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Japan develops Armor instead of Invading China

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by GermanStrategist, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. GermanStrategist

    GermanStrategist Member

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    Ok so the consensus seems to be that Japan would have made a very small contribution to the Nazis if they had attacked the USSR a few weeks after Operation Barbarossa started. They would have easily taken the ports, but due to weak armor, bad supply systems and railway problems, their ground armies could not have advanced very far. And at most would have diverted supplies worth a handful of divisions from the Eastern Front. Probably not enough to tip the tide in Germany's favor.


    So, after taking Manchukuo in 1931, the Japanese are in a position of relative stability with zero enemies. It's only until 1937 that Japan invades China and devotes enormous resources to defeating her.

    Let's say in 1936, when the Anti-Comintern Pact was being signed (a very appropriate time), the Germans convince the Japanese to hold off their invasion of China in 1937 with whatever means necessary and get them to prepare for war with the Soviets, promising them enormous rewards and resources. The key thing Germany would have to secretly tell Japan is to not attack until Germany does (this means no border incidents that cause the USSR to deploy enormous reinforcement to the Far East). What would the Japanese have to do in 5 years to get themselves ready to fight the USSR? Clearly, they would need to invest heavily in modern armor, but this could be achieved if they sacrificed their navy for armored divisions.

    Having a powerful Navy doesn't really matter anyway since the Russian navy in the far east was almost non-existent. In 1936, the Japanese could have been given German Panzer 3 tank designs (which were around in 1936) and the Japanese could begin forming Panzer divisions. (The Germans were already giving the Japanese expertise and technical help on aircraft design, they could have done the same with tanks.) The Japanese could also have been instructed by Guderian and other blitzkrieg masters in the intervening years between 1936 and the invasion of Poland in 1939 so that they knew how to fight effectively. Then after Germany quickly defeats France, Operation Barbarossa begins with a massive Japanese thrust in the Far East. Because the Japanese are not involved with China, the entire Japanese army devoted against Russia would have been equivalent to 51 divisions or 1.7 million men - almost 2/3 of the Nazi forces on the Eastern Front which were pitted against some 18 Soviet divisions. Something on this scale would have made a HUGE difference in the war. The Japanese would have seized enormous amounts of territory in 1941 because they would have armor and tactics while causing Stalin to send at least 30 divisions to the East. They would have caused a complete route of the Soviet Far Eastern forces in 1941, and would have bogged down the Soviets in 1942. If Hitler took Moscow in 1941 on top of all this, I think the pressure would have been too much for the Soviets to handle.
     
  2. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Japan by geography is a sea power. They need a merchant marine and a navy to protect it just for their industry to operate. To build tanks the Japanese would have had to greatly expand their motor vehicle industry. Tanks don't operate in a vacuum, they need supporting units. In this area Japan is far worse off than Germany as motor vehicles are comparatively rare in the country prior to WW 2.
    The Japanese also lack other useful industrial capacity. They have a very limited ability to produce heavy vehicle engines. This would limit tank size. Armor plate production is also a fairly small industry. For AFV it was limited to about 1" plate prior to WW 2. Track production would require a massive expansion of capacity in triple alloy steels and the resulting increase in imports of those alloys.

    This would also have required Japan to produce new artillery, antitank and, other weapons designs suitable for tractor towing. Then there would be a need for moving supplies. The rail system in Manchuko is very sparse. Increasing it to support operations would be required. Laying literally thousands of miles of track would take time.

    Next is the issue of terrain. Around Vladivostok the terrain is very rugged, forested and cut by numerous rivers. The Soviets built a considerable number of permanent fortifications along that protion of their border with Manchuko. It is hardly tank country. Further inland there are several very remote mountian ranges and lots of aboral forest. Over towards Mongolia the land is desert terrain. There are virtually no roads anywhere in the region and the few that do exist are little more than dirt tracks.

    So, while the Japanese might invade the USSR a modern (by WW 2 standards) mechanized army is not in the cards for them. They have way too much catching up in far too many areas to allow it to happen. Aside from that, an invasion of the USSR does little for the Japanese in terms of their economy. Then there is the Soviet reaction to Japanese moves. If Japan appeared to be building up for an invasion wouldn't the Soviets do things to mitigate its potential success? They might well move more armor or units to Siberia and the Far East. They might call up more troops. They could build additional defenses.
    So, the Japanese might well find themselves right back in the same position they previously were: Facing an enemy with several times their own material and manpower in a better position to operate in the field.
     
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  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There's also the question of what's in it for them. As far as was known at the time Siberia didn't have much in the way of resources that Japan needed. Without the attack on China however Japan doesn't have any problems buying things from the British and US. If she goes to war with the Soviets after the Germans attack then she may well find herself at war with Britain at least and that is very likely to lead to conflict with the US. On the otherhand if she has good relations with the US and Britain she well may be albe to take over IndoChina with their approval (after all the British took over other French Vichy colonies) and may even find it expediant to join the allied side.
     
  4. GermanStrategist

    GermanStrategist Member

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    I know that getting the Japanese on board would be a hard sell but I think Germany could do it if they pushed hard enough in 1936 (like I said promising enormous rewards and giving them tons of technical help). Japan was about to take a huge gamble in 1937... postponing the invasion might be a prudent choice.

    Japan had a ridiculous amount of carriers operating in the Pacific. They had 10 in 1941. There was a single British aircraft carrier operating in the Indian Ocean and the Americans were definitely not going to attack Japan because Japan hadn't engaged anyone since 1931. I can see why they saw their Navy as extremely important, but they needed a ground army that could contribute something to the war. With no steel embargoes on Japan, the Japanese would have a lot of resources and German technical help to produce a mechanized army within a 5 year timeframe.

    Furthermore, the Japanese had 1,600 aircraft in 1940 and they operated in the same way as the Germans (close tactical support)... presumably this would be far more than needed to achieve air superiority in the far east. Wouldn't this fact cause enormous losses for the Russians like it did in the European Theater? And with aircraft carriers, the Japanese Air Force could have controlled the entire northern coastline. Could the Japanese have just landed their tanks by boat near Vladivostok and avoided the extremely forested terrain?

    The Japanese might have seen the need for paratroopers for the terrain reasons mentioned and could have developed some airborne divisions during those 5 years.

    I know this is pretty counter-intuitive to the Japanese way of thinking, but I think the Japanese could have made a serious contribution if they had focused their strength against the USSR, perhaps tipping the balance in Germany's favor.
     
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I think the Japanese COULD have made a valuable contribution also (Its definately a good thought)...What Germany might have wanted is for Japan to concentrate on a type of warfare as you've suggested. I don't think armour was their thing, as has been said, they had a pityful automobile industry before the war (at least in terms of quality). The Tankettes they produced were good in China, but a joke against the allies. But as you say, there would need a lead up period of at least 5 years (more like 10) and bulk help from Germany.
    Here lies proabably the biggest hurdle...relations between countries. Japan managed a licence for the DB601 and a couple of other things....but that was it! (The US not being the only country with a "not for sale" policy on some of its hardware). The fact is that the Japan/German relationship was almost non-existant...Neither party liked one another and trusted each even less.
    The problem Germany faced meant they needed LAND forces...early on, aircraft weren't a problem (didn't end that way did it?) The Navy was largely irrelevent in the war. If i was Hitler (i'd shoot myself for being a dick) then i'd make a plan for Japan to join the fight at an opportune time....Battle for Leningrad as an example...Have them make a sea landing in force, perhaps Japan pretending to invade Chinese mainland whilst building up. To use the "Blitzkreig" tactic to take as much land and (factories, mines etc etc) as possible and then bed down, dig in (Japs are good at that) and hold. With Germany mounting offensives to keep the Russians focus on them. The Japanese could, by sea, attack the east side where many of the factories had been moved.
    But all this assumes that the two actually gave a crap about each other. The same tactic could have been put forward to the Italians, but how well would they have done? Maybe take a few resources to hold them all in a pen i spose...
     
  6. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    Japan and Russia had a tenuous relationship at best even before the formalization of hostilities in Europe and the Tripartite pact with Hitler. I am thinking that Japan didn't want to have to worry about their "back door":

    I think early on both Russia and Japan realized that neither had the logistical structure to maintain a two front war.

    So, oddly enough, both sides adhered to the 1941 Neutrality pact until the very end when it was time to stand in line for the cutting of the pie.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The problem is would the Japanese have believed the promises or put another way what could Germany have promised them that they really needed that was also beleiveable? As for tecnology again what do you think Germany had to offer that they would have considered that valuable?
    Problem here is Japan or at least the Japanese governement didn't really decide to invade China. The choice was made by some mid level IJN officers and the Japanese governement was presented with a situation where they either had to go along or reign in said officers and face possible assassination and in their view point "loose face".
    But only 6 fleet carriers. Furthermore if you examine why they had them it was to support their "Decisive Battle" doctrine vs the US. As such this was hardly a rediculous number indeed it was at best barely sufficient and by 43 would have been totally inadequate.
    From their veiw point the army was contributing something to the war. It was taking over China and was able to take over a number of other areas once the war started. It wasn't able to help Germany much but that wasn't the function of the German army. If they don't go to war with China in 37 the US is still their big competitor in the Pacific and they still need to be able to fight the USN or the RN. Note that if they get in the war vs the USSR there is likely to be an embargo on US goods due to the nutrality act and there goes not only steel but most of their petrolium as well.
    Did they? How many cases are there of IJN planes operating in close support of IJA units?
    Take a look at the terrain:
    vladivostok - Google Maps
    [qutoe]I know this is pretty counter-intuitive to the Japanese way of thinking, but I think the Japanese could have made a serious contribution if they had focused their strength against the USSR, perhaps tipping the balance in Germany's favor.[/QUOTE]
    It's counter intuitive to just about any nations way of thinking. Why should they spend this much effort to help another nation while risking so much with so little pay off?
     
  8. GermanStrategist

    GermanStrategist Member

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    I believe that the Japanese would have gone along with it because in 1936 relations between Germany and Japan were at their best. Japan hadn't felt betrayed by the Polish Invasion yet so they held their German allies in high esteem. Germany had to offer its tank experts and engineers which would have modernized the Japanese armored divisions, and taught the Japanese blitzkrieg tactics which were proven to be extremely effective against the Soviets. If Japan hadn't attacked China, it would be able to get all the material it needed from the United States in order to get these tanks built in time to fight the USSR.

    Well they really didn't want the conflict against China to happen, but they didn't really try very hard to stop it from happening. If they had secret plans to invade the Soviet Union in 1936, I highly doubt they would have engaged China in the manner that they did. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident might have still happened, but headquarters would have pulled Japanese troops out immediately and called for a ceasefire like they tried to do anyway.

    How was it 'barely sufficent'? The Japanese carrier force was the best in the world, and only the Japanese knew it at the time. The only reason their carrier force didn't perform well was a combination of luck on the American side and the fact that Japanese carrier tactics weren't fully developed because they spent too much time on their irrelevant battleships. If the American carriers had been sunk at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese carrier force would have completely dominated the Pacific until the Americans could have built an enormous fleet to challenge them. But this is irrelevant to this scenario. Pearl Harbor wouldn't have happened. The Japanese could have gotten along fine enough with a single Shokaku class carrier, and had they devoted their efforts to the Army at Hitler's early urging, they could have developed Panzers in the 5 year timeframe.

    The embargo was going to go on Japan one way or another if they expanded anywhere. Historically, the Japanese thought otherwise and felt they were personally offended by the Americans when they placed an embargo on them. The Japanese didn't know it at the time, but Sakhalin island held all the oil and gas reserves that they ever needed. They just needed to fully capture it and explore it.

    Well that's how they were designed to fight. Early on the air force didn't really operate like the luftwaffe, but it did catch up eventually. The Germans did send a delegation of about 250 technicians, engineers and other experts to Japan in 1940 that helped make Japan's airforce first rate.

    Take a look at the terrain:
    vladivostok - Google Maps
    I know this is pretty counter-intuitive to the Japanese way of thinking, but I think the Japanese could have made a serious contribution if they had focused their strength against the USSR, perhaps tipping the balance in Germany's favor.[/QUOTE]
    Well actually Japan had a lot to gain out of this strategy. There would be no war with the United States (the biggest benefit), and no long, drawn out war with China that would deteriorate relations with other countries. If the USSR was defeated, their back door would never be exposed again. They didn't know it at the time, but the north was actually very resource rich... a lot of its resources hadn't been fully explored like Sakhalin island which alone could have provided for Japan's oil needs. If Japan and Germany had cooperated like they did in 1940, they could have brought Japan's ground forces up to speed very quickly. The Japanese are a very hard-working and smart group of people... I'm sure they could have pulled this off with Germany's help.

    If Germany had shown more initiative early on, Japan might have thought twice about it. This strategy was realistically the only one they could pull off because fighting the United States was not an option. And if they attacked the Dutch East Indies, they knew that America was going to attack them. The Japanese were a pretty insane and desperate in thinking that they could fight America and have any chance of winning ever.
     
  9. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    As most of Japan's resources came over water, it would seem unlikely for Japan to give up its naval traditions for a mechanized land army.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The actions of sovereign contries are usually goverened by the percieved interest of those rulers of said countries. You have yet to demostrate a convincing rational for Japan engaging in this operation.
    Could they? How much did they need and how much could they afford and when?
    OK, at this point I'm going to ask for some details on your POD. When? How? Why?
    History would seem to indicate otherwise.
    That's certainly not the impression I've got from my readings. Take a look at Shattered Sword for instance.
    You mean if they are willing to sacrifice their own interest to help Hitler take down the USSR they only need a single carrier? Perhaps if that's all they ever intend on doing. But that's hardly rational is it?
    Not neccessarily. The odds go up if the expansion is military especially if it's against US interest or allies.
    The fact that they were offended doesn't mean that they didn't have an idea that the embargo might be put in place. Indeed I beleive warning was given.
    Really care to support that? Even if it did hold adequate reserves how exploitable were they with the technology of the time? How long would it take them to exploit it? Did they even have good reason to look for it? Most nations would like to be able to act on information from the future but none really have that capability.
    Is it? Care to document that?
    That's a rather interesting POV. Consider that some rate the IJN air arm as the best in the world in 1941.
    It's not just counter intiitive to the Japanese way of thinking it's counter to almost any nations way of thinking. Why go to great risks for few benefits? Shure they could have helped some against the USSR but it's questionable whether it would have tipped the balance. You also haven't given the Soviets the credit for reacting to this threat. Remember they had a very effective espionage service. Also if you look around you can find that the Soviet strength in the Far East never dropped all that much although the quality of the troops may have declined as the war went on.
    [/quote]
    Well actually Japan had a lot to gain out of this strategy. There would be no war with the United States (the biggest benefit), and no long, drawn out war with China that would deteriorate relations with other countries.
    [/quote]
    How does this strategy eliminate the chance of war with either the US or China? Indeed what prevents China from deciding to try and retake Manchuria when the Japanese are tied up with the Soviets? Remember the Soviets had been helping the Chinese militarily during this period.
    Never is a long time. Then of course there's the US in Alaska.
    So it's irrelevent to their decision making process.
    Care to detail this cooperation and how it would have "brought Japan's ground forces up to speed very quickly"?
    I'd say the "smart" part rather precludes them even seriously contemplating this scheme.
     
  11. GermanStrategist

    GermanStrategist Member

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    I have said it about three times now... the Japanese had little intel on the amount of resources available in the north and so they should have been able to safely assume that there were resources that had not been discovered yet. Attempting to fight America was not in the cards for them, but they tried to do it anyway. The possibility of not having to fight the Americans is a hell of a convincing rationale instead of making war with America a certainty because fighting America means certain death.

    Of course they could have... until 1937 at the Marco Polo Bridge incident, America let Japan buy whatever it wanted.

    The Japanese were able to produce 166 panzer 3 equivalents in 1943 when they had been bombed to hell and their raw materials were in short supply. The Type 3 Chi-Nu was equivalent to a panzer 3 and it took ONLY 6 months to fully develop with German blueprints. The Japanese stopped working on tank designs in the 1930's because of the costs of naval expansion. Had they continued their tank designs and worked more closely with the Germans from 1936-1940, they would have developed something similar to the Panzer 3 and 4 instead of waiting until 1940 when it was too late.

    There's about a dozen different acronyms that POD could apply to in this discussion. I'm not going to answer this question because I don't know what you're asking.

    Japan's code was broken by America so Nimitz had a huge upper hand at the Battle of Midway... even when the Americans fully knew when and where the attack was going, they still lost a carrier in the fight.
    It's rational if your plan isn't to get Japan to fight an impossible war against America.

    No. Tell me what sizeable piece of land the Japanese could have taken that wouldn't have caused America to apply an embargo. America told Japan many times to stop with its imperialistic ambitions or else America was going to pull the plug.

    Warning was given, but that doesn't mean they took it seriously. They were shocked when America placed an embargo on them.

    Northern Sakhalin was producing about 500,000 tons of crude oil a year in 1936. This oil could have been used almost immediately since it was close to Japan and the Japanese had familiarity with the land.

    The Luftwaffe's planes were designed as close air support. Ever heard of Japanese dive bombers? They were used at sea to strike ships, but they very easily could have been used like German Stukas against Soviet tanks. The Germans gave the Japanese lots of blueprints, sample engines and planes so that they would have a first rate air force. They could have done the same with Panzer designs, tactics and engines.

    Their airforce was as good as it was in 1941 because Germany helped them out so much.

    The Japanese desperately wanted the USSR's far east anyway. Remember, they tried to take it in World War 1, investing lots of money and time in attempting to hold it.


    Unless it was provoked by a massive attack like Pearl Harbor, America was never going to attack Japan. A lot of the American people didn't want war with Hitler who was a far bigger threat. Do you really think most of them cared about Imperial Japan before Pearl Harbor?

    This is irrelevant. America was not going to attack Japan without major provocation.

    They did, however, know about Sakhalin island and the large coal mines that were all over the place in the Far East.

    Care to detail this cooperation and how it would have "brought Japan's ground forces up to speed very quickly"?

    They just didn't understand grand strategy very well. They needed a bigger world perspective to see how important destroying the USSR was.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed that doesn't make it correct, relevant, or even supported.
    Should they? What resources? Where? Were they extractable at the time? Remember most of the oil reserves discovered up to that point were in tropical or subtropical areas.
    But it was in the cards. Indeed the competition between the two had been growing since before the Russo-Japanese war. Furthermore they saw China, IndoChina, and the SW Pacfic as thier natural sphere of influnce with many resourcse they needed. Siberia wasn't.
    But this plan doesn't mean that they don't have to fight the US. Indeed it might mean that they have to do it while already engaged with the Soviets and not on their own time table.
    No. They let tem buy what they could afford but I think you will find that even then not everything was for sale. Relations were also deteriating throughout the 30s. Indeed they might have consdiered attacking a European power to be more likely to provoke a US reaction than attacking China.
    That doesn't appear consistent with the information at:
    Development of Japanese tanks in World War II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    and
    Type 95 Ha-Go - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    POD = Point Of Departure. A well constructed has a single reasonable point of departure from the histoical time line and the results should flow logically from there. For more details check the guidlines for whatif's on this forum.
    The code was partially broken and the US had a general idea when and where the Japanese were attacking. In any case rather irrelevant.
    Not really as it doesn't prevent it and leaves Japan in a potentially worse position if it does. It also may allow the US to entrench itself in areas where the Japanese don't want them and in ways the Japanese will not be able to counter.
    You apparently didn't read what I wrote closely enough. The implication was that if they had expanded their empire ecomically and diplomatically they proably could have achieved quite a bit without provoking a US military reaction. I note that here you seem to agree that Japanese action vs the Soviets might bring her into conflict with the US and very ill prepared for that conflict.
    Source Please.
    If you look at Inventory of Conflict and Environment (ICE), Template you will note that they are importing more than that from the Dutch East Indies and about 7 times that much from the US. Certainly that's not going to satisfy all their needs by any means.
    They could indeed have been used that way. In the latter parts of the war the US used torpedo bombers for close support. However that doesn't mean that the Japanese planes were well suited for that. Indeed even the LW gave up using the Stuka on the western front pretty early in the war. One of the lessons of WWII is you are better off with good artillery than close air support. Better still to have both but aircraft can be employed better elsewhere in most situations.
    At the start of the war the Japanese had a first rate airforce without the German planes and plans. Until the Japanese went up against the Soviets they had been quite successful with their armored operations and tactics. Why should they think they need all this?
    How exactly do you think that Germanys help had any impact at all on the Kido Butai in 1941?
    That's pretty hard to get from what's written at: Japan during the Siberian Intervention - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Well if you look at the Gallup polls from that time period you get a rather different reading on it. Indeed the US had alread sent combat units all be it under cover as "mercenaries" to China to oppose the Japanese. There was also considerable recognition in the US that the US would in the not to distant future have to take action against Japan. You need to look at the impact of such things as Nanking on perception of Japan in the US.
    But what constitures a "major provocation"? If they are at war along with Germany against the UK is that enough? I would think so.
    Sakhalin island was hardly enough and there's the question of how many of these "large coal mines" this would net them and when and of course when they would start to have any impact.
    That's hardly a response to my question though is it. Note that the same could be said about the Germans taking on the Soviets and the UK at the same time in the face of growing US hostilaty. You seem to be basing most of this on a rather unfounded belief in German superiority.
     
  13. GermanStrategist

    GermanStrategist Member

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    Your opinion really doesn't budge does it? You are in complete denial of this strategy's reality despite the fact that the Japanese had plans of implementing it in the early 1930's. The only reason it didn't happen was because the IJN was the more influential force. Just because you think the only path the Japanese could have taken aligns with the way things historically happened doesn't mean it was a better strategy.

    I have already stated that there would be less resources to be found and have given a general list of what they are already.

    No matter how the Japanese played their cards, they were NEVER EVER going to win in a military engagement against the United States. And yes I am aware how they saw the SW Pacific as their natural sphere of expansion and influence. It's akin to how Germany saw Russia as its natural expansion. The problem is similar to Germany's... Germany couldn't engage Russia before destroying a powerful enemy that stood at its back: France. The same was true with Japan... Japan had to deal with the USSR before it could claim its co-prosperity sphere. It jumped the gun and committed to fighting a two front war before it was ready.

    It reduces an engagement with the United States quite a lot. If Japan had never engaged China, what little negative sentiment that existed towards Japan because of Nanking etc. never would have happened.

    Had they not attacked China, relations would not have been deteriorating. They had a 5 year timeframe to realize that they were going to have to stockpile resources in order to fight a real war.

    Look up the tank I specified: type 3 Chi-Nu. They were making these all the way up to the end of the war. The tanks finally came out of production in 1944 and 1945, but they did enter production in 1943 after only 6 months of design.

    I already stated my Point of Departure is in 1936 when Japan and Germany were signing the Anti-Comintern pact that they should have formed a secret plot to destroy the USSR before Hitler made his secret negotiations to divide Poland.

    I was just responding to your comment...

    It's pretty unlikely. If Japan hadn't shown any animosity towards China before 1941 when they presumably engage in operations in the USSR, the United States would not have seen the need to counter a benign Japan.

    I read what you wrote and it's the same kind of thinking that Japan thought. The Japanese were never going to get what they wanted: the Dutch East Indies and China. America would never allow that. If the Japanese had attacked the USSR's far eastern region, America would have cared far less about the land Japan was taking.

    I suggest that you read this. MILITARY INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATES PREPARED BY G-2

    I actually recommend this link to anyone who browses this forum. It's extremely interesting.

    The Japanese tried everything in their diplomatic power to stop America from placing an embargo on them.

    Of course it wouldn't. But would America have placed an oil embargo on Japan immediately? Remember, they weren't at war with Germany and it was only the British ships that were the ones stopping the Americans from trading with the Nazis. There wouldn't be any British ships in the Pacific.

    The LW gave up on using Stukas on the western front, but they were heavily used on the Eastern Front. Stukas inflicted enormous damage to the Soviets during Operation Barbarossa. Japanese variants would have presumably done the same.

    The Germans helped out Japan far more than you think in 1940. The German assessment of Japan's airforce was sub-par so they sent them lots of technical help. Even the Americans knew that Japan could't compete with the Soviets tanks. I'm sure Japan was very aware of this fact and would have taken appropriate steps to counter this if given the impetus.

    Look up German-Japanese relations and how much the Germans helped the Japanese develop their aircraft.

    Read it again. The Japanese invested half of their economy in trying to hold the Far East before public pressure forced them to bow out.

    I already said that Japan wouldn't have engaged China if it was planning to fight the Soviets.

    Major provocation is something like blowing up tons of American ships and killing thousands of American soldiers. America wasn't at war with Germany when they were fighting the USSR... presumably they wouldn't care enough to declare war if Japan was fighting the USSR too.

    It wasn't enough for the long term, but if the USSR was defeated, Russia's vast resources would provide all the raw materials Japan and Germany ever needed.

    Not necessarily. The UK was never going to present a major land threat to Germany anytime soon and America had tons of German immigrants who were sympathetic towards the Nazis.
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Then you shouldn't have much trouble documenting it. On the other hand the fact that it was the Army that had the upper hand over the Navy in the 30's kind of brings this to question.
    Easy to say now. But they had the experiance of both turning back the Mongol invasions and a victory over Imperial Russia that suggested rather otherwise to them.
    If they avoid the war in China it won't be as strong at least until they go to war with the Soviets but you've yet to explain just how they avoid that.
    Relations started deteriating at the end of the Russo-Japanese war. That's 30 years prior to your POD.
    Irrelevant. You said that the IJA took a design holdiday from the early 30's on as far as tanks go due to the IJN. I pointed out that the linked documents suggested no such design holiday and as I mentioned above it's not clear to me how the IJN had the power to forces such a holdiay on the IJA in any case.
    So Hitler proposes this in 36. How long does it take them to hammer out the details? If it's secret it doesn't sound like it's got a good chance of stopping the Marco Polo bridge incident. Indeed is it even concluded by then? Why should the Japanese even put that much trust in the Germans.
    Perhaps but you haven't supported that at all from what I've seen.
    Indeed it is but I don't see it supporting your contention that the Japanese were shocked by the embargo.
    No. They tried everything they could without addressing the saliant points.
    But the IJN isn't going to want to spend a lot of time training their dive bombers to attack ground targets rather than naval ones. Does the IJA even have dive bombers?
    Sources PLS. The German's may have thought the Japan's airfoce (which one by the way) was in need of help however it's not clear the Japanese thought so and indeed as I've stated the IJN air component is considered by some to have been the best in the world in 1941. What if any impact do you think Germany had on that? As for armored engagements that's rather shifting the ground but German armor was hardly the best even in 1940 it was their orgainzation and doctrine. What is their to convince the Japanese of the superiority of such?
    Since you are so sure of this why not provide some links.
    Not really. The intervention was always in support of White Russian forces. Indeed it's not clear just what their end goal was.
    Just because you say it doesn't mean it reasonable or well supported. Again back to the time line consider when the negotiations occur, how long they will take, and how are they to get implemented? Remember Japan's governement was not particularly monolithic at the time.
    If they could hold on to them long enough to find and exploit them. Japan isn't going to be around for it that's pretty certain. And the likely result for Germany is that they won't need any street lights.
    That is hardly correct on either point. It might be a while before the UK would be a major land threat but they had more people and a stronger economy as well as access to more resources. As for sympahty for the Nazis in the US from what I've read of the polls and actions of the time you are overstimating that as well by a considerable factor.

    In general the flaw in your strategy is that it would basically require the Japanese to act against what they would view as their own best interest for little gain intially and at the risk of placing them in a very perilous position strategically.
     
  15. Shadow Master

    Shadow Master Member

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    I like the what if's that really shake things up and such.

    So from that perspective, I like the idea of the OP if not the title. The idea is that the Japanese will hit the Soviets from the east while the Germans hit them from the west.

    I have some ideas to toss into the work and will get back later today after some research.
     
  16. GermanStrategist

    GermanStrategist Member

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    Haha lwd... it is exhausting attempting to counter all of your negative criticism.



    The documents pertaining to the North Strike Strategy are scarce or non-existent, and it's pretty much impossible to find them online. The Japanese government may have them locked up somewhere or burned them... modern Japan is anything but open on information regarding World War 2 which it views as a controversial topic.

    Nevertheless, it is common knowledge that much of the IJA officer class advocated for a northern push...

    The best I was able to find was an economic analysis of the budget competition between the army and the navy that shows that the army was forced to compromise with the navy so that they could get any budget increase at all. This said budget would have reduced the amount of steel that could have been realistically used in tank designs, plans for northern expansion etc.

    http://www.une.edu.au/bepp/working-papers/economics/1999-2007/econ-2003-8.pdf




    No... I think the attack on Pearl Harbor was just an act of desperation caused by the embargo. They really knew deep down that they weren't going to win, but their warrior code of fighting honorably stopped them from resigning to American demands to step down. They had too much pride to do that.



    The Japanese no matter what were not going to engage the North and South at the same time. If they had made plans to go North, any war in the South initiated by the Chinese would be a defensive one which would result in heavy losses for the Chinese. The Kwantung Army would most likely out of necessity know about the secret plan and would resist provoking the Chinese anyway.


    Source please... I'm pretty sure the Americans would hate Communism more than the Japanese up until they engage the USSR in 1941. This fact might mean that more Americans are sympathetic with the war against Communism. The Red Scare was something Americans could connect to easily in comparison with any minor discontent they had with the Japanese.



    They did... the Japanese didn't seriously work on tank design after their Type 89 tank because it fulfilled its goals in China. Their light tank concepts worked up until they faced a serious enemy and were rudely awakened with their border clashses with the Soviets. Had the Japanese kept in lock-step with European designs like they did up until the early thirties, they would have likely seen the need for heavier armor.


    I imagine it doesn't take long... something akin to a larger scale secret agreement like the one that split of Poland between Germany and Russia. Germany will strike first followed quickly by a Japanese invasion in the East.

    Which part? It's impossible to know what America would have thought in 1941, but it's probable that they would have imposed an embargo on Japan. Then again, they might be more lenient due to Japan's non-aggression up until 1941...


    They were shocked in the sense that they really didn't want to fight in a war with America, but were now forced into a position where they had to. Japan was in complete chaos after the embargo happened. The embargo wasn't taken lightly.




    If they knew they were going to be conducting major land operations, they would have seen the need for Stukas.
    German technical help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese%E2%80%93German_pre-World_War_II_industrial_co-operation
    I think it's pretty obvious that the Japanese wanted a buffer state in between Japan and the USSR.



    Hitler would have a pretty good idea of how the Japanese system of power operated in Japan, being on good terms with them and whatnot... I'm sure he could have devised a plan so that all the key elements of Japan's leadership would hear it.


    Perhaps... the War in Russia really pushed the boundaries of blitzkrieg tactics as far as they could go. The Axis could realistically have only taken down the USSR during the war. The British Empire and America were impossible to dislodge. The war was going to completely exhaust Germany and Japan, but if they emerged victorious in 1942, America would be much more reluctant in annexing literally all of continental Europe. Rainbow 5 might have very well been initiated in 1942 no matter what, but it may have been redesigned to be defensive in nature.
    Realistically, it was the only path the Japanese could have taken with any chance of success. It was a fatal flaw on part of Germany and Japan for not cooperating more closely together.
     
  17. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Does not an attack on Russia in concert with Nazi Germany make Japan a defacto ally of Germany and enemy of Britain and at some point the US. Does this not place Japan in a land war with Russia and a sea war with the US at or near the same time?
     
  18. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    What I see here as the major stumbling block to all of this is how does Japan support a large mechanized army in the field literally hundreds or thosuands of miles from the nearest port or rail head? No other army in WW 2 managed to do this. The US came the closest and was even hit logistically in France trying to support their nearly completely mechanized armies there just a few hundred miles from rail heads and ports using a huge number of trucks.
    The Germans tried the same thing in Russia but their supply system teetered on the brink of disaster right from the start and by the end of 1941 could not manage to supply their troops in the field at anything close to full requirements.
    How will the much more poorly equipped Japanese manage this?
     
  19. GermanStrategist

    GermanStrategist Member

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    Britain would declare war on Japan immediately, but America would likely remain neutral. From what I've read, the majority of Americans didn't want to get involved in the war right up until Pearl Harbor. It took this major event to cause America to declare war on December 8, 1941. America had observed Germany fighting Russia for half a year by that time without any change in public opinion.
     
  20. GermanStrategist

    GermanStrategist Member

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    I looked a little into Manchukuo's rail system and apparently it did have a rail system better than that of any in Asia (that may not mean much in the 1930's but this should have definitely helped the supply problem). Presumably even more rail would have to be laid down, but wasn't this achievable in 5 years? Furthermore, taking the major Russian hubs like Vladivostok, Sakhalin, and the outer Manchuria wouldn't be very far away from Manchukuo so the supply problem wouldn't be so bad in the beginning. I can imagine in the long term that supply problems would have worsened, but wouldn't the Russian supply problems be just as bad as the Japanese if not worse if the Trans-Siberian Rail was severed as planned? The Russians would have to pull divisions all the way from Urals to reinforce the Far East.
     

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