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Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today.

Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby ljadw on 04 Feb 2013 20:46

KDF33 wrote:
1)It was the German POV that if the SU would be defeated in a short campaign,Britain would give up .


That's debatable. A lot of Germans thought Britain would go on fighting, and Hitler himself made contradictory statements on that point. It was more the expression of Hitler's hopes than a serious war aim.

2)Whatever:even if the war in the west was continuing,Germany would not need al those tanks :
German tank production : in 1941:3600,1942:5500,1943:13600
If the SU was out in september 1941,there would be no need to produce 13600 tanks in 1943.


This is true... but then German tank production consumed virtually no important resources. Rolling stock, ammunition, the aircraft industry - those were the big industrial sectors.

3)About the transport problems and the German capacity to transport 11 million tons in 1943: that thus not mean that in 1943,the Germans could transport 11 million ton of all sort of goods to Germany,because,millions of tons would be needed for the occupation forces,and for the repair of the railways and the industries .


In fact they'd probably be able to transport way more, since trains do round trips. All the trains bringing supplies to the East could bring resources back to Germany (or Romania, if Germany expanded the petro-chemical industry there to reduce travel time) on the return trip.

4)About the fuel:if the war in the east was ended,less fuel would be needed,thus the need for the oil of the Caucasus would be questionable :in 1941,1942,1943,Germany was waging war against the west and the SU,with as oil sources:foreign oil (mostly Romanian),home crude production (always forgotten),and the oil production from coal(Fischer/Tropf),and this without shortages(even of Afgas).
If the SU was out in 1941,there would be not even no shortages,but even an abundance of oil .


Shortages are always relative. If oil and coal hadn't become industrial resources, nobody would have a "shortage" of them, even if nobody produced any. In a similar fashion, Germany may well have produced enough avgas to supply it's immediate needs in 1942-43 (although it constrained the training program), but it wasn't producing enough to last in a long war with the United States and Britain.

5)About the exploitation of European Russia generally :if there was peace (no more war with the west),this exploitation would result in an economic catastrophe for Germany :
exemples:
coal :German production 300 million of tons,let's assume 100 million more from the SU. Who would buy this coal ? Normally:no one,because it would be more expensive than the German one .If Government (=the taxpayer) would subsidize this coal,with as result that it would be cheaper,it would be the end for the coal mines of the Ruhr.
oil :idem :if the Caucasian oil was available and cheaper than the domestic oil/Fischer oil,it would be the end for these industries,resulting in the loss of billions of taxpayers money .
grain :idem :if people were buying Russian grain,they would not buy German grain,which would result in the end of the German agriculture.
The German government was subsidizing the German agriculture,would be forced to subsidize the "Russian " agriculture,and these two would enter into competition with each other at the cost,again,of the taxpayer .


Honestly I think that makes no sense. Europe suffered from a shortage of coal, so obviously the rebuilt Eastern industry would find customers. The same is even truer for oil, whose usage would grow exponentially in the postwar years. I really don't understand your point.

That the rebuilt (when ?) Eastern industry would find customers,is a platitude :it only would find customers,if these could pay for this expensive coal .May I remind you that post 1945,there was no shortage of coal,and,there was no exponentially growing usage of oil .After the war,Europe was depending (as before the war) on coal,coal and coal .And,the European reconstruction was done,without the Soviet coal .
The oil era in Europe started only after 1960.Before 1960,everything was done by coal :trains,heating,industry.
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby ljadw on 04 Feb 2013 21:13

Some figures:
Coal production :
1938
US 355 million tons
Britain:230 million
France:46 million
Belgium :29 million
1954:
US:378 million
Britain :227 million
France:54 million
Belgium:29 million

Britain :196O:200 million,1970:150 million,1980 :100 million


Share in primary sources in inland consumption of energy (for the 16 countries of the OEEC)
1937:coal 87 %,crude oil 7%,others 6%
1948:coal 83.2, crude oil :10.2 others 6.6
1955:coal :74.3 crude oil :17.2 others :8.5

French energy requirements:
1960:50 % by coal,33 % by oil
1975:20 % by coal,75% by oil
Britain :
1960:75 % by coal,25 % by oil
1975:33% by coal,50 % by oil
Last edited by ljadw on 04 Feb 2013 21:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby Marcelo Jenisch on 04 Feb 2013 21:22

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/AAF ... ffe-3.html

About the end phase of Barbarossa:

For the second year in a row, the Luftwaffe had lost nearly its entire complement of aircraft. The German air force could not look forward, as it had in 1940 after the Battle of Britain, to a period of recuperation. The failure in front of Moscow meant that the war in the east would continue with its ever-vaster commitments and its interminable distances. In the west, after a year and half of frustration, the British were beginning to acquire the capability needed to savage German cities by night, while the first units of the American Army Air Forces would soon appear over the daytime skies of Western Europe. In the Mediterranean, the Germans had virtually lost control of the skies over the Africa Corps. Thus, everywhere Germany faced increasing commitments with forces that barely reached prewar levels.

The reasons for this dangerous situation are not hard to find. A failure to draw objective conclusions from the attrition rates of 1940, overweening pride and arrogance after the early victories, and a refusal to recognize the fact that modern war ever since the time of the American Civil War has been a struggle of industrial production as well as a conflict on the battlefield all converged to weaken the Luftwaffe fatally. Combined with these failings went a regime, the criminal inclinations of which have rarely been equalled in history. Whatever political opportunities existed in the campaign against Russia which, combined with military success, might have threatened Stalin's government never came to fruition. Germany now faced a worldwide coalition with an army near defeat in Russia and an air force that was already in serious trouble. The fact that the Reich recovered from this situation and managed to hold on for the next three and one-half years is a remarkable comment on the staying power of the German people and their military institutions, if not their good sense. Nevertheless, the defeat in front of Moscow represented the decisive military turning point of World War II. From this point on, Germany had no chance to win the war; and with her inadequate production, she faced enemies who would soon enjoy overwhelming numerical superiority in the air and on the ground.


We are not certain if the Soviet defeat would meant the Allies would not have inflicted total defeat in Germany. We are certain, however, that if we follow the historical line, the Luftwaffe was with a serious lack of strenght by late 1941. The Russian Air Force, despite how poor it was, I posted in a previous post that it managed to cause even more attrition in the LW by 1942, exhaustion actually. So, the logic conclusion is that if the LW tries to start other campaign against Britain in 1942, it's losses would remain higher, since the British had much more quality than the Soviets. Not to mention the USAAF, of course.
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby KDF33 on 05 Feb 2013 06:09

Hello Jenisch,

Although I agree that the Luftwaffe stood virtually no chance to defeat the RAF over Britain in 1942, I think that the "exhaustion" of the Luftwaffe over the Russian front has to be relativised. Regarding the immediate period of Barbarossa, on 28 June 1941 the Jagdwaffe counted 1,087 single-engine fighters and 1,188 pilots in it's operational units, whereas on 27 December it now counted 1,118 single-engine fighters and 1,229 pilots. There also was, in fact, an operational slowdown during the winter months, so that by March 28 1942, the equivalent statistics were 1,243 single-engine fighters and 1,558 pilots, a substantial increase in men (31%) if not in machines (14%) compared to the June baseline. Although I don't have equivalent numbers for the bomber arm, I know that by July 1942 strength was higher than in June 1941, and by May 1943 higher still.

Note that large losses during intense periods of combat operations were not a specifically German phenomenon. On 31.5.1944, the ETO USAAF held 2,937 heavy bombers, 1,173 medium and light bombers and 3,382 fighters in it's "first-line" stocks. From June to December, it suffered total operational losses of 2,164 heavy bombers (74%), 549 medium and light bombers (47%) and 3,457 fighters (102%), for an overall total operational loss rate of 82% over a 7-month period. But then the American "first-line" figures include planes in repair depots, in transit or not yet issued to units, so a true "apples-to-apples" comparison with the German Barbarossa loss rate would give an even higher figure.

So the problem was not that the Russian front was exceptionally taxing for the Luftwaffe, but that it sucked up resources that could have been used in other theaters, and vice versa. Murray's discussion of the "mistakes" of the Luftwaffe, i.e. "overweening pride" and a failure to recognize that it was fighting attrition warfare, sounds hollow to me: how, exactly, would such a realization (and I doubt that it was ever absent) help Germany? It's not like the Germans could simply flip a switch "on" that would suddenly double their air-related production, i.e. airframes, engines and especially fuel and pilots.

Re: ljadw,

That the rebuilt (when ?) Eastern industry would find customers,is a platitude :it only would find customers,if these could pay for this expensive coal .May I remind you that post 1945,there was no shortage of coal,and,there was no exponentially growing usage of oil .After the war,Europe was depending (as before the war) on coal,coal and coal .And,the European reconstruction was done,without the Soviet coal .
The oil era in Europe started only after 1960.Before 1960,everything was done by coal :trains,heating,industry.


Meh, then the extra coal would be used postwar to develop the newly-acquired Lebensraum. I don't understand the fixation on postwar use - it's not like Germany didn't have more pressing problems, and certainly curtailing the energy supply during a war to the death because of a potential lack of commercial outlets postwar would not have been very high on the Reich's list of priorities.

I'm also unsure whether European (as opposed to Western European) reconstruction was done without Soviet coal.

What about my other points?
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby ljadw on 05 Feb 2013 10:53

1)First assumption :Germany could exploit European Russia:this is out of the question .
In the first ATL(SU out,while the war with the west was continuing) :it would be impossible for Germany to do the following
a)wage war with the west
b) occupy western/central europe
c)occupy European Russia (till the Urals)
d) exploit European Russia
e)transport the results of this exploitation out of European Russia
Germany had neither the manpowern,neither the means to do this.The exploitation and colonization of European Russia would claim millions of Germans,and these were not available .
The Transport of 1 million ton of coal per month would claim 75 trains a day
In the second ATL(in 1942,the war was over) it also would be impossible :the occupation of the conquered countries(western and eastern europe and european Russia) would claim some 2 million men,which would result in a standing army in peace time of 4 million men (on a population of 80 million) :no country can afford this.

2)Second Assumption :the resources (if exploited) of european russia would be indespensable/very important for Germany ,if the war with the west was continuing :very questionable,and ,IMHO,wrong :if Germany could defeat the SU ,using her own limited resources,why could it not force Britain to give up,also using her own limited forces?

3)Third assumption :the resources of European Russia would make "German" Europe totally sufficient :this also is irrelevant,because,after producing,the big problem would be to sell.
exemple :a German (or an other) household had monthly 1000 RM to spend on food,and was doing this at the local butcher,etc .It would be totally irrelevant if more food would be available from Russia,if the amount of money for food remained on the same level.

The whole idea of a German lebensraum in the east was only wishfulling,only illusion

Some figures (table one of The legacy of Fortress Europe
German imports from the SU (millions of RM)

1940:545.2
1941:325.5
1942:482.7

From Belgium:
1940:227.9
1941:562
1942:705
From Italy
1940:507.9
1941:937.8
1942:1.022
What are these figures indicating ? Simply :that Belgium,Italy,also France (in 1942,the imports from France were 3 times higher than the imports from Russia)were more important than the SU.
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby Mika68* on 05 Feb 2013 11:00

What if Molotov-Ribbentrop pact would never broken? Hitler would be sensitive and not destroy Germany caused attack to USSR. Stalin had not plan to attack to Germany July 1941.

And USSR had joined war with Germany against Great Britain, British Commonwealth and USA?

Germany and USSR had huge synergy advantages. Natural resources of USSR, geopolitical position and nearly whole Europe under their (Germany and USSR) power.
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby ljadw on 05 Feb 2013 12:26

Totally irrelevant.
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby KDF33 on 05 Feb 2013 12:28

1)First assumption :Germany could exploit European Russia:this is out of the question .
In the first ATL(SU out,while the war with the west was continuing) :it would be impossible for Germany to do the following
a)wage war with the west
b) occupy western/central europe
c)occupy European Russia (till the Urals)
d) exploit European Russia
e)transport the results of this exploitation out of European Russia
Germany had neither the manpowern,neither the means to do this.The exploitation and colonization of European Russia would claim millions of Germans,and these were not available .
The Transport of 1 million ton of coal per month would claim 75 trains a day
In the second ATL(in 1942,the war was over) it also would be impossible :the occupation of the conquered countries(western and eastern europe and european Russia) would claim some 2 million men,which would result in a standing army in peace time of 4 million men (on a population of 80 million) :no country can afford this.


Nobody is talking about sending millions of German settlers to colonize Russia while fighting a war in the West. Simply, the exploitation of some urgently-needed resources (like coal and oil) could have been restored to a satisfying level so as to strenghten Germany's position against the Atlantic powers.

Regarding total German rolling stock capacity, I'd be interested in seeing some stats. I never found anything on AHF. Finding such information would allow us to put the figure of 75 daily trains in perspective.

2)Second Assumption :the resources (if exploited) of european russia would be indespensable/very important for Germany ,if the war with the west was continuing :very questionable,and ,IMHO,wrong :if Germany could defeat the SU ,using her own limited resources,why could it not force Britain to give up,also using her own limited forces?


Because Britain was backed by the United States, so it wasn't a case of larger German resources against smaller British resources, but of larger Atlantic powers resources against smaller German resources.

3)Third assumption :the resources of European Russia would make "German" Europe totally sufficient :this also is irrelevant,because,after producing,the big problem would be to sell.
exemple :a German (or an other) household had monthly 1000 RM to spend on food,and was doing this at the local butcher,etc .It would be totally irrelevant if more food would be available from Russia,if the amount of money for food remained on the same level.


We're talking of a wartime economy here, with price controls and rationing, not of a market-based one.

Some figures (table one of The legacy of Fortress Europe
German imports from the SU (millions of RM)

1940:545.2
1941:325.5
1942:482.7

From Belgium:
1940:227.9
1941:562
1942:705
From Italy
1940:507.9
1941:937.8
1942:1.022
What are these figures indicating ? Simply :that Belgium,Italy,also France (in 1942,the imports from France were 3 times higher than the imports from Russia)were more important than the SU.


The USSR was invaded in June 1941 and the main resource areas were captured during the autumn... Only your 1942 figures are remotely relevant to this discussion, but then they don't prove anything except that economic exploitation of the USSR in 1942 was small, which probably had a lot to do with the fact that a full-scale war was going on and that the territories had just been conquered.
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby ljadw on 05 Feb 2013 13:12

In the ATL,the SU was eliminated in the summer,and the Germans were at the Urals before the winter of 1941/1942.Thus,before PH.And,without PH,would there be any German DOW to the US? And,without a German DOW,would the US be involved in the war ? And,if the US would not be involved officially in the war,would Britain continue the war ?
It's always the same with these If Threads:they are changing ONE thing,and assume that nothing else would change :the elimination of the SU would have enormous political results,and,it would be questionable that the war with the west would continue .

About the exploitation of the resources of the SU,I stick to my point :this was impossible without a massive transfer of German manpower,financial and economic resources,which Germany could not afford :German technicians working in the east,would be absent in the Ruhr .They could not be in Essen,and at the same time in Kiev .
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby ljadw on 05 Feb 2013 13:26

An other point :the main resource areas were NOT captured in the autumn of 1941,they never were captured .

About the German Railways:some numbers,but,don't ask me a source (forgot to write it down :oops: )
Steam loc's:
1939:25889
1940:25586
1941:30011
1942:32243
1943:36329
1944:37810
freight cars(same years)
660546
779641
824581
985906
973045
987864
passenger cars (same years)
78462
70443
70257
72448
71018
70400
This sounds big,but,wait:the transport of 300 million ton of coal would claim how much trains ? 15000 a week :wink:
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby KDF33 on 05 Feb 2013 13:44

In the ATL,the SU was eliminated in the summer,and the Germans were at the Urals before the winter of 1941/1942.Thus,before PH.And,without PH,would there be any German DOW to the US? And,without a German DOW,would the US be involved in the war ? And,if the US would not be involved officially in the war,would Britain continue the war ?
It's always the same with these If Threads:they are changing ONE thing,and assume that nothing else would change :the elimination of the SU would have enormous political results,and,it would be questionable that the war with the west would continue .


We can't know, obviously, but the general thrust of Roosevelt's policy was to expand America's role in the fight against the Axis powers until war became practically inevitable. Ultimately, to subdue Britain Hitler needed to cut it off from it's supplies, which meant some form of confrontation with the United States.

About the exploitation of the resources of the SU,I stick to my point :this was impossible without a massive transfer of German manpower,financial and economic resources,which Germany could not afford :German technicians working in the east,would be absent in the Ruhr .They could not be in Essen,and at the same time in Kiev .


I don't have specific data for the German coal mining industry, but slave / PoW labor reached 35% of the total basic materials industry on 31.5.1944, at a time when the mining industry itself employed 930,000 of the 2,690,000 workers (also 35%) employed in this sector. So obviously foreigners could also be employed in the mines instead of Germans, or at least a mix of German and foreign workers. Note, in passing, that the whole German mining industry employed at it's peak less than a million men, so a moderate demobilization after the collapse of effective Soviet resistance, if coupled with the use of slave labor, would free up more than enough manpower to exploit the Ukrainian coal industry which, before the war, represented at best just 1/3 of Germany's.

Edit:

An other point :the main resource areas were NOT captured in the autumn of 1941,they never were captured .

About the German Railways:some numbers,but,don't ask me a source (forgot to write it down :oops: )
Steam loc's:
1939:25889
1940:25586
1941:30011
1942:32243
1943:36329
1944:37810
freight cars(same years)
660546
779641
824581
985906
973045
987864
passenger cars (same years)
78462
70443
70257
72448
71018
70400
This sounds big,but,wait:the transport of 300 million ton of coal would claim how much trains ? 15000 a week :wink:


This is great information ljadw, thanks!

To add some more: This source indicates that in January 1942 the Eastern Armies had a total allocation of 84,000 railway wagons, a number which more than doubled during the year to reach 203,000 wagons in December. Thus, at the beginning of the year the Eastern Front used up about 8% of the total German rolling stock, a figure which jumped to 19% at the end of the year. The 142,000 wagons number for June 1942 tends to indicate that this was a linear progression. I wonder how much of this expansion aimed to facilitate the economic exploitation of the USSR?

A simple thought exercise: Assuming that Germany's residual presence in the East would monopolize slightly more than January 1942's level, i.e. 100,000 wagons, this would free up another 100,000 wagons for economic exploitation. This obviously doesn't take into account the fact that supply trains could bring back resources on their return trips - or am I missing something here?

Also, a question: How many tons of supplies could a standard German railway car carry? How many railway cars did the standard supply train use?
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby bruchmuller on 05 Feb 2013 14:32

KDF33 wrote:
Nobody is talking about sending millions of German settlers to colonize Russia while fighting a war in the West. Simply, the exploitation of some urgently-needed resources (like coal and oil) could have been restored to a satisfying level so as to strenghten Germany's position against the Atlantic powers.


Certainly, you need not use large numbers of your own manpower. Local manpower can be used in a large measure.
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby ljadw on 05 Feb 2013 17:37

From what I have read on this forum (but,I have to seach where),the maximum a German loc could carry was 400 ton of freight (10 wagons of 40 ton,the weight of an empty wagon also being 40 ton)

On" the most valuable asset of the Reich" P 9O (partly available on the net),I found the following:

-Germany operated daily 25000-30000 trains (which is corrobating my figures of the loc's)
-the car twinaround day (the time needed to goand return,loading/unloading included/or not ?) was the following:
september 1939:3.9 days
october 1940:4.4
late 1941: 6

We also know that most railway capacity was tied elsewhere,ans was not available for the east .

1)Let's assume that the German railway capacity in the east was 12 million of ton (= a minimum of 30000 trains,a lot of trains were carrying less than 400 ton)

2)What would be the available capacity if the war in the east was over in october 1941?
a)the occupation army and the civilians would claim 4 million ton (for some 1.4 million of men)
b)remaining 8 million of ton,but,to produce and transport to Germany one ton ,an other ton would be needed(the factories in the Urals would need oil,coal,raw materials,to be trasported by the railways,claiming ...coal)
c)remaining 4 million of tons :let's take 1 million of coal,one million of oil,one million of food,one million of ore (of anything)
d) to produce these 8 million (of which only 50 % would go to Germany),Germany would be obliged to export an enormous amount of machines,machine-tools,even coal to Russia,and the whole result would be a net loss for Germany .

Everything was depending on the railway capacity in the east,and,as this could not be increased,the whole thing was a non sequitur (the Russian railways could not be used,the whole system had to be transformed to German norms,in the OTL,the Germans occupied only a small part of European Russia,in the ATL,they would go to the Urals,etc.....,the local population had to be feed,which also would claim railway capacity )
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby ljadw on 05 Feb 2013 17:42

bruchmuller wrote:
KDF33 wrote:
Nobody is talking about sending millions of German settlers to colonize Russia while fighting a war in the West. Simply, the exploitation of some urgently-needed resources (like coal and oil) could have been restored to a satisfying level so as to strenghten Germany's position against the Atlantic powers.


Certainly, you need not use large numbers of your own manpower. Local manpower can be used in a large measure.

And who would control and direct this local manpower :we are talking about European Russia,4 million of suare km,150 million of people.
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Re: Could The USA/British Empire have won on their own?

Postby phylo_roadking on 05 Feb 2013 17:46

From what I have read on this forum (but,I have to seach where),the maximum a German loc could carry was 400 ton of freight (10 wagons of 40 ton,the weight of an empty wagon also being 40 ton)


Don't forget "doubleheaders".... :wink:
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