Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Monwar

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

Recommended Posts

Originally posted by Marlow:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Tripps:

Apart from the fact that none of these divisions would have their quota of up to date AT weapons, Flak, Arty etc, they would also not have the experience to match it with the reds.

The French divisions to which I referred were fully equiped with modern hardware(US), and for the most part fought very well in Western Europe. </font>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 to 15 French divisions would, at German 1944 loss rates in the east, have extended the western Allied force pool by about 3-4 weeks.

I am still waiting for someone of the 'the western Allies would have kicked USSR butt' persuasion to come along and tell me:

a) how many forces on the ground the western Allies had

B) how they propose the negative force ratio could have been turned around to become so overwhelming that the Allies could have won.

To achieve this, I guess you need to think about how you turn the likely 2:1 or 3:1 against the western Allies in May 1945 into a 1:2 to 1:3 ratio in order to win. All this is speaking before we make any assumptions on who was more clued up on using their forces, whose logistics were better.

Which sort of novel technology would have done that?

If anyone here thinks that the Wehrmacht remnants could have done that (and there were disarmed but organised parts of it at least in the British sector until December), you have to consider that at a stroke you virtually ensure that the Poles, Czechs etc. take up arms on the side of the Soviets. So let's ignore that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Give me about a week, I seem to be suffering a second malaria relapse. Does a funny thing to ones, connection to the world.

Still gives me a guilty glee of seeing a proper discussion breckl out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have assumed that if Russia decided to continue to the Channel that previously unmentioned countries like Spain , a decent size army I believe, would almost be certain to join the Allies. Switzerland marooned in a tide of Communism - interesting place to be. Norway , Sweden what are your feelings as Western Europe appears to be going down the plug hole.

As Czech or Pole are you not fighting for your free country? Joining Russia might not be the surefire choice even if Germans were fighting for the Allies. Turkey , historic enemy of Russia, stand with the Allies or wait till it has been decided for them?

Raise a few more Indian Divisions probably a good idea.

I think Andreas has been a little gloomy over the manpower situation. I would expect the Russians to get into France before the tide was turned but taking out the oilfields would be a major damper on mobile operations and having enormous flanks to protect from seaborne and air attacks plus the vast area to be occupied/garrisoned would reduce the fighting manpower differential.

At a rough guess say occupied W.Europe was populated with 200 million people and you have a 6 million man army engaged in a struggle with a 2 million man enemy, you would have to be very wooried about partisan activity and guarding strategic areas - no I do not see a Russian win and I think the strain of the extended lines, partisan activity, strategic bombing,lack of oil , food shortages, destruction of hydro electric power, and the wearing out of the industrial machinery would lead to an eventual peace along the starting borders of 1939 for Russia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When considering the Red Armys performance (or any army, for that matter) you have to consider the enemy they are fighting.

So in order to consider the Red Army Vs. the Western allies, you need to consider some technical benefits that they had that the Wehrmacht didn't.

1) Radio. In the US army at least, radios were available down to platoon level and were able to call in any local arty support while radios were certainly more prevelant in the British/Commonwealth forces than the German forces

2) Petrol. Lots therof was available to the W.A., where the German land forces were as starved of fuel as the Luftwaffe.

3) Mechanisation. W.A. forces had vastly greater quantities of transport than either German or Soviet forces.

4)Naval forces. A belt of land from the coast to about 10-20 miles inland is vulnerable to Naval fire support from a significant number of battleships and carriers.

5)Mobility. The W.A. had quite a bit of specialised engineering equipment that, AFAIK, the Red Army didn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a bit of a difference between the Prinz Eugen and King George V or QE Class Battleship - 4"+ of calibreof the main armament for a start.

In any case, it probably wouldn't have been that significant, just if the Red Army did force the WA into a beach head, there'd have been a lot of firepower covering the defenders.

5) Wasn't thinking of battlefield engineering, more like bridging equipment and the like, plus the numerous 'Funnies' that are quite useful for crossing rivers.

Speaking of that, how did the Red Army cross rivers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by flamingknives:

Speaking of that, how did the Red Army cross rivers?

Step 1: Get to the river before the Germans do

Step 2: Grab anything that swims, cling to it, swim across the river

Step 3: establish as many bridgeheads as possible, merging them or selection of the main one(s) at a later stage.

Step 4: build a bridge into the bridgehead

The Red Army had a completely different approach to river crossings than the W.A. It was a lot more effective in keeping the Germans off balance, and ensured that major rivers were not massive barriers against them, but became springboards behind which the Red Army could prepare in relative safety for the next breakout operation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by flamingknives:

So they never had to cross a defended river?

I would not say 'never'. They did have to, but most of the time it would be against relatively disorganised defense, because they would attempt to seize it from the march to establish bridgeheads while they go.

Certainly the major rivers I can think of immediately (Oder - Berlin operation, Vistula - Vistula/Oder operation, Dnestr - Iassy-Kishinov operation, Dnepr - err...) were crossed that way.

I think they realised quite early on that being held up on one side of the river while the enemy is across it is not a very good situation if you want to continue attacking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The river crossings are a relevant point.

Andreas is right that the Soviets did it much quicker, with less equipment and were very hard to dislodge for the Germans even when they had minimal forces over.

However, I doubt it would work against the Western Allies or against Germans backed by W.A. It worked because

1) the Germans were so thinly spread that no sufficient resistance would be met at any random point chosen for the crossing

2) the Germans had lousy intelligence, in particular no air observation to speak of

3) the Western Allies would bring much more artillery and/or air on the new bridgehead.

4) mobile forces. Not only were the W.A. more motorized. Tanks is a key factor here. Whatever comes over the river in improvised crossings could not do much against tanks. The Germans had no tanks to speak of in frontlines in the east, they were trying to fight these bridgeheads by going in with a plain infantry and artillery support limited by lack of ammunition. They could not exploit the fact that the fight was on their side of the river.

5) a few minor points like more effective counterbattery fire (the effectivity is not so much a factor of observation but of available tubes and especially ammunition to "waste"). Artillery is a key factors in these battles.

Overall, I am sure the Soviets could not continue they quick river crossings against Western Allies. I am sure they would be adaptable enough to introduce more sophisticated methods but they would not be better than their opponents anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by Bastables:

Give me about a week, I seem to be suffering a second malaria relapse. Does a funny thing to ones, connection to the world.

Still gives me a guilty glee of seeing a proper discussion breckl out.

Do take care of yourself then, Bastables, and report in when you can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding a western allied attack upon the Soviets in 1945. Churchill thought about it, but his staff and cabinet convinced him otherwise, saying it was a losing proposition. Operation 'Unthinkable', I think it was called.

Andreas has already pointed out the numerical advantage. Other thing to consider is Soviet operational skill, which was formidible by 1944. The western allies had nothing comparable in operational theory. The Germans were most competent in that regard in the West from a purely military perspective - and they lost to the Soviets (though admittedly German lack of strategy helped a lot). Soviets did things other combatants didn't do and still don't, like extensive intelligence-reconnaissance and deception preparatory to operations. This created impressive combat multipliers for what was seen as a force with intrinsically average tactical ability. What's the overall effect? Read any German memoirs from the late war (not many around though), and you read terms like "overrun," "massive hordes," and repeated references to isolated German kampfguppen, trying to find a way back to friendly lines while deep in the Soviet rear.

As for airpower, a few things need to be borne in mind. The mass of Soviet industry was deep in the Urals, requiring that allied bombers be based in western Russia to be in range. So, that would be one 'hurtle' to cross before talk of another allied heavy bomber campaign can be given any value. Also, in 1944 the Soviets produced about 40,000 combat aircraft, about 18,000 of that as fighters. That same year the US produced over 66,000 combat aircraft with over 24,000 being fighters. On the other hand, any air campaign would've been limited to a tactical nature, since heavy bombing would've been of little value at that point (nothing to bomb - see previous argument). And, if we're talking tactical air cover, then we're talking low level air cover. Guess who had the best low level air force in the world at that time? The Soviets. A P-51D is a great plane at high altitude, but put it down low, say 10,000ft or lower, and it's going to be in trouble against a Yak-3, Yak-9U, La-5FN, or La-7 (some of these Soviet fighters were actually faster than a P-51D at low level).

Finally, the atom bomb would've been a non-issue I believe, since I don't think another one could've been built within three months, and that's all the time the Soviets would've needed to repulse, then counterattack.

Ultimately, I find this argument silly, since realistically the world in 1945 was just too weary of war to even consider such an outrageous suggestion. But, it does tend to make the 'what-if' rounds due to ideological fervor.

[ October 16, 2003, 02:46 PM: Message edited by: Grisha ]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by Grisha:

Andreas has already pointed out the numerical advantage. Other thing to consider is Soviet operational skill, which was formidible by 1944. The western allies had nothing comparable in operational theory. The Germans were most competent in that regard in the West from a purely military perspective - and they lost to the Soviets (though admittedly German lack of strategy helped a lot). Soviets did things other combatants didn't do and still don't, like extensive intelligence-reconnaissance and deception preparatory to operations. This created impressive combat multipliers for what was seen as a force with intrinsically average tactical ability. What's the overall effect? Read any German memoirs from the late war (not many around though), and you read terms like "overrun," "massive hordes," and repeated references to isolated German kampfguppen, trying to find a way back to friendly lines while deep in the Soviet rear.

Well, just like the Germans did in the Ardennes offensive.

Except they had no success in the end because the US, while having equally thin fronlines, and a huge and comparably dense rear area where the Germans had nothing.

And the very simple counterattack of tank and motorized units against such a breakthrough works wonders - if you have tanks, trucks and fuel.

And I normally don't give much about airpower, but against a big armored unit behind enemy lines it is very effective. They cannot camouflage effectivly and their supply likes are fragile. They usually lack proper ready-to-fire air defense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allies vs. Sovs in 1945? Before anyone demobilizes?

It's over in two weeks.

Week one - shoot down the Red Air Force.

Week two - bomb the bejeezus out of the Red Army.

I'm too cranky to argue details this time - check past threads. smile.gif

-dale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a key question here is: what kind of a war was likely to be fought? And who could have won that war?

To me it seems quite clear that if forced to fight, the western Allies would have started out on the strategic defensive. Obviously, the Russians had a larger ground army, so the thing for the Allies to do is to defend--and let their very large advantages airpower, naval force and logistics take their eventual toll. The war would have started one assumes, in May of '45, so that's good flying weather. The Russian attack would have had to succeed very quickly against massed Allied artillery, armor and tactical airpower. It took a really massive German concentration of armor to force a bulge of a few miles into the Allied lines in December '44, when total surprise and interdicted airpower were working in their favor. It's hard to believe that the Russians could have achieved and sustained massive breakthroughs in May vs. Allied airpower.

OK, so I'm assuming the Allies go on the defensive (under Ike, not Patton) and fight like hell to hold the line and to cut off (with their great mobility and airpower) any Russian breakthroughs. Meanwhile, they use their high attitude strategic bombing force to blow the living hell out of the Russian oil reserves. As has been pointed out, by this stage the WA had figured out that oil and transport hubs were the top targets. It should be recognized that the Russians were vastly aided by WA attacks on German oil capacity. This would be working against them vs. the WA post May '45.

Then, once the Russian oil capacity is shut down, and the Russians have suffered massive losses in their initial attack, the Allies could think about launching a limited offensive--up, perhaps, to the Russian borders, to reclaim the captured lands of Eastern Europe. But, the further the Western Allies tried to push beyond the Russian borders--assuming they were foolish enough to do so-- the more difficulties they would have faced, and the more advantages would have returned again to the Russian forces.

I'm guessing that Stalin and STAVKA were capable of making the same calculations and of arriving at the same conclusions--just as Churchill and his general staff were capable of figuring out that the WA would have an equally hard time of winning an offensive war. My reading of the situation is that neither side could feel confident of easily winning an offensive war against the other. Hence, they both, rightly, decided not to fight that war.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by Andreas:

To achieve this, I guess you need to think about how you turn the likely 2:1 or 3:1 against the western Allies in May 1945 into a 1:2 to 1:3 ratio in order to win.[/QB]

The Allies did exactly this in Italy in the last campaign, IIRC. Local concentration, economy of effort, deception (and the British were no slouches when it came to decpetion*), etc. All those basic military prinicples work towards acheiving this.

* OTOH, maybe the Germans were just very bad at detecting deception efforts aimed against them?

I still think thew W.A. would have had a nasty surprise if push had come to shove.

Overall I think that war-weariness would have had a still greater effect. For example, it was noted at the time how poorly Londoners coped with the late war V1 and V2 bltiz, compared to the far heavier, longer, and more effective Blitz of 1940-41. War-wearniess and general exhaustion were thought to be the main factors there.

Regards

JonS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by CombinedArms:

The war would have started one assumes, in May of '45, ....

... at a time when the Western armies were scattered all over Germany, Holland, Austria, Italy, Greece, etc, mopping up scattered opposition. In particular they - and their logistics - were not on the right footing to get involved in another shooting war at the same intensity as, say, Normady, the Ardennes, or the Rhineland battles.

I'm guessing that Stalin and STAVKA were capable of making the same calculations ... My reading of the situation is that neither side could feel confident of easily winning an offensive war against the other. Hence, they both, rightly, decided not to fight that war.[/QB]
Well, that and the fact that they were, you know, Allies ;)

Regards

JonS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, just like the Germans did in the Ardennes offensive.

Except they had no success in the end because the US, while having equally thin fronlines, and a huge and comparably dense rear area where the Germans had nothing.

Except, the Germans had no fuel, and were fighting in winter through very closed terrain. Not as hard to stop armor when it's limited to roads in the woods. The western allies were taken completely by surprise, and they were able to stop it. Also, no one conducted the sort of in-depth intelligence/reconnaissance work prior to an operation like the Soviets did (air reconnaissance was only one of five processes employed for Soviet military intelligence purposes). This not only gave them detailed and comprehensive enemy unit deployments, but also the best routes to take. Having enemy fortifications and dispositions largely mapped out before an operation, combined with deception on all levels of military art, made for quite a force multiplier.

And the very simple counterattack of tank and motorized units against such a breakthrough works wonders - if you have tanks, trucks and fuel.

Yes, a rapid response to breakthroughs by armor forces was highly refined in the German army. However, Soviet operational (and tactical) developments found methods to effectively nullify counterattacking panzer reserves by 1944. It's important to remember who the Soviets had spent four years fighting. The Red Army learned a lot from the Germans, which was merged with an excellent operational theory.

And I normally don't give much about airpower, but against a big armored unit behind enemy lines it is very effective. They cannot camouflage effectivly and their supply likes are fragile. They usually lack proper ready-to-fire air defense.

True, and the Soviets had to cope with that until the end of the war. This is the question that is the most interesting really, because air power would determine to a large degree overall success. In order for US airpower to achieve superiority would require engagement at low altitude, placing US fighters at a distinct disadvantage. Also, US airpower was primarily a strategic weapon throughout the war with only a fraction of its forces employed tactically. In contrast, the VVS was a tactical air force that was refined in the use of tactical airpower. This likely would've placed the onus on US airpower, since it would require 'on-the-job' training as they learned to conduct tactical support with ground forces.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Basically, my opinion is that the Red Army would've effectively responded to any western allied attack, then swept them out of continental Europe in under three months. From that point it gets hazy, since we are talking about a formidible industrialized nation, the USA, with an untouched production infrastructure. How the war would've progressed from that point is anybody's guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And what about Enigma?

Using the Ardennes offensive example, Germany was able to take Allied by surprise, even with they having their codes broken and most of German Intel fooled by British spies.

What would happen to the WA facing a formidable enemy specialized in maskirovska without such an advantage?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, I think that in the long run USA will have win, but after leaving Europe to USSR.

USA may have concentrated her massive and untouched industrial resources in Africa and South America instead of the Marshall Plan and eventually win a global war.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Originally posted by dalem:

Allies vs. Sovs in 1945? Before anyone demobilizes?

It's over in two weeks.

Week one - shoot down the Red Air Force.

Week two - bomb the bejeezus out of the Red Army.

I'm too cranky to argue details this time - check past threads. smile.gif

-dale

Sorry dalem, I must have missed out on the history books that tell how the war ended on the 20th of June 1944. Can you give me the links on Amazon to buy them?

Cheers! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×