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(io9)   Ten shocking ways WWII could have gone horribly wrong. Or right, if you are a member of the Axis   (io9.com) divider line 236
    More: Obvious, WWII, Battle of Britain, western front, air assault, local church, Great War, chronologies, Soviet Union  
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12432 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Apr 2014 at 7:33 PM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-04 04:57:32 PM
2. Japan Refrains From Invading Pearl Harbor

Forget it.  He's rolling.
 
2014-04-04 05:16:40 PM
10. The Allies Invade Japan Instead of Dropping the Bomb

Glad we had a strong Democrat in the white house to blast those put an end to that crap.
 
2014-04-04 07:37:43 PM
Are we the baddies?

i61.tinypic.com
 
2014-04-04 07:38:52 PM
11) A modern-day flotilla appears out of nowhere.

images.amazon.com

/yes, it is a bit like "Final Countdown", except that they stay
 
2014-04-04 07:38:57 PM
The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.
 
2014-04-04 07:39:41 PM

Sliding Carp: 2. Japan Refrains From Invading Pearl Harbor

Forget it.  He's rolling.


The images of Jap soldiers bayoneting USS Maine survivors haunts me to this day.
 
2014-04-04 07:42:11 PM

leevis: The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.


You're wrong

/the IQ level is 2
//Sea Lion was not feasible, and the Germans knew it - the "preparations" and the Battle of Britain were an effort to bring the UK to peace negotiations
 
2014-04-04 07:44:58 PM
For 70 million people, the war ended pretty shockingly enough
 
2014-04-04 07:47:28 PM
"10 shocking ways" being the 10 ways everyone that ever discusses this topics brings up.
 
2014-04-04 07:49:04 PM

leevis: The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.


In 1940, sure, it would have been a catastrophe. They didn't have the amphibious assets or forces dedicated to the operation to succeed. However their hypothetical says that the forces for the invasion of the Soviet Union were instead used to invade Britain in 1941 or 1942.   I think the bigger alternative history changing was the German switch from targeting military airfields, radar stations, etc. to morale/industry bombing of cities.  The Germans were having quite a bit of success suppressing the RAF and rendering them as a primarily defensive force until they relieve pressure by focusing on night time city bombing.  When the German focus switched, that allowed the RAF time to regroup and better resist the efforts of the Germans until that front became secondary to the invasion in the east. Continuing military attacks and strengthening the blockade by the Uboats may have marshaled enough of a window to invade across the channel and after that it would have been difficult for England to resist.
 
2014-04-04 07:49:05 PM
This could be said about nearly any major event in history. Hell if things hasn't gone just right, life may never have began in the first place.
 
2014-04-04 07:49:19 PM
even better, after the beer hall putsch the germans decide 'you know, let's just kick this wannabe painter back to vienna where he belongs.'
 
2014-04-04 07:49:54 PM
So, over half of those require Russia and Stalin to act  wildly out of character.  Apparently iO9 blogger #34726 missed about 90% of his grade school history classes and didn't know that Russia was intentionally set on being a world power and both theoretically and practically opposed to everything Nazi Germany stood for.

The chance of them holding to the pact while Germany left its flank open to futilely try to invade Brittainy across the most heavily-defended stretch of water in the world, or of randomly backing down when they'd already been double-crossed once and the other allies were flanking the Axis states for them was basically zero.  The time-travelling US fleet from the future thing is actually  more likely than either of those things.

// Similarly, the US had air dominance so thoroughly toward the end of the war that  none of the A-bomb carrying bombers was intercepted.  Not  one.  For reference, the single-mission survival rate of bombers in the European theater was, at points, less than 50%.  Even if the projections hadn't shown that it was a terrible farking plan, why would we risk a landing attempt like D-Day and a ground war when we could basically toss as much ordinance as we wanted from the sky for as long as we wanted until they surrendered?  The atomic bomb didn't prevent a ground invasion, it prevented the entire nation being depopulated by fuel-air bombing and similar for a couple years and then some marines taking a leisurely stroll through the wreckage to finish off the ten remaining Japanese.
 
2014-04-04 07:49:56 PM

leevis: The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.


And less of a chance of successfully invading Russia. Those stubborn bastards won the war for the Allies.
 
2014-04-04 07:50:08 PM
#5 wasn't an issue because the right science was decreed to be Jewish.

#7 would high command just quit? Its arguable that Hitler screwed up strategy.
 
2014-04-04 07:50:18 PM
Just a collection of David Irving's wet dreams.
 
2014-04-04 07:51:02 PM
What about the Battle of Dunkirk?
 
2014-04-04 07:51:16 PM

Watubi: For 70 million people, the war ended pretty shockingly enough


Yeah, how did it go "right", again? WW2 was a horrific catastrophe on every level. That we won is practically splitting hairs.
 
2014-04-04 07:52:02 PM
Also, you could say that WWII was things going horribly wrong.
 
2014-04-04 07:55:11 PM
upload.wikimedia.org
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-04-04 08:01:47 PM
Hitler was unreasonably impatient about wanting to attack Russia

I used to play WW2 board wargames. I remember a discussion with other players about game design. You can't give Germany full freedom to play optimally, because the war was essentially driven by Hitler's personality. If Hitler wasn't in power, didn't want to exterminate various people, didn't think the English were superior to Eastern Europeans, and didn't think his prewar successes made him invincible the war would have been much different. Like maybe not happening at all.

One game about the war in North Africa basically required Italy to attack Egypt early even though the forces would be cut off and captured. Because Mussolini had dreams of empire.  If not for him as an individual Italy doesn't attack Ethiopia in the 1930s and is on much better terms with the English speaking world come 1939. Churchill wanted to buy off all the Mediterranean powers to let him go at Hitler. He got Spain and Turkey to stay out of the war during the critical stages. He didn't win over Italy.
 
2014-04-04 08:03:54 PM
#3 is quite plausible. Had Germany invaded Russia two months earlier they might well have succeeded. Having said this, I do think they ultimately would have still lost World War 2, but with a great many more casualties on both sides.
 
2014-04-04 08:04:13 PM
Using Obama's time machine suspiciously absent.
 
2014-04-04 08:04:47 PM
The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.

The Germans could have easily taken great Britain if they 1. took out those newfangled radar towers that weren't worth paying attention too and 2. Not invaded Russia.

zero chance? what would have stopped them, the mighty English army they were pretty chewed up at the start of the war and had to flee across the English channel. The eastern front is what stopped them from invading England, it was Germanys top priority.

Merry old England got put on the back burner and endured. Respect to them for being so tough but they were not invincible and victory was not guaranteed, it was earned the hard way.
 
2014-04-04 08:06:38 PM
As a historian.... this is stupid and you should feel bad.

"What if..." Stop right there. We have no farking clue, why? Because it didn't happen. No what ifs. Stop. It's not that farking simple.
 
KIA
2014-04-04 08:07:13 PM

leevis: The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.


The Germans believed that the Nazi sympathizers in England were strong enough to force a peace without wasting the resources on an invasion.  Yes, there were Nazi sympathizers.  Yes, there was a branch of the Royal Family who were sympathizers.  No, it wasn't entirely unrealistic until Churchill's speech.
 
2014-04-04 08:07:32 PM
But what if the CSA survived the civil war and joined the Axis?
 
2014-04-04 08:10:02 PM
Working on old motorcycles, especially European ones, makes me wonder, from time to time, some of the design changes make me think "They almost won the war. Almost".
Sure enough getting outmatched by volume, despite better products. That's how the Russkies won, by sheer numbers. Oh, and being a "Jerrys kid" for U.S. materiel.
 
2014-04-04 08:10:02 PM

GRCooper: leevis: The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.

You're wrong

/the IQ level is 2
//Sea Lion was not feasible, and the Germans knew it - the "preparations" and the Battle of Britain were an effort to bring the UK to peace negotiations


Well the Brits sank the transports that were supposed to be use for Sea lion, the experimental snorkeling tanks wouldn't work in the channel night bombers got of course and bombed Berlin thinking it was a factory and then the Brit night bombers got off course and bombed Berlin thinking it was a factory complex. Hitler got upset and stopped stacking RAF and Radar bases and started bombing London sparing the RAF destruction.

Oh as as for the bomb the train with the heavy water taken from France was blown up by French Resistance IIRC.
 
2014-04-04 08:10:29 PM

fusillade762: 11) A modern-day flotilla appears out of nowhere.

[images.amazon.com image 331x500]

/yes, it is a bit like "Final Countdown", except that they stay


Sounds a bit like like The Guns of the South (which was set during the American Civil War).  Is it any good?
 
2014-04-04 08:10:47 PM
Needs more Nazi's in Iran and Argentina; now that would have been a better World War! and a little more Gandhi supporting the Nips in India! Sweet Mother of Jesus, we could drink a lot of beer talking alt histories!
 
2014-04-04 08:12:11 PM

foo monkey: leevis: The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.

And less of a chance of successfully invading Russia. Those stubborn bastards won the war for the Allies.


True and as Napoleon learned taking Moscow means nothing.
 
2014-04-04 08:12:42 PM
static.gamesradar.com

A murderous Einstein returns to the past to kill Hitler.

I played the shiat out of this game... even wrote an editor for it.
 
2014-04-04 08:13:44 PM

marius2: "What if..." Stop right there. We have no farking clue, why? Because it didn't happen. No what ifs. Stop. It's not that farking simple.


I'm all for having thought exercises every now and then, but I don't quite see the point with this either. It would be just as fruitful if I sat for hours thinking to myself "what if upon their invasion of France, German soldiers got really bored and hollowed out baguettes to fashion them as penis sheaths?"
 
2014-04-04 08:13:48 PM

Publikwerks: But what if the CSA survived the civil war and joined the Axis?


Harry Turtledove solved that problem back in WW 1.
 
2014-04-04 08:14:19 PM

leevis: The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.


Totes wrong...They had a huge chance, but they blew it...3/4 of the way thru their air campaign, they changed air field targets to London and that gave the RAF time to rebuild and overcome.  They switched after an errant brit mission dropped some turds on a german town and killed some fraus and liebshen.  HItler went nuts and ordered the Luftwaffe to focus on London.  The RAF was mere days away from collapse. Once they were gone, Operation Sea Lion would have swallowed those brit boys down like so much sauerkraut and wurst on Oktoberfest.  Hitler made 2 critical mistakes IMO.  That one and starting Barbarossa 4 weeks later than planned, because he had a cold.  Amazing how history gets re-written so many times but the truth is still in there.  Had they started on the Russian front 4 weeks earlier, Moscow would have been flattened, the Germans fortified and Russia would have lost.  Winter saved them and Hitler learned the same lesson that Napoleon did so many years before him.

/You're welcome.
 
2014-04-04 08:14:34 PM

Jim_Callahan: Even if the projections hadn't shown that it was a terrible farking plan, why would we risk a landing attempt like D-Day and a ground war when we could basically toss as much ordinance as we wanted from the sky for as long as we wanted until they surrendered?  The atomic bomb didn't prevent a ground invasion, it prevented the entire nation being depopulated by fuel-air bombing and similar for a couple years and then some marines taking a leisurely stroll through the wreckage to finish off the ten remaining Japanese.


The thinking at the time supposed that Japan would adapt the same tactics they used at Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa with the Home Islands -- send the population into the hills, dig lots of little defensive positions there, and force the US to send infantry to engage them at close range.  They would be difficult to bomb and risky to engage.  IIRC casualties were projected to hit the 1 million mark for US forces and several times more than that for Japanese civilians, and that was just for taking Kyushu.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-04-04 08:16:42 PM
tinfoil-hat maggie

In 1941 Moscow was a major rail hub and industrial center. It was comparatively more important to the war effort than it had been in 1812.
 
2014-04-04 08:17:07 PM

AlgaeRancher: The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.

The Germans could have easily taken great Britain if they 1. took out those newfangled radar towers that weren't worth paying attention too and 2. Not invaded Russia.

zero chance? what would have stopped them, the mighty English army they were pretty chewed up at the start of the war and had to flee across the English channel. The eastern front is what stopped them from invading England, it was Germanys top priority.

Merry old England got put on the back burner and endured. Respect to them for being so tough but they were not invincible and victory was not guaranteed, it was earned the hard way.


There was this little thing called the Royal Navy that would have curbstomped the German Kreigsmarine surface fleet that would have had to cover the invasion fleet, and the Luftwaffe? Please. The RAF would have absorbed horrific casualties in order to make sure that any invaders got the warm welcome they deserved. Now, the Royal Army, pre-1942? Yeah.... it was kind of crippled still by the retreat across northern France in 1940, having lost most all of their heavy equipment and artillery in the process. But the invasion force would have had to actually made landfall intact... which would have been a challenge.
 
2014-04-04 08:17:21 PM
Thanks, Mussolini.
 
2014-04-04 08:18:40 PM

Lt. Cheese Weasel: leevis: The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.

Totes wrong...They had a huge chance, but they blew it...3/4 of the way thru their air campaign, they changed air field targets to London and that gave the RAF time to rebuild and overcome.  They switched after an errant brit mission dropped some turds on a german town and killed some fraus and liebshen.  HItler went nuts and ordered the Luftwaffe to focus on London.  The RAF was mere days away from collapse. Once they were gone, Operation Sea Lion would have swallowed those brit boys down like so much sauerkraut and wurst on Oktoberfest.  Hitler made 2 critical mistakes IMO.  That one and starting Barbarossa 4 weeks later than planned, because he had a cold.  Amazing how history gets re-written so many times but the truth is still in there.  Had they started on the Russian front 4 weeks earlier, Moscow would have been flattened, the Germans fortified and Russia would have lost.  Winter saved them and Hitler learned the same lesson that Napoleon did so many years before him.

/You're welcome.


See "Invasion, 1940" by Derek Robinson for an almost point by point explanation about why you are completely wrong.
 
2014-04-04 08:19:28 PM

Killer Cars: marius2: "What if..." Stop right there. We have no farking clue, why? Because it didn't happen. No what ifs. Stop. It's not that farking simple.

I'm all for having thought exercises every now and then, but I don't quite see the point with this either. It would be just as fruitful if I sat for hours thinking to myself "what if upon their invasion of France, German soldiers got really bored and hollowed out baguettes to fashion them as penis sheaths?"


You get me <3
 
2014-04-04 08:20:22 PM
Yeah, Sea Lion could have stood a chance if the Luftwaffe had been allowed to continue pounding away at the RAF instead of being diverted to the Blitz.  Under German air superiority, the Royal Navy might not be able to stop the invasion without being sunk from the air.  Even the Stukas would be safe to use.  Imagine Rudel participating in Sea Lion.

The problem for the Axis is that their best-case scenario requires its leaders to act out of character.  Mussolini wouldn't stupidly try to invade Greece, Barbarossa would start earlier, and Hitler would treat the Ukrainians nicely to get them to help against the Russians, while not overriding his generals' orders with bad ideas.  In that situation, maybe Moscow falls, and I do think that would spell doom for the USSR.  But given the personalities involved, it was never going to happen.  (Then again, if Germany could be friends with the Croatians, why not the Ukrainians?)

Japan opened too many fronts.  What chance did they have against the US if China had been able to stop their advance?  Even without the US, could they really be at war with the USSR, China, and everyone else in Southeast Asia at the same time?
 
2014-04-04 08:21:45 PM
"Had Sea Lion been successful, a likely scenario would have seen the British government and monarchy relocated to Canada. From there, working with the Americans, the Allies could have planned for an invasion of Africa, which in turn could have led to further incursions in Italy and the Balkans."

upload.wikimedia.org

The B-36 bomber program was launched in order to be able to fight under this kind of scenario. It had the range to leave bases in US & CA, strike at the Reich, and return either back to the American continent or South to unoccupied African territories.

The prototype however was not ready to fly until a few days after the end of the war and ended up first in a museum, then sold off to a nutcase junk collector and it was left to rot in a field.

i290.photobucket.com
 
2014-04-04 08:22:04 PM

leevis: The Germans had zero chance of successfully invading Great Britain. Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that.


Well, thanks to Angela Lansbury and substitutiary locomotion, you mean.
 
2014-04-04 08:22:09 PM
It seems to me that Germany could have won WWII by dividing the US. How?

Pretty much the way the schism between the Religious Right and Centrist Progressives are at each throats today. I'm not saying that History always repeats itself, but History repeats itself. US History 101. But Hitler was no General.
 
2014-04-04 08:23:02 PM

TV's Vinnie: "Had Sea Lion been successful, a likely scenario would have seen the British government and monarchy relocated to Canada. From there, working with the Americans, the Allies could have planned for an invasion of Africa, which in turn could have led to further incursions in Italy and the Balkans."



The B-36 bomber program was launched in order to be able to fight under this kind of scenario. It had the range to leave bases in US & CA, strike at the Reich, and return either back to the American continent or South to unoccupied African territories.

The prototype however was not ready to fly until a few days after the end of the war and ended up first in a museum, then sold off to a nutcase junk collector and it was left to rot in a field.


do you have a closeup with the zombies from Heavy Metal?
 
2014-04-04 08:23:04 PM

leevis: Anybody with an IQ over 3 knows that


You START with "anybody who disagrees with me is inferior to me"
yea - no point in debating with you
 
2014-04-04 08:24:07 PM

ZAZ: tinfoil-hat maggie

In 1941 Moscow was a major rail hub and industrial center. It was comparatively more important to the war effort than it had been in 1812.


By the time the Germans got there most of the industry had been packed up and sent past the Urals. Scorched earth is Russian for withdraw.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-04-04 08:25:02 PM
and Hitler would treat the Ukrainians nicely to get them to help against the Russians

There was some Axis sympathy in Turkey until leaders heard what Germany was doing in the occupied territories. So Turkey stayed out of the war when it could have made a difference.
 
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