How late could Nazi Germany have turned the tide of war?

Augustus 1939:
It always was and still is my opinion that Nazi Germany was never interested in winning the war. Instead their power structure by 1936 was formed out of power hungry generals who's main idea of ruling was to outdo each other militarily at all cost. So the Nazis in command were never interested in winning the war, just in winning battle after battle after battle. And so, from the moment the first shots were fired Nazi Gemany was doomed to win itself to death.
 
It is actually a good question to raise. However, there are a lot of 'things' that can impact this.

The very first one is of course: Do we anticipate a trajectory as per OTL? In that instance, there are not many options. With Hitler in the driving seat, and behaving as OTL, it is a bit of a dead-end.

But let us try to 'improve' this a bit. The premise is that Hitler is less Hitler!

1) Prevent Dunkirk from happening. Capture BEF and French forces.
Use 350,000 British troops as a bargening chip - somehow
Stalemate at best.

2) Capture Malta and Crete in 1940. Malta would not require the paras. Crete maybe (1940!)

3) No DOW on USA!
This is a near-impossible one. The shooting had already started in the Atlantic.

4) For Nazi-Germany to survive, Barabarossa was probably un-avoidable
Maybe a focus on the oil? Maybe a focus on Moscow? But not a focus on all of it - surely
Only one chance here: stalemate

If 1943 rolls into 1944 and 1945 with nothing really happening, the inertia of fighting kills it all. Somehow, the world might return to 'normal'

Maybe if Hitler dies in 1942 and Goering gets to be the king of the heap?

There are many permutations which can do something for Germany.
 

Geon

Donor
Regarding Russia, we all know Hitler was obsessed with attacking the Soviet Union and defeating Stalin. But, given what I've read here and elsewhere, could Hitler have reasonably delayed Barbarossa allowing more time for his armies to recover from the Balkan campaigns and for Rommel to resolve things in North Africa? Let us set 1942 as a new start date for Barbarossa. Would the delay favor Germany?
 
Regarding Russia, we all know Hitler was obsessed with attacking the Soviet Union and defeating Stalin. But, given what I've read here and elsewhere, could Hitler have reasonably delayed Barbarossa allowing more time for his armies to recover from the Balkan campaigns and for Rommel to resolve things in North Africa? Let us set 1942 as a new start date for Barbarossa. Would the delay favor Germany?
Favorable stuff:
a) You could have a couple more Panzer divisions available, that were refitting after the Balkans.
b) You might be able to improve logistics, i.e building another bridge or two over the Vistula which was a bottleneck OTL.
c) More 50 mm ATGs.

Unfavorable stuff:
a) With more air-power in the med in 41, Tobruk would fall, Malta would be neutralized, might be starved out. Even if Germany figured out the logistics issues to take Alexandria, I doubt if commitments in the area would shrink.
b) USA is likely in, (perhaps Japan might not attack with Russia not neutralized????)
c) Introduction of long barreled Mark III J tank would be delayed without discovery of T34
d) Soviet Union has lots more T34s
 

Philip

Donor
USA is likely in, (perhaps Japan might not attack with Russia not neutralized????)
Japan still needs to secure oil, but perhaps USA elects a Japan-first strategy.

Another disadvantage: Delaying increases the likelihood that the Soviets figure out what's going on.
 
One reason the Germans forged all of those £5 notes, just the thing for cash deals where no one was asking questions. They were very good forgeries too, the Bank of England couldn't work out which were real and which weren't so they added a metal strip in 1945.
I think that was more to undermine Sterling though not to make purchases*.


*although I guess some well placed nazis trying to flee in 1945 probably saw an opportunity!
 
Germany's last real 'chance' to win the war was roughly during the advance to Stalingrad. There was a moment in the advance where the Soviet 5th and 7th armies (i think not looked into it for a while lol) were withdrawing, the 4th Panzer division was supposed to tack south and cut them or at least one army off from the city, but that panzer division was held back by the German commander in the region due to a soviet counter attack that likely would have failed but posed a bit of a threat and thus wasnt worth the risk. This allowed two Soviet armies to withdraw into the city of Stalingrad, whereas had they been unable to do so the Germans would have for all intents and purposes walked into the city almost unopposed and thus seized the riverfront.

Why does this win the Germans the war? Well it may not win the war overall - but it's enough to significantly reduce the soviet fighting capacity, and i mean significantly. Roughly 80% of Soviet oil and thus fuel came from the Caucuses, the problem with the loss of the south/west bank of the Volga and the city of Stalingrad is that suddenly the soviet routes of supply to the front are cut completely. In otl this became such a problem that the soviets would literally load up fuel drums and float them down the river due to fears of the Germans attacking the barges carrying them - lowering the number of barges and reducing their supply capacity. If the bank is lost, the Germans can install artillery to just shell these boats in direct sight - thus the route is cut and despite still owning the Baku oil supplies, they cannot get this oil to where it matters.

As a result the Soviets reasonably quickly become incapable of launching major offensives, combined with the fact that Germany has already now not wasted enormous amounts of resources on trying to take stalingrad as they did in otl. The Soviets would become dependent on oil from two main sources; the US via Vladivostok, and the UK/Allies via Persia. Soviet ability to defend the cut off Caucuses remains limited, and over time German pressure and their determination to get to Baku sees the city fall - this is merely a matter of time. Of course, the Allies will not permit the city to be captured and thus the oil fields will likely be obliterated by the RAF as was planned and several times almost executed during the war in otl.

So in the end, you get a USSR with enormously reduced motorization capabilities forcing them to make foot offensives which are slow and would be open to encirclement and destruction. You have a Germany that doesnt waste an estimated 647-868k men in Stalingrad and thus can still conduct offensives against Leningrad, Moscow etc. Combined you may just see a stalemate in the east that lasts long enough for Germany to do some extra final offensives and seize Moscow a year or so later, and with that you would have an eternal stalemate in which the Soviets have no means to retake the lands they lost, not due to lack of men or material but due to lack of fuel, all because of one tank division. Itrs all very well having loads of T34's, not not great if you cant even use them. Outside of that i've never found a means of the Germans winning the war besides beating the UK in the battle of Britain or starving them out with Submarines.
 
The latest pod I can see is in 1941. Italy does not invade Greece so Germany does not have to intervene. That would let Barbarossa go off a few months earlier.
You mean in winter? Great bad idea.

The Marita-Merkur operation was no great delaying factor. The Heer was not fully ready anyway, and the weather in late spring was worse than usual. Maybe, and I stress maybe, two-three weeks is what the Germans could have spared.
 
I think that was more to undermine Sterling though not to make purchases*.


*although I guess some well placed nazis trying to flee in 1945 probably saw an opportunity!
Notably they used them to pay agents. Though it was a clever way to use "UK currency" to pay foreign companies for services under the table.
 
Why this obsession of the Nazi win the War ?

There were Savages and barbarian idiots,
There Leadership would be ave executed under own race laws
And they gave us the darkest moments of Mankind !

and they dit everything wrong, what you can do wrong:
Battle of Britain is masterpiece in lecture "How you not do Air War against nation".
Attacking a Enemy that's 6 time bigger as own forces with stupid strategy "once Moscow in our hands they surrender", they never read about Napoleon trip to Moscow?
while doing this madness, the Little annoying Austrian declare War to USA !!!
Doing a war with 3 enemies who has far higher Industrial output and manpower, the Nazi cannot bomb because there are to far Away to hit them...
waisting precious resources in zillion Wunderwaffen Projects, while the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and SS fight for last resources needed to fight

There no way the Nazi could won this , even if they had, what you gain ?
A pastiche of Germany build on massgraves of hundert million, murder for a insane ideology !
Monoculture of Blond, blue eyes Germans susceptible to sickness do inbreeding,
Who are lost in cityscape of megalomaniacal architecture, they build drove the Tausend Jährige Reich into bankruptcy...
 
Germany's last real 'chance' to win the war was roughly during the advance to Stalingrad. There was a moment in the advance where the Soviet 5th and 7th armies (i think not looked into it for a while lol) were withdrawing, the 4th Panzer division was supposed to tack south and cut them or at least one army off from the city, but that panzer division was held back by the German commander in the region due to a soviet counter attack that likely would have failed but posed a bit of a threat and thus wasnt worth the risk. This allowed two Soviet armies to withdraw into the city of Stalingrad, whereas had they been unable to do so the Germans would have for all intents and purposes walked into the city almost unopposed and thus seized the riverfront.

Why does this win the Germans the war? Well it may not win the war overall - but it's enough to significantly reduce the soviet fighting capacity, and i mean significantly. Roughly 80% of Soviet oil and thus fuel came from the Caucuses, the problem with the loss of the south/west bank of the Volga and the city of Stalingrad is that suddenly the soviet routes of supply to the front are cut completely. In otl this became such a problem that the soviets would literally load up fuel drums and float them down the river due to fears of the Germans attacking the barges carrying them - lowering the number of barges and reducing their supply capacity. If the bank is lost, the Germans can install artillery to just shell these boats in direct sight - thus the route is cut and despite still owning the Baku oil supplies, they cannot get this oil to where it matters.
First thing, you make this sound as if the Soviets had no choice but to use the Volga for sending their oil to other fronts. That was not the case; in the summer of 1942, they had already begun ferrying oil from Baku to the East side of the Caspian sea (Krasnovodsk), and had this become the only possible route, they would have invested more in that sector. From there, there were rail lines to the North.

Secondly, there is the small matter that through the fall of 1942 the Soviets were not short of reserves. They were husbanding them and building them up for their well known winter comeback. Stalingrad was such a hard-fought siege not because both sides were pouring everything they had into the fray - that applied to the Germans only. The Soviets were fighting a defensive battle with as little strength as they could get away with, so as to build up for their offensive battle, which broke the German back.
Had they had no other choice, they could have fed those reserves into the battle little by little, during the fall. This would have prevented their great winter victory, and probably prolonged their subsequent campaigning; but would have also prevented the fall of Stalingrad.
 
First thing, you make this sound as if the Soviets had no choice but to use the Volga for sending their oil to other fronts. That was not the case; in the summer of 1942, they had already begun ferrying oil from Baku to the East side of the Caspian sea (Krasnovodsk), and had this become the only possible route, they would have invested more in that sector. From there, there were rail lines to the North.

Secondly, there is the small matter that through the fall of 1942 the Soviets were not short of reserves. They were husbanding them and building them up for their well known winter comeback. Stalingrad was such a hard-fought siege not because both sides were pouring everything they had into the fray - that applied to the Germans only. The Soviets were fighting a defensive battle with as little strength as they could get away with, so as to build up for their offensive battle, which broke the German back.
Had they had no other choice, they could have fed those reserves into the battle little by little, during the fall. This would have prevented their great winter victory, and probably prolonged their subsequent campaigning; but would have also prevented the fall of Stalingrad.
Indeed, thus why my view is that this could have been a time when the Germans may have been able to come out on top if things fell into place correctly. Realistically though even in this case, as you mention, it is unlikely that the Germans could have turned around the campaign as reserves would have been prioritized by the Soviets towards the recapturing of Stalingrad in a similar manner to how it happened in OTL.

Only two points of hesitation to your case I would suggest are that without the significant losses drawing in greater numbers of German troops and equipment to the city itself throughout 1942, unlike OTL the Stalingrad Front's flanks would be less likely to be sparsely defended or held by other Axis allies such as Romania, Hungary, Italy or Bulgaria. German forces would likely have been able to more effectively defend against a potential Operation Uranus or equivalent. This would be especially the case if the city had been taken earlier and there was zero fighting on the west bank of the Volga as defending the river, assuming the bridges were destroyed, would require far far less forces than other points on the river outside of the city. It is likely that the city itself would be held by a a fraction of the troops that even took the city in the first place ittl. This makes an offensive harder, not to mention it took over three months to prepare the otl Operation Uranus with fighting in the city and with access to oil retained.

Second point is that as you say the Soviets would have been forced to develop somewhere like Krasnovodsk to permit oil transport to Khazakhstan. This is of course a logical solution, but while on paper this may seem simple to do short term in practice this would be a mean task. First of all the port itself would need expanding significantly as the port was and still is tiny iotl. Secondly, as you can see in the map below a direct rail line would have to be constructed, or rail infrastructure along the longer pre-existing line would have to be greatly expanded to permit greater capacity. In either case this is many, many months of work in conditions that are harsh and in some places very difficult to maintain large workforces - thus this process would be slow and difficult, again delaying any potential advance.

You are right, this one change would more than likely still lead to little different of an outcome except the lack of nearly two million dead on the two sides in the city itself and the sixth army not entirely being surrounded around the city. The logical approach for Soviet High Command would be to attack the city asap to recover that route of oil supply, and im sure they would. However their ability to attack would be impeded, their defences they would be facing would be stronger and it would likely be a make-or-break attack. So essentially I agree, however I dont think it's as clear cut or assured of an outcome as you make out and I maintain that this is the most logical and insignificant change needed to give the Nazis a significantly increased chance of 'winning' in the east even if winning in this scenario is simply a stalemate.

 

Geon

Donor
Why this obsession of the Nazi win the War ?

There were Savages and barbarian idiots,
There Leadership would be ave executed under own race laws
And they gave us the darkest moments of Mankind !

and they dit everything wrong, what you can do wrong:
Battle of Britain is masterpiece in lecture "How you not do Air War against nation".
Attacking a Enemy that's 6 time bigger as own forces with stupid strategy "once Moscow in our hands they surrender", they never read about Napoleon trip to Moscow?
while doing this madness, the Little annoying Austrian declare War to USA !!!
Doing a war with 3 enemies who has far higher Industrial output and manpower, the Nazi cannot bomb because there are to far Away to hit them...
waisting precious resources in zillion Wunderwaffen Projects, while the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and SS fight for last resources needed to fight

There no way the Nazi could won this , even if they had, what you gain ?
A pastiche of Germany build on massgraves of hundert million, murder for a insane ideology !
Monoculture of Blond, blue eyes Germans susceptible to sickness do inbreeding,
Who are lost in cityscape of megalomaniacal architecture, they build drove the Tausend Jährige Reich into bankruptcy...
Michel no one is denying that the Nazis were monsters. The frightening thing about World War II was that the Nazis got as far as they did and under the right circumstances could have gone farther! Calbear's excellent TL/Story Anglo-American Nazi War shows just how bad it could have been.

Remember, that alternate history explores the what-might-have-beens; the good, the bad and the ugly. Do we agree Hitler was a psychotic, I think that goes without saying. But he was a gambler that more often then not for the first years of the war won more then he lost.

The consensus I have seen on most threads that discuss a Nazi victory say the Nazis were doomed from the moment they invaded Poland in 1939. But was this true?
 
Why this obsession of the Nazi win the War ?
Well allegedly its more interesting because they lost historically and of course there's all the postwar mythology built up by surviving members of the Wehrmacht and Albert Speer about how they could have won if only Hitler hadn't interfered in X. There's also this odd belief that the Wehrmacht was actually the superhuman fighting force its propaganda made it out to be, so obviously it can't have been the efforts of the millions of Allied soldiers who fought and died that stopped them, it must have been some accident or mistake. The reality that Nazi Germany was run by characters who had more in common with 'Jojo Rabbit' than 'Triumph of the Will' seems to elude a lot of people.
 
He could've been kicked out if they had taken Egypt, Gibraltar and Malta.
They couldn’t take Egypt and probably not Gibraltar either. At least not with a neutral Spain. Malta is possible though.

The Germans could have won as late as 1941. Stalin was willing to make peace with them when it looked like Barbarossa was a sweeping success. The Germans couldn’t invade Britain, but the British can’t do much to them without the intervention of the Soviet Union and the United States. They’d probably have to come to the table eventually.
 
They couldn’t take Egypt and probably not Gibraltar either. At least not with a neutral Spain. Malta is possible though.

The Germans could have won as late as 1941. Stalin was willing to make peace with them when it looked like Barbarossa was a sweeping success. The Germans couldn’t invade Britain, but the British can’t do much to them without the intervention of the Soviet Union and the United States. They’d probably have to come to the table eventually.
I doubt that.

First thing, the United States have already intervened by late 1941. There's a shooting war going on in the Northern Atlantic, with USN warships being sunk or damaged, USN personnel being killed. If Britain doggedly remains in the war, then there are convoys escorted by the USN out there, more and more convoys, and more and more torpedoes, and eventually the U-Boote sink one USN destroyer too many and the Administration has enough votes for the DoW. Or maybe the USN sinks a German submarine, Hitler throws a fit and he's the one, obligingly, to declare. Either way, Pearl or no Pearl, and whatever happens on the Eastern Front, the USA are officially in the war by mid-1942.

Secondly, I don't know that Stalin would make peace in 1941, but assuming (and it's an unplausible assumption), the two sides do manage to reach a compromise that neither finds impossible, it's a short truce at most, during which both sides keep sharpening their knives.

The Germans might win by 1941, in the East, by managing the classic proposal of the straight-thrust-on-Moscow. I've never been convinced that this might work, actually, but it's the best bet they have. Then they'd need to try to defeat Britain (meaning, defeat the British willingness to keep fighting) without dragging the USA into the war. But considering what's going to happen in Pearl no matter what has happened in Moscow, the Germans are still canned.
 
I doubt that.

First thing, the United States have already intervened by late 1941. There's a shooting war going on in the Northern Atlantic, with USN warships being sunk or damaged, USN personnel being killed. If Britain doggedly remains in the war, then there are convoys escorted by the USN out there, more and more convoys, and more and more torpedoes, and eventually the U-Boote sink one USN destroyer too many and the Administration has enough votes for the DoW. Or maybe the USN sinks a German submarine, Hitler throws a fit and he's the one, obligingly, to declare. Either way, Pearl or no Pearl, and whatever happens on the Eastern Front, the USA are officially in the war by mid-1942.

Secondly, I don't know that Stalin would make peace in 1941, but assuming (and it's an unplausible assumption), the two sides do manage to reach a compromise that neither finds impossible, it's a short truce at most, during which both sides keep sharpening their knives.

The Germans might win by 1941, in the East, by managing the classic proposal of the straight-thrust-on-Moscow. I've never been convinced that this might work, actually, but it's the best bet they have. Then they'd need to try to defeat Britain (meaning, defeat the British willingness to keep fighting) without dragging the USA into the war. But considering what's going to happen in Pearl no matter what has happened in Moscow, the Germans are still canned.
1942 isn’t relevant here. I’ve already said that 1941 is the latest that they can win. The United States declared war in December of 1941 and their first time coming to blows with Germans was in 1943. I was talking about a Brest Litovsk style peace in 1941. Stalin might want revenge, but he’s far to cautious to risk fighting the Germans again after the 1941 campaign and Britain and America successfully landing in France without the Eastern Front wearing the Germans down is highly questionable.
 
I think Germany never should have got involved with Japan. They were too far away to assist each other in any significant capacity.
Also, Germany had plenty of business interests in China. They could have kept up the civilian business contracts with China while not opening picking a side in the China-Japan war. (Covert weapons shipments could continue???)
that would draw US attention away from Nazi Germany and after OP Barbarossa, Japan would still attack Pearl Harbor. They only needed assurances that the USSR wasn't going to crush them in Manchuria.
A Japan-first policy would give Germany a better chance at winning a Limited Victory.
 
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