Discussion:
Successful German invasion of the Caucasus
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s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-13 11:05:14 UTC
Permalink
Inspired by the recent Ploesti oil fields thread. Strangely, I don't
think this has been done before.

OTL, the German invasion of the Caucasus was a strange thing. Hitler
was supposed to be going for Baku and all that lovely oil. But the
offensive started late -- well into July 1942, with two months of good
weather gone -- in part because the Germans had an uncharacteristic
case of strategic dithering. And soon thereafter, the German command
got massively distracted by Stalingrad.

Even so, Operation Edelweiss got off to a good start. The Germans
broke through the Russian defenses around Rostov and then found...
nothing; no second line, no strategic reserve. For the next three
weeks they simply flowed like a flood east and southeast, occupying
the northwest quarter of the Caucasus without serious resistance.

Their main problem was logistics. By the end of August Luftwaffe
drops were a major element of supply, and we all know how that worked
out. The Germans had hoped to run sealift through the Russian port
town of Novorossiysk, but a pesky band of Russian sailors occupied a
corner of the town overlooking the port and obstinately refused to be
dislodged. They held out there for the next six months (!), seriously
handicapping German logistics (and making Novorossiysk the smallest
Soviet town to win a "Hero City" designation after the war).

Meanwhile the terrain was getting worse, and Soviet resistance was
toughening. In September the Germans came up against dug-in Soviet
troops in the Terek River valley, hit them hard with a Waffen SS
division, and bounced. In October, Hitler ordered a major diversion
of troops from the Caucasus north to Stalingrad. The invasion stalled
out. A limited Soviet counteroffensive in January rolled the Germans
back out of most of the Caucasus.

Thus Operation Edelweiss of OTL.

The more I look at this, the more it looks like... well, not exactly a
damn'd close-run thing, but something that could have gone a lot
further if the Germans had avoided some fairly basic mistakes.

So. Let's handwave an *Edelweiss where things go better. The attack
gets started earlier. The Germans stay more focussed. Army Group B
(which took Stalingrad OTL) is more clearly tasked; its job is not to
grab territory but to keep the Soviets far away while Army Group A
rolls up the Caucasus. Resources are reallocated accordingly.

(An expandable map of the Caucasus is here:
Loading Image...)

Maikop falls at the beginning of August. The resistance in
Novorossiysk is crushed in early September. The Germans take Grozny
two weeks later. A week after that, they push another 50 km further
east to Gudermes -- the key rail junction where the North Caucasus
rail line (coming south and east from Rostov) joins the coastal line
(running north-south along the Caspian from Baku to Astrakhan). The
Caucasus is now cut in two. By the end of October the Germans have
reached the Caspian at Makhachkala.

Meanwhile, in the west, the push south from Novorossiysk stalls for a
month around the port of Sochi. Then the Germans work a couple of
Alpine units through the mountains and the Soviets -- relying on a
single rail line and a bad coastal road -- have to fall back. The
Germans advance to the outskirts of Batumi in Abkhazia.

At this point -- late October 1942 -- the Germans have occupied the
entire northern half of the Caucasus. In the center of the isthmus,
the front lies along the crest of the Caucasus Mountains; winter has
closed the passes, so there is no major military activity in this
region. The main German axes of advance are now along the two coasts.

Both sides are having serious logistical problems. The Germans can
now run supplies into Sochi, but there is still a Soviet fleet on the
Black Sea, so everything must be convoyed. The eastern advance is
much worse off; the North Caucasus Railroad has been severely damaged,
so bullets, fuel, and food arrive by everything from Luftwaffe drop to
camel train. (There's no fuel from Grozny, since the pesky Soviets
trashed the oil fields and refineries before leaving.)

The Soviets, meanwhile, have to run all their supplies across the
Caspian. Fortunately Baku is an immense port; less fortunately,
Turkmenistan and western Kazakhstan, on the other side of the sea, do
not have such well-developed transportation infrastructures. Also,
beginning in November a Luftwaffe squadron based in Grozny starts
making a nuisance of itself, attacking shipping going into Baku. By
the end of the year the Germans have started a few oil wells up and
have jury-rigged a small refinery; it produces only a trickle of fuel,
but that's enough to keep the Luftwaffe's planes in the air.

Meanwhile, stuff is happening in the north. I really am not sure how
things develop, but without Hitler's manic drive to take Stalingrad,
the Germans are surely much better off. Let us say that the front
stays fairly stable at least until January.

So the Germans slog obstinately southward. The world becomes familiar
with some odd names: Izberbash, Derbent, the Qusarcay River --
roadmarks along the road to Baku. By Christmas the Germans have come
to a narrow place on the coast just north of Baku, where the foothills
of Mount Bazar-Dyuzi squeeze the coastal plain to just a few
kilometers wide. On the other side of the Caucasus, Batumi falls on
Christmas Eve after a month of brutal hand-to-hand fighting; the land
opens up beyond it, and by New Year's Day the Wehrmacht has crossed
from Abkhazia into Georgia proper.

Okay. Now what?


Doug M.
Sydney Webb
2007-03-13 11:45:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Inspired by the recent Ploesti oil fields thread. Strangely, I don't
think this has been done before.
Thank you for posting this, Doug.

[snip]
Post by s***@yahoo.com
So. Let's handwave an *Edelweiss where things go better.
Yes, let's!
Post by s***@yahoo.com
The attack
gets started earlier. The Germans stay more focussed. Army Group B
(which took Stalingrad OTL) is more clearly tasked; its job is not to
grab territory but to keep the Soviets far away while Army Group A
rolls up the Caucasus. Resources are reallocated accordingly.
[snip]
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Meanwhile, stuff is happening in the north.
Assuredly so.
Post by s***@yahoo.com
I really am not sure how
things develop, but without Hitler's manic drive to take Stalingrad,
the Germans are surely much better off. Let us say that the front
stays fairly stable at least until January.
So the Germans slog obstinately southward. The world becomes familiar
with some odd names: Izberbash, Derbent, the Qusarcay River --
roadmarks along the road to Baku. By Christmas the Germans have come
to a narrow place on the coast just north of Baku, where the foothills
of Mount Bazar-Dyuzi squeeze the coastal plain to just a few
kilometers wide. On the other side of the Caucasus, Batumi falls on
Christmas Eve after a month of brutal hand-to-hand fighting; the land
opens up beyond it, and by New Year's Day the Wehrmacht has crossed
from Abkhazia into Georgia proper.
Okay. Now what?
I don't have Doug's sure command of the fine detail. But ISTM that if
the front destabilises in January 1943 then there is potentially the
chance of the entirety of Army Group A, and not just the 6th Army, being
cut off by a Soviet winter counter-offensive.

Paradoxically a more focused German High Command results in even higher
losses than the Stalingrad debacle of OTL. Am I missing something?

- Syd
--
"I suspect that the problem with Henry Kissinger's behavior as Secretary
of State wasn't exactly that he was a Metternichean realist, but that he
was an academic _trying_ to be a Metternichian realist."
- Henry Farrell, _Crooked Timber_
Demetrios Rammos
2007-03-13 12:36:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sydney Webb
I don't have Doug's sure command of the fine detail. But ISTM that if
the front destabilises in January 1943 then there is potentially the
chance of the entirety of Army Group A, and not just the 6th Army, being
cut off by a Soviet winter counter-offensive.
Paradoxically a more focused German High Command results in even higher
losses than the Stalingrad debacle of OTL. Am I missing something?
But in all that what has happened to the Soviet oil supply going from
Baku to the armies north? Denying Caucasus oil to the Soviets is as
important as the Germans using the oil themselves I'd think.

Demetrios
BernardZ
2007-03-13 15:13:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Demetrios Rammos
Post by Sydney Webb
I don't have Doug's sure command of the fine detail. But ISTM that if
the front destabilises in January 1943 then there is potentially the
chance of the entirety of Army Group A, and not just the 6th Army, being
cut off by a Soviet winter counter-offensive.
Paradoxically a more focused German High Command results in even higher
losses than the Stalingrad debacle of OTL. Am I missing something?
But in all that what has happened to the Soviet oil supply going from
Baku to the armies north? Denying Caucasus oil to the Soviets
It was indeed. The Russians had in the OTL major oil shortage too.
Post by Demetrios Rammos
is as
important as the Germans using the oil themselves I'd think.
The Germans will not get it in real time as they cannot transport the
oil to Germany. This was one of the criticism made of the operation by
the Germans OKM even before it began as little transportable by road and
there was no spare shipping of river tankers.

Still I am not so sure the POD is valid. Germany main problem in June
1942 was not logistics but manpower. That why Hitler was sending German
troops from one spot to another to the horror of his generals.
--
Blogging is very time consuming.

Observations of Bernard - No 110
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-13 14:13:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sydney Webb
Paradoxically a more focused German High Command results in
even higher losses than the Stalingrad debacle of OTL. Am I
missing something?
Maybe, maybe not. Still playing this out.
Post by Sydney Webb
what has happened to the Soviet oil supply going from
Baku to the armies north?
The tap goes off in late October when the Germans reach Grozny and
Gudermes. They'll cut the main pipeline from Baku to Astrakhan.

The Soviets will be able to compensate to some extent by shipping the
oil to Astrakhan. However, this will require some serious rejiggering
of infrastructure -- they were set up to get the oil out by pipeline,
not boat, and I'm not sure they even had any tankers on the Caspian.

So I'd say Baku is completely offline for several months. It can
still supply forces in theater, of course -- plenty of refineries
there, so all the gasoline and aviation fuel you want. As long as
you're in the South Caucasus.

Elsewhere, Soviet forces are going to feel the pinch beginning in late
'42. Siberian wells can keep them going, but it's going to be much
tighter than iOTL.


Doug M.
Demetrios Rammos
2007-03-13 17:33:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Elsewhere, Soviet forces are going to feel the pinch beginning in late
'42. Siberian wells can keep them going, but it's going to be much
tighter than iOTL.
Hmm. That seems to make an operation Uranus equivalant quite
problematic. Enough to cancell it altogether or to fail? I suspect we
are going to see. Either case it appears the Germans are than much
better off by early 1943.

Another idle thought. What happens in the other side of the front,
namely the siege of Leningrand with no Stalingrand and a worse Soviet
fuel supply?

Demetrios
Rich Rostrom
2007-03-14 04:05:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sydney Webb
I don't have Doug's sure command of the fine detail. But ISTM that if
the front destabilises in January 1943 then there is potentially the
chance of the entirety of Army Group A, and not just the 6th Army, being
cut off by a Soviet winter counter-offensive.
Paradoxically a more focused German High Command results in even higher
losses than the Stalingrad debacle of OTL. Am I missing something?
Yes... ITTL, the Germans will be much more
sensitive to threats to their left flank,
and have much more strategic depth.

OTL, the Soviet victories around Stalingrad
ruptured the Axis line, and the Soviets tried
to drive SW to the Black Sea and trap Army
Group A. This planned follow-up drive was
designated Operation SATURN.

But the trapped remnant of Sixth Army held out
in Stalingrad for over two months, delaying
this Soviet drive and buying time for AG A to
withdraw in good order from the Caucasus and
Rostov. SATURN was cancelled in favor of
LITTLE SATURN (see below).

LITTLE SATURN routed Italian Eighth Army and
Hungarian Second Army along the upper Don
and drove to Kharkov. But then the Soviet
vanguard was met by Manstein's "backhand blow"
and got a very bloody nose.

ITTL, there will be no Stalingrad kessel.

However, the Germans will have a reserve
force waiting in the area. ("Always Have
a Reserve" was the motto of the German Army.
I've heard this habit added a year to war.)

The Soviet attack comes from the Stalingrad
area SW, on either side of the lower Don, with
the goals of liberating Rostov, and reaching
the Black Sea west of Kerch Strait. That requires
an advance of 200 to 400 km.

This is going to be harder for the Soviets
since they are short the oil from the Caucasus.

Other considerations:

OTL, the Soviets launched a huge attack at
roughly the same time against the Rzhev-Vyazma
salient near Moscow (Operation MARS). The
Germans repulsed this attack with enormous
Soviet losses (~500K men), and serious
bleeding of their own (~40K). But later
the Germans withdrew anyway.

MARS was downplayed by the Soviets
afterward. It was portrayed as a mere
holding action in support of URANUS, the
"main attack" around Stalingrad. The
attack was planned and led by Zhukov;
after he became the Hero General of the
Great Patriotic War, this embarrassing
debacle was conveniently forgotten.

In fact more tanks were allocated to
MARS and its planned follow-up "JUPITER"
than to URANUS. (The follow-up was never
formally named, but with MARS, URANUS,
and SATURN going on then, "JUPITER"
was the most likely name. OTL, "JUPITER"
was cancelled and the reserves went to
the south for LITTLE SATURN.)

ITTL, will the Soviets be confident
enough to launch two big offensives?
Or will they put everything into
*URANUS? (Or MARS? Stalin was seriously
ticked that German forces were still
sitting only 100 km away from Moscow,
and the Vyazma salient was an inviting
target. Zhukov, having been assigned
to command the Western and Kalinin
Fronts, was now arguing vehemently
that the Moscow area was the decisive
theater.)

Several possible scenarios appear:

1) MARS as OTL.
*URANUS SW toward Rostov, advancing
about 150-200 km (the Donets W of
the Don, the Manych E of the Don).
Then Kleist (AG A) and Manstein (AG B)
hit the Soviets with reserves against
the flanks of the advance. Taken in
flank, the Soviet forces crumple and
fall back 100-150 km. Total losses:
Soviets ~500K, Axis ~150k.
Both Soviet offensives lose. Soviet
morale and organization may begin
to crumble under the strain.

2) MARS reinforced at expense of URANUS.
OTL MARS came close to collapsing the
German position, with Soviet forces
cutting the main road into the salient
for several days. ITTL, MARS succeeds;
German Ninth Army is destroyed, *JUPITER
breaks the German line at Vyazma, and
the Soviets smash their way into Smolensk.
Soviet losses still ~500K, German
losses ~250K. (Zhukov was notorious
for making bloody frontal assaults. In
defeating the Japanese at Khalkin-Gol,
he lost 23,000 of his 57,000 men.)
*URANUS is cut back to a relieving
operation, aimed at relinking to the
Caucasus, going due S from the lower
Volga. It makes limited progress, then
is smashed by panzer counteratttacks.
in the empty Kalmyk plain. Soviet
losses ~250K, Axis losses ~100K.
(Assume Romanians etc holding the flank.)

The Soviets have a substantial victory,
but without the strategic follow-on.
They remain short of oil. The Axis
will hold the Cis-Caucasus for several
months perhaps long enough to get oil.

3) MARS dropped to a holding attack.
*URANUS much bigger, driving straight
for Rostov/Kerch. URANUS goes 250-300 km,
liberating Rostov, but Germany retains
the LoC via Crimea-Kerch and by sea to
Novorossisk/Batumi. German panzer
counterattacks retake Rostov and push
the Soviets back 150-200 km. Soviet
losses ~600K, Axis losses ~250K.
Soviets lose another ~100K in *MARS.
No Soviet victory. See 1).

IMHO the best Soviet option would be to
mass everything for a drive into Cis-
Caucasia, with a powerful parallel blow
against Axis ally armies around the lower
Don or S of Stalingrad. The Soviets did
not have the logistical capacity to
support a more ambitious drive in the
south. However I think they would have
overreached as in the winter of 41-42.
--
| He had a shorter, more scraggly, and even less |
| flattering beard than Yassir Arafat, and Escalante |
| never conceived that such a thing was possible. |
| -- William Goldman, _Heat_ |
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-14 06:56:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
LITTLE SATURN routed Italian Eighth Army and
Hungarian Second Army along the upper Don
and drove to Kharkov. But then the Soviet
vanguard was met by Manstein's "backhand blow"
and got a very bloody nose.
I thought the "backhand blow" never happened? ISTR it was von
Manstein's plan for a southern offensive, which was abandoned in favor
of the Kursk offensive.
Post by Rich Rostrom
However, the Germans will have a reserve
force waiting in the area. ("Always Have
a Reserve" was the motto of the German Army.
I've heard this habit added a year to war.)
Been thinking about this. The Germans will certainly have a reserve
force, probably on the lower Don. However, they're also going to be
stretched awfully thin...
Post by Rich Rostrom
The Soviet attack comes from the Stalingrad
area SW, on either side of the lower Don, with
the goals of liberating Rostov, and reaching
the Black Sea west of Kerch Strait. That requires
an advance of 200 to 400 km.
That's right. Stalingrad to Rostov is about 400 km. I'm assuming the
front stops about 100 km west of Stalingrad. So, the German Caucasus
offensive dangles from a bottleneck about 300 km wide.
Post by Rich Rostrom
This is going to be harder for the Soviets
since they are short the oil from the Caucasus.
Also right. More than half of the USSR's oil was coming from the
Caucasus.

1945 production figures, in thousands of tons:

Baku 11,500
Grozny 890
Maikop 700

Turkmenistan 630
"Second Baku"
(Kuibyshev-Saratov-Kazan) 2830
Emba 790
Ukhta-Pechora 700
Other Central Asia 500
Sakhalin 1200

Total 19,740

These are 1945 figures. 1942 would have seen more from the Caucasus
and less from the rest of Russia -- Maikop was captured and Grozny was
bombed, while the non-Caucasus fields went through intense
development. So, in round numbers, a successful German invasion of
the Caucasus is going to cost the Soviets about 2/3 of their oil.

There are complicating factors. As noted, they'll be able to supply
their forces in the South Caucasus. They'll also be able to get some
oil out by tanker. Let us say that they can get 5% of the Baku
production out by early '43, rising to 10% by midyear and 20% by the
end of the year.

OTL they did this for a while when German bombing disrupted the rail
and pipeline facilities in late '42. They didn't have tankers, so
they built them. In the meantime, they filled tanks with oil and
towed them behind ships across the Caspian! This was slow and clumsy,
but it got the job done.

Also, OTL much of Sakhalin's production was exported to Japan. TTL,
this will not be the case -- by early 1943, the Soviets will have told
the Japanese, sorry, but we need that oil elsewhere. Which may have
knock-on effects on the Pacific a bit later...

So, what with one thing and another, I'd expect them to be back to
around half of OTL's oil supply by the spring of '43, rising to about
2/3 by the end of that year. IOW, the loss of Caucasus oil will be a
serious blow, and will affect them noticeably, but it won't be a
crippling knockout.

More in a bit,


Doug M.
Rich Rostrom
2007-03-14 19:12:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Post by Rich Rostrom
LITTLE SATURN routed Italian Eighth Army and
Hungarian Second Army along the upper Don
and drove to Kharkov. But then the Soviet
vanguard was met by Manstein's "backhand blow"
and got a very bloody nose.
I thought the "backhand blow" never happened? ISTR it was von
Manstein's plan for a southern offensive, which was abandoned in favor
of the Kursk offensive.
I always thought the "backhand blow" was Manstein's
"ambush" around Kharkov, but Wikipedia sez it was
his Kursk alternative, an 1943 attack near Rostov.
--
| He had a shorter, more scraggly, and even less |
| flattering beard than Yassir Arafat, and Escalante |
| never conceived that such a thing was possible. |
| -- William Goldman, _Heat_ |
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-14 08:06:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
OTL, the Soviets launched a huge attack at
roughly the same time against the Rzhev-Vyazma
salient near Moscow (Operation MARS). The
Germans repulsed this attack with enormous
Soviet losses (~500K men), and serious
bleeding of their own (~40K). But later
the Germans withdrew anyway.
They needed the troops for von Manstein's "miracle" in the spring of
'43.
Post by Rich Rostrom
ITTL, will the Soviets be confident
enough to launch two big offensives?
I'm inclined to doubt it -- but I could see one-and-a-half, in the
sense of one big offensive and one smaller (but potentially
significant) one.
Post by Rich Rostrom
1) MARS as OTL.
*URANUS SW toward Rostov
I don't think the Soviets will be able to support two major offensives
in this manner; the oil crunch will be hitting its worst point right
about now.
Post by Rich Rostrom
2) MARS reinforced at expense of URANUS.
Possible.
Post by Rich Rostrom
3) MARS dropped to a holding attack.
*URANUS much bigger, driving straight
for Rostov/Kerch.
Possible.
Post by Rich Rostrom
URANUS goes 250-300 km,
liberating Rostov, but Germany retains
the LoC via Crimea-Kerch and by sea to
Novorossisk/Batumi.
...problematic. German sealift capacity on the Black Sea was not all
that. Granted, it was much better than their airlift capacity. But
the Soviets still have a fleet in being -- indeed, they still have
fleet superiority, albeit handicapped by their inability to repair and
recover losses. So the Germans will have some difficulties.

Further: supplying the western half of Army Group A is one thing.
Supplying the eastern half is very much something else. Anything
hauled across the Black Sea must then travel ~500-600 kilometers
further east and south to reach the troops around Baku. That supply
line is already crazy long and sketchy; adding a water break will make
it much worse. (I would expect some major arguments between the two
halves of Army Group A about supply anyhow.)
Post by Rich Rostrom
IMHO the best Soviet option would be to
mass everything for a drive into Cis-
Caucasia, with a powerful parallel blow
against Axis ally armies around the lower
Don or S of Stalingrad.
I'm inclined to agree. But there are problems. A drive SE from
Stalingrad towards Rostov is hey-diddle-diddle, straight up the middle
-- it's going predictably at the place where the Germans expect
attack, and where their reserves are based. However, a drive along a
more southern axis -- down towards Elista, capital of Kalmykia -- has
other problems; it must cross some very flat and barren land, without
much by way of roads, and has much further to go to cut the Germans
off. In round numbers, about 500 km as opposed to 200. And then of
course, the German reserve is waiting to take them in the flank.

Still thinking about this. What should Stalin do? Thoughts and
comments welcome.


Doug M.
Rich Rostrom
2007-03-14 19:19:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Post by Rich Rostrom
OTL, the Soviets launched a huge attack at
roughly the same time against the Rzhev-Vyazma
salient near Moscow (Operation MARS). The
Germans repulsed this attack with enormous
Soviet losses (~500K men), and serious
bleeding of their own (~40K). But later
the Germans withdrew anyway.
They needed the troops for von Manstein's "miracle"
in the spring of '43.
"Manstein's miracle" at Kharkov was in late February
and March. 9th Army withdrew from Rzhev 3/23 to 3/25.

So there may have been an influence but not a direct
connection. (Hitler called of ZITADELLE in part because
the invasion of Sicily demanded troops for the Italian
theater; but obviously no troops from ZITADELLE went
directly to Sicily.)
--
| He had a shorter, more scraggly, and even less |
| flattering beard than Yassir Arafat, and Escalante |
| never conceived that such a thing was possible. |
| -- William Goldman, _Heat_ |
m***@willamette.edu
2007-03-14 19:37:00 UTC
Permalink
A good old WWII scenario. Let me take a crack.

So assuming no disastrous Soviet destruction of Army Groups A and B in
this scenario we end up with the Soviets having reduced oil, and the
Germans in a significantly better position at the beginning of 1943
than in OTL.

Some thoughts:

The Soviet war machine is not going to grind to a halt even if it does
have 50% less oil than OTL. Factories will still produce tanks, those
tanks will be dragged to the front, and Ways Will Be Found.

There are knock-off effects on the German side as well. No Stalingrad
means Hitler doesn't get a jolt of reality that in OTL caused him to
get serious and put the German home-front on a Total War Economy. A
German economy less mobilized for war helps the Soviets of course, but
I guess the most we could delay the full mobilization would be until
the end of 1943. Still, a delay of full mobilization is nothing to be
sneezed at.

Soviet troops will poor their bodies like water over the Germans
throughout all of 1943 to take back Baku and surrounding areas.
Stalin is not going to be pleased and will likely be even more
prolific with his soldiers lives than in OTL, and in OTL the Soviets
were facing significant manpower shortages by 1945 anyways. This
TL . . . well the Female - Male ratio is going to be even more
lopsided come the end of the war.

The Western Allies are likely to be more scared of a Soviet Collapse
in this TL too. That doesn't mean we'll get an Overlord in '43, but I
do think more allied building programs in Iran to ship goods to the
Soviets are likely. Non-trivial economic consequences for Iran there
in the long run.

The Soviets aren't going to sell the Japanese oil, but the Japanese
are not going to declare war over that. The Japanese will be hurt
without the Soviet oil, but again, Ways Will Be Found. Still, the US
could have an easier time in all of it's battles of '44 and '45 than
in OTL. Pilots will have even less training than in OTL, fewer ships
and troops and supplies will reach the islands that became bloodbaths
in OTL. Maybe 10,000 fewer US dead by 1945 (and perhaps fewer
Japanese deaths as well?), and a Japan that is more willing to put out
peace feelers than in OTL?

Come 1944-45 the Germans are likely to be pushing more of their troops
to face the Western Allies than in OTL, but combined with a slower
mobilization and Hitler's (likely, IMO) strategic errors, the Western
allies are likely to have a D-day and conquest of France similar to
OTL, but after that they'll begin to slow down compared to OTL.

If I had to guess, I would say the cumulative effects would be a
Soviet advance that was about 6 - 12 months behind the advance of
OTL.

So come August 1945 the first nukes will be dropped on Berlin or
wherever, and probably 1 - 3 nuked cities later we get a German
Surrender. A good chunk, but by no means all, of Eastern Europe seems
likely to escape Soviet occupation in this TL. Poland will almost
certainly be under Soviet occupation, but might we end up with a
smaller (token?) Eastern Germany, a Non-Soviet controlled Yugoslavia,
a Czech Republic, and a Free Bulgaria and Hungary?

Guessing here but probably 3-5 million extra dead Soviets (troops, and
civilians killed in the longer German occupation), 300 - 700,000 more
dead Germans (longer fighting, longer bombing, atomic bombings, some
starvation and disease, and it's probable that most of the ethnic
cleansing of Germans that took place in OTL will still take place in
this TL), 300,000 - 600,000 extra dead Jews in Europe (longer German
occupation, longer operational death camps), maybe 50 - 100,000 more
dead Western Allied troops (longer fighting, more German troops to
face, although if Japan is hurt enough by the lack of Soviet oil, this
could be reduced some).

If the Japanese surrender before OTL, or surrenders from just the
example of the atomic bombing of Germany, than this TL could have a
couple hundred thousand fewer Japanese deaths (the lives saved from
Atomic Bombing, a less intense bombing of Japan because more of the
effort that went into the bombing of Japan in he May-August of 1945
period in OTL will go to bombing Germany in this TL, but also from no
Soviet Invasion of Manchuria and Korea), as well as no Communist North
Korea. The Chinese Communist would also not be as strong as OTL, so
the Civil War make take an extra year or two, three at the max, but
they will still win. Still a No Korean-War TL and a Communist China
that wins in 1951 and takes Taiwan in 1952 and a less intense Cold War
and and radically bigger / different "Western/Free" Europe is going to
result in a pretty different world from OTL.

--
Mike Ralls
n***@hotmail.com
2007-03-16 08:07:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by m***@willamette.edu
A good old WWII scenario. Let me take a crack.
<snip>
Post by m***@willamette.edu
So come August 1945 the first nukes will be dropped on Berlin or
wherever, and probably 1 - 3 nuked cities later we get a German
Surrender. A good chunk, but by no means all, of Eastern Europe seems
likely to escape Soviet occupation in this TL. Poland will almost
certainly be under Soviet occupation, but might we end up with a
smaller (token?) Eastern Germany, a Non-Soviet controlled Yugoslavia,
a Czech Republic, and a Free Bulgaria and Hungary?
It's highly unlikely that Berlin would be targetted for an atom bomb,
basically because you want to leave the German Government intact
enough to surrender - Tokyo wasn't a target in OTL. Also it is easier
to target cities in the west of Germany. Paradoxically, that could
leave the *DDR in a slightly better position compared to the *BRD
after the end of the war.

The *DDR might not be smaller than OTL, but it could be shifted to the
east - i.e. the Soviets conquer less ground in the west of what was
OTL DDR, but in order to make the *DDR large enough to be viable, less
German territory is given to Poland. This leaves Breslau and Danzig
as part of the DDR, for example. Maybe to compensate, Poland is given
the whole of what was East Prussia, so OTL Kaliningrad becomes a
Polish city.

Cheers,
Nigel.
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-15 13:38:27 UTC
Permalink
Let me describe what I think the Soviets will try, and then what I
think the odds are.

First, I think they'll defend Baku with everything they've got. Much
like Stalingrad OTL, yah? The Germans, in turn, will throw
everything /they've/ got at it. This means that their western
Caucasus offensive will be sluggish, and may stall out.

Barring something happening, Baku will fall after about a month of
furious fighting. We'll say February 15, 1943.

Now, the Soviets will try four things to slow or stop this.

1) They'll start with a medium-sized offensive west from Stalingrad
towards Kharkov. This is really a big feint, but if it goes well
they'll try to push it. They don't really expect it to go well,
though... the main purpose is to draw away the German reserves (which
the Soviets know perfectly well are sitting on the lower Don).

2) Once the western offensive is well in train, they're throwing
everything into a big offensive south-southwest from the lower Volga,
punching towards the Caucasus mountains through Stavropol to
Cherkessia. They're headed for a spot just east of Mount Elbrus. If
successful, they'll cut off the Baku offensive, and seriously threaten
the Georgian one as well.

3) Meanwhile, they'll throw an amphibious operation across the
Caspian Sea. OTL the Soviets liked amphibious operations. They never
got very good at them, but they never stopped trying. And the line
down to Baku is certainly tempting -- from Makhachkala south, it's a
narrow corridor between mountains and sea.

4) Just for the hell of it, they'll try an amphibious operation on
the Black Sea coast, too, north of Sochi. It won't directly affect
the battle for Baku, but what the hell. They might as well use those
ships -- if Batumi falls, they'll all have to flee or be scrapped
anyhow.

How will I resolve these things? I'll roll some dice.

For (1), roll 2d6. Anything less than a 7 is a Soviet failure. 7 or
8 is a strategic draw. 10+ is a major breakthrough.

Then roll to see if the reserves are distracted. Base chance is 20%.
Add 10% for every number higher than a 6 on the first roll.

Then roll to see how successful the main thrust is. Again, 2d6. An 8
is required to reach the Caucasus Mountains (putting aside the
question of counterattacks). If the reserves were distracted, add +2
to the roll.

The Caspian Sea landing succeeds on a 6 or higher -- the Soviets have
almost complete command of the water, after all. Whether they can
hold a bridgehead is a separate question. The Black Sea landing is
much tougher, and needs a 10 or higher.

Yes, I know this is slightly goofy (and very wargamer-ish, which is
much the same thing), but ISTM a reasonable way to approach the
problem.

What think y'all? Different odds? Different dice? Totally different
methodology?

More in a bit,


Doug M.
Jack Linthicum
2007-03-15 15:29:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Let me describe what I think the Soviets will try, and then what I
think the odds are.
First, I think they'll defend Baku with everything they've got. Much
like Stalingrad OTL, yah? The Germans, in turn, will throw
everything /they've/ got at it. This means that their western
Caucasus offensive will be sluggish, and may stall out.
Barring something happening, Baku will fall after about a month of
furious fighting. We'll say February 15, 1943.
Now, the Soviets will try four things to slow or stop this.
1) They'll start with a medium-sized offensive west from Stalingrad
towards Kharkov. This is really a big feint, but if it goes well
they'll try to push it. They don't really expect it to go well,
though... the main purpose is to draw away the German reserves (which
the Soviets know perfectly well are sitting on the lower Don).
2) Once the western offensive is well in train, they're throwing
everything into a big offensive south-southwest from the lower Volga,
punching towards the Caucasus mountains through Stavropol to
Cherkessia. They're headed for a spot just east of Mount Elbrus. If
successful, they'll cut off the Baku offensive, and seriously threaten
the Georgian one as well.
3) Meanwhile, they'll throw an amphibious operation across the
Caspian Sea. OTL the Soviets liked amphibious operations. They never
got very good at them, but they never stopped trying. And the line
down to Baku is certainly tempting -- from Makhachkala south, it's a
narrow corridor between mountains and sea.
4) Just for the hell of it, they'll try an amphibious operation on
the Black Sea coast, too, north of Sochi. It won't directly affect
the battle for Baku, but what the hell. They might as well use those
ships -- if Batumi falls, they'll all have to flee or be scrapped
anyhow.
How will I resolve these things? I'll roll some dice.
For (1), roll 2d6. Anything less than a 7 is a Soviet failure. 7 or
8 is a strategic draw. 10+ is a major breakthrough.
Then roll to see if the reserves are distracted. Base chance is 20%.
Add 10% for every number higher than a 6 on the first roll.
Then roll to see how successful the main thrust is. Again, 2d6. An 8
is required to reach the Caucasus Mountains (putting aside the
question of counterattacks). If the reserves were distracted, add +2
to the roll.
The Caspian Sea landing succeeds on a 6 or higher -- the Soviets have
almost complete command of the water, after all. Whether they can
hold a bridgehead is a separate question. The Black Sea landing is
much tougher, and needs a 10 or higher.
Yes, I know this is slightly goofy (and very wargamer-ish, which is
much the same thing), but ISTM a reasonable way to approach the
problem.
What think y'all? Different odds? Different dice? Totally different
methodology?
More in a bit,
Doug M.
Basic question: why the amphib operation when the Russians are
occupying Northern Iran?

"By the summer of 1942, as Nazi units pushed through Ukraine and the
Crimea towards the Caucasus, the first elements of American logistic
and combat engineer units began arriving in Iran to form the Persian
Gulf Command. Working with Soviet construction battalions, the
Americans built a network of roads to replace the narrow trails that
proved impassable to large trucks.

Lt. William H. Bird commanded one of the first American transportation
units made up of White officers and Negro troops from the Illinois
National Guard. "Our run from Andimeshk to Khorramshahr was supposed
to take 10 hours" Bird recalled, "it was 135 miles, but there were
1,300 curves so it often took 15 hours or more."

http://www.iranian.com/History/Nov97/WWII/index.html
c***@gmail.com
2007-03-15 18:25:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack Linthicum
Basic question: why the amphib operation when the Russians are
occupying Northern Iran?
Um... are people following along on the map here?

The Germans are north of Baku. They've occupied the northern 2/3 of
the Caucasus. But they're not in Baku yet.

If you look at the map, you'll see that the mountains run pretty close
to the Caspian coastline. So the Germans have had to fight their way
down a narrow corridor. No shortcuts through the mountains in winter.

Also, Baku is still a couple of hundred miles north of the Iranian
border.

So I'm not sure what your question is. I mean, the point of the
amphib operation is not to get more troops in front of the Germans.
That they can do, whether North Persia is full of railroads or not.
(They can run sealift into Baku readily enough -- German air attacks
are a nuisance but are not close to closing the port.) The point is
to cut the Germans off, since they're dangling by a 300 km thread from
their forward base at Makhachkala. Which itself is supplied only with
great difficulty, since it's a good 3000 km from Germany.


Doug M.
Jack Linthicum
2007-03-15 19:17:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Jack Linthicum
Basic question: why the amphib operation when the Russians are
occupying Northern Iran?
Um... are people following along on the map here?
The Germans are north of Baku. They've occupied the northern 2/3 of
the Caucasus. But they're not in Baku yet.
If you look at the map, you'll see that the mountains run pretty close
to the Caspian coastline. So the Germans have had to fight their way
down a narrow corridor. No shortcuts through the mountains in winter.
Also, Baku is still a couple of hundred miles north of the Iranian
border.
So I'm not sure what your question is. I mean, the point of the
amphib operation is not to get more troops in front of the Germans.
That they can do, whether North Persia is full of railroads or not.
(They can run sealift into Baku readily enough -- German air attacks
are a nuisance but are not close to closing the port.) The point is
to cut the Germans off, since they're dangling by a 300 km thread from
their forward base at Makhachkala. Which itself is supplied only with
great difficulty, since it's a good 3000 km from Germany.
Doug M.
That narrow coast line exists on the Western side of the Caucasus as
well. The Germans are stuck with a single line of attack on the East
side, is there anything to prevent a Soviet-British-American thrust up
the Georgian-Abkhazi coast towards Sochi and Krasnodar?

IIRC Novorussisk is along this line, cutting the Germans off from any
hope of resupply by sea by linking up with those sailors. Triple
alliance aviation operating from fields in Iran or Georgia could
attack German supply lines, make drops to partizans (Chechnya is just
on the other side of the Caucasus) and force the Germans into
considering a "strategic withdrawal".
Robert A. Woodward
2007-03-16 06:40:18 UTC
Permalink
In article
Post by c***@gmail.com
Post by Jack Linthicum
Basic question: why the amphib operation when the Russians are
occupying Northern Iran?
Um... are people following along on the map here?
The Germans are north of Baku. They've occupied the northern 2/3 of
the Caucasus. But they're not in Baku yet.
If you look at the map, you'll see that the mountains run pretty close
to the Caspian coastline. So the Germans have had to fight their way
down a narrow corridor. No shortcuts through the mountains in winter.
Also, Baku is still a couple of hundred miles north of the Iranian
border.
So I'm not sure what your question is. I mean, the point of the
amphib operation is not to get more troops in front of the Germans.
That they can do, whether North Persia is full of railroads or not.
(They can run sealift into Baku readily enough -- German air attacks
are a nuisance but are not close to closing the port.) The point is
to cut the Germans off, since they're dangling by a 300 km thread from
their forward base at Makhachkala. Which itself is supplied only with
great difficulty, since it's a good 3000 km from Germany.
I believe that the British (perhaps with the French) considered
bombing Baku early in the war when USSR was apparently allied with
Germany(1). Could they update those plans and bomb the supply line
for the German advance? Or was there not enough time? Or would
Stalin veto it?
--
Robert Woodward <***@drizzle.com>
<http://www.drizzle.com/~robertaw>
L***@gmail.com
2007-03-16 07:54:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Robert A. Woodward
I believe that the British (perhaps with the French) considered
bombing Baku early in the war when USSR was apparently allied with
Germany(1).
This was when 1) France was not Occupied and 2) Britain wasn't being
bombed. It's not clear if this ever got past the vaguest of planning
stages. I'll address the issues of a 1942/3 operation below.
Post by Robert A. Woodward
Could they update those plans and bomb the supply line
for the German advance? Or was there not enough time? Or would
Stalin veto it?
The theoretical answer to the first question is yes; on paper, it's
entirely possible to update the plan. The question is whether or not
such a plan would realistically be either viable or worthwhile for the
Allies to carry out.

Britain and the US have a limited amount of shipping and fuel. They
have a limited amount of fighters. Up to October 1942, most of that is
going into the logistics for Torch. After that, it goes to supporting
the Anglo-American vice that's gradually squeezing Rommel out of North
Africa, and then supporting Husky, etc.

Meanwhile, British and American bombers are beginning serious runs
over mainland Europe. By mid-1943 or so, thousand bomber raids
developed.

To make an bombing run plausible, you need to get the Western Allies
to do a couple of things. 1) move a large number of fighters, bombers,
ground crew, bombs, and aviation fuel within flight range of Baku and
the corresponding German locations. 2) Support those units with a base
and 3) resupply them.

Given the range of WWII era bombers, we're looking for a base in the
Russian sphere of Iran or maybe Turkey. The former is in a country
with truly terrible logistics, which would need the runways to be
built; Iran doesn't even have paved national roads or rails to support
resupply. Turkey isn't an ally, and would be less interested in
becoming one if the Germans are close to being on both borders.

This is not to say that the Iran thing is impossible; the Allies did
fly supplies over the Hump to the Nationalist Chinese, and emergency
runways were built out of crushed stone for the supply planes.

The obvious difference here is that there are things that the Anglo-
American Allies can do that have greater overall strategic impact at
less cost than attempting to build and maintain a bomber base in
Northern Iran.

Those bombers and their crews are valuable, even as their lives are
being spent like water over Europe, and are pivotal in continued
Allied operations to get onto the Continent. It's extremely doubtful,
therefore, that the Baku Operation would be undertaken.

Best

Luke
ErrolC
2007-03-16 09:13:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by L***@gmail.com
Post by Robert A. Woodward
I believe that the British (perhaps with the French) considered
bombing Baku early in the war when USSR was apparently allied with
Germany(1).
<snip>
Post by L***@gmail.com
The obvious difference here is that there are things that the Anglo-
American Allies can do that have greater overall strategic impact at
less cost than attempting to build and maintain a bomber base in
Northern Iran.
Those bombers and their crews are valuable, even as their lives are
being spent like water over Europe, and are pivotal in continued
Allied operations to get onto the Continent. It's extremely doubtful,
therefore, that the Baku Operation would be undertaken.
Valid points, but it may be considered that the political pay-off with
Stalin from more direct attacks on the high-profile Germans outweigh
the last 40% of bombs dropped on Western Germany. Hell on shipping
resources, however.

Errol Cavit
"Life's a bitch, then you rejuvenate and do it all over again."
Liz Vernon, in Peter F. Hamilton's _Pandora's Star_
L***@gmail.com
2007-03-16 16:55:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by ErrolC
Valid points, but it may be considered that the political pay-off with
Stalin from more direct attacks on the high-profile Germans outweigh
the last 40% of bombs dropped on Western Germany.
Well, that was considered; for some reason, I think the crozzled dark
star of a heart that Stalin keeps in his chest beats out too much
pride and paranoia to accept the creation of an Anglo-American Airbase
in Northern Iran.

It's not even especially clear if one could be created. What would you
have them do? Fly the bombers from the UK to North Africa to Iran?
That's a /lot/ of stretches over or adjacent to hostile territory,
many places without a snowball's chance in hell of refueling or
landing.
Post by ErrolC
Hell on shipping resources, however.
Well, yeah, and at a time that the Allies have to have that shipping
for a lot of things that are going to be consistently more important
than a dodgy throw of the dice from Northern Iran across the Caucasus.
Post by ErrolC
From the UK, it'll be building up to the 1,000 bomber raids and the
pseudo-prep for Dieppe, Sledgehammer, and Round-Up. In North Africa,
those bombers and the shipping will be going to either supporting the
troops, buttressing an operation into Rhodes and the Dhodekanese,
invading Italy, or a bizarre version of Dragoon, should Petain go
over.

If the Allies weren't doing anything with the shipping, had more of
it, or if these operations weren't bearing clear strategic fruit in
combination with Stalin being less paranoid, then yeah, bombing runs
from Northern Iran. But that's a hell of a string of ifs.

"Tunisgrad"and other operations in the Mediterranean offer
qualitatively better bets in the use of Allied shipping and resources
to undermine Germany's strategic position, drawing troops away from
Russia, etc. with an eye on eventually getting on the Continent, than
a bombardment of German troops from Baku; after all, it's not clear to
the Allies that thousand bomber raids aren't as effective as they
hope.

In other words, I don't see Roosevelt bothering with this, though I
could see Churchill delusionally suggesting that British bombers
launch from Iraq. Which, well, Stalin won't take kindly, and the
British War Cabinet will try and distract Churchill from once they get
figures on shipping.

And yes, this is to suggest that Roosevelt is a rational actor while
Stalin is plain nuts and Churchill is....emotional?

Best

L
Dan
2007-03-16 18:29:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by L***@gmail.com
Post by ErrolC
Valid points, but it may be considered that the political pay-off with
Stalin from more direct attacks on the high-profile Germans outweigh
the last 40% of bombs dropped on Western Germany.
Well, that was considered; for some reason, I think the crozzled dark
star of a heart that Stalin keeps in his chest beats out too much
pride and paranoia to accept the creation of an Anglo-American Airbase
in Northern Iran.
It's not even especially clear if one could be created. What would you
have them do? Fly the bombers from the UK to North Africa to Iran?
That's a /lot/ of stretches over or adjacent to hostile territory,
many places without a snowball's chance in hell of refueling or
Post by ErrolC
Valid points, but it may be considered that the political pay-off with
Stalin from more direct attacks on the high-profile Germans outweigh
the last 40% of bombs dropped on Western Germany.
Well, that was considered; for some reason, I think the crozzled dark
star of a heart that Stalin keeps in his chest beats out too much
pride and paranoia to accept the creation of an Anglo-American Airbase
in Northern Iran.
It's not even especially clear if one could be created. What would you
have them do? Fly the bombers from the UK to North Africa to Iran?
That's a /lot/ of stretches over or adjacent to hostile territory,
many places without a snowball's chance in hell of refueling or
landing.
Post by ErrolC
Hell on shipping resources, however.
OK but at this time late 1942, there has been a British Empire war
effort going on in Africa and the Middle East for a couple of years,
Britain responding to Italian attacks in 1940 invades and conquers
Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, during late 40 early 41, and blockades
Djibouti till it surrenders in late 1942.

It then occupies Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Iran and is fighting a high
intensity war in Lybia and Egypt.Oh and it invades and occupies
Madagascar just in case the Japs or Germans have the idea of basing
some submarines there.

With the Mediterranean closed to shipping till mid 1943 how do you
think all of that was supplied?

It was shipped round South Africa and up through the Indian Ocean,
diverting some of those resources to Iraq and Iran would not have
caused a strain on shipping though depending on how much is diverted
it may have caused problems for the 8th Army in Egypt. Equally
although spare parts for the aircraft would have to come from US/UK
the food, fuel and bombs and ammo would be produced locally, India by
now had factories producing ammunition and the refinery at Abadan was
exporting aviation fuel to the Soviet Union, now as somewhere between
25 and 30% of all US/UK supplies to the Soviet Union were flowing up
through Iran, supporting a couple of bomber groups would not have been
an issue.

As for getting the Aircraft there well the normal route for Aircraft
from the US was south across the Caribbean, then to Brazil, then
Ascension Island, then West Africa either Sierra Leone or Gambia and
from there if heading for Mid East operations through Nigeria, Sudan
and Egypt, heading to Iran rather than Egypt would not have been
difficult.
Post by L***@gmail.com
Well, yeah, and at a time that the Allies have to have that shipping
for a lot of things that are going to be consistently more important
than a dodgy throw of the dice from Northern Iran across the Caucasus.>From the UK, it'll be building up to the 1,000 bomber raids and the pseudo-prep for Dieppe, Sledgehammer, and Round-Up. In North Africa,
those bombers and the shipping will be going to either supporting the
troops, buttressing an operation into Rhodes and the Dhodekanese,
invading Italy, or a bizarre version of Dragoon, should Petain go
over.
If the Allies weren't doing anything with the shipping, had more of
it, or if these operations weren't bearing clear strategic fruit in
combination with Stalin being less paranoid, then yeah, bombing runs
from Northern Iran. But that's a hell of a string of ifs.
All of your options make sense 12 months later but in this scenario
Stalingrad does not happen, Torch has not happened yet, a serious
strategic German move through the Causcaus does 2 things it takes away
the Soviet access to lots of their oil and it threatens British and
Empire access to it's Oil, the US is a net exporter at this time, (and
for another 20 years) but that is were shipping comes in, there is not
enough shipping to get the Oil from the US to where it is needed. The
Germans do not have to actually get the Oil for themselves they just
have to stop the Brits getting it so they will be worried about German
Air Raids on the Gulf Refinarys as soon as they are within range and
will be paranoid about a strike through Iran.
Post by L***@gmail.com
"Tunisgrad"and other operations in the Mediterranean offer
qualitatively better bets in the use of Allied shipping and resources
to undermine Germany's strategic position, drawing troops away from
Russia, etc. with an eye on eventually getting on the Continent, than
a bombardment of German troops from Baku; after all, it's not clear to
the Allies that thousand bomber raids aren't as effective as they
hope.
In other words, I don't see Roosevelt bothering with this, though I
could see Churchill delusionally suggesting that British bombers
launch from Iraq. Which, well, Stalin won't take kindly, and the
British War Cabinet will try and distract Churchill from once they get
figures on shipping.
And yes, this is to suggest that Roosevelt is a rational actor while
Stalin is plain nuts and Churchill is....emotional?
Sorry but in the timetable we are talking about September to December
1942,
Roosevelt may be rational but was actually irrelevant, Torch had not
yet happened, so no US ground troops have yet fired a shot in anger
and as for the 8th Air-force the 1st aircraft arrived in the UK in
July 42. The first operation WITH ONLY 12 AIRCRAFT was September 1942,
it was NOVEMBER 1943 before they could attempt the first 500 bomber
Raid.

Stalin may be an Evil Bastard but he knew what he wanted

Churchill was an imperialist, he was thinking in terms of an Empire
that spanned the Globe, he would have been desperate to keep the
Germans out of Iran and away from India and if that meant France was
occupied for another 12 months then so be it. He also wanted to keep
the Americans out of Iran if he could.

In the time-scale of the second half of 1942 the build up to what
became El Aleimain was going on to get to a point of a force of
200,000 which was released in October 1942 and had been successful by
5th November 1942, if there was a real threat of a German breakthrough
into Iran some of that force would have been kept in reserve in Iran/
Iraq to face a possible attack from the North. Would Montgomery have
delayed the operation if he did not have all the resources or would he
have been less successful if he had gone ahead. However shipping
turning right to go to Persia rather than left to go to Egypt would
not have been the deciding factor!
Jack Linthicum
2007-03-16 18:32:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by L***@gmail.com
Post by ErrolC
Valid points, but it may be considered that the political pay-off with
Stalin from more direct attacks on the high-profile Germans outweigh
the last 40% of bombs dropped on Western Germany.
Well, that was considered; for some reason, I think the crozzled dark
star of a heart that Stalin keeps in his chest beats out too much
pride and paranoia to accept the creation of an Anglo-American Airbase
in Northern Iran.
It's not even especially clear if one could be created. What would you
have them do? Fly the bombers from the UK to North Africa to Iran?
That's a /lot/ of stretches over or adjacent to hostile territory,
many places without a snowball's chance in hell of refueling or
landing.
IIRC the general rule for shipping aircraft was south to Natal/Recife
Brazil, across the narrow part of the Atlantic with a half way point
at Ascension Island, and then up into Cairo, etc. No hostile
territory, just Free French colonies.

The USSR only controlled five northern provinces in Iran, Azerbaijan,
Gilan, Mazanderan, Gorgan and Khorasan. If they got into a bind they
might ask that the RAF in Iraq use the airfield at Tehran, but the
Germans seemed caught in a situation similar to the one they were in
in Yugoslavia. Lots of mountains, lots of people who didn't like them,
few roads.

USAAF MUSTANGS IN COMBAT

* Although the RAF had been using Mustangs in combat since the spring
of 1942, the USAAF didn't get the type into action until March 1943,
after the invasion of North Africa. 35 of the "F-6A" P-51s arrived in
that month, and were used in the following months for tactical
reconnaissance on German positions in Tunisia during the final drive
on the Afrika Korps.

In the meantime, A-36As were pouring into North Africa by the
hundreds, with a total of over 300 in action by May. On 7 June, the
USAAF performed its first combat mission with the Mustang, performing
attacks on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria.

The A-36As participated in the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, and
then, having been joined by P-51As, moved to that island to support
the landings on the Italian mainland at Salerno in September 1943.

http://www.junobeach.org/images/english/flash/airferry.html
m***@willamette.edu
2007-03-15 18:47:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Yes, I know this is slightly goofy (and very wargamer-ish, which is
much the same thing), but ISTM a reasonable way to approach the
problem.
What think y'all? Different odds? Different dice? Totally different
methodology?
My thoughts on dice and AH are well posted; at some point contingency
rears her ugly head in any TL and dice slinging insures that the
author doesn't conciously, or subsconsiously, use their authorial fiat
too heavily.

The specific odds . . . hmm. As rough calculations they sound all
right. In the imortal words of Brian van Hoose "Let the dice fall
where they may!"

--
Mike Ralls
c***@gmail.com
2007-03-15 18:50:01 UTC
Permalink
Random thought: the Caucasus is about the size of France.

TTL the Germans have occupied more than half of it. They're now
trying to push into Transcaucasia, which is the southern third of the
isthmus.

Transcaucasia is three countries today. Small ones, but still.
Georgia + Armenia + Azerbaijan = almost 200,000 square kilometers. A
bit smaller than Romania, or about 3/4 the size of the United
Kingdom. In 1941 they would have been home to about 10 million
people, with lots of oil, coal, heavy metals, and a modest amount of
industry.

IOW, just the sliver of the Caucasus that is cut off from the rest of
the USSR is a respectable medium-sized country.

The USSR was /big/.


Doug M.
m***@willamette.edu
2007-03-15 19:10:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
IOW, just the sliver of the Caucasus that is cut off from the rest of
the USSR is a respectable medium-sized country.
The USSR was /big/.
Joke from 1941:

A German General is with his little Fräulein. The Fräulein looks at a
map on his table and says, "What is this small black dot in the
center?"

The German General says, "That is Germany my little darling.

The Fräulein then says, "And what is this large red smear spreading
all the way across the map to its furthest end?"

The German General says, "That is Russia my dear."

The Fräulein pauses, frowns, and then says, "Has the Führer seen this
map?"

--
Mike Ralls
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-16 05:51:09 UTC
Permalink
So what happens?

Mid-January, the Soviets launch their one-two punch. First, a drive
straight west from Stalingrad towards Kharkov.

[rolls 2d6 -> 5]

Ouch. This bounces off of strong German defenses. A week or two
later a couple of hundred thousand young Russians are dead, with very
little gained for it.

Do the German reserves react?

[rolls d100 -> 54]

No, they do not. They're still lurking around the lower Don.

Then comes the main Soviet strike, SSW into the Caucasus.

[rolls 2d6 -> hard 10]

Ho -- looks like the Germans weren't expecting /that/. The Soviet
attack punches south across the empty plains of Kalmykia, then swings
SW, avoiding the German concentration around Grozny. By early
February they've reached the rail junction around Pyatigorsk. German
resistance stiffens in the foothills of Mt. Elbrus, but the Soviets
have accomplished their major strategic goal: the German attack on
Baku, the eastern half of Army Group A, is now cut off.

Around this time come the two amphibious offensives. First, in the
Black Sea:

[rolls 2d6 -> 4]

Nothin'. The Germans are ready, and mow the Soviets down on the
beach. The Soviets lose a cruiser and a destroyer, too.

Then the Caspian Sea attack:

[rolls 2d6 -> 8]

That works. The Soviets get ashore under heavy fire. In a couple of
days they have a beachhead several kilometers long. The German attack
on Baku is now cut off twice!

German counterattacks will of course follow shortly.


Doug M.
Coyu
2007-03-17 17:46:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
So what happens?
... wouldn't it be easier to construct an outcome tree?

Also, bitchin' counterattacks under Budenny?
Jack Linthicum
2007-03-17 18:21:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by s***@yahoo.com
So what happens?
... wouldn't it be easier to construct an outcome tree?
Also, bitchin' counterattacks under Budenny?
Don't forget the terrain, worse than the Balkans, supplies are closer
for the partizans, perhaps even air support, P-39 Airacobras and B-25s.
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-19 09:17:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by s***@yahoo.com
So what happens?
... wouldn't it be easier to construct an outcome tree?
Sure, if "easier" is what you're after.
Post by Coyu
Also, bitchin' counterattacks under Budenny?
He's in charge of Central Asia just now.


Doug M.
Carbon
2007-03-19 02:55:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Then comes the main Soviet strike, SSW into the Caucasus.
[rolls 2d6 -> hard 10]
Ho -- looks like the Germans weren't expecting /that/.
Historically, did they undergarrison that desert?
Post by s***@yahoo.com
The Soviet
attack punches south across the empty plains of Kalmykia, then swings
SW, avoiding the German concentration around Grozny. By early
February they've reached the rail junction around Pyatigorsk.
When did the offensive kick off?
Post by s***@yahoo.com
German counterattacks will of course follow shortly.
Doug M.
Err, what are german casualties compared to OTL at this point? This
seems ripe for a Manstien miracle, but bigger. Russians are a little
weaker and Germans (I don't know how much) stronger.
Dale Cozort had a TL with a lot of similar events. Germans had some
additional advantages though. It's what's making me think about
longer-term effects on Russian strength (allies can only ship so much)

http://members.aol.com/althist1/Jan01/hitler.htm
http://members.aol.com/althist1/Apr01/hitler2.htm

I also liked the idea that other guy had about rolling for the smaller
components of the operation.

Anyway, keep it up please, it's good.

Aaron
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-19 09:20:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carbon
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Ho -- looks like the Germans weren't expecting /that/.
Historically, did they undergarrison that desert?
OTL, they were only there for a few months -- September through
January -- and there wasn't much action one way or another; it was
clear to both sides that the main event was Stalingrad.
Post by Carbon
When did the offensive kick off?
Late January.
Post by Carbon
Err, what are german casualties compared to OTL at this point?
Lower.
Post by Carbon
This
seems ripe for a Manstien miracle, but bigger. Russians are a little
weaker and Germans (I don't know how much) stronger.
Russians are a little weaker; Germans, well, they haven't had a
Stalingrad. This is a net positive for them, but it does have some
downside -- there are painful lessons about logistics that haven't
been driven home yet.


Doug M.
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-19 10:16:22 UTC
Permalink
February-March 1943:

Tank battles on the largest scale the world has yet seen erupt in the
northern Caucasus as the Germans move to re-connect their severed
spearhead. This turns out to be considerably more difficult than
Hitler thinks it should be; the Soviets have a lot of tanks and
they're getting better at using them, while the Germans are dangling
at the end of a painfully long supply line. By March the Germans have
pried the Russians away from the Caucasus range and have, at least on
paper, hooked up again. But both rail and road lines are down, and
partisan activity has surged -- the Germans move back into a de facto
civil war zone.

Meanwhile the Baku offensive, having fought its way through the
oilfields to the edge of the city, has stalled out; half the troops
have to turn around to deal with the Caspian landings. This is dealt
with, but it takes several weeks, and by the time the Germans turn
around again Baku's defenses have stiffened. Western Allied planes
operating out of northern Iran are now moving from "nuisance" to
"serious PITA" for the Germans.

The Allies get an unexpected bonus when Hitler has a brainstorm: he
will break the strategic deadlock in the Caucasus by capturing the
Georgian Military Highway. This road goes through the only
significant pass in the central Caucasus mountains; its twisting,
turning course was build by Tsarist military engineers in the 19th
century, at a cost of hundreds of lives. It is, of course, completely
impassable -- the highest part goes over 7,000 feet, and is under
several meters of snow -- and also well defended by Soviet infantry
and artillery. But Hitler has come to believe that his Alpine
divisions can do anything, so he orders them into the mountains.

They actually make a go of it, working their way through high passes
under appalling conditions to outflank the Soviets. They get over the
crest of the pass, and at one point a scouting company is within 30 km
of Tbilisi. But the thing is, in the end, impossible.

Matters get even more interesting when Hitler decides to appeal to
Georgian nationalism by offering them an independent state. The
Germans are using Ossetian mountaineers as guides. The Ossetians --
who have no desire to be part of Greater Georgia -- disappear
overnight, leaving dead sentries and looted supply dumps in their
wake. This helps turn a retreat into a rout; the Germans end up with
nearly 20,000 casualties, and their Alpine troops will never be a
factor again.

The offensive in the western Caucasus, meanwhile, is hung up again,
this time around Poti. The problem is not Soviet resistance so much
as German logistics; everything is being given to the northern
counterattack or the push on Baku. Still, the Germans now have room
to maneuver, so by the end of March they've managed to get around
Poti. They now can consider a thrust either south (to Batumi, to
finish off the pesky Soviet fleet and reach the Turkish border) or
east (to take Tbilisi and link up with the Batu attack).

By the end of March, the Baku offensive is on again. It's bloody in
the extreme. German troops enter the city, but house-to-house
fighting rages.

Meanwhile, Rommel gives the Americans a bloody nose at Kasserine Pass
but is still cornered in Tunisia. The Americans and Japanese clash at
the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, while the Germans liquidate the
Jewish ghetto in Krakow.


Doug M.
Coyu
2007-03-19 13:17:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
The Allies get an unexpected bonus when Hitler has a brainstorm: he
will break the strategic deadlock in the Caucasus by capturing the
Georgian Military Highway.
[literally laughs out loud]
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-19 14:42:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by s***@yahoo.com
The Allies get an unexpected bonus when Hitler has a brainstorm: he
will break the strategic deadlock in the Caucasus by capturing the
Georgian Military Highway.
[literally laughs out loud]
But it's right there on the map!


Doug M.
Coyu
2007-03-19 17:33:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Post by Coyu
Post by s***@yahoo.com
The Allies get an unexpected bonus when Hitler has a brainstorm: he
will break the strategic deadlock in the Caucasus by capturing the
Georgian Military Highway.
[literally laughs out loud]
But it's right there on the map!
The Germans really needed to deploy their elite paratroops
to the Ossetian Military Highway instead. A night drop, to
clear the passes.

http://elibronquotations.com/english/other/img_detail.phtml?msg_id=36591



Student could use dirigbles for logistics.
Coyu
2007-03-19 18:02:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Post by Coyu
Post by s***@yahoo.com
The Allies get an unexpected bonus when Hitler has a brainstorm: he
will break the strategic deadlock in the Caucasus by capturing the
Georgian Military Highway.
[literally laughs out loud]
But it's right there on the map!
This was interesting. Machine translated I believe, and lightly
edited:

http://www.russianclimb.com/library/yasen.html

I remember reading that the Nazis had planted a flag on top of
Elbrus -- Norman Davies' _Europe_? maybe -- but never knew how
it was knocked down.
Jack Linthicum
2007-03-19 14:56:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Coyu
Post by s***@yahoo.com
The Allies get an unexpected bonus when Hitler has a brainstorm: he
will break the strategic deadlock in the Caucasus by capturing the
Georgian Military Highway.
[literally laughs out loud]
Here are some pics from a couple of tourist runs on the Georgian
Military Highway

http://vdjorbenadze.tripod.com/Kazbegi/Kazbegi.htm
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-23 13:56:25 UTC
Permalink
April-May 1943:

By mid-April the Germans are stuck. They own a lot of rubble
surrounded by burning oil fields, but they haven't been able to break
through. In particular, the port of Baku stays open, so a steady
stream of men and supplies flows in. The Germans can replace their
losses only with great difficulty, the Soviets almost at once.

Hitler switches fronts again. Now that spring has arrived, he'll
throw everything into the western prong of Army Group A -- the Black
Sea one. They'll take Tbilisi and advance across Georgia to relieve
the eastern forces and take Baku!

It doesn't work. First the Germans are held up at Poti for a couple
of weeks -- another stubborn Soviet city that has to be reduced to
rubble. Then they find that the Georgians don't welcome them with
roses. Well, no surprise there, but the resistance in Georgia is
unexpectedly strong. Tbilis sits at the top of a long, narrow valley
between two mountain ranges, and the Soviets have had months to
prepare, and Tbilisi. The German offensive grinds to a halt.

The Soviet counterstrike has been long in preparation. Small units
have spent weeks working down along the difficult western shore of the
Caucasus. Their attack -- combined with an uprising in Ossetia --
paves the way for another Soviet strike south.

By the end of May the Soviets have recaptured Makachkala and, once
again, cut off the Germans. This time it's for good.


Doug M.

Rich Rostrom
2007-03-16 16:00:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Let me describe what I think the Soviets will try, and then what I
think the odds are.
First, I think they'll defend Baku with everything they've got. Much
like Stalingrad OTL, yah? The Germans, in turn, will throw
everything /they've/ got at it. This means that their western
Caucasus offensive will be sluggish, and may stall out.
Barring something happening, Baku will fall after about a month of
furious fighting. We'll say February 15, 1943.
1) The terrain around Baku favors the defense.
From the north the attack must breach the
Caspian Gates. From the west, the attack
must cross the Elbrus Mountains into Georgia,
then through a lot of connecting vales and
mountainous stuff to get to Baku.

2) The US/UK has forces in Iran. Unless Stalin
flatly refuses, the US/UK will reinforce the
Caucasus front. Is Stalin going to take the
position that he would rather have Germans
in Baku than Americans or British? (From his
point of view this may be true - he doesn't
want US/UK personnel getting a close look
at Soviet rule, or Soviet subjects exposed
to Western influences. But he can't say that.)
Post by s***@yahoo.com
1) They'll start with a medium-sized offensive west from Stalingrad
towards Kharkov. This is really a big feint, but if it goes well
they'll try to push it. They don't really expect it to go well,
though... the main purpose is to draw away the German reserves (which
the Soviets know perfectly well are sitting on the lower Don).
2) Once the western offensive is well in train, they're throwing
everything into a big offensive south-southwest from the lower Volga,
punching towards the Caucasus mountains through Stavropol to
Cherkessia. They're headed for a spot just east of Mount Elbrus. If
successful, they'll cut off the Baku offensive, and seriously threaten
the Georgian one as well.
3) Meanwhile, they'll throw an amphibious operation across the
Caspian Sea.
Soviet amphibious ops OTL were limited to river
crossings and similar short hops. A landing 100s
of km behind enemy lines was out of their scope.
Post by s***@yahoo.com
4) Just for the hell of it, they'll try an amphibious operation on
the Black Sea coast, too, north of Sochi.
As above, double?

OTL the Soviets included amphibious landings in
their Novorossiisk ccounter-attack, but they were
(as you noted) holding the coast up to the east
side of the harbor.

But I thought the Germans are supposed to
take Batumi, which clears the Soviets out of
the Black Sea completely
Post by s***@yahoo.com
How will I resolve these things? I'll roll some dice.
Yes, I know this is slightly goofy (and very wargamer-ish,
which is much the same thing)...
Very true! (sez a grognard of 30+ years).

But randomness is useful.

Perhaps a better method would be to try to
identify the major elements of each operation,
guesstimate chance of success, and roll dice
for each. Thinking about D-Day, that looks like
a reasonable way to estimate the success of the
whole operation.
--
| He had a shorter, more scraggly, and even less |
| flattering beard than Yassir Arafat, and Escalante |
| never conceived that such a thing was possible. |
| -- William Goldman, _Heat_ |
L***@gmail.com
2007-03-15 23:45:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Still thinking about this. What should Stalin do? Thoughts and
comments welcome.
[Trying again for the third time, having knocked myself out twice
doing this]

Two things; first, in this case, Baku is the obvious redoubt in place
of Stalingrad, and given the oil, something the Soviets will fight
desperately to keep. If that works....

Second, I suspect that Stalin will demand Operation Torch be moved up
as much as possible; whether or not that actually happens is
debatable, but let's run with that; the collapse of the Soviet
position in much of the Caucasus should kick up the operation from
November 8 to October 25th, starting with Reservist. It goes
approximately as well as OTL. This will have an impact on the mid-term
election, possibly losing fewer seats, preventing the GOP Majority

What comes out of that is important, and importantly different from
OTL. In response to Torch, the Germans moved 10 divisions into Vichy
France and took 600 planes, 400 from other fronts, primarily Russia,
to move men and supplies into North Africa; that's about 130 tons a
week plus men. That's not nothing, and that's going to be more
difficult to move around if they're going to make Georgia by New
Years.

I have the strong suspicion that the Germans won't be able to do /
everything/ if they're that deep into the Caucasus, which is roughly
the size of France-ish, which means that they have to make choices.
While Vichy France is an annoyance, the invasion, which occurred
November 11 OTL, will either be stymied, late, and half-strength, or
may not come at all; those ten divisions will be in great demand in
the Caucausus. Hitler, in this position, will not likely take kindly
to being bitchslapped by Petain, and will probably end up trying some
type of invasion; OTOH, with those divisions in the Caucasus, be
extremely risky and smaller.

The response to North Africa should be interesting. Many many more of
those transport planes will be bound up in the Southern part of
Russia; that means the German counter-offensive in Tunisia that
stalled the Americans through the spring is going to be stunted
substantially; I have no doubt that the Germans will nonetheless mount
a counter-offensive, but it'll take them longer to put together the
material in order to pull it off, which means the Americans will have
more time to bring in more troops and straighten out logistics. But
American troops are still awful green, and the Sherman still ain't all
that. Kasserine is somewhere around the corner, and sooner. The
downside is that the defeats won't be as bad and the lessons learned
won't be quite as severe.

Nonetheless, North Africa will roll up mid-March 1943; even before
that, the Western Allies will have to look at either some sort of prop-
up of Vichy France--invaded by a humiliated and wounded Duce to prop
himself up, over-ambitious Dragoon--or throttle the Italian troops in
the Eastern Med to keep Turkey onside and prevent it from doing
something stupid.

So, a British amphibious invasion of Rhodes and the Dhodekanese while
America launches Husky solo in May.

What this does for the Soviets? Hmm. That's dicier, and I'm going to
have to wait on that.

Generically speaking, I'd expect them to be far behind their OTL gains
in 1944 and 1945; I doubt we'd see a larger Allied effort in the
Balkans, but we could end up shifting a few countries out from the
Iron Curtain.

Best

L
v***@gmail.com
2007-03-16 00:11:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by L***@gmail.com
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Still thinking about this. What should Stalin do? Thoughts and
comments welcome.
[Trying again for the third time, having knocked myself out twice
doing this]
Two things; first, in this case, Baku is the obvious redoubt in place
of Stalingrad, and given the oil, something the Soviets will fight
desperately to keep. If that works....
I don't think so. I recall that the Soviets had little military power
there at the time. You might thinkthe Soviets would fight to keep it,
but they only have so much strenght. Already by the Summer of 1942
German warplanes were hammering Soviet oil production, nailing bridges
and rail links pitilessly. In fact, the Soviets were crippled in
energy upto late 1943, when finally the German airbases had been
pushed out of range. At the time the Soviets misinformed the Allies
about these facts. The misinformation is still kicking
around.


j.
Post by L***@gmail.com
Second, I suspect that Stalin will demand Operation Torch be moved up
as much as possible; whether or not that actually happens is
debatable, but let's run with that; the collapse of the Soviet
position in much of the Caucasus should kick up the operation from
November 8 to October 25th, starting with Reservist. It goes
approximately as well as OTL. This will have an impact on the mid-term
election, possibly losing fewer seats, preventing the GOP Majority
What comes out of that is important, and importantly different from
OTL. In response to Torch, the Germans moved 10 divisions into Vichy
France and took 600 planes, 400 from other fronts, primarily Russia,
to move men and supplies into North Africa; that's about 130 tons a
week plus men. That's not nothing, and that's going to be more
difficult to move around if they're going to make Georgia by New
Years.
I have the strong suspicion that the Germans won't be able to do /
everything/ if they're that deep into the Caucasus, which is roughly
the size of France-ish, which means that they have to make choices.
While Vichy France is an annoyance, the invasion, which occurred
November 11 OTL, will either be stymied, late, and half-strength, or
may not come at all; those ten divisions will be in great demand in
the Caucausus. Hitler, in this position, will not likely take kindly
to being bitchslapped by Petain, and will probably end up trying some
type of invasion; OTOH, with those divisions in the Caucasus, be
extremely risky and smaller.
The response to North Africa should be interesting. Many many more of
those transport planes will be bound up in the Southern part of
Russia; that means the German counter-offensive in Tunisia that
stalled the Americans through the spring is going to be stunted
substantially; I have no doubt that the Germans will nonetheless mount
a counter-offensive, but it'll take them longer to put together the
material in order to pull it off, which means the Americans will have
more time to bring in more troops and straighten out logistics. But
American troops are still awful green, and the Sherman still ain't all
that. Kasserine is somewhere around the corner, and sooner. The
downside is that the defeats won't be as bad and the lessons learned
won't be quite as severe.
Nonetheless, North Africa will roll up mid-March 1943; even before
that, the Western Allies will have to look at either some sort of prop-
up of Vichy France--invaded by a humiliated and wounded Duce to prop
himself up, over-ambitious Dragoon--or throttle the Italian troops in
the Eastern Med to keep Turkey onside and prevent it from doing
something stupid.
So, a British amphibious invasion of Rhodes and the Dhodekanese while
America launches Husky solo in May.
What this does for the Soviets? Hmm. That's dicier, and I'm going to
have to wait on that.
Generically speaking, I'd expect them to be far behind their OTL gains
in 1944 and 1945; I doubt we'd see a larger Allied effort in the
Balkans, but we could end up shifting a few countries out from the
Iron Curtain.
Best
L
d***@minolta.com
2007-03-13 13:56:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Inspired by the recent Ploesti oil fields thread. Strangely, I don't
think this has been done before.
SNIP
I think the REALLY interesting part goes like this...

Hand-waving away, the Brits still win at El-Alamien. The WAllies
gleefully start planning TORCH, and then watch with dismay as the
Soviet southern flank collapses. With the Japanese advancing through
Burma, the British freak out about an Axis pincer move on India.

The WAllies put their Med plans on hold, and take all the troops from
TORCH, and land them in Persia and Iraq. An accomodation with the
Shah is reach (under both Soviet and British pressure), and the troops
move north. Allied heavy bombers pound hell out of German logistics
and the few working oil fields, and Soviet troops in the two Cacasus
pockets become increasing supplied by the US and UK.

Perversely, North Africa goes better for the WAllies. Monty (with a
couple of token US divisions) drives ever west. Rommel is severely
hampered by the fact that the Hitler has thrown everything into his
southern drive to knock out Soviet Russia - everything including
almost all of the limited German air logistical capacity. The Italian
Fleet (with slightly more oil from the Maikop area) sorties, and is
clobbered by a US/UK carrier force.

The Soviets do launch the ATL equivilient of URANUS, and drive the
Germans out of the Caucasus, with Allied help.

Now what?

Dave
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-13 15:20:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@minolta.com
Hand-waving away, the Brits still win at El-Alamien. The WAllies
gleefully start planning TORCH, and then watch with dismay as the
Soviet southern flank collapses.
TORCH was in train for many months in advance. By the time this TL
starts to diverge visibly from ours -- September 1942 -- it will be
pretty much impossible to cancel.
Post by d***@minolta.com
With the Japanese advancing through
Burma, the British freak out about an Axis pincer move on India.
Perhaps, but the British are not in charge of Allied strategy at this
point.
Post by d***@minolta.com
An accomodation with the
Shah is reach (under both Soviet and British pressure),
Umm. OTL Iran was occupied by the British and Soviets in August 1941
by means of a mostly-bloodless invasion -- "Operation Countenance".
Reza Shah was politely encouraged to spend more time with his family
(in South Africa -- so much quieter). He was replaced by his 22 year
old son, Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, whose reign would end with the
Iranian Revolution nearly 40 years later.

M.R. Shah was much more pro-Allied; under him, Iran signed a treaty
with the British and Soviets in January 1942, allowing the Allies to
station troops in Persia (okay, legalizing the troops they already had
there) and permitting the transport of war material from the Persian
Gulf north to the USSR. Iran declared war on Germany and joined the
Allies.in September 1943.


Doug M.
hlg
2007-03-14 03:41:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Post by d***@minolta.com
Hand-waving away, the Brits still win at El-Alamien. The WAllies
gleefully start planning TORCH, and then watch with dismay as the
Soviet southern flank collapses.
TORCH was in train for many months in advance. By the time this TL
starts to diverge visibly from ours -- September 1942 -- it will be
pretty much impossible to cancel.
Assuming other events as OTL, then in September, there was stalemate at
Alamein. Eighth Army under Monty have just won the defensive battle of
Alam Halfa, but are two months away from launching their own attack.

The choices the Combined Chiefs will face are to try and speed up
"Torch" as an attempt to bring early relief to Russia. "Torch" might be
impossible to cancel, but it will also be nearly impossible to
accelerate. Likewise, Monty (with Alexander's) backing will not be
prodded into any premature offensive.
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Post by d***@minolta.com
With the Japanese advancing through
Burma, the British freak out about an Axis pincer move on India.
The Japanese advance had largely come to a damp halt in the monsoon in
May, and could simply not be resumed until, say, November. In the event,
they did nothing further on this front until March, 1944. Perhaps the
Allies might not be fully aware of the situation, but they would know
that the Japanese had not reinforced their fleet or armies in South East
Asia.
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Perhaps, but the British are not in charge of Allied strategy at this
point.
Not in charge; quite right. Nor can the US be said to be in charge.

If in September, 1942, they are faced with a Soviet collapse on their
Caucasus front, which they fear will lead to a weakening of the entire
Russian front and the possible adherence of Turkey to the Axis, then I
suspect that the course they will adopt will be a weakened, US-only
"Torch", landing in Morocco only. Meanwhile, the British units earmarked
for "Torch" will be equipped with extra US kit and go, as suggested, to
the Middle East.

Possibly also, the British will prepare an assault on Rhodes or Crete,
to impress the Turks that they risk a lot if they go with the Axis.
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
Dan
2007-03-16 11:54:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Post by d***@minolta.com
Hand-waving away, the Brits still win at El-Alamien. The WAllies
gleefully start planning TORCH, and then watch with dismay as the
Soviet southern flank collapses.
TORCH was in train for many months in advance. By the time this TL
starts to diverge visibly from ours -- September 1942 -- it will be
pretty much impossible to cancel.
Post by d***@minolta.com
With the Japanese advancing through
Burma, the British freak out about an Axis pincer move on India.
Perhaps, but the British are not in charge of Allied strategy at this
point.
They may no longer be in charge but this is only 1942, the US is not
in charge yet either.
Torch was an Anglo American operation with the Royal Navy providing
the ships and support for 2 of the 3 landings even if they only
provided around 25% of the ground troops involved.

Realistically Torch could have been cancelled but I think you are
right it would not have been, though some of those British troops may
have ended up in Iran instead. Churchill would have been going nuts
alright seeing threats to both the Gulf oil, the driving force of the
Royal Navy and to India. To him the 2 most vital parts of the Empire.

Even in OTL this area at the time was seen as vital as the fear of a
German advance was real, in August 1942 Imperial Middle East Command
was split and a separate Persia-Iraq command created with the task of
defending Persia and Iraq from the North and at the Imperial
conference that month defence of Iran and Iraq was ranked even higher
than defence of the Suez canal. 5th Army was built into a force of
around 10 Divisions of mainly Indian forces. By early 1943 with the
Stalingrad operations causing the threat to pass these forces were
released for operation elsewhere.

In an ATL with a much more significant German attack this force would
have been increased by pulling forces both from India and Egypt.
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Post by d***@minolta.com
An accomodation with the
Shah is reach (under both Soviet and British pressure),
Umm. OTL Iran was occupied by the British and Soviets in August 1941
by means of a mostly-bloodless invasion -- "Operation Countenance".
Reza Shah was politely encouraged to spend more time with his family
(in South Africa -- so much quieter). He was replaced by his 22 year
old son, Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, whose reign would end with the
Iranian Revolution nearly 40 years later.
M.R. Shah was much more pro-Allied; under him, Iran signed a treaty
with the British and Soviets in January 1942, allowing the Allies to
station troops in Persia (okay, legalizing the troops they already had
there) and permitting the transport of war material from the Persian
Gulf north to the USSR. Iran declared war on Germany and joined the
Allies.in September 1943.
Quite right the occupation of Iran took place in August 1941 before US
had even entered the war but following 6 months when British and
Empire forces had occupied Iraq and Syria and Lebanon.

The route across Persia became one of the main routes for Lend Lease
supplies to the Soviet Union and was also used to release 100,000 plus
Polish refugees who had been captured by the Soviets in 1939-40, many
of whom subsequently joined Allied units.

In an ATL as much supplies as possible would be provided to the Soviet
pockets in the Southern Causcauses the RAF would be supporting from
bases in Persian and Mosul and Iraq but Stalin would not want UK
ground forces here if he could help it, at least partly because the
last time UK troops were operating in the area was the early 1920's in
support of White, Anti Soviet forces in the Russian Civil war and in
defence of the independance of the short-lived states of Armenia and
Georgia.
Jack Linthicum
2007-03-16 12:06:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dan
Quite right the occupation of Iran took place in August 1941 before US
had even entered the war but following 6 months when British and
Empire forces had occupied Iraq and Syria and Lebanon.
The route across Persia became one of the main routes for Lend Lease
supplies to the Soviet Union and was also used to release 100,000 plus
Polish refugees who had been captured by the Soviets in 1939-40, many
of whom subsequently joined Allied units.
Including George Lenczowski, who became a scholar of the Middle East.

http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/senate/inmemoriam/GeorgeLenczowski.htm
Jack Linthicum
2007-03-14 18:39:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@minolta.com
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Inspired by the recent Ploesti oil fields thread. Strangely, I don't
think this has been done before.
SNIP
I think the REALLY interesting part goes like this...
Hand-waving away, the Brits still win at El-Alamien. The WAllies
gleefully start planning TORCH, and then watch with dismay as the
Soviet southern flank collapses. With the Japanese advancing through
Burma, the British freak out about an Axis pincer move on India.
The WAllies put their Med plans on hold, and take all the troops from
TORCH, and land them in Persia and Iraq. An accomodation with the
Shah is reach (under both Soviet and British pressure), and the troops
move north. Allied heavy bombers pound hell out of German logistics
and the few working oil fields, and Soviet troops in the two Cacasus
pockets become increasing supplied by the US and UK.
Perversely, North Africa goes better for the WAllies. Monty (with a
couple of token US divisions) drives ever west. Rommel is severely
hampered by the fact that the Hitler has thrown everything into his
southern drive to knock out Soviet Russia - everything including
almost all of the limited German air logistical capacity. The Italian
Fleet (with slightly more oil from the Maikop area) sorties, and is
clobbered by a US/UK carrier force.
The Soviets do launch the ATL equivilient of URANUS, and drive the
Germans out of the Caucasus, with Allied help.
Now what?
Dave
Could I point out that the Soviets and Great Britain occupied Iran in
August 1941? Thus providing a back door not just for supplies but
possibly for a British-American operation in place of or in addition
to Torch. No need for landing just offload at Basra and Abidan and
head north.

The original extreme goal of Rommel was the Iranian oil, there was
supposed to be a meeting of German pincers in the Caucasus.
s***@yahoo.com
2007-03-13 14:50:56 UTC
Permalink
Early January 1943:

Even for an army that has fought from Egypt to the Arctic Circle, the
Caucasus is strange. There are mountains higher than the Alps. Below
Mount Elbrus are valleys where five meters of snow will fall between
October and March. Much of Daghestan is a vast prairie; beyond it is
Kalmykia, a steppe studded with marshes. The west coast of the
Caspian is a maze of swampy little streams and sand dunes; sturgeon
lay caviar among the reed forests, but leave the shore and you're in
miles of trackless sand, dead as the Sahara.

The German front runs along a line roughly parallel to the lower
Volga, but 100-150 kilometers further west. It "kisses" the shore of
the Caspian for about 150 kilometers, but most of this region is
wasteland -- desert, marsh, or steppe. Still, the USSR is cut in two.

Ethnic relations are complex. OTL the Germans put on a charm
offensive towards Soviet Muslims. TTL they'll continue with that, but
things will rapidly get complicated. Many Abkhaz are willing to
cooperate, but they want a guarantee of independence, which is
offensive to Georgians. The Chechens greet the Germans as liberators,
but dealing with them is -- as one German gauleiter puts it -- like
trying to get a flock of crows to sing opera. Chechen society is clan-
based, and favors to one group must be delicately balanced by favors
to another. Also, the German creation of a "Chechen Free State"
promptly leads to additional complications, as non-Chechens within its
boundaries either flee or take up arms.

A bit further north, the Buddhist Kalmyks welcome the Germans with
milk and butter. The Avars of Daghestan are also initially friendly.
However, complications ensue here too; Stalin moves quickly to deport
or massacre those Kalmyks still behind the front, and German
favoritism towards the Avars arouses resentment among Daghestan's
other ethnic groups. In particular, the Kumyks -- traditional allies
of the Russians against the Avars and Chechens -- are violently
hostile. To simplify a complicated situation, every friend the
Germans woo in the Caucasus is likely to create at least one enemy.

Meanwhile Stalin moves NKVD units into Yerevan, Baku, and Tbilisi.
It's made very clear to local elites that the slightest sign of
disloyalty is a death sentence.

Elsewhere, the war is still going much as iOTL: the British have
retaken Tobruk, Operation Torch has landed in French North Africa, and
the Japanese are losing a long battle of attrition around
Guadalcanal. A British air squadron is en route to Persia to help
with convoy duty in the Caspian. The Allies have offered to send
troops to help with the defense of Baku, but Stalin has politely
declined -- the USSR will defend itself, thank you so much.


Doug M.
William P. Baird
2007-03-13 17:12:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Both sides are having serious logistical problems. The Germans can
now run supplies into Sochi, but there is still a Soviet fleet on the
Black Sea, so everything must be convoyed.
um. Where does it have its home port at?

They'e lost southern Ukraine, da? They've now lost everything down
through the infernal Caucasus, da?

Where does the Soviet Black Sea fleet take supplies from? If it
tries to run supplies through the Bosporus, that violates Turkey's
neutrality. Would that be enough to make Turkey join one way
or another?

Will
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Doug M.
--
William P Baird Do you know why the road less traveled by
Home: ***@gmail. has so few sightseers? Normally, there
Work: ***@nersc.go is something big, mean, with very sharp
Blog: thedragonstales teeth - and quite the appetite! - waiting
+ com/v/.blogspot.com somewhere along its dark and twisty bends.
c***@gmail.com
2007-03-13 18:14:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by William P. Baird
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Both sides are having serious logistical problems. The Germans can
now run supplies into Sochi, but there is still a Soviet fleet on the
Black Sea, so everything must be convoyed.
um. Where does it have its home port at?
OTL, the Soviet Black Sea Fleet was based at Sevastopol until May of
1942; then at Novorossisk until September; then at Poti and Batumi in
Georgia.

Poti and Batumi were not very satisfactory bases, to be sure. They
were small cities -- towns, really -- that completely lacked
maintenance and repair facilities. Still, they had harbors, and the
Soviets made the best of them.

The Soviets also negotiated an agreement with Turkey whereby the Black
Sea Fleet could depart through the Bosporus if need be. Of course,
it's questionable whether the Turks would have gone along with this
(since it would only have been invoked in the event of a pretty
crushing German victory.) And if they had, it's very questionable how
well the Soviets would have fared in a hostile Mediterranean.

On the other hand, in December 1941 the Soviets sent four large ships
-- the tankers Avanesov, Tupapse, Sakhalin and the ice breaker
Mikloyan -- out through the Bosporus, bound for the Far East via
Suez. In retrospect, this looks like a practice run for an evacuation
of the Black Sea Fleet. Their success rate was 75%: three of the four
ships ran the Aegean gauntlet and got clear. (The Ananesov was sunk
by a German U-Boat off the coast of Turkey.)

So, it wasn't a completely daft notion.
Post by William P. Baird
They'e lost southern Ukraine, da? They've now lost everything down
through the infernal Caucasus, da?
Nyet! As of January '43, they still have both Poti and Batumi.
(Though Poti is looking rather iffy.)


Doug M.
William P. Baird
2007-03-13 18:51:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by c***@gmail.com
Nyet! As of January '43, they still have both Poti and Batumi.
(Though Poti is looking rather iffy.)
If the Soviet Black Sea FLeet is that obnoxious to moving oil out
via marine resources, wouldn't teh Germans consider capturing
those ports ASAP?

If the Soviets are forced out of the Black Sea that ought to have
some pretty serious effects. Even if its delayed.

Will
Post by c***@gmail.com
Doug M.
--
William P Baird Do you know why the road less traveled by
Home: ***@gmail. has so few sightseers? Normally, there
Work: ***@nersc.go is something big, mean, with very sharp
Blog: thedragonstales teeth - and quite the appetite! - waiting
+ com/v/.blogspot.com somewhere along its dark and twisty bends.
j***@faf.mil.fi
2007-03-14 12:39:09 UTC
Permalink
In September the Germans came up against dug-in Soviet troops in the Terek
River valley, hit them hard with a Waffen SS division, and bounced.
Incidentally, this action included the Finnish Waffen-SS battalion,
which, by this time, had become the official "fire brigade" of the 5th
SS-Panzer Division "Wiking". The Finnish Waffen-SS-volunteers were
able to seize the Hill 711, the closest point to Grozny, which so far
had defied every single German assault. In retrospect, the attack was,
in spite of its success, obviously completely futile.

(I'm currently reading through the original war journal and letters of
one volunteer from 1941-1943. Some of it is really strange stuff, but
it gives a good first-hand-picture of what it was like to be serving
in a Waffen-SS combat unit, and what it's like to be a soldier in a
foreign army in general.)

As for the general scenario, I was thinking of it a while back and one
potential long-term development that came to my mind was that once the
Soviet offensive gets eventually rolling, the entire Caucasus could
well turn into a gigantic pocket, similar to Kurland in our timeline.

With the Germans desperately holding out all the way until 1944-1945,
together with whatever local allies they've managed to made, there
should be plenty of room for all sorts of weird knock-on-effects on
the post-war Caucasus. And, of course, when the pocket eventually
starts to crumble, with the German forces attempting to flee to
Turkey, Iraq or wherever, well, there'd be potential for many
interesting post-war repercussions for the Mid-East.



Cheers,
Jalonen
v***@gmail.com
2007-03-14 14:58:36 UTC
Permalink
***@yahoo.com wrote:


<snip>

This is my theme in Different Eastern Front which came after Different
BoB/A with Sea Lion elements and Different Meditterrean Theater.
Post by s***@yahoo.com
Okay. Now what?
The US reaction will be to cancel the China Road and invest in an Iran
Road. The US and UK will build up a greater postition south of the
German positions and engage the Germans there.
The Allies will try to put more thru. The Allies might strike harder
at iron ore shipments and at Brest. Expect to see Allied strategic
bombing set up in Iran to bomb German held Soviet oil fields and an
invasion of Crete to set up for strategic bombing of Romanian oil
fields.

The SU will be weaker, and Germany will start to get real gas and have
a read gas advantage over the SU. The SU will take more chances; the
SU might declare war on Japan and allow a large US Air Force presense
in Soviet East Asia.

In the Pacific war we would see cancelation of the Central Pacific
campaign. There will be a southern offensive and a norhtern offensive.

And that is my Different WWII outline.


John Freck
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