WI Guam

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by kent, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. kent Well-Known Member

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    My POD is that after the Fall of France, FDR is able to wake-up Congress to the need to improve the status of our Pacific territories, Wake, Guam and America Samao. Here is my first ever effort, have at me.

    Guam​

    Naval Captain and Governor of the territory of Guam Brad Davidson looked around his office as the sweat dripped down his neck. The heat of the day was over powering. How anyone got any work done in this tropical hell was beyond his thinking. He knew that once the evening trade winds started he would feel better but that was then, now at 1130am on the 5th of August 1940 it was hot, no wind to cool or move the air. The small office fan not working because the generator was out again so no electrical service for at least an hour until his small staff could get the darn thing working again. It just wasn’t fair he thought to himself. When he had been told four months ago that his next assignment was to be the Governor of the Territory of Guam his thoughts had been yes my path to a star. He had never been to Guam all his duty stations and shipboard assignments had been either in the Pacific Northwest or the Atlantic. It seemed like such an easy assignment.

    He thought back to his arrival at Pearl Harbor and the trip on to Guam on the American President Liner SS President Harrison. His family was enjoying the beaches, especially when he and they could make the all day trip from Agana down to Cocos Lagoon. His wife Sue and two daughters had taken to the island right away, the Guamanians had in turn fallen in love with them. He mentally shook himself and looked again at the two page message he had just received.

    The seaplane tender USS Langley was going to be arriving from Pearl with a detachment of engineers, Army engineers not even Navy to build an airstrip on either the central plain or the northern tip of the Island maybe even both. The Langley would off load 10 crated P-36’s fighters and 5 of the new A-20 dive bombers. Along with the airmen, ground crew and a small security detachment that would include a Battery of Anti Aircraft guns. Two naval supply ships would arrive with the Langley. They would increase his small Marine company with Marines from China that had been removed due to the on going war between Japan and China. These Marines would have also a platoon (5) M-3 Lee tanks. Also was the news that he would also have 4 PBY’s assigned to the island for daily scouting. He was further directed to insure that the Chamorro Civil Guard( two companies of light infantry)were well trained and rearmed with modern weapons. Furthermore the message advised him that the Island defense force was being upgraded due to the United States receiving information that Japan was upgrading defenses on it’s islands of Saipan and Tinian.
    Japan was protesting this upgrade at Guam but the War Department had been told to, quote get it done, end quote.

    He could expect the troops, planes and equipment by the end of August. The Navy planed to assign a sub-tender along with two subs and two destroyers, those assignments would be sometime in October. Last but not least in his eyes he was now a one star admiral. He was to use the Pan Am clipper the next day for a trip to Pearl for a full briefing from Admrial Kimmel who was in the process of an inspection at Pearl Harbor and would be returning to his Fleet Hedquarters at San Diego after the briefing.

    Tuesday morning Brad found himself at the Pan Am dock for the 8 hour trip to Honolulu. He had told his wife Sue to expect him back on Friday. Sue had told him don’t you go getting all drunk now and spending all your money buying drinks for all those people at Pearl Harbor celebrating your promotion. As the clipper took off, Brad thought as he looked over the island that maybe it was a paradise. Dockside at Honolulu Brad was met by Admiral Kimmel’s driver who then drove him to Peal Harbor to meet with Admiral Kimmel and his staff. After the pleasantries and congratulations on his promotion the Pacific Fleet Commanders staff started the briefing.

    First off he was told that should war come between Japan and the United States there were no plans to get reinforcements to him with in the first six months of war. Subs would be used to bring in supplies if possible. He was to insure that his fuel, ammunition and supply dumps were well protected from bombing or naval shell fire. The two naval supply ships that would bring in the Marines would include what was hopped to be enough fuel, ammo and supplies for the island for six months. He could expect supply ships once a month starting in September from Pearl that after stopping at Guam would continue on to the Philippines. Once the airstrip or strips were set up they were to train, train and yet do more training. With Saipan and Tinian only about two hour flying time from Guam they had to stay alert and remember that Japanese military history was full of surprise attacks with no warning. ( Much later Brad wondered why they didn’t listen to their own briefing.) Brad asked if he should have the dependents evacuated and was told, no, not at this time. There should be warning enough to evacuate them if that became needed.

    His Marines, the Chamorro Civil Guard and Army units along with the naval units attached would give him around 1500 men on the ground to defend the island. The Sub-Tender and Destroyers would be sitting targets so would pull back to Pearl if war started(if they were able to). The Army also hoped to use the airstrips as a rest stop for B-17’s heading for the Philippines, as with Guam sitting where it was, it was hoped that they could then fly with a full load out of guns and ammo, again because of Japanese fighters on Saipan. Ben was told he would be in command of all forces on the Island at first as Governor and if war then as ranking military leader. To assist him in this an Army officer, Major Glen Davis would be assigned to his staff. Major Davis was an engineer who was also a Army Pilot, he would meet him tomorrow when he was briefed by the Army. The PBY unit was to set up using the Sub-Tender as a base in Agana Bay again early morning patrols out at least 200 miles everyday full circle of the Island. Brad looked over at Admiral Kimmel and asked if he thought war was going happen. Kimmel’s responded that he sure hoped not as there did not appear to be any way to send a relief force to either Wake or Guam let alone the Philippines.

    Later as the briefing went on he was told that should the Army build two strips then he might also get some Marine or Navy fighters and dive bombers. Radio communications some times were not the best between Guam and Pearl so the next month it was planned to start laying an underwater cable from Honolulu to Guam and on to the Philippines. It was hoped that, that would be completed by sometime in the spring of 1941. Additional fuel for aircraft would be shipped in once the airstrips were built and underground tanks were ready. Until then a supply stored above ground would be left by the Langley.

    When asked if he had questions Ben laughed and yes more than you can answer right now, but first off the Island is going to need a new electrical generator and phone lines to cover the entire island. Can, after the airstrips are built, new roads be built? Brad was told the Army engineers would be staying on the island for some time and as Governor he could assign them community jobs and even employee Chamorros as part of the labor force. Congress had increased his Islands budget by almost $150,000. He was the Governor use it how he wished.

    The next day after a wonderful party to wash down his new star and a slight hangover Brad was driven to General Shorts office for the Army briefing. After meeting the newest member of his staff Major Davis and the Major of Engineers, Pat Smith and the two USAAC Captains in charge of the P-36’s and the A-20’s Jim Walker and George Jones and the Captain of the security unit ( two platoons of infantry and one platoon of AAA guns), Jackson Smart he was given the same brief as the before. The big difference in the briefings was that when Brad was introduced to the Army officers by General Short each in turn was told that, Brad was not only the Governor of the Territory of Guam but was also their new commander. There would be no inter-service problems on Guam. Turning to Capitan Smart General Short then advised Brad and the others that Smarts small security detachment would consist of four white officers and 85 negro troops. That if any of them had a problem with that to speak up now.

    Capitan Smart then told them all his unit had been trained to secure airstrips and to provide AAA cover with the newest AAA weapon the quad 50’s. His unit would have a section of two of the new units, each mounted on a 2 1/2 ton truck body. “ I have to tell you gentleman these are 85 very well trained men”.
    Ben noticed that Capitan Smart had a vary deep southern accent. Oh this will be fun thought Brad I’ll have Army vs. Navy vs. Marines and all vs. the negro troops. Might need to build a bigger brig thought Brad.

    After the briefing Brad and his new aide Major Davis were driven to the dock for Brad to meet the last officer that would have troops on the island Lt Commander George Oliver, who would command the 4 PBY’s. He was told that the aircraft and crews would fly in by the end of the month to meet up with the support crew arriving on the Langley.

    Later that afternoon he asked Major Davis to contact all the other officers and arrange a dinner where they could all get to know one another and so that he, Brad, could give them a briefing about Guam and it’s native population of Chamorros. He also wanted to find out if any of them would be bring families to Guam.

    Friday morning on the trip back to Guam on the Pan Am clipper, Brad thought back to April when he was
    was being sworn in at the White House as the new Territory Governor of Guam. The President at lunch that day told him “You are going to love the island”. Then he had been briefed about how to handle the Chamorros. That Guam was a laid back assignment where except for an earthquake or typhoon nothing ever happened. There was hope that a new school and hospital could be worked into the budget. The State Department brief had told him that the Japanese on Saipan sometimes boarded the Chamorro fishing boats from Guam and forced them to give up their catch, claiming they had caught it in Japanese waters. He was told not to react too strongly about this but to always try to insure none of the American citizens which the Chamorros were, were harmed. They laughingly asked him to please do not start a war with Japan over a fishing boat. Well thought Brad with two destroyers on station I might not start a war but I can sure offer better protection to the fishing fleet. That will be something I can ask Commander Oliver to insure that our fishing boats are checked on by his patrols. He leaned over to his new aide Major Davis and asked him to make a note about that so he would remember it later.

    His wife was going to be happy with six more military families on the island. His daughters were going to love having eight more kids too. I guess I'll have to push to get housing built. There are going to be lots of changes ahead.

    All these changes were happing because war was on the horizon. How the President had got Congress to approve all this new spending on Wake, Guam and American Samoa to increase not only airstrips but troops on the ground, while at the same time continuing the build up in the Philippines was, he now knew to be because of the fall of France and the wake up that both Germany and Japan were on a path that could and most likely would lead to war. The United States had to start getting ready. He wondered if Guam would have time to build up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  2. Bearcat Banned

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Interesting start.

    Japan will match any buildup, of course, with increased forces on Saipan and Tinian.

    Some keys: first, you'll need fighters that can hold at least air superiority over Guam itself. that means transitioning to (at least) P-40s down the line, and hope the IJN is too stretched to respond with A6Ms.

    Second, radar. It almost was installed on Wake but not in time; it was installed on Oahu but the communications shortcomings made it ineffective. Radar would give some tens of minutes warning of raids which is better than nothing.

    Third, its a chain. Holding Guam is useless unless the navy is strong enough to also hold Hawaii, Midway and Wake. there cannot be any weak links or the Japnese will sever the chain and cut off the poor sods at the end.

    Fourth, if Wake does repel the initial attack, it immediately becomes the focal point of the war. the Japanese know it is a dagger pointed at Saipan, and then at the Home Islands. It'll be the viciousness of the Solomons Campaign, fought in a phone booth.
     
  3. nandalf nandalf

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    Recife-Pe-Brazil
    Well the P40 can hold it´s own against the zero,provided the P50 pilots used the tactics Chanault espoused.
     
  4. kent Well-Known Member

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    Jul 5, 2009
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    No worries, plan to install at a later time a SCR-270 but not right away.
    As for aircraft remember it's 1940 P-36's were top of line then, may add newer aircraft as time winds down towards dec 41. This is the first effort by US to even think about building up Guam have to take baby steps learning what is needed, wanted or just fluff.
    Thanks for input will try to use what I can.
     
  5. Gridley Well-Known Member

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Location:
    Everett, WA, USA
    Have you read CalBear's Pacific War Redux timeline? Some of the things there might help you here.

    From a pure readability standpoint, I suggest putting in a few more paragraph breaks. Giant walls of text can be hard to read.

    I think you're off to a good start.
     
  6. kent Well-Known Member

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    Thanks I will work on the Paragraph breaks and Grammer
    Have read CalBear's Pacific War Redux
    but I do not want to end up just following his points.
     
  7. kclcmdr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    It looks pretty good so far and yes... like Gridley mentioned..
    Please have paragraph breaks & spacing..

    Easier on the eyes when reading instead of a wall of text
    Can easily lose track...
     
  8. Cash Well-Known Member

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    Coast of Maine
    Interesting beginning. I look forward to more.

    Spaces between paragraphs help, as does more attention to sentence structure and punctuation. Also, you might want to look into using a name generator (google it, there are multiple sites). The names so far sound like they came from a Hardy Boys mystery. :)

    That's just mechanical stuff, though. You have the start to a good story here. Please keep going.
     
  9. chris N Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Mystic, Connecticut
    To be realistic in order to be able to hold Guam there would have to be some changes in the naval treaties of the 1920's. If Guam was fortified in the 1920's with heavy naval artillery the chances for a successful Japanese invasion of it goes way down. The trouble is that even doing stuff in 1940 migh be too late to make enough of a difference
     
  10. kent Well-Known Member

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    Not to give the whole story away, but The idea is not to hold, but to change the time line by changing what Japan might have had to change to take a stronger Guam i/e WAKE or the DEI

    Plan to rework first on easyer reading.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
  11. David S Poepoe Banned

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    Well, we know that it can't be done because of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.
     
  12. Paul V McNutt Paul V McNutt Banned

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    Nov 20, 2007
    I look forward to more. The introduction is well written. I have one question. is Guam really big enough for a one day trip?
     
  13. Bearcat Banned

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    May 21, 2009
    Yeah, but this is 1940. the WNT is as dead as Teddy Roosevelt by now. Otherwise we couldn't have built Hornet, either.

    In fact, if you really want to hold Guam, you need to start fortifying earlier - about when the treaty died.

    The real problem is, only so much can be accomplished in a year and change... BUT, if as Kent says, the story will show how Guam cannot hold but other things will change, that is still interesting.
     
  14. kent Well-Known Member

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    Note that the POD stated that the US saw that Japan was building up Saipan which put Japan in breach of the treaty already.
     
  15. kent Well-Known Member

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    Back in 1940 it was just a dirt road from Agana south to Cosos Lagoon. Today it's a paved two lane road and still take about an hour 1/2 each way.
     
  16. Paul V McNutt Paul V McNutt Banned

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    I think that the POD is right. 1940 is when there would have been the political will to build up Guam's defenses in the US.
     
  17. kent Well-Known Member

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    Time marches on Thursday October 3 1940​


    From his office widow Brad looked out over Apra Harbor, two months had passed. In the harbor he could see the oil storage ship, USS Robert L Barnes as well as the new arrivals the sub-tender USS Seawall and two destroyers USS John Paul Jones and the USS Shaw laying at anchor. Commander James had just reported to him that the two addition units of his (James) squadron would not be arriving from Pearl until mid October. The two subs were not going to be new boats but the older S models, the S-41 and S-43.

    Work had progressed very fast on the first airstrip, it was in progress of being paved and revetments for aircraft storage being bulldozed. The revetments were an add on due to input from some of the Marines that had arrived from China as they reported how Japanese fighters, Type-96, would fly two or three abreast at about 100 feet shooting up everything. Captain Smart upon hearing that, asked the engineers to bulldoze him firing pits for his AAA guns. More than one for each unit so he could move them around.

    One of the first items Brad had taken upon his return from Pearl was to contact the mayors of the small towns and other civic leaders to let them know what was going on. There were only about 22,000 Guamanian Chamorros and maybe 100 Americans as well as around 50 or 60 other citizens of other nations (to include Japanese) on the island. The local Guam Insular Force was renamed the Civil Guard and was tasked with police duties as well as acting as a light infantry scout force. Two of his marine NCOs would act as their training instructors and leaders with oversight from Major Davis.

    The Idyllic paradise was changing from lush coconut groves and walls of tropical jungle into something else. The Chamorros were hard working fishermen, farmers just everyday type people, heavily Catholic due to the Spanish rule of almost 250 years. They had warned him that the Chamorros on Saipan were not to be trusted. But they also told him they were hearing many stories of bad treatment by the Japanese of the Northern Chamorros. A new road had been plowed from Agana to the new airstrip in the center of the island near the small town of Barriganda. Rain would wash it out but the bulldozers would get it reopened. It would need to be either paved or oiled.

    There were reports that the Pacific Fleet might move from San Diego to Pearl Harbor. His original assigned mine sweeper the USS Penguin was escorting the main fishing fleet as the Japanese were continuing to harass Guamanian fishing boats. He had also received information that to insure a safe shipping line from Hawaii south to both American Samoa and Australia a recon force of PBYs with a small security detachment were being installed on Howland Island. There were a lot of build ups going on but if everyone else had troops like his especially the engineers they just might make it. He had thought that inter-service or racism might cause problems but to his surprise the troops were getting along well. There were fights but no big problems.
     
    note to all: not sure about S boat numbers could not find where they were in 1940.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  18. DuQuense Commisioned Officer CSN

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    There was a buildup on Guam Wake Midway Phillipinnes, prewar, except it started to late.
    ?I am wondering if a big build up pre 1941 will change the Japanese plans for Pearl?
     
  19. Bearcat Banned

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  20. kent Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011