Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

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Carl Schwamberger
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Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Mar 2021 03:38

Turned up a few bits on this for the US. As the Brits did their long term planning in these years what sort of term were they planning for in each period. Obviously events altered expectations, such as the fall of France in 1940 or the entries of the USSR & US in 1941. That is when they expect the war to end? & when & how did the expectations change from year to year?

Thanks for any summaries, or referrals to sources.

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by EwenS » 22 Mar 2021 11:45

Other than over by Christmas 1939 (lol), I’ve not come across much reference to putting a date on the end of the war until late 1943. But then my main interest lies in that later period. It was difficult to plan when all you have from May 1940 until late 1942 is one disaster after another and crisis management is the order of the day.

By late 1943 Admiralty planners are looking at the shipbuilding programmes and asking what ships planned will be useful in this war (particularly the war against Japan, and which will not complete until postwar. For example the carriers in the 1942 Programme were seen as for this war with completion dates mainly planned for 1944-46 (but many slipped). Those in the 1943 Programme were not expected to complete until 1947/48 and were being seen as postwar ships. “Building for Victory” by George Moore. Even in late 1943 there were still shipbuilding crises popping up for the Admiralty to solve. Like where are the extra landing craft for Normandy coming from, or the extra 80 extra LST needed for the Far East by April 1945.

That fits with an expectation of an end to the Japanese war by the end of 1946 and the European war about a year earlier, as was being discussed by mid-1944.

You might want to look at the papers for the Quadrant and Octagon conferences held in Quebec in Aug 1943 and Sept 1944 respectively. Amongst the latter I found reports dated around 8-9 Sept 1944 indicating that the Allies believed a German collapse in the West was imminent, based on the mass retreat from France, and that one good kick at the door would see the European war over by Christmas 1944. How things changed in the space of a week between then and the mounting of Operation Market Garden.

https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Document ... tagon3.pdf
https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Document ... drant3.pdf

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Mar 2021 12:14

Yes, There is plenty of evidence from mid 1944, & some hints in 1943. Some of those indicate 1946, or by a stretch 1947. Found some indications the French were aiming at 1942-1943 & presumably the Brits were following that, until June 1940. Would nice to stumble across collaboration for that.

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 22 Mar 2021 12:33

I believe (D-Day+ time) victory over Germany was pencilled in for June 1945. Certainly in 1944 production/development of new weapons was being cut-back. The British Intelligence In WW2 volumes have chapters on Wartime Planning but I have not read through them

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 22 Mar 2021 12:40

Yes, Ive seen that trend from 1944, which leads directly round to my question about the previous production goals, What were those based on?

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Andy H » 27 Mar 2021 22:59

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
22 Mar 2021 03:38
Turned up a few bits on this for the US. As the Brits did their long term planning in these years what sort of term were they planning for in each period. Obviously events altered expectations, such as the fall of France in 1940 or the entries of the USSR & US in 1941. That is when they expect the war to end? & when & how did the expectations change from year to year?

Thanks for any summaries, or referrals to sources.
Hi Carl

After the fall of France the UK Government in Sept/Oct'40 reassessed there strategy and in terms of the Army, they believed any meaningful offensive action couldn't be undertaken till late '42 at the earliest. This action was built upon Germany being severely weakened through military and economic attrition. The late '42 strategy was reinforced after the invasion of Russia, when the hoped for earlier attrition goals would be exacerbated by the loses incurred in Russia.

So, from late 1940 the estimation was that the war would still be raging until late '42, when the British could take offensive military action on land against Germany in relation to continental Europe, and thus into 1943.

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Mar 2021 00:42

That would have been when Dill was CIGS? He was a bit more enthusiastic about returning to the continent than Viscount Alan-Brooke.

I would imagine a understanding of the severe losses in the USSR would have caused a new assessment of the wars length.

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Mar 2021 07:52

Hi Carl,

French expectations were governed by how long it would take the British to get a significant army into the field beside them, because without it they had only half the European manpower of Germany. This could not be before 1941. How much longer they thought it would take after that, I do not know. British initial expectations were presumably similar and equally open ended.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Leros87 » 28 Mar 2021 18:48

As mentioned above, the British Chiefs of Staff Committee submitted a paper to the War Cabinet on 4 Sept 1940 looking at Britain’s future global war strategy.
It conceded that initially the strategy must be primarily defensive whilst building up strength both at home and in the Middle East. It largely negated Italy’s potential influence on the War.
It accepted that it wasn’t practical to rais an army comparable in size with Germany and land land it on the Continent but that once the naval blockade and air offensive made it possible numerically inferior forces could be reintroduced there and fight its way into Germany to impose Britain’s terms, the earliest possible time would be mid 1942.
It noted that Russia would be unwilling to engage in hostilities but would seek opportunities to improve her own strategic position.
It did not know how the French would react, either at home or in its colonies.
It felt that Japan’s attitude will continue to be menacing and that it’s sympathies would be with Britain's enemies.
It noted that American sympathies were with the British and would view a German victory with the very gravest concern. It did note that direct intervention was not likely.

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Leros87 » 28 Mar 2021 18:54

On 3 Sept Churchill wrote a memo to the War Cabinet to reiterate the desire to raise the Army strength to 55 divisions, 10 being armoured, by the end of 1941. It foresaw the only external theatre of land operations in this time to be the Middle East, expecting to fight in Egypt, Sudan, Turkey, Syria, Palestine and possibly Iraq and Persia. The Army must prepare 15 British, 6 Australian/NZ and at least 6 Indian divisions for those theatres.

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Mar 2021 05:36

Leros87 wrote:
28 Mar 2021 18:48
As mentioned above, the British Chiefs of Staff Committee submitted a paper to the War Cabinet on 4 Sept 1940 looking at Britain’s future global war strategy.
It conceded that initially the strategy must be primarily defensive whilst building up strength both at home and in the Middle East. It largely negated Italy’s potential influence on the War.
It accepted that it wasn’t practical to rais an army comparable in size with Germany and land land it on the Continent but that once the naval blockade and air offensive made it possible numerically inferior forces could be reintroduced there and fight its way into Germany to impose Britain’s terms, the earliest possible time would be mid 1942.
It noted that Russia would be unwilling to engage in hostilities but would seek opportunities to improve her own strategic position.
It did not know how the French would react, either at home or in its colonies.
It felt that Japan’s attitude will continue to be menacing and that it’s sympathies would be with Britain's enemies.
It noted that American sympathies were with the British and would view a German victory with the very gravest concern. It did note that direct intervention was not likely.
The line in bold seems very optimistic in light of later ideas.

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Tomg44 » 31 Mar 2021 12:22

This extract is from “The British War Economy” by W.K. Hancock 1949
It implies an anticipated duration for the war.

but two calculations that were made early in 1940 are worth quoting. These estimates made the British war effort, when envisaged in terms of external finance, seem pretty hopeless; for both Lord Stamp and the Treasury had concluded, after their separate investigations, that the United Kingdom could not in a three years' war afford to expend more than £150 millions a year from its reserves of gold and foreign exchange, with perhaps an additional £70 or £80 millions a year from the sums realised by the sale of British-owned securities abroad.

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Mar 2021 12:37

Thanks Tomg44

That last, in the context of early 1940 matches some claims the French leaders calculated for ending the war NLT 1943, or possibly 1942. The information I have for French financial reserves suggests they would have expended those before the end of 1942. This British calculation does not mention any other funds generated by tax revenue or other means.

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Re: Estimates for War Length 1939-1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 01 May 2021 22:02

Tomg44 wrote:
31 Mar 2021 12:22
This extract is from “The British War Economy” by W.K. Hancock 1949
It implies an anticipated duration for the war.

.
A recent WW2 Talk post has a link to the book

http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/wa ... ost-927835

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https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dl ... 3/mode/2up?

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