Operation Nevsky

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Milarqui, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. Milarqui Bloguero de Historia Alterna

    Joined:
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    Between Madrid and Granada
    It was July 27th 1940, 23 years after the start of the October Revolution. Georgy Zhukov, Marshal of the Soviet Union, had just been called to the presence of General Secretary Iosif Stalin, in the middle of September, as he wished to discuss – and by discuss, he meant order – some matters of great importance for the Rodina and for the good of the proletariat.


    As he entered Stalin's office, he saw that it was full of documents, most of which had been written on a typewriter, but several had been clearly hand-written by someone he didn't know.


    “Comrade Secretary General,” Zhukov said, saluting the beloved leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.


    “At ease, comrade Zhukov,” Stalin replied, without looking up. Zhukov relaxed his position, but didn't say anything: he knew that Stalin didn't like to be interrupted as he worked. Then, Stalin looked at one of his best marshals of the army.


    “Tell me, comrade Zhukov, which is your opinion of the Germans?” Stalin asked. “In the military sense, of course, we already know that the fascists will fall soon.”


    Zhukov doubted in his response. He knew that his answer may cost him his life if what he said didn't please Stalin, but yet he knew that lying could also be detrimental to his future health.


    “Our troops in the border with Germany have reported that they have been detecting troop movement, as well as construction of several forts. Comrade Kuznetsov has also shared the information that several German ships have changed their patrol routines and are getting nearer our territorial waters, although they have not entered them.”


    “And what does this suggest you?” Stalin asked.


    “That the bourgeois are preparing to attack us, comrade Stalin,” Zhukov replied.


    “That's what I gathered,” Stalin replied. “If they are going to attack us, it'll be better if we attack first: I want no enemy of the people entering the Rodina!” he suddenly shouted. “Comrade Zhukov, you are to design a plan to attack the Germans and their fascist allies in Europe before the next November 7th . If you don't succeed, then you'll be demoted to a post in Siberia. Is that understood?”


    “Yes, comrade Stalin,” Zhukov said, already going over what he could do to escape from the promised punishment. Namely, a couple of plans, based on intelligence reports of the German attack on Poland.


    “Good. You can retire,” Stalin replied, going back to his work.


    Zhukov saluted again and went out of the room. Although he didn't know it, and Stalin didn't know it, this would turn the conflict between the bourgeois, capitalist nations into the bloodiest war ever known to humanity, as well as the end of the world as they knew it and the disappearance of many current governments. Their own included.


    _____________________________________________


    This is the prologue to a timeline I've been thinking about for some time. The fact that Stalin never seemed to react to Hitler's betrayal after Barbarossa started surprised me a lot when I read about the fact. So, I hope to be able to write a credible TL where the Soviet Union attacks first and that provokes an even worse WWII, but the aftermath will be much better.
     
  2. AgentOrange Rainbow Herbicide

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    May 3, 2009
    The aftermath of OTL was pretty much the best case scenario for Europe. Not so much for the rest of the world.
     
  3. BlackWave Well-Known Member

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    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Europe
    Looks interesting.
     
  4. nandalf nandalf

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Recife-Pe-Brazil
    If my memory is right i think there is a scenario like this one in the book:"Third Reich Victorious".I do hope to see more of this timeline.
     
  5. Milarqui Bloguero de Historia Alterna

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Between Madrid and Granada
    First steps towards the World War: June-October 1940

    The Empire of Japan's relations with the Axis and the United States

    The news have stricken the world: while last year the Soviet Union and the Third German Reich signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by which Germany and Russia – irreconcilable enemies to most people, considering their completely opposite ideologies and the fact that Hitler hates Slavs with great passion – accepted not to attack each other and, in a secret clause unknown to the rest of the world at the moment, divided Poland among themselves, today, August 23rd 1940, the Soviet Union and the Empire of Japan have signed the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, or Tatekawa Pact after the name of the Japanese Ambassador to the Soviet Union who has drafted the Pact. The shock is that the two nations have been looking angrily at each other ever since the nineteenth century: the Russo-Japanese War only exacerbated these feelings, and the recent Japanese invasion of Manchuria (now Manchukuo) and the Battles of Lake Khasan and Khalkhin Gol are fresh in the minds of everyone.

    These news are obviously stressing for the Germans, and particularly the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. The OKW knows that Hitler wishes to attack the Bolsheviks as soon as possible, before something – anything – may bring the United States into war, and as fast as possible in order to finally push the British into surrendering. They know that the Soviet Union, despite being so big, would have several problems with a two front war, and thus had started to make negotiations so that the Empire of Japan signed into a Pact of Steel-esque treaty with Germany and Italy to form an alliance that could attack all the democratic nations in the world. This treaty of neutrality between the Bolsheviks and the Japanese has thrown these plans to the ground, and thus now it will be impossible to do so, specially now that the Japanese have retired from the negotiations with Germans and Italians.

    Unknown to them, this is due to the Japanese Ambassadors to both countries, who have sent word to Japan that these two countries privately look down on them, despite all of their kind words about the greatness of Emperor Shōwa. This clearly is a strike against those Japanese politicians that are in favour of accomplishing an alliance with them both, including General Hideki Tōjō, who has just seen his star diminish in brightness due to this setback.

    Ironically, other military man has seen his influence within the government increase: Isoroku Yamamoto, Admiral of the Imperial Navy and a close supporter of Minister of the Navy Zengo Yoshida's stand against an alliance with the Nazis and Fascists and also against a war against the United States (he is even heard admonishing Tōjō that, if the Empire of Japan were to attack the United States, it wouldn't be as easy as he thought to win: in his words, “it would not be enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House,” something that he knows would be practically impossible, remembering the time he spent as a naval attaché in Washington D.C.).

    Emperor Shōwa, hearing to Yamamoto's reasoning, decides on August 31st that the Empire of Japan should seek to improve relations with the United States and the United Kingdom, with whom he is particularly inclined to ally with: the recent quarrel he has held with his brother Prince Chichibu, who in the last years has supported an alliance with the Nazis despite his former pro-Allied position, has pushed him into this. Immediately, Foreign Minister Kichisaburō Nomura phones the United States Ambassador Joseph C. Grew and tells him that Japan is ready for further conversations regarding the Empire's position in East Asia. This will be a delicate moment for Japan, the Minister knows: the Army in general, and Tōjō and his supporters in particular, aren't happy that there won't be an alliance with Germany and Italy, even though the Emperor has decreed it and the word of the Tennō is the word of the Heavenly Will.

    That's why he plans to take several steps in order to avoid the Army's interference in the diplomatic relations with the US. Consulting with Prime Minister Nobuyuki Abe and Minister Yoshida, he chooses to have the negotiations in an unusual place: the Akagi aircraft carrier, commanded by Yamamoto and manned by sailors totally loyal to the Admiral, while he claims that these negotiations will take place in a room in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ostensibly to keep the Army away from the US diplomats and make sure that the negotiations will take the best course. All of these plans will only be known to a few people, namely Abe, Yoshida, Yamamoto, Grew and the other one or two people needed to make sure that all comes as needed.

    September 5th is the date chosen for the start of the negotiations. General Tōjō, Minister of the Army, would like to prevent the negotiations from yielding results, as he perceives that negotiating with the United States is a mistake and that it would make more sense to ally with Germany, who seemed poised to take control of all of Europe since they have managed to defeat France in hardly a few weeks. That's why he sends a military police unit to disrupt the negotiations and arrest the Ambassador and the rest of the United States diplomatic mission under trumped up charges of spying. He doesn't care about the custom of Ambassadorial diplomatic immunity: he knows that, when the United States hears about this, they'll declare war, and he thinks that, when the Imperial Navy defeats the United States Navy, they will just be able to march into Hawaii and the US will ask for a peace favourable to the Empire of Japan.

    However, Nomura and Yamamoto have beaten him to the punch: upon arriving to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Grew, the three diplomats accompanying him, Nomura, Yamamoto and the Japanese diplomats that are to work in the negotiations have been taken to the back door and pushed into Yamamoto's personal limousine, which is being driven by his chauffeur. At first, the American diplomats are enraged and think that 'the yellow devils' are kidnapping them, but after Yamamoto personally swears on his honour that they are only taking them to other place where they will be safe and able to talk calmly and Grew's admission of knowing about these plans beforehand, the Americans apologize for their badly chosen words. They have discovered a new level of the Japanese code of conduct, the Bushido, upon which honour must be upheld until death. They also gain more respect for Admiral Yamamoto, who is well known in the United States as a great admiral.

    Upon reaching the port of Tokyo, the diplomats, Yamamoto and Grew are taken to the Akagi while Nomura goes to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and encounters the military policemen that have been searching through the whole ministry for the United States Ambassador. He angrily asks them what are they doing there and, upon hearing that they have been sent to arrest the Ambassador under the orders of General Tōjō, he dismisses them and soon calls Prime Minister Abe about the incident.

    Several days later, as the negotiations between Japan and the United States still go on, General Hideki Tōjō is called to the presence of the Emperor. He knows that his attempt to spark a war between the Empire and the United States has been a failure, but he still holds out the hope (a hope that has been diminishing as the days pass) that he will be given a position on which he can return to negotiations with Germany and Italy.

    However, the Emperor – who has been told what happened by his Prime Minister – admonishes Tōjō. He doesn't shout or show any feeling but that of disappointment at Tōjō's actions: however, the General is still profoundly ashamed and scared. While He understands that he did what he believed was the better for the Empire, the Emperor says that the General has brought unspeakable shame upon his own name for going against His will. General Tōjō knows that the Emperor is right: he has done something that will bring great shame to him and his family, and there is only one way to atone for this. Asking the Emperor to allow him to make a few calls, which He grants, he calls for his kaishakunin, to whom he asks to bring his ritual kimono and his tantō. He then asks the Emperor for one last favour: that his family will not be publicly ashamed when this incident is made public. The Emperor grants this.

    General Tōjō bathes, dresses in his ritual white kimono, and eats his favourite meal. He then presents himself in front of the Emperor and, after writing a death poem, he commits seppuku and his kaishakunin performs the dakikubi. This instantly kills General Tōjō and, with him, the main support for having a better relationship with the Axis is gone. The negotiations with the United States and the United Kingdom (who has joined the table upon the call of Secretary of State Cordell Hull) will manage to go all the way.


    The Western Desert Campaign

    After Italy declared war on the Allies, plans were started to be developed to arrange an attack against Egypt. Many thousands of English and Commonwealth soldiers were there, and the Italians knew that, if they managed to take the Suez Canal, the British war machine would suffer a strike of which they wouldn't be able to recover, and thus they would be forced to ask for a peace settlement. Mussolini very much liked these plans, as he wanted to boast to his colleague Adolf Hitler that he had been the one to bring the British Empire to its knees.


    While those plans are being discussed, the Fifth Army and the Tenth Army, commanded by Maresciallo dell'Aria Italo Balbo (Marshal of the Air Forces and Commander in Chief of Italian North Africa), General Italo Gariboldi (Fifth Army Commander) and Field Marshal Rodolfo Graziani (Tenth Army Commander) conduct raids on British Egypt as the British do the same on Italian Libya. Between June 11th and August 13th, many things would happen: Fort Capuzzo would exchange hands twice, Italo Balbo would die in a friendly fire incident after trying to land in Tobruk's airfield and being confused with a British bomber and minimal advances were done by the Italians into Egyptian territory when they took Sidi Azeiz.

    September 9th is the start of the invasion of Egypt by Italian forces. Under the command of Graziani, they manage to take Sollum, Halfaya Pass and Sidi Barrini before stopping a week after the offensive starts due to lack of supplies. Mussolini pressures heavily onto Graziani into continue the advance, but soon the Italian troops start to dig in around Sidi Barrini in case the British will attack while the supplies arrive to them.

    Their suspicions aren't incorrect: although there are only 36,000 British and Commonwealth troops in Egypt, and several tens of Cruiser and Matilda tanks, they still have the better ground, as they have much better equipment, their morale is much higher and they are far more used to the climate than the Italians: indeed, in the first raids, the Italians have lost 3,000 men while the British have only lost little more than 100. The 4th Indian division and the 7th Armoured Division (more commonly known as the Desert Rats) are ready to kick out the damned Italians out of Africa, and they know that they can always count on those that are based in Palestine, such as the British 16th Infantry Brigade, to help them.


    The end of the Battle of Britain

    After the defeat of France and the Benelux in the Battle of France, Hitler knows that the only obstacle in the way for Nazi dominance over Europe rests in Britain. He has already started to launch air attacks against Southern England, which, at first, he had hoped would demoralize the English into asking for peace, but he has seen that the British are not only more energized after each attack, but that they are even winning the battle against the Luftwaffe. True, many RAF planes have fallen, but many more Luftwaffe planes have been shot down. Even after the capture of the landing strips in northern France (which is under direct military control of the Reich as it is the most likely point where the British would launch an invasion), the Junkers Ju 87 Stukas and the Messerschmitt Bf 109 can hardly reach England and attack a few sites before they have to come back as their load of fuel is rapidly consumed by the planes' motors. Also, although he hasn't realised this, his orders of bombing cities and civilian buildings (aiming to produce terror among the population) instead of attacking industries and military objectives is being counterproductive, as the morale of the British population is at the highest point since the start of the war: despite the fall of France and the loss of territories in North Africa, Great Britain can still resist the Nazis, and will be able to do so for a lot of time.

    Three people are to be blamed for this: the first, Sir Winston Spencer Leonard Churchill, current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He was among the first that recognised the danger the Nazis posed for Europe, to no avail. He spoke against the Munich Agreement that let Czechoslovakia be pounded on by the Germans as they 'reclaimed' the Sudetenland. And, after Neville Chamberlain resigned, he was chosen to take the job of being the leader of the now biggest adversary of Nazism (the Soviet Union doesn't count, because, at this moment, they are neutral towards the Germans). Albeit he has a bit of a bad character, he makes up for this with an ability for leadership that makes him one of the most respected leaders in history. When younger, he had a speech impediment, but now he's a celebrated orator: three speeches he has given since he was appointed will pass onto history: the May 10th speech, right after the end of the Battle of France, of which the sentence “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour.”” stands over the rest; his May 13th speech, where he claimed that he had nothing to offer but “blood, toil, tears and sweat”; and the June 4th speech, given after the Dunkirk evacuation, in which he managed to transmit his indomitable personality to the rest of England as he claimed that the country would defend the island and themselves no matter the cost. His appraisal of the RAF pilots (not only from Britain, but also from the Commonwealth, the United States and from the occupied countries) with the sentence “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few” also helps in keeping the high morale among the people.

    The second, John Cecil Masterman, British, chairman of the Twenty Committee. Although very few people know about this in England (and no one in Germany), the Twenty Committee has been in charge of the counter-spying system known as the Double Cross System (named after the XX that means twenty in Roman numerals). Germany has been sending spies into Great Britain, but what the Germans don't know is that most of these spies have turned double agent and are indeed helping the British by providing false information to the Germans. Not only that, but many of the people the Abwehr is considering to use for spying in Great Britain are already planning to help the English. The misinformation the Double Cross system will produce for the Germans will help the English much in the following months as the Nazis tend to fall for the lies that are being given to them by their agents.

    The third, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States of America. Roosevelt, who won the elections eight years ago on his “New Deal” plan to restore the economy of the nation after the Great Depression, is very busy: although he has been easily re-elected by the Democratic Party as their candidate for the November 1940 elections, he knows that he faces opposition from parts of the society. The Republican Party has yet to choose their candidate, although all or nearly all of them are against joining the war, and there are even many that would prefer not to pay any attention to the war and concentrate on home issues. There is even talk in certain circles (with famed priest Charles Coughlin and Christian Party 1936 presidential candidate William Dudley Pelley at their head) that the United States should follow the example of Germany and establish a fascist state. But Roosevelt can't have that: his New Deal plan was made precisely to save democracy, and he can't allow people like them to undermine the government's efforts: Pelley has already been sent to prison for the actions of the Silver Shirts, modelled after the Nazi SS, for example. He has already managed to push the Destroyers for Bases Agreement forward, and has been thinking on anything he and his government can do to help the British, but the Neutrality Acts of 1937 prevent him from doing more, although he managed to add a “cash and carry” policy that would allow the United States to sell things to Britain as long as it was immediately paid in cash. There is other act on the works, that would repeal the Neutrality Acts, but it's better if he doesn't mention it at all, because the US public is mostly isolationist, and, although the plight of Britain and the occupied countries in Europe awakens many sympathies, there is still much aversion to getting into “other European war”, probably a reminder of World War One. But, Roosevelt believes, there is always the chance that someone (like the Germans, or perhaps the Russians) will do something wrong that will give him the chance of actually helping the British...

    Although, we can't stop mentioning all those that are working non-stop as they face the Nazis: the hundreds that form the French Resistance; the people that are hardly getting a rest in Bletchley Park trying to decipher the Enigma code that the Germans use to cipher their messages; the soldiers that are going through heat and cold in the North African deserts as they prepare for a counter-attack on the Italians; the pilots that risk their lives everyday as they fly and attempt to stop the German planes from attacking England... and also the millions that live under the German heel, hoping against hope that soon someone will rescue them from the horrible life they are in.


    Meeting at Hendaye: Franco keeps Spain out of war with the British

    Perhaps, all of this is what propels Hitler to seek the help of the one he aided a few years ago to gain power: Francisco Franco Bahamonde, Caudillo of Spain and Generalísimo de los Ejércitos.

    Hitler knows of the attack Mussolini launched against the British in North Africa. He knows that the island of Malta, which hosts a great British naval and air base, is being besieged by the Italian Regia Aeronautica and the Italian Navy. He doesn't want to spend resources there, as he hopes that the Italians will be able to kick the English out of the vital island. He also knows that the main lifeline of Malta is the supplies taken there by sea, and the most important sea lane that sends supplies there passes through Gibraltar, in the Iberian Peninsula.

    That's why, on October 23rd, in the train station of the town of Hendaye, in the French-Spanish border, Adolf Hitler has talks with Francisco Franco about a possible entrance of Spain in WWII in the side of the Axis. Ramón Serrano Súñer and Joachim von Ribbentrop, the Foreign Affairs ministers for Spain and Germany, are also present. If Spain enters the war, Hitler thinks, then he would be able to move his troops through Spanish territory and conquer Gibraltar, thus cutting off one of Malta's lifelines and controlling who enters and comes out of the Mediterranean Sea (after all, the south of the Strait of Gibraltar is controlled by the Spanish as well, and if they enter there is no way that the British will be able to take supplies through there).

    However, Franco, despite his wish to help his fellow dictator, knows that Spain will be unable to do anything in this war unless they are helped. Three years of civil war have left the country a wrecked ruin, and in the last year many problems have arisen from this. Rationing is hardly keeping the people alive, and the estraperlo (the black market) isn't helping things, as the products acquire prizes in there that are much higher than the official ones, and thus the people have less money and can't acquire more products.

    That's why, after Hitler presents his suggestion, Franco and Serrano Súñer present a list of things Spain needs before they can enter the war, as well as several colonial claims for the future. Hitler soon realises that the Spanish demands aren't worth their entrance in the war: Franco wants, apart of Gibraltar, Oran, French Morocco and Guinea, all of which are, at this moment, part of Vichy France, and Hitler can't antagonize the French at this moment. After a series of threats from Hitler, Franco accepts the possibility of entering the war against Britain at a later date, and also compromises to send soldiers if there is war against the Soviet Union – which Franco holds as the worst enemy of the civilized world: after all, the Spanish Civil War was started under the pretext that the communists were about to transform Spain into a Soviet Socialist Republic (he, like many others, didn't realise that, ironically, the communists were not a strong force until after the Civil War started).

    Hitler comes out of the meeting with a small feeling of defeat: even though he has the full military might of Nazi Germany behind him, this upstart has rejected his “offer” to join the war that he and Mussolini are sure to win soon, despite the resistance the British present, and not only that, but he made many arrogant petitions. He is sure that he would be able to wipe out his paltry army, but at this moment he can't spend resources in invading the Spanish people: Unternehmen Seelöwe is currently taking over the planning of the OKW, even as the chances of winning against the RAF are lower each day. He doesn't pay attention to the Soviets, despite advice that they are doing suspicious manoeuvres: after all, they are Untermenschen, and Communist to boot. Even if they attack (which he doubts will happen), the Wehrmacht units in Poland should be able to defeat them easily. Won't they?

    ________________________________________________________________

    This would be the period between June 1940 and October 1940. As most will see, the events played out in this period of time are the ones that happened IRL: the Italian invasion of Egypt, the Battle of Britain and the meeting at Hendaye are happening like their RL counterparts

    You may argue that the part about the Japanese is a bit ASB, but it could have perfectly happened if Hirohito stayed with his initial idea of staying in peace with the Allies (historical, although I can't be 100 percent sure if the Wikipedia has the correct information about this), and Yamamoto's stand in the conflict with the USA was always against fighting them (the quote is historical, although it was more of a rant when he saw that many in the army thought that once the Japanese took a couple of islands the US would fold and surrender): he only planned Pearl Harbor when it was obvious that the Empire would go to war with the United States no matter what he did.

    The scene where Tōjō commits suicide by seppuku is the real ritual used by the samurais when they killed themselves. The Wikipedia has a lot of info about it.

    Hendaye happened more or less as I said. The part about promising military help if there is war against the SU, I'm not sure if it really happened in RL, but you can assume that the Germans don't like the fact that they have signed a Neutrality Pact with the Japs and naturally want to make sure they have more soldiers.

    Opinions?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
  6. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, Haudenosaunee, Vinland
    I don't doubt that Japan and the US could TALK. What I doubt is that they could avoid war. The minimum demands of both sides were so very VERY far apart.

    Remember that the Japanese army was out of control. Even if the government ordered the army to pull out of (most of) China, they'd simply refuse. If the Emperor tried ordering them, they'd probably kidnap him and 'convince' him to issue new orders.
     
  7. Milarqui Bloguero de Historia Alterna

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Between Madrid and Granada
    The War engulfs the World: November 1940 – December 1940

    The Soviet Plans: Operation Nevsky

    On October 31st, Stalin receives some surprising news from Zhukov: not only has he planned out an offensive against the Nazi stronghold in Poland, but he has already arranged for the 200 infantry divisions, the 10,000 tanks and the 30,000 aircraft that will take part in the invasion to be deployed near the border with German Poland, and that the Red Army only needs Stalin's word to act. Although he doesn't like his people to take the initiative (after all, anyone with initiative could decide to take over the Soviet Union and kill him), he decides to pardon Zhukov, praises him for a well done job, and tells him: “All the Rodina stands by your side in the glorious campaign ahead.”

    November 7th 1940, 6:00 AM. In Russia, it's the 23rd anniversary of the Communist Revolution. German soldiers in the German-Soviet border patrol. Most of them are tired, having patrolling for several hours, a few for nearly the whole night. The only thing they want to do is to go back to their beds and rest for a time, perhaps five or six hours, before they must start again with the diary drills. However, today won't be a normal day. Several soldiers had been praying for a change in the routine. They are about to learn that asking for something may result in getting it, but not in the way you expect it.

    At 6:03 AM, a humming can be heard. The soldiers don't pay attention: they figure that it might be some planes doing a routine training in the airstrips near their camp. However, the humming is getting nearer, and stronger, and it's not only one plane, but several tens of them. With a blast, a bomb falls in the middle of the fort where the soldiers are living and tears apart one of the barracks, which at that moment had around 50 soldiers. All die in a few seconds. Operation Nevsky, the invasion of German Poland by the Red Army, has started. The war has turned into World War Two.

    When news of the invasion reach the Reichstag in Berlin (four hours after the attack started), Hitler explodes in fury: he had obviously not expected the attack, the betrayal from the Communist Untermenschen; he had expected them to stay quiet until the German armies went east and dealt with them once the British were finally beaten. And his fury multiplies when he learns that the soviets have already advanced 5 kilometres into German Poland thanks to the deployment of airborne units and the swiftness with which tanks have entered the territory, surprising most soldiers. In the first hours of the Soviet-Nazi war, nearly one thousand German soldiers have died or disappeared.

    After declaring in a hate-filled speech that Germany is declaring war on the Soviet Union and vowing that Moscow will be burned to the ground by the Wehrmacht, Hitler instructs his commanders in Poland to launch a counterattack on the Soviet positions. Alfred Jodl is the one to transmit this order, and soon the divisions of the Wehrmacht in Western Poland are moving towards the enemy. However, it isn't fast enough, because two days after the start of Operation Nevsky the Russians are about to take Lublin. It'll take the Russians eight days to finally make the city fall, because the fanatical defence presented by the German units in the city is stopping every offensive the Soviets are launching into the city.

    The day after the siege of Lublin starts, a massive rally is held in the city of Berlin, in front of the great Brandenburg Gate. Hitler isn't present: he is currently holding off a meeting with the higher echelons of the OKW in order to design the best strategy with which the Soviets may be, first, expelled from East Prussia and the General Government, and then relentlessly attacked until finally beaten. Instead, Joseph Goebbels, minister of Propaganda of the Nazi government ever since Hitler took the office of Reichschancellor in 1933, is leading this rally. In here, he calls for the German people to launch a total war against the Bolshevist invader, whom he accuses of the worst crimes he can imagine (ironically, one of them is the organization of massacres of people, something that his government himself is guilty of, although of course that is something he prefers not to mention) while he makes a petition for the Western powers to aid Germany in turning back the Soviet offensive. However, reception of this message in the world is lukewarm at best, and outright insulting towards the Germans at worst: while Spain starts to prepare the promised aid in case of war against the Soviet Union (but doesn't actually declare war, yet), several parties are held in Britain as the people are convinced that the Soviet will completely beat the Germans, and in the United States there is much joy among the liberal sectors of society: in fact, the day after Goebbels' plea, the New York Times posts a cartoon in which Hitler appears hanged and in flames, and a title stating that “Hitler will soon go to meet his Maker”. Charles Coughlin and Charles Lindbergh, however, blast Roosevelt for not doing anything to try to save “the only Anglo-Saxon nation worthy of imitation,” never mind that Britain is an ally and also an Anglo-Saxon nation, and that even the United States could be said to be an Anglo-Saxon nation considering its origins. This leads to a drop in Coughlin's popularity before he even realises that what he said could be construed as an insult to his own country.

    However, not every anti-Nazi person in the democratic nations of the world is cheering: both Churchill and Roosevelt, while they are content with the fact that the Germans are possibly facing a big defeat in the east, they are worried that, if the Soviets end with the Germans, it won't be a lot of time until Stalin decides to attack either of their countries in an attempt to expand Communism. Churchill is the one that is most worried about this, because they have heard of rumours that Stalin pretends to install a Soviet Union that encompasses all of Eurasia, and Britain will probably be attacked in an attempt to carry out that dream. That's why both of them will soon ask their Chief of Staff to start drafting contingency plans for the defence of Scotland and Northern Ireland (in Churchill's case) or Alaska (in Roosevelt's case) against a theoretical Soviet invasion.

    November 13th: Lublin falls against a repeated Soviet assault. The several hundreds of German soldiers that are still in the city decide to commit suicide instead of allowing the Soviets to capture them. Also of note is the fate of an SS battalion that had been ordered to attempt a breakthrough of the Soviet siege: an assault against rear Soviet troops turns into a massacre when several Polish Communist partisans join the battle and attack the SS flank, wiping out the whole battalion to a man. Heinrich Himmler, the SS commander-in-chief, falls into a severe depression when he learns of this incident.

    Not everything is good news for the Red Army, however: as the Red Army advances towards Krakow, several Stuka squadrons appear and dive-bomb the advancing armies, destroying a whole artillery unit and several Soviet tanks, thus forcing Soviet ground forces into a tactical retreat. This small victory prompts Hitler to transfer half the planes in France that are part of the Unternehmen Adler, the bombardment of Britain, to airbases in Germany so that they can continue with the pounding on Soviet positions. The Stukas are, unfortunately for the Luftwaffe, terribly weak against fighter attacks, and despite the presence of the Bf 109 planes protecting the bombers, Stuka squadron are falling by the drove against the USSR's Polikarpov fighters. Hitler will also order that a third of the troops and armoured brigades used to keep the occupation of France and the Benelux are taken to the east in order to have them fight the Soviet invaders. This will be the first mistake of a series that will cost him everything he has won, but he hasn't realised it. Yet.

    In Moscow, Stalin is awaiting with impatience for General Zhukov to send word of the fall of Warsaw and Krakow: he really wants revenge for the Red Army's defeat nineteen years before, when Russia attempted to recover what was lost after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, and, while the terrains gained thanks to the Molotov-Ribbentrop were a good first step, he wants to take all of Poland. After all, he knows that this will be the first step of the USSR towards a Soviet Union that will stretcht from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

    In London, there are two groups of people that are awaiting the result of Operation Nevsky (a name that won't be known to the rest of the world population until 1942): on one side, the Polish government-in-exile headed by Władysław Raczkiewicz, who fears (with due cause) that the Soviet victory in Poland will be followed either by outright annexation of the country or establishment of a puppet communist government – the latter seems the more likely happening, considering that most Polish people don't like or outright hate the Soviet Union. On the other side, Charles de Gaulle, current leader of the Free French Forces, who expects this attack to weaken the Germans so much that it could give the Free French a chance to finally expel Philippe Pétain and his collaborateurs of the Vichy Regime. If something of great importance happened to Pétain, and combined with the weakened German military position, then it could be what France needed to get rid of the German occupiers.

    The Blue Division

    Franco had promised just a couple of weeks ago in the Hendaye train station that Spain would help Germany in case of war with the USSR. The attack of November 7th is a serious bump into his plans for Spain. He knows that Hitler should have foreseen Stalin's intentions: after all, Stalin is a Jew Communist, and thus he is a conniving, plotting, backstabbing person that would sell his soul to the devil as he spreads his atheistic message. However, he can't exactly spend everything he has in fighting the Russian Communists, no matter what the most recalcitrant characters of the Falange believe. Also, he had hoped that the attacking side would be Germany, as that would allow him to send enough soldiers and, since Germany would have the advantage of initiative, the number of Spanish dead soldiers would be less. But with the Soviets coming to Germany, he isn't that sure that his soldiers will survive.

    Officially, his country's position in the war is that of “non-belligerent”, a situation not recognised by international law but that has been accepted nonetheless by the other countries and that has allowed him to throw his country's support behind the Nazis. Now, however, he realises that he will soon be pressured to make his promises good, if not by Hitler, then by his fellow Falangists. Indeed, in the first days of the war between Germany and the USSR, half of the Falange's higher echelons will have visited him and tried to convince him to immediately declare war on the Soviet Union and to send the army – even his own brother-in-law Ramón Serrano Súñer comes daily in order to switch Franco's opinion.

    But Franco knows that it isn't possible yet to send the army as a whole. With the economy in shambles, it wouldn't be possible to fully fund the army, and the logistics – going through war-devastated Spain and France, and then through Germany – would be a huge nightmare, although Franco thinks that Germany will help with that once war starts. But before this happens, Spain must recover, at least in part, in order to be able to provide for its soldiers. That's why, three days after the start of the war, Franco unveils the idea he has worked on with Súñer.


    [​IMG]
    Poster used to promote people to join the Blue Division. The Patch in the center-down part is the patch they carried when they wore the Wehrmacht uniform.

    The Blue Division (this isn't their official name; they will be called that way because they will decide not to cast away their blue shirts from their uniform), consisting on several thousands of volunteers (half of them veterans from the Spanish Civil War), enough to form a full division, will be deployed to Germany. As Spain isn't officially at war with the Soviet Union, the volunteers will wear the Wehrmacht uniforms (although with a patch that indicates their Spanish origin) and use German weaponry, but their most immediate officers will be Spanish, with German officers only being those in the higher echelons of the army. A Blue Squadron will also be created, wholly formed by the Civil War veterans that were trained by the Condor Legion

    By November 28th the whole contingent of volunteers has been recruited. After a mass hosted in the Alcázar of Toledo by Archbishop Isidro Gomá y Tomás, all of them are taken to the train station and board the trains with destiny Irún, where they will cross the border and pick other train that has been put at the Spanish volunteers' disposition by Philippe Pétain himself – after some pressuring from Hitler, of course – that will take them to Hamburg, where they will start their training to know the German war tactics better. One of the wagons in this first part of the long travel has a series of unusual paintings, amongst them the sentence “Vamos al Este a combatir a la conspiración judeo-masónica-marxista”, meaning We go to the East to fight the Jew-Masonic-Marxist conspiracy, a topic that is a big part of the official mythology, that Franco started the Glorious Uprising of 17th July to prevent Spain's fall into anarchy and become prey to the Jews, the Communists and the Masons (which are, according to the propaganda, one and the same, for some reason; of course, this doesn't take into account that the Soviet Communists are nearly as anti-Semitic, or even more, than the Germans). Most of the volunteers' morale as they travel to Germany by train is unusually high. In their conversations as the long travel goes on, it is obvious that they believe they will be able to practically defeat the Soviets single-handedly. Why, they managed to beat the Soviet-supported Reds in the Spanish Civil War! Sure, they were quite hard to beat, but they still defeated them! Surely it can't be that hard to beat the Soviets, when even God himself must be on their (the Spanish) side as they fight those who not only do not believe in Him, but that are always trying to force others to do the same! No?

    Unfortunately, they haven't taken into account the fact that the Soviet Army is much bigger than the Republican Army; that the Soviet Army, despite the Great Purges of 1937, still has several good officers on its payroll; that the Soviet Army has many more tanks, aircraft and military paraphernalia than everything the Republic used during the Civil War; and that, in the last three weeks, they have been beating the until-then-thought unbeatable Nazi army, and have been doing it with mortal precision.

    As they travel, the Soviet Army nears Krakow, having overcome the problem with the Stukas by using fighters of their own to hunt and destroy the Stukas before they can drop their lethal charge over the tanks. Further to the south, several armoured brigades have entered the Protectorate of Slovakia, and even further, the government of Iron Guard Ion Antonescu, an Axis ally, is facing an invasion of Romania by the Ukranian and Moldavian SSR's armies, hardly a few months after the loss of Bessarabia to the Soviets. Things are indeed looking grim indeed for the Nazis in Eastern Europe...

    The Warsaw Ghetto Escape

    In the city of Warsaw, things aren't going very well, either. Ever since the Germans conquered the city, the people that didn't leave have felt the weight of the German boot, which is certainly very heavy on everyone. Poles and Jews are the ones having the worst time, especially Jews, which are being crammed into one of the city's quarters, which is being called the Jewish Ghetto. Not only that, but everyday the Nazis are bringing even more Jewish people from the rest of Poland and are forcing them into the Ghetto, which is getting more overcrowded as time passes. Already several people have died of hunger and disease.

    However, for the last weeks the Nazi garrison in Warsaw, save for the usual patrols done to ensure that curfew is being respected, the local population hasn't been harassed save for being drafted into working on a set of defences that surrounds the whole city of Warsaw. The Jews, despite the isolation, know why this is happening: the Soviets are getting near the Polish capital, and obviously the Nazis want to turn the city into a death trap for the Soviets.

    Barricades, machine-gun nests, anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, tanks buried in the ground that act as make-shift bunkers and artillery units... The Nazis have thought of everything. Several civilians and soldiers have been trained as snipers so that they kill Soviet officers and commissars, in order to induce the biggest hit to morale to the Soviet armies. Unfortunately, all of these preparations mean that plans to deal with the Jews can't be implemented (there was even one plan that called for a wall to isolate the quarter completely from the rest of the world, and even a group of Jews were planning to start active collaboration with the Nazis and persecute them) and that keeping a close watch on them will be impossible save for the hated Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst or Jewish Ghetto Police. The Nazis believe that the Jews will just stay there, quiet, as they should do.

    How mistaken they are. Despite their general bad health, the Warsaw Jews are not only surviving, thanks to several decent people that are risking their lives in order to help the Jews (which is punished with death), but they are organizing better during this brief period of respite the Soviet attack has given them. Schools, hospitals, orphanages, libraries and even a symphony orchestra have kept the Jews busy, while several illegal workshops have provided them with jobs and manufactured goods that are smuggled and sold out of the ghetto. Even the younger children have been doing their own bit, travelling in and out of the Ghetto and smuggling food into it, sometimes transporting goods that weigh more than they do.

    One of the things that has been smuggled into the Ghetto is radios, and this has given the Jews a more clear idea of what's going on. Hearing the German broadcasts gives them important information. Sometimes, if they are lucky, they can receive Soviet broadcasts, and those that still remember the times before the Great War translate from Russian. All of this helps them, as now they know that the Soviets are getting near to Warsaw. Opinion is divided on this matter.

    Some Polish people (mostly the communists that have managed to survive the Nazi purges) are willing to welcome the Soviets as liberators. Most Polish people (particularly the Jews) are very much sceptical of the Soviets just coming to liberate them. They still remember with bitterness the Polish-Soviet War of 1919, in which the Soviets nearly took the city of Warsaw and it was only through an unexpected victory in the Battle of Warsaw that Poland preserved its independence, and some even remember the horrible rule under the Czar, who attempted many times to force the Polish people to abandon their own culture and follow the Russian one. Jews have an extra reason to not like the Soviets, as they are as anti-Semitic as the Nazis are (a sad remnant from the Czarist times), but, of course, Stalin isn't exactly going to proclaim it to the four winds.

    The Warsaw Judenrat, the organism that is officially leading the Ghetto, discuss what to do with this. Several people are willing to either fight the Soviets or the Nazis, but mostly, for them it's a matter of deciding which is the least evil, Nazism or Communism. It's in the middle of their meeting in November 13th (the day Lublin falls) when a man half-covered in slime and with a long beard covering his face appears before the Judenrat and presents himself. It's Mordechaj Anielewicz, the famous – or infamous, depending on your point of view – guerilla warrior that has, since the invasion of Poland, been a nightmare to the Nazi occupiers as they launched several attacks against them. Being a Jew himself, this appearance brings some hope to the Judenrat that this might be the start of a great scale attack against the Nazis. Anielewicz soon clears the notion: at this moment he is alone, and it took him a bit to first find a way into the sewers and then find the way into the Ghetto through the sewers. His resistance group doesn't have enough members to mount such an operation, he claims, but there are several of them in the forests around Warsaw, waiting for him to come out. There is an idea he has had, thanks to information his contacts with the Polish government-in-exile have provided him, but he will need to know whether the Judenrat is willing to take risks in order for it to work.

    They ask him which is his idea. “The Swedish Government are neutral in this war. We could sneak out everyone and send them to Sweden,” Mordechaj claims. The Judenrat claims that he is mad: winter is approaching, and they will die of coldness if they go outside. “There are many forests on the way north, where people can stay, and feed from the animals that can be hunt, and the sea travel wouldn't be done in the middle of the winter.” They ask how are they going to leave. “Using the sewers. I think that each night we could take around 10,000 people, and during the day we could get more people out of the Ghetto walking. The Nazis are distracted and it shouldn't be very difficult.” The Ghetto's population is about 400,000 big, they say, it'll be impossible to get everyone out of there. “We would take the children, the women and the ancient ones first. Most men could get out when the Nazis are so distracted that they won't be able to notice that everyone has left. And we can even steal Nazi uniforms to blend even more. And the most able for a fight will do it in the middle of the fight when the Soviets arrive, if needed.” And when does he plan to start? “Today, I hope. The sooner we start this, the more people we will be able to get out. Also, it's new moon in two days, so it lessens the chances of being discovered.” A last question: why does he think people will follow the plan? “The way I see it, everyone will have to choose between facing the cold, facing the cold and the Nazis, facing the cold and the Soviets or facing the cold, the Nazis, the Soviets and the fight that will start when they meet.” In less than a quarter an hour, the Judenrat decides to spread the word that there is a chance to escape the Ghetto.

    In one of the most daring, wild and crazy operations of the war performed by the Armia Krajowa, people trickle from the Ghetto, using the sewer system as a escape way. The most ancient people have to be carried on arms or giving them a piggy back, while children are carried by their mothers and other women. The most fit people even manage to swim down-river in the Vistula, taking care not to be seen in the effort. During the day, children leave like they normally do, and their mothers manage to sneak out with the help of Polish Gentiles that are aware of this attempt. But none of them will come back to the city, using the fact that the Germans are constantly distracted by strafing Soviet planes as they bombard Warsaw. Some people die in these attacks, unfortunately, as they are caught out of a protected building or they enter the building but it falls due to the bombs. However, most people manage to get out

    By the time the Soviet tanks reach Warsaw and their artillery starts to fire on German positions, more than a half of the Ghetto residents have left the city of Warsaw for forests at several kilometres from the capital. They will have to wait there till the situation is cleared by the Polish Resistance members that accompany them. A part of the gigantic group has had to go towards the south in order to avoid being seen by the Germans, and thus will have to go their way south and expect to get to other places. Some of them will be found by the Soviets later, and it'll be the start of one of the biggest crimes against humanity ever seen.

    When Rabbi Moishe told us what was going on, I could hardly believe it. Mordechaj Anielewicz himself was going to get us out of there! We had to do it in the middle of the night, of course, what with the Nazis always watching. Perhaps if I had known what the Soviets would do to us, maybe I would have chosen to join the Resistance instead of leaving the zone...
    Extract from Night, Elie Wiesel


    Big Raids: Land, Sea, Air

    In Berlin, things are getting quite nasty for the Nazi higher echelons, particularly Reichsluftfahrtminister (Minister of Aviation) Hermann Göring and Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshal) and Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres (Commander of the Army) Walther von Brauchitsch, whom Hitler regards as the ones at fault with the fact that the Soviets are advancing. Both Göring and von Brauchitsch know that, after the invasion of France, many soldiers have been garrisoned in Western Europe, as well as many planes that have been sent there to deal with the British – although the order given by Hitler to send several squadrons back to the east have prevented the Red Air Force from achieving supremacy, it hasn't been able to follow up on it and actually substitute Soviet superiority with German superiority – but they are careful not to point this fact out to Hitler. After a thirty minute long tirade, he finished by ordering the three men in front of him (von Brauchitsch, Göring and Großadmiral Erich Raeder) to design a plan with which to strike back at the Soviets. Erich Raeder suggests a triple attack, combining the three arms of the Wehrmacht and aimed at several points in order to surprise the Soviets. After explaining his idea, von Brauchitsch and Göring suggest some changes to the plan and possible objectives that they think will be able to mine the Soviet morale. Hitler approves of this plan and instructs the operation to be launched in less than a week. The supplying lines will be busy in the next days.

    December 7th 1940 will be signalled as one of the turning points of what has yet to actually be called World War II. It'll be the start of what German papers call Unternehmen Barbarossa, after the German emperor who nearly managed to become the most powerful man in his time. It is depicted as a four-pronged attack over several points along all of Europe: two through the sea, one air raid and two land attacks:

    • The city of Leningrad is subjected to a double attack, from sea and air, aimed at destroying not only the city's industry, but the many national symbols in there, such as the Bronze Horseman statue, the Lenin statue, the Aurora cruiser and several others. While a surface-submarine float takes care of both the coastal defences and the ships in the port (including Aurora), a 1000-plane raid that has been assembled at top haste bombards the city heavily. Several ships (the battleships Petropavlosk and Sevastopol among them) are sunk, and the Aurora explodes when a torpedo manages to hit it in the stern, just where the motors are. The air raid is less successful, but it scores a hit against the Lenin Statue and other against the famous Church of the Saviour on Blood, which loses its windows due to the explosion.
    • With Unternehmen Silberfuchs (Operation Silver Fox), the Nazi army in Norway strikes at Finland, aiming to drive the Soviets out of the cold country as soon as possible. Here, they count on Finnish help, as the Finnish want to expel the Russians out of their lands (and this comes nearly a year after their defeat in the Winter War). One of the main weapons of the Finnish is the famed Molotov cocktail, invented during the Winter War as an answer to the Soviet cluster bombs, nicknamed Molotov bread baskets after Molotov claimed that the Soviet Union was only delivering food to the Finns.
    • Moscow itself is subjected to a second 1000-plane raid, with the objective of striking as many government buildings as possible. The Kremlin is hit several times, but resists the bombing. The same can't be said of the feared yellow building of Lubyanka, headquarters of the NKVD: a lucky shell enters through an open window in the third floor and explodes, killing the higher echelons of the NKVD that was currently meeting in Lavrentiy Beria's office at the same time. Other three bombs would hit the rest of the building, destroying the upper two floors and making the rescue of anyone that could have survived the first bombs impossible.
    • And, in Poland, an impressive counterattack is launched from Danzig (which is still in German hands) towards the south and the east. The attacking army is formed by the soldiers in Western Poland that haven't been sent already towards the east, several SS Panzer divisions, a half of the divisions that were retired from West Europe, the Spanish Blue Division (the veterans mostly, as the other are still green combat-wise), and the Luftwaffe's planes that haven't been sent to the air raids or aren't working in pounding London (a tactic that is less successful each day).
    The first hours of the counter-invasion are very successful for the Axis. In the north, Operation Silver Fox strikes an early success after occupying the Rybachy peninsula and reaching the cities of Murmansk and Kantalahti. More to the south, in Leningrad, people have just noticed the loss of the Aurora cruiser and the Lenin statue, which is a huge hit to their morale. In Moscow, some people in the basement of the yellow building have managed to get free, making the most of the distraction that Beria's death and the building's near destruction has caused, and they, in turn, free the rest of the people, most of which had the only crime of thinking differently than the Stalinist dogma. The attack in Poland manages to push the Soviets back several kilometres, and it seems they may manage to take all of Pomerania, and maybe even reach Warsaw and push the Russians away from the city...

    ________________________________________________________________

    That's the third chapter of this story.

    I know many of you will think that the escape from the Warsaw Ghetto is VERY ASB, but I think that it might have been possible if certain circumstances are combined. My 10,000 people/night cipher is done with the following numbers:

    • The night in Poland, at this time, lasts around 10 hours, or even more (I admit I haven't researched it, I have just done some figure). That gives the people 36000 seconds of obscurity to get out.
    • Let's put that, on average, one person gets out of the sewers every 3-4 seconds. We have to suppose that the people will have already gone down to the sewers, done the whole route and waited till its dark before starting the escape.
    • If we do the division, it gives us between 9,000 and 12,000 people every night.
    Of course, I could be mistaken about the numbers. It was just my personal appreciation.

    As you can see, history is starting to diverge from OTL, but there are still several things happening: the Blue Division and Squadron, getting Jews into Sweden... Instead of having a Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, we are having a Warsaw Ghetto Escape, out of which there will be more survivors than the alternative. And, even without the Final Solution underway (it was created in 1942) there will be massacres of people still (which I'd rather not think about).
     
  8. Tuhachevskey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Location:
    Russian Empire\USSR\RF
    Zhukov wasnt the marshl in 1940.
     
  9. Milarqui Bloguero de Historia Alterna

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Between Madrid and Granada
    Damn. I didn't know that. I could do two things: one, instead of Zhukov, I put Timoshenko; two, instead of saying he is a Marshal, I'll put Zhukov's real rank at the time, which was General.

    EDIT: Original post can't be edited, so Zhukov will have to stay as Marshal until a moderator is kind enough to do that change for me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2009
  10. Tuhachevskey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Location:
    Russian Empire\USSR\RF
    Zhukov was "The general of the army"; in 1941 he became the chiem of Soviet general Stab
     
  11. Milarqui Bloguero de Historia Alterna

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Between Madrid and Granada
    The Unexpected Consequences Of War: December 1940-January 1941


    The Desert Rats


    For the last two months, since the capture of the town of Sidi Barrini by the Tenth Army, the Italian forces have been digging in their positions in western Egypt and Libya. Many supplies are being brought into the region, particularly to the three positions taken in the earlier attack, namely Sollum, Halfaya Pass and Sidi Barrini itself. They have been preparing to defend their gains, and also for a future offensive into the rest of Egypt, as ordered by il Duce, that is to take place in a couple of weeks. Their Fiat tanks have been arriving by droves, as well as several reinforcements – not as many as Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, Commander-in-Chief of the Italian forces in North Africa, would like – but still, the Italian army is bigger than the British army.


    However, there is one thing that it's impossible to receive for his men: morale. For the last months, the morale of the Italian soldiers has been decaying heavily due to many facts, among them the lack of quality food, the surrounding lands – being surrounded by, and going through sand, sand and more sand tends to sap your morale – and the fact that they know that the British are almost superior to them, evidenced by the battles from last summer.


    They aren't on the wrong track. The British troops know that they can count on having much better equipment than what the Italians have. What the Italians don't know is that the number of British troops is very much smaller than the number of Italian troops: indeed, the ratio is approximately of 1 British soldier per 5 Italian soldiers. However, all these troops, although not very experimented in fighting, can perfectly hold their own: the 4th Indian Infantry Division, “the Red Eagles”, commanded by Major-General Noel Beresford-Peirse, is the first Indian formation to fight out of their homeland, and has had already fought the Italians during their invasion of Egypt; and Major-General Michael O'Moore Creagh's 7th Armoured Division, colloquially called “the Desert Rats” for their ability to fight in the desert, was also there in the containment of the Italians.


    Meanwhile, in the UK military command for the Middle East, General Archibald Wavell and his staff have been drafting a plan that calls for an operation to push the Italians back, intending it to be a five day raid on the Italians' positions in order to disrupt the enemy army's supplies and generally give the Allies a respite. This plan, called Operation Compass, calls for the Desert Rats' Support Group to observe the Italian camps at the town of Sofafi to prevent them from intervening in the British military actions while the rest of the division and the 4th Indian Division, with support from the 7th Royal Tank Regiment, attacked Nibeiwa and Tummars and the Matruh Garrison Force contained the enemy camp at Matkila. Further plans would be implemented if the first attack was successful. It'll be successful. What Archibald Wavell and the rest of the officers in Egypt and Palestine don't know is how successful it is going to be.


    Between the 7th and the 8th December, the Western Desert Force, under the command of Major-General Richard O'Connor and comprising the Desert Rats and the Red Eagles reinforced by British 16th Infantry Brigade, advance 110 kilometres under the cover of the night. Selby Force, comprising 1800 soldiers, has advanced from their positions in Matruh to a new position a few miles from Matkila. The town has been under constant bombardment from the coast by the boats HMS Terror and HMS Aphis, while Sidi Barrani has been attacked by HMS Ladybird. Operation Compass will, however, not start officially until 5 AM on the 9th December, when diversionary artillery attacks start to hit the fortified Nibeiwa camp, where the Maletti Group – the only mechanized unit of the Italian North African Army – is staying. In a fierce fight that ends three hours and a half later, General Maletti dies and the first 2000 Italian prisoners are taken, as well as large quantities of supplies which will now be used by the British, who have only lost 56 men. The Italians have been caught off-guard, despite their digging in, and now they start a total retreat of all their troops towards the west. This allows the British troops to capture several thousands of Italian and Libyan soldiers (among them the two Libyan Divisions deployed there and the 4th Blackshirt Division), plus the capture and destruction of numerous equipment. By the 12th December, the Italians only hold several positions near Sollum and one force in the region of Sidi Omar.


    Despite several losses, the British and Indian forces continue the offensive and manage to do their first coup in the war in the desert: Fort Capuzzo, which had been briefly held during the month of June, has been taken again. This comes as a complete surprise to Middle East Military Command: the Italians' retreat and the capture of a number of soldiers superior to what the British have been able to deploy there was something no one expected. The rotund success of Operation Compass will convince Wavell to extend the operation itself.


    However, a decision taken then by General Wavell doesn't sit well with O'Connor: the 4th Indian Division is to be re-deployed to Sudan in order to support an attack against Italian East Africa. As O'Connor said, “This came as a complete and very unpleasant surprise.” They will be replaced by the 6th Australian Division, a force comprised mostly of recently trained soldiers without an armoured regiment nor an updated artillery.


    Nevertheless, the Allies advance is inexorable: on 15th December, Sollum and Halfaya Pass have fallen, totally driving the Italians out of Egypt, and the British are already preparing for an assault on Bardia. By this time, the result of the battle is this:

    • Italy: 38,000 prisoners, 400 artillery pieces, 50 tanks
    • United Kingdom and Commonwealth: 133 killed, 387 wounded, 8 missing.
    On the 3rd January 1941, the Western Desert Force is renamed XIII Corps, and O'Connor resumes the offensive against the Italians. Two days later, the 6th Australian Division proves its worth when, aided by the Desert Rats, they manage to capture the city of Bardia, taking 45000 prisoners in what will be one of the biggest disasters of the Italian Army. On the 22nd January, Tobruk falls: 25000 more prisoners engross the lists of Italin POWs in British hands. On the 26th, Derna falls. The Italian Tenth Army is fleeing Cyrenaica towards Benghazi. February will see two battles, the Battle of Beda Fomm and the Battle of Kufra, which result in the total eviction of Italian troops from Cyrenaica.


    This defeat is terrible for the Italians: in three months they have lost the Italian Tenth Army, which had even been reinforced last year with elements from the Fifth Army in the wake of France's armistice. The Italians have lost 3000 soldiers to death, 400 tanks, 1292 artillery pieces and 1249 aircraft, but the most disturbing and embarrassing thing is that the British, accounting only 36000 soldiers approximately, have managed to capture 115000 Italian soldiers with ridiculous losses (500 KIA, 55 MIA, 1373 WIA and 15 aircraft). This victory will prompt Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Secretary, to paraphrase Winston Churchill's quote about the Battle of Britain: “Never has so much been surrendered by so many to so few.”


    The position of the Axis in North Africa is frankly desperate: although they still have the disorganized remains of the Tenth Army and the Fifth Army, plus several additional troops coming from Italy – bringing the total of troops to 150000, the same quantity of troops that had faced the British in Cyrenaica – they are mostly infantry, which can't do much against the British armoured divisions, although the Italians aren't without tanks. Since it was obvious that Cyrenaica would be lost, they would reinforce their Tripolitanian holdings.


    Now, here comes one of the major changes of war: had the Soviets not attacked, Germany would have been free to help the Italians in Greece, thus distracting the Allies into stopping Operation Compass and send troops to Greece, which would have a double detrimental outcome as Germany and Italy would probably have been able to conquer Greece, and then send troops to North Africa and help the Italians – documents that would, in the future, be rescued from OKW offices, stated that plans had been drafted to send hundreds of Panzer units to do so, under command of a yet undecided general. However, Operation Nevsky, having invaded Poland and part of East Prussia, has drastically changed OKW plans: they can't send troops abroad when the Vaterland itself is in danger of being invaded by the godless Soviets. In fact, troops are being constantly pulled out of France, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg in order to push forward Operation Barbarossa's main objective of driving the Soviets out of Poland while the divisions in Denmark and Norway are aided by the Finnish and Norwegian armies in their attempt to take the port of Murmansk.


    The consequences of this war are clearly unintended. The Germans would never know how much this would be true.




    The Pacific War: Diplomacy may do what War couldn't


    Last time we saw the North Americans and the Japanese, the two countries were in the middle of conversations regarding a change in the diplomatic scene. With the United Kingdom and the Free French in the table next to the USA and Japan, soon things come to a blow in regards to China. The Japanese diplomats have been instructed to provide as much things as possible for the Empire of the Rising Sun as long as they don't interfere in keeping peace with the three countries. However, there are several things that the Allies aren't willing to let the Japanese keep, namely the Vietnam – which the Free French are claiming back – and China – which America and Britain support, at least the Nationalists.


    It takes several weeks. Japan realizes that it cannot hold to so many of their original claims, but also knows that if they go too much back the Army may host a coup and force the Emperor to declare war on the Allies. After some time, the diplomats have already reached an accord to have the Japanese army evacuate Indochina and China proper. They still refuse to leave Manchuria and Korea, though, and the US diplomats are fighting tooth and nail against the Japanese refusal to abandon Manchuria. Robert Craigie, the British Ambassador to Japan, while also wishing that the Japanese would give Manchuria back to China, manages to convince the other parts of the negotiation that Japan should keep the zone for now, and that further decision should be taken later. At this moment, what should take precedence would be to stop the Japanese-Chinese War and prevent a bigger war from exploding in the Pacific.


    In the end, Japan accepts to leave Indochina and all of Japanese-held China, save for Manchuria, where all the Japanese Army will be called to. It'll be a very hard thing to do, because the Imperial Japanese Army has been getting out of hand since 1937, with the Rape of Nanking holding the first position in the measure of the horrors of war as the Chinese people know it. However, with Tōjō's suicide, it is hoped that the Army will ply to the Emperor's wishes.


    In China, the leaders of the two factions of the United Front are not exactly happy campers. Although they are glad that Japan has abandoned China, they still want Manchuria to be returned to China. The British manage to convince Chiang Kai-shek, the Nationalist party leader, to drop the claims on Manchuria for the moment in exchange of quiet support against the Communists and Mao Zedong, as long as they actually finish with the democratization of China, as per Sun Yat-sen's plans. Chiang favours this, as his attempts to implement Sun's plans have always been disrupted by Mao's supporters. He also asks that Japan pays reparations for the destruction caused to many cities since the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Negotiations for the reparations will start in January of the following year.


    Mao, on the other side, isn't willing to accept peace until Japan evacuates Manchuria and Taiwan. He will continue his guerilla war against the few generals that haven't evacuated into Manchuria, a decision which will be somewhat good for the Nationalists, that feel that with this the Communists will be kept tied there while the Nationalists manage to raise their strength in the parts of the country they control, as well as those places the Communists might leave in order to continue the war with the rebel Japanese generals.


    Most generals do not want to leave China: they were beating them quite easily, they held control over a large part of the enemy country and now they are ordered to get out! It is a hard internal battle the one held into each Japanese general, but in the end their loyalty to the Emperor wins out against their wish to continue the fight. By the end of 1940, nearly eighty percent of the Japanese troops that were still there at the moment of the cease fire instituted when negotiations with the USA started are back into Manchuria. Only the more hawkish generals will continue fighting, although as their supplies dwindle, they will realise that when the Imperial High Command was saying that they would be left alone, they were serious. It'll take several more months until all Japanese soldiers have left China.


    The diplomatic victory in China will be the boost Franklin Delano Roosevelt needs to be voted in for an unprecedented third term to the position of President of the United States of America. Winning over 65% of the popular vote, Roosevelt carries over the East Coast (minus Vermont), the Great Lakes, the Deep South and the West Coast, totalling 41 states and 487 Electoral Votes, while the Republican nominee Wendell Wilkie only manages to gain in the Midwest, totalling 7 states and 44 votes. Michigan, Indiana and Maine were three states where the Republicans nearly won, but in the end the Democrats won by margins smaller than 5%.


    This enormous victory will allow Roosevelt to finally implement his program without much opposition from the Republicans after the last four years with a Republican Senate. His famed fireside chat of 29th December, “The Arsenal of Democracy”, outlines his aims regarding the war in Europe, and criticizes the isolationists – among them the America First Committee – who believe that America will be safe thanks to the Atlantic and the Pacific, and that the United States shouldn't involve itself into the war in Europe; he argues that current technology would allow the enemy to, for example, fly from the British Islands to New England, and back again without refuelling. He also describes the situation in Europe, remarking that people are suffering much under Nazi control and that it'll fall to the free and democratic nations of the world to free them. This is seen by conservative elements of society as a veiled mention that the country might go to war against the Soviet Union if they continue on their way. This doesn't sit well with those that sympathize with the Soviets, such as Henry Wallace or the American Communist Party.


    In his Inaugural Speech on 20th January 1941, Franklin Roosevelt appears in front of the thousands of people and tells them, in a 10-minute speech, a summary of what the US Government plans to do in the following years. His speech is very much appreciated, as most people regard this man as one of the saviours of American democracy, and the rest either don't like him or don't like the fact that he is against fascism or (apparently) communism.


    By February, the mostly Democratic Congress and Senate will pass the most important law in the last years: the Lend-Lease Act, with which the United States Government will be able to send war material to the Allies in exchange of things such as bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda and several other points in the world. This is regarded to be the act that finally finishes with 23 years of American political isolation from the European matters. Some think that the reason why this Act wasn't extended to the Soviet Union is the main reason why it passed through the House and the Senate so easily, not that the USSR has asked for help from the United States. They aren't that desperate for material, when they are winning the war against the Nazis.


    Charlemagne once said “Let my armies be the rocks and the trees - and the birds in the sky.”


    Upon the German-Finnish counter-attack against the Red Army, Stalin is furious. While the land attack on Poland was expected, the destruction of the Aurora cruiser and the Lubyanka building has deeply affected him, as the first was one of the most important symbols of the Red Revolution and the second was the headquarters of the NKVD, which, with the death of Beria and the rest of the higher echelons of it, has been practically destroyed as an efficient weapon to stop dissension and to ferret out any 'enemy of the people' – as any who is even believed of being against Stalinism in any way is euphemistically called.


    While Zhukov – recently ascended to Marshal thanks to the success of Operation Nevsky – and Timoshenko strive to work out an strategy with which to push the Germans back, Stalin orders the Soviet Air Force to launch a 1000 plane raid of their own against Berlin. His memo to the commander of the air forces only contains one sentence, which historians later would state it was probably written in anger at the death of Soviet people, and maybe at the fact that the German people weren't doing anything to overthrow such an obvious enemy of the people as Hitler is: “Kill every German you see.”


    Berlin has been bombed by the British several times since August 1940, but those raids have mostly caused little damage due to the inexperience of the British pilots with navigating at night. That's why the AA operators have been mostly relaxed on day, as no one would risk to attack a city that is protected by several of the Luftwaffe's best units in the middle of the day.


    December 16th will be the date the Soviets have chosen to teach them that, in war, one can never relax. Flying from airfields near Leningrad, the Soviet planes go over the Baltic to avoid being detected from land, and through mostly luck they also manage to avoid any ship with anti-air weaponry.


    The first warning the Germans receive of the Soviet answer to Barbarossa is when the planes go over the town of Peenemünde. Although the Soviets don't know it, Wernher von Braun is the director of the Army Research Center in the town, charged with the development of guided missiles, and there is also a Luftwaffe Test Center near the town. They send word to the nearest Luftwaffe's base, convinced that the attack will be launched against one of those airbases and the surrounding towns.


    However, the Luftwaffe departs too late as the Soviets have been going towards their true objective in Germany's capital. When they reach the city, they start a bombardment of many historical landmarks of the city, as well as politically important buildings. By the end of the day, the centre of Berlin has been converted into a ruin, with the Reichstag building – whose only value nowadays is as a symbol, as the building itself hasn't been used as such since being burned down in 1933 - being the worst hit of all, followed also by the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church – whose spire and ground floor will survive through the war – and the Charlottenburg Palace, the Zoo, several ministries, the Waffen SS Administrative College and the Imperial Guard barracks in the Spandau borough, among others, as well as several civilian housing buildings. The result of this attack is the death of 20000 German civilians, 500 German soldiers dead – most of them in the SS College and the Guard barracks –, the loss of 100 planes – between bombers and fighters – from the Soviet side and 20 German fighters. While the numbers, air-wise, have clearly favoured the Germans, this is considered a Soviet victory, for they have managed to reach their objective: to instil as much fear as possible among the German civilians and to strike hard at Germany's heart.


    The Emperor should be wary of the River


    Hitler is infuriated by this attack, and orders the army to go onward and press on against the Soviet forces so that they are expelled from East Prussia and Poland. The distraction this provides for those who had managed to escape from Warsaw is invaluable, as both armies are too distracted with the enemy army to pay attention to several groups of people travelling north. However, from those that were going south, a part has been found by the Soviets and kept imprisoned on Gulag camps that have been built in Poland, as well as several country homes deemed big enough to hold prisoners temporarily before more camps are built. These will be the cornerstone of the Soviet Union's attempts to get rid of the “class enemies”, as any that is against the Communist regime or even that doesn't show the correct level of appreciation for it is called.


    Meanwhile, STAVKA has been calling for the reservist units from Siberia to come to the west and join the Red Army's efforts in pushing back the Germans and the Finnish. Zhukov has been drawing up a plan that will be able to deal with both fronts at the same time, using multiple armoured thrusts from different directions to stop the enemy advance and destroy as many units as possible. When adding strafing planes, artillery and airborne and land infantry, it would sure become a success. Named Operation Volga, it calls for an attack on all fronts by using massed armoured divisions as they collaborate with infantry divisions and fighter and bomber squadrons in order to push the Germans back towards their land, and then push into there as well.


    Two weeks after the start of Operation Barbarossa, Operation Volga is launched. It soon finds itself having mixed results: while the attack on Finland manages to totally catch the German-Finnish attack unaware and sends them reeling back towards the border, the attack on Poland finds great resistance in the fortifications the Germans had built before the Soviets attacked. However, the biggest resistance to the Soviets' advance doesn't come from the German soldiers, but from the Spanish, whose anti-communist zeal is far greater than the Germans', and who have far more experience in this kind of battlefield than the Germans (the Wehrmacht has failed to give this to its soldiers because the victories over Poland and France were too fast and too heavily supported by their armoured divisions to achieve something similar to the Spanish Civil War battles). This fact is very much admired by Hitler, who is secretly a bit ashamed at the fact that pure Aryans are being less successful at the defence of Germany's lands than a bunch of Hispanic people, but he nonetheless believes that soon the German soldiers will be able to overcome this problem and defeat the Communists forever.


    However, for all his wishes that Germany should prevail over all, the Soviets are winning in this war. The Finnish Front is practically lost to them, as the German Force in Norway retires towards the west and Finland is once more bombarded by the Soviet Air Force, much like during the Winter War, only that this is being done at a larger scale. And, in a few days, the situation in Poland will worsen, as reinforcements coming from Siberia thanks to the Trans-Siberian Railway start to press on the German Army, who is suddenly finding that their slight superiority in weaponry and experience isn't doing much against the greater manpower the Russians have, especially when the latter have tanks that do their job very well, nearly on par to the German Panzers. And, with the resources Germany has at its disposition dwindling as factories use them for the construction of tanks and weaponry, the Army is running thin on the resources they need to survive. The only way oil and other war materials can reach them now is through a long lifeline that crosses Portugal, Spain and France, a travel which in its last stage is very complicated since the French Resistance is at an all-time high recruitment as boys and girls join it to avoid being sent to German labour camps and factories.


    This isn't the worst thing Germany has to face, though. On January 25th, grave news reach Berlin: Russian troops have entered East Prussia and defeated the few soldiers that were still there, but has also taken control of nearly all of former Poland, save for the western regions surrounding Poznan and Lodz, but has also surrounded Warsaw completely.


    Operation Dagger: The Fall of Warsaw


    As Warsaw seems poised to fall, and the superiority of Soviet forces in the area is indisputable, the assault on the city seems to have gained the category of sideshow when compared to the main Soviet attack on western Poland. However, Warsaw is still an important city, and one with which the Russians have a pending account that is 20 years old, as it was in the Battle of Warsaw that their hopes to expand the revolution through the rest of Europe were nipped in the bud. That is why Zhukov, at Stalin's insistence, draws up the plans for what will be known as Operation Dagger, which will consist on the takeover of Warsaw.


    Meanwhile, within the city, the Nazis are still doing their best to power up the defences of the city, as they have been doing for the last months. It's also at this time that they receive notice that a great part of the Jewish Ghetto has been totally emptied, and that hardly a tenth of the former population in the quarters still remains there. The distraction the Soviet advance provided, plus Operation Barbarossa taking over the minds of the soldiers for the last month, and now the siege of the city, has allowed the Armia Krajowa to evacuate them through the sewer system.


    In a conference between the higher officers of the Wehrmacht and the SS, the latter are all in favour of killing the Jewish that still remain in there. The Wehrmacht is against this: they'll need every bullet they have still in the city if they are to survive the assault for enough time, and even searching for all of the Jewish would be counter-producing, as it would tie up needed resources for the defence of the city. In the end, the SS officers accept this fact reluctantly, but point out that once Warsaw is freed by the German Army again, the recapture of the escaping Jews will be a priority.


    However, they won't have the chance to do this. On January 31st, Operation Dagger, the code-name for the takeover of Warsaw, starts with a massive bombardment of German positions in the outskirts of the city and the use of bombers to destroy the city buildings and several of the defences placed in there. The German Army resists the best it can, and at first it seems as if the defensive measures taken will keep the Russians out. However, nothing lasts forever, and after four days of nearly 24-hour fighting, the Germans realise this as they are about to spend all of their ammunition for their weapons, and the artillery and tanks are mostly destroyed or out of shells as well. Some still hold the hope that the main German Army will manage to counter-attack and lift the siege, or that they will be able to air-drop supplies, but most of them are realistic, and know that they won't be able to do much more unless a miracle happens.


    It won't happen: after 5 days of long and hard battle, the German garrison runs out of ammunition, and most decide to leave this world on a blaze of glory, alongside with the SS troopers, and thus they arm themselves with blades and assault the Soviet ground troops as they enter the city. Although suffering some casualties from this eleventh-hour attack, the Red Army units cut down all of these troops down to the last man, and it is several hours later that they can send a message to Marshal Zhukov that Warsaw is now on Russian hands. A great parade will be held in the Red Square in Moscow, while Joachim von Ribbentrop, the former Nazi Foreign Affairs Minister, will commit suicide with a drug overdose due to the great depression he was in since the start of Operation Nevsky.


    While Elders were before the chiefs, now they aren't fit


    Marechal Philippe Pétain had been a great war hero during the Great War. It was his planning, among other things, what allowed France to survive the Battle of Verdun and to survive several attacks launched by the Germans near the end of the battle. Once it was obvious that France was going to fall, he refused to leave Metropolitan France instead of going over to North Africa, where the fight against the Italians and the Germans could be carried over. And, after Paul Reynaud resigned, President of the French Republic Albert Lebrun invited Petain to form a government, the government which would sign an armistice, giving Germany control over the north and the west of the country. However much he thinks he has saved France by surrendering to the Germans, the only thing that move has done has been to cast him, in the eyes of many French and others, as a willing collaborationist of the Nazi dictatorship. At the moment of the Armistice, Pétain was 84 years old, making him the oldest ever French head of state.


    It is during this time that Pétain goes to Madrid to visit fellow dictator Francisco Franco. After the fall of Warsaw and the invasion of Germany proper by the Russian Army have prompted Franco to finally declare war on the Soviet Union on February 7th under the pressure of the most fanatic Falangists in his Cabinet, although even himself knows that it is time to start it up, and perhaps this will allow Spain to pull out of the economic depression brought by the Civil War. Franco wishes to talk with Philippe Pétain in order to make sure that Spain will be able to send supplies to its soldiers in Germany, among other things.


    On February 16th, in the middle of the night, a light is started in the guest wing of the Palacio del Pardo, the Caudillo's official residence. A few minutes later, other light is started in the room where Franco sleeps with his wife. If someone were watching through the windows, they would see Franco getting out of bed and running towards the guest wing, where a man with a stethoscope is performing cardiac massage on someone else. When Franco arrives, the only thing the man can do is to shake his head and cover the man with a sheet.


    The following day, the BBC news report starts with a surprising piece of news. The newsreader's words, with an attempt to keep the emotion from his voice, is heard: According to our correspondent in the city of Madrid, Spain, the RNE has reported that Marshal Philippe Pétain, Chief of the French State, has died of a heart attack while sleeping at Generalissimo Francisco Franco's house... That simple sentence, while in other moment might have been only a discomfort, or perhaps a reason to cry, has completely changed the world geopolitical situation. And soon, it will change even further.


    NOTE: Operation Compass' numbers are the real-life ones.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
  12. Onkel Willie Kaiser

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Interesting premise. I once started a TL on this overenthusiastically. It was well received until I tried to turn the USSR into a world naval power in a war with Japan. The difference was that in my TL the Red Army attacked in May 1940 as Germany was pushing toward's Dunkirk. Got bored with it eventually and kinda quit.
     
  13. Onkel Willie Kaiser

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Just read it through and was expecting a bit of a stalemate and so I've got some criticism. This is plain favouritism to the Red Army. In 1940 the Red Army was crap; they barely managed to beat Finland even with numerical superiority. Furthermore, the Luftwaffe was superior to the Red Air Force in 1940. Bf 109s should have little trouble with Polikarpovs even with a numerical disadvantage. Also, the Red Army had severe supply problems in OTL. Their logistical capabilities were insufficient as they lacked trucks. IOTL the US provided them with those in Lend-Lease so the USSR could churn out more tanks because they didn't need to make trucks. I expect tank-production to be lowered significantly compared to OTL even without the loss of a lot of industry because of this. It's true that in November 1940 the Wehrmacht wasn't ready for war yet but all in all I expected the Soviets to grind to a halt somewhere around the Vistula river amd then slowly get pushed back. Or is that still going to happen? If so, then ignore this.

    False. The T-26s, BT tanks and T-28s were not good enough which was shown when the Soviets lost thousands of them in OTL's Barbarossa, not to mention the losses in the Winter War to the Finnish Army the armoured forces of which only had a few dozen outdated tanks. Barely any Soviet tanks were lost in tank-to-tank battles against the Finns. The Panzer III's 37 mm gun will penetrate the armour of a BT or T-26 any time and I haven't even mentioned the Panzer IV yet with its 75 mm gun main gun. They'll turn BTs and T-26s into swiss cheese. The BT series was an infantry tank with weak armour. The T-26 was just as weak although the T-28 that succeeded it was better and could probably take early versions of the Panzer IV provided that they have air cover. Sadly, only 500 or so were ever made.



    One thing though: The Germans will push the Red Army back and inflict very severe losses and defeats. but the Soviets haven't lost much industry. Voronezh, Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad, instead of being bombed to bits or being occupied, will be building tanks and planes. Also, the army won't suffer from unpreparedness like IOTL when the Germans attacked and Stalin incompetently led them into cauldron battles. Once the Germans pull themselves together, Soviet-occupied Poland is gone as are Finland and the Baltic states.

    Despite these losses, it's better for Stalin. Germany hasn't had six months to prepare so they won't be getting to Moscow any time soon. Instead, I see a prolonged slugging match in Belarus and Western Ukraine.

    This only leaves the morale problem. You see, IOTL the Soviets were fighting a war for their very existence. Of cource, there were Ukrainians and other minorities who hailed the Germans as liberators but very soon found out that the Nazis couldn't be reasoned with. They burned villages, shot innocent civilians in disproportionate reprisals, raped, pillaged and murdered and exterminated almost all of the Jews and used the Slavs as slave labour. ITTL, these minorities won't flock to Stalin's banner because this is a war of aggression on Stalin's part. And a Germany which is in such a bad position, might consider working with them and creating a resistance movement in the Ukraine under the credo "we can exterminate them later". The only obstacle might be Hitler but he had a few good, lucid moments in spite of his insanity and megalomania (and monomania).

    Don't take this harsly. Just trying to help make it a good TL.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
  14. RGB Unqueering the Academia

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Rainy Corporate Dystopia
    Hm.

    I'm surprised the Red Army got to Warsaw, really, but it helped that the German dislocation wasn't favourable to them.
     
  15. Onkel Willie Kaiser

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Hey, don't get demoralized now. It's a good TL so far. You just need to edit some stuff and try to avoid wankage in the next chapters.
     
  16. Milarqui Bloguero de Historia Alterna

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Between Madrid and Granada
    Hey, no problem with that. I understand what you mean with all of this. I have to confess that I didn't do a lot of research in the Russian part (the most research I did was on the North African Campaign), and thus the many things that you have found in this AH are just a consequence of that lack of the needed research. But, hey, let's admit it, who hasn't written one AH without enough research?

    Reason of the rapid Soviet advance: the Russians have been preparing for this for months, and they have a huge army. The lack of American trucks from Lend-Lease could have been compensated with the construction of them in Russian factories, making the most of the 3 months between the start of the planning of Operation Nevsky and the start of Operation Nevsky, and also the construction of more factories.

    Russian tanks: I didn't know about them. I had thought that, at this moment, the T-34 (universally known to have been more powerful than the 1940 Panzer IV) would have been the backbone of the Russian armoured divisions. I guess that, once they saw the T-26s and the T-28s were getting destroyed at every step, they would have turned to the T-34s. For this, I blame my not having done enough research.

    Push-back: the Germans actually did manage to push the Russians back with TTL Operation Barbarossa. However, having brought troops with the Trans-Siberian train and using the terrain, the Red Army has been able to stop the Germans once more.

    Ukraine: since the Germans haven't reached the Ukraine, there isn't much chance of them mounting a resistance army. It's a good idea for the future, and perhaps something Otto Skorzeny might be able to pull off.

    German resistance to Russia: so far, the Soviets, yes, have been advancing far too easily. That will stop once they reach Germany itself (not East Prussia, but the rest). There, resistance is going to be HARD, because now there will be lots of soldiers and civilians ready to defend the Vaterland. Although there might be some... "small" problems in the future, considering recent events.

    Funny things: no one has commented on Hirohito having the Army go back to Manchuria, neither on my favourite part: the Warsaw Ghetto Escape, which I thought would have been, if not the most criticized, at least one of the tops.

    Future: Operation Compass continues as it would have been if Germany hadn't attacked Yugoslavia and Greece, and Pétain's death makes Pandora's box start to open. Also, Operation Volga continues, and there are several more ideas being planned by all the nations of the world.
     
  17. nimbletoes Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Stalin actually did have a plan to attack Germany in 1941 on OTL, but the Germans beat him to it by lauching Operation Barbarossa...
     
  18. DrakonFin Operator

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    The Finnish Military-Historical Complex
    Milarqui, an interesting TL and some very smooth writing. Having skimmed through what you have written so far, I'd like to comment on the action at the Finnish Front.



    The Soviets did not attack Finland as a part of "Nevsky", right? You have not mentioned of any action in the north before December.

    If this is so, the Finns have had since November to mobilize: by December they should have built their forces up to a pretty good defensive footing. But it is different altogether to be ready for an offensive against the USSR, to the same extent the Finnish Army was by Summer 1941.

    The Germans had a right of passage in Finland since August: there were already some German troops here in November 1940, though in very small numbers as it was still quite hush-hush.

    But how would you make the German troops in Lapland large enough to take both Murmansk and Kantalahti in short order? The overland connections from Norway are poor, especially in winter, and as IOTL, a part the troops slated for the Arctic force would have to be ferried across the Baltic. Which, of course, is mostly frozen at this time along the ports used IOTL for the troop transfers (Oulu, Vaasa, etc). Not to point out that there is a war going on, and the Germans have the Soviet Baltic Fleet to worry about.

    But let's say there are as much German troops in Lapland by December 7th as there was in the beginning of OTL Silberfuchs in 1941. IOTL the Germans failed to gain headway towards the twin objectives of Murmansk and Kantalahti, in summer, bogged down by both fierce Soviet resistance and serious problems with supply. Now we are talking about December, and considering the inept handling of winter operations by the Germans in Lapland IOTL, I see Silberfuchs ITTL failing even more thoroughly.

    Assuming the Soviet command has not stripped the Northern Front entirely of troops for "Nevsky", of course. But there would have to be some kind of a force protecting Murmansk and the railway, and this being winter, I think even 2-3 Soviet divisions could have easily bogged down a projected German(-Finnish) force of 4-5 divisions for weeks at least. IOTL Silberfuchs was called off after a month: it took 2/3 of the available manpower just to keep the supply running, so and so, in the northern wilderness. Now consider the same operation knee deep in snow, in temperatures consistently below -15 C.

    If you want to make Silberfuchs even somewhat successful, I suggest

    1) That Soviets make the blunder of stripping Kantalahti of troops for "Nevski" and leaving only one understrenght division there, even if Murmansk still has stronger troops.

    2) That the Germans have the wisdom to concentrate their attack against Kantalahti only, as Dietl would have had it IOTL. Thus, in effect, reducing Silberfuchs to an enlargened Polarfuchs.

    3) That several Finnish divisions accustomed to winter warfare take part in the operation.

    4) Mannerheim is likely to order stopping the Finnish attack against the Murmansk railway at some point. That order needs to be delayed or it needs to be made not reach the Finnish troops in time.

    Even these changes might not be enough when going against General Winter in the Arctic.
     
  19. corditeman Relatively Sane and Unique

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Location:
    Dalbeattie or Beamish
    Nice Nevsky...

    Might be worth introducing the use of nerve gases against Russian strategic and tactical targets. Tabun (invented 1936) and Sarin (invented IOTL 1939) were being produced at a works in Silesia (Dyherrnfurth an der Oder (now Brzeg Dolny in Poland), and at Munster-Lage on the Luneburg Heath. From 10,000 to 30,000 tons of sarin were produced between 1940 and 1944.

    Stalin's forces were not well enough equipped to have withstood serious chemical attacks of a World War 1 nature, let alone the penetrative and highly-dangerous Tabun.

    I suggest sprays from aircraft for battlefield targets and airburst bombs over tank-laagers, military bases and factories.

    Good hunting !

    ....DOWNWITHSTALINDOWNWITHSTALINDOWNWITHSTALINDOWNWITHSTALINDOWNWITHSTALINDOWNWITHSTALINDOWNWITHSTALINDOWNWITHSTALINDOWNWITHSTALIN....
     
  20. Wolfpaw Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Location:
    God Hates Flags

    Wait...what? Where are you getting this?