Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Oh, for the love of all that is holy I hope the USAAC doesn't get ahold of USN aviation units.

That said it seems the US is getting some fun stuff in the future.
 
Well this is certainly a change for the US armed forces doctrinally and TO&E; no Thompson for the Army means gangsters are going to have an even deadlier weapon in Prohibition times - assuming that the demobilization hasn’t wrecked the demographic change that enabled the Temperance movement to vote it in with a narrow margin in OTL.
 
The Chemical Corps determined that it needed a better way to deploy gas than canisters, Livens Projectors and Conventional Artillery shells. Mortars were thought the best compromise between range and efficiency.
This seems ominous... Are things taking a darker turn here, compared to OTL chemical warfare?
 
…The Chemical Corps determined that it needed a better way to deploy gas than canisters, Livens Projectors and Conventional Artillery shells. Mortars were thought the best compromise between range and efficiency. They recommended the development of mortars in the 4”-5” range, 5.5”-7’ range and 8”-10” range for providing various levels of support…

This seems ominous... Are things taking a darker turn here, compared to OTL chemical warfare?

To be honest the Army had already figured out several more 'effective' ways to deliver gas attacks in 1918 and frankly at ranges that would astound people. And they 'gave it up' because of the general disarmament and draw downs of the 20s OTL.

The Army had planned on deploying the worlds first "cruise missile" to Europe in 1918 with preparations for shipment and forward deployment teams already in place when the war ended. What tends to be left out of the descriptions and so far I've only found in a few spots in more in-depth official materials was that these were NOT designed to carry high explosive warheads but chemical dispensers and were seen as the 'ultimate weapon' for planned late 1918/early 1919 offensives into Germany itself. Both Kettering and "Hap" Arnold (the assigned commander of the deployed unit) were extremely happy that the plan was not fully carried through but both agreed the actual effects would have been devastating. (And both feared what might happen if they were prematurely deployed over allied troops since these were supposed to deploy some of the most modern American 'war' gasses available)

Something to keep in mind is that while front line forces are usually prepared for such attacks, forces behind the lines and further to the rear are more often much more vulnerable and more heavily damaged especially when they have little or no warning.

Randy
 
Part 3-15
…Italy, while on the winning side of the First World War, found itself in a crisis upon its victory. The monetary cost of the war would have been ruinous enough even without the disaster of Caparetto and the subsequent ravaging of everything northeast of the Mincio and Po Rivers. That Caporetto had occurred, resulting in the need to replace multiple armies in short order and the great cities of Venice, Padua and Verona having been wrecked by fighting, made a ruinous situation almost impossible. To afford the continuation of the war the Italian government had taken extraordinary measures and taken out ruinous amounts of loans from Britain and the United States. With the war over the bills were coming due and the Italian government as struggling to pay.

Taxes were kept at high wartime levels even as the Army was discharged in mass and government spending was cut to the bone. Inflation followed and the price of food and other goods rose while wages dropped due to the glut of labor. Alongside this economic hardship more resentment was fueled by perceived incompetence in the handling of the war and the resulting heavy casualties. Harnessing this sentiment Italian Socialists and Anarchists began organizing strikes among the factories and farm workers of northern Italy. Almost 2,000 strikes occurred in 1920, with the largest featuring over a million strikers. 1921 proved even larger with 2100 strikes recorded.

For a time it looked like a Soviet style revolution could be possible, but fortunately for Italy the leadership of the Socialists and anarchists did nothing to capitalize on it. The Anarchists were feuding with the Socialists and the Socialists were schisming over whether or not to join the Communist International, which resulted in the creation of the Italian Communist Party in 1922.

Instead the near revolutionary conditions led to the rise of the National Bloc and the return of Giovanni Giolatti to the office of Prime Minister in 1922. Giolatti’s National Bloc was a coalition of the old Italian Liberal Party he led, the Italian Nationalist Association, the nationalist Party of Renewal, and most importantly the Fascist Party…

…The Fascist movement had been founded by former socialist newspaper editor Benito Mussolini in 1915 as a third way between Socialism and Capitalism, after his expulsion from the Socialist party for advocating nationalism. With his heroic death leading a rearguard of Bersaglieri during the Caporetto Disaster, leadership of the embryonic movement was briefly contested before being taken over by Erasmo Sanna. Sanna was a relative latecomer to the party, having been a bookkeeper before the war and became a Fascist while recuperating in a hospital bed next to Mussolini following the third battle of the Isonzo. The two became close friends and served alongside each other after being discharged until Caporetto, where Sanna was wounded on the first day and evacuated to the rear.

Sanna, having been discharged following wounds suffered at Caporetto, and in 1918 began receiving a stipend from Britain to publish pro-war propaganda. Using this money he turned what was a tiny group of former socialists into the seeds of a proper political party. With the war ended Sanna harnessed rage at government incompetence in prosecuting the war and failure to achieve all that had been promised to attract nationalists of all sorts to the new party. Sanna soothed conservative fears by having the paramilitary Blackshirt branch of the party work against Anarchist, Socialist and later Communist agitation.

When Giolatti was forming his National Bloc to try and stabilize Italian Politics Sanna and his Fascists were a natural choice. In the general election of 1922 they proved the largest single party in the bloc. Because of this Giolotti appointed Sanna Interior Minister, bringing the Fascists into government…

…Sanna masterminded the breakup of the Catholic Italian Peoples Party. This was the largest single party in the Italian Chamber of Deputies after the Communists split from the Socialists. Working with elements in the Vatican, who feared the socialist tendencies of the party outweighed its Catholicism, he encouraged the split between the moderates, socialists and conservatives. By 1924 and the subsequent elections he was successful, and the Fascists absorbed over half of the People’s Party with the blessing of the Vatican…

…Sanna remained Interior Minister until 1925 when Prime Minister Giolatti died during a plane crash on a visit to Sicily. As the leader of the largest party in the government he was the natural choice for succeeding Giolatti as Prime Minister…

-Excerpt from Unfinished Business: The Making of the Second World War, New American Press, Chicago, 2007



…When Soviet forces began closing in on Omsk in September the Provisional Government of Russia made a desperate bid to retain power. Looking for anything to distract the Bolsheviks they reached out to the Polish government of Josef Pilsudski. Pilsudski and other polish nationalists had long held desires of recreating the borders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as they stood in 1772 if not at its height in 1619. The provisional government was willing to offer that, at least as far as they could regarding the territories they controlled, if the Poles would seize them immediately.

Pilsudski, having poor relations with every single one of his neighbors and not particularly good ones with the former Entente, saw this as his one chance to retake historically Polish lands without major diplomatic consequences. He immediately agreed to the deal and at the start of October the Poles, alongside surviving white and other miscellaneous anti-Bolshevik forces launched a massive attack on the Soviets, too late to save Omsk. The Red Army, having stripped forces from the West for the Omsk offensive, to deal with the foreign backed White pockets of resistance on the Black and White Sea and to sew up the Caucuses were unable to halt the Poles.

Two armies of 100,000 struck out and by mid-November had taken Kiev and Minsk. When the snows finally stopped them in December the Bolsheviks had been forced back to their Brest-Litovsk borders…

-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004






Okay another of my more implausible moments I admit, I used a random name generator to create an OC Fascist because I needed Italy wrecked in WWI to keep Austria, and thus Germany in longer, but now I need a strong Italy for later, so Not!Mussolini
 
So no Mussolini? Hmm, this should be fun to watch this guy turn Italy around only for it to get smacked down harder next time around.

Russia is still a freaking mess I see.
 
Oh shit, are we going to get a competent Fascist Italy? This is going to be brutal. But at the same time, they ARE more wrecked. Curious what the impact on Italy's war against the Libyan natives will be.

The Bolsheviks are weaker here, but one reason Poland couldn't hold Kiev in OTL was that with the devastation in Eastern Europe they couldn't support an army far to the east that well. And I'd imagine it'll be worse TTL with Germany having more time to plunder the area. Still, though Omsk still fell, in TTL the Bolsheviks have more side fronts they need to deal with on top of the Polish attack.

Eh, I expect the overall result will be similar to OTL, but it could go either way.
 
Okay another of my more implausible moments I admit, I used a random name generator to create an OC Fascist because I needed Italy wrecked in WWI to keep Austria, and thus Germany in longer, but now I need a strong Italy for later, so Not!Mussolini
Not that implausible. He could have been another casualty in OTL!WW1, not even a footnote... But he survives ITTL and everything changes, everyone will know his name.

Maybe there are several threads in *AlternateHistory about "WI Sanna dies and/or doesn't take power".
 
Part 3-16
…The outbreak of the winter snows gave the Bolsheviks time to consolidate and reposition forces to face the Polish Onslaught. With the Caucuses and Omsk cleared out, most of the best Red Army units could be moved to the west. Of course more than mere quantity was needed, the Red Army needed a reason to fight. Communism alone could not motivate the Russian people to fight for the Bolsheviks unless compelled by pure force. Something more was needed.

Trotsky had the answer, nationalism. The fight with the Poles was portrayed not as a fight between communism and capitalism, but rather between western invaders and the Russian people. It was the Time of Troubles all over again, admittedly with false Alexei’s rather than false Dimitris. The whites were now traitors aiding the foreign invaders, rather than the mere counter-revolutionaries they had been earlier.

Trotsky was aided in this by the defection of many Czarist officers. Over two thirds had defected to the Soviets, admittedly unwillingly on the part of many. Most prominent among them was General Brusilov, the last Czarist commander in chief and probably the best Russian general of the early 20th century. However he destroyed whatever legacy he had by vociferously and publicly advocating for the Bolsheviks. His actions were key in the defections of many officers, which allowed the Red Army to fill numerous holes in its command structure.

When the spring thaw had hit and the Rasputista had dried out the Soviets were ready to counterattack. By contrast the Poles were strung out and short of supplies. While glad that the Poles had finally contributed to intervening in the Russian Civil War the Entente powers were nervous as to why. Polish policies in the areas they occupied had done nothing to soothe Entente fears, looking like an imperial land grab more than anything else. The antisemitic pogroms conducted by the advancing poles did nothing but confirm that. As such the Entente were leery of selling the Poles war materials and providing them with loans. The Polish forces were thus running on fumes when the Bolshevik summer offensive kicked off.

Outnumbered by 5 to 1 and low on supplies the Poles were flung into rout. In a month the gains of 1921 were lost. The Entente powers saw their previous reluctance to aid Poland disappear. A program of aid was authored, loans were made, supplies allocated and a military mission under the leadership of French General Maxime Weygand was sent.

However Communist sympathizers made things difficult, strikes in France and Britain forced supplies for both Poland and the foreign forces in Archangel and the Crimea to be loaded by soldiers. The mere threat of strikes saw Belgium, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany ban materials for Poland from transiting their territory. Only the military mission would arrive in a timely manner.

This however proved key. The Polish Army was a hodgepodge of former Russian, Austrian and German soldiers mixed with former rebels and foreign volunteers. The foreign mission provided for the first time a coherent leadership element. However it alone was not enough for the Polish government and to avert ruin they asked for an Armistice on the 20th of July.

The Bolsheviks refused to grant the Poles such. They would only accept a start of peace negotiations. The Poles were not willing to accept such at this moment and the war continued. On August 1st the Bolsheviks established a Polish Revolutionary Committee as the first step to making Poland a Soviet Republic after the capture of Bialystok from the Poles.

On August 10th as they were closing in on Warsaw the Soviets sent their terms for a peace treaty to the Poles. While nominally maintaining Polish sovereignty, they were in fact a capitulation. Despite this they were urged to sign it by many in the west with Lloyd George declaring the terms fair and reasonable. However buoyed by the arrival of the Entente military mission and with supplies from Hungary on the way the Poles refused.

At that point no one gave the Poles much chance, the Bolsheviks were already planning further offensives into western Europe after the fall of Poland with the goals of world revolution. The Germans and Czechs were mobilizing and the Baltics stood on higher alert. The former in fact made covert plans to advance into Poland preemptively once Warsaw fell.

The Poles however would not give up. Fortunately for them the Bolsheviks were not a united front. The commander of the Red Army in Northern Poland, Mikhail Tukhachevsky requested reinforcements from the Red Army. These were denied by the commander of the Southern Polish front, Joseph Stalin. Stalin continued his refusal when Tukhachevsky passed his request up to Trotsky, who reiterated it. Despite failing to receive reinforcements Tukhachevsky launched his attack on Warsaw as planned. Using one field army to attack directly into Warsaw, he maneuvered his others to cross the Vistula north of the city and outflank it.

The Bolshevik attack started as planned, however the Polish forces north of the city fought longer and harder than anticipated, and fell back in good order rather than be overwhelmed on the 21st. Bolshevik forces crossed the river and massed for a breakout on the 24th. On the 23rd the Poles preempted them and carefully husbanded reserves attacked with newly arrived supplies south of the city. Hitting the southern flank of the diversionary force it was soon forced into rout. Tukhachevsky recognized the pickle he was in and attempted to withdraw. However much of his forces were unable to recross the Vistula before the advancing poles arrived, forcing the surrender of 60,000 soldiers and several hundred artillery pieces.

The Poles pressed their advantage and pushed the retreating forces in the north hard, forcing the forces in the south of Poland to lift the siege of Lwow and withdraw. By the end of September the front was halfway between the prewar frontier and the borders of Brest Litovsk. Fighting remained mobile but roughly on the same line, with neither side having the troop density for trench warfare, the Poles being leery of being overextended again and the Soviets having other fronts to deal with.

In December the parties singed a peace treaty placing Poland’s eastern borders at her ethnographic frontiers as she saw them, about 250km east of where the Entente arbitrarily placed them. Poland had been borrowing heavily to sustain the war and did not want to fight longer to receive a large population of non-Poles. The Soviets had to deal with unrest in the Caucuses and Central Asia, expelling the final white forces in the Crimea and around Archangel and the outbreak of a massive farmers revolt centered around Tambov in October. When the French began officially negotiating for an alliance with Poland in November, the Soviets finally launched peace negotiations…

…Despite the defeat the Soviets were able to clean out the Crimea by April, with the pocket at Archangel evacuated of its own accord by May. The Civil War effectively ended by September when the Japanese finally evacuated Vladivostok, taking with them the last remants of the provisional government…

…Perhaps the biggest effect of the Polish-Soviet War was the dismissal of Joseph Stalin from military command. Stalin’s refusal to support Tukhachevsky was seen by many as the defining reason the war was lost and he was dismissed from his military position in September. He returned to his positions as commissar for nationalities and head of the workers and peasants inspectorate. Using these as a base for political skullduggery he was able to secure the dismissal of Nikolay Kretinsky from his position as General Secretary and replace him in that critical post…

-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004



…As much as Trotsky is widely credited with being the one to appeal to Russian Nationalism evidence taken from a number of sources points to Lenin and a consensus of the senior Bolshevik leadership. In fact the evidence suggests Trotsky was more opposed to doing so than the average member of the Bolshevik inner circle. The Author of this paper would argue that this view and others are part of a concerted whitewashing campaign in the late 20th century, rather than based on historical evidence…

-Excerpt from Revisionist Viewpoints in History Volume XXX, University of California Press: Berkley, 2020



…The role of the Entente military mission to Poland is often exaggerated. The chief of the mission himself, Maxime Weygand of Second World War fame, stated that “the Army was Polish, the leadership was Polish and the victory was Polish” having admitted in his personal papers that he had done almost nothing. This paper will look at the internal political factors that led to the lionization of the military mission and a minimization of the Polish contribution…

-Excerpt from Revisionist Viewpoints in History Volume XXVIII, University of California Press: Berkley, 2018



Yeah I wrote 5000 more for the TL since Thursday, but that's for a future update
 
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This is going be ugly whatever comes out the Soviet Union. Damn I was hoping they would fall this time. Oh well.

Looking forward to the naval treaty
 
So it seems that the Polish Soviet war went mostly as OTL, albeit with a more exhausted poland settling for just its ethnic boundaries. Is the appeal to Russian nationalism historical though? If not that i can see this being the starting point of some serious NazBol awfulness.

Seems the Japanese gave up without much fight. Was there any combat at all between them and the Bolsheviks?

Given the talk about the reputation of the military mission, I guess that we can at least be confident Poland still exists in a non-destroyed form after World War 2 ends?
 
Maxime Weygand of Second World War fame? That's an interesting bit of info right there showing that France will have a different set of national here's during the war.
 
So it seems that the Polish Soviet war went mostly as OTL, albeit with a more exhausted poland settling for just its ethnic boundaries. Is the appeal to Russian nationalism historical though? If not that i can see this being the starting point of some serious NazBol awfulness.

Seems the Japanese gave up without much fight. Was there any combat at all between them and the Bolsheviks?

Given the talk about the reputation of the military mission, I guess that we can at least be confident Poland still exists in a non-destroyed form after World War 2 ends?
OTL, the Entente powers' original plan was always for Poland to have its Eastern border at roughly the ethnic boundaries (the Curzon line), which is very similar to the modern day border but with Lvov (possibly). So they won't be too upset. Strictly ethnic borders could technically give Poland both Lvov and Vilnius but they would probably need to actually have control of them when the peace treaty was signed.
 
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So it seems that the Polish Soviet war went mostly as OTL, albeit with a more exhausted poland settling for just its ethnic boundaries. Is the appeal to Russian nationalism historical though? If not that i can see this being the starting point of some serious NazBol awfulness.
OTL, the Entente powers' original plan was always for Poland to have its Eastern border at roughly the ethnic boundaries (the Curzon line), which is very similar to the modern day border but with Lvov (possibly). So they won't be too upset. Strictly ethnic borders could technically give Poland both Lvov and Vilnius but they would probably need to actually have control of them when the peace treaty was signed.
I should perhaps clarify, its Poland settling for its ethnographic boundaries as defined by the Polish National Democrats aka mostly OTL interwar borders, not its ethnographic boundaries as defined by others. The in character author is inclined to take Polish claims at face value for reasons that make sense to him. That said I'm still editing the post to clarify things

Also the Soviet appeals to Russian nationalism are historical
 
I should perhaps clarify, its Poland settling for its ethnographic boundaries as defined by the Polish National Democrats aka mostly OTL interwar borders, not its ethnographic boundaries as defined by others. The in character author is inclined to take Polish claims at face value for reasons that make sense to him. That said I'm still editing the post to clarify things

Also the Soviet appeals to Russian nationalism are historical
Poland's ethnographic borders were very messy.
 
I should perhaps clarify, its Poland settling for its ethnographic boundaries as defined by the Polish National Democrats aka mostly OTL interwar borders, not its ethnographic boundaries as defined by others. The in character author is inclined to take Polish claims at face value for reasons that make sense to him. That said I'm still editing the post to clarify things
Ah, nationalism at work. That said, very interesting that taking Polish ethnographic claims at face value is seemingly an uncontroversial take in-universe. Something nasty definitely went down at some point.
 
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