- Sutton, Andrew, Sublieutenant
- WWII operations
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 2009 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Admiral Spruance had instructions not to lose his vessels at a time when the US could not replace them. Spruance would later be criticized for not pursuing the enemy forces the day after the battle of Midway, but he made that decision based on the fact he did not know what was out there and the fact that he now had only two carriers. Risking them was simply not worth it.
After the Battle of Midway, Spruance assumed various commands, which culminated in being made commander of the Fifth Fleet. His planning skills were highly valued during the island hopping campaign that saw the US Fleet drive the Japanese to the brink of submission. During these assignments he was in overall command of the occupation of the Gilbert Islands, the Invasion of the Marshall Islands, the capture of Saipan, Guam and Tinian in the Marianas, which included the battle of the Philippine Sea where the US Fleet virtually destroyed the last vestige of Japanese air power. He also led the capture of Iwo Jima and Okinawa .
The Pacific theatre of the Second World War saw a series of the largest naval battles ever fought. It was the US Navy that made the difference in the land battles that were fought and Admiral Spruance was at the forefront of most of the great battles and it was often his decisions that paved the way for an American victory. While he was not the journalists’ favourite Admiral due to his private personality, his leadership undoubtedly served the men who served under him extremely well. As John B. Lunstrom puts it ‘The constant was that every time Admiral Raymond A. Spruance commanded an operation against the Japanese, they lost.’ There is no simpler way to put it.