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If the British had the A-bomb in 1942

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Za Rodinu, Jul 14, 2007.

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  1. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    And they had it in repeatable use quantities, would they drop it in German cities? If yes, how long would the war last?
     
  2. Miller

    Miller Member

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    I think after all of the hardships the Brits went through, Churchill would use any advantage he could get like the A-bomb to bring the war to an end. Now maybe the war would come to a close if the bomb was dropped on prominent cities like Berlin or Munich or an industrial target like the Ruhr. But I have a feeling as long as Hitler was alive the war would contnue. Not sure if there was anything that could have made him surrender. Maybe if the Brits dropped it square on the Wolfschanze and killed Hitler, everything would end in a matter of weeks.
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Keep in mind that Churchill considered the use of Anthrax against German cities 'only if this mode of warfare be used against us...'
     
  4. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    I think the minute the British had a delivery system available (bombs of that period weighed 10,000 lbs and over and were very large meaning the need for Lancaster bombers at a minimum) they would have incinerated Hamburg followed by probably a good chunk of the Ruhr. These were targets well within their optimum navigation capacity and not too deep within the nightfigher defenses that would certainly have to be stopped to ensure the delivery plane 'got through.'
     
  5. Roddoss72

    Roddoss72 Member

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    I agree somewhat but i would use it for maximum effect, drop one on Berlin and then issue an ultimatum, if Germany did immidately surrender then several more heavy populated cities would be targeted.
     
  6. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Would it not be safe to say that if any country had an atom bomb, they would have used it against their enemies? And would the receiving end not want to nagotiate a peace after such a weapon has been used on them and not knowing how many more might come as a result of them not coming to the negotiating table?
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I would agree with you, Sloniksp and our only historical example of this actions does too.
     
  8. 3ball44

    3ball44 Member

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    The problem would have been the ability to produce multiple bombs in a short amount of time. Realistically, even if a country like Britian was able to create a bomb, could they produce more of them that would work just as well? Whoever was struck with the first bomb would immediately be trying to create a defense system and would be looking to destroy the facility that created the bomb.
    Any of the weak axis countries like Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, or Hungary would have either surrendered unconditionally, or changed sides with the drop of a single bomb on one of their cities. In 1942, you would have had to practically destroyed all of Japan or Germany, or their leaders, in order to have them surrender. For both countries had been enjoying military success for several years and the tide had yet to completely turn against them.
     
  9. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    The problem with this logic is that it seems that you fail to imagine what the receiving side might feel like. How does the receiving side know how many of such bombs exist and might be dropped on them if they dont negotiate?

    Also imagine dropping such a weapon on a German offensive or defensive line consisting of thousands of tanks or hundred's of thousands of men, not much resistence would be left of the attacking force would there?

    A silly example might be dropping the bomb on the densely concentrated German position before Operation Zitadelle. 700k men exterminated and more then a thousand tanks a planes destroyed.....( unrealistic obviously but just an example ;) )
     
  10. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Not as silly as many of the what-ifs we see around here :rolleyes:
     
  11. 3ball44

    3ball44 Member

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    You have a point, but I think that even as a country may try to keep its atomic program on the DL, parts of it leak out. In some instances information might be leaked on purpose in order to try to scare an enemy with "the bomb". So I believe there would be a good chance that if the UK got unspecified amount of AB's, Germany would soon find out and even if one was dropped on a line, which by the way probably wouldn't have a good effect on the Allied line opposite the Axis line where the bomb was being dropped, it would only invigorate the Germans and cause them to fight harder for home and country. The UK would need probably more than five bombs at their disposal in order to bring Germany down, if they could accomplish this, then all the other European Axis nations would soon surrender as well.
    Even if by some miracle the British were able to come up with some AB's by 1942, they would most likely have come from the US, and even under these circumstances, they would probably not aquire as many as five. And Germany would not just be waiting around to get hit with AB after AB, after the first, they would focus on stopping any more from falling.
    Bottomline:
    It would have been virtually impossible for the Axis to win WWII, so even if the Brits dropped an AB on Germany and the Germans got steamed up, they would still probably not defeat the UK, and Russia would have still crushed them, so it most likely would have ended the war sooner, but I can't believe Hitler would have ever surrendered.
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Actually close to the truth...perhaps....

    Lyman James Briggs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Meanwhile in the United Kingdom German refugees Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls made a breakthrough. From June 1940, copies of British progress reports were sent to Briggs via a British contact in Washington, Ralph H. Fowler. In March 1941 a committee of Nobel-Prize winning scientists, called the MAUD Committee, concluded that an atomic bomb was "not only feasible, it was inevitable". They also pointed out that a large part of a laboratory in Berlin had been devoted to nuclear research. A copy of the MAUD Committee's interim report was sent to the Briggs in the USA because Britain lacked the resources to undertake such a large and urgent program on its own. Britain also wished to move its key research facilities to safety across the Atlantic. The MAUD Committee issued another report giving technical details on the design and costs on 15 July 1941.

    Britain was at war and felt an atomic bomb should have the highest priority, especially because the Germans might soon have one; but the USA was not at war at that time and many Americans did not want to get involved. One of the members of the MAUD Committee, Marcus Oliphant flew to the United States in late August 1941 in an unheated bomber to find out why the United States was ignoring the MAUD Committee's findings. Oliphant said that: "The minutes and reports had been sent to Lyman Briggs, who was the Director of the Uranium Committee, and we were puzzled to receive virtually no comment. I called on Briggs in Washington, only to find out that this inarticulate and unimpressive man had put the reports in his safe and had not shown them to members of his committee. I was amazed and distressed."

    ---------

    Also mentioned in the " Heisenberg and the nazi atomic bomb project " by Paul Lawrence Rose

    " The United States neglected the U235 bomb in 1940-41 despite repeated British urging. Lyman Briggs, the head of the American uranium committee, simply kept the startlingly optimistic British reports in his safe, declining to show them to his colleagues.It was only when Oliphant in desperation visited the USA in the summer of 1941 and informed an unhappy Ernest Lawrence of the situation that immediate and dramatic action was taken."
     
  13. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    The Axis were completely unaware of the existance of a allied atom bomb program until the first bomb was dropped, and the Germans remained unaware that the Allies had broken their codes through ULTRA until the 1970's.
     
  14. Joe

    Joe Ace

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    Like most 'What-ifs' the only result of Britain having an A-Bomb in '42 will result in a much Redder Europe.
     
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'd go with TA; See you later Hamburg, and then if immediate surrender not offered; 'Hello Berlin'.

    I couldn't imagine Churchill, Alanbrooke et.al. not using it if it became available at that point. There may have been qualms about Gas & Biological agents, based as much on their ineffectiveness as moral concerns, but 'the Bomb' and it's effect would be guaranteed devastating, I can't see there'd be too many qualms about irradiating parts of Germany who was still pushing aggressively forward at that point.
    (Not really clear how much they understood or appreciated the potential of fallout/radiation at the time, from my memories of the ROC I suspect these WW2 devices would have been viewed by us in the late 80's as fairly insignificant in those terms???)
    Surely no objection would be likely from the 'Man on the Clapham Omnibus'?
    Imagine if Harris got wind of it, he'd want to fly the plane himself...

    Cheers,
    Adam.
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Interesting, yes. Harris wanted to crush all the German cities, not just one city. So would he like to have a round first and then the big blow in Berlin perhaps to end it all....
     
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