Happy Birthday Mummy

My mother was sixty five last week (do not worry I have asked her permission to mention this). There is no Northern Ireland connection here but before you rant read on.

Clearly then my mother was born in January 1943; she is also an historian by training (now retired) which is where we are going.
On the day when my mother was born one of the most horrific and important events in recent history was gradually coming towards its ghastly end. On the banks of a huge river which flows into the Caspian Sea battle raged for one of the most iconic of all Russian cities – Volgograd then as most of you will know called Stalingrad. Some of the bald statistics are terrifying; at one stage the average survival for a Russian soldier in the battle was less than 24 hours. I will not go into the grim details of that epic struggle. Some of the names of places fought over have become icons in themselves: The Red October Steel Factory, Dzerzhinsky tractor factory, the Grain Silo. Suffice to say that between Stalingrad and Kursk fought in the summer of 1943 the Wermacht was thrown decisively and definitively onto the defensive. I am not in any way trying to belittle the contribution of the British, Americans and Canadians to the defeat of the Nazis but remember that some estimate that ¾ of all German soldiers killed died on the Eastern Front. Estimates of total USSR dead have been suggested at 23 million (13% of the population).

Of course the irony is that the westward march of the T-34s brought an end to Nazism but did not result in freedom for the peoples of the USSR, though for those people Stalin’s regime was possibly less bad than what Hitler had intended for them.

So today spare a thought for the people who helped end the Nazis’ advance and have allowed a whole generation of people in Western Europe to be born, grow up and now retire without the oppression of Nazi tyranny.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “I’ve asked you to show me where I have roasted the Yanks, repetition does not a case make. We actually were discussing the relative merits of units belonging to various nationalities, instigated by your claim that Yanks were better than Germans, remember? ”

    No, I said they were different, as in “not the same.”

    They were quicker to rally — which is good, because they weren’t as disciplined.

    They were more flexible on the battlefield than the Germans, which is good in some instances and bad in others. They were less attached to military conventional wisdom, which, again, is good and bad.

    The Americans biggest problem is that the officer corps had not had a couple of years of real fighting to shake out, eliminate the deadwood — some units were NG and still led by the local guy, etc. Most were “local,” even in new units raised as regular army, which helped morale, but possibly hurt discipline — no one wanted to rabbit on their friends from home, but punishing the old buddies was likely equally unpopular. Reconstituting units could be a problem, as was folding in replacements.

    Germans had their own downsides. New situations — things not covered in the book (and, yeah, the Germans re-wrote the book for WW2) tended to confuse and flummox them — one instance from Kursk comes to mind, with a broken-down KV-1 along a supply route. They were a little slow on the ramifications of their actions, esp. Waffen-SS — not too good with the native populations. They tended not to adapt to changing situations as quickly as Americans.

    As for your jibe about armor, this was part of the reason for bringing up Wittman — even experience British formations, despite outnumbering the Germans, often found they had more than they could handle — the doctrine on Tiger Tanks was the rule of 5 — if there ain’t 5 Shermans for each Tiger, don’t even think about it.

    Prince Eoghan: “Just a small point regarding the me109, might be wrong but from memory this was still being mass produced, at the expense of better models.”

    I think at the end of the war, they were concentrating on FW-190 variants, but could also be wrong… I think there was still some 109 production — it wasn’t a bad plane, although auxilliary fuel tanks and a better cock-pit would have done wonders — but the British had opportunities to upgrade — bigger engines, I want to say better guns (the .303 mg’s were just not up to the task), etc.

    The biggest messes was that the RLM was hidebound early — jets were delayed as much out of distrust of the unusual as anything else — and uncertain late — too many different designs in development, scattering scarce resources, too many last minute adaptations due to unavailble compenents, too many competing jet designs, etc.

    Prince Eoghan: “The Dardanelles could easily be appropriated by the Soviets, not much anyone could have done. Realising a long held zarist dream about a warm water port.”

    No navy for an amphibious landing… British in the Med with a large navy, enlarged with the surviving Italian vessels… Could push through Bulgaria, but opens a new front with the Turks on one hand and weakens the offensive against Germany on the other. Its not a high percentage wager.

    Prince Eoghan: “Doubt if anyone would contemplate an attack through the caucuses or iran/Afghanistan, far too much trouble, and the logistics would be a nightmare.”

    Not really — one of the lead-lease routes was through Persia, so the transit links were there to be built upon, alleviating the logistical issue. Persian leadership had more to fear from Russia than the UK.

    Prince Eoghan: “It is clear we agree far more than we disagree here. Thanks Dread, enjoyed it, yank hater that I am;¬) ”

    Maybe I’m just hearing echos of the sources you’ve read (and a few I’ve read — the very least of the British criticism of the Americans was that they were “overpaid, oversexed and over here (to which the proper response was point out the Brits real problem — they were underpaid, undersexed and under Eisenhower and “our Italians” to the British military establishment following Kassarine Pass.)

  • Prince Eoghan

    I’ll defer to your greater knowledge and criticisms regarding US troops, all of it sounds logical. And true the Germans sometimes were through into turmoil with situations not dealt with in the book(but hey what a book) I’ll be tactful and say given time to iron out the problems you highlight, your average US units could have been comparable on the battlefield to the Germans.

    Can’t understand why you believe that there would even be a new front with the Turks. Sure they showed in the Dardanelles that they could fight(especially the Kurds) however we are talking hardened veterans(soviets) with reasonably modern equipment, and masses of artillery. Taking on a country under-armed with obsolete equipment. With no serious defensive country between Bulgaria and Istanbul, where would the front be?

    I probably wasn’t clear regarding my Iran/Afghanistan point. Where would they attack in the southern SU? Certainly not through the caucuses, And they would have needed Alexander the Great to lead them onto the silk road through Khazahkstan.etc. Simply out of the question.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Perhaps that quip(Von Arnhem was it?) about being “our Italians” to the British weighs too heavily on you. The Germans actually got used to blaming the Italians for their own failings. Seriously, many Italian units fought exceptionally well. l’ittorio(I think), Ariete armoured division and the Brescia spring to mind. You see in the DAK they got used to their own hype, and couldn’t believe it when the British and Commonwealth units began beating them in a fair fight. Stands to reason that the Italians never came to their aid, or attacked at the wrong time etc. The Major-General von Mellenthin(that I alluded to before) hints as much in his book “Panzer Battles” As mainly a staff man, and sometimes commander of the whole shebang when Rommell was away on his mystery tours and out of contact. He was trained to give an honest assessment *well* it was news to me about the Italians, and have since picked up other tit-bits.

  • Dk

    Hi all,

    Just read the above thread on the big what-if of western allies vs. USSR in 1945. Couple of points:

    Soviet units in 1945 consisted of a few large tank units, and a mass of very understrength infantry divisions (4,000 troops). The allies, on the other hand had a mass of full strength units – all mechanised and with much higher firepower. Well trained units could certainly take on the Germans – witness the elimination of the panther brigades at the hand of US infantry divisions (and their attached Shermans) in the Lorraine fighting; or the utter failure of the Tiger II against the Soviets.

    The germans suffered far higher casualty ratios against the west than they ever did against the Soviets (1945 excepted). The germans might have done somewhat better against tanks as their tanks were designed to fight tanks, whereas the allies were largely designed to fight infantry (which is what they largely came up against).

    So, I think that the soviets would have floundered against the western forces – factor in the massive air power and strategic considerations of the USSRs vulnerable rear and you have a clear soviet defeat. Not forgetting that they were highly reliant on lend lease in any case!

    Last point of interest in the Finland war declaration: Bulgaria declared war on the USA, but not the USSR, although that didn’t stop the latter invading.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Dk

    A welcome addition to the fray.

    Your concept of mass is all important here, are you suggesting that there was anything approaching equivalence in numbers?

    Also the Germans performed exceptionally well in Lorraine, despite Hitlers crazy orders about holding Metz to the last(disobeyed as they were) And this is new to me >>utter failure of the Tiger II against the Soviets.<< Could you elaborate? To my mind the Soviets were made to pay a high price right to the end, a horrific cost in some places. Hence why they were always undermanned perhaps?I also doubt if the SU had a vulnerable rear. Japan would be in no mood to aid the west, and suffered a bloody nose from Zhukov in 1939. They also had no armoured formations, or tanks worthy of the name. If you allude to an allied attack from the rear, I would argue that nothing on a large scale could be possible, for a variety of factors. Most importantly that out with Vladivostok, and Baku, little was worth taking in any strategic terms. And Baku would be an expensive slog in terms of manpower through the Caucuses. A butcher's bill the west would not pay.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “I’ll defer to your greater knowledge and criticisms regarding US troops, all of it sounds logical. And true the Germans sometimes were through into turmoil with situations not dealt with in the book(but hey what a book) ”

    They still teach selected passages out of it, only now they call it “combined arms” rather than “blitzkrieg.”

    Prince Eoghan: “Can’t understand why you believe that there would even be a new front with the Turks. Sure they showed in the Dardanelles that they could fight(especially the Kurds) however we are talking hardened veterans(soviets) with reasonably modern equipment, and masses of artillery. Taking on a country under-armed with obsolete equipment. ”

    Firstly, its one more enemy, one with access to your flank. Secondly, it sours the environment needlessly, throwing Turkey into the Allied or German camp needlessly. Thirdly, don’t discount the Turks — they can fight, they’re on their home turf and they had received at least some modern equipment from the Germans. The Russians could take the western side of the straight through Bulgaria, but then they would have to cross — no navy or grand naval tradition. Likewise, Turkey wasn’t going to fold just because the Soviets took the Dardanelles. Much of the terrain, esp. in the east, favors the defender. Think Afghanistan a coupld of decades early. Besides, the Turks were watching and waiting for that little adventure.

    Prince Eoghan: “The Germans actually got used to blaming the Italians for their own failings. Seriously, many Italian units fought exceptionally well. l’ittorio(I think), Ariete armoured division and the Brescia spring to mind. You see in the DAK they got used to their own hype, and couldn’t believe it when the British and Commonwealth units began beating them in a fair fight.”

    Rommel also made it a point not ask too much of the Italians in his campaigns — but then, given their equipment, do you blame hime?

  • Rory

    Seriously, many Italian units fought exceptionally well” – Prince Eoghan

    Perhaps we might pause to recall the Italian units that fought most exceptionally of all – those in the Communist-led partisan units.

    Between the Sicily landings and the fall of Rome the partisans suffered one million casualties for which the deliberate failure of promised Allied air drops or supplies deliberately dropped in order to lead them into traps or the poverty of the materiel in those drops which were successful, was much to blame.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Yep can’t disagree about Turkey, good points. However a crossing of the Dardanells although more difficult(and wider) than some of the wide rivers in the Ukraine, was not out of the question. Point in all of this is to deny the allies access to attacking the Crimea, even holding one side of the Dardanelles would be enough.

    The point about the Italians was that Rommel knew their capabilities, and used them mainly in defence or in combined ops. They were truly tough in defence, especially as the war went on(perhaps they hade similar problems to US units LOL, a joke!) in fact at Alamein, the Italian division stood their ground whilst the German 90th(again I think) retreated under pressure from the Aussies(sorry, but can’t be exact)

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Perhaps we might pause to recall the Italian units that fought most exceptionally of all – those in the Communist-led partisan units.< >Between the Sicily landings and the fall of Rome the partisans suffered one million casualties for which the deliberate failure of promised Allied air drops or supplies deliberately dropped in order to lead them into traps or the poverty of the materiel in those drops which were successful, was much to blame.<

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “To my mind the Soviets were made to pay a high price right to the end, a horrific cost in some places. Hence why they were always undermanned perhaps? ”

    In part, this arises from the SS taking a pagfrom the NKVD book — all but flogging Wehrmacht units into the fray. Again, the “get shot vs. maybe get shot dynamic is in play. Similarly, while it was hell to fight the Americans and the British, they weren’t going to rape, pillage and burn on nearly the scale that the Soviet’s Siberian divisions – and every soldier on the Eastern front had parents, if not a sister, wife, etc.

    Prince Eoghan: “Your concept of mass is all important here, are you suggesting that there was anything approaching equivalence in numbers? ”

    Don’t need equivalent numbers — France and Barbarossa demonstrated that.

    Prince Eoghan: “I also doubt if the SU had a vulnerable rear. Japan would be in no mood to aid the west, and suffered a bloody nose from Zhukov in 1939.”

    There was no roof on the Soviet fortress… and the ocean fronts were all but abandoned. And the “rear” in this instance means “behind the front lines.”

    Strategic bombing nearly wiped out the German aircraft industry in 1943 — “Big Week” brought it to the brink, gave Milch a grand “I told you so” moment about his plans to de-centralize aircraft production in 1941. The Soviets could not match Allied air power, ground maneuverability or supply. Their ability to interdict Allied movement from the air would be slim. The Allies have the capacity for amphibious landings and have a naval air wing to guard it — think Siciliy, where Patton’s advancing forces were supported by naval landings behind Axis strong-points. The Russians don’t have the same unconventional warfare capacity. They have artillery, they have armor, both of which were supplied by horse-drawn transport. The Siberian divisions lack discipline.

    The Soviets were, on the ground, not all that different from the Germans in tactics, just with a lower technical base.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Dread

    Good to see that DK has reinvigorated your tired assertions that the west could have won in 1945.

    >>Prince Eoghan: “Your concept of mass is all important here, are you suggesting that there was anything approaching equivalence in numbers? “

    Dread – Don’t need equivalent numbers—France and Barbarossa demonstrated that.< >There was no roof on the Soviet fortress… and the ocean fronts were all but abandoned. And the “rear” in this instance means “behind the front lines.”< >The Allies have the capacity for amphibious landings and have a naval air wing to guard it—think Siciliy, where Patton’s advancing forces were supported by naval landings behind Axis strong-points.<

  • Dewi

    Last point of interest in the Finland war declaration: Bulgaria declared war on the USA, but not the USSR, although that didn’t stop the latter invading.

    Soory to be geekish but are you absolutely certain Finland declared war on the USA?

  • Dewi

    Freom Wiki:

    Declarations of war during World War II

    [edit] 1939
    September 3
    United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and France declared war on Germany.
    September 6
    The Union of South Africa declared war on Germany.
    September 10
    Canada declared war on Germany.

    [edit] 1940
    April 9
    Norway declared war on Germany.
    May 10
    Germany declared war on the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France
    June 10
    Italy declared war on France and the United Kingdom.
    June 11
    United Kingdom, France, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa at war with Italy.
    October 28
    Italy declared war on Greece.
    November 23
    Belgium declared war on Italy.

    [edit] 1941
    April 6
    Germany and Italy declared war on Yugoslavia.
    April 24
    Bulgaria declared war on Greece and Yugoslavia.
    June 22
    Germany, Italy, and Romania declared war on the Soviet Union.
    June 25
    Finland officially notes that a state of war existed with the Soviet Union (no parliamentary motion was passed).
    June 27
    Hungary declared war on the Soviet Union.
    December 6
    United Kingdom declared war on Finland and Romania.
    December 7
    Japan declared war on the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa. United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand declare war on Finland, Hungary and Romania. Canada declared war on Finland, Hungary, Japan and Romania. Panama declared war on Japan. Yugoslavia at war with Japan.
    December 8
    United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Republic of China, Costa Rica, The Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Nicaragua declared war on Japan.
    December 11
    Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.
    December 12
    Bulgaria declared war on the United States and the United Kingdom. Romania declared war on the United States.
    December 13
    Hungary declared war on the United States.

    [edit] 1942
    January 10
    Japan declared war on The Netherlands
    January 25
    United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa declared war on Thailand. Thailand declared war on the United States and the United Kingdom.
    March 2
    Australia declared war on Thailand.
    May 22
    Mexico declared war on the Axis Powers.
    June 2
    United States declared war on Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.
    August 22
    Brazil declared war on the Axis Powers.

    [edit] 1943
    October 13
    Italy declared war on Germany

    [edit] 1945
    July 13
    Italy declared war on Japan
    August 8
    The Soviet Union declared war on Japan.
    In 1945, towards the end of the war, many countries declared war on Germany and the Axis powers. Some of these countries were previous barely involved in World War II. There follows a list of these countries, the date of declaration of war is in parentheses.

    Ecuador (February 2), Paraguay (February 8), Peru (February 13), Chile (February 14), Venezuela (February 16), Turkey (February 23), Uruguay (February 23), Egypt (February 24), Syria (February 26), Lebanon (February 27), Saudi Arabia (March 1), Finland (March 2), Argentina (March 27)

  • Prince Eoghan

    Dewi

    You are right you are a geek. Leave Dread alone, he has worse to answer for. Will re-join battle the morra.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “Just where would an amphibious landing take place exactly? Sicily was exceptional in that it is an island, with all main areas of attack accessibly by naval interdiction. ”

    Oh, lets see.

    We can start with Denmark — an obvious gamut, but necessary for a secure nothern waters, opening routes through to the Northen coast of Poland, Prussia and the Baltic states, not to mention an oversea route to Finland and Sweden — the Finns might feel frisky and the Swedes — well, if the SU is invading neutrals like Turkey, even their vaunted neutrality might waver.

    From there, I have options. I can land along the coast in sizes ranging SOE trained Free Polish personnel in three man teams to divisional strength, if the need or opportunity suits. Initially, small landings are best — all I really need to do to start is make some noise — train tracks, port facilities, stockpiles — I need the Russians to know that I have options.

    The Med is, at this point, a British lake, meaning that the Black sea is within easy reach – and the Soviets might take the Dardanelles, they can’t hold them if the British decide to throw in with the Turks the way they did with the Greeks. I don’t need to hold much of anything, but, as I recall, there were things of strategic worth to destroy in Southern Russia.

    Any and all of these things divert Soviet resources, as they are things they didn’t have to worry about with the Germans, since the German navy, while modern, wasn’t much larger or effective than the Russian one. It plays and preys on Stalin’s paranoia — new threats his military isn’t designed to address. Stalin lacks the specific resources to defend against these attacks — a navy, a naval air wing, etc. Advancing along the coasts is the easiest — naval landings, naval cannon, and naval air lend additional flexibility along those lines of advance… and I’ll pit a Corsair or Hellcat against a Sturmovik just about any day of the week.

    The opening moves against the Soviets would have to be resource denial — not merely cut off the Lend Lease supplies, but hobble those resources they actually produce themselves. The Russian’s one real advatage is armor — heavier tanks, although the Jackson would balance that out in time, the T-34 is a bit better than a Sherman in most categories, (stupid gasoline engine…), so that advantage needs to be hobbled… and the easiest hobble is fuel. Fuel supply routes in the German and Poland, refineries in the rear area.

    Oh, naval ops in the Black Sea would be supported from Turkish bases, both naval and air, supplied up through the old Lend-Lease route, along with the Turkish army becoming the new beneficiary of Lend-Lease materials — modern tanks, rifles, etc. I can contact the anti-Soviet Ukranian resistance and aid them, OSS/SOE fashion, along with the Poles via the northern route. Let the SOE and OSS set Eastern Europe ablaze, taking advantage of the abuses of the Soviet Army in their march west, particularly the Siberians.

    In short, the sea is the West’s friend and the Soviet’s weakness.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Dewi: “Soory to be geekish but are you absolutely certain Finland declared war on the USA? ”

    I could be mis-remembering the passage — it doesn’t take much more than a jumbling of words…

    *sigh* back to the stack of boxes in the basement.

  • Dewi

    Sorry Dread – bit of a Finnish war record fan.

  • dewi

    Fascinating discussion BTW.One factor to consider in such a scenario would be the inevitable mass insurrections in France and Italy and (what say you Tony?) In the Welsh and Scottish coalfields?

  • Prince Eoghan

    I will get in trouble from she who must be obeyed, but bugger it, ahm enjoyin masel.

    Dewi

    To many of our people WW2 was a continuation of the Spanish war, the war against fascism, a just war. Now, many had been beguiled by Stalin, and were greatly disturbed by his alliance with Germany. My Granda was a miner, and immediately volunteered after the SU was invaded, being a miner was a reserved occupation, they were exempt from military conscription. I suppose he had too many weans to go to Spain, but couldn’t resist fighting the fascist beast.

    I tell ye what Dewi, it is a cracker of a question, would they really disrupt industry whilst Scottish and Welsh boys were dying? Really don’t know. Whit’s yir ain thoughts?

    Dread

    >>From there, I have options. I can land along the coast in sizes ranging SOE trained Free Polish personnel in three man teams to divisional strength< >The Med is, at this point, a British lake,< >meaning that the Black sea is within easy reach – and the Soviets might take the Dardanelles, they can’t hold them if the British decide to throw in with the Turks the way they did with the Greeks.< >I don’t need to hold much of anything, but, as I recall, there were things of strategic worth to destroy in Southern Russia.< >In short, the sea is the West’s friend and the Soviet’s weakness.<

  • Dewi

    “I tell ye what Dewi, it is a cracker of a question, would they really disrupt industry whilst Scottish and Welsh boys were dying? Really don’t know. Whit’s yir ain thoughts?”

    I not only do think that there would industrial strife and maybe worse – I reckon there would be a chance of mutiny amonsgt the troops.

  • Harry Flashman

    Holy God, is this thread still going on? Fascinating stuff, I agree with Dewi that the biggest problem with wargaming the allies against the USSR in 1945 is that war weariness would have prevented it, there wasn’t a hope in hell’s chance of getting British and American troops to fight another war, but Patton’s idea of rearming and equipping the Wehrmacht, hmmmm, that’s a runner.

    By the way Eoghan have you given up on the RTE thread? I replied to you there.

    (That’s the problem with this blog, the posts disappear off the horizon too quickly)

  • Dk

    “I not only do think that there would industrial strife and maybe worse – I reckon there would be a chance of mutiny amonsgt the troops.”

    This works both ways though – and the Soviets have a lot more angry occupied people under them than the west would.

    Here’s the link for the Tiger II’s being dismal: http://tinyurl.com/2bmph6

  • Prince Eoghan

    Harry

    Just replied before I got here. It is a good thread isn’t it. Either that or we are just a bunch of anoraks lol.

    Dewi

    I honestly don’t know, in fact I find it hard to believe that there would be mutiny. However, not knowing enough(or read enough) on the topic of the troops circa 1945 apart from military stuff, it’s hard to give a knowledgeable opinion. I suppose that how the British public voted out Churchill at the general election in 1945 should be taken as a yardstick, as to how high emotions were running.

    In my opinion, Greece and France could have went over to the Soviets very easily. It needed British troops in killing Greek Communist partisans to secure Greece for the capitalist system of ghost democracy very shortly after the war’s end. A scenario that see’s the French at best in upheaval with Communist partisans making much of the country ungovernable by De Gaulle boys, at worst(for the allies) the Communists in control. The Germans had already wrecked or flooded access to Dutch and Belgian ports, allied with the certainty that Bremehaven and Hamburg would fall reasonably quickly to a Soviet attack. just how are the allied armies in western Europe, fighting against the Soviets going to be supplied?

    Logistics are all important here, supply routes most important of all.

    Anyway Dewi, thought you were going to supply us with the details of your extraordinary claim about Soviet railway hub construction? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, too busy grilling the Dread, hoped we wouldn’t remember, eh?

  • dewi

    Lol Prince – was in British Library dinner time searching – but need to get home to my extensive library……could I revise a fortnight to three weeks?
    Soviet army in 1945 pretty effective – rampaged through Manchuria and to Japan in 10 days- can you imagine Montgomery doing that? I suspect that the old Soviet generals had the same thoughts backwards – should have pushed on to Paris Tovarich….

  • Prince Eoghan

    DK

    >>The reasons behind the Sandomierz King Tiger fiasco include cleverly prepared Soviet defenses and, without a doubt, the high level of professionalism of Soviet tank crews. The Germans failed due to faulty planning and tactics, and particularly because of the direction of the attack for the 70-tonne King Tigers. The need to put the newly designed, but still incomplete “wonder-weapon” into action, resulted in these errors.<

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>could I revise a fortnight to three weeks?<

  • Dewi

    This on German railway construction/modifications in occupied Soviet Union in the meantime Prince…………

    Fascinating stuff

    The Russian on the bottom left of the page means “Next bit” – so click it to continue…

  • Prince Eoghan

    D’ye think I’m thick or something? Everybody knows that Дальше means next bit.

    Great stuff, don’t know if you have a chance to read it but he backs up a lot of what I am saying. Oh, and the railway bit, 20k a day changing the gauge on already surveyed and routed land. Wonder how you are going to back up your 2 week claim?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “In my opinion, Greece and France could have went over to the Soviets very easily. It needed British troops in killing Greek Communist partisans to secure Greece for the capitalist system of ghost democracy very shortly after the war’s end. A scenario that see’s the French at best in upheaval with Communist partisans making much of the country ungovernable by De Gaulle boys, at worst(for the allies) the Communists in control. The Germans had already wrecked or flooded access to Dutch and Belgian ports, allied with the certainty that Bremehaven and Hamburg would fall reasonably quickly to a Soviet attack. ”

    Couple of points…

    Since the whole point of the Bulge offensive was the Dutch port of Antwerp to deny it, after bombarding the city with more V-2 missiles than any other target during the war, obviously not *ALL* the Dutch and Belgian ports were wrecked / flooded. Your entitled to your own opinion, just not your own facts.

    You’re too enamored of the Russians to really make this an honest give and take. Their successes against the Germans come against an increasingly bankrupt enemy, short on just about everything. This does not automatically equate to being able to take on an enemy that has superior mobility, superior air and naval power, superior technology and superior resources.

    The Soviets were relying on Lend-Lease for trucks, radios / electronics and high-octane gasoline. Lose the trucks and its back to horses for transport, as attrition and lack of parts takes their toll. Lose the radios and C3 capability starts to go back to the “shoot the tanks with the aerials, that’s the leader,” and lack of high octane gasoline limits the Russians’ ability to operate at higher altitude (i.e. limited ability to attack Western strategic bombers). This doesn’t even get into the problem of what happens when little things like the Lend-Lease food supply gets cut off.

    The West should be able to get air superiority in fairly short order and with reatively little loss, even if they don’t use their jet aircraft. Once aerial superiority is achieved, the Soviets’ movements can be channelled by selective destruction of infrastructure, their re-supply routes interdicted, their combat effectiveness reduced. SOE operations against the Russians should be a bit more successful than against the Germans, particularly in Poland — the Russians pause to allow the Germans to put down the Warsaw uprising leaving the locals a bit chapped and, frankly, the Russians’ ELINT capability weren’t up to snuff. The same could be done with the Ukraine. This limits supply capability and increases Allied intelligence.

    German collaberation might be hit or miss, having prepared for “Werewolf” operations if occupied — upside, the ground-work was laid, downside, it was run by the SS. End sum, it will be more hit than miss, given they are the primary beneficiaries of this effort.

    An invasion of Turkey is borrowing trouble — it couldn’t be held, particularly after some of the hollowed-out Russian infantry units start failing on the Western front. The Turks are game and would be an almost immediate beneficiary of allied supplies.

    Not too saguine on eve Communist groups going over to the Soviets — their duplicity with Warsaw uprising would be a sticking point, for starters. Likewise, Soviet occupation policy wasn’t much better than that of the SS.

    Without particulars, it becomes harder to extrapolate. A new war would likely have kept Churchill in office. When Hitler dies makes a huge difference — if Germany and the west make a seperate peace and turn east pre-Bulge, the Germans are in a position to make considerably better contributions to their own self-defense, still holding the best natural defensive lines and no longer stuffed under a leader who will prevent them from using them. How well does it go down on both sides? How well does the West keep this under wraps? How does Stalin re-act when hostilities begin (He famously “checked out,” mentally, when the Germans invaded, even after extensive evience of the coming German invasion, such as German aerial recon and intelligence reports.)?

    Ultimately, if a “hot war” between the East and West ignite, it ends with a multi-stage A9/A10/A12 missile and a mushroom cloud. Not Minsk… Leningrad and Moscow, I would think.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Pricne Eoghan: “The reasons behind the Sandomierz King Tiger fiasco include cleverly prepared Soviet defenses and, without a doubt, the high level of professionalism of Soviet tank crews. The Germans failed due to faulty planning and tactics, and particularly because of the direction of the attack for the 70-tonne King Tigers. The need to put the newly designed, but still incomplete “wonder-weapon” into action, resulted in these errors.”

    The Germans put a number of flawed AFV’s into battle whilst still in their teething pains, includeing Panthers (bad power-train) and Elefants (too slow, no secondary armaments) at Kursk. The Russians adapted the “Pakfront” tactic against German advances. The pattern tended to run that supporting Panzer III and IV falling back under AT fire and the poorly-armed heavy vehicles falling to infantry attacks. Even the Tiger had its problems — to salvage a Tiger, you had to use another Tiger to tow it.

    The really off-the-wall aspect are things like the Maus, Ratte and “Landcruiser” — tanks that cannot go on or off road or cross bridges (the Maus was going to have a shnorkel…) due to their weight.

  • Dewi

    I’m not telling about Russian railways till Darth confesses about Finnish declarations. So there ! – and Prince you can’t even do that name thing for links – ask your kids mun !

  • Prince Eoghan
  • Another excellent site Shows timelines – very good.

  • Dewi

    Stalin’s lost railway They were so good they built them to nowhere for fun.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>I still think that you both underestimate the qualitative difference between Soviet and Western troops (and Management) in 1945.< >(I think they might have had to build a railway hub or two in the 10 days they took to beat them)<

  • General Zhukov

    In the dark days whilst Moscow was under threat my only consolation was the absolute knowledge that my noble Railway workers could replace any Railway hubs and networks in 10 days max.

  • General Zhukov

    Or I’d have had them shot. My only other comfort was that the Leningrad front was secure due to the Finnish Army preparing to invade the USA.

    Kind Regards Tovarich Eoghan.

  • Dewi

    And i still can’t find evidence and formally give up….

  • Rory

    From Craig Brown’s 1966 And All That (Hodder & Stoughton 2005):

    Chapter 28

    Two Notable Contributions

    The Russians

    Reputable English historians now claim that the Russians also fought in the Second World War. But they didn’t really count, as they refused to be led by proper English Generals. Instead they opted for Russian Generals with names far too long to be taken seriously. So they have only themselves to blame if their contribution is overlooked.

    The Americans

    The Americans stepped into the war at the last moment, just as everyone was packing up. Then they re-shot it using their own actors, first as World War, then as World War 2, then as World War 2: The Sequel.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Kind Regards Tovarich Eoghan.< >due to the Finnish Army preparing to invade the USA.<< LolYou never know Dewi might claim that a tunnel from Helsinki to Hell's kitchen is a distinct possibility, given a day or three.Rory.The Russki's were very inclusive, having Jews and Poles and the like as Generals, unlike even today's British army where everyone from Colonel upwards has a clipped accent. And you are showing your age with the classic English dig at the yanks. Fact is Pearl harbour was manna from heaven as far as the British war effort was concerned. And although they did exact their pound of flesh(British exchequer still paying off war debt to USA) Without them the less evil side would not have won.

  • Dewi
  • Rory

    You do me wrong, Prince Eoghan. I was merely quoting the English humorist, Craig Brown, who was parodying English attitudes (of an earlier age) to their and others’ part in the “War Effort”.

    If, by your failure to recognise that, you are “showing your age” do not worry. I understand. I promise not to let my knowledge of your youthful inexperience weigh too heavily.

    Keep on truckin’!

  • Dewi

    Where’s Malcolm when he’s needed? Desperate for a decent reference for Soviet wartime Railways or I’ll never live it down (5 hours from Cardiff flat to London hotel – world record – Engineering works Swindon and Circle line and Ham & City both shut – stop whining Dewi)

  • Prince Eoghan

    I knew it was a parody Rory, I was taking an opportunity to talk up the Soviets, and had to balance it less the ghost of Mcarthy fancied visiting me. Nothing wrong with being put in my place by your more experienced self right enough, but in mitigation it wasn’t clear what your view was exactly.

    Dewi

    Nothing worse than a bad loser *sticks tongue oot*

  • Dread Ctlhulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “Ah! Now, a whole new scenario.”

    This from the fella whose is trying to play a historical shell game…

    As for the rest, we stated that there needed to be a seperate peace and a dead Fuhrer to even make this a discussion. I have clearly stated A) I couldn’t see an “off the cuff” war at the bitter end, unless the Russians started it, which opens up Pandora’s Box (nukes, sarin, etc.) and B) to make further progress, we would have to pin down some dates. Seeing as you have not had to appetite to add specificity, I thought I would toss one out. The period around D-day has the benefit of having both a pivot point in the war *AND*, iirc, an actual assassination attempt on Hitler.

    Prince Eoghan: “Don’t really see why not. The Turks were a Romania, or Bulgaria to the Soviets. ie. a weeks work. This was not WW1. Anyways, as I’ve repeated, the European side of the Dardanelles and the Caucuses would be enough, for the moment. ”

    For the same reason Stalin didn’t push against the West or invade Turkey irl, Prince Eoghan — he didn’t have the resources to pull it off and keep it. What, did you think the man’s sense of honor, dignity and fair-play, along with his deep-abiding love of the West made him keep to his agreements?

    Prince Eoghan: “Difficult one, I choose Minsk but could even have been Kiev. Simply because of their lines of communication. Not sure how important Leningrad would have been out with prestige. ”

    Whilst legitimate military targets, Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t all that important. Nagasaki was a port for the nearly non-existant Japanese fleet and Hiroshima was one of the areas of industry had been dispersed to. Neither had the sort of prestige / emotional impact of a single bomber reducing St. Petersburg to cinders.

    The downside to the atomic bomb back then was that it had to be shown that it was something that could be done twice. Still beats the historical alternative of invasion.

  • lib2016

    Prince Eoghan,

    Sorry I don’t do the links thingie but I have checked;

    First World War Debt cancelled in 1934 during recession.

    Second World War debt paid off at end of 2006.

  • Prince Eoghan

    I’m pretty sure you are right Lib.

    Dread

    I’d reckon conditions would be vastly different vis a vis end 44 to may 45, don’t you? Hence my new scenario tag. wtf is there to get hung up on anyway?

    >>For the same reason Stalin didn’t push against the West or invade Turkey irl, Prince Eoghan—he didn’t have the resources to pull it off and keep it.<