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Thread: What if? East Vs West 1945

  1. #121
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    For those saying the Soviets could have had trouble in this scenario, the argumentation of Jhon Mosier in the book Deathride seems to make a lot of sense. Mosier belives that the Soviets managed to advance in the way they did, because the opening of new fronts by the Western Allies, diversion of the LW and elite Heer units to the West, Lend-Lease and the bombing campaign. Contrary to the majority of the contemporany historians, Mosier puts the West, not the Soviets, as the decisive factor in Hitler's defeat. While Mosier is a controversial figure by it's interpretations, it seems he credibility in many things, like this article shows about Kursk: Battle of Kursk: Germany's Lost Victory in World War II

    I particularly like from Mosier's argumentation, and I belive that if one side needed more of the other, it was the the Soviets from the Western Allies than vice versa, opposite to what is usually belived. The Western Allies had a balanced aerial, naval and ground power to have a more favourable chance defeat Germany alone, or at least very likely defend themselfs (Britain) from it. While the Soviets would be in a more deeper hole by the factors I mentioned, there would also be another factor that would be the absence of the naval blockade of Europe. Germany would have the Western European industry functioning at full steam, while would consequentely meant that shortages of oil and raw materials would not exist by importations. Alternatively, had Germany had to fight the Western Allies alone, she would have to give to the Soviets substantial stuff she would need to fight the Western Allies, which would make it's situation unfavourable.

    Quotes from a reference:



    With hindsight it is hard to avoid the conclusion that after the defeat of France Germany would have done better to adopt a defensive posture, consolidating its position in Western Europe, attacking British positions in the Mediterranean and forcing the British and the Americans to bomb their way onto the Continent. Given that the Red Army ultimately proved to be the nemesis of the Wehrmacht, this is hard to deny. But what is too often ignored in such counterfactual arguments is the grow-ing awareness in Berlin that, even after the occupation of Western Europe, Germany did not have the upper hand in a long war against Britain and America. The chronic shortage of oil, the debility of the European coal mines and the fragility of the food chain, made it seem unlikely that Germany would in fact be able to 'consolidate' its conquests of 1940 without falling into excessive dependence on the Soviet Union. Even if this were possible, the combined manufacturing capacity of Britain and America vastly exceeded the industrial capacity currently under German control and this, in turn, spelled disaster in a protracted air war. The German army, on the other hand, had proved its ability to achieve decisive victory against what were thought to be the strongest armies in Europe. When we bear this range of factors in mind it is easier to appreciate why a defensive strategy seemed like a second-best in the autumn of 1940. After the defeat of France, the dream of a gigantic land empire seemed within reach, and, given the industrial strength looming on the other side of the Atlantic, there was no time to waste.
    The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, page 420.

    The territories that Germany had conquered in 1940, though they pro-vided substantial booty and a crucial source of labour did not bearcomparison with the abundance provided to Britain by America. The aerial arms race was the distinctive Anglo-American contribution to thewar and it played directly to America's dominance in manufacturing.But though the disparity in aircraft deliveries was extreme it was notuntypical. A similarly vast gulf was also evident in relation to energysupplies, the most basic driver of modern urban and industrial society.Whereas the Anglo-American alliance was energy rich, Germany and itsWestern European Grossraum were starved of food, coal and oil.The disparity with respect to oil was most serious. Between 1940 and1943 the mobility of Germany's army, navy and air force, not to mentionits domestic economy, depended on annual imports of 1.5 million tonsof oil, mainly from Romania. In addition, German synthetic fuel fac-tories, at huge expense, produced a flow of petrol that rose from 4 milliontons in 1940 to a maximum of 6.5 million tons in 1943. Seizing thefuel stocks of France as booty in no way resolved this fundamentaldependency. In fact, the victories of 1940 had the reverse effect. Theyadded a number of heavy oil consumers to Germany's own fuel deficit.From its annual fuel flow of at most 8 million tons, Germany now hadto supply not only its own needs, but those of the rest of Western Europeas well. Before the war, the French economy had consumed at least5.4 million tons per annum, at a per capita rate 60 per cent higher thanGermany's. The effect of the German occupation was to throw Franceback into an era before motorization. From the summer of 1940 Francewas reduced to a mere 8 per cent of its pre-war supply of petrol. In aneconomy adjusted to a high level of oil consumption the effects weredramatic. To give just one example, thousands of litres of milk went towaste in the French countryside every day, because no petrol was avail-able to ensure regular collections. Of more immediate concern to themilitary planners in Berlin were the Italian armed forces, which dependedentirely on fuel diverted from Germany and Romania. By February1941, the Italian navy was threatening to halt its operations in theMediterranean altogether unless Germany supplied at least 250,000tons of fuel. And the problems were by no means confined to the Reich's satellites. Germany itself coped only by dint of extreme economy.In late May 1941, General Adolf von Schell, the man responsible for themotor vehicle industry, seriously suggested that in light of the chronicshortage of oil it would be advisable to carry out a partial 'demotoriz-ation' of the Wehrmacht. It is commonly remarked that the Luftwaffe suffered later in the war because of the inadequate training of its pilots,due in large part to the shortage of air fuel. But in 1941 the petrol shortage was already so severe that the Wehrmacht was licensing itssoldiers to drive heavy trucks with less than 15 kilometres of on-roadexperience, a measure which was blamed for the appalling attrition of motor vehicles during the Russian campaign. Shortages made them-selves felt across the German economy. So tight were fuel rations thatin November 1941 Opel was forced to shut down production at itsBrandenburg plant, Germany's largest truck factory, because it lackedthe petrol necessary to check the fuel pumps of vehicles coming off theassembly line. A special allocation of 104 cubic metres of fuel had to bearranged by the Wehrmacht's economic office so as to ensure that therewere no further interruptions.
    Page 410.

    The reason I did such comparison with Germany is that I belive that the Soviet Union, while strong militarly, was not so strong as usually claimed it was. This does not necessarily meant the Western Allies would have defeat it easily in this scenario, but it means it would not be so simple for the Soviets do that with the Western Allies, that were comparable in strenght with a fully "active" Nazi Germany, which never existed just by their presence, and was capable of at least bring a stalemate to them.
    Last edited by Jenisch; 10-04-2012 at 12:33 PM.

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenisch View Post
    Perhaps the Japanese surrender would be a problem in this scenario. Despite the nukes, they were prepared to resist an invasion, and the Allies obviously would be unable to launch an invasion of Japan in this scenario. The Soviet entering in the war against Japan was a profound shock to the Japanese. The planners of Unthinkable considerated the possibility that the Japanese might become allies of the Soviets. The Japanese probably would have accepted some conditional surrender from the Allies, since it preserved the power of the Emperor. However, had the Allies insisted in unconditional surrender, the Japanese would try to save their skin, and that could have lead to an alliance with the Russians.
    Though Japan had troops throughout its “empire”, it was essentially defeated and could be quarantined with a relatively small force. But I agree a conditional surrender might well have been possible on terms not much different than those imposed during the occupation.

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by drgondog View Post
    Also Do not discount the zeal that former Wermacht and LW veterans may have joined the West.
    Talk about "idle speculation". There is absolutely no way to predict what the Western allies might have done if the German military (or what was left of it) offered its services to them in the context of a WW3 breaking out in 1945. Actually, I have no problem with idle speculation (since is what this entire thread is about), but there is probably less evidence to support this possibility than my earlier speculation that the USSR could have pushed well into western Europe and possibly caused a repeat of the situation in 1940. You raised some good points about the comparative strength of the two sides' military and aviation assets, especially the role of supply, so I will retract my statement that the Wallies would be "swept aside". The Soviets would find the going tough - and for different reasons both sides would find their new enemies harder to defeat than the Germans they had been fighting in 1944-45. However, unless the US opted for the atomic option on the battlefield, I still suspect that, if the USSR really wanted to, they could have pushed the Wallies basically out of most of France.

  4. #124
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    Without conquer of the air Zoomar? I fail to remember a situation in WWII where the "victim" had a strong air force and was still defeated. And by stong air force, I mean an air arm capable of effectively take part in the fight - just the case of the Allies. The Allies had thousands of heavy bombers within the range of the Soviet supply lines, and they also had thousands of fighters and fighter-bombers, as well as tactical aircraft within the range of the Soviet lines. During Operation Barbarossa, the Soviets well tried to to launch counter-offensives, but the LW prevented them every time, by attacking the Russian supply lines and troops. While the VVS in this scenario would not be as incompetence as 1941, certainly a good fight would be ensured, which consequentely would not bring immediate results in the ground. Also, troops in the defensive role have a force mutiplier. This can be clearly perceived with the Western Allies and Soviets taking months to advance against the Germans, despite their numerical superiority and the fact the Germans practically didn't have an air force anymore.
    Last edited by Jenisch; 10-04-2012 at 01:16 PM.

  5. #125
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    Jenisch, I see your point, but the VVS was infinitely better equipped and trained in 1945. By saying the VVS of 1945 was just "not as incompetent" as in 1941 implies it was still incompetent. You can't compare how the VVS fared in the Barbarossa surprise assault to the modern VVS on offensive in 1945. Soviet frontal aviation (low-medium altitude fighters, ground attackers, and light/medium bombers) were fully equal to their Allied counterparts, and there was at least a numerical equivalence if not Soviet advantage. The only areas where the Allies would have had a clear technological advantage is in high-level strategic bombing, radar-equipped aircraft, and in the introduction of jet aircraft (all of which might not have an immediate effect on the ground). And of course nukes, but let's assume they are not used - since this changes everything. I agree that a Soviet invasion of western Germany and France in 1945 would have been fought under contested skies. But to say the Allies would have complete control of the air is wrong in my opinion.
    Last edited by zoomar; 10-04-2012 at 01:45 PM.

  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoomar View Post
    Jenisch, I see your point, but the VVS was infinitely better equipped and trained in 1945.
    Imagine a stronger Luftwaffe. Would the Anglo-Americans be able to confront it? Yes. So...
    Last edited by Jenisch; 10-04-2012 at 06:45 PM.

  7. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoomar View Post
    Soviet frontal aviation (low-medium altitude fighters, ground attackers, and light/medium bombers) were fully equal to their Allied counterparts, and there was at least a numerical equivalence if not Soviet advantage. The only areas where the Allies would have had a clear technological advantage is in high-level strategic bombing, radar-equipped aircraft, and in the introduction of jet aircraft (all of which might not have an immediate effect on the ground).
    The only way the "Soviet frontal aviation" was the equal of their "Allied counterparts" with the exception of the low-medium altitude fighters, was if they were flying lend-lease aircraft. Sorry but that is the way it was. Best Soviet bomber in the Spring/Summer of 1945 was the Tu-2. There were perhaps 300 or less in service? Please do not quote "Wiki" bomb loads, that is not how they were used in service.
    PE-2s had performed much good work during the war but were under armed by wars end. Max bomb load of 1000kg was two 500kg or four 250kg bombs carried on external racks. Internal bomb load was six 100kg bombs. Four in the fuselage bomb bay and one inside each engine nacelle. PE-2 carried what most US single engine fighters could carry as a max load.
    AS for the IL-4, the idea of operating this aircraft in daylight doesn't bear thinking about. And forget the Wiki numbers. Early versions were good for a 1000kg bomb load over a range of 3585KM at 340kph (211mph), another 700km was possible by flying at 250kph( 155mph). The heavier bomb loads will cut into range/performance rather severely. Again the Soviets did a lot of good work with them but this is almost like the US trying to use a B-18 in 1945.
    IL-2s are slow and carry a small bomb load. Soviet rockets were much smaller than the Allied rockets. The IL-2 was very important to the Soviets because their single engine fighters were worth crap for ground attack. If they carried bombs at all it was a pair of 100kg bombs. 6-8 RS-82 rockets? Warhead was 0.585kg with 0.36kg explosive.
    The Russian 20mm round used a light projectile and carried a proportionally light explosive charge or had less penetration than western 20mm ammunition. Russian fighters carried lighter gun armament than western aircraft.
    They may have been effective in air to air combat against western fighters but their ground attack ability or ability to shoot down western bombers in the numbers needed is suspect.

  8. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoomar View Post
    Soviet frontal aviation (low-medium altitude fighters, ground attackers, and light/medium bombers) were fully equal to their Allied counterparts, and there was at least a numerical equivalence if not Soviet advantage.
    As I have stated before, there were several very high performing low altitude fighters available to the allies. In addition, since there was a clear high alitude advantage of the allied fighters, every time a Soviet aircraft took off he would have to watch high because there would be a untouched enemy just waiting to make a high speed attack.

    Another question that needs to be answered is how would the Soviet advances in '43-'45 been affected if the Germans could have replaced their losses in manpower and materiel as the western allies would be able to do against the soviets.

  9. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by davparlr View Post
    As I have stated before, there were several very high performing low altitude fighters available to the allies. In addition, since there was a clear high alitude advantage of the allied fighters, every time a Soviet aircraft took off he would have to watch high because there would be a untouched enemy just waiting to make a high speed attack.
    Someone has the numbers of Soviet fighter types? If I'm not wrong, by '45 their majority was still "common" Yak-9s, which Western aircraft had advantage.

    Another question that needs to be answered is how would the Soviet advances in '43-'45 been affected if the Germans could have replaced their losses in manpower and materiel as the western allies would be able to do against the soviets.
    The European Axis had conditions to at least have a stalemate with the Soviet Union. The Eastern Front was the most important front of the war in the sense that for achive victory, Hitler was counting with a Soviet collapse. The problem is that the view of a Red Army which practically won the war single-handely is becoming common, and does not represent the reality.
    Last edited by Jenisch; 10-05-2012 at 12:24 PM.

  10. #130
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    Basically in the Summer of 1945 the Soviets had Yak-9s of several types. Yak-3s and LA-5s &7s. Plus what ever lend lease fighters are airworthy. Lend lease fighters ( and bombers, A-20 and B-25s, etc) need 100/130 octane fuel. How many weeks/months supply do the Soviets have. Lend lease aircraft may need Western lubricants? They definitely need western spark plugs. Planes needed multiple spark plug changes before engine needed first overhaul. Soviets could probably make a spark plug that would work but every US or British spec spark plug made is a Soviet spark plug not made. US and British Spark plugs may use a different thread dia and pitch let alone heat range.

  11. #131
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    The soviets would have suffered enormous losses due to the western allies fighters and fighter bombers. Even tough the soviets had some well proven low altitude aircraft - as said before they would have been pounced on by P51's. Then the jet fighters could also be brought to bear - which the soviets had nothing to combat.
    So even though the soviet ground forces were by this time well drilled and well equipped and motivated, unles they moved at night in in very poor weather - they would be badly mauled before they got far.
    Also western tanks etc were being brought on line that would equal things up on the ground. The centurian was being delivered in 1945 and was the equal of most soviet offerings of the day.

  12. #132
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    This is a hypotetical Cold War scenario. Cold War is not my area , so gonna ask: assuming the Soviets as agressors, it can be compared to other periods of the Cold War? I ask because the Soviets always had advantage in manpower, as well as numbers of armor and tactical aircraft, and I never heard that NATO would be doomed in a Soviet offensive.
    Last edited by Jenisch; 10-05-2012 at 08:15 PM.

  13. #133
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    There are numbers and there are numbers.

    In this scenario the Soviets are not really self sufficient yet. On their way but not there and a certain percentage of their strength is lend lease supplies which would run out fairly quick. A cold war scenario even a few years later would see the Soviet forces 100% home grown and supplied. It would also see partially restored rail lines and other transport networks in better shape making it harder for Western airpower to interdict supplies.

    During the early part of the cold war the west didn't realize ( or if it knew, did not publicly admit) that some of the soviet weapons suffered a much lower serviceability than western designs and they needed much larger numbers in order to ensure the same number of operational units. Each unit was much cheaper so it requires some careful study to figure out the actual differences in numbers and costs. Say for instance that the Russian tanks would suffer about 40% blown clutches in 4-5 days if hard driving. Each tank is cheaper than a western tank and clutches aren't that expensive in parts (man hours though?) compared to automatic transmissions. But if the Western tanks run longer between major breakdowns how do you compare numbers?
    Many Soviet jet engines had a very short overhaul life but again they were cheap, Soviet practice was to run the engines for a short period of hours and then swap the engine for a fresh one and send the old one back for a factory rebuild instead of the low level maintenance that many western units would perform at the local level on their more expensive engines. As long as there are enough spare engines ( and airframes) to keep the sortie rate up and the logistics train to get the engines back to the service point and fresh engines to the forward units all is well.
    It is a different way of thinking but 500 western aircraft or tanks are actually a bigger "number" than 500 Soviet tanks or aircraft because more of the soviet equipment will be out of service at any given time (after the first few days of a planned attack) Soviet equipment is cheaper so they can afford more to begin with.

  14. #134
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    Shortround6, what is your view of the Lend-Lease for the Soviet-German front? There's a good number of respectable historians who claim it helped considerably, but was not decisive for the Soviet capability to defeat the Germans.

    Something about LL aircraft:

    Robert Huhn Jones, in his study of Lend-Lease, tabulates 1663 Allied aircraft delivered to the Soviets by 1 November 1942—which he notes exceeded the number of modern Soviet-built aircraft used at Stalingrad.2 One of the greatest difficulties in assessing the Lend-Lease contributions to Russia is the lack of information about the Soviet employment of these aircraft. However, German sources have stated that after the spring of 1942 American and British aircraft were particularly noticeable on the Leningrad and Kuban fronts and that, on the latter, Allied aircraft sometimes outnumbered those built by the Soviets.
    For the bombing:

    Moreover, the Germans, who were subjected to and could assess both Soviet and Western applications of air power, not only regretted their inability to cope with the Anglo-American strategic bombardment but saw their lack of such a capability as a decisive factor in their defeat in Russia.9
    Soviet Air Power and Victory in World War II

    In the last quote, I found a connection with this scenario. Apparentely, the Germans were confident that they had a realistic chance of at least stop the Russians, but the bombing prevented this. Again, if we put this factor in the equation, it can be seen that the "unstoppable" Red Army was perhaps not so strong as usually claimed. The Red Army's success late in the war own at least a significant part to the West. This includes German and other Axis troops allocated to other theaters, the majority of the LW, some elite Panzer and infantry divisions that packed a lot of firepower, and the bombing.

    Personally, I belive that Churchill was correct: the Russians should not have been trusted and armed in the way they were. The Allies went to the war to defend Poland, and in the end the same Poland fell behind the iron curtain. Had they not have been, perhaps Operation Unthinkable would be "Operation Plausible".
    Last edited by Jenisch; 10-05-2012 at 11:04 PM.

  15. #135
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    The question of lend lease is a difficult one because it is hard to get a good single source of what was actually shipped/received by the Russians. Tanks and Aircraft are actually a rather small part of the picture.

    My opinion, for what it is worth, is that lend lease was decisive in the defeat of the Germans.

    See this web site, perhaps it is not accurate or is post war propaganda? or there may be double entries ( same product listed in two places?)

    Complete List of Lend Lease to Russia including atomic materials

    The west supplied over 450,000 motor vehicles and according to another web site by 1945 L-L trucks were about 30% of the truck park in 1945. cut supply to the troops by 30% and see how far the Russians would have advanced.

    This sentence from the article you linked to is an indication of the problem "The $11 billion of Lend-Lease also provided raw materials, foodstuffs, and technical assistance vital to Soviet sustenance and production." in that it glosses over the raw and not so raw materials supplied. Almost 400 million pounds of insulated copper wire, over 5.4 million pairs of boots/shoes, see page for of the list for the amount of steel sent to the Russia.

    The Russians may not have needed lend lease to stop the Germans and hold them. They needed lend lease to push them back and enter eastern Europe.

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