reference to “the old money-saving CGI trick of making the film rather dark”. How does making the film dark save money? And can’t the darkness of an image be adjusted by a simple button-twiddling modification, like on an analog TV set?

    Everything not dark must be rendered by a large room full of computers. The smallest change must be rendered. The more detail, the more time rendering takes. That’s one of the problems of CGI realism. The more realistic it is, the longer it takes for the detail to conform to the laws of physics, tweak and render and tweak and render again.

  138. anon[710] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D
    Who do you think was working in those steel mills and coal mines if not immigrants? You weren't going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.

    Who do you think was working in those steel mills and coal mines if not immigrants? You weren’t going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.

    They sure as hell would. I think your problem is you find it impossible to view the United States before Welfare. As bizarre as you may find it to be, back then, if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. Imagine that, dum dum.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Native born Americans, at least in the numbers needed, had better things to do - work on their farms, work a skilled trade, etc. so it was cheaper for Frick to hire Irish and Polacks and whatnot. Maybe there is some alternative universe America where the borders were closed after 1776 but in the real one there were waves of immigration, one after the other and the immigrants worked side by side with the native born. The immigrants didn't build America any more than the blacks built America but they HELPED build it. Maybe it could have been done without them (they couldn't have done it by themselves, not the immigrants and for sure not the blacks), but it wasn't and you can't change that reality.
  139. @dearieme
    And yet after the war Britain developed its own A-bomb and then H-bomb.

    Yeah, but years & years after war, as did the French & the rest…. I don’t know enough about British nuclear program, but something so stunning & the real breakthrough in a relatively short time span, I think only US could have done.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_the_United_Kingdom

  140. @HunInTheSun
    Yes! Let us here and now forever bury the Cult of the Zero. It was underpowered, underarmoured and undergunned compared to its rival, the Grumman F4F Wildcat, and couldn’t make up for these deficiencies with lower weight, greater speed and superior maneuverability. By New Years 1943 the best of the IJN air corps had fallen under the guns of the American fighter, particularly in the Guadalcanal/Solomons campaign of 1942 which is largely forgotten. By the time the Hellcat and Corsair showed up in 1943, naval air operations by the Japanese were a suicide mission, and this outcome was in large part due to the excellent qualities of the vastly underrated Wildcat and her pilots.

    The Japanese thought it was contemptible for the Americans to try to protect the lives of their pilots with armor and self-sealing gasoline tanks. Not surprisingly, the Japanese ran out of pilots because all their old ones were dead.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    My recollection is that Japanese pilots themselves told the Mitsubishi designers to keep self-sealing tanks and armor off of the A6M in order to save weight and improve performance, especially maneuverability. The Zero, IITC, came as a very unpleasant surprise to Allied airman at the beginning of the war. If they tried to turn with a Zero, they were very likely to find their opponent on their tail and closing in rapidly.

    Another advantage to light weight is range. Japanese pilots at the beginning of the war had learned to lean the mixture of the fuel fed to their engines. Coupled at times with an external fuel tank, Japanese fighters kept turning up in places where the Allies didn't expect single-engined fighters.

  141. Dunkirk was soooo earnest and, as a consequence, soooo tedious.

  142. @Paul Mendez
    The Japanese thought that good pilots were made. The Americans thought that good pilots were found.

    Japanese pilot candidates were selected based on academics. Their flight schools were heavy on classroom learning, plus things like kendo and gymnastics. Because of chronic fuel shortages, actual flight time was limited.

    The US, however, screened every available candidate for physical aptitude, then put the promising ones into training aircraft as quickly as possible to see what they could do. A horrific number of flight crews died in training accidents.

    It also helped that the US had a larger population to draw from.

    It also helped that the US had a larger population to draw from.

    Every gallon of aviation fuel/kerosene and plane had to be rationed, because of limited national resources, due to the relatively backward state of the Japanese economy. It made sense for them to limit access to only the best. It had plenty of people, but limited resources. Whereas the US had no lack of resources, and so could afford to waste aviation fuel and aircraft in the interest of generating as many operational bomber and fighter wings in the shortest time possible.

  143. @El Dato

    It was surprising the USN could compete with the IJN early in the war as it had to depend on dive bombers to sink Japan’s ships while the IJN had effective dive. And torpedo weapons.
     
    I seem to remember that dive bombers are a far more effective weapon against ships than torpedoes deployed from low-flying planes that can be easily shot down.

    You can just have the hardened bomb bore itself through the weakly armor-plated top, instead of hoping the torpedo will get through the heavy armor plate on the sides.

    You often need torpedoes to sink an armored battleship. Dropping a bomb on a battleship often wasn’t disabling.

    But then it turned out that battleships weren’t as important in WWII as aircraft carriers, which back then didn’t have armored decks, so they were highly vulnerable to dive-bombers.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    The Royal Navy Illustrious class of aircraft carriers had armoured flight decks, all four served heavily and survived WWII.

    http://www.seaforces.org/marint/Royal-Navy/Aircraft-Carrier/Illustrious-class.htm
  144. @Jack D
    Who do you think was working in those steel mills and coal mines if not immigrants? You weren't going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.

    You weren’t going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.

    Plenty did. Anyway the point is that immigrants did not “build America” as we’re so often told. Came to the largest economy in the world and worked in the mills? Sure. But that requires stuff to already be built.

  145. Thanks Steve; was hoping you would review “Midway”. I had already planned to see it; your review confirms my decision. Though with Roland Emmerich, guess something is better than nothing. I’m spoiled by the Hanks/Spielberg collaboration. I thought they would do series for the Navy and Air Force, similar to what they did with the Army and Marines with “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific”.

    Don’t get to comment as much as I use to; work instituted komment kontrol (comments section forbidden across the board, not targeting just this site) so I get to only on my time now (but competes with family time).

    If you get the time (and haven’t done so already, read James D. Hornfischer’s series on the Navy in the Pacific Theater:

    Neptune’s Inferno (Navy in Guadalcanal Campaign): https://www.amazon.com/Neptunes-Inferno-U-S-Navy-Guadalcanal/dp/0553385127/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1P8S1RG5IJI78&keywords=neptunes+inferno&qid=1575493668&sprefix=Neptunes%2Caps%2C133&sr=8-1

    The Fleet at Flood Tide (The Navy dominates 1944-1945): https://www.amazon.com/Fleet-Flood-Tide-America-1944-1945/dp/0345548728/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_3/135-1958284-5247566?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0345548728&pd_rd_r=b0217dfc-2d81-4e16-983a-fc7fe5b4d7c3&pd_rd_w=04EE4&pd_rd_wg=xSUiO&pf_rd_p=09627863-9889-4290-b90a-5e9f86682449&pf_rd_r=0Q5VNWBE3M8RXDBJK4ME&psc=1&refRID=0Q5VNWBE3M8RXDBJK4ME

    The Last of the Tin Can Sailors (The Battle off Samar, part of the Phillippine Sea campaign):https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Stand_of_the_Tin_Can_Sailors

    As you note, with so many momentous battles, and so many real-life amazing stories within each one, the challenge is to highlight the right ones; to demonstrate, as deftly as possible, the “uncommon valor that was a common virtue”.

    • Replies: @Sol
    That Eighth Air Force series is finally getting made, but not for HBO. It will be on Apple TV.
  146. @Colin Wright
    'The only war plan that Japan could have carried out that would have led to victory would been to have coordinated their efforts with Germany, and attacked the Soviet Union out of Manchuria in 1941, instead of attacking the U.S. If they had knocked the Soviet Union out of the war (and together Germany and Japan very likely could have), the axis powers might have won, or been able to conclude a peace.'

    Agree.

    Interestingly, that makes the Soviet victories in the 1939-40 border skirmishes with Japan some of the more significant events in history. Obviously, the bloody nose must have exerted a deterrent effect on the Japanese.

    It's still puzzling that they didn't go this route anyway. One would think that they would have realized that the best way for them to get the upper hand more or less for good would be to collaborate with Germany in picking off at least one of the other major powers. After all, that would have left three other major powers: Germany herself, Britain, and the United States. Since Germany was the only one of these with no immediately competing interests with Japan, it could have been the beginning of an extremely profitable alliance.

    Put Russia down and open an interior route across Asia to oil, etc. Then turn on Britain and the United States.

    Or the southern route: Japan takes Indonesia’s oil, Germany takes Iraq’s, they link up in New Delhi.

    One of the biggest secrets that was kept secret during the war was the U.S. knowledge of how much oil there was in Saudi Arabia. A secret report to FDR said the Saudi oil was the greatest prize in history.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    Or the southern route: Japan takes Indonesia’s oil, Germany takes Iraq’s, they link up in New Delhi.
     
    I wonder if they would have known what to do with India? It took the British East India Company 249 years to figure the place out and achieve supremacy in India, in 1849.

    Fond imperial passions and the civilizing mission aside, in the 90 years of direct rule by the British Crown after the Indian Mutiny, the place was regarded as a perpetual headache by many bureaucrats in Whitehall, and a potential drain on the exchequer, if they couldn't keep it fiscally self-sustaining.

    , @The Wild Geese Howard

    One of the biggest secrets that was kept secret during the war was the U.S. knowledge of how much oil there was in Saudi Arabia. A secret report to FDR said the Saudi oil was the greatest prize in history.
     
    And the biggest mistake in the history of the world was the US' failure to colonize the Saudi oilfields immediately at the close of WW2.

    Just imagine the beautiful world that would have led to. The Saudis would remain desert-locked, camel-humping savages rather than having the greatest windfall of all-time to buy up London, degrade Western women, and export their satanic ideology across the globe.
  147. @nebulafox
    Everybody is too dismissive of alternate possibilities here: had the 226 incident succeeded, very possible Japan ends up at war with the Soviet Union rather than the United States. You'd have to someone butterfly away or get army command to ignore the drubbing the IJA took at Khalkin Gol and not let the navy and foreign ministry get their way in the early 1940s with the peace treaty with the USSR, but it's quite possible. The mastermind behind the Manchurian Incident back in 1931, Lt. Col. Ishiwara, had views that were pretty normative among his milieu in the Kodo-ha: strike north and attack the Soviet Union first while keeping peace with the US... at least for now. Gain the natural resources that Japan needs in Siberia rather than Indonesia.

    Assuming things go according to schedule in Europe, this has profound implications: one of the things that saved Moscow in December 1941 were crack Siberian troops, used to fighting in brutal winter conditions, being transferred from the east. If the IJA is mucking about the east, Stalin can't do that.

    Gain the natural resources that Japan needs in Siberia rather than Indonesia.

    Assuming things go according to schedule in Europe, this has profound implications: one of the things that saved Moscow in December 1941 were crack Siberian troops, used to fighting in brutal winter conditions, being transferred from the east. If the IJA is mucking about the east, Stalin can’t do that.

    There were no significant numbers of crack Siberian troops on the Moscow front in 1941, nor had any been transferred west between June and December 1941. Please see Nigel Askey’s thorough debunking of the hardened Siberians myth:

    So the question is; who stopped the Germans in December 1941 if it couldn’t possibly have been hordes of newly arrived Siberian or East Front troops?

    The answer is a massive number of newly mobilised and deployed divisions and brigades. The Soviet land model shows that 182 rifle divisions, 43 militia rifle divisions, eight tank divisions, three mechanised divisions, 62 tank brigades, 50 cavalry divisions, 55 rifle brigades, 21 naval rifle brigades, 11 naval infantry brigades, 41 armies, 11 fronts and a multitude of other units were newly Mobilised and Deployed (MD) in the second half of 1941.
    […]
    There is no doubt that the 1941 Soviet mobilisation programme was simply the largest and fastest wartime mobilisation in history. The multitude of average Soviet soldiers from all over the USSR that made up these units saved the day, and definitely not the existing units transferred west after June 1941, or the mostly non-existent and mythical Siberian divisions.

    http://www.operationbarbarossa.net/the-siberian-divisions-and-the-battle-for-moscow-in-1941-42/

    The long and short of it is that Stalin and the Stavka had no need to denude Red Army forces in Siberia or the Far East when the Soviets had as many as 18 million trained reservists available. Due to the fact that the Soviet rail network’s focal point was Moskva, it was relatively easy for Stalin and his generals to muster large numbers of new formations in the immediate vicinity of the Soviet capital.

    The Japanese could not advance even 10 miles against the Red Army in 1937 at Khalkin Gol, a Soviet victory enabled in large part by Zhukov’s ability to resupply his forces by assembling a large fleet of motorized vehicles to bring in supplies via truck convoy from Chita, 370 miles away.

    The idea that Japan would have been able to exploit natural resources in Siberia is, frankly speaking, laughable.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    Really? OK, that's interesting! I'll check out that website.

    Only thing I'll contend with is:

    >The idea that Japan would have been able to exploit natural resources in Siberia is, frankly speaking, laughable.

    So was the idea that the IJN could hold off whatever Washington would throw at them in the long run. It didn't stop them from doing it. Japanese politics in 1941 were not operating on a "rational" calculus overall: it only made sense when you look at the perspective of internal politics in Tokyo.
  148. @Jack D
    PT-17s were cheap enough and trainees were expendable enough. Better to have them wash out (or die) early than to lose a more expensive plane (and crew) later.

    There are still countless PT-17’s (aka Stearmans) out in the general aviation fleet. The engines are getting a little long in the tooth (though there are scores of P&W radials that have replaced the old Continental 220 HPs) but the airframes are basically indestructible.

    The people that buy them insist on calling them “warbirds” (which they’re not, PT stands for Primary Trainer, calling one a “warbird” is like calling whatever Jackie Stewart learned to drive in a race car) and don’t seem to realize that if you’re into open cockpit biplanes there are countless better options. I suppose it sort of looks cool if you don’t know any better.

    The Stearman (I have about 100 hours in them) flies exactly like you’d expect an airplane designed so that ham-fisted farm boys couldn’t break it would fly: Heavy, loggy controls with tons of play, climbs like a bathtub, pull the power and it drops like a stone, glacial roll rate (ailerons on only one wing), etc. From purely a flying perspective, its a terrible airplane.

    There’s a story, likely apocryphal, about two primary flight instructors in Texas during the war. Bored out of their skulls and aggravated that they were flying PT-17s in Texas instead of something much better in combat, they decided to see if they could rip the wings off of one. So they climb in, take off, climb to around 10,000 feet, trim the airplane for level flight at full power, pushed the throttle all the way up and pointed the nose straight down. Once they maxed out airspeed they both yanked back as hard as they could on the stick…when they woke up the airplane was flying along aimlessly.

    Ok, rant finished.

    • Replies: @Jack D

    when they woke up the airplane was flying along aimlessly.
     
    There have been countless air crashes caused by pilots taking an anomalous but survivable situation and turning it into a complete disaster, so if the pilots in those situations blacked out (or at least took their hands off the controls) they would have been better off than doing what they did.
    , @Colin Wright
    '... Once they maxed out airspeed they both yanked back as hard as they could on the stick…when they woke up the airplane was flying along aimlessly.'

    Sounds vaguely like the story I heard about the Ju-52.

    When it was a prototype, the builders took it to an air show in Switzerland. Everything went fine -- until they were flying home in zero visibility. There was a god-awful bang, and the plane started flying badly.

    'Crap. It's not ready for production.'

    They land, and look at the damage, and realize the Ju-52 had flown into another plane up there. 'Okay...I guess it's actually a pretty sound design.'
    , @Joe Stalin
    Not a Stearman (Waco) with a jet engine!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyXzy8AzOxo
  149. @HunInTheSun
    Yes! Let us here and now forever bury the Cult of the Zero. It was underpowered, underarmoured and undergunned compared to its rival, the Grumman F4F Wildcat, and couldn’t make up for these deficiencies with lower weight, greater speed and superior maneuverability. By New Years 1943 the best of the IJN air corps had fallen under the guns of the American fighter, particularly in the Guadalcanal/Solomons campaign of 1942 which is largely forgotten. By the time the Hellcat and Corsair showed up in 1943, naval air operations by the Japanese were a suicide mission, and this outcome was in large part due to the excellent qualities of the vastly underrated Wildcat and her pilots.

    The state of the art in warplanes progressed rapidly during the war. The US started with biplanes and ended with jets. The Lockheed P-80 went from start of design to 1st delivery in 143 days. So at the start of the war the Zero was competitive but by the end it wasn’t.

    No one is ever going to match that kind of pace again. We don’t know how anymore. We couldn’t design a doorknob in 143 days in the current year. Maybe the Chinese can but not us. The B-52 is going to be flying 90 years after it was launched.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    We'll probably deploy hover tanks with M2 Browning machine guns on them. Sometimes, the designer does such a good job you can't really do better.
    , @The Wild Geese Howard

    No one is ever going to match that kind of pace again. We don’t know how anymore. We couldn’t design a doorknob in 143 days in the current year.
     
    Correct.

    In the current mad US scramble to field hypersonics, Lockheed, Northrup, and Boeing are defining and endless series of requirements and test protocols.

    I briefly dealt with this as a subcontractor on these programs. My general response was:

    "By the time you're done defining requirements WW3 will be over, homie."
  150. @HunInTheSun
    Yes! Let us here and now forever bury the Cult of the Zero. It was underpowered, underarmoured and undergunned compared to its rival, the Grumman F4F Wildcat, and couldn’t make up for these deficiencies with lower weight, greater speed and superior maneuverability. By New Years 1943 the best of the IJN air corps had fallen under the guns of the American fighter, particularly in the Guadalcanal/Solomons campaign of 1942 which is largely forgotten. By the time the Hellcat and Corsair showed up in 1943, naval air operations by the Japanese were a suicide mission, and this outcome was in large part due to the excellent qualities of the vastly underrated Wildcat and her pilots.

    Do you have a similar evaluation of the P-40 and P-39 vis-a-vis the Zero and the Oscar, a Japanese Army fighter?

    • Replies: @Alfa158
    I’ll chime in. The Oscar was very similar to the Zero and had even higher maneuverability but very light armament. I imagine many Americans thought they were tangling with Zeros when they were fighting Oscars.
    The P-39 and P-40 were in the class of the Wildcat but with one glaring weakness, an inadequate supercharger on the Allison V-12. The planes were first designed with a turbocharger, but the developers had trouble working out the bugs, especially in single engine planes with tight space. It was decided to go instead with a single stage and speed supercharger which meant the production models had poor performance at altitude. They were otherwise fine fighters, you just had to stay low and not like, fly up into the sky with them. Chuck Yeager liked the P-39 better than the P-51 Mustang at low altitude.
    Lockheed stuck with the turbo Allison in the twin engine P-38 and made it a winner.
    The P-40 was used effectively as a ground attack centered fighter and the Russians liked the P-39 in the same role.
  151. @William Badwhite
    There are still countless PT-17's (aka Stearmans) out in the general aviation fleet. The engines are getting a little long in the tooth (though there are scores of P&W radials that have replaced the old Continental 220 HPs) but the airframes are basically indestructible.

    The people that buy them insist on calling them "warbirds" (which they're not, PT stands for Primary Trainer, calling one a "warbird" is like calling whatever Jackie Stewart learned to drive in a race car) and don't seem to realize that if you're into open cockpit biplanes there are countless better options. I suppose it sort of looks cool if you don't know any better.

    The Stearman (I have about 100 hours in them) flies exactly like you'd expect an airplane designed so that ham-fisted farm boys couldn't break it would fly: Heavy, loggy controls with tons of play, climbs like a bathtub, pull the power and it drops like a stone, glacial roll rate (ailerons on only one wing), etc. From purely a flying perspective, its a terrible airplane.

    There's a story, likely apocryphal, about two primary flight instructors in Texas during the war. Bored out of their skulls and aggravated that they were flying PT-17s in Texas instead of something much better in combat, they decided to see if they could rip the wings off of one. So they climb in, take off, climb to around 10,000 feet, trim the airplane for level flight at full power, pushed the throttle all the way up and pointed the nose straight down. Once they maxed out airspeed they both yanked back as hard as they could on the stick...when they woke up the airplane was flying along aimlessly.

    Ok, rant finished.

    when they woke up the airplane was flying along aimlessly.

    There have been countless air crashes caused by pilots taking an anomalous but survivable situation and turning it into a complete disaster, so if the pilots in those situations blacked out (or at least took their hands off the controls) they would have been better off than doing what they did.

    • Replies: @William Badwhite

    than doing what they did.
     
    That is what they did.

    As I heard the story, they did what they did specifically because they wanted to make the airplane crash (an airplane shedding its wings tends to make it fly badly). They would have been wearing parachutes btw - unless the seat has been modified, you need to sit on a parachute to be able to see anything unless you're like 7' tall.

    The possibility of blacking out rather than their goal of watching the wings fly away (then jumping out) is why they trimmed it for level flight at that power setting.
  152. @Steve Sailer
    The Japanese thought it was contemptible for the Americans to try to protect the lives of their pilots with armor and self-sealing gasoline tanks. Not surprisingly, the Japanese ran out of pilots because all their old ones were dead.

    My recollection is that Japanese pilots themselves told the Mitsubishi designers to keep self-sealing tanks and armor off of the A6M in order to save weight and improve performance, especially maneuverability. The Zero, IITC, came as a very unpleasant surprise to Allied airman at the beginning of the war. If they tried to turn with a Zero, they were very likely to find their opponent on their tail and closing in rapidly.

    Another advantage to light weight is range. Japanese pilots at the beginning of the war had learned to lean the mixture of the fuel fed to their engines. Coupled at times with an external fuel tank, Japanese fighters kept turning up in places where the Allies didn’t expect single-engined fighters.

  153. @CAL2
    It is not simply about having superior technology and numbers. The Japanese were on the brink of losing to the Russians in Russo-Japanese War. However, their naval victories made the cost too high for the Russians. It forced them to the negotiating table. The Japanese were going for the same formula with the US. If the Japanese had gambled and taken Hawaii, it might have been enough to force negotiations.

    ‘It is not simply about having superior technology and numbers. The Japanese were on the brink of losing to the Russians in Russo-Japanese War. However, their naval victories made the cost too high for the Russians. It forced them to the negotiating table. The Japanese were going for the same formula with the US. If the Japanese had gambled and taken Hawaii, it might have been enough to force negotiations.’

    Meh. I’m aware of the Japanese rationale for attempting war with the United States. I’m also aware of the usual commonplaces about them misunderstanding us and underestimating us.

    However, I think this was at least partially wishful thinking on the part of the Japanese. I think that by 1941, they had worked themselves into a place where there was no institutionally acceptable solution that didn’t involve attacking and beating the United States.

    So they convinced themselves they could do that. Not because any rational analysis of the situation would have supported such a conclusion, but simply because all of the alternatives were too unpleasant to contemplate. Nobody could sit in a cabinet meeting and say, ‘we need to cut the best deal we can and withdraw from China.’

    It’s like the guy who goes to Mexico to take Laetrile for his liver cancer. He’s convinced himself it’ll work — not because he has rationally decided it will, but simply because the alternative is too unpleasant to accept. Japan attacked the US, not because she actually thought it would work, but because thinking it would work was preferable to the alternatives.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Also, dissenters within the Japanese government tended to get assassinated by war-crazy junior officers.
  154. @William Badwhite
    There are still countless PT-17's (aka Stearmans) out in the general aviation fleet. The engines are getting a little long in the tooth (though there are scores of P&W radials that have replaced the old Continental 220 HPs) but the airframes are basically indestructible.

    The people that buy them insist on calling them "warbirds" (which they're not, PT stands for Primary Trainer, calling one a "warbird" is like calling whatever Jackie Stewart learned to drive in a race car) and don't seem to realize that if you're into open cockpit biplanes there are countless better options. I suppose it sort of looks cool if you don't know any better.

    The Stearman (I have about 100 hours in them) flies exactly like you'd expect an airplane designed so that ham-fisted farm boys couldn't break it would fly: Heavy, loggy controls with tons of play, climbs like a bathtub, pull the power and it drops like a stone, glacial roll rate (ailerons on only one wing), etc. From purely a flying perspective, its a terrible airplane.

    There's a story, likely apocryphal, about two primary flight instructors in Texas during the war. Bored out of their skulls and aggravated that they were flying PT-17s in Texas instead of something much better in combat, they decided to see if they could rip the wings off of one. So they climb in, take off, climb to around 10,000 feet, trim the airplane for level flight at full power, pushed the throttle all the way up and pointed the nose straight down. Once they maxed out airspeed they both yanked back as hard as they could on the stick...when they woke up the airplane was flying along aimlessly.

    Ok, rant finished.

    ‘… Once they maxed out airspeed they both yanked back as hard as they could on the stick…when they woke up the airplane was flying along aimlessly.’

    Sounds vaguely like the story I heard about the Ju-52.

    When it was a prototype, the builders took it to an air show in Switzerland. Everything went fine — until they were flying home in zero visibility. There was a god-awful bang, and the plane started flying badly.

    ‘Crap. It’s not ready for production.’

    They land, and look at the damage, and realize the Ju-52 had flown into another plane up there. ‘Okay…I guess it’s actually a pretty sound design.’

  155. @anon

    Who do you think was working in those steel mills and coal mines if not immigrants? You weren’t going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.
     
    They sure as hell would. I think your problem is you find it impossible to view the United States before Welfare. As bizarre as you may find it to be, back then, if you didn't work, you didn't eat. Imagine that, dum dum.

    Native born Americans, at least in the numbers needed, had better things to do – work on their farms, work a skilled trade, etc. so it was cheaper for Frick to hire Irish and Polacks and whatnot. Maybe there is some alternative universe America where the borders were closed after 1776 but in the real one there were waves of immigration, one after the other and the immigrants worked side by side with the native born. The immigrants didn’t build America any more than the blacks built America but they HELPED build it. Maybe it could have been done without them (they couldn’t have done it by themselves, not the immigrants and for sure not the blacks), but it wasn’t and you can’t change that reality.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    "The immigrants didn’t build America any more than the blacks built America but they HELPED build it. "

    The foundation for America was built by "Heritage Americans", the rest of the house by immigrants.
  156. @Colin Wright
    'It is not simply about having superior technology and numbers. The Japanese were on the brink of losing to the Russians in Russo-Japanese War. However, their naval victories made the cost too high for the Russians. It forced them to the negotiating table. The Japanese were going for the same formula with the US. If the Japanese had gambled and taken Hawaii, it might have been enough to force negotiations.'

    Meh. I'm aware of the Japanese rationale for attempting war with the United States. I'm also aware of the usual commonplaces about them misunderstanding us and underestimating us.

    However, I think this was at least partially wishful thinking on the part of the Japanese. I think that by 1941, they had worked themselves into a place where there was no institutionally acceptable solution that didn't involve attacking and beating the United States.

    So they convinced themselves they could do that. Not because any rational analysis of the situation would have supported such a conclusion, but simply because all of the alternatives were too unpleasant to contemplate. Nobody could sit in a cabinet meeting and say, 'we need to cut the best deal we can and withdraw from China.'

    It's like the guy who goes to Mexico to take Laetrile for his liver cancer. He's convinced himself it'll work -- not because he has rationally decided it will, but simply because the alternative is too unpleasant to accept. Japan attacked the US, not because she actually thought it would work, but because thinking it would work was preferable to the alternatives.

    Also, dissenters within the Japanese government tended to get assassinated by war-crazy junior officers.

    • Agree: Colin Wright
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Also, dissenters within the Japanese government tended to get assassinated by war-crazy junior officers.
     
    And sometimes by themselves.


    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriotism_(short_story)

    https://www.preining.info/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/patriotism1.jpg

  157. @Jack D

    when they woke up the airplane was flying along aimlessly.
     
    There have been countless air crashes caused by pilots taking an anomalous but survivable situation and turning it into a complete disaster, so if the pilots in those situations blacked out (or at least took their hands off the controls) they would have been better off than doing what they did.

    than doing what they did.

    That is what they did.

    As I heard the story, they did what they did specifically because they wanted to make the airplane crash (an airplane shedding its wings tends to make it fly badly). They would have been wearing parachutes btw – unless the seat has been modified, you need to sit on a parachute to be able to see anything unless you’re like 7′ tall.

    The possibility of blacking out rather than their goal of watching the wings fly away (then jumping out) is why they trimmed it for level flight at that power setting.

  158. @nebulafox
    The Germans never really stood a chance of winning WWII militarily. Operation Seelion was never going to take place because the Kriegsmarine just wasn't strong enough to eject the Royal Navy: and even if they were, what then? Hitler himself knew that if the Germans somehow occupied London, Churchill could just evacuate to Canada, and that'd directly bring in the USA. And Hitler's vision of merciless racial war and genocide in the east precluded any chance of letting Stalin sign a BL-esque treaty. I should add: Stalin was fully willing to do that around August/September 1941. Hitler, for his part, occasionally groped at the idea during particularly depressive moodswings late in the year, but inherently preferred the idea of apocalyptic war.

    WWI, by contrast, largely came down to American intervention. Had that not happened, we can safely say that history would be quite different. There would have had to have been some compromise peace on the Western Front for all the gung-ho rhetoric of uncompromising victory, because everybody involved was bled absolutely white. The French had to deal with serious internal military revolts a full year before the Germans did.

    As a side note, the interactions that took place at Brest-Litovsk are always entertaining to read about: the new Bolshevik intelligentsia leaders telling silent bespectacled Prussian officers cheerfully that they'll soon bring revolution to their country, too: and in a tone of voice that implies they should be happy about it.

    ‘The Germans never really stood a chance of winning WWII militarily. Operation Seelion was never going to take place because the Kriegsmarine just wasn’t strong enough to eject the Royal Navy…’

    I disagree. Seelowe wasn’t going to work, but that wasn’t the only arrow in the German quiver. The Germans could have wiped out the BEF at Dunkirk. That might well have tipped the British into suing for peace right there.

    Other moves include more aggressively seeking use of Spanish and French bases and going after Britain’s sea lanes more vigorously and effectively. In the East, I’ll insist the Germans could have simply driven for Moscow, taken it by September 1941, and brought about the collapse of the Soviet state. That doesn’t win the war — the US expected the Soviet Union to collapse and was planning accordingly — but it sure helps.

    Probably the two winning moves are driving Britain out of the war in June 1940 along with France, and then going for the jugular against Russia. The US never enters the war, and Germany has won. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, and the destruction of the BEF in particular doesn’t guarantee Britain doesn’t fight on — but the above scenario both consists of plausible moves and has a reasonable chance of resulting in final victory.

    • Agree: JMcG
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    I read an alt-history of SeaLion that said the Luftwaffe sinks the Royal Navy in the channel, and German special forces and a bit of armor make it ashore. The BEF left all their equipment back in France, so Britain is defended by guys with (maybe) rifles, and they lose.

    The RAF was losing the Battle of Britain, until Hitler, enraged at Churchill's bombing of Berlin, shifted Luftwaffe attacks to British cities.
    , @Anonymous
    Yes, you defeat the British at sea not on land. An invasion is unnecessary as well as difficult and dangerous. (1) Take control of the Mediterranean and East Africa and (2) interdict British shipping in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. This would have forced the British to make peace without a single German soldier setting foot in Britain.

    Maybe Hitler should have thrown everything at Moscow in 1941, instead of the three-pronged attack he actually did launch, but that was what Napoleon had done, and Hitler was nothing if not superstitious.
  159. @nebulafox
    The Germans never really stood a chance of winning WWII militarily. Operation Seelion was never going to take place because the Kriegsmarine just wasn't strong enough to eject the Royal Navy: and even if they were, what then? Hitler himself knew that if the Germans somehow occupied London, Churchill could just evacuate to Canada, and that'd directly bring in the USA. And Hitler's vision of merciless racial war and genocide in the east precluded any chance of letting Stalin sign a BL-esque treaty. I should add: Stalin was fully willing to do that around August/September 1941. Hitler, for his part, occasionally groped at the idea during particularly depressive moodswings late in the year, but inherently preferred the idea of apocalyptic war.

    WWI, by contrast, largely came down to American intervention. Had that not happened, we can safely say that history would be quite different. There would have had to have been some compromise peace on the Western Front for all the gung-ho rhetoric of uncompromising victory, because everybody involved was bled absolutely white. The French had to deal with serious internal military revolts a full year before the Germans did.

    As a side note, the interactions that took place at Brest-Litovsk are always entertaining to read about: the new Bolshevik intelligentsia leaders telling silent bespectacled Prussian officers cheerfully that they'll soon bring revolution to their country, too: and in a tone of voice that implies they should be happy about it.

    That’s kind of a massive assumption that the US would have been more hot to trot to get involved in a European War after Churchill fled the UK.

  160. @Sparkon

    Gain the natural resources that Japan needs in Siberia rather than Indonesia.

    Assuming things go according to schedule in Europe, this has profound implications: one of the things that saved Moscow in December 1941 were crack Siberian troops, used to fighting in brutal winter conditions, being transferred from the east. If the IJA is mucking about the east, Stalin can’t do that.
     
    There were no significant numbers of crack Siberian troops on the Moscow front in 1941, nor had any been transferred west between June and December 1941. Please see Nigel Askey's thorough debunking of the hardened Siberians myth:

    So the question is; who stopped the Germans in December 1941 if it couldn’t possibly have been hordes of newly arrived Siberian or East Front troops?

    The answer is a massive number of newly mobilised and deployed divisions and brigades. The Soviet land model shows that 182 rifle divisions, 43 militia rifle divisions, eight tank divisions, three mechanised divisions, 62 tank brigades, 50 cavalry divisions, 55 rifle brigades, 21 naval rifle brigades, 11 naval infantry brigades, 41 armies, 11 fronts and a multitude of other units were newly Mobilised and Deployed (MD) in the second half of 1941.
    [...]
    There is no doubt that the 1941 Soviet mobilisation programme was simply the largest and fastest wartime mobilisation in history. The multitude of average Soviet soldiers from all over the USSR that made up these units saved the day, and definitely not the existing units transferred west after June 1941, or the mostly non-existent and mythical Siberian divisions.
     
    http://www.operationbarbarossa.net/the-siberian-divisions-and-the-battle-for-moscow-in-1941-42/

    The long and short of it is that Stalin and the Stavka had no need to denude Red Army forces in Siberia or the Far East when the Soviets had as many as 18 million trained reservists available. Due to the fact that the Soviet rail network's focal point was Moskva, it was relatively easy for Stalin and his generals to muster large numbers of new formations in the immediate vicinity of the Soviet capital.

    The Japanese could not advance even 10 miles against the Red Army in 1937 at Khalkin Gol, a Soviet victory enabled in large part by Zhukov's ability to resupply his forces by assembling a large fleet of motorized vehicles to bring in supplies via truck convoy from Chita, 370 miles away.

    The idea that Japan would have been able to exploit natural resources in Siberia is, frankly speaking, laughable.

    Really? OK, that’s interesting! I’ll check out that website.

    Only thing I’ll contend with is:

    >The idea that Japan would have been able to exploit natural resources in Siberia is, frankly speaking, laughable.

    So was the idea that the IJN could hold off whatever Washington would throw at them in the long run. It didn’t stop them from doing it. Japanese politics in 1941 were not operating on a “rational” calculus overall: it only made sense when you look at the perspective of internal politics in Tokyo.

  161. @Colin Wright
    'The only war plan that Japan could have carried out that would have led to victory would been to have coordinated their efforts with Germany, and attacked the Soviet Union out of Manchuria in 1941, instead of attacking the U.S. If they had knocked the Soviet Union out of the war (and together Germany and Japan very likely could have), the axis powers might have won, or been able to conclude a peace.'

    Agree.

    Interestingly, that makes the Soviet victories in the 1939-40 border skirmishes with Japan some of the more significant events in history. Obviously, the bloody nose must have exerted a deterrent effect on the Japanese.

    It's still puzzling that they didn't go this route anyway. One would think that they would have realized that the best way for them to get the upper hand more or less for good would be to collaborate with Germany in picking off at least one of the other major powers. After all, that would have left three other major powers: Germany herself, Britain, and the United States. Since Germany was the only one of these with no immediately competing interests with Japan, it could have been the beginning of an extremely profitable alliance.

    Put Russia down and open an interior route across Asia to oil, etc. Then turn on Britain and the United States.

    Japanese internal politics. The army and navy were more vicious rivals than colleagues, and woe be to any civilian politician who attempted to impose order in the 1930s. Japanese culture, then and now, discourages politicians and bureaucrats from openly voicing their differences in cabinet meetings: that means the private reality can often drastically diverge from the public image.

    (This had pretty severe consequences: Washington failed to understand just little control the civilians in Tokyo had over its army’s decisions in the 1930s. And before the failure of the 226 coup, to an extent, the power the military HQ had over junior officers in the field.)

    Khalkin Gol was a major factor in that. But even more importantly, the army could not bring the China ulcer to a successful conclusion, and even with Tokyo’s total war measures in 1938, the country was feeling it: Showa’s uncharacteristic dressing down of Hajime Sugiyama illustrates just how much their credibility in Tokyo had eroded because of China by 1941. But since the military was so overwhelmingly dominant in Japanese politics by this point, this left the navy ascendant.

  162. @Diversity Heretic
    Japan participated in World War I on the Allied side, but you're correct that it fought no major land battles. In the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, however, Japan fought Russian troops and suffered fairly serious losses taking or attempting to take fortified positions. I think that the Japanese Army put too much stock in its experience against not-too-well motivated or trained Chinese troops and thought that banzai charges would work against better equipped, trained and motivated adversaries. I also wonder how much artillery the Japanese could bring into play. Being able to plaster an opponent with artillery makes it much easier to advance, or even to defend.

    The army learned the wrong lessons from the horrific losses they took at Mukden (it was the navy that won that particular war, which led to its elevation as an equal and the resulting toxic inter-service rivalry) against the Russians: essentially, that spirit was what primarily mattered, and if Japanese soldiers were more willing to charge and take the offensive, Mukden would have been taken quicker. This was the origin of the IJA’s notoriously brutal treatment of private conscripts.

    On a broader level, the IJA was still fully in the “cult of the offensive” age by the time WWII came around. Suffice it to say, I agree that had Japan fought in the trenches in WWI, this would have forced them to reevaluate that conclusion.

    Interestingly enough, though, the nationalist Chinese were the first ones to employ things like suicide squads and death-charges, to the chagrin of German advisors who saw the futility of these kinds of tactics. Essentially, in China, the Chinese played the “IJA” role that the Americans would encounter in the Pacific in terms of tactics, if not level of total, all-encompassing intensity.

  163. My wife and I are now going to go see this on Saturday. I was a little pleasantly surprised to see it’s still scheduled to be shown through next week. Movies usually come & go pretty fast out of theaters, these days.

    • Replies: @David In TN
    I saw it last Saturday. It was the fourth week the film had been in theaters but there was a fairly good crowd for a noon showing.
  164. @Gimeiyo

    What if Japan ignored the U.S. and just focused on consolidating Southeast Asia?
     
    The American colony of the Philippines was right there, potentially obstructing all their sea routes down to the Dutch East Indies. And the US had cut off their oil supplies in response to ultimata Japan had issued to the Vichy French government in Indochina, so they had reason to be concerned. I don't think they could ignore the US if they were going to make a play for the Dutch oilfields.

    Re training, it's certainly right that the US had a lot more civilian depth with modern industry. I think the critical gap was their production capacity, and resource constraints, particularly oil (for which the US had been their primary supplier for the invasion of China, up until the total occupation of French Indochina in 1941).

    Manpower and training were an issue, but the Japanese government could have done more with what they had. E.g. Japanese university students were largely exempted from conscription until late 1943, and until the start of 1944, they only allowed a couple thousand Koreans and Taiwanese to join the army despite hundreds of thousands of applications (I don't think the navy allowed any non-Japanese at all). Conscription in Korea and Taiwan did start in 1944, but by then it was too late to make much difference, e.g. in training new pilots. Truk fell in February 1944, and Saipan fell in July. If they had expanded conscription in 1941, in anticipation of war with the Western powers, they might have had a larger, better trained force by late 1942 and 1943, but they didn't.

    But production capacity was the big limiting factor. Another 50,000 pilots and engineers wouldn't have done anything without planes to fly.

    In ignoring the U.S., Japan would, in my hypothetical, ignore the Philippines, at least initially. That would have put FDR in an interesting spot, as he wouldn’t have had a casus belli at the end of 1941. Presumably, FDR would have come up with one in 1942, but it would have probably been against Germany: maybe using another ship sunk by them or something. In that case, Japan could have waited until we were fully engaged in Europe before going after the Philippines.

    • Replies: @216
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2c/Map_US_Lend_Lease_shipments_to_USSR-WW2.jpg

    The Arctic convoys started in Aug 1941, after the sinking of Bismarck. If the Admiral turned back after sinking HMS Hood, and/or continued on to sink the other battleship; those convoys are much harder to sustain.

    Around the same time, Iran is occupied to keep the supplies flowing on that route.

    If the supplies don't flow from the Arctic, perhaps the Germans take Leningrad.

    ---

    In order to win the war, more implausible rolls of the dice are needed for the Axis. The Germans have to capture the French Navy, intact. The Japanese need to invade, not bomb Hawaii on Dec. 7th. Franco, Salazar and Inonu have to throw in with the Axis.

    ---

    The Japanese never found the oil in Manchuria.
  165. @Altai
    There is one school of thought that says if the Japanese had managed to destroy the US carrier fleet that existed prior to wartime production (Not an impossible feat, they very nearly got both the carriers at Coral Sea and could easily have done so without losses to themselves), that it may have been able to negotiate peace with the US and an end to the hostile trade environment that had largely motivated it's expansion across South East Asia to begin with. I'm not so sure about that, but it was the distant hope that the war was predicated upon since the existing situation was unsustainable.

    Ironically in total defeat Japan actually got this, being allowed to rapidly reindustrialise as a favoured client state in the US empire that would emerge from the war. But it came with an epic loss of life.

    It is interesting when you look back on how things ended up, how pointless some wars seem. Another example is Vietnam. Imagine if the North Vietnamese had said to us: “We’re going to become capitalist, and be friendly with you as a regional counterweight to China”.

  166. @Ozymandias
    Wasn't the Zero both faster and more maneuverable than the Wildcat? Sure it burned like a kite, but you had to hit it first. Until the Hellcat was developed, Japanese fighters were superior. And when Japan introduced the N1K "George," it was the match of any Allied fighter, with its sole weakness being that it had only cannon rounds and a limited number of them. The George was basically a giant Zero. If Japan had still had the production capacity to make them and the pilots to fly them in number, they would have had a significant impact on the war.

    Different design concepts between Japanese and American (or Western) aircraft designers.

    The Japanese designed their early monoplane fighters (A6M Zero for the IJN, Ki-27 Nate and Ki-43 Oscar for the IJA) to be as light and maneuverable as the previous generation of biplane fighters they had built. This meant the planes did away with armor plate around the cockpit, self sealing fuel tanks, and were smaller and used much lighter construction than contemporary Western designs. In addition, contemporary Japanese aircraft engines weren’t as powerful as Western designs so a light airframe means a speedy aircraft with less HP. All this combined meant in a traditional “dogfight” a Zero or Oscar was a deadly foe and could easily maneuver onto your tail and blast away.

    Western designers added armor plate, self sealing fuel tanks, bigger and more powerful engines, and stronger construction in an attempt to save the aircraft and the pilot. Japanese pilots really bought into the idea of being flying Samurai, so much so that to save weight at takeoff some flew missions sans parachute pack. Western pilots not so much. Coming back to base to fly another mission was key.

    Was the A6M Zero faster and more maneuverable than an F4F Wildcat or P-40 Warhawk, the primary USN/USMC and USAAF front line fighters of 1941-42? Yes, but starting with the Flying Tigers Western pilots figured out how to negate the advantages the Japanese had: Avoid getting into turning dogfights (like the ones you see in movies where Ace pilots square off and zoom around trying to get the kill shot) and instead do the aviation equivalent of a drive by shooting: Climb high above the enemy, zoom down, fire a heavy burst from your four or six 50 caliber guns, and keep diving away. Zoom up if possible to make a second pass and then
    GET
    THE
    HELL
    OUT
    OF
    THERE

    By diving away to the deck. That lightweight construction meant any Japanese pilot trying to chase you might very well literally rip the wings off his aircraft.

    By the second generation of Japanese fighters (N1K George, Ki-61/Ki-100 Tony, Ki-84 Frank), the designers came around to the Western view and started building bigger, more powerful aircraft with better pilot and fuel protection. Unfortunately engine issues (not powerful enough or reliable enough, or just plain not enough engines period) plagued the later series of planes, along with a real lack of high quality AV gas and a real shortage of spare parts.

    I’ll stop the airplane nerd 🤓 bit now.

    • Replies: @HunInTheSun
    Nice work.

    The JAAF designs you have cited were excellent (especially the slick Kawasaki Ki-61, yowza) and produced in reasonable numbers (3000+ for both the Frank and Tony), so one must ask, why didn’t they have an impact, why couldn’t they curtail the uniformly grim outcomes for Japanese combat aviation after mid-‘43 or so? Insert here the maxim "amateurs discuss tactics, professionals discuss logistics". Japanese Army fliers (as opposed to their Naval counterparts) could never combine enough of these machines along with sufficient fuel and spares to create a critical mass operating from a base that the Allies in the Pacific couldn’t ignore, and the reason was the chronic lack of transport capacity and the declining ability of the IJN to protect the shipping that was available. It’s the story of the big airbase at Rabaul in New Britain versus Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. The Japanese simply lost the ability to supply their island-based forces in the South Pacific by late 1942, and thereafter northwards to the home islands.
  167. @craig h
    Alan D. Zimm, in Attack on Pearl Harbor: Strategy, Combat, Myths Deceptions writes that new Zero fighters were towed BY OXEN from the factory to the airfield .

    Then again, the Wehrmacht was a largely horse drawn army in 1940 .

    Then again, the Wehrmacht was a largely horse drawn army in 1940 .

  168. @Steve Sailer
    The Battle of Midway was a very close run thing.

    I agree, but not necessarily because of good luck on the American side. The Americans set up an ambush, and nearly botched it, with Hornet’s air group in particular. There was plenty of good and bad luck to go around, in my opinion.

    I assume this is a Wellington reference?

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    There was plenty of good and bad luck , but it nearly all ran in favor of the US.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/the-june-5th-anniversaries-six-days-war-and-assassination-of-rfk/#comment-1896783
    , @Anonymous
    I haven't seen the movie but how does it handle Admiral Mitscher's decision to send his strike force to completely the wrong location?

    The 1976 movie avoids this topic and just has the fliers get 'lost' in the clouds.
  169. Funny Steve. I too remember reading a paperback book on the Battle of Midway, back around 1974, two years before the well known 1976 movie with many Hollywood stars, which I still like.

    I’ll have time check this one out, at home. I haven’t gone to a theater in about fifteen years.

  170. @HunInTheSun
    Yes! Let us here and now forever bury the Cult of the Zero. It was underpowered, underarmoured and undergunned compared to its rival, the Grumman F4F Wildcat, and couldn’t make up for these deficiencies with lower weight, greater speed and superior maneuverability. By New Years 1943 the best of the IJN air corps had fallen under the guns of the American fighter, particularly in the Guadalcanal/Solomons campaign of 1942 which is largely forgotten. By the time the Hellcat and Corsair showed up in 1943, naval air operations by the Japanese were a suicide mission, and this outcome was in large part due to the excellent qualities of the vastly underrated Wildcat and her pilots.

    Also the Zero actually had a poorer turn rate than the Wildcat at high speeds because its very light weight construction made it flex under high loads. The two planes showed even loss rates against each other by the end of 1942. The Japanese had lost much of their advantage in pilot experience, and the capture of a crash landed Zero in the Aleutians allowed the Americans to quantify the performance differences and train accordingly. The Zero and Oscar were the last hurrah for low power very high maneuverability WW1 style dogfighters. After them, the zoom and boom school of high energy combat took over. The Luftwaffe’s Eric Hartmann scored 352 kills flying the low maneuverability BF-109 with his “see, decide, attack, break away” technique of operating like a diving falcon and avoiding a dogfight.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Dogfighting is what happens when things go wrong. Even in WWI pilots were discouraged from engaging in it. If you have a height or engine power advantage over your opponent you can and should avoid it completely.
  171. @Simon in London
    Good review, I quite fancy seeing this now (if they show it in Blighty)

    >>To this day, nobody knows what the Japanese would have done if they had won at Midway: perhaps raid the West Coast or try to seize Hawaii and take the wives and children of the American servicemen as hostages. (The Japanese military had a track record of doing whatever would make the rest of the world hate them the most.)

    The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.<<

    My guess would be they'd try to take Hawaii as a base for further operations. There might be some raiding of the US West Coast, and maybe attempts at invading Alaska. Eventually the USA would have had enough carriers to win a Midway-style battle and then the war would have swung against Japan. The US would probably have prioritised carriers over nukes since they are of limited use in a carrier war, but I can imagine seeing atomic bombs being used to scatter Japanese carrier fleets. Japan would have tried to deploy its own nukes using Nazi technology, but probably not be able to make any in time to avoid defeat.

    Agree overwhelming industrial superiority would’ve eventually turned the tide. If US sentiment held out. Japan maybe hoping victory at Midway and other early victories would be enough to turn popular sentiment towards a negotiated settlement.

    Speaking of Alaska – I never understood the significance of Japan attacking/invading the Aleutians. Even if they occupied it. Was there some geographical significance to this far off northern place not near anything else? Maybe someone can explain.

    “The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.”

    • Replies: @216

    Speaking of Alaska – I never understood the significance of Japan attacking/invading the Aleutians.
     
    Defensive perimiter, causing the US to overreact.

    Japan maybe hoping victory at Midway and other early victories would be enough to turn popular sentiment towards a negotiated settlement.
     
    Alone, they can't do this; and cooperation with the other Axis powers was limited. But together, the better the Japanese perform means more resources diverted from the European theater. That improves the odds for the U-boats, strengthens Vichy France and Italy, keeps Rommel in North Africa, and forces the British into far more dependency on colonial troops.

    What the Japanese were missing at Midway were the two carrier groups that were shredded during the Coral Sea battle. The ships were damaged, but most of the pilots were lost. They tried to complete the conquest of New Guinea with a half-measure. If all six carriers had been at Coral Sea, the Lexington and the Yorktown probably go to the bottom.
  172. @Diversity Heretic
    Do you have a similar evaluation of the P-40 and P-39 vis-a-vis the Zero and the Oscar, a Japanese Army fighter?

    I’ll chime in. The Oscar was very similar to the Zero and had even higher maneuverability but very light armament. I imagine many Americans thought they were tangling with Zeros when they were fighting Oscars.
    The P-39 and P-40 were in the class of the Wildcat but with one glaring weakness, an inadequate supercharger on the Allison V-12. The planes were first designed with a turbocharger, but the developers had trouble working out the bugs, especially in single engine planes with tight space. It was decided to go instead with a single stage and speed supercharger which meant the production models had poor performance at altitude. They were otherwise fine fighters, you just had to stay low and not like, fly up into the sky with them. Chuck Yeager liked the P-39 better than the P-51 Mustang at low altitude.
    Lockheed stuck with the turbo Allison in the twin engine P-38 and made it a winner.
    The P-40 was used effectively as a ground attack centered fighter and the Russians liked the P-39 in the same role.

    • Replies: @HunInTheSun
    Right. It should be noted that the turbo Allison continued to give problems in the P-38 and that fighter was withdrawn from European operations as the P-51 became available in numbers. The P-40 had a useful deployment in North Africa and the Med, while the P-39 was simply foisted on the Soviets.

    The untold story of American combat aviation history from WW2 is how the mighty Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, the best single-engine combat aircraft of WW2, has been forgotten. I blame the Mustang Mafia.
  173. Anonymous[341] • Disclaimer says:
    @Almost Missouri
    Agree. All our rationally-based Monday morning quarterbacking of WWII ignores the fact that key Axis leaders, Hitler in particular, were not acting rationally by 1941, so our rational arguments about what they coulda shoulda woulda done are basically irrelevant. And also agree that what made Hitler successful 1933-1940 also made him catastrophic 1941-1945.

    Au Contraire.

    Hitler behaved quite rationally in 1941. Operation Barbarossa, given the circumstances, was a rational strategy, albeit based on bad intelligence about Soviet industrial capacity.

    (1) See the Hitler and Mannerheim Secret Audio Recording (1942). TL:DR: This is the one existing candid recording of Hitler, in which he said Germany goofed and completely underestimated Soviet industrial strength. He tries to put a good face on the situation, saying Germany will prevail, but he comes across as rational, making the same assumption most modern historians would make: it was a matter of time before the USSR invaded.

    (2) Declassified Soviet documents point strongly to a Soviet offensive, occurring sometime in 1941/42. While this is a revisionist stance, it’s the most strongly supported by actual documented evidence.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_offensive_plans_controversy
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27s_Missed_Chance

    Then there is the counterfactual history based on intuition. Assume Nazi Germany was not a militarized, totalitarian government, but rather a western-leaning democracy. Would this have stopped a conflict with the USSR? No. Furthermore, if the conflict occurred later, it would have likely involved atomic weapons, leading to an even larger body count for those unfortunate to reside on the battlefield — i.e., Poles, Jews, Russians, etc.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    When Stalin made his 1939 deal with Hitler, he assumed that Hitler would attack France and get bogged down like in WWI. Then eventually Stalin could attacked the exhausted combatants.

    But then Germany conquered France in 1940.

    , @Houston 1992
    The Soviet army struggle to defeat the Finns during the Winter War added to German mis -calculation of the Soviet strength. German generals were complacent too
    , but after the war would claim they had opposed going East

    2) why so little intelligence on the USSR as a garrison state ? Countries such as Finland, a Poland , Hungary had huge incentives to understand what was happening in the USSR during their covert military buildup. Yet, individually and collectively, no one including the Americans transferring factories to the USSR ,could form that picture.

    3) it is baffling that the Soviets had the resources to relocate factories behind the Urals in the midst of a massive invasion. Their reserves of soldiers , munitions , factory workers, rail transport and loading equipment is astounding to me
    , @Houston 1992
    The Soviet army struggle to defeat the Finns during the Winter War added to German mis -calculation of the Soviet strength. German generals were complacent too
    , but after the war would claim they had opposed going East

    2) why so little intelligence on the USSR as a garrison state ? Countries such as Finland, a Poland , Hungary had huge incentives to understand what was happening in the USSR during their covert military buildup. Yet, individually and collectively, no one including the Americans transferring factories to the USSR ,could form that picture.

    3) it is baffling that the Soviets had the resources to relocate factories behind the Urals in the midst of a massive invasion. Their reserves of soldiers , munitions , factory workers, rail transport and loading equipment is astounding to me
    , @LondonBob
    Hitler goofed with the Battle of Britain. The Kreigsmarine and Luftwaffe were no match for the RN and RAF, so invasion was impossible. Britain should have been treated Blitzkrieg style, a strongpoint to be bypassed, isolated and ignored. Instead pacifist sentiment in Britain was undermined by bombing British cities with valuable aircrews and slightly less valuable bombers wasted.
    , @Almost Missouri

    "Hitler behaved quite rationally in 1941."
     
    Declaring war on the US in 1941 was the exact opposite of the rational thing to do. His enemies (UK, USSR) had a meta-strategic problem, how to prevent their new US ally from becoming preoccupied with the expensive and less relevant (from their view) Pacific war, and Hitler solved it for them.

    Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union could have been rational iif:

    1) Hitler had a way to replace all the crucial raw materials (including oil) that he was getting from the Soviets, which he lost access to as soon as the invasion started;

    2) Hitler had prepared the Wehrmacht for the Russian winter;

    3) Hitler treated the peoples of the liberated territories (Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltics, etc.) as assets and allies rather than as untermensch to be exterminated thereby creating new enemies along the way;

    4) Hitler had focused on driving to Moscow and taking the hub of the Soviet transport network, rather than scattering his forces into the Pripet marshes and elsewhere without strategic purpose;

    5) Hitler had allowed his scarce and valuable troops to retreat from various untenable situations they found themselves in rather than making everything a hold-at-all-costs one-way attack.

    Since in actuality Hitler did the opposite of all those things, it is not possible to call his invasion "rational". Instead, it was merely of a piece with the rest of his weird gestural politics-by-aesthetics: he wanted to be seen as driving German power eastward so he did, irrespective of means and ends.

    If you look into firsthand accounts of the ruling regime's inner circle, such as Albert Speer's memoir, it is obvious that by 1941, the supreme executive decision making process had degenerated into a parodic government-by-cliché where the only role of reason was as an aid to better brownnosing and backstabbing. The wonder is not that they lost, but that it took as long as it did.
  174. @Anonymous
    The Germans apparently were working on a less expensive, though cruder way to produce fissionable material today remembered as "The Nazi Bell". For decades cranks have promoted the idea that it was some sort of time machine, antigravity device, or method to communicate with aliens. Apparently the Allies really did almost certainly resort to skullduggery and outright assassination to "suppress the secrets" it entailed. They probably did this not to control time travel or antigravity, but because they figured that it would if perfected make it a lot easier for third world countries and nonstate actors to produce fissionable material, albeit of lower quality or more dangerously or more slowly than the accepted gaseous diffusion or centrifugal methods in use by the major players. It's possible that all the "woo-woo" theories were actually promulgated by US and/or British counterintelligence to deflect attention from the device's real purpose.

    The Manhattan Project was enormously expensive and tied up a great deal of manufacturing resources, and to have duplicated it exactly would have been beyond the wartime capacity of any other nation. If Germany had had a few more years of peace and quiet and actually had been motivated to do it, though, they might well have done it. Certainly, if the Germans today made the decision to become a nuclear power they could do it in a fairly short time, as could the Japanese, the Swedes, the Swiss, even the Italians.

    The US spent about 300 billion on WWII, 2 billion on the Manhattan project.

  175. @Almost Missouri

    While the Japanese attacked the island, the Americans, under novice carrier commander Raymond “Electric Brain” Spruance, operating under the old military doctrine of “get their firstest with the mostest,” sent wave after wave of Devastator torpedo bombers followed by Dauntless dive-bombers against the Japanese carriers.

    (Spruance, a battleship admiral who took over from the ill Bull Halsey, played by Dennis Quaid, only days before the battle, is given less screen time than he deserves. But it would be hard to make credible how Spruance somehow mastered carrier warfare command en route to Midway.)
     
    While indiscriminately throwing waves of bombers at the Japanese fleet turned out to be the correct strategy, this was mostly because of good luck. Spruance was a good commander, doing what he could with what he had, but it is too much to say he "mastered" carrier warfare. What he had was a cobbled-together carrier force with mediocre planes, bad torpedoes, spotty intelligence and meagerly experienced pilots. That they arrived when they did, where they did and how they did—to deliver the decisive blow—was essentially luck. But fortune favors the bold, perhaps.

    AM, it wasn’t quite like that; I understand your larger point about serendipity/Lady Luck/Murphy’s Law, etc. However, Fletcher/Spruance were executing by the book. They sent their standard recon flights to look for the IJN, and as soon as they were located, launched the standard doctrinal attack of that time: fighters, dive bombers, torpedo planes. They were supposed to fly to the target and attack simultaneously; fighters to occupy the enemy CAP, then the dive bombers/torpedo planes overwhelm the targets. Torpedo planes were supposed to attack from both starboard/port to increase the chance of target hits. Miscommunication, for of war and the three different formations got separated and off-course: the torpedo planes went to the target (Nagumo’s carriers) but arrived before fighter cover and dive bombers (who, fortunately deduced the correct vector to the carriers). The torpedo planes pulled the CAP down to the water and though most were shot down, pulling the CAP down opened up a window of vulnerability that the dive bombers arrived just in time to exploit.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Me:

    "That they arrived when they did, where they did and how they did—to deliver the decisive blow—was essentially luck."
     
    You:

    "the three different formations got separated and off-course: the torpedo planes went to the target (Nagumo’s carriers) but arrived before fighter cover and dive bombers (who, fortunately deduced the correct vector to the carriers). The torpedo planes pulled the CAP down to the water and though most were shot down, pulling the CAP down opened up a window of vulnerability that the dive bombers arrived just in time to exploit."
     
    I wasn't going to flesh out the details of what that luck looked like, so thanks for doing it for me.

    Other points of crucial luck:

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/the-june-5th-anniversaries-six-days-war-and-assassination-of-rfk/#comment-1896783
    , @craig h
    Luck can be attributed to a well-conceived plan carried out by a well-trained and indoctrinated task group.
    Chester W. Nimitz
  176. @Anonymous
    Actually, the Germans in 1940 were an industrial behemoth as compared to any other nation besides the United States. And in advanced precision manufacturing they were ahead of us in many ways. We could not manufacture a camera as good as a Rolleiflex, a Leica or a Contax, optically or mechanically. And the Junkers Jumo opposed piston diesel aircraft engines are still paragons of efficiency and reliability, they were even more efficient than the turbocompound Wright R-3350 radials in the Constellation and a lot less maintenance intensive.

    Germany was a distant second to the US.

  177. @syonredux

    The banzai charge was a very effective tactic when fighting the Chinese, which is where most Japanese officers cut their teeth. The Chinese had few automatic weapons and often little combat experience. So one ferocious charge could win the day.

    When faced with better-armed and more professional opponents, the banzai charge didn’t work.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD3F16J42Eo

    John Basilone; get a lump in my throat when I think of that guy.

  178. @El Dato
    A problem of "gotta go fast using whatever is available" (including a wrong psychology to approach engineering problems) surprisingly well captured in the (not quite historically accurate) Hayao Miyazaki's ode to the designer of the Zero, "The Wind Rises".

    Thank you for mentioning that! PiltdownChild2 has asked for, and will be getting, half-a-dozen blu-ray discs of movies by Hayao Miyazaki, for Christmas. I’m going to add The Wind Rises to that list.

  179. @syonredux
    RE: Midway,

    For a TV mini-series budget, War and Remembrance did a fairly good job:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvT2vTzMn7E


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A5xvopAfx8


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ladXC2aIF9M


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMbpQlBZleY


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95UbTypOCBA

    All I remember about that TV mini-series is the idealistic old professor, played by John Gielgud, getting gassed.

    • Replies: @syonredux

    All I remember about that TV mini-series is the idealistic old professor, played by John Gielgud, getting gassed.
     
    I saw it when I was nine, and it was the navy stuff that stuck with me. For example, it was the first time that I heard about the Battle of Midway.
  180. @Mr. Anon
    I had assumed it was some kind of contractual obligation movie or tax-shelter or something. Although the tank battle must have been pretty expensive to arrange, unless they just filmed some Spanish army maneuvers. In any event Battle of the Bulge was a real stinker. A much better movie about those events (and probably one of the best war movies ever) was Battleground from 1949.

    My father, an infantry private in the Battle of the Bulge, regarded Battleground as the most true-to-life WW2 movie he’d seen (and he saw a lot of war movies). I gather that Spielberg also rates it very highly.

    (P.S. Second on my father’s list was A Walk in the Sun.)

    • Replies: @David In TN
    My father was in Patton's 3rd Army from the Bastogne relief through the final push into Germany. When Battleground was shown for the first time on NBC Saturday Night at the movies, I was watching.

    Dad came into the room. He did not like war movies in general. But he sat down and watched it. And he approved, especially the speech by the chaplain played by Leon Ames.
  181. @Jack D
    Who do you think was working in those steel mills and coal mines if not immigrants? You weren't going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.

    http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/654.html

    As early as 1847, Chicago had six iron foundries. Steelmaking in Chicago began in 1865. As steel production grew nationwide during the late nineteenth century, steel production in Chicago grew too. For decades, immigrants came to Chicago because of the high wages available in the mills. Steel companies specifically recruited many of them.

    The first wave of immigrants to the mills, mostly Scots, Irish, and Germans, came in the 1870s and 1880s. The second wave, of Slavic immigrants, mostly Poles and Serbs, first arrived in the 1890s and continued to come until the beginning of World War I. The third wave, Mexicans and African Americans from the South, began during World War I. The Europeans tended to settle in largely homogeneous ethnic neighborhoods near the mills along the Calumet River on the South Side, although the dominant group in particular neighborhoods has changed over time. These areas have prospered and declined along with the firms that ran the mills. African American employment in the Chicago steel industry increased sharply after World War II, but hostility from white residents forced these workers to settle on the western and northern fringes of this area.

  182. @PiltdownMan
    All I remember about that TV mini-series is the idealistic old professor, played by John Gielgud, getting gassed.

    All I remember about that TV mini-series is the idealistic old professor, played by John Gielgud, getting gassed.

    I saw it when I was nine, and it was the navy stuff that stuck with me. For example, it was the first time that I heard about the Battle of Midway.

  183. FvF was better than Midway, but both are doing well because they tell a story, have no Message, chicks, poofters, trannies, or POCs, just white guys doing manly heroic stuff.

  184. @Reg Cæsar
    Does Richard Fleming make an appearance?

    https://missingmarines.com/by-name/fox/richard-e-fleming/
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_E._Fleming


    http://www.airport-data.com/images/airports/small/018/018468.jpg

    https://img9.fold3.com/img/thumbnail/638537899/350/400.jpg

    Reg,

    I’ve now seen the movie twice. No, Richard Fleming does not make an appearance. There is an authentic scene of a flaming B-26 damn near crashing into the bridge of the Akagi, which would have killed Admiral Nagumo. Wikipedia says that caused Nagumo to violate Yamamoto’s orders to keep his reserves ready for another attack and instead caused Nagumo to order another attack on Midway itself, which of course, proved fatal.

    For all those who are complaining about the CGI effects, well consider this: how else could director Emmerich have shown the absolute stones of steel needed to make a bomb run in a Dauntless dive bomber?

    The movie shows the dives from Dick Best’s perspective, and it is terrifying.

    I doubt any readers here have ever seen anything like that: a vertical drop from several thousand feet up, straight into the teeth of hellish ominpresent anti-aircraft fire in which the entire plane would disintegrate in a second.

    To me, Steve could have underscored just how brave the crews of those planes really were.

    A handful of American heroes turned the tied of the war in the Pacific because they possessed the level of courage that Homer would have immortalized . . .

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I sort of preserved the Spoiler by not describing what happened 100 seconds after the last torpedo bombers were destroyed.
  185. @Jack D
    Who do you think was working in those steel mills and coal mines if not immigrants? You weren't going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.

    Ha ha. You ever tried farming?

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Actually I grew up on an egg farm.
  186. @Jack D
    The state of the art in warplanes progressed rapidly during the war. The US started with biplanes and ended with jets. The Lockheed P-80 went from start of design to 1st delivery in 143 days. So at the start of the war the Zero was competitive but by the end it wasn't.

    No one is ever going to match that kind of pace again. We don't know how anymore. We couldn't design a doorknob in 143 days in the current year. Maybe the Chinese can but not us. The B-52 is going to be flying 90 years after it was launched.

    We’ll probably deploy hover tanks with M2 Browning machine guns on them. Sometimes, the designer does such a good job you can’t really do better.

  187. @Anon
    Midway was great.

    By contrast, I was disappointed at how bad Once Upon A Time in Hollywood was, especially given the hype and rave reviews it got, including from Steve and the commenters here. The only good thing about the movie was the big cars, the driving around, and the incessant smoking. I'm sure the driving around LA was especially poignant for Steve, since it's set in Steve's childhood years, and would have been very nostalgic, but that wasn't enough to save the movie.

    There was basically no plot or point to the movie, and the whole Manson family subplot seemed like it was tacked on as an afterthought just as an excuse for what happens during the bloody climax.

    You already know what happens in Midway and it was much better.

    Midway was great, and The Irishman was good. I have no idea how Once Upon A Time in Hollywood got good reviews.

    Tried to watch The Irishman, but, sorry, it was so, well, Boomer Porn. (I’m not a Boomer basher, btw.) It’s obviously for a certain demographic – and that’s fine. However, it wasn’t a story; it was a more like a reunion.

    I can read books or watch movies from various ages and enjoy them. They don’t demand that you were born at certain time. The Irishman isn’t one of them. It’s for Boomers and no one else. Maybe if I was born between 1945 and 1960, I could relate, but I wasn’t.

    Watching it reminded me that the old United States is dying, but Boomers will never face that fact. They’ll go to their graves remembering a 90% America and never apologizing for letting that go.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Pre-Boomer. The director and 3 stars were all born before 1946.
    , @PiltdownMan

    Tried to watch The Irishman, but, sorry, it was so, well, Boomer Porn. (I’m not a Boomer basher, btw.) It’s obviously for a certain demographic – and that’s fine. However, it wasn’t a story; it was a more like a reunion.
     
    I think that's basically right, but the demographic is way narrower than that. It's for fans of Martin Scorsese gangster flicks and fans of the three principal actors in gangster roles.
    , @anonymous
    Mega Dittos Rush !!!!

    We were born between 1946 and 1952. We had no intention of fighting and dying in Vietnam. We did everything we could to avoid being drafted but dammit we didn't protest the war or run to Canada or burn our draft cards like those dirty hippies did. We played within the rules.

    Clinton was a draft-dodging pot smoker. GWB heroically served in the Texas Air-National Guard.

    When the hero GWB called for the invasion of Iraq we were there, waving our flags and denouncing any skeptics as anti-American terrorist lovers.

    Apparently the American South votes so solidly Republican to spite the racism of it's solidly Democrat past. Or something. Orval Faubus was a Democrat and Eisenhower was a Republican.

    Anyway my dad was born in 49 and I was born in 77 and I think Scorsese means a lot more to my generation than his.

    At this point any white man over the age of forty who can't grasp that the mid-90's was a generation ago qualifies as a Boomer.
  188. @gcochran
    Ha ha. You ever tried farming?

    Actually I grew up on an egg farm.

  189. @Houston 1992
    Doolittle raider : one landed in USSR at Vladilovstok. How was that decision made by that pilot ? Why did not everyone have that contingency plan given the planes lack of fuel due to starting their flight further off Japan.

    I believe one issue was that since Russia and Japan were not at war pilots who came down in Russia were interned there for the duration, whereas those who came down in free China had a chance of getting home.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    One Doolittle Raider got home from China, was sent to fly in North Africa, got captured by the Germans, sent to Stalag III, where he helped dig the Great Escape. But he didn't go on it, so he got home safely in 1945.
  190. @PiltdownMan

    I’m wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

     

    From Wikipedia:

    Between 1925 and 1936, the United States Big Three automakers' Japanese subsidiaries produced a total of 208,967 vehicles, compared to the domestic producers total of 12,127 vehicles
     
    By contrast, automobile production in the United States in those years sometimes exceeded 2 million cars annually, and fell as low as 900,000 for only a single year, 1932, the worst year of the Depression.

    We sometimes overlook the fact that America has been much bigger than most other industrial economies for a really long time, ever since total steel production in the US exceeded that of Great Britain in the 1880s.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry_in_Japan#Timeline_of_the_Japanese_car_industry

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Automobile_Production_Figures

    I’ve sometimes wondered whether the Great Depression was really as bad as my parents claimed. Even in its depths magnitudes more Americans were driving cars, using washing machines, listening to radio, etc, than anywhere else in the world.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Alternatively, how great the 1920s were.

    In the opening of James M. Cain's Mildred Pierce in about 1930, the author mentions how these nothing special people in Glendale, CA have a bathroom in their newish house better than any king in human history had ever enjoyed.

    , @PiltdownMan
    It was pretty bad. Unemployment hit 25%, and nominal GDP fell by 50% in the United States, or about 25% in real terms, since prices were depressed as well. Absent almost any form of welfare or social transfer payments, life turned very hard for families where the breadwinner was unemployed. The worst was that there seemed to be no way out—Keynes published his explanation only in 1936, and until then, policymakers and economists were mostly at a loss as to what had happened and what to do.

    Yes, material standards of living in America were better than anywhere else in the rest of the world (the Great Depression was global) but that was small consolation for a family where dad had no job, the savings had run out, and there were no prospects for employment. The years from about 1932 to 1935 or so were really bad.

  191. @Colin Wright
    'The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.'

    Midway was an epic victory, but US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war. It would have ended no later than 1946. After 1943, Japan simply was no longer in our league. It was like your basic small-college team suiting up against the Super Bowl champions. We started crossing all that open ocean, got within B-29 range, and put an end to it.

    What could Japan have done to slow that? She wasn't going to be able to seize the Hawaiian Islands -- not in the second half of 1942. Conquering Australia was out of the question. About all she could have done was to delay our march back across the Pacific by a few more months than she did.

    Japan, essentially, was simply not a fully modern state in the nineteen forties. She couldn't run with the big dogs, and got very badly burnt when she tried. There was a Japanese army major who visited Germany in 1940. Germany was hardly an industrial behemoth, but what that major saw sobered him up. He went back to Japan and tried to tell his superiors, 'we're not ready for this. We can't play in this league.'

    They wouldn't listen.

    US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war.

    “Why Japan had NO Chance in WW2”, a display of comparative ship production over time:

  192. @Mr. Anon
    I had assumed it was some kind of contractual obligation movie or tax-shelter or something. Although the tank battle must have been pretty expensive to arrange, unless they just filmed some Spanish army maneuvers. In any event Battle of the Bulge was a real stinker. A much better movie about those events (and probably one of the best war movies ever) was Battleground from 1949.

    The battle in the Ardennes (What you called the bulge) was a series of battles that all led up to victory. It needs a television series. There were the fighting in the twin villages and Eisenborg Ridge. The 28th division to keep the road to Bastogne open for three days. There was Parker’s crossroads, the Malmedy massacre, The 2nd armor stopping the Germans at the furthest points. We must not forget the Damned Engineers. We need a cast of thousands for this. Done right it would be a great show. Remember this was the US army’s largest battle.

  193. @anon
    My review is based on the supplied trailer.

    The "Tour of Duty" quality graphics, as applied to represent the ships and carriers, are just fake enough to take the viewer out of the movie. The gratuitous plane crashes are video game creations that bear little resemblance to reality, undermining any sense of danger to develop, or empathy for the characters charged to deal with it. The actors seem to be missing the testosterone required for the normal development of men of that age, during the time depicted. Furthermore, genetic miscreants, with large, yet skinny, slightly deformed heads, are no substitute for the battle-worn look of a typical fighter pilot of that era.

    "Midway" is essentially watching someone else play a video game of girly men blowing the hell out of each other for an hour. Buy your favorite version of Tour of Duty, and play it yourself, girly man.

    Thank you for reading my review.

    Unlike you, Old Prude, I actually saw the movie.

    Twice.

    There is simply no way to recreate the death-defying dives in a Dauntless without CGI.

    The movie shows the American pilot’s perspective: virtually vertical, straight down from 5,000 feet for about 45 seconds into flak that would annihilate an aiplane in an instant.

    Those pilots were beyond brave – they had the kind of guts that the ancient Greeks recognized as god-like.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Yep, that era's naval aviation sorties were very lethal—to the attackers. A "successful" attack might result in the loss of a third of the attacking aircraft. Losses from unsuccessful attacks might approach 100%. Even if your attack was successful, if your carrier was sunk while you were gone, you might end up near 100% losses anyway due to nowhere to land.

    Beyond brave indeed.
    , @Old Prude
    Meh. I don't need some cartoon with a bunch of fag actors to help me understand what those guys did. Folks who think watching a movie makes them know what it was like to be there, or somehow respects those who lived through it are, in my opinion, mistaken.
    , @Anon87
    Not arguing the bravery, but there are lots of non-CGI movie magic that can be done. Cartoon animation shouldn't be the default method.
  194. Thanks to all of you who have devoted the time and effort to making this a tremendous thread. I’ve learned a lot.

    • Agree: Dave Pinsen, ic1000, Corn
  195. @nebulafox
    Stalin looked at Hitler as a Teutonic version of himself, and Roosevelt thought that Hitler was essentially a puppet of the old Prussian aristocratic class. Both men were utterly, totally wrong: both views betray more about them than anything else.

    Winston Churchill, by contrast, uniquely got who Hitler was on an base, fundamental level. That's more than you can say for just about anyone else.

    > Stalin at that time and with his shitty system of collectivization could not feed his own population let alone Germany’s so he wasn’t going to be the bread basket for his German ally.

    My impression was that the USSR's famine years were over by 1940-if I'm wrong, then tell me-not that Stalin would have especially cared. It's worth pondering if the Bolshevik regime would have survived as long as it did if Barbarossa didn't happen, though. Paradoxical as it sounds, the war truly bound the people emotionally to the regime long after it became clear that Communism wasn't working. And the USSR was a very unnatural construct marked by its gestation... when I was reading Smele's book on the Russian Civil War, he makes the point that we really should have been more shocked the USSR lasted as long as it did than we were by the collapse.

    What is tellingly absent from Hitler's thinking is any interest in utilizing modern technology to gain more crops from less land. It shows how irrevocably stamped by his age he was.

    >Hitler’s long term plan was to put together a nation that stretched from sea to shining sea just like the US so that he could punch against America with equal weight.

    Yupper. My alternate history tangent above assumes Hitler had the mental flexibility to move away from such a vision. Historical singularities generally don't like to settle.

    This boils down to what I keep saying about Hitler every single time he comes up as a subject topic: it's ultimately useless to discuss him doing things differently, because I suspect mentally he was literally incapable of adjusting his strategic visions, if it became clear they were unlikely to work out. He could discuss letting go or intellectually think about doing so, and he was endlessly flexible when it came to tactical decisions during his "politician" phase, but that was it. This was something that was deeply consistent: you can see it as much in the Beer Hall Putsch as you can the declaration of war on the United States. The Hitler here and there are very much the same guy. There's no maturation or change, only a discarded mask.

    >Unfortunately, one of the things that he liked was Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism which was influential on this own thinking.

    Henry Ford was influential on everybody, including the Bolsheviks. Not arguing he didn't influence Hitler, but I don't think he was a particularly decisive one in terms of ideology: by his prison term after the putsch, Hitler's ideology was in the process of consolidation, not the first steps of formation. Economically, might have been a different story, to the extent that Hitler cared about economics.

    The White Russians and Baltic Germans he met around 1919/1920, though, are a different story. The whole thesis of Judeo-Bolshevism betrays very White Russian, Ungarn-esque origins. Not an accident that it was Alfred Rosenberg who introduced himself to Eckart as a "fighter against Juda" without preamble.

    Due to his personal circumstances and mentality at the time, I suspect that Hitler's brain probably had less barriers during this year or two than at any point before or after. That's not all of the story-I don't think Hitler was going to become an Anglo-Saxon style democrat or hanker for the restoration of the monarchy, no matter who he talked to-but that's not nothing, either. Note that notions of Slavic racial inferiority did not become particularly prominent until a few years later.

    The White Russians

    By “White Russians”, do you mean the political faction or the ethnic group, i.e., Byelorussians?

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    https://i.imgur.com/aIY8VYS.jpg
    , @nebulafox
    Political faction. Munich was full of them, post-WWI. And even more Baltic Germans.

    Hitler joked that the early Volkisch Beobachter publications should have been subtitled "Baltic edition".

  196. @Bardon Kaldian
    War films. American war films. American WW2 films.

    Sands of Iwo Jima - great & somehow strange movie, Old Hollywood style
    The Dirty Dozen - watchable, atypical
    The Longest Day - preachy but good
    To Hell and Back- Audie Murphy as Audie Murphy. Weird.
    Tora, Tora, Tora- surprisingly balanced & good
    Patton- perhaps great
    MacArthur- still don't know, mixed feelings
    Saving Private Ryan -great first 15-20 minutes, the rest not convincing
    Flags of Our Fathers- good but not great
    The Thin Red Line- great

    Pearl Harbor – excruciating

    I saw it in the theater.

  197. @Colin Wright
    'The atom bomb was invented by Leo Szilard on the kerb of Southampton Row in London...'

    Be that as it may, by the early 1940's, it was no longer a matter of 'inventing' the atomic bomb -- any more than by the sixties it was a question of 'inventing' the moon rocket.

    Everyone understood how an atomic bomb would work -- in principle. The Italians, the Japanese, the Russians, the Germans, the French, the Britons, the Americans -- they all understood it.

    It was a question of working out precisely how to actually build the thing -- an undertaking that still baffles most. That was an engineering problem -- and a big, expensive one. That's why we were the ones to actually accomplish it.

    It's the difference between understanding how a car works and actually making one. I understand most of the systems of a car -- well, through about nineteen eighty, anyway. I can even fix most of them.

    Put me on a desert island, and it might be a while before I can present you with that Ford Fairlane. How to spin copper wire...hmm.

    *how to actually build the thing*

    Take two pieces of U-235 and slam them together with cannon. Heck, slam them together with your hands. Done. Of course, the hard part is getting the U-235.

    • Replies: @Abolish_public_education
    I think it was Feynman who noted that the hard part is not being there when it goes KA-BOOM!
    , @Jack D

    Heck, slam them together with your hands.
     
    That's not quite true. You have to slam them together really fast before they blow themselves apart if you want a big kaboom and not a fizzle. Thus the cannon. But basically you are right - the uranium bomb was no great feat.

    But this technique would not work for plutonium and Fat Man required a lot of skill to bring about a spherical implosion.
  198. @Joe Stalin
    " MP44s at dawn!"

    The Heer really blew it in not developing a timely semi-automatic rifle for their soldier (G-43). If they put forth R&D and then manufacturing for such items, imagine how much more efficient their soldiers would be. The USA would not have had superiority with the 1936 M-1 Garand rifle over German Mauser bolt actions.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnXBshjGFo8

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sRRn37PDaQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXkpFajH66A

    Gun Jesus saves!

  199. @EliteCommInc.
    "To this day, nobody knows what the Japanese would have done if they had won at Midway:"

    It doesn't really matter much. They would have lost regardless. And that even without atomic weapons.

    It is oft forgotten that the the atomic bomb did not bring victory, it brought an earlier victory and one considered less costly.

    So much depends on what happens in the Russo-German war. Imagine that the Germans manage to capture Moscow in December 1941, then go over to winter quarters. In the spring they renew the onslaught and Russia crumbles. In early summer 1942 the Japanese sink 3 American fleet carriers and occupy Midway. The Axis then presents unified terms to the Allies: peace and no further aggression in return for acceptance of current gains. Britain, alone on the edge of Eurasia, has no choice but to fold, and take Australia with it. Fortress America might have the industrial capability to soldier on by itself for a long war, but would it make sense?

  200. @Steve Sailer
    Also, dissenters within the Japanese government tended to get assassinated by war-crazy junior officers.

    Also, dissenters within the Japanese government tended to get assassinated by war-crazy junior officers.

    And sometimes by themselves.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriotism_(short_story)

  201. @Colin Wright
    'The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs.'

    Midway was an epic victory, but US technical and material superiority was so overwhelming that the tide was going to turn irreversibly against Japan no later than the second half of 1943 no matter what happened in the first two years of the war. It would have ended no later than 1946. After 1943, Japan simply was no longer in our league. It was like your basic small-college team suiting up against the Super Bowl champions. We started crossing all that open ocean, got within B-29 range, and put an end to it.

    What could Japan have done to slow that? She wasn't going to be able to seize the Hawaiian Islands -- not in the second half of 1942. Conquering Australia was out of the question. About all she could have done was to delay our march back across the Pacific by a few more months than she did.

    Japan, essentially, was simply not a fully modern state in the nineteen forties. She couldn't run with the big dogs, and got very badly burnt when she tried. There was a Japanese army major who visited Germany in 1940. Germany was hardly an industrial behemoth, but what that major saw sobered him up. He went back to Japan and tried to tell his superiors, 'we're not ready for this. We can't play in this league.'

    They wouldn't listen.

    Nicely put, Colin. Anyone with any serious knowledge of the war in the Pacific understands that it was only a matter of time. The individual Jap soldier was a crafty and completely dedicated fighter who could accomplish a lot with minimal resources, but the Jap nation was simply no match for the resources and technology of the US. The only chance they had is if the US had decided not to fight. Unlikely in general; impossible after Pearl Harbor

  202. @B36
    I've sometimes wondered whether the Great Depression was really as bad as my parents claimed. Even in its depths magnitudes more Americans were driving cars, using washing machines, listening to radio, etc, than anywhere else in the world.

    Alternatively, how great the 1920s were.

    In the opening of James M. Cain’s Mildred Pierce in about 1930, the author mentions how these nothing special people in Glendale, CA have a bathroom in their newish house better than any king in human history had ever enjoyed.

  203. @B36
    I believe one issue was that since Russia and Japan were not at war pilots who came down in Russia were interned there for the duration, whereas those who came down in free China had a chance of getting home.

    One Doolittle Raider got home from China, was sent to fly in North Africa, got captured by the Germans, sent to Stalag III, where he helped dig the Great Escape. But he didn’t go on it, so he got home safely in 1945.

  204. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    Tried to watch The Irishman, but, sorry, it was so, well, Boomer Porn. (I'm not a Boomer basher, btw.) It's obviously for a certain demographic - and that's fine. However, it wasn't a story; it was a more like a reunion.

    I can read books or watch movies from various ages and enjoy them. They don't demand that you were born at certain time. The Irishman isn't one of them. It's for Boomers and no one else. Maybe if I was born between 1945 and 1960, I could relate, but I wasn't.

    Watching it reminded me that the old United States is dying, but Boomers will never face that fact. They'll go to their graves remembering a 90% America and never apologizing for letting that go.

    Pre-Boomer. The director and 3 stars were all born before 1946.

  205. @Paul Jolliffe
    Reg,

    I've now seen the movie twice. No, Richard Fleming does not make an appearance. There is an authentic scene of a flaming B-26 damn near crashing into the bridge of the Akagi, which would have killed Admiral Nagumo. Wikipedia says that caused Nagumo to violate Yamamoto's orders to keep his reserves ready for another attack and instead caused Nagumo to order another attack on Midway itself, which of course, proved fatal.

    For all those who are complaining about the CGI effects, well consider this: how else could director Emmerich have shown the absolute stones of steel needed to make a bomb run in a Dauntless dive bomber?

    The movie shows the dives from Dick Best's perspective, and it is terrifying.

    I doubt any readers here have ever seen anything like that: a vertical drop from several thousand feet up, straight into the teeth of hellish ominpresent anti-aircraft fire in which the entire plane would disintegrate in a second.

    To me, Steve could have underscored just how brave the crews of those planes really were.

    A handful of American heroes turned the tied of the war in the Pacific because they possessed the level of courage that Homer would have immortalized . . .

    I sort of preserved the Spoiler by not describing what happened 100 seconds after the last torpedo bombers were destroyed.

  206. @Steve Sailer
    Or the southern route: Japan takes Indonesia's oil, Germany takes Iraq's, they link up in New Delhi.

    One of the biggest secrets that was kept secret during the war was the U.S. knowledge of how much oil there was in Saudi Arabia. A secret report to FDR said the Saudi oil was the greatest prize in history.

    Or the southern route: Japan takes Indonesia’s oil, Germany takes Iraq’s, they link up in New Delhi.

    I wonder if they would have known what to do with India? It took the British East India Company 249 years to figure the place out and achieve supremacy in India, in 1849.

    Fond imperial passions and the civilizing mission aside, in the 90 years of direct rule by the British Crown after the Indian Mutiny, the place was regarded as a perpetual headache by many bureaucrats in Whitehall, and a potential drain on the exchequer, if they couldn’t keep it fiscally self-sustaining.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    Off the top of my head I recall that the British made something like a 6% return off India. I don't recall what period this refers to.
    , @216
    The main IJN alternative to Midway would be another attack on the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean. Success there could lead to disruption of the Persian Corridor to the USSR, and supplies to the 8th Army in Egypt.
  207. @Jack D
    Native born Americans, at least in the numbers needed, had better things to do - work on their farms, work a skilled trade, etc. so it was cheaper for Frick to hire Irish and Polacks and whatnot. Maybe there is some alternative universe America where the borders were closed after 1776 but in the real one there were waves of immigration, one after the other and the immigrants worked side by side with the native born. The immigrants didn't build America any more than the blacks built America but they HELPED build it. Maybe it could have been done without them (they couldn't have done it by themselves, not the immigrants and for sure not the blacks), but it wasn't and you can't change that reality.

    “The immigrants didn’t build America any more than the blacks built America but they HELPED build it. ”

    The foundation for America was built by “Heritage Americans”, the rest of the house by immigrants.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    The foundation for America was built by “Heritage Americans”, the rest of the house by immigrants.
     
    That is a lie, as is expected from you. So no founding-stock American ever added anything of note to America after 1800 or so?

    You are a cretin.
  208. @William Badwhite
    There are still countless PT-17's (aka Stearmans) out in the general aviation fleet. The engines are getting a little long in the tooth (though there are scores of P&W radials that have replaced the old Continental 220 HPs) but the airframes are basically indestructible.

    The people that buy them insist on calling them "warbirds" (which they're not, PT stands for Primary Trainer, calling one a "warbird" is like calling whatever Jackie Stewart learned to drive in a race car) and don't seem to realize that if you're into open cockpit biplanes there are countless better options. I suppose it sort of looks cool if you don't know any better.

    The Stearman (I have about 100 hours in them) flies exactly like you'd expect an airplane designed so that ham-fisted farm boys couldn't break it would fly: Heavy, loggy controls with tons of play, climbs like a bathtub, pull the power and it drops like a stone, glacial roll rate (ailerons on only one wing), etc. From purely a flying perspective, its a terrible airplane.

    There's a story, likely apocryphal, about two primary flight instructors in Texas during the war. Bored out of their skulls and aggravated that they were flying PT-17s in Texas instead of something much better in combat, they decided to see if they could rip the wings off of one. So they climb in, take off, climb to around 10,000 feet, trim the airplane for level flight at full power, pushed the throttle all the way up and pointed the nose straight down. Once they maxed out airspeed they both yanked back as hard as they could on the stick...when they woke up the airplane was flying along aimlessly.

    Ok, rant finished.

    Not a Stearman (Waco) with a jet engine!

    • Replies: @danand
    Joe, the “Masters of Disaster”, in which Jimmy Franklin’s jet Waco was the star, was an exciting air show act to watch. Unfortunately the name proved prophetic:

    https://flic.kr/p/2hVc65d

    https://www.abqjournal.com/news/state/371136nm07-13-05.htm
  209. @PiltdownMan

    Or the southern route: Japan takes Indonesia’s oil, Germany takes Iraq’s, they link up in New Delhi.
     
    I wonder if they would have known what to do with India? It took the British East India Company 249 years to figure the place out and achieve supremacy in India, in 1849.

    Fond imperial passions and the civilizing mission aside, in the 90 years of direct rule by the British Crown after the Indian Mutiny, the place was regarded as a perpetual headache by many bureaucrats in Whitehall, and a potential drain on the exchequer, if they couldn't keep it fiscally self-sustaining.

    Off the top of my head I recall that the British made something like a 6% return off India. I don’t recall what period this refers to.

  210. @B36
    I've sometimes wondered whether the Great Depression was really as bad as my parents claimed. Even in its depths magnitudes more Americans were driving cars, using washing machines, listening to radio, etc, than anywhere else in the world.

    It was pretty bad. Unemployment hit 25%, and nominal GDP fell by 50% in the United States, or about 25% in real terms, since prices were depressed as well. Absent almost any form of welfare or social transfer payments, life turned very hard for families where the breadwinner was unemployed. The worst was that there seemed to be no way out—Keynes published his explanation only in 1936, and until then, policymakers and economists were mostly at a loss as to what had happened and what to do.

    Yes, material standards of living in America were better than anywhere else in the rest of the world (the Great Depression was global) but that was small consolation for a family where dad had no job, the savings had run out, and there were no prospects for employment. The years from about 1932 to 1935 or so were really bad.

  211. @Jack D
    As the years go on, it becomes more and more difficult to muster a convincing number of flyable warbirds. Even in Tora Tora Tora the Zeroes were not really Zeroes but Texans dressed up as Zeroes.

    These planes are now 75+ years old and are irreplaceable. Even flying them for joy rides is questionable and putting them thru combat stunts is criminal. The recent Collings Foundation B-17 crash not only destroyed the aircraft but took 7 lives for the sake of a joy ride. The plane was as well maintained as any 75 year old highly complex machine could be, the pilots were highly experienced and yet it still crashed. In the war, even putting aside all the combat losses, these things crashed by the dozens - they were just not very safe or reliable. Pilot error, mechanical failure, weather, whatever. The planes were built by the thousands, people were dying all around anyway, so one more plane crash was no big deal. But now we are in a different situation.

    You don't want these planes to be museum pieces but I'm not sure they should be flying for fun anymore either. Maybe take them out and taxi them around once in a while or fly them once a year on important anniversaries, but every time you take one of them up you are risking not only lives but the destruction of cultural treasures.

    YOLO. What an experience to ride in a B-17 today! The overwhelming noise, the smell of fuel, the vibration, the wind. What impressed me was the thinness of the skin (fortress indeed!) and how small the bomb bay. I highly recommend if you have a chance.

  212. @Anon

    To this day, nobody knows what the Japanese would have done if they had won at Midway: perhaps raid the West Coast or try to seize Hawaii and take the wives and children of the American servicemen as hostages.
     
    A bit of projection? From Wikipedia on Curtis "I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal" LeMay:

    LeMay commanded subsequent B-29 Superfortress combat operations against Japan, including massive incendiary attacks on 67 Japanese cities and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This included the firebombing of Tokyo -- known in official documents as the "Operation Meetinghouse" air raid on the night of March 9-10, 1945 -- which proved to be the single most destructive bombing raid of the war. For this first attack, LeMay ordered the defensive guns removed from 325 B-29s, loaded each plane with Model M-47 incendiary clusters, magnesium bombs, white phosphorus bombs, and napalm, and ordered the bombers to fly in streams at 5,000 to 9,000 feet (1,500 to 2,700 m) over Tokyo. LeMay described Operation Meetinghouse by saying "the US had finally stopped swatting at flies and gone after the manure pile".
     

    I recall that in “The World at War” series LeMay says something like by such and such date we had estimated that we would run out of any remaining viable targets to attack. Must be a poignant feeling for a military planner: there is nothing left to destroy.

  213. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    Tried to watch The Irishman, but, sorry, it was so, well, Boomer Porn. (I'm not a Boomer basher, btw.) It's obviously for a certain demographic - and that's fine. However, it wasn't a story; it was a more like a reunion.

    I can read books or watch movies from various ages and enjoy them. They don't demand that you were born at certain time. The Irishman isn't one of them. It's for Boomers and no one else. Maybe if I was born between 1945 and 1960, I could relate, but I wasn't.

    Watching it reminded me that the old United States is dying, but Boomers will never face that fact. They'll go to their graves remembering a 90% America and never apologizing for letting that go.

    Tried to watch The Irishman, but, sorry, it was so, well, Boomer Porn. (I’m not a Boomer basher, btw.) It’s obviously for a certain demographic – and that’s fine. However, it wasn’t a story; it was a more like a reunion.

    I think that’s basically right, but the demographic is way narrower than that. It’s for fans of Martin Scorsese gangster flicks and fans of the three principal actors in gangster roles.

  214. @Dave Pinsen
    In ignoring the U.S., Japan would, in my hypothetical, ignore the Philippines, at least initially. That would have put FDR in an interesting spot, as he wouldn't have had a casus belli at the end of 1941. Presumably, FDR would have come up with one in 1942, but it would have probably been against Germany: maybe using another ship sunk by them or something. In that case, Japan could have waited until we were fully engaged in Europe before going after the Philippines.

    The Arctic convoys started in Aug 1941, after the sinking of Bismarck. If the Admiral turned back after sinking HMS Hood, and/or continued on to sink the other battleship; those convoys are much harder to sustain.

    Around the same time, Iran is occupied to keep the supplies flowing on that route.

    If the supplies don’t flow from the Arctic, perhaps the Germans take Leningrad.

    In order to win the war, more implausible rolls of the dice are needed for the Axis. The Germans have to capture the French Navy, intact. The Japanese need to invade, not bomb Hawaii on Dec. 7th. Franco, Salazar and Inonu have to throw in with the Axis.

    The Japanese never found the oil in Manchuria.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Has anybody done an alternate history involving the oil in Saudi Arabia, which the US kept a secret, even from the British.
  215. @Houston 1992
    Doolittle raider : one landed in USSR at Vladilovstok. How was that decision made by that pilot ? Why did not everyone have that contingency plan given the planes lack of fuel due to starting their flight further off Japan.

    The Soviets had to impound the one crew of Doolittle’s Raiders who landed in Vladivostok because they were neutral with Japan until 1945. But after a year they moved them to the Soviet border with Iran and helped them escape into the British occupied part, which was, by Stalin era standards, quite amiable of them.

    • Replies: @Houston 1992
    1) why did they not all head for the USSR and land safely versus crashing into the sea.

    I wonder what the protocols were for bombing Germany and if maps were issued with locations in neutral Switzerland and Sweden. Of course it creates an incentive to “retire” out of the war by heading to a neutral country due to engine trouble.

    New topic
    1) the film shows the US naval pilots guessing wrong on the location of the Japanese fleet from where the raiders came. Why not split the response force into two directions ?
    , @Jack D

    which was, by Stalin era standards, quite amiable of them.
     
    At that time we were shipping them millions of tons of "Lend Lease" armaments (a typical Roosevelt Orwellian lie - there was no lending and no leasing but it sounded better than "Free Gift" - why it was just like your neighbor borrowing a cup of sugar!) and they had to be nice to us.

    Later on in the war they ended up with a couple of American B-29s this way. It was the same deal - the crew was allowed to "escape" from their internment in the neutral (vs Japan) USSR into British held Iran but Stalin kept the planes. The planes were taken apart and duplicated rivet for rivet and became the Soviet Tu-4. The B-29 that the Russians got had been shot at before and had a patch panel in the tail. The Tu-4 had a patch panel in the tail. The Russians who copied it KNEW that it was just a patch panel but the order from the Boss were to EXACTLY COPY the Amerikansky plane and you know what happens to people who don't follow the Boss's orders.

    Building the Tu-4 was a massive undertaking, especially since everything on the plane was built in inch measurements and it all had to be converted to metric. Certain parts (such as the giant tires) the Soviets couldn't duplicate so they figured out ways to get them from the West. The B-29's engines had a tendency to catch fire and so did the Russian copies. It was mostly a waste of time because jets came in shortly after but they learned a lot of lessons that they applied to later aircraft.

  216. @Jack D
    As the years go on, it becomes more and more difficult to muster a convincing number of flyable warbirds. Even in Tora Tora Tora the Zeroes were not really Zeroes but Texans dressed up as Zeroes.

    These planes are now 75+ years old and are irreplaceable. Even flying them for joy rides is questionable and putting them thru combat stunts is criminal. The recent Collings Foundation B-17 crash not only destroyed the aircraft but took 7 lives for the sake of a joy ride. The plane was as well maintained as any 75 year old highly complex machine could be, the pilots were highly experienced and yet it still crashed. In the war, even putting aside all the combat losses, these things crashed by the dozens - they were just not very safe or reliable. Pilot error, mechanical failure, weather, whatever. The planes were built by the thousands, people were dying all around anyway, so one more plane crash was no big deal. But now we are in a different situation.

    You don't want these planes to be museum pieces but I'm not sure they should be flying for fun anymore either. Maybe take them out and taxi them around once in a while or fly them once a year on important anniversaries, but every time you take one of them up you are risking not only lives but the destruction of cultural treasures.

    I tried to look up how many Americans died in World War II in airplane crashes not in combat. It was over 10,000, including Carole Lombard and Glenn Miller.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Carole Lombard was on her way back to LA after a war bonds tour. The pilot took off from someplace in Nevada, IIRC, and flew right into the surrounding mountain whose navigation beacon had been turned off for security reasons. Clark Gable was devastated for years.
  217. @RAZ
    Agree overwhelming industrial superiority would've eventually turned the tide. If US sentiment held out. Japan maybe hoping victory at Midway and other early victories would be enough to turn popular sentiment towards a negotiated settlement.

    Speaking of Alaska - I never understood the significance of Japan attacking/invading the Aleutians. Even if they occupied it. Was there some geographical significance to this far off northern place not near anything else? Maybe someone can explain.



    "The U.S. had a huge number of carriers under construction, but the first of the 24 Essex-class carriers didn’t arrive in Pearl Harbor until eleven months after Midway. If Yamamoto had won at Midway, the war would then likely have ground on into the later 1940s, until the U.S. vaporized urban Japan with dozens of atomic bombs."

    Speaking of Alaska – I never understood the significance of Japan attacking/invading the Aleutians.

    Defensive perimiter, causing the US to overreact.

    Japan maybe hoping victory at Midway and other early victories would be enough to turn popular sentiment towards a negotiated settlement.

    Alone, they can’t do this; and cooperation with the other Axis powers was limited. But together, the better the Japanese perform means more resources diverted from the European theater. That improves the odds for the U-boats, strengthens Vichy France and Italy, keeps Rommel in North Africa, and forces the British into far more dependency on colonial troops.

    What the Japanese were missing at Midway were the two carrier groups that were shredded during the Coral Sea battle. The ships were damaged, but most of the pilots were lost. They tried to complete the conquest of New Guinea with a half-measure. If all six carriers had been at Coral Sea, the Lexington and the Yorktown probably go to the bottom.

  218. @Reg Cæsar

    The White Russians
     
    By "White Russians", do you mean the political faction or the ethnic group, i.e., Byelorussians?

  219. @PiltdownMan

    Or the southern route: Japan takes Indonesia’s oil, Germany takes Iraq’s, they link up in New Delhi.
     
    I wonder if they would have known what to do with India? It took the British East India Company 249 years to figure the place out and achieve supremacy in India, in 1849.

    Fond imperial passions and the civilizing mission aside, in the 90 years of direct rule by the British Crown after the Indian Mutiny, the place was regarded as a perpetual headache by many bureaucrats in Whitehall, and a potential drain on the exchequer, if they couldn't keep it fiscally self-sustaining.

    The main IJN alternative to Midway would be another attack on the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean. Success there could lead to disruption of the Persian Corridor to the USSR, and supplies to the 8th Army in Egypt.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Of course, the Germans and Japanese not actually liking each other made it less likely for them to intelligently cooperate.

    In contrast, the Brits and Yanks had tons of culture and ancestry in common. People complain about "foreign interference" in American politics these days, but the best propagandists ever were the British propagandists in the early 1940s, people like Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.

  220. @Kirt
    I liked the current Midway, but I also liked the old one, with the exception of the ridiculous sub-plot about Charlton Heston's son and his Japanese girlfriend. Of D-Day movies, I liked the longest day a lot better than Saving Private Ryan. Of Pearl Harbor movies, Tora, Tora, Tora is the best.

    The current Midway film is better than the 1976 version. One, for a sequence about Pearl Harbor in the story along with more on the Doolittle Raid. Two, for not having the “ridiculous sub-plot” the earlier film had.

  221. @CAL2
    Doubtful because Japan was being strangled by the US oil embargo. Also, Japan's army was second rate even compared to the Russians. When they tangled with the Russians in the 30's they got beat pretty easily.

    The Soviets were only able to save Moscow from the German advance in the Winter of 41/42 by throwing dozens of divisions from the Soviet far-east at them. And they were only able to do that because they had intelligence supplied by their man in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, that Japan was going to go to War with America and not with the Soviet Union. The Japanese wouldn’t have had to win a decisive victory – they wouldn’t have even been fighting in their own homeland – they would only needed to have applied enough pressure to the Soviets that the combined two-front assault on them caused them to fold and sue for peace. They might could have pulled it off.

    • Replies: @Sparkon

    The Soviets were only able to save Moscow from the German advance in the Winter of 41/42 by throwing dozens of divisions from the Soviet far-east at them. And they were only able to do that because they had intelligence supplied by their man in Tokyo, Richard Sorge,
     
    This myth about those hardened Siberian divisions saving Moscow, which people love to parrot, and which will not die, is nevertheless completely wrong.

    Repeat after me:

    There is no extant Soviet record of any significant movement of Red Army divisions from the Far East or Siberia to the Western Front at any time from the beginning of Barbarossa to the end of 1941.

    It didn't happen.

    Upstream, I've pointed to Nigel Askey's work that completely debunks this popular but mistaken idea. I think this heroic story about the hardened Siberians riding in at the last second to save Moscow is simply Soviet propaganda to conceal the speed and magnitude of the Red Army's huge mobilization after the Germans attacked.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/my-review-of-midway/#comment-3591975

    The development of new industrial zones beyond the Urals in places like Chelyabinsk under direction of Americans like Henry Ford began in the 1920s, almost as soon as the Bolsheviks consolidated power. Some industries were moved to the Urals after the outset of Barbarossa, but the groundwork for the relocation of war industries had been laid long before the Germans attacked.

  222. @Captain Tripps
    Thanks Steve; was hoping you would review "Midway". I had already planned to see it; your review confirms my decision. Though with Roland Emmerich, guess something is better than nothing. I'm spoiled by the Hanks/Spielberg collaboration. I thought they would do series for the Navy and Air Force, similar to what they did with the Army and Marines with "Band of Brothers" and "The Pacific".

    Don't get to comment as much as I use to; work instituted komment kontrol (comments section forbidden across the board, not targeting just this site) so I get to only on my time now (but competes with family time).

    If you get the time (and haven't done so already, read James D. Hornfischer's series on the Navy in the Pacific Theater:

    Neptune's Inferno (Navy in Guadalcanal Campaign): https://www.amazon.com/Neptunes-Inferno-U-S-Navy-Guadalcanal/dp/0553385127/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1P8S1RG5IJI78&keywords=neptunes+inferno&qid=1575493668&sprefix=Neptunes%2Caps%2C133&sr=8-1

    The Fleet at Flood Tide (The Navy dominates 1944-1945): https://www.amazon.com/Fleet-Flood-Tide-America-1944-1945/dp/0345548728/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_3/135-1958284-5247566?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0345548728&pd_rd_r=b0217dfc-2d81-4e16-983a-fc7fe5b4d7c3&pd_rd_w=04EE4&pd_rd_wg=xSUiO&pf_rd_p=09627863-9889-4290-b90a-5e9f86682449&pf_rd_r=0Q5VNWBE3M8RXDBJK4ME&psc=1&refRID=0Q5VNWBE3M8RXDBJK4ME

    The Last of the Tin Can Sailors (The Battle off Samar, part of the Phillippine Sea campaign):https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Stand_of_the_Tin_Can_Sailors

    As you note, with so many momentous battles, and so many real-life amazing stories within each one, the challenge is to highlight the right ones; to demonstrate, as deftly as possible, the "uncommon valor that was a common virtue".

    That Eighth Air Force series is finally getting made, but not for HBO. It will be on Apple TV.

  223. @216
    The main IJN alternative to Midway would be another attack on the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean. Success there could lead to disruption of the Persian Corridor to the USSR, and supplies to the 8th Army in Egypt.

    Of course, the Germans and Japanese not actually liking each other made it less likely for them to intelligently cooperate.

    In contrast, the Brits and Yanks had tons of culture and ancestry in common. People complain about “foreign interference” in American politics these days, but the best propagandists ever were the British propagandists in the early 1940s, people like Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.

    • Agree: XYZ (no Mr.)
  224. @Corvinus
    "The immigrants didn’t build America any more than the blacks built America but they HELPED build it. "

    The foundation for America was built by "Heritage Americans", the rest of the house by immigrants.

    The foundation for America was built by “Heritage Americans”, the rest of the house by immigrants.

    That is a lie, as is expected from you. So no founding-stock American ever added anything of note to America after 1800 or so?

    You are a cretin.

    • Replies: @XYZ (no Mr.)
    He -- or she -- is certainly ignorant of American history to say the least.
  225. @216
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2c/Map_US_Lend_Lease_shipments_to_USSR-WW2.jpg

    The Arctic convoys started in Aug 1941, after the sinking of Bismarck. If the Admiral turned back after sinking HMS Hood, and/or continued on to sink the other battleship; those convoys are much harder to sustain.

    Around the same time, Iran is occupied to keep the supplies flowing on that route.

    If the supplies don't flow from the Arctic, perhaps the Germans take Leningrad.

    ---

    In order to win the war, more implausible rolls of the dice are needed for the Axis. The Germans have to capture the French Navy, intact. The Japanese need to invade, not bomb Hawaii on Dec. 7th. Franco, Salazar and Inonu have to throw in with the Axis.

    ---

    The Japanese never found the oil in Manchuria.

    Has anybody done an alternate history involving the oil in Saudi Arabia, which the US kept a secret, even from the British.

    • Replies: @216
    The British found oil across the Gulf in Persia, and in Iraq, Kuwait.

    Secret oil probably goes as well as Sutter trying to keep the discovery of gold in California a secret.

    Brits left the Hashemites out to dry, where Obi-Wan got his desert experience long before Tatooine.

    Hashemites are the traditional rulers of Hejaz, more moderate than Wahabbi Hillbillies.

    Abdullah II, King of Arabia and the Levant.

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Grand Vizier of the Palestinian Jews to His Majesty's Court.
  226. Is Midway being shown in Japan? I wonder what the reaction is?

    • Replies: @David In TN
    It's done well in China. The Chinese put up much of the money to get it made.
  227. @Colin Wright
    'My impression is that the 1965 movie “Battle of the Bulge” started out as a cowboy movie script and was then was repurposed to being a war movie without much more than nominal change in the plot.'

    What I like about that one is how they diligently start out with snow and forest but later on visibly say 'fuck it' and just have the two sides fight it out in the Mojave Desert.

    Great song and Robert Shaw is compelling, but a real turkey, otherwise.

    ...The Eddie Albert movie referenced earlier would seem to be Attack!' That's a low-budget black and white film, but actually pretty good. Focusses on the conflict between a cowardly company commander and one of his platoon leaders.

    I’ve always looked on Attack (1956) as a guilty pleasure. Some veterans told me the Eddie Albert character wouldn’t have lasted 30 minutes in real life.

  228. @craig h
    Alan D. Zimm, in Attack on Pearl Harbor: Strategy, Combat, Myths Deceptions writes that new Zero fighters were towed BY OXEN from the factory to the airfield .

    Then again, the Wehrmacht was a largely horse drawn army in 1940 .

    Then again, the Wehrmacht was a largely horse drawn army in 1940.

    In 1939 the only country with a fully mechanized army was Great Britain. At least I read that once in a credible source.

    • Replies: @craig h
    That's true. It's part of the reason they could not cope with the Japanese in Malaya and Burma,
  229. @Steve Sailer
    Has anybody done an alternate history involving the oil in Saudi Arabia, which the US kept a secret, even from the British.

    The British found oil across the Gulf in Persia, and in Iraq, Kuwait.

    Secret oil probably goes as well as Sutter trying to keep the discovery of gold in California a secret.

    Brits left the Hashemites out to dry, where Obi-Wan got his desert experience long before Tatooine.

    Hashemites are the traditional rulers of Hejaz, more moderate than Wahabbi Hillbillies.

    Abdullah II, King of Arabia and the Levant.

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Grand Vizier of the Palestinian Jews to His Majesty’s Court.

  230. @Paul Jolliffe
    Unlike you, Old Prude, I actually saw the movie.

    Twice.

    There is simply no way to recreate the death-defying dives in a Dauntless without CGI.

    The movie shows the American pilot's perspective: virtually vertical, straight down from 5,000 feet for about 45 seconds into flak that would annihilate an aiplane in an instant.

    Those pilots were beyond brave - they had the kind of guts that the ancient Greeks recognized as god-like.

    Yep, that era’s naval aviation sorties were very lethal—to the attackers. A “successful” attack might result in the loss of a third of the attacking aircraft. Losses from unsuccessful attacks might approach 100%. Even if your attack was successful, if your carrier was sunk while you were gone, you might end up near 100% losses anyway due to nowhere to land.

    Beyond brave indeed.

  231. @Simon
    My father, an infantry private in the Battle of the Bulge, regarded Battleground as the most true-to-life WW2 movie he’d seen (and he saw a lot of war movies). I gather that Spielberg also rates it very highly.

    (P.S. Second on my father’s list was A Walk in the Sun.)

    My father was in Patton’s 3rd Army from the Bastogne relief through the final push into Germany. When Battleground was shown for the first time on NBC Saturday Night at the movies, I was watching.

    Dad came into the room. He did not like war movies in general. But he sat down and watched it. And he approved, especially the speech by the chaplain played by Leon Ames.

  232. @I Have Scinde
    I agree, but not necessarily because of good luck on the American side. The Americans set up an ambush, and nearly botched it, with Hornet's air group in particular. There was plenty of good and bad luck to go around, in my opinion.

    I assume this is a Wellington reference?

    There was plenty of good and bad luck , but it nearly all ran in favor of the US.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/the-june-5th-anniversaries-six-days-war-and-assassination-of-rfk/#comment-1896783

  233. @Captain Tripps
    AM, it wasn't quite like that; I understand your larger point about serendipity/Lady Luck/Murphy's Law, etc. However, Fletcher/Spruance were executing by the book. They sent their standard recon flights to look for the IJN, and as soon as they were located, launched the standard doctrinal attack of that time: fighters, dive bombers, torpedo planes. They were supposed to fly to the target and attack simultaneously; fighters to occupy the enemy CAP, then the dive bombers/torpedo planes overwhelm the targets. Torpedo planes were supposed to attack from both starboard/port to increase the chance of target hits. Miscommunication, for of war and the three different formations got separated and off-course: the torpedo planes went to the target (Nagumo's carriers) but arrived before fighter cover and dive bombers (who, fortunately deduced the correct vector to the carriers). The torpedo planes pulled the CAP down to the water and though most were shot down, pulling the CAP down opened up a window of vulnerability that the dive bombers arrived just in time to exploit.

    Me:

    “That they arrived when they did, where they did and how they did—to deliver the decisive blow—was essentially luck.”

    You:

    “the three different formations got separated and off-course: the torpedo planes went to the target (Nagumo’s carriers) but arrived before fighter cover and dive bombers (who, fortunately deduced the correct vector to the carriers). The torpedo planes pulled the CAP down to the water and though most were shot down, pulling the CAP down opened up a window of vulnerability that the dive bombers arrived just in time to exploit.”

    I wasn’t going to flesh out the details of what that luck looked like, so thanks for doing it for me.

    Other points of crucial luck:

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/the-june-5th-anniversaries-six-days-war-and-assassination-of-rfk/#comment-1896783

  234. @HunInTheSun
    Yes! Let us here and now forever bury the Cult of the Zero. It was underpowered, underarmoured and undergunned compared to its rival, the Grumman F4F Wildcat, and couldn’t make up for these deficiencies with lower weight, greater speed and superior maneuverability. By New Years 1943 the best of the IJN air corps had fallen under the guns of the American fighter, particularly in the Guadalcanal/Solomons campaign of 1942 which is largely forgotten. By the time the Hellcat and Corsair showed up in 1943, naval air operations by the Japanese were a suicide mission, and this outcome was in large part due to the excellent qualities of the vastly underrated Wildcat and her pilots.

    I believe the F4F-3 – the main fighter at Coral Sea-had a marginally higher speed than the Zero. But the F4F could never win in a 1-on-1 dogfight with a Zero. They were essentially purely defensive and reliant upon group tactics, like the “Thach weave.” The Zero had first rate climb, maneuverability, and range (Wildcat’s worst attribute). Even Corsairs would be dead in a slow speed turning battle with a Zero, if the pilot was stupid enough to get suckered into one. A major problem for the Japanese was the 20mm cannon having very little ammunition, and the 7.62 often not being enough to bring down any US plane alone. At Coral Sea, many pilots got separated into dogfights, and the survivors learned valuable lessons about sticking together.

    But to quote one US fighter pilot Midway veteran, the F4F-4 “was a dog.” Heavier (due to extra guns but no extra ammo, so less firing time) and slower than -3, couldn’t climb, low range, no maneuverability. It had self-sealing fuel tanks, armor, and most important, numbers (~50% more) due to its folding wings. When Halsey was delivering fighters to Wake Island in December 1941, he typically had 2-4 fighters on Combat Air Patrol. By Guadalcanal it was an order of magnitude higher.

    But if you look at the number of air-to-air victories in carrier fighter-to-fighter battles from Coral Sea to Midway, the count is something like 17-13 in favor of the Wildcat (US number might be inflated by a couple because IJN’s sunk carriers could not confirm how the fighters were lost at Midway), which is basically a tie. Just having an aerobatic plane might make your pilots feel more confident, but it will not win the war of attrition. It did get into the heads of the Americans, though. There was even some talk of navalizing the P-40, though it did not go very far. I think a lot of the Zero lore comes from USN not knowing the IJN had a capable fighter at the war’s onset, and being shocked.

  235. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:

    US individualism vs Japanese regimentation. Did it matter?

    While one can credit Western individualism to the rise of the West, could Japan have fared better in WWII had its populace been more individualistic? I think not. The ONLY chance Japan had was group effort and ant-like cohesion since it was materially do disadvantaged.

    Now, if Japan had the population and land mass of the US and if the US had the population and land mass of Japan, a regimented Japan would likely have beaten the individualistic America.

    Also, war fever sort of swept away individualism in the US. Not entirely but to a great deal as nothing unites a people into one like the Foreign Enemy. FDR was able to get away with so much that went against the American Grain because of the Depression and War that made Americans willing to accept greater concentration of power at the top to solve problems.

    In Germany vs France, individualism certainly didn’t help the French from the more conformist Germans. And it was the sea more than British individualism that saved UK from German invasion.

  236. @Anonymous
    Au Contraire.

    Hitler behaved quite rationally in 1941. Operation Barbarossa, given the circumstances, was a rational strategy, albeit based on bad intelligence about Soviet industrial capacity.

    (1) See the Hitler and Mannerheim Secret Audio Recording (1942). TL:DR: This is the one existing candid recording of Hitler, in which he said Germany goofed and completely underestimated Soviet industrial strength. He tries to put a good face on the situation, saying Germany will prevail, but he comes across as rational, making the same assumption most modern historians would make: it was a matter of time before the USSR invaded.

    (2) Declassified Soviet documents point strongly to a Soviet offensive, occurring sometime in 1941/42. While this is a revisionist stance, it's the most strongly supported by actual documented evidence.
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_offensive_plans_controversy
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27s_Missed_Chance

    Then there is the counterfactual history based on intuition. Assume Nazi Germany was not a militarized, totalitarian government, but rather a western-leaning democracy. Would this have stopped a conflict with the USSR? No. Furthermore, if the conflict occurred later, it would have likely involved atomic weapons, leading to an even larger body count for those unfortunate to reside on the battlefield -- i.e., Poles, Jews, Russians, etc.

    When Stalin made his 1939 deal with Hitler, he assumed that Hitler would attack France and get bogged down like in WWI. Then eventually Stalin could attacked the exhausted combatants.

    But then Germany conquered France in 1940.

  237. Great review. I also liked the movie. Not perfect, but excellent, and very much in the vein of the grand WW2 movies from when I was kid. Actually, this Midway was way better than the 1976 Midway which starred Charleton Heston and Edward Albert. In that version, Albert’s character was in love with a Japanese-American woman to remind us that not all Japanese people are bad…and that “overcoming racism” is just as important as winning a a war against the Axis Powers. Strange to have the 40 year old version coming across as more politically correct than the current version. In fact, my PC warning radar didn’t go off once when I saw the movie a couple of weeks ago. I also read recently that the ’76 Midway stole airplane scenes from Tora! Tora! Tora!.

  238. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar
    Does Richard Fleming make an appearance?

    https://missingmarines.com/by-name/fox/richard-e-fleming/
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_E._Fleming


    http://www.airport-data.com/images/airports/small/018/018468.jpg

    https://img9.fold3.com/img/thumbnail/638537899/350/400.jpg

    WWII narrative is one of those national myths that will have to be fully evaluated, but as long the WWII generation is alive, it’s understandable why the Narrative has preferred the ‘legend’.
    Same with Soviets. As long as veterans of the war are alive, better to talk of heroism than the Soviet’s share of war crimes and the like.

    Historians can discuss the truth academically, but the Grand Narrative must pay respect to the last of the national heroes.

  239. @Bardon Kaldian
    War films. American war films. American WW2 films.

    Sands of Iwo Jima - great & somehow strange movie, Old Hollywood style
    The Dirty Dozen - watchable, atypical
    The Longest Day - preachy but good
    To Hell and Back- Audie Murphy as Audie Murphy. Weird.
    Tora, Tora, Tora- surprisingly balanced & good
    Patton- perhaps great
    MacArthur- still don't know, mixed feelings
    Saving Private Ryan -great first 15-20 minutes, the rest not convincing
    Flags of Our Fathers- good but not great
    The Thin Red Line- great

    Letters from Iwo Jima was much better than Flags of Our Fathers.

  240. @Alfa158
    No projection needed. Just one example of Japanese behavior. The destroyer Akikaze at the opening of the war. From Wiki:
    On 18 March Akikaze was the scene of a war crime. During construction of a seaplane base at Kairiru Island Akikaze evacuated the personnel of the Roman Catholic mission headquarters on that island and also several individuals from Wewak. These included Bishop Joseph Loerks, 38 missionaries (31 of whom were German nationals) including 18 nuns, one New Guinea girl, and two Chinese infants (apparently the children of Wewak storekeeper Ning Hee). The vessel then called at Manus where it picked up 20 others, again mostly Germans, including six missionaries from the Liebenzell Evangelical Mission, three other nuns and three other priests, a European infant, a plantation owner named Carl Muster and plantation overseer Peter Mathies, two Chinese, and apparently four Malays. The ostensible intention was to carry them to internment in Rabaul. "Between Manus and Rabaul each of the adults was strung up by the hands on a gallows in the stern of the vessel, shot dead by rifle or machine-gun fire, and thrown overboard. The two Chinese infants and the European baby were thrown over alive."
    These were mostly Germans, allies of the Japanese, and it wasn’t a renegade captain. He was acting under direct orders from the chain of command. Imagine how they would have been willing to treat enemies.

    Japanese forces committed inhuman atrocities against prisoners of war as well as civilians as easily as breathing pretty much everywhere they went.

    One famous example during the Battle of Midway is throwing a captured American pilot into the sea in chains for “war crimes.”

    Here’s a good but by no means complete summary: https://www.enkivillage.org/japanese-war-crimes.html

    And an attempt to explain why the Japanese were so brutal: https://www.historynet.com/a-culture-of-cruelty.htm

    American commanders were shocked at the fanaticism of the Japanese during the Guadalcanal campaign.

    In the early days after American forces won a battle, American medics attempted to treat Japanese wounded. They found that Japanese booby-trapped themselves or otherwise tried to kill the medics.

    Commanders abandoned attempts to treat the enemy and resorted to running tanks over any Japanese body, dead or alive, on the field.

    Japanese sailors routinely drowned themselves rather than be picked up by American warships.

    Japanese soldiers even killed Japanese civilians. During the Battle of Saipan Japanese soldiers killed hundreds (perhaps many more) of Japanese civilians rather than risk that the civilians would “surrender” to the enemy. The civilians were supposed to kill themselves by jumping off 300 foot cliffs or commit seppuku, but not all did so.

    After studying the history of the War in the Pacific I completely understand the decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese militarist fanatics would have done the same as they did on Saipan but on a much larger scale had the Allies invaded Japan’s home islands.

    Dropping the bomb, as horrific as it was, saved millions of lives on both sides.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The moviemakers offered singer Nick Jonas a bigger role (I'm guessing: dive-bomber pilot Dick Best's not super brave gunner), but he insisted on playing his original small role as tailgunner Bruno Gaido who shot down a proto-kamikaze and later was taken prisoner and murdered by the Japanese.

    https://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/04/24/toughness-aviation-machinist-mate-first-class-amm1c-bruno-peter-gaido/

    I think this is a PG-13 movie, which allows you one F-Word, which of course means that the filmmakers reserve it for the best moment (like Hugh Jackman's cameo as Wolverine in X-Men: First Class), which kind of defeats the purpose by teaching kids that saying the F-word is awesome. They gave Jonas their one shot and he delivered.

    They probably should have had Jonas play the lead role as Dick Best, who had the best single day in naval aviation history. I didn't mind Ed Skrein as Dick Best, but a lot of people didn't like him, while everybody liked Nick Jonas as the other New Joisey boy.

  241. @Mr. Anon

    The foundation for America was built by “Heritage Americans”, the rest of the house by immigrants.
     
    That is a lie, as is expected from you. So no founding-stock American ever added anything of note to America after 1800 or so?

    You are a cretin.

    He — or she — is certainly ignorant of American history to say the least.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    "He — or she — is certainly ignorant of American history to say the least."

    Actually, I am well-versed regarding our past. Even you, whose ancestors were immigrants, are my people...
  242. @Steve Sailer
    The Soviets had to impound the one crew of Doolittle's Raiders who landed in Vladivostok because they were neutral with Japan until 1945. But after a year they moved them to the Soviet border with Iran and helped them escape into the British occupied part, which was, by Stalin era standards, quite amiable of them.

    1) why did they not all head for the USSR and land safely versus crashing into the sea.

    I wonder what the protocols were for bombing Germany and if maps were issued with locations in neutral Switzerland and Sweden. Of course it creates an incentive to “retire” out of the war by heading to a neutral country due to engine trouble.

    New topic
    1) the film shows the US naval pilots guessing wrong on the location of the Japanese fleet from where the raiders came. Why not split the response force into two directions ?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I knew a CEO in 1989 who'd been a bomber pilot over Germany during the War. His plane got shot up so he couldn't get it back to England, so he steered to Sweden and they all jumped out. They got interned at a Swedish resort hotel for a year, during which he got his hardship pay, so he was quite a hit with the Swedish ladies. Then, seeing as he'd been a POW (of sorts), the US government paid for him to live in a resort hotel on Santa Monica beach for a year.
  243. @Anonymous
    Au Contraire.

    Hitler behaved quite rationally in 1941. Operation Barbarossa, given the circumstances, was a rational strategy, albeit based on bad intelligence about Soviet industrial capacity.

    (1) See the Hitler and Mannerheim Secret Audio Recording (1942). TL:DR: This is the one existing candid recording of Hitler, in which he said Germany goofed and completely underestimated Soviet industrial strength. He tries to put a good face on the situation, saying Germany will prevail, but he comes across as rational, making the same assumption most modern historians would make: it was a matter of time before the USSR invaded.

    (2) Declassified Soviet documents point strongly to a Soviet offensive, occurring sometime in 1941/42. While this is a revisionist stance, it's the most strongly supported by actual documented evidence.
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_offensive_plans_controversy
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27s_Missed_Chance

    Then there is the counterfactual history based on intuition. Assume Nazi Germany was not a militarized, totalitarian government, but rather a western-leaning democracy. Would this have stopped a conflict with the USSR? No. Furthermore, if the conflict occurred later, it would have likely involved atomic weapons, leading to an even larger body count for those unfortunate to reside on the battlefield -- i.e., Poles, Jews, Russians, etc.

    The Soviet army struggle to defeat the Finns during the Winter War added to German mis -calculation of the Soviet strength. German generals were complacent too
    , but after the war would claim they had opposed going East

    2) why so little intelligence on the USSR as a garrison state ? Countries such as Finland, a Poland , Hungary had huge incentives to understand what was happening in the USSR during their covert military buildup. Yet, individually and collectively, no one including the Americans transferring factories to the USSR ,could form that picture.

    3) it is baffling that the Soviets had the resources to relocate factories behind the Urals in the midst of a massive invasion. Their reserves of soldiers , munitions , factory workers, rail transport and loading equipment is astounding to me

  244. @Anonymous
    Au Contraire.

    Hitler behaved quite rationally in 1941. Operation Barbarossa, given the circumstances, was a rational strategy, albeit based on bad intelligence about Soviet industrial capacity.

    (1) See the Hitler and Mannerheim Secret Audio Recording (1942). TL:DR: This is the one existing candid recording of Hitler, in which he said Germany goofed and completely underestimated Soviet industrial strength. He tries to put a good face on the situation, saying Germany will prevail, but he comes across as rational, making the same assumption most modern historians would make: it was a matter of time before the USSR invaded.

    (2) Declassified Soviet documents point strongly to a Soviet offensive, occurring sometime in 1941/42. While this is a revisionist stance, it's the most strongly supported by actual documented evidence.
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_offensive_plans_controversy
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27s_Missed_Chance

    Then there is the counterfactual history based on intuition. Assume Nazi Germany was not a militarized, totalitarian government, but rather a western-leaning democracy. Would this have stopped a conflict with the USSR? No. Furthermore, if the conflict occurred later, it would have likely involved atomic weapons, leading to an even larger body count for those unfortunate to reside on the battlefield -- i.e., Poles, Jews, Russians, etc.

    The Soviet army struggle to defeat the Finns during the Winter War added to German mis -calculation of the Soviet strength. German generals were complacent too
    , but after the war would claim they had opposed going East

    2) why so little intelligence on the USSR as a garrison state ? Countries such as Finland, a Poland , Hungary had huge incentives to understand what was happening in the USSR during their covert military buildup. Yet, individually and collectively, no one including the Americans transferring factories to the USSR ,could form that picture.

    3) it is baffling that the Soviets had the resources to relocate factories behind the Urals in the midst of a massive invasion. Their reserves of soldiers , munitions , factory workers, rail transport and loading equipment is astounding to me

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Yes, the Soviet relocation of factories in 1941 is astounding.

    A lot of people to this day underestimate Stalin's managerial skills. Yes, he was a homicidal maniac, but he was also very good at organization.

  245. @Altai
    There are an excellent pair of YouTube videos on the Japanese perspective of Midway. It's unbelievably detailed but the subject matter is just so compelling that it only makes it better.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bd8_vO5zrjo

    Saw this last year and couldn’t stop watching it.

  246. link

    At the root of the American victory at Midway was U.S. Navy intelligence successfully breaking Japanese codes and discovering the Japanese Navy’s plans to attack Midway Atoll.

    Station Hypo was the team of U.S. signals intelligence (SIGINT) analysts led by then-Commander Joseph “Joe” Rochefort. Immediately after Pearl Harbor, Station Hypo began attempting to decode messages transmitted using the JN-25 code. By late April, Rochefort’s team assessed that the Japanese were planning major operations against the central Pacific and Aleutians.

    Decryption of Japanese radio transmissions was decisive at Midway — there is some controversy re whether Roosevelt knew about but allowed the Pearl Harbor attack to happen in order to have an ironclad reason to enter the war — of course the conventional view is that he didn’t know, meaning in Dec 1941 the US was not able to decrypt Japanese transmissions (or was able to but either missed the PH attack or someone lower than Roosevelt buried it — ?) — which means in the relatively short time window between Dec 1941 and (latest) Jun 1942, the US successfully cracked the Japanese naval cypher — ?

    MWN Episode 007 – FDR and the Attack on Pearl Harbor

  247. @Paul Jolliffe
    Unlike you, Old Prude, I actually saw the movie.

    Twice.

    There is simply no way to recreate the death-defying dives in a Dauntless without CGI.

    The movie shows the American pilot's perspective: virtually vertical, straight down from 5,000 feet for about 45 seconds into flak that would annihilate an aiplane in an instant.

    Those pilots were beyond brave - they had the kind of guts that the ancient Greeks recognized as god-like.

    Meh. I don’t need some cartoon with a bunch of fag actors to help me understand what those guys did. Folks who think watching a movie makes them know what it was like to be there, or somehow respects those who lived through it are, in my opinion, mistaken.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    wwebd said ----

    Lighten up, old Prude ....

    here are 7 good WWII movies, with, between them, something like a hundred really good performances.


    4 that are good but not great! ----
    The Dirty Dozen - watchable, but with about five scenes (10 percent of the movie) just slightly more realistic than Hogan's Heroes
    The Longest Day - watchable, could have been so much better
    Tora, Tora, Tora - good, but too academic, mix of documentary and drama
    Patton - good but way too sanitized for the subject


    Great movies, near flawless ---

    Midway (2019)
    They Were Expendable (Black and white, but don't let that bother you)
    The Pacific (the recent TV miniseries, but think of it as 3 really good movies in a row, from the landing at Guadalcanal to 1945)

    Of course no movie is gonna help you or anyone else understand what people who have been shot at remember about being shot at. Much less being shot at when you are overwhelmed with enemy fighters.

    But everyone is going to die young or grow old and die, so maybe there are a lot of tough guys out there who are tougher than you think, you don't need to argue with the sort of people who know what they are saying on a thread like this, Cheers.

  248. @Houston 1992
    The Soviet army struggle to defeat the Finns during the Winter War added to German mis -calculation of the Soviet strength. German generals were complacent too
    , but after the war would claim they had opposed going East

    2) why so little intelligence on the USSR as a garrison state ? Countries such as Finland, a Poland , Hungary had huge incentives to understand what was happening in the USSR during their covert military buildup. Yet, individually and collectively, no one including the Americans transferring factories to the USSR ,could form that picture.

    3) it is baffling that the Soviets had the resources to relocate factories behind the Urals in the midst of a massive invasion. Their reserves of soldiers , munitions , factory workers, rail transport and loading equipment is astounding to me

    Yes, the Soviet relocation of factories in 1941 is astounding.

    A lot of people to this day underestimate Stalin’s managerial skills. Yes, he was a homicidal maniac, but he was also very good at organization.

    • Replies: @craig h
    You can do amazing things when your managers don't have to worry about worker survival let alone worker safety.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Sea%E2%80%93Baltic_Canal#Construction
  249. @Houston 1992
    1) why did they not all head for the USSR and land safely versus crashing into the sea.

    I wonder what the protocols were for bombing Germany and if maps were issued with locations in neutral Switzerland and Sweden. Of course it creates an incentive to “retire” out of the war by heading to a neutral country due to engine trouble.

    New topic
    1) the film shows the US naval pilots guessing wrong on the location of the Japanese fleet from where the raiders came. Why not split the response force into two directions ?

    I knew a CEO in 1989 who’d been a bomber pilot over Germany during the War. His plane got shot up so he couldn’t get it back to England, so he steered to Sweden and they all jumped out. They got interned at a Swedish resort hotel for a year, during which he got his hardship pay, so he was quite a hit with the Swedish ladies. Then, seeing as he’d been a POW (of sorts), the US government paid for him to live in a resort hotel on Santa Monica beach for a year.

    • Replies: @Corn
    I’m glad your acquaintance was interned in Sweden. The Swiss were much less accommodating to American internees. I read an account once of an American air crewman who was thrown in a common lock up by the Swiss. He was gangraped by some Eastern European refugees or criminals there before he was transferred to a proper internment camp.

    At one point in the war Swiss treatment of American internees was so bad (poor rations, abusive guards) the American ambassador or military attache warned a Swiss official that a Swiss city might be bombed “by mistake”.
  250. @Moses
    Japanese forces committed inhuman atrocities against prisoners of war as well as civilians as easily as breathing pretty much everywhere they went.

    One famous example during the Battle of Midway is throwing a captured American pilot into the sea in chains for "war crimes."

    Here's a good but by no means complete summary: https://www.enkivillage.org/japanese-war-crimes.html

    And an attempt to explain why the Japanese were so brutal: https://www.historynet.com/a-culture-of-cruelty.htm

    American commanders were shocked at the fanaticism of the Japanese during the Guadalcanal campaign.

    In the early days after American forces won a battle, American medics attempted to treat Japanese wounded. They found that Japanese booby-trapped themselves or otherwise tried to kill the medics.

    Commanders abandoned attempts to treat the enemy and resorted to running tanks over any Japanese body, dead or alive, on the field.

    Japanese sailors routinely drowned themselves rather than be picked up by American warships.

    Japanese soldiers even killed Japanese civilians. During the Battle of Saipan Japanese soldiers killed hundreds (perhaps many more) of Japanese civilians rather than risk that the civilians would "surrender" to the enemy. The civilians were supposed to kill themselves by jumping off 300 foot cliffs or commit seppuku, but not all did so.

    After studying the history of the War in the Pacific I completely understand the decision to drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese militarist fanatics would have done the same as they did on Saipan but on a much larger scale had the Allies invaded Japan's home islands.

    Dropping the bomb, as horrific as it was, saved millions of lives on both sides.

    The moviemakers offered singer Nick Jonas a bigger role (I’m guessing: dive-bomber pilot Dick Best’s not super brave gunner), but he insisted on playing his original small role as tailgunner Bruno Gaido who shot down a proto-kamikaze and later was taken prisoner and murdered by the Japanese.

    https://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/04/24/toughness-aviation-machinist-mate-first-class-amm1c-bruno-peter-gaido/

    I think this is a PG-13 movie, which allows you one F-Word, which of course means that the filmmakers reserve it for the best moment (like Hugh Jackman’s cameo as Wolverine in X-Men: First Class), which kind of defeats the purpose by teaching kids that saying the F-word is awesome. They gave Jonas their one shot and he delivered.

    They probably should have had Jonas play the lead role as Dick Best, who had the best single day in naval aviation history. I didn’t mind Ed Skrein as Dick Best, but a lot of people didn’t like him, while everybody liked Nick Jonas as the other New Joisey boy.

    • Replies: @Moses
    Tks for the link Steve. Gaido was a helluva man.
  251. @Joe Stalin
    Not a Stearman (Waco) with a jet engine!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyXzy8AzOxo

    Joe, the “Masters of Disaster”, in which Jimmy Franklin’s jet Waco was the star, was an exciting air show act to watch. Unfortunately the name proved prophetic:

    crash

    https://www.abqjournal.com/news/state/371136nm07-13-05.htm

  252. @Colin Wright
    'My impression is that the 1965 movie “Battle of the Bulge” started out as a cowboy movie script and was then was repurposed to being a war movie without much more than nominal change in the plot.'

    What I like about that one is how they diligently start out with snow and forest but later on visibly say 'fuck it' and just have the two sides fight it out in the Mojave Desert.

    Great song and Robert Shaw is compelling, but a real turkey, otherwise.

    ...The Eddie Albert movie referenced earlier would seem to be Attack!' That's a low-budget black and white film, but actually pretty good. Focusses on the conflict between a cowardly company commander and one of his platoon leaders.

    OMG, I did indeed mistake Eddie Albert for Henry Fonda, which is a shame, because Albert was the better Actor 😉

  253. @Steve Sailer
    You often need torpedoes to sink an armored battleship. Dropping a bomb on a battleship often wasn't disabling.

    But then it turned out that battleships weren't as important in WWII as aircraft carriers, which back then didn't have armored decks, so they were highly vulnerable to dive-bombers.

    The Royal Navy Illustrious class of aircraft carriers had armoured flight decks, all four served heavily and survived WWII.

    http://www.seaforces.org/marint/Royal-Navy/Aircraft-Carrier/Illustrious-class.htm

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    LondonBob:

    The Japanese aimed for the ships' conning towers when they learned that the British were bragging about their armored flight decks.
  254. anonymous[310] • Disclaimer says:
    @Citizen of a Silly Country
    Tried to watch The Irishman, but, sorry, it was so, well, Boomer Porn. (I'm not a Boomer basher, btw.) It's obviously for a certain demographic - and that's fine. However, it wasn't a story; it was a more like a reunion.

    I can read books or watch movies from various ages and enjoy them. They don't demand that you were born at certain time. The Irishman isn't one of them. It's for Boomers and no one else. Maybe if I was born between 1945 and 1960, I could relate, but I wasn't.

    Watching it reminded me that the old United States is dying, but Boomers will never face that fact. They'll go to their graves remembering a 90% America and never apologizing for letting that go.

    Mega Dittos Rush !!!!

    We were born between 1946 and 1952. We had no intention of fighting and dying in Vietnam. We did everything we could to avoid being drafted but dammit we didn’t protest the war or run to Canada or burn our draft cards like those dirty hippies did. We played within the rules.

    Clinton was a draft-dodging pot smoker. GWB heroically served in the Texas Air-National Guard.

    When the hero GWB called for the invasion of Iraq we were there, waving our flags and denouncing any skeptics as anti-American terrorist lovers.

    Apparently the American South votes so solidly Republican to spite the racism of it’s solidly Democrat past. Or something. Orval Faubus was a Democrat and Eisenhower was a Republican.

    Anyway my dad was born in 49 and I was born in 77 and I think Scorsese means a lot more to my generation than his.

    At this point any white man over the age of forty who can’t grasp that the mid-90’s was a generation ago qualifies as a Boomer.

  255. @Anonymous
    Au Contraire.

    Hitler behaved quite rationally in 1941. Operation Barbarossa, given the circumstances, was a rational strategy, albeit based on bad intelligence about Soviet industrial capacity.

    (1) See the Hitler and Mannerheim Secret Audio Recording (1942). TL:DR: This is the one existing candid recording of Hitler, in which he said Germany goofed and completely underestimated Soviet industrial strength. He tries to put a good face on the situation, saying Germany will prevail, but he comes across as rational, making the same assumption most modern historians would make: it was a matter of time before the USSR invaded.

    (2) Declassified Soviet documents point strongly to a Soviet offensive, occurring sometime in 1941/42. While this is a revisionist stance, it's the most strongly supported by actual documented evidence.
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_offensive_plans_controversy
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27s_Missed_Chance

    Then there is the counterfactual history based on intuition. Assume Nazi Germany was not a militarized, totalitarian government, but rather a western-leaning democracy. Would this have stopped a conflict with the USSR? No. Furthermore, if the conflict occurred later, it would have likely involved atomic weapons, leading to an even larger body count for those unfortunate to reside on the battlefield -- i.e., Poles, Jews, Russians, etc.

    Hitler goofed with the Battle of Britain. The Kreigsmarine and Luftwaffe were no match for the RN and RAF, so invasion was impossible. Britain should have been treated Blitzkrieg style, a strongpoint to be bypassed, isolated and ignored. Instead pacifist sentiment in Britain was undermined by bombing British cities with valuable aircrews and slightly less valuable bombers wasted.

  256. @Mr. Anon

    Then again, the Wehrmacht was a largely horse drawn army in 1940.
     
    In 1939 the only country with a fully mechanized army was Great Britain. At least I read that once in a credible source.

    That’s true. It’s part of the reason they could not cope with the Japanese in Malaya and Burma,

  257. @Steve Sailer
    Yes, the Soviet relocation of factories in 1941 is astounding.

    A lot of people to this day underestimate Stalin's managerial skills. Yes, he was a homicidal maniac, but he was also very good at organization.

    You can do amazing things when your managers don’t have to worry about worker survival let alone worker safety.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Sea%E2%80%93Baltic_Canal#Construction

  258. @Captain Tripps
    AM, it wasn't quite like that; I understand your larger point about serendipity/Lady Luck/Murphy's Law, etc. However, Fletcher/Spruance were executing by the book. They sent their standard recon flights to look for the IJN, and as soon as they were located, launched the standard doctrinal attack of that time: fighters, dive bombers, torpedo planes. They were supposed to fly to the target and attack simultaneously; fighters to occupy the enemy CAP, then the dive bombers/torpedo planes overwhelm the targets. Torpedo planes were supposed to attack from both starboard/port to increase the chance of target hits. Miscommunication, for of war and the three different formations got separated and off-course: the torpedo planes went to the target (Nagumo's carriers) but arrived before fighter cover and dive bombers (who, fortunately deduced the correct vector to the carriers). The torpedo planes pulled the CAP down to the water and though most were shot down, pulling the CAP down opened up a window of vulnerability that the dive bombers arrived just in time to exploit.

    Luck can be attributed to a well-conceived plan carried out by a well-trained and indoctrinated task group.
    Chester W. Nimitz

  259. @Steve Sailer
    I knew a CEO in 1989 who'd been a bomber pilot over Germany during the War. His plane got shot up so he couldn't get it back to England, so he steered to Sweden and they all jumped out. They got interned at a Swedish resort hotel for a year, during which he got his hardship pay, so he was quite a hit with the Swedish ladies. Then, seeing as he'd been a POW (of sorts), the US government paid for him to live in a resort hotel on Santa Monica beach for a year.

    I’m glad your acquaintance was interned in Sweden. The Swiss were much less accommodating to American internees. I read an account once of an American air crewman who was thrown in a common lock up by the Swiss. He was gangraped by some Eastern European refugees or criminals there before he was transferred to a proper internment camp.

    At one point in the war Swiss treatment of American internees was so bad (poor rations, abusive guards) the American ambassador or military attache warned a Swiss official that a Swiss city might be bombed “by mistake”.

    • Replies: @Dtbb
    They were.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombings_of_Switzerland_in_World_War_II
  260. @Anonymous
    Au Contraire.

    Hitler behaved quite rationally in 1941. Operation Barbarossa, given the circumstances, was a rational strategy, albeit based on bad intelligence about Soviet industrial capacity.

    (1) See the Hitler and Mannerheim Secret Audio Recording (1942). TL:DR: This is the one existing candid recording of Hitler, in which he said Germany goofed and completely underestimated Soviet industrial strength. He tries to put a good face on the situation, saying Germany will prevail, but he comes across as rational, making the same assumption most modern historians would make: it was a matter of time before the USSR invaded.

    (2) Declassified Soviet documents point strongly to a Soviet offensive, occurring sometime in 1941/42. While this is a revisionist stance, it's the most strongly supported by actual documented evidence.
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_offensive_plans_controversy
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27s_Missed_Chance

    Then there is the counterfactual history based on intuition. Assume Nazi Germany was not a militarized, totalitarian government, but rather a western-leaning democracy. Would this have stopped a conflict with the USSR? No. Furthermore, if the conflict occurred later, it would have likely involved atomic weapons, leading to an even larger body count for those unfortunate to reside on the battlefield -- i.e., Poles, Jews, Russians, etc.

    “Hitler behaved quite rationally in 1941.”

    Declaring war on the US in 1941 was the exact opposite of the rational thing to do. His enemies (UK, USSR) had a meta-strategic problem, how to prevent their new US ally from becoming preoccupied with the expensive and less relevant (from their view) Pacific war, and Hitler solved it for them.

    Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union could have been rational iif:

    1) Hitler had a way to replace all the crucial raw materials (including oil) that he was getting from the Soviets, which he lost access to as soon as the invasion started;

    2) Hitler had prepared the Wehrmacht for the Russian winter;

    3) Hitler treated the peoples of the liberated territories (Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltics, etc.) as assets and allies rather than as untermensch to be exterminated thereby creating new enemies along the way;

    4) Hitler had focused on driving to Moscow and taking the hub of the Soviet transport network, rather than scattering his forces into the Pripet marshes and elsewhere without strategic purpose;

    5) Hitler had allowed his scarce and valuable troops to retreat from various untenable situations they found themselves in rather than making everything a hold-at-all-costs one-way attack.

    Since in actuality Hitler did the opposite of all those things, it is not possible to call his invasion “rational”. Instead, it was merely of a piece with the rest of his weird gestural politics-by-aesthetics: he wanted to be seen as driving German power eastward so he did, irrespective of means and ends.

    If you look into firsthand accounts of the ruling regime’s inner circle, such as Albert Speer’s memoir, it is obvious that by 1941, the supreme executive decision making process had degenerated into a parodic government-by-cliché where the only role of reason was as an aid to better brownnosing and backstabbing. The wonder is not that they lost, but that it took as long as it did.

    • Replies: @Jack D

    3) Hitler treated the peoples of the liberated territories (Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltics, etc.) as assets and allies rather than as untermensch to be exterminated thereby creating new enemies along the way;
     
    Hitler was literally incapable of this - if he had done that, he wouldn't be Hitler. It was just not in his character. Being Hitler had gotten him pretty far in life - from an obscure nobody to Fuhrer of the Master Race in less than 15 years. It had gotten the German people from the humiliation of Versailles to the conquest of Europe. He wasn't about to stop being Hitler just for the sake of a little better cooperation from the occupied inferior races.
  261. The first small-type book for grownups I ever read was in 1967 when I was 8: a paperback history of the U.S.S. Enterprise aircraft carrier in World War II.

    The story of the U.S.S. Enterprise during the first year of WWII is one of the most inspiring epics in all of military history.

    Emmerich could produce a sequel about Guadalcanal that would be every bit as exciting as Midway.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbdkeqht2v8&list=PLb4Kdk3LiBvkXdG84ADtUSIyYJSPitavQ&index=5
  262. @Kevin O'Keeffe
    My wife and I are now going to go see this on Saturday. I was a little pleasantly surprised to see it's still scheduled to be shown through next week. Movies usually come & go pretty fast out of theaters, these days.

    I saw it last Saturday. It was the fourth week the film had been in theaters but there was a fairly good crowd for a noon showing.

    • Replies: @Kevin O'Keeffe

    I saw it last Saturday. It was the fourth week the film had been in theaters but there was a fairly good crowd for a noon showing.
     
    I saw it yesterday, and also was somewhat pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowd (for a 3:45 showing). I'm in South Dakota, and I assume you're in Tennessee, which coincides with my hypothesis that this film is doing better in "red" states. I haven't yet found a source for regional box office figures, however. They may choose to keep that data secret.
  263. @Mr. Anon
    The Soviets were only able to save Moscow from the German advance in the Winter of 41/42 by throwing dozens of divisions from the Soviet far-east at them. And they were only able to do that because they had intelligence supplied by their man in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, that Japan was going to go to War with America and not with the Soviet Union. The Japanese wouldn't have had to win a decisive victory - they wouldn't have even been fighting in their own homeland - they would only needed to have applied enough pressure to the Soviets that the combined two-front assault on them caused them to fold and sue for peace. They might could have pulled it off.

    The Soviets were only able to save Moscow from the German advance in the Winter of 41/42 by throwing dozens of divisions from the Soviet far-east at them. And they were only able to do that because they had intelligence supplied by their man in Tokyo, Richard Sorge,

    This myth about those hardened Siberian divisions saving Moscow, which people love to parrot, and which will not die, is nevertheless completely wrong.

    Repeat after me:

    There is no extant Soviet record of any significant movement of Red Army divisions from the Far East or Siberia to the Western Front at any time from the beginning of Barbarossa to the end of 1941.

    It didn’t happen.

    Upstream, I’ve pointed to Nigel Askey’s work that completely debunks this popular but mistaken idea. I think this heroic story about the hardened Siberians riding in at the last second to save Moscow is simply Soviet propaganda to conceal the speed and magnitude of the Red Army’s huge mobilization after the Germans attacked.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/my-review-of-midway/#comment-3591975

    The development of new industrial zones beyond the Urals in places like Chelyabinsk under direction of Americans like Henry Ford began in the 1920s, almost as soon as the Bolsheviks consolidated power. Some industries were moved to the Urals after the outset of Barbarossa, but the groundwork for the relocation of war industries had been laid long before the Germans attacked.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    Interesting. What I stated is the common story about what happened. Perhaps it is a myth. I'll look into it. Thanks.
  264. @Foreign Expert
    Is Midway being shown in Japan? I wonder what the reaction is?

    It’s done well in China. The Chinese put up much of the money to get it made.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
    Chinese probably enjoy watching the Japs lose, and with good reason.

    Thankfully my grandfather crashed his motorbike before he was supposed to ship out to Singapore.
  265. @David In TN
    It's done well in China. The Chinese put up much of the money to get it made.

    Chinese probably enjoy watching the Japs lose, and with good reason.

    Thankfully my grandfather crashed his motorbike before he was supposed to ship out to Singapore.

  266. A lot of talk about “rational decisions.” All of it is nonsensical. Hitler was on an array of designer drugs. The entire German army was on meth. Any expectations of rationality are absurd.

  267. @Steve Sailer
    The Soviets had to impound the one crew of Doolittle's Raiders who landed in Vladivostok because they were neutral with Japan until 1945. But after a year they moved them to the Soviet border with Iran and helped them escape into the British occupied part, which was, by Stalin era standards, quite amiable of them.

    which was, by Stalin era standards, quite amiable of them.

    At that time we were shipping them millions of tons of “Lend Lease” armaments (a typical Roosevelt Orwellian lie – there was no lending and no leasing but it sounded better than “Free Gift” – why it was just like your neighbor borrowing a cup of sugar!) and they had to be nice to us.

    Later on in the war they ended up with a couple of American B-29s this way. It was the same deal – the crew was allowed to “escape” from their internment in the neutral (vs Japan) USSR into British held Iran but Stalin kept the planes. The planes were taken apart and duplicated rivet for rivet and became the Soviet Tu-4. The B-29 that the Russians got had been shot at before and had a patch panel in the tail. The Tu-4 had a patch panel in the tail. The Russians who copied it KNEW that it was just a patch panel but the order from the Boss were to EXACTLY COPY the Amerikansky plane and you know what happens to people who don’t follow the Boss’s orders.

    Building the Tu-4 was a massive undertaking, especially since everything on the plane was built in inch measurements and it all had to be converted to metric. Certain parts (such as the giant tires) the Soviets couldn’t duplicate so they figured out ways to get them from the West. The B-29’s engines had a tendency to catch fire and so did the Russian copies. It was mostly a waste of time because jets came in shortly after but they learned a lot of lessons that they applied to later aircraft.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Speaking of being afraid of the boss, there is another story (which may or may not be true) which explains why the left half of the Hotel Moskva in Moscow was done in a different architectural style than the right half. Supposedly the architects put together a side by side drawing showing two different possibilities and presented it to Stalin expecting him to pick one design or the other. Stalin glanced at the plans and scrawled his signature across the front - APPROVED - J. STALIN! Everyone was much too afraid to go back to the Boss and explain to him that he was an idiot and was supposed to pick one or the other so they just built it based upon the drawing that Stalin had signed.
  268. @Jack D

    which was, by Stalin era standards, quite amiable of them.
     
    At that time we were shipping them millions of tons of "Lend Lease" armaments (a typical Roosevelt Orwellian lie - there was no lending and no leasing but it sounded better than "Free Gift" - why it was just like your neighbor borrowing a cup of sugar!) and they had to be nice to us.

    Later on in the war they ended up with a couple of American B-29s this way. It was the same deal - the crew was allowed to "escape" from their internment in the neutral (vs Japan) USSR into British held Iran but Stalin kept the planes. The planes were taken apart and duplicated rivet for rivet and became the Soviet Tu-4. The B-29 that the Russians got had been shot at before and had a patch panel in the tail. The Tu-4 had a patch panel in the tail. The Russians who copied it KNEW that it was just a patch panel but the order from the Boss were to EXACTLY COPY the Amerikansky plane and you know what happens to people who don't follow the Boss's orders.

    Building the Tu-4 was a massive undertaking, especially since everything on the plane was built in inch measurements and it all had to be converted to metric. Certain parts (such as the giant tires) the Soviets couldn't duplicate so they figured out ways to get them from the West. The B-29's engines had a tendency to catch fire and so did the Russian copies. It was mostly a waste of time because jets came in shortly after but they learned a lot of lessons that they applied to later aircraft.

    Speaking of being afraid of the boss, there is another story (which may or may not be true) which explains why the left half of the Hotel Moskva in Moscow was done in a different architectural style than the right half. Supposedly the architects put together a side by side drawing showing two different possibilities and presented it to Stalin expecting him to pick one design or the other. Stalin glanced at the plans and scrawled his signature across the front – APPROVED – J. STALIN! Everyone was much too afraid to go back to the Boss and explain to him that he was an idiot and was supposed to pick one or the other so they just built it based upon the drawing that Stalin had signed.

  269. @John Gruskos

    The first small-type book for grownups I ever read was in 1967 when I was 8: a paperback history of the U.S.S. Enterprise aircraft carrier in World War II.
     
    The story of the U.S.S. Enterprise during the first year of WWII is one of the most inspiring epics in all of military history.

    Emmerich could produce a sequel about Guadalcanal that would be every bit as exciting as Midway.

  270. @LondonBob
    The Royal Navy Illustrious class of aircraft carriers had armoured flight decks, all four served heavily and survived WWII.

    http://www.seaforces.org/marint/Royal-Navy/Aircraft-Carrier/Illustrious-class.htm

    LondonBob:

    The Japanese aimed for the ships’ conning towers when they learned that the British were bragging about their armored flight decks.

  271. @Almost Missouri

    "Hitler behaved quite rationally in 1941."
     
    Declaring war on the US in 1941 was the exact opposite of the rational thing to do. His enemies (UK, USSR) had a meta-strategic problem, how to prevent their new US ally from becoming preoccupied with the expensive and less relevant (from their view) Pacific war, and Hitler solved it for them.

    Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union could have been rational iif:

    1) Hitler had a way to replace all the crucial raw materials (including oil) that he was getting from the Soviets, which he lost access to as soon as the invasion started;

    2) Hitler had prepared the Wehrmacht for the Russian winter;

    3) Hitler treated the peoples of the liberated territories (Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltics, etc.) as assets and allies rather than as untermensch to be exterminated thereby creating new enemies along the way;

    4) Hitler had focused on driving to Moscow and taking the hub of the Soviet transport network, rather than scattering his forces into the Pripet marshes and elsewhere without strategic purpose;

    5) Hitler had allowed his scarce and valuable troops to retreat from various untenable situations they found themselves in rather than making everything a hold-at-all-costs one-way attack.

    Since in actuality Hitler did the opposite of all those things, it is not possible to call his invasion "rational". Instead, it was merely of a piece with the rest of his weird gestural politics-by-aesthetics: he wanted to be seen as driving German power eastward so he did, irrespective of means and ends.

    If you look into firsthand accounts of the ruling regime's inner circle, such as Albert Speer's memoir, it is obvious that by 1941, the supreme executive decision making process had degenerated into a parodic government-by-cliché where the only role of reason was as an aid to better brownnosing and backstabbing. The wonder is not that they lost, but that it took as long as it did.

    3) Hitler treated the peoples of the liberated territories (Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltics, etc.) as assets and allies rather than as untermensch to be exterminated thereby creating new enemies along the way;

    Hitler was literally incapable of this – if he had done that, he wouldn’t be Hitler. It was just not in his character. Being Hitler had gotten him pretty far in life – from an obscure nobody to Fuhrer of the Master Race in less than 15 years. It had gotten the German people from the humiliation of Versailles to the conquest of Europe. He wasn’t about to stop being Hitler just for the sake of a little better cooperation from the occupied inferior races.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Yes, I've said similar in other comments ... after 1941. Prior to that, though, Hitler actually displayed remarkable political and ideological nimbleness. He shifted priorities, forsook obsolete allies, cut loose unobtainable objectives and reoriented political coalitions when a better result was in view. For example, he gave up the supposedly inviolable South Tyrol to cement Mussolini's allegiance, consigned old comrade Ernst Röhm and the old SA to political (and personal) annihilation when they had outlived their usefulness, and famously mutually non-aggressed with arch-nemesis Stalin when it suited the Greater German Reich. He denounced the medieval German aristocracy as a relic when he was out of power and then made nice with them once he was in. He presented himself a champion of the proletariat to get power, then made himself a paragon of bourgeois respectability once he got it. Having composed a(n) (in)famous personal political manifesto, Mein Kampf, he himself denounced it a few years later as "out of date". He took on board Italians, Romanians, Turks, Arabs and even occasional Jews(!) as political allies when it suited him, even though he had formerly denigrated them all in various ways. After the war, victims of Nazi persecution were often asked, didn't you see what was coming? But the notion of Hitler as a monolithic juggernaut implacably bearing down on clearly labelled foes is a modern narrative. At the time, things looked very different, less consistent, more in flux. Because Hitler was less consistent and more in flux. Had he chosen to, he could easily have spawned anti-communist client states in eastern Europe as the Wehrmacht broke the Red Army's grip. He chose not to, and chose instead to try to outdo Soviet atrocities.

    Prior to 1941, Hitler was clearly capable of any kind of metamorphosis that suited his purposes. Once he had achieved most of his objectives by 1940 though, he seems to have decided that he no longer needed to adjust himself, his party, or his country to the circumstances of reality. He became megalomaniacal. Worse, he created new, impossible and useless objectives for him and his Reich: war on the Soviet Union and United States ... simultaneously. This went hand in hand with a raft of other delusional and pathological aims: erasing undesirable races, lunatic architectural schemes, costly and impractical weapon programs, unhinged economic policies. In his personal dealings he became brittle and vindictive, where formerly he had been accommodating and manipulative. Note that I'm not saying he was a good person who became bad. I'm saying he was a capable and flexible person who became incompetent and blinkered.

    Having achieved one of the history's most remarkable political ascensions, he used his ascendancy to lock Europe into a worst case scenario, from which he rather suddenly refused to budge no matter what circumstances impinged on him—even with bombs, shells and exploding briefcases literally detonating all around him.

    The deft and agile political operator of the 1930s became a rigid taskmaster of doom in the 1940s. Why? I dunno. Maybe he was just on a mission to wreck everything.
  272. @Steve Sailer
    The Japanese didn't have any depth. They terrified everybody in 1941-42 with a strike force of 6 carriers that could range over one third of the globe. But when they lost ~250 pilots and 3000 of their bet sailors at Midway, they never really were able to replace them.

    Their training process was not much good.

    I'm wondering whether only a fraction of the Japanese workforce had grown up with technology based on metal while the rest were still in the Age of Wood? The US in contrast just had an infinite supply of guys who could fix internal combustion engines.

    The axis did not seem to rotate there best pilots. This was evidenced by the German pilots aces cricket score tallies of downed aircraft, compared the relatively subdued allied tallies. Despite the increases in fighter production the critical loss of experience fighter pilots (due probably to non-rotation of pilots) led to critical losses in the Marianas and a loss of air superiority over Europe for the Luftwaffe. Then apart from the industrial might of the US one has to look at oil reserves, the axis oil reserves were woefully inadequate for giving pilots the adequate amount of flight time.

  273. @Reg Cæsar

    The White Russians
     
    By "White Russians", do you mean the political faction or the ethnic group, i.e., Byelorussians?

    Political faction. Munich was full of them, post-WWI. And even more Baltic Germans.

    Hitler joked that the early Volkisch Beobachter publications should have been subtitled “Baltic edition”.

  274. Frequent observation from /pol/ and elsewhere: it is somewhat perverse that we have a hyper-focus on a couple of episodes, some really not important, and not one big movie about the Eastern Front. We have Danger UXB about the London Blitz, but nothing about the bombing of German cities apart from a science fiction title and “experts” assuring us that it really wasn’t that bad.

    • Replies: @William Badwhite

    but nothing about the bombing of German cities apart from a science fiction title

     

    Len Deighton's "Bomber" (admittedly not a movie) has a number of interwoven story lines, one of which is around a group of German civilians in a targeted city (i forget which one, Hamburg maybe). Its been quite a few years since I read it, but I recall it capturing how terrifying it must have been. People can certainly argue about right/wrong or who did or didn't deserve it, but some terrified 4-year girl crying as a burning building collapses and crushes her and her family is still terrified (and crushed).

    “experts” assuring us that it really wasn’t that bad.
     
    It really was that bad. Not necessarily from a right/wrong perspective but from the perspective of the civilians.

    I wonder how much the lack of films from the German perspective (ex Das Boot and a couple others) comes from the German's total defeat and national unwillingness to attribute even a little humanity to themselves? I know a guy fairly well who, when going through fighter lead-in training in the USAF had a number of NATO pilots in the unit (Texas has a lot of places you can make noise and drop bombs without people complaining that Europe doesn't have).

    He said the German guys were absolutely fascinated (and wouldn't miss an episode) of...Hogan's Heroes. They said it was impossible that anything like that could be shown on German TV. This was early 1980's. Anything that showed the Luftwaffe and camp guards as human was out of the question.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-e5h89Kr4nAg/Tyv9K-cPURI/AAAAAAAAA6s/rEo_MvwM2Zw/s1600/sgtshultz.jpg

  275. @TGGP

    Up until Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 D-Day movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood may have devoted more attention to the U.S. WWII effort against Japan than against Germany.
     
    That seems surprising to me, although I'm younger than you. We're generally less interested in Asia than Europe so far fewer have heard of the Rape of Nanking compared to the Holocaust, its easier to get actors to play Euro-baddies than Japanese, and a lot of the fighting in the Pacific was over islands nobody cares about in a long slog against an outmatched enemy. I think we tend to find armies more interesting than navies as well, although I suppose a more maritime nation like the U.K could see things differently.

    Europe is sad and shared, the Pacific was pretty much just us and (once we got going) as deliriously one-sided as a video game or movie serial. Hollywood instincts point to the Pacific every time.

  276. @Colin Wright
    'The Germans never really stood a chance of winning WWII militarily. Operation Seelion was never going to take place because the Kriegsmarine just wasn’t strong enough to eject the Royal Navy...'

    I disagree. Seelowe wasn't going to work, but that wasn't the only arrow in the German quiver. The Germans could have wiped out the BEF at Dunkirk. That might well have tipped the British into suing for peace right there.

    Other moves include more aggressively seeking use of Spanish and French bases and going after Britain's sea lanes more vigorously and effectively. In the East, I'll insist the Germans could have simply driven for Moscow, taken it by September 1941, and brought about the collapse of the Soviet state. That doesn't win the war -- the US expected the Soviet Union to collapse and was planning accordingly -- but it sure helps.

    Probably the two winning moves are driving Britain out of the war in June 1940 along with France, and then going for the jugular against Russia. The US never enters the war, and Germany has won. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, and the destruction of the BEF in particular doesn't guarantee Britain doesn't fight on -- but the above scenario both consists of plausible moves and has a reasonable chance of resulting in final victory.

    I read an alt-history of SeaLion that said the Luftwaffe sinks the Royal Navy in the channel, and German special forces and a bit of armor make it ashore. The BEF left all their equipment back in France, so Britain is defended by guys with (maybe) rifles, and they lose.

    The RAF was losing the Battle of Britain, until Hitler, enraged at Churchill’s bombing of Berlin, shifted Luftwaffe attacks to British cities.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    Seelowe's a bit of a hobby of mine.

    The best alt-history I've read dealing with Seelowe is Kenneth Macksey's scrupulous 'Invasion.'

    For non-fiction, among the limited choices available, I'd pick Walter Ansel's elderly but very perceptive Hitler Confronts England. Walter Ansel was an American naval officer who'd made his career in amphibious operations, and he was writing early enough so that he was still able to interview many of the German officers involved in the planning.

    As to feasibility, first, the Royal Navy was just too big an obstacle. It's kind of like getting up to the front door of a house guarded by a snarling pit bull -- and all you've got are your bare hands.

    Second, there's the door itself. Gallipoli and Dieppe both demonstrate what happens to amphibious assaults against even modest opposition absent masses of specialized equipment and overwhelming naval and air support -- and that's precisely what the Germans lacked. They were proposing to wallow ashore in river barges. Read about the River Clyde at Gallipoli. It's amazing what even a couple of machine guns can do if left to their work undisturbed whilst you try to get out of the boat.

    While it could have worked, Hitler hit the nail on the head when he expressed the opinion that this would be an operation for a desperate situation, and Germany was not in a desperate situation.

    Curiously, the Germans' one best shot would probably have been to scrape together whatever they could as of early June and gone very early -- like late June. At the time, the British plan in the event of invasion called for an immediate retreat to the 'GHQ Line' -- which would have handed the Germans the ports they so obviously would have had to secure immediately. That plan was scrapped immediately when Ironside was replaced, but up to that point...

    However, this requires a prescient Germany, able to foresee that Britain isn't going to make peace even as the crushing German victory in France unfolds. That's not what everyone on the German side assumed at the time. Until Mers el Kebir, the assumption was that of course the British are going to admit 'you've won,' ask us what terms we propose, and since we're quite willing to be generous, well...

    What are your plans now that the war's over?

  277. @Steve Sailer
    I tried to look up how many Americans died in World War II in airplane crashes not in combat. It was over 10,000, including Carole Lombard and Glenn Miller.

    Carole Lombard was on her way back to LA after a war bonds tour. The pilot took off from someplace in Nevada, IIRC, and flew right into the surrounding mountain whose navigation beacon had been turned off for security reasons. Clark Gable was devastated for years.

  278. @J.Ross
    Frequent observation from /pol/ and elsewhere: it is somewhat perverse that we have a hyper-focus on a couple of episodes, some really not important, and not one big movie about the Eastern Front. We have Danger UXB about the London Blitz, but nothing about the bombing of German cities apart from a science fiction title and "experts" assuring us that it really wasn't that bad.

    but nothing about the bombing of German cities apart from a science fiction title

    Len Deighton’s “Bomber” (admittedly not a movie) has a number of interwoven story lines, one of which is around a group of German civilians in a targeted city (i forget which one, Hamburg maybe). Its been quite a few years since I read it, but I recall it capturing how terrifying it must have been. People can certainly argue about right/wrong or who did or didn’t deserve it, but some terrified 4-year girl crying as a burning building collapses and crushes her and her family is still terrified (and crushed).

    “experts” assuring us that it really wasn’t that bad.

    It really was that bad. Not necessarily from a right/wrong perspective but from the perspective of the civilians.

    I wonder how much the lack of films from the German perspective (ex Das Boot and a couple others) comes from the German’s total defeat and national unwillingness to attribute even a little humanity to themselves? I know a guy fairly well who, when going through fighter lead-in training in the USAF had a number of NATO pilots in the unit (Texas has a lot of places you can make noise and drop bombs without people complaining that Europe doesn’t have).

    He said the German guys were absolutely fascinated (and wouldn’t miss an episode) of…Hogan’s Heroes. They said it was impossible that anything like that could be shown on German TV. This was early 1980’s. Anything that showed the Luftwaffe and camp guards as human was out of the question.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    Oddly, I seem to recall that by the 1990s, Hogan's Heroes became rather popular in Germany.

    Whether this was out of historical self-loathing or out of relief from the historical requirement to self-loath, I cannot say.
    , @J.Ross
    Unwillingness to attribute or unwillingness to go to prison? I have heard lukewarm things about a recent German television series that makes a move in this direction but haven't seen it.
    , @David In TN
    During the 1950's the West German cinema made quite a few WW II films that were "antiwar" but made themselves look good: Canaris, The Star of Afrika, The Jackboot Mutiny, Brandenberg Division, Do You Dogs Want to Live Forever (Stalingrad), The Devil's General, U-47 (Gunther Prien sinking the Royal Oak) even one on the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Also Die Bruecke which was released abroad.

    Very few films like this were made by the Germans from the 1960's on.
  279. @Jack D

    3) Hitler treated the peoples of the liberated territories (Ukraine, Belorussia, the Baltics, etc.) as assets and allies rather than as untermensch to be exterminated thereby creating new enemies along the way;
     
    Hitler was literally incapable of this - if he had done that, he wouldn't be Hitler. It was just not in his character. Being Hitler had gotten him pretty far in life - from an obscure nobody to Fuhrer of the Master Race in less than 15 years. It had gotten the German people from the humiliation of Versailles to the conquest of Europe. He wasn't about to stop being Hitler just for the sake of a little better cooperation from the occupied inferior races.

    Yes, I’ve said similar in other comments … after 1941. Prior to that, though, Hitler actually displayed remarkable political and ideological nimbleness. He shifted priorities, forsook obsolete allies, cut loose unobtainable objectives and reoriented political coalitions when a better result was in view. For example, he gave up the supposedly inviolable South Tyrol to cement Mussolini’s allegiance, consigned old comrade Ernst Röhm and the old SA to political (and personal) annihilation when they had outlived their usefulness, and famously mutually non-aggressed with arch-nemesis Stalin when it suited the Greater German Reich. He denounced the medieval German aristocracy as a relic when he was out of power and then made nice with them once he was in. He presented himself a champion of the proletariat to get power, then made himself a paragon of bourgeois respectability once he got it. Having composed a(n) (in)famous personal political manifesto, Mein Kampf, he himself denounced it a few years later as “out of date”. He took on board Italians, Romanians, Turks, Arabs and even occasional Jews(!) as political allies when it suited him, even though he had formerly denigrated them all in various ways. After the war, victims of Nazi persecution were often asked, didn’t you see what was coming? But the notion of Hitler as a monolithic juggernaut implacably bearing down on clearly labelled foes is a modern narrative. At the time, things looked very different, less consistent, more in flux. Because Hitler was less consistent and more in flux. Had he chosen to, he could easily have spawned anti-communist client states in eastern Europe as the Wehrmacht broke the Red Army’s grip. He chose not to, and chose instead to try to outdo Soviet atrocities.

    Prior to 1941, Hitler was clearly capable of any kind of metamorphosis that suited his purposes. Once he had achieved most of his objectives by 1940 though, he seems to have decided that he no longer needed to adjust himself, his party, or his country to the circumstances of reality. He became megalomaniacal. Worse, he created new, impossible and useless objectives for him and his Reich: war on the Soviet Union and United States … simultaneously. This went hand in hand with a raft of other delusional and pathological aims: erasing undesirable races, lunatic architectural schemes, costly and impractical weapon programs, unhinged economic policies. In his personal dealings he became brittle and vindictive, where formerly he had been accommodating and manipulative. Note that I’m not saying he was a good person who became bad. I’m saying he was a capable and flexible person who became incompetent and blinkered.

    Having achieved one of the history’s most remarkable political ascensions, he used his ascendancy to lock Europe into a worst case scenario, from which he rather suddenly refused to budge no matter what circumstances impinged on him—even with bombs, shells and exploding briefcases literally detonating all around him.

    The deft and agile political operator of the 1930s became a rigid taskmaster of doom in the 1940s. Why? I dunno. Maybe he was just on a mission to wreck everything.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    There are lot of reasons why, which I could spend all day-literally, all day-talking about. But an understated one that I find particularly compelling was probably switching to a workstyle that was in direct violation of his nature, which was... fundamentally artistic, not bureaucratic.

    Instead of working in monomanical, stay-up-all-night spurts with spells of indolence in between where he could turn over ideas in his mind, he beat himself into attending to a daily work within set, strict hours from the Russian campaign onwards. He managed to surprisingly keep functioning to his daily workload until the very end, which was frankly a testament to his sheer mental willpower, but not without paying the mental costs. It's not hard to draw the correlation between this and the increasing decline in the speed and flexibility in which his mind could make decisions, and the quality of those decisions. I'm not suggesting this was the only or even the primary reason, of course, but it definitely was a reason.

    Of course, another problem that afflicted the war effort was the Third Reich's increasing bureaucratic entropy, which even a more disciplined character than Hitler probably couldn't have handled and was directly tied into the nature of Nazi rule. I will never stop marveling at how the Third Reich didn't collapse sooner than it did, reading about it. Hitler really was trying to wage war like someone in classical antiquity would have: and not surprisingly, he failed.

    , @Colin Wright
    '... The deft and agile political operator of the 1930s became a rigid taskmaster of doom in the 1940s. Why? I dunno. Maybe he was just on a mission to wreck everything.'

    Not a bad analysis.

    My wife -- who as my daughter puts it, is a walking Hallmark card -- invariably remarks that Hitler is burning in hell.

    My own thought is that in his last weeks, he must have experienced hell. He'd seen himself as the savior, come to rescue the German people. Of course by 1945 he could see what was happening -- and he must have realized, deep down inside, whose fault it was.

    ...no, he hadn't saved the German people. Not exactly.

  280. @William Badwhite

    but nothing about the bombing of German cities apart from a science fiction title

     

    Len Deighton's "Bomber" (admittedly not a movie) has a number of interwoven story lines, one of which is around a group of German civilians in a targeted city (i forget which one, Hamburg maybe). Its been quite a few years since I read it, but I recall it capturing how terrifying it must have been. People can certainly argue about right/wrong or who did or didn't deserve it, but some terrified 4-year girl crying as a burning building collapses and crushes her and her family is still terrified (and crushed).

    “experts” assuring us that it really wasn’t that bad.
     
    It really was that bad. Not necessarily from a right/wrong perspective but from the perspective of the civilians.

    I wonder how much the lack of films from the German perspective (ex Das Boot and a couple others) comes from the German's total defeat and national unwillingness to attribute even a little humanity to themselves? I know a guy fairly well who, when going through fighter lead-in training in the USAF had a number of NATO pilots in the unit (Texas has a lot of places you can make noise and drop bombs without people complaining that Europe doesn't have).

    He said the German guys were absolutely fascinated (and wouldn't miss an episode) of...Hogan's Heroes. They said it was impossible that anything like that could be shown on German TV. This was early 1980's. Anything that showed the Luftwaffe and camp guards as human was out of the question.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-e5h89Kr4nAg/Tyv9K-cPURI/AAAAAAAAA6s/rEo_MvwM2Zw/s1600/sgtshultz.jpg

    Oddly, I seem to recall that by the 1990s, Hogan’s Heroes became rather popular in Germany.

    Whether this was out of historical self-loathing or out of relief from the historical requirement to self-loath, I cannot say.

    • Replies: @William Badwhite
    Maybe a post-reunification thing, who knows?
  281. @Almost Missouri
    Oddly, I seem to recall that by the 1990s, Hogan's Heroes became rather popular in Germany.

    Whether this was out of historical self-loathing or out of relief from the historical requirement to self-loath, I cannot say.

    Maybe a post-reunification thing, who knows?

  282. @Almost Missouri
    Yes, I've said similar in other comments ... after 1941. Prior to that, though, Hitler actually displayed remarkable political and ideological nimbleness. He shifted priorities, forsook obsolete allies, cut loose unobtainable objectives and reoriented political coalitions when a better result was in view. For example, he gave up the supposedly inviolable South Tyrol to cement Mussolini's allegiance, consigned old comrade Ernst Röhm and the old SA to political (and personal) annihilation when they had outlived their usefulness, and famously mutually non-aggressed with arch-nemesis Stalin when it suited the Greater German Reich. He denounced the medieval German aristocracy as a relic when he was out of power and then made nice with them once he was in. He presented himself a champion of the proletariat to get power, then made himself a paragon of bourgeois respectability once he got it. Having composed a(n) (in)famous personal political manifesto, Mein Kampf, he himself denounced it a few years later as "out of date". He took on board Italians, Romanians, Turks, Arabs and even occasional Jews(!) as political allies when it suited him, even though he had formerly denigrated them all in various ways. After the war, victims of Nazi persecution were often asked, didn't you see what was coming? But the notion of Hitler as a monolithic juggernaut implacably bearing down on clearly labelled foes is a modern narrative. At the time, things looked very different, less consistent, more in flux. Because Hitler was less consistent and more in flux. Had he chosen to, he could easily have spawned anti-communist client states in eastern Europe as the Wehrmacht broke the Red Army's grip. He chose not to, and chose instead to try to outdo Soviet atrocities.

    Prior to 1941, Hitler was clearly capable of any kind of metamorphosis that suited his purposes. Once he had achieved most of his objectives by 1940 though, he seems to have decided that he no longer needed to adjust himself, his party, or his country to the circumstances of reality. He became megalomaniacal. Worse, he created new, impossible and useless objectives for him and his Reich: war on the Soviet Union and United States ... simultaneously. This went hand in hand with a raft of other delusional and pathological aims: erasing undesirable races, lunatic architectural schemes, costly and impractical weapon programs, unhinged economic policies. In his personal dealings he became brittle and vindictive, where formerly he had been accommodating and manipulative. Note that I'm not saying he was a good person who became bad. I'm saying he was a capable and flexible person who became incompetent and blinkered.

    Having achieved one of the history's most remarkable political ascensions, he used his ascendancy to lock Europe into a worst case scenario, from which he rather suddenly refused to budge no matter what circumstances impinged on him—even with bombs, shells and exploding briefcases literally detonating all around him.

    The deft and agile political operator of the 1930s became a rigid taskmaster of doom in the 1940s. Why? I dunno. Maybe he was just on a mission to wreck everything.

    There are lot of reasons why, which I could spend all day-literally, all day-talking about. But an understated one that I find particularly compelling was probably switching to a workstyle that was in direct violation of his nature, which was… fundamentally artistic, not bureaucratic.

    Instead of working in monomanical, stay-up-all-night spurts with spells of indolence in between where he could turn over ideas in his mind, he beat himself into attending to a daily work within set, strict hours from the Russian campaign onwards. He managed to surprisingly keep functioning to his daily workload until the very end, which was frankly a testament to his sheer mental willpower, but not without paying the mental costs. It’s not hard to draw the correlation between this and the increasing decline in the speed and flexibility in which his mind could make decisions, and the quality of those decisions. I’m not suggesting this was the only or even the primary reason, of course, but it definitely was a reason.

    Of course, another problem that afflicted the war effort was the Third Reich’s increasing bureaucratic entropy, which even a more disciplined character than Hitler probably couldn’t have handled and was directly tied into the nature of Nazi rule. I will never stop marveling at how the Third Reich didn’t collapse sooner than it did, reading about it. Hitler really was trying to wage war like someone in classical antiquity would have: and not surprisingly, he failed.

  283. @Steve Sailer
    Or the southern route: Japan takes Indonesia's oil, Germany takes Iraq's, they link up in New Delhi.

    One of the biggest secrets that was kept secret during the war was the U.S. knowledge of how much oil there was in Saudi Arabia. A secret report to FDR said the Saudi oil was the greatest prize in history.

    One of the biggest secrets that was kept secret during the war was the U.S. knowledge of how much oil there was in Saudi Arabia. A secret report to FDR said the Saudi oil was the greatest prize in history.

    And the biggest mistake in the history of the world was the US’ failure to colonize the Saudi oilfields immediately at the close of WW2.

    Just imagine the beautiful world that would have led to. The Saudis would remain desert-locked, camel-humping savages rather than having the greatest windfall of all-time to buy up London, degrade Western women, and export their satanic ideology across the globe.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    'And the biggest mistake in the history of the world was the US’ failure to colonize the Saudi oilfields immediately at the close of WW2.

    'Just imagine the beautiful world that would have led to. The Saudis would remain desert-locked, camel-humping savages rather than having the greatest windfall of all-time to buy up London, degrade Western women, and export their satanic ideology across the globe.'

    Shades of Hitler's plans to colonize the East with hard-working Germans.

    Your evil fantasies aren't my idea of a beautiful world at all. What profiteth a man to win the world if he loses his soul?

    ...or something.
  284. @Jack D
    The state of the art in warplanes progressed rapidly during the war. The US started with biplanes and ended with jets. The Lockheed P-80 went from start of design to 1st delivery in 143 days. So at the start of the war the Zero was competitive but by the end it wasn't.

    No one is ever going to match that kind of pace again. We don't know how anymore. We couldn't design a doorknob in 143 days in the current year. Maybe the Chinese can but not us. The B-52 is going to be flying 90 years after it was launched.

    No one is ever going to match that kind of pace again. We don’t know how anymore. We couldn’t design a doorknob in 143 days in the current year.

    Correct.

    In the current mad US scramble to field hypersonics, Lockheed, Northrup, and Boeing are defining and endless series of requirements and test protocols.

    I briefly dealt with this as a subcontractor on these programs. My general response was:

    “By the time you’re done defining requirements WW3 will be over, homie.”

  285. @Jim Don Bob
    I read an alt-history of SeaLion that said the Luftwaffe sinks the Royal Navy in the channel, and German special forces and a bit of armor make it ashore. The BEF left all their equipment back in France, so Britain is defended by guys with (maybe) rifles, and they lose.

    The RAF was losing the Battle of Britain, until Hitler, enraged at Churchill's bombing of Berlin, shifted Luftwaffe attacks to British cities.

    Seelowe’s a bit of a hobby of mine.

    The best alt-history I’ve read dealing with Seelowe is Kenneth Macksey’s scrupulous ‘Invasion.’

    For non-fiction, among the limited choices available, I’d pick Walter Ansel’s elderly but very perceptive Hitler Confronts England. Walter Ansel was an American naval officer who’d made his career in amphibious operations, and he was writing early enough so that he was still able to interview many of the German officers involved in the planning.

    As to feasibility, first, the Royal Navy was just too big an obstacle. It’s kind of like getting up to the front door of a house guarded by a snarling pit bull — and all you’ve got are your bare hands.

    Second, there’s the door itself. Gallipoli and Dieppe both demonstrate what happens to amphibious assaults against even modest opposition absent masses of specialized equipment and overwhelming naval and air support — and that’s precisely what the Germans lacked. They were proposing to wallow ashore in river barges. Read about the River Clyde at Gallipoli. It’s amazing what even a couple of machine guns can do if left to their work undisturbed whilst you try to get out of the boat.

    While it could have worked, Hitler hit the nail on the head when he expressed the opinion that this would be an operation for a desperate situation, and Germany was not in a desperate situation.

    Curiously, the Germans’ one best shot would probably have been to scrape together whatever they could as of early June and gone very early — like late June. At the time, the British plan in the event of invasion called for an immediate retreat to the ‘GHQ Line’ — which would have handed the Germans the ports they so obviously would have had to secure immediately. That plan was scrapped immediately when Ironside was replaced, but up to that point…

    However, this requires a prescient Germany, able to foresee that Britain isn’t going to make peace even as the crushing German victory in France unfolds. That’s not what everyone on the German side assumed at the time. Until Mers el Kebir, the assumption was that of course the British are going to admit ‘you’ve won,’ ask us what terms we propose, and since we’re quite willing to be generous, well…

    What are your plans now that the war’s over?

  286. @The Wild Geese Howard

    One of the biggest secrets that was kept secret during the war was the U.S. knowledge of how much oil there was in Saudi Arabia. A secret report to FDR said the Saudi oil was the greatest prize in history.
     
    And the biggest mistake in the history of the world was the US' failure to colonize the Saudi oilfields immediately at the close of WW2.

    Just imagine the beautiful world that would have led to. The Saudis would remain desert-locked, camel-humping savages rather than having the greatest windfall of all-time to buy up London, degrade Western women, and export their satanic ideology across the globe.

    ‘And the biggest mistake in the history of the world was the US’ failure to colonize the Saudi oilfields immediately at the close of WW2.

    Just imagine the beautiful world that would have led to. The Saudis would remain desert-locked, camel-humping savages rather than having the greatest windfall of all-time to buy up London, degrade Western women, and export their satanic ideology across the globe.’

    Shades of Hitler’s plans to colonize the East with hard-working Germans.

    Your evil fantasies aren’t my idea of a beautiful world at all. What profiteth a man to win the world if he loses his soul?

    …or something.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Whomever the oil wealth of Arabia rightfully belongs to, it damn sure doesn't rightfully belong to the Saudi royal family, who are not even the traditional rulers of the area .
    , @The Wild Geese Howard
    Wow, that's quite the imaginative reach, my good fellow.

    I hope you have yourself a relaxing weekend.
  287. @Almost Missouri
    Yes, I've said similar in other comments ... after 1941. Prior to that, though, Hitler actually displayed remarkable political and ideological nimbleness. He shifted priorities, forsook obsolete allies, cut loose unobtainable objectives and reoriented political coalitions when a better result was in view. For example, he gave up the supposedly inviolable South Tyrol to cement Mussolini's allegiance, consigned old comrade Ernst Röhm and the old SA to political (and personal) annihilation when they had outlived their usefulness, and famously mutually non-aggressed with arch-nemesis Stalin when it suited the Greater German Reich. He denounced the medieval German aristocracy as a relic when he was out of power and then made nice with them once he was in. He presented himself a champion of the proletariat to get power, then made himself a paragon of bourgeois respectability once he got it. Having composed a(n) (in)famous personal political manifesto, Mein Kampf, he himself denounced it a few years later as "out of date". He took on board Italians, Romanians, Turks, Arabs and even occasional Jews(!) as political allies when it suited him, even though he had formerly denigrated them all in various ways. After the war, victims of Nazi persecution were often asked, didn't you see what was coming? But the notion of Hitler as a monolithic juggernaut implacably bearing down on clearly labelled foes is a modern narrative. At the time, things looked very different, less consistent, more in flux. Because Hitler was less consistent and more in flux. Had he chosen to, he could easily have spawned anti-communist client states in eastern Europe as the Wehrmacht broke the Red Army's grip. He chose not to, and chose instead to try to outdo Soviet atrocities.

    Prior to 1941, Hitler was clearly capable of any kind of metamorphosis that suited his purposes. Once he had achieved most of his objectives by 1940 though, he seems to have decided that he no longer needed to adjust himself, his party, or his country to the circumstances of reality. He became megalomaniacal. Worse, he created new, impossible and useless objectives for him and his Reich: war on the Soviet Union and United States ... simultaneously. This went hand in hand with a raft of other delusional and pathological aims: erasing undesirable races, lunatic architectural schemes, costly and impractical weapon programs, unhinged economic policies. In his personal dealings he became brittle and vindictive, where formerly he had been accommodating and manipulative. Note that I'm not saying he was a good person who became bad. I'm saying he was a capable and flexible person who became incompetent and blinkered.

    Having achieved one of the history's most remarkable political ascensions, he used his ascendancy to lock Europe into a worst case scenario, from which he rather suddenly refused to budge no matter what circumstances impinged on him—even with bombs, shells and exploding briefcases literally detonating all around him.

    The deft and agile political operator of the 1930s became a rigid taskmaster of doom in the 1940s. Why? I dunno. Maybe he was just on a mission to wreck everything.

    ‘… The deft and agile political operator of the 1930s became a rigid taskmaster of doom in the 1940s. Why? I dunno. Maybe he was just on a mission to wreck everything.’

    Not a bad analysis.

    My wife — who as my daughter puts it, is a walking Hallmark card — invariably remarks that Hitler is burning in hell.

    My own thought is that in his last weeks, he must have experienced hell. He’d seen himself as the savior, come to rescue the German people. Of course by 1945 he could see what was happening — and he must have realized, deep down inside, whose fault it was.

    …no, he hadn’t saved the German people. Not exactly.

  288. @Anon
    Midway was great.

    By contrast, I was disappointed at how bad Once Upon A Time in Hollywood was, especially given the hype and rave reviews it got, including from Steve and the commenters here. The only good thing about the movie was the big cars, the driving around, and the incessant smoking. I'm sure the driving around LA was especially poignant for Steve, since it's set in Steve's childhood years, and would have been very nostalgic, but that wasn't enough to save the movie.

    There was basically no plot or point to the movie, and the whole Manson family subplot seemed like it was tacked on as an afterthought just as an excuse for what happens during the bloody climax.

    You already know what happens in Midway and it was much better.

    Midway was great, and The Irishman was good. I have no idea how Once Upon A Time in Hollywood got good reviews.

    I was disappointed at how bad Once Upon A Time in Hollywood was, especially given the hype and rave reviews it got, including from Steve and the commenters here. The only good thing about the movie was the big cars, the driving around, and the incessant smoking.

    I agree. I found it long, boring, and tedious, especially the whole movie-within-a-movie part, which seemed to drag on forever.

    The one scene I did really like was the scene at the Spahn Ranch, culminating in Pitt’s character punching the hippie.

    I did see Ford v Ferrari recently. I enjoyed that.

  289. @TGGP

    Up until Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 D-Day movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood may have devoted more attention to the U.S. WWII effort against Japan than against Germany.
     
    That seems surprising to me, although I'm younger than you. We're generally less interested in Asia than Europe so far fewer have heard of the Rape of Nanking compared to the Holocaust, its easier to get actors to play Euro-baddies than Japanese, and a lot of the fighting in the Pacific was over islands nobody cares about in a long slog against an outmatched enemy. I think we tend to find armies more interesting than navies as well, although I suppose a more maritime nation like the U.K could see things differently.

    I think we tend to find armies more interesting than navies as well…

    Although submarine movies tend to be pretty popular, and pretty conducive to the generation of tense dramatic moments.

  290. @XYZ (no Mr.)
    He -- or she -- is certainly ignorant of American history to say the least.

    “He — or she — is certainly ignorant of American history to say the least.”

    Actually, I am well-versed regarding our past. Even you, whose ancestors were immigrants, are my people…

    • Replies: @Hibernian
    It's no secret that WASP liberals are WASP supremacists at heart.
  291. @William Badwhite

    but nothing about the bombing of German cities apart from a science fiction title

     

    Len Deighton's "Bomber" (admittedly not a movie) has a number of interwoven story lines, one of which is around a group of German civilians in a targeted city (i forget which one, Hamburg maybe). Its been quite a few years since I read it, but I recall it capturing how terrifying it must have been. People can certainly argue about right/wrong or who did or didn't deserve it, but some terrified 4-year girl crying as a burning building collapses and crushes her and her family is still terrified (and crushed).

    “experts” assuring us that it really wasn’t that bad.
     
    It really was that bad. Not necessarily from a right/wrong perspective but from the perspective of the civilians.

    I wonder how much the lack of films from the German perspective (ex Das Boot and a couple others) comes from the German's total defeat and national unwillingness to attribute even a little humanity to themselves? I know a guy fairly well who, when going through fighter lead-in training in the USAF had a number of NATO pilots in the unit (Texas has a lot of places you can make noise and drop bombs without people complaining that Europe doesn't have).

    He said the German guys were absolutely fascinated (and wouldn't miss an episode) of...Hogan's Heroes. They said it was impossible that anything like that could be shown on German TV. This was early 1980's. Anything that showed the Luftwaffe and camp guards as human was out of the question.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-e5h89Kr4nAg/Tyv9K-cPURI/AAAAAAAAA6s/rEo_MvwM2Zw/s1600/sgtshultz.jpg

    Unwillingness to attribute or unwillingness to go to prison? I have heard lukewarm things about a recent German television series that makes a move in this direction but haven’t seen it.

    • Replies: @William Badwhite

    Unwillingness to attribute or unwillingness to go to prison?
     
    I don't know, I was just wondering. I don't know if a comedy about a Luftwaffe prison camp was officially banned, or just considered to be in really bad taste. Bear in mind this was almost 40 years ago, they were re-runs even then, it was just 3-4 Luftwaffe pilots in their early 20's, and I heard it second hand (though second hand seems to be sufficient for impeachment!). The American guys just though it was funny the Germans would bolt out of the O-Club bar to go catch Hogan's Heroes, then return 1/2 hour later and resume drinking.

    On a different thread the guy that told me this story later had a Japanese exchange pilot in an F4 squadron. He threw a "victory" party for the squadron on December 7th. The Americans found that sort of black humor pretty funny as well. Somehow he found a leather flying helmet complete with goggles and one of those bandanas their guys wore and was wearing them all night.

    Its interesting in some conflicts the losers write the history books (Spanish Civil War) and in others its pretty much just the winners (WW2). There were lots of ordinary Germans caught up in WW2 that paid a horrific price. I would think some of their stories could make good cinema.

    At the time of these NATO guys watching Hogan's Heroes (I think it was '81 or '82) there would be been countless German WW2 vets in various mayor and town council type of positions back home (the "real" Nazis had mostly been purged). I assume those Luftwaffe guys had fathers and uncles that had fought in the war. Maybe "official" West Germany just wanted it all behind them as much as possible. Lets unite and focus on the USSR threat.

  292. Who plays Miles Browning in the Midway film? Halsey’s advice to Spruce was to listen to Browning’s advice. He was the expert on carrier operations. When the enemy fleet was sighted, Browning made all the decisions on where the fleet should sail when to launch the strikes, etc. He seem to have made all the right decisions.
    Browning was an arrogant loudmouth who angered many people above or below him in rank. He was relieved of command of the Enterprise . He was exiled to a training center in Dakota. This is where he was when the Japanese surrendered on the Missouri. The architect of America’s greatest victory at sea was not invited!
    His grandson is comedian Chevy Chase. He seems the Miles Browning of comedians.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "His grandson is comedian Chevy Chase. He seems the Miles Browning of comedians."

    Wow. That's wonderful. A grandfather and grandson with huge talents who just get everybody mad at them in the long run.

  293. @TGGP

    Up until Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1998 D-Day movie Saving Private Ryan, Hollywood may have devoted more attention to the U.S. WWII effort against Japan than against Germany.
     
    That seems surprising to me, although I'm younger than you. We're generally less interested in Asia than Europe so far fewer have heard of the Rape of Nanking compared to the Holocaust, its easier to get actors to play Euro-baddies than Japanese, and a lot of the fighting in the Pacific was over islands nobody cares about in a long slog against an outmatched enemy. I think we tend to find armies more interesting than navies as well, although I suppose a more maritime nation like the U.K could see things differently.

    Naval battles don’t kill civilians.

  294. @flyingtiger
    Who plays Miles Browning in the Midway film? Halsey's advice to Spruce was to listen to Browning's advice. He was the expert on carrier operations. When the enemy fleet was sighted, Browning made all the decisions on where the fleet should sail when to launch the strikes, etc. He seem to have made all the right decisions.
    Browning was an arrogant loudmouth who angered many people above or below him in rank. He was relieved of command of the Enterprise . He was exiled to a training center in Dakota. This is where he was when the Japanese surrendered on the Missouri. The architect of America's greatest victory at sea was not invited!
    His grandson is comedian Chevy Chase. He seems the Miles Browning of comedians.

    “His grandson is comedian Chevy Chase. He seems the Miles Browning of comedians.”

    Wow. That’s wonderful. A grandfather and grandson with huge talents who just get everybody mad at them in the long run.

  295. anonymous[391] • Disclaimer says:
    @Old Prude
    Meh. I don't need some cartoon with a bunch of fag actors to help me understand what those guys did. Folks who think watching a movie makes them know what it was like to be there, or somehow respects those who lived through it are, in my opinion, mistaken.

    wwebd said —-

    Lighten up, old Prude ….

    here are 7 good WWII movies, with, between them, something like a hundred really good performances.

    4 that are good but not great! —-
    The Dirty Dozen – watchable, but with about five scenes (10 percent of the movie) just slightly more realistic than Hogan’s Heroes
    The Longest Day – watchable, could have been so much better
    Tora, Tora, Tora – good, but too academic, mix of documentary and drama
    Patton – good but way too sanitized for the subject

    Great movies, near flawless —

    Midway (2019)
    They Were Expendable (Black and white, but don’t let that bother you)
    The Pacific (the recent TV miniseries, but think of it as 3 really good movies in a row, from the landing at Guadalcanal to 1945)

    Of course no movie is gonna help you or anyone else understand what people who have been shot at remember about being shot at. Much less being shot at when you are overwhelmed with enemy fighters.

    But everyone is going to die young or grow old and die, so maybe there are a lot of tough guys out there who are tougher than you think, you don’t need to argue with the sort of people who know what they are saying on a thread like this, Cheers.

  296. @Bardon Kaldian
    War films. American war films. American WW2 films.

    Sands of Iwo Jima - great & somehow strange movie, Old Hollywood style
    The Dirty Dozen - watchable, atypical
    The Longest Day - preachy but good
    To Hell and Back- Audie Murphy as Audie Murphy. Weird.
    Tora, Tora, Tora- surprisingly balanced & good
    Patton- perhaps great
    MacArthur- still don't know, mixed feelings
    Saving Private Ryan -great first 15-20 minutes, the rest not convincing
    Flags of Our Fathers- good but not great
    The Thin Red Line- great

    Kelly’s Heroes.

  297. @Corn
    I’m glad your acquaintance was interned in Sweden. The Swiss were much less accommodating to American internees. I read an account once of an American air crewman who was thrown in a common lock up by the Swiss. He was gangraped by some Eastern European refugees or criminals there before he was transferred to a proper internment camp.

    At one point in the war Swiss treatment of American internees was so bad (poor rations, abusive guards) the American ambassador or military attache warned a Swiss official that a Swiss city might be bombed “by mistake”.
  298. @Kirt
    I liked the current Midway, but I also liked the old one, with the exception of the ridiculous sub-plot about Charlton Heston's son and his Japanese girlfriend. Of D-Day movies, I liked the longest day a lot better than Saving Private Ryan. Of Pearl Harbor movies, Tora, Tora, Tora is the best.

    I must have watched the original Midway, on TV, dozens of times over the years. I still click on it.

    I’ve come to really enjoy the entire cornball subplot of Thom Garth and Hiruko Sikora.

    “There’s no future for us, Thom. I just don’t love you any more. It was a mistake.

    Say it to my face, [gosh darn it]!”

    But I have a vague recollection of Charleton Heston also having a love-interest in the film. The woman, played by the actress who was the Julie Prescott character in ABC TV’s Rich Man, Poor Man miniseries, is last seen on the dock, tearing up when she realizes that Heston didn’t make it.

    It’s almost as though she was cut out of the movie, years after its TV release, in order to save on residuals, while Thom’s swear was removed in order to qualify the film for a PG rating.

  299. @mmack
    Different design concepts between Japanese and American (or Western) aircraft designers.

    The Japanese designed their early monoplane fighters (A6M Zero for the IJN, Ki-27 Nate and Ki-43 Oscar for the IJA) to be as light and maneuverable as the previous generation of biplane fighters they had built. This meant the planes did away with armor plate around the cockpit, self sealing fuel tanks, and were smaller and used much lighter construction than contemporary Western designs. In addition, contemporary Japanese aircraft engines weren't as powerful as Western designs so a light airframe means a speedy aircraft with less HP. All this combined meant in a traditional "dogfight" a Zero or Oscar was a deadly foe and could easily maneuver onto your tail and blast away.

    Western designers added armor plate, self sealing fuel tanks, bigger and more powerful engines, and stronger construction in an attempt to save the aircraft and the pilot. Japanese pilots really bought into the idea of being flying Samurai, so much so that to save weight at takeoff some flew missions sans parachute pack. Western pilots not so much. Coming back to base to fly another mission was key.

    Was the A6M Zero faster and more maneuverable than an F4F Wildcat or P-40 Warhawk, the primary USN/USMC and USAAF front line fighters of 1941-42? Yes, but starting with the Flying Tigers Western pilots figured out how to negate the advantages the Japanese had: Avoid getting into turning dogfights (like the ones you see in movies where Ace pilots square off and zoom around trying to get the kill shot) and instead do the aviation equivalent of a drive by shooting: Climb high above the enemy, zoom down, fire a heavy burst from your four or six 50 caliber guns, and keep diving away. Zoom up if possible to make a second pass and then
    GET
    THE
    HELL
    OUT
    OF
    THERE

    By diving away to the deck. That lightweight construction meant any Japanese pilot trying to chase you might very well literally rip the wings off his aircraft.

    By the second generation of Japanese fighters (N1K George, Ki-61/Ki-100 Tony, Ki-84 Frank), the designers came around to the Western view and started building bigger, more powerful aircraft with better pilot and fuel protection. Unfortunately engine issues (not powerful enough or reliable enough, or just plain not enough engines period) plagued the later series of planes, along with a real lack of high quality AV gas and a real shortage of spare parts.

    I'll stop the airplane nerd 🤓 bit now.

    Nice work.

    The JAAF designs you have cited were excellent (especially the slick Kawasaki Ki-61, yowza) and produced in reasonable numbers (3000+ for both the Frank and Tony), so one must ask, why didn’t they have an impact, why couldn’t they curtail the uniformly grim outcomes for Japanese combat aviation after mid-‘43 or so? Insert here the maxim “amateurs discuss tactics, professionals discuss logistics”. Japanese Army fliers (as opposed to their Naval counterparts) could never combine enough of these machines along with sufficient fuel and spares to create a critical mass operating from a base that the Allies in the Pacific couldn’t ignore, and the reason was the chronic lack of transport capacity and the declining ability of the IJN to protect the shipping that was available. It’s the story of the big airbase at Rabaul in New Britain versus Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. The Japanese simply lost the ability to supply their island-based forces in the South Pacific by late 1942, and thereafter northwards to the home islands.

  300. Scorsese directed the pilot of BOARDWALK EMPIRE. I wonder if IRISHMAN is like that in tone.

  301. @Kirt
    I liked the current Midway, but I also liked the old one, with the exception of the ridiculous sub-plot about Charlton Heston's son and his Japanese girlfriend. Of D-Day movies, I liked the longest day a lot better than Saving Private Ryan. Of Pearl Harbor movies, Tora, Tora, Tora is the best.

    The special effects of Tora, Tora, Tora frankly put the CGI special effects of modern war movies to utter shame.

    However, I must admit I found Tora, Tora, Tora… boring. But then, I’m not much of a war movie guy (although I find reading about WWII interesting).

    The major exception being The Bridge on the River Kwai. But that’s really more of a prisoner-of-war movie, not a war movie proper.

  302. @Alfa158
    I’ll chime in. The Oscar was very similar to the Zero and had even higher maneuverability but very light armament. I imagine many Americans thought they were tangling with Zeros when they were fighting Oscars.
    The P-39 and P-40 were in the class of the Wildcat but with one glaring weakness, an inadequate supercharger on the Allison V-12. The planes were first designed with a turbocharger, but the developers had trouble working out the bugs, especially in single engine planes with tight space. It was decided to go instead with a single stage and speed supercharger which meant the production models had poor performance at altitude. They were otherwise fine fighters, you just had to stay low and not like, fly up into the sky with them. Chuck Yeager liked the P-39 better than the P-51 Mustang at low altitude.
    Lockheed stuck with the turbo Allison in the twin engine P-38 and made it a winner.
    The P-40 was used effectively as a ground attack centered fighter and the Russians liked the P-39 in the same role.

    Right. It should be noted that the turbo Allison continued to give problems in the P-38 and that fighter was withdrawn from European operations as the P-51 became available in numbers. The P-40 had a useful deployment in North Africa and the Med, while the P-39 was simply foisted on the Soviets.

    The untold story of American combat aviation history from WW2 is how the mighty Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, the best single-engine combat aircraft of WW2, has been forgotten. I blame the Mustang Mafia.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    The Jug has the magnificent R-2800 Double Wasp and a separate GE turbocharger, immense by modern standards, and is why the airplane is so big. Twenty some thousand were built IIRC and I think not twenty are on the US civil register today. Mustangs are far more common because of Cavalier, a company which aggressively bought up and "sporterized" them for affluent owner-pilots. Up all through the 1960s and up until the mid-70s a Cavalier Mustang was the fastest airplane a civilian buyer could legally fly solo that was available on the market. The gen av industry had nothing remotely to compete and the bug smasher mafia absolutely refused to make a single engine turboprop with a PT-6 or 331 Garrett because "there is no market for it". In fact Cavalier could have sold a thousand reworked Mustangs if it could have got the raw airframes. The later Piper Enforcer-a ground attack turboprop Mustang variant that was proposed in the 70s and again in the late 80s as an A-10 companion-was actually developed by Cavalier.

    (After Beech got the Dorito tail contract for the Convair Delta Dagger, contractor spoilage set in hard and fast at the GA Big Three, which his why "there is no market for it" became the Standard Excuse for why they could not accomodate what anyone with common sense could see was exactly what the cash-on-the-barrelhead market in fact did want. Then it was "you have to use computers to design these things and computer time is very expensive". Then when this became too obviously ridiculous, Pwoduct Wiability hit and they're still blowing that shit out of their ass.)

    The P-38 was an airplane that was never really thoroughly debugged and sorted though they made a lot of them. Like several other Kelly Johnson airplanes, there was a lot of performance left on the table that a Bill Lear or Dee Howard could have gotten out of the basic design, but that never happened. The USAAF made sure the Lightnings were efficiently destroyed en masse before they even went blue suit, and in the Korean War, they really could have used them badly. They wound up with the klugey Twin Mustang and spent an absolute fortune on tooling (despite appearances, virtually nothing on the P-82 interchanges or is even built on the same tooling as a regular Mustang) and on getting GM to retool up to make Allison V-1710s when the Brits refused to extend Packard's license to build the Merlin. In those days the unions were still powerful and there was no way Congress was going to allow the USAF to simply buy British Merlins, which is what the Brits hoped to force the US to do. However, GM Allison realized the future was turboprops and they had no realistic expectations of any civilian Allison recip sales, so they stuck it to the Air Force pretty good.
    , @Anonymous
    The problem with the P-47 was its lack of range I believe. The German fighters would wait until the P-47s turned for home before jumping the bombers. The Mustang could go all the way to the target and back.

    The P-38 had the necessary range but it suffered from the usual problems of twin-engined aircraft: low acceleration and lack of agility, which made it vulnerable in combat with single engined aircraft. Again the Mustang didn't suffer from this problem.

  303. @Steve Sailer
    The Battle of Midway was a very close run thing.

    Pyrrhic victory, given the events since?

  304. @Sparkon

    The Soviets were only able to save Moscow from the German advance in the Winter of 41/42 by throwing dozens of divisions from the Soviet far-east at them. And they were only able to do that because they had intelligence supplied by their man in Tokyo, Richard Sorge,
     
    This myth about those hardened Siberian divisions saving Moscow, which people love to parrot, and which will not die, is nevertheless completely wrong.

    Repeat after me:

    There is no extant Soviet record of any significant movement of Red Army divisions from the Far East or Siberia to the Western Front at any time from the beginning of Barbarossa to the end of 1941.

    It didn't happen.

    Upstream, I've pointed to Nigel Askey's work that completely debunks this popular but mistaken idea. I think this heroic story about the hardened Siberians riding in at the last second to save Moscow is simply Soviet propaganda to conceal the speed and magnitude of the Red Army's huge mobilization after the Germans attacked.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/my-review-of-midway/#comment-3591975

    The development of new industrial zones beyond the Urals in places like Chelyabinsk under direction of Americans like Henry Ford began in the 1920s, almost as soon as the Bolsheviks consolidated power. Some industries were moved to the Urals after the outset of Barbarossa, but the groundwork for the relocation of war industries had been laid long before the Germans attacked.

    Interesting. What I stated is the common story about what happened. Perhaps it is a myth. I’ll look into it. Thanks.

  305. @onetwothree
    *how to actually build the thing*

    Take two pieces of U-235 and slam them together with cannon. Heck, slam them together with your hands. Done. Of course, the hard part is getting the U-235.

    I think it was Feynman who noted that the hard part is not being there when it goes KA-BOOM!

  306. this Alan Turing of the Pacific.

    A bit over-the-top, unless you’re referring to something else.

    To turn a conceit attributed to Wagner, “I am the world’s greatest code breaker. I am also the world’s greatest lover.”

  307. @Colin Wright
    'And the biggest mistake in the history of the world was the US’ failure to colonize the Saudi oilfields immediately at the close of WW2.

    'Just imagine the beautiful world that would have led to. The Saudis would remain desert-locked, camel-humping savages rather than having the greatest windfall of all-time to buy up London, degrade Western women, and export their satanic ideology across the globe.'

    Shades of Hitler's plans to colonize the East with hard-working Germans.

    Your evil fantasies aren't my idea of a beautiful world at all. What profiteth a man to win the world if he loses his soul?

    ...or something.

    Whomever the oil wealth of Arabia rightfully belongs to, it damn sure doesn’t rightfully belong to the Saudi royal family, who are not even the traditional rulers of the area .

  308. @onetwothree
    *how to actually build the thing*

    Take two pieces of U-235 and slam them together with cannon. Heck, slam them together with your hands. Done. Of course, the hard part is getting the U-235.

    Heck, slam them together with your hands.

    That’s not quite true. You have to slam them together really fast before they blow themselves apart if you want a big kaboom and not a fizzle. Thus the cannon. But basically you are right – the uranium bomb was no great feat.

    But this technique would not work for plutonium and Fat Man required a lot of skill to bring about a spherical implosion.

  309. @J.Ross
    Unwillingness to attribute or unwillingness to go to prison? I have heard lukewarm things about a recent German television series that makes a move in this direction but haven't seen it.

    Unwillingness to attribute or unwillingness to go to prison?

    I don’t know, I was just wondering. I don’t know if a comedy about a Luftwaffe prison camp was officially banned, or just considered to be in really bad taste. Bear in mind this was almost 40 years ago, they were re-runs even then, it was just 3-4 Luftwaffe pilots in their early 20’s, and I heard it second hand (though second hand seems to be sufficient for impeachment!). The American guys just though it was funny the Germans would bolt out of the O-Club bar to go catch Hogan’s Heroes, then return 1/2 hour later and resume drinking.

    On a different thread the guy that told me this story later had a Japanese exchange pilot in an F4 squadron. He threw a “victory” party for the squadron on December 7th. The Americans found that sort of black humor pretty funny as well. Somehow he found a leather flying helmet complete with goggles and one of those bandanas their guys wore and was wearing them all night.

    Its interesting in some conflicts the losers write the history books (Spanish Civil War) and in others its pretty much just the winners (WW2). There were lots of ordinary Germans caught up in WW2 that paid a horrific price. I would think some of their stories could make good cinema.

    At the time of these NATO guys watching Hogan’s Heroes (I think it was ’81 or ’82) there would be been countless German WW2 vets in various mayor and town council type of positions back home (the “real” Nazis had mostly been purged). I assume those Luftwaffe guys had fathers and uncles that had fought in the war. Maybe “official” West Germany just wanted it all behind them as much as possible. Lets unite and focus on the USSR threat.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    They have no freedom of speech, you get in legal trouble for a hand gesture (or an anonymous accusation), and they have shades of oppression beyond things merely being illegal, short answer is nobody wants to be the guy proposing this.
  310. @William Badwhite

    Unwillingness to attribute or unwillingness to go to prison?
     
    I don't know, I was just wondering. I don't know if a comedy about a Luftwaffe prison camp was officially banned, or just considered to be in really bad taste. Bear in mind this was almost 40 years ago, they were re-runs even then, it was just 3-4 Luftwaffe pilots in their early 20's, and I heard it second hand (though second hand seems to be sufficient for impeachment!). The American guys just though it was funny the Germans would bolt out of the O-Club bar to go catch Hogan's Heroes, then return 1/2 hour later and resume drinking.

    On a different thread the guy that told me this story later had a Japanese exchange pilot in an F4 squadron. He threw a "victory" party for the squadron on December 7th. The Americans found that sort of black humor pretty funny as well. Somehow he found a leather flying helmet complete with goggles and one of those bandanas their guys wore and was wearing them all night.

    Its interesting in some conflicts the losers write the history books (Spanish Civil War) and in others its pretty much just the winners (WW2). There were lots of ordinary Germans caught up in WW2 that paid a horrific price. I would think some of their stories could make good cinema.

    At the time of these NATO guys watching Hogan's Heroes (I think it was '81 or '82) there would be been countless German WW2 vets in various mayor and town council type of positions back home (the "real" Nazis had mostly been purged). I assume those Luftwaffe guys had fathers and uncles that had fought in the war. Maybe "official" West Germany just wanted it all behind them as much as possible. Lets unite and focus on the USSR threat.

    They have no freedom of speech, you get in legal trouble for a hand gesture (or an anonymous accusation), and they have shades of oppression beyond things merely being illegal, short answer is nobody wants to be the guy proposing this.

  311. @William Badwhite

    but nothing about the bombing of German cities apart from a science fiction title

     

    Len Deighton's "Bomber" (admittedly not a movie) has a number of interwoven story lines, one of which is around a group of German civilians in a targeted city (i forget which one, Hamburg maybe). Its been quite a few years since I read it, but I recall it capturing how terrifying it must have been. People can certainly argue about right/wrong or who did or didn't deserve it, but some terrified 4-year girl crying as a burning building collapses and crushes her and her family is still terrified (and crushed).

    “experts” assuring us that it really wasn’t that bad.
     
    It really was that bad. Not necessarily from a right/wrong perspective but from the perspective of the civilians.

    I wonder how much the lack of films from the German perspective (ex Das Boot and a couple others) comes from the German's total defeat and national unwillingness to attribute even a little humanity to themselves? I know a guy fairly well who, when going through fighter lead-in training in the USAF had a number of NATO pilots in the unit (Texas has a lot of places you can make noise and drop bombs without people complaining that Europe doesn't have).

    He said the German guys were absolutely fascinated (and wouldn't miss an episode) of...Hogan's Heroes. They said it was impossible that anything like that could be shown on German TV. This was early 1980's. Anything that showed the Luftwaffe and camp guards as human was out of the question.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-e5h89Kr4nAg/Tyv9K-cPURI/AAAAAAAAA6s/rEo_MvwM2Zw/s1600/sgtshultz.jpg

    During the 1950’s the West German cinema made quite a few WW II films that were “antiwar” but made themselves look good: Canaris, The Star of Afrika, The Jackboot Mutiny, Brandenberg Division, Do You Dogs Want to Live Forever (Stalingrad), The Devil’s General, U-47 (Gunther Prien sinking the Royal Oak) even one on the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Also Die Bruecke which was released abroad.

    Very few films like this were made by the Germans from the 1960’s on.

  312. @Colin Wright
    'And the biggest mistake in the history of the world was the US’ failure to colonize the Saudi oilfields immediately at the close of WW2.

    'Just imagine the beautiful world that would have led to. The Saudis would remain desert-locked, camel-humping savages rather than having the greatest windfall of all-time to buy up London, degrade Western women, and export their satanic ideology across the globe.'

    Shades of Hitler's plans to colonize the East with hard-working Germans.

    Your evil fantasies aren't my idea of a beautiful world at all. What profiteth a man to win the world if he loses his soul?

    ...or something.

    Wow, that’s quite the imaginative reach, my good fellow.

    I hope you have yourself a relaxing weekend.

  313. @I Have Scinde
    I agree, but not necessarily because of good luck on the American side. The Americans set up an ambush, and nearly botched it, with Hornet's air group in particular. There was plenty of good and bad luck to go around, in my opinion.

    I assume this is a Wellington reference?

    I haven’t seen the movie but how does it handle Admiral Mitscher’s decision to send his strike force to completely the wrong location?

    The 1976 movie avoids this topic and just has the fliers get ‘lost’ in the clouds.

    • Replies: @I Have Scinde
    Captain Mitscher, at the time. Indeed. One of the main overlooked facts is that the Enterprise, Yorktown and Lexington were out gaining valuable combat flight experience in early '42, while the Hornet, new in from the east coast, was basically acting as a ferry for a bunch of bombers during the raid on Tokyo. Add to that Mitscher's questionable policy of grounding pilots who made errors, rather than giving them extra flying time to really get good at their jobs, and the Hornet ends up being basically a non-factor in the battle. It's amazing how far ahead the Yorktown's combat air group was compared to Hornet, as well as Enterprise with a heavy amount of Lexington pilots added to their ranks. Yorktown's pilots actually (i.e. in reality, not movies) executed a textbook combined divebomber/torpedo attack, I believe the only carrier to accomplish that during the battle.

    After Yorktown was crippled, some Yorktown returning pilots had to be specifically ordered to go to Hornet, since the Enterprise was overflowing with pilots taking their first choice of carrier to land on. No one wanted to go to Hornet voluntarily.

    I think the Hornet's performance and decisions are as glazed over in popular accounts as are the constant land-based Midway bomber attacks on the Japanese fleet throughout the morning of June 4th.
    , @Hibernian
    Mitscher's career survived a prewar (possibly pre-WWI) incident in a Chilean port where he missed his boat at the conclusion of shore leave and hired a launch to take him to a rendezvous with the ship. Thinke he was an Ensingn/LT jg/ LT at the time.
  314. @Alfa158
    Also the Zero actually had a poorer turn rate than the Wildcat at high speeds because its very light weight construction made it flex under high loads. The two planes showed even loss rates against each other by the end of 1942. The Japanese had lost much of their advantage in pilot experience, and the capture of a crash landed Zero in the Aleutians allowed the Americans to quantify the performance differences and train accordingly. The Zero and Oscar were the last hurrah for low power very high maneuverability WW1 style dogfighters. After them, the zoom and boom school of high energy combat took over. The Luftwaffe’s Eric Hartmann scored 352 kills flying the low maneuverability BF-109 with his “see, decide, attack, break away” technique of operating like a diving falcon and avoiding a dogfight.

    Dogfighting is what happens when things go wrong. Even in WWI pilots were discouraged from engaging in it. If you have a height or engine power advantage over your opponent you can and should avoid it completely.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The basic rule of American military history is: Don't get in a fair fight with the enemy. Use America's advantage of wealth and resources to make it an unfair fight.
  315. @Anonymous
    Dogfighting is what happens when things go wrong. Even in WWI pilots were discouraged from engaging in it. If you have a height or engine power advantage over your opponent you can and should avoid it completely.

    The basic rule of American military history is: Don’t get in a fair fight with the enemy. Use America’s advantage of wealth and resources to make it an unfair fight.

  316. Gay (?) German director?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Yes ! And ironically, Steve said last week, that only straight guys make movies about real men.
  317. @Houston 1992
    Doolittle raider : one landed in USSR at Vladilovstok. How was that decision made by that pilot ? Why did not everyone have that contingency plan given the planes lack of fuel due to starting their flight further off Japan.

    There’s a theory that the plane that went to Russia did so deliberately to test the Russian reaction, and possibly do a little snooping. The commander of that plane later went on to an intelligence career I believe. He was most likely acting under secret orders.

  318. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @HunInTheSun
    Right. It should be noted that the turbo Allison continued to give problems in the P-38 and that fighter was withdrawn from European operations as the P-51 became available in numbers. The P-40 had a useful deployment in North Africa and the Med, while the P-39 was simply foisted on the Soviets.

    The untold story of American combat aviation history from WW2 is how the mighty Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, the best single-engine combat aircraft of WW2, has been forgotten. I blame the Mustang Mafia.

    The Jug has the magnificent R-2800 Double Wasp and a separate GE turbocharger, immense by modern standards, and is why the airplane is so big. Twenty some thousand were built IIRC and I think not twenty are on the US civil register today. Mustangs are far more common because of Cavalier, a company which aggressively bought up and “sporterized” them for affluent owner-pilots. Up all through the 1960s and up until the mid-70s a Cavalier Mustang was the fastest airplane a civilian buyer could legally fly solo that was available on the market. The gen av industry had nothing remotely to compete and the bug smasher mafia absolutely refused to make a single engine turboprop with a PT-6 or 331 Garrett because “there is no market for it”. In fact Cavalier could have sold a thousand reworked Mustangs if it could have got the raw airframes. The later Piper Enforcer-a ground attack turboprop Mustang variant that was proposed in the 70s and again in the late 80s as an A-10 companion-was actually developed by Cavalier.

    (After Beech got the Dorito tail contract for the Convair Delta Dagger, contractor spoilage set in hard and fast at the GA Big Three, which his why “there is no market for it” became the Standard Excuse for why they could not accomodate what anyone with common sense could see was exactly what the cash-on-the-barrelhead market in fact did want. Then it was “you have to use computers to design these things and computer time is very expensive”. Then when this became too obviously ridiculous, Pwoduct Wiability hit and they’re still blowing that shit out of their ass.)

    The P-38 was an airplane that was never really thoroughly debugged and sorted though they made a lot of them. Like several other Kelly Johnson airplanes, there was a lot of performance left on the table that a Bill Lear or Dee Howard could have gotten out of the basic design, but that never happened. The USAAF made sure the Lightnings were efficiently destroyed en masse before they even went blue suit, and in the Korean War, they really could have used them badly. They wound up with the klugey Twin Mustang and spent an absolute fortune on tooling (despite appearances, virtually nothing on the P-82 interchanges or is even built on the same tooling as a regular Mustang) and on getting GM to retool up to make Allison V-1710s when the Brits refused to extend Packard’s license to build the Merlin. In those days the unions were still powerful and there was no way Congress was going to allow the USAF to simply buy British Merlins, which is what the Brits hoped to force the US to do. However, GM Allison realized the future was turboprops and they had no realistic expectations of any civilian Allison recip sales, so they stuck it to the Air Force pretty good.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEJwLcj6qEU
  319. Anonymous[761] • Disclaimer says:
    @Colin Wright
    'The Germans never really stood a chance of winning WWII militarily. Operation Seelion was never going to take place because the Kriegsmarine just wasn’t strong enough to eject the Royal Navy...'

    I disagree. Seelowe wasn't going to work, but that wasn't the only arrow in the German quiver. The Germans could have wiped out the BEF at Dunkirk. That might well have tipped the British into suing for peace right there.

    Other moves include more aggressively seeking use of Spanish and French bases and going after Britain's sea lanes more vigorously and effectively. In the East, I'll insist the Germans could have simply driven for Moscow, taken it by September 1941, and brought about the collapse of the Soviet state. That doesn't win the war -- the US expected the Soviet Union to collapse and was planning accordingly -- but it sure helps.

    Probably the two winning moves are driving Britain out of the war in June 1940 along with France, and then going for the jugular against Russia. The US never enters the war, and Germany has won. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, and the destruction of the BEF in particular doesn't guarantee Britain doesn't fight on -- but the above scenario both consists of plausible moves and has a reasonable chance of resulting in final victory.

    Yes, you defeat the British at sea not on land. An invasion is unnecessary as well as difficult and dangerous. (1) Take control of the Mediterranean and East Africa and (2) interdict British shipping in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. This would have forced the British to make peace without a single German soldier setting foot in Britain.

    Maybe Hitler should have thrown everything at Moscow in 1941, instead of the three-pronged attack he actually did launch, but that was what Napoleon had done, and Hitler was nothing if not superstitious.

  320. Anonymous[761] • Disclaimer says:
    @HunInTheSun
    Right. It should be noted that the turbo Allison continued to give problems in the P-38 and that fighter was withdrawn from European operations as the P-51 became available in numbers. The P-40 had a useful deployment in North Africa and the Med, while the P-39 was simply foisted on the Soviets.

    The untold story of American combat aviation history from WW2 is how the mighty Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, the best single-engine combat aircraft of WW2, has been forgotten. I blame the Mustang Mafia.

    The problem with the P-47 was its lack of range I believe. The German fighters would wait until the P-47s turned for home before jumping the bombers. The Mustang could go all the way to the target and back.

    The P-38 had the necessary range but it suffered from the usual problems of twin-engined aircraft: low acceleration and lack of agility, which made it vulnerable in combat with single engined aircraft. Again the Mustang didn’t suffer from this problem.

  321. @Anonymous
    The Jug has the magnificent R-2800 Double Wasp and a separate GE turbocharger, immense by modern standards, and is why the airplane is so big. Twenty some thousand were built IIRC and I think not twenty are on the US civil register today. Mustangs are far more common because of Cavalier, a company which aggressively bought up and "sporterized" them for affluent owner-pilots. Up all through the 1960s and up until the mid-70s a Cavalier Mustang was the fastest airplane a civilian buyer could legally fly solo that was available on the market. The gen av industry had nothing remotely to compete and the bug smasher mafia absolutely refused to make a single engine turboprop with a PT-6 or 331 Garrett because "there is no market for it". In fact Cavalier could have sold a thousand reworked Mustangs if it could have got the raw airframes. The later Piper Enforcer-a ground attack turboprop Mustang variant that was proposed in the 70s and again in the late 80s as an A-10 companion-was actually developed by Cavalier.

    (After Beech got the Dorito tail contract for the Convair Delta Dagger, contractor spoilage set in hard and fast at the GA Big Three, which his why "there is no market for it" became the Standard Excuse for why they could not accomodate what anyone with common sense could see was exactly what the cash-on-the-barrelhead market in fact did want. Then it was "you have to use computers to design these things and computer time is very expensive". Then when this became too obviously ridiculous, Pwoduct Wiability hit and they're still blowing that shit out of their ass.)

    The P-38 was an airplane that was never really thoroughly debugged and sorted though they made a lot of them. Like several other Kelly Johnson airplanes, there was a lot of performance left on the table that a Bill Lear or Dee Howard could have gotten out of the basic design, but that never happened. The USAAF made sure the Lightnings were efficiently destroyed en masse before they even went blue suit, and in the Korean War, they really could have used them badly. They wound up with the klugey Twin Mustang and spent an absolute fortune on tooling (despite appearances, virtually nothing on the P-82 interchanges or is even built on the same tooling as a regular Mustang) and on getting GM to retool up to make Allison V-1710s when the Brits refused to extend Packard's license to build the Merlin. In those days the unions were still powerful and there was no way Congress was going to allow the USAF to simply buy British Merlins, which is what the Brits hoped to force the US to do. However, GM Allison realized the future was turboprops and they had no realistic expectations of any civilian Allison recip sales, so they stuck it to the Air Force pretty good.

  322. The SBD in the picture accompanying this article appears to have a four-bladed propeller instead of a three-bladed one? Was that picture from the movie? If so, were the SDBs in the movie portrayed with the wrong propeller?

  323. @JimD
    Gay (?) German director?

    Yes ! And ironically, Steve said last week, that only straight guys make movies about real men.

  324. @nebulafox
    Everybody is too dismissive of alternate possibilities here: had the 226 incident succeeded, very possible Japan ends up at war with the Soviet Union rather than the United States. You'd have to someone butterfly away or get army command to ignore the drubbing the IJA took at Khalkin Gol and not let the navy and foreign ministry get their way in the early 1940s with the peace treaty with the USSR, but it's quite possible. The mastermind behind the Manchurian Incident back in 1931, Lt. Col. Ishiwara, had views that were pretty normative among his milieu in the Kodo-ha: strike north and attack the Soviet Union first while keeping peace with the US... at least for now. Gain the natural resources that Japan needs in Siberia rather than Indonesia.

    Assuming things go according to schedule in Europe, this has profound implications: one of the things that saved Moscow in December 1941 were crack Siberian troops, used to fighting in brutal winter conditions, being transferred from the east. If the IJA is mucking about the east, Stalin can't do that.

    There’s no oil in eastern Siberia though, and that was what the Japanese needed.

    Lots of oil in western Siberia and the Caucuses, but that would have fallen to Germany. Japan would just be exchanging economic dependence on the U.S. for economic dependence on Germany.

  325. @Anonymous
    I haven't seen the movie but how does it handle Admiral Mitscher's decision to send his strike force to completely the wrong location?

    The 1976 movie avoids this topic and just has the fliers get 'lost' in the clouds.

    Captain Mitscher, at the time. Indeed. One of the main overlooked facts is that the Enterprise, Yorktown and Lexington were out gaining valuable combat flight experience in early ’42, while the Hornet, new in from the east coast, was basically acting as a ferry for a bunch of bombers during the raid on Tokyo. Add to that Mitscher’s questionable policy of grounding pilots who made errors, rather than giving them extra flying time to really get good at their jobs, and the Hornet ends up being basically a non-factor in the battle. It’s amazing how far ahead the Yorktown’s combat air group was compared to Hornet, as well as Enterprise with a heavy amount of Lexington pilots added to their ranks. Yorktown’s pilots actually (i.e. in reality, not movies) executed a textbook combined divebomber/torpedo attack, I believe the only carrier to accomplish that during the battle.

    After Yorktown was crippled, some Yorktown returning pilots had to be specifically ordered to go to Hornet, since the Enterprise was overflowing with pilots taking their first choice of carrier to land on. No one wanted to go to Hornet voluntarily.

    I think the Hornet’s performance and decisions are as glazed over in popular accounts as are the constant land-based Midway bomber attacks on the Japanese fleet throughout the morning of June 4th.

  326. @Paul Jolliffe
    Unlike you, Old Prude, I actually saw the movie.

    Twice.

    There is simply no way to recreate the death-defying dives in a Dauntless without CGI.

    The movie shows the American pilot's perspective: virtually vertical, straight down from 5,000 feet for about 45 seconds into flak that would annihilate an aiplane in an instant.

    Those pilots were beyond brave - they had the kind of guts that the ancient Greeks recognized as god-like.

    Not arguing the bravery, but there are lots of non-CGI movie magic that can be done. Cartoon animation shouldn’t be the default method.

  327. @David In TN
    I saw it last Saturday. It was the fourth week the film had been in theaters but there was a fairly good crowd for a noon showing.

    I saw it last Saturday. It was the fourth week the film had been in theaters but there was a fairly good crowd for a noon showing.

    I saw it yesterday, and also was somewhat pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowd (for a 3:45 showing). I’m in South Dakota, and I assume you’re in Tennessee, which coincides with my hypothesis that this film is doing better in “red” states. I haven’t yet found a source for regional box office figures, however. They may choose to keep that data secret.

  328. @Jack D
    Who do you think was working in those steel mills and coal mines if not immigrants? You weren't going to get Americans to work in those conditions and for that pay.

    Southern mines and mills had a native born work force both White and Black.

  329. @Anonymous
    The Germans apparently were working on a less expensive, though cruder way to produce fissionable material today remembered as "The Nazi Bell". For decades cranks have promoted the idea that it was some sort of time machine, antigravity device, or method to communicate with aliens. Apparently the Allies really did almost certainly resort to skullduggery and outright assassination to "suppress the secrets" it entailed. They probably did this not to control time travel or antigravity, but because they figured that it would if perfected make it a lot easier for third world countries and nonstate actors to produce fissionable material, albeit of lower quality or more dangerously or more slowly than the accepted gaseous diffusion or centrifugal methods in use by the major players. It's possible that all the "woo-woo" theories were actually promulgated by US and/or British counterintelligence to deflect attention from the device's real purpose.

    The Manhattan Project was enormously expensive and tied up a great deal of manufacturing resources, and to have duplicated it exactly would have been beyond the wartime capacity of any other nation. If Germany had had a few more years of peace and quiet and actually had been motivated to do it, though, they might well have done it. Certainly, if the Germans today made the decision to become a nuclear power they could do it in a fairly short time, as could the Japanese, the Swedes, the Swiss, even the Italians.

    The B29 program cost 3 billion, 50% more than the Manhattan project.

  330. @Corvinus
    "He — or she — is certainly ignorant of American history to say the least."

    Actually, I am well-versed regarding our past. Even you, whose ancestors were immigrants, are my people...

    It’s no secret that WASP liberals are WASP supremacists at heart.

    • Replies: @Corvinus
    "It’s no secret that WASP liberals are WASP supremacists at heart."

    You mean WASP conservatives. Perhaps you parents kept that part from you for your own good.

    WASP liberals back in the day (as well as know) were the reformers--like Jane Addams--who helped immigrants.

    You do realize that 'tis the season to be jolly, right?
  331. @Anonymous
    I haven't seen the movie but how does it handle Admiral Mitscher's decision to send his strike force to completely the wrong location?

    The 1976 movie avoids this topic and just has the fliers get 'lost' in the clouds.

    Mitscher’s career survived a prewar (possibly pre-WWI) incident in a Chilean port where he missed his boat at the conclusion of shore leave and hired a launch to take him to a rendezvous with the ship. Thinke he was an Ensingn/LT jg/ LT at the time.

  332. @Jack D
    The movie was weak on plot but it was off the charts on capturing the atmosphere of the time and that is something. The plot of Tarantino movies rarely makes any sense but he is so good on a scene by scene basis that you forgive him. The one thing that I didn't like is that it made Sharon Tate out to be some sort of empty headed idiot.

    Casting the short NY Italian De Niro as the giant sized Philly Irishman Sheeran made no sense. Nor did it capture Sheeran's essence, which was that of a big Irish drunk. Nor did Pacino make a particularly convincing Hoffa. Doesn't Scorsese know any actors who are not Italian?

    I just saw Once Upon a Time on a flight. Brad Pitt essentially plays my father. I thought there were some really terrific set pieces, as you point out Jack. I almost hate to admit how much I enjoyed the ending. I hate hippies.

  333. @res
    Japanese Destroyer Captain is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in a look at the WWII naval war in the Pacific through contemporary Japanese eyes.

    Thank you

  334. @William Badwhite
    My uncle (flew P-38's and later P-51's in the Pacific theater) said in the late 80's of the Reno Air Races:

    "all they're doing is burning up priceless engines...and not doing anything that wasn't done 40 years ago by better men".

    That is awesome!

  335. @Hibernian
    It's no secret that WASP liberals are WASP supremacists at heart.

    “It’s no secret that WASP liberals are WASP supremacists at heart.”

    You mean WASP conservatives. Perhaps you parents kept that part from you for your own good.

    WASP liberals back in the day (as well as know) were the reformers–like Jane Addams–who helped immigrants.

    You do realize that ’tis the season to be jolly, right?

  336. @Steve Sailer
    The moviemakers offered singer Nick Jonas a bigger role (I'm guessing: dive-bomber pilot Dick Best's not super brave gunner), but he insisted on playing his original small role as tailgunner Bruno Gaido who shot down a proto-kamikaze and later was taken prisoner and murdered by the Japanese.

    https://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/04/24/toughness-aviation-machinist-mate-first-class-amm1c-bruno-peter-gaido/

    I think this is a PG-13 movie, which allows you one F-Word, which of course means that the filmmakers reserve it for the best moment (like Hugh Jackman's cameo as Wolverine in X-Men: First Class), which kind of defeats the purpose by teaching kids that saying the F-word is awesome. They gave Jonas their one shot and he delivered.

    They probably should have had Jonas play the lead role as Dick Best, who had the best single day in naval aviation history. I didn't mind Ed Skrein as Dick Best, but a lot of people didn't like him, while everybody liked Nick Jonas as the other New Joisey boy.

    Tks for the link Steve. Gaido was a helluva man.

  337. Now that Midway is a box-office hit, perhaps Tarantino could make Liberty.

    In Liberty(as in, USS Liberty, based on a true story), a U.S. warship on listening patrol in the Mediterranean in 1967 is attacked by Israeli forces.

    After surviving grievous damage, the wounded and heroic crew send out a distress call to the 6th Fleet. Just as the Israeli attackers are about to finish off the ship and survivors, U.S. Navy pilots appear like an awakened giant filled with a terrible resolve, and totally destroy the Israeli aggressors. Planes are shot down (an Israeli pilot manages to strike a U.S. fighter, but gets blasted to smithereens anyway), Israeli surface vessels are blown out of the water, and the President must announce to the country that America has honorably defended itself.

    The movie closes with Americans not having AIPAC, not having Holocaust museums on its soil it must pay for, not having $4 billion a year given to Israel as an annual gift from the US treasury, and not having laws to protect a hostile foreign nation from criticism.

    Alternative title could be Once upon a Time in 1967

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