December 7th 1941. A day which...




 
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June 20th, 2009  
MontyB
 
 

Topic: December 7th 1941. A day which...


nothing happened.

There have been several discussions about how the war in Europe would have gone had the Japanese aided Germany by attacking Russia but lets be honest there is nothing in Easter Russia that would have been worth the effort to attack however Japan could have helped Germany by concentrating on taking Britain and India out of the picture and in return gained some very useful assets along the way.

So here is a little scenario to think about...
Instead of a carrier assault on Pearl Harbor the Japanese strike south into Indonesia, Malaya and Burma while launching a carrier assault on Madagascar, Ceylon and on to India.

Does the USA enter the war?
If not what happens to Britain and the Commonwealth?
June 20th, 2009  
perseus
 
 
I'm sure I suggested this somewhere in another thread, it makes more sense for the axis to concentrate on knocking Britain out by luring Britain's heavy fleet to destruction in the Indian Ocean. It would have been necessary for the US to remain a 'sleeping giant'. The question is, how far would Churchill have gone to protect British India and the Middle East?

A successful strategy may have been to do this, and allow Germany to gain at least parity in the Atlantic with her four capital ships. I still think the fleet air arm were overrated and lucky in destroying the Bismark. British carriers shouldn't have made much impact until better marine aircraft came along later in the war.

I believe the Philippines were an important source of raw materials for Japan, so these would have had to be available via captured British possessions or Germany instead.
June 21st, 2009  
MontyB
 
 
Germany could never have gained parity in the Atlantic the RN was simply too big and too powerful for the Kriegsmarine to have caught up during wartime.

I really don't think Churchill would have had a choice but defend India and the Middle East because without it Britain would have been completely stripped of its own resource supplies as well as the manpower reserves of India/Pacific region.

The only real question is would it have been enough to bring the USA into the war, on one hand Roosevelt had painted them into a corner with his "isoloationism" speeches so without an attack on the USA it would have been hard to justify a war and on the other hand the relationship with Japan was so bad by late 1941 that any Japanese actions could have been used as a pretext for war.

I am playing with this scenario as it is the only way I could see Japan entering the war, helping its Axis partners and still achieving its strategic goals of materials and territory which is something that an attack on Russia would not have provided.
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June 21st, 2009  
perseus
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MontyB
Germany could never have gained parity in the Atlantic the RN was simply too big and too powerful for the Kriegsmarine to have caught up during wartime.

I really don't think Churchill would have had a choice but defend India and the Middle East because without it Britain would have been completely stripped of its own resource supplies as well as the manpower reserves of India/Pacific region.
These two paragraphs seem contradictory. If Churchill sent say the KGV battleships along with the Rodney and Nelson and modern carriers to the Indian ocean (any others would be a liability), to be sunk by a Japanese fleet in 1942, wouldn't this have gained some sort of parity in the Atlantic, in terms of overall quality if not numbers? The only other battleships left for the RN were of WW1 vintage, the best being the Hood and Warspite.

Taking the second paragraph alone it appears that you think that the UK couldn't have relied on the US for supplies by themselves. If this was the case then it wouldn't have been necessary to destroy the British fleet but merely to gain control of the Indian ocean irrespective of Churchills whims, and this was surely within the capacity of the Japanese if they concentrated their forces in this direction.
June 21st, 2009  
MontyB
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by perseus
These two paragraphs seem contradictory. If Churchill sent say the KGV battleships along with the Rodney and Nelson and modern carriers to the Indian ocean (any others would be a liability), to be sunk by a Japanese fleet in 1942, wouldn't this have gained some sort of parity in the Atlantic, in terms of overall quality if not numbers? The only other battleships left for the RN were of WW1 vintage, the best being the Hood and Warspite.

Taking the second paragraph alone it appears that you think that the UK couldn't have relied on the US for supplies by themselves. If this was the case then it wouldn't have been necessary to destroy the British fleet but merely to gain control of the Indian ocean irrespective of Churchills whims, and this was surely within the capacity of the Japanese if they concentrated their forces in this direction.
They are perhaps contradictory had Germany actually possessed a surface fleet worth mentioning but the reality is that it didn't, a sizable proportion of its destroyers were sitting at the bottom of Norwegian Fjords and the few capital ships it had were in hiding or dry dock repairing at the end of 1941.

Basically Britain could have sent 75% of the Royal Navy to the far east and still out numbered the Kriegsmarine's surface fleet.
If I remember rightly for Operation Sealion Germany could muster roughly 50 ships to support the invasion while the Royal Navy had 300+ ships within 24 hours of the invasion beaches to counter an invasion.

While I have little doubt that the USA could have supplied all of Britain's war time needs only having one supplier makes the job of the Uboat commanders a damn sight easier and without the direct involvement of the USA I suspect the British Merchant Marine would have unable replace the losses in sufficient numbers.

Here ya go I am sure you will see the disparity in numbers:
Royal Navy 1941...

http://www.naval-history.net/xDKWW2-4101-26RNHome.htm

Kriegsmarine (total for WW2)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Kriegsmarine_ships

As I see it in this scenario the only help Germany could have provided Japan was in tying up British and Commonwealth forces in North Africa, in terms of gaining superiority over the Royal Navy though they had no chance.
June 21st, 2009  
LeEnfield
 
 
Just think along these lines with the Royal Navy, that on D Day two thirds of all the ships on the Invasion were Royal Navy Ships which meant over 4,000 ships were RN.
June 21st, 2009  
perseus
 
 
Well here is a page with some more comparisons at the outbreak of war. Nearly all the capital ships of the RN were of WW1 vintage

http://www.naval-history.net/WW2CampaignRoyalNavy.htm


I guess since most of the RN battleships were some 10 knots slower than the German capital ships they could just be avoided, focussing on destroying the cruisers and destroyers protecting the convoys. If the KGV and carriers were dealt with by the Japanese, I doubt if the remainder would have posed an unsurmountable problem for the German Navy.
June 22nd, 2009  
perseus
 
 
To get this into perspective, I have compiled a spreadsheet and chart which illustrates the balance of Naval power between the Axis and Allies in May 1941. The axis includes Vichy and Italy, the Allies include Free French and Netherlands but exclude the US. It is debatable to what extent Vichy, Italy and WW1 battleships could be included but perhaps these cancel out. The Carrier numbers exaggerate allied power due to their limited capacity and the antiquated aircraft, although some had an armoured deck.

It is based on the numbers here

http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/5...navalpower.jpg


June 22nd, 2009  
perseus
 
 
And don't forget the effectiveness of submarine attacks on major ships: Royal Oak, Barham, Ark Royal, Eagle, Wasp, Couragious, Shinano, Kongo, Unryu were all were sunk by submarines. Germany didn't have too many capital ships, but plenty of U boats. Perhaps, these could have been used more offensively. For example an axis ship drawing a chasing allied one through a Wolf pack.
June 23rd, 2009  
MontyB
 
 
Did the Italian Navy ever leave port other than to surrender and that was one up of Vichy French Navy which was sunk in port.

I am somewhat dubious of that graph as it does not really show the disparity in the quality of those ships and crews.
 


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