A Blunted Sickle - Thread II

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by pdf27, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. Ian_W Well-Known Member

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    Well, apart from that massive encirclement at Paris.
     
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  2. pdf27 Making sparks fly!

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    19th November 1941
    After the train from Mińsk Mazowiecki fails to arrive at Treblinka on schedule, a German patrol is sent to investigate. They find the Ghetto empty, and both the Sonderdienst men and their families missing. When questioned the locals claim that the Sonderdienst men and their families all boarded the same train as those in the Ghetto and left town the day before. Confused but with no obvious signs of enemy action, the patrol returns to base and reports back in.

    20th November 1941
    Bill 14, creating the Quebec Hydroelectric Board, passes through the Legislative Assembly and becomes law. Nationalisation will take effect at midnight on the 1st of December.
     
  3. teg The Worst Unionist

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    While it might be too early to say, it is rather striking that none of the Germans try to get revenge on Minsk Mazowiecki. I suspect there are a lot of even hard core Nazis who are starting to hedge their bets in hope of avoiding responsibility for the atrocities plus they are terrified that if they kick the Poles too much there will be a general uprising.

    teg
     
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  4. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

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    More likely they just figured that something happened to the train en route to Treblinka and that it's no longer their problem
     
  5. Driftless Geezer Donor

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    The Sgt Schultz meme "I see nothing!"..... just popped into mind. And while that's a caricature to be sure, there might be a let's-just-file-the-report-through-normal-chain-of-command ethic at work. Let's keep our heads down and don't invite undue attention our way.
     
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  6. pdf27 Making sparks fly!

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    I don't think it'll make things significantly better. Then again, as Stalin was only too well aware even paranoid people have enemies...

    One question I've been pondering for a while but don't think there is a good answer to: did the Soviets ever have an equivalent to Deng Xiaoping?

    1940 is available on demand (PM me for details), 1941 will have to wait a while yet.

    Put simply, the German armies are hollow beasts with hardly any tanks, no fuel and desperately short of artillery - and they're manned by poorly trained replacements who get killed or captured before they can get up to speed. The Entente armies on the other hand by this stage are lavishly equipped, with crushing air and artillery superiority.
    The thing to remember is that from 1940 onwards the German war economy was living on plunder: even at the time of the Battle of France in OTL they'd all but run out of copper, needed to provide driving bands for shells. Given time you can find a substitute, but here they don't have that time - nor do they have the plunder from France and the option to steal more from Eastern Europe, notably Romanian Oil. The other side of the coin applies too - in OTL the French war economy was lost to the Allied cause in summer 1940, while the UK war economy was thrown into turmoil by the invasion panic and the impact of the U-boats on shipping routes. Remove both and - very, very conservatively - you double the Entente war production while halving the German war production.

    More importantly, it turns on the supply taps from the UK and France - they can ship it directly to the Rhine and get it transshipped onto barges by the Dutch, more or less solving their supply problems. The Germans however are short of everything, so even fighting on home turf they're outgunned and worse supplied.

    Entente casualties will be a bit higher, but the shorter war will mean that overall they'll suffer less for the war as a whole. Germany also will suffer badly - however they were simply unable to expand as much as they did in OTL for Barbarossa, with neither the training time or the equipment needed so overall the casualties will be much lighter than OTL.

    Remember also that you're matching firepower not rifle strength. Entente superiority in tanks and artillery is pretty overwhelming.

    Absolutely. There is also the manpower issue - in OTL they had a year of essentially peace to call up and train new troops before Barbarossa started, plus all the PoWs taken by the French (which included an awful lot of pilots) were released. Throw in the massive losses in the Paris Pocket (those were their spearhead and hence among the best troops) and the Germans lose very badly indeed compared to OTL.

    Remember the shock effects of 1940 - a hell of a lot of pre-existing plans got thrown out of the window in order to let them concentrate on replacement weapons as fast as possible. The French also had a huge artillery park before the war, and will have had fairly sizeable warstocks. The North African campaign (which consumed unbelievable quantities of stuff - a lot of which was lost on transit or blown up when supply dumps were captured) is gone, and no stocks were lost with the fall of France, Greece, etc.
    Finally, in OTL the UK was heavily constrained by trade patterns: ton-miles were king when shipping stuff to the UK, which meant for instance they imported raw steel from the US rather than iron ore (having lost access to their prewar supplies from Sweden and Morocco: that doesn't happen here). With a far weaker U-boat threat, the tonnage problem is less severe so the knock-on effects to UK industry are much less severe. The net result is that the UK is probably at 1943 levels of supply overall, with a bigger fraction produced domestically and less from the US.

    The postwar world is actually a lot more fun to write than the last few months of the war...

    That too!
     
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  7. pdf27 Making sparks fly!

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    Either the Poles are telling the truth and the answers aren't to be found there, or something really bad happened to them and might happen to you too if you hang around. Either way you get out of there, report back, and if you need to investigate you come back in force. This would have been a small recce patrol at best.
     
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  8. Ian_W Well-Known Member

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    This timeline's Krushchev probably doesnt have his alliance with Georgy Zhukov, so he isn't as strong a candidate.

    Way down the line you have Gorbachev, but there's too many butterflies from no Great Patriotic War.

    You've also got a multipolar Cold War, and what happens in China is a pretty big butterfly.
     
  9. naraht Well-Known Member

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    Just Montreal Light, Heat & Power or some of the others that were combined later like its competitor Shawinigan Water & Power Company?

    And given that it is Canada, it is Nationalization. (Even pre-WWII)
     
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  10. Ian_W Well-Known Member

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    Remember, this is where the power for the Entente nuclear program is going to come from ...
     
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  11. What if Well-Known Member

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    I take it Germans in a squad or less are going to feel extremely nervous when 'patrolling' from now on.
     
  12. GDIS Pathe Well-Known Member

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    Beria but his odds of getting in power are low.....
     
  13. SenatorChickpea Well-Known Member

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    Beria, I'm afraid. Actually quite clearsighted in his vision for political reform and keeping the minorities on side.

    Just, you know... Beria.

    I suppose you could always go for a contested succession which doesn't result in immediate purges and counter purges. Perhaps if Beria takes power before the generals are curtailed, you might have an uneasy stalemate between Beria's NKVD and the army, with some of the more adept apparatchiks playing them off against each other- Mikoyan and Krushchev maybe.

    It would end in tears and blood, of course, but if it holds steady for even a few years then Beria can launch some reforms which his successors might choose to keep in place.
     
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  14. Belschaft Well-Known Member

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    Koysgin was probally the closest they had, but he was too junior at this point. If you are considering an alternative succession to Stalin I'd suggest looking into the Leningrad section of the party led by Zhdanov and his various protoges; they represented the more "liberal" faction of the CPSU, and were interested in economic reforms. Stalin purged most of them after WW2.
     
  15. Captain Jack Hobbes Was Right

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    Just a bit on the Deng Xiaoping equivalent. I wouldn’t worry too hard about finding someone as a direct equivalent- as I understand it Deng path was very specific to the circumstances of Maoist China as was his arrival at policies of economic liberalization. He didn’t necessarily start out in favor of reform but ended up there over time. So, a better way to find an analogue might be to find someone with a flexible enough view who could plausibly achieve power and then construct the circumstances to convince them that economic reform is necessary. Of course, the Soviet Union wasn’t Maoist China so there isn’t necessarily the need to parallel Deng at all in that respect. Economic reform could be arrived at by a different path.
     
  16. What if Well-Known Member

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    The problem is that the most obvious equivalent, Bukharin, was purged by Stalin for supporting the New Economic Policy. Whilst there were reformers that did not want another Stalin to emerge and move towards consumer based production (and Stalin's other economic measures) there is not direct equal to Deng Xiaoping. However, without the USSR being invaded it may be possible that someone who died OTL could emerge as a Deng Xiaoping equivalent and additionally Stalin won't have the reputation of defending the USSR he did OTL so hardliners may originate themeless more around Lenin's policies rather than Stalins which may give reforms more political meahuverabillity.
     
  17. pdf27 Making sparks fly!

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    It's nationalisation of all the power companies in the province - Godbout in OTL had a bit of a vendetta with both Shawinigan & Montreal Heat, Light & Power. Having the excuse to nationalise the lot of them in the name of the war effort is manna from heaven to him. The nuclear programme specifically want Beauharnois because it's the easiest place to add a lot of generation capacity quickly, the rest is a political sweetener to make sure there aren't any problems.

    Absolutely. So far as I can tell there is about 1,000 MW of additional capacity available at Beauharnois alone as soon as they fit the turbines and reinforce the grid. For comparison, Oak Ridge consumed about 300 MW of which the majority went to the Calutrons.

    They already do.

    Yeah, people keep saying that. Having to write (even a little bit) about the Holocaust is really unpleasant though, so I'd really not have to write about him too.

    The OTL one is I think butterflied away - Zhukov will never have the power he had in OTL, nor indeed will the Red Army, and Khruschev will see his ascent at least slowed. I'm still toying with what alternative successions there are out there.

    I was specifically thinking of "It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white so long as it catches mice" - you're never going to get the same development in the USSR as in China (the underlying culture and philosophy is too different), There are things they could do though - increasing the size of household plots is an obvious example, as is a more generous version of the Khrushchyovka apartment complexes.

    I can't think of anybody senior enough who died after the POD who's plausible, so we're left with the sorry crew from OTL.
     
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  18. marathag Well-Known Member

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    I have this factoid on postwar power usage at Y-12
    Electric power is supplied by TVA. Within Y-12, power is transmitted to the major distribution systems by three 161-kilovolts (kV) overhead radial feeder lines. There are eleven 13.8-kV distribution systems that range in size from 20 megavolt amperes (MVA) to 50 MVA, and reduce the 161 kV to 13.8 kV and distribute that power to unit substations located at facilities throughout Y-12. Each distribution system consists of a high-voltage outdoor transformer with indoor switchgear, 15-kV feeder cables, power distribution transformers, and auxiliary substation equipment. In total, the 13.8-kV distribution systems include approximately 30 miles of overhead lines, 10 miles of underground cable, and 740 pole- and pad-mounted transformers. At Y-12, the average monthly power usage is less than approximately 30 to 40 megawatts (MWe). The available capacity, approximately 430 MWe, greatly exceeds current demands. This is due to the fact that the original uses of Y-12 required a large, robust electrical system to support the uranium enrichment mission. The change in mission, from uranium enrichment to weapons manufacturing and subsequent evolution to the current missions, has greatly reduced Y-12’s electrical needs

    But don't discount what gaseous diffusion like K-25 used.

    The plants were the original(K-25), K-27, K-29, K-31 and K-33 which contained the largest equipment housed in the third largest steel structure in the world at that time falling behind the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State building. K-33 went on stream in mid 1954 and it’s dimensions were awesome. The single building was 81 ft. high, covered more than 32 acres, had two floors and a partial basement. It’s part of the cascade consisted of the main feed facility which fed the low grade uranium, 640 separation stages each one made up of a converter the size of a small house which contained 4000 individual barrier tubes(tube bundle), an axial compressor and a 2000HP GE or Westinghouse electric motor.
    ...
    The supply voltage to each of the 640 stages was 4480AC and during normal cascade operation would float around 600-800 amps. On down surges which were infrequent I’ve seen all the stages in a cell pinned at 1000 amps. When the single plant was completed and on stream it used more electric power than the city of Chicago. When all the gaseous diffusion plants were completed and on stream, Oak Ridge, Portsmouth, Paducah etc. combined they consumed 10% of all the generated power in the United States.

    And then this from the wiki on Portsmouth

    The primary mode of enrichment was the gaseous diffusion of uranium hexaflouride to separate the lighter fissile isotope, U-235, from the heavier non-fissile isotope, U-238. The plant initially produced material for the U.S. nuclear weapons program. In the mid-1960s, the plant converted to fuel production for commercial nuclear power plants. Portsmouth took material from Paducah that was enriched to 2.75% U-235 and further enriched it to approximately 4% and 5%.[4][5]

    The Portsmouth plant had a capacity of 8.3 million separative work units per year (SWU/year) in 1984 in 4,080 stages. Three buildings, X-326, X-330 and X-333, housed gaseous diffusion equipment.[6] Three cooling tower complexes, X-626, X-630, and X-633, were used to remove process heat. Six hundred eighty-nine million gallons of water went through the 11 cooling towers daily, of which 20 million gallons evaporated into the air. Water came from well fields installed at the Scioto River supplying 40 million gallons per day when operating at full capacity.

    To support operations, the AEC entered into the largest contract for a single customer in the history of the electrical utility industry for power at that time. Power usage was equal to the all-time high voltage requirements in the United States, more than 2,000 megawatts - 18 billion kilowatt hours yearly. To handle the power requirements, two large switchyards were constructed on site. Two large steam electric generating stations were built to supply power at Clifty Creek in Madison, Indiana and Kyger Creek in Gallipolis, Ohio. At the time, they were the largest power plants built by private industry as well as the most efficient, producing 1 kilowatt hour of electricity for 0.7 pounds of coal. The power plants used 7.5 million tons of coal annually to support operations.
     
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  19. Julius Vogel So

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    Electricity nationalisation during ww2 apparently was quite common - just listened to a podcast on that topic about NZ's industry which was nationalised in 39.
     
  20. xt828 Well-Known Member

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    If it helps, he doesn't seem to have been particularly invested in purges as a concept, but was very focused on getting into Stalin's good books and becoming his right hand man. Politically he seems to have been an interesting animal in the Soviet zoo, and when he briefly held power he seems to have set himself towards establishing the superiority of the State organs over the Party ones, and supporting the nationalities over promoting Greater Russia, both of which would probably be interesting to play with.
     
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