WII turning points

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by unicorn77, Jan 30, 2012.

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  1. I’m sure everyone will agree that there were a number of crucial points during the war which, had they gone the other way, so would the entire course of the war, at least from Britain’s perspective.

    Here are a few such points.

    Dunkirk. How did we manage to get so many men away? Why didn't the Germans put more effort into sweeping right into Dunkirk? Although we lost all the armour, heavy guns, equipment, etc., we did at least preserve a core of men to fight again, plus our propoganda was able to present it as a morale boosting victory.

    Battle of Britain. If the Luftwaffe had not diverted it’s attention to London and other civilian targets and continued against the airfields they could easily have forced the RAF back to operate from the north, and then perhaps gone on to achieve air superiority over British skies, which in turn may have facilitated an invasion.

    Radar. Helped enormously with the above, along with an information / command network that was able to put the radar intelligence to very good use.

    Malta. The island suffered heavy bombing but was able to continue as a thorn in the side to the Axis. Supplies from Italy to North Africa must have been consequently reduced. Not sure why it wasn’t invaded.

    Turning on the Russians. What a mistake to make!

    D Day. Allied deceptions caused panzer divisions to be kept back in case of another landing around Calais. What if the Germans had thrown everything at the five landing beaches? Instrumental in the deception was the possession of the enigma machines and the ability to decode German messages without them knowing.

    Hitler’s madness. Or the Germans madness in allowing a corporal to overrule everyone else. How different would it have been without the ”victory or death” orders leading to whole armies getting encircled?

    Pearl Harbour. Churchill must have been doing cartwheels when he heard about this, and finally got the USA fully engaged in the war. What would have happened if the Japanese had held off for a couple of years?

    These are just a few points off the top of my head. How important they were is debatable. I might even have missed other points of more importance. But the thing is I just can’t see so many points that went wrong for the allies. No doubt we could have done a lot better against the Japanese at the fall of Singapore but even Pearl Harbour could have been worse for the Yanks if the carriers had been home.

    So was God on our side?
  2. Invasion of Poland: Germany was going to lose from Day 1. Everything that followed was more or less inevitable.
  3. Wii turning points? I find rotating the controller along a central axis makes my on screen character move in a similar fashion. with the cordless controller I can make my turning point almost anywhere in the room.
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  4. Is this a 'how many essay questions can I cram into one post?' thread?
  5. You missed out the Battle of the Atlantic. Longest battle of the war and an overwelming British (ok, Allied) victory.
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  6. I think God sat that one out.

    His "chosen people" can testify to that.
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  7. I seem to remember a bit of fuss that quite a few of his chosen people had been involved, mostly behind enemy lines. I don't recall much mention of god making any personal appearances. He didn't even appear to send in his 2ic.
  8. Starting with (5) If you start with us winning then obviously the turning points aal;l ppoint to fav ouring us... bec ause we won.

    Here are "Turning points" that went the other way.

    a. US Republicans win the post WW1 election and refuse to to sign up to the League of Nations arranged by a Democrat. This dooms the league.

    b. Hitler's 1933 Coup works and despite not really winning the election becomes dictastor.

    c. No one calls Hitler's bluff before 1939.

    d. The Germans decisively beat the French and British after throwing away a bad plan (Fall Gelb) after the accidental loss of the plans.

    e. Crete

    Re 1. This is a very "british centric list. Most of the nwar against Hitler was fought on the Russian front. The decisison to turn South in July 1941 - beseiging rather than attacking Leningrad - Stalinggrad campaing - Kursk..

    Re 2 - I am not sure Malta was that deicisve or on balance who it hurt most. Yup, Malta based shps and aircraft caused damage - but at a cost to the RN of 2 x carriers (Eagle and Illustrious badly damaged;1 x battleship Barham; several cruisers and the pride of the fast merchant fleet. )

    Re 3. D Day is an obvious turning point. But the possible alternative dates fcor D Day could have been much much w2orse. E.g. anything in 1942 or 43 or a delay until 45. I am not sure engima helped much at D Day.
  9. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    The Naval war in the Mediterranean - and Admiral ABC.

    Although Crete and Malta have been mentioned - ( After Crete, Adolf says 'Goering you maniac - no more parachute drops against armed opposition!" - and Malta sustained the 'Fighting Tenth' submarine flotilla which assisted Cunningham to ramp and range throughout the Med, destroying Axis supply lines and creating havoc from Toulon to the Bosphorus) - If it wasn't for two naval victories - Taranto and Matapan - the whole of the North African campaign and possibly the subsequent Allied landings in Sicily, Anzio, Salerno and finally Southern France would have been impossible.

    The amount of Axis tonnage sunk by boats operating out of Malta GC was phenomenal.
  10. Attacking Russia was not a turning point , it was Hitler's point all along .

    Hitler was after the grain resources and raw materials of the east , whilst the Japs wanted all the raw materials of the Far East.

    Mussolini didn't really have a plan , so the Italians got rid of him in '43 and went over to the winning side.

    I think its fair to say that once the Axis declared war on America it ceased being a matter of if and became one of when the Allies won .We could have fought a proxy war by simply supplying the Russians and won that way .Then , when the Russians reached the Oder , we could have just nuked them . Shame we didn't actually , would have saved a lot of trouble later.

    The Allies won the battle of the Atlantic when American yards started building ships quicker than the diminishing number of U boats could sink them.I think the record assembly time for a Liberty ship was something ridiculous like 72 hours .

    In the Pacific , the Americans ended the war with 100 odd carriers , a massive fleet of B29's AND nuclear weapons which demonstrates the awesome industrial power of the country , so the attack on Pearl Harbour was probably a big mistake by the Japs .

    God had nothing to do with it.
  11. I believe Ark Royal was sunk in the Med, being part of a battle group or supply convoy trying to get more hurricanes and spitfires to reinforce Malta.

    Also Malta was in a key position to interdict supplies to the Axis forces in North Africa.

    Even so, most of the British reinforcements and supplies for North Africa were sent the long way round avoiding the med.
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  12. Victorian Major, Was it an oversight that you have forgotten to mention Bletchley Park and code breaking?
  13. If Hitler had maintained the aim of going for the Russian oil fields and not got side tracked taking Stalingrad, or had pushed through to Moscow, the war might have dragged on longer, but in the end against the space in Russia and the manufacturing might of the USA ha was onto a loser from the start.

    Interesting note on US manufacturing capability, a multi lane highway was laid to one of the aircraft builders, Boeing I think, to enable the expanded workforce to drive to and fro from work. The point being that the Yanks were still using private transport whilst at war. Compare and contrast with Europe.
  14. Victorian Major, Was it a mistake to send the BEF to France in 1939 and early 1940 with so much heavy equipment? Was there a proper plan or did someone just decide to send 500,000 men and all the supplies they could muster. RASC men were ordered to destroy vehicles and stores on the quayside to prevent the enemy using them.
  15. My 10-year-old daughter got all excited about this thread until she realized this Wii wasn't Nintendo ... but more seriously, I've always wondered what would have happened if ...
    • Hitler hadn't been convinced we were going to land in the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy
    • The guys on the beaches hadn't made it off them (aforementioned Miss Flaggie's best mate's Froggie grandparents have a house on Sword Beach, and having seen it I just wonder how any of 3rd Inf Div survived)
    • Hitler had waited just a little longer before attacking the Russians
    • Der Führer hadn't realized how close the RAF was to inoperability.