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MacArthur is killed leaving the Phillipines

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by belasar, May 22, 2011.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    While Stillwell didn't suffer fools lightly I haven't heard of many Anzacs at higher levels that would fit in that catagory. Slim and Stillwell got along pretty well from what I've read for instance.
     
  2. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    While not likely to happen straight off the bat is it possible that an Aussie general could work his way up the ladder in the SWPA command?

    From what I have read fighting in the Pacific was far different to there usual combat and I dealt very much that few knew what it was like, With Leslie Morsehead for one used to Divisional and brigade size action but then getting reports about singular persons.

    I'll agree that at first a US commander would be in charge but personally I believe there would have been the chance for an Aussie to advance up the ranks if they adapted to the combat environment soon enough.
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    While it is not quite fair, I have some doubt that an Australian could be given a theater command during WWII. To the best of my information Australia never fielded a combat command larger than a Corps and this limitation would greatly restrict the number of suitable candidates equivalent to a "4 Star" level commander.

    Far more restrictive was both Britain's and America's unwillingness to allow their personnel to be commanded by anyone other than their own commanders except for "odds and ends" formations.

    It is quite possible that there was just such a commander within the Australian military, but I have my doubts that this person would ever get the chance (as historically they did not).
     
  4. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Sadly you are probably right, Politics and nationalism at play can be a bugger.
     
  5. green slime

    green slime Member

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    A minor nitpick, I know, but can we please not refer to a, at the time, non-existent Army corps when we mean Australia & New Zealand?

    During WWII, there were no Anzacs. There was no special co-operation between Australia and NZ during WWII. It gets tiresome explaining this even to people from Kiwi and Oz.

    We wouldn't refer to the US Army of WWII as "the Continental Army".
     
  6. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Agree with your nit pick, While Anzac's is used to refer to both when used to refer to there combat in WWII it is out of context for the most part, There where a few occasions in which NZ and Australian troops fought side by side under the same command (ie: Crete) so these few occasions may warrant the title but for the most part no, They where just Digger's (As they preferred to be called I have been told).
     
  7. green slime

    green slime Member

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    ANZAC exist solely in WWI. The idea was raised but canned in WWII. Australia wanted a far greater say in the deployment and use of their troops, whereas NZ was far more willing to trust the UK (we're talking degrees of grey, not white/black). Its perfectly understandable. Didn't affect their performance in the field. Both countries made valuable contributions to the war, especially considering their small populations. But to my knowledge, nowhere in WWII, was there a "ANZAC" unit or identity.
     
  8. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    Actually looking into it there was an Anzac corps by name in WWII although only briefly. Served in Greece containing the Australian 6th div, New Zealand 2nd div, Greek 12th div and the British 1st Armoured Brigade. It was named the Anzac Corps on the 12th of April 1941 although from what I can find some where between the evacuation from Greece and Crete it stopped using the Anzac Corps as a name.
     
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  9. green slime

    green slime Member

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    According to the Australian War Museum you are correct indeed!

    http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/greek_campaign/

    Thanks for that indeed!
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    While that may be the official case the term is used a lot whenever the two are refered to. I'll try not to use it so in deference to your request but you may be fighting a loosing battle in this case. (Much like I do with regards to the term "decimate" or refering to Karl der Grosse by his real name)
     
  11. green slime

    green slime Member

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    :flag_oz: :flag_nz:


    :spar2: :spar1:
     
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  12. dude_really

    dude_really Doesn't Play Well With Others

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    If it wasn't for macArthur would the Jap emperor be arrested and trailed as a warcriminal ? at least be disposed of to a life as a civilian (after jail time) ?

    I supposed that it was mainly McArthur who wanted to keep Hirohito as emperor for the sake of winning Jap "hearts and minds" in the upcoming defence against global communism....or were there more high ranking Americans ?
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The US specifically avoided air raids that might kill Hirohito as it was thought that if that happened it might be harder to get the Japanese to surrender and likely the occupation would not go as smoothly. There was at least some appreciation at high levels in the US government that Hirohito would be useful during the post war period. I doubt he would have by tried as a war criminal for example. Just what his status and how much power he would have had is a rather open question. I don't see much possiblity of his role being greater than it was under Mac though.
     
  14. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

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    3 big impacts of MacArthur's hypothetical death:
    1. Postwar Japan
    2. 1944/45 liberation of Philippines - does it still happen and to what degree?
    3. Korea (but this is a WWII forum)

    There's really no telling what might have been wrought in postwar Japan in MacArthur's absence. His action there as a statesman, rather than as a soldier, was the greatest accomplishment of his life.

    As for the Philippines, perhaps what would have been done there could only be answered by FDR. While retaking Luzon at that time was not a military necessity, I happen to see some merit in MacArthur's statements that we had a moral imperative to liberate the Philippines, and evidently FDR did too. One assumes the absolute worst about FDR if one believes he acquiesced to a Philippine invasion purely because of political pressure put on him by MacArthur. Bear in mind FDR was one of the infinitesimal few who knew of The Bomb and the possibility that it might shorten the war. Had the war gone on until the end of 1946 or beyond as most at that time believed it would, it's hard to picture how we could have turned a blind eye to the Philippines and our POWs there. Yet even knowing of The Bomb, FDR signed off on a Philippine liberation anyway. Perhaps for reasons known only to MacArthur and him. Would he (FDR) have done so in MacArthur's absence? I cannot say. Almost certainly we would have done something or another somewhere in the Philippine Archipelago, the question is what, and to what degree.

    I won't address Korea here since this is a WWII forum. I didn't include New Guinea as one of the major impacts as there still would have been a campaign there, MacArthur or no MacArthur. It was not advisable to bypass that entire landmass. In my view, more was accomplished there (and after Buna at much less cost) than was accomplished in some of the Central Pacific bloodbaths for small pieces of coral that could have and IMO should have been bypassed.

    But I'm branching off into other subjects now so I'll shut up.
     
  15. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    One other consequence is that there might have been more US Army troops available for the European theater. 21 Army divisions - almost 1/4 of the total - served in the Pacific. 20 of them saw combat, 10 of which served exclusively under MacArthur in the SW Pacific theater. All but 3 spent at least some time under MacArthur's command. No fewer than 16 were involved in the Philippines, in part because of MacArthur's insistence on liberating the entire archipelago. Luzon was the only time in the entire Pacific war when as many as 10 US Army divisions were in action simultaneously.

    The Central Pacific offensive could not get going until late 1943 when sufficient numbers of aircraft carriers began to be available. Until then it was inevitable that most of the fighting would be in the South and SW Pacific, the Solomons and eastern New Guinea. By the end of 1943 the Allies had reached Bougainville and the Huon Peninsula and were about to complete the encirclement of Rabaul. Up to this point only 8 Army divisions had been in action anywhere in the Pacific theater.

    Of course this was also the period in which we were building up for the invasion of France. In addition to simple numbers, it took more shipping and supplies to maintain a unit in the SW Pacific than in Europe, due to both sheer distance and the lack of local infrastructure and resources. Had there not been so much emphasis on the drive to liberate the Philippines, Eisenhower might have had more troops and the logistics to support them; historically he suffered a shortage of forces and particularly infantry.
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Would there have been two seperate commands in the Pacfic for the US if Mac wasn't there? Even if there were would the two have worked together better and possibly even got along with the Australians better?
     
  17. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    There wouldn't seem to be much reason for it. It would make more sense to have the SW Pac as one of the Pacific Ocean Areas. Even better if SWPA and South Pacific were combined.
     
  18. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    More then likely they would have become a single command, that said if was separate it's highly likely any other commander would have had better relations with the Australians then Mac did.
     
  19. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    The one issue I see was that FDR and Churchill, with consultation with the Australian and New Zeeland governments decided upon a SWPA, with a American CinC before MacArthur was tapped to command it. There was also consideration of a obscure American General named Brett to command such an animal before MacArthur's nomination.
     

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