Imperial Japanese Navy Campaign Planning and Design of the Aleutian-Midway Campaign
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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In May 1942, the Japanese found themselves in a favorable military situation. Previous successes had convinced Japanese naval planners that it was now possible to produce a strategic victory that could end the war through a negotiated peace. Employing the largest combined fleet of the war, the Aleutian-Midway campaign intended to satisfy that purpose. Merging the traditional battle fleet with battle proven aircraft carriers, the plan incorporated almost every major combat vessel in the Japanese Navy. Commitment of such a large force was intended to produce a high certainty for the successful accomplishment of three objectives occupation of Midway Atoll, neutralization of the American threat from the Aleutians, and destruction of the American carrier task force. Thus, by securing the last remaining gaps in the Japanese defensive perimeter and destroying the only remaining surface threat to the Japanese homeland, the Japanese would, thereby, ensure a militarily favorable operating posture. Japanese victory in this operation conceivably would eliminate the American capability or desire to continue operations against Japan. With overwhelming combat power committed to this operation, success seemed certain. Since victory did not result from this operation, relative combat power was not the deciding factor in the battle. A new examination of the Aleutian-Midway campaign provides fresh lessons about the challenges of operational planning, both then and now. The insights provided by contemporary operational art and design were used to reinterpret the campaign. U.S. concepts dealing with operational art and operational design provide a list of planning factors that point to the errors the Japanese made during operational planning. The type of errors made along with the historical evidence of Japanese actions provide a basis for assessing the cultural, organizational, and leadership factors that prevented more effective planning and a more successful operation.
- Humanities and History
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics