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Thread: WWII what-ifs

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doktor View Post
    Col,

    What's your take on Soviet offensive in 1942 vs half Barbarossa? Or even in 1941.
    What do you mean by half BARABAROSA? Any Soviet offensive that early in the war would be interesting. The Winter War showed that at least intellectually the Soviets had the concepts down but execution remained illusory. I strongly suspect success would depend on who would be in charge. If it were the Soviet Generals of BARBAROSA, they would be met with disaster. If they were the Generals of MARS and URANUS, the Germans would received a pounding that they would be not able to recover.
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    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Asty suggested half or so would go Turkey and Suez. So, weakened German defenses vs Soviets on offensive in 1941/42 was my question.
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    col,

    No, the Soviets would not. The battle space would not allow any more Soviet armies to be lost than they actually did in BARBAROSA.
    yes. but to put it another way, it was going to be a -lot- easier for Germans to resupply/reinforce from '39 borders than it would be just outside of Moscow and Stalingrad.

    If they were the Generals of MARS and URANUS, the Germans would received a pounding that they would be not able to recover.
    considering how long it took for the Soviets to eject the Germans just from their home territory, I have my doubts. they had good commanders by 1942-1943 because the incompetents were all killed off or shipped off to the gulag or captured in 1941. they'd be attacking in a battle of maneuver with green troops, far harder than defending in an urban fight, where Soviet troops gained a lot of battle experience.

    and they'd be doing this all without LL because up until they declare war, they have a pact going with hitler.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    yes. but to put it another way, it was going to be a -lot- easier for Germans to resupply/reinforce from '39 borders than it would be just outside of Moscow and Stalingrad.
    Not disputing probable German victory. Just saying the losses would not be any greater and in fact would be less than what actually happened during BARBAROSA. Attacking Soviets have the luxury of not being surrounded by attacking Germans.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    considering how long it took for the Soviets to eject the Germans just from their home territory, I have my doubts. they had good commanders by 1942-1943 because the incompetents were all killed off or shipped off to the gulag or captured in 1941. they'd be attacking in a battle of maneuver with green troops, far harder than defending in an urban fight, where Soviet troops gained a lot of battle experience.
    They were all green troops. Stalingrad were seeing losses at a 1000 per day and there were over 11 million military dead. Combat veterans were a minority in all their campaigns.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    and they'd be doing this all without LL because up until they declare war, they have a pact going with hitler.
    Inconsequential. The Soviets did MARS and URANUS without LL. They may need a longer prep time but they would not jump off until they're ready. The hallmark of the Soviet Army. They fight when they wanted to fight.
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    col,

    Not disputing probable German victory. Just saying the losses would not be any greater and in fact would be less than what actually happened during BARBAROSA. Attacking Soviets have the luxury of not being surrounded by attacking Germans.
    very true. OTOH the Germans wouldn't have the issue of being overextended and ready to get badly cut off, too.

    They were all green troops. Stalingrad were seeing losses at a 1000 per day and there were over 11 million military dead. Combat veterans were a minority in all their campaigns.
    also applies to the commanders as well. more than half the reason why the Red Army did so bad during Barbarossa was because most of their officers with experience and initiative had been purged; the rest kept on calling back to Moscow for instructions. and Stalin was paralyzed with shock for the longest time.

    Inconsequential. The Soviets did MARS and URANUS without LL. They may need a longer prep time but they would not jump off until they're ready. The hallmark of the Soviet Army. They fight when they wanted to fight.
    I can see an operation the size of Mars/Uranus without LL; but something like Bagration would have needed LL just for the truck mobility alone. I do agree with you that the Soviets fought when they wanted to fight, so they almost certainly wouldn't have attacked in 1941 or 1942, and probably not in 1943 either.

    and I can't see the UK being able to fight off the Germans by themselves until 1943. the British would have been bankrupted some time ago, even if they could fight off the Germans in the Middle East.
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  6. #66
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    gunnut,

    Stalin himself noted that the USSR wasn't ready for war until 1943 at the earliest.
    Right, that's the whole point of Barbarossa, to catch the Red Army before it would be ready for war. The longer Germany sits on the eastern front, the worse off it would be.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    if he did attack it would have been very bad for the USSR, because Germany had the defender's advantage of interior lines and better logistics. as I mentioned to Col Yu earlier, the main issue with Barbarossa was that Germany couldn't get at all the Soviet formations fast enough, and a Soviet attack would just present it to them.
    Worse than Barbarossa? Wehrmacht might have the defensive advantage but it would lose the offensive initiative. The Red Army would be able to choose, when and where, and how many people to throw at the German line. Soviet losses would be horrendous but a Germany victory would be a pyrrhic victory.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    as i said, Hitler could easily leave 2 million men on the 1939 border and take the other 1-1.5 million down to Turkey and the Levant.
    But that's a 3 front war we're talking about. Holding off the Red Army, supply an army group in the middle east, and keep UK occupied.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    Romania was a German puppet-state, Greece had been conquered. not too hard to get across the Aegean. the Turks had all of 175K men, almost all of it light infantry and poorly armed. they were begging the UK in 1940 to supply them with -rifles-. if Turkey fought it would have been a slaughter.
    I didn't say Turkey would win or even offer any kind of meaningful resistance. But this action would definitely draw the Soviets into the war.

    And again, if Germany decided to go around Turkey instead of going through it, then that army group is as good as dead because Germany did not have the sea lift capability to supply it. There was no ifs, ands, or buts. Germany could not conjure up a massive merchant fleet out of thin air without giving up on making guns and tanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    in any case Germany and the USSR had the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, too.
    I have full faith in Stalin to not give a flying rat's ass about a piece of paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    get the UK out of the game first. taking UK out means a LOT less chance the US intervenes, plus Germany's western flank/skies are now secure. frankly the UK was approximately six months away from bankruptcy, and New York banks were starting to get leery of lending to the UK when Germany decided to declare war on the US in dec 1941. if Suez falls then it's likely lending would have dried up altogether, and there's also huge domestic political upheaval in the UK.
    French fought from oversea colonies. UK was fully prepared to do so. Remember, Germany could not physically invade UK. Wehrmacht could not physically occupy England. British would fight on, bankruptcy or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    that was the strategy Hitler WAS pursuing up to Dec 1940, when he then decided that he would invade the USSR out of a fit of hubris ("We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.")
    It's tough to knock someone out of the war. Stalin was prepared to fight from beyond the Urals. French fought from the colonies. I'm sure the Brits would have fought from Canada for as long as they drew breath, or until Hitler stopped drawing breath.
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    gunnut,

    Right, that's the whole point of Barbarossa, to catch the Red Army before it would be ready for war. The longer Germany sits on the eastern front, the worse off it would be.
    actually the whole point of Barbarossa was to destroy the USSR...:-)

    there was no particular reason why Hitler -had- to strike in 1941, other than the thought that he was pretty much done with the UK, had enough raw materials (from the USSR, ironically), and had waited long enough.

    remember at this point in time the ENTIRE German chain of command, of course including Hitler, thought of the Red Army as a bunch of bumbling fools whom was embarrassed by a third-rate army during the Winter War.

    Worse than Barbarossa? Wehrmacht might have the defensive advantage but it would lose the offensive initiative. The Red Army would be able to choose, when and where, and how many people to throw at the German line. Soviet losses would be horrendous but a Germany victory would be a pyrrhic victory.
    no, I don't think the Russian casualties would be worse than Barbarossa, but the Germans would not be vulnerable to the disasters that befell them from overstretch.

    the Russians lose less in the short-term but would lose more in the middle/long-term.

    But that's a 3 front war we're talking about. Holding off the Red Army
    i don't think the Russians would attack in 1941-1942-- they simply weren't ready, not even for a defensive war. an army group in the ME -would- keep the UK occupied; the UK wasn't going to invade continental Europe by herself.

    But this action would definitely draw the Soviets into the war.
    -really- doubt this. at the time, Stalin was talking an alliance with Hitler against the Western democracies. he wasn't going to go out on a limb to declare war on Hitler over long-hated enemy Turkey.

    most likely if he did complain, there's nothing to prevent Germany and Russia dividing up Turkey between themselves like they did with Poland. Germany wasn't interested in Turkey for itself; Germany would be interested in cutting the Suez and driving the British from the war...and gaining access to the oilfields.

    I have full faith in Stalin to not give a flying rat's ass about a piece of paper.
    of course not about the paper; but about his interests. Stalin told his generals in Dec 1940 that frankly the Red Army was not ready for a showdown and that he would do his best to delay any war for at least two years.

    French fought from oversea colonies. UK was fully prepared to do so. Remember, Germany could not physically invade UK. Wehrmacht could not physically occupy England. British would fight on, bankruptcy or not.
    you can't fight without money. UK needed large sums just to keep up her merchant marine and the anti-U boat patrols, otherwise she would starve. the UK would not back down if she was faced with an existential threat; but if you kept it at the level of a colonial war then it would be much harder for the British public to tolerate bankruptcy and potential famine.

    Churchill was taking an enormous risk, both politically and militarily, by holding against hope for US intervention. he knew full well that the UK alone would not be able to take down the German continental empire-- hell, he was wary of a direct confrontation when the -US- joined in, thus he pushed for Italy/Balkans instead of a France invasion in late 1942-1943.

    Hitler desperately wanted a peace with the UK-- he didn't view the UK as his "real" enemy. he had his eyes set on a to-the-death confrontation with the USSR. Stalin and the Russians knew this-- or if they didn't, they found out real quick when Ukrainians/Russian defectors whom were trying to volunteer for the Nazis were brushed aside (at least before things got desperate for the Nazis).

    French fought from the colonies.
    a bit of a quibble but not really true. the "free French" was a joke up until the US started actually arming them in 1944. IIRC more French served the Vichy or as direct collaborationists in the Waffen-SS than the free French. that was why the British took it upon themselves to sink a significant portion of the French fleet after news of the armistice came out:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack...-el-K%C3%A9bir
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  8. #68
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    gunnut,

    actually the whole point of Barbarossa was to destroy the USSR...:-)

    there was no particular reason why Hitler -had- to strike in 1941, other than the thought that he was pretty much done with the UK, had enough raw materials (from the USSR, ironically), and had waited long enough.

    remember at this point in time the ENTIRE German chain of command, of course including Hitler, thought of the Red Army as a bunch of bumbling fools whom was embarrassed by a third-rate army during the Winter War.
    Barbarossa was launched at that time to catch the Red Army off guard. The longer Hitler waits, the stronger Soviet Union would become. He had to hit Stalin after they split the Poland buffer.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    no, I don't think the Russian casualties would be worse than Barbarossa, but the Germans would not be vulnerable to the disasters that befell them from overstretch.

    the Russians lose less in the short-term but would lose more in the middle/long-term.
    Maybe, maybe not. Regardless of how many men the Red Army loses, 2 million Wehrmacht on the eastern front was not enough to counter attack deep into Russia. It would have been at most a stand-off, with borders pushed eastward a bit. Germany simply did not have enough men.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    i don't think the Russians would attack in 1941-1942-- they simply weren't ready, not even for a defensive war. an army group in the ME -would- keep the UK occupied; the UK wasn't going to invade continental Europe by herself.
    I agree that the Red Army would not attack in 41-42, unless Germany attacked Turkey to gain entry into the middle east. Stalin would not sit by and watch his southern flank buffer disappear without doing anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    -really- doubt this. at the time, Stalin was talking an alliance with Hitler against the Western democracies. he wasn't going to go out on a limb to declare war on Hitler over long-hated enemy Turkey.

    most likely if he did complain, there's nothing to prevent Germany and Russia dividing up Turkey between themselves like they did with Poland. Germany wasn't interested in Turkey for itself; Germany would be interested in cutting the Suez and driving the British from the war...and gaining access to the oilfields.
    I hadn't considered that possibility, Germany and Soviet Union splitting Turkey. The problem I see is another removal of the buffer state between the 2 armies. First Poland, now Turkey, the Red Army and the Wehrmacht staring at each other on 2 separate fronts. That's not gonna last for long before someone makes a move.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    of course not about the paper; but about his interests. Stalin told his generals in Dec 1940 that frankly the Red Army was not ready for a showdown and that he would do his best to delay any war for at least two years.
    Right, and Germany's invasion of Turkey would change his calculus.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    you can't fight without money. UK needed large sums just to keep up her merchant marine and the anti-U boat patrols, otherwise she would starve. the UK would not back down if she was faced with an existential threat; but if you kept it at the level of a colonial war then it would be much harder for the British public to tolerate bankruptcy and potential famine.
    Right, the best Germany could do was to settle with UK. Germany did not have the ability to invade and occupy England. There was no way. If the brits were as stubborn as history made them to be, then they would fight despite being bankrupt. If the brits didn't want to starve, they would settle with Germany on mutually beneficial terms. French would be the one screwed here. UK would most likely not pursue the occupation of France in exchange for open sea lanes.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    Churchill was taking an enormous risk, both politically and militarily, by holding against hope for US intervention. he knew full well that the UK alone would not be able to take down the German continental empire-- hell, he was wary of a direct confrontation when the -US- joined in, thus he pushed for Italy/Balkans instead of a France invasion in late 1942-1943.
    I agree. Churchill desperately hoped his personal friendship with FDR would pay off, and it did, with some help from Japan.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    Hitler desperately wanted a peace with the UK-- he didn't view the UK as his "real" enemy. he had his eyes set on a to-the-death confrontation with the USSR. Stalin and the Russians knew this-- or if they didn't, they found out real quick when Ukrainians/Russian defectors whom were trying to volunteer for the Nazis were brushed aside (at least before things got desperate for the Nazis).
    I don't know about that. Blitz of London sort of told the brits Hitler was playing for keeps.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    a bit of a quibble but not really true. the "free French" was a joke up until the US started actually arming them in 1944. IIRC more French served the Vichy or as direct collaborationists in the Waffen-SS than the free French. that was why the British took it upon themselves to sink a significant portion of the French fleet after news of the armistice came out:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack...-el-K%C3%A9bir
    I agree, Free French force was not really much of a threat without American help. However, you have to admire them for not rolling over and give up all the colonial holdings to the Germans when the central government gave up. Imagine the Third Reich with all of French colonial holdings...
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    gunnut,

    Barbarossa was launched at that time to catch the Red Army off guard. The longer Hitler waits, the stronger Soviet Union would become. He had to hit Stalin after they split the Poland buffer.
    Hitler didn't "have" to invade in 1941, though. he first fought a costly air war with britain, and for that matter, invaded greece before hitting the USSR in OTL.

    what i'm arguing here is that relatively speaking, if Hitler secured the Middle East prior to fighting the USSR, Germany would be in a stronger position for a fight with the USSR than otherwise.

    Regardless of how many men the Red Army loses, 2 million Wehrmacht on the eastern front was not enough to counter attack deep into Russia. It would have been at most a stand-off, with borders pushed eastward a bit. Germany simply did not have enough men.
    that's assuming an attack on Germany if Germany goes for the Mideast gambit.

    OTOH if the British (and by default then the Americans) are knocked out of the war, then it wouldn't be very hard for Germany to take the men she used for the Mideast back up to deal with the Russians. for that matter, all the troops tied up in things like anti-artillery and building the Atlantic Wall, etc, are now all freed up. hitler probably doesn't run into the horrible production problems he had in 1943-1944.

    the point of fighting in the ME isn't for the territory (at first), the point is to cut the Suez and take the British out. even if the British -aren't- knocked out, taking the Suez suddenly means it becomes a lot harder for the British to shuttle men and supplies from India, etc.

    I agree that the Red Army would not attack in 41-42, unless Germany attacked Turkey to gain entry into the middle east. Stalin would not sit by and watch his southern flank buffer disappear without doing anything.
    as OoE pointed out, the Red Army wouldn't fight unless Stalin thought it was prepared. Stalin himself said it wasn't prepared in that time period. i think the idea of a "buffer state" is much more of a Cold War thing than an interwar concern. remember, Stalin WORKED with Hitler to eliminate his European buffer, lol. he didn't threaten Hitler with war over Poland, he shared it.

    in this case, what Germany would want from Turkey wouldn't be Turkey itself but transit rights. if Ataturk was dumb enough to resist (which I don't think he would have), and if Stalin decided he wanted to make a stink about it (which I don't think he would have), don't see why Hitler wouldn't just make a deal with Stalin then as he did before.

    remember, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact didn't just split Poland, Hitler and Stalin also agreed to split Romania, parts of Lithuania, Hungary, and Bulgaria. nothing new.

    There was no way. If the brits were as stubborn as history made them to be, then they would fight despite being bankrupt. If the brits didn't want to starve, they would settle with Germany on mutually beneficial terms.
    if you're facing annihilation, yeah, fight to the end. Hitler was willing to offer status quo antebellum to the British, and was pretty astonished when Churchill told him to stuff it. but IIRC that was just after the miracle of Dunkirk and the formation of the wartime coalition government, so everyone was on a relative high.

    fast forward a year or so, and if it looks like there's no hope for salvation (especially if the USSR and Germany wasn't fighting each other), the Brits getting kicked out of Suez, things would probably be a bit different. especially if what you're effectively doing is a huge costly colonial war. for instance, if Suez falls, how would the British be able to fight Germany? OoE says the British Indian Army, but I can't see a mostly light infantry army first being reformed to be able to fight the Wehrmacht on even terms, and then marching west to do battle while leaving India undefended.

    the sums involved in doing THAT would be enormous, for starters.

    I agree. Churchill desperately hoped his personal friendship with FDR would pay off, and it did, with some help from Japan.
    Pearl Harbor saved Europe. even with numerous German provocations in 1941, the last polling before the actual declaration of war by Germany showed 90%+ Americans wanted no part of the war in Europe.

    However, you have to admire them for not rolling over and give up all the colonial holdings to the Germans when the central government gave up. Imagine the Third Reich with all of French colonial holdings...
    don't think the Third Reich had manpower for even lax administration/policing. they relied on the Vichy to do it for them. the first American casualties in Operation Torch were from the Vichy French troops resisting the landings.
    Last edited by astralis; 18 Nov 15, at 22:32.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    fast forward a year or so, and if it looks like there's no hope for salvation (especially if the USSR and Germany wasn't fighting each other), the Brits getting kicked out of Suez, things would probably be a bit different. especially if what you're effectively doing is a huge costly colonial war. for instance, if Suez falls, how would the British be able to fight Germany? OoE says the British Indian Army, but I can't see a mostly light infantry army first being reformed to be able to fight the Wehrmacht on even terms, and then marching west to do battle while leaving India undefended.
    Again, they have to get through the RN first and that was an impossible task. The Kreigsmarine commits to Africa. That leaves the Atlantic wide open. GB does not fall and re-enforced and re-armed by Canada up the ying yang.
    Chimo

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    This started for me back in Strategypage days before 2006 but I've long postulated that Germany needed absolutely to knock Britain out of the war-either directly by invasion or indirectly by removing them as the key Med opponent prior to Nov. 1942. Securing the Suez while eliminating Alexandria (and by extension, the British Mediterranean fleet) might have eliminated England as any threat to German ambitions.

    Conquest certainly would have done so.

    I've tried arguing a re-considered German focus and approach to Malta as critical to German overall Med success. The pyrrhic victory at Crete, in this regard, was catastrophic.

    For Germany to achieve their strategic ambitions it was critical that Great Britain be eliminated from the direct fight while also eliminating or neutralizing the British Isles as an assembly area for invasion. The Soviet Union could not be otherwise defeated.
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    Still, assuming Japan attacks the United States on schedule on Dec 7 1941 Germany only has a limited window of opportunity to take the Med and North Africa before the US enters the war and the game changes. The question is could they deal with that theater of operations before then given their other commitments in 1940 - France and the Scandinavian Countries etc.

    GB had significant British and Commonwealth Forces in that theater, control of the canal and a much larger fleet so the problem is getting enough military resources on the ground in North Africa in time to win the campaign.
    Last edited by Monash; 19 Nov 15, at 10:56.

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    col,

    Again, they have to get through the RN first and that was an impossible task
    if Turkey falls/offers transit, then Hitler would have an overland route without needing to deal with the RN.
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    monash,

    Still, assuming Japan attacks the United States on schedule on Dec 7 1941 Germany only has a limited window of opportunity to take the Med and North Africa before the US enters the war and the game changes. The question is could they deal with that theater of operations before then given their other commitments in 1940 - France and the Scandinavian Countries etc.
    the period from june 1940 - dec 1941 (well, maybe not so much as butterfly effects would SERIOUSLY change things) was the era of maximum danger for the Allies-- hitler had huge freedom of movement to do as he wanted. he chose...poorly.

    well, perhaps even worse for the Allies would have been if the UK/France chose to carry out their seriously-considered bombing attacks on the USSR while the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was on-- THAT would have been very interesting, in a very double-plus ungood way.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Pike
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    if Turkey falls/offers transit, then Hitler would have an overland route without needing to deal with the RN.
    Going through the Turkish mountain ranges? There's a reason why the Russian Empire did not conquer the Ottoman Empire and not because the Ottoman Turks were better archers than Russian musketeers.
    Chimo

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