Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 1709
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Cult Icon » 23 Dec 2019 15:16

Say the Allies land the same way they did on June 6th.

Certain efforts, such as Hürtgenwald would have to be avoided.

What strategic/operational decisions would it take to win the war by Christmas?

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2434
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Sheldrake » 23 Dec 2019 17:09

Cult Icon wrote:
23 Dec 2019 15:16
Say the Allies land the same way they did on June 6th.

Certain efforts, such as Hürtgenwald would have to be avoided.

What strategic/operational decisions would it take to win the war by Christmas?
At the end of the Normandy Campaign the balance of forces did not favour an allied victory. The COSSAC planned Op Overlord on the basis that it would take around 100 western Allied divisions in western Europe to defeat Germany. The troops that had landed by August were merely the advance guard to secure a berachhead large enough to build up the 100 division force. The allies had expected the Germans to give ground in the face of the allied build up and by D + 90 they would be on the line of the Seine and Loire

However Hitler's decision to order his troops to fight to the last and contest every inch in Normandy led to a German collapse in France, exacerbated by the landings in the South of France. For a short period it looked as if the allies might win the war in '44...

BUT

#1 There were not enough allied troops in NW Europe to defeat the German ground forces, Liberate western Europe and occupy Germany. Even if successful OP Market Garden or Patton storming through the Moselle would have left a tiny spearhead isolated in the middle of Europe. three or four divisions were never going to conquer Germans against opposition.

#2 The allied logistics could not support an advance beyond the German frontier until the port of Antwerp and approaches had been cleared, The French ports of Le Havre and Brest captured and the French railway system rebuilt after systematic destruction before D Day. There is a law of diminishing returns using motor transport over long distances.

So for the allies to win Patton or Montgomery's troops need to be supermen whose battalions can trounce whole German divisions all the way to Berlin and won't need fuel ammunition or spare parts. i.e. Hollywood logistics. If the Germans put up anything like the historic fight, the Pursuit after the Breakout was doomed to run out of steam as the Germans did in Russia and each of the Red Army offensives.

HOWEVER

These all assume that the Germans put up the historic fight and did not collapse as they did in 1918 when the Germans sought an armistice before the allies entered Germany,. Here are some preconditions.

1. The 20 July Bomb Plot succeeds. Hitler is killed. However wins the subsequent fight has less committm,ent that Hitkler.

2. According to the author of Ruckzug, the Germans study of the withdrawal from France, the allies could have done far better by trying to surround and eliminate the German armies than by chasing geographic objectives. Patton should have headed for Sytizerland, cuttign off Army Group G and Montgomery should have rounded up the 15th Army rather than tried to cross the Rhine. This would have left the Germans with too few troops to man the Westwall and at the very least resulted in more terrain conceded. Maybe this might have been a serious enough blow to have led German morale to crack from the bottom.

User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 1709
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Cult Icon » 23 Dec 2019 19:31

The Allied schedule was predicated on Panzer Group West and the mobile formations in France to do the rational action and withdraw into the interior to make operating conditions for counteroffensives. Instead, they were wasted in attritional combat at Caen. Given that the Panzer forces were superior to what was available in the later Nordwind/Ardennes offensives, their potential when grouped together in an offensive operation was greater.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7319
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Dec 2019 19:39

I've tried to cut off AG G on the game boards. By the time the US 3d Army is in position to try most of AG G is gone, or holed up on port side fortresses.

Given the situation 15 Aug or 1 Sept the best 12 AG can do is break through a few sectors of the Siegfried system and secure some essential transport centers between it and the Rhine.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7319
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 23 Dec 2019 19:53

Cult Icon wrote:
23 Dec 2019 19:31
The Allied schedule was predicated on Panzer Group West and the mobile formations in France to do the rational action and withdraw into the interior to make operating conditions for counteroffensies. ... Given that the Panzer forces were superior to what was available in the later Nordwind/Ardennes offensives, their potential when grouped together in an offensive operation was greater.
For what it may or may not be worth this works on the game board when the Allies out reach their air cover & logistics. When the Allies corps have artillery ammunition, and air support they grind away any German forces, tactical superiority notwithstanding.

It reminds me of a movie scene where D Artaignian draws his rapier standing to close to some thugs. He is beaten to the ground & sword broken by their clubs.

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1080
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 23 Dec 2019 20:00

Allies make contact with the conspirators and decapitate Nazi leadership or else civil war between Heer and Waffen SS?

Otherwise 6.6.44 is too late.

My ATL would be Torch landing more aggressively (further east, discounting Spanish interference) and winning the race to Tunis, mopping up by end of 42. Then an early-43 Husky, transfer of landing assets and units to England for a summer 43 landing in France. Wallies are maybe bottled up there for duration of 43 but larger diversion of forces West causes collapse of Ostheer against Soviet offensives.

User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 1709
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Cult Icon » 23 Dec 2019 21:29

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
23 Dec 2019 19:53
For what it may or may not be worth this works on the game board when the Allies out reach their air cover & logistics. When the Allies corps have artillery ammunition, and air support they grind away any German forces, tactical superiority notwithstanding.
Well historically the Allies in the West never absorbed anything greater than a equivalent two division attack (a few tired, heavily reduced formations combined in the Mortain counteroffensive hastily attacking with a poorly planned attack while in duress in after COBRA). US and CW inf took significant (although not soviet level) losses containing German Pz attacks as well, which were quite small. Triple the forces committed at the II SS PzK counterattack ( a equivalent ~ 1 division counterattack) at the tail end at Epsom or in the first days of the invasion (~1 division counterattack) and that's a very different story.

What was missing historically was the full strength of the PzGruppe West and the follow up formations in that summer, never applied in the intended fashion in a maneuverable environment where the value of vastly superior firepower is lessened. And with sufficient forces to concentrate in force and absorb the losses that were required. It's reasonable to conclude that making the Allied estimate was greatly aided by the irrationality of German strategy to hold onto Caen.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7319
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Dec 2019 08:25

Cult Icon wrote:
23 Dec 2019 21:29
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
23 Dec 2019 19:53
For what it may or may not be worth this works on the game board when the Allies out reach their air cover & logistics. When the Allies corps have artillery ammunition, and air support they grind away any German forces, tactical superiority notwithstanding.
Well historically the Allies in the West never absorbed anything greater than a equivalent two division attack (a few tired, heavily reduced formations combined in the Mortain counteroffensive hastily attacking with a poorly planned attack while in duress in after COBRA).
What do you think that was?

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7319
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Dec 2019 08:26

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
23 Dec 2019 20:00
Allies make contact with the conspirators and decapitate Nazi leadership or else civil war between Heer and Waffen SS?

Otherwise 6.6.44 is too late.

My ATL would be Torch landing more aggressively (further east, discounting Spanish interference) and winning the race to Tunis, mopping up by end of 42. Then an early-43 Husky, transfer of landing assets and units to England for a summer 43 landing in France. Wallies are maybe bottled up there for duration of 43 but larger diversion of forces West causes collapse of Ostheer against Soviet offensives.
I'm in!

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1819
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by maltesefalcon » 25 Dec 2019 15:32

Was there any actual hope among Allied planners for this?

I'm not discounting the concept entirely, but a few major things need to be considered in this ATL. First the Uboat peril did not turn until May 1943. The much-accelerated losses of the Uboats allowed the rapid buildup of troops, equipment, supplies in the UK. So we need a much earlier Uboat victory.

We would also need a similar earlier victory over the Northwest European airspace. This would require an earlier mass buildup of Merlin Mustangs and 8th Army Air Force bombers than IRL.

What were the motivations of the Western Allies in the first place? To liberate Europe from Nazi domination? They had liberated most of France and Belgium by Christmas 1944. Of course Holland, Denmark, Norway and the bulk of Eastern Europe had to wait.

But from the Western point of view, would an accelerated pace lead to much heavier casualties? And what about civilian casualties and collateral damage in occupied nations? Caen was liberated in 1944, but was obliterated in the process....

In any case we cannot assume a victory in Europe by December 1944 would result in a bring the boys home sentiment. Europe was occupied by Allied troops for years after the war. But at least they were safe from combat to be sure.

One other factor to be considered. Japan would still be fighting and it took two nuclear attacks to finally bring them to their senses. So we need to accelerate the Marianas campaign by at least a year, and working nukes by at least 8 months. I'm assuming here we still need the established air bases, trained and experienced crews and the additional damage of the conventional fire raids prior to any nuclear deployment.
Last edited by maltesefalcon on 25 Dec 2019 19:16, edited 1 time in total.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2939
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Dec 2019 15:51

It would require the American War Department and especially the ASF agreeing to the ETOUSA requirement estimate for QM Transportation Corps truck units and supplying them early enough. However, to make THAT work would require the T-AC to shift the requirements for truck production from medium and medium-heavy trucks to heavy and heavy-heavy trucks and tractors much earlier than they did. It would also require tightening the provisions for the disposal and recycling of jerry cans on the Continent and maintaining the production of the same.

The sum of that would have been about three to four additional Allied corps not grounded and sitting in Normandy when the Westwall was bounced, additional American artillery when it was critically required, and likely no need for the MARKET gamble (and planning and execution fiasco). The result could be a strong Second British Army foothold across the lower Rhine, NUSA at Jülich, FUSA at Düren, and TUSA at Saarbrücken, outflanking the Hürtgenwald and Eifel completely.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2939
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Dec 2019 16:21

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
25 Dec 2019 08:26
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
23 Dec 2019 20:00
Allies make contact with the conspirators and decapitate Nazi leadership or else civil war between Heer and Waffen SS?

Otherwise 6.6.44 is too late.

My ATL would be Torch landing more aggressively (further east, discounting Spanish interference) and winning the race to Tunis, mopping up by end of 42. Then an early-43 Husky, transfer of landing assets and units to England for a summer 43 landing in France. Wallies are maybe bottled up there for duration of 43 but larger diversion of forces West causes collapse of Ostheer against Soviet offensives.
I'm in!
Recall Carl, it was not just "Spanish interference" that was the problem, although the threat from North and South Spanish Morocco was never seriously "discounted", rather the opposite...Patton and 2d AD anyone? Anyway, it was ultimately the RN and USN reluctance to venture into close proximity to the Sardinian and Sicilian airbases that scotched the idea of landing as far east as Bone. Nor is it certain that a landing at Phillipville and Bone would guarantee ejecting the German reaction force from Tunis and Bizerta.

Nor is it likely that a HUSKY executed say 10 April will have any really different result other than the evacuation of German and Italian forces from Sardinia and Sicily. Italy may not withdraw from the war, which greatly complicates what the Allies can do in the Med. Withdrawing land and sea forces from the Med to England means possibly a landing in France in August...in the Pas de Calais. :lol:
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Michael Kenny
Member
Posts: 6318
Joined: 07 May 2002 19:40
Location: Teesside

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Michael Kenny » 25 Dec 2019 17:37

Cult Icon wrote:
23 Dec 2019 21:29
[ Triple the forces committed at the II SS PzK counterattack ( a equivalent ~ 1 division counterattack) at the tail end at Epsom or in the first days of the invasion (~1 division counterattack) and that's a very different story.
Let us forget the number of German Units already attacking 'at the tail end of EPSOM, that II Pz Korps (9th &/10th SS)was to be part of a much larger multi-Pz. Division attack designed to split the Allies and reach the beaches and that it was the previous Allies tactics that wrote-down and degraded the power of that offensive (I.E it was a direct result of Allied actions that the Germans were under-strength ) and you could say that the Allies were very 'lucky' indeed-lucky in that they worked so hard to make sure they lucky.
Given the way the Normandy Germans are constantly portrayed as weak, vastly understrength, under resourced and barely able to function you have to wonder why such a useless Army was sent West in the first place

User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 1709
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Cult Icon » 25 Dec 2019 18:17

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
25 Dec 2019 08:25
What do you think that was?
this is off-topic- a close study of the day to day action does show significant Allied infantry casualties in absorbing these hasty counterattacks June-August. Defensive fires put heavy pressure on reducing the attacker (particularly in Panzer grenadiers and saturating/disorganizing regrouping) but is not a bulletproof shield. The commitment to press the Pz attacks was also impacted by a low casualty tolerance due to the lack of reserves and strategic decisions coming from above to end attack operations. Say, a second or even third reserve Echelon is available (ONLY in the conditions of a planned attack) so that the defensive success is much less probable. What Schweppenburg wanted was a planned counteroffensive. IMHO this would have came sometime at the end of June-early July with the arrival of the 9.SSH and 10.SSF. Also there is some speculation that the 116.Pz was withheld in Normandy due to possibilities of using it to further the July Plot. Perhaps I will start another thread about this.

Why do I address this? Winning the war by Christmas would require the elimination of the panzer troops as a serious force first, so the operations in the fall would have free reign.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 2939
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Allies end the war by Christmas 1944

Post by Richard Anderson » 25 Dec 2019 21:08

Cult Icon wrote:
25 Dec 2019 18:17
this is off-topic- a close study of the day to day action does show significant Allied infantry casualties in absorbing these hasty counterattacks June-August.
Which ones? Which days? It has always been my read that the significant Allied infantry casualties were a result of unrelenting Allied infantry attacks. The only divisions I can think off offhand suffering heavy infantry casualties due to German Panzer counterattacks were the 30th ID at Mortain (and that was mostly in two battalions) and the 2 (or was it 3) Canadian Infantry Division in ATLANTIC (and that was mostly in a single brigade).
Defensive fires put heavy pressure on reducing the attacker (particularly in Panzer grenadiers and saturating/disorganizing regrouping) but is not a bulletproof shield. The commitment to press the Pz attacks was also impacted by a low casualty tolerance due to the lack of reserves and strategic decisions coming from above to end attack operations. Say, a second or even third reserve Echelon is available (ONLY in the conditions of a planned attack) so that the defensive success is much less probable. What Schweppenburg wanted was a planned counteroffensive.
Schweppenburg also at one point wanted to concentrate all the Panzers around Paris to protect against an imagined descent of eight allied airborne divisions. That does not mean it was a correct measure. Fundamentally, the Germans could not do what Schweppenburg wanted because if they did the front would have collapsed and the Panzers would have been defeated in detail as they tried to cover the sauve qui puet...which is effectively what happened anyway.
IMHO this would have came sometime at the end of June-early July with the arrival of the 9.SSH and 10.SSF. Also there is some speculation that the 116.Pz was withheld in Normandy due to possibilities of using it to further the July Plot. Perhaps I will start another thread about this.
Please do, I would be interested in hearing evidence for this.
Why do I address this? Winning the war by Christmas would require the elimination of the panzer troops as a serious force first, so the operations in the fall would have free reign.
Er, um, but they were eliminated first as a serious force...between about mid-August and mid-December the Panzers were not a serious force in the West and yet the war was not won by Christmas. I think something may be missing in the equation. :D
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Return to “What if”