Author Topic: Japan invades Australia  (Read 6316 times)

Offline raafif

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Japan invades Australia
« on: May 12, 2013, 10:21:47 AM »
M.A.D. & I were going to do this but his real life got in the way.
There are several threads on this over on Alt History sites but all fail in some basic way - ie to remove the US from the equation & force Australia to design more of its own equipment.  Our scenario does this ....  They also have Mustangs & CA-15 Kangaroos in action in 1944 ... something that we avoid, having our own distinctive aircraft.

Following the USA's badgering to open free-trade through-out the 1800s, Japan decides to increase its commercial assets.  This results in the Japanese invasion of Manchuria with plans to expand westwards but Russia makes it plain where Soviet borders of influence lay .... 

It is thought too dangerous to attempt to attack US holdings in Hawaii & the passive US attitude serves their purpose.

Japan decides to expand south thru Asia, its army eventually taking all, including the Philippines & Guam, down to New Guinea.
These gains are enough to satisfy Japan for the time being as they are heavily extended in their drive south thru Singapore & New Guinea.
The Battle of Kokoda & other skirmishes drive Australian troops back to their own country in a "Dunkirk" style eviction.

Japan pauses to consolidate & get their supply-lines working efficiently before conquering Australia for its minerals (Mt. Isa's reserves discovered in the 1930's instead of the 1950's) - now much needed to expand Japan's mechanised armed-forces.


To the USA, the loss of Guam and the Philippines is a bitter blow - but coupled with the government's non-combative policies & the civilian desire to stay out of the war in Europe, America is set to continue it's passive stance.  This does not however extend to commercial trade -- the US providing material of all sorts to the Allies in Europe -- supplies to Axis belligerents is banned.
As America doesn't go to war at all, the B-17B/C/D is as far as US bomber development goes - a few B-17E's are built in late 1945.  The best US fighter pre-1947 is the Curtiss P-85 Battle-Hawk (radial-engined P-40) simply an extension of the Curtiss Hawk-75 line.
The Mustang fighter is still produced by North American for the RAF who take all production - they & Hudson bombers are shipped to the UK thru Canada -- only a few Hudsons get to Australia.
Most US aircraft that we are familiar with are not designed so no Marauder, B-24, Invader etc etc.


Britain is too concerned with Europe & Nth Africa  (if only the USA would join in, as in WW1, but that is not to be)  to provide any assistance to Australia.
Australia's only help is New Zealnd plus a very little manufacturing help from Canada & Sth Africa.

Two events worked to Australia's advantage in the real world -- Fred David, a German Jew, worked for Heinkel & then for Nakajima in Japan before fleeing to Australia and designing the Boomerang fighter - without him we would have been stuck with the Wirraway Fighter - basically an early version of a Harvard to face Japanese Zeros.  The other was another German Jew who somehow smuggled an Oerlikon 20mm cannon into Australia, providing us with a better aircraft gun than the .303.

more later ....

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 03:40:58 PM »
I like.

My grandfather told me about the Oerlikon being reverse engineered in Australia from a single example used as a pattern, I think he told me that example was brought back from the middle east though.

An interesting angle on this story is the fact that Jellico basically predicted the Japanese annexation of SEA and the Western Pacific in his review of Dominion Defences in 1920.  One of the foundations of an Australian defence was to have been local production of combat aircraft from the 1920s  and the formation of a second Fleet Division formed around a battle cruiser and also including an aircraft carrier.

In addition Chauvel desired to retain the AIF as a regular army, motorise and then mechanise it, the government decided to ignore him and Jellico but what if they actually listened and acted responsibly instead?

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 05:10:26 PM »
In the unlikely event that Australia is not occupied & ejects the Japanese, I can see major changes in post-war Australia.

1st of these would be a change in focus from primary production to industrialisation as our main income source, with a greater focus on R&D & manufacturing (value-adding) becoming the norm.

2ndly becoming a republic is much more likely but not a certainty.

The big problem is wartime R&D to production lead-in times. How do you overcome the lag between idea & in-service?

I love the Boomerang but it was a stop-gap fighter, designed in a rush & using available tooling (not bolt-on interchangable parts) from Wirraway production for its design. A new, locally built fighter would need to be put into production much faster than it was & in much greater numbers; whether that is a foreign design built under license or a home-grown product is up for debate.

Armoured & other vehicle production would have to explode, too, as would ship building.

At the same time, to man this equipment general conscription would have to be introduced... but where from, because the aircraft, tank, vehicle & ship building industries would also need workers?

Our isolation & small population work against us & defeat looms large on the horizon! :-X

I suppose the "Brisbane Line" could come into play, giving the Japanese 90% of what they want at little to no cost.

:icon_crap:

Guy
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 08:05:54 PM »
Interestingly, while the IJN were keen to invade the army was not, the logistics and manpower required made it in their opinion, a difficult if not impossible task. Remember by 1942 the militia had been mobilized with the Calvary already motorized and well on the way to being mechanized.  The were armored divisions being readied for service in the middle east and infantry divisions in the middle east preparing to return home. RAAF squadrons overseas were well trained and experienced and being recalled, in particular think of the desert air force fighter / ground  attack squadrons.

assuming the IJN got their invasion it would have been interesting to see how the army fared against a fully mobilized Australia attacking from behind the Brisbane Line.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2013, 09:57:40 PM »
We're talking about a population of just over 7,100,000 vs a population of about 72,500,000.

Sheer weight of numbers was against us & Japan was already much more industrialised.

Without the Americans taking out huge chunks of their army & navy Australia is not looking too healthy.

Coral Sea & Midway gave the IJN a severe battering from which they never fully recovered. One reason we halted the IJA in New Guinea was because the high command weren't willing to put more troops into NG because they were concerned about what the US was going to do next.

However, as this is Whifworld, let's assume the Japanese took a BIG break of a couple or 3 years, to consolidate & prepare for the invasion of Australia.

So, what could we have pulled out of our collective hats to counter them? ???

 :icon_ninja:

Guy (Thinking! Thinking! :icon_meditation: )
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 10:30:16 PM »
Armour, the divisions formed to fight in Africa were retained for the defence of Australia.  Combined with the motorised and mechanised cavalry the Japanese would have struggled.  Tactical air power using the tactics perfected in north Africa.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2013, 11:35:09 PM »
Not only that but the infantry tactics learned in North Africa would have had more value in Australia than they did in New Guinea, so returning AIF troops wouldn't have had to unlearn a lot of stuff & learn a whole bunch more at great cost. Also, the terrain is better for tank operations & even the old Matilda II was better than the Japanese tanks of the era

I'm not saying we wouldn't have put up a good fight, just that we'd lose.

Our navy, although quite modern at the time (with a few famous exceptions, like the V & W class destroyers), was vastly outnumbered, had no aircraft carriers & no battleships. They would have been slaughtered, leaving the entire coastline open to the IJN to operate harrassing raids & major operations against major population centres like Brisbane (not really major at the time but certainly of strategic value) Sydney & Melbourne, & strategic targets like dockyards, Fisherman's Bend, rail assets, bridges & other strategic sites.

Anyway:

I'd be assuming importation of US-made aircraft & engines, P-40's & radial engines, mostly, & British-made engines, especially Merlins & Hercules, with some aircraft. With local licenced production of various aircraft being ramped up to the max.; Spitfires, Hurricanes, P-40's, Beaufighters, Mosquitoes, Marylands, Wellingtons & Bostons being high on the potential list.

I'd, also, expect an acceleration of indigenous aircraft, such as the CA-4/11 Woomera & the CA-15 (Kangaroo).

Also, ground assets, such as the AC1 Sentinel (P&W Wasp powered, as intended), AC3 & AC4 tanks.

Naval assets would be harder to acquire or build. The best option would be Lend-Lease from the US & there is no way Australia could get the manpower required to crew a navy large enough to be any real threat to the IJN.

:))

Guy
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Offline raafif

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2013, 07:55:34 AM »
Another option would be for Japan to sweep from Singapore thru Java then swing west around New Guinea & occupy the south coast of NG instead of going across (so no Kokoda), thus avoiding all the trouble of the jungle.  Cut off Aussie troops successfully fight out to Darwin.

I'm thinking that, if our politicians were responsible people, we'd have had a single-gauge (instead of 3 gauges) rail line from Melbourne to Brisbane by 1920 at the latest.  What prevented that is the "Dis-united States of Ausralia" that still exists - every state has had its own navy, a different rail gauge, different education system etc etc etc -- I'm sure a war-between-the-States could have been fought over all this.  Just this week a senior politician was pushing for a new local mass-transit system NOT to be compatible with the main-line railway.

Why did japan have so many carriers & battleships ? .... with an early decision not to attack the USA, Japan's navy is not as great as in real life.  I see this as a land/air campaign with relatively small naval forces ie troop & cargo transport, land bombardment & subs sinking shipping from Canada & Sth Africa.  With a mainly land war on Asian soil, Japan goes for land airfields & sees carriers more as cargo ships for aircraft than floating airfields (perhaps carriers are the domain of the Japanese Air Force, not the Navy, in much the same way that the US sees the Army/Marines/Navy/AF division of responsibilities?) --- would this see the Zero (as a Navy design) sidelined in favour of Army/AF designs ?


Yes, I see Aussie troops being recalled from Nth Africa & the UK.  As far as equipment is concerned we did an o.k. job with what was on hand.  Even tho the Kirsch Improvised A/car (on civil car chassis) had a very ballistic light-armour body + turret, I don't think it would have been good at anything other than urban-patrol & other A/cars on hand were very 1930s in design.  The Universal carrier was in production - the mortar & 2pdr versions would be ok for our use on the run in defending Oz.  Dingo & Rover (aussie design ones) armoured-cars and the later Rhino armoured cars on CMP chassis (I like to call them Wombats ;) ).  We did well with the Sentinel tank - based on the components of the US M2 Medium Tank, our design was better than the later Sherman.  The standard AC-1 with 2pdr or 6pdr guns were good, particularly the AC-IV with British 17pdr gun.  The AC-III with twin 25pdrs would make an excellent bunker-buster - I'm sure the Japanese would build plenty of those.  Matilda-IIs would make an ok Infantry tank, tho over-armoured for our needs unless Japan bought German guns / made their own design of equal gun power.
We still need an indigenous light fast tank like the Stuart.

M.A.D. correctly pointed out that, to start with, we had nothing, so pressed existing designs into service.
One Wirraway was converted to a single-seater in the field, so I guess the "Wirraway" would be a Fighter & the bomber would be the "Wirrabomber".  Followed by Boomerangs which were a bit short (tended to tumble when landing on rough ground) but a small fuselage extension + local in-line engine would make a good Mk.II version.



In addition to the Wirrabomber we have Ansons fitted with turrets & bomb-racks (my old foreman's first job was fitting turret-rings to RAAF Ansons in Brisbane in 1943).

Our light-bomber would be a few Hudsons & the Beaufort.  While nice, the Beaufighter is a major change to the Bristol design despite some common components like the undercarriage & outer wings etc.  Perhaps superceeded Blemheims/Bolingbrokes from UK & Canada converted locally into fighters with two P&W R-1830s ??  Minus turret, 3rd crewman & bombs in favour of a belly gunpack + the more powerful engines would the Blenheim do ?
I do hope we don't get those Hampdens from Canada tho :icon_sueno:

His idea of a DC-3 bomber, is a classic of improvisation done by Holland, Russia, Israel & others -- airlines give up their aircraft for conversion until new designs can come on stream.  Needing a "bomber nose" we graft on Beaufort parts from stock ....



Offline Volkodav

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2013, 11:05:22 AM »
An Australian STUG using a 25 pounder on a stretched widened and unarmored carrier platform.
Hawker Aircraft Australia established to manufacture Harts, Furies and Demons in the early 1930s switches to Hurricanes and Henleys in 1940-41.
Rolls Royce Australia established to manufacture Armoured cars and vehicle engines in the early1920s expands to produce Kestrel then Merlin engines in the 1930s. 

Offline raafif

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2013, 12:17:24 PM »
source needed for reasonably accurate & detailed line-drawings for Australian pattern Universal carriers & Sentinel tanks (incl. different turret types) for modifying into whif profiles - I have Matilda & Valentine drawings.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2013, 12:54:37 PM »
raafif, the twin 25-pounder set-up was a test-bed for the 17-pounder (to see if the tank could take the recoil). Production AC3's had a single 25-pounder. (Whatever happened to the AC2, or was that the 6-pounder version of the AC1?)

I'm just chucking ideas out here but...

How about the US supplying P-40's without engines & having Merlins (which I believe, though I could be wrong, we were producing by 1942) grafted onto the front here?

The space/weight of the missing engines could be made-up for with P&W Wasps to power the Sentinels (which would make them faster & lighter than they were with the multi-engine arrangement, &, maybe, not as thirsty).

Holden's were manufacturing (Chevy?) V8 & Gypsy Minor engines which, with their chassis building, would make them good suppliers of armoured cars. Only having mild steel to work with was an issue, though, but angled properly it has its place. Hmm, unlicenced copies of the SdKfz 222, anyone?

???

Guy

PS: raafif, I'll look but my Google-fu is weak! ;)
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2013, 01:56:36 PM »
I found this;



At this (Spanish) site;

http://www.taringa.net/posts/apuntes-y-monografias/13975481/Proezas-de-ingenieria-militar-el-sentinel-AC4.html

And this (French) one (it doesn't have line drawings, sorry, but it does have AC1, 3 & 4 coloured drawings);

http://ww2drawings.jexiste.fr/Files/1-Vehicles/Allies/3-UK/03-CruiserTanks/Sentinel/AC1-Sentinel.htm

:)

Guy
« Last Edit: May 13, 2013, 02:00:44 PM by Old Wombat »
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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2013, 02:15:58 AM »
Odd thought, since Holden and Allison were both connected to GM at that time, could there be an engine technology transfer, including manufacturing technology?

Offline raafif

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2013, 02:51:52 AM »
raafif, the twin 25-pounder set-up was a test-bed for the 17-pounder (to see if the tank could take the recoil)
yes, I know but still think the twin set-up would be good for killing bunkers

Thanks for the Sentinel drawing, Guy - tried to look at that Ruski site but the battle-tank page won't open for me :( & my Google-fu, Bing-fu & Yahoo-fu is even poorer than yours :D

I'm against having Merlins too early as I like the idea of radial P-40s :D & with the US out the P-40 doesn't exist until 1946 - we're stuck with the Hawk-75 at best.
I don't think we'd have the production capacity for another major engine type, better to stick with P&W R-1830s & a limited-production local V-10 (as on my Boomerang II).
In the real world, by 1940 we had already decided to look to the US for military support (realised UK would be too busy to help?) ie the US gave us permission to use their process for making aircraft-grade aluminium sheet for the duration only - this material was not produced in Oz before or after WW2.  Did Britain use that same process or their own method ?

SdKfz-222 ??
I think that anything German would be too complicated for us to make - it would require much re-design - even the Beaufort was simplified for easier Oz production.  Must read the book on Oz A/cars again.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 04:03:50 AM by raafif »

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2013, 09:51:59 PM »
Hmm, my info has the P-40 flying in 1938 & in service by 1941.

Also, while actively avoiding becoming involved in the war directly, the US could not ignore the advances in aviation technology occurring overseas - hence the P-40 in the first place - &, as a supplier to nations engaged in a major conflict, US manufacturers would know that their product had to meet the demands of the buyer - hence the Mustang (a.k.a. the P-51) & the Packard-Merlin. Nor could it ignore the possibility that it might be drawn into the war & would prepare for such an event (as it did prior to 7 December, 1941, in the RW).

Oh, & I'm rather partial to the Allison/Packard-Merlin engined variant myself. :P

Re: the SdKfz 222 copy - I have no trouble with manufacturing a simplified version using what was to hand, it just gives us something ground-based & moderately successful to hang the Oerlikon 20mm on.

:icon_music:

Guy
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Offline raafif

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2013, 08:24:06 AM »
Re: the SdKfz 222 copy - I have no trouble with manufacturing a simplified version using what was to hand, it just gives us something ground-based & moderately successful to hang the Oerlikon 20mm on.

:icon_music:

Guy

Our Rover & Dingo could handle a 20mm turret tho designers were locked into the British "open or closed recon vehicle" mind-set - apparently never considered even a rudementary turret.
Cross-country ability of the Rover was "only just ok", while the Dingo was good but major problems was the heat build-up inside & a slightly delicate front axle.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2013, 09:41:28 PM »
Didn't know about either of those, raafif. Thanks for the heads-up! :)

Personally, they scare the bejeezus out of me, 'coz I'm pretty sure the only way you'd find me in either of them is dead!! :o

How about just putting a bigger radial on the Boomerang, adding a bit of tail length & (possibly) a few inches of wingspan? ???

:))

Guy
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Offline raafif

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2013, 01:30:44 PM »
Don't think the Boomerang had ANY real potential for development - they added the turbo-charger but that was basically a bust which added very little hp.  Certainly a slightly longer tail would help but the weight of the wood fuselage-sleeve would negate any gains - maybe going back to a fabric-over-tube fuselage until sheet-metal was plentiful enough to do a proper monocoque fuselage.  Apart from pointy or square extended-tips, the wing would require a total redesign.

How about a triple-row "corn-cob" radial ... a P&W R-2745 Triple-Wasp ?


Obsolete ex-Canadian Bolingbrokes partially gutted, fitted with P&W R-1830's & belly gunpack as a ground attack aircraft.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2013, 12:03:39 AM »
Really like the look of the Boomerang III! :D

And the Bolingbroke is a fair contender for the ground attack role, although I would be more likely to go with a modified Beaufort, which Australia was already producing & which was faster than than the Bolingbroke (Australian produced aircraft were, apparently, even faster than the British version).

It still comes down to what a country of 7,000,000 people can do against a country of 73,000,000.

As an Australian, I'd like to say "Kick their @rse$!" but, unless the Japanese were hampered by active, aggressive resistance in the occupied territories of SE Asia I have a horrible suspicion it would not go quite like that.

 :icon_crap:

Firstly, the Japanese were well aware of the benefits of a strong navy to a nation relying of the sea for bringing in supplies for its people & industries. They were aware of what they had done to the Russians in the early years of the 20th century & of what the British had done to the Germans during WW1, &, somewhere along the line, they obviously picked up an understanding of the need for naval airpower. All of that would have to go. (Remember: the Japanese were not afraid of US battleships, the whole idea of Pearl Harbour was to take out the USN's aircraft carriers. Question: If they had done that, would the US have done what the Japanese hoped for - pull back to the Eastern Pacific & maintain a defensive stance, at least for long enough for the Japanese to gain a firm hold on SE Asia & the Western Pacific?)

Secondly, you'd have to take Yamamoto out of the picture completely, he was a skilled proponent of a strong navy, with influence in political circles, in the pre-war era (& not just because of America) & one of the architects of Japanese naval power.

Thirdly, even in the SE Asia /Indochina route you have given, there is still a lot of island-hopping to do to get to Aus, so, once again, naval power is important.

Sorry, I guess I just can't see the Japanese not having a serious navy.

I suppose you could have them being as lax as Australia was (more-so "is") in the understanding of the need to defend its ocean life-lines without a major ally to assist. Actually, during WW2, Australia had the navy it could man, by the end of the war the RAN was larger than Australia could cope with & many of our ships had cadres of British sailors & officers to flesh out the numbers required to crew them.

 ???

Where would you expect the Japanese to land? With the GBR protecting much of the Queensland coast from unrestricted access I would expect them to land either in the SW of the Gulf of Carpentaria, near Karumba/Normanton, or (more likely) south of Rockhampton (say Bundaberg). Darwin is also an option, with the idea of moving south to Adelaide & cutting the country in two, with a possible follow up landing to take Perth (thus effectively "capturing" the entire western half of the country) before heading east.

 ::)

Guy

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Offline raafif

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2013, 08:42:31 AM »
Really like the look of the Boomerang III! :D

And the Bolingbroke is a fair contender for the ground attack role, although I would be more likely to go with a modified Beaufort, which Australia was already producing & which was faster than than the Bolingbroke (Australian produced aircraft were, apparently, even faster than the British version).


I don't like my Boomerang III much ... a bit too Fw-190-ish but it is what would happen for a triple-Wasp version.

Which version of the British Beaufort was slower than ours ?? the Taurus powered one ?  If so, no wonder the crews mutinied & refused to fly it.  But then the Beaufort was only supposed to survive 8 combat hrs (one or two flights) before being shot down !!
The DAP Beaufort shouldn't have been any faster than the UK MK.II as both had P&W R-1830s tho the DAP one was every-so-slightly lighter.

A cut-down Beaufort as a strafer makes sense if you can spare it from light-bomber / torpedo duties but there isn't much you can do to cut the structure down --
having worked on 3 Beaufort restorations I've had a good look at it ;)
Blenheim / Bolingbrokes are very similar in construction but are much lighter.
Main failure of the Beaufort is the weak rear fuselage - "squareish" cross-section rather than oval like the Blenheim & many bent them with a minor ground-loop on landing as the main longeron ends at the aft turret bulkhead.  Easy to repair, but damage to the u/c is harder & takes much longer.


Offline raafif

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2013, 09:37:04 AM »
I was thinking that Japan's navy had less (large) battleships & carriers and more "coastal" types in keeping with a land / island campaign than a trans-ocean battle-fleet - with no USA to contend with, Japanese naval forces could do the same damage to Brit ships in SEA with less major assets than in the real world.

This is how I saw the battle progressing .......

After driving out the enemy, Japanese forces consolidate on the New Guinea south coast.  Totally unprepared, Australia's north is empty of troops other than those that escaped NG & the small military presence normally in Darwin.  Authorities decide to leave them there & replace by ship the equipment they lost.  Australian authorities dither about sending more troops north as they expect their cities of Melbourne & Sydney to be the main targets of any invasion and traditionally have held all tanks in these areas.  Aerial recon of  the enemy coast is usually shot down by Japanese fighters.

While consolidating, Japan sends recon groups onto Australian soil -- west of Darwin, into the Gulf of Carpentaria & onto Cape York.  These groups include geologists who realise that an area called Weipa on Cape York has lots of bauxite ore deposits for aluminium & they tag it as a "must have" for mining of needed minerals.  Most areas reconnoitred had no value.

Japan attacks Darwin by air & shore bombardment, sinking so much shipping that the harbour becomes quite useless for landing invasion troops as planned - Australian casualties are heavy.  The Japanese land troops in (otherwise of no value) staging areas previously identified west & east of Darwin with no scares of recon by RAAF aircraft - they advance, cutting the whole area off from the only road south & occupy the town.  They also land troops on Cape York to secure that area.  The Japanese pioneers immediately start carving rough airfields out of the bush around Darwin & the IJAF fly in their fighters & bombers and set up a maintenance base.

What help / harassment, if any, by Aboriginal tribes would the Japanese experience ?

Authorities in Melbourne are dumb-founded at the swift movement of the enemy forces in the North & only now start proper planning to send troops up to Brisbane to defend the endangered country. This is complicated by the need to change every man, rifle, bullet, truck & tank etc across the railway platform at both NSW borders due to the change of rail gauges.  It is only now that it's realised that a railway from Adelaide to Darwin would have been indispensable -- as it is, the road north thru the Northern Territory is so poor that all traffic is slow & constantly held up by lack of adequate petrol supplies.  Attacks on these road convoys by Japanese aircraft is expected as they get further up, but again they are unprepared to protect against such action on soft-skin vehicles ....

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2013, 11:39:19 AM »
There is a problem with this scenario.  American isolationism was about preventing the US becoming involved in other peoples' wars, particularly in Europe.  The US had retreated into Isolationism because of the way WWI had ended - the Imperial powers had essentially simply "carried on as usual", dismembering the German and Ottoman empires to their gain (although there is a good counter-argument that this resulted in "strategic over-reach" and spelt their eventual deaths).  The US had been hoping to forge new democratic institutions and nations but felt it had been robbed.

A Japanese attack on US Possessions though, is a whole different kettle of fish.  It is a direct attack on the US and therefore the US would not feel it was bound by what it regarded the rules of Isolationism.  It would be responding to an "unprovoked" attack.  Therefore, there was no way it could be prevented from declaring war on Japan.   During the real war, there was a strong feeling in the US that the "Germany First" policy was mistaken and that the US should be devoted all it's resources to defeating the Japanese.

The other point is that Japan was, in real life, always intending to attack the USSR.  It's entire strategic orientation was towards that right up until mid-1941 when the combined UK-NEI-US oil blockade kicked in.  It wasn't until then that the decision was made that Japan needed to secure its own oil reserves to enable it to attack the USSR.   At that point, the decision was made to go South.  It was only though, seen as a temporary redirection.

With the bulk of it's forces tied down in China, the Japanese ran their southern thrust on a shoestring.  By the time it had taken SE Asia, Indonesia and Burma, it had little in the way of troops who weren't committed.  Any invasion of Australia would have been no more than 2 divisions.  Such a force would in turn be faced by twice that many of Militia forces and another 2 divisions of battle-hardened, AIF Middle-East veterans who reached Australia in April 1942.   Whereas the southern thrust had been faced primarily by under strength, colonial forces, they'd have found the Australian forces a very different type of nut to crack.

Then there would be the problems of moving and supplying such a force.   Which is why the IJA was against the IJN idea of even touching the Australian continent as "madness" brought on by "victory disease".   The IJA believed the the IJN only had sufficient forces to supply a division sized invasion force.  The IJN claimed otherwise but were clearly lying.

The effort of supplying an invasion force over the distances involved would have been enormous and one which was extremely vulnerably to the interdiction by Allied naval and submarine forces.   Any supplies would have had to sail either down the west coast and 'round the bottom or down the east coast.   That's a long way and lots of places where the submarines could strike.

Then there is the problem of where to attack.  Australia is, as we all know a very big place.  Most of the population and industry was (and still is) in the SE corner of the continent, then furthest from any Japanese bases.   The places closest to the Japanese bases are the least population, least developed.  Little real value could be gained from attacking them and then attempting to advance overland.

The only place where a decision could be forced, is the SE corner.  That would mean sailing long distances.  Even if you landed near the major population and industrial centre around Sydney, it's a long way to march to Newcastle or Wollongong.  Then you have Melbourne to get to as well.

It is nearly impossible to isolate Australia either.   Convoys could approach from the deep Southern Ocean and still reach Australian harbours and have their cargoes carried overland by railway (even allowing for the "break of gauge" problem) to the industrial centres.

So, any Japanese attack is frought with difficulties and would have, IMO been nearly suicidal without much hope of real success.  I could see Darwin being occupied for a short period.  Perhaps even Perth but beyond that, there isn't much hope for the Japanese.

For the Australians there is the problem that they have a vast continent and only limited forces.  They can't defend it all.  Therefore there would have had to be some hard decisions made.  While the "Brisbane Line" strategy proved to be a furphy - as far as a formally written strategy went - reality shows that such a strategy is the only sensible one.   You pull back and defend your core regions - in this case the SE corner.   You either write off or evacuate Darwin, Perth and perhaps even North Queensland and Brisbane.   They can be retaken later.  That leaves your forces concentrated where they are needed most.

In all likelihood, where the Japanese land can't be known immediately and more than likely only local defenders will be available to either observe what's happening (the sensible approach) or attack the invading forces (the foolhardy approach).  Your forces will need to move to the invasion point but that will take take and the bridgehead will be established and prepared for your advance.  The Miiitia are untried and perhaps initially unreliable.   Therefore it would be down to the AIF and the RAAF and RAN.

The RAAF is poorly equipped and understrength.  It's main orientation was towards traing aircrew and pilots for deployment overseas, as part of the RAF.   Therefore it had a large number of obsolete aircraft.  As has been noted, we would need modern fighters but they aren't necessarily available.  Therefore it would be a case of both "do or die" and "do and die".  As Josef Stalin once remarked, "numbers have a quality of their own".   The Japanese aircraft defending the bridgehead are limited in number.   Eventually they would be overwhelmed by wave after wave of Fairey Battles and Wirraways, as well as a few other types.

The RAN would find itself sadly outclassed and lacking submarines would be best to just keep out of the way, unless some reinforcement from the USN or RN was available.

I'd think we would see something like the "Battle of the Bridgeheads" enacted on the NSW coast, with considerably heavier losses for the Australians but the Japanese would be defeated and ejected from the mainland.

Offline kitnut617

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2013, 08:45:35 PM »
Just a technical point, a Bolingbroke was actually a Canadian built Blenhiem Mk.IV, with the long nose --

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2013, 09:50:27 PM »
Just a technical point, a Bolingbroke was actually a Canadian built Blenhiem Mk.IV, with the long nose --

Plus a few other minor mod's, yes, it was.

I don't like my Boomerang III much ... a bit too Fw-190-ish but it is what would happen for a triple-Wasp version.

Lucky it takes all sorts, 'ey! ;)

Which version of the British Beaufort was slower than ours ?? the Taurus powered one ?  If so, no wonder the crews mutinied & refused to fly it.  But then the Beaufort was only supposed to survive 8 combat hrs (one or two flights) before being shot down !!
The DAP Beaufort shouldn't have been any faster than the UK MK.II as both had P&W R-1830s tho the DAP one was every-so-slightly lighter.

Not sure, just going from memory late at night, but it quite possibly was the Taurus version.

As for the rest; I'll take your word for it. My only restoration work was while I was posted to the FAA Museum at Nowra in the early 80's, where we did what we could (not much) with what we had (even less) but I did get to play with a C-47, a Vampire, a Sea Venom, a Firefly & a Sea Fury, as well as, eventually, one of my precious Trackers.  :D

:icon_fsm:

Guy
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline raafif

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2013, 04:01:37 AM »
Just a technical point, a Bolingbroke was actually a Canadian built Blenhiem Mk.IV, with the long nose --

Yep, .... the Beaufort structure can't be "cut-down" (or lightened) much & is why the Beaufighter got a totally new fuselage.  I see ex-Canadian Bolingbrokes having the nav's part of the nose cut off & an armour plate installed behind a blunt nose that ends up looking similar to a MK.1 Blenheim, second crewman is moved aft as in the real-world Beaufighter.  Belly gunpack built into the former bombay, beefed up wing to take the P&W R-1830s with Beaufort cowlings.

Offline raafif

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2013, 02:25:20 AM »
Having secured the Top End, Japan now looks south - they are aware of the "Brisbane Line" & presume that the Australian government will sacrifice all north of that & not make an attempt to attack north of there due to material shortages & the deception that an invasion of Sydney would be attempted (aerial recon & midget-sub attack of Sydney harbour) keeping a majority of troops & equipment in south-eastern Australia.

Japan sees two main routes of advance -- south-east from Darwin to Mt. Isa and a landing on the east coast at Townsville.

((Japan has no expectation of subjugating the whole of Australia, simply wanting the minerals of the northern half for their military industry.))

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2013, 03:52:03 AM »
Folks, just be careful to not go too far in this thread in the Scenarios area - a full story should be posted in the Stories area of Current Builds.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline apophenia

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2013, 06:37:37 AM »
An alternative attack bomber type: The Commonwealth CA-4 Woomera was intended to produce a multi-purpose bomber with advanced features and a performance superior to the DAP Beaufort it was to replace. But an Air Board review concludes that the CA-4 design is wasted on an airframe powered by the same engines as the aircraft it is to replace. Instead, Sir Lawrence Wackett's design team is instructed to sketch out a concept for a future bomber with higher powered engines.

At the same time, CAC is to revise and simplify the CA-4 design as a 2-seat attack bomber. The result is the CA-5 Woomera Attack with raised wing position, reduced span, 'wobble-mount' guns (and a flexible rear gun position) replacing the advanced barbettes, ventral gun position eliminated, and heavier forward firing armament.

[BTW: The RAAF Blenheim torpedo bomber from Rickshaw's 'Remember Eureka' story might be of interest: http://beyondthesprues.com/Forum/index.php?topic=351.msg19641#msg19641 ]
« Last Edit: May 19, 2013, 06:42:36 AM by apophenia »
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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2013, 06:50:35 AM »
Potentially interesting map in light of this discussion:

All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2013, 02:13:03 PM »

* ca-5-woomera-attack.jpg (75.44 kB, 800x427 - viewed 4 times.)


Now, this I like! :D

:)

Guy
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2013, 06:55:02 AM »
Cheers Guy. I'm imagining CAC's CA-11 being put on to the back burner (maybe awaiting R-2600s?).
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Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2013, 08:44:14 PM »
I've been considering this for a little while & I'm still not sure how it might affect a Japanese invasion of Australia.

Australia west of the Great Dividing Range is one of, if not the most, arid place in the world. How would the Japanese have coped with that?

I realise that a large chunk of China is the Gobi Desert but I, also, note that the Japanese did not enter the Gobi any meaningful distance. Is that because they were unfamiliar with fighting in such terrain?

Therefore, my question is whether the Japanese would have tried going down the west side of the Great Divide or would they have followed the more familiar (to them) rainforest/woodland/farmland route down the east coast, if they had invaded? Or, even though dividing your force is not the smartest route, would they have sent a force down the west side to cut across behind the Australian forces, who would be dealing with the major push down the east, & isolate them by cutting their communications & supply routes (remembering that the GDR does not have that many east-west crossing points)?

???

Guy
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline kim margosein

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #32 on: May 27, 2013, 01:56:40 AM »
I'm American, not Australian, so I am not as familiar with the area as you.  However, we have our own Great American Desert.   So, the Japanese land in Western Australia.  Now what?  How do they get from point a to point "anything worth conquering"?   Presumably any settlements, such as they are, would be evacuated in their path, leaving a scorched earth, pretty easy considering the earth there is pre-scorched.   POL, tires, food, water?  Good luck with that. 

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #33 on: May 27, 2013, 03:09:15 AM »
In the WW2 time period, Kim, landing almost anywhere in the west would have been fairly futile as a starting point for an invasion of the entire country because then, as now, the population is highly concentrated on the east coast, only more-so then than now. There is still almost nothing between Perth & Adelaide except a single railway line & a road. However, it would have given them access to a vast range of mineral deposits, if they could get them out of the ground. Most of the current mining operations get their water supplies from the post-war Ord River Scheme dams.

To take Australia, though, an invader merely needs to take the east coast but to take it from the north down the coast leaves a limited front to attack through. Sydney, for example, from the Heads (where the Harbour meets the sea) to the Blue Mountains (which are a part of the Great Dividing Range) is only about 50km (+/-). Also, all of the rivers run west-east, from the mountains to the sea, across the path of advance. Awkward for an attacker, good for a defender.

Since starting to seriously consider this scenario, my thinking is that a Japanese attack on Australia would have been staged from New Caledonia. With landings at either Newcastle (north of Sydney) or Woollongong (south of Sydney), or both, because both places have good harbours & would not be as heavily defended, nor as easy to defend, as any Sydney landing points.

Others may thing differently & I'm waiting for their responses, so that I have more information to work with.

Having now lived on 2 islands occupied by the Japanese during WW2, one in the Pacific & the other here in the Indian Ocean, & learning of what happened to those who lived here during the occupations gives one an interesting perspective on the lengths to which the Japanese were willing to go to acheive their goals.

Anyway.

Waiting

:))

Guy
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Offline raafif

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #34 on: May 27, 2013, 09:44:05 AM »
Why would Japan want Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne ?
Japan's whole reason for invading Australia is for minerals to sustain its needs in SE Asia - neither PNG or Australia are "Asian" & are more trouble than they are worth to subjugate.  Japan is heavily extended & can't hope to cope with covering a whole continent -- they know that the US is passive & everyone else is too busy with Germany to intervene.  Without the USA getting involved militarily, its industry is very slow to gear up & provide the arms that Britain wants - at this time Australia is only able to get such equipment as is surplus to the UK's needs -- after Germany is defeated more will become available but that is years away, making Australia develop its own designs like the Sentinel Tank using American M3 medium-tank components.

Having identified accessible resources at Weipa & Mt.Isa (soft targets), Japan settles for capturing those in the short term, Darwin is a handy port (once cleaned up from the invasion).  The map on the previous page correctly marks the only possible routes - Darwin (& s-east to Mt.Isa), a holding (no opposition) of Weipa .... and a landing at Townsville to threaten a drive down to the Brisbane Line -- possibly going as far as Rockhampton / Gladstone -- to keep Australian forces occupied in SE / Eastern Australia.  No mass occupation of (empty) lands - just holding of the "highway" south-east from Darwin.  Japanese resupply of Mt.Isa by road (easy in the dry) & air from Darwin is possible.

There is no point in capturing West Australia as it is largely empty & of no threat.  Due to its large Japanese pearl-diving population, there is no "Battle for Broome", just a quasi-puppet mayor already in place & welcoming the new Japanese Military Governor.  The monopoly on Broome's pearls (which they already had) would remain welcome additions to Japan's art / jewelry industry.

The gold & iron of southern West Australia & South Australia would help the Japanese but the ability needed to obtain & hold those is decades away .... Australia is too de-centralised to conquor / dominate.

The majority of Australia's armed forces are in Victoria - especially the armour -- and the Govt failed to plan for anything other than an attack on Australia's south-east quarter, thinking that "Domination of the populace" is the only reason for invading.

Having allowed the Northern Territory & Cape York be un-defended & taken, would Australia now withdraw its white citizens & allow it to become a Japanese colony, only considering the thin east-Queensland coast up to Townsville as part of its lands to be recaptured ??

This is all still just setting the scene for an Aussie fightback using indiginous-designed arms vs Japan's "light" equipment such as their tanks & aircraft ....  I see a similar senario from real life (in another part of the world) that would suit how this battle evolves.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Japan invades Australia
« Reply #35 on: May 27, 2013, 10:48:40 AM »
The thought I keep coming back to is the performance of the Desert Mounted Corps in WWI.  Long supply lines in unfamiliar terrain, against a desperate local public and an extremely hostile indigenous population I thing Japan would have their work cut out for them.  Look what happened to the Ottomans in their own empire.

I wonder how a successful indigenous insurgency against the Japanese would effect indigenous relations and policy post war?