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Old 09-10-2008, 03:04 AM
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Default OT: WWII Pacific Theater Tank battles?

boogiedowndonovan 05-15-2008, 02:18 PM Hey, anyone know of any published accounts of WII tank battles in the Pacific?


thanks

bdd

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Hangfire7 05-15-2008, 02:44 PM I beleive there was 1 involving US forces, I beleive it was with US Marines in one of the later battles. Tinian, Formosa or Okinawa. The problem was that most Japanese tanks were far inferior to most any other tank in the world at the time and they were employed more as bunkers rather than used as tanks but, if thats the criteria of tank on tank fights then there were many as US forces often used the heavier guns or flamethrower tanks to take out bunkers.

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boogiedowndonovan 05-15-2008, 05:14 PM thanks,


yeah I'm not much of a WWII guy. Did the US invade Formosa (Taiwan)?


Maybe it was the Phillipines?

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Raellus 05-15-2008, 06:17 PM Formosa no, the Phillipines yes.


There weren't really any "tank battles" per se, but there were several small-scale skirmishes involving small numbers of tanks. Nothing comparable to what transpired in Europe.


The Japanese tended to waste their few tanks in suicidal, last ditch Banzaii charges. There were a few such engagements on Saipan, Okinawa, and in the Phillipines.


Japanese tank technology was stuck back in the late thirties for the entire war. Even the American Stewart light tanks with their 47mm guns were able to take on most Japanese tanks. Japanese tanks made early war Shermans look like King Tigers. I may be overstating my case, but most Japanese ground weapons systems (tanks, artillery, small arms, etc.) lagged well behind those of all the other major combatants. The Japanese high command believed they could make up in "fighting spirit" what they lacked in numbers, industrial capacity, and technology. For example, a Japanese general once remarked, "Who needs radar when we have ears [to hear approaching aircraft]?" No joke.

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copeab 05-15-2008, 06:26 PM Hey, anyone know of any published accounts of WII tank battles in the Pacific?



I know it stretches the definition of "Pacific", but on 1939 the Russians crushed the Japanese in a four-day battle when the Japanese tried to expand the borders of Mongolia into Russian territory. The Russians alone used 500 tanks (probably mostly T-26 and BT-7 types).


Outside of continental Asia, the Phillipines probably had the largest tank battles since it had the most favorable tank terrain of any large Pacific island.


Brandon

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copeab 05-15-2008, 06:32 PM Japanese tank technology was stuck back in the late thirties for the entire war.



More accurately, the Japanese learned the wrong lessons fighting in China, where the Chinese had few tanks and anti-tank guns.


Despite the weak guns and armor, most Japanese tanks *were* considered to be very reliable and had good cross-country performance.


Even the American Stewart light tanks with their 47mm guns were able to take on most Japanese tanks.


37mm



Japanese tanks made early war Shermans look like King Tigers. I may be overstating my case, but most Japanese ground weapons systems (tanks, artillery, small arms, etc.) lagged well behind those of all the other major combatants.


Although there were some exceptions. For example, the infamous 50mm "knee mortar" was a very handy weapon, and the 70mm infantry gun was one of the best iof its type in the world.


Brandon

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Raellus 05-15-2008, 07:01 PM More accutately...


Let's call it even for my mistyping of 37mm as 47mm. ; )


There were a few Japanese tanks on Guadalcanal as well.


Gotta love those stories about Allied soldiers testing out captured "knee mortars"...


Ouch!

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Matt Wiser 05-15-2008, 08:24 PM Actually, there were two instiances in the Philippines: two National Guard tank battalions with M-3 Stuarts fought in the 1941-42 campaign, and had a number of encounters with Japanese tanks, and they found out that their 37-mm AP bounced off, but HE rounds worked to perfection against Japanese Type 97 tanks. The smaller Japanese tanks, though, fell easy prey to the AP rounds. In 1945, the Japanese 2nd Tank Division was on Luzon, and though not employed as a tank division per se, its armor did have encounters with Shermans and M-10 TDs of the 1st Cav and 37th IDs in the drive to Manila. In Manila itself, there were some Japanese tanks, and captured M-3s, facing Shermans, and the Japanese armor fared poorly.


On islands, there was a company-sized Japanese tank force on Biak, and it faced armor from the 6th ID in 1944. Saipan had a tank battle (a battalion's worth of Japanese armor) between the Japanese and the USMC's 4th Tank Battalion, 4th MarDiv. Shermans, flame throwers, bazookas, satchel charges, and naval gunfire all proved very effective against Japanese armor.


Though there was armor on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the Japanese used them mainly as dug-in pillboxes, much to the disgust of the tank commanders. Had CORONET (the invasion of the Kanto Plain) taken place in March 1946, the U.S. 13th and 20th Armored Divisions were to land on Y-Day +10, to isolate Tokyo and would have confronted the Japanese 1st and 4th Tank Divisions in a real tank battle. (a one-sided one, with M-26 Pershings and Shermans facing the older and lighter Japanese tanks)

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Headquarters 05-16-2008, 01:39 AM Formosa no, the Phillipines yes.


There weren't really any "tank battles" per se, but there were several small-scale skirmishes involving small numbers of tanks. Nothing comparable to what transpired in Europe.


The Japanese tended to waste their few tanks in suicidal, last ditch Banzaii charges. There were a few such engagements on Saipan, Okinawa, and in the Phillipines.


Japanese tank technology was stuck back in the late thirties for the entire war. Even the American Stewart light tanks with their 47mm guns were able to take on most Japanese tanks. Japanese tanks made early war Shermans look like King Tigers. I may be overstating my case, but most Japanese ground weapons systems (tanks, artillery, small arms, etc.) lagged well behind those of all the other major combatants. The Japanese high command believed they could make up in "fighting spirit" what they lacked in numbers, industrial capacity, and technology. For example, a Japanese general once remarked, "Who needs radar when we have ears [to hear approaching aircraft]?" No joke.


It is definently true that the Imperial japanese forces were lagging behind other major combatants in the latter half of the war .(Or when the US really started to let its industrial might be felt).Lack of radar systems,communications gear and supplies made their forces ineffective.There are flawd designs and weapons in their inventory to many to be mentioned like their small arms ,(some were not too bad though).


But up until 1942/1943 the Japanese fielded many airplanes well capable of besting their allied counterparts , and some even held their own in later stages of the war .The Japanese submarines had a high degree of technological sophistication and was actually superior to the allied boats up until a point in the war.(their torpedos were not).The japanese tanks were arguably of another generation than the US tanks that were fielded from 1943 like the Sherman M4 etc ,but consider what the allied forces had available in the early stages of the war in comparisson in the Pacific theatre of ops.

The japanese fleet had a modernized component consisting of several of the finest ships and subs available at the outbreak of the war -and had they recieved the radars and sonars that the US developed they would have been at least a match for their US navy counterparts.

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Gen.Lee 05-16-2008, 10:08 AM And don't forget the Soviet 1945 campaign in Manchuria, which turned out to be a two-week road march. T-34s and massive artillery and air superiority vs. the Army that had already started to ship home for the Big Fight.

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copeab 05-16-2008, 09:19 PM But up until 1942/1943 the Japanese fielded many airplanes well capable of besting their allied counterparts , and some even held their own in later stages of the war .



The greater problem for Japan was the inability to adequately replace pilot losses (especially after the disasters of 1942).



The Japanese submarines had a high degree of technological sophistication and was actually superior to the allied boats up until a point in the war.


However, the doctrine in using them was inferior to the other nations. The Japanese used their subs almost exclusively against enemy warships, not against merchant shipping.


(their torpedos were not).


I don't understand this. The "Long Lance" was probably the best torpedo for most of the war.


Brandon

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Matt Wiser 05-16-2008, 11:52 PM There actually were several Japanese subs whose skippers did get turned loose in the IO and around Australian waters with orders to go after merchant shipping. Check www.combinedfleet.com/kaigun, and go into their sub section: it lists every IJN sub, their skippers, and the boat's career.

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boogiedowndonovan 05-17-2008, 12:39 AM The greater problem for Japan was the inability to adequately replace pilot losses (especially after the disasters of 1942).





However, the doctrine in using them was inferior to the other nations. The Japanese used their subs almost exclusively against enemy warships, not against merchant shipping.




I don't understand this. The "Long Lance" was probably the best torpedo for most of the war.


Brandon



Yeah, and weren't there problems with American torpedos either not detonating, or sometimes circling back and hitting the sub?

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copeab 05-17-2008, 03:27 AM Yeah, and weren't there problems with American torpedos either not detonating, or sometimes circling back and hitting the sub?


IiRC, the American torpedoes tended to run too deep and, if they hit, often didn't go off. When commanders compained, superiors and techs back in the statesblamed the commanders. Turned out that while the torpedoes tested fine in the Atlantic, the chemical differences between the two seas was just enough to cause the torpedoes to malfunction ...


Brandon

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copeab 05-17-2008, 03:31 AM There actually were several Japanese subs whose skippers did get turned loose in the IO and around Australian waters with orders to go after merchant shipping. Check www.combinedfleet.com/kaigun, and go into their sub section: it lists every IJN sub, their skippers, and the boat's career.


I'm not saying that no Japanese subs went after merchant shipping, hust that their doctrine was to go after warships first. This fit with the IJN vision of the "Great Naval Battle" the IJN wanted to draw the USN into.


Brandon

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Raellus 05-17-2008, 11:05 AM American torpedos had two types of detonators, a magnetic one designed to detonate the torpedo beneath the target vessel, breaking its keel, and an impact one designed to detonate on contact. The former was often defective (in addition to the afore mentioned issue of American torpedoes running too deep) while the latter was fragile and would often crush on impact, failing to detonate the torpedo's explosive payload. Once the impact detonator problem was solved, they performed adequately well.


I remember reading of two or three American subs whose torpedoes circled back and hit them instead of their intended target.


On the other hand, Japanese "Long Lance" torpedoes were the best of their type, hands down. They had a longer range, better top speed, and were far more reliable than American torpedoes.


As for Japanese planes, the Zero, in the hands of a skilled pilot, was the better of any type fielded by the Allies until the introduction of the Hellcat and Corsair around '43. Skilled P-40, P-39, P-38, and Wildcat pilots, however, could still use their own aircraft's respective advantages to best the vaunted Zero. Later Japanese fighters like the Frank and Tony were not a whole lot better than the early war Zero.


Funny how this thread has gone from a discussion of Pacific Theatre tank battles to a discussion of all Japanese weapons that weren't tanks.

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Headquarters 05-19-2008, 04:15 AM The greater problem for Japan was the inability to adequately replace pilot losses (especially after the disasters of 1942).





However, the doctrine in using them was inferior to the other nations. The Japanese used their subs almost exclusively against enemy warships, not against merchant shipping.




I don't understand this. The "Long Lance" was probably the best torpedo for most of the war.


Brandon


i agree in your analyzis here as far as tactics and crew depletion goes .About the torpedos I guess i confused them with someone elses..I think I read somewhere that the Japanese crews reported many sightings to be "out of range " to avoid having to fire possibly malfunctioning torpedos-but I could well be mistaken .

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Headquarters 05-19-2008, 04:50 AM althoug it isnt actually near the coast -I guess you was looking for Imperial Japanese tanks vs Us tanks..It just seems that the 2 combatants did not use their tansk in the same way or have the same capacity .


Anyways -pretty big one here :



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Khalkhin_Gol


hq

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copeab 05-19-2008, 04:54 AM Anyways -pretty big one here :



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Khalkhin_Gol


hq


Yup, that's the battle I referred to in post #5. Alaways forget the name of it.


Brandon

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Matt Wiser 05-19-2008, 03:07 PM Khalkin-Gol is notable for two things: first, it cemented General Georgy Zhukov as a rising star in the Soviet Army, though it was one of the reasons he and then Gen. Ivan Koniev despised each other: Koniev had tried to dislodge the Japanese, failed, and Zhukov replaced him. Second, the defeat handed the Japanese at Zhukov's hands convinced the IJA that it was a bad idea to think about going to war against Stalin, and led to the Japanese and Russians signing a non-aggression treaty in 1941 (which lasted until AUGUST STORM, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, in 1945).

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