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  • Germany takes all of Poland

    Let's assume that Hitler doesn't make Stalin aware of the impending invasion of Poland and invades taking the entire country of Poland to the pre-war Russian - Polish border.
    WW 2 then goes much as it did up to the invasion of Russia. At this point the Germans invade from the 1939 Polish-Russian border some 250 to 300 miles closer to Moscow, Leningrad, etc.

    I would say in this case the Russians lose the war. The difference in distance is sufficient on its own to allow the Germans to take Leningrad and Moscow. The Stalin Line of fortifications on the border are not going to be sufficient to make a substantial difference and the Red Army's performance is not going to improve over historical.

  • #2
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    Let's assume that Hitler doesn't make Stalin aware of the impending invasion of Poland and invades taking the entire country of Poland to the pre-war Russian - Polish border.
    WW 2 then goes much as it did up to the invasion of Russia. At this point the Germans invade from the 1939 Polish-Russian border some 250 to 300 miles closer to Moscow, Leningrad, etc.

    I would say in this case the Russians lose the war. The difference in distance is sufficient on its own to allow the Germans to take Leningrad and Moscow. The Stalin Line of fortifications on the border are not going to be sufficient to make a substantial difference and the Red Army's performance is not going to improve over historical.
    I think you're right considering that the frontier would start out divided in two by the Pripyat and much close to Moscow as you stated, which more or less forces the Soviets to put their main line of resistance on the Minsk to Moscow axis. The Whehrmacht's objective would remain the Red Army itself and having it densely packed into an area within 250-300 miles from the border plays directly into their hands. IMHO with the Wehrmacht in closer proximity to Moscow and the Soviets industrial vital areas I don't see them making major changes in their doctrine but more or less sticking with known practices and "creeping up to war" with incremental and steady clandestine mobilizations. That puts the mass of the Red Army with its head on the chopping block so to speak.
    "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
    -Omar Bradley
    "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
    -Anonymous US Army logistician

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    • #3
      The treaty stipulated that Poland will be divided between Germany and USSR. If Hitler takes everyhing for him, Soviets will not trade with Germany so much as they did which will strike a blow to Germany. The fortication line would have been muc hstronger than before. There will not be the Bialostok sailient which trapped so many Soviet soldiers. The approache would have been more cautious with more emphasis on the defense.
      There are no Nazis in Ukraine. © Idiots

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      • #4
        Trying to take all of Poland would have been foolish. It would have guaranteed a two front war (forget a sitzkrieg), the Poles would have had support from the Russians, if only to delay an attack on the USSR, and it would have given a way for the British and French to assist USSR and Poland---both supplies and perhaps some military force. There might even have been some British bombing of Germany (to little industrial effect but it would have diverted some Luftwaffe forces from the East).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tuor View Post
          Trying to take all of Poland would have been foolish. It would have guaranteed a two front war (forget a sitzkrieg), the Poles would have had support from the Russians, if only to delay an attack on the USSR, and it would have given a way for the British and French to assist USSR and Poland---both supplies and perhaps some military force. There might even have been some British bombing of Germany (to little industrial effect but it would have diverted some Luftwaffe forces from the East).
          Granted, but this is Alternate history and the parameters for the discussion are in the original post. Second guessing the OP negates this section really.
          "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
          -Omar Bradley
          "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
          -Anonymous US Army logistician

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
            Let's assume that Hitler doesn't make Stalin aware of the impending invasion of Poland and invades taking the entire country of Poland to the pre-war Russian - Polish border.

            WW 2 then goes much as it did up to the invasion of Russia. At this point the Germans invade from the 1939 Polish-Russian border some 250 to 300 miles closer to Moscow, Leningrad, etc.

            I would say in this case the Russians lose the war. The difference in distance is sufficient on its own to allow the Germans to take Leningrad and Moscow. The Stalin Line of fortifications on the border are not going to be sufficient to make a substantial difference and the Red Army's performance is not going to improve over historical.
            It would never happen. Stalin would not tolerate German troops so close to the Soviet heartland. The Red Army was considerably better-equipped than the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe in 1939, with an enormous numerical superiority. I have no doubt that he would attack the Germans, if not in September 1939 than at the start of the 1940 campaign season.

            Regards
            Scott Fraser
            Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

            A contentedly cantankerous old fart

            Comment


            • #7
              Germany had ridiculous ammunition production before and during the invasion of Poland and had run out of ammo when Stalin attacked (delaying as long as he could). Had the Polish army faced only Germany without ammo Hitler would have taken longer and experienced heavier losses taking all of Poland. Moreover, Stalin may have provided Poland with some armament and ammo in order to slow Hitler's advance towards his border and to increase German losses.

              Actually, I think it would have made much more sense for Germany to agree with Stalin for Germany to invade Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and for the USSR to invade all of Poland, except the Danzig corridor.
              This would have made defending remote Poland impossible for Stalin in Barbarossa and resulted in the capture of a lot of troops, tanks, etc, and would have allowed Germany to rapidly capture Leningrad, with its flank covered by the Baltic Sea.
              Stalin would have had enormous losses (much higher than in the Finnish war) and wasted at least 8 months invading Poland, so that border defenses against Germany would have been much weaker.
              Most importantly, France and Britain would have had to declare war on the USSR for invading Poland.
              With Stalin covering the east, Hitler could have invaded Belgium and France in 1939 (without invading Holland), when France had very few planes and no BEF and France had not mobilized. So German losses would have been even lower and the campaign even shorter. Germany would have had iron ore from Alsace Lorraine and French and Belgian industry and produce from the beginning of the war.
              During Barbarossa, Hitler could have played the liberator and induced the Poles to join him against Stalin, making a huge difference.

              In contrast to the Poles, who fought long after the fall of Warsaw, France would have capitulated in 2 weeks of an invasion with all the paratroopers, planes and tanks concentrated in a narrow advance towards Sedan and Paris. Like it happened to the Polish army, the French army could not have mobilized fast enough, with the LW bombing the trains, roads, river boats, etc, from day one. The French army still relied on horse power to mobilize much of its artillery, so it would not have mobilized much artillery during a fast advance and under air attack.
              Last edited by Draco; 17 Apr 14, 15:31.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                Granted, but this is Alternate history and the parameters for the discussion are in the original post. Second guessing the OP negates this section really.
                Unfortunately, the OP fails the eternal logical test: every action brings about a(n equal and opposite) reaction. TAG has kludged one premise - Germany invades Poland alone - on top of another - WW2 proceeds as it did in the OTL.

                We're still guessing whether the M-R pact is signed (probably not if Germany takes all of Poland) and we have to assume the length of time Polish resistance lasts without the interference of a Soviet invasion. Nor can we make bland assumptions about the behaviour of the French and British as the collapse of Poland was not a fait accompli until the Red Army got involved. Hitler now inherits the problem of Ukrainian nationalism and can't use that as effectively as a weapon against Stalin.

                The next step to ask is "What happens to the Baltic States and Romania?" No M-R pact and Stalin is going to be very cautious about installing puppet governments. Equally, Germany would be pushing to expand its influence here. Same goes down in the Balkans. Suddenly the USSR has more friends, and Finland may well co-operate with Stalin and his request for a temporary border adjustment.

                See the problems were dealing with?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                  Unfortunately, the OP fails the eternal logical test: every action brings about a(n equal and opposite) reaction. TAG has kludged one premise - Germany invades Poland alone - on top of another - WW2 proceeds as it did in the OTL.

                  We're still guessing whether the M-R pact is signed (probably not if Germany takes all of Poland) and we have to assume the length of time Polish resistance lasts without the interference of a Soviet invasion. Nor can we make bland assumptions about the behaviour of the French and British as the collapse of Poland was not a fait accompli until the Red Army got involved. Hitler now inherits the problem of Ukrainian nationalism and can't use that as effectively as a weapon against Stalin.

                  The next step to ask is "What happens to the Baltic States and Romania?" No M-R pact and Stalin is going to be very cautious about installing puppet governments. Equally, Germany would be pushing to expand its influence here. Same goes down in the Balkans. Suddenly the USSR has more friends, and Finland may well co-operate with Stalin and his request for a temporary border adjustment.

                  See the problems were dealing with?
                  No M-R Pact, no division of Europe, no Romania or Bulgaria in the German camp, Jugoslavia and Bulgaria stay out of the war... and so on. The constellations would align rather differently.

                  I'm not so sure about "invasion". Are you assuming the Red Army crosses the border and fires on the Poles? I think it rather more likely that the Soviets enter the war on the same side, to fight the Germans. Stranger things have happened.

                  That would pose an interesting problem for the French and British. They had balked over an alliance with Stalin in 1938. What would they do if Stalin recused the Poles? Would they still go to war? With whom?

                  The plot thickens.

                  Regards
                  Scott Fraser
                  Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                  A contentedly cantankerous old fart

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                    Let's assume that Hitler doesn't make Stalin aware of the impending invasion of Poland and invades taking the entire country of Poland to the pre-war Russian - Polish border.
                    WW 2 then goes much as it did up to the invasion of Russia. At this point the Germans invade from the 1939 Polish-Russian border some 250 to 300 miles closer to Moscow, Leningrad, etc.

                    I would say in this case the Russians lose the war.
                    Or they withdraw behind the Urals and still win.

                    Everything else being equal: Granted, if they take Moscow, and that's likelier in this scenario, German chances to end the campaign victoriously in a single campaigning season increase. That is, if Moscow is the "head of the snake". It can also turn out to be just a major railhub.

                    My momma always said, "Gambling for taking Moscow when invading Russia is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

                    1812 calling
                    Last edited by qwertzu575; 18 Apr 14, 03:00.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                      Let's assume that Hitler doesn't make Stalin aware of the impending invasion of Poland and invades taking the entire country of Poland to the pre-war Russian - Polish border.
                      WW 2 then goes much as it did up to the invasion of Russia. At this point the Germans invade from the 1939 Polish-Russian border some 250 to 300 miles closer to Moscow, Leningrad, etc.

                      I would say in this case the Russians lose the war. The difference in distance is sufficient on its own to allow the Germans to take Leningrad and Moscow. The Stalin Line of fortifications on the border are not going to be sufficient to make a substantial difference and the Red Army's performance is not going to improve over historical.
                      I will ignore the very substantial objections about the chances of the premise taking place and I will only run with the situation in 1940-41.

                      1. No joint German-Soviet occupation of Poland means no overall agreements of any sort between the two countries. in other words, Germany enters the war without the basic premise of making the unavoidable British blockade of sealanes moot. The Soviets do not supply Germany with anything at all (in actual history, we're talking, up to June 1941, about something like one million tons of foodstuffs, similarly relevant crude oil and fuels, manganese, natural rubber, and other strategic materials).
                      So the Germans are, industry-wise, lame ducks from day one. This is not going to affect them too much for the war in the West, because until they won in France, the supplies were not significant. It is going to affect them later on, and greatly.

                      2. Now, even if we assume the Germans managed to conquer all of Poland alone (well, with the Slovakians) that will have been much costlier than in OTL. The occupation of Poland will also require many more troops, not just because of the territory but also because the Soviets, instead of cooperating in cross-border situations, will be doing their best to destabilize those areas, probably by helping remaining hotbeds of guerrilla. In 1940, the German troops in Poland only had essentially police duties over two thirds of the territory. In this ATL, they will have those duties over 100% of the territory, plus they will have significant guerrilla activity, plus the Red Army is staring at them from across the border and they are much less friendly than in OTL.
                      The situation will also be less good in the West. With no Soviet move, the French will have put their act together and attacked more seriously. They will not have come in much farther than in OTL, and they will have taken losses they can't afford; but on balance, the German public opinion will have been much more sapped by the loss of more territory to the French; the German morale is going to be worse.
                      Another thing that is worse in Germany is the generals' confidence in Hitler's genius. In OTL, pulling off the Molotov-Ribbentrop deal was an astonishing success. In this ATL, what will be remembered is the wrong prediction that France and Britain wouldn't go to war for Poland. The generals will be dragging their feet.

                      3. The Soviets themselves and the Westerners are not antagonized. It is entirely possible that the alliance offer that was on the table in Moscow just as Molotov signed with Ribbentrop is still on the table, with the proviso that the Soviets can pick it up when convenient.

                      4. The relationships between the USSR and its neighbors are entirely different. With no agreement with either Germany or the Westerners as to an expansion of his buffer zone (or sphere of influence, call it the way you prefer), Stalin won't trample on Finnish, Romanian, and Baltic toes. This, in turn, won't send all of these into Hitler's embrace. These countries won't be eager to become Soviet allies, either - but there are the Westerners around, yet, and the fact that the SU isn't aligned with Germany changes the situation considerably. Romania still has a French alliance and a British guarantee.
                      Churchill is definitely going to seek an enlargement of the anti-German alliance. And he's going to try to force the hand of countries like Norway, exactly as per OTL.

                      ---

                      Therefore, all told, before thinking about what happens in 1941, one has to wonder whether the Germans manage to pull of Weserübung. They have a lot less troops, less equipment, less ammo, and they do not even have the promise of shipments of strategic raw materials from the East. The diplomatic outlook is much worse and there hasn't been a Finnish war. The internal German situation is worse. The Soviets aren't going to jump in the war for Norway (they'll wait the invasion of the Belgium, the Netherlands and France for that), but they are sure to interfere with any means short of open hostility.

                      The German victory in Norway, already, is no foregone conclusion. Let alone Fall Gelb, let alone Barbarossa.
                      Michele

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Michele View Post
                        ... 3. The Soviets themselves and the Westerners are not antagonized. It is entirely possible that the alliance offer that was on the table in Moscow just as Molotov signed with Ribbentrop is still on the table, with the proviso that the Soviets can pick it up when convenient.
                        I must take issue with this. To me, it's as plain as a map. Judging from Soviet attempts to put a "Cordon Sanitaire" around Germany in 1938 and the alarm that swept the Kremlin in May 1939 when Czechoslovakia was occupied, Stalin and his staff had already identified Germany as an emerging threat. It is foolish to think that no one in Moscow had read Mein Kampf. It is equally foolish to think that Stalin would allow the Germans to move into Galicia and western Belorussia, 100km from Minsk and 300km from Kiev, without getting somewhat agitated. I would predict a military response, for better or worse.

                        Regards
                        Scott Fraser
                        Last edited by Scott Fraser; 18 Apr 14, 17:21.
                        Ignorance is not the lack of knowledge. It is the refusal to learn.

                        A contentedly cantankerous old fart

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                        • #13
                          The big question would be whether Stalin thought his military was up to it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Scott Fraser View Post
                            I must take issue with this. To me, it's as plain as a map. Judging from Soviet attempts to put a Cordon Sanitaire" around Germany in 1938 and the alarm that swept the Kremlin in May 1939 when Czechoslovakia was occupied, Stalin and his staff had already identified Germany as an emerging threat. It is foolish to think that no one in Moscow had read Mein Kampf. It is equally foolish to think that Stalin would allow the Germans to move into Galicia and western Belorussia, 100km from Minsk and 300km from Kiev, without getting somewhat agitated. I would predict a military response, for better or worse.

                            Regards
                            Scott Fraser
                            I do see your point. However, I think that option depends on how prompt is the support that the Westerners are willing to promise and, even more importantly, to deliver.

                            In actual history, every time Stalin took an aggressive stance, he had made sure he had as much external support as he could get, either from Germany or later from its enemies. According to many commentators, one of the reasons why, in 1939, he finally decided to go for Germany was that he was afraid that if a two-front war had erupted against Germany, the Soviet Union would be the one bearing the brunt of the fighting, with the Westerners playing Germany against the USSR and vice-versa.

                            So I agree that having the Germans in Lvov would be extremely, extremely alarming for Moscow, but I definitely don't rule out that Stalin bides his time until the Germans are fully committed on the other side of Europe before reacting concretely.
                            Michele

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                              Unfortunately, the OP fails the eternal logical test: every action brings about a(n equal and opposite) reaction. TAG has kludged one premise - Germany invades Poland alone - on top of another - WW2 proceeds as it did in the OTL.

                              We're still guessing whether the M-R pact is signed (probably not if Germany takes all of Poland) and we have to assume the length of time Polish resistance lasts without the interference of a Soviet invasion. Nor can we make bland assumptions about the behaviour of the French and British as the collapse of Poland was not a fait accompli until the Red Army got involved. Hitler now inherits the problem of Ukrainian nationalism and can't use that as effectively as a weapon against Stalin.

                              The next step to ask is "What happens to the Baltic States and Romania?" No M-R pact and Stalin is going to be very cautious about installing puppet governments. Equally, Germany would be pushing to expand its influence here. Same goes down in the Balkans. Suddenly the USSR has more friends, and Finland may well co-operate with Stalin and his request for a temporary border adjustment.

                              See the problems were dealing with?
                              Yes there are numerous open issues, I just went with the OP at face value as though those issues were otherwise resolved along the same lines as the OTL (however that may have been done). Always the trouble with ATLs.
                              "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                              -Omar Bradley
                              "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                              -Anonymous US Army logistician

                              Comment

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