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  • No Battle of the Bulge

    What if Hitler had not launched the Ardennes Offensive in 1944?

    The 'Miracle of the West" -still happens and the German army is able to rebuild to the same extent as it did historically.

    What happens now?
    What if there is a large transfer of forces to the east, including all SS units, some panzer (say 2 divisions plus the Fuhrer Begleit and Guard brigands) Para units, along with supporting arty and nebelwerfer bdes.
    This still leaves a large force in the west.
    Could the Germans have fought out a bloody withdrawal action to the Rhine while the forces in the east bring the Russuians to a halt.What if the Germans husbanded their troops until the final Russian offensive against Berlin and halted them at the Oder river line? What if this 'final' battle in the east left both sides so exhausted that the western Allies could have swept through Germany to the Oder, perhaps surrounding Berlin instead of taking it street by street?
    Could Churchill and Truman muster the political willpower to demand that Stalin withdraw from Poland and perhaps the rest of eastern Europe?

  • #2
    Had the Ardennes offensive been cancelled it would have been best to leave the troops in the west and hope for the political break up of the western alliance. A transfer of some 25 divisions to the east in late 1944 would not have had too great of an influence.

    The Red Army was far better equipped to handle the late war German kit than the western allies and they would have shot the divisions to pieces in a shorter period of time. Further, deploying to the eastern front still required fuel the Germans simply did not have thus negating any advantage the additional mech divs would bring (except as pillboxes).
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Parasocko View Post
      What if Hitler had not launched the Ardennes Offensive in 1944?

      The 'Miracle of the West" -still happens and the German army is able to rebuild to the same extent as it did historically.

      What happens now?
      What if there is a large transfer of forces to the east, including all SS units, some panzer (say 2 divisions plus the Fuhrer Begleit and Guard brigands) Para units, along with supporting arty and nebelwerfer bdes.
      This still leaves a large force in the west.
      Could the Germans have fought out a bloody withdrawal action to the Rhine while the forces in the east bring the Russuians to a halt.What if the Germans husbanded their troops until the final Russian offensive against Berlin and halted them at the Oder river line? What if this 'final' battle in the east left both sides so exhausted that the western Allies could have swept through Germany to the Oder, perhaps surrounding Berlin instead of taking it street by street?
      Could Churchill and Truman muster the political willpower to demand that Stalin withdraw from Poland and perhaps the rest of eastern Europe?

      it would have been a good idea not to launch this operation. but even one full SS panzer army transfered to the East would have meant it would have bee n crushed by the Soviets. at that time nothing in germany could stop them.
      I am not even sure it that would have made the western allies advance faster.
      "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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      • #4
        "I am not even sure it that would have made the western allies advance faster."

        Where we modeled this on the game board the German was better off making a large spoiling attack in the west. Otherwise the Allies keep the initiative, and continue picking off key positions for closing to the Rhine. Crossing the Rhine could be kicked off four to six weeks earlier in those game. Withdrawing anything significant for the Eastern Front just accelerated the collapse in the west. Taking advantage of the Allied Western deployment in late 1944 seems to buy the Geman player a month or two.

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        • #5
          Carl,
          I am interested to know how you wargamed this. How much would the allies have been delayed if the germans had not launched a spoiling attack, just counterattackes to maintain the line as it was in december 44?
          Last edited by Parasocko; 02 Feb 07, 09:40. Reason: wrong wording

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          • #6
            Parasocko...One game was The Battle For Germany from SPI. A Dunnigan design from the 1970s. The game setup assumes the Ardennes offensive has already been kicked of & the German pieces are already expended & placed in the 'Bulge'. We up graded the expended pieces & allowed them to be setup outside the Ardennes. Nasty German counter attacks all along the front werre possible then, but in the long run they were attrited as quickly as in the Ardennes offensive. The Allies closed to Rhine in Febuary & crossed it a few weeks early.

            The other game was the Fortress Europa from AvalonHill (originally from Jedko). We adapted a 'Bulge' variant scenario for it to test other options for the German side. The combat system of that game was less favorable to attrition of he German pieces. Terrain had to be fought for harder & stronger German counter attacks made it tougher. However in the Febuary turns the German pieces had to be retreated across the Rhine to hold a line, and a again it was possible to attack across it a bit earlier than historically.

            Basicly, while local counter attacks stalled the Allies in one location or another they did not unhinge a large sector or require many turns or weeks to be wasted twice redeploying. I dont think the Ardennes offensive as Hitler concived it was viable. Better the large scale but limited objective spoiling attacks his generals favored, which seem more usefull than scattering the armored corps about piecemeal to be attritted away in local fights.

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            • #7
              Thanks Carl.
              I have a copy of Third Reich by AH...I have played the '44 scenario, but never carried it out to a include a fight between east and west for eastern Europe. The western allies were able to capture Germany all the way to the polish border, and I think in the game they could have kicked the russians out of eastern europe....lend lease would have been suspended, and strategic bombing used against the Russians and a few other things.
              I think in real life it would have been a terribly bloody fight that could have gone either way. Each side had advantages/disadvantages. Both were tired of fighting-politically and physically, but I think the western allies had an edge.

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              • #8
                Just a thought here, why not pull all your units (German)
                back across the Rhien to set up a defense with a natural barrier?
                Life is what happens to you when your busy making other plans! Lennon - www.lufttiger.com

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                • #9
                  Eventually the Allies will get across the Rhine and into Germany. The extra forces allow them to hold out longer but eventually the Americans are going to get a bridgehead across in the south or the Brits across in the north.

                  The best several of our gaming groups have been able to do is give Germany to the Allies while the meatgrinder continues in the East. By the time a late '44 scenario is set in motion, the end of Germany is almost guaranteed, it's just a matter of which side gets to pick the bones clean and if more forces surrender in the West or die in the East. It's a zero-sum game for Germany at this point... lose to the West or lose to the East.

                  The question comes back to why would the West continue past their occupation zones just to hand over territory already agreed would be under Soviet occupation? Why waste Western troops for Soviet land? Unless there could be a stalemate on the East... which I just don't see happening. The troops might give Germany another month, maybe two... to do what exactly?
                  If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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                  • #10
                    "...why not pull all your units (German)back across the Rhien to set up a defense with a natural barrier?"

                    The western zone of the Ruhr is west of the Rhine, the industry along the Rhine & tributarys depended heavily on river transport, railroad trunk lines ran close to & paralle to the Rhine, (I may be wrong... but) a main electric transmission line from the Swiss hydrogenerators was very close to the Rhine. All that would be interrupted or at risk with the enemy at the river bank.

                    The Ruhr industry near the Rhine would be subject to enemy heavy artillery fire and air strikes on the factorys would have only a couple minutes of exposure to Flak before reaching the targets.


                    The Rhine itself is traditionally a forminable barrier. But the enemy had repeatedly made sucessfull assualts across oceans of all size. 900 meters of river & some steep banks could not be counted on for long.

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                    • #11
                      Allies vs the Commies

                      I dont think Third Reich represents very well the real capability of the Soviet Army in 1945. It is probablly closer in its representation of the Soviet Unions ability to sustain a large field army in Western Europe. That is the BRP base of the USSR of 1945 & the Strategic Redeployment relative to the US is vaguely correct. But, the armor pieces are too weak for 1945 & a couple more air pieces are needed.

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                      • #12
                        Wasn't Patton about to make an offensive when the battle started and then had to help with troops. I don't know was that a major offensive though?
                        What would the airbourne had done if they werent thrown in to help. Could the western allies have launched multiple operation varsities to get across the Rhine?
                        I think that it would maybe have postponed the war maybe two months. The allies were still strong and bombing Germany to dust.
                        "All Glory is Fleeting"

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                        • #13
                          I agree, the absence of this battle would only have served to prolonge the war, but in the end the Nazis would still have been defeated.

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                          • #14
                            "Wasn't Patton about to make an offensive when the battle started and then had to help with troops. I don't know was that a major offensive though?"

                            ***As the supply flow increased in Oct - Nov the Allied armys returned to the attack & were making local offensives with the general objective of closing to the Rhine. Pattons 3rd Army had pushed the Germans out several patches of country side in the preceeding ten weeks & were preparing for more

                            What would the airbourne had done if they werent thrown in to help. Could the western allies have launched multiple operation varsities to get across the Rhine?"

                            ***the staff of the Allied Airbourne Army was kept busy writing up plans by the truckload. The other army commanders were bit less ethusiastic about them, but these things are hard to predict. The capability certainly was there.

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                            • #15
                              I'm not sure how much help the airborne divisions would have been to Patton....both the 82nd and 101st were just out of Holland when they got called for the Bulge...they both need replacements and re-equiping before they could be used for an airborne op.
                              The 17th could have been dropped-they were used in Varsity. I'm not sure how combat ready the 13th ABN division was between dec-Feb 45.
                              The allies probably could have put together an ABN task force like they did for the S. france op. Maybe the First Special Service force, The 509th , the 517th Abn regiments-this would have given them an ad-hoc abn division ready to jump.

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