Eighty years on. 23rd August 1940


Following yesterday’s gale, cloudy weather and showers prevented large German raids.  British aircrews rested and recuperated while airfields were repaired.  German reconnaissance missions were flown over the Channel and single aircraft attacked South coast towns in Devon and Hampshire and towns in the Midlands.  Off the East coast of Scotland  Heinkel He115 torpedo bombers sank two merchant ships and damaged another.  There was widespread bombing of British towns overnight.  Three German bombers were shot down but the RAF lost no fighters.  Since the big raid of 15th August, the RAF had increased its strength by 85 fighters (20 Spitfires and 65 Hurricanes).

The British destroyer HMS Hostile hit a mine which broke her back eighteen miles off Cape Bon, Tunisia.  Hostile was sunk by torpedoes from HMS Hero.

The Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney, Australian destroyer HMAS Stuart and British destroyers HMS Diamond, Ilex & Juno shelled the Italian seaplane base at Bomba, Libya.

U-37 torpedoed two steamers in the Atlantic 500 miles West of Ireland;the Norwegian SS Keret and the British SS Severn Leigh.

King George VI commanded that the names of all Germans and Italians be stricken from the lists of British titles and decorations.  The order affected Benito Mussolini, who had been made a member of the Order of the Bath in 1923, as well as King Victor Emmanuel III who had been a member of the Order of the Garter.  No prominent Nazis were affected as few Germans held any British titles.

Game day 358.  Week 52. 

Some changes. Japanese economy

For some months I have been accumulating data about the participant countries in the Second World War to enhance my game.  As we approach the first anniversary of this documentary blog I am converting the game to a more detailed version.

I will start with Japan, as at 23rd August 1940.

Japan is a country of 72 million people, with additional populations amounting to 274 million in Korea, Manchukuo and Occupied China.  The food resources of these areas total 6.23 million tons per week, against a need of 6.06 million tons.  Japan is self-sufficient as regards food.

Japan has coal production capacity of 760,000 tons per week, with steelworks capacity of 90,000 tons of steel per week.  The smelting plants can produce 40,000 tons of iron from 80,000 tons of ore, of which there is no natural resource, using 40,000 tons of coal in the process.

So, to maintain industrial output, Japan must import 80,000 tons of iron ore and 50,000 tons of steel per week.  This requires a flow of 52 cargo ships (at 2,500 tons each – the global average trading ship size).  Japan has 2,400 ships, which if all in steam would burn 420,000 tons of coal per week.  The smelting works need a further 40,000 tons of coal, so Japan could be exporting excess coal to trade for ore and steel.

Japan will also need to import oil for her ships and aircraft.  Japan’s navy consists of (using 1941 data): 10 carriers, 10 battleships, 36 cruisers, 113 destroyers and 83 submarines.  If all in action, they would consume 10 x 100 + 10 x 100 + 36 x 80 + 113 x 40 + 83 x 20 tons of oil per day.  Japan must allow for 80,000 tons of oil per week for the navy, all of which must be imported.

The Air Force consists of (based on 15 aircraft per squadron):  50 fighter squadrons, 86 bomber squadrons, 20 reconnaissance squadrons and 26 training and other squadrons.  Concerning ourselves only with fighters and bombers, the maximum fuel load was about 150 tons per mission for bombers and 10 tons per mission for fighters.  Allowing for one mission per week per squadron, Japan needs around 15,000 tons of aviation fuel per week.  This should be doubled for operational conditions.

A useful compromise would be to import 100,000 tons of oil per week for the Navy and Air Force.

So, where is Japan to obtain 100,000 tons of oil, 80,000 tons of iron ore and 50,000 tons of steel, and do those countries need coal, which is the main Japanese surplus?

The Dutch East Indies produce 120,000 tons of oil per week.  This is the closest option.  Iron ore must come from the U.S.A. or U.S.S.R., with a joint total of 1,160,000 tons.  The U.S.S.R. is the obvious choice.  As for processed steel, the U.S.A. has embargoed the export of war production materials to Japan, so the U.S.S.R. is the only choice.

Thus the Japanese merchant fleet may be set into operation.  Japan needs 80,000 tons of iron ore and 50,000 tons of steel from the U.S.S.R. per week and 120,000 tons of oil from the Dutch East Indies.  This means 100 ships per week docking at Japanese ports.  Ships were deployed accordingly. It was assumed that the shipping process was already in operation.

For iron ore and steel from the U.S.S.R. it took four days to transport, and so 128 ships were deployed on the shipping route from Vladivostok to Kobe.  Oil had to be obtained from the Dutch East Indies.  Batavia could supply 120,000 tons per week, so that became the main supply.  This would require a constant flow of 480 ships.

The Japanese merchant fleet was burning 25,200 tons of coal per day to deliver oil, iron and steel to the Japanese home islands.

As to the army, I used the 1941 dispositions of 10 divisions deployed in China, 2 in Japan, 2 in Korea and 14 in Manchukuo. (There were more 16 more divisions with unknown deployment in 1941, but I treated these as new recruits to appear after the current game time).  Japan had 1,500,000 men in the army in December 1941.  I have decided to deploy the 28 divisions as known, allowing 35,000 men per division.  As far as possible I have placed the divisions where they are in the game so far, except for greater numbers in Manchukuo.  I diced for each unit to decide if it were armoured.  If so, it an armoured division would take the place of two infantry units. 

I deployed the air force units (60 fighter and 86 bomber squadrons) largely where they were in the game.

Next to the navy.  I previously had units deployed at Okinawa, Shanghai and the home islands.  I distributed the new units as task forces in port in these areas with an approximately equal distribution of ship types.

Published by

General Whiskers

Wargaming butterfly (mainly solo), unpainted model figure amasser, and Historical Re-enactor of the black powder era.

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