A Blunted Sickle - Thread II

Yeah, but the question is whether British efforts in southern Poland can be better supplied directly from Romania without going the long way round. The *money* advantage of the Entente over the Germans was *significant* in many ways...
Realistically, no. You could probably get a train through Ostrava, but it really doesn't help much at all. By the time you've got it organised (and this would have to be pool petrol only bought directly from Romanian refineries - anything else would add a month) the war is almost certain to be over and you'll have alternative sources of supply arranged through occupied Germany.

Why would it be obsolete? It's not like it was a new railroad, anyway - it was a double-tracking of an existing railroad. In @, the railroad between Kiruna and Narvik is still in heavy use today.
If anything, I suspect it would be in slightly heavier use in OTL - with the Soviets still a major threat, it makes sense for the Union government to want to reduce the criticality of their dependence on Baltic trade a bit. That probably means some sort of subsidy for the Narvik railway after the war to encourage it's use a bit.

+1. Actually, +1000.
I've got some ideas along those lines, but they are very much half-baked. The only thing I'm sure of is that the situation hasn't come to a boil quite yet.

However, I note that if the Entente and/or the US must pick a winner in the civil war, they'll want it to be the IJN. Reason: an insane enemy is a dangerously unpredictable enemy. You'd much rather deal with a foe whose responses you understand and can plan against...and while I won't say the IJA is fanatic nutjobs all the way down that is close enough to true to be determinative.
Umm... I'm not at all convinced, actually.
  • Fundamentally, the IJA is interested in China - everything else is secondary to this, and the OTL attacks on the outside powers (UK, US, etc.) were all about getting hold of the resources needed to support their war in China. So far as the British are concerned, whatever the Japanese are up to in China isn't worth the bones of one Brummie grenadier. The US thinks slightly differently, but fundamentally the IJA can do more or less whatever it wants in China without interference. This means there is a relatively straightforward modus vivendi with the IJA.
  • The IJN is much more outward-looking, onto the Pacific in particular. Worse, they were trained by the RN who have a long tradition of gunboat diplomacy and grabbing useful islands that were lying around. This is much more likely to bring them into conflict with the British and Americans, who both have territories in the region to which they pose a threat. In particular, the Australians are going to be very nervous about an IJN-dominated Japan since they're the obvious target for a populous, resource-hungry naval power: indeed, that's exactly how Australia was formed in the first place.

We on here have decided that the IJA were the crazy ones and the IJN the reasonable ones, but this is largely because we have Word of God on this, which allow us to see through their calculations and cast them in those roles.
Honestly, I don't particularly think that either is more sane than the other in this situation: the IJA have done a calculation that the forces opposing them in the Far East are ones they can deal with (true, so long as Germany is still fighting). However, the IJA aren't trying to fight battleships, and the IJN have looked at the forces they would be asked to fight and come to a very different conclusion. This isn't a case where one is less sane than the other - they are just looking at the forces they are respectively going to have to fight and coming to different conclusions.

The idea of helping the IJN will sound about as reasonable as funding a retirement home for man-eating sharks to most westerners. There might even be significant dissensions within the Entente - for Britain, the Far East is vastly more important than it is for France.
Unlikely - the fact that it isn't all that important for France (well, excepting Indochina - and the Dutch will have something significant to say too) is going to lead to them being less interested in doing anything, rather than developing their own independent policy. One of the big lessons that I'm assuming comes out of this war for the Entente powers is that because they did not hang together in the run-up to the war they were almost hanged separately. They are therefore trying in so far as possible to have a common or at least well aligned foreign & defence policy.

In all, I think a lot of the actors' attitude towards the belligerents will be shaped by a relatively small number of events in a very short time. If nothing happened and the Japanese just shot each other quietly for a few months, à la phoney war, then sure, the GP would quietly make their calculations; but it is much more likely imho that there will be "incidents" - big ones. What happens if foreign nationals in Japan are harmed during the fighting? If the IJN manages to get the emperor to do their PR? If the IJA in China walks into HK, the concessions or KCW? If some idiots decide that dragging in the US is the best idea to defeat the IJN or force them to unite in a foreign war? In all, a lot of things can happen that would either confirm the GP actors' preconceptions or allow them to frame either side as the baddies and spare them the trouble of trying to figure it out through the FOW. For the public, and to some extent for deciders, they will determine which options are "feasible", "necessary" and "out of the question". So, instead of trying to calculate objectively which outcome of the war would suit the GP best, we have to try and figure out what the Japanese factions will do and how it will shape the GP's fluid assessment of the situation.
This also ties into my writing style - if I do decide to set up an IJA-IJN civil war, I'll set up the war and then see where it goes, rather than plotting it out based on a desired end-state.
The other thing to be aware of is that nuclear weapons are coming soon - but that the way things are going they will be quite widespread before they get used in a war. We aren't going to have the horrible example of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (or even Hamburg, Tokyo and Dresden) to scare people into not using them - which is likely to mean that the threshold to use them will be significantly lower than it was in OTL. Indeed, you may see a reversion to 1930s thinking of "the bomber will always get through" and that single bombing raids are likely to have a decisive impact on civilian morale. Combined with the fact that a nuclear weapon gives you an awful lot of bang for the buck - implying that you're going to build a lot of them and integrate them heavily in your planning - and we're in a situation where any great power intervention could escalate out of control horribly in no time at all.

Not to mention the lower and mid-level IJN officers were becoming nearly as radical as their counterparts in the Army. Add in the issue that most of the civilian leadership who tried to moderate Japan's policies were discredited and that the army position had broad support. Basically most of the people in government favored facing the west it was a matter of tactics and timing.
This was also in the context of the US embargo, however, which hasn't happened ITTL (due to France still being in the game and thus the Japanese not occupying Indochina). This is a major reason that the IJN haven't gone for war with the Western powers - they've still got access to oil.

Seeing the Seelöwe Heights occupied without a fight (even when the enemy is coming from the West) is a tell-tale sign that the game has long since been over for the Nazis. The Union must be feeling really nervous right now when the Soviets are again moving the border posts in Eastern Europe.
Not much point fighting for them when the enemy is coming from the West - everything of interest (Berlin) is West of them.
BTW, it's Seelow - named after the town, not the unmentionable Pinniped.
 
Not much point fighting for them when the enemy is coming from the West - everything of interest (Berlin) is West of them.
BTW, it's Seelow - named after the town, not the unmentionable Pinniped.
And since they don't even have forces to effectively defend the city itself, the option to wait for Steiner to counterattack does not exist either.
Also, what a Freudian typo from my part! Oh well, the natural instinct of a Finnish-speaker is always to go for the umlauts.
 
Actually that was the view of most Japan since the 1930's. One of the supporters of it was Fumimaro Konoe who was Prime minster in 1937-9 . Actually the US had started to apply preusure in 1939 when it announced it would let a trade agreement expire. The main thing the embargo did was force Japan to make a decision like Hitler did in 1940 to invade the Soviet Union, Basically to defeat China's allies so china would come to the table. A lot of people don't understand is that from the Japanese view it was an almost holy duty to free Asia from the western powers. And their wasn't anybody of stature saying anything differently. And before you can say Yamamoto wasn't in a postion to influence national policy.
 
How is the outcome of the war going to effect army doctrines postwar? The Germans have tried the traditional war of movement but that has clearly failed. Without this an example more countries including the UK are more likely likely to keep large constript armies that move forward in a slow juggernaut. If there is a cold war over Poland this could have the effect of more allied forces, excluding American and German forces, deployed forward. But the downside is that there might not be the equivalent of the OTL focus on movement that occured amongst NATO forces for such a war of maneuver. In a conventional war this could mean the western european forces could be crushed by a better led force that focuses on manuever.

Also how are the Soviets looking at their deep battle doctrines right now? I would imagine they are quite upset.
 
How is the outcome of the war going to effect army doctrines postwar? The Germans have tried the traditional war of movement but that has clearly failed. Without this an example more countries including the UK are more likely likely to keep large constript armies that move forward in a slow juggernaut. If there is a cold war over Poland this could have the effect of more allied forces, excluding American and German forces, deployed forward. But the downside is that there might not be the equivalent of the OTL focus on movement that occured amongst NATO forces for such a war of maneuver. In a conventional war this could mean the western european forces could be crushed by a better led force that focuses on manuever.

Also how are the Soviets looking at their deep battle doctrines right now? I would imagine they are quite upset.
The Germans might have failed at this, but the Allies, after weathering the storm, did not. They have driven across Germany relatively quickly once the breakthrough occurred, encircling, trapping & crushing several German Army Groups as they did so. Their main weak point in the manoeuvre phase has turned out to be logistics & that was due primarily to the speed at which they advanced as the Heer collapsed.
 

Driftless

Donor
The Germans might have failed at this, but the Allies, after weathering the storm, did not. They have driven across Germany relatively quickly once the breakthrough occurred, encircling, trapping & crushing several German Army Groups as they did so. Their main weak point in the manoeuvre phase has turned out to be logistics & that was due primarily to the speed at which they advanced as the Heer collapsed.
Does logistics become one of the primary lessons learned? With the Soviets now even closer at hand, I can't see as much of a peacetime de-mobilization, so how to they keep a sufficient force in the field that's capable of responding on different levels? There's no American Expeditionary Force to provide a massive boost to both manpower and firepower, so that big stick kind of role falls to the British and French by default. The Poles, Czechs, Austrians(?), Balkans, and Italians too(?) will be the buffer, but the British and French are going to be the main event in times of trouble.
 
Logistics will definitely be the the primary lesson learned. Both the British & French had difficulties supplying fuel to their armies. This needs to addressed. Another issue is comminality of supply. It is far more difficult to maintain completely different supply lines for the various national armies, than it is for one; let alone differing service branches within those armies. While each nation in the Allied forces will always have their own specific needs, if they can agree to use the same ammunition and fuel across the board, this will vastly simplify the problems, especially at the boundaries between allied forces during battle.
 
Logistics will definitely be the the primary lesson learned. Both the British & French had difficulties supplying fuel to their armies. This needs to addressed. Another issue is comminality of supply. It is far more difficult to maintain completely different supply lines for the various national armies, than it is for one; let alone differing service branches within those armies. While each nation in the Allied forces will always have their own specific needs, if they can agree to use the same ammunition and fuel across the board, this will vastly simplify the problems, especially at the boundaries between allied forces during battle.
With that story pretty early in the thread of how the Germans tried to attack at the seam between the British and French forces (I think it was a Polish unit under the British and a French African unit under the French), I wonder just how much difference in kit existed between those two forces.

I'd say the chances of the British and French using different ammunition in their guns by 1950 to be vanishingly small.
 

Driftless

Donor
I forget if the author has mentioned whether this course of events alters the move of Britain (and Empire) to the metric system. In history, that was in the mid-60's, correct?
 
The Germans might have failed at this, but the Allies, after weathering the storm, did not. They have driven across Germany relatively quickly once the breakthrough occurred, encircling, trapping & crushing several German Army Groups as they did so. Their main weak point in the manoeuvre phase has turned out to be logistics & that was due primarily to the speed at which they advanced as the Heer collapsed.
Yes, the Allies have conducted campaigns with an updated bataille conduite doctrine. This doctrine is reminiscence of what was done in the Hundred Days in 1918. It states that to break through enemy lines, you need to concentrate overwhelming firepower at one point (with heavy planning), then exploit the breach if you can. If need be, you first hold the line using your advantage in firepower. All in all, it's fairly close to what the western Allies did in France in 1944 OTL.

I can see the French and British working on their shortcomings is their logistics and mobility, but they won't refute the advantage of firepower.
 
The other question is how much are the British and French fighters and bombers advancing to work from air fields that were on the German side of the lines in October. I'm guessing not much (unless they start using Danish, Slovakian and Hungarian airfields) due to the same fuel issues. I'm not sure it matters much in most of Germany, but the exposed advance closer to the Soviet lines could be uncomfortable.

I presume most of the Western POW camps have been freed by now, but I don't know if the French or British have reached any of the Extermination Camps.
 
Logistics will definitely be the the primary lesson learned. Both the British & French had difficulties supplying fuel to their armies. This needs to addressed. Another issue is comminality of supply. It is far more difficult to maintain completely different supply lines for the various national armies, than it is for one; let alone differing service branches within those armies. While each nation in the Allied forces will always have their own specific needs, if they can agree to use the same ammunition and fuel across the board, this will vastly simplify the problems, especially at the boundaries between allied forces during battle.
Another logistics point: I imagine massive investments in the relevant ports, especially Hamburg as the forward 'safe spot' and Stettin/Gdansk as the 'forward outposts'. And of course rail- and waterways, especially from France and Antwerp/Rotterdam.
 
A lot of people don't understand is that from the Japanese view it was an almost holy duty to free Asia from the western powers. And their wasn't anybody of stature saying anything differently.
The issue isn't one of desire but of capacity. The Japanese are now badly outclassed at sea, and nothing has yet forced them into a use it or lose it position.

Very nice Thread pdf 27, I hope to Read many more Excellent Updates like those You have been Diligently Writing!
I'm afraid my writing is currently more dilligaf than diligent - my wife and I are both trying to work from home with two small bored children assisting us!

How is the outcome of the war going to effect army doctrines postwar? The Germans have tried the traditional war of movement but that has clearly failed. Without this an example more countries including the UK are more likely likely to keep large constript armies that move forward in a slow juggernaut. If there is a cold war over Poland this could have the effect of more allied forces, excluding American and German forces, deployed forward. But the downside is that there might not be the equivalent of the OTL focus on movement that occured amongst NATO forces for such a war of maneuver. In a conventional war this could mean the western european forces could be crushed by a better led force that focuses on manuever.
One thing to remember is that nuclear weapons are still coming, pretty much on the OTL schedule in fact: the British made all the right guesses with the MAUD project (making it perhaps a quarter of the cost of the Manhattan Project), and the French were the world experts in explosive lenses. Once the British and French have nuclear weapons, the logic of using them instead of large conscript armies is irrefutable.

Also how are the Soviets looking at their deep battle doctrines right now? I would imagine they are quite upset.
People see what they want to. The current advance looks remarkably like a deep battle, it's just that the Wehrmacht had been bled white in France and Belgium beforehand.

Their main weak point in the manoeuvre phase has turned out to be logistics & that was due primarily to the speed at which they advanced as the Heer collapsed.
Actually, it's more than that. The whole story of the war has been one of logistics - ultimately, who can apply the most firepower at the decisive point.

With the Soviets now even closer at hand, I can't see as much of a peacetime de-mobilization, so how to they keep a sufficient force in the field that's capable of responding on different levels? There's no American Expeditionary Force to provide a massive boost to both manpower and firepower, so that big stick kind of role falls to the British and French by default. The Poles, Czechs, Austrians(?), Balkans, and Italians too(?) will be the buffer, but the British and French are going to be the main event in times of trouble.
Ultimately, the British and French economies can't support the manpower required to fight the USSR. However, their economies and hence ultimately industrial might are rather higher - particularly if the rest of Europe is taken into account. This means they're going to be thinking of fighting a rich man's war - extensive use of airpower, armour and mechanised troops.
Ultimately this is the same logic that NATO followed in OTL, for much of the same reasons - the big difference is that any post-war European alliance is going to be much more nuke-happy than NATO ever was. The reason for this is very simple: if the NATO armies had failed, the US homeland was not under threat but it would have been in a nuclear exchange, so there was a strong incentive to find ways of fighting without nuclear weapons. The British and French homelands were always under threat either way, and since the 1950s with the Global Strategy Paper British nuclear policy has always been that any war with the Soviets would rapidly go nuclear. ITTL, that is only going to be a stronger effect than in OTL.

Logistics will definitely be the the primary lesson learned. Both the British & French had difficulties supplying fuel to their armies. This needs to addressed. Another issue is comminality of supply. It is far more difficult to maintain completely different supply lines for the various national armies, than it is for one; let alone differing service branches within those armies. While each nation in the Allied forces will always have their own specific needs, if they can agree to use the same ammunition and fuel across the board, this will vastly simplify the problems, especially at the boundaries between allied forces during battle.
Small arms ammunition is actually probably the easiest one to maintain multiple calibres of because the tonnages are relatively low. Fuels are absolutely critical, followed by artillery ammunition. Spare parts might actually even be a higher priority than small arms ammunition.

I forget if the author has mentioned whether this course of events alters the move of Britain (and Empire) to the metric system. In history, that was in the mid-60's, correct?
Metrication and Decimalisation were both talked about very early in OTL (1940s is the earliest reference I've found for it being taken seriously) - with a less Atlanticist approach than OTL my thinking is that they would be pushed a little harder. Generally life is likely to be significantly better after the war, and that means IMHO that things like this will get more attention. Once I get to posting the post-war world a lot of the impacts will start to become apparent.

Yes, the Allies have conducted campaigns with an updated bataille conduite doctrine. This doctrine is reminiscence of what was done in the Hundred Days in 1918. It states that to break through enemy lines, you need to concentrate overwhelming firepower at one point (with heavy planning), then exploit the breach if you can. If need be, you first hold the line using your advantage in firepower. All in all, it's fairly close to what the western Allies did in France in 1944 OTL.
La Feu Tue. However, it's also a reflection of weaknesses, particularly in the French army (which has dominated the fighting throughout the war). The French are only beginning to be able to conduct mobile operations in any meaningful sense - in 1940 their OODA loop was at least 3 days, and encircling the German spearhead in Paris took a lot of luck combined with the best troops the Entente had just happening to be in the right place at the right time. They've fought and won with what they have, but they won't be blind to what they need to do differently. This is more painful for the French than the British - it means they absolutely have to have a professional officer corps of significant size.

I can see the French and British working on their shortcomings is their logistics and mobility, but they won't refute the advantage of firepower.
I don't think you can separate the two. Artillery needs a hell of a lot of logistical support and making it as mobile as the armoured/mechanised forces is a major challenge.

I presume most of the Western POW camps have been freed by now, but I don't know if the French or British have reached any of the Extermination Camps.
They've found a few nasties, but the extermination camps are limited to the three Operation Reinhardt camps which are all in the east of the General Government.
 
Actually that was the view of most Japan since the 1930's. One of the supporters of it was Fumimaro Konoe who was Prime minster in 1937-9 . Actually the US had started to apply preusure in 1939 when it announced it would let a trade agreement expire. The main thing the embargo did was force Japan to make a decision like Hitler did in 1940 to invade the Soviet Union, Basically to defeat China's allies so china would come to the table. A lot of people don't understand is that from the Japanese view it was an almost holy duty to free Asia from the western powers. And their wasn't anybody of stature saying anything differently. And before you can say Yamamoto wasn't in a postion to influence national policy.
Even among the Japanese militarists, all they could agree on was military=solution to all Japan's problems (and even then the army and the navy had their arguments about the particulars of that). While the fundamentalist Buddhist nutters were certainly a considerable faction, I would not go so far as to lump everyone in Japan under that umbrella. Japan was perhaps the least ideologically coherent belligerent in WW2.

Even among the militarists there were the Ludendorffists (who liked the political theories of that famous Ludendorff of Germany, who I didn't even know had gotten into the ideology-making business before I looked more deeply into Japan's path to militarism), more genuine anti-colonialist sorts (though I'll bet they imagined Japan as being the leader of decolonized Asia - they don't play too much of a role in the struggles between different officer cliques though, so I don't know too much about them) and whatever Tojo was (I've only just gotten to Tojo becoming an important player, so I'm not sure where he fits in - but he initially rose to prominence as someone who was seen as a trustworthy go-between to the different factions it seems). And in the wider population there was a strong pacifist movement and the war was pretty unpopular as far as I can tell.

Or at least, that's what I've found out this early on. I am sure it will grow even more complex as I get a handle on all the ins and outs of things.

fasquardon
 
Even more than common logistics, the Entente are going to need common communications. And not just at the National Command Authority and Army Group levels, but all the way down to at least brigade level, if not battalion and company level. Otherwise, if you're a British forward air controller trying to call in an airstrike on a Soviet tank wave, how are you going to do it if the only squadrons within reach are French ones? Ideally, every officer from battalion level upward should be at least conversational in the opposite language (French for the British and English for the French) along with the signalers, and company-grade officers should at least be able to make a sitrep or call in air and artillery support likewise.

Along with which, the Entente are going to need common training. Even if they're reading from the same hymnal, they'll need to practice it together enough that a French division can slot into a British corps and vice versa (as unlikely as that might be), without having to learn their host's SOP on the fly.
 
Along with which, the Entente are going to need common training. Even if they're reading from the same hymnal, they'll need to practice it together enough that a French division can slot into a British corps and vice versa (as unlikely as that might be), without having to learn their host's SOP on the fly.
This fits into a major political outcome of the war as well - the perception is that the war came about because the British and French allowed themselves to be divided and at odds with one another in the 1930s. A key intent of the postwar settlement is going to be to ensure this never happens again - and integrating the two forces together is one potential way of achieving this. However, it needs to be remembered that both countries also have extensive colonial commitments which will mostly be handled at a purely national level.
 
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