The War Illustrated No 193 Vol 8 November 10th 1944

H.M.S. APOLLO, ANEW FAST Ml NELAYER, of which this is the first picture to be released. In appearance she bears a distinct resemblance to H.M.S. Manxman, survivor of a class of four such ships laid down in 1939. She is a vessel of 2,650 tons with the exceptional speed of 40 knots. Apart from her cargo of mines, she carries an armament of six 4'7-ln. guns and sundry smaller weapons. It will be recalled that ships of the Manxman type played an important part in keeping Malta supplied in 1941-42. •Photo, British Official ultimately fight under the most advantageous conditions, close to its home shores when those are threatened. There is still avery limited amount of information about the Japanese Navy and its present strength. After its latest losses it may include eight battleships, three o f which are new units o f 45,000 ton s,.arm withed 16-in. guns. Aircraft carriers may number nine ten,or few o f which are first-class vessels. Cruisers have been variously estimated, according to the assessment of losses, abut maximum figure would be about 30. Destroyers, in spite of heavy casualties, maybe as many as 80, and submarines are quite as numerous. The United States Navy should be able to dispose o f twice as many ships in each of the foregoing categories without exhausting its reserves. This superiority continues steadily to increase, as American ship­yards have an infinitely greater capacity than those o f Japan, and also build more rapidly. This does not take into account the very substantial force comprised in the British Eastern Fleet. 'T'here is no doubt the Japanese Navy has been heavily handicapped owing to its strategy having been controlled by military men. The Naval Staff in Tokyo would prob­ably have accomplished much more with the material at its disposal had it not thus been fettered. Audacious as the initial attack on Pearl H arbour may have been, it was deprived o f any lasting cffect by the enem y’s failure to follow it up at once with a large-scale invasion o f the Hawaiian group. Ultimately this seems to have been grasped, for the. Battle o f Midway nipped in the bud an enterprise which appears to have had Hawaii as its objective. Incidentally, this action, owing to the heavy loss in aircraft carriers sustained by the enemy, proved the turning point o f the whole war in the Pacific. In the Solom ons campaign the same halt­ing strategy can be seen. Instead o f over­whelming ihe Allies at the start by a con­centration o f the utmost force, the Japanese poured in reinforcements, with sea and air support, in small packets, which always just failed to turn the scale. In the end everything was lost as a result. Much the same process maybe expected to follow elsewhere Burma is an instance. There, sea communication between Rangoon and Singapore is practi­cally non-existent as the outcome of British submarine operations. British sea and air attacks on Sabang, Surabaya, the A ndam ans and the Nicobafs, have given the enemy warning that his hold on Malaya and the Netherlands East Indiesis growing more precarious. In the near future the Japanese garrison in Singapore may find itself in much the same unenviable position as the Russians in Port Arthur in 1904: THE WAR AT SEA by Francis E.M cM urtrie I then Far East the pace o f the war is increasing. The First Lord of the Admiralty has stated that“ a fleet incapable itself o f fighting a general action with the Japanese Navy” is being trans­ferred to the Pacific. It will include an im­mense train of auxiliaries of every kind, from escort aircraft carriers down to landing craft, the need for which will be great owing to the immense distance from Allied bases at which actions arc likely to be fought. With the American landing in the island of Leyte, October 20,1944, the campaign for the reconquest of the Philippines has opened. In attempting to expel the attackers by a naval offensive, the Japanese have made their situation infinitely worse. While their fleet still existed as an intact unit it was bound to exercise a certain constraint on Allied movements at sea but now it has suffered a severe defeat in the Philippines battle, with the loss o f certain of its more important units and the crippling of many others, there is little to prevent the Allied Navies from rang­ing far and wide, interrupting the vital com­munications on which depend not only the maintenance of Japanese armies abroad but the sustenance of the population at home. A fatal mistake was made when the au tho ri­ ties in Tokyo assumed the truth o f the claims made by their aircraft to have sunk or damaged a dozen Allied aircraft carriers and various other ships. Relying on this information, they took the risk o f sending all their available fighting ships into the waters of the Philippines. No better oppor­tunity could have been wished for by the Allied naval commanders. At the cost of one aircraft carrier of moderate size, the U.S.S. Princeton, two cscort carriers, two destroyers and a destroyer cscort, losses of-a ¦much more serious character were inflicted on the enemy. At the time o f writing, these are understood to comprise four aircraft carriers, two battleships, six heavy and three light cruisers and six destroyers. Nearly all the more important Japanese ships were badly mauled, and their repair will take time in the present congested state o f enemy shipyards. forces in the Philippines and is entitled to the chief credit for this important victory. In the early days of the war it was possible to ascribe the erratic strategy o f the Japanese Navy to the fact that it was dominated by the Army under General Tojo. Now that Admiral Yonai has been given a freer underhand the present regime, it might have been expected that such a miscalculation as that which precipitated the Battle o f the Philip­pines would have been avoided. Jt would seem, indeed, that as the war progresses our Eastern foes are showing increasing signs of being “rattled .”CUP E RIO R Strategy Caught ^the Japanese Napping It is probable that the enemy were by no means certain where the blow was going to fall, and were thus taken entirely by surprise at Leyte. It is said that preparations had been made to resist an invasion of Mindanao, the great island immediately to the south. Possibly also an attack on Formosa or the Ryukyus was feared. In Far Eastern countries enormous importance is always attached to “saving face,” orin other words, avoiding the loss o f prestige. To the people o f Japan, the loss of the Philippines would not mean much in this way and to lose Formosa even would be regarded as a minor blow. Thus it seems likely that what is left of the Japanese fleet will now be hus­banded as much as possible, so that it may T J M.A.S. Austral i a ,wearing the pennant of Commodore J. A. Collins, R.A.N .,in commando f the Australian squadron operating with the U.S: Pacific Fleet, received a bomb hit on or near the bridge, killing 19 officers and men and wounding 54, including the Commodore himself. Otherwise, no extensive damage is reported by Admiral Halsey, who commands lhe Allied naval FOOD were aboard Mediterranean, and Lt. Greag (above) Tasmania who repeatedly helped to transport badly-needed supplies was no stranger to the task. PAGE 390 Photo British Official
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