Douglas Macarthur: 4 screw ups?

Jan 2015
3,178
Rupert's Land ;)
That's not how it works. One is not subject to a surprise attack and declaration of war, to then move hundreds of planes across the South Pacific, with infrastructure and ground crews and equipment, to serve under a command that doesn't exist, to essentially give them to an Ally that isn't even a real ally yet.

If Mac's bombers weren't destroyed on Day 1, they'd have been destroyed some other way. They'd not have done any actual good, because there wasn't time and conditions to implement any sort of effective bombing missions that early in the war.

The closest to doctrine and capability would be attacking Formosa, which would have been a suicide mission.
In fact, that's exactly how it did work, the remaining B-17s were withdrawn to Java.

USAAF B17’s in Java – Part Three
 

botully

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
3,454
Amelia, Virginia, USA
In fact, that's exactly how it did work, the remaining B-17s were withdrawn to Java.

USAAF B17’s in Java – Part Three
According to your link, it doesn't actually work. They managed to move 11 B-17s to Java, on rudimentary fields with 1 crew and 2 maintenance personal per plane and no spare parts at all. Raids had to be staged through even worse fields, and the first raid used up all of their gas. As experience would show later in the South Pacific and North Africa, these conditions quickly wear out crews and planes. They really weren't capable of shifting around the theater, since outside of Clark there wasn't anything other than primitive dirt strips with no infrastructure, parts, gas, or ordinance.
The small number of B-17s stationed in the PI were never capable of doing anything really useful other than reconnaissance.
 

royal744

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
9,840
San Antonio, Tx
And poor math skills didn't help him. He said, “mopping up” was all that was needed in the PI when there were still 250 thousand Japanese troops on Luzon. And that 200 thousand Chinese were in NK was "bunk". (Although reading about the poor performance of Chinese troops in WW2 and the revolution I can see where US military professionals wouldn't be overly concerned.)

For some reason he stayed at the top despite his failures.
It’s quite possible that FDR kept him on in a sort of “useful idiot” strategy and very much at arm’s length as well as as far away from Washington as possible. I believe that FDR was well and fully aware of Mac’s megalomaniacal tendencies and was determined to keep him thousands of miles away from DC. There’s a great deal more to this story and most participants in this forum are aware of that.
 
Jan 2015
3,178
Rupert's Land ;)
According to your link, it doesn't actually work. They managed to move 11 B-17s to Java, on rudimentary fields with 1 crew and 2 maintenance personal per plane and no spare parts at all.
Although to be fair, support and maintenance in the PI was totally inadequate too.

What would have been better was a more comprehensive plan between the Allies.
 

royal744

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
9,840
San Antonio, Tx
Overall, Mitchell is one of those guys in history that the more I learn about, the more I wish I could go back in time just to punch in the face. Had he not been so pushy, the US Army ground forces would have had much better funding in WW2, been much better supported by the USAAF, which wouldn't have been run at the highest levels by Mitchell's bomber mafia acolytes. That man is responsible for quite a few American grave stones...
Excellent post.
 
Jul 2016
8,180
USA
In fact, that's exactly how it did work, the remaining B-17s were withdrawn to Java.

USAAF B17’s in Java – Part Three
Can't argue with that.

But at least we can both agree that at best Mac could have hid his bombers to save all 35 and not just 14, which isn't really that big of a deal for the war effort since 35 B-17s is a drop in the bucket considering nearly 13,000 were built.

MacArthur screwed the pooch big time in the Philippines. But nothing he did would really have stopped the inevitable. Either those forces in Philippines get relieved, are reinforced, allowed to retreat, or they are destroyed. They could have put the reincarnated Alexander the Great in charge and without greater support at best he might have delayed the inevitable for a few more months.
 
Mar 2019
19
Arizona
It is hard to understate Douglas MacArthur's stupidity and shocking, grotesque incompetence as a military leader.

MacArthur received the Medal of Honor merely as political cover for fleeing Corregidor. As Eisenhauer observed "he committed no act of valor". Any true military man would have refused it. BTW the other person who received a Medal of Honor yet performed no act of military valor was Charles Lindburgh.

But there is no greater strain on MacArthur and no greater disgrace to the US Army then MacArthur's vain and pointless decision to attack Manila.

The IJA in the Phillipines was completely isolated and strategically neutered by Feb. 45. THERE NO VALID REASON TO ATTACK THE 10000 Jap army and 16000Jap navy troops trapped in Manila.

The Japanese army troops generally conducted themselves as professional soldiers but the Japanese navy troops indulged themselves in an orgy of murder and barbarism reminiscent of Banking - 100,000 Filipino civilians were killed. MacArthur and MacArthur alone bears responsibility for this.

MacArthur attacked Manila purely out of vanity: he succumbed to the anachronistic temptation to be known as "the conqueror of a great city". MacArthur expected that after the battle ended, cheering crowds would line the streets and shower his motorcade with flowers. Instead, as MacArthur toured the corpse strewn streets of smashed and burned and stinking Manila, the photographer in his car could not take his photo because if al the flies constantly crawling on MacArthur's face.

His car drive him straight to his former home in the hills above Manila. It had been used as Jap HQ. There, he immediately contacted his wife using military communications. Having just witnessed the greatest disaster of his shabby career,
MacArthur's first words to his wife were. "Honey, your book collection if ok.

Douglas MacArthur aka Dugout Doug aka Bugout Doug was uniformly reviled by the vast majority of servicemen who served in the Pacific fields all their lives.

MacArthur was The Worst American general EVER.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,602
Sydney
Mac Arthur is not the worst American general ever
he is not even the worst American commander during WW2

this infamy belong to Loyd Ralson Fredentall,
Of course he got a promotion for being dangerously incompetent and a coward ,
 

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