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Barbarossa - Horse Drawn Blitzkrieg

Kirkhill

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Jonathan Dimbleby is a bit Leftish for my taste his recent article has an interesting graphic

1617822172230.png



The thesis is that Hitler beat himself.

Arguable.

Germany patently won the campaign.

But the Steppes beat them. No secure flanks.
 

Weinie

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Jonathan Dimbleby is a bit Leftish for my taste his recent article has an interesting graphic

1617822172230.png



The thesis is that Hitler beat himself.

Arguable.

Germany patently won the campaign.

But the Steppes beat them. No secure flanks.
Thanks for this. I have never been able to find any credible scholarly writings on what would have happened had Hitler not opened a second front. I suspect that D-Day would have never happened, and that possibly Frankfurt and perhaps Hamburg would have suffered a similar fate to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Are you aware of anything that discusses this?
 

Kirkhill

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Nothing on my bookshelves or (depleting) memory banks.
 

FJAG

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Perhaps we should submit it to FJAG as a possible future series.

If you are looking for a fun alternate WW2 history you might want to try Harry Turtledove's four-book "Worldwar" series.

Spoiler alert: it has an alien invasion happening in the middle of the war. The aliens had sent a robotic recce in the 12th century and were unprepared for humans having airplanes and tanks since their own weapon development cycles were measured in centuries and millennia (something like the CAF's).

Worldwar series - Wikipedia

:giggle:
 

Weinie

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If you are looking for a fun alternate WW2 history you might want to try Harry Turtledove's four-book "Worldwar" series.

Spoiler alert: it has an alien invasion happening in the middle of the war. The aliens had sent a robotic recce in the 12th century and were unprepared for humans having airplanes and tanks since their own weapon development cycles were measured in centuries and millennia (something like the CAF's).

Worldwar series - Wikipedia

:giggle:
Yeah. Read it, and was "mildly" enthused. I truly wonder what would have transpired if Barbarossa had not been launched.
 

FJAG

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Yeah. Read it, and was "mildly" enthused. I truly wonder what would have transpired if Barbarossa had not been launched.

Yup. Turtledove has some interesting concepts but too often gets bogged down in certain recurring sub themes and secondary story arcs - that incidentally cuts across most of his different novels and series.

My guess is that had the Battle of Britain not gone the way it did then Operation Sea Lion would have replaced Barbarossa and gone in before Pearl Harbor. Assuming that Sea Lion had been successful. Then Barbarossa could have taken place in an entirely different scenario afterward. Eventually it would have had to take place as people tend to forget that Russia under Stalin had been expansionist as well not just with Poland but the Baltics and the creation of the Moldavian SSR and multiple other regions including the Far East. Russian Communism was designed to be portable.

🍻
 

Weinie

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Yup. Turtledove has some interesting concepts but too often gets bogged down in certain recurring sub themes and secondary story arcs - that incidentally cuts across most of his different novels and series.

My guess is that had the Battle of Britain not gone the way it did then Operation Sea Lion would have replaced Barbarossa and gone in before Pearl Harbor. Assuming that Sea Lion had been successful. Then Barbarossa could have taken place in an entirely different scenario afterward. Eventually it would have had to take place as people tend to forget that Russia under Stalin had been expansionist as well not just with Poland but the Baltics and the creation of the Moldavian SSR and multiple other regions including the Far East. Russian Communism was designed to be portable.

🍻
Yeah, good call, but Hitler wanted both air and naval superiority before he launched. It would have been an interesting face off between the UK and German Navies, albeit that had the Germans achieved air dominance and increased their U-boat sorties, the UK would have inevitably lost.

Not sure how well an invasion of Britain would have gone. Although small in geographical terms, the forces required to occupy it would have been exceedingly large. Hitler was hoping that the UK would sue for peace in the aftermath of SeaLion; had that happened, perhaps Pearl Harbour may not have. Great discussion.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Yeah, good call, but Hitler wanted both air and naval superiority before he launched. It would have been an interesting face off between the UK and German Navies, albeit that had the Germans achieved air dominance and increased their U-boat sorties, the UK would have inevitably lost.

Not sure how well an invasion of Britain would have gone. Although small in geographical terms, the forces required to occupy it would have been exceedingly large. Hitler was hoping that the UK would sue for peace in the aftermath of SeaLion; had that happened, perhaps Pearl Harbour may not have. Great discussion.
I am a little confused as to the logic that a German invasion of the UK in 1941 would have prevented the Japanese from taking a run at the Americans in the Pacific. Can you elaborate your line of thinking?
 

Ostrozac

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Yeah, good call, but Hitler wanted both air and naval superiority before he launched. It would have been an interesting face off between the UK and German Navies, albeit that had the Germans achieved air dominance and increased their U-boat sorties, the UK would have inevitably lost.

Not sure how well an invasion of Britain would have gone. Although small in geographical terms, the forces required to occupy it would have been exceedingly large. Hitler was hoping that the UK would sue for peace in the aftermath of SeaLion; had that happened, perhaps Pearl Harbour may not have. Great discussion.
Reference Sea Lion, the Germans were highly handicapped by their lack of naval power. They had a miniscule surface fleet and no torpedo bombers. U-Boats alone wouldn’t have cut it against the full British fleet. They might have managed to land a force, possibly even a sizeable force, in England. But it couldn‘t be sustained and it would have been surrounded and starved out.

Germany simply lacked the sea power to accomplish Sea Lion in 1940.
 

Weinie

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I am a little confused as to the logic that a German invasion of the UK in 1941 would have prevented the Japanese from taking a run at the Americans in the Pacific. Can you elaborate your line of thinking?
Yeah sure. If the Germans had been successful in SeaLion, US thinking would have been significantly different in terms of what their priorities were in June 1941. They may have shifted their focus to their near front, Consequently, their criticism/embargoes of Japan may have waned.

This is a discussion that I have enormous interest in. I am more than happy to be dissuaded from a perspective.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Yeah sure. If the Germans had been successful in SeaLion, US thinking would have been significantly different in terms of what their priorities were in June 1941. They may have shifted their focus to their near front, Consequently, their criticism/embargoes of Japan may have waned.

This is a discussion that I have enormous interest in. I am more than happy to be dissuaded from a perspective.
I am not sure I buy that.
I think the Royal family and UK government would have set up shop in Canada, in exile. The Americans would have been persuaded to build up their Atlantic Fleet quicker, along with developing long range Army Air Forces (hello B36!) that could strike Europe from North America if the Germans got frisky and decided that they wanted to continue west.

I am not sure that in anyway alters the calculus in the Pacific. I think the Japanese still strike Pearl Harbour in 1941, but lose even faster than 1945, because the US is not also fighting in Europe at the same time (If both the Germans and Americans are smart...).

I enjoy this, too.
 

Ostrozac

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Yeah sure. If the Germans had been successful in SeaLion, US thinking would have been significantly different in terms of what their priorities were in June 1941. They may have shifted their focus to their near front, Consequently, their criticism/embargoes of Japan may have waned.

This is a discussion that I have enormous interest in. I am more than happy to be dissuaded from a perspective.
For many in America, Japan WAS considered the near front, given the US possession of the Philippines as well as the sizeable US presence in China. Nazi Germany did many things, but they didn't directly threaten US interests, which at the time were heavily focused on Latin America and the Western Pacific. The thinking of Japan as the main threat was especially prevalent in US naval circles and other sea power advocates.
 

Blackadder1916

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Yeah sure. If the Germans had been successful in SeaLion, US thinking would have been significantly different in terms of what their priorities were in June 1941. They may have shifted their focus to their near front, Consequently, their criticism/embargoes of Japan may have waned.

This is a discussion that I have enormous interest in. I am more than happy to be dissuaded from a perspective.

But that supposes the US's near front was Europe. While Roosevelt may have been an Anglophile/Europhile, America had major territorial interests in the Pacific, particularly the Philippines and an affinity for the Chinese side who had been at war with the Japanese since 1931. The American oil and steel embargo against Japan was in conjunction with a similar oil embargo by the Dutch (even though Germany was occupying their homeland) whose East Indies resources were necessary to Japanese military operations in China.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Operation Sea Lion was never going to work out, had they tried, the UK would defeated the attempt, perhaps with high losses themselves and it would likely force the US to declare war on Germany.

If Germany wanted to "win" WWII, once the invasion of France was done, the installation of the Vichy Regime, Germany would begin a phased withdrawal to it's western borders, after extracting multiple concessions from the occupied countries including non-aggression pacts, Freedom of navigation, force limitations and guaranteed access to raw materials. while the UK would not agree to anything directly, they be forced to go along with the rest of Europe in letting Germany access the high seas and not be able to go after it's Merchant ships. Germany might want some of it's colonial possessions back as well.
Germany takes stock of lessons learned and works to improve the Pz III & IV and continue to mechanize it's army. The trade deals and ocean access allows for raw materials and the economy to continue. Hitler then prepares to deliver a knockout blow to Stalin with the intent of breaking the Communists and reinstalling a puppet Czarist like government. This includes more long range bombers, building up fuel stocks and increasing rail access to the eastern front, with the stockpiling of railway building equipment and supplies near the border. Likley the timeframe will be 1942 to take advantage of the apparent Soviet weaknesses. The Germans can bring a lot more combat power to the Eastern Front. the Soviets don't have Lendlease and lack chemicals to produce high explosives and other critical elements, including trucks. Much of the early Campaign goes on as it really did, perhaps Hitler does not make the mistakes he made and they grab the oil fields and secure them. Stalin is isolated. Japan hits the European Colonies, while the Europeans are busy negotiating with Germany, but perhaps does not hit Pearl Harbour. Germany decides to improve it's world standing by negotiating a peace deal with Japan on behalf of China, removing one of the pressure points the US has for going to war.
 

Weinie

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Operation Sea Lion was never going to work out, had they tried, the UK would defeated the attempt, perhaps with high losses themselves and it would likely force the US to declare war on Germany.

If Germany wanted to "win" WWII, once the invasion of France was done, the installation of the Vichy Regime, Germany would begin a phased withdrawal to it's western borders, after extracting multiple concessions from the occupied countries including non-aggression pacts, Freedom of navigation, force limitations and guaranteed access to raw materials. while the UK would not agree to anything directly, they be forced to go along with the rest of Europe in letting Germany access the high seas and not be able to go after it's Merchant ships. Germany might want some of it's colonial possessions back as well.
Germany takes stock of lessons learned and works to improve the Pz III & IV and continue to mechanize it's army. The trade deals and ocean access allows for raw materials and the economy to continue. Hitler then prepares to deliver a knockout blow to Stalin with the intent of breaking the Communists and reinstalling a puppet Czarist like government. This includes more long range bombers, building up fuel stocks and increasing rail access to the eastern front, with the stockpiling of railway building equipment and supplies near the border. Likley the timeframe will be 1942 to take advantage of the apparent Soviet weaknesses. The Germans can bring a lot more combat power to the Eastern Front. the Soviets don't have Lendlease and lack chemicals to produce high explosives and other critical elements, including trucks. Much of the early Campaign goes on as it really did, perhaps Hitler does not make the mistakes he made and they grab the oil fields and secure them. Stalin is isolated. Japan hits the European Colonies, while the Europeans are busy negotiating with Germany, but perhaps does not hit Pearl Harbour. Germany decides to improve it's world standing by negotiating a peace deal with Japan on behalf of China, removing one of the pressure points the US has for going to war.
And, hence, the stimulating, and (for me) enlightening, discussion on what could have been. I thank you all. Please add to this.
 

FJAG

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Reference Sea Lion, the Germans were highly handicapped by their lack of naval power. They had a miniscule surface fleet and no torpedo bombers. U-Boats alone wouldn’t have cut it against the full British fleet. They might have managed to land a force, possibly even a sizeable force, in England. But it couldn‘t be sustained and it would have been surrounded and starved out.

Germany simply lacked the sea power to accomplish Sea Lion in 1940.

I don't think that "sea power" would have been the dominant issue had the Germans been able to secure "air superiority". Similarly the Brit Army was heavy equipment poor post Dunkirk and would have had a hard time opposing a mechanized force (which some but by no means much of the German Army was then). I'd put my money on air power.

The Channel is a very narrow corridor which would handicap freedom of action for any naval force without local air superiority. German air superiority and a localized flooding of the operational region with submarines would have greatly impeded British naval forces.

On the other hand, Germany was very handicapped in the quality and quantity of landing craft and other sea transport capabilities needed in order to secure a beachhead and to sustain it indefinitely. With the British capable of achieving local air superiority there would have been no chance of success.

I am not sure I buy that.
I think the Royal family and UK government would have set up shop in Canada, in exile. The Americans would have been persuaded to build up their Atlantic Fleet quicker, along with developing long range Army Air Forces (hello B36!) that could strike Europe from North America if the Germans got frisky and decided that they wanted to continue west.

I am not sure that in anyway alters the calculus in the Pacific. I think the Japanese still strike Pearl Harbour in 1941, but lose even faster than 1945, because the US is not also fighting in Europe at the same time (If both the Germans and Americans are smart...).

I enjoy this, too.

I wonder how far the Americans could have gone vis a vis Europe without Britain as a base for building up their force? Africa? For Operation Torch the Western Task Force of 35,000 troops including two infantry divisions and a part of an armoured division did sail directly from the US.

Without the UK in play much of the German Atlantic Wall defence structure could have been greatly reduced. By D-Day, the Atlantic Wall consisted of some 1.8 million men in 58 divisions with 3,300 guns and 1,300 tanks which could well have been used elsewhere.

Would the US have bothered with Germany at all if Britain had fallen? Very debatable.

I tend to agree with you on the Pacific. The Japanese knew that the US was hemming them in and limiting their access to natural resources that they needed. There were other options for them but as of Dec 7th, 1941 the US wasn't involved in Europe anyway (except in minor ways). I think with the loss of Britain, the Japanese would have been even more inspired to act aggressively considering that British possessions in that part of the world would have been even more vulnerable to takeover and that the contemplated loss of much of the US fleet in Hawaii would open up the seas to them completely was even more valid.

🍻
 

SeaKingTacco

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I don't think that "sea power" would have been the dominant issue had the Germans been able to secure "air superiority". Similarly the Brit Army was heavy equipment poor post Dunkirk and would have had a hard time opposing a mechanized force (which some but by no means much of the German Army was then). I'd put my money on air power.

The Channel is a very narrow corridor which would handicap freedom of action for any naval force without local air superiority. German air superiority and a localized flooding of the operational region with submarines would have greatly impeded British naval forces.

On the other hand, Germany was very handicapped in the quality and quantity of landing craft and other sea transport capabilities needed in order to secure a beachhead and to sustain it indefinitely. With the British capable of achieving local air superiority there would have been no chance of success.



I wonder how far the Americans could have gone vis a vis Europe without Britain as a base for building up their force? Africa? For Operation Torch the Western Task Force of 35,000 troops including two infantry divisions and a part of an armoured division did sail directly from the US.

Without the UK in play much of the German Atlantic Wall defence structure could have been greatly reduced. By D-Day, the Atlantic Wall consisted of some 1.8 million men in 58 divisions with 3,300 guns and 1,300 tanks which could well have been used elsewhere.

Would the US have bothered with Germany at all if Britain had fallen? Very debatable.

I tend to agree with you on the Pacific. The Japanese knew that the US was hemming them in and limiting their access to natural resources that they needed. There were other options for them but as of Dec 7th, 1941 the US wasn't involved in Europe anyway (except in minor ways). I think with the loss of Britain, the Japanese would have been even more inspired to act aggressively considering that British possessions in that part of the world would have been even more vulnerable to takeover and that the contemplated loss of much of the US fleet in Hawaii would open up the seas to them completely was even more valid.

🍻
But, ultimately, the Japanese would have still lost. I can think of no strategic play that they could have realistically used that would not have seen them crushed under the weight of US industry.
 

Ostrozac

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But, ultimately, the Japanese would have still lost. I can think of no strategic play that they could have realistically used that would not have seen them crushed under the weight of US industry.
If the Japanese went all-in against the Soviets in 1935-1937, and convinced the US that they were so committed on the Asian landmass that Japan was no threat to American interests in the Pacific, the US might have left them alone. Japan would instead be crushed under the weight of Soviet industry.
 

FJAG

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But, ultimately, the Japanese would have still lost. I can think of no strategic play that they could have realistically used that would not have seen them crushed under the weight of US industry.

Agreed. Especially if the US had no Europe to divert some of its resources to.

Which leaves the really big question. What would have happened after the US takes out Japan?

Look at that in three streams: 1) Germany is stable in Europe without attacking Russia ; or 2) Germany has beaten Russia; or 3) Germany is still fighting Russia?

🍻
 
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