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Japan decides against Midway and invades Australia instead

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by T. A. Gardner, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    But the USN did find itself with a shortage of flight decks, so much so that it begged the RN to lend it a carrier. It did not transfer the Ranger to the Pacific even though the Victorious had to overcome quite a number of logistical hurdles to deploy to the South Pacific.
     
  2. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    The claim of 23kt never being exceeded can be found here:

    http://www.combinedfleet.com/ships/hiyo

    On page 119 of Japanese Destroyer Captain, it is noted that Junyo dashed south at 26kt during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands when joining with the Zuikaku.

    Note that Junyo and Hiyo were no less protected than Soryu, Hiryu, Wasp or Ranger – fleet carriers all. Junyo, in fact, survived a three hits from a submarine in 1944, (albeit in an unloaded state with one torpedo hitting well forward. Nonetheless, that is more torpedoes than any carrier in any navy ever absorbed and lived to tell about it).
     
  3. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Glenn238, DA, thanks for providing your figures and sources. I'll be double checking them.
    Keep on crunching those numbers, guys because I sure am learning from them.
    One point, though, Glenn239. Combat ops are not an exact science. More often than not, what looked good on paper gets thrown out the window once the battle is joined.
    We both agree that ships do consume more fuel when the speed goes up.
    So I can't help but wonder how your estimates would hold up There's such a thing as interdiction and going by the historical tendency of the US and the Allies, they tend to hit the more vulnerable tankers, oilers and other ships required to keep a fighting fleet at sea. These kinds of ships can't fight back or defend themselves adequately. The Japanese never developed an ASW capability nor did they have an effective convoy system.
    Let's say you are right and they can mount an Australian invasion if they had abandoned the Midway operation. The overall question would be: could they sustain an Australian operation? For the short term, they might be able to go toe to toe with what the Allies could throw at them. But after the first, second or third major fleet engagements, then what?
    For me, the essential point would be sustainability. Look at Guadalcanal. Once the Japanese realized they couldn't support their forces there, they gave it up, albeit reluctantly.
    Also, I have to point out that I also include refitting of ships while other ships sail to replace those on station in an earlier post. You don't think that's necessary and say that Japanese ships can cruise as much as they like. From the practical point of reality, How about repairing battle damage? Replacing expended magazines, or even repairing burst fuel tanks? Leaking fuel alone from battle damage would throw your good looking numbers out of synch.
    Take note, too, that Japan didn't operate their ships as expendable assets because they were easily replaced. Admiral Nagumo didn't mount the third strike on Pearl because his primary concern was to conserve his force so he opted to withdraw.
    From this viewpoint, I don't think it's practical or even advisable to keep ships at sea for indefinite periods just for the sake of hitting and keeping the Americans at bay. Nagumo sure didn't think so.
    Anyway, Glenn239, DA and USMC, thanks for the very informative posts. Keep them up.
     
  4. EmineNce

    EmineNce recruit

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    this is such an interesting what if scenario.

    If history teaches us anything, its that Australian troops are never to be undermined in battle.
    WWI they have the aussies in turkey and gallipoli who became famous even over here in our history.
    in WWII
    In the europe theater of the war the australian forces were like shock troops.
    as the german ss were.
    German POWs recall in their journals of Allied forces retreating and australian troops climbing on top of the tanks trying to open the hatch!!
    CRAZY!

    in africa, against Rommel, his panzer army was held off by a majority australian force. without tanks and major anti tank guns.

    and then across the sea, above australia, the japanese fought the british and mocked them until they hit australian lines.
    there was no word for retreat in japanese, so they ordered their forces to advance in reverse.

    all in all, if England like it was thinking, was not going to resupply Australia, and America to be too late, the Japanese would not be able to cope with Australias climate or their willingness to fight.
    tough SOB's is all im saying.
    I wouldnt like to invade it.
     
  5. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    In WW2 the sides did not have computers. They calculated fuel requirements by trying to predict consumption, just like what I am doing here. If you think the answer doesn’t look, “good on paper”, the thought that comes to mind is that you don’t like the direction in which the numbers are pointing.

    Not the issue – if you want to do a logistic model of the whole Pacific theatre, then be my guest. The question here is the rash assumption that the USN could afford to denude its defences of carriers in the SPO to challenge at Darwin via Perth. The logistics model here isn’t some ethereal exercise – if this force prowls the waters of the SPO, it will utterly smash the Allied position there, one by one. To suppose the USN could ignore this threat by sending its carriers elsewhere is simply not sustainable.
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    True but such estimates were often off quite a bit. For instance the Japanese underestimated how much fuel they would burn in the first 6 months of the war by a considerable margin. If someone doesn't think your answer looks "good on paper" they may well be questioning the assumptions and safety margins you have built in.
     
  7. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    Devil’s Advocate: I’ve crunched a few numbers with the US Navy’s logistic data. Suffice it to say only that your numbers are so far off reality as to defy positive explanation for the discrepancy.

    Assuming a US navy TF of:
    2 x CV3 (Saratoga)
    4 x CV 9 (Essex)
    2 x CV6 (Ranger)
    4 x CA32 (Portland)
    4 x BB38 (Pennsylvania)
    22 x DD445 (Fletcher)

    This force burns each day (6.59 barrels per ton):
    14kt: 21,852 barrels / 3,313 tons
    18kt: 34,702 barrels / 5,261 tons
    24kt: 73,894 barrels / 11,204 tons (BB-38 valued at 16,860 BBL/day at 24kt)

    For a 10,080nm trip, this force consumes:
    14kt for 15 days = 49,695 tons
    18kt for 5 days = 26,305 tons
    24kt for 5 days = 56,020 tons
    Total: 132,020 tons (10,080nm)

    How the HELL did you arrive at 1.043 million tons for 30,000nm? This sample TF burns 396,060 tons for 30,000nm. Your numbers, according to YOUR OWN SOURCE translate to FIFTY Essex class carriers travelling 30,000nm at 24kt, or thirty five and a half Saratogas moving at 14kt.
     
  8. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    You are quite right on your first point but I have to respectfully disagree on your conclusion that I "don't like the direction in which the numbers are pointing." I think you might have misunderstood my point. I said I will double check the figures you and DA have graciously provided, a process that I haven't completed yet.

    Now, I have some reservations with the statement "if this force prowls the waters of the SPO, it will utterly smash the Allied position there, one by one." Do you mean that the Japanese fleet, especially their carriers, is so strong that nothing can stand against it? And they could do so even without bothering to refit every so often?
    Maybe I am wrong and I misuderstood your statement. If so, then feel free to correct my mistaken assumption.
    I've looked at the maps provided by other posters in this scenario. The Japanese would be in grave disadvantage if they establish a foothold in Australia because the Allies would be operating with interior lines. The Japanese would be operating on extended lines, which are more vulnerable to interdiction.
    On another note, you keep on asking me for a logistical model. Okay, I'll make it simple: keep units, whether they be land, naval or air units, as fresh as possible.
    This means keeping them supplied so they can maintain a high fighting efficiency and if need be, pulled out of the line and replaced by a fresher unit so the worn out unit can be refitted for future combat. From what you have posted earlier, you don't think this is necessary for the Japanese.
    Okay, for the sake of argument, let's follow what you've been saying.
    The Japanese invades Australia and succeeds in establishing a foothold. The Japanese then asserts air superiority with the capture of Allied airstrips and flying in additional air units. With the Japanese carrier fleet intact because the Midway battle didn't happen, the Japanese are able to protect their extended supply lines and at the same time succeed in hampering Allied efforts to reinforce Australia. Since the Japanese carrier fleet and their other major fleet units are so strong and independent, they can afford to eschew ties to a naval base for refit or repair. Going by this train of thought, then the only conclusion is that the Japanese succeeds in their invasion of Australia, no matter what effort the Allies might mount. Was this what you meant?

    I do respect what you have been postiing for they certainly attract interest. I just find your points a bit too optimistic.
    To keep things in perspective, both the Allies and the Japanese are not invincible. Both sides did suffer ignonimous defeats. Bottomline, at least for me, is that even with an intact Japanese carrier force sans Midway, the Japanese would be taking too big a risk by invading Australia.
    The overall strategic objective of the Japanese in the war was to cripple the United States to a point that the US would have no choice but to accede to the Japanese position. When the Japanese failed to meet this strategic objective, they had no other recourse but to try to hang on with what they had gained.
    The Japanese entered the war on a shoe string. And a shoe string doesn't last long when it's overstretched. Sooner or later, probably sooner, it would snap from the strain. And that is what happened eventually to Imperial Japan. An invasion of Australia would be, at least for me, stretching an overly strained Japanese shoestring.
     
  9. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Falcon Jun,

    I realize your post is directed at Glenn239 and I don't mean to speak for him but, since I am apparently the only other poster that thinks it is a viable option, I'd like to respond to some of your points.

    First, I'm not, and don't think Glenn239 is saying that the Japanese could, nor in my opinion would want to, capture all of Australia. The bulk of Australia's population is located in the south and along the eastern coast, most heavily in the south. So occupying portions of northern Australia would not be an insurmountable task.

    This is modern but should parallel the WWII population distribution:
    Maps of*Population density in Australia*|*Population density in Australia*Map*|*World Book Maps

    Australia is a huge landmass, Japan could never occupy and control it all. Occupation of populated areas requires large troop commitments, i.e. China, but once again looking at the map, except at Darwin this wouldn't be necessary.

    I'm not an expert on Australian topography, but I can read a map. We do have some Australian forum members that have graciously provided additional information on the topography south of Darwin, and there is apparently, close to a 1000 mile stretch of desert from Alice Springs northward that would provide an excellent buffer zone for a defending force.

    The setting:
    The Coral Sea was fought in order to stop a Japanese advance on Port Moresby. (Allies at the time were not completely sure of the objective, Australia or Moresby). The US lost the Lexington, the Yorktown was damaged but remained in the area until 11May to counter continued Japanese presence in the Coral Sea, when Enterprise and Hornet arrived. The Japanese lost CVL Shoho and Shokaku was damaged, her air group temporarily augmented Zuikaku's when she returned to Coral Sea to search for the remaining American ships. The South Seas detatchment was turned around and the Moresby Invasion postponed. MacArthur stated that whoever controlled Moresby controlled New Guinea. The Japanese tried again in July when they tried to attack from Gona across the Owen Stanley range. They were finally stopped very close to Moresby as much by their inability to supply their forces up the Kokoda trail, and across the Owen Stanleys as from the hard fighting of the Australians. Fighting was still going on in New Guinea in 1945 when Japan surrendered. The Japanese eventually committed something like 317,000 troops to the New Guinea Campaign and another 31,500 or so to Guadalcanal. They lost heavily in combat but the majority of losses, by a large margin, was due to disease and starvation. What if these losses could be greatly reduced? The Battle of Midway and trying to hold onto Guadalcanal, cost the Japanese their early war qualitative edge in pilots. The Guadalcanal losses mainly from the attrition involved with trying to wage an air campaign from the distant bases in Rabaul and the Northern Solomons. What if these could be reduced and qualitative parity maintained for a longer period?
    gotta get to work more later....
     
  10. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    ....continued
    As I stated in an earlier post:
    It wasn't that the Japanese didn't have the assets to support their troops on Guadalcanal. It was that the US kept the majority of supplies and reinforcements from reaching Guadalcanal. This is primarily because the Japanese could not adequately protect their ships from US daytime airpower. They were trying to support their reinforcement efforts from Rabaul and the Northern Solomons, and the Americans were fighting close to their airbase, many times launching multiple anti-shipping strikes per day. Japan was finally forced to try and run the supplies in under cover of darkness supported by naval surface combat units. When the US surface units attempted to interdict them, the vicious nighttime slugfests occurred. If you look at those, Japan would have come out on top except their damaged units were often picked off trying to flee back up the slot by aircraft from Henderson Field. They would also gain a tactical advantage in the fight but have to break off and retreat for fear of US airstrikes come daylight. Another benefit for the US from operating close to their home airbase. Even so when Washington engaged the Battleship Kirishima, on the night of 14-15 November, she was the Pacific fleet, Halsey had no more ships to commit. What if the Japanese could force a situation where the US could be lured into a battle of Naval attrition but not suffer from lack of air support? An invasion of Australia might do this.
    Also, historically Japan retained a potent surface fleet and some carriers but the situation never allowed them to engage in a decisive battle. What if Japan could force the US into a decisive battle instead of eventually sacrificing these ships in futile efforts?

    One possible way of doing it:
    The Japanese at this time still have 4 big carriers, could retain Zuikaku with an air group made up of her own and Shokaku's aircraft, and have two additional carriers that Glenn and DA are debating over as to their status as CV or CVL. A formidable group. Initially to oppose them the US has Enterprise and Hornet. Yorktown and Saratoga will become available in early June, so if Japan were to strike quickly they have a window of opportunity for two to three weeks before the US will have sufficient strength to oppose them. Nimitz will in all likelyhood do as he did and keep the carriers near the Fiji/New caledonia bases to protect the supply line to Australia and protect his only two flight decks.
    Japan would hit Darwin and nearby airfields with a fighter sweep, at dawn, from the 5 big carriers. The idea is to destroy allied aircraft on the ground without doing too much damage to the facilities. This would be quickly followed by landings. An IJA infantry regiment and an SNLF battalion. The SNLF battalion lands to the west of the city immediately north of East Point and drives rapidly east capturing the airfield. An IJA battalion lands across the bay near Mandorah and fans out west, sw and south. Another IJA BN lands south of East Point, detatches a company to seize the point, the other companies push across the peninsula to secure the waterfront and clear this area for follow on troops. The third bn would land down the bay near Channel Island, drive eastward and seize the road junction of Stuart and Amhem hwys establishing a blocking force and cutting the rail line south. Carrier aircraft will continually put up sorties during the day, fanning out further and further south, bombing any observed troop concentrations, shooting up airfields or knocking down whatever aircraft the Australians and Americans put up. The final strikes will be against Daly Waters airfield about 250 air miles south of Darwin, here the airfield will be bombed to make it temporarily unusable. Heavy naval units will provide naval gunfire support for the initial infantry assault.
     
    Falcon Jun likes this.
  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    continued...
    The third bn (blocking force at hwy junction) will send out reconnaissance patrols to check out nearby Sattler, Strauss, Livingstone and Huges airfields. In the meantime a second wave consisting of the 1st Bn and 2nd Bn of a second regiment will land at the same spot near Channel Island and follow the route the 3rd Bn of our first regiment to the highway. The reconnaissance patrols will seize the airfields if undefended or lightly held. The two new Bn's will advance, south, down Stuart Hwy one on each side until they've captured the airfields. (note: most of the airfields were located in close proximity to the Stuart Hwy/railroad)

    Sometime around mid day the two CVL's will arrive accompanied by destroyers transporting the 3rd Bn of the second regiment, engineers, laborers, and a survey/advance party for the ground element of the aviation units. The old slow cargo ships will be timed to arrive around dusk carrying the bulk of the supplies, heavy construction equipment, the remainder of the aviation support personnel, headquarters and supply units, garrison units and the bulk of the motor vehicles. The ships of the first wave, having unloaded all day onto the landing beaches will up anchor and head back to Timor. The engineers from the destroyer transports should have the docks ready to accept ships carrying heavy equipment for unloading, and will have determined what if anything is necessary to place the Darwin Airfield back in operation. Unloading will go on through the night and at dawn the carriers now 5+2 or 7 depending on who's posting will renew aerial operations against the airfields not seized the first day and strike Daly Waters again, cratering the airfield. (Daly Waters was the main transit field for ferrying fighters to the Darwin area, keep it out of commission and it will hard for the Australians/Americans to get fighters from the big bases on the east coast, to the front to oppose the Japanese).
     
  12. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    Right – the striking power of the intact IJN carrier fleet vastly exceeded the power of any Allied individual air base, or local network in the Pacific Ocean – with the sole exception of Hawaii.

    Australia excluded, each little base in the Allied SPO supply chain was weak and could not withstand the power that as many as eight IJN fleet carriers could unleash upon it. The carriers deliver about 570 aircraft to the party with a daily max. tempo of perhaps 1,200 combat sorties. Each little island base might have 40 or 50 aircraft with a combat tempo of perhaps 1/10th that of the carriers; by nightfall of one day's battle, most of the aircraft should be gone - and its a long way from California to sail in the replacements! It’s Trincomalee all over again, with the attackers rapidly smashing the defenders incapable of coordinated aerial resistance in the air. In Guadalcanal terms, the blow delivered over the course of a day might be ten times that ever absorbed by the defenders of Henderson Field.

    The only time a strong IJN carrier force attacked a US base without surprise was at Midway – there Nagumo was handily destroying the island’s considerable airpower (far more than any base in the SPO had in the summer of 1942) before being beset from the flank. It is the US carriers, like burly linebackers, that add the beef to any point along the line of defence and rob the IJN carriers of a free crack at each base in turn.

    This doesn’t mean these bases will be taken by the Japanese, only that the Allies would remain on the defensive as long as the Japanese maintained the capacity to be able to smash individual bases in carrier raids. It rules out any notion of an amphibious landing since the supply shipping and base network supporting a Guadalcanal would be vulnerable to destruction, thus dooming the enclave to eventual surrender.
     
  13. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    Rommel’s intention wasn’t to capture Africa either.

    It’s a low-cost diversion that acts to draw a disproportionate level of commitment from the enemy in response. In the case of Darwin, the added benefit is that the LOC don’t require much in the way of seapower, and are handily situated to allow shipping running supplies to Darwin to then sail to the NEI to refuel and load with resources for the trip back to the Home Islands. It’s win, win, win; the IJA wins because it doesn’t fight in death trap positions on stinking jungle islands and can use its power of manoeuvre. The economy wins because ships supplying a combat zone can return loaded with raw materials. The IJN wins because its airpower and ships are not tied down in the front line, but rather are holding a backwater theatre (The Solomons), conducting some carrier raids, and preparing for the fleet showdown in 1944.



    IIRC, Yamashita also thought it was the way to go. Fire an army into Darwin and let it run around Australia causing havoc. Given the terrain and scale of the theatre, a decisive land battle seems improbable, but rather the IJA would slowly be whittled down and thrust back into a corner around Darwin, at which point the survivors would be loaded aboard transports and the campaign ended. The Allies will win – the question is how long it takes them and was there anything better they could have done with their resources other than a snipe hunt in the Outback?

    .
     
  14. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    USMCPrice, your reply is certainly a welcome sight in my eyes. I actually agree with what you point out. And what you pose is a more reasonable possibility than having the Japanese fleet cruise around invicibly. I'll post more later on what you have asked.
     
  15. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    I've read the replies and I have to thank USMCPrice for getting things back in track. I, for one, concede the point that USMCPrice mentioned--the Japanese could enjoy a window of opportunity for the amount of he specified.
    As he rightly pointed out, the Guadalcanal interdiction prevented the Japanese from adequately sustaining there forces there. He is also correct in pointing out that the US had the advantage of operating near their airstrip against the Japanese.
    With this in mind, the Japanese has a reasonable chance of attempting to land an invasion force. However, I don't think the Japanese could achieve a tactical surprise since their codes have been deciphered already.
    Having said that, it follows that the US and Australia would move to stop such an invasion.
    Two choices comes to my mind: try to intercept whatever the Japanese sends at sea or let it land, contain it then roll it up.
    Since the Japanese, as USMCPrice points out, still retains their edge because the Midway Battle didn't occur, I think it would be better to let the Japanese land then defeat it later. Time is on the Allied side since Japan can't really replace its losses.
    What I am saying is like World War I attrition: the side that can support their fleet and land units and replace losses more efficiently will win.
    It's like trading space for time.
    Despite the vaunted invincibility of the Japanese fleet carriers as often stated by Glenn239, they'd still be operating on a shoe string. They would still lose pilots, aircraft and suffer battle damage. They would still need to rearm and resupply, points that Glenn239 consistently downplays. So after two or three weeks, then what?
    The Allies would have learned by this time what worked and discarded what didn't after suffering through the early months of the Japanese rampage in the PTO. The Allies would be better prepared to deal with the Japanese move unlike in the early days of the war in the Pacific.
    I know reiterate what DA and I have mentioned earlier, an invasion of Australia would hasten the eventual defeat of Japan.
    Why? With the Japanese concentrating the bulk of their shipping and other assets in a defined corridor or route, it makes it relatively easier for the Allies to interdict the Japanese supply lines. The Japanese ships, aircraft and troops lost here wouldn't then be available later to meet the eventual Allied surge later on.
    Now a question comes to mind: how effective is the Japanese ASW capability really?This for me is an important question because the US subs would play a vital role in hampering the supply line to Japanese forces in Australia.
     
  16. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Now for Glenn239: thanks for clearing up that detail on the invicibility of the Japanese carrier fleet. I'll respond to that on a later post.
    You say that after landing the IJA would be able to utilize its superior mobility and deal with whatever the Allies could throw at them.
    I seem to recall that during the Japanese campaign in the Philippines, their vaunted mobility failed to cut off the northern US forces from linking up with the US southern force in Bataan. Wainwright was able to hold off and delay the Japanese all the way from Northern Luzon down to the Central plains of Luzon until the US northen units passed through Candaba Swamp and crossed the vital bridge to the Bataan Peninsula.
    If the IJA was really so mobile, then they would have been able to breakthrough the lines held by the already starving troops holding the line during the Battle of the Pockets and the Battle of the Points.
    In the end, the US lost the Philippines because it was considered a doomed post anyway. The garrison there had virtually lost its airpower on the first day and Macarthur had unwisely left his supply depots scattered outside Bataan. The US was not able to replace their aviation losses in the PI or resupply adequately their units in Bataan and Corregidor.
    In Malaya, the British didn't learn to extend their defensive lines into the jungle and the Japanese took advantage of that. Simply put the Japanese bypassed the Britsh strongpoints which were established on the road network. The Allies then learned from that Japanese practice.
    In an Australian invasion, the Allies would be able to replace and resupply their units unlike with what happened in the PI or Malaya.
    Another point, the Japanese would eventually face seasoned Australian forces that saw action in North Africa. The Japanese wouldn't be facing green troops.
    By this time, the Japanese was suffering from the so-called "Victory Disease." Many of the IJA commanders were consistently overestimating their capabilities and underestimating what their foes were capable of doing.
    In summary, the IJA might be able to land in Australia but they won't be able to hold whatever they seize for long.
    As an aside, what would stop the British from mounting an offensive from India since they know that the bulk of Japanese striking power is concentrated in Austalia and the waters of that continent?
    The Japanese can't be strong everywhere and it's reasonable to say that the Allies could strike where the Japanese lines are thin. That's why I say again that a Japanese invasion of Australia without the Midway losses could hasten the defeat of Japan. The Japanese losses in Midway would simply happen somewhere else.
     
  17. ickysdad

    ickysdad Member

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    Falcon Jun,
    I agree with most of what your saying. However when one invades an island your main worry is about isolating the island from further reinforcement but when you invade a continental landmass you have the complication of having to be able to build up your forces faster then the defender does to be successful. Also I don't think you can starve the Australian population out of the war.
    Now to me this scenario just doesn't make any strategic sense and if the Allies just decide just to let the Japanese wither on the vine there then what??? I mean Rabaul was built up to be the most formidable base in the South Pacific but to what avail?
     
  18. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Thanks, Ickysdad. Yes, the scenario doesn't make any strategic sense but since this is a what-if, possibilities have to be explored. The Japanese didn't invade in reality because they knew they can't sustain it with what they have, especially with the heavy commitments they have in other areas.
    In my mind, once (not if) the Japanese invasion forces are contained in a pocket, the Allies can then open a new offensive in another area in the Pacific. And with the attrition suffered by Japan's forces in trying to maintain that pocket, the other offensive by the US would most probably meet not as a strong Japanese reaction as it was historically. Of course I'll concede the Allies would suffer losses too in containing the Japanese invasion and interdicting Nippon's supply lines. The strength of that hypothetical offensive would probably include the new ships from US dockyards and whatever US carriers and fleet units that survive the fighting off Australia.
     
  19. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    One problem here is if this is intended to be a diversion as suggested it is one that the Japanese are going to have to support with most of their navy and a lot of their army and log structure. How good is a diversion that requires one to use most of ones offensive power?
     
  20. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Falcon Jun wrote:

    Maybe, maybe not. To paraphrase von Clausewitz, war is a continuation of politics. I think a Japanese invasion would, for a time, would allow the Japanese to dictate the area of operations. I do not think the Australians, a proud and independant people, would stand by and allow the Japanese to occupy their territory, have portions of their civilian population forced to live in occupied areas, or have their cities bombed and shelled.
    The best option from a US perspective would be to contain the Japanese as ickysdad wrote:
    But would cutting them off and bypassing them be a viable option politically? If the US tried to force a containment strategy or diverted resources to open an offensive in another area of the Pacific, while Australian women and children are living under the Japanese yoke or being killed, well I don't see the Australians sitting by and taking it. They'd probably tell us to pack sand. It would at least strain if not break our alliance. What if Australia were lost as a base for Pacific Ocean operations? This wouldn't be from Japan, militarily, knocking Australia out of the war it would be for political considerations.

    Falcon Jun wrote:
    I'm not proposing committing anything more than was historically committed to the Midway, New Guinea and Guadalcanal campaigns. New Guinea and Guadalcanal probably wouldn't occur at all or would be later in the war. Operations in other areas would continue at historical levels. It might even benefit some of these other areas, by pulling allied assets away from them. Example: Saipan was a costly battle but the Japanese actually had plans to make it more formidable. Plans for beach defenses along the lines of Tarawa, and many more troops, were in the works. US submarines sank many of the transports and cargo ships carrying the construction materials. If assets were pulled from this interdiction campaign, how tough would that battle have been?

    Falcon Jun wrote:
    If the first statement ends up being true, the invasion would be a disaster. If, as I suspect, containment is not a viable strategy politically, then the second statement comes into play. I agree with what you're saying here, but I think Japan would benefit. If their attrition decreases over historical levels and the allies increases, it only stands to reason that the war would be prolonged. Japan could never hope to beat America militarily in the long term. They know this. They originally hoped to hurt America badly enough during the initial attacks, to cause the Americans to seek a political settlement. They did, as DA correctly points out, underestimate the American publics outrage over Pearl Harbor. Now, their only hope for a political settlement is drag it out long enough that American's tire of it or make the war so costly in casualties and material losses that they question the value of continuing. By early 1945 America had reaching that point. What if the progress were pushed back a year or six months? We know, looking back, when the war would end but the people at the time didin't. Looking forward it would be easy to dispair.
     

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