A World War 2 Betrayal of Trust that is costing the USA a trillion dollars today

The Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and codenamed Operation Watchtower by Allied forces, was a military campaign fought between 7 August 1942 and 9 February 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific theatre of World War II. It was the first major offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.

Surprised by the Allied offensive, the Japanese made several attempts between August and November 1942 to retake Henderson Field. Three major land battles, seven large naval battles (five nighttime surface actions and two carrier battles), and continual, almost daily aerial battles culminated in the decisive Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in early November 1942

Bad weather allowed the Allied expeditionary force to arrive unseen by the Japanese on the night of 6 August and the morning of 7 August, taking the defenders by surprise. This is sometimes called the Midnight Raid on Guadalcanal.

11,000 U.S. Marines came ashore on Guadalcanal between Koli Point and Lunga Point. Tulagi and two nearby small islands, Gavutu and Tanambogo, were assaulted by 3,000 U.S. Marines.

During the landing operations on 7 and 8 August, Japanese naval aircraft based at Rabaul, under the command of Sadayoshi Yamada, attacked the Allied amphibious forces several times, setting afire the transport USS George F. Elliot (which sank two days later) and heavily damaging the destroyer USS Jarvis. In the air attacks over the two days, the Japanese lost 36 aircraft, while the U.S. lost 19, both in combat and to accident, including 14 carrier fighters.

After these clashes, Fletcher was concerned about the losses to his carrier fighter aircraft strength, anxious about the threat to his carriers from further Japanese air attacks, and worried about his ships’ fuel levels. Fletcher withdrew from the Solomon Islands area with his carrier task forces the evening of 8 August. As a result of the loss of carrier-based air cover, Turner decided to withdraw his ships from Guadalcanal, even though less than half of the supplies and heavy equipment needed by the troops ashore had been unloaded. Turner planned, however, to unload as many supplies as possible on Guadalcanal and Tulagi throughout the night of 8 August and then depart with his ships early on 9 August. [wikipedia excerpts of the Guadalcanal Campaign]

The lightly-equipped Marines ended up surrounded. For months (August until November) the Japanese planes, opposed by only a handful of Marine fighters flying from a crude beachhead airstrip, pounded the hapless Americans. [David Axe at war is boring]

The carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) under aerial attack during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

Ibiblio hyperwar describes more details of the Guadalcanal campaign.

As an organization, the Marine Corps was forever changed by its exposure on Guadalcanal. “The lesson learned was that the U.S. Marine Corps needed to be able to bring its air power with it over the beach because the large-deck Navy aircraft carriers might not always be there,” said Ben Kristy, an official Marine historian. [David Axe at war is boring]

The Marine Obsession with their own air and ship power led to the Harrier and then the F35

History of the Harrier by Alan C. Miller and Kevin Sack of the LA Times

In the 1991 Gulf War, the front-line concrete lily pads never showed up, so the jump jet had to fly from distant full-size bases or assault ships. With their very limited fuel, they were lucky to be able to put in five or 10 minutes supporting Marines on the ground — and they proved tremendously vulnerable to machine guns and shoulder-fired missiles.

Even when it isn’t launching and landing vertically or being shot at, the Harrier is delicate and hard to fly owing to the complex vertical-flight controls and the minimal lift and maneuverability of the tiny wings. By the early 2000s a full third of all Harriers had been destroyed in crashes, killing 45 Marines.

F35 will cost over $1 trillion and has a lift fan taking up a lot space

The Marines wanted a jet that could take off, land and hover like a helicopter. This requirement shortens the range and reduces the bomb payload. It is also makes the plane heavier and less maneuverable in a dogfight.

The F-35B STOVL variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft is intended to replace the vertical flight Harrier, which was the world’s first operational short-takeoff / vertical-landing fighter. A requirement of the JSF is that it can attain supersonic flight, and a suitable vertical lift system that would not compromise this capability was needed for the STOVL variant.

Diagram of the F35 with its liftfan and single engine in the back

The Liftfan takes up a lot of internal space and prevents bomb bays from being placed along the centerline of the plane.

China J31 is a copy of the F35 without the Liftfan and with a twin engine and a centerline bomb bay

In 2013, the production of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was been derailed after engineers discovered that the jet’s fuel tank could explode if struck by lightning. [UK Telegraph describes part of a report from the Pentagon’s Operational Test and Evaluation Office]

* Twin engines are more reliable
* Centerline bombbays enable planes body to be more narrow and aerodynamic
* Skipping the liftfan improves all aspects of weight and design

Making a heavier planes means fewer bombs, less range and slower acceleration.

Attempts to increase fuel efficiency by reducing the jet’s weight have also made it more vulnerable to enemy attack than the generation of aircraft it was supposed to replace.

Estimates suggest that the total cost of buying, operating and maintaining the planes over the next 30 years will be £625 billion – or $1 trillion.

Winslow Wheeler, at the US Center for Defense Information described the F-35 programme as a “gigantic performance disappointment”, which was not even as stealthy as the F-22 Raptor.

The F35 was originally supposed to be far less expensive than a F22 Raptor. It was to cheaper and designed for export.

The United States plans to buy 2,457 of the F35 aircraft for its navy, air force and marine corps. The UK was planning buy 138 planes but Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, has so far committed to purchasing only 48.

Canada appears likely to backout of a $45 billion purchase of 65 F35s.

Prediction of cancellation of the F35

Pierre Sprey was a designer of the F16 and A10. He predicts that the F35 will be cancelled before 500 planes are made.

Sprey says the US should fund a series of inexpensive head-to-head competitions with mock dogfights between rival prototypes. Small design teams should be used with short timelines.

SOURCES- war is boring via medium.com, Wikipedia, globe and Mail, telegraph uk, Pulitzer.org, ibiblio hyperwar