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  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    In the original Polish campaign, the British and French declared war on Germany when Poland was invaded. They failed to do so during the subsequent Soviet invasion which should have triggered a similar declaration as both nations were obligated to protect Poland against any invasion. What if both live up to their treaty obligation and declare war on the Soviets too?
     
  2. Greenjacket

    Greenjacket Member

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    Chaos.

    But at any rate, I'd be interested to see just how an Anglo-French alliance would prosecute a war against the USSR. The geography's not exactly favourable.
     
  3. KnightMove

    KnightMove Ace

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    Of course there would not have been any warlike actions between the western powers and the Soviets, but the political dimension could have been huge... maybe Hitler would not have invaded a Soviet Union at war with GB?
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Maybe not directly. But, what if the British and French then use this (declaring war on the Soviets) as a reason to heavily arm Finland and cut off German iron ore shipments from Sweden?
    Meanwhile, the Germans and Soviets would hardly have made trustworthy allies, even if either dictator would have allowed it.
    Does Germany still invade France faced with opposition in the East however limited it may be?
    Do the Soviets try and move on Iran, a British protectorate?
    Would the Germans have to still invade the Balkands?
     
  5. chromeboomerang

    chromeboomerang New Member

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    One can't help but wonder what would have happened had the French & British attacked when Germany was busy in Poland. The invasion of Denmark & Norway would probably not have happened, indeed the whole war might've been decided right then & there. It really depends on how much hardware the allies had in 39 to throw in.
     
  6. silentmidgetassasin

    silentmidgetassasin Member

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    The Allies really didn't have much hardware because they weren't as prepared for war as Germany was. But I still wonder what would have happened if the French and British didn't just sit there without taking action. But let's say the Polish beat back the German blitz. They might have been able to, I mean, they had the man power, just not the coordination. If they had a more fluid defense instead of broken-off resistence, they might have at least done the Germans great harm. Perhaps if they had consolidated their defenses more and tried not to have such an overstreached defense. Thousands of Poles were forced to surrender at a time because of the swiftness and timing of the German blitz, but if they had fallen back more instead of trying to counter the Germans at such an advanced position, they would have one: made the Germans go farther into Poland to engage forces, give the Poles the benefit of time (they could have tried to set up defenses), and it would have filled in some of the holes in their line.
    This would have at least bought the Allies some time to take action. Maybe they would have declared war on the Soviets, and/or they might have taked action on the Germans in Poland. This would have changed the war drastically. Germany wouldn't have been able to declare war on the Soviet Union in the long run (if the Third Reich even lasts that long). Mainly, the Allies would not have the Soviets on their side if the Germans continue to gain strength and territory into 1940 and 41. This completely changes everything...I think I'll stop babbling now.

    [ 07. October 2004, 11:30 PM: Message edited by: silentmidgetassasin ]
     
  7. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Er... No.

    Its the other way round...

    The Allies had more tanks, guns, men, planes, ships etc...

    Its the way they were handled thats the difference. And the willingness to use them.
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The fact that France and England did not declare war against USSR after Stalin attacked Poland must have been politicial in nature. They had realized a way back that only with the power of the USSR combined to the "team" could nazi Germany be beaten.

    However, if British or Frech troops had been seen in action during Winter War of Finland this would have changed the situation somewhat although I´d rather think it would mean Stalin would stop the fighting because he would not want a conflict with France/England. Stalin´s main theme was to get Germany and the west to fight each other. After that he would make his move.

    I don´t think Stalin would fight France/England in co-operation with Germany.
     
  9. Polak z Polski

    Polak z Polski Member

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    In 1939 Germany did not have enough troops on it's western borders to man all of its pill-boxes at the same time.
     
  10. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    False. In September 1st 1939 Army Group 'C' under colonel-general Wilhelm von Leeb, which defended the front between Basilee and Aachen, had 34 infantry divisions, 11 of which were first line fully-equipped units, plus 2/3 of the 22nd airborne division. However, on September 3rd, after the declaration of war, the OKW transferred 9 infantry divisions to the West, which were in position in the 'Westwall' by September 10th, thus totallising 43 divisions.

    Against that, by September 10th the French could only oppose 52 infantry, 3 cavalry and 2 motorised divisions. Add to this the favourable terrain, strong German defences and lack of French ammunition stocks (not WWI, half useless ammunition), Belgian neutrality, the fact that the BEF wouldn't be in line before October 10th, etcetera. An offensive against the 'Westwall' could not have been launched before mid-October, two weeks after Poland's complete defeat, and the posibilities of success were actually very few…
     
  11. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    I've sometimes wondered what I would have done if I'd been in charge in Poland in the run-up to the war.

    Leaving the political issues aside to concentrate on defence strategy, I would have tried to divide the country into three concentric zones:

    1. A 'screening zone' around the perimeter, which would not be heavily defended but would be the zone of operation of mounted recce units, equipped with radios so that they could keep HQ informed of events, plus some 'hit-and-run' mounted units intended to blow up bridges, plant mines, launch night attacks on the advancing German units etc.

    2. A 'killing zone', which would the main fighting area. Carefully prepared by using a mixture of natural and man-made obstacles (e.g. forest planting) to channel attacks down certain lines, where defensive gun positions would have been prepared in advance ready for the artillery to be wheeled in when needed, plus minefield sites identified for quick laying, bridges for mining etc. There would also be temporary forward airbases.

    3. A 'core' area, flanked by large rivers as much as possible, which would have the permanent airfields and other defence infrastructure.

    On equipment, I would forget about those expensive destroyers and submarines and the silly little tankettes and go for powerful armoured cars for their strategic mobility, armed with high-velocity 37-40mm cannon capable of defeating the German tanks. With 20mm AA versions of course. And a concentration on building as many lightweight fighter-bombers as possible instead of the expensive twin-engined bombers and the relatively useless army co-operation planes.

    At the very least such an approach would have seriously slowed the German advance and greatly protracted the fighting. That might have put pressure on the UK and France to actually DO something to help instead of just sitting there.

    Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion
    forum
     
  12. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Again, the plan was there. The means, however, couldn't be put to-gether before mid-October, 6 weeks after the war declaration, when full British and French mobilisation were completed.

    That was mistake # 1: awkward and too slow mobilisation, no-where near to how France and Great Britain did in August 1914.

    Mistake # 2: basing their whole strategy in the assumption that the Germans were ging to mobilise and fight a war at the same speed than them. Poland was suppossed to resist for 6 months, the Allies attacking Germany after 7 weeks.

    Who could have imagined that Poland was going to be defeated in 4 weeks? Even the German High Command doubted it.
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    On the German troops on the West Wall just before 1st Sept 1939:

    In Neil Short´s Hitler´s Siegfried Line

    The number of troops is about the same.Problems however should rise as it is mentioned they had ammunition for three days (?) fighting. Naturally all tanks were committed to the Polish campaign but don´t think this very much affects the situation for Germans if there is enough troops for the bunkers.

    --------

    The problem with attacking Germany

    In the book it is also mentioned that the attack by the allied was expected to start with a huge artillery barrage that would neutralise the German positions. To do this it would be required a bare minimum of 5,200 pieces of artillery in calibre from 75 to 400 mm. To amass such a concentration they would have needed to remove weapons from other fronts and this was not possbile.

    The French also concluded that to launch an attack on a 40 kilometre front would require as a bare minimum 130-140 divisions and perhaps as many as 150-160 but France only had around 90 divisions on the North Eastern front and was therefore reliant on britain providing the remaining 60 divisions....

    No wonder they did not try to attack really as the tactics was what it was!
     
  14. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Also, it should be taken into account that almost 50%+ of the French ammunition stocks dated from WWI. Therefore, in actual combat, nearly 40% of artillery shells did not go off. The Germans took notice of the incredibly high accuracy of French gunners, but thanked the age of a lot of their shells… :rolleyes:

    Also, it must be mentioned that the Franco-German border (created in 1815 in the Treaty of Luxembourg, after Napoléon's defeat), military, entirely favoured the Germans. All the defendable river-crossings, high ground and all naturally defendable positions were in the German side of the border…

    'Those damned French cause too many problems, let's favour militarily to the good guys in the neighbourhood…' :rolleyes: [​IMG]
     
  15. Polak z Polski

    Polak z Polski Member

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    Are you stupid?
    It was supposed to be two weeks, at which time the French and Brits should have attacked Germany from the west.

    I don't have much time at all to post here or to look through many other posts, but I read your bragging of how great the French soldiers were in WWII. Funny you forget to mention how many refused to fight, the war being a "Cause de Polonais" and how they celebrated when France surrendered, the champagne flowing freely, being happy that "the war was over".

    General Brooke, the commander of both of the British Expeditionary Force corps in France said about the French soldiers "Never have I seen anything more slovenly and badly turned out.
    ... What shook me the most was the look in the men's faces, disgruntled and insubordinate looks, and although ordered to give 'eyes left', hardly a man bothered to do so."

    This is what Rommel said, "nowhere was any resistance attempted...Hundreds upon hundreds of French troops, with their officers, surrendered at our arrival." That was only slight exaggeration on his part.


    Strange that you called me a chauvinist, when it is you who is downplaying everyone else, and trying to make France seem like the greatest warriors who ever lived.
     
  16. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    No, it seems you're the silly one. You can't read and can't accept the fact that the WWII was not all about Poland.

    Where have I phraised French soldiers? I only said that French gunners shot very well, only their shells were too old and they didn't explode.

    In the other hand, I clearly said in another thread: "The French were as ill-prepared for war as were the Poles, maybe even worse".

    The Polish General Staff was perfectly aware of how slow, weak and awkward would be the Allies' move. They had no effective air force and their mobilisation was going to take too long. They knew it, and they did not know how deadly and how fast the German blow would be.

    In conclusion:

    1) Anglo-French forces could NOT attack Germany at least until the 6th week of the war. British, French and Poles were well aware of it. Still, neither of the 3 did nothing to improve the sitaution.
    2) Even if they did attack, the posibilities of success were very few.
    3) French, British, Poles AND Germans never imagined that Poland could be knocked out in 4 weeks. It took everyone by surprise.
     
  17. Polak z Polski

    Polak z Polski Member

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    You are trying to rationalize the fact that the war could have ended right there, without the atrocities commited, saving millions upon millions of lives around the world, but france and Britain were afraid to fight hitler then.

    "According to the later testimony of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, the Germans in September 1939 had not more than thirty poorly prepared combat divisions in the West. Most of the German troops were raw recruits, many of whom had never fired live ammunition, and this was sufficient for barely three days of fighting. The better German troops, all tanks, and practically the entire Air Force were thrown into the Polish campaign. During the second week of the war, while the battle of Kutno was still raging and the fate of Poland was not yet definitely sealed, German forces in the unfinished Siegfried Line were in a critical situation."

    Now don't tell me that the French and British armies COMBINED couldn't attack Germany as they had promised!

    About your comment on the war not being only about Poland: If Britain and France had done as promised, the war WOULD have been only about Poland. There would be no fighting in France, in Russia, in North Africa etc. Only Poland and Germany would have been devastated. Britain and France would have taken a lot of pressure of of Polish troops, and Germany could have been brought to task then and there by the three countries. A great many people, include many members of my family would have lived through the war. There would have been amazing goodwill between Poland, France, and Britain resulting from the Franco-British assault on western Germany. We would not be having this discussion today.

    I don't know about you, but I would have preferred it that way, as Churchill said , "we will conquer together or we will die together."
     
  18. Polak z Polski

    Polak z Polski Member

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    The main thing that stopped the Bzura counteroffensive which was at first very successful although bloody, was lack of supplies. If the damned government of Poland at the time had listened to the now-dead Pilsudski's advice about preparing for the soviets and the Germans, and had at least thought about the army, there might have actually been enough supplies to carry the counteroffensive all the way to Germany. Who knows?

    The defenders of Hel (a long thin peninsula jutting into the Baltic) had the same problem: lack of supplies. The garrison there held out for weeks, even using warheads taken from torpedos as command-detonated mines, killing scores of Germans, but in the end, they simply didn't have anything to shoot with or blow up.
     
  19. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    Actually, the French did undertake an offensive against Germany on September 9 1939 into the Saar region. The units involved were:
    2nd North African Division (colonial)
    3rd North African Division (colonial)
    4th North African Division (colonial)
    15th Motorized Division
    504th Armored Group (3 R35 battalions)

    When they entered into the outer edge of the West wall defenses the tanks leading the attack (per French doctrine) ran into a mine field. A number of tanks were disabled or destroyed on the mines within a few minutes.
    The 26th Regiment of the 2nd was called forward to assist the tanks in clearing the mines. The soldiers had very little experiance in this type of operation. They also discovered quickly that the Gemrans had liberally sown the minefield with S-type anti-personnel mines (the "bouncing betty" as it became known). These caused a very large number of casualities among the troops who then stopped and refused to go forward, calling for engineers to clear the mines (as an aside, the French had no knowledge of the S-mine and no informeation on how to clear teller mines which were equipped with a booby trap feature to prevent removal).
    The French then came under fire from local German defense troops complicating the entire situation. The French decided that continuing the offensive would simply lead to heavy casualities and pulled back in frustration. So ended the single French attempt to mount an offensive against Germany in the opening weeks of the war.
    Basically, French doctrine expected another WW I and they had trained and planned for it on every level. Unlike the original, the French planned on taking as few casualities as possible in this new version. Hence their reluctance to press the attack in the face of an unknown and largely unexpected defense system.
     
  20. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    "According to the later testimony of Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, the Germans in September 1939 had not more than thirty poorly prepared combat divisions in the West. Most of the German troops were raw recruits, many of whom had never fired live ammunition, and this was sufficient for barely three days of fighting. The better German troops, all tanks, and practically the entire Air Force were thrown into the Polish campaign. During the second week of the war, while the battle of Kutno was still raging and the fate of Poland was not yet definitely sealed, German forces in the unfinished Siegfried Line were in a critical situation."

    This testimony had long been proved to be false. Jodl and Keitel said so, but they were wrong. As stated above, Germany had 43 divisions (many regular fully-equipped units) to oppose. And again, a Franco-British offensive could NOT be launched before the sixth week of the war (and the Poles knew this).

    And even in the 6th week, when 'fully prepared', the offensive is very unlike to have succeeded had it been launched. The strategic thinking of the Allies was still WWI-like, trying to prevent losses at all costs, nothing much could be expected from that.

    It was not only supplies, Poland had everything against her.

    1) Her industry could not coup with all the needs of her armed forces on her own, thus recquiring substantial foreign help (not likely to be provided by the pacifist and unarmed countries of the 1930s) to fully equip and supply them.
    2) Poland could not afford an attrition or prolonged war, precisely because her industrial power was very limited. Ammunition and weaponry supplies from the Allies had to go from Marseille to a Romanian or Bulgarian port in the Black Sea and then by train all the way to Poland. This supply system was going to take a very big while to be put into action.
    3) Her strategic position was awful: most important economical territories (vital for the war effort) in undefendable soil, too-long borders (a problem worsened by the Nazi ocupation of Czechoslovakia).
    4) An awkward an ineffective command and communication system.
    5) Obsolete weaponry and tactics.

    For as much courage the Poles could show, they had it lost before hand, as did the French in 1940.

    But I won't discuss this anymore, I'm fed up with this matter. Poles = good guys betrayed. Allies = friggin' treacherous bastards.

    Enough.
     
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