Keynes' Cruisers

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by fester, May 19, 2016.

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  1. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

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    In @fester 's alternate timeline I think it's clear there will not be a Guadalcanal and Solomons campaign. Nor will there be the heavy fighting of the Kokoda Track and the Papua New Guinea campaign. And I don't think Rabaul is going to have the importance it did in OTL.

    The high water line of the Japanese Empire's violent expansion is occuring in Malaya and in Southern Indonesia on the islands of Java and Timor. Those places will be similar to the Guadalcanal and the New Guinea battles of OTL. A bloody attritional fight with both sides committing as many units as are available and can be spared from other areas.

    How long will the ATL battles of Timor and Java continue before the Allies achieve victory or possibly there is instead a pyrrhic victory for a depleted and crippled Japanese military? Who then will not be able to conduct any further offensive actions but will instead be forced to prepare for the Allied build up and counter offensive. While being in a much poorer strategic position in this TL.

    I'm very much looking forward to the next updates in fester's excellent and convincing story.
     
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  2. mudhead Little-Known Member

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    Some research seems to indicate that this is 85 to 120 feet, probably close to the former?
     
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  3. fester Well-Known Member

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    I have a number in my head, but I am letting you keep your numbers in your head as you see fit.
     
  4. fester Well-Known Member

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    There is a Guadacanal interlude but yes, the SW Pacific is a very different beast. One of the constraints that I am writing with is that the USN logistics train can't support a major sustained presence in SE Asia and the Australian resources that were used in OTL are either on the wrong coast OR are being claimed by RN/RAAF/Commonwealth forces already.
     
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  5. Crowbar Six Well-Known Member

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    Smuggling has always been a way of life in those waters. Some people would pimp their grandmothers for enough money.
     
  6. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Twas ever thus. Noah probably had a few things on the Ark God didn't know about.
     
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  7. MageOhki Well-Known Member

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    Actually, the US Military by the end of 1942, at least sea wise, had pretty much all the logistics capability it'd needed. Check dates on campaigns, Fester. Liberty ships were literally flooding the ocean. It was the last 'mile' problem, more or less for the active campaigns. Now, to be fair, the USN's capability to support major naval offensives wasn't as developed (didn't hit it's stride til mid 1943), but they do have enough to support what they'll deploy. Supporting SE Asia (Indochina) isn't so much a issue of hulls (though tight, admittedly), as it is distance. I've talked about this before. The complaints in 1942 about supporting operations from Hawaii, wasn't a issue of supplies, or shipping, actually, it was an issue of storage.
    (and that by the end of 1942 was taken care of).

    In an aside: USN's capability to support operations in the Pacific in 1942 was about twice what they had able, in OTL. But, the USN (and to be fair, no one else had much MORE of a clue, actually, even the British) hadn't developed the planning and logistical expertise that'd make it viable. One of the big issues, and one most don't talk about, is study how the 1st MarDiv's equipment and supplies were loaded. Torch had similar problems. Even with the primary work the USMC had done starting in 1931 (the only organization, period, dot, to actually plan and study the whole shebang. RM, RN, USN? nope. USMC did.) for logistics and ambpihous invasions, all the allies were still learning. (The loss of Major Quentin, as I've commented before was a major, major blow...)

    Most people overlook: "It's not the supplies, it's understanding how to schedule, and ship effectively" that's the key to logistics, and in a lot of ways, 1942 was when the USN learned (the UK never did)


    The USN's 'lack' of decisive offensive in 1942, outside a few battles was not logistical

    It was we don't have the warships.
     
  8. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    MageOhki has hit the nail on the head. As far as the 1 MARDIV problems with the loading of ships for Guadalcanal it was not that the Marines and Navy didn't know combat loading, its that when the ships were loaded there was a serious time issue and this caused the ships to be loaded incorrectly. Lack of combat loading caused issues for the British at Gallipoli, and the Germans with their Baltic Islands invasion during WWI. The USMC saw this first hand during an exercise (with the Army) in 1925 when ALL the medical gear and personnel were loaded on one ship which was ruled sunk by umpires (this was in Hawaii). I can personally attest that today, when a Marine MEU deploys a huge effort is made in getting the loading right.
     
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  9. Butchpfd Well-Known Member

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    Logistics was a large reason the Asiatic Fleet never got as large as it should have been. Cavite was just too small, and Subic bay and Miriavales expansion was restricted by the naval treaties until the late 1930s. Then the fleet could not really deploy only 2 Destroyer tenders just enough for the ships they had, 2 oilers, one committed to transporting oil from refineries, no ammunition ship, no dedicated Repair ship.. It came down to not enough logistics ships, or military cargo ships running the Hawaii to P.I. route.
     
  10. Threadmarks: Story 1388

    fester Well-Known Member

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    Pasuruan, Java June 14, 1942

    A dozen Zeroes based on Bali circled overhead. The convoy had arrived just after midnight and work gangs of civilians had been kept waiting at rifle point since the previous night fall. Smaller ships pulled into the shipping channel and came alongside where they were directly unloaded. A pair of light cruisers and a quartet of destroyers were slowly patrolling outside of the silty shallow harbor as the heavier ships waited for lighters to unload.

    By noontime, the first convoys of captured trucks headed to the front carrying shells and rice to the infantry regiments that were stuck in the outer edges of the only good deep water port in the eastern half of Java. By nightfall, bicycle brigades were towing even more crates and sacks to the front. A few times during the day, Dutch, Australian, American and British bombers attacked. Only once was it reasonably successful as a dozen Dutch Wildcats covering two squadrons of B-23 bombers distracted the protective fighters (this time from Zuikaku) long enough for the medium bombers to sink a single coaster. Half the Grummans would never fly again, but that success was the highwater mark as the five Japanese carriers maintained a protective bubble from their position 80 miles off-shore.
     
  11. Threadmarks: Story 1389

    fester Well-Known Member

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    San Diego, California June 15, 1942

    USS Arizona and USS Nevada had three old destroyers in front of them. Chief Swanson wiped his brow as he adjusted to his new role as the senior chief for his old war wagon. Half of the crew that had been aboard the battleship during the attack on Pearl Harbor had left the ship. Some were buried in the cemetery at Pearl Harbor, a few were still in the hospital. Most had returned to the mainland when Arizona entered San Francisco Bay for repairs and modernization. New construction for the fleet needed experienced men. The goat locker had lost a decade of age and almost as much experience until he was the senior man to ride herd on the fresh drafts of school and shored trained sailors.

    The months in the yard had not been wasted. Training ashore was rigorous. Hollywood set designers had made turrets and firefighting rigs and control rooms. Anti-aircraft gunners familiarized themselves with the new Bofors that had been placed on any flat surface. Since the battleship had been released from the yard, she had eleven days of firing practice at sea, salvoes at 27,000 yards were now tightly grouped in 200 yard spreads and usually straddling by the third shot without radar and the second with radar assistance.

    They were going back to war again. He had not been told his orders but the Pacific Fleet was getting its licks in when and where it could. The battle line was slowly rebuilding itself, eight Standards would soon be available at Pearl Harbor and one modern ship was gallivanting with the carriers. Rumors were swirling that at least Washington and perhaps Massachusetts would soon use the Canal to give the Pacific fleet a fast wing for the decisive battle.

    A few minutes later, the quiet chief said a few short words of observation and suggestion to a brand new ensign. That ensign earned himself some credit in the the chief's book when he thanked the man old enough to be his father for the good advice before publicly praising his division for a good turn on the last exercise. Hours later in the goat locker, Swanson smiled again as he heard from another chief that the same ensign had been using his chiefs' knowledge and wisdom to solve the few problematic men in his division. That young boy might be worth the time to develop.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  12. Viper91 Donor

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    One note, prior to 1958, the ranks of Senior Chief Petty Officer and Master Chief Petty Officer did not exist in the US Navy. Those ranks where not established until 1958. Chief Petty Officer, E-7, was the highest enlisted rank a sailor could obtain.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_petty_officer_(United_States)

    https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-72/pdf/STATUTE-72-Pg122-2.pdf

    Prior to that, if a Chief Petty Officer wanted to somehow move up into a higher paying job or position of authority, he would have to look at the Warrant Officer/Chief Warrant Officer path, which at the time only had two paygrades, or becoming a regular commissioned officer.

    That or of course become a limited duty officer, though he'd only be eligible to advance as far as a Lieutenant (O-3)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limited_duty_officer
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  13. mudhead Little-Known Member

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    More than the numbers of ships: the paucity of good port facilities anywhere but Hawaii, Australia, and NZ. For instance, there was not a single deep-water pier in IOTL's 1943-44 Macarthur campaign around New Guinea. Ships needed to be unloaded by lighters (of which there were insufficient), and at one stage there were over 140 ships in Milne Bay waiting to be unloaded. There was also a shortage of engineer units to construct facilities.

    D. Clayton James: The Years of MacArthur, has some stuff on this.
     
  14. Butchpfd Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes the young ones learn..and if lucky become J.G.s
     
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  15. MageOhki Well-Known Member

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    For Subic bay, not quite true. Remember, in peace time you can ship supplies forward on civilian ships. But you're right on the treaty bit. That basically made the Navy planners go "We can't hold" and not bother building up the base. I suggest you study some of the pre treaty plans for Subic, it even discusses prepo upwards of a year of supplies for the BATTLE fleet.


    I own that book, and while his basic point about that is true, to an extent, that's really only for 1942, 1943.

    And note: I did mention the 'last mile' problem, which covered that. What I meant by that quote was 'the difficulties in delivering the supplies directly to the main fronts"

    It isn't just unloading, it's securing the port long enough, it's proper combat loading, (CalBear had a fun bit in his PWR about that.) it's being able to store and hide the supplies, all that.

    Also: Hawaii (aka Pearl) was not a viable port for sustained combat operations in 1938.

    ONE of Richardson's complaints to FDR about basing the Fleet there, was that Pearl was in the process of building up to support, not yet ready.

    As for actual deep water ports, Dr. James was completely wrong. There were at least a half dozen. More, actually. But as noted above: "developed" with the docks/etal needed? Not so many. And MacA (And to be fair, I'm not saying at all he was wrong to do so.) bypassed most if not all. Ulthil, and several other assaults were precisely for their anchorages, nothing more, by Nimtz's direction, MacA wanted to skip them.

    I will say this, MacA lucked the hell out, in a lot of cases, on some of his ideas and plans. He did not pay attention to certain points or considerations that if his staff or the Navy didn't have already fixed would have destroyed his command at least 3 times.

    Using MacA on this board is not a good idea.
     
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    fester Well-Known Member

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    Near Port Moresby June 15, 1942

    Two hundred militiamen along with one hundred native porters and eighty reluctant mules slowly entered the Owen Stanley Mountains along a four foot wide footpath. The objective was to reinforce the small government police post at Kokoda and to guard the rough landing strip there.
     
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    fester Well-Known Member

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    Near Surabaya Java June 16, 1942

    Indian soldiers stayed low. They were all veterans now if they were not previously veterans of the victories in Egypt, Libya and Malaya. For the first time in weeks, Japanese artillery was matching the Commonwealth batteries shell for shell. The attack into the flank of the Japanese position was going nowhere. Stretcher bearers were waiting for the barrage to end before they ran out to recover the moaning men.

    Seventy miles away, the reason for the strength of that barrage was at sea again. Most of the Japanese convoy was already leaving the congested waters of the bight. A few ships were still unloading at the small port which was the Japanese lifeline to their supply system but the vast majority of the tonnage had already left and would be heading to Davao for another run. They had unloaded another regiment of infantry with a full regiment of field guns as well as a company of light tanks. Enough supplies were landed although they were not yet sorted to keep the reinforced division in the field for another month.

    The guns were silent for a moment. The silence was immediately broken as half a dozen words for mother were uttered by the soldiers who were unlucky enough to be hit by the randomness of artillery. The stretcher bearers went forward to do their duty.
     
  18. Crowbar Six Well-Known Member

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    If only someone could mine the channels to that port and then park a couple of subs to pick off the stragglers.
     
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  19. duckie Well-Known Member

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    Relax, knowing the "Single Destination" of all Japanese Supply Convoys, will enable the Allies to pick a lot of choke point along the way.
     
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  20. Some Bloke Well-Known Member

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    So the Allies are still in a better position in the East Indies than OTL.
     
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