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

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Scandanavia would be a nasty place to attack and hold, if tenaciously defended. It would either involve an amphibious operation or fighting down the length of it, either of which are playing into the strengths of the enemy.

As it would have significant value to the W.A., they would be likely to invest heavily in it's defence

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ISTR the Sovies were halfway down Norway or sumfink after the Petsamo-Kirkenes operation. Don't know when they retreated. Sweden would just stay 'neutral'. Denmark has lost the landlink to a free Germany, but they still have a lot of butter, until the government takes away the cows. :D

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Originally posted by Andreas:

ISTR the Sovies were halfway down Norway or sumfink after the Petsamo-Kirkenes operation.

Halfway down?! What kind of maps are you using? :eek:

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Originally posted by Keke:

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

ISTR the Sovies were halfway down Norway or sumfink after the Petsamo-Kirkenes operation.

Halfway down?! What kind of maps are you using? :eek: </font>

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I can offer a definitive answer to this particular "what-if" because I played it once in a game. I use to play a fair bit of Advanced Third Reich (a boardgame-- yes, played on hexagons on a paper map with cardboard counters and dice you had to roll yourself!). A3R is a strategic-level game of WWII in the ETO with corps-sized ground units, semi-abstract air and naval forces, and seasonal turns. A little-used optional rule was that in a three-player game (WA, USSR and Germany) that ended in Allied victory, war might continue between the WA and USSR until one side met the conditions for the highest level of victory (by controlling a certain number of "objectives"--cities printed in red on the A3R map, or marked by convenient flags in CM).

Anyhow, one particularly screwy--er, historical-- game was winding up in early 1944. Germany had delayed (and eventually cancelled) Barbarossa to invade Britain, and fought up into Scotland before the Brits started pushing 'em back (the war had gone very well for the UK in the Med, so they never surrendered). Uncle Joe launched a "spoiling" attack in 1942, grabbing Rumania, Hungary and parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia. With the bulk of the Axis struggling in the East (including a turn wherein Hitler was assassinated by a special event, forcing to Germany to pass), the WA easily got ashore in Spain and France. Germany was reduced to a tiny pocket around Berchtesgaden by the end of 1943 (a special event had turned Berchtesgaden into fortress hex that had to be conquered to trigger German surrender).

Now, this is so close to the real conditions at the end of WWII as to be no difference at all, proving A3R's utility as a tool of speculative historical analysis. The game went on for a couple of turns as a USSR/WA fight. The WA attacked first (they had a higher total of Basic Resource Points, granting them the initiative--again, purely historical). Over the next two turns, the combined land-air-sea encirclement took back the Balkans, Germany, and Scandanavia (except Finland, and we all know the uber-Finns can take care of themselves) and killed the entire Red Army. From there, it looked like the game would settle into a stalemate roughly along the Nazi-Soviet Pact line (Poland partitioned, the rest of E. Europe WA-controlled, and only the WA holding enough objective hexes for a major victory).

This proves my point conclusively. (The point that I like telling gaming stories, that is).

Keep 'Em Flying,

Agua Perdido

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Originally posted by Agua Perdido:

Now, this is so close to the real conditions at the end of WWII as to be no difference at all, proving A3R's utility as a tool of speculative historical analysis.


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Originally posted by Tripps:

I have no doubts about W.A. economic power, i'm really asking how W.A. Naval power would have had any direct influence in any European conflict, as some people here seem to think that it would have a decided effect.

Logistics. There's a reason the Western Allies were so keen on taking Antwerp in '44. Having to keep the Red Army supplied in France entirely across land in the face of Allied aireal harrasment would have been prohibitive.


But I think USA military, and USA people, would kept the resolve to continue the fight. Not anymore in Europe, but maybe like a blockade against USSR and European countries, helped by UK and a increasing effort from South America and other world areas to which USSR influence didn't reach.

I agree that it would likely have come down to how willing the US was to push them back once the initail offensive ended and lines stabilized. But I would not be so quick to dismiss US willingness to bleed some more. A sense of betrayal can be a powerful motivator (assuming a scenario in which the Soviets initiate the conflict, of course).

I'd give 3-1 odds that the final lines were drawn closer to the Oder than the Rhine.

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All the opposite, Vanir. I think if someone was in the mood to bleed a bit more was USA, just that they would have eventually do the bleeding after losing Continental Europe.

To me, the example of Ardennes offensive is the more accurate portrayal of what can have happened: an operational surprise by Soviets in one or some points, pushing the lines maybe 500 kms to the West in some point in the first two months of battles. If they managed to capture a few crucial ports in that push, WA could have been expulsed in the next 'push'. At that time, UK forces could have been pretty bleed.

From there, all fall in the strategical realm, with blockades, amphibious operations and the like, with USA doing all the work and USSR with less and less resources to keep the fight. But if USSR succeed in the first stages driving WA from Europe, then the most probable scenario is one of a "Warmer War".

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Originally posted by Ariel:

But if USSR succeed in the first stages driving WA from Europe, then the most probable scenario is one of a "Warmer War".

A very big "if". If the WA armies are still mostly intact when the fighting reaches the Rhine, the Soviets don't take France. I don't think the Soviets could sustain operations that far away. Only way the Soviets win is if they can shatter the WA armies in the first month or so. Possible, but unlikely. Even after the massive losses of '44-'45 the Germans offered fierce resistance to the Red Army in Berlin. The WA was in much better shape than the Germans and Paris is a long way from Moscow. Everything would have to go right for the Soviets to take all of Western Europe. The odds would be against them and time would be their enemy.

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No hard feelings. Like Andreas, I have a great interest in the military developments of the Red Army from its inception to the end of WWII (actually beyond that, but not with anywhere near the same enthusiasm as WWII and earlier). The Soviets did a number of things that no one in the West considered efficient or productive, and made them work to an amazing degree. They took a 'command-push' system (as opposed to the German 'recon-pull') and optimized it beyond anyone's expectations - or knowledge. The West really didn't understand what the Soviets had done until the 1980s, and it was more than a little startling for the western military community. The frustrating part is that much of this knowledge is unacknowledged within western popular culture, though it's been used with great success by the US military in revising their military art. As our Red Army Studies site states in the 'about us' page, we don't see the Red Army as an army that could've taken the world with a flick of its finger. But we do feel it deserved every bit as much respect as the Wehrmacht in its capacity to conduct war. My statements made here were done with that in mind.

And like yourself, I'm finally out of this argument, since there really is not more to say.

Take care, Ruthless.

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Vanir's last post is linked in a way to my next follow-up. I had last alluded as that a Soviet-led offensive would probably be able to get to the Rhine and would consume a lot of the WA's "first line" while doing so. However, getting beyond the Rhine as to take the rest of Europe would then be problematic IMO. Why so?

First of all, even in the process of knocking out many WA formations, the Soviet offensive forces would likely take no small number of casualties in the process. The Soviets may have had a profound advantage in artillery guns per km frontage in the initial assault, but both the British and US forces were able to compensate to a degree with their own artillery flexibilities as could bring a LOT of batteries to concentrate onto a specific target in given situations. This would've been harder for the WA forces to accomplish in the breakthrough sectors with the rear echelon being FUBAR, but for other sectors, WA artillery & firepower would've taken some given toll in delaying actions.

Adding to this is that even in those areas of breakthrough, the following Soviet echelons for reserves, artillery, transport and logistics still had to come up. The farther ahead as the advance would go, the longer overall lead time for this.

Thus, by the time of reaching western Germany and the Rhine, the Soviet offensive would very likely had built up too much "drag" in attrition and lengthened supply lines before pausing to regroup, rebuild and reinforce.

And it would then be at this relative juncture where the sum airpower of the WA, noted before quite frequently, would make itself felt quite keenly.

Recognizably, the ability of the WA air forces to directly damage and interdict the Soviet ground attackers would certainly had been sharply challenged by the Soviet's own air forces. Regardless, to presume as that the air war would only be decided or constrained to the tactical low-level is to badly misjudge what the US/UK air forces had developed in strategic experience against the German and Japanese air arms. While the Soviets certainly developed ground-level operational art to a high form, the US and UK in turn truly developed an "operational art" of their own with their air forces -- as that could better choose the altitude for engagement, as could target more effectively to an average MPI even in the inclement weather of WE, as could concentrate more destructive power on this MPI for a given mission, and could do this both in day and night.

This "aerial operational art" was not learned overnight, nor easily. It took years to develop so to address all of the noted factors above. However, what it did in early to mid-1944 was profound not only to assist the Second Front, but to force the Luftwaffe to concentrate at home defense on disadvantageous terms as that assisted other fronts with reduced Luftwaffe opposition.

The first requirement before invading Normandy was to "win command of the air" --- this was started in Feb. 1944 with the high-altitude "Big Week" bombing offensive. It was a costly affair to the US bombers, but it dealt the needed hammerblow to the German day fighters from which it was not able to regain the initiative. The German fighter command next resolved to limit its interceptions so to rebuild and to concentrate. The US fighters countered by ranging more and more ahead of the bombers in independent sweeps and by going down on the deck to strafe up German airbases. By May 1944, all of this in Germany and France had cost the Germans the command of the air where it mattered.

Which, from there, stemmed the interdiction and isolation air attacks as that pulverized rail & bridges and reduced the march rate of many reinforcing German units to a veritable crawl after D-Day. By one such example, the German 275th Infantry Division, while interdicted, covered only 220 km in eight days.

First get command of the air, then hunt the enemy at his airbases, then isolate the battlefield to the Allies' advantage. It was a concerted aerial strategy, not simple attrition, as what brought all of this about very dramatically.

To further make the point of what stake the WA had in airpower's "operational art" right after WWII is how its transport element ultimately prevailed in the Berlin crisis. During this, the requirements for the isolated West Berlin was an inflow of 10,000 tons of supply a day average. Against the unforgiving winter weather of 1948-49, this seemed so impossible a goal to reach as that the Soviets counted on this to render the WA hold in West Berlin as untenable. But with time and effort in developing patterned flights, the tonnage target was not only reached, but exceeded, before the blockade was finally lifted in 1949.

Now, care is needed of course to compare the situation of Normandy to that as would happen in WE during a hypothetical Soviet attack. Certainly WA airpower would not have been marshalled quickly enough to check the initial Soviet assaults very well. But if the Soviet attack lost steam in west Germany and paused --- a very likely outcome IMO --- by then both the US and UK air forces would have been better assembled to apply their own "operational art."

It would've been round-the-clock raids again, more focused on rail, bridges, and logistics bases. And what both the US and UK air forces had honed in high-altitude bombing accuracy would certainly have allowed for numerous sizable high-altitude raids to strike at both day and night. To such a level where the Soviet fighters would be forced to intercept and engage the WA escorts in a less advantageous air combat environment.

Other raiders like Mosquitoes and A-26's in night intruder attacks (or even day strikes) would in turn also be a factor when able to apply enough sorties, particularly in the ability of the "Mossie" to get in and out quickly enough before enough enemy interceptors would be in position to intercept.

By this, the sum WA airpower would had very likely built on the "inertia" of the Soviets to get going again quickly enough to move on the rest of WE. And --- if that situation indeed had developed where that the Soviets had gained a few hundred kilometers but could not get much further in the following months, then it becomes more the situation where the sum WA airpower and naval power are brought to bear in the strategic realm, whether to close down the Black Sea to Soviet shipping or to turn the Caspian oil fields into a virtual inferno. Let alone what had to be feared when the next nuclear bombs would be readied in 1946, as Moscow was certainly reachable by such an attack as would also most likely come under cover of night.

In sum, the post-WWII premise was that it was much easier to defend than to attack. If the WA attacked first (a la "Patton's Dream"), the Soviets would have rendered such an attack into a disaster in fairly short order, even with WA airpower to assist. On the flip side, the Soviets attacking first would've likely made sizable gains at first and accomplished quite a few encirclements, but regardless of how much of WE was seized, the threat of WA air & naval power made it very unlikely for any such gains to have been held onto at the negotiation table when the US nuclear card was available to play.

Thus it all comes back to what Grisha and others alluded to earlier. The end result would have been a costly affair to both sides with virtually nothing to show for either in lasting gains. It is indeed altogether best that we all were spared of it.

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hmmm, I wonder if there would be those big battles of encirclement going on - I mean with the exception of the sweep across france and the stuff towards the end of extreme end of the war it seems lots of WA v. German battles were small gain here and there type of stuff (this is puzzling, as I wonder w/o the whole airpower thing going on would France have seen the same type of mobile style warfare as in the east?

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Well as this thread is finally dying down, I will now cast judgement ;):D

A Soviet surprise attack in May/June '45 reaches the Seine in August, before operational friction bogs it down. The WA use this respite to build up a logistical base that is strong enough to eventually lead to a generally acknowledged stalemate somewhere between the Rhine and the Pyrennes. After a year or two of half-hearted offensives by both sides, a negotiated peace sets the iron curtain down along the Rhine.

WA airpower creates much of the operational friction in 1945, but is not solely responsible for the Soviet offensive running out of steam. Strategic bombing is relatively ineffective because of the long ranges to vital targets, which allied intelligence has difficulty identifying. Allied Naval power is relegated to supporting peripheral actions around the Soviet domain (A la Gallipoli in WWI).

As an aside:

For those of you who have been really caught up in this thread, I would strongly recommend the boardgame Patton in Flames from Australian Design Group. It uses the same rules system as World in Flames, but is specifically designed for the scenario we've been discussing (As well as a '48 scenario). Basically, it is May '45, there are still weak German units resisting, and it is up to either Allied or Soviet player to be the first to continue going east or west. Neither side has an easy time of it, which makes for a fun game. I may just have to break it out when I get home...

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I would like to revive this thread in order to inject some thoughts and data into this discussion, starting with the scenario, which begins with Western Allied forces in place where they were at the war's end and the Russians and their allies where they were. Patton begins the assault, on a Red Army which has just offensively spasmed on a titanic scale--and suffered horrendous losses as a result. From the Panzerfaust effectiveness thread here, I quote part of my post 34


From Axis History Forum, a Russian member chimes in with new data for Battle of Berlin armor losses.


Unfortunately, it's not sourced. It's very detailed, though. I summarize as follows.

1st Guards Tank Army 232 tanks/SPs destroyed of 703 engaged

2nd Guards Tank Army 209 tanks/SPs destroyed of 667 engaged

3rd Guards Tank Army 204 tanks/SPs destroyed of 632 engaged


Total tank/SP losses = 645 tanks/SPs destroyed of 2002 engaged = 32%

I provide this to give some sense of how beaten up the Red Army was at the time Patton wished to press on.

Russian casualties in the Battle of Berlin were so awful Stalin established secret hospitals to house his mangled veterans. The losses and the terrible state of the BoB survivors was the subject of a special documentary ("Secrets of the Battle of Berlin") drawing on the latest information (post Soviet collapse) on the History Channel. It was a harrowing program, made poignant by smuggled drawings of men who in some cases had no limbs at all, yet lived.

BoB casualties per the updates, as reported in the Wiki, amounted to 81,116 KIA and 280,251 WIA/Sick. This represents 14% of the men (2.5 million) the Russians started the entire campaign with. I'd expect this percentage to be significantly higher in the case of the men (1.5 million) actively involved in attacking Berlin.


Here is a declassified Top Secret (September 15, 1945) report on what the U.S. would need in its atomic weapon stockpile to defeat Russia in a post-war general war, with the U.S. striking first. It is noteworthy in the target list, in what would be hit and how hard, in a strong refutation by General Leslie Groves, who thought the requirements way too high, based on demonstrated weapon effectiveness, and in how the U.S. planners were already beginning to think about the application of nuclear weapons to field combat operations.


Here's the once highly classified target map


This nuclear planning discussion is taken from here, and I commend it to those interested.


So, with Patton already in Czechoslovakia and an exhausted Red Army concentrated in Berlin, what happens if he carries on from there and the overall WA drive resumes? What is the correlation of forces, given the Red Army has flung itself over vast distances and has just fought a bloody and armor expensive campaign to seize Berlin and win the war?


I would also ask what is the relative survivability of Russian artillery & MRLs practically trail spade to trail spade for the shattering bombardment of Berlin when faced with parafrags, carpet bombing and/or VT shells (also available on bombs and rockets)? And how well can the Red Army fight if substantially deprived of same? Here are some of the tamer examples of massing fires by massing tubes.

76mm ZIS-3 gun line BoB


MRLs firing (nd)


203mm B-4 howitzers of the RVGK (strategic artillery) 1944


152mm guns of the RVGK 1944


The U.S. and Western Allies massed fires by concentrating fires, sometimes clear up to corps level, on a target, and also massed them in time, as in the morale destroying TOT (Time On Target) shoots.

I freely grant the Russians did amazing things that still take my breath away, and on a scale which is hard to comprehend, but how would they have fared, given their depleted state immediately following BoB, in the face of the aerial and ground firepower the U.S. disposed of, their incredible vulnerability to same, their limited radar capability (most of which we supplied, therefore knew inside out--mainly SCR-584 gun control radars or stolen--British Type II gunlaying radar design) our superb ECM/ECCM (electronic countermeasures/electronic countercountermeasures), ELINT (electronic intelligence), AZON, Grand Slam and similar? Nor were our deception and camouflage capabilities anything to be sneezed at (Maskelyne,FUSAG, FORTITUDE, Ghosts of the ETO(book)), to name but a few.

For purposes of this analysis, the Russian maskirovka is blown. The gun positions around Berlin are impossible to miss via high altitude stereo recon and high speed low level runs, likely the depots, CPs and more, too, not to mention airfileds for the short-legged VVS. What happens when the American hammer comes crashing down on an exposed, exhausted, badly damaged and practically spent foe? Can you imagine what a 1000 plane raid would do to those artillery and support positions? "Massacre" doesn't even come close!

If, near the end of the war, the Russians couldn't stop a lone heavily overloaded JU-87G from killing their armor, what could they do against the Eighth Air Force, a unit supported by a huge, far seeing microwave radar? What about multiple ATAFs?

Ju-87G, Stettin, Germany 1945

Microwave Early Warning radar system AN/CPS-1, 235 nmi range vs large target


Am posting what I have, lest something go wrong.


John Kettler

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Hi History guy here.  three words  air power, supply, say it all.  American air power would negate soviet numbers of tanks. 

B29, B24, B17 long range bombers, the Soviets had nothing like them, would crush supply lines from the east and demolish all soviet airfields.

The Soviets, like the Germans failed to develop any good quality heavy duty long range bombers.  Their air force was designed for close support of ground forces, and numbers were not large in comparison. Soviets were still flying lend lease P40s at the end of the war.

While the Soviets had an excellent fighter plane, comparable to the P51 and P47 it only had an effective range of around 400 miles so it would have to be based very close to the front.  While the yak3 had a tighter turning radius and quicker acceleration than the P51 and the P47 and a faster rate of climb, Both the 51 and 47 had higher top speed, higher ceiling better rate of fire and the 51 had a range of over 1600 miles. American fighter bases would always be out of soviet range while the soviet basses would be easy pickins..

While the Soviets managed to produce around 4900 Yak3 in the war the U.S. produced over 16,000 P51s alone, around 12,000 p47s , and here is the big one over 10,000 p38s the Germans called the 38 fork tailed devil, it was a very effective tank killer much like the wart hog of today.  It had four 50s and a 20mm canon in the nose.

So here is how I see things playing out.  In the first two weeks the Soviets would make significant progress taking all of Germany and a good chunk of eastern France. This would be accomplished by large masses of superior battle tanks  By the end of the first week Soviet air power would be all but wiped out.  Food, ammo, fuel, almost all supply would be crippled from the air.  I can see entire tank divisions wiped out in hours by masses of P 38,47,51 air to ground bombing .  By the end of week two Soviet advances would grind to a halt, due to shortages of food fuel and ammo. By the end of week 3 Allied forces would begin to push the Soviets back across western and eastern Europe to the soviet border. this could take months or a year depending on how well dug in the Soviets were.  Remember the Soviets and Russians before them were the masters of tactical retreat and entrapment.  Only an idiot would pursue them into Russia with the idea of complete submission.  IE Napoleon,..and Hitler and maybe Patton if unchecked by Eisenhower and Truman..

At this point, if the Soviets did not sue for peace, and Stalin was no quitter, the Allies would have to change tactics. The new goal would be to wipe out the means of production of war material in Siberia.  This could be accomplished by B29 raids from China and Alaska. The goal would be to keep the Soviets from rebuilding large numbers of tanks and planes. Air raids would be almost without risk. At the same time allied armies would move just far enough into The Soviet Union to disrupt food production in the Bread Basket of Ukraine and western Russia.without overreaching supply lines The Red Ball Express was the best supply vehicle in the history of warfare but even it would have had trouble crossing more than, say 800 miles into The Soviet Union.

Patton would a non factor as far as offensive tank battles go and would be relegated to mopping up Soviet divisions which avoided being destroyed  from the air,  and taking hungry Soviet captives.. A job he would detest!

Truman would not use the A bomb even if he had more because the Soviets would be surrounded by French, German, pole and Check non-combatants.

That is how I see it.  Any comment is appreciated.  .

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