Franco-British vs. USSR in 1942

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, May 10, 2015.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Supposing a wildly implausible situation in which Germany is stymied in 1940 leading to their defeat in 1941, what would a Franco-British war against the USSR in 1941/42 have looked like in the air as they fight over control of Central Europe?

    The scenario, for those interested would be that the Germans don't go for the Sickle Cut and instead just plow into the Allied armies in Belgium in 1940, which bogs down; without the disaster in France the Allies don't pull out of Norway and end up winning at Narvik. Germany, now without is primary source of quality iron ore, starts losing due to the fall in weapons and munitions production. The anti-Nazi resistance in Germany kills Hitler provoking a Civil War and Stalin invades in July 1941 in the East. The Allies manage to recruit the Italians into the war to invade Austria, while they push in the West and Stalin in the East (without signing on with the Allies). Paralyzed by the death of Hitler and power struggle, Germany cannot shift around forces and collapses as the Soviet march into Berlin and the Allies into the Ruhr. They meet near the Elbe in late 1941/early 1942, with most of the German forces being captured/fleeing West to surrender, but the Allies and Soviets end up clashing upon meeting up. The Soviets refuse to back down and leave Germany, Poland, or the parts of Czechoslovakia they control. The Allies can't tolerate the Soviets controlling that much of Europe and the violence escalates into full war, both sides blaming the other. The Soviets' objective is to control Central Europe to the Rhein, the Allies to stop on the Vistula.

    Hungary, which has occupied Slovakia before the Soviets, and Romania are neutral. Italy, which moved into Austria advanced as far as Brno in Moravia, is onside with the Allies, as its Belgium, the Netherlands, Free Poles and Czechs. The Germans are disarmed and in PoW camps, but could theoretically be reactivated to fight if needed, but politically in 1942 that's not possible. The US is offering LL to the Allies.

    What does the war shape up to look like in terms of production, technology, counter measures, etc.?
     
  2. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    No thoughts about Hawker Typhoons mixing it up with Yak 9s? Or British P-51s against Soviet Su-3s? Or French developments with the Dewoitine 520?
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The French get a bit tooo whatiffy real quick. We have no real idea what their engines would have been like in 1942. We know what was projected but the projected figures were never realized using post engines using post war fuel. Perhaps teh post war engines were rated at lower power for increased overhaul life? or the projected figures were just too good to be true? We have no idea what the french guns would have been like, France was outof the war before a belt fed Hispano 20mm gun showed up although the British belt feed was based on a French design.

    Basically the Russians are screwed. They could get away with low level planes because the Germans didn't have very many high level (over 20,000ft) bombers. They didn't have to go up and the Germans had to go down to engage the IL-2s and Pe-2s. The Allies have got thousands (not hundreds) of bombers that can fly at 20,000 (including Lancasters) and the western Allies have also got fighters that can operate at low level in addition to high level. The Russians also have a bit of problem with fuel. Without lend lease supplies do they have enough additives to boost their domestic fuel to even 95 octane/PN for the amount of fuel needed ( I am sure they can make small batches but small batches won't get the job done).
     
  4. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    The Soviets had high altitude fighters, but didn't develop them out of lack of need. The Su-1/3 being a perfect example. How about Maskirovka to help counter Allied strategic bomber attacks?
     
  5. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Actually the TSu-1/3 being a perfect example of the problems the Russians faced. They had several prototypes, They didn't work. It wasn't lack of need, it was the fact that the Russians couldn't build reliable turbochargers. And they tried putting turbos on practically every engine they had.

    Maskirovka is only going to work to a limited extent, Not even B-29s could actually bomb the Urals from Europe so the B-17s, B-24s and Lancasters aren't going anywhere near that far.

    It isn't hard to hide tanks, guns in forests. It is an awful lot harder to hide dozens of miles of railroad tracks leading to a factory. Russians had an awful lot of empty landscape and only a relatively small area of built up areas.
     
  6. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    #6 Koopernic, May 11, 2015
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
    The Soviets would do extremely well.

    The force they were developing in 1941 was an offensive force with a strategic bombing capability and was a different force than they ended up having in 1943 that they developed in response to the German invasion. For instance the MiG 3, generally much faster and longer ranged than most Allied and Axis aircraft such as Me 109F and Spitfire V at altitude. It was never developed. (if you wanted an high altitude escort fighter in 1941/42 the MiG 3 was it). The Yak 1, nearly 500 in service before the German invasion.

    Stalin was up to something, many Russian Historians posit an Invasion for Europe scheduled for 1941 that failed to build up sufficient modern weapons apart from tanks and was held of. Prior to Operation Barbarossa the Soviets had nearly 3000 T-34s and 1800 KV-1 in service. (albeit 33% in the East facing Japan) No western or German tank could match these vehicles. The claim usually is that there hadn't been enough training or debugging etc. I don't know how you can produce and deliver 3000 tanks so overnight and not have worked out a few things. They also had 25,000 light tanks, perhaps 14000 serviceable that had excellent mobility and the fire power of a 45mm gun.

    The long range Pe 8 bomber (1941) would have been outstanding in range and altitude except for its finicky Diesel Engines in early versions. Moreover the MiG 3 could escort it. The Russians were not lacking in resources such as crude oil, strategic raw materials. I would say much of Lend Lease compensated for resources they had lost to the German invasion.

    They would have a weakness in radar, while their aircraft lack finesse in 1941 due to their relative newness and lack of refinement but they were fundamentally sound.

    pe-8.gif
     
  7. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    So we could well see Soviet strategic bombing of the Allies?
    I think strategic bombing is more going to be limited to logistics interdiction, because that's what's in range; the Soviet though would probably suffer from dealing with Allied radar interception, while the Allies won't face sophisticated Soviet radar, especially without Lend-Lease.
     
  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The key word there is "developing" as many of the aircraft (and engines) never reached their intended performance. Or achieved it very late. Work started on the VK-107 engine in March of 1940. Granted production was interrupted by the war, however that excuse doesn't work for the the times production was stopped in late 1945 and in 1946 because of problems. The VK-107 only reached it's goal of 100hrs between overhauls in 1946.

    The PE-8 was built to the tune of 93-96 aircraft (?) and used 4-5 different engine set-ups. The first prototype used four AM-34 engines supercharged by a M-100 engine in the fuselage. This wasn't working so well and production problems(?) with special model AM-34 engines forced a switch to the AM-35A engine. Desire for greater range saw both M-40 and M-30 diesel engines fitted. fuel system controls were rather basic and in the case of the M-40 engine if it cut out due to fuel delivery problems it could only be restarted below 1500 meters. Most planes built had the AM-35s because of greater reliability. Late production aircraft got M-82 radial engines. Speed and range are all over the map due to the different engines. A few of the very last ones got ACh-30B Diesels and while these were much better than the early diesels they still suffered from failures of the compressor bearings and piston rings. in 1943/44 pilots were said to "fondly remember the less powerful and economical but far more reliable AM-35A,"

    BTW, range for the Mig-3 is also all over the place as there were several different fuel tank set ups. The Mig-1 started with a 88.8 gallon fuel capacity (that sure gives a vast improvement over a Spitfire-sarcasm) but space for a 54.9 gallon tank was found by repositioning the radiator. Unfortunately for long range escort plans, after the plane was armed with three 12.7mm mg and two 7.62s ( and 821 built that way) the deterioration in speed and handling was such that not only was it recommended to get rid of the under-wing guns but reduce the capacity of the rear tank by about 25 gallons and the center tank by about 11 gallons. Some performance figures for a late production plane are with 102-103 gallons of fuel. That sure isn't going to go far trying to escort PE-8s.
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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  10. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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  11. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    A few comments
    Much would depend on what the French had in 1942 and how eager would the french be fighting against Soviets, after all French Communist Party was powerful in 1940. In a land war in Central Europe 1942 the British would have been a junior partner and what would they have? Without Dunkerque 6pdr production would have begun earlier, so they would have had a merginally effective gun against T-34s and KV-1s with the initial armour, uparmourd KV-1s, if there would have been any in this scenario, would have been unvulnerable from frontal fire by 6pdr. Soviet 45mm A/T and tank gun wasn't a star performer as anti-armour weapon, Matildas and Valentines were too well armoured for it. T-26s and BTs would have been easy targets even to 2pdr but uparmoured T-28 would have been too much to it as also T-34s and KVs would have been.

    Hispano would have been an effective weapon against Il-2
     
  12. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    french invade russia where have i heard that before??? russias size is a national defense system in itself. how long can someone extend their supply lines before reach an end?
     
  13. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    The PM of France was of the Center Right party, which was pushing for a strike on the USSR in 1940:
    Paul Reynaud - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The left was in the majority, but in the face of the USSR's behavior there would be enough defections to support a war. Ironically the Radical Party, a member of the popular front, was opposed to the radical leftism of their coalition partners and were moving rightward; their defection would hand the right a majority in parliament. Daladier, a member of that party, broke with the popular front and formed a coalition with the right in 1938.

    The 17 pounder would probably show up on time and in the meantime the Hurricane probably would do a lot of ground attack work in 1941-42 until the A-36 avenger showed up. The Allies could end up fielding the P-47 in the ground attack role too.
     
  14. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Without the US getting actively involved it looks like a bloody stalemate. Great British and France can't put enough boots on the ground and neither country has armor worth much in this time period regardless of what is on the drawing board. Russian supply lines are pretty stretched too. No lend lease trucks or rail road rail. Allied Air can chew up Russian rail transport even if they can't hit factories.
    Western Allies own the seas, except for the Black sea and that depends on Turkey.

    Can W oAllies hit Russian oil fields from bases in Mideast?
     
  15. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Yes:
    Operation Pike - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  16. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Russians are not stupid. They would adapt to conditions in the unfolding conflict. If Allied bombers were striking from high altitude, they would pour their efforts into developing a high altitude fighter. Yes, they were technologically behind the west, but they would make up for it in dogged determination over time and let's face it, Russia has vast stretches of land for a western army to cover and a vast resource in man power to hold them at bay. Western forces might reach Moscow, but I doubt they would get further east, where the all important munitions factories were built. The conflict would be a stalemate for a time, but the Russians are crafty and have the potential to surprise and also to endure enormous amounts of hardship. You can never underestimate the Russians in combat. I think that any invasion of Russia at that time would be futile and would result in what actually happened to German forces during WW2.
     
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  17. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    The RAF in the UK at the beginning of 1942 is smaller than I thought it would be. RAF returns for November 1941 give a total of 4500 first line aircraft on the books and serviceable, of which about 2800 are in the UK. RAF numerical strength doesn’t really begin to climb until late 1942.

    I wonder, does anyone have VVS fighter and bomber strengths for pre-Barbarossa and strengths for mid-1942? Also production rates for their medium and heavy bombers?

    I can project Armee de l’Air figures, but the VVS is a bit of a black hole.

    Also, does anyone have Fleet Air Arm figures?
     
  18. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    I think the most likely alternative history that could lead to some sort of conflict between East and west is not as postulated. The most likely might be Hitler removed or assassinated 1939. Germany gets a peace party, restores Polish independence, accept disarmament and occupation. 1940 rolls around and the newly restored Polish Govt is placed under pressure by the Soviets. Soviets back off for a while, whilst they build their red fleet and replace their slaughtered officers. By 1942 they have their fleet, the largest air force in the world, control of the Baltic states, occupation of the whole of Finland, pressure on Sweden and Poland, as well as Rumania, a traditional French client. Yugoslavia sides with the USSR as well as Bulgaria. Turkey and Greece stay neutral. Poland allows French and British troops into her territory.

    Rough comparison of numbers

    Just Poland for now

    Polish forces

    30 Divs, 700-1000 a/c a bit of manpower, low industrial base, excellent troop quality, competent leadership

    French

    80 Divs, 4-5000 a/c short of manpower, no expansion capacity, susceptible to losses. Patchy troop quality good technology base. military leadership conservative

    British

    maybe 30 divs (some relaxation of their prewar decisions about the size of the army)
    5000-8000 a/c
    Quite a bit of spare manpower (if dominions are in, otherwise, same as france). Good quality soldiers, good technology. military leadership proficient but uninspired

    Soviets
    500 Divs about 25 million men under arms, about 40-50000 frontline airforce, largely obsolete

    The ability to raise another 500 divs in two years. Inexperieced army, improving leadership, basic technology

    I don't like the numbers for the allies
     
  19. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Parsifal, I get closer to 50 divisions for the British Army in 1942:
    8 armoured divisions
    20 independent armoured regiments/brigades(equivalent to around 3 1/3 divisions)
    35 infantry divisions (including two airborne and the Polish and Commonwealth divisions)
    Seven independent infantry brigades (equivalent to around 1 2/3 divisions)
    Four independent motorised brigades (equivalent to around a division)
    8 County divisions (smaller forces of ~10,000 that were mostly static)
    All told, about 43 proper divisions, and about six more when you count the smaller independent forces.

    By mid 1942, the British Army had called up 2.2 million men. Joining it are the Commonwealth forces - India, Canada, Australia, India, South Africa - all of which added multiple divisions to the UK war effort. The Indian Army alone called up 2.5 million men in the war.
     
  20. Koopernic

    Koopernic Active Member

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    If the Soviets march into Berlin they get German radar tech which was excellent. Companies such as GEMA (Seetakt, Freya, the Jagdschloss PPI radars), Telefunken (Wurzburg series), Lorentz (Hohtenweil sea search and naval PPI radar) and Siemens (Mannheim FLAK radar).

    The Germans can deal with microwaves on the receiving side but cant generate powerful ones, the Russians have invented a magnetron but can't process the signals very well. The two technologies might combine.
     
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