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How would World War II have changed if Spring 1941 had been different?
Assume that most unmentioned things are the same as OTL.
Names will be changed a bit:
Season = three months (Spring = March, April, May. Summer = June, July, August. Fall = September, October, November. Winter = December, January, February)
Germany launches the assault on the Soviet Union leaving only a small garrison behind. They successfully seize the Baltic states, east Poland, and the south half of the Ukraine. Surprisingly only a small force is sent to east Poland. In the Baltic states and south Ukraine the Soviet defenders were completely obliterated but due to the small size of the German force as well as brilliant leadership the Soviets were able to fall back only losing a third of their forces. in response the Soviet Union swiftly begins building up its forces and strengthening its defences in the area. by the end of spring they had about tripled their forces along the border.
Germany masses its fleet in the Baltic sea in preparation for the invasion of Britain. to counter this, England moves a large number of its ships into the North Sea and English Channel. However, it also sends a group of ships including several battleships and cruisers, led by the battleship HMS Lord Nelson, to aid in the blockade at Gibraltar. On top of this, a group of English destroyers begin hunting down the German U-boats plaguing their supply lines. After suffering almost one third casualties the majority of the German U-boats regrouped off the northwestern coast of Africa. towards the end of Spring the Italian fleet attempted to break the English blockade. Most of their fleet was destroyed in the ensuing battle. The English flagship, the HMS Lord Nelson alone sank two destroyers, three cruisers, a battleship, and damaged many more including the Italian flagship. In all, the Italian fleet suffered about two-thirds casualties.
Both sides build up their forces in Egypt and Libya respectively with only a few border skirmishes. Both side's forces are about equal.
Japanese forces push in to Chinese territory. Despite defeats, Chinese forces are able to retreat with minimal losses. Japanese troops attack Hong Kong but are unable to oust the British defenders. eventually after three months of failure and suffering heavy casualties, the Japanese troops lifted the siege and left. Having regrouped from their earlier defeats, and with the Japanese advance stalled, the Chinese took the opportunity to launch a counterattack. The Chinese attack drove into the center of the Japanese lines and eliminated one third of Japan's front line troops, though the attacking force suffered about the same.
the Japanese carrier groups in the mid pacific are pulled back to Japan. Japan steamrolls the U.S. naval forces around the Philippines. Japan suffers heavy casualties during their initial landing. Ultimately, by mid-Spring, the defenders destroyed the Japanese forces, but had suffered serious losses themselves. the royal navy gathers its forces in the East Indies. Japan pulls troops from the Caroline islands to mount a second attack on the Philippines. To draw pressure off the Philippines, a heavy U.S. task force moves to the ungarrisoned Caroline Islands and destroys the Japanese naval forces there. To support this, a U.S. carrier group, led by the USS Hawknest, advances, under heavy escort, to The Solomon Islands.
The Fall of Leningrad
the German plan to invade the U.S.S.R. called for multiple phases, in the first they would seize east Poland, the Baltic states, and part of the Ukraine and the spending the summer building up their forces before attacking again in fall. Hitler however was not pleased. He believed that Karelia, a second phase target was ripe for the picking. Erwin Rommel, the commander of operation Barbarossa, disagreed. However, after increasing pressure from Hitler, he relented sending a large force to seize Karelia. despite the German's large force the battle was about equal with only the Luftwaffe deciding it in the Germans favor. Rather than lose their entire force to the German bombing, the Soviets retreated, leaving Karelia and its factories (mostly intact) to the Germans.
The Soviets Retaliate
With his forces stretched thin securing Karelia, Rommel did his best to set up defences. if the Soviets launched an attack the Germans would likely not be able to hold. However, they would inflict heavy casualties on the attackers before regrouping for a counter-attack. while taking Karelia was not the best move for the Germans, it did throw a monkey wrench in the Soviets' plans. recognising Rommel's strategy, they came up with a bold plan, instead of launching one attack as planned, they would launch a massive two-prong attack on Karelia and the German-controlled part of the Ukraine. The attack on Karelia, led by the former commander of East Poland, was by far the most successful of the two. In the opening stages of the battle the Soviet armor surprised and devastated their German counterparts outside of Leningrad losing only a third of their number in the process. without their re-inforcements the German defenders at Leningrad we swiftly overrun. From there the Russians swept through the rest of Karelia driving the Germans out. as they retreated the Germans found themselves beset by the unopposed R.A.F. who destroyed their artillery and remaining tanks as well as the retreating Luftwaffe contingent. In the end the Germans lost over half their forces while the Soviets took only minor casualties.