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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > History Library > Alternate Timelines

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Alternate Timelines The plausible "what if's" of military history.

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  #76  
Old 06 Nov 10, 14:19
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Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Oh, the primary piston engine fighters in mid 46 would be the Yak 9P (very limited all-weather capacity), La 7 and 9 and, in limited numbers the MiG 7.
How do they compare to Mustangs, Spits, Tempests and Thunderbolts?
  #77  
Old 06 Nov 10, 17:47
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Originally Posted by Gooner View Post
How do they compare to Mustangs, Spits, Tempests and Thunderbolts?
The Yak 9P is as good as any of the above to about 15 to 20,000 feet. It is capable of 433 mph and has a good rate of climb. Most of the wooden parts have been replaced with light metals instead. It has a 23mm cannon and two 12.7mm machineguns in the nose. In Korea these aircraft proved tough opponets so long as they didn't have to fight above 20,000 feet.

The La 9 / 11 is similar. It is a rough analog to the Tempest with 4 20 mm cannon and a top speed of about 420 mph. But, again, the engine limits it to about 15 to 20,000 feet. Some La 9 and the later 11 (mid 1946 on so it is only available in tiny numbers at this point) were used in Korea as B-29 interceptors but proved wholly incapable of climbing to their altitide and matching their speed.
Below 20,000 feet it would be a tough opponet.

On the flip side you would have the:

P-51H at about 470 mph and otherwise the same as a P-51D good to about 35,000 feet.
P-47N at about 470 mph and good to about 38,000 feet.
Spitfire 21/22 at about 455 and having one of the highest mach numbers for a dive and good to 30,000 feet
Fury at about 460 and good to about 25,000 feet.

Nightfighters include the:

Hornet, follow on to the Mosquito
Mosquito
P-82
P-61

The main Soviet bombers would be the Pe 2 and Tu 2 along with dwindling numbers of Il 4. The Il 2m and Il 10 ground attack aircraft would be available in fair number but, these are going to be much like the Stuka in a contested air enviroment. They are not highly maneuverable and have very poor defense capacity.
Of the others, the Tu 2 is reasonably decent while the Pe 2 and Il 4 are getting a bit aged. Rough analogs would be:

Pe-2 = A 20
Il 4 = Early model B25
Tu 2 = Ju 88

All of the Soviet bombers would normally operate at no more than 15 to 20,000 feet and often less altitude. None are pressurized and all really lack the equipment for the crew to fly at higher altitudes for any length of time.

As for jets:

The US has the P-80 in squadron service and has about a dozen other Navy and Air Force fighters in testing or nearing prototype status. The US also has a number of newer bombers nearing prototype status like the B-36, B-50 (aka B-29D), B-35, etc.

The British have the Meteor and Vampire in service but have greatly slowed development of follow-ons.

The Russians will have flown their first indiginous jets the Yak 15 and Mig 9 just a weeks before this scenario takes place. The Yak uses a BMW 003 copy while the MiG is running on a Jumo 004 copy.
  #78  
Old 06 Nov 10, 20:27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
Just a note on the Soviet fighters:

With the exception of the Bell fighters the others existed in small numbers and post war would have no longer been in operational use. The Bell P-63 does have some higher altitude capability but its numbers are limited in service. By mid 46 there likely was less than 100 still flying operationally.

Of the Soviet aircraft, many have service ceiling ratings as shown but, none realistically are really 'hot' above 15 to 20,000 feet. None have good mulit-stage supercharging and most have engines that are optimized, like the US Allison, for operation below 15,000 feet.
So, realistically, no the VVS doesn't have a high altitude interceptor force of any size.

Oh, the primary piston engine fighters in mid 46 would be the Yak 9P (very limited all-weather capacity), La 7 and 9 and, in limited numbers the MiG 7.
Thanks for the clarification.
  #79  
Old 06 Nov 10, 20:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
The Yak 9P is as good as any of the above to about 15 to 20,000 feet. It is capable of 433 mph and has a good rate of climb. Most of the wooden parts have been replaced with light metals instead. It has a 23mm cannon and two 12.7mm machineguns in the nose. In Korea these aircraft proved tough opponets so long as they didn't have to fight above 20,000 feet.

The La 9 / 11 is similar. It is a rough analog to the Tempest with 4 20 mm cannon and a top speed of about 420 mph. But, again, the engine limits it to about 15 to 20,000 feet. Some La 9 and the later 11 (mid 1946 on so it is only available in tiny numbers at this point) were used in Korea as B-29 interceptors but proved wholly incapable of climbing to their altitide and matching their speed.
Below 20,000 feet it would be a tough opponet.

On the flip side you would have the:

P-51H at about 470 mph and otherwise the same as a P-51D good to about 35,000 feet.
P-47N at about 470 mph and good to about 38,000 feet.
Spitfire 21/22 at about 455 and having one of the highest mach numbers for a dive and good to 30,000 feet
Fury at about 460 and good to about 25,000 feet.

Nightfighters include the:

Hornet, follow on to the Mosquito
Mosquito
P-82
P-61

The main Soviet bombers would be the Pe 2 and Tu 2 along with dwindling numbers of Il 4. The Il 2m and Il 10 ground attack aircraft would be available in fair number but, these are going to be much like the Stuka in a contested air enviroment. They are not highly maneuverable and have very poor defense capacity.
Of the others, the Tu 2 is reasonably decent while the Pe 2 and Il 4 are getting a bit aged. Rough analogs would be:

Pe-2 = A 20
Il 4 = Early model B25
Tu 2 = Ju 88

All of the Soviet bombers would normally operate at no more than 15 to 20,000 feet and often less altitude. None are pressurized and all really lack the equipment for the crew to fly at higher altitudes for any length of time.

As for jets:

The US has the P-80 in squadron service and has about a dozen other Navy and Air Force fighters in testing or nearing prototype status. The US also has a number of newer bombers nearing prototype status like the B-36, B-50 (aka B-29D), B-35, etc.

The British have the Meteor and Vampire in service but have greatly slowed development of follow-ons.

The Russians will have flown their first indiginous jets the Yak 15 and Mig 9 just a weeks before this scenario takes place. The Yak uses a BMW 003 copy while the MiG is running on a Jumo 004 copy.
If the Soviet fighter are pretty much toast after 20,000 feet then thes aircraft could virtually fly with impunity.

Avro Lancaster
Handley Page Halifax
Vickers Wellington
Vickers Warwick
B-17
B-29
B-24
B-32
A-20/Boston/Havoc
A-26
Martin Maryland
Martin Marauder
Martin Baltimore
NA-62/B-25 Mitchell

Excluding former Axis aircraft
  #80  
Old 06 Nov 10, 22:20
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The problem for the Soviets is that their engine designs typically had one or two stage compressors on them with the critical altitude for the second stage set at 13,123 feet (4,000 meters). Above this altitude the engine started losing horsepower and performance much like the US Allison did for similar reasons.

They could probably just handle most of the British bombers and US mediums as these typically flew between 20 and 25,000 feet at most. The US heavies typically fly higher than that making them difficult targets for anything in the Soviet inventory.

The other problem that would arise is that the largest AA gun the Soviets have in general service is the 85mm. This is just capable of handling the older US heavies and is going to be very marginal against a B-29 as well simply due to its vertical range.
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  #81  
Old 06 Nov 10, 22:22
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First off let me say that I was under much the same impressions that some of you have expressed and until I really researched them I had no idea how much disinformation there is about the US armed forces in 1946. What got me started on this was that I ran across references to “The Pincher Series” and war plans with names like “Griddle” . Then I got my hands on the actual Joint Chiefs of Staffs war plans for 1946-1950. That got me really thinking.

They fully expected the Soviets to attack and that they would take over all of Western Europe in 60 days or less. This is no crap and I’m not making this up. Almost all of the suppositions I’ve proposed so far are theirs.

Then they go into what each side was estimated to have etc. and the more it became apparent of me that Stalin might have missed his opportunity if just a few things had been changed he might have an outside chance at pulling it off.

So I started to problem solve which is what I do for a living and I think some of you will enjoy what I found out and what solutions Stalin and my made up character Sergey could possibly have done.

Reality:
Quote:
1. The US has about a dozen bombs ready to use and another half dozen in assembly.
We had 9 Mark III atomic bombs on hand in June of 1946.

Two were on their way to be exploded at Bikini Atoll in July, 1946 that leaves 7 total on the mainland US in June, 1946. There are any number of sources to confirm this: David A. Rosenberg. "US Stockpile 1945 - 1950" in Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Vol.38, No.5, May, 1982 P. 26 and other places.

There are a number of reasons from the shutting down of reactors to low plutonium production to scientists going back to civilian life etc. The fact remains that we had just 9 in June, 1946 in real life. In June 1947 we had only 13 nuclear components worth of bombs. We could not have assembled more due to this limitation.

Our story starts in December, 1946. The assembly teams have been decimated. These are highly trained personnel.

So I'm suggesting that we had 4 bombs at the most ready to go in May 1946 because of these problems.

Quote:
2. Sure. If you want to believe that. The two used to date and the ones used in testing all have worked as advertised first time, every time.

3. The B-29's carrying them? Only if they have mechanical problems enroute. The Soviets have nothing to stop them.
The following are not my estimates but the JCS estimates. The number of Mark III atomic bombs needed to defeat the USSR was 70. They estimated that 50% would not make it to target so they planned on having 140 stockpiled.

I don’t know if they had information we don’t have or they were just extremely conservative but the fact is that they were not going to blindly start sending unescorted bombers into the USSR.

Quote:
4. USAF and USN reconnissance flights near and over Soviet territory at this time prove otherwise. In fact, at this point vast areas of the Soviet interior are literally defenseless to strategic bombing.
I would appreciate some references to these flights in 1946 or before and where they occurred.

Quote:
5. So? The first two Soviet jet fighters (the Yak 11 and MiG 9) have their first test flight within weeks of this scenario. They are playing catch up with the West big time. This just means the Soviets are aware that they will be catching several nuclear weapons in short order and have little or nothing at this point to prevent that from happening.
Again I hope you understand the concept of alternate history. Our time of departure from real life is May 1943 when Sergey gains Stalin’s confidence and is given large amounts of resources to deal with the B29. They know that the US will try and sling a few nukes and massive conventional bombing raids and have been working on solutions for 3 years.

I again remind you that they have had 3 intact B29s to study for over 2 years.

Not only will their interceptor program be on steroids but they are very interested in missiles.

Quote:
6. Against the pathetic air defenses the Soviets have no, the US and / or Britain can launch strikes of moderate size immediately.
My statement stands that under 25,000 ft. the air defenses were and would be second to none.

I agree but I would say not immediately but soon for moderate size raids. There are no identifiable tactical targets at this point. The B29s that were stationed in Germany are history and where caught on the ground. After all that was the stated point of the invasion and the main target.

The British bomber forces did not have the B29.

Quote:
7. For sustained use, true. For one time or occasional use the ones available will work.
I agree but I think what we will discover is that a one time or occasional use will not suffice.

Quote:
8. REALLY?!! This would be a real WTF given that there are literally thousands of people in dozens, if not hundreds of locations in the US and elsewhere associated with the nuclear bomb program.
It really is a WTF and I love it.

When I first discovered this I was floored. Some say they were actually more valuable than the scientists. The teams were highly trained over a long period of time in the intricate process of just assembling the bombs. It was incredibly hard to do involving multiple layers of dissimilar materials in tolerances never before attempted involving some of the thinnest coatings ever attempted and almost all of them radioactive. These were incredibly talented engineers not scientists from what I can find out.

Figuring out how to make the bomb was child’s play compared to actually assembling it so it worked.

Quote:
9. So? A spy or two moled into the program has only limited access to their part of it. This was historically true. Why would this change for your scenario?
We shall see. Not only the nuclear program but the armed forces of both the US, the Brits and even the Germans were filled with highly placed spies for the Soviets. They truly were masters in this area.

Plus the fact that Stalin was our ally. He was Uncle Joe and many in the West thought that communism was a good idea at the time. The communist party had a very large number of supporters. Supporter who were willing to give information to their Uncle Joe.


Then there is the fact of the only 2 assembly pits. One in the US (I still don't know where) and one in Okinawa. From what I can gather these were no ordinary pits and took a long time to construct otherwise I would assume that they would have been one in England etc. But there weren't. Just two in May 1946.

Then we have the fact that there were only 12 crews available to fly the Silver B29 and they were of dubious quality due to lack of practise.

What this all boils down to is that contrary to popular belief in 1946 the Abomb was very hard to use, clumsy and we had very few of them and virtually no way to deliver them to Russian soil effectively and Stalin knows it.

That's what makes this timeline so fun. If Stalin was going to attack this was his window of opportunity and in this story he takes it.

No...we have a real fight on our hands here. Don't forget Sergey Peshkov. I haven't.
  #82  
Old 07 Nov 10, 00:02
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Hey Smitty what ya got there?

Knock it off Bill. I'm on my way to deliver this pile of stuff to the General himself. And I don't need any grief from you.

Come on Smitty just give me a peek. I won't touch nothing. It's not like it's top secret or anything. Come on just a little look see.

Well I suppose a little look see won't hurt nothin. I'm putting my cushy job on the line here so what you got for me in return for this little lookey here?

Don't be a jerk Smitty just hand it over for a sec. Don't get so uppity and all just because you’re the Generals gofer doesn't mean nothin.

Well it means I can show this to you or not unless you offer something up in return. One hand washes the other ya know.

Ah man ... how about a few smokes for all your trouble?

Make it a even dozen and you got a one minute peek. Deal?

Oh alright it's a deal.



What is that anyway?

I dunno just some map that the General wanted printed up and all colored in. Pretty nice huh? I think it has something to do with the Reds attack. It's probably for some briefing he's got coming up. See there it's got how many divisions the commies are attacking with I bet.

Man that's a hell of a lot. What's going on now must make the Battle of the Bulge look like a picnic. Damn look at all that red and not much of our stuff. What do you make of this anyway.

Well the boxes with ovals in them are armor units, the ones with Xs are infantry, the ones with little wheels under em are motorized.

Gees...What do the little x's mean over the tops?

I pretty sure that the xx are divisions and the xxx are Corps.

Man that makes it even worse looking for our side. How about those figure 8 ones?

Those are some kind of airplane units.
  #83  
Old 07 Nov 10, 14:10
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ELINT flights started as early as 1946. Typical of these would be B-17 44-83461 captained by Captain Landon Tanner flown out of Bluie West 8 (now Sonderstrom AB) Greenland over the Artic circle area to the East of Norway / Finland. These flights found no signal traffic of interest.
Other flights took place in Europe along the Soviet - Western demarcation lines. Flights here found the Soviets using expected Son 2 and ex-German Würtzburg radars for fire control along with metric sets for early warning like the RUS 2 and P-3. There were about 3 sorties per week running along the West - East border from Austria to the Baltic.
By early 1947 B-29's were replacing the B-17's in this role.
Similarly, the US Navy was flying PB4Y's up the coast of Russia just outside their air space in the Pacific from mid 46 and finding little of interest at that time. VP-26 flying out of Port Lyautey in Morocco was also doing ELINT and reconnissance using their PB4Y under the guise of courier aircraft. These flew between a number of European cities, mostly in the Mediterrainian area and into Asia, over Turkey, Iran etc.
They also regularly flew "deliveries" to locations in the Adriatic and Baltic Sea areas.

As far as the three captured Soviet B-29's go: Historically, the Tupolev design bureau took 2.5 years to reverse engineer and manufacture their first prototype of this aircaft. Even then, the Soviets had issues with the plane. Many of the more advanced freatures like the fire control, radar and, even engines had serious problems due to manufacturing defects etc. Eventually, these got ironed out but it took the Soviets time to fix such problems. For example, the APS 15 radar required tubes and parts that the current Soviet electronics industry really could not produce to the level of quality necessary. This took time to get processes developed to allow for proper manufacturing. This same problem held up development of radars like the P-20, a copy more-or-less of the US CPS 6 set even though the Soviets had obtained most of the technical details on the set along with complete texts of MIT's RRL books on radar design and development.
The bottom line here is just because you possess a piece of someone else's advanced technology does not necessarily translate into you being able to make use of it.
Having schematics for a radar still requires that you have the necessary manufacturing means to make the parts. If you don't you have to produce that technology first before making the radar. That was what was happening in Russia in 1946. They were playing catch up with the West.

When the Tu 4 appeared for the first time US military analysts simply wrote off its significance as the Soviets having obtained an obsolesent aircraft technology even thought that technology had lept them forward a good decade in about half the time.

The other thing going on that might be significant is that in 1946 historically, the Soviets strarted to reorganize their ground forces. The tank and mechanized corps were being reorgainzed into divisions. There was also a big push to end the use of horse drawn equipment in rifle divisions as well as to turn these into something more equivalent to their western counterparts and abolish the rifle corps as the operational organization. If this was underway it would certainly make conducting a major offensive difficult at best.
  #84  
Old 07 Nov 10, 19:33
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Great information. Thanks

I would like to suggest that you think about the meaning of alternated history. From May 1943 everything will not be the same as it was in real life. That is our time of departure.

The timeline I've started here will have many similarities to the real life up to 1946 but some key points to keep in mind will be Sergey's ablility to gather all the greatest minds in the USSR as well as taking prisoners out of Siberia and having the use of whoever tests high in dexterity, intelligence, mathematical abilities etc.

He will be able to staff his industrial empire with the finest and most talented people in the USSR and captured territories. These are the kinds of talented individuals that he will have a his disposal.

Imagine having the power to test everyone and then the ability to place them in the best positions suited to their talents. How many Albert Einsteins are working in coal mines or Edisons butchering hogs? Incredibly talented people who never got the chance to excel.

Instead of what happened historically where all the intelligentsia were rounded up and killed. They are now working for him. Instead of being used as cannon fodder against German machine guns they have been working on a solution for the B29 and much later the atomic bomb. Instead of wasting away in prison the will be used to their utmost.

He also has his share of the original scientists that worked on many of the German Wonder Weapons. Some he has had since 1944 with the remainder in 1945.

In addition he has almost all of the plans, papers, schematics, blueprints and a number of prototypes of all the major allied and axis weapons systems. Many weapons systems that were developed to counter the strategic bombing of Germany but were never put on the fast track by Hitler.

He is fixated on stopping what he saw happen to Germany and Japan. He knows what is coming and he has been preparing for it for 3 years and the last 12 months he has been given all the resources he needs to produce a credible threat to the B29.

As to the specifics of the B29 and it's cloning. All he has to do at this point is figure out a way to make it too costly for the Americans to use it in great numbers. A 1000 plane raid here or there will not damage the Soviet industrial system beyond repair as demonstrated by the Germans being able to keep producing more equipment in 1945 than in the previous years while being bombed with impunity.

Think of what he would have to do to recreate what happened to the American bombing effort when they stopped unescorted daylight raids and had to wait for the P38 and P51. What were the losses that convinced the US to change tactics?

He does not have to build a B29 he just has to figure out a way to cause heavy enough losses that they will stop the raids. And their will be no short easy targets. Almost all the targets in the USSR are deep raids. No little short jobs but major distances over enemy territory.

I'm not suggesting that he will develop laser beams or death rays but I think that given such resources a brilliant and driven man could speed up the delivery of many weapons systems that have already been developed by at least 6 months to a year from what was historically possible. I think it's a reasonable alternate history timeline.

The bottom-line should be ...was it possible given our departure from the historic timeline of May 1943, for a man like Sergey to come up with a counter to the strategic bombing forces of the US? Think of Sergey in terms of Henry Ford, Albert Spier, Carnegie, Roosevelt etc. but with truly unlimited access to whatever he needs.
  #85  
Old 07 Nov 10, 19:35
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+ 10

May 12th, 1946
Outside Munster, West Germany
07:46 hours

Jees Mac how are we supposed to stop em here? All the pill boxes and anti tank ditches are facing the wrong way. What are we supposed to do just close the door in their faces? Did you see those tanks they got. Ours are like toys compared to those monsters. You can't count on the flyboys to wack em like when we fought the krauts. Hell all you had to do was shout Tiger and the ground pounders would be all over em. Now we have to wait for hours and even then they don't show up most of the time. They're busy fighting with the commie pilots and not paying attention to what is going on down here in the mud.

Shut up Jess! I got y'all this far now just shut the hell up and pay attention. We've been ordered to make a stand here just to slow em up and to give us time to destroy our depots behind us. We can't move them and we don't want the Reds getting a hold of all them nice US Army c-rations. I know you hate to have a commie chewing on your chipped beef.

Anyway the top brass has scrounged a bunch of planes and plans on surprising old Ivan later today when they try and cross the river. They've been gitten kind of frisky lately and throwing haymakers left and right. We're goin to throw them a few jabs to slow em up and make em at least look through the window before they bust open the door if you catch my drift.

The flyboys will actually be there when we need em for the next couple of days anyway. Get Sparks to call in the mud movers and punch a few holes in those commie tin cans.

Now y'all y'all..That's yous to you Dutch... need to be a part of the jab. For the next few days until they flank us, this town is ours and we do what we have to do to keep it.

If those Jews in Warsaw could hold out for weeks with only rifles we can do it with some 105s and bazookas. Now get your ass out there and find a hole to hide in. We got plenty of ammunition so don't hold back. Use it or lose it. Interlocking fields of fire. You know the drill. Stick em and move then move back and stick em again. The papers are calling it a "fighting retreat". I call it an ass woopin.
  #86  
Old 07 Nov 10, 20:42
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Quote:
The timeline I've started here will have many similarities to the real life up to 1946 but some key points to keep in mind will be Sergey's ablility to gather all the greatest minds in the USSR as well as taking prisoners out of Siberia and having the use of whoever tests high in dexterity, intelligence, mathematical abilities etc.

He will be able to staff his industrial empire with the finest and most talented people in the USSR and captured territories. These are the kinds of talented individuals that he will have a his disposal.

Imagine having the power to test everyone and then the ability to place them in the best positions suited to their talents. How many Albert Einsteins are working in coal mines or Edisons butchering hogs? Incredibly talented people who never got the chance to excel.
You might note that Andrei Tupolev, the head designer and guy who historically built Russia's B-29 program was in a gulag during most of WW 2. He designed the Tu 2 bomber while in prison!
Stalin was impressed enough to award him state honors and release him for it. So, I don't think you are going to be getting alot more talent than the Soviets had originally....

The Tupolev and Myasischev bureaus were both tasked with developing an intercontinental bomber in mid 1944. Tupolev started from the basis of the Tu 4 (aka B 29).
Both faced numerous problems. There was technology gaps to be closed. The Soviet Union lacked sufficent resources in some areas to even make these technologies.
For example, they are roughly 5 to 10 years behind in electronics depending on where you look at their programs. Lend-lease during the war made up some of this gap but still the best the Soviets had was stuff the West had on the drawing board nearly a decade earlier.
In jet engines they had captured examples of the various German engines. The Czechs even kept the Me 262 in limited production. The British had supplied them copies of their Derwent and Nene engines. But, this left them with 1943 - 44 technology at best with the West pulling away with far better axial designs. Again, they were facing not only technical problems but production and materials ones as well.
Spying might get you the plans but if you cannot produce high quality nickel alloys for example and the plans call for this material then they are useless. This in a nutshell is the problem the Soviets face. They likely will overrun most of Western Europe in a matter of a couple of months. But, then what?
They don't have a navy to speak of. Their logistics system even on land is not set up or capable of supplying their forces hundreds or thousands of miles from their own borders. They have very limited civil engineering capacity and, their own infrastructure is in terrible condition from WW 2.

In my view Stalin was very shrewd not to go to war but instead consolidate the gains he had made to date. That was the smart move: Not to go beyond the culmunation point of victory.

Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 07 Nov 10 at 21:02..
  #87  
Old 07 Nov 10, 20:51
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I think we'll have to disagree on this one.

Sergey has been given the power to test everyone, man, women and child. I would submit that there are dozens if not hundreds of Tupolevs in a population of millions. They just need the chance to be able to perform.
  #88  
Old 07 Nov 10, 22:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
You might note that Andrei Tupolev, the head designer and guy who historically built Russia's B-29 program was in a gulag during most of WW 2. He designed the Tu 2 bomber while in prison!
Stalin was impressed enough to award him state honors and release him for it. So, I don't think you are going to be getting alot more talent than the Soviets had originally....

The Tupolev and Myasischev bureaus were both tasked with developing an intercontinental bomber in mid 1944. Tupolev started from the basis of the Tu 4 (aka B 29).
Both faced numerous problems. There was technology gaps to be closed. The Soviet Union lacked sufficent resources in some areas to even make these technologies.
For example, they are roughly 5 to 10 years behind in electronics depending on where you look at their programs. Lend-lease during the war made up some of this gap but still the best the Soviets had was stuff the West had on the drawing board nearly a decade earlier.
In jet engines they had captured examples of the various German engines. The Czechs even kept the Me 262 in limited production. The British had supplied them copies of their Derwent and Nene engines. But, this left them with 1943 - 44 technology at best with the West pulling away with far better axial designs. Again, they were facing not only technical problems but production and materials ones as well.
Spying might get you the plans but if you cannot produce high quality nickel alloys for example and the plans call for this material then they are useless. This in a nutshell is the problem the Soviets face. They likely will overrun most of Western Europe in a matter of a couple of months. But, then what?
They don't have a navy to speak of. Their logistics system even on land is not set up or capable of supplying their forces hundreds or thousands of miles from their own borders. They have very limited civil engineering capacity and, their own infrastructure is in terrible condition from WW 2.

In my view Stalin was very shrewd not to go to war but instead consolidate the gains he had made to date. That was the smart move: Not to go beyond the culmunation point of victory.
Then we have a major problem of the Soviets overextending their forces to occupy a territory of over 5 million sqaure miles and a population of 100 million plus.
  #89  
Old 07 Nov 10, 23:17
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Quote:
For example, they are roughly 5 to 10 years behind in electronics depending on where you look at their programs. Lend-lease during the war made up some of this gap but still the best the Soviets had was stuff the West had on the drawing board nearly a decade earlier.
In jet engines they had captured examples of the various German engines. The Czechs even kept the Me 262 in limited production. The British had supplied them copies of their Derwent and Nene engines. But, this left them with 1943 - 44 technology at best with the West pulling away with far better axial designs. Again, they were facing not only technical problems but production and materials ones as well.
How did the West get so far ahead? What did we have they didn't? What where they lacking in your opinion?

Quote:
Spying might get you the plans but if you cannot produce high quality nickel alloys for example and the plans call for this material then they are useless.
What were the problems involved in producing these high quality nickel alloys that the Soviets could not overcome?

Quote:
They likely will overrun most of Western Europe in a matter of a couple of months. But, then what?
Oh good. Hopefully we've settled that then. Glad to hear it.

Quote:
They don't have a navy to speak of.
You are of course correct and this will not change in our timeline that's for sure. They do however have everything they need within their landmass and can reach out and take the oil of the Brits

Quote:
Their logistics system even on land is not set up or capable of supplying their forces hundreds or thousands of miles from their own borders.
They somehow have kept their troops supplied from Moscow to Berlin under combat conditions going through a land that was basically scorched earth not once but twice with the rail lines changing hands and being destroyed with great regularity.

A distance of over 1000 miles with every inch contested as compared to a drive in the park of 300 miles to Paris and 600 miles to Spain.

A basically unopposed drive through a Western Europe that has been rebuilding for a year and experienced nowhere near the destruction level that the Ukraine and Eastern Germany suffered.

There will not be many blown bridges and torn up railroads. This is Poland on a much bigger scale. Much of France and Southern France are a land of plenty compared to what's going on in Russia.

Quote:
They have very limited civil engineering capacity and, their own infrastructure is in terrible condition from WW 2.
They have no intention of repairing Western Europe. It is to be a battleground. A breathing space meant to be taken over and run by puppet governments. It is to be the battleground between Capitalism and Communism. It is there to provide breathing space for the Greater USSR.
  #90  
Old 08 Nov 10, 00:38
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Just to briefly discuss the first two:

In technologies like electronics the Soviets lacked three major things:

!. The ability to share information within the various project groups. This is something that is almost endemic throughout the Soviet Union for several reasons the most important of which is simply that the top people, Stalin included, used compartmentalization to maintain control. Other than that, the various bureaus competed with each other and the unsuccessful / losers often ended up being shipped into exile or worse. Therefore, even within each bureau there was reason to keep information to yourself as a means of staying out of prison for failure.
The aircraft designers Polikarpov and Tupolev were both sent to prison for their failures. Polikarpov for his aircraft's poor performance at Kalikin Gol against the Japanese.
In the electronics industry the same stuff happened. The head of all Soviet radar development pre-war E. Oshchepkov working with the PVO (protective air force) at the Leningrad Electro-Physics Institute was thrown in prison in 1937 for 10 years simply to eliminate his leadership when the program was shifted from PVO control to direct supervision of one of Stalin's inner circle, Defense Commissar Voroshilov.
When the war came to Russia developers at one of the bureaus that replaced part of the old PVO research structure the NIIIS KA 6th Section, was told to develop a gun laying radar for antiaircraft control.
Try as they might they were unable to do so until luck came along. The British shipped a number of their GL Mk II radars under Lend-Lease to Russia. Scientists from this bureau went to Murmansk and met the ship that was carrying the radars. They had these unloaded and placed in a warehouse under armed guard.
They also took one or two sets with them back to their research station. Within a month or so they declared they had solved the problem and developed a working set! It looked and worked just like a British GL Mk II set.... go figure... only it was now called the SON 2!
Stalin was impressed and the scientists got rewarded along with getting medals. They then had the remaining British supplied sets loaded on a freighter and sent back to England telling the English they didn't need them....eg., covering up their tracks.
Just in general the Soviets didn't have the technicians, resources or, manufacturing capacity to build alot of electronics. Even those they did build got built in small numbers comparatively. Post war alot of their capacity was "developed" by looting German factories and shipping the equipment back to Russia for use.
So, you have:
Compartmentalization and a society that indirectly encourages secrecy and inter-departmental rivalry.

A general lack of capacity within the manufacturing sector. This is simply a matter of the Soviets having only recently industrialized and that industrialization was focused on certain critical basic industries.

Third, a lack of skilled manpower. This is going to be a problem due to the nature of the Russian population and their education system. The bulk of the population is still rural subsistance farming and receiving little formal education. This cannot change readily or over night. It will take the Russians decades to work on this problem and it remains one even today to some extent.

In other industries the same is true. In metals alot of the problem is a lack of quality control coupled with antiquated machinery. They simply couldn't control the processes in metallurgy well enough. They also lacked some raw materials. During the war the US supplied alot of the more exotic alloys to Russia for their use. Post war these dried up leaving the Soviets once again scrambling for sources.

No one thing is going to fix all the problems with the overall Soviet system. Stalin and his cronies are a big part of the problem. None of them is going to allow any one person more power than they themselves have. If they even think this is the case that person will disappear. If someone fails in their assigned task the same thing occurs: Prison or gulag for decades.
Changing this ends the Soviet Union as it existed in 1945.

Oh, the Soviets need the rail system. Ammunition doesn't grow in French vinyards. Replacement equipment doesn't either. Reinforcements have to be had. A modern military of that period is very dependent on rail movement for their logistics. This is what would keep the Soviets from overrunning anything outside Western Europe during 1946 even if they were at war for months. And, while they likely will take Western Europe it won't be "unopposed." They will have to fight their way across it.
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