May 1st 1940, the Day War Broke Out.

So, what if the outbreak of war in Europe was delayed until May 1940? Maybe the Czech military realised the Germans were about to take the rest of the country when their President was summoned to Berlin and knowing resistance was futile at that time destroyed as much of their equipment as possible before it actually happened. This would delay the invasion of Poland as the Germans needed the Czech equipment to pull it off so would need to replace it with new production. With 8 months extra preparation how do the Allies do, and when do the Germans turn their attention west?
 
One of my 'Delay WW2 PODs' is the British fall out with the Germans over real or perceived discrepancies regarding the AGNA and this happens a year or so earlier than OTL

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"Main story: Adolf wins final of international rug eating championship"

So come Munich Chamberlain now appreciates that Herr Hitler is not someone with whom he can make a deal with and Britain and France (with support from Poland and others) instead support Czechoslovakian sovereignty.

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"I told Herr Hitler to go ^%$* himself"

Hitlers Brinkmanship fails but he survives and instead makes greater efforts to gain cooperation of the Russians

Russians get assurances from the Japanese earlier or the Germans delay and both nations invade Poland on the same day

Britain and France while quiet prepared to go to war against Germany are not so happy to do it against both Germany 'and' Russia and instead somewhat shocked by events mumble and talk of bombing oil refineries and stuff but only actually impose sanctions, withdraw ambassadors, harsh letter to the times etc etc.

However when the Germans launch a surprise attack on Czechoslovakia (during a general strike in the Slovakian regions) on May 1st 1940 Britain and France then do declare war.
 
Without Munich, Stalin won't have any reason to make agreements with Germany.

The Russians had tried repeatedly during the late 30's to improve relations with Germany - if Germany is rebuffed at Munich then the conditions for the MR pact could occur earlier (obviously Litvinov - who led the failed policy of containing the Germans - and his allies would have to go earlier maybe an earlier purge of the foreign affair commissariat results in Molotov replacing him earlier?) with the Germans more desperate for resources having been denied that of Czechoslovakia and therefore more willing to work with the Russians.
 
Would the Germans want to enter such an arrangement from a position of relative weakness though? They trusted Stalin about as much as Stalin trusted his Army commanders.
 

McPherson

Banned
So, what if the outbreak of war in Europe was delayed until May 1940? Maybe the Czech military realised the Germans were about to take the rest of the country when their President was summoned to Berlin and knowing resistance was futile at that time destroyed as much of their equipment as possible before it actually happened. This would delay the invasion of Poland as the Germans needed the Czech equipment to pull it off so would need to replace it with new production. With 8 months extra preparation how do the Allies do, and when do the Germans turn their attention west?

1. French will be better prepared in the air and worse prepared on land. Their army leadership is still stuck in "controlled battle", their communications and command doctrine is still 2 decision cycles too slow and it may be that the Germans try Schlieffen 2.0. Might still be a wash.
2. The British will be better prepared air/land/sea but their leadership still is not the best, either.
3. Interesting things happen at sea.
a. Littorio and Veneto Vittorio are working up. Bismarck will be ready for first trials by August.
b. Richelieu is in trials by May. Jean Bart is still a year away.
c. NONE of the KGVs are ready. ZERO, Nada, zippo. They are a half year away at the earliest.
d. 8 months of U-boat production... or as I like to call it, the Kriegsmarine stuck on stupid.
 
1. French will be better prepared in the air and worse prepared on land. Their army leadership is still stuck in "controlled battle", their communications and command doctrine is still 2 decision cycles too slow and it may be that the Germans try Schlieffen 2.0. Might still be a wash.
2. The British will be better prepared air/land/sea but their leadership still is not the best, either.
3. Interesting things happen at sea.
a. Littorio and Veneto Vittorio are working up. Bismarck will be ready for first trials by August.
b. Richelieu is in trials by May. Jean Bart is still a year away.
c. NONE of the KGVs are ready. ZERO, Nada, zippo. They are a half year away at the earliest.
d. 8 months of U-boat production... or as I like to call it, the Kriegsmarine stuck on stupid.

Assuming the Germans do not invade France and the low lands etc on May 1st 1940 then the changes to the French mobile forces will have longer to 'bed in' - OTL they had only had months in some cases to learn the new formations and structure etc.

We might also see Belgium acting differently during this time and the Allies not having to rush their mobile forces into Belgium with a chunk of them attempting to reach the Peel line in the Netherlands.

Resulting in more of the Mobile forces retained as a reserve?

So not sure if that makes them worse?

Given a longer period we may see more of the TA Divisions ready for action for the British army which would still very much be the junior party.

Bismarck commissioned into the German Navy a month before KGV and finished trails much later. KGV had crossed the Atlantic and rejoined the Home fleet by the time Bismarck was ready to join the German fleet.

No real change regarding the German and Italian Ships.

Richelieu is interesting because the mobilisation of the French Army in 39 stripped the ship yards of skilled workers.

Might have a knock on effect for Jean Bart as OTL pretty much resources were subsequently focused on Richelieu during this time at JBs expense.

So both ships might be more advanced in terms of commissioning etc assuming a later mobilisation?

U boat numbers? Well the AGNA had done its job with that regards!
 
After Munich, yes.

If Germany is rebuffed at Munich, then policy of containing theGermans is not failed - Litvinov stays.

The Purges are still going to Purge

Russia still goes down the rabbit hole (were we in the west cannot hope to follow or understand) and Litvinov not being impacted is highly unlikely if Russia wants to make a deal with Germany.

I guess it depends on how much of the Munich situation is perceived to be down to him?
 
1. French will be better prepared in the air and worse prepared on land. Their army leadership is still stuck in "controlled battle", their communications and command doctrine is still 2 decision cycles too slow and it may be that the Germans try Schlieffen 2.0. Might still be a wash.

Mostly agree with that. France aircraft production took from 1934 to spring 1940 to accelerate but from that moment on, it grew at breathneck pace. from March - April 1940, every month gradually erodes the LW OTL dominations. Although severe systemic issues remain, american aircraft flowing from Casablanca have no such issues. while fighters sticks with H-75s, a big load of Martin and DB is coming fast.

As for the Army, the only hope is for something nasty to happen to that supreme-idiot-in-command, Maurice Gamelin. With a little luck, and despite Daladier strong and eternal support (facepalm), Reynaud will get the upper hand and get ride of that zombified-brain (he had syphillis). Then put Alphonse George in place of Gamelin (no Weygand, this is not OTL May 20 despair) and things should improve quickly. The damage that Gamelin did is (with perfect 20/20 hindsight) completely appalling.

Also : while the German side doesn't get "sickle cut" the French side also improves.

The Escault > Dyle > Breda (criminally stupid) manoeuver come real in the winter 1939-40. In turn, Giraud strategic reserve and 7th Army was moved from Reims to Breda, with tragic consequences.
This was done for political reasons: Democracy France is defending Democracy Belgium... which in turn is tied to Democracy Netherlands. Then, Belgium is small enough, that, once moved from Escault to Dyle, from Dyle it is possible to reach Breda, at the corner of Belgium and the Netherlands... and yowza, now France is helping the Netherlands, too.
Problem solved.
(dear God...)
 
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Purges were stopped in December 1938, and anyway Litvinov was never purged.

Russia doesn't want to make a deal with Germany, it wants to contain Germany.

'Massive' Soviet purges stopped when Beira replaced Yezhov at the end of 38.

Purges didn't actually stop until 1953 when 'Joe' popped his clogs

The period 1936-38 is better known as it included a large number of intelligentsia

Certainly as you say Litvinov was not arrested etc (and went on to be the Ambassador to the USA) but many in their version of the foreign office including many of his 'allies' were.

And not wanting to do something is not the same as not doing something.
 

nbcman

Donor
Purges were stopped in December 1938, and anyway Litvinov was never purged.

Russia doesn't want to make a deal with Germany, it wants to contain Germany.
Did you read how his 'dismissal' occurred?
On 3 May 1939, Stalin replaced Litvinov, who was closely identified with the anti-German position,[1] with Vyacheslav Molotov.[44] That night, NKVD troops surrounded the offices of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs.[44] The phone at Litvinov's dacha was disconnected and, the following morning, Molotov, Georgy Malenkov, and Lavrenty Beria arrived at the commissariat to inform Litvinov of his dismissal.[44] After Litvinov's dismissal, many of his aides were arrested and beaten, evidently in an attempt to extract compromising information.[44]

The replacement of Litvinov with Molotov significantly increased Stalin's freedom to maneuver in foreign policy.[45] The dismissal of Litvinov, whose Jewish ethnicity was viewed disfavorably by Nazi Germany, removed an obstacle to negotiations with Germany.[46] Stalin immediately directed Molotov to "purge the ministry of Jews."[43][47] Recalling Stalin's order, Molotov commented, "Thank God for these words! Jews formed an absolute majority in the leadership and among the ambassadors. It wasn't good."[47]

If that isn't a purge at the Narkomindel surrounding his dismissal, I don't know what is.

Also the purges restarted in October 1940 and the repression of certain ethnicities occurred after the M-R pact.
 
Mostly agree with that. France aircraft production took from 1934 to spring 1940 to accelerate but from that moment on, it grew at breathneck pace. from March - April 1940, every month gradually erodes the LW OTL dominations. Although severe systemic issues remain, american aircraft flowing from Casablanca have no such issues. while fighters sticks with H-75s, a big load of Martin and DB is coming fast.

In addition OTL the UK built 16000 aircraft in 1940

Only 3500 of those were built during the period Jan - May!
 
'Massive' Soviet purges stopped when Beira replaced Yezhov at the end of 38.

Purges didn't actually stop until 1953 when 'Joe' popped his clogs
Purges were dramatically deescalated (from millions to tens of thousands) because Stalin finally remembered his French Terror lessons and Robespierre's fate.
And not wanting to do something is not the same as not doing something.
Munich doesn't happen, Stalin sees Litvinov's policy of collective security actually works, PMR doesn't happen.
 
Purges were dramatically deescalated (from millions to tens of thousands) because Stalin finally remembered his French Terror lessons and Robespierre's fate.

Munich doesn't happen, Stalin sees Litvinov's policy of collective security actually works, PMR doesn't happen.

No Munich does happen but in CZs favour in spite of Russia.
 

McPherson

Banned
Assuming the Germans do not invade France and the low lands etc on May 1st 1940 then the changes to the French mobile forces will have longer to 'bed in' - OTL they had only had months in some cases to learn the new formations and structure etc.

According to the opening post, WWII does not kick off until 1 May 1940.

So, what if the outbreak of war in Europe was delayed until May 1940? Maybe the Czech military realised the Germans were about to take the rest of the country when their President was summoned to Berlin and knowing resistance was futile at that time destroyed as much of their equipment as possible before it actually happened. This would delay the invasion of Poland as the Germans needed the Czech equipment to pull it off so would need to replace it with new production. With 8 months extra preparation how do the Allies do, and when do the Germans turn their attention west?

1. So the criminal Berlin regime and the Maniac are digesting Poland in May. This is the situation, so the French have not learned the army reforms they need to do yet. HOWEVER, their air ministry is woken up and they are scrambling as of Munich to do something (RTL) in the material department. That still leaves the doctrine problem and the lack of air staff experience.in target listing and HOW to conduct an air campaign.

2. The Germans do not get to backstop their armor with PZKW38ts and so forth. They will be short of howitzers and some motor transport and their small arms will be a bit more limited as they will not have Czech weapons to fill out some of their new infantry formations. Knock ons are indicated. OTOH, they will have a more homogenous logistics and possibly a couple hundred more PZKWIIIs and THAT will hurt a lot.

We might also see Belgium acting differently during this time and the Allies not having to rush their mobile forces into Belgium with a chunk of them attempting to reach the Peel line in the Netherlands.

4. Maybe somebody Wally will get a brainwave and Fort Eben-Emael grows a forest of HS404s pointed skyward? Also, someone angers the local Belgian farmers by planting telephone poles everywhere in any field that looks like it can serve as a landing spot for gliders with explosives mounted on them to discourage the attempt? How about land mines? Barrage balloons? French fighter CAPs?

Resulting in more of the Mobile forces retained as a reserve?

5. The Maneuver Mass is important, but it depends on the French army learning more than it did WITHOUT the Polish lessons learned that impelled them during the phony war. Few people really realize (not even the Americans and THEY DID understand radio and artillery) how important radio was to speed up the decision cycle. I think as important as the burgeoning French air power would be, would be someone in French signals getting it in their heads that close air support and artillery fires is a "mostly radio thing". It will work in "controlled battle" quite well, but much faster than the land line system that Gamelin and crew insisted was the command and control model. That radio alone (provided the French get it right.) can speed decision cycles 2x to match the German tempo. On the downside, French armor as designed is not well positioned in the actual hardware to install radios to make the tanks the deadly killers they need to be as the armored eyes of the French combined arms teams.

So not sure if that makes them worse?

See 1===> 5. Process matters in how to do it. Simple thing like radio forces an army to fight a different way.
Given a longer period we may see more of the TA Divisions ready for action for the British army which would still very much be the junior party.

6. LOGISTICS. Motorization. Just how much can the UK add in their mobilization by May 1940 that they did not RTL?

Bismarck commissioned into the German Navy a month before KGV and finished trails much later. KGV had crossed the Atlantic and rejoined the Home fleet by the time Bismarck was ready to join the German fleet.

7. RN had a trained naval reserve. KM had to train from boots up. STILL. PoW example. The KGVs were NOT ready by Operation Rhine. RTL is my guide in this new ATL.

No real change regarding the German and Italian Ships.

8. I regard the RM as being of higher quality personnel than the KM. Again RTL examples of performance under fire.

Richelieu is interesting because the mobilisation of the French Army in 39 stripped the ship yards of skilled workers.

9. If the mobilization is May 1940 then Richelieu is rushed to completion. Jean Bart is very much as RTL with parts and equipment delays, so I "think" it will conform to RTL rather much as the mobilization affects her more than Richelieu.

Might have a knock on effect for Jean Bart as OTL pretty much resources were subsequently focused on Richelieu during this time at JBs expense.

So both ships might be more advanced in terms of commissioning etc assuming a later mobilisation?

10. Jean Bart might have hoists and lifts for her A barbette MA and a complete gun-house. B will still be incomplete. If the war stabilizes on land, she "might" move to an English yard for fitting out, with the French supplying the gear, but the British yard-workers finishing her. Still a full year to complete.

U boat numbers? Well the AGNA had done its job with that regards!

11. Hope Raeder and Doenitz remain as fixated on their twin idiocies as in RTL. If any German had been USNWC trained, the Allies would be in a world of hurt as to what those two "should" have done in this ATL.

Mostly agree with that. France aircraft production took from 1934 to spring 1940 to accelerate but from that moment on, it grew at breathneck pace. from March - April 1940, every month gradually erodes the LW OTL dominations. Although severe systemic issues remain, American aircraft flowing from Casablanca have no such issues. while fighters sticks with H-75s, a big load of Martin and DB is coming fast.

12. Don't forget that France has some really good machines of her own. Given enough time, and further development though, it is still problematic. General Joseph Vuillemin was about as obtuse about radios and radar as HAP Arnold was about US efforts at jet propulsion and electronic radio navigation aided bombing. Also, like the Americans, the French air staff was poison pilled with too many Brereton, Bissell and Hanson political types. Down at the escadrilles, the AdA was first rate personnel. Higher headquarters was stuffed with "turkeys". AIR POWER is very much a top-down exercise when it comes to the air campaign, because so much of the air campaign is target assignment, means available and timing of events to create a disrupt, decouple and dislocate cascade to futz an enemy action. Just the example of the Rhine bridges to cut third echelon follow ons for the Germans requires an air staff to know ...

1587573352921.png


which sets of bridges to hit with what aircraft in what order.

As for the Army, the only hope is for something nasty to happen to that supreme-idiot-in-command, Maurice Gamelin. With a little luck, and despite Daladier strong and eternal support (facepalm), Reynaud will get the upper hand and get ride of that zombified-brain (he had syphillis). Then put Alphonse George in place of Gamelin (no Weygand, this is not OTL May 20 despair) and things should improve quickly. The damage that Gamelin did is (with perfect 20/20 hindsight) completely appalling.

13. QBL.
Also: while the German side doesn't get "sickle cut" the French side also improves.

14. Depends on what happens with 'the incident' .

The Escault > Dyle > Breda (criminally stupid) manoeuver come real in the winter 1939-40. In turn, Giraud strategic reserve and 7th Army was moved from Reims to Breda, with tragic consequences.

This was done for political reasons: Democracy France is defending Democracy Belgium... which in turn is tied to Democracy Netherlands. Then, Belgium is small enough, that, once moved from Escault to Dyle, from Dyle it is possible to reach Breda, at the corner of Belgium and the Netherlands... and yowza, now France is helping the Netherlands, too.

Problem solved. (dear God...)

15. Too much has to change.
 
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