Remember the Texas! The United States in World War II (an alternate history)

Operation Crusader
Fall 1941 The new British Generals
In August 1941 General Alan Brooke arrives in Egypt to take control over the situation. The costly (in terms of assets committed) sideshows in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Italian East Africa have been won by Wavell, who was also blamed by Churchill for the failure of the embarrassing debacle of Operation Battle Axe in June. With Brooke is his pick to take over the newly formed 8th Army, Bernard Montgomery, who has done wonders in turning morale and training around for the Southeastern Command in Britain, the vital army level command that would have been responsible for dealing with Operation Sealion had it occurred during the summer. The German turn to the east and invasion of the Soviet Union, and the American entry into the war has made a German invasion of England a dead letter. Monty, as he is soon known, thus not only has experience commanding an army, but soon to be joining him are 3 divisions from Britain, which arrive on monthly intervals beginning September 1941. The first is the 10th Armored Division which is equipped with the American M3 Stuart for both of its armored brigades although it lacks a separate motorized infantry brigade. Previously the British 1st Cavalry Division, the formation only becomes the 10th Armored Division in November, just before the start of Crusader. Although consisting of prewar Regulars and Yeomanry, the division is still highly inexperienced in armored warfare. It is transferred from Palestine in September. Its arrival however spells the departure of the 7th Australian Division which is sent to Ceylon (in part) and home to Australia to provide cadre for the Australian Militia Divisions.

The next to arrive is the British 2nd Infantry Division, another pre-war division that performed sterling work in France, but only 2,500 of its 13,000 men managed to make it home. Among those killed were several dozen massacred by the SS and the survivors have a bone to pick with the Germans, which they have transferred to the recruits that have been trained since. Major General John Grover, its commander, is a favorite of Brooke’s who has high expectations for the Division and its commander. Shortly after, in the middle of October is the British 18th Infantry Division, a Yeomanry unit which has thus far been untested but has been training for some time for desert combat. By October 29, the Australian 9th Division and the 2nd New Zealand Division have also left for Ceylon (with parts going home) where General Freyburg is made commander of the Ceylon garrison as senior officer present. All 3 ANZAC divisions are at half strength when they arrive on Ceylon but are training replacement drafts by the start of December. The sole remaining ANZAC division in the Middle East is the 6th Australian, which is also absorbing replacements and is garrisoning Cyprus. Just as painful for Brooke in losing these near elite quality troops is the return of the 4th and 5th Indian Divisions to India and which are needed as their experienced professional cadre is desperately needed to train the Indian Army However Brooke also loses responsibility for Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Persia, which now fall under the authority of New Delhi and thus are no longer his problem.

This leave the 8th Army with the following forces as of November 1, 1941
Tobruk Fortress: MGen Ronald Scobie w 70th Infantry Division under his personal command and attached to his division is the Polish Carpathian Rifle brigade (which includes a Czech battalion) and the 32nd Tank Brigade (Matilda II tanks).
XVIII Corps MGen Goodwin-Austen
2nd Infantry Division w 1st Army Tank Brigade (Matilda II/Valentine II/IV) attached
1st South African Division w 4th Armored Brigade (Crusader tanks) attached
XXX Corps ( Lt General Vyvyan Pope)
10th Armored Division (with 9th Armored Brigade detached and attachment of 22nd Guards Motorized Infantry Brigade)
18th Infantry Division with 7th Armored Brigade (A10 Cruiser/A13 Cruiser/Crusader Cruiser) attached
Army level reserves
7th Armored Division (MGen Gott) w 4th Armored Brigade (M3 Stuarts), 22nd Armored Brigade (Crusaders) and 9th Armored Brigade (M3 Stuart) plus 7th Support Group (3 artillery, 2 infantry battalions) and 29th Indian Infantry Brigade attached (only remaining Indian Army unit remaining in Mideast)

General Norrie is given command of the nascent 9th Army which has the Cyprus garrison as well as the 2nd South African Division (in Palestine) and newly arrived 1st Armored Division (Egypt and in training) and 56th London Infantry Division (Syria with the Arab Legion) and 8th Armored Division which is a depot division at this point having been raided for its combat troops, tanks and transport to fill out other units.

Thus Montgomery has 4 divisions to launch his attack, plus a reinforced division in reserve and another reinforced division in Tobruk. Monty orders his troops to train relentlessly, and having read over the lessons of Battleaxe and earlier, orders that the tanks assigned to the infantry are not to run off and leave their support, as artillery and infantry can kill antitank guns that can kill his tanks. By pleading the case that the shuffling of forces and the arrival of so many units new to the Mideast make it necessary, General Alan Brooke persuades Churchill to reign in his impatience until the new target date of December 1, which also means that a new rail and fuel pipeline is completed from the Nile Delta to the Egyptian / Libyan Border.

Facing him is Panzergruppe Afrika with the 15th and 21st Panzer Divisions (with 260 tanks including 69 Mark II, 76 Mark III w 37 mm guns, 60 Mark III w 50 mm short barrel guns, 31 Panzer IV w 75 short barrel guns) stationed between Bardia and Tobruk, the 90th Light Division (renamed only recently) near Tobruk, and the mostly motorized Italian 55th Division Savona (which is a brigade in size). Also attached is Italian Division Pavia manning the border fortifications along the Egyptian/Libyan border, while the Italian XX Mobile Corps with the Italian Ariete Armored Division and Trieste Motorized Division (with 189 tanks between them) and the Italian XXI Corps with Divisions Brescia, Trento and Bologna (all three are 2 brigade divisions) which are manning the perimeter opposite of Tobruk and are preparing for an offensive on December 4.

In the air, the British have 616 serviceable aircraft, the German/Italians have 342 serviceable). Both sides have airfields near enough to the front to be a serious nuisance to one another and the opposing ground troops. The two sides each have 120,000 men available for the battle.

Operation Crusader
The British begin on December 1, just after midnight, with a massive artillery barrage aimed at the border defenses which are then attacked by the 1st South African and 18th British along with their supporting armor just before dawn. The Italian infantry are badly handled and many become casualties or are routed and two large holes are made in the border defenses and their minefields are soon being cleared by attached Royal Engineers. General Rommel is initially surprised as he was not expecting a British attack until later in the month, and had planned his own assault to wrong foot them. A recent change in American codes brought about after a review of Operation Chariot robbed him of information he had been getting from Cairo through intercepts of the American Brown Code, and tight British security and some misdirection had robbed his signals intelligence people their usual fount of information. Rommel had been discussing the proposed assault on Tobruk with the commanders of the Italian XX and XXI Corps and thus takes some time to reach his forward headquarters. By that point the 90th Light Division and Division Savonia have been rushed to establish a line from Bardia south.

British casualties are relatively light and by the next day the British 2nd Infantry and 10th Armored Divisions have leap frogged through the South African and British initial assault forces and are bearing down on Sidi Omar and Maddalena. On December 2, the Afrika Korps (both panzer divisions) attacks the flank and front of the 10th Armored Division, wrecking 8th Armored Brigade which in its inexperience manages to get separated from its supporting infantry and the Guards Brigade is soon fighting a desperate defensive battle. Monty however has been expecting this, and orders the 18th British Division to maintain contact and prevent any flanking assault and Monty commits the 7th Armored Division to a counterattack of the Africa Corps.

Over the next three days of swirling and confusing combat, the Germans lose 120 tanks, the British 240, but neither side is able to break the other. This allows the XVIII Corps and General Goodwin Austin to continue the drive on Copuzzo, taking it on December 6, and forcing the Italians to commit their XX Motor Corps to prevent Bardia from being cut off. The Italians suffer severe losses as the British tank brigades remain close at hand to assist their infantry and 104 Italian tanks are lost to only 50 British tanks. The Italians are forced to retreat to El Adem on December 9, and this now threatens the rear of the Afrika Korps. General Rommel is now in crisis, as his flanks are seriously threatened and his tank losses have been heavy, as have losses in everything else. Only the determined efforts by the wrecked XX Italian Corps and the 90th Light Division (and survivors of Division Savonia) are holding the British to a slow pace, but it has become a steady one. He has had to pull his armor back as the first attempts to flank the British have failed.

Monty meanwhile is pleased but has had to pull the 10th Armored out of the fight to regroup and it remains in reserve while the 18th Infantry and 7th Armored Division are essentially firmly committed as flank guard while the entire XVIII Corps pushes slowly but relentlessly toward Tobruk. Brooke meanwhile decides to gamble and commits the 1st Armored to the 8th Army has a new reserve and sends it by train and transport truck to Mersa Motruh on December 10. Rommel is running out of options and it is becoming increasingly clear that the British will achieve a link up with Tobruk within days unless he tries something desperate. On December 11 he does just that, breaking clear of the XXX Corps and making a dash for the wire with his two panzer divisions, while pulling the 90th Light Division away from XVIII Corps to delay any XXX Corps advance. The 10th Armored is alerted to the move and shifts to meet it but blunders into the German advance and its armored regiments, already at seriously reduced strength, are slaughtered one by one and the 22nd Guards Infantry and much of the division support group is badly mangled and forced west away from the attacking Germans. However the Germans still suffer some losses themselves, and the timely arrival of the 1st Armored Division, even though ineptly fought, is just enough to reduce Rommel to barely 25 operational tanks. His infantry strength of his two panzer divisions has fallen to around 40% and ammunition and fuel shortages are critical. He has no choice but to retreat the way he came, brushing aside a counterattack by the 22nd Armored Brigade that attempts to cut him off and returning to his starting point near Gabr Saleh on December 14. That same day, the Carpathian Brigade and British tanks attack and wreck half of the Italian Bolgona division, threatening the rear of the Italian XX Corps which is forced to retreat to Bir el Haiad. With the British 1st Armored Division in close pursuit, the XXX Corps threatening to overwhelm the 90th Light Division, and the XVIII Corps having now isolated Bardia (and the rest of the Bologna Division and remnants of the Italian Pavia Division, and his German troops at 30% strength (and falling), the Italian divisions that have fought thus far in similar shape, and no hope of immediate reinforcement, Rommel is forced to order a retreat on December 16.

Gradually falling back, with scratch forces fighting delaying actions all the way, the Germans and Italian XX Corps falls back toward El Agheila, while the Italian XXI Corps retreats to Benghazi. With one armored division wrecked and out of action (the 10th), both other armored divisions at seriously reduced strength (50% tank strength), and his infantry having suffered 30% casualties in infantry and tanks, Montgomery advances carefully and mindful of his flanks. The 1st South Africans, with naval and air support, takes Bardia (and 2,000 German and 6,000 Italian prisoners, including the wreckage of Divisions Pavia and Bologna) on December 22, while the 2nd British and 70th British link up on December 19.

Happy to have achieved the victory he has one, Montgomery ceases the battle on December 22, and orders his men to dig in along the Gazala line running from Gazala to Bir Hakeim. Montgomery also requests every available land mine and as many replacements as he can get and begins shifting his logistics and RAF airfields closer to the new front. Rommel meanwhile waits for reinforcements and replacements at El Agheila, while the Italians send reinforcements and replacements to Benghazi.

The British 8th Army and General Montgomery have won a costly but important victory at the cost of 20,000 casuaties and 400 tanks versus Axis losses of 40,000 men and 300 tanks. For the remainder of the year the two forces remain at rest as they recover from the fierce three week battle which allows their troops to enjoy a Christmas meal in a base camp instead of on the march.
 
authors note: gamed this one out just before the weekend using Operational Art of War III (and editing some units to replace them with what is here in TTL). Had the British move slowly and launch grinding infantry attacks supported by artillery and armor, while avoiding some of the costly swanning around in OTL . As both the 10th and 1st Armored are essentially green, they had lower profiency then the veteran British divisions and the result is what happened above. Which is similar, albeit slightly shorter in duration to the historic battle. No reckless pursuit to El Agheila or Benghazi however, so the Italians keep Benghazi at the cost of the British being far less exposed than OTL to counterattack by Rommel.

Rommel wants to dance.... Montgomery likes to stroll. The difference between the two is reflected in part above.

I am not a huge fan of Montgomery, but this is exactly the battle he usually fought and it usually worked for him He avoids severe defeat, although did suffer serious checks (and some embarrasing defeats like Goodwood and Arnhem) but he never risked his army Which considering the British manpower shortages was in my view the right decision. according to his political leadership. His bosses in other words. Eisenhower and most other American generals were not fans of his but American and British forces developed considerable differences over the course of the war.

There are many who are not fans of Montgomery and will probably say so (chuckle) but he did plan DDay and El Alamain and Sicily and while not perfect, they did achieve victories.

Rommel is an oppertunistic gambler while in North Africa, but if his options are narrowed after a while attrition will tell.
 
... the Australian 9th Division and the 2nd New Zealand Division have also left for Ceylon (with parts going home) where General Freyburg is made commander of the Ceylon garrison as senior officer present. All 3 ANZAC divisions are at half strength when they arrive on Ceylon but are training replacement drafts by the start of December. The sole remaining ANZAC division in the Middle East is the 6th Australian, which is also absorbing replacements and is garrisoning Cyprus. Just as painful for Brooke in losing these near elite quality troops is the return of the 4th and 5th Indian Divisions to India and which are needed as their experienced professional cadre is desperately needed to train the Indian Army However Brooke also loses responsibility for Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Persia, which now fall under the authority of New Delhi and thus are no longer his problem...
The 9th Australian are the guys who held Tobruk for half a year in the face of everything Rommel could throw at them before being rotated out. The Germans and Italians will be delighted that they've left the North African theatre.
The Imperial Japanese may be less pleased...
 
I believe you have confused Yeomanry with Territorial
Yeomanry are (usually light/reconnaissance) reserve cavalry units. Territorials are the UK equivalent of the US National Guard.
All Yeomanry are Territorial, not all Territorials are Yeomanry

(that said, enjoying where this is going and you're use of wargames for your results)
 
I believe you have confused Yeomanry with Territorial
Yeomanry are (usually light/reconnaissance) reserve cavalry units. Territorials are the UK equivalent of the US National Guard.
All Yeomanry are Territorial, not all Territorials are Yeomanry

(that said, enjoying where this is going and you're use of wargames for your results)
so noted for the future.
 
Any role defined for Gen. Andrews at this point?
Commander US Army Forces British Isles and Northwest Europe ... as soon as some actual USAAF forces reach the UK that is
He will go over with the initial wave of aviation engineers and liaison officers in early 1942 aboard one of the Queens at which point General Drum goes home
 
Alaskan Defense Command (M General Simon Buckner)
6th Infantry Division (B Gen Uhl) Anchorage/Ft Richardson, 34th Infantry Division (Dakota/Minnesota NG, M Gen Hartle) Juneau/Skagway/Valdez/Kodiak, this is still a 4 regiment, 2 brigade division)
IV Corps Headquarters - Fairbanks, lacks artillery, but overstrength in engineers, attached is Alaskan Scouts providing coastal and isolated area patrols
Alaskan/Canadian Highway construction approved June 25, 1941, first construction began August 1941, expected completion September 1942
in addition to above, the Coast Artillery is hurriedly forming coast artillery and coast artillery antiaircraft units, as is the Artillery branch (antiaircraft) but none are expected to arrive before summer 1942 to reinforce existing forces.
Coast Artillery: 250th CA Regiment (155 mm guns), 215 CA Regiment (3 inch AA) (Both Fort Richardson), 75 CA Regiment (3 inch AA, Fort Greeley),
There is absolutely no reason to station any appreciable number of combat arms troops in Fairbanks. 1941 Alaska lacked direct highway road access between Anchorage and Fairbanks, so troops would need to be transported by rail. It would be better to station combat arms units at Ft. Richardson or elsewhere on the coast. Engineers to support ALCAN Highway construction is reasonable, as is a small number of headquarters staff to support the Alaska Scouts in northwest and arctic Alaska, but the majority of Alaska Scout support would be better located in the south where there was access to the sea and more airfields.

I hope the 75th CA (3" AA) stationed at Ft. Greely, was stationed at the Ft. Greely, which along with Ft. Abercrombie, formed the defense of Kodiak and the Kodiak Naval Operating Base. This would make perfect sense, but stationing any AA assets at present day Ft. Greely, in Big Delta/Delta Junction (Home to current ground based missile defense interceptors and my home of 7 years in 2 tours) , would be an absolute waste. The Big Delta Ft. Greely in 1941 was only accessible from Fairbanks or Valdez by a rough single lane dirt trail, but in 1942, with the construction of the ALCAN Highway and Lend-Lease to Russia, it became the site for an auxiliary emergency/refueling airfield, later named Allen Army Airfield. However, in 1941-42, there was absolutely zero hostile air threat that had the capability to reach that far inland in interior Alaska.
 
While I doubt the OP will go in this direction, here is a Nightmare Scenario:

War has begun with the Germans. Even less chance that substantial reinforcement will go to the PI, especially in peacetime with Japan. The American public calls for America's most well know soldier, the former Chief of Staff, to be brought back to command the American Host against the Reich.

"Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to formally introduce the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. General Douglas MacArthur."

The assembled media goes wild with joy!
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!
 
There is absolutely no reason to station any appreciable number of combat arms troops in Fairbanks. 1941 Alaska lacked direct highway road access between Anchorage and Fairbanks, so troops would need to be transported by rail. It would be better to station combat arms units at Ft. Richardson or elsewhere on the coast. Engineers to support ALCAN Highway construction is reasonable, as is a small number of headquarters staff to support the Alaska Scouts in northwest and arctic Alaska, but the majority of Alaska Scout support would be better located in the south where there was access to the sea and more airfields.

I hope the 75th CA (3" AA) stationed at Ft. Greely, was stationed at the Ft. Greely, which along with Ft. Abercrombie, formed the defense of Kodiak and the Kodiak Naval Operating Base. This would make perfect sense, but stationing any AA assets at present day Ft. Greely, in Big Delta/Delta Junction (Home to current ground based missile defense interceptors and my home of 7 years in 2 tours) , would be an absolute waste. The Big Delta Ft. Greely in 1941 was only accessible from Fairbanks or Valdez by a rough single lane dirt trail, but in 1942, with the construction of the ALCAN Highway and Lend-Lease to Russia, it became the site for an auxiliary emergency/refueling airfield, later named Allen Army Airfield. However, in 1941-42, there was absolutely zero hostile air threat that had the capability to reach that far inland in interior Alaska.
actually going back and reviewing the post.(I hadn;t had my coffee yet when I first responded to you) . the Corps HQ and its administrative and logistics elements are headquartered at Fairbanks deliberately.. The Alcan Highway was built from both ends meeting up with each other. Fairbanks is the north end, and that HQ is supporting numerous engineer construction units and overseeing construction of an airfield as well.

So Fairbanks is correct, the infantry units and their artillery are all along the various coastal points of importance
 
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Chapter Four Pacific Onslaught
The Pacific Onslaught December 1941

The Japanese move south
The Pacific War begins between the Japanese Empire and the United States, British Empire and Dutch Empire at 00:30 hours on December 8 when Japanese landing forces from the Takumi Detachment begin landing covered by artillery support from the Japanese fleet at Kota Bharu on the eastern shore of the Malayan peninsula. It is but the first of the Japanese assaults that day. The Japanese attack Guam, Hong Kong, Luzon, Mindanao, and Wake Island, while more troops and ships move south toward British Borneo and into Thailand. These blows are powerful and well-orchestrated and only the first steps of what will be called the Japanese Centrifugal Offensive in later years by American military historians.

Wake Island and Guam
The first blows fall in Malaya, but as dawn breaks over the Pacific, the Kido Butai, with six fleet carriers escorted by fast battleships, cruisers and destroyers launches a massive strike at Wake Island, where intelligence had reported an operational airfield and Marine fighter squadron. The intelligence is wrong in part, as the airfield is indeed operational but the Marine squadron has not yet arrived, indeed is at Midway instead, and the American defenders find themselves under the brunt of a massive airstrike by nearly 300 strike aircraft and fighters which inflicts massive casualties on the civilians who have but tents and sand dunes to hide behind, the Marines who have but some slit trenches and a few completed bunkers, and completely wreck every significant gun positions, the water supply, electrical supply and nearly every structure. The Pan Am Philippine Clipper narrowly escapes as it has just left before the strike (and indeed sees the initial force coming in the distance and provides a little warning). The island falls on December 11 after additional harassment bombing from Japanese medium bombers operating from the Marshall Islands and a brief naval bombardment. Of the 400 Marines and 1200 American civilians on the island, only 150 Marines and 700 civilians survive to enter captivity and another 30% of both die in captivity. Only a handful of American officers survive, with First Lieutenant Woodrow Kessler (in spite of severe wounds) forced to surrender to the Japanese as everyone above him was already dead. The Marines on Guam surrendered the day before, facing odds equally overpowering (although fortunately with far fewer casualties). The Japanese carrier force meanwhile steams south to refuel before moving on Midway on December 13.

The Philippines
The Japanese begin airstrikes on the Philippines on December 8, hammering American airfields into wreckage and in spite of a gallant defense by the outmoded and compared to the Japanese Zero fighter, obsolete P35 and P36 fighters of the American Far East Air Force, only 24 of the 58 American fighters remain operational at the end of the day, and 12 of those survive by the happening to be at Dole Field instead of Clark Field. Further Japanese air strikes on December 10 level the American naval yard at Cavite while sinking a pair of American S type submarines that were under refit, as well as numerous other craft and several merchant ships in Manila Bay and General Stilwell is already moving his troops into position to institute his modifications to War Plan Orange and when merchant shipping flees the Philippines over the next few days he sends over 6,000 American and other Allied civilians with them (and 95% make it out successfully), as well as several thousand Filipino civilian government employees and every American sailor not assigned to a ship except for the Marine Barracks Detachment and the Radio Intercept unit at Corregidor. They, along with a handful of support ships, gunboats, minesweepers and PT boats will stay to the end, while prepositioned torpedo and fuel stocks scattered among the various islands in the central Philippines will keep the submarines operating in the forward area as long as possible. The rest of the US Navy retires to the Dutch East Indies. The Japanese begin landing in force on December 10 at Legaspi, and their main landing begins at Lingayen Bay on December 22. By that point the remains of the USAAFFE is limited to scouting and courier missions.

Meanwhile the entry of Japan into the war causes a major command change in the Pacific. General Krueger in Hawaii is made commander of all US Army Forces in the Pacific Ocean Area, which is subordinate to Admiral King who is Commander in Chief American Forces Pacific Theater, and Lieutenant General Millard Harmon is assigned command of US Army Air Forces Pacific Ocean Area. This puts Lieutenant General Stillwell and his command in the Philippines directly under Krueger and unifies the command for the entire theater. King is ordered to pursue War Plan Orange, while the United States Navy orders unrestricted submarine warfare to begin against Japan on December 8 shortly before midnight. Among the first orders to Stillwell from Hawaii is that he is to ensure that he is not trapped on Corregidor and he is to move himself and his headquarters to a position to coordinate and lead the planned stay behind campaign from among the islands as long as possible. The Manila Bay Command is placed under General Wainwright (consisting of I Corps and Harbor Defense Command) while II Corps under Sharp operates in the southern islands. By December 9 a full scale movement of food supplies, fuel, spares (that can be obtained) and support units is underway to Bataan, while civilians are being evacuated out of the region. By the time the Japanese make their landings they face only token resistance from Philippine National Army units which then flee into the hills per their prewar orders. The Japanese reach Manila on Christmas Day to find it empty of American forces and practically everything that could have been moved. The campaign for the conquest of the Philippines has many months to go.

Midway
Admiral King finds that he is completely unready for an immediate battle. Of his four carriers, the Saratoga is in Bremerton completing refit, the Lexington is at San Diego picking up a Marine Air Group (which was destined for Wake Island), the Yorktown is still at Panama, and the Enterprise is escorting a convoy (and carrying an Army Fighter Group) to Samoa. The only combat forces in the Hawaiian area are 8 fleet submarines (as the rest are west of the dateline or undergoing training or refit on the West Coast) plus a handful of submarines, cruisers and destroyers patrolling the Hawaiian Islands. He does have a Marine Air Group at Midway, another at Ewa Field, plus patrol aircraft and a of course the Army Air Force Fighter Wing to defend his base. On December 14, patrol planes out of Midway pick up the Japanese fleet approaching from the west (clearly coming from the Mandates), and he can only hope the fighter pilots at Hawaii and Midway can defend their bases. He orders his submarines to engage as they can, but King refuses to order his carriers to expedite their current missions and return to Hawaii. Instead, he orders them to assemble off San Diego and places Admiral Halsey in command with orders to steam west as a unified force once the Japanese objective is clear.

Over the last few months, King has exercised his carriers extensively including a full fleet problem near Panama, and he has studied the lessons of Operation Chariot over the last two weeks. Already the US Navy has discovered that 2 carriers operating together are far more than the sum of their parts, and the old prewar idea of single carriers operating separately is discredited in his eyes. Chariot showed that four carriers provide greater advantages still, and it is clear to him that the Japanese find that 6 carriers is well worth the concentration of force. He will not throw his fighting units against the Japanese piecemeal.

Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet, is to be disappointed in his hopes. A gambler, he had hoped that the destruction of Wake Island and obvious threat to Midway would cause the Americans to commit the 3 carriers he knows they have to battle near Hawaii to defend their base. With six of his own, and in personal command himself, he hoped to destroy them and cripple the US Navy for many months to come. He is forced to instead settle for the First Air Fleet inflicting massive damage to the installations and Marine Air Group at Midway, where for the loss of 21 aircraft the Japanese flatten every structure, badly crater the airfield, and shoot down or destroy on the ground all but a handful of aircraft by sheer weight of numbers and the US Marine Corps having a tactics disadvantage in the first meeting of the Wildcat vs the Zero. The US Navy and Marine Corps would soon learn to adjust their tactics but the initial lesson is a costly one. The Japanese leave the area unscathed aside from their aircraft losses as none of the American submarines successfully intercepts the enemy or in the case of 2 of the fleet boats, manages to score a successful hit.

This problem with the American Fleet Submarines at Midway is but the first of the many issues that would plague this arm of the fleet for some time to come. Problems are also noted in the Philippines, where several commanders are relieved, while the conditions in Lingayen Gulf make successful attacks difficult and 5 of the S Boats are lost in the first month of the war. It has become painfully clear that the submarine is no coast defense weapon and King orders his submarines to concentrate on enemy merchant shipping henceforth except for while scouting or other vital missions for the fleet. King would become incensed when the first results of the Fleet Submarine patrols come in with pitiful results in spite of an acceptable number of torpedoes fired. By the end of January 1942 he orders a full scale investigation into what seems to him a failure of his submarine arm and possibly its weapons.

The American carrier fleet reaches Hawaii at the end of December and finds the Japanese have long gone. A long war has only just begun.

Malaya
Field Marshal Wavell arrives in Singapore on December 1 to find that his command has very limited forces. A situation he has become sadly familiar with over the course of his war so far. He has 2 divisions of the III Corps (Heath) in Malaya. The 11th Indian and 8th Australian are both only partially trained, and of course are raw. A few other battalions are available for the defense of Singapore himself, and his local commander, General Percival seems questionable to him almost immediately. For an air force he has only 4 squadrons of fighters, 4 squadrons of bombers, 2 of torpedo bombers and some patrol aircraft. None of his aircraft would be considered first line in Europe or North Africa, and a significant number of the RAF airfields are essentially indefensible and only one on Singapore Island itself has close to adequate air defense artillery. The Royal Navy is similarly limited in size and capabilities. No capital ships are available, only a few cruisers and an inadequate number of submarines and destroyers. Plus of course some essentially helpless gunboats and a few antisubmarine warfare sloops. The Navy has promised a fleet, and indeed one is heading toward the Indian Ocean. However that fleet is currently at Capetown and still assembling when the war begins on December 8.

Within a week of the beginning of the war he has seen most of his air force wiped out, the city of Singapore (and its important naval base) is under frequent air attack and the 11th Indian Division has been wrecked and reduced to remnants. He relieves General Percival and sends him to India for Auchinleck to find a job for, and appoints Health local commander and asks Churchill for any help that can be sent. But nothing will come until January at the earliest. For now he orders the Australians to fight a delaying action as best they can while Heath tries to rebuild the 11th Indian into some kind of combat effectiveness using local garrison battalions and survivors of its wrecked battalions. Wavell has found that the Japanese are far more potent than prewar intelligence or his own belief had led him to expect and once again he is facing debacle just as in Greece a few months before.

Burma and India
Auchinleck, commander of British Imperial Forces covering an area from the Persian Gulf to Persia to India to Burma has an equally challenging job as Wavell. However he has a bit more to work with. In India he has a capable commander in the General Hutton but initially the Burma Corps has the inadequately trained 17th Indian and 1st Burma Divisions, and neither is able to stop the Japanese drive. Auchenleck orders the 9th Indian Division to expedite its movement from Persia to India and to instead be sent to Rangoon, while the stripping Persia and Iraq of every aircraft that can be found that is serviceable. General Alexander arrives in January, and Auchinleck puts him to work assembling units that arrive from Persia into a fighting force as they arrive while ordering Hutton to hold as long as he can.

Meanwhile the Chinese and General Macarthur as well are keenly worried about the Japanese threat to the Burma road and assemble a field army (which is corps sized) to move south to defend it. The American general takes the field himself with his staff and flies to Mandalay to take personal command, which annoys General Luo_Zhuoying (who helped win the victory at Changsha last year) immensely. By the end of December the stage has been set for a major fight in Burma.


However in China the news that the United States is at war with Japan is met with considerable relief and not a little amount of joy.
 
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authors notes: still busy with Grandchildren this week but details and additional developments likely next week

OTL Japanese deployments unless otherwise indicated and OTL British deployments except less at Malaya in terms of initial ground troops, Wavell is present on the scene and sees how out of his depth Percival is, and note the immediate chain of command instituted in the Pacific where the Navy is the primary service, the Army is the secondary service and the command lines all run from Hawaii... including those to the Philippines

The reaction of ANZAC will be next chapter, including where those divisions are going.
 

Driftless

Donor
The American general takes the field himself with his staff and flies to Mandalay to take personal command, which annoys General Luo_Zhuoying (who helped win the victory at Changsha last year) immensely. By the end of December the stage has been set for a major fight in Burma.

Who's the fight with.... ;) Mac vs Luo_Zhuoying, or the Allies vs Japan? That's a (weak) joke.
 

Driftless

Donor
No Percival and Mac not in the PI helps though
Yup. That may lead to a longer defense in both locations, which could have paid dividends in the wider theater.

I know Wavell isn't everyone's cup-o-tea either, but he was also dealt some rotten hands and expected to bluff his way through to victory.
 
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