Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
historygeek2021
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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by historygeek2021 » 07 Jul 2021 04:17

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Jul 2021 04:14

Simple explanation: HG has shifted from a good discussion based on quantitative analysis to a Reddit style of discussion. Disappointing.
And you once again revert to insulting the other poster.

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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by historygeek2021 » 07 Jul 2021 04:20

KDF33 wrote:
07 Jul 2021 04:15
historygeek2021 wrote:
07 Jul 2021 04:10
Yes. I stated a simple fact. The Allied armies walked over the German army.
Not quite. TMP argued that the Allies counted on (1) strategic bombing and/or (2) active Soviet participation in the war, to which you replied, and I quote:
historygeek2021 wrote:
07 Jul 2021 03:29
You put too much weight on politicians' statements in the early years of the war. Politicians say all sorts of nonsense. It doesn't have any bearing on reality, which in this case showed that the Germany army was basically a walkover for the Americans and British.
Given that the majority of the German Army was fighting in the East, how is referring to Allied success against the minority they engaged, with overwhelming odds in their favor, a rebuttal of his argument?

There's no logic here.
Ok, yes, I acknowledge and agree with your point. I did not rebut that the Allies relied on the Soviet Union to tie down the bulk of the German army.

TMP: See how easy it is to move the conversation forward when you discuss the substance and not the other poster?

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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jul 2021 04:36

historygeek2021 wrote:Ok, yes, I acknowledge and agree with your point. I did not rebut that the Allies relied on the Soviet Union to tie down the bulk of the German army.
You had the opportunity to acknowledge this when I referenced ATL force ratios, which in context clearly invokes the whole German army instead of a fraction, which clearly refers to SU'S defeat.

Because I assume you know this, I assumed you weren't arguing seriously.

Or did I improperly credit you with following the thread? If so I was being mean and will apologize.

If not, I take it as at least as much a manners violation to argue in bad faith as to compare someone else to Reddit.

Either way, the point being conceded I'm happy to leave it lie rather than having another long etiquette discussion.
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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by historygeek2021 » 07 Jul 2021 04:47

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Jul 2021 04:36
historygeek2021 wrote:Ok, yes, I acknowledge and agree with your point. I did not rebut that the Allies relied on the Soviet Union to tie down the bulk of the German army.
You had the opportunity to acknowledge this when I referenced ATL force ratios, which in context clearly invokes the whole German army instead of a fraction, which clearly refers to SU'S defeat.

Because I assume you know this, I assumed you weren't arguing seriously.

Or did I improperly credit you with following the thread? If so I was being mean and will apologize.

If not, I take it as at least as much a manners violation to argue in bad faith as to compare someone else to Reddit.

Either way, the point being conceded I'm happy to leave it lie rather than having another long etiquette discussion.
I would just request that if you disagree with something I said, provide a substantive reason for your disagreement.

If I misunderstood or failed to address what you said (as was the case here and is bound to happen in most discussions), please explain how I failed to understand or acknowledge your point. Then I can realize what my error was, and we can move forward.

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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jul 2021 05:25

historygeek2021 wrote:I would just request that if you disagree with something I said, provide a substantive reason for your disagreement.
Agreed.

I would request that you recognize there are kinds of statements in which disagreement is not at issue. If someone says "F you", for instance, I shouldn't debate whether to copulate with this person (just for example, not attribution).

In our exchange, I read your statements as being in bad faith: you know that I know who won WW2 (I assume), and you know my arguments are always based on ATL conditions in which Germany beats the SU. If you're telling me who won WW2, then I assume your point is not one where substantive debate is appropriate.

---------------------------------------------

That being clarified:

The UK consistently showed aversion to fighting a land war along the lines of its WW1 effort.
US leaders consistently stated - when pressed with the question in '42 - that SU's defeat would have consequences ranging from losing the war (FDR), to "indefinitely" delaying Germany's defeat (JCS), to motivating armistice discussions (JSSC memo).

From this evidence and others, I find it likely that the Allies would never have invaded Europe, absent the A-bomb, had the SU lost.

From this judgment, and given Allied expectations that the SU would lose, I find Allied strategy up to late '42 absurd regarding its publicly-stated goals (to rid the world of the Nazism). Less absurd - though also less moral - would be strategy vis-a-vis the probable real goals of the ruling elites at that time (to contain German power, thereby preserving a sufficient space for commerce and empire).
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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by KDF33 » 07 Jul 2021 07:18

I have created this speadsheet tabulating German land forces manpower allocation up to 12/1/1943. I'll do one for 6/1/1944 later.

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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 07 Jul 2021 07:56

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Jul 2021 05:25
Less absurd - though also less moral - would be strategy vis-a-vis the probable real goals of the ruling elites at that time (to contain German power, thereby preserving a sufficient space for commerce and empire).
Ha, now that is risible - certainly for the UK Government. Their “probable real goal” was the survival of Britain as anything other than a vassal state of Nazi Germany especially during the 13 months during which the British Empire was at war with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy without significant allies.
KDF33 wrote:
07 Jul 2021 04:15
Given that the majority of the German Army was fighting in the East, how is referring to Allied success against the minority they engaged, with overwhelming odds in their favor, a rebuttal of his argument?
Sorry, I don’t understand your point. The western allies had a strategic context in which they conducted their operations which included the fact that the majority of German ground troops were fighting in the East. That doesn’t mean they fought with overwhelming odds in their favour though does it? German forces in France and Italy had secure land communications systems to provide their logistics - the Allies had to assault from the sea taking all their logistic resources with them. In Italy the number of divisions on the opposing sides was never that different, same in NW Europe. I would suggest that the campaigns in NW Europe and Italy were successful more quickly than it might be expected them to have been.

None of that is meant to suggest that without the Soviet Union being actively engaged the Western Allies campaign would have not been much more difficult and the war gone on for longer. In addition, though, why would Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy seek terms with the UK or US given victory over the SU?

Regards

Tom

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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jul 2021 10:09

Tom from Cornwall wrote:Their [UK's] “probable real goal” was the survival of Britain as anything other than a vassal state of Nazi Germany especially during the 13 months during which the British Empire was at war with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy without significant allies.
No contradiction: obviously survival of Britain is subsidiary to preserving Empire. Britain could have attained that goal under the US security umbrella in negotiated peace with Germany, just as it did in the Cold War.

What is not subsidiary to that goal is a massive land invasion involving millions of battlefield deaths.

The case for a humbler elite concept of initial US war aims is easier to make. Stephen Wertheim's Tomorrow, the World amply documents them, as I discuss here.
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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jul 2021 10:26

KDF33 wrote:
07 Jul 2021 07:18
I have created this speadsheet tabulating German land forces manpower allocation up to 12/1/1943. I'll do one for 6/1/1944 later.
Your KIA+WIA figure for Italy up to Dec. '43 seems high. Does it include Tunisia and North Africa?

Also wondering about the mechanism for capturing permanently-lost wounded (~1/3 of wounded AFAICS). Your Sept-Nov tally captures some of this.

Alternatively, we could allocate ~1/3 of total wounded to the theater in which they were wounded. Could also allocate the "hospitalized" and "recovering" categories based on casualties in each theater in the preceding six months.
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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by Richard Anderson » 07 Jul 2021 17:52

KDF33 wrote:
07 Jul 2021 07:18
I have created this speadsheet tabulating German land forces manpower allocation up to 12/1/1943. I'll do one for 6/1/1944 later.
I'm curious what sources you are using?
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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 07 Jul 2021 19:12

Not sure why the quote facility will only go back a page as this makes this seem snippy when it isn't meant to be:

TMP responded to my statement that:
Context is everything though isn't it?
by stating that
Fundamentals are everything.
But clearly not fundamentals like GDP, steel production and ice cream manufacture. :D

A few other quibbles...
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Jul 2021 05:25
The UK consistently showed aversion to fighting a land war along the lines of its WW1 effort.
For a large chunk in the middle of the war it didn't matter what "the UK" wanted to do with its army: it couldn't get it onto the continent without excessive risk and it couldn't deploy it against the majority of the German army in the Soviet Union. During WW1 there wasn't a Japanese threat to the UK's eastern dominions or colonies either.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Jul 2021 10:09
No contradiction: obviously survival of Britain is subsidiary to preserving Empire. Britain could have attained that goal under the US security umbrella in negotiated peace with Germany, just as it did in the Cold War.
Seriously? Do you really think that in 1942/43, given the collapse of the SU, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy or Imperial Japan would have wanted to negotiate with the UK. Isn't that US exceptionalism gone mad? We want peace, therefore we will have peace. :roll: :roll:

Both Britain and France had seen how quickly the illusion of a US security umbrella could disappear over the horizon after the end of WW1 - why would a defeated Britain believe that a putative offer of US security in 1943 would be any different.

BTW - I am one of those who has been enormously grateful (most of the time) for the US security umbrella provided to western Europe since the end of WW2, but the cheese (seriously folks, you need to do something about the cheese!).

Regards

Tom

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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by Cult Icon » 08 Jul 2021 22:00

Avalancheon wrote:
05 Jul 2021 13:04

I recall that Glantz quote too, can't remember from where. Glantz contradicts that view in explicit counterfactual analysis of Eastern Front scenarios in one chapter of If the Allies had Fallen, writing:
While there was still art in battle, in the end strength, will, instinct, and sheer power prevailed, rendering virtually all “what ifs” largely superfluous.
Glantz's writing in that book is painfully superficial.

His materials on the East Front 41-45, in which the 43-45 content is largely self-published, is a cosmic-sized, largely objective effort in bringing the day to day operational level history. However outside of the Stalingrad trilogy and the recent works, most of these materials are pretty tactically "empty". The opposite of Glantz is Stahel, whose biased Barbarossa books are aimed at proving theories and a narrative.

Glantz & Dunn's books emphasis the numerical superiority/force generation of the Soviets in 41 and 42. Glantz's anti-Barbarossa argument (strongest in "Colossus Reborn", similar to the arguments of the historian Dunn) just boils down to the Soviet military machine just having more generating potential. Glantz doesn't do Alt history/economics and doesn't do much on tactics outside of selecting and translating thousands of pages of RKKA documents. The lack of analysis and various details is the odd thing about Glantz and my main complaint about his works.

It would be interesting to read of more opinions and arguments from him, particularly recent.

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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Jul 2021 00:54

Cult Icon wrote:Glantz doesn't do Alt history/economics and doesn't do much on tactics outside of selecting and translating thousands of pages of RKKA documents.
Completely agree. The Smolensk trilogy, for example, is perhaps 50% blocks of translated Soviet documents. Not having any Russian myself, this is a substantial value add.
Cult Icon wrote:The lack of analysis and various details is the odd thing about Glantz and my main complaint about his works.

It would be interesting to read of more opinions and arguments from him, particularly recent.
Given that we have several decades of analytical dearth and, when given, of superficial opinion writing, I'm not that interested or hopeful here. Different authors have different virtues; Glantz is for finding a good picture of what the Soviets were doing/thinking.
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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Jul 2021 01:00

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
07 Jul 2021 19:12
Fundamentals are everything.
But clearly not fundamentals like GDP, steel production and ice cream manufacture. :D
A frequent problem with fundamentals analysis is equating "fundamental" and "simple" - a coarse reductionism. That's what I object to in simplistic narratives about GDP/steel and military power.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.
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Re: Alternative history and its science fiction derivatives

Post by Cult Icon » 09 Jul 2021 01:05

To clarify my comment on "Colossus Reborn", that tome is organizational/somewhat tactical in nature. It is a must-read before reading the rest of the Glantz corpus. I have heard that he has assistants, makes sense given the massive nature of the projects.

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