Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Yeah, you'd have to produce something exceptionally awful to compete with the Holocaust and being the other side of a strategic nuclear exchange. Perhaps a continued Franco-British alliance resists decolonization resulting in a series of exceedingly violent brushfire wars?
What if one of these "exceedingly violent brushfire wars" ends up being the incident that causes the cold war to go hot and nukes fly? Perhaps that could encourage one HELL of a "what the fuck were you prats thinking dragging us into that" opinion in the public, and it would tie things together nicely.
 
What if one of these "exceedingly violent brushfire wars" ends up being the incident that causes the cold war to go hot and nukes fly? Perhaps that could encourage one HELL of a "what the fuck were you prats thinking dragging us into that" opinion in the public, and it would tie things together nicely.
Maybe?

The Suez Canal crisis comes to mind as a possible flashpoint. I want to say it's too soon--1956 is just eleven years after Victory in Europe, not enough time to develop the extremely bad rap hinted at--but it fits too well.

EDIT:I can't find an estimate of the Soviet nuclear inventory as of 1956. Does anyone have a good source?
 
This confirms something will go very wrong for the CCP in the future. Also interesting: In OTL Chiang is generally described as a fool for focusing more on fighting the CCP than the Japanese invaders, but the historiography here treats him as entirely correct for thinking that. Further adds to the evidence the commies are going to do something extremely bad in the future that badly discredits them. (Interesting that it seems that communists are discredited in the modern historiography... but also the entente. You'd think a WW3 scenario would force sympathy with the rest of the west for propaganda reasons, but that hasn't happen. I'm still wondering what Britain and France's reputation-ruining fuckup will be.)
I guess that US historiography after the three world wars is: "Screw everyone else, they drag us into pointless bloody wars. America First!" It's not hard to imagine after the horrible wars that are about to occur.
 
Maybe?

The Suez Canal crisis comes to mind as a possible flashpoint. I want to say it's too soon--1956 is just eleven years after Victory in Europe, not enough time to develop the extremely bad rap hinted at--but it fits too well.

EDIT:I can't find an estimate of the Soviet nuclear inventory as of 1956. Does anyone have a good source?
IIRC the mid-50's is when it's generally considered that WW3 between NATO and the Warsaw pact would utterly level Europe thanks to Soviet short range missiles and aircraft. But it leaves the US itself generally intact with only a few hits via whatever Soviet Bombers survive the early warning system and air defense gauntlet they'd have to run through. This periods lasts until just a bit after the OTL Cuban Missile crisis when the Soviets get enough reliable ICBM's and enough missiles in general that can hit the US that WW3 would become M.A.D. So depending on how WW2 goes and assuming worst case for the Soviets is the OTL damage they suffered then theoretically the Suez Crisis in this TL going hot would fit into that range of Europe and Russia destroyed but the US and the rest of the Western Hemisphere are basically untouched.
 
Even more interesting, or should I say horrifying, is that Chinese civil war seems to last until nuke start flying, the casualties number would greatly exceed OTL WW2 it that's the case.
Yeah, you'd have to produce something exceptionally awful to compete with the Holocaust and being the other side of a strategic nuclear exchange. Perhaps a continued Franco-British alliance resists decolonization resulting in a series of exceedingly violent brushfire wars?
I could see that happen if some isolationist like Taft came to power, no Marshall plan, Western European government collapsed one by one and was replaced by dictatorship similar to Estado Novo.
 
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Part 5-17 Into the Abyss, Airpower
…Franklin Roosevelt was easily renominated as the Democratic candidate for president at the 1936 Democratic National Convention, on the first ballot even thanks to a transition to simple majority rule rather than requiring a supermajority. This move was done at the behest of the DNC chairman, who pointed out that rule resulted in Wilson becoming president, rather than his father Champ Clark. John “Cactus Jack” Garner was also renominated as vice president…

…The Republican National Convention was fiercely divided between three candidates. Senator William Borah of Idaho had done the best in the primaries however the progressive insurgent had little support from the establishment. Governor Alf Landon of Kansas had the support of the Republican establishment. Alf Landon however had several enemies such as senator Arthur Vandenburg of Michigan and powerful newspaperman Frank Knox, these men supported another run by popular former secretary of commerce Herbert Hoover.

On the first ballot Landon had 500 of 1003 votes needed to take the nomination, with Hoover at 333 and Borah at 170. Rather than see Landon win the anti-Landon coalition negotiated with Borah. It was suggested that Borah should take up the Vice-Presidency given Hoover’s greater popularity, Borah however responded that he could become Landon’s vice president just as easily. A compromise was brokered by Theodore Roosevelt Jr. who pointed out to Hoover that Borah was nine years older than Hoover, if Borah pledged not to run in 1940 then Hoover would take the VP slot. Borah agreed and Hoover transferred his votes.

With 503 votes the Republican nominees were William Borah and Herbert Hoover…

…Borah and Hoover ran a strong campaign however the problem was that Borah and Hoover both supported large parts of the New Deal. Therefore many conservative opponents of it stayed home, and most centrists had no reason not to vote for Roosevelt given the improving economy and unemployment having fallen to 11.8%. Thus Borah and Hoover only managed 60 electoral votes compared to Roosevelts 471, and 19.1 million to Roosevelts 25.4 million votes. Franklin Roosevelt was thus handily reelected as President of the United States…

…The 1936 congressional elections saw the Democratic majority increase to 75 in the senate and 334 in the House, with enough of that majority supporting the New Deal that Roosevelt could continue his reforms. His ploy with targeting spending to buy votes proved successful…

-Into the Abyss: The leadup to the Second World War, Harper and Brothers, New York, 2009


…The British Home Ground system reached full deployment in 1936 and became the first operational defensive radar system. It was a very crude system that was rapidly surpassed but nonetheless it was from a technical perspective a perfectly adequate system that used very well understood and reliable technology…

…The major missed opportunity with Home Ground was the lack of attention paid to it. Home Ground had to be forced on the RAF by Parliament, as the RAF was firmly under the control of their own version of the American Bomber Mafia. Air Chiefs of Staff Salmond and Courtney both opposed anything that would divert funds from increasing the bomber strength of the RAF.

Admittedly they had solid data to support their claims. Significant exercises in 1934 showed that even when the RAF’s fighters were given the exact time, vector, altitude and composition of incoming bombers before the exercise began they could manage a successful interception less than 30% of the time. No early warning system could ever aspire to providing such an accurate and early warning as that…

…The biggest flaw in Home Ground was how it was organized. Home Ground and other Radar and radio detection units were placed in a separate Signals Command, rather than integrated into Fighter Command. Furthermore there was no equivalent to the central plotting system used by the old London Air Defense Area or the later Metropolitan area. This made it very difficult to pass information on to where it was needed…

…Home Ground had an early flaw in that it had a blind spot against low flying aircraft that depending on the exact location could be as high as 1500 feet. A supplementary Home Ground Low system would reduce this blind spot to 500 feet by 1940…

…The construction of the massive chain of large radar stations that composed Home Ground was impossible to miss. Very quickly the Germans figured out that they were some kind of Radar system. In 1938 the Airship Hindenburg was used for several electronic reconnaissance missions and a complete signals profile of the Home Ground system was gathered…

…Home Ground caused Von Richtofen a number of significant worries. While not actively planning for a war with Britain there was considerable worry that the British would sell the system to the French. This would make attacks on the French Army, necessary to mitigate the gap in modern equipment between it and the Heer, much more difficult. Therefore a great deal of resources were poured into discovering how to disrupt or destroy radar systems. The two main results of this were the Funkenfaust jamming systems and the Luftjäger low level attack squadrons…

…Despite publicly downplaying the effectiveness of Radar the RAF spent a great deal of resources determining how to counteract it to reduce potential bomber losses. The quickest and easiest solution was dropping strips of aluminum foil to drown out radar signatures in a cloud of false echoes. These strips, now known as Chaff from its American name, would go on to be a mainstay of radar countermeasures all the way to the present day. More resources however were spent on the incongruously named Radish series of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Converted from obsolete aircraft the various models of Radish drone were meant to home in on enemy radar systems and crash into them, detonating a large payload of explosives on impact and destroying them…

…The Radish would prove of greater importance to the Germans than the British given that the infamous Project Nothung had its roots in attempting to combine the electronics of a captured Radish drone with a scaled up high speed target drone…

-Excerpt from Airpower!, Dewitt Publishing, Los Angeles, 2010

 
How much of this development is OTL, both organization and tech? Because seeing early attempts and electronic countermeasures and anti-radar 'cruise missiles' sounds fascinating!

So the Hindenburg hasn't exploded yet, and is being used by the Luftwaffe. Interesting.
 
How much of this development is OTL, both organization and tech? Because seeing early attempts and electronic countermeasures and anti-radar 'cruise missiles' sounds fascinating!

So the Hindenburg hasn't exploded yet, and is being used by the Luftwaffe. Interesting.
Basically Home Ground is Chain Home 2 years early, because those WWI German Radar experiments went on longer and got more results, thus there was development in the 20's. The organization is substantially different however, because of different internal politics in the RAF because the extra time in the war meant more people died in WWI. Chaff is about the same as OTL, the British OTL had some experiments with converting old biplanes into UAVs in the late 20's into WWII, at least one of which was armed

OTL Hindenburg's older sister was used for that mission
 
Part 5-18 European Wars, Steel Talons
…The Nationalist Spring offensives kicked off in April and focused on the northern and southern portions of the front. In the north the goal was to crush the Popular Front pocket around Bilbao, in the South it was to take the Almeria region as a feint towards Cartagena so that the Popular Front would divert troops from Madrid.

The northern attack was completely successful, the Popular Front forces in that pocket had been cut off for many months and lacked the level of equipment found on the main line. Furthermore many of the Basque nationalist elements there decided that the Nationalists were better than the Communists running the Popular Front, thus General Mola found himself in possession of complete plans for the Popular Front defense of Bilbao while many forces assigned to defend it simply went home. Mola thus took the city by the end of June and ended the campaign there.

In the south things were less successful, while the region was taken by the end of June the Popular Front did not divert any reinforcements from the ongoing battle of Madrid. Furthermore the Popular front forces there did not attempt to stand and fight but used guerilla tactics to hit and fade while attacking Nationalist supply lines. The Almeria offensive was probably the worst performance by the Nationalists and the best of the Popular Front in the entire war, despite the Popular Front conceding territory…

…The Nationalist summer offensive began in August. Launched from the city of Teruel the target was the port of Castellón. Taking that city would cut the Popular Front remnants in half, any communications would be purely by sea and subject to interdiction by superior Nationalist naval and air forces. Thus Generals Sanjurjo, Franco and Mola all agreed that the Popular Front would have to defend against it, potentially at the cost of losing Madrid. The best nationalist units, including the Spanish foreign legion and the volunteers form Germany and Italy were thus concentrated to spearhead the offensive.

The gathering of forces by the Nationalist at Teruel was impossible to ignore and the Popular Front gathered the best troops they could spare from Madrid, along with their reserves of Soviet equipment to meet the coming thrust. The somewhat anarchic nature of the Popular Front prevented them from truly exploiting their advanced knowledge, as many groups refused to leave the ongoing fighting at Madrid for potential fighting at Teruel.

The Battle of Teruel began with large scale Nationalist air attacks on Popular Front positions, the German Dive Bombers of the Condor Legion being particularly effective. This was followed by a short hurricane bombardment then an armored advance. The Popular Front armored forces attempted to counter and the largest tank battle yet ensued. The Popular Front arguably had better tanks, their Soviet T-29’s were better than the Panzer III and L5/34 Tankettes that made up the majority of the modern Nationalist tank force. The Nationalists had far more tanks and much better coordination and were able to overcome the disadvantage and break through.

Truck mounted Nationalist infantry quickly exploited the breakthrough and held the shoulders of the breach with the help of artillery fire while tanks and armored cars raced ahead. On September 10th the Nationalists reached the sea, two days later Castellón fell. The Popular Front was cut in half and victory for the Nationalists was in sight. The fall of Castellón triggered many countries to begin officially recognizing the Nationalists as the legitimate government of Spain, presaging the fall of the Popular Front government…

…Following the first offensive from Teruel the Nationalists planned a second, aimed due west rather than east south east. The goal here was to take Madrid from behind, rather than face the lines of fortifications built up during the long stalemate. The October offensive quickly bogged down as the Popular Front through all available reserves at the thrust to preserve their capital. This was not enough to stop the Nationalist advance and General Franco’s troops continued to slowly grind forward. By October 25th they were able to place the last supply route to Madrid under long range artillery fire and the writing was on the wall. That Popular Front evacuated the city on November 1st, with Sanjurjo triumphally entering it on November 5th. Madrid had fallen and the Spanish Civil War was nearing its end…

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



…The Soviet T-29 infantry tank and BT-4 cavalry tanks had been major shocks to the Germans and Italians. Both mounted a 45mm gun more powerful than any tank mounted weapon they possessed and enough armor to be immune to rifle caliber AP bullets at anything over point blank range. Furthermore the BT-4 proved faster than anything they had in service while still being as well armored as their current tanks…

…For the Germans their Panzer III had always been a training model, meant to give their panzer divisions something to practice with given the unsuitability of the experimental Panzer I and II for mass production until future designs were ready. The T-29 and BT-2 merely convinced them to accelerate production of the stopgap Panzer IV and to try and accelerate development of the Panzer V Infantry Tank and Panzer VI cavalry tank. The specifications for the Panzer VI were further enhanced to require 70kph of speed, making an already ambitious project virtually impossible…

…The experience of the Spanish civil war convinced the Germans that while the 37mm was adequate, a better anti-tank gun would be needed relatively soon, despite the successful use of the 75 and 88mm Flak guns in the AT role…

…For the Italians the Spanish civil war showed that their assumptions about the unsuitability of larger tanks in mountainous terrain were false. The L5/34 with its 13.2mm gun was quickly modified into the L6/38 with a 20mm gun while development started on a new tank and a stopgap to precede it. Sanna was well aware that development would take time, as such he needed both a short term vehicle and a long term one. The M16/39 would mount a 47mm gun with armor and speed comparable to the T-29, while the M22/41 would mount a 65mm gun and much superior armor to match what the Soviets would be deploying by then.

The Italians did not attempt to develop a high speed tank to match the BT series. It was recognized that such a vehicle would require a large and powerful and thus expensive engine for its size, an engine better suited to either a more powerful tank or an aircraft. Instead the Italians determined that a cheaper armored car could do the same job in the areas they expected to fight in…

-Excerpt from Steel Talons: Armed Forces of the Interwar, Dewitt Publishing, Los Angeles, 2011

 
An earlier end of the Spanish Civil War means that is more likely that Spain enters the Axis. Advancing through the Iberian Peninsula is very likely to be a nightmare for the Allies: you can't spell Spain without "pain."
 
I take it the Panzer IV ITL is the OTL Panzer II with the V and VI of ITL being the III and IV of OTL?

That said it sounds like both the Germans and Italians are going to be better equipped and the Italians will have better tactics. This is going to be a crazy opening to WWII to put it mildly.
 
I take it the Panzer IV ITL is the OTL Panzer II with the V and VI of ITL being the III and IV of OTL?

That said it sounds like both the Germans and Italians are going to be better equipped and the Italians will have better tactics. This is going to be a crazy opening to WWII to put it mildly.
I'm thinking the same thing.
 
Thinking more on this...
Yeah, you'd have to produce something exceptionally awful to compete with the Holocaust and being the other side of a strategic nuclear exchange. Perhaps a continued Franco-British alliance resists decolonization resulting in a series of exceedingly violent brushfire wars?
It's a VERY grim thought, but how sure are we that the Holocaust is actually well-documented TTL? For one, given the theme of "shit goes very wrong but America still wins", I worry Germany might be more successful in covering it up before their surrender. For another, there have been repeated mentions of mainland European archives getting destroyed- which many of us suspect to be due to a post-WW2 nuclear exchange. Aside from it potentially destroying much of what holocaust documentation was made, I think the demographic damage done by the holocaust could get conflated with that done by the exchange.

Suppose that Nazi Germany relatively openly herds the jews and other 'undesirables' into ghettos, but manages to cover up most of the extermination camps (and due to political fuckery, what remains is mostly captured by Soviets that don't share it with the west). Then World War 3 happens, the Polish inner cities get vaporized by canned sunshine along with demographics records. A historian looking at it much later sees 'large jewish population referred to in historical sources -> Nazis herding jews into city ghettos -> ????? -> nukes fly-> not many jews in the modern day.' What conclusions might they draw?

Then again, I might be vastly overestimating the extent to which Germany would be able to cover the Holocaust up.
 
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