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US Liberates Britain, 1944

ChrisNuttall

Active member
This idea was mentioned in the ‘general discussion’ thread. I started to think about it.

US Liberates Britain, 1944



Basic Concept




Britain was successfully invaded by the Nazis in 1940, with the remnants of the Royal Navy and the British Government fleeing across the Atlantic to Canada, but this didn’t bring an end to WW2. While Italy and Japan sought to snatch up isolated and suddenly vulnerable parts of the British Empire, along with smaller countries like Spain, Turkey and Iran, Hitler struck east in early 1941 (early than OTL, as Italy didn’t invade Greece in this timeline) and found himself bogged down in a nightmarish war against Russia. Hitler did take Moscow, thanks to the earlier start, but managed to lose it again as the Russians counterattacked in early 1942. The war seesawed back and forth since then, with neither side gaining a decisive advantage.



Much to Hitler’s chagrin, the US entered the war in 1942 as a naval clash between the USN and the Japanese Navy turned into a major conflict ... and US defeat, as the Japanese aircraft sunk the US battleships more or less effortlessly. Hitler, still convinced the US was a paper tiger, was quick to declare war on the United States, a major blunder as the US was rearming quickly (faster than OTL, as lend-lease wasn’t sent to Britain or Russia) and managed to defeat a Japanese invasion of Australia in late 1942. The US is also arming the ‘Free British,’ as well as a dizzying array of Indian factions who claim to remain loyal to the Raj, but are - to all intends and purposes - effectively independent.



The US knows it has to carry the war into the lair of the fascist beast. It isn’t going to be easy. Iceland is a US base and heavily defended, but Ireland is effectively neutral (the Irish would prefer to side with the US, but the Germans are closer) and there aren’t many other options. FDR, who needs a major victory (as well as airbases close enough to the Reich to eventually drop the a-bomb), has authorised the US to prepare for Operation Washington, the liberation of Britain.



Points to Ponder



What would have happened to the remnants of the Royal Navy, RAF and army in this timeline. The navy would have been able to retreat to Canada or Gibraltar, although it is unclear how long the bases would have been able to sustain the fleet without supplies from the homeland. The army would have lost much of its heavy material - how much manpower could be pulled out in time and how many men would actually want to go?

What would ‘Vichy Britain’ look like? Oswald Mosley is the traditional British Petain (he insisted he would refuse the dishonour, if asked, but that was after the war was over and everyone knew the Nazis would lose). How much of Hitler’s madcap plans for stripping Britain bare would actually be put into operation? How many people would collaborate, because they saw no other choice; how many people would do their level best to resist, hide the vulnerable, fight back?

How much of the British Empire would remain loyal? Spain would probably be able to take Gibraltar very quickly. Italy would be able to snatch Malta - Egypt might be a harder target in the short term, although an Egyptian revolt in the rear might lead to disaster and fights between Jewish and Palestinian factions in Palestine. Turkey would take advantage of the chaos to snatch northern Iraq; Russia might invade Iran; Japan might target the East Indies and Singapore (at the very least, they’d be able to stop supplies making their way into China.) India would be harder for anyone to invade, at least in the short term, but British weakness would probably lead to a major power transfer (the best outcome) or complete chaos (the worst). Dominions like Canada, New Zealand and Australia would be thrown back on their own resources and probably get much closer to the US.

How would the German-Russian War go in this timeline? An earlier start might let Hitler get to Moscow before winter, and a shortage of lend-lease would definitely weaken the Russians, but there were just too many other problems with Barbarossa for them to be fixed quickly. The Germans would snatch vast swathes of territory, even if they managed to keep Moscow, but they’d find it hard to keep their conquests long enough to exploit them. That said, they’d probably be able to draw on more manpower from Italy and Spain if the former wasn’t fighting in North Africa on quite the same scale.

How would the US develop in this timeline. Germany would look a lot scarier - Japan too, if the first battles are more one-sided than OTL. (And Japan wouldn’t have looked to have launched a surprise attack too, possibly impacting the US’s response.) That said, America is still staggeringly powerful and, once its people start getting experience, they will get more capable very quickly.

Ireland would probably snatch Northern Ireland as quickly as possible, perhaps under the guise of keeping the Nazis out. The locals won’t like it - the Irish might try to keep British troops in place, but this would be politically difficult and likely to upset the Germans. Ireland would probably prefer to side with America, when push came to shove, but the Germans are much closer. Will this change?

Getting the US army to Britain will be difficult. Landing will be harder. If Ireland is a base, a landing in Liverpool might make sense (port facilities); if not, what about Glasgow (quite some distance from Europe) or Plymouth?

The USN could run a diversionary operation, perhaps claiming the troops are going to North Africa rather than the UK.



Thoughts?
 

ShortsBelfast

Well-known member
NI would, given the attitudes and demographics of the time, have preferred the Nazis to de Valera and what you would have seen would have been a Utashe-lite collaborationist regime in Stormont under either Dawson Bates or Bill Allen.
 

History Learner

Active member
How much of the British Empire would remain loyal? Spain would probably be able to take Gibraltar very quickly. Italy would be able to snatch Malta - Egypt might be a harder target in the short term, although an Egyptian revolt in the rear might lead to disaster and fights between Jewish and Palestinian factions in Palestine. Turkey would take advantage of the chaos to snatch northern Iraq; Russia might invade Iran; Japan might target the East Indies and Singapore (at the very least, they’d be able to stop supplies making their way into China.) India would be harder for anyone to invade, at least in the short term, but British weakness would probably lead to a major power transfer (the best outcome) or complete chaos (the worst). Dominions like Canada, New Zealand and Australia would be thrown back on their own resources and probably get much closer to the US.

How would the German-Russian War go in this timeline? An earlier start might let Hitler get to Moscow before winter, and a shortage of lend-lease would definitely weaken the Russians, but there were just too many other problems with Barbarossa for them to be fixed quickly. The Germans would snatch vast swathes of territory, even if they managed to keep Moscow, but they’d find it hard to keep their conquests long enough to exploit them. That said, they’d probably be able to draw on more manpower from Italy and Spain if the former wasn’t fighting in North Africa on quite the same scale.
To quote from Western Aid for the Soviet Union During World War II: Part II by Denis Havlat:

During World War II the Soviet Union received large amounts of aid from the Western world in the form of supplies and military intervention, both of which were declared to have been irrelevant for the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany by Soviet historians. This article examines the claim made by Soviet historiography, and it comes to the conclusion that both Western supplies and military intervention were far more helpful than claimed by the Soviets. Without this aid the Red Army would not have been able to perform as well as it did historically, tilting the balance in Germany’s favor. Soviet claims about the irrelevance of Western aid can thus be dismissed as propaganda and inaccurate.​

Further:

Overall, the Western Allies were responsible only for a small fraction of the losses sustained by German infantry and armor between 1941 and 1943 (around 10 percent); however, their contribution in the destruction and occupation of the Luftwaffe was overwhelming. The same applies to their contribution in forcing the Germans to leave most heavy artillery in the Reich as anti-aircraft weapons, preventing them from being used as anti-tank weapons in the East. Without Allied military intervention, the Germans could have sent at least 2,000 additional tanks, some 5,000 additional 88 mm anti-aircraft guns, around 15,000 additional aircraft, tens of thousands of additional motor vehicles, and up to half a million additional soldiers to the Eastern Front in the years 1941–1943, which would have shifted the balance in their favor.

Finally:

Without the need to fight in the Atlantic; to transport large amounts of troops, equipment, and supplies across the entire continent; and the necessity to defend against Allied bombing, Germany could have massively reduced its U-boat, locomotive, and anti-aircraft gun and ammunition production and converted at least part of these capacities into the production of more aircraft and equipment for land warfare. Additionally, without bombing, and the need to maintain a large enough army to fight on several fronts, there would have been less need to use forced labor in the factories, thus boosting production. Historically, Germany already outproduced the USSR in certain areas like locomotives, trucks, and even bombers, with 12,664 produced by Germany in the years 1941–1943 as compared to 11,359 built by the USSR.170 Without Allied intervention and Lend-Lease, Soviet margins in these areas would most likely have widened, while margins in areas such as tanks would have shrunk significantly. If Germany and its industry could have concentrated on one single front from 1941 onwards, it most likely would have vastly changed the outcome of the war in the East.

If 1941 isn't the death blow for the USSR, 1942 likely would be. Even OTL, the Soviets were on their last leg and were only sustained by the increasing impact of the Anglo-Americans on the course of the war. To quote from The State of the Red Army in June 1942:

The Red Army is often portrayed as overwhelmingly powerful in 1942; for quantitative reasons as much as anything else. In reality it was numerically far weaker than it had been in June of 1941. For instance, in spite of concentrating production on key weapons systems like tanks, aircraft and artillery and mortars the Red Army's stocks hadn't come anywhere close to pre-war levels. In June of 1941 the Red Army had 22,600 tanks on its books. In May of 1942 this total had fallen to 9,325 such machines. Aircraft had dropped from 20,000 to 14,967. Artillery and mortar stocks were down from 112,800 to 107,795 on the eve of the 1942 German summer campaign. Moreover, the increased focus on tank, artillery, and aircraft production that had even enabled the Red Army to maintain such those numbers came at the expense of other very important items - not least of which being truck production.​
In 1941 the Soviet economy produced 118,704 trucks; a number that hadn't come close to meeting the Red Army's needs. Then truck output collapsed in 1942, with only 32,409 such vehicles manufactured in the entire year. This meant the Red Army's long-standing problems in coordinating the disparate combat arms only worsened as the increased flow of tanks was not matched by motorized infantry and artillery. This lack of trucks thus greatly hindered the Red Army's ability to go on the offensive. Not only couldn't the prime mover starved artillery keep up with Soviet armor once the battlefield became mobile (at least the infantry could ride on tanks - though at dreadful cost as they entered the battlefield), but each mile removed from railheads meant needed fuel, munitions, and other such critical supplies failed to reach the front. Though the 1942 era Red Army would launch aggressive offensives and counteroffensives at a dizzying pace; few of them had the logistical legs to truly threaten to take away the German hold on the initiative.​
Spare parts shorfalls also greatly inhibited the Red Army's combat efficiency. For instance, the VVS had 14,967 planes on its books in May of 1942. However, a third of these aircraft, 4,938, were immobilized by a lack of spare parts. Moreover, the Soviet economy cranked out 1,990 T-34's and 730 KV-1's in the first quarter of 1942. Regardless, the Red Army reported in April of 1942 that 1,989 of its tanks were inoperable (including 667 T-34's and 410 KV-series tanks) - all due to spare parts shortages.​

With the USSR taken out, the Germans are basically secure from any real threat, as the Americans lack the means to get at them and the Germans have the resource base to keep it that way.

More important, however, is the fact the Manhattan Project has been crippled. Until Mid-1941, the U.S. was not focused on atomic weapons but actually energy as a means of submarine propulsion; it took Mark Oliphant going to America and convincing his counterparts to focus on the bomb along with the MAUD report to change that. Here, the MAUD report isn't in American hands; it's in German. Even worse, the Tube Alloys Project is likewise in German hands as is the UK's supply and means of production of anthrax. Not only have the Germans jumped dramatically ahead of the United States in the nuclear race (a Bomb is likely by 1946, if not 1945), they also have secured a major advantage in chemical and biological weapons tech they can use without realistic counter. Americans landing in the UK? Drop Tabun on them. Soviets trying to cross the A-A Line? Make a biological DMZ via anthrax.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
The MAUD report likely ends up in American hands because the British government has it & its people like Oliphant - and a lot of similar stuff - taken right out of the country with the King when it's clear the Nazis are going to win. Can see a problem if enough is left behind/not shredded and the Germans nab it, ala the space programmes. Actually I can see the threat of the Germans nabbing anything spurring America, "no way do we want HIM able to wipe out one of our cities with one bomb".

The rolling up of the Soviets seems inevitable without aid; is America likely to grant it like they did OTL? I can see them belatedly doing it on grounds of that being the only thing keeping German forces tied down.

Evil thought occurs: America can't easily invade Britain from Iceland, it's obvious that any movement from Iceland is going to Britain, so what if they go for Ireland first? Especially if there's a collaborationist regime in Northern Ireland as your justification, "we're removing the threat to Dublin". Any movement towards Ireland is subject to a disinfo campaign to make the Germans think there's a diversionary attack there or those dumb-dumb Americans actually think we'll fall for this "Lol It's Ireland Really" campaign, why look at this dead staff officer found floating with papers that's such an obvious fraud. And then from Ireland, there's various targets in range.
 
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