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Thread: Patton's Third Army in the Pacific instead of Europe

  1. #16
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Sir,I may be ignorant.But IIRC,the whole point of having Burma was to keep supplies to Chiang flowing easily.
    Yes,they flew supplies over the Himalaya,but it was about 100 tons per month,at a huge risk for pilots and planes.
    So how do you get 15 divisions and 30000 vehicles to China?And the 8000 tons of supplies daily?
    I look at the map now and I see no way.And that is a very superficial look I'am taking.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  2. #17
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    The road was used to keep the Chinese in the fight, to get supplies to where they are needed the most in the shortest time possible. The Chinese needed the road open.

    Not so here with Patton. All he had to do is to follow Younghusband's path with zero opposition all the way to northern China. He can spend his time leisurely build up his supplies before attacking Korea and Manchuria.

    BTW, 39,000 tons a month was being air lifted by the end of the war
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 19 Jan 16, at 20:28.
    Chimo

  3. #18
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    What? Armour was used effectively throughout the Pacific and Korea. The reason why they were not used more is because of the island hoping nature of the USN, not because they couldn't be effective.
    Sir I did actually say 'less need for armor, mechanized infantry and heavy artillery units as a % of the total force' not no armor or heavy artillery etc. Every text I have read on the Pacific and Burma campaign refers to the fact that the terrain in general did not favor the use of large armored formations. By the same token Japanese armor was not a significant factor in the war unlike the situation in Europe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    A 2 million man British Indian Army says otherwise.
    I was actually referring to the China proper not the Indian Subcontinent. Supplying the India/Burma frontier is a different kettle of fish to supplying the 3rd army with fuel, spare parts and munitions etc across the Himalayas and into northern China. I'm not saying it couldn't be done mind you just that it would be a an order of magnitude harder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    The scenario is now a march north through the Tibetan plateau, the traditional route of horse cavalry.
    As I noted above I agree it could be done but given the dominant position of the US Navy in the Pacific by late 1943 early 1944 wouldn't a straight thrust at Taiwan (which was in fact contemplated as an alternative to the Philippines) have been a simpler and easier solution than a land based advance from India into northern China. Once Taiwan had fallen to Patton and his 'new model' 3rd Army the entire Chinese Coast up to and including the Korean Peninsula would have been open to invasion - and Patton would have creamed the Japanese once he landed. (In fact once he had dealt with Taiwan and was on the mainland a proper combined arms campaign aka the European theater becomes a viable option, the Japanese would have had no answer.
    Last edited by Monash; 20 Jan 16, at 12:21.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Sir I did actually say 'less need for armor, mechanized infantry and heavy artillery units as a % of the total force' not no armor or heavy artillery etc. Every text I have read on the Pacific and Burma campaign refers to the fact that the terrain in general did not favor the use of large armored formations. By the same token Japanese armor was not a significant factor in the war unlike the situation in Europe.
    Well, you're wrong. The Pacific War did not favour armoured formations because they were small islands with zero room to maneuver before you're in the oceans. Also, most battles were brigade size. The terrain didn't favour large armoured formations because they were small islands, not because you can't get tanks into the fight.

    Not so here on the Chinese mainland. In fact, the Chinese Civil War saw extreme use of artillery (cheaper than tanks) but heavy use never the less. In fact, during the Korean War, the Chinese drive south against the Americans ran into trouble when the infantry outran their own artillery.

    Armour was used extensively in Vietnam though it was light armour, the M113 APC. The enemy didn't dictate the use of tanks. That was not the case during the 1979 Sino-Vietnam War. The Chinese favoured the use of light tanks as a means of destroying enemy pill boxes. It worked to a degree. Chinese tanks made short work of the immediate opposition, then they ran into trouble as they went deeper into Vietnam.

    Lastly but not least, the Soviet extensively use tanks against the Japanese both in 39 and 45, even in swamps the Japanese thought impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    I was actually referring to the China proper not the Indian Subcontinent. Supplying the India/Burma frontier is a different kettle of fish to supplying the 3rd army with fuel, spare parts and munitions etc across the Himalayas and into northern China. I'm not saying it couldn't be done mind you just that it would be a an order of magnitude harder.
    Actually, it's a lot easier. There is no opposition before 3rd Army is in position to drive east. We're no longer using Burma. We're using Tibet and the traditional Turkic/Mongol horse calvary invasion routes both into India and China. The Chinese needed Burma because they need to keep Southern China. That was the only supply route they had to keep the Chinese armies in the south fed and armed. Not so here. We're no longer worried about those Chinese Armies.

    The route through Tibet and Western China would be unopposed. Set up your supply depots along the way and blindside the Japanese who would not see you coming.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    As I noted above I agree it could be done but given the dominant position of the US Navy in the Pacific by late 1943 early 1944 wouldn't a straight thrust at Taiwan (which was in fact contemplated as an alternative to the Philippines) have been a simpler and easier solution than a land based advance from India into northern China. Once Taiwan had fallen to Patton and his 'new model' 3rd Army the entire Chinese Coast up to and including the Korean Peninsula would have been open to invasion - and Patton would have creamed the Japanese once he landed. (In fact once he had dealt with Taiwan and was on the mainland a proper combined arms campaign aka the European theater becomes a viable option, the Japanese would have had no answer.
    That's a 3 year war. Patton driving north from India is at most a 10 month war.

    Sidenote: I can't imagine British ego would allow Patton to take all the credit.
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 20 Jan 16, at 15:14.
    Chimo

  5. #20
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    Two issues jump to mind in this very interesting scenario.

    First, Burma's mud has to be experienced to be believed. Mules would be more likely to get through than armor.

    Second, Chiang Kai-shek vs George Patton ... I'll bring the popcorn for THAT epic clash of wills, and, I'll put money on the G'mo.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Two issues jump to mind in this very interesting scenario.

    First, Burma's mud has to be experienced to be believed. Mules would be more likely to get through than armor.
    Not all year round and now, Burma is bypassed in this scenario.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    Second, Chiang Kai-shek vs George Patton ... I'll bring the popcorn for THAT epic clash of wills, and, I'll put money on the G'mo.
    Don't need CKS's ok and he can't do a thing about it anyway. Tibet wasn't under his control.
    Chimo

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    *light bulb turns on*

    Ah that's what I was missing.

    How did Patton achieve that? Did he have his staff come up with contingency plans already? Or did they work that out on the fly and the mid/lower level commanders used their initiative to make up the rest?
    In a stroke of genius foresight as soon as Patton stsarted hearing reports of the German attack he deduced it was more than local and started his staff on planning the swing north. The other allied leaders were slow on the up take. So when Ike finally figured out it was a major German effort and convened a meeting of allied generals the plan was already drafted. Ike wanted Patton to cut North and Monty to move south to pinch the penetration. The people who didn't think Patton could do it, didn't know his staff had already been working on the problem for 3 days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cactus View Post
    Colonel, if Manchuria is the big prize... why not hug the eastern-edge of the Tibetan Plateau, go north through Sichuan and Lanzhou, and then turn east towards Beijing and Southern Manchuria? Why mess with the water-logged rice paddies of southern China when you can follow historic cavalry routes to the north? Your right flank is also protected by hundreds of miles of allied Chinese. If Patton cuts the Japanese into two at Southern Manchuria and the USAAF degrades the eastern ports significantly, the Chinese armies should be able to finish off the IJA stranded in the south by themselves. Bonus: China proper remains with the KMT.
    Brilliant if you can solve two problems- winter logistics and the Soviets. A mechanized army with an aggressive anti-communist general on their southern flank is going to have Stalin in fits. He would almost certainly order Mao to do anything and everything to oppose it including team up with the Japanese.

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    Patton would also need significant air cover. In this scenario the IJAAF would not have been beat down the way the Luftwaffe was. Now allied planes in 1944 ere vastly superior and its pilots were at least as good, but planes gobble up fuel at a rate to make tanks look like a modern hybrid car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Brilliant if you can solve two problems- winter logistics and the Soviets. A mechanized army with an aggressive anti-communist general on their southern flank is going to have Stalin in fits.
    Or he would have ordered an attack himself but he would not had the intelligence of the 3rd Army in the area.

    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    He would almost certainly order Mao to do anything and everything to oppose it including team up with the Japanese.
    Mao wasn't his puppet back then and he was getting his ass kicked by the IJA "Kill all, burn all, destroy all."

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Patton would also need significant air cover. In this scenario the IJAAF would not have been beat down the way the Luftwaffe was. Now allied planes in 1944 ere vastly superior and its pilots were at least as good, but planes gobble up fuel at a rate to make tanks look like a modern hybrid car.
    I don't see the IJAAF being a factor. They were too far away and tied up in the south and they would not have the intelligence of 3rd Army moving through traditional Mongol/Turkic invasion routes.
    Chimo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Or he would have ordered an attack himself but he would not had the intelligence of the 3rd Army in the area.

    Mao wasn't his puppet back then and he was getting his ass kicked by the IJA "Kill all, burn all, destroy all."

    I don't see the IJAAF being a factor. They were too far away and tied up in the south and they would not have the intelligence of 3rd Army moving through traditional Mongol/Turkic invasion routes.
    The Japanese had good enough intelligence assets t figure out the game eventually. The IJAAF will be a major factor once the attack starts. The USAAF has always been light on ADA relying on friendly air cover to clear the skies, in areas where the skies are not cleared this is going to be a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    The Japanese had good enough intelligence assets t figure out the game eventually.
    Sure, when Patton starts hitting them. The Japanese never figured out the locations of interior Chinese military assets. How would they figure out 3rd Army's position protected by the Chinese army and 100s of miles in distance?

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    The IJAAF will be a major factor once the attack starts. The USAAF has always been light on ADA relying on friendly air cover to clear the skies, in areas where the skies are not cleared this is going to be a problem.
    Name me one battle the IJAAF was a factor, even against the Chinese.

    The only problem I see is logistics but that is an American problem for the Americans to solve (and well within American experience and knowledge to solve). It is not an advantage the Japanese could nor even know how to exploit.
    Chimo

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    Actually, the question is what can the IJA do to stop ... or even just to slow down Patton? Did they even know how?
    Chimo

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Sure, when Patton starts hitting them. The Japanese never figured out the locations of interior Chinese military assets. How would they figure out 3rd Army's position protected by the Chinese army and 100s of miles in distance?
    Eventually Patton will get close enough to be detected

    Name me one battle the IJAAF was a factor, even against the Chinese.
    Battle of Malaya, Battle of Singapore, Japanese invasion of the DEI, invasion of the Philippines, New Guinea.

    The only problem I see is logistics but that is an American problem for the Americans to solve (and well within American experience and knowledge to solve). It is not an advantage the Japanese could nor even know how to exploit.
    Third Army had 5 armored divisions, 9 infantry divisions, 1 mechanized cavalry group plus corps assets like independent tank destroyer battalions. Around 1000 AFV's, several hundred guns, a couple thousand half tracks and thousands of trucks, jeeps, and tractors. Patton needed 7,000 tons of supplies a day to keep Third army moving and fighting. 7,000 tons without a rail or pipeline is insurmountable given the distances involved. you would need 3500 truck loads a day. This over a distance of 4-5000km up to 3100 miles. That is before offensive operations begin. Given two way travel you need 220,000 trucks just to keep the supplies moving once the offensive jumps off. Then you need to plan out the route march for each truck company to prevent traffic jams and prioritize the movement of wounded back from the front lines. There is a reason the Soviets with an internal rail line and a lot more experience with overland movement and supply took 6 months to prepare August Storm. Start adding in aircraft few, aircraft bombs etc and the numbers become truly mind boggling. Also unlike the Germans, we did not have dedicated highly efficient rail road building teams that could build track to follow Third Army's advance across Western and Northern China.

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    No non-Soviet allied Army in WWII was ever more than 500 miles from a major port. The American logistics miracle was create with and by the movement of ships.

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