Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
Just getting my oar in before the balloon goes up.

Re: Troop quality/experience - I'm not sure it helps a lot to discuss British/Indian/Australian performance in North Africa. The Japanese are neither the Afrika Korps nor the Italians, and the Western Desert has precious little in common with Malaysia other than heat and low troop density. The Allied forces in Malaya will not be facing a highly-mobile combined-arms force in the open desert, but will be fighting in very close terrain against high-morale infantry formations that specialise in infiltration and strongpoint defence, backed up by airpower and just enough armour to pose a breakthrough threat. Learning the wrong lessons is a real problem here - "having divisions fight as divisions" is not very useful advice when the division is spread across miles of front, fighting a dozen simultaneous battles against infiltration attempts and small-scale attacks of opportunity. Especially when the field telephone lines are down and you're communicating with half your units by runner.

The real problem facing the British in Malaya is not that "British army doctrine was bad" or that they didn't do combined arms as well as Rommel, but that most of the units in Malaya have no experience of anything, many are only partly trained and many (especially in the Indian Army) have been milked of their most promising officers and veteran NCOs. The British are going to have a serious deficiency in small-unit leadership in the early stages of the battle, and this is going to hurt when faced with Japanese infiltration tactics.

As far as veteran units go, experienced WW2 units tended to be made up of men who'd worked out that they bought a lottery ticket every time they stuck their heads up and whose reaction to meeting opposition tended to be to go to ground and either look for an unguarded route or wait for support weapons/artillery/armour/whatever to deal with it. This made for fewer disasters, but also had commanders chewing their moustaches about "lack of initiative".

Re: Wider strategy - we've discussed this before. Malaya/Sumatra/Java are a unit - if Malaya falls, Java and Sumatra are indefensible; if the Japanese advance through Java and cut the Sunda and Malacca Straights, then Malaya/Singapore cannot be supplied and will go the way of Bataan/Corregidor. The Allied position in the East Indies, especially if Mindanao/Davao falls quickly as OTL, is horrible - too much to defend, too little to do it with and facing an opponent with air superiority and superior mobility. So reinforcements will be needed, the trouble is that the British have very little to send, and they (and the Australians) have to choose not just between North Africa and Malaya but between Malaya and Java and Borneo and other potential hotspots like Burma or Rabaul. And denuding the UK (or the Australian mainland) of troops is not politically possible, and moving units between theatres takes months, with the risk of a crisis (Gazala!) brewing up when all your reserves are on ships headed somewhere else.

Re: The Americans - on the Allied side, it all comes down to the Yanks, because they're the only people with substantial reserves and the logistics to move them round the globe. OTL, the US were very committed to "Germany First", averse to distractions from the road through France to the Ruhr and strongly averse to committing US asserts to defend European colonialism in Asia. They also have no strategic interests in SE Asia other than the negative one of stopping Japanese access to the oil of Borneo and Sumatra. On the other hand, South-East Asia is where the fighting is, there's no prospect of a landing even in North Africa for months, and while Java is about as far from the US as it's possible to get, it's still better than Western China. And while the Japanese may appear to be everywhere at once, their ground forces are not very large (roughly 15 divisions plus supporting arms spread all the way from Burma to the Philippines) and two or three full-strength US divisions could be enough to tip the balance.

I don't see the USN sending major fleet units to the East Indies any time soon. It's hard to get them back in time if the Central Pacific blows up, they don't want to be fighting in close waters against Japanese land-based air and the problem with basing US ships out of British or Dutch ports is that they're likely to be short of all sorts of minor essentials - not just ammunition but things like spare parts and US grades of lubricant. Upgrading Singapore to the point where it can support a major USN taskforce long-term would be a major logistical effort that the USN is unlikely to put into a place that may be under new management in three months. This is only likely to change if the line stabilises and the US decides that the push on the Philippines will come from the East Indies rather than via the Solomons/New Guinea. OTL the US effectively redeveloped Brisbane and Sydney into major US bases; TTL they may do the same in Surabaya or Singapore - but only if they're seen as secure.

I think, ultimately, it will end up on Roosevelt's desk. If Malaya and Java can last six months, then US Army has resources (all the troops that were sent to Australia OTL), and with hindsight the East Indies look like a great place to set up the sort or aerial meatgrinder that wrecked Japanese naval aviation in the Solomons OTL. But it's a long way from the road to Tokyo, let alone Berlin, no-one American wants to play second fiddle and the President will have a lot of people in his ear warning him not to let the Limeys trick him into sending US boys to die for British interests.
Hi Merrick, I was pleased to read this as it means I'm not alone in my line of strategic thinking. The problem of writing a theatre wide ATL, is the ripples can be huge, and it can be difficult to see a realistic alternative to the historical. To hold the Malay Barrier, the American have to come, the British/Dutch with reinforcements, especially Australians, can hold out a bit longer than they did historically, but the attritional war fought in Solomon's can only be done with American involvement. And I think you're spot on with it landing at Roosevelts desk. So what is he going to do will be a discovery for us all, many posts down the line.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
The usual meal Japanese troops had for breakfast was barley rice, miso soup and pickled vegetables. If it was the morning of a major operation, though, they would be treated to the celebratory 'sekihan' - sweet rice cooked with red beans and garnished with black sesame - in lieu of the barley rice, and perhaps get treated to some meat or fish along with the veggies.
Hi Sekhmet_D, I'd like to think your right, because a lot of these boys aren't going to see the New Year. But they were really crowded onto those transports, far more heavily than any Allied troops would be carried, I wonder if provision had been made for that meal.
 
Hi Sekhmet_D, I'd like to think your right, because a lot of these boys aren't going to see the New Year. But they were really crowded onto those transports, far more heavily than any Allied troops would be carried, I wonder if provision had been made for that meal.
Maybe in that case they'll only treat the officers to the sekihan lol. Everyone else gets the same old. I wouldn't put it past them; it totally sounds like something the high command might do.
 
Pretty sure the Shell refinery at Pladjoe / Pladju produced 100 octane. Less sure about USN fuel requirements but believe they did not switch to 100 octane until Hellcat / Corsair
Yes those two refineries were upgraded to produce 100 Octane and were operational by May 1940. I think you are right on the USN fuels, they certainly went through a phase of using 90 octane as an intermediate step.

That said British and US fuels were sort of incompatible until late 1942 anyway. Octane is an overly simplified way to measure a fuel not least because you can produce two different fuels that will both test as "100 Octane" but behave very differently. The US is specifying a maximum 2% aromatics in their 100 Octane, the UK demands a minimum 20% in theirs. There are pros and cons to both approaches but they are different. Worst case is if you put UK fuel in a US aircraft you could corrode away the rubber seals in the fuel system, while if you put US fuel in UK aircraft you could blow up the engine at high boost.

This all got fixed, a joint standard was defined by January 1943 and everyone made sure all their aircraft could use it, but it did take a while and there will be a fight about it. US Refineries don't want to adapt to producing an 'impure' fuel but the British don't want to lose the extra power from the rich mixture response you get from all those aromatics.
 
Just getting my oar in before the balloon goes up.

Re: Troop quality/experience - I'm not sure it helps a lot to discuss British/Indian/Australian performance in North Africa. The Japanese are neither the Afrika Korps nor the Italians, and the Western Desert has precious little in common with Malaysia other than heat and low troop density. The Allied forces in Malaya will not be facing a highly-mobile combined-arms force in the open desert, but will be fighting in very close terrain against high-morale infantry formations that specialise in infiltration and strongpoint defence, backed up by airpower and just enough armour to pose a breakthrough threat. Learning the wrong lessons is a real problem here - "having divisions fight as divisions" is not very useful advice when the division is spread across miles of front, fighting a dozen simultaneous battles against infiltration attempts and small-scale attacks of opportunity. Especially when the field telephone lines are down and you're communicating with half your units by runner.

The real problem facing the British in Malaya is not that "British army doctrine was bad" or that they didn't do combined arms as well as Rommel, but that most of the units in Malaya have no experience of anything, many are only partly trained and many (especially in the Indian Army) have been milked of their most promising officers and veteran NCOs. The British are going to have a serious deficiency in small-unit leadership in the early stages of the battle, and this is going to hurt when faced with Japanese infiltration tactics.

As far as veteran units go, experienced WW2 units tended to be made up of men who'd worked out that they bought a lottery ticket every time they stuck their heads up and whose reaction to meeting opposition tended to be to go to ground and either look for an unguarded route or wait for support weapons/artillery/armour/whatever to deal with it. This made for fewer disasters, but also had commanders chewing their moustaches about "lack of initiative".

Re: Wider strategy - we've discussed this before. Malaya/Sumatra/Java are a unit - if Malaya falls, Java and Sumatra are indefensible; if the Japanese advance through Java and cut the Sunda and Malacca Straights, then Malaya/Singapore cannot be supplied and will go the way of Bataan/Corregidor. The Allied position in the East Indies, especially if Mindanao/Davao falls quickly as OTL, is horrible - too much to defend, too little to do it with and facing an opponent with air superiority and superior mobility. So reinforcements will be needed, the trouble is that the British have very little to send, and they (and the Australians) have to choose not just between North Africa and Malaya but between Malaya and Java and Borneo and other potential hotspots like Burma or Rabaul. And denuding the UK (or the Australian mainland) of troops is not politically possible, and moving units between theatres takes months, with the risk of a crisis (Gazala!) brewing up when all your reserves are on ships headed somewhere else.

Re: The Americans - on the Allied side, it all comes down to the Yanks, because they're the only people with substantial reserves and the logistics to move them round the globe. OTL, the US were very committed to "Germany First", averse to distractions from the road through France to the Ruhr and strongly averse to committing US asserts to defend European colonialism in Asia. They also have no strategic interests in SE Asia other than the negative one of stopping Japanese access to the oil of Borneo and Sumatra. On the other hand, South-East Asia is where the fighting is, there's no prospect of a landing even in North Africa for months, and while Java is about as far from the US as it's possible to get, it's still better than Western China. And while the Japanese may appear to be everywhere at once, their ground forces are not very large (roughly 15 divisions plus supporting arms spread all the way from Burma to the Philippines) and two or three full-strength US divisions could be enough to tip the balance.

I don't see the USN sending major fleet units to the East Indies any time soon. It's hard to get them back in time if the Central Pacific blows up, they don't want to be fighting in close waters against Japanese land-based air and the problem with basing US ships out of British or Dutch ports is that they're likely to be short of all sorts of minor essentials - not just ammunition but things like spare parts and US grades of lubricant. Upgrading Singapore to the point where it can support a major USN taskforce long-term would be a major logistical effort that the USN is unlikely to put into a place that may be under new management in three months. This is only likely to change if the line stabilises and the US decides that the push on the Philippines will come from the East Indies rather than via the Solomons/New Guinea. OTL the US effectively redeveloped Brisbane and Sydney into major US bases; TTL they may do the same in Surabaya or Singapore - but only if they're seen as secure.

I think, ultimately, it will end up on Roosevelt's desk. If Malaya and Java can last six months, then US Army has resources (all the troops that were sent to Australia OTL), and with hindsight the East Indies look like a great place to set up the sort or aerial meatgrinder that wrecked Japanese naval aviation in the Solomons OTL. But it's a long way from the road to Tokyo, let alone Berlin, no-one American wants to play second fiddle and the President will have a lot of people in his ear warning him not to let the Limeys trick him into sending US boys to die for British interests.
Excellent summation of the situation on both the strategic and tactical levels. Moving a few more brigades to Malaya even if their training is better than OTL doesn't solve the basic problems facing the Commonwealth forces. Their army isn't prepared to deal with the light infantry infiltration tactics of the IJA and will have a hard time dealing with them. The Japanese also know the British order of battle and deployment and that they have radar in Northern Mayala and will adjust their plans accordingly. They aren't locked into what they did in the OTL.

The plussed up naval forces are still inferior to the IJN forces in the area in ether a day or night battle. Park can't refight the Battle of Britain in Malaya. Just having radar sets can't change the imbalance in both the quality and numbers of aircraft in theater. Having more Hurricane Mk IIC's won't tip the scales in the air.

Your assessment of the American reaction in Washington is spot on. No carriers are going to the restricted waters of the DEI, and to shift from Australia as a major base they'd need to believe it was possible to hold the DEI and have the time to do it. Major American forces didn't reach Australia till the summer of 1942. Before Midway the major American concern was reinforcing defenses in an ark from Alaska to Australia and shoring up the defense of the Western Hemisphere vs. the Germans. The DEI was a big stretch that could break the rubber band. FDR had already written off the Philippines where the U.S. had a long historical commitment, they had no ties to the DEI or Malaya.
 
Yes those two refineries were upgraded to produce 100 Octane and were operational by May 1940. I think you are right on the USN fuels, they certainly went through a phase of using 90 octane as an intermediate step.

That said British and US fuels were sort of incompatible until late 1942 anyway. Octane is an overly simplified way to measure a fuel not least because you can produce two different fuels that will both test as "100 Octane" but behave very differently. The US is specifying a maximum 2% aromatics in their 100 Octane, the UK demands a minimum 20% in theirs. There are pros and cons to both approaches but they are different. Worst case is if you put UK fuel in a US aircraft you could corrode away the rubber seals in the fuel system, while if you put US fuel in UK aircraft you could blow up the engine at high boost.

This all got fixed, a joint standard was defined by January 1943 and everyone made sure all their aircraft could use it, but it did take a while and there will be a fight about it. US Refineries don't want to adapt to producing an 'impure' fuel but the British don't want to lose the extra power from the rich mixture response you get from all those aromatics.
I'm not sure about the British having such big problems with American fuel. The RAF was getting American 100 Octane fuel leading up to the Battle of Britain. The performance of British fighters was significantly improved. I don't know if the Americans used British standard fuel in say Australia or if they brought their own. If the refineries in the DEI were producing 100 Octane, I would think it was U.S. standard, so I assume the RAF was using it in Malaya.
 
Re: The Americans - on the Allied side, it all comes down to the Yanks, because they're the only people with substantial reserves and the logistics to move them round the globe. OTL, the US were very committed to "Germany First", averse to distractions from the road through France to the Ruhr and strongly averse to committing US asserts to defend European colonialism in Asia. They also have no strategic interests in SE Asia other than the negative one of stopping Japanese access to the oil of Borneo and Sumatra. On the other hand, South-East Asia is where the fighting is, there's no prospect of a landing even in North Africa for months, and while Java is about as far from the US as it's possible to get, it's still better than Western China. And while the Japanese may appear to be everywhere at once, their ground forces are not very large (roughly 15 divisions plus supporting arms spread all the way from Burma to the Philippines) and two or three full-strength US divisions could be enough to tip the balance.
I agree with most of this but do have a quibble here. The US did have a strategic interest in South East Asia in that it was the best way to supply China. The Nationalists had a great PR operation and the missionary and business communities that saw opportunities in China. They supplied the Flying Tigers/AVG, later the 14th Air Force and would eventually be flying supplies over the hump. The Burma road was difficult, but much easier than the Himalayas.

While I agree that the US was uninterested in supporting European Empires in the region, it did want to support Chiang's China.
 
Veteran troops tend be be less “gung-ho” and more deliberate in their approach. They may more fully develop a situation before carrying through a course of action than a less experienced folks. This can be the result of equal parts learned caution, experience and sufficient familiarity with the battlefield to actual observe and assess stimuli before acting. Veteran troops also tend to reassess the situation more than less experienced troops and show a readiness to change approaches in many cases. After all, these are the survivors of a pretty brutal selection process. This willingness to observe, assess, and reassess is one factor in making veteran troops harder to panic and more likely to accomplish a mission.
During the American Civil War @ Antietam Creek was the "Burnside's Bridge". There were myriad failed assaults over that bridge. Numerous orations by commanders inspiring the troops to charge to their deaths. The final rallying exhortation ended with a reply from the ranks. Basically, "Colonel, if we take the bridge, do we get our whiskey?" "Why yes, boys". The rest was history. The bridge was taken as well as the heights beyond.

It's an old question. What do they want to kill us for today? Is it another clusterf*&k like yesterday? Is it a goatF*&k like you're planning for tomorrow? Or is there something
achievable here, worth the risk. Essentially personal Risk Management.

My father passed through a checkpoint at Malmedy, in it's withdrawal from Eupen to Spa that first day during Wacht Am Rhein. He remembered a US MP officer. warning about
Germans rumored in the area. That was about 1345 local, I believe. This was maybe 30-45 minutes before the infamous incident.

The German intent was meant to intimidate the inexperienced US Troops. It had the opposite effect. By massacring surrendering troops, about every future encounter was met by resistance. This cost time as a fifteen minute skirmish became a hours long delay. The Germans were going to kill you anyways, so you might as well take some with you. That were Chester Wilmott's thoughts.

Perhaps passing the word along that the IJA forced the IA to eat beef or pork, before executing captured troopers has a "Malayamedy Effect".
 
Perhaps passing the word along that the IJA forced the IA to eat beef or pork, before executing captured troopers has a "Malayamedy Effect".
I was well aware of the IJA's penchant for gratuitous executions, but the part about beef and pork is news to me. This sounds more like something out of the Indian Mutiny.
 
I agree with most of this but do have a quibble here. The US did have a strategic interest in South East Asia in that it was the best way to supply China. The Nationalists had a great PR operation and the missionary and business communities that saw opportunities in China. They supplied the Flying Tigers/AVG, later the 14th Air Force and would eventually be flying supplies over the hump. The Burma road was difficult, but much easier than the Himalayas.

While I agree that the US was uninterested in supporting European Empires in the region, it did want to support Chiang's China.
Madame Chiang with Pearl Buck were formidable to the American Public.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
Pretty sure the Shell refinery at Pladjoe / Pladju produced 100 octane. Less sure about USN fuel requirements but believe they did not switch to 100 octane until Hellcat / Corsair
And
Yes those two refineries were upgraded to produce 100 Octane and were operational by May 1940. I think you are right on the USN fuels, they certainly went through a phase of using 90 octane as an intermediate step.

That said British and US fuels were sort of incompatible until late 1942 anyway. Octane is an overly simplified way to measure a fuel not least because you can produce two different fuels that will both test as "100 Octane" but behave very differently. The US is specifying a maximum 2% aromatics in their 100 Octane, the UK demands a minimum 20% in theirs. There are pros and cons to both approaches but they are different. Worst case is if you put UK fuel in a US aircraft you could corrode away the rubber seals in the fuel system, while if you put US fuel in UK aircraft you could blow up the engine at high boost.

This all got fixed, a joint standard was defined by January 1943 and everyone made sure all their aircraft could use it, but it did take a while and there will be a fight about it. US Refineries don't want to adapt to producing an 'impure' fuel but the British don't want to lose the extra power from the rich mixture response you get from all those aromatics.
As well as
I'm not sure about the British having such big problems with American fuel. The RAF was getting American 100 Octane fuel leading up to the Battle of Britain. The performance of British fighters was significantly improved. I don't know if the Americans used British standard fuel in say Australia or if they brought their own. If the refineries in the DEI were producing 100 Octane, I would think it was U.S. standard, so I assume the RAF was using it in Malaya.
Hi Derek Pullem, El Pip and Belisarius II, thank you all for this, but I'm still a little puzzled. Can the Shell refinery at Pladjoe provide 100 Octane for the British Hurricanes, USAAF P40's and if they were ever to get there, USN carrier aircraft.
 
MWI 41120620 Matador Is On

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
1941, Saturday 06 December, 20.00 Singapore Time

Lord Gort put the intelligence report on the desk, leaned back in his chair, and sighed. French sources had reported that a small troop convoy had sailed late yesterday from St Jacques, carrying infantry heavily laden with ammunition and supplies. The convoy in itself wasn’t a major threat, but if you added it to the jigsaw, it fit in easily with the large one they had been tracking from Hainan Island. And it added to the growing number of concerns that were arising. He felt he was sitting on a ticking time bomb. Surely the Japanese meant business: if not a direct invasion of Malaya, they were at least going for Thailand. And once established there, it would be all too easy to mount a powerful attack on Malaya.

Just before 10am, a Dutch Dornier DO 24 flying boat had sighted a big submarine heading towards the Singapore Straits, which had crash dived before she could be identified. An hour later, a second Dutch Dornier had sighted a Japanese ship north of Pulo Tioman, off eastern Johore. On closer inspection, she looked like a converted minelayer, clearly with a number of mines on deck. When discovered, the ship had turned east. Dutch planes had sighted her several more times during the day, each time further east, suggesting her mission had been aborted.

Then at lunchtime, a Hudson of RAAF No 1 squadron, out of Kota Bharu, at the extreme edge of its patrol off southern Indo-China, had sighted first a small convoy of three ships (no doubt the St Jacques convoy), then at the turn of its leg another convoy of 25 transports, escorted by six cruisers and 10 destroyers, and ten minutes later a third convoy of 10 transports, with two cruisers and 10 destroyers. All three convoys were sailing west, towards the tip of Indo-China.

More recon planes had been vectored to that area, but the weather was filthy, and a number of flights had been cancelled, or aircraft had to turn back. Later, a second RAAF Hudson had seen a few ships sailing west, making out a transport and a cruiser, which had fired a few shots at her, before everybody disappeared into the rain clouds.

Then Phillips had relayed a signal from HMS Regulus, part of the three-submarine picket line up near Saigon along with the Dutch subs O-19 and O-20. Regulus had sighted two large convoys passing westward, then was forced to dive and was depth charged by Japanese destroyers (at least 20 explosions counted, but fortunately she was at a lower depth, and hadn’t received any damage). After waiting well over an hour, she had cautiously surfaced and got off this quick signal.

Gort had already moved his forces up to a mere four hours’ notice that morning, to give him as long as possible to consider the decision, but time had run out now. If they were going to go, he had to say so now, to give his forces a realistic chance of completing their missions. His eyes closed, head back, he played it through his head again. "They are coming. It is real. The invasion is on. I just know it. But Christ, God forbid I get this wrong. What if it is just the Japanese posturing? With Thai neutrality violated, perhaps American public opinion will turn against Britain, and we fight the war alone, with no help from the US, and lose."

He felt the weight of the world was on him. "I could play it safe and stay my hand. No one could blame me, given the possible consequences of the decision... No. No. I'm right: the Japanese are coming. If not for Malaya, then at least Thailand, and we have to meet them there!" His body sprang forward, his right hand slapping down hard on the desk as he called for his Adjutant. "Execute MATADOR!" he almost shouted. The word went out: phone calls, telegrams, coded radio signals, dispatch riders. "MATADOR is on, zero hour is midnight!"
 
I'm not sure about the British having such big problems with American fuel.
The RAF had teams 'doping' US spec fuel, essentially adding in the aromatics to get the needed 'rich mixture' response. They were doing this well into 1943 as old stocks were used up and before the entire supply chain had moved over to 100/130
The RAF was getting American 100 Octane fuel leading up to the Battle of Britain.
Not really. A small proportion might have come from US based refineries, but they were producing BAM (British Air Ministry) 100 Octane not USA formula 100 Octane. I believe this was at least in part due to oil source, the US refineries were owned by Shell and used Venezuelan heavy crude, which had a high percentage of the aromatics that BAM 100 required.

Also on timing the RAF was starting testing in 1937 and serious stockpiling started in early 1938. From the start there was a very deliberate policy not to be dependent on US supply for practical and foreign exchange reasons.
If the refineries in the DEI were producing 100 Octane, I would think it was U.S. standard, so I assume the RAF was using it in Malaya.
You would assume incorrectly. The Shell refineries were contracted to produce British 100 Octane, because that was what the local crude was suitable for.

Hence post Pearl Harbor the US forces in the Pacific had to switch over to using BAM 100 as that was all that was available. They could take no benefit from the high aromatic content (they had been designed around US fuels) but did suffer from their rubber elements being attacked and degraded.

Hi Derek Pullem, El Pip and Belisarius II, thank you all for this, but I'm still a little puzzled. Can the Shell refinery at Pladjoe provide 100 Octane for the British Hurricanes, USAAF P40's and if they were ever to get there, USN carrier aircraft.
It absolutely can make the fuel. It had been producing 100 Octane since early 1940 at least if not earlier.

That fuel will work in a P-40 and USN carrier aircraft, but it will heavily degrade any rubber seals/gaskets/self-sealing fuel tanks. It certainly did in the brief period US planes had to use it in OTL.

SD Heron's Book "Development of Aviation Fuels";
SNIP.JPG
 
I was well aware of the IJA's penchant for gratuitous executions, but the part about beef and pork is news to me. This sounds more like something out of the Indian Mutiny.
I have to admit my ignorance here. What I am suggesting is that perhaps there are prejudices or infamy's that can be the source of controlled rage
towards the Japanese enemy. The Indian Mutiny or First War of Independence had a trigger. If the British can introduce this as some form of Asian
oppressor is far worse than the status quo?
 
and

as well as

and finally

Hi Ihagambia, Cryhavoc101, Belisarius and Errolwi, thank you for this, yes my ATL if successful in holding the Japanese onslaught, has to have a major impact on North Africa. IMO, the starting point for who goes where and when is, as Errolwi says, shipping, the Allies are maxed out, and the demands of an opening war with Japan have just increased those demands. Which is why I continually circle back to how does the Germany First strategy look going forward.
 
I was well aware of the IJA's penchant for gratuitous executions, but the part about beef and pork is news to me. This sounds more like something out of the Indian Mutiny.
I think Nevarinemex is suggesting that the British lie to their men about that. It seems the well-known acts of Japanese brutality had the effect of generating more fear than anger in the Allied ranks. Most men just wanted to get away as fast as possible leading to the refrain, "England for the English, Australia for the Australians, but Malaya for any son of bitch who wants it." The Indian troops also had little motivation to fight in Malaya and had serious moral problems.

If American troops end up in Malaya or the DEI, I think they'd have similar issues, they'd rather be fighting in the Philippines that at least had an American connection. It took a while to get used to the idea of fighting in God forsaken places that most men never heard of. Also, most GI's, in early 1942 have no kind of jungle training and aren't used to the climate of SEA. It was a lot easier getting used to Australia than the DEI.
 
1941, Saturday 06 December, 20.00 Singapore Time

Lord Gort put the intelligence report on the desk, leaned back in his chair, and sighed. French sources had reported that a small troop convoy had sailed late yesterday from St Jacques, carrying infantry heavily laden with ammunition and supplies. The convoy in itself wasn’t a major threat, but if you added it to the jigsaw, it fit in easily with the large one they had been tracking from Hainan Island. And it added to the growing number of concerns that were arising. He felt he was sitting on a ticking time bomb. Surely the Japanese meant business: if not a direct invasion of Malaya, they were at least going for Thailand. And once established there, it would be all too easy to mount a powerful attack on Malaya.

Just before 10am, a Dutch Dornier DO 24 flying boat had sighted a big submarine heading towards the Singapore Straits, which had crash dived before she could be identified. An hour later, a second Dutch Dornier had sighted a Japanese ship north of Pulo Tioman, off eastern Johore. On closer inspection, she looked like a converted minelayer, clearly with a number of mines on deck. When discovered, the ship had turned east. Dutch planes had sighted her several more times during the day, each time further east, suggesting her mission had been aborted.

Then at lunchtime, a Hudson of RAAF No 1 squadron, out of Kota Bharu, at the extreme edge of its patrol off southern Indo-China, had sighted first a small convoy of three ships (no doubt the St Jacques convoy), then at the turn of its leg another convoy of 25 transports, escorted by six cruisers and 10 destroyers, and ten minutes later a third convoy of 10 transports, with two cruisers and 10 destroyers. All three convoys were sailing west, towards the tip of Indo-China.

More recon planes had been vectored to that area, but the weather was filthy, and a number of flights had been cancelled, or aircraft had to turn back. Later, a second RAAF Hudson had seen a few ships sailing west, making out a transport and a cruiser, which had fired a few shots at her, before everybody disappeared into the rain clouds.

Then Phillips had relayed a signal from HMS Regulus, part of the three-submarine picket line up near Saigon along with the Dutch subs O-19 and O-20. Regulus had sighted two large convoys passing westward, then was forced to dive and was depth charged by Japanese destroyers (at least 20 explosions counted, but fortunately she was at a lower depth, and hadn’t received any damage). After waiting well over an hour, she had cautiously surfaced and got off this quick signal.

Gort had already moved his forces up to a mere four hours’ notice that morning, to give him as long as possible to consider the decision, but time had run out now. If they were going to go, he had to say so now, to give his forces a realistic chance of completing their missions. His eyes closed, head back, he played it through his head again. "They are coming. It is real. The invasion is on. I just know it. But Christ, God forbid I get this wrong. What if it is just the Japanese posturing? With Thai neutrality violated, perhaps American public opinion will turn against Britain, and we fight the war alone, with no help from the US, and lose."

He felt the weight of the world was on him. "I could play it safe and stay my hand. No one could blame me, given the possible consequences of the decision... No. No. I'm right: the Japanese are coming. If not for Malaya, then at least Thailand, and we have to meet them there!" His body sprang forward, his right hand slapping down hard on the desk as he called for his Adjutant. "Execute MATADOR!" he almost shouted. The word went out: phone calls, telegrams, coded radio signals, dispatch riders. "MATADOR is on, zero hour is midnight!"
So, the die is cast.
 
As an FYI, The F2A Buffalo, and the F3F and SBC series used as a minimum 87 octane, with 100 preferred , All F4F and F2Ms used 100 to 130 octane. Fuel was to meet American standards. All fuel coming from the U,S, West Coast met those standards. Primarily USAAF aircraft in the ABDA and later SWPacific Area use UK fuel mixes.

For an advanced class on USN logistics get the book( inPDF)Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil, the Story of Navy Logistics. Available free from the Navy History and Heritage Command. Www.history. navy.mil
 
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