No Spanish Civil War in 1936 (my new Timeline)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Dr. Strangelove, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

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    Good to see the added article, Dr. Strangelove. Adds nuance and balance.

    Actually, I believe his belief that the "less bad side won" is rooted in alternate history-

    He isn't favorable to the Nationalists except they weren't influenced by the Soviets, and thus less likely to have been attacked by Nazi Germany. According to his alternate Spanish Civil War article, a Loyalist victory would have led to the Allies losing World War II.

    Also, what of this?

     
  2. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person

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    Well, seeing that the rest of the world owes us freedom due to us spending 30 extra years of fascist dictature; I think a fair international compensation to the spanish people is in order. How about giving us our colonies back? :p

    There's a certain difference between a side being unable to stop the violence created by radicals, and another side using that same violence since day 1 as an integral part of its political program. While President Azaña said that his side offered "peace, piety and forgiveness", General Mola said that "every enemy of the National Movement has to be exterminated to create a climate of terror". Go figure.
     
  3. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person

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    Sep 26, 2005
    Sorry about the delay but until my exams are done in June updates will be scarce and erratic at best. Comments?:

    From A war to be won, history of the second World War, by Alan Millett; Harvard University Press, 2000

    …OKH had been preparing an offensive for early July to drive the Allies out of Flanders and drive the wehrmacht towards the Somme. This would give the Lutwaffe more room to attack England and would hopefully force the british out of the continent. Hitler expected that, should the front stagnate at the Somme, the british and Spanish would leave the war and France would sue for peace after being left alone. With the West quiet, Hitler would be free to accomplish his dream to destroy the Soviet Union. It was in June 1940 when the first plans for Operation Barbarossa were drafted.

    …however, there were some discordant voices in the nazi command. Albert Speer pointed out in June that Churchill would never leave France alone, and that the combined might of the western allies would soon or late turn the tide back. Heinz Guderian, still angry that his plans for blitzkrieg had been thwarted by the OKH command, insisted that a huge tank offensive towards Paris would force the French out of the war. But it was Erich von Manstein, whose Plan E was the main guideline for the german offensive in the summer of 1940.

    … Manstein’s plan played on the allied assumption that the germans would attack from Lille towards the sea to drive the BEF out of the continent. The Manstein plan, however, provided for a massed armoured attack in the central section of the front towards Paris, following the steps of the german army in 1914, while the bulk of the allied forces tried to stop a german diversionary attack towards Lille. The advance on the Marne and Paris would also allow the germans to surround the Maginot Line and the Spanish Expeditionary force, destroying most of the French army. Manstein expected that the huge losses that the allied mobile forces had suffered in the Battle of Belgium would prevent them from reacting fastly to the german offensive. [1] With Paris lost and the Maginot broken, France would be forced to surrender. Manstein’s offensive was to be started in July 14, but it was delayed first to July 25 and later to August 10 in order to have more tanks available. To this day, it is still debated if this delay was fatal to the german plans in the west since it made impossible an invasion of Iberia before winter.

    …despite Manstein’s pressure for approval of his plan, it is interesting to know that only Franz Halder’s death in a plane crash in June 30 would allow the OKW to give the green light go Plan E.[2]

    [1]Irony: In OTL the allies expected an attack towards Paris and were surprised by an attack towards the coast. In TTL, they expect an attack towards the coast and will be surprised by an attack towards Paris…
    [2]The allies were getting too lucky…


    From A military history of Iberia: volume 7, 1898-1945. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1987.

    …in the summer of 1940, the first prototype of what would be know as the Prim medium tank started testing. At the time, it was more advanced than any other tank in the allied arsenal, but lack of resources and the german invasion would delay its deployment in the battlefield until 1943, when armoured warfare had evolved a lot since the first stages of development of the Prim. Despite its adoption as a symbol of national resistance, M1 Prim’s performance in the battlefield was average at best. Its greatest effect, though, was its influence in the design of the Soviet T-35 tanks that would form the bulk of the Red Army armour during the war. Papers recently declassified show that soviet spies in Spain’s ministry of Defense stole Prim blueprints in 1940.

    …The MRAL’s on the other hand, were cheap and easy to produce, and, although they entered production too late to enter combat at the Battle of France, they would be used to a great extent by the allied forces in the Iberian campaign. Licensed to Britain and Canada, thousands of them would be built in british and north american factories and used during the great armoured offensives of 1942-1944 in the western front[1]

    [1]The MRAL is basically a Spanish analogue of OTL’s Katiusha.


    Excerpt from Political Violence in the Early Republic, by Juan Casal, Ed. Galaxia, La Coruña, 1993.

    …most historians see the violence that marked the first decade of the Spanish Republic as the birth pains of Spain’s particular strain of democracy. It is almost a miracle that, in a decade as convulse as the 30’s were, Spanish democracy survived between fascist and Stalinist forces, while anarchism was still struggling to reform and become a viable government option. After the November Uprising, the right was discredited and had lost support in the army, while during the late part of the 30’s, the extreme left balkanized and lost support in benefit of anarchists and moderate republicans. With the Frente Popular finally having a firm grip of power, the years between 1937 and 1940 saw a sudden drop in episodes of political violence, almost all of them directed against the church.

    …decatholization of Spain rised together with the Republic, and is still today a controversial topic in the country. In a decade, a country that used to be associated with staunch Catholicism became Western Europe’s most secularized place. This radical change was not peaceful at all and only the outbreak of WWII and the sudden paralization of political life (with the formation of the National Unity government in September 1940 and the passing of the Total War Act) prevented the situation from going out of control. In many countryside communes, priests were either forced to leave or to make “direct contribution”, that is, manual work to be able to perform their duties. During 1937 officials of the Socialist Party toyed with the idea of pressuring to make Spain an officially atheist state. However, this was thwarted by Julián Besteiro who did not wish to give more support to the extremist factions in the left. Still, Spain’s relationship with the Holy See would be strained for decades. Both countries would not engage in diplomatic relationships again until 1979.

    …It was the outbreak of WWII and the german invasion that would put an end to the early republic. While the lighting victories against Portugal and Italy and the new alliance with France and Britain were a cause of patriotic pride, the country was still divided as to the extent of involvement in the war. In June 1940, Gil Robles tried to pass a parliamentary resolution asking for a withdrawal of the alliance, a negotiated peace with Germany and a return to isolationism. This position made sense at a time where Spain had accomplished its objectives of fending Italy off and securing Portugal, but in an unexpected twist, only the extreme right and the Stalinists supported it. However, division and antiwar opinions were still strong until the germans invaded. The huge national trauma that the Great Independence War left in Spain, together with American help was enough to wash away every trace of what pre-war politics and concerns had been.


    From The Second World War, by Winston Churchill, 1951

    …During my trip to visit my allies, and while Hitler’s armies prepared their final offensive against France, Hitler and Stalin finished the last stages for their partition of eastern Europe. After failing to subdue the valorous Finland, Stalin occupied Latvia and Estonia after setting up puppet governments that “asked” for integration in the soviet motherland. Days later, german troops moved into Lithuania, whose progerman government had collaborated in the invasion of Poland and got the city of Vilnius. I later knew that it was by this time that the germans started preparing the invasion of the Soviet Union.
     
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  4. DuQuense Commisioned Officer CSN

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    I just don't see how France can fall if the invasion is put off till August.Italy is secure so those troops are avalible.
    France is out producing Germany in Planes and Tanks. The French troops are Bloodied and the Command/Reserve problems are being fixed.

    This France won't Collapse like OTL's did just because of the German Breakthru.

    Remembre the great weather in May had a big effect on the OTL German victory.
    A one month delay on the germans part and they would have suffered from terrible weather in June & July.

    ?Any one know what the French Weather was in August 1940?
     
  5. Geordie Well Known Among the Mighty Men Donor

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    Yay, update. :)

    Would this perhaps be analogous to OTL's WI Hitler hadn't invaded the Balkans?


    Nice to see such a good update, and best of luck in the exams. :)
     
  6. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person

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    Sep 26, 2005
    If the germans delay the attack to, say, September, they are screwed indeed; but the french suffered so many losses in heavy equipment during the battle of belgium that the germans have a narrow window of opportunity in July-August during which the allied armoured reserves are still depleted.

    And where did I say that France would collapse as in OTL? ;)

    Yep, that is interesting and I would like to know what the weather was like in August. If it rains the panzers are going to have a tough time.

    More like WI Hitler had pressed at Dunkirk? But as you see, I am making TTL's Western Front more like the Eastern Front.
     
  7. Archibald space jockey !

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    I've spent two hours reading this timeline, and that's very interesting. I like the way you avoid the republic being overthrowned by extremists at both sides...
    Keep on the good work!
     
  8. von Adler Generallöjtnant

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    Stockholm, Sweden
    An absolutely GREAT timeline. I enjoyed reading it immensly, thanks and please continue.

    I am guessing that when metropolitan France falls, the country will fight on from the colonies in this case. Or a lot of troops might retreat over the Pyrenees to fight on from Spain? having a land connection to an ally will probably make them fight on. The French navy and airforce, gold reserve and lots of the land forces can probably be kept from German hands. The British can evacuate a Breton redoubt and the French navy evacuate southern France. Without Italy pressing on, there will probably be enough time to evacuate much of southern France. French orders for planes placed in the US will probably be delivered to North Africa or the French force in exile in Spain, or even to the Spanish air force directly.

    And what about the Belgians? Will the British be able to evacuate parts of the Belgian army from Antwerp and have them fight on (perhaps in Spain too), or will the Belgian army surrender like historically, once surrounded? Will they even be surrounded if the Germans go for Paris instead of towards the coast? The Belgian army should still be about 500 000 men and the best equipped infantry force among the allies (only allied force with full SMG penetration) with excellent LMGs, light mortars, the best AT guns etc. I guess the Belgian mechanised cavalry (two divisions and one brigade) was ground down at Gembloux?

    What about the "Free" units in France? OTL, the French raised one Czechoslovak and two Polish divisions in France, but they did not have time to train fully, in this timeline they should. Also, with no Vichy France and no Italians and Germans in Libya, Britain and the Commonwealth should have a lot more forces to commit to Europe. There'll be no need to invade Syria, the rather lengthy East African Campaign is gone and the Iraqi rebellion will be stillborn without Vichy French weapons, German agitation and air support.

    With the French, Spanish and British navies readily available in the North Sea (not much needed in the Med since Italy is out), Sea Lion is not even a threat that holds British forces on the isles just in case. On the other hand, the Germans will not lose a lot of the Luftwaffe over Britain, will not be side-tracked by the Balkans or Libya either.

    If Spain holds out for six months after the Fall of Metropolitan France, Germany will be on its knees. Portugal and Spain are the only sources of tungsten readily available in Europe, and without it, the German steel industry will grind to a halt (tungsten was used for tips on all steel machining tools back in those days).

    I can see something like this at the Fall of Metropolitan France.

    In the UK:
    10 UK divisions
    1 Belgian division
    3 French divisions
    1 Polish mechanised brigade
    2 Canadian divisions

    In Spain:
    2 Spanish armoured divisions
    1 French armoured division
    2 UK armoured divisions
    3 UK motorised divisions
    2 Indian motorised divisions
    1 French motorised division
    2 Spanish cavalry divisions, semi-motorised
    30 Spanish infantry divisions
    1 Australian infantry division
    1 New Zealand infantry division
    2 Portugese infantry divisions
    10 French infantry divisions
    1 Brazilian infantry division
    1 joint Latin American volunteer infantry division
    2 Polish infantry divisions
    1 Czechoslovak infantry division
    1 South African infantry division

    That is going to be a tough nut to crack, even for the Germans, especially as the French can call in a lot of colonial forces from North Africa, the British can continue to ship in their own and commonwealth forces (since they are not needed in the UK nor in Egypt) and the Spaniards themselves can raise quite a few men, especially if the US continues deliveries to Spain and France (which they should if they are still fighting).
     
  9. Archibald space jockey !

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    Jan 22, 2008
    Can't help thinking about this one. :)
    http://www.francefightson.org/

    This a great alt-history which POD is around June 10th 1940.
    Reynaud mistress Helene de Portes and its advisor Paul de Villelume
    are killed in a car accident in Paris.
    Both were pro- surrender, hated De Gaulle, and finally pushed Reynaud to dismiss, a move which opened the way to defeatists Petain and Weygand.

    Reynaud is devasted, but De Villelume death also open the way for De Gaulle lobby.

    So instead of the shameful capitulation, Reynaud decide that France will fight from Northern Africa.
    An astonished Petain is arrested and die of a stroke some months later, Weygand is heroically killed late june on the Loire front.
    Parts of french armies sacrifices themselves to fight the wermarcht to the end; main part goes to North Africa.

    French campaign end on 15th August 1940 with heavy losses on the German side.

    Btw this scenario is based on real-world plan considered by Reynaud in OTL.
    This explain why a big chunk of the AdA flew to Northern Africa between 16 and 25th june.

    Oh, and Mr Strangelove, if you are interested by different french campaign scenarios (say, undefeated France in Sedan) I know at least three of them on french forums.
    In two of them Gamelin is replaced by a better tactician at the head of the French armies (in 1937 and march 1940) thus the french campaign turn very differently...
     
  10. MarkA MarkA

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    If France holds out to the extent it does in this TL then the 6th 7th and 9th Australian Divisions will be available by this time. I do not know about the other Commonwealth forces but I suspect they too will be much larger than you suggest.

    These forces if not needed in the UK or in North Africa or Crete or Syria will mean a substantial and well equiped military opposition to any German attack if they are deployed in Spain. Assuming an average high command level leadership these soldiers will be more than enough to give the Germans a very tough time. After all there will be no loss of equipment at Dunkirk and the Commonwealth troops will be almost fully self armed and equipped by this time.
     
  11. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person

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    Sep 26, 2005
    Thank you, it's nice to see that someone appreciated those dull posts about spanish politics. :D

    Stupid me, I had forgotten about tungsten. :eek: In OTL, most of the tungsten used by the wehrmacht in 1940-1943 came indeed from spanish mines. In fact, Galicia, where the biggest ores are located, lived a true tungsten fever during those years. With the country still in ruins from the civil war, there were entire villages devoted to the mining of wolfram to extract tungsten. There was such a fever that in some places tungsten replaced standard money, as if Galicia had become a pistonpunk far west in 1940's Europe. I guess that could only be made more awesome by introducing airships somehow. Francoist airships. :D

    More seriously, Spain and Portugal are not the only sources of tungsten in Europe. According to wiki:

    [​IMG]

    There are also tungsten sources in Austria and, of all places, Western Russia.:eek: Maybe Hitler will have some extra motivation to start Barbarossa ASAP. And remember that Italy is now neutral and can trade with Germany. I am working out some way to connect that with the tungsten sources in Bolivia and the pronazi coup that Bolivia suffered in 1941...

    Quite a nice OOB there, and very similar to what I had in mind, although in 1942 these latin american volunteers will be substituted by actual Argentinian, mexican and cuban troops.
     
  12. von Adler Generallöjtnant

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    I think the Austrian tungsten, while known since the 17th century, was not discovered in large deposits until 1967 and mining did not start until 1975, which means that there'll be no tungsten for Germany from there.

    OTL, Portugal and Spain readily sold as much tungsten as they could to Germany, and from late 1940 the British and later the US too tried to buy as much as possible to deny the Germans that supply. Prices skyrocketed, and it was a good time working in that industry in those two countries. :D

    OTL, even as the Germans got tungsten from Portugal and Spain, the Germans never had enough and they were forces to stop producing tungsten core AP shells in 1941 to save for the industry, with disastrous effect on ther AP capabilities against the Soviet tanks.

    Perhaps the Portugese shipped a large supply to Germany in a triangle deal just before the war (Portugese tungsten to Germany, German coal to Italy, Italian arms to Portugal), so the Germans can last for a while? They might capture some Polish and French stocks to keep them afloat? Ironically, it might mean earlier introductions of the MP-40 and MG-42, both which required a minimum of machining and used a maximum of stamping due to the shortage of tungsten.
     
  13. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person

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    Sep 26, 2005
    Yes, the war will be seen as War of Independence 2.0, and the government will be forced to do a lot of nationalist propaganda to create a feeling of unity. The germans will no doubt try to profit from regional differences in occupied Spain, which will lead to some interesting troubles in the postwar, especially in the Basque Country.

    As for Millán-Astray, the germans can't use him since he's been locked in a military prison at the Sahara since 1936. I have other plans for him...
     
  14. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person

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    Sep 26, 2005
    Today's update was supposed to be longer, but until the end of June sleep takes precedence over writing for me. :D

    From A war to be won, history of the second World War, by Alan Millett; Harvard University Press, 2000

    ..Fall Rot started in the dawn of August 10 as twenty german divisions commanded by Halder advanced towards Lille. Finally, after two months of stagnation, things were moving again in the Western front.

    … As the allies expected, the germans seemed to be trying to cut the BEF from the French army by attacking towards the Channel. The allied defenses around Lille had been strengthened according to such predictions, and for the first days, and despite armoured and air superiority, the germans made little progress.

    …for the first five days, the allies commited large armoured forces to defend Lille, in hopes that if the germans were stopped there, they would burn their last armoured reserves and would be unable to resume the offensive in what was left of 1940. In August 15, Rommel’s tanks had bypassed Lille, that was still defended by a sizeable british and French garrison, and were advancing slowly towards the Somme. The allied airforces were still contesting Luftwaffe’s superiority, and in August 16 Gamelin wrote confident that “the worst had already past”. Manstein’s bluff had been successful.

    …Halder’s diversion movement towards Lille had been successful in drawing most of the French armoured forces away from Manstein’s main line of offensive towards Paris, as the allied armies discovered with dismay in August 16, when Fall Rot actually started. Attacking on a wide front between Valenciennes and the Meuse, 90 german divisions smashed through the French lines enjoying total air and armour superiority and headed south, towards Cambrai, Sant-Quentin and the Marne river. The French command was paralyzed by surprise. In two days, the germans were at Sant-Quentin and had taken thousands of prisoners, and in August 23 the german avant-garde was reaching Laon and Soissons and had broken through the French main defense line.

    …By August 20, the allied air command realized that the campaign in Flanders and Picardie was lost and that the BEF had to be evacuated from Belgium. Despite King Leopold’s protests, evacuation through Ostend and other Belgian ports still in allied hands would continue by the rest of August, while Belgian and French troops held the ports against the german pressure. It is debatable if Hitler could have won a greater victory by ordering a greater pressure against Ostende, since the bulk of the german attack was now deep into France, and the Flanders offensive had always been seen as a diversion. Despite great losses, the british managed to salvage most of their heavy equipment and evacuate their soldiers to Britain.

    From My War: reminiscences of the Great Independence War, by Enríque Líster, Ed. Espasa, Madrid, 1969

    ….after resisting the nazis for three months, General Rojo gave the order to retreat from sedan in August 25. the germans had taken the French by surprise, and in 10 days had arrived near Reims and menaced our way back to Spain. I left my command post that morning, proud that my men had not been defeated in battle and my divisions started the long withdrawal. Little they know that it would end in Andalucia, more than one year later.

    …The germans almost caught us, and our rear lost many men prisoners to the Nazis. The Luftwaffe also took a heavy toll amongst our tanks and artillery. Almost all the heavy equipment of the Spanish Expeditionary force was lost in the retreat from Sedan to Chalons, where we tried to set up a defense line now that the Maginot had been flanked. We tried to help the French in their counterattacks against the exposed german flank, but we had lost too much equipment, and we were under too heavy pressure from Madrid to run away from the germans and avoid getting trapped in northern france.


    From Charles de Gaulle, by Ian Mitnick; Random House, New York, 1992

    …De Gaulle had been a vocal opposer of Gamelin’s plan and had called for an allied counteroffensive to be started in late July to expel the Germans from western Belgium, but despite Reynaud and Hauteclocque’s support, his views had little influence. When Fall Rot started, he commanded the 4th French army based at Reims, and as such, was directly in the way of the german juggernaut that was charging towards Paris.

    …De Gaulle’s counterattack was partially successful in allowing the French and Spanish forces east of Reims to withdraw and avoid being encircled by the german advance, but lack of air support and numerical inferiority meant that his counterattack was doomed. Despite relieving german pressure from Reims and forcing Hoepner’s panzer divisions to retreat at the other side of the Aisne, the main german advance towards Paris was only delayed.

    …In August 30, as the germans reached the Marne and the battle for Paris started, De Gaulle traveled to Tours, where the French government had moved, to become undersecretary of defense charged of coordination with the British and Spanish forces. By this day, it was becoming clear that resisting in northern France would be futile, and that the allied forces would have to withdraw to the Loire. The plans for Fortress Bretagne were put in action by these days.


    From Time, August 1950.

    …Ten years after the battle that led to the german occupation and that would be the first to show the world the horrors of urban warfare in the 20th century, Paris is slowly filling the scars from the war.

    …Despite suffering a comparatively mild damage when compared to Moscow, Madrid, Lisbon or Warsaw, or to other French cities like Bourdeaux or Orleans, Paris still suffered during the two fierce battles fought in the city during the past war. And, for the French, the slightest scratch in Paris is a terrible wound. The Eiffel tower survived miraculously a german artillery barrage, but the same cannot be said about the Arc de Triumphe, whose restoration is now being finished. Although most other landmarks were more or less untouched –it is rumoured that Hitler, the frustrated artist, ordered that the center of Paris had to suffer as little damage as possible-, entire districts were heavily damaged and almost levelled during the three weeks of the First Battle of Paris in September 1940. Montmartre, where the avant-garde started shaping our century fifty years ago, will never be the same, not after days of house-to-house fighting between the desperate French defenders and two german divisions.

    …The battle started in August 30, as the german artillery attacked the city from its avant-garde positions only 30 km north of the city centre. The French army rushed thousands of soldiers to defend the city to the last man, but it was clear that the campaign had been decided by the german rupture of the French lines at Sant-Quentin two weeks before. The germans tried the same gambit that in 1914, but this time the nazi panzers proved successful when their parents’ cavalry had failed. For the following weeks, as the german forces crossed the Seine and chased the allied armies, the defenders of Paris would fight an heroic battle that would be the first of many urban battles in both fronts of the second world war.




    [​IMG]
    German troops entering Sant Quentin, August 16 1940.


    [​IMG]

    A spanish Toro destroyed near Chalons-sur-Marne, September 1940

    [​IMG]

    The defense of Paris.
     
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  15. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person

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    Note to self: never write again late in the night. Thank god no one seems to have noticed that the german offensive towards Lille is being commanded by someone I got killed in the past update. :eek:
     
  16. Geordie Well Known Among the Mighty Men Donor

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    Good update, Doctor. :)

    :eek:

    So is Halder still dead? :p
     
  17. Alratan Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    I'm still wondering where the Germans' extra tanks, planes (and pilots), and ammunition are coming from - shouldn't they have run out around now? For example, in the historical Battle of France, the Luftwaffe suffered 40% losses, and 30% of the tanks deployed by Germany were completely destroyed, with many more rendered unserviceable due to breakdown or damage.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2008
  18. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person

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    Sep 26, 2005
    the germans are still outnumbered in infantry, and the losses they suffered in tanks and aviation between May 10 and June 13 are more or less similar to OTL . That is why they cannot resume the offensive until August. However, the allies suffered much bigger losses, specially in the french armoured divisions; and Gamelin's mistake to think that the main german offensive would go towards the sea means that most allied armour is away from the german advance line towards Paris.
     
  19. Alratan Member

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    Nov 6, 2005
    If I were the Germans, I would be worried less about how many tanks I had than about the fact that I've completely run out of spare parts, so any tank that breaks down (which was allot) is a constructive loss, and that I've fewer pilots than planes, and I'm running out of ammunition to shoot or bombs to drop.
     
  20. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person

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    Sep 26, 2005
    Could you please develop a little further? Are you saying that by August 1940 the germans simply could not repair their damaged tanks because they were running out of spare parts? I had never read anything like this and it is very interesting. -and it could force me to either retcon the timeline or completely change the war.

    As for the pilots, in OTL the Luftwaffe started the Battle of Britain in August 1940 and continued to the offensive for months. Even having suffered higher casualties during the battle for belgium, I think the Luftwaffe would still have enough pilots and ammunition to sustain air superiority over France, specially since the Battle of Britain has been cancelled until France and Spain are taken out of the war.