• Hi Guest!

    The costs of running this forum are covered by Sea Lion Press. If you'd like to help support the company and the forum, visit patreon.com/sealionpress

What If Poland Stopped the Blitz? Part 1

Although it's been over ten years since I read @DaleCoz 's original of this on his website, I immediately thought of this essay in February when the Ukrainians were able to halt the Russians with sufficiently advanced anti-tank weapons. It was also a bit of an inspiration to me in how I wrote Look to the West Volume VIII, in which (unintentionally prophetically!) the feared "Tsar's Armart Legions" are similarly halted by mass use of anti-tank weapons.
Although it's been over ten years since I read @DaleCoz 's original of this on his website, I immediately thought of this essay in February when the Ukrainians were able to halt the Russians with sufficiently advanced anti-tank weapons.

The specific type of anti-tank weapon undoubtedly affects losses, but I'm still skeptical that improved AT weapons alone can shift a war. Especially given how WWII bazookas didn't actually destroy that many tanks.
Interesting stuff. The need for bazookas to happen early clashes for me with the more realistic changes (a guy lives, an IT project is delayed) so I can't see the whole scenario happening but it is winning me over to Germany taking longer to win, Stalin deciding to wait before moving, and Britain & France obliged to pull their thumbs out. All of that has a big impact on how the war goes, probably most notably that the war starts with the Nazis being seen as a formidable foe that can win rather than invincible bliztkreigers.
Even just mobilising further would be an interesting POD. If say they were a week further ahead on their mobilisation that would slow Germany down a fair bit, better weapons or nor.

Mobilizing further/more quickly and replacing the good weather IOTL with extra-bad weather would be an interesting thing to look at/simulate.
Adding on to the conversation regarding anti-tank weaponry, Poland already had a pretty solid portable anti-tank firearm in the form of the Karabin wz. 35 rifle, which had been introduced into service in limited quantities a few months before. Polish high command limited procurement, probably due to efforts to preserve the weapon's secrecy, but it was effective at piercing the Panzers of the day. While I can't offer a one-to-one comparison with the bazooka, and I doubt that it would also be a complete game-changer if widely procured on its own, I think it stands to reason that an existing weapon with a similar function can keep the rest of the scenario largely intact without that particular element.
Weren't Panzers pretty incidental to German success OTL? They were used in support of infantry forces and it was German airpower, artillery and weight of numbers against a shambolic Polish defense against a two front attack that decided the day. The Polish campaign was what made the Germans realize their doctrine was wrong and instead concentrate the panzers and give them operational freedom.
Also not sure a weapon could be issued in large numbers to frontline formations with any degree of secrecy, especially given the Poles were in the arms exporting business and also poor so whoever was building it would probably want to sell it. Seems a bit strange they would even be concerned about tanks given the Germans would have had very small numbers in service by the time the Poles started producing these weapons and the Poles also have anti tank guns and tanks of their own in decent numbers.

I get the idea is that instead of rolling ones the Poles roll sixes but tbh it just seems like too much is just divine intervention to make the TL happen.
One thing I always note about the invasion of Poland in 1939 is that while it was a short campaign, it did not employ tactics that would be later be described as Blitzkrieg. The German advance was little different to the kind of approach used in 1914. The Blitzkrieg would not be employed until the invasions of the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Even then, while Charles De Gaulle had written on such mobile warfare, the implementation by the Wehrmacht was more the result of disobedience by Guderian and Rommel than an overarching approach. If the the German plans had been adhered to, then we would probably not even speak of Blitzkrieg. The halt at Dunkirk was less out of step with them than it tends to appear if we assume the rushing ahead of Panzer Divisions had been the approach planned by the Germans from the outset.
One additional possible strategy: The Poles might have been better off leaving forces in Polish cities that the Germans were going to isolate, rather than trying to get them out. The German offensive moved too fast for the Poles to get their people out with heavy weapons and enough organization to fight on anything like equal terms, so several times the Poles pulled divisions out of strong defenses around cities, only to have them disintegrate in the retreat. A strategy of stockpiling food and weapons in urban areas and designating troops to stay behind would have at least forced the Germans to leave behind troops to contain the Poles, probably more troops than the Poles left behind because the Germans would have to maintain a seige around entire cities. The Poles probably couldn't pull off a resistance like the Ukrainians did at Mariupol, but if they could eventually force the Germans into city fighting, they could make the fight a lot more even. Of course that would mean a lot of Polish cities destroyed, but given what the Germans did to Polish civilians, that might have been a trade-off worth making.