Monday, February 13, 2017

What If Eisenhower (First) Fights the Japanese in the Pacific?

Awhile back I wrote a blog post about the alternate-history timeline "The Battle At Dawn," in which Pearl Harbor is better defended and the bloodied U.S. Pacific Fleet sails forth to duel the Japanese Combined near Midway Island. The AH.com user whose handle is Galveston Bay is writing a second story set in this same world entitled "The Shoestring Warriors of Luzon."

The point of divergence from our timeline is that Douglas MacArthur dies in a car accident when visiting the United States in 1937. MacArthur when he was good was very good (he was recommended for the Medal of Honor during the 1914 occupation of Veracruz, earned a lot of awards during World War I, and oversaw the Inch'on landings and subsequent campaign that would have destroyed North Korea were it not for China intervening), but when he was bad he was very, very bad.

The most relevant badness to this story is his failure to properly prepare the Philippines to face the Japanese during the lead-up to the Pacific War and his psychological paralysis that led to most of the U.S. aircraft in the Far East getting destroyed on the ground eight hours after Pearl Harbor when they had the opportunity to return the favor and attack Japanese airbases on Taiwan when weather had their aircraft grounded.

(Holy crap, how could someone who'd demonstrated that much talent on other occasions drop the bomb this absolutely badly? He should have gotten the Medal for some of the stuff he did when he was a lot younger--the Filipino farble should have ended his career, or at the very least not been rewarded.)

So with MacArthur out of the way, Eisenhower, who'd served under MacArthur, takes his position in the Philippines. His plans for the Filipino military are much less grandiose than MacArthur's, but they're implemented a lot more competently. Consequently, although the Filipino forces are smaller than those that faced the Japanese in our history, they're much better-trained, better-equipped, and better-organized. The Japanese, especially since they've taken worse lumps fighting a major naval battle soon after Pearl Harbor, are going to face a much tougher fight.

Right now we're almost to the Japanese attack on the Philippines, with the Japanese having already attacked Pearl Harbor. Galveston Bay has promised this is the first of three parts and there will be other stories detailing the various campaigns of this alternate Pacific War. I still intend to remain self-banned from the site to focus on other obligations, but I will definitely keep you all posted about his projects.

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