Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
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neil hilton
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by neil hilton » Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:53 pm

Sure Britain couldn't take on Germany and Japan by itself, but if somehow Britain fought either Germany or Japan, ie if either the British Isles or India weren't threatened then they could concentrate in the one theatre.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by lwd » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:22 pm

Byron Angel wrote:
lwd wrote: So even if all the oil produced makes it to Japan they are getting ~430,000 tons per month and the navy alone is using 305,000 tons. Given that the army needs some, as does industry, and to a lesser extent the civilian populace it doesn't look to me like Japan is getting enough at that point.
..... The next question to ask, however, is whether the IJN would be consuming that much fuel oil if it were NOT prosecuting a trans-Pacific war against the USA. Great Britain's ability to project power into the Pacific theater was very small in comparison to that of the US.
Difficult to say. The Japanese seemed reluctant to go over to the defensive. If they pushed the campaign vs India it could mean a major commitment of naval forces to the Indian Ocean. LIkewise the extension of their perimeter thorougout the Solomons would also involve considerable expenditure of oil. Keeping their defensive perimeter well supplied would also have consumed a fair amount of oil. I suspect oil consumption wouldn't have fallen much in the first 6 months of the war. After that it's hard to call.

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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by lwd » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:32 pm

neil hilton wrote:Sure Britain couldn't take on Germany and Japan by itself, but if somehow Britain fought either Germany or Japan, ie if either the British Isles or India weren't threatened then they could concentrate in the one theatre.
With the fall of France there really wasn't anywhere in Europe that Britian needed to use the majority of her ground forces. North Africa looks to me like it is limited by logistics rather than troop availabilty. So given the size of the KM and the above if Britian is fighting both in 42 she can send significant land and naval forces to India to stabalize the situation there. In the long run she has more resources than either Germany or Japan. Furthermore Japan is fighting a two front war as is Germany. Without the US I dont' see a D-day like invasion but the food situation in Europe was not good and declining to the point where it was becoming critical in 45. If the war goes on much longer famine is likely from the Atlantic to the Urals which will cause severe problems for both the Germans and the Soviets. A major factor here can be just what is the position of the US in all this. Is LL in operation? Are "mercenary" forces such as the American Vollenteer Group being deployed to China? Is the US selling food to the Soviets and Britain? How about equiment? Military supplies? In any case the porosity of the Canadian US border is going to mean Canadain industry is going to be much more efficient than it would otherwise.

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neil hilton
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by neil hilton » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:47 pm

If Britain is fighting only Germany then a Britain only cross-channel invasion would I think be possible because there would be no need to garrison India as much and especially if Britain could have somehow ensured Indian manpower more. Free French help in convincing Vichy French co-operation would have helped greatly.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by RF » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:27 pm

Or indded a war against China - for which there no be no prior US economic sanctions?
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by RF » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:32 pm

neil hilton wrote:If Britain is fighting only Germany then a Britain only cross-channel invasion would I think be possible because there would be no need to garrison India as much and especially if Britain could have somehow ensured Indian manpower more. Free French help in convincing Vichy French co-operation would have helped greatly.
India had to be garrisoned - because there was a growing independence movement there which the Germans as well as Japanese exploited.

Any cross-Channel invasion would be piecemeal. Most importantly, where in France do you land? Where can you invade from which to break out quickly before the Germans grind you down into positional fighting? The terrain was very much against the invador and your airpower far less.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by lwd » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:01 pm

On the otherhand wasn't India a net source of troops rather than a sink? Especially if you don't count Indian units used against the Japanese as being part of the India garrison. The upcoming scheduled independence of India would also allow Britain to reduce the garrison over time in the abscence of a signficant threat would it not?

As far as a British invasion goes if there is not "distraction" in the Pacfic or it is limited then indeed Britain might be able to launch an invasion of Europe. I expect however, especially with Churchill at the helm, that we'd see a number of smaller invasions mostly in the Med (possibly Norway as well).

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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by RF » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:05 am

lwd wrote: The upcoming scheduled independence of India would also allow Britain to reduce the garrison over time in the abscence of a signficant threat would it not?
.
The ''scheduled independence of India'' in 1948 turned out to be a bloody disaster with millions dead from intercommunal strife between muslims and hindus. India had to be split up, with a separate country called Pakistan having to be created, to accomodate the muslims, which itself was in two parts, located at opposite ends of India. The modern day country of Bangladesh was originally East Pakistan.

A scenario of looming independence in wartime would have been even worse; quite possibly the British would simply have pulled out altogether and left the indigenous population to their civil war.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by RF » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:09 am

lwd wrote:
As far as a British invasion goes if there is not "distraction" in the Pacfic or it is limited then indeed Britain might be able to launch an invasion of Europe. I expect however, especially with Churchill at the helm, that we'd see a number of smaller invasions mostly in the Med (possibly Norway as well).
This is the most likely course of action Churchill would have taken. The Germans, being in a central position would have the advantage, and I can well imagine a series of Gallipoli or Anzio type campaigns emerging. The British would come out worst.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by neil hilton » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:49 pm

RF wrote:
lwd wrote:
As far as a British invasion goes if there is not "distraction" in the Pacfic or it is limited then indeed Britain might be able to launch an invasion of Europe. I expect however, especially with Churchill at the helm, that we'd see a number of smaller invasions mostly in the Med (possibly Norway as well).
This is the most likely course of action Churchill would have taken. The Germans, being in a central position would have the advantage, and I can well imagine a series of Gallipoli or Anzio type campaigns emerging. The British would come out worst.
Indeed this is most likely.

Possibly the only way to conduct a successful invasion of europe by Britain alone would be by concentrating on one landing, say in the south of France (Vichy French territory). This would have to be supplied via Gib and would require Vichy French co-operation (Free French help may have gotten this) obviously so the landing is uncontested. Italy would also have to be knocked out, the invasion of Scicily could have had that effect (the followup historical invasion of Italy itself just ensured it).
It would not have been possible until Britan had fully mobilised and drawn on all its possible overseas manpower as well (India, Canada, Austalia etc), which would mean 1945 more likely 1946.

Some very astute diplomacy in India would be required to ensure their co-operation but I think it would be possible.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by RF » Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:05 pm

An invasion of southern France would require using Corsica as a prior stepping stone, as was done in August 1944. To succeed substantial Free French and FFI support would be needed. The problem is of course the Mers el Kabir episode in 1940, which compromises the level of support needed.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by lwd » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:13 pm

Well GB could concentrate on the various islands first. Then perhaps an assault in the Balkans once the Soviets are reasonably close. This could potentailly unhinge the southern front of the German defence. Norway might also be an option. Baisically nibbling away at the edges where Germany would have a hard time sending much in the way of of forces. Later Italy or the South of France might prove soft enough. If the operations are against the Med islands in the summer of 44 (and perhaps vs Norway as well) then perhaps a Balkan operation in the Fall of 44 or spring of 45 by Summer of 45 an operation vs France or Italy should be sustainable.

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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by RF » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:26 pm

I don't think this is unreasonable. In reality Sardinia went over to the Allies when Italy surrendered as there were no Germnan forces there, and Corsica was then liberated by the Free French on their own a few weeks later using Sardinia as a stepping stone. Hitler for once allowed the tiny German garrison on Corsica to withdraw without it putting up a fight.

But full involvement in the Balkans poses problems - with the Russians. The best that could be achieved here is a retaking of Crete, possibly an invasion of Rhodes and then with Greek royalist forces going into the Greek mainland.

Norway of course was a fixation in Hitlers' mind. He kept some 350,000 German troops garrisoned there, a huge opportunity cost to the Heer. Churchill left them to be - the best policy, a huge force out of the equation on critical fronts without having to fire a shot. And of course any troop landings by the British in Norway would also have to into account the presence there of Tirpitz.
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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by Seekanone » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:29 am

WW2 was a team effort and I have been aware of some Anglophiles for quite awhile who claim overwhelming glory for the Royal Navy and that the US was really second class. No one could argue that the Third Reich was defeated militarily by the USSR and on a maritime basis by the UK and the USN.
In the Pacific, the RN could not have won on her own. Lack of logistical support alone could have doomed any long range British foray into the Central Pacific. The United States Navy fast carriers, submarine force and amphibious forces combined to kick the hell out of Japan and place the USAAF in position to bomb Japan straight to hell. Britain could not have managed to do that by 1950. America truly fought a world war, forming landing groups of 3,000 ships off of Normandy and 4-5,000 off of Saipan in June, 1944. No other nation on earth could have managed that. Britiain fought alone for almost three years and deserves a great share of credit for eventual victory. The USSR lost 85,000 armored vehicles and 20,000,000 men to the Deutsche Heer. All played their roles to final and absolute victory. There are just opinions, of course. :dance:

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Re: Was US participation in WWII superfluous?

Post by Bgile » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:47 am

I imagine that the Russians, French, Poles, Belgians, Dutch, Greeks, Yugoslavs and a few others would dispute that Britain fought alone for almost three years.

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