Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by GIJOE, Feb 3, 2004.
That's interesting but hardly the all out war that Patton was calling for.
If the US is playing defence at first which they should one should look at the opening phases of the Ardennes Offensive,Middleton's Corps was heavily outnumbered but still managed to hold up the German counter-offensive for quite some time. The area the Americans are trying to defend is very good defensive team.
In the air just how good is the VVS at higher altitudes where USAAF bombers will be operating? How about intercepting B-29's? Soviet fighters also tended to have far lighter armament and shorter ranges then their USAAF counterparts though I'm thinking the later Lavochins may have carried 4 cannon. IN Gordon's & Khazanov's book on Soviet fighters some of the later models had structural problems,i.e. problems with glues. In fact it was either the LA-5 or LA-7 that had to be grounded for a while the problem was so bad.
You know I felt the Soviets had a edge until about the late 80s then it was gone. There is no doubt in my mind the army we had during Desert Storm would have mopped them up. It was the first time in our history we had better armor than the Soviets, IMO.
Remember though in regards to armor the MBT of the US in WW2,the M4 was probably at least equal to the T-34 . Also the US in WW2 had to project power overseas whereas the Soviets didn't. IMHO the M48 was probably equal to the T-54,with 105mm probably equal to the T-62 and the M-60 probably equal if not superior. Now when the T-72's came around well...However this is a WW2 forum,sorry to hi-jack the thread if not the forum.
After some thinking I believe the Soviets would have some logistics issues that would have come into play.
Zhukov was concerned for the casualty rate in his command. If you look at casualty rate of men under his command, it is relatively low compared to other Russian commanders during similar operations.
However he was no Saint. This man had a violent temper and needlessly wasted men’s lives with many of his decisions. Yes we can attribute that to Russian attitude toward human life in general.
After the war he was in charge of Totskoye nuclear test. After which tens of thousands Red Army soldiers were eventually killed or made impotent by Radiation Poisoning.
Welcome to the forum! Mind if I jump in? ;-)
GIJOE, There are a couple of points on your post that to me seems inaccurate. The US Army had serious morale issues towards the end of the war; the troops, who survived combat with the Nazis, were eager to be discharged. Civilian morale was also low. The Russian Army had very high morale sustained by ideology and draconian discipline.
On the other hand, American artillery and armor actually were pretty good. The US Army was better motorized, had a lot of tanks and tank destroyers capable of going toe-to-toe with Soviet T-34-85s, and an artillery arm that many Germans considered superior to the Russian's. The Americans were also stronger in logistics, they didn't depend on railroads as much as the Russians and were much better off in supplying plentiful gasoline, ammunition and food to the troops. I actually expect the Allies to own the skies. They had more high performance aircrafts and better trained pilots. They fought the Luftwaffe as much as the Russians fought the Heer after all!
IMHO the biggest problem for the Russians was their lack of strategic depth. They shot their bolt at 1945 and probably lacked the means to sustain another major conflict, while for the Americans it was a matter of will.
It's not clear to me that draconian discipline really does much for moral. Furthermore the Soviet ideology didn't do much to motivate the Red Army from what I've read. That's why Stalin switched the themes of his propaganda from defending Comunism to defending "Mother Russia" and even enlisted the help of the Church. I'd like to see a convincing case for the typical Red Army soldier surving in a division that was often at 60% of its nominal strength was ready to continue the war after the fall of Berllin. Especially considering how much gear he was using that was labeled "Made in the USA".
no allies on either side but support of NAZI germany?
I suppose we could hypothesize that if we and the Germans were plotting a confrontation with the Soviets, our British and other allies might pull back to their own territory in hope of not getting dragged into it, but don't you think that if the Russians advanced into say France the French army - ten divisions on line in 1945 - would step up? Not to mention that our logistics would be running through western European countries. A lot of our air bases would be there also, and of course the heavy bombers were based in England. So it seems to me you have to assume at least tacit cooperation from these countries even if the ground fighting doesn't reach their soil.
How would the war start? If the Russians attacked, everyone in western Europe would pull together, so the just US-USSR scenario would seem to presume that we start it, in cooperation with our recent enemies. While there were some people like Patton who thought that was a great idea, most of our soldiers and the folks at home would be wondering what the f--- we were doing, starting a new war against our ally when it was time to go home. WTF?? is not a very good basis for assuming a morale advantage to the US.
Conversely a treacherous attack by their western capitalist "allies" would be the best possible motivator for the Russian people - all the more so if it included a renewed assault by the Nazis.
Nor did we have much untapped manpower. There was not a single division left in US in 1945 and only one each in ETO and PTO not committed to combat. Eisenhower and his subordinates were struggling to find sufficient infantry replacements over the winter of 1944-45. Hopefully we're assuming that the Pacific war is over, but even if we could bring most of those 21 Army and six Marine divisions to Europe, that just makes up for 27 British, French, and other divisions (not to mention 11 in Italy). Or are we going to open a front in Siberia also?
Here's one metric of relative combat power: even when the western armies reached their maximum strength, the Soviets were still fighting and beating about twice as many Germans as we were.
Yes but how much Allied manpower was tied up in their navies? Manpower that won't be necessary employed that way against the Soviets.
We can argue about Soviet soldiers' motivations endlessly. Truth is there's no way to know without consulting Russian sources extensively, but it's reasonable to guess there were lots of true believers in the ranks as well as skeptics. What's clear is that they had very high morale to meet the high casualty fighting style of their generals. Point 2 is agreed: the common Russian soldier had no hatred for the Americans. Actually they liked Americans & Brits quite a lot.
Winter wouldn't be an advantage for the Russians. The US was well prepared to take on winter operations. The US Army had long operated in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, experianced operations in the North Atlantic, Iceland and, other places. So, they had equipment and experinance to deal with that.
Numbers? The Soviets were bled white during the war. They would quickly run short on manpower in another major conflict.
Quality of tanks? Soviet-style armies using Soviet equipment and training failed to win one major tank battle from 1945 to present against Western equipped and trained armies. The T34/85 is no better, and in many ways worse, than the M4A3E8 Sherman let alone the M 26. The T44 just coming into service in 1945 was little better than its predicessor. Now, the T 44/100 would have given the Soviets a tank more in line with the M 26 so, back to even.
Where the US would have a huge advantage is in engineering and logistics. The expanses of Russia would not be the formidable challenge they were for the Germans. The US could and would be able to support and supply their army deep into Russia. Unlike the Germans the US has the engineering capacity to build a rail and road system to support their operations. After all, this was proved with constructions like the ALCAN highway and Ledo road in Burma.
You also forget the US has an enormous navy and amphibious capacity. This means they will dominate the Black Sea and can take the Pacific Siberian region through landings effectively meaning the Russians would have to fight on mulitple fronts.
These are just wrong. US Armor was on par and in many ways better than Soviet equipment. Russian terrain is little different than other parts of the world the US has already experianced. The US / Western military includes Canadian, Norwegian, Alaskan and, other experiance in cold and primordial terrain.
Inferior guns? Like?
These were going to be problems. Soviet aircraft problems are not per se in design but function. They have no nightfighter force worth mentioning. Their own aircraft are short ranged and would be incapable of intercepting raids coming from places like over the Artic. They had the pilots to man what they had. But, they have little figher direction capacity, few (comparatively) radars and most of those are obsolesent or obsolete, poor distribution of forces (most face Europe), and in general are not prepared for a real strategic offensive or defensive war.
Their Navy is non-existant for all intents.
Logistically, the Soviets could only advance about 300 to 400 miles before outrunning their supply system completely. This would mean a stop at the Rhine where the West would be able to recover and likely hold them.
The USAAF would have embarked on a new strategic bombing campaign against the Soviet rail net and industry while Western tactical air forces would have torn the VVA front air forces to pieces (the Soviets are still flying Yak 3 and 9, La 7's and other late war prop aircraft for the most part. The West would have jets mixed with ultra high performance prop fighters like the Fury, P51H, Spitfire 22 and, the like)
The US already has 'better' tanks. The M 26 / 46 would be in service. The M 26 light likewise. The British have the Centurian entering service. Worse, the US could start producing things like the M29 -34 heavy tanks. These monsters make the Tiger II look like a joke. 8 to 11" of frontal armor, an 105mm gun pretty comparable to the NATO L7 105 or, a 120mm or even a 155 mm howitzer.
German technology in most areas was already being quickly surpassed in the West. It did the Soviets more good as they were playing catch-up far more than the West was.
Why would it take the US six months to start strategic bombardment? They were already flying recon missions over the Artic and elsewhere along the Soviet periferary. The USAAF was still pretty much capable of strategic bombardment. The worst would be their using nuclear weapons on cities. That could have been expected right off the bat.
The US has two means to quickly gather information on Soviet targets. The first is wartime German intelligence and aerial reconnissance. While not always accurate this would give a good starting point. Next, the US could immediately begin long range reconnissance. An RB 50 is virtually uninterceptable by anything in the Soviet inventory. They have few high altitude fighter aircraft, lack a coordianted early warning system over most of their country and, have little in the way of a fighter direction system to respond with. The US could have pretty quickly built a photo and radar map of Soviet defenses and industry.
While some targets would be out of range of Western attack like in the Urals simply due to their depth within the Soviet Union others would definitely not be. Leningrad would no doubt suffer an early mushroom cloud. The Donets basin and Caspian Sea oil fields likewise would have gotten hit early from either the Black Sea, Turkey, Iran or possibly even India.
How many U.S tanks had wide enough tracks to handle Russian terrain? The Shermans did not and im not sure M26 did either.
The American lads in Europe were already home sick, how many more casualties could the U.S. military sustain before crowds of people would begin forming outside the white house?
Im not convinced that Russias advantage in landmass can so easily be written off, all who have tried have failed. History has shown the United States has struggled with much smaller countries when she herself held virtually all the advantages. The U.S. would not have these advantages when fighting Russia (at least not many of them) How many men would the U.S. need just to reach Moscow?
In which theatre of war did the United States face similar terrain and weather to that of Russia? Was it in the dessert of North Africa, the jungles of the Pacific or the very well paved Western Europe? Also, Alaska and the islands might be a good training experience but far from Russian weather. While having better logistics there was nothing in the U.S. arsinal which could combat the Russian rain season or her dense forests... The Shermans had a very difficult time in Normandy when it started to rain and many got stuck in the mud hich made easy pickings for the Germans, the mud in Russia was much worse and the adversary much better prepared in weapons and numbers.
I'm not at all sure this was the case. Most essentially had the choice of fight or die. Now they were for the most part fighting for something but that doesn't mean that their moral was high.
Hey guys, GIJOE hasn't been around for 6 years, not much point welcoming him to the forum.
Agreed, there are a few bits of info needed, unfortunately the OP is long gone.
That's the way I am reading it, the US occupies Western Germany, and starts a war (or war breaks out) with the USSR. However, where would the US ship supplies to? France, UK & the Benelux countries are neutral, and are also in possesion of the captured german ports.
The aircraft carriers would certainly be needed to transport aircraft and as bases, as the US wouldn't be able to use British or french bases I'm assuming "No Allies" means exactly that, as opposed to "Only US combat forces participate. Perhaps the Allies are so upset at the US attacking the Russians that they withdraw support? (Althoug a rather unlikely event)
Also, it would take a fair amount of time for the US to re-train sailors as infantryman, and there would soon be the threat of captured German U-boats & U-boat shipyards being put into use by the Soviets.
Any excess USN personnel would likely be soaked up by the US commercial fleet, as "without allies" the US loses it's bases in France & Britain, and about half of the Allied shipping fleet.
The rather inept performance of Arab countries against Israel would not be the same as the quality of veteran Soviet divisions in 1945 (or thereabouts)
Korea would be a more valid comparison, which was more of a bloody stalemate
From which ports? Remember Hamburg & the German ports are in British territory. If they refuse access to the US to continue the war, where are the supplies shipped?
Umm nope, "No Allies" remember? With Turkey neutral ther is no passage into the Black Sea. Or will the US attack Turkey too?
No no no! No Allies remember?
Because they would have to build new bases in the Ruhr to house the strategic bombers, and find a way to bring fuel over to Europe.
"No Nukes" the scenario says. ( I dunno why)
The Donets basin and Caspian Sea oil fields likewise would have gotten hit early from either the Black Sea, Turkey, Iran or possibly even India.[/QUOTE]
In a non-nuclear scenario I could see a stalemate at or near the Rhine, much similar to the Korean stalemate
Well if you go strictly by the original statement you do have a bit of a problems. Not only are US forces pretty much surrounded by neutral or hostile forces but so are the Russian forces. Note that the original poster specified Russian and not the Soviet Union. So not only are Poland, Chekoslavakia, Austria, Hungary, etc. neutral but so are the Ukraine, the 'stans, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, etc. I'm not even sure if the Russian parts of Siberia are connected ....
Well that is a bit screwy...
I assumed that the OP actually meant "USSR" when he wrote "Russia", it's a common mistake among us Westerners.
(And it drives my Russian friends ballistic! }
In that case Poland, E Germany & the Baltics would be under Soviet occupation, while W Germany would be under allied (US) occupation and have no say in the matter.
However the UK & France did have independant government, so could presumably decline to participate in any way with a US plan to continue the war. (And somewhat plausible, given the UK's left-wing government that was elected in 1945.)
I could (possibly) see the UK & France refusing to allow the US to base bombers in the UK or ship supplies through British & French ports. (Not wanting to provoke retaliation by the Soviets.
This seems a bit interesting...
My take, for this war to happen at all (what with no allied forces), the war needs to kick off without either side planning it (maybe Patton shoots Zhukov---whatever), so the USSR would kick the USA out of Germany in short order.
Because most of the USAAF is going to find themselves without bases to operate from, and relocating the squadrons to occupied territory is not going to be easy (and then there is the little matter of establishing supply lines through the mediterranean). Combined with the lack of German and western European ports, all US supplies and logistics are going to have to be re-routed through the med as well.
So, the USSR kicks the USA out of Germany, and contains the remaining US forces down south (in the alps and points south). Now we have the stage set for WWIII fought in the med and southern Europe...
Supplying the US forces in Germany through the Alps from Italian ports would be a nightmare.
Perhaps if the UK pulled out of the alliance with the US they would abandon Hamburg & the German ports?
Although it would still take a whole lot of effort to repair the ports to supply the entire Western front.