Author Topic: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.  (Read 12821 times)

Offline Volkodav

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Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« on: August 19, 2013, 09:44:50 PM »
In 1920 then viscount Jellicoe toured the Dominions and reviewed their defences making predictions on the expected strategic environment (many subsequently proven correct) and recommendations on the size and type of forces required to counter these potential threats (Japan anyone?) as well as the industrial capacity that would be required to support the required capabilities.  He was pretty much ignored with the British and Dominion government distancing themselves from him and his reports.  On top of this the Washington Naval limitation treaty pretty much undermined much of the plan as many of the ships required either would not now be built or those deemed surplus would have to be retained by the RN due to the lack of replacements.

In a nut shell Jellicoe's recommendations for Australia were to form a second Fleet Unit to support the existing RAN Fleet Unit also consisting of a Battle Cruiser, a number of fleet cruisers, a destroyer squadron, a submarine squadron and a depot ship / tender.  To this would be added one or more aircraft carriers while surplus older cruisers would be transferred from the RN for coastal patrol.  In addition the RN would maintain a third Fleet unit of similar composition in Singapore.  Australia would build their own aircraft and minor warships (destroyers and perhaps small cruisers).

The Washington Treaty limited the tonnage of ships available for the RN and dominion navies, therefore even if the money were available there just were not enough ships to go around.  My premise is that Australia lobbied, unsuccessfully, to be permitted to crew a RN battlecruiser and aircraft carrier while maintaining the other elements of the Fleet Unit in home waters.  Instead County Class Treaty Cruisers for the RAN were built in Australia and 6" gunned derivatives (designed to satisfy the requirements of the London Naval Treaty) were built in Australia to replace the old Town Class cruisers.  Australian yards and factories were also upgraded to permit the construction of submarines, destroyer and cruiser turbines and guns up to 6" calibre.

When WWII appeared inevitable large orders were placed in Australian yards for Tribal Class destroyer (a flotilla of 8 was already in production for the RAN) and a request for a battle cruiser was made again, this time with more success.  In exchange for the first flotilla already in build Tribals the UK agreed to transfer HMS Renown and HMS Furious to the RAN, with the onset of hostilities both ships, along with most of the RANs other models vessels were assigned to RN operational command.

With the cruisers and destroyers coming out of Australia (and Canada, which had followed a similar process to Australia's) for the RN, it was possible for the UK to continue construction of the Lion Class BBs and their armoured fleet carriers that would have been suspended or cancelled, as well as accelerating construction of Vanguard.  Thus by the end of 1941 Australia was completing a Flotilla of improved tribal class destroyers in addition to a 6" gunned County a year.  In addition the first of a new 8"cruiser, based on a scaled up County with four triple 8", was nearing completion......

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 11:07:30 PM »
Nice! We working on carriers in this scenario, too?

:)

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Offline Cliffy B

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2013, 01:34:53 AM »
I'm liking this A LOT!!!  8)

Would be neat to see that RAN Battlecruiser and some RAN CA/CLs alongside the USN Cru-Des groups during the night battles off Guadalcanal!

You ever seen anything about the "Cockatoo Island Heavy Cruiser" design?  They deemed them to expensive to build in Australia and ordered the Kents instead.  Some food for thought.
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,19763.0.html

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b336/Bager1968/Cruisers/1924cruisercrop_zps0c4ec494.png
http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b336/Bager1968/Cruisers/1929CockatooIslandsyddesign_zpsa4996c05.jpg
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 07:49:43 AM by Cliffy B »
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2013, 10:10:52 PM »
I'm liking this A LOT!!!  8)

Would be neat to see that RAN Battlecruiser and some RAN CA/CLs alongside the USN Cru-Des groups during the night battles off Guadalcanal!

You ever seen anything about the "Cockatoo Island Heavy Cruiser" design?  They deemed them to expensive to build in Australia and ordered the Kents instead.  Some food for thought.
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,19763.0.html




Yes I have and unless my memory fails me it was an evolution of the Hawkins Class which was the ultimate expression of the Town Class (of which the RAN operated 4) and were the precursor of the County Class as well as the design the most influenced the Washington cruiser limits.  The Cockatoo design was intended to be armed with 3 triple 8" and would have been a fine ship. 

I still prefer the County in my scenario though as it was a more modern and capable design, the first of a new generation rather than the last of the older type.  It would have been more of a stretch building a County but it would have better set up Australian ship building for the challenge to come.

A fantasy on mine is on 19 February 1942 Sea Hurricanes and Sea Eagles (navalized Hawker Henley dive / torpedo bombers) launched from HMAS Furious (recently upgraded in the US), HMAS Australia (converted WWI battle cruiser) and HMAS Endeavour (sister ship to Ark Royal ordered in 1938 for the RAN but on loan, with her crew, to the RN from commissioning) caught the carrier strike about to be launched against Darwin arrayed on the decks.  The IJN were caught completely off guard believing Furious and Australia to be in the Mediterranean and Endeavour to have been sunk the previous November (the ship lost was in fact Ark Royal), they knew Indomitable was in dry dock in the US which permitted them to pick off Prince of Wales and Tiger in December, the appearance of three RAN carriers was completely unexpected.  Even more devastating was the arrival of HMAS Renown and HMS Repulse leading a large force of Australian built cruisers and destroyers that systematically destroyed the entire, already crippled, IJN strike force.  The shock was completed when the land based component of the raid reached Darwin and was met by a wing of the RAAFs new R-2800 powered Hawker Typhoons in addition to the Hurricanes they had been expecting.

Completely over the top but I am trying to work towards an Australian defence force that could rip the arm off an aggressor in 1942, pretty much as Jellicoe planned.

I am also thinking of an Australian Corps, consisting of a number of armoured divisions, being sent to the Middle East in exchange for the return of the AIF Infantry Divisions as well as Divisional strength Ghurkhas and Kings African Rifles.  This armoured force would go on to fight in Italy and redeploy to France as reinforcements post D-Day. In honour of the Light Horse in WWI this force was known as the Australian Mounted Corps and units within it were titled Horse or Light Horse depending on role and scale of equipment.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2013, 11:10:56 PM »
Sentinels? ;)

:)

Guy
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2013, 01:05:19 AM »
Sentinels? ;)

:)

Guy
of course  :D
but with Australia producing their own aircraft and aero engines for the proceeding 20 years there would be some good alternative engine options.

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2013, 10:39:43 AM »
Ghurkas and Kings African Rifles?   Mmm, you are aware of the difficulties the Australian Government of the day had in accepting US "Coloured' troops and how they ended up only being allowed to build roads in the outback?  I can just imagine what the reaction would be to Asian and African troops!

The White Australia Policy was alive, well and racism unfortunately dominated domestic politics.  This usually worst for the Indigenous population - there were plans in early 1942 to massacre all Aborigines in Arnhem land, at one point, to prevent them being used by any potential Japanese invasion force as labourers and bearers - but it also affected relations with our Allies, most notably the USA who had few qualms about using their African-American forces in war time.

If anything though, it was World War II which spelt the end to those attitudes.   It exposed large numbers of the adult population to different races and cultures and most particular ensures that the lot of many of the Indigenous peoples was taken out of the hands of the states which were largely indifferent to their plight and exploitation by white land owners and placed it in that of the central government in Canberra and in particular the Army who treated them well, perceiving them as a valuable resource to be utilised.

Offline buzzbomb

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2013, 04:38:54 PM »
... A fantasy on mine is on 19 February 1942 Sea Hurricanes and Sea Eagles (navalized Hawker Henley dive / torpedo bombers) launched from HMAS Furious ...


Something like his perhaps ;)

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2013, 05:15:04 PM »
Ghurkas and Kings African Rifles?   Mmm, you are aware of the difficulties the Australian Government of the day had in accepting US "Coloured' troops and how they ended up only being allowed to build roads in the outback?  I can just imagine what the reaction would be to Asian and African troops!

The White Australia Policy was alive, well and racism unfortunately dominated domestic politics.  This usually worst for the Indigenous population - there were plans in early 1942 to massacre all Aborigines in Arnhem land, at one point, to prevent them being used by any potential Japanese invasion force as labourers and bearers - but it also affected relations with our Allies, most notably the USA who had few qualms about using their African-American forces in war time.

If anything though, it was World War II which spelt the end to those attitudes.   It exposed large numbers of the adult population to different races and cultures and most particular ensures that the lot of many of the Indigenous peoples was taken out of the hands of the states which were largely indifferent to their plight and exploitation by white land owners and placed it in that of the central government in Canberra and in particular the Army who treated them well, perceiving them as a valuable resource to be utilised.

Very well aware of the racism and the issues with black US troops, didn't know about the planned massacre in Arnhem Land.  I was more thinking of their skill at arms and effectiveness against the Japanese than the colour of their skin, it would have done a lot to get rid of those attitudes as you indicated occurred with the US troops.  Something that always annoys me when it come to mind was the campaign to remove Monash as he was seen by many influential people to be unsuitable to lead Australian Troops due to being Jewish.  He retained his command and his place in history is assured by his lack of prominence post war probably had more to do with his religion than his mistress and some have claimed.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2013, 05:23:40 PM »
... A fantasy on mine is on 19 February 1942 Sea Hurricanes and Sea Eagles (navalized Hawker Henley dive / torpedo bombers) launched from HMAS Furious ...


Something like his perhaps ;)



Yes very much so ;D

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2013, 08:56:22 PM »
Ghurkas and Kings African Rifles?   Mmm, you are aware of the difficulties the Australian Government of the day had in accepting US "Coloured' troops and how they ended up only being allowed to build roads in the outback?  I can just imagine what the reaction would be to Asian and African troops!

The White Australia Policy was alive, well and racism unfortunately dominated domestic politics.  This usually worst for the Indigenous population - there were plans in early 1942 to massacre all Aborigines in Arnhem land, at one point, to prevent them being used by any potential Japanese invasion force as labourers and bearers - but it also affected relations with our Allies, most notably the USA who had few qualms about using their African-American forces in war time.

If anything though, it was World War II which spelt the end to those attitudes.   It exposed large numbers of the adult population to different races and cultures and most particular ensures that the lot of many of the Indigenous peoples was taken out of the hands of the states which were largely indifferent to their plight and exploitation by white land owners and placed it in that of the central government in Canberra and in particular the Army who treated them well, perceiving them as a valuable resource to be utilised.

Very well aware of the racism and the issues with black US troops, didn't know about the planned massacre in Arnhem Land.  I was more thinking of their skill at arms and effectiveness against the Japanese than the colour of their skin, it would have done a lot to get rid of those attitudes as you indicated occurred with the US troops. 

It wouldn't have mattered how skilful they were.  It was the colour of their skin which was an over-riding consideration to the Australian Government at the time.  As I mentioned they limited the numbers and the employment of US African-American troops which came to Australia, to the detriment of the defence of the nation IMHO.

The massacre didn't last long as a plan and was reflective of the panic which was occurring at the time.  Once cooler heads took control in the Top End, it was quietly shelved and its proponents moved onto more useful work.

Quote
Something that always annoys me when it come to mind was the campaign to remove Monash as he was seen by many influential people to be unsuitable to lead Australian Troops due to being Jewish.  He retained his command and his place in history is assured by his lack of prominence post war probably had more to do with his religion than his mistress and some have claimed.

The feelings against Monash were a combination of anti-Semitism and anti-German feeling in Australia at the start of WWI.  Remember, anti-German feelings ran high, to the point where many towns and even foods were renamed (the US and the debacle over "Freedom Fries" had plenty of precedents).  In the UK it was so bad that the Royal Family had to change their family name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to "Windsor". 

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2013, 02:22:01 AM »
Racism and panic were common and shameful at the time and unfortunately still not that far below the surface.  As for the Kings African Rifles and Ghurkhas', they could have been sent straight to Port  Moresby.

As an aside during 1942 Australians serving overseas in Europe, I.e. Bomber crews were being sent White feathers for cowardice because they weren't back home fighting the Japanese.  I note that none of the senders were in uniform, let alone putting there lives on the line.

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2013, 09:55:45 AM »
Racism and panic were common and shameful at the time and unfortunately still not that far below the surface.  As for the Kings African Rifles and Ghurkhas', they could have been sent straight to Port  Moresby.

Well, they were all committed in other theatres.  Also, the problem in New Guinea wasn't so much a lack of troops as a lack of the means to support more troops in the theatre and move them across the Owen Stanleys.  A problem both sides suffered from was logistics.  It wasn't easy to move and support large bodies of troops across some of the most remote and undeveloped areas of the world.  The Japanese offensive in particular foundered on the issue of logistics.  The Allied one was better organised and supported but even then, it was an issue of battalions and brigades at the sharp end, not divisions.  Throwing more troops at the problem would not IMHO have helped overly much.

Quote
As an aside during 1942 Australians serving overseas in Europe, I.e. Bomber crews were being sent White feathers for cowardice because they weren't back home fighting the Japanese.  I note that none of the senders were in uniform, let alone putting there lives on the line.

A problem for any force which was divided and used in multiple theatres a long distance apart.  The locals saw their needs as paramount, not appreciating that by fighting the powerbase of the "fascist beast" (gotta love Soviet propaganda ;) ) directly was just as important as fighting it's forces in distant theatres closer to home.  The White Feather thing was and remains stupid.  Men fight or don't for many reasons but cowardice is often further down the list than most suppose.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2013, 10:24:45 PM »
I just wrote a ^%$*& essay and when I posted it the whole %*&$&#%$#@$% thing disappeared without a trace!!!!!!!!!!! :icon_twisted:

Once I have calmed down (and had some sleep) I will try and rewrite it!

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2013, 03:07:24 AM »
I just wrote a ^%$*& essay and when I posted it the whole %*&$&#%$#@$% thing disappeared without a trace!!!!!!!!!!! :icon_twisted:

Once I have calmed down (and had some sleep) I will try and rewrite it!

I have note some 'hiccups' today as well - am investigating.
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2013, 07:53:01 AM »
Thanks, calmed down now and had some sleep, will re do it in bullet points probably.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2013, 09:14:29 AM »
Real world:
-New Zealand funds the construction of a battle cruiser for the RN,
-Australia considers doing the same but political elements concerned about Japanese aggression and Australian national prestige successfully lobby for the creation of an Australian navy centred on a Fleet Unit built around a battle cruiser.
-The RN initially opposes this but a review of costs shows that it is better value for Australia to form their own fleet than it is for the RN to continue providing for Australia's defence with Australia subsidising some of the costs.
-The creation of the Australian Fleet Unit goes ahead with the agreement that in time of war it would transfer to RN command and deployed as the UK saw fit.
-With the start of WWI the Australian Fleet Unit initially remains in local waters to counter the German East Asia Squadron but deploys to the UK after that threat passes.
-The RAN serves as part of the RN for the duration of the conflict returning home after.
-Post war the battle cruiser is placed in reduced readiness for financial reasons and equipment is removed for use elsewhere.
-A considerable number of ex-RN ships and submarines are transferred to the RAN but lack of funding prevents effective use.
-Jellico tours the Dominions and makes recommendations on their defence, including that Australia should form a second Fleet Unit, acquire aircraft carriers and that the RN should create a similar Fleet Unit and deploy it to the region
-The Dominion and UK governments distance themselves from these recommendations and little if anything is done.
-The Washington Naval Treaty leads to the disposal of the battle cruiser HMAS Australia without replacement, and effectively the disbandment of the RAN Fleet Unit.

Fantasy land:
-All of the above, bar the second to last point remain the same, i.e. Australia and the UK listen to Jellico.
-The decision is made to transfer a more modern battle cruiser to the RAN to form the centre of the second Fleet Unit, initially this is intended to be one of the "Splendid Cats", possibly HMS Tiger .  Discussions are also conducted as to what should replace the HMAS Australia in the early 1930s which leads to the consideration of transferring either Renown or Repulse to form the second Fleet Unit and later the other to replace HMAS Australia
-The RN plans to station third Fleet Unit (referred to as the first for political reasons) in Singapore once the G3 battle cruisers entered service freeing up older ships.
-Washington Naval Treaty puts these plans on hold as the RNs future strategy is worked out.
-Australia successfully lobbies for the transfer of HMS Repulse to replace HMAS Australia and continues to negotiate for the transfer of Renown arguing that the arrangement of the RAN Fleet Unit passing to RN control in the event of war had worked well in WWI.
-The RN and British nationalists are opposed but the UK Exchequer are in favour as it effectively allows the RN to maintain a number of capital ships at Australia's expense.
-HMS Repulse is transferred to the RAN in 1922 and HMS Renown follows in 1928.
-Two County Class cruisers are built in Australia for the RAN
-After much negotiation a RN carrier is stationed in Sydney to operate with the RAN while a new ship, based on the County Class cruiser hull is designed and built in Australia.
-To replace older tonnage an pair of modified Counties are built as large light cruisers armed with 12 6" guns.
-Both Repulse and Renown are extensively modernised in Australia during the late 1930s

Result:
-Australia enters WWII with two Fleet units, each centred on a modernised battle cruiser and supported by a light aircraft carrier and a number of cruisers
-The experience of operating and maintaining capital ships between the wars has led to the creation of substantial associated infrastructure and expertise in Australia permitting a rapid expansion of the RAN and naval ship building.  Once Japan enters the war Australia is very well positioned to support the USN.
-Australia's prestige and capability leads to the UK transferring Vanguard (completed early and Australian crewed), Implacable and Indefatigable to the RAN in early 1945 to get them into service despite the UKs quite serious manpower shortages.
-While in no way a major power Australia is able to punch above their weight and becomes a decisive player through WWII and post war.
-National pride at what has been achieved changes the Australian psyche to one of "can do" as opposed to the traditional cultural cringe and deferral to others.
-This is reflected in ship building, aviation and vehicle manufacturing, design and innovation. Australia's strengths in post war guided weapons and computer development are built upon rather than deliberately dissolved.  Nuclear power is embraced, and Australia never sees themselves as someone else's deputy or even reliant on anyone else but rather as an equal global citizen.

Offline Alvis 3.1

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2013, 11:52:54 AM »
Wow, that makes so much sense, no wonder it never was done in reality! ;D


One thing, if Australia had an imposing naval force, and infrastructure, would it not make them more likely to be attacked directly by Japan at the onset of hostilities? Alternatively, the US might have even been left out, as Australia tended to have a vocal opposition to Japan even from right after WW 1, so they may have been the ones leading opposition to Japan's expansionist policies in the 30s. Certainly I can see Japan feeling hemmed in with the US to the east, and Australia  and the UK to the south and south west.
Hmmmmmmm....


Alvis 3.1

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2013, 01:01:34 PM »
The US was still the bigger threat, Australia would never win on their own and definitely would not be seen as capable of taking the war to Japan, as the US was and did.  What I have briefly summarised is a force capable of bleeding an aggressor and hopefully of holding them at bay until help arrived. 

One of the greatest advantages of this alt history is that instead of ordering 8 (one flotilla) and completing 3 Tribal class destroyers Australia could conceivably have completed 2 or more full flotillas, many more frigates and possibly sloops instead of corvettes.

There would have been local aircraft production, including engines, pre-war and I imagine turbine production as well.  Tanks would have been no problem.

Realistically money was very tight, debt was high and income low, it would have taken far more drive and commitment to make this happen than existed at the time.

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2014, 01:12:05 PM »
Jellicoe actually recommended either Sydney Harbour or Garden Island in WA as the prefered location of the RN base that ended up being built, at horrendous expense in Singapore, what if he had been listened to and Sydney was developed as the base instead?

The obvious difference I can see is the Japanese would not have been able to put the base out of action, let alone, capture and use it against the allies.  With no major base to defend, hopefully much of the men and material lost in the defence of Malaya and Singapore, including Prince of Wales and Repulse, would actually been deployed in the defence of Australia instead. The existence of a powerful squadron in Australia, rapidly grown to a fleet, as well as a large, intact, standing army, means Australia (and the UK) never need to kowtow to that deeply flawed, ego maniac, MacArthur.  This actually leads to a much more effective SEA and Pacific campaign as the British Commonwealth, including Free French and Dutch forces, take a much larger, more visible role.

The key to this would be the money invested in Singapore is instead spent expanding and improving facilities in Sydney and forward bases in Darwin and Perth (to cover the Indian Ocean).  This would include BB sized dry docks, repair and replenishment facilities, as well as Naval Air Stations, defences and garrisons in all three locations and considerably expanded and improved shipbuilding infrastructure in Sydney in particular. 

Also following Jellicoe's recommendations Australia would have greatly expanded it's coastal and continental defence capabilities, including small cruisers, sloops, submarines and above all, aircraft.  Local construction of aircraft would have been a priority.  Ideally with Hawkers setting up in Australia to manufacture Hawker and Gloster designs and CAC manufacturing aero engines, license producing aircraft, including trainers, general purpose aircraft, patrol, medium and heavy bombers, flying boats and amphibians, as well as aircraft of their own design.  De Havilland would mainly produce civilian and commercial types but would begin building military types as war approached, starting with Tigermoths and militarized Flamingos  ;D and ending the war building Mosquitoes, Vampires, Hornets and evolved Flamingos.  DAP / GAF would never have existed.

An improved rail system would have been a necessity, linking Sydney, Perth and Darwin with a standard gauge rail. This would have required significantly expanded railway workshops and locomotive and rolling stock building and maintenance.  This, apart from significantly improved communications and logistics, would have provided for a massively increased potential to build armoured vehicles.

In addition, the decision to construct the major British base east of Suez in Australia, gave Harry Chauvel got his way, mostly, and was able to establish a motorised and mechanized, standing army.  It was not as large as he desired but it did exist and it was fully mounted with organic trucks, cars and armoured vehicles.  This standing Army would have been based on the AIF with the 1st Division and 1st Light Horse Brigade being made permanent and most of the remaining formations becoming the new reserve force, while the Militia remained as a geographically organized as a training cadre and local defence force.  Because Australia was now a major British base it became necessary to remove the restrictions on the deployment of Australian military forces outside of Australian territories. Also the presence of British forces, RN, army and RAF, their bases and training facilities, was a further boost to the professionalism of Australian forces and the Australian economy, in fact due to the high esteem Australian forces were held in following WWI, the British garrison was smaller than it would have been otherwise with the UK funding additional Australian units to fill many of the intended deployments instead.

These bases and the flow on effects would have seen massive expansion and modernization of the Australian economy that would have then expanded exponentially with the approach and onset of WWII.  Australia would have become a major producer and exporter of military material, supporting the allied war effort and generating an even more massive lend lease credit, establishing Australias place in the world for decades to come.

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2014, 08:39:28 PM »
Singapore however, it must be recognised as a significant "choke point" and it offered forward defence to the "Jewel in the Crown" - India against potential Japanese (or even American) aggression through the Straits of Malacca or the Indonesian Archipelago.  Don't fall into thinking that Singapore was developed as a Fleet Base in the 1930s to defend Australia.  That was the lie Canberra was peddled by London in order to get Australian support for it's development.  Canberra was only too willing to believe it, unfortunately.

Sydney as a major fleet base was really only useful to Australia and New Zealand.   A mistake too often made by both Pacific Dominions is that they believed the British Empire existed for their benefit, when in reality it existed purely for the benefit of London.   Canada recognised this early on and pushed for a much more independent stance within the Empire than either of the Pacific Dominions and pressured the UK into passing the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which ensured that the UK could no longer over-ride it's Parliament.   Australia and New Zealand however were much slower and didn't ratify it until 1942 and 1947 respectively.   Australia in particular favoured a more "federal" style of Empire but London never did but kept them dangling on a line, allowing them to be ever hopeful that they might be able to have some input into Imperial Defence and Foreign Policies.

Darwin was developed as a "secondary fleet base" and that was the prime reason why the Japanese attacked on 19 February 1942.  It held several hundred thousand gallons of fuel oil and several thousands of rounds of large and medium calibre naval ammunition.   It was intended to provide alternative anchorage and victualling for fleet units and task forces operating in the Indonesian archipelago.



Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2014, 10:14:29 PM »
Jellicoe's recommendation was Sydney or Perth should be the main base for personnel and logistics reasons as well as the obvious that both already had some infrastructure and were much easier to defend.  Remember it was Jellicoe who predicted Japan would seize SEA with little difficulty before Britain would be able to adequately reinforce the region, I do not believe Singapore figured in his thinking as anything more than a forward base.  Remember he also recommended Australia basically double the size of the RAN, including procuring aircraft carriers and start building combat aircraft locally.

  It was Australia's unwillingness to invest in their own defence that led to their rejection of the plan, we were to busy lying to ourselves to be misled by anyone else.  We actually lobbied the British to move away from Jellicoe's recommendations rather than them lying to us, we created our own fiction that Britain would defend us and that in the event of a future conflict we would simply raise a citizen army and, in the great ANZAC tradition, defeat all comers.

There is no need to blame England when we chose to ignore well thought out strategic advice and do things on the cheap.  Just read up on how Billy Hughes spent the years between the wars falling to get either side of politics to pay more attention to defence, or on the type of military Chauvel was pushing for.  They were ignored and we went backwards.  The AIF in France was one of the most highly motorised forces in the world, in the Middle East they used as many vehicles, armoured cars, tanks and aircraft as they could get their hands on; all of this was left behind when they came home and the government pretty much forced them to drop just about all of their new capabilities and even some they had had pre-war.

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2014, 11:33:31 AM »
Not wishing to get into a long argument about who blamed whom and who lied to whom, suffice to say there was a good deal of duplicity and self-delusion on both sides.  Both Canberra and London (and to a lesser extent Wellington) said things to each other that they wanted to believe, rather than necessarily talked about the reality of what they wanted or needed.

Australia was never going to double it's fleet and add aircraft carriers after the economic downturn after the end of the Great War.  It simply didn't have the money.   Jellicoe's plan was always unrealistic.  It was going to founder on the problems of finance.  Australia was heavily dependent on and still remains so, foreign sources of investment.  When the Great Depression hit, things only became much worse.  We saw government(s) in Oz seriously talking about defaulting on their loans from the UK, to the point that one Premier was dismissed (Red Ted Theodore of NSW) and the Federal Government was told in no uncertain terms that would be it's fate if it tried the same trick.

Britain, as the main investor in defence for the Empire in the region was going to put it's money where it was going to do it's interests the most good and that was in their view, Singapore.  It was forward of India, on a major choke point and, in their opinion, sufficiently central to make it more economic than remote Perth or even more remoter Sydney.

As it was, Australia has long been an inward looking nation.  Despite being heavily dependent on the sea for trade, our society has long looked to the vast plains and the mysterious inland for it's inspiration.  We see ourselves as being "bushmen" and "horsemen", not sailors.   We've had entire literary schools which have focuses our society's eyes firmly away from the sea (and I know Greg doesn't like dragging such concepts into discussing military matters but that is the truth of the what the Jindyworobak Movement was)  We've never had, until the last 10 years a real Maritime Strategy.  Because of how it was created and what it was structured to be, the RAN has always seen itself first, a squadron of the Royal Navy and then the US Navy.  It even had British RN officers as it's commanders for the first approximately forty years of it's existence.

However, that is real life and this is whiffdom.   If you want your scenario to be realistic, i'd suggest that you must, as always postulate some means by which Australia could afford it and find the manpower to make it possible.   Jellicoe could give advice - advice is cheap, funding it is hard.

I'd suggest another Australian Gold Rush.   Lassiter's reef is found and it proves to be as big as Harold Lasseter claimed.   With the sudden onset of massive riches, the Australian Government, mindful that it needs now to protect this new found wealth (rather as the colonies had been during the Russian war scares of the 1850-60s, which prompted the building of so many fortifications to protect the gold mined at Ballarat and Bendigo), uses the money to increase the size of the fleet.  The Gold Rush prompts, along with the post-war depression in Europe, a massive increase in immigration, which provides the increased manpower required to build the industries and of course, man the ships.

Here though, is a question.  How would a considerably larger and better equipped RAN have affected WWII at sea, particularly against the Japanese?  Would the Japanese have been as willing to attack, when faced by not only the US Navy but a larger RAN as well?    How would the RN have seen the enlarged RAN?  Would it have used it as it used the RAN in real life - as reinforcements for their own fleet?   Would have meant that the RAN would have been scattered to the four winds on 8 December 1941?   Might that not have saved it from any IJN surprise attack?

Offline kim margosein

  • Newly Joined - Welcome me!
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2015, 11:45:54 AM »
Okay, let's assume Australia gets the money for a real fleet.  Give it say, three carriers.  Two fast carriers built on cruiser hulls, matching the five cruisers.  (Five sound good?)  The third carrier would be something built on an available merchant hull, as a training/backup carrier.   Give them appropriate destroyers, escorts, etc.   Two or three long range subs, some coastal subs.  Two good naval bases, and after Taranto the bases have as much AA and and fighter aircraft as the RAN can beg, borrow, or steal.   

In this scenario, given Australia's alleged inward-looking nationalism. wealth, and industrial and military power, you now have an Australia that can say "no" or at least "what's in it for me" when Britain comes calling in 1939.  How does this relate to Japan?  Any number of ways.  In a Pearl Harbor type scenario, Japanese assets would have to be siphoned off to either attack the Australian naval forces, or at least to check them.  Maybe, just maybe, Australia would have less interest in involvement in an Axis vs British Empire war. 

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2015, 02:47:34 AM »
If Australia was at that point neutral Japan my have let sleeping dogs lye.  Then again I believe, at the time Japanese were very racist and dismissive towards Australians so they may have disregarded Australia as a threat at all.