• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

Soviet Union Invades Alaska 1936 - Air Raid Dutch Harbor - This is no drill!

papacavy

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Apr 13, 2006
Messages
97
Reaction score
10
So, pondering ANOTHER what if: the Soviet Union decides to take back Alaska because the Czar had no right to sell it (Stalin's warped thinking). Want to pit some American fighters against Soviet ones. Need to find Table of Equipment for the U.S. Army Air Corps circa 1935-1937 and compare to Soviet equipment.

Would like to hear other members' thoughts, ideas, suggestions and references.
 

Avimimus

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
88
papacavy said:
decides to take back Alaska because the Czar had no right to sell it (Stalin's warped thinking).

Yes, because it was and should always have been a Canadian holding - especially the pan-handle. The HBC had tradeposts there for decades before Americans showed up.
 

Avimimus

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
88
Neither side would have a significant technical advantage in terms of fighter performance. Range would likely be a critical factor.

Russia would have a strong strategic aviation with considerable range in the form of TB-3, the uninterceptable SB-2, and early production DB-3. In comparison the United States would have some early production B-17s and a few B-18s.

The main U.S. advantage would be its carrier forces. However, the Yorktown and Enterprise couldn't be completed in time for such a war. This would mean that the U.S. would be dependent on the USS Ranger and the two ships of the 1920s era Lexington Class. This force would've been primarily Boeing P-12 and Grumman F2Fs (with maybe some SBU-1s from the Ranger? I'm not sure about its complement as comissioned). The carriers would've been more vulnerable than land bases and would've lacked the hitting power we're familiar with from WWII.

American land bases would play a limited role without the Alaska highway. I'm not sure what the logistics would look like on the Russian side.


P.S.
Note that the record of level bombers vs. carriers is far from spectacular, suggesting multiple attacks would be needed, and the TB-3 would likely have been quite easy to intercept. The SB-2 could act as an escort fighter, but might have proven vulnerable to defensive gunners.
 

royabulgaf

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
493
Reaction score
60
Both nations would be at the end of their supply lines. However, it would be much easier for America with multiple rail lines to LA, Frisco, Seattle, etc. to then bring supplies via a real merchant marine to Alaska. While the US Army is much smaller than the Soviet army, much of it is based in western forts, and would be closer to the action with easier transport to the front. The only carriers are American, so reliable air cover could be there rather swiftly, and are essentially a ready=built airbase. Also, the USSR has no blue water navy to speak of. The US Pacific fleet was well equipped and well trained, with with auxiallaries to keep it supplied. US battleships and cruisers would easily dominate the USSR's supply routes, and destroy Vladivostok's port and warehouse facilities. Whatever Soviet military forces made it to Alaska could be mopped up at leisure. If the airships are used they could provide excellent real time scouting and anti=sup patrol.
 

royabulgaf

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
493
Reaction score
60
I just checked. The Lexington carried 36 fighters, plus nine in reserve. It carried 20 dive bombers with 10 in reserve, plus 18 torpedo bombers with nine in reserve. It also carried eight 8" guns. The Lexingtons were monsters. If one was there with a battleship as part of a task force they could provide air cover, fire support, and air support while closing down the Soviet supply line utterly.
 

Avimimus

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
88
True, but there are some other factors to consider:

1) For this scenario to be plausible the Soviet Union would have had to have built a branch of the transiberian that went much further north, as well as airbases in the Kamchatka.

2) The U.S. Carrier forces would have had much weaker anti-aircraft armaments and weaker aircraft than they had in 1941.

So, the SB-2 bomber would be uninterceptable near the coasts and the possibility of destroying carriers or warships might exist. The TB-3 force could also attack ships repeatedly with medium-altitude bombing - well above the height of the defensive fire.
 

kaiserd

I really should change my personal text
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2013
Messages
1,041
Reaction score
373
Avimimus said:
True, but there are some other factors to consider:

1) For this scenario to be plausible the Soviet Union would have had to have built a branch of the transiberian that went much further north, as well as airbases in the Kamchatka.

2) The U.S. Carrier forces would have had much weaker anti-aircraft armaments and weaker aircraft than they had in 1941.

So, the SB-2 bomber would be uninterceptable near the coasts and the possibility of destroying carriers or warships might exist. The TB-3 force could also attack ships repeatedly with medium-altitude bombing - well above the height of the defensive fire.

Not looking to be a wet blanket but for this scenario to be even remotely viable a number of historic factors would need to be different;
- No great purge (at this time Stalin was instigating and guiding the purges against senior and rank & file members of his armed forces, the communist party and wider soviet society - in no position to fight a massive war of choice).
- No Spanish Civil War, or at least no Soviet Russia involvement in that war (Russian advisors and equipment sent to Spain, major focus of Soviet foreign policy at the time). Similarly valid point could be made re: the USSR's support for China against Japan's invasion
- A different regimes in Germany and probably in Japan. Very very hard to see the USSR instigating a clash with the US when it already faced extremely hostile regimes in Germany and Japan; not a logical time or place to pick a fight with an even more powerful opponent.
- A different Soviet leader. In the area of foreign affairs Stalin was generally quite reluctant to take large risks or pick fights with major powers (the start of the Korean War much later stands out as an exception and even that was based on a miscalculation re: likely US involvement). At this time it would be out of character for him to have instigated a major conflict with the US.

In terms of the actual fighting in such a theoretical conflict a lot would depend if the Soviets could bring to bear their traditional weight of numbers and their tank forces; given the logistics and terrain I don't think they could. This would be consistent with the performance of Soviet forces in the Spanish Civil War, the 1939 border clashes with Japan, and the poor performance but ultimately victory in 1940 against the Fins.
You also appear to be over estimating the actual effectiveness of Soviet strategic air power of this period.
 

royabulgaf

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
493
Reaction score
60
A little about Kamchatka- The weather there is not as bad as I thought, something like the Alaskan panhandle but colder. However, it is quite mountainous. Although large portions of the peninsula are military reserves, to this day there are no road or rail connections to the Russian mainland. This says something about the conditions. The USSR pulled off massive public works projects during this time. Therefore it could be built if you were willing to throw a lot of money and forced laborers at it. However, once you get to the main port and navy base, Petropavlosk, then what? In the real world at this time the SovietPacific fleet consistedof a squadron of Torpedo boats, eight medium submarines, and 26 small subs. Coastal artillery installations were only beginning by then.

The TB-3 had a maximum range of about 1100 miles. This is roughly the distance from Petropavlosk to Dutch Harbor. They would also be flying unescorted. Now, at this time there was no military presence at Dutch Harbor. Construction started in summer 1940, the army base was opened in July 1941 and the Navy base in September 1941. This was just based on suspicion of Japanese intentions at the time. Suppose the Soviets all of a sudden build a railroad to Petropavlosk and start expanding the port facilities and putting in airfields? I am sure that the US military would have started construction earlier. Also during this time the USSR and Japan and their respective puppet states had repeated border clashes, some very serious, although open war did not come until later. I am sure that this Soviet buildup would attract Japanese attention also.
 
P

pavel

Guest
Mechanix Illustrated. The Soviet Union against the United States in the Arctic. Simulation. I removed this post yesterday, but today I return. Because "Colliers." But in 1939 the Soviet Union against the United States in Alaska? People! 1939. The Winter War. USSR where real? Stalin vs. Finland. This is a very mysterious story.
 

Attachments

  • xlg_arctic_air_war_00.jpg
    xlg_arctic_air_war_00.jpg
    132.2 KB · Views: 229
  • xlg_arctic_air_war_01.jpg
    xlg_arctic_air_war_01.jpg
    156.3 KB · Views: 225

Avimimus

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Dec 16, 2007
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
88
royabulgaf said:
Now, at this time there was no military presence at Dutch Harbor. Construction started in summer 1940, the army base was opened in July 1941 and the Navy base in September 1941.

You have to admit - this fact would make Dutch Harbor both much easier to attack (and much harder to attack for that matter). I mean, if it is both undefended and doesn't exist yet...
 

royabulgaf

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
493
Reaction score
60
Well, the harbor and town of Dutch Harbor existed. I don't know what was there, but I gather it probably was home to a couple dozen fishing boats at best. Before the US military got there, it only had one bar andone whorehouse. This wasn't exactly Calais, folks. This would be island hopping without the tropical breezes and palm trees. Soooo, while a battalion or so of conscripts sit there and try to figure out what to do next, a Saratoga task force shows up and bombs and shells them into oblivion.
 

Pioneer

Seek out and close with the enemy
Senior Member
Joined
May 22, 2006
Messages
1,896
Reaction score
242
You have your TB-3's!
And by 1936 - FACT, the Soviet's had in service and created the 3rd, 13th and 47th Airborne Brigades, as wellwell as the 1st, 2nd and 5th Airborne Regiment's!
The shock value of which at the time would have had profound effect against strategic points!!

Below photo - Soviet Paratroopers deploy from a Tupolev TB-3 in 1930.
Regards
Pioneer
 

Attachments

  • Soviet Paratroopers deploy from a Tupolev TB-3 in 1930..jpg
    Soviet Paratroopers deploy from a Tupolev TB-3 in 1930..jpg
    91.5 KB · Views: 106

Pioneer

Seek out and close with the enemy
Senior Member
Joined
May 22, 2006
Messages
1,896
Reaction score
242
Some addition thought toto your scenario:

Fact: Bolkhovitinov DB-A aircraft that attempted to fly non-stop from Moscow to Fairbanks, Alaska in August 1937. It disappeared near Alaska and was not located at the time, despite an extensive search for it and its crew.

Fact: The DB-A first flew in 1935,

Scenario: What about in your scenario, these DB-A flights from Moscow to Fairbanks in Alaska, although openly promoted as a means of Soviet Union’s international prestige, are in fact covert mission profile flights to establish and test navigational routes and strategic photographic reconn for the coming invasion?

Fact: Based on preliminary calculations, if all of the weaponry was removed [from DB-A], then the weight of the empty aircraft would be 16 tons. In order to ensure a range of at least 8,000 kilometers, the aircraft would have to hold 16.5 tons of gasoline and 900 kilograms of oil.The crew, along with equipment and food supplies, would add up to 1.5 tons plus a minimum of miscellaneous baggage—in total, we had already exceeded 35 tons for the takeoff weight.

Fact: Two long-range aircraft made it from the Soviet Union to the USA, both Tupolev ANT-25's.

Fact: On 20 June 1936, in a modified ANT-25, a crew comprised of Chkalov, Baydukov, and Belyakov executed a 9,734-kilometer flight over the north of the Soviet Union in a time of 56 hours and 20 minutes.

Fact: On 18 June 1937, the transpolar flight of Chkalov, Baydukov, and Belyakov began. Sixty-three hours and 25 minutes later, the ANT-25 landed in the United States at Pearson Field near the city of Vancouver, Washington.This flight opened the shortest route over the Arctic ice from the USSR to the United States.

Fact:Tupolev ANT-36 - a bomber derivative of ANT-25!

Sources
http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/has-missing-pre-ww2-soviet-bomber-been.html?m=1

https://www.warbirdsforum.com/topic/1201-got-the-bolkhovitinov-db-a/

Regards
Pioneer
 

papacavy

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Apr 13, 2006
Messages
97
Reaction score
10
Thanks, Pioneer! Excellent input. I wanted to do something with the Levinsky's DB-A. I like your idea. I had another one, before I considered a Soviet invasion, that involved the crew defecting to the USA and/or Canada. Another, deliberately disappearing so as to plant agents to assassinate FDR (yeah, not a great one) and finally a 1940s thriller of a group of soldiers coming across the wreck and discovering bio-weapons. Developing a short story collection about aviation mysteries, for future (2020?) publication.
 

Pioneer

Seek out and close with the enemy
Senior Member
Joined
May 22, 2006
Messages
1,896
Reaction score
242
Scenario idea: ANT-36 used in initial air strikes against key strategic targets – U.S. airfield's, bridges, fuel dumps etc..... Even if not effective (8x100kg bombs), these ultra long-range air strikes will undoubtedly have an important psychological effect!
Out of curiosity, would your invasion be based in winter or summer conditions?

Regards
Pioneer
 

riggerrob

I really should change my personal text
Senior Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
1,221
Reaction score
612
How many months out of the year is the Port of Vladivostok ice-free?
How many months out of the year is Skagway, Alaska ice-free?
How many months out of the year are Canadian West Coast ports ice-free?
 

royabulgaf

ACCESS: Secret
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
493
Reaction score
60
I've been to the Alaskan panhandle and south to Victoria in early May. The weather was better than Chicago. From what I gather, it's a relatively mild winter, say no worse than Ireland or Scotland.
 

Similar threads

Top