NATO 1940

R Hooks

Smoke Break brb
Joined
Apr 15, 2009
Messages
633
Reaction score
108
Location
beaumont texas
Country
llUnited States
I certainly agree with you Sparky that the variables increase, with changes in the western front I don't think you can expect the east front to be static. Although Stalin is usually reported to be waiting his chances to take on Hitler, he was no friend of the western powers either. A victory of British and French in Norway only 3 months after his rough war with Finland could have alarmed him to support Hitler even more.
 

Sparky

Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
299
Reaction score
252
Country
llUnited States
yeah. That was sort of the point I was making that I missed in my earlier reply. The variables would increase, and Norway really is key to that. Thanks to the quick victory in the low country Hitler was able to shift forces used there quickly to help Dietl hold on until relieved from the south of Norway. That wouldn't have been able to happen and Fletcher's 6th Division (even with the inept coordination with French and English forces) would have overwhelmed Dietl changing the ballgame in that campaign completely. Due to the economics involved, not to mention the not small matter I touched on earlier that this was Hitler's baby, failure was NOT an option there. The Germans would have had to shift significant forces to complete the invasion. They would have had to and would have succeeded. Part of the dysfunction on the allied side was the failure of the English command structure to heed Norwegian advice to realize that Narvik was not the key to the campaign, but Trondheim. The Germans would have won that campaign, but in the NATO 1940 scenario, it would have taken much longer and required more forces than they had to historically take from the western campaign which was only one division, the 2nd Mountain.

Yeah I did toss the Soviets and Stalin into that equation but that is a subject, and a fascinating one, all in itself.
 

Nineteen Kilo

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
671
Reaction score
158
Location
Fair Oaks CA
Country
llUnited States
Sorry for the late reply. Been giving this a bit of thought. Yes it could have at a minimum and in regards to my earlier softball toss reply I think the effects could have been profound.

First questions is whether a protacive move by the French and English into the low countries to established defensive postions would have not have higher German strategy in going with the Manstein plan. I don't really see a plausible reason why it would have but it could have influenced it as I'll try to lay here.

The thing to consider with this is the invasion of France was not done in a vacuum. There was already another invasion going on and one whose success was absolutelyvital to Germany and its wartime economic survival. The invasion of Norway. One that was not going to plan and one who had already TWICE nearly drove Hitler to losing his marbles.

Note that invasion was a baby of the OKW and the OKH wanted nothing to do with it and had nothing to do with its planning nor its execution. They thought it was too risky and so this was Hitler's baby and one whose success or failure would be laid directly on HItler. The thing to consider is there was a real power struggle here between Hitler and his generals. One that could go very much in either direction in early May 1940.

I suppose this could turn into a treatise so I won't bore you so I'll summarize where I would go with this.

A Nato 1940 scenario as you brought up would likely lead directly to one result off the bat.

The Germans would have lost Narvik, the 3rd Mountain division, and the whole of northern Norway and likely kept the Norwegians in the war and that front active for much longer than it did historically.

A second point in which that scenario might have changed the historical result. The more I think about it I'm not so sure an attack through the Ardennes would have had the same result. There were only 4 paths Kleist had through there and if the Allies had fully deployed they would have faced the whole of 1st Chausseurs Ardennais which withdrew northward historically after initial blocking actions which it wouldn't have to do in this Nato 1940 case leaving all their roadblocks through the Ardennes undefended thus easily removed, and in addition they would have had to face the French 5th DLC which never made it into the Ardennes but obviously would have in a planned forward deployment.

One might reasonably consider that a attack through the Ardennes in a Nato 1940 scenario would have not had the same historical results.

and the result could have been devastating for the Germans.

a stalemate of sorts there means the French and English do not withdraw from Norway and thus they are faced with a 2 front war. There were two things the Germans needed to wage this war. Iron Ore and Oil. The Allies could have then put pressure on Sweden to kick Germany to the curve and as we know Stalin had his plans to knock out Germany by depriving it of the oil it needed.

A two front war in 1940. Germany would have been screwed for Stalin was coming for Germany and there would have likely been no preemptive attack, Barbarossa, in 1941.
Sparky I'm glad you brought up Herr Hitler's precarious position in Spring 1940. I thought about it in my reply but didn't drill down into as much detail as you did. You are absolutely correct that if the initial thrust into France bogged down there may have been a coup from the "old guard" which then really sends alternative history off the rails.


Truth be told in my hypothetical post #1 I was really just putting out there a possible outcome to get the discussion rolling. If I had to bet the mortgage I'd say that the initial thrust through the Ardennes Forest would have had a "grinding" period in which the French forces would have had to have been attrited (with likely higher losses by the Germans) until the path became clear for the dash to the Channel. Think of the first few days of the British breakout at El Alamein - a whole lot of casualties and going nowhere until the German force was worn down sufficiently. So in the end I imagine the "NATO 1940" hypothetical adds a week to 10 days to the campaign but with much higher German casualties.
 

Paul M. Weir

Forum Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
8,318
Reaction score
3,278
Location
Dublin
First name
Paul
Country
llIreland
So in the end I imagine the "NATO 1940" hypothetical adds a week to 10 days to the campaign but with much higher German casualties.
This is why I question whether the full breakthrough to the coast could be achieved.

Give the Allies a few extra days and even they could manage more local counter attacks into the flanks. Those would of themselves not be sufficient to stop the main thrust but would have increases the nervousness of some local commanders but most importantly Berlin. Historically Berlin was browning its shorts over lightly protected flanks. The local commanders kept up the pace by saying they were conducting reconnaissance in force, an excuse later used many times in Barbarossa. They did finally enforce that when their forces neared the channel. The breakthrough forces did require a break to reorganise and resupply, even the most gung-ho local commanders recognised that.

Look at the disruption and panic that the Arras counter attack caused despite being conducted with clearly inadequate forces. Berlin would have been far more strident and effective in insisting on adequate flank forces after a more grinding breakthrough and more defending forces in place. The point's exhaustion and low supplies were more due to hours/days of fighting than simply miles driven. So in a slower advance the inevitable halt came it would have been further from the coast. Historically when the Germans tried to restart the drive after their short halt they mainly got rebuffed and had to await some time for follow up forces to arrive to continue the drive to the coast. That gave a breather for the Dunkirk rescue operation to take effect. Imagine if the Allied position was not already doomed, simply very serious?

The sheer pace of the German advance was a weapon in itself, a slower advance has less punch in that type of attack, this was not at its heart a material led offensive, it was a shock based offensive.
 

Sparky

Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
299
Reaction score
252
Country
llUnited States
Sparky I'm glad you brought up Herr Hitler's precarious position in Spring 1940. I thought about it in my reply but didn't drill down into as much detail as you did. You are absolutely correct that if the initial thrust into France bogged down there may have been a coup from the "old guard" which then really sends alternative history off the rails.


Truth be told in my hypothetical post #1 I was really just putting out there a possible outcome to get the discussion rolling. If I had to bet the mortgage I'd say that the initial thrust through the Ardennes Forest would have had a "grinding" period in which the French forces would have had to have been attrited (with likely higher losses by the Germans) until the path became clear for the dash to the Channel. Think of the first few days of the British breakout at El Alamein - a whole lot of casualties and going nowhere until the German force was worn down sufficiently. So in the end I imagine the "NATO 1940" hypothetical adds a week to 10 days to the campaign but with much higher German casualties.
oh I could have taken it off the rails by taking the possible implications of the NATO 1940 deeper into 1941 and still controversial notion that Stalin wasn't some innocent peace and love dope smoker who was betrayed and backstabbed by his best pal Hitler but was planning his own 'surprise' attack upon Hilter and was beat to the punch. I don't think he expected, anymore than anyone else at the time, the rapid collapse of the French. Perhaps that is what led to fateful Molotov meeting in Berlin in November 1940. The NATO 1940 scenario would have likely played into his hands and perhaps not lead him to tip HItler off that Stalin was indeed planning on attacking him.

Now back to the NATO 1940 scenario. I think 10 days is a bit overoptimistic. There was a reason the route through the Ardennes was considered impractical if not impossible. Because it was so easily blocked and defended. The conditions historically that allowed the Germans to proceed through there, Belgians forces moving north and the French not entering at all, and reach the Meuse and Sedan so quickly would have likely not happened. They would have had to fight through there in terrain very unsuited for mobile warfare where their greatest advantage, combined arms/close air support would have been severely limited. And after getting through there, a fully contested river crossing against a prepared defender in strong defenses As I posted earlier. I'm not certain at all, in fact a bit skeptical that in the NATO 1940 fully deployed forward scenario that history would have been replicated there and there would have been a breakthrough to the channel.

And with the other variables playing out. A major defeat in northern Norway would have almost certainly happened in the NATO 1940 scenario thus dealing a huge blow to HItler's prestige and internal power and perhaps tipping the balance of power to his generals, plus the matter of having to still win that campaign which would have meant diverting large land and air forces from the western campaign to do so. It is highly likely that the scenario you envisioned could have really changed the course of the war. Completely in fact. I don't think the Generals would have tossed Hitler out with the dishwater but would have likely asserted themselves and the primary military minds and decision makers of the future prosecution of the war. As well as a less .. umm.. Wagnerian end to its eventual and inevitable defeat.
 

Sparky

Member
Joined
May 3, 2018
Messages
299
Reaction score
252
Country
llUnited States
interesting topic btw. That makes a couple since I've been around. The MIdway one being a real hoot. Bonus points for the 3rd.

The king of hypothetical ww2 questions.

What would have happened if Hitler had not launched Barbarossa in June 1941 and Stalin attacked Germany later in that year as a lot of evidence seems to indicate he was going to do.
 

holdit

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2006
Messages
124
Reaction score
133
Location
Ireland
Country
llIreland
What would have happened if Hitler had not launched Barbarossa in June 1941 and Stalin attacked Germany later in that year as a lot of evidence seems to indicate he was going to do.
That's one advantage of ASL not being a computer game...you can line up the opponents any way you like. Netherlands vs Belgium 1939? Fulda Gap 1946? Britain vs France fought in Belgium? Set 'em up!

On second thoughts, that last scenario could never happen...

(Fascinating discussion, by the way.)
 
Top