Det som går ned må komme opp-An Alternate Royal Norwegian Navy TL

It is very noble from London, Paris, Oslo and Moscow to be this nice to Finland, but I am quite sceptical about the feasibility and realism of it all.
Yes but the Norwegians are the only allies to actually have won much so far in the war so might carry a lot of influence over such a secondary matter since USSR is fighting for its life and needs western LL, mostly coming via the Norwegian coast north?

I think the fact that Norway has won will be very important in the allied pecking order as even if logically they had a far easier time behind water they will be seen as winners unlike most of the rest of allies to date to celebrate in every propaganda film so far......
 
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So the Western Allies have decided to go all out to help little Finland vis-a-vis both the USSR and Germany? And this has led to the Soviets abandoning their hard-fought Winter War gains pretty much entirely?

It is very noble for the British, the French, the Norwegians and the Soviets to be this nice to Finland, but I am quite sceptical about the feasibility and realism of it all.
The Soviets currently look like they will be out of the war by the end of the year at this rate, and a Finnish front would make the situation worse
 
To be fair it means that the Soviets can redirect forces to fight the Germans and moreover they can use Finland as railroad route for lend-lease via Narvik. Accordingly Leningrad won't be nearly as cut off as otl and given how many lives that will save, that's no small feat
There's no railway from Narvik to Finland, unless that lend-lease is sent through Sweden on the Iron Ore Railway. And still there would be the break of gauge on the border. Otherwise, any overland traffic from Norway to Finland will run through Arctic gravel roads.

It will be much more useful to just take that shipping directly to Murmansk.


*Algiers, the French government has relocated there while Paris is occupied.
Good point. I fixed my post.

The Soviets currently look like they will be out of the war by the end of the year at this rate, and a Finnish front would make the situation worse
Have the Allies been supporting Finland with enough food and fuel to keep the country going since the summer of 1940, and have they been sending significant amounts of weapons to the Finns as well? Did they also manage to convince Stalin to stop violating Finland's sovereignty in various ways through 1940 and 1941? IMO this is what they would have needed to do to avoid an OTL-style rapprochement between Finland and Germany, which pushed Finland to the German orbit during the last half of 1940.
 
Have the Allies been supporting Finland with enough food and fuel to keep the country going since the summer of 1940, and have they been sending significant amounts of weapons to the Finns as well? Did they also manage to convince Stalin to stop violating Finland's sovereignty in various ways through 1940 and 1941? IMO this is what they would have needed to do to avoid an OTL-style rapprochement between Finland and Germany, which pushed Finland to the German orbit during the last half of 1940.
I’ve always been under the impression from my research that the Finns were pushed towards Germany mainly because they had essentially lost all contact with the outside world when Norway fell, but TTL Norway is still free. The influence from the western governments is therefore stronger compared to OTL so Finland isn’t pushed towards Germany as hard, which is enough for them to hesitate about entering the war long enough for the Allies to offer them the territory they lost in the Winter War along with a more than fair sum of reparations, which was enough for Finland to stay neutral, though they certainly aren’t on good terms with the Soviets.
 

Driftless

Donor
So the Western Allies have decided to go all out to help little Finland vis-a-vis both the USSR and Germany? And this has led to the Soviets abandoning their hard-fought Winter War gains pretty much entirely?

It is very noble for the British, the French, the Norwegians and the Soviets to be this nice to Finland, but I am quite sceptical about the feasibility and realism of it all.
I could see the Soviets hitting the metaphorical"pause button" with Finland, to concentrate on the unfolding disaster of the early Barbarossa. Stalin may think he can wrap up Finland later. Deal with the more existential threat south of Leningrad first
 
So the Western Allies have decided to go all out to help little Finland vis-a-vis both the USSR and Germany? And this has led to the Soviets abandoning their hard-fought Winter War gains pretty much entirely?

It is very noble for the British, the French, the Norwegians and the Soviets to be this nice to Finland, but I am quite sceptical about the feasibility and realism of it all.
But realistically if Norway is fighting Finland would Ben more prone to stay neutral and well Soviets, already in trouble could be willing to return at least something. Here it was but more. ;)
 
What would it take to build a railroad from Narvik to Murmansk? Couldn't this be started under Lend-Lease by sending some "contractors" who would just happen to be Army Reservists in the form of three or four Engineer battalions...
 
What would it take to build a railroad from Narvik to Murmansk? Couldn't this be started under Lend-Lease by sending some "contractors" who would just happen to be Army Reservists in the form of three or four Engineer battalions...
Why? It would be easiest to continue the Narvik line through Helsinki to Leningrad. Less marshy ground, fewer bridges.
 
What would it take to build a railroad from Narvik to Murmansk? Couldn't this be started under Lend-Lease by sending some "contractors" who would just happen to be Army Reservists in the form of three or four Engineer battalions...
That's a direct distance of more than 600 km, and getting rail around obstacles like the Swedish border or mountains will likely quadruple that distance—Google Maps shows it's about 1200 km by road, but trains aren't good at climbing elevation. You'll likely want to hug the northern coast anyways for easier access to alternate ports in case. Norway and Russia seem to use different gauges, so there will also have to be consideration about dual gauging.

Why? It would be easiest to continue the Narvik line through Helsinki to Leningrad. Less marshy ground, fewer bridges.
More risk of getting swamped by the advancing front line or bombers, and I'm assuming the Finns aren't to keen on letting the Allies supply their former enemy through their railway. It has to be new, since there don't seem to be rail lines from Norway to Russia without passing Sweden or Finland.


Just my $0.02. One of the rail experts on the website might give an actually informed opinion.
 
What would it take to build a railroad from Narvik to Murmansk? Couldn't this be started under Lend-Lease by sending some "contractors" who would just happen to be Army Reservists in the form of three or four Engineer battalions...
What would be the point? Ships going to Murmansk , unlike OTL will be able to hug the coast, stay under friendly air cover all the way and not have to worry about the KM sortieing from Norway. Air attack would be impossible , surface attack almost impossible and submarines will have great difficulty surviving long enough to close with a convoy.

It would take in any case too long to build, not the best terrain or weather. Even upgrading existing links would be more about getting supplies to Sweden|Finland without using the Baltic than to Russia.
 
That's a direct distance of more than 600 km, and getting rail around obstacles like the Swedish border or mountains will likely quadruple that distance—Google Maps shows it's about 1200 km by road, but trains aren't good at climbing elevation. You'll likely want to hug the northern coast anyways for easier access to alternate ports in case. Norway and Russia seem to use different gauges, so there will also have to be consideration about dual gauging.


More risk of getting swamped by the advancing front line or bombers, and I'm assuming the Finns aren't to keen on letting the Allies supply their former enemy through their railway. It has to be new, since there don't seem to be rail lines from Norway to Russia without passing Sweden or Finland.


Just my $0.02. One of the rail experts on the website might give an actually informed opinion.
No way of going direct and no links from Finland directly to Norway ( even if one were built, Finland uses Russian gauge ). Trains already would run to Sweden which has a break of gauge to Russia but that's already handled at the border.
 
How likely are the Soviets to actually return territory to Finland post ww2?
They already have, part of the reason the Treaty was so enticing was that the Finns got their land back ASAP, though I’m thinking the Soviets would still get electricity from the Vyborg area and maybe be allowed a mining company near Petsamo.
 
Or, would the French be forced to sideline some vessels and cannibalize them just for parts and ammunition stores? Though, don't some munitions have relatively short "shelf life" in hot climates?
In OTL, the USA made 15" shells for the French. That's the beauty of American industry. "One off ship needs special ammunition? NO PROBLEM--how much do you need?"
Not quite THAT easy, but ammo's not a problem.
It is very noble for the British, the French, the Norwegians and the Soviets to be this nice to Finland, but I am quite sceptical about the feasibility and realism of it al
Churchill doesn't like the Soviets, but made a favorable reference to the devil. Finland neutral has some GOOD advantages for the USSR as well as Britain and France. (It could also be used to make some propaganda hay in the USA...)

Norway's heavy water might not end up on the bottom, but in Britain.

Keep this coming.
 
I’ve always been under the impression from my research that the Finns were pushed towards Germany mainly because they had essentially lost all contact with the outside world when Norway fell, but TTL Norway is still free. The influence from the western governments is therefore stronger compared to OTL so Finland isn’t pushed towards Germany as hard, which is enough for them to hesitate about entering the war long enough for the Allies to offer them the territory they lost in the Winter War along with a more than fair sum of reparations, which was enough for Finland to stay neutral, though they certainly aren’t on good terms with the Soviets.
I think you are partly right.

IOTL, by the summer of 1940 Finland was very isolated and thus saw Germany as the only realistic source for help against the Soviets, who were continuously acting aggressively towards the country. In the case of Norway avoiding German occupation an joining the Allies, Finland's position would be better. But it would still be very precarious. The USSR is still a clear and present danger (hence the need for sizable weapons purchases, etc), and Finland's foreign trade is still mostly potentially blocked by the Germans who control the southern Baltic Sea and Denmark. The great majority of all Finnish exports and imports has always run through the Baltic Sea, from and into the major ports on the Gulf of Finland and in the southwest near Åland, especially. Comparatively, transporting anything in major numbers through Petsamo and overland through Sweden and Norway is much more difficult and expensive.

IOTL, there was a huge effort to use Petsamo for foreign trade in 1940-41, and even though major resources were given to that project (which included using a major percentage of all the trucks in Finland to run goods down from the harbour of Liinahamari to the railhead at Rovaniemi, 530 km one way). During its year of running between spring 1940 and spring 1941, 340 000 tons of goods were imported through Petsamo, at great effort and expense. Impressive? Perhaps. But even with the port of Liinahamari operating at its maximum capacity, that number of goods only amounted to under 25% of all Finnish imports prewar in the year of 1938.

Meanwhile, in the Winter War, Finland had lost some of its best farmland in Karelia, and the main trade port of Viipuri/Uuras. The country had been just barely self-sufficient in terms of food prewar, now it was in a position where it would need significant food imports just to avoid starvation. Serious shortages in fuels and fertilizers were also projected to follow soon, which would then work to shrink the upcoming harvest in 1941 as well. And so on. This all was well known by the Finnish government by the summer of 1940.

In these conditions, in 1940 Finland can't afford to wait in the sidelines to see how the wind blows. It will need political and material support against the USSR, and it will need major food, etc, imports soon to ward off famine by 1941. And this is why I am asking if the Allies have been ready to practically go all in to support Finland with weapons, fuels and food, etc, in major numbers, already from the summer of 1940. If they are not, the Finns will turn to the Germans in the fall of 1940, like they did IOTL, practically out of desperation. Supplying Finland all the goods it needs will be much more demanding through the north, especially if the Swedish put any restrictions on using their territory, roads and railways (in the name of neutrality and in view of likely German and Soviet protests), than it would be through the Baltic Sea. Norway and the Allies would then really have to commit to the effort to help Finland, and I am traditionally sceptical of them being ready to do this in the conditions of summer-fall 1940 if metropolitan France has just recently fallen to the Germans, and when the Allies have much more important priorities than Finland, also at a time when the Soviets are still de facto in league with Nazi Germany.

So, in short, while I believe that the Allies could keep Finland out of the German camp in 1940-41 if Norway is unoccupied and Allied, I consider it unlikely that they would be in the event ready to commit to the effort strongly enough and early enough, in view of the practical difficulties involved and also against expected Soviet diplomatic protests, to avoid the Germans striking first with their promises of significant support to Finland, and with actual shipments of grain to southern Finnish ports to prove that they are good with their word.
 
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