Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 01 Jul 2022 21:43

in the late fall the Germans launched an offensive in the north that managed to cut the railroad between Warsaw and Siedlce before the fall rains. To the south west of Warsaw the Germans and the Poles launched an offensive which made some slight gains before it was also halted by the fall rains. The winter of 1939/40 was one of the coldest in memory. There was very little fighting done during it while both sides rested and regrouped. Meanwhile back home fronts Axis morale went up with the great victory in the East Prussian pocket. Some thought the tide had turned in the war.As for the Soviets there was much gloom to this defeat and the shortages of food ect on the home front.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 14 Jul 2022 19:59

Mid-year the Russian Liberation Army first took up positions in the front line in the Polish section of the line. The force officially a corps in reality a division surprised the Soviets at first they could not believe it. In the fall the Soviets launched an attack against this corps which repulsed it at some cost. This successful defense impressed the rest of the Axis and gave the corps some good press. One result Russians and men of Russian decent started coming in from all over the world to join it. Also many Soviet POWs volunteered to join this Army. The Soviet leadership soon despised this Army reguarding them as traitors. To make things worse units of the Soviet army deployed against this army often had large numbers of men desert to it.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 21 Jul 2022 20:42

Air War The Axis were able to get air supremacy over the whole front for most of this year. The rest of the time both sides were equal. This ment the Soviets could only conduct large scale troop movements at night or in bad weather. Axis recon aircraft with the help of radio intercepts and spies could usually spot any large scale movements of troops and supplies. The constant Axis bombing of the Soviet rail road net hurt them badly. Large amounts of rolling stock were destroyed leaving a shortage in the USSR. Soviet Generals often complained their troops could not the supplies they needed to fight effectively.
During this year the Bf 110 and Ju 88 came into service. They both proved to be good multi roll aircraft. The Soviets bomber force mostly operated at night and the Germans formed 3 NJGs to counter this. A major problem fort he VVS bomber force was a large part of it and most of their few transport units had to be used to supply the East Prussian pocket which cost them around 1000 bombers and transport planes due to all causes. This was do in part to the effective German radar directed day and night fighters. Control of the air also ment that Axis tac recon aircraft could carry out artillery spotting without too many problems with VVS fighters.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by nuyt » 31 Jul 2022 12:09

Fascinating thread, keep it up!

Have some thoughts about equipment developments.

Tanks: The Poles and Soviets would both field Vickers derived tanks, the Polish 7tp and the Soviet T26.
The Poles will by 1937 have maybe 50-60 tanks, mainly the mg armed twin turreted early version. The rest of Polish armour consists of light armoured cars, tanketttes and FT17s. Development of new tanks is a priority, so they will try to develop the gun armoured version of the 7TP as well as bring forward the lighter and faster 10TP - Poland's answer to the BT5/7 series of the Soviets. Yet the Soviets have much more tanks and they are better armed - most with the excellent 45mm tank gun. Polish production will suffer, with steel plants and workshops under constant air attack or even being overrun. The Poles need international assistance, which in OTL in that period they got from Vickers and Bofors/Landsverk. If GB and Sweden declare strict neutrality, the Poles will be shut down quickly.
German tank divisions will miss the Czechoslovak tanks, used in great numbers in OTL, now Czechoslovakia remains neutral and does not deliver anything.
The gun armed (37mm) Panzer III was not ready for production in 1937 and by 1939 just 60 were operational according to the TankEncyclopedia. Of course the war would have sped production up a bit, but there were teething problems with the tank.
Production of Germany's famous artillery weapons, like the 88, 10,5cm LFH18 and 15cm sFh18 started only around 1937, meaning the Germans would fight the first years with mainly WW1 era weapons, like the 77 FK and the 10,5cm lFH16. But so would the other parties involved.
Nevertheless I can only conclude the Soviets had a huge advantage armour wise. The Germans try to counter this by fielding massive amounts of anti tank guns, like the Rheinmetall 37mm and the Böhler 47mm from annexed Austria. A Rheinmetall 47mm that was tested could also come to the fore.

Another thought. I cant help thinking why would Germany continue with this war of attrition in 1939? Wouldn't they have settled for a peace with the Soviets after the fall of Warsaw? With the Poles defeated and under their protection, with Western Poland (lost German lands) under control of German forces, why fight on? Better rearm and fight another day. A Molotov-von Ribbentrop pact brought forward a year or so.

Lastly, will the SCW be over quicker now the Soviets will have a much harder time sending arms?

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 11 Aug 2022 19:37

I am glad someone likes this. Here how the SCW might go

The Spanish Civil War 1937 when the world war breaks out both sides find themselves fighting poor mans wars. The Republicans get no more aid from the USSR and only a little from Mexico and other independent arms dealers. The Nationalist do continue to some aid from Germany and Italy as well as a little from independent arms dealers. By the end of 1937 the Nationalists managed to capture the Northern/Basque area of Spain. The Republican Brunette, Aragon and Teruel offensives all made slight gains at heavy cost. By early 1938 The Republican cause was in poor shape food, fuel, arms and ammunition were is short supply. Most of there "friends" in the West had lost all interest in them and where more concerned with the USSR. As for the Nationalists they were better off food, fuel, arms and ammunition wise. It was the shortages of the latter that delayed there offensives. Most of the German and Italian troops left Spain in the Spring of 1938 except for a few air units leaving most of their equipment to the Nationalists. The Nationalists in May 1938 launched an offensive that reached the Mediterranean and cut the Republic in two. The Republicans launched a small counter attack across the Ebro that made slight gains. At the end of the year all foreign members of the International brigades and all Soviet advisors were withdrawn. When the advisors got back to the USSR they received a hero's welcome in Moscow. Over the next year most of these men were either sent to the Gulag or executed.
in March 1939 the Nationalist launched an offensive against the Northern Republican pocket in Catalonia. The Republican resistance collapsed and by June it was all overrun. The remainder of the Republican held territory fell about a month later in July 1939 so ending the war. Shortly afterwards all remaining German and Italian forces were sent home. It was also planned in Spain to send a force to fight against the USSR.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by nuyt » 12 Aug 2022 14:53

I'd reckon that in mid 1938 both sides are exhausted in this scenario and their sponsors have mainly left (Soviets, Germans, Italians).
Could lead to an armistice, de facto dividing the country in two halves, and/or foreign intervention by France and the UK? France would like to bring order to the anarchist/communist Med side of Spain and the UK could occupy the northern ports and mining interests (plus the Vickers works in Reinosa)? Could even split the country in three.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 17 Aug 2022 19:16

I had both sides in the SCW fight it out as they did historically.

I also left out the Anchuluss which happened slowly and was formally done on 1 Jan 1939

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by OldBill » 18 Aug 2022 00:46

FYI, still reading this and enjoying it.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 02 Sep 2022 18:51

Baltic Naval operations:

The Soviets lost 11 submarines do to all causes and had little to show for it in part because of reduced axis merchant ship traffic
torpedo attacks sank 1 Swedish merchant ship and hit a German merchant ship with a dud torpedo.
mines not all from Soviet submarines sank 1 German and 1 Italian minesweepers as well as 1 Polish and 1 Estonian merchant ships. Damaged 2 german and 1 Polish minesweepers and 1 Latvian merchant ship

After the East Prussian pocket was cut off most Soviet submarines were used for carrying supplies to it. Meanwhile the German, Polish and Italian navies were all active providing Naval Gunfire support for the German army. The Italians even used their Battleships one at a time for this. Soviet submarines did make torpedo attacks on the Scheer and Zara that missed. Before the encirclement the Soviets transported 8 torpedo cutters/MTBs by rail to Konigsberg they carried out some operations got into two battles with Axis MTBs made one torpedo attack on a destroyer that missed before they were all either out of action do to mixture of mechanical problems and bombing raids. The Soviets did send 2 small M-class submarines to also operate out of Konigsberg. One made the failed torpedo attack on the Zara was badly damaged in a depth charge attack and later sunk in an air raid on Konigsberg. The other made a few patrols made no torpedo attacks and sailed back to Leningrad where the Captain was sent to the Gulag. The Soviet navy also tried to run supplies to the East Prussian pocket by small fishing boats who hugged the Baltic states coasts most of the way there. One out of 6 sent made it the rest were all sunk or captured.

The Soviet Baltic Fleet made a sortie out in the Baltic to divert the Axis navies. A few hours after the fleet sailed into the Baltic the Cruiser Kirov was torpedoed and damaged by a U-boat. The fleets 2 Battleships turned around and sailed right back to Leningrad leaving 5 destroyers and minesweepers behind to escort the cruiser. A Polish submarine sank a Soviet minesweeper and a Italian submarine damaged a destroyer before the cruiser got back to Leningrad.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 07 Sep 2022 20:51

Artic
Axis submarines had learned a lot in the proceeding years. They had more younger, aggressive commanders, better training on small fast moving targets, better torpedoes. Also better mines enabled German, Italian and Polish submarines to carry out more effective minelaying operations. The year began with a U-boat sinking the last remaining old Soviet destroyer. During the year the Soviets sent up two new project 7 destroyers. The first commanded by a rather inept officer from the Baltic fleet sailed his ship into a Soviet minefield hit a mine and sank. The commander was sent to the Gulag. The second one also commanded by a Baltic fleet officer ran his ship aground badly damaging it. The Axis submarines sank 3 Soviet submarines and another was sunk by a mine. They also sank 3 merchant ships and 14 smaller ships (minesweepers, patrol craft, trawlers, small cargo ships). Also 3 Italian submarines and 1 German U-boat raided into the Kara Sea where they sank 2 more merchant ships and 5 smaller ships. In return they lost a U-boat and a Italian submarine both cause unknown probably do to mines.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 09 Sep 2022 19:48

North Sea:
The Soviet submarines were mainly used for mine laying operations. They made only 4 torpedo attacks the entire year and sank only one Danish merchant ship (Danes upset!). Two of the failed attacks were made by the Soviet Navy's top submarine ace who was made a hero of the Soviet Union for claiming to have sunk the Liner Bremen. After firing on a unknown ship The submarine fired and missed on a German convoy off the coast near the Dutch-German border. Sadly for him the German Naval commander of the North Sea ordered all escorts ect in the area to hunt after him and soon there were 8 VPs and minesweepers in the area. More ships joined them. It was in mid summer, the skies were clear and there was a nearly full moon. The Naval commander got every aircraft he could find to drop flares in a 30 nautical mile radius of where the submarine was sighted. Result when the submarine tried to surface flares lit up its position and it had to dive. The in the late afternoon of the next day the submarine ran out of air and had to surface where it was sunk by gunfire. Most of the crew was taken prisoner including the HSU winning commander. The Germans gave him a tour of the Bremen which totally shocked him and he told the Germans just about everything he knew about the Soviet navy which was a lot.
Soviet mines were more successful They sank 2 German minesweepers, a Italian merchant ship, and The liner General Von Steuben which hit a mine in a gale which flooded the engine and boiler rooms. The powerless ship was driven ashore on an island off the coast of Germany capsized and sank with over 500 passengers and crew being lost. The biggest axis sea disaster of the war. Also mines damaged 2 German and 1 Italian minesweepers, a Italian destroyer and 1 German and 1 Dutch merchant ships.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 07 Oct 2022 21:11

The Pacific The Germans sent the raider Atlantis with a new Type IX u-boat along with 3 supply ships from Germany to the Pacific early this year around the tip of Africa. The Italians also sent a submarine and a supply ship via the Suez canal to the the pacific as well.

The 2 German armed raiders managed to capture or sink 5 Soviet merchant ships and 17 fishing boats during the year. The German U-boat sank 2 merchant ships, a destroyer, a submarine and 2 fishing boats. The Italian submarine managed to sink 1 merchant ship, a small patrol craft and 3 fishing boats.
The Soviets were able to partly replace their ship losses by buying old laid up merchant ships in the US and elsewhere by 3rd parties. The Soviets needed certain supplies ect from Neutral countries for there war effort. These old ships were often in poor shape. During this year one was lost do to engine room fire, One went missing in the North Pacific most likely a victim of a storm and a third was lost by running aground. The Soviets increased their shipbuilding at Vladavostok but, they suffered from a shortage of raw materials.
The Germans and Italians set up a intelligence section to keep track of all Soviet merchant ships ect and helped direct the raiders to them.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 01 Nov 2022 20:49

The Black sea
The Soviet Black Sea Fleet suffered heavy losses during the coastal encirclement battle (see above). The fleet had its only battleship damaged, of its 1 modern and 4 old cruisers, one old cruiser was sunk and the other 4 were all damaged. One old cruiser being slightly damaged was in service in the fall the rest were still under repair by the end of the year. Of it's 10 destroyers 3 were sunk 5 damaged and 2 were still operating when the pocket was destroyed. Add to this several minesweepers and patrol craft were sunk or damaged. Add to this 6 merchant ships and a number of small craft were sunk and others damaged. Air attack caused the bulk of these losses. On some days the Axis through almost every aircraft they had that could carry bombs to attack the evacuation ships. Some losses were caused by newly arrived German S-boats . A few were caused by Italian MAS and Rumanian MTBs and mines. Towards the end a newly arrived German U-boat sank a merchant ship.

The rest of the year was also not very good for Soviet ships. The Germans managed to get 3 U-boats operational in the Black Sea by the end of the year. They managed to sink another merchant ship and 3 small craft. The Soviet navies submarines managed to sink 1 merchant ships with torpedoes and another by mines along with 2 small craft by mines. In return they lost 5 submarines.

At the start of the year the Germans had a Gruppe equipped with DO 17s in service which was active during the encirclement. After this battle besides anti-shipping operations carried out a number of minelaying operations and night bombing raids. They were joined in the fall by a Staffel of HE 111s trained for torpedo and martime operations. This unit attacked shipping along the Caucausian coast as well as flying night bombing missions on Cacausian ports and minelaying. In December a Staffel of FW 200s arrived which flew long range recon and night bombing ops. The German, Italian, and Rumanian seaplane units also carried out similar operations besides. All of the above flew ASW operations to protect Axis shipping.
By the end of the year the Soviets had lost 3 more merchant ships do to regular air attack along with a number of smaller craft. Mines sank a newly repaired Soviet destroyer and damaged another along with sinking 1 more merchant ship and a few small craft and a minesweeper.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 29 Dec 2022 22:57

on the last day of 1939 two German colonels :

Colonel 1: We have won great victories against the Russians and have captured much in the way of weapons and equipment which we are refurbishing and giving it to our troops and allies
Colonel 2: Our arms production is also doing well our factories are now turning out plenty of PZ IVs and Stugs with the new long 75mm. The Pz II is still being produced in limited numbers since it is usefull in the recon role. Conversions of them to SP PAK with 75mm and captured Russian 76mm are coming along fine. Our Panzer Divisions are mostly equipped with PZ IVs. As for our Allies about half of the tanks in their armored Divisions are PZ IVs the rest a mixture are capture, local production and imported from France.
Colonel 1: We have capture vast numbers of Russian POWs. They will make a big addition to our work force. the problem is that many of them are in poor condition do to food shortages on the Russian side. We are also getting larger numbers of Russian deserters.
Colonel 2: Munitions production is doing well compared to 1917. We and our Allies are importing enough raw materials, food, fuel equipment ect to support our economies ect . One must say that all the 4 wheel drive American trucks we imported enabled our side to supply our offensives. These victories have also made it easier for our country and our Allies to get loans to finance this war.
Colonel 1: It looks to me that the tide of war has turned in our favor
Colonel 2: I believe you are right. This winter is even colder than that of 1916/17 and the good thing is we are eating better.
Colonel 1: True!

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 07 Feb 2023 22:25

Soviet Colonel 1 (hears knocking at door opens it and there is Colonel 2 looking cold and carrying bags in each hand)
Colonel 1: Come in! How are you?
Colonel 2:Freexing cold and miserable! Here are the patatos (opens bag) I brought for you
Colonel 1: I have the canned goods for you over there (points) in that box. How was your trip?
Colonel 2; Awful! I had to ride here in a freight car with a bunch of recent conscripts from central Asia most of whom barely spoke Russian. They were commanded by a new Lt who did not impress me. I gave the men a pep talk on not to worry but no one believed me.
Colonel !: I can believe this.
Colonel 2: They all complained about the lack of food in the army and the fact the people in their villages ect are starving. Some of these soldiers didn't even know how to load and fire a rifle so I showed them how to do it and a few other things. Does anyone realize that throwing untrained soldiers in to battle is insane!
Colonel 1: I guess not! Our Army's losses this past year in men and equipment have been terrible.
Colonel 2: there were 2 men on the train I was on who deserted.
Colonel 1: Our desertion rate is extremely high. there are some areas where gangs of deserters ect are in control.
Colonel 2 I agree I passed a train that had been attacked and looted by a gang of them. The Cheka is does not have the men to go after them.
Colonel 1: we have mainly do to air attack and wear and tear much less rolling stock in use than we did this time last year. We can't get enough supplies to our armies at the front, feed out people or get enough raw materials to our factories. Arms production is going down and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Of course, the Cockroach is firing and shooting people for "wrecking" which is often making things worse. God knows how many people in Russia have starved this year.
Colonel 2: I have heard there was a food riot in Leningrad.
Colonel 1: True! I have heard this from a friend who was there. There was a protest about the lack of food and those Chekist bastards mowed men women and children down with machine guns. There were similar protests like this in other cities and towns that were put down the same way and the Cockroach even gave the Chekists who did it medals for bravery!
Colonel 2: The scum!
Colonel 1: The number of trucks we have in service is also down from this time last year. We are also running short of horses.
Colonel 2: I know some units are now using oxen and camels
Colonel 1: Enemy air supremacy is also worse than this time last year. The only good thing I have to say is we are getting new types of tanks the T-34 and KV-1.
Colonel 2: Hopefully they will help turn the war around.
Colonel 1:I don't know about you but, I don't think we can win this war.
Colonel 2: You may be right. I'm hungray lets go get something to eat at the officers mess.
Colonel 1: yes, one hopes they something good to eat today.

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