What if the Americans start sending troops to Egypt in January 1942?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by McPherson, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    From a premise that the Japanese do not attack Pearl Harbor and instead bypass the Americans in the Southern Resources Area campaign, it developed into an invade Hawaii from the get go discussion and one of the ancillary thoughts I had about it, was what would happen to TORCH? I came up with this idea.


    That is the opening premise. Insane? Maybe impractical? Asking too much?
     
  2. Scott Washburn Well-Known Member

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    They did. Humphrey Bogart and his M3 tank Lulubelle were there!
     
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  3. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Hollywood aside, is there any merit to the idea?
     
  4. jmc247 Well-Known Member

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    Not unless the British actually believe the 8th Army is breaking.

    Later in the year when they feared it was in trouble they only accepted LL American tanks and US air power in the Summer. 1942 saw the Sherman, Lee and Grant tanks used in North Africa by the British before they were ever used in combat by the US.

    They didn’t want the US Army there because they wanted Egypt/Libya to be their victory in the eyes of the British public not America’s.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
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  5. Aber Well-Known Member

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    Yes; it allows the US to fight the Germans.

    During the summer of 1942 the US considered sending an armoured division to Egypt, but instead sent Shermans and SPGs. I'd have to check details but IIRC Marshall asked Patton to come to Washington to study the idea.
     
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  6. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    Only if there were a shortage of trained battalions & brigades. The Brits had plenty of those. New and better weapons were what they needed.

    Sending US formations meant distorting the logistics for both US and Brits. It made more sense to send just the material the Brits needed. Like the 300+ M4 medium tanks & not expend precious cargo ship deck space on stuff a US formation would bring that would be redundant or unneeded.
     
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  7. wiking Well-Known Member

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    Would the US even enter the war without Japanese attacks on them? FDR of course wanted it, but was despairing that he could convince the US public into it by late November 1941. Japanese entry into the war and attacks on Britain and her European allies would of course be an enormous provocation, but would it be enough to sway the US public? And if so would it only be enough to go against Japan?

    Plus it means supporting a large force at something like 3-4x the distance from the US with the same already strained merchant fleet. Torch made so much more sense logistically...but then there is the pressing need to support the Philippines, which due to the distance means shipping is even tighter than IOTL and with the OTL shipping losses in the Atlantic means it might well be an either or situation in 1942, Philippines or Torch.
     
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  8. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Australians, Indians, FREE FRENCH, New Zealanders, Poles, and many many others were alright? Just no Americans allowed? I wonder what the Duke of Wellington would have told them about it, if he had been alive?
     
  9. wiking Well-Known Member

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    You mean all the forces using British gear, British shipping, under British command, in a unified command structure? Adding the US forces complicates things enormous, which is what HALPRO forces ran into IOTL in 1942.
     
  10. nbcman Donor

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    Getting significant US Army forces there in Jan 1942 is probably too fast. Maybe some USAAF forces could get to the Middle East in early 1942 with US Army forces heading there instead of the UK in Mid 1942 (1st ID and 1st Armored). The earliest major forces that were available would be the 34th ID which could have been sent to the ME instead of Northern Ireland by February. Maybe the US Army forces would first go to Palestine to train as the Commonwealth did with the Australian 6th, 7th, & 9th Divisions. But other than the US 34th ID, the US forces wouldn't be ready for operations until after the Battle of Gazala - and the presence of one US division wouldn't be enough to turn the tide there. But would a scratch force of 3 partially trained US divisions plus the retreating 8th Army be enough of a force to stop the retreat at Mersa Matruh instead of at El Alamein?

    EDIT: Horrible grammar corrected.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
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  11. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Hmm. The British might as well get used to American gear sooner or later. They will be using it as soon as they figure out they need the help. There were no credible US tanks fit for combat until about August 1941 with the Grant/Lee and the Stuart being available in some numbers by January 1942. The sooner the buggy things are exposed to Germans, the better for the allies to work out the bugs. Same for US troops. Best to get them used to getting crapped on by Germans in June 1942 instead of February 1943. The Australian and US formations did not have that 9 month luxury to get used to each other and the Japanese in the Pacific. It was right now and watch out for infiltrators and the left flank.
     
  12. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    Maybe. The ARTILLERY would have made a huge difference.
     
  13. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    The Brits had perfectly good cannons. For some reason i don't yet understand the 8th Army was using them wrong for over a year.

    Why send them around Africa for that. A lot more efficient use of ships to take them straight to France & get on with it :p
     
  14. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    How did I KNOW my favorite USAAF whipping boy and universal screwup, GEN Lewis H. Brereton, would be involved in that fiasco?
     
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  15. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    I don't understand it, either. American artillery doctrine still had not percolated across by France 1944. Still would've helped.

    Facetiousness aside, my thought is get them used to hard war fast and quit the mollycoddling, in an area where a Kasserine type reverse is not a war losing catastrophe like Roundup would have been. Besides, British infantry procedures were better than American ones, and the Americans needed to see, understand emulate and imitate it.
     
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  16. nbcman Donor

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    The British were already using US gear at Gazala - Lees & Grants - which were enough to give the AK pause. And US 1st Armored was being equipped by M4s in the summer 1942 but a regiment's worth was stripped to send to the the ME to equip UK forces in September after 1st El Alamein. If 1st Armored had at least some of those M4s either prior to or after Mersa Matruh, it would be a whole different fight with Shermans vs PzIIIs.
     
  17. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    Only at some length. The original HALPRO was conceived in the US. by others than Bereton & his presence in the ME was something of a unexpected coincidence. A lot of what happened to HALPRO & its successor organization had to do with others than Bereton.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  18. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    The M-4 prototype is not ready before September 1941. Production of a divisional set was not completed until June 1942. Grants and Stuarts, it is.
     
  19. McPherson McPherson; a guy who needs a shave.

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    He still screwed it up.
     
  20. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

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    The Brits had a perfectly good doctrine. Why the 8th Army was not using I've not figured out. I've been back and forth through the Journal of Royal Artillery & a variety of other sources & the doctrine the RA used to such excellent effect was well along on the battlefield in France May 1940 & was pretty much set with regiments in the UK in 1941.

    Operation GYMNAST was first proposed to the US at the December 1941 ARCADIA conference. Been second best, but still nice if that one could have been executed earlier in 1942. Allied soldiers at Oran in March sets off the butterflies.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019