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  • Military Development After CP Victory 1915

    I orginally asked this question focues strictly on German naval development. But, it has application across the board. So...

    Assume for a moment France collapses early on & is forced to ask for peace in 1915. Russia is also in a bad spot then & negotiates as well. Both are set back considerablly, and lose territory - colonies in the case of France. Germany/Britain end in a sort of White Peace.

    So, based on what evidence remains of pre 1915 militaryl thinking what are the possible developments for strategy strategy & military construction through the 1920s & beyond?

    One factor I see is the pressure to convert the German navy to oil, at least in new construction. A coal fired fleet will have a lot less flexibility & have more problems operating out side of the small seas adjacent to Germany. If the German imperialists think they are going to defend their maritime interests then there is a imperitive to construct a oil fired fleet, at least for global service.

    On land the widespread adoption of light MG would not have occured were the cease fire to come in early 1915. Conversely the errors in the doctrine for light artillery in the French & German armies were celarly revealed in the first months of 1914

  • #2
    I disagree with the development of the light MG. It would not be as high a priority, but the effects of full-auto fire were well-demonstrated to all by 1915, so there would be interest in improving the number of MGs in the field, and the speed at which they could be deployed.

    The demise of cavalry is clear-the MG and infantry fire has proven that. So there will be a great deal of inquiry into the next mobile force. This could lead to WW2 being an primarily infantry conflict, with motorized and mechanized infantry being the cavalry arm.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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    • #3
      I'm reminded there were a lot of light MG & automatic rifles already or in development then. With only few months of combat the sophistication of 1917-18 in infantry tactics is not going to develop in just three years. In those three years the ratio of automatic weapons to riflemen went from 500 to 1 down to less than fifty to one. With a very brief war and a return to a general European peace there are liable to be a lot of mis guesses in development of tactics and adoption of new automatic weapons.

      Aviation development is liable to go off in every direction as several dozen unproven ideas are proposed, attempted, or adopted.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post

        So, based on what evidence remains of pre 1915 militaryl thinking what are the possible developments for strategy strategy & military construction through the 1920s & beyond?
        Germany- Completes the Berlin to Baghdad railroad which circumvents the Royal Navy's control of the Oceans, strengthens Turkey/Ottomans and it's Middle East empire and possibly takes French territory in the area, oil is exploited.
        The High Seas Fleet achieved notable success with surface raiders and submarines early in the war, so I can see a more balanced fleet forthcoming in the 1920's. Overall, Germany strengthens its internal railnet, merchant fleet and global naval reach (becomes world's #2 industrial power).

        France- searches for defensive alliances and as per OTL builds defensive fortifications along the German border.

        Italy- never enters the war, gains/loses nothing. No changes, no fascists, maintains agrarian based economy and limited industry. No large navy is developed or early 1930's major military spending.

        UK- focuses on countering German naval threat and expanding BEF, RAF is developed as well.

        US- No war involvement has a huge strategic impact for a potential WW2. US war industry never develops (ships, munitions, weapons, vehicles, etc.) without the demand. The greatest loss is experience however. The US' mobilization plan for WWII was based on the experience of WWI and lessons learned. The US merchant marine and all US logistical products that were so efficient in WWII are never developed due to the absence of needs/requirements. That means no military equipment designed/built that is rationalized for over seas tranport. That includes a full spectrum of equipment from food/water to POL, ammunition, vehicles, etc.
        US involvement in WWI precipitated building a national infrastructure to support full scale mobilization and deployment (sustainment). If WWII happens, the US has not the experience or infrastructure to do anything like the OTL.

        Just a few thoughts on strategery (as GW Bush would say).

        edit:

        Austria-Hungary survives and destroys Serbian and Russian influence for the time being. Hungary becomes more independant while Austria looks to revitalize consolidate its empire and strengthen its army (potential crisis in the Balkans and with Italy, poor performance of 1914/15 well in mind).


        I see the major areas of development being military aviation, heavy artillery, motorization of transport, electronics and certain naval applications (oil powered engines for longer range, etc.).
        Last edited by Javaman; 29 Apr 15, 13:54.
        "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


        • #5
          I'd agree in general with this, except..

          Originally posted by Javaman View Post
          ..l.

          US- No war involvement has a huge strategic impact for a potential WW2. US war industry never develops (ships, munitions, weapons, vehicles, etc.) without the demand. The greatest loss is experience however. The US' mobilization plan for WWII was based on the experience of WWI and lessons learned. The US merchant marine and all US logistical products that were so efficient in WWII are never developed due to the absence of needs/requirements. That means no military equipment designed/built that is rationalized for over seas tranport. That includes a full spectrum of equipment from food/water to POL, ammunition, vehicles, etc.
          US involvement in WWI precipitated building a national infrastructure to support full scale mobilization and deployment (sustainment). If WWII happens, the US has not the experience or infrastructure to do anything like the OTL
          The USN had already developed a two ocean navy & was already pre 1914 embroiled in expeditionary warfare outside the US. The Phillipines insurrection, the early Bannana Wars, China, & the 1907 Japanese war kerfluffle, all had the US government & Navy Department making big navy plans. War Plan Orange will still be a important stratigic focus. With Germany still having a navy & global ambitions War Plan Black is liable to stay on the desk top. So lots of excuses there. The navy will still expand the Marine Corps, the Base Defense battalions will continue to develop, and the Expeditionary Brigades will appear in the 1920s as OTL. Unless the Banana Wars take a radically different course the Marines will develop similarly as OTL. By 1935 after the last battalions had departed Nicaragua the USMC had more officers & NCOs with combat experience in Nicaragua & Hati that in France, and the extended nature of those wars brought harsher & more permanent lessons than the four months of battle in France.

          For the US Army there will not be the lesson of the failures in staff training in France. So less emphasis on that, and less influence from the French Army & its weapons. Or the captured German equipment. Maybe more examination of German methods/doctrine since they were the winners this ATL. into the 1920s the US Army will be drawing on the Phillipines insurrection, Vera Cruz, & the Pancho Villa chase for its operational experience. Development of the National Guard out of the state militias & the Army Reserve is going to be even thinner & les complete than OTL. As bad as the mobilization plans OTL were those of this ATL are going to be no better.

          I see the major areas of development being military aviation, heavy artillery, motorization of transport, electronics and certain naval applications (oil powered engines for longer range, etc.).
          Yup. the artillery modernization underway pre 1914 will continue. Aviation development will as heated as OTL, but as I refered to earlier, absent four years experience the assorted nations will be pursing a more haphazard & less likely array of aircraft and doctrines. The air forces of the next war will not be remotely as a effective as those of 1918 OTL.

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          • #6
            One of the questions I have at this point is how far a post war naval rave goes, before the competing nations attempt a limits treaty as with the Washington Naval Treaty. Are they liable to overreach & overspend without the tempering effect of a recent long bloody war?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
              I'd agree in general with this, except..



              The USN had already developed a two ocean navy & was already pre 1914 embroiled in expeditionary warfare outside the US. The Phillipines insurrection, the early Bannana Wars, China, & the 1907 Japanese war kerfluffle, all had the US government & Navy Department making big navy plans. War Plan Orange will still be a important stratigic focus. With Germany still having a navy & global ambitions War Plan Black is liable to stay on the desk top. So lots of excuses there. The navy will still expand the Marine Corps, the Base Defense battalions will continue to develop, and the Expeditionary Brigades will appear in the 1920s as OTL. Unless the Banana Wars take a radically different course the Marines will develop similarly as OTL. By 1935 after the last battalions had departed Nicaragua the USMC had more officers & NCOs with combat experience in Nicaragua & Hati that in France, and the extended nature of those wars brought harsher & more permanent lessons than the four months of battle in France.

              For the US Army there will not be the lesson of the failures in staff training in France. So less emphasis on that, and less influence from the French Army & its weapons. Or the captured German equipment. Maybe more examination of German methods/doctrine since they were the winners this ATL. into the 1920s the US Army will be drawing on the Phillipines insurrection, Vera Cruz, & the Pancho Villa chase for its operational experience. Development of the National Guard out of the state militias & the Army Reserve is going to be even thinner & les complete than OTL. As bad as the mobilization plans OTL were those of this ATL are going to be no better.



              Yup. the artillery modernization underway pre 1914 will continue. Aviation development will as heated as OTL, but as I refered to earlier, absent four years experience the assorted nations will be pursing a more haphazard & less likely array of aircraft and doctrines. The air forces of the next war will not be remotely as a effective as those of 1918 OTL.
              Good points, however I'd like to put the emphasis on a lack of experience for the US in regard to a national mobilization. So many lessons were learned from the WWI experience that simply go unnoticed. A visit to the Quartermaster museum at FT Lee VA will reveal a substantial amount of information on the influence of the US' WWI experience and how that impacted WWII. The US military's entire way of thinking about future conflict was radically changed by their WWI experience. A national mobilization followed by training, equipping, deploying and supporting a million man force across an ocean and not to forget all the industrial support of the Entente made the US ready for WWII. In this ATL the majority of that basis is simply not there. On the reverse side, Germany has great comprehensive depth of war making ability compared to the OTL.
              "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


              • #8
                Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                One of the questions I have at this point is how far a post war naval rave goes, before the competing nations attempt a limits treaty as with the Washington Naval Treaty. Are they liable to overreach & overspend without the tempering effect of a recent long bloody war?
                Looking at the political dynamic, I would lean towards a naval arms race between Britain and Germany before any limitations are discussed. The British will look to maintain dominance of the seas, but Germany will likely try to challenge as long as Kaiser Wilhem II and Admiral Tirpitz view world empire as a primary goal. The Russians and French are more or less out of any naval arms race (broke-reparations, politically unsound with armies to rebuild), so the other major players will be the US and Japan. At some point in the spending war I could see Germany shifting emphasis from the North Sea to the outposts in the form of more raiders, cruisers (to show the flag and support shipping) and long range submarines. The British will view the immense spending as survival and the Germans flushed with success will have no issue spending either.
                "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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                  ... At some point in the spending war I could see Germany shifting emphasis from the North Sea to the outposts in the form of more raiders, cruisers (to show the flag and support shipping) and long range submarines. ...
                  Worst case here is Germany starts a construction program for a global High Seas Fleet. Not just raiders & some refueling stations, but a program of oil fired BB capable of long cruises, a couple fleet level depots in the colonies, a experimental aircraft carrier, and long distance support auxillaries. In this scenario the best of the old coal fired fleet could be kept in place to pin the Brit Home Fleet guarding the North Sea. This scenario could get out of hand swiftly and cause a lot of long term economic damage if the participants dont see sense soon enough.

                  If the race looks like it will go over the top swiftly, the nations like Japan, Italy, France, Russia, and even the US are liable to start looking at ways to get around the ultra expensive new generations of BB & heavy cruisers. That can go a lot of different directions, but naval aviation is likely to be one of them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                    Good points, however I'd like to put the emphasis on a lack of experience for the US in regard to a national mobilization. ...
                    I agree completely on the Army side. Even if the leaders observe the European mobilization of 1914 & draw the correct conclusions they would be able to do no more than theoretical planning. Congress is very unlikely to fund serious planning let alone pay for actual establishment of any sort of effective reserve to mobilize. At best the Army will be prepared to provide some expeditionary corps for the Carribean, Pacific, or elsewhere. 100,000 men in six months & maybe twice that in a year. Attempting more will have similar results as in 1917-18.


                    On the reverse side, Germany has great comprehensive depth of war making ability compared to the OTL.
                    They will certainly refine their reservist mobilization for national defense. they also will have to think deeper about colonial defense & how to mobilize intermediate size forces for reinforcing the colonies and other forms of expeditionary warfare. That ties into the naval race thing, yet another large item on the budget for standing ground forces for overseas service and appropriate reservists to call up.

                    On the down side Germany, and everyone else are liable to draw a larger portion of wrong conclusions from the brief war. One will be future wars can be just as brief. They will still be thinking in the 18th or 19th Century model of the limited 'civilized' war & any sort of thought or planning for a long & total war will be no more than pre 1914.

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                    • #11
                      It is an interesting question. However, much naturally depends on the particulars of the scenario postulated. France and Russia accepting defeat is possible. Short of an absolutely disastrous (for the British) engagement at a 'Jutland' naval engagement, I don't see Britain accepting 'defeat'. In fact the earlier the French pack it in, the less Britain might be inclined to negotiate from weakness - evacuating a smallish BEF wouldn't be a big deal - whereas losing their much larger army in France later in the war might be different.

                      So with Germany having defeated France and Russia, but not Britain, would not a 'Napoleonic' sort of situation result? In terms of land warfare, even based on the first year of the war I can see a major change to infantry tactics. However, would armour have been developed as it was historically between the wars? Perhaps not, not having 'proven' its effectiveness in the war. If more a Napoleonic / Cold War situation develops I can see Germany not necessarily converting their navy to oil asap, they would have more coal (presumably annexing additional French coal producing areas) and perhaps still not a lot of oil. They might also see their navy being directed primarily towards defense against Britain, and / or short ranged attack (i.e. battle in the North Sea) rather than something to project power globally.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by deadkenny View Post
                        ... Short of an absolutely disastrous (for the British) engagement at a 'Jutland' naval engagement, I don't see Britain accepting 'defeat'. In fact the earlier the French pack it in, the less Britain might be inclined to negotiate from weakness
                        I've been assuming the most likely scenario is a White Peace between Britain & Germany.

                        So with Germany having defeated France and Russia, but not Britain, would not a 'Napoleonic' sort of situation result?
                        Yes. I dont see this situation being any more stable than that of OTL, & probablly a lot less.


                        In terms of land warfare, even based on the first year of the war I can see a major change to infantry tactics. However, would armour have been developed as it was historically between the wars? Perhaps not, not having 'proven' its effectiveness in the war.
                        Armored cars were already fielded pre 1914, & I can see light cannon added to those fairly soon. Folks will also eperiment with tracked armored vehicles. Proposals for those had already been made before 1914. But, I'm not thinking 'tanks' will proliferate soon.

                        If more a Napoleonic / Cold War situation develops I can see Germany not necessarily converting their navy to oil asap, they would have more coal (presumably annexing additional French coal producing areas) and perhaps still not a lot of oil. They might also see their navy being directed primarily towards defense against Britain, and / or short ranged attack (i.e. battle in the North Sea) rather than something to project power globally.
                        Two factors here. One is if Germany retains substantial colonies. They may get some or all of the back as part of the 1915 settlement.

                        Second would be the pretentions to global power of the kaiser & a significant number of other German leaders. In that era it was still thought a empire necessary for national advancement, plus there is the ego factor. Victorious German leaders in 1915 are liable to be so full of themselves they will want all the trapings of imperialism.

                        That requires at least partial conversion to a oil fueled navy. It would make sense to leave the older ships coal fired, since they were not set up for long voyages anyway. The older fleet can still have a role pinning the British Home Fleet at home. The ships inteded for colonial protection would be better off oil fueled.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                          I've been assuming the most likely scenario is a White Peace between Britain & Germany.

                          ....

                          Two factors here. One is if Germany retains substantial colonies. They may get some or all of the back as part of the 1915 settlement.

                          Second would be the pretensions to global power of the kaiser & a significant number of other German leaders. In that era it was still thought a empire necessary for national advancement, plus there is the ego factor. Victorious German leaders in 1915 are liable to be so full of themselves they will want all the trappings of imperialism.

                          That requires at least partial conversion to a oil fueled navy. It would make sense to leave the older ships coal fired, since they were not set up for long voyages anyway. The older fleet can still have a role pinning the British Home Fleet at home. The ships intended for colonial protection would be better off oil fueled.
                          I think this is an interesting issue on its own. Britain obviously had a huge global empire, and one which provided them with considerable wealth. France got into the 'colony game' in part because of their position in Europe. OTOH Russia never really got into the 'colony game' in the same way, focusing more on contiguous expansion. So, would a Germany victorious in Europe still be focused on far flung colonies abroad? Or would their victory shift the emphasis to hegemony in Europe? I can see German expansion occurring more 'naturally' into the Middle East via the Ottoman Empire.

                          However the question of how much they care about African possessions, which were never particularly valuable, is still an open one. Does Japan even give back German colonies in the Far East? I very much agree that if Germany continued on the 'far flung colony acquisition route', they would want to build a somewhat different sort of naval force. However, I'm having some difficulty seeing Britain agreeing to allow it. Again I think the analogy here is perhaps with the Napoleonic period, rather than WWII. I think the British would see allowing Germany to proceed along the lines you've suggested as very much slitting their own throats.

                          I believe the British reaction would be very more along the lines of the Napoleonic period, with the Kaiser's Germany playing the role of Napoleon's France. If not, I still see Germany being more focused on defeating Britain to extend their European hegemony as opposed to trying to play Britain's game of global empire building.

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                          • #14
                            Without the negative lessons of the war Germany develops both their poison gas and new biological nerve agents and deplores them on board their ships (the better to keep natives in line) say a dozen shells per ship.
                            But then again the flame thrower is never developed.
                            Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                            • #15
                              Just for some color here is a illustration of someones idea of a post war German battle cruiser.
                              Attached Files

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