Battle Ground History

Episode 16 - The Battles of Midway versus Poltava

August 12, 2018 Season 1 Episode 16
Battle Ground History
Episode 16 - The Battles of Midway versus Poltava
Chapters
Battle Ground History
Episode 16 - The Battles of Midway versus Poltava
Aug 12, 2018 Season 1 Episode 16
Mark Schauss
Midway and Poltava are discussed today as they turned the wars they were fought in around.
Show Notes Transcript
Midway and Poltava were two monumental battles that would shape the history of their respective countries, the United States of America and Russia.
Speaker 1:
0:17
Welcome to battleground history, episode number 16, the battles of midway versus Poltava. Today's podcast covers two pivotal clashes, one midway which turned around the Pacific conflict between Japan and the United States of America and Poltava, which pitted two great northern nations, Sweden, but by Charles the twelfth in Russia, directed by Peter the Great. The Battle of midway was a naval engagement between the imperial Japanese navy in the United States. It started on June fourth, 1942 and ended on either the sixth or the seventh depending on your point of view. To say that it was a pivotal moment in the Pacific War Theater is to underestimate its significance grossly. Let's first introduce the commander's whose roles and actions were crucial to the success of the Americans and the failures of the Japanese leading the US was fleet commander Chester Nimitz. He wanted to have his most aggressive commander William Halsy to lead the ships, but he was out of commissions supposedly having come down with chicken pox.
Speaker 1:
1:33
Given the situation, it fell upon the shoulders of Rear Admiral Frank, check flusher and Admiral Raymond spruance. The Japanese will lead by Admiral. You said Oco Yamamoto, who you will meet in episode 27 when he faces off against William the conqueror, aiding him were Nobutaka Condo Chattahoochee, no Gumala and tame on Yamaguchi. The American forces included the garrison on midway and taskforce 16 and 17. This included three carriers, seven heavy cruisers and destroyers, 233 carrier based aircraft, 127 land based planes and 16 submarines on the Japanese side. There was the first, second and fifth naval fleets, and the 11th Air Fleet. There were 21 ships in 264 planes. They also had a substantial reserve of 13 fighting ships. 30 five support boats that never saw action. Yamamoto is playing was a two pronged attack. One was to send up a group towards the Aleutian islands as a diversion with the primary goal of attacking than occupying the atoll of midway.
Speaker 1:
2:53
The plane would have been brilliant except the Americans that crack the Japanese naval code. None of those Jan 25, the Americans knew it was coming and could prepare for the eventual attack. American crypto analysts had cracked the Japanese military code at the Battle of the coral sea, coming on the heels of breaking the diplomatic code before Pearl Harbor Midway was critical to the Americans as it was a significant submarine base and a jumping off point for their plan of island hopping with the goal of being able to launch Aerotek's on the Japanese mainland. It was also 1200 miles or 1900 kilometers away from a wall who? Hawaii and the home of the Pacific Fleet. The distance also admit that midway would be too far for planes from Hawaii to aiden the defense, the battle of the Coral Sea fort from May fourth through the eighth, 19, 42 was the first naval engagement that halted the Japanese onslaught, the Americans, while they lost the fight in the short run, it was a longterm when the US had lost the carrier, Lexington and the Japanese thought they lost the Yorktown, but this was not the case.
Speaker 1:
4:08
The Industrial America, they were able to rehabilitate the your count in record time, which was playing an essential role at midway. Another misconception the Japanese had was the thought that the attack on Pearl Harbor and the sweeping winds throughout the Pacific would demoralize the Americans. Nothing could've been further from the truth. While Yellow Lodo knew that waking the industrial giant was a big risk, he thought that if he could capture midway, he might be able to hold off theu s and make them sue for peace. The plane by the Japanese was spread out their forces with many ships lagging behind the main force. This was a major mistake and one of the many reasons for the American victory. Yamamoto was way too cocky and way too sure of the perceived weakness of his enemy because the Americans knew that an attack was imminent. They began sending spotter planes to tell the commanders were the Japanese ships were the first order was on the morning of June third when Ensign Jack Reed reported that quote.
Speaker 1:
5:13
It must be the whole Jap navy. While it wasn't, it was only the invasion. Fleet of Admiral Condo be. 17 bombers were sent out from midway, but no hits were recorded on June fourth though to real fighting began. Now, Guma sent his bombers out to soften up the midway. Garrison, the effect wasn't nearly as powerful as was necessary, so the second wave of planes was put together to try again. This is a significant turning point in the battle. The Guma was informed that a US aircraft carrier responded, but the information was vague and varied about the size and number of ships this caused him to hesitate question whether we should load bombs on his planes to track midway or load torpedoes to attack the American ships. It was here that the Americans began their attack on his ships, the Akagi Kaga in store. You wave after wave of American planes tried and failed with their wave top attacks.
Speaker 1:
6:16
The Japanese zeroes flew low and what the US pilots, but this proved the fatal mistake and staying low as a bunch of Douglas sbd dauntless dive bombers came from on high and devastated the Japanese fleet. The aforementioned ships were all destroyed as they were loaded with planes filled with ordinance. They exploded and with it came in into the expansion of the Japanese empire the next few days. So the destruction and many other Japanese ships, namely the here, you then were Kuma, while the USS Yorktown suffered enough damage to force it back to Pearl Harbor for repairs. It didn't make it as it was sent by a Japanese submarine. The aftermath of the battle of midway was the beginning of the end of the Japanese navy is domination of the Pacific theater. It was still a dominant force, but it lost a significant percentage of its aircraft carriers. More importantly, they lost a large number of skilled pilots, the cream of the crop with the US, pressing them on from this moment on it to bring on new pilots before they were adequately trained, the Americans lost approximately 300 men along with the carrier Yorktown and a destroyer also killed was major general clarence tinker.
Speaker 1:
7:35
The Japanese last 10 times that number of men, 3057. They lost four carriers. Khaki cargo here, you in store, you other destroyers were severely damaged or in the case of the Macola sunk. There was considerable criticism of Admiral Spruance Lance for not pursuing and destroying the remainder of the Japanese fleet. Like many historians have agreed with his decision there were getting low and torpedoes and fuel as well as having to repair significant damage to their ships. What I found interesting in researching this battle was the report that was submitted to the Japanese high command. The following quote, the enemy is not aware of our plans. We were not discovered until early in the morning of the fifth at the earliest, well, this is contrary to what we now know, but it was a remarkable statement. Also, the Japanese government kept the loss of secret from the people and transferred many of the injured two hospitals that were isolated and the men were unable and not allowed to even contact their families.
Speaker 1:
8:42
Now onto the next contestant, that battle of Poltava. Let's set the stage. The Battle of Poltava was part of what is known to history as the great northern war. Many of the participants switched sides times, but the main players were Sweden. On one side with the Russians Polish in Denmark on the other, early on in the war, Sweden crushed the Russians at the battle of Narva, which lets Swedish King Charles Twelfth to believe like most of Europe did, that Russia was some backward oriental nation with a rag tag, undisciplined army, unworthy of a great power such as his. Because of this viewpoint, Charles decided to end things with Denmark and Poland, so we took the six years after Narva to crush the other two countries, which he did successfully with his flanks, protected. He went after the big prize Russia. What he did not know was that as adversary, so our Peter, the first was a remarkable man who didn't take the feet as a shameless act.
Speaker 1:
9:44
He took it as a lesson to be learned and learn. He did. Using the six years spite is a way to train, increase in size and arm. His army and newly formed navy. Peter was not going to allow Russia to be beaten like he was previously the czar board in a number of western military men to change the backward fighting style of his people. He was bringing his country into the European fold. Charles though was unaware of this and if he knew they were pairing, preparing for a second fight, he held the Russians in such low esteem that he was dismissive of their enhanced fighting capabilities. It should be noted that the rest of Europe was watching the events unfold in the great northern war, but they were dealing with their own issues, namely the war of the Spanish succession, which pitted the grand alliance led by the Holy Roman Empire, Great Britain and the Dutch republic against the board bone alliance led by France, Spain, and to a lesser extent, Cologne and leash after Charles had finally defeated Augustus, the second of sex and the Poland czar.
Speaker 1:
10:52
Peter offered a peace treaty in which the Russians would surrender all of their Baltic land except for St Petersburg, but the Swedish king refused. He was so sure he could beat his foes and battle with ease that he thought a treaty would be unsatisfactories as he could gain far more by fighting. Is Oriental adversary starting in late August 17. Oh, seven. Charles lead is invasion force eastward with the goal being Moscow. He slowly moved forward until he reached the area near Minsk and what is the present day, the capital of Belarus, where we made winter quarters. The Russians offered very little resistance, which was in part due to the beloved and rebellion going on between 17. Oh seven. This was an uprising of the dawn cost sex, unhappy with the policies of Peter as well as a large number of Russian peasants running away from serfdom, a form of slavery.
Speaker 1:
11:50
I covered the Bulava and rebellion in episode one, 26 of the brush and rulers history podcast. Because of the Russian winter, Charles wasn't able to move his troops head until June of 17. Oh, eight. Even worse. General Logan hopped with is 12,000 man. Army wasn't able to join up with his Swedish king until mid October. By this time, Charles decided to move south into Ukraine to join up with the now insurgent forces of Castech headman. Ivan Medspa, who had previously helped the Russians put down the beloved rebellion General Boris Sharon have, and Mikael Gallitzin, a tech element, hops, men at the battle of [inaudible]. This proved disastrous for the suites if they lost half of their men, and as importantly their baggage train and food supplies. This battle has been known to some as the mother of poltava general and Prince Alexandra Mincha cough, race, disarming in the same direction and got to the town of tour, and first we ordered everything destroyed, including all food and ammunition stocks to deprive the Swedes, have critical supplies. Strike one.
Speaker 1:
13:08
We now moved to the spring of 17, oh, nine, which followed the coldest winter in Europe and over 500 years known as the great frost of 17. Oh, nine. It was so cold at parts of the waters of Venice froze over and France. Over 600,000 people were killed because of the subsequent famine. This cold snap is reminiscent of the invasions and Napoleon and Hitler, but actually was far worse than either King Charles the twelfth had by now lost half of his fighting men and those left were indeed weaker than the day they crossed the vistula river in 17. Oh, seven. Still, they were formidable fighting force led by their brilliant leader, still strike to the Swedes, begin their psas, their seizure, the fortress. We'll on May second 1,709 Peter began to gather his army of 80,000 to relieve them in on the [inaudible] river. On June 20th, while on reconnaissance, Charles was struck in the foot by a stray bullet.
Speaker 1:
14:11
It was so bad he was unable to attend the upcoming battle strike. Three Field Marshal, Carl Gustaf, rents cold to command of the 30,000 men left to face the Russians, and the time between the arrival and the battle, peter in his generals had built many readouts. These are kind of forced in a t shape to revit flanking fire against the incoming Swedish army, one by one. The readouts were taken by the braves, Swedish soldiers, but the toll of attrition began to weaken them hour by hour. They started to create a hole in the Russian lines, but it turned into a trap when they became involved and what history calls a Kanye envelopment. It became a route some fled into the surrounding forest. Many were killed or captured. Charles ordered a hasty retreat. He was able to escape into Ottoman territory with only 1500 men. There he would stay until December of 17 slash 15 when he returned to Sweden, King Charles, the twelfth of Sweden would die three years later at the siege of rederick sten.
Speaker 1:
15:25
Estimates of casualties depends on who tells the story to listen to the Russians. Nine thousand 234 Swedes were killed and 2,900 were captured with the victors losing just 1,345 with 3,200 wounded. According to the Swedish though, they had 6,900 killed in about 2,900. Captured so little different. The outcome of the battle of Poltava was to demote Sweden from the top of the food chain and the north replaced by the Russian bear. Sweden was never again to be considered a great power, especially after signing the treaty of Nice Stat in 17, 21. Now onto the scoring. This is for the 15 points that are rewarded for the number of people involved at the battle of midway. I will only include the number of fighting. It's the Japanese had countless ships that sat idly by. It's somewhat difficult to come up with an exact number from, but from what I could see about 10 to 15,000, I may be way off, but that's what I could find in my research.
Speaker 1:
16:35
The Swedes had approximately $30,000 while the Russians had 80 for a total of about 110,000. For this I get pulled Tava 15 points and midway 10 next up is the 20 points for the impact of the battle on the rest of the world. At the time it occurred for Poltava and mark the end of the Swedish empire and it freed countries like Denmark, Norway, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia from its influence, but put some of them under the control of Russia. It wasn't earth shattering change of the balance of power when it comes to the battle of midway, you have a whole to the expansion of the Japanese imperial navy in the Pacific. You destroy a large part of their carrier fleet and make a significant dent in their experienced pilot force. Still, the impact was not immediate at as World War Two is still at kind of its low point for the allies and its effects would honestly not be seen for another year or two.
Speaker 1:
17:35
For this reason, I'm giving Poltava Twenty and midway twelfth mixed up as the effect on world history made way was critical in the defeat of Japan during the Pacific conflict, there is serious doubt that the war would have ended in 1945. Had this paddle not turned out. The way it did possible ramification is that the Soviet Union may have been dragged into the conflict and with their help, the war would have also been successfully concluded, but the USSR would be gained substantial territory and the Far East with Poltava. We have the emergence of Russia as a great power in the north in Europe. They were still seen as a nation to deal with and still a little bit of a backwater oriental country, but not as much as before. They kept on developing to where they were able to stop the French invasion in 18, 12. How the world might have changed if Charles had been successful.
Speaker 1:
18:34
For these reasons, I'm giving a slight edge to poltava 25, 23 for the last and biggest price. 40 points for how the battle effected their country for the better maybe way gave the American people and military and morale boost that would translate into a final victory over the Japanese in August of 1945. The ensuing rebuilding of the defeated nations of Germany and Japan, as well as Western Europe, gave America and economic boost that would carry it to present day. Remember, the United States was the only industrially capable country to be able to aid the combatants in World War II and afterwards as it was virtually untouched except for Pearl Harbor. Poltava though gave the Russians in new sense of belonging to Western Europe and open the door for a renaissance that admit that missed during the isolationist period. Few Russian people really benefited, but the elite certainly did. Serfdom continued unabated. The majority of the people, so no improvement in their lot.
Speaker 1:
19:39
You know, as a matter of fact, many of the Russian people hated the reforms of Peter. Had he lost the battle, the country would have stagnated and may return somewhat to the days before his ascension to the throne. Now, this was a hard score to give out as both were significant victories with important ramifications for the nations. But I have to give the points out to someone I'm giving midway the full 40 with poltava getting 35. So in the final tally, we have midway receiving a respectable 80 points, but the winter is poltava with a whopping and will deserve 95. It will move on to the next round. We'll face the United States civil war battle of Antietam. Well, I hope you enjoy today's podcast. Join me next time as we move over to the historical events bracket will face often to amazing challengers and we're going to review the impact of two things that changed our world altogether. The invention of the Gutenberg press or printing press, and it's going up against the industrial revolution. Thanks for listening. As always, I want to remind you to join us on facebook at battleground history, where I just announced that Albert Einstein has been returned to the tournament in the losers bracket per some of the comments I received with his battle against Michael Faraday. Also cannot come on over to my blog site@battlegroundhistory.com and read some of the new content I've posted up. So until next time, remember, we are not the makers of history. We are history.