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Did the Allies know they were going to win?

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Zinegata
PostPosted: 2011-12-13 04:35am 

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spaceviking wrote:
Dieppe was an important lesson for the Allies in terms of showing the difficulty of invading Europe, but a raid is not analogue for a full scale invasion.


Yes, hence I called it an example. A full scale invasion in 1942 would likely have been Dieppe multiplied tenfold. The technology, tactics, and overall strategy was simply too deficient in 1942 for an invasion to have had much chance of success.
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2011-12-13 10:42am 

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Attacking directly into the teeth of enemy defenses should have been an obvious mistake... but I guess the British didn't get enough of it in the First World War and had to make sure it was still a bad idea with deadlier weapons. I doubt a 1942 invasion would have gone well, but getting ashore would have been feasible given a remotely sane choice of beach, the Atlantic Wall pretty much didn't even exist on paper at that point except for direct defenses of ports. The real problem would have been the allies just didn't have the follow on forces to ever do more then hold a beachhead (12-15 divisions max IIRC); a 1943 invasion was far more feasible in that respect.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-12-13 01:23pm 

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Thinking about this, I suspect that influenced the decision to hit Dieppe.

(Most of what follows is not addressed directly to Skimmer; I'd use less explanation were I talking only to him, and more because I'm talking to others who I can't assume to already know this)

By 1944, the equipment was in place to supply the Normandy beachhead for several weeks, until the troops ashore could capture ports and repair them into working condition- which took roughly two months in the case of Cherbourg, for example. In 1942, the British* did not have the amphibious assets to supply a large invasion force over a beach. So I suspect that in the eyes of the high command, capturing a port was necessary for the survival of the invading forces in the weeks following the landing.

Like I said earlier, amphibious warfare isn't just about what you can accomplish on D-Day, it's about what you can accomplish by D+15 Day and D+30 and D+60. If you can't keep an army supplied, an army large enough to fend off reinforcements thrown at your beachhead, you'd have saved time and lives and money by not sending them over there in the first place.

So in 1942 and going into '43, you cannot be confident of supplying an army over the beach. Would it be possible to capture a port? If so, an invasion in 1943 becomes more practical, because you can grab a port on D-Day and start pouring troops into France very quickly, rather than having to assemble and maintain your forces over the beach with mountains of amphibious trucks and Mulberry harbors and all the other systems that Allies prepared for Overlord. If not, invading in 1943 is going to be a lot more difficult, and you need to know this before throwing an entire army ashore.

Hence Dieppe, I guess.

*(and let's be honest, an invasion of Europe in 1942 would be overwhelmingly a British show)
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Patrick Degan
PostPosted: 2011-12-13 11:02pm 

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PeZook wrote:
Patrick Degan wrote:
For a start, the Kido Butai were at the absolute end of their fuel range from Japan. This limited Nagumo's scope of action to achieving the objective of neutralising the striking force of the U.S. Pacific Fleet to immediately ensure no interference with the conquest of the East Indies and the Philippines. It was well known to Yamammoto and every officer involved what a huge gamble Operation Z was just in terms of the logistics. Realistically, they could not have achieved much more than what they managed at Pearl. A third-wave strike would have consisted, maybe, of around 120 planes, going to hit a base where the antiaircraft defences were already firming up (heavier casualties were experienced by the second-wave strike than those of the first) and after the element of surprise was long gone, and spending additional time burning fuel which they didn't have to spare cruising at the launch point, and risking detection the longer they remained. Since Nagumo had a primary responsibility to return his task force to Japan intact, he had little choice and no inclination to exceed the planned mission objective. So, he turned about and headed home immediately his second wave was recovered.


Furthermore, the carriers weren't there. So, picture yourself in Yamamoto's shoes: you are at the end of your logistics tail with the majority of the IJN's striking power with you. You have just finished a major strike, and thus need time to turn your planes around, and there's four enemy carriers...somewhere. You have no idea where, but they haven't been running combat operations so far. Their air wings were completely fresh.

In fact fighters from the Enterprise were already arriving at Pearl. The third wave would've faced far stiffer oppositions than the first two, and if the IJN attack force was detected and attacked by the full weight of airplanes from four carriers, a great victory could've easily turned into a total disaster.


Well, in point of fact, there weren't four American carriers in the Eastern Pacific on 7 December. The Enterprise was returning from Midway, but the Lexington was still en-route from Wake Island, the Yorktown had been sent to the Atlantic, and Saratoga was stateside for a refit. At the time of the attack, only the Enterprise was anywhere near Oahu and with a strike force available for combat, if it came to it.
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Zinegata
PostPosted: 2011-12-13 11:58pm 

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Simon_Jester wrote:
So in 1942 and going into '43, you cannot be confident of supplying an army over the beach. Would it be possible to capture a port? If so, an invasion in 1943 becomes more practical, because you can grab a port on D-Day and start pouring troops into France very quickly, rather than having to assemble and maintain your forces over the beach with mountains of amphibious trucks and Mulberry harbors and all the other systems that Allies prepared for Overlord. If not, invading in 1943 is going to be a lot more difficult, and you need to know this before throwing an entire army ashore.

Hence Dieppe, I guess.

*(and let's be honest, an invasion of Europe in 1942 would be overwhelmingly a British show)


The issue of ports was a huge focus in any British strategy for a cross-channel assault, to the point that artificial harbors were built for the Overlord invasion specifically to placate their fears. In practice, simply hauling goods ashore via landing craft proved enough to get the supplies onshore, but these would have also been in rather short supply back in '42.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-12-14 12:41am 

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I referenced the Mulberries, yes.

In 1942, not only were amphibious landing craft for what I referred to as "over the beach" resupply few in number, but it had never worked before. The experience of the smaller-scale landings in Sicily and Italy would do a lot to reassure someone concerned about the ability of over-the-beach supply to support an army.
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2011-12-14 01:07am 

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Interestingly even the allied plan in 1944 basically gave no credit at all to resupply over the beaches, though it did expect to move significant amounts of supplies through small fishing ports. What’s even more interesting is just how much of the supply tonnage was actually coal for heating and power! The artificial Harbors were a big safeguard, but then by allowing German defenses to grow so much longer the allies made it much more difficult to capture a port in the first place. Though to be fair, Cherbourg even in 1944 had relatively few defenses on its land front… though 1942/43 invasion would have been much different in scope. Plans called for landings spread as far apart as Calais to Le Havre and even a further supporting operation into Normandy or aimed at the Cotentin Peninsula. This way the Nazis simply couldn't concentrate on trying to crush the invasion, it would be far too spread out for the Panzers... and Germany only had around 550 tanks in all of France at the time.

Something I didn’t know until recently is the original plan for Overlord actually would have had all US Airborne landing clear across the neck of the Cotentin Peninsula, isolating Cherbourg in the initial drop and leading to its much more rapid capture. This got nixed at a late point when a German infantry division was moved into the western side of the Peninsula, which had been undefended into early 1944. The delayed capture meant demolitions were far more extensive then they might have been. Its kind of interesting to see just how little of the Overlord operation was actually directed at capturing a port, essentially just two divisions out of seven in the initial waves.

Of course, the much larger forces fielded by both sides in the 1944 invasion greatly increased the necessary tonnages of supplies required to fight a battle for the beachhead.

If anyone wants a lot of detailed information on the planning topic I suggest The Army Green book series; specifically The Logistical Support of the Armies Volume I (covers to September 1944)
http://www.history.army.mil/html/booksh ... 2-eto.html

Though really, any lover of WW2 history should just download all of them to have forever (which is how long they'll take take to read). Its 69 books, about 1 gig in total, and completely endless information heavily focused on logistics, planning and support of the US Army in WW2. Only about twenty five or so of them focus mainly on combat and one BTW ‘US Army in WW2 readers Guide’ is a guide to what each book is about.
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khursed
PostPosted: 2011-12-20 07:31pm 

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I never said the japanese didn't realise the importance of aircraft carriers, all I'm saying is that they focused on a "decisive battleship" final fight and hence why they considered pearl harbour a great victory, when in all actuality, it was a major problem, that could have turned a lot better for them.As for the USSR invasion itself, in 1941 as mind boggling as it sound, Germany wasn't even on a full scale war economy, and was fantastically behind in term of war production.

They never imagined that the soviets had such endless ressources of men and material, and still dealt them massive blows and the soviet suffered crushing losses.

Another massive blunder by Hitler was his stuborness in refusing to properly equip his own troops, and his reliance on the empty promises of his own inner circle, Goering in particular.

The German high command admitted numerous time that had they known the extent of the soviet's force they would have postponed if not cancel the whole operation Barbarosa.

In the end, as in many things, it came down to basic ressources, Germany was on a full war footing and disgorging massive amount of material throughout 1945, however they had one impossible flaw to overcome, they simply ran out of oil.

There are still improbably scenario where the Germans might have succeeded in winning in the East, especially if they had managed to capture Moscow and Stalin. Had the Japanese opened another front in Siberia, history might have been changed forever.

Had Hitler simply not launched a massive attack against the soviet, 1944 in france might have been a carnage on another level.

With a conflict as extensive and on such a global scale as world war 2, it's simply impossible to predict every possible outcome and alternative to any given scenario.
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phongn
PostPosted: 2011-12-20 08:00pm 

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khursed wrote:
I never said the japanese didn't realise the importance of aircraft carriers, all I'm saying is that they focused on a "decisive battleship" final fight and hence why they considered pearl harbour a great victory, when in all actuality, it was a major problem, that could have turned a lot better for them.

Yes, they desired a "decisive battle" to defeat the largest strategic thread the USN had at the time - its battle line. There were not that many carriers, after all. Also, by any measure, Pearl Harbor was a stunning success!

Quote:
As for the USSR invasion itself, in 1941 as mind boggling as it sound, Germany wasn't even on a full scale war economy, and was fantastically behind in term of war production.

It doesn't matter that Germany wasn't yet on a full-scale war economy (and remember, the war had been sold to the German people as a short war where they could still produce both guns and butter). They were stretched beyond their limits trying to supply existing units. Paradoxically, more men and material might make things worse!

Quote:
In the end, as in many things, it came down to basic ressources, Germany was on a full war footing and disgorging massive amount of material throughout 1945, however they had one impossible flaw to overcome, they simply ran out of oil.

No, their impossible flaw was the absurd thinking in taking on the entire world.

Quote:
There are still improbably scenario where the Germans might have succeeded in winning in the East, especially if they had managed to capture Moscow and Stalin. Had the Japanese opened another front in Siberia, history might have been changed forever.

Two places for you to think about first: Stalingrad and Khalkhin Gol

Quote:
With a conflict as extensive and on such a global scale as world war 2, it's simply impossible to predict every possible outcome and alternative to any given scenario.

That's nonsense. We only need to look what is probable and reasonable, not every last outcome.
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CaptHawkeye
PostPosted: 2011-12-20 09:24pm 

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Another thing that really bugs me about Pearl Harbor is the "third wave" myth. A third wave was never part of the overall plan and didn't fit in to the greater scheme of Japan's short war against the US. Knocking out logistics facilities like Sub pens, oil yards, drydocks, etc did not fit into their ultra-Mahanian goal of keeping the US off their back long enough to secure their "defense perimeter" in the Pacific.
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2011-12-21 12:22am 

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The third wave is the mother of all brainbugs to me. Everyone just assets it would work, the facts are endlessly ignored in favor of some one liners by officers not in a position to know the true facts of the matter.

No reason exists to believe a third wave alone could have knocked out all those assets. Any one target, oil, or escorts or base facilities might have suffered significant damage, but spreading bombing across all of them wasn’t going to work. Each Val could carry one 250kg bomb; each Kate could carry one 250kg bomb. A clip to allow a Kate to carry two or three bombs may have been available at this date but nobodies been able to confirm it was in use at the time that I know of. No 500kg or 800kg HE bombs were available for the Kates to use at that time. Some more 800kg AP bombs existed, these were largely useless for soft targets or shore installations.

The first wave had 141 Kates and Vals, which even assuming none had been lost or damaged (about 25% of the first two waves was but I don't know the breakdown) and all could fly again a third wave would still only have delivered about 35.25 metric tons of bombs. No fucking way will that knock out a major naval base. Meanwhile far more anti aircraft guns could have opposed a third wave; every single army AA battery had no ammunition for the first or second wave but most would have had it by the time a third wave could have arrived. Meanwhile all ships would be alert, and non trivial numbers of surviving fighters in the air. Over Midway well alerted US anti aircraft fire far fewer in number plus just a few defending fighters destroyed or damaged 1/3 of the entire Japanese raid of 108 planes. Not a good sign for what alert US defenses could do, even if that was months into the war giving time for more training.

In fact things are worse since almost certainly a portion of Japanese bombers would have returned to attacking the airfields to keep them suppressed. Of course sticking around would also all risk loosing Japanese carriers, in an attack which they thought might cost two but which had so far caught none… and all to destroy some base assets that even the worst case the US would have repaired in six to eight months. A year into the war you’d never know the difference. The US found resources on Oahu to do crazy things like build an underground bomb proof B-17 assembly bunker which had internal elevators to take fighters down to lower levels for work... rebuilding some oil tanks sure would cripple the war effort! Never mind the lavish money wasting plan the US was able to carry out to give Alaska an independent oil and gasoline supply, in a war filled with immense hoards of US construction.
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PeZook
PostPosted: 2011-12-21 06:25am 

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Patrick Degan wrote:
Well, in point of fact, there weren't four American carriers in the Eastern Pacific on 7 December. The Enterprise was returning from Midway, but the Lexington was still en-route from Wake Island, the Yorktown had been sent to the Atlantic, and Saratoga was stateside for a refit. At the time of the attack, only the Enterprise was anywhere near Oahu and with a strike force available for combat, if it came to it.


Well, yes, but my point was that the Japanese didn't know that!

They couldn't assume "Oh we don't know where the American carriers are, so they're probably spread out all over the Pacific and no threat". For all they knew, the carriers were simply out on excercises.

Besides, even a strike from one carrier wing, if it caught the Japanese recovering the third wave, had a decent shot of inflicting serious damage on one or more carriers. That far away from the home islands? It could mean a disaster.

khursed wrote:
There are still improbably scenario where the Germans might have succeeded in winning in the East, especially if they had managed to capture Moscow and Stalin. Had the Japanese opened another front in Siberia, history might have been changed forever.


The Japanese tried that in 1939. Their attempt was utterly, completely crushed. In 1945 it would be completely suicidal: instead of BT-7s, the Japanese would be facing T-34-85s with battle hardened crews.
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2011-12-21 08:45am 

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PeZook wrote:
The Japanese tried that in 1939. Their attempt was utterly, completely crushed. In 1945 it would be completely suicidal: instead of BT-7s, the Japanese would be facing T-34-85s with battle hardened crews.

Nah, although it seems Khursed is armchairing his post I'd point out that most consider Sorge to be a great spy because of the info given by him that let the soviets withdraw eastern units early which really helped the war effort in the battle of Moscow. Zhukov claims the same in his biography, as these were "his" battletrained units from when he won against the japanese which let him plan a similar pincer in the counterstrike.
So even though any such attack would have been stupid and futile by the japanese, they would have helped the germans in that those soviet eastern units wouldn't have returned as early as they did. And thus the alternate historians claim that if the japanese had attacked at this crucial time, the germans would have captured moscow.
Mind you, I think that that wouldn't have changed the outcome any one bit, but it would have cost a lot more and happened later.
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PeZook
PostPosted: 2011-12-21 09:00am 

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Well, the Battle of Moscow was fought December 1941 - January 1942. At that time Japan was seriously bogged down fighting in China, pouring men and material into this quagmire.

They were also attacking Hong Kong, Burma, New Guinea, Dutch East Indies and other places where they hoped to get the crucial resources for their industry.

So...what would they realistically bring to the table in Siberia during Moscow? At worst, the Soviets could just trade land for time and then crush them later on.
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2011-12-21 12:08pm 

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Agreed on the land thingie but it was not what they could do which is the issue, instead it is what soviet thought they could do and what they needed to stop that. There is no question that soviet feared a japanese attack at the time, that is why they had the troops there in the first place. There is also no question that guys like Zhukov thought that the intel that japan wasn't going to attack was key to the successful counterattck at moscow and since that was a pivotal point for soviet morale etc it is seen as key in hindsight.

So as I said:
Spoonist wrote:
So even though any such attack would have been stupid and futile by the japanese, they would have helped the germans in that those soviet eastern units wouldn't have returned as early as they did. And thus the alternate historians claim that if the japanese had attacked at this crucial time, the germans would have captured moscow.
Mind you, I think that that wouldn't have changed the outcome any one bit, but it would have cost a lot more and happened later.
Which I hope was clear enough?
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PeZook
PostPosted: 2011-12-21 12:13pm 

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Ah, true. It's funny I didn't get that after pointing out fog of war issues with Pearl Harbor just a few lines above :D
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2011-12-21 01:49pm 

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PeZook wrote:
Patrick Degan wrote:
Well, in point of fact, there weren't four American carriers in the Eastern Pacific on 7 December. The Enterprise was returning from Midway, but the Lexington was still en-route from Wake Island, the Yorktown had been sent to the Atlantic, and Saratoga was stateside for a refit. At the time of the attack, only the Enterprise was anywhere near Oahu and with a strike force available for combat, if it came to it.
Well, yes, but my point was that the Japanese didn't know that!

They couldn't assume "Oh we don't know where the American carriers are, so they're probably spread out all over the Pacific and no threat". For all they knew, the carriers were simply out on excercises.

Besides, even a strike from one carrier wing, if it caught the Japanese recovering the third wave, had a decent shot of inflicting serious damage on one or more carriers. That far away from the home islands? It could mean a disaster.
This is true- witness what happened at Midway when McClusky's dive bombers showed up.

Spoonist wrote:
PeZook wrote:
The Japanese tried that in 1939. Their attempt was utterly, completely crushed. In 1945 it would be completely suicidal: instead of BT-7s, the Japanese would be facing T-34-85s with battle hardened crews.

Nah, although it seems Khursed is armchairing his post I'd point out that most consider Sorge to be a great spy because of the info given by him that let the soviets withdraw eastern units early which really helped the war effort in the battle of Moscow. Zhukov claims the same in his biography, as these were "his" battletrained units from when he won against the japanese which let him plan a similar pincer in the counterstrike.

So even though any such attack would have been stupid and futile by the japanese, they would have helped the germans in that those soviet eastern units wouldn't have returned as early as they did. And thus the alternate historians claim that if the japanese had attacked at this crucial time, the germans would have captured moscow.

Mind you, I think that that wouldn't have changed the outcome any one bit, but it would have cost a lot more and happened later.
The worst I can see happening would be for the Germans to gain marginally more ground, fight further into the outskirts of the city, and run into entrenched resistance from infantry divisions in the city. Actually clearing the city of Russian defenders, with winter already closing in, strikes me as out of the question. The extra divisions of Siberian troops can't have been that decisive in holding the city, though they may have been decisive in the counterattack in front of the city.

And it seems awfully contrived to assume a collapse of Soviet morale in reaction to successful (but hard-fought) defense of Moscow, as opposed to a counterattack.

Even then, a counterattack might well have succeeded too, given how bad a state the Germans were in with the winter.
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2011-12-21 08:27pm 

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Simon_Jester wrote:
This is true- witness what happened at Midway when McClusky's dive bombers showed up.


All the more so since Akagi was only attacked by three of those dive bombers, and destroyed by a single bomb hit! The reality of WW2 carriers was even strafing had the potential to destroy them if significant numbers of fueled and armed aircraft were on board. Even late war we saw American carriers crippled, and several that by all rights should have sunk by the result of only a single successful bombing or kamikaze sortie. Japan had very good reason to think even a successful attack on Oahu would cost them at least two carriers.

Quote:
Even then, a counterattack might well have succeeded too, given how bad a state the Germans were in with the winter.


Aye by the time the German attack was called off some Panzer regiments had less then ten operational tanks. As it was Guderian judged that any further push would have led to the complete destruction of the German armies. Without reserves from Siberia a Soviet counteroffensive may not be possible, the Soviets launched that offensive with no real superiority in numbers as it was, but its still easily possible that Moscow would have been defended. As it was, Russia then wasted vast forces in the spring 1942 counter offensives, which were foolishly launched on multiple fronts. No reserves from Siberia would mean those operations most likely don't happen, and you could actually see a net improvement in the Russian position in early 1942.... its something to think about anyway. However Japan in the war would cut off most lend lease supplies which came over the trans siberian railway which is a long term problem.
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CaptHawkeye
PostPosted: 2011-12-21 09:54pm 

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Gaming in the 1920s largely came to the conclusion that once discovered by enemy recon a carrier was more or less done for. So the predominant thinking early in carrier ops was that carriers should not group and should actually avoid being near each other lest they all get knocked out in one strike. Improvements to CAP doctrine, C&C, and radar actually changed this attitude but it was still out of the ordinary to see carriers operating in large strike groups. Even Taranto only involved one carrier.
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2011-12-22 12:00am 

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Taranto was in fact supposed to involve two carriers but HMS Eagle had a machinery casualty and had to be left behind. A few of her planes were crammed onto Ark Royal instead. The USN remained in favor of dispersion into 1943, because at both the Coral Sea and Midway dispersion worked in our favor. Only around and after Tarawa did they decide they really had enough planes as well as radar that it made more sense to mass for defensive as well as offensive purposes.

Japan only formed its carrier task force in mid 1940, before that doctrine was to separate the ships by about 100 miles. They had to group them together because with two new carriers joining the fleet they didn't have the escorts for six different ships, nor could six ships coordinate a mass attack without use of radios. This of course meant Japan also had very little time to work out how to defend such a concentration of high value targets and we see how well that turned out at Coral Sea and Midway.
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xthetenth
PostPosted: 2011-12-22 12:32am 

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Sea Skimmer wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote:
This is true- witness what happened at Midway when McClusky's dive bombers showed up.


All the more so since Akagi was only attacked by three of those dive bombers, and destroyed by a single bomb hit! The reality of WW2 carriers was even strafing had the potential to destroy them if significant numbers of fueled and armed aircraft were on board. Even late war we saw American carriers crippled, and several that by all rights should have sunk by the result of only a single successful bombing or kamikaze sortie. Japan had very good reason to think even a successful attack on Oahu would cost them at least two carriers.


The timing in a carrier operation is a very fine thing, and because they obsessively wargamed Pearl and carrier fights in general, the Japanese were likely keenly aware of how the difference between being found and hit or escaping unscathed could be made hours before they'd received any warning of it happening. If enemy carriers are around and the Japanese carriers are found, the Japanese would be at a massive disadvantage since they hadn't spotted the US carriers and wouldn't be able to necessarily get the first strike in, let alone get one off so much earlier that they'd be immune from strikes already launched. A full carrier strike could have been ruinous to Japanese plans, especially if one figures that the Japanese probably thought that the US would be better able to launch coordinated air strikes than they actually were.

Sea Skimmer wrote:
However Japan in the war would cut off most lend lease supplies which came over the trans siberian railway which is a long term problem.


To what degree would supplies ferried in through Persia and the Arctic be able to offset this loss? The Arctic was neither pretty nor fun, and I'd guess that the Persia route would add a ton of transit time to supplies, especially those from Pacific ports. Is an order of magnitude guess possible?
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2011-12-22 05:20am 

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xthetenth wrote:
The timing in a carrier operation is a very fine thing, and because they obsessively wargamed Pearl and carrier fights in general, the Japanese were likely keenly aware of how the difference between being found and hit or escaping unscathed could be made hours before they'd received any warning of it happening. If enemy carriers are around and the Japanese carriers are found, the Japanese would be at a massive disadvantage since they hadn't spotted the US carriers and wouldn't be able to necessarily get the first strike in, let alone get one off so much earlier that they'd be immune from strikes already launched.


Indeed, and also if the Japanese launch the third wave at Oahu, that means they have no reserve of planes to attack US carriers until the second wave is recovered and refueled and rearmed a couple hours later. Keeping the third wave in reserve gives them something to counter attack with, which is pretty important since the US carriers themselves are important targets. I forget if Japan was holding any ssignificant reserve of bombers for reconnaissance, I do believe they held back 40 fighters throughout the strikes for a CAP.


Quote:
A full carrier strike could have been ruinous to Japanese plans, especially if one figures that the Japanese probably thought that the US would be better able to launch coordinated air strikes than they actually were.


Yeah, Japan had to assume US pilots were competent, which they effectively were not at that time.

Quote:
To what degree would supplies ferried in through Persia and the Arctic be able to offset this loss? The Arctic was neither pretty nor fun, and I'd guess that the Persia route would add a ton of transit time to supplies, especially those from Pacific ports. Is an order of magnitude guess possible?


Historically the breakdown goes like this. About 17.5 million tons of cargo shipped from the western hemisphere to the USSR in total. Of this 23.8% came through Persia, 47.1% through the Far East, 22.7% through North Russian, 3.9% through the Black Sea (this was possible in 1945 after Greece fell to the British) and 2.5% came through the Artic which was mainly planes flown across from Alaska by US pilots. Pilots rode transport planes back home. That is a very hard tonnage to replace. Nothing could be done about it quickly.

Now these percentages are totals, all routes were developed and expanded over time, and for example for a number of summer months the allies refused to send any convoys to north Russia, allowing at times Persia to supply over 50% of deliveries for specific months, but overall nothing like that and generally its share is highest when total deliveries by all routes are lowest. But Persia only moved what it did in the first because the US sent 29,000 men to work on the transportation network, and assemble crated supplies like vehicles. It also employed a peak of over 40,000 civilians. Some of the work was done was pretty radical, entirely new docks were built, the railroad system completely overhauled, roads rebuilt, many supplies moved to Russia by road as well as rail and massive depot facilities established. It would be impossible to even equal the historical effort I’d say, if the US is not yet involved in the the war, or more likely entry into the war is delayed by lack of a Japanese attack. The local workforce was not effective enough, and the rail system still had to meet Iranian domestic needs (the US expanded it so much record numbers of Shi'a pilgrims were taken to Qom while still expanding cargo traffic...)

To ramble a bit, since this has come up before in my experience over the years and my ideas have refined a little, if the US is in the war then certainly all of that could be expanded, but the US Army was already pretty gung ho about what it did, any major increase in tonnage is only to occur with even more radical improvements like double tracking more of the rail system and building completely new bridges and tunnels in some instances. Some of specific projects could take a year or more. I believe pipelines were established, they could be increased in number so fuel movement at least should be easiest. All of this would have to be fed from bigger docks, bigger depots. All of that will take considerable time to expand and a lot of men and specialist engineering units which are hard to come by. I think you could ultimately replace a significant fraction of the Siberian tonnage, but it will be much more expensive to do so, and will consume a considerably larger pot of allied shipping. Especially as long as the Mediterranean is closed to supply convoys, forcing ships to go around Africa. The main difference would only be felt in 1943 and later, a serious limitation. Also the transport system on the Russian side may run into bottlenecks, though over time building ships from knocked down kits or even concrete on the Caspian Sea could overcome that. Still that's a big lead time kind of project.

More tonnage could go through the northern route by continuing convoy operations in the summer months that were historically abandon, but this would come with great risks and considerable losses into 1943 as well. The Germans might also make a bigger effort to try to take Murmansk after failing in 1941. The rail lines from Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, the latter of which cannot be used in winter, also placed restrictions on tonnage to a certain point. The land is pretty bad too, but Russia did build a diversion line for Murmansk, after the Finns cut the main line in 1941, pretty quickly.

For a brand new route, near the top of the top of the Urals, Russia historically extended a railway line during the war to access new sources of coal, this line could be and later was extended another 80 or so miles to reach the ocean but at a tiny town with no real port facilities. Google earth calls it Labynangi, I don’t think it was called that during the war. For a few months a year you could also barge supplies south down the Ob river. I think that's the Ob anyway, at least one of the big rivers can navigate all the way upsteam to the transiberian. This is in fact how supplies to build the railroad in the first delivered. Course it took what, nine years to build the damn line.
Labynangi is here if anyone is interested; appears to be primarily a timber port in the modern day and doesn't appear to be able to take deep draft vessels close to shore.
66°39'17.81"N 66°24'40.78"E

Anyway even with this development, it would be frozen in for at least half the year even with icebreaker operations. I suspect that coal rail line was also already pretty busy moving coal, but it might bring in a little more supply tonnage. Expanding the river port facilities would be difficult unless the Russians allowed the US to our right do the work, all the more so since the whole area is clearly swamps. Historically the Russians would not allow the allies to do anything in Russia, they barely allowed ships crews to leave, but with the Far East cut off they might be more willing to accept this. That might also help out in Persia to expedite the expanded flow of supplies northward.

BTW the data for supply tonnages came from this Army Green book, specifically on the Persian Corridor.
http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/ ... ub_8-1.pdf
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PainRack
PostPosted: 2011-12-25 09:07pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-07 03:03am
Posts: 7031
Location: Singapura
Sea Skimmer wrote:
Attacking directly into the teeth of enemy defenses should have been an obvious mistake... but I guess the British didn't get enough of it in the First World War and had to make sure it was still a bad idea with deadlier weapons. I doubt a 1942 invasion would have gone well, but getting ashore would have been feasible given a remotely sane choice of beach, the Atlantic Wall pretty much didn't even exist on paper at that point except for direct defenses of ports. The real problem would have been the allies just didn't have the follow on forces to ever do more then hold a beachhead (12-15 divisions max IIRC); a 1943 invasion was far more feasible in that respect.

Could the raid on Dieppe be blamed on Lord Mountbatten ego and poor strategy/planning? It would had seemed most of the factors that failed, such as failure to provide naval artillery should had been known before the raid itself.
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Sea Skimmer
PostPosted: 2011-12-26 12:21am 

Yankee Capitalist Air Pirate


Joined: 2002-07-03 11:49pm
Posts: 35159
Location: Passchendaele City, HAB
It can certainly be blamed on his poor planning and failure to secure higher level support that could have led to greatly increased naval and air assets, if that was a result of his ego or just a real desire to get something done, work out tactics and keep the Germans tied down in France I don’t hold an opinion on. The higher levels of command were deeply involved in planning Torch by that point. But badly planned it all was. The St Nazaire raid had already been an incredibly bloody partial success, so people should have known better then to expect a direct assault in daylight to work, let alone one with limited support, but then even the failure at Dieppe on top of that didn’t get the later and even immensely more idiotic direct attacks on Oran and Algiers canceled (those attacks were a logical contradiction out of hand). I’d assume the German successes in Norway were probably being looked at in unrealistic terms among other factors.
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Iosef Cross
PostPosted: 2012-02-04 10:52pm 

Village Idiot


Joined: 2010-03-01 11:04pm
Posts: 541
Stravo wrote:
When you read about WWII history there is a definite trend in the literature that the Allies had such an overwhelming advantage in materials, men and resources that there was no conceivable way that the Germans or Japanese were going to win the war. Victory was inevitable.


While the Allies had a substantial advantage in manpower, both in the armed forces and in the war related industries, over the Germans (that was their main advantage: in terms of installed industrial capital the Allies did not have such an advantage: the Germans actually had a larger supply of machine tools than the USA during the war (source: USSBS)), that does't guarantee victory.

It was a very significant advantage, however since the decisive front, the Eastern Front, took place between Germany and the USSR and the USSR had much fewer material resources than Germany (in terms of iron, steel, metal in general, the Germans had a 4-6 to one advantage), one can claim that since the USSR managed to defeat the bulk of the German armed force, the Allies won the war despite their material disadvantage in the most critical front.

Quote:
However the mood in Allied countries and their propaganda was "Do whatever it takes, we can't afford to lose this war." And older history books I've read painted the conflict as more of a "on the razor's edge" the whole way until D-Day and even then the Allies could have lost.


It was indeed a miracle that the Soviets survived barbarossa. Any other nation, including Germany and the USA, were not able to lose 30 million soldiers in 4 years. Since nobody knew that they would have survived the outcome of the war was very much on the balance for several years.

Only by mid 1943, when Germany was outnumbered on all fronts, when the USA and UK had already defeated the U-Boats and the USSR had managed to reclaim some territory, showing that it was able to face the heer head on and win, that victory became clear.

Quote:
Did the allies know they were going to win? Did they at the time the war was raging, absent the 20-20 hindsight we have now, suspect that this was a done deal and that all it would take was a few more years of meatgrinding battles but that the end result would be victory? or were they like the US was during the Cold War completely ignorant of the actual capabilities and limitations of the Axis powers?


I think that by late 1943 and early 1944 the Allies knew they would win. By mid 1944 the Allies started to organize the design of the new post war institutions. Such as the Bretton Woods conference in July 1944, which designed the post war monetary system. That was a clear evidence that by that time victory was considered almost inevitable.
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