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The Japanese take Madagascar

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by T. A. Gardner, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    At the time of the Ceylon raid the IJN indeed had dozens of divisions with little to do in Malaya-Singapore, HK, Burma, Thailand, the PI (with US forces limited to Corregidor) and the DEI

    The Midway operation had 3 large fleets converging on Midway and large distraction fleets in the Coral Sea and Alaska. Midway, Port Morsby and Alaska are much farther from Japan or the DEI (the source of oil) and the Marshalls. Midway had zero economic value and was intended only to lure USN carriers for destruction. Invading Midway would have been a nightmmare owing to the impossibility of deploying airborne troops and having a very small, heavily mined landing area. Attacking Midway is costly and unproductive and supplying and defending it close to Hawaii would have been very difficult. The whole Coral Sea-Midway-Alaska operation was an enormous waste of fuel (the invaluable, limited fuel in Japan, not the abundant fuel in B. Borneo and the DEI), warships, planes, troops, etc, for no gains at all.

    Invading Ceylon from Malaya.Burma, the DEI and Thailand with a small fraction of the fleet used by Yamamoto (mostly the fleet already used for the useless Ceylon & IO raid) and with oil from B. Borneo is a piece of cake and a much better investment, considering the reosurces gained and the isolation of India and China.


    As I wrote if Yamamoto uses the carriers he wasted on Darwin to invade weak Port Moresby and New Caledonia in Feb, 1942, there is no Coral Sea or Milne Bay.
    If after invading Ceylon, Yamamoto forgets about Alaska and consolidates the Kidobutai [6 fleet carriers, 2 CVL (Ryujo, etc,) and 2 CVE (Shoho, etc,)] and the large surface force to attack Midway, sending 4 fast battleships, 10 cruisers and 20 destroyers to shell Midway at night (destroying most of the US planes, without risking his carrier planes) and using his carrier planes to shoot down the surviving US planes which attack the bombardment force during the day and using the bombardment force planes to look for USN carriers in the area, the iJN destroys all the planes in Midway and sinks all 3 USN carriers and their escorts.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Please list at least 2 or 3 of these "dozens of divisions" the IJN had.
     
  3. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, since you have repeated this claim multiple times, you should be able to identify each of those dozens of divisions. Please do so.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Neither the Coral Sea or Aleutian campaigns were part of the Midway campaign nor were they intended as distractions from that campaign. The US could actually have bombed Japan from bases in the Aleutian Islands although weather wouldn't have permitted it most of the time. Care to quote the sea miles between Japan and the following: Midway, Alaska, Ceylon? Again the fact that Ceylon is close to numerous British airfields means that the invasion fleet is under threat for the entire time it is there. Airborne ops despite what you suggest don't mean that an invasion is necessarily harder or easier and it's not even clear where Japanese planes would come from if they wanted to use paratroopers.

    An invasion of a island that close to an enemy held land mass is not going to be a "piece of cake" especially when the enemy is a major naval power. The British could withdraw their naval forces if they felt badly outnumbered and then come back whenever they wished and the IJN simply couldn't stay in the area. Then there's the fact that carrier ops are hard on the air groups so even if they had the fuel they aren't going to be able to stay forever. There are also a number choke points where subs can wait for them and or resupply convoys. If Midway would have been a nightmare to hold Ceylon would have been far worse.

    It is doubtful that the Japanese could have put together an invasion of Ceylon in the Spring of 42 in any case if they do they leave themselves even the home island open to raids by the US carriers. Furthermore IJN doctrine at that point didn't include using battleships for shore bombardment at the time of Midway they may not even have had HE rounds. By the time they could theirs a good chance that they are facing a stronger Midway and 5 US CVs and potentially a US battle fleet that could give them a run for their money.
     
  5. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    The distance Japan Ceylon is quite irrelevant when the Japanese are in Sumatra, Burma, Malaya and Thailand with a strong force and are going to raid Ceylon anyway. On the other hand, the Japanese did not only invade the Aleutians, they raided Dutch Harbour, etc, The Japanese in Burma (between China and India) or Wewak were far more isolated and vulnerable than they would have been in Ceylon.

    Yamato had 12 each 5" and 6" guns and she was completely impervious to the Marines' 5" guns, so she alone could blast the island with rapid fire guns. She had several planes, which are invaluable for locating the USN fleet. She was also much less affected by bombs and torpedoes than IJN carriers. She and her huge fleet wasted a lot of fuel and fire power approaching Midway and then returned without inflicting any damage at all. Yamato's secondary armament is as powerful as Boise's, but Yamato cannot be damaged by 5" guns at all. The incredible thing is that she and the other ships suggested were not sent ahead of the invaluable and vulnerable IJN carriers. It was absurd risking scarce aviators, planes and carriers, when shells could destroy most of the planes, batteries, etc, more effectively.

    The RN was not a major naval power in the Pacific or IO in 1942, where it was trounced shamefully.. Even the raid on Ceylon caused it to hide in Kenya (leaving the Maldives, where they had hidden after leaving Ceylon before the raid). Churchill invaded Madagascar, precisely because he knew that he could not handle the IJN further E.
    With Japanese planes, subs and ships in Ceylon and Mauritius, the RN would not even dare expose its ships invading Madagascar.
    How can you explain a major naval power allowing the Japanese to retain the Andamans, Nicobars, Burma, Penang, invaluable Sumatra, etc, for years.
    The ANZACs realized in 1942 that the RN in the far E was useless for them, so they turned to the USN and USAAF for help.

    The fact that India is so close to Ceylon is far more detrimental to the very weak British forces in India than to the Japanese in Ceylon, who can cut off British supply lines much more easily than vice versa. The few thousand isolated British would be rapdily eliminated by Indian independentists.

    The ridiculous British forces in Burma, HK and Ceylon and the rapid fall to the Japanese of all the territories attacked in 1942 prove that Britain was a paper tiger, whose time had come. Ceylon did not stand a chance in hell of receiving reinforcements from India, Australia, S Africa, the US or Britain, with a strong IJN in the area and during a rapid invasion (faster still than Java, which involved only 2 IJA divs and had a stronger force defending it than Ceylon).

    The 3 divs I would use for Ceylon are the 38th from HK, the 55th from Burma and the 12th from Malaya. Any 2 divs will do for the reserve (which will almost certainly not be needed).

    Dutch, Australians, British and Americans could not defend Java against 2 IJA divs with limited air support. There is no way that an African div and an Australian unit can even slow down 3 IJA divs in Ceylon with the Kidobutai.
     
  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    So the "dozens of divisions" is actually three. Is that what you are saying?

    The 38th Division participated in the conquest of Hong Kong and then was assigned to the 16th Army for the conquest of the NEI. Without it tthe 16th Army is left with a single division, the 2nd, and a reinforced infantry regiment, the Sakaguchi Detachment (from the 56th Division).

    The 55th Division (- 144th IR) participated in the conquest of Burma. Without it the 15th Army is left with a single division, the 33rd.

    The 12th Division had nothing to do with Malaya. It was part of the 3rd Army in Manchuko and was fully engaged in anti-partisan and occupation duties there.

    Which "any 2 divs" was going to be the reserve? You actually haven't a clue what was available to the Japanese, do you?
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Meh...He has no clue about the Pacific war...He hasn't let that stand in his way of speaking so authoritatively about it.
     
  8. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    I wrote quite clearly there are dozens all over the place (Indochina, PI, Manchuria, HK, DEI, Thailand, Burma, Taiwan, etc,), I chose only 3 because that is what I need.
    Sumatra had fallen completely by March, so the 38th has no problem moving to nearby Ceylon.
    Burma is secure in April, the only fighting is chasing the allies running away to India and the Chinese going home. The 56th div is also there, fighting the Chinese.
    It's the 18th div from Malaya, not the 12th.

    Divisions in reserve are only moved if they are needed (which they certainly will not be, with 3 IJA divs against a damn African div), so they remain where they are, in case they are needed.

    I find it fascinating that the IJA defeated huge forces in Burma (2 British and over 5 Chinese divs, RAF and Chinese-American planes, British tanks), Malaya, Luzon (big air force, tanks, etc,), Java (2 divs with little air support defeated a similar Dutch-British-Australian-American force in days), Sumatra, Borneo, Burma, yet yoy are convinced that they cannot deploy 3 bloody divs close to Sumatra and supported by the Kidobutai to defeat a damn African div and an Australian unit with a few planes, no tanks or supplies and in a much smaller island than Sumatra, Luzon or Java The perfect size and shape for a rapid invasion)
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The distance is relevant, because you are not just invading the island, but turning it into a major base of operations for use in the Indian Ocean. While the fuel can come from the DEI, near about everything else will be coming from mainland Japan.

    Since you have mentioned the Aleutians, you should also take note that the Japanese never did very much with Attu & Kiska. Attu was retaken with relative ease - The American suffered more casualties from disease and the environment than the Japanese. The Kiska was abandoned without a fight.

    So much for your grand schemes for Ceylon.

    I find it fascinating that you do nothing but crow about how easy it will be to take this island, yet only seem to want to take it with some massive force...You seem to be no better than the Japanese at wasting resources.

    Not to mention the resources that it will take to actually effect the outcome(complete blockade of India and control of the Indian Ocean) that you hope to achieve.

    Of course, paying no never mind to doing the same to those piddling islands of Madagascar that you plan on invading.


    Your imagination is writing checks the Japanese have no hopes of cashing.


    On the plus side, it appears that you are denuding the Pacific of the Japanese fleet and the IJNAF's airpower, making it far easier for the Americans to successfully operate there.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    So many errors and issues with this one. Let's point out just a few:
    Well you were the one that brought up the distances from Japan so I assumed you had a point. I see I was wrong.

    IJN doctrine was that battleships were for naval battles not for shore bombardment. That did change by the Fall of 42 but from what I've read it was still in place at Midway. Furthermore not only could the Yamato be damaged by 5" guns there was a chance (admittedly very small) that a 5" hit could actually destroy her.

    The RN was one of the top two naval powers in the world. They considered the Far East less important than Europe but especially once the US was in the war they could have committed more forces to the Indian Ocean if they saw the need. The Japanese would know and respect that capability.

    You said earlier that there were dozens of IJN divisions available. I'm still waiting for them. The ones you listed above are IJA.

    I would be very careful about making blanket assessments about what allied forces could do based on events in the first few months of the year especially without any serious analysis of the situations involved. Your conclusions appear to be based soundly on great leaps of faith.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed you have written that clearly several times. What you have not done is support it at all even though requested to. It should be clear by now that we don't trust your "facts" much less your assumptions, opinions, or conclusions. By convention of this board and most (if not all) reasonable historical boards if your facts/assumptions are questioned you are suppose to support them and do so with sources. You have yet to do so. It is not clear at all that you are correct on this point. Indeed you first stated that the IJN had dozens of divisions. You also seam to be ignoring the fact that the IJA was focused on China. If they had divisions that were otherwise not being used why didn't they send them there?
     
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    No, your writing is never clear, although indeed you did claim there were "dozens" of these divisions.

    The reality is the Japanese began the Pacific War with 52 field service and 12 depot divisions. Of those, 21 were in China, 13 were in Manchuria, and 7 were in Japan and Korea as garrisons and reserves. A total of 11 were allocated to the Southern Expeditionary Army, plus the 38th Division from China in January.

    Without the 38th Division diverted to Ceylon, the Japanese forces for Operation J are reduced by 25%. Otherwise, you are now asking the Japanese to defeat the same "huge forces" with half the strength they did it with historically.
     
  13. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    The 38th divison participated in HK in December and then most of it went to Java and one regiment to Borneo. Again, Java fell in March and Borneo was defended by a very force and most of it was secured in March, the last, few troops surrendered on April 1, 1942, so the 38th can participate in the invasion of Ceylon. What do you mean by operation j?
     
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean by "a very force"?

    Meanwhile, so the 38th Division goes to Ceylon...does it leave the detachments to be defeated in New Guinea?

    The Burma Campaign ended April-May because of the monsoons...it then continued until the end of the war.

    The 18th Division went from Singapore to...Burma, minus the Kawaguchi Detachment, which had other fissh to fry.

    Too many commitments, not enough resources, its robbing Peter to pay Paul.
     
  15. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    here is but a fraction of what was deployed in Burma and the S (independent of what was available in HK, Taiwan, Indochina, Thailand, Guam, Wake, Andamans, etc,) on April

    2nd, 4th, 10th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 30th garrison, 38th, 48th, 54th, 55th, 56th, 65th, over 30 tank, artllery, independent infantry, AAA, mortar, airborne, naval, etc, regiments, battalions and brigades (many divs worth),

    Just look at the hellacious force wasted invading the bloody Andamans in late March 1942. Invading Ceylon and Mauritius in April would have provided infinitely better bases and resources and caused the completely isolated Andamans, Nicobars, Sandakan, etc, to surrender anyway.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_occupation_of_the_Andaman_Islands

    New Guinea took place later, the 38th is used only days in Ceylon (as in HK, Java and Borneo)

    Capturing Ceylon not only deprives the allies of Indians, Ghurka, etc, these people will need employment and with India completely isolated, they will probably become Japanese mercenaries, useful to invade invaluable Abadan, etc,
     
  16. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Actually it does nothing of the sort even if it can be accomplished. Obviously from your list no "dozens of divisions" lying around ether.

    Note that your proposed invasion would also give the British in the form of the Fleet Air Arm the chance to inflict significant damage on the IJN. Said force had a capability at the time that no other air force had, the ability to launch a radar guided night time torpedo attack. The invasion fleet would be fixed while unloading and should the IJN try to interfere after the first attack or two their naval vessels would be subject to torpedo attack as well. Not to mention burning a lot more oil.

    Again your what if diverges from reality at many points and you seam to pull new ones out of the air at every opportunity. PLS produce a time line.
     
  17. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    As I stated, the fleet air arm was trounced in a raid and the carriers fled to Kenya. British naval planes and a few Hurricanes are nothing against the Kidobutai in April, 1942. Why do you think it did nothing nothing significant during the fall of Rangoon, Singapore, Sumatra or Java, better defended than Ceylon or during the Ceylon raid and the raid in the Bay of Bengal, etc,? It simply ran away to hide in Kenya and then was wasted for 6 months in Madagascar.

    The Japanese were masters at night combat, I can easily see an RN carrier approaching Ceylon at night to launch Swordfish (being detected before dusk by carrier scout planes or by G3M) and being sunk by long lance torpedoes from destroyers or shells from CA, BC or fast BB.

    Few things can illustrate RN impotence better than the fact that without warships in the IO, the IJA performed repeated landings in that ocean to capture W Malaya quite fast and captured and landed troops in Rangoon (56th div), while battleships, carriers, cruisers, destroyers, etc, lay at anchor in Ceylon and the Maldives. The British did not even defend Penang, Great Nicobar, etc, where the RN could have ferried planes and troops to keep invaluable bases, safe from the IJA.

    Just the fall of Singapore brought 30,000 Indian troops to join the Japanese against the British for Indian Independence, so if you want an additional Indian division to use invading Ceylon and Mauritius even faster and then to unleash it in India to fight the British for independence with IJA air support, you can use it.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Again you demonstrate remarkable ignorance of the details of what happened historically.
     
  19. mjölnir

    mjölnir New Member

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    What?
    Historically the RN lost a BB, a BC, 2 CA an old CVE and several DD in a few months, without sinking any IJN CA; BC; BB, CV, CVL or CVE and was sent packing to Kenya and the British lost every single battle against the IJA. Yet you magically have them sneaking into Ceylon past IJN subs, long range planes and a large fleet (PoW was attacked from many hundreds or miles away in Indochina) and trounce the Kidobutai, because they can launch 120 mph biplanes to launch torpedoes at night (they didn't need radar in Taranto).
    Why the hell didn't they do just that during the invasions of Sumatra, Java, Rangoon or the raids on Ceylon, the Bay of Bengal, etc,, instead of running away to Kenya?

    Or do you not believe that out of the 100,000+ prisoners in Malaya-Singapore, 30,000 Indians joined the Japanese against the British (Japan more than made up for its casualties in Malaya-Singapore with Indian troops). BTW, after its independence India never paid pensions to Indians who fought for the British, but it did to Indians who fought against the British.
     
  20. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    It really would be nice if you did some solid research for once.

    The 2nd Division was the only division initially of the 16th Army assigned to the conquest of the DEI and was then in occupation there until September 1942 when it went to reinforce the garrison at Rabaul.
    The 4th Division was completing reorganization in Japan and wasn't available until March 1942, when it was assigned to the faltering 14th Army conquest of the Philippines.
    The 10th Division was part of the Kwantung Army on the Soviet border.
    The 16th Division was one of the two divisions allocated to the 14th Army for the conquest of the Philippines. From mid-January on it was the only division available, since the 48th Division (see below) was withdrawn.
    The 18th Division was a good example of how thinly spread the Japanese were. It consisted of two brigades and four regiments, but only one brigade and three regiments were available for the Singapore operation. The 35th Brigade and 124th Infantry remained in garrison at Camranh Bay until it was committed to Sarawak and the Philippines. The rest of the division was committed to the Burma campaign immediately after the capture of Singapore.
    The 21st Division was sent to assist in completing the conquest of the Philippines after the stalemate that ensued when the 48th Division was prematurely withdrawn. It then went to occupy French Indochina , replacing the 35th Brigade among others.
    The 30th Division was not organized until May 1943.
    The 38th Division was assigned to the conquest of Hong Kong and then went to the DEI and New Guinea where it was fully occupied having its bits and pieces spread across the Southwest Pacific where they were eventually destroyed.
    The 48th Division was the second division of the 14th Army in the Philippines and was prematurely withdrawn in mid-January and sent to the 16th Army in the DEI.
    The 54th Division was being reorganized from a former depot division. It was part of the Home Islands garrison until March 1943 when it was sent to Java and then to garrison the Arakan.
    The 55th and 56th Divisions had also recently been activated from depot divisions (parts of which were still in Japan). The 55th was part of the 15th Army initially committed to Burma. The 56th was initially in the 25th Army for the conquest of Singapore and then to the 15th Army for the Burma campaign.
    The 65th wasn't a division, it was an Independent Mixed Brigade and was part of the 14th Army in the Philippines were it was fully engaged.

    As I said, 11 divisions (you missed the Guards Division).

    Separate battalions and regiments of tanks, artillery, AAA, and the like are combat support units. They support other combat units and do not act independently.

    One battalion is a "hellacious force"?

    Anyway, the Japanese were acting according to their accepted doctrine and priorities, not your fanciful notion of what were better bases and resources.

    Java to Ceylon is 2,200 miles. About a week steaming one way.

    How does the capture of Ceylon deprive the allies of Indians and Ghurkas [sic]? Indians are from India and Gurkhas are from Nepal. Depriving the British of Ceylon would deprive them of the Ceylon Volunteers, who served in defense of Ceylon, and the Ceylonese who volunteered for foreign service
     

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