It's interesting but there are couple of points to consider. If the Allies do better in North via the British and in the centre owing to the Americans then the Soviets might have to accept a very different shape to their occupation zone in Germany. Also as already mentioned Yugoslavia will have a considerably different shape.
That's true, I tried to shift the East German borders a good bit east of OTL. For Yugoslavia, I had made them lose Croatia and Slovenia, but I think bosnia might be in the cards if the Wallies are commiting towards minimizing soviet influence. Either way, i doubt the Finns are going to escape the soviets, given how Germany will capitulate by May, there isn't any need to free up troops for the front.

Also, wait, if the British are capturing Peedmunde, doesn't that mean they'll get their hands on Von Braun? in which case, will we see the union jack on the moon?

The western allies can really screw over the soviets by making sure poland is liberated, blocking the soviets from hungary and bulgaria, croatia and slovenia independence, with bosnia going to a new "Kingdom of Croatia" They could also keep an Enlarged Hungary purely to limited soviet influence further.
Albeit the above is just if they fully commit to screwing over the soviets in every way possible.
4th - 10th March 1944 – Germany – Crossing the Rhine - Part II – Bridgehead to Berlin


4th - 10th March 1944 – Germany – Crossing the Rhine - Part II – Bridgehead to Berlin

It would fall to the Americans to launch the first phase of the attack over the Rhine on the 4th of March, much to the chagrin of the British. One spearhead of the American attack would be directed towards Remagen, south of Bonn though this was not regarded as the main axis of advance. The terrain here was less favourable than that north of Bonn and not well suited to armoured warfare. These disadvantages had caused the Germans to give the defence of Remagen and the Ludendorff bridge crossing a much lower priority, with only a light infantry force committed to covering it. With intelligence information revealing the weakness of the defences the area became a much more attractive target. Striking through the region fell to US III Corps, with the 9th Armoured Division taking the lead as they drove down the valley towards Remagen, catching the elements of the German Fifteenth Army covering the approaches by surprise and forcing them into a full retreat towards the city and the bridge. The need to keep the only avenue of escape for Fifteenth Army open explains why the bridge remained intact when many others on the river had already been blown, although the Americans fully expected it be blown up before they could seize it [1].

This was the plan of the German garrison at Remagen as the Americans rapidly advanced and threatened the bridge the German troops on the far side carried out their orders and detonated the demolition charges, regardless of the fact that this would trap the last of the Fifteenth on the far bank, and as a series of explosions rippled along its length the bridge was shrouded in smoke and debris rained down on those elements of the Fifteenth army still close to the riverbanks. As dramatic as the explosion was when the smoke cleared both the Americans and the Germans were astounded to see the bridge was still standing, battered and damaged but still passable for trucks and tanks. Given the toxic atmosphere in Germany in 1944 this inevitably led to accusations of treachery and sabotage from Berlin and several officers involved of the defence of Remagen were summarily executed for their failure. The real cause, based on Heer documents and forensic examinations after the war, seems to have been an inadequate supply of explosives and the poor quality of those that were used. A number of charges simply failed to explode, probably because wires connecting them had been cut during the fighting, and given the poor placement of the explosives overall, experienced demolition engineers being another thing the Germans were short of, the demolition effort was simply inadequate to the task at hand [2].

Overcoming their surprise the American troops were not going to let this opportunity slip away from them or allow the Germans a second chance at destroying the bridge. They now pressed to drive an armoured spearhead over the bridge, adding the anxiety of not being sure if the bridge would bear their weight to those of advancing under fire for the crews of the M4 Thomas tanks that took the lead, their heavy armour being able to shrug off what anti-tank weapons the defenders could bring to bear. This armour had been supplemented with whatever field expedients the crews could come up with, including such items as lengths of spare tracks and even concrete in some cases. As tough as they were Several of the Thomas’ were knocked out and had to be unceremoniously pushed off the bridge, but by 16:30 the Americans had a foothold on the far side and were able to suppress much of the fire directed at the bridge as the defenders desperately tried to collapse it, though the spearhead still had to contend with machine gun nests, snipers and booby traps as they sought to secure their position. Nightfall brought no rest for the Americans as troops were rushed across the bridge and the equipment to assemble a pontoon bridge alongside the Ludendorff were also in the process of being brought up, which was a wise move [3].

The morning of the 5th brought a series of attacks on the bridge by the Luftwaffe, with both Stukas and Ju-88’s trying to deliver precision attacks. Initially these were ineffectual, taking heavy losses without doing more than churning the waters around the bridge. At around 11:45 hours a fresh attack went in and this time several large explosions occurred on the bridge as bombers slammed directly into it and within minutes it was obvious that the bridge had suffered fatal damage. Despite frantic efforts to get clear at least seventy men and a dozen vehicles were lost when the structure finally collapsed at 12:30 hours. That the explosions brought down the already badly weakened bridge has never been disputed, it had nothing to do with the weight of equipment being moved over it or misjudged attempts to short it up. What has provoked considerable debate over the years is whether the explosions were the result of a suicide attack or not. Even in the face of the final desperate days of the Reich the suicide tactics embraced by the Japanese found little support in the Luftwaffe. It was one thing to make recklessly dangerous attacks against Allied bombers, closing to point blank range to ensure getting hits, quite another to send out pilots to simply ram themselves into Allied bombers. What was known as the Leonidas Squadron had been formed in the latter half of 1943, and theoretically they were committed to sacrificing themselves in battle. In practice these the Leonidas squadron stopped short of deliberate suicide attacks. The SS was far more zealous about the idea, but even they struggled to assemble a credible strategy, latching on to ideas such as a manned version of the Fi 103, turning what had been a prototype used in perfecting the design of the Fi 103 as a weapon. Both the Leonidas Squadron and manned missiles have been cited as carrying out the successful attack on the Ludendorff Bridge and yet this has been faced with flat denials from all those who might have been expected to take credit. In the end it seems the aircraft that struck the bridge were nothing more than random hits by aircraft that had been shot down and the destruction of the bridge simply a stroke of bad luck for the Americans, though it is unlikely that the bridge would have survived for more than few days regardless [4].

The collapse of the bridge left the American foothold vulnerable for a brief time; however the Wehrmacht forces were unable to carry out a co-ordinated counterattack and the Americans were supported with men and supplies ferried across the river before the pontoon bridge was brought into service. By the evening of the 6th any opportunity for the Germans had disappeared and the Americans were firmly lodged on the far bank of the Rhine. Even though they only had access to it for less than a day the Ludendorff Bridge did make a crucial contribution to the American advance and alongside the British crossing it spelled the end for any German hopes of containing the Western Allies [5].

The crossing in the British sector involved both British and America troops, as well as the Polish Parachute Brigade, and launched two days after the crossing at Remagen on the 6th of March, beginning at 21:00 hours. To ensure that they had a bridge over the river the British had settled on an ambitious goal for Operation Privateer, to throw a 350m pontoon bridge across the Rhine in barely six hours near the town of Wesel. The plan for the crossing also leant heavily on the 79th Armoured Division commanded by General Hobart and the experts in using the ‘funnies’ that had been so invaluable on D-Day. The British also massed nearly four thousand artillery pieces to conduct a massive artillery bombardment and to assist in laying smokescreens to conceal the movement of troops in the build up to the attack. The RAF and USAAF were also heavily committed, with even the heavies of Bomber command diverted from the Ruhr in the preceding days to pummel the defences and the lines of communications of the defenders. The first phase of the crossing would be supported by a substantial airborne operation, again intended to cut off the forward defences from reinforcement. As always, such operations were a gamble and some argued that the goals for the airborne operation were overly ambitious, trying to seize objectives too far behind the frontline. Regardless of these concerns the airborne operation would go ahead as planned [6].

There were now older men in the ranks of the Wehrmacht who had served in the First World War and survivors were know to voice the opinion that the artillery bombardment that opened up on the 6th was worse than anything they had experienced on the Western Front. With the aerial attacks that were pressed home as soon as dawn broke the defences on the Rhine were largely suppressed allowing the British and American spearheads crossing between Wesel and Rees to get over the river with minimal casualties, with the specialist armoured vehicles proving their worth once more In addition to their battle tested vehicles the ranks of the 79th Armoured Division included a number of models that had entered service too late for D-Day such as the LVT-2 Buffalo. Some of these had been outfitted with turrets adapted from the M3 Stuart and the M8 HMC, which allowed the Buffalo to serve in the fire support role as well as transport men and supplies across the Rhine. Construction of the pontoon bridge got under way at 09:30 hours and was completed by 16:30, setting a record for the construction of a bridge of this type and ensuring the rapid reinforcement of the amphibious forces, including tanks and heavy weapons [7].

The airborne operation commenced with drops by the British 1st and 6th Airborne divisions, the US 17th Airborne Division and the 1st (Polish) Independent Parachute Brigade, the largest airborne assault since D-Day itself, codenamed Operation Varsity. Finding enough aircraft and gliders to support this operation had been a major challenge but the airborne forces had been hoarding everything they could lay their hands on since the Normandy landings and there had been several other proposals for large scale airborne operations in the autumn of 1943 that had encouraged the production of more equipment, most notably a plan for an assault on the Netherlands put forward by British staff officers that O’Connor had vetoed. The equipment available was still barely adequate, but in the end the scale of the operation may have proven its greatest strength as it sowed utter confusion in the German ranks and what reserves were available found themselves divided up among multiple counterattacks that did nothing except fritter away their strength and leave themselves far too weak to hold back the British advance from the river as it linked up with the airborne forces [8].

Varsity had multiple objectives, taking control of the Diersfordter Wald, a forest on higher ground overlooking the Rhine, occupying the village of Hamminkeln, taking control of bridges over the river Issel, and isolating the town of Wesel itself from any attempts at German reinforcement. It was at Wesel that the plan underwent a significant revision, and not one that had been approved by Allied high command. The 1st Polish were supposed to land well to the west of Wesel, but they missed their drop zone and landed near the outskirts. Rather than pulling back and redeploying near their original drop zone the Poles waited until after nightfall and began to infiltrate the town. Around 1850 hours shooting broke out and in the confusion the German defenders concluded that this was a full assault on the town. At 0300 on the 8th of March they began to withdraw eastwards, skirmishing with elements of 1st Airborne who had moved to screen the flanks of the position at the Diersfordter Wald. By dawn the Poles had complete control of the town and the Germans chose not to counterattack immediately, still overestimating the strength of the Allied forces. The seizure of Wesel undermined the entire German position and greatly speedup the advance from the British bridgehead. This did not mean that everyone was happy with the actions of General Stanisław Sosabowski, the commander of the 1st Polish, with there being suggestions that he should be removed from command, however success provided him with the best possible excuse for his actions and he continued to command the brigade for the rest of the war [9].

By the 9th of March all attempts at German counterattacks had been repulsed and the bridgeheads were officially secure. From this point on the British and Americans rapidly expanded their foothold over the Rhine and began their push into the heartlands of the Ruhr and towards Berlin itself. This provoked a fresh round of despondency and defeatism in Berlin, which even men who had become experts at hiding such sentiments could barely disguise. Even worse was to come as the situation in Eastern Europe took a dramatic turn for the worse for the Third Reich [10].

[1] Some things are fixed points in history as a certain Doctor would have it, Remagen is one of them.

[2] Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence, unless you are trying to appease Adolf Hitler.

[3] So obviously the major divergence at this point is the availability of the M4 Thomas to lead the push across the bridge.

[4] The bridge doesn’t stand up as long, though its still far too late for the defenders.

[5] Also has to be remembered the Germans took a far worse battering in the Ardennes than OTL.

[6] Is it possible someone referred to it as a bridge to far? Yes, yes, it is.

[7] The British managed this astonishing feat IOTL as well.

[8] And this is the major changed from OTL for the British, the airborne troops lost at Arnhem are available and being put to rather better use. This is the version of Varsity the planners would like to have staged IOTL.

[9] So the Poles bounced the Germans out of the town and accelerated the British advance, meaning General Sosabowski retains his post.

[10] Warsaw, Bratislava and Bucharest loom large in the next series of updates.
Even worse was to come as the situation in Eastern Europe took a dramatic turn for the worse for the Third Reich [10].​

[9] So the Poles bounced the Germans out of the town and accelerated the British advance, meaning General Sosabowski retains his post.

[10] Warsaw, Bratislava and Bucharest loom large in the next series of updates.
"Mein Fuhrer! The Allies have broken through on the rhine!"
"Not to worry, so long as eastern europe remains calm, we can still achieve the endsieg!"
"... who's gonna tell him?"
Airborne coming in clutch especially the Poles! Of course the M4 Thomas can't be forgot either.
[10] Warsaw, Bratislava and Bucharest loom large in the next series of updates.
So that's looking like a combo Warsaw/ Warsaw ghetto uprising, the Slovakian National Uprising, and King Michael's Coup are all going to pop off in short succession all while the Western Allies are crossing the Rhine, Italy is on fire from top to toe, and Stalin has the Red Army drown the Ostheer in their collective blood. The Germans are definately going to have a hard time scrounging up troops to handle those fires especially as the frontlines in the East aren't as close to them as in OTL. Definately gives the Anglo-Greek forces in Greece and Tito's partisans an opporitunity to make some moves. Plus it really puts Bulgaria and Hungary in the hot seat where they have to decide if they want to take a gamble to save themselves.
My main worry for the cold war is a potential flashpoint with a Chinese-Indian (and therefore dragging in the british empire) war. Wouldn't put it past Mao Zedong to take a gamble, especially with what he did during the Korean war OTL
11th – 31st March 1944 – The Wunderwaffe Takes Flight


11th – 31st March 1944 – The Wunderwaffe Takes Flight

Just after dawn on the 11th of March an explosion rocked the centre of Remagen, followed by a dozen more during the morning, creating a certain amount of disruption to the movement of US troops and One explosion occurred in the middle of a supply dump and set off a huge fire as it ignited gasoline stored there. The attack mystified the soldiers in the town, the size of the explosions seemed to rule out artillery and there were no sightings of any Luftwaffe bombers in the vicinity. The explosions at Remagen were followed by further attacks, with over fifty being reported that day, some striking targets much further behind the Allied lines than Remagen. What was a worrying mystery for the soldiers at the frontline was anything but for British Intelligence as they had been building up a picture of the German rocket program at Peenemunde and in particular what had been the A4 and was now called the V-2 (V-1 having been assigned to the once again cancelled Fi 103 flying bomb) [1].

There had been proposals put forward that the Peenemunde site be bombed in 1943, but in absence of any weapons being deployed and the priority given to support the Allied advance in France these had gotten no further than a few small nuisance attacks by Mosquitos. There had also been considerable scepticism in some quarters that such a rocket could be built, with Churchill’s chief scientific advisor being particularly scornful. Frederick Lindemann, raised to the peerage in 1941 as Lord Cherwell, was a personal friend of Churchill, a brilliant intellectual who had made enemies in Whitehall with his willingness to cut through red tape to see vital research push ahead as rapidly as possible. He was then in almost all respects the ideal man to serve as the Prime Minister’s chief scientific advisor, unfortunately one area where he fell short was his dismissal of the V2 as a practical project, believing it to be a deception designed to waste Allied time and resources. In response to one discussion about the V2 he asserted, ‘to put a four-thousand horsepower turbine in a twenty-inch space is lunacy: it couldn't be done, Mr. Lubbock’, when a partially intact V2 was examined later it was found that the Germans had indeed put a 4000 horsepower turbine in a 20in space. In fairness to Lord Cherwell the early descriptions of the V2 that were passed to him exaggerated the size of the rocket and its warhead by a factor of five, though of course rockets on this scale would enter service with several nations after the war [2].

The intelligence agencies had continued their work regardless and they had already been warning that the weapon was close to being brought into service weeks before the first V-2s struck, despite Lord Cherwell’s and now Peenemunde rose high on the list of priority military targets, not though for a bombing raid but as a place that had to be taken quickly by ground forces, and ideally before the Russians, or the Americans for that matter could get near it. This decision has come in for some criticism, however by 1944 the V2 had entered the production phase of its development and was being manufactured at sites far removed from Peenemunde. A bombing raid might have disrupted future research, but this was already being held up by bureaucratic infighting and shortages of materials and equipment, regardless of the high priority now given to the wonder weapons projects [3].

There were no effective countermeasures to the V-2 other than destroying the launch sites while the missiles were still being prepared, which was no easy task given the hard stands the V2 launched from were small and all but impossible to spot unless a V2 was in the process of being prepared for launch, and even then the relatively small and highly mobile infrastructure needed to support a launch was hard to find and destroy. The speed and ballistic trajectory of the V2 made any sort of airborne interception and indeed it would take several decades of development before an effective method of interception for missiles like the V2 was available. The best method to stop the V2 was for Allied ground forces to advance and overrun the launch sites and the production facilities. in fact, Allied soldiers had captured empty launch sites prior to the 11th as they pushed across the Rhine, though without knowing what the concrete pads were for. The simplicity of the pads meant that it was possible for the Wehrmacht to improvise new ones as they were forced to withdraw, and it was only the general breakdown in transport and communications inside Germany that brought the launches to a halt [4].

Aside from the limited numbers available to the Germans the only other piece of good news for the Allies was that the V-2 exclusively carried an explosive warhead and not a chemical or radiological weapon. The latter was being worked on, though it was months away from any sort of practical payload that could be mounted on the V-2, at best, despite assurances to Hitler to the contrary. A chemical warhead was something that would have been relatively straightforward to produce but in contrast to the radiological weapon project there had been little effort dedicated to constructing one. The Germans were by this point in the war in possession of substantial quantities of the nerve agent Tabun, a part of the same family of chemical agents as Sarin gas. This was a potent weapon, in theory at least but this theory was one that the Nazis never put to the test, holding back even when the Reich was on the brink of being overrun. The reason for this had nothing to do with Hitler being squeamish about chemical weapon, rather it was a pragmatic decision based on the belief that the Allies must possess equivalent weapons and would deploy them on a large scale in retaliation for any German attacks. In this case the Germans were quite wrong as chemical warfare was one area where the Allies were far behind the Germans, still depending on weapons used in WWI such as Mustard gas and the discovery of the advanced agents possessed by the Germans would be a considerable shock [5].

The V-2 was not the only part of the ‘wunderwaffe’ to see service as the war drew to a close. By a near miraculous feat of engineering, and a willingness to work thousands of slave labourers to death, the Luftwaffe had begun to deploy the He 162 and the Fw 283 Volksjäger, though in terms of their influence on the course of the war they were as much of a waste of time and resources as the V-2. The pilots flying them had little time to familiarize themselves with the performance quirks of the aircraft, which were legion given the rapid development time, and they were lacking in general pilot training owing to the accelerating collapse of the Third Reich. Few of them lasted long enough to engage the enemy, with more of the Volksjägers lost to take off and landing accidents than to the Allies. The Me 262 jet fighter was a very different animal from the hastily designed fighters of the emergency programs, being superior in terms of flight performance to the early models of the Gloster Comet and only being flown by surviving veterans of the Luftwaffe such as Adolf Galland. The major drawback of the Me 262 lay in its poor low speed performance, making it vulnerable to attack when landing and taking off. It was also hampered by the mechanical unreliability of its Jumo engines, which had a life of barely twenty hours before requiring a rebuild and had an unpleasant habit of shedding fan blades with catastrophic consequences for the airframe [6].

The arguments over when the first jet on jet combat took place, and who shot who down first, have raged ever since the war. Galland and others made claims about shooting down RAF jets that do not correspond with the written records of the RAF or the Luftwaffe, though one might generously ascribe this the inevitable confusion in the heat of battle. The records of 616 Squadron, probably the most reliable source available, state that there were multiple engagements with Luftwaffe jets in March, with an He 162 being the first one to be shot down on the 14th and a Comet lost in an engagement with an Me 262 on the 20th of March. Overall, the best estimates suggest that in direct engagements the Comet and the Me 262 came out about even, while the He 162 and Fw 283 suffered badly at the hands of the RAF jets and the remaining operational Volksjägers were ordered to concentrate on Allied bombers, where they fared little better [7].

Against the piston engine fighters and bombers of the Allies the Me 262 proved quite lethal, achieving a kill rate that has fuelled post-war speculations that portray the airplane as true game changer, one that could have altered the balance of the war in the air if it had been deployed sooner, and this speculation has been fuelled by Adolf Galland in particular who claimed that without the interference of Hitler and Goering the fighter might have seen service as soon as 1942. These claims fall on multiple counts. Firstly, it must be emphasised that the pilots flying the Me 262 were the best the Luftwaffe had, the men who had somehow survived to rack up incredible numbers of kills and were experts in air-to-air combat regardless of what aircraft they were flying. Their skills allowed them to make best use of the abilities of the Me 262 and it is questionable whether it would have done as well in the hands of the average pilot available to the Luftwaffe in 1944. As to the idea it could have flown up to two years earlier one only has to look at the development of the Comet, which had continuous political support and no constraints on resources to see how unrealistic that idea was [8].

Regardless of their theoretical capabilities by the time the Volksjägers and the Me 262 flew their presence in the air was all but irrelevant. The ability of German industry to build more airframes and aeroengines was rapidly running out as the Allies either destroyed or captured the transportation and power infrastructure of the Reich and the synthetic fuel plants had been bombed relentlessly for months. The defeat of Germany was imminent and a handful of ‘wunderwaffe’ aircraft were unable to postpone the inevitable [9].

[1] This won’t prevent the rise of the cruise missile as you will of course have German engineers and officers only too eager to explain how their super deadly V1 would haver turned the tide of the war.

[2] Cherwell was wrong, but at least he knew a rocket could function in a vacuum, which is more than you could say for the New York Times…

[3] Not bombing Peenemunde in 1943 explains how they’ve able to get the V2 into service a few months earlier, not to mention the resources that have diverted from other more valuable programs, like reequipping the Heer.

[4] The V2 will stand as even greater monument to technological brilliance and strategic folly than OTL.

[5] Chemical weapons suffer from the basic issue that they can be as dangerous to their own side as the enemy and subject to the vagaries of the weather.

[6] The Me 262 has also limped its way into service, too little too late, and with some of the technical issues that were ameliorated IOTL still present.

[7] A lot of the Me 262 losses can be put down to those ongoing mechanical issues.

[8] The Me 262 appearing as early as it does here is about as good as it gets for German jets.

[9] The end is nigh for the Third Reich, but just how nigh?
11th – 31st March 1944 – The Wunderwaffe Takes Flight

The V-2 was not the only part of the ‘wunderwaffe’ to see service as the war drew to a close. By a near miraculous feat of engineering, and a willingness to work thousands of slave labourers to death, the Luftwaffe had begun to deploy the He 162 and the Fw 283 Volksjäger,
Are talking about this thing?

This was a late war design and I really doubt it could've been put into production by 1944.
I also doubt the thing would've got off the ground.


OK that's a little better, still a pretty advanced design for the time, might I suggest you go with this plane instead?

It would've been an easier plane to build and get into service in this timeline.
I am quite fluid on this, the Fw 283 is really just there as a little bit of extra colour, so I'm good with either design. :)
I am quite fluid on this, the Fw 283 is really just there as a little bit of extra colour, so I'm good with either design. :)
I'm a big Luftwaffe buff and IMO the Fw-183 couldn't get into service before 1945 at the earliest, it is a Luft.46 design but hey it's your TL and it is alternate.


I'm a big Luftwaffe buff and IMO the Fw-183 couldn't get into service before 1945 at the earliest, it is a Luft.46 design but hey it's your TL and it is alternate.
Sorry I meant that I am quite happy to go with the 'Flitzer' as an alternative and I did love the old Luft 46 site when it was still active.