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.
User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1575
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 » 20 Sep 2020 07:55

Carl Schwamberger wrote:I seriously doubt the French would commit a badly undertrained AEF to any role in the Dyle plan. Hence my proposition any such would be deployed in central France, among the Poles and other formations late mobilized & set to training activities. The USN & stray units might contribute to the Channel coast pocket, but I can't see a likely mechanism for the AEF arriving there.
Seems like at least a division or two of the AEF could have been brought up to snuff. Given American character and assertiveness in WW2 and their political leverage, seems likely that at least those forces would feature in the main move. The other American forces, if used in "quiet sectors," would free up French forces for the main move (Dyle Plan or its substitute), strengthening the pocket.
Richard Anderson wrote:BTW, the Atlantic "fleet" on 1 October 1939 was Ranger, three old BB, (BATDIV 5), five CA (CRUDIV 7), and three destroyers squadrons...with 37 four-pipers, all twenty-odd years old.
There's a canal for that.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:Actually it did.
Right but obviously not to a "there's a world war coming" degree.
Carl Schwamberger wrote: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.
The problem with this ATL is we don't know when/why it starts. Does populist isolationism (right and left) suddenly disappear in a cloud of pixie dust in 1939? Does Hitler insult baseball and apple pie in a speech in 1937?

If the U.S. enters the war in '39 with its OTL culture/politics unaltered, we know from history that it would favor a tech/capital-heavy approach light on exposure to human losses. That might not be enough to save France...

If we're looking at this purely as a hindsight exercise, would it have been better to send tens of thousands of under-trained American boys to their deaths to stop Hitler before the Seine in 1940 and kill him by '42? Almost certainly yes.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:Theres so many variables here one can propose ten likely scenarios, or more.
Yes indeed. Debating those different scenarios is, IMO, the least fruitful part of alternate history even if sometimes interesting/fun. We can say confidently that WW2 would have been shorter and less ghastly had America got off its *ss earlier. That's clear from the high-level fundamentals. Those fundamentals don't dictate a specific course for the war though.

antwony
Member
Posts: 181
Joined: 30 Jun 2016 09:14
Location: Not at that place

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

Post by antwony » 21 Sep 2020 12:45

Richard Anderson wrote:
19 Sep 2020 22:26
No more than the survivors of the 77 P-35 delivered to the AAC by August 1938. The 60 P-35A were production for Sweden seized by the US, 60 of them, but from 1 June 1940 onward.
F2A Buffaloes were sent to Finland very early 1940. They could be kept hold of. Presumably the USN and USMC had trained on them. There could be a couple of dozen operational USMC Buffaloes in France, May 1940. Since this thread seems borderline fantastical, we may as well give them F4F's too.

The British got a couple of hundred French 25mm AT guns and they'd already introduced the 2 pounder. It'd be a bit much to expect American 37mm AT and AA guns before 1940. So, maybe the French could augment the US 75mm 1916's which I guess would have been your "antitank" gun of the time.

AA guns would be a bigger problem. Maybe the Swiss, Poles (get that order in quick) or Swede's could help out. 50 cal's would be of some use.

Simliar to someone's (sorry I forget who) suggestion here that it may have been better for the greater good that America gave it's modern air frames to the more highly trained French airforce, maybe the French could give you some of their tanks. From what I remember, they never put all their FT-17's into service, and you had them for training. Whether that would be better than nothing is, I suppose, a valid debate.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Sep 2020 07:55
If we're looking at this purely as a hindsight exercise, would it have been better to send tens of thousands of under-trained American boys to their deaths to stop Hitler before the Seine in 1940 and kill him by '42? Almost certainly yes.
To quote someone's reply to you from another thread you're involved in. In regards to America being able to stop the German's before the Meuse in 1940.
Peter89 wrote:
19 Sep 2020 09:21
It would be a miracle on square, and it's more like fantasy than a what if scenario.
America would have to massively rearm far earlier than they did for it to be plausible.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3246
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 » 21 Sep 2020 15:37

antwony wrote:
21 Sep 2020 12:45
F2A Buffaloes were sent to Finland very early 1940. They could be kept hold of. Presumably the USN and USMC had trained on them. There could be a couple of dozen operational USMC Buffaloes in France, May 1940. Since this thread seems borderline fantastical, we may as well give them F4F's too.
Um, only 8 or 9 F2A-1 were completed by the end of 1938. Only 6 were delivered to Finland before the end of the Winter War. The 43 diverted to Finland was because the Navy authorized the transfer, given they wanted the F2A-2 instead. Given the Navy didn't want them and the Finns needed them, why should the actual history change?

By the end of April 1940, 83 F4F-1 were completed.
The British got a couple of hundred French 25mm AT guns and they'd already introduced the 2 pounder. It'd be a bit much to expect American 37mm AT and AA guns before 1940. So, maybe the French could augment the US 75mm 1916's which I guess would have been your "antitank" gun of the time.
The antitank gun would have been the 75mm "M2", which was the M1897 on a modern carriage...83 conversions were complete...in the first half of 1940.
AA guns would be a bigger problem. Maybe the Swiss, Poles (get that order in quick) or Swede's could help out. 50 cal's would be of some use.
Indeed, by the end of 1939, something like 16 37mm AA M1 were completed and perhaps another 120 or so in the first half of 1940.
Simliar to someone's (sorry I forget who) suggestion here that it may have been better for the greater good that America gave it's modern air frames to the more highly trained French airforce, maybe the French could give you some of their tanks. From what I remember, they never put all their FT-17's into service, and you had them for training. Whether that would be better than nothing is, I suppose, a valid debate.
I always find hindsight-driven "greater good" arguments fascinating. They all apparently presume the greater good they perceive now was also easily perceived then, and by all parties. :roll:

Anyway, where does the presumption that the French had these large numbers of tanks laying about ready to turn over to Americans come from? I would have to wonder why then the French sent commissioners to the U.S. to discuss augmenting French tank production with American production?
To quote someone's reply to you from another thread you're involved in. In regards to America being able to stop the German's before the Meuse in 1940.
Peter89 wrote:
19 Sep 2020 09:21
It would be a miracle on square, and it's more like fantasy than a what if scenario.
America would have to massively rearm far earlier than they did for it to be plausible.
The inability to discern the difference between fantasy and reality is the chief shortcoming of the inveterate and indiscriminate what-iffers.
"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: 1575
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 » 21 Sep 2020 16:17

Richard Anderson wrote:The inability to discern the difference between fantasy and reality is the chief shortcoming of the inveterate and indiscriminate what-iffers.
The inability to discriminate between indiscriminate and valid historical contingency is a hallmark of Richard's personal crusade against What If's that he doesn't like. This thread has a perfect example:
Richard Anderson wrote:BTW, the Atlantic "fleet" on 1 October 1939 was Ranger, three old BB, (BATDIV 5), five CA (CRUDIV 7), and three destroyers squadrons...with 37 four-pipers, all twenty-odd years old.
If only a man [had] a plan [for] a canal [in] Panama - say 40 or so years before the OTL contingency. That would allow augmenting the Atlantic "Fleet" with ease or vice versa. Almost palindromic flexibility.

To state What Was isn't sufficient to do history. One needs to say Why, which implies causation, which implies a counterfactual absent the but-for cause. As one devastating review of Richard's favorite source on the Battle of the Atlantic reminds us, "History is not the near-exhaustive gathering of facts into a narrative."

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=248298&p=2264578&h ... r#p2264578

paulrward
Member
Posts: 444
Joined: 10 Dec 2008 20:14

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

Post by paulrward » 21 Sep 2020 18:50

Hello All :

As for the United States entering into the War in 1939-1940 to help save France, while the condition of
the U.S. Army was not good, it was also not as terrible as might be expected.

If you go to :

https://history.army.mil/documents/wwii ... 20Measures

You can quickly see that the U.S. Army could call on some 125,000 regulars, nearly 200,000 National Guard Troops,
and there were also about 100,000 U.S. Army Reserve that could be activated. This gives you, assuming a 50%
activation of the Guard and Reserves, about 275,000 pairs of boots that could be put on the ground in France.


If you go to :

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/697844.pdf

You can see the various organizations of the U.S. Army Divisions. Now, the USA was starting to go from the
'Square' division of some 20,000+ men to the smaller, more nimble ' Triangular' divisions, which numbered
about 13,000.

Assuming the Army does the smart thing, ( Not necessarily a given, considering that almost every serving
senior U.S. Army Officer has spent the last 20 years polishing his butt cheeks on a swivel chair ) this means
you could put together something on the order of 20 Triangular Infantry Divisions, or six Corp of three Divisions
each and two Divisions left over. You could round up the National Guard Units, go through them in terms
of a quick and dirty Org Study, and put them together into triangular Guard Divisions, much like the AEF did in
WW1 with the Rainbow Division. A lot of these guys are overaged and out of shape, but compared to the
French and British Army Regular Soldiers, they are almost like SS Stormtroopers.....

If you gathered up all of the WW1 Vintage Mk VIII Heavy Tanks, all of the Renault FT17 / M1917 Light Tanks,
and all of the M1 and M2 Combat Cars and Light Tanks, you could probably get a total of about 250 tanks
of all sorts, to make an extremely ad hoc and extemporized Tank Division. The Tanks would need a paint
overhaul and a lot of engine and tranny maintenance, but nothing that couldn't be done on a rush basis
in the U.S., providing you lit a fire under a few officers and some contractors.

If you gatherered up every available 2 1/2 ton truck and half track, and put a bunch of 75mm M2s ( the
1897s with the rubber tired carriages ) behind them on tow hitches, you could probably mechanize the two
leftover Infantry Divisions from the above 20 divisions, and make them Mechanized Infantry to accompany the Armored Tank Division.

This gives you six Infantry Corps of three straight leg Infantry Divisions each, plus a Mechanized Corp of
a Tank Division and two Mech Infantry Divisions. Now, these men would be wearing Pie Pan helmets, Puttees,
and carrying 1903 Springfield Rifles, along with BARs, M1917 Machine Guns, and their artillery would be horse
drawn 75mm M1897s, but a quarter of a million soldiers is still worth something.

As has been proposed by Mr. TheMarcksPlan, they could be used in quiet sectors, or alternatively, they
could be held as a vast ' Armee de Reserve ', and, as the German attack developed, they could be put into
the line in front of it, stiffening French resistance and slowing the German Blitzkrieg just long enough for
the Allies to get their lines set up and turn the war into a repeat of 1914-1918.

If you halt Hitler in 1940, the wheels come off the Axis little red wagon in a BIGGLY way !


As for USAAC, if the U.S. goes into high gear in September, 1939, the Curtiss factory ramps up production
of the Hawk 75 / P36 massively. This means on the order of 150 new fighters per month from the beginning
of 1940. Add to this the Northrop A17 attack planes, that you also step up production of, and the Douglas
B-18 Medium Bomber ( A waste of space, but better than nothing ) and you have a very good suite of radial
engined aircraft capable of defensive CAP over the U.S. forces, and equally able to perform some offensive
strikes against the oncoming German Schwerpunkt.

Finally, there is the B-17..... Yes, you could put together a strike group of about 40 B-17As and B-17Bs, and,
starting in March and April, start doing high altitude night missions from France into Germany. Each B-17
would carry a ton of bombs, equally mixed between 250 lb high explosives and incendiaries, and begin
targeting German Cities in a terror campaign to discredit Hitler. Consider: Forty B-17s, dropping 320
bombs per night, from 25,000 feet over Berlin, FOR A WEEK ! Goering would never recover !



The NEW AEF would have to be transported over the Atlantic, and the best way is to commandeer every
available U.S. Flagged, French Flagged, and British Flagged Ocean Liner, and convert them into high speed
Troopships in the way that the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary were during WW2. Aircraft could be either
flown to Europe in the case of the B-17s, or shipped over in parts ( B-18s ), or flight decked across, in the
case of the P-36s and A-17s. You could keep the Enterprise and Yorktown in the Paciic, while using the
Lexington, Saratoga, Ranger, Bearn, Eagle, and Hermes as aircraft ferries.

I'll bet you could even put together a Marine Corps Division, and send them over, too.

Everything considered, you might not be able to prevent or defeat an invasion, but you could stop it
dead in it's tracks, and that would give the U.S. Industry time to ramp up and step on Germany by
the end of 1942.



" So beware, Over There,
Send the Word to Beware Over There
Cos the Yanks are comin',
The Yanks are comin',
and We're gonna Strap Hitler
in the CHAIR over there ! "


Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
Information not shared, is information lost
Voices banned, are voices who cannot share information....

User avatar
T. A. Gardner
Member
Posts: 2214
Joined: 02 Feb 2006 00:23
Location: Arizona

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

Post by T. A. Gardner » 21 Sep 2020 20:25

paulrward wrote:
21 Sep 2020 18:50
As for USAAC, if the U.S. goes into high gear in September, 1939, the Curtiss factory ramps up production
of the Hawk 75 / P36 massively. This means on the order of 150 new fighters per month from the beginning
of 1940. Add to this the Northrop A17 attack planes, that you also step up production of, and the Douglas
B-18 Medium Bomber ( A waste of space, but better than nothing ) and you have a very good suite of radial
engined aircraft capable of defensive CAP over the U.S. forces, and equally able to perform some offensive
strikes against the oncoming German Schwerpunkt.

Finally, there is the B-17..... Yes, you could put together a strike group of about 40 B-17As and B-17Bs, and,
starting in March and April, start doing high altitude night missions from France into Germany. Each B-17
would carry a ton of bombs, equally mixed between 250 lb high explosives and incendiaries, and begin
targeting German Cities in a terror campaign to discredit Hitler. Consider: Forty B-17s, dropping 320
bombs per night, from 25,000 feet over Berlin, FOR A WEEK ! Goering would never recover !

Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
I'll just address the USAAC for now.

Curtiss isn't suddenly going to build huge new numbers of P-36, particularly as the USAAC has the Hawk 82 (aka P-40) about to enter production. They would up orders on those with the first being delivered in early to mid 1940 (May historically).

The A-17 is obsolescent at best. The USAAC knows that. They would want the DB-7 / A-20 instead. Douglas is already building this plane and had production going in 1939. By the end of 1939 the USAAC might have had close to 100 available, but training the pilots and crew on them, along with needed modifications would have kept them in the US through at least mid 1940 for the most part. You might get a squadron overseas by the first half of 1940.

The B-17 is going to be problematic. In 1939, the USAAC doesn't have extensive experience flying these at high altitudes in places like Europe. When the British tried using a few B-17A and B (Fortress I) bombers operationally in late 1940 they ran into all sorts of issues flying at high altitudes in the plane. Icing was an issue. Decompression, frostbite, and other issues occurred with high altitude flight. Guns and gun mounts (US .50 Brownings) froze up. The turbochargers had issues running at high altitude that bench trials didn't discover. Cloud cover often obscured targets. The wiring in the plane tended to fail at high altitude requiring a redesign of the insulation used.

The USAAC might try day attacks from 25,000 to 30,000 feet with these planes but flying at night and finding a target is out of the question. The USAAC lacks the quality of navigators and navigation equipment to do this operationally. So, it is unlikely that the B-17, available in maybe squadron strength, would prove some highly effective bomber. Rather, it would be a handful of planes with serious issues struggling to make some real impact on events.

Also, the politics of bombing Berlin in 1939 - 40 is very much open to debate. The British would likely say "NO!" to that idea and the French might do likewise on the basis they don't want London or Paris bombed in retaliation. The US would have to go along with that political outcome. The B-17 would do a bit better flying at 20,000 to 25,000 feet used as an operational bomber but the USAAC would likely balk at such employment.
You might see the B-23 pushed into production at a higher rate as a gap filler. It's better than the B-18, but that's not saying much. On the whole, it is better than much of what the British or French are putting up as bombers so, it would probably be acceptable.

The B-23 given more defensive armament, and having slightly more power versions of the engines used would at least be competitive with other European bombers of 1940 and a decent stop-gap until something better is in service. Historically, the USAAC had 38 of these by the beginning of 1940 but the crews would still be in training at that time. You might have a squadron in service by May 1940 that could be deployed, and in a wartime scenario like this one, possibly--possibly--a second that had gotten to France shortly before May.

I really doubt that the USAAC could field in France more than about 100 to 150 aircraft by mid-1940. As I suggested, a fighter group with P-36, a bomber group of mixed B-18 and B-23, a squadron of B-17, and a group with A-17 attack planes all supported by some observation types. It would be tough for the US to keep even that much flying in operational combat long.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7724
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 » 21 Sep 2020 20:46

T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Sep 2020 20:25
...

I'll just address the USAAC for now.

Curtiss isn't suddenly going to build huge new numbers of P-36, particularly as the USAAC has the Hawk 82 (aka P-40) about to enter production. They would up orders on those with the first being delivered in early to mid 1940 (May historically).
I wonder how large the French orders for the Hawk 75 were. This was their idea of a P36, same airframe but different details from the AAC version.
They would want the DB-7 / A-20 instead. Douglas is already building this plane and had production going in 1939. By the end of 1939 the USAAC might have had close to 100 available, but training the pilots and crew on them, along with needed modifications would have kept them in the US through at least mid 1940 for the most part. You might get a squadron overseas by the first half of 1940.
In June the assembly plant for the French version of the DB-7 was completed in Algeria. The components were still made in the US. Again I don't know how many had been ordered. The assembly site for the M-167 in Morocco was operating & France had a few hundred of these in combat in June & later in July. I suspect if we dig to the bottom of this we will find a lot of aircraft being built that winter & spring, more than one might think. That probably does not change the operational numbers in battle May-June, but it does cause me to consider a significant change in the historical course. With the US directly involved theres going to be a alteration in both specs for aircraft ordered The USAAC & the French air force may make a effort to rationalize distribution, and reduce the difference in similar aircraft models, like the Hawk 75/P36.


The B-17 is going to be problematic.
Like everything else in the AEF any deployment of a B17 squadron would be as much propaganda & 'experiment' as operational.
Also, the politics of bombing Berlin in 1939 - 40 is very much open to debate.
As the campaign progressed the French did send a heavy bomber or two to Berlin. With Rotterdam in flames on the fifth day of the campaign the prevention of a "Bombing War" was a dead issue. Rotterdam was not unique. The bomber group that was waived off went to their alternate target and killed civilians there. But yes, a dozen B17 are going to be insignificant in the larger picture.

User avatar
T. A. Gardner
Member
Posts: 2214
Joined: 02 Feb 2006 00:23
Location: Arizona

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

Post by T. A. Gardner » 21 Sep 2020 21:40

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Sep 2020 20:46
I wonder how large the French orders for the Hawk 75 were. This was their idea of a P36, same airframe but different details from the AAC version.
Other than metric instruments in French, the Hawk 75's were armed with 4 or 6 7.5mm FN Browning machineguns rather than the 2 x .50 2 x .30 that US versions got. The French placed their first order in May 1938 for 100 Hawk 75A-1 (4 MG). A second for 100 was placed in February 1939 for the A-2 version (4 MG). That was immediately followed by an order for 135 A-3 (6 MG). The French received 291 Hawk 75 total before their collapse.

I could see some of this converted to USAAC standards / production in this scenario, but the planes would likely mostly end up still in the US for training rather than being deployed. Keeping 40 P-36 flying in France would require something like 10 to 15 additional planes delivered each month as replacements, possibly as many as 20 if in heavy combat. That'd eat into production pretty heavily.
In June the assembly plant for the French version of the DB-7 was completed in Algeria. The components were still made in the US. Again I don't know how many had been ordered. The assembly site for the M-167 in Morocco was operating & France had a few hundred of these in combat in June & later in July. I suspect if we dig to the bottom of this we will find a lot of aircraft being built that winter & spring, more than one might think. That probably does not change the operational numbers in battle May-June, but it does cause me to consider a significant change in the historical course. With the US directly involved theres going to be a alteration in both specs for aircraft ordered The USAAC & the French air force may make a effort to rationalize distribution, and reduce the difference in similar aircraft models, like the Hawk 75/P36.
The USAAC had rejected the Martin 167 (XA-22) in favor of the DB 7 / A-20. That left Martin free to export it. So, I doubt the USAAC would have taken any into service. The French had received 140 167A-3 by June 1940 out of 215 ordered. I could see the DB-7 plant being taken over by the US for assembly of their aircraft in this situation leaving the French free to buy the 167 instead. This would still leave the USAAC needing aircraft in the US in large numbers to train pilots and crew on before they were sent to operational units.

Like everything else in the AEF any deployment of a B17 squadron would be as much propaganda & 'experiment' as operational.
Yes, that would factor into it. Having a dozen B-17 in France would be of definite propaganda value.
As the campaign progressed the French did send a heavy bomber or two to Berlin. With Rotterdam in flames on the fifth day of the campaign the prevention of a "Bombing War" was a dead issue. Rotterdam was not unique. The bomber group that was waived off went to their alternate target and killed civilians there. But yes, a dozen B17 are going to be insignificant in the larger picture.
Yes, but mostly for the propaganda value. It is even doubtful these actually found the city correctly and bombed it.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7724
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 » 21 Sep 2020 21:55

T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Sep 2020 21:40
...
Yes, but mostly for the propaganda value. It is even doubtful these actually found the city correctly and bombed it.
They did. Goebbles news team told the public the Searchlights & AAA fires were a training drill, and damage & deaths were from a gas explosion. Being Berlin everyone knew otherwise. https://www.historynet.com/target-berli ... apital.htm

On paper it would make more sense to send the bulk of the Curtis fighter production to the French, as they had a large pool of trained pilots who could quickly reequip operational groups. The slower production of the bombers would mostly go to the US which had a smaller pilot & training base in 1939. Of course that requires foresight in anticipating a all out air battle in 1940, & probably other practical considerations.

User avatar
T. A. Gardner
Member
Posts: 2214
Joined: 02 Feb 2006 00:23
Location: Arizona

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

Post by T. A. Gardner » 22 Sep 2020 00:11

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
21 Sep 2020 21:55
T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Sep 2020 21:40
...
Yes, but mostly for the propaganda value. It is even doubtful these actually found the city correctly and bombed it.
They did. Goebbles news team told the public the Searchlights & AAA fires were a training drill, and damage & deaths were from a gas explosion. Being Berlin everyone knew otherwise. https://www.historynet.com/target-berli ... apital.htm
Yes a single "bomber" converted from a commercial transport plane made a single attack. The crew was skilled at long range navigation (as you might expect), and it was a one off attack of no military value.

Image
On paper it would make more sense to send the bulk of the Curtis fighter production to the French, as they had a large pool of trained pilots who could quickly reequip operational groups. The slower production of the bombers would mostly go to the US which had a smaller pilot & training base in 1939. Of course that requires foresight in anticipating a all out air battle in 1940, & probably other practical considerations.
Not only that but the USAAC wanted to switch to the P-40 anyway so giving away an "obsolescent" fighter would make sense in any case.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7724
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 » 22 Sep 2020 01:28

T. A. Gardner wrote:
22 Sep 2020 00:11
...

Yes a single "bomber" converted from a commercial transport plane made a single attack. The crew was skilled at long range navigation (as you might expect), and it was a one off attack of no military value. ...
Its symbolic of the fact that a bombing war was under way. The Germans were busy burning cities west of the Rhine in May & the French attacked with one bomber because thats all that could be used. If there had been 1000 heavy bombers to send to Berlin Reynaud would have approved it, and I doubt Weygand or any other general would have objected.

If there were a demonstration squadron of B17s present they'd probably been used to attack Meause river bridges or something from 6200 meters altitude :roll:

BTW. The French bomber had no trouble finding its target. Berlin was not blacked out. The pilot oriented on the Templehof airfield & then spotted the nearby Seimens factory campus which was his target.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3246
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 » 23 Sep 2020 00:54

T. A. Gardner wrote:
21 Sep 2020 21:40
I could see some of this converted to USAAC standards / production in this scenario, but the planes would likely mostly end up still in the US for training rather than being deployed. Keeping 40 P-36 flying in France would require something like 10 to 15 additional planes delivered each month as replacements, possibly as many as 20 if in heavy combat. That'd eat into production pretty heavily.
The question is what degree of desperation would lead the AAC in accepting the Curtiss Model 75R that they had rejected after trials in January 1939? That is why they chose the Seversky XP-41...before reversing themselves again on 26 April 1939 when they dropped it and instead went with the Curtiss Model 81/XP-40 and rejecting the Lockheed XP-38, the Bell XP-39, the Curtiss, H75R and XP-42, and the Seversky XP-41 and XP-43. You need another POD on 26 April 1939 if you want the AAC to continue with the P-36/Model 75R.

I would speculate that this indecision and anxiety over the known inability of Curtiss to make good on deliveries would feed into any AAC input to the White House on the advisability of going to war. And nothing much had changed by early 1940, the first flight of the P-40 was 4 April 1940 and the first service deliveries were in June, so too little, too late to equip an AAF Expeditionary Squadron deployed to France in the first half of 1940.
In June the assembly plant for the French version of the DB-7 was completed in Algeria. The components were still made in the US. Again I don't know how many had been ordered.
The French ordered 100 DB-7B on 15 February 1939 and another 170 in October. The first flew 17 August 1939 and the first delivery was in October. A total of 187 of the 270 were completed by the end of June 1940, of which 64 were delivered to the French and 16 to Belgium before the collapse. Roughly 190 were then delivered to the British who took over the French order and then later added their own orders.
The assembly site for the M-167 in Morocco was operating & France had a few hundred of these in combat in June & later in July.
The French ordered 115 on 26 January 1939 and another 100 in September 1939. The first arrived for assembly at Casablanca 15 December 1939, and 223 arrived by 15 June 1940, of which 182 were assembled, and of those 18 were lost. A third order was made before the Armistice, of which the British took on 50 and then ordered more of their own.
I suspect if we dig to the bottom of this we will find a lot of aircraft being built that winter & spring, more than one might think. That probably does not change the operational numbers in battle May-June, but it does cause me to consider a significant change in the historical course. With the US directly involved theres going to be a alteration in both specs for aircraft ordered The USAAC & the French air force may make a effort to rationalize distribution, and reduce the difference in similar aircraft models, like the Hawk 75/P36.
It remains problematic that all these types were rejected by the AAC, which had already placed orders for preferred types, all long before any "American DOW" could occur in September 1939.
The USAAC had rejected the Martin 167 (XA-22) in favor of the DB 7 / A-20.
The AAC ordered 63 A-20 and 123 A20A on 20 May 1939 and the order was approved 30 June 1939 (Get Your Orders in Spending Any Previous Year Dollars Remaining Before the FY Ends! has long been the motto of US Government agencies) Technically the AAC did not "reject" the M-167, since they bought the prototype as the XA-22...they just didn't accept it. :D However, the first aircraft completed, an A-20A, did not fly until 16 September 1940.
That left Martin free to export it. So, I doubt the USAAC would have taken any into service. The French had received 140 167A-3 by June 1940 out of 215 ordered. I could see the DB-7 plant being taken over by the US for assembly of their aircraft in this situation leaving the French free to buy the 167 instead. This would still leave the USAAC needing aircraft in the US in large numbers to train pilots and crew on before they were sent to operational units.
See above for the corrected numbers of DB-7 on the French order. The aircraft were all built and tested by Douglas, then disassembled, shipped to Casablanca, and reassembled there. Production was still in the US at the Douglas Santa Monica plant until the El Segundo plant began manufacturing them in December 1941.
Yes, that would factor into it. Having a dozen B-17 in France would be of definite propaganda value.
I suspect the same value as having them in the Philippines on 8 December 1941.
Yes, but mostly for the propaganda value. It is even doubtful these actually found the city correctly and bombed it.
: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

User avatar
T. A. Gardner
Member
Posts: 2214
Joined: 02 Feb 2006 00:23
Location: Arizona

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

Post by T. A. Gardner » 24 Sep 2020 02:43

Richard Anderson wrote:
23 Sep 2020 00:54
The question is what degree of desperation would lead the AAC in accepting the Curtiss Model 75R that they had rejected after trials in January 1939? That is why they chose the Seversky XP-41...before reversing themselves again on 26 April 1939 when they dropped it and instead went with the Curtiss Model 81/XP-40 and rejecting the Lockheed XP-38, the Bell XP-39, the Curtiss, H75R and XP-42, and the Seversky XP-41 and XP-43. You need another POD on 26 April 1939 if you want the AAC to continue with the P-36/Model 75R.

:D
That's the original version. I could see the USAAC being pressured into putting a fighter group in France ASAP for political reasons as much as anything. The only viable aircraft they have to do that is the P-36 in 1939, early 1940. The French would likely still be ordering it to supplement their own production so for the USAAC, it would be the best choice of a bunch of bad choices. They would have some degree of compatibility with the French Air Force doing so, along with some easing of supplying spares.
Shoving three fighter squadrons / one group--say about 40 operational planes-- into France using the P-36 would make sense. The plane might be seen as doing something to show the French and British they're in this for real while at the same time the planners tell themselves Well, we really don't expect combat with them and they'll be replaced with something better by then... sort of thinking.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3246
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 » 24 Sep 2020 16:43

T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Sep 2020 02:43
That's the original version. I could see the USAAC being pressured into putting a fighter group in France ASAP for political reasons as much as anything. The only viable aircraft they have to do that is the P-36 in 1939, early 1940.
I think you may be putting too much faith in the P-36A. While the AAC ordered 210 on 7 July 1937, possibly because of how slowly Seversky was delivering the P-35, the P-36A immediately ran into problems in service, requiring various structural redesigns and rebuilds. That led to extended in service deliveries. Joe Baugher gives a good example, "The 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, Michigan, consisting of the 17th, 27th, and 94th Pursuit Squadrons, had also been scheduled in 1938 for conversion to the P-36A. However, this Group was forced to await the efforts being made at Buffalo to wring out the new fighter's problems. In the event, only the 94th Squadron got any P-36As during 1938, operating them along with Seversky P-35s. The 27th Squadron received a few P-36As during early 1939, but neither the 27th nor the 94th Squadron ever got a full complement of P-36As, the balance being made up by Seversky P-35s. The 17th Squadron never got ANY P-36s, their strength being made up solely of P-35s." In the end, I believe only the 8th Pursuit Group at Langley was ever fully equipped with the P-36A, so it would likely be the one tapped for an expeditionary force.

By late 1939 the P-36A was already being relegated to training groups.
The French would likely still be ordering it to supplement their own production so for the USAAC, it would be the best choice of a bunch of bad choices. They would have some degree of compatibility with the French Air Force doing so, along with some easing of supplying spares.
Shoving three fighter squadrons / one group--say about 40 operational planes-- into France using the P-36 would make sense. The plane might be seen as doing something to show the French and British they're in this for real while at the same time the planners tell themselves Well, we really don't expect combat with them and they'll be replaced with something better by then... sort of thinking.
If Curtiss fills the French orders, then it isn't going to fulfill any additional Air Corps orders, which means that the 8th Pursuit Group and partially equipped 1st Pursuit Group, with aircraft approaching a year and a half in service would be it until P-40 production.
"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

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 7724
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 » 24 Sep 2020 18:16

We have rolled in the weeds considerably on the subject of the possible composition of a AEF. there may be more to say on that, but there were other questions in the OP.

Folks have touched on the question of Italian entry as a German ally, or non alliance/participation. & the question of Htlers next course of action; attack th USSR in 1941, or...? Both are worth a bit more consideration if anyone has any fresh insights and historical information.

Then there is this one:
Futurist wrote:
10 Jan 2020 08:42
... Also, how do the Allies plan to get back into Western Europe?

Return to “What if”