Japanese victory in the pacific war - is it really ASB?

Erm, no. That’s a terrible idea. Not AS bad as invading Hawaii, but still a terrible idea.
Yeah. They could achieve a bridgehead with a landing in 1942; but logistically, it is hard to see how they could sustain it.

The only point I could see might be to try to spur some kind of major uprising in the Raj (which I think is unlikely).
 
Yeah. They could achieve a bridgehead with a landing in 1942; but logistically, it is hard to see how they could sustain it.
The only point I could see might be to try to spur some kind of major uprising in the Raj (which I think is unlikely).
That was a large reason for Operation U-Go in 1944. It was not a success for the IJA.
 
Yeah. They could achieve a bridgehead with a landing in 1942; but logistically, it is hard to see how they could sustain it.

The only point I could see might be to try to spur some kind of major uprising in the Raj (which I think is unlikely).
More likely it does more than any number of British promises to get India behind the war effort.
 
Erm, no. That’s a terrible idea. Not AS bad as invading Hawaii, but still a terrible idea.
Why is it a terrible idea? In the first half of 1942 Ceylon was not strongly held. 2 divisions would have sufficed to capture the ports they needed. They didn't need the whole Island. When the Japanese Carrier Fleet entered the Indian Ocean in April 1942 the British Eastern Fleet had to just run away. Once taken the Japanese could shuttle aircraft into their new bases from the Andaman Islands. They'd then control the air, and waters off the Southern tip of India, keeping Allied Shipping out of the Bay of Bengal, and limiting supplies to Assam to the overstrained railroad lines. The massive Assam Famine of 1942-44 would have been made much worse, and the military buildup much harder without the use of ocean shipping. Strangling Assam also disrupts the campaign to support China with supplies, and air power.

Again as I said a submarine blitz on the Suez Convoys in mid 1942 would have disrupted the North African Campaign. A Japanese Submarine Base in Ceylon would have greatly facilitated operations in the Indian Ocean. Japan had a powerful submarine fleet that was misused hunting allied warships, instead of merchant shipping. A Japanese Tonnage War like the U-Boat Campaign would have tied down many more Allied Warships in convoy duty, then they sunk in direct action. WWII was a massive grinding war of economic attrition, anything the Japanese can do to increase the strain on Allied shipping is more helpful to their cause then a few tactical victories.
 
Those ships would likely sail for America if it looks like Britain would be lost. Which is very unlikely unless the British completely screw up in so many ways. Also the U.S. would have to be binge drinking lead paint to ever allow a hostile force to be built up in Canada.
Which goes back to one of my major points, Axis CANNOT win World War 2.
 
Why is it a terrible idea? In the first half of 1942 Ceylon was not strongly held.
Actually, somewhat stronger than you might think...

Already by the end of March 1942, the garrison of Ceylon consisted of one British, one East African, two Australian, and two Indian brigades along with one brigade of local volunteers. The Australian brigades were from the 6th Division, so...tough customers. On admirable defensive terrain.

So even for just a major foothold, you *are* talking about a multi-division force; to actually take the island, you're basically up to something like the Philippines force. A force you have to supply now, almost 1,700 miles from Singapore, under conditions where the Japanese cannot secure lasting air superiority.

Theoretically this isn't impossible, but politically, it basically was. The IJN actually proposed a Ceylon invasion in connection with the Indian Ocean raid. The Army refused to even discuss it. How you would overcome Army opposition for this is unclear to me.
 
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Why is it a terrible idea? In the first half of 1942 Ceylon was not strongly held. 2 divisions would have sufficed to capture the ports they needed. They didn't need the whole Island. When the Japanese Carrier Fleet entered the Indian Ocean in April 1942 the British Eastern Fleet had to just run away. Once taken the Japanese could shuttle aircraft into their new bases from the Andaman Islands. They'd then control the air, and waters off the Southern tip of India, keeping Allied Shipping out of the Bay of Bengal, and limiting supplies to Assam to the overstrained railroad lines. The massive Assam Famine of 1942-44 would have been made much worse, and the military buildup much harder without the use of ocean shipping. Strangling Assam also disrupts the campaign to support China with supplies, and air power.

Again as I said a submarine blitz on the Suez Convoys in mid 1942 would have disrupted the North African Campaign. A Japanese Submarine Base in Ceylon would have greatly facilitated operations in the Indian Ocean. Japan had a powerful submarine fleet that was misused hunting allied warships, instead of merchant shipping. A Japanese Tonnage War like the U-Boat Campaign would have tied down many more Allied Warships in convoy duty, then they sunk in direct action. WWII was a massive grinding war of economic attrition, anything the Japanese can do to increase the strain on Allied shipping is more helpful to their cause then a few tactical victories.
Which still doesn't answer the question of what to do about the oncoming Essex swarm. The Japanese cannot do anything about that. Once America starts pushing back against the Japanese in the Pacific what is holding Ceylon or the DEI or holding any other territory going to do to stop America from cutting off the Japanese home islands and eventually crushing them under the increasing weight of material advantage.
 
Why is it a terrible idea?
Let's see, why is extending your own already overstretched supply lines another 1500 miles a bad idea? By the way, its 1500 miles from Southeast Asia to Ceylon.

Hmm...well to start off you are extending your own already overstretched supply lines another 1500 miles. And let's recall that the Japanese had already looked a literal quarter of the globe and said, "yeah, that seems like a small enough area to concentrate in." To send forces to Ceylon would have required sending vast quantities of the IJN that distance, plus whatever they had to travel in the first place to reach their departure point, taking up valuable time, fuel, and manpower that could be better used doing virtually anything else. You then have to actually take the island. And despite your overly optimistic views, would have required launching a long-distance amphibious assault, even if against unprepared defenders, and had to fight off inevitable counterattack from the British on the mainland. In addition, the sudden Japanese presence so close to India would have galvanized anti-Japanese sentiment to levels the British could only have dreamed of pulling off among the Indian population, snuffing any possibility of anti-British sentiment overwhelming that completely.

But let's ignore all of that. Let's say that they take Ceylon without a fight and nothing in India changes.

So what?

You talk grandly about attacking British convoys near Africa but...how? Its ANOTHER 2500 miles from Ceylon to Africa. Are you seriously suggesting that Japan will decide to take their submarine fleet, 4000 miles away from Southeast Asia (and even further from Japan itself) to attack British shipping to help the Germans? Uh huh...

And ship in aircraft? With what FUEL? The Japanese got into the war for oil, which they frankly sucked at exploiting anyway. So now you're telling the Army, AND the Navy that not only are they having to undertake this pointless adventure, but they are also going to have their fuel supplies drastically decreased so that the Germans, in NORTH AFRICA, get slightly fewer British guns pointed at them. Not a lot mind you, because these suddenly completely retrained and oriented submarines still can't operate long-term so far from any kind of base, but a few.

So okay, I'll actually scratch what I said before. It is worse than invading Hawaii. Not because its less impossible, though it might be, but because its even more POINTLESS.
 
Cocos Island mutiny.
No Ceylonese combat regiment was deployed by the British in a combat situation after the Cocos Islands Mutiny. However, support units were deployed, most notably in North Africa. The defences of Ceylon were increased to three British army divisions because the island was strategically important, holding almost all the British Empire's resources of rubber that remained after the fall of Malaya. Rationing was instituted so that the Ceylonese were comparatively better fed than their Indian neighbours, in order to prevent disaffection among the natives.
 
Which still doesn't answer the question of what to do about the oncoming Essex swarm. The Japanese cannot do anything about that.
That's true, of course.

I think you can't push this point too narrowly, however. I mean, the Japanese conquest of Burma and the Andamans didn't do a darned thing about the oncoming Essex swarm, either. But that doesn't mean that Burma and the Andamans were strategically pointless for Japan.

If there's an argument being made for Ceylon here, it's that Japan is taking advantage of the opportunity to deliver a harder blow to the weaker of the two great powers (Britain) it has (stupidly, arrogantly) taken on while it is indeed still so weak, pushing back its defensive perimeter there while it turns to face the Americans, and maybe even opening up political possibilities (a revolt in the Raj).

But I've discussed why that doesn't close the sale for me on Ceylon.

And it's also why I share @Zheng He's sense that even Operation C was a pointless exercise not really worth the oil it burned or the planes it lost, because the opportunity cost of securing its perimeter in New Guinea and the Solomons while it was still possible in April that it sacrificed was too high. Port Moresby, Guadalcanal, Santa Cruz (or even Ocean I. and Efate) will not stop the Essexes from coming, but it will push back their starting point significantly. Perhaps that buys you a couple more months to pour concrete on Saipan.
 
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Let's see, why is extending your own already overstretched supply lines another 1500 miles a bad idea? By the way, its 1500 miles from Southeast Asia to Ceylon.
Actually, from the one worthwhile logistical base the Japanese had to work with (Singapore), it was over 1,700 miles to Trincomalee or Batticaloa.

From Japan itself, it's over 4,500 miles.
 
Regardless of other concerns, if the USA gets India fully on-side (which the USA may be able to do in a fashion which the colonial power, the British, simply cannot), Imperial Japan is ultimately toast, or at least anything continental is.
 
Actually, somewhat stronger than you might think...

Already by the end of March 1942, the garrison of Ceylon consisted of one British, one East African, two Australian, and two Indian brigades along with one brigade of local volunteers. The Australian brigades were from the 6th Division, so...tough customers. On admirable defensive terrain.

So even for just a major foothold, you *are* talking about a multi-division force; to actually take the island, you're basically up to something like the Philippines force. A force you have to supply now, almost 1,700 miles from Singapore, under conditions where the Japanese cannot secure lasting air superiority.

Theoretically this isn't impossible, but politically, it basically was. The IJN actually proposed a Ceylon invasion in connection with the Indian Ocean raid. The Army refused to even discuss it. How you would overcome Army opposition for this is unclear to me.
Yes 2 divisions is a multi division force. As I said they didn't need to take the whole Island, only some of the ports, and airbases. The RAF only committed some weak Hurricane Squadrons, so the Japanese would have total air control. The Japanese would have a good change of capturing the RN Base at Trincomalee, and the surrounding airfields. Once they move in land based aircraft they would have air superiority till the Allies made a major aircraft commitment to reverse it. Once driven into the interior the British Ground Troops would have to regroup, and resupply for a long campaign, with no air cover. The RAF was in no hurry to make any major Far Eastern Commitments, especially of their favored Spitfire Squadrons. The first Spitfire Squadrons weren't deployed to the Far East till early 1943.

As I said, and you reiterated the IJA wasn't interested in the operation, so it didn't happen. What I'm suggesting is that on a long list of poor options Ceylon was better then most of the others. Yes it would require a major effort, and would have run risks, but all efforts do. Ceylon would have had the virtue of putting Allied vital interests at risk. It would have forced the Allies to reorder priorities, which might in itself have been a strategic success. The fact that the British considered an invasion of Ceylon a major strategic threat is evidence that it may have been worth the effort to try.
 
As I said, and you reiterated the IJA wasn't interested in the operation, so it didn't happen. What I'm suggesting is that on a long list of poor options Ceylon was better then most of the others. Yes it would require a major effort, and would have run risks, but all efforts do.
Sure. But here is the thing: Any ground force Japan sends to Ceylon ultimately has to be written off. You're sending them there to hold out as long as possible. (This had something to dowith IJA skepticism.) Eventually, however, the British will mount a counteroffensive to secure the island, and they're basing right out of India, across a 20 mile strait. The Japanese, by contrast, have to sustain this force over roughly the distance between St John's, Newfoundland and Ireland (h/t to Calbear for that comp). That's how far of a distance we're talking about. It's over double the distance of any other amphibious operation Japan ever mounted.

Questions that occur to me:

1. When were you thinking Japan would mount this op? With Operation C, or at some other point in 1942?

2. Exactly where are the troops for this 2 division operation coming from?
 
Which still doesn't answer the question of what to do about the oncoming Essex swarm. The Japanese cannot do anything about that. Once America starts pushing back against the Japanese in the Pacific what is holding Ceylon or the DEI or holding any other territory going to do to stop America from cutting off the Japanese home islands and eventually crushing them under the increasing weight of material advantage.
It doesn't do anything about the Essex Swarm, it wasn't intended to. I've said several times the Axis was almost certainly bound to lose the war. Having said that some courses of action would be better then others. Japanese Naval Air Power was worn-down in the attrition of the South Pacific. By the time the Big Blue Fleet was ready to start the Central Pacific Campaign in late 43, and early 44 the Japanese Carrier Fleet was outclassed.

The best thing they could have done about the Essex Swarm would've been to expand their pilot training program, when they still had the chance right after Pearl Harbor, or better yet before that. They could have rotated pilots from frontline duty, to training units and shortened the program so pilots would enter combat with enough flying time to be competent. Japan started the war with the best trained carrier pilots in the world, but couldn't sustain that level. It's hard to maintain an average of 600 flight hours per pilot. USN Aviators were entering combat late in the war with 200-300 hours. The Japanese would've done much better if they'd been able to sustain a 200 fight hour standard. Japanese tactics also didn't lend themselves to keeping rooky pilots alive, and learning, because they emphasized individual, rather then group tactics, like in the USN.

lt's not that the Japanese had no options, it's just that they were limited options. Having better trained pilots in 1944-45 might have avoided the desperate decision to resort to Kamikaze tactics. The reason the USN Carrier, and Pilot training programs were on such a huge scale is they assumed the Japanese would be able to stay in the fight. Loses were lower then feared, and the fall off in the quality of enemy pilots was unexpected. The Japanese didn't take this option because they had too great a warrior ethos to think long term.

Nether the Germans, or Japanese had a pilot rotation system, while the British, and Americans did. Axis pilots gained more experience, and fighter pilots raked up huge scores, but wasted away. The Allies on the other hand were always improving standards, broadening their base of experience, and enlarging their forces. The Japanese thought like Samurai, and the American thought like program managers. Each counties system reflected their cultures, and the American System was far better suited for a modern war.
 
Sure. But here is the thing: Any ground force Japan sends to Ceylon ultimately has to be written off. You're sending them there to hold out as long as possible. (This had something to dowith IJA skepticism.) Eventually, however, the British will mount a counteroffensive to secure the island, and they're basing right out of India, across a 20 mile strait. The Japanese, by contrast, have to sustain this force over roughly the distance between St John's, Newfoundland and Ireland (h/t to Calbear for that comp). That's how far of a distance we're talking about. It's over double the distance of any other amphibious operation Japan ever mounted.

Questions that occur to me:

1. When were you thinking Japan would mount this op? With Operation C, or at some other point in 1942?

2. Exactly where are the troops for this 2 division operation coming from?
Ok first off we're operating with hindsight knowing Japan is going to lose the war. The IJA wouldn't know the troops they sent would be lost. If they launched the invasion they'd assume they'd win. The British Army hadn't had much luck against the Japanese so far. Unless the British gain naval, and air superiority their not launching any kind of amphibious counter offensive. Yes it's about 1,500 miles from Singapore, but that's no worse then New Guinea, or anyplace else in the South Pacific. The problem with long range shipping is the turnaround time for supply ships, so yes it would be a logistical strain, but not nearly as bad a Guadalcanal. Guadalcanal exhausted Japanese shipping resources because they were doing it in the face of Allied Air Power, in Ceylon they would control the air, nor would the RN wouldn't be contesting the waters at night.

When does this happen? My guess would be in the wake of Operation C. I don't know which 2 divisions they would be, I don't know what all of them were doing. It seems reasonable to suppose the Japanese could draw 2 divisions from China, since no major offensive actions were going on, or from Manchuria. The Japanese were able to shift troops to the South Pacific, once the Allies began their counter offensive. The limiting factor was shipping. I understand resources are limited, but everything is about priorities. The IJA still feared a Soviet attack, which was highly unlikely, and wanted to keep enough forces in Manchuria for an offensive option. Ceylon presupposes army cooperation, so they would have reassessed the Soviet Threat, and made the forces available.
 
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