Combined Fleet destroys USN at Midway? Effects?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by aaronupright, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. M79 Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Operation FS proceeds. Japan cuts off Australia and New Zealand from Allies, gives favorable terms more akin to neutrality than anything pro-Axis. US focuses on Hawaii defense, several Japanese forces from Pacific rerouted to China prolonging the Zhejiang-Jiangxi campaign and making it more successful. This sets up for an earlier Ichi-Go in 1943 and consolidates Japanese control of almost the entire Chinese coast.

    A push into India goes only somewhat farther due to rail contraints. US forces assemble a massive Task Force and begin plans to island hop directly to Japan and its surrounding strongholds. War extends a few months but ends essentially in the same manner.
  2. aaronupright Well-Known Member

    Mar 27, 2019
    You are looking at it from a post war perspective and concentrating on '44 and '45. Yes the Allies had enough capabilities to fight two essentially seperate wars. And Midway defeat, or even a Japan MAX situation (USN PACFLT capital ships all destroyed, carrier raids on the West coast, an unlikely but still plasufible senario) would only extend the war by 6-18 months at best.
    But, we are looking at '42. For most of that year the massive Armies, Navies, Air Forces and support infrastuture were orders on paper. We historically saw BOTH the British Empire and the Americans shifting or diverting assets to the Pacific when that blew up. And it having major affects on ETO and Med ops, just see N Africa as an example. In 1942 for most of the year the combined chief didn't think of theatres of war and assets to be sent, they thought about a global war and sending troops wherever they were needed. Chiefly because they did not as yet have resources needed to fight everywhere without going on the defensive or abandoing plans elsewhere.
    To a General saying "don't worry, in 6-9 months you'll have enough men and material to do whatever you want, no need to shift" is not going to be a persuasive arguement when he feels he needs them in 3*.
    So yeah, the Generals and political leadership of 1942 is going to be super conservative. They are going to go deep into stabalization mode in the Pacific and thats absolutley going to affect Pacific Operations as assets are transferred or diverted.
    For the ETO and Med this means Torch is errr torched. Instead we get the original plan of an American division or two reinforcing Eight Army in Egypt. No Torch means that Rommel does not withraew 1500 miles to Tunisa he did in OTL, instead he is going to dig in in Libiya. Reinforcements from France do start coming in (plans for that pre-dated El Alamein). When the situation stabalizes then probbaly a Torch like landing, in April/May of '43. Which means a collapse in N Africa in July or August (no consilidation we saw in OTL), Sicily in October and mainland Italy landing in December or January of '44. Admittedly, for the ETO at this point ATL and OTL merge.

    As far as the Pacific is concerned, it means the USN is going be unable to protect the US coast and Australia at the same time, which means the RN has to take over the latter. It also means that the RN keeps large ships East of Suez instead of returning to the Med as they did in OTL '43. Probably start offensives in '43 in the Bay of Bengal and the Malayan peninsula from Ceylon and the Eastern Seaboard of British India, which IOTL, Churchill was oushing for. No offesive in the South or Central Pacific for at least a year.
    Which means comes German capitulation, the Japanese fleet is still in being and the Allies are still far from the homeland rather than the doorstep as they were in the real '45.

    *It must be noted that all Generals on all sides underestimated just how much material could be produced how quickly by industry.
    No. The Interim and Taregt committees were set up in spring '45.

    They considered how best to use the bomb, and when they did, vast armadas of B-29's were bombing Japan, it was an easy enough recommendation to be made that it be against a Japanese city
    The other options, which were dfiscussed in some detail OTL, will look more attactive, if heavy bomber are out of range of Japan ITTL.
    LIke againt a Naval base or large military post, which was rejected (chiefly since the B-29 and the carriers had already mostly pounded those to smithereens, both in Japan and elsewhere).
    It should be remembered that when the committees met, the estimation of the yield was lower, about 1-5 KT, it was not after Trinity that they realised it would be pretty big.
    Thats not too much bigger than some of the larger raids, and would make a city attck less attractive.

    So war might end with the Japanese citiies mostly unharmed.
  3. Dorknought Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2018
    The IJN has to wipe out US Naval Power on a Tsushima scale. The USN doesn’t need to present itself to be wiped out in such a fashion. The IJN thought there were only 2 carriers left. Even if 3CV and TF1 (7BB) are lost the USN still has 3CV and Oahu has 6 months supplies.
    The problem will be down south where the IJA wants Australia isolated so it can’t be used as a base for retaking the ‘Southern Resource Area’. Pushing the SLOC further south will require more shipping due to the longer transit and probable need for convoy.
  4. Antiochus V Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2015

    I would argue that the US offensives are delayed till the next wave of carriers start coming into service, and the offensive is more concentrated. US land based aircraft take on more of the burden.

    Japan ‘winning’ Midway still probably guts their carrier pilot pool to the extent that their carriers are not combat ready for some time even if they all survive. They are also unlikely to take the island and might well take a more defensive stance on the back of that.

    The Burma theatre becomes more important, and with sufficient resources and major US backing it is conceivable that 1943 sees Japan beaten. The China road is therefore opened earlier and the allies have to deal with the logistical nightmare of that theatre. If the US throws enough engineers and machinery at the theatre they may well be able to do what Japan could not, and a combined overland and coastal campaign into Thailand and Malaya becomes an option. Perhaps at some point in 1944 the Allies are in Vietnam and Malaya at which point their aircraft can terrorise many of the important the Japanese shipping lanes and bomb most of the important oil fields.

    I think the loss of Midway constrains the US options, but the resources used for one of the US Pacific campaigns could be transferred to Burma with the prospect for fatal damage to the Japanese oil supply. A Japanese Victory at Midway helps temporarily on only one of multiple fronts as the US can do still impressive things with logistics on land that Japan simply could not.
    eltf177 likes this.
  5. History Learner Well-Known Member

    Apr 13, 2012

    In June, there is not a full group of tactical air available but by December, when Rommel said that, the Americans had built up to 7 and half groups. As it were, even if we take the position of groups being misnamed, overall we see Allied airpower is far and away much smaller than it would be just a few months later. Take, for example, medium bomber groups with less than half available in June of 1943 as compared to June of 1944; same for Heavy Bombers.
  6. nbcman Donor

    Jan 6, 2009
    Even in the unlikely event that Japan takes Fiji, Australia and NZ will not be cut off as it is about 2600 kms from Fiji to Wellington.. Ships will have to take a longer sailing route to avoid ships and A/C based in Fiji. And the AUS & NZ governments weren't so craven to fold like this - nor were the Japanese going to give anyone 'favorable' terms.
    Eyrtxd, jsb, Athelstane and 3 others like this.
  7. M79 Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Japan was looking to prevent the use of Australia as a base for counterattacks. There was a document written specifically about such a scenario in 1942 describing the isolation of Australia as key for Japanese mastery of the Pacific. Given the rolling tide of Axis expansion and the bulk of Aussie forces elsewhere at the time, an utter destruction of the US fleet at Midway might bring both Australia and New Zealand to the table with Japan if conditions for peace were mild/favorable enough.
  8. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    In the Japanese PoV the terms would have been very generous. Hey, we left most of you alive! Precisely what terms may have been contemplated I cant say. The strategic goals were:

    1. Cessation of aid to the KMT & Communists.

    2. Diplomatic assistance in forcing the KMT/Communists to capitulate

    3. Recognition of Japanese occupation and economic control of the French, Dutch, British, and US colonies.

    4. Reparations sufficient to make up for the economic loss of the Embargos and the brief war.

    5. Removal of significant Allied naval forces from positions in the Pacific that could threaten Japans interests. ie: Abandon Oahu as a major military base.

    There were some vaguer political & punitive items but those were the concrete basis. Essentialy the decadent westerners rollover and give up their Asian/Pacific booty to Uber Alpha Japan.
    nbcman likes this.
  9. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    I'd wonder what the Australian leaders of the time would think of that, or the citizens?
    jsb and nbcman like this.
  10. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

    Feb 2, 2013
    So without the damaging China Raids and most if what was done from bith Guam and Tinian, July 1945 has relatively minor damage to cities, but in the month to follow, Cities start disappearing under mushroom clouds with increasing frequency, starting with Tokyo.
    How long for Japan to throw in the towel?
  11. Curtain Jerker Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2018
    Great thread, fun to read.

    I don't have much to add except that if this butterflies away the German 6th Army surrendering at Stalingrad than that's a very interesting scenario indeed. Not saying it is likely at all, don't get me wrong, but I wonder if in such a scenario American and Soviet troops are shaking hands on the Oder instead of the Elbe.
  12. MKD Well-Known Member

    Oct 4, 2017
    Milton Keynes Central
    But was Midway not a gamble by the Japanese to knock the USN back to enable their forces to secure key islands to create a defensive screen through which, they believed, the Americans would not fight because in their view,the Yanks lacked the stomach for sacrifice. They wanted to bring New Guinea and Solomons into their sphere, disconnect America and Australia ( as they felt Aus would be used as a base to attack Japan) and provide a secure buffer zone away from their home island. They didn't really want Midway but didn't want it used as base for operations against them.

    The Japanese, and especially Yamamoto, must have known the Americans could replace any loses at Midway. I simply do not believe the Japanese expected to eliminate the USA as a strategic enemy in the Pacific. I think they thought they could make the cost in fighting unacceptable to the USA allowing them to get on with their aims in China.

    Could a Japanese victory at Midway have led to an abandonment of the Germany first policy?
  13. M79 Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Quite plausible IMO. Deciphering an incorrect location of the attack on Midway could also change the outcome without knocking out the US fleet, if McClusky arrives 15 min earlier or later the Japanese carriers might survive his attack in much better stead. An intact Japanese carrier fleet capable of attacking American bases *and actually doing so* may be enough.
  14. Jellico Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2017
    Three words. "The Brisbane Line."

    Australia was willing to give up two thirds of its landmass and stay in the fight.

    Australia and New Zealand are too far away from anything to be isolated. Take Fiji you swing your ships further south. Then Tonga. Then the Cook Islands. Then once you hit Easter Island you do it old school and sent supplies south through the roaring 40s. Admittedly you start hitting problems with the number of merchant hulls available, but that bites the Japanese too.

    At the end of the day the Australians and New Zealanders who matter know that they can't be taken out and are backed by the US and Empire. They just need to hold out.
    jsb, TonyA, Athelstane and 4 others like this.
  15. Antiochus V Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2015

    The initial problem for Japan is that a victory at sea at Midway is most likely not followed by a successful landing. So they have not picked up any extra buffer zone there. However they do of course have a bit more freedom of action elsewhere, but their ability to project carrier based airpower is degraded by the losses taken in both airframes and pilots, so they can’t go in with quite as much power as they would like and might well prove vulnerable to land based aircraft. They probably hit a stopping point fairly soon if the Allies can hold something they want with enough men and aircraft.

    Meanwhile the US and UK look for less carrier intensive routes, which can be done, so I don’t think there is any reason to expect a change in the Germany first policy. I think the fall of Hawaii is needed for that to happen.
    Athelstane likes this.
  16. Dave Howery laughs at your pain

    Jun 21, 2004
    Cheyenne WY
    one question.... assuming that the US loses the three carriers at Midway but hangs onto Midway... how hard is it to get more planes to Midway? Not sure of the distances involved...
  17. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

    Jun 27, 2014
    1123 6536 5321
    Get Wasp to start stinging
  18. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

    Feb 2, 2013
    Deckpark on Saratoga, flyoff and land, as was don with non-carrier aircraft by other aircraft carriers
  19. Dave Howery laughs at your pain

    Jun 21, 2004
    Cheyenne WY
    okay. Does it really take a carrier though, to get warplanes around the Pacific? 'Cuz if there is just the one, and it has to run from the West Coast to Hawaii to Midway... that's a lot of steaming time...
  20. Fearless Leader Donor

    Jan 2, 2004
    Central Control, Pottsylvania
    In Dec' 41 the USMC flew a squadron of Vindicators from PH to Midway with a PBY acting as a shepherd. So you wouldn't necessarily even need carriers.

    Another interesting question would be whether or not Japan attempts to avenge their landing force slaughtered at Midway.