A Time-Slip alters the course of World War Two
Christopher G. Nuttall
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a jet
fighter designed and built by a number of European countries, including Britain,
Germany, Spain and Italy. The jet
is intended to replace the Tornado in the UK and allow standardisation between
most of the EU air forces. The
four-nation Eurofighter Typhoon is a foreplane delta-wing, beyond-visual-range,
close air fighter aircraft with surface attack capability. Eurofighter has 'supercruise'
capability: it can fly at sustained speeds of over Mach 1 without the use of
As well as an internally mounted 27mm Mauser gun, the Eurofighter Typhoon has 13 hard points for weapon carriage: four under each wing and five under the fuselage. An armament control system (ACS) manages weapons selection and firing, and monitors weapon status. Depending on role, the fighter can carry the following mix of missiles:
Now, what if one of these happened
to slip back in time to 1938, a time of counties trying desperately to prepare
and to stave off a war that would devastate Europe.
Hitler was rattling the sabre and threatening war if his demands are not
met. While the British, under
Neville Chamberlain, are frantically preparing for war and trying to persuade
Hitler out of more conquests, a Eurofighter from 2002 crash-lands in Scotland.
To make matters worse, it carries German markings!
There are three possible combinations that could happen here:
1. The plane’s pilot survives and can be interrogated. In which case, the British will figure out what happened (the plane fell back in time and is not one of the rumoured German secret weapons) and can help them use the secrets of the advanced technology.
2. The plane’s pilot does not survive. In which case the British will be feeling very paranoid and naked (the plane ‘reached’ Scotland without being detected and apparent trouble) and this will affect their negoating position.
The plane crashes hard enough to be unrecognisable.
This probably means an earlier war as the British see it as a direct
attack on the British home islands.
Personally, I believe that option 2
offers the most possibility for an interesting alternate history.
So, read on….
In OTL, Hitler prepared to strike
again soon after Germany absorbed Austria in March 1938.
German territory then bordered Czechoslovakia on three sides.
Czechoslovakia had become an independent nation after World War I. Its
population consisted of many nationalities, including more than 3 million people
of German descent. Hitler sought
control of the Sudetenland, a region of western Czechoslovakia where most of the
Germans lived. Urged on by Hitler,
the Sudeten Germans began to clamour for union with Germany.
This was very important because if it went though, Czechoslovakia would
become indefensible: the Sudetenland had the best defensive terrain, a lot of
smokestack industries and the Czech version of the Maginot line.
The Czechs, obviously enough, wanted to fight.
While Chamberlain attempts to talk
Hitler out of his demands, a farmer up near Leeming rings the local police
station and reports ‘a jerry plane has come down in my fields’.
While the local police are not so concerned, they send a constable round
to investigate what they believe (due to government propaganda) is a false
report or a case of drunkenness. When
the constable gets there, he finds the crashed Typhoon and the dead pilot.
Not being an aircraft expert, he won’t realize that the plane is
anything unusual, although he might be impressed by the aura of deadliness from
the shape of the plane.
When he calls the RAF, they’ll
send a crash inspection team round and that is when history starts changing.
The minute they see the plane, they’ll realize that it’s a quantum
leap ahead of anything the RAF has, even on the drawing board.
A veil of secrecy will be drawn over the crash and Chamberlain will be
In 1938, the western intelligence
services were reporting – incorrectly - that nazi Germany was far ahead of the
west in arms and other military matters. In
ATL, they have ‘proof’ of their claims and Chamberlain will be terrified of
Germany. British insistence on
Czech independence, lukewarm at best, will be quietly withdrawn.
French Premier Edouard Daladier, unaware of the plane crash, will be
forced to stand alone and will therefore also be forced to withdraw.
Hitler demands that the Czech’s surrender the territory.
In OTL, Chamberlain had several
meetings with Hitler during September 1938 as Europe teetered on the edge of
war. Hitler raised his demands at
each meeting. On September 29,
Chamberlain and Daladier met with Hitler and Mussolini in Munich, Germany and
agreed to turn over the Sudetenland to Germany, and they forced Czechoslovakia
to accept the agreement. Hitler
promised that he had no more territorial demands.
In ATL, the Czechs decide to fight, as they are not having their arms
twisted and quiet support from the British and French of supplies.
Just how well the invasion of
Czechoslovakia would proceed is unknown. It
may well serve as the event that breaks Hitler’s power if the attacks do very
badly, however, the Germans could use the techniques that won them the Battle of
France to defeat the Czechs. Therefore,
lets assume that the Germans manage to defeat the Czechs in early 1939 and
occupy the whole country. They can
do this by bypassing the defences by going though Austria, (occupied March
1938), offering to split territory with Hungary (who did help out in 1939 OTL),
Poland and Italy. However, even a
German victory has serious consequences for Germany.
1. In OTL, the Germans captured a large number of Czech tanks and added them to their forces just in time for the invasions of Poland and France. In ATL, most of those tanks are destroyed.
2. Following on from that, most of the German tanks will also be destroyed. Germany will be too weak to invade Poland in 1939
3. Poland will be more intimidated than in OTL. They will spare no expanse to build up their army. Same goes for the Soviets, French and British.
4. The importance of air power will be re-empersised, including air borne troops and their potential power. The British will strengthen Malta and the Dutch their fortresses.
Italy is now convinced that Germany owes them a debt.
Therefore, in March 1939, we have a
Czechoslovakia overrun by German forces, taking very heavy casualties and split
between Germany, Hungary, Poland and Italy.
Germany is now too weak to invade Poland on schedule and her economic
problems are about to come home to roost.
The British desperate study of the
Eurofighter continues. Despite
strong political pressure, discoveries come very slowly.
Some things are very simple and familiar, for example, Frank Whittle, a
British engineer, patented the jet engine in the early 1930's.
This allows the British to figure out how the jet engine works and begin
development of a jet plane. Bering
more resemblance to one from 1950, the British Meteor jet is produced in 1939.
This was always possibly, British official ignorance and scepticism made
it impossible until 1941, when they were tested in OTL.
The missiles give them ideas, even
though they can’t duplicate them or figure out how they work until they have
an accident and manage to launch one, which homes in on a fire and blows up a
building. That allows them to
realize that they seek heat, although they can’t figure out how.
Ironically, that might give them the idea for Bazookas like in my Bazooka
The radar, while far more advanced
than any British one at the time, does give them ideas for equipping their
aircraft with radar. The bigger
British aircraft could carry a radar set and they now have some idea how to
However, much of the more important
technology is based on computers and silicon that simply is unduplicaiable in
1939. There may be a revolution in
computing, but they will not jump straight into 2002 levels.
Re-looking at this, it does seem a little like HTs ‘WorldWar’ series.
Many of the problems experienced by Goldfarb and co there would also
appear here. However, there are no
lizards here. Very much a mixed
In Germany, the weakened state of
the realm leads to discontent on many levels.
Military men see their army damaged in futile attacks to conquer a
worthless country. Economists see
that Germany can no longer sustain the ‘guns and butter’ economy and that
the bills are coming due. Therefore,
a number of groups prepare for an attempt on Hitler’s life.
Heydrich, Himmler, Goering, all high-rankers within the nazi hierarchy,
are all concerned about being dragged down with Hitler.
Germany, 1939, is not a safe place anymore.
On September 1st, 1939, Himmler’s SS and Gestapo attempts a
coup, blowing up a building with Hitler in and attempting to kill the army
leadership. Unfortunately, Hitler
survives the blast, though he remains in a coma for six months and only a
quarter of the army leadership is wiped out.
Exhorted by news of Himmler’s attempt to kill Hitler, the army and most
of the people fight a bloody near civil war, which ends with Himmler being shot
by a firing squad. Goering ends up
as nominal Reich chancellor, although real power rests with the army.
The navy and air force find themselves subordinated to a military
While this goes on, a number of
prominent German scientists, including Werner Heisenberg, Werner Von Braun and
Nils Bohr flee the country, ending up in Britain.
They swiftly find themselves caught up in the Eurofighter study project
and other British projects. In OTL,
Heisenberg assured Hitler – falsely - that an atomic bomb would take more than
three years to build, while his motive are unclear, he does not inform the
British of this and offers to assist the British project.
The compact nature of the German scientific programs now works in their
favour, as none of the scientists can assure the British that the Eurofighter is
not a German plane. However, the
British are starting to have doubts about the origins of the Eurofighter, as no
such planes were observed during the battle of Czechoslovakia.
However, the Czech’s did record a new type of plane, the Stuka, which
means that the British cannot gamble on the Germans not having built the
Meanwhile, in May to September 1939
Japan and the Soviet Union fought a fierce, large-scale undeclared war on the
Mongolian plains that ended with a decisive Soviet victory with two important
results: Japan reoriented its strategic emphasis toward the south, leading to
war with the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands; and Russia freed
itself from the fear of fighting on two fronts, thus vitally affecting the
course of the war with Germany.
In OTL, Hitler interrupted the
Soviet gloating and preparations for a further offensive by offering them a pact
to divide Poland between them. Here,
Hitler is still in a coma and the Soviets are not interested because Germany is
in disarray. Therefore, Stalin
orders the Red Army to continue into Manchuria until the Japanese surrender or
are pushed back into the sea. The
Japanese hit back by ordering carrier air strikes on the Soviet ports such as
Vladivostok, airplane attacks on Soviet troop formations and Calvary raids far
behind Soviet lines. Soviet tanks,
however, are far better than Japanese ones and they push though Japanese lines
like paper whenever Japanese air cover is not provided.
Desperately, the Japanese try to produce a new tank and attempt to
arrange foreign allies. They
approach the British.
Chamberlain strikes a hard bargain.
He is prepared to sell tanks to Japan in exchange for a non-aggression
pact and Japanese naval support in the event of a full-scale war with Germany.
The Japanese duly agree and, British Matilda, with 50mm armour and 40mm
gun, tanks are dispatched to the far east.
They manage to help slow down the Soviets and some intact models of early
Soviet T-34s fall into Japanese hands. The
Japanese and the British rapidly begin a program to build a heaver tank.
The Poles also send what little help
they can, as they have some interest in seeing the USSR distracted.
Soviet codes, which are broken, can help the Japanese to catch soviet
tanks on the move and strafe them from aircraft or encircle and destroy them.
Stalin is not amused by this turn of
events. He continues the advance
into Manchuria and supplies arms to the communist Chinese.
He also delivers strong warnings to Britain and builds up forces in the
Caucasus to probe into Iran if necessary. As
1940 appears, the world appears to be about to go up in flames again.
As the Soviets advance in China, there is a red scare around the globe.
Communists are arrested and expelled from their countries.
In France, communists fight back and have to be suppressed by the army.
So, where are we now?
Its early 1940, and events have taken a very different path.
Germany is now ruled by a military dictatorship, the USSR is conquering
large parts of China and the Japanese have their hands full trying to contain
it. Germany is far weaker than it
was in OTL because many of their tanks were destroyed or damaged in the Czech
campaign and they were unable to capture replacements.
Worse, many of the highly trained man that Hitler inherited from the
secret preparations after world war one are dead and the German army is too poor
to recruit more troops. The German
economy is in very bad shape and military spending has had to be cut down.
France is terrified.
She is standing alone now and fears that she may be attacked by Germany
at any minute. They don’t know
why the British abandoned them, but they suspect that it has something to do
with the rumours of the atomic bomb and secret alliances.
France may well face a military coup soon.
The Soviet Union is doing well for
itself. The German threat has been
removed for a while and the addition of new territory has cheered Stalin up a
great deal. The British tanks, sold
to the Japanese, have been an irritant, but the Soviets have more and better
tanks anyway. Even better, Stalin
now has the excuse, if he wants to, to invade Iran and push from there into
India or Iraq. Either will allow
him the chance to completely destabilise the British Empire.
The bad news is that the Comitern has been neutered by the arrest or
expulsion of most of its agents. However,
Stalin still thinks that their Russian military will be sufficient to ensure
The Japanese are desperate.
They are faced with loosing all their territory in China and possibly
being invaded by the USSR. That’s
nonsense at the moment, but they may well be pushed off the mainland completely.
Their best bet is to make peace on the best terms they can get, but
Stalin is not inclined to listen. They
have had some successes when the Soviets push offensives too far and they can
encircle them, but on the whole, Japan is losing.
Britain is in the best position of
all, although they don’t know that yet. By
1940, she is fielding a great number of jet fighters, which are more advanced
than the later war versions of OTL. Research
into rockets and guided missiles has also borne fruit.
Other sciences, such as metallurgy, and competing, have also received a
boost. Chamberlain is seen as a
hero for allowing Germany to wreak herself and for the non-aggression pact with
Japan. If Britain gets the atomic
bomb first, the British Empire might survive for several more years.
In the long run, as science
advances, the British will be at the forefront.
As technology gets more advanced, their ability to understand parts of
the Eurofighter will also expand. As
those advances spin off into other areas, look for Britain becoming the
computing and rocketry centre of the world.
At a rough guess, 2002 level technology will be reached by 1970.
In such circumstances, I expect the USSR to collapse earlier, because
their tech base was pushed to the limit in OTL, here, they’ll have to go
beyond the limit in order to survive.
Would the Czech’s really have been beaten?
Probably. The Germans were
better at warfare and they have Czechoslovakia surrounded on almost all sides.
The cost would be enormous though.
Would Chamberlain really have abandoned the French and Czechs?
Why not? He believed that
Germany had a decisive edge and abandoning the Czech’s, at least, was pretty
much what he did in OTL anyway.
Question: Would Poland really have
helped the Germans? That is
effectively what they did in OTL, Poland acquiesced in the dismemberment of
their only nearby natural ally in return for the town of Teschen.
Here, they might get more if they actively helped out the Germans.
Yes, it was a bloody stupid thing to do, but OTL is full of those.
Question: Would there have really
been a coup in Germany? Hundreds of
people and factions had a vested interest in seeing Germany expand or avoiding
blame for a German defeat. The
army, the Gestapo, the SS, the list is endless.
Not to mention people who the Nazis have persecuted, like the Jews, who
might want Hitler dead. The real
question is: who will strike first and therefore either seize the initiative or
be defeated by the others who will then disguise their own coup by claiming that
it is a response to the first one.
Why 1938? Well, if the plane
appeared in WW1 or earlier, there would be no basis for understanding what it
was or how to use it to jumpstart the current projects.
After 1939, it would cause panic, but no real change in the politics of
Question: Would Hisenberg and the
others really have fled Germany? I
don’t know for sure, that’s a wild card of history.
He did tell Hitler that the bomb would take more than three years to
build, therefore delaying the German project until it was too late.
He was suspected of Pro-allied sympathies in OTL.
Would the Soviets really do so well against the Japanese?
Historically, when the WW2 Japanese army came up against an even
nominally superior foe, they lost. Singapore
is perhaps the only exception to this rule and it involved circumstances that
simply did not apply at Nomonhan. Zhukov
was an excellent general and he won in OTL anyway.
Chris’s fourth rule of AH writing, whatever happened, happens –
Unless there’s a good reason why it should not.
What happened to the pilot of the Eurofighter?
He’s dead. Read more
carefully next time!!
What do you think?