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Taiwan, 1944 And Beyond - A What If


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#21 JasonJ

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 1318 PM

 

 

To the Chinese, it was clear that the Allies, esp. the USA, would have to defeat the Japanese, regardless of any local outcomes in China. Therefore, it became a matter of course that Mao and Chang were both withholding significant resources for the postwar settling of accounts, vice seeking every opportunity for battle with the JA.

 

If China was too expansive for the JA to conquer, it was equally so that the JA was too powerful to be defeated by Chinese forces, no matter what the level of US aid, outside of providing the US Sixth and Eighth Armies, plus equivalent air and naval support.

 

Makes sense for both sides of the Chinese to want to hold onto their strength until Japan was defeated by the US. With that said, were US military leaders such as General Stillwell aware that the KMT wanted to reserve strength when making criticism of Chang Kai-shek?

 

Maybe there were some US military leaders saw it better for KMT to be as ready as possible to fight the Chinese communists. Or maybe US military leaders underestimated the strength of the communists and just wanted KMT to apply as much pressure as possible on Japan so that Japan would fall faster and with perhaps a little less pain from US forces.

 

Stillwell kept trying to get CKS to move on the Japanese and was so insistent on it that CKS forced the recall of Stillwell.  The funny thing is that "Vinegar Joe" go on very well with both Marshall and Big Mac.  Marshall thought the world of Stillwell and would have given him the Morocco invasion if FDR hadn't sent Stillwell to China.  MacArthur gave him Tenth Army for the projected 1946 Japan invasion.

 

 

From some quick browsing, Stillwell seemed to have been short on resources during the CBI campaign. That might have made him more pressing on CKS. So I guess Stillwell would have been reinforcing the invasion of Tokyo. On mention of the invasion, while not significant by any means really to the outcome, but, while all sorts of bombing happened, it's said that tank production continued all the way until the end of the war. Of course material shortages and such were still prevalent but production of the Chi-To tank by Mitsubishi was planned to start in August 1945. Plans were of at most to have 170 produced by Mitsubishi and 30 by Kobe Steel throughout 1945. Although the cannon is said to have been the biggest bottleneck for production.


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#22 Ken Estes

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 1530 PM

Richard, Stillwell was flown out to take command of Tenth Army after the death of Simon B Buckner on Okinawa; having LtGen Roy Geiger USMC an aviator, in command was just too much for Marshall.


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#23 Richard Lindquist

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 1728 PM

Richard, Stillwell was flown out to take command of Tenth Army after the death of Simon B Buckner on Okinawa; having LtGen Roy Geiger USMC an aviator, in command was just too much for Marshall.

Not really, Stilwell was already in the theater on an inspection trip (Marshall sent him out there to see if he could work out a combat position with MacArthur).  MacArthur supposedly promised Stilwell that as soon as Tenth Army passed to his control (from Nimitz) he was going to relieve Buckner's ass and that Stilwell would be in line for the command (MacArthur really wanted Griswold for the position).  Stilwell spent some time on Okinawa "inspecting" and was very critical of Buckner (ulterior motive?).  Stilwell was on Guam on his way back to the US when news of Buckner's death came and Marshall told Stilwell to go to Okinawa and take over.  MacArthur concurred in this and Griswold was disappointed.

 

Tenth Army was to be composed only of Army divisions for its part in Operation Coronet.  One Marine Amphib Corps would be a part of Sixth Army for Operation Olympic and the other MAC would be a part of First Army (redeployed from Europe) in Operation Coronet. 


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#24 Richard Lindquist

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 1757 PM

 

 

 

To the Chinese, it was clear that the Allies, esp. the USA, would have to defeat the Japanese, regardless of any local outcomes in China. Therefore, it became a matter of course that Mao and Chang were both withholding significant resources for the postwar settling of accounts, vice seeking every opportunity for battle with the JA.

 

If China was too expansive for the JA to conquer, it was equally so that the JA was too powerful to be defeated by Chinese forces, no matter what the level of US aid, outside of providing the US Sixth and Eighth Armies, plus equivalent air and naval support.

 

Makes sense for both sides of the Chinese to want to hold onto their strength until Japan was defeated by the US. With that said, were US military leaders such as General Stillwell aware that the KMT wanted to reserve strength when making criticism of Chang Kai-shek?

 

Maybe there were some US military leaders saw it better for KMT to be as ready as possible to fight the Chinese communists. Or maybe US military leaders underestimated the strength of the communists and just wanted KMT to apply as much pressure as possible on Japan so that Japan would fall faster and with perhaps a little less pain from US forces.

 

Stillwell kept trying to get CKS to move on the Japanese and was so insistent on it that CKS forced the recall of Stillwell.  The funny thing is that "Vinegar Joe" go on very well with both Marshall and Big Mac.  Marshall thought the world of Stillwell and would have given him the Morocco invasion if FDR hadn't sent Stillwell to China.  MacArthur gave him Tenth Army for the projected 1946 Japan invasion.

 

 

From some quick browsing, Stillwell seemed to have been short on resources during the CBI campaign. That might have made him more pressing on CKS. So I guess Stillwell would have been reinforcing the invasion of Tokyo. On mention of the invasion, while not significant by any means really to the outcome, but, while all sorts of bombing happened, it's said that tank production continued all the way until the end of the war. Of course material shortages and such were still prevalent but production of the Chi-To tank by Mitsubishi was planned to start in August 1945. Plans were of at most to have 170 produced by Mitsubishi and 30 by Kobe Steel throughout 1945. Although the cannon is said to have been the biggest bottleneck for production.

 

For ground combat, the only US combat maneuver troops available to Stilwell was the 2,000 man 5307th Provisional Unit (Merrill's Marauders).  After Stilwell's departure from the theater, the remannts of the 5307th was filled up with replacements and reorganized as the 475th Infantry Regiment.  This regiment together with the dismounted 124th Cavalry Regt (Texas NG) made up MARS Force which again was the only US combat maneuver troops in theater.  


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#25 Cinaruco

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 2301 PM

I have a question that is directly related, but to the premise, Taiwan/Formosa getting invaded rather than the PI and Okinawa, rather than the conclusion that is the impact on Chinese internal politics. And that is, would have the ensuing casualties be less with both forces involved, meaning the USAAF/USA/USN/USMC forces, in their totality, just be used against a massive, single handed assault on Tai/Formosa rather than an split between Oki and the Philippines? I know this also includes Iwo Jima, but considering that I am asking about Okinawa not happening, the hypothetical timeline still stands.

 

There is ample sources on the defenses on the Phillipines and Oki, and the attacking forces, I know nothing of any projections on Formosa. Okinawa occured much later to the Phillipines, but the overall fighting of the PI campaign ended after Okinawa. I have always thought that if the resources for both had been directed at Taiwan, the losses of the attacking forces would have been fewer than what happened. Maybe the tempo increased, Taiwan was a far better base than, for example, Iwo Jima for air power.

 

I have always thought that casualties/force depletion would be more... cost effective, in the fight to destroy the Empire of Japan... if Taiwan had been the main objective in this time-frame rather than the Phillipines or Oki. Than what happened, IMHO, when Bug Out Doug had, for some reason -that I have some understanding off-, more influence over Nimitz.

 

Why did Mac had any prestige upgrade over Nimitz? Whatever the answer, its something I would never understand.


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#26 Ken Estes

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 0250 AM

 

Richard, Stillwell was flown out to take command of Tenth Army after the death of Simon B Buckner on Okinawa; having LtGen Roy Geiger USMC an aviator, in command was just too much for Marshall.

Not really, Stilwell was already in the theater on an inspection trip (Marshall sent him out there to see if he could work out a combat position with MacArthur).  MacArthur supposedly promised Stilwell that as soon as Tenth Army passed to his control (from Nimitz) he was going to relieve Buckner's ass and that Stilwell would be in line for the command (MacArthur really wanted Griswold for the position).  Stilwell spent some time on Okinawa "inspecting" and was very critical of Buckner (ulterior motive?).  Stilwell was on Guam on his way back to the US when news of Buckner's death came and Marshall told Stilwell to go to Okinawa and take over.  MacArthur concurred in this and Griswold was disappointed.

 

Tenth Army was to be composed only of Army divisions for its part in Operation Coronet.  One Marine Amphib Corps would be a part of Sixth Army for Operation Olympic and the other MAC would be a part of First Army (redeployed from Europe) in Operation Coronet. 

 

 

Point being, Tenth Army did not yet belong to MacArthur, was still under CINCPOA, and a USMC general was next senior, then in command of Tenth Army. The decision was Marshall's to send Stillwell to replace the Marine Corps general, doubtlessly a legacy of bad feelings over the relief of Ralph Smith at Saipan. LtGen Geiger was an excellent and experienced ground combat commander [viz. Guam] and could easily have continued in command through the end of the Battle of Okinawa.


Edited by Ken Estes, 12 October 2016 - 0546 AM.

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#27 Markus Becker

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 1031 AM

The Burma road couldn't be opened until a new road (the Ledo road) was built to connect it to India, or all of Burma down to Rangoon was recaptured.  Rangoon wasn't captured until May 1945, so that was no use. It had to be the Ledo road.

 

 

head -> desk, repeat!

 

 

Of course! I should have remembered that. I did read the official British history of the BCI and much of it was devoted to the very poor LOC on the Allied side of the front and the huge effort that was necessary to improve them. All that “connected” Eastern India and Burma by land were a few good weather tracks. They were suitable for a quick retreat or a pursuit of an already badly beaten enemy but that was it.

 

In 45 Slim’s forces raised the monsoon to Rangun because the port was the only way to get supplies during the monsoon season.

 

 

So Chiang not making an effort to reopen the Burma road in 1942/43 makes sense.


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#28 swerve

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 1429 PM

Yeah, the cross-border routes were crap, & the railways which stuff had to get to them along were very limited. There were very big rivers flowing the wrong way, forcing long diversions or transhipping onto ships (bridges? Dream on!)


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#29 Murph

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 1329 PM

What if the Big Mac had been ordered to send the 6th Army to Taiwan and take the island in early 1945?  The terrain sucks, and while the coastal areas could have been taken, the interior would have been horrid to fight in.  Would he have invited in KMT armies from China over the hump to help?


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#30 Markus Becker

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 1504 PM

The logistics of getting the Chinese out through Burma/India, around the occupied DEI and from the other side into Taiwan makes this idea look like DOA. 


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