What If – In the aftermath of the First World War the Australian people having lost so many of their sons, husbands and brothers in foreign wars and through them the Australian political parties decide to take a more self-reliant approach to defence and foreign affairs.
Instead of relying on mother England for protection the future Australian governments set in place a policy of building Australia’s armed forces to a level in which Australia would in the decades to come become a power in South East Asia.
1919: After the great Spanish flu pandemic the Australian government starts its long-term plan to be more self reliant in defence and foreign affairs.
This involves encouraging mass migration to Australia. The incentive is land. Every skilled migrant or migrant family will be entitled to a ¼ acre land grant. Knowledge of the English language is not required but all must show a willingness to learn.
The second part of the plan is to encourage foreign business to start subsidiaries in Australia. To provide incentives for this the Australian government offers free land for the industries to build on as well as lowering taxation and removing all export licences and tariffs. One of the main selling points to the foreign business is Australia’s abundant natural resources and the government’s willingness to assist any firm in their exploitation.
During the negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles the Australian government states that that it would accept non-monetary payment from the central powers in the form industrial development as long as the Australian government held a minimum 25% propriety holding in any industrial concern that sets up an Australian subsidiary.
1920: The Australian citizenship act is passed by the government and signed into law by the Governor General. Australians are now citizens in their own right not mere subjects of the British Empire. In other changes referendums are passed so the constitution gains a bill of rights and that both houses of parliament must approved a declaration of war petitioned by the Prime Minister.
1921: In the two years since it’s inception Australia’s new emigration policy has been a massive success. Over 250,000 white Europeans a year have migrated to Australia (there is unspoken bias towards white migrants). Of these migrants most are from Germany Austria, Ireland, Wales and North England. On arrival some find jobs in the flourishing mining industry with Ballarat and Bendigo leading the way reopening the gold mines closed during the war and using the newly arrived skilled labor to open new ones.
The rest find temporary work in the construction sector building houses and factories for the arriving migrants and foreign businesses until they can find work in their own fields.
The construction industry will be an industry that relies on the new migrant workers, as there will be a high demand for housing for years to come.
The new workers will be instrumental in the construction of housing and all the infrastructure projects that are required for Australia’s booming population.
Overseas industrial and mining firms always looking for new opportunities start opening Australian subsidiaries. The major companies to take advantage of the Australian government’s offer are Mercedes-Benz, Krupp heavy industries, Blohn and Voss shipwrights, Harland and Wolf shipwrights, Fokker Aircraft company (with Anthony Fokker in residence) and Anaconda. The reason for the preponderance of German Industry setting up subsidiaries is an attempt to avoid restrictions associated with the Treaty of Versailles. These companies based in the countries of the former central powers have also brought many skilled personnel with them to assist and run their new Australian subsidiaries.
To encourage the shipwrights to come to Australia the Australian Government commissioned the construction of six destroyers with the indication of more contracts to follow.
Mercedes-Benz, Krupp heavy industries and Blohn and Voss Shipwrights set up in Melbourne while the Fokker Aircraft company sets up in Geelong. Harland and Wolf shipwrights set up in Sydney along with Anaconda.
The new migrants tend to follow each other with most of the German, Austrian and Dutch settling in Melbourne and Adelaide while the Irish and those from northern England go to the various mining centres around the country.
1922: The RAAF is now using the Fokker D-VII as the mainstay of the airforce using the parts Anthony Fokker brought with him from his German factory. In total the RAAF has 120 D-VII’s with an additional 400 engines that will be used when more airframes are produced.
Along with his airforce contracts Anthony Fokker continues the design for the Fokker F.7 trimotor which would enter production in the next two years.
The Australian governments post war policies are staring to pay dividends with the Fokker Aircraft company selling aircraft to the US Army Air Corps. Mercedes-Benz and Ford motor companies are supplying all Australia’s motorised transport needs while Krupp is starting to produce heavy mining equipment and train engines.
In the resources sector Australia has become the second largest gold producer in the world second only to South Africa with exports of iron and other metals increasing rapidly. The only concern to the government is the main purchaser of these metals is Japan the one country that poses the greatest security threat to Australia. However business is business and if Australia is to continue to grow and get stronger it needs a vibrant economy.
1923: The Washington naval treaty is signed into effect by the United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan. There is one notable exception; Australia withdrew from the treaty when advised that their naval allocation would be included in that of the British Empire. On leaving, Senator the Right Honourable George Foster Pearce, Minister for Home and Territories stated that Australia would not be totally reliant on a foreign power even a friendly former colonial one for it’s sole defence.
1924: The main event of this year is the launching of the first of the new RAN destroyers the HMAS Seaspray. Although nominally a destroyer and designed for this role with a displacement of 3500 tons its main armament is that of a light cruiser with eight six inch guns and a crew of 400. On the international scene Australia and the Netherlands enter into an agreement that Australia will supply repair and replenishment services to the Dutch units deployed in south east Asia in exchange for preferential prices for Dutch oil shipments to Australia.
1925: Having seen the success of the Seaspray class destroyers the Australian government commissions six more. At the same time is asks its contractors to design a heavy cruiser for consideration of the RAN with the view of possible future construction.
The shipyards in Australia are booming with orders from a number of Australian shipping companies who need large merchant ships to transport the manufactured goods and resources to their various markets.
With the RAN looking to the future it places an order for two state of the art O class submarines with Britain with the option to license build more if desired.
The Australian economy is now in transition no longer dependent on primary industry.
Resources as its prime exporter have replaced farming with manufacturing coming third but growing rapidly.
With the growth in Adelaide and the service agreement with the Netherlands the Australian government commissions the construction of a new naval base as well as a north - south railway linking Darwin to Adelaide. To avoid difficulties relating to different gauges of track being used in each state the Australian government introduces the Standard gauge railway act. This act compels the states to build railways using the standard gauge. To stop any grumbles from the states the Federal government subsidises the conversion of all existing tracks. On hearing of these new plans Anaconda asks for permission to build a rail spur from their Mount Isa joint venture with BHP to the new railway. Without much thought by the government permission is granted.
The Army under General Monash is agitating for a bigger cut of the defence cake as it has been left behind in the last few years in favour of the RAN and RAAF.
With the growth of population, the need to develop more resources in particular water becomes a large concern. The Australian government commits itself to the development of four large hydroelectric dam projects. The first started is the Snowy River scheme between NSW and Victoria with others to follow in WA and Queensland as their population grows.
1926: The Minister for defence in an attempt to stop the discord in the army over the increased funding for the RAN and RAAF asks General Monash to develop a force structure for the RAA that would allow it to meet the requirements of protecting Australia from external aggression. The defence minister throws the army a bone by advising General Monash that the Australian Military Industries program have been approved and a government backed privately owned Australian armaments industry will start producing arms for both domestic and foreign needs.
Australia’s population has grown to ten million. Most of the growth has been in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. In the last year a new source of migrants have started to arrive. Italians trying to escape fascism have started arriving in large numbers and settling in Queensland where they start many market gardens and farms to produce food for Australia’s growing population.
The initial designs for the RAN’s heavy cruiser have been received and reviewed by the RAN. In the end the RAN asks both Blohn and Voss and Harland and Wolf shipwrights to get together and submit a joint design using the best of both designs.
In the resource sector Anaconda has just discovered what they believe to be the largest bauxite deposit in the world and quickly get permission to exploit this discovery. More large gold deposits have been discovered in Queensland and Western Australia closing the gap between Australia and South Africa in terms of production.
The naval program is stretching the Australian government’s finances but the increased tax base caused by the massed migration has enabled the program to continue.
The bright side of the equation for Australia is a massive increase in its gold and silver reserves. Overseas banks and institutions knowing of this growing reserve are lending money to Australia on very favourable terms.
1927: The design for the RAN’s ten new heavy cruisers has been agreed to and initial construction will start on these powerful ships shortly. The design is a combination of the conservative RN standards with the use of German technical proficiency. The class will displace 32000 tons have a length of 800 feet with a beam of 81 feet and a draft of 31 feet. They will be armed with 8 x 12inch main guns in four turrets fore and aft, secondary 10 x 6inch guns with 8 x 533mm torpedo tubes and two aircraft. Anti aircraft defences consist of 10 x 40mm and 20 x 20mm cannons. The ship has a peacetime crew of 800. Their construction will us the new technique of electric arc welding with the ships being powered by four shaft geared steam turbines run by eight oil fuelled boilers with a maximum speed of 35 knots. These ships will be expensive yet the cost must be accepted if Australia is to grow strong.
In other developments Australia’s population continues to grow while exports to Asia and particularly Japan continue to grow.
On the industrial side an aluminium smelter has started construction in Geelong while the Fokker Aircraft Company continues to sell large numbers of its trimotor. Anthony Fokker has turned his mind to other projects including an all-metal transport / bomber plane and a mono wing scout / fighter aircraft.
1928: The United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan object to the Australian government about the building of the new heavy cruisers. In response the Australian Prime Minister Stanley Bruce advises them that as Australia is an independent country and they saw fit not to allocate Australia it’s own ship tonnage at the Washington Treaty summit Australia cannot be obliged to uphold a treaty that it did not sign. Even though this statement causes a cooling of relations between the governments in question it does not stop these governments purchasing the cheap primary goods and resources Australia has for offer.
After much delay the RAN finally take possession of its new O class submarines which are then named the Oxley and Otway. The Oxley is commanded by Lt. Cdr Frank Edmond Getting while Lt. Cdr N H Shaw commands the Otway.
On the domestic scene General Monash has developed a force structure for the RAA that would allow it to protect Australia. The Australian Defence plan calls for a mobile Australian Army using vehicles capable of traversing all types of terrain with either towed or self propelled artillery and spotter planes to advise field commanders where any potential enemy might be.
The Defence minister calls on business operating in Australia to make submissions on the possible supply of vehicles that meet the operating criteria.
On receiving this proposal the Australian manager of General Motors asks permission to enter into a merger with Holden motor body builders in an attempt to get the inside running by claiming to be an Australian company not merely an overseas subsidiary of a foreign firm.
Anthony Fokker holds a high level meeting with Rolls - Royce at the end of the meeting both companies agree to set up a joint venture aircraft engine company using the best engine designs both companies produce.
1929: The Finance minister seeing the gathering storm clouds caused by the stock the stock market crash issues a statement to the stock exchange. In the statement he announces that any company or business that the government deems to be in the national interest will have all their loans paid off by the Australian government in exchange for an equity interest in the firms in question equal in value to the loans repaid.
The Fokker Aircraft Company shows the RAAF and the RAA it’s new mono wing spotter plane. Both organisations are interested in new aircraft but are concerned about lack of performance and endurance. After several weeks of discussions both organisations order 30 aircraft for training purposes while Fokker improves the design.
The export of resources has slowed as the world economy goes into a deep recession over the stock market crash. In order to keep the mines, business and the people employed, the Australian Government enacts a policy of the Australian National Reserve. What this policy entails is that the mining industry can continue production of resources at the current levels and whatever resources are not used or sold will be purchased by the government and stored as part of the Strategic Resource Defence Reserve.
The merger of General Motors Australia and Holden has been completed and the new company GMH demonstrates a robust truck that might meet the army’s requirements. The army buys ten of these vehicles to test them while stating that any further purchases will be dependant on GMH’s ability to completely manufacture the vehicles in Australia.
1930: Australia’s population has now reached 12 million with more people of Europe migrating to escape the effects of the depression that is gripping the world.
Australia has escaped the worst effects of the Great Depression by encouraging business to be more conservative with their finances. As a number of banks have failed in Australia, the Australian government had the Commonwealth Bank purchase the secured loans of these institutions to prevent an avalanche of mortgage foreclosures.
In business circles the Australian government has taken significant equity interests in most of the foreign companies that set up subsidiaries in the last decade though the companies continue to be run by their existing management teams.
What was surprising for the government is that the Strategic Resource Defence Reserve although activated has purchased only small quantities of resources as Japan for some unknown reason has decided to increase imports of Australian resources at the expense of the USA.
The first of the RANs’ heavy cruisers has been launched HMAS Sydney when finished fitting out will join HMAS Australia as the nucleus of Australia’s naval fleet. To encourage the shipwrights to continue investing in Australia, the Australian government commissions five further heavy cruisers and a further five destroyers.
The RAN also gains permission to build five locally produced O class submarines.
BHP seeing the need for more control over the delivery of its resources commission a number of bulk carriers to transport these minerals to it’s clients.
1931: BHP in partnership with Royal Dutch Shell discovers the Bass Strait oil fields.
After lengthy discussions between the government and BHP / Royal Dutch Shell ownership of the oil belongs to the government with the consortium being paid 3% of the income from the fields to develop and manage the find.
The Fokker Aircraft Company in cooperation with Rolls – Royce have developed a new aircraft. The new all metal fighter / Spotter plane makes use of the new Rolls-Royce Merlin engine using conventional aviation gasoline. Designed as an all purposes airframe the Fokker FA-1 will be capable of ground attack as well as fighter duties. Both the army and airforce are very impressed and order five each to test.
In foreign developments Japan invades Manchuria in China. All the countries of the world object to the invasion but other than that do nothing.
New Zealand is suffering badly from the depression and they approach Australia for assistance as Great Britain has already refused due to their own problems. The negotiations take months yet by November both countries have enacted laws creating the ANZEZ (Australia New Zealand Economic Zone) alliance. The basis for this agreement is for total free trade between the two countries with no tariffs or limits on the amount of goods the can be traded between the two countries. There is one problem for New Zealand however, Australia insisted on the metric system of measurements and a joint currency based on the current value of the Australian Pound. New Zealand knowing that Australia would walk on the agreement if it refused accepts both proposals. So as of the 1 January 1932 the Shell will become the standard currency between the two states. The Shell will be based on the decimal system with one Shell equalling 100 grains. The short-term effect on New Zealand will be severe, as many people will lose up to 50% of their savings. On the bright side is that there will be no restrictions on New Zealanders working and living in Australia and the New Zealand banks won’t have to convert currency between the two neighbours. The metric system will be the standard used however both countries will have a phase in time where both the old and new measurement systems will be displayed on all goods and services.
1932: The new currency for Australia and New Zealand have been well received especially by the migrants of Australia who had difficulty with the old monetary system.
The metric system caused confusion in both countries for the existing citizens this was however alleviated in Australia by the fact the new migrants now outnumber native born Australians.
The population in Australia continues to grow and has now reached 13 million thanks to a flood of unemployed Europeans caused by the depression over the last two years.
Concerned by the actions of Japan the Australian government signs a deal with Mercedes - Benz and GMH to build six hundred motorised fighting vehicles. At the same time Krupp is commissioned to build 300 pieces of towed 8 inch or 203-millimetre artillery.
The Army is instructed to begin National Service of all male eighteen-year-old citizens. This national service will last for two years or if Australia gets involved in a war until its end.
1933; The naval base in Darwin is complete and has been acting as a supply base for the Dutch. With growing concerns about Japanese intentions in the Asia-Pacific rim the Australian government starts construction on a major airforce base on the other side of Darwin close to where the newly completed north – south railway runs.
At the same time the RAAF gets permission to begin production of the Fokker FA-1. The initial contract is for 300 aircraft.
The RAN thinking that it is better to be hung for a sheep than a lamb asks for and gets permission to build a further 5 heavy cruisers, ten destroyers and 15 O class submarines.
This massive build up will wipe out the entire Australian trade surplus plus most of its gold reserve. Concerned on the effect this will have on the economy the Prime Minister instructs the Foreign Affairs Minister to approached all the world’s governments to try to open new or enhance existing trade agreements.
On the International scene the NAZI party of Germany wins the election and Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany.
In the USA Roosevelt has just got his new deal passed and hopes this will help bring America out of the depression.
England while unhappy with Australia over its refusal to act like a good little dominion is looking to increase it’s own fleet and is considering getting Australia to build some ships while claiming that the ships are not in fact theirs until after the Washington Treaty expires.
1934: The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister has spent the last year travelling from country to country negotiating new or improved trade agreements.
The English have asked Australia to build several battleships under the table for them.
The Germans having heard from their Australian relatives what England has done, does the same. All these ships will be built at the naval yards in Perth well way from the prying eyes of the US and Japanese embassies on the East Coast.
America declined the invitation for increased trade.
Italy needing greater access to resources for their military build up also signs a large comprehensive trade agreement with Australia.
Japan on hearing the proposal jumped at the opportunity and doubled their imports asking also to purchase some of the robust trucks that the RAA has started using.
The Kuomintang government of Chiang Kaishek, having also noted the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and even more concerned than Australia about the Japanese intentions. They sign a massive trade deal with Australia. This deal is very valuable to Australia as it enables them to off load all their old Fokker D-VII as well as selling thousands of weapons, explosives and other materials needed to fight a war.
1935: The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister finally back in Australia is pleased with the outcome of overseas trip. Australia has signed secret deals with both German and England to build battleships for them. Because of the nature of the deals payments were made up front and were more expensive than if they had built them themselves. On the plus side both countries has complete deniablity of have broken treaties to which they were signatories. Japan is not so happy, their country is getting the resources they need yet they have protested most strongly to Australia about the trade agreement with Kuomintang government stating that Australia is arming potential enemies of the empire.
The Kuomintang government on the other hand is happy as Larry after having found a country with which they can purchase anything they desire as long as they have the money to pay for it.
A new wave of migrants is poring into Australia. The Jews of Germany and Europe seeing the growth of anti-Semitism are migrating in large numbers taking everything they can carry. This is seen, as a double boom for Australia as not only does Australia’s population increase but these migrants also bring with them a large skill base as well as a large portion of their wealth. The Jewish migrants seeing that most of the other European migrants have settled on the East coast decide that they will form their own communities in the west starting in Perth from where they see the opportunity to expand into the vast empty veldts of Western Australia.
The new Jewish migrants are amazed by the friendly reception they receive. In the past when they had moved to a new country they were either met with open hostility or at best total indifference. They quickly went about setting up their homes and businesses thinking what a lovely friendly place Australia is. After awhile they realise this is not an act and Australians really are a tolerant and friendly people. When they realise this they quickly write to their friends and relatives in Europe and around the world advising them of this wonderful place and advising them to migrate at once. The Jewish community leaders on hearing that some to their brethren can not afford to migrate set up an entirely self funded Jewish migration fund to help the poorer members of their belief migrate to this land of opportunity.
1936: The Australian population has reached 15 million thanks mostly to the influx of Jewish migrants.
The Finance Minister breathes a sigh of relief. Australia’s massive defence spending over the last fifteen years and especially the last five had threatened to destroy Australia’s economy. Only through the grace of God, the spending of Australia’s entire gold reserve, the Machiavellian trades treaties and the massive European migration has allowed him to keep Australia’s economy intact. As he sits in his office he ponders how best to exploit the situation in Europe.
The depression is slowly fading across the world as production increased. This increase can be contributed to the large-scale military build up of Germany, Japan and other nations with territorial ambitions.
Australia has received enormous benefits from their drive for territory supplying everything from trucks and paper to weapons and rubber. Every country on Earth now knows that all they need is money and with this money Australia will supply whatever you need as long as they can produce it.
In Europe, the European leaders issue an objection to Australia’s migration policy claiming Australia is bribing away large numbers of skilled workers. Together they issue a statement to the world saying they are all enacting the new Australian migration law which makes it illegal for any migrant leaving for Australia to take their possessions with them. The only European country not to enact this specific type of law is Germany, which is already confiscating Jewish property and is only too happy to see them leave.
Germany looking to make the best use of Australia’s German population commissions Australia to build a further three battleships for Germany. Along with this deal Germany also starts importing large quantities of raw materials that Germany has had difficulties acquiring in the past.
In Asia, both Japan and the Kuomintang government continue to purchase large quantities to weapons, material and equipment. It becomes obvious to most of the world that both sides are preparing for war.
The foreign firms that originally set up in Australia are sitting pretty with some of their Australian operations making more profits then their parent companies.
1937: In a move that surprises no one Japan launches a massive assault on the Chinese Kuomintang government.
The USA, USSR, France and the British Empire condemn the Japanese attack. After consulting with these countries the USA places a total trade embargo on Japan.
Although Japan makes some impressive gains losses are high as the Kuomintang armed forces make good use to their newly purchased motorised fighting vehicles and mobile artillery to make the Japanese invaders pay a heavy price for every inch of territory they gain.
Australia is approached by the Japanese who then demand that Australia stops selling arms and equipment to what they refer to as rebel bandits. When Australia refuses the Japanese ambassador starts to threaten the existing trade agreement but stops himself before he utters a word. He realises that with the trade embargo against Japan, Australia might be the only country that is willing to supply the resources to keep Japans war machine going as well as the oil that the IJN will need to protect the home islands.
In Europe the anti-Australian immigration laws has slowed migration to Australia. In order to bypass the financial penalties relating to these laws Swiss banks have started acting as agents for the migrants taking possession of their wealth as a fund manager. The genius of this plan is that people can migrate and claim to have no disposable assets. When in fact, they are actually a member of a managed fund, which comprises of the assets of anybody who chose to transfer their assets to any of the Swiss banks who manage these schemes. The Swiss banks as fund managers charge entry and exit fees as well as annual account keeping fees.
In Australia migration has slowed but by no means stopped as the poorer people who don’t have much to lose migrate while the richer ones enter the various schemes allowing them to hide their assets.
With a war waging in China and dark clouds of aggression gathering in Europe the Australian government orders more military equipment. The RAN get a further 10 more heavy cruisers and 15 O class submarines. The RAAF get a further 300 FA-1 fighters and 90 of the new Fokker B-1 Bombers. The Army gets a further 300 modified MFV these new vehicles will be of half track configuration allowing better access to the desert regions of Australia.
1938: The Japanese ambassador is screaming at the Australian Prime Minister, Joseph Lyons about the increased cost of Australian resources and oil. After he has finished his tirade the Australian Prime Minister asks if he has anything else he wishes to say. The Japanese ambassador states this is blackmail and the Japanese Empire will not pay these prices. On hearing this the Australian Prime Minister says that if this is what the Japanese government wishes so be it. He pauses for effect and then continues by saying if the Japanese don’t want to purchase these resources I’m sure there are other governments who would. Hearing this the Japanese ambassador knowing that his country has no other supplier says that Japan will purchase the resources it will however object and will continue to object to the large cost increases over the last two years. With this said the Japanese ambassador storms out of the Prime Ministers office.
The Australian Finance Minister is looking over Australia’s finances. These finances though not healthy is in better shape than expected this due in no small measure to embargos placed on Japan and to a lesser extent Germany. Still the minister is concerned Australia’s massive naval program along with the other defence programs has stretched the economy to breaking point. He ponders this for a moment and realises that it is only through the exploitation of Australia’s vast natural resources that has kept the Australian trade figures in the black.
In foreign developments the Japanese – Soviet border disputes has developed into a low intensity proxy war with daily artillery bombardments combined with cross border incursions by vassal forces.
In Europe the military build up by all the power blocks has accelerated with these countries chasing resources to fuel their war production.
1939: This was a year of conflict as the great European powers once again went to war for the second time in twenty years.
For most of the year Australia continued its policy of selling manufactured goods and raw materials to anybody who could afford to pay. As the conflicts in Asia and Europe intensified demand for Australian goods and supplies grew to the extent that other countries were in fact paying for Australia’s military build up.
When Germany invaded Poland and Britain and France declared war on Germany the Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies introduced a bill into parliament demanding that Australia support the mother country and declare war on Germany as well.
The debate of the German war bill lasted for several weeks much to consternation of Menzies and the ruling United Australia Party. When the vote finally came, the bill failed passage by 23 votes. In a statement the next day Robert Menzies resigned as Prime Minister stating that if parliament has no trust in his leadership then he in good conscience can’t continue to hold office.
After several hours of behind the scene negotiations between the UAP, Country and Labor parties a government of national unity is formed with Earle Page, Country Party as Prime Minister and John Curtin as his deputy.
While the war waged in Europe and Asia, Australian ships continued to ply the seas trading goods and resources in exchange for technology and other items of value. None of the waring powers attacked these ships as supplies vital to both are carried on the same ships.
With Australia neutral yet containing large numbers of migrants from the belligerent countries the governments of these countries court Australia trying to draw it into their spheres of influence. Although not successful these countries continue to maintain excellent relations and have ordered their forces not to engage any Australian vessels and thus endanger a valuable source of resources.
On the domestic front Australia is struggling with an influx of migrants from Europe who fled their countries as the dark clouds of conflict raced across Europe. Australia’s population is now 19 million with over one and a half million mostly Jewish migrants arriving in the last year alone.
The outbreak of war has increased the need for national defence with naval construction already a high priority the air force benefits greatly with the Australian government ordering a further 30 B-1 bombers and 600 Fokker FA-2 fighter-bombers. These aircraft have nearly twice the range of the FA-1 but more importantly they are able to use air dropped torpedoes the design of which was part of a trade agreement with Japan.
The Australian government realising that Australia can only be attacked by air and naval forces start a program to upgrade all the FA-1’s and the early production models of the B-1 bomber to enable them to use air dropped torpedoes.
Over the last five years Australia has had a cooperative exchange program for military technology running with all their trading partners. Although Australia has chosen not to use most of the technology due to the cost of development, the technical plans were used to improve the basic designs of Australia’s homegrown equipment.
1940: The war in Europe has taken a turn for the worst with Germany invading the Low Countries to out manoeuvre the Anglo-French forces in Belgium and France.
By the middle of the year Germany will have conquered France, Belgium and the Low Countries. The war on the continent is effectively over with only air and to a lesser extent naval battles between the UK and Germany. With most of their ground forces freed from combat Germany starts a military build up on the Soviet border.
In a move that surprises the world Australia with the blessing to the Dutch government takes control of the Dutch East Indies. Australia will administer these Dutch possessions until their status can be determined after the European war.
In order to prevent any power just walking in and over running the DEI Australia bases a cruiser squadron and ten FA-2 fighter squadrons to protect the Dutch interests.
Of the major powers only the Americans and Germans object to Australia’s actions with the Germans acknowledging the later determination of these territories status is not unreasonable. In private the German Ambassador expresses his governments displeasure with Australia’s action but with the war continuing in Europe and Germany’s increasing need for raw materials no further action is taken.
Japan is similarly surprised by Australia’s actions, their Ambassador however agrees to publicly support Australia if Japan gets a preferential deal for the purchase of oil from the DEI and the Bass Strait fields.
Captain F E Getting of the HMAS Canberra, while escorting Australian merchant ships through the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea notices the effectiveness of German and Japanese submarines. After some thought he writes a paper on the effectiveness of sea denial by submarines in Co-operation with surface units and aircraft. This naval paper is forwarded to the naval command through the usual channels. Captain Getting then returns to his duties as captain of the Canberra.
In other surprising developments the Japanese and the Kuomintang government of China agree to a cessation of hostilities. The terms of peace are the ceding of all of northern China to the Japanese by the Kuomintang government. In exchange for this territory and the end of hostilities Japan must assist the Kuomintang government in eradicating the communist insurgents in both Northern and Southern China.
With the war in China an inequitable draw both the Japanese and Kuomintang governments start a massive rearmament program to replace the equipment lost during the three-year war. The Kuomintang government asks Australian manufacturers to build them large numbers of mobile anti-tank artillery based on the German 88mm guns currently seeing service in Europe. They also purchase replacement motorised fighting vehicles, artillery and aircraft.
In the North of China the small scale Japanese – Soviet border war has taken on a life of it’s own with both side taking more direct action instead of through their proxy forces. Both sides continue their military build ups and it is considered only a matter of time before one or the other invade.
In Germany on December 8th the German Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler while being briefed on the preparations for the attack on the Soviet Union suddenly slumps forward and falls across the table. By the time medical assistance arrives the Fuhrer has died from the results of a massive stroke. The political manoeuvres that follow sees Rudolf Hess become Fuhrer with Reinhard Heydrich promoted to Reich Minister and deputy Fuhrer.
The Egyptian campaign has been a disaster for Great Britain and her allies. With the loss of so much equipment in France, the British army had to lay the burden of defence for Egypt on the shoulders of the colonies. Responding to the call to arms New Zealand sent five divisions to Egypt to help in the defence of the Suez Canal. The New Zealand army corps along with two English brigades and several divisions from South Africa and India is all the forces deployed to protect Egypt. The forces were deployed along the coastal road in such a fashion as to deny easy passage to the numerically superior Italian forces. What the allied forces didn’t take into account was the lack of allied naval forces in the Mediterranean. This was brought about by the need of the Royal Navy to scatter across the Atlantic searching for the powerful German battleships raiding convoys and attacking smaller naval vessels. On top of this threat was the u-boats acting in concert with the battleships. The threats posed by these German naval forces forced Great Britain to recall the Mediterranean squadron to combat the Germans in the Atlantic.
The Italian declaration of war came as a nasty surprise to the British who suddenly found themselves with more tasks for the navy than ships available. When advised of the situation Churchill made a calculated decision to allow the colonial forces to defend Egypt without naval support. This led to a situation where Italian navy and airforce backed by the Luftwaffe were able to smash the dug in colonial forces while the Italian army was able to advance with little direct opposition. When the battle at Tobruk was finished the allied forces had been routed with the New Zealand army corps virtually destroyed and the other allied units so badly mauled that they didn’t stop running until they reached reinforcements at Alexandria. The only thing that stopped the Italian army from conquering all of Egypt was their misguided belief that they were being led into a massive defensive belt and the forces that they had crushed had been left behind to buy time for the defences to be completed.
We satisfy our endless needs
And justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny
And in the name of God
Last edited by Othniel; March 18th, 2006 at 03:10 PM..