Author Topic: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.  (Read 13838 times)

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2015, 03:55:12 AM »
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.

One may also say that Australia was equally racist and dismissive towards Asia as a whole... ;)

That aside, it is hard to say what they would have done since, after all, they took on the USA.  Maybe they would have 'done the maths'  and decided that taking on two capable naval powers (USA and Australia) might have been too much.  Alternatively, maybe they would have tried to 'do a Pearl Harbour' on Australia at the same time and tried to take out our major fleet base (and associated platforms) on day 1.  There's an interesting story basis for you as well as maybe some interesting profiles/models... ;)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

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 #26 on: January 14, 2015, 10:15:33 PM »
If the major fleet base was Sydney it would be a harder target, geographically, than Pearl Harbour.  The flipside is that in the real world Australia didn't even start full mobilization until late 1941 even though we had been at war for two years already and had been fully aware that war was almost inevitable since the late, possibly even mid, 1930s.  Even when the Japanese were on our door step we still had not fully mobilised and the were politicians who were pushing against full mobilisation of the economy and workforce, pushing the line that we should not be producing defence material locally as it diverted resources from feeding and clothing the Empire and may effect the profitability of some local businesses.

Sometimes I think the biggest Australian whiff would be that our political and business leadership actually showed some foresight or more to the point paid the same sort of attention to world events as their peers.  Cultural cringe may have been part of the problem but where Canada made deliberate efforts to industrialise in a major fashion pre war Australia dawdled and delayed critical projects even after the war started.  There were political, business and military leaders who saw the threat and pushed for action but they were ignored, sometimes sidelined and dismissed, Menzies and Bruce were even exchanging cables in 1939 discussing how Churchill was a publicity seeking, power hungry war monger who had to be stopped at all cost to preserve peace.  Just following the plans that Menzies derailed or delayed would provide so many Australian WWII whiffs its not funny, the truly sad thing is when he got back in post war instead of having learned his lesson he went straight back to his old ways and cut defence just in time for Korea and then again in 1953 before panicking in 1960 and reversing some but not all of the cuts.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2015, 03:09:53 AM »
Dare I say that there is a strong dose of 2020 hindsight in the above comments...
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

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 #28 on: January 16, 2015, 12:34:43 AM »
Dare I say that there is a strong dose of 2020 hindsight in the above comments...

Not really, its more a case of being increasingly more amazed at how many ignored warnings and recommendations there were, how many delayed projects that were ready to go or already underway that ended up delivering much later or not at all due to political indecision.  Australia in the late 30s was like a procrastinating student who waits until the night before due date to start the assignment.

Offline kim margosein

  • Newly Joined - Welcome me!
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2015, 11:27:00 AM »
Dare I say that there is a strong dose of 2020 hindsight in the above comments...

Oh clearly.  That's the problem with most alt-hist scenarios.  The old mistakes are avoided, and no one makes any new ones. 

BTW, I am trying to work G3M Nells into the scenario.  The Japanese newspapers employed a handful of fast aircraft, I'm thinking an Australian newspaper syndicate buys three or four of the civil version.  It might get the Australians thinking of long range aviation earlier.  They'd decide that the Nells were flimsy by western standards, and maybe get interested in first generation B-17s?

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2015, 12:02:12 PM »
If the major fleet base was Sydney it would be a harder target, geographically, than Pearl Harbour.  The flipside is that in the real world Australia didn't even start full mobilization until late 1941 even though we had been at war for two years already and had been fully aware that war was almost inevitable since the late, possibly even mid, 1930s.  Even when the Japanese were on our door step we still had not fully mobilised and the were politicians who were pushing against full mobilisation of the economy and workforce, pushing the line that we should not be producing defence material locally as it diverted resources from feeding and clothing the Empire and may effect the profitability of some local businesses.

Sometimes I think the biggest Australian whiff would be that our political and business leadership actually showed some foresight or more to the point paid the same sort of attention to world events as their peers.  Cultural cringe may have been part of the problem but where Canada made deliberate efforts to industrialise in a major fashion pre war Australia dawdled and delayed critical projects even after the war started.  There were political, business and military leaders who saw the threat and pushed for action but they were ignored, sometimes sidelined and dismissed, Menzies and Bruce were even exchanging cables in 1939 discussing how Churchill was a publicity seeking, power hungry war monger who had to be stopped at all cost to preserve peace.  Just following the plans that Menzies derailed or delayed would provide so many Australian WWII whiffs its not funny, the truly sad thing is when he got back in post war instead of having learned his lesson he went straight back to his old ways and cut defence just in time for Korea and then again in 1953 before panicking in 1960 and reversing some but not all of the cuts.

Just seen this.  I'd recommend you read A.T.Ross, "Armed and ready: Industrial development and Defence of Australia, 1900-1945," it may enlighten you somewhat as to the fallacies you hold.

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 #31 on: January 18, 2015, 09:46:02 PM »
Really?  So Jellicoe's recommendations weren't disowned, Chauvell wasn't ignored when he attempted to retain the level of motorisation achieved by the AIF for the AMF, Williams and others weren't ignored when they lobbied for a substantial increase in the size of the RAAF to provide for local defence, the local manufacture of the Beaufort wasn't delayed for almost two years by political indecision, Stanley Bruce never complained to Menzies about Churchill, Blamey's (and others) requests for tanks were met, the RAN had all the ships they needed and local industry was able to deliver the eight planned Tribal class destroyers as well as a proposed battleship (apparently our PM back then thought it would be quite easy)?  Billy Hughes and others pushed for increases to defence spending for years and the parliamentary opposition demanded that Australia fully mobilise but nothing happened until a change of government in 1941 even though there was a very real and anticipated threat from Japan, let alone the fact Mother England was fighting for their very survival, I use that term for the UK as that is how many Australians felt.

Yes there are lots of books saying what a good job we did, I have read quite a few of them.  Many of them also cover exactly what I have been discussing, the wasted opportunities, the delayed projects, ignored warnings, disregarded strategic assessments, Australian forces having to make do with equipment they have begged, borrowed, or even captured instead of having what they needed when they could have had it. Its all there, I am simply highlighting the part most people miss, I am impressed and proud of what has been achieved, then and now especially as I have worked in defence for many years.  I suppose that is part of my point of view, I have seen how we do things now, seen how the blindingly obvious has been ignored with entirely predictable results and apply that prism to historical accounts.  Long story short, lawyers (most politicians) make rubbish managers.

I used to believe most of the nationalistic bravado of punching above our weight, achieving so much against adversity etc. the facts are while Australia did some things very well they were nowhere near as exceptional  (rare) as we like to make out, just look at what some other nations achieved over the same period.  Perhaps more telling is what happened to many of the capabilities, including industrial, post war when necessity was replaced with complacency and a desire by many for a return to the good old days, compare us to Sweden for instance, or how about nations almost completely destroyed by war and where they are now?

Its not hindsight or fallacy just a different point of view based on a lot of reading, discussion and a different, perhaps more widely based perspective than many others.  Some of you have served, some have worked in industry, some are well read armatures, we all however share a hobby and deep interest otherwise we wouldn't be here discussing these topics at all, none of this makes anyone right or wrong where their researched opinions are concerned.  It is however an issue when discussions and opinions morph into lectures leaning a little too much on the condescending and personal side of things with it no longer being about what did happen, what was planned, timings, technical realities, or the difference a change or two could have made.

Here's one that would really turn things on its head, Robert Menzies, Stanley Bruce and many senior ministers are killed in a plane, train, or boating accident pre war and Billy Hughes forms a national unity coalition in light of the gathering war clouds.  Instead of being ignored Hughes is calling the shots, the extra money is spent on defence, mobilisation (military and industrial) ramps up pre war and the political delays in necessary decisions didn't happen.  Play that whiff out and you will begin to see where I am coming from.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 09:49:29 PM by Volkodav »

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #32 on: January 19, 2015, 08:00:28 AM »
The point I was attempting to make was that you claim that Australia's business leaders showed no foresight in defence preparedness.   Defence Preparedness is about a great deal more than just how many ships the navy has or whether the air forces has the latest fighter or the army has Model-T trucks.  It's about the industrial development to back our defence forces' needs.  The chemical works to make the chemicals needed to make the ammunition.  The smelting works to make the alloys needed to make the cartridge cases into which you put the powders to they can be fired from the guns.  The ammunition works which makes the shells and so on and so on.   If you read A.T.Ross's work, you'll find that Australia was a lot better off in 1941 that most Australians gave it credit for.   We were largely self-sufficient in the manufacture of small arms, artillery, light armoured vehicles, light vehicles and small ships.  We were making our own aero-engines and aircraft.   They might not of been of the most advanced or highest performance but we had those capabilities available to us.

Your problem is that you don't look at the economics of the situation - which I've already pointed out so I won't bother revisiting that again.   Jellicoe's plans were too ambitious.  Australia simply could not afford them.   There was an element of complacency, I will give you but that was self-induced because Australians relied too much on the Imperial ideal, rather than looking at the reality of the severely reduced means of Britain after WWI.  Britain also played on that complacency, telling Australia and New Zealand lies which Australia and New Zealand wanted to believe.    We weren't questioning enough and when we were, invariably the questions were answered with bland reassurances.  Having no independent means to verify them (or truth be told interest in disbelieving them) we accepted them.

As much as you want to rail at what happened, you can't change them, Volkadov.    As I keep saying, break free of the shackles of the historical record and set your imagination free.  Come up with some believable means of financing it.  Make Australians even more alarmist and suspicious than they were and built the scenario that you want.   The key is the problem of finance.   Lassiter's lost reef?  An unobtanium find?   Splitting the beer atom?   All possibilities and starting points.   ;)

Offline jcf

  • Global Moderator
  • Turn that Gila-copter down!
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2015, 08:32:21 AM »
Split the beer atom mate and ye'd be able to buy the world.  ;D
“Conspiracy theory’s got to be simple.
Sense doesn’t come into it. People are
more scared of how complicated shit
actually is than they ever are about
whatever’s supposed to be behind the
conspiracy.”
-The Peripheral, William Gibson 2014

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2015, 10:43:40 AM »
Split the beer atom mate and ye'd be able to buy the world.  ;D

Egggazzzzctktly!  Young Albert down in Tasmania had the right idea, I reckon.    ;D

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 #35 on: January 19, 2015, 12:00:00 PM »
The point I was attempting to make was that you claim that Australia's business leaders showed no foresight in defence preparedness.   Defence Preparedness is about a great deal more than just how many ships the navy has or whether the air forces has the latest fighter or the army has Model-T trucks.  It's about the industrial development to back our defence forces' needs.  The chemical works to make the chemicals needed to make the ammunition.  The smelting works to make the alloys needed to make the cartridge cases into which you put the powders to they can be fired from the guns.  The ammunition works which makes the shells and so on and so on.   If you read A.T.Ross's work, you'll find that Australia was a lot better off in 1941 that most Australians gave it credit for.   We were largely self-sufficient in the manufacture of small arms, artillery, light armoured vehicles, light vehicles and small ships.  We were making our own aero-engines and aircraft.   They might not of been of the most advanced or highest performance but we had those capabilities available to us.

Your problem is that you don't look at the economics of the situation - which I've already pointed out so I won't bother revisiting that again.   Jellicoe's plans were too ambitious.  Australia simply could not afford them.   There was an element of complacency, I will give you but that was self-induced because Australians relied too much on the Imperial ideal, rather than looking at the reality of the severely reduced means of Britain after WWI.  Britain also played on that complacency, telling Australia and New Zealand lies which Australia and New Zealand wanted to believe.    We weren't questioning enough and when we were, invariably the questions were answered with bland reassurances.  Having no independent means to verify them (or truth be told interest in disbelieving them) we accepted them.

As much as you want to rail at what happened, you can't change them, Volkadov.    As I keep saying, break free of the shackles of the historical record and set your imagination free.  Come up with some believable means of financing it.  Make Australians even more alarmist and suspicious than they were and built the scenario that you want.   The key is the problem of finance.   Lassiter's lost reef?  An unobtanium find?   Splitting the beer atom?   All possibilities and starting points.   ;)

No I specifically stated that despite warnings, lobbying and efforts by many political, military and business leaders, successive Australian governments pretended there was no need to spend more on defence and actually delayed many well thought out and planned projects.  I am saying the problem was political and to be honest financial industry, not manufacturing.

I am very well aware that in terms of engineering, manufacturing and innovation Australia was pushing as hard as it could without the necessary political leadership..  Its all very well to have developed the capability to produce something but if the actual sign off and orders don't eventuate the gear is not going to be manufactured. 

Jellicoe's plan was scuttled by the Washington treaty, followed by the great depression, his warnings of Japanese expansion through conquest and recommendations as to what would be needed to oppose this were spot on.  While the acquisition of capital ships became impossible the establishment of a major fleet base in either Sydney or Perth would have been cheaper and more effective than Singapore.  His recommendations on Australia manufacturing combat aircraft locally was sensible and achievable but took far to long to happen, a government issue rather than an industry one.

  As to ship building, Codoc bid a local design developed from the RNs Hawkins class for the RAN treaty cruiser contract but lost, but even then there was an option to build the two County class cruisers locally and build on the capability already established but the government decided to buy the ships from the UK instead of developing a strategically important industry.  The order of Albatross just was not the same as what would have been gained from building a pair of modern cruisers, which would logically have been followed by building replacements for the Town class light cruisers locally instead of buying the Modified Leanders from the UK.  Apply the capabilities and skills acquired from building five cruisers locally to Australia's wartime ship building and armoured vehicle programs and you would see many more larger warships constructed locally as well as a greatly accelerated tank program, quite probably providing sufficient vehicles for local requirements before Japan entered the war.

What I have been saying all along is all of the pieces, bar political will, were there, industry was keen, the military was keen, some politicians saw the need but far too many were too insular and conservative in their outlook.  At any point from Jellicoes report we could have begun manufacturing combat aircraft locally and we were already building warships.  The majority of senior Army officers were well versed in the importance of motorisation and tanks and airpower while our Battlecruiser and cruisers had been fitted with flying off platforms, the problem was political.

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #36 on: January 19, 2015, 01:53:17 PM »
Keenness doesn't replace pounds, shillings and pence.   My rule when writing a scenario is if I have a conclusion I want to get to, then I work backwards and explain how it possibly could have.  Building up the supporting blocks, the events, people and economics.  You want Jellico's plan to have come to fruition then you need the means to do it.

1. Find the means to make it happen.
2. Find the drivers to make it happen.
3. Find the circumstances that make it happen.

The best scenarios are the ones I've found are the ones which build on an event and work real life events into them.   The outcomes might be different but invariably the drivers which made them happen are still there.

You believe one of the major things preventing it was lack of political will.   So, you need to find a political leader who will make it happen.   Which PM will lose an election and be replaced by....?

It's easy to claim it was a "lack of political will", but it may also be that people just didn't believe what was being proposed was either needed or affordable, you realise?    Politicians come in for a lot of stick - some of it deserved - but all too often people won't understand or accept the competing priorities and the size of the kitty that they have to juggle with at the time, which constrains their decision making.

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 #37 on: January 19, 2015, 03:56:22 PM »
I already suggested Billy Hughes becomes PM again in the late thirties and through the simple expedient of signing off on ready to go projects like the Beaufort and beginning full mobilisation two years earlier when we actually entered the war sees us far better prepared than we were in 1942.

The cost of building the two County class cruisers locally was seen to be prohibitive so they were ordered from the UK and Albatross was ordered locally to prevent the closure of Codoc at greater expense than the premium to build the cruisers locally.  Easy solution, do without Albatross, which common sense then and hindsight now tells us was pretty much a waste of resources, and build the cruisers locally, that way the replacements for the WWI town class cruisers could have been built locally as well from an established and experienced local yard.  Same money as spent in reality in the late 20s early 30s but with the advantage doing more to build and support local industry during difficult economic times as well as ensuring industry has more experience and infrastructure in place for the often predicted and by the mid 30s pretty much inevitable coming war.  No extra money, maybe less actually, but more people in jobs, more people trained and experienced, more people earning good money paying tax and also through spending, supporting other local industries.

Instead of importing aircraft have CAC licence build everything we need, Wapitis, Demons, Bulldogs, Seagulls etc.  CAC existed and the RAAF used these types so go for local manufacture.  Slightly more expensive but again more people employed in gainful work, developing skills, paying taxes and spending their money locally.  Maybe add Hawker to the local picture too and order Furies, Harts / Hinds, Demons from them as the war clouds gathers before switching to Hurricanes and Henleys.  Yes that would cost more but blind Freddy could see war was on the way so justified.  Same with the Beaufort, well actually the Blenheim, which is what the Australian government was looking at initially for the RAAF and possible licence manufacture, just progress the project as it reached each milestone instead of the constant political (as opposed to technical) delays.

A huge bottle neck for Australian industry in WWII was machine tools, brought about by a shortage of toolmakers among other things.  With the appropriate machine tools unskilled workers could be trained and used effectively for wartime production.  Political delays in kicking off projects resulted in machine tools not being ordered until after the onset of war when the UK was unable to provide them, had the original schedule been followed the tools would have been available and production could have been started between twelve and twenty four months earlier.  Had the Blenheim been selected instead of waiting for the Beaufort production could have been started even earlier and then switched to the Beaufort and finally the Beaufighter later. 

This is all simple stuff, nothing earth shattering and while the effect on Australia's preparedness for war would have been considerable, not one thing I have suggested is unaffordable, let alone unrealistic.  As I have already stated the pieces were in place, the money was there, the only problem was the decision makers didn't! (i.e. didn't make decisions in a timely manner) everything I have suggested is the sort of stuff that people not in the know would have said "I wish we did that", those in the know said "I told you so", and those who ignored advice and warnings said "nothing to see here move along, there wasn't the money, no one could have known, Australia isn't capable of doing stuff like that, it wasn't me it was him, there were circumstances beyond our control, there wasn't the need.....) and every other excuse incompetent, lazy, ignorant leaders and mangers make when their stuff ups come back to haunt them.  It still happens today, I have seen many examples myself and there are many many more that I haven't seen but do not doubt are out there.

The premise of this entire topic is that Jellicoe conducted a detailed review of the defences of the Dominions, outlined the perceived threats and options to mitigate those threats and the plan be adopted.  The entire report was not just ignored but the Australian government complained to the UK government about the report and demanded it be rejected, the government of the day was in active opposition to the most accurate and insightful assessment of the nations security of the age. The Washington treaty would have derailed the BC part and the great depression would have reduced money available but had the core threat assessment been retained and planning conducted accordingly we would never have been as unprepared as we were.

I honestly don't see the reason for, or point of your objections, I mean seriously I could suggest that the League of Rights gain control of Australia and we become a Fascist state spending 25% of GNP on the military, a time traveller goes back and briefs Menzies, or aliens land at Kirrabilli and give Australia ray guns to use.  FFS all I am trying to do is come up with a reasonable, believable alt history that uses as much of what really happened as possible that would let me tie some long delayed builds together with a common back story.  By developing the back story I can actually work out what is in service when and where, or sometime I have a particular platform I want in service somewhere at a specific time so I tweak the story to fit.  We are talking what if and you are telling me "you cant do that", "that wouldn't have happened" etc etc as if I am drafting an actual history paper!  please please please remember that this is a what if site and continued nit picking and criticism, knocking of my ideas and lecturing me on what I should read to better understand.....is just BS that completely misses to point. 

Nothing I have written is factually incorrect, you may disagree with my conclusions but it doesn't make me wrong, it just means we have different opinions on pretty much the same reading.  Just because you would have done the alt differently doesn't mean I need to discard what I am thinking and adopt your ideas, it is my alt after all.  As I have stated previously my POV is from the perspective of working in engineering, particularly product development, testing and continuous improvement for over two decades.  I know what key mile stones are needed, I understand lead times, I understand the effect of government and management delays. 

I have seen first hand the effect of an incompetent or indecisive manger,  the effect of changing government policy or priorities or perhaps worst of all a dissenting party gaining control or veto over a project they had been forced out of previously.  This is the sort of stuff I am seeing as I read the histories of projects and even entire industries and campaigns, the unnecessary, usually personality driven, road blocks, small things that cause unbelievable delays.  For example the first major delay to a big project I was on was the retirement of the owner of a key subcontractor before steel was even cut on the first ship that eventually resulted in the replacement of the contractor and an initial three to six months delay.  The follow on was the replacement contractor made major errors the original contractor would very likely not have made resulting in an additional twelve months or more delay, so lets say the owner decides to stay on for another twelve months to get the project up and running, that's fifteen to eighteen months of delays prevented.  That sort of stuff happening in 1938 or 39 was the difference between having capabilities available in early 1940 and not having them at all.

I have written a lot again, you probably wont read it all and may miss read some of it but that life.

Offline jcf

  • Global Moderator
  • Turn that Gila-copter down!
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #38 on: January 20, 2015, 02:42:55 AM »
Just an observation, but it seems to me part of the problem is using post-WWII notions/concepts of "defense" in
a post-WWI setting of 'war fatigue'. Building up armies/navies and air forces was not seen as being defensive.
“Conspiracy theory’s got to be simple.
Sense doesn’t come into it. People are
more scared of how complicated shit
actually is than they ever are about
whatever’s supposed to be behind the
conspiracy.”
-The Peripheral, William Gibson 2014

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 #39 on: January 20, 2015, 07:50:10 AM »
I read something quite succinct about the political thinking in Australia between the wars. Basically when the likes of Chauvel, Monash, Blamey and even WWI PM Billy Hughes were pushing for a standing, motorised army the majority of the political class pushed back on the basis that our citizen soldiers had done us proud and were all we needed.

 The politicians had completely misread the lessons of the war and held a "romantic" view of the Australian citizen soldier, many honestly believed that Australians were natural soldiers and all the government needed to do, in the event of conflict, was provide them with a uniform and a rifle for them to defeat all comers.  They had no concept of the logistics involved, or apparently the fact that Australia had had compulsory military training prior to WWI, that massive strides had been made in technology during the war meaning the AIF of 1918 was very different to the AIF of 1915. They had no comprehension of the many layers of support provided by Britain, including combat elements assigned to the Australian divisions, heavy artillery, aviation, tanks, armoured cars etc.

Offline Old Wombat

  • "We'll see when I've finished whether I'm showing off or simply embarrassing myself."
  • "Define 'interesting'?"
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2015, 02:44:58 PM »
I agree with giving Billy Hughes another stint or 2 as PM, possibly in the immediate/near post-WW1 period with any combination of Chauvel, Monash & Blamey as advisors, when we still had a bit of money (before the Great Depression), to lay the industrial foundations for the late 30's expansion.

Plus a realisation that, isolated as we were, we needed to be more than a primary producer if we were to thrive ... & a standard rail gauge across the nation as part of that defence/industrial initiative.
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #41 on: January 20, 2015, 10:16:21 PM »
We didn't have that much money before the depression.  We had an economic downturn just post-war as war-time contracts from overseas were either suspended, reduced or cancelled.  That lasted until about 1923 IIRC.  Then the Great Depression hit in 1929.  Only six years in which to achieve all, despite the competing problems of soldier resettlement, industrial development, etc.

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 #42 on: January 20, 2015, 11:19:30 PM »
I just realised I've been going about this back to front, I've been arguing the point of post WWI recommendations verses between the wars realities when I should have set the baseline at 1914 for the RAN in particular.

The reality is Australia was in the process of building a Fleet Unit, based around a battlecruiser when the war started.  Most units had been acquired with only a couple more modern cruisers and submarines needed to bring it up to strength.  The reason an independent blue water navy existed was the realisation, with the arrival of the USNs Great White Fleet, that the RN was often a long way away.  The US wasn't seen as a threat but Japan was another matter with their success over Russia confirming those fears, Britain's alliance with Japan did little to reassure Australia.

Flash forward to 1921 and the situation was far worse.  Britain no longer had a large enough fleet to meet their obligations at home and the Mediterranean as well as the Far East, Japans fleet was modern and well equipped, also due to Washington, was closer in size and capability to the US and UK than it had ever been before, their alliance with Britain had been dissolved and finally Jellicoe's report confirmed the threat and made recommendations that were unachievable.  Apart from being extremely expensive, the key measure, a second Fleet Unit was impossible to achieve as Australia had been forced to scuttle the already obsolescent HMAS Australia and was precluded from acquiring any capital ships in the future.  Ironically replacing Australia with a more modern ship would not have been that expensive as Jellicoe had also specifically recommended that the RN transfer suitable vessels to the RAN free of charge and pre-Washington with the G3 BCs and N3 BBs planned there would have been several suitable ships available, this would also have included cruisers and Australia did in fact receive submarines and destroyers. To cap it off Australia had lost a disproportionately large number of fit young men the economy needed, even before the double whammy of war debt and the Great Depression hit, so money was tight and was about to get much tighter.

So approaching from this new angle the way forward would be either no Washington treaty, or one that included a much higher tonnage limit  that would make it worth Britains while to transfer a pair of battlecruisers to Australia and hence establish a permanent RN fleet base in Sydney or Perth and forward bases at Darwin and Singapore.  Codock would have been expanded and kept busy supporting these new units.

Alternatively Washington goes ahead unchanged and Australia needs to find a solution to the Japanese threat that doesn't require battlecruisers.  Options, airpower, submarines, perhaps a very large force of ocean going torpedo boats and instead of heavy cruisers a larger number of small fast cruisers with 4.5-5.5" (preferably DP) guns.  WWII, all bets are off and Australia can offer to crew a BC or fast BB or two, a carrier and a couple of CLAAs plus destroyers for deployment to the Far East to deter Japan

For modelling purposes I am looking to Australianise Renown and possibly KGV, an outside possibility is a two quadruple 14" Nelson battlecruiser. Also a tribal class DLAA with five twin 4", two quad 2pdr Pom Poms, maybe  four single Bofors, or twin or single 20mms and torpedoes, a similar, or less extensive, mod to a J,K,N class DD, maybe just a boost to AA armament but retaining at least two twin 4.7".  Hawker Fury, Gloster Gladiator MkI, Curtis Tomahawk, F6F Hellcat, A-26, Matilda, Churchill and Chaffee.

  This is what this topic is about pure and simple and why I was getting a little shirtty about the rivet counting and being told what I could and could not do. If I  wanted I could mix and match planes, tanks, ships and scales into one giant model, paint it hot pink and have a back story basically suggesting that in WWI instead of poison gas, LSD and other hallucinogens were used, dramatically changing the evolution of military equipment going forward.  Then again I would probably be lectured that LSD would not have that effect and to be truly accurate I  should have used pastel pink and yellow instead of hot pink, as I would have realised had I read ........ and ........ as well as  ......

 Since my cancer, spinal fracture and surgery last year I have been laid up and unable to sit at my desk hence unable to do any physical modelling so have been playing with scenarios and back stories instead.  I am frustrated and annoyed to start with, to say I have a short fuse at the moment is an understatement.  I apologize for this but at the same time I think it is fair to make the point that some on here are far too quick to nit pick and lecture, turning discussions into debates and arguments.  I come here for fun, to enjoy the often superb work of others and also to discover new things, which is different to being lectured, told I am naive, that my ideas / opinions are wrong, false etc. generally being criticised and put down by people who didn't actually need to comment in the first place, pretty much the opposite of fun.

Offline Old Wombat

  • "We'll see when I've finished whether I'm showing off or simply embarrassing myself."
  • "Define 'interesting'?"
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #43 on: January 21, 2015, 01:09:44 PM »
OK, I could be wrong on this but I seem to recall that the RAN was considered to be part of the RN for the purposes of the Washington Treaty.

So, what if Australia managed to successfully argue the point that, although allied to Britain, we were, in fact, an independent nation &, therefore, had the right to build the same tonnage of warships as any other independent nation?

Admittedly Australia, as it happened, had insufficient population to man such a fleet but there was a post-war immigration boom.

So, what if that was larger & included more young entrepreneurs with industrial, rather than rural, backgrounds who built up Australia's industrial capacity & led to even more immigration? Etc., etc., leading to a more rapid recovery & growth of the economy, with Australian industries being successful in the Asia-Pacific marketplace?

This gives us a reason (excuse?) & the means to argue for & build a larger, more capable navy in the between-wars period.

What If, not what was.





Volkodav, hope I'm not stepping on your toes! Just trying to build up a viable scenario to assist with your naval build up.
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

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 #44 on: January 21, 2015, 10:16:12 PM »
No problem, I'm enjoying this, its the sort of discussion I was looking for.

From memory USSR, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina all had Dreadnoughts while Greece and maybe other nations had Pre-Dreadnoughts or Armoured Cruisers that were not covered by the Washington treaty.  The Netherlands was also trying to build Battle cruisers, with variously French, Italian and German help, in the late 30s as well, as you suggested a truly independent Australia could quite easily have done the same.

Maybe the UK could transfer unwanted modern ships, such as Courageous and Glorious, to Australia before Washington.  Where this becomes interesting is the US insisted on the Anglo Japanese alliance be dissolved, maybe they could also, on the basis they are against colonialism (apparently they wanted Britain, France and the Netherlands out of the Pacific and Asia so they would be the major player in a pan pacific trading block), have insisted on a structural separation of the Dominion militaries from those of Britain.  At this point everything the RN had transferred to the Dominions immediately fell outside of the treaty negotiations potentially leaving each of the Dominion navies with modern, capable but no longer state of the art warships that would otherwise have needed to be scrapped or converted.

I do like your thinking, this could give the RAN some very interesting options but only so long as the ships were transferred before the treaty started as I believe the treaty itself precluded the sale or gifting of existing or new build capital ships.  Australia could argue that its existing Fleet Unit had been formed to defend Australian interests from Japan and that the reductions to the RN meant that, more than ever, Australia would have to look to their own defence.  Manning would be an issue but most of the ships could be held in fully maintained reserve with one or two of each type retained in commission for training purposes (this actually happened with most of the post war gift fleet), maybe if the RN had been able to gift Renown and repulse as well they could have swung four, instead of two, Nelsons.  The Renowns would remain battle cruisers but the Couragous' could maybe be rebuilt as large cruisers with six twin or four triple 8" and lots of 4" DPs.

You have really got me thinking now, maybe we could have a new, or revitalised, political element in Australia that grows out of the national pride of achievements in WWI but tempered by the magnitude of the losses.  This movement could, having realised the extent of Britain's financial strife and their inability to adequately defend Australia from Japan, push for a much more independent defence posture.  These feeling existed before WWI, it is was led to the creation of the RAN in the first place, so it could be argued that these same forces, not only successfully pushed for the acceptance of Jellicoes recommendations, had already managed to get the government to agree to a second fleet unit during the war as well as the replacement of Australia with a more modern and capable ship.  The RN didn't know what to do with Fishers Follies and wasn't happed with the Renowns so maybe they could all have been transferred to the RAN in 1918. 

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 #45 on: April 16, 2015, 02:16:14 AM »
Basically Australia accepted Jellicoes recommendations and planned to form a second Fleet Unit, including the addition of aircraft carriers, as well as building combat aircraft locally, creating a major fleet base in Sydney Harbour, a forward base in Darwin and coastal defence squadrons with older light cruisers, sloops, mine sweepers and layers, gun and torpedo boats, plus a small force of costal submarines.  The Washington Treaty derailed these plans but after a review it was decided to continue with them but without the planned battle cruisers, instead the RAN would provide two crews to the RN to serve with the Battle Cruiser Squadron, with the intent that in the event of war with Japan two BCs would be provided to the RAN and in the event of a European war the RAN personnel would simply remain under RN operational control.

End result is at the start of WWII the RAN has two (mostly reserve Fleet Units) and three coastal defence squadrons, both made up predominately of transferred RN equipment as per Jellicoes recommendations.  There are also two light carriers and a small RAN controlled FAA.  During the war the RAN develops three new types of naval groups to supplement the coastal squadrons and fleet units, they are the escort group, the amphibious group and the fleet train. 

Post war all of these groups are retained but naturally their sizes and / or numbers are reduced.  The two Fleet Units evolve into Strike Groups, each centred on a single fleet carrier, a reduced number of cruisers and destroyers. The Escort Groups each consist of a light fleet carrier and a couple of destroyers and a couple of frigates but rather than being a fixed organisation there is instead an administrative carrier squadron that provides the carrier, a destroyer flotilla and two frigate flotillas that provide the escorts to form the group.  The Amphibious Group is actually an administrative Squadron of amphibious ships that are assigned as required and supported by a tailored escort group, the fleet train is similar in organisation.  The coastal defence squadrons evolve into geographic commands to which the vessels are assigned, headquartered in Darwin, Cairns and Derby while a fourth, Southern command is formed and based in Hobart, equipped with an ice breaker, and a small number of strengthened patrol ships.  Last but not least is the submarine service which includes small SSKs, long range DE patrol submarines, SSNs and eventually SSBNs (maybe...I am not a fan of nuclear weapons but I have built the model now so...)

This should allow me to put almost anything under the RAN ensign.

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #46 on: April 16, 2015, 08:57:03 AM »
There is no reason why a ballistic missile has to have a nuclear warhead, apart from the question of accuracy.  Add a terminal guidance package (IR or Radar) to the warhead and some thrusters to adjust it's trajectory in the terminal phase and you have a potentially devastating naval weapon.  Alternatively it would make an unstoppable (not always a good idea with nukes) strike weapon against any land target.  Mid-life update with GPS added to the guidance package and it would be very intimidating to our potential enemies.

This is what the PRC has done basically (with the addition of a nuclear option) with their DF-21 missile, which is what has the USN so worried about any potential conflict with that nation.

Considering the work done at Woomera for the British (and indirectly the Americans) in their RV geometry I think we'd be well placed in the 1960s to field our own ballistic missiles IF the Government could be convinced of their utility.  Gorton was very interested in Australia acquiring the bomb and a series of short-medium-continental range ballistic missiles would fit into his views on the matter quite well.  IF it could be done by the time he's deposed and McMahon becomes PM, it could be said that it was, "too advanced to cancel".

It would have a very interesting effect on world-wide naval developments IMHO.  The US would be very interested in it, and the Soviets would have had to counter it and produce their own version.  Loads of anti-ballistic missile missiles being fielded.  You could be onto a winner here...

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 #47 on: April 16, 2015, 01:49:41 PM »
Actually a Trident with guided conventional tipped warhead was a possibility I had considered for my build as an option for the RAN in the event of treaties reducing or scrapping Australia's nucs, i.e. full six boats are built but each carries conventional tipped missiles as well as nuc for rapid strike.  This sort of thing get dangerous as a conventional launch looks the same as a nuclear launch.

The thing that makes me laugh about the Chinese DF-21 "super weapon" is the Pershing II delivered very similar performance in the 80s and with US tech they could easily have developed a similar anti-shipping version, long ago, had their been the need.

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: Australia adopts Jellicoes Plan for the defence of Dominion.
« Reply #48 on: April 17, 2015, 01:13:18 PM »
Well, the fear was that Pershing II would get terminal guidance - fortunately it was never fielded as such.  The fUSSR leadership was always fearful of a decapitation strike, which is why they developed their "dead hand" retaliatory strike weapon.   The US couldn't grasp that fear because it was one they never really faced, with their decentralised control of their nuclear forces.

What we needed to do was develop a short, fat series of rockets, which could fit into a submarine hull without necessarily having a tall hull section.  We could have done so, in the mid-1960s, if we had, had the political will to do so.   In some ways, the political myopia of both the ADF and political leadership which when coupled with the RAAF's desire to BE the deterrent, didn't help at all.  Instead, we ended up being a testing ground for the UK's RVs and warheads.  >:(

Offline Cliffy B

  • Ship Whiffer Extraordinaire...master of Beyond Visual Range Modelling
  • Its ZOTT!!!
    • My Artwork
"Radials growl, inlines purr, jets blow!"  -Anonymous

"Helos don't fly.  They vibrate so violently that the ground rejects them."  -Tom Clancy

"If all else fails, call in an air strike."  -Anonymous