1930s British Sanity Options (Economy, Navy, Airforce and Army)

If the destroyer leader even had enough fuel to intercept Kormoran, she would’ve sunk sooner simply because she is a destroyer, and destroyers have a history of being hit by 6” shells and being crippled, whereas Sydney managed to fire several half salvoes and crippled Kormoran, as well as taking a little while to sink, albeit with no survivors. A torpedoed destroyer likely goes down in about half the time.
Destroyers and other ships only come into their own post-war when Replenshment Underway at Sea (RAS) becomes a thing, it was pretty much a US development which was adopted by NATO. RAS allows ships that would otherwise have to head to port to refuel to remain at sea for extended periods.
 
If the destroyer leader even had enough fuel to intercept Kormoran, she would’ve sunk sooner simply because she is a destroyer, and destroyers have a history of being hit by 6” shells and being crippled, whereas Sydney managed to fire several half salvoes and crippled Kormoran, as well as taking a little while to sink, albeit with no survivors. A torpedoed destroyer likely goes down in about half the time.
Plus, with a main armament of at best eight 5.1 in guns in shields rather than eight 6in guns in turrets (with thicker armour than the shields) the super destroyer will not be able to hit Kormaran back as hard as Sydney was able to.

Having written that the 4.7in guns on the Lightning class were more powerful than the ones in earlier destroyers and mounted in turrets precisely because the Royal Navy was short of trade protection cruisers. IIRC the Admiralty did think of arming them with six 5.25" guns in three twin turrets. However, there weren't any tonnage quotas when they were built which meant the Admiralty was free to build as many destroyers as it wanted subject to financial limitations.
 
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Aircraft Carriers
1929-35 IOTL


In 1924 the plan was to scrap Argus, Eagle, Hermes and Vindictive and the tonnage released would be used to build four 17,000 ton ships that would be completed by 1938 when the aircraft carrier force would consist of Courageous, Furious, Glorious and the four 17,000 ton ships. However, the two ships that should have been laid down by the Wall Street Crash weren't built. The ship that should have been ordered in the 1931-32 Estimates for completion in 1935 wasn't built either. The only ship that was laid down was Ark Royal, which was ordered in the 1934-35 Estimates, laid down in 1935 and completed in 1938.

At the same time the American and Japanese governments allowed their navies to build up to treaty limits by 1940. The Imperial Japanese Navy had the 81,000 tons of aircraft carriers that were permitted by the Washington Treaty by 1939 and the five ships (Akagi, Kaga, Ryujo, Soryu and Hiryu) were much larger than their official standard displacements. The United States Navy had 120,000 tons of modern aircraft carriers (Lexington, Saratoga, Wasp, Yorktown and Enterprise) by 1938 and the 135,000 tons permitted by the Washington Treaty and American Law (the Vinson-Trammell Act of 1934) was reached in 1940 when Wasp was completed.

IOTL HM Government didn't try to make up the lost time until the middle of the 1930s when the plan was changed to 14 aircraft carriers by the middle of the 1940s consisting of ten 23,000 ton ships, Ark Royal and the Three Follies. However, they were only able to build six of the ten 23,000 ton ships by the end of 1944.

1929-35 ITTL

The OTL plan in the first half of 1930s was to build five 22,000 ton ships accommodating 72 aircraft each for a grand total of 360 aircraft. At that time the Admiralty wanted the aircraft carrier quota reduced to 110,000 tons in the treaty that would replace the 1930 Treaty and 360 was the number of aeroplanes that the Admiralty wanted for the fleet. However, there would be enough tonnage left for a sixth 22,000 ton ship should the next treaty retain the 135,000 ton quota.

ITTL Cabinet approved the Admiralty's request for six 22,500 ton ships to be laid down 1932-37 and completed 1935-40. They would be built at the rate of one per year to replace the existing aircraft carriers and build up to the Washington Treaty's limits. The sixth ship was a spare to cover refits which would be in reserve in peacetime without an air group.

The four ships laid down 1932-35 were modified Ark Royals. The main modification was that they had conventional single-deck lifts instead of the double-deck lifts of OTL.

1935-45 IOTL

In both timelines the Admiralty preferred multi-role aircraft because it allowed greater tactical flexibility (if that's the right expression) and because it reduced the number of aircraft that were required, which was cheaper in itself and meant that fewer aircraft carriers were needed to accommodate them. IOTL the introduction of the torpedo-spotter-reconnaissance aircraft in the middle of the 1930s reduced the requirement for fleet aircraft from 360 to 300.

This reduction in the number of fleet aircraft requirement coincided with the abolition of the tonnage quotas under the 1935 London Naval Treaty and Rearmament. Therefore, the Admiralty could accommodate the 300 aircraft in a larger number of ships. Ark Royal was now rated as a 48 aircraft ship and the 252 remaining aircraft would be accommodated in seven 23,000 ton ships at 36 aircraft per ship for a total of eight fleet carriers.

The Admiralty had wanted some aircraft carriers for trade protection for years and the 1924 Plan included some ships displacing 10,000 tons whose numbers weren't limited by the Washington Treaty. However, these aircraft carriers weren't intended to escort North Atlantic convoys like the escort carriers that were eventually acquired IOTL. Instead they were to help the cruiser squadrons find and destroy surface raiders link the German panzerschiffen. As a result they had to carry enough TSRs to keep an adequate reconnaissance force airborne at all times and form a strike force capable of sinking a panzerschiffe. A series of sketch designs for ships displacing 13,500 to 17,600 tons carrying 18 aircraft was produced, but they weren't considered satisfactory and their estimated cost was £3 million, while a satisfactory 23,000 ton ship of the Illustrious class had an estimated cost of £4 million. Therefore, the 14,700 trade protection carrier carrying 18 aircraft in the 1936-37 Estimates was replaced by a 23,000 ton fleet carrier carrying 36 aircraft, that is HMS Victorious.

The requirement was for 5 trade protection ships. That is one to work with the four cruiser squadrons on the North America & West Indies, South Atlantic, East Indies and China stations plus one spare to cover refits. This produced a total requirement for 14 aircraft carriers in 1935 consisting of 8 fleet carriers, 5 trade protection ships and a training carrier. As already explained these would consist of ten 23,000 ships, Ark Royal, Courageous, Furious and Glorious by the middle of the 1940s. However, the three old aircraft carriers would be maintained in reserve without aircraft. The ten 23,000 ton ships would be ordered at the rate of two per year in the 1936-37 to 1940-41 Estimates.

Unfortunately, the 1935 London Naval Treaty included a clause which said that ships had to be laid down at least one year after their construction was announced. As a result the two ships in the 1936-37 Estimates (Illustrious and Victorious) couldn't be laid down until the middle of 1937. Rearmament created demand pull inflation and a balance of payments deficit. This forced HM Government to "ration" the number of ships ordered in the 1938-39 and 1939-40 Estimates with the result two aircraft carriers were ordered in these financial years (Implacable and Indefatigable) instead of the planned four. The outbreak of World War II meant the ships required to complete the 1935 Plan couldn't be laid down until the second half of the war because fighting the Battle of the Atlantic had greater priority and the shipyards were full of convoy escorts and replacement merchant vessels. The 3 Audacious class ships laid down 1942-44 were effectively, the seventh, eighth and ninth 23,000 ships in the 1935 Plan.

Ark Royal was built in 3 years and that was the planned building time for the Illustrious class. However, neglect of the Royal Navy between 1919 and the middle of the 1930s meant produced a naval armaments industry that couldn't cope with the sudden increase in demand. Matters were made worse by the outbreak of World War II. The construction of warships for the fleet like aircraft carriers were delayed by the ASW mobilisation, the invasion crisis, the expansion of the convoy system made necessary by the Fall of France, building more merchant ships to replace the higher losses, amphibious shipping and finally the fleet train that supported the British Pacific Fleet. The only ship that was completed close to schedule was Illustrious herself. Formidable was built in 3½ years. Indomitable and Victorious took 4 years to build. Implacable and Indefatigable were built in an average of 5 years. Eagle wasn't launched until May 1946 in spite of being laid down in October 1942 and because of Austerity wouldn't be completed until October 1951. Ark Royal was laid down in May 1943, but because of her low priority during and after the war wouldn't be launched until May 1950 and completed until February 1955 (although she would have been completed before the end of 1952 had it not been decided to fit steam catapults). The third Audacious laid down in April 1944 was only 23% complete when she was cancelled in January 1946. None of the Malta class had been laid down by the end of the war in spite of being ordered in 1943.

As already explained the Admiralty wanted the aircraft carrier quota reduced from 135,000 tons to 110,000 tons. It also wanted the maximum size of this type of ship reduced from 27,000 tons to 22,000 tons. However, the 1935 London Naval Treaty abolished the tonnage quota and only reduced the maximum size of an aircraft carrier to 23,000 tons. The Admiralty regretted this restriction and regretted it quickly. It was not long before it was decided that the Illustrious class didn't carry enough aircraft producing the Indomitable and Implacable sub-classes. The Illustrious class would have been much better ships had the limit been kept at 27,000 tons and the increase in the building cost would have been negligible in the scheme of the things because the Treasury had provided £1,500 million for rearmament 1937-42). It would also have include some unintended future proofing because it would have been easier (and therefore cheaper) to modernise the ships in the 1950s.

1935-45 ITTL

The Royal Navy of 1935 had the aircraft carriers Argus, Courageous, Eagle, Furious, Glorious and Hermes. In common with OTL Argus had been in reserve since 1928.

Under construction were four 22,500 ton modified Ark Royals that had been ordered 1931-32 to 1934-35, laid down 1932-35 and were due to be completed 1935-38. A fifth ship had been ordered in the 1935-36 Estimates and a sixth ship was planned for the 1936-37 Estimates for completion in 1940. The 1935 Carrier was to be laid down in 1936 for completion in 1939 and the 1936 Carrier was to be laid down in 1937 for completion in 1940.

The existing ships would become depot ships or be scrapped as the new ships were completed. Argus was to be converted to a depot ship for target drones (which was done IOTL). Eagle would be converted into a depot ship for the Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation (MNBDO). Hermes was to be converted into a seaplane carrier. The other ships would be scrapped.

The TTL Second London Naval treaty retained the 27,000 ton displacement limit and abolished the 135,000 ton quota. This allowed the Admiralty to plan for a force of 14 aircraft carriers by the middle of the 1940s. In common with OTL this would consist of 8 aircraft carriers working with the fleet, 5 trade protection ships and a training ship. The force would be made up of the four 22,500 ton ships under construction and ten 27,000 ton ships. Each ship was rated with a capacity of 48 aircraft. However, the peacetime strength of the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Air Force would only be 480 first-line aircraft in 40 squadrons of 12 because three of the 22,500 ton aircraft carriers would be in reserve and the fourth ship would be the training carrier.

The revised building programme was to build the 1935 and 1936 Carriers as 27,000 ton ships which would be followed by eight ships ordered at the rate of two per year in the 1937-38 to 1940-41 Estimates at the rate of two per year that would be laid down 1938-41 and completed 1941-44.

Six aircraft carriers were laid down after Ark Royal in both timelines. The TTL ships were built as follows:
  • The 1935 Carrier was named Illustrious. She was laid down in the spring of 1936 and completed in the spring of 1939. The OTL Illustrious was completed in May 1940;
  • The 1936 Carrier was named Victorious. She was laid down in the spring of 1937 and completed in the spring of 1940. The OTL Victorious was completed in May 1941.
  • The two ships ordered in the 1937-38 Estimates were named Formidable and Indomitable. IOTL they were laid down in June 1937 and November 1937 which was six months to a year earlier than normal, but the Royal Navy wasn't as short of aircraft carriers ITTL so they were laid down in the spring of 1938. In spite of these delays the ships were still completed in May and November 1941 respectively. The extra ships that were built 1930-35 ITTL meant the naval armaments industry wasn't overstretched as badly after 1935. Furthermore laying Illustrious down in 1936 and laying these ships down in 1938 reduced the over loading;
  • IOTL Implacable was ordered in the 1938-39 Estimates and Indefatigable was ordered in the 1939-40 Estimates, but ITTL both ships were ordered in the 1938-39 Estimates. Implacable was still laid down in February 1939 but Indefatigable was laid down in May 1939 instead of November 1939. The problems that existed after September 1939 IOTL also existed ITTL, so I'm going to be prudent and say that Implacable was still completed in August 1944. However, Indefatigable would be completed in November 1943 instead of May 1944 because she was laid down six months earlier;
  • Two aircraft carriers were ordered in the 1939-40 Estimates and another pair projected for 1940-41 to complete the 1935 Plan in the spring of 1944. The 1939 Carriers were to be named Audacious and Irresistible. The 1940 Carriers hadn't been given names by September 1939 but they would have probably been named Inflexible and Invincible. IOTL Indefatigable the sole 1939 Carrier was laid down in November 1939, but ITTL the pair of 1939 ships were to be laid down in the spring of 1940 and were suspended in September 1939. They weren't laid down until October 1942 and May 1943 as the OTL Eagle (ex-Audacious) and Ark Royal (ex-Irresistible). The 1940 Carriers weren't due to be ordered until the spring of 1940 and effectively became the third Audacious laid down in April 1944 and Africa the ship ordered as the fourth Audacious but re-ordered as the fourth Malta. In common with OTL none of the three ships laid down 1942-44 had been launched by September 1945 with Eagle still completed in October 1951, Ark Royal completed in February 1955 and the 1944 Eagle cancelled in January 1946.
The Situation in September 1939 IOTL

Ark Royal, Courageous, Eagle, Glorious, Furious and Hermes (six ships) were in commission. Furious was the deck landing training ship and the others were operational warships. Five aircraft carriers were under construction and a sixth was on order. I haven't counted Argus because she was serving as a depot ship for De Havilland Queen Bee target drones.

The five operational aircraft carriers had an aggregate capacity of 15 squadrons if Ark Royal was rated as a 48-aircraft ship and the Naval Aviation (which was as the Fleet Air Arm's official name form May 1939) had 15 aircraft carrier squadrons with 9-12 aircraft each for a total of 162 aircraft. However, six squadrons were embarked on Ark Royal instead of four and Courageous had two squadrons embarked instead of four.

There were also 70 seaplanes and amphibians operating form 2 seaplane carriers (Albatross and Pegasus), capital ships and cruisers.

The Situation in September 1939 ITTL

There were ten aircraft carriers consisting of one brand new 27,000-ton ship, four ships of the 22,500-ton type, Courageous, Eagle, Furious, Glorious and Hermes. Furious was the deck landing training ship and the remainder were operational warships. Five aircraft carriers were under construction. Two more were on order, but they wouldn't be laid down until 1942-43.

The 27,000 ton aircraft carrier was named Illustrious. The 22,500 ton ships were named Benbow, Emperor of India, Marlborough and Ark Royal. The 22,500 ton ships were built in that order and were known as the Benbow class.

In common with OTL Argus hasn't been counted because she had been converted into a depot ship. Her entry in the OTL edition of Jane's Fighting Ships 1939 had her in the depot ships section rather than the aircraft carriers section and that was also the case in the TTL edition.

The nine operational aircraft carriers had an aggregate capacity of 31 squadrons because the Benbow and Illustrious classes were rated as 48-aircraft ships. The TTL Naval Aviation had 366 aircraft in 31 squadrons with 9-12 aircraft each.

There would also be at least 70 aircraft assigned to the seaplane carriers, capital ships and cruisers. The number of extra aircraft depends upon the number of battleships that were fully modernised ITTL and the number of extra cruisers that were laid down between 1929 and 1936 ITTL.

The Plan in September 1939

The TTL Victorious was due to commission in the spring of 1940 and four new squadrons were to be formed by the end of March 1940 to form her air group. That would bring the total number of carrier aircraft up to 414 organised into 35 squadrons of 9-12 aircraft. Her completion would also bring the Royal Navy's aircraft carrier strength to 11 ships consisting of ten operational ships and a training carrier.

The TTL Formidable and Indomitable were due to commission in the spring of 1941. They would replace Eagle which would be converted into a depot ship for the Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation (MDBDO) and Hermes which would be converted to a training ship. Their air groups would be formed from the 3 squadrons currently aboard Eagle and Hermes and 5 new squadrons to be formed in the 1940-41 financial year. That would bring the total number to 480 aircraft in 40 squadrons of 12 because Eagle's squadrons would be increased from 9 to 12 aircraft.

The TTL Implacable and Indefatigable were planned to complete in 1942. The Royal Navy would then have 13 aircraft carriers consisting of six 27,000-ton ships, four 22,500-ton ships, Courageous, Furious and Glorious. The ten newest ships would be operational aircraft carriers, Furious would still be the training carrier, Courageous and Glorious would go into reserve. No increase in the number of Naval Aviation squadron was required because the air groups of Courageous and Glorious would transfer to Implacable and Indefatigable.

The two ships ordered in 1939 were scheduled for completion in 1943. They would take the place of Benbow and Emperor of India which would go into reserve. In common with the Implacable and Indefatigable the 1939 Carriers the new ships would take over the crews and air groups of existing ships so no increase in the number of carrier aircraft was required. The two ships to be ordered in 1940 and completed in 1944 would displace Marlborough which would go into reserve and Ark Royal which would replace Furious as the training ship.

There would be fourteen aircraft carriers consisting of ten ships of the 27,000 ton type and four of the 22,500 ton type because Courageous, Furious and Glorious were to be scrapped. The ten newest ships would be operational warships operating 48 aircraft in four squadrons of 12 aircraft. Ark Royal was in service as the training ship and the other three Benbow class would be in reserve. In wartime eight of the 14 ships would operate with the main fleets, four would operate with the cruiser squadrons on the North America, South Atlantic, East Indies and China Stations, one would be a training ship and fourteenth would be a spare.

The strength of the Naval Aviation would still be the 480 aircraft in 40 squadrons of 12 aircraft that was planned to be reached by 31st March 1941. That was enough to provide the ten operational ships with their air groups. However, the air groups for the Benbow, Emperor of India and Marlborough would not be formed until the Cabinet ordered the mobilisation of the Reserve Fleet.

Costs

The OTL Ark Royal cost £4 million and the TTL Benbow class aught to cost the same. That's an increase of £12 million spent over the seven financial years 1931-32 to 1937-38. The estimated cost of the OTL Illustrious class was £4 million per ship and the 27,000 ton version should cost no more than 25% more or £1 million per ship and a total of £6 million for the six ships that were built ITTL. That's not much more compared to what was being spent on the armed forces after 1936 IOTL. It will also help that the first ship is ordered in the 1935-36 Estimates instead of 1936-37 so the larger sum of money is spent over a greater number of financial years.

There's no increase in the operating costs of the Royal Navy until Benbow is completed in the second half of 1935. The OTL Ark Royal had a crew of 1,600 men so the four extra ships in service in September 1939 (i.e. Benbow, Emperor of India, Marlborough and TTL-Illustrious) mean that the TTL will need another 6,400 men afloat in September 1939 plus the necessary "backing" of men ashore in the maintenance and training establishments ashore. The regular Royal Navy had about 120,000 men (including about 12,000 Royal Marines) at the outbreak of World War II IOTL.

That means that the TTL personnel will approach 130,000 in September 1939, except it will be more than that because there will be more cruisers ITTL as well.
 
I'm surprised no one else mentioned this yet:
Buy the Brandt 120mm mortar:

No need to wait to develop the 4.2 inch mortar in 1941:
Good call. Adopting heavy mortars early is one of my favorite "sanity" options in 1930s for almost everyone. During the war, every army that used them called out for more, while pre war they are an existing, affordable technology that Can be rapidly adopted. A simple change that would be very valuable.
 
Good call. Adopting heavy mortars early is one of my favorite "sanity" options in 1930s for almost everyone. During the war, every army that used them called out for more, while pre war they are an existing, affordable technology that Can be rapidly adopted. A simple change that would be very valuable.
Especially considering that the Brits caught on to the infantry gun concept from fighting the Germans in 1942, but in development realized they were too expensive and more trouble than they were worth. Meanwhile the Germans increasingly abandoned the infantry gun in favor of the 120mm mortar and upgraded 81mm ones.
The thing I don't get is why no one else thought the heavier mortars were worth it besides the Soviets, Japanese (though theirs were rather ridiculous in number and lack of capability), and the aborted German 150mm mortar and never fully introduced 210mm in late 1944.
A British heavy SP 7.2-7.5 inch (since they already had those calibers for artillery) mortar would have been an excellent relatively cheap (compared to conventional artillery) bunker buster and more accurate than rockets.
 
Would it be possible to get the Dominions/Colonies to either build or order say 50 sloop over the course of the 30s. Of these say a dozen go to India, six are built in Australia for the RAN, New Zealand orders 2, Canada gets a dozen, South Africa buys 4 and the other 14 are ordered by various colonies. Also another good idea would be to get the RAN more DDs preferably modern ones.
 
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Would it be possible to get the Dominions/Colonies to either build or order say 50 sloops over the course of the 30s. Of these say a dozen go to India, six are built in Australia for the RAN, New Zealand orders 2, Canada gets a dozen, South Africa buys 4 and the other 14 are ordered by various colonies?
In a word... No!

If the Dominions hadn't cut back naval expenditure even more than the Mother Country between 1929 and the middle 1930s they wouldn't have spent the extra money on a large number of sloop type vessels.

The RAN would have kept its submarines and the six destroyers that were discarded without replacement. The RCN wanted proper warships like destroyers. The NZ Division of the Royal Navy probably did as well as it could manning two cruisers. The minuscule South African Naval Service that existed in 1929 was wound up 1933-34 and there were only three officers and three ratings in September 1939 according to Wikipaedia. That leads us to the Royal Indian Navy, which it might be possible to double, but as it had about 8 sloop type vessels in 1939 IIRC that would only increase the total to 16.

Also the number of sloop type vessels that were required didn't snowball until 1935. That is when the Germans started their U-boat programme. Off the top of my head there were 51 in 1934 against a requirement for 120 which had risen to 300 by September 1939 plus 100 ships of what became the River class.
 
This is a crude calculation, but it's the best that I can do.

Interesting. Apologies if I missed it, but what's the fiscal multiplier that you're using here? There's a substantial debate in the literature on what a reasonable number for the the period is, with very little consensus, and you're suggesting a very significant decrease in unemployment. Given the dependence of the UK economy on international trade, which significantly declined in the 1930s, it's surprising to me that unemployment in the UK during the great depression is lower than in the "roaring 20s"
 
Interesting. Apologies if I missed it, but what's the fiscal multiplier that you're using here? There's a substantial debate in the literature on what a reasonable number for the the period is, with very little consensus, and you're suggesting a very significant decrease in unemployment. Given the dependence of the UK economy on international trade, which significantly declined in the 1930s, it's surprising to me that unemployment in the UK during the great depression is lower than in the "roaring 20s"
Firstly, I'm surprised by how high the rate of unemployment was in the 1920s, but because the POD is the Wall Street Crash I can't do anything about that.

The purpose of the table was to see what the extra government revenue might be if the percentage of the workforce that was unemployed was reduced by 5% from 1931. This is because people say that that some of the extra government expenditure would be recovered through increased revenue. I wanted to get an idea of how much might be got back.

What I did was to take the revenue for the year, divide it by the percentage of the workforce that was in employment IOTL and then multiply it by the rate plus 5%. For example 1931 was:
(£851.2 million ÷ 84.9) x 89.9 = £901.6 million an increase of £50.1 million.​
 
Firstly, I'm surprised by how high the rate of unemployment was in the 1920s, but because the POD is the Wall Street Crash I can't do anything about that.

The purpose of the table was to see what the extra government revenue might be if the percentage of the workforce that was unemployed was reduced by 5% from 1931. This is because people say that that some of the extra government expenditure would be recovered through increased revenue. I wanted to get an idea of how much might be got back.

What I did was to take the revenue for the year, divide it by the percentage of the workforce that was in employment IOTL and then multiply it by the rate plus 5%. For example 1931 was:
(£851.2 million ÷ 84.9) x 89.9 = £901.6 million an increase of £50.1 million.​
Ah thanks, so there's no specific policy to reduce UK unemployment. The analysis is about what would happen if UK unemployment were lower, not how to achieve this. Makes sense now. The issue is that any UK policy that reduces UK unemployment is likely to increase UK expenditure by much more than any resulting increase in UK revenue, plus getting unemployment to 2.8% is pretty unlikely.

UK economic policy in the 1930s was actually pretty good, both in global comparison and compared to its policy in the 1920s, this is reflected in the unemployment rates.
 
UK economic policy in the 1930s was actually pretty good, both in global comparison and compared to its policy in the 1920s, this is reflected in the unemployment rates.
Not that good. Britain shouldn't have pursued austerity (this was the case IOTL until rearmament - which was the biggest job creator apart from abandoning Gold) especially after it broke away from the Gold Standard. New Deal-style infrastructure projects (accepting deficit spending) and/or earlier rearmament could have driven down unemployment further.
 
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The issue is that any UK policy that reduces UK unemployment is likely to increase UK expenditure by much more than any resulting increase in UK revenue, plus getting unemployment to 2.8% is pretty unlikely.
I agree with the first part of the sentence. I was thinking in terms of spending about £100 million a year more in the first half of the 1930s. Note that at most only half of that is spent on the armed forces and I'd prefer to limit the increase in military expenditure to £20-£25 million a year. Most of the increased expenditure pays for infrastructure projects, modernising heavy industry, expanding the motor industry and modernising the Merchant Navy.

If that does produce a £50 million a year increase in revenue the result is an increase of £300 million in the National Debt 1930-35. The OTL National Debt on 31st March 1936 was £7,900 million so an increase to £8,200 million is not excessive. That won't produce a big increase in the cost of servicing the National Debt. IOTL it went down from £369 million in the financial year 1928-29 to £224 million in 1933-34 and remained at that level until the 1937-38 financial year when it went up to £226.8 million.

£300 million is 3.8% of £7,900 million which would increase the interest on the National Debt in the 1936-37 financial year from £224 million to £232.5 million which is an increase of £8.5 million.

Though the decrease to 2.8% of the workforce unemployed is only for one year, that is 1937-38. It's up to 4.3% in 1938-39 and the decrease to 0.8% in 1939-40 is due to the mobilisation of the economy at the beginning of World War II. Furthermore, the lowest interwar rate of unemployment was 2.0% in 1920 and the second lowest was 3.4% in 1919.
 
It might also be possible to increase taxation revenue in 1921-22 was £1,124.9 million. That was the financial year before the Geddes Axe. From 1922-23 to 1935-36 it was in the range of £800 to £850 million.

Increasing taxation by £300 million a year from 1930 won't be possible politically and my guess is that it would do more harm than good economically. However, I think that Parliament and the electorate would accept an increase of £50 million and that the increase in Government spending would not be matched by a corresponding decrease in private spending.
 
I agree with the first part of the sentence. I was thinking in terms of spending about £100 million a year more in the first half of the 1930s. Note that at most only half of that is spent on the armed forces and I'd prefer to limit the increase in military expenditure to £20-£25 million a year. Most of the increased expenditure pays for infrastructure projects, modernising heavy industry, expanding the motor industry and modernising the Merchant Navy.

If that does produce a £50 million a year increase in revenue the result is an increase of £300 million in the National Debt 1930-35. The OTL National Debt on 31st March 1936 was £7,900 million so an increase to £8,200 million is not excessive. That won't produce a big increase in the cost of servicing the National Debt. IOTL it went down from £369 million in the financial year 1928-29 to £224 million in 1933-34 and remained at that level until the 1937-38 financial year when it went up to £226.8 million.

£300 million is 3.8% of £7,900 million which would increase the interest on the National Debt in the 1936-37 financial year from £224 million to £232.5 million which is an increase of £8.5 million.

Though the decrease to 2.8% of the workforce unemployed is only for one year, that is 1937-38. It's up to 4.3% in 1938-39 and the decrease to 0.8% in 1939-40 is due to the mobilisation of the economy at the beginning of World War II. Furthermore, the lowest interwar rate of unemployment was 2.0% in 1920 and the second lowest was 3.4% in 1919.
I'm not saying what you propose is unaffordable, and I'm finding it very interesting.

I guess my point is that it is not reasonable to say that if we can reduce unemployment by 5% this will generate the extra revenue needed to finance the military build up. This is because the effort of reducing unemployment by 5% will involve much more extra expenditure than the revenue it generates. While fiscal stimulus can increase output it is extremely unusual for it to increase output sufficiently to become self financing.

On reducing unemployment below 4% during a global recession (as opposed to the 1919-21 bubble when many men were also still in uniform) this would require massive government intervention in the economy and a change in mindset that would have all sorts of other consequences. I didn't say it was impossible, just that it was unlikely.
 
I'll say it's impossible. The National Govt wouldn't wear it. Chancellor Chamberlain explicitly said it wouldn't work. Chancellor Snowden believed so strongly in balanced budgets he was willing to break the Labour Party over it. In this period, a majority of MPs were almost Tea Party in their level of belief in orthodox economics.

Any suggestion has to work with the supposition that the Treasury will successfully shoot down any suggestion of extra spending. Therefore, you have to either reduce expenditure elsewhere or find a way to spend 'off-budget'.
 
@NOMISYRRUC just read an old thread: https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/about-british-tank-designs.442288/page-6

I wonder whether a bigger motor industry with a more developed road system could have resulted in earlier big tanks/universal tanks. IOTL, there were requirements for new tanks to be able to fit on the narrow gauge railways used in the U.K in the mid 1930s.
Probably not because a fraction of the extra money that would be spent on the British Army would be used to buy more tanks between 1929 and 1936. Plus more and bigger tanks in the peacetime army would require the formation of more tank transporter units.

IMHO a better way to go would be to give the Railway companies money to widen the loading gauge on the lines that tanks likely to travel along.
 
Probably not because a fraction of the extra money that would be spent on the British Army would be used to buy more tanks between 1929 and 1936. Plus more and bigger tanks in the peacetime army would require the formation of more tank transporter units.

IMHO a better way to go would be to give the Railway companies money to widen the loading gauge on the lines that tanks likely to travel along.
I would like to see the infantry support/cavalry division being ditched and replaced by a universal tank, but that would require a change in doctrine.

Besides, modern trunk roads are good for testing tanks as well.
 
I would like to see the infantry support/cavalry division being ditched and replaced by a universal tank, but that would require a change in doctrine.
We'll still get infantry and cruisers tanks, but the Army will have time to evaluate prototypes of the different designs before placing production contracts. The result is that fewer designs go into production.

However, the mechanisation of the Regular Army will be advanced by five years. The field artillery will be mechanised by 1934 instead of 1939. Likewise all but 4 horsed cavalry regiments will be gone by 1934. However, they'll become motorised infantry battalions or reconnaissance formations with armoured cars or light tanks.
 
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