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Cause and Effect Essay
21 Buffett
“This is like an old-time turkey shoot down home!” Said an unknown US pilot from USS Lexington, as lots of Japanese planes were shot down from the sky. The Battle of the Philippine Sea was fought during June 19th to 20th 1944. It was the last of the five major “carrier-versus-carrier” battle between America and the Imperial Japanese Navy, and it’s also the largest carrier-to-carrier battle in history. After the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Imperial Japanese Navy lost the ability to launch large-scale carrier actions, the term “The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” comes from this battle, America is able to attack the Japan home land. 
After suffering the loss of Guadalcanal, the Japanese have been forced to retreat to the “Absolute Zone of National Defense,” an area where the Japanese could build their strength to continue the battle. The US used a tactical called “Leapfrogging” also as known as “Island Hopping”, it’s a strategy to ignore heavy defended Japanese positions. Instead, focus on the important islands which are able to support the main attack on mainland Japan. The US set their sights on the Mariana Islands, with the long-distance B-29 Superfortress bomber, they could damage the army industry on the Japanese Home Island from it. The control of the air was very important because the air power was more devastating than navel artillery power. The Japanese 1st Mobile Fleet was lead by Jisabur? Ozawa, having 11 carriers with about 440 planes escorted by several battleships, cruisers, destroyers and submarines. The US Task Force 58 was lead by Raymond Spruance, having 15 carriers with about 950 planes escorted by several battleships, cruisers, destroyers and submarines. The Japanese aircrafts had longer ranges than the American counterparts, and there are also land-based planes on the Mariana Islands. With such advantages, the Imperial Japanese Navy still suffered a defeat. The Japanese Home Land isn’t secured after the lost of the Mariana Islands.
The Japanese decides the Battle of the Philippine as a decisive battle because if the Americans took over the Mariana islands the Absolute Zone of National Defense would be breached. The Japanese poured almost every ship they had into battle, including the new built Carrier Taih?, the first Japanese carrier to equip with an armored flight deck, and two of the world’s biggest and most powerful battleships, Yamato and her sister ship Musashi, equipped with the world’s largest 460mm naval guns. During the battle, three fleet carriers, Taih?, Sh?kaku, Hiy?, were sunk, about 750 planes were lost, and lots of pilots died. During the previous battle, Battle of the Santa Cruz islands, although the Japanese were able to sink the USS Hornet and brought heavy damaged to the USS Enterprise, the lost many veteran pilots was irreplaceable. After a long time of preparation, both aviation forces met again at the air of the Mariana island, however it a slaughter for the Japanese Navy. The Japanese lost their pilots faster than they could train and replace, lots of the Japanese veteran pilots were lost since the Battle of Coral Sea. During next battle, Battle of Leyte Gulf,  there weren’t enough pilots for the carriers, the carriers were mostly used for decoy, without enough air cover for the fleet, the last operational fleet carrier, Zuikaku, and one of the Yamato-class battleships, Musashi, was sunk. The Japanese also launched the first organized Kamikaze attack on the Allied ships during the Battle of  Leyte Gulf. A Kamikaze attack is a kind of suicide attack that was used by the Japanese during the end of World War Two. Kamikaze pilots crash their planes into Allied ships with bombs or full fuel tanks. The Battle of Leyte Gulf totally crushed the remaining Japanese air force and led the Japanese Government to use Kamikaze attacks more often. The lost of the Mariana islands caused the Imperial Japanese Navy to loss the ability to launch large-scale carrier actions.
There was this term “The Great Marians Turkey Shoot,” that came from the Battle of the Philippine Sea. During World War Two, radars systems were yet refined, so commanders often send reconnaissance aircrafts to search for enemies. The Japanese scout planes were able to discover the US fleet, but the US fleet has no idea that they were spotted by the Japanese. Japanese planes have longer range than the American counterparts, so Jisabur? Ozawa orders an assault to surprise the US fleet. Jisabur? Ozawa launched four waves of attack, with a combination about three hundred planes, including fighters, dive bombers and torpedo bombers. However, what the Japanese don’t know is that the US fleet had radar systems, on that day the weather condition was quite well, as a result, the radar systems could spot the Japanese planes from a further distance. The US fleet immediately scrambled fighters to intercept the incoming enemy right after spotting the Japanese planes. At the beginning of World War Two, the Mitsubishi A6M, generally known as the “Zero”, was a cutting-edge designed fighter, it had excellent maneuverability and impressive long range. The armament of the Zero contains two 7.7mm Type 97 machine guns, two 20mm Type 99 cannons and also able to carry two sixty kilograms bombs. Despite having excellent maneuverability and impressive long range, the Zero don’t have armor protection or self-sealing fuel tanks which were commonly used at that time, because it had a weak engine. 
Having a weak engine means that it couldn’t provide enough power to lift a plane that is too heavy, in other words, the Zero is relatively lighter than the American counterparts, but also more fragile than the American counterparts. The Japanese Navy was actually working on the Mitsubishi A7M that was meant to replace the Zero; however, the development was delayed because of its engine problem. The Mitsubishi A7M had better speed, climb, diving and armament than its predecessor, the Mitsubishi A6M; however, the Mitsubishi A7M wasn’t been mass produced even the war was over. Because the development of the Mitsubishi A7M was delayed, the Japanese Navy had no option but to keep modifying the Mitsubishi A6M. During the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Japanese planes faced the Grumman F6F Hellcat. The Grumman F6F Hellcat was designed to substitute the Grumman F4F Wildcat, which was used in the beginning of World War Two, also it was meant to counter the Mitsubishi A6M. The Grumman F6F Hellcat had an astonishing armament, equipped with six fifty caliber M2 Browning machine guns, easily to wipe out the fragile, lightweight, thin armored Japanese planes. The Grumman F6F Hellcat wasn’t only well armed, it was also well protected, its powerful engine allowed it to install thick steel plates to protect the pilot, increasing the survivability of the pilot. In the early of World War Two, the Grumman F6F Hellcat wasn’t introduced yet, it was the Grumman F4F Wildcat that was fighting against the Zero. The Grumman F4F Wildcat was also equipped with six fifty caliber M2 Browning machine guns, compared to the Zero it had relatively heavy armor and self-sealing fuel tanks, giving the pilots higher chance of survive. During the four previous carrier-to-carrier battles, Battle of the Coral Sea, Battle of Midway, Battle of the Eastern Solomons and Battle of Santa Cruz Islands, the Japanese Navy lost plenty of well-trained, experienced pilots in combat that were irreplaceable, and the remaining pilots couldn’t get enough training because of the oil shortage. The American often sent their veteran pilots to train new pilots, it may weaken the front line at the beginning of the Battle, but it turns out that training new pilots is necessary if fighting a long-term battle. Japanese pilots that are lack of training and experience flying outdated Zero encountering with US pilots that are well-trained flying well armed, well protected Grumman F6F Hellcat. The Battle of the Philippine Sea was a slaughter to the Japanese, the four waves of aerial attacks didn’t do severe damage to the US fleet, most planes were shot down by the Grumman F6F Hellcat before they could reach the US carriers. The air defenses of the fleet weren’t just only the carrier aircraft, anti-aircraft guns were also included. The newly invented proximity fuze, also known as variable time fuse, and “VT” for short,  played a vital role in the US anti-aircraft weapons, it made anti-aircraft guns more effective. Before the invention of the proximity fuze, most fuses were contact fuse or timed fuse. Contact fuses detonate only when hitting the target directly, timed fuses detonate after seconds of the ground, proximity fuzes detonate just by passing by the target, producing lethal air bursts and eventually destroy the target. During the battle, there was an unknown pilot from the USS Lexington yelled to another, “This is like an old-time turkey shoot down home!” Eventually, the Battle of the Philippine Sea was later nicked named “The Great Mariana Turkey Shoot.”
From the Mariana Islands, the US was able to further devastate the main cities and the military industry of Japanese. Before the US took over the Mariana Islands, they were already able to strike Kyushu from airports in China; however, restricted to the ranges of the bombers, the US wasn’t able to strike major cities like Tokyo without refueling. After taking over the Mariana Islands, the US constructed several airports for the latest bomber, the long-range strategic bombers B-29 Superfortress. The B-29 Superfortress was one of the most advanced bombers used in World War Two, it had an impressive long range and it was able to operate at altitudes that most planes or anti-aircraft guns couldn’t reach. The Bombing of Tokyo, the Bombing of Kobe, the Bombing of Osaka, the Bombing of Nagoya were several campaigns launched by the US that eliminated lots of factories and causing lots of casualties. Some B-29 Superfortress were actually dropping mines in waters beside dropping aerial high explosive bombs or Napalm, these water mines were quite effective to Japanese merchant ships, cargo ships, harming its economy and trading. Bombers were mostly equipped with some machine guns for self-defense; however, the machine guns weren’t effective, so bombers are usually escorted by fighters. At the beginning of the air raids of Japan, most B-29 Superfortress bombers from the Mariana Islands were actually not escorted by fighters, because no fighters had the duration to escort the B-29 Superfortress without refueling. Japanese planes from Iwo Jima were able to attack the bases on the Mariana Islands, and Iwo Jima is much closer to Japanese main land, so the US decided to attack the Iwo Jima. During the Battle of Iwo Jima, the bombers from the Mariana Islands did some damage to the defensive facilities on the Iwo Jima island. After the US took over the Iwo Jima island, the US also constructed airports for bombers, and the B-29 Superfortress were escorted by the P-51 Mustang. The P-51 Mustang had a really long range and really great performance, it was equipped with six fifty caliber M2 Browning machine guns for armament. The bombers that the US established on the Mariana Islands helped damaged the major cities and war industry of Japanese, it also helped the invasion of the Iwo Jima, which later allowed the bombers to launch from a closer distance, also allowed long-range P-51 Mustang fighters to escort the bomber, providing protection for the heavy long-range strategic bombers B-29 Superfortress.
World War Two came to an end after the Japanese finally surrendered in 1945. Before Japan surrendered, two atomic bombs bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The atomic bomb named “Little Boy” stroke Hiroshima, and the atomic bomb named “Fat Man” stroke Nagasaki. Something interesting is that both of these bombs were carried by B-29 Superfortress and these planes were both launched from the Mariana Islands.  After the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Japanese Navy wasn’t able to support the army on the Mariana Islands. The Mariana Islands were eventually taken by the US, and they were able to cause damage to Japanese home land with B-29 Superfortress. The loss of  Battle of the Philippine Sea indirectly fastens the surrender of Japan.

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