U.S. Force In The Pacific War Term Paper

Length: 8 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Drama - World Type: Term Paper Paper: #5118997 Related Topics: Pearl Harbor, Philippines, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, The Pearl
Excerpt from Term Paper :

¶ … War

Many renowned military analysts argue that concentration or mass is the most important principle of war. This is primarily because the combat tactic involves the concentration of an extremely huge quantity of military manpower and material as well as the development of military power with complete superiority over the enemy in relation to quantity. This principle of war is regarded as superior to other tactical approaches in battle such as combination of inferior mass with tactical opportunities for victory. Generally, the concentration of soldiers entails the decisive, harmonized use of superior fighting power for victory over an enemy. Given the significance of this principle in war, there are arguments that the U.S. committed a strategic mistake through breaching this principle of war through dividing its forces between Southwest Pacific and Central Pacific battles against Japan between 1943 and 1944. An analysis of the approaches employed by the U.S. Army in this war demonstrates that it did not commit a strategic mistake by violating this principle of war.

Overview of this Principle of War

According to military analysts, mass or concentration is the most important principle of war that is used to obtain considerable tactical advantage over the enemy. This tactical approach involves the application of a large quantity of military manpower and material with complete superiority over the enemy. This tactic has been used by various forces to seize tactical opportunities and victory such as the Soviet forces that utilized it as an essential condition of combat. The other examples of the use of this principle of war include its application in World War II in the German-Soviet battle in which the German soldiers were crushed by it.

In some cases, the use of this tactic requires its combination with other strategies in combat power and battles. One of the most important strategies that can be combined with this tactic is tactical opportunity because of its relationship with mass or concentration. Throughout the history of military battles and struggles, mass has sometimes been used in combination with tactical opportunity and seizing victory. The combination of these two is associated with the fact that mass provides superiority in military manpower and material whereas tactical opportunity provides tactical and strategic advantage in war. Generally, the combination of mass with tactical opportunity provides complete superiority that enhances the chances of the force to be successful in combat while limits the ability of an inferior side to become victorious.

The Pacific War

The Pacific War is a battle that was fueled by the challenge that an emerging Japan brought to the United States and the imperial rule by Europe in the region. Japan had become a regional colonial and imperial power by the 1930s and was determined to stamp its authority as a great power. Through stamping herself in this status, Japan would assure herself of independence and self-sufficiency that would help in conquering markets and obtaining important raw materials that were largely controlled and dominated by European rivals. Japan achieved this status through assault of China in late 1930s that resulted in closure of Asian markets. This contributed to significant and fatal challenges to the United States, which desired and promoted an increasingly open world economy.

While American reacted to these events by increasing military help to Chinese forces that were combating Japan, negotiations were carried out in late 1941. However, Japanese forces carried out a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. naval base, which worsened the conflict between the United States and Pearl Harbor. According to Smith (2006), America had minimal hope in stopping Japanese imperialism because it was crippled at Pearl Harbor and was without Australia (p.50). The U.S. responded to the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor by adopting various measures including relocation policy through which many Japanese-Americans lost their constitutional rights. In early 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized relocation and militarized internment of every resident alien that targeted people of Japanese descent.

Generally, the Pacific War was the core of the Second World War whose combat extended over a huge area that included Southwest Pacific and Central Pacific as well as parts of Asia. The Pacific War started in 1941 following Japan's invasion of Thailand and assault on British possessions and American military and naval bases. The combat later involved the fight between Japan and the Allied forces or powers in attempts to prevent the prevalence of Japan's rising imperialism and dominance.

During the initial stages of the World War II, the Japanese


These attacks were based on Japan's decision to carry out an imperial and naval campaign whose strategic planning was based on geopolitical factors and timing (Millet, 1996, p.56). During the interwar period, Japan was America's most probable enemy that would expand naval campaign across the central Pacific Ocean, which would require combined forces by Allied powers to defeat it. As a result, the United States increasingly monitored the Japanese forces to develop appropriate tactics for the amphibious warfare.

U.S. Division of Forces between Southwest Pacific and Central Pacific Battles

During the Pacific War, the United States divided its forces between the Southwest Pacific and Central Pacific battles against Japan from late 1943 to late 1944. The United States has developed some conditions that should be met before its involvement in military conflict including the application of adequate force to reflect overwhelming desire for victory. The application of enough force is fueled by the need to prevent the U.S. Army from engagement in half-hearted measures that may jeopardize the ability of the force to seize victory (Handel, 2001, p.55). This condition requires maximum concentration of force in major tactical positions or places that enhance the likelihood of winning the battles. Notably, the United States military involvements have always been characterized by the use of military power, which is based on concentration of force in order to achieve superiority in military manpower and material.

There are various approaches to dissect a battle in evaluating its strategies including military and non-military, defensive and offensive, and based on general operational patterns of strategies (Wylie, 1989, p.117). In the Pacific War between 1941 and 1945, the United States carried out two distinct combats against Japan. One of these wars was sequential strategy campaigns, which involved drives across the Pacific, the coast of Asia, and the shores of the Empire of Japan (Wylie, 1989, p.118). Secondly, the United States also conducted a cumulative strategy that was geared toward affecting the Japanese economy. The use of the two tactics was fueled by strategic factors that were crucial in this battle i.e. attacking the strategy of the enemy, achieving decisive victory, and intelligence (Handel, 2001).

The division of soldiers by the U.S. Army was geared towards enhancing the effectiveness of the force in fighting a potent and determined Japanese enemy or force. In the Central Pacific, the U.S. forces prepared and carried out various naval campaigns that acted as a model for carrying out joint operations amidst persistent resistance from the Japanese. One of the reasons that fueled the division of forces to Central Pacific was the need by the U.S. force to fight its way through various points at the beginning of the war. The American services gave much attention to the Central Pacific based on the belief that military activities in this region would be crucial in easing the stressed American soldiers in the Philippines and Guam. Moreover, military actions in Central Pacific were regarded as necessary to bring back Mariana, Marshall, and Caroline Islands in case they had already fallen (Martson, 2005, p.159). However, the forces did not make plans for any operations or activities in the region between Australia and the Philippines.

Similarly, the U.S. force in Southwest Pacific was geared toward combating the Japanese tenacious force. However, this force was led by a commander from a different service who would report to the Joint Chiefs of the force. The force in the Southwest Pacific area was crucial in the implementation of major amphibious offensives that would initially be launched from this region. In essence, the Southwest Pacific area offered a critical strategic position for the U.S. force by acting as the base for the initial execution of amphibious offensives. Moreover, the operations of this force were designed to follow the series of military operations in the Southwest Pacific area despite the existence of a complicated command structure in the U.S. force.

Even though the U.S. forces were divided between the Southwest Pacific and Central Pacific offensives, the commanders were reporting to the Joint Chiefs of these forces. The division was characterized by a complex organizational structure that had two distinct commands for the two regions. The main goal of this division or arrangement was to design military operations in a sequence that will collectively result in the realization of the assigned eventual objective of the U.S. force within…

Sources Used in Documents:


Handel, M.I. (2001). Masters of war: classical strategic thought. London: Cass.

Marston, D. (2005). The pacific war companion. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing.

Millett, A.R. (1996). Assault from the Sea: The Development of Amphibious Warfare between the Wars: The American, British, and Japanese Experiences. In Williamson Murray and Allan R. Millett, eds. Military innovation in the interwar period. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Rosen, S.P. (1991). Winning the next war: innovation and the modern military (pp. 130-147).

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