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Why was the Imperial Japanese Army deficient?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by zraver View Post
    In WW1 the french forts at Verdun were impervious to the big German guns becuase of the way the french layered concrete and sand in a way the Belgians didn't. I don't see why the French would have down graded construction of the Maginot Line.
    The Maginot ouvrages were entirely new construction and layered as a fortress in completely different ways from the previous fortresses.

    It should also be noted that - unlike what's sometimes portrayed, a bit oddly mostly in anglophone literature - the Maginot line was not some line drawn across the countryside with fortresses. For heavy fortifications it factually consisted of a single heavily fortified strategic region covering (12 gros ouvrages in a front-facing 15 km radius semicircle built around three reused pre-WW1 German fortresses serving as artillery forts, themselves in a semicircle around Thionville), as well as a grand total of four sets of mutually-supporting dual gros ouvrage forts separate from that (one to the west, three to the east - a fourth to the east was planned but never built).

    Structurally only the gros ouvrages were built to sustain artillery barrages - they were fully intended to shell each other to clear off any attackers, and did so with some shrugging off tens of thousands of friendly-fire impacts. The 500 petit ouvrages and casemates and the 5000 blockhouses that formed the vast majority of bunkers the Maginot line had about 2.0-2.5 meters of front-facing reinforced concrete. While that could stave off infantry and tank and field gun attacks, they did not fare well under sustained artillery fire of a few thousand 150mm shells, and - other than the petit ouvrages - were not intended to anyway. The intention behind these were to delay the enemy for a concerted withdrawal of troops before the artillery forts and mobile artillery would lay that entire sector under fire.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by zraver View Post
      The Japanese would ahve to use what they have: night assault under cover of a smoke barrage to get infantry on to the fort with satchel charges and flame throwers. As daylight arrived IJAAF bombers could interdict French mobile forces and provide pinpoint dive bombing of French strong points to either side of the Japanese breech that were trying enfilade fire on the assault troops...
      That is where I see things as extremely probamatic. The IJA would be channelled into KZs before they could set up for a night assault. French artillery would easily outrange anything the Japanese have that could throw smoke. I just don't see how the IJA could get into range to throw smoke. That leaves infiltration without smoke but the French already have a counter to that - dogs.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by WABs_OOE View Post
        That is where I see things as extremely probamatic. The IJA would be channelled into KZs before they could set up for a night assault. French artillery would easily outrange anything the Japanese have that could throw smoke. I just don't see how the IJA could get into range to throw smoke. That leaves infiltration without smoke but the French already have a counter to that - dogs.
        Possibly, but what other options are there if you are the IJA and you have been given that mission. They don't have the equipment for busting a fortified line, all they have is blood, guts and superb WWI light infantry tactics.

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        • #34
          Same as Kohima and Imphal. Waste my men on banzai charges and then carve up my belly on the way home. That is another characteristic of the IJA. Not knowing when to give up and save your men for another fight.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by WABs_OOE View Post
            Same as Kohima and Imphal. Waste my men on banzai charges and then carve up my belly on the way home. That is another characteristic of the IJA. Not knowing when to give up and save your men for another fight.
            The differnce being that by Kohima and Imphal the allies were on to them and had also hardened to the idea of showing any mercy. The French polis of 39 can't be expected to fight better than British, Indian, Australian, American and Filipino troops did in 41, especially since fortress troops are generally second rate troops. In the case of France, each fort had a cadre of professionals but war time strength was filled out by reservists. Either Homa or Yamashita in command and its not impossible that they breech the Maginot Line. We don't have much to go on, Singapore provides a few examples, but this includes physically blocking the machine gun ports of block houses with bodies if that it what it took. Regardless, they managed it and forced the biggest surrender in British history.

            In the open field is where I think the French would definitely win. The French did not lack for armor the way the UK did during the Maylay campaign.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by zraver View Post
              In the case of France, each fort had a cadre of professionals but war time strength was filled out by reservists.
              All 21 regiments d'artillerie de position and 41 regiments d'infanterie de forteresse were already activated and merely switched into their frontline position on September 2nd Midnight, exactly 11 hours before the French declaration of war. The cadres - 7 RAP and 13 RIF - were on alert readiness in peacetime able to bring half the guns of the ouvrages operational and ready to fire within an hour.

              The main problem of the Maginot line was realistically that German heavy towed artillery upgraded in the 1930s outranged the turrets built into the forts by about 1000m. While additional artillery forts with long-range guns to cover this gap (using 145mm Saint-Chamond or 155mm GPF) were planned these were never built for financial reasons. In successful attacks upon ouvrages German troops mostly used this gap to position their guns for uncountered barrages. IJN troops, for the most part, would not have had the same advantage.

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              • #37
                Really thankful to all in this thread. It has been a while where people are really posting some unique and interesting insightful thoughts that build on each other.

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                • #38
                  To be a bit pedantic, and I am sorry if I missed someone saying it. The Germans did manage to take some parts of the Maginot Line, admittedly smaller facilities and none of the large ones. And during OPERATION NORDWIND the ALlies used the Maginot forts in their area to great effect. What also helped is the Allied mobile artillery was superior to and more numerous than what the French had available to them in 1940 as kato mentions above.
                  “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                  Mark Twain

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                    The Germans did manage to take some parts of the Maginot Line, admittedly smaller facilities and none of the large ones.
                    Following the breakthrough through the Sarre flood zone on June 15th and subsequent encirclement of the Fortified Region of Thionville German troops did begin attacking gros ouvrages as well, in particular from the back. This already included heavy siege artillery (210mm and 305mm guns - in particular in the Crusnes sector), infiltrators attempting to penetrate to points where they could attack exposed points with anti-tank guns (a few dozen rounds of 88mm in the same spot apparently work against a few meters of reinforced concrete...), and infantry literally on top of fortress positions. The attacks were staved off by the ouvrages firing thousands of rounds per gun over the next week, however realistically at some point ammunition stocks would have been exhausted.

                    (exact numbers are a bit hard to tell, the closest to a real number i've seen was 6400 rounds stocked per 75mm turret, of these 600 as ready ammunition for 45 minutes continuous fire)

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by zraver View Post
                      The differnce being that by Kohima and Imphal the allies were on to them and had also hardened to the idea of showing any mercy. The French polis of 39 can't be expected to fight better than British, Indian, Australian, American and Filipino troops did in 41, especially since fortress troops are generally second rate troops. In the case of France, each fort had a cadre of professionals but war time strength was filled out by reservists. Either Homa or Yamashita in command and its not impossible that they breech the Maginot Line. We don't have much to go on, Singapore provides a few examples, but this includes physically blocking the machine gun ports of block houses with bodies if that it what it took. Regardless, they managed it and forced the biggest surrender in British history.

                      In the open field is where I think the French would definitely win. The French did not lack for armor the way the UK did during the Maylay campaign.
                      Sorry, Jason, about the delayed reply. I appreciate your position but something was bugging me and I could not figure out what ... until I figured out what made the Maginot Line surrendered in the first place. They were surrounded and I mean the entire Line. The German break through in Belgian made their position unattainable and they destroyed the French reserves in open field ... which would not be the case here ... and your position in the first place ... Yeah, sorry ... round and round in my head.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by WABs_OOE View Post
                        They were surrounded and I mean the entire Line. The German break through in Belgian made their position unattainable and they destroyed the French reserves in open field
                        The breakthrough in Belgium wasn't the only one - the Maginot line was breached at four points.

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                        The breakthrough at the bend east of the Lauter was the only one that actively attacked a gros ouvrage of the line - Four-a-Chaux, the easternmost of the Lauter defense line. South of this gros ouvrage the (dotted in map) line consisted only of blockhouses and casemates along the Vosges mountain range.

                        The attack, using 27 Stuka divebombers and heavy artillery on June 19th, while it did not put the fortress out of the fight did temporarily block one of two artillery turrets for a few hours and (by chance, not intentionally) interrupted communications lines to the blockhouses to the south - which proved the decisive point since those blockhouses could no longer spot for the artillery. The result was that the German 215th Infantry Division managed to break through within hours and occupy Haguenau, interrupting supply lines for the entire sector.

                        Four-a-Chaux continued firing at any German troops that came within range for the next week and continued being shelled and dive-bombed (until the breach was wide enough for German troops to simply bypass it) and only surrendered a week after the official ceasefire after having been ordered to do so in writing by the French central command.
                        Last edited by kato; 02 Sep 20,, 20:08.

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                        • #42
                          True,but irrelevant.In the absence of the operational breakthroughs further West,local tactical successes meant nothing.Not even the French expected the Maginot Line to be perfectly sealed,since they had the experience of 1918.
                          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

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Mihais View Post
                            Not even the French expected the Maginot Line to be perfectly sealed,since they had the experience of 1918.
                            The Sere de Rivieres system, despite being 40 years old and considered obsolete at the time, was holding on for between 2 and 4 years depending on fort. Which can be considered pretty successful considering the amount of troops thrown at that line.

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