Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Futurist
Member
Posts: 1375
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by Futurist » 09 Jan 2019 00:30

In real life, the Manstein Plan (aka the Sickle-Cut Plan) was an unexpected success in 1940--with it resulting in France being knocked out of WWII in six weeks and leaving Britain to fight on alone.

Anyway, what I'm curious about is whether the Manstein Plan would have still had a realistic chance of success had WWII broken out in 1938 over Czechoslovakia rather than in 1939 over Poland.

Also, if the Manstein Plan would have been a success a year earlier, what effects would this have had on the war?

Any thoughts on this?

MLW
Member
Posts: 594
Joined: 12 Jan 2008 04:35
Location: Maryland

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by MLW » 09 Jan 2019 01:15

The Wehrmacht was not sufficiently rearmed in 1938 to attack France and it allies and, without the combat experience from the Polish campaign, the Wehrmacht could not have pulled off the 'Manstein Plan.'

User avatar
Robert Rojas
Member
Posts: 2658
Joined: 19 Nov 2002 04:29
Location: Pleasant Hill, California - U.S.A.

RE: Was A Successful Manstein Plan Possible If World War Two Breaks Out In 1938?

Post by Robert Rojas » 09 Jan 2019 01:25

Greetings to both brother Futurist and the community as a whole. Howdy Futurist (or Alvin Toffler if you so prefer)! Well sir, in respect to your introductory posting of Tuesday - January 08, 2019 - 3:30pm, the MANSTEIN PLAN notwithstanding, old yours truly is of the school of thought that Adolf Hitler would have been removed from power after the mechanics of the OSTER CONSPIRACY were implemented in year 1938. Naturally, this is assuming that both France and Great Britain have opted for a military solution against National Socialist Germany over the issue of Czechoslovakia which would have set the OSTER CONSPIRACY into political motion. The successor German regime would have sued for peace which would have rendered moot any military planning against the WEST by then General Erich von Manstein. Finally, I would also like to point out that there would NEVER have been the MECHELEN INCIDENT of January 10, 1940 where aspects of the original German invasion plan were compromised to the French and the British. After reviewing this compromised documentation, the French and the British prematurely initiated their DYLE PLAN which moved men and material into Belgium. This action was an intelligence windfall for German military planners. After the French and British has shown their cards so to speak, then General Erich von Manstein could then redesign and fine tune the German invasion plan for the WEST. In short, without the impact of the "fortuitous" MECHELN INCIDENT, there would NOT have been the Wehrmacht's spectacular victory in the WEST as it historically transpired. Well, that's my initial two cents, centimes, pence or pfennigs worth on this repetitive exercise down hypothetical lane - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic down in your corner of Orange County that is the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland.


Best Regards From The Greater San Francisco Bay Area!
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

Futurist
Member
Posts: 1375
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by Futurist » 09 Jan 2019 01:32

MLW wrote:
09 Jan 2019 01:15
The Wehrmacht was not sufficiently rearmed in 1938 to attack France and it allies and, without the combat experience from the Polish campaign, the Wehrmacht could not have pulled off the 'Manstein Plan.'
Can't it get some experience from the Czechoslovak campaign as well as some Czechoslovak loot (including Czechoslovak military loot)?
Last edited by Futurist on 09 Jan 2019 01:35, edited 1 time in total.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 1375
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: RE: Was A Successful Manstein Plan Possible If World War Two Breaks Out In 1938?

Post by Futurist » 09 Jan 2019 01:35

Robert Rojas wrote:
09 Jan 2019 01:25
Greetings to both brother Futurist and the community as a whole. Howdy Futurist (or Alvin Toffler if you so prefer)! Well sir, in respect to your introductory posting of Tuesday - January 08, 2019 - 3:30pm, the MANSTEIN PLAN notwithstanding, old yours truly is of the school of thought that Adolf Hitler would have been removed from power after the mechanics of the OSTER CONSPIRACY were implemented in year 1938. Naturally, this is assuming that both France and Great Britain have opted for a military solution against National Socialist Germany over the issue of Czechoslovakia which would have set the OSTER CONSPIRACY into political motion. The successor German regime would have sued for peace which would have rendered moot any military planning against the WEST by then General Erich von Manstein. Finally, I would also like to point out that there would NEVER have been the MECHELEN INCIDENT of January 10, 1940 where aspects of the original German invasion plan were compromised to the French and the British. After reviewing this compromised documentation, the French and the British prematurely initiated their DYLE PLAN which moved men and material into Belgium. This action was an intelligence windfall for German military planners. After the French and British has shown their cards so to speak, then General Erich von Manstein could then redesign and fine tune the German invasion plan for the WEST. In short, without the impact of the "fortuitous" MECHELN INCIDENT, there would NOT have been the Wehrmacht's spectacular victory in the WEST as it historically transpired. Well, that's my initial two cents, centimes, pence or pfennigs worth on this repetitive exercise down hypothetical lane - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic down in your corner of Orange County that is the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland.


Best Regards From The Greater San Francisco Bay Area!
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
I was assuming that the Oster Conspiracy would either fail or not be realized in this scenario. You are very much correct that there could be a successful Oster Conspiracy, but that would defeat the point of my scenario here considering that I want the Germans to try invading France instead of quickly making peace. In other words, I am interesting in a specific hypothetical scenario occurring so that I could see how exactly it would unfold.

As for the Mechelen Incident, AFAIK, Hitler already expressed some doubts about the previous German plan even before the Mechelen incident. AFAIK, Hitler preferred to go bold.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 9836
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by ljadw » 09 Jan 2019 07:34

The Mechelen aan de Maas incident had nothing to do with the cancellation of the German attack in the West : immediately after the incident,the order was given to attack , but it was cancelled because of the weather .
What the allies discovered after the incident was not important : only a few pages about the intervention of airborne units in Gent .
Other points :
the allied forces did not enter Belgium,but were stopped at the border .
the Germans knew about the Dyle plan (and its Breda variant ) that was drafted already in 1936 .
The importance of what happened at Mechelen aan de Maas is a myth .
The same for the Oster conspiracy,which is only a postwar invention, to blame Chamberlain for the outbreak of the war and to innnocent the Germans .Oster had been forced to leave the Reichswehr because of dishonourable conduct and later received a very subordinate position in the Abwehr with the rang of colonel at the age of 51 .Such a person had no influence at the top of the Wehrmacht .
Besides, if there was an Oster conspiracy in 1938 ,why was there no Oster conspiracy in 1939 ?

User avatar
Robert Rojas
Member
Posts: 2658
Joined: 19 Nov 2002 04:29
Location: Pleasant Hill, California - U.S.A.

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by Robert Rojas » 09 Jan 2019 07:44

ljadw, is there nothing that you're not an expert on?
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 6694
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Jan 2019 12:25

Hi Futurist,

The Manstein Plan wasn't even conceived in 1938 and the opportunity to use it in 1939 depends entirely on a large number of intervening imponderables, not least what Poland and the USSR did.

In essence, MLW is right. Germany would have been insufficiently rearmed in mid 1939, especially if the Czechs fought and destroyed their armaments industry and weaponry. If memory serves me correctly, nearly half of the German tanks above the light Pz.Is and Pz.IIs were of Czech origin when war broke out.

Cheers,

Sid.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6854
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Jan 2019 05:09

Futurist wrote:
09 Jan 2019 00:30
In real life, the Manstein Plan (aka the Sickle-Cut Plan) was an unexpected success in 1940--with it resulting in France being knocked out of WWII in six weeks and leaving Britain to fight on alone.
...
The plan Manstein wrote as operations officer for Army Group A in October/November was not the Sickle Cut Plan used in May 1940. The plan Manstein wrote was one of three plans tasked to the Army group commanders by Halder for a map exercise or war-game conducted at Halders offices at Zossen in November 1939. Army Group A was only allocated four armored divisions for its task in this exercise & the plan presented was aimed at rupturing the Allied defense on the Meuse river, but a dash to Paris or to the sea was not part of it. Post war Guderian claimed Manstein met briefly with him before the Zossen exercise and asked questions of how armored units should operate. Manstein had no previous experience of training with these weapons. Guderian further claimed the idea of concentrating the armored corps and sending ahead of the infantry was his lesson to Manstein. The latter never mentioned meeting Guderian, or learning anything from him. Manstein had been selected for promotion to corps command & departed the operations position in November. He participated in no further planning.

The sickle cut maneuver emerged from repeated field and map exercises from November 1939 through March 1940. Some were at Halders HQ at Zossen, some run by the army group commanders. The several tests showed mainly that dispersing the armored forces and holding them back in reserve gave the worst results. Concentration with either army group had better but not decisive results, with some favor to concentration with Army Group A. The late exercise in March 1940 did produce a decisive result, after the officer running the Allied side handicapped severely the French army. The participants thought this very unrealistic and judged the French would never fight the battle so ineptly. Most of the senior commanders thought the battle would be tough, and the advance unlikely to be as far as in 1914.

From January through March Kliest as commander of the the concentrated "Panzer Group" of seven armored and two motorized Inf. divisions and Guderian as the most experienced in armored training/operations, and commander of the largest corps in the Pz Grp. did most of the planning for how the concentrated armored force would operate and its objectives. Rundsteadt as AG A commander left most of this to them and his CoS, who to this day remains a non entity.

Guderian in his memoirs noted that there were two alternative plans for the objective of the 'breakout'. Paris & its communications hub was considered along side a effort to reach the Channel. Guderian also describes how this decision remained on the table until the last moment. As he consolidated his corps bridgehead at Sedan he described confirming with Kliest which objective the three armored corps were to take, Paris or the Channel.

Mays in 'Strange Victory' examines in detail the development of the several offensive plans proposed and tested from October through March 1940. Like several other English language historians like Horne or Jackson Mays left me with the impression Halder, Rundsteadt, Kleist, & Guderian went with the final plan out of desperation. Sort of 'This is a risky bad plan, but everything else we looked at is worse.'
Last edited by Carl Schwamberger on 11 Jan 2019 01:47, edited 1 time in total.

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6854
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Jan 2019 05:16

Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Jan 2019 12:25
... In essence, MLW is right. Germany would have been insufficiently rearmed in mid 1939, ...
Indeed. In May 1940 there were ten relatively robust armored divisions, four or five motor rifle divisions, and four trained corps staff for armored operations. In October there were four anemic armored divisions, three "light" divisions that were not much more than glorified brigades and and corps staff who bare understood what had happened in Poland. During the next six months there was a massive training cycle, supply of new armored weapons, and, reorganization. The combat power of the armored force was more than double what had been fielded against Poland.

jesk
Banned
Posts: 1973
Joined: 04 Aug 2017 08:19
Location: Belarus

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by jesk » 10 Jan 2019 09:53

With the advent of new weapons, the superiority of Germany has become absolute. I do not see the genius of the plan. 31 German divisions delivered the "main blow". In a similar situation, the Germans would be able to fight back. In March 1945 they were surrounded, but only after 300,000 prisoners on a plate. And then the Germans could get out of the encirclement. Hitler forbade to break through. The allies in 1940 had no such opportunity.

Image

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_pr ... est_Europe

In March 1945, the numbers of German soldiers surrendering accelerated. Eisenhower said they were surrendering at a rate of ten thousand a day[26] but actually approaching 350,000 surrendered in the whole month,[7] bringing the total between D-Day and the end of March 1945 up to 1,300,000.[1] The reason why so many surrendered in March was because Hitler did not allow a fluid response and orderly retreat before the Western Allies’ advance towards the Rhine, so that many German soldiers were trapped in indefensible positions to the west of the Rhine, where they were forced to surrender. Eisenhower referred to the Wehrmacht as a ‘whipped army’ on March 27.[3] In his book Crusade in Europe, Eisenhower wrote ‘We owed much to Hitler’,[27] because he prevented his generals from pulling back the defending forces to the east of the Rhine, probably no later than early January, thus handing the Western Allies 300,000 prisoners on a plate.[27]

ljadw
Member
Posts: 9836
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by ljadw » 10 Jan 2019 12:07

The plan that was used in 1940 (wrongly called Sichelschnitt) differed in a lot of aspects from the Manstein proposals .Thus, it is very hazardous and questionable to call it the Manstein Plan .
Besides, there was a long evolution in the German planning : there were not less than 4 plans between october 1939 and february 1940 .

ljadw
Member
Posts: 9836
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by ljadw » 10 Jan 2019 12:11

Manstein proposed also a double Sichelschnitt :
an advance to the coast
and an encirclment of the French AG C = an advance to the Swiss border .
I doubt that this would be a success .
Last edited by ljadw on 10 Jan 2019 12:14, edited 2 times in total.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 9836
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Was a successful Manstein Plan possible if WWII breaks out in 1938?

Post by ljadw » 10 Jan 2019 12:12

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
10 Jan 2019 05:16
Sid Guttridge wrote:
09 Jan 2019 12:25
... In essence, MLW is right. Germany would have been insufficiently rearmed in mid 1939, ...
Indeed. In May 1940 there were ten relatively robust armored divisions, four or five motor rifle divisions, and four trained corps staff for armored operations. In October there were four anemic armored divisions, three "light" divisions that were not much more than glorified brigades and and corps staff who bare understood what had happened in Poland. During the next six months there was a massive training cycle, supply of new armored weapons, and, reorganization. The combat power of the armored force was more than double what had been fielded against Poland.
But the French were also much weaker and there was no BEF in 1938 .

User avatar
Robert Rojas
Member
Posts: 2658
Joined: 19 Nov 2002 04:29
Location: Pleasant Hill, California - U.S.A.

RE: Was A Successful Manstein Plan Possible If World War Two Breaks Out In 1938?

Post by Robert Rojas » 10 Jan 2019 19:40

Greetings to both brother Carl Schwamberger and the community as a whole. Howdy Carl! Well sir, in respect to your posting of Wednesday - January 09, 2019 - 8:09pm, given the constraints of the historical time frame established by brother Futurist, where does the Kingdom of the Netherlands fit into the potential scheme of things in the geopolitical realities of year 1938? If I recall, Adolf Hitler would call the "NEUTRALITY" of the Dutch into open question after the so-called VENLO INCIDENT of November 09, 1939. It is my "understanding" that Adolf Hitler would subsequently include the Netherlands for conquest and subjugation into his invasion plans after the VENLO INCIDENT. Since the VENLO INCIDENT lies in the chronological future of this hypothetical scenario, I will "assume" that Adolf Hitler will take an OUT OF SIGHT and hence, OUT OF MIND attitude towards that military behemoth known as the Netherlands. So, one must ask how much of an impact would the release and reallocation of the Dutch invasion force have upon the planning and execution of a potential SUMMER CAMPAIGN in Western Europe in year 1938? On the other hand, in the context of history anyway, the Wehrmacht's operations in the Netherlands certainly did act as an effective diversionary ruse to lure the French and the British into Belgium unless, of course, the events and consequences of May 10, 1940 are and were fanciful figments of my fertile imagination. Finally, since it is not terribly likely that the person of General Erich von Manstein would be intimately associated with the planning of a year 1938 campaign in Western Europe, then what figure within the Feldgraurian brain trust would singularly ascend to the titular role of the "MANSTEIN PLAN"? Would it be the "HALDER PLAN"? If I were a betting man, my wager would remain with the OSTER CONSPIRACY - on the other hand, what do I know? Well Carl, unlike others, I trust your dispassionate technical insights and gut instincts on this quite theoretical matter. Well, that's my latest two cents, centimes, pence or pfennigs worth on this sojourn down WHAT IF lane - for now anyway. As always, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
"It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it" - Robert E. Lee

Return to “What if”