Improve the Singapore Strategy

Yes and realistically you can keep the old hulks anyway post 1 Jan 37 as accommodation ships and then training carriers so F,C & G at least will be still sailing and probably the others as well........ might easily have 6 new + 3 old in service + 3 training and aircraft transport only by 39 with the armoured decks building? But I think 3 new is more realistic than 6 personally as that's only replacing the really old ships.
Turn the Weird sisters back into 'large cruisers'
 
That's too much to ask in June 1940. It was all over bar negotiating the peace treaty. The only person who wasn't reading the script was Winston Churchill.

With apologies to Kenneth Wolstenholme...
"The Italians have declared war! They think it's all over!" Then Churchill persuades the British Cabinet to fight on after France surrenders. "It isn't now!"
The point I was making is that in order to stand up a decent base in the Andamans would take several years - my finger in the air assessment is at least 3 years (?) - my understanding is that there is little infrastructure in the place with which to build a working base.

I know that bases were stood up later in WW2 relatively quickly with such expediency possible by throwing a lot of resources at it - but I suspect that this wold not be even remotely possible during peacetime or even early war when resources were still tight.

But with Singapore why would they need to and if they knew they would need such a base then surely the British and Commonwealth would abandon even the pretence of international treaties and begin rearming several years earlier with the upshot that WW2 might not even happen as a result and if it did then they would be in far better shape to fight in the earlier stages.
 
Turn the Weird sisters back into 'large cruisers'
The follies would probably have been very useful as aircraft transporters taking the burden off the fleet carriers which often had to be pressed into that role early war

Indeed Furious spent much of her time doing this or acting as a training ship
 
There's also the Atlantic Air Gap that need's closing ASAP. While the follies are a bit big for escort carriers I don't suppose any Convoy Commodore would complain about their being present.
 
I agree about The Three Follies surviving because their replacements won't be completed until 1938. I think Courageous and Glorious will be operational aircraft carriers in September 1939 ITTL and Furious will be the deck landing training ship. That's exactly what they were doing in September 1939 IOTL.

I think that Hermes which was only 11 years old in 1935 would be converted to a seaplane carrier to replace Pegasus (ex-Ark Royal Mk II) and I think the conversion would have been completed before the Second WNT was negotiated. Argus would still be converted to a depot ship for Queen Bee target drones. I think the best thing to do with Eagle is convert her into a depot ship for the Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisation (MNBDO) or an interim aircraft maintenance ship pending the construction of what became HMS Unicorn.
Would you get an Ark Royal in the early 30s? I have heard it said when the Ark Royal was first looked at the RN was still digesting the lessons of C&G.
 
Would you get an Ark Royal in the early 30s? I have heard it said when the Ark Royal was first looked at the RN was still digesting the lessons of C&G.
I think Ark was designed between 30 and properly started in 34 budget, so if you have money in early 30s you will probably get a similar ship? And realistically an early 30s ship will only be a 34-37 built ship unless you start pre LNT.
 
Would you get an Ark Royal in the early 30s? I have heard it said when the Ark Royal was first looked at the RN was still digesting the lessons of C&G.
I think Ark was designed between 30 and properly started in 34 budget, so if you have money in early 30s you will probably get a similar ship? And realistically an early 30s ship will only be a 34-37 built ship unless you start pre LNT.
I've got my copy of Friedman out and there were three alternatives for the 1931 Carrier. Designs A & B were for ships with double deck hangars and Design C had a single hangar deck.

Page 111 had illustrations of Designs A & B. Design A shows a strong resemblance to The Follies because it has a flying off deck. Design B has a full-length flight deck and the book says that this was the design that led to the 1934 Carrier (Ark Royal).

So I think the result would be 3 Design B ships ordered in the 1931-34 Estimates and 3 Ark Royals ordered in the 1934-35 estimates. Or alternatively 3 Design B at the rate of one per year 1931-32 to 1933-34 followed by Ark Royal in 1934-35 and 2 sisters in 1935-36.
 
Yes and no, even in 35 aircraft are mostly day only systems and the RN by some accident ended up fighting mostly at night as surprisingly the enemy didn't actually want to fight them in daylight. They need heavy units that can fight in North Atlantic night and if you have them you can win in day anyway over anybody but IJNs KB that isn't coming to UK anyway so is lesser priority. I would add that thats all on HMG and interservice issues as well not really RNs staff ability or job to work out.

But the real issue is that RN could have under the LNT/WNT laid down 2 sisters for Ark Royal in early 30s..... three CV strike on Taranto anybody?
That is the other Pearl Harbor Lesson. Unfortunately, the IJN will play it out better. Both day and night surface and air. The RN were not in the IJN's league.

And as for daylight gunfights... Komandorski Islands. And as for night gun and torpedo brawls, Java Sea. The RN cannot "claim" it was that good. Not in the Pacific.
 
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That is the other Pearl Harbor Lesson. Unfortunately, the IJN will play it out better. Both day and night surface and air. The RN were not in the IJN's league.
What lessons? Did RN not do Taranto earlier than Perl (and not forgetting WWI attempts with seaplanes)

League wise I think its far closer, IJN only really got a more powerful CV force for a brief point in 41-42 and then only really as it could concentrate on a single force and had not already lost three CVs and had an invasion scare including the BoB to eat aircraft production priority.....
 
League wise I think its far closer, IJN only really got a more powerful CV force for a brief point in 41-42 and then only really as it could concentrate on a single force and had not already lost three CVs and had an invasion scare including the BoB to eat aircraft production priority.....

No, he's right that the IJN isn't close to as good as the RN. There are plenty of things they're good at (some very good indeed), but they've got no radar, no night carrier strike capability, their ASW is shite and most of their battleline would be in trouble against a refitted QE let alone a Nelson or KGV. Against an RN that didn't have half a dozen much bigger problems to worry about they would have been flattened in short order.
 
With such perfect hindsight why not instead start rearming earlier and introduce the draft in 1935?
Treasury. Party politics. Better to adjust to reality and plan for what can be done inside the constraints.
This see off Germany before they can even start
It could have been done several times, in the Rhineland, during the Anschluss, the Sudetenland Crisis, or when the Russians were rebuffed or when Poland kicked off. (Actually, one wonders if Stalin would have handed the BM "brass knuckles" during the Polish campaign and said: "Let's you and them fight, and I'll kill the winner.")
Italy is better able to id the only winning move (that is to not play) and Japan does not get the opportunity of a massive and very sudden geopolitical shift to even start to think about threatening war with the Western powers.
Japan is running out of oil and they have two options. Stop the China War or go grab the oil.

Stop China War.

Russia will see Japan as weak and eventually attack or China will unite and then attack.

Grab the oil?

Flip that coin. Both coin sides have tails. IJG hopes for heads.

Tails, they lose.
As for the Pearl Harbour lesson - which I assume you mean its too far away from Japan to be invaded? - Singapore is almost as far from Tokyo (5300 kms) as Pearl Harbour is (6200 kms)
Indochina is less than 1000, km away. Camranh Bay. Fleet anchorage and Class III French naval base. Well within range. Also Pearl Harbor was raided. And

View attachment 627974
Called Bath-tubbing. RIKKO says "hi!"
Without French Indochina being occupied by Japan in mid 1940 Singapore is a fairly safe base - as safe as Pearl Harbour - from invasion anyway.
See map. See Thailand? Worry.
And before France and the Netherlands was defeated (removing the French fleet from the balance sheet and in some respects possibly adding elements of it to the other side) and the Italians (adding their fleet to the other side of the balance sheet) the RN and RAF probably could have sent a sizable force to the Far East along with greater ground forces along with France and the Netherlands.
Never happen. EVEN under those conditions, the RN staff, judged their means to hand was inadequate in a straight fleet square-off. as in British battleships (their metric) were inferior to Japanese battleships and that the Japanese could bring an 11 to 7 (actually with the "R"s 11 to 5 based on speed gauge) surplus in offense/defense into region compared to what the RN could safely risk out of Europe. That is why from Backhouse forward, the British kept asking the Americans for "help".

Even Leahy was not that stupid and told the British "No." Stark? The idiot swallowed the kool-aid.
And Japan has to keep its eye firmly to the East at the USA - the main threat.
And how did that work out? (^^^)
And even with the Dutch and French effectively removed from the equation and the British badly distracted and over stretched - one does have to wonder what the Japanese leaders were smoking?
See here, again.

Japan is running out of oil and they have two options. Stop the China War or go grab the oil.

Stop China War.

Russia will see Japan as weak and eventually attack or China will unite and then attack.

Grab the oil?

Flip that coin. Both coin sides have tails. IJG hopes for heads.

Tails, they lose.
 
The WNT allowance was for 135,000 tons of aircraft carriers and that's enough for 6 Ark Royals. They could have got away with ordering 3 ships in the 1931-32 Estimates to be completed in 1935 and replace Argus, Eagle and Hermes. Plus 3 ships in the 1934-35 Estimates to be completed in 1938 to replace Courageous, Glorious and Furious which became overage in 1937. Ark Royal cost about £4 million so the 5 extra ships would cost £20 million that would be spread over 8 years for an average of £2.5 million a year.

The Americans and Japanese couldn't retaliate by building more aircraft carriers because they were building these ships up to Treaty limits in the first place.

Such a move would not result in fewer armoured carriers being built because the RN increased its aircraft carrier requirement to 14 ships after the tonnage quotas were abolished. It might accelerate the completion of Formidable, Illustrious, Indomitable and Victorious because the UK would have had maintained more shipbuilding capacity in the early 1930s by building 6 aircraft carriers between 1931 and 1938 instead of one.

The FAA would be larger at the start of the war because the size of the FAA was a function of the capacity of the aircraft carriers. Therefore, the RAF and HM Treasury would have to provide the extra aircraft that six 22,000 ton aircraft carriers with a combined capacity of 288 aircraft required.
Not enough slips, lousy fighters, RAF, no pilot training program, not enough of the right kind of bodyguard ships, worst AAA among the big three. No aircraft carrier battle doctrine. No money. And the pilots were trained wrong. 168 or 528 frontline FAA aircraft makes no difference. The RN aircraft carrier hulls matter not a jot either. It is the system of systems and the RN did not have it.

 
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The point I was making is that in order to stand up a decent base in the Andamans would take several years - my finger in the air assessment is at least 3 years (?) - my understanding is that there is little infrastructure in the place with which to build a working base.
Five Years. Example is Pearl Harbor. 0-class II 1933-1937. Class II to Class I 1942-1943.
I know that bases were stood up later in WW2 relatively quickly with such expediency possible by throwing a lot of resources at it - but I suspect that this would not be even remotely possible during peacetime or even early war when resources were still tight.
See previous comment.
But with Singapore why would they need to and if they knew they would need such a base then surely the British and Commonwealth would abandon even the pretence of international treaties and begin rearming several years earlier with the upshot that WW2 might not even happen as a result and if it did then they would be in far better shape to fight in the earlier stages.
Geography. See previous map? If one cannot forward defend north of Luzon, then the ONLY other naval geography that works is the Andaman Islands.
 
Singapore was lost when Britain signed up to treaties that reduced the Royal Navy below the level it was able to meet all it's commitments without having to rob Peter to pay Paul. For those who say that Singapore can only be defended from the land, the best way to do that is for the Navy to prevent an enemy landing in Malaya or Siam but the treaties ensured there weren't the ships available to do the job.
I disagree. Singapore was lost when Britain needed to fight the #3, #5 and #6 naval powers at the same time while keeping an eye on a good chunk of the #4 naval power's fleet. MAIN FLEET EAST works well through 1922-1936, it is viable through August 1939 and it is not batshit crazy (risky but not crazy) on May 9, 1940. The strategic situation changed and the strategy could/would not catch up to the changing circumstances. As soon as the Germans cross the Meuse, Singapore becomes a massive defensive problem instead of a forward bastion to support British power projection into the South China Sea while also shielding Burma and India.

In an alternative universe where Hitler dies from food poisoning the week before the Reichstag fire, the RN should have the resources to at least credibly deter the Japanese through at least the 30s and 40s as quite a few resources that went into the Army and the RAF are now available for the fleet and the commitment of massive resources to both Home Fleet and escort commands will disappear nor are the Italians a particular threat that needs to be countered in a big attritional war in the central Med. This probably leads to more Ark Royal style carriers in the 1937-1940 programs even if they are not war emergency programs and regular troops with high quality officers are far more likely to be available in Malaya during a crisis.
 
No, he's right that the IJN isn't close to as good as the RN.
But he is saying IJN is stronger, I was saying it's not?
Not enough slips, lousy fighters, RAF, no pilot training program, not enough of the right kind of bodyguard ships, worst AAA among the big three. No aircraft carrier battle doctrine. No money. And the pilots were trained wrong. 168 or 528 frontline FAA aircraft makes no difference. The RN aircraft carrier hulls matter not a jot either. It is the system of systems and the RN did not have it.
RN/GB had,
More slips that anybody apart from US?
Better land fighters so it really just one generation of FAA hurt by RAF priorities due to rearmament pressure and BoB?
RAF ok....
It had far more ships of any class than IJN....? What is it missing?
Worse AA than IJN.....? 25mmm v 40mm/2pdr/20mm and heavy is not worse?
etc......
 
No, he's right that the IJN isn't close to as good as the RN. There are plenty of things they're good at (some very good indeed), but they've got no radar, no night carrier strike capability, their ASW is shite and most of their battleline would be in trouble against a refitted QE let alone a Nelson or KGV. Against an RN that didn't have half a dozen much bigger problems to worry about they would have been flattened in short order.
RTL results. That is the war-proof.

Admirals matter, material matters, systems matter, doctrine matters, tech matters, human beings matter in combination. The British were completely outclassed; torpedoes, gun systems, doctrine, aircraft, ships, trained human beings and ADMIRALS.

The British were not in the same league in the matrix.

The evidence.

The Japanese were quite capable of night air operations (Solomons Islands). They just were not good at the air battle against a peer opponent. The FAA never was a peer opponent. The Americans took three years to become such a peer opponent (Philippine Sea.). That is how bad the disparity was in 1941 between the IJN and the allies in their operational capacities.

British submarine force in the Pacific? If the Americans were clearly buffoons as the RTL historical evidence in 1942 shows, then the RN subs present were the other clown club. The IJN did not even consider the Allies' sub to be a serious menace to them; except for the Dutch. Those were the subs they feared.
 
RTL results. That is the war-proof.
But you're ignoring that by Dec 41 the RN has been at war for a long time fighting two European powers who are both closer to the most important part of the empire for the majority of RN and its paymasters. The stuff in the far east was the spare stuff that a hard pressed power could send to what it considered a third rated theatre? Many of the ships are WWI era for example the R class that were not really suitable for any real fighting by then, but they existed and so were used at least to try and make a fleet in being in east.
 
But he is saying IJN is stronger, I was saying it's not?

RN/GB had,
More slips that anybody apart from US?
Better land fighters so it really just one generation of FAA hurt by RAF priorities due to rearmament pressure and BoB?
RAF ok....
It had far more ships of any class than IJN....? What is it missing?
Worse AA than IJN.....? 25mmm v 40mm/2pdr/20mm and heavy is not worse?
etc......
1941...

See my comments to Captain Seafort.

Zero vs. Spitfire? Darwin air battles 1942.

Slips in length vs total slips. Capital ship slips were approximately equal.

Missing? Competence, experience and an appropriate tech matrix. The Eastern Command was a clown club. British ships were HORRIBLE in the Pacific as far as inhabitable or fightable platforms. Plus there were serious design defects even in the most modern units. Everyone has these problems (USS South Dakota is an example. So is Yamato.), but the British cannot ignore and handwave away the history that revealed as early as mid 1941 to them, that they had serious critical problems. They knew they were in deep trouble at the time from the European War lessons learned. They were not stupid.

AAA.

Directors matter. Radar matters. The IJN did not have radar, but they had "decent" all angle AAA optical and they had a good fighter line. Not until the British got a line of their own, would they be able to handle the air part of the air-sea battle. And they never figured their AAA defense out against low angle approach too well. The IJN had. Example is Santa Cruz.

As an aside, here is what the Americans knew about the Japanese in October 1944. They were NOT happy going into Leyte Gulf. They knew they had a LOT of problems, too.


The Americans had the equivalent of the Three Cigars Incident in which a Japanese staff officer was caught after his plane crashed and Filiipino guerrillas caught him on Luzon and the complete SHO-1 plan was revealed and MacArthur got it all. He passed that intelligence on, and what happened? Halsey turned in a McClellan performance and screwed it all up, even knowing that the Japanese were doing exactly what was expected as they laid it out in the documents the Americans had copied and returned so that the Japanese would not suspect SHO-1 was compromised.

So... Not EVEN the same league even as late as October 1944 as to Japanese planning and execution. And that was the USN in 1944.
 
The British were completely outclassed; torpedoes, gun systems, doctrine, aircraft, ships, trained human beings and ADMIRALS.

Torpedoes, sure. The IJN outclassed everyone. In everything else there were pros and cons to each, and it balanced out.

The Japanese were quite capable of night air operations (Solomons Islands). They just were not good at the air battle against a peer opponent. The FAA never was a peer opponent. The Americans took three years to become such a peer opponent (Philippine Sea.). That is how bad the disparity was in 1941 between the IJN and the allies in their operational capacities.

I didn't say night air ops. I said night carrier strike (Taranto, Bismarck, Matapan). The IJN had nothing, the US had nothing until Independence and Enterprise started experimenting in 1943. The RN was well-practiced. Somerville was all ready to go against Nagumo until he got the update that the IJN had more carriers present than he'd previously thought, and he decided that the gamble wasn't worth the prize. That was a judgement call that others have disagreed with. Best case scenario would have ended with the IJNs five best carriers and their most useful four capital ships gone, and the world's greatest comedy happening in Ernie King's office when he found out. Worse case scenario would have cost the RN two fleet carriers and combat strength equivalent to about twice the 1945 USN at a time when it could least afford to lose anything, and opened up the Indian Ocean to the IJN. Far more intelligent and knowledgeable individuals than either of us reckon he was right to play the percentages.

British submarine force in the Pacific? If the Americans were clearly buffoons as the RTL historical evidence in 1942 shows, then the RN subs present were the other clown club. The IJN did not even consider the Allies' sub to be a serious menace to them; except for the Dutch. Those were the subs they feared.
What British submarine force? It had been sent to the Med where it was busy terrorising the Germans and Italians. You'll forgive me for not putting too much weight on the opinion of the IJN when it came to submarine warfare, given their ASW track record.
 
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