Academic journal article Military Review

Grave of A Dozen Schemes: British Naval Planning and the War against Japan, 1943-1945

Academic journal article Military Review

Grave of A Dozen Schemes: British Naval Planning and the War against Japan, 1943-1945

Article excerpt

GRAVE OF A DOZEN SCHEMES:

British Naval Planning and the War Against Japan, 1943-1945 by H.P. Willmott. 316 pages. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD. 1996. $36.95.

Grave of a Dozen Schemes is a frustrating book, not because it is poorly written or boring, but because its subject is frustrating. From 1943 to 1945, British and Commonwealth forces faced severe limitations. Manpower was short; the British fleet was committed to fighting raiders and submarines; and British aircraft could only handle short-range missions in the European Theater. In addition, both India and Australia were limited by austere infrastructures.

This book integrates these and other limitations into a discussion of British planning for the war against Japan from a naval perspective. Everything depended on naval capability in the fight with Japan. Conflicting objectives created the frustration.

In a coalition war, partners often have different strategic objectives as well as different ways to obtain common objectives. Because the British could not resolve their internal differences, much less differences with their coalition partners, they drifted from plan to plan.

By late 1943 Americans were the principals in the alliance and wanted a complete, all-encompassing victory over Japan, which meant the Japanese had to be driven out of China. Thus, the United States' first objective as a coalition partner was to open a land route to China.

Winston Churchill, a Victorian Age man, wanted to restore British power in Singapore, Malaya and Hong Kong. Thus, his objective conflicted with that of the United States. …

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