By 1945, Nazi Germany had pushed the Soviet Union east of the Urals and controlled eastern Europe, the United States decides to use nuclear weapons, how long does the war last and what exactly happens to bring it to an end?
There is a common misconception that once nukes were created whichever side had them automatically wins. Such a belief undeservedly hypes up the first generation nukes (probably if I had to guess it's due subconscious fears about the current state of the worlds nuclear arsenal projected onto the past,) However the first generation nukes could barely destroy cites let alone counties. Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined killed only 129,000–226,000 people and half of that was due too the fact the Japanese were already critically malnourished and sick before the bombs even dropped. This is on top of the fact that the Japanese preferred to use softer more flammable combustible materials for their houses, unlike Europeans who usually constructed with brick and mortar (compare Dresden which killed around 25,000 to the Tokyo bombing which killed 100,000, even though more bombers were deployed in Dresden in comparison to Tokyo). Even if you dropped 100 nukes on Germany you might being extremely generous kill maybe 6-4 million people (although if you're being more realistic it probably wouldn't even kill a fourth of that due to the factors above) bad no doubt, but hardly war ending casualties.By 1945, Nazi Germany had pushed the Soviet Union east of the Urals and controlled Eastern Europe, the United States decides to use nuclear weapons, how long does the war last and what exactly happens to bring it to an end?
You overestimate the intelligence capabilities of Nazi Germany and underestimate American counter-intelligence capacity. The Soviets infiltrated the Manhattan Project, but not the Germans.Problem is Germany's potential chemical retalliation, by 1948 or so if the Germans have been suspecting the mass development of nukes (which can't really be hidden once they leave development and are being actively deployed and tested),
Proximity fuzes were highly effective against the V1. Turning the V2 into a chemical agent delivery system is far more challenging than you think. First of all, Germany needs to develop a means of detonating the V2 in mid-air at a defined altitude, either through a proximity fuze of their own or an altimeter. They never did this OTL, or developed any kind of proximity fuze. Second, they need to configure the warhead so that it carries an adequate amount of nerve agent, the bursting charge spreads it out over a wide enough distance, and the bursting charge doesn't destroy the nerve agent. Third, they need to ensure that the chemical warheads for the V2 are safe to handle, store, and transport. Fourth, they need to improve the accuracy of the V2. Spending all this money on a weapon not even guaranteed to hit London in the first place would be a massive waste. Fifth, they need to mass produce the V2 and its warhead. And they have to do all this R&D and mass production while getting pounded by WAllied strategic bombing, with Germany's rocket programs being targeted directly by Operation Crossbow. Strategic bombing will also result in many of Germany's rocket scientists getting dragged off to develop Wasserfall and the Komet rocket plane. It's a safe assumption that the Allies will be able to eliminate Germany's industrial and technological research capacity with nuclear bombing long before the Germans have developed an effective delivery system for nerve agents, created enough nerve agent, and fired enough of them to cause massive damage.then they would have found ways to put Nerve gas on V1/V2/upgraded V2s...
As far as the politicians and generals are concerned, there is no moral argument or choice at all. They have a powerful bomb with a big explosion that can end the war. They will use it. They will keep using it until the war is over. Only after Germany has been crushed and they can inspect the radioactive ruins of Germany's cities and the mutilated and radiation-poisoned survivors will they have any second thoughts. Then they'll see the concentration camps, and those second thoughts will be gone.And of course there is a moral argument: Is killing 10 million germans (directly, likely more in the aftermath) worth it to save a hundred millions slavic europeans? It won't be a easy choice for anyone, but it can be understood from a geopolitical standpoint.
If the Reich get strategic depth in the East, the Strategic Bombing campaign is in trouble (this assumes that all of OTL's occupied Western Europe remains in Nazi hands).
If one takes, as the best possible case for the Soviets, a return by the USSR of its major shipments of materials, oil and food to the Reich, with the USSR not losing any territory (vastly unlikely, but, again, best case) but with a wide demilitarized zone along the Soviet borders of a couple hundred miles, with Reich observers (sort of a Saarland in reverse). The Reich now can set up manufacturing beyond the range of any escort fighter until the arrival of the P-47N, F-82 and potentially the F8B in General Government. Even then the missions will need to be straight line, no staying out over the North Sea or Baltic until it is time to make the attack run. The oil fields will be in Soviet hands, not the Reich's so any attempt to attack them would possibly result in a war with the Soviets, something that would put Iran and potentially Iraq in play. The Lancaster is the only bomber that can carry useful loads deep into General Government until the arrival of the B-29, even at night, with the sort of flight path that would have to be flown, the RAF would have 10% losses every mission, maybe more. The Bombing offensive, as we know it, would stop dead for at least a year, more likely two, when the ultra long range escorts came on line. Even then the escort would be hard pressed to get much beyond Lodz in General Government (Poland), using the generally accepted reduction of 25% of max range for take off, form up, 20-30 minutes at full throttle/combat. So all the reduction in production, and most of the attrition of the Luftwaffe (which was more or less the 8th AF using their bombers as anvils for the P-51s to hammer the Luftwaffe to pieces against) between mid 1943 and early, probably mid 1945 is gone.
Those would be epic missions for a single seat aircraft, 8-10 hours in the air, virtually all of it over enemy territory. The WAllies would also need absolute mountains of fighters. There would need to be fighters escorting the whole bomber stream AND the ultra long range fighters (who won't be able to drop their external tanks until they are almost at the target area) all the way to the German/General Government frontier (so P-47Ds covering through France to the German border, P-51s taking over up to the Oder, and then the ultra long range fighters taking things to the target and back, probably with more shorter range escorts running fighter sweep to hold down the Luftwaffe on the return trip.
Naval gunfire is a miracle weapon, except it really isn't. Nothing can put down fire like a battleship, but against a strong enough defense it is of limited use. The Heer was terrorized by naval guns in Normandy, but that was because their defensive wall was, in reality, a joke. The American almost literally made an administrative landing on Utah (197 TOTAL casualties), Gold, Juno and Sword, were all secured inside of two hours of landing, even Omaha was cleared inside of six hours. The Atlantic Wall was actually more like the "Atlantic Picket Fence", mainly because the Reich had to dedicate so much of its resources to the East. That left the Heer trying to run Panzer divisions 40-100 miles under constant air attack and then into naval gunfire as they came within 10-15 miles of the beach. A REALLY well prepared defense, something that the Nazi's could have built if they weren't hip deep in the Red Army is a very different matter.
Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa were all subject to 360 degree naval gunfire, literally not a spot on any of the islands was out of range for not just battle ship, but 8" and 6" guns as well. There isn't a spot on Okinawa that is more than 23,000 yards from a firing position in deep water. A 5" gun can shoot completely across Iwo Jima and hit a ship in a firing position on the other side. Peleliu is only 6,000 yards wide, total area is 5 square miles (13 square km), but it took two months and 10,000 casualties to clear it (and Peleliu was totally cut off, no hope of resupply or support). Iwo is 8 Sq. Mi., took five weeks and 27,000 casualties, and it was also utterly cut off, bombed for weeks, and then pounded with naval gunfire from 8 battleships, 9 heavy cruisers, 2 light cruisers and 16 destroyers, every damned day, for five weeks, with fire being called in by specially trained forward observers. I won't even go into Okinawa. It was so bad that the Joint Chiefs considered asking FDR for permission to use chemical weapons.
The Reich originally panned to have a a defensive network extending inland for 5-7 MILES, with reinforced concrete pill boxes, tank traps, trench lines, minefields (for some odd reason the IJA wasn't really a big fan of mines), pre-registered mortars and artillery, the works, backed up by mobile heavy armored forces.. If Rommel had been able to finish the defenses, it would have been a bloodbath to end all bloodbaths. Just getting a toehold would have been worse than the estimates for all of Operation Downfall.
The WAllies put what added up to seven infantry divisions, along with three airborne divisions ashore on D-Day. That was actually a little thin, based on the book 3:1 superiority required, and it required the largest landing armada ever assembled. Eeven trying the landings in this scenario would require, at the minimum, the order of battle planned for Olympic, more likely Coronet. That means finding additional landing beaches with the vastly increased logistics necessary to support those forces (it is likely that the landing area would have to stretch all the way to the outskirts of Calais, if not Dunkirk), call it 125 miles of frontage (Overlord was ~60 miles). The Heer will have easily triple the mobile formations that were available IOTL, probably more than that since there would be little need for heavy armor in the East, even with an active Partisan movement. In that sort of scenario even the old, utterly obsolete Pz II and Pz-38(t) and Ju-87s would be enough to deal with the partisans, freeing up the SS and Luftwaffe Panzer divisions to be moved to the West and into Italy along with most of the Heer armored forces and the Luftwaffe front line strength.
Adding to the problem is that the WAllies wouldn't be able to even attempt a landing before 1945, probably in April. There is no way that the needed number of landing craft, vehicles, and weapons to mount an assault against the much larger (and heavier) Heer formations could be made available by the end of summer 1944 (by September the weather is far to marginal, and by the end of October the hours of daylight are too low even if the equipment is available to make the attempt). That gives the Reich an extra 9+ months to add to the Atlantic Wall, and the conquest of the USSR, even without any sort of reparations (and there WOULD have been reparations) provides the Reich with masses of both material and slave labor to work on the Wall.
Control of the "European" part of the USSR also provides the Reich with the one thing it lacked, true strategic depth. Move the factories East (can NOT be any more difficult that building massive tunnels to put things underground as IOTL) and the one real equalizer the WAllies have is off the table. Move factories (as was always envisioned) to General Government or to Russia and the Bomber Offensive ends. UK bomber bases to Moscow is at the B-29's max range (the Lancaster can't even get close it taps out near Vilnius, with the Lancaster's replacement, the Lincoln, not quite equaling the B-29). The B-32 can get a bit farther, but then you are dealing with the B-32... God have mercy on you. The CBO is effectively out of the strategic bombing of industrial business (as opposed to killing civilians) until the B-36 arrives. Even the B-29 missions flying past 1,000 miles radius are going to present a massive set of problems since there is no way you can get an escort out that far, the F-82 had a combat radius of around 950 miles, meaning that, at best, a deep penetration mission by B-29s would have had around 900 miles of unescorted flight time (three-four hours depending on speed during that part of the run) when the bombers would be hellishly vulnerable. Perhaps worse than the bomber losses would be the reality that the WAllies would not be able to do what was necessary to defeat the Luftwaffe IOTL, use the bombers as the anvil that the fighter jocks could hammer the Luftwaffe to bits against.
The Reich still declares war on the U.S. and chooses to continue to fight with the UK. This is close to AANW, except it is unlikely that the WAllies manage to keep the Bomb under wraps without the active, if unfriendly, assistance of the KGB (in AANW the KGB was much more motivated by screwing up the Reich than helping the WAllies). If both sides have the Bomb you wind up with an unending series of proxy wars and a raging war at sea with no real hope of invading Europe. The sort of massive fleet needed to kick in the door constitutes a perfect target for a nuclear weapon and given some time, the Reich doesn't even need to get in in via an aircraft, submarine or even an a much improved missile, it can be delivered by coastline based torpedoes and large railway guns and even towed artillery (the U.S. had 280mm artillery nuclear warheads by 1952 IOTL). Nuclear weapons made invasions like Overlord or Iceberg a thing of the past, unless the target country lacked a nuclear deterrent.
If the WAllies manage to keep the Bomb under wraps and the Reich follows its historic lack of interest, then the earliest you could see a serious attempt to land would be around 1950, possibly later. It would, as was the case IOTL, only be possible to even attempt a landing after the Luftwaffe was rolled back. Without the constant losses in the East, and with the access to Soviet materials (along with the added strategic depth that would make practical bombing of Reich military industries impossible until proper, large scale air-to-air refueling was developed) it is difficult to see how the WAllies manage to knock the Luftwaffe out of the War in less than six or seven years. Even with that sort of lead time the WAllied ground forces will have serious problems unless they have, somehow, developed a mature armored warfare doctrine (not to mention sufficiently advanced vehicles) once the get more than 10 miles inland and leave the protection of the gunline, especially at night. I would frankly doubt that the WAllies would develop a useful doctrine, nothing in the Pacific, SW Asia, or even North Africa will prepare them to face the sort of heavy armor that the Heer was already developing in late 1941 (even in a rapid victory Reich designers would take the lessons of the T-34 and KV-1 into consideration) when follow on generations of vehicles are brought into service.
Thats the same regime which fought to the bitter end till Soviet soldiers stood in Berlin. The same regime who kept fighting after Hitlers death? The same regime who kept fighting after dozens of German cities where incinerated? But your idea is that it collapse on itself after it conquered all of Europe, except Britian, but it surrenders like a headless chicken after one nuke or a dozen? I find your characterization of the Nazi regime preposterous & frankly naiv to the extreme.I've always thought it could take the Reich down quickly in several ways. The first would be to do a decapitation strike on Berlin that kills Hitler and his entire cabinet. The government collapses into chaos and either incompetent Nazi members take over or the military does including after a struggle.
Or they take out an industrial target like Bonn and news of the attack spreads across Germany, causes mass panic and people fleeing cities shutting down industry and the German economy. It may take several, but moderates in Hitler's government or the military panic, stage a cou against him, and either attempt peace or are in disarray allowing the Allies to have time.
Do you know how many assassination attempts against Hitler were made, just by his own military? A weapon emerges that can destroy a city in one hit and the Allies have an unlimited amount seemingly they can make. I think if news gets out about I imagine plotting against Hitler will increase greatly. After a few months of major cities being destroyed combined with Allied bombing, it will start to make an impact. Hitler's death through decapitation strike could cause infighting of what remains and chaos that either allows the Allies to fight back or moderates to take over.Thats the same regime which fought to the bitter end till Soviet soldiers stood in Berlin. The same regime who kept fighting after Hitlers death? The same regime who kept fighting after dozens of German cities where incinerated? But your idea is that it collapse on itself after it conquered all of Europe, except Britian, but it surrenders like a headless chicken after one nuke or a dozen? I find your characterization of the Nazi regime preposterous & frankly naiv to the extreme.
The fission bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki certainly wouldn’t end the war by 1946, certainly not when the Allies lack air superiority. But if the Allies remain fully committed to the war then Germany is radioactive toast by 1955. Sure, they could move their industry to the east, but incinerating cities full of civilians with nuclear hellfire really is a war-winning strategy even if it doesn’t destroy Germany’s industrial capacity along with it. The WAllies will acquire air superiority even if they can’t bomb the factories producing Germany’s aircraft.The F-86 Sabre outclasses the Me-262 and anything else the Germans could build and field in large numbers by the time the Sabre is introduced. And once the WAlllies acquire air superiority they will exploit it by immediately launching nuclear attacks. Remember, two important plot points in AANW was that first there was a “Bombing Holiday”, a quasi-ceasefire, and second once the war started up in full the WAllies refrained from using nuclear weapons on the continent until Germany launched chemical attacks on Britain. If there is no “Bombing Holiday” then the Allies won’t hesitate to launch a massive nuclear attack as soon as they gain air superiority, which would happen at the latest in the early 1950s. And yes, the nuclear attack won’t destroy Germany’s ability to make war if all the industry was relocated to occupied territory in the east. But the idea that Nazi Germany can survive the loss of its homeland as some rump state in the East, like a Nazi Byzantium, is laughable. The Germans had trouble transporting supplies from Germany and Western Europe to their forces in the east. How can they supply their defensive forces in Western Europe from Eastern factories, especially with Germany itself - right in between the east and the west - ravaged by nuclear attack? After Germany is wiped out, Italy and the rest of the European Axis is switching sides to avoid the same fate. Turkey will realize who the winning side is and join it. The Allies will invade from Western Europe and the Balkans and face intense resistance from the surviving Germans, but Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary will all be on their side along with all the remaining partisans.This was discussed for more than 25 pages here:
In a scenario similar to AANW where the Reich has defeated the USSR and occupied it up to the Urals due to a successful Barbarossa/Case Blue would the atomic bomb be a magic bullet as some make it seem so that the war in Europe ends in 1946 as opposed to the war dragging on for years as the...www.alternatehistory.com
Relevant quotes from CalBear concerning a victorious Reich vs the WAllies:
But everything you said happened OTL & the regime hardly shook. Why would it now? Because the Allies somehow can bomb Germany without impunity? Thats absurd. The only way to bring the Nazi regime down is with boots on the ground.Do you know how many assassination attempts against Hitler were made, just by his own military? A weapon emerges that can destroy a city in one hit and the Allies have an unlimited amount seemingly they can make. I think if news gets out about I imagine plotting against Hitler will increase greatly. After a few months of major cities being destroyed combined with Allied bombing, it will start to make an impact. Hitler's death through decapitation strike could cause infighting of what remains and chaos that either allows the Allies to fight back or moderates to take over.
Problem is Germany's potential chemical retalliation, by 1948 or so if the Germans have been suspecting the mass development of nukes (which can't really be hidden once they leave development and are being actively deployed and tested), then they would have found ways to put Nerve gas on V1/V2/upgraded V2s...
Germany can't do much damage to the US mainland (only using tricks like one ways submarine or air launched missiles, which would likely not cause more than a few thousand deaths), but they sure can litter London and all main british cities with nerve gas (with a stockpile or weapons they have been building for 1+ years with a high priority).
Thanks for the info.According to Osprey "The 8F44G Tuman-3 was the standard chemical warhead containing a payload of 555kg of thickened VX agent. It used a proximity fuse and a burster charge to disperse the agent before impact with the ground. Depending on the burst altitude and ground wind conditions the warhead could contaminate an area up to 4km long and about 600m wide." The Scud-B had a similar size warhead to the V-2, so I'm assuming any adjustments leading to a 555kg Chemical warhead would lead to a similar one for the V-2
Modern London having a square footage of 1,583km (no idea of the historical size), it would require just over a million warheads to coat every cm of London. The Nazis averaged about 660 Rockets per month. So with just mittelwork producing V2's it would take about 133 years to get enough rockets to destroy london.
Nerve Gas, will work as a deterrent, but won’t be particularly useful once deployed.