Author Topic: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate  (Read 65080 times)

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Offline Technoviking

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #225 on: January 24, 2013, 21:03:06 »
Bringing back a fun thread. Here is the real life basis for a "what if" of epic proportions: Operation UNTHINKABLE, the liberation of Eastern Europe by the Western Allies starting 1 July 1945:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/01/operation-unthinkable-even-with-nuclear.html

From a military perspective it may or may not have been doable (read the comments following the post at the link), obviously there was no political will to carry it out in our history, but Winston Churchill could be persuasive, and of course a big "what if" might be if FDR had not died in office when he did.

Interesting.  The Soviet Union was in tatters thanks to the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS.  It would all come down to logistics.  Without the supply coming from the Allies, the USSR would have folded in probably 1942.  It would be interesting to game this out...
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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #226 on: January 25, 2013, 06:29:24 »
I think it was not on the cards and would not have been after the end of the war in the Pacific. Our propaganda machine had spent several years extolling "Uncle Joe" and the Red Army as our heroic allies battling the Nazi hordes. To turn around and go to war against the USSR would have been politcally unthinkable, and Churchill was out of office, replaced by the Labour Party which saw the Soviets as its natural comrades in the class struggle.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #227 on: January 25, 2013, 07:17:53 »
No, it was not in the cards (the British staff were not very keen on the idea in the first place, and the political will was not there), but Churchill was not the only one who was thinking that way (Patton was not very subtle about viewing the Russians as potential enemies, and it must have crossed a lot of other minds as well), and there is one school of thought which suggests that the use of the atomic bomb was a warning to Stalin as well as a quick way to end the Pacific war.

So as a "what if" we have a massive Red Army flush with victory but at the end of a long logistical train, a probably ambivilent Allied force, millions of newly conquered people yearning for liberation and still (at that time) willing to fight for it. It would also be interesting to see what the various Allied powers would see as "Victory". Do they drive to Moscow or just stop at the Dneiper River? The Polish Border? The Baltic States? The final question is would the United States be willing to go nuclear in such a war?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Sythen

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #228 on: January 25, 2013, 18:43:23 »
I was browsing reddit.com today, and saw this post:

http://www.reddit.com/r/HistoryPorn/comments/178t5q/adolf_hitler_age_35_on_his_release_from/c83eqme

In it, user taranaki says the following:

Quote
I would bet that in about 100 years there will be a pseudo-lionization of Adolf Hitler. The emotional horror he inflicted will have worn off, and thus history will view his shadow rather than the ugly man he was. He will still be seen as a "bad" man, who did horrible things. However I suspect there will be a creeping undercurrent of sentiment similar to that of say Ghengis Khan. That he was a man who "DID" things. He had drive, initiative, and daring. Many of his actions will still be seen as monstrous, but the sentiment that he was a "Great" man in the sense of his objective actions may exist (again ignoring morality because history rarely remembers OR cares). Someone who grabbed the reins of a crumbled dilapidated country and in under a decade took it to the brink of conquering the entire world vs an alliance of nearly every other major power. How many others could claim such a feat? Yes he failed, but so did Napoleon. Yes he invaded, murdered, and conquered other countries, but so did Ghengis Khan. Yes he took a republic and turned it into a dictatorship, but so did Julias Caesar. All these men have been lionized by history none the less.

I am not saying I agree, but you can see the subtle undercurrent happening already. And frankly it happens to almost everyone. Napoleon as I mentioned a man who today is seen as "great" though at the time his name was spit upon by anyone outside of France. Ghengis Khan is another example. Put thousands of innocents to the sword. Seen as a great man. Who here even remembers, yet alone vilifies, the mongolians for the Sack of Merv, where 600,000-1,000,000 men, women, and children in ONE CITY were put to the sword? One of the single bloodies acts in all human history. Hell even PIRATES are seen as awesome now. You know, the guys would would enslave your son and daughter while raping your wife during your travel by ship.

Even in 100 years I doubt anyone will be openly praising Hitler, but a kind of begrudged respect (respect is not quite the word im looking for) might develop. By 300 years, who knows how he will be talked about. History plays interesting tricks on the human collective psyche

Most what ifs people talk about are imagining what might have happened. I think this is an interesting what might happen, if I worded that right?
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #229 on: January 25, 2013, 20:10:38 »
In SFnal circles this is called "future history", and indeed cycles of novels have been written using this as a basis. The main issue with future history is that real history rarely cooperates.

Jerry Pournelle wrote a great series (now collectively known as the Co Dominium cycle, with one of the better sub parts known as Falkenberg's Legion). The basis was the apparent permanence of the Cold War as seen from the mid 1970's, and the creeping growth of the Bureucratic welfare state in the United States at the same time. In this future history, the US and USSR decide that while they hate each other, they hate the idea of other nations rising to challenge them even more, and band together to divide the Earth between them (The Co Dominium) and take control of science and industry to prevent unexpected scientific or industreal developments from threatening their position. Perhaps luckily for them, a form of cheap spaceflight is discovered during the consolodation, and the Co Dominium uses this to send criminals, non conformists and even entire populations into permanent exile away from Earth. Pournell knows his stuff, and predicted that the Co Dominium itself would become ossified and eventually collapse under internal stress.

In the real world, of course, internal stresses did in the USSR and the Cold War was won by the United States, setting up an entirely different set of conditions.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Technoviking

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #230 on: January 11, 2017, 14:23:05 »
NECRO THREAD BUMP

So, A while back I wrote what amounted to a short story about an alternate history where Hitler is assassinated in 1943.  Well, I'm going to alternate *that* history. 

I learned recently that in 1943, after Stalingrad but before Kursk, the USSR made feelers for peace with the Germans.  In real life, these weren't considered seriously by Germany until later 1943.  By then, the Soviets were less serious, changed their conditions and of course as the fortunes turned more and more against Germany, those offers were withdrawn.

So, I will take this thread thus:

Stalingrad occurs just as in our timeline.
Von Manstein's counter blow restores the front and deals the Reds a serious blow, just as in our timeline.
Hitler goes to the Ukraine to meet with his front HQs to discuss the upcoming summer offensive, just as in our timeline.
German and Soviet agents meet in Sweden to discuss feelers for peace, returning to the borders of September 1, 1939 (this means a free Baltic States and for Finland as well, FYI), just as in our timeline
*Plot Twist*  The assassination attempt on Hitler (which failed in real life) succeeds in my alternate universe.  The new Führer, Hermann Goering, pursues the feelers, makes some counter proposals for borders (nothing major) and suspends the Kursk offensive.
So, how would the war in the West proceed?  Would the USSR then pursue a war with Japan?  Would Stalin survive?  The invasion of Sicily and subsequently Italy would occur, just as in our timeline, but by October 1943, the German Army is really reinforcing the west (It maintains a strong presence on the Eastern "border" with the USSR and its puppet state of Poland, naturally), but how would this affect the war in Italy?  How would the defences of France look?  In our timeline, 3rd Canadian Division faced off against 3 Panzer Divisions (albeit they were sent in piecemeal and not as a proper corps) and emerged victorious.  How would the landings survive a counter blow by the 1st SS Panzer Korps?  Would there be landings?


I'll ponder this and ponder that and see what I can come up with! 

Cheers!

:salute:
So, there I was....

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #231 on: January 11, 2017, 14:49:44 »
To pursue the Normandy scenario, I wonder if the Allied grand strategy would have remained in place. Re 1 SS Panzer Corps, would Diettrich, who was a crony of Hitler, have stayed in command, or would he even have survived?

As you probably know, the mission of the 3rd Canadian Division was to hold the key terrain in Normandy and defeat the German armoured counter-attack, which it did. However the corps was without 1st SS Panzer Division for a significant period as it was watching the Pas de Calais. I refer here to Mark Milner's Stopping the Panzers.

Would Goering and the Nazis have remained in power? Would whoever took over really have trusted Stalin? What would Stalin have done in the Nazis were deposed. I suggest he would have resumed the struggle against the Germans, and let Japan wait.

(You are making my head hurt.)

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #232 on: January 11, 2017, 15:12:11 »
To pursue the Normandy scenario, I wonder if the Allied grand strategy would have remained in place. Re 1 SS Panzer Corps, would Diettrich, who was a crony of Hitler, have stayed in command, or would he even have survived?

As you probably know, the mission of the 3rd Canadian Division was to hold the key terrain in Normandy and defeat the German armoured counter-attack, which it did. However the corps was without 1st SS Panzer Division for a significant period as it was watching the Pas de Calais. I refer here to Mark Milner's Stopping the Panzers.

Would Goering and the Nazis have remained in power? Would whoever took over really have trusted Stalin? What would Stalin have done in the Nazis were deposed. I suggest he would have resumed the struggle against the Germans, and let Japan wait.

(You are making my head hurt.)
I have indeed read Marc Milner's book (I have an autographed copy). 

So, instead of a June 1944 invasion in Normandy, would they instead invade much further south, away from Germany, supported by a fleet of Air Craft Carriers, drawing the Germans in for a war of attrition as they developed The Bomb?

(I mention 1 SS Panzer Corps only because it was a very powerful force.  Heck, any Panzer Corps, ably handled, would have given us headaches at Normandy.  Thankfully we had the infighting between 12 SS, the Thugs lead by Criminals as Milner calls them, and Panzer Lehr and 21st Panzer)

So, there I was....

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #233 on: January 11, 2017, 16:21:10 »
Some moot points, but I don't think even an armada of aircraft carriers would have given the Allies the air power to operate outside of fighter range of the UK.

As you have read Marc's book, you will recall the assessment by a Canadian officer about the Germans including the Waffen SS, that they tried to fight the invaders as if they were Russians and failed miserably. Despite having been bombarded by "history" that made the Germans out to be super soldiers, I concluded quite a while ago that they failed miserably, when they had a fair chance of succeeding, and that was because of sloppy tactics. They had a major tactical shortcoming, which was the same one we used against them in the Great War; they had an almost automatic response to any tactical set back, to mount a local counter-attack with whatever was available without considering the situation other than to adopt the most obvious course. They were real good soldiers at the company and below and pretty good at the battalion level, but above that they operated by rote. Fortunately for them, they had some really good kit.

Do you think you could see the Allies mounting the invasion through the south of France where the 15 August "follow-on" landing took place?

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #234 on: January 11, 2017, 17:33:37 »

Do you think you could see the Allies mounting the invasion through the south of France where the 15 August "follow-on" landing took place?

I'm not sure.
Another thing I hadn't thought was the relative "safety" of Romania,  etc from bombing raids.  Also a Luftwaffe that wasn't as badly mauled as we faced in 1944.

Maybe we decide to avoid their strength and just wait for The Bomb? Or invade in Normandy (for the same reasons as in our timeline), and let them blunt themselves against us. Even without the USSR, we had greater depths of resources.

I think that once the war ends (in stalemate or otherwise), the post war world would be quite interesting.
So, there I was....

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #235 on: January 11, 2017, 17:50:52 »
I had considered the state of the Luftwaffe. What is moot is the prospect of another "trench warfare" stalemate in Western Europe. I do think Churchill and perhaps Roosevelt would have pondered the possibility of negotiations with a Nazi-less Germany. The former would also have considered the requirement to contain the USSR, although the latter was more "progressive" in his outlook. Both would have looked forward to turning their attention to Japan, the Americans to avenge Pearl Harbor, and the British to re-establish the Empire.

Re the Bomb, the very few people aware of the programme, and that included MacKenzie King as we were providing much of the fissionable material, must also have had wondered if it would work. Yes, and the Allies were working to derail the German efforts in the same area.

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #236 on: January 11, 2017, 21:29:11 »
Plot twist:

Its 1944. Things are going badly for the Germans on all fronts. Hitler realises he cannot win unless he slows the Allied advance. So he does something unthinkable; He uses captured Jews as human shields.

Not in the literal sense, however, rather than transporting them to Dachau or Auschwitz; thousands of sick, injured, and malnourished refugees flood Allied held territories. This sudden humanitarian crisis brings the advance to a crawl and buys Hitler time to either capitulate or counter attack.

Forgetting the fact that the Nazis were fanatical about commiting these attrocities, in what if terms; what if the Nazis put aside ideology in favour of a military stalemate or possible victory? How much man power would it have freed up, and also, how big of a drain would it have been on the allies to cope with a humanitarian crisis of that scale?
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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #237 on: January 12, 2017, 10:49:05 »
The war in the Pacific continues, the two atomic bombs are used, the Russians "steal" the bomb secrets, develop their own bomb - all actual. Stalin, being Stalin, uses their atomic bombs without notice on numerous (many) cities in Germany continuing to prove he treacherous/ruthless. Germany surrenders to Stalin. Stalin says to the western allies, you will get the same medicine if you bother me. Russia/Communism takes over the rest of Europe (the UK started with the Labour party anyway). Arms race commences - actual.

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #238 on: January 12, 2017, 11:48:56 »
Trudeau never has children. ;D
So...a happy ending?  ;D
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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #239 on: January 12, 2017, 13:02:32 »
A few random thoughts:

1.  No landing in Europe is possible in the way we understand it to have happened due to the fact that the Soviets were tying up 188 (1943)/150 (1944) German divisions in the Eastern Front.

http://www.axishistory.com/axis-nations/134-campaigns-a-operations/campaigns-a-operations/2085-number-of-german-divisions-by-front-in-world-war-ii

2.  Perhaps, with Russia out of the war, the US realizes it cannot take the "90 Division gamble" and aims to produce the 213 division Army to make up for the loss of the Red Army.

http://www.history.army.mil/books/70-7_15.htm

3.  By the time it is able to mobilize that number, it has already nuked Nuremberg to get a surrender out of a Germany still in possession of some of its conquests but exhausted from continual US Bombing and economic blockade (like Japan in mid-45); so the end result of occupation of Germany is the same.....
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 13:28:44 by Infanteer »
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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #240 on: January 12, 2017, 18:44:56 »
How about, invasion goes ahead, later than planned, but in the south of France, possibly after the Italians are completely out of the equation.  Stalin sees an opportunity to be the treacherous prick he was as more and more German forces are committed to stemming the invasion, and drives hard into the German heartland, possibly overrunning Berlin and most of the northern cities due to the lack of depth defence. Instead of an East/West dividing line, we end up with a North/Southdividing line, with the soviets posing a direct threat to a severely depleted U.K.
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Offline MilEME09

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Re: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate
« Reply #241 on: January 12, 2017, 19:04:22 »
How about, invasion goes ahead, later than planned, but in the south of France, possibly after the Italians are completely out of the equation.  Stalin sees an opportunity to be the treacherous prick he was as more and more German forces are committed to stemming the invasion, and drives hard into the German heartland, possibly overrunning Berlin and most of the northern cities due to the lack of depth defence. Instead of an East/West dividing line, we end up with a North/Southdividing line, with the soviets posing a direct threat to a severely depleted U.K.

So basically you are saying Overlord doesn't happen or fails, but Operation Dragoon (the invasion of southern France which took place on August 15th 1944) does go ahead. The problem with that line of thinking I have is allied commanders like Montgomery would advocate hard to drive into Germany. I would predict Dragoon would be more at that point to relieve pressure and draw German Divisions off the Italian lines. Meanwhile a major allied offensive would push for the Austrian alps, with the strategic objective of Munich, and possibly branching out to Vienna.
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