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Old 07-20-2017, 01:47 AM   #126
DoOrDoNot
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Re: Losing WW II

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No, that's just a conspiracy theory.

This wasn't Roosevelt's plan - it was a result of his ( and the State Dept) mistaken understanding of the Japanese leadership.

They didn't realise how deeply the Japanese military government were emotionally invested in their version of 'Bushido' and that they were prepared to die rather than lose face.

Roosevelt's calculation was that, faced with economic ruin because of the oil embargo, the Japanese would back down and negotiate to save as much of their territorial gains as possible.
Roosevelt was aching to get into the war in any way possible.
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Old 07-20-2017, 10:54 AM   #127
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Re: Losing WW II

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...had a few things gone differently in 1941-1943, the Soviet Union could have potentially fallen or at the very least devolved into a never ending stalemate.
I'm not going to say that is was absolutely impossible for thr Germand to have defeated the Soviets in 1942, based on somewhat better progress in 1941, but it was very unlikely. There was no chance of a never-ending stalemate given the resource imbalance. The Germans had to win relatively quickly, or never.

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One of those things was the securement of the Suez canal and the mediterranean. The Germans could have easily kicked Britain out of Africa, and invaded Gibraltar, effectively sealing off the soft underbelly. The could have then attacked the Soviet Union from the west and south, effectively destroying the biggest trade route between the allies and the Soviet Union (through Iran).
There is a whole series of posts in this forum about why this is utter nonsense. It was logistically impossible for the Germans to capture the Suez canal without a naval superiority they didn't have. Capturing Gibraltar would have meant going to war with one of their two fascist allies plus Portugal, which would have meant giving up on Hitler's ultimate war goal: taking out the USSR. Even if the Germans had done the impossible and captured the canal, diverting forces to create a southern Caucasus front would have weakened the attack on the Soviet Union without costing the Soviets much effort. Look at a map!

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Alternate scenarios in the east could have been the Germans being better prepared for the winter 1941, ...
How?

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and stopping their winter offensive before they were overextended,
Germany's best chance of winning the war was in late 1941. If they break off action before their last major offensive, how are their chances of winning improved?

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Another potentiality was the continued bleeding of the Red Army via mobile warfare and elastic defense (Manstein) rather than the static world war I era defense (hitler) that led to high casualties for the Germans in 1943-44.
The German forces as a whole didn't have the mobility required to conduct a more elastic defence than what they actually used.

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The Russians had been literally bled white up until that point and a couple million more casualties for them would have meant the war protracting...
Yes

[QUOTE=DoOrDoNot;52503887]... into a stalemate ...[/QUOE]No. It would just have taken them longer to win.

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... and likely concessions.
Really? Like what?

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As far as the war in the west goes, Germany lost their greatest chance at a protracted war when Hitler failed to capture the hundreds of thousands of allied troops at Dunkirk. He let them escape because he believed it would lead to peace with Britain, but really it allowed them to assist in the invasion of Europe that much sooner.
Hitler "letting" them escape is a myth. In the grand scheme of things, the potential manpower losses at Dunkirk were a drop in the bucket. See my post of January 19 in this thread.
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Old 07-21-2017, 06:25 AM   #128
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Re: Losing WW II

Been listening to the History of WWII Podcast lately, and one thing that came up was after Germany and USSR split up Poland, some of the German leaders advocating attacking the Soviets immediately. Do they fare any better if they reverse things like this and try to win on the eastern front quickly before dealing with the west?

There could have been a window for them during the "Sitzkrieg" period (which obviously may have played out much differently if Germany makes this move), but that window is through the dead of winter.
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Old 07-22-2017, 12:08 PM   #129
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Re: Losing WW II

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Been listening to the History of WWII Podcast lately, and one thing that came up was after Germany and USSR split up Poland, some of the German leaders advocating attacking the Soviets immediately. Do they fare any better if they reverse things like this and try to win on the eastern front quickly before dealing with the west?

There could have been a window for them during the "Sitzkrieg" period (which obviously may have played out much differently if Germany makes this move), but that window is through the dead of winter.
I don't think this works for them. The panzer divisions were absolutely key to the German advance in Russia. At the beginning of September 1939, the Germans had only 5 operational panzer divisons and 4 light divisions. The vast majority of their AFV strength was made up of tankettes and light tanks that had never been intended to see combat as a Main Battle Tank (MBT).* A sixth panzer division was in the process of forming but it was initially held in reserve because it was not ready for operations. By the end of the Polish campaign all these divisions were considerably worn down. The Germans had about 800-1,000 tanks and tankettes knocked out of action (~30-37% of their total force), though about 2/3-3/4 of these were eventually recovered.

I doubt that the Germans would have been able to mount an offensive against Russia any earlier than their attack on France, for a couple of reasons. Their armoured formations needed to refit and reorganise (see more about this below) at least until mid-winter, and the terrain of the eastern frontier was unsuitable for armoured warfare thereafter until the late spring. The actual 1941 attack on Russia didn't start until late June, primarily because of terrain conditions. The weather was worse that year, so the terrain may have supported a May start in 1940.

*German tank strength for the Polish campaign was approx. 1,000 Pz I tankettes, 1,200 Pz II light tanks, 200 seized Czech light tanks serving in a medium tank role, and only about 90 Pz III medium MBTs. In addition to this there were about 200 Pz IVs which were intended primarily as fire support weapons, being armed with a short howitzer rather than an anti-tank gun. In practice, the Pz IVs often became ersatz MBTs due to the extreme shortage of Pz IIIs. Only about 3.3% of their tank force of about 2,700 were actual MBTs. Counting the Czech tanks and the Pz IVs as acting in a medium role, only ~18% of the tank force was designated as an MBT.

When Germany invaded France in 1940, those six panzer and four light divisions had been transformed into ten panzer divisions, mostly by the addition of extra infantry battalions. The number of Pz III and Pz IV tanks, which had been intended to be the warfighting tanks of the Werhmacht, and the number of Czech T38s had been increased from new production, while the numbers of Pz Is and IIs were decreased, but MBTs (either real or notional) were still in a minority. Existing tanks were up-armoured and provided with better vision ports. The retrofits, the influx of new vehicles and infantry battalions, and the absorption of lessons learned in the Polish campaign required a period of retraining.

Total German tank strength for the attack on France was about 2400 - that's less than in Poland. It was comprised of about 600 Pz Is, 850 Pz IIs, 325 light Czech tanks in a medium role, 350 Pz IIIs and 275 Pz IVs. Real MBTs are now up to about 14% of the total tank force, and tanks designated for an MBT role are up to about 40% of total strength.

After the fall of France, the Germans prepared for the invasion of Russia by doubling their number of panzer divisions, using the simple expedient of taking half the tank units out of the existing panzer divisions and allocating them to existing infantry divisions - usually the relatively rare motorized infantry divisions. Total tank strength was brought up to about 3,500, by returning to service the Pz Is and Pz IIs that had been withdrawn from service before the invasion of France, and by adding even more new t38s, Pz IIs, IIIs and IVs. The Pz III's were upgunned from a 3.7cm gun to a 5 cm gun. The need for 20 panzer divisions (actually, they needed more than 20, but had no immediate way of producing them) was dictated more by the size of the territory of operations than by the strength of the Red Army.

If the Germans had attacked Russia in 1940, instead of 1941, they would have done so with half the panzer divisions, 20% fewer tanks, (which on average would have been considerably weaker tanks), while facing an increasingly -prepared enemy in France. Not only would their armoured forces be half the number, but they'd have to hold back a considerable portion of their infantry to defend the western border from French/British attack. The Red Army was weaker in 1940 than in 1941, but not so much so that the reduced German force available in 1940 would have made as much gain as they made with a later start in 1941.

Germany has always been justly terrified of fighting a two-front war. In both WWI and WWII the plan was always to gain a quick victory on one front before concentrating on the other. In WWII, a quick victory over Russia, given the large space for operations, was not a realistic proposition. Striking France first made a lot more sense. They just failed to work out how to knock the British Empire out of the war as well.
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Old Yesterday, 02:57 AM   #130
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Re: Losing WW II

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I doubt that the Germans would have been able to mount an offensive against Russia any earlier than their attack on France, for a couple of reasons. Their armoured formations needed to refit and reorganise (see more about this below) at least until mid-winter, and the terrain of the eastern frontier was unsuitable for armoured warfare thereafter until the late spring. The actual 1941 attack on Russia didn't start until late June, primarily because of terrain conditions. The weather was worse that year, so the terrain may have supported a May start in 1940.
Hi DoTheMath:

I thought this had something to do with the Italians getting bogged down in Greece and Hitler having to go into Greece to rescue them. Thus, this is what delayed the start of the Russian invasion until late June 1941. Do I have this wrong?

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old Yesterday, 09:36 AM   #131
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Re: Losing WW II

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I doubt that the Germans would have been able to mount an offensive against Russia any earlier than their attack on France, for a couple of reasons. Their armoured formations needed to refit and reorganise (see more about this below) at least until mid-winter, and the terrain of the eastern frontier was unsuitable for armoured warfare thereafter until the late spring. The actual 1941 attack on Russia didn't start until late June, primarily because of terrain conditions. The weather was worse that year, so the terrain may have supported a May start in 1940.
Hi DoTheMath:

I thought this had something to do with the Italians getting bogged down in Greece and Hitler having to go into Greece to rescue them. Thus, this is what delayed the start of the Russian invasion until late June 1941. Do I have this wrong?
The Balkan campaign and the invasion of Greece indeed took place before the invasion of the Soviet Union, but I don't think that it is correct to say that the former actually delayed the latter.

Planning for the invasion of Greece began in November 1940, and the operation was authorised in December with a March start date envisioned. This was all before planning for the invasion of the Soviet Union was completed. The plans for Barbarossa originally contemplated a mid-May start, and the operations against Greece were intended to be complete by about mid-April. So it is not accurate to say that the Greek invasion delayed the Russian one from a planning point of view.

The dates for the Greek operations slipped a couple of weeks, with the invasion starting in early April and mainland Greece coming under complete Axis control before the end of April. Since the ground conditions on the eastern front caused a five-week delay, the two week delay in Greek operations didn't really delay the Russian operation.

The operation against Crete had not been part of the original plan for the invasion of Greece. It was added to planning in March and authorised in April for a May execution. The start date was delayed, again by about two weeks, but this again was not a problem for Barbarossa because the terrain conditions were known by then to be pushing the start of Barbarossa into June.

If the floods hadn't delayed the start by over five weeks, it is doubtful that Barbarossa could have gotten under way in mid-May. There were a number of delays in logistics arrangements that were not complete until early June.

A few historians have claimed that the Balkan and Greek operations delayed Barbarossa, but their analysis doesn't seem to go any deeper than the Balkan operations happened and Barbarossa was delayed five weeks. They provide no chain of cause and effect. Certainly contemporary German sources cite the coincidence of Balkan/Greek operations with the delay in Barbarossa, but again I can see no citation of cause and effect.

I think that the most one could say is that the way the Balkan and Greek operations actually went, it would not have been possible to launch Barbarossa on its original timetable. Since other factors also prevented Barbarossa from kicking off in May, the Greek invasion didn't actually have any effect on Barbarossa's timing.

The most direct impact the Balkan/Greek operations had on Barbarossa was that one of the panzer divisions involved lost most of its tanks and vehicles when the ships transporting them back to Austria after the operation was over were sunk by air attacks. The division had to be removed from the plans of the initial attack.
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