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Re: 1939: France Nuetral. Britian & USSR Support Poland

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  • Re: 1939: France Nuetral. Britian & USSR Support Poland

    Discussing this elsewhere someone pointed out that Britian was more likely to sit out the start of the war than France. They claimed that Chamberlain was still attempting backdoor negotiations with Germany after January 1939; That the British negotiators were the largest obstacle in the three way discussions between the USSR, France, and Britian in early 1939; And that a significant minority in the British Parliment were opposed to declaring war on Germany in September 1939.

    So, assume Britian drops out of the alliance negotiations in early 1939, but that Stalin decides to support France rather than Germany. In the first week of September 1939 France and the USSR both declare war on Germany and announce military aid to Poland. Assume also:

    A. That as part of the agreement a promise is wrung out of the French politicians that France will begain significant offensive operations not later than sixty days after the start of mobilization. The French General Gemelin & the head of the airforce Vullimen are directed to alter mobilization plans accordingly (or to resign).

    B. German gov. becomes aware of this alliance some months before the attack on Poland. Appropriate plans could be made to deal with the situation.

    C. The USSR begains secretly preperatory mobilization a couple weeks before the shooting starts.

    How does this alter the situation for each side and what are the likely short term military outcomes in 1939-1940?

    How much longer might Britian sit out the war?

  • #2
    Well, an interesting scenario. David Glantz for one says that if the USSR fought Germany in the mid 30's they would have whooped them huge.

    So, lets see a USSR/Poland/Czhech coalition beat the crap outta Hitler....

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Emil_G View Post
      Well, an interesting scenario. David Glantz for one says that if the USSR fought Germany in the mid 30's they would have whooped them huge.

      So, lets see a USSR/Poland/Czhech coalition beat the crap outta Hitler....
      I suspect that the Germans be defeated and that the Czechs and Poles would still end up occupied by the Soviets.
      "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
      George Mason
      Co-author of the Second Amendment
      during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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      • #4
        Germany's not going to be ruling the continent that's for sure. Il Duce is likely to make the best choice he ever didn't by not openly backing Hitler. I would expect some early victories, but panzers will probably never threaten Stalingrad, Leningrad, or Moscow.

        If Chamberlain stay, there's no reason for the Brits to involve themselves (directly) in another continental war... until they see the Soviets moving westward. They might decide the time is right to end German ambitions permanently and go in with France... just to short the commies all of central Europe.
        If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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        • #5
          So far three opnions for a 1939 Franco/Soviet alliance being worse for Germany. This implies Britian was not very usefull as a ally from 1939 to 1942?

          In 1939 the Purge of the Soviet military was well underway. I dont know if it had yet extended below the generals ranks into the level of regiment and battalion commanders by September 1939. If it is halted and the trained midlevel officers preserved that implies a possible improvement in the ability to kill enemy soldiers at the tactical level. Conversely Glantz and Pleshakov tell us that by 1939 the RKKA had its doctrine reverted to the older concepts of the 1920s. The doctrines for combined arms, mechanization, and mobile warfare formed in the Tugachevsky era had been throughly discarded. The motorized or mechanized corps had been disbanded and the tank divsions broken up. This implies any Soviet combat force would be fighting the Germans with operational methods no better than the Poles.

          There also a question of how large a force the USSR could mobilize in 1939. Were there as many trained & equipped divsions available in 1939 as in 1941?

          How well prepared was the RKKA & Soviet airforce for supplying operations into Poland. Would there be logistics problems advancing to Warsaw?

          On the opposite side would the Geman Navy be of any use vs France durng these early months of 1939-40?
          Last edited by Carl Schwamberg; 22 Feb 08, 08:06.

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          • #6
            Carl, oh man I could have exact answers to these questions if I went back into my Glantz books, but I'm too lazy. He definitely does say that the RKKA of 1939-41 left a lot to be desired, especially after the Finnish debacale, but at the same time he says that the effects of the purges and restructuring were so severe that even if Barbarossa happened ONE YEAR earlier, it would have made a difference.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Emil_G View Post
              Carl, oh man I could have exact answers to these questions if I went back into my Glantz books, but I'm too lazy. He definitely does say that the RKKA of 1939-41 left a lot to be desired, especially after the Finnish debacale, but at the same time he says that the effects of the purges and restructuring were so severe that even if Barbarossa happened ONE YEAR earlier, it would have made a difference.
              Well get off your ..... and get to work. Answers are needed here!

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              • #8
                Well I can answer the question about the numbers of divisions b/w '39 and '41: No, of course there weren't as many divisions, but that's mainly because the huge mobilization of 1941 created many, many new divisions. They were all fresh out of basic and minimally armed however (Just Mosins and Maxims, more or less). So, in 1939 the numbers were much lower, but it was a professional, standing army, one that when properly led and equipped could produce great results as evidenced by the victories in the far east that year. Also, while maybe not a huge task, the broken-up Polish army was also beaten, but there were already some logistical problems manifesting themselves during that campaign, as far as I know.
                Last edited by Emil_G; 22 Feb 08, 20:54.

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                • #9
                  WW2 is likely contained to Germany and Poland. Finland may decide to go in while the Soviets are busy, chasing after the Greater Finland idea (I don't personally like or dislike that idea). Italy probably joins in too. What happens next I don't know, it depends on if Stalin gets his armies together. The Balkans probably will sit this out, unless somebody provokes them.
                  http://chickencrap.com/images/1472.jpg

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Rynnäkkökivääri View Post
                    WW2 is likely contained to Germany and Poland. Finland may decide to go in while the Soviets are busy, chasing after the Greater Finland idea (I don't personally like or dislike that idea). Italy probably joins in too. What happens next I don't know, it depends on if Stalin gets his armies together. The Balkans probably will sit this out, unless somebody provokes them.
                    In the case of a British/Soviet alliance the war may verywell be confined to the east. Of course I am not excluding French entry later, as their army is reformed and prepared.

                    In the case of my second premise of a French/Soviet alliance the war clearly is taken up in the west. Although the French may be no more aggresive in the first months than historically. However defeats suffered by the Poles and Soviets will pressure the French into action as winter 1939 advances, and the Germans may try interrdicting French mechant ships with their submarines and surface ships.

                    As a minor question, what might the Graf Spee be ordered to do? Could it remain in the Pacific and purchase supply if free of British pressure? Or would it still be forced to make a run for home? Would the French fleeet have any ability to intercept it, or intercept any of the armed merchant raiders the Germans sortied in 1939?

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                    • #11
                      Contemplating this Franco Soviet alliance (sans Britian) it actually looks rather bad for the USSR through 1940 & into 1941. While the Wehrmacht & air force of 1939 are not up to the standards of 1941 neither are the Soviet military forces. Fewer standing units, fewer reservists, very few of the new model tanks, aircraft, or cannon. The Purge is in full swing and the reorganization that eliminated the large mechanized combined arms corps just completed.

                      My (cursory) examination of the German military logistics of 1939 suggests offensive operations across a broad front could have been sustained all the way to the old Polish USSR frontier. By the spring of 1940 I'm estimating the Wehrmacht will have advanced through the Soviet frontier defenses and will be ready for sustained attacks across the Baltic States, White Russia, & the Urkraine. I also suspect that the long winter campaign and the necessity of a two front war will cause Germany to shift towards greater weapons production. More aircraft and other necessitys will be rolling out the factory doors than historically.

                      If the French wish to help their ally by drawing off Wehrmacht & air force units they must start offensive operations into the Rhineland towards the Ruhr. A bloody proposition. Waiting until 1941 when theri training program is completed and the new model tanks are in production is not a good choice.

                      On the upside the French will have a considerable number of medium bombers capable of striking the Ruhr. Historically France placed orders for a large number of aircraft with the US factorys. The bulk of these were high speed medium bombers with payloads of 1000 - 2000 kilos. Similar to those the USAF used to wreck the German railroads in the Ruhr & Rhine valley in January-Febuary 1945. A sustained campaign by French bombers in the Spring or summer of 1940 will draw the Luftwaffe back from the USSR. Again this will be a bloody proposition for the French, but to make it so the Luftwaffe will have to cut back substantially on operations in the east.

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