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Turning Points - ETO

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by LouisXIV, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. LouisXIV

    LouisXIV Member

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    I have made a list of what I consider as the major turning points of WWII, concentrating on the ETO. Does anyone wish to add to these?


    Major Turning Points of WWII:


    If Stalin had not purged the Soviet officer corps in 1938;

    If Britain and France had backed the Czech so that they stood up to Hitler in 1938;

    If Hitler had not attacked Poland;

    If the French had pursued a serious Saar offensive;

    If the French had not pushed their Seventh Army up toward the Netherlands, but held it in reserve as originally envisioned;

    If Italy had remained neutral;

    If the Germans had invaded Britain in July of 1940;

    If the French had evacuated what they could to North Africa in July of 1940 and continued the war from there;

    If Hitler had not attacked the Soviet Union in 1941;

    If the Germans had taken Moscowa; meaning that they had concentrated their effort and not spread it out over three equal objectives;

    If Hitler had authorized Operation Hercules and Malta had been taken;

    If Hitler had allowed Stalingrad to be screened and bypassed;

    If Hitler had authorized a full fighting withdrawal from Stalingrad in 1942 as soon as it was surrounded;

    If Hitler had ordered the Kursk offensive abandoned before it started and concentrated on a strategic defense as Manstein suggested;

    If Hitler had ordered the Kursk offensive put in somewhere where Stavka did not expect it;

    If Hitler had authorized a withdrawal from Tunisia in March of 1943;

    If the Allies had contained the Tunisia enclave with minimal land, air and sea forces, ignored Sicily and Italy, and instead produced a cross-Channel invasion for 1943;

    If the Allies had made a landing in Messina or the toe of Italy shortly after their main landings on Sicily;

    If Hitler had allowed the Me 262 to be produced unhindered as a fighter;

    If Rommel had not been shot up by a Spitfire on July 17th, 1944, would he have surrendered or permitted the western Allies to race into Germany;

    If the attempt on Hitler’s live had been successful;

    If Hitler had permitted the evacuation of the Baltic States in 1944;

    If Hitler had used the extra force for Watch am Rhein on the eastern front instead;

    If Watch am Rhein had succeeded and the Germans had taken Antwerp;

    If the western Allies had decided to go all out for Berlin in 1945.
     
  2. fredleander

    fredleander Member

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    You seem to have covered the most of it....:p.....Except maybe:

    If the British and French had forced their way through Scandinavia to aid the Finns....
    If there had been no "Weserübung"....
    If Hitler had not postponed Operation Sea Lion in September 1940....​
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Could you narrow it down a bit...

    Since, by 1943, the Germans had pretty much "lost" the war, most if not all that you have written can be deleted. Also, your selections are all "what-ifs", and not really turning points.

    Quite frankly, I am surprised that you don't consider the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic, nor D-Day to be a "turning point" in the ETO:eek::eek::eek:


    Major "turning points" in the ETO
    - Battle of Britain - the German failure to destroy the RAF means that Britain will remain in the war.
    - Hitler's decision to divide his forces instead of pushing on to Moscow. Arguable, but a likely turning point.
    - Stalingrad - obvious.
    - Battle of the Atlantic-means that Britain can now safely be used for a giant troop build-up for the invasion of Europe, and is no longer just a giant "aircraft carrier".
    - D-Day-Once the Western Allies are secure ashore, Germany is caught between them and the Soviets, Nothing can save Germany now. Of course, this is arguable, since the Soviets could probably have taken Germany all by themselves, it just would have taken a lot longer and at much greater cost in men and material.
    - Operation Bagration-The Germans never recovered from this major loss. Again this is an arguable point, since the Soviets were already on the "Road to Berlin", and it was just a matter of time till Germany's defeat.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    But is it? Was not the failure of Operation Blau the more significant event? And it failed well before the Germans were defeated at Stalingrad. Indeed some have argued that the Germans holding on as long as they did there let them extract more of the forces that they used in that operation than they could have otherwise.
     
  5. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    The importance of the Battle of Brittain was a myth :if the Germans won,nothing changed ;Sealion still was impossible ;
    -About Hitler's decision to divide his forces instead of pushing on to Moscow :there was no such decision,and,whatever,advancing to Moscow was impossible and would result in defeat ,as it happened .
    -Stalingrad was no turning point at all.
    -The Germans never had a chance to win the Battle of the Atlantic.
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It may be that some consider it more important than it was but it was clearly important. For one thing it broke the image of German invincibility. For another it inflicted signficant damage on the LW.
     
  7. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    rkline56 likes this.
  8. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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    You are the Chieftain.
     
  9. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    Personally, I consider the Battle of Britain to the be turning point of the entire war. If the Germans had secured the UK, consider: British forces in the Med would die on the vine. No bomber bases=no bomber offensive. RN having to relocate to Canada. Iceland probably taken by the Germans = they now own the Atlantic with Icelandic U-Boat and Luftwaffe bases. No supplies to USSR and Germany not fighting on multiple fronts. The USN now more divided between the Atlantic and the Pacific with even less resources to confront the Japanese. British resources probably withdrawn from the Pacific, isolating Australia. The Japanese now have an easier time of it because of fewer US and British assets in the Pacific. Previously, the US could rely on the RN to cover the Atlantic, freeing more USN assets to the Pacific-not anymore. The war would have gone on a LOT longer and bloodier, because everything would have to originate form the shores of North America. This might also give Germany more time to build the Kreigsmarine to the level Raeder wanted. Without their industries being pounded in the bombing campaign, development of weapons would be faster.
     
  10. rkline56

    rkline56 USS Oklahoma City CG5

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  11. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Not impossible. Improbable maybe
    You also ignore the chance that a defeat in the BoB might result in a negotiated peace.

    Because?

    Oh they sure did.



    I'm not so pessamistic on this one.
    The French had a significant presence in Africa, with a fair amount of material, both land & sea. The Axis had no real ability to mount a major invasion at this point.
    The Allies had enough shipping to feed an additional 200,000 or 300,000 in 1940, especially with French navy, airforce (&ports) assisting ASW.

    By the time the US is able to contribute arms & ammo in 1941 you have an additional dozen divisions or so.
     
  12. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Stalingrad was a big blow for the Germans,but it was not a turning point :before the encirclment of the 6th Army,the Germans were NOT winning,IMHO,they already were losing.The Germans also did not loose the war because of Stalingrad .The losses of the encirclment(200000) were NOT irreparable,in fact,on june 1943,the German strength on the East front was higher than in november 1942.
    On the opposite side,if the Germans had won at Stalingrad (=if they had captured the city in the summer),nothing would change,because the Germans had no intention to cross the Wolga .
    About the battle of the Atlantic
    1) in may 1940 the British (controlled) merchant navy was increasing enormously,because of Norway and Holland joining Britain
    2)till december 1941,the British production always was higher than their losses
    3)after Pearl Harbour,the US production was crushing the losses caused by the UBoats .
     
  13. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Fair enough, there were cracks in the Axis front before "Uranus".
    However losing a half million men in the winter of 42/43 (Stalingrad or trapped in Tunisia) makes it extremely difficult to see how they could recover the initiative.



    not correct
    Total tonnage fell from June - Dec 1940, and from Dec - June 1941
    Yes, you have shown that they did win the battle of the Atlantic, but not that they had no chance of winning with a better strategy.
    And no, US production was not "crushing the U-boat losses".
    The US lost about 2 million tons to U-boats and produced about 5.4 million tons - but this extra shipping was needed for the Pacific war.
    Britain on the other hand faced a 2 million+ ton shortfall, and this doesn't even include losses to other causes.
    It wasn't until 1943 (not "after Pearl") that US production finally wiped out the losses.

    Had the Axis waged a more effective campaign, they could have won the battle.
     
  14. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    I was wrong in to thinking that the UK production was nullifying the UBoat losses,but,OTOH (from AHF) the following :eek:n 1 september 1939,the US had a merchantfleet of 8.92 million GRT and produced 29.5 million GRT.Britain started with 17.68 GRT ,produced 5.67 million GRT,Canada produced 3.4 million GRT(Canada started from zero).This is a production of 38.5 million ton.
    To add:Norway :4million ton,Greece?,confiscation of Italian and German ships ?,Liberia ?
    The grand total would be some 45 million ton.
    Now the losses (from ALL causes):
    UK :11.6 million
    Allies:7.85 million
    Total =19 million
    IMHO,the losses caused by UBoats would be not higher than 15 million GRT.
    That would mean that the allies were ending the war with 30 million GRT more .
    About the chance to win the battle of the Atlantic with a better strategy :there was no better strategy:the Germans only could win with a doubling or tripling of the number of operational UBoats,what would mean a tripling or quadrupling of the UBoat production .Most isolated ships and most convoys were discovered by chance,the only way to discover more convoys was to have more operational UBoats .
     
  15. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    O.K. I am not in the discussion because my thinking has some bad habits that renders me outside looking in. My concept of a major turning point in the ETO cannot be an "IF statement" it must be a factual unconditional event that is descriptively historically recorded as such. An example may be the invasion of Normandy. Also others have contributed descriptively the "Battle of Britain". I cannot envision this turning on something that "may have" or "could have" happened. It has to turn on a historical condition to be a turning point. I know....you think I need a head slap........
     
  16. freebird

    freebird Member

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    The usable deep-water fleet was actually much smaller than that. The US only had perhaps about 5.5 million or so that was suitable for transocean.
    US merchant marine site lists 492 ships that only add up to about 4.5 million tons on April 1, 1939.
    The rest of the tonnage was used for Great Lakes, river, or coastal traffic, usually smaller and older.


    .

    Of which, 30 million tons of US production and about 5 million tons of Commonwealth production was from 1943 or later.


    You mean, none that you can think of? ;)

    Well that would be one way, yes.

    Based on what evidence? :confused:
     
  17. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Better Allied ASW strategy,

    Bomb French Alantic U-boat pens while under construction, rather than after completed.

    Divert 4 engine bombers from Bomber Command to Coastal Command.

    Employ 1 or 2 British CV's on convoy duty till the CVE's become available. Glorious, Furious or Hermes both were too old for frontline combat.

    US employ convoy from Dec 7th.

    US Army transfer bombers used for ASW to USN from Dec.7th.
     
  18. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Agreed, That would make a major impact.
    Daylight missions were suicide anyways.
    The bombers would be far, far, more effective in the MTO

    Yep, but Portal & Harris were drinking the Trenchard kool-aid

    Glorious was actually among the more modern CV's, with 48 aircraft and able to make 30 knots, until a really stupid loss off of Norway.

    Hermes, Argus & Eagle were all old & slow, no more than 24 knots or 20 aircraft on each.
    They British would actually have been smarter to convert the small liners to CVE's instead of AMC's

    Hello Admiral King!

    Yep.
     
  19. SerbianWings

    SerbianWings Member

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    There is only 1 if...That is what if Hitler atacked 10 years later.I know about the story that Hitler had a meeting with his generals etc. and asked when will Germany be able to atack.They sad about 1948,Hitler sad not good enough,to late we'll atack next year(1939),and that's it if this story is corect and i belive that it is.
     
  20. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    UK started with 17.684 million GRT.
    On 1 january 1942,it had built 2.166 million GRT.
    It also obtained 4million GRT of Norway,1.8 million GRT from Greece,1.2 million captured GRT from Italy (I have no figures for French and German GRT.
    Total is 2.166 + 7 =9.166 + 17.684 =26.85 GRT
    OTOH,UK had lost on 1 january 1942:6.2 million GRT

    Netto result =20.65 million GRT=a benefit of 3 million GRT.
    That means that on 1 january 1942,the British and by Britain controlled merchant fleet was 17 % stronger than on 1 september 1939.
    IMHO,the conclusion must be that on 1 january 1942,the Germans had lost (or had failed to win ) the UBoat war .
    Let's take 1 january 1943:
    In 1943,Britain and Canada had built 2.1 million GRT,Britain had lost 3.7million ton,I have no figures for the losses of Norway,Greece,..That would mean a decrease of 1.6 million GRT,but still remained 19 million GRT,more than on 1 september 1939 .
    And in 1943,the losses were (for Britain):1.65 million GRT,and the production (for Britain and Canada):2.673 million GRT,thus a benefit of 1 million GRT.Thus,on 1 january 1944,the situation for Britain was again better .
    P.S. The loss figures are for ALL CAUSES .
     

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