Czechoslovakia decides to fight, September 1938

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Archibald

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... telling Daladier and Chamberlain to go to hell in shame. They can't win of course, but they can give the Germans a bloody nose (we helped them building a miniature Maginot line). And - most importantly - as a last resort raze the Skoda works to the ground, so much less Panzer IIIs for Adolf afterwards.

Your thoughts ? Will France gets its head out of his rear end ? and Great Britain ? What kind of damage can the Czechs do to the LW and Wermacht ?
What would Stalin do ? and Poland ?
 

zen

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Hmmmm.....with Polish backing.

Czech weaponry was among the best possible in this era.
The longer it gets hard for Germany, the more temptation for others to exploit this....
 

royabulgaf

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Hmmmm.....with Polish backing.

Didn't Poland take the opportunity to get back some territory that Czechoslovakia had grabbed from Poland previously?
Bingo. The Czechoslovakian government was finally paying for treating the Slovakians like second class citizens and other ethnic groups like dirt. In late 1938 Poland and Hungary forcibly annexed Polish and Hungarian majority territory, and the fed up ethnic Germans were in open revolt. Czechoslovakia was going to collapse sooner or later, and the March 1939 secession of Ruthenia and Slovakia put a final nail in the country's coffin.
 
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pathology_doc

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... telling Daladier and Chamberlain to go to hell in shame. They can't win of course, but they can give the Germans a bloody nose (we helped them building a miniature Maginot line). And - most importantly - as a last resort raze the Skoda works to the ground, so much less Panzer IIIs for Adolf afterwards.

Your thoughts ? Will France gets its head out of his rear end ? and Great Britain ? What kind of damage can the Czechs do to the LW and Wermacht ?
What would Stalin do ? and Poland ?
The invasion of Poland, walkover though it was, exposed numerous flaws in the German war machine which the "phony war" that followed gave Germany time to fix before they turned on Western Europe. My guess is that a shooting war vs Czechoslovakia would expose those flaws earlier, but even if Britain and France did not come to Czechoslovakia's aid, Hitler would have been seen immediately for what he was, a year earlier than was actually the case.

Screwing up this particular piece of diplomacy might then cost Chamberlain his job, but I'm not sure this automatically means we get Churchill two years early.

Poland would probably be much better prepared if/when its time comes. The end result might be the same, but the struggle might be longer - and by that time, Britain and France might be more inclined to swing in against Germany's back when its best forces are busy driving toward Warsaw. If there is an Anglo-French demonstration of force, with the need to keep strong forces on the Franco-German border, Poland might even manage to hold out indefinitely. Then what? A Polish back-stab by Russia, turning the war into a Anglo-French vs. Russo-German fight? At that point, trying to predict what will happen becomes impossible.
 

zen

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Halifax could become PM in this scenario, thinking he can cut a deal with other senior German figures.

Germany was in far less prepared state for war at this time.
A strong response by the French and British could topple Hitler.

Poland could reveal they cracked Enigma, causing the Germans to revise procedures.

Pro-german factions in the US could swing the debate further towards isolationism.
 

Dilandu

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Hmmmm.....with Polish backing.
Er, Poland sided with Germany against Czech. And blocked all Soviet attempt to help Czechoslovakia, including threatening to shoot down Soviet planes, if USSR tried to send help that way.

In late 1938 Poland and Hungary forcibly annexed Polish and Hungarian majority territory,

Yeah, but when USSR done the same with Poland in 1939, Poland for some reason was not happy)
 

Dilandu

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Then what? A Polish back-stab by Russia, turning the war into a Anglo-French vs. Russo-German fight? At that point, trying to predict what will happen becomes impossible.
Sigh. Hello, USSR was at Czech side! And actually tried to form coalition with Britain and France against Germany. Stalin only started to negotiate with Germany after 1938 events demonstrated, that Western democracies are unwilling to fight and could not be a reliable allies (also, Stalin got a nasty suspicion, that London and Paris may sacrifice Poland as well, if this would help to provoke a German-Soviet war - and frankly, it's hard to call him paranoid here...).

If Western nations actually took a stand in 1938, USSR would most likely be on their side. Simply because Germany was a much closer and greater immediate threat.
 

Archibald

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I wonder if the Czech resisting could prompt France moving at least, followed by the Soviets... Daladier wanted to do something, he was a tad more realistic than Chamberlain there.

Whether would France act without Great Britain, remain to be seen.

Seems GB was committed since the spring of 1938 - but Chamberlain didn't wanted to go and jumped on Mussolini proposal to get itself out a possible war along the French.

This has all the ingredients to become a huge clusterfrack between
- the Soviet Union
- the countries it would have to get through to help the Czechs
a) Romania
or b) Poland
- Germany
- The French and the British

----

Could the dominos fall that way ?

- Czech decides to resist
- Germany attacks, get bogged down
- Stalin wants to go but Poland don't want to hear anything
- The Soviets force Poland or Romania and get through
- The country attacked by the Soviets de facto sides with Germany, against the Czechs and Soviets

Big clusterfrack in central Europe...

France wonders if it should fight without Great Britain. Or perhaps attacking Germany from its border, something like the 1939 Saar offensive, except much more vigourous ?
As for the British, they could be asked to make a show of force in the Baltic with the RN ?

----

Which military was weaker, Romania or Poland ? Would Stalin send an ultimatum and then attack ?
 
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LVisingr

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One very important thing to remember: The Nazi Germany simply didn't have enough supplies for a long war in autumn of 1938. The reserves of fuel and ammunition for land forces would last for (at most) 4 weeks of fighting, and the situation of the Luftwaffe was even much worse, since the German reserves of aviation fuel, oil and ammo would be depleted after only 2 weeks of combat. One can only deeply reason what could the Nazi Germany do after that, since Czechoslovakian reserves were calculated for 3 months of war...
 

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Umh...interesting scenario, I wonder what would do Italy in such context.

The so called "Pact of Steel" still wasn't signed (it happened only on 22nd May 1939), so Mussolini wasn't at all obliged to support Hitler's ambition.
 

archipeppe

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I can only guess that Mussolini doesn't wanted two wars at the same time. Since Italy was still supporting Franco with Spanish Civil War and taken also his behaviour during the first year of war (up to 10th June 1940) it is easy to predict a neutral Italy.

Maybe both England and France could do something more to attract Mussolini back to them rather to Germany, especially if Czech would resist.
 

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No-one actually wanted to help Czechoslovakia. Britain and France carved up a nation without even asking the Czechs what they wanted. They got thrown under a bus to stave off a war Britain and France didn't really want.
They threw Poland under the bus too, figuring a big nation like Poland with big Army could handle things while they tried to figure out a diplomatic Plan B to stop Hitler.
There were probably more concerted efforts to get equipment (especially ex-RAF and French aircraft) and volunteers to Finland against the Soviets in late 1939 than any effort to offer practical military support to Poland. Britain spent more time figuring out how to bomb Baku (despite no declaration of war against the USSR) than it did about any bombing to aid Poland's fight.

There seems to have been an unavoidable desire to meddle, none of the Great Powers ever seem to have taken the post-1919 republics seriously in regards to their affairs. Collective security was always on the cards but never implemented and Britain, France, Italy, Russia and Germany never seem to have let them do anything on their own. The republics were beset with rivalries and antagonised each other and probably could never have acted in concert together for mutual benefit. It never seems to have occurred to Chamberlain and Daladier to let the Czechs fight it out, they feared any war would spark off something big and they felt a moral obligation to interfere as much as possible for their own ends (i.e. no big war to spoil their post-Great Depression recovery). The Czechs were not in control of their own destiny.

Had they fought it might have been a stalemate but we although well equipped we don't know how well the Czechs would have fought. On paper the fortifications, modern tanks and artillery and the terrain is in their favour, Germany can't really deploy Blitzkrieg as such but then they managed well in Norway, Yugoslavia and Greece in worse terrain. Plus they have airpower, the Czech air force was modern but probably not much more advanced than Poland's and is numerically smaller and German airbases are nearer. I'd say a 6-8 week campaign plus sniping attacks from other neighbours and internal unrest would result in defeat.

But then Hitler has to stop and refit, would they be ready to invade Poland? Hitler couldn't make any diplomatic pretences over Danzig, the Poles would be waiting and ready, would they attempt to forestall invasion on their own?
If Britain and France failed to act would Poland have sided with them at all? Does Stalin offer a bearhug of support?
Would Hitler simply invade Poland and hope Britain and France are running scared?
Does Mussolini think about taking the law into his own hands in 1939 and invading Albania and Greece earlier?
Do we get a free-for-all out east, Stalin deciding to take the bits he wants?
Do Britain and France stand by and let the dust settle hoping German and Soviet ambitions will make them squabble with each other instead of going west?
 

Dilandu

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Had they fought it might have been a stalemate but we although well equipped we don't know how well the Czechs would have fought. On paper the fortifications, modern tanks and artillery and the terrain is in their favour, Germany can't really deploy Blitzkrieg as such but then they managed well in Norway, Yugoslavia and Greece in worse terrain. Plus they have airpower, the Czech air force was modern but probably not much more advanced than Poland's and is numerically smaller and German airbases are nearer. I'd say a 6-8 week campaign plus sniping attacks from other neighbours and internal unrest would result in defeat.

But then Hitler has to stop and refit, would they be ready to invade Poland? Hitler couldn't make any diplomatic pretences over Danzig, the Poles would be waiting and ready, would they attempt to forestall invasion on their own?

There is also other probability; Poland siding with Germany openly. In fact, this was one of the reason why Czech surrendered without fight in 1938; they could defend against Germany, but they do not have resources to fight war on two fronts simultaneously.

So, it's actually possible that if Czech decided to fight, then Poland would openly side with Germany and strike them from flank. USSR would get involved, and France would feel empowered to act (in fact, one of the main reason why France was reluctant, was the sorry state of French air force in 1938. But if USSR is getting involved - with its grand fleets of bombers and fighters, that demonstrated themselves reasonably well in Spain - then France may calculate that Germany would not be able to throw all the Luftwaffe against them).

So the big European war of Franco-Soviet-Czech alliance against German-Polish became a possibility.
 

Justo Miranda

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- Czechoslovakia (1 October 1938 to 15 March 1939)


Alarmed by the rapid development of the new German monoplane fighters, the Czech Ministry of National Defence (MNO) issued the 23-308 Type I specification on 1 January 1936, calling for a single-seat monoplane fighter with retractable undercarriage, powered by the 1,000 hp Avia H.S.12-1000 Y in-line engine, an advanced version of the French Hispano-Suiza H.S.12Y-37.



When it was learned that the Messerschmitt Bf 109 B-1 had entered service in February 1937, the design team of the firm Avia, under the leadership of Ing. František Novotný, presented the Avia B-35 project. On 22 May the MNO approved the construction of two prototypes, temporarily equipped with fixed undercarriage to gain time. A wooden mock-up, with three bladed propeller and retractable undercarriage, was also approved and displayed at the National Exhibition in Prague.



At the end of 1937 the construction of the prototype B-35.1 began. It flew for the first time on September 1938, powered by an 860 hp Hispano-Suiza/Avia H.S.12Y drs engine, driving one Avia 232A wooden propeller. In a second test, carried out on the same day but with one M-100 metal propeller, the B-35.1 reached a maximum speed of 485 kph.



The prototype was 2,200 kg gross weight, had a 500 km range, a 13 m/s rate of climb and a ceiling of 8,500 m. The wings, spanning 10.85 m, were built in wood/plywood bonded to an outer duraluminium skin and housed two fuel tanks in the wing roots. The fuselage, with 8.50 m length, was built in welded steel-tube with dural panelling forward and plywood/dural aft. It housed the engine, armament, cockpit and a third fuel tank.



Armament tests were carried out later with a moteur-cannon H.S.12Y crs, with one 20 mm H.S.404 cannon firing through the hub of the Letov Hd 43 propeller, and two ČZ Strakonice vz.30, 7.92 mm synchronized machine guns. The B-35.1 was destroyed in an accident on 22 November 1938.



The B-35.2 made its first flight on 30 December 1938, powered by an H.S.12Y drs, driving one Avia 232B wooden propeller. It differed from the B-35.1 in the wooden structure of the fuselage, designed to facilitate the construction, and in the wing chord, reduced to 215 cm to facilitate manoeuvrability at high speed. No armament was installed.



After the German annexation of the Sudetenland in October 1938, the MNO ordered the urgent construction of 10 pre-production units (B-35.3 to B-35.12), with retractable landing gear.



The B-35.3, equipped with Messier retractable undercarriage, wooden propeller and two machine guns, flew for the first time on 20 June 1939 reaching 535 kph. It differed from the B-35.2 in the wings, designed to facilitate production, with straight leading edge and 223 cm chord. It had 2,462 kg gross weight, 940 km range, 13.5 m/s rate of climb and 9,500 m ceiling.

The pre-production B-35 would have performed better in combat than its contemporaneous Fokker D.XXI, Polikarpov I-6 Type 10, Heinkel He 112 B-0, Messerschmitt Bf 109 B-2 and C-1 and Morane Saulnier M.S. 406 and would have fought on equal terms with the Messerschmitt Bf 109 D-1, the Dewoitine D.520 and Hawker Hurricane Mk.I.



The construction of the B-135 'panic fighter' should start in May 1939, but it was cancelled after the German annexation of Bohemia-Moravia on 15 March 1939.





Bibliography​



Books

Němeček V., ČESKOSLOVENSKÁ Letadla 1918-1945 (Naše vojsko- Praha 1983).

Bílý M., Bernád D., Kučera P., Avia B-35, B-135 (MBI Publications 2003).

Green W., Warplanes of the Second World War, Fighters, VOLUME ONE, (MacDonald 1963).



Publications

Les Avia B.35/135 de František Novotný”, Le Fana de l’Aviation Nº 190.
 

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pathology_doc

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Then what? A Polish back-stab by Russia, turning the war into a Anglo-French vs. Russo-German fight? At that point, trying to predict what will happen becomes impossible.
Sigh. Hello, USSR was at Czech side! And actually tried to form coalition with Britain and France against Germany. Stalin only started to negotiate with Germany after 1938 events demonstrated, that Western democracies are unwilling to fight and could not be a reliable allies (also, Stalin got a nasty suspicion, that London and Paris may sacrifice Poland as well, if this would help to provoke a German-Soviet war - and frankly, it's hard to call him paranoid here...).

If Western nations actually took a stand in 1938, USSR would most likely be on their side. Simply because Germany was a much closer and greater immediate threat.
Thanks for the additional background; I was unaware of that.
 

Dilandu

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Thanks for the additional background; I was unaware of that.
Stalin defining trait, that Western sources often omitted, was his ruthless pragmatism. He never allowed himself to venture too far from the practical questions of costs and benefits of actions. His actions were always dictated by pragmatic concerns. Nazi Germany was the biggest threat to Soviet Union in late 1930s; both because of ideological concerns and because it was close and re-arming on alarming rate. Therefore Stalin tried to form defensive block against Germany. When it proven to be impossible in 1938 - Stalin immediately concentrated on gaining time to prepare for (inevitable) war with Germany. He achieved it by agreement with Germany, which not only allowed USSR to get back Western Ukraine and Belarus from Poland, but also redirected German aggression - temporarily - to the West. He hoped, that Germany would bog down at Western Front, fighting French and British, and give USSR time to rearm, and came in 1942 as savior of Europe. Of course, he did not anticipate that France would fell so fast...
 

uk 75

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The Czechs became victims of the doctrine of ethnic self determination which had carved their country out of the Austro Hungarian Empire. Britain and France accepted Hitler`s cynical argument that the Sudeten Germans should be ruled from Berlin not Prague.
 

Archibald

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Stalin defining trait, that Western sources often omitted, was his ruthless pragmatism.
Bingo. Chamberlain and to a much lesser extent Daladier, loathed communism in general and particularly Stalin. They did not wanted to hear about an alliance. In a sense, they were wrong on the first point but all too right on the second... the French right in particular would have roasted Daladier alive had he made an alliance with the communists.
One of the many tragedies of interbellum France was that
- the left was hysterical about fascism (quite logical)
- but the right was hysterical about communism (logical too, but less of an emergency)
And as such it was impossible to clearly define where was the absolute, immediate threat. Even more with the late 3rd Republic hellish instability.
Germany was threatening for sure.
But, case in point: Baku bombing plans to piss-off Staline; refusal to ally with USSR against Germany.

Others people said that the Czech and Polish political regimes were not worth dying for...
"On ne mourra pas pour Dantzig"
("French people won't die for Dantzig")
 

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Closer to home, what would the effect be on the British warship building programme?

In March 1938 orders were placed with Skoda for 12,000-12,500 tons of armour plate for carriers and cruisers then building because there was inadequate capacity in Britain. Deliveries were via the German rail system. The last delivery was made in Aug 1939 to bring the total delivered to about 10,000 tons.

Seems to me that if Czechoslovakia fights then the supply route through Germany gets closed nearly a year earlier than historical with consequent delays in completing these ships, particularly the carriers. So no Taranto? No Victorious to strike the Bismarck? No Formidable off Crete?
 

royabulgaf

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Hmmmm.....with Polish backing.
Er, Poland sided with Germany against Czech. And blocked all Soviet attempt to help Czechoslovakia, including threatening to shoot down Soviet planes, if USSR tried to send help that way.

In late 1938 Poland and Hungary forcibly annexed Polish and Hungarian majority territory,

Yeah, but when USSR done the same with Poland in 1939, Poland for some reason was not happy)
Poland took a slice. The USSR took half the pie.
 

Archibald

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Closer to home, what would the effect be on the British warship building programme?

In March 1938 orders were placed with Skoda for 12,000-12,500 tons of armour plate for carriers and cruisers then building because there was inadequate capacity in Britain. Deliveries were via the German rail system. The last delivery was made in Aug 1939 to bring the total delivered to about 10,000 tons.

Seems to me that if Czechoslovakia fights then the supply route through Germany gets closed nearly a year earlier than historical with consequent delays in completing these ships, particularly the carriers. So no Taranto? No Victorious to strike the Bismarck? No Formidable off Crete?

Never heard about this before. It says something about Skoda industrial might, and the tragic mistake it was no to fight AT LEAST for that - rather than Munich absolute disgrace and shame. Of course Chamberlain did not cared, as Panzers couldn't cross the Channel as shown in summer 1940... but for France, it was one big nail into its (coming) 1940 coffin.

It has long been noted that a large slice of the Panzers that crushed France two years later, were straight out of Skoda... that was Daladier major mistake (along with his absolute confidence in Maurice Gamelin, France very own Luigi Cadorna, except in WWII rather than WWI)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Cadorna

1940 was France Caporetto, except cubed. The kind of defeat (mercifully) happening only once or two in a millenia - Crecy, Azincourt (Agincourt, as you call it in english) ... the moment when a military defeat becomes a country collapse.


 
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Opportunistic Minnow

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Poland took a slice. The USSR took half the pie.
Please! This is the lamest excuse ever! The question of morality did not have numerical answer; you could not put a quantitive gradation on morality of wars and invasions.
Of course you can! Everyone knows that the Emu War was 47% less moral than WW2!
 
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Hood

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Seems to me that if Czechoslovakia fights then the supply route through Germany gets closed nearly a year earlier than historical with consequent delays in completing these ships, particularly the carriers. So no Taranto? No Victorious to strike the Bismarck? No Formidable off Crete?
DK Brown states the armour was used for the flight decks of Illustrious and Victorious, the hangar deck of Formidable and most of the deck and bulkhead armour for the Fiji-class cruisers Kenya and Trinidad.

If we presume a Czecho-German War breaks out in October 1938:
Illustrious - was still 6 months away from launching
Victorious - was still 11 months away from launching
Formidable - was still 10 months away from launching
Kenya - laid down 18 Jun 1938 so still very early in build
Trinidad - laid down 21 April 1938 so still very early in build

It looks like the effect on Illustrious might not be too severe and she may have already received enough material for her build not to be impacted.
Victorious and Formidable would be delayed if there was no alternative home armour plate to spare.

For the two Fiji-class it would likewise look a blow given the rapid build programme, two of the four 1938 Programme ships ordered in March 1938 were laid down in April and July 1938 for example. The only likely response is to delay laying down Bermuda at John Brown in December and diverting her armour or pushing back the three Uganda-subclass ships further back into 1939 or even truncating production of the Fijis entirely.
I'm not sure it would have been feasible to transfer armour plates intended for the cruisers to the carriers (differences in thicknesses, sizes etc.).

DK Brown seems to indicate the shortages of gun mountings and other equipment actually proved more problematic and that as a consequence the shortage of armour never became an issue. Its not clear whether he means the Czech steel was ultimately unimportant factor or not, or whether he is referring to more armour-intensive build programmes - i.e. the battleships as part of the overall picture. It may have been possible to juggle allocations around but given production lead times it seems unlikely.
To me the use of the Czech steel looks very structurally intrinsic (major decks and bulkheads) to the ships concerned so delays in mountings etc. would mean nothing if the main armour decks were incomplete and the hulls unable to proceed further.
 

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I’m really not clear which carriers were intended to get and then actually got that Czech armour. I’ve read Brown’s version but Friedman noted that it was the prospect of delays in delivering Indomitable’s armour from Czechoslovakia that allowed her redesign in 1938.

There were certainly delays with the 14” turrets for the KGVs and also their 5.25” turrets, although ultimately the delays to the ships themselves due to that do not seem to be too great. The latter resulted in turrets being shuffled around. Ultimately only Howe, the last completed, got the 5.25” turrets intended for her. Delays with the 5.25” turrets for the Didos meant 3 of the earlier ships completed with only 4, while the pre-war plan to equip Charybdis and Scylla with 4.5” UD mounts intended pre-war for D class cruiser AA conversions went ahead.

I’ve not read of delays to the 4.5”BD mountings for the carriers & battleship reconstructions but it wouldn’t surprise me as so few factories were involved in assembling them.
 

Hood

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I can't think of any serious documented shortages of gun mountings other than the 5.25in. There was a shortage of 4in twins at one point, nobody even mentions the 4.5in BDs, I agree though the reconstructions and the Illustrious-class do overlap in timing so its a surprise there were enough mounts within a short space of time.
Certainly the 6in-gunned cruiser programme seems to have been fairly rapid with no obvious hold ups with armament.
 

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There was one minor hold up with the 6” cruiser programme. A coaster carrying a 6” turret from VA Barrow to the Clyde sank (torpedoed IIRC). They pulled one from Belfast lying under repair at Devonport to replace it, while a new one was manufactured to fit to Belfast. Can’t remember which Fiji was affected.
 

uk 75

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The fear of war in Britain in 1938 is well documented.
Chamberlain had not fought in WW1 but lost brothers. He was also a believer that bombing would be on the same scale as a nuclear attack. The popular film "Things to Come" made a similar point.
WW1 was seen as a hideous disaster which should have and could have been avoided if "reasonable" men had tried harder.
Churchill of course realised that Hitler could not be reasoned with. Though he was an Imperialist and loathed Communism he believed in alliances of convenience and would have had a pact with Russia if this helped preserve Czechoslovakia.
Churchill also had faith in Roosevelt. Chamberlain had an English distain for America born of ignorance but then Churchill did have an American mum!
 

Justo Miranda

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Hmmmm.....with Polish backing.
Er, Poland sided with Germany against Czech. And blocked all Soviet attempt to help Czechoslovakia, including threatening to shoot down Soviet planes, if USSR tried to send help that way.

In late 1938 Poland and Hungary forcibly annexed Polish and Hungarian majority territory,

Yeah, but when USSR done the same with Poland in 1939, Poland for some reason was not happy)
Poland took a slice. The USSR took half the pie.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, the Luftwaffe attacked Poland with 2,300 modern combat aircraft.

The Polish Air Force only had 240 fighters and succumbed after just thirty days of fighting, hopelessly waiting for the squads of Moranes, Hurricanes and Battles with which their false French and British allies had promised to help. Such was the trust of the Polish Government in its Western allies that they had sold its most modern fighters P.Z.L. P.24 to Greece, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria, retaining the obsolete models P.7a, P.11a and P.11c for the defence of the country.

The origin of this dangerous decision appears to be in the douhetiste mentality of the general Ludomil Rayski, commissioned to lead the Polish Air Force procurement programs since 1936. The writtings of Giulio Douhet had convinced many influential persons in the mid-1930s that future wars would be won from the air by large fleets of bombers. Yet the combat experience gained in Spain and China cleary indicated that the bombers had to be escorted by fighters to be effective.

The limited range of the fighters of the time restricted the territorial ambitions of the countries to over 300 km beyond its borders. But Germany dreamt of the Urals, Italy dreamt of Egypt and Japan dreamt of China. Trying to overcome that limit was how concept 'strategic fighter', with powerful weapons and high range, was conceived. France, Germany, Poland and Japan invested large resources, with more ideological than scientific basis.

By the end of the 1920s Polish strategists believed feasible the expansion of their accesses to the sea through the annexation of German East Prussian territories. The lessons derived from the war against the soviets in 1920 were all wrong, as well as the belief that Germany was a country definitely defeated. Erroneously, the Poles decided to devote a large part of their resources to the creation of a modern attack force, consisting of fast-bombers and long-range 'strategic-fighters' to force the future annexation of new territories.

The manufacture of the new single-engine fighters P.Z.L. P.50 and P.55 had to be delayed in favour of the twin-engine P.Z.L. 'strategic-fighter' P.38 Wilk. The expansionist policy carried out by the U.S.S.R. and the Third Reich in Manchuria, Spain, Finland, Austria and Czechoslovakia, alarmed the French and British forcing them to suspend the export of fighter aircrafts and engines to small European countries that were is such a need of them.

At the beginning of the year 1939 Poland was a blind between two monsters.
 

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their false French and British allies
Not completely fair. True for the Czech in '38, less for Poland. At least they declared war this time. Although another betrayal, TBH, was the Saar "offensive" in September.
 

Justo Miranda

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The expansionist policy carried out by the U.S.S.R.
Excuse me? What?
They are not opinions, they are historical facts.

After the defeat suffered against the Polish Army in 1920 and lacking enough airplanes, the Soviets decided to build a powerful Red Air Force (VVS RKKA) formed by 2,500 aircraft to 'liberate' the neighbouring countries: on 28 May 1939, they attacked Manchuria, Poland on 17 September, Finland on 30 November, Lithuania on 15 June 1940, Estonia and Latvia on 16 June, Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina on 28 June and Iran on 25 August 1941.

Between 1936 and 1938, the U.S.S.R. made a demonstration of force by sending to Spain hundred-and-eight Polikarpov I-15, ninety-three Polikarpov I-152, eighty-nine Polikarpov I-16 Type 5, sixty-eight Polikarpov I-16 Type 6, hundred-and-twenty-two Polikarpov I-16 Type 10 fighters, four Polikarpov UTI-4 trainers, thirty-one Polikarpov R-5 Army cooperation airplanes, thirty-one Polikarpov R-5 Cht strafers, sixty-two Polikarpov RZ light bombers and ninety-three Tupolev SB-2 medium bombers. They also sent 347 tanks, 60 armoured vehicles, 1,186 cannons, 340 mortars, 20,486 machine guns, 497, 813 rifles, 862 millions of cartridges, 3.5 millions of artillery shells, 10,000 aviation bombs and four torpedo boats.

Soviet intervention only served to futilly prolong the civil war at the cost of 700,000 lives, economic ruin and international isolation of my country for forty years. My father, Sergeant Miranda was wounded by a Russian bomb and if he had died I would not be writing this, but I do not retain any personal grudges, only historical curiosity for reasons of so much evil. With the perspective that the past tense gives, in my opinion all known history consists of a succession of errors.
 

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their false French and British allies
Not completely fair. True for the Czech in '38, less for Poland. At least they declared war this time. Although another betrayal, TBH, was the Saar "offensive" in September.
After the invasion of Czechoslovakia in March, the general Józef Zając received the command of the Polish Air Force and commissioned the urgent production of four-hundred P.Z.L. P.11g Kobuz fighters powered by a Bristol Mercury VIII engine. In June, the Polish Government began negotiations for the acquisition of the Seversky P-35 and Curtiss P-36 fighters. In August, after the French refused to export their few Dewoitine D.520, an agreement was signed for the acquisition of hundred-and-sixty Morane-Saulnier M.S. 406 that were finally retained in Le Havre after the German occupation of the Polish ports.

The British agreed to export only ten Hurricane Mk.I, one Spitfire Mk.I and hundred Battle bombers, but only the Hurricane L2048 arrived to Poland before the German invasion. At the end of August the Dornier Do 17P-1 of the Luftwaffe began to carry out reconnaissance flights over Poland at an altitude that the P.Z.L. P.11c of the Zasadzkipatrols could not reach.
 

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Thanks for the additional background; I was unaware of that.
Stalin defining trait, that Western sources often omitted, was his ruthless pragmatism. He never allowed himself to venture too far from the practical questions of costs and benefits of actions. His actions were always dictated by pragmatic concerns. Nazi Germany was the biggest threat to Soviet Union in late 1930s; both because of ideological concerns and because it was close and re-arming on alarming rate. Therefore Stalin tried to form defensive block against Germany. When it proven to be impossible in 1938 - Stalin immediately concentrated on gaining time to prepare for (inevitable) war with Germany. He achieved it by agreement with Germany, which not only allowed USSR to get back Western Ukraine and Belarus from Poland, but also redirected German aggression - temporarily - to the West. He hoped, that Germany would bog down at Western Front, fighting French and British, and give USSR time to rearm, and came in 1942 as savior of Europe. Of course, he did not anticipate that France would fell so fast...
Everyone knew that defeating the Third Reich would require a high number of human losses, possibly higher than those of the First World War. All governments expected French to die, but in the end it was Russians.
 

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Thanks for the additional background; I was unaware of that.
Stalin defining trait, that Western sources often omitted, was his ruthless pragmatism. He never allowed himself to venture too far from the practical questions of costs and benefits of actions. His actions were always dictated by pragmatic concerns. Nazi Germany was the biggest threat to Soviet Union in late 1930s; both because of ideological concerns and because it was close and re-arming on alarming rate. Therefore Stalin tried to form defensive block against Germany. When it proven to be impossible in 1938 - Stalin immediately concentrated on gaining time to prepare for (inevitable) war with Germany. He achieved it by agreement with Germany, which not only allowed USSR to get back Western Ukraine and Belarus from Poland, but also redirected German aggression - temporarily - to the West. He hoped, that Germany would bog down at Western Front, fighting French and British, and give USSR time to rearm, and came in 1942 as savior of Europe. Of course, he did not anticipate that France would fell so fast...
Everyone knew that defeating the Third Reich would require a high number of human losses, possibly higher than those of the First World War. All governments expected French to die, but in the end it was Russians.

France had lost 1.5 million men killed - over a total of 10 million (the 8.5 million survivors being either a) maimed b) gassed or c) thoroughly traumatized by the 4-year-long horror & ordeal - to you, Jean Giono.)
- out of a population of less than 40 million.

Germany also lost 1.5 million men killed, but out a population much larger, in a 60 million+ ballpark.

No surprise the French did not wanted to fight in 1939, or even if they had wanted, the country simply could not afford another Verdun or WWI bloodbath.

The males lost in WWI (and their unborn children) had still not been replaced, by a long shot, only 20 years later.

In fact between 1934 and 1938 the French population shrunk for that exact reason. Just like South Korea / Spain / ITaly / Germany / Japan today, although for different reasons.

Daladier himself was a WWI decorated veteran and, for all his flaws elsewhere, I can understand he was a little reluctant sending the next generation to a butchering potentially as murderous as the previous one. A butchering the exhausted country just cound't afford a second time.

Everyone knew that defeating the Third Reich would require a high number of human losses, possibly higher than those of the First World War. All governments expected French to die, but in the end it was Russians.

Not if Hitler had been taken early enough... 1938 was kind of last occasion to screw the madman without too much blood, at least not 10 or 60 million dead.

What degree of reality in the (supposed) September 1938 coup ready to be unleashed against Adolf - if the anglo-french backed the Czechs and Germany went to war ?
 

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My father, Sergeant Miranda was wounded by a Russian bomb and if he had died I would not be writing this, but I do not retain any personal grudges, only historical curiosity for reasons of so much evil.

My 32 years old grandfather was a radio in an French armored unit that on May 10, 1940 moved from Hirson / Fourmies on the franco-belgian border toward Dinant and Philippeville (and its castle) in the middle of Belgium.

Doing that they found themselves right in the middle of the 100 km corridor taken by Guderian (and Rommel) 7 panzers when they made their breakthrough: starting in Sedan and ending at Abbeville six days later.

The tanks were all crushed and the infantry killed in the battles of Philippeville and Dinant so the rear echelon (including my grandfather) started pulling back to France, to Hirson where they had came from.

They were thus going from North to South: moving from Dinant, Belgium, to Compiègnes, France.

The 7 Panzers were going East to West: Sedan to Abbeville.

End result: for some days it was like being trapped in the middle of a highway with trucks coming right to you at full speed.

And in front of the panzers was the LW bombing and machine gunning everything in the path. My grandfather included.

On May 16 they were bombed and straffed (I've born that day, except 42 years later)
On May 19 they were safe at least, having barely escaped the giant trap in Northern France that later closed at Dunkirk.
That day, May 19 1940 my uncle was born but my mom was born only in July 1943 - so had my grandfather been killed or taken prisoner in Germany, I wouldn't type this now.
He returned in July only to find my grandmother health completely ruined, and none of the two really recovered psychologically from their respective ordeals.
 
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