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Japan foregoes Midway and invades Australia

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  • #76
    Originally posted by Rojik View Post

    Cheap and unnecessary. Would any opinion of mine on the Vietnam war be worth reading if I finished with 'thank god we didn't have Yanks as officers'?

    Anyway... This whole taking Darwin and using it to draw us into some battle is a furphy. If they wanted it so bad we were going to let them have it. Darwin can't support itself these days. It has almost zero food supply. It relies on the south to send it the things it needs. Other than minerals, there is not much else. Whatever cattle we couldn't move or destroy would be gone in weeks. It's hotter than hell on a midsummer afternoon, and water is almost non existent for 8 months of the year, and for the other 4 there is more than you'd ever want to see. German generals would take one look at the place and ask to be transferred to Russia.

    Fight them? We'd just go in a couple of years later and pick up the bones after the war was over.

    Source - me. Went to uni there and then lived there for a couple of years later.
    There is little chance the Australian government would have just let the Japanese have Darwin - I've see nothing whatsoever in the historical record that suggests this. I can absolutely see the logic behind it, I just think it would have been an untenable political position.

    Had an invasion been successful, I know it would have been bloody tough to get back considering the lack of railways and roads leading to it, but I'm sure it would have been a top priority regardless, and may have required an amphibious landing. I know this would have taken away from more strategic operations, but logic doesn't always determine strategy.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by Herman Hum View Post

      Why does everyone postulate that the Japanese would attack/capture Darwin and then use it as a base to drive south through the middle? As everyone points out, the roads are atrocious and could not sustain the effort. However, the roads work just as badly in both directions. The Aussies should have the same problems trying to amass sufficient combat power and supplies to reinforce/invade Darwin overland from the south.

      I think that the capture of Darwin would be sufficient. The Japanese would resupply by ship and not need to continue southward. Any other coastal operations/invasions east/west of Darwin would be limited since they have little access from the landward side. As long as Japan can control the seas, they deny Australia the ability to reinforce/relieve the northern coastal towns. Capture of Darwin would extend control of the air and sea. Air cover from Timor and area is possible, but more distant. Possession of Darwin grants them a greater buffer zone to protect the DEI. Land-based air from Darwin would virtually prevent the enemy's sea-borne movement of supplies and men.

      Also, it was suggested that Japanese convoys would suffer depredation from Queensland forces, but I think that they could easily avoid them by coming through the Makassar Strait or Ambon area under air cover.
      Has anyone here actually suggested the Japanese would have driven south? I don't think anyone has claimed that. I think everyone agrees it would have been a useful asset for controlling the air and sea, an unbalancing the Allies, but that's it.

      Good point r.e. invasion convoy route though!

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      • #78
        Originally posted by Aussiegoat View Post

        There is little chance the Australian government would have just let the Japanese have Darwin - I've see nothing whatsoever in the historical record that suggests this. I can absolutely see the logic behind it, I just think it would have been an untenable political position.

        Had an invasion been successful, I know it would have been bloody tough to get back considering the lack of railways and roads leading to it, but I'm sure it would have been a top priority regardless, and may have required an amphibious landing. I know this would have taken away from more strategic operations, but logic doesn't always determine strategy.
        That's what I claimed from the start. It'd be a futile mission for the Japanese otherwise, but at the time the panic in Australia that the Japanese landed and took Darwin would have created a massive political need to respond and drive them out. That would have definitely had, in turn, a massive effect on the New Guinea campaign and probably the Guadalcanal campaign.

        Australia would have thrown everything necessary into driving the Japanese out. They'd likely ask and expect the Americans to do likewise. If MacArthur bucks that or stalls, he and the US would have had major political backlash from Australia and probably N. Zealand as well.

        But, I don't think there was any Japanese foresight that would have allowed them to see that possibility. Their intelligence gathering capacity was near nil.

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        • #79
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post

          That's what I claimed from the start. It'd be a futile mission for the Japanese otherwise, but at the time the panic in Australia that the Japanese landed and took Darwin would have created a massive political need to respond and drive them out. That would have definitely had, in turn, a massive effect on the New Guinea campaign and probably the Guadalcanal campaign.

          Australia would have thrown everything necessary into driving the Japanese out. They'd likely ask and expect the Americans to do likewise. If MacArthur bucks that or stalls, he and the US would have had major political backlash from Australia and probably N. Zealand as well.

          But, I don't think there was any Japanese foresight that would have allowed them to see that possibility. Their intelligence gathering capacity was near nil.
          At last! We agree on something

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          • #80
            Originally posted by Herman Hum View Post

            Rabaul was historically unable to interdict the seas between Pt. Moresby and Australia. Pt.M would be needed to control the approaches to the Torres Strait. Darwin threatens any Allied approach to the DEI (Timor) from the West. Darwin would not have achieved little. It was a worthy objective. Although it could have been left to wither, the way Rabaul was, it was still a strategic position to threaten the flanks (at least as long as the supplies lasted.)



            The point of the invasion would never have been to conquer all of Australia. Instead, it was to extend/maintain the barrier/buffer zone before the Allies could approach them. Darwin would have provided for such a base of operations.
            If that were the case how would holding Darwin have permitted the Japanese to interdict more effectively shipping departing from Perth,.Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney etc ? While the liberation of the Indonesian archipelago would have been greatly assisted with Darwin remaining in allied hands (if that was the aim) it would not have been a prerequisite.

            I mentioned Rabaul only because the Japanese,themselves regarding it as a key position securing their southern flank.
            "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
            Samuel Johnson.

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            • #81
              Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post

              If that were the case how would holding Darwin have permitted the Japanese to interdict more effectively shipping departing from Perth,.Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney etc ? While the liberation of the Indonesian archipelago would have been greatly assisted with Darwin remaining in allied hands (if that was the aim) it would not have been a prerequisite.

              I mentioned Rabaul only because the Japanese,themselves regarding it as a key position securing their southern flank.
              There was no way to interdict the shipping to and from Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane, any more than the IJN could interdict shipping to the Hawaiian Islands. Those were never the pre-war goals of Japan. The IJN could harass and cause attrition, but they could never have been more than a nuisance (unless they got very, very lucky in some instances.)

              Allied possession of Darwin would not have been a prerequisite to attack the DEI, but neutralization of Darwin would have been; the same way that neutralization of Rabaul and Truk was necessary for the advance through the central Pacific. Once Rabaul and Truk had been bombed flat, the Allies could island-hop around them. As long as they were functional bases, the Allies had to move with caution and care.

              Darwin would have been just another outpost base, like Tarawa, Eniwetok, Truk, and Rabaul, that would have to be reduced or otherwise neutralized before the Allies could move into the DEI with confidence and security.
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              • #82
                I see taking Darwin as a political move. The Australian government would want it taken back. They'd put considerable resources into doing that. They'd expect the US to support them fully as well. That makes it a huge diversion from the New Guinea campaign and possibly the Solomons / Guadalcanal campaign.

                For a later example, the Philippines is the same way. MacArthur was insistent on the Philippines being retaken, whereas the US Navy wanted to bypass the islands entirely as irrelevant. MacArthur's position won out and the USN was forced into supporting a Philippine invasion and reconquest. That the Navy got to eradicate a big chunk of Japan's remaining fleet was the only real benefit from their point of view.

                But, the politics was the Philippines had to be taken, even if the military view was that as an objective it was all but a waste of time. Darwin would be the same way. It wouldn't be enough to just invest and contain the Japanese. Darwin would have to be retaken, and that would impact other operations significantly.

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