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Operation Barbarossa - the UK is neutral and Japan attacks Siberia

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Eastern Front & Balka' started by Kurgan, Mar 15, 2010.

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  1. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Let me delineate from human geography for all the above. Japan is linked by maritime transport or trade through the Pacific to overseas and in much shorter routes to Eurasian continent. If Japan struck the American iron when it was hot in warming up its military prowess, Japan would be gambling its future on a few decisive battles whose outcomes in Japan's perspectives would probably be Japan's winning and the US back down in forseeable future in not invading Japan's perimeter of influence and conquests. Both objectives were Japan's wishes not shared by the US so they are flawed to begin military operation with.

    So invading China to take its resources and territory to prepare for aggression from the SU and US would look like an easier option out of her kettle of fish. China held a huge population whichever ideology in power, in controlling them and the land would be hugely draining for Japan's power which was already on the verge of bankcruptcy as Takao, It was essentially a short-sighted strategy. The Pacific waters were still humanly trangressable in comparison to the harshly, cold and empty Siberia. If Takao's idea of striking when hot is essential for Japan's eventual win, why Japan did not attack with all its might in navy, army and attached airpower to Russian Far East to the extent where the Siberia would shield the SU counterattack. Zhukov and Stalin both took part in various time against Japan but would one heroic generalship be able to make up against the might of military forces of a nation ?
    Futhermore, could Japan align with FInland around when the WInter War took place ?
     
  2. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    If Finland and Spain were able to stay relatively unscathed in comparison to other Axis-related nations from Soviet massive attack, why couldn't Japan develop more cooperation with them ? For instance, Finland and Baltic nations had been involving in minor skirmishes with the Soviet Union before 1941, could Japan recover some Soviet machinery from Finland captured tanks and during Spanish civil war ? A Christie suspension variant could be fitted into a then modified Ha-Go and Chi-Ha, or speeding up the appearance of Chi-Nu with a Christie suspension, even a Hetzer-like Ho-Ni III? Faster tanks meant better chance of successful flanking if Japan did attack Russian Far East.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Finland had a fairly short well defended border. Japanese Manchuria had a border with the Soviets that extend from the east side of Manchuria all the way around the North to the South West. Some of this included areas where mechanized forces could readily operate. The population of Finland was also rather strongly united in oppositoin to the Soviets. I don't think you could say the same about Manchuria. The Soviets would have had a hard time invading Japan but if things got that bad for Japan they wouldn't have to.
     
  4. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    My understanding of this topic is if Japan could attack Siberia during Barbarossa; that is in other words could Japan invade the USSR ? If so, would Barbarossa be a good timing/
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Japan was critically short of oil. Invading Siberia would burn a lot of it and not increase their access to it. Indeed it could easily have resulted in an embargo occuring even earlier cutting them off from their major source before they were historically. It also leaves the decision of when to go to war to at least some extent to the nations with the two most powerful navies in the world. Not all that great of idea for an island nation that isn't self sufficient in food production.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Additionally it would allow for US forces to operate from Siberian bases, USAAF bombers within reach of Japan in 1941.
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not to mention that Pacific lend-lease convoys to Russia would now probably have a US escort, thus drawing the US Navy into the war. So, Japan would be fighting a war in the Pacific no matter which way she went, north or south.
     
  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Fighting in the North means no fighting in the South, or fewer forces available for the expansion of the Southern Resources Area?
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Fewer forces available for the expansion of the Southern Resources Area. If Japan heads north, one has to wonder if the Japanese occupation of Southern Indo-China goes off.

    Still, Japan is going to need access to the petroleum products in the south, and by striking north, she is not going to get them.
     
  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    And thus we have books like this:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    If the Japanese attack the USSR shortly after the Germans do I simply don't see the IJA having the resources to take IndoChina or the Philipines. In addition they will be at war with Britain in very short order. So their oil from the Dutch East Indies is cut off within days and from the US likely within a month or 2 at most. Declaring war on the US means they likely don't get a surprise attack but not doing so allows the US to fortify the Philipines and build up forces in the region all the while Japans stock of fuel and other resources (including steel) are in a serious decline. The timing likely means that a fair number of Japans merchant ships are also caught at sea and lost to the British.
     
  12. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    Anyway that Japan could fight possibly the USSR and the Nederlands, but not the Britain and the US ? Against France, might be not too.
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I'm pretty sure that hyperwar has some of the documentation on the prewar stance the British, Dutch, and US took. They presented a pretty united front.
     
  14. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    There were many questions asked about that during the Hearings, but short answer was the Dutch figured there was nothing to lose by taking a hardline stance with the Japanese. They rebuffed Japanese "inquiries" about buying the full production of the NEI fields right up until the IJA arrived on their shores.

    The Green Books on "Coalition Warfare Planning" (paraphrased) would be relevant. Anybody need that URL?
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Vichy France caved on the Indochina question and this lead to the US freezing Japanese assets in the US. The Japanese Liaison Conferences decided they had to go to war at this point or risk losing face. (I love that term, "losing face".)
     
  16. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    If Japan was critically short of oil and other resources, what she should have done was importing and developing technologies and technicians of all sorts. Taking oil as example, could Germany help Japan develop Fisher-Tropsch gas to lquid process using coal from southern Mongolia, Manchuria, Taiwan and southern Sakhalin, not to mention manufacturing biofuels from stocks of wood or soybean could be employing the process too ? Given these, the west coast of the Sea of Japan, where the Japanese miliatary would have struck if Japan joined the attack on the USSR at any imaginable timing, are rich to this day in wood resources - forest and coal.

    If all things fell in right places, would Japan solve partially Japan's critical shortage of oil ? Even if she solved it, she would have another resources to fight a war for. A mini list follows:

    Hydropower was developed in Manchuria and Taiwan.
    Tin was mined in Dutch East Indies. Ores were available in moutains ranges north of Vladivostok.
    Iron was mined in China. Not available in parts of Russian Far East reachable by Japan's army in realism.
    Nickel. Not available in parts of Russian Far East reachable by Japan's army in realism.
    Rubber was harvested in Dutch East Indies and Malay. Not available in Russian Far East.
    Rice was harvested in China, Korea, Manchuria, Taiwan, Vietnam. Meager amount in Russian Far East.
    Soybean was harvest in huge amount in Manchuria.

    Not to mention:
    BT series of Soviet tanks used American developed suspension.

    In a nutshell, the social and political configuration pushed Japan to war more than the lack of things did. In the times around ww1 and onwards, Japan had began reaping trade, territorial gain, diplomatic opportunities due to conflicts amoing European powers. If Japan was keen on attracting technicians, the Eastern European and Balkans population provided huge pool. They were caught between the powers of Germany and the rising USSR. Were there some Nikola Tesla's willing to stay in Japan ?
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    What makes you think that Japan had not already gone down that route prior to her attack on Pearl Harbor?

    The need for oil and petroleum products was well known to the Japanese, as was her lack of the resource. Japan had seen her requirements for petroleum soar - in 1912 it was 40,000 metric tons, in 1924 it was 666,000 tons, and by 1932 it was 1,980,000 tons. Meanwhile, her 1932 production was only 277,000 tons(242,000 ton from Japan proper and 35,000 tons from Formosa), and the balance was made up by importing petroleum from the US, British Borneo, the DEI, and the Soviet Union. To meet her growing demand for petroleum, and in an effort to reduce her reliance on imports, Japan had begun research into synthetic oil production in the 1920's and made a concentrated effort to bolster synthetic oil production beginning in 1936.

    The Japanese researched all three known processes in the production of synthetic oil; Low-Temperature Carbonization (LTC), Coal Liquification (high-pressure hydrogenation), and, as you mentioned, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Japan had her greatest success with the oldest and simplest process, LTC, which, through 1945, out produced both coal liquification and F-T synthesis combined. Still, coal liquification and F-T synthesis are much more efficient, although far more complex and costly, so Japan did not neglect these processes, and continued to develop and refine them. However, once Japan began her war in China in 1937, her demand for synthetics jumped dramatically. To meet this demand, Japan cut corners and basically skipped over the entire pilot plant stage of liquification and the F-T synthesis, and went right into full-scale production. This rush to production brought about crippling failures to both of these synthetic production efforts, which stunted their growth for several years to come(wartime delays and material shortages would further hinder this effort). Despite a vast government investment and generous subsidies, the Japanese plan to have, by 1944, 87 synthetic fuel plants producing about 6.3 million barrels a year, saw , by 1944, the completion of only 15 plants that had a peak production of 717,000 barrels a year.

    Still, even with her anemic national production and projected 1944 synthetic production, this would only amount to about 8 million barrels of oil...Her 1941 war requirement was for 30 million barrels of oil.

    That is still a shortfall of 12 million barrels of oil...So, synthetic oil production is not going to answer Japan's demand for oil.


    That is the poor poor poor man's route...Taken only in a last ditch effort to acquire petroleum. It is by far, way to inefficient in 1937-45 to be of any help in meeting requirements. Although, Japan did take that step in the closing months of World War II.


    If that is the case, than there is no need to "Strike North"...And this whole "What if" collapses.

    Japan had enough coal already...She did not need any more. By Japanese estimates of the coal reserves she already controlled were expected to last a minimum of 400-500 years if 15 million tons per year was used for synthetic petroleum production.

    Not to mention the 8 billion tons of shale oil that was in Southern Manchuria...But, the Japanese only constructed 1 plant to covert shale oil into petroleum, and it out produced all of her various synthetic petroleum methods


    Makes a very good case for not striking against the Soviet Union.



    It was actually all both. Things were fine so long as Japan was able to import what she needed, when the gravy train was cut off, Japan was left without the resources necessary to keep her industries and military running. It was a downward spiral, which Japan could neither stop nor climb her way out of.


    This was not the problem!

    Japan had plenty of scientists and technicians that were pacing their counterparts.

    The Japanese problem was making that leap from laboratory scale production to industrial scale production. That is where Japan's disconnect was. Japan did not need a Leo Szilard, she needed a Henry Ford.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It should also be pointed out that synthetic oil was very costly compared to regular oil and it consumed more energy as the coal converted into oil contained more usable energy than the oil extracted from it. While Japan had coal reserves how much could they expand the production?
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The monographs discuss the alternatives available to Japan with regard to petroleum production.
     
  20. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    So I see Japan's imbalance of resources management began from the invasion of China in 1937. This is a viewpoint seen in some other forums. I agree that Japan had plenty of developers, an example of their works was the Type 93 torpedo. However, if the resources management crisis beginning from 1937 was to blame on lacking a Henry Ford, why would not Japan import one earlier in 1920's.

    Between not striking against the Soviet Union and full cooperation with Germany in Barbarossa, many options would have existed. Say could a weak co-belligerence with Germany and not sigining the Tripartite Pact (c.f. Finland) help ease the Russo-Japanese tension.
     

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