The analysis begins by making the point that Tokyo's rapid conquest of all of Southeast Asia had come at a startlingly low cost. Victory had come so easily [赢得这些胜利是如此地轻而易举] and the obvious natural question was "What next?" [下一步 . . . 怎么半]. In March 1942, the Japanese Navy was said to be examining two vectors of attack: either south to Australia or north to the Aleutians. The Japanese Navy's chief planner and mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, has apparently also ordered an investigation of the feasibility for an invasion of Hawaii. Curiously, the Japanese Navy set off at that time on another project altogether deep in the Indian Ocean: Ceylon [锡兰] or Sri Lanka. As this analysis outlines, Tokyo's goals in the Indian Ocean were not completely far-fetched. The Japanese Navy's surge toward India was intended to menace Britain, perhaps even encouraging the people of the Raj to rise up against their colonial masters, while simultaneously impressing Germany and presenting the real possibility of the Axis powers jointly carving up the oil-rich Persian Gulf. The invasion of Australia was never seriously contemplated in Tokyo, according to this analysis, since such a campaign was evaluated to require at least two hundred thousand troops, as well as a third of Japan's sparse shipping resources. The Chinese author notes that the Japanese Army had no interest in supporting the Japanese Navy with various operation around the Asia-Pacific region, because Tokyo's ground forces remained obsessed with campaigns on the Asian mainland with their sites fixated, in particular, on the conquest of Siberia [西伯利亚]. While the Japanese Navy recognized that an invasion of Hawaii would eliminate America's most important strong point in the Pacific and greatly hinder its opportunities to strike at Japan, this author emphasizes the problems posed by the "passive . . . uncooperative attitude" [消极 . . . 不合作态度] of the Japanese Army that was unwilling to play a "supporting role" [当配角].
Friday, May 21, 2021
Chinese studying Battle of Midway
Today, on the other side of the Pacific, the Midway battle seems to have become a rather hot study topic in contemporary Chinese naval circles. Maybe this is not particularly surprising given that Beijing has just launched its second aircraft carrier and is thought to be hard at work on the third. A long article in the Chinese naval magazine Modern Ships [现代舰船] published by the enormous ship-building conglomerate CSIC, is especially interesting. The focus of the piece, entitled "The Road to Midway Island" [通向中途岛之路] does not take up the tactics, the technologies, nor the heroism involved, but undertakes a strictly disciplined examination of the planning choices made by the Japanese military leadership during the spring of 1942. Thus, among the ingredients that produced the miracle at Midway, this Chinese analysis is focused on "strategic acumen," or lack thereof, and how Tokyo squandered such a militarily favorable position so quickly.