A Blunted Sickle - Thread II

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

  1. JN1 Has been called the C word on Twitter

    Nov 16, 2007
    My house
    Oh, God, the horror, the humanity! Won't anyone think of the children! I'd forgotten how bad the Frisian Islands thread was!

    Of course there is also the TL written by the same member.
    Eric S. Raymond, AndyF and Xgentis like this.
  2. ngf Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Here's a map of the operations of 24-25 December. In just two days of fighting the British have already made it halfway to Berlin. Army Group B is much too overextended and immobile to put up much of a defense. Even with the poor weather coming it appears that the Third Reich's end will be in a matter of weeks rather than months.

    Attached Files:

  3. Ryan Who? Donor

    Oct 19, 2013
    has the Polish-Czechoslovakian confederation been given any serious consideration in TTL?
    OTL it was supported by the polish government in exile and was given some support by the Czechoslovakian government in exile (most of the lack of support for it on the Czechoslovakian side seems to come primarily from Benes and his pro-soviet leanings) and the idea was only quashed when Stalin put pressure on Czechoslovakians because he saw such a state as a threat to his future sphere of influence in eastern Europe.
  4. KACKO Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2010
    OTL Sikorski approached Benes already in 1939. But negotiation were slow and only in November 1940 come common announcement that they will negotiate possibilities of future political and economic association. In Early 1941 common group was created.

    But support from Czechoslovak, especially Benes was lukewarm.
    Interestingly Masaryk and Slovak member of Czechoslovak exile Milan Hodza were supporting it. Interestingly in France Hodza had more influence then Benes in French circles. Hodza founded Slovak narional comittee in France in early 1939 and was closely working with Osusky.

    OTL Benes went so far as handing secret documents from negotiations to Soviets!
  5. naraht Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2010
    A thought looking at the map... Deciding what to do with Memel will be interesting. It is unlikely to be given to the Soviets, and the Germans are likely to lose East Prussia, but should it end up Polish? Could there be a figleaf of it being the Lithuanian part of a Polish Lithuanian commonwealth?
  6. pdf27 Making sparks fly!

    Mar 8, 2007
    Take a look at how well that worked out for Holland in WW1. The Slovaks are to all intents and purposes inside the blockaded zone, the entente are well aware just how precarious the German fuel situation is and that if the Slovaks got some petrol the Germans would demand it on the spot, and it would be handed over. There will be some smuggling, but it'll be a drop in the ocean compared to needs.

    Yep. The French and (to a lesser extent) British are just demanding help with menaces at the moment. If they get turned down there is no way that they'd actually do very much after the war, apart from maybe giving Benes a free hand to ban/persecute separatist parties.

    Good for them. Two things to remember though:
    • They don't know what happened in the OTL future, so "it can't be as bad as a terrible future which will never happen" isn't much of a selling point.
    • Their main chip on the Entente side has just turned up and is pressing them to take a particular course of action...
    It isn't canon until I publish it, and it was in a spoiler tag...

    True. That was sloppy use of language on my part.

    Long term, yes. Short term it will probably not fall to pieces.

    They might be able to hoard enough to run a short motorised campaign. The Romanians aren't going to be shipping them significant amounts of crude oil however - and the Gbely oil field appears to be tiny.

    It also nicely illustrates the massive problem the Germans have got - they've got enough men to put up a serious fight against one of their great power enemies, but only if that enemy fights on a ground of the German's choosing. If anything else happens, they are now weak (and immobile) enough that they're facing disaster.

    I think Stalin may have something to say about that...
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  7. MiniaAr Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2015
    Regarding Memel, if the Allies are fast enough, isn't there a slight chance that East Prussia becomes detached from Germany and forms a 4th Baltic state (the only independent one), aligned with the entente as a forward base against the USSR?

    I don't believe that Germany is getting partitionned, but East Prussia could be an exception to this. Basically saying to the East Prussians: "Either you accept this and you can keep skipping German in your country, or you're getting displaced and Poles/Russians are going to live in your houses."
    If I remember correctly, there was talk of a "East Prussian SSR" in OTL in case Stalin didn't want to strengthen Poland too much and would like a convenient place to deport his own German minority.
    This would be something similar, except that ITTL the Allies get to implement their own plans with another allied/buffer state at the border with Russia alongside Poland. And this also has the advantage (from the Entente POV) of not requiring mass expulsions of Germans.

    After WWII OTL, Germany and Austria were successfully detached. ITTL, with an Entente victory without Russian help, how possible would it be to have a 3rd German-speaking state in Europe (Germany, Austria, Prussia), forever banned from seeking unification?
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  8. ngf Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I expect that the Soviets will "liberate" Memel from German occupation as soon as it becomes clear that Germany is collapsing. Memel is just too far away for the Entente to do anything about it and the risk that either Britain or France would do anything beyond sending a nasty letter of protest are tiny. This risks of triggering a war goes up rapidly, however, if Stalin tries the same for East Prussia or German-occupied Poland.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  9. pjmidd Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2015
    Given what the Germans will have done in Poland, East Prussia is going to be losing its German population and most if not all ending up Polish, the Poles would see it as too much of a risk otherwise.
    What if likes this.
  10. ngf Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Knowing the lessons from the OTL I can see the argument for keeping the battleships Strasbourg and Dunkerque at Singapore, but at this point ITTL would either the British or the French recognize the true vulnerability of their battleships to carrier-based aircraft? After all, in the OTL weren't the British confident that ground-based air support would be sufficient to protect Prince of Wales and Repulse?

    This also begs the question of how far has the naval doctrines of the British and French evolved to this point. Do they still view the battleships as their main capital ships, with the aircraft carriers as useful auxiliaries, or have they switched over to the view that aircraft carriers are now the main capital ships of the fleet, with the battleships now providing only a supporting role? I do suppose that the year-long concentration of the British carriers at Singapore will have given them the opportunity to experiment with new naval tactics. I can foresee an exercise with Force X playing the role of the Japanese and trying to sneak up on Singapore, perhaps even attaching a British aircraft carrier or two to Force X to see how this changes the situation. But in the end, with the lack of the hard experience from the OTL, would exercise results be enough to convince the battleship admirals that their time has past? The world wonders.

    Even if the French did recognize the vulnerability of their battleships, wouldn't it still be useful to keep some scouting force based at Cam Ranh Bay? In this role, which do you think would be more useful, the older heavy cruisers or the more modern light cruisers? Perhaps an argument can be made that Force X stays. Also, would the British consider forward basing their submarines at Cam Ranh Bay?
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  11. marcinL Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2008
    Maybe it could become some Free Lithuanian State a la Taiwan, if allies manage to get there first, of course.
  12. ngf Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Notes on French Naval Aviation (Aéronavale)

    Here are some notes on French naval aviation in the OTL that may of use for TTL. At the start of the war, the air wing of the Béarn (Flotille F1A) consisted of two fighter squadrons (AC1 and AC2, equipped with obsolete D.376 fighters) and two scout bomber squadrons (AB1 with obsolete PL.101, and AB2 with slightly more modern V.156F dive bombers). At the start of hostilities, the Béarn was declared to be too slow for operational service and it was decided to disembark these squadrons and reequip them with more modern aircraft. These squadrons remained land-based throughout the conflict.

    Here is Aéronavale’s OOB as of June 1940 in the OTL. (Note: the squadron numbers reflect the renumbering regulation of 8 June 1940, which did not actually become effective until 1 August):

    Fighter squadrons:
    • 1AC – equipped with 12 Po.631
    • 2AC – equipped with 12 Po.631
    • 3AC – equipped with 12 MB.151
    • 4AC – forming (possibly with MS.406)
    • 5AC – forming with MS.406
    The French had ordered 81 G.36A fighters (F4F-3 “Wildcat”) from the US to reequip these squadrons. It was anticipated that the Joffre and Painlevé would be equipped with Dewoitine D.790 fighters, a navalized version of the D.520.

    Carrier-capable scout bomber squadrons:
    • 1AB – equipped with 12 V.156F dive bombers (Vought SB2U “Vindicator”)
    • 2AB – equipped with 12 LN.401 dive bombers
    • 3AB – equipped with 12 V.156F dive bombers
    • 4AB – equipped with 12 LN.411 dive bombers
    In early 1940, the French had ordered 90 Curtiss H.77F dive bombers (Curtiss SBC-4 “Helldiver”, not to be confused with the Curtiss SB2C "Helldiver") from the US. It was anticipated that the Joffre and Painlevé would be equipped with Bréguet Br.810 attack aircraft, derived from the Br.693.

    Flotille F1H, embarked on the sea-plane tender Commandant Teste:
    • 1HB – equipped with 11 Laté.298 torpedo bombers
    • 2HB – equipped with 10 Laté.298 torpedo bombers
    • 1HS – equipped with 6 L.130 scout aircraft
    • (former HC1 – disembarked and reequipped as squadron 3AC)
    In my opinion, ITTL Commandant Teste would be a useful addition to FIC.

    Land-based bomber squadrons:
    • 1B – equipped with 9 Leo.H257, transitioning to Martin 167F (Glenn Martin “Maryland”)
    • 2B – equipped with 9 Leo.H257, transitioning to Martin 167F
    • 3B – equipped with 9 Martin 167F
    • 4B – equipped with 9 Martin 167F
    • 5B – equipped with 3 Farman F.233.4 (4-engine ex-civilian mail planes)
    The French had ordered a total of more than 200 Martin 167F for use by both the Armée de l’Air and Aéronavale.

    Seaplane torpedo bomber squadrons:
    • 1T – equipped with 10 Laté.298
    • 2T – equipped with 10 Laté.298
    • 3T – equipped with 10 Laté.298
    • 4T – equipped with 10 Laté.298
    Exploration (long-range patrol) squadrons:
    • 1E – equipped with 7 Br.521 “Bizerte” seaplanes
    • 2E – equipped with 6 Br.521 “Bizerte” seaplanes
    • 3E – equipped with 6 Br.521 “Bizerte” seaplanes
    • 4E – equipped with 4 Laté.301/302 seaplanes
    • 5E – equipped with 6 Br.521 “Bizerte” seaplanes
    • 6E – equipped with 5 Laté.521/522/523 seaplanes
    • 7E – equipped with 5 LeO H.257bis (which replaced 6 Loire 70 seaplanes destroyed during an Italian air raid)
    • 8E – an experimental squadron to test prototypes of Potez-CAMS 141, Laté.611, and Bréguet 730. The Potez-CAMS 141 was the only aircraft delivered before the armistice.
    • 9E – equipped with 4 Br.521 “Bizerte” seaplanes
    • 10E – equipped with 3 Farman F.222 bombers, but planned to be equipped with Consolidated PBY “Catalina” seaplanes
    • 11E – equipped with 5 LeO H.470 seaplanes
    • 12E – planned to be equipped with 4 LeO H.246 seaplanes being manufacture for Air France
    • 14E – equipped with 6 Martin 167F
    In early 1940, the French ordered 30 Consolidated PBY “Catalina” from the US.

    Surveillance (short-range patrol) squadrons:
    18 squadrons equipped with of a variety of short-range seaplanes. These squadrons were numbered with the first character corresponding to the Maritime Region (numbered 1 through 4 for France and North Africa, and number “8” for squadrons based overseas) where they were stationed, the second character always the letter “S”, and the final character being the sequence number within the region. For example, Escadrille 3S4 was the fourth surveillance squadron in Maritime Region 3. There were 5 squadrons based overseas, of which Escadrille 8S1 was the only one in French Indochina (at Cat-Lai near Saigon), equipped with 10 Po.452.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  13. ngf Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Here is some background information on the French forces in Indochina in the OTL.

    Division du Tonkin (DT)
    Reconnaissance (light armor and armored cars):
    • Détachment Motorisé du Tonkin (DMT)
    • Détachment Motorisé de la Légion (DML)
    Infantry :

    1st Brigade
    • 5e Régiment Étranger d’Infanterie (5e REI)
    • 19e Régiment Mixte d’Infanterie Colonial (19e RMIC)
    2nd Brigade
    • 9e Régiment d’Infanterie Colonial (9e RIC)
    • 3e Régiment de Tirailleurs Tonkinois (2e RTT)
    3rd Brigade
    • 1er Régiment de Tirailleurs Tonkinois (1er RTT)
    • 4e Régiment de Tirailleurs Tonkinois (4e RTT)
    Artillery :
    • 4e Régiment d’Artillerie Coloniale (4e RAC)

    Division de Cochinchine-Cambodge (DCC)

    Reconnaissance :
    • Détachment Motorisé de Cochinchine (DMC)
    Infantry :
    • 11e Régiment d’Infanterie Colonial (11e RIC)
    • Régiment de Tirailleurs Annamite (RTA)
    • Régiment de Tirailleurs Annamite bis (RTA bis)
    • Régiment de Tirailleurs Cambodgiens (RTC)
    Artillery :
    • 5e Régiment d’Artillerie Coloniale (5e RAC)

    Brigade d’Annam-Laos (BAL)

    Reconnaissance :
    • Détachment Motorisé d’Annam (DMA) (armored cars)
    Infantry :
    • 10e Régiment d’Infanterie Colonial (10e RIC)
    • 16e Régiment Mixte d’Infanterie Colonial (16e RMIC)
    • Bataillon de Tirailleurs Montagnard du Sud-Annam (BTMSA)

    Coastal Artillery Units

    • 6x 138mm guns
    • 3x 155mm guns
    • 1x twin 90mm model 1926 AA gun
    • 6x 25mm Hotchkiss AA guns
    Tourane (now called Da Nang)
    • 2x 130mm guns
    • 4x 90mm guns
    • 6x 25mm Hotchkiss model 1939 AA guns
    Cham Ranh Bay
    • 1 battery with 4x 138mm model 1910 guns
    • 1 battery with 3x 138mm model 1881 guns
    • 1 battery with 4x 75mm model 1908 guns
    • 1 battery with 4x 75mm model 1881 guns
    • Upgrade plans for the waterfront defense called for Maginot-style fortifications of:
      • A double turret with 2x 203mm model 1940 guns
      • 4x 152mm model 1931 guns under mask and rotary platform
      • 6x 90mm AA model 1939 guns in three double turrets
      • 12x 37mm AA model 1941 in double carriages
      • 4 turrets for ground defense twinning a 47mm gun and two 7.5mm machine guns
      • 8 locations for 105 and 155mm towed artillery pieces to be set up by colonial wartime artillery
    • Upgrade plans for the defense of the arsenal consisted of:
      • Four Maginot-type ouvrages each equipped with a 25mm gun and a 7.5mm machine gun, four twin 47mm guns, two 7.5mm guns, and two 81mm mortars.
      • Anti-air defenses of 12x 25mm Hotchkiss model 1939-40 guns in double carriages
    • Plans to upgrade the anti-aircraft defense of the naval air base
    Cape St. Jacques (approaches to Saigon)
    • 2x 75mm guns
    • 8x 105mm guns
    • 8x 138mm guns
    • 3x 240mm guns
  14. ngf Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Armée de l'Air in French Indochina

    To round out my posts, here is some information on the AdA's disposition in FIC in the OTL on the eve of Japanese occupation of northern Vietnam in September 1940.

    Fighter squadrons:
    • EC 2/595 - 9x MS.406 (Hanoi)
    • EC 2/596 - 7x MS.406 (Hanoi)
    These aircraft were Chinese purchases ordered in 1938 that the French impounded at Haiphong and used to fight the Thai's in the Franco-Thai War (Oct 40 -31 January 1941)

    Bomber squadrons:
    • EB 2/41 - 4x Farman 222 (Hanoi)
    • EB 2/42 - 6x Potez 542 (Saigon)
    Reconnaissance squadrons:
    • ER 1/41 - 9x Potez 25 (Pursat, Cambodia)
    • ER 1/42 - 9x Potez 25 (Pursat, Cambodia)
    • EO 1/595 - 7x Potez 25 (Dong Hoi, Annam (near the south end of the Gulf of Tonkin))
    • EO 1/596 - 6x Potez 25 (Torane, Annam (now called Da Nang))
    • allocated to Groupe HQs - 3x Potez 631C (Hanoi) - impounded Chinese purchases
    Seaplane squadron:
    • Esc. 1/CBS - 8x Loire 130, 2x CAMS 37, 2x CAMS 55
    In January 1941, the German armistice commission granted permission for 23 Hawk H-75s and 44 Curtiss SBC-4s to be transferred to Indochina from Martinique, but Japanese pressure prevented their delivery.

    I presume that ITTL that the AdA's position in FIC in significantly improved from this. Also, I doubt that the Franco-Thai War would have occurred ITTL, but that's up to pdf27.
  15. HJ Tulp Vice Admiral, Eutopian Navy

    Nov 27, 2007
    Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    To expand on this:

    With the Southern Chinese Sea pretty much blocked by the MN and RN, the IJN might decide to launch a counter-clockwise invasion. So, instead of starting by invading French Indochina or Malaya, the invasion will culminate there and start in the eastern part of the Dutch East Indies, originating from Truk. This was considered OTL as well. For the Japanese the benefit would be that they sidestep the Allied battlefleet and could conquer (air) bases along the way. If they do this it means that the IJN will, at first, be confronted by the Koninklijk Marine (RNN).

    The doctrinal development of the Royal Netherlands Navy will be interesting and can go two ways.

    1. The deployment of the French and British heavy units to SEA does somewhat vindicate the position of the 'navalists' ('big'-gun lobby), who had spend the Interbellum claiming that all that was needed against the IJN would be light cruisers as the Japanese would need all their heavy units to counter those of the RN/USN. OTL those heavy units were primarily engaged in the ETO, ATL this is not so. In navalist logic this means that the DEI squadron will be able to defend the East Indies quite handidly, especially considering the ATL additions. Theoretically there could be as many as 7 light cruisers and 12 destroyers available.
    2. However, the Dutch government could very well demand that the surface units are mainly concentrated in the mainland to protect the all important convoys that supply the country, its citizens and its army. In that case what is left of the submarine-lobby might be able to win the day after all. Theoretically there are as many as 17 (!) submarines available for service in the DEI (though some might be detailed for (practically useless) interdiction of German-Norway convoys as OTL). This means as many as four separate submarine divisions (consisting of three submarines each) will be available. With (most of) the surface units in Europe, the road is open for wolfpack-style operations against the IJN.
    Which one of these two roads are taken depends a lot on the situation in Dutch politics. About the only thing we can be sure about is that Premier De Geer is gone at this point. The man might have been an OK prime-minister in times of peace, in times of war he certainly was not. He is going to loose his nerves either in May 1940 or during the occupation of Paris. Who is going to replace him is a big blur, as is the rest. We can't just assume that Gerbrandy will take over as per OTL as the situation is totally different. Queen Wilhelmina wil have more influence than before the war, but will NOT have the immense power as OTL, as the Cabinet will still be in full contact with Parlement. It might be Gerbrandy after all but his party, the ARP, had not done very well in the elections of 1937, it was in fact the third party after the RKSP (Catholics) and the SDAP (Labour). De Geers party, the CHU (Protestant) was fourth though. There might be someone else from the CHU but it could also be someone of the larger parties. Hell, there is a small chance that Colijn might become prime minister again!
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  16. Jellico Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2017
    Everyone from Jacky Fisher on knew the aircraft carrier's day was coming. Much like the flying car it was a matter of a bunch of technologies coming together to get the when.

    For navies in the 30s the issues were budgets and treaties. Everyone knew 3 carrier's were better than 2 but who had the money and hulls to get them together to work the bugs out every 5 years as tech moved on?

    To be blunt yes. The RN was playing around with the concept of mass carrier strikes in the 30s. The first big carrier mission planned by the RN was a raid into 1919 Wilhelmshaven. So the ideas are there.

    As for land based aircraft? In 1941 they eat naval aircraft for breakfast. We just had a thread about Zeros in the Battle of Britain telling us why.Then there is the whole radar and control thing. The Japanese were flat out putting radios in Zeros.

    The real question is how seriously the Allies are taking the far east. If they are being starved of hardware and knowhow the potential for a disaster is there. OTOH with no invasion panic the RNs aircraft are going to be current and there is no call for the best of them to be tied down in Europe.

    I am rambling now but I can't see a way for Japan to pull out a win. Operating from China they are too far away with an opforce that can afford losses and trade space for time if they need to.
    ngf likes this.
  17. Astrodragon Coffee-seeking Dragon

    Sep 24, 2008
    UK - Oxfordshire
    In the 30's, they practiced with groups of up to three carriers.
  18. Driftless Geezer

    Sep 16, 2011
    Out in the Driftless Area
    Will any of the Western powers had an equivalent of the AVG flying against the Japanese in China at this point?
  19. HJ Tulp Vice Admiral, Eutopian Navy

    Nov 27, 2007
    Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    Once the war in Europe is over I could see quite a few volunteers/mercenaries joining the KMT.
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  20. Driftless Geezer

    Sep 16, 2011
    Out in the Driftless Area
    The Japanese might also consider the possibility of the French and British jumping into the fight alongside the Dutch but after some parliamentary debate. So, the French and Commonwealth (Britain, Australia, New Zealand) would not be joining the fight on day one, which would theoretically give the Japanese time to establish footholds in the DEI. The Japanese leadership might look at the pre and early war examples of Czechoslovakia and Poland as indicators of limits of commitment?