Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

What if the US had gone to war in 1939?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    I wonder just how much the combat experince of 1940-41 (however limited) would have improved the quality of the US Military?

    Obviously direct & early fighting with the German submarines would be better than waiting until 1942 to make some serious mistakes.

    The flaws of the earlier aircraft designs would be better revealed. Ditto for tactics and doctrine.

    Participation in the 1940 European campaing and the subsequent African campaigns would percipitate many differences in US Army ground forces doctrine and training. Certainly dicipline and toughness of training would be less haphazard, with the Patton style of hard training much more common. Plus the tactics of techniques would be less theoretical and oriented more towards current combat experince.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rynnäkkökivääri
    replied
    War would have been over much faster, as they would mobilized faster. Keep in mind however, the military sucked back then due to the Depression, and the war helped us get out of it. So it sucking back then is a mute point, as the increased production would have brought the army (and economy) up to speed.

    However, there would have been less motivation. No Pearl Harbor means it was another person's problem. So morale may have been lower, however the material/physical goods would have reached the same/higher levels.

    Leave a comment:


  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    If the US is backing France prior to Sep 1, 1939 there would be no war. I don't think even Hitler would have been so stupid as to risk war with Britain,
    He was certaily stupid enough to opt for war with the US in December 1941. The books tell us Hilter called the US population a mogrelized race and thought the US incapable of serious war as the Europeans fought it. (In one sense I suspose he was right )

    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    France and the US over Poland. If the US is "undeclared" and Hitler makes the historical moves and is not waved off by the US name on the ultimatum then the US would be trounced along with the French and Brits in May 40.
    Yes certainly. The historical US military potiential for 1940 changes very little in the battle of France.

    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    On the positive side, by 1941 Hitler would have already lost the U-boat war and Britain would have a large US force based on the isalnd for a 1942 invasion or the US army could have been available for operations in Africa, tghus destroying the Italians early and preventing any worthwhile intervention by Rommel. It is questionable whether Hitler would have been able to invade the USSR with as large a force as he did. If he goes ahead with a smaller force the German military is probably nearly shattered in Russia and not able to recover its position by Mar 42.
    Worst case for Germany is US participation leads to the French government retreating to Africa. US & eventually British reinforcements go straight through NW African ports and on to Tripoli.

    Meanwhile several hundred US pilots and aircraft are added to the Battle of Britian, killing even more of Goerings aircrew even faster than they can be replaced.

    Originally posted by The Purist View Post
    If the eastern front cannot be stabalised in the summer of 1942 and the allies land in France Germany is finished by the end of the year or early 1943 at the latest.
    I'm sure Brooke would have something to say about a 1942 invasion of occupied France, and there would Balkan or Italian adventures to distract from the big event. You are correct tho. The crisis is over much sooner, and the end for the Facist dream happens quicker.

    Leave a comment:


  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post
    Isolationism? Is that possible when you still conduct trade with other Countries? It's certainly hard to call yourself isolated when you still take money.... I recently was told to throw out my notes on America as Isolationist.....
    Dont throw them out. But neither take it as gospel that the US voters would automaticly react against any forigen entanglements.

    Much of the lack of ethusiasim for supporting the European democracys in 1939 had to do with their lacklustre leaders. Chamberlain and Daladier, Halifax and Reynaud wore funny suits and had bad haircuts and did not grab the US population the same way Churchill or Stalin did.

    The isolationists were not a monolithic bloc, but a complex mix of differing agendas. Many who argued against joining a European war would abruptly argue for war if the enemy were Japan. Others had no sympathy for the Chinese, but were quite ethusiastic about fighting Facists in Europe.

    The America First organization and other groups were bankrolled by many prominent buisnesmen. Those found less incentive to support the isolationist politicians as nazi economic policys took hold over Europe, forcing US companys into doing business in Europe on increasingly less favorable terms.

    The complications in the US forigen policy debate of that era are endless and the sense of the US public not nearly as certain as some folks imagine.

    Leave a comment:


  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
    FDR probably would have lost the 1940 Presidential election. His Republican successor would almost certainly have been an isolationist...

    I think the war would have gone very badly...Particularly if it US intervention lead Hitler and Stalin to extend their non-aggression pact.



    In 1939-1940, the US public sentiment was still very isolationist. Had FDR gone to war in 1939...the Republicans would have run an isolationist candidate. The 1940 race was much closer than FDR's 1936 re-election...An unpopular decision to go to war and an isolationist opponent might have been enough to unseat FDR and cause the USA to become even more isolationist.
    A US declaration of war is made by Congress, not the President. So if the US declares war on Germany it is only because the various isolationist factions had become to weak to oppose such a action in Congress.

    Why would a US DoW against Germany cause the USSR to extend a nonagression pact? Into 1939 Stalin actively sought a alliance with France against Germany. The negotiations broke down for several reasons, including the Soviets thinking Britian and France too weak. US participation does not counter any of the reasons the USSR sought a alliance against Germany. In any case it was Hitlers decision in 1941 to break the non agression treaty and attack the USSR, and to declare war on the US. So if he sought war vs the US why would a earlier US entry change his decision as to attacking the USSR?

    Leave a comment:


  • Paul Mann III
    replied
    Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
    FDR probably would have lost the 1940 Presidential election. His Republican successor would almost certainly have been an isolationist...

    I think the war would have gone very badly...Particularly if it US intervention lead Hitler and Stalin to extend their non-aggression pact.



    In 1939-1940, the US public sentiment was still very isolationist. Had FDR gone to war in 1939...the Republicans would have run an isolationist candidate. The 1940 race was much closer than FDR's 1936 re-election...An unpopular decision to go to war and an isolationist opponent might have been enough to unseat FDR and cause the USA to become even more isolationist.
    Isolationism? Is that possible when you still conduct trade with other Countries? It's certainly hard to call yourself isolated when you still take money.... I recently was told to throw out my notes on America as Isolationist.....

    Leave a comment:


  • The Doctor
    replied
    What if the US had gone to war in 1939?

    FDR probably would have lost the 1940 Presidential election. His Republican successor would almost certainly have been an isolationist...

    I think the war would have gone very badly...Particularly if it US intervention lead Hitler and Stalin to extend their non-aggression pact.

    July 25, 2005
    How Willkie Ran, Lost and Helped Win the War
    By TODD S. PURDUM

    WASHINGTON, July 24 - It is June 1940. France has just fallen to the Nazis. A conservative, isolationist Republican Party, incensed at the prospect of a third term for Franklin D. Roosevelt, nominates a liberal, interventionist political newcomer named Wendell Lewis Willkie. His moderate candidacy gives Roosevelt the cover he needs to pass a draft, swap American destroyers for bases from a beleaguered Britain and win re-election by five million votes...LINK
    In 1939-1940, the US public sentiment was still very isolationist. Had FDR gone to war in 1939...the Republicans would have run an isolationist candidate. The 1940 race was much closer than FDR's 1936 re-election...An unpopular decision to go to war and an isolationist opponent might have been enough to unseat FDR and cause the USA to become even more isolationist.
    Last edited by The Doctor; 21 Jan 08, 14:50.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Purist
    replied
    Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg
    ...Another political variable is how the Allied negotiations in early 1939 with the USSR are affected by US participation. Would the US backing Frances position cause the USSR to decline their treaty with Germany?
    If the US is backing France prior to Sep 1, 1939 there would be no war. I don't think even Hitler would have been so stupid as to risk war with Britain, France and the US over Poland. If the US is "undeclared" and Hitler makes the historical moves and is not waved off by the US name on the ultimatum then the US would be trounced along with the French and Brits in May 40.

    On the positive side, by 1941 Hitler would have already lost the U-boat war and Britain would have a large US force based on the isalnd for a 1942 invasion or the US army could have been available for operations in Africa, tghus destroying the Italians early and preventing any worthwhile intervention by Rommel. It is questionable whether Hitler would have been able to invade the USSR with as large a force as he did. If he goes ahead with a smaller force the German military is probably nearly shattered in Russia and not able to recover its position by Mar 42.

    If the eastern front cannot be stabalised in the summer of 1942 and the allies land in France Germany is finished by the end of the year or early 1943 at the latest.

    Leave a comment:


  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Have been playing around with the mobilization schedules, training programs timeline, and production numbers a bit more. Projected them according to two time lines. One assumes the US starts mobilization and military production in the autum of 1939, as has been discussed above. The other starts the mobilization a bit earlier, triggered by the Cezch crisis and later German occupation of the entire Cezch nation. The latter mobilization I assumed would be slower as it would not be on a emergency basis. The main difference it seems to make is in the preperation for military production and the preperation for training new active service formations.

    Either way it is increasingly clear the Axis are in trouble much earlier in the war. I've not yet gone over the top by plotting curves or making up bar graphs. The numbers from Ellis & elsewhere show the US is able to field a military comparable in size & fire power in early 1943 as it actually did did in mid 1944. Some aspects like naval or perhaps airpower seem to mature much faster, ground forces a tad slower.

    Several varibles that could influence this are:

    1. More effcient distribution of resources amoung the Allies without the tricks of the Cash/Carry or later Lend/Lease policys.

    2. US ground & air combat experince in Europe start in 1940, vs very late 1942. And, naval combat experince, mostly vs submarines, starts in 1939 vs 1942. Different aspects will be accelerated at different rates so one has to consider differeces in Allied policy and strategy for assesing this.

    3. USN & the Battle of the Atlantic 1939-1941.

    4. A more coherent or coordinated Allied policy/strategy towards Japan.

    #3 is important as the transfer to US combat power to Europe is hindered or helped by the outcome of the battle against the submarines in 1940-41.

    Another political variable is how the Allied negotiations in early 1939 with the USSR are affected by US participation. Would the US backing Frances position cause the USSR to decline their treaty with Germany?

    Leave a comment:


  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    I dont know anything about what was in inventory in any warehouses. A accquaintance has been doing research on what was actually in the hands of the French Airforce. Here is the part about what France purchased from the US, which he passed on to me. He did not present this as a complete list, or as confirmed through alternate sources. Just the list as he had compiled early last year.

    Originally posted by Louis View Post
    Curtiss H-75. 200 ordered prewar, last ones assembled in September '39.
    135 A3s ordered in October '39, all shipped March-May '40, last dozen or so captured by the Germans on the assembly lines. 285 A4s (Wright engine) ordered March '40, 81 shipped before the armistice, 30 or so assembled and flown to North Africa, none served in combat units. The Wright engine was found unsuitable for fighters, so some of the airframes received P&W engines (i.e. A3 version).

    Curtiss H-81 (P-40): something like 500 ordered, deliveries would have started in July or August.

    Douglas DB-7: 100 ordered in February 1939 and another 170 in October. First contract finished shipping in late April but assembly was delayed due to the lack of critical component (this would also be a problem with British-purchased U.S. aircraft). At the time of the armistice and in round numbers, the French had assembled 70 or so with an additional 45 or so in assembly or in transit. 14 were lost in combat, a very high number considering that they weren't engaged for long. These early versions lacked armor and self-sealing tanks. IIRC others were on order but I forget how many.

    Glenn-Martin 167F: 115 ordered prewar, 130 ordered in late '39 for delivery by Summer 1940, 200 GM-187 (that one was the Baltimore in RAF service) ordered for delivery starting in October 1940. over 200 shipped by the time of the armistice, of which 30 still in crates, others in assembly. 40 or so lost from all causes.

    North American NA-57 trainers, prewar contract of 200: all shipped and assembled, second contract of (no time to look this up) 111 shipped, no time to look up how many were assembled, certainly not all as the last shipments left NYC May, 28th. Around 140 were still around in Vichy France and colonies, plus losses plus whatever number was captured by the Germans.
    As far as I can tell from the text all these were manufactored post order rather than drawn from a inventory. The total on this list is something between 1700 to 1800 aircraft ordered during 1939 and the first four months of 1940. I suspect there were others possibly training models that were in addition to this.

    What is the signifigance of these numbers? My old standby, Ellis's 'Brute Force' gives in Table 41 of the Statistical Appendix total US aircraft production for 1940 as 3,806 of which 1785 were combat aircraft. 1939 is not given for the US. Although it was probablly less than the 1940 production I'll assume for the moment it was similar. So, French orders ammounted to at least half of the US combat aircraft production in 1939/1940. Probably more. The British also ordered aircraft from the US, tho I dont have any friendly Brits feeding me those numbers. The most important aspect of all these orders has little to do with the outcome ofthe battle of France. What all these aircraft orders did was trigger the expansion of th US aircraft industry a year sooner than orders by the US government would. I dont have numbers at hand here, but can say that US oders for combat aircraft for 1939 were increased some over previous years, but not in any order of magnitude.

    Now, refering back to Ellis the US combat aircraft production is shown as:

    1940 - 1,785 2,885

    1941 - 8,531 957 2,561

    1942 - 23,396 4,695 3,440

    1943 - 53,343 23,807 4,667

    1944 - 73,876 33,179 5,041

    The second column is US aircraft in "front line service" and the third is German aircraft in combat service. These are as of December of each year.

    One might think that the US entry in 1939 would set this production schedule ahead by roughly one year. In the short run it does not mean much due to trade offs between the US taking more of the early 1939-1940 production and the French/Brits less. Plus there are the training of pilots and provision of grounds support to take care of.

    The acceleration becomes significant as the production of 1942 becomes available, to a USAAF that has been in the fight two years. In other words the Allies have opportunity to accelerate the attrition of the Luftwaffe a full year earlier.

    I suspose one can do the same with all other types of US production. However there will be some distortions.

    1. The US will not enter the war fighting Japan, so while much of the US fleet will remain in the Pacific to watch Japan a fair portion will be available to sink submarines and chase surface raiders in the Atlantic, or fight the Italians in the Med.

    2. The US starts accquiring combat experience much earlier. Precisely what this means I'll leave open to debate, but suggest it wont be a bad thing.

    3. Cash & Carry supply to the Allies would be replaced by a more effcient system. Again this may not mean much to the battle for France, but it has implications for the African/Med theatre and for the USSR.

    4. Development of the A bomb starts as much as year earlier.
    Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 10 Jan 08, 23:38.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Purist
    replied
    Back to the main thread for a moment....

    If the US did become involved in 39 it would mean that the materiel purchased from the US (P-75 Hawks, etc) would probably have been retained for the US forces. As these forces would still be small and under or ill-equipped in 1940 I think it would have created additional problems for the French airforce in the spring of 1940.

    The benifit of the 1939-40 "Cash and Carry" policy of the US government was that it did clear a lot of old inventory from the US warehouses and did expedite delivery of newer aircraft such as the P-38 and P-40.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Purist
    replied
    I suppose the answer to the above would come down to how the French planned on supplying whatever forces made it overseas. With the supply bases and factories under German control there are no spares, no new production, POL would be a problem until the LOCs were redirected.

    Continued French resistance overseas may have forced the Germans to push on into Tunisia while the initiative was still their's and Spain may have become involved in exchange for Gibraltar and Morocco (for example). I think it all still ends badly for France and the allies but the fight may delay Barbarossa which would work to the USSR's advantage.

    Leave a comment:


  • Carl Schwamberg
    replied
    Taking this beyond the battle of France; The French leader Renaud was not ready to give up. He briefly considered the Brittany redoubt proposal. His mistress did not care for the Breton hotels, and Renaud and his military advisors had serious doubts about the ability to set up a defense before the Germans arrived.

    Renaud also proposed the removal of the government to Africa. France had a sizable army there, the ports were adaquate for the navy, and there were modern civil and military airfields adjacent to allthe cities. More ever the French airforce was already evacuating its best aircraft to Africa and optimistic about getting all of them away. (A pity they could not have been as efficent at attacking the Germans.) Large orders of munitions and equipment from US industry were enroute to Europe and would be available to rebuild the French military in Africa. There were contracts with US shipyards for maintinace on French navy ships.

    All this would be strengthend were the US allied with France, providing a incentive to the other French leaders to support Renauds proposal. So assuming Renaud can badger enough French government Ministers, Generals, elected Deputies and whatever, into flying off the Algiers what then?

    1. What remnants of the French military can be saved in the final weeks (and how long does it take for the Germans to secure & close all the ports).

    2. What are the short term effects of the French remnants remaining in the fight?

    3. What are the longer term implications?
    Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 06 Jan 08, 19:31.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Purist
    replied
    I do not think an AEF would have been put in the line at all but rather would have been placed in reserve. Had the US entered the war in Sep 39 there would not have been enough time to train and equip a fullly capable force in just eight months other than perhaps one corps sized unit with precious few AT, AA or armoured assets.

    The idea that it would have been used to back up the Ardennes also does not fit French strategic thinking in 1940. The deployment of both 9th and 2nd armies along with the four mech cav divs and other light infantry in the forest was considered more than adequate. Thus the role in reserve seems likely.

    The commitment of this corps could happen in one of two ways. Case one has it committed during the breakout from the Meuse in which case it would probably be quite roughly handled and either defeated in detail or driven back over the Somme. Case two would see it deployed in the front during the June battles where it would still be suffering from poor doctrine and lack of modern equipment. It would most likely have to beat a hasty retreat for the ports along with BEF II in early June or face the prospect of surrender.

    There is only one army that is going to defeat the Germans in 1940 and that is the French. If the 96 divisions of the French army cannot stand, nothing the ten British or four to six odd and indifferently equipped US infantry divisions could do would reverse that.

    The French campaign was not lost on the Meuse, at Gembloux or on the Somme, it was lost in the 1920s when training times were sacrificed to political infighting and the entrenchment of Methodical Battle in French military philosophy.

    Leave a comment:


  • johnbryan
    replied
    What if the impossible happened

    Erased and removed to a new topic.
    Last edited by johnbryan; 01 Jan 08, 20:51.

    Leave a comment:

Latest Topics

Collapse

Working...
X