Author Topic: What if the Dutch completed their pre-war rearmament plan?  (Read 1798 times)

Offline Volkodav

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Pre war the Dutch planed new cruisers and a class of three battle cruisers to counter an expected Japanese invasion.  The cruiser were finished post-war and the battle cruisers, loosely based on the German Scharnhorst class were never started.  The Germans and Italian were consulted heavily on the design but were not as forthcoming as had been hoped, delaying the project and forcing the Dutch to complete much of the design themselves. 

Things however could have been quite different as the Dutch initially were considering the French Dunkerque Class and hoped the French would assist by transferring the design.  Lets assume that this is what happened and that it happened earlier than initially planned.  This would have giving the Dutch two or three modified Dunkerques and presumable additional cruisers, destroyers and additional combat aircraft in service by the time of the Japanese attack in 1942 and possibly a very different outcomes in the various battles around the Dutch East Indies territories.

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Re: What if the Dutch completed their pre-war rearmament plan?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2014, 03:08:53 AM »
Although such vessels might have proven useful, they might also have suffered just as the real world ones did in the Battle of the Java Sea.

Moreover, if there was such a more powerful contingent, I wonder if the Germans would have pressured harder for them to return to the Netherlands after the invasion there?
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: What if the Dutch completed their pre-war rearmament plan?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2014, 07:54:26 PM »
Imagine also the possibility of incomplete battle cruisers being towed to the UK for completion

Offline Volkodav

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Re: What if the Dutch completed their pre-war rearmament plan?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2014, 01:28:00 AM »
What if all three battle cruisers were completed pre-war to a modified design using British secondary armament i.e. 4.5" twin BDs.  They were then followed by three Richelieu class battleships similarly using British secondaries and a pair of Ark Royal Class carriers were also ordered from the UK to a modified design.  When the Netherlands fell in WWII the battle cruisers were already deployed to the far east, one Richelieu was completed and escaped to the UK, the second was incomplete but had been launched and was towed to the UK for completion while the third was incomplete and remained so throughout the war being scraped at the end of the conflict.

With insufficient crew to man these ships the decision was made to transfer the three Dunkerques and one of the modified Ark Royals to the RAN with the Dutch manning the two Richelieus and the other Ark Royal.  The RAN manned ships initially served with distinction in the Mediterranean before returning to the Far East in late 1941 while the Dutch manned ships were deployed in the Far East from completion.

The carriers were designed to operate a navalised variant of the Fokker D.XXI which was to have been based on the Merlin powered Project 151 but lacked folding wings; as such were fitted with 45'x40' aircraft elevators.  This made the ships highly suitable to operate Sea hurricanes which they did from mid 1941 until more capable aircraft became available in numbers.

Offline Alvis 3.1

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Re: What if the Dutch completed their pre-war rearmament plan?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 09:35:38 AM »
Interesting scenario, certainly allows for some nice looking What If ships. I think they may have just provided the IJN more targets, but hey, in What If there are no certainties.


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Offline Volkodav

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Re: What if the Dutch completed their pre-war rearmament plan?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2014, 02:17:40 PM »
Well Japans naval successes started turning around fairly quickly after Pearl Harbor and the sinkings of Hermes, PoW and Repulse.  There was also success in the Battle of Java Sea and Sunda Strait, also the early parts of Guadalcanal but the size of their successes reduced becoming draws or even strategic losses before becoming tactical losses as well.  My thinking was an Ark Royal or two would have made a difference to Japanese air superiority and the presence battle cruisers would likely have turned many of the surface actions to the Allies advantage.  The key would be protecting those capital ships so they could take on the Japanese cruisers, that would require carrier air cover but also more modern and capable allied air forces in the theatre at the time.

Offline nils

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Re: What if the Dutch completed their pre-war rearmament plan?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2014, 03:16:10 PM »
interesting, i dont know if it could have made a difference, they could have held of the Germans a little longer.
most of the equipment bought in that time was mostly surplus, outdated or non-prior aircraft from the UK and US.
there were some great new high performance aircraft under development at the time in Belgium, the Netherlands and France that could rival the Bf109 and the Spitfire, given time, they could have seen service from 1941 onward.

a was thinking of a similar situation in Belgium, just like the Dutch, we also ordered new and more advanced aircraft (Hawker Hurricane (licence contract for 80+ aircraft), Brewster Buffalo (40 ordered, came to late and were transfered to the RAF), Douglas DB7 (never delivered, transfered to RAF as Boston Mk.1), Breguet Br.963, SABA S47, rumored Grumman G36 (Wildcat), possibly Spitfires,...)

but honnestly, due to the greater numbers and better training, the Luftwaffe still would have ruled the skies i think.
just saying, 10.000 german aircraft vs. a combined 400+ from Belgium and The Netherlands, not very good odds  ???
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