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Midway: Why did the Japanese Lose?

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Haven't seen the video but I can tell you one reason for the defeat at Midway:

 

1. The Japanese fondness for deception plans. there were 2 light carriers detailed to the attack on the Aleutians. If they added the Aleutian attack force to the Midway Attack force, it might have made a difference.

 

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In a word Yamamoto. He forced an engagement with an enemy that he thought lacked the will to fight. Big mistake. 

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23 minutes ago, Bill_Halsey said:

Haven't seen the video but I can tell you one reason for the defeat at Midway:

 

1. The Japanese fondness for deception plans. there were 2 light carriers detailed to the attack on the Aleutians. If they added the Aleutian attack force to the Midway Attack force, it might have made a difference.

 

That is a factor but luck was a big factor too.

“I know he's a good general, but is he lucky?”  Napoléon Bonaparte

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49 minutes ago, awiggin said:

Pure dumb luck, nothing more.....

Luck? Nothing more?  Dumb? O my no. I disagree.  Indeed luck was involved but the U.S. was able (for several reasons) to place it's carriers in a position to ambush the Japanese and make "luck" happen. Or have luck happen if things went their way.  As they did. Just as a good blackjack player will make luck happen much more often than a player who does not really understand the game and things like odds....etc. This discussion was on here a few months ago. It's interesting.  Carry on.

Edited by dmckay

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The real reason America Triumphed was two core values;

One as a country during the war we valued intelligence, thus knowing more about the enemy than they did about us.

Two we valued our personnel, so we cared about our pilots, our ships and our ability above our codes of conduct and our core beliefs.

 

It is sad we do neither well today.

God Bless America

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Japan lost at Midway through a combination of errors, technique, and bad luck.

Their biggest error was producing a complex plan that assumed a favorable outcome at each and every phase.  The US would be fooled by the deception plan and drawn to Alaska.  The Japanese didn't know the US could read their coded radio traffic and didn't prepare an alternative if the deception didn't work.  In their thinking, the deception would work because it was planned to work.

The carrier forces at Midway planned for a strike to wipe out the US air forces on Midway in a single strike.  There was a contingency plan for a second strike, if necessary, which became necessary because it was wishful thinking on Japan's part that a single strike would work at all.

The landing plan was no less insanely optimistic.  Wake, for example, taught the Japanese nothing about what was really needed versus what they believed would work.

These were errors in planning that Japan put on themselves.

Then there was technique.  Japanese CAP fighter tactics and use relied on the pilots to find and intercept incoming strikes.  There was no carrier controlled interception system like the US was using.  Many Japanese fighters didn't even have a radio installed because the pilot(s) thought it was just unnecessary weight in the plane.

Then there was their carrier operating doctrine.  The cycle time because of how Japan was handling aircraft was longer than the US one.  That is, it took longer to arm, spot, and launch a strike than on a US carrier.  This cycle time allowed the US, in part, to catch the Japanese carriers with their aircraft unlaunched making sinking them easier.

Japanese damage control doctrine and equipment was inferior to US doctrine and equipment.  That meant there was less chance they'd succeed in containing damage and saving a ship.

Japanese sailing formations were inferior.  They still used column of divisions or line ahead as their formations.  Against air attacks each ship maneuvered independently to avoid being hit.   US doctrine used a ring formation that exponentially increased AA firepower and the formation maneuvered against air attack as a formation for the most part.  This coupled with better CAP meant that Japanese strikes would succeed far less and with far greater losses than US strikes would.  The dispersed nature of US carrier formations versus the clump of a Japanese one, also meant that it was more likely that some US carriers would survive a strike since all would not be attacked whereas the Japanese ran the risk of losing all their carriers to a single large strike because they were together.

That the US carrier strikes showed up in the order that they did with the timing that they had was a matter of luck.  That USAAF, USN, and USMC planes from Midway managed to get no hits on the Japanese was a matter of luck.  That the Japanese scout plane that found the US carriers and could have warned their own ships in good time had radio issues was a matter of luck.

So, it wasn't one thing or another that caused Japan to lose, but rather a whole list of things that happened in a very particular order that caused it, and in good part it was simply bad luck.

 

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Some of it was the Japanese mindset.

They believed that they were superior and the battles up to that point had played out that way, re-enforcing that belief. They believed that no one could break their ciphers.  In every war game they played, testing out future operations, they usually 'fudged' in their favor, even bringing ships that had been 'sunk' back into the battle. They also were always planning for 'the final battle', the slugfest between the IJN and US Navy Battleships.

At Midway, they planned out the operation as if the US would be caught in-port, much like at Pearl Harbor. They never considered the US CVs being at sea, or if they were, anywhere near Midway. They were also surprised when they realized that the Yorktown was present, believing her sunk at the Coral Sea.

 

The US had the advantage of knowing where the IJN would strike, and roughly when. They already had their fleets in a position to defend Midway.

Upon the sighting of the US Fleet, the Japanese hesitated, and instead of flying off with what armament they had, they sent the planes below and re-armed them for ship attack. This delay cost them three CVs. Of course it can also be said the lack of a well trained damage control team also contributed to the CV's loss.

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29 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

  US doctrine used a ring formation that exponentially increased AA firepower and the formation maneuvered against air attack as a formation for the most part.  This coupled with better CAP meant that Japanese strikes would succeed far less and with far greater losses than US strikes would.  The dispersed nature of US carrier formations versus the clump of a Japanese one, also meant that it was more likely that some US carriers would survive a strike since all would not be attacked whereas the Japanese ran the risk of losing all their carriers to a single large strike because they were together.

Actually carriers with their escort screens operating independently  meant that a carrier can mobbed by carrier strikes and be sunk/damaged badly. You saw that happen consistently at Coral Sea, Midway and Battle of Santa Cruz.  Couple that with the boilers and engine being in the same compartments rather than alternate compartments for fleet carriers. that means you can knock out power with just 1 well placed bomb/torp hit.

The lessons learned were:

 

1. Carrier groups of 2-4 fleet carriers with attendant escorts in ring formation.

2. Centralized fighter control using radar

3. Alternating engine room/boiler compartments

4. Better fire suppression systems, for example use of foam, IIRC.

 

You can look at the results. Not one of the Kido Butai pilots damageda carrier during the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

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We HACKED their E-mail account & got their (not so) super secret Naval Code cracked in time to be able to read their playbook.

Thank goodness it was written in English ! Would have taken longer to translate from Japanese. Now that was the LUCKY part.

 

                                  "There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line."

 

 

Edited by CIT_Happens
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Interesting and well researched. Love the style of the animations/images too. Felt like I was listening to the reading of a college paper by a professor. And a really cool accent too! 

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On ‎6‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 11:46 AM, Bill_Halsey said:

Actually carriers with their escort screens operating independently  meant that a carrier can mobbed by carrier strikes and be sunk/damaged badly. You saw that happen consistently at Coral Sea, Midway and Battle of Santa Cruz.  Couple that with the boilers and engine being in the same compartments rather than alternate compartments for fleet carriers. that means you can knock out power with just 1 well placed bomb/torp hit.

The lessons learned were:

 

1. Carrier groups of 2-4 fleet carriers with attendant escorts in ring formation.

2. Centralized fighter control using radar

3. Alternating engine room/boiler compartments

4. Better fire suppression systems, for example use of foam, IIRC.

 

You can look at the results. Not one of the Kido Butai pilots damageda carrier during the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Actually, even during Midway, the carriers not facing attack would divert some or all of their CAP fighters to intercept raids on other carriers as the groups were close enough to do that but separated sufficiently that spotting other groups would be difficult.  In the case of Yorktown, both Hornet and Enterprise sent CAP fighters to help Yorktown.  These planes between them shot down 11 dive bombers and 3 Zeros for the loss of one F4F.  Two more dive bombers were shot down by AA fire.  That's 72% (13 of 18) of the attack planes.  Losses like that are unsustainable.

The second strike against Yorktown saw 5 of 10 torpedo planes shot down.  While the two attacks did cripple Yorktown (which eventually sank) it also pretty much ended Japanese carrier offensive capability at Midway regardless of whether Hiryu sank or survived.  Japanese naval air power was thoroughly gutted.

See The First Team, Lundstrom

The advantages the US had in operating CAP fighters cannot be understated.  Having radar, Fighter Direction Officers (FDO's), and fighter planes with reliable radios (two Enterprise fighters didn't respond to the call due to their radios having failed, the rest went to Yorktown's defense) meant the Japanese ran into a buzz saw of defending fighters that decimated their attacks.

50 to 75% losses among the attack aircraft is entirely prohibitive, particularly for the Japanese who can't easily replace their aircraft and pilot losses.

The only reason that carriers were doubled up in later operations was there were insufficient escorts to allow them to all operate in single ring formations.  Each ring took 2 to 4 cruisers and 6 to 8 destroyers to maintain (eg., one or two cruiser divisions and 2 destroyer squadrons).  There simply weren't enough destroyers and cruisers to go around.

The USN's Bureau of Ships was putting unit machinery (alternating boiler and engine rooms) in ship designs prior to WW 2.  Foam was also available and hanger bays had sprinkler systems even prior to the war.  The lessons learned early were that all cast iron piping had to go and be replaced with welded steel or brazed copper bronze instead.  Gasoline lines were rerouted to the outside of the hull of the ship to prevent their leakage within the hull from damage.  This feature is replicated in the art used in WoW even.  You can see the piping running down the side of the hull on higher tier US carriers.

By Philippine Sea, Japanese naval attack planes were facing being tracked on radar by destroyers on picket outwards of 100+ miles from their targets.  Cruisers had FDO's aboard now who could vector their assigned CAP onto those planes intercepting them as much as 75+ miles out.  At Okinawa the system was pushed down to destroyers and destroyers on picket typically had 8 to 12 CAP fighters orbiting them upwards of 100 miles from the carrier themselves.  Because Japanese Kamikaze often attacked the picket destroyers (the first ship they often came across), the USN started developing a system for use on submarines as radar pickets but that didn't get into service until the war ended.

ss_uss_burrfish_ss-312.jpg

The USN also developed the first AEW planes and the first ones (as shown below) came into service just as the war was ending:

grumman%20avenger%20aew_2.jpg

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I think there are many reasons behind the Japanese defeat at Midway.

First and foremost: The plan Admiral Yamamoto devised to seize Midway was far too complicated. It is complicated enough to have two separate fleets to operate in radio silence in tandem, let alone more than that. Miscommunication would hurt quite a bit.

Second: The Japanese code was not that good, as US codebreakers could crack it fairly quickly, and as a result, knew the date of the attack, plus the units involved. Due to some clever bait, the location was also discovered, all without the Japanese having a clue of it. Because of this, the Japanese did not and could not plan properly.

Third: Indecisiveness during the battle. Once US Carriers were discovered, there was confusion as to what to do with the strike aircraft aboard the carriers. This led to unsafe conditions aboard the carriers. Once hit by the dive bombers, exposed ordinance and aviation fuel ignited, and the carriers burned like a box of matches.

Fourth: Arashi and the sacrificed TBD's. US Dive bombers likely wouldn't have found their targets were it not for the Destroyer Arashi making flank speed in a straight line towards her home fleet. Also, because of poor flight coordination, the TBD's went face-first into the Japanese CAP fighters, and suffered ghastly results. Their sacrifice, however, lured all the defending A6M's to the deck, in a position where they couldn't fend off the SBD's. 

Fifth: American AA and CAP fighters. From Midway on, Japanese strikes on US Carrier groups were extremely costly, with less than optimal results. @Murotsu explained this rather well.

Also, American damage control and general ship toughness. While US Cruisers were not very tough generally, the Carriers were rather robust, thanks in part to efforts by damage control that are nothing short of heroic, and good ship design. USS Yorktown was the primary target of both Japanese air strikes, and technically survived both. A Japanese sub finally did her in after the battle. The Japanese carriers, on the other hand, suffered horribly from bomb hits, and ships that were hit rarely survived, unlike their American Counterparts (like USS Enterprise, which took at least half a dozen or more bomb hits throughout the war, plus a Kamikaze that blew her forward elevator 400 feet in the air, and still continued to fight effectively). Even their mighty Taiho was done in by a single torpedo, where a gas leak caused a massive explosion that blew the ship apart. The American Carriers were just made and designed better.

Everything in that battle is still just so bizarre sometimes. Incredible sequence of events.

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This book has some great insight into the IJN, including why IJN lost Battle of Midway. Among other interesting things about the IJN.

E9164610-BE81-43A7-BC0B-5B31A73525A7.jpeg.8a12c1fc6ba6f33a34971853b8d7e552.jpeg

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Hesitations of Nagumo. IJN carrier system of operations of utilise all the four carriers for strikes at the same time. The catapult problem of the Tone and delayed the recce patern for this floaplane.

Edited by Komarov60

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Speaking of mistakes, IJN crews were alowed to carry personnel effects(strictly forbbiden by the others operations)and many ships were overloaded with supplies. By the Hiryu the rise sacks near jammed the corridors and this sacks were the cause of the multiplication of incontrolable fires and the loss fight with the flames.   

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On 6/5/2018 at 10:49 AM, StingRayOne said:

The real reason America Triumphed was two core values;

One as a country during the war we valued intelligence, thus knowing more about the enemy than they did about us.

Two we valued our personnel, so we cared about our pilots, our ships and our ability above our codes of conduct and our core beliefs.

 

It is sad we do neither well today.

God Bless America

A little more mundane. Japanese use a 2 book code system JN25, which was effectively unbreakable for a period of time per version(new code books issued)  . The USA and UK started building the additive codes that were the base scrambling between the 2 code books before the war. The Japanese would issue new books  and it took time to "backtrack" to the code books themselves using that additive code *which was only very little partially done by Pearl , however more by MIdway" . But as long as the Japanese reissued new code books , it was still unbreakable. They would issue new code books before major ops. They issued JN25A right before Pearl Harbor, They had planned to issue JN 25B before CoralSea HOWEVER , the high tempo ops they had been doing the first few months of the war prevented them from getting JN 25B issued till right before Midway. The US had broken enough code by Coral Sea  to send a task force to Coral Sea , and by time of Midway, They broke the code enough to know exactly when the IJN planned to attack Midway, it was just a matter of locating the IJN that day. The Japanese changed to JNB25 a couple days before Midway , but that didnt matter, the battle plan was known. JN 25B did enable them to have some success in the early Guadalcanal campaign , but again the books were broken and their success went down accordingly , besides the US forces concurrently adjusting their tactics to fighting  and beating Japanese. Along with several other facets which are not part of this posting( Murotsu covers these things rather well) . The bottom line is the US broke those codes a little faster than the Japanese thought the US could , the over estimation that occurred around Coral Sea and delayed the change was simply was the scale of changing those codes to all IJN ships and bases and stations, etc.  added with "Victory Disease" , which lead to lack of caution.

That lack of caution was even worse than realized,, when you know that Yamamoto not only agreed to it, but also dismissed the IJN's own "wargaming" of the Midway operation beforehand  that said they would lose. Again off topic.

Edited by Strachwitz666
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1 hour ago, Komarov60 said:

Hesitations of Nagumo. IJN carrier system of operations of utilise all the four carriers for strikes at the same time. The catapult problem of the Tone and delayed the recce patern for this floaplan.

Nagumo had nothing to do with the failure at Midway or the whole bogus "3rd Wave" bull about Pearl Harbor. All of that was from Pilot Fuchida's lies and disparagement of Nagumo, which seems to have been quite "personal" on top of the Brown shoe/Black shoe officer issues which affects all Navies. 

 

Edited by Strachwitz666

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On 6/5/2018 at 11:25 AM, BrushWolf said:

That is a factor but luck was a big factor too.

“I know he's a good general, but is he lucky?”  Napoléon Bonaparte

If anything, pure dumb luck on a monumental scale really was the deciding factor on that day. 

Despite what each side did, the decisions made, etc. to fight it, it was luck that made the difference. Just consider that the IJN forces were spotted, by sheer luck by a recon Catalina..because its navigator screwed the pooch and went off course where he wasn't supposed to go.... then the torpedo bombers tragically arriving on their own without escorts driving the IJN escort fighters down below+consuming their fuel and ammo + pulling them out of overhead CAP position ....  the IJN carrier commander ordering re-arming of their attack planes after that to launch them against the USN carriers... and at the nick of time the USN dive bomber squadrons arriving to hit the IJN carriers while their planes were being re-armed and the CAP was out of position.

...and the dive bombers themselves arriving at the IJN carrier force was another pure, dumb luck instance...the dive bomber leader guided the squadrons to where they thought the carriers would be but found nothing... and just as they were about to drop ordnance and head back they spotted a single IJN cruiser through the thick cloud cover, that had lagged behind the fleet due to engine troubles earlier and FOLLOWED it to the IJN fleet.. at the nick of time mentioned above.  To boot, the only reason they spotted that cruiser through the cloud cover was because it was hauling [edited]at high speed leaving a huge wake behind it..and thats what the planes saw, not the cruiser itself. 

USN won the proverbial lottery that day. IJN had a really bad day. Neither side would have fared the way they did if none of those absurd random factors had played out... in fact IJN would have very likely inflicted a ton of hurt to USN IF the USN dive bombers had not seen that cruiser and turned home. IJN would've launched at least 2 strikes on the USN before USN could reply (as the IJN attack planes would have arrived just shortly after the dive bombers would have landed or while they were landing). 

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On 6/5/2018 at 1:58 PM, Murotsu said:

Japan lost at Midway through a combination of errors, technique, and bad luck.

Their biggest error was producing a complex plan that assumed a favorable outcome at each and every phase.  The US would be fooled by the deception plan and drawn to Alaska.  The Japanese didn't know the US could read their coded radio traffic and didn't prepare an alternative if the deception didn't work.  In their thinking, the deception would work because it was planned to work.

The carrier forces at Midway planned for a strike to wipe out the US air forces on Midway in a single strike.  There was a contingency plan for a second strike, if necessary, which became necessary because it was wishful thinking on Japan's part that a single strike would work at all.

The landing plan was no less insanely optimistic.  Wake, for example, taught the Japanese nothing about what was really needed versus what they believed would work.

 

This is a phenomenon studied in some anthropology courses actually. Ruth Benedict conducted research during the war on Japanese culture which heavily influenced some wartime decisions and the articles of surrender. One of the things she mentions but didn't go into detail in her post-war publishing 'The Chrysanthemum and the Sword' yet was certainly given priority by US military during the war was the concept of 'honor-shame' culture. In the 'The Chrysanthemum and the Sword' she describes the concept as applying to the common individual and how it influenced decision/policy making in any hierarchy... but during the war, as she interviewed POW's of different ranks it was noted that in the military this influence had a toxic effect. 

Essentially, the lower ranks would 'sugar-coat' reports to their superiors with verbage that either omitted or diminished the seriousness of an issue. Those superiors would in turn, further push this sugar coating on their own superiors and so forth up the chain... so when the real, strategic-level decision maker got the information it was incredibly distorted from reality. When that top-level person made battle plans and sent them down the line, the effect would happen again..with the subordinates under them, who also had a distorted view of what was under them, would not provide feedback that would 'shame' their superiors (like pointing out a potential flaw) in front of others..and the very few that DID provide said feedback would usually lose 'face' and reputation in front of others. 

Yamamoto was a perfect example of this when he gave the feedback that he could give Japan victories for 6 months only before the US would stop them. It took massive balls to say that to the freaking Emperor's circle and superiors..and it was only because of his high reputation in the circles that he didn't get cashiered out of said circles. In contrast, Tojo was a classic top level leader constantly being fed distorted information from below and making horrid decisions based on it. The rest of IJN top level command even down to fleet command ..and also Army corps suffered from this... would make plans that were both complex and insane because the information they had was so distorted that from their point of view, it could be done. 

I forget the name of the book but it was the one written by one of the few surviving DD captains of the IJN that fought from day 1 of the war...and Saburo Sakai's book (fighter pilot) ...they both mention constantly how disconnected their superiors were from the reality of things 'on the ground'. 

Very similar to the german plan to roll into France during WW1. It almost worked but the crazy notion that everything would go according to plan AND on the planned schedule ALL THE TIME and base an entire strategic campaign on it was almost certain to fail no matter what. As soon as one little thing went wrong the whole thing would cascade and bork up. 

IJN defeated itself due to this. Every single operation they lost was caused by it. Every IJA battle lost was lost due to the same info distortion at the top levels. 

This was a complete opposite of US/British and most western militaries where even though there was some distortion sent up the lines it was usually the result of a few inept individuals, not the result of practically every rank in the hierarchy actively participating in the distortion. 

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Something can be said by analysing Japanese Propaganda, which made a fatal misreading of Americans and caused the Japanese leadership and pilots to make incorrect assumptions.

"The Allies were also attacked as weak and effete, unable to sustain a long war, a view at first supported by a string of victories. The lack of a warrior tradition such as bushido reinforced this belief. The armed forces were told that American forces would not come to fight them, that Americans could not fight in the jungle and indeed could not stand warfare. Accounts of prisoners of war depicted the Americans as cowardly and willing to do anything to gain favor.  Subordinates were actively encouraged to treat prisoners contemptuously, to foster feelings of superiority toward them.

Both Americans and British were presented as figures of fun, resulting in serious weakness when complacency induced by propaganda met the actual enemy strength.

Many Japanese pilots believed that their strength and American softness would result in their victory. The ferocity and self-sacrificing attacks of American pilots at the Battle of Midway undermined the propaganda, as did the fighting at the Battle of Bataan and other Pacific battlefields."

"The pamphlet The Psychology of the American Individual, addressed to soldiers, informed them that Americans had no thought of the glory of their ancestors, their posterity, or their family name, they were daredevils in search of publicity, they feared death and did not care what happened after it, they were liars and easily taken in by flattery and propaganda, and being materialistic, they relied on material superiority rather than spiritual incentive in battle.

Praise of the enemy was treated as treason, and no newspaper could print anything mentioning the enemy favorably, no matter how much the Japanese forces found enemy combat spirit and effectiveness praiseworthy."

While it is indeed true that Americans do not possess a warrior code, the Japanese Propaganda has missed the critical point of history that American Manifest Destiny achieved via brutal guerrilla war, genocide and an enduring spirit to live on frontier.  There is a very good reason that Japanese Samurai films and American Westerns have a strange interchangeability: the Japanese Samurai and American Cowboys were more similar than the Japanese understood.

unforgivenposters-header-550x398.jpgimage5.jpg?w=496

American Propaganda did not underestimate the Germans or the Japanese.  Both were portrayed as vicious and cruel.  While both sides resorted to xenophobia, Allied Propaganda did not make light of the Axis, which had conquered country after country like dominos.

 

There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent.” - Lao Tzu

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On 6/8/2018 at 9:27 AM, Skyfaller said:

This is a phenomenon studied in some anthropology courses actually. Ruth Benedict conducted research during the war on Japanese culture which heavily influenced some wartime decisions and the articles of surrender. One of the things she mentions but didn't go into detail in her post-war publishing 'The Chrysanthemum and the Sword' yet was certainly given priority by US military during the war was the concept of 'honor-shame' culture. In the 'The Chrysanthemum and the Sword' she describes the concept as applying to the common individual and how it influenced decision/policy making in any hierarchy... but during the war, as she interviewed POW's of different ranks it was noted that in the military this influence had a toxic effect. 

Essentially, the lower ranks would 'sugar-coat' reports to their superiors with verbage that either omitted or diminished the seriousness of an issue. Those superiors would in turn, further push this sugar coating on their own superiors and so forth up the chain... so when the real, strategic-level decision maker got the information it was incredibly distorted from reality. When that top-level person made battle plans and sent them down the line, the effect would happen again..with the subordinates under them, who also had a distorted view of what was under them, would not provide feedback that would 'shame' their superiors (like pointing out a potential flaw) in front of others..and the very few that DID provide said feedback would usually lose 'face' and reputation in front of others. 

Yamamoto was a perfect example of this when he gave the feedback that he could give Japan victories for 6 months only before the US would stop them. It took massive balls to say that to the freaking Emperor's circle and superiors..and it was only because of his high reputation in the circles that he didn't get cashiered out of said circles. In contrast, Tojo was a classic top level leader constantly being fed distorted information from below and making horrid decisions based on it. The rest of IJN top level command even down to fleet command ..and also Army corps suffered from this... would make plans that were both complex and insane because the information they had was so distorted that from their point of view, it could be done. 

I forget the name of the book but it was the one written by one of the few surviving DD captains of the IJN that fought from day 1 of the war...and Saburo Sakai's book (fighter pilot) ...they both mention constantly how disconnected their superiors were from the reality of things 'on the ground'. 

Very similar to the german plan to roll into France during WW1. It almost worked but the crazy notion that everything would go according to plan AND on the planned schedule ALL THE TIME and base an entire strategic campaign on it was almost certain to fail no matter what. As soon as one little thing went wrong the whole thing would cascade and bork up. 

IJN defeated itself due to this. Every single operation they lost was caused by it. Every IJA battle lost was lost due to the same info distortion at the top levels. 

This was a complete opposite of US/British and most western militaries where even though there was some distortion sent up the lines it was usually the result of a few inept individuals, not the result of practically every rank in the hierarchy actively participating in the distortion. 

In his book, "Japanese Destroyer Captain" by Capt Hara Tameichi, there's lots of cases of this going on, and this is just from the level of a mere Naval Captain and Destroyer Division Leader.

 

I forget which sortie leading into a named battle it was, but the Rear Admiral that was briefing his ship captains and division leaders to, gave his plan for an upcoming sortie.  Capt Hara provided feedback that cautioned the RAdm, basically saying the course of action was not a good idea.  The Japanese were conducting operations in repeated fashions, which the Americans eventually, always caught onto, making the Japanese very predictable.  The reaction from his peers was that of anger and disgust for questioning the plan.

 

Hara also mentioned that especially as the war in the Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands area got progressively worse, reports by units were sugar-coating reality.  Hara was annoyed because it was hard to take reports seriously.  Their scout pilots were of lower caliber than what they had initially due to high losses and already making incorrect reports, but they were also lavishing things.  After one naval engagement where the Americans actually won against the Japanese the night prior, IJN aviation scouts spotted American planes and ships picking up their survivors from the water the morning after, and made it sound like the Allies suffered horrific losses from the battle and were still collecting their men, which was completely far from the truth.  Higher ups see that the Americans "lost" lots of ships when that was not what happened.

 

An amusing part was even with the Rear Admirals and such, they know that some of these reports are outrageously wrong, exaggerated, but let it slide and go up and down the chain, unhindered, uncorrected, because it was for the morale of the men.

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