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Subject: Hypothetical: The RAAF is not formed until after WWII
Volkodav    4/10/2010 7:45:26 AM
Australia has no independent airforce going into WWII and instead has had 20 decades to develop the naval and army air arms that evolved instead. An interesting side effect I can see from the start is the AFC would have made up a very large proportion of the permanent army (due to the militia basis of most of the force) meaning that come WWII, pilots would have been very well represented amongst the armys senior staff. During WWI every RAN cruiser and the battle cruiser HMAS Australia all had flying off platforms fitted, had the RAN been permitted to control their own air support between the wars could we perhaps have seen a proper carrier built instead of the seaplane carrier HMAS Albatross?
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Volkodav    Whoops   4/10/2010 7:50:38 AM
20 decades - should read 2 decades or 20 years!
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Volkodav       4/20/2010 9:26:24 AM
The battlecruiser HMAS Australia could have been converted into a carrier, similar in arrangement to HMS Eagle, instead of being scuttled.  The expense would probably cost the two Counties, seaplane carrier and two Oberons ordered in the late 20's but would have been worth it to have deployed a carrier in the 20's and 30's.  The four WWI vintage Town class light cruisers could have been converted into AA cruisers with twin 4" replacing most of the 6" singles.
In the lead up to WWII modern ships (less the seaplane carrier) would have been ordered to replace the carrier and cruisers.  An Ark Royal, in preference to Illustrious two or three Towns, and either the three improved Leanders, or a larger number of modified Didos (4.5" inplace of 5.25") to serve as carrier escorts.  Last but not least a flotilla of modified Tribals or Js (4" twins inplace of 4.7")
Feasible, affordable but did not happen, in part because there was a RAAF which resulted in a very narrow, blinkered view of air power that did not involve aircraft carriers.  There is nothing the RAAF achieved during WWII that an AFC or Army Air Corps could not have done, especially as much of the early action was under the operational command of the RAF.  Later in the Pacific the higher echelons of RAAF command staff proved to be seriously lacking in both talent and leadership, while the combat leaders were of much higher quality and would likely have performed as well, if not better under Army command.
The existence of a between wars RAN FAA, on the other hand, would have had a dramatic impact on the performance and effectiveness of the RAN throughout WWII and resulted in us being far better equipped to counter the Japanese threat.
Post WWII the highly effective combat leaders of the AFC / AAC would have become the leaders of the newly raised RAAF, leaving Australia with three more capable and better balanced services than they had in the real world.
Forming the RAAF in 1921 wasted money through unnecessary duplication of staffs and cost the army and RAN the air support they needed in WWII.
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