A Storm of Steel and Fire (an alternate WW2 history) by Tanner151, reposted by miner249er for story only thread Link to discussion thread NOTE: Some of these things, especially at the beginning will be factual or similar to what happened historically. When you see the symbol (*) that means I am making an editorial note to pretty much give an FYI. If you have any questions ask away. What if the Second World War had gone a different way? What if the Second World War we know about did not happen the way it did? Now there are 3 major POD (point(s) of divergence) in this overall story, 2 of which I will talk about this chapter: Chapter One: Introduction 1- In February 1934 German colonel Erich von Manstein is transferred to Berlin to be chief of staff of the Wehrkrieskommando III. While in Berlin he writes up a military memorandum called: Defense of the Reich against Western Aggression; he writes this because he knows the greatest threat to Germany in any future war would be France and Britain at least initially (the Soviet Union is not included because the USSR does not border Germany, Poland and the Baltic States separate them). This military memorandum called for fixed fortifications on the border between Germany and France that while not as powerful as the French Maginot Line it would still be formidable; it will be called the Westwall. It calls for an in-depth defense system and extensive bunker/underground facilities not unlike the Maginot Line but on a much smaller scale. To make this proposed Westwall a reality and constructed in a reasonable time the construction would focus on the French-German border; the Swiss-German, Belgian-German and Dutch-German borders would have much lighter defenses. The German Army would man these defenses once they are completed. As the memorandum is published it is largely unknown throughout much of the German Army throughout 1934 and 1935 due to its lack of high ranking support and was unrealistic at the time it was written. The German industry was not up for something that massive and the Rhineland (the area that bordered Germany and France) was demilitarized. The report went onto a shelf in Berlin where von Manstein himself did not think much would come of it. The Manstein Memorandum, as it will soon be called, is ignored until mid 1936 when German Generals Ludwig Beck, von Brauchitsch and von Rundstedt discover it circulating among low ranking officers and decide to read it. The only reason they read it is that the recent Re-militarization of the Rhineland was a complete success, to the shock of almost everyone in Germany except Hitler and a few fanatical Nazis. The French and the British did nothing to stop them. The Manstein Memorandum was now looking realistic. Within weeks these generals spread it to dozens of others of generals and to scores of other high ranking officers. By July of 1936 it had reached Hitler himself. The next day Hitler calls a meeting of the General Staff to discuss the memorandum. Many support it stating that Germany is still too weak to wage war and that Germany is vulnerable until that time. Most of the General Staff thinks that France and Britain are the biggest threat to Germany at this time and that a moderate defense network in western Germany will discourage Entente (France and Britain) attacks. Hitler calls von Manstein to the Ministry of War to discuss his memorandum with Hitler, War Minister von Blomberg and the rest of the General Staff. After von Manstein discussed it with them after many hours Hitler, who was against building an extensive border fortification because this would interrupt resources and funds he would rather spend on the Heer (Army), the Luftwaffe (Air Force) and the Kriegsmarine (Navy), does see the benefit of the Westwall due to the strong support the Memorandum garnered from the General Staff and authorizes its construction to begin in early 1937. The 1934 version of the Manstein Memorandum was out of date and for the next three weeks scores of generals and hundreds of other officers edited it, suggesting sometimes good ideas which were incorporated and sometimes bad ideas which were dropped. By late August, 1936 the Manstein Memorandum had the same core concepts but also added an extensive AA (anti-aircraft) component along with a huge network of AA guns throughout Germany, particularly western and northern Germany. The AA weapons would have inter-connected fields of fire to continually have Entente bombers under fire. Also added to the revised Memorandum was the assistance of the Luftwaffe. Hermann Göring, commander of the Luftwaffe, was unimpressed by the Westwall but was convinced, after much argument, to incorporate Luftwaffe fighter squadrons into the Westwall defense grid to better protect Germany from Entente bombers and fighters. He was convinced by General Walther Wever to have the Luftwaffe and the Heer (Army) work together instead of independently as was the original plan. In early 1937 the Westwall began construction at a fast pace with the Reich Labor Service doing much of the construction along with construction firms. The Westwall is not planned to be finished until mid 1942 at current construction speed. *The Manstein Memorandum is a fictional piece of military planning created by von Manstein in early 1934. His posting to Berlin at the time is factual and is convenient for the memorandum to be within easy reach of high ranking German officers. The reason Hitler, albeit reluctantly, and the General Staff push for the Westwall was that at the time it was revised/rewritten and became wider known throughout the Wehrmacht (German Armed Forces) the German military was still small and weak. In OTL the Westwall was started in 1938 and was all along the western German border and was mainly used as a propaganda tool. But in this ATL the fictional Manstein Memorandum is created in 1934, revised and then accepted in 1936 with construction of the Westwall beginning in early 1937 and focused almost entirely on the French-German border to make the defenses there better and in more depth. Virtually no defenses are made on the Swiss-German border or on the Dutch-German border but the Belgian/Luxembourg-German borders have moderate defenses but not nearly the scale of the defenses being built further south against France. The reason the German High Command focuses on this area is that France is the main enemy bordering Germany. Belgium may or may not become an enemy, Switzerland and the Netherlands are probably neutral for the foreseeable future so the Westwall being built in 1937 once completed will be much better and extensive than the one in OTL but is still not as strong as the Maginot Line but is still quite formidable. In OTL the French were afraid to attack the 1939/1940 Westwall despite that it was not nearly as powerful as the Nazis claimed it was, in this ATL the Westwall actually is formidable and with more funds and a full year more construction will intimidate the French much more. Also the German Army is testing a new kind of warfare: blitzkrieg. But as of early 1937 it is just training and creating doctrine for it. No one knows if it will actually work as planned so that’s why the Westwall gets the attention it does, it’s a fail safe against Entente aggression if blitzkrieg does not work. 2- Luftwaffe General Walther Wever does not die in a plane crash on June 3rd, 1936. A mechanic double checked his plane before takeoff and disabled the aileron gust locks that would have caused his plane to stall and crash, which it did in OTL. In this ATL Walther Wever does not die and remains one of the highest ranking Luftwaffe generals and just as importantly his push for a German strategic bomber (Ural Bomber Program) continues. By 1938 his efforts bear fruit when two prototypes are made: the Junkers Ju 89 and the Dornier Do 19. After extensive testing the Ju 89 is considered the better of the two planes due to faster speed, longer range, smaller crew than the Dornier Do 19 (if the Ju 89 was shot down Germany only loses 5 men however if the Dornier Do 19 was shot down the Germans would lose ten men), and the Ju 89 bombing payload is similar to the Dornier Do 19. The Ju 89 will enter mass production in early 1939. Walther Wever being alive means that the Luftwaffe has a long range, strategic bombing force and while Walther Wever is the leading proponent of the Ural Bomber Program he does recognize that the fighter wings of Germany will be the key of defense against Entente bombing and ruthlessly supports the Westwall and is able to convince Göring that the Luftwaffe needs to contribute to the Westwall in terms of trained AA teams and dozens of fighter squadrons. Wever also supports the revised Memorandum’s call for a much more expanded AA defense system throughout Germany particularly western and northern Germany. *Walther Wever’s death in 1936 may not seem significant but with him died Germany’s hope of strategic bombing. While the German tactical bombers (Dornier Do 17 “Flying Pencils”, Junkers Ju 88 and the Heinkel 111) did do great strides is helping German infantry advance in OTL’s 1939-1942 blitzkriegs the bombers did not have any great range which caused the Allies, particularly the Soviets and later the Americans, to out produce Germany due to little damage on their factories that were simply out of range. And the Ju 89 being mass produced does not mean that the Luftwaffe receives a larger budget which would cut into budgets of the Army or the Westwall. No in this ATL the budget is the same as it was in OTL just that the new Ju 89s are being built at the expense of the medium bombers. So Germany will have less medium bombers and dive bombers (Junker Ju 87 “Stuka”) but will have a respectable force of strategic bombers. So while less Do 17s, Junkers Ju 88s and Heinkel 111s are being built they still outnumber the Ju 89 by a large margin. The Luftwaffe fighter strength remains the same. The reason I keep Wever alive is not only for Germany to get a moderate sized force of strategic bombers but it is more of his power in the Luftwaffe. Yes at this time Göring is in high favor with Hitler and is considered a successor if Hitler died now but Wever will have great influence in the Luftwaffe and while he is the leading advocate for strategic bombing I believe that Wever can recognize when fighters are needed more than bombers and will have the leverage and political clout to push for more fighters. Adolf Galland tried to make Göring push for more fighters to defend Germany due to Germany as of 1943 could not launch successful offensives and the Allied bombing campaign was picking up. Galland tried to convince Göring to stop making bombers and make only fighters, I believe he told Göring this in sometime during 1942 but it wasn't until mid/late 1943 when Göring finally relented and canceled much of bomber production. So in this timeline Wever is alive and over the years since 1936 he has grown in importance and is one of the most powerful men in the Luftwaffe. He will play a larger role later on. There you are. Two of my three major PODs. 1-The Westwall and other defensive systems being started with more vigor and resources in 1937 in contrast to OTL where it was started in 1938 and was more powerful on paper than anything. 2- Walther Wever does not die in a plane crash. While his dream of strategic bombers does bear fruit in the Junkers Ju 89 that is not the main reason I keep him alive. He will play a much more important role when the Second World War begins and when the 3rd and most important POD occurs (It will be in Chapter 2). This is only the beginning. Hello, everyone. My name is Tanner and I am a HUGE fan of alternate history. This will be the beginning of series that I will update and change post-launch. The support will mainly be fixing grammatical errors and story inconsistencies. So if you see those please point them out and I will fix them. Thank you. This is a work of fiction and is just an interesting way WW2 could have gone. I am not stating that this should have happened but only that this scenario that I have started has not been done before (to my knowledge). I do realize I am stretching some things and is some instances (throughout the story) making it completely false but I am trying to make an interesting alternate timeline. Yes this first chapter did not do much, but Chapter 2 will be much better and action packed. Just have to wait until I finish it. Stay tuned. Also I do appreciate constructive criticism but outright rudeness I will not respond to. Yes there will be faults and inaccuracies but this is a "what if" not a serious military and political examination that requires a 100% accuracy.