Earlier Arnament

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Typhonis 1
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Earlier Arnament

Postby Typhonis 1 » 2015-10-13 03:30pm

September 1, 1939 and the US Congress sees the writing on the wall. By that afternoon a sweeping spending bill is passed. A bill to enable the U.S. to arm itself to defend against foreign agressors. The bill sends money for anament prgrams to accelerate the development and building of planes, tanks, and ships. As well as small arms of all types.

How well armed will this U.S. be by December 1941?
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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Simon_Jester » 2015-10-13 04:04pm

Hm.

We'd be about six to nine months farther along in the armament program than historically, but without the sudden surge of war production caused by full war mobilization in early 1942.

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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Starglider » 2015-10-13 04:30pm

I´m curious if that would mean the US starts with M3 tanks instead of M2s and advances production of the M4 enough that the British and Soviets can go straight to that, e.g. that the M3 never actually sees significant combat. Or maybe the absolute shortage of tanks circa 1941 would have meant both types get sent over with the M3 held back to secondary roles. The timing of M3 deployment and M4 entering mass production was pretty close, 6 months AFAIK, but I don´t know how much faster the development program would have gone with more money.
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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Borgholio » 2015-10-13 04:43pm

I'd be more curious to see how this affects defense planning. One of the reasons Pearl Harbor was as bad as it was, is because we were caught with out pants down. If we had proper scouting patrols, more manned radars, and planes ready for action instead of parked, we might not have lost the fleet. Saving 8 battleships and all those planes from being destroyed would have just by themselves almost equaled the additional hardware produced over the next two years.
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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Simon_Jester » 2015-10-13 06:16pm

The aircraft losses at Pearl Harbor weren't that bad on the scale of a national military. The ship losses were severe... but most of the battleships that got hit were repaired or refloated by the time their participation in the war would have been very significant anyway. Of course, I'm sure they could have been put to good use if Pearl Harbor had never happened- but it's hard for me to think how, precisely.

What was really needed at Pearl Harbor was political and tactical, as well as physical. The biggest physical deficiency was a lack of fuel and long range scout aircraft to keep up airborne patrols. It is unclear whether Hawaii would receive more of those things in this scenario, since the political imperatives governing what gets sent to Hawaii and when are unchanged, as is the timing of conflict with Japan.

Meanwhile, the US being in a higher state of war mobilization won't cause Short to realize that sabotage isn't the greatest threat to his planes and bunch them on the runway. And it won't cause Kimmel to rig torpedo nets or start staggering his shore leaves so that he doesn't have most of his personnel off their ships every Sunday and create an exploitable pattern for the Japanese.

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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2015-10-13 06:21pm

Probably result of this is the US builds a lot of crap, but pumps so much of it into the Phillippine Islands that Japan might not dare attack. The amount of material physically enroute to the islands even in December 1941 was enough that it might have made a real difference in its own right. The Phillippines Army would also be vastly more effective, its expansion was enormous and six months more training would have made a tremendous difference to its effectiveness.

Also it would have greatly helped had even 10% of the reserve weapons and ammo shipped to the UK in 1940 been instead sent to the Phillippines in 1940. The US utterly stripped itself of reserves in 1940 to save the UK from invasion; so much so that we then found that the expedition to the Azores could not even readily be given enough ammo for a single divisional sized task force.

Starglider wrote:I´m curious if that would mean the US starts with M3 tanks instead of M2s and advances production of the M4 enough that the British and Soviets can go straight to that, e.g. that the M3 never actually sees significant combat. Or maybe the absolute shortage of tanks circa 1941 would have meant both types get sent over with the M3 held back to secondary roles. The timing of M3 deployment and M4 entering mass production was pretty close, 6 months AFAIK, but I don´t know how much faster the development program would have gone with more money.


It would likely mean a small ocean of M2 mediums and perhaps an improved model of such. The M3 Lee was the direct result of US observations of combat in 1940 France where a fairly small number of German tanks with 75mm guns took part, and a urgent British request for a 75mm tank. The first orders for the Lee were British, but it had to be adapted by the US Army to be produced. Prior to this the US early 1940 plan was to produce 1,000 M2s, all of them on actual order with expectations for even more. Indeed US plans upon mobilization quickly shifted to 1,000 tanks per month. So some utterly comical number of M2 mediums and Stuarts might be spammed.

The design of the M3 Lee actually started as an attempt to put a 75mm gun into the hull of the M2.... somehow without removing any of the machine guns. The Lee was a real utter rush design, largely made possible by the fact that the Army had already designed a sponson like mount for the 75mm pack howitzer, a different weapon, for use on the half track tank destroyer. It is doubtful the M4 would appear any earlier because it was built as fast as a turret could be designed, and that need still isn't likely to arise before a major armor battle takes place in Europe. Since the US Army was very short on modern artillery, as in it had none, most of it not even designed yet in 1939, the emphasis would be on producing such weapons or even variants of WW1 weapons rather then making any kind of leapfrog to bigger tank guns simply 'because'. Fact is in 1939 a 37mm gun could still destroy everyone's tanks everywhere except certain French models, all of which had sort of horrible two man turrets and sometimes pure machine gun armaments. The Germans lost so many tanks in France they went and doubled the frontal armor on many existing models, which then worked out far better in the 1941 desert and Russian campaigns, but that simply shows how fast times changed.
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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Typhonis 1 » 2015-10-15 05:04am

What would we see small arms wise? More Garands and fewer Springfields and does this mean little Wake island has a few tanks?
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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby LaCroix » 2015-10-15 05:33am

Just because they start producing in mass doesn't mean they'll ship out, everywhere. More likely, they would stack tanks at bases, train crews and then wait to see what happens, For at this time, Germany is a HUGE threat, and Japan just being 'annoying' as it "bullies China around". They wouldn't send everything into the Pacific while Britain and France are getting whipped. A bit would be sent out, to improve readiness, but most would be held together, ready to be shipped where it was needed. This is real life, not EUIV.

No one could tell if the US were to intervene in Europe, early, in this new scenario. And if they do, this would change a lot of things along the lines. If they come to Britains's help, early, Germany and Russia might decide to stay friends, Germany might change tactics, Japan might react different if Russia is on their side, etc. Simply the fact that the US would arm up, significantly, might change the way the war would be waged.
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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Simon_Jester » 2015-10-16 06:33pm

It's a bit more complicated than this, in that the US was actively reinforcing the Pacific in 1941, at least- not so much in 1940 when it looked like Britain was about to be conquered, as Skimmer discussed.

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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Thanas » 2015-10-16 06:38pm

It really would help the US with ship building though. I don't think the Japanese will dare attack if the USA is announcing that they will build like 100 new warships.
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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2015-10-16 06:58pm

Just like the 1940 Two Ocean Navy plan which announced and actually funded 257 new major combat vessels displacing more then the entire Japanese fleet deterred them? In scale and impact this plan was kind of like the US making a one time vote to add 500 billion dollars worth of warships and equipment to the USN today. That's besides the first US peacetime draft ever, utter transformation of the army size, total replacement and expansion of all coastal defenses, mass expansion of merchant ship production and intent to build 50,000 new combat planes, all balled together.

Announcements meant nothing to the Imperial Japanese though. They calculated only on the basis of what was immediately in front of them. This is why they got themselves into such an utterly unwinnable set of wars in the first place. In real life the Japanese response to the American move was to simply invent the Circle 5 and 6 naval armament plans, which were simply comically deluded in scale, far more so then the 1920 era 8-8-8 plan they had ever was. The only thing that would matter is what America can actually put into the western Pacific to make Japan actually second guess its ability to bum rush the oil fields. As it was japan was all but totally committed to war even before it decided upon a way to actually knock out the US battlefield from the get go, and they could have launched an offensive somewhat earlier on that basis.

Its kind of hard to see how anything was going to change japan's thinking except pure fielded armed strength, considering the negotiations in real life reached the final point of Japan demanding the US [i]help it invade[i/] the Dutch East Indies and always included a demand that the US recognize Japan's sovereign right to pillage all of China. And that for its part the US fully conceded Japanese control of all of Manchuria!
Last edited by Sea Skimmer on 2015-10-16 07:03pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Thanas » 2015-10-16 07:03pm

Well, with full aircraft deployed at Pearl Harbor I don't think the Japanese can do much there.
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Re: Earlier Arnament

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2015-10-16 07:08pm

Except catch them by surprise, just like before. And catch every AA battery without ammo, like before. Japan launched the plan expecting to loose 2-3 carriers in the first place, and a third of the entire navy in the first 100 days of operations. Plus extra US planes would be largely flushed to the Philippines, Gaum ect... but also to many islands in the Atlantic which were seen as badly vulnerable. As it was the Japanese had no clear idea just how many US aircraft were on Oahu in the first place. They had no overhead recon of the plane. They did however do secret overflights of the Phillippines.

Also one of the reasons the planes were so bunched up on Oahu in the first place was the island had very limited airfield facilities for the number of planes on hand, which wouldn't change easily, even post attack the airfields were rather saturated because the island's landmass isn't too suited to airfields, while the other islands in the chain largely lacked ports and completely lacked ground defenses historically (never changed that much either). So its pretty damn unlikely the US would put vastly more planes on the island even given the choice. Much more anti aircraft defense was desired though. But it means nothing without ammo.

Meanwhile if Japan decided to attack sooner they probably just wouldn't attack Oahu due to lack of enough Zero fighters requiring them to use carriers against the Phillippines. After that they'd revert to their original plans for a decisive battle in the central Pacific or Phillippines Sea, which would actually probably work out better for them then trying to defend absurdly far flung outposts like Tarawa.

A lot of 1939 production American planes would also be less then impressive. Sure the Hawk 75 series was underrated, but some serious pieces of junk were around. Advantages that showed up early in WW2 on American planes would also be totally lacking like zero self sealing fuel tanks and little or no armor on anything but bombers.
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