Author Topic: "What if??" A thread for people who like to speculate  (Read 69241 times)

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Offline Greymatters

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2007, 14:31:52 »
Hmmm... so you dont see Himmler taking over?  Or is Himmler already dead in your scenario?

Then what about Heydrich?  In your world, (haha!) did Heydrich survive the assassination attempt of 1942 or is he dead?

If either or both of these two are still alive, I dont see a successful army takeover as being able to occur.

Offline Technoviking

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #51 on: July 17, 2007, 14:35:57 »
Hmmm... so you dont see Himmler taking over?  Or is Himmler already dead in your scenario?

Then what about Heydrich?  In your world, (haha!) did Heydrich survivie or is he dead?

If either or both of these two are still alive, I dont see a successful army takeover as being able to occur.
My "split" from reality into fantasy occured in 1943: after Stalingrad but before Kursk.  Heydrich is already dead, and I never thought of Himmler.  Still, he is perhaps fed a "pablum" by the Army that he has to concentrate on the occupied territories in the east vice running the show in Germany.  Though the SS was powerful, the Army was much more powerful, and the SS would lose any civil "war" if it would have showed down versus the army.  As well, the Waffen-SS were pretty well without exception "SS" in name only.  In fact, any foreign units that fought "for germany" were almost exclusively brought under the "SS" banner for a pan-european force "to fight bolshevism".  (Most foreign SS units fought in Russia, with some exceptions, of course)
So, there I was....

Offline Greymatters

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2007, 14:40:25 »
I would disagree about Himmler's ability to remain in power, mostly due to his control (through the SS) over conventional police, security forces, and intelligence departments.  In the past, control of these types of security organs tends to have much more power even when outnumbered by military forces (see the KBG vs Red Army for a comparison).

However, that distracts from your story.  Carry on, Im also interested in how you see history occuring...

Offline Technoviking

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2007, 14:44:59 »
I would disagree about Himmler's ability to remain in power, mostly due to his control (through the SS) over conventional police, security forces, and intelligence departments.  In the past, control of these types of security organs tends to have much more power even when outnumbered by military forces (see the KBG vs Red Army for a comparison).
Maybe the army has "uncompromising photos" of Himmler?  That or Alien Space Bats help.  In any event, I guess I could say that Himmler et al believe that they are running things, and that running the army and military operations is "beneath them".  Stuff like production of widgets, Schwerpunkts and the like aren't becoming of them.  The path of the Aryan Nation, the glory of Germany: THAT is the stuff for them to worry about!
However, that distracts from your story.  Carry on, Im also interested in how you see history occuring...
Will do, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow ;)

So, there I was....

Offline BulletMagnet

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2007, 14:51:00 »
But I don't wanna wait  :crybaby:

I am curious about Operations on the Italian front as that would be putting pressure on the German Army from the South splitting thier focus into 3 distinct areas.
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Offline Kat Stevens

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2007, 15:14:59 »
Err, one quick question, Herr Hauptmann.... Where are all these Germans coming from?  You've got them covering virtually the entire circumference of Europe.  One more, where is the limitless supply of steel and other raw materials coming from?  Do carry on though, a right rivetin' read, this is.
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

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 Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats

Offline Mr.Newf

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #56 on: July 17, 2007, 16:20:33 »
Good job, once again. I can't waite until tomorrow  ;D
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Offline Spencer100

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #57 on: July 17, 2007, 16:32:11 »
Write a book on this because i am actually waiting for your next post lol

This is a great outline for a book, at some characters, personnel stories and sex, (alway need the sex to sell a story) you got a book.  You'll give Turtledove a run for his money....and you won't need the ginger addicted aliens!  (I can't believe I read that whole series)

Always, I am enjoying this thread. Thanks

Offline Danjanou

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #58 on: July 17, 2007, 18:31:08 »
Well he’s already got Goering in there for the sex.  :o :o

Kat I would say that this alternate history is not too far off the real thing and therefore the numbers both manpower and natural resources would be consistent with what they were in our world. Sweden was supplying iron ore to Germany almost until he end IIRC.

As for troops, a large portion of the forces on the Ost front were not German, The Romanian and Hungarian Armies were rather large, italy had a corps there and Spain A Division as did Slovenia. Add in the Ost troops, turncoat Ukrainian and Cossack formations and foreign volunteers (both Heer and Waffen SS) and you should be goods to go.
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Offline Kat Stevens

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #59 on: July 17, 2007, 18:34:17 »
I won't disagree, but press ganged troops are about as effective as a cheap tent in a high wind, and all the good Captain has described are German formations.  I'm just pickin' nits, it's good stuff.
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

“In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility; but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage.”

 Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and start slitting throats

Offline ironduke57

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #60 on: July 17, 2007, 19:04:22 »
... Will do, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow ;)

 :P Here it is already tomorrow! So get your lazy *** before your keyboard and type! :threat:

j/k ;D

SCNR,
ironduke57
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #61 on: July 18, 2007, 00:55:53 »
A second career as a novelist could be in store for you, but first you have to deal with the critics (like me!  >:D ;))

Overall, this is very good, but the only implausibility is the way National Socialist Germany becomes "friction free" after the death of Hitler. Ic could be argued things would go quite the other way (fratricide among the elites as they fight for power, as some posters have alluded to), although I would suggest the more probable outcome would be continuing low level chaos and disorganization as petty functionaries work to defend their positions. While people like Rommel or Albert Speer might know how to plan and organize at the "macro" level, things could get derailed as people lower on the food chain reserve "their" allocations of manpower, money and resources for "their" projects.

This leads me to the issue of "wonder weapons". Although Germany was introducing many revolutionary concepts as things went south and in OTL, there was little interest in rockets, jet aircraft, guided weapons etc. until things really did start going south for the Germans, there was a lack of focus (see petty functionaries above) as well as the inevitable teething problems inherent in new technologies. The sort of kill ratios "Wasserfall" is claiming are improbable, the early introduction of SAMs to protect Hanoi in the mid to late 1960's or the opening air campaign of the Yom Kippur War didn't reach these levels. (note: this is just going from memory, I will have to check when I get home and can look at the library. Note 2: there are special circumstances as well; the USAF did not vary their flight plans during the Christmas bombing campaign, and the IAF (I believe) were aware of the SAM threat, but came in low and ran into a hail of machine gun and AAA fire).

Finally, if Germany was able to gain and maintain their position in the way described, they would have had to deal with "America '46"; where the incomparably greater financial, economic and material power of the United States would have been brought to bear. Round the clock raids by B-29's, Iowa class battleships heading into the North Sea (escorting carrier battle groups) to bombard the coastal regions of Germany (or even Marine "Storm landings") would be distinct possibilities. The first American atomic bomb might also have been targetted against Berlin should the Third Reich have proven too tough a nut to crack. (A German counter-strike with the Sanger "Silver Bird" rocket bomber is not allowed! I will allow the use of A-10 two stage rockets, though  ;)).
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: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #62 on: July 18, 2007, 08:17:09 »
I must say a heartfelt "Thank You" to all who have responded to this thread.  As I've PM'ed to A_Majoor, this is a beast that has taken on its own life.  In my defence, some of the casualty rates were pulled directly, well, you know where I got them!  Second: I've avoided most political things, because, well, (a) they're boring and (b) I've used "literary license" and wished it away.
As for "all my Germans", there really isn't all that much difference in my "what if" and reality.  Yes, the Germans have "Wasserfall" instead of the "V" weapons, but in the East, the army is able to conduct the war without Hitler's interference.  In Italy, things go pretty much as what happened.  In the west (so far), the big difference is on the order of 10 hours.  In our time line, the 12th SS and Panzer Lehr were given the green light 10 hours later than in my time line.  Why?  People were afraid of the Cult of Personality of Hitler.  In my universe, they attack sooner, though Panzer Lehr is not able to make it until the 7th (they ran into a bunch of high Frenchmen who were rambling on about "Ginger Addicted Aliens", whatever they are!) ;D
Anyway, more to come!  And thanks again, this has been a hoot!
So, there I was....

Offline DaveTee

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #63 on: July 18, 2007, 08:36:55 »
A great read, thank you for writing it.

Offline Technoviking

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #64 on: July 18, 2007, 09:22:06 »
STALEMATE IN EUROPE
The Germans had intended to launch a great counter offensive in the East when two conditions were met.  First, the Western Allied invasion had to be defeated and second, the expected Soviet offensive had to be drawn in and quartered.  Neither condition was met.  In France, the western allies had cleared up to and including Cherbourg and by August, the port was functioning, albeit in limited capacity.  British and Canadian forces on the eastern part of the beachhead had barely pressed 10 miles inland, and Caen remained in German hands.  This was not due to poor performance, rather, it was due to having to scrap with battle hardened Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions.  Had the US forces had to deal with the German panzers, things would have gone differently.  Though the US had mass in terms of tank power, they could not go toe to toe with the Germans.  They lacked the powerful 17 pounder guns that the Commonwealth forces, though in limited numbers, in their Sherman variant, the Firefly.  Nevertheless, the US forces were closing in on Brest, forcing the U Boat fleet to move south to other ports.  The net result was that the planned "U Boat Offensive" in the Atlantic never materialised, ENIGMA II or not.
In Italy, the Allies continued their long, hard slog up the boot of Italy.  Though they were closing in on Rome, "Smiling Albert" Kesselring was able to conduct what would later be termed a textbook delay action.  US, British, Canadian and Polish forces weren't receiving the logistical support that their counterparts were getting in France; however, the Germans opposite them also felt as though they were in some sort of "Side Show".  Still, the fighting was brutal, conducted in rough terrain, and the weather was less than forgiving.  Still, as was the case in Africa, military chivalry remained extant, even between the Poles and the Germans, though to a lesser degree than with the other Allied Forces.
In the East, the Soviet offensive "Bagration" was a total failure.  3 tank armies were smashed near Pskov.  A further 2 whole Guards armies were destroyed, and the remnants of the attacking forces were making themselves back to the East.  It was only due to the shortage of German forces that they were able to break through and make their way back to Soviet lines.  In the end, Leningrad was still under seige, Army Group North was still a powerful formation, and the Germans had bought more time to build up. 
At the high command, another winter of stalemate was making them restless.  They feared another strategic stalemate that would lead to massive uprisings across the Reich as what happened in 1918.  But this time, the Germans weren't starving: yet.  Production of coal and other necessities for survival in Winter carried on, even in the occupied lands.  Iron Ore and other materials flowed uninteruppted across the Baltic from Sweden and Norway.  Ploesti, now the Reich's only real oil production facility, was the most heavily guarded site in the Reich, after Berlin.  Wasserfall batteries, along with interceptor squadrons, including the Me 262 Schwalbe squadrons, guarded its airspace.
In France, the Americans had finally landed enough tank forces to make a difference.  Though their tanks were inferior to even the Mark IV, they were numerous and backed up by massive artillery and the dreaded "Jabos" (as the Germans called the US fighter-bombers).  Progress was slow, but as summer turned to Autumn, the planned landings in the South of France were called off so that only one front line would need support: the landing craft simply weren't available.
In short, a "Sitzkrieg" threatened to settle across Europe.  The Soviets were running out of ideas, and men.  Hundreds of thousands of young Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs and others from the far flung Soviet Empire were needlessly fed into the sausage grinder of the East.  Rumours were spread (thanks to the Germans, once again) of incompetence at STAVKA and the Soviet high command, and even Stalin, began to realise that something would have to be done to crack the nut, as it were.
Frustration was being felt in Berlin as well.  Though the Anglo American bomber offensive was still threatening the Reich, its effects were not as bad as feared, due mainly to a more effective air defense system, including Wasserfall and the Schwalbe.  Though Reichsführer Goering wanted such fantastical planes as a "New York Bomber", he realised that the fighter wing would be more decisive for Germany.  Also, being a former fighter pilot, he still reserved special affection for that arm.  Though development of more advanced rockets and other systems carried on, they rarely made it through the development stage.  The German high command also felt that "something" had to happen.  And it had to happen soon.  The USSR was still a formidable foe, even though for the past 18 months, every major offensive conducted by the Red Army was blunted at great cost to the Soviets.  Vast stretches of land remained under German rule, and the Ukraine was becoming the Breadbasket for the Reich.  Though about half of Italy was under Allied occupation, the repurcussions of losing ground in Italy were slight: once they reached the Alps, the allies would be hard pressed to keep on their advance (with or without elephants!)
The Western Allies were also feeling the crunch.  Though the North Atlantic was finally virtually U-Boat free, Italy was proving harder than expected, and advances in France were measured in yards, not miles.  Fears of another stalemate as was seen in 1915-1918 loomed, especially for the British.  As things turned out, their forces were facing the cream of the Panzer divisions.  They were faring well, but they were losing replacements.  Adding to the drain was the continuing war in the Pacific, specifically in India and Burma.  "Germany First" remained the mantra for the Western Allies, but even the US found itself splitting resources between two parts of the globe.
So, there I was....

Offline Technoviking

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #65 on: July 18, 2007, 10:12:38 »
BREAKING THE STALEMATE
Throughout history, wars have changed course due sometimes to happenstance, or fate.  Such an event was about to happen in France, though nobody realised it at the time.  It didn't happen on the front near Caen or Brest, but farther east, near Strasbourg, or Straßburg, as the Germans now called it.  (Technically, it was in Germany, as Alsace was annexed into the Reich back in 1940).  A novel FLAR ("FlugzeugAbwehrRakete", or Anti-Aircraft Missile) battery commander was tinkering around with the RADAR element and wondered "what if" the emitter were separate from the receiver element.  He brought this forward to some technicians who seemed excited with the idea.  Even when mobile, the RADAR was a large, ungainly beast.  Mounted on a large truck, the components it carried were massive and quiet vulnerable.  By the end of the week, the technicians had jury rigged a separate emitter and receiver.  The battery commander got an airforce friend of his to have his squadron conduct "training" over Strasbourg as the new emitter set was tested at tracking.  The technicians noted that there was no loss in fidelity.  The net result was that emitter, receiver and launcher could all be decentralised from each other, linked only by radio commands if necessary.  Such a decentralisation would make all elements smaller and harder to detect.  As well, if one element were lost, the other two would probably survive, given their separation from each other.  As well, a smaller rocket was developed.  It wasn't anywhere near man portable, but it was the aim of the scientists who were working on it.  Much as the Anti Tank gun had evolved into a hand held weapon by 1943, the same was being attempted for the Anti Aircraft gun.
The newly developed FLAR Wasserfall II was fielded for the first time in November of 1944.  The effect on the war for the airspace over Germany was negligable.  Its real effect was the impetus for the Germans to further develop a hand held anti aircraft rocket.  Their hypothesis was that a ground based RADAR emitter would "illuminate" enemy aircraft as they flew overhead.  The ground based soldiers manning the FLAR Wasserfall II would point their rockets at the planes until a tone were emitted by the launcher, that indicated that the system was picking up a good RADAR reflection from the target.  Then the soldier would simply initiate the launch and the rocket would do the rest.
Initial testings were a dismal failure to the casual observer.  Not only did the rockets fail to pick up the RADAR reflections, but when launched, they cartwheeled across the sky, threatening all who were in attendance.  In actuality, the faults were troubleshooted and the technicians and scientists were able to sort out the "bugs": they wished to avoid fielding a substandard product too soon, as what happened with the initial Panzer Mark Vs in 1943.  The first successful test occured at Peenemünde in February, 1945.  The target was a remotely piloted Me-109.  Though it was flying level and didn't attempt to outmanoeuvre the rocket, scientists considered it a full success.  Nevertheless, results would be carefully monitored during the initial fielding phase.
It was decided to first field the Wasserfall II in France in March 1945.  Though the Western Allies still didn't have air supremacy in France, it was getting that way.  US and British fighters were being replaced at a faster rate than Luftwaffe crews, in spite of Goering personal influence in emphasising the need for the modern day Knights.  Air superiority was having a dreadful effect on German tank formations in France.  Although units were almost always able to make it through, the losses were beginning to mount and it seemed as though the allies, the US forces in particular, had an endless supply of men and material.
7 March 1945 saw Wasserfall II implemented with mixed physical results.  An element of the reformed 12th SS was moving up to the front near Caen when it was attacked by Jabos of the US Army Air Force.  As they came in for their strafing runs, Wasserfall II rockets reached up to greet the attacking planes.  Mixed with 20mm FLAK and machine gun fire, the Americans ran into a virtual wall of lead.  Though no fighters were actually hit by the Wasserfall rockets (only ten were fired, and of them, only 1 launcher actually had positive lock: the remainder had emitted the "lock" tone in error, which was soon sorted out), the attack was aborted with no loss to the 12th SS.  To say the least, morale within the ranks of the mostly 16 year old soldiers was heightened almost to the point of frenzy!  Other air attacks on German field formations were also met with Wasserfall FLAR units.  Soon the US Army Air Force reverted to attacking FLAR and FLAK units in an effort to once again have a free hand in attacking German field units.  Naturally, German logistics were well protected by FLAR and FLAK, and as a result, these rear units suffered more from air attack than the front line Panzer and Panzergrenadier units. 
The net result was that German field units were able to move with more freedom in France.  Though the Jabos always remained a threat, mounting pressure on them by the FLAR and FLAK, combined with the occasional surge by the Luftwaffe over the battlefield, gave the Germans their first real victory in France since their destruction of SWORD back in June of 1944.
Noting the danger to Brest, the staff of OB West planned an offensive to relieve the pressure on that city (and its vital ports).  Such a port would allow the Western Allies to double their logistical intake.  As it stood now, the only thing holding back the US, UK and Canadian forces was their own supply trails.  The port of Brest would double logistical intake and allow the Western Allies to unleash fully into the Germans opposite them.
The German plan was relatively simple.  Two tank divisions, supported by a Panzergrenadier division, a motorised division and several infantry divisions, would attack straight north from just south of Brest.  The city was under the control of neither side, and the port was fully functional: the Germans had it rigged for sabotage, but failed to actually carry out this destruction.  The local commander "disappeared" once he reached Paris, but rumours abounded that he was in fact a British spy!
Due to the US Army Airforce's concentration on suppressing the German air defences, the German build up went unnoticed until it was too late.  The night prior to the launching of the offensive, prepatory moves by the advance elements of the Germans tipped off to the US forces opposite them that "something was up".  Though alerted, it was too late.  At 0400 on 28 March 1945, the Germans attacked.  By noon, the US forward lines were overwhelmed in spite of heroic stands.  The Germans simply bypassed the strongpoints and allowed follow on Infantry Divisions to "deal with them".  The bulk of the US forces were farther east, and the Commonwealth forces were in no shape to come to their aid. 
The offensive was successful beyond any expectations of the Germans.  Not only was Brest secured, but the advance carried on much farther north than was expected.  Still, by 4 April, the US opposition had stiffened to the point where an entire Panzer Regiment was virtually destroyed by strongly held positions 25 miles north of Brest.  This combined with a surge by the dreaded Jabos blunted any further advance.  Still, the Germans secured Brest and denied the Western Allies their greatly needed second port!
So, there I was....

Offline Mr.Newf

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #66 on: July 18, 2007, 10:43:13 »
Good work, keep going  ;D
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Offline Greymatters

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #67 on: July 18, 2007, 11:25:15 »
Well he’s already got Goering in there for the sex.  :o :o 

:rofl:Hilarious.


Back to the story.   :tank:   

I think though that by this time, if Rommel has not been implicated in a plot aginst Hitler, beause Hitler is already dead, then Rommel would have been unleashed against the less experienced US forces in France.  Are we going to see a Patton versus Rommel juggernaut?  Is Peiper still leading Waffen SS panzer forces? Is Wittman and/or Carius still expanding their Panzer Ace records?  Youve already talked about leaving out politics so I wont harp on it, although another summit between Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt is about due.  The ground action is good, as is some air force and advanced technology stuff, but needs a bit about what naval activity is ongoing.

Hope this gives you some ideas...

Offline Technoviking

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #68 on: July 18, 2007, 11:39:58 »
FIRE OVER BERLIN
Robert Oppenheimer.  He was the head scientist running Operation MANHATTAN, a super-secret experiment being conducted in the deserts of Nevada.  The plan was to creat a bomb so powerful that it would render an entire city into flame.  There were nay-sayers at all levels, but even the new president, Harry Truman, felt that "something had to happen" to end the war.  Though "Germany First" was the policy, it was proving to be more difficult.  The Japanese were being driven back on all fronts, due in thanks mostly to the US.  If successful, the new "Atomic" bombs would be dropped on Germany.  It was hoped that by destroying an entire city with just one bomb would  break the back of resistance.
The USSR was bogged down in an extended line of trench warfare with the Germans.  This gave the Germans the opportunity to rotate divisions in and out of the line, as well as to give new divisions some combat experience before heading to the Western or Italian front.  Unlike 1943, the Eastern Front was the "quiet" front for Germany.  The Western Allies noted that there were several attacks being conducted by the Soviets, but in every case, they were blunted by the Germans.  Manpower was also in decline in the Soviet Union.  Some "divisions" had fewer than 5000 soldiers!  Tanks were plentiful, but tank crews were not.  Any crewmen with experience were either dead or captured.  Every year, it seemed, the Soviet tank arm had to reinvent itself.
The Italian front bogged down north of Rome.  When liberated from the Germans in October 1944, the Pope himself greeted the British General commanding the forces upon his arrival at The Holy See.  Following a short audience with His Holiness, the British and Americans went back to the deadly business of fighting the Germans.  By April 1945, they were only 20 miles north of Rome: the terrain and dogged resistance of the Germans prevented any marked advance.
In France, the offensive near Brest was a psychological blow to the US forces.  Thus far, they had conducted all offensive operations above division level.  Though the Commonwealth forces had faced their share of offensives, all with mixed results, the allocation of the US Army Air Force to Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) missions had let them down.  They were unable to note the build up of some six divisions south of Brest, in spite of warnings from the Resistance.  It was noted, however, that the Resistance was heavily compromised by Canaris' effective counter insurgency campaign.  In short, the Resistance was basically ignored.  For the first time since 5 June 1944, there were no major combat operations occurring in France: both sides were spent, and the Allies decided to keep up the pressure with their air units, allowing the ground units to build up for a surge to finally break the back of German resistance in France.
6 June 1945, the first anniversary of the landings in France came and went with nary a fan fare.  "Signal" magazine noted the anniversary with a photo respective of the event, and included an extensive photo spread of the 12th SS's attack into SWORD beach.  Some of the photos were published for the first time, including one in which a smiling young Hitler Youth, brandishing an MG-42, is seen standing over the bodies of unidentified Allied soldiers.  Later, the UK press used this very photo to accuse Germany of Warcrimes, suggesting that the dead were just gunned down by the smiling fanatic.  In actuality, the photo was staged, and the "dead" were simply friends of the soldier lying face down in the sand, field grey greatcoats covering their distinctive "Flecktarn" tunics.  In fact, the photo was taken well before D-Day, back in Germany, on exercise!
The summer of 1945 was one of flow and ebb in France.  In the end, the US forces on the Allied right wing were able to break through the thinning German ranks and reached Brest.  Though the city was still garrisoned by some 10,000 Germans, the Americans carried on their advance.  It was not without loss, but once more, the front was moving, albeit at a snail's pace.
By the end of July, the Americans had doubled the amount of "liberated" French territory.  The Germans simply failed to have sufficient forces to push the Americans back, though they still retained enough combat power to keep their advances minimal.
The summer of 1945 was quite quiet in the Eastern Front.  The soviets simply didn't have any ideas left.  Stalin was enraged and initiated his third purge.  This time, the Generals had enough!  Once word spread that any purge was underway, a group of generals, under a young Nikita Kruschev, branded Stalin as a Nazi puppet and called for his head.  Stalin was to blame, they asserted, and slowly but surely the USSR split into two camps.  The effect on the front was negligible at first, as the front line divisions were content to let the rear echelon pigeons sort out the national leadership.  As far as they were concerned, it mattered not who was in charge, for nothing would change the fact that they were at war with Germany.  As the Communists fought amongst themselves in the rear, production was curtailed, limited supplies to the front.  The Germans were well aware of the situation and chose to exploit it by not attacking.  They simply allowed the USSR to fight amongst itself.  The German High Command estimated that the USSR would implode in a matter of months, if not weeks, much as had happend back in 1917.
Early August would bring about an end to the war, much swifter than anyone had expected.  The USSR was for all intents and purposes embroiled in a civil war, though the front was still maintained.  German forces opposite curtailed combat operations there such that Soviets were free to emerge from their bunkers and in some cases, mingle with German, Hungarian, Dutch, Finnish and even Rumanian soldiers in the bunkers opposite.  This practice was officially forbidden, but in reality, it happened more often than the High Command cared to know about.
At Bremenhaven at 0100 on 6 August 1945, a coastal RADAR detected a single bomber approaching the airspace of the Reich.  This was not unusual: single bombers usually made reconnaissance flights over the Reich.  They flew too high for most fighters, but due to operations elsewhere, none of the high flying jets were available for intercept.  As well, Wasserfall wasn't very good against solo aircraft.  To be most effective, the enemy bombers had to be in a mass formation, which they themselves needed to have any accuracy when they bombed.   So, the operators reported the contact and began to track it. 
The plane was a single RAF Lancaster.  On board was a mixed Allied crew.  The pilot was Canadian, the rest of the flight crew were British, but the bombardier and "special crewman" were American.  Though the US wanted to use a high flying B-29 for this mission, Eisenhower decided against it.  None were used as yet in Europe, and he didn't want anything tipping off the Germans that this mission was different.  For purely political reasons, the crew was a mixed Commonwealth crew, but the bombardier and "special crewman" had to be American.  The bombardier was trained in the use of the "Little Boy" Atomic Bomb.  The target for the crew was Berlin.  Specifically, the Reichstag. 
Berlin was chosen for a few key reasons.  First, as capital of the Reich, it was serve to give notice to the Germans that not even their vaunted "Reichshauptstadt" were safe.  Also, it had been nearly two years since the Allies had bombed Berlin in any serious level.  Therefore, any and all damage in the heart of the city would be seen to have been caused by one plane carrying one bomb.  As well, with any luck, the German government may be caught in the blast, decapitating the German war machine, giving the Allies the upperhand they most desparately needed!
At 0315 on 6 August 1945, parts of Eastern Germany reported "the greatest flash of light" ever seen coming from Berlin.  On the ground moments before the blast it was a calm Monday morning.  The explosion changed all that in an instant.  Though most people were sleeping, those who were out in the open were killed instantly.  Farther away from the epicentre, there were survivors from the initial effects of the explosion, but soon the air was filled with flying debris of all kinds, from the expected, such as masonry, to the macabre, including bodies and parts of bodies.  As fortune would have it, the German Government was readying for a meeting that was to start at 0330.  An emergency session was called due to a recent telegram received "through Switzerland" from Kruschev.  Apparently he was seeking terms for a ceasefire, to be followed up by a peace agreement.  The first elements of the government were just arriving at the Reichstag when the Little Boy exploded some 1,500 feet above them.  There were no survivors.
 Goering was still in Potsdam, his driver waiting for him outside a dank apartment building.  What was going on in there was never questioned.  Once it was clear that Berlin had just suffered an attack on a biblical scale, Goering and the remnants of his staff drove hell bent for leather for Rastenburg.  Orders were given to shoot down any unidentified planes that came within 100 miles, and a signifigant number of Wasserfall batteries were positioned.  Goering went into a radio silence mode as he contemplated his next moves.
As the first streaks of sun began to fill the skies of Europe, Germans awoke to the sight of dark, foreboding clouds over Berlin.  Though it was true that most of the city was unharmed by the blast, the centre had been gutted.  There was no communication coming from Berlin, and a general sense of panic began to creep into the national German psyche.
The western allies were estatic with the results.  The Germans were so shocked that most messages were sent in the clear and un encrypted, and therefore intercepted.  Units were screaming for direction from above, but nobody seemed to know what to do, or even what was going on.  The only front that remained somewhat calm was the Eastern Front, where they had their own problems to deal with, least the "unfounded" rumours that Berlin had just been destroyed by a single plane!
As they pored over the results, the western allies struggled with finding a suitable second target.  Though offers of ceasefire were given, no replies were received.  Though they intended to inflict a severe blow to the German government, they didn't think that they would be so effective, and as a result, nobody in the German camp knew who had authority any more!  Given that a second attempt by a solo bomber would probably not go through the air defence systems so easily, a coastal city would be chosen so that the air defences would have less of a chance to engage the bomber.  This time, Hamburg was chosen.  Not only was it on the coast, it was large enough to psychologically attack the Germans. 
Three nights later, on 9 August 1945, the raid on Hamburg was underway.  The Lancaster approached the coast low so as to avoid RADAR.  A deception mission was currently underway with a number of "solo" bombers approaching the Reich that night.  One raid was actually intercepted by an Me-110 night fighter, but the rest got through.  Most importantly, the Lancaster with the "Fat Man" bomb aboard made it to Hamburg.  The crew climbed to altitude and dropped their load right over the harbour.  As the explosion ripped through the yards, fires spread through the city.  Panic reigned supreme over the normal staid Germans and they began to flee the city.  Normal bombing raids were hard on a person, but there was nothing like the effect of awakening from a deep slumber to only suddenly realise that your city was on fire!
Panic spread throughout the Reich right to the front.  First Berlin, and now Hamburg were in flames!  The government had somehow reformed, and there were violent arguments in the depths of Berlin as to what to do next.  Some argued for staying the course.  Others argued that any further resistance would be in vain.  And it would destroy Germany in the mean time.  The tipping point came in his broadcast to the union on the morning of 9 August.  President Truman announced the Atomic Bombings of Berlin and Hamburg.  He promised his citizens that the rain of Atomic Bombs would continue until the German government surrendered to "the Western Allies".
Upon hearing the two words "Western Allies", the German High Command realised that they got their wish: the end of the war with the West.  Though the Soviet Union was vast and had a seemingly endless supply of men, the industry of the West, and the United States in Particular, was what they feared most.  Also, the USSR was in the midst of full blown civil war.  Nothing was to be gained by continuing the war.  Germany was relatively unscathed, the forces in moderate shape, and they could finally have "peace with honour".
At 1245 9 August 1945, Field Marshall Jodl announced on the radio that he had ordered "All German forces on land, at sea and in the air" to cease combat operations effective 1800 9 August, Berlin time.  Though the negotiations would continue, specifically regarding reparations to France, the war was over.  The USSR was in the midst of a bloody civil war.  It was ironic that the Western Allies asked the Germans to continue their occupation of western Russia and the Ukraine to maintain "Law and Order".  Unknown to Washington and London, but the German sense of "Law and Order" for the slavic peoples was rather brutish: the concentration camps had pretty well finished up exterminating the European Jewish population, and was beginning to work overtime on other 'undesirables'.  Though the war was over, and France, the low countries, Denmark and Norway were liberated, the Germans "maintained" a presence over Eastern Europe, at least for the time being.
By 1948, the civil war in the USSR was over.  Stalin's supporters had emerged victorious, with Kruschev's group being all but eliminated.  The Germans had handed over control of Poland and the rest of eastern Europe, only after they eliminated all traces of the death camps.  Though rumours abounded as to their existance, most people wished these away as fanciful propaganda.  Stalin wanted to press on the war against Germany, but the US and UK would have none of it.  Though no longer supported by the lend-lease convoys, the USSR was still a formidable opponent. 
MORE TO COME.....

EDIT: Goering now has sex and lives through the atomic bombing of Berlin, but flees and goes into 'radio silence' mode.  The German government is not answering the phone, as it were.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2007, 10:57:58 by Captain Sensible »
So, there I was....

Offline Mr.Newf

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #69 on: July 18, 2007, 11:48:37 »
Great! Got more?  :D
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #70 on: July 18, 2007, 12:13:18 »
Excellent. I was looking forward to the epic rematch between Patton and Rommel (who's book was on Infantry warfare, BTW. Line up those script writers in the front rank.......)

That boring political stuff really is important to the conduct of military affairs (look at a nation at war called Canada in 2007), so I will politely suggest you give this a closer look when you write the novel this fine outline is becoming. (And yes, you do have Goering for the sex scenes  ;D). I suspect that a nuclear attack on Berlin could trigger a civil war in the Reich, after all, the government apparatus is gone but the military, the SS and various other groups will certainly try and move into the power vacuum, either with good or bad intentions. Remember Secretary of State Alexander Haig declaring everything was all right; he was in charge?

Other than that, I await the next episode.
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: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #71 on: July 18, 2007, 12:18:47 »
Excellent. I was looking forward to the epic rematch between Patton and Rommel (who's book was on Infantry warfare, BTW. Line up those script writers in the front rank.......)



TEASER: I was thinking "War in Europe: NATO vs the Lvov Pact in 1952, starring Patton AND Rommel as rival commanders facing off against Zhukov (but since I've killed him off, any other 'respectable' Soviet Generals come to mind?)

;D
So, there I was....

Offline Technoviking

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #72 on: July 18, 2007, 13:57:06 »
AFTERMATH

Berlin and Hamburg lay in ruins.  The Americans had been able to force a Japanese surrender in September 1945, shortly after Germany threw in the towel.  Massive US forces surrounded the home island and promises of Atomic Bombs falling on Japanese cities forced the hand of the Emporer.  In Europe, Germany withdrew from the occupied territories and returned her meagre fleet to ports.  As they withdrew from Soviet Russia, White Russia and the Ukraine, the follow on Soviet forces were met with occassional resistance from ethnic groups bent on resisting a return to Soviet rule.  They had been under German occupation for so long, that they no longer wanted more rule: they wanted autonomy.  Soviet reaction was brutish.  Thousands were killed as the Red Army took out its revenge for not being able to beat the Germans on the field of battle.  Though battered, the German forces were still a force to be contended with, and under terms of the Paris Treaty of 1945, withdrew their forces to their Autumn 1939 borders.
This caused a rift with ex patriated Poles in particular.  They feared that the eastern half of their nation would fall under Soviet rule.  Upon returning to Warsaw, a government was quickly formed that established Polish Borders as they were prior to the Soviet and Nazi invasions of 1939.  Unfortunately for them, expatriate Poles who had spent the previous six plus years in the Soviet Union had other ideas.  Not wanting the just ended war to spark up again, the Western Allies sought talks with the Soviet Union over the future of Poland.  The Soviets wanted the borders reset to June 21, 1941.  That would encompass over half of Poland!  For the Americans in particular, this was just not acceptable.  In the end, a compromise was made, and Poland was divided into two spheres of influence with the Bug river forming the boundary between "East Poland" and "West Poland".  West Poland had as its capital Warsaw, right on the border, and East Poland had Lvov as its capital.  By 1948, the USSR had established several "Friendship Divisions" in East Poland to aid in the fledgling communist nation's "security".  The Poles of west, also known by now as "Warsaw Poles" invited US and UK forces to counterbalance. 
As the demobilisation of the Wehrmacht carried on, Rommel was named to head the General Staff.  Berlin, now in ruins, was no longer the seat of government as the clean up continued.  A new Reichstag was established in Bonn, on the Rhine, where Reichsführer Goering was "allowed" by the west to carry on as leader of the nation.  Even though the Americans wanted a change in the regime, they realised that Goering was immensely popular in Germany, and that any overt attempt to remove his influence could prove disasterous.  As well, Goering now had the Western Allies to counterbalance the SS under Himmler.  He wanted them gone, in a new "Night of the Long Knives", but feared the back lash.  He was uncertain if the Wehrmacht in general, the Heer in particular, would support him.  He had the full backing of the Luftwaffe, who openly referred to him as "Onkel Hermann" (Uncle Hermann).  The Kriegsmarine was so minute that its support or opposition was virtually negligible, as far as he was concerned.
Looking east, the Western Allies feared that the USSR would indeed be bent on expanding westward, Atomic bomb or no Atomic bomb!  Though the Poles, White Russians, Latvians and others were nominally running their own nations, it was clear that all direction came from Moscow.  In an effort to counter this threat, they formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).  The initial member states, including Canada and the United States as well as the UK and Germany, all vowed to come to the aid if any of the member states were attacked.  In other words, if the USSR decided to attack Norway, then they may as well be attacking all member states.
Moscow smelled a propaganda coup.  The poor communist nations were now facing an overt alliance of capitalist states, all aligned against them!  It was regrettable, but their hand was forced: they formed their very own alliance: the Lvov Pact!  The Democratic Republic of Poland, the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic and even the White Russian Soviet Socialist Republic all joined this "alliance", who similarily decreed to go to war to protect one another.  In reality, the Soviets ran everything from Moscow.  The signing of the Pact did nothing to alter the reality: Russians were in charge of everything, even Polish divisions and in one case, there was a Russian Regimental Commander in a Latvian division!
In the end, the Heer was allowed to retain 10 divisions dispersed in three corps.  Three divisions were Panzer, six were Panzergrenadier and one was Fallschirmjäger.  The Luftwaffe was more lavishly outfitted, but only with fighter squadrons: a mix of FW-190 and Me-262.  The navy was allowed a small surface fleet, but no submersibles were allowed.  In the end, the Germans weren't humiliated as they were in 1918/1919.  They retained an effective combat force and were part of an alliance against the Soviet Union.  Their withdrawal from the Soviet Union had been fairly orderly and many a young landser was happy to return to civilian life.
By 1949, Europe was once again an armed camp.  The border between the two Polands had been sealed off under what Churchill called an "Iron Curtain".  Moscow was more paranoid than ever and vowed to never again suffer what it did in 1941: betrayal at the hands of a supposed ally.  Powerful tank forces were stationed near the intra Polish border and the socialist rhetoric implied that the Nazis and the West were allied the whole time against the USSR.  NATO forces in Poland included a number of Polish units, as well as US, UK and French units.  German units remained in Germany, in spite of them being equipped with the most advanced armour in Europe.  Still, it was much too soon to have German troops back in Poland.  In any event, if war came, they were out of harms way and it was reasoned that they would make a very effective counter attack, if needed.  After all, they already had much practice in Poland and they knew the countryside quite well.
So, there I was....

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #73 on: July 18, 2007, 14:13:06 »
TEASER: I was thinking "War in Europe: NATO vs the Lvov Pact in 1952, starring Patton AND Rommel as rival commanders facing off against Zhukov (but since I've killed him off, any other 'respectable' Soviet Generals come to mind?)

Some of the possible Soviet generals would be Timoshenko (after Zhukov's departure he could come back into favour but he is not quite equal to Zhukov's talent), Konev and Malinovsky (or Chuikov who during WW2 was slightly younger and junior but very aggressive).  Sokolovsky could also play a role but would be considered more of a strategic planner than a field commander.

As for Patton, as much as it would be interesting to see a Patton/Rommel rivalry like that with Montgomery, by 1952 he would probably have been mandatory retired.  When Patton died in 1945 he was 60 years old.  Other significant American commanders who were still in the mix in 1952 (Eisenhower, Bradley, Clark, Ridgeway, Collins among others) were all at least 5 or more years younger than Patton.
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Offline Technoviking

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Re: The "what if" thread.For people who like to speculate.
« Reply #74 on: July 18, 2007, 14:21:00 »
Sokolovsky could also play a role but would be considered more of a strategic planner than a field commander.
Soviet field commanders were plentiful, and in spite of asinine orders "from the top", I think they mostly did a splendid job.  Strategic planning and staffing at the FRONT level is what was needed (in my universe, anyway)

Thanks for the hints!  I just may ruin everyone's day and have Patton invite Rommel for a ride in his new jeep ;D
So, there I was....