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

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    Patton's Third Army in the Pacific instead of Europe

    Obviously, staging from India through Burma into China.

    Despite all the logistical difficulties of such a campaign, I cannot think of any/all obstacles the Japanese can throw at the man that would stop him from taking Manchuria and Korea inside of 10 months.
    Chimo

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    lack of roads... You can pick a path for a tank through forest, you can't do the same in Jungle and Swamp. Plus as seen at Metz, tank armies pay horrible butcher bills in urban combat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    lack of roads... You can pick a path for a tank through forest, you can't do the same in Jungle and Swamp.
    Plenty of roads in China. It's a 3000+ year civilization, especially southern China.

    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Plus as seen at Metz, tank armies pay horrible butcher bills in urban combat.
    That's what the Chinese army is for. I'm sure they would be looking for payback. Besides, the Japanese would be the ones fighting the pissed off locals.
    Chimo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Obviously, staging from India through Burma into China.

    Despite all the logistical difficulties of such a campaign, I cannot think of any/all obstacles the Japanese can throw at the man that would stop him from taking Manchuria and Korea inside of 10 months.
    The logistics would seem to present a huge and perhaps prohibitive obstacle. As I recall, flying fuel over the hump to build up stockpiles in China was a massive effort that never really worked particularly well. Matterhorn seems like a pretty good example of how impractical staging fuel and supplies over the Himalayas really was.

    Didn't Patton have a thing for running out of fuel even with comparatively short supply lines in Europe.

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    The logistics part is for an American problem for the Americans to solve. It won't be as though the IJA would even think of cutting the American LOCs. In fact, how? It took the Japanese 15 years to learn to protect their rear against Chinese foot infantry and often, they left their own rears vulnerable just to encircle the Chinese.

    But the thing here that showed that Patton really understood logistics, he swung 90 degrees to relieve Bastonge while refusing his newly made right flank.
    Chimo

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    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.

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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.
    You've just cut the 10 month war in half ... with a small, almost non-existing caveat, Southeast Chinese coast would be under USAAF threat but NE China would be out of range.

    But this is exactly the kind of maneuver that Patton (and Zhukov) is famous for.

    Yeah, we (West) screwed up on this one ... and I still say Germany and Japan got extremely lucky. Japan would have been knocked out of the war in 5 months had the US gone Japan first ... and then the full might of the USN and USMC (and the RN and the BIA) concentrates on Germany ... while Stalin is holding Hitler's nose ring for the Western allies' sucker punch.
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 18 Jan 16, at 16:25.
    Chimo

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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    I like this board.

    That is a 4000 km march.It is clearly bold.
    15 divisions can do it.Only thing that can limit it are a.logistics b. the need to secure Burma.And Burma was lost before the West could utter a ''WTF is going on?''.And taking it back was a nasty affair.

    So,assuming the Allies decide in this COA,they need to a.Keep Burma,which is hard. b.Send supplies and troops to India c.Retake Burma from the Japs if needed d.Redeploy e.Start the Chinese campaign.

    Phase B takes 6 months.If C is needed,that is another 6-12 months.So at a minimum,if Burma is kept,we're talking at mid 1943 for the US and Commonwealth forces to cut China in half.At the expense of doing nothing else to influence the ETO.If phase C is required,as it would most certainly been the case,we're talking mid 1944 before they can start redeploying to Europe.
    Those who know don't speak
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    I like this board.

    That is a 4000 km march.It is clearly bold.
    15 divisions can do it.Only thing that can limit it are a.logistics b. the need to secure Burma.And Burma was lost before the West could utter a ''WTF is going on?''.And taking it back was a nasty affair.

    So,assuming the Allies decide in this COA,they need to a.Keep Burma,which is hard. b.Send supplies and troops to India c.Retake Burma from the Japs if needed d.Redeploy e.Start the Chinese campaign.

    Phase B takes 6 months.If C is needed,that is another 6-12 months.So at a minimum,if Burma is kept,we're talking at mid 1943 for the US and Commonwealth forces to cut China in half.At the expense of doing nothing else to influence the ETO.If phase C is required,as it would most certainly been the case,we're talking mid 1944 before they can start redeploying to Europe.
    Why would they have to take Burma back? If we're talking Patton in charge, he would have seen that Burma would mean nothing once Korea and Manchuria were taken.

    And the Chinese Army under Patton's command would most certainly be extremely more aggressive than they historically were.
    Chimo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    The logistics part is for an American problem for the Americans to solve. It won't be as though the IJA would even think of cutting the American LOCs. In fact, how? It took the Japanese 15 years to learn to protect their rear against Chinese foot infantry and often, they left their own rears vulnerable just to encircle the Chinese.

    But the thing here that showed that Patton really understood logistics, he swung 90 degrees to relieve Bastonge while refusing his newly made right flank.
    Sir, can you briefly explain the nature of the difficulty in "swinging an army 90 degrees?" I've read about it and the comment was always " a nearly impossible task" but Patton did it in merely 3 days. What was involved?
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Patton was already deep in battle when he swung north. Third Army knew at what time point and where they had to stop to feed/rest/refuel/re-arm their front units and allow relief units to take up the fight. That meant the service battalions knew where they had to reach to feed/rest/fuel/arm the exhausted front units.

    Now, you swung north and you have to determine where/when/how to fuel/feed/rest your men and machines all the way back to the svc bns. Remember, nobody knows where/how/when to go. In the meantime, you've just offered a flank to the defending Germans who could (and did) counter-attack.

    That was one hell of a maneuver and put Guderian/Rommell/Von Mainstein to shame.
    Chimo

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Patton was already deep in battle when he swung north. Third Army knew at what time point and where they had to stop to feed/rest/refuel/re-arm their front units and allow relief units to take up the fight. That meant the service battalions knew where they had to reach to feed/rest/fuel/arm the exhausted front units.

    Now, you swung north and you have to determine where/when/how to fuel/feed/rest your men and machines all the way back to the svc bns. Remember, nobody knows where/how/when to go. In the meantime, you've just offered a flank to the defending Germans who could (and did) counter-attack.

    That was one hell of a maneuver and put Guderian/Rommell/Von Mainstein to shame.
    *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?
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    This is Patton you're talking about. Before WWII, his division achieved their exercise 40th hour objectives in 9 hours. In practice, this meant that Patton demanded good maps and all his men can read and follow a compass and map. His Colonels can come up with a realistic timetable and being able to achieve that timetable. Extremely good reccee and real time communications to overcome obstacles.

    What's more, this is Patton. He inspires men. If he says you can do it, you believe you will do it. In hindsight, he never asked the impossible but he sure demanded you believe you can do the impossible.
    Chimo

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    Should the title of this thread even be 'Patton's Third Army in the Pacific instead of Europe'? Perhaps a more accurate title would simply be Patton in the Pacific instead of Europe'. Isn't the issue the man himself rather than the specific unit he commanded. If Patton had been assigned an army in the Pacific theater it would surely have been structured differently to the 3rd Army which was assembled and trained for war in continental Europe. For a start there was way less need for armor, mechanized infantry and heavy artillery units as a % of the total force he would theoretically be commanding because until such time as landings occurred either in mainland China or the Japanese home islands themselves the terrain would dictate different force structure. No big armor battles for a start. The campaigns in Burma and the Pacific were all about tropical/jungle warfare and maritime landings/assaults. So I suspect that Patton would have simply rolled his sleeves up and trained, planned and lead a different type of force into combat, one specializing in maritime landings and jungle warfare.

    And Zraver had a point about the Burma Front, you could send Patton to China as an adviser but you couldn't supply a force even remotely resembling his Third Army via the Burma Road or 'the Hump' the logistics were just not doable - the Allies struggled to get supplies to the Chinese Nationalists right up till the end of the war. So there would be no large American force in China until the Philippines and/or Taiwan had been taken.

    I suggest that if you put Patton in charge of US Army Operations in the Pacific (instead of that clown MacArthur) you would still have ended up with an exceptionally well trained and lead force (as well as a better planned Pacific campaign) but you would not have had the Third Army in it's classic form - at least until the very end where you were contemplating an invasion of Japan proper at which point I think the 3rd army would come into it's own.
    Last edited by Monash; 19 Jan 16, at 11:13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    Should the title of this thread even be 'Patton's Third Army in the Pacific instead of Europe'? Perhaps a more accurate title would simply be Patton in the Pacific instead of Europe'. Isn't the issue the man himself rather than the specific unit he commanded. If Patton had been assigned an army in the Pacific theater it would surely have been structured differently to the 3rd Army which was assembled and trained for war in continental Europe. For a start there was way less need for armor, mechanized infantry and heavy artillery units as a % of the total force he would theoretically be commanding because until such time as landings occurred either in mainland China or the Japanese home islands themselves the terrain would dictate different force structure. No big armor battles for a start.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    And Zraver had a point about the Burma Front, you could send Patton to China as an adviser but you couldn't supply a force even remotely resembling his Third Army via the Burma Road or 'the Hump' the logistics were just not doable - the Allies struggled to get supplies to the Chinese Nationalists right up till the end of the war. So there would be no large American force in China until the Philippines and/or Taiwan had been taken.
    A 2 million man British Indian Army says otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monash View Post
    I suggest that if you put Patton in charge of US Army Operations in the Pacific (instead of that clown MacArthur) you would still have ended up with an exceptionally well trained and lead force (as well as a better planned Pacific campaign) but you would not have had the Third Army in it's classic form - at least until the very end where you were contemplating an invasion of Japan proper at which point I think the 3rd army would come into it's own.
    The scenario is now a march north through the Tibetan plateau, the traditional route of horse cavalry.
    Chimo

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