The Sun, The Stars and The Sickle: Alt-WWII and a Tripolar Postwar World

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by WaterproofPotatoes, Sep 15, 2018.

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What would you like to see next

Poll closed Sep 27, 2018.
  1. Prewar Departures

    7.3%
  2. Technology: Ships, planes, etc

    7.3%
  3. Japan, China & Philippines 1939-1940

    31.7%
  4. Italy 1939-1940

    17.1%
  5. Nazi Germany: Norway Fallout

    34.1%
  6. Other (please describe in reply)

    2.4%
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  1. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

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    Another thing I should mention- the Soviet battleships under construction in Italy.

    Work continues on the ships, but the payment arrangement is atypical. Instead of the Soviets paying for them directly, the Italian government has guaranteed the payments to the yards- the Italian government pays them, and collects from the Soviets.

    The trouble is, what with there being something of a huge invasion in progress, the Soviets are behind in their payments. No stoppage has been ordered yet, and the Italian government is uncharacteristically tight-lipped about the matter...
     
  2. Eternity Well-Known Member

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    That would be interesting..... Remind me, are Italy involved in the War? On which side (Sorry, read too many TLs and can't remember!).

    If Italy are at war with Russia, I can totally see the ships being seized. If not, well that depends. They would have Russia over a barrel either way really. I mean the ships would not be allowed to transit back to the Black Sea will they? Turkey will see to that. That is actually quite good for Russia in the end as she now has them out of the barrel they were literally trapped in. Good bargaining point for anybody.....
     
  3. jolou Liberté, Égalité, Mbappé

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    France
    I mean, it's OTL what you just said. The PCF OTL worked with the others parties.

    In this TL, I think they would be clearly weaker
     
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  4. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

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    TTL, Italy is neutral and the de facto leader of the Mediterranean Accord. Along with Italy, Portugal, Spain and Yugoslavia are member states, while Greece and Turkey are MA-aligned but not members yet. Italy trades with both the Pact of Steel and the Allies.

    As for the Straits, OTL Montreux Convention rules apply. Non-Black Sea states are restricted to transiting no more than 9 armed vessels with a total of 15 000 aggregate tons, and they must remain in the Black Sea for no longer than 21 days. Black Sea states such as Russia may transit one capital ship at a time of any tonnage with an escort of no more than 2 destroyers.
     
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  5. Eternity Well-Known Member

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    So then the Battleships of Russia cannot return to the Black Sea. I mean, let's be honest here. There is now way that Turkey will allow them back as it shifts the balance of power dramatically to Russia. As it stands, the SMS Goeben is the most powerful ship in the Black Sea. Sorry, Yavuz, is the most powerful ship in the Black Sea. There is no way the Turks are giving that title back to Russia. Those two BBs would have been a headache for them, a really big one. Now..... Well, they can smart all they like but problem solved really!
     
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  6. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

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    Jul 17, 2018
    The USSR could, if she wanted to, send both Sovetskaya Rossiya and Sovetskaya Ukrainiya through to the Black Sea and keep them there indefinitely, but would have to transit each ship separately. The Marmara Crisis came about from trying to get both through at once.

    The big problem here for the Soviets is that the Italians can sieze the ships in the event of default, and the Soviets have no immediate capacity for retaliation, what with a massive invasion going on. All they can do is cut off the oil- but if the oil wells fall into Nazi hands, there goes that option.

    The Allies are none too keen about these ships either, especially now that Italy already has four complete Littorios. Britain and France really don't want them in the Mediterranean, while Japan isn't pleased about her trade routes through Suez being threatened. Admiral King of the USN also resents the fact that Nimitz and Halsey in the Atlantic will likely be first in line for new toys to deak with the big threat.
     
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  7. naraht Well-Known Member

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    Dec 7, 2010
    At this point, if the Italians seize the Soviet ships and put them into the Italian Navy, will the Italians have a stronger navy than the French?

    Not that it matters *that* much. That's a question of who is fourth and who is fifth in the Naval power in the world, and with the British and French on the same side (whether or not the Japanese and Americans come along for the ride), the Italian Navy isn't going to live long at all outside the Med and as long as Suez and/or Gibraltar is open, isn't going to live long outside the Adriatic.
     
  8. Britannia Well-Known Member

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    Feb 18, 2018
    Imperial Japanese Treasury: So how many ships do you need?

    IJN: Yes
     
  9. naraht Well-Known Member

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    Dec 7, 2010
    And honestly, that's the problem. Right now, the Japanese Navy has more that enough ships to take on pretty much all of its potential opponents. While the Japanese *may* have less Tonnage than every nation they aren't allied with right now combined (including Germany, Mediterranean Accord, USSR, ROC, Brazil, Argentina, Liberia and the Vatican), I'm not sure. The MA and Japan really don't have any directly conflicting interests right now other than possibly keeping Suez open, and if the Suez is at risk, at the very least the British and French will be involved.
     
  10. Jaenera Targaryen Dragonrider

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2015
    Post war, I'd suggest a core of six fleet carriers, and seven to eight light carriers. Decommission or sell off (the Thais might be interested in one or two) the battleships and battlecruisers, with the exception of the most modern ones. Two at least, three at most: you don't really need more than that. Step up ASW training and tech development.

    Once guided missiles become a thing, decommission the cruisers as well, and focus on two types of destroyers: a 'regular' destroyer as the fleet workhorse, and guided missile destroyers as the fleet's spearhead. Keep the carrier core at the bleeding edge of quality, and Japan has a powerful fleet, the most powerful one among Asian nations in fact, for at least for the remainder of the 20th Century.

    EDIT: Don't forget SSBNs and SSNs either :)
     
  11. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

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    Jul 17, 2018
    The two Sovetskiy Soyouz battleships would give the Italians six modern 44 000 t+ battleships, while the French have two large and two small modern battleships. The British Mediterranean Fleet currently tips the balance in favour of the Allies, but two more ships the size of the Sovetskiy Soyouz class will make it that much harder. The Italians also have their four old 12"-gunned slow battleships.

    As for the IJN's allies and rivals, Brazil is also an Allied nation.

    That looks like a solid fleet plan like there! As it stands, if the IJN builds everything they're planning to, they will have six fleet and eight light carriers (providing Soryu and Hiryu are reclassified as such).
     
  12. Rufus Shinra Statistical unlikeliness

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    Though missile ships aren't going down to destroyers for quite some time. Remember that early missile systems are pretty large, usually requiring projectile assembly before launch from rails. You're likely to see missile cruisers first, then it'll slowly go down to missile-armed destroyers which, like OTL, will either go back to large missile destroyers/cruisers or settle in frigate-sized ships.

    Going straight for missile destroyers doesn't seem like a viable option in the Fifties when SARH is the norm and radars are still pretty large and bulky for fleet defence purposes. Without decolonization, however, I wonder whether missile boats will gain popularity, as they were the successor of torpedo boats in the role of cheap coastal defence for small navies.
     
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  13. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

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    Jul 17, 2018
    TTL especially, there is going to be a surplus of large, and quite new hulls around after the war, with all the extra battleships. A cruise missile like a Regulus I or II takes up a lot of room too, so cruiser or even battleship conversions aren't out of the question.
     
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  14. Rufus Shinra Statistical unlikeliness

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    Kinda doubtful, TBH. The large guns will damage early missiles' electronics when they fire, an issue with the Iowa rebuilds IIRC. So you need to remove various turrets and the armour becomes a lot less important compared to before, so the performance will be worse unless you go for a massively expensive and wasteful full rebuild. Then you have to consider the goals of the navies: a lot of the Empires' will be for ocean control and imperial presence rather than superheavy stuff.
     
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  15. naraht Well-Known Member

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    Dec 7, 2010
    The British Mediterranean Fleet will tip the balance, but when the British bring everything else, things will get really bad for the Italians really fast. And they don't particularly *need* to keep much of the fleet outside Med.

    I'm presuming that if there is a war between the Mediterranean Accord and the British/French (etc.) then Brazil is likely to stay out rather than fight the Portuguese. But that doesn't really affect the overall statement.
     
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  16. Rufus Shinra Statistical unlikeliness

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    @WaterproofPotatoes

    Now, what we could see, considering the vast land possessions of the various powers... could be ballistic missile battleships, like the cruisers built in Italy OTL until the US refused to sell Polaris. A heavily armoured battleship carrying nuclear ICBM in the middle of a carrier task force could be an actual sight before SSBN become a thing. Invulnerability with escorts and active defences rather than invisibility. Richelieu class BB, in the MN case, could become some sort of surfaced Typhoon SSBN with high speed, strong defences, escorts and the two main turrets replaced by a dozen nuclear-tipped MRBM in front of the superstructure. SSBN would likely come around, but not necessarly replacing ballistic BB.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019 at 12:17 PM
  17. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2018
    Absolutelty!

    The Regia Marina, while powerful in the Mediterranean, has little in the way of capability to project force outside of the Med. Even closing off the Mediterranean wouldn't be worthwhile- the RN can force it open on the western end, and with IJN assistance, keep the Aden end of Suez open as well, while still allowing Britain to attend to her ongoing overseas concerns.

    Although not as clever as @Sorairo 's Mussolini, TTL Benny the Moose is at least smart enough to not go around picking fights to the extent that OTL's did. While Japan, the USA and Brazil don't exactly have much in the way of fondness for him, nor do Britain and France, none of them have any quarrel with him either, or at least enough of one to bother getting involved.

    All of Italy's colonies are close by, unlike the world-spanning British Empire, so it's not as important for Italy's fleet to have the long range that the Royal Navy and particularly the USN's ships have. Still, the Zara and Bolsano class heavy cruisers are not to be trifled with- although lightly armoured, they are fast and powerfully armed heavy cruisers. The Regia Marina's submarine forces also provide depth (pun intended) to Italy's defences.

    The RM also lacks carriers or even one under development. This is in contrast to France. Although France only had Béarn, she is now set to take delivery of the escort carrier Maréchal Pétain, and in late 1942, the light carrier Raoul Lufberry, both built in the USA. Prior to the war, the Marine Nationale was planning the two-ship Joffre Class of carriers, the former blown up on the ways as the Nazi invasion closed in.


    @Rufus Shinra

    Now we're talking ;). That's one of the many potential development paths that may be explored TTL. There is a strong case for such a fleet, especially since the RN and IJN have had both of their big victories (Norway 1940 and Tiger 1941) with combined fleets of carriers and battleships. In the former, the battleships were the stars of the show (sinking Scharnhorst and Hipper, damaging Gneisenau) with the carriers providing the supporting role (finding the Ugly Twins, damaging Hipper and forcing her into port), whereas in Tiger, land-based and especially carrier aircraft shattered the Kriegsmarine's surface fleet.

    Such a fleet, post Operation Tiger, is the very symbol of force projection now, so even its presence now provides strategic deterrent capability. A nuclear-capable fleet of similar description would only amplify this effect.
     
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  18. Jaenera Targaryen Dragonrider

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    Aug 15, 2015
    In my defense, guided missile destroyers would count as cruisers by tonnage according to WWII conventions.
     
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  19. GDIS Pathe Well-Known Member

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    The Burke’s are the size of the old Texas. Which is kinda mind boggling if one thinks about it
     
  20. Rufus Shinra Statistical unlikeliness

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    Another thing to consider is that carrier design hasn't been arrested yet, the various powers are still tinkering with the concept, so with the battleship keeping some of its glory, particularly as most naval battles took places in/around the North Sea - thus not being in a situation where it becomes obsolete overnight - the final design choice could be around a complementary structure of a carrier wholly dedicated to aerial ops and a battleship with support systems. When the US, OTL, envisionned their megacarriers to launch strategic bombers, there was the concept of removing the main tower altogether and having its functions done on another ship sailing alongside. Now, what about a battleship derivative, a large and well-armoured ship carrying all the support functions to allow the carrier hull to be entirely devoted to planes? A large ship with the command and control capabilities for the fleet, the biggest radars around, possibly MRBM tubes and all the air ops installations, sailing with a large flattop.

    Not necessarly the optimum design choice, but one that might come from the very different naval experience in cramped areas with bad weather where you cannot guarantee long-range combat like in the Pacific.
     
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