Ominous for some, anyway. I've made some assumptions about Italian political dynamics here which I think I should share as a way of assessing the plausibility of the model. OTL Italy faced the disasters of Stalingrad, the fall of Tripoli and Tunis, and the landings in Sicily in January-July 1943. This against a backdrop of worsening economic hardships. In the ATL there has also been the steady and futile drain in Greece (having for Italy somewhat the same attritional effect as the OTL North Africa campaign) plus a much earlier loss of North Africa. Now we have also had the fall of Sicily and Sardinia. This is a litany of disasters perhaps already as bad as OTL. The only thing in il Duce's favour, at this point in the TL, is that the Italian army in Russia still exists, and the economic hardships facing Italy (as of late 1942 ATL) have probably not progressed quite so far as mid-1943 OTL. I think therefore the Army/ Royalist coup will happen significantly earlier than July 1943, one could make a case that it should have already happened.That is certainly... ominously euphemistic.
One day an Italian captain came to me to have his wounds dressed. ‘They rationed us to five rounds per gun per day,’ he said. ‘This was after telling us how this was the decisive battle, the fate of the fatherland depends on you, and so on.’
Ouch. Sorry spot for the Italian footsloggers....If it was a talking war we’d have won long ago!
This attack mortally wounded General Fredendall, the commander of US II Corps. ‘A heavy blow to us so early in the operation,’ noted General Eisenhower, ‘he had the makings of a great leader.’
Extract from War in the Middle Sea, ch.18
(snip)Here is a truth the newspaper-columnists tend to forget: for all the ugly, and I’ve already seen plenty, there is so much in war that attracts the mind and enchants it, that I understand why men still show willing to go to the wars...
I’m sorry to hear about Mrs. McFee going away, but I’m sure she’ll be back from Philly soon enough. I wouldn’t hesitate too long if I were you.
On reflection it sometimes feels like the main point of Fascism was to give Mussolini et al. the opportunity to talk as much as they liked, without anyone being able to talk back. I recall once reading that Il Duce once (sometime in the late 30s, I think) asked his Air Force chief (or aviation minister, or some such) why only about a quarter of the air force's planes were actually serviceable, but also added that he was not actually all that bothered about the fact. Fascism was a performance.Ouch. Sorry spot for the Italian footsloggers.
Yes, and he'll probably remain so. Of course, he doesn't want to upset his dad; but his dad knows what war is like; and Dempster Jr knows that he knows; so you can bet there's a lot he isn't saying.A little of the earlier breezy bravado has been shot away from young Mr. Dempster, but he still sounds upbeat and confident.
Going forward I have to wonder at the ATL effect of giving the French colonists someplace to run to. Musing about it I suppose only two categories of French persons can remain in Japanese ruled Indochina, both of them vanishingly small in numbers:
I think a policy of constructive ambiguity prevails. On the one hand, it will be played up as a grand idealistic project. On the other, I think the mechanical challenge of creating a single government in London would prevent doing so. The French would also dislike the optics of appearing to live as supplicants. Doing so might badly hurt the legitimacy of the arrangement. So in practice all the difficult questions have been shelved for the duration, and the war effort still recognises the distinction between British and French forces, with unity only at the top levels (Army Group/ Theatre commanders etc).
Since I multi-quoted this reading further down, to the operation liberating Corsica, it seems the French models have been brought into combat and there is neither praise of them (save some Germans noting the things are a problem for them) nor damnation--it seems that whatever shortcomings the early versions have, overall the twin-tail, twin engine heavy fighter is performing well enough. Presumably then Lockheed can manage to introduce at least some of the OTL fixes and perhaps some ATL improvements. Though of course it might still be that the early model bugs are such that the Mustang does get some extra attention earlier bringing it forward earlier and perhaps attaining or surpassing its OTL development (the latter is a bit dicey since presumably the European Axis will collapse somewhat sooner than OTL and Japan is clearly on the ropes worse than OTL by this date too).A poor experience with the Lightning might give an incentive to experimenting with the Mustang. Basically the AdA has come a long way since 1940 but still has some way to go.
Also: the US advocates of a China-based strategy will have a stronger argument, since the Burma Road remains open.
plus a serious infusion of power to a China based strategy (both peripheral and popular in the US) may cause the Japanese to be kicked off the continent and left with nothing to do but starve and no position to negotiate from.
A smaller role than OTL (where the FEC played a crucial part in DIADEM) but they will want to play some role. I have an idea for how that might play out, using a rejected operational concept from OTL.I expect the French to play a very minor role in the coming Italian Campaign, since they need to conserve their manpower for the Metropole.
My understanding of Tooze is that President Roosevelt took the crucial decisions (above all, the decision to create a massive aero industry) about May-June 1940, a decision that subsequent orders were unlikely to change much in fundamentals.I wonder the impact the french orders had on american industrial mobilization. How far ahead -if any- is it compared to OTL ?
That challenges my assumptions about how far north the Allies would have thought it possible to advance. I think the key thing here is that Sicily has fallen but Mussolini has not yet been overthrown; which means the Allies have more time to make preparations before the Germans intervene in force; which in turn means they meet further north than OTL; but how far north is the question. I believe OTL the Allies made their main effort at Salerno because Spitfires based in Sicily could get no further north. Presumably fighters from Corsica could provide air cover as far north as Tuscany or even the Po valley - but it would be a bold move, with the entire south & centre to occupy, the Italians to disarm and the Germans (who have 2-3 divisions already present) to fight.Very subtle changes would mean that the Germans can be stopped somewhere in the Po Valley.
Possible, but I think London would oppose this strongly. A bridgehead, in itself, is not very useful; its usefulness comes from the operations that one can develop from it. Provence, with mountains basically surrounding it, isn't a great place to begin the liberation, by itself. In conjunction with the cross-Channel invasion, an attack in the Midi is very useful - but again, London decision-makers (above all Brooke, who I've put in his OTL position) don't want to go for alt-OVERLORD in 1943, even in these more favourable circumstances. I'll explore this theme in upcoming updates.I think we might see a bridgehead in Provence sometime in 1943.
That's a good way to put it! OTL of course Vichy had a weird co-existence with the Japanese in 1941-5, and presumably some Vichy officials got bossed around at times; but they presumably could rationalise that as loyalty to the legitimate government i.e. Vichy. In the ATL that rationalisation couldn't exist.the intersection of the sets of Franco-Quisling and tolerant of being bossed around by Asians might well be the empty set
I could imagine a handful of 'Laurent des Montagnards' types joining guerrilla bands, but few of then would last long.vanishingly few might be determined to fight the Japanese alongside Vietnamese and other Indochinese native peoples--on essentially terms set by these natives. This probably rules out most colonists but perhaps not all
There's another question, which is how much the Vietnamese will enjoy Japanese occupation. That, rather than the likelihood of Allied victory, will recruit Vietnamese guerrillas.The question is whether to collaborate with the Japanese versus figuring the Allies are going to win in the long run
Absolutely, but there is another player that might take an interest: KMT China. I envisage a resistance front chiefly comprising the Viet Minh and Viet Quoc (the latter under some Chinese influence); though they will only stay united as long as they are fighting the Japanese (and maybe not even that long).Any organization of Vietnam in defiance of Japanese wishes will be a Vietnamese built and run one then.
In this ATL the British will have much more say on this, because they have a fleet at Singapore (and an army in the region also). London will definitely support Paris on this question.There are those who suggest that the USA might have chosen to support Ho Chi Minh who sought to negotiate Vietnamese independence in 1945, but I think there is little grounds to expect any American President likely to be elected to prefer this to restoring the French to power.
The relationships have become somewhat confusing by this point: Washington has a direct line to London and Algiers, but London and Algiers are both trying to run a common policy. The next update will explore this. Certainly the United Nations will be a phrase in use, and will evolve into an organisation.It has evolved well past a dual-power alliance at this point, and it is about time for them to start talking about "United Nations" as OTL.
Obviously any formal UNO will be a mere instrument of the consensus among the leading Great Powers--France included among them, surely.
I doubt the prospect of large Western land forces operating in China. However, Washington has one eye on the immense & exciting prospect of a united, independent and friendly China post-war. They will be pushing aid to China along the Burma Road as fast as possible.I have often wondered at what a strategy of taking on the Japanese Empire by confronting the IJA where it is most heavily deployed, in China itself, would look like, but have always understood that US conventional wisdom said "avoid a land war in Asia!" Certainly the strategy that evolved OTL in the Pacific under US leadership seems quite diametrically opposed, with favor going again and again to bypassing major Japanese concentrations, in what has been described at least in retrospect as a policy of leaving various Japanese held islands such as their major bastion on Rabaul as de facto POW camps--for the Allied naval forces and air forces would shoot up every transport hull that moved, effectively isolating them and taking them out of the war while conserving Allied manpower against more select objectives.
On one hand deciding to instead take advantage of the existing open (barring terrain issues) Burma Road to come directly to assist Republic of China forces on the ground seems to fly in the face of this wisdom, if wisdom it was.
On the other hand--if direct and extensive logistic contact is made with Chinese forces in southwest China, we can surely expect that while the services, and attrition, of western Allied forces would be considerable on this new front (for them) and face formidable opposition from the "no-surrender" IJA, still much of the heavy lifting of combat would be done by Chinese forces, which would benefit from coordination and most important, open-handed material logistics.
Very much so - although I'm not proposing to take the TL past 1945, a stronger KMT follows inevitably from what has happened so far. I find it impossible to say if that means the KMT can win the Civil War.Aside from how this affects the timing and outcomes for Japan, it also might have huge bearing on what happens in China in the later 1940s.
Maybe he stayed out of France (probably). If not, there's a high chance the Germans got him, and have still got him locked up - they might not have released him OTL. With no need to show even a trace of respect or interest in any French partners like Vichy, the Occupation will be even harsher than OTL. I haven't written about the internal situation in la Hexagone because I dislike writing things which are even worse than OTL. I once visited the Occupation museum in Falaise, a rather grim experience: among the exhibits, various horrible posters (I can't now remember if originals or facsimiles) from the time of the occupation. These posters (which were written in French and German, a kind of symbol of what the Franco-German partnership dreamt of by Vichy actually meant) were publicly displayed listing the names of the executed, a kind of prissy bureaucratic way of sanitising the horror.
Strictly speaking there is no Vichy France - no unoccupied zone, so the Germans simply set up a pure Quisling regime in Paris, with whatever collaborationist dregs they can scrape together. It gets even less respect than OTL Vichy, from Allies and Germans alike.Vichy France may want a 3rd option!
Not only smart, he was both patriotic and intensely anti-Nazi and favoured De Gaulle and the Free French OTL. About the last man to cosy up to the Germans.
In this universe, would there be an equivalent group of French VIP's as was interned in Castle Iter? (Nowadays more noted for the unique rescue operation) Not necessarily the same cast of characters, but a comparable group?Not only smart, he was both patriotic and intensely anti-Nazi and favoured De Gaulle and the Free French OTL. About the last man to cosy up to the Germans.
The prison was established to contain high-profile French prisoners valuable to the Reich. Notable prisoners included tennis player Jean Borotra, former prime ministers Édouard Daladier and Paul Reynaud, former commanders-in-chief Maxime Weygand and Maurice Gamelin, Charles de Gaulle's elder sister Marie-Agnès Cailliau, right-wing leader and closet French resistance member François de La Rocque, and trade union leader Léon Jouhaux. Besides the VIP prisoners, the castle held a number of Eastern European prisoners detached from Dachau, who were used for maintenance and other menial work