Tales of the Ginga Pt. 1

I’m reading a book about the “Super Bomber” Ginga, a Japanese bomber that was built very late in the war.  For such a technical, minor subject, it’s very engrossing.

The Ginga’s first engagement was to be in an operation planned by Michida, the guy who was the lead bomber at Pearl Harbor. After the defeat at Midway he moved from being a pilot to being a strategist, and came up with a lot of the Japanese military plans later in the war.

His plan was to use the Ginga as part of a massive (800+ planes, most of Japan’s remaining carrier power, and a submarine group) to strike a secret allied base in the Pacific.  He took it to the commander on board the then-flagship Musashi, who said he’d “Consider it later.”

Later never came.  The Americans launched a strike on the port where the Musashi was berthed, and the commander was forced to flee.  He died when his plane crashed in a squall during the retreat.  The new commander was too busy, and the operation was shelved.

A recurring theme in Japanese books is the sheer incompetence of the JP officer corps. This may simply be the Japanese being down on the guys who lost them a war that was probably very winnable.  (Possibly. Maybe. Opinions differ.)  But there’s too much stupidity, and too many lost opportunities, for me to really think that’s the case.

These people were dumb. Very dumb.  And they had a tendency to be timid and cowardly as well.  However brave the individual Japanese soldier may have been, his boss was likely a fool.

If I remember, I may write about operation Imphal sometime here.  One of the saddest, stupidest battles of the war.