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Belgium fully commits to a French - British alliance.

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  • Belgium fully commits to a French - British alliance.

    What if the Belgians had committed to a full alliance with the British and French? Let's say after WW 1 the Belgians decide the best route to protection is to go into a full alliance with Britain and France.

    They share in common with their new allies equipment and training to some extent. That means the Belgians might buy French artillery or French and British tanks. They cooperate on aircraft likewise, and build in common with one or the other aircraft for their air force.

    The French help the Belgians with their fortified line around Liege making it stronger and more like the Maginot Line.

    When war breaks out in September 1939, the Belgians allow France and Britain to move into their nation and into positions along the German border, while fully mobilizing and declaring war along with their allies.
    Luxembourg might remain neutral but more friendly towards the Allies.

    Now Germany is faced with a totally different problem in the West. The Allies have occupied positions on the German border. While Germany might still try an Ardennes gambit, the French have reinforced the Belgians along the Luxembourg border making that approach harder and facing more resistance.

    Is it likely that in this scenario that the West stalemates rather than collapses and German now faces a new WW 1 close to their own borders?

  • #2
    I need to index these subjects better. There at least three others with the same question I could link to, or copy and paste from.

    In operational terms it allows for a denser defense in the west. The front from Antwerp-Liege-Luxembourg border-Longwy, offers a advantages over the Alternative Dyle & Escaut lines of OTL in terms of unit density on the battle zone. The terrain is more defensible as well. If French armies are already forward on this A-L-L line & dug in its going to be a bloody attritional battle leveraging them out. The Germans have only some tactical advantages & the operational and strategic weight is on the Allied side of the scale. I started to game this one once and gave up after a few turns as the odds looked very poor for the Germans & it was playing out as a static battle.

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    • #3
      What if the Netherlands was also included? That would have shortened up the Belgian border considerably.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by johns624 View Post
        What if the Netherlands was also included? That would have shortened up the Belgian border considerably.
        The Netherlands is unnecessary here. The only reason the Germans invaded Holland in 1940 was to get around the Liege fortress line. That also required taking out fort Eben Emael, the northern most fort of the line that was situated behind the Albert Canal and the Maastricht district of Holland.

        With that fort constructed more like a Maginot Line one, and with supporting troops in place (due to being on a war footing), it couldn't have been taken by glider assault like it was. That in turn negates the reason for invading the Netherlands.

        If the Netherlands did join such an alliance they'd really be a liability rather than an asset. Other than a very small adjoining strip of land to Belgium, they are really out on a flank on their own. To defend the country would have been very difficult.

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        • #5
          Belgium could not do this without a major change of her constitution which guaranteed neutrality. Because this was enshrined in international treaties post WW1 this would have required the League of Nations to agree - more difficult than herding cats.
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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          • #6
            Belgium could have told the League to go f... themselves. It was even more toothless than the toothless UN is.

            The British and French would have applauded the move.
            Germany in the early 30's was in no position to tell anybody anything.
            The US wasn't a member so they're not going to complain.

            Now, internally, a change in neutrality might or might not be possible. Let's say that happens here.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post
              Belgium could not do this without a major change of her constitution which guaranteed neutrality. Because this was enshrined in international treaties post WW1 this would have required the League of Nations to agree - more difficult than herding cats.
              That's what makes it "alternative" history - in reality there was no democratic majority for it even disregarding the League of Nations.

              Simply no way to get it through Belgian parliament.

              As purely military thought exercise it is interesting though.
              High Admiral Snowy, Commander In Chief of the Naval Forces of The Phoenix Confederation.
              Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Co.

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              • #8
                Nothing would change : The British, French and Belgians were defeated because they were to weak . This would not change in the ATL,in the OTL the French and the BEF were not strong enough to help the Belgians. This would not be different in the ATL .

                The fortifications on the Albert canal were not strong enough, because Belgium had not the means to make them stronger.The plans were that the Belgians would retreat to the shorter Dyle line, where,with the help of the French and the BEF ,they would stop the Germans . They did retreat to the Dyle Line , but could not stop the Germans ;the reasons being that the Belgians were to weak, the French were to weak and the BEF was to weak . If there had been the double of French and British divisions available, it would be possible to stop the Germans, but these divisions were not available .

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                  Belgium could not do this without a major change of her constitution which guaranteed neutrality. Because this was enshrined in international treaties post WW1 this would have required the League of Nations to agree - more difficult than herding cats.
                  Belgium did cooperate closely with France in the 1920s. They were the only serious supporter of France in the 1923-24 Ruhr occupation, contributing soldiers as well as political support. The French & Belgian military made mutual plans for operations vs Germany.

                  The break came in the late 1920s when France reverted to a reactive policy & made the decision to build a fortress system to shield the eastern industrial region, & abandon the previous proactive policy of possible preemptive intervention into Germany. The Belgians were further disappointed when they realized the French intended to keep the bulk of their army on the fortifications on the French side of the border and no longer intended to advance a strong army into the Ardennes or the Liege to support the Belgians. Only light forces in perhaps two corps would move into the eastern region. The Belgians drew the conclusion the the could no longer depend on the French & shifted further into a neutrality policy.

                  What the Belgians had hoped for was French assurance a strong army would move well forward into Belgium, and assistance in building a strong defense zone well forward & connecting to Liege. A French policy aligned with the Belgian PoV then perhaps Belgium would have remained a defacto French ally (& damm anyone else's rules).

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