What if Hitler spares Russia.

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
deepthinker
Banned
Posts: 50
Joined: 17 Jun 2002 13:55
Location: Lincoln

What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by deepthinker » 23 Jun 2002 22:22

This scenario has been debated by many historians. These people claim that Hitler should have invaded the middle east in 1941 instead of attacking Russia. They say he could have won the war and then later invaded Russia if so desired. I on the other hand have to disagree. Russia's military was being modernized and she was had enormous industrial potential that could start being felt as early 1943. If Hitler had spared Russia he would have to make an alliance with her. Stalin had already made it known that he eventually wanted Romania, Finland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslovia and Greece. Not only would Germany's strategic situation be drastically weakened but Germany would be forced to relie on them if there was war with America. Russia would be a vast power that would be strong enough to undermine Germany's position on the continent. This is why I believe an invasion was necessary. 1941 was chosen because Russia was still relatively weak at the time. Thus Hitler could have won the war but at a high price to German security. Thoughts on this?

Cantankerous
Member
Posts: 162
Joined: 01 Sep 2019 21:22
Location: Newport Coast

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by Cantankerous » 27 May 2020 15:57

If Hitler had not invaded the USSR, he still could have pressed ahead with his dream of attacking Manhattan with bomber aircraft like the Messerschmitt Me 264, Heinkel He 277, and Focke Wulf Ta 400, because he always considered the US a "Jewish rubbish heap" that was "incapable of conducting war" due to his treatment of African Americans as inferior to Aryans (in particular, he denounced the jazz music being played in the Harlem sector of Manhattan as degenerate).

Peter89
Member
Posts: 429
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by Peter89 » 28 May 2020 12:01

deepthinker wrote:
23 Jun 2002 22:22
This scenario has been debated by many historians. These people claim that Hitler should have invaded the middle east in 1941 instead of attacking Russia. They say he could have won the war and then later invaded Russia if so desired. I on the other hand have to disagree. Russia's military was being modernized and she was had enormous industrial potential that could start being felt as early 1943. If Hitler had spared Russia he would have to make an alliance with her. Stalin had already made it known that he eventually wanted Romania, Finland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslovia and Greece. Not only would Germany's strategic situation be drastically weakened but Germany would be forced to relie on them if there was war with America. Russia would be a vast power that would be strong enough to undermine Germany's position on the continent. This is why I believe an invasion was necessary. 1941 was chosen because Russia was still relatively weak at the time. Thus Hitler could have won the war but at a high price to German security. Thoughts on this?
The SU had no immediate intent to go to a war against the Reich, and they would have been foolish to do so. The rigorously anti-communist anglo-saxon powers held the most power in the world, and if the SU attacks Germany, that could lead to an armistice or an alliance between the AS powers and the Reich. Besides, the trade agreement between the SU and Germany was highly beneficial for the SU. Also, they were exposed to the Japanese as well. Molotov had talks about joining the Axis in October and November of 1940, so "undermining strategic position" couldn't really influence the real, actual, ongoing war with the British Empire.

But the very basic problem was the time window. The Axis had to defeat the BE before the US entry into the war, which should have been prolonged by any means necessary. If the Germans / Axis stood any chance in the war, it was to deliver a crippling blow the the BE before the US can join them with full force. That blow could only be delivered in the Mediterraneum and on the Atlantic Sea. Whether it could win the war for the Germans or not, it is debatable.

What could not win the war for the Germans was to attack one of the mightiest land army in the world, a neutral giant and a trading partner, a country which could not provide extra resources to exploit in the given time frame. The whole decision making process behind Barbarossa was flawed, because it assumed a short campaign with minimal costs and full economic gains. That was wishful thinking from the very start.

Besides, if that wish would come true, the Germans spent 1941 with conquering some extra resources, but the BE's strategic position would not be weakened. Even more so, German aircraft losses were inevitable, so their most important arm against the BE should be further weakened. And also, the new border at the A-A line would require a much larger German garrison than the previous borders, where small Axis satellites like Romania, Hungary and Finland defended their own countries.

When the Japanese attacked PH, the die was cast. It should have been the highest German priority to keep the Japanese attack the BE, sink their ships and occupy their colonies. Dragging the US into the war was the worst case scenario for the Germans, but dragging the US into the war when they are fighting the Soviets and haven't finished off the BE - it was the worst case scenario on the square.

The people who argue for a Mediterran / ME strategy, do this because they realize that the fate of the war could have been decided there in the given timeframe.

1.) The theatre of operation offered a space for political maneuvres because the neutral states and the satellites such as Turkey, Spain, Vichy France and Italy all had interests in the region.
2.) The area was lightly defended. The Axis outnumbered the BE in every aspect.
3.) The area was relatively rich in oil, and more importantly, the infrastructure was in place to exploit that.
4.) Furthermore, the local elites had pro-German sentiments, especially in Iraq, but to a lesser extent, in Iran and South Africa as well. The revolution in Iraq secured the oil infrastructure in a working condition.
5.) The area offered a strategic position, because A. the linkup with the African Axis colonies, B. interdict the shipping on the Indian Ocean, C. seize British colonies, D. secure the soft belly of Europe, neutralizing the need for real garrisons and making the Mediterran sea safe for trade shipping operations. Freeing up the Italian Navy and/or convince the Vichy French Navy to join the naval battle could have turned the tide of the war, but at least it would place a further strain on the BE's naval forces.

glenn239
Member
Posts: 5081
Joined: 29 Apr 2005 01:20
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by glenn239 » 28 May 2020 17:25

Peter89 wrote:
28 May 2020 12:01
The people who argue for a Mediterran / ME strategy, do this because they realize that the fate of the war could have been decided there in the given timeframe.

1.) The theatre of operation offered a space for political maneuvres because the neutral states and the satellites such as Turkey, Spain, Vichy France and Italy all had interests in the region.
2.) The area was lightly defended. The Axis outnumbered the BE in every aspect.
3.) The area was relatively rich in oil, and more importantly, the infrastructure was in place to exploit that.
4.) Furthermore, the local elites had pro-German sentiments, especially in Iraq, but to a lesser extent, in Iran and South Africa as well. The revolution in Iraq secured the oil infrastructure in a working condition.
5.) The area offered a strategic position, because A. the linkup with the African Axis colonies, B. interdict the shipping on the Indian Ocean, C. seize British colonies, D. secure the soft belly of Europe, neutralizing the need for real garrisons and making the Mediterran sea safe for trade shipping operations. Freeing up the Italian Navy and/or convince the Vichy French Navy to join the naval battle could have turned the tide of the war, but at least it would place a further strain on the BE's naval forces.
1. Is true, but does not rise to the level of decisive in a war against the Anglo-Americans.
2. True, but the distances were vast and Italian naval power in conjunction with German airpower could probably have taken Egypt, but the Americans were still a wild card that could have prevented this.
3. No exploitation within a useable timeframe would be my assumption.
4. The Central Powers fought in Iraq in WW1 and it didn't change the outcome.
5. All points listed look right, except that Terry Duncan mentioned that the British had plans to really do a number on the Suez Canal if need be, so I doubt the fall of Alexandria opens up the Red Sea or links up with the Italian colonies.

The problem though is that Anglo-American power was much more American than Anglo, and the Americans did not require anything in the region to fight and beat Germany. You've also not listed the USSR within the context of your 5 points, but how German and Soviet relations evolved in relation to a German southern offensive aimed at Egypt and Iraq would be fundamental to the question of whether the Med would help or hinder German war strategy.

Peter89
Member
Posts: 429
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by Peter89 » 28 May 2020 18:54

glenn239 wrote:
28 May 2020 17:25
Peter89 wrote:
28 May 2020 12:01
The people who argue for a Mediterran / ME strategy, do this because they realize that the fate of the war could have been decided there in the given timeframe.

1.) The theatre of operation offered a space for political maneuvres because the neutral states and the satellites such as Turkey, Spain, Vichy France and Italy all had interests in the region.
2.) The area was lightly defended. The Axis outnumbered the BE in every aspect.
3.) The area was relatively rich in oil, and more importantly, the infrastructure was in place to exploit that.
4.) Furthermore, the local elites had pro-German sentiments, especially in Iraq, but to a lesser extent, in Iran and South Africa as well. The revolution in Iraq secured the oil infrastructure in a working condition.
5.) The area offered a strategic position, because A. the linkup with the African Axis colonies, B. interdict the shipping on the Indian Ocean, C. seize British colonies, D. secure the soft belly of Europe, neutralizing the need for real garrisons and making the Mediterran sea safe for trade shipping operations. Freeing up the Italian Navy and/or convince the Vichy French Navy to join the naval battle could have turned the tide of the war, but at least it would place a further strain on the BE's naval forces.
1. Is true, but does not rise to the level of decisive in a war against the Anglo-Americans.
2. True, but the distances were vast and Italian naval power in conjunction with German airpower could probably have taken Egypt, but the Americans were still a wild card that could have prevented this.
3. No exploitation within a useable timeframe would be my assumption.
4. The Central Powers fought in Iraq in WW1 and it didn't change the outcome.
5. All points listed look right, except that Terry Duncan mentioned that the British had plans to really do a number on the Suez Canal if need be, so I doubt the fall of Alexandria opens up the Red Sea or links up with the Italian colonies.

The problem though is that Anglo-American power was much more American than Anglo, and the Americans did not require anything in the region to fight and beat Germany. You've also not listed the USSR within the context of your 5 points, but how German and Soviet relations evolved in relation to a German southern offensive aimed at Egypt and Iraq would be fundamental to the question of whether the Med would help or hinder German war strategy.
Well, the British Isles were impregnable for the LW or the KM, so the only chance was to wear down the BE piecemal, and form a coalition who favored its partition. The BE had many inner and outer enemies, and Churchill wanted to fight for the Mediterraneum. It presented an ideal battleground for the Axis, because they could abuse their dominant position eg. the superior concentration of forces.

1. The British were mercilessly attacking the Vichy French garrisons, fleets and troops, and they were prepared to defend themselves, like in the battle of Dakar. Had the German grip solidified on those fleet units, the naval power balance could have been changed. Not to mention that a reasonable part of the French fleet was neutralized in Alexandria.
2. The Americans would definately not join the war before PH, and PH only happened after this campaign should have been concluded.
3. I doubt it, because the infrastructure was intact, the ports, pipelines, terminals and everything were unscathed in early 1941, during the time of the Iraqi freedom revolution. Shipping the oil through a safe Mediterran sea could be no problem. The bigger problem was that the Axis lacked the proper merchant fleet for a high scale exploitation.
4. Because they had to fight in France, in Russia and in Italy as well.
5. I guess we'll never know whether he could or would have gone through with that plan. The Germans were second to none in capturing strategically important objects in 1940/1941.

Oddly enough, the Germans could also attack neutral states such as Spain or Portugal. Given how efficient they were in harnessing resources from presumably depleted countries when they attacked their allies in 1943/1944, I would not rule it out as an option.

Also, the aforementioned territories did not require a huge garrison, even more so because the most important oil producers wanted independence and not a new occupation. I believe that the relations with the SU would not detoriate into an open conflict before 1943, especially because most of the German formations could remain in Europe.

User avatar
T. A. Gardner
Member
Posts: 2146
Joined: 02 Feb 2006 00:23
Location: Arizona

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by T. A. Gardner » 28 May 2020 19:43

Peter89 wrote:
28 May 2020 18:54

1. The British were mercilessly attacking the Vichy French garrisons, fleets and troops, and they were prepared to defend themselves, like in the battle of Dakar. Had the German grip solidified on those fleet units, the naval power balance could have been changed. Not to mention that a reasonable part of the French fleet was neutralized in Alexandria.
The Germans had no way to do this. The French fleet was in overseas colonies in N. Africa, etc. The Germans couldn't have gotten sufficient forces to those locations to take control of them. The French weren't going to give the Germans control. Germany was historically content that the French agreed to demilitarize their fleet and keep it in port. Had the Germans occupied Vichy France, I'd suspect that at least some of the colonial possessions would have fallen in with Britain and any actually invaded resisted the invasion. I'd also think that the French ships would either flee ahead of capture or be scuttled leaving them useless to the Germans either way.

British actions historically didn't drive the French fleet into German hands either.

Aside from that, there is zero chance of a French fleet manned by the French joining Germany actively in the war. This leaves Germany having to supply the crews, train them, and modify the ships as necessary to allow them to operate in concert with German ones.

On the whole, this is a total non-starter.
2. The Americans would definately not join the war before PH, and PH only happened after this campaign should have been concluded.
You cannot state this with any certainty. Polling in the US prior to June 1941 saw healthy majorities of Americans already considering Germany a serious threat, supported Lend-Lease, and even already resigned to eventual war with Germany. The US was already in a de facto war at sea with Germany in the Atlantic. So, the possibility that the US enters the war prior to Pearl Harbor is at least a reasonable possibility.
3. I doubt it, because the infrastructure was intact, the ports, pipelines, terminals and everything were unscathed in early 1941, during the time of the Iraqi freedom revolution. Shipping the oil through a safe Mediterran sea could be no problem. The bigger problem was that the Axis lacked the proper merchant fleet for a high scale exploitation.
This jumps well ahead of the discussion. Even if somehow Germany got control of these oil fields, their operation is mostly being done by Europeans and Americans who might well decide not to cooperate or flee ahead of the occupation. Without skilled manpower in place to operate them, they remain useless. As the occupation of the oil fields in the Caucasus shows, the Germans were unable to exploit those for the roughly year they held them. Same thing here. It could be years before a drop of oil flowed from wells to Germany.
Even then, as you point out, Germany doesn't have the means to transport the oil by sea and there is no land route in place so...

The problems with a Mediterranean strategy for Germany is that first and foremost, the Germans lack a navy there to do anything. They are dependent on the Italians for shipping space and a navy. Unless and until that changes, Germany's ability to project power in that region is very limited.

A better strategy would be to focus on a war of attrition against Britain itself using air power and a guerre de course of U-boats at sea. A war of attrition aimed at weakening Britain at home with the eventual end goal of a negotiated peace would be the strategy. Germany could adopt the historical aims of keeping Italy in the war in the Med using a somewhat more beefed up Afrika Korps that doesn't detract from the campaign against Britain itself.
Using more air power at sea against British shipping while fighting a sustainable air war over Britain and a defensive one against Bomber Command, would be one arm of this. It keeps Britain being economically pounded. Add in the U-boat campaign that now has air support to a degree from maritime patrol planes and bombers that are attacking shipping allowing any cripples to be finished off by U-boats, and Britain starts losing an unsustainable amount of their merchant fleet. It could also make it sufficiently dangerous that foreign shippers refuse to allow their ships to go to Britain.

The icing could come when Japan opens their war against the US in the Pacific. Germany declares war on Japan and announces support for the US in the Pacific.

Peter89
Member
Posts: 429
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by Peter89 » 28 May 2020 20:19

T. A. Gardner wrote:
28 May 2020 19:43
This jumps well ahead of the discussion. Even if somehow Germany got control of these oil fields, their operation is mostly being done by Europeans and Americans who might well decide not to cooperate or flee ahead of the occupation. Without skilled manpower in place to operate them, they remain useless. As the occupation of the oil fields in the Caucasus shows, the Germans were unable to exploit those for the roughly year they held them. Same thing here. It could be years before a drop of oil flowed from wells to Germany.
Even then, as you point out, Germany doesn't have the means to transport the oil by sea and there is no land route in place so...
A common misconception. The Caucasus project was an idiotic maneuvre, because it was in hostile territory, so the equipment, the manpower, etc. should have been carried there. But the oil of the Levant was in allied or at the very least neutral territory and the infrastructure and the manpower were intact. The exploitation could start immediately. Regarding the oil transport via sea: it is not that the Axis had no merchant shipping capacity, or they couldn't improve it. So it was a viable option to get a significant amount of oil

Regarding the US entry to the war, the Americans are really good at faking casus bellis, but the isolationist faction was very strong. Besides, they could only profit on a prolonged European war. Don't forget that the true masters of the world were the European powers. They would not go to war for some British colony.

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1223
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 May 2020 09:29

Peter89 wrote:The SU had no immediate intent to go to a war against the Reich
The "immediate" qualifier of Soviet intentions elides a fundamental question: Could Hitler have confidently transformed the Reich's war economy and military into air-sea warfare against the UK/US while the SU built up the world's largest army on his eastern border?

Unless you have some narrative in which a Mediterranean strategy ends the war in '41, you need some argument that Stalin wasn't a threat beyond the immediate horizon.

Peter89
Member
Posts: 429
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by Peter89 » 29 May 2020 18:34

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 May 2020 09:29
Peter89 wrote:The SU had no immediate intent to go to a war against the Reich
The "immediate" qualifier of Soviet intentions elides a fundamental question: Could Hitler have confidently transformed the Reich's war economy and military into air-sea warfare against the UK/US while the SU built up the world's largest army on his eastern border?

Unless you have some narrative in which a Mediterranean strategy ends the war in '41, you need some argument that Stalin wasn't a threat beyond the immediate horizon.
The ME strategy had zero chance to end the war in 1941. I believe no sides had the chance to end the war in 1941, not with any strategy. But I think the choices of 1940-1941 led to the turning points of the war in 1942.

The SU was building up offensive capabilities, there's no doubt about that. But the Germans could not count on their satellites and the neutral states to fight their invasion in the SU. As the Hungarian Minister of Defence put it: "In 1941, the Germans allowed us to go to the Eastern Front. In 1942, they demanded it." To give you a narrative: the units that invaded the SU are much, much fewer than those who would defend against a Soviet invasion. We are talking about dozens of divisions with extremely high morale (because they are defending their own country - just look at what a few lackluster, semi-trained troops had done to the Soviets in street fighting in Eastern Europe in 1944/1945).

Also, the Russian / Soviet history suggests a more careful and delicate method. After all, the whole bolshevik system came into being by the overreach of the imperial Russia. In Russia / SU, failed invasions mark the downfall of leaders and regimes. The internal structure of power is so fragile, so perfectly balanced that leaders only move forward if they are sure of winning. If they are not careful, they fall. Attacking Europe was the worst possible option for the SU.

Also, the traditional British diplomacy regarding the mainland Europe has been following a simple path since the hundred years war: try to divide Europe, and never let a power to grow strong enough to invade the Isles. If the SU gains dominance on the continent, the British would certainly ceased fire and gave Hitler a much needed peace if they've advanced too far. Churchill was a superb politican and a mediocre military mind; he knew that he can't let mainland Europe unite under one banner. In 1941/1942, the Soviets were nowhere near ready to crush the Axis in an offensive operation.

Also, the Germans spent a staggering percent of their war expenditure on the LW / KM already. However, a campaign in Africa / the ME could not sustain numbers, it could only sustain quality. Something the Germans had an edge on in 1940-1942. It is most likely that they could crush the British resistance in that area.

How useful it would be? The Germans could have dealt a serious blow to the BE in 1940 / 1941. I am not sure, how crippling that blow could be, I believe it wouldn't be enough on its own. But, by mid-1942, the Axis reached the zenit of its momentum, despite the losses in the SU. If "Hitler spares Russia", then they might have the upper hand against the British by then.

glenn239
Member
Posts: 5081
Joined: 29 Apr 2005 01:20
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by glenn239 » 29 May 2020 19:40

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 May 2020 09:29
Unless you have some narrative in which a Mediterranean strategy ends the war in '41, you need some argument that Stalin wasn't a threat beyond the immediate horizon.
Who in 1941 was building up the strategic bomber fleets to flatten Germany?

glenn239
Member
Posts: 5081
Joined: 29 Apr 2005 01:20
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by glenn239 » 29 May 2020 19:46

Peter89 wrote:
29 May 2020 18:34
The Germans could have dealt a serious blow to the BE in 1940 / 1941. I am not sure, how crippling that blow could be, I believe it wouldn't be enough on its own.
If the Soviet Union had attacked the British Empire in 1942, could the British Empire have survived that blow?

glenn239
Member
Posts: 5081
Joined: 29 Apr 2005 01:20
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by glenn239 » 29 May 2020 20:40

Peter89 wrote:
28 May 2020 18:54
Well, the British Isles were impregnable for the LW or the KM, so the only chance was to wear down the BE piecemal, and form a coalition who favored its partition. The BE had many inner and outer enemies, and Churchill wanted to fight for the Mediterraneum. It presented an ideal battleground for the Axis, because they could abuse their dominant position eg. the superior concentration of forces.
If Sealion is loaded and ready to fire, the British have to keep the ships, equipment and manpower in the UK necessary to repel Sealion, whether it comes tomorrow or never comes at all. As time went on, more and more of the invasion transport would be of the modern MFP's, K transports and Siebel ferry variety, which in the right tidal conditions could cross the Channel so fast the RN would be unlikely to get into intercept position in strength. The RN can hardly hold 120 warships on anti-invasion alert for years on end. And the more threatening Sealion became, the more troops would have to be stationed in Britain. The British can't even go 1 for 4 with the Axis on troop numbers. So what protects Egypt?
1. The British were mercilessly attacking the Vichy French garrisons, fleets and troops, and they were prepared to defend themselves, like in the battle of Dakar. Had the German grip solidified on those fleet units, the naval power balance could have been changed. Not to mention that a reasonable part of the French fleet was neutralized in Alexandria.
Does the naval balance of power change all that much if the Germans get some or most of the French fleet? Yes, they could probably crew it, (split the French crews up in the Axis navies in minority packets like the Austrians did with their minorities). But, the Americans. If the Axis have the French fleet, the Americans can move most of their battleships to the Atlantic from the Pacific.
2. The Americans would definately not join the war before PH, and PH only happened after this campaign should have been concluded.
Agreed, the US can't enter before late 1941 at the earliest. 1942 probably.
3. I doubt it, because the infrastructure was intact, the ports, pipelines, terminals and everything were unscathed in early 1941, during the time of the Iraqi freedom revolution. Shipping the oil through a safe Mediterran sea could be no problem. The bigger problem was that the Axis lacked the proper merchant fleet for a high scale exploitation.
I don't doubt the Axis could get some oil. I just don't see them getting much oil. The best, most possible source of oil for Germany would be supplied by Stalin on the basis of a German-Soviet alliance. So why mess around in the Middle East? Put Iraq and Iran in the Soviet sphere and let Stalin worry about transporting oil to Europe.
Oddly enough, the Germans could also attack neutral states such as Spain or Portugal. Given how efficient they were in harnessing resources from presumably depleted countries when they attacked their allies in 1943/1944, I would not rule it out as an option.
I'd just assumed that taking Gibraltar was automatic, the naval dynamics of the Axis holding Spain being transformative.
Also, the aforementioned territories did not require a huge garrison, even more so because the most important oil producers wanted independence and not a new occupation. I believe that the relations with the SU would not detoriate into an open conflict before 1943, especially because most of the German formations could remain in Europe.
The entire point of a viable southern strategy would be fixing the Soviets to the Axis so that there would never be an Eastern Front conflict. Would Stalin have tolerated Romania and Finland in Germany's orbit in exchange for Turkey, Iraq, and Iran? Everyone assumes that Stalin would have attacked Germany. I think it more likely that he'd have pile driven the British Empire into a fine powder and India, like China, would still be communist today.

Seriously. If Stalin goes south, it's over for the British Empire. You're getting too far into the weeds with various tertiary issues like the French fleet. The real question of strategy was whether Germany could get the Soviets to attack the British or, failing that, to provide support to the Axis balancing US Lend Lease.

User avatar
T. A. Gardner
Member
Posts: 2146
Joined: 02 Feb 2006 00:23
Location: Arizona

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by T. A. Gardner » 29 May 2020 22:10

Peter89 wrote:
28 May 2020 20:19
T. A. Gardner wrote:
28 May 2020 19:43
This jumps well ahead of the discussion. Even if somehow Germany got control of these oil fields, their operation is mostly being done by Europeans and Americans who might well decide not to cooperate or flee ahead of the occupation. Without skilled manpower in place to operate them, they remain useless. As the occupation of the oil fields in the Caucasus shows, the Germans were unable to exploit those for the roughly year they held them. Same thing here. It could be years before a drop of oil flowed from wells to Germany.
Even then, as you point out, Germany doesn't have the means to transport the oil by sea and there is no land route in place so...
A common misconception. The Caucasus project was an idiotic maneuvre, because it was in hostile territory, so the equipment, the manpower, etc. should have been carried there. But the oil of the Levant was in allied or at the very least neutral territory and the infrastructure and the manpower were intact. The exploitation could start immediately. Regarding the oil transport via sea: it is not that the Axis had no merchant shipping capacity, or they couldn't improve it. So it was a viable option to get a significant amount of oil
The equipment and manpower is mostly American and British (eg., companies like Texaco, BP, or ESSO). All of the engineering and technical staff are American and British... Learned that at the Oil museum in Bahrain when stationed there...
These guys would likely sabotage the wells before leaving--just as the Soviets did. So, no you need your own professionals and companies that can produce the necessary parts to fix those wells or you have nothing.
Germany did slap together Oil Brigade Caucasus in anticipation of capturing those wells. The 1500 man unit was mostly labor with some skilled and expert manpower. But, they lacked the sort of civil engineering equipment and repair parts to really do a quick and thorough job. Why should German actions in the ME be any different?
If anything, the Germans were not particularly good at civil engineering to begin with. You are arguing they'll suddenly be great at it or that the skilled personnel who are from countries at war with Germany will just roll over and work happily for them. That's a non-starter as far as I can tell.
Italy had some merchant shipping in the Med, the Germans really don't. The Italians would charge for the shipping space and put their needs ahead of Germany's just as they did historically.
Regarding the US entry to the war, the Americans are really good at faking casus bellis, but the isolationist faction was very strong. Besides, they could only profit on a prolonged European war. Don't forget that the true masters of the world were the European powers. They would not go to war for some British colony.
OMG! What conspiracy books have you been reading? I already pointed out the US was in a de facto war with Germany already when this scenario begins. The US had already taken serious steps towards preparing for all-out war with Germany, and the US public on a whole was on-board with such a war. Polling at the time by Gallup and Public Opinion Quarterly showed that only about a third--at most-- of Americans were opposed to such a war with about 50 to 55 % agreeing it should happen. The isolationist movement wasn't going to win that political debate.

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1223
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 30 May 2020 00:04

Peter89 wrote:The ME strategy had zero chance to end the war in 1941
Well then Germany is worse off than OTL because the following can't withstand scrutiny:
the units that invaded the SU are much, much fewer than those who would defend against a Soviet invasion. We are talking about dozens of divisions with extremely high morale (because they are defending their own country - just look at what a few lackluster, semi-trained troops had done to the Soviets in street fighting in Eastern Europe in 1944/1945).
At least 60% of the German army remained committed in the East and it lost badly to an SU that had been gravely wounded by Barbarossa/Blau. I can't imagine how "dozens of divisions" are going to do better.

What is often lost is that Barbarossa/Blau were massively-damaging blows to the SU, removing 1/3 of the population base and 1/2 the industry. In this ATL, the SU's fundamentals are ~50% stronger than OTL '42. Absent the losses in Barbarossa and given additional time, the Red Army's training standard would be significantly higher than OTL. By '43, Germany would be lucky to hold it back with her entire army.
How useful it would be? The Germans could have dealt a serious blow to the BE in 1940 / 1941. I am not sure, how crippling that blow could be, I believe it wouldn't be enough on its own. But, by mid-1942, the Axis reached the zenit of its momentum, despite the losses in the SU. If "Hitler spares Russia", then they might have the upper hand against the British by then.
The difficulty, even in perfect hindsight, of describing this strategy's merits should give one pause. Absent hindsight, Hitler was reasonable to see no end game to chasing Britain across far-flung deserts while the SU built up a juggernaut on his border.
Russian / Soviet history suggests a more careful and delicate method. After all, the whole bolshevik system came into being by the overreach of the imperial Russia. In Russia / SU, failed invasions mark the downfall of leaders and regimes.
I don't see any evidence that Stalin thought along these lines. Rather, he seems to have been an opportunist. By ATL '42 or '43, with the US in the war, Germany would be vulnerable to invasion and the Allies would be begging for someone else to do the fighting. For all you say about Churchill, he was trying to maneuver Stalin into the war (thus the Cripps mission).

Peter89
Member
Posts: 429
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: What if Hitler spares Russia.

Post by Peter89 » 01 Jun 2020 13:05

T. A. Gardner wrote:
29 May 2020 22:10
Peter89 wrote:
28 May 2020 20:19
T. A. Gardner wrote:
28 May 2020 19:43
This jumps well ahead of the discussion. Even if somehow Germany got control of these oil fields, their operation is mostly being done by Europeans and Americans who might well decide not to cooperate or flee ahead of the occupation. Without skilled manpower in place to operate them, they remain useless. As the occupation of the oil fields in the Caucasus shows, the Germans were unable to exploit those for the roughly year they held them. Same thing here. It could be years before a drop of oil flowed from wells to Germany.
Even then, as you point out, Germany doesn't have the means to transport the oil by sea and there is no land route in place so...
A common misconception. The Caucasus project was an idiotic maneuvre, because it was in hostile territory, so the equipment, the manpower, etc. should have been carried there. But the oil of the Levant was in allied or at the very least neutral territory and the infrastructure and the manpower were intact. The exploitation could start immediately. Regarding the oil transport via sea: it is not that the Axis had no merchant shipping capacity, or they couldn't improve it. So it was a viable option to get a significant amount of oil
The equipment and manpower is mostly American and British (eg., companies like Texaco, BP, or ESSO). All of the engineering and technical staff are American and British... Learned that at the Oil museum in Bahrain when stationed there...
These guys would likely sabotage the wells before leaving--just as the Soviets did. So, no you need your own professionals and companies that can produce the necessary parts to fix those wells or you have nothing.
Germany did slap together Oil Brigade Caucasus in anticipation of capturing those wells. The 1500 man unit was mostly labor with some skilled and expert manpower. But, they lacked the sort of civil engineering equipment and repair parts to really do a quick and thorough job. Why should German actions in the ME be any different?
If anything, the Germans were not particularly good at civil engineering to begin with. You are arguing they'll suddenly be great at it or that the skilled personnel who are from countries at war with Germany will just roll over and work happily for them. That's a non-starter as far as I can tell.
Italy had some merchant shipping in the Med, the Germans really don't. The Italians would charge for the shipping space and put their needs ahead of Germany's just as they did historically.
Regarding the US entry to the war, the Americans are really good at faking casus bellis, but the isolationist faction was very strong. Besides, they could only profit on a prolonged European war. Don't forget that the true masters of the world were the European powers. They would not go to war for some British colony.
OMG! What conspiracy books have you been reading? I already pointed out the US was in a de facto war with Germany already when this scenario begins. The US had already taken serious steps towards preparing for all-out war with Germany, and the US public on a whole was on-board with such a war. Polling at the time by Gallup and Public Opinion Quarterly showed that only about a third--at most-- of Americans were opposed to such a war with about 50 to 55 % agreeing it should happen. The isolationist movement wasn't going to win that political debate.
The personnel did not damage the infastructure at the OTL and there is no evidence they could do it. Especially not on the scale the Soviets did at the Caucasus.

Also, you are wrong about the German capacity to deploy qualified personnel to extract oil... have you ever heard about the Kontinentale Öl?

BTW the conspiracy was the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and not the books I've read.

Return to “What if”