Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Amend British Strategy 5.6.40 to 5.6.44 ?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Amend British Strategy 5.6.40 to 5.6.44 ?

    What Strategic Changes Would You Have Made?

    It's 5th June 1940, and the Miracle of Dunkirk has finished and Churchill has already given his we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender speech.

    What strategic changes do you think Britain should have done differently in this period, if any? What is your insight on shortening the war based on information that the Government/military may have known at that time (or at least should have a decent guess at what could have been done).

    We are not talking about relatively minor changes, such as slightly better equipment (Universal tanks, SMLE replaced by an SLR etc etc), but elements such as placements of armies, which theatres should be given greater logistical support, which assets should be used/protected more/less and the actual overall strategy for being on the winning side?

    Britain was on the winning side so it could be argued nothing really needed to be changed in the long term .

    I disagree, hence this thread .

    Possible changes include The Home Front,





    The Med





    The Far East





    and The Atlantic.





    What would you propose ?
    How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
    Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

  • #2
    I say flush the Italians out of Lybia, but have Winnie use topographical maps and see there is no soft under belly of Europe, and invading Italy is a waste of time. If nothing else also beef up singapore's defenses to discourage a land campaign in Malasia, and work with the Dutch to improve their defenses against a possibly hungry Japan. There's a lot more but they comw with hindsight, so there not being brought up.
    How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
    275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

    Comment


    • #3
      Good thread Nick.

      How bout cancelling the Vanguard? Battleships represent a huge capital, material and manpower investment just to build. A number of destroyers could have been built with the savings, which would have been more useful for the Battle of the Atlantic.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well Nick, I'm using our on going game (CWIE with The Purist) as the basis for this post - my vote would be to focus on air power. Now, I am not going to pretend to know the exact numbers the RAF had just after Dunkirk, but I can tell you that it seems like no matter what we do in the game we just can't get more planes in the air than the Germans (especially in N. Africa). Of course, I KNOW that this changes in time but trying not to use today's knowledge and apply it to the past if I were in charge in 1940 I'd say air power.
        "War is sorrowful, but there is one thing infinitely more horrible than the worst horrors of war, and that is the feeling that nothing is worth fighting for..."
        -- Harper's Weekly, December 31, 1864

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
          What Strategic Changes Would You Have Made?
          What would you propose?
          1) Divert long range bombers to coastal command from bomber command. This will win the battle of the Atlantic much sooner. Ellis talks about how Harris monopolized the long range bombers to the detriment of the battle of the Atlantic.

          2) Develop a proper combined arms doctrine and get rid of all the hide bound deadwood that occupied command slots in the British army. Particularly the old school cavalry officers that were in charge of armour. They have to go.

          3) Dramatically increase the number of heavy machine guns in the TOE of the infantry battalions. Every platoon gets a section with a vickers.

          4) As soon as the Germans get stuck in Russia, liberate Norway. This will cut German steel production which as Tooze has demonstrated was the key element of the German wartime economy.

          5) Bomber command is given the sole target of the German transportation network. Every rail marshalling yard is bombed. The German economy depended on moving coal by rail. No coal = > no steel => no production

          Comment


          • #6
            See my thread from last year about promoting the Mosquito to a more preeminent role within Bomber Command, stop Winston diverting assets away from the Western Desert to send to the Far East (and on the same subject keep Prince Of Wales and Repulse out of the area even if more air power had of been available to cover them - which it wasn't and would have made little difference in any case), focus minds on getting better guns into British tanks so Cromwell and Churchill crews wouldnt have to tackle Panthers and Tigers at virtual point blank ranges (or at least ensure enough 17 pounders were available to up gun the American Sherman when they started coming on stream).

            Thats enough for starters.

            And maybe what Wolery suggested.
            HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

            "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

            Comment


            • #7
              Starting with a few obvious ones:

              Don't reinforce Greece. Instead, reinforce Crete right off and begin turning it into a base in the Eastern Med. With a more orgainzed defense than it originally had the Germans won't take it.

              This follows the axium of war "Never reinforce defeat." It is clear that sending a brigade or two of troops and a regiment of tanks will not stop a massed panzer assault. Another axium is "He who defends everything loses everytime."

              Instead, allow the North African forces a short period of rest and then finish off the Italians in North Africa before Rommel arrives.

              In the Battle of the Atlantic the following should happen:

              Much sooner conversion of some ships to makeshift carriers for a few fighters (eg., MAC ships) like the MV Empire MacCabe was done. These don't have to be fancy conversions but rather something that can launch a Wildcat or Sea Hurricane or two or, a couple of Swordfish for ASW work.

              As bomber command gets newer bombers move the obsolesent ones on a one or two for one basis to Coastal Command.

              In the Far East ensure that Singapore gets sufficent pilots to man all the available aircraft. This doubles the number of Buffalo in service. Also send at least a squadron of longer ranged heavier bombers there along with some Hurricanes.
              Make a regiment of tanks, even if they are obsolesent ones or Italian captures available to the defense. Ensure that the local commanders and government know that adequite training may require troops to traverse or otherwise use private commercial land. Land owners need to be aware they get nothing for this as the Commonwealth is at war and this is a Crown necessity.
              This means that positions will be pre-wired, dug in, etc. instead of having to wait until after the war in the Pacific begins.
              Move and base in Singapore at least two older R class battleships and a carrier like the Hermes there.

              Have the RN start working more closely with both the Dutch (who are already allied more or less) and US navies in working out a combined operating procedure.

              These changes could have been worked out on the basis of then extant knowledge from mid 1940 to mid 1941.
              Churchill overreached in Greece. This could have not occured. With Crete in British hands even following a failed German invasion attempt (if they tried it at all) the British are in an excellent position to later begin attacks on Polesti and also in a position to raid Greece. This greatly extends and complicates the German defense of the Mediterrainian.

              The loss of North Africa before the Germans can effectively intervene means no campaign there. While this puts more material into Russia it isn't sufficent to change results there. The British are also in a position to better reinforce the Far East and to give aid to Russia.
              Malta becomes a back water and the convoy losses to supply it are far less than they historically were.
              With more ships available for use elsewhere, the RN can again reinforce their efforts in the Atlantic and Far East.

              If this in turn results in Singapore remaining in British hands even with most of Malayia in Japanese hands, the Japanese are in a world of hurt. This will reduce their ability to ship both rubber and oil back to Japan significantly particularly as the war progresses. It also means that Burma likely doesn't fall so China is not cut off.

              Britain should not have tried an early continental campaign against the Germans following the fall of France. This alone justifies no Greek expedition. Britain is a sea power and should not attempt to take on Germany a land power on their own turf.
              Holding Crete would be enough. Defeating Italy in North Africa early is a worthwhile effort. This prevents a campaign on land there and the attendent losses Britain cannot afford.
              Holding Singapore gives Britain a big advantage in the Far East and limits Japanese expansion into their empire holdings.
              If a land route to China remains open then this allows the Chinese army to be reinforced and also for Allied forces to move there early in the war. For example, once the Japanese begin a war in the Pacific with these conditions the US could have moved a number of divisions through Burma to China by land (road or rail) and kept them supplied. The Japanese in China would have been very hard pressed to stop a US mechanized advance there given their small numbers and lack of mechanization and capacity for armored warfare.

              This in turn leaves Britain only to get the US into the war to provide the land power in Europe necessary to defeat Germany. With a larger available army themselves and less losses to make up an invasion of Europe should be possible by mid to late 1943 rather than in 1944. After all, there would be no real need to invade Italy or conduct a long drawn out African / Med campaign. But, the Germans and Italians would still be obliged to defend their coast line there with substancial troops regardless.

              This scenario has a good possibility of shortening the war substancially.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dogsbody67 View Post
                See my thread from last year about promoting the Mosquito to a more preeminent role within Bomber Command, stop Winston diverting assets away from the Western Desert to send to the Far East (and on the same subject keep Prince Of Wales and Repulse out of the area even if more air power had of been available to cover them - which it wasn't and would have made little difference in any case), focus minds on getting better guns into British tanks so Cromwell and Churchill crews wouldnt have to tackle Panthers and Tigers at virtual point blank ranges (or at least ensure enough 17 pounders were available to up gun the American Sherman when they started coming on stream).

                Thats enough for starters.

                And maybe what Wolery suggested.
                A few recent threads plus having just finished Ellis's Brute Force was the inspiration behind this thread.

                Some Points

                Bomber Command
                Until the last year of the war the heavy bombers could not inflict that knock out blow Harris wanted. However, and this is a big however, the resources used to defend Germany were huge, and which Nazi Germany could ill afford. Having said that a couple of dozen long range aircraft over the Atlantic could have saved millions of tons of shipping.

                One interesting titbit about bomber command crews. If you were flying combat missions before D-Day the mortality rate amongst aircrews was about 2 in 3. Kamikaze pilots had around 1 in 2 . In addition Bomber Command was often killing more of its own men than adult German males.

                Bombing one element of the German infrastucture, whether electricity, oil, transportation hubs etc, would be my choice, and using Mossie's.





                The Med
                Supporting Greece? Military mistake. However, Britain had failed to help Poland (although not in a position to do so), and it may have been a political necessity to be seen to help our allies. Taking all of N Africa in 1941 would have been better imo, although N Africa's outcome would have little impact on WW2 (despite some mythology about that campaign).

                Far East
                Do not support the SU with our old kit, and send stuff here instead, eg armour and aircraft such as older Hurricanes and Spitfires, Lt tanks etc. Use those 6000 or so engineers in Singapore and make some defenses. Tell Percival he needs to shoot himself before giving any surrender order.

                Atlantic
                Aircraft, aircraft, aircraft. Did I mention aircraft? And radar in those aircraft. Even if they are not sinking U-boats, they are keeping them submerged, which allows the convoys to speed by. The amount of tonnage lost to U-boats was astronomical. Also invest in better ASW techniques and weapons asap.



                Parts 2 - 5 here.
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZD6IZ0n_tk
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRHEkYreMJ8
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvG7bhQ-OvQ
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeH32dJnoG8
                How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

                Comment


                • #9
                  Atlantic
                  Aircraft, aircraft, aircraft. Did I mention aircraft? And radar in those aircraft. Even if they are not sinking U-boats, they are keeping them submerged, which allows the convoys to speed by. The amount of tonnage lost to U-boats was astronomical. Also invest in better ASW techniques and weapons asap.
                  Very good point - if additional ASW aircraft had been available with the 'legs' to cover the Air Gap then in a way it would not have mattered if fewer U boats were sunk if they were all kept skulking at 7-8 knots under the surface out of the way of the patrolling aircraft above. Besides, thanks to their need to return to the surface to recharge their batteries and flush the boat through (before the introduction of the Schnorkel which may have come into service a little earlier had Doenitz been forced to apply countermeasures earlier), losses would probably have risen anyway as those Liberators (and possibly Stirlings and Halifax's freed up by the increased use of the Mossie) found them wallowing on the surface. Mind you, Harris would have had a fit, had his Heavies been diverted from hitting Germany - if there was one thing he loathed it was a 'Panacea Target.'
                  HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

                  "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would cap the size of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. British Manpower was the deciding factor in the last two years of the war. Those aircrew and sailors were sorely missed in the British Army when replacements ran out. I would use the 6th Australian and 2nd New Zealand to go on the offense in Libya to knock the Italians out. Shipping some of those captured Italian tanks to Crete would have hardened the defense there considerably. Some Artillery and/or coastal defense guns around the three ports of North Crete would also have made some difference.

                    Diverting some long range aircraft to the Battle of the Atlantic also makes sense. Where I differ a bit is I would have started building Escort Carriers in 1940. Having six Martlets/Hurricanes and 6 Swordfish available to most convoys would have kept losses low. The sailors could have come from cutting back on Vanguard and retiring some of those 20 something year old converted aircraft carriers. Using some manpower from Canada and the colonies for pilots would have eased things as well.

                    In the Middle East, I would have kept more divisions in Egypt instead of sending them to long term r&r in Iraq, Palestine, and Syria. I would have also stopped the practice of rebuilding divisions with new formations just arrived.

                    In the Far East, I would have instituted training and replacement centers in India that would provide replacements for the Middle East Indian Army. Once a Division went to Burma or Malaya, I would not "milk" them to provide replacements. Personnel in the Far East would join the war by training year round and in various types of terrain. No more 6 months leave! I would also start some Advanced Fighter Schools in Malaya to help train Australian and New Zealand, India and Malaya pilots. Buffaloes could be alright for new pilots but some provision for Hurricanes, Spitfires and P-40's would be shipped there. These could have come from the aircraft sent to the Soviet Union. Stalin did not see the Allies as much help, so a few less aircraft would not have made him feel different.

                    Pruitt
                    Last edited by Pruitt; 03 Mar 10, 16:50.
                    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner
                      ...Instead, allow the North African forces a short period of rest and then finish off the Italians in North Africa before Rommel arrives.
                      Beda Fomm was fought in the second week of February and the first German troops arrived within a week. The British were exhausted, they had about 12 cruiser tanks and 20 or 30 light tanks left in running order and no means to supply themselves past Benghazi.

                      Even in late March they could not manage more than a brigade at El Agheila. The problem of logistics in Africa worked against both sides.
                      The Purist

                      Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        1940
                        Defer calling up any more men into the armed services until there are the facilities (and weapons) for them.

                        Order the 6-pdr into production immediately and tell the tank 'parliament' to design the tanks around them.

                        Cancel Operation Catapult.

                        Review, i.e. reduce, spending in the USA.

                        1941
                        Do not foist British assistance on Greece, limit aid to supplying them with captured Italian weaponry.
                        Secure Cyrenaica.

                        Do not prioritize aid to the Soviet Union over defence of the Far East.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As an add on to my earlier post, I would survey and make provisions to destroy all airfields in Northern Malaya. Japanese aircraft flew from them using British fuel and British bombs. I would also register all construction equipment in Malaya and either remove it from North Malaya or disable it. (The Philippines had a similar problem).

                          There should also be a change in Royal Navy strength in the Far East by sending more submarines into the South China Sea and the Gulf of Siam.

                          Pruitt
                          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Add 1 more:
                            recognize that Hong Kong was completely indefensible and withdraw the garrison.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AdrianE View Post
                              Add 1 more:
                              recognize that Hong Kong was completely indefensible and withdraw the garrison.
                              Agreed. Our boys died for nothing.

                              I'd beef up the defenses on the Malay Peninsula, give the general clear orders that they are to resist viciously, no evacuation no surrender.

                              I'd send 2 Extra Divisions to Burma.

                              As for the Med I'd tell O'Connor to just keep his men ready for action. I'd also see about getting him another Division.

                              As for home defense I think things went pretty well. There's not much Britain could have done to improve that situation.
                              A wild liberal appears! Conservative uses logical reasoning and empirical evidence! It's super effective! Wild liberal faints.

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X