From: La Salle, Colorado
Here is the new AltHist for Between the Storms Lite 3.0:
The Treaty Mod for AE has been created to reflect a slightly different outcome of the historic Washington and London Naval Conferences to cover the time of 1922-1937. With little changes and tweaks to the Treaty System, a slightly a-historic outcome is produced. The Treaty Years give way to the ramping up of World War Two. Japan grapples with the consequences of exiting the Treaty System and works to create a more balanced Fleet under the able leadership of Naval Minister Yamamoto Isoroku.
The Washington Conference
Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes blueprint for naval disarmament gets out and the Japanese stonewall a Naval Conference for a full year. After considerable bickering and pressure being brought to bear, the Conference does take place in 1922 and disarmament is agreed upon, however, there are additions allowed due to the added time to get the meeting going. The whole Mutsu debate is scrapped due to Mutsu actually being ready and deployed at that point. While maintaining the 5-5-3 ratio between Great Britain, the United States, and Japan, there are several new outcomes:
1. The Japanese then argue to keep either a Tosa or one of the Amagi Class battlecruisers. The Americans carry the day in arguing for the Lexington-Class battlecruisers being completed. They gain the Ranger and Constellation (while scrapping BB Mississippi to maintain balance), Great Britain gets the option to build a pair of Super-Hoods (while additionally scrapping Royal Sovereign), and Japan completes Amagi-Class Ishitaka.
2. The whole subject of CVs is reworked:
a. Two 'experimental' CVs (two Hosho's and two Langley's) are allowed to be built for further carrier experimentation. The Americans use USS Langley and USS Ely throughout the years and start the war at the Panama Canal old, but still useful.
b. Two BC to CV conversions are still allowed (Lexington and Saratoga/Akagi and Amagi (still used after earthquake))but a further 9,000 Tons of treaty tonnage is added for one more CVL to be built by both Japan and USA. The Americans build the USS King’s Mountain (proto-Independence Class) and the Japanese back off the failed Ryujo design to build IJN Ryukaku (a proto-CVL as well).
3. The Big 3 allow for more research into 'Cruiser' Submarines. The American 'V Program is fulfilled with the building of 9 large submarines (3 each) of the Argonaut, Narwhal, and Flying Fish Classes. The Japanese add 3 KRS, 4 J1, and 3 J2-Class to their Fleet (since they are smaller displacement, more are built), and the French add another Surcouf.
The London Conference
Moving on to the London Conference (1930), the subject of Cruisers is re-worked:
1. Japan--at all costs--sticks to its goal of 70% for CAs (instead of 60%). This allows for GB and USA to build two more CAs (USA: Burlington and Rome) while Japan gains one.
2. Great Britain--who nearly scrapped the treaty due to the issue of CAs and CLs--stands firm over its argument and forces a larger tonnage for CLs. USA adds USS Anchorage and Dallas and Japan begins building their scaled-back Mogami-Cruisers.
3. Both Japan and the United States were looking at hybrid Cruiser—CVs and they force Great Britain, following the example set with the Washington BC—CV Conversions, to allow for two hybrids each to be built in the early-30s. USA builds CLV Charlotte and Jacksonville, GB builds CAV Melbourne and Wellington (sold/given to those respective navies), and Japan finishes up with CAV Kushiro and Tokachi. These hybrids are not true, useful CVLs not are they true, useful cruisers but they have a unique niche in 1941 and ALL of them can be converted into carriers later in 1942.
As detailed above, the building of additional large, cruiser submarines by the US Navy adds more tonnage to the allowable build of the Treaty signers sub fleet. Tonnage is raised from the historical 52,700 T to 64,000 T for the US, GB, and Japan.
***It should be noted that to take maximum advantage of the revised Treaty tonnages, Japan converts several of the oldest CLs into fast ML, builds additional Myoko-Class CAs and keeps the Mogami Class as 6” CLs.
Warship Construction AFTER the Treaty Years
Battleship Question and Decision
After abandoning the Treaty System, great discussion goes into the first new battleships to be built by Japan since the Nagato Class. The choices ends up centering on building two modern, fast conventional battlewagons as opposed to the mighty Yamato-Class. The prohibitive factors of cost, additional shipyard construction and time finally swing the decision to creating the Owari-Class (3x3 16.1" Rifles). While not sounding too exciting this change brings about a very interesting situation. Both Yamato and Musashi required their slipways to be expanded in length. The expansions were hugely expensive and took MONTHS to finish. By building the Owari-Class BBs the Japanese clear these slipways 12-18 months faster. The net result is two modern BBs (28 Knots) join the Kaigun BEFORE Pearl Harbor and their successors (two B-65 Class BCs) are either finished or near complete at war's start. Hoping to stay competitive vis-a-vis the Two Ocean Bill, two additional Owari-Class BBs are laid down just prior to the start of hostilities.
While debate rages on about the new battleship design, a new class of heavy cruiser is initiated. The proposed Tone-Class floatplane CA is discarded for a balanced, more capable cruiser. These large cruisers are better called command cruisers. The Niitaka-Class grows to over 15,000 tonnes and carries 3x4 8" guns, heavy torpedo armament, impressive secondaries, and strong floatplane complements. These fast, rugged cruisers are planned to be a six ship class. The initial two are complete at war's start, a second pair coming in late-1942, and a final pair in 1944.
The Rise of Admiral Yamamoto
As the Treaty Period ends, history takes another turn as Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku makes a greater contribution to the development of the Kaigun from 1936-1941. Yamamoto exerts a much greater influence first on the Japan Naval Aircraft Industry, then as Deputy Navy Minister, and finally as Navy Minister itself. Yamamoto chooses, at great risk to his life, to forego command of the Combined Fleet and dedicate himself to preparing Japan for the war he didn't want. He adds two new slipways (Shanghai and Port Arthur) for Fleet construction to facilitate a different, final pre-war expansion of the Kaigun. New and expanded Naval Yards, Heavy Industry, and Armaments are added at tremendous cost for the Japanese economy as the Admiral attempts to prepare Japan for a possibly long war. In so choosing to do this Yamamoto then changes the 4th Circle Building Plan dropping the 3rd and 4th Owari-Class Battleships for two improved Shokaku-Class CVs, a pair of Kawachi-Class fast Battlecruisers, an accelerated Light Cruiser deployment, and additional destroyers. Quick, reasonably cheap carrier conversions are moved forward seeing all of the pre-war CVs/CVLs deploy by December 7th or at slightly earlier dates in 1942. The highly unrealistic 5th Circle Plan is added in late-1941 and adds the 3rd and 4th Owari-Class BB back into building que. Despite Yamamoto's arguments this allocation of resources goes ahead with completion dates set in 1943-1944. Though only a few of these new ships are ready on December 7th, these additions make the Kaigun a force to be reckoned with well into 1944.
The Japan Naval Air Arm is changed so that everything is staked to the Zero Airframe with a specialization of the Zero into a Land-Based Interceptor as well as CV-Based Fighters. Research and production expansion is achieved by streamlining the air industry (cutting several models: J2M Jack) while bringing forward second generation aircraft: Judy, Jill, etc… By great effort the IJNAF deploys nearly all new aircraft on December 7th.
On the ground Yamamoto reorganizes the SNLF units into a Brigade-Sized offensive force and—knowing it will be a war of attrition—converts many Naval Guard into enhanced units with Coastal Defense artillery (using guns taken from refitted warships) for a stronger defensive unit. Additional small units are added to the IJN’s Troops and support units better reflecting Yamamoto's foresight into base building, defense, and expansion needs. While all these units are small and not in great number they promise to help the Japanese war effort.
The foresight of the Admiral pays off during late-1942 and 1943 as new ships, aircraft, and ground units enter into the Japanese Order-of-Battle, however, the cost is steep. Though expanded and using modern aircraft many Japanese Naval Air units start with their experience lowered to reflect the dilution of the experienced pilots into new units that start in Japan or arrive during 1942-1943.
Supply and fuel reserves start at a much reduced state. The Japanese MUST take the DEI as fast as possible!
Once war begins BTSL postulates Yamamoto’s influence upon the wartime Kaigun. Four more improved Shokaku-Class CVs are ordered, and the conversion of several CLs into CVLs is added. First class destroyers are accelerated and emphasis is shifted to the AA Akizuki-Class at the expense of the more balanced Yugumo’s. Manpower is at a premium within the Fleet so Submarines, Escorts, and ASW forces all see a major retooling reflecting the Japanese quality over quantity belief. Yamamoto chooses the immediately useful projects, large APs converting to CVEs, better 2nd-class destroyers, fast transports and coastal defense forces.
It should be noted that not all the changes are for the Japanese. Between the Storms brings major additions and more choice for the Allied Player. The Allies see continued major changes in their starting locations, new air units, the addition of Training Squadrons on mainland USA to allow for an American pilot training program, enhanced aircraft production numbers, additional Allied FP groups, several ground units, additional New Zealand and Australian ships, a French Squadron at Tahiti, the CL Eendract for the DEI, a CLAA conversion for the Omaha-CL, an additional pair of CVLs, and optional conversion of the Kittyhawk Class AKV, Tangier Class AV, and Cimarron Class AOs into CVEs.
The added warships reflect a ‘stopgap’ counter to the increased Japanese strength found at war’s start.
How well can YOU do to use these new tools OR how well can you stop the Japanese Navy in its tracks as the Allies?
In addition to its own special modifications, Between the Storms has been made fully compatible with DaBabes and thus has more ship classes than stock, and many more of the smaller vessels comprising these classes for both sides: yard oilers, coastal minesweepers, auxiliary subchasers, patrol boats, minefield tenders, and many others designed to give a more robust and realistic feel to the development, population, capabilities, and logistical support of bases and rear and operational areas. Database elements have been modified to provide more realistic results for AAA (flak) combat, ASW combat, and certain minor, but nevertheless fun, aspects of naval combat, like land bombardment and coastal defense fire and new modifications to ATA combat. The modifications include lining-up and unifying data elements within certain fields, so that things interface more smoothly, as well as substantial changes to the data elements themselves.
Garrison requirements have been raised in China as well as India to, hopefully, better reflect the political environment of the regions.
If using the special road movement pwhexe.dat file this serves to slow movement in the CBI Theatre.
As war clouds gather on the horizon, the United States makes several important decisions (1) to slightly reinforce the Asiatic Fleet with an additional CA, CL, and 4 modern DDs, (2) Admiral Hart also decides to follow his inner thoughts and begin development of Cebu as an alternate anchorage, and (3) the Scouting Force, commanded by Vc-Adm Wilson, is sent south to protect the ships helping to develop Pago Pago into a forward operating base. This powerful Task Force serves to aid the convoy going to the Philippines (The Pensacola TF) and the empty TF returning from the Philippines (The Chester TF).
In a major development Winston Churchill decides, at the last minute, to add HMS Renown to Force Z to better demonstrate British 'resolve' reflecting the seriousness of Japan's overt aggression. Repairs on HMS Indomitable are rushed and this valuable carrier is just days away from assisting Force Z by providing invaluable air cover. Is it too little, too late?
Japan deploys its few new ships to protect the Invasion TFs coming from Babeldoap and Cam Rahn Bay as the Kido Butai steams towards its rendezvous with destiny at Pearl Harbor…