Keynes' Cruisers Volume 2

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by fester, Sep 13, 2018.

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  1. Killer in Well-Known Member

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    Also the fighting in Greece means a friendly population who will know all the narrow routes past the mountains. Held up a MG-42, no worries the farmer youve met knows 6 different routes to get behind it.
     
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  2. Lascaris Well-Known Member

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    The Free French army in 1943 organised 8 divisions with 260,000 men with a 20% overhead in manpower allowed for replacements, call it roughly 40,000 men per divisional slot. If the freed territory amounts to Greece below Thessaly, that including the Dodecanese amounts to roughly 4-4.2 million people. Assuming 10 classes being mobilised with 5 more slotted for replacements, service troops, navy, air force and the like you get about 286,000 men for the field army. That's about 9 divisions, plus odds and ends (91 battalions to 83 Free French). This probably includes a dedicated mountain division, or 2-regiment brigade from the Euzone regiments recruited in central Greece (5/42 and 2/39 the other two 3/40 and 1/38 were recruiting from Epirus and Thessaly respectively so may or may not be immediately available )
     
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  3. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    Also we may see the Yugoslavs rise up more as well - getting supplies to the Axis forces in Greece and any subsequent 'front' might become problematic (read French communication verse Spanish Guerrilla during the Peninsular war level of problematic )

    Then with the Axis grip on the region suddenly very much loosened - what does Turkey do?

    That is the potential for many millions of fighting men - vastly improved communication with the Soviet Union and of course increasing the German Front line without seriously draining the ultimate efforts of teh western powers to ultimately invade France

    When you start to analyse things like this it is easy to understand Churchills fascination with the region
     
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  4. Lascaris Well-Known Member

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    Mihailovic will be certainly put in a bind here. With allied landings in Greece, this is the time he was supposed to be waiting for. So either he puts the Chetniks in action messing up German communications through Serbia or he is forfeit.

    Turkey I'm less sure while Germany can still be and will be a pain. What do they stand to gain from joining the war? Getting back an allied Greece to their west happens even if they do not fire a shot. Territorial concessions, they've already got Alexandreta in 1939, the Dodecanese (and quite probably Cyprus too) are going to Greece. Are the allies willing to take territory from Bulgaria for her role in the war? Not that much in OTL but it's possible. Hence no reason for Turkey to hurry till the Aegean is fully open. But when it gets fully open her participation is worth less for the allies.
     
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  5. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    Even if it is opening up the Dardanelles and Turkish LOC to the Allies that has to be a net positive

    As it was Turkey joined the Allies in Feb 45 - although no troops saw active service - I can see that date being much earlier ITTL
     
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  6. dmg86 Well-Known Member

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    Part of Turkey's requests for joining the war was reequipping their army maybe here the allies are more receptive?
     
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  7. jsb Well-Known Member

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    Less joining the war and more convoying unarmed "neutral"/Turkish merchants from off shore of Izmir to off shore of Trabzon via the Istanbul under heavy ASW/AA escort of the Turkish navy, ignoring that they are really reflaged US LL ships to the Soviets as Turkey gets her agreed % cut of the cargo as compensation (say equivalent to 20% of the successfully delivered cargo?). Even if the LL is limited to none lethal cargoes at first like that to Vladivostok past the IJN.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019 at 9:14 AM
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  8. Aristomenes Lord Of Morea

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    The numbers for Greece are highly unlikable, at least in the short term. Don't forget that the population in Greece suffered by severe malnutrition during the Axis occupation. There were 300.000 deaths only from famine! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Famine_(Greece)
    http://www.occupation-memories.org/en/deutsche-okkupation/ergebnisse-des-terrors/index.html
    I can see no way such a malnutritioned population would be able to provide 286.000 men for the field army, the top would be around 150.000-180.000 men.
     
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  9. Paulo the Limey Well-Known Member

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    It would be interesting to see how those figures split down by year, as I suspect a lot could be towards the end of the OTL war. The situation could be better at this point, especially given the continuing occupation of Crete.
     
  10. Lascaris Well-Known Member

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    In 1934 available army manpower was 660,000 (Βλάσσης, Οι εξοπλισμοί της Ελλάδας 1936-40) with a population of 6,727 million and the then army under Katheniotis planned on mobilizing about 600,000 out of them (this was then altered down by Papagos between lack of arms and the removal of republican officers from the force in 1935). By 1940 the population was up to 7,345 million with available army manpower, I'd estimate around 710,000 and each new class at roughly 50,000 recruits every year (one notes that right before the German invasion army was at 500,000 with another 50,000 recruits of the 1941 class under training, sources same and Σαζανίδης, Τα όπλα των Ελλήνων).

    So lets do the math. A liberated Greece consisting of the Peloponnese, Central Greece, Crete and the Aegean islands amounts to about 4.2 million people. That's about 412,000 men available to mobilize. I've actually allowed for a 20% overhead for each division slot, since the US planners would require that as they did with the French and an additional 20% on top of that to allow for losses from all reasons during the occupation or other requirements. So I'd say that my estimation is rather on the conservative end if anything as far as manpower goes. Availability of arms and shipping to move them to Greece is a different question. But again the US production in 1943 allowed included equipment for 16 divisions on top of the ones that were being mobilized, which is the pool from where the French divisions got armed (source US army CMH, Rearming the French). Subtract the 8 French divisions you still have enough equipment for another 8 in addition to the 2 already armed by the British.
     
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  11. formion Well-Known Member

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    I am not so sure Aristomenes. In 1944 ELAS fielded 50.000 partizans and EDES 10.000. The resistance groups had barely any food to spare, a much smaller population base,and still they managed 60.000 volunteers amidst a brutal occupation. A year of feeding in corned beef, while retraining can do miracles. I have the example of Anders' Army in mind.
    The Poles were relesead form Gulags. travelled thousands of kilometers and about 1 year later formed the Polish 2nd Corps.

    Edit: Just saw the message above. @Lascaris I think fester has posted that production in the US and overall mobilization are ahead of the OTL one. We have seen the US Army having more divisions ready in Europe, I think almost in the OTL 1944 levels. Moreover, the Commonwealth never had the disasters in mainland Greece, Crete, Tobruk and SE Asia where a great quantity of material was lost and had to be replaced. So, it seems that equipment is not the most important bottleneck.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019 at 2:13 PM
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  12. Errolwi Well-Known Member

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    Sure. Not saying that it's implausible, just that there are multiple arguments against. I also imagine there is a shortage of staff-trained SA's, especially to manage a big Corps. So if the Brits have to lend them, and the Kiwis are moaning, there is a reasonably easy way to decrease the noise. Freyberg probably still doesn't trust any of his Brigadiers to take over the NZ Division, so isn't promoted away to command some random Brit Corps.

    BTW, one of Fester's earlier posts discussing supplying allied forces
    https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...uisers-volume-2.451883/page-134#post-18568041
     
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  13. Palantir Well-Known Member

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    Your calculation gives us a rough maximum for the Greek forces.
    I can't see the Greek Army having more than four first line divisions plus one or two brigade; and a similar amount of forces in territorial divisions, without any heavy weapons, used as security and labor in the rear area.

    I suppose that because the Greek/Balkan show is mostly a British show, the Greeks will use the British TOE and equipment. It will reduce the strain on the logistic.
     
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  14. formion Well-Known Member

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    Why?
    What is the reason to have security territorial divisions in rear areas? Have in mind this is not Italy, that in OTL was torn between Benny in the north and the royalist government in the south. This is an Allied nation, not fascist Italy to be afraid of a rising behind the front. The other reason for security territorial divisions would be the threat of a massive fallschirmjäger drop behind enemy lines as a prerequisite of a german assault. Would any rational officer thing that as a threat in summer or automn 1944? I sincerely doubt it.

    What would be the reason to have territorial divisions as labor units? I find it a wastage to have 20-30 year old men, most of whom veterans from the Greco-Italian war to form labor units. Especially when there are tens of thousands of older (30-45 y.o) men available for labor.

    In general, the Allied forces are green enough as it is. I don't think they can waste veterans of prime age.
     
  15. Palantir Well-Known Member

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    1. There is no massive reserve of veteran soldiers waiting to be (re)drafted. They are either already mobilized, injured, dead or prisoner. You're forgetting that the Axis got 270,000 prisoners in 1941.
    2. Even if there is no civil war ITTL, Greece is far from being the most stable country on Earth. The civilian administration and police in the continent is basically nonexistent. You need to provide security in your rear area and to integrate the resistants, or you will have non controllable armed young men possibly rioting (or more).
    3. The infrastructure in Greece was sub par even before the 2 campaigns when compared to Western Europe. So you will need loads men to reconstruct it, to move cargo, etc.
    4. Most and foremost, the Allies don't have the equipment to recreate a massive Greek Army in a secondary front. They are busy creating the biggest army possible to land in France and supporting the USSR. Most of the US surplus is currently used reequipping the French Army (8 to 10 divisions for now), which will be used in France. Greece is really down the list.
    If you compare to France OTL, they raised 9 divisions equivalent for first line duty and 11 divisions equivalent for security and garrison duty. France forces weren't limited by manpower, they were limited by the lack of equipment and cadres (with 1.3 million men in prison camps in Germany).
    And you need to add that many resistants where integrated in the "Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité" or CRS, which was a paramilitary security organization (now, the Police specialized anti-riot units). It was a way to (re)assert the power of the french government.

    Most of the US forces are still green, true. But an important part of the British Empire forces and of the exiled European forces are veterans (or, at least, have a veteran cadre).
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019 at 4:58 AM
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  16. Lascaris Well-Known Member

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    To get them one by one

    1. The Germans released all surrendered Greek prisoners right away. So no there is a large reserve of already trained soldiers.
    2. The police is anything but non existent, both the cities police and the gendarmerie were left in place and continued to operate through the occupation and after the liberation. Same for the civil service which was operating. As for the resistance, of course it will be integrated into the army and one notes it's military organisation was following that of the pre-war army in the first place.
    3. Is a legitimate concern, but one notes that the calculations are leaving a 44% overhead already and say mostly nothing of manpower older than 35.
    4. This was covered in the previous post, including US army sources available online. There is sufficient equipment in 1943 for up to 8 divisions in the US. I'd question myself if there is sufficient shipping to move that to Greece. But still the allies have already made here an initial commitment similar to Italy with 9 divisions landing in Greece. If you need 12-15 divisions or more in the Balkans to the end of the war they need to come from somewhere and the only reasonable source of manpower is locally.
     
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  17. formion Well-Known Member

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    The French forces were limited by manpower: in addition to the POWs you have to add the french guest workers (Gastarbeitnehmer). Those workers were 1,1 million men of prime age (excluding the thousands from Alsace-Lorraine). One nitpic: 270,000 POWs were reclassified as workers. So even fewer returned to France.

    In total, the French didn't have access to 2,5 million men of prime age. Compare this number with the 5 million mobilized by May 1940, were even 45year olds were called to arms.

    The 11 divisions that you mention didn't guard the interior of France against a potential fascist uprising: they were investing the fortresses of the Atlantic Wall. where tens of thousands of Germans were cut-off. I have yet to find a single french battalion that guarded for example the Masiff Central. Every unit was sieging German garrisons.


    I would like to add to Lascaris' comment that not only the Greek POWs were released immediately but also that only few Greek citizens were conscripted as guest workers. Those few were basically rounded up and sent to Germany in summer 1944 (2500 in total according to my greek sources). So, in 1943 there was not a single greek worker in Germany. However, wikipedia has erroneously 20,000 greek guest workers. In reality, those were workers working for the German administration inside Greece, specifically at industries in Attica.

    Lastly, in re-arming the French the problem was mostly political with Giraud rather than a lack of equipment. If anything more French could have been armed. And by word of the thread's author, the industrial mobilization in USA is ahead of the OTL one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019 at 7:17 AM
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  18. Aristomenes Lord Of Morea

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    @Lascaris @formion The problem is not the available manpower but whether this manpower is fit to serve in the Army (due to the severe malnutrition). And as I told before, there is no way in short term to have a fit army of 286.000 men . And being a guerilla army is vastly different than being a regular army, so even if the Resistance forces had that much fighters (which is questioned by many historians) they were not equipped or maintained the way regular army would be Maybe after one year (as you said Formion) or most probably after a year and an half but by then it would not matter because the war would be near its end.
    And the famine in Greece persisted in OTL even after the liberation from the Germans (most areas were liberated October-November 1944) till at least 1946 due to the complete collapse of the infrastructure in Greece and the its destruction by the retreating German Forces. In fact in April 1946, 18 months after the liberation, Stelios Kyriakides won the Boston Marathon and pleaded the American to send massive food aid to the 7.000.000 hungry Greeks which materialized in the so-called "Kyriakides package".
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stylianos_Kyriakides
    https://usa.greekreporter.com/2018/...nner-who-ran-for-seven-million-hungry-greeks/
    Furthermore when the Greek civil war erupted in OTL March 1946, it took the National Army over 2 years to reach the numbers Lascaris has mentioned . At he end of 1946 it only had 90.000 men.
    So i still believe that due to the mal-nutrition and the horrific damage done to the infrastructure, the Greek army can not reach the numbers you mentioned Lascaris, not before at least 18 months.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019 at 7:53 AM
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  19. Killer in Well-Known Member

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    Is it sufficient for the allies to arm the Greeks enough they can withdraw the bulk of their forces from the region, say the Indian troops for example for service elsewhere? I imagine the British division will remain for geopolitical reasons.
     
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  20. Lascaris Well-Known Member

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    During the civil war the apparent restraining factor was the British willingness to provide arms, evident in the constant and very valid complaints over provision of machine guns and mountain artillery, and financial support not the ability of the state to find manpower. That said I don't think anyone is expecting another 7 divisions to be raised overnight.To stick to the French example equipment for the first 6 divisions was not shipped till the end of September 43 with equipment for the last two coming afterwards, while the first division went to action in December 1943. To follow a similar pattern I'd expect a third Greek division becoming available around April 1944 and then further divisions coming at intervals of 1.5-2 months each. So call it 5 divisions (1 armoured) in summer 1944 and 9 by January-April 1945.
     
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