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  #1  
Old 07 Jul 15, 13:59
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18 Hurricanes from India make it to Burma. RAF does not strafe the Indian division.

On 3 Feb, 1942 18 Hurricanes (which ahd flown over 3,000 mile from Africa) led by a Blenheim left Dum Dum in Calcutta heading for Rangoon. Unfortunately, the fighters lost contact of the bomber navigating for them and were lost.

The Japanese advanced rapidly into peninsular Burma capturing airfields, so RAF ordered an attack. Although the Japanese at the time had no trucks in Burma, allied pilots didn't know that and assumed that a truck column was Japanese and attacked it. Unfortunately it was the Indian division, which had been bombed and strafed by IJAAF planes in the morning. The attack not only caused many casualties but greatly impaired the divisions mobility and cohesion (mules took of with the radios, etc,). Moreover, a P-40 and a few British planes were lost strafing the friendly column, a terrible waste of urgently needed planes.

The IJAAF had suffered very few losses invading Malaya, the PI and DEI, but was losing planes rapidly in Burma. The Japanese had mostly bombers and Ki-27 operating from Thailand and then from captured airfields in peninsular Burma (interestingly, they built rather fast a 400 km truck road in difficult terrain from Thailand to Moulmein, where they captured fuel that helped their offensive into Rangoon). Although 18 fighters seem to make little difference, together with the Hurricane squadrons which did arrive (135th, 136th, etc,), the few Buffalo and the Flying Tigers they could have played a major role.
Although Britain and the US were producing impressive amounts of excellent planes. The allies in Burma were so desperate that they had to use Lysanders with 250 lb bombs to bomb Japanese airfields, Soviet SB bombers, Blenheims, Buffalo, etc, So the Hurricanes and P-40s were the best planes in Burma. Alas, they were available in small numbers and suffered heavy losses, both on the ground and in the air to frequent Japanese raids, which often included fighter sweeps by 20 or more Ki-27.

In this scenario, the 18 Hurricanes arrive in Rangoon and RAF does not attack land forces in order to avoid friendly fire and losing invaluable fighters.

Instead of half of the Indian division being trapped when the bridge is damaged by the Indian engineers (owing to the chaos and impaired mobility resulting from friendly fire)), the whole Indian division retreats over the bridge with all its equipment.



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  #2  
Old 07 Jul 15, 14:17
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Once again, sheer ignorance.

18 planes without spares, ground crew, etc equal zero planes.

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Old 07 Jul 15, 14:57
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I don't think it would have made much of a difference if it had been 18 F-22 Raptors.
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Old 07 Jul 15, 15:14
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I don't think it would have made much of a difference if it had been 18 F-22 Raptors.
Pretty much.
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Old 07 Jul 15, 16:14
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18 planes won't make any difference.
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Old 07 Jul 15, 18:44
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It's not only 18 planes, it's 18 planes and pilots on that day and the Indian division remaining whole. 2 factors which can delay days the Japanese offensive. Possibly allowing the allies to stall the offensive. It is difficult to conceive of more defensible terrain than Burma.

The 136th squadron arrived shortly after the loss of the 18 planes and was pulled out because of the collapse of the front.
The British had plenty of Hurricanes and had even offered to supply some to the AVG. They had ground crews in Burma, Ceylon and India and spares in India and Ceylon.

Much better P-40Fs were being assembled to fly from W Africa to Burma. Had these arrived in a steady stream, they would have been far more useful than the few battered, dated P-40s in Burma.

RAF's deblacle in Malaya, the DEI and Burma occurred only because a large number of Hurricanes arrived weeks too late in the front, many were not assembled and captured crated in Singapore and those arriving in the DEI by carrier were destroyed piecemeal. Only after Malaya, the PI and DEI had collapsed did RAF and the uSAAF try to reinforce Burma considerably and the loss of those 18 planes and the Indian division were a godsent for the IJA.

It is most interesting that of the 99 P-40 assembled in Burma and the 60 original pilots of the AVG most were lost to accidents, engine malfunction, destroyed on the ground or while strafing. They did rather well in air combat, since they faced mostly bombers and Ki-27 and only a few Ki-43 (the latter mostly near the end of the Burma campaign).

OTL the IJAAF had to stop temporarily after capturing Rangoon since they had run out of drop tanks and had to rotate many damaged squadrons.
In this scenario it would have suffered heavier losses and run ut of drop tanks before taking Rangoon, providing a respite to reinforce Burma.

Interesting, 112 Stuart tanks had arrived in Rangoon and were used extremely poorly against IJA forces without tanks but with complete air superirity. A little more tanks would have allowd for more equipment to arrive and for the large stores of supplies in Rangoon to be either sent to China or used locally, instead of leaving 19,000 tons for the Japanese to capture.

RAF also left plenty of fuel in several airfields, which the Japanese used well. The longer RAF fought, the less fuel Japan would capture and the more planes the IJAAF would lose.

The simply fact that nextdoor to India RAF used Lysanders as bombers and Chenault used Soviet SB bombers in 1942 illustrates the extremely poor use of huge resources.

Last edited by Draco; 07 Jul 15 at 18:53..
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Old 07 Jul 15, 18:59
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The early Burma campaign was a rout, and a low-priority rout at that. There's not much that could conceivably have been done without taking away from other more important areas.
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Old 07 Jul 15, 19:17
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Others may want to look thru the material on the Flying Tigers/AVG and related CBI activities, thread here;
http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...d.php?t=123659
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Old 07 Jul 15, 19:50
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Bob,
There were plenty of resources, just wasted with incredible ability.

Spoiling the Indian division (strafing it and then damaging the bridge with half of teh division on the wrong side), not using the tanks, trucks, jeeps and Stillwells Chinese troops well, not deploying the Burma division from Toungoo until it was too late, not sending planes until it was too late and then using a single bomber to guide 18 of them and lose them, providing fuel in airfields and 19,000 tons of supplies in Rangoon all that seems a lot more like cooperating with the Japanese than fighting them.

It should have been much easier for the allies with their huge industry and ahipping capacity (including Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Greek ships) to deploy planes to Burma than for Japan expanding in a huge area.

The very few serviceable allied fighters in Burma caused a lot of trouble for the weak IJAAF, a few more at the right time would have made a big difference.

You write that Burma was lost regardless of what they did. I think that it is incredible that it was so easy for Japan to sweep the country with the limited resources.

It is much more difficult to have to fight 18 Hurricanes and the Hurricanes and P-40Fs arriving afterwards, than to have them disappear and the British withdraw from Rangoon without a fight.

It is much more difficutl to face an Indian division defending an area with tanks and air support than to have RAF and a bridge disable the division, leave many of the men without rifles (they had to swim to the other side).
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Old 08 Jul 15, 10:30
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The allies used Lysanders to bomb airfields and 6 B-17s to evacuate from Burma to India. Rather brilliant use of resources.
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Old 08 Jul 15, 10:45
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Planes need more than pilots. Spare parts, trained ground crew, extensive shops with skilled specialists...the list goes on and on.

Draco, that's why you come up with these crazy ideas: because you know absolutely nothing about military operations.

You are a classic example of the time honored observation:

Amateurs discuss tactics; professionals discuss logistics.

You imagine that 18 airframes and pilots means 18 planes in the air. Until you grow out of that simplistic thinking, you will continue to come up with these ten-age fantasies.
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Old 08 Jul 15, 13:05
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As I stated, they had plenty of mechanics, aviators, planes, bombs, ammo, fuel, spares, etc, for the Hurricanes, B-17s, etc, and were receiving more P-40Fs, Hurricanes, men, etc, with the huge allied shipping capacity and almost no IJN in the Indian before the Ceylon raid (which in great part took place thanks to further use of Radar, hurricanes, fighter control, carriers, BBs, cruisers, etc, strong IJAAF presence in Burma and Thailand.

Losing 18 Hurricanes before they even begin to fight is a major blow. Not using B-17s to bomb large numebrs of planes in Thailand and using Lysanders is idiotic and unethical. A is strafing an area with poor visibility and full of friendly forces.

The allies shot themselves in the foot and lost, despite weak and inefficient IJA forces in the area.

If they didn't want to defend the area they should have abandoned it before the IJA arrived. If they intended to defend it, they could not have done a worse job and wasted more forces & resources.

Why did the British usually leave lots of fuel, supplies, etc, for the enemy? Why did the Japanese suffer so few casualties defeating well equipped allied forces? How could Britain and the US have produced so many planes and had so few in China, Burma, Malaya, the DEI, the PI, etc, and used them so poorly.

The AVG has received a lot of publicity, but they seem to have been mostly drunkards who ripped off the Chinese with shamelessly exagerated claims of destroyed planes and actually destroyed a similar number of their own and enemy planes.

The most incredible thing is that neither Britian nor the US sent a lot of planes and pilots to train in China in 1938-39 and to destroy Japanese planes. US mercenaries started fighting in numbers greater than a dozen only after PH.
Only the USSR sent a usefull number of I-15 and 16 and SB bombers to China before Hitler attacked the USSR and they had to withdraw them.

Even with the very few serviceable P-40, Buffalo and Hurricanes in Burma, the IJAAF was losing more planes than it built. In early 1942 Japan built about a Zero and a Ki-43a day! and was losing a lot more than that and lots of outdated Ki-27 from Burma to New Guinea. Had not Burma collapsed so suddenly, Japanese aviation did not stand a chance against massive allied industry and pilot training.

One can but wonder what a few more P-40 and Hurricanes and an intact Indian divison joined with the Burma division and Vinegar Joe's force and the Stuarts and a few weeks later a few P-38, Spitfires, Beaufighters, B-24 and 200 more Stuarts and troops from India could have accomplished in Burma.
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Old 08 Jul 15, 13:21
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Without bothering to dissect this nonsense bit by bit, the Allies were in no position to stage a coherent defense of Burma at more or less any point in the campaign. Their forces were thinly dispersed throughout the whole territory of that huge country (bigger than France), they were near the bottom of the priority list for shipments of men and equipment, and the level of quality of their officers and men was far below that of their opposite numbers in the IJA.

The Japanese had superior mobility, firepower, and air support throughout the entire campaign. These advantages meant that whatever Allied forces that failed to escape over the Indian frontier were cut up, encircled, and destroyed. British casualties were 30,000 out of a force of 45,000. The ragged survivors reached India with only 25 guns and 50 trucks left. This kind of disaster is not something that can be rectified by adding in 18 extra fighters.
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Old 08 Jul 15, 13:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
Without bothering to dissect this nonsense bit by bit, the Allies were in no position to stage a coherent defense of Burma at more or less any point in the campaign. Their forces were thinly dispersed throughout the whole territory of that huge country (bigger than France), they were near the bottom of the priority list for shipments of men and equipment, and the level of quality of their officers and men was far below that of their opposite numbers in the IJA.

The Japanese had superior mobility, firepower, and air support throughout the entire campaign. These advantages meant that whatever Allied forces that failed to escape over the Indian frontier were cut up, encircled, and destroyed. British casualties were 30,000 out of a force of 45,000. The ragged survivors reached India with only 25 guns and 50 trucks left. This kind of disaster is not something that can be rectified by adding in 18 extra fighters.
There it is.

Well said!
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Old 08 Jul 15, 13:49
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Well at lest this time it's a bit more sensible, and plausible to happen.

Though an extra 18 fighters will not radically change the outcome of the campaign, a slightly less "damaged" Division is not going to change the outcome much either.

The RAF is unlikely to not use it's fighters in ground attack roles, that role is not something they will not do when their in a bad situation.

I'm sorry chaps but we can not use our fighters to bomb & strafe ground targets even though the troops are in dire need of air support because we might accidentally strafe and bomb friendlies... Is not a valid response...

At best the British forces give the Japanese a few more casualty's and withdraw in slightly better shape...

Here's a question what would of happened if Force Z was not sunk in early December but manages to avoid detection (largely due to IJN submarines not being present or perhaps missing the mark)?
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