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Jisaburo Ozawa

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Jisaburo Ozawa (1886-1966) was a vice admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy. After serving on the faculty of the Naval Academy in the 1930s, then commanding a cruiser, a battleship, and an air division. Promoted to vice admiral in 1940, he began to receive increasingly critical assignments in late 1942, including commander in chief of Third Fleet until Mar 1944, commander of the decoy Mobile Force at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, vice chief of the Navy General Headquarters for eight months, and the penultimate Commander-in-Chief, Combined Fleet. [1]

His postwar interrogators characterized "OZAWA was an officer of impressive personality, dignified presence, and thoughtful habit of mind. While his memory for fine detail was not always precise his opinions were considered of the highest value. "[2]

Grand strategic opinion

During the interrogations, he concluded "It is my opinion that this war should never have taken place. The present is greatly confused, spiritually as well as materially; and until things settle down a little more, I cannot make any kind of prediction or estimate as to the future."

Given that the decision was made, however, he believed it was necessary to attack the Philippines and Pearl Harbor. "If we tried to carry out an operation only against the Dutch and British; the chance the United States would intervene was too great. From that standpoint I consider it was better to attack these major points." [3]

Battle of Leyte Gulf

He commanded the decoy force of aircraft carriers at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Of Vice Admiral Shoji Nishimura, who was killed in action at the Battle of Surigao Strait, Ozawa said Nishimura was the only one of the four Japanese force commanders (including himself) to have put up a real fight.[4] While Nishimura died a warrior's death, however, it was only Ozawa, of those four admirals commanding forces, who succeeded in carrying out his mission: decoying the Third Fleet away from forces intending to attack the U.S. amphibious ships.

References

  1. Peter Chen, Jisaburo Ozawa, World War II Database
  2. "Biographies of Interrogated Japanese Officials", U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey
  3. "Interrogation of Admiral Ozawa, Jisaburo, task force commander in the Leyte operation", U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, 30 October 1945, Interrogation No. 55
  4. Anthony P. Tully (2009), Battle of Surigao Strait, Indiana University Press, pp. 30-34