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Taiwan, 1944 And Beyond - A What If

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Richard, Stillwell was flown out to take command of Tenth Army after the death of Simon B Buckner on Okinawa; having LtGen Roy Geiger USMC an aviator, in command was just too much for Marshall.

Not really, Stilwell was already in the theater on an inspection trip (Marshall sent him out there to see if he could work out a combat position with MacArthur). MacArthur supposedly promised Stilwell that as soon as Tenth Army passed to his control (from Nimitz) he was going to relieve Buckner's ass and that Stilwell would be in line for the command (MacArthur really wanted Griswold for the position). Stilwell spent some time on Okinawa "inspecting" and was very critical of Buckner (ulterior motive?). Stilwell was on Guam on his way back to the US when news of Buckner's death came and Marshall told Stilwell to go to Okinawa and take over. MacArthur concurred in this and Griswold was disappointed.


Tenth Army was to be composed only of Army divisions for its part in Operation Coronet. One Marine Amphib Corps would be a part of Sixth Army for Operation Olympic and the other MAC would be a part of First Army (redeployed from Europe) in Operation Coronet.



Point being, Tenth Army did not yet belong to MacArthur, was still under CINCPOA, and a USMC general was next senior, then in command of Tenth Army. The decision was Marshall's to send Stillwell to replace the Marine Corps general, doubtlessly a legacy of bad feelings over the relief of Ralph Smith at Saipan. LtGen Geiger was an excellent and experienced ground combat commander [viz. Guam] and could easily have continued in command through the end of the Battle of Okinawa.

Edited by Ken Estes
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The Burma road couldn't be opened until a new road (the Ledo road) was built to connect it to India, or all of Burma down to Rangoon was recaptured. Rangoon wasn't captured until May 1945, so that was no use. It had to be the Ledo road.



head -> desk, repeat!



Of course! I should have remembered that. I did read the official British history of the BCI and much of it was devoted to the very poor LOC on the Allied side of the front and the huge effort that was necessary to improve them. All that “connected” Eastern India and Burma by land were a few good weather tracks. They were suitable for a quick retreat or a pursuit of an already badly beaten enemy but that was it.


In 45 Slim’s forces raised the monsoon to Rangun because the port was the only way to get supplies during the monsoon season.



So Chiang not making an effort to reopen the Burma road in 1942/43 makes sense.

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Yeah, the cross-border routes were crap, & the railways which stuff had to get to them along were very limited. There were very big rivers flowing the wrong way, forcing long diversions or transhipping onto ships (bridges? Dream on!)

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  • 2 years later...

What if the Big Mac had been ordered to send the 6th Army to Taiwan and take the island in early 1945? The terrain sucks, and while the coastal areas could have been taken, the interior would have been horrid to fight in. Would he have invited in KMT armies from China over the hump to help?

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