Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

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Re: RE: Was A Successful Manstein Plan Possible If World War Two Breaks Out In 1938?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 11 Jan 2019 01:42

Robert Rojas wrote:
10 Jan 2019 19:40
... where does the Kingdom of the Netherlands fit into the potential scheme of things in the geopolitical realities of year 1938? If I recall, Adolf Hitler would call the "NEUTRALITY" of the Dutch into open question after the so-called VENLO INCIDENT of November 09, 1939. It is my "understanding" that Adolf Hitler would subsequently include the Netherlands for conquest and subjugation into his invasion plans after the VENLO INCIDENT. Since the VENLO INCIDENT lies in the chronological future of this hypothetical scenario, I...
The plans I've seen descriptions of all included the Netherlands. These ran back previous to October 1939. In January 1940 Mays mentions a proposal to drop the Netherlands from the new plans to be tested. The German air force leaders responded with their argument that the Dutch airfields would be essential for attacking the UK. The proposal was set aside. What Hitlers political views were or decision would be I can't say.

The belief of the Luftwaffe leaders off the importance of the Netherlands airfields suggests they were not confident the Allies would be driven from western Belgium or from western France.

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Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by History Learner » 25 Jan 2019 00:44

As previously stated, the exact Manstein Plan is unlikely. However, the Anglo-French were in such bad shape that even IOTL planning of the Germans would be sufficient to beat them in 1938-1939.

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Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by Futurist » 26 Jan 2019 03:33

History Learner wrote:
25 Jan 2019 00:44
As previously stated, the exact Manstein Plan is unlikely. However, the Anglo-French were in such bad shape that even IOTL planning of the Germans would be sufficient to beat them in 1938-1939.
This calculation does take into account the losses that the Germans would have sustained in Czechoslovakia, correct?

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RE: Was A Successful Manstein Plan Possible If World War Two Breaks Out In 1938?

Post by Robert Rojas » 26 Jan 2019 05:33

Greetings to both brother History Learner and the community as a whole. Howdy H.L.! Well sir, in respect to your posting of Thursday - January 24, 2019 - 3:44pm, given your dire assertions about this topics protagonists, what, in your personal opinion anyway, would be the comparative strengths and weaknesses of all sides prior to the outbreak of general hostilities after the collapse of the Munich Conference on OR about September 28, 1938? Oh, and by the way, where would Benito Mussolini and his military establishment fit into the broader scheme of things? Remember, there is still quite an active conflict on the Iberian Peninsula where National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy both have a vested geopolitical interest. Incidentally, given that it is already Autumn, what is the "likelihood" that ANY of these disparate protagonists will mount a WINTER CAMPAIGN or will all parties hold back and wait for Spring? Finally, at least during this time frame anyway, will National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy retain unfettered access to both Romanian and Hungarian petroleum? There is much to ponder. Well, that's my latest two cents, centimes, pence or pfennigs worth on this continuing sojourn DOWN THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD. In any case, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.


Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :| :welcome:
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

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Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by History Learner » 26 Jan 2019 20:14

Futurist wrote:
26 Jan 2019 03:33
This calculation does take into account the losses that the Germans would have sustained in Czechoslovakia, correct?
ObsessedNuker on AH.com is the originator of this argument, so full credit to him:

The German plan for Czechoslovakia envisaged two pincers closing from the north and south, with massive paratrooper drops being dropped to cut internal Czech lines of communication. The Czechs themselves didn't envision the defenses lasting more then a few months. The fortified frontier was found by German examinations to be poorly suited to stop the exact sort of massed armored assault assisted by dive-bombers and artillery the Germans envisioned.

The difference between the skill of French and Germans soldiers was far greater than just that that one had combat experience and one had not. The greatest deficiency is that due to intense, realistic large scale training, the Germans had a lot of experience with maneuvering brigades, divisions and corps. This is something that cannot be taught in a classroom, and has to be learned by actually handling real forces in the field. The French had run far fewer large-scale manuevers, in the interwar years, and only really got started with them in 1937. They were still sorting largescale manuevers by multiple combined arms formations out by 1940.

Their tank brigades lacked all arms support and many of their infantry divisions only received vital elements like anti-tank and engineers after mobilization in 1939 and had limited time to exercise with them. The invasion of Poland on the other hand shows that by 1939 the Germans had a very good handle on this kind of thing and their plans for invading Czechoslovakia in 1938 also show that they expected their army to be able to execute largescale combined arms operations with confidence. But then the Germans had had their first panzer divisions formed since 1935 and had practiced extensively over the years.

While Germany's panzer divisions were made up mainly of Panzer I and II tanks in 1938 (and Panzer IIs still made up the majority in 1940), at least Germany had panzer divisions, grouped and organized in a logical manner. Compared to the four Panzer divisions Germany possessed in October of 1938 (with a fifth forming in November) France had... none. Although France had two DLM on paper, in 1938 they were basically just two understrength brigades of light tanks, lacking most of their heavier equipment. The powerful S35 tank that would equip the DLM during the Battle of France had only just entered full production at the start of the year, and less than 100 had been completed by mid 1938. At the time Guderian assessed French armoured formations as only having firepower fit for reconnaissance units. [Horne, "To Lose a Battle, p.118] France's first real armored divisions, the DCR's, didn't even exist at that point as the first DCR was not stood up until January of 1940. German also had four Panzer divisions by October with a fifth forming in the next month; they only needed three at Sedan in 1940.

The Moraine MS.406 was a decent enough fighter, but the numbers in service with the French Air Force in late 1938 were tiny, with each aircraft basically hand crafted. Yearly production in 1938 stood at a paltry 65 aircraft. [Goldstein, "The Munich Crisis," p.142] While you can argue that the 109D did not significantly outclass the MS.406, in September of 1938 Germany had over 500 Messerschmitts (along with about 60 early model Bf.110s and a smattering of 300 or so older biplane fighters), while France had just a few dozen Moranes - basically just an extended run of prototypes. It wasn't until late 1938 that the French began ordering new planes in large enough numbers for mass production, and the first production MS.406 didn't fly until January of 1939. In October of 1938 by far the most common French fighters the Germans would have faced would have been the obsolete Dewoitine D.500s and D.501s, which had fixed landing gear and open cockpits. Even then the French fighter squadrons were badly outnumbered, with only about 300 Dewoitines in frontline service as of August 1938. Similarly the RAF had only one operational Hurricane squadron (16 planes) at the time of Munich, as that type was also just entering service, with just four more squadrons forming. [Isby, "The Decisive Duel,"] This is ignoring the gross deficiency in the ADA's organization and training compared to the Luftwaffe.

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RE: Was A Successful Manstein Plan Possible If World War Two Breaks Out In 1938?

Post by Robert Rojas » 27 Jan 2019 06:47

Greetings to both brother History Learner and the community as a whole. Howdy H.L.! Well sir, in light of your posting of Saturday - January 26, 2019 - 11:14am, old your truly would like to convey my appreciation for passing along "'Obsessed Nukers" sage contribution courtesy of the AH.COM organization. Now, old Uncle Bob is still out to sea regarding both the timing and season when National Socialist Germany initiates its synchronized offensive against Czechoslovakia, the Benelux countries and Metropolitan France. Conversely, their armored and aviation limitations notwithstanding, will the French and the British initiate their own synchronized offensive against western Germany and possibly northern Italy while the Wehrmacht is slugging it out in the mountains and forests of Bohemia and Moravia? Given both their degree of preparedness and the quality of their armaments, I suspect (RIGHTLY or WRONGLY) that the Czechs will make the untested Germans pay very dearly for their war of conquest. It will really be bad news for the all knowing Bohemian Corporal should the French and the British become likeminded about seizing the RUHR with the Germans wholly preoccupied in Czechoslovakia. So, in light of that potential Allied Action, will the Wehrmacht hit western Europe at the very same moment the Wehrmacht hits Czechoslovakia? I, for one, am more than a bit curious how these various plans will evolve and how they will be executed. There is MUCH to consider. Well. that's my latest two cents, centimes, pence or pfennigs worth on this peculiar version of Bohemian Rhapsody - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

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Re: RE: Was A Successful Manstein Plan Possible If World War Two Breaks Out In 1938?

Post by History Learner » 27 Jan 2019 08:00

Robert Rojas wrote:
27 Jan 2019 06:47
Greetings to both brother History Learner and the community as a whole. Howdy H.L.! Well sir, in light of your posting of Saturday - January 26, 2019 - 11:14am, old your truly would like to convey my appreciation for passing along "'Obsessed Nukers" sage contribution courtesy of the AH.COM organization. Now, old Uncle Bob is still out to sea regarding both the timing and season when National Socialist Germany initiates its synchronized offensive against Czechoslovakia, the Benelux countries and Metropolitan France. Conversely, their armored and aviation limitations notwithstanding, will the French and the British initiate their own synchronized offensive against western Germany and possibly northern Italy while the Wehrmacht is slugging it out in the mountains and forests of Bohemia and Moravia? Given both their degree of preparedness and the quality of their armaments, I suspect (RIGHTLY or WRONGLY) that the Czechs will make the untested Germans pay very dearly for their war of conquest. It will really be bad news for the all knowing Bohemian Corporal should the French and the British become likeminded about seizing the RUHR with the Germans wholly preoccupied in Czechoslovakia. So, in light of that potential Allied Action, will the Wehrmacht hit western Europe at the very same moment the Wehrmacht hits Czechoslovakia? I, for one, am more than a bit curious how these various plans will evolve and how they will be executed. There is MUCH to consider. Well. that's my latest two cents, centimes, pence or pfennigs worth on this peculiar version of Bohemian Rhapsody - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
The French Army at this time is smaller than the German Army, poorly equipped and not trained for such an undertaken; historically they tried an offensive in late 1939 and it fell apart as a result of German minefields because said French units didn't even have engineer attachments. The British Army, meanwhile, is essentially non-existent with about two divisions they could deploy, but in much the same condition as the French. As for the Czechs, their deficiencies probably mean a quick defeat. Here's some maps of their border fortifications:

Image

Basic assumptions: Czechs defeated in the Fall of 1938, France in Spring of 1939.

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Re: RE: Was A Successful Manstein Plan Possible If World War Two Breaks Out In 1938?

Post by Futurist » 27 Jan 2019 21:04

History Learner wrote:
27 Jan 2019 08:00
Robert Rojas wrote:
27 Jan 2019 06:47
Greetings to both brother History Learner and the community as a whole. Howdy H.L.! Well sir, in light of your posting of Saturday - January 26, 2019 - 11:14am, old your truly would like to convey my appreciation for passing along "'Obsessed Nukers" sage contribution courtesy of the AH.COM organization. Now, old Uncle Bob is still out to sea regarding both the timing and season when National Socialist Germany initiates its synchronized offensive against Czechoslovakia, the Benelux countries and Metropolitan France. Conversely, their armored and aviation limitations notwithstanding, will the French and the British initiate their own synchronized offensive against western Germany and possibly northern Italy while the Wehrmacht is slugging it out in the mountains and forests of Bohemia and Moravia? Given both their degree of preparedness and the quality of their armaments, I suspect (RIGHTLY or WRONGLY) that the Czechs will make the untested Germans pay very dearly for their war of conquest. It will really be bad news for the all knowing Bohemian Corporal should the French and the British become likeminded about seizing the RUHR with the Germans wholly preoccupied in Czechoslovakia. So, in light of that potential Allied Action, will the Wehrmacht hit western Europe at the very same moment the Wehrmacht hits Czechoslovakia? I, for one, am more than a bit curious how these various plans will evolve and how they will be executed. There is MUCH to consider. Well. that's my latest two cents, centimes, pence or pfennigs worth on this peculiar version of Bohemian Rhapsody - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
The French Army at this time is smaller than the German Army, poorly equipped and not trained for such an undertaken; historically they tried an offensive in late 1939 and it fell apart as a result of German minefields because said French units didn't even have engineer attachments. The British Army, meanwhile, is essentially non-existent with about two divisions they could deploy, but in much the same condition as the French. As for the Czechs, their deficiencies probably mean a quick defeat. Here's some maps of their border fortifications:

Image

Basic assumptions: Czechs defeated in the Fall of 1938, France in Spring of 1939.
Does Britain fight on after the Fall of France in this TL?

Also, does a Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1940 actually achieve success?

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Re: RE: Was A Successful Manstein Plan Possible If World War Two Breaks Out In 1938?

Post by History Learner » 27 Jan 2019 21:21

Futurist wrote:
27 Jan 2019 21:04
History Learner wrote:
27 Jan 2019 08:00
Robert Rojas wrote:
27 Jan 2019 06:47
Greetings to both brother History Learner and the community as a whole. Howdy H.L.! Well sir, in light of your posting of Saturday - January 26, 2019 - 11:14am, old your truly would like to convey my appreciation for passing along "'Obsessed Nukers" sage contribution courtesy of the AH.COM organization. Now, old Uncle Bob is still out to sea regarding both the timing and season when National Socialist Germany initiates its synchronized offensive against Czechoslovakia, the Benelux countries and Metropolitan France. Conversely, their armored and aviation limitations notwithstanding, will the French and the British initiate their own synchronized offensive against western Germany and possibly northern Italy while the Wehrmacht is slugging it out in the mountains and forests of Bohemia and Moravia? Given both their degree of preparedness and the quality of their armaments, I suspect (RIGHTLY or WRONGLY) that the Czechs will make the untested Germans pay very dearly for their war of conquest. It will really be bad news for the all knowing Bohemian Corporal should the French and the British become likeminded about seizing the RUHR with the Germans wholly preoccupied in Czechoslovakia. So, in light of that potential Allied Action, will the Wehrmacht hit western Europe at the very same moment the Wehrmacht hits Czechoslovakia? I, for one, am more than a bit curious how these various plans will evolve and how they will be executed. There is MUCH to consider. Well. that's my latest two cents, centimes, pence or pfennigs worth on this peculiar version of Bohemian Rhapsody - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
The French Army at this time is smaller than the German Army, poorly equipped and not trained for such an undertaken; historically they tried an offensive in late 1939 and it fell apart as a result of German minefields because said French units didn't even have engineer attachments. The British Army, meanwhile, is essentially non-existent with about two divisions they could deploy, but in much the same condition as the French. As for the Czechs, their deficiencies probably mean a quick defeat. Here's some maps of their border fortifications:

Image

Basic assumptions: Czechs defeated in the Fall of 1938, France in Spring of 1939.
Does Britain fight on after the Fall of France in this TL?

Also, does a Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1940 actually achieve success?
Both are good questions, and hard to answer. The British are in much the same situation they were in historical, with the only difference being that instead of losing their equipment on the beaches, they don't yet have it at all. As for the Soviets, modern tank production has yet to truly begin nor do they have a modernized air force. The purges are more recently, so they're in an even worse state in that regard. They've also yet to get any real combat experience beyond clashes with the Japanese in 1938. On the flipside, they haven't begun the force expansion that hurt them in 1941 nor have they broken up their armored formations like they did after Poland/Finland. They've also haven't been brought hundreds of miles forward of the Stalin line into Poland.

The wildcards in this are Poland and Italy; if Italy joins, they can probably force Britain out while Poland will be instrumental for the East. The Germans will either get an ally out of Poland, aiding their logistics situation and placing German formations much close to the Soviet cities to start the invasion but at the cost of a better defended Soviet defenses, or they lure the Soviets into the same pact as IOTL and draw them into Poland in late 1939 or early 1940.

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RE: Was A Successful Manstein Plan Possible If World War Two Breaks Out In 1938?

Post by Robert Rojas » 28 Jan 2019 02:17

Greetings to both brother Futurist and the community as a whole. Howdy Futurist (or Alvin Toffler if you so prefer). Well sir, in respect to your posting of Sunday - January 27, 2019 - 12:04pm, old yours truly was and is wondering where exactly this creation of yours is headed. If it is your foregone conclusion that the Third Republic will automatically fold sometime during the course of year 1939, then why are you subjecting the WHAT IF constituency of the forum to this pointless academic exercise in the first place? From what I can deduce from the input so far is this. Plan or no plan, the only actions required of the Germans is to ensure that they have made timely reservations at their favorite restaurants on the French coast after arriving from a day of pleasant and leisurely driving across Northern France in their fuel efficient Volkswagen Beetles. Have I missed anything here? AND YOU ASK IF GREAT BRITAIN FIGHTS ON AFTER THE FALL OF FRANCE IN THIS TIMELINE. Give all of us a break! Well, that's my latest two cents, centimes, pence or pfennigs worth on this MICHELIN adventure - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day down in your corner of Orange Country that is the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland.


Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

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Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Jan 2019 11:29

Hi Guys,

The Manstein Plan depended on masses of armour, of which Germany had ten divisions when it was launched. Amongst them were 629 German-built gun-armed medium (Pkpfw.II & IV) tanks and 325 lighter Czech ones.

In 1938 Germany had only three panzer divisions. At that stage they only had about 100 gun-armed tanks, all untried on campaign.

A 1938 Manstein Plan very probably lacked the armour resources to have any real prospect of success.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Apr 2019 16:36

A core problem with executing anything like the 1940 operation is the doctrine of massed armored corps was not accepted by the German army in 1938. Gudeians lead on the idea of the "panzerwaffe" as a massed stratigic weapon were not present in the actual war plans. At best the armor div we're paired in corps, but not massed above that. Some war plans still had the individual divisions piecemealed sepperately, and some army commanders intended to break up any Pz Div assigned into small support groups.

When Manstein wrote his plan for the Zossen wargame in Nov 1939 there were only two Pz Corps allocated to AG A & his plan had them operating some what separated & not under a single group commander, as with Pz Group Kliest in 1940.

It took a decade of argument, actual war experience in Poland, and repeated wargames 1939-1940 for the concept of a multi corps Pz Group or Army to be accepted.

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Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Apr 2019 16:37

A core problem with executing anything like the 1940 operation is the doctrine of massed armored corps was not accepted by the German army in 1938. Gudeians lead on the idea of the "panzerwaffe" as a massed stratigic weapon were not present in the actual war plans. At best the armor div we're paired in corps, but not massed above that. Some war plans still had the individual divisions piecemealed sepperately, and some army commanders intended to break up any Pz Div assigned into small support groups.

When Manstein wrote his plan for the Zossen wargame in Nov 1939 there were only two Pz Corps allocated to AG A & his plan had them operating some what separated & not under a single group commander, as with Pz Group Kliest in 1940.

It took a decade of argument, actual war experience in Poland, and repeated wargames 1939-1940 for the concept of a multi corps Pz Group or Army to be accepted.

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