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JerseyJohn

WWII Speculations Thread

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An earlier thread, The WWII Bookshelf, began wandering way off topic as several of us got into speculative issues instead of talking about WWII books we'd recently read that we either enjoyed, found interesting, or that had a positive or negative reaction to.

I'm going to copy the speculative posts to this thread in the hope that it continues, but in a more sensible area.

On Britain and France giving hopeless guarantees to Poland and Rumania in 1939, aftrer allowing the destruction of Czheckoslovakia, a legitimate democracy allied to France, with strong defences and a good army, a country the British and French might actually have conducted a successful war over, the previous year.

Exactly what did Britain and France do in 1939 that was so wonderful? France wanted to lay low, as it had all along, and Chamberlain, for whatever reason only he could have known, suddenly guaranteed that Britain would guarantee the independence of Poland, Hungary and Rumania if attacked by Germany. The French felt obliged to add that they would do so as well, though they went along with it in a mood of fatality, and well they should have because Chamberlain had gone mad. After having handed Nazi Germany the means to instantly increase its army by 50% in handing it Czhechoslovakia, the only Democracy of all the countries involved, they suddenly decide at that point, with the scales suddenly tipped hopelessly against them, that they should fight the war they ought to have fought, on more than equal terms, a year earlier. It was a reckless course that ignored reality, made a major war inevitable, and increased exponentially the suffering and death that Europe and the entire world had to endure. Chamberlain, and after him Churchill, did nothing but destroy a basically civilized world along with their own country and leave in the ruins the breeding ground for all the discontent and misery that came afterwards. For a second half of the 20th Century that saw even more people killed as a result of wars than the first half, in which the two biggest were fought.

...

SeaMonkey making a point about speculating on historical events:

Currently I'm reading "The Path to Victory" by Douglas Porch, a good examination, albeit in hindsight of the Mediterranean campaign, my favorite theater. Its a great read but like so many historians offers multitudes of anecdotal recipes based on that Monday morning quarterback philosophy.

The fact is, these guys never seem to elaborate on the intangibles in realistic terms, just like we do when we try and recreate a "what if " with these games of WW2 simulations. No man knows. Its very hard to not use your knowledge in hindsight and try and put yourself in the decision makers' shoes facing an unknown conclusion, hard to ignore what has already concluded.

I'll be the first here to discuss the possibilities and passionately defend my line of reasoning with circumstantial evidence, but remember my friends we can't really know, just like the historical players, how a different decision here, an appropriately conceived action there would have opened up a whole set of different conclusions, its impossible for us mortal beings. But we can contemplate.

Just remember its pure conjecture, so don't be so quick to judge the historical figures based upon hindsight, for a different route offers many branches and it was not us that was in the position of power making that educated decision, or so they thought.

Many times we take action, when perhaps no action was required, but what's the price of inaction? We have history to shed a light but it is by no means bright and the many possibilities of the alternative will forever escape us....for no man knows.;)

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Branching off into U. S. involvement in the European War:

... I'll even go one step further. As a Yankee, I would have stayed out of the war. There was no point losing 300,000 men for Europe's problem.

Lodi's Response:

...

JJR

America paid a high price in the war, though modest compared to many of the other major combatants – the toll of this war is mind boggling to me. It is impossible to determine if avoiding the war would have been more costly in the long run or not. My view is that it probably would have been. But counter-factuals are the hardest to prove.

Arado combines responses to the earlier subjects:

JerseyJohn im not sure that the Brits and French could have done anything else(Standing up to Hitler after they sold out the Czechs which was REALLY STUPID).The only other recourse would be to let him wipeout minor after minor country with no threat from anyone.Because the French and the Brits.declared war it forced Hitler to change his plans radically.He couldnt prepare his country for war in 1942 because he was already at war and suffering losses(especially after the Battle of Britain).It changed his whole strategy and the course of the war.If we just sat back and did nothing untill we thought we were ready who knows what Hitler may have achieved by then.

I agree with you in that alot of suffering just continued at the hands of the Soviets and we just traded one tyrant for another but where did you get your info on overall human losses due to wars on the latter half of the 20th century?Over 50 million died as a result of WW2(dont know the overall human cost in WW1)It was the single most destructive war ever fought.Im not familiar with the losses from the other wars fought but was it really over 60 million(im guessing the human lives lost in WW1)?

Rambo do you really think it would have been wise to just let the Europeans fight it out?I know it was still a long shot but without U.S.actual involvement Hitler may have been able to pull off some sort of victory.How do you think the world would view America and what type of a world would people(including America)be living in?Imho it would have been absolutly horrible.You can also bet that if Hitler remained in power as soon as he figured he had the upper hand he would start the dam war all over again(this time with the latest and greatest rockets which would have been able to hit America).Now America and the rest of what was left of the world would have to fight some nut that could fire rockets anywhere armed with who knows what.Stopping Hitler decisivley with overwelming firepower was the right thing to do.It aslo showed the Russians that if they tried to start anything that America would fight.

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Responses to Snowstorm's earlier post supporting the idea for this thread, and Arado's question about number of deaths in 20th Century Wars:

Snowstorm, Glad you like the idea too. Don't agree that I would do it better than yourself, but with me there's sure to be at least one psychotic episode :eek: so it would probably be more amusing. :D I'm going to start a thread on it during the next few days.

Arado, Don't recall where I first heard or read it, probably from a history documentary, but just as likely from a world atlas. I pretty much only keep track of things that relate directly to something on working on, otherwise it goes to the mental note department.

But below is something I found just now on the Internet. This list has even higher totals for WWI & WWII than you estimated, and the second half deaths still appear to be higher. Though I didn't add them up, and it isn't organized that way.

-- Regarding the Brit and French topic, I'm going with Snowstorm's suggestion and starting a thread on it during the next few days so this one will stay more on topic regarding books people have read. I'm planning to copy the posts we've both made on the subject in the thread's top post to begin the discussion. I think it ought to be worthwhile and interesting.

Also planning to start another thread on how far the United States should have taken neutrality, and what actions it took such as Lend-Lease, embargoes and other moves that may have led up to our ultimate involvement. I think both subjects are interesting and don't want to mix them together.

If you feel like starting either or both threads please do so, I'm eager to see what thoughts go into it and am sure both will develop quickly. :cool:

-- Ooops, forgot to paste that grizly list I mentioned. :rolleyes::D

Wars and Genocides of the 20th Century

by Piero Scaruffi

160 million people died in wars during the 20th century

(See also 1900: A century of genocides)

TM, ®, Copyright © 2009 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

1860-65: American civil war (360,000)

1886-1908: Belgium-Congo Free State (8 million)

1899-02: British-Boer war (100,000)

1899-03: Colombian civil war (120,000)

1899-02: Philippines vs USA (20,000)

1900-01: Boxer rebels against Russia, Britain, France, Japan, USA against rebels (35,000)

1903: Ottomans vs Macedonian rebels (20,000)

1904: Germany vs Namibia (65,000)

1904-05: Japan vs Russia (150,000)

1910-20: Mexican revolution (250,000)

1911: Chinese Revolution (2.4 million)

1911-12: Italian-Ottoman war (20,000)

1912-13: Balkan wars (150,000)

1915: the Ottoman empire slaughters Armenians (1.2 million)

1915-20: the Ottoman empire slaughters 500,000 Assyrians

1916-23: the Ottoman empire slaughters 350,000 Greek Pontians and 480,000 Anatolian Greeks

1914-18: World War I (20 million)

1916: Kyrgyz revolt against Russia (120,000)

1917-21: Soviet revolution (5 million)

1917-19: Greece vs Turkey (45,000)

1919-21: Poland vs Soviet Union (27,000)

1928-37: Chinese civil war (2 million)

1931: Japanese Manchurian War (1.1 million)

1932-33: Soviet Union vs Ukraine (10 million)

1934: Mao's Long March (170,000)

1936: Italy's invasion of Ethiopia (200,000)

1936-37: Stalin's purges (13 million)

1936-39: Spanish civil war (600,000)

1937-45: Japanese invasion of China (500,000)

1939-45: World War II (55 million) including holocaust and Chinese revolution

1946-49: Chinese civil war (1.2 million)

1946-49: Greek civil war (50,000)

1946-54: France-Vietnam war (600,000)

1947: Partition of India and Pakistan (1 million)

1947: Taiwan's uprising against the Kuomintang (30,000)

1948-1958: Colombian civil war (250,000)

1948-1973: Arab-Israeli wars (70,000)

1949-: Indian Muslims vs Hindus (20,000)

1949-50: Mainland China vs Tibet (1,200,000)

1950-53: Korean war (3 million)

1952-59: Kenya's Mau Mau insurrection (20,000)

1954-62: French-Algerian war (368,000)

1958-61: Mao's "Great Leap Forward" (38 million)

1960-90: South Africa vs Africa National Congress (?)

1960-96: Guatemala's civil war (200,000)

1961-98: Indonesia vs West Papua/Irian (100,000)

1961-2003: Kurds vs Iraq (180,000)

1962-75: Mozambique Frelimo vs Portugal (?)

1964-73: USA-Vietnam war (3 million)

1965: second India-Pakistan war over Kashmir

1965-66: Indonesian civil war (250,000)

1966-69: Mao's "Cultural Revolution" (11 million)

1966-: Colombia's civil war (31,000)

1967-70: Nigeria-Biafra civil war (800,000)

1968-80: Rhodesia's civil war (?)

1969-: Philippines vs New People's Army (40,000)

1969-79: Idi Amin, Uganda (300,000)

1969-02: IRA - Norther Ireland's civil war (2,000)

1969-79: Francisco Macias Nguema, Equatorial Guinea (50,000)

1971: Pakistan-Bangladesh civil war (500,000)

1972-: Philippines vs Muslim separatists (Moro Islamic Liberation Front, etc) (120,000)

1972: Burundi's civil war (300,000)

1972-79: Rhodesia/Zimbabwe's civil war (30,000)

1974-91: Ethiopian civil war (1,000,000)

1975-78: Menghitsu, Ethiopia (1.5 million)

1975-79: Khmer Rouge, Cambodia (1.7 million)

1975-89: Boat people, Vietnam (250,000)

1975-90: civil war in Lebanon (40,000)

1975-87: Laos' civil war (184,000)

1975-2002: Angolan civil war (500,000)

1976-83: Argentina's military regime (20,000)

1976-93: Mozambique's civil war (900,000)

1976-98: Indonesia-East Timor civil war (600,000)

1976-2005: Indonesia-Aceh (GAM) civil war (12,000)

1977-92: El Salvador's civil war (75,000)

1979: Vietnam-China war (30,000)

1979-88: the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan (1.3 million)

1980-88: Iraq-Iran war (1 million)

1980-92: Sendero Luminoso - Peru's civil war (69,000)

1980-99: Kurds vs Turkey (35,000)

1981-90: Nicaragua vs Contras (60,000)

1982-90: Hissene Habre, Chad (40,000)

1983-: Sri Lanka's civil war (70,000)

1983-2002: Sudanese civil war (2 million)

1986-: Indian Kashmir's civil war (60,000)

1987-: Palestinian Intifada (4,500)

1988-2001: Afghanistan civil war (400,000)

1988-2004: Somalia's civil war (550,000)

1989-: Liberian civil war (220,000)

1989-: Uganda vs Lord's Resistance Army (30,000)

1991: Gulf War - large coalition against Iraq to liberate Kuwait (85,000)

1991-97: Congo's civil war (800,000)

1991-2000: Sierra Leone's civil war (200,000)

1991-2009: Russia-Chechnya civil war (200,000)

1991-94: Armenia-Azerbaijan war (35,000)

1992-96: Tajikstan's civil war war (50,000)

1992-96: Yugoslavian wars (260,000)

1992-99: Algerian civil war (150,000)

1993-97: Congo Brazzaville's civil war (100,000)

1993-2005: Burundi's civil war (200,000)

1994: Rwanda's civil war (900,000)

1995-: Pakistani Sunnis vs Shiites (1,300)

1995-: Maoist rebellion in Nepal (12,000)

1998-: Congo/Zaire's war - Rwanda and Uganda vs Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia (3.8 million)

1998-2000: Ethiopia-Eritrea war (75,000)

1999: Kosovo's liberation war - NATO vs Serbia (2,000)

2001-: Afghanistan's liberation war - USA & UK vs Taliban (40,000)

2002-: Cote d'Ivoire's civil war (1,000)

2003: Second Iraq-USA war - USA, UK and Australia vs Saddam Hussein (14,000)

2003-09: Sudan vs JEM/Darfur (300,000)

2003-: Iraq's civil war (60,000)

2004-: Sudan vs SPLM & Eritrea (?)

2004-: Yemen vs Shiite Muslims (?)

2004-: Thailand vs Muslim separatists (3,700)

Arab-Israeli wars

  • I (1947-49): 6,373 Israeli and 15,000 Arabs die
  • II (1956): 231 Israeli and 3,000 Egyptians die
  • III (1967): 776 Israeli and 20,000 Arabs die
  • IV (1973): 2,688 Israeli and 18,000 Arabs die
  • Intifada I (1987-92): 170 Israelis and 1,000 Palestinians
  • Intifada II (2000-03): 700 Israelis and 2,000 Palestinians
  • Israel-Hamas war (2008): 1,300 Palestinians

Main sources:

  • Charny: Genocide - A Critical Bibliographic Review (1988)
  • Stephane Courtois: Black Book on Communism (1995)
  • Clodfelter: Warfare and Armed Conflicts (1992)
  • Elliot: Twentieth Century Book of the Dead (1972)
  • Bouthoul: A List of the 366 Major Armed Conflicts of the period 1740-1974, Peace Research (1978)
  • R.J. Rummel: Death by Government - Genocide and Mass Murder (1994)
  • Matt White's website
  • Several general textbooks of 20th century history

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Speculation on Axis helping Iraq in ousting British control:

Rambo Germany wouldnt have to take the Med.If Russia went downthen they would just come around the other way and if you recall the people of the Mid-East were none to fond of the Brits and would have done everything in their power to help the Germans.

As far as getting the oil to Germany just truck it through to Turkey(yes I realise how hard that would be) and you could then build more refineries in Romania etc.You wouldnt have to send all the oil to Germany.Actually how much oil would Germany need?If the Axis had defeated Russia and England they wouldnt need such a huge army anymore.

Do you think the Americans could build a bomber that could fly from America to Germany and back before Germany had enough Rockets to start firing first?

I just think if the Amis.hadnt got directly involved when they did it would have meant the oveall loss of ALOT more lives(including Americans)Like you said,who cares if its a soldier that dies or a civilian.

Adding my own view:

I agree with Arado. The best selling book in Iraq at the time was Mein Kampf. Hitler made a huge blunder in not helping that country to oust the Brits. He could also have sent aid earlier than the actual uprising but he kept telling his inner circle that the Middle East fell within Il Duce's sphere. A ridiculous position to take at that point in the war. With Iraq in the Axis and Rommel taking Tobruk almost simultaneously the British, aside from the Iraqi oil, would have been a very desperate strategic situation. All the Iraquis needed was a little air support; even ME 110s, next to useless against the Hurricanes and Spitfires, might have won air supremacy against the training models Britain had on its airfield in Iraq.

I have to agree with BrotherRambo that Rommel couldn't have forced his way through to Alexandria and the Suez Canal. That was also the opinion of Paulus, who was sent to do an evaluation of the theater after the fall of Tobruk. Paulus advised the Axis should hold Libya but not try to take Egypt. But this was too tame for Rommel who wouldn't even allow Kesselring to take Malta, convincing Hitler to cancel the operation (he was against such battles in any case after Crete) and send those troops (including a German paratroop brigade and an Italian paratroop regiment) to his command instead, with a green light for the push into Egypt.

Probably, instead of sending Paulus to the Sixth Army, Hitler should have sent Rommel to Russia and placed Paulus in command of the Africa Corps. Russia, aside from the genocide which I'm sure he'd have kept under control in his command, was well suited to Rommel's skills while Paulus, in a defensive posture in Libya, could have eased into his first field command instead of being dropped totally without experience into the most important offensive taking place at the time. -- My only guess is Hitler would probably have deemed command of Sixth Army to be a sort of demotion for Rommel, who was promoting to fieldmarshal.

JJR Continues:

It's not that the Germans couldn't have pulled of an end run to the Middle East + Coup D' Tau with some local governments. I just don't see Gerry setting up a 3000+ mile long supply line of oil without the Allies dusting it off the map with bombers/fighters. So what's the point trying to take the oil fields of the Middle East if you can't ship it home.

I'm really surprised that neither side didn't invent "Mustard Gas" bombs to drop from planes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poison_gas_in_World_War_I

30 years previously, since WW-1, scientists could have improved on this nasty stuff

Adding more viewpoints:

It isn't so much Germany getting the oil as it is depriving it to the British. The Royal Navy in the Eastern Mediteranean/Red Sea Persian Gulf relied on that oil; it was the original reason Churchill in ~1920 pushed for the creation of a nation of Iraq, and also forced the conversion of the Royal Navy from coal to oil.

Additionally, it might have pulled Iran and Turkey into, or at least closer to, the Axis. This would have blocked one of the support routes to the USSR through Southern Russia.

And gaining access to all that oil wouldn't have hurt either. Probably the Royal Navy would have been forced to either leave the Eastern Mediteranean, or curtail its operations there, and the Middle Eastern oil could have been brought to Germany through Turkey-Bulgaria-Rumania-Hungary.

Getting Turkey to join the Axis would have been a big feather in the Fuherer's Cap.

Wow, I'm ready for a game...

Added here:

I don't think it was mentioned that at the time Iraq was rising against the British, Rommel was making his second campaign into Cyraenica, and taking Tobruk. I can't help but think even a little more German aid to Iraq, especially if sent when it was first requested, would have led to Britain being pushed out of the country, and having an untenable situation in North Africa -- sizable troops would have had to have been sent to try and retake Iraq, the whole point of fighting in Egypt was mainly to keep the Middle Eastern oil in British hands, with the Suez Canal being second in importance. So, even if a large detatchment from 8th Army succeeded in regaining control of Iraq, I think it would have weakened the position at El Alemain enough to enable Rommel to push the Britsh back to the Sainai, accomplishing his original objective of establishing a new lifeline via Crete to Alexandria. And from there the next battle, centering on the Sainai Penninsula, would have been against a weakened British force having a hostile Iraq at its back.

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Rambo I cant see either how Germany(atleast for ALONG time) would have been able to get all that oil to the refineries even if they did control the Med.It certainly take along time to setup the infrastucture to do all that.

As far as Chemical and Biological weapons go neither side(im not counting the concetration camps)used them militarily because(im guessing)that after WW1 it was considered immoral(yes I know the irony)and there are some things you just shouldnt do.Plus neither side wanted them used on eachothers civilain pop.The side that used them first would have been looked upon as a total evil villian that could never be trusted.

If Hitler wasnt willig to use them(which is VERY suprising)militarily then if the Allies fired first with them I could see it blowing up,in their face.Since both sides had them and delering the weapon accurate didnt really matter Imho it would have unleashed such destruction(much more than there already was)that it would have made no sense.

Rambo as far as tech.goes you are absoulty correct in who knows what eachside would have invented and thats precisley why imho the Americans had to get into the war as fast as they could to end it(yes I also would have done things differently but hindsight is 20/20)so Germany didnt have any chance of developing some Ultra high-tech weapons.

Arado,

In Scotland, frighteningly close to the shore, is a small island where nobody is allowed to land. It looks really innocent and peaceful (I've driven by it).It was the site of British development and testing of Anthrax as a bioweapon during WWII (the irony of the UK later invading Iraq, apparently to look for such weapons, is not lost on me).

The reasons for not using such weapons may be complex. I'd note that gas was very effective when first used in WWI (if sometimes backfiring) but became less formidable when gas masks became standard. I'd imagine in a more mobile WWII it was even less useful.

[incidentally, UK used more gas than the Germans did in WWI IIRC]

Even though there is a lot of fear and development and testing and speculation there continues to be no validation for bioweapons, even in this age of genetic modification. As terror weapons yes (e.g. the Anthrax-by-post saga) but as military weapons no.

Basically, high explosives are easier to target and deadlier. In WWI gas lead to breakthroughs but so did massed artillery, mining, well trained shock troops and tanks. I think generals like the latter four methods as they were more subject to command and control.....

Colin I I also think what would scare people with these Chem.or Bilogical weapons(check out what the Japs did with their Bio.weapons experiments at Mukkden)is the not knowing part of why people are dying.If you dont know whats causing death you tend to get even more scared.

I hope you are right in that there NEVER comes a reason to validate the use of Bio.chemical or Nukes.

-----------

Added Here:

During the 1930s there was a lot of fear of gas weapons being dropped on cities by bombers. Prewar estimates of civilian casualties in London during the opening of a war with Germany ranged in the hundreds of thousands; the big concern of pre-war planning was the dispossal of civilian corpses quickly enough to prevent an explosion of the rat population and resulting epidemics. A good, though extremely antiquated film version of these views can be seen in the British movie, Things To Come -- c1936, based on a story by H. G. Wells that incorporates a modern Hundred Years War breaking out in 1930s Europe.

SeaMonkey if the Germans had actually been able to K.O.Russia and England because of America not getting directly involved(I know it would have been REAL tough)then would Germany really need all that oil right away?There would be no need for a huge armed force.All efforts would go into tech.to make the world a better place(ha ha).

Rambo I can no doubt see why you wouldnt want American blood spilt for European stupidity,I just think its better to confront your enemy from a great position of strength than let your Allies(I use the term loosly for Russia)get picked off one by one.

Added Here:

As I wrote earlier, it was as important to deprive Britain of the Middle East oil as it was to secure it for the Axis. I don't agree at all that getting it back to Germany and Italy would have presented any great problems; there were existing rail lines running through from Iraq to Istanbul, and I believe trains at the time were ferried across the Bosporus between the Europeean and Asiatic parts of Turkey.

I agree that, with all of those objectives achieved Germany would not have needed a huge armed force, only enough to occupy Europe, which in many areas could have been done by Axis allies. Alledgedly Hitler felt that way too, and his next step would have been in putting together a Blue Ocean Navy from all the resources he'd captured -- which would have included numerous unfinished warships sitting on slipways in France and other nations.

-- Regarding the Russo-German war, I don't think Germany could have carried it beyond the Urals. At that point they'd have had too much to occupy already, and beyond the mountains, east, would have been too much empty space with no way to establish a good supply line. The Russians in Asia would have had a field day cutting advanced German units off and destroying them. It would have been Crassius and the Parthians over and over and over again.

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Awww, go ahead JerseyJohn, start the new thread.

At least we'll all be able to tell what the new thread looks like.

So will the late comers. ;)

Posted in response -- I'm afraid I waited too long to start it.

Agreed!

...

Too late, dear friend, too late. :D

Hmmm, okay, Snowstorm, you convinced me. And for BrotherX, your clever ploy worked! :cool::D

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Part of a discussion about Axis taking Malta:

Did you know a huge reason Malta was not invaded in spring 1942 was that after Crete Hitler had to use his 7. Fliegerdivision to keep the russian 54th army back at the Leningrad front. So no operation hercules.

Glad you posted this, Kuni, didn't know about it. I thought the Axis set aside one German paratroop brigade, one Italian paratroop regiment and two Italian infantry divisions to be brought in by ship and aircraft as facilities were captured. The operation would certainly have had a better chance with that added Luftwaffe infantry division.

-- I think those Italian and German paratroop units, and the two Italian infantry divisions were sent to fight at El Alamein.

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Wow, thanks for your great efforts here, SirJersey!

Only thing left to do is to drive the herd over to this talking grounds, should get pretty interesting if we could manage this (yeeha, this way, Blitzen, Thunder, Rudolph!).

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Thank you, BrotherX. A voice told me, "Build it and they will come."

Speaking of which, the first ones are arriving even as I write this, yes, it's Blitzen, Thunder, Rudolph and Prancer.

Hmmm -- with riders.

"You be Marcellus. It's my turn to be Ben Hur."

-- "You were Ben Hur yesterday, it's my turn."

"Stop bikering and get your reindeer, I mean, uh, chariots lined up."

http://undergrowth.org/system/files/images/Reindeer+people.preview.jpg

Reindeer+people.preview.jpg

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Continues from preceding post

-- Taken from the Questions Thread:

... as far as i know Hitler urged to start the war as soon as possible, in fact he was mad a Mussolini who brought the Munich treaty instead of War in 1938.

Each year on top of 1939 would have made germany weaker and her heighbors stronger.

And one more thing: Germany was broke, because it spend money for all those precious tanks and weapon. But this money was only printed, never earned.

Only through the plunder of her neighbors Germany was able to continue to fight.

There is a briliant campaign in Patton drives east, in which Germany had "won" the contintal war, with new borders and german fortication near the Urals. The year si 1945 (if i remember correctly).

The Allies start the game with a huge landing operation against occupied England while the Germans have ther Plan Z dream build and afloat.

Not exactly the campaing you were looking for, but at least a near miss (and believe me: a fresh and entertaining new campaign).

Sounds interesting, BrotherX.

I'd really enjoy a good scenario, or even a dedicated game with a scenario builder, where nobody has to be at war and it starts at some point prior to Sept 1939. It would be great to follow paths other than the one Hitler chose.

I agree that he wanted to fight a war in 1938, and again in 1939, it's only a matter of what war he was looking to fight. In both cases he wanted a limited conflict against an oppenent Germany would be able to crush quickly and without too much loss. He wanted to isolate a neighbor and take the opportunity to show off Germany's new fighting machine.

In a pre-war scenario I'd like Germany to be able to reduce its active army, placing a given number of divisions in a semi-active reserve role so as to get the economy on a more prosperous footing while still having all its equipment and, in case war looms, the ability to call it back into action.

I've never understood why the deal with Stalin wasn't (1) secret and (2) called for Russia to create the incident and then to invade Eastern Poland, with Germany able to invade from its side starting a few days later with the premise of helping the Poles and also creating a buffer zone between Germany and the new Soviet frontier. I don't think the USSR would have been afraid of an Anglo-French DOW on them, and if they afterwards did so against Germany they'd have been at war with both Germany and Russia. If they didn't declare war on the USSR for their initial attack, then declared war on Germany for their later invasion, they'd have appeared ludicrous to the USA, and even their own people. And, of course, it would be great to be able to have that kind of situation in a wargame, and have that kind of course of events affect the status of the participants in regard to neutrals.

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Thank you, BrotherX. A voice told me, "Build it and they will come."

Speaking of which, the first ones are arriving even as I write this, yes, it's Blitzen, Thunder, Rudolph and Prancer.

Hmmm -- with riders.

"You be Marcellus. It's my turn to be Ben Hur."

-- "You were Ben Hur yesterday, it's my turn."

"Stop bikering and get your reindeer, I mean, uh, chariots lined up."

http://undergrowth.org/system/files/images/Reindeer+people.preview.jpg

Reindeer+people.preview.jpg

I LOVE IT! :D

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Part of a discussion about Axis taking Malta:

Glad you posted this, Kuni, didn't know about it. I thought the Axis set aside one German paratroop brigade, one Italian paratroop regiment and two Italian infantry divisions to be brought in by ship and aircraft as facilities were captured. The operation would certainly have had a better chance with that added Luftwaffe infantry division.

-- I think those Italian and German paratroop units, and the two Italian infantry divisions were sent to fight at El Alamein.

The 7th fliegerkorps was not the only reason operation hercules never happened but it did certainly contribute to it.

The 7th fliegerkorps was mauled at Crete and was sent to the balkans to refit.

When the russian 54th Army struck at Schlüsselburg east of Leningrad in september 1941, OKW had no reserves and rushed the 7th Fliegerkorps from the balkans to hold. And they did with staggering losses. Had not the 7th been there Leningrad would not have remained cut off. And perhaps Malta would have fallen and thereby the Suez.

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Arado, Those two allied would have really been a strange situation, as you say. The strange part is I think if Hitler wanted it to work out it could have, at least till the mid-forties. Meanwhile there should have been some kind of plan where Stalin would move toward India with Germany/Italy (after defeating France) making control of the Middle East their main objective.

The late Steven Ambrose said something along those lines in a History Channel documentary, that if Hitler could have forgotten about his Russian obsession in 1941 he'd have seen that he already held the keys to the kingdom, which is to say the Middle East & Eastern Mediteranean, in his hands; but he refused to use them.

Kuni, To me the Axis and Malta shows how unprepared both Italy and Germany were for a major war in 39/40 and how it affected them all through the remainder of the war. Neither Hitler nor Mussolini saw Italy in any way other than what suited their plans. If they'd looked more closely they both would have seen that all branches of the Italian military, and also Italy's manufacturing capacity, needed at least two more years of preparation before entering a major war. Perhaps Mussolini was aware of this in the beginning, when he kept waiting to see how things would unfold, but by the late Spring of 40 he decided Italy's path on the assumption that unpreparedness didn't matter because the war would end in a month or two and his gaze was already fixed on grabbing spoils as part of the winning alliance.

If Italy had been planning for seriously for a war with Britain, its first step had to be taking Malta before conducting any operations elsewhere.

-- And then there were the several Italian East African colonies, cut off and doomed in anything other than a quick Axis victory.

By the time Operation Hercules was being planned I think it's possible the war was irretrievably lost. The last chance had come and gone when Germany invaded Russia instead of exploiting the opportunities handed to him in the Middle East. There was too much of that Il Duce's sphere even at that late point in the war. It had to sound like a joke by then, with Germany already having saved Italian fiascos in Greece and North Africa. By early 1941 Germany should have been making plans that did not include having Italy working as its partner. I think that, having already turned away from Russia to put Yugoslavia and Greece under Axis control, and then having taken Crete, Hitler should have made a new agreement with Stalin, fortifying his side of Poland in exchange for the USSR DOW on UK with a campaign to take India while Germany, without Italy, sent massive support to Iraq and gained control of the Middle East. With the U. S. still neutral and no hope of a Russian front, I can't see Britain doing anything but seeking peace, or being utterly destroyed even without a direct invasion of the British Isles.

Compared to that sort of plan I think it becomes obfious that what was actually done by the Axis was just a lot of patchwork moves with much greater loss of men and material (such as the Mediteranean convoys' losses due to Malta) than were necessary.

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Wow JerseyJohn, I'm overwhelmed with your start to this thread! :eek::cool:

Well, here's my contribution, and after all, my name is Snowstorm, here me roar. :D

The Germans faced what turned out to be one of the worst Russian winters in it's history in 1941-2, and certainly played a major part in stalling, then grinding a halt to the German advance toward Moscow, just when they were as close to 15 miles from the capital in early December. What if the Russian winter had been just "normal", or a relatively mild one? Would the Germans have been able to push into and take Moscow soon enough before the Siberian reinforcements had arrived, especially if they had been better equiped for the winter? Would Leningrad fall under better winter conditions if Lake Lodaga had not frozen over, providing the Russians a means of supply over the frozen lake as they did at the time, and Hitler had ordered the offensive into Leningrad to continue, instead of changing tactics and ordering a siege instead?

Of course, one could just turn off the weather option in the game as well as the Russian winter scripts and see what effect it would have in the game, but in real life, would it have made a critical difference? Perhaps Moscow and Leningrad would have fallen, but in the long run perhaps the Russians would have been able to launch bigger and bigger insurgencies from the rebuilt factories in the Ural mountains eventually.

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The Germans faced what turned out to be one of the worst Russian winters in it's history in 1941-2, and certainly played a major part in stalling, then grinding a halt to the German advance toward Moscow, just when they were as close to 15 miles from the capital in early December. What if the Russian winter had been just "normal", or a relatively mild one? Would the Germans have been able to push into and take Moscow soon enough before the Siberian reinforcements had arrived, especially if they had been better equiped for the winter?

It had not so much to do with siberian reinforcements(it's a myth with origins of german sources the impact and size of them btw) and harsh weather. It had to do with the Stavka building up reserves for several months. So outcome would most likely not have changed and even if Moscow fell after city fighting it would still leave the germans exposed to a long war. The big slow down of Barbarossa came around Smolensk in july-september.

Would Leningrad fall under better winter conditions if Lake Lodaga had not frozen over, providing the Russians a means of supply over the frozen lake as they did at the time, and Hitler had ordered the offensive into Leningrad to continue, instead of changing tactics and ordering a siege instead?

Reason Hitler chose to starve Leningrad was the fierce resistance and battles of attrition. Armygroup North failed it's initial assault and got bogged down and as Zhukov entered command, the red army began counterattacking.

Perhaps Moscow and Leningrad would have fallen, but in the long run perhaps the Russians would have been able to launch bigger and bigger insurgencies from the rebuilt factories in the Ural mountains eventually.

It had not so much to do with weather but lack of logistics in the first place and a completly underestimation of the capability of the red army. The reason the blitzkrieg was broken was due to the vast distances and above all; the brutal resistance of the red army and it's capacity to bring forward reserves. Terrain and weather matters but it did not break the blitzkrieg. Manstein and Guderian and others simply did not have the facts when they wrote their memoirs but with the cold war their picture of "lost victories" have gained ground in the western historical debate. When the soviet archives opened in the 90's new material became available(unfortunately Putin closed them again) which gives the "soviet story" and finally give credit to the war effort.

My history professor told me this: "the russian soldier have through history always have had a high combat value as tough soldiers". That is very true. And when the soviet disadvantage against the german mobile warfare could be turned into a war of attrition, as in Stalingrad or at Prokhorovka eg close combat, the russians stood out.

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Kuni,

I would disagree with you, but only to a point.

For the most part, everything you said I would agree, but I think the winter weather would have made A difference, but not THE difference in the war. For instance, had the panzers and other weaponry not froze and become inoperable those last few weeks (as well as the frozen German soldier), perhaps the Germans might have made it into Moscow before the Russian counter-offensive had been launched. Would it have made a real difference? Who knows. But certainly they would have gotten farther. Same with Leningrad. If Hitler HAD decided to continue an offensive into the city, perhaps with warmer weather and an unfrozen Lake Lodaga the Germans might very well have made it into Leningrad as well. Would it ultimately made a real difference in the outcome of the war on the Eastern Front? Again, as Sea Monkey had said in general earlier, who knows for sure. Heck, if the Germans had continued on for Moscow in September instead of diverting it's Army Group Center towards finishing off Kiev, perhaps they would have made it the Moscow as well. But that's an entirely different "what-if". Hmmm..... ;)

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Snowstorm, my pleasure, glad you're enjoying the thread. Terrific topic idea and interesting points.

Kuni, Really enjoying your Eastern Front expertise.

My view. Operation Barbarossa was launched with fatal flaws from the start.

For one thing the premise was wrong, that "One good kick at the door and the whole rotten house would fall down." Between late June and early October the Russians had endured the equivalent of the Polish and French defeats several times over and were still standing. Reeling, wabbly, but still on their feet. Hitler's initial vision of three great drives had to always be combined, first into two, and then into one, all the while destroying vast pockets of Soviet troops and yet having their own forces slowed and damaged by normal combat losses, worsening weather, stiffening Soviet resistence, and sheer exhaustion. Thrown into the mix was a huge German army and air force that hadn't been properly equiped for a severe winter -- whose machines, both fighting and support, didn't even have the requisite lubricants for that climate! -- falling just short of capturing the main transportation hubs and, subsequently, forced to either fight where they were, freezing troops with heavy equipment that no longer worked, at the end of their supply line and out in the open, or withdraw and risk being routed with nothing to fall back upon except barren terrain.

Many of Hitler's generals foresaw this kind of danger but their cautions were overruled because the official position was the USSR would come crashing down before any of those factors came into play. That the initial success seemed to come so easily only added to the illusion and the subsequent winter disaster that followed. The main saving grace, ironically, was Stalin's counter errors, wasting the troops that had brought him a winter victory by pushing them too far in the counter offensive, decimating the forces that should have been in place to hold back the Axis spring 1942 offensive.

I believe the whole offensive in Russia by Germany was a mistake to begin with. It was almost exactly the same mistake made by the Japanese, who, similarly deluded by early victory, kept pushing without consolidating the vital areas they'd already conquered. In Germany's case several of those alternatives have already been discussed in this thread. What exactly was the great urgency of invading the USSR while still fighting an air, sea and naval war against the UK?

If Germany had to invade Russia I think the best plan would have been to flow with the weather patterns. To place the lowest initial priority on the southern drive, a moderate priority on the center, and to throw everything else into taking Leningrad by early Autumn. After taking Leningrad, most of Army Group North, including all of its mechanized units, should have been turned south to approach Moscow from its northeast while Army Group Center hit it from the west and south. With Moscow taken as the first snow came down, the mechanized units of both Army Group North and Center could have been directed south to either take Kiev or create the kind of huge pockets that developed historically, trapping huge numbers of Soviet infantry to become weaker during the winter while the Germans, having taken the major transportation centers of Smolensk, Riga, Leningrad and Moscow, could have regrouped, reinforced and resupplied without having to fight it out in the open, during the winter.

I see the German offensive taking its objectives from north to south with the worst weather opening up in the same direction as the key objectives are taken and secured, the front moving ever farther south with the offensive resuming in the spring to take the rest of the Ukraine, Crimea and Caucasus, as was done historically, but with a German front holding its north and center much more securely.

Moscow, to me, was the most important single objective because, looking at a map of roads and rail lines, it was the most important transportation hub in Russia. Depriving the Soviets of that hub would have had tremendous logistical consequences for the continued Russian war effort.

-- Additionally, the loss of both Leningrad and Moscow within months of the campaign's opening might well have led to Hitler's vision of the rotten Soviet structure falling in, but only after its foundations had been destroyed.

And, of course, it would have helped if the SS hadn't been allowed to run rampant behind the lines, creating a fatal partisan front behind the lines. Manstein and others warned Hitler that he was wasting their military victories with pointless brutality and racial nonsense in the rear areas.

-- A huge factor rarely discussed is that, despite this oppressive and tragic idiocy, the Wehrmacht's always depleted divisions were constantly fleshed out by hundreds of thousands of Russians, whose use was at first forbidden by Hitler so they were listed as Germans living in Russia. Without these Russian soldiers fighting for Germany the Axis defeat would have come much earlier. How many additional hundreds of thousands would have been available if Germany had passed on its untermensch occupation policies? And how many tens of thousands of those would have been taken from the very same partisans fighting behind the Axis lines?

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Excellent compilation JJ, and as usual a very good summation of what I agree is the best way to approach the Eastern campaign, from north to south. In fact I have been most successful with that strategy in SC games.

Now, how about a WW2 root beginnings scenario? I've been thinking about something starting early, something with the initial basis focussed on diplomacy and society/infrastructure improvements. Usually most of your technological/weapons increases come from the feedback of war conditions, so I would present a beginning that is not conducive to weapon systems upgrades until later after hostilities commence.

There would be very slight leanings of alliances so that most possibilities are open for the players to explore and invest MPPs in, to cultivate alliances as they see fit. They could also use these MPPs to improve things like intel, infra, IT, and PT, perhaps some engineering units active in extending road and rail lines, if that is indeed an offered feature. Maybe MPPs could be used to bolster certain ports and cities on the map to have a greater efficiency rating.

What I'm getting at is a beginning without combat operations, one that allows diplomacy and infrastructure improvements and of course an emphasis in force structure through building programs. Maybe a series of decision scripts allow the historical belligerents an ability to deviate somewhat as to what their strategic orientations will be and slowly but surely guides them to the cataclysmic event that was WW2.

Perhaps this is the scenario Hubert alluded to before leaving on vacation.

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Questions:

1) How much supply did Russia have left at the peak turning points of WW-2?

2) How much supply from the USA to Russia was there?

3) If Stalingrad/Lennigrad/Moscow had fallen, would it have really mattered?

4) Would what it have taken for Russia to surrender?

5) Could Germany have occupied all their conquests in Russia with minimal troops?

6) Why is Crete/Malta important for the Axis if they couldn't win in N.Africa anyway?

Pacific:

a) Why did the Japs keep getting their butt's kick? Seems in all the major naval battles, historians say they got whimpy.

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Questions:

1) How much supply did Russia have left at the peak turning points of WW-2?

2) How much supply from the USA to Russia was there?

3) If Stalingrad/Lennigrad/Moscow had fallen, would it have really mattered?

4) Would what it have taken for Russia to surrender?

5) Could Germany have occupied all their conquests in Russia with minimal troops?

6) Why is Crete/Malta important for the Axis if they couldn't win in N.Africa anyway?

Pacific:

a) Why did the Japs keep getting their butt's kick? Seems in all the major naval battles, historians say they got whimpy.

1) Russian war production recovered in 1942 and surpassed the germans. Despite losing it's industrial base the soviets managed to convert civilian industry for military purposes and move it eastward. Remember: In 1941 the Red army fought until november most of the time outnumbered and with already produced war materials(factory was rebuilt in the urals). Moscow 1941 was the turning point, after that Germany was doomed to a long war.

2) Lend lease from western allies was around 4% of russian war effort

3) Condidering that the russians would have fought hard for the three cities some sort of decisive engagement with massive troop concentrations would have been the case.

4) What the germans intended - advance to astrakhan, set up defensive posture.

5) No considering there was millions of partisans operating behind enemy lines in forrests and swamps.

6) Because Rommel did not even get a fighting chance due to break down of logistics. Look at El alamein.

a) amerian superiority in technology and lack of military improvisation of japanese commanders(Midway). Others might have another answer.

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Kuni,

I would disagree with you, but only to a point.

For the most part, everything you said I would agree, but I think the winter weather would have made A difference, but not THE difference in the war. For instance, had the panzers and other weaponry not froze and become inoperable those last few weeks (as well as the frozen German soldier), perhaps the Germans might have made it into Moscow before the Russian counter-offensive had been launched.

I think it's vital to remember that it was winter that enabled operation typhoon in the first place. The problem was not the weather, both sides suffered, the big problem for the wehrmacht was the logistics.

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Imho the biggest single stupid attack Hitler had as far as Russia goes is when he first attacked, the Russians in most cases they welcomed the Germans with open arms.What kind of Bafoon wouldnt Capitalise on this.Like JerseyJohn said Hitlers racial policies ended that.If Hitler had the brains to see this he could have defeated Russia(or atleast cause another revolt like in WW1)and with Germany being in the only position to have any type of real influence there is no doubt in my mind that Russia would have become at the very least sympathetic to Germany like Spain or a full Ally.Just think what would have happened then.No catastophic losses on the Russian to suffer and possibly gaining the use of of over 100 million plus people.Whole course of the war changes.

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I believe Arado is correct. Had the Germans fully realized the opportunity to take advantage of the "liberated" Russians they had freed from Stalinist rule, many aspects of the Russo-German war would have swung in their favor instead of against it. On the other hand, it would have required the type of German leaders who would not have attacked Russia (or many other European countries) in the first place. It is a bit of a paradox, I think. More sane and reasonable individuals would have done it differently, but more sane and reasonable individuals would not have gone to war with most of these countries either.

As far as the weather affecting both sides, that may be true, but it appeared to me the Russians were much more able to deal with the winter weather than the Germans. I have yet to see any documentation anywhere (and I've read several dozen books on the Eastern Front) that says otherwise. If there is, I would welcome the proof of this.

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