What if- WW2 starts sept '38

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by tomo pauk, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The posts in other thread got me thinking - what if Munich conference failed, and Germany wen to war to get Sudets (Sudettenland sp?). Assuming France honoring the pact with Czechs.
     
  2. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I don't see it changing much in the ETO as war was already happening, albeit unofficial. Japan and China were at war, Italy and Ethiopia had already been at war, and Germany took over Austria, Czeckoslovakia, the Sudatenland, and Hungary.

    Had it been officially declared, I don't see too much changing. The U.S. would have started the Lend-Lease with Britain a year earlier and maybe (since we are playing what if's) there would have been a AVG group in England as well.

    Where it might really change things is in the PTO. It could have changed the catastrophy at Pearl Harbor because it might have led to 1 or 2 our our carriers and 2 or 3 battleships being put in the Atlantic. With our fleet being (1) wounded from Pearl and (2) being divided in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, how would that have affected Midway and would Nimitz have put the Lexington at Coral Sea?

    Just my thoughts...........
     
  3. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    Hitler - stopped it his tracks cold. No major war - only Mexican stand-off and slight retreat by Hitler. However - after August, 1939 when it is clear that Zhukov has whipped the Japanese in Manchuria - Hitler and Stalin execute a mutual non-aggression-protection pact which lasts longer than M-R did - but in the end is broken by Stalin - to contain Hitler (and Germany's growing economic power vis-a-vis the USSR's) .

    Interesting thread, tomo :)

    MM
     
  4. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    Random scenario; France advances into Germany and is roundly criticised by GB and USA (who are too weak to get involved themselves/largely disinterested but quite self-righteous). Armistice is quickly reached.

    France is furious with GB and all trust between the former allies is destroyed,

    Hitlers seethes for two years before launching into France for revenge and WW2 starts anyway
     
  5. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... Hitlers seethes for two years before launching into France for revenge and WW2 starts anyway."

    That part works for me ... :)

    Hitler wants at Russia. France is useful in a war against England - proximity, access for U-boats, etc. but Russia has oil, and everything else Hitler needs. He also knows that he is playing a desperate game with Stalin - eat or be eaten. But Russia is a big "unknown". The purges have removed any benefits in leadership that Stalin may have gained from Germans in the period 1928 - 33. THEN - Zhukov hands the Japanese their head on a plate. Hitler has to notice that the Russian army is not a shambles (the mistake Saddam Hussein made in 1981 going after Iran, believing the Revolution had destroyed Iranian military capability - wrong! :)). So a buy-time MNA Agreement with Stalin makes sense.

    As we saw in real life - when the M-R Pact was signed the world was "shocked", shocked, I tell you :), but there was more outrage against Japan in China (rape of Nanjing etc.) than there was about M-R. True? Then the countries started disappearing, and by then it was too late.

    MM
     
  6. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Spanish Civil War was still raging during 1938. Britain won't admit it but they were more or less allied with Germany and Italy vs France and the Soviet Union in that conflict.

    If France goes to war with Germany during 1938 they are likely to be fighting Britain also. Poland is also likely to be allied with Germany, especially if the Soviet Union gets involved.
     
  7. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    davebender - whatever effect the Spanish Civil War had on Europe - in he end it was of no consequence. There were lessons learned - no doubt - images created - no doubt. But in end end - war over - Franco stays NEUTRAL in WW2.

    That obscure engagement out on the steppes of Mongolia - June - August, 1939 -- that changed history. :)

    MM
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Spain almost became a Soviet satellite. Which is why Britain, Italy, Germany and Portugual worked to help Franco win. That's a lot more important to British interests then events in far away Czechoslovakia.
     
  9. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    If the war had started in Sept 1938 I believe that the outcome would have been very different. France would not have collapsed as it did and the Germans would have been stopped well short of Paris.

    Germany in Sept 1938 were as poorly prepared as any other country, the success in Spain tended to mask a number of truths namely. French fighters in widespread service in 1938 were at least as capable as the Me 109C/D as was the Hurricane. The Me110 would probably have been the best German fighter.
    The Ju87B often seen as a linchpin in the attack was just entering service as was the He111P. Of these two in Sept 1938 only the He111F with its much lower performance would have been available. The Ju88 was also just entering service so is also out of the fight.

    On land its a similar situation with the Pz III entering production and not being available in any numbers the backbone of the Army would be the Pz I / II suported by the Pz IV. French tanks were more than capable of matching these types.

    Its also worth remembering that Czechoslovakia was still unoccupied and its army was well equipped. If Germany were to attack France then it would have to leave forces to cover this threat. Should Germany attack Czechoslovakia then if supported by French or British airforces it would have been a tough nut to crack.
     
  10. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    ".... Spain almost became a Soviet satellite." Was it really that close, Davebender? :)

    Glider - only one question - does the Maginot Line hold? France had complete dependence on that fortification. :)

    MM
     
  11. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Maginot Line would probably fall as it was beaten by guile not overpowering strength. What I believe wouldn't have happened was German domination of the air and without that basic requirement, the Blitzkrieg wouldn't have worked nearly as well. A heavier reliance on Pz I and Pz II tanks wouldn't have helped either as the Germans wouldn't have access to the Pz 35 and Pz 38 tanks which they used widely in the attack on France.

    Don't get me wrong I am not saying that Germany wouldn't cross the border or make deep inroads into France, Just that it wouldn't have been nearly as effective and that the German forces would be stopped before Paris.
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    #12 Glider, Mar 19, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
    I don't think the Pacific War would have happened for a number of reasons.

    1) If France doesn't collapse then Lend Lease will not be needed
    2) Japan wasn't ready for war in 1938 it still had its hands full in other areas of the world.
    3) As France hasn't fallen then at sea the war against Germany is a submarine war and the RN would be able to assist the US should the Japanese start preparations. The French Fleet would still be in the fight against Germany and take a significant part in any actions against the German surface fleet.
    4) Italy would not have joined the war so the Med isn't a factor.
    5) The British Carrier fleet would be a bit stronger with the Ark Royal still afloat.
     
  13. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    All true points Glider if Japan got involved with the U.S. in 1938. I was looking at it as war starting in the ETO in '38 and the PTO starting as it actually did.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    It appears that way to me. The 1936 "Popular Front" was a Comintern creation. As the war progressed the Soviet Union was relentless at increasing their control. The so called "International Brigades" were a Soviet creation and under NKVD control. By 1938 most of the better Republican combat units including the entire armored and air force were under Soviet control.

    Stalin wasn't known for relinquishing control of territory occupied by his military forces. Why would he abandon Spain after a Republican victory?
     
  15. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... By 1938 most of the better Republican combat units including the entire armored and air force were under Soviet control. "

    How did the Republicans, lose then.

    MM
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's no secret. The Nationalist forces beat the communist forces in most battles.
     
  17. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I see where you are coming from. To be honest I still don't see the Japanese going to war but had they done so the RN would have been able to assist the USN.

    The RN in Dec 1941 would be a lot stronger as it wouldn't have lost so many ships the Illustrious wouldn't have been badly damaged off Malta and the Ark Royal would almost certainly have still been afloat. The German Navy would have been contained by a combination of the French and British Navies. We also lost a lot of destroyers and cruisers either sunk or badly damaged in the Med, which would have been available for action.
    It should be remembered here that the Luftwaffe Ju87s would have been concentrated on the land fighting in Europe. If France didn't fall then I am confident that their first priority would be the land war, not attacking ships a long way from base.

    In these circumstances a task force based on 2-3 carriers, a couple of KGV Battleships, 4-5 cruisers and a dozen modern destroyers would have been available to protect our interests in the Far East prior to war breaking out, or failing that, after an attack on Pearl Harbour to support the USN. If and I know its a big if, the Japanese were aware that these forces were available in addition to the USN, it might have made them think twice before attacking.

    I can see no reason why any major US vessels would need to be in the Atlantic in 1941 if the Germans attacked in 1938. They didn't have the ships, aircraft or even submarines in 1938 to threaten to cut the sea lanes between the USA and Europe when facing the British and French Navies.
     
  18. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... They didn't have the ships, aircraft or even submarines in 1938 to threaten to cut the sea lanes between the USA and Europe when facing the British and French Navies."

    Nor the French ports.

    MM
     
  19. Arsenal VG-33

    Arsenal VG-33 Member

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    Not too far-fetched at all....this almost really did happen over the Rhineland Crisis in 1936, with France threatening to move in and reoccupy the Rhur Valley. Both US and UK responded by threatening diplomatic sanctions, and there was talk of economic sanctions against France should the French enter Germany. The other big problem against this was the worldwide economic depression - the devalued Franc at the time was literally on the brink of total collapse. The dire economic cicrumstances alone would have severely hindered an effective mobilization effort, especially combined with possible isolation/alienation on the international front and the likelyhood of seeing the French government fall apart. It should also be noted that when the Germans re-entered the Rhineland, it precipitated a massive withdrawal of treasury from France by investors, which in turn, threaten to cause France to default on it's debt. Only a massive infusion of cash from the government ( a bailout 8) ) at the last minute prevented this.

    I agree, it was only a matter of time.

    This is something of a myth.
     
  20. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "... This is something of a myth."

    Fair enough :)

    Your points on the occupation of the Rhineland are well taken.

    In your considered opinion, would France have fought more effectively if there hadn't been the (deadly) lull of a Phoney War?

    MM
     
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