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USA on the Russian Front? A new perspective

Discussion in 'What If - Mediterranean & North Africa' started by GIJOE, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    The operative words here are tank battle. The US won every one in Korea tank on tank. In the Indian - Pakistani wars both sides Soviet equipment faired badly at the hands of Western equipped units. North Vietnam v. South Vietnam after the US left. There were two major tank actions on highway 1. The N. Vietnamese T55's got slaughtered by S. Vietnamese M48A4 tanks. Jordianian tankers using US M47's in the 67 war did well against the Israelis as a stand out exception to otherwise poor Arab tank performance in combat.
    There are plenty of other examples. Not once did Soviet trained and equipped tank units even just match Western ones let alone beat them post war.


    Vladivostok when it falls to the USMC and US Navy in the Pacific for one. Black Sea ports for another. Turkey under the terms of the treaties controlling the Bosphorus cannot deny US warship transit into the Black Sea except for aircraft carriers. So, the US can enter the Black Sea and then attack Russia from that direction.
    Baltic states ports in Estonia, Latvia and, Lithuania.
    The taking of Murmansk. Again, the Soviets are limited in their ability to stop such attacks from the sea.
    From there I would expect the US to not only restore the rail system but to vastly and quickly improve it. Use of buried pipelines for POL could be expected too. The US would also put in better roads with solid or at least drivable surfaces in any weather as well.
    The US would have also made use of inland rivers for supply as well. They have the landing craft and other small craft to make excellent use of these waterways unlike the Germans.
    You do know that the US brought in over 500 landing craft to use on the Rhine River in late 1944 mostly trucking them across France.


    Turkey cannot as a neutral stop the tranist of warships through the Bosphorous into or out of the Black Sea. The treaty is clear: No carriers, subs must transit on the surface. They couldn't tell the Soviets they couldn't tansit it either during the Cold War.


    No no no! No Allies remember? (with respect to strategic bombardment).

    Okay, so it is just B-29's including the D model that the Soviets can't intercept, the B-36 and other US bombers. I'd expect with a ramping up of war production that the US would soon have the B-45, B-47 and other jets while the Soviets without any copies of the RR Nene engine to be limping along on an improved Jumo 004 and the Henkel 011 jet engines that are vastly inferior.





    Why can't they just use existing ex-Luftwaffe bases and improve those? The improvements wouldn't take that long given the amount of mechanization the US has for construction. They built the B-29 bases in the Pacific from scratch in about six months having to import virtually all the construction materials. In Germany most of these would be availalbe locally like concrete and rebar.

    Because it makes the Soviets lose faster. It doesn't change that:

    The Soviets have nearly no coordianted system for fighter control
    Lack sophicated radars and communications systems for air defense
    The Soviets have nearly no nightfighter capacity whatsoever and what they do have is so ill-suited for defense against B-29 attack as to be worthless.
    The Soviet AA system likewise lacks guns bigger than 85mm almost entirely. This means most raids are not going to face any threat from AA fire as the guns cannot reach their targets or, if they can they can only do so for a very small danger space.


    The later here would be the initial ground war position. The US pushed back to the Rhine. But, with the fall of Sakalin Island and the destruction of oil fields in the Caspian region the Soviets are hit. Where does their fuel come from when 90% or more of it is no longer available? With the rail system in their rear being severely disrupted they would be deadlocked on the Rhine.
    The US need now only open new fronts elsewhere by sea and also ramp up their strategic bombing of the heartland of Russia. The scenario still ends with the Soviets having alot to lose and little to gain from such a war.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I thought the treaty specified no battleships.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the critical food shortage in Europe at the time. US hulls were bringing in a lot of food. The Soviets didn't have an excess either and were demobilizing pretty quickly in part to harvest and not overload the transport system. This throws a real munkey wrench into the food supply for both sides.
     
  3. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Again, "Soviet equipped" forces is not the same as Soviet forces.

    In WWII the Soviet (as did the British & US) forces could perservere under the harshest conditions.

    In the Arab wars however, the Arab forces often folded up like a cheap tent, as have the US-trained Iraqi & Afgan forces on many occasions.

    It's not the equipment, it's the quality & toughness of the soldiers that matters

    Not much use as a supply port unless the capture the trans-Siberian rail in it's entirety

    You are incorrect, the warships of a belligerant nation in a time of war cannot transit the Straits.

    Article 19.
    In time of war, Turkey not being belligerent, warships shall enjoy complete freedom of transit and navigation through the Straits under the same conditions as those laid down in Articles 10 to 18.
    Vessels of war belonging to belligerent Powers shall not, however, pass through the Straits except in cases arising out of the application of Article 25 of the present Convention, and in cases of assistance rendered to a State victim of aggression in virtue of a treaty of mutual assistance binding Turkey, concluded within the framework of the Covenant of the League of Nations, and registered and published in accordance with the provisions of Article 18 of the Covenant.

    Article 25.
    Nothing in the present Convention shall prejudice the rights and obligations of Turkey, or of any of the other High Contracting Parties members of the League of Nations, arising out of the Covenant of the League of Nations.


    Montreux Convention - Wikisource

    Alot really depends on when this scenario takes place, and how much time the US to build up their bases.

    I think you are over-reaching here, in reality despite enormous advantages the US (& NATO) were unable to win in Korea, and despite heavy bombing were unable to prevent supplies from reaching the enemy front line, or to break the stalemate at the front.

    Air Superiority could not win in Vietnam either, nor prevent the enemy from suppling it's units.

    If the US couldn't win the war in Korea, why would they do much better against the tougher Soviet Union?
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    In armored combat it is more a question of technical training and equipment. The Soviet system was simply inferior. The Soviets were relying more on quantity than quality. It is in part a result of using a largely unmotivated conscript army.
    The equipment had to be easy to learn. Maintenance was limited so the vehicles were designed for frequent overhaul at a factory rather than lots of field maintenance. The conscripts would have limited training time on their vehicles so they would be less proficent in their use.
    Its not an argument for or against one system or the other but rather pointing out the choices each made.


    Not if you intention is to gain a foothold in the Pacific and deny the Soviets access to Siberian resources. Once the US took Sakalin and Vadivostok they could simply bomb the Trans-Siberian rail line out of operation. This would deny the Soviets easy access to manpower and resources from a large portion of their country.


    The US isn't a signatory to the League of Nations and I can bet if they want to get ships into the Black Sea they are going to get ships there. I also severely doubt Turkey would stop them.

    The US was using ex-Luftwaffe bases in Germany right from the end of the war. In fact, there was a thread on this very board just a week or two ago that had a large number of photos taken just after the war ended by photo-recon planes across Germany. A number of them show the US using now repaired airfields.


    Both are poor examples as both were 'limited' wars. In neither case did the US fully mobilize for war. US objectives in both wars were also limited. The US in Korea was there primarily to ensure the security of S. Korea not particularly to conquer the North. Same in Vietnam.
    In Korea the North Korean army fell apart like a cheap suit. It was only the nearly fully mobilized Chinese army that was able to push the US back and then only at the cost of enormous casualties. If China had not gotten involved the Korean pennisula would be united as one country today.
    The same holds true of Vietnam. Had the US decided to invade and take the North the same senario would play out. Without Chinese involvement the Vietnamese would have been doomed.
    Air power in the end did largely win the Vietnam war. When Nixon authorized the mining of North Vietnamese harbors supplies from the Soviet Union dried up and the North found out quickly they were in a world of hurt. That brought them to negotiate a peace very quickly.

    Also, the same question can be leveled at the Soviets. If their military systems and training are so potent why were all their client states so poor militarily? Also in this scenario could the Soviets trust any of the just retaken and essenially annexed states in Eastern Europe? Or, could they expect a general uprising in their own rear among these states including even the Baltic states Belyorussia and Ukraine? How much of a problem would partisan warfare be for them?

    Now, in the Soviets favor they likely could have achieved a fair degree of surprise if they were the initial aggressor. That would play out to their advantage in the first couple weeks of a general war.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    It's not quite that simple. Since you mention Wiki and it's easy let's look at: Bosphorus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The relevant quotes from the 1936 treaty as listed at: Montreux Convention 1936
     
  6. Chesehead121

    Chesehead121 Member

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    I think it's the when more than the how. In the 1940's, both sides are already gearing up for another war, this time between capitalism and communism, but after the conflict which killed over 50,000,000 people? Not many leaders would have the nerve or the support to go to war AGAIN after everyone was sick of it. Also, only we had nukes, so the Soviets probably would not attack for fear of a nuking of Moscow or Berlin. In the 1950's, however, it could be a different story. 1. Both sides have nukes now. Good times. 2. U.S.A.:KILL THE COMMIES! U.S.S.R.: CAPITALIST PIGS! This was when McCarthyism was still going strong and Americans were getting scared.
    This change in time means you have to account for technological advances. Bombers, tanks, helicopters, even the good old AK-47. Also, there is a terrifying new prospect- hydrogen fueled warfare. A hydrogen bomb for either side meant a city wiped off the map. What if it was detonated in Moscow? Berlin? Paris? London? Sure, the scenario said no nukes, but would that really have happened? My best guess is that the world, or at the very least Europe would be turned into a virtual wasteland by these atomic and hydrogen weapons. This is a nightmare scenario for all sides involved, but it could have happened.
     
  7. Shadow Master

    Shadow Master Member

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    Oh, I agree with you there.:D It's just that I don't see any other possible outcome if we adhere to the OP. In may of '45 the US got a port or too added to their occupation zone, but these were not connected to the rest (they were separated by the UK occupation zone) so if the UK was sitting this war out, then these ports would not be meaningful without the right to transport the supplies across the UK's zone.


    We already had two:

    "The ports of Bremen (on the lower Weser River) and Bremerhaven (at the Weser's estuary into the North Sea) were also placed under the US control because of the American request to have toeholds in Northern Germany."

    But this wouldn't do us any good as noted above.


    I think that if we read carefully the OP, we have to come to the conclusions I posited in my first post.

    For the war to exclude the allied armies, I think it must arise without either government planning it (else why wouldn't our allies be included), and this means that fighting breaks out without orders, and the fighting escalates to war while both sides can truthfully tell their allies that it was not their fault. This then gives the allies the perfect out, by saying "we believe you when you say you didn't want or plan for this war, and ask you to understand that we want no part of this".

    So the fighting breaks out without either side having a plan, and the US suddenly finds itself cutoff from it's supply and logistics, and having to re-base every aircraft in the UK and France to occupied Germany and conquered Italy. The USSR, on the other hand, has none of these handicaps slapped upon their efforts. Which is why I cannot foresee the US forces (badly outnumbered and rapidly running out of supplies) being able to hold anywhere in Germany.

    So, the USSR wins in the short term. The US has to build up in Italy and Italian north Africa, and use it's naval superiority to make landings anywhere they want in the med sometime in late 45 to mid 46.

    I would like others take on any alternative to the situation where the US is not forced to base everything in Italy and Italian N. Africa and how that comes to pass given the conditions set up by the Original Poster (some six years ago), without violating those conditions.

    Where would the US begin it's counter attack and when? Would this counter attack consist of a single front or multiple fronts? Would it be a land based drive north or east from the alps or would it be an amphibious landing(s) in the Balkans?

    Any thoughts?
     
  8. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Probablly more than one in the late war. Not to long ago i read the account of a US paratrooper who escaped in the winter of 1945 & fought with a Red Army tank squadron/infantry company battle group until the German surrender. Several hundred others broke loose from the Germans as the Red Army approached their locations in April 1945. Some were able to arm themselves as they fled east. Those & the many other Allied PoW liberated by the Red Army were sent south east to the Odessa region & eventually shipped home in the summer of 1945.
     
  9. pltlder

    pltlder recruit

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    Just some random thoughts on the subject:

    It's ironic that through much of the war US planners seemd to have strived for parity with the Germans, so that by the time a weapon or tank was fielded, the Germans were a year or more ahead of it. The US was just geting into stride in producing stuff to match the Germans when the war ended.

    By 1945, with the experience of fighting the Germans on European soil for almost a year, US weapons designers are on a roll. After fighting the Panther, the armor commanders finally got the message about bigger guns and thicker armor. If (a big if) the powers that be had a suspicion that the Soviets were going to turn on us and had prepared for it, US armored forces would have been equipped with M26 Pershings as fast as they could have been sent and the Shermans would have been up-gunned with 76mms and up armored, something Third Army was already doing in the last months of the war, using armor taken from destroyed Shermans. US armor would have been much better suited to taking on Soviet armor. True, the Soviet tanks were probably better suited to conditions in Russia, but I think it's unlikely that the US would have penetrated that far before a stalemate ensued, probably along one of the river lines between eastern Germany and western Belorussia.

    In the air, the US P-47's and P-51's were a match for Soviet aircraft, and the first of the P-80/F-80 jet fighters arrived in Europe just as the war ended. The US would quickly gain control of the air.

    The US couldn't match the Russians in numbers of artillery tubes, but the US was unmatched in the technology for coordinating and controlling artillery fire.

    At the time the war ended US ground troops were about to get some significantly improved anti-armor weapons. The 57mm recoilless rifle, an improvement over the 2.36 in. bazooka, was fielded in time for the crossing of the Rhine. The 75mm recoilless and the M20 Super Bazooka, both of which could take out T-34's, were just about ready to be fielded. The T20E2 version of the Garand (20 round box magazine, selective fire capability, though how practical that was is questionable) was ordered into production in the summer of 1945, then cancelled when Japan surrendered. Fielded in Europe, it would have given a needed boost in firepower agaisnt the SKS carbines the Soviets were starting to field. An interesting question is how long it would have taken US ordnance to glom onto the STG44.

    As far as manpower, the US had a large potential pool to draw on, the 3 plus million German and German allied POW's. Most of those who had been held by the Americans and British had been treated reasonably well, particularly those who ahd been sent to camps inthe US and Canada, and certainly much better than the POW's held by the Soviets. With the Soviets occupying much of Germany and threatening to take the whole place, we can assume many of these men would have been motivated to fight. Certainly, the Eastern Europeans who had joined the Germans and were facing firing squads or labor camps if they returned to Soviet control would have volunteered willingly. It would have meant cutting deals with some unsavory characters, but if that was the price of holding Western Europe...

    Just my thoughts.
     
  10. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    IMO we really lack the political picture, a "continuation war" is too much a matter of national will for anything to be said without more political assumptions.

    From a purely military perspective if France and Britain stay neutral any US troops in Europe are virtually cut off, it's going to be very hard to set up the sort of supply chain US troops need to operate without secure staging bases in the British Isles.
    Getting a decent supply infrastructure in Europe is a very tough proposition considering many countries have strong and well armed partisan forces that look to Moscow not Washington, IMHO the only realistic posssibility is Antwerp, if the Dutch side with the USA.
    The idea of German POWs fighting effectively alongside the US is not a given, after the terror bombing campaign and the "anything is a target" bombing policy of the last war months, not many Germans are going to to be willing to fight alongside US troops once they start talking with the civilians. The soviets are really good at propaganda and start with the advantage of having a reliable "cadre" in what's left of the German communists party, the US have to start from scratch and once the knowledge of the holocaust spreads are likely to find themselves in a very difficult position unless they chose their new allies very carefully. IMO the soviets have as good a chance of winning the "hearts and minds" battle as the US, and if that battle is not won, a stalemate is not enough, a victory is impossible unless the soviet regime collapses for reasons of it's own. No way the US can take on the red army without secure rear areas, US doctrine is much too reliant on having a perfectly working supply system.
     
  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    There is no realistic way the US would fight a continuation war with the Soviet Union without Britain and probably France as well. The US would not attack on its own, with a war to be won in the Pacific. It would take a Russian attack on US forces, or at least the appearence of such. In which case Britain and France as loyal allies (more or less) would feel compelled to stand by the US in any war.

    If they did try to leave the US in the lurch, they would face serious consequences in such a course. No Marshall plan for Europe, US flagged Liberty and Victory ships lo longer sailing to British or French ports with food or anything else for that matter. Could they afford to turn a blind eye to the US?
     
  12. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    What about Patton "taking the initiative" and causing a really bad incident? you don't need to stretch your immagination too far to assume something like that.
    The OP, and most subsequent posters, assume a breakdown of the Yalta agreements occured in such a way that Britain and France didn't feel compelled to side with the US. With Churchill gone and De Gaule in power it's not impossible, if far feched, as De Gaule was strongly anti communist and would not see a dominant USSR in Europe as a good thing for France.
    If you assume Britain and France on the US side it's a very different scenario, what you get is the cold war going hot from the start and there have been endless discussions on how that would have turned out.
     
  13. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Was there any evidence that Patton or any other US general was prepared to 'act on their own'. This kind of thought is a product of Hollywood, not real life. Yes he said that sooner or later we would have to deal with the Soviets, and now (then) was the time to do it as we had the forces at hand. He was right, we would have to deal with the Soviets for the next 45 years.

    When Eisenhower told him to shut up, he did, he saluted and said yes sir, thank you sir! Though out American history US generals have always done so. They have at times disagreed with the political direction of a war, but when the President says the discussion is over, it is over. From McCellen to McCrystal it has been the same.

    My reading of Yalta was that Britain was dissapointed the the US was too accomodating to Russia not too confrontational.

    The reality of western Europe in 1945 was that France and Britain needed the US but the reverse was less true. They needed US industry, money and lets face it goodwill to recover from the war. Russia could offer them nothing, further if they stood with the US Russia could not realisticly threaten them. Russia was less able to Blitz London than Germany was in 1940. Nor could their Navy sink any merchantmen in the Atlantic.

    The Red Army would not cut though the Allied armies the way it did the Whermacht. Further as you point out De Gualle was anti-communist, and Englands historical strategy has been to keep anyone European power from getting too much power or influence on the continent. It started with Spain, then France, then Germany and finally the Soviet Union.
     
  14. green slime

    green slime Member

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    I fail to see why there is an assumption that the Russians would have problems with logistics, or that their operative depth was only some 300-400km before running out of steam. Didn't they relocate a large part of their army back east (1,5 million men in less than 3 months), declare war on Japan, and invade Manchuria and Northern Korea, far from their "resupply railways", through country with very rudimentary infrastructure? And achieved in 3 weeks. Doesn't sound like a nation with logistical problems... not in 1945.
     
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  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Because that's almost exactly the situation they faced vs Germany. What they didn't face vs Germany was heavy bombers attacking their logistics nodes.
    But they also started standing down significant amounts of troops and since the rest of the army wasn't fighting anymore they could strip it of log assets. They also had enough time to make sure that force was in very good condition when it started. Even so they had log problems indeed log problems seem to have slowed them down more than the Japanese did.
     
  16. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    At what time are we talking about?


    Yes, but they faced just about everything else including two fronts and all this when they were unprepaired in virtually everyway...

    How so? From my recollection, liberation of Manchuria was executed with almost perfection and with speed which hasnt been seen upto that point by any nation (which also included amphibious landings at Kuril Islands).
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    That pretty much describes things once the Soveits started managing successful offensives. Part of the reason that you don't here more about the effect of the logistics on the Red army is the Soviets seem to have been very realistic in assesing what they could do with what they had. They took enough time to build up supplies so that if an offensive succeeded it could run as far as possible. Then if when they started running low on supplies they stopped and dug in until their log system could catch up with them.
    When were they fighting on two fronts? Are you considering the Finnish front a seperate one? As for being unpraired that was early in the war. As for facing "about everything else" they never enjoyed the level of air supremacy that the western allies did even after the majority of the LW fighters were no longer stationed on the Eastern Front. They also never faced artillery as flexable and as responsive as US and British artillery.
    It did go quite well. Partially due to the Soviet build up before hand and partially due to the fact that the Japanese army in Manchuria was a hollow shell of what it had been. Indeed it was probably in part because it went so well that they had fuel problems. There's a thread I read recently where there were some translations from the Soviet history of the offensive where the fuel situation was mentioned repeatedly.
     
  18. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    IMO that describes what any army (with the possible exeption of some overagressive German and Japanese leaders) does. WW2 is full of allied "logistics stops". For all their "logistic issues" the tempo of the Soviet offensives after 1943 was such that the Germans never managed to regain their balance.
     
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  19. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    I am in agreement with TO on this one friend... The statement above pretty much sums up all WW2 armies with a few exceptions.
     
  20. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Yes, I think we can agree that the Soviets in 1945 were no worse off in logisitics or operational depth than any army of the major players.
     

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