If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

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Plain Old Dave
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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Plain Old Dave » 14 Nov 2018 02:50

Old thread, worthy of resurrection.

The Hindenburg offensives of the Spring and Summer of 1918 collapsed under their own weight, not due to heroic French or British military action. French's V Corps dissolved under the pressure, as one example.

By 1919, the US Army would have been the largest armed force in Europe. Conversely, the French had a paper thin draftee cohort for 1919, and whether or not Lloyd George was willing to send Haig more farmboys from the Shires to use up German ammo is a question that has been debated for a century.

Germany had not prepared for any defense on the Germany side of the Argonne. It's reasonable to conclude Black Jack Pershing would have insisted on unconditional surrender, as his AEF would be the "big dog on the porch." A 1919 Central European Campaign would be even more disorganized on the German side than 1945 was. No fanatical leadership; very possibly a Spartacist coup and surrender by the time the AEF made it to the Palatinate.

Rheinland-Pfalz is beautiful country. I was there back in May.

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Terry Duncan
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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Terry Duncan » 14 Nov 2018 11:24

Plain Old Dave wrote:
14 Nov 2018 02:50
French's V Corps dissolved under the pressure, as one example.
Are you sure that really happened? I don't recall it at all, to be honest

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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Plain Old Dave » 14 Nov 2018 12:40

Terry Duncan wrote:
14 Nov 2018 11:24
Plain Old Dave wrote:
14 Nov 2018 02:50
French's V Corps dissolved under the pressure, as one example.
Are you sure that really happened? I don't recall it at all, to be honest
Thanks, again, for stifling the America bashing. Wawro discussed it in Sons of Freedom.

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Sheldrake
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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Sheldrake » 14 Nov 2018 13:11

Plain Old Dave wrote:
14 Nov 2018 02:50
Old thread, worthy of resurrection.

The Hindenburg offensives of the Spring and Summer of 1918 collapsed under their own weight, not due to heroic French or British military action. French's V Corps dissolved under the pressure, as one example.

By 1919, the US Army would have been the largest armed force in Europe. Conversely, the French had a paper thin draftee cohort for 1919, and whether or not Lloyd George was willing to send Haig more farmboys from the Shires to use up German ammo is a question that has been debated for a century.

Germany had not prepared for any defense on the Germany side of the Argonne. It's reasonable to conclude Black Jack Pershing would have insisted on unconditional surrender, as his AEF would be the "big dog on the porch." A 1919 Central European Campaign would be even more disorganized on the German side than 1945 was. No fanatical leadership; very possibly a Spartacist coup and surrender by the time the AEF made it to the Palatinate.

Rheinland-Pfalz is beautiful country. I was there back in May.
I agree with Plain old Dave that the AEF would have been the strongest component allied force on the Western Front in 1919. Whether the US would have pushed for harsher terms than Versailles is unknown. The Germans approached Wilson offering an armistice because he appeared to favour peace without victory.

It is also likely that one reason the French were keen to win the war in 1918 was to avoid having the Americans lead a liberation advance into Lorraine.

However it is simply untrue to claim that the Germans collapsed under their own weight. The German offensives collapsed after suffering one million casualties. It is frankly insulting to deny heroism to the British and French soldiers who stopped them.
Last edited by Sheldrake on 14 Nov 2018 15:00, edited 1 time in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 14 Nov 2018 14:06

Hi Plain Old Dave,

Actually, the Hindenburg offensives of 1918 failed due to heavy casualties, which, for all the much vaunted new German tactics that got the front moving again, were still higher than those of the French and British defenders. Heroic or not, these were almost all inflicted by the French and British. Only when prisoners are added in were the Germans significantly in credit on overall losses. However, they could bear them less than their opponents who, as you rightly point out, had the additional prospect of mass US reinforcements.

Whether the US would have fielded the strongest component in 1919 is questionable due to limited operational experience and heavy equipment shortages. However, it might have been numerically the largest. The British, who traditionally subcontracted large scale continental warfare to their allies, and the long suffering French, might have been quite happy for the USA to take up much of the heavy lifting (and attendant casualties) in 1919, though equally it might have turned out be mopping up if Germany collapsed internally.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Terry Duncan
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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Terry Duncan » 14 Nov 2018 14:38

Plain Old Dave wrote:
14 Nov 2018 12:40
Terry Duncan wrote:
14 Nov 2018 11:24
Plain Old Dave wrote:
14 Nov 2018 02:50
French's V Corps dissolved under the pressure, as one example.
Are you sure that really happened? I don't recall it at all, to be honest
Thanks, again, for stifling the America bashing. Wawro discussed it in Sons of Freedom.
Thank you. I am rather more concerned that Wawro discussed anything about French's V corps dissolving under pressure? V Corps was commanded Fanshawe when the German Spring 1918 offensive was launched, and French had, thankfully, long since been removed from a command where he could do any serious harm, being removed in 1915. Wawro really has slipped if he has made such an error.

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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Terry Duncan » 14 Nov 2018 14:44

Sheldrake wrote:
14 Nov 2018 13:11
However it is simply untrue to claim that the Germans collapsed under their own weight. The German offensives collapsed after suffering one million casualties. It is frankly insulting to deny heroism to the British and French soldiers who stopped them.
This is the problem I have with many posts on both historical and AH boards, there is a tendency to try and denigrate the contributions made by one nation or another in order to enhance that of any other particular nation. Even the small nations played their roles and deserve recognition for such.

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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Plain Old Dave » 14 Nov 2018 17:51

Re: Summer 1918. French and British inability to stop German offensives is well documented. Whilst they were fought to a frazzle, German offensives failed due to German inability to extend supply chain and sustain attack. Conclusion- they collapsed under their own weight.

Re: logistics. American shipbuilding industry only hit its stride in Summer 1918, and transported the AEF in the high 40s percentage. By Summer 1919, higher 70s is reasonable. Conclusion- independent AEF supplied with American artillery, tanks, aircraft and the ONLY general issue semiautomatic personal shoulder arm of the war: the Pedersen Device.

Re: Warfighting. Have always thought claims of America's "inexperience" were overstated. We WON in the Argonne, and turned the tide of the war at the Belleau Wood. There's a saying in the Army: Quantity has a quality all its own. Modern American warfighting doctrine has always emphasized overwhelming force to some degree or another. Largest armed force in Europe coupled with the firepower advantage of the Pedersen Device and BAR would have forced the unconditional surrender Pershing publicly advocated for.

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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Terry Duncan » 15 Nov 2018 12:27

Plain Old Dave wrote:
14 Nov 2018 17:51
Re: Summer 1918. French and British inability to stop German offensives is well documented. Whilst they were fought to a frazzle, German offensives failed due to German inability to extend supply chain and sustain attack. Conclusion- they collapsed under their own weight.

Re: logistics. American shipbuilding industry only hit its stride in Summer 1918, and transported the AEF in the high 40s percentage. By Summer 1919, higher 70s is reasonable. Conclusion- independent AEF supplied with American artillery, tanks, aircraft and the ONLY general issue semiautomatic personal shoulder arm of the war: the Pedersen Device.

Re: Warfighting. Have always thought claims of America's "inexperience" were overstated. We WON in the Argonne, and turned the tide of the war at the Belleau Wood. There's a saying in the Army: Quantity has a quality all its own. Modern American warfighting doctrine has always emphasized overwhelming force to some degree or another. Largest armed force in Europe coupled with the firepower advantage of the Pedersen Device and BAR would have forced the unconditional surrender Pershing publicly advocated for.
But is it Wawro who said 'French's Vth Corps almost dissolved in 1918' or is it a mistake you made? If the former it is a pretty poor reflection on his book, as he is a paid historian rather than an amateur enthusiast like most people here.

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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Plain Old Dave » 15 Nov 2018 12:51

I'll find the page number tonight.

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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by MLW » 15 Nov 2018 13:15

Plain Old Dave wrote:
14 Nov 2018 02:50
Germany had not prepared for any defense on the Germany side of the Argonne. It's reasonable to conclude Black Jack Pershing would have insisted on unconditional surrender, as his AEF would be the "big dog on the porch." A 1919 Central European Campaign would be even more disorganized on the German side than 1945 was. No fanatical leadership; very possibly a Spartacist coup and surrender by the time the AEF made it to the Palatinate.
Not true, the German Army was building fortifications along the Meuse River (especially in the area of Liege and Namur) and on its western border. It also had the very strong fortifications at Thionvile, Metz, and Strasbourg.

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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by MarkN » 15 Nov 2018 14:01

Sheldrake wrote:
14 Nov 2018 13:11
Plain Old Dave wrote:
14 Nov 2018 02:50
Old thread, worthy of resurrection.

By 1919, the US Army would have been the largest armed force in Europe. Conversely, the French had a paper thin draftee cohort for 1919, and whether or not Lloyd George was willing to send Haig more farmboys from the Shires to use up German ammo is a question that has been debated for a century.
I agree with Plain old Dave that the AEF would have been the strongest component allied force on the Western Front in 1919. Whether the US would have pushed for harsher terms than Versailles is unknown. The Germans approached Wilson offering an armistice because he appeared to favour peace without victory.

It is also likely that one reason the French were keen to win the war in 1918 was to avoid having the Americans lead a liberation advance into Lorraine.

However it is simply untrue to claim that the Germans collapsed under their own weight. The German offensives collapsed after suffering one million casualties. It is frankly insulting to deny heroism to the British and French soldiers who stopped them.
Indeed.

The Americans had spent 3 years war profiteering. But you can only war profiteer for so long before the money runs out. The war had to be 'stopped' before that happened. America wanted peace and debtors paying up. America didn't want debtors so broken that they couldn't pay up. Moreover, America didn't want a messy end to the war that meant they started to suffer the consequences too.

So, how would 1919 and 1920 have looked if the only army with any energy left was the American one? But America wanted a quick peace, not a bloody and costly victory fought all the way to the gates of Berlin.

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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Plain Old Dave » 15 Nov 2018 15:17

Re: French/British action. Both were fought to a frazzle; understandable given heavy casualties. Fact remains- 1918 failure was primarily due to German inability to extend supply chain.

Re: Quick peace. Pershing publicly advocated for unconditional surrender. He was the second most popular personality in These States in 1918, and at the time was THE ranking officer in the history of the United States Army. Until 1976, he ranked George Washington. If he wanted the war aim to be unconditional surrender, good chance he would have got it.

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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by MarkN » 15 Nov 2018 15:42

Plain Old Dave wrote:
15 Nov 2018 15:17
Re: Quick peace. Pershing publicly advocated for unconditional surrender. He was the second most popular personality in These States in 1918, ... If he wanted the war aim to be unconditional surrender, good chance he would have got it.
Where did his popularity stand in Those States?

Nevertheless, I bet even in "These States" his popularity would have taken a bit of a hit as hundreds of thousands, maybe a million or more, families lost their sons curbstomping their way to Berlin.

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Re: If WW1 had continued into 1919 and 1920 would those years have resembled WW2 more than 1914-16?

Post by Terry Duncan » 15 Nov 2018 16:21

Plain Old Dave wrote:
15 Nov 2018 15:17
Until 1976, he ranked George Washington.
How? Does the US deal in two-century posthumous promotions? At least Pershing wasn't a traitor, but he did have a very naughty nickname.

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