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The Tankers

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Toho Maru.jpg
Kawasaki type tanker Tōhō Maru.Public Domain, Link

Over at the Diplomat I write a bit about some new research into Japanese logistics in World War II…

Historians have long argued that one of the key U.S. advantages during the war was innovation in the field of underway replenishment. This advantage, especially in the later years of the war, enabled the U.S. Navy to undertake the grand offensives of the island-hopping campaign of 1944. But maybe that’s not right, or at least it’s not all of the story. In a forthcoming article in the Journal of Military History, David Fuquea argues that the Imperial Japanese Navy had identified underway replenishment as a need as early as the 1920s, and that it had well honed its support capabilities by the beginning of the war. Fuquea establishes both the tactical difficulties associated with underway replenishment, a task that requires tight coordination between two ships transferring flammable material at high speed, and the long-standing historiographical view of Japanese logistics.



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