Rearm the ANZACs for the Pacific War.

It's 1933 and the governments of Australia and New Zealand are getting twitchy about the ambitions of the Empire of Japan. You are tasked with making recommendations for how their militaries can prepare for a potential war. It is of course assumed that the Mother Country will be fighting alongside them but it is requested that they are able to rely on their own resources as much as possible and steps be taken to maximise the input of local industrial capacity.
 
The first problem to solve then is the local industrial capacity, given that it wasn't all that much. Decide what weapons/vehicles you want to build, then buy sufficient machine tools to do so. You'll probably need to import some specialists to get production going earlier than might be the case without them as well.
 
Small arms, Lithgow produced SMLEs, VIckers and Brens IOTL.

Field artillery and small to medium caliber naval artillery (~<4in), from 1928 onward there was a suitable factory set up at Maribyrnong. Just need to provide the funds for some significant production.

Shipbuilding... Again, Cockatoo Island was fairly well setup (having built vessels up to cruiser size) but needs funds and time to tool back up. IOTL production of sloops started 1933, probably not that much that can be done.

Armour... Australia had a handful Medium Mark IIs IOTL. The various rail workshops IOTL proved capable of building the AC series cruiser tanks... COuld probably provide a good basis for small scale production of Vickers 6-ton derivatives?
 
With small arms it makes sense to keep to British standard weapons as much as possible, but given the terrain they may have to fight in I would look at carbines and smgs as well.
Artillery. I'd look at mountain guns that can be carried by mules through the bush on the islands.
 
Small arms, Lithgow produced SMLEs, VIckers and Brens IOTL.

Field artillery and small to medium caliber naval artillery (~<4in), from 1928 onward there was a suitable factory set up at Maribyrnong. Just need to provide the funds for some significant production.

Shipbuilding... Again, Cockatoo Island was fairly well setup (having built vessels up to cruiser size) but needs funds and time to tool back up. IOTL production of sloops started 1933, probably not that much that can be done.

Armour... Australia had a handful Medium Mark IIs IOTL. The various rail workshops IOTL proved capable of building the AC series cruiser tanks... COuld probably provide a good basis for small scale production of Vickers 6-ton derivatives?
Looks good, but I don't see much need for any sort of armor. Warfare in the Pacific, where I presume most of this war is occuring for the ANZAC lads, makes armor a liability in most cases.
 
The first problem to solve then is the local industrial capacity, given that it wasn't all that much. Decide what weapons/vehicles you want to build, then buy sufficient machine tools to do so. You'll probably need to import some specialists to get production going earlier than might be the case without them as well.
Pretty much this. Neither ANZAC nation was really industrialized at the time and to my knowledge imported virtually all non agricultural manufactured goods from abroad. So you pretty much need to boost either or both nations industrial capacity. Perhaps higher tariffs on imported manufactured goods? Though I'm not sure how well that will play economically or politically in either nation.

Even with that boost you will still probably need to make the most of not a lot.

Considering the potential usage of ANZAC troops in tropical jungle conditions a SMG could prove pretty useful. I know a lot of Aussies here are very fond of the Owen gun but it seems like you'd really want a cheaper to produce and simpler design. Something like the STEN should be easily within the capabilities of the Aussies. Though personally I'd go with something like the US M3 "Grease Gun" since it seems to be nearly as cheap and simple to produce as the Sten while being better in a number of ways.

Another option which would probably be pretty useful would be to acknowledge that the ANZACs can't hope to produce everything they need and that with mounting tensions in Europe it's possible that GB's attention and resources might be devoted towards Europe. It's sounds horrible but from Britain's viewpoint keeping Nazis or Soviets out of Paris (let alone London) is a hell of a lot more important then keeping the Japanese out of Sydney or Wellington (Not that either is necessarily likely). So making plans to look outside of the Commonwealth/Empire for armaments, munitions, and potentially loans in the event of a war makes a lot of sense (though won't be popular in London). Off the top of my head the only Industrialized non commonwealth nation that fits the bill is the US. Even if large orders aren't forthcoming in the early and mid 30's it makes sense to build relationships with American firms in order to potentially rapidly order new production or purchase existing merchandise.

Similarly planning on how to fight alongside the US would probably be a good thing to say the least. Spend more effort on war planning on how to fight alongside the US and how to properly work together. While large scale international war games probably aren't doable in the cash strapped 30's you could theoretically at least have a larger exchange program where American/Anzac officers and senior NCO's spend some time surrounded by each other's armed forces.

If I recall correctly Australia scrapped or dumped into the sea large quantities of WW1 surplus ordnance and munitions to save money on storage costs around this time. Just not doing that could prove helpful. Similarly a lot of countries at this time are trying to sell or scrap vast quantities of WW1 surplus. The stuff might not be as good as brand new but it will be literal pennies on the dollar. Making plans to purchase said obsolescent gear and then upgrade at least some of it makes sense to me. Upgrading existing gear (as long as it's more basic) should be easier for Australia's limited industry then building new.

Oh and as a minor thing how about starting the "Flying Doctors" program early and using it as an excuse to build or at least plan out a number of small airfields and sea plane/flying boat facilities along the North Coast and other strategic locations. You could also probably spin it as a further Depression relief effort by using something along the lines of the US Civilian Conservation Corp. Namely having unemployed young men volunteer to do the work for some pay. Perhaps do some modest increases in certain strategic infrastructure using the same group. It's not really "A military build up" since the facilities have at least a nominal civilian use and the construction program might help a little with the unemployment rate while being relatively cheap.
 
>funding

You do remember what the banks did to Lang and the bourgeois parties did to the economy?

*Any* state or federal expansion of productive capacity or production for war or infrastructure gets you another Lang coup.

Therefore, in order to best serve imperial interests Lang Labor would have had to have conducted a coup d’état. Or maybe a nationalist newguard counter coup installing fascism. Because business as usual, even Labor business as usual, will not get you the deep fundamental investments needed.

There is no room to manoeuvre here. You either get a left labourite Australia that builds capitalism for war or the same useless shitheap until Federal labour is brought in to win the war.
 
With small arms it makes sense to keep to British standard weapons as much as possible, but given the terrain they may have to fight in I would look at carbines and smgs as well.
Artillery. I'd look at mountain guns that can be carried by mules through the bush on the islands.
Yeah I was thinking of the Aussies developing the M3 Grease Gun. Not much more expensive or hard to produce then the STEN but seems like it had a number of superior advantages. The question is in what caliber?

Sticking largely with British small arms (hence keeping .303) but do the Brits have any existing calibers that would work with a SMG? They haven't adopted the Hi Power yet so 9mm is out.

I was kind of thinking go with .45 ACP based on more then anything else the fact that they can most likely purchase it in large quantities from the US. At the time they can also probably buy large quantities of US WW1 surplus .45 meaning cheap training. To me at least the particular caliber (and it's advantages versus others) matters less then it's ability to be sourced easily
 
The Owen was extremely cheap to make, so getting it into service earlier is mostly getting the Australian Army to recognise a need for the weapon and decide on an appropriate round rather than waffling about like OTL.
 
Yeah I was thinking of the Aussies developing the M3 Grease Gun. Not much more expensive or hard to produce then the STEN but seems like it had a number of superior advantages. The question is in what caliber?

Sticking largely with British small arms (hence keeping .303) but do the Brits have any existing calibers that would work with a SMG? They haven't adopted the Hi Power yet so 9mm is out.

I was kind of thinking go with .45 ACP based on more then anything else the fact that they can most likely purchase it in large quantities from the US. At the time they can also probably buy large quantities of US WW1 surplus .45 meaning cheap training. To me at least the particular caliber (and it's advantages versus others) matters less then it's ability to be sourced easily
Not sure why .45 would be more likely than 9mm as both are new to Empire forces, with hindsight a Sterling type ie a better Sten (simplified MP 18/28) with say the Mause C96 Schnellfeuer double stack magazine?
 
It's 1933 and the governments of Australia and New Zealand are getting twitchy about the ambitions of the Empire of Japan. You are tasked with making recommendations for how their militaries can prepare for a potential war. It is of course assumed that the Mother Country will be fighting alongside them but it is requested that they are able to rely on their own resources as much as possible and steps be taken to maximise the input of local industrial capacity.
Oh and as a minor thing how about starting the "Flying Doctors" program early and using it as an excuse to build or at least plan out a number of small airfields and sea plane/flying boat facilities along the North Coast and other strategic locations.
I think the biggest is to go for aircraft production an early Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) from USA tooling would be best IMO, leading to say licencing the DC3 and Consolidated PBY Catalina for QANTAS and RAAF service with an order for a full factory made with US supplied tooling including a side order for production line for Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasps.....

This can be expanded to also include producing Curtiss P-36 Hawk and or Grumman F4F Wildcat later as rearmament builds up....

Unlike GB tooling orders of US tooling would not be slowed by rearmament until far later, but if you are starting in 33 then you might start with GB tooling for a trainer to build experience first?
 
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It's 1933 and the governments of Australia and New Zealand are getting twitchy about the ambitions of the Empire of Japan. You are tasked with making recommendations for how their militaries can prepare for a potential war. It is of course assumed that the Mother Country will be fighting alongside them but it is requested that they are able to rely on their own resources as much as possible and steps be taken to maximise the input of local industrial capacity.
There is mileage in sourcing heavier equipment from the motherland where the far greater industrial might allows for superior products in terms of quality and quantity as well as the time it takes to build it makes sense.

However as the OP points out this becomes problematic in times of war when the Motherland ability to supply equipment to Australia might suffer from competing resource issues.

To that end it does make sense for Australia to have the ability to build certain items in line with the rest of the Imperial armaments.

So I would certainly do the following - taking into account its the mid 30s with the equipment coming into service in the late 30s

Bren gun production (as per OTL)

Prepare to switch to No4 Lee Enfield Production and later No5 Production as soon as possible - the later Lee Enfield's were designed to be easier to make using modern techniques - OTL Australia did not switch production and continued to produce the SMLE - the No5 despite its undeserved reputation for having a wondering zero should replace the No4 ASAP. In the interim before the No4 is adopted upgrade existing rifles and any new production to No1 Mk V with the rear aperture sight during the late 30s

Vickers MMG production (as per OTL) - the Australian army retained Vickers at both Battalion and also like the rest of the Commonwealth forces had independent MG companies within the Division - thus a given Australian Division had more Vickers MMGs than its commonwealth peers.

2" Mortar (Not sure if Australia produced their own - do so if not)

3" Mortar (Not sure if Australia produced their own - do so if not)

3.7" Howitzer - this gun makes a lot of sense for the Aussies until the beginning of the war and beyond Australian forces are not going to be mechanised and would rely on Horse and mule for transportation. The 3.7 breaks down quickly into 8 parts and can be put together in 3 minutes.

Bofors 40/60 (As per OTL)

AFVs and heavier equipment

Build Universal carrier as OTL

Buy the licence for the Vickers 6 Ton Type B (2 man gun turret) and develop a version to use the Australian made 3.7" Howitzer, using the home made Cadillac V8. To be built at the New South Wales Railroad company - 120 tanks are built between 1935 and 1940 before production switches to the Valentine

25 pounder gun - as per OTL but start earlier if possible - to be built by Charles Ruwolt Pty Ltd, of Richmond, Victoria, and General-Motors Holden's Ltd, of Pagewood, New South Wales.

Stand up production of the Valentine in line with the Canadians i.e. during 1941 - having already been building the Vickers 6 Ton tank (Which was actually closer to 8 tons) - the builders at NSWRC have a good relationship with Vickers and are able to leverage that relationship to rapidly switch production and again build 'CS' variants with the 3.7" Howitzer as well as the 2" AT gun armed tanks.
 
Not sure why .45 would be more likely than 9mm as both are new to Empire forces, with hindsight a Sterling type ie a better Sten (simplified MP 18/28) with say the Mause C96 Schnellfeuer double stack magazine?
I explicity said I thought that .45 might be better choice because it can be easily sourced in large quantities from the US. To my knowledge in 1933 the Brits aren't actually using 9mm at all. To my knowledge none of the existing British military pistol cartridges are really right for an SMG. So .45 is based entirely off of ease of sourcing more then any intrinsic superiority.
 

Driftless

Donor
If the Aussies and Kiwis are worried about Japanese intentions, especially in their relative backyards, investing some capital in Intelligence gathering might be useful. Do what you can on having a peek at Japanese islands they acquired in WW1. It wouldn't need to be a huge network of spies and handlers; maybe a few hundred pounds slipped to traders or fishermen from time to time. Or, lay the groundwork for the future coast watchers - local indigenous folks with binoculars and a note pad , keeping track of the comings and goings of ships from Japanese controlled territory
 

Driftless

Donor
Could arming and training local idigenous folks for constabulary or militia use on New Guinea or other islands controlled by Australia or New Zealand been done in the interwar years? Or was that already in place?
 
This might be more practical for Australia, but New Zealand could lend personnel, in exchange for perhaps one less cruiser, get anywhere from 6 to 10 submarines. Decent subs, with British torpedoes, could be very useful in the early stages of the Pacific war.
 
This might be more practical for Australia, but New Zealand could lend personnel, in exchange for perhaps one less cruiser, get anywhere from 6 to 10 submarines. Decent subs, with British torpedoes, could be very useful in the early stages of the Pacific war.
The issue is that the RNZN will be deployed to Europe and Med once WWII starts and the subs will mostly be lost in Med. The real issue is that GB empire cant fight three modern nations at once ie Germany/Italy/Japan without a lot of help from USSR(hit hard at start) and USA(building up from peacetime low level) so they will have a hard time for the first year.

I think the only way to really help is to not have to fight all three at the same time, so they need to defeat at lest one early on, but that probably stops the others jumping in sensing weakness.....
 
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