Author Topic: 1917 Russian Offensives  (Read 2467 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JamesAPrattIII

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 694
    • View Profile
1917 Russian Offensives
« on: October 22, 2015, 06:42:56 PM »
This is in the way of what if Nicholas worked something out there was no Feb/Mar 1917 revolution and the Russian army remains fit to fight and in 1917 launches a series of offensives. This is what I understand they were planning to do:
The Russian and Rumanian forces outnumbered the Central powers Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria by 2 to 1 in manpower and the central powers were holding a front line that went from the Baltic to the Black sea. The Russians planned to attack after the thaw late april/early may. They were going to begin with secondary attacks by the Northern, Western and Rumanian fronts mainly to draw off Central powers reserves. Then the main offensive was to be launched by the SouthWest front towards Lemberg/Lvov and Kovel just to the south of them the Russian and rebuilt Rumanian army was also going to launch an offensive.
 I would say the South West fronts offensive would breakthrough the lines in part because most of the troops they were up against were Austrians who collapsed rather quickly during the failed Kerensky offensive. The Germans would have some troops to deploy to the East as they did during the Kerensky offensive but I don't think it would have stopped this Russian breakthrough. I would say the Russians would have captured Kovel and while they probably would not have been able to capture Lemberg/Lvov they would have at least gotten close to it before their troops were to exhausted to carry on. The Rumanians to the South did quite well in 1917 only this time there are no real reserves to stop them as what happened in real life.  I would also expect the Northern, Western and Rumanian fronts to make some gains. The Rumanian front was to attack along the coast and should have done well. As for the other two fronts if the front commanders Ruzsky of the Northern and Evert of the Western were fired and replaced with better generals they certainly would have done very well.  To be continued.

Offline edubs31

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 997
    • View Profile
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2015, 11:17:18 PM »
No one knows better than you James, and strategically I suppose this all makes sense. But what of a less specific impediment such as lack of will. Would the already semi/mutinous ranks of the Russian army simply been marched into long odds or high casualty situations knowing of the disorders and revolutionary fever back home?

I always believed that a more determined and/or ruthless Tsar, such as Nicholas's own father Alexander III, could have put down the revolution by deploying those declining but still substantial numbers of troops still loyal to the throne onto St. Petersburg and crushing the rebellion.

And what of holding off on any more major offenses in time for the Americans to join the war effort? Surely an alliance of Russia, Britain, France and, now, the United States, would have been sufficient to defeat Germany & Austria. A simple show of resolve and force domestically paired with diplomacy in foreign affairs would have been sufficient to quell revolution and win the war.

World War I was a mediocre generation. Those who came to greatness later were not the decisions makers yet, and the true decision makers were an inferior class to their Second World War counterparts.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline TimM

  • Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 1837
    • View Profile
    • Rex and Hannah Chronicles Wikia
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2015, 05:26:55 PM »
What they should have done is use the same tactic that defeated Napoleon, and would defeat Hitler.  Let the Germans come deep into Russia, wait for winter, and then pounce.  The Germans would have been woefully unprepared for the Russian winter, as we would see in 1941.

If this tactic worked in World War II, then it stands to reason it would have worked in World War I.

Offline Nictionary

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 27
  • I cannot live without books. - Thomas Jefferson
    • View Profile
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2015, 04:15:11 PM »
Would Wilson have been willing to fight alongside an autocratic Russia?
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.

Albert Einstein

Offline edubs31

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 997
    • View Profile
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2015, 09:39:46 PM »
Would Wilson have been willing to fight alongside an autocratic Russia?

Good question. Clearly he had no love for autocratic governments - even if he himself acted autocratic at times - and simply aligning himself with Russia pre-revolution might have been difficult for him to reconcile with his general beliefs.

On the otherhand it's not like he really unified with England and France either. He supported the allied cause but gave Pershing and his generals strict orders to keep a separate army. He wanted to make it clear that we came into the war to make peace and for our own reasons. Not to entangle ourselves with allied military aims. If he was willing to take this approach with France & England it doesn't seem like such a stretch to believe he would have agreed to do the same for Imperial Russia.

Then again, we know he didn't intervene until after Russia's collapse so perhaps there is your proof. Although it can be argued that our late arrival into the war had as much to do with politics - isolationist tendencies, Republican opposition, pressure from Irish & German immigrants not to support Britain and the allies - as it had to do with Wilson's true desires as Commander-in-chief.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Kalafrana

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2872
    • View Profile
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2015, 05:14:38 AM »
Hello James

Can you suggest some better generals to replace Ruszky and co?

Ann

Offline JamesAPrattIII

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 694
    • View Profile
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2015, 03:36:31 PM »
I 'm back I had some problems. The Western Fronts offensive which made some gains during the Kerensky 1917 offensive period was directed at Vilno and after that the Baltic sea. This would force the German forces to the North of this offensive to retreat or risk getting cut off in the Courland bulge.  The Russian army was in bad shape in early 1917 but the Austro-Hungarian army was in equally bad shape. It just could not withstand another Brussilov like offensive. The Germans don't have the men to hold both the Western and Eastern fronts by themselves. It also should be pointed out all the Central Powers in 1917 were suffering major food shortages by 1917. There was starvation in parts of the Ottoman Empire. The Central Powers were also running out off about everything else. About the only thing that kept them going until 1918 was overrunning and exploiting all the resources of Rumania. Meanwhile with the US entering the war in April 1917 the Allies will now have almost unlimited men, money resources ect. If the Central Powers have any sense they will try and make peace during the winter of 1917/1918 while they still have some ability to bargan for terms. They also won't have the treaty of Brest-Litovsk to make things worse. The Central Powers should be able to get better terms than what they got at Versailles in 1919. Germany remains a monarchy. There is no stab in the back myth because Wilhelm II Hindenberg and Luddendorf sign the treaty. The Austro-Hungarian Empire is  a lot smaller but still exhists. The Ottoman Empire/Turkey is also around but the Russians will get Constinople. Nicholas II goes down in history as a great war leader. Alexandra is reguarded as his loyal wife and gets praised highly for her war relief work.

Offline TheLionandTheEagle

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2015, 06:01:45 AM »
James -- that's pretty much exactly how I have things set up in the alternate history I'm writing.  I haven't decided exactly when they have the armistice, though.

Offline JamesAPrattIII

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 694
    • View Profile
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2015, 05:26:31 PM »
Wilson even though he didn't like the Tsarist regime by early 1917 had pushed to the point of no return by the Germans going back to unrestricted U-boat warfare and the Zimmermann telegram.

As for replacements of Ruzsky and Evert the men who historically replaced them in real life in 1917 would do. Note Ruzsky besides being extremely pessimistic and erratic had a cocaine problem according to one of Alexandra's letters to Nicholas. Evert has been described as somewhat gaga.

In away it would have made sense for the Allies to "wait for the Americans" as General Petain wanted. Sadly the French did this only after the disastrous Nivelle offensive which caused large scale mutinies in the French army. It also would have been a good idea for the Provisional government of Russia to have done so instead of launching the disastrous Kerensky offensive which decimated many of the Russian army's best remaining troops. The Provisional government and Russian army leadership just could believe how bad things were in Russian army. It gave a big political boost to the Bolsheviks who were about the only people in Russia against the offensive. meanwhile the British showed they were just as smart as the French and Russians launching a disaster of an offensive call Passchedaele.

Note in late 1916 the Russians calculated they would need to call up 4 million men in 1917 to replace the losses they were going to suffer in this year. Sadly for them they found they only had 2.7 million men around to call up so the Russian army is going to start to shrink in size in 1917.

skatepixe I am glad we are on the same train of thought. I am planning on doing a what if on the post WW I Russian Imperial Army and navy and what they would have looked like.

Offline JamesAPrattIII

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 694
    • View Profile
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2015, 06:30:20 PM »
Some more stuff in this alternate scenario:

In the Caucasus the Russian army continues it's advance along the coast and inland towards Ankara. During the winter of 1917/1918 a Russian column out of Persia captures Mosul. Shortly afterwards they link up with a British force from Tikrit which the British captured in November 1917. So ends the Mesoptamiian campaign. The Turks withdraw all of their divisions from the Eastern front to defend their homeland. This forces the Germans to withdraw more troops form the Western front and the Austrians to withdraw more troops from the Italian front. This means the Italians are able to do slightly better than they did in real life. They launched 11 offensives on the Iszonzo and managed to advance about 8 miles (this is not a typo) and there is no Capereto offensive where the Italians are routed in late 1917 because the Central powers don't have the troops to do so. Meanwhile on the Western front the British Passendaele offensive is not as big of a slaughter as it was in real life and the Cambrai offensive was a greater success because the Germans don't have enough men to effectively counter attack the British as in real life. In Palestine the British fall 1917 offensive against the Turks is an even bigger success since there are fewer Turks to oppose them.

As for the Russian army as mentioned they are running out of men and they have to start disbanding divisions to keep the remaining  ones up to strength. Russian army morale starts improving as the army advances on all fronts. Austrians and even some Germans are surrendering in large numbers. There is a feeling in the army that they are winning.


Offline Kalafrana

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2872
    • View Profile
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2015, 02:12:19 AM »
Could it be that there is then no German breakthrough on the Western Front in March 1918?

Ann

Offline JamesAPrattIII

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 694
    • View Profile
Re: 1917 Russian Offensives
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2015, 10:05:55 PM »
No way the Russian 1917 collapse is what enabled the Germans to bring troops to the West for the 1918 offensives that were supposed to win the war for Germany. With Russia still fighting in 1917 the Germans and their allies are desperartely trying to hold back the Allies on all fronts during this year.  In the East the front is too long for them to defend if the Russians launch offensives like the Germans and the Allies did in the west in 1918 and what the Soviets did in 1943-45. Lauch an offensive at one part of the front when it runs out of steam launch an offensive at another part of the front now striped of most of its reserves. During a good part of the Brusilov offensive the northern and Western fronts of the Russian army really didn't do very much and there were long sectors of the German line that were weakly held and had few reserves in front of them. Brusilov is furious with their commanders and Stavka for this in his memoirs for their inaction. Note his memoirs may have been partly rewritten by his widow after his death.

If the Central powers decide not to make peace during the winter of 1917/1918 because the terms are too tough and the war goes on. 1918 would sort of be a slower version of 1944/45 as the German army fights on as one after another its Allies give up. They still have plenty of good troops that weren't used up during the 1918 offensives who can put up a real fight. Their industries can still turn out enough weaponry for them to use. However at home the german people are starting to starve. So they will surrender on harsher terms then in real life sometime in 1918. Note William II may have been a lot of things but he wasn't Hitler and I don't think he could get his army and his people to fight to the bitter end. There will be a time when his Generals tell him as in real life in late 1918 that his army can't and won't continue fighting. He will abdicate as in real life but stands a greater chance of being tried as a war criminal with Hindenberg and Luddendorf and others. Note US General John J Pershing wanted the Allies to give the Germans "Unconditional Surrender' as in WW I.