Wolery's AH question thread

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Wolery's AH question thread

Post by Wolery » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:50 am

Hello all! I've expressed interest in writng an AH WWII were the Germans force the Allies to the negotiating table. Plot, characters, that I will have to take care of myself, but perhaps you guys can help me with the technicals, Here's the first question:

Here's the situation
Image
April, 1945

Hilter is dead

Nazis are revoved from power

The Germans have one operational nuclear bomb

Under these conditions, how much worse would things have to get for the Allied High Command to consider a a treaty?

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Post by Tom Houlihan » Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:01 am

Do the Allies know the Germans only have one bomb? Do they have any indication that there might be more, or enough components ready to build more?
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Post by Wolery » Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:04 am

I'm not sure. In one scenario they have enough material to build three more nukes, but Heisenburg thinks tey need a lot more UR than they do. In another they are still six months away from the bomb. The bomb they do have is captured from the Americans: the plane was shot down going to Dresden.

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Post by Tom Houlihan » Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:47 am

How well can they "play poker?" :shock: If they can convince the Allies they have 3-5, and a couple of functioning Condors, well...
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Post by Wolery » Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:27 am

Oh, General Weaver didn't die in this TL, so the Ural bombers were built. As well as more helicopters. There are helicopters in this story as I imagine it, lots of them, but they are the hisotrical models (except maybe a US transport heli), but put into mass production.

But theoretically, yes the Germans can reach the East coast. My hero, a fictional General named Wilhelm Becker can't play poker to save his life. Constantine von Nuemath on the other hand...

See the idea is that Becker is a good commander but he prospers because he has good people surrounding him (Manstien, Nebe, etc).

Becker essentially offeres the Allies everything except Germany's 1914 borders (with Alsance Loraine as a barganing chip he knows he has to give up) plus Austria and Sudatneland (to protect the German population there.) In return the Soviets must return to their 1923 borders with no Red Army occupation outside. And Italy gets her colonies minus Eithopia back. Now this doesn't all happen, but those are his terms. He won't give up Germany's "rightful borders" though.

I understand that all generals are policians but Becker is more a technocrat.

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:47 am

Removing the Nazis from power wouldn't matter at all - the beliefs of the Nazi party would be all through any possible successor government, though it would probably be the Army. Except the German Army couldn't bluff or play poker to save their lives IF they were sitting on top of a secret like that, they'd USE the bomb - on the EASTERN Front...

...and say, hey look at what WE can do! Let's be friends. ANY possible treaty after any Armistice would take a number of months to negotiate - and the Americans and British would be negotiating from a position of nodding and winking and KNOWING about Manhattan....

ANY treaty negotiation would be torn up and begin AGAIN on July 16th, after Alamagordo....

Or just fall into abeyance until the SECOND Atomic Sun rises - this time over Berlin. After which the SURVIVING German government members would be shown Oak Ridge and Hanford - and it would be back to Unconditional Surrender.

it would mean a VERY different map after a final settlement- Germany would be geographically divided into exactly the three (later four) Zones agreed at various Bug Four conferences, and there would be a WHOLE extra set of defendants at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, this time including first and unprovoked use of the Atomic Bomb against the Russians.

BUT

P.S. Heisenberg is out of the equation by September 1941. Although he confirmed to Nils Bohr that he was working on a uranium weapon at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for the Heerswaffenampt, the scant technical details he passed over convinced Bohr that he didn't have the first clue about building a bomb. He spent the rest of the war trying to design up a stable nuclear reaction. A MUCH more pratical approach was Kurt Deibner's attempts to construct an enrichened Uranium device, also for the Heerswaffenampt, but THIS also stalled due to a lack of resources - including the uranium! LOL

SO if you're looking at a Europe with Germany intact after a forced nuclear peace - roll the map back towards 1941-42....by April 1945 it would be ALL bluff.
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:57 am

Wolery, you have to factor something into your scenario - the German Atomic Bomb projects were the subject of the HUGEST Allied espionage project EVER mounted. While all sides developed the Bomb, the Allies ALSO monitored what the Germans were doing, every scrap of evidence available.The British inteligence operation reported to the MAUD Committee, a cross-Services and parliamentary committee that was almost as secret at Ultra. This was set up in the earliest days of the war NOT just to push development of the Bomb, but more importantly to monitor German progress and where possible both hinder it AND establish countermeasures.

Hence it was the MAUD Committee that was the ultimate authority behind events like the telemark operations, and MI6 contacting Nils Bohr. They knew Neisenberg was going to see him before BOHR did LOL It was also the MAUD Committee that first sanctioned the construction of the Deep Shelters under London....and THEN cancelled them as they decided that they just wouldn't work!

My point is - JUST like Stalin at Potsdam knowing all about Manhattan and not being wowed by Truman and Marshall...the Allies would be sitting down with the Germans and KNOW in your scenario that they only had ONE bomb.... :wink:

In THAT scenario, then I think Uncle Joe would be amenable to persuasion to create a big enough tactical target that the new german government would HAVE to use it to stop a Russian offensive somewhere....

Thus an even playing field again, and four months later the Allies show the Germans the toys THEY have....
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Post by Wolery » Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:52 pm

Alright I'll lay out my vision of events and we'll see where the rabbit hole takes us:
phylo_roadking wrote:Removing the Nazis from power wouldn't matter at all - the beliefs of the Nazi party would be all through any possible successor government, though it would probably be the Army. Except the German Army couldn't bluff or play poker to save their lives IF they were sitting on top of a secret like that, they'd USE the bomb - on the EASTERN Front...
They do. Once. On Stalin's dacha. Stalin, is vaporized. Along with Zhukov and Konev. The East Front in this TL has been nothing but a disaster for the Russians. Stalingrad was relived, Manstein bled the Reds white, the attack on Army Group Center and South were routed totaly. Not to say the Germans are close to victory, but the Red Army is even more exhausted than in our time line (OTL) Combined with the death of Stalin, this forces the Red Army into a breif civl war with the NKVD over leadership. Becker makes peace under those circumstances.
phylo_roadking wrote: ...and say, hey look at what WE can do! Let's be friends. ANY possible treaty after any Armistice would take a number of months to negotiate - and the Americans and British would be negotiating from a position of nodding and winking and KNOWING about Manhattan....

ANY treaty negotiation would be torn up and begin AGAIN on July 16th, after Alamagordo....

Or just fall into abeyance until the SECOND Atomic Sun rises - this time over Berlin. After which the SURVIVING German government members would be shown Oak Ridge and Hanford - and it would be back to Unconditional Surrender.
Ah, but the Allies did try that. Like in Japan they bypassed the capital (to leave someone alive to surrender) and tried to nuke Dresden. This bomber was shot down, and it's nuke recovered (the crew sabotaged the nuke to save their own skin so it didn't go off as they crahsh landed. The one nuke is an American one.
phylo_roadking wrote: it would mean a VERY different map after a final settlement- Germany would be geographically divided into exactly the three (later four) Zones agreed at various Bug Four conferences, and there would be a WHOLE extra set of defendants at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, this time including first and unprovoked use of the Atomic Bomb against the Russians.
The Americans were already intent on using nukes on Japan. Nothing except a Jap bomb would have detered them.
phylo_roadking wrote: P.S. Heisenberg is out of the equation by September 1941. Although he confirmed to Nils Bohr that he was working on a uranium weapon at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for the Heerswaffenampt, the scant technical details he passed over convinced Bohr that he didn't have the first clue about building a bomb. He spent the rest of the war trying to design up a stable nuclear reaction. A MUCH more pratical approach was Kurt Deibner's attempts to construct an enrichened Uranium device, also for the Heerswaffenampt, but THIS also stalled due to a lack of resources - including the uranium! LOL
In this world Hitler starts the atomic program in 1939, on the advice of Wilhelm Becker who views such a weapon as an insurance policy too good to pass up even if it turns out to be impossible in reality.
phylo_roadking wrote: SO if you're looking at a Europe with Germany intact after a forced nuclear peace - roll the map back towards 1941-42....by April 1945 it would be ALL bluff.


Well as you can see from the map, it is a different WWII, or rather, many of the important battles went differently. As of April the Germans are getting their second wind and beating the hell out of the Allies and Soviets, but it's like the Michael offensive of 1918; it's strength is precarious.

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:25 pm

it would mean a VERY different map after a final settlement- Germany would be geographically divided into exactly the three (later four) Zones agreed at various Big Four conferences, and there would be a WHOLE extra set of defendants at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, this time including first and unprovoked use of the Atomic Bomb against the Russians.

The Americans were already intent on using nukes on Japan. Nothing except a Jap bomb would have detered them.
No they weren't. In real life the Atom Bomb was ONLY for use against Nazi Germany. Except by the last 18 months of the war - once it became obvious how LONG development would take (there were several MAJOR holdups in relatime) it had become obvious to all that Germany would be defeated without it. Unfortunately by THEN, the really major and high-casualty operations in the Pacific, eventually finishing with Okinawa, showed the Americans that they could expect casualties of anything from ONE MILLION to ONE and a HALF million in invading the Home Islands...but they had the ultimate forcing-surrender weapon on the horizon.
They do. Once. On Stalin's dacha. Stalin, is vaporized. Along with Zhukov and Konev
The German Army or any other successor government would not use their one bomb on that sort of a target. A military government wouldnt even think of it. They'd use it as an umbrella to cover an offensive somewhere, draw the rump Red Army into a narrow location somewhere...THEN use it! The Germans never considered ANY of their weapons as a forced-surrender weapon - even the V-weapons were expected to have to do all their damage first before the British would negotiate. THIS is what the Blitz taught them.

And NOT Dresden. If you do Dresden, or even atempt to - you've committed yourself to dealing with forced governmental changes in the UK and USA. No way would the existing governments survive trying to bomb a civilian target once it was known about. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were primarily industrial and naval-military targets that happened to have an entirely comensurate civilian population around them.
In this world Hitler starts the atomic program in 1939
ALL the nations' atomic programmes started in 1939/40 or earlier, after that damn scientific journal article LOL. Whether programmes to build one or to stop the other guy building one. In America it was a group of scientists who had done preliminary theoretical work on this themselves who went to FDR.
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Post by Wolery » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:42 pm

Nukes ONLY for Nazi Germany? I find that a little hard to swallow. A bomb is a bomb is a bomb and it would have been just as useful against the Japanese. Plus it has been reported that Lesilie Groves, on several occassions, told the scientists under his commond the goal was Japn, Japan, Japan.

As for Dresden, if that were the case, then Dresden would never have been bombed in THIS world either. But it was. Churchill and Roosevelt happily bombed a civilian target to pieces. For me that's war, but we did do it.

As for nuking Stalin, Becker would it. Why? Because in 363 the Romans under Julian the Apostate were kicking the CRAP out of the Persians. Upon his death, their was a succession crisis and the Roman armies slinked back to Constantinople empty handed. More recently, the death of Elizabeth of Russia saved Frederick the Great's bacon in the Seven Years War. To hit the political leadership to cause civil strife is in Becker's mind better than nuking an army of young boys. And in any case, the thought killing Stalin just makes him (and me) feel good. Becker understands that the war cannot be won, the best the Germans can hope for is a just peace.

Regards.

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:47 pm

Yes, nukes only for Nazi Germany until 1943-44. Thats when the Big Three KNEW Germany was going to be destroyed by conventional means. Even in Spring 1945 there was no guaranteed the uranium bomb would explode, hence the Trinity test firing. The plutonium bomb was something else. Throughout the planning for the invasion of Japan"other means" were thought of to reduce the American death toll, including soaking the landing beaches wioth poison gas, and any concentrations of resistance inland.

Then - of course - there was the WHOLE question of whether the eventual use of the Bomb WOULD actually force the Japanese to surrender! It could JUST as easily forced them into a suicidal defence of the Home Islands...and this is after all what the officers that stormed the Imperial Palace between Hiroshima and Nagasaki to stop the Emperor broadcasting wanted to do! IF the US government hadn't received a new round of feelers from the new cabinet about conditional surrender, indicating at last that the Japanese were on the verge of considering SOME other end to the war than ultimate victory or suicidal defeat LOL then its very likely the Bomb wouldn't have been used; why betray the existence of your greatest weapon IF you even thought it wouldn't have the effect you want??? Keep it for the right circumstances....which were entirely political and suddenly manifested themselves in Spring and Summer 1945.

The Bomb wasn't necessarily thought of initially as an "offensive weapon" it was thought more along the lines of the use of poison gas in reality in WWII "If WE have it the OTHER guy wont dare use it EITHER", hence the "race" to develop it first, and constantly know how the other guy was getting on. The Americans and British were so paranoid about Heisenberg its amazing, and if he hadn't made his really significant theoretical mistakes early in the war...yes he if anyone in Germany COULD have designed and built a bomb, working virtually single-handed compared to the HUGE resources the Americans diverted into Manhattan. Anything he said to another person that could ever be found out about was analysed; every word published by him and his students - and yes, scientific publishing STILL went on, even during the war!!! - was got out of Germany via Switzerland. Hence the Bohr operation.
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Post by Wolery » Tue Jun 12, 2007 3:59 pm

Alright, I get you. But let's assume then that the Reich has between one and four nukes in a nuclear standoff with the West. Would that be enough, combined with a stalemate at the front to goad the Allies into peace talks.

The situation is essentially this: Germnay cannot win the war. In that sense Allied vicotry is only a matter of time. However,the Soviet leadership is desperate to launch Operation Tempest to secure Asia for socialism and the loss of Allied life to conquer Germany will be utterly horrific without the bomb, and may result in the destruction of the East Coast. The term that comes to mind is Pyrric vicotry. If the Nazis still controlled the German govenerment I could see a fight to the death, but with Hitler dead and the Nazis scattered, I see the possibility of peace.

Do you concur or not?

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:12 pm

No, the Americans would go for it. Fight, I mean. Take their lumps, and ride the blast wave. Then four months later eradicate continental Europe as best they could.

IF your successor government has one AMERICAN BOMB, then at most youre talking ONE city...when the US Government knew by January 1st 1946 they would have I think the number is fifteen.

IF the Germans had more than one, then you're postulating domestic production of a German Bomb as well, and there's no way they could produce three or four, maybe TWO of their own AT MOST. They just didn't have the uranium.

BUT and this is a VERY important BUT - IF the Germans had produced their own bomb, every step of the way would have been known about, and every step of the Manhattan Project would have been accompanied by practical steps to reduce damage to the US - proper Civil Defence methods, proper use of air and sea defences to protect against deliver systems etc. AND if there had been even the slightest hint that Heisenberg or Deibner had been on the right track....bang.

No, the Americans would bluff it out until they had their own bomb, and you're only talking four more months.

Its a LOT more likely they'd use it on LONDON, as their favourite ally.... :wink: Easier to get at, more chance of successful delivery.

(There WAS actually an OSS operation to kill Heisenberg. I didn't know about it until some years ago when I saqw a TV interview with the agent tasked to it. Heisenberg at one point travelled to a conference in Switzerland, and this was known about in the West ahead of schedule. The agent was given a through technical grounding in the subject, more than many non-scientific staff on Manhattan! He was under orders that if at ANY point Heisenberg started lecturing his audience in ANY way about a bomb or the problems or realities of building one, the agent was to shoot him...from the floor of the auditorium!!! As it transpired, nothing was said, and the agent sat through the lecture, dumped his pistol on the way out, and Heisenberg lived.)
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Post by Wolery » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:35 pm

Why would the Americans fight to the death against a stridently anti-Nazi german government when said govenment can and will give them everything they want except unconditional surrender?

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue Jun 12, 2007 4:58 pm

Why shouldn't they??? Fighting to the death - nope, your scenario means taking only or at most a couple city-sized hits on the American Eastern Seaboard. That would NOT have had the effect on the American psyche that Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on the exhausted Japanese. The US would have been baying for blood - at the end of the year they'd have nuked Germany til it glowed then shot the survivors in the dark! This is a nation who brought firestorms with low-level precision bombing to paper houses as soon as they were able to, in revenge for Pearl harbour. Imagine their revenge for a New York??? Am tempted to say Einstein would have had his Stone Age...in just ONE particular country in Central Europe....and the US would have put the Germans right back in it VERY intentionally after that. Have you not noticed, you just can't over-awe the US like that?

And remember - Germany DID suffer the effects of atomic warfare! In "Beneath the City Streets" Duncan Campbell studied the history of British civil defence - primarily aimed in the first few years of the war against a German BOMB - but started with an analysis of the degree of damage done to Germany by the Bombing Offensive of WWII. In terms of damage - miles of railway and rolling stock destroyed or made useless, factories destroyed, power supplies interrupted, fresh water supplies interrupted, houses and other buildings made uninhabitable, and finally burn and other blast victims requiring medium- to long-term nursing....Germany DID receive the equivalent damage and devastation of around a dozen Hiroshima-sized bombs...the ONLY effect that wasn't know about until July and August 1945 was the side-effect of radiation....
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