Alternate history speculation & campaigns

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Mojko
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Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by Mojko » Fri May 11, 2018 9:02 am

I found some good sources for potential alternate history which would make very interesting campaigns for Order Of Battle:

What if the Italian Army was Good in World War 2?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHC7HuiLlaQ

What if Japan invaded the Soviet Union in World War 2?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQFZZo3A2no

What if Britain made Peace with the Germans in World War 2?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZSVp7iscWY

What if the Japanese Invaded Australia in World War 2?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpMkhTP_k6o

What if Germans never invaded Russia?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3r2-ycMy-U

Discuss and speculate! :D
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PoorOldSpike
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by PoorOldSpike » Sat May 12, 2018 1:36 am

Just my two cents-
1-Some Italian units were quite good.
2- Russian T-34's would have made mincemeat of the weaker Jap tanks.
3- If Britain had chummed up with Adolf he'd have been free to conquer Russia.
4- If the Japs had invaded Australia they'd never have got further than Darwin because their tanks would have been no match for Shermans.
5- If Adolf had never invaded Russia first he'd have been able to develop an atom bomb without interruption then take over Russia with it later.

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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by CoolDTA » Sat May 12, 2018 3:34 pm

1. I agree with Spike.

2. Yes, the Japanese tanks would have suffered, but the real effect would have been Soviets not been able to transfer the Siberians against the Germans.

3. Had Churchill died in that car accident in 1931, maybe Britain would have made peace with Germany in 1940? IMO this makes a very interesting what-if.

4. This would require a Japanese victory in the Battle of the Coral Sea and taking Port Moresby. Would still be very hard because of the limited resources of Japan.

5. There would not have been any Nazi A-bomb, but the Red Army would have paid Adolf a visit in 1942 (or 1943 at the latest).

kondi754
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by kondi754 » Sat May 12, 2018 5:08 pm

5. There would not have been any Nazi A-bomb, but the Red Army would have paid Adolf a visit in 1942 (or 1943 at the latest).
Some historians claim that already in 1941, 1-2 months later
evidence: grouping of troops just over the border, not defense but attack (large armored formations)
a significant number of NKVD forces, especially those escorting prisoners

CoolDTA
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by CoolDTA » Sat May 12, 2018 5:25 pm

kondi754 wrote: Some historians claim that already in 1941, 1-2 months later
evidence: grouping of troops just over the border, not defense but attack (large armored formations)
a significant number of NKVD forces, especially those escorting prisoners
True, I have read some of those claims. IIRC there was also the fact that the fast BT-7 tanks were much better suited to be used in Western and Central Europe (good roads and such) than in Soviet Union. Since the claims are somewhat debated I chose the more likely year of '42.

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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by TripleCP » Sun May 13, 2018 9:17 pm

The Italians had some tough units, but few people in the country were excited about Mussolini's imperial project.

The Japanese Army just didn't have the available manpower to mount another major land campaign until China surrendered (the Catch 22 of their war effort...they needed to acquire materials from either Siberia or SE Asia and the Pacific in order to sustain the war in China). The Red Army left enough troops to defend Siberia from a Japanese invasion, and the older tanks (T-26 and BT series) were adequate against Japanese armor. They might have snatched Siberian resources if the Soviet Union appeared on the verge of collapse, but once it was clear that the initial disaster of Operation Barbarossa did not lead to an anti-Soviet revolt and that the Red Army was able to keep mobilizing new armies to replace their losses the Japanese decided to stay out.

The Soviets would not have broken the pact with Germany unless conditions appeared ripe for revolution in the warring countries. They looked back to the various mutinies, strikes, and revolts that took place at the end of World War I and hoped for a repeat if the war dragged on. (This was not just their own wishful thinking, as Hitler delayed implementing a total war economy until after Stalingrad out of concern for the home front.) Soviet strategy emphasized preemptive attacks and counter-strokes against any invading force, which is why their forces were deployed so far forward. Zhukov later admitted that Red Army doctrine paid too little attention to defensive strategy in the pre-war years and the Red Army never really just waited in fortified positions for a German attack until Battle of Kursk (and even in that case there was a lot of debate at Stavka as to whether the Red Army should begin its planned summer offensives before Operation Citadel began or not).
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by kondi754 » Sun May 13, 2018 9:48 pm

It seems to me that the official Soviet sources are not worth much.
This is a country where until today no reliable assessment of the Second World War has been carried out, there instead of history still rule propaganda.
Zhukov isn't any authority.

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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by TripleCP » Sun May 13, 2018 10:34 pm

Not really convinced Soviet/Russian history engages in any more or less self-delusion than U.S or German, but there is no worse source than "Viktor Suvorov."
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by kondi754 » Sun May 13, 2018 11:06 pm

TripleCP wrote:Not really convinced Soviet/Russian history engages in any more or less self-delusion than U.S or German, but there is no worse source than "Viktor Suvorov."
You see, Zhukov is probably the hero of II world war for you, but it was an ordinary butcher whose only strategy was to send thousands of people to death in the fire of German machine guns.
I don't read Russian writers at all, I know who Suvorov is but I haven't read any of his books.

@TripleCP
I like to discuss with you, I think you have a lot of knowledge but this time you're wrong - the issue of the Soviet attack on Germany in 1941 was neither confirmed nor rejected.
Remeber that the Russians erased lost battles from history textbooks after the war and now they have returned to an uncritical look at their history at that time

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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by UweBlietschau » Mon May 14, 2018 1:04 am

I like to discuss with you, I think you have a lot of knowledge but this time you're wrong - the issue of the Soviet attack on Germany in 1941 was neither confirmed nor rejected.
Remeber that the Russians erased lost battles from history textbooks after the war and now they have returned to an uncritical look at their history at that time
This thesis has already been described in numerous literature (my University of Munich) 1st - Prof. Dr. Heydorn: Der sowjetische Aufmarsch im Bialystoker Balkon. (München 1989)
Also from the russian side we have one absolutly clear treatise - Павел Кудинов: Организация Западного фронта 1941 года (Москва 2009)
The soviet Stavka planned absoluty an attack Sommer 1942 ! The proof of both books is striking !!!
Please read it about this theme and stop to read unscientific Osprey magazines etc or net sources !!!

kondi754
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by kondi754 » Mon May 14, 2018 7:57 am

UweBlietschau wrote:
I like to discuss with you, I think you have a lot of knowledge but this time you're wrong - the issue of the Soviet attack on Germany in 1941 was neither confirmed nor rejected.
Remeber that the Russians erased lost battles from history textbooks after the war and now they have returned to an uncritical look at their history at that time
This thesis has already been described in numerous literature (my University of Munich) 1st - Prof. Dr. Heydorn: Der sowjetische Aufmarsch im Bialystoker Balkon. (München 1989)
Also from the russian side we have one absolutly clear treatise - Павел Кудинов: Организация Западного фронта 1941 года (Москва 2009)
The soviet Stavka planned absoluty an attack Sommer 1942 ! The proof of both books is striking !!!
Please read it about this theme and stop to read unscientific Osprey magazines etc or net sources !!!
Is this directed to me?

I agree that the attack in 1942 was sure.
I write only that there are voices that it could also have taken place in 1941.
My adversary writes that Stavka didn't plan such an attack at all, who is closer to the truth?

Perhaps you base your knowledge on Osprey, so don't judge others if you do not know them. Besides, I don't want such arrogant statements in my direction.
These are little-known experts so don't get so excited :wink:

Igor1941
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by Igor1941 » Mon May 14, 2018 8:59 am

The Russian archives of the Second World are closed until 2040, and the archives of the NKVD until 2050 ... Coincidence)))

kondi754
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by kondi754 » Mon May 14, 2018 9:57 am

Igor1941 wrote:The Russian archives of the Second World are closed until 2040, and the archives of the NKVD until 2050 ... Coincidence)))
That's what I'm saying, good point @Igor1941

TripleCP
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by TripleCP » Mon May 14, 2018 10:47 am

I don't think that I engage in hero worship of Zhukov but I would not agree that he was just a frontal assault butcher. Most professional military historians respect his strategic and operational skills while also critiquing his authoritarian command style as well as his stubborn persistence in the face of high casualties (this is apparently an old stereotype about Russian generalship as I've read accounts of General U.S. Grant being derided by contemporaries as a "bullheaded Suvoroff" - referring to Catherine the Great's most famous commander).

I don't know of any credible historian specializing in Soviet or German military history who gives the thesis that the Soviets were planning to attack Germany any credibility. To the best of my knowledge, even German generals like Guderian and von Manstein did not attampt to defend Barbarossa as a preemptive strike against an imminent Soviet threat (beyond the idea that the very existence of revolutionary Bolshevism was an intoerable menace). Time was on the Soviets side. Their relative strength to Germany would have continued to grow every year as the Nazi war machine became more and more dependent on materials shipped from the USSR. So if 1942 was a good year to strike, 1943 would have been even better.

You cite claims of "forgotten battles" i.e. unsuccessful offensives, presumably as argued by David Glantz. Although he's had a falling out with the Russian military establishment (prompted largely in his opinion by his publisher's unfortunate decision to title his study of the Rzhev campaign "Zhukov's Greatest Defeat: The Red Army's Epic Disaster in Operation Mars, 1942" just as a monument to the "Marshal of Victory" was dedicated near Red Square), he remains one of the most authoritative historians on the confilct. Glantz has no time for the arguments of Suvorov and like-minded historians, which he states are based on completely circumstantial evidence that appeals primarily to "anti-Communist conspiracy theorists" and "German apologists." The "smoking gun" of Suvorov's claim is a 15 May 1941 report by Zhukov (then chief of the general staff) and co-signed by Defense Commissar Timoshenko which argued for making preparations to conduct a spoiling attack against the German forces massing in Eastern Europe. The report was ultimately ignored by Stalin, who believed the Germans had too much common sense to start a war on two fronts.

I have to concur with Princeton's Dr. Jonathan Halsam that the hypothesis that Germany beat the USSR to the punch "would be comical were it not taken so seriously." Gabriel Gorodetsky, Hugh Ragsdale, Gerhard Weinberg, Roger Reese, and David Stahel all are completely dismissive of the notion. I have to admit I have a particular hostility towards it because of the amount of time I had to give to listening to it (mostly as a teacher's assistant during my university days). It's about as credible as claims that FDR knew the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor or that Eisenhower only went ahead with the landings in France because he feared Germany was on the brink of collapse and that the Soveits might beat him to Paris.

As to the supposed Soviet concentration in the West, it was mostly on paper. The Axis forces actually outnumbered the Red Army defenders in the western districts at the outset of the war. A lot of formations and material, yes, but mostly undermanned and poorly maintained. As Stahel writes: "In the western military district opposing Army Group Centre, mechanised corps averaged shortages of 75 percent in personnel and 53 percent in equipment...A report from 15 June 1941 stated that among the great mass of T-26s and BT models, 29 percent were in need of capital repair and 44 percent of lesser maintenance."

Archival research has been taking place for decades, and during the 1990s was overseen by Yeltsin-appointed historians eager to publish anything damning of the Soviet government (such as the Katyn Massacre docs).
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by Igor1941 » Mon May 14, 2018 11:03 am

The general decrease in the population of the USSR in 1941-45. - more than 52 million 812 thousand people. Of these, irretrievable losses as a result of the war factors - more than 19 million troops and about 23 million civilians. The total natural death rate of servicemen and civilians during this period could be more than 10 million 833 thousand people (including 5 million 760 thousand - dead children under the age of four). The irretrievable losses of the population of the USSR as a result of the war factors amounted to almost 42 million people
20mln. + 7mln. missing persons = 27 million Soldiers of the USSR
https://polkrf.ru/news/1275/parlamentsk ... tnyiy_polk

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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by Andy2012 » Mon May 14, 2018 11:54 am

UweBlietschau wrote:
I like to discuss with you, I think you have a lot of knowledge but this time you're wrong - the issue of the Soviet attack on Germany in 1941 was neither confirmed nor rejected.
Remeber that the Russians erased lost battles from history textbooks after the war and now they have returned to an uncritical look at their history at that time
This thesis has already been described in numerous literature (my University of Munich) 1st - Prof. Dr. Heydorn: Der sowjetische Aufmarsch im Bialystoker Balkon. (München 1989)
Also from the russian side we have one absolutly clear treatise - Павел Кудинов: Организация Западного фронта 1941 года (Москва 2009)
The soviet Stavka planned absoluty an attack Sommer 1942 ! The proof of both books is striking !!!
Please read it about this theme and stop to read unscientific Osprey magazines etc or net sources !!!
@UweBlietschau: Keep it civil. Discussion and debate is fine; belittling others is not.

@all: Keep in mind - you can debate history and be amateur historians, historical sources discussion is fine, too. But please dont mix it with politics and personal attacks, be respectful. This is a forum for a game, not your personal battleground.

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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by kondi754 » Mon May 14, 2018 12:57 pm

@TripleCP
I didn't write that I believe that Red Army was to attack the Third Reich in August/September 1941, but I don't reject such possibility
The Russians now make themselves victims of German aggression but in 1939-41 they pursued a very aggressive policy.
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was an alliance of two gangsters, it was only who will be beaten at the very end (i.e. demands to hand over the Danish Straits to Soviet control)
I think that Stavka overestimated the forces of the Red Army in 1941, a complete defeat of June/July 1941 fell on the Soviets unexpectedly.
I think you are manipulating statistics too, because from what I remember several Soviet mechanized corps were fully equipped with 800-1200 vehicles, and the number of modern medium and heavy tanks was in some units up to 50%
I think you're using arguments that we know now - bad training and supplies, tragic leaders and bad strategy, etc.
I think that the Soviet command didn't realize at that time how bad it really was.
I don't believe that the Soviets (and Stalin himself) were so naïve, I think that they had a well-thought-out and long-term policy that aimed at first the bleeding the bourgeois West. When these calculations failed and everything began to indicate that Hitler's next attack would be directed to the east, they began organizing their strike.
I saw maps and records of war games from the autumn of 1940 and spring 1941, where the Red Army staff's officers drew the exact directions of attack.
It was to run across the plains of southern Poland towards Wroclaw (Breslau) and Berlin, and the impact on the north towards the Baltic Sea (in order to cut off German troops grouped in East Prussia) was discarded due to unfavorable terrain for the development of large armored troops.
The question is: was the attack to be in 1942 or in 1941?
I repeat, I don't believe that Stalin and his commanders would be so stupid and believe Hitler that he will not attack, when it was obvious that he finally gave up the attack on Britain since winter 1940/41.

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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by TripleCP » Mon May 14, 2018 11:50 pm

@kondi754: I feel like this thread has been hijacked enough as it is so I'll keep it (relatively) brief. Ultimately this is all about a game and there will undoubtedly be some speculative scenarios that are more far fetched than others, though I imagine the attraction of a "What If Hitler Does Not Invade the USSR" would be a campaign path in which Germany builds up its naval and air forces for war with Great Britain and possibly the United States rather than just a variant of the war in the East with the Soviets as the aggressor.

The war games you mentioned have been known for years; like all war games, they are hypothetical (some more than others...I'm sure the US has run ones for invading Canada). The Red Army's general staff would have been very neglectful of its duties indeed if it did not conduct war game scenarios against a foe whose leader openly wrote of seizing and colonizing large tracts of their country (Hitler was not alone...the notion that Eastern Europe ought to be German-ruled was shared by many Wehrmacht officers who had served in Russia during World War I and the Russian Civil War).

You obviously are well-read and are entitled to your opinions, though I am a little baffled that you give such credence to a theory that is treated with derision by nearly all reputable historians of the Nazi-Soviet War. (David Glantz is a pretty dry author who is careful with his words, so that makes his remarks (linked) about the "Suvorov Thesis" (i.e. an unprovoked Soviet attack on Nazi Germany) all the more striking).

http://mr-home.staff.shef.ac.uk/rzhev/rzhev2.html

The Failures of Historiography: Forgotten Battles of the German-Soviet War (1941-1945)

“While many detailed Soviet works on the war display sound scholarship and are accurate, unfortunately the most general and most accessible to Western readers tended to be the most biased, the most highly politicized, and the least accurate. Even the soundest works have been vetted ideologically, and the authors have been forced to write their accounts with the narrowest of focuses. These realities undercut the credibility of these works (fairly or unfairly), permitted German historiography and interpretation to prevail, and, coincidentally, damaged the credibility of those few Western writers who incorporated Soviet historical materials into their accounts of the war. These stark historiographical realities also explain why, today, sensational, unfair, and wildly inaccurate accounts of aspects of the war so attract the Western reading public.”*

*For example, see Viktor Suvorov (ne Rezun), Ledokol (Icebreaker) and Den'-M (M-Day), whose preposterous claims about blame for the war pervert history for political purposes and profit."
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by Igor1941 » Tue May 15, 2018 6:34 am

TripleCP wrote: The Failures of Historiography: Forgotten Battles of the German-Soviet War (1941-1945)

“While many detailed Soviet works on the war display sound scholarship and are accurate, unfortunately the most general and most accessible to Western readers tended to be the most biased, the most highly politicized, and the least accurate. Even the soundest works have been vetted ideologically, and the authors have been forced to write their accounts with the narrowest of focuses. These realities undercut the credibility of these works (fairly or unfairly), permitted German historiography and interpretation to prevail, and, coincidentally, damaged the credibility of those few Western writers who incorporated Soviet historical materials into their accounts of the war. These stark historiographical realities also explain why, today, sensational, unfair, and wildly inaccurate accounts of aspects of the war so attract the Western reading public.”*

*For example, see Viktor Suvorov (ne Rezun), Ledokol (Icebreaker) and Den'-M (M-Day), whose preposterous claims about blame for the war pervert history for political purposes and profit."
Repeat for ... This is the site of Putin's supporters, not "revisionists")))

Общее снижение численности населения СССР в 1941-45 гг. - более 52 миллионов 812 тысяч человек. Из них безвозвратные потери в результате военных факторов - более 19 миллионов военнослужащих и около 23 миллионов гражданских лиц. Общий естественный уровень смертности военнослужащих и гражданских лиц за этот период может составлять более 10 миллионов 833 тысяч человек (в том числе 5 миллионов 760 тысяч - мертвые дети в возрасте до четырех лет). Безвозвратные потери населения СССР в результате военных факторов составили почти 42 миллиона человек
20 миллионов . + 7 млн. пропавших без вести 27 млн. солдат СССР https://polkrf.ru/news/1275/parlamentsk ... tnyiy_polk

kondi754
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Re: Alternate history speculation & campaigns

Post by kondi754 » Tue May 15, 2018 8:04 am

@TripleCP
Do you think that the information about, for example, the Soviets forced civilians from liberated Ukrainian villages to attack the German resistance points on the Dnepr river defence line in autumn and winter 1943/44 also for lies?
It is estimated that about 200,000 Ukrainian men have been killed or injured in these suicide attacks. These attacks were used to recognize the German defense and cause the Germans to use large amounts of ammunition, so that the losses among the soldiers were lower.

Facts about forgoten battles:
As for the struggle at Rzhev it is also called: "the Rzhev-Sychevka meat mincer", which lasted for 15 months 1942/43.
The Soviets tried so hard to cover up this disaster that they even made Zhukov the author and performer of the successful Uran operation at Stalingrad, when he was never in Stalingrad because he oversaw the Mars operation on the central front at the same time.
Similarly, the first Jassy-Kishynov operation from April / May 1944 was removed from the Soviet history, because they got lost, among others from the Grossdeutschland division, whose tankers completely destroyed 2 (first) heavy IS-122 regiments (better known as IS-2)

You wrote about Katyn earlier.
Forgive me but I think that no one would admit to this crime in the current political situation in Russia. I think you know it. :wink:

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