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An alternate history in which the D-Day landings failed

Ten years ago today I tried my hand at alternate history with a post whose title was taken from the words General Eisenhower prepared for use in the event that the Longest Day had ended in defeat: “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold.”.

Here is an earlier effort in the same genre – a German newsreel made, I would guess in late June 1944. It mentions stiff fighting around Caen, but since Caen did not fall to the Allies until late July, that does not narrow the date down much.

The claim made at 2:07 that infantry assault troops were “airlifted in for the first night of the engagements” is false. The Allies owned the skies. Nor do I believe that the “German wartime fleet” ever gave the “signal for resistance” (as claimed at 2:46), or any other signal at that time and place.

It would have been a remarkable stroke of journalistic good fortune to have happened to be filming when the first news of the invasion came and to have captured the moment when soldiers grabbed their rifles, so I guess what we saw one minute in was a drill. The numerous shots of explosions and guns firing could have been filmed at any time during the war, although they may show real combat. Film of men looking through binoculars and speaking into microphones in a resolute manner is best obtained on days when little else is being done.

Since reality did not grant German soldiers an opportunity to stroll around abandoned Allied landing-craft on the beaches of Normandy, I think the shots shown at 5:16 (just after the picture at 5:13 of an SS soldier who looks oddly like Barack Obama) must be of the aftermath of the Dieppe Raid of August 1942. Given the great losses the Canadians suffered that day I initially thought the film at 8:25 of Canadian prisoners from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders was also taken after that operation, but Wikipedia makes no particular mention of soldiers from Nova Scotia taking part in the Dieppe Raid, whereas the North Nova Scotia Highlanders are listed as having taken part in the Canadian D-Day landing at Juno Beach. I now think that last part of the film is mostly true.

The panning shot at 3:16 of the invasion fleet itself – impossible not to admire the steady nerves of the German cameraman who took that – looks as if it really does depict that vast armada coming “straight for me”, as Major Pluskat famously told his superiors, and I cannot see how the pictures of downed gliders could show anything but the real price paid by the D-Day vanguard.

I see no particular reason other than the general mendacity of the Nazis to disbelieve the section showing the fighting around Caen. There was plenty of time for film really taken then to have reached Berlin and be made into a newsreel. The announcement at 7:09 that the men shown surrendering “are all surprised that the invasion is over so quickly” turned out to contain a wrong assumption, but one that might have been believed at the time.

Many Samizdata readers know much more than I about military history – including the Samizdata reader to whom I am married – and I expect some of them will make better informed judgements than mine as to the actual origin of some of the scenes in the newsreel. Let us be glad that we can look back at these images with the tranquility of the historian in a society that, unlike the Nazis, still cares, if diminishingly, for objective truth.

For a view of D-Day from the German side that strove a little harder to be honest, see Von Rundstedt’s report for distribution to commanders.

And remember those Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen who died. Their comrades who survived are mostly entering their nineties now and vanishingly few will live to assemble on the beaches for any big anniversary after this.

33 comments to An alternate history in which the D-Day landings failed

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Failure at Normandy would not have averted German defeat. The Wehrmacht had already received its death wound at Kursk, and was about to get its heart ripped out in Operation Bagration. A rebuff on D-Day would have probably meant that the Iron Curtain would have dropped along the Rhine rather than the Elbe.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    “Failure at Normandy would not have averted German defeat … A rebuff on D-Day would have probably meant that the Iron Curtain would have dropped along the Rhine rather than the Elbe.”

    I tend to agree, and in fact that’s very similar to the comment my husband made on my counterfactual of ten years ago. Some people put forward strong arguments to suggest that it was far from a certainty, though, including Perry de Havilland of this blog.

  • Paul Marks

    Nazi would indeed still have lost.

    By 1944 the military situation was hopeless.

    The production gap – and the political determination to wipe out Nazi Germany.

  • Some people put forward strong arguments to suggest that it was far from a certainty, though, including Perry de Havilland of this blog.

    By the time of the Kursk fiasco, as The Sanity Inspector says, Nazi defeat was indeed inevitable. A failed D-Day would just have made the Soviets the only ‘winner’ in WW2. But frankly the war was eminently winnable for Germany to late 1942. Had they simply ignored everything else (to hell with Moscow) and thrown everything south for the Caucuses, not only would Stalingrad have turned out very differently, they would had had the oil they needed to keep the wheels turning indefinitely. Fortunately they did nothing of the sort :-)

  • Gareth

    If the D-Day landings had failed perhaps the campaign in Italy have pushed northwards to head off the Russians like Churchill wanted.

  • John K

    As has been pointed out, the German army in the east was destroyed by Operation Bagration in July 1944. After that, the Germans were just fighting desperate delaying battles in the face of the Red Army. Vitally, in August 1944, the Russians took Romania out of the war, and with it went Germany’s only supply of crude oil. This, combined with the destruction of Germany’s synthetic oil plants by the US 8th Air Force (whilst Bomber Harris insisted on killing as many civilians as possible in night raids), meant that German defeat was absolutely inevitable. If D-Day had failed, perhaps the Italian campaign might have switched into the Balkans, as Churchill always wanted, perhaps the landings in the South of France would have gone ahead (though I doubt it), more likely another landing would have taken place in the Spring of 1945. Thankfully, we did not have to find out.

  • Mr Ed

    What if the landings had been in Belgium, shortening the route to Berlin and showing de Gaulle up for what he was?

    Looking back over the last 70 years, surely it would have been the preferable option?

  • Jacob

    “But frankly the war was eminently winnable for Germany to late 1942.”

    I don’t think so.
    It was not winnable the moment they attacked Russia. Russia was too big a mouthful for them.
    It surely was not winnable the moment they declared war on the USA.

    Many say that the landing in Normandy was aimed for saving Western Europe from the Russians.

  • Mr Ed

    As the Soviets planned to attack west in July 1941 (Icebreaker), the war was lost when in August 1939 Zhukov crushed the Japanese at Khalkin Gol. But in October 1941 the Germans almost had Moscow and with a bit of luck and judgment might have seized the city, which would have been a massive blow to the Soviets.

    However, it’s all ‘Wouda, Coulda, Shouda, DIDN’T!’.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Can I ask generally, if you watched the German newsreel I linked to, did you agree or disagree with my speculations as to which parts were faked and which genuine? I did wonder whether unknown to me the Nazi newsreels had been examined in detail and commented on elsewhere, either by the Allied propaganda outfits during the war or by historians afterwards. I know there was quite lot of academic interest in Signal Magazine, so I wondered if the same were true of newsreels.

  • John K

    Mr Ed:

    Suvarov’s thesis that Stalin was preparing a surprise attack on Germany, which was pre-empted by Barbarossa by a matter of days, is far from being accepted as a fact. Let us call it a highly disputed theory.

  • Mr Ed

    John K. That a theory is disputed is probative of nothing, so was Copernicus. Most apologists for Stalin aren’t exactly keen on the truth.

    Furthermore, how else does one explain undisputed facts such as the huge number of parachute troops in the USSR in 1939 on, the motorway light tanks, in June 1941 the Mountain Divisions on the Ukranian steppes, the total lack of defensive preparations by the Soviet troops that first encountered the Germans, yet the attacks on Romania and neutral treaty-bound Finland by the Soviets as soon as that war started, and the disposition of so many Soviet troops right on the Soviet or intra-Polish frontier?

    To cite Colonel-General von Kleist to Felix Steiner*:

    Now look at this map for yourself, Steiner. Look at the strong Russian tank forces concentrated near Berdichev and to the south, and answer my question if that doesn’t look like the preparations for an offensive whose two motorised spearheads north and south of the Pripet marshes are already visible here.

    140 German Divisions faced 184 Soviet formations (also the Soviet ghost divisions) and the western Soviet units were on alert from 10th April 1941, before the German build up in the East.

    * page 12 ISBN 0-921991-04-5 1988 in translation auth. Peter Strassner

  • John K

    Mr Ed:

    My problem is that you stated as fact something which is supposition at best.

    If the Red Army really was on its start lines for a July invasion of German held territory, it was very badly prepared, because the Germans rolled them up for the next five months.

    Is it not the case that Stalin ignored British warnings of German plans, indeed all warnings of German plans, precisely because he thought they were a British trick to get him into the war against Germany? What about Stalin’s near nervous breakdown when the Germans did attack? Was that just because the Germans had beaten him to the punch by a fortnight, or more likely that his entire strategy had been shown to have been totally wrong?

  • Mr Ed

    John K
    The vast number of Soviet troops on their western frontier at material times is a historical fact, not supposition. There was no Soviet defensive strategy, there had been, but the fortified areas in the Western USSR were dismantled in 1940 after Poland’s partition. Why were the Soviets surprised? There was no defensive strategy, just aggression, against Finland, The Baltic States, Japan, Romania (Bessarabia) and Poland, but Germany was at the same game.

    Stalin’s alleged failure to believe his intelligence has been attributed to his knowledge that the Germans were not planning for winter, e.g. they were not slaughtering sheep for wool (meat surplus = lower mutton price but higher wool price – deep down they understood economics) nor preparing winter oils for engines, hence many German vehicles had frozen engines come November 1941. Stalin may well have assumed that the Germans were bluffing, but did Stalin not realise he was facing an idiot who did not plan for Winter, assuming a Blitzkrieg victory by, say, October, would mean that there was no need to plan for a winter campaign?

    Self-cancelling errors: Stalin thinks only an idiot would attack in June without planning for Winter. He forgets to ask ‘Is Hitler an idiot?’.

    The Soviets first avowed intent was world conquest. Germany destroying the Western powers was the ideal start.

    And if 140 Divisions of the Wehrmacht were coming after me hellbent on killing me, with Hungarians, Italians and Romanians chipping in, I’d be entitled to a nervous breakdown if I was without some pretty good back up.

  • John K

    Mr Ed:

    It is still that case that a theory that the USSR was going to attack Germany in July 1941 is just that, a theory. The Red Army had moved west from the Stalin Line to occupy the territories Stalin had taken as part of his pact with Hitler. There was no point keeping the army hundreds of miles to the east, when Poland and the Baltic states needed to be sovietised at the point of a bayonet. But I have not seen any convincing evidence that the Red Army was being prepared for an invasion in July 1941. Stalin was quite happy for Germany and Britain to trade blows for a few more years, at which point I am sure he would have considered attacking a weakened foe, but July 1941? I can’t see it.

  • Mr Ed

    The terror in the Baltic States was an NKVD MVD matter, with no opposition requiring Red Army intervention. Poland was by then almost 20 months into Soviet occupation and the tasks of the Red Army were not internal security, it wasn’t reliable enough. You still haven’t addressed von Kleist’s quote, or given any cogent argument as to what 180 Soviet divisions were doing on the Western frontier of Soviet power, light tanks designed for good roads (i.e. outside the USSR) or what Mountain Divisions were doing on the Ukrainian plains, if not waiting for action in the Carpathians.

    It is, after all, just a theory that Stalin was not planning to attack the Germans, one with no evidence bar an assertion by the Soviets (not all of them) to that effect. None of the circumstantial evidence points to the Soviets biding their time post July 1941. Do you not see that your position is just as hypothetical as mine?

    You concede that the armies moved west, but you fail to address the dismantling of defensive positions and the lack of defensive preparations on the part of the Soviets. Fascinating.

  • Nick (Blame Frenchmen) Gray

    Stalin thought he was dealing with a rational man. Whilst Hitler had brains, he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was. (Same for all would-be world-conquerors. I’m sure it was a shock for Napoleon to be beaten in war, but he was.)
    As for liberating Europe through Belgium- the supple line would have been too long for that. PLUTO (Pipe Line Under The Ocean), supplying oil, wouldn’t have stretched that far, for one thing. And you’d have been under attack from local civilians in Germany, AND the German Army. In France, you could rely on the Resistance to be on your side.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Suvorov’s claim about Soviet plans for a pre-emptive attack in 1941 is devoid of supporting evidence. What Stalin was thinking in 1941 is very clear, both from the memoirs of his henchmen and the records of the Soviet government. He was utterly convinced that Britain was desperate to embroil the USSR in war with Germany – to provide the Continental ally that Britain always seemed to rely historically to do its fighting.

    It’s also clear that he (and the Soviet military leadership) were very dissatisfied with the state of the armed forces. The Finnish fiasco was barely a year in the past, and great programs of re-equipment and re-organization were in progress. They were also understandably impressed by the German triumphs of 1939-1941, and not eager to try conclusions with the Wehrmacht until they had everything ready.

    Stalin insisted – repeatedly – that the many reports of German plans to attack the USSR were British provocations. He ordered the Soviet armed forces to avoid any action which might somehow escalate into fighting – including air reconnaissance of the borderlands, or maintaining a state of combat readiness.

    These orders set up the Soviet forces for the sucker punch they received on 22 June.

    None of this makes sense if Stalin was about to order an attack on Germany in 1941.

    Furthermore, there is no trace, anywhere in the files of the Soviet armed forces, of any planning for such an operation. And that’s impossible. Operations of that scale require enormous amounts of planning: literally millions of pages of orders, requisitions, allocations, and schedules. None of this has ever been found, and since the end of the USSR, Western scholars have had a lot of access to Soviet wartime files.

    One may argue that the files were “sanitized”, and all such records were destroyed, but then one must ask: Why? Planning to attack Nazi Germany was hardly something to be ashamed of. It would be far more useful to Stalin to fake up such plans to offset the infamy of his alliance with Germany.

    Of course there were Soviet forces in the western frontier areas. These areas were newly conquered territory, which had to be garrisoned against rebellion, and defended against invasion, what with Nazi Germany next door.

    Now, that Stalin intended more aggression in the future is fairly certain. He told the Politburo that the alliance with Germany was intended to get the enemies of the Revolution to fight (and weaken) each other. He built up enormous armed forces, far beyond what the USSR needed for defense. He never renounced the principle of world revolution. But that is very different from claiming that he had specific plans for attack in 1941, as Suvorov does.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Mr Ed @June 7, 2014 at 8:01 pm: What if the landings had been in Belgium, shortening the route to Berlin…?

    Looking back over the last 70 years, surely it would have been the preferable option?

    It was preferable for several obvious reasons. Which is why the Germans defended that region (the Pas-de-Calais and Belgian coast) very heavily. Normandy was chosen because it was the next best alternative, and the Germans could be (and were) deceived into thinking it was not the target.

    Also, looking back, there was not going to be a direct drive from the beachhead to Berlin. The Allies needed to rout the Germans out of all France first. For one thing, the port of Marseille was required to supply the front. 1/3 of Allied supply for the Western front landed there.

  • Mr Ed

    RR

    Of course there were Soviet forces in the western frontier areas. These areas were newly conquered territory, which had to be garrisoned against rebellion, and defended against invasion, what with Nazi Germany next door.

    1. The Soviet build up preceded the German build up.

    2. The Red Army divisions were not internal security forces, the NKVD and MVD (the initials changed a lot around then) did that, and they had started in September 1939. Katyn was in the spring of 1940. Over 20,000 rounded up and killed, job done. The Soviets took over 250,000 prisoners, some reports over 400,000 in their sector of Poland upon conquest. The motorway tanks were not usable on Soviet roads, they were for offensive war, as were the mountain troops.

    3. Read von Kleist’s quote above, if you would, and tell me if the Germans, with their reconnaissance flights, and sigint etc. were wrong about the build up of the Soviets.

    What Stalin was thinking in 1941 is very clear, both from the memoirs of his henchmen and the records of the Soviet government.

    May I interest you in buying a bridge, in a charming quarter of St Petersburg?

  • John K

    Mr Ed:

    It is my understanding that the Stalin Line having been dismantled, new defences in the west were in the process of construction when the blow fell in June 1941. Furthermore, I do not see how garrisoning Red Army troops on newly annexed territory has to lead to a plan to launch a pre-emptive attack on Germany. It may have been so, I suppose, but it is a very dubious theory, and you were quite wrong to state it as fact.

  • Mr Ed

    John K

    You again fail to engage with von Kleist’s point, so you have no answer to him. Ditto my other points,

    You say the Red Army were being garrisoned in newly occupied territory as if it does not lead to a plan to attack Germany. Why were so many Soviet troops caught, wrong-footed, in the opening phase of the war? Why were they surprised, if they were building defences? They had no defensive plans whatsoever. Soviet aircraft were not dispersed for protection against air attack.

    Why were the Soviet troops moved to the west? To build fraternal relations with the locals? You appear to not know the basic distinctions in the Soviet state between the organs of internal security and the Red Army. It all cost resources, and there was a purpose to that.

    You do not appear to appreciate the difference between placing troops for attack and defence, the Soviets were not dug in, they were waiting to go. You now venture that Stalin dismantled one set of defences before moving his troops past them and then planning another set of defences instead of constructing new defences before extending a defensive line westwards. How very odd that the Germans had such luck to attack just when the Red Army forgot about building the defences it needed. Your theory is based on the nothing more than Soviet propaganda and credulous historians, rather than incontrovertible evidence of Soviet dispositons and the facts revealed by the German invasion.

    I appreciate that my assertion is counter-factual, but accusing a burglar found at my garden fence with a crowbar of burglary is also counter-factual. Whereas you would appear to accept the burglar saying that he was dowsing with his crowbar.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Ed’s first comment (about landing in Belgium – not France) was actually a joke (odd that I, who have virtually no sense of humour, could see that and the witty people on the site could not).

    As for the month (or even year) the Soviets intended to attack Germany – I do not know for sure.

    I have seen estimates as late as 1942 – but Mr Ed is far from alone in thinking that it was intended to be the summer of 1941.

    What is obvious is that the Soviets intended to attack – the concentration of their forces was in an offensive posture (useless for defence).

    This is why so many millions of Soviet troops were killed or captured when the Germans attacked.

    Had the Soviets been in defensive (not offensive) positions, things would have been very different.

    The German attack on the Soviet Union was the correct thing to do – to wait for the Soviet attack (Operation Thunderstorm – or whatever it would eventually been called) would have been suicidal.

    However, I would make three points that are fundamentally hostile to the German military policy.

    Firstly they waited much too long.

    They should have hit in late spring (not high summer) – the messing about in the Balkans (and Greece and North Africa) was absurd (demented).

    Germany had to destroy the Soviet Union before winter sent in (Hitler knew this, it was win quickly or not at all – that is why he made no preparations for a winter campaign, there was no point as if Germany had not won by then Germany was not going to win).

    So why give yourself a few months of decent weather to do the job? Terrible – utterly terrible.

    Also the Germans thought TACTICALLY not STREGICALLY – obsessed with tactical victories (destroying the forces building up near the border – in order to save Germany from the impending Soviet attack) but with no thought to “and then what?”.

    Incredibly Mr Hitler (has his high command) seem to have not thought this out in any detail – apart from a vague “destroy the Soviet Union” position (what does that mean in terms of practical aims?).

    Hitler did not want to repeat “Napoleon’s mistake” of concentrating on Moscow – but had no clear alternative plan.

    Actually in the circumstances of 1941 “Napoleon’s mistake” would not have been a mistake at all.

    The Soviet Union of 1941 was concentrated on Moscow (the Russian Empire in 1812 had no railway network or anything like that – it was totally different).

    Knock out Moscow in 1941 and the Soviet Union might well have collapsed (it was the great defeat of the “Whites” during the Civil War that they never could take Moscow or St Petersburg – and thus always had the “interior lines of supply” against them). The Germans could have taken “Leningrad” with ease when they first arrived – instead they just sat outside the city (by the orders of Mr Hitler) and allowed the Soviets to reinforce and resupply their military forces from the other side of the great lake (of course the Soviets allowed the civilian population to starve – but they were not important from a military point of view).

    By the time that Mr Hitler did order an attack upon Moscow it was too late – winter was closing in and the vast Siberian army had moved in to defend the city.

    Which leads me to my third point of attack on German military policy.

    Why no coordination with Japan?

    Why no serious effort to get Japan to attack?

    Had the Japanese done so the vast forces in Siberia might have been held up – thus meaning they could not move quickly enough to reinforce Moscow.

    Of course the Soviets had a massive intelligence operation in Japan to try and discredit the “Northern Faction” of the army (that favoured an attack on the Soviets – in revenge for the, oft forgotten, Soviet attack on Japanese forces in August 1939 – yes before the German and Soviet invasion of Poland there was a Soviet attack on Japanese forces) and to direct the Japanese against Britain and the United States…..

    However, there was no serious German counter effort – to direct the Japanese against the Soviets.

    Mr Hitler does not seem to have really cared whether Japanese helped against the Soviets or not.

    This (coupled with the lateness of his attack on the Soviets in 1941 and his lack of clear STRATEGIC planning) indicates that Mr Hitler was unfit for the position that he held.

    And this leaves aside the policy of Mr Hitler of diverting vital men and resources (such as railway carriages) for his policy of killing millions of civilians for no military reason.

    This helped destroy what little chance Mr Hitler had to turn things around in 1942 and 1943 after the strategic failure (although tactical success) of 1941.

  • John K

    Mr Ed:

    I feel you are building up Kleist’s self-serving comments rather too much. Obviously, if you wish to hold this theory, nothing I can say will shake you from it, but please have the decency not to present it as fact.

  • Mr Ed

    John K:

    Are you disputing the quote attributed to von Kleist? If so, on what basis? Some degree of reasoning from you might help advance the debate, not puerile ad hominem comments.

    You won’t argue your way out of a paper bag with an approach like that.

  • John K

    Mr Ed:

    I am saying that you seem to be building your thesis on an apparent quote from one of Hitler’s generals. I suggest you are placing rather too much importance on it. Is it possible that, faced with the failure of Barbarossa, a German general might just have sought to justify the plan by claiming the Russians were going to invade anyway, and Germany merely pre-empted them by a month?

  • The Sanity Inspector

    Here’s a neat bit of high-level self-deception:

    It is possible that the war is shifting from the level of military success to the level of moral and economic endurance, without changing the military’s mission, that is, to use all available means to damage the enemy as severely as possible. … The military power of Russia is no longer a danger for the reconstruction of Europe . … The enemy…is not yet destroyed. We will not achieve his full destruction in this year, despite the efforts of our troops, which cannot be recognized enough. What with the endlessness of the territory and its inexhaustible supply of manpower, we definitely cannot reach 100% of that goal. Naturally we knew that from the start.
    — Wehrmacht Chief of General Staff Franz Halder, military conference, November 1941, in Geoffrey P. Megargee, _Inside Hitler’s High Command_, 2000. Emphasis in original

  • Nick (Blame FrenchMEN) Gray

    For a scarier hypothetical- what would have happened if Hitler had been a bit more patient? He was rebuilding the army, but some people think he might have had Parkinson’s Disease, and knew himself to have it, and so was impatient to win it before his passing from the scene. If he hadn’t had it, and had waited for a stronger Germany to back him up, would he then have won?

  • Mr Ed

    The Soviets were arming furiously,with over 1,000,000 parachutists before the war started, they had 18,000 tanks in 1941 and vastly outnumbered the German armed forces. The UK would have had more time to build the RAF and develop its Army, although decent weaponry was a bit of a rarity, given the under-gunned fighters and rather ineffective tanks, the UK’s economy was bigger than Germany’s at the time.

    The main mistake of Germany was fundamental, believing it could achieve prosperity through war and conquest, not trade. Wars bring death, poverty, socialism and dislocation.

  • Nick (Blame FrenchMEN) Gray

    And Hitler wanted Bread AND Guns. The German economy wasn’t really geared up for war until near the end, when Spears took over. However, France would still have fallen, when the Germans bypassed the French defences. And, if he’d waited, some appeaser might have been given the Prime Ministership of formerly-Great Britain, and Hitler might have been able to concentrate all his forces eastward.

  • Mr Ed

    I didn’t realise that Britney Spears was involved in the Third Reich, perhaps a distant cousin Albert? However, the key event was the Nazi Soviet Pact, which was formally announced in August 1939 after Zhukov struck at the Japanese in Mongolia. Thus the Soviets had a quiet Eastern Front and could focus on expanding westwards, with Poland divided, Finland reduced (not quite the plan) the Baltic States overrun and Bessarabia occupied.

    The Germans facilitated this and had their own plans, but always had a two front war in prospect, with little hope of conquering the UK, as opposed to neutralising it.

  • Robert

    Let’s not forget that, even if D Day had been a complete fiasco, back in the heartlands of the US, the Manhattan Project was well under way.
    Berlin would have been that timeline’s Hiroshima.

  • Mr Ed

    Yes, Robert, to adapt a modern advert mutatis mutandis “…Carlsberg don’t make V-weapons, but if they did…”.

    However, had Germany delayed the war, got some heavy water and Uranium in decent quantities (and not alienated or driven away all their and Italy’s physicists and chemists who happened to be Jewish or adverse to Jewish persecution) then the Manhattan Project might not have got the resources that it did when it did, and things might have been a bit closer than they were. That, combined with incredible German jet technology might have made the war a very different proposition had it started later, but the course of the war led to perhaps the least unpleasant horrific outcome given the powers at work.

    Captain Eric Brown RN, who was involved in intelligence work post the German capitulation has spoken about how advanced German aerospace potential was in 1945, but they ran out of fuel, pilots and territory before they could regain control of the skies.