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Japan's entry into war is delayed 6 months

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by T. A. Gardner, Nov 14, 2006.

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  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    What are the ramifications of Japan entering war against the US and other Allied nations in July 1942 instead of December 1941? This is possible if the US were to delay placing a full embargo on Japan or through diplomatic negotiations that resulted in such a delay.
    But, for our purposes here let's say there is this delay. Could Japan still have made all of the stunning victories they originally did? Would six months have substancially changed things?
     
  2. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    I don't think it would have made too much difference. The British and US leadership had the mind set that Japan was a second class threat and could not possibly defeat their military. Few if any leaders listened to General Channult and Europe was always thought of as the most urgent fire to put out. The Phillipines had many forts that they thought were unbeatable and the British Empire was not prepared for how good the Japanese were at taking islands.
    In July 42 the US still had P-40, P-39, Wildcat, and Buffaloe fighters and I am not up on Naval stuff but I would guess the same amount of ships to fight with.
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    I think firstly the surprise attack took place because the fleet was sent to Pearl Harbor. And FDR did believe the shallow water would make any Japanese torpedo attacks useless.

    So what would change that ideology? I mean if things would be turned 6 months further. I don´t think the US doubted their skills and probably would not have changed anything. So the result, in my opinion, would be the same.

    Then again if the war in Europe had caused the US to join it then wonder if the US could turn against Japan faster with their troops as the US army would have been preparing for war, say, 3-4 months earlier....
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Actually, I asked the question because I think it would make a huge difference.

    The primary one is that Japan really does not increase their military strenght significantly by a six month delay. But, the US does particularly in the Pacific.
    The Philippines for example would now have 2 full US infantry divisions (and possibly a third as well) stationed there (the Philippines Division and one of two in Hawaii stood up specifically to be shipped there). In addition, there would now be a M3 Lee medium tank battalion and a number of new artillery, engineer, and other battalion sized units that have arrived.
    The Philippines air force would also have been far larger. The B-17 force alone would have somewhere between doubled and tripled. P-40s available would have more than doubled too. Some P-38 and P-39 would also have been shipped in.
    The available SCR 285 radars would also have had time to work out a viable early warning system.
    With six more months training and time to equip the Philippines army of 6 divisions would also have been a far more credible force even if still below US or Japanese capacity.
    The Asiaic fleet would also have received more submarines along with a few more destroyers and a cruiser or two.
    This increase would likely have been sufficent to ensure a Japanese failure to take the Philippines as the original campaign almost failed, succeeding by a hair.
    The various island stations of the US like Wake, Midway, and Johnson Atoll would have had better defenses. The Marine defense battalions on them would have had time to harden their positions and more aircraft would have been stationed on each. For instance, in this period Wake would have had a fighter and dive bomber squaron along with a VP (patrol) squadron operating from the lagoon. Add a viable early warning radar and Wake becomes a tough nut to crack by Japanese invasion standards.
    The original Japanese invasion plan, likely to be repeated here, would have been a disaster as would the follow-up second try.
    In the Pacific, the US planned to be ready for war by August 1942. Six months makes a difference.
    It is harder to tell if the British would have been able to make similar improvements in capacity in Malaysia and Singapore but, it is possible.
    The Dutch East Indies would also have been a bit better off. Many aircraft and tanks on order from the US would have arrived and definitely would have made a significant difference given the limited aerial capacity of the Japanese strike force. This is particularly true with the increased strenght of the US in the PI.
    A collary to this is that Germany is let off the hook for some or all of this period too. Remember, Germany declared war on the US following Pearl Harbor. Now, since the U-boat campaign was definitely pushing the US towards war and the US had occupied Iceland and Greenland (along with other islands and possessions of the British in the Atlantic theater) it is possible that either Germany or the US might have gone to war in this period with the other.
     
  5. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    There would not have been anymore political will power to go to war in Congress in July 1942 had the Japanese not attacked the Americans or British interests the previous 6 months. I am not sure but I don't even think they were drafting people in 1941.
    It is like the Iraq war today. There is no end in sight and the politcians are bailing out like rats on a sinking ship. It does not matter wheather it is right or wrong. In 1941 the US people were not in the mood for a war. Japan was fighting in China since the late 30's and no one cared enough to help China, other than mercenrys.

    Bottom line is I still say 6 months would not have made much difference. [​IMG]
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    6 months later it might also be possible that the carriers were in the harbour during the sneak attack, couldn´t it? How much would that change things if they would be destroyed?
     
  7. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    A lot would depend on what Germany and Japan did in the time. I do not think it would make a major difference, but what if Germany was first with the A-bomb? We were on the edge of entering the war, and just needed a strong catalyst to make the commitment. An attack by Germany on a U.S. ship may be the incentive. The Japanese could take the Phillipines and then Midway under a different program.
     
  8. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I would agree that the six months would give the US more time to send reinforcements into the Pacific but was that the plan? Did not FDR think Germany was the largest threat and focused on support the UK in the convoy war? Even if the US did send more divisions to the PI, they were not better armed. I think had the Japanese attacked 6 months later, the carriers may have been caught and sunk and there would not have been a Midway. The end result would still have been the same but with a different route taken.
     
  9. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The largest Japanese amphibious operation of the Pacific war was the landings in Malaysia with 2 reinforced divisions. In the Philippines they initially landed a single infantry division then followed up with two smaller landings of brigade strength. They also brought ashore just two tank companies initially and none of the tanks or anti tank systems they used in the Philippines was capable of taking on an M3 Lee.
    As for reinforcements:
    The dozen B-17s that landed the day Pearl Harbor was attacked were in transit to the Philippines. More were to follow.
    The USS Langley was at sea headed to the PI with 40 P-40E Warhawks aboard. She was diverted to the DEI because of the Japanese attack on the PI.
    There was an M3 Lee battalion in the US awaiting shipment to the Philippines in December 1941. It had been preceded by two light tank battalions and two battalions of M3 halftracks with 75mm guns.
    There were two full infantry divisions in Hawaii. One of these (I don't have the number right off at work) was to be shipped to the Philippines.
    There were also several battalions of artillery and antiaircraft guns scheduled to go there.
    Basically, the US was spending a whole lot of money on rearming and building up their military up through 12/41. The draft was already in place and the US Army was rapidly expanding. This was happening without the US being at war. Most people had a belief that it was likely the US was going to get involved sooner or later and that it was more a matter of when than if.
    Incidents like the USS Greer being torpedoed or the James Ruben being sunk were precusors to US involvement in Europe.
     
  10. Seadog

    Seadog Member

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    One thing that should be looked at was that the U.S. was diverting Pacific fleet ships to the Atlantic for convoy duty. The carriers could still be away from Pearl, and even less ships sunk.

    One can never tell what will affect history. A major battle lost may have little or no impact on the outcome, but one small act may reverse fortunes.
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    T.A.

    does this mean FDR did "not tell the truth"

    "I assure you again and again that no American boys will be sacrificed on foreign battlefields" (quoted from Roosevelt, 10/31/1940).

    http://www.stentorian.com/propagan.html
     
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