Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

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mcaryf
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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by mcaryf » 03 Feb 2010 19:11

Hi cstunts

Guadalcanal was not originally included within the planned Japanese defence perimeter, thus the US did not actually penetrate the intended Japanese defence perimeter, other than with raids, until 1943.

The point about interdicting the Indian Ocean supply route is that it would within a few months cause the collapse of the Allied position in the Middle East. Plainly the Middle East had all the oil it needed although the Bahrein refinery would have been vulnerable to carrier strikes, but there would have been severe difficulties in replenishing the tanks lost at Gazala. The Allies had created an air bridge across Africa via Takoradi but it certainly could not have handled tanks nor the 50,000 troops per month who were coming round the Cape.

If Somerville's carriers had gone down then they would not be available for efforts like Pedestal to resupply Malta or open the Med and the RN would still need to keep enough strength to watch for a break out by the German naval forces in Norway. If Somerville had also lost his old BB's then even convoy protection in the Indian Ocean against an IJN surface raiding force of 2 x BB's accompanied by one or two of the smaller carriers in the Indian Ocean would be problematic. It is not as if most of the IJN BB's did anything really useful elsewhere or subsequently and all the fuel they wasted on the Midway/Aleutian's venture would still have been available. The threat of the 11" gunned Scharnhorst and Gneisnau being at large had previously been enough for the British to suspend Atlantic convoys!

I do not think that Allied submarines would have been of great efficacy in protecting troop convoys even if the US torpedoes had actually been working in 1942!

In August 1942 the Germans were kept away from the main Russian oil fields by relatively small quantities of Soviet troops exploiting the mountainous terrain. If the Axis armies had broken through the weakened Allied positions in Egypt then the Soviets would have to start diverting real forces to the South and without Lend Lease via Persia they too might have been defeated. The status of Turkey would also become a major concern as they would see themselves being surrounded once the Allies in the Middle East had been forced out of Egypt.

I do think this was a real opportunity for the Axis and not just a war gamer theory! Mind you war games have their uses and it might have been better for the Japanese if the actual war game of their planned Midway operation had not had Akagi resurrected by the unpire!

Regards

Mike

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by mescal » 03 Feb 2010 20:06

mcaryf wrote: Guadalcanal was not originally included within the planned Japanese defence perimeter, thus the US did not actually penetrate the intended Japanese defence perimeter, other than with raids, until 1943.
But for all practical purpose, from August 42 onwards, the Japanese behaved as if it was a critical part of their defensive perimeter.
mcaryf wrote: The point about interdicting the Indian Ocean supply route is that it would within a few months cause the collapse of the Allied position in the Middle East.
The very core of the problem being : how to keep a Japanese task force on station for a few months in the western half of the Indian Ocean ?

Commerce warfare must be a sustained effort to have any impact. How do you think the IJN could do this ?
mcaryf wrote: If Somerville had also lost his old BB's
The Rs were part of 'Force B' of the Eastern Fleet, which was never intended to come close to a potential threat by Japanese carriers. When he was looking for battle in the first days of April, Somerville only had with him the fast ships of Froce A.
mcaryf wrote: The threat of the 11" gunned Scharnhorst and Gneisnau being at large had previously been enough for the British to suspend Atlantic convoys!
You should replace 'suspend' by 'delay'. (and they did the same for at least one convoy when Hipper was around).
And actually S&G found convoys - one protected by Malaya and one by Ramillies, and they turned back.
mcaryf wrote: If the Axis armies had broken through the weakened Allied positions in Egypt then the Soviets would have to start diverting real forces to the South and without Lend Lease via Persia they too might have been defeated.
1) the Germans and italians were far weaker at El Alamein in the summer of 42 than the defending Allies.
2) even if they broke through, it's still a looong way to Mossul and Persia - UK had garrison in Palestinia, Syria, Irak .... nothing of great military value, but more than enough to deal with a handful of Germans at the end of an impossibly long communication line.

The bottom line in all these scenarios in which the German and Japanese meet somwhere in India or Persia in the summer of 42 is that they are killed by the gigantic geographic distances, which make them logistically impossible.

[Edit (in blue) to fix an incomplete sentence]
Last edited by mescal on 03 Feb 2010 22:15, edited 1 time in total.
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mcaryf
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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by mcaryf » 03 Feb 2010 21:24

By the way thank you to the poster who referred me to the Op C thread - very interesting.

I will admit that any suggestion that the IJN should have put more effort into the Indian Ocean does require a degree of hindsight in that Rommel's victory at Gazala did not occur until June 1942. Hence my need for some other stimulus to move into the Indian Ocean like a major victory over Somerville in early April.

After Gazala the importance of the Indian Ocean was much more apparent but by then the IJN were already set on their disastrous course to Midway.

A few figures for you from the Middle East - at Gazala the 8th Army deployed around 850 tanks and lost over 500 of them. By the time of 1st Alamein the total of Allied tanks in the Mid-East theatre was less than 500, by the time of Alam Halfa this had risen to over 900 and by the time of 2nd Alamein was over 2,000 which were facing some 500 Axis tanks. Plainly this increase came ultimately through the Indian Ocean.

The 8th Army started the Battle of Gazala with some 125,000 men facing 113,000 for the Axis. As a result of Gazala, Tobruk, Mersa Matruh and 1st Alamein the Allies lost over 60,000 combat effectives but by 2nd Alamein they had 195,000 men facing 116,000 for the Axis. Some of this vast Allied increase came from redeploying other units already in the Middle East (e.g. guarding against an Axis move through Russia) but the majority of the 130,000 increase had come round the Cape and we have to remember that some Allied Australian units were being pulled out to home defence so even more "new" troops were required from round the Cape.

In an earlier post I queried whether the Allies would have gone through with the attack on Madagascar if Somerville's fleet had been destroyed. The other possibility of course was the Japanese establishing some presence there to interdict Allied shipping which is why the Allies themselves invaded.

By the way to Mescal if you look at the first post in this thread you will see that the old BB's were actively deployed both initially and in Somerville's later moves so it was not impossible that they would have been detected and attacked by the IJN.

Regards

Mike

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by cstunts » 03 Feb 2010 22:02

Hello,

A permanent Japanese presence at Madagascar? No chance. Nor at Ceylon. Their "presence" at Rabaul, Truk, & elsewhere didn't stop our offensives.

And the arguments about Guadalcanal are a bit torturous...Anyone who thinks the Japanese had (in Nov/Dec, 1941) really well-defined warplans, including hard & fast defensive perimeters, for the conflict beyond the first 100 days or so is either ignorant or misinformed. The IJN leaders who would have led more serious ops against Ceylon/IO are the same ones who believed Australia could have been invaded, etc., i.e., those who expanded their defensive perimeters beyond all practical limits.
A major flaw in all of these silly what-ifs is that the plans we make sixty-plus years later in front of our computers with all of our accumulated databases are (by & large) absurdly rational...while the dominant Japanese militarists, from 1931 to 1945, were nothing if not irrational.

"The bottom line in all these scenario[s] in which the German and Japanese is that they are killed by the gigantic geographic distances, which make them logistically impossible."

Shaky English--which is perfectly excusable--but absolutely accurate. I do agree with this, and history proved it to be so.

However, he's right about the Rs...they could have been lost very easily in April.

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mescal
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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by mescal » 03 Feb 2010 22:24

I thought that the Rs remained at Addu, which was unknown to the Japanese.
That's why I said they were safe. Looks like I was mistaken.

Regarding my poor sentence, I fixed a missing part. Not sure if it makes the English truly correct, but it should be easier for anyone to read complete sentences in stead of parts of sentences.
Olivier

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by mcaryf » 04 Feb 2010 00:55

It seems to me that you are happy to recognise the logistical problems which faced the Axis but reluctant to face those that confronted the Allies. The war in the Middle East for the Allies was being fought at virtually the most extreme distance in human history where supply lines had to pass through regions not entirely under their own control. If the Japanese had made a serious effort to interdict that supplyline then the Allies would have had to mount some sort of response. The Allied invasion of Madagascar demonstrated that they at least were alive to the threat.

I repeat the suggestion that there has to be some doubt that the Allies would have proceeded with the invasion of Madagascar in the historic timescale if Somerville's fleet had been largely destroyed. The Allies had previously been driven off from Dakar by the presence of relatively modest Vichy naval forces. Why should it not be possible that a relatively small Japanese TF of a couple of BB's and two CVL's plus some additional aircraft might not perform the same function at Diego Suarez at the same time as inhibiting the possibility of Allied troopships continuing their progress round the Cape. Certainly Laval invited the Japanese to assist in the defence of Madagascar and even Vichy forces on their own were still holding out on the island as late as October 1942.

If the Japanese had mounted a serious threat to the Middle East supplyline with effect from April onwards how long do you think it would have been before Egypt fell to the Axis?

There was also no need for the Axis to invade India as that country would be denied to the Allies if the people rose up against them. Something like 4m Bengalis died in the famine which commenced in 1942 partly due to unfortunate actions taken by the British such as destroying many of the river craft used for moving food because they feared they could be exploited by Japanese invaders and shipping Indian rice to feed the troops in the Middle East. With further Japanese disruption of Indian Ocean transport, India's position could have become even more desperate.

The big logistical problem for Rommel was port capacity in that part of the African Mediterranean shore that he controlled. Once he gets to Alexandria that problem is largely solved

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Mike

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mescal
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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by mescal » 04 Feb 2010 15:23

Hello Mike,
It seems to me that you are happy to recognise the logistical problems which faced the Axis but reluctant to face those that confronted the Allies. The war in the Middle East for the Allies was being fought at virtually the most extreme distance in human history where supply lines had to pass through regions not entirely under their own control.
It’s worth recalling here that the most efficient way to ship supplies over long distances is to send them by ship (before, in this order, railways, trains, planes – and I do not know where to put horse-drawn wagons, efficiency-wise).
And the main point is that, however tense the Allied shipping situation may have been at times, there was overall enough shipping to provide more than the just bare minimum to keep UK supplied. Moreover, as of April 42, much of the losses in merchant ships suffered in 42 had not happened yet.
So, yes, the supply of Egypt was costly, but it was well in domain of the possible, without endangering the supply of the UK.
OTOH, the Japan never had anywhere enough shipping for its needs – a very significant portion of its prewar imports were made by ships of the Allied nations. And this tonnage was lost overnight on December 7th.
Actually, it all comes down to control of the sea. In ww2, Allies had this control, even if sometimes contested in some places. Axis had not, except for Japan-Singapore-Truk area (for a time). So their costs to ship supplies over long distances were higher, putting them at disadvantage.
If the Japanese had made a serious effort to interdict that supply line then the Allies would have had to mount some sort of response. The Allied invasion of Madagascar demonstrated that they at least were alive to the threat.
Could you describe a plan which could interdict that supply ? Because, try as I might, I cannot find any way for the Japanese to do this in a credible fashion.
Why should it not be possible that a relatively small Japanese TF of a couple of BB's and two CVL's plus some additional aircraft might not perform the same function at Diego Suarez at the same time as inhibiting the possibility of Allied troopships continuing their progress round the Cape
First, it’s totally outside of their doctrine. IJN had planned precious little in the way of commerce warfare. So I do not see them investing resource here .And especially not when the final purpose is be to influence the balance of power in an area Japan was absolutely not interested. Remember that the Tripartite Pact was only the loosest of an Alliance. This was nothing even remotely comparable to the Anglo-US way of coordination.

Second even if we skip this ‘doctrinal problem’, without base, you’ll need to invest too many of the (too scarce) destroyers to screen the heavy units, many merchant hulls (also very scarce) to keep even a small force in action. This force will quickly suffer attrition (especially in the number of available aircraft).
And even with a base – this base has to be kept supplied. Which will tie a lot of tonnage.

Certainly Laval invited the Japanese to assist in the defence of Madagascar
I didn’t know. Can you tell me where I can find more on this ?
The big logistical problem for Rommel was port capacity in that part of the African Mediterranean shore that he controlled. Once he gets to Alexandria that problem is largely solved
No.
Once he gets to Alexandria and has the harbor cleared of all the mines, blockships and other obstructions and the infrastructure rebuilt, the problem is solved.
Remember the state of Cherbourg harbour in July 44. The US engineers took one month to restore it to a usable harbour, and they had resources (material, technical, personnel) Rommel could only dream of.
Olivier

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by glenn239 » 04 Feb 2010 19:13

If the Japanese had mounted a serious threat to the Middle East supplyline with effect from April onwards how long do you think it would have been before Egypt fell to the Axis?
If the Japanese took Ceylon and designated the Indian Ocean as the primary theatre in 1942 (sacrificing Guadalcanal to do so), then it becomes difficult to foresee anything other than the total collapse of the British position in Egypt.
Could you describe a plan which could interdict that supply ? Because, try as I might, I cannot find any way for the Japanese to do this in a credible fashion.
The way the Japanese make Egypt fall is to seize air bases at the mouth of the Red Sea and establish a full-strength air army there that prevents British supplies moving up the Red Sea.

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by cstunts » 04 Feb 2010 21:14

Hello,

The idea that the Japanese could place an "air army" at the Red Sea ['The way the Japanese make Egypt fall is to seize air bases at the mouth of the Red Sea and establish a full-strength air army there that prevents British supplies moving up the Red Sea.'] is much more absurd & far-fetched than the notion that the Allies' position re logistics was as fraught with as many insuperable difficulties as the Axis...including North Africa.

The point about Japan's lack of shipping is also a very critical one. She never had enough, and would have suffered the same devastation by submarines and other forces in the IO that she did in the Pacific. She did have a commerce raiding squadron in place at the time of Pearl Harbor, but its effects were miniscule at best. Commerce raiding was alien to the IJN. All of their raiding operations--in the IO in early '42 and early '44--were clumsy and at times disastrous.

But, all in all, a ridiculous fantasy still. Japan was never going to make the IO their center of operations. No more than Germany was...

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 04 Feb 2010 22:11

Hello mcaryf, a belated welcome to the forum.

I think it is misguided when we think of Japan being part of the Axis side during World War II. It’s very true there was some collaboration, and they shared information and technology where they could. But to my way of thinking, Japan seized a opportunist moment, when both Russia, and Britain/France were totally pre-occupied with the war in Europe, to address her own problems, hoping that by some means of a fait accompli she could agree an end to her own war within the European war timeframe.

If she truly was a full partner of the Axis, she would have taken the IJA line of war with Russia, and not the IJN line of war with the USA. Then you strategies would have been more sensible, thou I share cstunts wonder at how Japan would have managed the logistics. However, having attacked the USA, she need to keep focused in the Pacific, and other threads have question the wisdom of the Indian Ocean raid as it is.

I do take the point about stopping the flow of supplies to China from India, but the IJA was able to close the Burma road, reducing the aid line to ‘The Hump’ route for a while. And I have enjoyed reading this thread, because it makes cstunts and mescal put forward some excellent points, which we might not have known before.

This thread talks about the logistical problems of invading India, or even just Celyon
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=160395

Steve

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by mcaryf » 04 Feb 2010 23:44

I must point out that my initial premise was that Somerville's forces were discovered by the IJN and suffered catastrophic losses putting all their major units either out of action for long term repair or at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

This would actually leave the RN with just 4 operational BB's, the nearest to the Indian Ocean being Malaya at Gib with the other 3 at Scapa watching for the German heavy units in Norway. Rodney comes out of repair in May and Anson is commissioned in June. The CV situation is little better with again just 4 operational. This position makes it extremely problematic for the Allies to go through with their plan to invade Madagascar in May where Ramillies and Indomitable (now not available) both played a part. It even puts Malta at risk if Wasp and Eagle are repositioned to defend Southern Africa rather than used to ship Spitfires.

The Allies were worried that Japan would set up at least a submarine base on the island - the Vichy French already had 4 of their own subs there and a few light warships so plainly had some fuel stocks. If the Japanese had put some subs there plus some patrol aircraft and maybe even a few fighters (the French had just 17) and bombers then the Allies would find any invasion hard to implement unless the US took a hand. Once the IJN has recce ability on the route to the Middle East then it is much easier for them to take action to intercept ships that have rounded the Cape. There were typically 500 Allied ship movements per month in the Indian Ocean and virtually none of these were in escorted convoys. Just introducing convoys would typically reduce the Allied shipping capacity in the Indian Ocean by 1/3 but convoys are no good against surface units unless strongly escorted.

The Kongos had an endurance of about 5 weeks at sea and the heavy cruisers a bit less. The Ryujo and Zuiho had a similar type of endurance to the heavy cruisers. It would take about a week to get them on station off the Red Sea area interdicting both Middle East supplies & troops and US lend lease shipments to the SU via Persia, thereafter they could cruise on the East coast of Africa using their strong recce capability to spot targets. Cruiser TF's with a CVL could stay on station for about 2 weeks before returning to base in, say, Singapore or Java where the Japanese had more access to oil, thus you only need to assign something like 6 x CA and 3 x CVL to have 3 TF's with one on station most of the time. The recce capability on Madagascar could give early warning of any heavy units or heavily escorted convoys coming round the Cape so the Kongo's and possibly an extra CV could be mobilised. This would give the IJN the opportunity to deploy more substantial forces in time to intercept the Allies if they so chose. This of course means the Japanese would be following their original strategy of being defensive behind their initial island conquests in the SW and Central Pacific and would still have a powerful force of CV's and BB's to execute that.

In April 1942 the Allies had no very large units in Alexandria and no prospect of moving fleet units through the Med where the Italians had a significant advantage in operational BB's so everything has to come round the Cape or up from the SW Pacific.

If this situation draws the US to intervene in the Indian Ocean then so much the better - it reduces pressure in the Pacific and gives some opportunity for the decisive battle.

The strengthened defence on Madagascar should prevent Diego Suarez from being overwhelmed as quickly as it was so the constriction of supplies to the Mid East could be of a duration to be decisive. India is now under siege and the Allied forces at Ceylon also starved of supplies such as oil and further reinforcements. The supply route via Takoradi could not cope with all this extra demand so the situation would continue to deteriorate until the Allies would be forced to try to open the Indian Ocean before the US new builds would be anything like ready.

Regards

Mike

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by mcaryf » 06 Feb 2010 09:44

Hi mescal

You asked for the reference re Laval wanting the Japanese in Madagascar. I saw this in Gerhard Weinberg's "A World at Arms". It is on page 327 and is reinforced by endnote 36. That endnote gives a fairly complicated series of references essentially referring to intercepts of material transmitted by the Japanese diplomat in Germany Hiroshi Oshima.

The official German request to the Japanese to intervene in the Indian Ocean was sent on March 27th 1942.

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Mike

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by mescal » 06 Feb 2010 12:56

Thank you, Mike.

When it comes to Vichy foreign relation, "fairly complicated" is quite an understating qualifier - for either the policies themselves or the research which try to explain them. ;-)
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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by glenn239 » 06 Feb 2010 15:22

I must point out that my initial premise was that Somerville's forces were discovered by the IJN and suffered catastrophic losses putting all their major units either out of action for long term repair or at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
It doesn’t really matter whether Nagumo catches Sommerville or not in the long run. The fact of the matter is that if the IJN comes into the Indian Ocean for a major campaign, then it becomes impossible for the Royal Navy to project power there. The United States Navy is not going to send forces to the Indian Ocean, so the British will be forced back to South Africa.
The idea that the Japanese could place an "air army" at the Red Sea ['The way the Japanese make Egypt fall is to seize air bases at the mouth of the Red Sea and establish a full-strength air army there that prevents British supplies moving up the Red Sea.'] is much more absurd & far-fetched than the notion that the Allies' position re logistics was as fraught with as many insuperable difficulties as the Axis...including North Africa.
Of course it’s absurd. The Japanese merchant marine pool that averaged 2.34 million tons of shipping in 1942 managed to import into Japan 19 million tons of materials – about 8 tons of goods per year for every ton of shipping in the pool. A Japanese expedition of say 40,000 men and 100 aircraft into the Middle East to sever the Allied jugular to Eygpt may have required 25 lbs per man per day and 50 tons per plane per month – 240,000 tons of supply per year. At 8 tons of supply per ton of shipping, that’s a train of 30,000 tons of merchant vessels. It is absurd to imagine that a merchant marine with over 5,000,000 tons of shipping could possibly cough up 6/10th's of 1% of their merchant marine to support their major 1942 offensive!

The IJA also clearly could not mobilize 30,000 tons of shipping for supply on top of the 300,000 tons for the initial invasion of the Middle East. After all, the IJA only managed to commit about 750,000 tons to the Solomons/New Guinea campaign in late 1942! (And that doesn't include the IJN's tonnage, of course).
The Kongos had an endurance of about 5 weeks at sea and the heavy cruisers a bit less. The Ryujo and Zuiho had a similar type of endurance to the heavy cruisers. It would take about a week to get them on station off the Red Sea
Standing patrols don’t make much sense. The way it was done in WW2 was to land an expeditionary force, capture airfields and set up land based air power. Smaller fleet elements would base at a captured port to help repel weak attempts to run the Red Sea, with major reinforcements perhaps at Ceylon. Those that say that Japan didn’t have the logistics available for a major offensive in the Indian Ocean in 1942 if it sacrificed priority in the Pacific Ocean are wrong.

Question - if the Japanese plug the Red Sea and Eygpt falls, how much shipping will captured?

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Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon

Post by mcaryf » 06 Feb 2010 23:19

I have to say that I was not the person who suggested that the Japanese should consider establishing an air base at the mouth of the Red Sea. I have two things to say about this idea - first it is not a totally impractical suggestion as the Vichy owned Djibouti was actually precisely in this spot. It was not swept up by Allied forces until Dec 1942 so the Japanese might have had an initial welcome. However, the argument against it is that if the Japanese were interdicting the supplyline up the East African coast the two things the Allies would still not be short of were oil and aircraft. They could fly aircraft across Africa from Ghana on the West coast via Takoradi and they had good sources of oil from local Middle East refineries. Thus there would be little chance of a fixed Japanese air base being allowed to operate for long before visited by rather a lot of Allied bombers!

The difficulties the Allies would have with preventing a marine embargo on the other hand even with plentiful aircraft is that the East African coastline is 2,000nm long and they could not station anti-maritime aircraft in sufficient strength to fight a CVL all along that length.

Hi Glenn239

I am afraid I rather lost track of your argument about logistics and I am not sure where you thought the supplyline was leading. However, I will assume you may have been talking about Ceylon and I will look at that. Let us assume the Japanese put a force of 40,000 men into Ceylon - that is roughly equivalent to 2 divisions. I have chosen 40,000 not just because you used it but it so happens that was a realistic number from the volunteers the Japanese had from the Indian POW's they had captured and whom eventually comprised the Indian National Army. There was no real reason why that force could not have been formed for action in the second half of 1942 which is the timescale here.

So we have two divisions. Now Allied Armoured Division in Normandy consumed on average 750 tons per day but forces deployed by the Japanese would typically require about half of this. Ceylon would also have local produce such as food so I think 300 tons per day per Division should be adequate. I am therefore looking for 600 tons per day or 18,000 tons per month. Let us be really pessimistic and assume that ships made the (2000nm) round trip from Rangoon to Ceylon loaded and unloaded 1once per month. This means I need 18,000 tons of shipping for that leg of the journey. Let us double this to count shipping the supplies from wherever they were produced to Rangoon, some oil of course was produced locally in Burma. I now have a need for 36,000 tons.

In the first week of April the IJN found and sank well over 100,000 tons of shipping in the Bay of Bengal. All my requirement needs is for them to put prize crews aboard about 1/3 of these ships rather than sink them. The shipping problem is now solved.

Of course if they continued this taking of prizes there were several hundred other Allied MS in use in the Indian Ocean so plenty to choose from once they controlled the seas having destroyed Somerville. Just as an example when the IJN did send subs to the Indian Ocean in early April they spotted some 40 Allied merchantmen laying offshore at Durban, many of these would have come through or been going to the Indian Ocean. Once the IJN subs started operating in the Mozambique Channel they sunk a further 100,000 tons of shipping in fairly quick time.

Of course with respect to the Middle East supplies I am more interested in the IJN stopping that traffic rather than capturing it. My patrol strategy outlined previously should more than adequately do that job by deterring the Allies from risking precious men and tanks until the sealanes were safe.

It is a pity that this was not the Pacific as Pedestal in the Pacific has a nice ring to it but in reality the Allies would need to have mounted Pedestal style convoys to get the supplies through and Pedestal deployed 3 x CV and 2 x BB and even that would have been insufficient if the IJN chose to deploy some of its main fleet units.

Regards

Mike

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