France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7720
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Sep 2020 18:31

Thumpalumpacus wrote:
16 Sep 2020 02:54
...

Yeah, I was responding to a question about US rearming happening earlier in the 30s.
Most scenarios with that have a activist US, which leads to waiving away WWII as we know it. But going with the war as we know it, and 1920s size Army in 193* might be able to field something significant in France in 1940.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 2653
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 16 Sep 2020 19:11

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Sep 2020 18:31
Thumpalumpacus wrote:
16 Sep 2020 02:54
...

Yeah, I was responding to a question about US rearming happening earlier in the 30s.
Most scenarios with that have a activist US, which leads to waiving away WWII as we know it. But going with the war as we know it, and 1920s size Army in 193* might be able to field something significant in France in 1940.
The US Army was significantly larger in the 1920s than in the 1930s?

User avatar
Thumpalumpacus
Member
Posts: 75
Joined: 05 Feb 2016 10:09
Location: Hill Country, Tejas

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Thumpalumpacus » 16 Sep 2020 19:31

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Sep 2020 18:31
Thumpalumpacus wrote:
16 Sep 2020 02:54
...

Yeah, I was responding to a question about US rearming happening earlier in the 30s.
Most scenarios with that have a activist US, which leads to waiving away WWII as we know it. But going with the war as we know it, and 1920s size Army in 193* might be able to field something significant in France in 1940.
Perhaps. If the political will for an internationalist foreign policy is present, I'm sure the money would be found somewhere. Given our military doctrine of the era (emphasis on infantry and naval assets, expanding the Air Corps but with modern designs still being laid and tested), I'm not sure how much an impact we could have had militarily in France. And our ability to project force to Poland would still, I think, have been very slight if not nonexistent.

Of course, our hypothetical presence there may well have dissuaded the NaZis in the first place, as you point out fairly. It's hard for me to say, obviously.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 2653
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 16 Sep 2020 21:02

Thumpalumpacus wrote:
16 Sep 2020 19:31
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Sep 2020 18:31
Thumpalumpacus wrote:
16 Sep 2020 02:54
...

Yeah, I was responding to a question about US rearming happening earlier in the 30s.
Most scenarios with that have a activist US, which leads to waiving away WWII as we know it. But going with the war as we know it, and 1920s size Army in 193* might be able to field something significant in France in 1940.
Perhaps. If the political will for an internationalist foreign policy is present, I'm sure the money would be found somewhere. Given our military doctrine of the era (emphasis on infantry and naval assets, expanding the Air Corps but with modern designs still being laid and tested), I'm not sure how much an impact we could have had militarily in France. And our ability to project force to Poland would still, I think, have been very slight if not nonexistent.

Of course, our hypothetical presence there may well have dissuaded the NaZis in the first place, as you point out fairly. It's hard for me to say, obviously.
Maybe the best place for US soldiers to be in 1940 in this scenario would have been at Sedan? Anyway, what do you think?

User avatar
Thumpalumpacus
Member
Posts: 75
Joined: 05 Feb 2016 10:09
Location: Hill Country, Tejas

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Thumpalumpacus » 17 Sep 2020 05:58

Futurist wrote:
16 Sep 2020 21:02
Maybe the best place for US soldiers to be in 1940 in this scenario would have been at Sedan? Anyway, what do you think?
I think the combat efficiency of American troops would have been lacking, and while having more warm bodies in the line would have been appreciated, I'm not sure doctrinally they were up to the rigors of the sichelschnitt. I guess the biggest contribution would have been aviation, but again, American fighter planes were markedly inferior to the 109E in 1940, and American bombers too.

Remember, however many American forces you envision at Sedan in 1940, you're dealing with a long and vulnerable supply chain crossing the Atlantic.

I just don't put much stock in the thought experiment, I suppose. Surely I may be wrong in my pessimism, but this alternative you propose seems to have major impediments to actualization, to me. Basic guess: Americans add to the evacuation issues at Dunkirk, or swell the PoW bag once the Germans turn south to finish France.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 2653
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 17 Sep 2020 06:02

Thumpalumpacus wrote:
17 Sep 2020 05:58
Futurist wrote:
16 Sep 2020 21:02
Maybe the best place for US soldiers to be in 1940 in this scenario would have been at Sedan? Anyway, what do you think?
I think the combat efficiency of American troops would have been lacking, and while having more warm bodies in the line would have been appreciated, I'm not sure doctrinally they were up to the rigors of the sichelschnitt. I guess the biggest contribution would have been aviation, but again, American fighter planes were markedly inferior to the 109E in 1940, and American bombers too.

Remember, however many American forces you envision at Sedan in 1940, you're dealing with a long and vulnerable supply chain crossing the Atlantic.

I just don't put much stock in the thought experiment, I suppose. Surely I may be wrong in my pessimism, but this alternative you propose seems to have major impediments to actualization, to me. Basic guess: Americans add to the evacuation issues at Dunkirk, or swell the PoW bag once the Germans turn south to finish France.
I would presume that the Americans in France would be supplied by the Anglo-French due to them being closer, no?

Also, even if Paris falls, with US entry into the war, would the Allies be able to hold onto any part of France even if most of France will fall to the Nazis? Even permanently holding onto a small amount of territory in southern France or somewhere could be really helpful later on. Less need for a D-Day, after all.

User avatar
Thumpalumpacus
Member
Posts: 75
Joined: 05 Feb 2016 10:09
Location: Hill Country, Tejas

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Thumpalumpacus » 17 Sep 2020 16:53

Futurist wrote:
17 Sep 2020 06:02
I would presume that the Americans in France would be supplied by the Anglo-French due to them being closer, no?
Food, sure. Weapons, ammunition and spare parts? Replacement troops and equipment? Not so much.

The industrial bases of those two nations could not supply their own rearmament quickly enough. I doubt they had much production to spare without biting into equipping their own troops.
Futurist wrote:
17 Sep 2020 06:02
Also, even if Paris falls, with US entry into the war, would the Allies be able to hold onto any part of France even if most of France will fall to the Nazis? Even permanently holding onto a small amount of territory in southern France or somewhere could be really helpful later on. Less need for a D-Day, after all.
Again, I don't think the combat efficiency of the US Army at the time would have seen them becoming anything other than evacuees or PoWs. Poorly equipped (in the 1941 exercises armored troops used trucks with the word "TANK" painted on the side due to lack of tanks), and with leadership that hadn't yet been winnowed by fighting.

Now, if rearming had started in 1933, things would probably be different. But the political will simply wasn't there.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7720
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 18 Sep 2020 03:37

My back of the envelope calculations suggest there could have been three corps in the AEF, of six to seven divisions. If this was weighted with the Regular Army men it could have had a well trained cadre, but that makes mobilizing & training the other RA units, the National Guard, the Army reserve formations that existed on paper, and the mass of recruits, much more difficult. Eating your seed corn as it were.

Looking at the larger strategic picture theres a couple of major alterations that might occur:

Presence of the USN enables the defeat of the German invasion of Norway. Increased numbers make it to difficult for the Germans to slip through. Maybe the Allied invasion gets off the dime earlier and OKW cancels the whole thing giving a fiat accompli to the Allies. That has long term strategic effects.

If the Italians are intimidated into non participation It another large change. Either of these two can occur if not a single US combat unit appears in France.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 2653
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 18 Sep 2020 23:01

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
18 Sep 2020 03:37
My back of the envelope calculations suggest there could have been three corps in the AEF, of six to seven divisions. If this was weighted with the Regular Army men it could have had a well trained cadre, but that makes mobilizing & training the other RA units, the National Guard, the Army reserve formations that existed on paper, and the mass of recruits, much more difficult. Eating your seed corn as it were.

Looking at the larger strategic picture theres a couple of major alterations that might occur:

Presence of the USN enables the defeat of the German invasion of Norway. Increased numbers make it to difficult for the Germans to slip through. Maybe the Allied invasion gets off the dime earlier and OKW cancels the whole thing giving a fiat accompli to the Allies. That has long term strategic effects.
Interesting.
If the Italians are intimidated into non participation It another large change. Either of these two can occur if not a single US combat unit appears in France.
But not if they do appear in France?

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3232
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Sep 2020 00:12

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
18 Sep 2020 03:37
My back of the envelope calculations suggest there could have been three corps in the AEF, of six to seven divisions.
I am curious what you have on the back of your envelope Carl? :D I can only repeat what I said earlier, in terms of an expeditionary force it could only have been similar to those expeditionary forces actually deployed. After all, the effective mobilization of the American Army began in spring 1940 anyway. The earliest "ready" force would have been the 1st Division, c. spring 1941, followed roughly by the 3d Division, and then the 2d Division. It would be early 1942 before additional divisions were ready for deployment. The only way to possibly accelerate that would have been to deploy the NG as federalized, i.e., as "square" divisions, but even then it would have been fall 1941 before the earliest could have deployed.

The RA on 1 July 1939 consisted of 56,000 men scattered between nine "square" divisions, three divisions were at half strength, one was at one-third strength, and the rest were cadres with roughly 15% of total strength. There was no draft in place and no draft mechanism...it took roughly two months to get the draft legislation in place, then a month to get registrations in place, then two weeks before the first draftees began arriving at the training centers, where many of them spent their first one to two months constructing the training facilities, then a minimum of twelve weeks training, for the first increment. If that timeline begins on say 3 September 1939, which is the least unlikely, then the first draftees are able to begin filling out units come 3 March in an ideal world with prepared and functional training facilities, but more likely 3 April or even 3 May in the messy real world,. At that point units are ready to deploy to Europe. POM for units was typically two to three weeks, shipping time was typically around ten days. Call it a month or so. Thus, expect the first troops to arrive in France between 3 April and 3 June 1940. With their personnel effects and small arms only, since weapons, vehicles, equipment, and expendables get shipped separately, and require unloading, storage, and issue to the troops. Then there is the matter of billeting and getting them to the front.

Getting the NG into battle takes even longer, especially if you want one with a functioning command structure. In reality, for many reason it took over a year from them being called into Federal service, before they were even provisionally ready for deployment.

The OR, which at best were cadre status, partly keeping Regular Army Inactive units took about as much time as the NG, and both the NG and OR require a fully functional Selective Service system.
If this was weighted with the Regular Army men it could have had a well trained cadre, but that makes mobilizing & training the other RA units, the National Guard, the Army reserve formations that existed on paper, and the mass of recruits, much more difficult. Eating your seed corn as it were.
Historically, only the 1st and 3d ID would have been capable of rapid deployment, and then only by stripping the rest of thee divisions to cadre or less. Doing so would have crippled the ability to mobilize.
"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

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1558
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 19 Sep 2020 09:42

Carl Schwamberger wrote: Eating your seed corn as it were.
That's if the ATL starts September 3. Why shouldn't the U.S. start re-arming the Army in 1938 or earlier? American naval expansion was already underway due to the international situation; there remained millions of unemployed men.

Even if we stick with a September PoD, why not send recruits to France to train? Surely the French would have been happy to accommodate American troops in training while their trainers functioned as a strategic reserve.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:Presence of the USN enables the defeat of the German invasion of Norway.
Yep, big change. A couple flat tops alone might be enough.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:If the Italians are intimidated into non participation It another large change. Either of these two can occur if not a single US combat unit appears in France.
With your 6-7 AEF divisions in France in May, Fall Gelb may fail to produce decisive results and there's no way the Italians are entering an attritional war.

If the AEF counterattacks Kleist's penetration aggressively - even if clumsily - the British can't/won't abandon the U.S. and will have to turn around and fight. The Belgians are unlikely to capitulate so fast so there's probably threat to the BEF's left flank. Likewise the American air forces are unlikely to abandon France as did the RAF, meaning the RAF likely stays too. Now we have a war for the skies over northeast France, one that a fully committed RAF plus the French/American air forces can win.

Say Kleist still reaches the coast somehow though more damaged than OTL. With 6-7 additional American divisions the pocketed forces should be able to hold Bolougne and Calais. Have the USN shell any German troop concentrations intent on pushing along the coast to constrict the pocket and take the ports. With a fully committed RAF/AAF overhead, and hundreds of American flak barrels available to defend the Channel, we can now do a "Reverse Dunkirk," using all available means to send supplies and reinforcements to the pocket rather than to evacuate it.

The Germans can't quickly eliminate the reinforced, well-supplied pocket so all they've gained is ground. American forces keep swelling, Italy doesn't enter. Fall Rot can't be launched with a strong enemy to its rear. The W.Allies might start driving Germany back in '41.
Richard Anderson wrote:There was no draft in place and no draft mechanism...
So there weren't enough stamps, letters, and lists lying around? It's easy to think of a solution which results in more than enough men reporting for training on an emergency basis.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7720
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 19 Sep 2020 15:01

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
19 Sep 2020 09:42
Carl Schwamberger wrote: Eating your seed corn as it were.
That's if the ATL starts September 3. Why shouldn't the U.S. start re-arming the Army in 1938 or earlier? American naval expansion was already underway due to the international situation; there remained millions of unemployed men.
Actually it did. The 1938 budget bill, funding 1939 & 1940 included a hefty amount of money for the War Deprtment. Recruiting the active Army back up to 200,000+ men, increasing the army reserve, committing to production of the B17 & other 'modern' aircraft, production of the M1 Rifle, the M2 howitzer, ect.. ect..
Even if we stick with a September PoD, why not send recruits to France to train? Surely the French would have been happy to accommodate American troops in training while their trainers functioned as a strategic reserve.
Very likely & about everyone else I've discussed it with has suggested the same. After all this was done in the Great War, sending half trained regiments to France. The Brits did the same in 1939-1940 sending undertrained and under equipped 'divisions' to France, and of course the French had 25+ divisions and proportionate corps units that were only half trained. The down side is the more undertrained men sent to France the greater the logistics demand for their support, which can lead to reductions in other needed items when loading cargo ships. Something like Op BOLERO of 1943 is not possible, so what is the priority? Modern aircraft and transport & the technicians to get that operational? Or, undertrained men recruited five or six months earlier and their obsolescent weapons. Somewhere theres a balance that may favor technicians and cutting edge equipment.

With your 6-7 AEF divisions in France in May, Fall Gelb may fail to produce decisive results ...

If the AEF counterattacks Kleist's penetration aggressively - even if clumsily - the British can't/won't abandon the U.S. and will have to turn around and fight. The Belgians are unlikely to capitulate so fast so there's probably threat to the BEF's left flank. Likewise the American air forces are unlikely to abandon France as did the RAF, meaning the RAF likely stays too. Now we have a war for the skies over northeast France, one that a fully committed RAF plus the French/American air forces can win.

Say Kleist still reaches the coast somehow though more damaged than OTL. With 6-7 additional American divisions the pocketed forces should be able to hold Bolougne and Calais. Have the USN shell any German troop concentrations intent on pushing along the coast to constrict the pocket and take the ports. With a fully committed RAF/AAF overhead, and hundreds of American flak barrels available to defend the Channel, we can now do a "Reverse Dunkirk," using all available means to send supplies and reinforcements to the pocket rather than to evacuate it.

The Germans can't quickly eliminate the reinforced, well-supplied pocket so all they've gained is ground. American forces keep swelling, Italy doesn't enter. Fall Rot can't be launched with a strong enemy to its rear. The W.Allies might start driving Germany back in '41.
Theres so many variables here one can propose ten likely scenarios, or more. The one I've examined had the bulk of the AEF positioned south of Rheims as part of the strategic reserve, some token units training in the 'line' and a a couple of divisions and corps units scattered in groups from Calais to Norway.
Richard Anderson wrote:There was no draft in place and no draft mechanism...
So there weren't enough stamps, letters, and lists lying around? It's easy to think of a solution which results in more than enough men reporting for training on an emergency basis.
OTL the mobilization that started in 1940 was not able to take in masses of draftees of volunteers for several months. Shelter, kitchens, hospitals, transportation, school rooms, clothing, had to be organized. OTL it took over eight months to organize a 'Army' or 1.5 million+ men, & training/equipment was no where complete in December 1941. Inducting one million underemployed men can be done, but then what? They sit around in improvised camps getting sick during the winter of 1939-1940? A look at the mobilization of 1917-1918 suggests where the limits are there.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7720
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 19 Sep 2020 15:13

Futurist wrote:
16 Sep 2020 19:11
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
16 Sep 2020 18:31
Thumpalumpacus wrote:
16 Sep 2020 02:54
...

Yeah, I was responding to a question about US rearming happening earlier in the 30s.
Most scenarios with that have a activist US, which leads to waiving away WWII as we know it. But going with the war as we know it, and 1920s size Army in 1938 might be able to field something significant in France in 1940.
The US Army was significantly larger in the 1920s than in the 1930s?
Here are a few bits of information on the interwar US Army.

https://history.army.mil/html/bookshelv ... t/tiy.html

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/t ... ars-1919-1

https://www.histclo.com/essay/war/swc/f ... a-iwy.html

This one has the nominal strength of the US military by branch by year. It shows clearly of the fiscally conservative Administrations and Congress reduced the Army from 1920 through 1932. I'm unsure where the increase of the Roosevelt years was placed, tho I suspect the Air Corps saw the largest expansion in personnel. While the ground forces were reduced in organization & men the Air Corps was nominally increased in organization or units. 1925-1938. By 1930 the Army ground forces were no longer a attending operational force, but a training cadre with some very good officer schools.

https://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Stat ... 9-1997.htm

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7720
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 19 Sep 2020 16:23

Richard Anderson wrote:
19 Sep 2020 00:12
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
18 Sep 2020 03:37
My back of the envelope calculations suggest there could have been three corps in the AEF, of six to seven divisions.
I am curious what you have on the back of your envelope Carl? :D I can only repeat what I said earlier, in terms of an expeditionary force it could only have been similar to those expeditionary forces actually deployed. After all, the effective mobilization of the American Army began in spring 1940 anyway. The earliest "ready" force would have been the 1st Division, c. spring 1941, followed roughly by the 3d Division, and then the 2d Division. It would be early 1942 before additional divisions were ready for deployment. The only way to possibly accelerate that would have been to deploy the NG as federalized, i.e., as "square" divisions, but even then it would have been fall 1941 before the earliest could have deployed.

...
Rich, you appear to be considering combat ready formations. I was not. Basically sending two or three RA divisions and 2-3 NG divisions plus two corps HQ as they existed in September 1939 across the water in the autumn/winter of 1939 & filling them out on the fly with new recruits and reserve officers. Certainly not a trained force. More of color guard or a preparation force to set up for a combat worthy AEF later. How trained they might be by 10 May 1940 varies widely by who is leading them at the top and what priorities they set for training vs logistical preparation. Obviously you don't want to rape the other formations back in the US for cadre, but how much might be safely squeezed out is one of the nuances. Another would be what the Brigade HQ and extra regiment might provide as these divisions are converted to the triangular model. Given their leadership condition early 1939 a extra 10 or 15% of RA officers and NCO means something in terms of subsequent training.

Like I wrote earlier, the state of any AEF is almost meaningless in the larger context. The effect of the USN on any Norwegian campaign, or that and economic considerations for Italy make the significant difference.

What Ive not looked at much is any air component with a hypothetical AEF. P36s & B18s ?

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3232
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Richard Anderson » 19 Sep 2020 17:37

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
19 Sep 2020 15:01
Actually it did. The 1938 budget bill, funding 1939 & 1940 included a hefty amount of money for the War Deprtment. Recruiting the active Army back up to 200,000+ men, increasing the army reserve, committing to production of the B17 & other 'modern' aircraft, production of the M1 Rifle, the M2 howitzer, ect.. ect..
The problem is more complex than simple "will to spend". U.S. revenue FY37 to FY38 increased 20% as the apparent easing of the Depression added to Federal coffers. However, the Great Recession of 1937 reversed the revenue trend, it decreased 7% FY38 to FY39. Nor was there any real interest in the U.S. to use the increased revenues 37 to 38 as expenditures. Both FY 37 and 38 were belt-tightening years by Congress in reaction to the massive spending of 1936 - $8.226-billion - in FY 37 expenditures were $7.580-billion and 38 was just $6.840-billion. It was FY 1939 that saw the first real major increase in Federal expenditure, to $9.141-billion. You caan see that effect in microcosm at the War Department's Army Ordnance Department, which went from a budget of $24,949,076 in FY38 to $112,226,412 in FY39, both years dwarfing the average $11-million expended FY21-37 and the nadir of FY34's $7-million, which was the proximate cause of Ordnance's lack of basic research.
Very likely & about everyone else I've discussed it with has suggested the same. After all this was done in the Great War, sending half trained regiments to France.
It was? I suspect that would be news to Pershing and all the Chiefs of Staff up to and including Marshall, who were there. Ditto to the planners of the PMP.

The 1st Expeditionary Division, which was the first to go, was already substantially organized as Pershing's Mexican Expeditionary Force. Nevertheless, it took the War Department from 24 May 1917, when its organization was directed, to 26 June 1817, to get the first contingent on the wat to France. It was 22 December before the divisional movement was completed. On 5 July 2017, the first contingent moved to the Gondrecourt Training Area and began training with the French 47th Division. The first contingent entered the line 21 October 1917. Thus, 3 months and 13 days. It was 5 February 1918 when the entire division occupied a sector. Thus, 7 months. That is the best case scenario, for a division that was already partly operational.

For another example, the 28th Division, Pennsylvania NG, was called in Federal service 15 July 1917. The first contingent left for France 21 April 1918, 9 months and 6 days later. Its overseas movement ended 11 June 1918. Ten months and 27 days later. The first contingent began training with the British 34th Division at the Lumbres Training Area on 21 May 1918. It was 1 July before a contingent of the division entered the line.
The Brits did the same in 1939-1940 sending undertrained and under equipped 'divisions' to France,
If you are referring to the 2d line territorial divisions, the 12th, 23d, and 46th Divisions were such in name only. They were not under-equipped they were essentially unequipped without division services or artillery. They were essentially three infantry brigades with small arms. Not sure how an American version of those would help, or even why any American Chief of Staff would consent to a similar deployment of American forces.
If the AEF counterattacks Kleist's penetration aggressively - even if clumsily - the British can't/won't abandon the U.S. and will have to turn around and fight. The Belgians are unlikely to capitulate so fast so there's probably threat to the BEF's left flank. Likewise the American air forces are unlikely to abandon France as did the RAF, meaning the RAF likely stays too. Now we have a war for the skies over northeast France, one that a fully committed RAF plus the French/American air forces can win.
Say Kleist still reaches the coast somehow though more damaged than OTL. With 6-7 additional American divisions the pocketed forces should be able to hold Bolougne and Calais. Have the USN shell any German troop concentrations intent on pushing along the coast to constrict the pocket and take the ports. With a fully committed RAF/AAF overhead, and hundreds of American flak barrels available to defend the Channel, we can now do a "Reverse Dunkirk," using all available means to send supplies and reinforcements to the pocket rather than to evacuate it.

The Germans can't quickly eliminate the reinforced, well-supplied pocket so all they've gained is ground. American forces keep swelling, Italy doesn't enter. Fall Rot can't be launched with a strong enemy to its rear. The W.Allies might start driving Germany back in '41. [/quote]

That's pretty imaginative. :D
Theres so many variables here one can propose ten likely scenarios, or more. The one I've examined had the bulk of the AEF positioned south of Rheims as part of the strategic reserve, some token units training in the 'line' and a a couple of divisions and corps units scattered in groups from Calais to Norway.
Unfortunately, the most likely scenario is that the U.S. would do nothing of the sort.
So there weren't enough stamps, letters, and lists lying around? It's easy to think of a solution which results in more than enough men reporting for training on an emergency basis.
No, there weren't. Try reading any basic history of the draft.
OTL the mobilization that started in 1940 was not able to take in masses of draftees of volunteers for several months. Shelter, kitchens, hospitals, transportation, school rooms, clothing, had to be organized. OTL it took over eight months to organize a 'Army' or 1.5 million+ men, & training/equipment was no where complete in December 1941. Inducting one million underemployed men can be done, but then what? They sit around in improvised camps getting sick during the winter of 1939-1940? A look at the mobilization of 1917-1918 suggests where the limits are there.
Actually, the masses of draftees created the facilities, usually by renovating the remnants of the Great War camps, and bitched mightily while doing so. Anyway, yes a "look at the mobilization of 1917-1918 suggests where the limits are", but it requires an actual dive into those events, rather than an impressionistic and possibly wishful view of them. The "army" of the 1939 Plattsburg maneuvers or Louisiana-Texas maneuvers of 1940 well illustrate what you would get.
"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”