Battle of Gazala "Rommels Greatest Victory" | Page 3 | World Defense

Battle of Gazala "Rommels Greatest Victory"

The Sandman

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If you have not already done so, read his battle record in the French campaign. Guderian supplied the theory, Rommel (and Manstein) implemented it.
I've read about the "Ghost division of Rommel" he always grabbed the opportunity never allowed his enemies enough time to reorganize/stabilise themselves.
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Rommel was our best commander his ops in Afrika really proved him to be successful. though this operation made us postpone Operation Herkules
 

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Rommel was our best commander his ops in Afrika really proved him to be successful. though this operation made us postpone Operation Herkules
I've read about the "Ghost division of Rommel" he always grabbed the opportunity never allowed his enemies enough time to reorganize/stabilise themselves.
View attachment 5661
After reading the war history of the Gloucestershires so kindly provided by @Nilgiri, I have to report these two gems:

  1. It appeared that the original German plan, which must have been to overcome the box within 2 or 3 hours and get to the main Acroma Road, had failed, and, like all German plans, which are never flexible, time had to be spent on making a fresh one....
  2. Everything that could be destroyed was destroyed, including valuable supplies of beer and whiskey...
There was also a very sad insertion, that is awful reading:

Patrols in Motor Transport of approximately 2 Sections strength were sent out to watch for the approach of the enemy from the south-east, South and South-West. A patrol sent out by �A� Company (Capt. Bowen) from 7 Platoon under Sargeant (sic) Miller, went to the south-west. Having travelled some three miles and reaching the escarpment, they discovered an A.D.S. (Advance Dressing Station) completely wiped out by the enemy. Medical Officer, Orderlies and ambulance drivers, and patients were found shot. The patrol found the black hackles of the Italian Ariete Division scattered about the A.D.S.
 

Nilgiri

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Back to topic: were there too many plodding British generals in the British Army? Were the Germans (and the Russians) qualitatively superior? Was German success a flash in the pan, a bold departure that caught people off guard until they had time to figure out what to do for the future?
The British (and French and Italians too) got somewhat complacent in their officer training corps + peacetime officer promotion strategy, given the final victory in WW1. The lieutenants, captains etc that survived that war generally found themselves colonels and brigadiers at the start of WW2...and of course quickly were made generals. They were largely rooted in the dynamics of that war to end all wars, and largely insulated by the final victory (at high cost they saw personally) meaning such a war could never happen again. There was no serious long term churn, the empire would last another 1000 years etc. Thus during WW2 they were largely governed by the raw forces of normal distribution in actual deployed general/officer quality which needed time and space for the quality "tail" to wag the larger dog.

In comparison, the Germans had a good amount of revolution/churn in their (de-facto) officer system. Of course under Versailles, officers were largely proscribed (limited to 4000 for a final downsized boot force of about 100,000) for the German military (reichswehr), but that didn't stop the Germans from having a shadow officer system, experimenting with command+control policies outside Germany (especially with the USSR* which found itself in a similar predicament given the obliteration of their Tsar era/white forces general staff) and most importantly continued the functions of the earlier German General Staff to continue further development of doctrine, theory and their likeliest routes for implementation. It was in this environment that Guderian for example developed much conceptually of what he would later employ. When the Nazis came to power, they had a "lean but mean" pick of officers already that lent nicely to the concept of a new beginning/fresh start with new ideas/concepts (but often founded on what had been learned in WW1 statics). The final scaled doctrine tests (of only things that needed to be tested/verified, as opposed to what the Germans elected to hold up their sleeve till 1940) were done in the Spanish civil war. In effect the over-control on Germany imposed by Versailles was very counter-productive in what it ended up doing (for the victors of WW1), of course largely in hindsight.

*https://www.feldgrau.com/WW2-German-Military-Soviet-Union

The Soviets sort of went well past (quite detrimentally) the German (interwar) scenario in that they faced frequent and extended officer purges in the time period in question (way too much negative and largely permanent churn). First the Russian civil war raged on (after the Bolsheviks negotiated a peace with the Germans in WW1) and many officers (given how they originally joined the military under the Tsarist system) picked the pro-Tsar (white) forces and were either killed, fled or executed when that war ended with the Reds winning. Then of course the infamous Stalinist purging (of officer ranks) started (there were many episodes, the largest starting in the late 30s and continuing well past the german invasion in 41). This squandered a lot of the theory such officers (even under the Red system with the ideal to destroy the concept of officers all together and have a fully enlightened conscript army etc) developed with the German cooperation (and other forces) or on their own....and the Soviets were left with a severe shortage of good officers/doctrine when operation barbarossa commenced. It was really the grand scale of the USSR (the amount of land and people they had and were willing to sacrifice no matter the cost) that tempered the onslaught initially and created the long term conditions that would lead to battle hardened pragmatists filling the void of general staff/officers that then managed to tip the balance against the increasing overstretched and badly micro/macro-managed (by Hitler and the wehrmacht HQ far removed from the battlelines) German forces.
 

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I wonder if any of you gentlemen have noticed that @Nilgiri has taken a page out of the Worcestershire war history. The reason I mention it is because this regiment has a number of connections with Indian history, or has connections with other famous incidents.
  • The 1st Battalion was wiped out at Gazala, but was reformed around the reserve training battalion, the 11th Battalion. It had earlier fought very well in Ethiopia, where it was part of an Indian Division.
  • The 2nd Battalion was brigaded with 7/10 Baloch and 1/6 Gorkha Rifles, and fought in Burma, driving the Japanese out.
  • There were no 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Battalions.
  • The 7th fought at Kohima and Imphal.
  • The 8th didn't do anything of relevance to us; neither did the 9th and the 10th.
  • The 11th replaced the 1st Battalion, which was down to 68 men and officers after Gazala. When it was dissolved and re-commissioned, one of the presiding officers was Field Marshal Jacob. There were a total of three Generals (or two, and a Field Marshal) named Jacob in the Indian Army (Pakistani readers will immediately be reminded of the founder of Jacobabad and of Jacob's Rifles), and the Field Marshal was briefly Commander in Chief of the Indian Army.
 

Joe Shearer

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The British (and French and Italians too) got somewhat complacent in their officer training corps + peacetime officer promotion strategy, given the final victory in WW1. The lieutenants, captains etc that survived that war generally found themselves colonels and brigadiers at the start of WW2...and of course quickly were made generals. They were largely rooted in the dynamics of that war to end all wars, and largely insulated by the final victory (at high cost they saw personally) meaning such a war could never happen again. There was no serious long term churn, the empire would last another 1000 years etc. Thus during WW2 they were largely governed by the raw forces of normal distribution in actual deployed general/officer quality which needed time and space for the quality "tail" to wag the larger dog.

In comparison, the Germans had a good amount of revolution/churn in their (de-facto) officer system. Of course under Versailles, officers were largely proscribed (limited to 4000 for a final downsized boot force of about 100,000) for the German military (reichswehr), but that didn't stop the Germans from having a shadow officer system, experimenting with command+control policies outside Germany (especially with the USSR* which found itself in a similar predicament given the obliteration of their Tsar era/white forces general staff) and most importantly continued the functions of the earlier German General Staff to continue further development of doctrine, theory and their likeliest routes for implementation. It was in this environment that Guderian for example developed much conceptually of what he would later employ. When the Nazis came to power, they had a "lean but mean" pick of officers already that lent nicely to the concept of a new beginning/fresh start with new ideas/concepts (but often founded on what had been learned in WW1 statics). The final scaled doctrine tests (of only things that needed to be tested/verified, as opposed to what the Germans elected to hold up their sleeve till 1940) were done in the Spanish civil war. In effect the over-control on Germany imposed by Versailles was very counter-productive in what it ended up doing (for the victors of WW1), of course largely in hindsight.

*https://www.feldgrau.com/WW2-German-Military-Soviet-Union

The Soviets sort of went well past (quite detrimentally) the German (interwar) scenario in that they faced frequent and extended officer purges in the time period in question (way too much negative and largely permanent churn). First the Russian civil war raged on (after the Bolsheviks negotiated a peace with the Germans in WW1) and many officers (given how they originally joined the military under the Tsarist system) picked the pro-Tsar (white) forces and were either killed, fled or executed when that war ended with the Reds winning. Then of course the infamous Stalinist purging (of officer ranks) started (there were many episodes, the largest starting in the late 30s and continuing well past the german invasion in 41). This squandered a lot of the theory such officers (even under the Red system with the ideal to destroy the concept of officers all together and have a fully enlightened conscript army etc) developed with the German cooperation (and other forces) or on their own....and the Soviets were left with a severe shortage of good officers/doctrine when operation barbarossa commenced. It was really the grand scale of the USSR (the amount of land and people they had and were willing to sacrifice no matter the cost) that tempered the onslaught initially and created the long term conditions that would lead to battle hardened pragmatists filling the void of general staff/officers that then managed to tip the balance against the increasing overstretched and badly micro/macro-managed (by Hitler and the wehrmacht HQ far removed from the battlelines) German forces.
You outdo yourself, @Nilgiri. I have seldom read a better 'appreciation' of the situation. It is worth remembering, however, how many of the German generals were from old military families; we have to read 'churn' with that in mind.
 

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Patrols in Motor Transport of approximately 2 Sections strength were sent out to watch for the approach of the enemy from the south-east, South and South-West. A patrol sent out by �A� Company (Capt. Bowen) from 7 Platoon under Sargeant (sic) Miller, went to the south-west. Having travelled some three miles and reaching the escarpment, they discovered an A.D.S. (Advance Dressing Station) completely wiped out by the enemy. Medical Officer, Orderlies and ambulance drivers, and patients were found shot. The patrol found the black hackles of the Italian Ariete Division scattered about the A.D.S.
So this massacre was committed by the Italians?
  • The 11th replaced the 1st Battalion, which was down to 68 men and officers after Gazala. When it was dissolved and re-commissioned, one of the presiding officers was Field Marshal Jacob. There were a total of three Generals (or two, and a Field Marshal) named Jacob in the Indian Army (Pakistani readers will immediately be reminded of the founder of Jacobabad and of Jacob's Rifles), and the Field Marshal was briefly Commander in Chief of the Indian Army.
I really need to read up more about the India and WW2... thank you so much to you and Nilgiri for all this info
 

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So this massacre was committed by the Italians?
According to circumstantial evidence - the black hackles of the Ariete Division (what were they doing wearing essentially parade headgear, rather than helmets, in the middle of a battlefield?).

I really need to read up more about the India and WW2... thank you so much to you and Nilgiri for all this info
I can assure you - you can buckle down and read steadily for a three-month period and not exhaust all the material: Ethiopia, Africa and Italy on the west, Burma in the east.

I was thinking about the comments made by @Nilgiri, about British leadership, compared to German or Russian, and decided to enclose a description of a small brigade-level action during the Falkland War to complement his remarks. By that I mean that certain command decisions and actions back his analysis, some raise questions.

In addition, as a precursor of 'embedded' journalism, the impact of immediate communications and the access to the events on the battlefield of the public at large and its influence on war-fighting is also visible. A BBC broadcast actually informed the Argentians about an impending British attack across open ground on a strongly defended position.

Look for The Battle of Goose Green.
 

Nilgiri

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You outdo yourself, @Nilgiri. I have seldom read a better 'appreciation' of the situation. It is worth remembering, however, how many of the German generals were from old military families; we have to read 'churn' with that in mind.
Indeed, the "churn" in the German case seems to have been closer to a hypothetical sweet-spot, with enough grounded lineage, but enough new input/cognisance intensity. Losing WW1 and the effects of that both inside and outside the military (much of which was imposed on them by the victors) added a certain impetus I would think to even the longest German/Prussian families in the military tradition....many of these families trace such lineages well before Germany and even Prussia meant something politically....from that they harnessed (consciously or subconsciously) how all their ancestors had to change and quickly adapt as well when their own greatest losses were suffered. It was not really a foreign concept to them....they could never sequester in an Island like the British and commit to a great navy.

All things considered, more or less, I am thankful there is much cognisance these days to the level of weaponry, urbanisation and accumulated wealth we have...and that era of committed large scale total warfare between major powers is over....frankly the dynamic qualities of their generals will count for little if any engage with another in such an all out fashion....hence the cold war never turned hot thankfully.
 

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BTW @Joe Shearer I am so thankful for what you are referencing/analysing as well. Hope this topic (and those hopefully that parallel it) continue in solid fashion. I am hoping to invite some really good military minds/analysts/veterans (lot of people I have learned vastly from over the years) to this forum in future, but I feel a real good atmosphere/heritage needs to develop a bit more here first.
 

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BTW @Joe Shearer I am so thankful for what you are referencing/analysing as well. Hope this topic (and those hopefully that parallel it) continue in solid fashion. I am hoping to invite some really good military minds/analysts/veterans (lot of people I have learned vastly from over the years) to this forum in future, but I feel a real good atmosphere/heritage needs to develop a bit more here first.
I think we need to thank @The Sandman for setting the ball rolling. And I think @jbgt90, whose knowledge of internal workings in the military today and whose reading of military history is vast, due partly to a library that I deeply envy, will agree with me that your analyses are very deep and insightful. Your mention of Lee's use of flanking manoeuvres vs. those of Jackson forced me to re-think: I never thought of them in this context, although the Civil War was the first modern war.

@The Sandman

Look what you got yourself into.
 

Nilgiri

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Your mention of Lee's use of flanking manoeuvres vs. those of Jackson forced me to re-think: I never thought of them in this context, although the Civil War was the first modern war.
Rommel and a number of German officers studied the (esp early) Civil war to some degree during the interwar period....with the intuition the next war would be quite a dynamic one unlike WW1. He (and Guderian) also voraciously read pretty much every study/paper that DeGaulle did (people often quote Vers l’Armee de Metier as being the sole instance, but there were quite a lot more) about armored warfare (that the French higher ups never listened much to) and both were heavily influenced by much in that (quite ironically seeing the French would later be on the receiving end). To me those two things (along with his own experience and demeanour in action in WW1) founded a lot of his base rough clay that he would hone further (in my personal opinion, hard to really say). Patton and Ike (they were really good buds in the early days and agreed on a lot regarding tank warfare) also read Degaulle's output prolifically and were also largely dismissed at the time for pushing the concept given no major war was expected again, much less one that needed newer/better doctrines.

The Civil war was after all the most recent war for them where massive formations (paralleling dynamic armored formations that the Germans commited to doctrinally in the interwar years) were used with one side having appreciably fewer men and resources (and overall underdog situation) that had to be deployed/harnessed precisely to try win against the odds...of course its not 100% applicable stuff (infantry vs armored vehicles) but many threads do carry over regardless of the time. There were many Prussian observers present during the actual US civil war as well, that wrote a wealth of literature that no doubt also played some role when Rommel and others first joined the officer cadets....but it was largely ignored by the official German (and European more broadly) officer courses and research.
 

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More on Gazala and other associated things!!

Bonner Fellers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Bonner Fellers Birth name Bonner Frank Fellers

Born February 7, 1896
Ridge Farm, Illinois

Died October 7, 1973 (aged 77)

Allegiance United States of America

Service/branchUnited States Army

Years of service 1918–1946

Rank Brigadier General

Battles/wars World War I
World War II


Awards Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit



Bonner Frank Fellers (February 7, 1896 – October 7, 1973) was a U.S. Army officer who served during World War II as military attaché and psychological warfare director. He is notable as the military attaché in Egypt whose extensive transmissions of detailed British tactical information were intercepted by Axis agents and passed to German field marshal Erwin Rommel for over six months, contributing to disastrous British defeats at Gazala and Tobruk in June 1942. He was considered a protégé of General Douglas MacArthur.



Contents



Early military career

Fellers entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in June 1916. Due to the increased need for junior officers during the First World War, Feller's class was accelerated and graduated on November 1, 1918. Upon graduation, Fellers was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps.

Fellers was promoted to first lieutenant on October 1919 and graduated from the Coast Artillery School Basic Course in 1920. The drastic reduction in the Army after the war created limited opportunities for promotion and Fellers was not promoted to captain until December 3, 1934. In 1935 he graduated from the Command and General Staff School and the Chemical Warfare Service Field Officer's Course, during which time he completed his soon-to-be influential thesis "The Psychology of the Japanese Soldier".

Fellers served 3 tours of duty in the Philippines in the 1920s and 1930s. His assignments included helping open the Philippine Military Academy, the Philippines' "West Point", and liaison to Philippine President Manuel Quezon. The Philippines awarded him its Distinguished Service Star for his contributions to its defenses



Fellers graduated from the Army War College in 1939 and was promoted to major on July 1, 1940. He was promoted to temporary lieutenant colonel on September 15, 1941 and to temporary colonel the next month.



World War II

Italians and Germans access Fellers' reports

In October 1940, Colonel Fellers was assigned as military attaché to the U.S. embassy in Egypt. He was tasked with the duty of monitoring and reporting on British military operations in the Mediterranean and Middle East Theatre. The British granted Fellers access to their activities and information. Fellers dutifully reported everything he learned to his superiors in the United States. His reports were read by President Roosevelt, the head of American intelligence, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Unbeknown to Fellers, due to a night raid into the American Embassy in Rome soon before USA entered the war, the P section of the Italian Servizio Informazioni Militare (SIM), the military intelligence, stole the American Black code, thus the Italians could read the reports: within eight hours the most secret data on British “strengths, positions, losses, reinforcements, supply, situation, plans, morale etc” were in the hands of German and Italian military.



Fellers' concerns about security were overridden and he sent his reports by radio, encrypted in the "Black Code" of the U.S. State Department. Unbeknownst to the U.S. government, the details of this code were stolen from the U.S. embassy in Italy by Italian spies in September 1941. Around the same time, it was also broken by German cryptanalysts. Beginning in mid-December 1941 (coincidentally as the U.S. was entering the war), Germany was able to identify Fellers' reports. This lasted until June 29, 1942, when Fellers switched to a newly adopted U.S. code system.



Fellers' radiograms provided detailed information about troop movements and equipment to the Axis. The information was extensive and timely to the Axis powers. Information from Fellers' messages alerted the Axis to British convoy operations in the Mediterranean Sea, including efforts to resupply the garrison of Malta. Beginning in January 1942 information about the numbers and condition of British forces was provided to General Rommel, the famed German commander in Africa. He could thus plan his operations with reliable knowledge of what the opposing forces were. The Germans referred to Fellers as "die gute Quelle" (the good source). Rommel referred to

him as "the little fellow."



The information leak cost the Allies a great many lives. For example, in June 1942, the British were attempting to resupply Malta, which was under constant air attack and was being starved out. The British determined to sail two supply convoys simultaneously, in the hopes that if one were to become discovered, attacks upon it would distract the Axis from the other. Code-named Operation Vigorous and Harpoon, and sailing from Alexandria in the east and Gibraltar in the west respectively, their sailing was timed with an effort by special forces teams to neutralize Axis ships and aircraft. Fellers efficiently reported all of this. His cable, No. 11119 dated June 11, was intercepted in both Rome and by the German Military High Command Cipher Branch (OKW Chiffrierabteilung). It read, in part:



NIGHTS OF JUNE 12TH JUNE 13TH BRITISH SABOTAGE UNITS PLAN SIMULTANEOUS STICKER BOMB ATTACKS AGAINST AIRCRAFT ON 9 AXIS AIRDROMES. PLANS TO REACH OBJECTIVES BY PARACHUTES AND LONG RANGE DESERT PATROL.

British and Free French raiders went into action behind the lines in Libya and on the island of Crete. In most of these attacks, the raiders were met with the accurate fire of the alerted garrisons and suffered heavy losses while failing to inflict any damage upon the Luftwaffe. Their only success came where Fellers' unwitting early warning was either not received, ignored, or ineptly handled. Meanwhile, both convoys were located and came under attack. A day after leaving Gibraltar, Convoy Harpoon's six merchantmen and their escorts came under continuous air attack. Only two of the merchantmen survived to reach Malta. Convoy Vigorous was the larger effort. Made up of 11 merchant ships, it suffered such serious losses that it was forced to turn back to Egypt.

Debates continue on the Fellers leaks' overall impact on the battle for North Africa. For example, Prof. John Ferris argues that because Fellers sometimes reported imperfect information and assessments the leaks also contributed to Rommel's ultimate defeat: "In its last days of life, after Tobruk fell, the 'Good Source' bolstered Rommel's decision to drive all-out on Alexandria, his native over-optimism reinforced by Bonner Fellers' belief that the British would crack under one last blow. Both men were wrong; this time the intelligence failure led to German defeat."

Fellers had been ordered to use the State Department code over his objections. For example, on February 2, 1942, Fellers reported "Believe that code compromised" but was instructed thereafter that the code was secure.



British suspect a leak from Egypt

Ultra intercepts seen only by the British indicated the Germans were gaining information from a source in Egypt, and British intelligence had considered Fellers as a possible source. On June 10, 1942, the British became convinced Fellers' reports were compromised because an intercept had compared British tactics negatively to American tactics. The British informed the Americans on June 12, and on June 14 the Americans confirmed with its finding that Fellers reports were the source. Fellers switched codes on June 29, ending the leaks.



Fellers was not found at fault for the interception of his reports, but he was transferred from Egypt on 7 July 1942. His successor as attaché used the U.S. military cipher, which the Germans could not read. Upon returning to the United States, Fellers was decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal for his analysis and reporting of the North African situation. He was also promoted to brigadier general, the first in the West Point Class of 1918, on December 4, 1942.



While assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Washington, he was, recalled a colleague, "the most violent anglophobe I have encountered." However, this comment may be colored by the context of the U.S.-British intelligence situation at that time. Fellers' North African reports, which his Distinguished Service Medal citation characterizes as "models of clarity and accuracy," were bluntly critical of British weapons, operations, and leadership. An example: "The Eighth Army has failed to maintain the morale of its troops; its tactical conceptions were always wrong, it neglected completely cooperation between the various arms; its reactions to the lightning changes in the battlefield were always slow." Such assessments, meant for U.S. officials, were intercepted from the Germans by the British Ultra signals intelligence. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Britain were in the midst of highly intense negotiations begun in 1940 to establish a comprehensive intelligence partnership. The partnership was underway ad hoc and would be finalized in May 1943.

Despite the above, Fellers and his reports proved instrumental in bringing American supplies and troops to aid the British in North Africa. Throughout his tenure in North Africa, Fellers advocated for increased American support for the British in North Africa. This included both weapons and a commitment of American troops. This was at odds with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. European Command as to the level of weapons support and an American troop landing. The military policy at the time was that saving the British in North Africa was not strategically required, especially not through a North Africa invasion (Operation Torch), as that would divert focus from Operation Bolero a plan for an early European invasion.

President Roosevelt admired Fellers' reports and was influenced by them enough so that on June 29 General George Marshall wrote the President that "Fellers is a very valuable observer but his responsibilities are not those of a strategist and his views are in opposition to mine and those of the entire Operations Division". The President invited Fellers to the White House upon his return from Cairo, and they met on July 30, 1942. "Consistent with his previous reporting through 1942, Fellers argued for robust and expeditious reinforcement of British forces in the Middle East." Ironically, despite Fellers' blunt criticism, his analysis of the Middle East's strategic importance was instrumental in Roosevelt's decisions to reinforce the Eighth Army and support Operation Torch.



Transfer to Pacific

In the summer of 1943, Fellers left his job in the OSS, where he played a role in planning psychological warfare, and returned to the Southwest Pacific and resumed working for General MacArthur. Fellers later served as military secretary and the Chief of Psychological Operations under MacArthur.



During the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese, Fellers had several assignments, including Director of Civil Affairs for the Philippines. For these efforts, Gen. Fellers received a second Philippine Distinguished Service Star.



There are stories that suggest that General Eisenhower was at odds with Fellers, and had been since the time they served together under General MacArthur in the Philippines. In a recollection in her personal diary, the Countess of Ranfurly wrote of a comment made by Eisenhower when she expressed admiration for Fellers; Eisenhower reportedly replied, "Any friend of Bonner Fellers is no friend of mine! Eisenhower apologized the next day for his rudeness. Purportedly, Eisenhower's dislike of Fellers had begun at the time the two were serving under MacArthur. MacArthur had strained his relationship with Eisenhower in 1936–1937 while in the Philippines. Subsequently, MacArthur began to use Fellers as a confidant. However, Eisenhower's views may have been so strong because he was aware of the recent leaks that had strained British relations and because Fellers had been instrumental in getting Presidential approval of increased support for the British in North Africa including Operation Torch, which was not supported by the U.S. military command, including Eisenhower.



Post-war Japan

After the war, Fellers played a major role in the occupation of Japan. Among his duties was liaison between HQ and the Imperial Household. Soon after occupation began, General Fellers wrote several influential memoranda concerning why it would be advantageous for the occupation, reconstruction of Japan, and U.S. long range interests to keep the Emperor in place if he was not clearly responsible for war crimes He met with the major defendants of the Tokyo tribunal. In their research and analysis of events and considerable controversy about the time period, according to historians Herbert Bix and John W. Dower, Fellers—under an assignment by the code name "Operation Blacklist"—allowed them to coordinate their stories to exonerate Emperor Hirohito and all members of his family. This was at the direction of MacArthur, now head of SCAP, who had decided that there was to be no criminal prosecution of the Emperor and his family.



General Fellers, who came from a Religious Society of Friends family (commonly known as Quakers) and attended the Quaker-affiliated Earlham College, was instrumental in the selection of Elizabeth Vining, an American Quaker educator, as tutor to the Emperor's children. Ms. Vining was followed after 4 years by another Quaker educator, Esther Rhoads.



In 1971, Emperor Hirohito conferred on Fellers the Second Order of the Sacred Treasure "in recognition of your long-standing contribution to promoting friendship between Japan and the United States."



Fellers' role in exonerating Hirohito is the main subject of the 2012 film Emperor.



Retirement from the Army and politics

In October 1946, Fellers reverted to the rank of colonel as part of a reduction in rank of 212 generals. He retired from the Army on November 30, 1946. In 1948, his retirement rank was reinstated as brigadier general.



After retiring from the Army, he worked for the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C. In 1952 Fellers was actively involved in promoting Robert A. Taft as a presidential candidate. Fellers was a member of the John Birch Society, named for a military intelligence officer who was considered by its founding members to be the first casualty of the Cold War. In 1953 Fellers wrote a book: Wings for Peace: A Primer for a New Defense (Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1953). Fellers was also actively involved in promoting Barry Goldwater for the presidency during the 1964 campaign.
 
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