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Sheepster
Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: November 13th, 2020, 1:02 pm
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Churchill only got the PM post because Halifax was holding back on accepting. Halifax was EVERYBODY's first choice, however he was playing his own personal games and seems to have wanted to be begged to take the role before accepting. Churchill was the actual architect of the disasterous campaign in Norway, but managed to pivot himself in the Norway debate to blame Chamberlain. Labour did not want Churchill, but accepting him grudgingly under the extreme circumstances of the German thrust west - he was a notorious warhound and they would have rejected him as soon as possible if he had demonstrably failed.
A very interesting read is "Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister" by Nicholas Shakespeare (no relation).
Unfortunately our accepted modern history comes mainly from Churchill's own writings, definitely not a source show the antipathy felt towards Churchill.


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Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: November 13th, 2020, 8:21 pm
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Sheepster wrote: *
Churchill only got the PM post because Halifax was holding back on accepting. Halifax was EVERYBODY's first choice, however he was playing his own personal games and seems to have wanted to be begged to take the role before accepting. Churchill was the actual architect of the disasterous campaign in Norway, but managed to pivot himself in the Norway debate to blame Chamberlain. Labour did not want Churchill, but accepting him grudgingly under the extreme circumstances of the German thrust west - he was a notorious warhound and they would have rejected him as soon as possible if he had demonstrably failed.
A very interesting read is "Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister" by Nicholas Shakespeare (no relation).
Unfortunately our accepted modern history comes mainly from Churchill's own writings, definitely not a source show the antipathy felt towards Churchill.
On the contrary, various histories of the events of spring 1940 show that
the Labour Party not only would not serve in a coalition government with
Neville Chamberlain, but they also would not serve under Halifax, who
was responsible for the Foreign policy of appeasement and the Munich
deal, which was seen in 1939 to be a horrible sell out of an ally. Further,
to have a Prime Minister who could not sit in the House of Commons
(Halifax was a Lord in the House of Lords) was not workable in the
20th Century, especially during a crisis or war. While the majority of
the Conservative Party disliked Churchill, he was so popular with the
public, that newspapers had been demanding him to be in the government
since the Nazis had invaded the remnant of Czechoslovakia during
Easter weekend in the spring of 1939. And, he was the choice of 40 or
more pro defence, anti Nazi members of the Conservative Party - and
he was the only strong member of the Commons who was acceptable
to all of the opposition factions - Liberal, Labour, and Socialist. When
he formed his cabinet - made up of all parties, the only person who
turned him down was David Lloyd George, because of old age and
poor health. He even had a Labour Union chairman in his cabinet -
the first such person to join a cabinet in the history of England. No
one, outside of his own party, thought that he was the wrong man for
the job.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: November 14th, 2020, 8:51 am
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Au contraire ...
Halifax used his lordship as an excuse for not taking the premiership. There was precedent for a lord to become PM, and all parties were willing to work around that aspect, including Attlee and the Labour Party.
To quote Lord Beaverbrooke "Chamberlain wanted Halifax. Labour wanted Halifax. Sinclair wanted Halifax. The Lords wanted Halifax. The King wanted Halifax. And Halifax wanted Halifax." Halifax himself seems to have just wanted to have been begged to take the position, perhaps so he could have been seen to have taken the role with a sense of British stiff-upper-lip only doing-my-duty for the Empire, rather than Churchill's more unseemly personal desire for the position.


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Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: November 14th, 2020, 9:57 pm
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Sheepster wrote: *
Au contraire ...
Halifax used his lordship as an excuse for not taking the premiership. There was precedent for a lord to become PM, and all parties were willing to work around that aspect, including Attlee and the Labour Party.
To quote Lord Beaverbrooke "Chamberlain wanted Halifax. Labour wanted Halifax. Sinclair wanted Halifax. The Lords wanted Halifax. The King wanted Halifax. And Halifax wanted Halifax." Halifax himself seems to have just wanted to have been begged to take the position, perhaps so he could have been seen to have taken the role with a sense of British stiff-upper-lip only doing-my-duty for the Empire, rather than Churchill's more unseemly personal desire for the position.
If so, then why was it necessary for Churchill to stand up in the House of Commons
and defend his decision to keep Halifax and Chamberlain in his cabinet? He specifically
said that it was not the time "for recriminations". He spoke at length that regardless
of past mistakes, the country needed men of experience. If Halifax was so popular, then
why did he need to be publicly defended? You must be reading very different books than
the ones I read about the Chamberlain government and its sad history of appeasement
and weakness that led to its downfall. When the House divided over the poor leadership
of Chamberlain - and his right hand man and chief advisor, Halifax - not only did all of
the opposition vote against the government, but nearly one third of the Conservatives
either voted against Chamberlain and his ministers, or abstained. The men whose votes
or abstentions brought down Chamberlain could hardly have been enthusiastic about
replacing him with the architect of Munich and the weak foreign policy against the
Fascists. True to form, before Italy declared war on France, Halifax was trying to get
Mussolini to host another Munich style conference with Hitler and the French leaders
to obtain a compromise that would save England, but apparently not the Dutch or
the Belgians, or Luxembourg, even while Hitlers Panzers were marching on Paris.
When the UK ambassador to the U.S. needed to be replaced, Churchill lost no time
in getting Halifax out of the Cabinet, and out of the country.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: November 15th, 2020, 7:08 am
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Unfortunately most of our "common knowledge" of this time comes from Churchill's memoirs, not something that you could expect to be unbiased!

Remember back to 1915, Churchill was the architect of the disastrous Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaign that lead to his being politically marginalised and leaving the government.
https://www.history.com/news/winston-ch ... r-disaster
After his time in the wilderness, Churchill was back and in 1940 he was again the architect of a seaborne invasion, this time the disastrous Norwegian campaign. Again his planning and interference lead to such an embarrassing military debacle that to this day there is no British campaign medal nor honouring of the campaign.

Churchill's defense of Chamberlain during the Norway Debate was a sleight-of-hand. (Also remember that Chamberlain won the vote of no confidence, however the fact of the defection of some Conservative members was embarrassing at that time.) So during the debate Churchill managed to deflect all criticism from himself to Chamberlain, while seeming to be defending Chamberlain - a brilliant piece of political manoeuvring. It certainly leads to an understanding of "no time for recriminations" when he was actually protecting himself.

With regards to "appeasement", I also used to view it as a national shame. However the reality is very different, what we call "appeasement" was the only course of action available. Britain, France and the western nations had been so utterly sickened after the Great War that they unilaterally chose to disarm themselves and take the road of peace (and policing in the Colonies but that was viewed very differently). Fast forward to the mid 1930's and Germany and the Soviet Union were building militaries and behaving in a bellicose fashion to the extent that it became obvious that a peaceful world could not be maintained without the military power to protect that peace. This led to the emergency, panic rearming of all of Europe after 15 years of steadily dearming and de-investing. This effort was at least 12 months too late, with no western nation being even vaguely prepared to defend itself as the Nazi war machine struck north and west.
So what could Britain and France have done for the Czechs or Austria? Nothing. If anything the British overextended themselves by guaranteeing Poland and then committing to a war in late 1939 - no-one was ready as was seen with the German victory parade through Paris. If Britain had taken the moral high-ground and declared war in 1938 over Czechoslovakia the initial Entente reaction would have been the same as with Poland: no boots on the ground, no land battles. Instead there would have been a Battle of France at least a year earlier, with a British military even less capable than was seen in 1940. France and the Low Countries would have fallen even quicker and with a battle of British biplanes against Me109's, Operation Sealion would have been successful - with a German victory parade through London.
The policy of "appeasement" served to delay the inevitable war until the Entente was not in a position for eventual victory, but in a position that they could even survive! As it was it was an extremely close event to failure. It would not have taken much to have had the German's establish a foothold in Britain (whether they could have conquered Britain by military force is another matter), rather than allowing the evacuation of Dunkerque.


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Rhade
Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: November 15th, 2020, 9:24 am
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And GB perfectly know that they can't help Poland. Treaty was a bluff, they know it and they were actually surprised that the Poles took it. If I remember when Chamberlain asked in House of Commons what support can GB provide if Poland was attacked (he stated before that GB will provide her with all necessary means... but of course ONLY if Poland will be attacked by Third Reich) he respond, none. Royal Navy would not risk breaking thru Sund to enter Baltic, RAF was in process of modernization and lack planes of proper payload and range to engage German industry. Army was small and spread out all over the world. GB need time to prepare itself for war that sooner or later will start. So they throw Poland "under the bus" to give themselves that time.

From GB point of view, they did what GB do... put GB on first place and that give them time to prepare and survive. It was a successful tactic as time show. From Polish point of view... it was a treason, but one that swallows bitterly and grits teeth. Trying to be objective, GB pick the walk of shame but they survive, they win, they pick a best road they know and they succeed in that. GB did not fall, GB was winner at the end... rest, not so much.

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Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: November 16th, 2020, 11:57 am
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There are some important missing facts in these arguments against
Churchill. In 1938 Germany could not have fought against Britain,
France, and Czechoslovakia at the same time. Even the German
generals said so. Before 1938, France and England could have
defeated Germany for its many treaty violations, and that would
have brought about the ouster of Hitler. Chamberlain, Daladier,
and Halifax were all afraid of war. No backbone. Sell out your
allies. The Russians call it throwing your friends out of the
sleigh when you are being chased by wolves. Stop reading
Churchill and doubting his version of events and read the other
books specifically about the appeasement, the last three years
before the war, and the downfall of Chamberlain. I have read three
such history books - all written in the last 45 years - and none of
them has anything good to say about Chamberlain or Halifax.
If Churchill had not held Stanley Baldwin's feet to the fire over
the lack of RAF preparedness in 1935 - 1936, the Germans would
have won the Battle of Britain. The steady growth of public - not
Conservative Party - support for Churchill was due to the fact
that by 1939 the vast majority of the UK population felt that
he had been right about Hitler, and that Chamberlain and Halifax
had been wrong. When Churchill spoke on behalf of Chamberlain's
government about the Norwegian campaign and other weaknesses
(just before the disastrous division of the house), he was admonished
by Admiral Keyes (a member), who appeared in uniform with all
of his WWI medals, not to take on the blame or to be an umbrella
or provide shelter for the leaders who were responsible for Britain's
failures. David Lloyd George demanded that Chamberlain resign.
Not one voice was raised against Churchill on that day. All of the
criticism was for Chamberlain. Why did many Conservatives
dislike Churchill? Because he had switched parties in the past.
Because he had criticized his own party leaders. Because he
was thought to be disloyal to his party. Because he was "too
old". The Norwegian campaign failed because of delays in
sending the troops, missing equipment, poor organization,
sudden changes in deciding where to land the troops, etc.
All of which were decisions made by various Generals and
Admirals - not Churchill. If the campaign had started when he
proposed it, and not several months later, it would not have
been preempted by the Germans. Several officers in the
Norwegian expeditionary force hurried back to England to
brief the members of Parliament on the many mistakes
that had been made - and not one member stood up and
spoke against Churchill - because the mistakes were not
his.


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Sheepster
Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: November 17th, 2020, 7:45 am
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Yes, Britain and France were in a legal position to declare war on Germany long before the commitment was made to defend Poland, as France had already taken action previously in the Saar. Political, economic and military reality though prevented any action being taken against Germany once the inevitability of War became obvious.
Britain and France were completely incapable of defeating Germany in the 1930's, as was demonstrated as late as mid-1940 - goose-stepping panzer grenadiers on the Champs Elysees are not a good argument for even earlier military action. Any attempt to engage in a new Great War over Austria or Czechoslovakia would have met with failure. After 15 years of disarming neither Britain nor France had the ability to mount a defence of themselves, let alone conduct diplomacy by force. Appeasement was the only strategy that the Entente could take to delay the War until they were in a position to not be defeated outright, and Chamberlain almost sabotaged that scheme by forcing Germany into war over Poland in late 1939.
The addition of Italy and the Soviet Union are the only wild cards for considering an early War. Italy came close to war against Germany over Austria, and on paper they had a powerful military. Siding with the Entente they may have been able to advance troops into Germany to defend Austria. And although the Soviet Union was in the midst of military purges, and human tide of peasant soldiers may have been able to demonstrate quantity over quality.
To take the opinions of pre-war German generals as gospel reality is no more valid than believing any one else. Remember, they also did not believe Fall Gelb would succeed.
The one aspect that the Entente wasn't really aware of, they had not taken the anti-Hitler discussions of Goerdeler seriously, was that Hitler's grip on power was tenuous at best, and a strong international response to German aggression would have led to a German coup. Whether deposing Hitler would have prevented WWII or not is another question - Hitler's strategic incompetence doomed the Third Reich to military failure, an alternate ruler may have still started the War and fought it to win (!)


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waritem
Post subject: Re: Manchester AUPosted: November 17th, 2020, 9:18 am
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Sheepster wrote: *
Yes, Britain and France were in a legal position to declare war on Germany long before the commitment was made to defend Poland, as France had already taken action previously in the Saar. Political, economic and military reality though prevented any action being taken against Germany once the inevitability of War became obvious.
Britain and France were completely incapable of defeating Germany in the 1930's, as was demonstrated as late as mid-1940 - goose-stepping panzer grenadiers on the Champs Elysees are not a good argument for even earlier military action. Any attempt to engage in a new Great War over Austria or Czechoslovakia would have met with failure. After 15 years of disarming neither Britain nor France had the ability to mount a defence of themselves, let alone conduct diplomacy by force. Appeasement was the only strategy that the Entente could take to delay the War until they were in a position to not be defeated outright, and Chamberlain almost sabotaged that scheme by forcing Germany into war over Poland in late 1939.
The addition of Italy and the Soviet Union are the only wild cards for considering an early War. Italy came close to war against Germany over Austria, and on paper they had a powerful military. Siding with the Entente they may have been able to advance troops into Germany to defend Austria. And although the Soviet Union was in the midst of military purges, and human tide of peasant soldiers may have been able to demonstrate quantity over quality.
To take the opinions of pre-war German generals as gospel reality is no more valid than believing any one else. Remember, they also did not believe Fall Gelb would succeed.
The one aspect that the Entente wasn't really aware of, they had not taken the anti-Hitler discussions of Goerdeler seriously, was that Hitler's grip on power was tenuous at best, and a strong international response to German aggression would have led to a German coup. Whether deposing Hitler would have prevented WWII or not is another question - Hitler's strategic incompetence doomed the Third Reich to military failure, an alternate ruler may have still started the War and fought it to win (!)
Well...............
I think we should focus on the "ongoing" events in your AU and on the quality of your drawings, rather than argue on the historical credibility of the events that led to this divergeance from OTL.
To be honest, to me (and my "limited" historical expertise) beliving that germany was "invincible" for France and Britain already in the Tchekoslovakian crisis demonstrate some great lacks in your knowlege.
One simple setting : Tcheckoslovakia itself. It had a strong army and industry, plus well prepared defences. Hitler himself is reported to have said in 1939 (thinking France and Britain would falback once again) something like: " Why would they fight a war for a weak and oppresive poland, if they didn't for a strong and democratic Tchecoslovakia?"
So during the sudeten crisis: first invade tchekoslovakia would have bean far more exausting than invading poland 2 years latter (which wasn't the cakewalk that most belive). This would be performed by a weaker wehrmacht, earlier in her rearmement process, and without the backing of the strong industry they seized in Tchecoslovakia itself.
Concerning "Fall Gelb" don't underestimate the part of luck in it's complete success (has in any historical event). If it was that foolproof i don't think a handful of Manchesters , as strong has they would be, would change the course of time.............
That will be my last intervention in this debate, that would need a topic on his own.......

PS: Don't take that as a judgment, my own AUs are far more unrealistic............. :oops:

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Sheepster
Post subject: Posted: November 18th, 2020, 5:51 am
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Finland

Like the rest of Europe, Finland had embarked on an emergency rearmament programme in the late 1930’s. Both Bristol Blenheim I’s and Fokker D.XXI’s had been purchased directly from the manufacturers, with licence production starting after. But still by the time of the Soviet invasion in November 1939 the Soviet air force outnumbered the Finns by a factor of 6:1. Against the background of the Phoney War, foreign nations came to the aid of the Finns, with Swedes providing an armed wing of volunteers, and France gifting Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 fighters, while the British supplied Gloster Gauntlet II’s and Gladiators II’s from storage and sold Bristol Blenheim IV’s. By February 50 Fiat G.50 fighters arrived from Italy to replace the outdated Glosters, and an order of Brewster Buffalo’s arrived in March. By the time of the Finno-Soviet armistice to end the Winter War, for all of the Soviets numerical superiority the Finnish Air Force had inflicted loses at a rate of 4:1.
Finland had also attempted to upgrade its army. An order for 32 Vickers 6-ton Type E and F tanks had been placed in 1936. They were to be delivered without turrets or equipment, with local Finnish industry providing the completion work. Only 26 vehicles had been delivered before the start of the Winter War, and none of those were battle-ready, and by the end of December 1939 only 10 main guns had been built.
However by February 1940 13 tanks were ready to be deployed for the first Finnish massed tank battle, with an attack planned against Soviet armour and infantry at Honkaniemi. The battle went badly for the Finns, as 5 of their 13 tanks were lost to mechanical failures before their starting point had even been reached. Six of the attacking Finnish tanks were destroyed by Soviet fire, while claiming only 3 Soviet tanks, and the Finnish attack was repulsed. The Finns were only able to use their armour in an ad hoc fashion for the remainder of the Winter War.

[ img ]

Finland ended up with a significant stock of captured Soviet vehicles and armour from the Winter War. Although most were damaged beyond economic repair, they became a source of parts and spares to build a working tank force. Even the remaining Vickers 6-ton Tanks were re-equipped with ex-Soviet guns and optics, to become a new Finnish vehicle the T-26E (for English). These new chimeric vehicles joined mainly refurbished T-26’s, themselves a licence-built Soviet version of the Vickers tank, and 2 larger T-28’s to become the new Finnish tank corps.
In addition to combat aircraft, Finland also received civil gifts for their war effort against the Soviets, including a Beechcraft C17L gifted from the Broderne Dahls A/S of Denmark, which was taken into the Finnish military as a liaison aircraft.

[ img ]

Understanding that the armistice was only a temporary reprieve from foreign aggression, the Finns continued with their rearmament plans. France supplied Caudron C.714 fighters, but these had only been sent because they were fundamentally flawed, and the Finns likewise found them unsuitable. In addition more modern Hawker Hurricane I’s and Westland Lysander I and II aircraft were purchased from Britain.

[ img ]

Sales had been agreed to with the Netherlands for Fokker G.I fighters and T.VIII floatplane/bombers, but the German invasion of the Netherlands had put a temporary hold on those deliveries. With the German armistice Fokker recommenced production of the T.VIII, but the G.I production line was not restarted for export production. The Finn’s had been offered three engine choices for their T.VIII’s, and had chosen option C – Bristol Mercury IX. The Finnish T.VIIIw/C aircraft were also enlarged from the standard model and came with the ability to transition between floats, wheels and skis.

[ img ]

With no Dutch G.I’s available, Finland instead became a customer for the Danish production of G.I’s, the Flyverkorpsets IV R. However the Danes took several months from the Armistice to start their production, and the aircraft were only delivered at the end of 1940. As an interim measure, the Danish also sold to Finland their remaining fleet of 6 Fokker D.XXI’s that had survived the German invasion, and were now rendered surplus as Denmark de-militarised itself.

[ img ]

The Dutch manufacturer De Schelde demonstrated their S.21 single seat fighter to the Finnish military purchasing commission while they were reviewing Fokker. The potential of an uncomplicated single-seat ground attack capable interceptor was not lost on the Finns and an order was signed for 10 aircraft.

[ img ]

In addition Finland had captured several Soviet aircraft types during the Winter War. The largest were 8 Tupolev SB bombers that had been repaired after forced landings in Finnish territory. After Finnish overhaul they were delivered to the Finnish air force from August 1940, where they were deployed as maritime patrol and attack aircraft.

[ img ]

Finland then ended up with a very diverse fleet of modern combat aircraft, which became problematic for training and support.
With the withdrawal of German troops from the Low Countries, the Focke-Wulf Condors airliners impressed into the Luftwaffe were demobbed. The two KB-1 Condors were returned to airliner configuration and delivered to their original customer, Aero O/Y. Originally intended to support the expected influx of attendees for the 1940 Olympic Games, instead the aircraft consolidated the inter-Scandinavian lines of communication established in response to Soviet aggression. Finland also expressed interest in the lower capacity Focke-Wulf Fw206 “mini-Condor”, although no purchase agreement was made.

[ img ]


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