Author Topic: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service  (Read 1961 times)

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Anyone who has a read of my comments has probably noticed a common (tedious) theme along the lines of "I wonder what that would look like in Australian service in that theatre, during that period etc etc". 

Well I think I have come up with a way to do it, a common adaptable back story that justifies almost anything I want to do.

Japan catches and damages some of the USN carriers during the attack on Pearl Harbor and goes on to win the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway.  This dramatically reduces US combat power in the Pacific while leaving Japans mostly intact.  While not changing the outcome of the war it does take the US longer to wrest control of the Pacific off the IJN and more importantly gives Japan time to take New Guinea (with the successful invasion of Port Moresby negating the need for the overland attack) and subsequently invade Australia (North Queensland) in late 1942.

Long story short, the Brisbane line worked, Australian forces were able to hold in particular with the support of the armoured divisions intended for service in North Africa.  At the same time the Light Horse, renamed and re-equipped by this time as Motor Regiments and Brigades, were able to harass the enemies rear areas.  Miraculously Darwin and Broome held as well with line of communication, not only maintained but improved.  Japans invasion of Australia drained resources from the Pacific Island and Burma campaigns freeing up US and Commonwealth forces to aid Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in particular went above and beyond in their mobilisation to support Australia.

The biggest issue was airpower, or more to the point lack of combat aircraft.  This was rectified from early 1943 but it had been a close run thing with many civilian casualties resulting from air attack and the RAAFs almost complete inability to defend local skies.  While the delivery of Spitfires enabled the RAAF to defend population and more importantly industrial areas it was the arrival of veterans of the Desert Air Force, flying P-40s and then F-4U Corsairs that turned the tide of the air / land battle.

The fight back was long, slow and bloody with the last Japanese forces on Australian soil being overrun in late 1944.  As a matter of pride Australia led the invasion and retaking of New Guinea before insisting on involvement in the island hoping campaign and the inevitable attack on the Japanese Home Islands.  Both Implacable Class carriers were commissioned into the RAN and Australia withdrew RAAF personnel from Europe to join the attacks on Japan with the crews switching from Lancasters to B-29s and RAF to USAAF operational command.

The fall out from the invasion of Australia was extensive, it saw the end of Robert Menzies political career as he was blamed, rightly or wrongly, for leaving Australia undefended two years into a world war.  In true Australian tradition there were a series of Royal Commissions into how the invasion had been allowed to occur and how Australia had been so unprepared.  Having suffered an actual invasion as opposed to the fear of one meant that real questions were asked and real answers were sought.  Jellicoes recommendations were examined as were those of Monash and Chauvel all from the post WWI period, most tellingly (and recently) those made by Richard Williams were assessed as well.  The findings, unsurprisingly, were that had the government(s) of the day listened to these respected leaders and made an attempt to adopt their recommendations, or at least to compromise on them and for an expansion base then Australia would have been prepared for the invasion, forecast decades earlier and would likely have repelled it.

How to respond to the findings and how to address the issue of national defence when key allies are other wise occupied caused much discussion and argument.  The States that had been left outside of the Brisbane line were furious and insisted on their own means of defence, the public in general were horrified that the UK had been so slow to release the 2nd AIF to return to Australia and had been even more reluctant to release embedded RAN and RAAF units and personnel.

The result was a series of major changes to the Australian military.  First and foremost a regular army was formed serving along side the RAAF and RAN which together formed the Australian Defence Force (ADF).  The ranks of the ADF were filled by a mix of regulars, conscripts and reservists and the force was legislated for use within Australasian and South East Asia only for Australian defence only. 

The next level was a State based National Guard, formed from the old Militia and reporting to each of the State Governors and through them to the Governor General, not the Federal Government.  Each State had a balanced brigade to division sized part time force (depending on the population of the state), including Cavalry Infantry and Artillery as well as an Air national Guard Wing for air defence and civil defence.

The final Element was the Australian Expeditionary Force (AEF) the spiritual successor to the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Force(s) (AIF).  This was made up of a number of Regiments of variable size (depending on strategic need), RAAF combat Groups and RAN Blue water squadrons, whose elements could be used to form combined arms task forces for international deployment in support of the UN or Allies.

Very messy and very stove piped but it lets me basically do almost anything as Australian Military ;D

Offline Cliffy B

  • Ship Whiffer Extraordinaire...master of Beyond Visual Range Modelling
  • Its ZOTT!!!
    • My Artwork
Re: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2013, 01:30:28 AM »
Me likey!!!  I can help you with postwar RAN ship designs if you'd like  :)
"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

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: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2013, 02:12:57 AM »
The only issue you might have is that of population.  To be able to support greater force structures (even via National Service type schemes), one needs a larger population.  Moreover, to allow for the development of the economy to support the greater spending such force structures cost, whilst still maintaining the way of life we have enjoyed, one also needs the larger population.  This is doubly importantly in a large country such as Australia where a lot of resource wealth is not easily accessed and where there is not already a large infrastructure base in place.  This is one of the reasons why in my Greater Australia story, I first explained the population issue/solution.  By way of comparison; in the real world in 1945, Australia's population was approx. 7 million and by 1960 had only risen to just over 10 million whereas in my story, I had the Australian pop in 1960 at double that (closer to the present day Australian pop).

True, an incursion on Australian mainland soil would have provided the political/cultural emphasis to focus more on defence however the constraints of population/geography and the like will still be an issue.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 02:15:04 AM by GTX_Admin »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 04:18:36 AM »
Very true.
need immigration and baby boom.
This force would have been larger but not that much larger and very reliant on conscription and reserve forces with a lot of cadres

Offline raafif

  • Is formally accused of doing nasty things to DC-3s...and officially our first whiffing zombie
  • Whiffing Insane
Re: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2013, 04:26:49 AM »
how about going back to 1770 & have an Alt history from there ?  Still British but have many more immigrants from China, Aghanistan, USA etc for the gold rushes ... as they become some of the richest, they aren't discriminated against & stay - that provides our larger population earlier ......

Offline Old Wombat

  • "We'll see when I've finished whether I'm showing off or simply embarrassing myself."
  • "Define 'interesting'?"
Re: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2013, 02:07:25 AM »
Less selective (White Australia) immigration policies post-WW's 1 & 2 may well have worked to increase the population significantly enough to be able to cope with these larger military commitments. Although how you change Australia's racism of the period I don't know.

Another boost would be the adoption of the "value adding" industrial base of the country by implementing some of the recommendations of the above mentioned reports & by removing the blinkered "primary producer" mentality of Australian government & business leaders. This would add a need for more skilled & unskilled migrants to fill the factories & support industries. Although, for the purposes of international exports being profitable, the unions may have to take a bit of a hit.

:)

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 Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2013, 04:58:25 AM »
Having Ghurkhas, East Africans and Indians coming to Australia and fighting to save our cities would help. Having Australian Aboriginals in large numbers in uniform being seen fighting would also have an effect. Probably would never change the views of the malingers, pogs and blue rince  brigade but when you have enough grateful veterans and civilian survivors that will drown out the racists.
 

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2013, 10:33:45 PM »
Now to the nuts and bolts of this wiff.  Australian Air National Guard flying CF100s, F-106 and EE Lightning.  AEF has the RAR but each Btn is an Independent Armoured Battle Group with direct fire support (MBT) , AT (S Tank), rec , SPAA , SP mortar Platoons.  Australian Light infantry (ALI), Australian Parachute Regiment (APR), Royal Australian Marines (RAM) ;).

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2013, 11:34:20 PM »
Now to the nuts and bolts of this wiff.  Australian Air National Guard flying CF100s, F-106 and EE Lightning.  AEF has the RAR but each Btn is an Independent Armoured Battle Group with direct fire support (MBT) , AT (S Tank), rec , SPAA , SP mortar Platoons.  Australian Light infantry (ALI), Australian Parachute Regiment (APR), Royal Australian Marines (RAM) ;).

Yikes!  You do realise that you're going to run up against the Corps mafia if you attempt that?  It's taken them a hundred years to address the internecine squabbling amongst the Corps and they still haven't really fixed it. 

Then you have the problem of addressing the principle of dilution on the battlefield.  In particular, Armour and Artillery won't play.  Both know from experience that you must concentrate your armour and artillery for maximum effect.   Diluting and "penny-packetism" as it is known is anathema to both.  You have Armoured and Artillery Regiments for a reason.

"Infantry fights dispersed, Armour and Artillery do not" is an old maxim which dates back to before WWI.

Anyway, the standard tactical unit in most mechanised armies is the Brigade, not the Battalion.  What you should perhaps be looking at is making Brigades all arms.   If you're getting as much gear into Australian service, then obviously you must be getting a lot more manpower to operate it.  Instead of one under-strength division as we've had for nearly all our post-war history, look at several full strength ones.  That would give you more units to play with and more scope for making them all-arms.  I'd look at trying to emulate the German model - downplay the importance of Corps and Battalion, increase the importance of Brigade or even Divisional allegiance.  Keep each Brigade as it is - three Battalions, a battery of field artillery and associated support troops (including a tank destroyer unit as well).  Make the Battalions mechanised, rather than "leg" infantry.  Keep Armour separate and attach as necessary, rather than make them part of the Brigade permanently.  Armour should be a Divisional asset, that allows the Divisional commander to concentrate his main striking force in one unit for use at the Schwerpunkt, as the Germans called it - the heavy point - the point of decision in the battle when required.

Thing is, that wasn't appreciated until after WWII and even then it took other armies decades to bring that sort of reform into their thinking.   Before and during most of WWII, for Commonwealth Armies, Artillery was the main dominate force on the battlefield.  It enabled infantry to take and retain their objectives, dominated the enemy, interdicted their main supply routes and prevented them from attacking or counter-attacking.   Albert Pellazo's fantastic book on the British Army's use of Chemical Warfare in WWI has a beautiful passage which explains the British Army's tactical doctrine which lasted right up to the middle of WWII.  If you want, I'll dig it out for you?

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2013, 06:25:33 AM »
Yes please that would be an interesting read.  While I am playing here with the sole purpose of developing a back story to get gear I like, but was never really a suitable option into Australian service, I do have a great interest in what was really planned vs. what happened.

What I am doing here isn't the result of a well thought out holistic doctrine aimed to gain the best result for the defence of Australia for the money available, rather it is a reactionary poorly thought out political response to a frightened populous who perceive they are a long way from help and need to be protected from the invading hordes.  This is where the self contained Infantry based Mech / Armoured Battle group comes from, individual battalions defending sectors, replacing their towed and motorised assets with Armoured alternatives.  In fact thinking of it, rather than armoured infantry with the vehicles integrated as section level, it could be conventional infantry supported by an integral APC sqn.  The idea is that instead of a top down reorganisation what has happened is a bottom up re-equipment driven by the refusal to start from scratch or disband any existing capability.

It is a very inefficient way to do things, but it is something you see in situations being driven by reactionary elements.  The parliamentarian who was a platoon then company commander on the Brisbane line who saw his men and the civilians they were trying to protect die because he didn't have tanks.  His colleague who saw his AT platoon overrun because they lacked mobility and who knew of mortar platoons that suffered the same fate.  Together they push the line that each Rifle Battalion should have organic tank destroyers, SP mortars and field guns and armoured scouts without making the leap to making the entire btn mobile. 

At the same time you have other elements who remember the legend of the Light Horse in the Middle East in WWI and saw the utility motor brigades in the defence of Australia.  The units evolve into Cavalry Divisions consisting of Armoured Cavalry Regiments, Mounted Brigades (integrated mounted infantry, armour, engineers and artillery) and later aviation elements.

A lot of this would be reserve and national guard, I am not sure what I will put where but most personnel will be reserve, and most equipment in storage, with personnel being rotated through centralised depots for training.

None of this is what I believe should have happened but rather what could have been for the simple reason it lets me come up with some weird and wonderful wiffs.

Eventually I want to develop a clearly defined AEF, ADF and National Guard with regular and reserve elements, conscription and mobilisation plans.  General thoughts are the National Guard would be placed on military districts with their training and equipment tailored to specific geographies.  The ADF would have a more holistic structure based more on the concept of an independent defence of Australia and its region. 

The AEF would be a flexible organisation providing Australian contributions to alliance and coalition operations and deployments, its deployed elements would be equipped and tailored to the deployment at hand. It would be manned by volunteers from the National Guard and ADF and would adapt and slot into the existing structures of our allies and partners.  They would for instance use British equipment for their deployment to Korea and American when they fight in Vietnam.  They would bring much of this gear back to Australia where it could end up in store or NG or ADF service replacing older gear.

Lots of work to go but it gives me flexibility to build my stash in a common but flexible wiff.

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: How to justify getting as much gear as possible into Australian service
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2013, 11:14:14 PM »
As promised the British "ethos" of war, 1918 and beyond.  See attached document.