Germany Attacks Russia in 1942 not 1941

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Glider, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Germany as we know turned its attention to Russia after the fall of France and the BOB.
    The scenario I am suggesting is that instead of turning to Russia after the BOB, Germany concentrated on the Middle East and captured the area with its vital oil resources.
    As a result Germany can attack Russia in 1942 with secure oil supplies at a time of its choosing weather wise. Germanys main tanks PzIV and PzIII will have been equiped with the 75L43 and 50L60 respectively and the PzII converted to Marder SP AT tanks. In addition the German airforce would have been able to plan for the more strategic role that would be of assistance in Russia, plus the German airforce would have had time to increase its size and change its balance thinking of additional transport aircraft.
    Granted Russia would have more T34 and KV1 tanks but the PzIV would be able to handle them but the Russian airforce would still be heavily outclassed in quality.

    The question is, would Russia survive?
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I think Russia would have been more prepared.

    A better question is if Stalin would have waited for Germany to invade him.
     
  3. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    One of my favourite what-ifs :D

    How is the situation with Britain and the US? I can imagine the British trying to counterattack in the Middle East? Did Germany declare war on the US?

    I also don't think it's realistic to have those Marders in 1942 nor those tanks with better guns.

    From AchtungPanzer.com:
    Germany's Waffenamt started development of the Marder series of self-propelled anti-tank guns in late 1941 to increase the mobility of Pak (anti-tank) weapons by mounting them on a variety of available chassis. The Germans saw a need for this vehicle type in the summer of 1941 with the appearance of new Soviet armored fighting vehicles, especially the T-34/76 series of medium tanks and the heavy KV series tanks. It was another "interim solution" implemented to fill the gaps until more effective and perfected designs could be developed.

    Also the Pz IIIJ with the L/48 gun was produced until July 1942, together with the Pz IIIJ with the L/60 gun. The Pz IV with the L/43 entered service around around May.

    It's your scenario but I don't think it's realistic that these tanks were produced sooner as they actually were without the threat that caused them to be produced.

    You also talk about the AF but what I would really like to know is, what about logistics? Does Germany have more trucks and halftracks now that it has the fuel for them?
    Kris
     
  4. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    Very true.
     
  5. Negative Creep

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    Did Russia have the resources to invade in 1941 though? Certainly Stalin wanted to invade at some point, but the army still hadn't recovered from the purges, and much of the equipment was still well out of date. Stalin was caught off guard when Hitler invaded, despite being warned to the contrary numerous times. There weren't nearly enough men and equipement in the border regions for a full scale invasion, and building them up would have taken time.

    If Germany had invaded in 1942, only earlier in the year, they would have had more time to capture Moscow or Leningrad before winter set in. If either or both of those had fallen, would there have been any way back for Stalin? From a German perspective the whole campaign seems to be a case of missed oppertunities and mis-management by Hitler, as the country was there for the taking
     
  6. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    There's a book called "Icebreaker" by Suvorov who says that Hitler invaded Russia as a pre-emptive strike. There are two parts in this which can be seen seperately: Did Russia want to invade Germany? and Did Germany invade Russia because of that?
    I don't believe in the second part but I have to say that the author has several good arguments which indicate that Stalin was very close to attacking Germany. And that part of the success of the German forces was because Stalin had ordered the defensive positions and installations to be given up and to prepare for the attack. That's why the Germans found hardly any resistance when they crossed the borders.
    Well, there's much much more, and a shortened version could found on the internet.

    Kris
     
  7. royal744

    royal744 Banned

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    Excellent question. It continues to strike me that in general the German Army was not very mechanized despite its fearsome reputation. Highly mechanized forces followed by mile upon mile of horse-drawn carts showed either a failure of imagination, or possibly a lack of fuel and trucks and perhaps both. Even at the time of Dunkirk, the British Army was considerably more motorized than the German army.

    The brutal math of war is that if you decide to manufacture a lot of a new thing - such as trucks - you are at the same time deciding to NOT manufacture a lot of something else. The Russians would have laughed if the Americans had offered to send them thousands of Sherman tanks since theirs were so much better. But the Russians weren't laughing when the US sent them thousands upon thousands of Studebaker trucks which gave the Russians a whole new lease on life supply-wise.

    I have always thought that the Germans in time of war were entirely too finicky about perceived "quality" of appearance and am reminded that when Hitler was shown some Russian tanks he sniffed that they were obviously of low quality. They were rough all right, but they were finely machined - it was pointed out - only where they needed to be.

    Oh well!
     
  8. royal744

    royal744 Banned

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    There's a book called "Icebreaker" by Suvorov who says that Hitler invaded Russia as a pre-emptive strike. There are two parts in this which can be seen seperately: Did Russia want to invade Germany? and Did Germany invade Russia because of that?

    I don't doubt that Stalin loathed and feared Hitler and that the Grofasz returned the sentiment in spite of their cynical treaty. We who have no crystal balls will just have to guess, but a bigger mistake could not have been made by Hitler if he had set up a National Council of Stupid Errors. Of course hubris played a very large part in this decision - the certainty in his bones that, in the words of Goebbels, Russia was "so rotten that you only had to kick in the door and the whole thing would collapse" (I paraphrase).

    That and the fact that he did win the Battle of Britain which in his terms was the same thing as losing it. Turning to Russia he may have sought easier meat to swallow, but did he look at a map first? A simple geography lesson would have told him "Germany is this big; Russia is THIS big. The deeper you go into Russia, the bigger (wider) it gets. Oh, and if the Russians move their armaments production facilities beyond the Urals, we will not have an air force with the right kind of planes to attack them."

    Well, history is full of second guessers and I am one of them, but a few simple questions should have been asked first.
     
  9. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Kris
    Taking it one step at a time. If Germany had won in the Med then I don't see the British being able to counterattack as Germany will be in a strong position to force Spain to at least allow German forces to capture Gibralter.

    The comment on the PzIV are fair but the PzIII I believe could easily have been produced with the 50 L60 it was in production during 1941 and the gun is based on the standard AT gun of the time. I also believe that the Marder would have been a logical thing for the Germans to produce. PzII was close to useless and the Germans would want more flexibility for their guns given the distances involved.
    Stug III's equiped with the 75L43 are also a feasible option for the same reasons.

    Logistics were without doubt the make or break factor in Russia. Giving the Germans 12 months to prepare and secure fuel supplies an increase in the logistics is not unreasionable.

    The airforces are a key point. The early Russian monoplanes had all sorts of problems and were pushed into production due to the invasion. As a result I wold expect the airforoce to be largly equipped with biplanes and I16's. Against 109F/G and Fw190 this would be easy pickings.
    Any Russian Army would face serious difficulties from air attack.

    It should also be remembered that Germanys attack on Russia was compromised by a diversion due to the need for oil. This wouldn't be the case in 1942 where all resourses could be used to go for Moscow.

    David
     
  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I think Stalin would have been content to sit back and watch what Hitler was doing and then pick up the pieces. The two nations did have an non-aggression pact and waiting until 1942 I don't think would have changed much for the Russians.

    Hitler on the other hand couldn't wait. It was the core of his being and quite possibly the reason for the whole war for him to attack Russia. The Russians were to be wiped off the face of the earth according to his doctrine. In hindsight 1941 was a poor time to launch an invasion but look at what had happened since 1939.

    After his generals had suggested 1942 or later for the start of the war, Hitler rolls through Poland, Norway, France and the Low Countries. BOB was a failure but he really didn't want to attack Britain as he saw them as a part of brothers in arms and was pushing for them to come to some type of peaceful terms. Norway was harder but he prevailed. His ego was stoked and nothing could stop him. Start the invasion later? Nonsense!! He knew better and his real enemy would soon fall. Hence June 22, 1941.

    This is just a condensed version, its much more complicated than this. If it started in 1942, I don't think Russia would be that much further along. They would have been complacent. And the advances in the Panzers wouldn't have happened. It took the T-34 to realize that. The Luftwaffe might have been a different story, maybe better planes and tactics based on the failures of BOB but still utilized in support of the Army. Still no long-range bomber. But would Moelders still be around or Galland?
     
  11. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Hi David
    You say the oil supply is secured so I guess they have possession of Iraq. Do they also have control over Iran and southern Arabia? This is possible though very difficult given the enormous distances to be covered against British defences. But in any case - and you call the shots of course - that would still mean that the British were in Africa and Central Asia. So they could still counterattack from (for instance) Sudan and Pakistan.
    So then my question is, how many German forces and weapons have to be kept aside for protecting these large areas and occupied Europe?

    I also don't understand why you agree with me on the Pz IVG but disagree on the StuG IIIF and Marder as their guns were available at the same time, and it's widely known that the Russian tanks forced the Germans to produce these new vehicles. This is especially true for the Marder as they were an emergency stop measure. Pz II production continued after the adoption of the Marder as they were quite useful as reconaissance tanks (Pz IIF).

    You're also mistaking about the Russian fighters. They were not pushed into production because of the invasion: it happened just before the invasion.

    No,this happened in 1942.

    Kris
     
  12. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    Germany should have gone for the Middle-East first, they should have forced Turkey into submission as well. Thus when driving against the Soviet Union they had a massive two-pronged assault, one across the border to Poland and one over the Caucasus to sweep up the oil fields there.

    There's plenty of problems, but going on sheer force on either side, the Germans have a solid case for victory.

    "You say the oil supply is secured so I guess they have possession of Iraq. Do they also have control over Iran and southern Arabia? This is possible though very difficult given the enormous distances to be covered against British defences. But in any case - and you call the shots of course - that would still mean that the British were in Africa and Central Asia. So they could still counterattack from (for instance) Sudan and Pakistan.
    So then my question is, how many German forces and weapons have to be kept aside for protecting these large areas and occupied Europe?"


    The Middle-East would be held by a mix of German and Italian forces, all of the Mid-East; except maybe Persia, would be held by garrison troops. The British had no viable way of counter-attacking.

    The British forces in India were already in a pressured position from Burma in 1942, the Japanese were marching toward Imphal at an alarming rate. Britain was concentrating on the Japanese in Asia, there would not be the force on hand to turn about and attack Germans in Iraq. Britain would have to attempt to land more forces in Asia by going around the Horn of Africa, but since the Germans have opened the Med - the Italian Navy can now roam in open sea which creates more problems.

    Remember, Kris, the Allies were fighting the Axis, not just Germany. In Africa there were holding forces of Vichy France and Italy alongside the numercially inferior Germans. Any attack from Eastern Africa (where Britain secured victory in 1941 against Italy) would be held up by German forces or could be cut off from supply by the, now, roaming Italian navy.

    Imagine the danger of Italian BBs and German U-boats to the convoys around Africa trying to supply East Africa and Asia? The German, Italian and Japanese naval forces could even link up in the Indian Ocean as Alexandria or Aden would provide fueling stations for all Axis forces.

    The realistic option for Britain here would be to push America into Operation Torch to force Germany to pull forces from the Mid-East, easing the pressure on British forces in Asia ... which can then concentrate (as they did) on the Japanese in Burma.

    Russia at this time would be in a more dire situation as the Germans would open up the Caucasus earlier, cutting Russian oil supply while increasing their own. The Russians would have no way of forming one solid defence line as they would have the Finnish in the north, Germans in the west and south.
     
  13. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    There are two things I disagree with: the massive two-pronged attack and the British not counterattacking.

    I can imagine German forces crossing the Caucasus and attacking the Russians in their belly but due to logistics this can never be a full scale Blitzkrieg invasion and would be limited to mountain warfare and drawing Russian forces to the region. Just look at the supply line which would have to go through Europe, the Mediterranean and Turkey. In the meantime the Russians would have no problem moving forces from one side to another. Imagine that they defeat the Germans in the Caucasus? That could jeopardize the entire invasion as more troops would have to be sent in to secure the Middle East. Although it sounds wonderful I think it's better to use all forces in a big Barbarossa style attack. I advice moving on to the Volga thereby cutting off that part of Russia and the Caucasus as the Russians would be surrounded by water and axis.

    Also your comment on the British were already being hard pressed in Burma is not really relevant as the forces that were fighting against Rommel would be different from those fighting against the Japanese. The 8th army (if it's still called that) would have been pushed back to Persia or even Pakistan but could attack the overstretched axis forces at will.
    Plus, the British would have less problems with their supplies as their forces fighting the Japs would be close to those fighting the Germans/Italians.

    And perhaps a third thing I disagree with (though that was only a sidenote from you) is the Italian navy freely roaming around, even linking up with the Japs in the Indian Ocean. This is impossible because of the limited range of the Italian warships which were optimized for duties in the Mediterranean not the wide oceans.

    Kris
     
  14. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    With holdings in Turkey, the German supply head would be smaller. The German forces were well adapted to moutain warfare - and even in a case where the Germans could not go over the Caucasus; the Russians would be spread and held there... while those on the frontier could thrust to the Volga river cutting off those forces in the Caucasus on two sides.

    That's with your assumption that 8th Army is pushed back and still has the strength to counter-attack. I have to question; how is the British supply any better ... the med has gone to the Axis ... and Britsh shipping is open to attack from all three Axis navies.

    With bases further out and in Axis hands, the Italians have a larger operating circle ... with refueling stations in Aden - or Persian Gulf ...the Italians could easily reach the Indian Ocean.
     
  15. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Yes, that's what I was suggesting. But it's clear that the main assault would have to come from Europe and that the push in the Caucasus would be a diversion to cut off some divivisions once the Germans reach the Volga.

    There's no real difference from before. Italian and Japanese navies were incapable or unwilling to stop allied convoys.
    It's clear that the supply system would be easier if the 8th army and the forces in Burma would be closer to each other. Also no need to keep the Royal Navy in the Mediterranean. The Italian and German navy were uncapable of keeping a permanent presence on the oceans.

    Kris

    With bases further out and in Axis hands, the Italians have a larger operating circle ... with refueling stations in Aden - or Persian Gulf ...the Italians could easily reach the Indian Ocean.[/QUOTE]
     
  16. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    If the British have lost the Medd then where would they counter attack from? The Med would become an Axis lake without major threats from the British apart from some subs operating without a major base.

    Re holding forces in the Med they wouldn't need many as the small countrys could be pressured into it. As others have mentioned the Italians would probably do the majority of this.

    Russian fighters were entering service but there were a number of bugs with the planes, serious ones that in a normal peacetime environment would be resolved before ramping up production. So the rate of introduction would be slower.

    On the Marder and the Stug III.
    The Marder used the PzII hull which was useless in 1942. Germany used old hull for other purposes and mounting guns on them an obvious use. A similar conversion was done on old Pz I tank hulls before the Russian invasion and this is just an extension of a familiar theme. It also gives the Army mobile AT guns an obvious thing to do given the distances involved in Russia
    Stug III was much easier to convert for obvious reasons than a PzIV. Conversion is likely to have started befire the invasion and its almost certain that the Germans would have been aware of the T34 before the invasion was underway.

    Re the diversion of German forces into two thrusts taking place in 1942. I know this happened then and not in 1941. Te important thing is that at a criticaltime in the invasion a diversion was made and at the end of the day Germany didn't have re resourses to do both. In this scenario they wouldn't have to do both, thats the key. Everything could go to Stalingrad.

    Hope this helps

    David
     
  17. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Hi David
    first of all, sorry for the delay in answering your initial post. I am getting there, I just wanted the background figured out as - as you know - the periphery always influences the main theatre.

    I agree that the Mediterranean would have been an axis lake.

    But I think the attacks would have continued but this time from another place. I am thinking of Sudan, southern Arabia and Iran/Pakistan.

    What small countries in the Mediterranean were you thinking of?

    You're mistaking about the Russian fighters. What's typical about Russian planes is that they were always taken in service before being fully operational. If it flew it was good enough. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it failed. It failed for the MiG-1 and LaGG-1, they fixed it with the MiG-3 and LaGG-3.

    The Pz II was also obsolete in 1941 though they produced it until 1942. But yes, I agree that they were available for conversion. And not only the Pz II as only the Marder II was a Pz II conversion. The Marder III used other chassis. But what I think the bottleneck is, is the 75mm gun which appeared in the Spring of 1942.

    The Germans were aware of the T-34 as well as of the KV-1, T-35 and KV-2.

    Which vehicles will you use for the conversion to the StuG IIIF? The Pz III was still used as a tank and the existing StuG IIIs were used as assault guns.


    So David, can we agree that most of the German Panzer armies would have been Pz IIIs with L/60s but that production would have shifted to Pz IVG and StuG IIIFs at the time of the invasion, and that a small but significant part was already equipped with these?

    I think we can say the Germans would have used around 150 fully equipped divisions against the Russians, of which perhaps 15 would have been used in the Caucasus. That's probably the maximum that could be equiped through Turkey.

    I doubt about the logistics though as Germany would have had to use all its resources to get the oil from the Middle East to Germany. I think we can state that logistics would have been significantly better than in 1941 but that it was still lacking somewhat.

    Invasion date? Early May 1942?

    If you agree with that, I'll give you an answer the next time :)
    Kris
     
  18. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The logistics are against it. Roads, airfields, railways, massive workshops maybe even power stations would be needed as there was next to nothing in place. Even the local population would be of little help due to education differences. Plus of course the Germans wouldn't just sit there and let it happen.

    Anyone silly enough to stand up and do anythng to support Britain or the USA. The would be crushed in minutes.

    I understand this but with the invasion not taking place until 1942 the incentive for the Russians to mass produce a defective plane would be less. They would be produced certainly, but at a slower rate. The Germans would ahve increased their numbers and be fully equipped with 109F and 190.
    The other big advantage is that the Germans would be able to ensure that their bomber units are ready. Medium bombers and Heavy bombers would be very useful in Russia and instead of being diverted to short range operations which often happened they would be able to fulfill their worth.
    The He177 started ops in mid 1942 and imperfect as it was, would be very useful in Russia. It would have stretched Russian defences forcing them to deploy more of their scarce more modern fighters away from the front and enable the Germans to hit vital targets deep in Russian areas.

    Possible certainly, but there was nothing to stop them using the 50L60 which would be better than nothing.

    True, but no preventative action was taken and their effectiveness was a major suprise. At least by delaying for a year it gives the Germans time to take that preventative action.

    I would convert the existing Stug III's and build the new Stug III with the 75mm A/T gun. It can still operate as a support weapon using HE and gives very effective Anti Tank protection to the troops.

    Right first time

    Right second time, its the weak spot for sure but with time to prepare, ensure that the equipment (including clothing) is ready and learn the lessongs of the Russian Finnish war, it should be a lot better

    Right again. It gives the Germans the best use of the weather.

    Look forward to it
     
  19. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Fair enough but the same limitations would apply for the Germans/Italians. Take a look at the map and tell me how you would go from Palestine to the Baghdad? Of course you already said the oil supply was secured so I accept that Iraq and Kuwait were taken.
    But then the problem is the same for southern Arabia and Iran. So I think the British would not be kicked out of those areas.
    As to your comment that they were not able to counterattack, I think that's quite possible. But it would have been very possible to launch air, sea and land attacks at will. The axis now had huge areas to defend while the British had better logistics and naval support.

    So for that reason I think the British could have committed more axis divisions than they had themselves.


    Which countries are you thinking about? Which small independent countries are left in the Mediterranean, Middle East or Africa?


    That sounds very logical but it didn't work that way. It also sounds strange to me but it's simply the way it is. Just look at the I-15bis, I-16, MiG-3, ... all taken in mass production even though there was no war in sight.

    It was rushed into production and service. It wasn't operational until late 1943. Using it in Russia with half of them crashing is not very useful.

    For sure. I don't immediately see German HQ accepting this view. But it's your scenario, so yes, you can use those bombers that way.


    Agreed!


    They knew but didn't take preventive actions. I think this is because they could overcome them by tactics and training. I think this is correct but I'll save that for my final response tomorrow.
    But of course the Germans would be more aware of those thousands of T-34s and would have been forced to take measures.


    Ok sounds like a good idea. It does however mean that you will not use the converted StuGs as tankhunters but as armoured support for the infantry.

    Kris
     
  20. Civettone

    Civettone Active Member

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    Hi David
    I was hoping for your reply before I left as this will be my last post.

    So I'll give you the short version of what I think would have happened.

    What was the main reason why the Russians overrun in 1941? Was it inferior weapons, being outnumbered? No, it was tactics, training and leadership. These would all have remained the same in 1942 as they were only altered after the invasion when leaders rose up amongst the politically correct officers and when tactics were altered when experience was increased and the German tactics were better understood.
    So no matter what aircraft or tanks the Germans or Russians had, the advance of the German army would have been at least as fast as in 1941. I'm not going to give them superlogistics but I'm just thinking of the vehicle production from June 1941 to May 1942 with no major combat. That number alone could well mean that the Germans could move more forces. As you know, the Germans were not that affected by fuel shortages as they allowed their spearheads to get the full rations so they could exploit speed to the maximum. Pure Blitzkrieg, speed more important than numbers. With better logistics you can have both.

    So I suspect the Russian AF to get destroyed on the ground like in 1941. I suspect the planes will be a lot better but without better pilots they won't have a chance. It will take them at least a year to recuperate with improved planes appearing later as they did in real life: those improvements were a direct result of combat analysis and suggestion by operational pilots.

    The Russian tank corps will be impressive but they will lack the tactics, cohesiveness and training to form a major fist against the Germans. If a counterattack is put up, the smaller but better trained and led number of Pz IVGs and StuG IIIFs will be able to deal with them.

    As logistics and they will have started the offensive sooner, and the winter of 1942 was not as soon as that of 1941 (I think?), I see the Germans taking Moscow thereby ending the war (as Stalin was asking for German demands when the Germans were closing in on Moscow).

    If the Germans however will accept nothing but a complete surrender, Stalin will probably refuse and sacrifice the entire country for his own personal survival. The winter will stop the German advance and 1943 will probably see a German advance towards the Volga but ... and here's the tricky bit ... the USA will by now be fully mobilized and their industry will be producing large quantities. Coupled with Russian intelligence and vigorous defence I no longer see the Germans destroying the Russian forces. They may succeed in taking the Caucasus and Stalingrad but that's as far as they'll get. Because by late 1943 the Western allies will have taken North Africa as this will be a simple matter of logistics: being able to carry more forces overseas than the axis. From North Africa the allies can still take out Italy. And Germany has a three-front war on its hands again: Russia, Italy and the Middle East (as by now the allies will be pushing from Iran and/or southern Arabia to the oild fields of Kuwait and southern Iraq.)

    So in short, in the first year the Germans will have a better chance but after that year the chances will be less because of the lend lease and new offensives of the western allies.

    That was my last post. I'm going to Italy today, and stay there for a few months.
    See you in October!
    Kris
     
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