Sunday, April 17, 2011

Anniversary of Operation Vengeance: "That son of a bitch will not be dictating any peace terms in the White House."

"That son of a bitch will not be dictating any peace terms in the White House." -- Captain Thomas G. Lanphier, Jr., 339th Fighter Squadron, to Guadalcanal fighter director at Henderson Field just before landing after the aerial assassination of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in Operation Vengeance.

1st Lieutenant Rex T. Barber, the American airman who used his P38G to kill Admiral Yamamoto.

Operation Vengeance was carried out to kill Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto on April 18, 1943, during the Solomon Islands campaign in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Combined Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was killed on Bougainville Island when his transport bomber aircraft was shot down by U.S. Army fighter aircraft operating from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.

The mission of the U.S. aircraft was specifically to kill Yamamoto and was based on United States Navy intelligence on Yamamoto's travel plans in the Solomon Islands area. The death of Yamamoto reportedly damaged the morale of Japanese naval personnel (described by Samuel Eliot Morison as being considered the equivalent of a major defeat in battle), aided the morale of members of the Allied forces, and, controversially, may have been intended as an act of revenge by U.S. leaders who blamed Yamamoto for the Pearl Harbor attack which initiated the formal state of war between Imperial Japan and the U.S.


Anonymous said...

...and the lesson is...there are times when a defeat can be precipitated by the elimination of one strong leader.

jdege said...

Killing Yamamoto was about the stupidest thing that we did during the war. We intercepted him at the the absolute maximum range of the P-38s. They had only minutes of dwell time at that location.

The only way the P-38s could have been there is if they'd known his schedule exactly.

Which is to say, if the Americans had broken the Japanese codes, and had been reading top-secret Japanese signals in real time.

That the Japanese didn't realize this, given the circumstances of Yamamoto's death was pure blind luck, and no purported advantage gained by Yamamoto's death would have compensated for the loss of signal intel that would have resulted, had the Japanese changed their codes.

Anonymous said...

Anon makes a good point.

John Smith said...

That would work anonymous if Yamamoto had not already predicted his defeat at the hands of the us...
He knew that unless the Japanese occupied Hawaii the US would eventually crush the empire.... Yamamoto's superiors chose not to heed his warning...

Fat Baldy Caver said...

Bougainville is an interesting place.

It was the site of one of the (possibly THE) biggest copper mine in the World, complete with significant ammounts of gold recovered during smelting.

RTZ was the operator, all the royalties went to the Papua New Guinea government, x hundred miles away in Port Moresby, while the islanders got paid cowrie shells and the tailings destroyed their fishing in the river and on the coral reef.

The locals got fed up, and to the best of my knowledge, are still independent, despite attempts by the PNG government to use mercenaries to re take the island.

Anonymous said...

Anony :
A secondary, perhaps more subtle, lesson - when vengeance struck, not only did the original perpetrator pay the price, but also whatever sycophants, toadies and running dogs were on board with him.

Anonymous said...

Sean: Good point. the Nips still have not apologized for WWII, including the Rape of Nanking. Don't think for a minute if they had the ability to do it again, that they wouldn't vaporize Seattle, San Francisco,and LA.
They are an arrogant, racist bunch.