Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

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Zack M
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Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by Zack M » 14 Jun 2014 17:15

ust finished reading Turtledove's alt-history novel 'The Man with the Iron Heart'..great book!

Supposing Heydrich (the most evil and intelligent Nazi) survived the war..planned and built a strong partisan army to fight a guerrila war against the allied occupiers...how do you think they would have fared?

Seeing Heydrich as the main figure in organising the reichstag fire,night of the long knives,night of the broken glass,the polish incident...I think Heydrich would have given the Allies hell!

Seriously compared to Heydrich..the taliban and al quaida are pussycats!

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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by BDV » 14 Jun 2014 21:53

Heydrich is too prominent, WAllies would get him as they got Kaltenbrunner.

And NKVD? Excuse me when I :lol:
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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 14 Jun 2014 22:09

More people die. Mostly Germans I'd think. Large scale arrests and detention of suspects leads to retention of large numbers of prisoners past 1945. Larger and more active occupation force remains after 1945, which treats the German population worse than OTL.

German intelligence officers like Gehlen might not join the Allied intellegence effort vs the Soviets, which may have a upside for the US.

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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by maltesefalcon » 15 Jun 2014 03:04

I'm not sure how helpful he would be.
He had naval and Luftwaffe experience but no real knowledge of land warfare tactics.

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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by J. Duncan » 15 Jun 2014 03:30

I have to agree with what has been said. Heydrich was good as an intelligence chief - more cunning and ruthless politically rather than militarily - I just can't see him leading the "Alpine Redoubt'. The Greeks, Russians, and Yugoslavs coughed up some of the toughest partisans ever to fight a war...when I think of "partisans", I think of them. The irony is that Heydrich was far from infallible -driving around in an open Mercedes, taken out by Czech commandos using partisan style tactics! Compared to the partisans, Heydrich was the pussycat (or rather, the "prey").

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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by maltesefalcon » 15 Jun 2014 12:46

In any event partisan groups are only loosely controlled. The lack of a cohesive central core is what makes them hard to find and eradicate.

Most bands would have less than 100 combatants so they can move freely and live off the land. Groups this size could be controlled by any competent company level officer with relevant combat experience. There would be no shortage of these in a group of unsurrended troops

One more thing. Partisans or guerrilla tactics only work if the active players can a) blend in with the population at large b) the opposing side is more or less friendly with said population.

In the summer of 1945 no one really cared what happened to the greater German population. That would come later when the Russian threat emerged.

So widespread partisan ops in Bavaria would be met with overwhelming force and firepower and possible rounding up of much of the local inhabitants. No one would really care if a few innocents got killed in the process.

The alternative was simply to blockade the redoubt. Eventually the partisans would have no one to attack but their own people and they would run out of supplies eventually.

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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by stg 44 » 15 Jun 2014 13:53

J. Duncan wrote:I have to agree with what has been said. Heydrich was good as an intelligence chief - more cunning and ruthless politically rather than militarily - I just can't see him leading the "Alpine Redoubt'. The Greeks, Russians, and Yugoslavs coughed up some of the toughest partisans ever to fight a war...when I think of "partisans", I think of them. The irony is that Heydrich was far from infallible -driving around in an open Mercedes, taken out by Czech commandos using partisan style tactics! Compared to the partisans, Heydrich was the pussycat (or rather, the "prey").
While I agree that he wouldn't have been a great military leader, he was no pussycat. He was a fighter pilot, shot down exfiltrated back to German lines on his own; all this while being a high ranking Nazi official that the Russians would have loved to get their hands on. He also drove around in an open topped vehicle to show how little fear he had of the Czechs because he had pacified them so much; even after he was wounded in the ambush, he chased after them with his pistol by himself and collapsed from blood loss during the chase, which is why they got away.
He was an awful man, but he was no wuss.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinhard_Heydrich
Heydrich was, for all intents and purposes, military dictator of Bohemia and Moravia. His changes to the government's structure left President Emil Hacha and his cabinet virtually powerless. He often drove alone in a car with an open roof—a show of his confidence in the occupation forces and in his government's effectiveness.

As Heydrich's car slowed, Gabčík took aim with a Sten sub-machine gun, but it jammed and failed to fire. Instead of ordering his driver to speed away, Heydrich called his car to halt and attempted to confront the attackers. Kubiš then threw a bomb (a converted anti-tank mine) at the rear of the car as it stopped. The explosion wounded Heydrich and Kubiš.[102]
When the smoke cleared, Heydrich emerged from the wreckage with his gun in his hand; he chased Kubiš and tried to return fire. Kubiš jumped on his bicycle and pedalled away. Heydrich ran after him for half a block but became weak from shock and collapsed. He sent his driver, Klein, to chase Gabčík on foot. In the ensuing firefight, Gabčík shot Klein in the leg and escaped to a local safe house. Heydrich, still with pistol in hand, gripped his left flank, which was bleeding profusely.[103]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_r ... hter_pilot
On 22 July 1941, while on a combat mission, his plane was badly damaged over Yampil by Soviet anti-aircraft fire. Heydrich made an emergency landing in no-man's land, evaded a Soviet patrol and made his way back to German lines.[10] After this, he was forbidden to fly in combat, as it was realized that his capture as a POW would be a major security breach for Germany. He never flew another operational sortie.

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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by wm » 15 Jun 2014 18:22

I would say the open topped car proves nothing. As I understand it German officers liked and frequently used convertibles because it was a status symbol - SUVs and iPhones of that war. They were using them even in the 1944 Warsaw when it wasn't safe on the streets anymore - It was like you can't fight fashion.

And they threw an antitank grenade with an impact fuse at him, even in a light tank he wouldn't be safe from that.
He was simply a reasonable man disliking security theater and all the inconvenience it brings without delivering useful results. He could have brought soldiers with him, the Czechs would throw the grenade anyway, or bring more of their own with machine guns like the Poles during assassination of SS-Brigadeführer Kutchera, or set up a one-ton bomb like the Soviets in Kiev.

SS-Gruppenführer Jürgen Stroop was horse-riding in Warsaw's parks, so it makes him even more brave, but he was randomizing his trips - because of that simple trick the Underground couldn't get him despite trying hard.
Incidentally it is an interesting comparison: Stroop and his horse, and the latest American president's visit in Warsaw - where he protected by thousands of agents, and travelled in a tank like car...

As to those toughest partisans - in an excellent partisant terrain (mountains, or swamps of Polesie), supported by the mighty USAAF or the Soviet Air Force anyone could be the brave one.
Let's move those badasses to the Central Europe with its dense road and railway networks (below) and closely gourded cultivated forests, and see how long they would last against the usually excellent and numerous German police and security forces.

And that was one of the reasons there were no resistance in the post-war Germany, the even more dense communication networks and millions of Allied soldiers made any armed resistance an unappealing and suicidal proposition.

below the territory so loved by the brave-ones (the Polesie Region) can be clearly seen:
MAPA_SAMOCHODOWA_NA_ROK_1936-1937.jpg
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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by phylo_roadking » 15 Jun 2014 19:34

I've said this before on threads like this, but it's worth remembering again...

There is no example in modern history of a modern-era domestic insurgency that hasn't had SOME form of either outside aid - networking, arms finances etc. - or a physcial, on-the-ground iad....the ability to cross a border behind you for rest and recuperation or healthcare etc. A couple - the Shining Path comes to mind - have NEARLY managed it after external funding ended with the end of the Cold War ;) simply by controlling so much of a hinterland that they were in effect running a small internal state themselves.

ALL the WWII insurgenies/partisan campaigns had outside help - even the large Soviet partisan armies had regular contact by air etc. with their own "regular" front lines. partisans thrown on their OWN resources do not prosper - they spend simply far too long terrorising their OWN communities to ensure their security, and raiding like brigands for food and arms to actually carry out any form of "positive" armed reistance; you can argue that raiding Allied convoys and control posts for food and arms WOULD be "resisting" - but in reality, on the ground....it's not "resisting, it's "existing".

Who is going to support the Nazis??? WHERE can they withdraw to? What border can they carry casualties across to hospital and care....the real French Maquis, the many thousands of French Army holdouts that "took to the bush" in the Jura or similar in 1940 suffered terribly from hunger and sickness with no access to medical care or nursing, no winter clothing....no access to ANY clothing really, they lived in rotting uniforms...and actually did very little else EXCEPT remain free! :P It was the many strands of SOE-Networked French Resistance that achieved so much leading up to and after OVERLORD, the resisters embedded IN the community rather than stuck up a mountain somewhere in the snow, supplied with arms, communications with the French Government-in-exile, financing etc. by the British. Look at Crete....where in the end you could say that in the one really successful partisan campaign of the war, leading to the surrender of the German garrison to the British in 1944 - ALL networking and liaison was courtesy of the SOE, as was funding, arming...feeding, providing shoe leather!...and if necessary pulling the sick or injued off Crete comletely to the shelter and recuperation of the Delta.

Without SOME outside support, an isolated internal partisan campaign is doomed to spiral down into susbsistance raiding. No matter who is heading it or how brutal his behaviour.
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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by maltesefalcon » 15 Jun 2014 23:37

Good points.
Examples of modern day failed "orphaned" insurrections include the Biafran War, the Warsaw rebellion and the Easter Uprising.

Perhaps one could count the 1956 Magyar Uprising and the Prague Spring. Jury still out on Ukraine.

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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by phylo_roadking » 16 Jun 2014 00:17

Examples of modern day failed "orphaned" insurrections include the Biafran War, the Warsaw rebellion and the Easter Uprising.
....and the East Timor insurrection, which for a decade or so was a dozen or so old men slowly starving to death up a mountain, and of course all the post-WWII "partisan armies" EAST of the Iron Curtain, that dwindled down and down until they were nothing more than bandits. And IIRC weren't there a couple of Japanese "hold outs" that consisted of a few men and quite vicious campaigns before dwindling too?

Sometimes, depending on the search criteria, I come across pics of the post-1940 French Army holdouts in the Jura - trying to hold parades in ragged uniroms, half-starved, sunken-faced, a handful of weapons...loking like nothing so much as concentration camp inmates themselves - by choice this time 8O
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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by J. Duncan » 16 Jun 2014 09:15

Interesting dialogue and much insight into the intricacies of partisan warfare (I never thought of it that way, as partisans and resistance fighters are often given a more romanticized depiction in the history books) ....based upon what is written above, the answer to the thread's question then is that Heydrich would have failed (right?) - despite his reputation for successful pacification of enemies when he was on top. I can't picture Heydrich dressed in rags, starving, and living the life of a bandit.

Several historians have proposed that Heydrich (because he was such a ruthless opportunist) may have turned against Hitler, therefore supplanting him....in the books, this is the "Heydrich" who scared everyone in the Nazi leadership, the "Heydrich" depicted as a man who kept files on everyone, including Hitler. He was dangerous enough for the British to have conducted Anthropoid because of his success in Czechoslovakia. This scenario sounds more plausible than a Heydrich leading an alpine partisan rebellion. Heydrich was not a utopian fantasist like Himmler - he was a realist who could probably detect which way the political wind was blowing. A more far-sighted and intelligent man than his superior. In my mind though, it's hard to visualize him further than May 27th, 1942 ( or if you prefer, June 4, when he died). It seems to be a fitting end for such a personality.
Can anyone visualize a Heydrich down in the bunker with Hitler? Or fighting a desperate attempt to save Berlin? A suicide by cyanide capsule? Fleeing to South America? On trial in Jerusalem? Working for the Soviets? Or just getting old?

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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by wm » 16 Jun 2014 10:34

J. Duncan wrote:He was dangerous enough for the British to have conducted Anthropoid because of his success in Czechoslovakia.
To be quite correct it was a Czechs' idea - stirring to action the almost non-existent resistance in Czechoslovakia (one might think a few good men with a grenade could have been found there without bothering with sending in the special forces all over from Britain), and proving to the Allies they were useful and worthwhile.
It was devised just a few days after Heydrich's nomination, at that time he was a nobody to the British.

At that time the Czech Government in Prague was still considered more or less legal and it didn't resign during Heydrich's reign of terror - the Czech Republic wasn't occupied but "protected" after all. Even the Munich Agreement was still in force.
One might even say the assassination, and the thousands massacred in reprisals was the price paid by the Czech patriots for revoking the Munich Agreement.
The pledge signed by the assassins before the mission:
The substance of my mission basically is that I will be sent back to my homeland, with another member of the Czechoslovak Army, in order to commit an act of sabotage or terrorism at a place and in a situation depending on our findings at the given site and under the given circumstances, and I will do so effectively so as to generate the sought-after response not only in the home country but also abroad.
I will do it to the extent of my best knowledge and conscience so that I can successfully fulfill this mission for which I have volunteered.
Heydrich wasn't even mentioned there.

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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by Von Schadewald » 16 Jun 2014 18:33

I asked what would happen if Heydrich's assassination had failed here:
"Anthropoid fails"
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... d#p1673151

and if underground German resistance had continued for years
"Werewolves in the 60s?" here
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 4&t=123031

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Re: Heydrich-led partisan campaign against Allied occupiers?

Post by phylo_roadking » 16 Jun 2014 20:21

There's another aspect to this...
Interesting dialogue and much insight into the intricacies of partisan warfare (I never thought of it that way, as partisans and resistance fighters are often given a more romanticized depiction in the history books) ....based upon what is written above, the answer to the thread's question then is that Heydrich would have failed (right?) - despite his reputation for successful pacification of enemies when he was on top. I can't picture Heydrich dressed in rags, starving, and living the life of a bandit.
...what percentage of the available support and efforts of Nazi supporters in post-war Germany COULD have managed to give to partisians -

- would have been spent just HIDING war criminals etc. on the run??? 8O Look at the efforts, funding, and international reach something like ODESSA and the rat lines took to set up...probably what support people could afford to give without raising their heads visibly above the parapet was expended on that effort.
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