A Blunted Sickle - Thread II

Un le Joe was happily running another purge on the Red Air Force, that was ongoing as the Panzers crossed the Molotov Line.
No war? He would keep finding internal enemies for Beria to take care of.
Only the Great Patriotic War temporary diverted his attention from the traitors and wreckers hiding in the USSR.
Complete agreement, except I am not sure Stalin was ever really happy. I would never suggest that without the war Stalin becomes in any way more humane. The purges will be happening in some form, the issue is the scope - does Stalin go back to full 1937-38 levels, or stick to something more limited, like OTL late 40s-early 50s.

Beria himself looked to be on the outs by March of 1953, and so were a lot of the old guard like Molotov and Mikoyan, quite possibly they were saved by Stalin's death.
 
With the lack of a Great Patriotic war, I am most curious of the effects on Ukraine. I am no expert but my understanding was that the Great Patriotic War was a great way of distracting from and allowing the state to quietly deal with those drawing attention to the Holodomor by accusing them of Nazi collaboration.

However here the Holodomor is still very much in the living memory and there is no easy way to get rid of those drawing attention to it.

Without the Great Patriotic war, what effects will the Holodomor have on the Ukrainian people and its relations to the Soviets. Could it be the cause for a push for independence earlier?
Really interesting point, on the one hand, the war certainly put just about everything else in the rear view mirror for a while. On the other hand, the war also gave the Ukrainian nationalist movement a significant boost since the UPA had at least tenuous control of some Ukrainian territory during at various points during the course of the war. In OTL, the guerrilla war in the Ukraine continued for some time after 1945, I cannot see that happening here - maybe some minor outbreaks, but a fully mobilized Red Army, without the chaos and destruction of 1941-45 will probably shut it all down quickly. This also begs the question of population transfers - I believe in OTL significant numbers of ethnic poles were removed from Soviet Ukraine into Poland shortly after the war: will this happen ITTL? On the one hand, the Post-War Polish government won't exactly be in favour of co-operating with Moscow, but they just might prefer to rescue some of their citizens, especially if they decide that eastern Poland is a lost cause.
 
After the Munich dictate the chances of the Great Powers going along with large minorities (or even regional majorities) of one nationality within the borders of another are greatly reduced. While Germany will inevitably be the biggest threat in this department, I don’t think it would take much of a stretch for both the Soviets and Franco-British to conclude that such situations are unstable in and of themselves, and thus, any land the Soviets are keeping must be cleared of Poles in the same way any land the Poles keep must be cleared of Germans. It fits the thinking of the time period to a t, and given Stalin’s cautious nature and the Franco-British being scared to face the bear without the Eagle backing them up, I foresee both blocs wanting to minimize potential flash points like Polish eastern irredentism as much as possible.
 
There may be some version of the Potsdam Agreement being made in the post war years. The Entente has not recognised Soviet gains in the Baltic and Eastern Poland but may acknowledge them in exchange for some sort of concession. The Polish would not be happy with this but I could see the Entente and Soviets agreeing to formal borders in order to reduce tensions.
 
So recently I had been contemplating the post war world for TTL and I believed there would be significant changes for two notable places. Cyprus and Taiwan.

While Greece is a definite British ally (even if not participating in the war) Turkey isn't TTL and might even become an Italian ally. As a result I have to wonder if UK would just hand Cyprus over to Greece rather than granting it independence. If not, I think if there were a Cyprus conflict ITTL the UK would be more likely to intervene on the side of the Greeks.

Regarding Taiwan, Japan isn't going to win its war against China, though the nature of their defeat I think would make them reluctant to leave Taiwan and the pacific Islands they won from the Germans in WWI. The Japanese Navy ITTL is probably not going to end up destroyed like it was during OTL WWII. So assuming they even lose control of Korea I think whatever government emerges in the aftermath of this defeat would be sensitive about surrendering 'Japanese' territory (similar to how the Soviets feel about land that belonged to the Russian Empire). This has the potential to be a long lasting flashpoint between China and Japan.
 
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While Greece is a definite British ally (even if not participating in the war) Turkey isn't TTL and might even become an Italian ally. As a result I have to wonder if UK would just hand Cyprus over to Greece rather than granting it independence. If not, I think if there were a Cyprus conflict ITTL the UK would be more likely to intervene on the side of the Greeks.
Prior to the fall of France, Turkey was actually a lot closer to Britain and France than most people realize. Ankara started to distance itself from London only after the German victory in France.

In October 1939, the UK, France, and Turkey signed a treaty of mutual assistance where the three countries pledged to come to each others assistance in the event an act of aggression by a 'European Power' [by implication Germany or Italy] led to a war in the Mediterranean area. Turkey also pledged to cooperate with the UK and France to support their guarantees to Greece and Romania. At the same time, Britain and France agreed to supply Turkey with at credit of £25 million to purchase war materials and a loan of £15 million for unspecified uses.

As late as 31 May 1940, the French and British were discussing supporting Turkish operations against the Italian-held Dodecanese Islands in event of war with Italy under Article 3 of the Anglo-French-Turkish Military Pact. Regaining the Dodecanese, which Turkey had lost to Italy after WWI, was an important foreign policy goal of Turkey. The transfer of these islands to Greece after WWII was one of the major causes of the post-war tensions between Turkey and Greece.

As a matter of fact, Turkey's relations with Greece at this time were relatively cordial. In 1934, Turkey, Greece, Romania, and Yugoslavia signed the Balkan Pact, which included secret protocols of mutual assistance in event of Bulgarian aggression. In 1940, Turkey viewed the threats from Italy, the USSR, Bulgaria as far more concerning than that of Greece.

In the attached pdf file, which is a summary of captured French diplomatic cables concerning the Balkans that were published by the Germans in 1941, I've included an appendix that has the full text of 1939 Anglo-French-Turkish treaty and the accompanying credit and loan agreements.
 

Attachments

  • French Balkan Plans.pdf
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As a matter of fact, Turkey's relations with Greece at this time were relatively cordial. In 1934, Turkey, Greece, Romania, and Yugoslavia signed the Balkan Pact, which included secret protocols of mutual assistance in event of Bulgarian aggression. In 1940, Turkey viewed the threats from Italy, the USSR, Bulgaria as far more concerning than that of Greece.
Greece and Turkey were actually allied at the time... and on their own initiative. They remained allied to 1954-55 or so, in 1951-52 Greece was actively backing Turkish candidacy in NATO and had just signed a renewed treaty of alliance the previous year. There was of course a strong undercurrent in the public that was ready to remember the old grudges, not odd really, an 18 year old in 1922 was 48 in 1952, but both political clashed kept it suppressed/ignored. The Papagos and Eden clash over Cyprus, Turkey is brought into the mesh by the British as a counterweight to the Greeks, the September 1955 pogroms against Constantinopolitan Greeks happen... and say hello to 66 years and counting of renewed tensions.
 
I've been reading through several French military manuals from the 1930s and I see that they classify their infantry tanks by tactical mission, either chars d'accompagnement (light tanks in independent tank battalions) or chars de manoeuvre d'ensemble (Char B1bis and Char D). The first easily translates into English as "accompanying tanks", but I can't figure out the best way to translate the latter. A literal translation would seem to be either "general maneuvering tanks" or "overall maneuvering tanks", but these don't seem quite right in English or to fit the concept that the French term is implying. I was thinking that "mass maneuvering tanks" might a be better translation of the French concept, but I'm not sure. Has anyone seen a proper translation of this term or have a better translation?
 
I've been reading through several French military manuals from the 1930s and I see that they classify their infantry tanks by tactical mission, either chars d'accompagnement (light tanks in independent tank battalions) or chars de manoeuvre d'ensemble (Char B1bis and Char D). The first easily translates into English as "accompanying tanks", but I can't figure out the best way to translate the latter. A literal translation would seem to be either "general maneuvering tanks" or "overall maneuvering tanks", but these don't seem quite right in English or to fit the concept that the French term is implying. I was thinking that "mass maneuvering tanks" might a be better translation of the French concept, but I'm not sure. Has anyone seen a proper translation of this term or have a better translation?

I believe the most straightforward translation is "operational role tanks". Going for a literal translation of "manoeuvre d'ensemble" seems like an overcomplication, since "manoeuvre d'ensemble" within the bataille conduite framework refers to what would elsewhere be called operational art.
 
Does the Chietain not cover this?
I believe the most straightforward translation is "operational role tanks". Going for a literal translation of "manoeuvre d'ensemble" seems like an overcomplication, since "manoeuvre d'ensemble" within the bataille conduite framework refers to what would elsewhere be called operational art.
Thank you for the link to the Chieftain, he give an excellent presentation on the development of French armored doctrine. In his video, he refers to "mass tank units", which seems to refer to the chars de manoeuvre d'ensemble in French doctrine. That suggests that "mass maneuver tanks" might work.

I agree that a literal translation is unnecessary, so "operational role tanks" might be an acceptable translation as it fits the French doctrinal concept . Btw, I have a 1943 U.S. War Department French-English dictionary that translates chars de manoeuvre d'ensemble as "GHQ tank units". This also matches the French concept but, unfortunately, refers to the unit rather than the tank. Perhaps "GHQ tanks" ?

Towards the end of the Chieftain's video, he mentions to official armor doctrine documents for the use of the Char B units that were published in 1937 and 1938, Notice provisoire sur l’emploi des chars modernes and Modifications de Notice provisoire sur les conditions et l’emploi des grandes unités blindées (I retranslated the titles back into French, but as the Chieftain uses slightly different English titles for the original document and the later modification, I'm not sure that these are the actual correct French titles). Does anyone here know were I can find copies of these? I've tried the Library of Congress and the U.S. Army War College Library, but neither of these institutions have copies. I've also tried to find copies in bookstores via abebooks.com, alibris.com, amazon.com, and amazon.fr, but they don't have them either.
 
Is space at Singapore an issue with all the UK *and* apparently French deployments there? By that I mean in both where to dock and in terms of space in the city for Personnel?

Also, the difference between sea battles in OTL and TTL is the difference between a normal game of soccer and playing soccer inside someone's living room. No room for pretty maneuvering, everyone knows where everyone is. I'm not sure there is enough room in the South China Sea for something like the Battle of Midway where everyone was sort of over the horizon to everyone else. As a result, I'm not sure that the advantages of the Carrier over the Battleship will be quite as large as iOTL.

And as for the Philippines falling... While I think the Philippines may end up with the most ugly mix of US & British kit, I just don't see it happening, even if supplies have to go around the South side of Borneo...

And it still leads to the question that I asked *quite* some time ago. If the Japanese go to war with only the Europeans, how much will MacArthur (or the equivalent) stay "truly neutral".
 
There’s plenty of room in the South China Sea for over-the-horizon aircraft carrier battles, the real question is whether the Japanese will risk a war with the Entente. The Japanese missed their best chance when the Entente was tied down with their war with Germany. Tokyo now faces the prospect of having to take on the undistracted weight of the combined British and French empires.
 
Is space at Singapore an issue with all the UK *and* apparently French deployments there? By that I mean in both where to dock and in terms of space in the city for Personnel?
If not I suspect light forces can be spread around the region a bit. In terms of space in the city, if the home fleet can be based at Scapa at fairly short notice I suspect this will not be a problem. The naval base can probably handle the routine maintenance of the fleet but major overhauls or the aftermath of a major action is likely to be a problem.

Any naval action is likely to happen in the triangle between Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong rather than closer to Malaya or Borneo, so land based recon/strike may not be that much better than around Midway. South of Saigon would be a different story as the Japanese would have to cross too many patrol lines not to be spotted
 
Is space at Singapore an issue with all the UK *and* apparently French deployments there? By that I mean in both where to dock and in terms of space in the city for Personnel?

Also, the difference between sea battles in OTL and TTL is the difference between a normal game of soccer and playing soccer inside someone's living room. No room for pretty maneuvering, everyone knows where everyone is. I'm not sure there is enough room in the South China Sea for something like the Battle of Midway where everyone was sort of over the horizon to everyone else. As a result, I'm not sure that the advantages of the Carrier over the Battleship will be quite as large as iOTL.

And as for the Philippines falling... While I think the Philippines may end up with the most ugly mix of US & British kit, I just don't see it happening, even if supplies have to go around the South side of Borneo...

And it still leads to the question that I asked *quite* some time ago. If the Japanese go to war with only the Europeans, how much will MacArthur (or the equivalent) stay "truly neutral".
  1. Singapore is one of the world's great natural harbours, and today is the world's second busiest port. The Singapore naval base was also immense at the start of WW2 - 21 square miles, the world's biggest dry dock, third largest floating dock and enough fuel to run the entire RN for 6 months. Hard as it may be to believe, the fleet there right now is actually smaller than the one the base was designed to support during a major war.
  2. It's smaller than the OTL Pacific battles, but not small. Singapore to Brunei for instance is ~800 miles, which is just a bit much for the land-based air of the time. The key difference is that land-based reconnaissance aircraft are much more readily available. It's also worth noting that the RN gun line has a significant comparative advantage over the Japanese compared to that enjoyed by the RN carriers. Their ships are mostly post-Jutland designs, and they have gunnery radar. Their carriers on the other hand are broadly comparable - better ability to defend themselves (incomparably better fighter direction plus better armour & damage control), but have far fewer aircraft.
  3. The big advantage of gun armament at this point in history is that carrier aircraft are limited to day/good weather operations and are of very questionable effectiveness against ships at sea: it's worth remembering that Prince of Wales and Repulse were the first capital ships to be sunk at sea by aircraft, and land-based ones at that. The RN are groping towards the solutions - they are the only people on earth with a rudimentary carrier night-attack capability - but compared to what is to come it's still very limited. Realistically for the RN it was only when the Buccaneer + Red Beard combination came into service that they no longer felt the need for big gun armed warships: the earlier retirement of the battleships was down to problems with budget and manpower, not because they didn't want them.
  4. Nobody is ever "truly" neutral in a war. They're going to bend and interpret the rules is a way which suits their own ends - in the case of the Philippines, the major threat is the Japanese and they will therefore act in a way to minimise this threat. That could mean either appeasement or supporting the British, depending on how well the war is going.
There’s plenty of room in the South China Sea for over-the-horizon aircraft carrier battles, the real question is whether the Japanese will risk a war with the Entente. The Japanese missed their best chance when the Entente was tied down with their war with Germany. Tokyo now faces the prospect of having to take on the undistracted weight of the combined British and French empires.
Their best chance (occupying Indochina without resistance, Germans at the gates of Moscow, Suez closed and the UK concentrating on U-boats) never happens ITTL. Their best chance ITTL is summer 1940 - a point in OTL where the Japanese were unwilling to go to war despite significantly better circumstances for them than in TTL.

Japan will have to make a choice or be forced to withdraw from China in shame.
Eventually. It's a long time before the writing is on the wall obviously enough that they realise though.
 
  1. Singapore is one of the world's great natural harbours, and today is the world's second busiest port. The Singapore naval base was also immense at the start of WW2 - 21 square miles, the world's biggest dry dock, third largest floating dock and enough fuel to run the entire RN for 6 months. Hard as it may be to believe, the fleet there right now is actually smaller than the one the base was designed to support during a major war.
  2. It's smaller than the OTL Pacific battles, but not small. Singapore to Brunei for instance is ~800 miles, which is just a bit much for the land-based air of the time. The key difference is that land-based reconnaissance aircraft are much more readily available. It's also worth noting that the RN gun line has a significant comparative advantage over the Japanese compared to that enjoyed by the RN carriers. Their ships are mostly post-Jutland designs, and they have gunnery radar. Their carriers on the other hand are broadly comparable - better ability to defend themselves (incomparably better fighter direction plus better armour & damage control), but have far fewer aircraft.
  3. The big advantage of gun armament at this point in history is that carrier aircraft are limited to day/good weather operations and are of very questionable effectiveness against ships at sea: it's worth remembering that Prince of Wales and Repulse were the first capital ships to be sunk at sea by aircraft, and land-based ones at that. The RN are groping towards the solutions - they are the only people on earth with a rudimentary carrier night-attack capability - but compared to what is to come it's still very limited. Realistically for the RN it was only when the Buccaneer + Red Beard combination came into service that they no longer felt the need for big gun armed warships: the earlier retirement of the battleships was down to problems with budget and manpower, not because they didn't want them.
  4. Nobody is ever "truly" neutral in a war. They're going to bend and interpret the rules is a way which suits their own ends - in the case of the Philippines, the major threat is the Japanese and they will therefore act in a way to minimise this threat. That could mean either appeasement or supporting the British, depending on how well the war is going.

I guess the main difference between Singapore and Subic Bay is that the Americans never made a full commitment to Subic Bay the way that the British did to Singapore with Pearl Harbor being the main location. So in the event of a war with both the Entente and the Americans, the idea of the USN docking at Singapore isn't that out of the question (Did the RN and USN use the same fuels?)

A very specific route through the South China sea may be needed to avoid air recon, but I guess normal commercial traffic could be able to be somewhat of a tripwire. (As opposed to the North Pacific)

Sounds like even with Carriers, the RN would still be in a position where closing with the Japanese would be to their advantage. (Would a good strategy be the RN carriers aircraft don't attack the Japanese Carriers, instead they provide CAP over the RN battleships as they get close enough to shell the Japanese Carriers?)

Since it is the US's bans which are affecting the Japanese, appeasement would be allowing scrap metal sales, etc. And once the kicks off, I doubt those would be removed.

Unclear to me whether ABC and MacArthur ever met iOTL. I'm curious as to whether they will meet here. I know that MacArthur is more likely to meet with the leaders of the Entente Armies, but given that I don't think that any American Admiral would be stationed that far forward, MacArthur probably still ends up in Singapore at some point.
 

Driftless

Donor
I guess the main difference between Singapore and Subic Bay is that the Americans never made a full commitment to Subic Bay the way that the British did to Singapore with Pearl Harbor being the main location.
In the post-Spanish-American War assessments of Subic Bay, the US Navy really liked the harbor but recognized that the Archipelago was going to be very hard to defend against a determined Japanese attack. The US Army hated Subic Bay, for the same general reasons and some specific ones. A 1914 formal tactical assessment of Luzon by Gen Hunter Liggett presciently identified that a large-scale Japanese attack starting at Lingayen Gulf would sweep down Luzon towards Manila, and a flank attack on the Mariveles Heights on Bataan would put both Subic Bay and Manila Bay in easy artillery range. That's pretty much what the Japanese did in 1941-42.

All that assessment work factored into the US War Plans, often updated throughout the early part of the 20th Century
 
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