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NAV30
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 7:10 am

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 49):
Greece/Ireland/Portugal/Spain/Italy

Just to keep the record straight, aerorobnz, Italy was on the German side in WW2! Not complaining though, the Italians from the WW2 prison camp up the road from us were very generous with their chocolate rations when I was small!
 
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Dano1977
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 8:56 am

Quoting MMO (Reply 48):
Oh, that's right, costal fortifications that had gun emplacements that only fired out to sea, overwhelmed by a much smaller Japanese force on bicycles...should I continue? Look at the US forces in the Philippines at the time.

I didn't do that, look to the UK war cabinet at the time. My father spent 3 years flying B-25s all across the SWP, so I don't need a lecture from anyone about sacrifice during wartime. I spent over 20 years on active duty and in the Guard and I have had people shooting at me so direct your anger at someone else.

A common misconception about the guns. They could be turned to fire inland and they did so. There just wasn't enough high explosive shells to bombard the Japanese infantry (although there was plenty of Armour piercing).
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MD11Engineer
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 10:04 am

Quoting MMO (Reply 48):
Oh, that's right, costal fortifications that had gun emplacements that only fired out to sea, overwhelmed by a much smaller Japanese force on bicycles...should I continue? Look at the US forces in the Philippines at the time.

Exactly. Corregidor, with formidable guns, able to stop any ship entering Manila bay. But completely open to attacks from the air (I have been there and seen the gun emplacements). Also, the Japanese didn't come through the front door. They came via the Lingayen Gulf further north and simply crossed the plains north of Manila. American and Filipino troops were forced into the mountains of the Bataan peninsula, where they surrendered a few weeks later. The Americans in the Philippines didn't really cover themselves with glory either.

Jan

[Edited 2015-05-30 03:05:16]
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mmo
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 10:17 am

Quoting Dano1977 (Reply 51):

A common misconception about the guns. They could be turned to fire inland and they did so

Sorry, but after living in Singapore, I can assure you that is incorrect! There is still a costal fortification by the Changi prison or what was left of it and every time we had visitors we would go there and to the POW chapel. A Japanese force, on bicycles, 1/3 the size of the defending force invaded Singapore. The staff there could not fathom the Japanese forces advancing from the north because of the "impenetrable" jungle.


Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 52):
The Americans in the Philippines didn't really cover themselves with glory either.

I think if you spoke with my uncle who survived the Baatan Death March, he would have a different opinion. The forces fought there until they were just about of ammunition and food. There is a slight difference. I was stationed there in the early 80s before the volcano took care of Clark. I have seen it too! Much smaller than Singapore. My point was not about the gun emplacements but about the lengths some men will go to.
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garpd
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 11:33 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 46):
I don't think that GB would have been able to stand up against the manpower and firepower he send to Russia.

They would have to get over the channel first and the Royal Navy's home fleet was more than a match for anything Germany could throw at it.

Plus, the battle of Britain had shown Germany that here was no way she would get air superiority over Britain and the channel. Without total air superiority, any landing craft she sent would be blasted out of the water. Or strafed to such a degree the soldiers on board would be minced meat. A bloodbath waiting to happen. That is why all plans to invade Britain were cancelled.

Therefore, I think Britain would have easily repelled the forces Germany hurled at Russia.

Quoting NAV30 (Reply 47):
Actually they weren't, L-188; bases in France, Denmark, and Norway meant that they were well able to bomb just about any part of Britain, with extra tanks if necessary

Correct. The bases in Norway and Denmark were so far away however, that the Heinkels were forced to fly without escort. At first the German Luftwaffe though Scotland would be mostly undefended, believing that the RAF's total fighter capacity was down in England, protecting London, etc. They got a bit of a shock when their Bombers were met by plenty of Spitfires and Hurricanes. Butts were kicked and names were taken.

Quoting NAV30 (Reply 47):
By comparison, the much larger bombs which British Lancasters and Halifaxes could carry caused dreadful damage (and huge loss of life) in German cities, later in the War.

True, the Lancaster's max bombload was 21 tons. That's heavier than a B-17 bomber!

[Edited 2015-05-30 04:59:00]
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 11:48 am

Did you ever hear about a Captain Patrick Heenan? He was an officer in the British Indian Army, based on the Malayan peninsula and Singapore, but didn't get along with his superiors and colleagues. In the 1930s he did a longer stay in Japan and while there got recruited by the Japanese intelligence service. During the Japanise invasion of Thailand and Malaysia he informed the Japanese military about British troop movements and deployment of aircraft, which largely got destroyed on the ground by Japanese bombers. On December 10th, 1942 he got caught "almost in the act" of transmitting messages to the Japanese and got arrested. Pending deportation back to the UK, he was in custody of the British military police during the battle of Singapore. He gloated and told the military police officermen that, if they would let him go, he would speak favourably about them to his Japanese superiors, but the soldiers had enough, and shortly before the surrender, they drew lots and shot him outside.

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

Jan
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KPDX
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 12:37 pm

It never ceases to amaze me that people argue over who contributed more and all that BS. I'm personally thankful to each and every allied country who contributed, and each one is equally worth the same.

As for that Battle of Britain, the RAF put up an incredible historic fight, but let's not forget all the allied pilots who helped out. That would be a shame.

Ironic the same people who get offended at people "disrespecting" their relative proceed to do the exact same thing. It's not a willy waving contest. Only to people who obsess with war, perhaps.

I cringe just as hard when my fellow Americans proclaim "If it wasn't for us..."

Ah if only it was that simple (and true).

WWII was a monumental allied effort. Period.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 1:11 pm

Quoting KPDX (Reply 56):
WWII was a monumental allied effort. Period.

Seconded

Jan
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TristarAtLCA
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 1:29 pm

Quoting KPDX (Reply 56):
It never ceases to amaze me that people argue over who contributed more and all that BS. I'm personally thankful to each and every allied country who contributed, and each one is equally worth the same.

Well said.
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Dano1977
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 2:31 pm

Quoting MMO (Reply 53):
Sorry, but after living in Singapore, I can assure you that is incorrect! There is still a costal fortification by the Changi prison or what was left of it and every time we had visitors we would go there and to the POW chapel. A Japanese force, on bicycles, 1/3 the size of the defending force invaded Singapore. The staff there could not fathom the Japanese forces advancing from the north because of the "impenetrable" jungle.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Singapore
The Battle of Singapore, also known as the Fall of Singapore, was fought in .... to defend the harbour against naval attack and could not be turned round to face north. In fact, most of the guns could be turned, and were indeed fired at the invaders.

www.open.ac.uk/Arts/ferguson-centre/working.../working-paper-5.doc
One such myth had been that the 'guns of Singapore' faced uselessly to sea, ... but given the terrain and that the Singapore naval base could only be defended by the sea . But he stated that his gun was turned around so that it could fire to the north.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=1134396384
So the myth about the guns pointing out uselessly to sea, was half wrong, but also half right.

www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/88/a2110988.shtml
The 15" guns could, in theory, be slowly turned round


www.avalanchepress.com/GunsOfSingapore.php
Five 15-inch coastal guns, four of them had all-round traverse. ...
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 4:10 pm

Quoting bunumuring (Reply 41):

The book Fatherland by Robert Harris is set in the 1950s in a setting where Germany and the UK came to a truce i.e. UK still its own country, Germany controlling mainland Europe. The plot is not specifically about the alternate war ending, but it does hypothesise certain things. Either way, it's a great book.

A320ajm

[Edited 2015-05-30 09:24:00]
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johnboy
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 6:10 pm

"Fatherland" was an interesting book, and piqued my curiosity about historical fiction. The HBO movie was less successful imho
 
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat May 30, 2015 8:50 pm

Read about the the first Allied victory in world war 2


Yesterday and today mark the anniversary of the recapture of Narvik, Norway – the first Allied victory during World War II.

The battle for Narvik was the first time that British, French, Polish and Norwegian forces fought together. And they won. The recapture of Narvik on 28 May 1940 was the first major defeat of the war for Nazi Germany.

Historians have claimed that the recapture of Narvik convinced Hitler to change his plans to invade Great Britain the same year. Lessons learned from Narvik were also an important factor in the Allies’ planning of D-Day in 1944.


Read more here:

http://www.royalcourt.no/nyhet.html?tid=127971&sek=27262
 
NAV30
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:06 am

Quoting Mortyman (Reply 62):
Historians have claimed that the recapture of Narvik convinced Hitler to change his plans to invade Great Britain the same year.

Hardly likely, Mortyman - Narvik will have played its part; but the most pressing factor in the 'equation' faced by Hitler was definitely the Dunkirk operation (in Northern France, 'completed' 25th. June 1940) when over 300,000 British soldiers, and about 50,000 French ones, were successfully evacuated by British cargo and naval ships, plus a large number of pleasure craft manned by civilian boat-owners.

Britain therefore still had an army, a navy, and an air force. During the next six months or so Hitler encouraged the Luftwaffe to bomb southern England, but the Luftwaffe only had medium bombers (originally designed with army cooperation in mind, rather than bombing civilian areas), and were not sufficiently well-armed to defend themselves against the RAF Hurricane and Spitfire fighters, all of which carried eight machineguns and were capable of flying at over 350 knots. So Hitler's lot never achieved anything like 'command of the air,' and lacked adequately-armed surface ships as well; so a land invasion by the Wehrmacht was never feasible.

PS - some excellent photographs of the 'improvised' evacuation, much of which was carried out by civilian pleasure-boats collecting people from the open beaches:-

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=dunkirk+evacuation&biw=1075&bih=517&tbm=isch&imgil=t5YTF2jCGrXX9M%253A%253BODKoD6kXXOJkyM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.rania.co.uk%25252Fdunkirk%25252Fhtml%25252Fhistory.htm&source=iu&pf=m&fir=t5YTF2jCGrXX9M%253A%252CODKoD6kXXOJkyM%252C_&usg=__t8RMaCzpoDDz834DYmLeFpUbj7M%3D&ved=0CDEQyjc&ei=5fFrVcKkFaXZmAWDioHgAg#imgdii=t5YTF2jCGrXX9M%3A%3Bt5YTF2jCGrXX9M%3A%3BemHSr51e4gPWkM%3A&imgrc=t5YTF2jCGrXX9M%253A%3BODKoD6kXXOJkyM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.rania.co.uk%252Fdunkirk%252Fimages%252Fdunkirk1.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.rania.co.uk%252Fdunkirk%252Fhtml%252Fhistory.htm%3B400%3B226

PS - stuffed up again, just google 'Dunkirk Evacuation.'

[Edited 2015-05-31 23:01:06]
 
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garpd
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:22 am

Quoting Mortyman (Reply 62):
Historians have claimed that the recapture of Narvik convinced Hitler to change his plans to invade Great Britain the same year.

Lessons learned by the Allies at Narvik most certainly helped with planning of the Italy and Normandy landings.

Although the importance of the victory at Narvick shouldn't be forgotten, the true decision maker for Hitler was his defeat during the Battle of Britain.
That battle showed that the RAF were not push over the Germans thought they'd be and that the Luftwaffe would never gain air superiority over the channel or UK. Without that air superiority, any invasion force send to the UK would incur the full wrath of the Royal Navy and the RAF, even Hitler knew that was a bloodbath waiting to happen, hence he postponed Operation Sea Lion, indefinitely.
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garpd
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:58 pm

Here is a What if:


The designer of the Spitfire visited Germany several years before aggression started. He saw what the 109 could do and went right back to the drawing boards and made the Spitfire better in anyway he could.

Now, we all know the Hurricane had more victories to it's name in the Battle of Britain that the Spit. And we know the Spit wasn't the best fighter in the war, although it proved highly versatile in all roles imaginable, however the Hurricane alone would not have been able to hold off the Luftwaffe in the summer of 1940. So say R. J. Mitchell died long before his visit to Germany and the Spitfire was never completed.

What state would GB have been in?
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Dano1977
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:23 pm

Quoting garpd (Reply 65):
Now, we all know the Hurricane had more victories to it's name in the Battle of Britain that the Spit. And we know the Spit wasn't the best fighter in the war, although it proved highly versatile in all roles imaginable, however the Hurricane alone would not have been able to hold off the Luftwaffe in the summer of 1940. So say R. J. Mitchell died long before his visit to Germany and the Spitfire was never completed.

What state would GB have been in?

The Hurricane might not have been as fast or as beautiful as the Spitfire, but it had a host of other virtues.
It was highly manoeuvrable, with a turning circle even tighter than that of a Spitfire. Because of its traditional method of construction, it was easy for factories to produce in large quantities, a vital factor in early 1940


Its airframe made it straightforward to repair. No fewer than 60 per cent of all Hurricanes that crashed on British soil ended up back in service with squadrons.

With a wide undercarriage, lack of vices and intrinsic strength, the Hurricane was the ideal fighter for raw recruits, a priceless asset during the Battle of Britain when the demand from the operational squadrons for new pilots was so high.


The RAF would have been just fine without the Spitfire.
The average EU official - he has the organising ability of the Italians, the flexibility of the Germans and the modesty of the French. And that's topped up by the imagination of the Belgians, the generosity of the Dutch.
 
NAV30
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:26 am

Quoting garpd (Reply 65):
So say R. J. Mitchell died long before his visit to Germany and the Spitfire was never completed.

Aircraft development was a continuous process right through WW2. The Hawker company, in particular, didn't just produce the Hurricane, it developed several other larger, much more capable fighter types, including the Tempest, which was fast enough even to take on the German jet, the Messerschmitt 262.

http://www.acmp.com/blog/englands-hawker-wwii-fighters.html

Another firm, Gloster, produced the first British jet fighter, which saw service in WW2:-

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...or-fly-70-years-maiden-flight.html

[Edited 2015-06-01 20:36:52]
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:09 am

As for the Normandie, Italy and North Africa landings, they would not have been possiblev without the experience gathered by both the British (and their Commonwealth and European Allies) in Narvik and Dieppe (e.g. not to attack a fortified port), but also the American experience in the Pacific (e.g. the development of specialist landing craft and landing ships, like the Higgins boat).
The British had "Hobart's funnies", a series of modified tanks to overcome obstacles, like anti-tank trenches, mine fields, swampy ground, pill boxes etc.), which they used for good effect on their beaches. Interestingly the Americans were not interested, except for the Sherman DD amphibious tank.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobart%27s_Funnies

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tommy1808
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:39 am

Quoting Dano1977 (Reply 66):
It was highly manoeuvrable, with a turning circle even tighter than that of a Spitfire

afaik the 4 narrow placed guns/wing also had a better chance of doing meaningful damage compared to the spread all over the wing arrangement on the spitfire.

Best regards
Thomas
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MD11Engineer
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:16 am

The Spitfire version used during the Battle of Britain (Mk 2 ?) was armed with 8 .303 cal Browning machine guns. These guns were generally adjusted so that their aims converged at about 200 yards ahead of the aircraft. Some pilots, especially experienced ones, had their guns adjusted to a closed point of aim, but this was inofficial.

Jan
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MrHMSH
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:56 am

Quoting Dano1977 (Reply 66):

The Hurricane might not have been as fast or as beautiful as the Spitfire, but it had a host of other virtues.
It was highly manoeuvrable, with a turning circle even tighter than that of a Spitfire. Because of its traditional method of construction, it was easy for factories to produce in large quantities, a vital factor in early 1940

Its airframe made it straightforward to repair. No fewer than 60 per cent of all Hurricanes that crashed on British soil ended up back in service with squadrons.

With a wide undercarriage, lack of vices and intrinsic strength, the Hurricane was the ideal fighter for raw recruits, a priceless asset during the Battle of Britain when the demand from the operational squadrons for new pilots was so high.

The RAF would have been just fine without the Spitfire.

The Hurricane is a lovely fighter, but it did have its limitations, altough these wer much more apparent in later years than the BoB. I think you are right for at least 1940 though, but afterwards the RAF needed the Spitfire's greater capabilities and speed to keep up with contemporary fighters.

Quoting tommy1808 (Reply 69):
afaik the 4 narrow placed guns/wing also had a better chance of doing meaningful damage compared to the spread all over the wing arrangement on the Spitfire.

Correct, the Hurricane was a much more accurate and stable gun platform.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 70):
The Spitfire version used during the Battle of Britain (Mk 2 ?) was armed with 8 .303 cal Browning machine guns. These guns were generally adjusted so that their aims converged at about 200 yards ahead of the aircraft. Some pilots, especially experienced ones, had their guns adjusted to a closed point of aim, but this was inofficial.

The versions of the Spitfire used in the BoB were mostly Mk. Is, but some Mk. IIs did appear. The only difference is that the Mk. II had a slightly more powerful engine, but otherwise there's nothing to separate them.

One of those experienced pilots was Douglas Bader, and I recall Erich Hartmann saying the same later.
 
NAV30
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:39 am

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 70):
These guns were generally adjusted so that their aims converged at about 200 yards ahead of the aircraft.

In point of fact, the guns were initially lined up so that they fired a 'spread' of rounds, the idea being that some bullets would hit the engines while others hit the fuselage and the bomber crews! What's more, the 'expected' range was set, at first, at no less than 400 yards! But you're quite right, within a short time experience led to the guns being 'spot-harmonized' at only 200 yards, with all of them (hopefully) hitting the same part of a given aeroplane. Considering that airborne machineguns were effectively cooled by the airflow, they could be set to fire at rates of up to 1,000 rounds per minute ; enough to pulverise any part of the aeroplane - or crew - that they hit!

Over the months in which the Battle of Britain was fought out, first the pilots, and later the official trainers, 'got it right,' guns were 'spot-harmonised,' they henceforward fired concentrated close-range bursts, and the Luftwaffe began suffering such heavy casualties that they soon had to give up daylight sorties and only attack by night..........

That, if anything, made the plight of the civilians (who, as it happened, included me!  ) even worse, though. The single-seater Hurricanes and Spitfires were pretty well useless at night, and a twin-engine night-fighter force, crewed by navigators and gunners as well as pilots, had hurriedly to be organised. But the Luftwaffe eventually suffered heavy losses, their light and ill-aimed bombloads did relatively little damage, and by summer 1943 they had pretty well given up.

[Edited 2015-06-02 22:43:57]
 
slider
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:23 pm

I love counterfactual "what-if" historical scenarios.

One of my favorite, but under-reported, notions, is to posit what would have happened had the Allies taken the Scheldt sooner as planned.

Market Garden really botched the thrust that SHOULD have been placed into the Scheldt, specifically taking and securing Antwerp and the port. There was a massive failure of logistics by this time, where the Allies were hamstrung because of material support issues. Instead of Market Garden, and much blame is placed at Monty's feet for his "single thrust" (Northern, at that, to hit the Ruhr Valley), and his obsessive resistance against Ike's "wide front" theory--which, to be fair, still has much merit in debating today.

The Nazis were cranking V2s into Antwerp like crazy. The estuary was mined all over the place. It took months to clear and secure the port to make it operable for the Allies to start moving the magnitude of supplies they needed. When I contemplate how fast Patton was moving, and was held back for want of fuel and logistical support, the loss of strength gradient and length of supply lines. (He was also held back politically, which became a significant factor as well--leading all the way to Berlin and the Cold War, which, Roosevelt seemed to embrace, sadly because of having to be uncomfortable Allies with the Soviets).

But I oft wonder what would have happened had the Allies--and notably Patton--been taken off the leash. Ike had to marry differing constituencies, but taking the Scheldt and the Port of Antwerp earlier and with more deliberation could have proven a major turning point in ending the war in Europe MUCH sooner.
 
NAV30
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Fri Jun 05, 2015 4:38 am

Quoting Slider (Reply 73):
But I oft wonder what would have happened had the Allies--and notably Patton--been taken off the leash. Ike had to marry differing constituencies

I think Eisenhower, and particularly Montgomery (who had served in the front line right through WW1) both did a good job of keeping up the offensive, while not over-taxing their 'limited' frontline forces (all of whom had to be shipped over from England in vulnerable landing-craft) and risking heavy losses through too-ambitious offensive operations. The Germans had had the best part of four years to prepare their fortifications ('Festung Europa,' 'Fortress Europe'), and any 'headlong' offensive could have resulted in very heavy casualties, and very possibly left the Allied forces 'bogged down' and facing literally years of WW!-style trench warfare.

In point of fact, the whole re-conquest of Western Europe took only eleven months (June 1944 to May 1945) and casualties were kept down to 'reasonable' figures. I don't think the final defeat of the Nazis could have been achieved much earlier than that - and there was every chance that a less carefully-planned offensive could have resulted in much higher Allied losses and many more months of war.
 
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:23 am

Quoting NAV30 (Reply 74):
The Germans had had the best part of four years to prepare their fortifications ('Festung Europa,' 'Fortress Europe'),

The Atlantik Wall was more propaganda than reality. Zero defensive depth, no reserves. How Rommel put it "main battle line is the beach".
Not saying an earlier invasion would been better, Operation Jubilee wasn't exactly successful either.

Best regards
Thomas
Well, there is prophecy in the bible after all: 2 Timothy 3:1-6
 
slider
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:01 pm

Quoting NAV30 (Reply 74):
and any 'headlong' offensive could have resulted in very heavy casualties, and very possibly left the Allied forces 'bogged down' and facing literally years of WW!-style trench warfare.

I completely disagree with this hypothesis for a number of reasons, first and foremost being that air power had transformed warfare far more dynamically since WWI. It wouldn't have come to a slog.

Quoting NAV30 (Reply 74):
In point of fact, the whole re-conquest of Western Europe took only eleven months (June 1944 to May 1945) and casualties were kept down to 'reasonable' figures. I don't think the final defeat of the Nazis could have been achieved much earlier than that - and there was every chance that a less carefully-planned offensive could have resulted in much higher Allied losses and many more months of war.

In context, you are right--taking the 'big picture' it was a resounding victory. But there are still strategic bones to pick even today: the Italian campaign for starters, to Ike's wide front strategy, to the logistical failures to supply the front that could have absolutely made things go faster. Moreover, the looming Cold War and the sectioning of Germany might have been avoided had the Americans gotten to Berlin first (if not kept going to secure ALL of Germany and Poland from the Soviets).

That's why I made a focus on the Scheldt.

Alas, this is all a pipedream because Roosevelt had already determined there was to be a Cold War. He pretty much capitulated a great deal to "Uncle Joe" which still rankles me a great deal. We won the war but didn't win the peace.
 
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Dano1977
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RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Fri Jun 05, 2015 7:56 pm

Quoting Slider (Reply 73):
Market Garden really botched

“Operation Market Garden accomplished much of what it had been designed to accomplish. Nevertheless, by the merciless logic of war, Market Garden was a failure.”


Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery’s scheme had to fit into the grand design dictated by his boss, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Indeed, Ike approved Market Garden because he believed it held great strategic merit and had the potential to solve several problems the Allies had created for themselves owing to the speed of their advance after the Battle of Normandy.

The Combined Allied Intelligence Committee in London believed that “organized resistance under the control of the German High Command is unlikely to continue beyond 1 December 1944.” But with supply lines for the advancing Allied troops now stretching 350 miles back to Normandy, neither the rate of advance nor the unbounded ­confidence could last. A great military opportunity remained for the Allies to exploit, but there was sharp disagreement over just how to do it.

Ike gave this operation, code named Market Garden, his approval on September 10 but was careful to point out that he was not agreeing to a narrow front, merely a temporary boost to the left wing of his broad front. If it worked, he thought, the Allies would have gained an extremely valuable crossing over the Rhine. But if it failed, then at least Montgomery would have been able to put his preferred strategy to the test. The First Allied Airborne Army, the new and only Allied strategic reserve, would have been tested as well, and the Germans further weakened. Indeed, Eisenhower later said, “I not only approved Market Garden, I insisted upon it.”



The venture did yield some tangible gains: the Germans, already severely weakened by the Soviets pushing in from the east, were in no position to absorb the eight thousand casualties and equipment losses they suffered as a result of the operation. Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, the German commander in chief West, was prevented from using his forces to strengthen the defenses of their homeland against the Allies. Furthermore, the Germans never reclaimed the proportion of the Netherlands liberated up to the Waal, and that area subsequently became the springboard from which the final western offensive into Germany was launched.
The average EU official - he has the organising ability of the Italians, the flexibility of the Germans and the modesty of the French. And that's topped up by the imagination of the Belgians, the generosity of the Dutch.
 
NAV30
Posts: 1080
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:16 am

RE: World War II: The "what If" Thread.....

Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:17 am

Quoting tommy1808 (Reply 75):
The Atlantik Wall was more propaganda than reality. Zero defensive depth, no reserves. How Rommel put it "main battle line is the beach".

Don't forget, Thomas, that the Allies had already gone through a 'dress rehearsal' (the 1942 Dieppe Raid) which had failed disastrously, with far more than half the (mostly Canadian) landing force being killed or captured. In that case the attackers never made it OFF the beach:-

http://www.combinedops.com/Dieppe.htm

It was for that reason that the D-Day landings took place well to the west, in Normandy. The defences there were admittedly less numerous - and less well 'dug in' - than those to the east, but making the landings there inevitably meant that the final advance across France and into Germany took a lot longer than it would have if the landings had been made further to the east. But at least the allies got ashore there suffering lighter losses than they had faced at Dieppe. At the expense of having to fight a much longer campaign, an opposed advance across most of France before they even reached Germany.

But at least they weren't stopped at the water's edge, as they had been at Dieppe:-

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

Tony

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