The Biggest Waste of WW2

#41
OK, I am going to be very, very controversial and will gingerly step into my flameproof suit.

The biggest waste of resources was the UK getting involved in the war in Europe in the first place.

It made no difference in the long run (and no, what follows is not some sort of Brexiteer fantasy screed).

With or without the British the end result of the war in Europe, and I mean from about 1950 onwards would have been pretty much the same.

Having hammered each other senseless for the best part of a decade Europe would have been divided into two camps with the division line being somewhere down the middle of eastern/central Europe. On the eastern side would have been a powerful Soviet Union controlling vast territories of slave states. On the western side of the line, an exhausted Germany, which would probably have got rid of Hitler and replaced him with someone half rational, would have reconciled itself with the rest of western Europe.

A united western Europe against the Soviet threat would have been proposed, military and economic alliances would have been formed. The French, keen to restore past glory and willing to work with the Germans would have been enthusiastic, the smaller countries would have more or less reluctantly gone along. The Jews of Europe would have been mostly murdered and the few survivors would be keeping their heads down as the worst of the anti-semitic laws were quietly dropped.

By the 1970s, old animosities would have died, western Europe would be thriving, the east and centre ossified.

You can quibble over details but that is pretty much how things turned out, with or without the vast loss of blood and treasure expended by the British to achieve what would have happened anyway.

Meanwhile back in 1940, Britain adopts the stance towards the Nazis it was to adopt towards the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Armed hostility without actual conflict. The Royal Navy would keep the sea lanes open and the Germans, unwilling to get into a war with the Brits and then probably the Yanks would leave the British in peace in their little island. The British would supply aid, covert and overt, to the belligerents in the European war as it suited British interests (British interests being that neither side should dominate all of Europe).

At the same time, Britain's huge manufacturing industry is turning out thousands of tanks and bombers to be sent to Malaya and the Mediterranean along with battle ships and aircraft carriers to remind any aspiring Italian or Japanese warlord that the British Empire was not to be messed with.

So end result is the same Europe that eventually emerged but alongside a powerful and invigorated British Empire reminding everyone who's boss.
 
#42
OK, I am going to be very, very controversial and will gingerly step into my flameproof suit.

The biggest waste of resources was the UK getting involved in the war in Europe in the first place.

It made no difference in the long run (and no, what follows is not some sort of Brexiteer fantasy screed).

With or without the British the end result of the war in Europe, and I mean from about 1950 onwards would have been pretty much the same.

Having hammered each other senseless for the best part of a decade Europe would have been divided into two camps with the division line being somewhere down the middle of eastern/central Europe. On the eastern side would have been a powerful Soviet Union controlling vast territories of slave states. On the western side of the line, an exhausted Germany, which would probably have got rid of Hitler and replaced him with someone half rational, would have reconciled itself with the rest of western Europe.

A united western Europe against the Soviet threat would have been proposed, military and economic alliances would have been formed. The French, keen to restore past glory and willing to work with the Germans would have been enthusiastic, the smaller countries would have more or less reluctantly gone along. The Jews of Europe would have been mostly murdered and the few survivors would be keeping their heads down as the worst of the anti-semitic laws were quietly dropped.

By the 1970s, old animosities would have died, western Europe would be thriving, the east and centre ossified.

You can quibble over details but that is pretty much how things turned out, with or without the vast loss of blood and treasure expended by the British to achieve what would have happened anyway.

Meanwhile back in 1940, Britain adopts the stance towards the Nazis it was to adopt towards the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Armed hostility without actual conflict. The Royal Navy would keep the sea lanes open and the Germans, unwilling to get into a war with the Brits and then probably the Yanks would leave the British in peace in their little island. The British would supply aid, covert and overt, to the belligerents in the European war as it suited British interests (British interests being that neither side should dominate all of Europe).

At the same time, Britain's huge manufacturing industry is turning out thousands of tanks and bombers to be sent to Malaya and the Mediterranean along with battle ships and aircraft carriers to remind any aspiring Italian or Japanese warlord that the British Empire was not to be messed with.

So end result is the same Europe that eventually emerged but alongside a powerful and invigorated British Empire reminding everyone who's boss.
I gave you a like because it is logical, but I also disagree because the UK's stance in that scenario is amoral. I think that in those days people had a clearer view of right and wrong and accepted that sometimes a point comes when a country has to say "enough and no more".
 
#43
I gave you a like because it is logical, but I also disagree because the UK's stance in that scenario is amoral. I think that in those days people had a clearer view of right and wrong and accepted that sometimes a point comes when a country has to say "enough and no more".
I agree, the morality of the situation is not considered, but then would it have been any more immoral than the US' stance up until Pearl Harbour? Indeed the scenario I am painting is effectively the US position until Hitler declared war on them. It would also have been exactly the same position the UK adopted towards the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
 
#44
OK, I am going to be very, very controversial and will gingerly step into my flameproof suit.

The biggest waste of resources was the UK getting involved in the war in Europe in the first place.

It made no difference in the long run (and no, what follows is not some sort of Brexiteer fantasy screed).

With or without the British the end result of the war in Europe, and I mean from about 1950 onwards would have been pretty much the same.

Having hammered each other senseless for the best part of a decade Europe would have been divided into two camps with the division line being somewhere down the middle of eastern/central Europe. On the eastern side would have been a powerful Soviet Union controlling vast territories of slave states. On the western side of the line, an exhausted Germany, which would probably have got rid of Hitler and replaced him with someone half rational, would have reconciled itself with the rest of western Europe.

A united western Europe against the Soviet threat would have been proposed, military and economic alliances would have been formed. The French, keen to restore past glory and willing to work with the Germans would have been enthusiastic, the smaller countries would have more or less reluctantly gone along. The Jews of Europe would have been mostly murdered and the few survivors would be keeping their heads down as the worst of the anti-semitic laws were quietly dropped.

By the 1970s, old animosities would have died, western Europe would be thriving, the east and centre ossified.

You can quibble over details but that is pretty much how things turned out, with or without the vast loss of blood and treasure expended by the British to achieve what would have happened anyway.

Meanwhile back in 1940, Britain adopts the stance towards the Nazis it was to adopt towards the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Armed hostility without actual conflict. The Royal Navy would keep the sea lanes open and the Germans, unwilling to get into a war with the Brits and then probably the Yanks would leave the British in peace in their little island. The British would supply aid, covert and overt, to the belligerents in the European war as it suited British interests (British interests being that neither side should dominate all of Europe).

At the same time, Britain's huge manufacturing industry is turning out thousands of tanks and bombers to be sent to Malaya and the Mediterranean along with battle ships and aircraft carriers to remind any aspiring Italian or Japanese warlord that the British Empire was not to be messed with.

So end result is the same Europe that eventually emerged but alongside a powerful and invigorated British Empire reminding everyone who's boss.
An interesting what if, but I don’t think Britain would have been able to stay out of the war.

One of the reasons being, Mussolini still gets uppity, tries to invade Egypt and the North Africa campaign kicks off. The Italians get a shoeing and as with Mussolini’s Greek escapade, hitler has to step in and help him out. The Africa Korp gets sent out anyway and in an attempt to split Britain’s resources and inflict damage, the Battle of Britain kicks off.

Also, in this alternative history, there’s Japan. They still attack pearl harbour because of all the pre war factors causing them to decide this occurred. And, their attacks on British possessions and colonies in the Far East also cause Britain to declare war.

Hitler, in addition to declaring war on the US as he did anyway in WW2 after Pearl Harbour declares war on Britain.

The argument could be that it would have been more of a waste to not declare war in ‘39 since Britain would have in a worse position, maybe even behind the curve in military development compared to the axis powers who would have had a few years of experience.
 
#46
An interesting what if, but I don’t think Britain would have been able to stay out of the war.

One of the reasons being, Mussolini still gets uppity, tries to invade Egypt and the North Africa campaign kicks off. The Italians get a shoeing and as with Mussolini’s Greek escapade, hitler has to step in and help him out. The Africa Korp gets sent out anyway and in an attempt to split Britain’s resources and inflict damage, the Battle of Britain kicks off.

Also, in this alternative history, there’s Japan. They still attack pearl harbour because of all the pre war factors causing them to decide this occurred. And, their attacks on British possessions and colonies in the Far East also cause Britain to declare war.

Hitler, in addition to declaring war on the US as he did anyway in WW2 after Pearl Harbour declares war on Britain.

The argument could be that it would have been more of a waste to not declare war in ‘39 since Britain would have in a worse position, maybe even behind the curve in military development compared to the axis powers who would have had a few years of experience.
The Italians and Japanese would have been a lot more wary about taking on the Brits if instead of Britain being tied down fighting the Germans, with nightly raids on her cities and the best of her army's equipment lying rusting on a beach in northern France the British were lined up in the Med and in Malaya with the latest and fastest fighters and bombers, hundreds of tanks and Singapore and Alexandria packed with aircraft carriers, battleships and cruisers.

I was shocked to discover that when the Japanese attacked Malaya there wasn't a single British tank opposing them and the only air cover were obsolete Buffaloes that were all wiped out on the gound. Imagine if instead of that there were hundreds of Crusader tanks, Wellington bombers and Hurricanes (all later replaced with Lancasters and Churchills etc) and a full battle squadron with aircraft carriers and destroyer support waiting in Singapore and Penang, would the Japanese have been so keen to have a go?

I agree though, it is only a pointless what if? Like the Americans, Britain would have been dragged in eventually, just better to be dragged in in 1942 than in 39, and perhaps better to concentrate on the actual threat to British power, the Japanese and Italians, than the Germans but as retread says above that would be to ignore the moral aspect.
 
#47
The bombing campaign without doubt was a waste of time.... We could have used those bombers in the atlantic or middle east and it made our moral case weaker, given all the innocent people killed as a result of indiscriminate bombing.
It represented nine percent of the British Empire's war effort. And, yes, a large proportion of those six groups of heavy bombers, and 100 Group, would have been better employed over the Atlantic (the only place where we could lose the war) or laying mines in Kraut inland waters and canals.


Ground-based, Mid-1944:
Personnel: 1,110,900

2,655 heavy flak gun batteries:
  • 10,930 88mm Flak 18/36 and Flak 37 guns
  • 4,157 105mm Flak 38/39 and 128mm Flak 40 guns
1,612 light flak gun batteries:
  • 30,463 20mm Flak 30/38 and 37mm Flak 43 guns
A lot of the personnel were unemployable on the front line, and there was nothing to stop the Septics carrying on with a rump of Bomber Command operating at night (one group supported by a larger proportion of Pathfinders and Bomber Support?).

same for the fighter squadrons that could have been released to CAS duty instead of air defence?
Bomber Command did virtually nothing to hold day fighter in the Reich - the Septics did that.
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#49
The Italians and Japanese would have been a lot more wary about taking on the Brits if instead of Britain being tied down fighting the Germans, with nightly raids on her cities and the best of her army's equipment lying rusting on a beach in northern France the British were lined up in the Med and in Malaya with the latest and fastest fighters and bombers, hundreds of tanks and Singapore and Alexandria packed with aircraft carriers, battleships and cruisers.

I was shocked to discover that when the Japanese attacked Malaya there wasn't a single British tank opposing them and the only air cover were obsolete Buffaloes that were all wiped out on the gound. Imagine if instead of that there were hundreds of Crusader tanks, Wellington bombers and Hurricanes (all later replaced with Lancasters and Churchills etc) and a full battle squadron with aircraft carriers and destroyer support waiting in Singapore and Penang, would the Japanese have been so keen to have a go?

I agree though, it is only a pointless what if? Like the Americans, Britain would have been dragged in eventually, just better to be dragged in in 1942 than in 39, and perhaps better to concentrate on the actual threat to British power, the Japanese and Italians, than the Germans but as retread says above that would be to ignore the moral aspect.
Even if you ignore the moral aspect that your argument requires it still falls flat as it undermines Britain's key Continental Strategy, that no single nation have domination of Europe, the Nazinregime, would have held most of Western Europe, and huge swathes of the East, which they were welding into a singular Empire, more powerful than France, the Hapsburgs, the Hohenzollern, Ottomans or Romanovs. The Mediterreanean would have been a Fascist Lake from the Straights to the Levant, our key shortcuts to our far east Empire would have been cut, and our possessions in North Africa and the Middle East would be threatened. So your argument, hands the Axis and other Fascist powers, seeing Germany and Italy romp across Europe with impunity would only have emboldened Spain, and Portugal, you would gave likely got frisky not just in North Africa.

So in brief your argument leads to

A Continent dominated by a single power
Strategic Sea Lanes endangered
Loss of Control in the Med,
Hand the Fascist control of European and Vichy Oilfields massively improving their ability to prosecute further campaigns.

Oh and the entire annihilation of Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, The Disabled, and people who looked at the Fuhrer a bit funny.

Well done you, you have guaranteed our relegation to a nobody status whilst allowing the greatest deliberate act of genocide to chug merrily away with impunity.
 
#50
It represented nine percent of the British Empire's war effort. And, yes, a large proportion of those six groups of heavy bombers, and 100 Group, would have been better employed over the Atlantic (the only place where we could lose the war) or laying mines in Kraut inland waters and canals.




A lot of the personnel were unemployable on the front line, and there was nothing to stop the Septics carrying on with a rump of Bomber Command operating at night (one group supported by a larger proportion of Pathfinders and Bomber Support?).



Bomber Command did virtually nothing to hold day fighter in the Reich - the Septics did that.
I think Germany deserved to be on the end of the bomber campaign. Surely by ENDEX every German knew that what they had started was so very wrong and that they had been responsible for 'sowing the wind'.
 
#51
Even if you ignore the moral aspect that your argument requires it still falls flat as it undermines Britain's key Continental Strategy, that no single nation have domination of Europe, the Nazinregime, would have held most of Western Europe, and huge swathes of the East, which they were welding into a singular Empire, more powerful than France, the Hapsburgs, the Hohenzollern, Ottomans or Romanovs. The Mediterreanean would have been a Fascist Lake from the Straights to the Levant, our key shortcuts to our far east Empire would have been cut, and our possessions in North Africa and the Middle East would be threatened. So your argument, hands the Axis and other Fascist powers, seeing Germany and Italy romp across Europe with impunity would only have emboldened Spain, and Portugal, you would gave likely got frisky not just in North Africa.

So in brief your argument leads to

A Continent dominated by a single power
Strategic Sea Lanes endangered
Loss of Control in the Med,
Hand the Fascist control of European and Vichy Oilfields massively improving their ability to prosecute further campaigns.

Oh and the entire annihilation of Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, The Disabled, and people who looked at the Fuhrer a bit funny.

Well done you, you have guaranteed our relegation to a nobody status whilst allowing the greatest deliberate act of genocide to chug merrily away with impunity.
 
#52
So in brief your argument leads to

A Continent dominated by a single power


No, Europe is divided between a Soviet East and a Franco-German dominated West, which is what happened

Strategic Sea Lanes endangered

No, the Royal Navy dominates the sea lanes and does not suffer the threat of U-boats

Loss of Control in the Med,

No, the Royal Navy controls the Med and Musso minds his manners as he doesn't want to take on the full might of the British Empire

Hand the Fascist control of European and Vichy Oilfields massively improving their ability to prosecute further campaigns.

The Nazis are eventually beaten into a stalemate against the Soviets by 1950, they aren't expanding anywhere

Oh and the entire annihilation of Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, The Disabled, and people who looked at the Fuhrer a bit funny.

Pretty much happened anyway.
 
#53
The Italians and Japanese would have been a lot more wary about taking on the Brits if instead of Britain being tied down fighting the Germans, with nightly raids on her cities and the best of her army's equipment lying rusting on a beach in northern France the British were lined up in the Med and in Malaya with the latest and fastest fighters and bombers, hundreds of tanks and Singapore and Alexandria packed with aircraft carriers, battleships and cruisers.

I was shocked to discover that when the Japanese attacked Malaya there wasn't a single British tank opposing them and the only air cover were obsolete Buffaloes that were all wiped out on the gound. Imagine if instead of that there were hundreds of Crusader tanks, Wellington bombers and Hurricanes (all later replaced with Lancasters and Churchills etc) and a full battle squadron with aircraft carriers and destroyer support waiting in Singapore and Penang, would the Japanese have been so keen to have a go?

I agree though, it is only a pointless what if? Like the Americans, Britain would have been dragged in eventually, just better to be dragged in in 1942 than in 39, and perhaps better to concentrate on the actual threat to British power, the Japanese and Italians, than the Germans but as retread says above that would be to ignore the moral aspect.
If Britain had stayed out of the war they would still have had to watch developments that the any potential enemies made in equipment and strategy and tactics. But i’m Also guessing that unless Britain was actually involved development of their own weaponry would have started to lag. The impetus for developing the Lancaster bomber and improved tanks may not have been there for instance.

Furthermore, pre-war assumptions as to what the enemy would do and how they would fight may still have been held. Such as for instance how to defend Singapore, it being assumed that it would more likely be from the sea.

But we’ve strayed into alternative what if scenarios.

On the theme of waste, defending Crete and piling into Greece only to be kicked out could be contenders.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
#55
The bombing campaign without doubt was a waste of time.... We could have used those bombers in the atlantic or middle east and it made our moral case weaker, given all the innocent people killed as a result of indiscriminate bombing.
Bomber Command had a major impact on German armaments production - rather underrated post-war.

But all Speer could do was to limit the damage. He could not stop the bombers or prevent them from seriously disrupting the German war effort. Following the onset of heavy air raids in the first quarter of 1943, steel production fell by 200,000 tons. Having anticipated an increase in total steel production to more than 2.8 million tons per month and allocated steel accordingly, the Zentrale Planung now faced a shortfall of almost 400,000 tons. All the painstaking effort that had gone into reorganizing the rationing system was negated by the ability of the British to disrupt production more or less at will. In light of the steel shortage, Hitler and Speer had no option but to implement an immediate cut to the ammunition programme. After more than doubling in 1942, ammunition production in 1943 increased by only 20 per cent...
...Most significantly, the shortage of key components brought the rapid increase in Luftwaffe production to an abrupt halt. Between July 1943 and March 1944 there was no further increase in the monthly output of aircraft. For the armaments effort as a whole, the period of stagnation lasted throughout the second half of 1943. As Speer himself acknowledged, Allied bombing had negated all plans for a further increase in production. Bomber Command had stopped Speer’s armaments miracle in its tracks.

Tooze, Adam. The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy (p. 598). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.
 
#56
and if the germans hadn't had to keep all those 88s in the motherland and could have deployed them to the east and west fronts? same for the fighter squadrons that could have been released to CAS duty instead of air defence?
Those 88s were used up in 44/45 in ground combat. So they were used anyway...
How many resources does it cost to manufacture a 4 engine bomber. How many fighters and medium bombers could be manufactured instead.... Those 4 engine bombers would have been better served loaned to coastal command and a few less built meant more spitfires deployed overseas.. I imagine a squadron of spitfires in Singapore might have been useful.

The crucial point is waste... Waste on our side and the waste on their side, I find it amusing that people seem to see the german civvies as legit targets, but if we bombed an enemy like that now then you would find yourself in the Hague.
 
#57
It represented nine percent of the British Empire's war effort. And, yes, a large proportion of those six groups of heavy bombers, and 100 Group, would have been better employed over the Atlantic (the only place where we could lose the war) or laying mines in Kraut inland waters and canals.




A lot of the personnel were unemployable on the front line, and there was nothing to stop the Septics carrying on with a rump of Bomber Command operating at night (one group supported by a larger proportion of Pathfinders and Bomber Support?).



Bomber Command did virtually nothing to hold day fighter in the Reich - the Septics did that.
People have switched to instinctively defending something I am not criticising, as those were the times and the GAF had bombed us heavily to explain the rationale... As you say, I am not saying we don't build 4 engine bombers, only restrict their use to a particular target and if possible deploy them in support of the navy.

But this thread is about waste and people wittering on defending the killing of civvies in a modern context are on very slippery ground.
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#58
Which lead to the extensive and close recce of the landing beaches and the effort to ensure armour could get off the beach and support the infantry Divs. So not a total waste.
And more importantly, Dieppe led directly to the concept of the Mulberry Harbour. If you cannot capture a port intact (learned at Dieppe, and seen again with Cherbourg and Le Havre in 1944) then just build your own.
 
#59
OK, I am going to be very, very controversial and will gingerly step into my flameproof suit.

The biggest waste of resources was the UK getting involved in the war in Europe in the first place.

It made no difference in the long run (and no, what follows is not some sort of Brexiteer fantasy screed).

With or without the British the end result of the war in Europe, and I mean from about 1950 onwards would have been pretty much the same.

Having hammered each other senseless for the best part of a decade Europe would have been divided into two camps with the division line being somewhere down the middle of eastern/central Europe. On the eastern side would have been a powerful Soviet Union controlling vast territories of slave states. On the western side of the line, an exhausted Germany, which would probably have got rid of Hitler and replaced him with someone half rational, would have reconciled itself with the rest of western Europe.

A united western Europe against the Soviet threat would have been proposed, military and economic alliances would have been formed. The French, keen to restore past glory and willing to work with the Germans would have been enthusiastic, the smaller countries would have more or less reluctantly gone along. The Jews of Europe would have been mostly murdered and the few survivors would be keeping their heads down as the worst of the anti-semitic laws were quietly dropped.

By the 1970s, old animosities would have died, western Europe would be thriving, the east and centre ossified.

You can quibble over details but that is pretty much how things turned out, with or without the vast loss of blood and treasure expended by the British to achieve what would have happened anyway.

Meanwhile back in 1940, Britain adopts the stance towards the Nazis it was to adopt towards the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Armed hostility without actual conflict. The Royal Navy would keep the sea lanes open and the Germans, unwilling to get into a war with the Brits and then probably the Yanks would leave the British in peace in their little island. The British would supply aid, covert and overt, to the belligerents in the European war as it suited British interests (British interests being that neither side should dominate all of Europe).

At the same time, Britain's huge manufacturing industry is turning out thousands of tanks and bombers to be sent to Malaya and the Mediterranean along with battle ships and aircraft carriers to remind any aspiring Italian or Japanese warlord that the British Empire was not to be messed with.

So end result is the same Europe that eventually emerged but alongside a powerful and invigorated British Empire reminding everyone who's boss.
The main problem with your hypothesis is your contention that the European theatre would have fought itself to an exhausted standstill after a decade of fighting. This was clearly not what was destined to happen. Even with our later involvement, the German Blitzkrieg rolled imperiously through Poland, France and Belgium. The Netherlands and Norway surrendered. With us safely across the Channel, with a studied indifference to proceedings and Germany having conquered all of Europe that wasn’t an ally or neutral, what makes you think Barbarossa wouldn’t have worked?
Hitler’s desire to march East would have made far more sense as a single front, he would have had the resources of all the conquered nations at his fingertip- and probably, without the glimmer of hope offered by a still-belligerent UK, a greater number of their young men willing to fight against the Soviets. The Russians would have been alone with neither the moral support of a powerful ally nor the material support bought to them by our Arctic convoys.

He’d have occupied the Soviet Union then turned his attention to us.
 
#60
I find it amusing that people seem to see the german civvies as legit targets, but if we bombed an enemy like that now then you would find yourself in the Hague.
You are viewing tactics, mindsets and attitudes of Total War, through a time tunnel lens of almost 80 years.
The battles of 25 years pervious were abhorrent to those that fought in WW2 and I am sure that the battles of the previous century would be seen the same by Tommy in 1918.

You cannot accurately judge or condemn the practices of Bomber Command or the 8th Army Airforce when they did the job assigned to them by comparing them to the capability of popping a guided bomb into the vent of a bunker nowadays.
 

Similar threads


New Posts

Latest Threads

Top