8 April 2019

China Studying the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal? Smart.

By CDRSalamander 

One navy has is reaching from the other side of the ocean to project power, the other reaches south. Neither nation’s carrier fleets are a significant players due to most being sunk, damaged, or elsewhere. The one that could have been used early is husbanded away in a safe place in fear of one submarine’s streak.

Two navies push forward for the decisive battle with the ships they have, and the tide of battle goes both ways day-by-day in a near run thing.

There is a lot to learn about the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal … and the PLAN is studying it.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has sought to remedy its lack of actual combat experience by the careful study of military history, including the bloody Pacific War as I have noted in other Dragon Eye columns. August is steamy in the South Pacific and so the Guadalcanal campaign that began in August 1942 was hell. It was through that campaign that the fate of the Pacific was decided. While the dazzling miracle of Midway gets infinitely more attention, the grinding attrition battle just a few months later of Guadalcanal, which could be termed the “Verdun” of the Pacific War, ultimately proved to be the turning point. Losing 38 ships and perhaps over 700 aircraft proved devastating for Japan, although these losses were quite similar to those suffered on the American side. The difference, of course, was that America could replace these losses quite easily.

That last point is something Americans need to take a sober assessment of.

What is our regenerative capability today?

The analysis asserts that much of the Japanese military was not even informed of the truly devastating results (for Japan) of Midway and that Tokyo’s decision-making was plagued by an incessant and pervasive cult of the offensive. It is noted that the South Pacific could have been invaluable to Japan’s effort to sever U.S. supply lines, but that a critical shortage of airborne intelligence inhibited effective decision-making.
Another fundamental Japanese error, according to this analysis, concerned logistics. Japanese forces were not only inadequately supplied, but also critically failed to target American rear supply depots [未攻击美方后勤补给物资].

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