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Dave Siciliano (ADS)
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Reged: 05/17/04
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American Caesar, The Sequel
      #409087 - 05/16/15 01:28 PM

Finally read through the attack on Philippines and have to say, the information on who is responsible for our planes being on the ground with the Japanese attacked is a bit cloudy. While MacArthur certainly was overall responsible, MG Brereton was directly responsible for the air assets and the record is unclear in many places about who what orders were given when according to author (although there is a lot of finger pointing). Although Brereton seemed to do well up to Noon of the day of the attack, after that he erred greatly in bringing the fighters and bombers that were in the air in to fuel and arm for an attack on Formosa.

A few points: MacArthur did authorize movement of half of the B-17s from Clark to another base to be out of the range of Japanese bombers from Formosa about a week before the attack at Brereton's urging: they were never moved. Later when interviewed, MacArthur said he didn't know why they hadn't been moved.

Brereton urged Southerland (Mac's chief of staff) to allow a meeting with MacArthur and Southerland said Mac was too busy. Inexcusable, but what occurred. Brereton wanted to attack Formosa early in the day and wanted to perform reconnaissance. MacArthur was concerned about not doing anything that considered striking the first offensive blow until late that morning. Early in the day, the P-40s were scrambled when RADAR showed incoming blips. The intruders turned off and took the combat edge off the P-40 pilots. Late that morning, Brereton ordered all planes to return to base for rearming and refueling after being authorized to recon, then, attack Formosa. There had been a fog in Formosa which delayed the Japanese departure. They departed late and arrived just when Brereton had his planes on the ground.

Edited by Mike Overly (05/19/15 10:07 AM)


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Dave Siciliano (ADS)
Top Gun


Reged: 05/17/04
Posts: 8469
Loc: ADS (Dallas, TX)
American Caesar, The Sequel [Re: Dave Siciliano (ADS)]
      #409089 - 05/16/15 01:37 PM

Let me add that Hap Arnold had wired Brereton early in the morning to get the planes in the air so they didn't get caught on the ground like at Pearl Harbor. Brereton did, but called them back late in the morning as covered above. No fighters were left in the air while others refueled. Seems like plenty of blame to go around.

The author did comment on MacArthur being completely over loaded the day of the attack, numbed was a term used. The author speculates this may have had several causes, but doesn't know exactly why. MacArthur thought the Japanese might by-pass Philippines. He very much under estimated their capabilities. He wanted no doubt as to who was the aggressor and thus delayed some actions.

When interviewed later Brereton, Sutherland and MacArthur gave very different statements, some of which directly conflicted with one another.

Edited by Mike Overly (05/19/15 10:08 AM)


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Dave Siciliano (ADS)
Top Gun


Reged: 05/17/04
Posts: 8469
Loc: ADS (Dallas, TX)
American Caesar, The Sequel [Re: Dave Siciliano (ADS)]
      #409090 - 05/16/15 01:44 PM

Shortly before Noon blips began to show up on the islands sole RADAR station showing V formations headed toward Clark. Coast watchers also picked up the planes as they came in. Warnings were sent to Clark via teletype, by radio and by phone. The teletype didn't get through because the Clark operator like most of the pilots was at lunch. Static, possibly by the Japanese, made the radio transmission incomprehensible. On the phone a message was passed on to a lieutenant who said he would pass it on as soon as possible: he never did.

Edited by Mike Overly (05/19/15 10:08 AM)


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