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Posted: 1/7/2024 11:12:51 AM EDT
World War II in the Pacific.  Admirals Ernest King and Nimitz wanted to invade Formosa/Taiwan.  That island had been under Japanese control since 1905 and there was plenty of time to fortify it and indoctrinate the population (at least cower them).  The USN felt that by bypassing the Philippines the Allies could stage their invasion of Japan from Taiwan/Formosa and provide a more direct supply line to China.  MacArthur felt that we had a moral obligation to the Filipino peoples to liberate them and that it would cut the Japanese off from other occupied areas.  Additionally the Philippines could be used as an initial staging point.  Both presented their arguments to FDR in Hawaii and the latter decided in favor of MacArthur.

Considering the US had plenty of guerilla support to harass the Japanese and to gather intelligence, it was probably the better decision to make.

My question:  To what extent would the Formosans/Taiwanese have fought/died for the Emperor?  To what extent were Japanese fortifications on the island back then.  Would it have cost more American lives to have taken Formosa/Taiwan than liberating the Philippines?
Link Posted: 1/7/2024 12:33:23 PM EDT
[#1]

Looking back there were several blunders in the island hopping campaign and MacArthur was well, all about MacArthur and leaving a legacy at the expense of others.

The Japanese forces in the Philippines, and on several other islands, should have been left to die on the vine.
Link Posted: 1/7/2024 12:35:27 PM EDT
[#2]
Would never happen..."dug- out doug" had already decided the U.S.was going to the Philippines. He and f.d.r. were "a@# h*%$" buddies.
Link Posted: 1/7/2024 7:52:53 PM EDT
[#3]
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Originally Posted By LittleAugieMo:
Would never happen..."dug- out doug" had already decided the U.S.was going to the Philippines. He and f.d.r. were "a@# h*%$" buddies.
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During the Great Depression FDR of necessity halved the Army's ammunition budget.  MacArthur was pissed and said to FDR that when an American soldier gets killed his last word would be, "Roosevelt!"  FDR told MacArthur to leave the office.

MacArthur for some reason was popular and unlike Gen. Short and Admiral Kimmel at Pearl Harbor, FDR couldn't sack him for the Philippines.
Link Posted: 1/7/2024 8:14:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Seabee_Mech] [#4]
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Originally Posted By Kraquine:


Looking back there were several blunders in the island hopping campaign and MacArthur was well, all about MacArthur and leaving a legacy at the expense of others.

The Japanese forces in the Philippines, and on several other islands, should have been left to die on the vine.
View Quote
The 2500 + POWs rescued from Cabanatuan and Los Banos prisons were probably pretty happy we chose to invade the Philippines, not to mention the 17 million Filipino citizens that would have suffered even worse than they already had from a cut off and unsupplied force of a few hundred thousand Japanese troops.
Link Posted: 1/7/2024 8:41:44 PM EDT
[#5]
Trying to take Taiwan while leaving Japanese forces in the Philippines would have been "unwise".

American forces would be mounting a major invasion in range of land based bombers on both sides. sandwiched in range of aircraft from both Mainland China & from the Philippines. The Japanese bombers that wiped out MacArthur's Air Force at Clark Field on December 8th 1941 flew from Taiwan.

Plus the Japanese had long established rule over Taiwan and had decades to prepare defenses.
Link Posted: 1/8/2024 9:42:00 AM EDT
[#6]
McManus' third book in his trilogy about the US Army in the Pacific, To The End of The Earth, somewhat responds to the question and I just finished the first chapter last night.  There were Formosan soldiers in Japanese service.  They were guarding a PoW camp and were cut off by a raiding force whose intent was to liberate the PoWs.  Their commander had PoWs whom were held hostage and negotiations ensued that allowed for them to leave but without their heavy weapons (rifles and pistols only) - sort of "honors of war" type thing ala 18th Century.  Once they were free of their American escorts, they broke up in all directions and fled despite their captain trying to hold them together as a unit.   If this was characteristic of the Formosans (not saying they were cowards but rather reluctant draftees who didn't revel in the notion of dying for the emperor), they had to be kept under tight control to keep them fighting.

Philippines was the correct choice and Formosa/Taiwan would have been been more costly.
Link Posted: 1/13/2024 11:56:43 AM EDT
[#7]
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Originally Posted By Kraquine:


Looking back there were several blunders in the island hopping campaign and MacArthur was well, all about MacArthur and leaving a legacy at the expense of others.

The Japanese forces in the Philippines, and on several other islands, should have been left to die on the vine.
View Quote


I could not agree more.

MacArthur was one of the worst "Successful" generals in American history, hey we build statues of him...
Link Posted: 1/13/2024 2:40:21 PM EDT
[#8]
What irked both GI and Marines alike was MacArthur's propensity to declare an island "secured" and they (GIs and Marines) were still engaged in heavy fighting.  He did that quite frequently too.  MacArthur was a headline grabber who declined sharing the spotlight and took all the glory for himself.  Eichelberger (I Corps and later 8th Army) grew to hate the man.

BTW, Peleliu and Anguar were both unneccessary.
Link Posted: 3/17/2024 11:49:58 PM EDT
[#9]
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Originally Posted By Riter:
What irked both GI and Marines alike was MacArthur's propensity to declare an island "secured" and they (GIs and Marines) were still engaged in heavy fighting.  He did that quite frequently too.  MacArthur was a headline grabber who declined sharing the spotlight and took all the glory for himself.  Eichelberger (I Corps and later 8th Army) grew to hate the man.

BTW, Peleliu and Anguar were both unneccessary.
View Quote


There was debate in Nimitz`s command about the need for the Peleliu-Anguar operation. There was a recommendation to cancel it, but Nimitz felt it was better to have a landbased option available.

As far as the Taiwan or Phillipines decision, I don`t think Nimitz felt too strongly on the matter. US air & submarine bases on either Taiwan or Luzon would equally serve  to cut Japan`s sea lines of communication. I think Halsey`s carrier raids with 3rd Fleet made the answer obvious. The central Phillipines were not heavily defended versus the heavy air strikes from Taiwan that ultimately sank the USS Princeton, and damaged the new USS Houston. I think invadng Taiwan would have turned into another Okinawa.
Link Posted: 3/18/2024 12:55:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: Sinister] [#10]
Spain ceded the Philippines to the US under terms ending the Spanish-American War.  They were technically an American colony, and thousands of American troops and civilians were prisoner there.

Filipinos had no love for the Japanese.
Link Posted: 3/20/2024 4:59:32 PM EDT
[#11]
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Originally Posted By arbob:


There was debate in Nimitz`s command about the need for the Peleliu-Anguar operation. There was a recommendation to cancel it, but Nimitz felt it was better to have a landbased option available.

As far as the Taiwan or Phillipines decision, I don`t think Nimitz felt too strongly on the matter. US air & submarine bases on either Taiwan or Luzon would equally serve  to cut Japan`s sea lines of communication. I think Halsey`s carrier raids with 3rd Fleet made the answer obvious. The central Phillipines were not heavily defended versus the heavy air strikes from Taiwan that ultimately sank the USS Princeton, and damaged the new USS Houston. I think invadng Taiwan would have turned into another Okinawa.
View Quote

Concur.  Much bigger land mass and a people indoctrinated (but somewhat disloyal) to fight for a foreign emperor.  It would have been terrible for us.

There was no need for Peleliu or Anguar.  It made Dugout Doug happy to have his flank secured.  So long as our subs could maintain a blockade, those garrisons would have been starved out.
Link Posted: 4/14/2024 8:50:19 AM EDT
[#12]
One thing to include in discussion is would invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa been necessary if Formosa was secured?
Link Posted: 4/15/2024 7:02:32 PM EDT
[#13]
I think the loses on Taiwan would have been much higher than Iwo Jima and Okinawa combined.  Japan occupied that island since 1905 and has had four decades to indoctrinate and fortify that island.

If anyone knows any Taiwanese, perhaps (s)he can clue us in on the defensive preparations the Japanese made there.  I never went there but knew that the democratic KMT was no better than a fascist state under Chiang Kai Shek (1949 onwards).
Link Posted: 5/17/2024 10:12:02 PM EDT
[#14]
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Originally Posted By cpg1:
One thing to include in discussion is would invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa been necessary if Formosa was secured?
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Iwo Jima and Okinawa both provided additional airfields for closer support for the invasion of Japan. Okinawa and its` nearby islands also provided anchorages for the fleet. Iwo Jima`s airfields actually saved thousands of aircrew by providing emergency airfiels for B-29s. It also allowed P-51s to fly escort for bomber missions.
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