Dr. Charles F. Knoblauch served as an Army contract surgeon. I believe it is beyond worthwhile to link the fascinating linked item about Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon. Remarkable after all this time. Fine read.
Last Edit: Nov 28, 2019 15:33:54 GMT -5 by herosrest
If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck ~ it is probably a goose.
Re: Somerville's Aggressiveness at Ceylon #30Post by mcaryf » 07 Feb 2010, 00:19
I have to say that I was not the person who suggested that the Japanese should consider establishing an air base at the mouth of the Red Sea. I have two things to say about this idea - first it is not a totally impractical suggestion as the Vichy owned Djibouti was actually precisely in this spot. It was not swept up by Allied forces until Dec 1942 so the Japanese might have had an initial welcome. However, the argument against it is that if the Japanese were interdicting the supplyline up the East African coast the two things the Allies would still not be short of were oil and aircraft. They could fly aircraft across Africa from Ghana on the West coast via Takoradi and they had good sources of oil from local Middle East refineries. Thus there would be little chance of a fixed Japanese air base being allowed to operate for long before visited by rather a lot of Allied bombers!
The difficulties the Allies would have with preventing a marine embargo on the other hand even with plentiful aircraft is that the East African coastline is 2,000nm long and they could not station anti-maritime aircraft in sufficient strength to fight a CVL all along that length.
I am afraid I rather lost track of your argument about logistics and I am not sure where you thought the supplyline was leading. However, I will assume you may have been talking about Ceylon and I will look at that. Let us assume the Japanese put a force of 40,000 men into Ceylon - that is roughly equivalent to 2 divisions. I have chosen 40,000 not just because you used it but it so happens that was a realistic number from the volunteers the Japanese had from the Indian POW's they had captured and whom eventually comprised the Indian National Army. There was no real reason why that force could not have been formed for action in the second half of 1942 which is the timescale here.
So we have two divisions. Now Allied Armoured Division in Normandy consumed on average 750 tons per day but forces deployed by the Japanese would typically require about half of this. Ceylon would also have local produce such as food so I think 300 tons per day per Division should be adequate. I am therefore looking for 600 tons per day or 18,000 tons per month. Let us be really pessimistic and assume that ships made the (2000nm) round trip from Rangoon to Ceylon loaded and unloaded 1once per month. This means I need 18,000 tons of shipping for that leg of the journey. Let us double this to count shipping the supplies from wherever they were produced to Rangoon, some oil of course was produced locally in Burma. I now have a need for 36,000 tons.
In the first week of April the IJN found and sank well over 100,000 tons of shipping in the Bay of Bengal. All my requirement needs is for them to put prize crews aboard about 1/3 of these ships rather than sink them. The shipping problem is now solved.
Of course if they continued this taking of prizes there were several hundred other Allied MS in use in the Indian Ocean so plenty to choose from once they controlled the seas having destroyed Somerville. Just as an example when the IJN did send subs to the Indian Ocean in early April they spotted some 40 Allied merchantmen laying offshore at Durban, many of these would have come through or been going to the Indian Ocean. Once the IJN subs started operating in the Mozambique Channel they sunk a further 100,000 tons of shipping in fairly quick time.
Of course with respect to the Middle East supplies I am more interested in the IJN stopping that traffic rather than capturing it. My patrol strategy outlined previously should more than adequately do that job by deterring the Allies from risking precious men and tanks until the sealanes were safe.
It is a pity that this was not the Pacific as Pedestal in the Pacific has a nice ring to it but in reality the Allies would need to have mounted Pedestal style convoys to get the supplies through and Pedestal deployed 3 x CV and 2 x BB and even that would have been insufficient if the IJN chose to deploy some of its main fleet units.
Not Many People - know the following. Wodda World of what ifs KI-87 Ki-78
Japanese intentions to mount a major offensive into the Indian Ocean were placed on hold in March 1942; since strong naval forces were needed in the western Pacific against the United States, and the Imperial Japanese Army refused to allocate troops for an invasion of Ceylon. The IJN developed Operation C as an aggressive raid into the Indian Ocean in early April to destroy the British Eastern Fleet and disrupt British lines of communications in the Bay of Bengal in support of the Burma Campaign.
British intelligence correctly assessed the Japanese strategy. The Americans were notified; the Doolittle Raid – which was already in progress – took on the additional role as a diversion.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto issued the initial order to proceed with Operation C to the IJN's southern force, commanded by Admiral Nobutake Kondō, on 9 March 1942.
10 March 1942 - Doolittle stated in his after-action report that the crews reached a "safely operational" level of training, despite several days when flying was not possible because of rain and fog. One aircraft was written off in a landing accident on 10 March and another was heavily damaged in a takeoff accident on 23 March.
The challenge of learning short field takeoffs in a short period of time had consequences. The first incident happened during a navigation flight on the afternoon of March 10, 1942. B-25B SN 40-2254 suffered nose wheel failure after landing at Ellington Field, Texas. None of the 6 men on board were injured. Pilot Richard O. Joyce had just landed and the aircraft developed a severe shimmy in the nose wheel about 400 feet from the end of the runway. Power was cut to the engines and the nose wheel collapsed. It was determined the cause was a malfunction of the shimmy dampener on the nose landing gear. The aircraft would eventually be repaired, but it would not return to Eglin during training.
8–13 March 1942 - The Invasion of Salamaua–Lae, Operation SR, was an operation by Imperial Japanese forces to occupy the Salamaua–Lae area in the Territory of New Guinea during the Pacific campaign of World War II. The Japanese invaded and occupied the location in order to construct an airfield and establish a base to cover and support the advance of Japanese forces into the eastern New Guinea and Coral Sea areas. The small Australian garrison in the area withdrew as the Japanese landed and did not contest the invasion.
10 March 1942 - In response to Japanese landings, a United States Navy aircraft carrier task force including the carriers Yorktown and Lexington struck the invading Japanese naval forces with carrier aircraft on 10 March. Supporting the carrier aircraft were eight B-17 bombers of the 435th Bombardment Squadron of the 19th Bombardment Group from Garbutt Field, Townsville, Australia and eight Royal Australian Air Force Hudson bombers of No. 32 Squadron from Port Moresby, New Guinea. The raid sank three transports and damaged several other ships. The raid sank or damaged two thirds of the invasion transports employed. Higher casualties among the Japanese Army personnel were only prevented by the fact that most of the transports had been close to shore and could beach themselves. The psychological impact was greater, putting the Japanese on notice that the Americans were willing to place their carriers at risk to oppose their moves in the region. The fear of interdiction by US carrier forces against future operations contributed to the decision by the Japanese to include fleet carriers in their later plan to invade Port Moresby, resulting in the Battle of the Coral Sea.
The IJN's Indian Ocean raid (Operation C) from 31 March to 10 April 1942, struck Allied shipping and naval bases around Ceylon, but failed to locate and destroy the British Eastern Fleet. The Eastern Fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir James Somerville, was forewarned by intelligence and sailed from its bases prior to the raid but its attempt to attack the Japanese was frustrated by poor tactical intelligence.
The British interpreted their position as precarious. Ceylon and the Eastern Fleet were required to safeguard the sea lines of communications through the Indian Ocean. The British expected the Japanese to continue threatening these lines. SIGINT suggested that the Japanese were preparing a deliberate advance across the Indian Ocean. The raid demonstrated that the RAF was too weak to defend Ceylon and the naval anchorages, and that the navy was ill-prepared to meet a Japanese carrier force.
The Eastern Fleet transferred its main base to Kilindini, Kenya, in East Africa, temporarily ceding the eastern Indian Ocean to the Japanese; from there it continued contesting control of the central Indian Ocean on better terms. Force A, including its two aircraft carriers, Indomitable and Formidable, retired to Bombay, and Somerville regularly deployed a fast carrier force to the central Indian Ocean over the next six months, during which he operated from or near Ceylon for nearly half that time. On 18 April, naval planning accorded the Eastern Fleet the highest priority for reinforcement, which also included transferring most of the carriers from the Home Fleet and the Mediterranean, with the intention of returning to Ceylon in September.
By June, Ceylon was defended by three RAF squadrons (64 aircraft, plus reserves), three strike squadrons (including one of Beauforts), and much improved radar and anti-aircraft defences. Ground defences were manned by two Australian army brigades. The invasion scare was short-lived. British intelligence detected the movement of the Japanese carrier force eastward in mid-April, and their deployment in the Pacific in mid-May. After the Battle of Midway in June, it was realized that there was no longer the threat of major Japanese naval activity in the Indian Ocean. In September, British intelligence predicted Japan would go over to the defensive. As a result, the Eastern Fleet was not reinforced as planned and, instead, shrank after early July.
Osamu T HAPRMB Sr. Member ***** Posts: 647
Re: Delay in launching of Operation C due to Marcus raid « Reply #1 on: October 11, 2010, 09:24:02 pm » Hi Rob,
The raid on Marcus by Enterprise was not the real reason for 5th Koku Sentai's delay in reaching Staring Bay. True, Zuikaku and Shokaku sortied in an attempt to intercept the U.S. carrier, but were relieved of that duty on 7 March and left Homeland waters on the 8th, headed for Staring Bay in order to rejoin KdB.
According to 5th Koku Sentai War Diary, as cited in Senshi Sosho Vol. 26 [N.E.I. and Bay of Bengal Navy Offensive Operations] pp. 623-624, a radio intercept was received at 1830 (JST) on 10 March indicating possible enemy carrier activity 350 degrees, approx. 600 naut. miles from Wake Island. 5th Koku Sentai was ordered to pursue on the 11th. The two carriers changed course in compliance. and radioed estimated arrival 190 degrees, 120 naut. miles from South Iwo by 0600 on 13 March, with intent to advance to 50 degrees, 300 naut. miles from Iwo Jima by 1200 on the 14th. But lack of subsequent radio intercepts caused Combined Fleet to conclude that the whole thing was a false alarm. Fuel expended in this detour, however, forced 5th Koku Sentai back to Yokosuka on the 16th to refuel. It then set out next day to join KdB at Staring Bay once more. The rest you know.
Who was transmitting, at 1830 (JST) on 10 March 1942; 600 naut. miles from Wake Island.??