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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > History Library > Alternate Timelines

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Alternate Timelines The great "what if's" of military history.

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  #16  
Old 05 Sep 13, 13:07
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
The problem for the Japanese is that by Mid 1942 the Japanese are no longer capable of really effective offensive action. The units they had in the Philippines would have been reduced to near combat ineffectiveness through casualties and would have required rebuilding just to maintan a siege if US / Fillipino troops were still holding out even on short rations etc.

This means their offensive plans for New Guinea and the Solomons would have had to be put on hold to reinforce the Philippines in a push for final victory. That alone would make a big difference for the Allied forces. No Kokoda Trail, no Buna, the Australians could have taken all of New Guniea without a fight.
The Solomons slog is avoided.
All good points, and all true.

However, I think what we are all missing here is that P.I. was the one place where the Japanese time-table was upset in a major way prior to the battle of the Coral Sea.
How badly did Macarthur and Wainwright upset Japanese plans by holding out 3 months longer than the Japanese plan on?

And, there is a way part of P.I. could have held out much longer; if Wainwright had not allowed himself to be Buffaloed into surrendering the whole of P.I. instead of just Corrigedor. Mindano could have held out for weeks or months.
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  #17  
Old 05 Sep 13, 14:14
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Originally Posted by The Exorcist View Post
All good points, and all true.

However, I think what we are all missing here is that P.I. was the one place where the Japanese time-table was upset in a major way prior to the battle of the Coral Sea.
How badly did Macarthur and Wainwright upset Japanese plans by holding out 3 months longer than the Japanese plan on?

And, there is a way part of P.I. could have held out much longer; if Wainwright had not allowed himself to be Buffaloed into surrendering the whole of P.I. instead of just Corrigedor. Mindano could have held out for weeks or months.
Not sure about the last part. Mindanao was already on the verge of surrender when Corregidor fell in May, 1942. The Japanese were on the island in force and had already broken through General Sharp's final lines of defense. The remaining Filippino troops there were demoralized, largely unarmed and retreating in disorder into the interior of the island. Further fighting other than guerilla warfare would have been pointless.
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  #18  
Old 05 Sep 13, 14:32
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Originally Posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
Nice summary of the submarine resupply missions.

The isolationists were unable to prevent the passing of the War Powers Acts in the panic after France collapsed, or stop the US Army mobilization started in latter 1940, or slow the USN expansion that was taking off in 1940. The failure to reinforce the Phillipines earlier had more to do with the old Orange war plans that did not contemplate any serious defense of PI. That was supplemented by the conflicting decisions concerning the early mobilization of 1940 and winter of 1941. It is possible that without MacArthurs influence the defense of PI would have remained at its 1939 level, with a understrength US division and a small training cadre for the PI Army.
At the time, the Isolationists were a very serious force to be reckoned with. Even as late as 7 August, 1941, the US Congress approved an indefinite extension of military service for the National Guard, the newly inducted draftees, and Reserve officers by only one vote. Exactly four months later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
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Old 05 Sep 13, 16:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbryan View Post
At the time, the Isolationists were a very serious force to be reckoned with. Even as late as 7 August, 1941, the US Congress approved an indefinite extension of military service for the National Guard, the newly inducted draftees, and Reserve officers by only one vote. Exactly four months later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
It was my extreme privilege that a veteran of the Philippine Campaign, an Army Air Corp Master Sargent, spoke at my High School in the early 80's. His descriptions of his experience were very personal and graphic which is why I remember it so well today. He did not hold back very much on some details including the extreme brutality by the Japanese guards on the Bataan march, POW camp, starvation and forced labor. He spoke very favorably of the bravery and effectiveness of the Philippine soldiers he fought with at close quarters, they were highly motivated to fight for their country which is probably why the Japanese were particularly brutal toward them after capture. I admire that he did not hold grudges against the Japanese people in general and noted some acts of kindness from a few civilians at great personal risk to themselves.

He was of the belief that there was a lack of funding for equipment and modernization of the the Philippines force because of isolationism. They had enough personnel and that they could have held out much longer and actually won the campaign with better and more equipment.
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  #20  
Old 05 Sep 13, 16:57
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I just finished the Army's Green Book history of the defense of PI.

The Phillipines Army was completely unprepared at the time of the invasion. They were sorting out the myriad issues of creating an army out of a multi-language population, and of equipping the same in a time of equipment shortages.

Few units had lower enlisted men who had completed what we would consider basic training.

A great deal of blame was laid directly on Bugout Doug, whose demand for expansion drowned a tiny cadre of trained personnel in a sea of green recruits. MacArthur was a paper general-he wanted divisions and forced expansion to produce them, ignoring that the bulk of the privates had little or no weapons training. But it justified the number of stars he wanted to wear.

When the Japanese invaded, he insisted in treating the PI units as having the capabilities they should have had, instead of those they did have. To their eternal credit, the PI troops fought far better than they would be expected to have.

But they would have needed at least a full year of peacetime, two more likely, to create a force that had any chance at all.
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Old 05 Sep 13, 17:47
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Uh, while I love the Army Green Books, they can leave out some of the interesting stuff! Like who was Field Marshal of the Philippine Army and entitled to wear six stars? Former Major General of the US Army, Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur retired from the US Army to go to the Philippines and create this new army. He worked with Philippine President Manuel Quezon to establish a plan to raise and train this army. He wanted twenty divisions but had to repeatedly cut back his plans.

The Philippine Army was established in 1936. The Regulars were in the Philippine Constabulatory. These are paramilitary Police, kind of like the King's African Rifles. It was the Reserve Divisons MacArthur was trying to get trained. The Americans provided 12 million dollars to fund the ten year program which started in 1936. Much of that money was spent building air strips, several of which were used by the Japanese in North Luzon. I have yet to see evidence that any money was spent to start Artillery and Engineer Schools for this Army.

I also wonder why our Douglas got away with shaking down President Quezon for a bonus $500,000 in gold in 1942. His contract might have called for it, but he could have waited until after the war.

Aid to the Philippines at sea in December 5th of 1941, included the 26th Field Artillery Brigade (147th FA Reg of the SDNG, 158th FA Reg of the Idaho NG, and the 131st FA Reg of the Texas NG). The 131st was split as the First battalion went on to Australia and the Second Battalion went to Hawaii with the rest of these ships. The 34th Infantry Reg was scheduled to ship from San Francisco on December 8th. In November the Army approved shipping in 1,312 officers, 25 nurses and 18,047 enlisted men, as reinforcements.

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  #22  
Old 05 Sep 13, 23:10
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The Pensacola Convoy meant for the Philippines

docked in Australia in late December, 1941, because of the lack of supporting ships needed to break the Japanese naval blockade of the islands. Here's a manifest of the ship cargoes.

The SS Coast Farmer carried some cargo but did not carry any aircraft.

The SS Admiral Halstead carried nearly 3,000 drums of high octane avgas.

M.S. Blomfontein carried 18 crated 24th Group P-40 Kittyhawks. One of the P-40E’s apparently lacked a Rudder. M.S. Blomfontein also carried the Headquarters, 26th Field Artillery Brigade, and 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery, along with the latter’s organic artillery (12 M1897 75mm guns on modern split-trail, high-elevation M2 carriages) along with 48 M1917A1 75mm guns ("British 75s" on high-speed carriages) without gun crews, originally intended for the Luzon garrison. The 75 strong AVG P-40 outfit was also on board the M.S. Bloemfontein.

7th Bomb Group personnel were on the USS Republic.

The USAT Meigs was later sunk at Darwin on 19 February 1942. USAT Meigs carried 52 A-24's of the 27th Bomb Group (Light) in Brisbane.

U.S. Army Air Forces ground crews were also on board, along with aircraft disassembled in crates: 52 Douglas A-24 dive bombers and 18 Curtiss P-40 fighter planes.

The convoy was carrying a brigade from the U.S. Field Artillery Corps, made up of 4,600 National Guard (reserve) personnel:-

2nd Bn, 131st Field Artillery Regiment (Texas National Guard)


1st Bn, 147th Field Artillery Regiment (South Dakota National Guard)


2nd Bn, 147th Field Artillery Regiment (South Dakota National Guard)


1st Bn, 148th Field Artillery Regiment (Idaho National Guard)


Material on board included: 20 off 75 mm field artillery pieces, AA ammunition, 2,000 500-lb bombs, 3,000 30-lb bombs, 340 motor vehicles, 9,000 barrels of aviation fuel, 500,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition and 9,600 rounds of 37 mm anti-aircraft shells.

The original intention was to send two battalions from the 147th Field Artillery Regiment (South Dakota) and two battalions from the 148th Field Artillery Regiment (Idaho), (i.e. two full regiments) but the 2nd Battalion, 148th Field Artillery, was not fully trained, so it was replaced by the 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery Regiment from the Texas National Guard.

Many of the British 75mm guns in the Oahu garrison were also carried as cargo on the ships of the Pensacola convoy headed for Manila. They were not accompanied by gun crews and were intended simply to increase General MacArthur's fire power. He had requested 105mm howitzers but they were not available. The British 75mm stayed on board after the ships left Brisbane and were then taken to Java. Only one of the many guns was used at Java. It was used to replace a standard gun damaged by a Japanese air attack. All of the guns were later captured intact by the Japanese.
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  #23  
Old 06 Sep 13, 00:53
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I think one can see that if the US had had just a few more months to ship stuff to the PI it would have been untakable by Japan. It isn't that the equipment was top notch so much as just being supplied in overwhelming numbers.
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Old 06 Sep 13, 01:18
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The Japanese would have still shipped in the extra artillery and they may have decided to send in a couple of divisions from China. Japanese advances had cut off the Philippines and it was only a matter of time before the Americans and Filipinos fell. A factor would have been Japanese shipping.

If all that stuff had arrived, would Roosevelt still have ordered Douglas out?

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Old 06 Sep 13, 08:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
The Japanese would have still shipped in the extra artillery and they may have decided to send in a couple of divisions from China. Japanese advances had cut off the Philippines and it was only a matter of time before the Americans and Filipinos fell. A factor would have been Japanese shipping.

If all that stuff had arrived, would Roosevelt still have ordered Douglas out?

Pruitt
The biggest amphibious operation Japan carried out in WW 2 was against Malayia and Singapore. It amounted to landing two reinforced infantry divisions. The Philippines invasion was second in size. I don't think realistically given Japan's offensive strategy they could have increased its size much if at all. They didn't have the shipping to do it.
That would mean weakening or delaying some other operation and that in itself would have been likely disasterous too.
If US forces in the Philippines fight Japan to a draw while holding much of the Philippines and forcing the Japanese into a protracted land operation there it is only to the severe detriment of Japan. Just having the ability to continue submarine operations out of Japan rather than having to run them from Pearl Harbor would have made a big difference.
The longer the Philippines held out the worst it gets for Japan.
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Old 06 Sep 13, 08:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
I think one can see that if the US had had just a few more months to ship stuff to the PI it would have been untakable by Japan. It isn't that the equipment was top notch so much as just being supplied in overwhelming numbers.
It still would have fallen. Every round of ammunition had to come from the USA, and there was no way we could have gotten convoys through.

I will say that with every month of delay the price of taking it would have gone higher.
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Old 06 Sep 13, 10:44
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Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
It still would have fallen. Every round of ammunition had to come from the USA, and there was no way we could have gotten convoys through.

I will say that with every month of delay the price of taking it would have gone higher.
Ammunition was the one thing the USAFFE forces never ran out of during the siege of Bataan, food yes, but ammunition no.
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Old 06 Sep 13, 10:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
The Japanese would have still shipped in the extra artillery and they may have decided to send in a couple of divisions from China. Japanese advances had cut off the Philippines and it was only a matter of time before the Americans and Filipinos fell. A factor would have been Japanese shipping.

If all that stuff had arrived, would Roosevelt still have ordered Douglas out?

Pruitt
The Japanese were already maxed-out in terms of availability of their infantry divisions at this stage in the war. Virtually all of them were already committed to the fighting in China and around their expanding sphere of empire. As it was, the Japanese High Command took away a number of General Homma's best divisional units and air force squadrons from Luzon and sent them to the fighting in the DEI. At one point in March, 1942, because of being so thoroughly riddled with jungle diseases and weakened from prolonged starvation, Homma could only put 3 battalions of effective troops in the field to face all of the Filippino-American forces on Bataan.
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Old 06 Sep 13, 11:02
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Ammunition was the one thing the USAFFE forces never ran out of during the siege of Bataan, food yes, but ammunition no.
And Bataan fell.

And the supplies of .50 caliber ammunition was so low in the islands that a special shipment was dispatched, only to be held up en route as it was too risky to send it through.

If they had had enough food, the ammunition would have run out.
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Old 06 Sep 13, 11:20
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Originally Posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
And Bataan fell.

And the supplies of .50 caliber ammunition was so low in the islands that a special shipment was dispatched, only to be held up en route as it was too risky to send it through.

If they had had enough food, the ammunition would have run out.
PBY Catalina's flew in shipments of .50 caliber ammunition in the early days of the war and US submarines brought in much more, plus factory new 3" mechanically fuzed anti-aircraft ammunition during the following months. When US forces finally blew up Bataan's underground Army and Navy ammunition dumps before its surrender during Easter weekend, 1942, the massive concussion was felt miles away. It has been theorized that this was the cause of the huge earthquake that shook Bataan at the same time.
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