Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today In History: Heroic retreat?

On this date in 1942, enticed from any thoughts of heroism by the carrot of a medal on a light blue ribbon, Douglas MacArthur stepped aboard PT 41 and bravely left General Wainwright to his fate on Corregidor.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I used to work for Admiral John Bulkely when he was the President of the Board of Inspection and Survey in his 50th year of active duty.

Lieutenant Bulkeley commanded the PT Boats that got MacArthur out. He received the Medal of Honor for that effort.

TC
Leatherneck

Bram said...

Not many Marines are big Dugout Doug fans. On the other hand, Mac had been warning the administration for years that the Philippines were indefensible with the forces he was given.

Ken said...

It's even harder when you leave your air force lined up wingtip to wingtip....

Nathan Brindle said...

No Marine, just a historian of the time and the theatre. But I've still got no little or no use for Mac.

You are aware that the famous picture of him trudging back ashore on Leyte was staged, right?

The man was nothing without his press agents. And Truman was absolutely correct in firing him for insubordination. I doubt that any military man in the history of this country -- other than Washington, who wisely declined the honor -- has been closer to being acclaimed Caesar than MacArthur -- and what a disaster that would have been.

On the other hand, I doubt that any other American general could have forced the Emperor to come to him, which was a real coup in postwar Japan. I'll give him credit for being a much better military administrator than he ever was a general.

jimbob86 said...

Bravely, Sir Robin ran away.....

Any more similarities between Generals MacArthur and McClellan other than that they were fine Admin guys with political aspirations?

Anonymous said...

General Macarthur was ORDERED to leave Corregidor. While he had enormous faults, he was a personally brave man. His forces, regardless of what the men thought of him, suffered one third of the casualties that Eisenhower's men did in Europe. His forces performed eighty-seven successful amphibious landings in a row with no failures. Try actually reading his biography "American Ceasar" by William Manchester. It explains the man, warts and all.

Russ

Anonymous said...

At least The President's (erstwhile nominee) Intelligence chief gave him a little respect (for firing on demonstrators, of course). I don't worship Saint Doug either, but I'm not as sure he was rotten to The Core, The Core, The Core.

He wasn't just a "good" administrator. We are years from recognizing what a work of genius the Army's military planning from the late 20's through the mid-30's was. As noted, he was the best emperor Japan ever had. Given another three months (I know--he wasn't), his PT and air defense plan for the Philippines would have worked, though probably to the Fleet's detriment. And he was right about the cobalt.

Most criticism of MacArthur comes from those still afraid he'll run for President.

Tam said...

"General Macarthur was ORDERED to leave Corregidor."

I know; hence my slandering reference to the Blue Max being used as a carrot.

Anonymous said...

He was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received in France during the Great War, and it wasn't a cheap one. Sort of rare, for a Brigadier General.

Anonymous said...

From what I heard around Manila in 1949/1950, if he'd wanted the job he could have been elected God For Life, there.

But, yeah, there was a good supply of warts.

Note that our tactics in Desert Storm parallelled the Inchon landing. Both were unexpected "curl arounds"; one via water, the other via land.

Art

Regolith said...

Anonymous: Sounds like pretty standard battle tactics to me: Get your enemy looking in one direction, then flank his ass and sucker punch him where he ain't expecting it..

You don't need a military genius to figure out that one.

tjbbpgobIII said...

Regolith, right, you don't need to be a military genius to figure it out, it is a tactic used down through history. MacArthur wasn't the first and Swartzkoff won't be the last. You do, however, have to be a military genius to pull it off or at least be opposing idiots.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:24, maybe the less said about the First War, the better. Either his detracting conspiracy is still hard at it, or recent developments show his performance there to be suspect, as well.