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Alternate Timeline - Churchill Dies In August 1939.


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#1 Chris Werb

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 0743 AM

I've just been reading "Engage the Enemy more Closely" by Corelli Barnett. I've put off reading a history of an entire service through WW2 for a lot of years and now, reading this, I'm actually wondering how much worst things could have gotten (if indeed at all) had Churchill been replaced by someone who was actually on the Axis payroll. 


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#2 RETAC21

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 1313 PM

What could Britain realistically lose after the fall of France? practically nothing.


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#3 Chris Werb

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 1403 PM

What could Britain realistically lose after the fall of France? practically nothing.

 

The small matter of a global empire which, despite some gallant contributions and sacrifices, was a giant millstone around our necks. I'm just astonished by Churchill's ability to come up with and unfortunately sometimes push through the most batshit crazy schemes. I'd have thought he'd have learned his lesson with Gallipoli. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be a senior staff officer there when he put some of them forward. For instance, the idea of sailing a battlefleet, complete with oilers turned into bomb proof armoured "turtles", into the Baltic in 1939.


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#4 DB

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 1441 PM

Well, that most of these things didn't happen suggests that he may have occasionally learned to listen.


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#5 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 0227 AM

I think a more appropriate question would be to ask, what happens if Alan Francis Brooke dies in France, and is never Churchill's chief of staff, and there is nobody suitably equipped to reign the Prime Ministers more mad schemes in?


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#6 Rick

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 0419 AM

I think a more appropriate question would be to ask, what happens if Alan Francis Brooke dies in France, and is never Churchill's chief of staff, and there is nobody suitably equipped to reign the Prime Ministers more mad schemes in?

 Germans.


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#7 RETAC21

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 0420 AM

 

What could Britain realistically lose after the fall of France? practically nothing.

 

The small matter of a global empire which, despite some gallant contributions and sacrifices, was a giant millstone around our necks. I'm just astonished by Churchill's ability to come up with and unfortunately sometimes push through the most batshit crazy schemes. I'd have thought he'd have learned his lesson with Gallipoli. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be a senior staff officer there when he put some of them forward. For instance, the idea of sailing a battlefleet, complete with oilers turned into bomb proof armoured "turtles", into the Baltic in 1939.

 

 

Yes, but after France falls, someone in the Axis payroll will be quick to accept Hilter "let's-leave-things-as-they-stand-now" offer so he can concentrate on the Soviet Uniton.

 

Given Germany's inability to outproduce the Soviets (which would have been unknown at the time), the invasion would be followed by several years of inconclusive warfare in Russia (as there would be no Lend-lease) until the Russians gain the upper hand around 1946 or so (Gulf War 1 on a grand scale).

 

In the West it would be business as usual once the small matter of France was papered over with plenty of lucrative trade with resource starved Germany.

 

Even the Holocaust would have been unlikely to happen as the Germans would be able to deportate the Jews, but Soviet citizens would be killed by the metric ton, as historically happened.


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#8 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 0421 AM

That never stopped Churchill trying did it? Not that im being critical, political his strategic sense was well atuned. There was clearly a limited to what could be expected on a battlefield though, and as we saw in the middle east, sometimes he expected too much.

 

It just gave me another thought, I wonder how Germany would have fought if Hitler had his own Alan Brooke whom he actually respected?


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#9 Rick

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 0427 AM

If you wish what ifs, what if Lenin was not able to board the train to Russia?


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#10 JW Collins

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 0906 AM

Yes the Soviets were easily able to outproduce the Germans but without the combined US/UK strategic bombing campaign the disparity in production wouldn't be so wide. Plus the Soviets would have significantly less lend-lease support if any. Plenty of that support was just raw material for them to use for manufacturing purposes too.

Plus the Germans get all of those assets that were directed to North Africa and later Italy or used to counter the strategic bombing campaign.

Maybe in the far east the Japanese reconsider their plans and abandon their strategy of going south since the UK can better defend it's empire and instead choose to attack the Soviets after the Germans launch Barbarossa.

Under these conditions I think the Soviets would be hard pressed just to achieve a strategic stalemate.

I suppose a lot will depend on just how well Stalin manages to appeal to Roosevelt for any sort of support.
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#11 JasonJ

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 0938 AM

Yes the Soviets were easily able to outproduce the Germans but without the combined US/UK strategic bombing campaign the disparity in production wouldn't be so wide. Plus the Soviets would have significantly less lend-lease support if any. Plenty of that support was just raw material for them to use for manufacturing purposes too.

Plus the Germans get all of those assets that were directed to North Africa and later Italy or used to counter the strategic bombing campaign.

Maybe in the far east the Japanese reconsider their plans and abandon their strategy of going south since the UK can better defend it's empire and instead choose to attack the Soviets after the Germans launch Barbarossa.

Under these conditions I think the Soviets would be hard pressed just to achieve a strategic stalemate.

I suppose a lot will depend on just how well Stalin manages to appeal to Roosevelt for any sort of support.

 

Barbarossa was launched in June 1941. The Japanese were considering the north plan to coincide with Barbarossa upon its initiation and started to build up forces in Manchuria on possible opportunity to finally "solve the Soviet problem". It was planned that if it was detected that the number of Soviet troops and war material in the Far East dropped below a certain level, then they would launch the invasion of the Far East. But the US that did not recognize the Wang regime nor Manchuria put the oil embargo on Japan in late July/August on the basis of "leave all of China" after having already issued lines of credit to CKS beforehand. Thus scrapping the northern plan.

 

Better British defense in its SEA colonies would probably be primarily in the form of naval power which IJN might still be willing to challenge. Although if the what if is a more friendly Great Britain to Germany, then Japan probably wouldn't have to worry about the British being hostile and just go into the Dutch Indies and the Philippines, by passing Singapore and Malaysia. The primary objective for going into Burma was to cut off the aid that the British had supported that was going to CKS. If GB stopped that aid route whether it be also as a form of being more friendly with Germany or for whatever, then the Japanese would have had no reason to go into Burma either.


Edited by JasonJ, 18 January 2020 - 0939 AM.

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#12 Nobu

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 1029 AM

Britain and Churchill being put on the defensive so quickly helped to limit the damage that could have been otherwise caused by some of their ambitions.

 

I would agree that bombing Baku and/or getting involved in a shooting war with Russian troops in Finland before the fall of France could have been fatal for them.


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#13 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 1124 AM

Funnily enough, I dont think so. Because the USSR's ability to create mischief was strictly limited. For one thing they could have tried to invade India, and find themselves deeply immeshed in a conflict not going their way, and even worse disposed to defeat the Nazi's when they came in. They had no ability to attack anything else we wanted to hold onto.

 

We did actualy get involved in Finland believe it or not. We had a volunteer force on the ground. Then the Finns threw in their lot with the Germans and they had to escape out the country, through Sweden im guessing. Its nothing compared to Soviet efforts in the same period to assist the Germans, not least escorting an armed raider through the arctic circle to attack British commerce in the far east.


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#14 JWB

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 1140 AM

If you wish what ifs, what if Lenin was not able to board the train to Russia?

Or.................what happens if the tsar's secret police give him the Trotsky solution.


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#15 Nobu

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 1848 PM

Threatening India would be pushing the limits of the USSR's capabilities, but retaliation for a British bombing campaign aimed at its Caucasus oil in the form of greater economic, political, and possibly military cooperation with Germany would not be.

 

Neither would testing the British Empire's approach to Turkish neutrality, something Churchill had seen mishandled by it up close and personally, once before.


Edited by Nobu, 18 January 2020 - 1852 PM.

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#16 Murph

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 0713 AM

So if Churchill was gone, who would be the PM?  Halifax?  


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#17 R011

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 0013 AM

Probably. Anthony Eden might have had a shot. Butterflies could even give it to Atlee, but that's low probability.
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#18 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 0232 AM

Threatening India would be pushing the limits of the USSR's capabilities, but retaliation for a British bombing campaign aimed at its Caucasus oil in the form of greater economic, political, and possibly military cooperation with Germany would not be.

 

Neither would testing the British Empire's approach to Turkish neutrality, something Churchill had seen mishandled by it up close and personally, once before.

They were already doing all they could to support the Germans, we wouldnt have noticed a difference. They would not have given greater military cooperation, because that would have made their front even less capable of being defended than it was. The most I could expect would have been a commitment of Soviet Submarines to attack British commerce, and considering how poor they were operating against the Germans, this would, like the Italian Submarine forces, have been more vaunted than real.

 

Turkey would have been more problematic. Not for what they brought to the war, but the access, and that would have been a big problem, for us and even more particularly, the Soviets.


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