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It is 1942. You're commander of the Axis. What would you do?

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by DangerousBob, Feb 27, 2014.

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  1. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    According to my last A1C test, I'm just as sour as I'm supposed to be! :)

    The thing is by the OP's conditions, acting from the spring 1942, the no Pearl Harbor attack ship has already sailed, so now you must try to make the most of what you got and hope for the best. None of the things I suggested are beyond Japan's ability and most were attempted later in the war. Further it can be argued that Japan's "make it too costly" strategy eventually did wring one concession, the retention of the Emperor.

    Keeping the 1st Carrier Air Fleet together offers the possibility of winning a "Midway" type battle, possibly two (say a "Coral Sea") which pushes back the US timeline by at least 6 months, perhaps a year. Historically we know how much Japan was willing to pay to survive, just how much we were willing or able to pay for victory was never fully tested.
     
  2. DangerousBob

    DangerousBob New Member

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    I would have Japan launch a full invasion of Eastern SU with its Manchurian forces. Japans Navy should be a defensive one only holding the American forces at bay. Knowing that America has a Europe first policy, my main goal is taking out Russia first. The Manchurian forces would force Russia to fight a two front war and keep the SU from sending its divisions on the East to re-enforce Stalingrad and Kursk. ( I would also allow a break out attempt at Stalingrad, and not throw away the entire 6th army.) With any hope the SU collapses or surrenders within the following months.

    Once I had secured Oil in the East I would make heavy use of the mostly docked Italian Navy Fleet, combined with a new U-boat offensive, to break the UK blockade and put a stop to American lend lease. With Russia out, I would condition them heavy reparations (like they did in WW1) and get hundreds of thousands of new "volunteers" from the SU to fill Axis ranks. I would try to get solid supply routes connected to Japan and Germany / Italy through the now dormant SU.

    I would also make much more use of Italy. They would provide a nice buffer between the Allies. Their Navy would be their main contribution to the war effort. Something I would try to take full advantage of. With the fall of the SU, I can count on a re-buffed Axis moral - a non surrendering Italy.

    With Russia out of the way and the UKs navy bogged down. America would be the only one left. Knowing that offensive action against the United States mainland would likely result in huge disaster, and that we have a 4 year time limit until the Bomb is developed. I would try to force a peace treaty with the United States. Effectively the same thing that happen with the Korean War. World War 2 ends in Axis victory around 1944.

    During the new peace, Germany would develop its own atomic program. I would then spend the next 5 years developing the Worlds finest Navy and Air-force (a rebuffed Z plan). Communism would be gone, as one of the victory conditions against Russia would be to dissolve the Soviet Union. In 1948 the rebuffed Axis would be ready to launch World War 3, its offensive against North America and any allies. It would have to be before the 50s however, because if to much time is wasted then the American nuclear stockpile would be to much and a Cold War would be forced - at that point Axis historical fate would likely be that of the real life Soviet Union..

    A few years later as WW3 comes to a quick close, the new victory would have America make a find addition to the Axis of whom would now have full economic domination of the world. Much like America today, Germany would likely be the "world police" and the Axis members make up the UN security counsel - basically controlling the whole world.

    ~I think this is the most sinister 6 paragraphs I have ever written. :dance4:
     
  3. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    That's sort of like invading the most obscure corner of Kenya and shouting "Take that, Britain!" Besides, the Russians had already kicked the hell out of the Japanese in 1939 under Zhukov, I don't think a repeat would have done much good.
     
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  4. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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  5. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I think that's the problem with all the "What If's": You can't just pick an arbitrary starting point, as there are already too many ripples on the pond. Anything between Russia and Japan you have to go back to 1905 and the Treaty of Portsmouth and maybe even to the 1st Sino- Japanese War and the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Russia and Japan kind of have a little bit of history. The Japanese-Russian neutrality during the Second Sino-Japanese War (WW2) was symbiotic.

    Well, If we start from the Spring of 1942 Japan was already on their heals. Wake Island set the tone for future US and Japanese engagements.

    The Doolittle Raid forced Japan to pull forces back to defend the home islands.

    I almost think that it would have been more successful, for the Axis, if Japan was used to reinforce the Italians in North Africa or to free up German troops during the occupation of France.
     
  6. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    A "USSR first" strategy would help, an quick win there is killing lend lease, most of it was through Vladivostock and there is no way those ships or the overloaded with fuel planes flying across can make it if the Japanese make a determined effort to stop them. (Historically as the ships and planes had USSR flag and as Japan was not at war with the USSR they were unopposed. Stalin can make life difficult for the already overstretched IJA but he can't really afford to send a lot of troops to Siberia before late 1943 so the Japanese should be able to hold their own.
    Wake and the Tokio raid are not significant, in one instance the Japanese gambled and lost committing a ridiculously weak force to take a fortified island (and did take it when they tried harder) and the second was one of the few instances where the allies attempted a high risk raid and it could have turned into a disaster.

    The aim is to get a favourable peace, victory is impossible but to get a peace a second one of the 4 main adversaries needs to be defeated (France has already been). In early 1942 the Germans can still mount a credible offensive in the USSR, though many units are shells of their former selves, and the Japanese have an excellent carrier force and some very aggressive troops. So concentrating on the USSR while keeping the USA busy with concentrated attacks with overwhelming force, and Britain with an attack in Malaya and Burma may work, once Stalin is down and out the western allies may be convinced to get to the peace table as an invasion of Europe is nearly impossible against the whole of the German army and if the USN hasn't managed a major victory the US public is likely to expect a long war there too (in reality the IJN proved a sharp but brittle instrument, but by keeping concentrated they can avoid disaster until they new US carriers arrive), The slower tempo of this less aggressive approach will probably mean Port Moresby falls, (as the USN cannot go head to head against the whole of the Kudo Butai in mid 1942) but the Midway operation needs to be postponed to late 1942, when the carriers return from the Coral Sea, and the Aleutines operation is cancelled. Not a bright picture from a US perspective. The Germans will go for Stalingrad only, stopping the attack on the Caucasus allows the creation of an operational reserve in AGS that will make something like Uranus a lot more difficult. With no major victory in 1942 and Lend Lease limited to what can get through Murmask and Arkhangelsk Stalin is in trouble, sending the Italian mountain corps to Finland instead of the Don may actually allow the axis to isolate if not take Murmansk. If the USSR doesn't collapse in 1942 the 1943 objective is the Caucasus and Persia, so as to cut the remaining lend lease route.

    German production needs to ramp up so as to reequip as many satellite forces deployed East with German equipment, making them capable of withstanding anything short of a major Soviet offensive, and a major effort must be made to pacify by military and political means the Ukraine and Yugoslavia that are absorbing a large amount of rear area troops, Rommel needs to be reinforced as well but that is likely to prove difficult in the face of the other commitments, taking Malta is a priority, pushing beyond Solum unless heavy reinforcement are available should be avoided, plans must be setup to "manage" a Vichy collapse at the other ends of the Med, moving a couple of divisions as a reserve to Tripoli may well discourage the historical Torch, there is little the axis can do to prevent the allies landing at Casablanca, but IMO Algiers is a different proposition.
    .
     
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  7. DangerousBob

    DangerousBob New Member

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    To be fair, when Hitler launched Watch on the Rhine (The Battle of the Bulge), the objectives were just as ludicrous. :insane:
    The fact that he seriously considered total victory a possibility that late in the war just shows he had his head in the clouds.
     
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Dear newly appointed 1942 Axis commander,
    Get in touch with von Moltke; he knows things, and he knows people, if anyone can point you in the right direction to get out of this pointless and ultimately doomed situation before your hands are too bloody & your postwar execution inevitable, he can.

    And do not forget the hats - I cannot mention the hats enough.

    Yours,
    Rückblick von Poop
     
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  9. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Silly British man... It's Lugers - bring more Lugers!
     
  10. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    Those too, but hats cross borders more easily, and many of the more expensive ones fold flat.

    Hats & Lugers then. Lots of both
     
  11. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    If you are going to have hats and lugers....you need to have a great soundtrack. A gentleman does not cross borders uninvited while wearing a hat and sidearm without a proper cadence to step to; it simply isn't done. And frankly, if you are really going to go through the bother of traipsing into other's countries uninvited the least you could do is bring a nice bottle of wine and selection of smoked meats and cheeses; it would, after all be the acme of rudeness to invade empty handed.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Not in 42 according to:
    http://www.o5m6.de/Routes.html
    .
     
  13. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Post summer '42 (29% full year, but Nov and Dec are serious contributors), it's still not an insubstantial amount of material being delivered that way. '43 and '44 are both almost 50%.

    But I wonder how it is calculated anyway. Is ALSIB considered part of the Pacific Route? Or is it a different path altogether, as it's not "shipped"?
     
  14. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    It would have been considered part of the Pacific route.
     
  15. Captain Caveman

    Captain Caveman New Member

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    Surrender and stand tall in front of the man for the crimes committed.
     
  16. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    While hoping for a short sentence and that nobody finds your enormous hat (And Luger) stash.



    (Though I'm still not sure about the Lugers... You can fit an awful lot of ridiculously expensive side caps in a suitcase.)
     
  17. OhneGewehr

    OhneGewehr New Member

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    In spring 1942? As Japan, trying to get a major naval victory and then negotiate. As Nazi-Germany, offering a generous peace to Stalin.
     
  18. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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  19. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    https://media1.britannica.com/eb-media/40/5940-004-4B7888C4.jpg
    4) Despite Japanese setback at Lake Khasan and Khalkin Gol, the Japanese invasion of Soviet controlled Manchuria -- Outer Manchuria to some people -- should aim rather for strategic goals than tactical. In the long run, resources controlled by Japan could not outlast Soviet even if it would have been a combat between one nation against another. With the much more draining in China, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, a successful Japanese military blitzkrieg shall aim for gaining substantial and sustainable strategic advantage over the Soviet.
    4 g) One factor is physical geography. Looking at that map of Amur river estuary and the neighboring landscape elevation, the geography is similar to the Italian peninsula in the sense that the Amur estuary could be defended with defensive lines, similar to the Winter and Gothic Lines. Also the the south bank of the Amur is the elevation separating the river and the Manchurian plain. Thus after the Red Army once pushed aside the Japanese defense at the Greater Khingen Range onto the plain. they could flank the Amur estuary from the south; the Allies landed on Ansio, outflanking the Gustav Line and Monte Cassion which was close to the Liri valley. Given that the Japanese army infantry could construct Henderson field on Guadacanal, the Japanese defensive lines cutting conceptually across the Amur estuary and anchored on defensive outposts, each with an airstrip.
    4g) On human geography, more than half of less than 4 million population of Outer Manchuria lived in cities, Vladivostok held just more than 1 million; the other cities hold another 1 million plus. Another million lived in countryside. So the defensive lines on the Amur estuary east of the head of the river shall anchored on the cities -- Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk, Komsomolsk-na-Amure, Nikolayevsk-na-Amure. These would be the Monte Cassnio's of the defensive lines. Red Army attacking them required logistic pressure of transport across the Greater Khingen Range and the Stanovoy Range, not to mention the Trans-Siberian railway inside the Outer Manchuria would either under Japanese control or be cut into non-usable sections to freight trains when the Japanese military attacked in early 1942. If managed well, each of the city could be an urban warfare to the Red Army. With the fight of Stalingrad and Leningrad on going, the Red Army should know the price of such venture. On the other side, Japanese submarine and surface ship, which were already superior to Soviet navy pressure in the Pacific and strengthend by the use of ports in Vladivostok, could sail up to the mouth of the Amur and upstream to reinforce or supply any of those Monte Cassino's. Not to mention, there were airstrips in the cities. If none, constructing one inside or near a city could potentially be easier than that on Guadacanal. These factors loop in positive feedback to the idea that a successful Japanese military blitzkrieg shall aim for gaining substantial and sustainable strategic advantage over the Soviet.
    Peter the Great Gulf - Wikipedia
    Along the sea of Japan coasts of the Outer Manchuria and Sakhalin island, Soviet navy troops with evacuated infantry could possibly hold out a port or few, similar to the Oranienbaum pocket. However, these ports would be close to nowhere, very different to the vicinity Oranienbaum to Leningrad. The Nakhodka Bay is ice-free and shares the Peter the Great Gulf with Vladivostok; it could possibly be an Oranienbaum. Thus the first Japanese attack on the Soviet shall be a blitzkrieg and a Pearl Harbor on Vladivostok and neighboring bays.
    4 s) Another factor is navy, Soviet navy presence in the Pacific was much less than the Japanese, not to mention German U-boat did voyage around the world to Japan. If Vladivostok could be captured, Japanese navy should make use of its port facility. Submarine and Convoy protection would then be the 2 priorities. Japanese submarine could voyage from Vladivostok or Kure to Liinakhamari along the Arctic ocean coast, with the advantage of shortened mileage and without interference from Allies surface ship attack. At Liinakhamari, Finnish trucks could take German cargo to load onto Japanese submarine or vice versa unload Japanese cargo onto the trucks and travel south on road to Rovaniemi. There, the cargo would be loaded on freight trains to the port of Oulo or Helsinki. Depending on weather situation, ports of Oulo and Helsinki shall allow voyage to and from German ports at the Baltic Sea. Note that Type 3 submergence transport submarine allowed 40 tons capacity. A captured Soviet T-34 and machinery could be loaded from German or Finnish ports onto one Japanese transport submarine. A fleet of few transport submarines would allow Japanese military getting captured and donated British, French, Soviet, German and Italian aircraft and tanks. If the port of Murmansk would be captured, Japanese submarine voyage would be even more easier.
    7) German and Soviet land force military machine designs and production proved themselves at the bigger picture superior to Italian and Japanese. Sending captured Soviet machines to Italy and Japan to incorporate local resource in developing cost-effective, generic vehicles. The idea of Soviet production of T-34 could be borrowed: Italian and Japanese operating generic tank destroyers and tanks with wielding technique in middle tank P-40 and Chi-Nu. German designers voyaged by submarine could help accelerate the design stage of P-40 and Chi-Nu.
    7) As German co-belligerents featured many infantry, designing generic infantry weapons against fortifications and tanks would be important. Earlier production of Panzerfaust and Panzershreck by at least Italy and Japan would allow better field performance. For example if the Red Army attack the defensive lines across the Amur estuary and thus combated at the big picture a two front war. Japanese infantry in cities and outposts would be delivered Panzerfaust and Panzershreck by air or sail, in addition to refitted tank destroyer and later wielded P-40 and Chi-Nu. In addition, as the Japanese would be fighting in outposts -- each with an airstrip, 88mm Flak or the Italian designs of Cannone da 90/53, could be installed near the airstrip. Japanese Type90 75mm field gun could also be used at outposts that did not have Chi-Nu. In other words, an outpost could centered on the airstrip with the few flak or cannone and the type90 at the camp.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Whoa...A 10,000 character cap...That's new.

    So...Part I
    Long on fantasy and fiction, short on substance and reality.

    The big question being: Would the gains be substantial and sustainable.
    The answer being...Probably not.

    There is no substantial gain for the Japanese Army or Japan proper. In fact, by turning this on it's head, Japan stands to be at a substantial disadvantage. As this scenario, has Japan opening up yet another front to fight on - At a time when she can least afford to sustain yet another fighting front. By going to war with the USSR will require Japan to substantially supply the Kwantung Army with fuel, armaments, ammunition, etc. Now, where will all of this come from, once the Kwantung Army has gone through their ready reserves? Given that Japan has only a limited supply of all these, she can only do so by denying supplies that historically went to her forces in China and the Pacific. Bonus for the Allies. Thus, Japan's gains in Far East Russia will only be sustained by the sacrifice of gains in China and the Pacific.

    Now, some might suggest that an move to conquer the Soviet Far East will deny the Soviets American Lend-Lease. To a point, this would be true...The land route would essentially be closed. However, as we can see, the air route would likely remain open, as it is well to the north of any Japanese advances.
    [​IMG]
    You also have to face the fact that the possibility that this loss will not be made up by a redoubled effort in the Persian Gulf Route.

    Also, unless the IJN maintains a sizeable force to intercept Lend-Lease shipping, there is a reasonable presumption that can be made that the cutoff Soviets can be supplied with regards to these L-L supplies


    I would have to say that this argues against the Japanese going into the USSR. While the Kwantung Army is off on their wild goose chase in the Soviet tundra, the Soviets swoop in and gut Manchukuo. Sounds like this would be a major blow to the Japanese.


    The Japanese Navy constructed Henderson field...The Japanese Army was not called upon until the Navy troops had been chased away.


    Vladivostok had a population of 1 million? How so, considering the population in 1939 was 206,432.

    We have previously discussed this urban/rural population...
    http://www.ww2f.com/threads/what-if-japan-joined-in-operation-barbarossa.17003/page-7#post-263400


    Funny how the "geography" only benefits a Japanese defensive effort, and not a Soviet defensive effort...

    You, like the Japanese in the Pacific, ignore the fact that these "defensive lines", like the Japanese held island groups are not mutually supporting. Thus, the soviets can use the full weight of their forces against each target, and the Japanese Army will be defeated piecemeal.
    You also ignore the fact that the Soviets simply have to cross the Greater Khingen Range and they can gut Manchukuo, while the bulk of the Kwantung Army is ensconced in their "defensive lines" in the USSR...Congratulations - This is what is known as an "own goal."
     

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