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What if Czechoslovakia didn't give in?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Hawkerace, Aug 8, 2007.

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  1. Hawkerace

    Hawkerace Member

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    What if the Czechs said no to there German counterpart and Germany had to engage in a war. The Czechs had a fair size army.. but perhaps would only delay the destruction and finally occupation. What would happen?
     
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I guess it would be predicated on how much testicular fortitude Herr Schnicklgruber had and how well the absence of one the dangling reproductive appendages is compensated by the girth of the other.:eek:
     
  3. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    France would declare war on Germany. During the negotiations over the Sudentland crisis France's government was apparently quite willing to guarantee Czechoslovakias borders and risk war. Although the Army chief Gamelin and the Air Force chief advised against risking war. Camberlian the British Prime Minster was completely unwilling to risk war. His supporters in prlement were opposed to another war and so were the voters who supported Camberlians party. His military chiefs repeatedly told him Britian was unready for war.

    France on the other hand was better prepared than anyone else, and the poliicians of that year had a bit more backbone than the Brits. While they ddi not wish to plunge into war recklessly they were willing to take that course if it were inevitable. But, Chamberlains duplicity towards the Cezchs and Hitlers guarantees made it seem unecessary.

    The the French representatives seen events a bit clearer they might not have supportted Chamberlains proposals of fallen for Hitlers guarantee. Even if the had there was still the possibilty the Cezchs would not accept the agreement, which they had no part in negotiating. Had the Cezchs repudiated Chamberlain and Hiers agreement and mobilized their army it is possible France would have supported them.

    With the Cezch & French armys mobilizing it is anyones guess what might have happened next. The German Wehrmacht & Luftwaffe were actually very weak in 1938 compared to the combined Cezch/French armys. Germany was also in a precarious financial position. A war would have likely caused the cutting off of credit to German business & banks internationally, and a catastophic devaluation of German government bonds. In just a couple months Hitler would have been faced with a collapse of business, large scale unemployment, rampant inflation, and zero tax revenue.
     
  4. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    True but Goebbel's propaganda machine did a fine job of portraying Germany as being strong. So, France did not dare attack a potentially strong and militarily advanced Germany. Had they done it, well then, Hitler would have been in trouble
     
  5. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Once the shooting starts they will learn the truth. In 1938 about all the Cezch tanks had a 37mm gun. Nearly half the German tanks were the MG armed Pz I, and most of the rest were Pz II with 20mm guns. Hardly a handfull of the Pz II & Pz IV. If I recall correctly the Cezchs had a higher proportion of heavy artillery per corps than the Wehrmacht. All this makes me curious about the relative air strength.
     
  6. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

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    If memory serve the Czechs could mobilise 750,000 within a short time and did so, and if Britain and France had actually issued an ultimatum to Germany that an invasion of Czechoslovakia would lead to war then i doubt that Hitler would risk going to war when Germany was still millitarily weak.

    But had Hitler called Britain and France's bluff and invaded, in the end their would be a massive loss of life on all sides.
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Don´t forget the Oster conspiracy. If there had been war the coup would have thrown Hitler out of power, at least he´d be dead. Chamberlain meant good with the peace proposals but this lead to the situation where the coup had to be stopped from taking place.
     
  8. Hawkerace

    Hawkerace Member

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    Military wise, who would win?
     
  9. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

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    If it was a straight out slogfest i think that eventually the Allies (Britain, France and Czechoslovakia) would win, if and only if they took on an offensive role and not merely a defensive role, but we have some radicals within the equation and they are Italy and Poland, I know Poland had its sights on gaining Czech territory (Possible German/Polish Alliance) and Italy with its pact of steel with Germany.

    Interesting amount of possibilities could occur.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    It would be interesting to see for the first week how things would go.

    The Czechs had the defensive line that could stop the Germans and this might lead to the other nations joining the war. If Germany could push through and end the fighting soon then it would probably end in a similar solution as in Munich plus the rest of the Czechoslovakia, as the other nations were not willing to fight, I think, as much as much as buying time for getting ready for the war.
     
  11. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    I've done a bit of reading on French mobilization and offensive pans for 1939, and... they were slow.

    From mobilization.
    2d week: clear the German outposts from th border (the historical Saar offensive)

    4th week: advance to the Siegfried Line, clearing its outworks. Historical note: in 1939 this consisted of a couple trenches and barricades on the roads.

    6 to 10th weeks: methodically attack the Siegfried Line with the objects of destroying any enemy that stand and fight, rupturing the defense zone, then clearing enough to allow advance up the west bank of the Rhine.

    12+ weeks: Advance to the Rhur with the object of closing industrial transport route on the Rhine & adjacent rivers, capture the Rhur on the west bank, threaten the industrial cites on the east bank with artillery & air attack, prepare to assualt across the Rhine.

    As we know the Polish army was destroyed before the French mobilization progressed to the second attack phase.

    Assuming the French had a similar offensive plan a year earlier in 1938 the Cezchs would need to hold out a minimum of four weeks before French pressure became apparent. Of course there may have been other mobilization/attack plans, but I'm not aware of them.

    The Cezchs had two "Fast Divsions" which had most of their tanks, and all the artillery, and supply motorized. The rifle strength was mostly horse mounted (like the German 'Light Divsion') with the heavy infantry weapons motorized. They also had some bits in their first line infantry divsions motorized, like the Germans.

    The Cezchs had AT guns and artillery equal to the Germans and were well trained.

    The Cezchs had a difficult stratigic situation. The Germans could flank their fortified zone of The Bohemian/Studentland hills through Austria. While this would have taken many days of a week or two to accomplish it would have meant a mobile battle with motorized, armored, and cavalry forces (The Germans had two horse cavalry divsions as front line units in 1938) on the rolling hills decending from Ausria to the central Bohemian plain where Prague sits.

    The second stratigic problem is the Polish frontier. The Cezch have a very long frontier and many mountain passes to defend. The Polish national objective was the capture of some border towns with Polish populations and economic links to Poland. Of course the Poles may have taken more, rather than leave extra bits for the Germans.

    The German problems are a serious shortage of artillery & ammo, the armored & motor rifle divsions are only half trained the Luftwaffe is less than half trained and lacks a lot of support & spare parts. Their stratigic dellima is that they must concentrate to crush the Cezch army, but also defend the Rhinelan/Ruhr. On paper the Wehrmacht could do this, but in the field there were to many partially trained and equipped units.

    The possible mobile battles intrigue me. Manuvering the pygmy tanks of 1938 about Bohemia or the Rhineland, the cute older planes in the sky, the funky 1930s uniforms...and horse cavalry galloping about. And I see all sides making a lot of mistakes as they flail about attempting to learn the new mobile warfare.
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Also I recall with Anschluss Guderian being angry with up to 30% of motorized vehicles ( tanks etc ) being left behind during the march for engine problems etc. I doubt these problems were fixed by autumn 1938.

    However Hitler wanted his war and he was going to get it.
     
  13. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    The French began mobilization on 24 August 39.

    The French did attack Germany with in the first week (4 days). They met light resistance at first. Then they came to the Siegfried line, where the offensive was halted with loss of armor and men, while they were few, this still caused the French to retreat back to France.

    The Siegfried line was not just trenches and barricades in 39. There were bunkers, gun positions, minefields, and tank traps.

    Are you trying to say that the Czechs had more artillery pieces than the Germans?

    The French had 100+ divisions mobilized by week two. The Poles were lied to and left to their own devices.

    I also believe that it would have been an interesting battle in 38, Germany new how to use what mobile forces it had, and as you state the Czechs were well trained. How their doctrine would match against the German would be interesting. We also have to assume that Germany would have pushed for war if Czechoslovakia had with stood, Germany could have just moved on and waited till 39.
     
  14. tikilal

    tikilal Ace

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    Guderian did want this problem fixed, and by 39 it was, only 5-10% of the vehicles were out of action for mechanical reasons, so it might have been better in 38 as well.
     
  15. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    The attack you refer to was what is commonly called in English the Saar offensive. It was a limited objective operation to clear the German forward outposts from the border region. It never came in contact with the main zone of the 'Siegfried Line'.

    The Siegfied line had concrete fortification in limited areas. The rest was a construct of Gobbels propaganda, which is still belived by to many people. ie: Siegfried Knappe, a officer in the 87 Infantry Divsion, decribes taking a position in the upper west portion of the Siegfried Line in October 1939. They were given maps showing a elaborate defense system. But, when they occupied the ground they found exactly nothing. Not even a single strand of barbed wire, or a trench. MOre than a few other serious historians of the campaign Like Horne or Chapman have noted the same thing in the comments of other German soldiers occupying the Siegfried Line in 1939.

    "Are you trying to say that the Czechs had more artillery pieces than the Germans?"

    They had a higher ratio of medium & heavy cannon overall per divsions. That is the corps & army artillery groups were larger. The Wehrmacht had no yet taken delivery of many of the new cannon ordered, the corps heavy regiments in many cases existed only on paper, other lacked support equipment and training as they were still forming. I dont know the precise numbers of artillery battalions for each side, but I suspect at this point the Cezch had a slight superiority in combat ready battalions as opposed to a paper strength that included partially equipped & trained units. There are also questions about the artillery ammo supply in 1938.

    "The French had 100+ divisions mobilized by week two. The Poles were lied to and left to their own devices."

    The French did not have 100+ divsions mobilized in in France in May of 1940! Whats your source for this number? In gross numbers they had fourty or fifty mobilizing by the end of the second week. But, the number of those ready for offensive action was much less.

    The French did not lie to the Poles. They expected it to take the Germans five to six months to defeat the Polish army. (some pessimists thought three months). That was based on a combination of their own estimates of German capability and Polish information for its army and estimates of the Germans. The methodical offensive planned by the French fit their own ability to mobilize >Combat Ready< units, including the heavy artillery and ammunition to smash the German defense. They were as dumfounded as anyone else when the Polish army was smashed in three weeks rather than the twelve, twenty, or twenty four weeks expected.

    But we are nit picking details. The bottom line is the Germans must decisively defeat the Cezchs in a month or so. Otherwise their industrial zone in the Ruhr will be drawing into range of a French army group pounding its way step by step.

    It would be really interesting to know something of Czech military doctrine. Their formation of tank equipped Fast Divsions was in close paralle to the Germans. The infantry arms were as modern as anything the Germans had. Both their artillery and tanks were taken into large scale use by the Wehrmacht. Some information of the Cezch airforce would be nice to see here too.

    "...if Czechoslovakia had with stood, Germany could have just moved on and waited till 39."

    Strictly in military terms yes. In politcal & economic terms no. The nazi government had depended heavily on deficit spending to raise emplyment, provide the extensive social services to the loyal voters and workers, and build the military. Tricks like fraudulent bookeeping, arm twisting the German banks to underwite excessive government bond issues, confisticating the bank accounts of the Communist party, confisticating Jewish property, could only carry the nazi goverment so far. Historians have pawed over the high risk economic policys of Hitlers administration. 'Wages of Destruction' by Tooze is the most recent of these I'd recomend it for understanding the economic factors in Hitlers adventure.

    The Anschluss placed Austria's gold reserves in Germanys treasury, which seems to have been used to pay off enough debt to allow leveraging yet more military & social expendenture. Annexing the Cezch state in January-Febuary 1939 seems to have been driven by the need to use the Cezch government and bank reserves to keep the nazi train running. Perhaps one might say the conquest of Poland and France was financed by the Cezch taxpayer. I cant say for certain this pyriamid scheme would have instantly collapsed if the Cezch financial apparatus had not been taken over. I do have to wonder just how long the nazis can retain control as the bills go unpaid. The collapse of German government securitys and inability to pay the current bills would lead directly to problems with the over extended banks. Would panic be far away if the nazi financial structure was revealed as insolvent?
     
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  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Economic Aspects of the Nazi Conspiracy

    After considering various techniques of financing the armament program, Schacht proposed the use of "mefo" bills. One of the primary advantages of this method was the fact that through its use figures indicating the extent of rearmament, which would have become public through the use of other methods, could be kept secret. "Mefo" bills were used exclusively for armament financing. Transactions in "mefo" bills worked as follows: "Mefo" bills were drawn by armament contractors and accepted by a limited liability company. The spelling of the word "mefo" is taken from the name of this company, Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft, m.b.h. (MEFO). This company had a nominal capital of one million Reichsmarks and was merely a dummy organization. The bills were received by all German banks for possible rediscounting with the Reichsbank. The bills were guaranteed by the Reich. Their secrecy was assured by the fact that they appeared neither in the published statements of the Reichsbank nor in the budget figures.

    The "mefo" bill system continued to be used until 1 April 1938. Up to that date 12 billion Reichsmarks of "mefo" bills for the financing of rearmament had been issued. Since it was no longer deemed necessary to conceal the vast progress of German re. armament, "mefo" financing was discontinued at that time.

    The outstanding "mefo" bills represented at all times a threat to the stability of the currency because they could be tendered to he Reichsbank for discount, in which case the currency circulation would automatically have to be increased. Thus, there was an ever-present threat of inflation.
     
  17. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    That the nazis were able to get away with all this reveals what a dead letter the Versailles Treaty had become, even by 1933. An aggresive enforcement of the treaty would have revealed enough of all this to justify action. It seems the Germans had won that battle in the 1920s. Long before the nazi party garnerd any votes.
     
  18. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Back in the 1970s there was a board game published on this subject. Called 'Case Green' or something? I never met anyone who had actually played it.
     
  19. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    There is one major factor that is not taken into account here. Yes the Czechs had a defensive line but this was in the Sudetenland which was peopled with 3 million Germans who wanted the area to be annexed to the Reich. This was the pretext used by Hitler. Bohemia and Moravia are like a natural mountenaous fortress belt surrounding the Republic. By annexing this region , Germany took most of its defensives and that one point that was neglected at Munich by England and France. It was a key aspect of Germany's policy. The Munich compromise said that all Sudeten territories which where peopled with at least 50% Germans would be part of the agreement. Some of these guys had been militating for this since the 20s and they welcomed the Germans as liberators. There is no way the Chechs could have opposed this annexion alone.
    When Germany finally invaded what was left of Chechoslovakia in March 1939 there were in facts a few fights and 132 Germans lost their lives.
     
  20. The Omega

    The Omega Member

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    With the technology Hitler had in equipment,and in the Blitz. From all I have read and seen most action that would could have been taken would have been delaying tactics. But the sooner the English and Franch had seen Germanys airforce and army in action They may have moved faster to prepare. My belief is Russia only in man power could have put up an true defence. The Omega
     
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