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  • No Admiral King

    December 20, 1941 - Admiral Ernest King dies in an auto accident when a drunk driver plows into the car he is being driven in. How do events transpire differently?

  • #2
    European war is over in 1944, slower advance in Pacific but war ends much the same time.

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    • #3
      Some of the potential variables I see:

      1. Would there have less initial interest in the Pacific without King to send whatever resources he could there?

      2. Would the shipping off the Atlantic coast in early 1942 been better protected from U-boats if someone else was in charge of this (ie earlier convoys, etc.)

      3. Would Nimitz have been CN0/CINC of US Fleet, or would it have been decided he was the man for the Pacific, and he had to go there? Would Leahy have "stepped down" from his role as Chief of Staff to the President to again take the CNO position?

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      • #4
        This depends on who is appointed instead of King. Roosevelt had a prefrence for capable military leaders with strong personalities, so it is likely any other choice would have had some similarities to King.

        Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
        Some of the potential variables I see:

        1. Would there have less initial interest in the Pacific without King to send whatever resources he could there?
        The emergency conditions of the first half of 1942 focused attention on the Pacific & would have done so whomever was commanding the Navy. Many decisions may have been different with differing personalities, but the US was not going to sit by while the Japanese navy picked off naval bases across the entire Pacific. Abandoning Australia, New Zealand, & lesser locations without a fight was politicly unacceptable & militarily unsound.

        Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
        2. Would the shipping off the Atlantic coast in early 1942 been better protected from U-boats if someone else was in charge of this (ie earlier convoys, etc.)
        King did not replace Stark as CNO until March 1942, so blame for the losses to German submarines lies more broadly than with King alone. There were technical, material, and doctrinal problems yet to be resolved and which went far back into the 1930s. Aside from the necessary escorts not available in sufficient quantity within the USN, the offer of British escorts was not a pancea either. That would have disrupted British ASW operations, the numbers actually available dont seem to be large enough, and differing signals & other practices would have had to be solved. Something that does not happen in a week or two. Kings predecessor and his peers had not carried far enough along in anticipating and solving all those issues and more. Stark as CNO had as much to do with the losses of cargo ships to German submarines as his policies for preperation influenced the numbers of escorts, their training, and cooperation with the Brits.

        Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
        3. Would Nimitz have been CN0/CINC of US Fleet, or would it have been decided he was the man for the Pacific, and he had to go there? Would Leahy have "stepped down" from his role as Chief of Staff to the President to again take the CNO position?
        Leahy was ambassador to France until May 1942, a post Roosevelt considered critical in terms of global strategy. The CoS position came as French policy rendered Leahys ambassadorship less important in Roosevelts view. For this general question I am wondering who else would have been available for selection?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
          2. Would the shipping off the Atlantic coast in early 1942 been better protected from U-boats if someone else was in charge of this (ie earlier convoys, etc.)
          I think that is a given. The RCN became so exasperated with the USN and King that they ran their own convoys through US waters. They didn't lose a ship.

          Convoys worked. Had the USN organized convoys from day one the second uboat happy time never would have occured. The Allies would have had a million tons more of shipping in 1943. That would open up more strategic possibilities.

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