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"The Berlin Blockade leads to World War III. Who wins?" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2019 9:01 p.m. PST

I have no doubt…

link

Amicalement
Armand

Colbourne6607 Feb 2019 2:32 a.m. PST

US. Atom bombs on Moscow, St Petersburg and a couple of others and its game over.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2019 6:49 a.m. PST

Once WMDs start to getting thrown around. No one wins … frown

Patrick R07 Feb 2019 9:55 a.m. PST

The Allies were scaling down their presence in 1948, not so much because they didn't think the Sovets were not a threat, but mostly because the Germans were being let off the leash more and more and an occupation force was deemed unnecessary by this point.

1948 is a pivotal period, much of the wartime military has been disbanded and military forces are in flux. Most of the US units in Germany are a mix of men who were called up in 1945-1946, but were never saw actual action, but were sent overseas to replace the war-weary veterans. Most officers are being replaced by career men and provide a good core of veterans, but many troops are raw recruits.

The Soviets probably kept as many troops as they could afford along the border, Stalin is paranoid as hell and doesn't want millions of combat trained men to be released back into the population, he's already purging the officer corps of some who took too much initiative. East Germany is down and the Soviets are still looting and kicking the body for good measure.

The Soviets are switching over to new equipment, partially to replace the old worn WWII vintage stuff and the lend-lease equipment, but it's a slow process and most troops are still using WWII equipment with rearmament happening back with picked units in the motherland.

The one thing the USSR is being mobilized for at every level is the nuclear bomb. Stalin has ordered one before 1950 and he's very nervous the West might try a preemptive strike much in the same way the Germans did so he wants that bomb at all cost. The secondary project is to increase AA and interceptor capability to defend the USSR against nuclear bombers.

The nuclear option is still misunderstood at the higher levels, while many are aware of the danger of radiation, it's not until the mid 1960's when the first scientists who worked in sub-optimal conditions are dying of cancer and other radiation illnesses. So the bombs are not considered unusually dangerous compared to our current views.

The US has worked out a plan to bomb the USSR in case of war using B29 bombers though the B50 and the B36 are being introduced. The idea is to flatten Soviet cities and industry to rob it from all available production and hub functions.

Once the shooting starts it's probable the Soviets would have an advantage. They would launch a major offensive and run over the US and British forces on the border. Meanwhile Soviet tactical air assets molest forces on the Ground and the not really great strategic bomber fleet attempts to hit major targets like Hamburg and Bonn.

They would have only a few days before the first US air units deploy in Germany, but the Soviets have a strong air force and Allied forces are now constantly targeted by tac air. AA is critically missing and underused and of little use, commanders in the field report their forces are being hammered from the air and the Soviets steamroll over their defensive lines.

Most likely the US would look for a place to regroup and link up with reinforcements, the Rhine is a likely meeting point. The British send some RAF squadrons, and mobilize troops, but it's going to take days and weeks. The US can move over some troops stationed around Europe, but it's not much in the face of the Soviet storm.

After a first few bad days, possibly weeks, US air power starts to build up and Truman would likely order a strike into Soviet territory to hit them as hard as possible, but avoiding a nuclear strike should the Soviets fail to respond.

Soviet forces are not in great shape, their logistics is starting to fail as much of the equipment they rely on is old Lend Lease stock that has been mishandled by Soviet Drivers and for lack of parts, much of it is being held together with wire and a belief in Lenin.

The first few upgraded Guards divisions arrive to reinforce the depleted front line units. They come equipped with T44 and IS II and III tanks though they are only available in small numbers and not entirely reliable.

They push towards the Rhine, where US forces set up defensive positions around major cities in the hope to slow down the advance. Some US troops are being ferried over by plane, but the majority is being shipped by boat and will take several days to reach Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg so buying time is essential.

There is some good news and some bad, the US left behind a huge amount of trucks, tanks and guns, though some of it is now in the hands of European armies, there is enough to equip a few divisions. Some stock, mainly motor pools have been captured by Soviet forces who eagerly use them to replace worn equipment.

The Soviet offensive hits the line of resistance, US forces barely hold as the Soviet heavy divisions try to smash through, but the going gets tough and Germany has yet to recover from the devastation of the war, combined with demolition of major bridges and rail networks by the retreating allies.

Strikes into the Soviet motherland enrage Stalin who orders fighters to defend cities, lessening air cover for the Red Army in Germany.

Meanwhile the US and Britain are on a rampage to get allies to mobilize their forces, Belgium and the Netherlands call up forces though they have little to offer in the early days. The French promise to help reinforce the Rhine, but are wary of sending forces directly against the Soviets, still hoping a solution is reached.

The Soviets launch a final push towards the Rhine, bypassing defensive positions, preferring to isolate them, rather than to waste their effort reducing them. The Soviets are masters of operational warfare and while a bit rusty manage to coordinate major assaults by various armies, while the US and British fail to get their corps organized. US forces have taken a hammering and there are great concerns the Rhine might be crossed in a matter of weeks.

Truman sends a clear message to Stalin that crossing the line will result in the nuclear option.

Stalin pulls back his fighters to cover Soviet cities, but does not evacuate them or make preparations.

A few days later the US drop a nuclear bomb against a major Red Army concentration soon followed by a bomb on Minsk.

The death toll for the soldiers is relatively low, but the hit on morale is visible and Soviet forces pause for several days. The damage to Minsk is extensive, tens of thousands of people have died and Stalin is furious that the RKKA has failed to stop US bombers and orders fighters to take out every bomber even if it means a suicide run.

The Soviets face a major dilemma, the threat of Nuclear weapons and increased conventional bombing is beginning to take a toll on the Red Army, forcing them to abandon the highly effective concentration of force that allowed them to drive all over the Allied forces.

US troops arrive in numbers in European ports, but worldwide opinion is divided over the use of nuclear weapons.

Stalin orders his generals to make a plan to destroy the core of allied forces in Europe before the US can bring its military to bear.

He sends a message to Truman and demands that allied forces withdraw behind the Rhine and leave a 75km demilitarized zone in the western side of the river. He demands that Antwerp and Rotterdam be dismantled and forces in the Hamburg area are shipped back to the US.

Truman calls his bluff and a group of B36 bombers hit Moscow a few days later. The damage is minimal, but the blow to Stalin's prestige is so severe he orders the total annihilation of the US forces in Germany, Bagration once again, but with extreme prejudice this time.

The Soviets equip their pilots with oxygen and jury-rig system to allow their planes to fly at high altitude, but its a crapshoot and many planes crash when parts freeze.

The US are shifting as many troops as possible, recruitment offices are overflowing with veterans reenlisting. Enthusiasm is slightly less in the UK, but most people keep a stiff upper lip and carry on.

Stalin's generals have a plan to break through to the Rhine, but US bombing is starting to disrupt their supply lines and they fear that the Red Army might overstretch itself and the buildup, despite extensive Maskirovka is a tempting target for a US nuclear strike.

Operation Groza attempts to destroy the Rhine army group. Soviet Guards divisions spearhead the assault, but Truman orders the use of three nuclear weapons to be dropped on the Soviet advance. US troops are told to dig in deep and hold the line.

The attack is stalled long enough for US armoured forces to launch the first major counterattack. Soviet forces are surpised by the ferocity of the attack and the offensive fails, stopped dead by US air power and a concentrated, but costly counter-attack. Losses are high and the SOviets are now feeling the weight of strategic bombardment on their supply lines. What's left of German infrastructure is now next to useless and the Soviets discover they moved to far west.

For several weeks the battle turns into a slugging match, the Soviets have failed to break allied resolve and Stalin, refusing to see his army fall back orders the use of chemical weapons and orders a strike against the only major target within range, London.

A couple of thousand casualties and some minor damage to the city fails to break British morale.

Chemical attacks against US troops has a destabilizing effect, but Truman orders a retaliation using mustard gas and other "mild" weapons, reserving the stocks of German gas as a last resort.

Fresh divisions made up of a core of veterans, armed with modern Sherman and Pershing tanks as well as a handful of M46 Patton tanks.

Mustangs and Thunderbolts are replaced by Jets and the UK deploys the Meteor, while production of the B36 and B50 is pushing into gear.

The Red Army remains stalled in view of the Rhine, US encircled forces hold out thanks to air drops though US air losses are now higher after a few weeks than the entire campaign against Germany. The US is refurbishing everything they can find and preparing to ship it across the ocean.

Stalin's reserves are also mobilized, but they are as of yet barely a trickle and supply/transport is critically poor.

US air power is a greater threat than Germany ever was and their ground forces are getting stronger.

Truman uses third parties to communicate with the USSR in the hope to reach a settlement. Stalin's gamble and initial paranoid reaction is now putting doubt into the mind of some in the Politburo, some whisper that Stalin is now old and worn.

Another blow comes when Adenhauer declares the Federal Republic of Germany and constitutes a volunteer defense force of border guards. Although the unit is barely the size of a brigade it's another blow to Stalin's ego.

Meanwhile US air assets are reaching into northern and Southern areas of the USSR, Belarus and Ukraine, bombing cities and major industrial centers.

There are reports of uprisings in Budapest and Prague, the pro-Soviet leaders are getting nervous, but Stalin can barely spare the troops to prop them up.

The Cologne-Frankfurt-Stuttgart line is holding. US forces grab the initiative and launch an attack from the Low Countries to relieve Hamburg and threaten Berlin.

Meanwhile rumors of a mysterious disease affecting some Red Army troops related to the strange snow that blanketed the area is starting to spread. Men are dying in horrible conditions, losing their hair and teeth.

US soldiers are also sickened by fallout and casualties are sent to special hospitals so as not affect morale.

The situation in Minsk is terrible with many thousands of survivors dying in the streets, the city is closed off from the outside world. Without vital supplies the city is condemned to die.

The news of the nuclear fallout reaches Truman who decides to use tactical Nuclear weapons as a last resort though he still keeps the option to use it against strategic targets in the USSR.

Meanwhile revolts break out in Hungary and Czechoslovakia and threaten to spread to the rest of Soviet dominated Europe.

The two world powers discover they are equally matched. The USSR will not easily defeated in the field and the US does not wish to fight a multi-year war of attrition, though they have a slight advantage through their strategic bombing campaign which hardens the resolve of Stalin's enemies in the politburo who favour a return to the 1945 situation with maybe a slight advantage to save face.

The war ends by 1948-1949, Stalin might be ousted, Truman is seen as the hero who stopped the Soviets.

The Soviet ability to support North Korea or China is diminished though the Nationalists in China lack the US support to oust Mao, the Communists struggle and hold only a portion of China rather than the entire country.

The spectre of a Soviet defeat looms over future politics, their grasp on Eastern Europe is much lessened due to the brutal repression of revolts and unpopular puppet leaders.

West-Germany is a broken country and rebuilding puts her at the end of the queue in favour of France, while the UK is slightly weakened as the postponed independence of India becomes a full blown civil war.

The Soviet nuclear bomb arrives six months earlier and allows the leadership to save face. A greater and early awareness of the effect of nuclear weapons even on a small scale sees a very strong anti-nuclear movement though it does little to prevent a nuclear stand off though both sides are now very cautious about potential use.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2019 12:20 p.m. PST

Very good thread Patrick!… as usually… (smile)

Amicalement
Armand

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2019 3:57 p.m. PST

Yes, that sounds like the plausible scenario/outcome … thumbs up


armed with modern Sherman and Pershing tanks as well as a handful of M46 Patton tanks.
The M4A3E8 would probably be the largest numbers of MBTs the US could field. I have a friend who was an M4A3E8 TC in the '50s in West Germany.

Colonel Bogey Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2019 2:07 a.m. PST

No-one wins…

Patrick R08 Feb 2019 4:33 a.m. PST

The Soviets have the ground advantage,The US would find them less flexible than the Germans, but far stronger because they have lots of tanks and a strong tactical ground attack air capability. The US would need much stronger AT and AA as well as much increased air support.

The US would not be as skilled as the Germans, but extremely well equipped and their overall air power would be dominant.

The Soviets would have to move fast to secure the Rhine and isolate the major ports like Antwerp, Rotterdam and Hamburg.

I'm also a believer that nobody wants a war of attrition, Stalin would only attack if he feels especially threatened and thinks he can win in a matter of weeks and months. The USSR made a huge effort and the promise of peace shattered by another war would be a huge blow.

Same for the allies, nobody wants another slogging match all the way to Moscow. Winning on points and pushing the Soviets out of Germany would be the main short term goal to begin with. Strategic bombing would be critical to force the Soviets into opening talks.

Stalin was starting to suffer from ill health and while he was still OK in 1947-1948, the strain of another war and the spectre of nuclear weapons would probably prompt a health crisis sooner or later. Given that the Politburo was already aware that a leadership change was in the cards, it's likely that they would have found another war a major reason to influence this outcome, especially if they can blame it on Stalin's paranoia, rather than any action by the West.

The use of nuclear weapons is a major factor, but is likely to be used succinctly and in a well considered manner.

To get decisive results, you need a long war, a short war would result in an armistice and the inevitable loss of face for the one who blinks first though long term gains are still possible for both sides.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2019 7:05 a.m. PST

I do know our mission, the US/NATO, was only to reestablish the IGB. In the event of war. That is what we were briefed. But I'm not sure what the next move would be if WMDs were used. WaaaaY above my pay grade.

Where in the ROK, we/US/ROKs/UN(?) were to push on to Pyong Yang and [attempt]to unify the Koreas. Under the South of course That is what we were briefed when I was in the ROK '84-'85. With a Mech Bn in the 2ID.



The Soviet ability to support North Korea or China is diminished though the Nationalists in China lack the US support to oust Mao, the Communists struggle and hold only a portion of China rather than the entire country.
Yes since we are talking @ 1948 or so before the Korean War. Things were a bit different in '48 than in '50, etc.

The US would not be as skilled as the Germans, but extremely well equipped and their overall air power would be dominant.
Very true, the US airpower would be very important. As always … And I know we had former WWII German Officers who fought the Russians. Were giving us intel on what they did and how the Russians would fight, etc.

US soldiers are also sickened by fallout and casualties are sent to special hospitals so as not affect morale.
We trained for defense against Chem WMDs. Always had Chem protective gear, etc. with us. But that was much later. I'd think all involved would not have much protection from any WMDs in '48. And it appears Rad Poising, Chem and Bio weapons are a very bad way to die. But again, we prepared for use of WMDs when I was on active duty in the '80s. Even if we might not get out alive.

Patrick R08 Feb 2019 9:04 a.m. PST

A lot of major German officers are still in jail in 1948, they are talking with many lower cadre officers for info about the Soviets though only a fraction has been compiled into a meaningful form. I suspect local commanders might call up any German who could be useful in giving them pointers.

Nuclear protection is next to inexistant, they have yet to get the longer term reports of 5-10 years after exposure and scientists who got low, but sustained doses of radiation are yet to get cancer and other diseases. They barely made a single test at Bikini by 1948 and that's the first time they had to deal with fallout, protective measures were a disaster back then so soldiers in the field within range of nuclear weapons could get really badly affected by the wrong wind direction. Fallout is made worse when there is lots of flammable matter like forests and cities in the area, not much fun. Logically they would try to bury those problems once soldiers get sick though the Soviets would be really hit hardest and would have many thousands of contaminated soldiers and equipment they would have to deal with, if anything it would cause morale problems on both sides.

I doubt that North Korea would even dare launch an attack when the Chinese and the Russians are mired into a war of their own and it might even have repercussions for the Vietnam War. Without Korea, the recovery and economic boom of Japan is set back a decade or two.

Of course a major conflict, even if limited to Europe involving France and the UK would have huge consequences for the colonial situation forcing these countries to give up on retaining control of certain areas and leaving a far more unstable post-colonial world, especially in areas like India/Pakistan without an "orderly" partition.

Another problem would be Israel, without at least some support, Israel might have a rough time forcing its independence.

The up side would be that MAD is far more pressing and both powers would be more reluctant to use nuclear weapons as a threat.

If Stalin is out of the picture, other people might end up in charge. Malenkov might get a few more years to secure power against Khrushchev who is not yet First Secretary. He might end up in an alliance with Beria which could have interesting results for the future of the USSR.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2019 2:39 p.m. PST

A lot of major German officers are still in jail in 1948, they are talking with many lower cadre officers for info about the Soviets though only a fraction has been compiled into a meaningful form. I suspect local commanders might call up any German who could be useful in giving them pointers.
That is true, and I know the US Army had historical pamphlets. That were basically written by former WWII German Officers. That deals with their war against the Russians. I still have one or two.
Nuclear protection is next to inexistant, they have yet to get the longer term reports of 5-10 years after exposure and scientists who got low, but sustained doses of radiation are yet to get cancer and other diseases.
I think many who let the Nuc Genie out of the bottle really had little idea about all the effects by '48. Even after the bombs dropped on Japan 3 years earlier. In the '80s in the US ARMY we had Giger Counters, Dosometers, etc. And the S3/Ops Sec. would train to keep track of how many Rads each unit took. And when it reached a certain point. The unit's personnel were not to be exposed to anymore. I don't know if in a real combat situation that ever could really be put in use. Of course what would those effects be years later ? If there were any years later ?
I doubt that North Korea would even dare launch an attack when the Chinese and the Russians are mired into a war of their own and it might even have repercussions for the Vietnam War. Without Korea, the recovery and economic boom of Japan is set back a decade or two.
Very true … I think you are right on this. Without the Russian or Chinese support the NoKos would be foolish to make a move South.

Personal logo Legion 4 Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2019 2:42 p.m. PST

A lot of major German officers are still in jail in 1948, they are talking with many lower cadre officers for info about the Soviets though only a fraction has been compiled into a meaningful form. I suspect local commanders might call up any German who could be useful in giving them pointers.
That is true, and I know the US Army had historical pamphlets. That were basically written by former WWII German Officers. That deals with their war against the Russians. I still have one or two.
Nuclear protection is next to inexistant, they have yet to get the longer term reports of 5-10 years after exposure and scientists who got low, but sustained doses of radiation are yet to get cancer and other diseases.
I think many who let the Nuc Genie out of the bottle really had little idea about all the effects by '48. Even after the bombs dropped on Japan 3 years earlier. In the '80s in the US ARMY we had Giger Counters, Dosometers, etc. And the S3/Ops Sec. would train to keep track of how many Rads each unit took. And when it reached a certain point. The unit's personnel were not to be exposed to anymore. I don't know if in a real combat situation that could ever could really be put in use. Of course what would those effects be years later ? If there were any years later ?
I doubt that North Korea would even dare launch an attack when the Chinese and the Russians are mired into a war of their own and it might even have repercussions for the Vietnam War. Without Korea, the recovery and economic boom of Japan is set back a decade or two.
Very true … I think you are right on this. Without the Russian or Chinese support the NoKos would be foolish to make a move South.

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