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Patton vs Zhukov, USA vs USSR after 1945, who would have won?

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Too true undead, but a fantastic bit of pulp fiction..

A couple of observations to think about, [sticks head in noose] The Allies had BIG logistical problems because of the Antwerp blumder, I tend to think SHAEF thought 'small', always a Corp or Army there or take that, ie. Arnhem, the greif over one Airborne Div, or the panic the Ardennes Offensive caused at SHEAF... STAVKA, OTOH thought BIG, whole FRONTS rolled forwards on the offensive. I dought the Allied Tactical Airforces would of been able to punch through the Red Tactical Airforces,to cause the devestation it handed out to the Wehrmacht, and ALL the Armies in ETO were utterly exhausted in May '45...

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The more likely ending will be a bloodshed draw. Both USA and URSS showed not so great ability to put a war to a winning end, after the combined effort of WW2.I suggest to focus on the Korean war as confrontation between Commies and GIs to see what I'm saying

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I'm assuming that this hypothetical situation involves one of two things;

1. Patton being the first to launch a major attack with his 3rd army.

or

2. Patton is given command of the allied forces.

If 1 were to happen I think the Americans would see success, initially, but knowing Patton his logistics would be shot to hell after he continues to advance deeper...and deeper. Lets not forgett that the somewhat infamous "Russian Winter" would soon be approaching. No army thus far as managed to survive those type of conditions, regardless of size and logistical power. I'll continue later, need to goto class...

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Originally posted by Hans:

Just to add to the discussion, don't forget French and Italian manpower, not to mention the rest of Europe and South America - not to mention the millions of Germans.

It would have been a devestating war but Russian production capabilities - especially of food were greatly curtailed at that time.

The effect of B-29s blasting Soviet cities to include Moscow with nukes cannot be discounted. Especially there concentrated POL industry.

I say make a simulation and give it a try.

More Western Allies:

Italian motivation: Nil

French motivation: Some had to prove they were no collaboratuers, but looking at Torch, I'd say the French were unreliable to commit to the cause.

German motivation: Vets had enough. Grandpa voted for complete disarmament in '45 and against Adenauers joining of the NATO. I doubt many could be persuaded to continue the fight in '45. Maybe pack those few in well-equipped Panzerdivisions. In mid-44, maybe more would join. Some might fight for the USSR. (Remember that in the last free elections in '33 it was 33% for the Nazis and 17% for the Commies).

It will be very hard for the East Europeans to accept the Germans as allies...

Poles:

Initially fighting on both sides. Most would tend wo fight along western allies.

Ukraine:

If the Germans had accepted them as allies and treated them well... In '45 probably most of them will fight for an independent state. If guaranteed by the western allies, they will join. OTOH Stalin is closer and much more ruthless.

Tech:

'45 situation: US got most of the optics specialists. If they don't retreat fron Jena - good.. Gun factories are important. Some Pershings with an 88L71 and Carl Zeiss Optics might hold their own vs IS3.

Jet fighters:

Probably both will get some scientists. OTOH you need scientists who are able to understand what the Germans researched. US has more scientists that left Germany pre-WW2. Advantage for the Western Allies.

Mid '44: All tech to the Western allies.

Conclusion:

'45: Issue in doubt

'44: The whole westfront plus italy plus the ex-DAK from POW-camps plus US/UK divisions plus ample supplies and the RAF/USAF bombing Soviet suplly lines and factories might just be able to stabilize a front in Septmeber. Winter of '44 in Poland (harsh!!) will accustomize Western allies to Winter of '45 at the Leningrad-Moscow-Stalingrad line, where the battle is decided. 80:20 for the Western allies. 90:10 if Patton does not take command. Russia is too big for Patton, just as it was for the Wehrmacht.

Gruß

Joachim

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Did anybody play the 'Hot war' mod for Talonsoft's Western front? That was an excellent unofficial add-on to play those hypothetical battles between the USSR and the western allies.

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Thanks for the replies guys. Great posts!

All things being said, I would still say that the Soviet confidence was very high and they had a matching force. Also remember they didn't have a very trivial airforce, their planes numbered in the tens of thousands by 1945 (I read somewhere ~30000 planes) whereas the Luftwaffe was easy kill for the allies. Also, the nukes aren't that big a factor as they were in early production stages and building new nukes took quite a long time (~9 months?). The Soviet Union is such a vast nation I think the effect wouldn't have been so harsh as for smaller countries. Remember that they relocated a large part of their industry (nearly as big as several nations' combined) in 1941-43.

But yes, for the Soviets to have a victory, the war had to be fast and furios, clean and short, with well defined objectives. In one strike they had to decapacitate the Allied armies (which, though some other posters might disagree, were quite smaller). Otherwise if they let it turn into a battle of attrition it would not be very pleasant for them. But still you can't surely say the Allies would win as the Soviet people has shown extraordinary enduring power.

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Originally posted by TANK ACE:

It seems WESTERN ALLIES dominate the USSR. Patton already had plans drawn up for to ussr back into russia. IT is quite clear that Western allies would have won. STRATEGIC BOMBING, AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL MUSCLE, SUPERIOR INFANTRY TACTICS AND TANK TACITCS AND WELL BETTER UNIFORMS. smile.gif

Thank you for that piece of wisdom Tank Ace, well argumented as always... :rolleyes:

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I believe one of the key differences between the Soviets and the western allies was that the soviets had a soundly developed understanding of how to conduct operations. Reading about Italy and the conduct of the campaign in NWE makes me think the western allies were much less in control of things than the Soviets were in the last year of the war, and maybe a bit before. Cock-ups such as Antwerp, the attack into the Huertgen forest, the Ardennes, the switch of 8th Army by Leese to the coast, all that makes me think that the western allies had something to learn that the Soviets had learned once 1943 was up. That would be only natural, seeing that the main combat happened in the east, so it is not an indictment of western generalship - they just seem to have been further behind on the learning curve. The relentness and the single-mindedness of purpose of STAVKA, the latter a luxury Eisenhower never had, make me think that if it had come to blows, the western allies would have been very rudely shocked into realising that their opponents took a 500km advance in 2 weeks for granted in a major operation in 1945, and did not see it as something special, such as Patton's famed dash across france.

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Also I have heard many times that by 1945 the Soviet army was by far the most disciplined army in the whole world, due to harsh fighting and brutal treatment from army officers. OTOH the US army wasn't as disciplined, but did work well as a unit. But as Andreas said, the laxes in C&C sometimes resulted in operational mishaps. In the case of a US-USSR war, it might well be the deciding factor for a swift victory by the Soviets.

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A few comments:

The U.S. were shooting all of their bombs. They only built three in the Manhattan project, one went into a test and two on Japan. They got the next bombs in July 1946.

Delivering these kind of bombs were a big undertaking, an intact air defense would be a problem. Read about the Enola Gray mission to get learn about some of a the difficulties. I think U.S. bombers couldn't have crossed eastern Europe under Soviet control. But maybe they could bomb strategic targets from Iran.

I think the Soviet operational art of war is a highly developed piece that only applies to their force structure. It would apply to anybody else. It was strictly necessary to defeat Nazi Germany and it's importance cannot be underestimated. However, it is only a normal part of development and doesn't take the Red Army above anybody else level.

I think Nazi Germany was mostly defeated due to bad decisions and bad intelligence. To a major part, bad intelligence was caused by a lack of planes. While the Luftwaffe was busy defending against the bombers, the Eastern front was lacking any kind of reconnaissance from the air. Soviet air superiority meant the Russians could see everything and the Germans nothing. In addition, Soviet intelligence agencies have always been more productive, Soviet generals were smarter to actually use that information and the broken German code didn't help either (not necessarily on the Eastern front).

In conclusion I am sure the Soviets could not defeat the Western allies. The Western Allies lacked the weaknesses of the Wehrmacht, they could have keep their supply net intact and probably gain overwhelming air superiority.

In addition, the Soviets were deep into territory full of people willing to fight them, whereas the Germans would probably have done their best to help the Western Allies. Even after the defeat there were a lot of German miliary resources undestroyed, some from surrender, some from not being used late in the war (lack of fuel or crews).

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the 2 a-bombs dropped on Japan forced Stalins hand. He knew he stood no chance until he had his own super-weapon.

But, the Soviets were exhausted. Although they still had a very large standing army, they had defeated their enemy. I don't see the Red Army fighting as hard against its allies, the US and British, who helped them defeat the true enemy, the Germans, who massacred and pillaged their homeland.

Moral advantage would be with the western allies for the reason that they would be defending against an unreasonable aggression on the part of the Soviets.

I don't think there is any chance that the US/UK would have invaded Soviet controlled eastern Europe unless clearly provoked.

Also, where will the Soviets get spare parts for all that American equipment which allowed them to mobilize their infantry, mainly the 21/2 ton trucks and jeeps?

I believe Kruschev himself said that there was no way that the Red Army could have driven from the Volga to the Reich Chancellory without American trucks, trains and rail supplies. (paraphrased)

Not to mention all the food.

Plus, the terrain is totally different in western Europe than it is in most of Russia. Huge Soviet formations would have been bottled up, strategic bombing would have caused many problems to Russian supply and what gas they did have just wasn't enough to fuel all of those T-34's in a push for the Atlantic. The Western allies could have fought a fighting retreat across western Germany and into France if need be while waiting for a new atomic bomb to be developed.

IIRC, we only had 2 in our inventory and they were used on Japan.

BUt I don't know, it depends on when, how and why.

smile.gif

but fun to discuss, none the less.

[ October 14, 2003, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: V ]

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I am always surprised that:

a) people seem to assume total command of the air would have been a given for the western allies - I wonder if I am the only one who is aware that the Red Army had planes, and knew how to use them?

B) that this would make bugger all difference anyway - total command of the air did not enable the Allies to crush the Germans in a month or so. That needed a lot of ground action. It contributed, but even that contribution was limited despite all the hype, as we now know.

Redwolf - I do explicitly say that I think the western allies could have learned the same lessons. They just did not seem to have done so by May 1945, because they did not get the opportunity. Soviet operational art was used to great effect against the Japanese in Manchuria, so I guess that proves it was not just simply of use against the Wehrmacht.

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For those who consider the issue of nukes important, do not forget that well before the end of the war RAF Bomber Command could do far worse damage than a nuke to a city*, provided the political will and military consensus required them to do so. So if smashing cities is what you want then you don't actually need nukes at all.

Assuming a maximum effort then any Russian cities within range could be razed, and I doubt that the Russian airforce had any significant night fighting capability at all, as they had no requirement or previous experience of this. Bomber Command was extremely proficient at this kind of bombing, and had the right numbers and equipment by 1944.

Of course whether it is an effective way to contribute to winning a war, or if other targets like oil are better targets, or what timescale would be needed, let alone the moral issues, make for another interesting and probably heated discussion.

However, my point remains that a visit from Bomber Command can be just as devastating - or worse - than a nuke to cities (although not as devastating to civilians who have the chance to take shelter).

*Hiroshima: 4 square kilometers and 60,000 houses destroyed or severely damaged. 130,000 civilian casualties.

Dresden: 7 square miles and 85,838 houses destroyed or severely damaged. Civilian casualties never confirmed due to firestorm and large unregistered migrant population, but probably around 35,000.

[ October 14, 2003, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: The Green Rascal ]

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I'm not so sure the Western Allies would have won. The Soviets had learned quite a lot against the end of the war and their ability to wage war would have been a nasty surprise. Everybody who has studied the fighting on the eastern front, especially from mid-1943 on, knows that the Russians would have been formidable enemies. I think they would have been a lot tougher than their American/British opponents. Britain was already weary of war in 1944 and I doubt whether Churchill or anyone else for that matter, could have convinced them of taking on Stalin (or Uncle joe, as western propaganda use to call that psycho). And whether American opinion would have accepted tens of thousands of dead GI's also remains very uncertain. The Red Army would probably have reached the English Channel and Western Europe would have bombed back into the stone age. The only soldier tough enough to stop the Soviets would have been the German Landser. Whether he still had the strength to do so in 1945 is doubtfull.

And I also don't understand the admiration for Patton. His achievements most certainly do not impress me. I think Zhukow, Konev and many other Soviet military leaders would have kicked his... And believe me, I hate to say something positive about the Red Army.

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My geography of Eastern Europe is notoriously bad, only surpassed by my ignorance of bomber type ranges. I somehow doubt though that with the ranges given, massive strikes could have been launched against any centres of Soviet weapons production.

The other thing I am not sure about are numbers on the western allies side. In mid-1945 the Red Army fielded 6,135 million men and women. How many men did the western allies field in may 1945? 2 million between them? Add the sorry remnants of the Wehrmacht who still spoil for a fight and you get what? 3 million?

Just found a site with some stats, according to that the Soviets had 15,800 planes in 1945. The US/UK between them had about 27,000. Since the Soviets (unlike the Germans) had petrol to fly them, I think achieving total command of the air would have been a different story.

Looking just at the numbers, I think stalemate would have been a very good outcome for the western allies.

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Intruiged by this thread and Andreas' query as to what Bomber Command could hit in Russia if they needed to in 1945, I did some checking. Berlin to Moscow is 1000 miles by air and a Lancaster MkIII has a range of 2400 miles, so it looks marginal but perhaps do-able if flying from within Germany. There may be other ways I don't know about of extending that standard range figure.

If they had access to bases in the Balkans, Turkey or Scandinavia it could shorten the route, but even if I assume they can level Moscow, then I suppose the Russians can have their production behind the Urals.

So the questions which remain are how the potential of guaranteed destruction by night bombing of all cities Moscow-Westwards would materially affect a 1945 conflict, and how quickly could it be done, ie. before the RAF was forced out of range?

[ October 14, 2003, 05:18 PM: Message edited by: The Green Rascal ]

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Originally posted by Andreas:

My geography of Eastern Europe is notoriously bad, only surpassed by my ignorance of bomber type ranges. I somehow doubt though that with the ranges given, massive strikes could have been launched against any centres of Soviet weapons production.

I can measure off later on if B-29's, B-24's, and Lancasters (the more far-ranging heavy bombers) could have staged from Iran/Iraq bases to threaten Soviet industries, but my initial guess for now is that, in the least, the Soviet oil production near the Caspian Sea would have been at hazard. Similar for the Romanian oil fields as was already the case in 1943-44. The remaining industries in central/northern Russia & the Urals would certainly had been more problematic to reach or to attack without undue attrition.

But foremost in the postwar strategic bombing surveys were that attacking oil, electric power, and rail/transportation centers had greater payoff than attacking specific industries. "Infrastructure" and all that.

The other thing I am not sure about are numbers on the western allies side. In mid-1945 the Red Army fielded 6,135 million men and women. How many men did the western allies field in may 1945? 2 million between them? Add the sorry remnants of the Wehrmacht who still spoil for a fight and you get what? 3 million?

Good question, qualified further of course as to how many on each side were combat-capable troops, which likely would tilt the scales to the Soviets even more in this regard.

Just found a site with some stats, according to that the Soviets had 15,800 planes in 1945. The US/UK between them had about 27,000. Since the Soviets (unlike the Germans) had petrol to fly them, I think achieving total command of the air would have been a different story.

Undoubtably. Further it must be remembered as that the Soviets certainly weren't lacking in experienced aircrews and fighter pilots. After all, the top-scoring Soviet pilots like Kozhedub (?) outpaced the UK/US top aces too.

However, this is a matter for which raw numbers alone is not going to provide an easy answer; relative capabilities, organization, and combat tactics were going to play a role too. By example, would the Soviets had known in the get-go how to attack US bomber formations in the ways as that the Germans had to learn over months' time first? Would the Soviets been able to properly counter what a reformed RAF Bomber Command could accomplish in 1945-level targeting proficiencies, even at night? Would some Soviet fighters had the similar problem as many German fighters in that fighting over 20K-ft altitude would have shed off too much aircraft performance, as compared to US fighters? Or what of the high-speed "strike" aircraft like the "Mossie" or the A-26 performing intruder raids at a high level?

I think as that a concentrated strategic bombing effort (even from the Mideast) against Russia would certainly had been problematic to keep up. The Soviets certainly had sufficient "depth" to their air defenses in this regard. But concerning an air battle over a German battle zone and Allied efforts at air interdiction, I'm inclined to believe that the Soviets would've been more hard-pressed to keep interdiction "impedance" from reaching critical levels.

It certainly would've been a challenge to both sides.

Looking just at the numbers, I think stalemate would have been a very good outcome for the western allies.

It actually surprised me, Andreas, that the relative abilities of the Soviet leaders at operational art hadn't been broached until your initial post earlier on. (But then, maybe I'm not all that surprised; operational skills just aren't very "sexy" for what-if wargamers to talk about. ;) )

Anyway, though, I vaguely recall one such operational example you cited in 1944 that made an impression on me. It was of a Soviet offensive that, once a breakthrough was accomplished, was quickly followed up by pushing a Soviet tank army through a 5-km frontage.

Another such is the Korsun Pocket. Reading the background history in the Matrix KP game laid it to me out as that the Soviets performing the encirclement were not that overwhelming in total numbers; only overwhelming where they needed to be, in manpower, tanks, and artillery. To help achieve this was further augmented by large-scale deception methods.

To say nothing of Bagration as an even bigger example.

Indeed, if the western allies had gotten into a follow-up war with the Soviets, I also believe as that Soviet practice & experience at operational art would have been a VERY daunting factor to face. Instead of just stating "Patton vs. Zhukov," I also think that "Monty vs. Rokossovksy" would also merit some pondering, as well as Koniev and Yeremenko among others.

So, indeed, the "Patton dream" is of some amusement to think over, but the end result would've indeed been a stalemate as the best possible that the western Allies would've gained (as AEB also suggested earlier in a compelling review). The worst would have been to lose the rest of Germany.

But Patton was never more than the commander of one army. He was never in the position to directly affect US policy, and was never going to have control over the whole German theater. And what would have been the domestic backlash in the USA to end one war only to start up another, this time against a former ally where $billions in Lend Lease had been shipped to earlier? It probably would have been even worse in the UK, they had already endured six years and the prospects of new severe attrition against the Soviets would not had been lightly brooked.

If a new war would've been started, I think that Stalin would've been more inclined to kick it off. But even he probably had a bellyful, given what all was needed in manpower to revitalize and relocate the damaged Soviet industrial base.

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Originally posted by General Lee:

American air power would have beat them to a pulp. Remember Panzer Lehr Herrman's division, erased in normandy? That would have been the fate of the Soviet tank armies.

Since there was no such division as you describe, I believe that the destruction of fantasy divisions would not have had any measurable impact on Red Army performance.

For the impact of air-power in General, please do a search. As I explain above it was vsatly over-estimated.

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Ok, heres my 2 cents...

Assuming a summer 1945 conflict escalating into war between Russia and the Allies.

I'd put my money on Russia:

Military:

We've seen the figures of the 2 sides, even if they are slightly out, the Russians have a clear majority in all arms, tanks/arty/inf.

Exhausted? sure, everyone was.

Dont forget Italy and France & S.America etc etc, c'mon now, be a little realistic. Italy had shown her will to fight and I bet had no desire to tangle again with the Russians. France may have fought, but even if we said they mustered 15-20 divisions, its still a long way from tipping the balance in manpower.

S.America would have taken 3 years to get anything over to Europe...

Airpower - sure the Allies had the strategic power, long way to bomb Moscow from London however, and thats where they would be coming from. And to what end? the industry of Russia was further back than that, more widely dispirsed, and if Germany were anything to go by, it does not win the war by itself - not by a long shot.

Supply. I hear the arguments about how far the Russian supply line was, the Allied one wasn't as long, if not longer?

Lend-Lease. Sure that would have stopped, but would have had 2 effects:

The Russians would have to take some of their economy from making tanks and switch to shoes/buckets/nails/cheesecakes etc, and secondly, they wouldn't be receiving any more transports for their infantry, which would have started to make an impact at some later point in the future, when attrition wore these down - but wouldnt have had an immediate threat.

IMO, by the summer of '46 Russia would have taken the Low countries, France, the Balkans, maybe Italy, that might be a new campaign or more than likely Italy would change sides yet again to whomever was winning tongue.gif

From there, who knows, would the Americans and British attempt another D-Day? Would the Russians attempt Sealion? Would the cold war start with the Russians controlling Europe and stand for 50 years?

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Originally posted by General Lee:

American air power would have beat them to a pulp. Remember Panzer Lehr Herrman's division, erased in normandy? That would have been the fate of the Soviet tank armies.

If you're talking about 130th "Panzer Lehr" Division as that was the primary recipient of the carpet bombing on 25th July, it has to be remembered as that the front had stagnated enough along a recognizable land feature (a highway) as to allow a coordinated targeting. Even then, the short drops still tore up some of the US troops on the jump-off line.

It is also worth noting that Panzer Lehr was already heavily attrited from over a month's worth of earlier fighting in Normandy. It was basically the "shell" that was shattered.

Carpet-bombing was a potential weapon, but it had its limits. In the bombing of Caen, there was no real benefit accrued, as the areas bombed were already evacuated by the Germans. The bombing to preclude "Goodwood" also was less than decisive.

Of course, tactical bombing techniques did improve. Michael Doubler, in "Closing with the Enemy", noted how another carpet-bombing done in late 1944 along the West Wall line had improved over earlier bombing runs. The results weren't decisive, but greater efforts were done to prevent short bombings again.

The whole trick of the matter is that the enemy target formation must "sit still" long enough to take the hit.

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comrads, let's be thankful there was no war between the us and ussr. if there was, many of us would not be here to argue the point. perhaps a more realistic question would be what if stalin had merely insisted on more territory for the russian effort. maybe all of germany, austria and scandinavia. would the western coalition oblige?....

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Originally posted by Spook:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by General Lee:

American air power would have beat them to a pulp. Remember Panzer Lehr Herrman's division, erased in normandy? That would have been the fate of the Soviet tank armies.

If you're talking about 130th "Panzer Lehr" Division as that was the primary recipient of the carpet bombing on 25th July, it has to be remembered as that the front had stagnated enough along a recognizable land feature (a highway) as to allow a coordinated targeting. Even then, the short drops still tore up some of the US troops on the jump-off line.

</font>

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Originally posted by zukkov:

perhaps a more realistic question would be what if stalin had merely insisted on more territory for the russian effort. maybe all of germany, austria and scandinavia. would the western coalition oblige?....

Probably they would have said "Nuts", and then Stalin might have kicked off a war, and we are back to debating what we are already debating :D

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