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Britain does not enter into a treaty with Poland

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by T. A. Gardner, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    What if Britain, a relative late comer to supporting Poland, did not enter into a military assistance pact with that nation? France would still have had a treaty in place with Poland and woudl have done so for over two decades.
    If Germany invaded in September 1939 as historically happened and France alone was now at war with Germany how would this impact the outcome of events in the early years of WW 2.
    Let's further assume that Britain does support Belgium with a treaty as they had in WW 1. This means that Germany is now faced in the West with either attacking the Maginot Line or violating Belgian neutrality and involving Britain in the war.
    What course do you think Hitler might take and how would events unfold?

    I'd like to see a few other views before posting my own.
     
  2. Miguel B.

    Miguel B. Member

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    I think he'd've ended up not invading at all bidding his time. I mean the French were all trenched up in the Maginot line and if they came out they'd loose their main tactical advantage. Sure they had huge numbers but infantry in the defense is a very powerfull tool. Also, their tactics were all but modern so I believe the OKW would have some advantage there. So, it could just prolong the "phoney" war a bit longer unitil either side made a move. I don't think Hitler would bring GB to a war unless he had to. He believed GB along with the Church to be necessary to the world order.



    Cheers...
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Interesting What if T.A. Must think about this for a sec. I recall Britain was starting to get more heavily involved in the East European businezes as they had pacts with Hungary and at least with several Baltic countries 1939-40. ALso backing Finland before and during Winter War. So it must have felt a bit "miserable" in the pact area as all the countries in that area that had been offered protection were more or less getting invaded and not much help from their pact pal.

    Anyways, I´ll be back on this one later on.
     
  4. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    That is interesting.

    Though it does leave Germany in a dilemma of how to attack france. The Maginot line was formidable, but without the British supporting the French, as well as the Germans only having to concentrate on their western front they could have broken a section of the line and surrounded the rest, though I believe loses would be high. Especially since it is over a narrow front. Would Switzerland be an option?, although the Germans woudl have a lot of trouble trying to take the hights in switzerland that would by bass the Maginot line, would it not? Or perhaps through the North West of Italy, but they would either need an allieance with Italy or at least a military access agreement. However that in turn could lead to war with England, seeing as the Italians were on their way to starting a war with England which would bring the Germans to war with the British, even with only a military access agreement, it could still bring the two countries to war.

    Perhaps paratroopers behind the Line to prevent reinforcements? (Or a more unlikely scenario) A amphibious landing through the North of France from the English Channel? This would by pass the line and many defenders, and since there is no Britain there is no need to fear the RN or enemy navies in the Channel, unless the French have it guarded from their navy. Assuming they don't, this would give the Germans a similar situation as to what actually happened, but with less defenders.

    Since the French would not suspect such a plan, the Germans with their limited Navy and Merchant navy I think could still sustain the attack through the channel, afterall it would not be amphibious as such, there would most likely be little resistence allowing the Germans time to place divisions their.
     
  5. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    Great idea here.

    Would France have even declared war at the time of the invasion with out British help?

    I know the French also considered invading Belgium so as to move their defensive line to the Dyle river. If they had would Great Britain fought against France?

    Would residual hat from WW1 brought the English in to WW2 just to fight Germany at the outset of hostilities?

    With out the English in the war Germany would not have invaded Norway. This would preserve the German ships that were lost there, not to mention the men, but it would also take away the air bases that they had there.

    If Only France and Germany were at war, come the spring/summer 1940, Germany would have gone through the maginot line, special forces, like the paratroops and glider born troops would have used the shaped charges on the fortifications making hole to pass through, once inside and the French start loosing it would have been over.

    Now wether Germany would have stopped and consolidated their Gains, and tried to bring Great Britain in agaisnt Russia is another good question.
     
  6. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Yes. France has a mutual defense pact with Poland dating back to 1921.

    But, Belgium in the years right before the war withdrew from their mutual defense agreements with the British and French going back to rely on neutrality. So, even in this case, France can only enter Belgium after the Germans invade. So we are still at the original 1940 circumstances.

    This is harder to determine. Let's assume that Britain does not enter the war upon Germany invading Poland although they continue to lean towards war and supporting France.

    I suspect if Germany decided to go through the Maginot Line instead of Belgium to keep England out of the war the French would still have been hit. The Germans historically penetrated the line at three points. One particularly vicious method they used was to drag up 88 and 105mm AA guns and shoot the observation and close defense cupolas off the fortifications. These were not designed to or capable of withstanding direct fire AP hits from these guns. With the fortifications blinded they were easily overcome by assault engineers. While the Germans did not manage to take any of the Gros Overages in the line they could have easily isolated them in short order.
    The Luftwaffe would still have ruled the French Air Force so this would have made reinforcement and holding a line difficult for the French. The campaign might last longer but it is still very likely the French would lose in the end.

    I suspect once France fell it would be onto Russia. I could see Britain giving Russia huge amounts of material support even if they did not enter the war themselves. This might bring on a war with Britain particularly if the Germans start using U-boats to take out shipping headed to Russia.
     
  7. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    There was no love for Russia in Great Britain or the US prior to the German invasion. Had the war ended in the west. Would the Anglo-Americans even cared what Germany and Russia were doing to each other?

    Would trade have continued between Britain and Germany during the French-German war? American Trade?

    Would Japan still have felt that British Empire was vulnerable and attacked?
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Hitler never wanted a war with the British so that would lead to think he would not attack Belgium, then again being passive would strengthen Hitler´s thinking that he could do anything he wanted and he would get away with it.

    Hitler´s primary idea was to go through Belgium and only when his plans were in the hands of the Allied when the Storch was caught he changed it to Sichelschnitt.

    Now this makes me think Hitler would attack through Belgium and considers he has finished his attack before the BEF is around. The problem is the French forces are in numbers against him. But like we have seen the French army was not prepared for "real" war and the Luftwaffe would crush the oppositon with the Wehrmacht´s panzer forces although the German losses would be much higher than in reality happened with Sichelschnitt.

    Britain not being part of the Poland treaty does not change Hitler pact wish with the USSR in my opinion and Ribbentrop needs to fly to Moscow Aug 1939.

    So No Dunkirk but the war will be over in approx the same time period, but No Churchill so perhaps not even time to send the BEF in France. And like mentioned earlier no German occupation of Norway necessary, perhaps as a precaution invading Denmark.
     
  9. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    A technical point here. The French were unable to interfere with these attacks because their 'interval troops' had been withdrawn to fight further west. One of the misunderstanding about the fortifications is that they were designed to stand alone as a independant defense system. Ths is not the case, they were built so as to provide a hardened reinforcement for field armys. Without the field units to patrol and counter attack the fortresses were a hard carpace stripped of its muscle.

    The German attacks were impressive tactical achievements but did not accomplish anything of stratigic importance. Could they have broken the Maginot Line in the stratigic sense, against a proper French defense? Possiblly. It would have been likely a long Verdun like battle that would break the Wehrmacht as well.


    The French airforce strategy as executed in 1940 was to hold its forces out of range and execute counter strikes when and where advantageous. There were a variety of reasons for this including the unreadyness of many components of the FAF. The losses of the German Air Force are well documented. In six weeks of intensive fighting roughly one third of the aircraft were lost. That was with the bulk of the FAF holding back. While a air battle only between the GAF and FAF will have a different character over the long haul the Germans still suffer losses. This gets interesting as the French had a steady supply of aircraft arriving. Production and deliverys from the US were becoming substantial in April/May 1940. Conversely replacement production for the GAF had been reduced to a trickle on the assumption of a short campaign. Similarly the flight schools had been reduced to the minimum and a large portion of the instructors sent to combat unit duty. Conversely the FAF retained its training program ensuring at least some replacements as the battle developed.

    Unless the Germans can contrive to blast though the stongest French defenses in a couple weeks and collapse the French army where it is best prepared in just a month the odds are the result will be a stalemate.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The "interesting" thing in my opinion is that if the French Army could stop the Germans would there be any offensive plans following this to win the Germans and drive them far back to Germany? So does Hitler have any attacks to fear if his offensive stops? Or could he just pull back and lick his wounds and try again? In this what if and real life ( with BEF )situations?
     
  11. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    Lets look at this strategically

    Unilaterally France does indeed declare war on Germany and historically sends in the 9 divisions into the Saarland but the French Army is trained in defensive and not offensive and just sits there and does nothing. Germany and Italy enter into a Military Pact which allows German troops to transit into Italy.

    Britain declares that she has 15 divisions in Belgium and The Netherlands and is prepared to go to war with anyone that plans to invade these countries.

    So Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini decide that France will be taken in a novel way of sheer rat cunning.

    Poland faces the inevitable conclusion as France is not prepared to declare war on the Soviets after they invade eastern Poland. And so France by October 1939 withdraws her 9 divisions from Germany to behing the Maginot Line.

    Here is the Stategy Germany by mid 1940 heavily deploys many of its divisions on the German-French-Low Countries frontiers and secretly begins to deploy substantial forces along the French-Italian frontier.

    Because of the substantial deployment on the German-French border the bulk of the French Army is deployed there, and so German and Italian forces begin there invasion in the south of France, the invading force is 3 German and 2 Italian Armies. False German plans are allowed to fall into the French hands indicating that a major thrust through the low countries is to take place, France decides to invade the low countries and does so.

    Britain has no choice but to declare war on France, while in the south of France the Germans and Italians face little resistance and makes huge gains in territory, urgent orders are sent to those French Armies to move south to battle the Germans and Italians.

    French forces are mauled in Belgium and British-Belgian forces begin to invade France, with its Armies being mauled in the North and South German forces take on the much stripped Maginot line.

    France is defeated within a month.

    v.R
     
  12. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    And I am a magical pixie fairey with a wand,:rolleyes:

    Why does France invade the low countries, considering that if the Germans were to 'attack' through there would it not have been better to join them in the defense of those areas instead of invading them? As well as you said so yourself that France had a defensive nature, so why is that changing?

    Don't tell me that the best defensive is a good offensive, because in this scenario that offensiveness is just creating more enemies as well as effectively a second front, which we all know is next to impossible to win.

    :confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused:

    Why is France invading the low countries again?
     
  13. Miguel B.

    Miguel B. Member

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    I don't think that France would invade the low countries without the consent of the British.



    Cheers...
     
  14. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    I dont think anyone should ever do anything without the consent of the British.
     
  15. Miguel B.

    Miguel B. Member

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    Sure whatever makes you happy ;)
    lol
    I meant that France would not just walk into Belgium. It'd first talk to the British trough the proper diplomatic manners.



    Cheers...
     
  16. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    To those who critisised my senario are entitled to their opinion.
     
  17. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Two problems. Italy is not thrilled with the Germans and Mussolini is likely to nix this plan simply on the basis of not wanting to go to war with France. Remember, Italy only jumped in because the Germans were winning bigtime.
    Problem two is that the French-Italian border is every bit, if not more, well fortified than the Maginot Line is. The terrain is far rougher being almost all mountianous except for a narrow coastal strip. This would create huge problems for the Germans.

    I can't see France, which as you point out, was looking at a defensive war pushing into Belgium first. They would wait for the Germans to cross the border then reinforce the British and Belgian forces rather than face another opponet. I'd say this is more true as the French would know something of a large German buildup in Italy. That would be hard to miss seeing as how the border would still be open as Italy is not at war yet.
     
  18. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Well it does look like most here don't share your opinion of your scenario.
     
  19. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    From historians like Horne & Doughty there is mention of the intent to eventually attack into Germany. No details, just remarks about the long term French strategy being to build up a force with ovewhelming firepower and perhaps starting in 1941 initiate a escalating series of attacks. As the German economy became a smoking ruin in 1942 the main offensive would get under way. From elsewhere in Doughtys analysis of French doctrine I'd sumrise this would be no 'blitzkrieg'. The attacks would be designed to methodically annilhiate with firepower any defenders and treat counter attacks the same way. They seem to have been using the methods of the Fourth Army used to defeat German techniques in 1918 as a model or starting point.

    I suspose if the German army were showing signs of serious demoralization after a failed and bloody attack on France then some sort of imeadiate counter attack may have been made as a test. Anyway my impression is no French leader was contemplating wasting infantry in futile assualts as in 1915 thru 1917.
     
  20. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    How about this senario.

    Germany attacks Poland on the 1st September 1939.

    France launches and invasion of Germany and Italy on the 2nd September 1939.

    Germany and Italy unconditionally surrender on the 3rd September 1939.

    And sometime in January 1940 French Troops march into Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad and by February 1940 Soviet Union unconditionally surrenders.

    The French is the master race in Europe.
     

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