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Thread: Capabilities of the Western Allies to keep fighting without the USSR

  1. #16
    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    The only way would be Germany defeat the Soviets.

    I agree. But it's not a matter of "how" but "when"?



    Soviet defeat has to be after December 1941 if you want the USA to fight Germany. By December 1942 German victory is unlikely.

    I suggest May 1942 as that was probably high tide for German and Japanese military fortunes. The Red Army suffered a massive defeat at Kharkov during May 1942. Perhaps this plus Soviet defeats during 1941 will cause a military coup that takes the Soviet Union (what's left of it) out of the war. The provisional Russian Government signs Brest Litovsk II, which looks a lot like the 1918 treaty.

    This still leaves us with the question as to whether Britain and the USA would keep fighting without the Soviet Union. Most of the Wehrmacht was inside Russia. What would prevent the Heer from sending Army Group South and the supporting air fleet into the Middle East via Iran? Most of those nations including Iraq and Iran would be happy to align with Germany. Turkey might also.

    The German Government and especially Hitler had no desire to fight Britain or destroy the British Empire. 1942 Britain has no idea if or when the atomic bomb will work. Nor do they know whether Germany will build their bomb first. I think 1942 Britain would form a new Government (Churchill must leave) and make peace with Germany before Hitler changes his mind.

  2. #17
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    I don't know why the Russians would do this, since Hitler just wanted (and had actually taked most of) the more rich regions of the USSR. This "provisional government" would have no resources and prospect of susteinabillity. If the things become worst, the best thing for the Russians would be gain as much time as possible in order to the Western Allies do something. And in fact is was what they did, since Stalin was always putting pressure in the Allies to open new fronts.
    Last edited by Jenisch; 04-01-2012 at 09:51 PM.

  3. #18
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    Even if Germany had took Russia all the way to the Urals, I wonder about their ability to hold on to it long term.

    Because of their racial policies, and plundering, they had the amazing trait of being able to turn most conquered people against them.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by davebender View Post
    Britain will quit the war during 1940 and the USA will stay out entirely unless they are reasonably certain of military alliance with the Soviet Union. What has changed to cause an Anglo-USA military alliance vs Germany without Soviet military assistance?
    We've been here before. The fact that Britain was not forced out of the war in 1940 ensured not only that the USA stretched the boundaries of her neutrality for a couple of years but also guaranteed her entry into the European war after Pearl Harbour.
    I keep on saying this. Germany was always going to attack the USSR. This is has absolutely nothing to do with diplomacy and everything to do with nazi ideology. There was always going to be an alliance between the USSR and the Western allies,once Britain had survived,simply on the grounds that your enemy is my enemy. The assistance was from West to East for a substantial period,not the other way around,another point often overlooked. The North Atlantic convoys were a tough task and the merchant seamen (civilians) who lost their lives delivering nearly a quarter of the total aid to the USSR are also often overlooked.
    Germany tried to land two quick knock out punches,once in 1940 (BoF,BoB) and again in 1941 (Barbarossa) and on both occasions came up short. She was not prepared for a fifteen round slugging match with weightier opponents which she inevitably lost.
    Cheers
    Steve
    Last edited by stona; 04-02-2012 at 04:04 AM.

  5. #20
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    After a series of dramatic Nazi successes during the opening stages of Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, foreign observers predicted that Soviet resistance would soon collapse. By October, German troops were poised outside both Leningrad and Moscow. But the Germans were doggedly held off in front of Moscow in late November and early December, and then rolled back by a reinvigorated Red Army in a staggeringly brutal winter counteroffensive.


    That the Soviet victories of late 1941 were won with Soviet blood and largely with Soviet weapons is beyond dispute. But for decades the official Soviet line went much further. Soviet authorities recognized that the "Great Patriotic War" gave the Communist Party a claim to legitimacy that went far beyond Marxism-Leninism or the 1917 Revolution, and took pains to portray their nation's victories in World War II as single-handed. Any mention of the role that Western assistance played in the Soviet war effort was strictly off-limits.

    During Nikita Khrushchev's rule in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was a window of greater frankness and openness about the extent of aid supplied from the West under the Lend-Lease Act—but it was still clearly forbidden for Soviet authors to suggest that such aid ever made any real difference on the battlefield. Mentions of Lend-Lease in memoirs were always accompanied by disparagement of the quality of the weapons supplied, with American and British tanks and planes invariably portrayed as vastly inferior to comparable Soviet models.

    An oft-quoted statement by First Vice-Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars Nikolai Voznesensky summed up the standard line that Allied aid represented "only 4 percent" of Soviet production for the entire war. Lacking any detailed information to the contrary, Western authors generally agreed that even if Lend-Lease was important from 1943 on, as quantities of aid dramatically increased, the aid was far too little and late to make a difference in the decisive battles of 1941–1942.

    But since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a trickle of information has emerged from archives in Moscow, shedding new light on the subject. While much of the documentary evidence remains classified "secret" in the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense and the Russian State Archive of the Economy, Western and Russian researchers have been able to gain access to important, previously unavailable firsthand documents. I was recently able to examine Russian-language materials of the State Defense Committee—the Soviet equivalent of the British War Cabinet—held in the former Central Party Archive. Together with other recently published sources, including the wartime diaries of N. I. Biriukov, a Red Army officer responsible from August 1941 on for the distribution of recently acquired tanks to the front lines, this newly available evidence paints a very different picture from the received wisdom. In particular, it shows that British Lend-Lease assistance to the Soviet Union in late 1941 and early 1942 played a far more significant part in the defense of Moscow and the revival of Soviet fortunes in late 1941 than has been acknowledged.

    Particularly important for the Soviets in late 1941 were British-supplied tanks and aircraft. American contributions of the time were far fewer. In fact, for a brief period during December 1941, the relative importance of British aid increased well beyond levels planned by the Allies as a result of American reaction to the outbreak of war with Japan; some American equipment destined for the Soviet Union was actually unloaded from merchant vessels and provided to American forces instead.

    Even aid that might seem like a drop in the bucket in the larger context of Soviet production for the war played a crucial role in filling gaps at important moments during this period. At a time when Soviet industry was in disarray—many of their industrial plants were destroyed or captured by the advancing Nazi troops or in the process of evacuation east—battlefield losses of specific equipment approached or even exceeded the rate at which Soviet domestic production could replace them during this crucial period. Under these circumstances even small quantities of aid took on far greater significance.

    According to research by a team of Soviet historians, the Soviet Union lost a staggering 20,500 tanks from June 22 to December 31, 1941. At the end of November 1941, only 670 Soviet tanks were available to defend Moscow—that is, in the recently formed Kalinin, Western, and Southwestern Fronts. Only 205 of these tanks were heavy or medium types, and most of their strength was concentrated in the Western Front, with the Kalinin Front having only two tank battalions (67 tanks) and the Southwestern Front two tank brigades (30 tanks).

    Given the disruption to Soviet production and Red Army losses, the Soviet Union was understandably eager to put British armor into action as soon as possible. According to Biriukov's service diary, the first 20 British tanks arrived at the Soviet tank training school in Kazan on October 28, 1941, at which point a further 120 tanks were unloaded at the port of Archangel in northern Russia. Courses on the British tanks for Soviet crews started during November as the first tanks, with British assistance, were being assembled from their in-transit states and undergoing testing by Soviet specialists.

    The tanks reached the front lines with extraordinary speed. Extrapolating from available statistics, researchers estimate that British-supplied tanks made up 30 to 40 percent of the entire heavy and medium tank strength of Soviet forces before Moscow at the beginning of December 1941, and certainly made up a significant proportion of tanks available as reinforcements at this critical point in the fighting. By the end of 1941 Britain had delivered 466 tanks out of the 750 promised.

    The British Military Mission to Moscow noted that by December 9, about ninety British tanks had already been in action with Soviet forces. The first of these units to have seen action seems to have been the 138th Independent Tank Battalion (with twenty-one British tanks), which was involved in stemming the advance of German units in the region of the Volga Reservoir to the north of Moscow in late November. In fact the British intercepted German communications indicating that German forces had first come in contact with British tanks on the Eastern front on November 26, 1941.

    The exploits of the British-equipped 136th Independent Tank Battalion are perhaps the most widely noted in the archives. It was part of a scratch operational group of the Western Front consisting of the 18th Rifle Brigade, two ski battalions, the 5th and 20th Tank Brigades, and the 140th Independent Tank Battalion. The 136th Independent Tank Battalion was combined with the latter to produce a tank group of only twenty-one tanks, which was to operate with the two ski battalions against German forces advancing to the west of Moscow in early December. Other largely British-equipped tank units in action with the Western Front from early December were the 131st Independent Tank Brigade, which fought to the east of Tula, south of Moscow, and 146th Tank Brigade, in the region of Kriukovo to the immediate west of the Soviet capital.

    While the Matilda Mk II and Valentine tanks supplied by the British were certainly inferior to the Soviets' homegrown T-34 and KV-1, it is important to note that Soviet production of the T-34 (and to a lesser extent the KV series), was only just getting seriously underway in 1942, and Soviet production was well below plan targets. And though rapid increases in tank firepower would soon render the 40mm two-pounder main gun of the Matilda and Valentine suitable for use on light tanks only, the armor protection of these British models put them firmly in the heavy and medium categories, respectively. Both were superior to all but the Soviet KV-1 and T-34 in armor, and indeed even their much maligned winter cross-country performance was comparable to most Soviet tanks excluding the KV-1 and T-34.
    Last edited by Jenisch; 04-02-2012 at 09:13 AM.

  6. #21
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    A steady stream of British-made tanks continued to flow into the Red Army through the spring and summer of 1942. Canada would eventually produce 1,420 Valentines, almost exclusively for delivery to the Soviet Union. By July 1942 the Red Army had 13,500 tanks in service, with more than 16 percent of those imported, and more than half of those British.

    Lend-Lease aircraft deliveries were also of significance during the Battle of Moscow. While Soviet pilots praised the maneuverability of the homegrown I-153 Chaika and I-16 Ishak fighters—still in use in significant numbers in late 1941—both types were certainly obsolete and inferior in almost all regards to the British-supplied Hurricane. The Hurricane was rugged and tried and tested, and as useful at that point as many potentially superior Soviet designs such as the LaGG-3 and MiG-3. There were apparently only 263 LaGG-3s in the Soviet inventory by the time of the Moscow counteroffensive, and it was an aircraft with numerous defects. At the end of 1941 there were greater numbers of the MiG-3, but the plane was considered difficult to fly. The Yak-1, arguably the best of the batch, and superior in most regards to the Hurricane, suffered from airframe and engine defects in early war production aircraft.

    A total of 699 Lend-Lease aircraft had been delivered to Archangel by the time the Arctic convoys switched to Murmansk in December 1941. Of these, 99 Hurricanes and 39 Tomahawks were in service with the Soviet air defense forces on January 1, 1942, out of a total of 1,470 fighters. About 15 percent of the aircraft of the 6th Fighter Air Corps defending Moscow were Tomahawks or Hurricanes.

    The Soviet Northern Fleet was also a major and early recipient of British Hurricanes, receiving those flown by No. 151 Wing of the RAF, which operated briefly from Soviet airfields near Murmansk. As early as October 12, 1941, the Soviet 126th Fighter Air Regiment was operating with Tomahawks bought from the United States by Britain. Tomahawks also served in defense of the Doroga Zhizni or "Road of Life" across the ice of Lake Ladoga, which provided the only supply line to the besieged city of Leningrad during the winter of 1941–42. By spring and summer of 1942 the Hurricane had clearly become the principal fighter aircraft of the Northern Fleet's air regiments; in all, 83 out of its 109 fighters were of foreign origin.

    British and Commonwealth deliveries to the Soviet Union in late 1941 and early 1942 would not only assist in the Soviet defense of Moscow and subsequent counteroffensive, but also in increasing Soviet production for the next period of the war. Substantial quantities of machine tools and raw materials, such as aluminum and rubber, were supplied to help Soviet industry back on its feet: 312 metal-cutting machine tools were delivered by convoy PQ-12 alone, arriving in March 1942, along with a range of other items for Soviet factories such as machine presses and compressors.

    Once again, raw figures do not tell the whole story. Although British shipments amounted to only a few percent of Soviet domestic production of machine tools, the Soviet Union could request specific items which it may not have been able to produce for itself. Additionally, many of the British tools arrived in early 1942, when Soviet tool production was still very low, resulting in a disproportionate impact. The handing over of forty imported machine tools to Aviation Factory No. 150 in July 1942, for example, was the critical factor in enabling the factory to reach projected capacity within two months.

    Lend-Lease aid did not "save" the Soviet Union from defeat during the Battle of Moscow. But the speed at which Britain in particular was willing and able to provide aid to the Soviet Union, and at which the Soviet Union was able to put foreign equipment into frontline use, is still an underappreciated part of this story. During the bitter fighting of the winter of 1941–1942, British aid made a crucial difference.


    Did Russia Really Go It Alone? How Lend-Lease Helped the Soviets Defeat the Germans

    The British needed to protect their country, the Empire worldwide and still helped the Soviets. Certainly all this material would have been much useful in Africa and the Pacific, specially in Africa if the Germans in a out of reality scenario didn't attacked the USSR. According to the statistic of imported tanks in the Red Army above, transfering all them to Africa there would be +2000 tanks plus the ones Britain already had in Africa by mid 1942. I higly doubt about the capabilities of the Germans to bring a comparable armor force to that theater even if they wanted to focus in it.
    Last edited by Jenisch; 04-02-2012 at 09:37 AM.

  7. #22
    Senior Member davebender's Avatar
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    I don't know why the Russians would do this

    Stalin murdered millions and the murders accelerated during WWII. It's safe to say he had plenty of enemies. All we need is for someone of importance such as Marshal Zhukov to allow his hatred of Stalin to dictate his actions.

  8. #23
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    I remember that about 4,000,000 tons of materiel were delivered by the North Atlantic convoys to the USSR but can't remember where I read that. Someone may have a more accurate figure (and source!).
    We didn't always pass on the best materiel,at least as perceived by the Russians. I have copies of telegrams from our national archives from June 1943 in which the "British Military Mission Moscow" informs the War Office

    "Russians furious that they are not getting new Spitfires. They consider that excuse for giving them part worn Hurricanes cannot apply to Spitfires"

    The Air Ministry replied two days later. There is a somewhat exasperated tone to the telegram which concludes.

    "In supplying aircraft to our own units no distinction is made between those that are new and those that are reconditioned and we cannot modify this system in favour of the Russians.
    Reconditioned aircraft have as full a service life as new aircraft.
    Out of 150 Spitfires shipped to Russia 90 were new and the remaining 60 reconditioned"

    That told them!

    I have to say that these Spitfires,taking a different route via Iran look very far from new!



    Cheers
    Steve

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by davebender View Post
    Stalin murdered millions and the murders accelerated during WWII. It's safe to say he had plenty of enemies. All we need is for someone of importance such as Marshal Zhukov to allow his hatred of Stalin to dictate his actions.
    Fine, remove Stalin from power, then what to do next? The Germans would only accept peace if they have all the rich regions of the country, because they need them to fight the West. And in fact, they have already captured most of them. If Stalin was removed from power, I can only see further cooperation with the Western Allies, because it would be economical suicide for Russia try to survive without it's rich regions. I can see this government promptly accepting the Anglo-American proposal to station air force units in Russia by 1943, and if such coup'déat get rid of Communism, I can see even further cooperation.
    Last edited by Jenisch; 04-02-2012 at 09:59 AM.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by davebender View Post
    Stalin murdered millions and the murders accelerated during WWII. It's safe to say he had plenty of enemies. All we need is for someone of importance such as Marshal Zhukov to allow his hatred of Stalin to dictate his actions.
    They had their chance to get rid of Stalin in the period following the German invasion and missed it. There was no organised opposition and those who might have had reason to act seemed paralysed. The reasons for that are a different topic altogether! I'm not sure anyone really knows what was going on in the Politburo at that time.
    Getting rid of Stalin would not have removed the Soviet system.
    Cheers
    Steve

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by stona View Post
    There was no organised opposition
    This sounds like a paradox.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenisch View Post
    This sounds like a paradox.
    Very good Jenisch

    My point is that dissenting voices are muted in a state as viciously repressive as the Stalinist USSR. The Red Army had been well and truly purged and was hardly likely to form the basis of any opposition. The slightest hint of disloyalty would have resulted in heads,and lots of them,rolling. Every unit had its political officers.
    Whilst Stalin himself prevaricated after the German invasion,famously retiring to his dacha,members of the Politburo,the only people who could have acted against him,themselves seem to have entered a sort of indecisive stupor.
    Cheers
    Steve

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by stona View Post
    The Red Army had been well and truly purged and was hardly likely to form the basis of any opposition
    Well, they didn't formed even for the Germans an organized position initially. However they certainly started to bleed them dry at an enormous cost.

    BTW Stona, the famous retirement of Stalin for his dacha don't has something to do with the Kwantung Army forming up in Manchuria?

    Anyway, Roosevelt's hard line against the Japanese is another demonstration of the mutual help the Allies had. Roosevelt not only had it's and British interests in the Pacific and China to defend, but also was logically very interested in avoid a Japanese attack in the USSR, which had Japan taken the European colonies in the Pacific, would probably rapidely unfold. WWII was a really global conflict were all was interconnected.
    Last edited by Jenisch; 04-02-2012 at 10:33 AM.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenisch View Post
    Roosevelt not only had it's and British interests in the Pacific and China to defend,
    Roosevelt only had British interests in mind whilst they coincided with his own US interests. Towards the end of the war senior US officers referred to South East Asia Command,SEAC,as "Save England's Asian Colonies",something they had no intention of doing. A bit uncharitable but fair enough.
    The various allies under Mountbatten in SEAC actually had very different priorities. The Mountbatten archives at Broadlands has some revealing letters demonstrating just how hard Mountbatten worked to keep everyone working towards common,acceptable,objectives.
    Cheers
    Steve

  15. #30
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    I expressed myself incorrectly Stona. What I wanted to mean is that Japanese agression in the Pacific would reduce the British and American capabilities against Hitler, while Japanese agression in the USSR would put even more pressure on it. Both were undesirable.

    With the Japanese even let them take the colonies would not work. They would take the colonies and attack the USSR after, as we can see here:

    On 6 March 1943, Ōshima delivered Ribbentrop the following official statement from the Japanese government:


    "The Japanese Government absolutely recognize the danger which threatens from Russia and completely understand the desire of their German ally that Japan on her part will also enter the war against Russia. However, it is not possible for the Japanese Government, considering the present war situation, to enter into the war. They are rather of the conviction that it would be in the common interest not to start the war against Russia now. On the other hand, the Japanese Government would never disregard the Russian question".[

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroshi_%C5%8Cshima
    Last edited by Jenisch; 04-02-2012 at 01:57 PM.

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