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Old 08-08-2017, 11:06 PM   #176
Mason Malmuth
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Re: Losing WW II

Hi Everyone:

How about the following scenario:

1. At Pearl Harbor, Japan takes out the three US cariers.

2. Germany does not declare war on the US.

3. Without the carriers, Hawaii can't be defended and thus the US leaves and it becomes a base for Japan.

4. Japan then moves quickly to attack the West Coast of the US.

5. The US now puts defeating Japan first instead of defeating Germany first and the Soviet Union does not get supplied to the level that it was.

6. The Soviet Union without the supplies collapses.

7. And so on.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:16 PM   #177
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Re: Losing WW II

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Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi Everyone:

How about the following scenario:

1. At Pearl Harbor, Japan takes out the three US cariers.
How often were all the carriers and all the battleships docked at Pearl Harbor all at the same time in October - December 1941? As I understand it, the battleships were in port because they were mistakenly thought to be safer there. The carriers were at sea because they were not considered so important to protect, and because they were busy performing tasks to prepare for the inevitable war with Japan: they were ferrying combat aircraft to various points in the Pacific. If the US were not using the carriers to prepare for war, then why would they have all the BBs in port to prepare for being attacked?

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2. Germany does not declare war on the US.
We'll never know for sure, but I expect that once the US is in a war, adding Germany to the list is only a matter of weeks.

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3. Without the carriers, Hawaii can't be defended and thus the US leaves and it becomes a base for Japan.
Would never happen. The US didn't abandon their smaller, less defendable Pacific possessions. What sort of attack could the Japanese realistically deliver that would provoke evacuation?

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4. Japan then moves quickly to attack the West Coast of the US.
With what? Japan never had the capability to invade the continental US, much less keep such an invasion force in supply.

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5. The US now puts defeating Japan first instead of defeating Germany first and the Soviet Union does not get supplied to the level that it was.
If the US loses its carriers as well as its Pacific BBs, then making Japan top priority becomes less likely, because they have no capital ships available for any offensive action. They have to wait for new carriers and battleships to be built. It would accelerate the transfer of heavy naval forces from the Atlantic, but such were not needed in the fight against Germany. The US was already undertaking a massive naval construction program, building a large number of carriers and several new faster battleships for the expected war with Japan. These will not come online any earlier, so there is no practical way for Japan to be made a higher priority. The reasoning for prioritizing Germany over Japan doesn't change if the three old carriers are also lost, and the means for prioritizing Japan are reduced.

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6. The Soviet Union without the supplies collapses.
Unlikely. The supplies were helpful, but not decisive.

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7. And so on.
indeed
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:47 AM   #178
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Re: Losing WW II

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Originally Posted by DoTheMath View Post
How often were all the carriers and all the battleships docked at Pearl Harbor all at the same time in October - December 1941? As I understand it, the battleships were in port because they were mistakenly thought to be safer there. The carriers were at sea because they were not considered so important to protect, and because they were busy performing tasks to prepare for the inevitable war with Japan: they were ferrying combat aircraft to various points in the Pacific. If the US were not using the carriers to prepare for war, then why would they have all the BBs in port to prepare for being attacked?

We'll never know for sure, but I expect that once the US is in a war, adding Germany to the list is only a matter of weeks.

Would never happen. The US didn't abandon their smaller, less defendable Pacific possessions. What sort of attack could the Japanese realistically deliver that would provoke evacuation?

With what? Japan never had the capability to invade the continental US, much less keep such an invasion force in supply.

If the US loses its carriers as well as its Pacific BBs, then making Japan top priority becomes less likely, because they have no capital ships available for any offensive action. They have to wait for new carriers and battleships to be built. It would accelerate the transfer of heavy naval forces from the Atlantic, but such were not needed in the fight against Germany. The US was already undertaking a massive naval construction program, building a large number of carriers and several new faster battleships for the expected war with Japan. These will not come online any earlier, so there is no practical way for Japan to be made a higher priority. The reasoning for prioritizing Germany over Japan doesn't change if the three old carriers are also lost, and the means for prioritizing Japan are reduced.

Unlikely. The supplies were helpful, but not decisive.

indeed
Hi DoTheMath:

I still question this a little bit. If the three US carriers are lost at Pearl Harbor, why couldn't the force that Japan put together for Midway just go straight to Hawaii and perhaps be put together sooner than the Midway force. Then it seems to me that Hawaii is defenseless and is quickly occupied by Japan. Then once this happens, the West Coast of the US is at risk and/or perhaps Austrailia goes down. What so you think?

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 09-05-2017, 03:19 AM   #179
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Re: Losing WW II

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Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi DoTheMath:

I still question this a little bit. If the three US carriers are lost at Pearl Harbor, why couldn't the force that Japan put together for Midway just go straight to Hawaii and perhaps be put together sooner than the Midway force. Then it seems to me that Hawaii is defenseless and is quickly occupied by Japan. Then once this happens, the West Coast of the US is at risk and/or perhaps Austrailia goes down. What so you think?

Best wishes,
Mason
The Japanese had assigned about 5,000 troops for the occupation of Midway. There were over 50,000 American troops in Hawaii four months earlier than Midway. A successful invasion usually requires a numerical advantage of at least 3:1. The Japanese couldn't come up with, let alone transport and supply, 30 times as many troops as they actually deployed for Midway.

Yamamoto had considered a second attack on Hawaii in spring 1942, but decided that the land-based air forces on Hawaii had been built up too much for a second attack to succeed. The attack on Midway was intended by him as a way to make the US Fleet expose itself without significant land-based air support.
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:02 AM   #180
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Re: Losing WW II

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The Japanese had assigned about 5,000 troops for the occupation of Midway. There were over 50,000 American troops in Hawaii four months earlier than Midway. A successful invasion usually requires a numerical advantage of at least 3:1. The Japanese couldn't come up with, let alone transport and supply, 30 times as many troops as they actually deployed for Midway.
Hi DoTheMath:

What about a naval blockade/seige? Remember, the assumption here is that the US carriers were destroyed in the initial Pearl Harbor attack.

Quote:
Yamamoto had considered a second attack on Hawaii in spring 1942, but decided that the land-based air forces on Hawaii had been built up too much for a second attack to succeed. The attack on Midway was intended by him as a way to make the US Fleet expose itself without significant land-based air support.
Again, the assumption here is that the US carriers had been destroyed at Pearl Harbor. If this was the case, what fleet could the US expose.

By the way, this also brings up another interesting question. What if the US carriers had been present at Pearl Harbor.? Could the US had fought back sucessfully?

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:12 PM   #181
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Re: Losing WW II

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Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi DoTheMath:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoTheMath View Post
The Japanese had assigned about 5,000 troops for the occupation of Midway. There were over 50,000 American troops in Hawaii four months earlier than Midway. A successful invasion usually requires a numerical advantage of at least 3:1. The Japanese couldn't come up with, let alone transport and supply, 30 times as many troops as they actually deployed for Midway.
What about a naval blockade/seige? Remember, the assumption here is that the US carriers were destroyed in the initial Pearl Harbor attack.
As I said in my previous post "Yamamoto ... decided that the land-based air forces on Hawaii had been built up too much for a second attack to succeed." A siege/blockade puts his fleet at greater risk from land-based aircraft than another hit and run attack.

The Japanese didn't have enough forces to enforce an effective blockade outside of the range of land-based aircraft.

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Originally Posted by DoTheMath View Post
Yamamoto had considered a second attack on Hawaii in spring 1942, but decided that the land-based air forces on Hawaii had been built up too much for a second attack to succeed. The attack on Midway was intended by him as a way to make the US Fleet expose itself without significant land-based air support.
Again, the assumption here is that the US carriers had been destroyed at Pearl Harbor. If this was the case, what fleet could the US expose.
All the ships that hadn't been destroyed at Pearl. It is not as if the whole US Navy had been at Pearl Harbor, and even if the carriers had been there there would have still been many units in California and in the Atlantic, etc. Also, not every ship at Pearl Harbor was sunk, and if there had been carriers present, the Japanese would have probably attacked them instead of some other targets, so some ships that were damaged or sunk in the historical attack would not have been damaged or sunk if the carriers were present.

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By the way, this also brings up another interesting question. What if the US carriers had been present at Pearl Harbor.? Could the US had fought back sucessfully?
I don't think carriers tied up in harbor are very effective at launching aircraft. They normally have to be steaming into the wind at speed.
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Old 09-16-2017, 03:17 AM   #182
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Re: Losing WW II

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As I said in my previous post "Yamamoto ... decided that the land-based air forces on Hawaii had been built up too much for a second attack to succeed." A siege/blockade puts his fleet at greater risk from land-based aircraft than another hit and run attack.

The Japanese didn't have enough forces to enforce an effective blockade outside of the range of land-based aircraft.

All the ships that hadn't been destroyed at Pearl. It is not as if the whole US Navy had been at Pearl Harbor, and even if the carriers had been there there would have still been many units in California and in the Atlantic, etc. Also, not every ship at Pearl Harbor was sunk, and if there had been carriers present, the Japanese would have probably attacked them instead of some other targets, so some ships that were damaged or sunk in the historical attack would not have been damaged or sunk if the carriers were present.

I don't think carriers tied up in harbor are very effective at launching aircraft. They normally have to be steaming into the wind at speed.
Hi DoTheMath:

Thanks. Case closed.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:52 AM   #183
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Re: Losing WW II

So grunching but re: germany would have never beaten russia.

I've read that Germanys economy/manufacturing didn't go into total war mode until about 1943, shortly after Albert Speer took over Minister of Armaments and War Production. Their production massively increased. If Germany had ramped up to these levels prior to the Russian invasion, wouldn't their chances of beating Russia have increased by a large amount?
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Old 10-26-2017, 09:31 PM   #184
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Re: Losing WW II

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So grunching but re: germany would have never beaten russia.

I've read that Germanys economy/manufacturing didn't go into total war mode until about 1943, shortly after Albert Speer took over Minister of Armaments and War Production. Their production massively increased. If Germany had ramped up to these levels prior to the Russian invasion, wouldn't their chances of beating Russia have increased by a large amount?
If Germany had put their economy on a total war footing in 1938 instead of 1943, and if the other major powers had not made an effective adjustment in response, then I think it is possible that Germany could have defeated the Soviet Union in 1941 or 1942.

I don't just pull 1938 out of a hat. The year is based on estimates of how long it would have taken to produce and integrate into operational units sufficient wheeled and tracked vehicles, including replacement combat vehicles, to keep a blitzkrieg in supply and sufficiently up to strength up to and beyond Moscow before Mid-October given a late June start in 1941. And it ignores the issue of how to keep them all fueled.

This raises two questions:
  1. Would the other major powers have made an effective response?
  2. Could Germany have made such an economic transformation in 1938?

I think it is likely that any response made by the other major powers would have been insufficient. Their own actual responses were in no way scaled to how much Germany was doing, and their political and economic capacity would be unlikely to change much in the face of a greater economic shift in Germany. France and Britain had already made significant adjustments to war production by 1938, but the scale of this was based on their own internal capacity and their leaders' estimation of what they could get agreement to do. Germany was already perceived as a threat, and that is a binary condition, not a scaled value. The Soviets had no significant surplus capacity to do more than they were already doing.

However, I do not think it is possible that Germany could have made the transition in 1938. There are a number of reasons for this.

In the following, I am going to use the term "motorized" to mean units that move by motor vehicle, but whose movement by vehicle is mostly limited to roads. Motorized units were primarily based on wheeled vehicles but may also use half-tracks and fully-tracked vehicles. "Mechanized" means units that move by motor vehicles that have cross-country capability. These rely primarily on fully tracked vehicles, but may include half-tracks and some specially designed wheeled vehicles. "Mobile" units means either motorized or mechanized.

A successful German attack in 1941 would have required mechanization of a significant portion of the units participating in the front lines of the offensive, and of the transport providing their logistic support, and motorization of the remaining front line units and their logistic support. A high degree of mechanization would be required because the Russian road network was insufficient to support the movement of the required number of vehicles in the combat units or in the supply trains required to keep the attack moving.

(The historical German response to these limitations included hiring a large number of Polish horse-drawn light transport wagons - lighter than the horse-wagons the Germans normally used - that would degrade the poor Russian roads less quickly.)

Of all the major armies in the world, in 1938 only the British had a policy of full motorization, and that was more aspirational than fully realized. It was nowhere close to the level of mechanization that would have been required for a successful 115 day Russian campaign. In the Wehrmacht, mechanization was reserved for portions of Panzer divisions, and motorization for the rest of the Panzer division units and a few elite infantry formations. The vast majority of German divisions marched on foot. Logistics relied primarily on rail (which stopped at the Russian border due to differences in track gauge) and horse-drawn wagons. German mobile formations never reached authorized strength in vehicles due to shortages, so one could still find horse-drawn transport in panzer divisions after the start of the war. To plan for a fully mobile attack on the Soviet Union would have required the concept of a fully mobile fighting force, and outside of Britain such a concept had no early prospect of seeing reality. So the first hurdle the Germans would have had to have overcome would be to conceive that the theoretical prospect of a fully mobile and highly mechanized force could become a reality.

Such a realization could only occur if the Germans overcame a second hurdle, which is realizing that a large scale of motorization and mechnization was necessary. A lot of the things the Germans didn't do in WWII, or did too late to be sufficiently effective, were left undone because it wasn't realized early enough that they were needed. E.g. develop an atomic bomb, push development of shorter-wave radar systems and counter-systems, get the Type XXI submarine operational, ...

In 1938 in Germany there was no official realization that Germany was going to be in a world war in 1939. Anybody who'd read Mein Kampf had a good idea there would be eventual conflict between Germany and the Soviet Union, but nobody knew when, and nobody had gotten around to doing a detailed study of what such a conflict would entail. Actual planning for an invasion of the Soviet Union did not commence until July 1940. While an invasion of the Soviet Union seems to have always been Hitler's ultimate goal, nobody ever got around to figuring out in detail what it would take to do it right. Planning that begins less than a year before the actual attack does not allow for economic adjustments to provide the necessary equipment. Planning on such a short timeline is constrained to using what already exists or is already in production.

In 1938 and the first half of 1939, Hitler was still in the mode of taking control of territory without fighting: the Rhineland in 1936, Austria in March 1938, the Sudetenland in September/October 1938, and Bohemia/Moravia in March 1939. Given Britain and France's failure to prevent German miltarization of the Rhineland and takeover of Czechoslovakia, Hitler had reason to hope that an attack on Poland would be opposed only by the Poles. So even if he won in Poland (which was not regarded by the Germans as a total certainty, Hitler did not know if he would be free to operate against the Soviets next. Thus in mid-1939, one year after he needed to have begun economic preparations for a successful 1941 invasion of the USSR, he had no timeline, list of requirements, or detailed plans for such an invasion.

Once Britain and France finally grew a proto-backbone, and declared war in September 1939, Germany saw no need to go into a total war economy or to fully motorize its armed forces. And events in France bore out that assessment. France, who supplied the bulk of the ground troops the Germans faced to the west, did not have a fully motorized army, and the mostly non-mobile Wehrmacht was able to deal with it effectively without a significant program of motorization let alone mechanization. In fact, Germany used fewer tanks against France than they had used against Poland, and a large portion of those tanks were not even built as main battle tanks. They were just interim fill-ins and training models.

In the period following the fall of Poland, it wasn't even certain that the war with France and Britain would ever amount to much. The Anglo-French goal has been to protect Poland, but Poland was no more. Germany hoped the war would just peter out. This period of time was called "the Phony War" because there was so little actual fighting. While this went on, and who knew how long it would last, Germany would not be free to attack the Soviet Union. Even once Hitler decided to attack France, the Germans did not know if they could win or how long a victory might take. So in early 1940, it was not known that there would be an attack on Russia in 1941.

Even by the time the Germans got around to planning the invasion of the Soviet Union, following the fall of France, nothing in their experience had taught them the need to have a fully mobile attack force. In their two successful military campaigns they got by with a mechanized spearhead supported by a few motorized troops, and with the bulk of their forces on foot and using horse transport.

The point is that Hitler had long-term goals but no long-term plan. Basically, he was just winging it - trying one thing at a time, to see if it would work and without knowing how long it would take. When it did work, he went on to the next thing. There never was an opportunity to plan out a three year economic program to build the vehicles he needed for a winning campaign in Russia. There wasn't even a real opportunity to determine what vehicles would be needed. Even if the opportunity had existed, the Germans had insufficient knowledge and experience to come up with the right set of vehicles. Only once they had experienced the vast Russian distances, poor roads and horrible terrain could they have conceived of the scale of mechanization (as opposed to motorization) required, or the need for fully tracked supply vehicles like the Raupenshlepper Ost - the successful fully tracked supply vehicle that was developed in response to the experiences of 1941 - or the inadequacy of their halftracks and narrow tank treads.

Finally, even if, in 1938, the German had been able to accurately predict a war with the USSR in 1941 and properly perceive the vehicle requirements for a 1941 offensive, there is no way they could have put the economy on a total war footing at that time. Remember, Germany was not at war in 1938. Despite being a dictator, Hitler did not have the centralized political power to disrupt the German civilian economy to the extent that would have been required. The German population as a whole were not eager for war. The major industrialists had the power to resist changes affecting them. Remember that when Germany attacked Poland, they staged an attack by "Poles" (Germans in Polish uniform) on a German radio station as the casus belli. This was mostly for the benefit of the domestic market, not foreigners.

The whole rhetoric of the NSDAP was to return Germany to prosperity. Lacking a national consensus in 1938 that there would be an invasion of the USSR in 1941, there could be no political consensus for the need to shift from building properity to imposing austerity on the civilian population.

Last edited by DoTheMath; 10-26-2017 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 10-29-2017, 10:24 PM   #185
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Re: Losing WW II

Wow, that's a great post.

What happens if they shift their economy to a total war footing in mid 1941 after Barbarossa begins instead of 1943? Does that make any difference or are they already strategically screwed?
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Old 10-29-2017, 11:04 PM   #186
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Re: Losing WW II

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Wow, that's a great post.

What happens if they shift their economy to a total war footing in mid 1941 after Barbarossa begins instead of 1943? Does that make any difference or are they already strategically screwed?
My short answer is I think they were screwed by November 1941 and they needed the production from 1938 to avoid that. (So effectively they were screwed before they began fighting.)

As I said in OP, my imagination is limited, so I'm not too sure what they could have done with the extra production.
If they had a couple years more total war production levels, the effect it would have had would depend on what they spent the production on.

If they got Type XXI subs up and running by mid 1943 instead of spring 1945, the western Allies might have been much less effective in western and southern Europe. This may free more German formations to fight on the Eastern front, perhaps prolonging the war another year and perhaps leading to the Soviets overrunning all of Europe, but in 1946.

If they put the production into ground warfare vehicles, they slow the Soviets more, but then maybe the western allies get to Berlin first. Putting the resources into air defence might reduce the damage to production infrastructure enough to also allow them to produce more ground weapons for use against the Soviets. I think it is easier to train tank crews than fighter pilots.

In any event, concentrating that extra production in one or two strategic ways would be more effective than just incrementally upping the production of everything.

I wish I had a clearer idea of why it took them so long to go to full war production. It didn't take long for the Soviets or Brits to do it.
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Old 10-31-2017, 12:22 AM   #187
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Re: Losing WW II

How about we have Mussolini fall off his horse sometime in 1939 and die of a head injury.
Whoever takes his place (?Ciano) might be smart enough not to declare war on France - the Axis treaty only mandated Italian action in case of Germany being attacked first. Italy steers a neutral (probably somewhat pro-German course) - but no disaster in the Balkans, no shipping Rommel and a bunch of troops to North Africa to bail out the Italian disaster. All the troops, gasoline and tanks pissed away in N. Africa go to the Eastern front. No "soft underbelly" for the Allies to invade.

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Old 11-02-2017, 07:00 AM   #188
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Re: Losing WW II

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If Germany had put their economy on a total war footing in 1938 instead of 1943, and if the other major powers had not made an effective adjustment in response, then I think it is possible that Germany could have defeated the Soviet Union in 1941 or 1942.
...
Very interesting post!

I enjoyed reading the whole thread and thinking about the topic. I guess there is pretty much no chance of a military victory without alternating major events in favor of the Germans or put some technology into their hands that just was not there or not producible in large quantities at the time.

Thinking about the chances and shortcomings of Germany in WW2, I would argue that in the end the Nazi Ideology made it impossible to win the war, as it made it impossible to use internal political conflict in the SU for turmoil and an eventual fall of Stalin. If the Nazis had used the millions of surppressed people in Eastern Europe to fight Stalin they may would have had a chance to beat russia without to many German tanks operating 2000km east of Berlin.

The war with the SU was - imo - ineventable pre-atombomb, even if they negotiated a peace treaty in the West with GB. To attack at that point in time was a ****show. Though, I guess Hitler didn`t care because he had no personal gain from a non-aggressive strategy at that point in time as he wasn`t planning to stop the war with some treaties.

After the USA got involved and Russia starts to produce massive quantities for the war, it was over.

The only kind of realistic chance to win (in the sense of keeping the territories they won in 1940) would have been:

Have an atomic bomb by 1941 and use it to make peace with the allies, which is obviously super unlikely given the Nazi ideology.
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:29 AM   #189
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Re: Losing WW II

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How about we have Mussolini fall off his horse sometime in 1939...
Before or after the April invasion of Albania?

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and die of a head injury.
Whoever takes his place (?Ciano)
Italo Balbo would probably have been a safer choice, but probably politically impossible by 1939. Balbo opposed alliance with Germany, and looked to Africa as the area for Italian expansionism. Ciano was supportive of Italy's territorial claims against continental France.

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might be smart enough not to declare war on France...
Or Britain? Mussolini's motivation for declaring war on both of them was to not be left out in the Fascist acquisition of territory. Same reason for the later attack on Greece. (that is more likely to be avoided under different leadership, IMO) Remember, Italy had been on its own territorial expansion program since 1935: conquering Ethiopia in 1935-36 and seizing undemarcated territory between Libya and Chad.

In September 1939, Britain put Italy under a partial blockade. declaring German coal shipped through the Netherlands to Italy to be contraband. Britain strengthened its Mediterranean fleet in order to enforce this blockade. Italy has been overflying Egypt and the Sudan and positioning armed forces near the Egyptian frontier for the second half of the thirties, and had anticipated the possibility of armed conflict with Britain over Ethiopia.

The three main long-term Italian foreign policy goals were:
  1. to replace France as the dominant Naval power in the Mediterranean
  2. To recover Italian territory lost in Europe continent (Nice, Savoy, Corsica, Dalmatia, Albania), and
  3. To build an Empire in East Africa, stretching from Somalia to Libya, through the Sudan, and incorporating Eqypt and the Suez Canal if possible.

These weren't just Mussolini's goals. Except possibly for the third, these goals had been repeating themes in Italian governments of many stripes for nearly a century.

Once it looks like Germany would defeat France, Mussolini saw coming in on Germany's war with Britain and France as the opportunity to achieve the first two goals directly and, with Germany keeping Britain preoccupied, an opportunity to go after the third goal. Italian troops in North and East Africa outnumbered British troops in the region. With the French fleet out of action, Italy would have close to naval parity with the British in the Mediterranean.

So Italian goals favoured getting rid of the French and taking on the British in a side-show, while Geramy kept the Brits engaged in the main event. Italian Fascists who opposed such goals were few and far between. The one who most opposed the first two, was against alliance with Germany and decried anti-Jewish laws, Balbo, was effectively exiled to Africa. I think it highly unlikely that the death of Mussolini keeps Italy out of the war, or even changes the timing very much,.

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- the Axis treaty only mandated Italian action in case of Germany being attacked first.
That's not what the treaty actually says. Italy was probably in violation of Article III of the Pact of Steel when they failed to join Germany in war against Britain and France at the beginning of September 1939.

Article III states
Quote:
If it should happen, against the wishes and hopes of the Contracting Parties, that one of them becomes involved in military complications with another power or other Powers, the other Contracting Party will immediately step to its side as an ally and will support it with all its military might on land, at sea and in the air.
Since Germany did not declare war on Britain and France, and didn't want to be at war with them, the trigger for the article seems to have tripped. Germany doesn't seem to have been particularly upset by Italy's failure to immediately respond as the treaty required.

It seems the Italians had thought it would be a few more years until war broke out. Their own planners thought they would not be prepared until about 1943.

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Italy steers a neutral (probably somewhat pro-German course) - but no disaster in the Balkans, no shipping Rommel and a bunch of troops to North Africa to bail out the Italian disaster. All the troops, gasoline and tanks pissed away in N. Africa go to the Eastern front. No "soft underbelly" for the Allies to invade.
Well no disaster in Greece or Crete for the Brits either. Meanwhie the RN gets a free run in the Med for operations against southern France or Yugoslavia.

If somehow Italy gives up all its territorial ambitions and remains officially neutral, Greece probably does too. But this does not get rid of the "soft underbelly". It just splits it in two: Yugoslavia and France.

The US wanted to invade France from both North and South. Remember Operation Dragoon which grew out of Operation Anvil? Britain wanted to invade Yugoslavia but Russia objected. So they compromised on Italy. If Italy is out of the question, then it would have been southern France and/or Yugoslavia any way, following on a conquest of French African possessions. Timing is a dubious issue. It's easier for Germany to react to an invasion of France, so I think a Balkan invasion is more likely. It couldn't happen as early as Sicily did, but not as late as Dragoon. Perhaps summer 1943.

I don't think that the number of forces ted down in North Africa, (or more significantly, Italy, after Husky) was a decisive factor. And similar numbers would have been tied down in southern France and Yugoslavia, if the RN is operating freely in the Med.
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Old 11-03-2017, 02:12 AM   #190
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Re: Losing WW II

Amazing stuff DoTheMath, thank you.
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Old 11-03-2017, 04:49 AM   #191
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Re: Losing WW II

DTM, I'm curious how much of this stuff you're able to recall, and if there's anything you have to refer to before/while posting. You seem to have an incredibly detailed knowledge of the subject; I'd love to know how this came to be.

At the same time, I know this isn't the DTM well, so if you feel it's a derail to answer, LMK and I can delete this post and PM you instead. But I decided to post it because I might not be the only one interested in an answer.
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Old 11-03-2017, 04:13 PM   #192
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Re: Losing WW II

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Originally Posted by Bobo Fett View Post
DTM, I'm curious how much of this stuff you're able to recall, and if there's anything you have to refer to before/while posting. You seem to have an incredibly detailed knowledge of the subject; I'd love to know how this came to be.

At the same time, I know this isn't the DTM well, so if you feel it's a derail to answer, LMK and I can delete this post and PM you instead. But I decided to post it because I might not be the only one interested in an answer.
It's a derail, but my ego says I don't mind responding.

I pretty much always refer to secondary and tertiary sources when I write a reply of any length here, at the very least to check my facts, but usually to provide a fair amount of the detail.

The sources I consult include my own collection of roughly 100 books on history, many of which are concerned with British Commonwealth and German mechanized operations in WWII. For a few posts here I have borrowed books from the public library. And, of course, there is the internet.

What I recall is what I think of as a basic framework of salient facts: the major events, in relation to each other, and their approximate dates, plus a shiny veneer of knowledge of military technology and doctrine of the period. If that framework has a bit more cohesion and is greater in both extent and level of detail than that of many people, its because I've been developing it for more hours than most people would be willing to spend. This framework gives me an idea of what sort of details might be available, how relevant they might be, and where I might find them.

For example, if we review my post on Mussolini falling off his horse, the question I set out to answer was whether a plausible change of leadership was likely to keep Italy out of the war. This required looking at Italian attitudes generally, and the views of particular individuals.

I knew that Italian foreign policy was expansionist, I recalled the Italian invasions of Ethiopia and Albania, the fact that Ethiopia was 'about 35-'36 and that Albania was before WWII officially started, but didn't recall that Albania was April 1939. I didn't know about Italian expansionist activities south of Libya, but I knew about Italian designs on the Sudan and other British East India possessions, and their dreams of recovering former Italian territory in Europe (and I had a good idea of that territory's geographic extent, e.g. the Italian royal family was the House of Savoy), much of which had been frustrated in the settlement negotiations after WWI. I knew of their desire for naval dominance of the Med. I knew that most of these ambitions predated Mussolini and were not limited to Fascist thinkers.

I didn't have a clear idea of who possible successors to Mussolini might be. I had to look up Ciano's positions on foreign policy and look around for alternative candidates when I read his positions were incompatible with keeping Italy out of the war.

I knew the RN built up its Mediterranean fleet, but I didn't know about the coal blockade.

I had a general idea of the content of the treaty between Italy and Germany (having read it before), but I had forgotten that it was called the "Pact of Steel", and didn't recall that it was Article III that was the key, nor the precise wording.

I was generally aware of the Italian view on war timing because of previous study of Italian force composition in North Africa. I was aware of the British disasters in Greece because it was the withdrawal from North Africa of the troops involved that led to the British advance in North Africa stalling after O'Conner's offensive, and allowed Rommel's first offensive to be so successful.

I was aware of operations Sledgehammer, Anvil, Dragoon, Torch and Husky, and the possibility of landing in the Balkans from studying the negotiations, planning and preparations leading up to the Western Allies' invasions of Europe, but I had forgotten the name "Dragoon". Dragoon also came up in the course of studying the Italian campaign. My views on the significance of the quantity of German forces "tied down" comes from extensive study of the North African and Italian campaigns, and my more cursory knowledge of the eastern front.

How did I get this way? I've been reading military history for over half a century, starting as a child reading for entertainment, then as a student who took history courses, and as a player and then designer of military simulation games. If you read enough, some of it is bound to stick.

My father was a veteran of WWII, having served in North America, the British Isles, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, India, and Burma. like many veterans he didn't talk much about his experiences. He didn't join the Legion, but he always took Remembrance Day seriously. My mother had an interest in history. Summer vacations often included travel to historic sites, many of which had some sort of military connection.

I haven't served in the military myself, but as both a child and an adult I have had an unusually high amount of contact with members of the military, through work, education, family connections, social activities and because of where I have lived. My career gave me the opportunity to retire at a much earlier age than most people do, and that has given me more time to pursue my interests in military and social history. I'll buy a few books each year and borrow several more.
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Old 11-07-2017, 08:32 PM   #193
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Re: Losing WW II

DTM, your efforts and posts in the History Forum are very much appreciated. Glad you are here. I think we have all benefited a great deal from your expertise and objective style to military history. Thank You.
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:02 AM   #194
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Re: Losing WW II

Nah, I wanted to off Mussolini well before the invasion of Poland. Put in a clever politician that could steer a plausibly neutral course probably shaded a bit towards Germany but with plausible deniability sufficient to stay out of the fight altogether - probably just concentrate on solidifying the Italian position in N Africa. If Italy avoids getting greedy over Albania/Egypt, I'd guess they'd get a nod-and-wink from the Brits otherwise - it's not like they were AGAINST colonialism.

I agree with everything farther down in the response, though - if you assume they're going in, they're screwed.

MM MD
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Old 11-08-2017, 12:16 AM   #195
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Re: Losing WW II

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My short answer is I think they were screwed by November 1941 and they needed the production from 1938 to avoid that. (So effectively they were screwed before they began fighting.)

As I said in OP, my imagination is limited, so I'm not too sure what they could have done with the extra production.
If they had a couple years more total war production levels, the effect it would have had would depend on what they spent the production on.

If they got Type XXI subs up and running by mid 1943 instead of spring 1945, the western Allies might have been much less effective in western and southern Europe. This may free more German formations to fight on the Eastern front, perhaps prolonging the war another year and perhaps leading to the Soviets overrunning all of Europe, but in 1946.

If they put the production into ground warfare vehicles, they slow the Soviets more, but then maybe the western allies get to Berlin first. Putting the resources into air defence might reduce the damage to production infrastructure enough to also allow them to produce more ground weapons for use against the Soviets. I think it is easier to train tank crews than fighter pilots.

In any event, concentrating that extra production in one or two strategic ways would be more effective than just incrementally upping the production of everything.

I wish I had a clearer idea of why it took them so long to go to full war production. It didn't take long for the Soviets or Brits to do it.
Hi DoTheMath:

Couldn't going to full war production earlier had helped with standardization. My understanding is that the Germans used many different types of tanks, made in many different countries, in their invasion of Russia. Thus when a spare part was needed often none was to be found.

But full war production might have meant that more spare parts would be available and more of their tanks, etc. could have been kept going at top efficiency. Thus the German invasion force wouldn't have been any bigger, but might have stayed at top operational status for longer.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 11-08-2017, 01:10 PM   #196
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Re: Losing WW II

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi DoTheMath:

Couldn't going to full war production earlier had helped with standardization. My understanding is that the Germans used many different types of tanks, made in many different countries, in their invasion of Russia. Thus when a spare part was needed often none was to be found.

But full war production might have meant that more spare parts would be available and more of their tanks, etc. could have been kept going at top efficiency. Thus the German invasion force wouldn't have been any bigger, but might have stayed at top operational status for longer.

Best wishes,
Mason
The sand/streets/winter would still be ****ty, the fields would have been still endless and the logistics would have been super sketchy anyways.

I don`t think Barbarossa is winnable on the battlefield. You need social turmoil in the Soviet Union to weaken the defense and align yourself with one influential group in the SU that you treat well.
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Old 11-12-2017, 07:13 AM   #197
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Re: Losing WW II

Good stuff as always DTM - loved the breakdown of your last reply. Keep up the good work.
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:33 PM   #198
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Re: Losing WW II

LOL Dumb **** went the Napolean route and didn't learn from history. He got ass ****ed from the east and the Russians really didn't even have to fight like normal countries do. Russians from what I understand have been doing the scorched Earth tactic and letting Russian winter destroy any invaders for a long time. I think if the Nazis woulda just chilled on just keeping Continental Europe it would be an entirely different equation and conclusion whether or not The Axis powers woulda won.

Dumb **** didn't do his homework tho....
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:38 PM   #199
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Re: Losing WW II

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Originally Posted by uradoodooface View Post
LOL Dumb **** went the Napolean route and didn't learn from history. He got ass ****ed from the east and the Russians really didn't even have to fight like normal countries do. Russians from what I understand have been doing the scorched Earth tactic and letting Russian winter destroy any invaders for a long time. I think if the Nazis woulda just chilled on just keeping Continental Europe it would be an entirely different equation and conclusion whether or not The Axis powers woulda won.

Dumb **** didn't do his homework tho....
It was actually the Nazis who used a scorched earth policy when they were on the retreat. And of course even if they had decided just to settle for continental Europe there is also the fact the allies were still going to have a war winning weapon in 1945 (The bomb)
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:28 PM   #200
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Re: Losing WW II

Actually if Hitler had done the Napoleon thing and gone straight to Moscow instead of messing around in Ukraine he might have had a chance.

I agree if they maintain the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and consolidate in Europe its hard for them to lose. But early on in Mein Kampf Hitler spelled out that his intention was to go east.
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