Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

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Dark Age
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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Dark Age » 06 Sep 2020 20:18

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Sep 2020 06:46

I don't buy the argument the Soviets were that much better on defense, nor the relevance of distant history like the Seven Years or Napoleonic Wars. If we go by the latter then the Germans (Prussians) don't understand how to beat the French except in a grand coalition. The Soviet defensive record contains volumes of futility.
Ok, I admit I am overly-condescending to the Russians and their ability to wage offensive war. Objective evidence for Russian offensive failure will have to be its historical poor performance in 1941-1942. We know the Red Army got its ass kicked in 1941 on the defense/counter-attack and there is little doubt it would get its ass kicked on the offense (attacking Germany) in 1941. Spiritual aspects make this hypothetical defeat more troubling to me
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Sep 2020 06:46

If Germany commits 20 divisions to Turkey that's nearly a whole army group (AGN had 28). The Turkish fight requires LW and logistical support, with attendant fuel, that wasn't abundant for the Heer.
True. Depends on when the Soviet's strike though. If they strike before the Germans cross into Asia Minor, the German strength will be more formidable as their armies aren't engaged. After, then yes, the Eastern Heer would be weakened. Germany's aims might be more modest though which can (unintentionally mind you) work to Germany's advantage.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Sep 2020 06:46

Meanwhile Stalin would not simply declare war the day the Germans invade. He'd buy time via negotiation, assemble his forces and, say a couple months later, the Germans would heavily outnumbered on their front. Just in OTL, the Germans were cooked beyond a certain force ratio disadvantage.
You mean Stalin would launch a sneak attack (or at least declare war and appear to stab Germany in the back)? Nothing helps assure a Soviet defeat (in the war, not just in battle) than giving Nazi Germany (of all countries) moral superiority (or hell, even just moral parity). The spiritual advantage is lost. After initial setbacks, "Defend Holy Mother Russia" becomes "Should we even be fighting for Turkey? For Stalin?".
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Sep 2020 06:46

I don't see RKKA pushing the Germans back much/any and, sure, there'd be the occasional offensive catastrophe like Kharkov '42. But compared to >3mil prisoners captured? It takes a lot of Kharkovs to get there. The mere non-evacuation of industries pushes the material avalanche forward several months. Add to that 50% higher production and by ATL '42 the Soviet steamroller starts moving from near its 1945 starting line.
The German's not going farther into Russia might work to their advantage though (logistically) or they might get farther than you think. Germany in September-October 1941 should of had the modesty to stop advancing in Russia and set up a defensive winter-line. Instead they kept driving towards Moscow (straining their logistics) which resulted in exhaustion and large casualties when the Red Army counter-attacked in Dec 1941 and early 1942. In this scenario, they actually might be forced to stop at a Smolensk-Kiev Line or something similar.
Last edited by Dark Age on 06 Sep 2020 21:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Dark Age » 06 Sep 2020 20:46

Sid Guttridge wrote:
06 Sep 2020 10:13
Hi Dark Age,

You post, "Furthermore, we cannot base what-ifs solely on rationality because humans don't behave rationally."

If "What-Ifs" aren't based in some sort of plausible historical reality, they are merely fantasy.


Sid.
Barbarossa (German Invasion of the Soviet Union, 1941, which actually happened) was a fantasy. This is true even when ignoring the fact that the Germans invaded as exterminators, which exponentially increased resistance. In 1940-1941, any intelligent strategist would just assume the Red Army would retreat in the event of a German invasion as they (the Russians) did in 1812 when Napoleon invaded (making cauldron battles impossible). In fact, that is exactly what the Red Army did in 1942 when the Germans launched Operation Blue (Case Blue, Fall Blau). As one member said in another thread, any plan that doesn't consider the worst possible scenario is worthless (what can go wrong will).

You don't want to assume the worst case scenario (that the Germans are a tad smarter). Avoid Russia, bribe Turkey with oil and head for the Middle East (attack Russia later or realize you need to provoke the Russians to attack you to achieve cauldron battles).
Sid Guttridge wrote:
06 Sep 2020 10:13

What are you proposing the Axis or Allies offer Turkey that might lead it to joining one camp or the other?
What would tempt Turkey to join the Allies (second scenario)? You mean other than the fact the Germans are shooting at them?
Last edited by Dark Age on 06 Sep 2020 21:18, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Dark Age » 06 Sep 2020 21:06

Peter89 wrote:
06 Sep 2020 11:36


Well enough, and the infrastructure was kept intact by the Vichy French government and the Iraqi rebels, there were pipelines between Kirkuk and the Mediterran east coast ports (Tripoli and Haifa), where terminals were ready to ship the oil. The hasty and stupid Italian entry into the world war ensured that the best part of the Italian merchant fleet stuck outside of native ports, and the Axis simply did not have the means to transport the oil from the ME to the industrial heartland of the Reich. However, it was possible to support a number of mechanized troops in the ME.

Oddly enough, the world's oil production in 1940 was overwhelmingly US-based, and in general, based on the Americas. The US produced some 62+% of the world's oil production, and the Americas the 77+%. So taking the ME oil for Axis doesn't mean that the Wallies will have no oil. (Taking the Caucasus oilfields does not mean that the SU will have no oil either.) As long as the Wallies could control the seas, they could run their economies with little to no trouble. Asia had like 3.5+% share, Europe 2.5+%, the ME/NA about 5.5+%, and the SU about 10+%.
Thank you for this helpful post. I heard Mediterranean/Middle East what-if scenarios before, but no one ever mentions how rich (in oil) the Middle East was in 1940-1941 (meaning how much oil was known/discovered) which would influence the belligerent powers to attack/defend it. If people (and Hitler) didn't know it was there, then they wouldn't know that they (and he) should seize it.

And the issue isn't just how much oil is denied to the Allies, it is also how much more oil is granted to the Axis powers by Middle East occupation.

Peter89 wrote:
06 Sep 2020 11:36
Turkish neutrality didn't need to be given up, they did not need to be occupied, the Germans needed something like the agreements with neutral Sweden. And make no mistake, had the Germans put more pressure on the matter, the Turks would have given in, just as they allowed a train full of weapons through Turkish territory (a strange byproduct of the railway lines in the region). Besides, Germans could have landed any number of troops via air or land to the rebelling Iraqis or to the Vichy French territories, but they didn't, mostly because they didn't have a strategy for that region, but also because they didn't have the means.
Saying they could have landed troops but didn't have the means is a contradiction. Anyway, wouldn't access through Asia Minor (with Turkey as an ally or occupied) give Germany the means?

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Sid Guttridge » 07 Sep 2020 00:16

Hi Dark Age,

The premise of this thread is that the Turks "join" the Axis or Allies, not that they are attacked by either.

This being so, we need incentives for them to "join" either side.

What are they?

Until this is answered, the entire thread lacks firm foundations.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Sep 2020 01:43

Dark Age wrote:
06 Sep 2020 21:06
...
Thank you for this helpful post. I heard Mediterranean/Middle East what-if scenarios before, but no one ever mentions how rich (in oil) the Middle East was in 1940-1941 (meaning how much oil was known/discovered) ....
Whats usually discussed the few times its taken seriously, is how little actual extraction there was, and the limits on export transportation. Take a hard look at how much a month could realistically be moved from Mosul to Germany and compare that with the requirements of the greater Reich. Not just for military operations in the field, but for industrial purposes. To properly exploit occupied Europes industrial potential energy imports comparable to those of 1938 or later was necessary. Germany did have a surfeit of coal, but that was largely low btu soft brown coal. On paper there were large reserves of coal and oil within Germanys reach, but at the realistic production capacity of war crippled Europe that potential won't be realized in 1942 or even 1945. Post war it took the combined peacetime industrial capacity of Europe and the US to reach the energy exploitation levels of 1955. Maybe Germany can reach the levels it needs on its own through some sort of ten year plan. But, importing decisive levels of oil in a year or two is not realistic.

One of the problems the German administrators arriving in Mosul would contend with is the transport system was aimed south. Excepting the vulnerable pipeline diverting to the Levant the transport is set up to carry the oil south to Abadan & nowhere else. What are the physical requirements for taking the oil out of the storage tanks (assuming any are intact) & getting it to refineries somewhere in Europe?

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by paulrward » 07 Sep 2020 02:02

Hello All :

Mr. Sid Guttridge stated :
The premise of this thread is that the Turks "join" the Axis or Allies,
not that they are attacked by either.
This being so, we need incentives for them to "join" either side.
What are they?

Mr Guttridge, there is a story, probably apocryphal, that Winston Churchill rhetorically asked a lady
at a dinner party if she would consider having sex with him for one million pounds. The lady giggled,
and said, " Yes, she would consider it. " Churchill then asked her if she would have sex with him for
a shilling. The lady, offended, replied, " Of course not - What kind of girl do you think I am ?"

Churchill smiled and stated, " Madam, we have already determined EXACTLY what kind of girl you
are. What we are doing now is negotiating your price..... "

The question is, what would be the price necessary to get Turkey to join the Axis ( the only real
question that is important, as Turkey joining the Allies would contribute nothing to the Allied war effort )
The answer, is, of course, Land, Wealth, and Power .

At the end of World Unpleasantness One, Turkey was stripped of it's possesions of Irag, Palestine, Syria,
Jordan, and Saudia Arabia. It was forced to pay large reparations, and despite the efforts of the 'Young
Turks', was left for over a decade as a damaged state.

In the closing days of WW1, Turkey had, in fact, put together an army over 100,000 strong that was
marching north through the Causcasus and threatening the southern portion of Russia ( Soviet Disunity ).
This army was called the ' Islamic Army of the Caucasus ' and it is well worth the time of the members
of this forum to study the history of this army and it's effect on the end of the WW1.

Now, WHAT IF ( the two most powerful words in the English Language ! ) Hitler had, starting in the
autumn of 1940, decided to go to war against Bolshevism. And, looking around for Allies, he noticed
that Turkey was admirably suited for the role of Usefull Ally. Making secret diplomatic approaches
to Ankara, Hitler makes the following offer: In return for Turkey joining in a combined offensive
against the USSR, at the end of the war, after Britain is defeated, Turkey will be rewarded with
Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudia Arabia, Iraq, and ALL of the territory that Turkey succeeds
in occupying in the Southern USSR ( in other words, the Caucasus, with all the little ' Islamo-stans '
that make it up.


Turkey would get all of the trading opportunities of the eastern end of the Med, plus ALL THE OIL
of Iraq, any of Persia they occupy, and the southern Baku oil region of Russia.

Basically, Turkey gets the Golden Ticket.


Now, in 1940, the Turkish Army ( very roughly ) consisted of

60 Infantry Regiments (Turkish Regiments were roughly 1500 men each) , divided into 20 Divisions.
6 Mountain Regiments,
21 Cavalry Regiments,
8 Reserve Cavalry Regiments ( basically constabulary troops )
20 Field Artillery Regiments,
10 Heavy Artillery Regiments,
7 Fortress Artillery Regiments for guarding the Dardanelles.

This totalled nearly 200,000 men, with their equipment and weapons in hand and ready for war.

The Turkish Air Force consisted of just over 400 aircraft, ranging from Curtis Hawk IIIs and PZL 24s
to Hawker Hurricanes, Fairy Battles, Bristol Blenheims, and He 111s. Not the Luftwaffe or the
RAF, but nothing to be sneered at.


So, if the Turkish Government goes along, then in the early weeks of August, 1941, a Turkish Army
of the Caucasus storms over the border into Persia and Southern Russia. Consisting of 10 Infantry
Divisions ( 4500 men ) each with a Field Artillery Regiment attached, ( a total of 60,000 men armed
with WW1 Mausers and 75mm horse drawn artillery ) along with 5 Cavalry Divisions, ( another 30,000
men on horseback with Mausers and sabers ) 2 Mountain Divisions ( 9,000 men ) and a Heavy Artillery
Division , you would have a total of about 105,000 men ( just over half of the Turkish Army ) with
rifles, light artillery, and horses moving slowly but inexorably up the Caucasus between the Black
and Caspian Seas.

Given air cover by roughly 2/3 of the Turkish Air Force, ( the rest, like the rest of the Turkish Army,
and their Fortress Regiments, would be serving to prevent the Allies from attacking the Dardanelles
or invading Anatolia) , the Turkish Army would rely on the relatively large size of its force to
push back the Soviet formations in the area. In effect, it would be a repeat of the closing days of
WW!, when the Islamic Army of the Caucasus almost brought the nascent USSR to it's knees.


Within weeks, the fledgling Persian Lend Lease Corridor would be closed, and, as the Turks marched
north, they could raise up help from Anti-Soviet Moslems in the Southern regions. By preventing
Stalin from moving troops from the South to the Central Front around Moscow, it might make a
crucial difference in the overall course of the war.


1946.
Sipping strong, black, highly sweetened coffee from a tiny cup on a balconey overlooking the
turquoise waters of the Bosporus, Hitler couldn't help but congratulate himself on his fortunate
choice of an Ally to assist him in Operation Barbarossa. The record on the gramophone was
a man's voice saying, " And Now, Your three New Words in Turkish...... Towel..... Bath....
Border....... May I see your passport, Please ?"


Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
Last edited by paulrward on 07 Sep 2020 02:15, edited 2 times in total.
Information not shared, is information lost
Voices banned, are voices who cannot share information....

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Sep 2020 02:09

Sid Guttridge wrote:
07 Sep 2020 00:16
... The premise of this thread is that the Turks "join" the Axis or Allies, not that they are attacked by either.

This being so, we need incentives for them to "join" either side.

What are they?

Until this is answered, the entire thread lacks firm foundations.
All I can come up with is a PoD circa 1919, where the Brits see the opportunity in reconciling with Attaturks government and build a alliance over the next two decades. In 1941 the Turks are firmly ensnared in the British web & slide by default into a war with Germany.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Avalancheon » 07 Sep 2020 06:37

Dark Age wrote:
06 Sep 2020 03:57
Germany going to war on-side-of or against Turkey doesn't equal CANNOT GO TO WAR WITH SOVIET UNION EVER.
If Germany has not resolved the impasse with the USSR, then why would they strike at Turkey first? That is a very risky strategy, especially if the Soviets militarily intervene (which they are damn near certain to do, as TheMarcksPlan points out).

Realistically, there can be no invasion of Turkey without first resolving the dispute with the Soviet Union. They need an update to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, some diplomatic accommodation that covers their flank.
Dark Age wrote:
06 Sep 2020 03:57
Regardless, as Spoch said, "There is always an alternative." Invading the Soviet Union in 1941 (in a blitz sneak attack) isn't Germany's only option. This What-if section wouldn't exist if it was.
Obviously, there were other options at Germanys disposal besides operation Barbarossa. They just weren't very good options, when considering the impasse with the Soviet Union.

If the Germans embarked on a Mediterranean strategy and were then invaded by Russia, that would be a total disaster. It would put them in a worse position than OTL.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Sep 2020 06:46
If Germany commits 20 divisions to Turkey that's nearly a whole army group (AGN had 28). The Turkish fight requires LW and logistical support, with attendant fuel, that wasn't abundant for the Heer.

Meanwhile Stalin would not simply declare war the day the Germans invade. He'd buy time via negotiation, assemble his forces and, say a couple months later, the Germans would heavily outnumbered on their front. Just in OTL, the Germans were cooked beyond a certain force ratio disadvantage.
What kindof response would you expect from Stalin if Hitler were to suddenly plunge into Turkey in the summer of 1941? Would we see a limited war scenario, with the Soviets only fighting the Germans in Turkey itself? Or would we see a total war scenario, with hostilitys expanded to the Soviet-German border in the East?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Sep 2020 06:46
I don't buy the argument the Soviets were that much better on defense, nor the relevance of distant history like the Seven Years or Napoleonic Wars. If we go by the latter then the Germans (Prussians) don't understand how to beat the French except in a grand coalition. The Soviet defensive record contains volumes of futility.

I don't see RKKA pushing the Germans back much/any and, sure, there'd be the occasional offensive catastrophe like Kharkov '42. But compared to >3mil prisoners captured? It takes a lot of Kharkovs to get there. The mere non-evacuation of industries pushes the material avalanche forward several months. Add to that 50% higher production and by ATL '42 the Soviet steamroller starts moving from near its 1945 starting line.
Exactly. The simple fact of the matter is that we never got to see the Soviet Union fight at full capacity. They were taken completely by surprise during operation Barbarossa, losing much of their population, territory, and infrastructure. The Red Army was repeatedly decimated in encirclement battles, which also had serious consequences for their ability to fight.

Whatever advantages the Germans gain by being on the defensive (such as easier logistics, and lower Soviet motivation) are outweighed by the fact that they will be fighting against the USSR when it is at full capacity. That is a very daunting prospect.

We must also remember that armys can deal out much heavier losses in an offensive than they ever can when on the defensive. The Wehrmacht cannot expect to win the war while remaining on the defensive. Even if the Red Army blunders into a disaster like 2nd Kharkov, their losses still won't come close to matching what they suffered in OTL.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Sep 2020 06:46
Interesting topic thread. I completely agree re the strategic lacunae of Med strategies that you point out. The only route to the MidEast and beyond for Axis involved Turkey - it's why it was on Hitler's to-do list after Russia fell.
Indeed. People are too quick to gloss over the implications of the Nazi-Soviet talks in November 1940.

BTW, invading Turkey wasn't the only way to get to the Middle East, it was just the easiest way. The Axis could launch an amphibious invasion of Cyprus and Syria, although that would require more ships than the Italians could provide. The Germans could also put more effort into the Afrika corps, although fighting their way through Egypt would be tough.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
06 Sep 2020 06:46
Would make Barbarossa logistics so much easier: let the Italian fleet play the hero's role in the Black Sea, close the Russian armies fighting at Odessa/Sevastopol from supply. Then use the secure Black Sea (Trieste-Corinth-Straits-Odessa/Nikolaev/Sevastopol) to supply AGS instead of the struggling railways. Move rail resources behind AG's C/N.
Yes, it would be a significant improvement over OTL.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Dark Age » 07 Sep 2020 07:38

Sid Guttridge wrote:
07 Sep 2020 00:16
Hi Dark Age,

The premise of this thread is that the Turks "join" the Axis or Allies, not that they are attacked by either.
Incorrect. Please read initial post (mentioned German/Axis attack on Turkey).

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Avalancheon » 07 Sep 2020 08:11

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
06 Sep 2020 13:46
It looks like most Anatolia originated Chromite ore went to the Brits or Allies 1939-1942. Thats something the Allies might lose from this 1941 hypothetical. German gain in this respect is dependent on how we'll they can restore the mining & transport. Ditto for any other minerals, including oil from Mosul.
Thats correct. The Germans didn't take delivery of Turkish chrome until 1943.

''Concerns on the Allied side increased when Germany concluded the Clodius agreement with Turkey in October 1941. According to the agreement, Turkey would provide Germany with various important raw materials, including chromite. Turkey promised to supply Germany with 90,000 tons of chrome in 1943 and 1944 in return for 18 million liras worth of war materials.''
-Soviet Eastern Policy and Turkey, 1920-1991: Soviet Foreign Policy, Turkey, and Communism, by Bulent Gokay.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
06 Sep 2020 14:01
A quick check suggest Turkey had between 40 & 45 infantry and cavalry divisions in 1941. Adding in corps and army supra units its a minimum division slice of 20,000 men per div HQ or 800,000 profession cadres & reservists/recent conscripts in the field forces. I suspect its closer to one million men. Another 200 to 300 k in service support, air forces, ect... accounts for the 1,200,000 men in service 1941. It looks like most of the divisions identified in 1941 existed as one or another reserve level in 1940, so one could expect the senior cadre/staff to exist when mobilization started, and at least half the junior cadre.
There is more precise information available online.

''By March 1940, the size of the army had increased to 1,300,000 all ranks. Unfortunately growth only served to highlight the armys material deficiencies. A large number of these men had been called up for no strictly military purpose. Due to lack of mechanization, there was urgent need for porters, laborers and animals. In Marshal Cakmaks opinion, even modest mechanization would decrease the requirement for men by one-third, and for animals by two-thirds, with no loss of combat efficiency. For the duration of the war, however, the Turkish army remained largely unmotorized.''

''Each Turkish division was composed of three regiments of three battalions. Each battalion contained 800-1500 men. Thus, the war strength of a Turkish division was about 12,000 men. In theory, each regiment of infantry contained a battery of anti-tank guns. In 1939, only thirty regiments were so armed, the remained making do with a battery of two 7.5 cm guns. Those without were, in the main, consigned to the eastern provinces - hostilities with the Soviets being considered unlikely, and high intensity combat along modern lines virtually impossible due to the poverty of communications.''
-The Turkish Armed Forces On The Eve Of The Second World War: The British View, by Brock Millman.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Peter89 » 07 Sep 2020 08:36

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
06 Sep 2020 14:05

There was a surge of some critical raw materials from Turkey, Chormite was one IIRC, from 1942. Allied pressure was not enough to prevent that until 1944. Whats possible in 1941 I cant say, but its certainly worth a look.
There wasn't a great surge to access the Turkish Chromite ore.
The strategic nature of chromite was emphasized during 1940. Germany acquired the smelting facilities of France and Norway and a considerable stock of chromite, but no producing area was occupied. Despite these acquisitions, it is believed that the Axis Powers were short of the valuable raw material. England, on the other hand, bought the entire Turkish output, contracted for a substantial tonnage of Greek ore, and deflected much of the Yugoslav output to friendly channels. These achievements plus dominance of the seas gave England virtual control of chromite supplies.
Aaron Ranck: The Sinews of War: Turkey, Chromite, and the Second World War, p.46-47.

In fact, the German-occupied Balkans produced a substantial amount of Chromite, as well as the recently occupied countries held a reasonable amount in stocks. The combined production of the Balkans were about half of the production of Turkey - the numbers can change somewhat, but the picture is the same.

Image

Aaron Ranck: The Sinews of War: Turkey, Chromite, and the Second World War, p.29.

Yet we know that the German Reich could have benefited from an abundant supply of Chromite, it is very likely they could benefit from it (either by occupying Turkey or join them to the Axis) only after a real chance to win the war was lost. Germany started the war with 150-160k tons of Chromite stocks, and even though this figure doesn't show the most important date (1939 September 1.) for the stocks, the trend can be seen. Also we can observe the relative unimportance of the Turkish import.

Image

Moreover, we can read the same conclusion there:
Turkey was willing to sell her whole chrome output to Germany, as The Germans were giving a price higher than the market value. On the other hand The Germans insisted for decreasing the amount of chrome delivered to Germany as their stocks were already enough to reach until the 1942 according to their own calculations.
Not the whole amount of imported chrome was consumed by Germany. The yearly chrome consumption in 1938 was only one fifth of the total chrome importation. Germany was stockpiling most of the chrome. Chrome ore Germany stockpiled had reached 150.000 to 160.000 tons on the eve of World War II that it was believed to be insignificant continuing to import as much chrome as the pre war years. However, chrome consumption increased during the war and the chrome stocks of Germany started to drop faster than it supposed to be.
Murat Önsoy: The World War Two Allied Economic Warfare: The Case of Turkish Chrome Sales

As for the oil:
Dark Age wrote:
06 Sep 2020 21:06
And the issue isn't just how much oil is denied to the Allies, it is also how much more oil is granted to the Axis powers by Middle East occupation.
Most likely minimal, because in order to utilize the ME oil, one had two options: use it in situ, like the Japanese did at the end of the war, when they've lost a substantial amount of their merchant fleet, or you transport it back to your industrial heartland (like the Germans did with most of the occupied territories' resources). If you opt for the first one, you must have control of the seas and the air, something the Germans / Italians could only achieve with a complex Mediterran strategy. Even if they occupy Turkey, there was Cyprus, Egypt, and of course submarines could sneak in through Gibraltar at any time, easily causing irreplaceable losses, while the Italian routes will alway be threatened if Malta is left unmolested. Also it is highly questionable whether the Germans had the necessary port facilities in place to receive the oil and transport it back to Germany in sufficient quantities. It might serve the Italians well, though. And this leads back to the core of the problem; the lack of coordination of strategies from the Axis side. If they opted for the other way and use the ME oil in the ME, it might serve as a strategic possibility for aerial, naval and mechanized troops' operations towards India / British Raj. It could have supported German operations in that area without overburdening the hypothetical logistical routes.

And let's not forget that Germany had no oil problem in 1940-1941, and they wouldn't have an oil problem if they didn't attack the SU. And this leads us back to the core of the problem again: the German strategy to win the war was bad.


As for the military situation:
Dark Age wrote:
06 Sep 2020 21:06
Saying they could have landed troops but didn't have the means is a contradiction. Anyway, wouldn't access through Asia Minor (with Turkey as an ally or occupied) give Germany the means?
I recommend you to read Iraq 1941: The battles for Basra, Habbaniya, Fallujah and Baghdad by Robert Lyman.
The Germans did have the troops, but employed them somewhere else (in the SU). So by the time it became urgent, they didn't have the means.
If they occupy Turkey, they could have deployed more troops in the ME, but I seriously doubt that they could have done that before the end of 1941. They took Crete in late May, and
Avalancheon wrote:
06 Sep 2020 01:37
Peter89 wrote:
03 Sep 2020 08:55
Attacking them would have been too costly compared to the gains, and leaving them be was probably the best option.
Not really. Conquering Turkey isn't going to be a walk in the park, but it will be way easier than invading the Soviet Union. The Germans could probably subjugate the entire country within 2 or 3 months.
I would like to read some sources about this. Especially about the timeframe of Operation Gertrude, because I haven't found any.

One more comment on this one:
Avalancheon wrote:
06 Sep 2020 01:37
With Turkey under their control, they would be in position to not only threaten the Soviet positions in the Caucasus, but also the British positions in the Middle East. The Bosphorous and Dardanelles would be in German hands as well, giving them additional leverage over the USSR.
What the Axis really need is the ability to deploy combat troops throughout the Middle East. They can fight the British directly and have popular support from the locals. The Iraqi uprising would look alot different if the Germans were directly involved.
They didn't need to occupy Turkey to threaten the British possessions in ME... If the Germans attack Turkey in 1941 instead of the SU, they could have taken it probably, but I think you are wrong about the timeframe. And if they decide to go for a campaign against the BE, their objectives should have been Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, Alexandria... and they could have landed troops in Iraq, establishing a beachhead there, advancing towards the Suez and the Persian Gulf. The British response was quick and decisive, because they knew that their empire was too brittle to withstand such a blow.

But the Germans didn't need to attack Turkey for that.
Last edited by Peter89 on 07 Sep 2020 15:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Sep 2020 09:20

Avalancheon wrote:Would we see a limited war scenario, with the Soviets only fighting the Germans in Turkey itself?
I can't see Hitler abiding dead Germans at Stalin's hands or vice versa.

Assuming Hitler has prepared for Stalin to start shooting over Turkey, and assuming that Germany goes at Turkey with at least a few panzer corps, then there's no mobile double envelopment option for Germany in the East most likely (each army group has only one panzer group). So no Minsk/Bialystok, no Smolensk, etc. Another absolute disaster for Hitler as the flow of new Soviet formations accumulates within a couple months. If Stalin waits a few months - as he probably would - before starting to shoot, wringing a pound of flesh from Churchill in the meantime, the Germans could be facing a >6mil RKKA, much better-supplied, at the start of Reverse Barbarossa. The Red Army might take Paris.
The simple fact of the matter is that we never got to see the Soviet Union fight at full capacity.
Yep with important Cold-War consequences as well. Not just the demographic loss on the order of 40mil (absent births + deaths) but also how many bright young civilian Communists - future Gorbachev's and Gagarin's - picked up a rifle and died futilely as the Germans approached the intellectual centers of the SU (Moscow and Leningrad)? Surely tens of thousands. That good old Cold Warrior Chamberlain may ultimately have done his cause a great service by redirecting >90% of WW2's dying eastwards. France probably did the Capitalist West a favor by losing so quickly also.
invading Turkey wasn't the only way to get to the Middle East, it was just the easiest way.
I have trouble seeing a realistic path over the Suez or even Nile for Germany, assuming America enters the war in December '41. Cyprus/Palestine sitting astride lengthening sea supply lines, supremacy of RN... Another discussion...

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Sep 2020 09:27

Peter89 wrote:
07 Sep 2020 08:36
Aaron Ranck: The Sinews of War: Turkey, Chromite, and the Second World War, p.46-47.



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Aaron Ranck: The Sinews of War: Turkey, Chromite, and the Second World War, p.29.



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Moreover, we can read the same conclusion there:



Murat Önsoy: The World War Two Allied Economic Warfare: The Case of Turkish Chrome Sales


I recommend you to read Iraq 1941: The battles for Basra, Habbaniya, Fallujah and Baghdad by Robert Lyman.
Thanks for all these sources! From which is table on German production from its occupied territories? Does the source describe the investment outlays, management structures, transport arrangements for all this ore? Would be interested to read further if so.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Sep 2020 09:50

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Sep 2020 09:20
Avalancheon wrote:Would we see a limited war scenario, with the Soviets only fighting the Germans in Turkey itself?
I can't see Hitler abiding dead Germans at Stalin's hands or vice versa.
While the German move against Turkey means war, maybe not in '41. Stalin might have been better-served merely renounce the M-R Pact, accelerate ongoing mobilization, and extract from Britain/US the technological help formerly given by Germany. Then invade in '42 or maybe wait a bit longer, let the W.Allies bleed in the Mideast. Either way it's a fiasco for Germany and the ATL outcome might be Soviet victory on the relative cheap, plus the long-sought concessions in Turkey.

The W.Allies can't do both Overlord and a big Anatolian campaign so either Greece/Turkey fall to SU or Western Europe. W.Allies choose to save the West of course but SU gets more of Germany than OTL. Maybe most of Germany becomes Communist post-war, SU is much stronger, as are the Eastern European members of Warsaw Pact. Greece and Turkey are communist, the Mid-East aligns with SU markedly (the Baathist parts - everything north of Arabia). That'd be a big swerve of history.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Peter89 » 07 Sep 2020 12:13

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Sep 2020 09:27
Murat Önsoy: The World War Two Allied Economic Warfare: The Case of Turkish Chrome Sales
Thanks for all these sources! From which is table on German production from its occupied territories? Does the source describe the investment outlays, management structures, transport arrangements for all this ore? Would be interested to read further if so.
Sure, the dissertations are very long and dry to read for someone who does not take a special interest in this aspect of the war, but we are of course the exception :milwink:
On the other hand, Germany, with the advantage of having safe transportation routes
direct to Turkey, was strengthening her hand for the signing of a new chrome agreement. The
transportation route of Turkish Chrome to Germany was outside of the British control.
Therefore, direct political pressure to the Turkish side was most of the time having no result.
Turkish chrome transported from Bulgaria at Burgas, which is the main port of entry for
Turkish imports destined for German use. From Burgas, the chrome was transported along the
Danube via the important river port of Ruschuk, or along the main railway line from Burgas
through Sofia, Nis, and Belgrade to Zagreb. When this line was cut in Croatia, as it was often
done, through partisan action, the chrome was routed straight from Belgrade to Budapest.
There were other ports along Danube, connected by rail to the Bulgarian railway system,
Lom, Somovit and Svishtov. These port facilities were also used by the Germans in
Emergency. When Burgas was denied to Germany, the chrome traffic was directed to
Constanza,. This route became very congested after the Russian advance into Northern
Romania started; it was the main line of supply for the German Southern Front. Yet, the
Germans made every effort not to use it for chrome traffic.

The time all the port facilities were denied to Germany, Turkish Government was
persuaded by the Germans to transship all the chrome at İstanbul and send it into Bulgaria
overland via Edirne to Plovdid, where it joined the main line carrying the chrome from
Burgaz. Allies tried to interrupt this traffic by denying Germany the use of the ports of
Burgaz, Varna and Constanza. Second line targets to disrupt the movement of chrome were:
Sofia Marshalling Yards which was the most important communication centre in Bulgaria. All
the traffic in North and North East Bulgaria was controlled through the Gorna Orekovitsa
Marshalling Yards. The traffic from Burgaz and Turkey was controlled from Plovdid
Marshalling yards and the Ruschuk River Port which was the site of the main oil installations
in Bulgaria. Nis on the West of Bulgaria was another important target which was the junction
of the railway from Turkey and from Yugoslavia. Belgrade Marshalling yards were also
important in the general Balkan line of communication. The transportation routes, disrupted
by the Allies to stop the Turkish chrome traffic were Burgaz, Ruschuk, Plovdid, Nis, Sofia,
Orekirovitsa, Varna, Belgrade, Lom, Somovit and Suishtov. The Germans used these
transportation routes until the spring of 1945, till the railway transportation ceased.
The table for the domestic / import / stockpile / consumption table is there too -> Murat Önsoy: The World War Two Allied Economic Warfare: The Case of Turkish Chrome Sales

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