Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4029
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby phavoc » Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:13 pm

For anyone interested or looking for more background for logistics in their traveller campaign, this web page has a lot of interesting info on how the USN, UK and Japanese did their supply efforts across the Pacific.

http://www.pwencycl.kgbudge.com/L/o/Logistics.htm
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2930
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby locarno24 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:39 am

Interesting read.
Definitely agree that - especially in a naval campaign - logistics are a key element. The whole "maintenance/spare parts" allowance is one often overlooked in the 1e rules, as is supply of consumables for the crew (largely because it's just handwaved under the stateroom allowance). Add in that most weapons in the traveller arsenal aren't ammo-consuming and it's easy to ignore it.

Note that whilst the Japanese did make several blunders in their planning, they didn't ignore it entirely - 'planning for a short war', or at least a short campaign, is still a plan - you just need a follow-up plan for what you do next. It's similar to a lot of warsaw pact doctrine in the cold war, which didn't resupply units in the field - when you have a numerical advantage, 'using up' a unit's combat potential, then pulling it back to proper facilities whilst the next division in the reserve takes point, and so on, has its advantages (it's a lot simpler, for starters, which is good when you're trying to manage a large, mostly conscripted, force).

There's a book called "the science of war" which is quite a good read, and goes into logistics planning quite a bit, too.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5525
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby Condottiere » Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:06 pm

Fuel, ammunition, water, food and parts.

While you could live off the land with a water source, a fuel processor, Twinkies, and a three dee printer, a backup plan wouldn't be a bad idea.
steve98052
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 467
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby steve98052 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:52 pm

locarno24 wrote:
Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:39 am
Note that whilst the Japanese did make several blunders in their planning, they didn't ignore it entirely - 'planning for a short war', or at least a short campaign, is still a plan - you just need a follow-up plan for what you do next.
The plan for a short war -- make a devastating assault, then seek peace on favorable terms -- was pretty much all they had available to them. Yamamoto knew that, and told all who would listen, that US industrial capacity and natural resources would vastly overwhelm Japan in an extended war. He argued that Japan shouldn't go to war with the US at all for that reason, but tried his best to accomplish the short war strategy when the politicians disregarded his advice against war with the US.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5525
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby Condottiere » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:48 am

Image
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2930
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby locarno24 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:44 am

Condottiere wrote:Image
Indeed. No-one said it was a good plan.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4029
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby phavoc » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:15 pm

I think the Japanese suffered from a lack of experience, as well as perhaps some self-inflicted myopia when it comes to warfare. Logistics is very unglamourous, but without it all the best generals and fighters are useless. Even today there are militaries that are very flashy but lack the depth a well-thought out supply chain provides. Even the US is suffering today from a lack of focus on it's supply chain. Ships are stuck in port, aircraft grounded all from a lack of spares.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5525
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby Condottiere » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:05 pm

The Japanese over extended themselves, and Yamamoto pointed that out.

They were looking for divine providence to help them out.

The Army may have been clueless.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4029
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby phavoc » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:02 am

There's no question they assumed a great deal that was incorrect.

But Yamamoto pointed out that attacking America would be waking the sleeping giant. He was very correct in stating that Japan could not match the productivity of America, hence their attempt to quickly seize as much as they could and get the US to negotiate an armistance.

However the leadership still didn't give basic logistics much weight. Plus even thought hey had been fighting a land war in Asia with the Russians they never fielded a true heavy tank, nor did they do a lot to mechanize their infantry units. For whatever reasons they didn't seem to think they needed a modern supply chain.
PsiTraveller
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 655
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:47 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby PsiTraveller » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:19 am

I read a book that mentioned that if the Japanese had destroyed the fuel tankage on the island it would have changed things a great deal and delayed the US returning to the area for months as they built up the yard and then filled it.

So let's hear it for TankRons and gas giants to keep the fuel tanks full.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5525
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby Condottiere » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:25 am

Apparently, unless you have smart weapons, it's really hard to wipe out a tank farm, outside after the first successful hit, the smoke starts making direct targetting even harder.

The Japanese were operating on fumes, and allocation of resources were pretty much either/or, so either Yamato, or a tank division.

I don't know if MacArthur should have retreated to Bataan, but Singapore was a very near run thing for them.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4029
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby phavoc » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:39 am

PsiTraveller wrote:
Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:19 am
I read a book that mentioned that if the Japanese had destroyed the fuel tankage on the island it would have changed things a great deal and delayed the US returning to the area for months as they built up the yard and then filled it.

So let's hear it for TankRons and gas giants to keep the fuel tanks full.
Yep. The tank farm was an easy target and they were fixated on the battleships and the missing carriers. The supposed third wave of attacks was supposed to be targeting facilities and the fuel farm. But Nagumo was worried about additional air losses (about 2/3 of his losses was on 2nd wave). And he didn't know where the US carriers were. But had he attacked the dry docks, supply depots and fuel farm the US would have never been able to mount an offensive for probably a year. It was a huge strategic blunder - in hindsight. At the time Nagumo had a great victory. Who knows what might have happened had a few subs found the fleet and damaged/sank one or more of their carriers.

Coulda/woulda/shoulda.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4029
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby phavoc » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:42 am

Condottiere wrote:
Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:25 am
Apparently, unless you have smart weapons, it's really hard to wipe out a tank farm, outside after the first successful hit, the smoke starts making direct targetting even harder.

The Japanese were operating on fumes, and allocation of resources were pretty much either/or, so either Yamato, or a tank division.

I don't know if MacArthur should have retreated to Bataan, but Singapore was a very near run thing for them.
Not terribly hard if you have a dozen fighters or bombers to just strafe/strafe/strafe. The fuel farm had zero defenses and the tanks themselves were not designed to resist other tanks blowing up. A few passes by a squadron, even shooting in the smoke, would have gutted the place. The bombers dropping HE into gas on the ground would have done the rest of the work for them. And the tanks were lined up in such nice little rows, just like all the planes and ships.

Plus the fuel farm was right next to the submarine base. I'm sure the Japanese regretted not taking out THAT sucker.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5525
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby Condottiere » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:56 am

For the third strike, I think they lost fifty aircraft, including thirty they had to dump overboard as being unrepairable.

The other issue was that the third strike would need to make a night landing, and most of the planes had removed their radios to lighten the load.

I think Nagumo should have risked a third strike, but he also should have planned better to avoid a night landing. Then he should have hunted down the carriers, but the Japanese were operating at the very distant end of their logistical train.
AndrewW
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4069
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:57 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby AndrewW » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:37 am

Condottiere wrote:
Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:56 am
I think Nagumo should have risked a third strike, but he also should have planned better to avoid a night landing. Then he should have hunted down the carriers, but the Japanese were operating at the very distant end of their logistical train.
Or made sure the carriers where in port prior to the attack.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5525
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby Condottiere » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:51 pm

I think it was now or never.

Neither side was constrained by treaty limitations, and were actively constructing new hulls and designs, but just by looking at the ships that were commissioned soon after, the Americans would have vast numerical superiority.
steve98052
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 467
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby steve98052 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:17 pm

I think the simple explanation is that Japan didn't have the capability to defeat the US's industrial capacity, let alone its agricultural capacity, and they knew it. That left two options: win a short war, lose a long war, or don't go to war. The extreme nationalists took the last off the table, and obviously no one wanted to lose, so the military was stuck with the first. Sure, the Japanese military lacked respect for logistics as a military specialization, but that wasn't the reason they neglected it -- they just knew that they weren't going to win a war of factories and farms, so they had to win a war of technology (aircraft carriers) and surprise. They didn't have a backup plan.
Rick
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1452
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 9:13 am
Location: Lincoln, UK

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby Rick » Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:59 pm

Bringing it back to Traveller for a moment. :D

A scenario where one system has launched a desperate attack against another, both are unprepared for a long drawn-out war of attrition and small actions over planetoids and minor planets, could be great for an enterprising group of PC's; running cargoes past blockades or bringing much needed supplies to a blockading force, running the gauntlet of outlying patrols trying to pick them off. You could build an entire campaign around this simple concept; high risk, high reward cargoes in a sellers market with intrigue and danger at every turn! Sort of a cross between PT-109 and the Millennium Falcon! :P
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4029
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby phavoc » Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:04 am

Rick wrote:
Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:59 pm
Bringing it back to Traveller for a moment. :D

A scenario where one system has launched a desperate attack against another, both are unprepared for a long drawn-out war of attrition and small actions over planetoids and minor planets, could be great for an enterprising group of PC's; running cargoes past blockades or bringing much needed supplies to a blockading force, running the gauntlet of outlying patrols trying to pick them off. You could build an entire campaign around this simple concept; high risk, high reward cargoes in a sellers market with intrigue and danger at every turn! Sort of a cross between PT-109 and the Millennium Falcon! :P
Indeed, it brings up a number of possibilities. First the blockade running. Secondly you have to watch out for privateers (or you get to act as one with a letter of marque). Thirdly you may have to deal with pirates. And finally, you never know exactly how the Imperium might react - will that newly-minted Commander in his escort see engaging 'pirates' as way to get some action? Will they embargo everyone?? Or if enough credits are slipped through the airlock they might decide to help one side or the other. :)
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5525
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Logistics in the Pacific during WW2

Postby Condottiere » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:39 am

Traveller has five dimensions to work with.

Sneaking into a system isn't hard, it's the last hundred diameter dash.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Galadrion and 13 guests