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Battle of Berlin - Western Allies

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  • The Purist
    replied
    As long the western allies were going to live up to the agreement over the occupation zones, Berlin was not a viable objective for the western allies. I agree they would have taken the city after a stiff, if not last ditch, stand by the garrison, but the later withdrawal west of the Elbe would then have brought the decision into question as to why the casualties were suffered.

    Eisenhower was right, both militarily and politically to call the halt. There was no desire on the part of the allies to show themselves duplicitous in dealing with Stalin nor was there a desire to risk a falling out with the Russians while there was still a war in the Pacific to be fought.

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  • cyberia
    replied
    I have no doubt the Western Allies would have opted to encircle Berlin, rather than ram head first into a slugfest in the streets as Stalin did. Ike was well aware that Germany had shot her bolt, and the idea of potenial massive losses at that stage of the war would have been a deterent for most any commander.
    Stalin on the other hand was working off a different calendar. He wanted a victory in Berlin by the May Day parade in Red Square and was willing to throw away as many of his own troops as needed to get it.
    It is also possible that although some defending units, mostly SS, would still have put up a fanatical fight, and many officers would have felt bound to their personal oaths and fight to the last bullet, most German troops would have been more willing to lay down their arms to the Western Powers.
    The hellish defensive fighting in Berlin, even in the final hours, was no doubt in part to defend the civilian population, and to stave off payment for as long as possible on the enormus butcher bill incurred by the Wehrmacht in the east.
    Hitler still would have killed himself. I don't think there is any debate there, but I also think many of the other Reich leaders would have tried to save their own necks with negotiations or escape. Two things the Soviets left little room for.
    Would such a scenario have led to a Western Allies/Soviet fight over the corpse of Berlin. I honestly don't think so. The Red Army was a formidable force at that moment in history. But a force that had paid dearly for most every step taken forward since Stalingrad. Her reserves had to be low and her frontline troops far from ready to take on a fresh fight with a new enemy.
    We also have to consider that history now tells us that via his spies Stalin was well aware of the progress of the Manhatten Prodject, and knew at the time he had no such plan to match it.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Thanks for those numbers. I dont have the US or Brit casualties at hand, but recall they were ''light' in comparison. That the Red Army was still so vigoruslly opposed (by a crippled army without significant air support) suggests the US or Britsh armys could have continued to charge through the token roadblocks of nazi fanatics to Berlin with comparable ease.

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post

    Are there any reliable numbers for Soviet infantry casualties in the final weeks fighting approaching to & in Berlin?
    Krivosheev's respected Russian work [Soviet Casualties and Combat Lossess inthe 20th Century] cites for the Berlin operation from 16 Apr - 8 May for the three Fronts: 352,475 casualties with 78,291 irrecoverable losses; and for the Prague Operation 6-11 May 1945, 49,348 casualties with 11,265 irrecoverable losses. Pretty close to Revans input.

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  • The Purist
    replied
    Originally posted by No_Nickname View Post
    But which side had the better planes and the better pilots
    With 30-40,000 aircraft available to the two sides that may have been a moot point. Massive air battles with massive air losses with attrition finally determining the outcome,...but how soon. The Red Army had proved itself capable of destroying entire sections of a front and driving on upwards of 500 kms in a matter of a week or two. That would put T-34s on the Channel coast before the air battle was determined.

    Yoiks!

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  • Trung-si
    replied
    I think the soviets had been bled pretty dry even though they had reserves.
    I guess that's kinnd of contradictory, but I believe we had a significant edge at the time.
    Our involvement had been much shorter than otkers but I think our focus at the time did not go beyond Germany and Japan.
    I think Patton was somewhat delusional in his thinking.
    A war with Russia would probably caused more problems than it would have solved.
    Never happened, who knows?
    Eventually the communist system caved in on itself.

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  • grognard
    replied
    The Soviets!!!!! (yes, I'm leaving myself wide open for comebacks).

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  • R. Evans
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
    "There was nothing between them and Berlin and most of Berlin's defenders had been sent East. The allies also thought about a parachute drop on Berlin.

    It is likely that Berlin could have been taken by the Western allies cheaply and easily if Eishenhower had given the order. "

    I cant comment on the accuracy of the first statement. It does paralle another observation, that the Wehrmacht did not oppose the Brits or Yanks to nearly the same degree as the Red Army. Serious resistance was confined to pockets of fanatics. So while Berlin itself would have its SS & others fighting to the end the approach would be far easier as the bulk of the comon German soldiers in March-April 1945 were prone to surrender rather than fight.

    Are there any reliable numbers for Soviet infantry casualties in the final weeks fighting approaching to & in Berlin?

    From April 16 to May 8 Max Hastings in his book 'Armageddon-The Battle For Germany 1944-1945' gives a figure for the fronts of Konev, Zhukov, and Rokossovsky as 352,425 casualties with over 100,000 dead. Hope this helps.

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  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    "There was nothing between them and Berlin and most of Berlin's defenders had been sent East. The allies also thought about a parachute drop on Berlin.

    It is likely that Berlin could have been taken by the Western allies cheaply and easily if Eishenhower had given the order. "

    I cant comment on the accuracy of the first statement. It does paralle another observation, that the Wehrmacht did not oppose the Brits or Yanks to nearly the same degree as the Red Army. Serious resistance was confined to pockets of fanatics. So while Berlin itself would have its SS & others fighting to the end the approach would be far easier as the bulk of the comon German soldiers in March-April 1945 were prone to surrender rather than fight.

    Are there any reliable numbers for Soviet infantry casualties in the final weeks fighting approaching to & in Berlin?

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  • Parasocko
    replied
    Could the Russians effectively counter the allied heavy and medium bomber force, which in the event of a east-west fight would probably had B29s added to the order of battle, not to mention 2 atomic weapons becoming available during the summer. How would nuking Minsk effect the battle, tactically and strategically?

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  • piero1971
    replied
    Originally posted by No_Nickname View Post
    But which side had the better planes and the better pilots
    the western allies, but then that is not a clean swift thing... the time the skies are clean of Soviet air, Soviet ground forces are on the channel...

    but we are off thread.

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  • No_Nickname
    replied
    But which side had the better planes and the better pilots

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  • grognard
    replied
    The Russians had plenty of airpower to take on the western air forces. Mustangs agaionst Yak 7s and 9s is no pushover either way.

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  • thejester
    replied
    Originally posted by revans View Post
    The Russians earned and deserved the right to take Berlin but I don't think they were unstoppable. They had never seen an airforce like the Allies possessed, so if there was a falling out, I think that the western Allies would have more than held their own.
    And the Western Allies have never seen an Army like the RKKA .

    I think when considering this scenario people badly overestimate the influence of the Allied air forces. Throughout World War II, Korea and Vietnam Western air forces backed themselves to be able to stop enemy ground forces through interdiction campaigns and with a few exceptions uniformly failed. If the RKKA has time to mass properly, the damage will be done long before the Allied air forces can exert themselves in the fight - in the end their contribution will be to decide whether or not the RKKA can logistically complete the big encirclement battles of the remaining Allied armies once the initial push is complete.

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  • AdrianE
    replied
    There was a brief period of time when Berlin was essentially undefended. Two American divisions (83rd Inf and 2nd Arm IIRC) had reached the Elbe. Eisenhower gave the stop order.

    There was nothing between them and Berlin and most of Berlin's defenders had been sent East. The allies also thought about a parachute drop on Berlin.

    It is likely that Berlin could have been taken by the Western allies cheaply and easily if Eishenhower had given the order.

    See any of the books about the battle of Berlin for exact details.

    Interestingly Stalin had ordered that any American unit approaching Berlin was to be "accidentally" shelled to keep them out.

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