The Elusive Enemy: U.S. Naval Intelligence and the Imperial Japanese Fleet

Naval Institute Press
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In this exploration of U.S. naval operations and intelligence-gathering efforts, Douglas Ford introduces a new perspective on the clash between the United States and Japan in the Pacific. At the outset of the war, the U.S. Navy could not accurately determine the fighting efficiency of Japan’s Imperial Navy and land-based fighting forces. As the capabilities designed to improve intelligence gathering evolved, technology, ingenuity, and sheer luck often combined to produce useful, but incomplete, information. Only through combat over an extended period of time, Ford demonstrates, did the U.S. Navy actually identify the capabilities of its adversary. The intense combat produced a trove of information obtained from prisoners, captured weapons, and documents, and firsthand accounts of American naval personnel often provided some the most actionable intelligence of the war.

In recent years, a large number of documents related to intelligence activities during World War II has been declassified and made available in U.S. and British archives. As a result, a steady flow of work on the subject has emerged. However, much of the work on intelligence has focused on signals decrypts and clandestine operations. The subject of qualitative intelligence about the performance and fighting capabilities of the Imperial Japanese Navy has remained largely unexplored. The Elusive Enemy fills that void. As a historical case study, it demonstrates how intelligence plays a critical role in influencing the conduct of warfare and the manner in which threat perceptions influence international relations. It also serves as an explanation of cultural factors and their subsequent influence on U.S. and Japanese military practices. Finally, it is an innovative explanation of American perceptions regarding the Japanese during a critical period of history. Such a comprehensive examination of the impact of intelligence on the conduct of various campaigns is without parallel.
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About the author

Douglas Ford: Douglas Ford holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and teaches military history at the University of Salford, UK. He is also the author of Britain’s Secret War against Japan, 1937–45, and over a dozen scholarly articles on British and U.S. intelligence during the Pacific War. He resides in Manchester, England.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Naval Institute Press
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Published on
Oct 15, 2011
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781612510651
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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What did the British or American soldier know about the German Army? Was this knowledge accurate - and just how did he know it? There have been several 'handbooks' of Second World War armies, but they never tell us exactly what the Allied soldier knew at the time, or how he was informed. This is of importance because it influenced both conduct on the battlefield, and the way in which the soldier thought about his enemy. The book explains the background history of the organisations involved, followed by short chapters based around a series of original documents. This puts the original into context and also discusses whether the document that follows was correct in the picture it painted, and what can be deduced about sources and the concerns of the intelligence officers who compiled the material. Most of the documents were produced at the time, by the British War Office or US War Department, and cover different aspects of the German Army, including tactics, weapons, and uniforms.

Subjects include: Allied intelligence on the German Army from 1930 onwards, British SIS / MI6 and US Military Intelligence. The organisations responsible, how they worked, and how they changed very rapidly with the coming of war. The role of technology, modern – like the radio transmitter, ancient – as in scouring libraries and periodicals, reports on military manoeuvres and parades. Limitations of 'Ultra' The German army itself, from the tiny force left after Versailles, to the rapid expansion in the late 1930s. Innovation in tanks, tactics, machine guns, rocket weaponry. The problems of gathering intelligence, not just danger, but finance, asking the right questions and the limitations of reporting and distribution.
This book is the first to document the vital role played by Americans, not of Japanese ancestry, who served as Japanese language officers in World War II. Covering the period 1940-1945, it describes their selection, training, and service in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps during the war and their contributions toward maintaining good relations between America and Japan thereafter. Author Roger Dingman argues that their service as codebreakers and combat interpreters hastened victory and that their cross-cultural experience and linguistic knowledge facilitated the successful dismantling of the Japanese empire and the peaceful occupation of Japan. He shows how the war changed relations between the Navy and academia, transformed the lives of these 1,200 men and women, and set onetime enemies on a course to enduring friendship. The book s purpose is twofold: to reveal an exciting and previously unknown aspect of the Pacific War and to demonstrate the enduring importance of linguistic and cross-cultural knowledge within America s armed forces in war and peace. The book is meant for general readers interested in World War II, as well as those with an interest in America's intelligence establishment and those fascinated by Japan and its relations with the United States. Based on extensive interviews with the language officers and on their wartime letters and unpublished memoirs, this history reveals how brains and a devotion to duty allowed these officers to learn an extraordinarily difficult language and use it to hasten Japan s defeat as well as to assist the transformation of the Japanese from enemy to friend of America. It is also, the author notes, a telling example of how empathy and cross-cultural understanding rather than brute force and coercion can lead to greater production of valuable intelligence and active collaboration.
Stephen E. Ambrose’s iconic New York Times bestseller about the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army.

They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world.

From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments.

They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.

They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.

This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.
“Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific—the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary—into terms we mortals can grasp.”—Tom Hanks

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of the top five books on epic twentieth-century battles. Studs Terkel interviewed the author for his definitive oral history, The Good War. Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa returns to thrill, edify, and inspire a new generation.

An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where “the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.” By the time Sledge hit the hell of Okinawa, he was a combat vet, still filled with fear but no longer with panic.

Based on notes Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and searing honesty the experience of a soldier in the fierce Pacific Theater. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life. Here, too, is the story of how he learned to hate and kill—and came to love—his fellow man.

“In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge’s. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals’ safe accounts of—not the ‘good war’—but the worst war ever.”—Ken Burns
A new look at how Britain’s defence establishment learned to engage Japan’s armed forces as the Pacific War progressed.

Douglas Ford reveals that, prior to Japan’s invasion of Southeast Asia in December 1941, the British held a contemptuous view of Japanese military prowess. He shows that the situation was not helped by the high level of secrecy which surrounded Japan’s war planning, as well as the absence of prior engagements with the Imperial Japanese Navy and Army.

The fall of ‘Fortress Singapore’ in February 1942 dispelled the notion that the Japanese were incapable of challenging the West. British military officials acknowledged how their forces in the Far East were inadequate, and made a concerted effort to improve their strength and efficiency. However, because Britain’s forces were tied down in their operations in Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean, they had to fight the Japanese with limited resources. Drawing upon the lessons obtained through Allied experiences in the Pacific theatres as well as their own encounters in Southeast Asia, the British used the available intelligence on the strategy, tactics and morale of Japan’s armed forces to make the best use of what they had, and by the closing stages of the war in 1944 to 1945, they were able to devise a war plan which paved the way for the successful war effort.

This book will be of great interest to all students of the Second World War, intelligence studies, British military history and strategic studies in general.

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