If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalemate?

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalemate?

Post by Futurist » 11 Nov 2021 21:58

If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough and aggressively fortified it, would they have had a chance at a stalemate? I'm thinking that the best time to do this might be either before the Battle of Kursk or right after the Battle of Kursk, though I suppose that this could also be done right after the Third Battle of Kharkov if that battle ends up being a defeat for the Germans rather than a victory for them.

https://archive.md/Cw2uA

Image

Having a front line that's almost exclusively based on rivers seems like a good idea, but would the Axis actually be able to permanently hold this front line? If so, would this actually be enough to get the Soviet Union to make a separate peace with the Axis, after which point the Axis can focus all of their attention of the Western Front and fully crush any D-Day-style or Dragoon-style landing attempts in France?

Any thoughts on this?

User avatar
stg 44
Member
Posts: 3376
Joined: 03 Dec 2002 01:42
Location: illinois

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by stg 44 » 11 Nov 2021 22:29

You mean the Panther Line:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panther%E ... Wotan_line

Yes of course, see how well AG-North did until Bagration turned their flank. This was being advocated for for a while by many in the German army, but Hitler refused to allow it to go forward. Had it started in May 1943 it should be ready no later than September when the forces in Ukraine started retreating to it.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by Futurist » 11 Nov 2021 22:35

stg 44 wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:29
You mean the Panther Line:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panther%E ... Wotan_line

Yes of course, see how well AG-North did until Bagration turned their flank. This was being advocated for for a while by many in the German army, but Hitler refused to allow it to go forward. Had it started in May 1943 it should be ready no later than September when the forces in Ukraine started retreating to it.
The Panther Line is in zigzags on this map, right? :

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... _grand.jpg

Image

Anyway, in such a scenario, if the USSR indeed makes a separate peace in either late 1943 or sometime in 1944, and D-Day and Dragoon both subsequently fail in France, do the Western Allies actually decide to wait for their development of nuclear weapons? Or do they seek some kind of accommodation with Germany?

And what about anti-Nazis in the German military and elsewhere? Would they still have the courage to launch a coup attempt against Hitler and the Nazis in such a scenario? Or would they decide against it since Germany's military situation won't be anywhere near as bad in the summer of 1944 as it actually was in real life?

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 8759
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by wm » 11 Nov 2021 22:42

In modern war, the linear defense has no chance against a stronger or/and competent enemy. Actually, your linear defense is your enemy a wet dream.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by Futurist » 11 Nov 2021 22:51

wm wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:42
In modern war, the linear defense has no chance against a stronger or/and competent enemy. Actually, your linear defense is your enemy a wet dream.
The Maginot Line was a great linear defense in WWII, as was the Hindenburg Line in WWI. The former was eventually bypassed, but that's because it didn't stretch all of the way up to the Atlantic coast. The latter was eventually cracked, but only after 1.5 years or so.

User avatar
stg 44
Member
Posts: 3376
Joined: 03 Dec 2002 01:42
Location: illinois

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by stg 44 » 11 Nov 2021 22:55

Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:35
The Panther Line is in zigzags on this map, right? :
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... _grand.jpg
Yes.
Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:35
Anyway, in such a scenario, if the USSR indeed makes a separate peace in either late 1943 or sometime in 1944, and D-Day and Dragoon both subsequently fail in France, do the Western Allies actually decide to wait for their development of nuclear weapons? Or do they seek some kind of accommodation with Germany?
Politically it would be impossible to continue the war if the Soviets cut a deal and quit. That's why the Soviets entered into negotiations with the Germans in Spring 1943 to pressure the Wallies into opening a second front ASAP. D-day probably wouldn't even happen if the Soviets quit even as late as early 1944. Before D-Day US public opinion was not behind the war in Europe, since Italy was turning into a costly slog as was the strategic air war (the late 1943 nearly saw operations against Germany cancelled entirely due to 2nd Schweinfurt casualties) and the only bright spot was Soviet victories. It was only the success of D-Day that turn US public opinion favorable toward continuing the war to the end. Paris being captured also was arguably the decisive factor to FDR winning his 4th term.
Likely if the Soviets quit FDR doesn't run again and a deal is cut with Germany in 1944.
Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:35
And what about anti-Nazis in the German military and elsewhere? Would they still have the courage to launch a coup attempt against Hitler and the Nazis in such a scenario? Or would they decide against it since Germany's military situation won't be anywhere near as bad in the summer of 1944 as it actually was in real life?
They would be neutered given Hitler's victories rendering him too popular to topple. They'll probably act as they did pre- and during the war and leak intel to the Allies as long as they could get away with it. Given that these guys launched repeated failed assassination attempts they'd probably try again eventually when they felt they could capitalize on the assassination, which might mean waiting for public opinion to turn against Hitler in peacetime. I doubt they would try again for a while after the Soviets quit given how much of a boost that would give Hitler and Germany in general in negotiations with the West. They'd lose the resulting civil war quite badly and would know it. Hence why even IOTL they waited until D-Day succeeded before trying again after the failed March 1943 attempt.

User avatar
stg 44
Member
Posts: 3376
Joined: 03 Dec 2002 01:42
Location: illinois

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by stg 44 » 11 Nov 2021 22:56

wm wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:42
In modern war, the linear defense has no chance against a stronger or/and competent enemy. Actually, your linear defense is your enemy a wet dream.
Counterpoint: Narwa

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by Futurist » 11 Nov 2021 23:00

stg 44 wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:55
Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:35
The Panther Line is in zigzags on this map, right? :
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... _grand.jpg
Yes.
Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:35
Anyway, in such a scenario, if the USSR indeed makes a separate peace in either late 1943 or sometime in 1944, and D-Day and Dragoon both subsequently fail in France, do the Western Allies actually decide to wait for their development of nuclear weapons? Or do they seek some kind of accommodation with Germany?
Politically it would be impossible to continue the war if the Soviets cut a deal and quit. That's why the Soviets entered into negotiations with the Germans in Spring 1943 to pressure the Wallies into opening a second front ASAP. D-day probably wouldn't even happen if the Soviets quit even as late as early 1944. Before D-Day US public opinion was not behind the war in Europe, since Italy was turning into a costly slog as was the strategic air war (the late 1943 nearly saw operations against Germany cancelled entirely due to 2nd Schweinfurt casualties) and the only bright spot was Soviet victories. It was only the success of D-Day that turn US public opinion favorable toward continuing the war to the end. Paris being captured also was arguably the decisive factor to FDR winning his 4th term.
Likely if the Soviets quit FDR doesn't run again and a deal is cut with Germany in 1944.
Any idea as to what such a deal might look like?
Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:35
And what about anti-Nazis in the German military and elsewhere? Would they still have the courage to launch a coup attempt against Hitler and the Nazis in such a scenario? Or would they decide against it since Germany's military situation won't be anywhere near as bad in the summer of 1944 as it actually was in real life?
They would be neutered given Hitler's victories rendering him too popular to topple. They'll probably act as they did pre- and during the war and leak intel to the Allies as long as they could get away with it. Given that these guys launched repeated failed assassination attempts they'd probably try again eventually when they felt they could capitalize on the assassination, which might mean waiting for public opinion to turn against Hitler in peacetime. I doubt they would try again for a while after the Soviets quit given how much of a boost that would give Hitler and Germany in general in negotiations with the West. They'd lose the resulting civil war quite badly and would know it. Hence why even IOTL they waited until D-Day succeeded before trying again after the failed March 1943 attempt.
Killing Hitler in peacetime would be interesting.

As a side note, what exactly happens to the surviving Jews in Axis Europe in this scenario? In early 1944, Romania and Hungary still had a lot of Jews, for instance, and there were also smaller amounts of Jews in Slovakia and elsewhere (maybe Greece?). Do the Nazis negotiate to deport these Jews to Palestine en masse? Because I suspect that Britain would be strongly against this. But at the same time, these Jews are going to need to have somewhere to go since the Axis won't tolerate them in their own countries indefinitely. But I'm also unsure that the Axis would actually continue the Holocaust in peacetime--though then again, maybe they will considering just how deeply they already got themselves involved in all of this. If they allow the survivors to immigrate to Palestine or elsewhere, the survivors could report their horror stories to the world and make the Nazis look bad--not to mention raise opposition against the Nazis among the international community. This might be an especially scary prospect for the Nazis, who literally believed that the Jews controlled the world!

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by Futurist » 11 Nov 2021 23:01

stg 44 wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:56
wm wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:42
In modern war, the linear defense has no chance against a stronger or/and competent enemy. Actually, your linear defense is your enemy a wet dream.
Counterpoint: Narwa
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Narva_(1944)

Also, Lake Naroch in 1916, no?

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 8759
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by wm » 11 Nov 2021 23:02

The Maginot Line was breached by the Germans in a week during Operation Tiger.
Its role wasn't to stop the enemy forever but to "slow an invasion force long enough for French forces to mobilize and counterattack."

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by Futurist » 11 Nov 2021 23:04

wm wrote:
11 Nov 2021 23:02
The Maginot Line was breached by the Germans in a week during Operation Tiger.
Its role wasn't to stop the enemy forever but to "slow an invasion force long enough for French forces to mobilize and counterattack."
Too bad that it doesn't have a Wikipedia page so I can't read about it. :(

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 8759
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by wm » 11 Nov 2021 23:05

stg 44 wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:56
Counterpoint: Narwa
The bulk of the land in the region is forested and large swamps inundate areas of low elevation. The effect of the terrain on operations was one of channelization; because of the swamps, only certain areas were suitable for large-scale troop movement.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3642
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by Futurist » 11 Nov 2021 23:06

wm wrote:
11 Nov 2021 23:05
stg 44 wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:56
Counterpoint: Narwa
The bulk of the land in the region is forested and large swamps inundate areas of low elevation. The effect of the terrain on operations was one of channelization; because of the swamps, only certain areas were suitable for large-scale troop movement.
Where's his quote from?

User avatar
stg 44
Member
Posts: 3376
Joined: 03 Dec 2002 01:42
Location: illinois

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by stg 44 » 11 Nov 2021 23:12

Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 23:00
stg 44 wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:55
Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:35
The Panther Line is in zigzags on this map, right? :
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... _grand.jpg
Yes.
Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:35
Anyway, in such a scenario, if the USSR indeed makes a separate peace in either late 1943 or sometime in 1944, and D-Day and Dragoon both subsequently fail in France, do the Western Allies actually decide to wait for their development of nuclear weapons? Or do they seek some kind of accommodation with Germany?
Politically it would be impossible to continue the war if the Soviets cut a deal and quit. That's why the Soviets entered into negotiations with the Germans in Spring 1943 to pressure the Wallies into opening a second front ASAP. D-day probably wouldn't even happen if the Soviets quit even as late as early 1944. Before D-Day US public opinion was not behind the war in Europe, since Italy was turning into a costly slog as was the strategic air war (the late 1943 nearly saw operations against Germany cancelled entirely due to 2nd Schweinfurt casualties) and the only bright spot was Soviet victories. It was only the success of D-Day that turn US public opinion favorable toward continuing the war to the end. Paris being captured also was arguably the decisive factor to FDR winning his 4th term.
Likely if the Soviets quit FDR doesn't run again and a deal is cut with Germany in 1944.
Any idea as to what such a deal might look like?
Probably a white peace and recognition of German aligned regimes on the continent. Not really much either could do otherwise in that situation.
Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:35
Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:35
And what about anti-Nazis in the German military and elsewhere? Would they still have the courage to launch a coup attempt against Hitler and the Nazis in such a scenario? Or would they decide against it since Germany's military situation won't be anywhere near as bad in the summer of 1944 as it actually was in real life?
They would be neutered given Hitler's victories rendering him too popular to topple. They'll probably act as they did pre- and during the war and leak intel to the Allies as long as they could get away with it. Given that these guys launched repeated failed assassination attempts they'd probably try again eventually when they felt they could capitalize on the assassination, which might mean waiting for public opinion to turn against Hitler in peacetime. I doubt they would try again for a while after the Soviets quit given how much of a boost that would give Hitler and Germany in general in negotiations with the West. They'd lose the resulting civil war quite badly and would know it. Hence why even IOTL they waited until D-Day succeeded before trying again after the failed March 1943 attempt.
Killing Hitler in peacetime would be interesting.

As a side note, what exactly happens to the surviving Jews in Axis Europe in this scenario? In early 1944, Romania and Hungary still had a lot of Jews, for instance, and there were also smaller amounts of Jews in Slovakia and elsewhere (maybe Greece?). Do the Nazis negotiate to deport these Jews to Palestine en masse? Because I suspect that Britain would be strongly against this. But at the same time, these Jews are going to need to have somewhere to go since the Axis won't tolerate them in their own countries indefinitely. But I'm also unsure that the Axis would actually continue the Holocaust in peacetime--though then again, maybe they will considering just how deeply they already got themselves involved in all of this. If they allow the survivors to immigrate to Palestine or elsewhere, the survivors could report their horror stories to the world and make the Nazis look bad--not to mention raise opposition against the Nazis among the international community. This might be an especially scary prospect for the Nazis, who literally believed that the Jews controlled the world!
Unlikely to work though given how hard the resistance had tried repeatedly to get him.

Romania ran its own separation Holocaust so a strengthened fascist regime in that country would keep running it. The Hungarians were in charge of their own population until March 1944 IOTL when there was an occupation of the country to forestall a separate peace deal between the Soviets and Hungarians, so they're likely safe if the POD heads that off.

Otherwise I'd imagine Hitler completes the Holocaust underway. Once that taboo had been broken it was going to be carried out to its horrible end, since it was conducted in areas where Nazi officials ran the show and there was no one to stop them. Sadly I think the situation would be much like the althis book "Fatherland" wherein the US can't do anything and just gets on with dealing with Nazi Germany, since it would control Europe and with that the largest economy in the world, which was the major trade partner of the US.

Better question is what happens to Japan if the Allies and Germany cut a deal in 1944.
Futurist wrote:
11 Nov 2021 23:01
stg 44 wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:56
wm wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:42
In modern war, the linear defense has no chance against a stronger or/and competent enemy. Actually, your linear defense is your enemy a wet dream.
Counterpoint: Narwa
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Narva_(1944)

Also, Lake Naroch in 1916, no?
That too, but I was trying to keep to contemporaneous battles in that region of the war, since it was most similar.

User avatar
stg 44
Member
Posts: 3376
Joined: 03 Dec 2002 01:42
Location: illinois

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by stg 44 » 11 Nov 2021 23:12

wm wrote:
11 Nov 2021 23:05
stg 44 wrote:
11 Nov 2021 22:56
Counterpoint: Narwa
The bulk of the land in the region is forested and large swamps inundate areas of low elevation. The effect of the terrain on operations was one of channelization; because of the swamps, only certain areas were suitable for large-scale troop movement.
Same situation in Belarus and along the Dnieper hence why the Panther line was located there.

Return to “What if”