Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

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Sid Guttridge
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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Feb 2020 12:18

Hi James A. Pratt,

You post, "The British and French leaders being a bunch of spineless appeasers....." What obligations do they, particularly the British, have to the Poles? After all, the Poles had ignored the British-proposed, ethnically-based, Curzon Line and planted their eastern frontier well to the east of Polish majority areas. French support had done much to save Poland from the Red Armyafter WWI.

In 1939 the British and French only guaranteed Poland's border with Germany precisely because Poland had border disputes with the USSR, the Czechs, Slovaks and Lithuanians. Poland only had mutually accepted borders with Latvia and Romania.

Many of Poland's inter-war disputes were at least partly of its own choosing, not just because of difficult neighbours or reluctant supposed "allies".

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 25 Feb 2020 19:47

Sid Guttridge wrote:
25 Feb 2020 12:18
Hi James A. Pratt,

You post, "The British and French leaders being a bunch of spineless appeasers....." What obligations do they, particularly the British, have to the Poles? After all, the Poles had ignored the British-proposed, ethnically-based, Curzon Line and planted their eastern frontier well to the east of Polish majority areas. French support had done much to save Poland from the Red Armyafter WWI. ...
Sometimes I look at it from a cynical realpolitik PoV. For economic/resource reasons its better part of Poland goes to the USSR, vs added to the resource pool the Germans were trying to build. Every percent of resources outside direct German control benefits the Franco/Brit strategy.

A cynical political view is the eastern half of Poland has been taken into 'protective custody' to keep them out of German clutches.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 02 Mar 2020 00:26

the French were Allies of the Poles and should have been willing to help them. One must point out the French and British come out like a bunch of Cowards and idiots during the 1930s. Look the Czech Crisis of 1938.

And Now back to the war:
The Rumanians who have an alliance with the Poles and started mobilizing when the war began declare war on the USSR. The Soviets who knew in advance what the Rumanians were going to do claim the Rumanians were invading Soviet territory the one week later launch an offensive spearheaded by 2 Tank Corps that routs the Rumanians and drives 30 miles into Rumania.
Other Soviet offensives in South Poland are halted by the Poles in the South outside Lwow and on the Bug River East of Lubin. To the North another Soviet offensive manages to get to the outskirts of Grodno before the Poles halt it. Meanwhile the British and the French are dithering over what to do. The French are in a total mess politically. The Germans who have started mobilizing when the war began are trying to get some consetions from the Poles in return for a declaration of war . The Poles refuse. A further Soviet offensive in the North led by 2 Tank corps breaks through the polish lines and a cavalry corps exploiting it rides to and crosses the East Prussian border leading to fighting between German and Soviet troops who didn't know they were in Germany. Hitler and co with this incident and worried about a Polish collapse declare war on the USSR. After quick talks with the Poles the Germans agree to start taking over the Northern and Southern parts of the front. Soon afterwards German troops start moving into Poland.

to be continued

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 08 Mar 2020 22:16

The Germans in 2 weeks have several Infantry divisions in line from the Lithuanian border to the North of Bialystik with a Panzer Corps in reserve. To the South the Germans occupied a line from the Czech border to the South of Lwow. Then the Soviets launched offensives North and South of Bialystok. The northern attack broke through and mauled 2 German Infantry divisions. The panzer Corps in reserve after a awkward start managed to stop the Soviet advance after a 15 mile penetration. To the South the Soviets broke through the Polish line. However a German light division and 2 polish Cavalry Brigades managed to halt it after a 17 mile penetration. This left two bulges in the soon to be named Axis powers line north and south of Bialystok which made it impossible to defend so the Poles soon abandoned it.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by antwony » 09 Mar 2020 09:34

James A Pratt III wrote:
02 Mar 2020 00:26
One must point out the French and British come out like a bunch of Cowards and idiots during the 1930s.
Over 4 percent of French people died during WW1, ~1.5% during WW2.

Comparative percents for the UK were ~2% for WW1, under 1% for WW2.

I'm pretty certain Chamberlain, Daladier wouldn't be too bothered with some fightin' talk from an internet expert 80 years later.

In retrospect, it could be argued that pre WW2 Western European diplomacy was an act of genius. As opposed to Stalin's apparent desire for the "fascist" states to weaken each other through war, it was the co-belligerants, the USSR and Nazi Germany, who started the war that got the most f***ed over.

Stalin, and to be honest Mr. Pratt, should have read Matthew 26:52.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 10 Mar 2020 23:18

Many historians don't have a whole lot of good things to say about the British and French leadership during this period. You might want to also look at the post on this site that deals with what in a war had broken out in 1938.

back to the story:
Soon afterwards to the South a two-pronged Soviet offensive broke through and encircled the city of Lwow and 2 Polish infantry Divisions. An quickly assembled Axis relief force including a German Panzer Corps, one Polish Mech Brigade, 2 Cavalry brigades, and a Polish infantry Division managed to hack a corridor close enough for the Polish troops in Lwow to break out. After to some heavy fighting about half the garrison and large number of refugees made it. Then in Rumania the Soviets attacked and drove the Rumanians back to the Siret river.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 10 Apr 2020 01:44

The Soviets also reached the Carphatian mountains but were halted by Rumanian mountain troops and newly arrived Italian Alpini. Italy had declared war on the USSR a few days after Germany.. Hungary also declares war on the USSR at this time and starts sending troops into Rumania which enrages the Rumanians. A German military mission arriving in Rumania at this time some reported back to Hitler the poor state of the Rumanian army as well as the unpopularity of King Carol II. The report went on to say that another 2 or 3 major Soviet offensives could lead to the Rumanians collapsing. Hitler and his Generals after some arguement decided to send a panzer corps of one panzer and one motorized infantry division to reinforce the Rumanians. They also planned to send a number of German infantry divisions at a later date. It was hoped that the Pazner corps and 2 Italian motorized divisions that where supposed to be on the way would be a strong mobile reserve.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 10 Jul 2020 21:35

Back again:
What were other countries doing:
The Poles and Rumanians expected some help from their Allies but, this is what happened at first:

France : The Popular Front do to the war is in a state of 3rd republic political chaos. This is part because the French Communist party is part of the popular front!? Most Frenchmen want to stay out of the war. The Communists and a few on the left want to go to war with the Axis . A few on the right want to join the Axis. Business men want to sell the Axis stuff and Banker want to give the Axis loans. After a really heated debate the French government decided to sell the Poles and Rumanians military equipment in some cases at discount prices. The French also loaned them money. The French also embarked on a major military rearmament plan. More money was to be spent on the French Field Army for weapons like tanks ATGs, artillery ect. Based on the experiences of the war in 1938 the French form 2 Armored divisions. Aircraft production was also increased. The naval budget was increased slightly.

England: A similar thing occurred most people want to stay out of the war. A few on the extreme left want to join the USSR in the war and a few on the extreme right want to join the Axis. ditto businessmen and banks. The government does decide to start a major rearmament plan. The Army a force of 6 well equipped divisions was ordered formed but it took until early 1939 to do this. The Territorial forces were expanded but equipping them with modern equipment proceeded at a snails pace. The RN and RAF were also expanded but at a slow pace. The Chamberlain government was blasted by almost everyone for its foot dragging on rearmament.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 24 Jul 2020 00:35

US similar most people want to stay out a few on the extreme left and right want to join in. Businessmen and bankers the same. One difference was groups like Italian-Americans, Polish-Americans, German-Americans ect want to help their native countries. The pro-USSR side leadership has a number of Jews in it. The US does launch a program to expand its military

Finnland and the Baltic States form the Baltic league a defense alliance.

Japan gets into a brief shooting incident with the Chinese over the Marco polo bridge incident. The Germans arrange a cease fire. It was on paper a draw but some Chinese think it was a small victory and a few Japanese think it was a small defeat and are somewhat bitter towards the Germans. The japanese start a mobilization and start send troops and equipment to Manchuria but hold off on plans for war since they don't know if the Axis will win or not

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 01 Sep 2020 21:32

The Czechs declare neutrality, mobilize army and say they will not sell any arms to any of the combatants. They do say they will continue to sell arms to neutrals. When the Soviets reach the Czech border they do not cross because Stalin felt he had enough enemies and didn't need any more. The French and British do give the Czechs garenties to protect the country's neutrality Hitler and the rest of the Axis also agree not to bother the Czechs since the Czechs are willing to sell them raw materials in return for food ect and to transmit arms ect to other countries.

Rest of Europe declares neutrality and build up militaries.

Spanish Civil war drags on both sides suffer from arms shortages do to the 1937 war.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 18 Sep 2020 01:22

Back to the war:

In the North the soviets launched an offensive that captured Ostoieka and got a bridgehead over the Narew river which a German counter attack failed to crush. Just to the south a two pronged Soviet offensive to the North and South of Brest manged to get bridgeheads across the Bug river North and South of the City Polish and German counterattacks failed to crush them. In all the counterattacks it was the same problem not enough troops, tanks and ammunition. Then at the extreme Northern part of the front the Soviets launched another offensive into the Eastern part of East Prussia advancing around 50 miles before they are halted.

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by Futurist » 20 Sep 2020 22:17

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
25 Feb 2020 19:47
Sid Guttridge wrote:
25 Feb 2020 12:18
Hi James A. Pratt,

You post, "The British and French leaders being a bunch of spineless appeasers....." What obligations do they, particularly the British, have to the Poles? After all, the Poles had ignored the British-proposed, ethnically-based, Curzon Line and planted their eastern frontier well to the east of Polish majority areas. French support had done much to save Poland from the Red Armyafter WWI. ...
Sometimes I look at it from a cynical realpolitik PoV. For economic/resource reasons its better part of Poland goes to the USSR, vs added to the resource pool the Germans were trying to build. Every percent of resources outside direct German control benefits the Franco/Brit strategy.

A cynical political view is the eastern half of Poland has been taken into 'protective custody' to keep them out of German clutches.
It's not really that much of a "protective custody" when the Soviet Union is quite willing to trade resources with Nazi Germany, no?

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by Futurist » 20 Sep 2020 22:19

Sid Guttridge wrote:
25 Feb 2020 12:18
Hi James A. Pratt,

You post, "The British and French leaders being a bunch of spineless appeasers....." What obligations do they, particularly the British, have to the Poles? After all, the Poles had ignored the British-proposed, ethnically-based, Curzon Line and planted their eastern frontier well to the east of Polish majority areas. French support had done much to save Poland from the Red Armyafter WWI.

In 1939 the British and French only guaranteed Poland's border with Germany precisely because Poland had border disputes with the USSR, the Czechs, Slovaks and Lithuanians. Poland only had mutually accepted borders with Latvia and Romania.

Many of Poland's inter-war disputes were at least partly of its own choosing, not just because of difficult neighbours or reluctant supposed "allies".

Cheers,

Sid.
Interestingly enough, though, it's not 100% guaranteed that the Ukrainians and Belarusians in the Kresy would have preferred Soviet rule to Polish rule--especially given the much more massive famines, purges, and tyranny in the Soviet Union in comparison to Poland. In other words, we could have had another Upper Silesia situation here--as in, where people of a particular ethnic group vote against unity with their ethnic homeland for some reason(s).

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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by Thumpalumpacus » 20 Sep 2020 23:13

The leadership purge of the Red Army began in '37, did it not? How might that affect the battle?

It seemed to have some effect on the later Winter War. Would its effects have been felt as soon as 1937?

James A Pratt III
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Re: Speculative What-if fight: Poland v. Soviet Union 1937

Post by James A Pratt III » 25 Sep 2020 22:50

I will be getting to the purges one day and they do effect the RKKA.

In the south the Soviets launch another offensive that gets them a good sized bridgehead across the Siret river.

Then the fall rains fell turning the area into a sea of mud halting all combat. All armies were exhausted. by this time and both sides rested and prepared for the upcoming battles.

Shortly afterwards there was a coup in Rumania King Carol II was ousted and sent into exile. The leader of the coup General Antonescu proclaims himself Conducator (Supreme leader). He brings the Queen Mother Marie out of retirement as Regent in part because she could help rally the Rumanian people in this time of crises.

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