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

  1. #46
    Senior Contributor DOR's Avatar
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    I really don't care if you're not buying the whole thing. You have absolutely zero concepts of what zero opposition means.
    and yet, and yet, I have walked the ground, and I do have a deep understanding of Chinese politics at the time.

    Amazing fact: we disagree.

  2. #47
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    So, if the 3rd is in China, who is in Europe?

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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    So, if the 3rd is in China, who is in Europe?
    The premise of this "what if" is the US picking to curb-stump Japan first before turning around to smack Germany.

    So...the answer to your question would be "no one, until Japan is done and the US Army along with Marines transfer to Europe."
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  4. #49
    Senior Contributor Monash's Avatar
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    Regarding your point that "The Pacific War did not favor 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 favor large armoured formations because they were small islands, not because you can't get tanks into the fight."

    I should point out that neither PNG or the Philippines are exactly 'small islands' yet the use of tanks in those campaigns (during both the original Japanese invasions and the retaking' saw only limited use of armoured fighting vesicles - and terrain was the overriding issue. Tropical forests, swamps and mountains together with very poor or non-existent road networks greatly limited the utility of tanks in either campaign. Things would however obliviously be different on mainland China - there would be the maneuver room needed to deploy large scale armored forces.

    As for the rest I still tend to believe the facts would support a sea born invasion of Tawain followed by landings on the northern Chinese Coast as a better option. As you noted that would be a least a 3 year campaign. But that said the shorter time frame you refer to (i.e. 12 months or so?) for the whole Tibet/3rd Army campaign is dependent upon the almost immediate deployment of Patton and his army in India within days of the last bomb falling on PH. I just don't see that as likely. After all in the real world the 3rd army under Patton took a couple of years to put together, train up and prepare in England, it wasn't an overnight creation then either.

    But getting back to the scenario at hand, immediately following the entry of America in the war the focus was on trying to save/salvage the the military situation in the Philippines and S/E Asia. It would be February/March of 42 before reality set in and planning for any large scale US military deployments in India (or anywhere else for that matter) could or would commence. Following that you have form-up, train and equip the 3rd. Even with a man like Patton driving the effort and America on a war footing that would take say 3-6 months, at least. After that you have to transport the 3rd Army to India (presumably from the East Coast and around the Cape of Good Hope/U-boats?) since this the shorter route. And of course once you arrive the Army has to be moved up to and reorganized at its staging points in Northern India - say another 3-6 months to complete. So you are looking at at least a year probably closer to 18 months before kickoff.

    And that's assuming the roads and bridges have been built (or at least started). Presumably the British will have agreed to the whole campaign so they may well have started work before Patton even arrives but since their main concern will still be the Burmese front that is where the bulk of their attention and effort will be focused. Chances are that the heavy lifting on the road works and bridge building, supply depots etc won't even start until Patton and his engineers can get into the Indian hill country and start work. And I'm sorry but even driven by a man of Patton's character I don't see his engineers completing the works needed to get the bulk of the 3rd over the Tibetan plateau and into S/W China in less than say 6 months - and that's assuming the Tibetan winter doesn't slow things down.

    Once you are over the plateau things would, I presume proceed more quickly i.e. in the manner you have outlined but we would still be talking some few months to get the bulk of the 3rd into northern China and in contact with the Japanese (political wrangling not withstanding) at which point Patton would be able to launch the kind of offensive he was good at, one which the Japanese at best might be be able to slow down but which in the end they had no chance of stopping.

    So all in all I would hazard a guess at saying it would take something like 2 years or more to get Patton into Northern China - assuming politics, weather and everything else works out in his favor. And I think two years is probably optimistic. Meanwhile given the course of the war in the Pacific by mid 44 the US is in a position to contemplate an invasion of Taiwan followed almost immediately by a follow-up landing on the north Chinese coast thereby isolating all Japanese forces in China and potentially Manchuria. Coincidentally also putting them in a position to block Stalin should he choose to exploit the Japanese collapse and make a move on the Korean Peninsula (no NK).

    So at best the Tibetan scenario would I think save you 6 months. And as Z has pointed out a sea based invasion gives you access to multiple ports on the Chinese Coast and much shorter/secure supplies lines.
    Last edited by Monash; 24 Jan 16, at 09:16.

  5. #50
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    My apologies, gentlemen, but other thoughts consumed me.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Sir the cavalry route is via the Khyber Pass and the Hindu Kush, not from India into Tibet
    1962 Sino-India War, combined strength of 150,000 men and 4 artillery regiments. Added to this, the 1979 Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan when the Soviet 40th Army constucted roads into Afghanistan in a matter of 4 weeks. The Himalayas was NOT an obstacle.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Sir, it has to be robust enough to support a mechanized army. At a minimum for non combat you're gonna need 3-4 2 lane all weather roads. Something China doesn't have at the time. China might have the tracks that can be expanded, but now you've upped the logistics requirements by a huge percentage. You've already got close to 300,000 vehicles between the actual divisions, corps and army assets of Third Army plus the massive supply chain truck fleet and now you need to add the equivalent for 3-4 AlCan Highway building operations and all the logistical support those operations with need. Its not even about enemy action. Russia may have had Generals Winter and Mud, Japan will have General Distance. You are talking a logistical effort equal to the entire ETO to support just one army.
    I strongly disagree! The IJA could go no further against the Chinese Army because they could go no further. A single American battalion within a Chinese corps would push back the IJA at least 20 miles if not further.

    But you're not countering my arguement. The biggest delay in engineering roads to support 3rd Army is reccee, ie finding routes that can support an armour thrust. Traditional calvary routes eliminates or at the very least reduce it to miniscue importance. There is a reason why the Soviet 40th Army can build roads to send in their tanks into Afghanistan and the Golden Horde is that reason.

    Hell, the Soviet 58th Army had Lop Nor as a 72 hour objective.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Sir, in this scenario the logistics are the real problem. We know the Japanese can't stop a mechanized army. The problem is getting that mechanized army into position. It took the Soviets 6 months and they had 1/3 of their force already positions and years of experience in planning major operations away from ports/centers of production.
    Really, Jason? Patton ... with 10 months ... and with zero opposition? You're seriously telling me the US Army Corps of Engineers can't do what the Soviets did in 1979.



    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post
    and yet, and yet, I have walked the ground, and I do have a deep understanding of Chinese politics at the time.

    Amazing fact: we disagree.
    I am more than sure you never have one man's life under your decision, never mind 200, and never mind a 1000. Patton vs Chiang? FDR would feed Chiang to the dogs! American boys under that fuck? Are you shitting me?
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 27 Jan 16, at 18:12.
    Chimo

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Regarding your point that "The Pacific War did not favor 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 favor large armoured formations because they were small islands, not because you can't get tanks into the fight."

    I should point out that neither PNG or the Philippines are exactly 'small islands' yet the use of tanks in those campaigns (during both the original Japanese invasions and the retaking' saw only limited use of armoured fighting vesicles - and terrain was the overriding issue. Tropical forests, swamps and mountains together with very poor or non-existent road networks greatly limited the utility of tanks in either campaign. Things would however obliviously be different on mainland China - there would be the maneuver room needed to deploy large scale armored forces.
    Actually, they were, we're not talking about finding 10,000 men where they're not supposed to be but instead 100,000 men with 1000 tanks and 2000 artillery pieces kicking your backdoor in. That was preciesly Patton's relief of Bastonge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    And that's assuming the roads and bridges have been built (or at least started). Presumably the British will have agreed to the whole campaign so they may well have started work before Patton even arrives but since their main concern will still be the Burmese front that is where the bulk of their attention and effort will be focused. Chances are that the heavy lifting on the road works and bridge building, supply depots etc won't even start until Patton and his engineers can get into the Indian hill country and start work. And I'm sorry but even driven by a man of Patton's character I don't see his engineers completing the works needed to get the bulk of the 3rd over the Tibetan plateau and into S/W China in less than say 6 months - and that's assuming the Tibetan winter doesn't slow things down.
    Explain the 1962 Sino-Indian War.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    As for the rest I still tend to believe the facts would support a sea born invasion of Tawain followed by landings on the northern Chinese Coast as a better option. As you noted that would be a least a 3 year campaign. But that said the shorter time frame you refer to (i.e. 12 months or so?) for the whole Tibet/3rd Army campaign is dependent upon the almost immediate deployment of Patton and his army in India within days of the last bomb falling on PH. I just don't see that as likely. After all in the real world the 3rd army under Patton took a couple of years to put together, train up and prepare in England, it wasn't an overnight creation then either.
    Wrong calculus, when was the BEF declared ready?
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 27 Jan 16, at 08:36.
    Chimo

  7. #52
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    This is the one thing I don't think none of you civies get, serving under an inspirational leader. Thus far, speaking as an engineer, there is no physical obstacle that I cannot overcome and overcome with determination and manpower with a short span of time. The Himalayas are my biggest obstacles but if the Soviet 40th Army can build roads to invade Afghanistan in 1979, there is absolutely zero reason to believe American engineers cannot do the same in the Himalayas and infact, history proved that to be the case with two freaking armies, the 1962 Sino-India War with a combined force of 150,000+ men with artillery and trucks.

    That is 15 divisions right there, people.

    After that, the Tibetab Plateau and Western China are extremely vehicle friendly territory. The Soviets planned to take Lop Nor in 72 hours.

    So, tell me, what exactly are the obstacles? The Chinese and Soviets did everything I proposed. The only difference was they were driving south while I proposed Patton drive north. Same route, different vectors.
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 27 Jan 16, at 18:13.
    Chimo

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    This is the one thing I don't think none of you civies get, serving under an inspirational leader. Thus far, speaking as an engineer, there is no physical obstacle that I cannot overcome and overcome with determination and manpower with a short span of time. The Himalayas are my biggest obstacles but if the Soviet 40th Army can build roads to invade Afghanistan in 1979, there is absolutely zero reason to believe American engineers cannot do the same in the Himalayas and infact, history proved that to be the case with two freaking armies, the 1962 Sino-India War with a combined force of 150,000+ men with artillery and trucks.

    That is 15 divisions right there, people.

    After that, the Tibetab Plateau and Western China are extremely vehicle friendly territory. The Soviets planned to take Lop Nor in 72 hours.

    So, tell me, what exactly are the obstacles? The Chinese and Soviets did everything I proposed. The only difference was they were driving south while I proposed Patton drive north. Same route, different vectors.
    Sir not a civvie...

    1. The US and Canada undertook a similar road building operation (AlCan Highway) that took from early March 1942 to late November 1942. Construction start was delayed by several months as equipment was shipped in to actually do the work. The distance slightly over 1200 miles required 10,000 men to construct. You are advocating multiple such roads, 2.5x longer.

    2. No matter how great Patton is, he needs 12,500 tons of supplies a day, supplies that need to be enroute for the entire route from port to battle field. Once Patton is in contact, if he runs out of something, he can't get more of it in anything larger than normally scheduled amounts for a month, and then only if he cuts other supplies to make room. Ditto for replacement troops, evacing the wounded would be an exercise in futility. Get shot in China and you become a small farmer there, bought and paid for.

    3. The truck and maintenance services he would require to keep that supply line open would be larger than the US Army had for the entire ETO, maybe greater than the US Army had in all of WWII. The US Army was an army that drove on wheels, but never far from a port, not for long. A US Armed division needed 350 tons of gasoline a day, an infantry division 150 tons.

    So using historical analogs, the road building itself would take 2 years, which would be a feat of engineering equal to Caesar's Crossing the Rhine, or the construction of the Panama canal. Then you would need to send a quarter of a million trucks and close to one million men to service a fighting force of just 15 divisions. Its an operation that while maybe doable in the theoretical fails the logistics smell test. You simply can cut corners on supplies in a mechanized operation.

  9. #54
    Senior Contributor bonehead's Avatar
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    I almost asked, "why go over the Himalayas when we could have dropped off Patton and his 3rd army in north Russia. He could have made use of the trains." Then I remembered how well Patton loved Russians.
    Removing a single turd from the cesspool doesn't make any difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    1. The US and Canada undertook a similar road building operation (AlCan Highway) that took from early March 1942 to late November 1942. Construction start was delayed by several months as equipment was shipped in to actually do the work. The distance slightly over 1200 miles required 10,000 men to construct. You are advocating multiple such roads, 2.5x longer.
    Not a good analogy. This was a paved road instead of compact and grated road. The only real obstacles outside the Himalayas would be river crossings but then again, horse cavalry have been doing the same for centuries.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    2. No matter how great Patton is, he needs 12,500 tons of supplies a day, supplies that need to be enroute for the entire route from port to battle field. Once Patton is in contact, if he runs out of something, he can't get more of it in anything larger than normally scheduled amounts for a month, and then only if he cuts other supplies to make room. Ditto for replacement troops, evacing the wounded would be an exercise in futility. Get shot in China and you become a small farmer there, bought and paid for.
    How was that any different than any other war we fought? Taking a page from the Soviets, they planned for a 40 day campaign. They got a 40 day campaign. The Kwantung Army died on day 21 in both cases they fought against a Mechanized Army. Why should we not expect the same from Patton?

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    3. The truck and maintenance services he would require to keep that supply line open would be larger than the US Army had for the entire ETO, maybe greater than the US Army had in all of WWII. The US Army was an army that drove on wheels, but never far from a port, not for long. A US Armed division needed 350 tons of gasoline a day, an infantry division 150 tons.
    Again, I don't see the problem. Neither we nor the Soviets ever planned from port to Berlin (or Tokyo) in one go. Men and machine needed rest and rebuilding and we had enemy armies in front of us, forcing us to use gas and ammo. There is no such opposition in this case. This is merely a matter of distance and terrain which again is extremely vehicle friendly once you crossed the Himalayas. Then, you merely massed for a 40 day campaign and that is being generous.

    Quote Originally Posted by bonehead View Post
    I almost asked, "why go over the Himalayas when we could have dropped off Patton and his 3rd army in north Russia. He could have made use of the trains." Then I remembered how well Patton loved Russians.
    Stalin had a non-aggression pact with Tojo. The US would have to offer something real juicy for Stalin to re-neg on Tojo, something along the lines of Northern China.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonehead View Post
    I almost asked, "why go over the Himalayas when we could have dropped off Patton and his 3rd army in north Russia. He could have made use of the trains." Then I remembered how well Patton loved Russians.
    But Stalin had Northern China and Manchuria and Korea. He just gave them back. And he was desperate for the 2nd Front. In fact, a deal could be made. Allow the US to deal with the Japanese first and then the US could concentrate on Europe.
    Chimo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Not a good analogy. This was a paved road instead of compact and grated road. The only real obstacles outside the Himalayas would be river crossings but then again, horse cavalry have been doing the same for centuries.
    Horses swim, tanks and trucks don't. At every stream, creek or river you need to build a bridge capable of handling an endless supply of 30 ton vehicles.

    How was that any different than any other war we fought? Taking a page from the Soviets, they planned for a 40 day campaign. They got a 40 day campaign. The Kwantung Army died on day 21 in both cases they fought against a Mechanized Army. Why should we not expect the same from Patton?
    The Soviets went up against an IJA that had shipped most of its best troops to the Pacific. Had the Soviets tried August Storm in 1942 things would have progressed much more slowly. You are talking about throwing Patton at the IJA in China while it is at near maximum strength. It won't save them, but it will make the fight more difficult. Also, your route has Patton aimed at Beijing and several other major cities that have to be taken. Patton was great in open country, less so in urban areas. It took Patton 3 months to secure Metz.

    Again, I don't see the problem. Neither we nor the Soviets ever planned from port to Berlin (or Tokyo) in one go. Men and machine needed rest and rebuilding and we had enemy armies in front of us, forcing us to use gas and ammo. There is no such opposition in this case. This is merely a matter of distance and terrain which again is extremely vehicle friendly once you crossed the Himalayas. Then, you merely massed for a 40 day campaign and that is being generous.
    You are talking distances that are 5x the rated life span of a sherman tank. IIRC the Sherman had a major breakdown interval of 300-500 miles .Just getting a mechanized army down 2500 miles of road is going to be as brutal as combat on the vehicles. Its 1930/40's technology, not modern equipment. It didn't last as long between breakdowns. Look at how badly the German truck fleet suffered in 1940. In 1940 they had trucks for 3 army groups, by 1941 they lost 2/3rds of that fleet. Granted US trucks were a lot better and more reliable, but they are still maintenance intensive beasts.

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    Another option, by 1944 the USN is big enough to defeat the Japanese in any type of clash of fleets the IJN can dream up. If you want to put Patton in China, stage from India and do a D-Day style landing between Hainan Island the Vietnamese coast for a drive towards Hong Kong. The Japanese garrison in French Indo China is small, just big enough to secure the occupation. You have the coastal lines the US Army needs for sustained offensive movement and India provides a solid base of operations with several major ports to stage from. You would also cut off a large Japanese force turning Burma and Thailand and give yourself the option of conducting operations south to the DEI, Phillipines and Maylay Penninsula with the massive sea lift capacity you would have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Horses swim, tanks and trucks don't. At every stream, creek or river you need to build a bridge capable of handling an endless supply of 30 ton vehicles.
    You missed the point. Horses don't swim in strong currents. Where they can cross, you can build a bridge.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    The Soviets went up against an IJA that had shipped most of its best troops to the Pacific. Had the Soviets tried August Storm in 1942 things would have progressed much more slowly. You are talking about throwing Patton at the IJA in China while it is at near maximum strength. It won't save them, but it will make the fight more difficult.
    Pit the entire IJA at its peak against the armies of URANUS and MARS and the IJE dies faster. It's not that the regular IJA soldier is less trained than the infantry arts. In fact, where the IJA could put up a fight in AUGUST STORM, they did. Only problem was they didn't realize they were being fixed in place. Those IJA units that could fight would be fixed in place and enveloped; thoughts alien to the IJA.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Also, your route has Patton aimed at Beijing and several other major cities that have to be taken. Patton was great in open country, less so in urban areas. It took Patton 3 months to secure Metz.
    You have an entire Chinese army numbering at 7 million men. Give them something to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    You are talking distances that are 5x the rated life span of a sherman tank. IIRC the Sherman had a major breakdown interval of 300-500 miles .Just getting a mechanized army down 2500 miles of road is going to be as brutal as combat on the vehicles. Its 1930/40's technology, not modern equipment. It didn't last as long between breakdowns. Look at how badly the German truck fleet suffered in 1940. In 1940 they had trucks for 3 army groups, by 1941 they lost 2/3rds of that fleet. Granted US trucks were a lot better and more reliable, but they are still maintenance intensive beasts.
    As opposed to combat? This is a simple maintenance and scheduling problem. Patton is not going to lose any machines through combat getting into position. It's predictable and schedulable. Also, the truck technology at the time was a plus, not a minus. The trucks could be torn apart and put back together in the field and more often than not by the truck crews themselves. You don't need to drag the trucks back to a specialty garage in a lot of cases.
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 30 Jan 16, at 20:14.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    But Stalin had Northern China and Manchuria and Korea. He just gave them back. And he was desperate for the 2nd Front. In fact, a deal could be made. Allow the US to deal with the Japanese first and then the US could concentrate on Europe.
    I wouldn't base too much faith in a non aggression pact. Stalin had one with Hitler and they fought the bloodiest battles of the war. I doubt Stalin would have lent anything to assist Patton march east through russia. Like you said, Stalin was adamant about a second front and Patton going anywhere but to face Germans, Stalin would not approve. Finally, I think Patton would have resigned his commission before taking anything from Stalin. I would have loved being a fly on the wall when the German high command learns that Patton and his 3rd army just landed in russia because the Germans would have no doubt that Patton would have then turned west and joined with the Russians. It may have weeks before they realize that Patton wasn't there.
    Removing a single turd from the cesspool doesn't make any difference.

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