Air campaign vs. DEI oil fields: when how?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by tomo pauk, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    #1 tomo pauk, Nov 11, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
    The riches of South East Asia were one of the reasons (main reason?) for the Imperial Japan to start the war vs. Western countries. The capture of the oil fields in Dutch East Indies was one of main goals.
    What were the options for Allies to try and destroy the oil extraction refinement machinery, rendering that useless for the needs of Japan? When it was feasible to strike with B-17/24, and when with B-29? Any hope for escorted raids?
     
  2. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    380th bomb group B-24's attack Borneo oil installations from Darwin in 43/44, I would have to check for exact dates but these were I believe the longest raids of the war. During the Borneo invasions of 45, both USAAF and RAAF units attacked oil storage tanks in the fear the Japanese would empty and ignite the oil on the Australian beach heads.
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    oceania_pol01.jpg

    IMO New Guinea had little value to the Japanese or Allied war effort. Leave the entire island to wither on the vine with only a toe hold remaining at Port Moresby.

    U.S. and Australian Army divisions historically piddled away in Northern New Guinea should be used to seize Timor. From there you hop west through the East Indies, building /rebuilding airfields as you go. The U.S. Army had plenty of aircraft even during 1942 so there's no excuse for not having air superiority. East Indies Oil fields can be bombed from Timor. However the South Pacific offensive should plan to seize the oilfields with ground troops.
     
  4. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Disagree. How long do you think an Allied garrison is going to last at Moresby, being wedged between a mountain range and the sea? If the Japanese control New Guinea, they would be able to neutralise Northern Australian air and Naval bases and effectively cut sea lanes to Northern and North Eastern Australia. How are you able to supply your "toe hold" in Port Moresby? How are you going to launch a seaborne invasion of Timor?

    And Japanese air and ground units historically anniliated in New Guinea would be able to concentrate its forces on the Allied effort to take Timor. Where is your invasion launched from, Darwin? Any invasion force would be fighting its way from Australia to Timor and I don't think there would be enough P-38's and Beaufighters to escort them the whole way. Throw into the mix IJN surface units from Sourabaya and you would have a reverse "Battle of the Bismarck Sea" on your hands.

    The USAAF may have had plenty of aircraft in 1942, but not in this theatre, and certainly not enough with a decent range required in your scenario.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Forever as long as we maintain air superiority. The IJA had few troops and even less logistical support on New Guinea so they cannot put together a strong offensive.

    Even if Japan somehow seized Port Moresby what difference would it make? Allied aircraft in Australia would smother the place with bombs. So a Japanese controlled Port Moresby could not be developed into a major military base.
     
  6. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Allied airpower wasn't really being felt until middle 1943.

    Darwin was about as far from the logistical pipeline as one could get. Forget it. It isn't going to be of any help for an invasion until 1944 at the earliest. And that's assuming the allies intended to reinforce it to a major base of operations at the expense of other theaters.

    While an invasion of Timor or one of the other islands offers tantalizing rewards; it also has the drawbacks in that the allies would not have a dominating presence at sea or the air.

    The USN was rightly worried about the concentration of Japanese power throughout the SE Pacific at Truk and Rabaul. MacArthur had his job to do to help neutralize that threat by keeping Japanese assets busy and in constant action. Any deviation from that plan was not going to be well received by the JCS.

    In the end, having another B24 group or two to have a sustained (but limited) set of operations on the japanese controlled refineries would have good results. Even if a refinery is only brought off line for a few days, that could be a very critical delay, considering how critical fuel supplies were for the Japanese.
     
  7. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Any luck to give it a try with the B-29s? Maybe less (or none?) B-29s in China, going in Australia instead?
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Hundreds of U.S. aircraft enroute to the Philippines were diverted to Australia during early 1942.
    U.S. 41st Infantry Division arrived in Australia during April 1942.
    U.S. 32nd Infantry Division arrived in Australia during May 1942.

    This was just the tip of the iceberg. By fall 1942 a flood of American military units and equipment were pouring into Australia.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Why wait until 1944 when Big Mac has an overwhelming military force during 1943?
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The first 2/3 (roughly) of the 41st arrived in April, the rest arrived in May. The last group includes 3/4s of the Divisional artillery. The division needs months of training.


    Yes and it was pretty much a dis-organized mess. It needed even more training than the 41st Division but spent it's first few months in Australia building first one camp and then a second one after it was moved, delaying training considerably. On 13 September 1942 MacArthur ordered parts of the 32nd Division to Papua New Guinea even though they had less than two months of training for the attack on Buno-Gona Some of the results of this attack were "Of the 9,825 men of the 32nd Division who entered combat, 7,125 (66%) were casualties due to illness (with 2,952 requiring hospitalization), 586 were killed in action, 1,954 were wounded in action, and 100 more died from other causes. The total casualty count of 9,956 exceeded the Division's entire battle strength"

    Bad intelligence, decisions as to what support weapons were to be used were made above division command level by people who had NO experience in jungle warfare and who thought planes could replace conventional artillery.

    Syscom3 is correct about Darwin being the about the last stop/leak in the pipeline. Try taking a look at the map of Australia. The Troops were landed in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. That is like landing troops in Charleston SC, Florida and New Orleans and then trying to get them to Michigan. Only trouble is there is no paved road from Adelaide to Darwin and each state in Australia used a different railroad gauge. Trains had to unload and load at the borders ( or switch wheel sets). The Adelaide to Darwin RR was also notoriously slow. I am not sure when it connected, it didn't in 1929.
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    With Big Mac in charge I'm not surprised. He was responsible for training the Philippine Army from 1936 onward. Five years later they still weren't properly trained.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Standard US Army Doctrine at the time was that a Division needed to train together for one year. The 32nd Division was originally earmarked for Europe and in fact it's combat engineer battalion (it's oldest existing unit) was in mid Ocean when the rest of the Division was ordered cross country from Massachusetts to the west coast for deployment to Australia. A different combat engineer battalion was attached to the unit and 3,000 men fresh from boot camp joined the Division to make up numbers in San Francisco just days before boarding the ships. You don't bring up such a hodge-podge of units and replacements/reinforcements up to combat standard in a couple of months no matter which general is in charge.

    Old Dougie has a lot to answer for, untrained troops from the US is not one of them.
     
  13. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Dougie may have some things to answer for but neither strategy nor execution of strategy in three dimensional warfare to minimize casualties and maximize reach was among them. Evene manchester who arguably started a hatchet job with American Ceasar admitted his respect. Nobody did it better.
     
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