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It is 1942. You're commander of the Axis. What would you do?

Discussion in 'What If - Other' started by DangerousBob, Feb 27, 2014.

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  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Part II
    You do realize that the Trans-Siberian Railway is a different gauge than the Japanese/Manchukuo railroad...Don't you. So, until the Japanese can convert the Soviet railway over to their gauge, the only trains that will be running are those graciously left behind by the Soviets.


    This is funny...If the Soviets "know the price of such venture." They are going to go for taking the prosperous, but undefended Manchukuo away from the Japanese, and let the Kwantung Army to rot in the useless Soviet cities.


    Yes, with supplies that are not going to China or the Pacific...Thank you very much.

    Also, Japanese submarines and surface ships are not strengthened, as their main point of focus is rather south and southeast of Vladivostok. Also, travel to intercept Allied ships heading for Petropavlovosk will be faster from Tokyo Bay than Vladivostok.


    Well, all of this is predicated on the complete collapse of the Soviet Union, which is unlikely, even with this new Japanese invasion. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of the Northeast Passage to Axis shipping traffic, there is absolutely no reason for Japanese cargo submarines...Still, this arctic route is only open for 3-4 months of the year(June-August/September).


    Ummm...The Type 3s did not begin to enter service until very late 1943, and certainly not in quantity at that time. By that time Japan was well on her way to losing the war. You also forget why the Type 3 was developed...To supply bypassed Japanese Army garrisons in the Pacific.

    Further, just because a Type 3 could carry 40 tons of cargo, does not mean that it can transport a 26 ton T-34 from German or Finnish Ports...
    [​IMG]
    Sailor - Sho-i Knightdepaix thinks we can fit a T-34 in here?
    Petty Officer - Anything is possible after the right amount of sake.
    Sailor - He must have drunk a whole case then.


    Japan could not keep their own forces supplied historically...Now you add yet another combat theater, and expect them to supply it and haul captured Allied material?
    Comical, truly comical.


    Oh, please...

    The Japanese had been using welding in tank design and construction beginning with the Type 1 Chi-He designed in 1941. The problem was a shortage of steel, and not any inherent problems with the design, that hindered the Type 1 production effort.

    Further, the Type 3 Chi-Nu was a rushed interim design, because of delays in the production of the Type 4 Chi-To. FYI, the Type 3 Chi-Nu went from design to production in 6 months. Germany's uber-tank designers are not going to help the Chi-Nu one bit...Unless said tank designers can continuously pull steel out of there woo-hoos.


    As I have said earlier...While Japan is busy constructing these uber-fortifications...The Red Army is busy in the south - cleaning out Manchukuo and driving to the Korean border.

    Suddenly, all those uber-fortifications in Far East Russia...Well, they don't seem so uber anymore.
     
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  2. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    I've had arguments about this before, but...

    If the Germans send more troops and materiel to North Africa to fully knock the British out of there on land, then they could work on logistics through the Suez to get to the Middle East and its rich resources while the British were out of NA on land, and put more of an effort to cut the British off from supplies through the Med. Crete had already fallen but Malta didn't. Concentrate more naval and air power on the Med. while totally defeating the British in North Africa on land. The only other choice they would have were commando raids and bomber command.
     
  3. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Active Member

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    Make an early run for south america and get the best new identity and hiding place.
     
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  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    They don't have the resources to support the additional troops. Indeed they couldn't really support the AK when used as Rommel did. It was only with captured supplies that he managed to do what he did and what he did in the end was maneuver himself into an untenable position.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I hadn't thought of that one but it makes a lot of sense. I suspect that the Germans and Italians could have managed to get a peace treaty in 42 by giving up some of their conquest to date. Neither of the leaders was capable of even thinking along those lines though. I'm not sure that would have worked for Japan though.
     
  6. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    South America?!? Surely Antartica would be better for their secret base :D
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    For some reason I have a hard time picturing Antarctica as a retirement home for the wealthy. There is some tourist traffic there but ...

    Secret bases are nice as long as they are secret but what are you going to be able to accomplish in Antarctica?
     
  8. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    The Romans made it to the Middle East, they would have had to either go thru Egypt via Suez or through the Balkans into Turkey. Why couldn't the Germans have done it?
     
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    For the same reason that the Romans conquered much of Britain, and Germany could not even cross the English Channel...They were the Romans.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There's a big difference in supplying enough professional mostly infantry soldiers who can live off the land to some extent vs significantly inferior opposition who have an even weaker logistics structure compared to supplying a modern armored force vs a near peer competitor who has a superior logistics structure. The German one was maxed out (actually it was over extended) supplying the historical force in North Africa. Rommel was only able to accomplish what he did using captured logistical equipment and supplies and what he ultimately accomplished was to put himself in an untenable situation mostly due to logistics.
     
  11. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

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    If the Germans worked more on logistics and supplies in the Mediterranean theater in 1940/41, could they have build it up sufficiently to eventually cut thru the Suez into the Middle East, or was that out of the question?
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    What was needed was a coastal railroad and better port facilities in some or all the North African ports. Given time and resources they could have built these. What I'm not sure of is how much time and whether they had it or the resources.
     
  13. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    They would have needed to start in the latter half of 1940 and the improvements would have to also been done in southern Italy as well as North Africa. There would also need to be efforts to deal with the chronic inefficiencies ( labor )with the operations of Italian run ports.
     
  14. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for getting to this late, but what "rich resources" were those? Sand? Camels? If you are talking oil, then the Germans have to get to Kirkuk to get any...assuming of course that the British do not destroy the pumps and the oil pipeline from Mosul to Haifa where the refineries were. BTW, the pipeline was 942 kilometers long, which gives you an idea of just how much further the Germans would have to "work on logistics" to get there. Otherwise, Persia and its oil fields? Pipe dream.
     
  15. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

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    About oilfields
    Borderlands of today Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary have some oilfields that the Austria-Hungary had been exploiting. How much oil were there?

    Off topic but still within alternative history. Have someone thought about the Qattara depression project funded by the British and local Egyptian governance?
     
  16. green slime

    green slime Member

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    You don't "work on your logisitics" overnight and have a golden delivery system in the morning.

    This has been discussed and stated repeatedly on the forums.

    1) The poor condition of the few railways in the Middle East.
    2) Mostly, those railways that did exist were not connected across colonial empire borders, and were very limited in their capacity. Fundamentally, there were no stretches of significant East-West railways in the Levant.
    3) Look at the enormous effort put in by the US to upgrade the Persian railway from the coast to Teheran. It took 18 months. And the US had the superfluous capacity of steel and cash to do it. Yet they still did it, because it's more efficient than using trucks. Germany, Italy and Japan were operating on a shoestring budget. They did not have a superfluous amount of anything, except perhaps coal. You can't magically wave a wand and "make it so"
    4) Trucks; Germans didn't have enough of them to offset the absence of railways.
    2) The heavy hauling has to be done over the Mediterranean Sea. The Axis powers did not have enough merchant shipping, to start carting significantly larger amounts of suplies to support significantly larger troop numbers, nor the ship building capacity to expand that shipping rapidly.
    3) The decent ports were really few and far between. Most of the best ones were still in the hands of the Allies. So even if the Axis had the shipping, and the railways/trucks, they would have been seriously challenged just to unload the supplies fast enough.

    These issues placed very real limitations on what the Axis powers could achieve in the Middle East; it limited the number of troops, and it limited the amount of supplies they could reliably deliver to troops actually fighting. Divisions which needed 75-100 tons per day. And those are the unmechanised units.
     
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  17. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    The estimated German-controlled oilfields annual crude production in 1940 was:

    Hanover - 450,000 metric tons
    Reitbrock - 353,000 metric tons
    Vienna Basin - 300,000 metric tons
    Czech fields (actually Slovakia) - 20,000 metric tons
    Poland - 200,000 metric tons
    Total - 1,323,000 metric tons

    Sufficient to produce 1,190,000 metric tons of finished petroleum product.

    Ukranian oil fields were all discovered and proven post-1959.
    Hungarian oil fields are included in the Vienna Basin.
     
  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I'm surprised not to see more about the Eastern Front, arguably the most decisive theater. I think the basic concept for Operation Blau was sound; instead of trying to do everything as in 1941, the German command focused on one sector and what I think was an achievable objective which would significantly affect the Soviet Union's ability to carry on the war.

    Starting with the preliminaries, once they decided on the Caucasus campaign, there was no longer a need to capture Sevastopol. It wasn't that much of a threat anyway. Once it was invested, it could not longer serve as a base for air attacks on the Romanian oilfields, and if the main operation was successful, Sevastopol would be totally isolated. It could have been screened by Romanian forces, freeing up Manstein's 11th Army to join the main offensive. The logistic resources used to prepare for the siege and assault, including moving the world's heaviest artillery pieces, could have brought more troops, weapons, and supplies to the front. Historically after Sevastopol was taken, the Germans ten moved their artillery and substantial troops and supplies a thousand miles across the front to Leningrad, another distraction from preparing for the main offensive.

    The key to Operation Blau was establishing a secure flank along the Don and Volga rivers. If this was done, the advance into the Caucasus could proceed; otherwise, the Axis armies would only be pushing themselves deeper into a trap. Establishing the Don-Volga line meant advancing to the vicinity of Voronezh and Stalingrad, but it did not, repeat not, require the actual capture of either city.

    Anyone with a map could anticipate the Russian countermove, an offensive in the direction of Rostov to cut off the Axis forces in the Caucasus. The defeat of this offensive was the key to the campaign of 1942. The Germans' advantage was in mobile warfare; they should have planned for a flexible defense. They also should have avoided placing their most vulnerable troops, the Hungarian, Italian, and Romanian armies, in the obvious path of the Russian attack. They needed to make use of their allies, but they ought to have used them in secondary sectors so as to free up German troops or at least alternated them with German armies.
     
  19. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    With respect Knight you are expecting far too much here. Redeployment of perhaps a score (20) 3rd and 4th class divisions and modest improvements in existing obsolescent AFV's (Armored Fighting Vehicles) will not give very much to altering the situation in the East.

    By 1942 the Axis allied forces (with the exception of the Finn's) should be nowhere near the front line and should be relegated to rear area anti-partisan and line of communication duties. They might have had some value broken up into battalion sized groupings as light infantry directly attached to individual German Infantry divisions essentially as cannon fodder supported by heavier German arms. This isn't a reality for political reasons and the obvious language challenges, but probably the only way they could be effective.

    If they are deployed as anti-partisan or line of communication troops, no upgrade in AFV's is needed. Nor is it needed if they are broken up into detachments directly attached to German units as they have units and troops well trained in operating SPAT (self propelled anti-tank) guns.

    Pulling these divisions off the front line creates problems holding the existing frontage so a different strategy has to be employed.

    At this point Germany still possesses a significant advantage in maneuver warfare over the Soviets and therein lay the only viable option.

    There are two options, concentrate in the center north where Stalin will and must fight in the slim hope that a political victory can be achieved in the destruction/capture of Leningrad and Moscow. The problem is this will be costly in men and material (something Germany and her allies could ill afford) with no assurance it will bring the desired result. The second, and in my opinion better option, is to adopt a fluid strategy. Attack on a smaller scale and locally to bleed the Red Army where the advantage lay with the Axis. When the Red Army attacks, give ground till they exhaust their logistics and use counter attacks to maul over extended Soviet units. In truth Germany did this in part, but Hitler's "not one step back' orders tended to maul German infantry just as much, blunting the potential of counter attacks. The hazard to this option is Germany effectively yields the initiative to STAVKA and hopes that Russia runs out of men or will. Not impossible, but unlikely considering Germany's racial policies in the East, but it still offers Germany a way to work at their strengths.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Not a master stroke per se, but your changes do not alter history, except in the case of the tanks which would actually speed Italy's loss.


    Malta has been done to death...

    The dropped German designs were dropped for a reason. If they were not dropped, they were in "development hell" unti well after Italy surrendered. Besides, by changing over production to these "new" designs, means that there will be far less output of Italian AFVs already in production. Can Italy make do with less AFVs during this time? Doubt it.

    The engines in the Panzer IV was slightly less powerful than the P40's. The engine that was to have been on the Panzer III/IV was the same Maybach 120TRM. The other German engines seemed to have been mostly experimental and did not see widespread production and/or enter series production.

    A casemate TD was not really a possibility on existing italian chassis.
     

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