Victorious German Arms

Sorry for pinching Scott’s title

Our POD is the Battle of Britain, where it was clear to all who were not blind that Germany lacked the military ability to project a force across the channel, or to strangle British shipping.  Let’s have Hitler (who was capable of being rational from time to time) declare total war and place Speer in charge as Minister for War Production.  He has authority over every factory, research lab and concentration camp.

As a quid pro quo, Himmler gets to expand the SS/Gestapo into a major internal security organisation, to deal with people who are grumbling over the ‘guns and more guns’ economy.  Goring gets effectively ‘promoted’ to field marshal and stripped of most of his military responsibilities.

Speer begins work at once.  Mass production starts of the Panzer IV and designs for a replacement are begun.  Instead of many different designs, one single design will be used and deployed.  Bismarck and Tirpitz scrapped and their resources put into submarines.  The inhabitants of the concentration camps, instead of being gassed, will be forced to work in farms and factories.  Much better use of German women in the war industries.  Some resources put into nuclear development, but German progress is slow. 

Goring is converted into Hitler’s special emissary to Rome.  Offers to help Mussolini, as in OTL, but with a price.  The German economy gets to control parts of the Italian war economy (they could hardly make it worse and might well improve it) and Italy becomes firmly subordinated to the Germans.  Rommel still does his thing in Libya with his shoestring of resources.

Major Difference 1:  There is no Italian or German invasion of Greece.  The Greeks are threatened with an invasion, unless they cooperate, and they cave in.  Same for Yugoslavia, whose king also cooperates.  Unwanted minorities get fed into the German economic machine.  Along the same lines, the Germans work harder to exploit Vichy France, pulling French workers into their economy.  They are treated fairly well.

There is no battle of Crete.  Instead, there is a battle of Malta, as General Student lands on it with gliders.  After a long bitter battle, Malta falls to the Germans.  They swiftly convert it into an airbase for supporting Rommel.

Barbarossa:  There are a number of important differences in Operation Barbarossa.  First, it actually begins several weeks earlier, as there has been no invasion of Greece.  Second, there is a far higher amount of German and allied forces taking part; the French, Italian and Spanish have all contributed, with varying degrees of willingness.  Thirdly, the Germans have considerably more resources than they did in OTL.

So Barbarossa begins with the same amount of success as OTL.  The soviets are driven back towards Moscow and the Germans run riot.  There is much better use made of Finnish military assistance – the Finns are forced/cajoled into pushing down towards Leningrad and helping the Germans seal off the city.  The Germans don’t want a city fight, so they settle for trapping the soviets inside the city.  The Germans are also making much better use of captured soviet material and captured soviet prisoners – Speer offers any soviet who wants to fight with the Germans the right to do so. 

(The Germans don’t have any intention of keeping this promise one minute longer than necessary, but its good propaganda.)

Stalin pleads for British help, even risking a number of combat troops to aid them in suppressing Iran, and the British respond as best as they can.  The problem is that the British don’t have as much available – the battles in Egypt are growing worse.  Germans submarines are hunting British shipping in the North Sea and the Atlantic with considerable success, hurting the British shipping capabilities.  They are losing more ships than they can afford.  They also have to hold forces in the Far East to deal with Japan, which is considering what to do.

Two months after starting, the Germans are approaching Moscow.  Stalin decides to pull out most of the Siberian divisions from Manchuria to fight the Germans.  These are the best divisions in the soviet army, but they’re needed to face the Japanese.  As soon as most of them are pulled out, the Japanese take it as their signal to attack, which they do in November.

The Germans surround Moscow.  The Siberian divisions are flung into the fight by Stalin without any time to prepare – the Germans defeat them.  Stalin flees Moscow and the NKVD starts to sabotage as much of Moscow as they can.  Sensing the fall of the soviet state, some of the planners lead a coup against them, surrendering the city to the Germans.

The soviet state is in disarray.  They’ve not completed their preparations for war, so they’ve lost some of their industry to the Germans.  They’ve lost most of their economic planners at Moscow, the use of the Moscow transport hub and a fair percentage of their population.  Stalin hangs on by a thread, purging the exiled government of anyone who might pose a threat.

Leningrad falls when the last defenders are starved.  The Germans and Finns take possession of the city.  The Germans seal off Mumansk, preventing the British from sending any more supplies.  In the far east, the Japanese have seized the soviet ports against heavy resistance, cutting the USSR off from the outside world.  Japan, caught up in the Soviet Far East, does not attack Pearl Harbour.

Winter comes and goes.  The Russian partisans are a nuisance, but their efforts are divided and uncoordinated.  Stalin works hard to control them, but many of them are no longer impressed by a government that’s fled its capital.  Others remember the forced industrialising and hate him almost as much as they hate the Germans.  The Germans are starting to convert soviet war industry to their own use.

Hitler’s holds a meeting of the German high command.  The decision is taken to embark on Operation Orient, one designed to defeat the British and link up with the Japanese.  The soviets are regarded as no longer a threat, but Speer insists on trying to convince Stalin to sign a peace treaty.  Stalin refuses.

The Germans begin a march towards Stalingrad.  The soviets have not managed to fix most of their problems from the fall of Moscow and the Germans make easier progress.  Rebellions in the soviet rear by Muslim factions make the soviet position – already bad – worse.  Stalingrad is surrounded and occupied in early 1942, followed by a German advance through the mountains towards Iran.

Meanwhile, Rommel, reinforced, launches an attack towards Egypt.  The British have not been idle, building up a powerful defensive force, but Rommel outmanoeuvres them.  The Italy-German army has been well drilled and supplied and the Germans are driving the British out of the Med.  Cairo revolts in the British rear and the British fall back to Palestine.  Jewish and Arab factions are fighting it out in Palestine – the Germans are supporting the Arabs, and that causes a diversion of British resources.  Rommel crosses the Suez and advances east, forcing the British out.  The Arabs launch their own version of the final solution and the SS sends a panzer group to help.

In the meantime, Stalin realises that being shot in the back is painful and fatal.  A faction of NKVD planners have realised that the war is lost and assassinate Stalin.  The brief civil war that follows sees the NKVD in control of much of the rump soviet state, but some of the other SSRs secede.  Soviet control over the Far East collapses and the Japanese – exhausted – declare victory.  The new soviet government surrenders the occupied territory, plus Iran and the Caucasus.  Soviet troops are ordered to attack the British in the rear, smashing the British hold on Iran.  As the British position disintegrates, Rommel is welcomed as a liberator in Iraq and Iran.  German troops make the march through the mountains to join Rommel, standing on the border of India.

The British control of India, already weak, shatters.  Hindu, Muslim, the Princes, all start trying to seize control.  The British fall back to some redoubts, using their navy to evacuate troops to Australia, while the Japanese start sabre-rattling in Hong Kong.  The war scare convinces the British Government to remove Churchill and sue for peace.  South Africa helps that decision by declaring itself independent and signing a non-aggression pact with Germany.  Rhodesia and the other South African colonies join South Africa. 

The peace treaty is signed in 1943.  President Roosevelt attempts to meditate, but Germany refuses and there is a strong feeling in Britain that the US could have done more to help.  The British recognise German control of European Russia, Europe, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Palestine and Scandinavia.  They also recognise Japanese control of Hong Kong, China and the Soviet Far East.

At this point, Germany is almost unstoppable.  The Speer machine is building Germany’s economy to match the United States.  Germany leads development of an atomic bomb, detonating one on Novgorod to destroy the remains of the soviet government.  America detonates its own bomb the week afterwards.  Germany and America fall into a cold war.