All-out aerial war between Germany and the Allies

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Jenisch, Mar 7, 2013.

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  1. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #1 Jenisch, Mar 7, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
    I will propose a discussion about an alternative history scenario. Let's suppose that due to a weak government than historically, the Soviet state collapse by 1941. The Allied leaders realize that it would not be possible to sent troops for the continent for many years, so they decided to wage war against Germany only by the aerial and sea means (I will stick to the aerial war here). The Allies would be open to the possibility of peace with Germany, but only after Germany is weakned and agrees to leave France and the Low Countries.

    In your views, how this war could have turned out? Without the Eastern Front Germany would have millions of extra men to it's factories and the LW, as well as perhaps a great quantity of fuel if the plan to extract oil from the Caucasus was realistic. While the Allies also would have a great quantity of extra manpower avaliable without the Western Front. Perhaps the Allies also could cut resources from the Pacific War, while the majority of the Lend-Lease sent to the Soviets would be avaliable to the US and British forces.
     
  2. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I think the Germans would have won that one, had the Soviet Union been captured early on.

    Over 70% of the Luftwaffe was on the Russian Front for a good portion of the war. If they had no Russian Front, these forces would have made the air war VERY interesting for the Allies. Great Britain might have fallen before the US got our industry into gear and ramped up for wartime production. If there were no Russian Front, maybe Operation Sea Lion would have happened since the forces would have been available ... but I don't think they ever had the ships to do it, and it might have been an aerial undertaking with assault gliders. The logistics would have been dicey and the British are not known for being an easy target.

    Still, with no Russian Front, peace .. or at least an armistice, might have been achieved with Germany having the Soviet Union and all of Europe except Great Britain. On the other hand, they might have taken Great Britain wihout the Russian Front.

    Either way, the Soviet Union basically drained Germany until they were beaten by the rest of the Allies. Without them, Germany might well have won the war. Even Sweden might not have been able to survive as a neutral without the Soviet Union in the picture. We all owe the Russians a debt of gratitude. They didn't fight for us, I know. They fought for national survival ... but they accomplished it in a way that helped defeat Germany in the end.
     
  3. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #3 Jenisch, Mar 7, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
    Christos military and intelligence corner: Eastern Front Aircraft Strength and Losses 1941-45

    According to this link, the Germans never had a great quantity of single-engined fighters in the Eastern Front. Also, according to it, the Germans lost 11,140 planes to enemy action in the EF. Some people already told me that accident losses were high, but this information must be provided. In terms of the number of airframes lost by combat causes, just the LL that went to the USSR could provide to the Allies an equivalent number of aircraft that Germany lost in the USSR, considerating a 1-1 basis.

    I found that unlikely. Not only had Fighter Command more than DOUBLED in sized by the end of 1941 - those squadrons were now 90-95% Spitfire-equiped. There was now also a large number of re-formed and re-equiped "Army cooperation" squadrons in the UK... flying 1940-41 fighters converted to light fighter-bombers. The air defence of the UK was some 2-3 times stronger by the end of 1941... and the conversion to VHF radio from August 1940 on meant Fighter Command could control that vast jump in numbers available. If the LW returned to Britain 1942, it would find heavy opposition from the RAF... not to mention the USAAF. The quality of the American and British pilots was also superior to that of the Russians for most of the war.
     
  4. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    I don't even know if we need to go so far as to assume Soviet state collapse.
    What if, for whatever reason(s), the Allies were unable or unwilling to undergo the invasion of the continent - and resorted to aerial naval actions.
    In this scenario, the Germans are still tied up in the Soviet meat grinder and the western allies can take the offensive - albeit an aerial naval offensive.
    With USSR out of the picture, the western allies posture may very well be defensive.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    German Army won practically every battle vs Britain and France during 1939 to 1941. If Soviet Union dies during 1941 I would expect Britain to accept a German peace proposal and USA would steer clear of Europe.
     
  6. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Except that it wouldn't be the German army facing the British in 1941/1942, it would primarily be a naval and air conflict. And there, they tended to come off around even.
     
  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Jenisch, there's too much evidence to the contrary. Germany had a LARGE amount of the Luftwaffe on the Russian Front, well more than half, for most of the war. I have studied that for years and the evidence is there to be found.
     
  8. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    The British were not thinking in return to the continent for at least a long time. Britain was actually expanding Bomber Command while the fighting (and thus the lack of guarantee of Soviet survival) was happening in the Soviet Union. The British plan was to built a force of 4000 heavy bombers to destroy the Germans cities. They actually achived a similar number by the war's end.

    I think the US and Britain would try to wage air war against Germany before considerate peace. If they managed to inflict a destruction level similar to the one of 1945, I think it would be realistic that a peace treat favourable to the Allies could have been signed. If Germany agrees to leave France and the Low Countries however, I think the possibility of peace would be more likely, since the Allied interestes would be in good part retained. As for Japan, I don't think the Americans would spare it.
     
  9. Gixxerman

    Gixxerman Member

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    The way I would see it happening is at best an armistice, or in the case of the British Empire perhaps 'cold war'?
    Hitler is widely credited with having meant it when he said he didn't want to see the BE disappear.

    The actions of Germany after 1940 also point to a move away from mass arms production which (if that is the mindset at the time) I think likely repeated.

    To knock the British out of the war isn't an army or airforce thing, it's a naval thing and that I think depends on someone having the
    idea of the electro boats (Type 21 U-boats) sooner.
    With the easing of the resource situation - were Russia to fall in 1941 - that might just be a possibility.

    However one alternate I have seen is that Stalin the Communist party capitulate but a Russian nationalist leadership emerge,
    move east out of the way grow from there to end up a huge running sore for Germany in the east.

    (IIRC the Robert Harris book 'Fatherland' has a similar kind of plot but with the UK under German control Germany the US in 'cold war')
     
  10. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    They could have had most of the LW in the Eastern Front for most of the war, but this does not necessarily mean the Allies could not defeat this force.

    The major problem here is fuel avaliable to the LW. I don't know if the thing of obtain fuel from the Caucasus was realistic. There's also coal hydrogenation, the Soviets had huge quantities of coal, which I also don't know if would be realistic.
     
  11. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    This is a mistake that many people do in 'what ifs' like this one. It's true that Germany would have more resources, but so does the Allies. The Allies had more than 5 million men in the Western Front which opened in 1944. They also had thousands of tanks, self propelled guns, etc, produced. So, it was not only Germany that could shift industrial priorities. And if we are talking about naval and aeronautical production, those are areas in which Germany already had a huge gap compared to the Anglo-American alliance.

    As with all claims of "fantastic" German technology, I'm skpetical about this submarine having no means to be countered as popularily claimed. It would be nice if people who understand about naval warfare can give their opinions about this subject.
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I have to agree with Greg somewhat with his premise. If SU collapsed then that would mean a different political atmosphere - I would venture one that is friendly with Germany. So now you would have an Axis consisting of Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia and all the economic might that carries.

    Chamberlain with a bigger "Peace in our time!"
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    British weren't suicidal. They won't fight a war with nothing to gain and much to lose.
     
  14. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    On May 17 1943, the Luftwaffe had 1688 a/c (36%) on the Eastern Front out of 4641 a/c total.

    Luftwaffe Orders of Battle 24 June 1941, 27 July 1942, and 17 May 1943
     
  15. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    But Dave, the goal of this war would not be defeat the whole German Army. The goal would be to bomb Germany until a favourable peace treaty, like one that includes a German withdrawal from France can be achived, or at least tried.
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Historical Britain wasn't interested in a peace treaty. Otherwise they would have accepted one of the numerous German peace proposals.

    Britain declared war during September 1939 with the intention of destroying Germany. That's not possible in this scenerio so Britain will have a change of government with war mongers swept from positions of authority.

    Fortunately for Britain Hitler had no desire to harm the British Empire so a gentle peace treaty should not be difficult to obtain.
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Percentage Of German Forces On The Eastern Front Each Year:

    Unit 1941 1942 1943 1944
    Divisions 67% 75% 60% 57%
    Troops 84% 74% 72% 40%
    Aircraft 64% 65% 42% 45%


    I submit that if the Soviet Union had capitulated early on, then Germany would have had more than double the troops and aircraft available in the west that were used in the actual war the way it unfolded, and they came pretty close to winning. With twice and more the troops and aircraft, I think it might have been too much for great Britain and the convoy system wasn't yet perfected early in the war. Indeed, the U-Boat arm called 1942 "Our Happy Time."

    Of course, this is a "what if," and there is no correct answer since it didn't happen ... but I think Germany could have taken and held almost all of Europe without the Soviet Front.
     
  18. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #18 Jenisch, Mar 7, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
    As far as I know, there was not German peace proposal during the war.

    No. Britain warned Germany to get out of Poland in the first days of the attack. Britain, in the defense of it's interests, eventually could have wished to destroy or weaken it in case the Füher insisted in expansionism, what he did historically.
     
  19. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    First, Hitler being Hitler, I don’t see The SU being treated other than as described in Mein Kampf. No matter a peace treaty, the SU would still be a drain on German resources to maintain a harsh occupation.

    Second, The US might have to accede to Japan’s quick- victory strategy and sue for peace in order to concentrate on Europe. For the intermediate term, The US had little vital interest in the Pacific other than Australia/New Zealand, which would be spared in a standstill end to hostilities. I don’t see Japan fighting in Europe.

    The first order of business in Europe would be the Atlantic to supply GB. Once the Atlantic was secured pretty much along the lines that it actually was, even more massive airpower could be built up in England to punish Germany with massive bombing. A land invasion of Europe proper would probably be out of the question. However, with the SU out of the way, the Scandinavian countries would feel less secure and thus at least Sweden might be an ally if a reasonable defense plan was offered.
    This scenario would inflect the greatest pain through bombing of Germany against minimal additional gains from continuing the war. While the German fighter and flak defense would be formidable, Great Britain-based bombers would inflict great pain and suffering on Germany proper. Given the gain of the SU, It might well not be worth the homeland destruction and suffering to maintain hostilities. Western Europe could be perhaps freed as a demilitarized buffer zone.

    This is a variant on the Mitchell/Douhet strategy, not to win the war through strategic bombing, but instead to salvage a war in doubt by strategic bombing of an enemy that had already gained its major objectives.
     
  20. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    #20 Jenisch, Mar 7, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
    Grep,

    Just divisions doesn't matter. Hitler had all the divisions used in France in front of Channel, but he could not use them.

    When they where? In the BoB? No. There's a popular myth around this that is debunked in books like The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain by Stephen Bungay. As for the Atlantic shipping lanes, the Germans never managed to treat them:

    Battle of the Atlantic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    With no need to convoys to Russia, even more Allied escorts and merchant ships would be avaliable, as well all the Soviet Lend-Lease that would be retained for the US and Britain. "Ah Jenisch, you don't see, millions of extra German soldiers would be in shipyards to built more U-Boats and crew". I don't know if naval production could be expanded so easily, but in case of yes: no problem: millions of extra allied soldiers would be in shipyards to built more warships and crew them. Germany did not produced a single carrier during the war. The US produced 141. And after Japan was contained, there was no absolute necessity to wage offensive war like it was historically (this would include some 2000 B-29s to be used against Germany by 1945, not to mention the extra aircraft of this scenario).
     
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