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#1 LRusso216

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 09:08 PM

After reading many posts about most important battles, biggest mistakes, etc., this thought came to my mind. If you could choose one battle from WW2 and change the outcome (loss to win; win to loss) what would it be? Tell us why you think so. Also, would it have changed the outcome of the war?

I'm not sure this really qualifies as a "What if", but I wasn't sure where else to put it. If the mods think it isn't worth it, feel free to ax the thread.

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#2 Slipdigit

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 11:25 PM

As it is a different idea, I'll let it ride, but do expound on it more, as per the guidelines. What are your thoughts?

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#3 macker33

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:50 PM

I'm not sure if this answer qualifies as a proper answer but i'd change the area bombing of cities.
It wouldnt change anything about the result,when i hear about the numbers of people killed in one night i just cant understand it.

Hamburg=50,000 in one night
dresden=40,000 in one night
london=43,000 over 57 nights
tokyo=100,000 in one night

I dont think any of these 4 achieved anything.
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#4 Sentinel

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 02:27 AM

I think I'd go with changing a battle that resulted in the unnecessary loss of civilian lives.

For me, the one that stands out just now is the Warsaw Uprising. But there were many others.

Obviously, the outcome of this battle would not have changed the war. But the sheer cynicism of Stalin's actions leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
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#5 MastahCheef117

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 02:43 AM

My battle would be Stalingrad. Near about the beginning of the end, scattered Soviet forces began the push back out of the city- what if it didn't happen? Historically, Axis forces at the time of the counterattack were just over 1,000,000 regulars, casualties at a whopping 840,000. Soviet forces were at 1,100,000, casualties reaching about at that (other forces added and subtracted before and after the counterattack in early '43.) Had the Soviets not destroyed enough German/Hungarian tanks, killed enough soldiers or just fought hard enough, the Soviet Union would be crippled, in no way able to sustain itself or counterattack against the Germans- like Kursk in later of that year. Moscow would again be open for siege, and with nowhere else to look to, Stalin would (and at least 99.99% chance of not) surrender, otherwise fight to the death and cause the ultimate destruction of the biggest nation in the world.

#6 Wolfy

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 03:40 AM

US forces adopt Patton's strategy for the Ardennes offensive. He wanted to allow the Germans to penetrate 40-50 miles and then cut them off in an envelopment operation.

(And ironically, this was plan that Model feared the most as he was afraid that the US Army would do this and then trap most of Army Group B. In his case, he knew that the German Army was too immobile to resist this).

200,000 German troops along with all their heavy equipment are encircled and lost to the US army at the cost of far lower US personnel and equipment losses. US forces advance forward and WW2 is shortened by many weeks.

#7 brndirt1

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 03:47 PM

I'm not sure if this answer qualifies as a proper answer but i'd change the area bombing of cities.
It wouldnt change anything about the result,when i hear about the numbers of people killed in one night i just cant understand it.

Hamburg=50,000 in one night
dresden=40,000 in one night
london=43,000 over 57 nights
tokyo=100,000 in one night

I dont think any of these 4 achieved anything.


Precision bombing being non-existant I fail to see how extensive collateral damage could be eliminated. But at any rate:

"Hamburg=50,000 in one night"

While it is true that the bombings of industrial centers, such as Hamburg, did NOT have the effect anticipated, and the cities recovered to full capacity much faster than anticipated, they were disrupted for a time. From the last bombing run in July to return to full capacity, it was not as full an iteruption as expected, and promised, but as bombings of this scale had never been done before any "outcome" was a guess at best.

Although the bombings put a halt on Hamburg's war industries, production was recovered relatively quickly. By the end of 1943, the aircraft industry was operating at 91% of pre-bombing levels, while electrical goods, optics, and precision tools either returned or surpassed pre-bombing levels. The chemical industry, which suffered greatly during the ten days, returned to 71% of pre-bombing capacity by end of 1943 as well. Most importantly, the submarine-building industry, which the Allies targeted, returned to near pre-bombing capacity within two months. René Ratouis, a French worker who witness the destruction of the shipyards, recalled his surprise when he returned in Sep and saw nearly no sign of any attack; by 28 Sep, submarine Wa 201 was completed and launched from the Blohm & Voß shipyards.

From:

Bombing of Hamburg, Dresden, and Other Cities | World War II Database

Also this bombing proved the effectiveness of "window" (aluminized chaff) in disrupting German radar defenses.

"dresden=40,000 in one night"

While this bombing is going to be a bone of contention for decades if not centuries to come, it was done at the request of our Soviet Allies (Stalin in particular), to interdict the re-enforcement of the Nazis his Red Army was facing. The rail-hub wasn’t destroyed as anticipated, but Dresden’s destruction did (for a time) interrupt both the re-enforcement, and halt the fleeing Germans toward the west. Was it worth the deaths? Who knows. Did the Nazis sort of exacerbate the problem by not providing bomb shelters for the populace? Who knows. Did the location of over 100 war industries in and around Dresden make it a legitimate target? I think so.

"london=43,000 over 57 nights"

This section of the Blitz of London had the exact reverse effect desired. It stiffened (rather than broke) the resolve of the British, and increased the sympathy for them in the American mind. Isolationism started looking less and less a defensible position to the American public. Declaring neutrality, and holding to it strictly didn’t work, witness Norway, Denmark, and Belgium. A strong defensive position without offensive capabilities didn’t work, witness France. Pact of non-aggression didn’t work, witness both Poland and the USSR. The London Blitz was one of the final nails in the coffin of the "America First Committee". So in this instance the London bombings did help win the war, just not for the side who did it, or in the manner they expected.

"tokyo=100,000 in one night"

Tokyo is an interesting choice, but as a non-atomic bombing I understand its inclusion. Two outcomes of this bombing spring to mind immediately. First, the ability of the new Bee-San (Superfort) to deliver on its original promise of delivering massive bomb loads over great distances, with measurable results was proven. Until then its effectiveness was being questioned at many levels. Remember it wasn’t designed as an atomic delivery system, those were "adapted" Silverplate models, of which I believe only about 50 were built.

Second, and possibly an unrecognized effect was the destruction of the Riken Institute where all the major atomic experimentation in Japan was taking place. From that moment on the Japanese had no major experimental laboratory or cyclotron with which to work. This may have simply been serendipitous, but as Dr. Lawrence of California had supplied the Institute with their first cyclotron in the early thirties, and he was now working on the Manhattan Project, its existence and import was most likely well known in America. Also two or three of the Japanese physicists working at the Riken Institute had been students/co-experimenters with Dr. Lawrence when they visited California in the thirties. He knew they were top-flight physicists, and one of them won a Noble prize post-war in nuclear experimentation (I forget which one).

Another outcome of the Tokyo firebombing, not recognized by LeMay at the time was that he was forbidden to target Tokyo in the future. This was because the war was turning against the Axis in both theaters, and the loss of the Emperor might be more a detriment than a help. If he was killed, he might become the martyr god instead of the living god for the Japanese militarists to rally the populace around. The loss of those civilians at Tokyo, and those mixed civilian and military in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, might be seen as saving the Japanese as a nation from utter destruction.

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Happy Trails,
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#8 Sloniksp

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 04:21 PM

Im going to go with the Battle of Kiev.

Stalin listens to Zhukov and and allows a withdrawal, saving 4 Russian armies from complete destruction.

A lot can be done with an additional 43 divisions. ;)
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#9 Wolfy

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 09:46 PM

Withdraw Soviet troops encircled at Kiev, do not execute operation Mars, withdraw from Kerch in April 1942,and do not go all the way in Kharkov 1943.

With these new conditions, the Soviets may be in Germany by the end of 1944.

#10 JagdtigerI

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 01:26 AM

I would have to agree with Wolfy and Sloniksp and say Kiev. Clearly the change would be Staling allowing for the withdrawal of the troops from the city. However, to expand on that, the Battle of Kiev sort of represents the epitome of the "no retreat" strategy that Stalin imposed on his armies in the opening stages of the Eastern Front. This unfortunate strategy led to the capture of almost 3 million troops by the Germans, a large part of which happened in the large encirclements at Kiev, Smolensk, and Minsk. The Russians fared much better when they adopted more of a defensive retreat during Operation Blue.

#11 macker33

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 01:35 AM

Brndirt1:excellent post.but my gripe has more to do with the area bombing doctrine but forward by douhet and harris and the uselessness of it.

very informative post by the way.
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#12 brndirt1

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 06:15 PM

Brndirt1:excellent post.but my gripe has more to do with the area bombing doctrine but forward by douhet and harris and the uselessness of it.

very informative post by the way.


Thanks for the kudos and salute, but I guess my response to your "gripe" would be that until the "theory" is put into practice and proven or disproven it remains just that. A theory.

The implimentation of the doctrine of strategic bombing proved less than "war winning" using conventional weapons as originally proposed, the only time it could be said to have had a "war winning" effect was in the use of the atomics against the Imperial Japanese.

Those two examples made atomic bombing too terrible to contemplate, and produced the tense "peace" of MAD doctrine during the Cold War. But, that said the Mutually Assurred Destruction concept meant NO ATOMICS ever again used in anger.

That is surely a good thing.
Happy Trails,
Clint.

#13 Totenkopf

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 06:41 PM

tokyo=100,000 in one night



Im certainly happy that Tokyo was spared an Atomic fate as the blast could totaled up to 10 million dead and god knows what those numbers would be today.

Edited by Totenkopf, 28 June 2009 - 06:53 PM.

Heh.. they are scratching your paint job, Helmut!


#14 macker33

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 02:03 AM

Well the atomic bombs did in the overall picture save lives.

No doubt the japanese drew comparisons with the kamakazi(divine wind)that saved them hundreds of years ago from the mongol invasion,,except this time the devine wind would destroy them.
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#15 brndirt1

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 03:45 PM

Well the atomic bombs did in the overall picture save lives.

No doubt the japanese drew comparisons with the kamakazi(divine wind)that saved them hundreds of years ago from the mongol invasion,,except this time the devine wind would destroy them.


I wonder if the Japanese drew that conclusion, the atomics and the "Divine Wind" I mean. They did, I am sure consider that the Emperor had fallen out of favor in heaven when the atomics were used against them. But not because of the Divine Wind, but because the "power of the sun" (mistated by Truman) had been used against the subjects of the Son of the Sun Godess, in the Land of the Rising Sun. That surely threw their world view into chaos.

The "Divine Wind" of Typhoon Louise did hit Okinawa in October of 1945; this was the anticipated staging area for the launching of the "Olympic" portion of "Operation Downfall". There were slated to be nearly 4,000 army, navy, and marine aircraft that would be packed into the small island of Okinawa for "Olympic" alone, not counting the thousands of ships, large and small which would have been crowded in "Buckner Bay" or around the tiny island.

Typhoon "Louise" was an abnormality, a fluke, one in a million. Navy meteorologists predicted that the out of season storm would (after they recognized its existence), sweep northward, pass between Okinawa and Formosa, and die out in the East China sea. That is NOT what occurred.

The most devastating storm ever encountered by the US Navy began on the evening of October eighth, when the storm changed direction and abruptly veered to the east. Now there was insufficient warning to allow the ships remaining in the harbor to get under way in order to escape the typhoon. By mid-morning of the ninth, torrential rains lashed by 80 mph winds, and rising 50 foot waves caused the 150,000 men remaining on the island to seek shelter and "hunker down" in the caves/trenches only recently abandoned by the enemy. By early afternoon their "tent city" was blown away, as were the most of the food supplies by the now 100 mph winds. By late afternoon the winds topped out at 150 mph, and waves were at 60 feet in the bay. The storm raged over the island for nearly twenty hours, and then slowly headed out to sea. Then as if it were a late, but still avenging "divine wind", it doubled back, and two days later howled in from the ocean to hit the island again. This last landfall seemed to deflate "Louise", and she quietly died off a day later in the Sea of Japan and the bodies began to wash ashore. This was the most potent typhoon recorded in Okinawa up to that time, a larger one struck years later, but up to then "Louise" was the record-holder.

The toll on even the relatively small group of ships remaining after "Downfall" had been canceled was still staggering. Almost 270 ships were sunk, grounded or damaged beyond repair. Fifty-three of the ships in too bad a state to be restored to duty were duly decommissioned, stripped and abandoned on site. Out of 90 ships which needed major repair the Navy decided only 10 were even worthy of salvage, and so the remaining 80 were simply scuttled or scrapped. General Joseph (Vinegar Joe) Stillwell, the 10th Army Commander, asked for immediate plans to evacuate all hospital cases from the island by air. All the aircraft had been destroyed, all power was gone, communications and supplies were nonexistent. The harbor facilities were useless.

Partially extracted from:

Typhoons and Hurricanes: Pacific typhoon, October 1945


Just imagine how many men would have died in the staging area if it was full rather than being only a token "handful" of 150,000 who were still there. Casualties were low considering the extreme violence of the storm. This was very probably due to the active and well directed efforts of all hands in assisting one another, particularly in evacuation of grounded and sinking ships. By mid-October, reports had been sifted and it was found that there were 36 dead and 47 missing, with approximately 100 receiving fairly serious injuries. That surely might not have been the result if the personnel numbers had been as large as proposed for the invasion. My uncle Robert, machinist mate first class, was one of those listed as missing, his body was never recovered.

The Japanese military and many of its common people fervently believed that the American conventional bombers could be fought, and the invaders would be repelled. They all seemed to share a mystical faith that their country could never be invaded successfully and that they, again, would be saved by the "divine wind". It looks to me like they nearly were. I wonder just how tenaciously they would have fought if "Louise" had devastated our invasion force if the "atomics" were not used, or if the "atomics" had been duds, or not had the effect of forcing the surrender of the Japanese, and Typhoon Louise had devastated the staging area of Okinawa, I also wonder how far the Soviets would have advanced down the main islands in these instances.

I wonder if America and the western allies could have even begun to prepare to launch another invasion for quite a bit of time! BTW, there was another typhoon which hit a "landing area", the following spring and in the exact area where the second portion of "Downfall" (Coronet) was slated to land at that time. The plains around Tokyo were so soaked that any vehicular transport would have been next to impossible, as it was historically. The atomics probably saved more than just lives, Soviet domination of both a North Korea and North Japan, in Asia comes to mind.

That position of mine is because even though On August 15th, Japan publicly accepted the Potsdam Declaration (without using the word surrender) to officially end the war with a cease-fire, the Soviets fearing that the cease-fire line would become the definitive frontier (the Soviets had advanced only about 62 miles [100 km] onto southern Sakhalin), the Soviets continued to bombard Japanese towns and military positions in the south, and even prepared to invade Hokkaido across the La Perouse Strait. The fighting on Sakhalin didn’t stop for a full week, not until August 22nd. In addition to Sakhalin Island the Red Army also attacked the Kuriles, on August 23. On September 2nd, the Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru signed the surrender documents on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. By that time, the occupation of the Kuriles extended to Shikotan island, and was completed three days later with the occupation of Habomai. The occupation of the Kuriles, especially the islands of Habomai, Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu (the Northern Territories), which had been Japanese territory since 1855, is still a bitter pill for the Japanese to swallow, especially since they viewed August 14th as their official surrender date.

On August 10th, 1945, with the Japanese surrender on the horizon, the American government was unsure whether the Soviets would adhere to any "zone in Korea" proposal arranged by the U.S. government since neither this nor any other demarcation line/occupation zone eventuality had really been addressed at either Yalta or Potsdam. However, about a month earlier (July, 1945), two US Colonels, Dean Rusk (later Assistant Secretary of State) and a Colonel Bonesteel had sat down and drawn the dividing line at the 38th parallel in less than one-half an hour and using an old National Geographic map of Korea. But only on Korea where it was possible both Soviet and American troops might run into each other. This line divided the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, and Stalin and the Soviets accepted this line with little question since this acceptance helped solidify their own negotiations over eastern Europe and its buffer states between the "east and the west"/communist and capitalist. Japanese military forces north of that arbitrary line would surrender to the Soviet Union, and those to the south to the United States. The Soviets had stated they would withdraw their occupation forces from Korea by Jan. 1 of ‘49 (and they did).

Without the "atomic" bomb as a quiet threat there is no reason to believe Stalin would just stop an advance into Japan proper if the new and untested Truman just asked for it. It was with knowledge of the bomb that the Soviet withdrew from both northern Iran (1946), and northern Korea (1949) as they had promised. If the bomb failed to function, and Typhoon Louise decimated the allied invasion plans, I see no reason for Stalin to "halt" at the request of Truman. Remember that even after the war was over, the Soviet Union declined to sign the San Francisco Peace Treaty because it didn’t sufficiently insure their possession of the Kuriles and Sakhalin Island.

Edited by brndirt1, 29 June 2009 - 03:55 PM.
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#16 PzJgr

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 07:05 PM

Do not go through with Market-Garden and give Patton the supplies needed to keep his momentum.
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#17 JagdtigerI

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 08:20 PM

To suggest another one I would say General Clark's decision after the breakout from Anzio and Monte casino to take Rome. In doing this he abandoned an oppertunity to encircle the german 10th army, an action that surely would have saved them much time, troops, and resources when trying to break the Gustav/Green line.

#18 PzJgr

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 08:41 PM

They probably had a better chance when they first landed.
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#19 JagdtigerI

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 09:59 PM

They probably had a better chance when they first landed.


Are you talking about the anzio landings or the initial avalanche landings? I would assume anzio as I considered mentioning that as a battle to change. If Lucas could have put a powerful attack together and broken through the 14th army, it probably would have been even better. However, I chose to mention Clark instead because it seemed to me that the Anzio argument is sort of based off speculation. We can only assume what would happen if Lucas had advanced further in those first days and weeks, but it was pretty clear that Clark had a good opportunity which he chose not to pursue. At least that is my understanding.

#20 macker33

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 02:32 AM

Clarke was right to take rome.Couldnt trust the allied planners not to blow up rome in case there was german observation posts.
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#21 JagdtigerI

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 02:45 AM

Clarke was right to take rome.Couldnt trust the allied planners not to blow up rome in case there was german observation posts.


Is that supposed to be a serious argument?

#22 macker33

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 03:46 AM

Yeah,i think clarke was perfectly correct to put the lives of civilians before the lives of soldiers.

What would have happaned if clarke decided to cut off the german retreat and the germans north of rome decided to reoccupy rome.

I find it incredably naive of so called experts not to consider that the germans north of rome wouldnt move to help their retreating comrades.

I also think chamberlin was right to try and prevent war with hitler.
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#23 JagdtigerI

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 03:55 AM

Yeah,i think clarke was perfectly correct to put the lives of civilians before the lives of soldiers.

What would have happaned if clarke decided to cut off the german retreat and the germans north of rome decided to reoccupy rome.

I find it incredably naive of so called experts not to consider that the germans north of rome wouldnt move to help their retreating comrades.

I also think chamberlin was right to try and prevent war with hitler.



Well the forces north of Rome didn't come to capture Rome. They didn't know where Clark was going to take his men, and they still didn't take it.

As for your last statement...that is pretty random
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#24 macker33

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 03:02 AM

As for your last statement...that is pretty random


expect the unexpected.
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#25 STURMTRUPPEN

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 09:41 PM

i would change the battles in europe
1.sicily
i would concentrate more panzer troops on the island
and place a garrison of ss troops there
2.italy
more american troops would be needed to defeat the germans at monte cassino
3.normandy
in every major town
ss panzer troops would be stationed there
4.market garden
more allied troops to combat german armored troops in the areas of nijmegen vagel and sonne
at the end of the night i wont be reaching for the brass ring i'll be reaching for your wwe championship
jeff hardy




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