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Tags alternate history , Nazi Germany history , World War II history

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Old 22nd October 2012, 08:48 AM   #1
Zowert
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How Nazi Germany could have won WWII

I would like some opinions from everyone that knows a lot about the Second World War.

There has always been the question of 'what if' Germany won World War Two? When I first thought about this, I asked myself, "Well could Germany have won? Realistically.." The more I get to thinking about it, I believe Hitler could have won if he had done a few things differently.

1. Adolt Hitler should have let his generals call the shots. Let them mobilize troops when and where they needed them, as well as allow the Wermacht to retreat and regroup if need be.

2. Hitler should have never gotten himself into a war on two fronts. He actually had a war on three fronts during the height of the war; West Europe, East Europe/Russia and the Middle East/North Africa. He spared Britain and turned to the East, leaving the Western front vulnerable to an allied invasion.

Here is what I think Hitler should have done, if he were going to have any chance at conquering Europe, Russia and part of Africa. I would like to hear your battle plan for Germany too, what you think they should have done to win the war...

Hitler should have gone East first. I don't think France or Britain would have bothered intervening if Germany and the Soviet Union went to war. Especially if Hitler could get Italy and Japan to attack Russia with him. I think the Japanese would be willing to attack Russia from the Pacific, if the Germans and Italians invaded the Soviet union through Europe.

Hitler could have waited until the until the Spring of 1940, to avoid getting stuck in a Russian winter. By the Wermacht and Luftwaffe could have built up a massive force. Italy could send troops to Germany, where they would disguise the movements of Italy and Germany doing "war games". It may raise a red flag to the Soviets but if Italy could mobilize a few hundred thousand men in a week, there would be no real time for the Soviet Union to react.

Once 5 million German and Italian troops are in country, Japan could launch a major assault on Russia from the Pacific. Drawing the Red Army to the opposite side of the country. After about a week, most of the Soviets would be concentrated on the far East side of Russia and the largest land invasion in the history of mankind could take place. It would only take a day to roll through Poland and into the Soviet Union. The Luftwaffe could bomb Russian bases, factories and transportation routes, day and night. Relentless bombing.

If executed well enough, I don't see how the Soviets could keep from collapsing and losing the war by the end of summer 1940. Unless the Soviets got some help, but who would come to their rescue? Once the USSR is conquered, Hitler could move his forces back and strike whatever kind of deal the Japanese would like. I'm sure they would ask for assistance in a future war against the United States, where Hitler could say, "Wait until I conquer Europe. Then we will gang up on the Americans. I'll attack on the East coast U.S. and you can take them on the West."

With the Soviet Union out of the picture first, France and Britain would be in DEEP trouble. Unless they could get the United States involved. If the U.S. stays out of it, then Hitler could roll right through the French. The British would be a little tougher, but they'd eventually lose once Hitler could neutralize the British Navy and find a way across the English channel. Hitler could also re-arm Soviet POWs and send them to the front lines.

Once Europe is taken, the only thing left is the United States (and Canada) but Canada would have been fighting in Europe already, aiding the U.K. So its likely most of the Canadian military would have been destroyed by this time. If the U.S. had not gotten involved early, or at least started a massive military build-up once Hitler went after France and Britain. It's likely the Germans, Japanese and Italians could take the United States.

I know this plan seems unlikely, as one simple difference could change the entire outcome. Like France and Britain aiding the Soviet Union before they could be defeated. Or the United States getting involved in Europe before Hitler could take France, etc.

For the record, i'm not a Hitler lover. I think the guy was a complete nutjob and aside from Stalin, the most evil man in history. Anyway, how do you think Nazi Germany could have successfully conquered Europe or even the entire world? If you think it was possible, even if the odds were very slim..?
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Old 22nd October 2012, 08:55 AM   #2
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All the Nazis had to do was stop being Nazis during the invasion of the Soviet Union. If they had painted it as a liberation of the oppressed, Germany could have gained huge support from the Ukraine and Belorussians. Instead their treatment of the local, managed to make them look worse than the Soviet leadership
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Old 22nd October 2012, 08:57 AM   #3
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Get rid of Hitler.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 08:58 AM   #4
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I doubt that Nazi Germany could ever won World War II. They simply tried to do too much in way too short of a time with far too little resources.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 09:00 AM   #5
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The Nazis werent in much of a position to attack Russia in Spring of 1940.

The things about the Germans in WWII is that they never really 'got' concepts like strategy and logistics. I think this is a lot to do with the fact that most senior Nazis were just a bunch of perverts with no basic competences beyond conniving and cruelty.

So on the most fundamental level, the Germans could never have won WWII unless they somehow acquired a fundamental understanding of things they never understood.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 09:13 AM   #6
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Germany would have found it tough to invade the Soviet Union with Poland in the way, and Britain would not have stood by and let the Nazis have Poland.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 09:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Zowert View Post
I would like some opinions from everyone that knows a lot about the Second World War.

There has always been the question of 'what if' Germany won World War Two? When I first thought about this, I asked myself, "Well could Germany have won? Realistically.." The more I get to thinking about it, I believe Hitler could have won if he had done a few things differently.

1. Adolt Hitler should have let his generals call the shots. Let them mobilize troops when and where they needed them, as well as allow the Wermacht to retreat and regroup if need be.
If Hitler had been that rational he wouldn't have started the war in the first place.

Quote:
2. Hitler should have never gotten himself into a war on two fronts. He actually had a war on three fronts during the height of the war; West Europe, East Europe/Russia and the Middle East/North Africa. He spared Britain and turned to the East, leaving the Western front vulnerable to an allied invasion.
He didn't spare Britain; Sealion was a fantasy and even if he had rounded up the entire BEF at Dunkirk it wouldn't have made much difference to Britain's military strength at the time.

Quote:
Here is what I think Hitler should have done, if he were going to have any chance at conquering Europe, Russia and part of Africa. I would like to hear your battle plan for Germany too, what you think they should have done to win the war...

Hitler should have gone East first. I don't think France or Britain would have bothered intervening if Germany and the Soviet Union went to war. Especially if Hitler could get Italy and Japan to attack Russia with him. I think the Japanese would be willing to attack Russia from the Pacific, if the Germans and Italians invaded the Soviet union through Europe.
Except the Italians were useless and the Japanese had no strategic interest in attacking Siberia. their goals were China and South East Asia, so no Japan was not going to stick its neck on the chopping block for no gain.


Quote:
Hitler could have waited until the until the Spring of 1940, to avoid getting stuck in a Russian winter. By the Wermacht and Luftwaffe could have built up a massive force. Italy could send troops to Germany, where they would disguise the movements of Italy and Germany doing "war games". It may raise a red flag to the Soviets but if Italy could mobilize a few hundred thousand men in a week, there would be no real time for the Soviet Union to react.
In the Egypt campaign Italy had 300,000 troops the British had 30,000. The British came close to knocking the Italians completely out of North Africa despite that. Also Italy didn't declare war on France until after France was defeated. The notion of them throwing themselves into a campaign against the Soviets is mind boggling.
Also Germany's forces in 1940 were as big as they were going to get, sparing them the moderate losses suffered in the west is going to make a marginal difference.


Quote:
Once 5 million German and Italian troops are in country, Japan could launch a major assault on Russia from the Pacific. Drawing the Red Army to the opposite side of the country. After about a week, most of the Soviets would be concentrated on the far East side of Russia and the largest land invasion in the history of mankind could take place. It would only take a day to roll through Poland and into the Soviet Union. The Luftwaffe could bomb Russian bases, factories and transportation routes, day and night. Relentless bombing.
Again, the Japanese have zero interest in attacking Siberia. Even if they went crazy they wouldn't draw anything. The Soviet Armies in Siberia were more than adequate to defeat an ill equipped Japanese Army that was already largely bogged down in China and the USSR had a spy in Tokyo who clued them in on all their plans so they would have had no chance of surprise. Historically the Reich never even told the Japanese about Barbarossa, one reason why Japan didn't tell Germany about Pearl Harbour.

And the instant Germany rolls into Poland they are back at war with the West. The Luftwaffe tried relentless bombing against the much smaller UK and barely dented the industrial production. The USSR would do what it did historically, move the factories out of range of a bombing force that was intended for ground support, not strategic bombing.


Quote:
If executed well enough, I don't see how the Soviets could keep from collapsing and losing the war by the end of summer 1940. Unless the Soviets got some help, but who would come to their rescue? Once the USSR is conquered, Hitler could move his forces back and strike whatever kind of deal the Japanese would like. I'm sure they would ask for assistance in a future war against the United States, where Hitler could say, "Wait until I conquer Europe. Then we will gang up on the Americans. I'll attack on the East coast U.S. and you can take them on the West."

With the Soviet Union out of the picture first, France and Britain would be in DEEP trouble. Unless they could get the United States involved. If the U.S. stays out of it, then Hitler could roll right through the French. The British would be a little tougher, but they'd eventually lose once Hitler could neutralize the British Navy and find a way across the English channel. Hitler could also re-arm Soviet POWs and send them to the front lines.

Once Europe is taken, the only thing left is the United States (and Canada) but Canada would have been fighting in Europe already, aiding the U.K. So its likely most of the Canadian military would have been destroyed by this time. If the U.S. had not gotten involved early, or at least started a massive military build-up once Hitler went after France and Britain. It's likely the Germans, Japanese and Italians could take the United States.
Again a series of impossibilities strung together does not make a plausible scenario. You really need to understand the realities of Germany's allies.

The Japanese had no interest in attacking the USSR because the strategic assets they wanted were elsewhere and they knew they were overmatched by the Soviet Armies in the region, there were good reasons why the Japanese signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviets that they stuck to right up until 1945 and it was the Soviets that broke it. They didn't get involved even when the Soviets were apparently on the brink of defeat historically, there is no way they will attack an undamaged USSR.

As for Italy it is hard to overstate how singularly useless they were as an ally in WWII. They had poor morale, poor logistics, poor equipment, and poor leadership. They didn't declare war on Britain and France until both seemed on the brink of defeat, they would be nigh on useless in an invasion of the USSR.

Quote:
I know this plan seems unlikely, as one simple difference could change the entire outcome. Like France and Britain aiding the Soviet Union before they could be defeated. Or the United States getting involved in Europe before Hitler could take France, etc.

For the record, i'm not a Hitler lover. I think the guy was a complete nutjob and aside from Stalin, the most evil man in history. Anyway, how do you think Nazi Germany could have successfully conquered Europe or even the entire world? If you think it was possible, even if the odds were very slim..?
Try checking out this thread:

Is Nazi Victory ASB?

At AH.com. Oh and ASB stands for Alien Space Bats; as in the scenario would require something like divine intervention to happen.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 11:18 AM   #8
Hubert Cumberdale
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
Also Germany's forces in 1940 were as big as they were going to get, sparing them the moderate losses suffered in the west is going to make a marginal difference.
Not sure about the size, but they were certainly to increase in power.

IIRC, during the battle of France, they boasted the lofty total of 10 panzer division split amongst three army groups. And even these were dependent on Panzer I and II and Czech light tanks. There were relatively few Mk III's and fewer Mk IV's with short barrled 50mm guns.

The force they mustered for Barbarossa was a great deal more formidable.

Quote:
Oh and ASB stands for Alien Space Bats; as in the scenario would require something like divine intervention to happen.
I havent read the thread but I do think it is conceivable for the Germans to have won, but this would have taken a degree strategic and logistic competence and a lack of puerile idiocy that the Nazi's were never going to have and if they had, they probably wouldnt have started the war in the first place.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 11:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
Not sure about the size, but they were certainly to increase in power.

IIRC, during the battle of France, they boasted the lofty total of 10 panzer division split amongst three army groups. And even these were dependent on Panzer I and II and Czech light tanks. There were relatively few Mk III's and fewer Mk IV's with short barrled 50mm guns.

The force they mustered for Barbarossa was a great deal more formidable.
True but the OP proposed Barbarossa or a variant in 1940, so it would have all the same limitations as the attack in the west in the same timeframe. Germany was essentially bankrupt from the costs of rearmament when war broke out in 1939. Without looting Poland and the Molotov-Ribbentropp Pact that was contingent on carving up Poland Germany is going to be be in dire straits by the spring of 1940.



Quote:
I havent read the thread but I do think it is conceivable for the Germans to have won, but this would have taken a degree strategic and logistic competence and a lack of puerile idiocy that the Nazi's were never going to have and if they had, they probably wouldnt have started the war in the first place.
Hitler was the guy who wins at roulette a few times in a row and thinks he has a system. If you make him more rational and reasonable then as you say Germany never gets into the war in the first place.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 11:43 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
The force they mustered for Barbarossa was a great deal more formidable.

But that stronger force was to operate in a vastly larger theatre, thus more than negating any improvement in the strength of the force. Combine that with the almost complete disregard for the daunting logistics of invading Russia, the failure of the German campaign in 1941 should not come as a surprise.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 11:51 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
The things about the Germans in WWII is that they never really 'got' concepts like strategy and logistics.
Right. Apparently they all ignored Clausewitz because he was merely Prussian, and Eisenhower championed interstate highways as autobahn analogues for Volkswagen beetle habitat.

Perhaps there's a kettle you should meet.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 12:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
But that stronger force was to operate in a vastly larger theatre, thus more than negating any improvement in the strength of the force. Combine that with the almost complete disregard for the daunting logistics of invading Russia, the failure of the German campaign in 1941 should not come as a surprise.
Well, as the OP was proposing Barbarossa in spring 1940..... I think you see my point when I said

Quote:
The Nazis werent in much of a position to attack Russia in Spring of 1940
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Old 22nd October 2012, 12:04 PM   #13
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If American would of allied with Hitler.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 12:06 PM   #14
Hubert Cumberdale
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Originally Posted by DavidS View Post
Right. Apparently they all ignored Clausewitz because he was merely Prussian, and Eisenhower championed interstate highways as autobahn analogues for Volkswagen beetle habitat.

Perhaps there's a kettle you should meet.




I have no idea what you're on about.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 12:35 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
The Nazis werent in much of a position to attack Russia in Spring of 1940.

The things about the Germans in WWII is that they never really 'got' concepts like strategy and logistics. I think this is a lot to do with the fact that most senior Nazis were just a bunch of perverts with no basic competences beyond conniving and cruelty.

So on the most fundamental level, the Germans could never have won WWII unless they somehow acquired a fundamental understanding of things they never understood.
The Germans had a very good idea about strategy and logistics. Their problem was that the two were fused via economics. They were literally fighting a game of Risk. Hitler had a clear set of strategic concepts through to 1944, they were just not up to coping with a two-front war against two superpowers and a great power. The bigger problem with the Germans was arguably intelligence, and a significant underestimation of their superpower opponents.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 01:00 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
But that stronger force was to operate in a vastly larger theatre, thus more than negating any improvement in the strength of the force. Combine that with the almost complete disregard for the daunting logistics of invading Russia, the failure of the German campaign in 1941 should not come as a surprise.
"almost complete disregard" is pushing it too far. The Nazis built up their logistical capabilities significantly in 1940-41 for the invasion, and had a good model for how to cope with the distances based on past experiences (eg in 1918, when they went all the way to the Caucasus without great difficulty) - i.e. using railroads (which had to be regauged, and they were) together with living off the land, even if the latter then cost them several million potential workers down the line, due to the mass starvation of POWs.

They made a strategic miscalculation to push on towards Moscow rather than going over to the defensive after Viazma-Briansk. For that battle, they assembled 2.1 million troops in the central sector including Luftwaffe forces, and the initial attack was outstandingly successful and well-supported. The subsequent pursuit after Viazma-Briansk unfolded over hundreds of kilometres, and this was when the wheels came off logistically, especially as flanking maneuvers in the attempt to encircle Moscow added considerable extra distances. Eg Rzhev to Kalinin (Tver) is 121km, Briansk to Tula is 306km.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 02:03 PM   #17
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1) Could Germany have won the war without the other Axis members changing? No, but they could have greatly extended it.

First, appoint someone other than an obese blustering idiot as the commander of your air forces. Instead of resorting to terror bombing of Britain, stay after the RAF. With the Luftwaffe's numerical superiority they should have been able to keep the air war over Britain, instead of being bombed themselves.

Second, bribe/blackmail/assassinate Mussolini to just stay out of the war. The whole Mediterranean/N Africa campaign drained a ton of resources away from the eastern front. Italy was worse than useless.

Third, don't declare war on the United States. Perhaps the single dumbest thing Hitler ever did was try to fight a war against the two most powerful nations in the world at the same time. The US did not declare war on Germany after Pearl Harbor, and the Tripartite Pact did not require Germany to go to Japan's aide. It was a defensive pact and Japan obviously was the aggressor.

Fourth, fight more defensively rather than through troops away. On the western front they should have withdrawn to the Siegfried line much faster, rather than allow about a dozen divisions to be destroyed in the Falaise pocket. Without that lose plus the Battle of Bulge and its somewhat doubtful that the western allies ever get to German territory.

2) Could Germany win, had their allies been better/acted differently. Yes.

In a total fantasy world where Italy has a competent and well equipped Army, and with closer cooperation between the Axis members, especially Japan, maybe. And perhaps Franco joins the war and captures Gibraltar.

As stated earlier, there is no way Japan would attack the USSR.

Japan assumed that if they attacked the Dutch/British East Indies (which is what they wanted, they had little interest in US possessions), that the US would declare war on them. Which is probably wrong, and even if correct, the US would have gone to war only reluctantly. If Japan has only British, Australian, and Dutch forces to deal with in the Pacific they could more than likely have take bases at say Columbo, and Aden. Then used those bases to attack the Suez from behind and enter the Med with the IJN available suddenly Sea Lion isn't so implausible.. That's totally lala fantasy thinking though.

Last edited by lobosrul; 22nd October 2012 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 02:24 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post
Second, bribe/blackmail/assassinate Mussolini to just stay out of the war. The whole Mediterranean/N Africa campaign drained a ton of resources away from the eastern front. Italy was worse than useless.
This.

The biggest might-have-been is what if the Nazis had not gone into the Balkans or the Mediterranean as a whole, especially if Mussolini had not attacked Greece. It is after all pretty improbable that Britain could have persuaded Yugoslavia to serve as a springboard for a second front.

The delay imposed by the Balkan campaign on Barbarossa was probably not enough to make the difference between 'success' or failure on the Eastern Front in 1941, but it's how the war would have panned out in 1942-43 that would really change. IMHO, there would have been immense pressure to open up a second front in 1943, since Britain would not have been involved in the Mediterranean on anything like the same scale. Italian neutrality was easily worth the forces committed to North Africa and the Balkans for garrison duty.

Instead of bombing Malta, Luftwaffe forces could have kept up the Blitz beyond the Baedeker raids; the drawback would be that RN forces would have been released to help fight the Battle of the Atlantic.

The extra panzer corps from Africa might have made a difference in the Don bend in November 1942, even if it was replacing the Italian 8th Army, while even had the Soviets pulled off a Stalingrad in this alternate scenario, if they did not have to reinforce the Mediterranean in 1943, there would have been a crucial margin of reserves to fight in Ukraine that summer around Kursk-time. Or to defend against a probable 1943 version of Overlord.

The question that would be fun to wargame is whether Britain, the Commonwealth and the US could have mounted a cross-channel invasion in 1942 or 1943, and whether it could have been thrown back. Not having to do Torch, Husky and Avalanche would mean that the resources would certainly have been there. However the invasion forces would lack experience and be up against a lot of Eastern Front veterans.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 02:29 PM   #19
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Another area is intelligence, German estimates suggested the Soviets could muster about 115 divisions in the field. When the Germans had captured or destroyed 120 and estimated the Russians still had another 100 in reserve it began to dawn on them how deep the poop was.

Also the Germans seemed completely unaware the Japanese had been handed their backside in this battle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battles_of_Khalkhin_Gol
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Old 22nd October 2012, 02:49 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Nick Terry View Post
The question that would be fun to wargame is whether Britain, the Commonwealth and the US could have mounted a cross-channel invasion in 1942 or 1943, and whether it could have been thrown back. Not having to do Torch, Husky and Avalanche would mean that the resources would certainly have been there. However the invasion forces would lack experience and be up against a lot of Eastern Front veterans.
That is what Marshall wanted to do, go directly for the throat. I read a book entitled An Army at Dawn where the author's analysis is it would have been an unmitigated disaster. The Dieppe raid x1000. Churchill wanted to do all kinds of crazy things like attack through Yugoslavia. Thankfully they compromised.

Originally Posted by MG1962 View Post
Another area is intelligence, German estimates suggested the Soviets could muster about 115 divisions in the field. When the Germans had captured or destroyed 120 and estimated the Russians still had another 100 in reserve it began to dawn on them how deep the poop was.

Also the Germans seemed completely unaware the Japanese had been handed their backside in this battle

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I never knew Germany was unaware of that.

Speaking of intelligence, I should have mentioned Germany and Japan's stupid reliance on their high level codes being unbreakable through the entire war. That was huge.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 03:37 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by MG1962 View Post
Another area is intelligence, German estimates suggested the Soviets could muster about 115 divisions in the field. When the Germans had captured or destroyed 120 and estimated the Russians still had another 100 in reserve it began to dawn on them how deep the poop was.

Also the Germans seemed completely unaware the Japanese had been handed their backside in this battle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battles_of_Khalkhin_Gol
Your numbers are slightly off. They had a fairly OK handle on the first echelons but didn't realise the cavalry had been converted to armour, and were totally thrown by the scale of the Soviet mobilisation.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 03:46 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post
That is what Marshall wanted to do, go directly for the throat. I read a book entitled An Army at Dawn where the author's analysis is it would have been an unmitigated disaster. The Dieppe raid x1000. Churchill wanted to do all kinds of crazy things like attack through Yugoslavia. Thankfully they compromised.
It's actually difficult to see how the US could have come in to the war in Europe if Britain wasn't fighting somewhere, somehow, in 1940-41.

If we backtrack to the fall of France, Britain secured Lend-Lease not just because of the threat of invasion, but because she was involved in a major campaign against Italy through the summer and autumn. What if that campaign hadn't happened? US public opinion would have wondered what the hell Britain was doing, as would US politicians.

Given Churchill's obsession with the Mediterranean, it's quite possible that Britain would have tried under such a scenario to strike through the Balkans and attack into Austria. I'm just a little unclear as to whether that was feasible diplomatically. If Italy is restrained and stays out of the war entirely, then Britain would have had to kept back substantial forces to protect against an Italian intervention all over, since there was no guarantee that Italy wouldn't respond to an intervention in her backyard.

One possible scenario is that a British expeditionary force is sent to the Eastern Front to fight alongside the Soviets, as it would have been easier to commit troops that way than to plan a cross-Channel invasion. This might also have gained British forces some valuable combat experience, albeit at undoubtedly high cost. The political fallout would have been huge, since British supply lines through the Caucasus into Persia would have seen all sorts of things they weren't meant to see, acted as a magnet for anti-Soviet sentiments... difficult to see Stalin going for it.

So if that doesn't happen, we're back to Dieppe writ large.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 04:45 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
Except the Italians were useless and the Japanese had no strategic interest in attacking Siberia. their goals were China and South East Asia, so no Japan was not going to stick its neck on the chopping block for no gain.
Sorry, but the Northern Resources Area was a serious contender for the Japanese for a simple reason, they were already there. No need to attack Britain or the US, no need for long overseas supply lines, etc. Only in July of 1941 did they decide to move South instead of North.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 05:15 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Garrison View Post
Except the Italians were useless and the Japanese had no strategic interest in attacking Siberia. their goals were China and South East Asia, so no Japan was not going to stick its neck on the chopping block for no gain.
Actually, this seems to be false. Japan did have strategic interests in that part of the world and we know this because they attacked the Soviet Union along those areas twice. It was only because they got a bloody nose there that they changed their orientation towards Southeast Asia.

If Japan had thought they had more chance there then maybe they would have continued their push into the Soviet Union. The Soviets also were concerned by the possibility and it was really only after intelligence came through from Richard Sorge that the Japanese were no longer interested that Zhukov could move his best troops to fight the Nazi invasion.

Originally Posted by Madalch View Post
Germany would have found it tough to invade the Soviet Union with Poland in the way, and Britain would not have stood by and let the Nazis have Poland.

I think the assumption is that this is after Hitler carved up Poland with Stalin. The problem with the idea that Britain would never have stood for a Nazi invasion of Poland is that there was really precious little they could do about it. In the end they still allowed a Stalinist takeover of Poland.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 06:51 PM   #25
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If what's his face, Himmler I believe it was, hadn't got paranoid and removed a certain leading scientist from their V project. Then Hitler might have got that Trump card he was so desperately counting on
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Old 22nd October 2012, 11:18 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Nick Terry View Post
"almost complete disregard" is pushing it too far. The Nazis built up their logistical capabilities significantly in 1940-41 for the invasion, and had a good model for how to cope with the distances based on past experiences (eg in 1918, when they went all the way to the Caucasus without great difficulty) - i.e. using railroads (which had to be regauged, and they were) together with living off the land, even if the latter then cost them several million potential workers down the line, due to the mass starvation of POWs.

Okay, perhaps a little excessive, but from some of the things I read the Germans were aware of the potential logistical problems but basically dismissed them. Unrealistic estimates were made of just how quickly German-gauge rail could be laid to replace Russian lines; far too few trucks combined with poor roads mean reliance on rail and horses, thus exacerbating the pressure on the German railway efforts; draft horses were not at all suited to the Russian climate once winter began setting in; locomotives that were similarly not suited to the Russian climate.

Basically, the Germans probably have been fine if everything had gone perfectly and to plan. But things didn't. There simply wasn't enough allowance made for things going wrong.

Such is my understanding, at any rate. New data is always welcomed.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 11:27 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Nick Terry View Post
Your numbers are slightly off. They had a fairly OK handle on the first echelons but didn't realise the cavalry had been converted to armour, and were totally thrown by the scale of the Soviet mobilisation.
Those figure were offered in William L. Shirer's book, and I believe he was quoting from German planning group OKW (?)
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Old 22nd October 2012, 11:59 PM   #28
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Maybe the biggest missed opportunity was prior to the start of WWII. There was already some public support for facists in the mid '30s ( "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" was a Dail Mail headline from 1934) and Churchill was definitely anti-Nazi.

If Germany could somehow ensured that Edward VIII remained in power during the war and maybe engineered Lord Halifax into being the Prime Minister at the start of WWII then perhaps the British Empire would have been less opposed to Germany's policies in Eastern Europe.

If Germany could have avoided a war in Western Europe, not brought the British Empire into the war, could have stopped Japan declaring war on the U.S. and have presented any invasion of the Soviet Union as a liberation then perhaps they could have won the war.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 12:01 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Nick Terry View Post
The Germans had a very good idea about strategy and logistics. Their problem was that the two were fused via economics. They were literally fighting a game of Risk. Hitler had a clear set of strategic concepts through to 1944, they were just not up to coping with a two-front war against two superpowers and a great power. The bigger problem with the Germans was arguably intelligence, and a significant underestimation of their superpower opponents.
You see no contradiction when in the same paragraph state "The Germans had a very good idea about strategy and logistics" and "they were just not up to coping with a two-front war against two superpowers and a great power"?

If coping with a two-front war against two superpowers and a great power is going to be a problem, then invading one superpower and declaring war on the other while still at war with the great power, is probably not the best strategy.

Nor is leaving your troops in a Russian winter with only summer kit very good logistics. Not once, but twice.

Nor is committing an army whose main asset is mobility and initiative to a static urban battle for a city whose only significance its name very good strategy. And of course, there's the wonderful logistics of supplying the now doomed army by air and by doing so wasting an extraordinary number of aircraft and aircrew that were desperately needed elsewhere.

Indeed, the Germans were doomed to fail in Russia before they had even launched Barbarossa. Deluded by their early successes, they were to fight a war on two fronts in 1942 and 1943 based on industrial and production figures derived from their misapprehension of the lessons of 1940.

The Luftwaffe's strength in 1940 and 1941 is a very good illustration of this. They started the war with Russia with 200 fewer bombers than they had at the start of the war in the west.

A frequent argument against the combined bomber offensive is that German production kept increasing until 1944. The real reason Germany was able to increase production until so late in the war is that production in the early years was paltry, relative to its potential

When the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia, they instantly put the Czech war industry to good use. But they didnt do the same with the industries of Belgium, The Netherlands, and France. The latter, lets not forget, had one of the largest armaments industries in. the. world. But being Nazi's, they rather set about plundering French factories, humiliating the French, murdering jews, stealing artwork and debauching themselves generally. By the time they realised they needed the production of these now ruined factories, it was too late.

Again, what a brilliant strategy!
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Old 23rd October 2012, 12:45 AM   #30
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I think it's lucky Germany wasn't particularly nice to its physicists (especially the Jewish ones).
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Old 23rd October 2012, 12:56 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by DavidS View Post
Right. Apparently they all ignored Clausewitz because he was merely Prussian, and Eisenhower championed interstate highways as autobahn analogues for Volkswagen beetle habitat.
Here's a 1942 model beetle being fuelled up by its lucky owner for a visit to its autobahn "habitat". http://ww2.whidbey.net/jameslux/bugwood.gif As you can see, that year's zippy model was designed to run on synthesis gas produced by a generator filled with smouldering wood chips.

No way was Germany about to win the war.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 12:56 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
You see no contradiction when in the same paragraph state "The Germans had a very good idea about strategy and logistics" and "they were just not up to coping with a two-front war against two superpowers and a great power"?

If coping with a two-front war against two superpowers and a great power is going to be a problem, then invading one superpower and declaring war on the other while still at war with the great power, is probably not the best strategy.

Nor is leaving your troops in a Russian winter with only summer kit very good logistics. Not once, but twice.

Nor is committing an army whose main asset is mobility and initiative to a static urban battle for a city whose only significance its name very good strategy. And of course, there's the wonderful logistics of supplying the now doomed army by air and by doing so wasting an extraordinary number of aircraft and aircrew that were desperately needed elsewhere.

Indeed, the Germans were doomed to fail in Russia before they had even launched Barbarossa. Deluded by their early successes, they were to fight a war on two fronts in 1942 and 1943 based on industrial and production figures derived from their misapprehension of the lessons of 1940.

The Luftwaffe's strength in 1940 and 1941 is a very good illustration of this. They started the war with Russia with 200 fewer bombers than they had at the start of the war in the west.

A frequent argument against the combined bomber offensive is that German production kept increasing until 1944. The real reason Germany was able to increase production until so late in the war is that production in the early years was paltry, relative to its potential

When the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia, they instantly put the Czech war industry to good use. But they didnt do the same with the industries of Belgium, The Netherlands, and France. The latter, lets not forget, had one of the largest armaments industries in. the. world. But being Nazi's, they rather set about plundering French factories, humiliating the French, murdering jews, stealing artwork and debauching themselves generally. By the time they realised they needed the production of these now ruined factories, it was too late.

Again, what a brilliant strategy!
Making strategical and logistical mistakes != never really 'getting' strategy or logistics. Nobody is denying that the Nazis made lots of mistakes - thank God they did. But this is a far cry from saying that they didn't have a strategy or didn't understand logistics.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 02:01 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Sorry, but the Northern Resources Area was a serious contender for the Japanese for a simple reason, they were already there. No need to attack Britain or the US, no need for long overseas supply lines, etc. Only in July of 1941 did they decide to move South instead of North.
But were they not deterred by the mauling they received at Soviet hands in 1939, in the undeclared Soviet-Japanese war in and around Mongolia?

Last edited by Craig B; 23rd October 2012 at 02:03 AM. Reason: Recorrect autocorrect.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 02:35 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Gawdzilla View Post
Sorry, but the Northern Resources Area was a serious contender for the Japanese for a simple reason, they were already there. No need to attack Britain or the US, no need for long overseas supply lines, etc. Only in July of 1941 did they decide to move South instead of North.
Again the OP was suggesting that the Japanese would launch an attack in the East that would draw off the Soviet Armies and leave the western part of the Soviet Union wide open. My point really was that not only would such an attack not draw off troops but that given the OTL behaviour of Japan with respect to the USSR having them mount such an attack in the first place would be a stretch to say the least.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 02:39 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
Maybe the biggest missed opportunity was prior to the start of WWII. There was already some public support for facists in the mid '30s ( "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" was a Dail Mail headline from 1934) and Churchill was definitely anti-Nazi.

If Germany could somehow ensured that Edward VIII remained in power during the war and maybe engineered Lord Halifax into being the Prime Minister at the start of WWII then perhaps the British Empire would have been less opposed to Germany's policies in Eastern Europe.

If Germany could have avoided a war in Western Europe, not brought the British Empire into the war, could have stopped Japan declaring war on the U.S. and have presented any invasion of the Soviet Union as a liberation then perhaps they could have won the war.
And achieving all of the above would indeed have required the intervention of the ASB's.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 03:47 AM   #36
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Hitler could have declared war on Japan rather than the US in Dec 1941. He could have started a couple of months earlier against the Soviets in 1941 or chosen a better strategy for 1942 than heading off to Stalingrad (knocking out Leningrad would at least have joined up with the Finns. He could have made more winter coats and fewer expensive V rockets. He could have won the race to get nuclear weapons (eek).

Agree with the poster who said he should have liberated Ukraine and the other subject states of the Soviet Union.

He should have tried harder to assassinate Churchill so he could deal with more demoralised (or fascist) elements of the English ruling class so as to be able to negotiate a peace in the west in 1940, capitalising on the humiliation of France. Then turn on the russkies.

He coud have offered to resign, restore democracy and set up the European Union, with Germany in charge, like what actually happened.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 07:36 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Nick Terry View Post
Making strategical and logistical mistakes != never really 'getting' strategy or logistics. Nobody is denying that the Nazis made lots of mistakes - thank God they did. But this is a far cry from saying that they didn't have a strategy or didn't understand logistics.
Making nothing but a string of colossal strategic and logistic errors is indeed to not really 'getting' strategy or logistics.

After the battle of France there is not a single German campaign that was not ruinously affected by crass strategic mismanagement and misadventure and disastrous logistics.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 07:50 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Hubert Cumberdale View Post
Making nothing but a string of colossal strategic and logistic errors is indeed to not really 'getting' strategy or logistics.

After the battle of France there is not a single German campaign that was not ruinously affected by crass strategic mismanagement and misadventure and disastrous logistics.
And the disastrous logistics were not evident until about August 1941, when two things became clear: that the Stalin régime was not about to collapse "as soon as the rotten door is kicked in", and that the Wehrmacht was not in a position either to sustain a war of attrition, or to prevent the Russians from waging one.
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Old 23rd October 2012, 08:03 AM   #39
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If the Germans had honored their peace treaty with Russia, they probably could have gotten most of Eastern Europe without the anybody standing in their way. Then they might have been able to pick up the northern coast of Africa. Spain would have fallen and then they could squeeze France into submission. The UK would have become a client state. Then they could have nuked the hell out of Russia and taken the western republics. After that, colonization of Africa and Southeast Asia would be expected. And then, on the last day of the decade of the 1970's ... the moon!
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Old 23rd October 2012, 08:09 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
I doubt that Nazi Germany could ever won World War II. They simply tried to do too much in way too short of a time with far too little resources.
They probably could have "won" had they stopped before invading Russia.
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