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"Operation Unthinkable" by Winston Churchill

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Rameses, 9 Apr 2010.

  1. Rameses

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 8,453

    Now for a history lesson kids, gather round.

    (This article stems from: Boredom + Wikipedia + Interest in WW2)

    ----- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Unthinkable -----

    "Operation Unthinkable"


    Operation Unthinkable was a British plan to attack the Soviet Union. The creation of the plan was ordered by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and developed by the British Armed Forces' Joint Planning Staff at the end of World War II.


    Offensive operations


    The initial primary goal of the operation was declared as follows: "to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire. Even though `the will' of these two countries may be defined as no more than a square deal for Poland, that does not necessarily limit the military commitment" (The word "Russia" is used heavily throughout the document, although at the time Russia as a political entity had been replaced by the Soviet Union.)

    The Chiefs of Staff were concerned that given the enormous size of Soviet forces deployed in Europe at the end of the war, and the perception that the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was unreliable, there existed a Soviet threat to Western Europe.

    The Soviet Union had yet to launch its attack on Japan, and so one assumption in the report was that the Soviet Union would instead ally itself to Japan if hostilities commenced with the Western Allies.

    The plan was taken by the British Chiefs of Staff Committee as militarily unfeasible due to a greater than two to one superiority in Soviet land forces in the Europe and Middle East areas where the conflict was projected to take place. The majority of any offensive operation would have consisted of American and British forces, as well as the use of Polish forces and up to 100,000 surrendered German soldiers. :eek:

    Any quick success would be due to surprise alone. If a quick success could not be obtained before the onset of winter the assessment was that the Allies would be committed to a total war which would be protracted. In the report of 22 May 1945 an offensive operation was deemed "hazardous".


    Defensive operations


    In response to an instruction by Churchill of 10 June 1945 a follow up report was written concerning "what measures would be required to ensure the security of the British Isles in the event of war with Russia in the near future".

    United States forces were relocating to the Pacific Theatre to prepare for the invasion of Japan, and Churchill was concerned that the draw down would leave the Soviets in a strong position to take offensive action in Western Europe.

    The Joint Planning Staff rejected Churchill's notion of retaining bridgeheads on the continent as having no operational advantage. It was envisaged that Britain would use her air force and navy to resist, although a threat from mass rocket attack was anticipated, with no means of resistance except for strategic bombing.


    Subsequent discussions


    By 1946 tensions and conflicts were developing between Western and Communist areas of Europe. These were seen as being potential triggers for a wider conflict.

    One such area was the Julian March, and on 30 August 1946 informal discussions took place between the British and American Chiefs of Staff concerning how such a conflict could develop and the best strategy for conducting a European war.

    Again the issue of retaining a bridgehead on the continent was discussed, with Dwight D. Eisenhower preferring a withdrawal to the Low Countries, rather than Italy, for their proximity to the United Kingdom.


    ----------------------------

    Well I never knew that! I was simply reading about Rudolf Hess on wiki, and about WW2 in general when I came upon the above article. I must say its new to me even though a bit about WW2.

    Makes you think; what would have it been like? With the measure of the Red Armies' mass across Europe at the end of WW2.

    Interesting article anyway, even if it was deemed unfeasible and hazardous!

    Thoughts? Any other relatively unknown facts about WW2 others may find interesting?
     
  2. SlyReaper

    Soldato

    Joined: 26 Apr 2008

    Posts: 6,584

    Location: Bristol, Old Blighty

    Well I can certainly see why they called it "unthinkable". :p

    Seriously, has anyone in the history of mankind ever attacked Russia and come out better off?
     
  3. Naffa

    Capodecina

    Joined: 4 Sep 2005

    Posts: 11,455

    Location: Bristol

    Wow, very interesting indeed. Thank you for posting.
     
  4. Josh107

    Gangster

    Joined: 5 Mar 2008

    Posts: 419

    Thanks for posting, would be an interesting idea for a game or film
     
  5. scorza

    Caporegime

    Joined: 22 Jun 2004

    Posts: 26,685

    Location: Deep England

    Finland won a war against soviet Russia IIRC. Not entirely sure what that was about though.
     
  6. Voltar

    Soldato

    Joined: 2 Oct 2004

    Posts: 5,519

    Location: London, NW1

    Thanks for sharing: interesting read!
     
  7. Rameses

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 8,453

    Very true!
     
  8. Gerard

    Caporegime

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 35,494

    Location: Ireland

    More like operation impossible, Soviet tanks for example were far superior to anything the Allies had and they were pouring around the place in their thousands.
     
  9. twist3d0n3

    Capodecina

    Joined: 3 Aug 2008

    Posts: 10,483

    Location: Bath, England

    i remember reading that the losses of the russian army were 3x more than the overall amount of people in the finnish army... or something like that
     
  10. Tom0

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 29 Aug 2003

    Posts: 9,623

    Location: South Wales

    [​IMG]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War

    :)
     
    Last edited: 9 Apr 2010
  11. Guy

    Hitman

    Joined: 5 Mar 2007

    Posts: 749

    Location: Rochdale

    damn beaten to it :(
     
  12. JBuk

    Capodecina

    Joined: 28 Nov 2002

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    Location: Cumbria

  13. Tom0

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 29 Aug 2003

    Posts: 9,623

    Location: South Wales

    If you read the article though, the statistics have now changed quite a bit. Don't know how true the image is.
     
  14. Gerard

    Caporegime

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 35,494

    Location: Ireland

    This is worth a look

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winged_tank

    :eek:

    Also the guy that designed the tank suspension that was rejected by the Americans but Embraced by the British and the Russians. Died almost broke :(

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Christie

     
  15. SlyReaper

    Soldato

    Joined: 26 Apr 2008

    Posts: 6,584

    Location: Bristol, Old Blighty

    By my recollection, Russia attacked Finland, not the other way around.
     
  16. Schnippzle

    Mobster

    Joined: 9 Oct 2006

    Posts: 3,764

    Location: here

    Indeed.
     
  17. SlyReaper

    Soldato

    Joined: 26 Apr 2008

    Posts: 6,584

    Location: Bristol, Old Blighty

    So my question still stands; has anyone ever attacked Russia and come out of it better off?
     
  18. Strife212

    Capodecina

    Joined: 15 Dec 2007

    Posts: 16,574

    Surely at that point in history America could have taken over the entire world because they were the only ones with nukes?
     
  19. Von Smallhausen

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 1 Aug 2004

    Posts: 12,647

    Location: Tyneside

    A very interesting read. Thank you.

    Invading and pacifying the Soviet Union would have been nigh on an impossibility, even with UK and US military strength.

    Hitler's biggest mistake was invading the USSR despite early successes and getting to within a few miles of Moscow.

    I sometimes wonder what would have happened if he had not done this and what course the war might have taken ?

    Has anyone read the novel Fatherland by Robert Harris where an alternate history is depicted ?

    This is Europe in 1964 in the book.

    [​IMG]

    Makes you wonder.
     
    Last edited: 9 Apr 2010
  20. Gerard

    Caporegime

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 35,494

    Location: Ireland

    Having nukes is one thing, getting it to the target is another. Back then as we know it was all about planes carrying nukes. Russia were in a far better position for air power than the Japanese at that point.