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If Stalin attack the West, what year and month was optimum?

Discussion in 'Alternate History' started by Hairog, May 1, 2011.

  1. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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    I think you can figure out from my signature and avatar what my choice is. If asked I will tell you my reasons.

    What is your choice and why?
     
  2. tackle74

    tackle74 Member

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    Better not be before he got the bomb or they were toast..literally toast & ash.
     
  3. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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    There are a lot of myths that need to be countered about the atomic bomb. It was not a tactical weapon and it was very hard to bring to bear in the presence of a worthy opponent. Japan was helpless when we dropped it on her.

    Was the Soviet Union helpless against an atomic bomb campaign?

    Here is an interesting fact. The US had 9 atomic bombs at the end of 1946, 13 at the end of 1947 and 50 at the end of 1948. The Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated that it would take 140 Mark III atomic bombs to cripple the Soviet Union.
     
  4. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    Hairog, you should take cold war military assesments with a grain of salt. First remember the military services routinely overestimated soviet nuclear ability well into the 60's. They also had a vested interest in aquiring as large an arsenal as they could so of course they would say they need X number of bombs. As a functional matter 2 dozen nukes detonated at nearly the same time over major population centers, naval ports and industrial regions would cripple the Soviet Union, as it would the US. Especially in 1946-48.
     
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  5. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1945-1955 would be unwise for the SU to attack ,because US could damage the SU with nuclear weapons,and the SU could not reply .
    What would be the use of conquering Paris,if it was at the cost of Moscow .
     
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  6. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    Gosh! What an effort you have put towards this possible alternate history! If you get 20 or 30 minutes spare time could you consider another possible scenario of futuristic history? What comes to mind is a what if? What if China had a famine and without weapons launched a transfer of it's people to move to the rest of the world by un armed boat. Think of the endless onslaught of boats that it would take to move this population that would inundate the rest of the world without use of conventional weapons.
     
  7. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I'm closing this thread for a number of reasons. First, any Alternate History post must go into its assigned forum, where it must be moderated. Second, it does not meet the requirements for an Alternate History thread. Please read the posting suggestions in that forum. Finally, the original post does not contain a fully fleshed out scenario with the poster's ideas. If you wish to continue this discussion, please do so in the appropriate place.
     
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  8. Otto

    Otto Spambot Nemesis Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thread moved to Alternate History section where it belongs.

    The thread has been re-opened also. I expect cogent, thoughtful discussion, and if you don't fancy alternate history, don't partake int he thread.
     
  9. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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    Well that was nice of you. Thanks. Sorry for the mistake. I just saw the dates 1945-1950 and didn't read further.

    I have a number of references and resources that make me thing that it might not have been too easy to use the atomic bomb on the Soviets in 1946-47. In fact they intimate that it would be very hard for a number of reasons.

    The Soviets were not helpless like Japan was. They had the biggest air force in the world in 1946-47. The usual argument is that the B29 would just fly at 32,000 and be invulnerable and could just drop it's bombs anywhere it wanted. I don't buy that opinion on face value.

    1. The Soviets had a number of aircraft capable of intercepting the B29 so it would have to be escorted. As we found out in Korea it was vulnerable just as any bomber was.
    2. After hearing about the jet stream over Japan causing conventional bombers to fly under 25,000 I did some research. Now I guess it might have changed in 60 odd years but I don't think that much. Over several major cities including Moscow and the industrial heart in the Urals it is very, very strong for much of the year. Sometimes stronger than what we encountered over Japan.
    3. Very little was known about the interior of the Soviet Union in 1946-47. Our intel overflights had not taken place yet. We just didn't know where the targets where located 300 miles or so East of Moscow.
    4. I don't think we would use the atomic bomb over Western Europe. I think they would rather be red than dead and we would honor their decision.
    5. Would the American public stand for the massacre of millions of innocent Soviet citizens who months ago were our allies? There was a serious movement afoot after the war to have all nuclear weapons taken out of the control of the military and it was even proposed that they be outlawed by the UN.
    6. The production of U235 and plutonium greatly declined after August 1945. Most of the production facilities were shut down.
    7. The nuclear scientists lost their military jobs and went back into the civilian workforce shortly after the end of the war.
    8. Despite the fact that some are under the impression that the JCS over estimated the number of atomic bombs needed and only a handful would do the trick...the JCS believed otherwise. Since they were in charge at the time would they have proceeded with a nuclear attack before they stockpiled the 120 or more they say was needed to win a war?
    9. The US was 108% debt ration over GNP at the end of the war. We owed more money to our citizens than our total GNP. There were no Chinese to buy our bonds. Only the American public could finance another war. Would we have done it? Would we have endured rationing for another 5 years in order to save Europe again?
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Did they? I'd like to see the numbers and just what it was composed of.
    How many fighters did they have that could intercept the B29 at altitude? And how long would it take them to do so. PLS note that the US and Canada didn't have an easy time intercepting balloons at that height and below during 44 and 45.
    But you don't have to be nearly as accurate when you are using an atomic bomb.
    Why target that deep in the USSR? I'd go for logistic nodes much closer to the front. Especially if the Soviets are on the offencive.
    We wouldn't have to use it over Western Europe. Eastern Europe has plenty of targets.
    If the Soviets launched an attack on us, especially a surprise attack, yes they would.
    Indeed but they could be started back up pretty quickly and there were some stockpiles.
    So the hydrogen bomb isn't designed too much earlier than it was historically. Not that that will be of much consulation to the targets of the atomic bombs.
    If they thought it necessary to stem the Soviet advance, yes. If the Soviet advance was already stopped perhaps not.
    If attacked, yes, without a question. For one thing it wouldn't be viewed as just "save Europe again".
     
  11. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

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    War is never easy, but military personel train to overcome these difficulties and carry out the mission.

    While the Soviet Union had aircraft that could preform an intercept, the US had long range fighters as well.

    The major population centers and ports were well known as to location.

    Certainly we would not want to use nule's over western europe but the plan was to use them over central-eastern europe if they were used at all. In any event we had the weapons and the delivery system, so we always had the final say in their use.

    Don't confuse the America of today with the one of 1945-55. The American public of this era trusted its government and if it said they needed to nuke Moscow to save Washington the public would accept it, especially after a few years of duck and cover.

    History has shown that governments do not give up power unless forced to. Utopians might have wanted to control or outlaw nukes, but so long as the USSR had a massive land army ready to invade Western Europe on 72 hours notice the nukes would remain.

    Production declined because we demobilized and for a few years had a monopoly on nukes. When Russia deployed atomics, we ramped up production and multiple delivery systems.

    Not only nuclear scientist's were demobilized, so to tankers, artillerymen, bombadiers and all others called up to serve in WWII.

    Gerneral's make plans based on perceived worst case scenario's but when push comes to shove they use what they have to get the job done. If you have any doubt about who ultimately has control of American forces and policy read about MacArthur and Truman.

    WWII was expensive to the US, but compared to the rest of the combatents we got off easy. The period of 1945-55 was one of great weath and prosperity for the US, we had no need for Chinese money, if anything, we were the world banker.

    One of the reasons we aquired nukes, and greatly reduced our conventional forces was because they were cheaper. That would make their use more likely rather than less.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    In answer to the origianl question I'm not sure there is a good time for him to do so. Obviously anything prior to the fall of Berlin is out. The remainer of 45 isn't a very good time either. The Soviets are still realing from their losses in the war and until after the harvest of 45 food is a significant problem. 46-49 to at least some extent the USSR is still recovering and in the latter part of this period a communist victory in China is looking quite likely. Attacking the west may jeprodise that and open a huge second front vs the Soviets. The communist win in China in 1950 but it will likely be a couple of years before they are willing to take an active part in a new world war which pushes the date back to 52. The Korean conflict then provides a window on the capabilities of the two sides. The success of the allied counter attack and the military build up it engeners argues against an immediate attack then Stalin dies in 53.
     
  13. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    This list of stockpiled atomics seems to state quite clearly that before the Soviets exploded "Joe One" in 1949, the US had quite a few in "stockpile". Of course this ignores the five "Fat Man" plutonium types which were used in tests (Crossroads and Sandstone) post-war starting in 1946. Those "Little Boy" uranium gun-type bombs (5) that were not used, were dismantled and their U-235 used in the new "combo" bomb which contained both uranium and plutonium.

    Goto:

    Nuclear Weapons in the Strategic Air Command Arsenal

    And let’s not forget that in the last day of Dec. 1946, Truman transferred the atomic production effort from the Army’s MED to the civilian controlled AEC. The Hanford Plant had slowed production, but it remained putting out a bit of the plutonium for test bombs. If the Soviets had advanced west, that wouldn't have happened for sure. Just in peacetime production we not only produced and stockpiled those Mk3 bombs, we tested with them as well long before the USSR exploded their first one.

    Then don't forget that the Soviet "breadbasket" would be highly susceptible to fire-bombing during the harvest months and we knew full well where those fields were. Pretty hard to hide tens of thousands of acres of grain from attack. Even Stalin himself had "Patton-like" generals who wanted to march to the English Channel while they had the Army at full strength. He dissuaded them from such foolishness with the rebuke (paraphrasing) "...and how would we feed these conquered peoples? We are just now becoming able to feed ourselves."
     
  14. Black6

    Black6 Member

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    I would say May/June of 1947 due to the total unpreparedness of the US Army at that time. NATO was not yet formed, the US Armed forces had pretty much completed demobilization and the only army in western Europe with any sizable forces was the French. If the Soviets could successfully launch a massive surprise invasion its likely that they would gain all of Germany, the Low Countries and France within 3-4 months. In that time frame the US would be unable to do anything except fortify Britain and begin to remobilize. Atomic weapons applied to the Red Army's logistical choke points and staging areas could certainly slow down the offensive and perhaps weaken it enough for conventional forces to stop it short of Paris, but what then? Another Soviet push from that point would likely succeed before the US/British come to France's aid.
     
  15. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I think that one should remember that the "Cold War" was the reason the B-36 was finally finished, but if the Soviet had advanced into the west of Europe it wouldn’t have been kept on the back burner as long as it was. Even though the need for it had disappeared since it was first started in 1941, the first B-36A took flight in August 1947 even without real combat need.

    If that need had existed, I don’t doubt they would have curtailed B-29 production and ramped up B-36 deliveries. These planes could fly from the US to Moscow and back without refueling, in one of the most revealing demonstrations of its ability, one took of from Carswell AFB in Texas on the seventh anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, flew to Hawaii, dropped a 10,000 lb. "dummy" bomb, and flew back without being detected by American radar on Hawaii.

    "On December 7-8, 1948, a 7th BG B-36B flew a 35 1/2 hour round-trip simulated bombing mission from Carswell to Hawaii. On the way, the aircraft's 10,000 pound bombload was dumped in the ocean a short distance from Hawaii. The total distance flown exceeded 8000 miles."

    Goto:

    Convair B-36B Peacemaker

    If the Soviet had turned "hostile" in reality with military aggression, the B-36 might very well have been an effective strategic aircraft they would be hard pressed to counter. Even in a "Cold War" rather than "Hot War" scenario, it was probably the Soviets themselves who bear the actual responsibility for saving the B-36 program from cancellation. On June 18, 1948, the Soviets began their blockade of Berlin, and the B-36 was back on track for immediate production rather than wait for true "jet bombers".
     
  16. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Would the U.S. bomb Moscow if U.S. pow's were there?


    And yes the Soviet Union had the largest airforce at the time....
     
  17. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    Why would Stalin move the few POW he had in his control to Moscow? I fail to see the deterrent factor, how would any Soviet leader know which city the atomics might fall upon? America didn't nuke Tokyo BTW, while we bombed Nagasaki knowing that POWs were being used as slave labor in the area. Having the "largest" airforce in numbers is rather useless if most of the planes are dedicated to low level attack and defense.

    These are pointless positions, 1) the US and western allies wouldn't do anything without Soviet aggression toward the west. 2) Stalin had no intentions of doing anything of the sort, he was a smart man as well as an experienced politician. Stalin had no reason to advance to the west, and every reason in the world not to.
     
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  18. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Agree completely.

    After witnessing Heroshima and Nagasaki there would have been no Western push. Besides Stalin considered the Western allies as just that. The monuments/statues which he had erected only reinforces the notion.

    A difference in govt. type does not constitute enemies.

    All were tired of fighting. The war was over and it was time to heal and rebuild.
     
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  19. Hairog

    Hairog Member

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    Stalin stated many times that WWII was just the start of the war between Communism and Capitalism.

    As to the B36. It flew not much higher or faster than the B29. It just had a long range. If the Soviets could figure out a way to stop the B29 they could use the same solution on the B36. The new jet Yak 15 and prop jobs Yak 9PD and Yak 3PD could all reach it and were faster.

    In May 1946 it was almost as bad. You can access online the reference book U.S. Army in the occupation of Germany, 1944-1946 at this URL:
    Combined Arms Research Library Digital Library : Compound Object Viewer
    and read starting on page 421 a scathing report on the fitness and preparedness of the US forces as of Jan. 1946. It is quite eye opening. Especially considering it was written by the Army itself. They would not have stood a chance in hell if the Soviets attacked. According to the JCS themselves all of Western Europe would have been over run in less than 90 days.

    Jeepers so many posts. This is great.
     
  20. Cash10

    Cash10 Member

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    September, 1961 might have worked.....but after the Berlin Wall was built....the West was awakened.
     

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