Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

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Futurist
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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Futurist » 09 Nov 2020 00:58

gebhk wrote:
05 Nov 2020 03:29
Why do you think the Czechoslovak army had a low offensive capability?
Because I have never read about any offensive plans of theirs.

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Futurist » 28 Nov 2020 23:40

@wm and @gebhk: In regards to the Silesian salient, one would think that, in the event of a war with both Czechoslovakia and Poland simultaneously, one of the first things that Germany would aim to do would be to significantly widen the Silesian salient (and thus make this salient much more secure) by conquering the Polish Corridor and Posen Province, no?

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by gebhk » 29 Nov 2020 11:56

Because I have never read about any offensive plans of theirs.
Yes, but planning to do something and having the capability to do it are different things, would you not agree? I have never expressed any desire to smack you in the face (and indeed I have none and don't see myself ever doing so), but that does not mean that I don't have a pair of hands etc.... :D

In fact, given the high degree of mechanisation, strong artillery and engineering resources backed up by a strong armaments industry, the Czechoslovak army was, I would suggest, one of the better equipped to carry out offensive operations - certainly more so than the Polish one. Of course one then has to consider the non-material and there one strays into the murky waters of 'national characteristics' and assessing to what degree the Czechoslovak army and (perhaps more to the point) the state had an appetite for such adventures. i am always loathe to get into that sort of debate because the 'what if' is hopelessly contaminated by the 'real life'. People's attitudes are inevitably influenced by events and I always feel that predicting how people might react in one set of circumstances on the basis of how they reacted to a different set is of dubious validity, to say the least.

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by gebhk » 29 Nov 2020 12:14

@wm and @gebhk: In regards to the Silesian salient, one would think that, in the event of a war with both Czechoslovakia and Poland simultaneously, one of the first things that Germany would aim to do would be to significantly widen the Silesian salient (and thus make this salient much more secure) by conquering the Polish Corridor and Posen Province, no?
Prior to, say, 1934/35, I doubt Germany would had the immediate resources to do anything of the sort. Even if Germany had managed in the long run to turn things around (ie by tossing the Versailles restrictions, training masses of men and putting in place the manufacture of all the stuff needed for modern war), this could not happen overnight. By the time it was achieved, the salient and probably East Prussia would have been long-gone.

In a later scenario - yes that may be true, however as a knee jerk reaction on my part, I would suggest chopping of the Czechoslovak salient would be the greater priority because it could be done with less risk of flanking and also knocking Czechoslovakia out would be the greater priority - there is no doubt that a coalition would rely on Czechoslovakia for the bulk of its military supplies.

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Futurist » 30 Nov 2020 04:59

gebhk wrote:
29 Nov 2020 12:14
@wm and @gebhk: In regards to the Silesian salient, one would think that, in the event of a war with both Czechoslovakia and Poland simultaneously, one of the first things that Germany would aim to do would be to significantly widen the Silesian salient (and thus make this salient much more secure) by conquering the Polish Corridor and Posen Province, no?
Prior to, say, 1934/35, I doubt Germany would had the immediate resources to do anything of the sort. Even if Germany had managed in the long run to turn things around (ie by tossing the Versailles restrictions, training masses of men and putting in place the manufacture of all the stuff needed for modern war), this could not happen overnight. By the time it was achieved, the salient and probably East Prussia would have been long-gone.
Agreed.
In a later scenario - yes that may be true, however as a knee jerk reaction on my part, I would suggest chopping of the Czechoslovak salient would be the greater priority because it could be done with less risk of flanking and also knocking Czechoslovakia out would be the greater priority - there is no doubt that a coalition would rely on Czechoslovakia for the bulk of its military supplies.
But to conquer the Czech salient, one would need to penetrate the aggressive Czechoslovak defenses in the Sudetenland (unless the Czechoslovaks are just going to hand them over, as in real life) whereas AFAIK Poland didn't actually have comparable defenses in either the Polish Corridor or Posen Province.

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by gebhk » 30 Nov 2020 12:40

But to conquer the Czech salient, one would need to penetrate the aggressive Czechoslovak defenses in the Sudetenland (unless the Czechoslovaks are just going to hand them over, as in real life) whereas AFAIK Poland didn't actually have comparable defenses in either the Polish Corridor or Posen Province.
That is of course true - however you have to consider two things:
1) AFAIK the Czechoslovakia did not begin building its 'Maginot Line' until 1935 and building in earnest was begun in 1936. So before, say, 1937, it was not a significant consideration, perhaps not even then.
2) You are assuming complete strategic freedom of Germany against an entirely passive enemy. This is not, I would suggest, realistic. In reality, in the scenario you suggest, Germany is expending its resources in capturing the corridor and some sundry terrain, which in the grand scheme of things, does little harm to the P-C Alliance, while the Alliance is marching on Berlin!

In short, I don't see any scenario in which the Germans, if they have any operational freedom, not dealing with the Czech salient first.....

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Futurist » 30 Nov 2020 22:05

gebhk wrote:
30 Nov 2020 12:40
But to conquer the Czech salient, one would need to penetrate the aggressive Czechoslovak defenses in the Sudetenland (unless the Czechoslovaks are just going to hand them over, as in real life) whereas AFAIK Poland didn't actually have comparable defenses in either the Polish Corridor or Posen Province.
That is of course true - however you have to consider two things:
1) AFAIK the Czechoslovakia did not begin building its 'Maginot Line' until 1935 and building in earnest was begun in 1936. So before, say, 1937, it was not a significant consideration, perhaps not even then.
2) You are assuming complete strategic freedom of Germany against an entirely passive enemy. This is not, I would suggest, realistic. In reality, in the scenario you suggest, Germany is expending its resources in capturing the corridor and some sundry terrain, which in the grand scheme of things, does little harm to the P-C Alliance, while the Alliance is marching on Berlin!

In short, I don't see any scenario in which the Germans, if they have any operational freedom, not dealing with the Czech salient first.....
It would be quite difficult for the Czechoslovaks to march onto Berlin without the Poles since that would likely expose the Czechoslovaks to a huge German pincer movement.

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by gebhk » 01 Dec 2020 19:48

Hi Futurist

Does that not lead directly to the point I am making? Until the moment arrives when Germany is strong enough to be the aggressor and to have sufficient numerical superiority to launch several offensives at once, the Silesian Salient is not going to be the first or even 10th priority for the Germans. Their efforts have to be directed at containing and ideally eliminating the Czech Salient while the biggest offensive priority is to punch through the Corridor to be able to support East Prussia which will be hard-pressed from the outset.

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Futurist » 01 Dec 2020 23:11

gebhk wrote:
01 Dec 2020 19:48
Hi Futurist

Does that not lead directly to the point I am making? Until the moment arrives when Germany is strong enough to be the aggressor and to have sufficient numerical superiority to launch several offensives at once, the Silesian Salient is not going to be the first or even 10th priority for the Germans. Their efforts have to be directed at containing and ideally eliminating the Czech Salient while the biggest offensive priority is to punch through the Corridor to be able to support East Prussia which will be hard-pressed from the outset.
Agreed--but of course the Germans won't actually be starting any wars before they are actually sufficiently strong since they will know that prematurely starting any wars would be suicide on their own part.

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by gebhk » 02 Dec 2020 15:28

No argument there. The opposite, ie Poland and Czechoslovakia attacking Germany, was not going to happen either after they ceased to be sufficiently strong, for the same reasons. With a risky grey area in between. However, it is noteworthy in this context that in reality, even when Germany achieved and started to exceed parity, it moved against Czechoslovakia first, eliminating the greater threat - even though territorially, Poland was more important directly to long term ambitions in Russia and Ukraine.

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Futurist » 02 Dec 2020 19:38

In regards to Hitler moving against Czechoslovakia first, I wonder if his Austrian birth had anything to do with that. I seem to recall him writing in Mein Kampf and/or somewhere else about how he disliked that Franz Ferdinand wanted to Czechify Austria-Hungary and was thus happy when Franz Ferdinand was shot and killed in Sarajevo in June 1914.

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Cekekb » 02 Dec 2020 21:44

Hi ,
Czechoslovakia certainly had plans for offensive against Germany (as early as 1919) but these were by early 30s seen due overall political situation and German rearmament as irrelevant. In 1937 general staff conluded that ofensive gainst Germany would mean suicide - as only possibility was seen limited offensive against Silesia with Polish cooperation, but given lack of political will for such scenario, no detailed plans were developed.

As for offensive capability of CSarmy I think that couple of thinks shuld be kept in mind:

1) While overall capability of the army was increasing since 1933 onward, it was at the same time period of wide transition from old model "army-square divison" to new model of "army-corps-triangular division". This process was basicaly finished by autumn of 1937, but before that a war would probably caught army in midst of some organisational changes.

2) Given lenght of border large part of the army would be deployed to provide cover along border with Hungary/Austria/other parts of border with Germany. Taking a real deffensive plan from early 1938 the army would field:
1 active divisions on border with Austria
4 active divisions in western/northern Bohemia
5 active division in potential are of offensive - northeastern Bohemia/northern Moravia
4 active divisions on border with Hungary
3 active divisions in reserve (2 of these against Austria/Hungary)

Then there were 4 fast divisons/ cavalry brigades with strong motorised element
2 in reserve in Bohemia
1 in reserve in eastern Moravia
1 in reserve against Hungary

After mobilization thre would be additional force of 17 reserve divisions:
2 in reserve against Hungary
2-3 in reserve against Austria
2 in reserve western/northern Bohemia
6 in as reserve on Bohemia/Moravia border and in northern Moravia
3 in reserve on Moravian/Slovak border
1 in reserve against Poland
(full mobilisation and concentration of reserve divisions would take at least week, probably couple days more).

So offensive force could probably consist of 6 -8 active divisions, 2 fast divisions and later 8 -10 reserve divisions with avenues for offensive mostly limited by mountains... (a with no or limited strategic reserves to counter for exemple corps sized German offensive in western Bohemia...)

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by gebhk » 03 Dec 2020 23:00

Thanks CekekB, very useful assessment. I would concur that 1935-36 is probably the latest an invasion of Germany could be contemplated. I guess if Poland and Czechoslovakia had been allied, this would have released a further divisions for the invasion force?

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by ljadw » 04 Dec 2020 11:21

gebhk wrote:
03 Dec 2020 23:00
I guess if Poland and Czechoslovakia had been allied, this would have released a further divisions for the invasion force?
No : this is not correct : Poland could not afford to win a war against Germany and for every division mobilized against Germany, Poland would have to mobilize two divisions against the USSR .

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Re: Was the post-WWII settlement on Germany too harsh?

Post by Cekekb » 04 Dec 2020 22:16

gebhk wrote:
03 Dec 2020 23:00
Thanks CekekB, very useful assessment. I would concur that 1935-36 is probably the latest an invasion of Germany could be contemplated. I guess if Poland and Czechoslovakia had been allied, this would have released a further divisions for the invasion force?
Certainly, but not more than 1-2 divisions.
More interresting would be position of Hungary in such scenario. Maybe Poland could obtain given theit good relationship a guarantee of Hungarian neutrality (in effect freeing additional CS forces) ?

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