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A surviving East Germany - People's War

Coiler

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So not many TL exist that i know of where East Germany surviving a bit longer than OTL
I'd say part of it is that in plausibility terms, East Germany is completely doomed in any setting with the slightest hardness by 1991. But I've been too hard on its authors TLs in the past (I very foolishly called them the worst WW3s ever when, especially with hindsight, they aren't-not by a long shot when Dragon's Fury and NDCR Part II exist). And I like different opponents. So I'll definitely let that part slide. Another and arguably bigger reason is well, I just don't think East Germany is (and I know people will disagree with me) that interesting. The other WP minors at least had a shell of a past identity around them, but the GDR comes across as being [even more of] a totally artificial puppet chunk of land.
 

Coiler

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Is that a good think ore bad think.
Depends on your opinion. This sort of TL I've found extremely hard to do a real, proper, good critique of. I wanted to do a more sympathetic and evenhanded critique of the same author's WW3 TLs on Fuldapocalypse (to make up for my past inappropriate snarling), but all I could really come up with was "it's just basically Hackett fanfic. Not the best, but definitely not the worst." Exposition-only TLs have the problem in that the easiest critiques are either small technical nitpicks or fundamental opposition to the premise, neither of which is the most fun or helpful.

I definitely do not want to say "this is bad, don't do this". I do not want to discourage anyone from doing their creative efforts as they see fit.

But... I just still don't really think Hackett-style pure exposition works that well for softer settings like this. Yes, a conventional Fuldapocalypse is in many ways an implausible soft setting itself, but it's one where tons of documentation, plans, and simulations exist. The difference between that and a more inherently contrived 1990s-style thriller with a different opponent and a range of "threat balancers[1]" is big, IMO. It's like having the Germans go ahead with Sea Lion in ideal-for-them conditions (ideally good weather, ideally good supply flow management, ideally little British opposition in the first wave), compared to having them build Hitler-mechs, megawings, and space stations before invading Canada.

One has an actual "foundation", and the other doesn't. And if you're just recounting events, all the plausibility issues of the latter will be more prevalent than if you're starting in Ottawa in a normal book as the Weltraumjagers jump in. That TL is considerably less extreme than that wunderwaffe example and I can see why people would like it, but it still just doesn't really fit right to me personally.

[1]If you just downscale the scope, write it as a conventional narrative, and are willing to kill off characters, you don't need "threat balancers" for what was considered the best non-Soviet Warsaw Pact army. It's still plenty a threat to the individual personnel.
 

lordroel

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Depends on your opinion. This sort of TL I've found extremely hard to do a real, proper, good critique of. I wanted to do a more sympathetic and evenhanded critique of the same author's WW3 TLs on Fuldapocalypse (to make up for my past inappropriate snarling), but all I could really come up with was "it's just basically Hackett fanfic. Not the best, but definitely not the worst." Exposition-only TLs have the problem in that the easiest critiques are either small technical nitpicks or fundamental opposition to the premise, neither of which is the most fun or helpful.
That is a interesting point, so a Hackett fanfic is information and no depth to the story ore am i reading it wrong.
 

Coiler

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My review of the TL so far is up.

The analogy of "manual research" in sports gambling (ie, you look at the pitching stats on Baseball Reference, see the game is between two iffy starters in hitter-friendly Coors Field, and then bet the over, or see that's Sandy Koufax vs. Bob Gibson in 1960s Dodger Stadium and bet the under) fit well for describing TLs like this.

Especially the part about how manual research doesn't really work for handicap betting between two lopsided sides (IE, Germany vs. San Marino) because all it tells you is the obvious "The favorite will almost certainly win by a lot". But will they likely win by enough to cover? For conflicts like this, a post-1991 Second Korean War with no external intervention on the side of the north, or something similar that's told in a TL-style way, I saw the similarities.
 

lordroel

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My review of the TL so far is up.

The analogy of "manual research" in sports gambling (ie, you look at the pitching stats on Baseball Reference, see the game is between two iffy starters in hitter-friendly Coors Field, and then bet the over, or see that's Sandy Koufax vs. Bob Gibson in 1960s Dodger Stadium and bet the under) fit well for describing TLs like this.

Especially the part about how manual research doesn't really work for handicap betting between two lopsided sides (IE, Germany vs. San Marino) because all it tells you is the obvious "The favorite will almost certainly win by a lot". But will they likely win by enough to cover? For conflicts like this, a post-1991 Second Korean War with no external intervention on the side of the north, or something similar that's told in a TL-style way, I saw the similarities.
Read it and retweeted your tweet which is in the top 5 of most liked tweets i have ever made on that account.
 

Coiler

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Read it and retweeted your tweet which is in the top 5 of most liked tweets i have ever made on that account.
Thanks. While it's a mostly negative review, I'm trying to be fair and not be a bully or a troll. I always like to point out that I learned of Jon Land, one of my favorite authors, from a highly critical review of one of his books.
 

lordroel

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Thanks. While it's a mostly negative review, I'm trying to be fair and not be a bully or a troll. I always like to point out that I learned of Jon Land, one of my favorite authors, from a highly critical review of one of his books.
Seem my bribe i sent you by Pigeon post did not arrive then.
 

Coiler

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Update 34 has this:

Three nights of bombing had cost the Coalition. Including a few aircraft lost on the ground to East German ballistic missile attacks, plus accidents, there were eighty-one aircraft destroyed. Almost sixty had been hit by SAMs to see their destruction including a few struck when in West German skies too.
That's already about twice the entire losses of the OTL Gulf War. And well, it feels just a little off, but there really isn't a precedent that you could use to examine something like that. It's not like any historical conflict, and it's not a Fuldapocalypse where 81 aircraft in three days is being ultra-generous. It's "Asymmetrical regional war but the OPFOR has some more modern equipment." It's also where simming/wargaming it doesn't produce a clear answer-it'd be at the upper end, but I can see it happening if the right/wrong things all happened.

I'm kind of flipping and flopping on "is this right"?

Yes, sims can show that it can happen (package of older aircraft flies into the wrong spot is one example), but another possible outcome is all the SA-10s and 11s getting taken down without much more in the way of losses (SAM launchers are not magic anti-aircraft totems.) That many that quick feels a little off.

Yes, they're a more advanced and skilled opponent than OTL Iraq ever was, but are a few "double digit SAMs" and qualitative superiority really going to turn forty aircraft in a month into eighty in three days? Especially because, F-117 loss aside, the effect of better Serbian crews in OTL was mostly just in surviving and deterring ground attacks (which is important!), not in causing NATO wrecks to pile up.

So yeah, it's an interesting thing to look at, especially because there isn't really a right or wrong answer. If it was considerably fewer aircraft than the OTL Gulf War, it'd be too few. If it was hundreds and the air campaign stood a chance of legitimately "losing", it'd be too many. Here it's in this "middling" spot.
 

lordroel

Well-known member
Update 34 has this:



That's already about twice the entire losses of the OTL Gulf War. And well, it feels just a little off, but there really isn't a precedent that you could use to examine something like that. It's not like any historical conflict, and it's not a Fuldapocalypse where 81 aircraft in three days is being ultra-generous. It's "Asymmetrical regional war but the OPFOR has some more modern equipment." It's also where simming/wargaming it doesn't produce a clear answer-it'd be at the upper end, but I can see it happening if the right/wrong things all happened.

I'm kind of flipping and flopping on "is this right"?

Yes, sims can show that it can happen (package of older aircraft flies into the wrong spot is one example), but another possible outcome is all the SA-10s and 11s getting taken down without much more in the way of losses (SAM launchers are not magic anti-aircraft totems.) That many that quick feels a little off.

Yes, they're a more advanced and skilled opponent than OTL Iraq ever was, but are a few "double digit SAMs" and qualitative superiority really going to turn forty aircraft in a month into eighty in three days? Especially because, F-117 loss aside, the effect of better Serbian crews in OTL was mostly just in surviving and deterring ground attacks (which is important!), not in causing NATO wrecks to pile up.

So yeah, it's an interesting thing to look at, especially because there isn't really a right or wrong answer. If it was considerably fewer aircraft than the OTL Gulf War, it'd be too few. If it was hundreds and the air campaign stood a chance of legitimately "losing", it'd be too many. Here it's in this "middling" spot.
Well unlike East Germany, Iraq had fought a war for 8 years with Iran, i think had that not been the case, the Coalition might have suffered more, i think.

Also East Germany had 40 years time to prepare for this type of war, okay they do not have the backing of the Soviet Union.
 

Coiler

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I just read the first couple of pages. I won't be reading any further, the lack of knowledge about the DDR's politics and economy is scary.
And the latest (as of this post) update has the Statsi head going full supervillain by having Margot Hoenecker killed in public and luring the Politburo into a sealed bunker before cutting off the oxygen so he can take control.
 

Coiler

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Also East Germany had 40 years time to prepare for this type of war, okay they do not have the backing of the Soviet Union.
Actually, they've had a far smaller amount of time than that. This is NATO's dream, and their nightmare.

From the western perspective, it's the same Soviet-style army they've always planned against. Only this time they have even more knowledge, actually have a giant advantage in numbers, especially if you count the limited amounts of East German forces that actually have higher technology.

Meanwhile, their opponent has gone from having its entire military be just a wing of GSFG and participating in westward charges to a necessarily defensive doctrine. From multiple directions. And going from the open support of a superpower to a mixture of autarky and whatever they can sneak in. Under the most generous estimate, they barely have the strength to do a doctrinal linear+tank reserve defense in just the west. And that's with a shortened line that writes off the IGB regions and their twisting, front-lengthening salients in a country that really isn't that big.

The alternative is a mobile defense-against an opponent with varying degrees of air control from "a lot" to "total", and with equipment that should by any means have horrible readiness rates. In a country with a lot of comparably good roads that favors a superior attacker.
 

Creekmench

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Actually, they've had a far smaller amount of time than that. This is NATO's dream, and their nightmare.

From the western perspective, it's the same Soviet-style army they've always planned against. Only this time they have even more knowledge, actually have a giant advantage in numbers, especially if you count the limited amounts of East German forces that actually have higher technology.

Meanwhile, their opponent has gone from having its entire military be just a wing of GSFG and participating in westward charges to a necessarily defensive doctrine. From multiple directions. And going from the open support of a superpower to a mixture of autarky and whatever they can sneak in. Under the most generous estimate, they barely have the strength to do a doctrinal linear+tank reserve defense in just the west. And that's with a shortened line that writes off the IGB regions and their twisting, front-lengthening salients in a country that really isn't that big.

The alternative is a mobile defense-against an opponent with varying degrees of air control from "a lot" to "total", and with equipment that should by any means have horrible readiness rates. In a country with a lot of comparably good roads that favors a superior attacker.
So, it's a turkey shoot with the east Germans as suicidal.
 

Coiler

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So, it's a turkey shoot with the east Germans as suicidal.
I'd say calling it a turkey shoot is a little too harsh. The term I've come up with is "Hard Mode Gulf War", where they can put up a much better fight (and inflict a lot more losses) than the Iraqis but the strategic situation is the same never-in-doubt.

The biggest quibble I have in practice is the TL's format doesn't feel like it's suited for that. It can work for a small-scale story (Raven One, one of my favorite technothrillers ever, has that as its backdrop, which is basically irrelevant to the actual perspective we get). It can work for something exhaustively simmed/studied like Kirov or an actual wargame scenario. (I do find the concept of "what can an outmatched but capable opponent do" fascinating, and it has been done successfully).

This is just a de facto outline, and every "equalizer" thus sticks out even more. Oh, here's the West Germans as the Technothriller Weaselly Europeans. Here's Pres. Mario Cuomo as the Technothriller Foolhardy Politician launching Operation Allied Force .
 
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