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Author Topic: Yes. Another "What if"  (Read 272 times)
barney
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« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2018, 06:19:46 pm »
0

RE Singapore one thing Winnie couldn't have done was this:

The Japanese invaded with over 200 tanks, while the British Army in Malaya did not have a single one. Indeed, Churchill himself had diverted some 350 older-model tanks from Malaya to the Soviet Union following the German invasion, as a show of good faith between the Allies. As these older infantry and cruiser tanks were more than a match for the light and medium Japanese tanks used in the invasion of Malaya, their presence could well have turned the tide of battle.


https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/general-percival-a-convenient-scapegoat/
 
Doesn't mean whoever was in charge couldn't have, but if they were at peace with Germany, it seems doubtful.
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Argothair
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« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2018, 06:25:31 pm »
+1

Karl7, thanks for the link, the quote, and the flattery! I stand corrected. The US came to its senses all by itself, without Japanese assistance, a full 18 months before Pearl Harbor. Those extra 18 months of carrier construction may even have been crucial to winning the war! I wonder why the US Navy changed its mind at that particular time -- it's the week that Paris fell to German tanks; there don't seem to be any obvious naval battles that could have been the proximate cause. Taranto wasn't until November 1940. An entire squadron of British bombers took out one German cruiser in April 1940, but that's not necessarily that impressive.

Barney, very good point about the tanks, although I question how useful tanks are in defending a fortified city surrounded by jungle when you've got a 5:2 advantage in infantry and weeks to prepare. If General Percival had even some decent field guns, he should have been able to put them in buildings or bunkers and knocked out the tanks as they advanced. Some British light tanks would have been handy for defending the rest of Malaya, though.
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Narvik
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« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2018, 09:36:30 pm »
+2

I wonder why the US Navy changed its mind at that particular time --


You may find some answers in the book "Mr. Roosevelts Navy" by Patrick Abbazia, covering this time of decisions.
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SS
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« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2018, 04:52:47 am »
+1

RE Singapore one thing Winnie couldn't have done was this:

The Japanese invaded with over 200 tanks, while the British Army in Malaya did not have a single one. Indeed, Churchill himself had diverted some 350 older-model tanks from Malaya to the Soviet Union following the German invasion, as a show of good faith between the Allies. As these older infantry and cruiser tanks were more than a match for the light and medium Japanese tanks used in the invasion of Malaya, their presence could well have turned the tide of battle.


https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/general-percival-a-convenient-scapegoat/
 
Doesn't mean whoever was in charge couldn't have, but if they were at peace with Germany, it seems doubtful.

Well Japan only built 700 tanks during war and later in war they did make a few Med tanks but mostly they went to Philippines. As Arg stated cant move or move fast in jungle. Thats why in my game I have All Motorized Units M1 only in Asia and Siberia
and cant move period in Monsoon season ( I need to add Bicycles so Inf can tow Art  Ha ). Besides Japan needed most oil for navy.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 05:00:06 am by SS » Logged
DoManMacgee
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« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2018, 05:39:21 am »
+2

@Argothair Others already brought up the US prewar Naval Doctrine so I'm not going to beat a dead horse on that one. Only other thing I wanted to discuss was:

I think it's an interesting question whether a Prime Minister Halifax would have actually ordered a massive redeployment of modern fighters -- the primary instrument protecting the UK against an otherwise triumphant Germany -- to Singapore, which is literally at the opposite end of the globe. That seems like a ballsy move for a relatively conservative man.

I guess that decision comes down to a few extra factors I hadn't though of before, such as:
1. The deployment of German forces in Europe - Would a British-German armistice/truce/ceasefire accelerate Germany's plans for Barbarossa? Surely the UK wouldn't attempt to support the Greeks (or Yugoslavians, but I don't recall if they had any direct help from the British) while trying to pacify Germany. Would a lack of British support for Greece facilitate the Italian invasion? Even if Italy still failed miserably in Greece, would Germany still be willing to delay Barbarossa to help Italy without the fear of the British sending forces to the Balkans/using Greece as an airfield to bomb Romania?

I bring these points up because as soon as the Nazis enter the Soviet Union it basically gives the British a green light to redeploy their resources to Asia, even if they distrust Germany's intentions. It's just a matter of whether Barbarossa kicks off before Japan reaches Southeast Asia, IMO.

2. Does Italy call off its war with Britain/Egypt? And, if they don't, does Germany withdraw the Africa Korps as a sign of good faith to Britain? This thread is about a UK/German (temporary) peace/ceasefire but we've never gotten into the terms of said hypothetical surrender. If it's just a ceasefire that's one thing but as eaerly as August 1940 the North Africa campaign is already underway, and by mid-September Germany is already in Libya propping up Italy's lackluster efforts.

I bring this up for two reasons:
A: If Britain was forced to cede Egypt to Italy (and probably Jordan and Sudan as well, to ease Italy's supply route to Ethiopia/"Abyssinia" and for Mussolini's PR stunt of "recreating the Roman Empire"), it would seriously hamper the British supply route to Asia, since I assume the Axis would not allow the UK to freely move resources (civil or military) through the Mediterranean/Suez Canal. This would mean reinforcements bound for Singapore would have to waste valuable time circumnavigating Africa, which brings back memories of Russia's debacle at Tsushima in 1905.

B: If the war in Africa continued, the UK would not be able to send 100% of its free resources to Asia, as they would need to go out of their way to cripple the Italian Navy (Taranto would probably still occur here) and defeat Italy's armies in North Africa/Ethiopia to end that war. As pathetic as the Italian army was in North Africa, mopping up would still be a time consuming process that may take long enough to allow Japan to strike before adequate British reinforcements reach Asia.

As for everything else, I think we can agree to disagree on the more minor points since our general conclusions are similar. Thanks for the good discussion.
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CWO Marc
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« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2018, 06:21:25 am »
+4

Interesting discussion about various hypothetical Singapore scenarios.  Here are a few additional thoughts. 

If I've followed the thread correctly, the starting assumption is that Britain, under someone other than Churchill, reaches some sort settlement with Germany after the conquest of France, and is then free to carry on with its imperial business-as-usual.  I'm a bit sceptical that Britain could have gotten than good a deal from Hitler (presumably a deal basically saying "Let me have uncontested control of continental Europe and I'll let you keep Great Britain for yourselves and let you keep uncontested control of non-European waters"), but let's assume for the moment that such a deal has been worked out.  The next assumption, again if I'm following the thread correctly, is that Britain, now secure at home, sends massive naval and army and air force reinforcements to Singapore, and that these reinforcements end up derailing Japan's plans to conquer Malaya.  On the surface this seems plausible, but I think there are a few potential flaws with this scenario.

First: Britain's imperial power was ultimately founded on the (historically) overwheming power of its navy, not of its army.  I'm not saying Britain didn't have a good army; it did.  But I'm pointing out that Britain, relative to continental powers like France and Germany and Russia, operated on the basis of having a small but highly skilled professional army rather than having a much larger conscript army of uneven quality, and that this comparatively small army used the mobility conferred upon it by the Royal Navy as a force multiplier.  So when we talk about Britain sending a large army force to Singapore, we have to keep in mind that Britain didn't actually have that large an army in a quantitative sense, even if qualitatively it was a good one.  And also remember that by 1940 Britain's historically preeminent weapon, the Royal Navy, wasn't as preeminent as Britain liked to think: between the huge econonic hit that Britain took during WWI and the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the R.N. had suffered much from the effects of budgetery austerity.  (For example: as an economy measure, Britain at one point -- I think it was around 1930 -- started operating on a so-called "ten-year rule" which assumed that a war would not break out for another ten years and thus that it was safe to limit military spending in the current fiscal year.  The problem is that, as each year passed, the 10-year assumption simply got renewed rather than having one year subtracted from the original figure.)

Second: Although it's an obvious point of geography, it's easy to overlook one of the key reasons why Japan was able to "run wild" and overwhelm the Dutch, the British and the Americans in the areas it conquered in just six months from December 1941 to May 1942: because Japan had the advantage of fighting what was essentially a local campaign, whereas the Dutch and the British were operating on the other side of the planet from their own home turf and the Americans, though somewhat better off, were still about 6,000 miles away.  By the end of WWII, the Americans had built up the equipment and the skills to sustain massive naval forces across that much distance, but at the beginning of the war even the Americans didn't have either of those elements in place...and the British certainly didn't.

Third: Let's not forget the "Would you turn you back on this man?" argument.  Let's assume that Britain and Hitler had reached a deal in the summer or fall of 1940, presumably because Britain had concluded that Hitler was unbeatable in continental Europe and because Hitler had concluded that Britain was un-invadable in the short or medium term due to the combined obstacles of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.  Would any sensible British Prime Minister have concluded from this deal that "it's now safe to send a large portion of the British Army and the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force to the other side of the planet," given Hitler's abysmal track record with regard to compliance with non-aggression treaties?

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SS
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« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2018, 06:57:32 am »
+1

Interesting discussion about various hypothetical Singapore scenarios.  Here are a few additional thoughts.  

If I've followed the thread correctly, the starting assumption is that Britain, under someone other than Churchill, reaches some sort settlement with Germany after the conquest of France, and is then free to carry on with its imperial business-as-usual.  I'm a bit sceptical that Britain could have gotten than good a deal from Hitler (presumably a deal basically saying "Let me have uncontested control of continental Europe and I'll let you keep Great Britain for yourselves and let you keep uncontested control of non-European waters"), but let's assume for the moment that such a deal has been worked out.  The next assumption, again if I'm following the thread correctly, is that Britain, now secure at home, sends massive naval and army and air force reinforcements to Singapore, and that these reinforcements end up derailing Japan's plans to conquer Malaya.  On the surface this seems plausible, but I think there are a few potential flaws with this scenario.

First: Britain's imperial power was ultimately founded on the (historically) overwheming power of its navy, not of its army.  I'm not saying Britain didn't have a good army; it did.  But I'm pointing out that Britain, relative to continental powers like France and Germany and Russia, operated on the basis of having a small but highly skilled professional army rather than having a much larger conscript army of uneven quality, and that this comparatively small army used the mobility conferred upon it by the Royal Navy as a force multiplier.  So when we talk about Britain sending a large army force to Singapore, we have to keep in mind that Britain didn't actually have that large an army in a quantitative sense, even if qualitatively it was a good one.  And also remember that by 1940 Britain's historically preeminent weapon, the Royal Navy, wasn't as preeminent as Britain liked to think: between the huge econonic hit that Britain took during WWI and the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the R.N. had suffered much from the effects of budgetery austerity.  (For example: as an economy measure, Britain at one point -- I think it was around 1930 -- started operating on a so-called "ten-year rule" which assumed that a war would not break out for another ten years and thus that it was safe to limit military spending in the current fiscal year.  The problem is that, as each year passed, the 10-year assumption simply got renewed rather than having one year subtracted from the original figure.)

Second: Although it's an obvious point of geography, it's easy to overlook one of the key reasons why Japan was able to "run wild" and overwhelm the Dutch, the British and the Americans in the areas it conquered in just six months from December 1941 to May 1942: because Japan had the advantage of fighting what was essentially a local campaign, whereas the Dutch and the British were operating on the other side of the planet from their own home turf and the Americans, though somewhat better off, were still about 6,000 miles away.  By the end of WWII, the Americans had built up the equipment and the skills to sustain massive naval forces across that much distance, but at the beginning of the war even the Americans didn't have either of those elements in place...and the British certainly didn't.

Third: Let's not forget the "Would you turn you back on this man?" argument.  Let's assume that Britain and Hitler had reached a deal in the summer or fall of 1940, presumably because Britain had concluded that Hitler was unbeatable in continental Europe and because Hitler had concluded that Britain was un-invadable in the short or medium term due to the combined obstacles of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.  Would any sensible British Prime Minister have concluded from this deal that "it's now safe to send a large portion of the British Army and the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force to the other side of the planet," given Hitler's abysmal track record with regard to compliance with non-aggression treaties?



I definitely agree on your last remark about Hitler. Once he knew UK would be thin at home Bam he would have attacked London.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 06:59:34 am by SS » Logged
DoManMacgee
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« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2018, 10:06:17 am »
+1

@CWO Mark I can't speak for others, but I was mainly focusing on increasing British Naval/Air presence in Singapore (to prevent Japanese amphibious operations on the Malaysian Peninsula and surrounding waters) , not necessarily a massive increase in army presence (I mentioned an increased presence but I didn't imagine the British sending their whole land army to Asia). The UK didn't have enough manpower to wage much of an effective land war against Japan (as the Burma campaign proved). Plus, to your point, the British would have to keep the vast majority of their ground forces in Europe to deter a possible (although extremely unlikely) Sealion.

Your point about the UK needing to retain a strong enough presence to deter a German truce-breaking invasion is valid though. I elaborated on in a bit in more detail in the post before yours, so I won't repeat everything I said there, but in-short the UK's hands would be tied until Germany commits to Barbarossa, which would require 100% of the Germans' attention. To me, whether Britain reinforces Singapore in time comes down to how early/late Hitler pulls the trigger in the east.
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taamvan
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« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2018, 12:30:09 pm »
+2

another great discussion by the Axa Grogmunity

While I can imagine a lasting Phoney War, its hard to see the UK making a separate peace.   WW1 experience showed how vulnerable the UK was to a siege by submarine and sea lanes.  Making a short-term peace with or just failing to keep the pressure on Germany would at some juncture lead to a total and unrelenting siege of the UK, one not limited by a two-front war or other distractions.   Even without Churchill to say it so eloquently, the war was one of national survival--because the Germans had already accomplished their WW1 era objectives, closed out the western land front, demolished the balance of power, trading partners, alliance system, and threatened all the choke points---basically disrupting 300 years of work that made the British empire a viable proposition.   At some future point, before, after or during the defeat of the USSR and even during an open war with the USA, the UK could expect a siege without end, even if all the ships could not be intercepted, the economic "mercantilist" system would be impossible in a world where all the colonies, markets, and canals were threatened...all despite having a powerful (but in this reversed situation, not particularly valuable) surface navy.   That was the German version of Napoleon's "continental system".

HK, Singapore the Philippines ended up being traps for the Allies--as the threat of war escalated they were tempted to commit more and more of their forces and resources to shore up those frontline bases and create a false deterrence, but these bases (as other pointed out) were far from their empires and were essentially frontier forts that were also subject to siege by land, sea, and air.    No matter how powerful the forces were that garrisoned these outposts, they were essentially trapped by Japanese domination of the interior sea lanes (entire asian coast) that would cut lines of communication from home.    The idea that some level of commitment or reinforcement would have slowed the Japanese war plans ignores how quickly these already substantial (though outnumbered and outdated) forces were---surrounded and defeated and the immense momentum that Japan gained by its rapid and coordinated open to the war.    The Prince of Wales/Repulse debacle showed that the UK Navy was vulnerable from air and submarine attacks, tactics that the UK could not bring to bear at that time on Japan.   The Russo-Japanese war showed that cut off colonies, forts and an unsupported navy far from home could become liabilities, not assets.

The European war was a prerequisite to Japan's war plans as they all relied on the Allies being preoccupied with events elsewhere, having to face all the Allies alone and at once would have dissuaded the Japanese DoW or any bold surprise opener.    If we assume a stalemate around 1940 BoB era, and that the UK did not expect an imminent invasion, it is still too much to presume that the defense of these Asian colonies would have been successful or purposeful, especially if the Suez or ME fell and cut the sea lanes in a different place, or if Germany had defeated a Russia standing alone, the regional dominance of either Germany or Japan would have made the British Empire impossible to continue.

If we reduce the war to just Ger v Rus and UK vs Japan, we also cant be entirely sure what the US would have done--the threat of the defeat of the UK was a big reason for the US entry, also Pearl Harbor may have been cut in order to focus Japanese assets on the non us colonies and a war with UK and Russia without provoking one with the US
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Narvik
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« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2018, 12:20:18 am »
+1

What if
Churchill didnt get elected or was killed, or if it was FDR in the same situation
Would the Axis have been able to win the war
Have fun


I belive it did not matter. Churchill and FDR were not dictators, they were not above the Palace of Westminster or Capitol Hill, even with no Winnie then Halifax would still have to listen to the public opinion, and so did FDR. All the other candidates at the 1940 election, like Wendell Willkie, Cordell Hull, Farley, Garner, Tydings, Wallace, Taft and Dewey, were not likely to follow a radically different policy than FDR did. They could not bypass Capitol Hill and declare a personal war, neither could they ignore any Axis threats to the national security. So bottom line is, democracies never have that great freedom of choices, they must obey the public opinion. Ian Kershaw is discussing this issues in his book Fateful Choices 2008. The only persons that could have made a difference were dictators like Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini, they never listened to the opinion and would follow their own way. No Hitler and no Stalin ? Yes, the WWII would for sure turn out in a different way than it did historical. No FDR ? Wendell Willkie could have done nothing different than FDR did. USA would enter the war in dec 1941 like a train on a railway.
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barney
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« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2018, 08:58:20 pm »
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yea there were a lot of issues with the Singapore program. I just mentioned the tanks because that was something Churchill did. Obviously if he was dead he wouldn't have been able to : )

Herman Wouk explains it pretty well in War and Remembrance

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Imperious Leader
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« Reply #26 on: Today at 06:33:26 pm »
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Those tanks really didnt make it to Singapore, It was Japanese on bikes riding down, The tanks were used to capture Malaya sans Singapore right?
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