More WW2 What-If Scenarios

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More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-12-19 05:43am

Was tossing a couple different ideas around and decided to see what others think:

1) What if Hitler had decided not to let the British flee at Dunkirk and instead pressed the attack with the intent of capturing as many of the British as possible? The British government turned Dunkirk into a propaganda victory, hailing the soldiers as heroes, praising the evacuation effort, and using it to stir up anti-German sentiment and pressing home the need to modernize and expand the military. How differently would the public have reacted if the majority of troops at Dunkirk had been captured or killed, and how would this have affected British plans for war against Germany?

2) What if Germany continued to support Nationalist China while being more distant with the Japanese until Pearl Harbor? At which point, Hitler makes a grand speech denouncing the 'cowardly' surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, announces his official support of the Nationalist Chinese against Japan (and communist influence from Russia), and declares that Germany stands with America, ending his speech with a rousing, "America, Germany stands with you!" and offering to send troops and U-Boats to support the Americans in the Pacific. How would the American people react (and remember, the German-American Bund had been fairly popular up until recently at this point), and how would American leadership react?

3) Media gad-flies make headlines pointing out the Allied attacks against/occupation of neutral (or "neutral") countries such as Iceland, Iran, Norway, etc. and demand that they justify their actions (particularly the invasion of Iran and death of its leader, considering they basically just invaded for oil). Certain reporters make a point of asking why Germany is bad for invading neutral Belgium to knock out France, but Britain and the US are justified in attacking and occupying neutral countries themselves. How does the public react, and how quickly do these reporters get locked up?

4) The USSR launches an invasion against Germany before Operation Barbarossa. It's pretty much confirmed Stalin was planning to do exactly that and Hitler just beat him to the punch, but what if Stalin decided to jump the gun in anticipation of Hitler doing exactly that?

5) The Red Scare starts early thanks to worsening relations between the USSR and USA, primarily thanks to anti-semitic propaganda perpetuated by the German-American Bund (remember, Jews and Bolshevism were considered to be part-and-parcel at the time; Churchill even wrote an editorial in the papers about it) and things like the Polar Bear Expedition, North Russia Intervention, and American displeasure over the Soviet-Polish War and Winter War. As a result, the US decides against sending Lend-Lease aid to Russia. Would Russia have been able to recover from Operation Barbarossa and go on the counteroffense, or would they have ended up as a rump state, ineffectually throwing conscripts into the meat grinder while Germany occupied the western territories?
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by crueldwarf » 2017-12-19 08:58am

All presented alternatives are really old and done to death more or less. So I pick one which is more in line with my area of expertise:
4) The USSR launches an invasion against Germany before Operation Barbarossa. It's pretty much confirmed Stalin was planning to do exactly that and Hitler just beat him to the punch, but what if Stalin decided to jump the gun in anticipation of Hitler doing exactly that?
This theory is not even close to a 'confirmed' status. In fact it do not have any piece of documental proof to it.

There is no evidence that Stalin (or anyone else in the highest echelons of Soviet leadership) planned anything like this. All known planning (both military and industrial) was focused solely on war prevention and defensive measures against Germany.

And of course the last but not the least: attacking Germany make absolutely no sense for the Soviet Union. There is nothing to gain from it but quite a lot to loose.

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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-12-19 03:05pm

Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-19 05:43am
Was tossing a couple different ideas around and decided to see what others think:

1) What if Hitler had decided not to let the British flee at Dunkirk and instead pressed the attack with the intent of capturing as many of the British as possible? The British government turned Dunkirk into a propaganda victory, hailing the soldiers as heroes, praising the evacuation effort, and using it to stir up anti-German sentiment and pressing home the need to modernize and expand the military. How differently would the public have reacted if the majority of troops at Dunkirk had been captured or killed, and how would this have affected British plans for war against Germany?
I am not at all sure what would have happened. There were a lot of troops in the pocket, and while they were very disorganized and demoralized, they still had a significant amount of weapons and equipment to hand. If they had all surrendered rapidly en masse it might have produced a superior result for Germany... but if they had continued fighting bravely, they would have bogged down and inflicted casualties on a lot of German armored units. Even if they didn't do much damage, I can see it resulting in the Germans having a weaker force and the main body of the French army getting more time to reorganize.

That might not have made much of a difference given what we know now, but I suspect it was a factor in the decision NOT to press the Dunkirk pocket harder. Not that the pocket went entirely unattacked.
2) What if Germany continued to support Nationalist China while being more distant with the Japanese until Pearl Harbor? At which point, Hitler makes a grand speech denouncing the 'cowardly' surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, announces his official support of the Nationalist Chinese against Japan (and communist influence from Russia), and declares that Germany stands with America, ending his speech with a rousing, "America, Germany stands with you!" and offering to send troops and U-Boats to support the Americans in the Pacific. How would the American people react (and remember, the German-American Bund had been fairly popular up until recently at this point), and how would American leadership react?
I speculate that Japan might well not have launched the Pearl Harbor attack if they'd thought of the Germans as an enemy rather than an ally.
3) Media gad-flies make headlines pointing out the Allied attacks against/occupation of neutral (or "neutral") countries such as Iceland, Iran, Norway, etc. and demand that they justify their actions (particularly the invasion of Iran and death of its leader, considering they basically just invaded for oil). Certain reporters make a point of asking why Germany is bad for invading neutral Belgium to knock out France, but Britain and the US are justified in attacking and occupying neutral countries themselves. How does the public react, and how quickly do these reporters get locked up?
Probably fairly early, and the public doesn't care much. The Allies didn't occupy Norway and the Norwegians had no objection to what forces they did send, Iceland was a very minor country in the eyes of the world and not suffering under occupation, and Iran was a country full of brown people; cynically, not many Americans cared that much. Plus the main purpose of the occupation was just to keep a railroad open, not to plunder the country or anything.
5) The Red Scare starts early thanks to worsening relations between the USSR and USA, primarily thanks to anti-semitic propaganda perpetuated by the German-American Bund (remember, Jews and Bolshevism were considered to be part-and-parcel at the time; Churchill even wrote an editorial in the papers about it) and things like the Polar Bear Expedition, North Russia Intervention, and American displeasure over the Soviet-Polish War and Winter War. As a result, the US decides against sending Lend-Lease aid to Russia. Would Russia have been able to recover from Operation Barbarossa and go on the counteroffense, or would they have ended up as a rump state, ineffectually throwing conscripts into the meat grinder while Germany occupied the western territories?
The US would have to have been really really deeply drinking anti-communist Kool-Aid to not send Lend-Lease to Russia. Remember that there was also a strong pro-Soviet theme in certain parts of American politics and business; people like Henry Ford (!) would go there and come back approving of it.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by K. A. Pital » 2017-12-19 04:03pm

Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-19 05:43am
4) The USSR launches an invasion against Germany before Operation Barbarossa. It's pretty much confirmed Stalin was planning to do exactly that and Hitler just beat him to the punch, but what if Stalin decided to jump the gun in anticipation of Hitler doing exactly that?
"It's pretty much confirmed" by whom exactly? :lol: Armchair generals? The organizational structure and logistical capabilities of Soviet forces weren't exactly top notch; such an attack would've likely saved millions of lives lost during Germany's genocide in the East, but it might not have had the success of Soviet advances in 1943-45, where a brutal learning curve has made the Red Army one of the best, if not the best, land fighting forces in the world. Also it is only obvious in hindsight - people correctly pointed out that the USSR would gain nothing from such an attack (the assault capabilities of the Wehrmacht and the coming genocide weren't known factors as they were only about to happen)

The problem of pre-emptive attack is that the USSR would have to beat the Wehrmacht in deployment. It would have to have a fully deployed attack formation on the border before Germany did. Considering railway throughput and heavy German spying of the frontline, an attack like this would be hard to pull off, though possible.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-12-19 04:16pm

crueldwarf wrote:
2017-12-19 08:58am
All presented alternatives are really old and done to death more or less. So I pick one which is more in line with my area of expertise:
4) The USSR launches an invasion against Germany before Operation Barbarossa. It's pretty much confirmed Stalin was planning to do exactly that and Hitler just beat him to the punch, but what if Stalin decided to jump the gun in anticipation of Hitler doing exactly that?
This theory is not even close to a 'confirmed' status. In fact it do not have any piece of documental proof to it.

There is no evidence that Stalin (or anyone else in the highest echelons of Soviet leadership) planned anything like this. All known planning (both military and industrial) was focused solely on war prevention and defensive measures against Germany.

And of course the last but not the least: attacking Germany make absolutely no sense for the Soviet Union. There is nothing to gain from it but quite a lot to loose.
something very important to add also in 1939-1941 the Red Army was very much aware of in just how bad shape their leadership was after Stalin's purges, in fact one of the reasons for Winter War as to train the replacement leaders against a weaker opponent. Granted that backfired on them due to underestimating the finns, but the theory wasn't that bad and it showed they weren't totally in the dark about the capabilities of the Red Army.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2017-12-19 04:32pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2017-12-19 04:03pm
"It's pretty much confirmed" by whom exactly? :lol: Armchair generals?
Presumably Swindle is yet another poster whom believes the book Icebreaker by known and utterly confirmed bullshit author Viktor Suvorov. This book has been extensively debunked and contains numerous misquotes, lie and endless militarily absurd misinterpretations of verifiable facts, as well as large number of anonymous sources. It's basically just a conspiracy theory work, which isn't too surprising coming from a Soviet defector who ran out of legit things to publish for money in the 1970s.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-12-20 03:10am

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2017-12-19 04:32pm
K. A. Pital wrote:
2017-12-19 04:03pm
"It's pretty much confirmed" by whom exactly? :lol: Armchair generals?
Presumably Swindle is yet another poster whom believes the book Icebreaker by known and utterly confirmed bullshit author Viktor Suvorov. This book has been extensively debunked and contains numerous misquotes, lie and endless militarily absurd misinterpretations of verifiable facts, as well as large number of anonymous sources. It's basically just a conspiracy theory work, which isn't too surprising coming from a Soviet defector who ran out of legit things to publish for money in the 1970s.
Never heard of it. I'm going off of accounts (which I can't cite, as I read them years ago when I was in college) written by German soldiers complaining that they didn't have any good maps of Russia and didn't have much luck taking any off the Russians they encountered because the maps the Russians had were of Eastern Europe and Germany. Which led them to believe the Russians were planning to double-cross the Germans and attack, and Germany had just beat them to the punch.

Really wish I could remember which sources they were; I know one of the accounts I read was written by a sniper who fought in Stalingrad, but I don't know if he mentioned the maps or the presumption that the Soviets planned to attack Germany and just weren't ready for it. One detail I do remember from that book was he talked about explosive bullets and how he reserved them for when he absolutely needed to kill a target with one shot, if that helps identify it.

And, to be fair, the Soviets did invade most of Eastern Europe (chasing after the Nazis) and occupy it for the next 50 years. It's not a huge stretch to imagine that Stalin, who was ok with trying to invade Finland and Poland prior to WW2, wouldn't have liked to do that anyway.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by LaCroix » 2017-12-20 06:35am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-19 03:05pm
Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-19 05:43am
Was tossing a couple different ideas around and decided to see what others think:

1) What if Hitler had decided not to let the British flee at Dunkirk and instead pressed the attack with the intent of capturing as many of the British as possible? The British government turned Dunkirk into a propaganda victory, hailing the soldiers as heroes, praising the evacuation effort, and using it to stir up anti-German sentiment and pressing home the need to modernize and expand the military. How differently would the public have reacted if the majority of troops at Dunkirk had been captured or killed, and how would this have affected British plans for war against Germany?
I am not at all sure what would have happened. There were a lot of troops in the pocket, and while they were very disorganized and demoralized, they still had a significant amount of weapons and equipment to hand. If they had all surrendered rapidly en masse it might have produced a superior result for Germany... but if they had continued fighting bravely, they would have bogged down and inflicted casualties on a lot of German armored units. Even if they didn't do much damage, I can see it resulting in the Germans having a weaker force and the main body of the French army getting more time to reorganize.

That might not have made much of a difference given what we know now, but I suspect it was a factor in the decision NOT to press the Dunkirk pocket harder. Not that the pocket went entirely unattacked.
Indeed.

It's also worth mentioning that the troops weren't really in any position to attack Dunkirk in any realistic kind. After the (too) quick advance through France, their supply was streched thin, and struggling to keep them properly equipped with fuel and ammunition. Enough to keep the surrounding forces able to fend off escape attempts, but nowhere on a level to take a city that has a soldier for every square meter you need to take.

They needed to take a few days to sort all this out in order to storm the pocket. But the army had their side of the pocket perfectly in order.

Meanwhile, the Luftwaffe, operating from fixed places a hundred or two km behind the line, had much less of a supply issue, as their lines could be pre-planned much better (due to not having to figure out where the troops are and how to get things to them, you just ship everything to the airfield, and the fighting unit picks it up on return).
So naturally, it fell to them to do the most of the fighting and trying to crush the pocket while the troops needed to refill their supplies.

Problem was that the German Navy could not (for obvious reasons, called the "Home Fleet") be called upon to guard the other side of the siege.
The airforce could suppress, but not stop the ferry attempt. The close proximity of the English coast was a big factor, as it put the ferry operation under a lot less contested airspace and thus, risk.

Pretty much all boils down to the fact that Dunkirk was pretty much the perfect spot to extract the besieged troops. Calais would have been even better, but if the troops had been forced to, say, Brügge, instead, (which means twice the transit time and much less air cover) it would have been a much worse loss, maybe even without any rescue attempt.
A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?" - Captain Seafort, in a thread proposing a 1942 'D-Day' in Quiberon Bay

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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by crueldwarf » 2017-12-20 07:18am

Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-20 03:10am
And, to be fair, the Soviets did invade most of Eastern Europe (chasing after the Nazis) and occupy it for the next 50 years. It's not a huge stretch to imagine that Stalin, who was ok with trying to invade Finland and Poland prior to WW2, wouldn't have liked to do that anyway.
It is a very big strech because Soviets occuppied Eastern Europe after suffering from a devastating war and to prevent any such war from happening in the future. And it is rather simple logic - you do not start a great war to save yourself from one. Loosing several million people in the atempt of taking down Germany to occuppy a relatively worthless real estate isn't really a good idea.

Also I must note that USSR invaded both Finland and Poland in a very calculated manner with a goal of securing a better defensive position against Germany.

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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-12-20 11:09am

Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-20 03:10am
Never heard of it. I'm going off of accounts (which I can't cite, as I read them years ago when I was in college) written by German soldiers complaining that they didn't have any good maps of Russia and didn't have much luck taking any off the Russians they encountered because the maps the Russians had were of Eastern Europe and Germany. Which led them to believe the Russians were planning to double-cross the Germans and attack, and Germany had just beat them to the punch.
Faulty reasoning.

One, the Soviets routinely falsified maps as a defensive measure and did not keep a lot of maps of their deep territory. The US couldn't get good maps of Soviet territory during the war either; it took aerial and satellite reconnaissance for us to get that well afterwards.

Two, Soviet field HQs overrun early in Barbarossa would tend to have maps of their own immediate surroundings (which the Germans had ample photo-reconnaissance of and overran soon anyway), including territory on the other side of the border (because only an idiot wouldn't provide them with such maps). They would NOT have lots of maps of areas deep inside Russia, unless of course the Russians were planning not only to defend, but also to lose in the defense.

Three, basically every single German who invaded Russia, from the privates to the generals, had every reason to interpret things in a self-serving way, both during and after the war. Remember how every German general said in his memoirs that if Hitler had only listened to him, the war would have been won? Yeah, like that. Or how the Germans claimed that the Russians did nothing but drown them in bodies, even though in many of the key engagements later in the war the casualty ratios were far closer to 1:1? Yeah, like that. Don't expect German letters or memoirs to accurately represent the true intentions and tactics of the Red Army. They are biased sources, with a strong incentive to make the Nazi Germans look innocent, the communist Russians look evil, the Wehrmacht look hypercompetent, and the Red Army look incompetent.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-12-20 11:20am

crueldwarf wrote:Also I must note that USSR invaded both Finland and Poland in a very calculated manner with a goal of securing a better defensive position against Germany.
I suppose people outside the region underestimate just how important of strategic location the finnish coast is/was (not mention controlling Åland and surrounding islands), also USSR annexed Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania before the Winter War for the same reason. Could have USSR invaded Germany at some point, quite possibly but certainly not before Operation Barbossa happened they simply didn't have means to make that be worth the cost.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-12-20 05:44pm

crueldwarf wrote:
2017-12-20 07:18am

It is a very big strech because Soviets occuppied Eastern Europe after suffering from a devastating war and to prevent any such war from happening in the future. And it is rather simple logic - you do not start a great war to save yourself from one. Loosing several million people in the atempt of taking down Germany to occuppy a relatively worthless real estate isn't really a good idea.

Also I must note that USSR invaded both Finland and Poland in a very calculated manner with a goal of securing a better defensive position against Germany.
Finland is nowhere near Germany, and I was referring to the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1921, not the 1938 invasion. The Polish-Soviet War was Russia trying to grab chunks of modern day Ukraine, Belarus, etc. rather than let the Poles and Ukrainians have them. Germany had no involvement and was currently suffering the effects of the Treaty of Versailles. Germany also didn't lend material support to Finland during the Winter War, only during the Continuation War starting in 1941, so I don't see a case for saying Russia attacked Finland because they were a German ally.

So could you explain how you think the USSR attacking Finland and Poland helped them against Germany?
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-12-20 05:51pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-20 11:09am
Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-20 03:10am
Never heard of it. I'm going off of accounts (which I can't cite, as I read them years ago when I was in college) written by German soldiers complaining that they didn't have any good maps of Russia and didn't have much luck taking any off the Russians they encountered because the maps the Russians had were of Eastern Europe and Germany. Which led them to believe the Russians were planning to double-cross the Germans and attack, and Germany had just beat them to the punch.
Faulty reasoning.

One, the Soviets routinely falsified maps as a defensive measure and did not keep a lot of maps of their deep territory. The US couldn't get good maps of Soviet territory during the war either; it took aerial and satellite reconnaissance for us to get that well afterwards.
Citation, please? I'd love a source showing that the Soviets routinely falsified their own maps. I'm sure it made moving troops from point A to point B interesting.

Three, basically every single German who invaded Russia, from the privates to the generals, had every reason to interpret things in a self-serving way, both during and after the war. Remember how every German general said in his memoirs that if Hitler had only listened to him, the war would have been won? Yeah, like that. Or how the Germans claimed that the Russians did nothing but drown them in bodies, even though in many of the key engagements later in the war the casualty ratios were far closer to 1:1? Yeah, like that. Don't expect German letters or memoirs to accurately represent the true intentions and tactics of the Red Army. They are biased sources, with a strong incentive to make the Nazi Germans look innocent, the communist Russians look evil, the Wehrmacht look hypercompetent, and the Red Army look incompetent.
Actually, most of the accounts I read described the Wehrmacht as a clusterfuck, bitched that nobody in command had a clue, there was lots of grousing about Stalingrad being a stupid fucking place to focus on, etc. They also acknowledged that the 'drown them in bodies' tactic was only early in the war, when the Soviets didn't have enough in the way of armor, small arms, etc. and had to resort to throwing conscripts into human waves. Many of the accounts I read said the Soviet tactics were quite competent, and a lot of the soldiers favored Russian equipment over their own.

But yes, I've yet to read any account written by a former Nazi general that didn't include the "if Hitler had just listened to me" bit. Or a good deal of ass covering, especially in the war crimes department.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-12-20 09:47pm

Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-20 05:51pm
Citation, please? I'd love a source showing that the Soviets routinely falsified their own maps. I'm sure it made moving troops from point A to point B interesting.
Hm, you know, I can't source this one.

If someone more knowledgeable (Skimmer being the touchstone around here, usually) says it's a myth, I concede that specific point unconditionally. What I have heard is that the Soviets produced falsified maps where, e.g., the main highway between two cities was marked as a minor logging road and vice versa, and that kind of thing could be done to deceive an enemy who captures the maps while a Soviet staff officer with local knowledge would not be fooled. Or that on many of the atlases and maps they published for civilian use only, cities and so on were not in the correct places, which didn't matter much because Soviet citizens didn't have full freedom of travel, and would be dependent upon railroads and such, who would have correct maps and know how to get where they were going anyway.

But again, this COULD just plain be wrong, I lack time to dig on it.
Actually, most of the accounts I read described the Wehrmacht as a clusterfuck, bitched that nobody in command had a clue, there was lots of grousing about Stalingrad being a stupid fucking place to focus on, etc. They also acknowledged that the 'drown them in bodies' tactic was only early in the war, when the Soviets didn't have enough in the way of armor, small arms, etc. and had to resort to throwing conscripts into human waves. Many of the accounts I read said the Soviet tactics were quite competent, and a lot of the soldiers favored Russian equipment over their own.

But yes, I've yet to read any account written by a former Nazi general that didn't include the "if Hitler had just listened to me" bit. Or a good deal of ass covering, especially in the war crimes department.
Okay, you've read better accounts than some of the gullible bozo crap I've heard of.

That said, note that "but the Soviets were gonna hit us first!" is exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to see in ass-covering. After all, if not for the Holocaust, the German invasion of Russia would be the single greatest Nazi war crime in a broad, collective sense. Arguably, even including the Holocaust, Barbarossa is the worst thing the Nazis ever did.

Bet on there being a lot of Germans with a during-war and post-war incentive to publicize any story or indication they might have heard along the lines of "we had good reasons to invade Russia and it was totally not just a massive cannibalistic international land grab with a side order of "exterminate the untermenschen." "
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by crueldwarf » 2017-12-21 12:33am

Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-20 05:44pm
Finland is nowhere near Germany
So? They still had military ties to Germans even before the Winter war. And Finnish border is extremely close to Leningrad which was second most important city and industrial center in the entire Soviet Union. In fact it was so close to the border that it was in range of heavy artillery.
and I was referring to the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1921, not the 1938 invasion. The Polish-Soviet War was Russia trying to grab chunks of modern day Ukraine, Belarus, etc. rather than let the Poles and Ukrainians have them.
Sorry but you have very peculiar view on the subject. Polish-Soviet war started from Polish attempt to grab Belorussian and Ukrainian territory which they loose centuries ago and have no right to have. And Soviets actually established a first truly Ukrainian state and actually created what is today a modern Ukraine. Poles wanted colonies.
Germany also didn't lend material support to Finland during the Winter War, only during the Continuation War starting in 1941, so I don't see a case for saying Russia attacked Finland because they were a German ally.
Of course they didn't. Molotov-Ribbetrop pact took care of that.
So could you explain how you think the USSR attacking Finland and Poland helped them against Germany?
Shift the starting line of Barbarossa operation 300 kilometers eastward. German troops in Finland will be within 20 kilometers of Leningrad from the start. Think about potential result of it.

And no, there is no war for Finns to refuse to join Germans as an ally. No one in Europe was able to do it. Bulgaria for example didn't want to participate in war against USSR. They even didn't send troops. But Germans operated freely from their land.
Of course some people in Finland have some dreams about having entire Karelia, Kola peninsula and maybe even entire stretch of northern Russia till Ural mountains kinda helped Germans to persuade them.

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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-12-21 08:22am

crueldwarf wrote:
2017-12-21 12:33am
Sorry but you have very peculiar view on the subject. Polish-Soviet war started from Polish attempt to grab Belorussian and Ukrainian territory which they loose centuries ago and have no right to have.
I think you're understating the ambiguity here.

Poland was carved up by the surrounding great powers starting as early as 1772. All of Poland was territory the Poles had "lost centuries ago," and much of it was territory they "had no right to have" from the perspective of the surrounding nations. Poland had NO defined borders and its existence as a nation was entirely denied from 1795 to 1918. Poland came into existence at a time when Eastern Europe was in postwar chaos, and there was very little official consensus on what its exact borders ought to be.

Under such circumstances, it's very easy for two nations to lay claim to the same land, or both think they have a right to occupy it at the expense of the other. Because negotiating borders is hard in that context, and because ethnic groups intermingle.

For that matter, a significant part of the dispute is simply a question of how many layers of nation-states there ought to be between the distinct groupings of "Germans" and "Russians." The post-WWI answer was that basically there should be only one layer: Poland. today, the answer is (at least in principle) that there should be two layers: Poland and Belarus/Ukraine.

But if you accept the 'one layer' answer, then what is to be done regarding the non-Russian, non-Polish ethnicities that live between Poland and Russia? Are they to be part of Poland, or Russia?
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by crueldwarf » 2017-12-21 09:10am

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-21 08:22am
]I think you're understating the ambiguity here]
Not really. Poland borders were reasonably well defined. And they didn't include Western Belorussia or Ukraine for sure because Polish claim on these land came from union with Lithuania when it was kinda mostly Russian (I use Russian here is not in modern sense but as what was defined as Russian in X-XV centuries). Poland had the same claim on Kiev as it had on Vilnus. And they lost both in the end.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-21 08:22am
But if you accept the 'one layer' answer, then what is to be done regarding the non-Russian, non-Polish ethnicities that live between Poland and Russia? Are they to be part of Poland, or Russia?
They should be independent. Soviet Union kinda formed both Belorussia and Ukraine as true nation states with limited sovereignity but still. Poland had no such designs, they treated their non-Polish minorities as second class citizens and it was a reason why they lost their invasion and managed to beat back the Soviets only in their own territory.

It is often forgotten but Ukrainian ethno-nationalism was forged by fighting Poles first and Soviets only second. So no, there was no ambiguity.

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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-12-21 11:13am

crueldwarf wrote:
2017-12-21 12:33am
Swindle1984 wrote:
2017-12-20 05:44pm
Finland is nowhere near Germany
So? They still had military ties to Germans even before the Winter war. And Finnish border is extremely close to Leningrad which was second most important city and industrial center in the entire Soviet Union. In fact it was so close to the border that it was in range of heavy artillery.
that said the finns had very little if any artillery capable of reaching Leningrad (and what they had was moved out of range on purpose).

However the eastern border of Finland is not that relevant what the soviets truly wanted militart control of was western and southern borders of Finland thus essentially locking down the Gulf of Botnia and Gulf of Finland (I wonder why it's called that ;) ), which in addition of the soviets controlling the Baltic states (Estonia, Lavtia, Lithuania) would mean that USSR had pretty dominant position in the Baltic sea and you in case of a war seriously hamper if not outright cripple ore shipments from Sweden to Germany. Not mention that Turku and Helsinki were major ports for the region even during that era.

So it's less about Finland being an ally of Germany (Finland also has historical ties to Russia) and more about in how dominant position Finland was for the control of the Northen Baltic sea (and please do remember that during WWII Germany got a signifigant portion of their iron ore from Norway and Sweden).
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by crueldwarf » 2017-12-21 12:48pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2017-12-21 11:13am
that said the finns had very little if any artillery capable of reaching Leningrad (and what they had was moved out of range on purpose).
They had some heavy pieces left from the WW1. They even asked Germans to refubrish them but Germans had enough trouble with maintaing their own artillery park, so they refused.
However the eastern border of Finland is not that relevant
It was very relevant. Leningrad security was main reason for the war, the rest was only possible bonuses.
So it's less about Finland being an ally of Germany (Finland also has historical ties to Russia) and more about in how dominant position Finland was for the control of the Northen Baltic sea (and please do remember that during WWII Germany got a signifigant portion of their iron ore from Norway and Sweden).
There were not much ties after Finland dealt with their own communists in the rather brutal fashion and spent the 20s in supporting cross-border insurgency in Karelia. There was enough of bad blood between USSR and Finland, so WInter war wasn't that surprising.

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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-12-21 02:41pm

crueldwarf wrote:
2017-12-21 09:10am
Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-21 08:22am
[I think you're understating the ambiguity here]
Not really. Poland borders were reasonably well defined. And they didn't include Western Belorussia or Ukraine for sure because Polish claim on these land came from union with Lithuania when it was kinda mostly Russian (I use Russian here is not in modern sense but as what was defined as Russian in X-XV centuries). Poland had the same claim on Kiev as it had on Vilnus. And they lost both in the end.
Again, the underlying point is that when the nation-state to your east is in a state of civil war, and a big chunk of it used to belong to your predecessor-state in distant history but not more recently, there is ambiguity. It is very easy to honestly believe "this chunk of land is rightfully part of our country" and move in "to restore order" when there is a conspicuous lack of strong, obviously legitimate nation-state on the other side of a border.

This isn't to say the Poles were right, it's to say that I'm not sure it should have been obvious to the Poles that they were wrong.
Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-21 08:22am
But if you accept the 'one layer' answer, then what is to be done regarding the non-Russian, non-Polish ethnicities that live between Poland and Russia? Are they to be part of Poland, or Russia?
They should be independent. Soviet Union kinda formed both Belorussia and Ukraine as true nation states with limited sovereignity but still. Poland had no such designs, they treated their non-Polish minorities as second class citizens and it was a reason why they lost their invasion and managed to beat back the Soviets only in their own territory.

It is often forgotten but Ukrainian ethno-nationalism was forged by fighting Poles first and Soviets only second. So no, there was no ambiguity.
I am not saying I approve of the way the Poles treated the territory they tried to seize. No abuse or atrocity committed should be forgiven, going either way.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-12-21 02:52pm

crueldwarf wrote:
2017-12-21 12:48pm
Lord Revan wrote:
2017-12-21 11:13am
that said the finns had very little if any artillery capable of reaching Leningrad (and what they had was moved out of range on purpose).
They had some heavy pieces left from the WW1. They even asked Germans to refubrish them but Germans had enough trouble with maintaing their own artillery park, so they refused.
that's the first time I've heard of that but I won't deny it either at the time we were trying to build our defense force. (and before you ask I'm using a collective we as in "the finnish people", I even my parents weren't born back then)
However the eastern border of Finland is not that relevant
It was very relevant. Leningrad security was main reason for the war, the rest was only possible bonuses.
the demands at eastern borders were a prelude to annexation had they been accepted, the same thing had happened to the Baltic states, so yes the eastern border isn't really relevant as they defense plan was to annex Finland fully not just parts of it. That said I agree that USSR wasn't planning on wars of conquest for shits and giggles and the Annexation/conquest of the baltic states and Finland had a defensive purpose. The USSR goverment wasn't stupid, Finland was never a threat to them more of nuisance at worst, they knew it, hell even the finns knew it.
So it's less about Finland being an ally of Germany (Finland also has historical ties to Russia) and more about in how dominant position Finland was for the control of the Northen Baltic sea (and please do remember that during WWII Germany got a signifigant portion of their iron ore from Norway and Sweden).
There were not much ties after Finland dealt with their own communists in the rather brutal fashion and spent the 20s in supporting cross-border insurgency in Karelia. There was enough of bad blood between USSR and Finland, so WInter war wasn't that surprising.
Enough ties that a war of conquest at the side of Germany wasn't really a preferble option to the finns outside of few fringe elements.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-01-02 12:00pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-20 09:47pm
Hm, you know, I can't source this one.
http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/03/world ... years.html

10 seconds on google can. The Soviets faked all their public maps, and highly restricted who could access the accurate military ones. Even in the post Stalin Army you had to be an officer to have a map at all and they kept track of them by serial number. The Soviet Army was in the middle of such a vast reorginziation that whole tank corps did not have ammuntion; something the Germans reported encountering too and that archive awareness guy has now found primary sources for. The idea that Stalin was on the edge of attacking Germany is absurd and not supported by anything. Some of his officers certainly favored the idea, but Stalin listened to nobody, thus the whole vast disaster that happened in the first place.
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by K. A. Pital » 2018-01-02 01:34pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-01-02 12:00pm
Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-20 09:47pm
Hm, you know, I can't source this one.
http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/03/world ... years.html

10 seconds on google can. The Soviets faked all their public maps, and highly restricted who could access the accurate military ones. Even in the post Stalin Army you had to be an officer to have a map at all and they kept track of them by serial number. The Soviet Army was in the middle of such a vast reorginziation that whole tank corps did not have ammuntion; something the Germans reported encountering too and that archive awareness guy has now found primary sources for. The idea that Stalin was on the edge of attacking Germany is absurd and not supported by anything. Some of his officers certainly favored the idea, but Stalin listened to nobody, thus the whole vast disaster that happened in the first place.
Of course maps are faked. That is normal if you want to hide things.

We also had peculiar naming conventions (like naming streets which are big, “small”, and streets which are small “avenues” or “prospekt”, or confusing East and West). It is the only sensible way. :P
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Re: More WW2 What-If Scenarios

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-01-02 02:31pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-01-02 12:00pm
Simon_Jester wrote:
2017-12-20 09:47pm
Hm, you know, I can't source this one.
http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/03/world ... years.html

10 seconds on google can...
My apologies; my problem was that the sources I thought I remembered were... well, I trusted them but I wouldn't expect anyone else to. I honestly didn't know it was publicly available knowledge on this level, but I should have searched.
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