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What if Belgium and the Netherlands join the Allies in the war against Germany?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Gooner View Post
    What 'frenzied scramble to boost production'?
    The one that involved the appointment of Beaverbrook (amongst other things). As you pointed out, it takes time to translate such activity into actual increases, but the fact is that Churchill's government recognised that there was surplus capacity that needed to be exploited even if you don't.
    Signing out.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      By tossing in a few more inf divsions of the GU Reserve Strategique that were close to zones 2 & 3 a total of 15 inf divsions can be made available for the notional Longwy to Liege zone. If the usual ratio of reserve to line is maintained (33%) you get 12 km per inf div. This is about the same as the overall coverage of all four zones. But it is much better than the average of the weak zones 2 & 3 of 18.75 km per div.
      Excellent stuff.

      Apart from the ability to build a formidable frontier defence the big advantage for the Allies in this alt-hist. is that their mobile forces would likely be well positioned to counter-attack any break-in.

      BTW the BEF line from Wavre to N. of Louvain on the 15th May was 30,000 yards long and held by three divisions was felt to be thinly held. On the plus side they fielded over 18 artillery pieces and almost 8.5 anti-tank guns per Km.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by Gooner View Post
        Excellent stuff.

        Apart from the ability to build a formidable frontier defence the big advantage for the Allies in this alt-hist. is that their mobile forces would likely be well positioned to counter-attack any break-in.
        The Allied mobile or armored units were reasonablly positioned 10 May 1940. The preblem derived from the senior commanders misjudging how to use them. A lot of dithering and changes of orders. At least one corps commander seems to have been ignoring orders. Changing the French leaders is a different Alt Hist. & in this one you have the same fellows. A better contrived forward defense vs the unready mess of may 1940 can buy them some time, but at the end of the day (actually the wekk) they will still be hard pressed to cope. If they are lucky their soldiers will be able to attrition the Wehrmacht to the point of a another 'Miracle of the Marne' and the marshalls will get large medals for saving Paris. Alternately they will misjudge at some critical juncture and blow it anyway.

        Originally posted by Gooner View Post
        BTW the BEF line from Wavre to N. of Louvain on the 15th May was 30,000 yards long and held by three divisions was felt to be thinly held. On the plus side they fielded over 18 artillery pieces and almost 8.5 anti-tank guns per Km.
        That comes to roughly 27 km & 9 km per div. The AT gun density for the French may have been four per km, but my memory is not clear. 18 artillery pieces sounds high. If the divsions all had 72 field artillery pieces each that comes to 8 per km. I doubt there were 270 corps cannon backing three divsions. Perhaps the AT guns were included in the "18 artillery pieces"? That would leave 54 for corps artillery, which is a bit low.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
          The Allied mobile or armored units were reasonablly positioned 10 May 1940. The preblem derived from the senior commanders misjudging how to use them. A lot of dithering and changes of orders. At least one corps commander seems to have been ignoring orders. Changing the French leaders is a different Alt Hist. & in this one you have the same fellows.

          Dunno, the three French DLMs raced off to engage deliberately in an encounter battle, while the three DCRs had in effect the encounter battle imposed on them. This was type of battle the French were hoping to avoid where possible.


          A better contrived forward defense vs the unready mess of may 1940 can buy them some time, but at the end of the day (actually the wekk) they will still be hard pressed to cope. If they are lucky their soldiers will be able to attrition the Wehrmacht to the point of a another 'Miracle of the Marne' and the marshalls will get large medals for saving Paris.
          It may give the French greater ability to impose their tempo of the 'methodical battle'. The Germans will have to use their infantry, of which they have limited quantity of good divisions, to bust open the frontier defences, the counter of which will likely be formed around the numerous battaillons de chars and half-brigades. The DLMs and DCRs may well be kept back for a serious rupture. At least that's how I would play it!


          Alternately they will misjudge at some critical juncture and blow it anyway.
          Yep. The German command also had their moments of panic and dither though.


          That comes to roughly 27 km & 9 km per div. The AT gun density for the French may have been four per km, but my memory is not clear. 18 artillery pieces sounds high. If the divsions all had 72 field artillery pieces each that comes to 8 per km. I doubt there were 270 corps cannon backing three divsions. Perhaps the AT guns were included in the "18 artillery pieces"? That would leave 54 for corps artillery, which is a bit low.

          The Dyle line was divided into two corps, the intention was to add at least one more division into the line IIRC, and total corps arty support came from four Field, eight Medium and one Heavy artillery regiments. So about 456 pieces total (I miscounted earlier) or almost 17 per Km.

          French 55th Division had only about 3.3 A/Tk guns per Km.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Gooner View Post
            French 55th Division had only about 3.3 A/Tk guns per Km.
            True, but by the time any usefull number of tanks crossed the Meuse the 55th was already defeated. The 70+ artillery pieces in the 55ths sector were considerablly denser.

            I wonder what the density for the sector of the 18th Div was? They held out for nearly a day against tanks.

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            • #66
              I was going to start a seperate thread with this idea, but a quick search (it's your friend!) brought me to this discussion.

              Would the Netherlands and Belgium allowing the extension of the Maginot Line through their territory significantly change the outcome of 1940?

              When would the two countries have had to make the decision in order for the fortifications to be (more or less) ready in 1939?

              What would the German strategy for breaching an extended line have been?
              Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
                I was going to start a seperate thread with this idea, but a quick search (it's your friend!) brought me to this discussion.

                Would the Netherlands and Belgium allowing the extension of the Maginot Line through their territory significantly change the outcome of 1940?

                When would the two countries have had to make the decision in order for the fortifications to be (more or less) ready in 1939?
                This web site summarizes the extensive fortification system the Belgian built, and some of its flaws.

                http://niehorster.orbat.com/021_belg...ts-part_01.htm

                I would guess that had the French/Belgian military alliance continued the construction from 1935 would have been a bit different to accomodate links with the French army. Perhaps that would have been a better fortified zone in the Ardennes.

                Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
                What would the German strategy for breaching an extended line have been?
                Similar to what they used. Commandos, paratroops and gliders, massive airstrikes like that directed at the Belgian 7th Divsion on 11 May. If the intial assualt progressed just a bit slower then the heavy artillery would have caught up and joined with the main attack. The best infantry formations would have been required to assualt the critical points.

                The tank divsions/corps worked best agaisnt unready or badly led soldiers. A astute German plan would have avoided using them against the strongest defense, but quickly committed them to any local failure in the hope of creating a exploitable rupture.

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