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Thread: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

  1. #31
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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    Moreover, the Japanese Navy, after so much lobbying to get it's Southern Strategy accepted as a national policy, refused, once the Southern Strategy was adopted, to participate, unless the plans included aspects that would clearly initiate a war with the US. This was because, only a war in which the US Navy was involved could justify the massive allocation of resources which the Japanese Navy was adamantly seeking. So the Japanese power elites were forced to approve unnecessary military strikes against US territories in order to get the Japanese Navy to agree to the overall plan. In essence, the Japanese could not have attacked just the NEI with any hope of success because the Japanese Navy would not have been on board with such a plan.
    This illustrates one of the problems in trying, as Westerners, to understand Japan's entry into and conduct of its war.

    While we conventionally refer to 'Japan' and 'the Japanese' as if this represents the sort of unified national control of strategy and operations which, despite various political and inter-service and even intra-service rivalries, were typical of the English speaking Allies and the Soviets, the IJA and IJN were separate principalities not subject to overriding governmental control in the same way as the Allies mentioned.

    The vigorous and at times bitter and almost violent February/March 1942 disputes between the IJA and IJN on the future conduct of the southern thrust exemplify how those two organisations determined from below what appeared from the outside to be national policy imposed from above.

    I doubt that many, perhaps any, Western strategists understood this at the time, not least because Japan had been pretty much closed to the West from an intelligence viewpoint for some years before Pearl Harbor. On the other hand, I'm not sure that a clear understanding of it would have provided many opportunities for the Allies to improve significantly their operational or strategic positions as it seems there was little that the Allies could have done to exploit conflict between the IJA and IJN.
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  2. #32
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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by royal744 View Post
    Superficial is assuming things that have no basis in fact. I never said that the US had no interests in the Netherlands East Indies. I said that the US would not have declared war on Japan based on a Japanese invasion. I am quite sure that President Roosevelt would have been inclined to do so but he was constrained at a number of levels.
    No, "superficial" is an adjective denoting an analysis or approach which is not in depth, or which merely touches the surface of the issue.

    The fact is the US not only had vital trade and strategic interests in the NEI, the Roosevelt administration was determined, even at the cost of war with Japan, to protect those interests. Had Japan attacked the NEI, an ally of Britain, it would have been joining the European war on the side of the Axis. This alone wold have been enough to provoke the US into a war, as it was already in a shooting war in the Atlantic with Axis forces. Roosevelt would have been able to overcome the few remaining constraints against a declaration of war with Japan.

    Quote Originally Posted by royal744 View Post
    You and I will have to disagree on this. You imply that it would have been self evident that the US would have gone to war absent an attack on the US. Really? We had vastly greater interests in Europe but I don't recall Roosevelt declaring war on Germany as a result of the invasion of Holland, Belgium, France and the attack on the English. If what you say would be true in the Pacific, then it must also be true in Europe. Only it wasn't. Faute de logique, mon vieux.
    You argue that because the US did not immediately attack Germany when it went to war against Britain and France, the same reasoning could be applied to a Japanese attack against the NEI. This completely ignores the fact that the situation in Europe in 1939 was totally different from the situation in Southeast Asia in 1941. First of all, when Germany attacked Poland, initiating the European war, it appeared that Britain and France would be able to win the war on the European continent without military intervention by the US; it wasn't until the late spring of 1940 that that view was proven false. By that time, it was also apparent that the US, with an Army just beginning to be rebuilt, was completely incapable of doing anything to prevent Germany's victory on the Continent. Moreover, Britain, with the material help of the US, was able to achieve a military stalemate with Germany by 1941, and it was clear that neither the US nor Britain would be able to launch an offensive for at least another year; there was no point in declaring war on Germany until that was possible. As for trade interests in Europe, the US required no vital commodities from Europe and while there were strong trade connections with Europe, none were considered critical to the US economy.

    The situation in Southeast Asia in 1941 was completely different. It was a given that no Allied forces in the Pacific would have any chance of standing against a Japanese attack without active US support. Furthermore, the US Navy was the only force that could provide that support and, though not completely prepared in 1941, the US Navy believed it could significantly slow or outright stop a Japanese attack against the NEI. And because the Roosevelt administration was determined to stop the Axis advance, Japan launching an offensive in the Pacific would have severe negative global consequences in the view of the Roosevelt administration.

    Therefore, applying the logic of the European war to the scenario of Japan launching an attack solely against the NEI is faulty reasoning because it does not take into account the vast differences that pertained in the two different situations.

  3. #33
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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    It was a given that no Allied forces in the Pacific would have any chance of standing against a Japanese attack without active US support.
    A given by whom?

    The British and Commonwealth forces in Malaya were capable of repelling a Japanese attack if (a) Percival wasn't hamstrung by Churchill's determination to keep British forces out of Thailand so that Britain wouldn't be seen as the aggressor and thus risk losing US support for entry into the war against Japan and (b) if Churchill hadn't denied Malaya the air resources his commanders advised were necessary and which were available if Churchill chose to divert them. Malaya wasn't lost because of a lack of active American support but because of Churchill's interference in its defence. Despite that, nowhere in Churchill's or Percival's planning was there any mention of or reliance upon America coming to Malaya's aid when Japan attacked.

    Australian forces reversed the Japanese advance on the Kokoda Track in 1942 and reduced their beachheads at Gona, Buna and Sanananda, albeit with American assistance at Buna.

    Austalian forces were the first to defeat the Japanese when they repelled them at Milne Bay in 1942.

    So far as the land war went in 1941-42, and for that matter in 1943 to early 1944 in the SWPA (which excludes Guadalcanal), Australia bore the brunt of the land fighting to hold and repel the Japanese in preparation for MacArthur's thrusts with American forces.

    American forces in the Philippines were defeated by the Japanese, so where was the active US support for them?

    There wasn't much in the way of 'active US support' in the Pacific, in the sense of 'the Pacific' including Nimitz's and MacArthur's areas of repsonsibility, in the critical early days from 7 December 1941 to mid-1942 to stem Japan's land operations.

    The fact is that the US didn't give any 'active support' to stem the Japanese land advances to mid-1942 in Allied areas outside its own interests in the Philippines, because it didn't have the forces to do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    Furthermore, the US Navy was the only force that could provide that support and, though not completely prepared in 1941, the US Navy believed it could significantly slow or outright stop a Japanese attack against the NEI.
    That belief turned out to be entirely wrong, starting with the sinking of the USS Houston less than three months into the war, shortly after HMAS Perth went down in the same action in the Sunda Strait as they attempted to defend the NEI while failing to stop a Japanese landing force.
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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    And the Dutch merchant marine removed from the NEI, which made a significant and critical contribution to Allied shipping in the SWPA.
    True, Rising Sun. MacArthur's sealift capability, especially against New Guiinea, was thanks mostly to the Dutch merchant marine.

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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    No, "superficial" is an adjective denoting an analysis or approach which is not in depth, or which merely touches the surface of the issue.
    LOL, Wizard, have it your way. We simply disagree and no amount of "suasion" on your part changes what I know from my in depth study of the subject matter.

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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    A given by whom?

    The British and Commonwealth forces in Malaya were capable of repelling a Japanese attack if (a) Percival wasn't hamstrung by Churchill's determination to keep British forces out of Thailand so that Britain wouldn't be seen as the aggressor and thus risk losing US support for entry into the war against Japan and (b) if Churchill hadn't denied Malaya the air resources his commanders advised were necessary and which were available if Churchill chose to divert them. Malaya wasn't lost because of a lack of active American support but because of Churchill's interference in its defence. Despite that, nowhere in Churchill's or Percival's planning was there any mention of or reliance upon America coming to Malaya's aid when Japan attacked.
    Yes, but unfortunately neither of those conditions actually existed at any time either before or after the Japanese attack.

    And if American support wasn't desired in the defense of Malaya, why did Churchill try to get the US to station several capital naval units at Singapore prior to the war?

    In any case, defending Malaya successfully is not the issue; it was the defense of the NEI in which it was a given that only the US could provide sufficient naval support to generate any hope of making it successful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Australian forces reversed the Japanese advance on the Kokoda Track in 1942 and reduced their beachheads at Gona, Buna and Sanananda, albeit with American assistance at Buna.

    Austalian forces were the first to defeat the Japanese when they repelled them at Milne Bay in 1942.
    Of course they did and more glory to them, but all that ignores the fact that the US Navy had turned back the Japanese Navy at the Coral Sea in May, 1942, and stopped it dead in it's tracks at Midway in June, 1942. Moreover, the Japanese were forcing the Australians off the Kokoda Trail until late August, 1942. By then the US had invaded Guadalcanal which meant the Japanese could no longer count on reinforcements for the Kokoda battles. Milne Bay, of course, wasn't fought until late August, 1942, by which time the Japanese had focused on retaking Guadalcanal.

    Moreover, such a pronouncement ignores that fact that the Australian troops relied heavily on American aircover and air transport to support their logistics. It's really a stretch to imply that Australian troops, without strong American support could have stepped the Japanese short of the Australian continent.

    But again, the issue isn't New Guinea, but the defense of the NEI.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    So far as the land war went in 1941-42, and for that matter in 1943 to early 1944 in the SWPA (which excludes Guadalcanal), Australia bore the brunt of the land fighting to hold and repel the Japanese in preparation for MacArthur's thrusts with American forces.
    No doubt about it, the Australians did do much of the ground fighting in New Guinea. But without US naval and air support, it's very questionable whether that fighting would have been successful, or whether it could even have taken place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    American forces in the Philippines were defeated by the Japanese, so where was the active US support for them?
    In the scenario in question this would not have taken place and would have been completely irrelevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    There wasn't much in the way of 'active US support' in the Pacific, in the sense of 'the Pacific' including Nimitz's and MacArthur's areas of repsonsibility, in the critical early days from 7 December 1941 to mid-1942 to stem Japan's land operations.

    The fact is that the US didn't give any 'active support' to stem the Japanese land advances to mid-1942 in Allied areas outside its own interests in the Philippines, because it didn't have the forces to do it.
    The scenario pertinent to this thread is that Japan launches an attack only on the NEI; that means no Pearl Harbor, no attack on the Philippines and no attack on Malaya, so the US reaction probably would have been quite different in terms of deployment of forces. Regardless of the irrelevant points you have put forth, the US was the only country that had any military forces strong enough to challenge a Japanese attack on the NEI and that was a given. Neither Britain nor the Netherlands had any chance of stopping such an attack. Without Pearl Harbor, (and consequently the German declaration of war against the US) it's likely that the US Navy would have sent stronger forces to challenge the Japanese Navy and very possibly could have stalemated the Japanese offensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    That belief turned out to be entirely wrong, starting with the sinking of the USS Houston less than three months into the war, shortly after HMAS Perth went down in the same action in the Sunda Strait as they attempted to defend the NEI while failing to stop a Japanese landing force.
    Not really. It's true the un-reinforced US Asiatic Fleet had little chance against the Japanese Navy, but without Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war, it's entirely likely that far stronger naval forces would have engaged the Japanese Navy in the defense of the NEI. As Coral Sea and Midway proved, the US Navy was strong enough to defeat the Japanese Navy and that would have spelled the end of any Japanese offensive against the NEI.
    Last edited by Wizard; 07-30-2011 at 02:19 PM. Reason: correct attribution

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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    And if American support wasn't desired in the defense of Malaya, why did Churchill try to get the US to station several capital naval units at Singapore prior to the war?
    Same reason behind most of his other interactions with the US - he was desperate to get the US to enter the war on the British side. Japan entering the war against Britain without a US entry to the war would have been catastrophic - so basing US ships in Malaya was desired as it pretty much guaranteed the Japanese couldn't invade without starting a war with the US.
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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    And if American support wasn't desired in the defense of Malaya, why did Churchill try to get the US to station several capital naval units at Singapore prior to the war?
    I don't know.

    Why did he?

    How could he have achieved this when he had no power before the war?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    In any case, defending Malaya successfully is not the issue; it was the defense of the NEI in which it was a given that only the US could provide sufficient naval support to generate any hope of making it successful.
    But a given by whom?

    What contemporary papers or statements support this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    Of course they did and more glory to them, but all that ignores the fact that the US Navy had turned back the Japanese Navy at the Coral Sea in May, 1942, and stopped it dead in it's tracks at Midway in June, 1942.
    That is not disputed.

    I was referring to the land war, which is where the Japanese land advances were stopped.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    Moreover, the Japanese were forcing the Australians off the Kokoda Trail until late August, 1942.
    That is not disputed.

    But the Australians pushed the Japanese back up the Kododa Track and defeated them by the end of 1942.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    By then the US had invaded Guadalcanal which meant the Japanese could no longer count on reinforcements for the Kokoda battles.
    Nor could the Japanese reinforce Guadalcanal because of their Papuan operation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    Milne Bay, of course, wasn't fought until late August, 1942, by which time the Japanese had focused on retaking Guadalcanal.
    Then it's surprising that the Japanese put so much effort into the Milne Bay assault with the intention of flanking the Kokoda operation if they were really focused only on Guadalcanal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    Moreover, such a pronouncement ignores that fact that the Australian troops relied heavily on American aircover and air transport to support their logistics. It's really a stretch to imply that Australian troops, without strong American support could have stepped the Japanese short of the Australian continent.
    Not on Kokoda, where air support for ground troops was virtually non-existent and where air logisitics were little better.

    As for Milne Bay, the RAAF provided the air fighting power.

    The fact is that Australian land forces stopped and repelled the Japanese short of the Australian continent in Papua in the second half of 1942, without one American combat soldier involved in that campaign.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    No doubt about it, the Australians did do much of the ground fighting in New Guinea. But without US naval and air support, it's very questionable whether that fighting would have been successful, or whether it could even have taken place.
    That is not disputed but, as I said in my original post, I was referring to the land war which was what stopped the Japanese land advance.

    Land advances are what matter in the end because it is the taking and holding of land which usually wins wars.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 07-31-2011 at 09:16 AM.
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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by pdf27 View Post
    Same reason behind most of his other interactions with the US - he was desperate to get the US to enter the war on the British side. Japan entering the war against Britain without a US entry to the war would have been catastrophic - so basing US ships in Malaya was desired as it pretty much guaranteed the Japanese couldn't invade without starting a war with the US.
    That is certainly a stretch. Every historian I have ever read who has commented on the issue has said that the British wanted the US Naval units deployed to Singapore as a deterrent to a Japanese attack on Malaya and Singapore.

    But perhaps you have some sources that say otherwise? I certainly would be interested in reading such sources if you would be so good as to cite them.

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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by royal744 View Post
    LOL, Wizard, have it your way. We simply disagree and no amount of "suasion" on your part changes what I know from my in depth study of the subject matter.
    Well, yes we do disagree, and my extensive reading on the matter convinces me that what you "know" is incorrect

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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    I don't know.

    Why did he?

    How could he have achieved this when he had no power before the war?
    Sorry, I should have said "the British" instead of Churchill.

    And actually, no one in Britain had such power at any time, but it sure didn't prevent them from trying. Such a decision was reserved to Knox and Roosevelt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    But a given by whom?

    What contemporary papers or statements support this?
    It was a given as far as the British and American leadership was concerned. The fact that the British readily agreed to the Americans taking overall command in the Pacific supports the idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    That is not disputed.

    I was referring to the land war, which is where the Japanese land advances were stopped.
    Well, a little bit of mis-direction certainly doesn't hurt. The fact that Naval power was absolutely crucial to conducting any kind of land war or land offensive in the NEI is the point. The Japanese could never have launched the NEI offensive if the full force of the US Navy had been deployed as would have been entirely possible absent Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war against the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    That is not disputed.

    But the Australians pushed the Japanese back up the Kododa Track and defeated them by the end of 1942.
    Which proves what about the hypothetical Japanese offensive against the NEI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Nor could the Japanese reinforce Guadalcanal because of their Papuan operation.
    Which is totally irrelevant since in the hypothetical instance of the scenario, neither would have taken place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Then it's surprising that the Japanese put so much effort into the Milne Bay assault with the intention of flanking the Kokoda operation if they were really focused only on Guadalcanal.
    Not really. The truth is, the Japanese made a only half-hearted attempt at taking Milne Bay. Not to detract from the heroism and sacrifice of the Australian forces, but the Japanese committed only about 1,800 troops supported by about 350 non-combat support troops. The Allied forces numbered almost 9,000 men, with 4,500 being infantry. It was an important battle, but as Pacific battles went, not particularly large.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Not on Kokoda, where air support for ground troops was virtually non-existent and where air logisitics were little better.

    As for Milne Bay, the RAAF provided the air fighting power.

    The fact is that Australian land forces stopped and repelled the Japanese short of the Australian continent in Papua in the second half of 1942, without one American combat soldier involved in that campaign.
    Sorry, but that's BS. American air logistics and air support did make a big difference at Port Moresby (where the Australian logistics base for the Kokoda Trail was located) and on the Kokoda Trail itself. It's true that much of the supplies air dropped to the Australians on the Trail were lost, but those that were recovered made a difference, as did American air strikes against Japanese air bases supporting the Japanese offensive and against Japanese shipping attempting to deliver supplies to the Japanese forces.

    In any case, such a statement demeans the very real contributions made by the US Navy in the South Pacific. Australia could not have sustained troops in New Guinea without the assistance of the US Navy and without the defeats the US Navy inflicted on the Japanese Navy..

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    That is not disputed but, as I said in my original post, I was referring to the land war which was what stopped the Japanese land advance.

    Land advances are what matter in the end because it is the taking and holding of land which usually wins wars.
    And as I pointed out, the Japanese land offensive against the NEI could never have taken place if the IJN had faced the full force of the US Navy, as they would have if Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war had never taken place as implied by the scenario under discussion.

    The land war in New Guinea is completely irrelevant because it would never have taken place in a scenario where Japan limits its Southward advance to the NEI.

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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    Not really. It's true the un-reinforced US Asiatic Fleet had little chance against the Japanese Navy, but without Pearl Harbor and the German declaration of war, it's entirely likely that far stronger naval forces would have engaged the Japanese Navy in the defense of the NEI. As Coral Sea and Midway proved, the US Navy was strong enough to defeat the Japanese Navy and that would have spelled the end of any Japanese offensive against the NEI.
    Wow. Talk about unwarranted and unsupported supposition. In my estimation, the fantasy you propose would never have happened.

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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by royal744 View Post
    Wow. Talk about unwarranted and unsupported supposition. In my estimation, the fantasy you propose would never have happened.
    I guess you just like to ignore evidence that doesn't support your opinion.

    In May, 1942, the US Navy, with essentially the same fleet units it had possessed in December, 1941 (minus, of course, the units lost at Pearl Harbor), stopped the advance of the Japanese navy against New Guinea. A month later, the same US fleet gutted the offensive capacity of the Japanese navy. There is no reason to believe that had these actions taken place in defense of the NEI that the outcomes would be any different.

    Your "estimation" does not really impress me.

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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    In May, 1942, the US Navy, with essentially the same fleet units it had possessed in December, 1941 (minus, of course, the units lost at Pearl Harbor), stopped the advance of the Japanese navy against New Guinea.
    I don’t agree that the USN by itself ‘stopped the naval advance on New Guinea’.

    It wasn’t a naval advance on New Guinea (strictly Papua) but naval support for an invasion force headed for Port Moresby.

    The USN didn’t operate entirely alone but had the assistance of two Australian cruisers and land-based US aircraft, both of which played critical parts in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

    The USN Coral Sea force wasn’t essentially the same (Pacific) fleet units the US possessed on 7 December 1941. The Australian cruisers HMAS Australia and HMAS Hobart, which with USS Chicago and three US destroyers turned back the Japanese invasion force heading for Port Moresby during the Battle of the Coral Sea, weren't part of the US fleet in December 1941 or subsequently. Without them blocking the Jomard Passage (and surviving an attack by American land-based bombers as well as Japanese land-based bombers), the Japanese invasion fleet had a clear run to Port Moresby once the other USN forces had withdrawn on 8 May 1942 and left the invasion fleet in position to proceed through Jomard Passage to its destination. It’s questionable whether the land-based Allied air forces could have turned them back.

    As you’re using Coral Sea to predict the result of a Japanese invasion of the NEI if facing only the USN, and given that without non-American cruisers in Coral Sea it’s quite likely that the Japanese would have landed in Port Moresby, it follows that it’s quite likely that the Japanese would have landed in the NEI if they attacked only the NEI.

    It becomes much more probable if Japan attacked the NEI as a surprise attack in the same way it did Pearl Harbor, Malaya and the Philippines because, despite an attack solely on the NEI being a strong possibility facing US defence planners, the USN was not deployed to defend the NEI. The nearest ships would have been the Asiatic Fleet based in the Philippines. Whether many could or would have been dispatched to the defence of the NEI after a Japanese attack on only the NEI is unlikely, as the Americans could be expected to regard an attack on the NEI as a prelude to an attack on the Philippines and so concentrate on defence of their own territory. As it happened, the Asiatic Fleet was no match for the Japanese fleets it faced so there is no reason to believe it would have performed any better when reinforced by the Pacific Fleet against Japanese fleets reinforced by the fleets used against Pearl Harbor and to support the invasions of Malaya and the Philippines plus other expeditions such as Rabaul and Truk.

    As it happened, the USN didn’t fare too well when defending only the Philippines as “By the end of December 1941 the Japanese, in addition to striking the United States Navy a crippling blow at Pearl Harbor, had destroyed for all practical purposes the Far East Air Force, had driven the American Asiatic Fleet, together with the remnants of Patwing 10, from its Philippine base to the Netherlands East Indies.” http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/I/AAF-I-10.html And the American Asiatic Fleet, along with British, Australian and Dutch naval forces fared even worse in defence of the NEI.

    There is no reason to believe that the USN would necessarily have fared better if the Japanese attacked only the NEI, and using Coral Sea as an indicator just reinforces the prospect that the Japanese would have got their invasion force ashore in the NEI. The simple fact is that in December 1941 to mid-1942, Japan was vastly superior to its opponents in its southern thrust and would probably have defeated them wherever it struck.
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    Default Re: What if Japan annexes Dutch East Indies instead of attacking USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    Not really. The truth is, the Japanese made a only half-hearted attempt at taking Milne Bay. Not to detract from the heroism and sacrifice of the Australian forces, but the Japanese committed only about 1,800 troops supported by about 350 non-combat support troops. The Allied forces numbered almost 9,000 men, with 4,500 being infantry. It was an important battle, but as Pacific battles went, not particularly large.
    Your reference to a 'half-hearted attempt at taking Milne Bay' exemplifies your condescending attitude to forces other than the US. If the US had been the main force at Milne Bay you'd be touting it as the greatest feat of arms since Thermopylae.

    Alas, Australians were the main force at Milne Bay and it was the first defeat the Japanese suffered in their southern thrust. It was a huge morale booster after a devastating succession of Allied defeats down the South East Asian land chain as it demonstrated that the Japanese were not invincible. As Bill Slim noted: "Australian troops had, at Milne Bay in New Guinea, inflicted on the Japanese their first undoubted defeat on land. If the Australians, in conditions very like ours, had done it, so could we. Some of us may forget that of all the Allies it was the Australian soldiers who first broke the spell of the invincibility of the Japanese Army; those of us who were in Burma have cause to remember."

    Apart from Kokoda and Guadalcanal, name three other land battles or campaigns that were going on around the same time in the SWPA or Pacific which were larger. Or even half the size of Milne Bay in forces committed by both sides.

    Apart from Gudalcanal and the Kokoda campaign, which terminated with the reduction of Gona, Buna and Sanananda, name three other land battles or campaigns where the Japanese were defeated on land in 1942.

    As for Milne Bay being small by comparison with later battles and campaigns, yes, it was. But without defeating the Japanese at Milne Bay and Kokoda and Guadalcanal those later battles and campaigns would not have been possible. In the second half of 1942 they were the only battles and campaigns that mattered. And, so far as I am aware, the USN did not win them all by itself or, as I shall deal with in my next post, even make the contribution you assert.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 08-03-2011 at 07:08 AM.
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