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What if Operation Unthinkable was launched?

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  • What if Operation Unthinkable was launched?

    What if Operation Unthinkable was launched?

    Would it have liberated the rest of Central Europe (including the main objective - Poland)? Or would it have failed after a very deadly and destructive slugging-match resulting in a similar East-West Line with the Cold War being far hotter than it was historically?

  • #2
    The Soviets had 4.1 superior advantage in men and 2.1 in tanks, and probably in aircraft as well.

    The Americans had begun wholesale withdrawals to the Pacific for the expected invasion of Japan.

    At best the Allies had 47 divisions to work with and plus two Polish divisions and 100,000 German troops.

    Although the US/British alliance could rearm the remaining German and Italian PoW's they had in various PoW camps in Europe and the USA.

    One factor that was considered and that this could force an alliance of convenience between USSR and Japan in the war in the Pacific.

    There were plus and minuses on both sides, but one aspect it would be bloody.

    Last to consider, Stalin was not afraid of the Atomic Bomb. Consider this. Where does the allies drop their first nuke, on the USSR or Japan?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
      Last to consider, Stalin was not afraid of the Atomic Bomb. Consider this. Where does the allies drop their first nuke, on the USSR or Japan?
      Baku, Ploesti and Maykop IMHO. After that on Soviet troop concentrations.
      "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


      • #4
        Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
        The Soviets had 4.1 superior advantage in men and 2.1 in tanks, and probably in aircraft as well.

        The Americans had begun wholesale withdrawals to the Pacific for the expected invasion of Japan.

        At best the Allies had 47 divisions to work with and plus two Polish divisions and 100,000 German troops.

        Although the US/British alliance could rearm the remaining German and Italian PoW's they had in various PoW camps in Europe and the USA.

        One factor that was considered and that this could force an alliance of convenience between USSR and Japan in the war in the Pacific.

        There were plus and minuses on both sides, but one aspect it would be bloody.

        Last to consider, Stalin was not afraid of the Atomic Bomb. Consider this. Where does the allies drop their first nuke, on the USSR or Japan?
        We went over this with Hairog for months and his 1946 Soviet attack scenario. The Soviet Union was worn out from war. All of it and Eastern Europe were on the brink of starvation. Industry, the transportation system, everything, was devastated from the conflict.
        Worse, the Soviet Union has nearly ten thousand miles of border to defend at a minimum. They have no navy to speak of and no access to foreign trade really either.
        If the West was to launch an attack it wouldn't just come from Europe but the Middle East and Asia as well. The US might even attack over the Artic. Worse, all of Eastern Europe was hardly going to willing accomplices to the Soviets. Most nations in that region would have revolted and started resistance against the Russians.

        Stalin needed time to consolidate his gains and rebuild. Unlike Hitler, he didn't push past the culmination point of victory. He stayed well within his military means and gained by it.

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        • #5
          Here is one perspective on Operation Unthinkable being launched. The video ignores a MANY aspects but for the most part it seems like a somewhat reasonable assessment.

          Last edited by jamse; 03 Jun 14, 01:30.

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          • #6
            Use what comes after the = mark. For yours it would be;

            epW5ktfYt9Q

            THen highlight it and use YouTube wrap
            "Why is the Rum gone?"

            -Captain Jack

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by The Exorcist View Post
              Use what comes after the = mark. For yours it would be;

              epW5ktfYt9Q

              THen highlight it and use YouTube wrap
              Thanks

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jamse View Post
                Here is one perspective on Operation Unthinkable being launched. The video ignores a few certain aspects but for the most part it seems like a reasonable assessment.

                It ignores so much as to be worthless. First, the British and US armies are essentially fully mechanized. Units they raised in addition to those in service would be too.
                The nations of Eastern Europe would have all, except Yugoslavia going neutral, been either Allied with or pro-West in their political and military position.
                If the West did this they would have also started reinforcing their forces for this war.
                I know in the US case that the first major city in Russia they would push to capture is not Moscow but Leningrad. Why? Three reasons:

                It is the equivalent of Antwerp. Unlike the Germans the British and US have a massive merchant fleet. Taking Leningrad eliminates the Soviet submarine threat in the Atlantic (reason 2) and gives them a port far closer to Moscow to supply troops.
                Third, it gives them access to many of Western Russia's rivers. The US has a long history of riverine warfare and they would use these as super highways to deliver supplies.

                Then there are air forces. The Red Air Force is almost entirely tactical in nature and built to fight at roughly 15,000 feet or less. The USAAF and RAF both routinely operate at 20,000+ feet and often over 30,000.
                Additionally, the RAF is the undisputed master of night aerial warfare in 1945 - 46. The US is a distant second. The Russians aren't even in the running unless you want to consider nuisance raiding by PO 2 biplanes... They don't even have a nightfighter in operational service.
                They do have a handful of nightfighters but these are poorly equipped and no match for Western equipment in this area.

                Unlike the Germans the US in particular is well equipped to deal with the poor Russian roads, railroads, and weather. The British are not too far behind on that.

                The Russians also lack a navy to speak of. This means in the Pacific and Siberia they are going to see Sakhalin Island fall quickly followed by any parts of the Kuriles they are in.
                Vladivostok will be pummeled into a ruin by the USN. Strikes from China and possibly even India could take out the Trans-Siberian railroad causing serious bottlenecks in moving troops and resources. It is singularly a very tenuous transportation link that is highly vulnerable.

                You have to consider potential invasion also from Iran. Amphibious landings in Siberia and the Artic.

                A few strikes with Tallboys, Grand Slams, or Disney bombs could have disrupted most of Western Russia's hydroelectric plants in a matter of weeks. That would have crippled Soviet industry in the region around Moscow. The US showed what guided Tallboys (TARZON) could do to a dam in North Korea a few years later.

                The Russians were not stupid. They knew the situation all-too-well. They needed time and space to recover from a very bloody and costly war and wanted no part of another one in 1946 any more than the West did. They also knew they needed nuclear weapons too...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                  It ignores so much as to be worthless. First, the British and US armies are essentially fully mechanized. Units they raised in addition to those in service would be too.
                  The nations of Eastern Europe would have all, except Yugoslavia going neutral, been either Allied with or pro-West in their political and military position.
                  If the West did this they would have also started reinforcing their forces for this war.
                  I know in the US case that the first major city in Russia they would push to capture is not Moscow but Leningrad. Why? Three reasons:

                  It is the equivalent of Antwerp. Unlike the Germans the British and US have a massive merchant fleet. Taking Leningrad eliminates the Soviet submarine threat in the Atlantic (reason 2) and gives them a port far closer to Moscow to supply troops.
                  Third, it gives them access to many of Western Russia's rivers. The US has a long history of riverine warfare and they would use these as super highways to deliver supplies.

                  Then there are air forces. The Red Air Force is almost entirely tactical in nature and built to fight at roughly 15,000 feet or less. The USAAF and RAF both routinely operate at 20,000+ feet and often over 30,000.
                  Additionally, the RAF is the undisputed master of night aerial warfare in 1945 - 46. The US is a distant second. The Russians aren't even in the running unless you want to consider nuisance raiding by PO 2 biplanes... They don't even have a nightfighter in operational service.
                  They do have a handful of nightfighters but these are poorly equipped and no match for Western equipment in this area.

                  Unlike the Germans the US in particular is well equipped to deal with the poor Russian roads, railroads, and weather. The British are not too far behind on that.

                  The Russians also lack a navy to speak of. This means in the Pacific and Siberia they are going to see Sakhalin Island fall quickly followed by any parts of the Kuriles they are in.
                  Vladivostok will be pummeled into a ruin by the USN. Strikes from China and possibly even India could take out the Trans-Siberian railroad causing serious bottlenecks in moving troops and resources. It is singularly a very tenuous transportation link that is highly vulnerable.

                  You have to consider potential invasion also from Iran. Amphibious landings in Siberia and the Artic.

                  A few strikes with Tallboys, Grand Slams, or Disney bombs could have disrupted most of Western Russia's hydroelectric plants in a matter of weeks. That would have crippled Soviet industry in the region around Moscow. The US showed what guided Tallboys (TARZON) could do to a dam in North Korea a few years later.

                  The Russians were not stupid. They knew the situation all-too-well. They needed time and space to recover from a very bloody and costly war and wanted no part of another one in 1946 any more than the West did. They also knew they needed nuclear weapons too...
                  I would have to agree with you. The video ignores the superiority in Western allied air power and their superiority in sea power. Just thought the video was worth showing even if it is "worthless"

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                  • #10
                    Also a thing to consider and that is the USA had the equipment to track in coming artillery with their radar and then unleash accurate counter battery fire on those Soviet artillery batteries.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
                      Also a thing to consider and that is the USA had the equipment to track in coming artillery with their radar and then unleash accurate counter battery fire on those Soviet artillery batteries.
                      They could do this with mortars too. They can also use their more advanced radar systems to allow fighter bombers to attack a target with pinpoint accuracy, something the US was doing in the closing stages of WW 2.

                      Also, the bulk of the Red Army is unmechanized. They are still deploying cavalry divisions and the standard rifle division walks. On that, a rifle division is really the equivalent of a US Regimental Combat Team or a British infantry brigade. A strong one has about 9000 men in it. The artillery is often horse drawn along with wagons being the primary transportation.
                      To make things worse, the manpower situation was such for Russia in 1945 that many of these divisions are filled with men who don't speak Russian, or who were POW's and usually don't have much in the way of training beyond a very basic introduction to the military.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                        They could do this with mortars too. They can also use their more advanced radar systems to allow fighter bombers to attack a target with pinpoint accuracy, something the US was doing in the closing stages of WW 2.

                        Also, the bulk of the Red Army is unmechanized. They are still deploying cavalry divisions and the standard rifle division walks. On that, a rifle division is really the equivalent of a US Regimental Combat Team or a British infantry brigade. A strong one has about 9000 men in it. The artillery is often horse drawn along with wagons being the primary transportation.
                        To make things worse, the manpower situation was such for Russia in 1945 that many of these divisions are filled with men who don't speak Russian, or who were POW's and usually don't have much in the way of training beyond a very basic introduction to the military.
                        Also there is the fact if Unthinkable is considered, then the USA would not be transferring all those units to the Pacific, also, the 8th, 9th, 12th and 15th USAAF aren't sent elsewhere, they remain, also the 8th USAAF especially would be re-equipping with B-29's.

                        I would advocate invading Murmansk as a vital all year round deep water port. There you could base aircraft to strike south. Plenty of flat land to have aircraft operating out of there.

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                        • #13
                          Not that the US could really do it politically because we are not that politik.

                          But offering Siberia to Japan ends the Pac war real quick I am guessing.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                            They could do this with mortars too. They can also use their more advanced radar systems to allow fighter bombers to attack a target with pinpoint accuracy, something the US was doing in the closing stages of WW 2.

                            Also, the bulk of the Red Army is unmechanized. They are still deploying cavalry divisions and the standard rifle division walks. On that, a rifle division is really the equivalent of a US Regimental Combat Team or a British infantry brigade. A strong one has about 9000 men in it. The artillery is often horse drawn along with wagons being the primary transportation.
                            To make things worse, the manpower situation was such for Russia in 1945 that many of these divisions are filled with men who don't speak Russian, or who were POW's and usually don't have much in the way of training beyond a very basic introduction to the military.
                            There was not a full strength Soviet rifle division in existence at the end of the war, they were averaging 20% of their established size. 1 or 2 US Battalions would match most Soviet Infantry Divisions in manpower and the US units are pound for pound better than Soviet units.
                            A wild liberal appears! Conservative uses logical reasoning and empirical evidence! It's super effective! Wild liberal faints.

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                            • #15
                              It was well known by the 'inner circle' that Stalin's ambitions stretched far beyond the Elbe; BUT even he recognised that the Soviet economy and infrastructure in 1945 was in a very delicate state. Yes, they had a large Army and Air Force, but they had little in the way of reserves and new recruits.

                              They had taken appalling casualties [at least 1 in 10] dead, and much of their western territories an unproductive wasteland. They were not really in a fit state to take on an aggressive expansion into Western Europe and the US.

                              If Stalin had ordered his Armies to continue westwards I think that his inner circle would have probably taken him out - much like they probably did on the 5th March 1953.

                              As it was the Soviet army made a thrust attempt to cut off Denmark from the western Allies advance. The Brits. got wind of their plan and moved troops across to counter this. There was a bit of a face-off with the Soviet troops being 'politely' but firmly 'requested' to back off, which they subsequently did.

                              It could well be argued that in many ways, the Soviets in mid 1945 looked impressive, but that it was an impressive façade with little depth.

                              The US had the economic and productive strength to offer the Marshall Aid plan to many countries that were hard hit by war - the Soviets were in a fit state only to grab and take for themselves what assets [factories etc.] that the former Axis had left.
                              Last edited by Wooden Wonder; 04 Jun 14, 03:34.

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