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Book Review: Third Reich Victorious

Like its companion volume, Rising Sun Victorious, TRV claims ten German victory scenarios, and manages to deliver eight.  That’s better than the three from RSV, but are they any better?  Lets see:

The Little Admiral: What if Hitler had joined the German navy?  This AH presents the idea of Hitler having discipline knocked into him by a petty officer and developing an acute understanding of sea power and its relation to world politics.   He also has his Jew hatred knocked out of him, with the result of a far more dangerous Germany.  Building a small, but modern and competent navy to add to his armed forces, he started WW2 with a pearl harbour style strike at Scapa Flow and, after France falls, invades Britain.  Albert Einstein builds him a nuclear bomb and he users it on Moscow, ending the war.  I have grave doubts about this AH though, it strikes me as odd that a man with less hate could run the nazi party or that he would tolerate what Scott described as ‘a party of quacks and weirdoes’.  I don’t think that Hitler would have been able to build a carrier fleet (even only three vessels) without warning the British and/or taking resources away from Tanks and guns.  Other than that, an excellent and frightening piece of work.  

Disaster at Dunkirk: This is probably the most mundane AH in the book, even though it does have a few original features.  British get Halifax instead of Churchill and while the political battle is fought, Lord Gort makes a final last stand with the BEF.  The Germany manages to put a small force ashore on to Britain and Britain surrenders as a mini civil war breaks out.  I seriously doubt that last bit, but the rest is OK.  One thing that is missing is the massive disruption in the Empire that would have resulted from a British disaster. 

The Battle of Britain and Luffwaffe Triumphant both explore airpower alternatives.  The first is an interesting reading of the alternate history of the Battle of Britain, whereby the Luftwaffe leadership identifies key elements and centres of Britain’s air defences and focuses on eliminating them before conducting the next phase of the air campaign.  However, the limited real effect of the Luftwaffe makes it unusual that Britain would just roll over for them.  Further, why would Britain be in the same position as Vichy?  They’re undefeated and they can secure their empire before the Nazis can take most of it.  The second alternative examines the Allied bomber offensive. Starting the historical review in 1943, the scenario explores many variables that actually plagued this offensive- namely, flak and enemy fighters, both of which took a surprisingly heavy toll on US and British bombers.  Richard Overy notes (in ‘why the allies won’) that the Germans really did not act fast enough to plug the holes in their defences, so this AH explores them doing that. 

The Storm and the Whirlwind: This is more plausible than the little admiral AH, with the Russians striking first before Barbarossa.  This TL has Zhukov convince Stalin that the soviets can hit the Germans before they hit first, while trying to force back the German over flights that marked the coming of Barbarossa.  Its not a bad AH, but I saw the degree of German success in the battle to be probably overdone. 

The Hinge:  The Germans win the battle of El Alamien and Known Enemies and Forced Allies explore two different outcomes of battles.  The first looks at a German victory at El Alamein and the second at a German victory at Sicily and a German failure to attack at Kursk.  The first is unrealistic, the Germans did not have the power to follow up their victory, while the allies were preparing to launch Operation Torch to drive them out of North Africa.  One more British defeat won’t change that.  It may change the power outcome of the war, but not the outcome itself.  The second one, however, has no attack on Kursk, therefore keeping the German tanks intact for continuing the war, while the Germans defeat the allied attack on Sicily.  However, nether outcome can stop the allies from wining eventually, as the A-Bomb was not far off. 

Hitler’s Bomb: Explores the frightening prospect of a Germany that uses its Jewish prisoners more effectively and manages to make two atomic bombs.  These are then dropped on London and Moscow.  The US finally destroys Berlin and the Germans surrender.  However, I don’t see it as a reasonable AH, even with the bomb, as the British air defence net was fully operational.  I think that the German bomber would have been shot down, its cargo being destroyed on impact.  

The remaining two are unrealistic.  Into the Caucasus: Turkey Joins the Germans.  Unrealistic.  Rommel Vs. Zhukov is a follow-up to an AH written earlier, Disaster at D-Day.  Now the ruler of the Third Reich, Rommel must clear up the remains of the Holocaust and hold the Russian forces back.  

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