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

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Dec 2019 08:05

Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 04:43
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Apr 2019 16:37
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.
Could actual war experience in Czechoslovakia and repeated wargames in 1938-1939 have accomplished the same goal in this scenario, though?
Possiblly. Even Guderian was still thinking small. In the mid 1930s he described the armored "division" as a strategic weapon. For the final iteration of the Sickle cut operation seven armored divisions were massed under Kleists command. There weren't seven in 1938. Just four and the 'light' mechanized divisions were not yet equipped & trained. So recreating Armored Group Kliest with its seven armored and two motorized infantry divisions was not possible.

The other half of the is the French deployments on mobilization in 1938 & the commanders were different. So were the Belgians. The circumstances were different in many directions.

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

Post by ljadw » 29 Dec 2019 09:33

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Dec 2019 08:05
Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 04:43
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Apr 2019 16:37
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.
Could actual war experience in Czechoslovakia and repeated wargames in 1938-1939 have accomplished the same goal in this scenario, though?
Possiblly. Even Guderian was still thinking small. In the mid 1930s he described the armored "division" as a strategic weapon. For the final iteration of the Sickle cut operation seven armored divisions were massed under Kleists command. There weren't seven in 1938. Just four and the 'light' mechanized divisions were not yet equipped & trained. So recreating Armored Group Kliest with its seven armored and two motorized infantry divisions was not possible.

The other half of the is the French deployments on mobilization in 1938 & the commanders were different. So were the Belgians. The circumstances were different in many directions.
Hm : Kleist had only 5 PzD in May 1940 : 1,2, 6,8, 10 .
5 and 7 PzD belonged to 4Army, 3 and 4 PzD to 6 Army, 9 PzD belonged to AGB
Kleist had also 3 motorized divisions .

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

Post by maltesefalcon » 29 Dec 2019 16:46

Futurist wrote:
09 Jan 2019 00:30
In real life, the Manstein Plan (aka the Sickle-Cut Plan) was an unexpected success in 1940--with it resulting in France being knocked out of WWII in six weeks and leaving Britain to fight on alone.

Anyway, what I'm curious about is whether the Manstein Plan would have still had a realistic chance of success had WWII broken out in 1938 over Czechoslovakia rather than in 1939 over Poland.

Also, if the Manstein Plan would have been a success a year earlier, what effects would this have had on the war?

Any thoughts on this?
By the time of the French campaign, the war was nine months old. The BEF was well established on French soil and a number of RAF squadrons were there as well. The French had mobilized their forces and reserves, deploying them near the frontier.

This set the stage for the best and most mobile divisions to be sucked into the trap.

If the war took place quickly in 1938, those divisions would not be in place to do so.( In fact the BEF would likely still be in the UK.) So the Germans may still have crossed at Sedan and reached the coast, but most of the Allied divisions would not be bagged in the trap.

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

Post by ljadw » 29 Dec 2019 21:27

There would be no Allied divisions in 1938, but only French divisions .

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

Post by Futurist » 29 Dec 2019 21:45

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Dec 2019 08:05
Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 04:43
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Apr 2019 16:37
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.
Could actual war experience in Czechoslovakia and repeated wargames in 1938-1939 have accomplished the same goal in this scenario, though?
Possiblly. Even Guderian was still thinking small. In the mid 1930s he described the armored "division" as a strategic weapon. For the final iteration of the Sickle cut operation seven armored divisions were massed under Kleists command. There weren't seven in 1938. Just four and the 'light' mechanized divisions were not yet equipped & trained. So recreating Armored Group Kliest with its seven armored and two motorized infantry divisions was not possible.
How much time would it have taken for Germany to create/build an additional three mechanized divisions? Could Germany have done this in several months?
The other half of the is the French deployments on mobilization in 1938 & the commanders were different. So were the Belgians. The circumstances were different in many directions.
Interesting. What did the 1938 French deployments on mobilization look like?

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

Post by Futurist » 29 Dec 2019 21:46

maltesefalcon wrote:
29 Dec 2019 16:46
Futurist wrote:
09 Jan 2019 00:30
In real life, the Manstein Plan (aka the Sickle-Cut Plan) was an unexpected success in 1940--with it resulting in France being knocked out of WWII in six weeks and leaving Britain to fight on alone.

Anyway, what I'm curious about is whether the Manstein Plan would have still had a realistic chance of success had WWII broken out in 1938 over Czechoslovakia rather than in 1939 over Poland.

Also, if the Manstein Plan would have been a success a year earlier, what effects would this have had on the war?

Any thoughts on this?
By the time of the French campaign, the war was nine months old. The BEF was well established on French soil and a number of RAF squadrons were there as well. The French had mobilized their forces and reserves, deploying them near the frontier.

This set the stage for the best and most mobile divisions to be sucked into the trap.

If the war took place quickly in 1938, those divisions would not be in place to do so.( In fact the BEF would likely still be in the UK.) So the Germans may still have crossed at Sedan and reached the coast, but most of the Allied divisions would not be bagged in the trap.
Wouldn't this mean that the best-quality French divisions would still get encircled, though--just not the British?

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

Post by maltesefalcon » 29 Dec 2019 23:40

Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 21:46
maltesefalcon wrote:
29 Dec 2019 16:46
Futurist wrote:
09 Jan 2019 00:30
In real life, the Manstein Plan (aka the Sickle-Cut Plan) was an unexpected success in 1940--with it resulting in France being knocked out of WWII in six weeks and leaving Britain to fight on alone.

Anyway, what I'm curious about is whether the Manstein Plan would have still had a realistic chance of success had WWII broken out in 1938 over Czechoslovakia rather than in 1939 over Poland.

Also, if the Manstein Plan would have been a success a year earlier, what effects would this have had on the war?

Any thoughts on this?
By the time of the French campaign, the war was nine months old. The BEF was well established on French soil and a number of RAF squadrons were there as well. The French had mobilized their forces and reserves, deploying them near the frontier.

This set the stage for the best and most mobile divisions to be sucked into the trap.

If the war took place quickly in 1938, those divisions would not be in place to do so.( In fact the BEF would likely still be in the UK.) So the Germans may still have crossed at Sedan and reached the coast, but most of the Allied divisions would not be bagged in the trap.
Wouldn't this mean that the best-quality French divisions would still get encircled, though--just not the British?
Again the French had 9 months to equip and deploy them near the Franco-Belgian border to align with the Dyle Plan.

The Dyle plan was not even thought up until 1939. It's quite likely that the Germans would have to launch a surprise attack in 1938 to have any real chance of reaching the coast. So no, a great many French troops would not be north of the planned sickle cut to be caught in the trap.

I guess you need to define success...either reaching the channel or bagging the best French troops. It would not be both.

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 30 Dec 2019 03:51

ljadw wrote:
29 Dec 2019 09:33
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Dec 2019 08:05
Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 04:43
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Apr 2019 16:37
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.
Could actual war experience in Czechoslovakia and repeated wargames in 1938-1939 have accomplished the same goal in this scenario, though?
Possiblly. Even Guderian was still thinking small. In the mid 1930s he described the armored "division" as a strategic weapon. For the final iteration of the Sickle cut operation seven armored divisions were massed under Kleists command. There weren't seven in 1938. Just four and the 'light' mechanized divisions were not yet equipped & trained. So recreating Armored Group Kliest with its seven armored and two motorized infantry divisions was not possible.

The other half of the is the French deployments on mobilization in 1938 & the commanders were different. So were the Belgians. The circumstances were different in many directions.
Hm : Kleist had only 5 PzD in May 1940 : 1,2, 6,8, 10 .
5 and 7 PzD belonged to 4Army, 3 and 4 PzD to 6 Army, 9 PzD belonged to AGB
Kleist had also 3 motorized divisions .
& the XV Corps came under operational control of Kliest having out run the 4th Army. Strictly speaking the XVI Corps was move to control of Pz Gp Kliest after the 17th May. So for a few days PGK had nine armored divisions. But, were are nit picking. With the OTL resources creating a armored group that size in 1938 was problematic.



Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 21:45

How much time would it have taken for Germany to create/build an additional three mechanized divisions? Could Germany have done this in several months?
You'd have to look at the German vehicle production and distribution and estimate it it could be increased enough. If I am interpreting Guderians Panzer Leader correctly the core decisions on setting up the armored divisions & production were made in 1934. There were the 'Light Divisions, but those were considered a failure & how they would perform against French infantry corps I'd not predict..
The other half of the is the French deployments on mobilization in 1938 & the commanders were different. So were the Belgians. The circumstances were different in many directions.
Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 21:45
Interesting. What did the 1938 French deployments on mobilization look like?
I had that information & cant find it :( The short answer might be earlier versions of the Dyle & Escaut Plans. Different in that the French army of 1938 lacked any large armored formations other than a experimental DLM. There were other 'Plans' or staff studies, including one for advancing with large forces into the Ardennes. That one seems to have drawn heavily from the battles of 1914 in the Ardennes. I've heard that Huntzinger favored that one, but have no confirmation for this.

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

Post by maltesefalcon » 30 Dec 2019 13:08

In this case, any war games in 1938/39 mentioned above would be moot. The OP suggests the war has broken out in 1938. I assume this means actual combat.

As Germany would likely have no other distractions, a nine-month Sitzkreig is unlikely this time. Best bet for any hope of a victory is rapid surprise attack to catch the French unmobilized for the most part.

Might be worth mentioning that one of the main reasons Manstein's plan was finally adopted IRL was that the original plans were accidental captured.

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

Post by ljadw » 30 Dec 2019 15:24

maltesefalcon wrote:
30 Dec 2019 13:08
In this case, any war games in 1938/39 mentioned above would be moot. The OP suggests the war has broken out in 1938. I assume this means actual combat.

As Germany would likely have no other distractions, a nine-month Sitzkreig is unlikely this time. Best bet for any hope of a victory is rapid surprise attack to catch the French unmobilized for the most part.

Might be worth mentioning that one of the main reasons Manstein's plan was finally adopted IRL was that the original plans were accidental captured.
The last sentence is not correct : the original plans were not captured in January 1940, but only a very small and even not important part was captured, and the immediate reaction from Hitler was to order to attack the following day. But the weather prevented this .
two other points :
the Allies knew already a lot of the German plans, even before the Germans had elaborated their plans .
the plan that was executed was no longer Manstein's plan, because there were a lot of changes in Manstein's proposals and because the OKH had, independently from Manstein,come to a similar conclusion .
The original plans were abandoned, not because an insignifiant part was captured ( the officer in question belonged to the LW ),but because there was a growing doubt in the OKH about the feasability of the original plans .

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

Post by ljadw » 30 Dec 2019 15:29

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
30 Dec 2019 03:51
ljadw wrote:
29 Dec 2019 09:33
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
29 Dec 2019 08:05
Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 04:43
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
17 Apr 2019 16:37
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.
Could actual war experience in Czechoslovakia and repeated wargames in 1938-1939 have accomplished the same goal in this scenario, though?
Possiblly. Even Guderian was still thinking small. In the mid 1930s he described the armored "division" as a strategic weapon. For the final iteration of the Sickle cut operation seven armored divisions were massed under Kleists command. There weren't seven in 1938. Just four and the 'light' mechanized divisions were not yet equipped & trained. So recreating Armored Group Kliest with its seven armored and two motorized infantry divisions was not possible.

The other half of the is the French deployments on mobilization in 1938 & the commanders were different. So were the Belgians. The circumstances were different in many directions.
Hm : Kleist had only 5 PzD in May 1940 : 1,2, 6,8, 10 .
5 and 7 PzD belonged to 4Army, 3 and 4 PzD to 6 Army, 9 PzD belonged to AGB
Kleist had also 3 motorized divisions .
& the XV Corps came under operational control of Kliest having out run the 4th Army. Strictly speaking the XVI Corps was move to control of Pz Gp Kliest after the 17th May. So for a few days PGK had nine armored divisions. But, were are nit picking. With the OTL resources creating a armored group that size in 1938 was problematic.



Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 21:45

How much time would it have taken for Germany to create/build an additional three mechanized divisions? Could Germany have done this in several months?
You'd have to look at the German vehicle production and distribution and estimate it it could be increased enough. If I am interpreting Guderians Panzer Leader correctly the core decisions on setting up the armored divisions & production were made in 1934. There were the 'Light Divisions, but those were considered a failure & how they would perform against French infantry corps I'd not predict..
The other half of the is the French deployments on mobilization in 1938 & the commanders were different. So were the Belgians. The circumstances were different in many directions.
Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 21:45
Interesting. What did the 1938 French deployments on mobilization look like?
I had that information & cant find it :( The short answer might be earlier versions of the Dyle & Escaut Plans. Different in that the French army of 1938 lacked any large armored formations other than a experimental DLM. There were other 'Plans' or staff studies, including one for advancing with large forces into the Ardennes. That one seems to have drawn heavily from the battles of 1914 in the Ardennes. I've heard that Huntzinger favored that one, but have no confirmation for this.
The French had already in 1936 a plan to advance til Breda with the 7th Army of Giraud .

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

Post by Aida1 » 30 Dec 2019 16:35

ljadw wrote:
30 Dec 2019 15:24
maltesefalcon wrote:
30 Dec 2019 13:08
In this case, any war games in 1938/39 mentioned above would be moot. The OP suggests the war has broken out in 1938. I assume this means actual combat.

As Germany would likely have no other distractions, a nine-month Sitzkreig is unlikely this time. Best bet for any hope of a victory is rapid surprise attack to catch the French unmobilized for the most part.

Might be worth mentioning that one of the main reasons Manstein's plan was finally adopted IRL was that the original plans were accidental captured.
The last sentence is not correct : the original plans were not captured in January 1940, but only a very small and even not important part was captured, and the immediate reaction from Hitler was to order to attack the following day. But the weather prevented this .
two other points :
the Allies knew already a lot of the German plans, even before the Germans had elaborated their plans .
the plan that was executed was no longer Manstein's plan, because there were a lot of changes in Manstein's proposals and because the OKH had, independently from Manstein,come to a similar conclusion .
The original plans were abandoned, not because an insignifiant part was captured ( the officer in question belonged to the LW ),but because there was a growing doubt in the OKH about the feasability of the original plans .
As usual, not wanting to give any credit to Manstein. History judges otherwise.

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Dec 2019 02:20

Futurist wrote:
29 Dec 2019 21:45
Interesting. What did the 1938 French deployments on mobilization look like?
I had that information & cant find it :( The short answer might be earlier versions of the Dyle & Escaut Plans. Different in that the French army of 1938 lacked any large armored formations other than a experimental DLM. There were other 'Plans' or staff studies, including one for advancing with large forces into the Ardennes. That one seems to have drawn heavily from the battles of 1914 in the Ardennes. I've heard that Huntzinger favored that one, but have no confirmation for this.
The French had already in 1936 a plan to advance til Breda with the 7th Army of Giraud .
IRRC it was a corps for the Breda variant in 1936. Unfortuantly I don't have at hand any of the source material for that. Unfortunate because that included some background of Huntzingers concerns about the Ardennes & the staff studies on possible operations there.

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

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 31 Dec 2019 03:16

maltesefalcon wrote:
30 Dec 2019 13:08
...
Might be worth mentioning that one of the main reasons Manstein's plan was finally adopted IRL was that the original plans were accidental captured.
Mays in 'Strange Victory' traces the evolution of the many attack plans from October 1939 to May 1940. The primary plan in place at the end of the Polish campaign Halder had already regarded as obsolete and unworkable. Previous map exercises using that plan had failed to achieve any decisive result and showcased weakness from new circumstances. Halder directed several fresh plans be developed rapidly, to be tested at his HQ at Zossen in early November. One plan was to place the main effort or schwerpunkt with Army Group B, the second plan was to have the main effort with AG A, & the third had no initial schwerpunkt. A large reserve was to be held back, to be used as opportunities developed. Manstein as the CoS of AG A was naturally most enthusiastic about the plan placing the schwerpunkt there. His main contribution was to locate it within the AG A area in the Ardennes, vs the Belgian plain north of the Meause River.

The November Zossen map exercise or game was inconclusive. The only thing it proved in the view of the participants was that withholding the reserve was a definite bad idea. in the other two cases the results were better but still indecisive. Halder directed more staff studies and the plans were rewritten to accommodate the expected additions to the OB by 1 January. These plans were gamed out at Zossen, at the Army Groups, and the individual armies. No one was satisfied with the results.
When the January offensive was canceled Hitler demanded a 'new plan'. Halder shrugged and directed the current plans be updated to include the additional aircraft, infantry and mechanized units that would be ready in the Spring.
ljadw wrote:
30 Dec 2019 15:24
...
The last sentence is not correct : the original plans were not captured in January 1940, but only a very small and even not important part was captured, and the immediate reaction from Hitler was to order to attack the following day. But the weather prevented this .
Specifically it was the bombing plan for one of the air corps. It had some background info about the overall plan, but lacked any details outside that air corps. The French intelligence service advised Gamelin & by extension his subordinates the plan the Belgians had captured was probably disinformation deliberately planted by the Germans. I don't know if Georges or any of his army commanders actually saw a copy of the document, they may have only received mention of it in the regular intel. reports issued daily. The Belgians took it seriously, but had trouble seeing anything in it other than the German had intended to make air attacks all over the low countries in support of a large scale ground offensive. No surprise in that.
...
The original plans were abandoned, not because an insignifiant part was captured ( the officer in question belonged to the LW ),but because there was a growing doubt in the OKH about the feasability of the original plans .
There was also the need to up date to use the additional 800 aircraft added to the air forces operating strength, adding six new armored divisions, and 20+ infantry divisions. Plans made up for January & snow-covered roads would not be appropriate for sunny May. As Mays describes; Halder kept the Zossen and army command staffs busy all autumn, winter, and spring revising and testing the plans over and over.

The usual 'Hitler' narrative concerning his favor of the sickle cut maneuver seems a bit off. Assorted staff officers present that winter describe him as waffling in every direction concerning which plan to use. He understood the risks of the sickle cut & at least four times between 10 & 22 May he had a crisis of confidence & wanted the Panzers halted. Finally got his way after the battle of Arras when Rundsteadt also thought a halt was a good idea.

Halder & several others thought placing the schwehrpunckt through the Ardennes a good idea. Tho many others including most of the army commanders thought it would not work. Rundsteadt thought it worth pursuing as none of the other plans did any better and most were worse. I cant say if anyone would have thought of it had not Manstein put it in the plan for the Zossen war-game of November. But it remained one of the several plans studied and tested, and was in the final plan adopted February-March.

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

Post by ljadw » 31 Dec 2019 08:13

The Manstein proposals were only a rough draft : Manstein left even open the possibility of a double envelopment : one group going to the Channel ,the other group going to the Swiss border (as in 1914 ) . The success of such a double envelopment was very questionable .
Meanwhile the OKH was working on an other Aufmarschanweisung,the evolution of which started already before anyone knew of the Manstein proposals .
1st Aufmarschanweisung with Schwerpunkt right : 19 October 1939 6 PzD would operate north of the Meuse .
2nd Aufmarschanweisung : 29 October : 2 Schwerpunkte 5 PzD north of the Meuse with direction Gent and Antwerp. 4 PzD crossing the Meuse,direction Charleroi
3th Aufmarschanweisung :30 January :3 Schwerpunkte North of the Meuse 3 PzD , crossing the Meuse 3 PzD ,in the Ardennes 2 PzD
4th Aufmarschanweisung : 24 February : 2 PzD north of the Meuse,2 PzD between the Meuse and the Ardennes, 5 PzD through the Ardennes .
The Evolution is very clear .
Source : maps from the Blitzkrieg Legend .
The documents were captured on January 10 .. and there was no influence on the planning of Fall Gelb :going from 2 to 3 Schwerpunkte is not the adoption of the Manstein proposals .

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