Could the Germans have won WW2?

Would they have needed to push on beyond Western Russia and the oil regions? A major problem that the Soviets would have to overcome would have been resources for building modern weapons. Oorah! charges against German forces with plenty of oil might not have been that effective.

It would be interesting to war game it with any putative German advance stopping at a line roughly going from Oskolkova down through Perm to the mouth of the Volga, or even as far as the Urals. What resources did the Soviets have east of that line to draw upon? Oil, coal, hydroelectricity - yes, but what of other essential elements? Did they have the horses and manpower to substitute for the US trucks and keep factories and farming running?
The main Soviet oil producing region was in the Caucasus Mountain district. On a previous thread on this topic I posted a reference which quoted Hitler as saying that capturing the Caucasus oil fields was a top priority, and if the Germans didn't capture them then they would lose the war.

The Germans captured some of the outlying oil fields in the North Caucasus, but the Soviets had so thoroughly destroyed them before retreating that the Germans got no oil from them before they were recaptured by the Soviets.

The Germans didn't reach the main oil fields around Baku (on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, about half way down), but that was their primary objective in their advance through the southern Soviet Union.

Prior to WWII the two leading oil producing regions of the world were the US and the Soviet Union, the latter mainly in the Caspian Sea region. The US produced something like half the world's oil at the time, which was one of the reasons why they were so flush with cash.

The other oil producing regions of the world were much smaller, and these included Venezuela, Mexico, Persia (Iran), Iraq, Burma, the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), and Romania. The main oil discoveries in the Middle East, along with those of North Africa, Canada, and elsewhere came after the war.

BP was founded as a state owned oil company to exploit the oil fields of Persia. The UK got a fair bit of oil from Venezuela as well, along with smaller amounts from Iraq, Burma, and elsewhere.

Romania, and several other minor producing areas in the Balkans could only supply part of Germany's oil needs, which is why they were so short of oil. They had stockpiled oil before the war, but not enough to take them very far. They could buy some oil from the Soviets before the two were at war, but the Soviets wouldn't sell them enough to maintain their existing stockpiles, let alone build up a war reserve. Once the war started the clock was ticking, and the Germans either had to capture the oil fields of the Soviet Union or else knock the British out of the war in order to import oil from overseas. Without that German tanks would grind to a halt, German aircraft would be grounded, and German U-boats would stay in port.

One of the main objectives of the Japanese smash and grab exercise in south-east Asia was the oil fields of the Dutch East Indies. Without that oil the Japanese fleet wasn't going anywhere.

One of the things which might have been a real game changer in the war is if the oil reserves of Libya had been discovered in the 1920s instead of after the war, and had been exploited as a major supply by the Italians. That would have made the Mediterranean a major theatre of war for the Germans as they sought to secure their oil supplies, and the Italians might have been able to use their oil revenues to build a bigger navy to defend their oil producing regions.

The two together might have been able to expel Britain from the Mediterranean. Of course the British plans in the region would have been different as well as they sought to either capture the oil fields or destroy them.

I don't know if there were some technological limitations which would have prevented the Libyan oil from being discovered and exploited before it was, but this is one of the few "what ifs" that I've seen suggested that might really have changed the course of the war.
 
Here's a crazy what if...

What if instead of attacking Britain at its most heavily defended, logistically accessible and tightly controlled point, southeastern England, as Phillip of Spain attempted, and Napoleon and Hitler threatened, the Nazis had walked in through England's undefended back door, the way the British always feared and their enemies never did properly.

Late August, early September 1940, make it look like the invasion is coming, all out air attacks on SE England, launch flotillas a few miles into the Channel, before pulling back. Do that a couple of nights running, get the British defences heightened to fever pitch, everything and everyone keyed up to defend the Channel and the Channel ports.

Meanwhile in all the chaos quietly launch a couple of seized French liners full of troops out of the Loire, and amid an air raid on Cardiff or Bristol, send a few transport planes full of paratroops (not sure about the range of German transport planes) to veer off to seize Cobh harbour and Gormanstown airbase in Ireland. Maybe send commandos by U-boat to take the transatlantic airport at Shannon.

You have five days, maybe a week to seize control of southern Ireland, the British don't know if it's a feint or diversion from the main event. Long enough to land captured French light tanks, long enough to get troops dug in. You hold a line Galway-Dublin before moving on Ulster. You swamp the Irish Sea with every U-boat you have waiting off Liverpool and Glasgow for British reinforcements.

A bold, daring move. Now Britain is surrounded by Nazi occupied Norway, France and Ireland, the U-boat bases are on the Irish west coast and the British have no bases in Northern Ireland. With the convoy routes cut off and no access to Ireland's huge food surplus, just sit tight, Britain is going to wither on the vine.

Crazy? No more crazy than the capture of Norway or Crete, both operations that happened in supposedly inviolate British-controlled waters. It's October 1940. Britain is truly cut off, from Europe and the Atlantic, where is the war going?
Yes, it is indeed a crazy idea.

So you land a couple of thousand German troops in Ireland, with no hope of resupply and no transport except what they may capture locally. That's enough to perhaps do a big commando raid, and that's about it.

So the Germans fight against local Irish forces, and the British send troops to help out (I mean help the Irish, as I know that some of you might have second thoughts on whose side to join in on this one). The Germans put their hands up after a few days, or perhaps a week or so, depending on how long it takes reinforcements to reach the local Irish forces.

The government in Dublin collectively crap themselves and sign a treaty of alliance with Britain, offering whatever help they can give short of conscription.

That's not really a game changer so far as the war as a whole is concerned, but it certainly would be a morale booster - for the British.
 

Mike Barton

War Hero
Yes, it is indeed a crazy idea.

So you land a couple of thousand German troops in Ireland, with no hope of resupply and no transport except what they may capture locally. That's enough to perhaps do a big commando raid, and that's about it.

So the Germans fight against local Irish forces, and the British send troops to help out (I mean help the Irish, as I know that some of you might have second thoughts on whose side to join in on this one). The Germans put their hands up after a few days, or perhaps a week or so, depending on how long it takes reinforcements to reach the local Irish forces.

The government in Dublin collectively crap themselves and sign a treaty of alliance with Britain, offering whatever help they can give short of conscription.

That's not really a game changer so far as the war as a whole is concerned, but it certainly would be a morale booster - for the British.
How are those British reinforcements getting there?

How long will it take them to move the troops and equipment from SE England?

What will they be armed with?

Where will they land?

Norway (undertaken before the British Army left all its equipment on the beaches and roads of northern France) was a much harder task for the Germans than Ireland would be. Remind me how well the British did in that show?
 

Tyk

LE
Yes, it is indeed a crazy idea.

So you land a couple of thousand German troops in Ireland, with no hope of resupply and no transport except what they may capture locally. That's enough to perhaps do a big commando raid, and that's about it.

So the Germans fight against local Irish forces, and the British send troops to help out (I mean help the Irish, as I know that some of you might have second thoughts on whose side to join in on this one). The Germans put their hands up after a few days, or perhaps a week or so, depending on how long it takes reinforcements to reach the local Irish forces.

The government in Dublin collectively crap themselves and sign a treaty of alliance with Britain, offering whatever help they can give short of conscription.

That's not really a game changer so far as the war as a whole is concerned, but it certainly would be a morale booster - for the British.
I think that's the likely scenario, not forgetting that the German supply line to support an Irish landing would pass uncomfortably close to Portsmouth (plus Gosport submarine facility), Plymouth, Bristol and a not inconsiderable chunk of the Fleet Air Arm training locations, oh and Coastal Command was nothing to sniff at. While neutral I doubt the Irish would have remained that way, they certainly wouldn't have taken the Axis side, pissing off the British who had a significant RAF and RN that would have made Ireland miserable wouldn't happen.

The main Soviet oil producing region was in the Caucasus Mountain district. On a previous thread on this topic I posted a reference which quoted Hitler as saying that capturing the Caucasus oil fields was a top priority, and if the Germans didn't capture them then they would lose the war.

The Germans captured some of the outlying oil fields in the North Caucasus, but the Soviets had so thoroughly destroyed them before retreating that the Germans got no oil from them before they were recaptured by the Soviets.

The Germans didn't reach the main oil fields around Baku (on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, about half way down), but that was their primary objective in their advance through the southern Soviet Union.

Prior to WWII the two leading oil producing regions of the world were the US and the Soviet Union, the latter mainly in the Caspian Sea region. The US produced something like half the world's oil at the time, which was one of the reasons why they were so flush with cash.

The other oil producing regions of the world were much smaller, and these included Venezuela, Mexico, Persia (Iran), Iraq, Burma, the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), and Romania. The main oil discoveries in the Middle East, along with those of North Africa, Canada, and elsewhere came after the war.

BP was founded as a state owned oil company to exploit the oil fields of Persia. The UK got a fair bit of oil from Venezuela as well, along with smaller amounts from Iraq, Burma, and elsewhere.

Romania, and several other minor producing areas in the Balkans could only supply part of Germany's oil needs, which is why they were so short of oil. They had stockpiled oil before the war, but not enough to take them very far. They could buy some oil from the Soviets before the two were at war, but the Soviets wouldn't sell them enough to maintain their existing stockpiles, let alone build up a war reserve. Once the war started the clock was ticking, and the Germans either had to capture the oil fields of the Soviet Union or else knock the British out of the war in order to import oil from overseas. Without that German tanks would grind to a halt, German aircraft would be grounded, and German U-boats would stay in port.

One of the main objectives of the Japanese smash and grab exercise in south-east Asia was the oil fields of the Dutch East Indies. Without that oil the Japanese fleet wasn't going anywhere.

One of the things which might have been a real game changer in the war is if the oil reserves of Libya had been discovered in the 1920s instead of after the war, and had been exploited as a major supply by the Italians. That would have made the Mediterranean a major theatre of war for the Germans as they sought to secure their oil supplies, and the Italians might have been able to use their oil revenues to build a bigger navy to defend their oil producing regions.

The two together might have been able to expel Britain from the Mediterranean. Of course the British plans in the region would have been different as well as they sought to either capture the oil fields or destroy them.

I don't know if there were some technological limitations which would have prevented the Libyan oil from being discovered and exploited before it was, but this is one of the few "what ifs" that I've seen suggested that might really have changed the course of the war.
This "what if?" would have made a gross difference to the war with Libya being the place to fight for rather than to fight through on the way somewhere else (apart from the ports obviously), I suspect in that case Germany would have put off fighting the Soviets as long as possible and made the Med and Libya the prime focus of the early years of the war. Vichy France wouldn't have existed either as the Germans would have secured the Southern French regions facing the med very actively indeed and Italy would have stayed in the war, they may have been iffy militarily but strategically with an oil producing Libya it would be huge value.
Taking a pop at Greece and the Balkans would have been off Hitlers table too I expect, Suez wouldn't have mattered much as a priority either with the med being well bottled up.
Removing Malta and Gibraltar would have been major priorities, but neither would be easy, they may have tried to get permission from Franco for the Balearic Islands come to that.
Not forgetting that Britain would also be motivated to fight like hell to boot the Italians out of Libya, but with more German support it would have been a much bigger hill to climb, if they secured the oilfields it would also have helped British supply lines a good deal.
Quite an interesting "what if?" in my opinion.
 

Mike Barton

War Hero
I think that's the likely scenario, not forgetting that the German supply line to support an Irish landing would pass uncomfortably close to Portsmouth (plus Gosport submarine facility), Plymouth, Bristol and a not inconsiderable chunk of the Fleet Air Arm training locations, oh and Coastal Command was nothing to sniff at. While neutral I doubt the Irish would have remained that way, they certainly wouldn't have taken the Axis side, pissing off the British who had a significant RAF and RN that would have made Ireland miserable wouldn't happen.



This "what if?" would have made a gross difference to the war with Libya being the place to fight for rather than to fight through on the way somewhere else (apart from the ports obviously), I suspect in that case Germany would have put off fighting the Soviets as long as possible and made the Med and Libya the prime focus of the early years of the war. Vichy France wouldn't have existed either as the Germans would have secured the Southern French regions facing the med very actively indeed and Italy would have stayed in the war, they may have been iffy militarily but strategically with an oil producing Libya it would be huge value.
Taking a pop at Greece and the Balkans would have been off Hitlers table too I expect, Suez wouldn't have mattered much as a priority either with the med being well bottled up.
Removing Malta and Gibraltar would have been major priorities, but neither would be easy, they may have tried to get permission from Franco for the Balearic Islands come to that.
Not forgetting that Britain would also be motivated to fight like hell to boot the Italians out of Libya, but with more German support it would have been a much bigger hill to climb, if they secured the oilfields it would also have helped British supply lines a good deal.
Quite an interesting "what if?" in my opinion.
Where's the British oil coming from for all its planes and ships if the Germans have U-boat bases in Cobh, Lough Swilly and the Galway coast and long-range bombers operating out of Shannon, Belfast and Dublin? Who is feeding the British armed forces and population in the winter of 1940?
 

Tyk

LE
How are those British reinforcements getting there?

How long will it take them to move the troops and equipment from SE England?

What will they be armed with?

Where will they land?

Norway (undertaken before the British Army left all its equipment on the beaches and roads of northern France) was a much harder task for the Germans than Ireland would be. Remind me how well the British did in that show?
Erm, point of order there, you do know where an awful lot of the Army then and now is located in England? South WEST. Trains run across the South and there's an awful lot of Naval infrastructure facing the Bay of Biscay. Not forgetting numerous RAF bomber bases in easy reach of Southern Ireland and setting up fighter stations wouldn't matter much as an invasion wouldn't have an airforce.
It's then a simple matter of air dominance, close the Irish Sea with anti submarine patrols and then sail Holyhead to Belfast or some Irish port to support the Irish Defence Force that wouldn't be any too pleased about an armed invasion from Germany, a scratch Division could have been assembled in a matter of days at Liverpool, Holyhead, Bristol, Plymouth, you take your pick. Not like the Germans could have captured lots of Irish aircraft, they had very few and would have been a pushover for the RAF and Fleet Air Arm, Coastal Command could probably have dealt with that threat without help in fact.

Where's the British oil coming from for all its planes and ships if the Germans have U-boat bases in Cobh, Lough Swilly and the Galway coast and long-range bombers operating out of Shannon, Belfast and Dublin? Who is feeding the British armed forces and population in the winter of 1940?
Wouldn't happen, they would never have the chance to set them up, let alone equip them with submarines. Quite tricky to build when in comfortable flying range of Wellingtons and you get visited 30 times a day with large amounts of bangy stuff.

Oh and the net result would probably have been some RN and RAF bases in Southern Ireland or even Ireland joining the Alliance and contributing to the war directly (by agreement of course) to prevent another attempt. At most the Germans could have landed a Division in a sneak landing, as pointed out that wouldn't last at all long.
 
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How are those British reinforcements getting there?

How long will it take them to move the troops and equipment from SE England?

What will they be armed with?

Where will they land?

Norway (undertaken before the British Army left all its equipment on the beaches and roads of northern France) was a much harder task for the Germans than Ireland would be. Remind me how well the British did in that show?
If the Germans could have successfully blockaded the UK, then why didn't they? It wasn't for lack of trying after all.

As for how the Germans sustained an army in Norway, Sweden gave them free passage by rail.
 

5645andym

Clanker
Radar was part of an integrated system - as it is today
And I would argue that it was the sophistication of that integrated air defense network that made it so effective in 1940 despite the very crude nature of the radar which we had.

Germany never approached that level of integration in their air defenses, in part because of the divide and rule nature of the German “system”.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
And I would argue that it was the sophistication of that integrated air defense network that made it so effective in 1940 despite the very crude nature of the radar which we had.

Germany never approached that level of integration in their air defenses, in part because of the divide and rule nature of the German “system”.

I seem to recall reading that there was a difference in culture around technological development.
We were willing to field things as a much earlier stage than the Germans.
Say 51%effective whilst they wanted perfection, so kept developing until much better.
We allowed for development in use and deployed said technology earlier gaining more advantage from it.
One of the reasons why it is said that the German kit was better was they only used it once finished whereas ours was incomplete at the start but improved with use and modification.
 
I recall reading about the problem of R&D and upgrading by he Hun.

I seem to recall reading that there was a difference in culture around technological development.
We were willing to field things as a much earlier stage than the Germans.
Say 51%effective whilst they wanted perfection, so kept developing until much better.
We allowed for development in use and deployed said technology earlier gaining more advantage from it.
One of the reasons why it is said that the German kit was better was they only used it once finished whereas ours was incomplete at the start but improved with use and modification.
Constant chopping and changing didn't help the German cause.
Retooling factories, retraining users and mechanics, teething troubles and troubleshooting all took vast amounts of manpower.
 
I recall reading about the problem of R&D and upgrading by he Hun.


Constant chopping and changing didn't help the German cause.
Retooling factories, retraining users and mechanics, teething troubles and troubleshooting all took vast amounts of manpower.
And of course, towards the end of the war, Himmler appointed 'General' Frans Kammler as plenipotentiary extraordinaire in charge of fighters and V weapons. He was a nasty piece of work and fortunately, grossly incompetent.

And whilst we are at it, let's kill the myth that the Me 262 could have been a war-winner 'only if Hitler hadn't intervened'. Rubbish. It was a revolutionary aircraft but it could not have been deployed un enough numbers to have made a difference. Every DLOD - to use modern parlance - was compromised. And absolutely no fuel. Meanwhile, bothe the RAF and USAAF had deployed jet fighters to Europe, that equalled the Me 262. Admittedly, nowhere as good looking. One thing the Germans did get right - their kit looked mean and very lethal.
 

Truxx

LE
This whole topic has been flogged to death on previous identical threads. On one of those occasions I posted a link to an article on the German use of railways in war. To make a long story short, the Germans had very little oil available to them so their logistic operations were inherently mainly focused on railways. The usual suspect here who keeps banging on about the Germans being too stupid to build trucks ignores that salient fact. The Germans could have built loads of trucks, but they couldn't have driven them anywhere as they didn't have the oil to fuel them.

Equally important, the highways to sustain a truck based logistical operation simply didn't exist in eastern Europe either. Trucks in those days were also rather small and feeble, meaning that any long distance movement of serious amounts of goods or people would depend upon rail.

This limited the German axes of advance to where they had rail lines. Horse transport was used to get from the rail head out to the field units.

The author of the article that I referred to noted that the Russians had extensive experience of using rail logistics over long distances in war dating back to the days of the Russian Empire, and were experts at it. The German experience however was largely gained from fighting short decisive wars close to their own borders.

The Soviets being familiar with logistics destroyed the rail infrastructure behind them as they retreated. In the days of steam locomotives, this wasn't just track. Equally important were depots with coal bunkers, water supplies, and repair shops. These were surprisingly numerous, something like every 25 km, or some number like that. With these depots destroyed they had to be painfully rebuilt by the Germans to support each phase of the advance. The Soviets had also taken the repair and maintenance equipment with them as they retreated, and the Germans didn't have the stockpiles to replace them. This is why the German advance kept stalling out when they outran their logistics. The Germans couldn't sustain an advance long enough to destroy the retreating Soviet armies.

As I said above, the axes of advance were defined by rail capacity. Any armchair generals who want to say that the Germans should have done 'x' instead of what they actually did needs to take this into account. There is no point in saying that the Germans should have focused on reaching Moscow if the logistical capacity to support that didn't exist.

Prior to the war the German logistical experts in the German army ran their calculations and came to the conclusion that the German advance into the Soviet Union would stall out roughly where it ended up doing so in reality. However, they weren't listened to as shelf stackers weren't considered to be real soldiers and the war was supposed to be won by dash and daring.

When the German advance turned into retreat the Soviets had more motor vehicles, and far more important, they had the oil to fuel them. They were still critically dependent upon rail transport, but they could go further from their rail heads and so sustain the advance for longer, allowing them to pursue the retreating Germans harder and so destroy them more thoroughly.
Your penultimate paragraph - twas ever thus and such an attitude prevails today.
 
British early RADAR, compared to German, was crude.

Key for the Battle of Britain wasn't the quality of the RADAR chain it was the information collation, communication and command of resources made possible by Dowdings organisation of the group and Sector control rooms into an effective Air Defense ground Environment..

And after 1940, well,we had got the cavity magnetron and they had not... and after 1941 US production capacity to deliver finished sets.
 
But the Germans were also a bit uppity and always viewed us Americans as inferior to them in all aspects.
But you are.:grin:
Joke aside, we should have a realistic view on the Wehrmacht. It never was the impeccable and invincible fighting machine as many see it today. After the big losses and attrition it suffered from 1942 on the quality of the troops and equipment was questionable. There were still some crack units, but your normal Infantry Division consisted too often of to old or young men or soldiers that were discarded in the drafts before because of medical problems. You won because you had a massive amount of equipment and firepower -quantity is a quality in it's own- and because you then had the better troops, manpower and training wise.
Not to belittle your or the other Allies efforts, but the outcome was obvious.
 
Decent cars, no litter, ace beer and trains that run on time... cracking State pension...

Apparently not -Despite the 5 pound pension UK 50 million a day in Europe type memes that corbynites have flooded the internet with to prove Tories are killing you off - or remain use to prove we really would have unicorns if it wasn't for those pesky old fascists voting leave.

If you take best case German and UK Basic - it looks like that - simply because theres no upper limit

Te average German Pension is higher than a UK State Pension - but theres no heating allowance - no free bus pas no other extras that people on basic stat pension get .

In fact when its looked at honestly the average person is no worse off in UK and many better off. If youre a high earner then yes Germany is better.

Just like Quoting French rail Prices against UK or the US unit price for a UH60 vs wildcat - apples and oranges comparison pretending both are bananas because most people wont fact check.
 

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