Having assessed the likely British plan, US planners broadly concluded that:
- Naval situation in the Atlantic would at best be a standoff with neither side having no significant advantage, OR the British would sabotage the Panama Canal and gain a decisive advantage
- British efforts to lodge an invasion force would likely be staged using Canada as a forward operating base
- British Cruiser and submarine forces operating out of Canada and the Carribean would be sufficient to blockade the majority of merchant traffic, and
- British threats to the North East of the US would likely be effective before the American industrial and manpower superiority could be mobilised.
|Allied convoy assembles in Halifax: Exactly what the US planners wanted to prevent|
The US Army had only limited initial resources but those available would strike north rapidly. Within 3 days of mobilisation, a Corps of 3 Divisions (some 25,000 troops) would muster at Boston. Depending on the situation, they could move north through Maine using the rail network to enhance their mobility, or proceed north under fleet escort to conduct an amphibious attack on Halifax. In considering the lessons of WW1, US submarine warfare would also be waged to interdict Canada from British shipping and deny the buildup of the forces required to undertake an invasion of the US and deploy accordingly.
|The best defence...|
Back at Sea, the short period before the Royal Navy appearing in strength was critical. The US Atlantic fleet (4 Battleships plus cruiser support) would be used to strike British possessions. Initial targets were Jamaica, the Bahamas and Bermuda, to be followed up if possible with attacks on Trinidad, St Lucia and British possessions in the West Indies. These would reduce the use of these bases to interdict merchant traffic and help safeguard the Panama Canal. On the great lakes and in the pacific Canadian ports would be blockaded.
Overall, the US plan was to strike quickly to remove Canada as a staging point, prevent a British buildup and allow US mobilisation efforts to come to fruition. As unlikely as the situation was deemed, it was deemed to be a valid strategy.
Should Japan enter the War on the British side, a join War Plan Red-Orange would be activated (War Plan Orange being the contingency plan for war against Japan). British Naval strength was seen to be the biggest threat and the intent was to prosecute a "Red First" policy, analogously prescient to the 'Europe First' policy of WW2.
One point to consider - War Plan Red was developed in 1927 after the Geneva Naval Conference of that year, and was approved in 1930. Transplant this scenario to a VSF setting and a few different aspects come into play. The demilitarisation of the US-Canadian boarder, key to the US twentieth century plan, started in the late 1870s. Residual infrastructure could still be present and even be reactivated in a period of tension. Use of such facilities for aeronef raids into the US might degrade or delay the initial thrust into Halifax. Alternatively, an RN aquanef blockade could be established off the East Coast prior to hostilities, nullifying the initial US freedom of acton. Lots of possibilities.
Alternatively, if it appeals to you as is then there is a board game from Avalanche Press you may wish to investigate (thanks Michael P, for the information).