Little Boy ready to drop a year early:

Oct 2015
1,120
California
#1
Deciding against spending funds for the development of the Plutonium Gun bomb, the US spends most of those funds on developing Little Boy and has this weapon a year early. The allies in France are still fighting to break out of Normandy , and expecting a German counterattack. So, the decision is made to ship Little Boy to Britain to drop on Berlin, escorting P-41s are ordered to peel off and return 50 miles from Berlin, and the sole bomber proceeds on it's way. It drops the bomb wiping out Hitler and the Nazi leadership. Since Germany is closer than Japan, this happens on August 1,coinciding with the beginning of the Warsaw Uprising.



And then what does Japan do? They know they're next. They probably would continue fighting not trully realizing the true destructive nature of the Bomb, yet aside from their now dead diplomats and a few Japanese citizens unfortunate enough to have been living in Berlin at the time the city gets nuked.

The German armies in the occupied territories would probably also still keep fighting, not understanding what hit Berlin and the bomb's true destructive nature.

With the senior Nazi leadership now vaporized.

The US in possession of a true "city busting" weapon.

In 1944.

The Western allies are already firmly on the ground on the Continent, stuck as they may be in and around Normandy.

Dragoon is but two weeks away.

The Soviets are about within shooting distance of Warsaw and the Wehrmacht is in a general retreat all along the Eastern Front.


Now what? What does the Wehrmacht and SS in Poland do? Does Russia halt like they had in OTL? Are they wary of proceeding and stay halted for a good long time? What of the Wehrmacht in the west? Surrender is much easier with the West than with Russia or with the Poles.

One thing is certain, there's no future here for any true NSDAP zealot. Their Fuhrer is now dead as is the core of their movement's leadership. Some minor players may step forward to fill that vacuum but they'll be just that - minor players having to establish themselves to have any broader support.

By numbers alone however, the Heer would be the true power in the Reich at that point. This, despite Valkyry's failure just two week's prior to Berlin being vaporized.

As soon as the various elements within the Reich realized that the Nazi leadership in Berlin is actually gone then I think there'll be a god awful civil war unfolding in the Reich.


The western allies would likely side with the Heer in a likely civil with Nazi diehards, or the W-allies could just sit back and watch. Neither the Valkyries plotters nor the Nazi holdouts were terribly realistic in their assumptions about a peace deal with the western allies. Both still believe that the deal they could cut would keep Germany from bearing the brunt of any punishments or reparations - so long as it kept the Bolsheviks at bay. And doing that would be no small feat. Without the Soviets getting their pounds of flesh at the table. Stalin would feel direly cheated. Its possible that once the SS and surviving Nazis were either all dangling by their necks at the end of a rope or slumped dead at the foot of some bullet pocked walls, the new ruling OKW military junta might pull the Heer out of occupied Western Europe transfer those troops to the Eastern Front. This while attempting to negotiate that separate peace deal that the W-allies just wouldn't be receptive to.
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,746
SoCal
#2
Honestly, I think that the Allies are going to really enjoy watching Germany descend into anarchy. Also, I could certainly see a stab-in-the-back myth developing in Germany in this scenario--though then again, maybe not, since a surviving Hitler and Nazi leadership is not actually going to be able to do anything about the US's possession of nuclear weapons.

It would be interesting if there would be different occupation lines in post-WWII Germany in this scenario, and, if so, what they would look like. Also, the remaining 67,000 or so Jews of Lodz and all of the Jews of Budapest are going to survive the Holocaust in this scenario.
 
Oct 2015
1,120
California
#3
Honestly, I think that the Allies are going to really enjoy watching Germany descend into anarchy. Also, I could certainly see a stab-in-the-back myth developing in Germany in this scenario--though then again, maybe not, since a surviving Hitler and Nazi leadership is not actually going to be able to do anything about the US's possession of nuclear weapons.

It would be interesting if there would be different occupation lines in post-WWII Germany in this scenario, and, if so, what they would look like. Also, the remaining 67,000 or so Jews of Lodz and all of the Jews of Budapest are going to survive the Holocaust in this scenario.
I guess that all depends on just how quickly the Heer would assert control and neutralize the SS. Then it would probably depend on how willing they were to accept a quick surrender rather than drag things out hoping for better terms. The longer they dragged the closer to Germany the Red Army gets. Eventually, the OKW would come to realize that a negotiated surrender on favorable terms with the Western allies wouldn't be possible. At that point however, it would be too late. Plus there would be further use of Fat Man against another German target to encourage unconditional surrender if the OKW kept holding out for better terms. But that would be a difficult one though as continually vaporizing the German leadership would make it difficult for anyone on the German side to effect a surrender. Of course, the US could be "helpful" to the Red Army by using Fat Man on German troop concentrations in Poland. The A Bomb that can "bust a city" can also do a splendid job of vaporizing entire divisions at the drop of a hat. Of course, the Soviets might find it a bit unpleasant driving through a post apocalyptic radioactive wasteland.
 
Likes: Futurist
Oct 2015
1,120
California
#7
The Russian troops are going to have to flee ahead of time to avoid becoming collateral damage of this nuking, no?
They would be collateral damage anyway in the long term. Moving through radioactive blast zone isn't good for your health. All this was brand new technology, I don't think even the US had any idea just how truly destructive this bomb was, not just in the short term, but in the long term.

One issue is when the next bomb is ready to drop. In OTL, the US had 3 more ready and threatened to blow up a Japanese city every 2 weeks, using these 2 of these 3 as a bluff, and using one in the attack on Nagasaki. Following that pattern, I would say the US might have at best 1 more ready and in transit to Britain.

On Principle the W-allies want to see Poland liberated. IF the whermacht doesn't smash the Warsaw uprising and the polish home army with it, but simply pulls back to the Vistula, or even the next big river back along the former Polish-German border, and fortifies it, its going to be harder for the Russians to crack that egg, but an A bomb certainly could.

One thing, . At this point however Yalta hasn't been done, so no firm details about postwar Europe, so I'm curious as to how the allies will deal with a post war Europe in this tl.

As for the holocaust, the huge atrocities done mostly in Poland haven't really yet been revealed to the wider world, The advancing Russians would keep liberating these camps but might not be saying much.
 
Likes: Futurist
Jul 2016
9,476
USA
#8
How many German troops can one nuclear bomb kill if dropped at the front lines?
A typical German divisional frontage would be about 4-10 miles, depending on the type of division, its strength and that of the corps and army it belonged to, enemy opposition, and terrain.

For example, in early July 1944, there was a much higher density of Germans in Normandy than anywhere else, including the Eastern Front, especially Army Group Center in Belarussia, which didn't expect an operation like Bagration to happen in their sector.

Off one of the nuke test map sites, for a 14 kiloton airburst it had this info:

- Fireball radius: 180 m (0.1 km²)
Maximum size of the nuclear fireball; relevance to lived effects depends on height of detonation. If it touches the ground, the amount of radioactive fallout is significantly increased. Minimum burst height for negligible fallout: 160 m.

- Radiation radius (500 rem): 1.09 km (3.73 km²)
500 rem radiation dose; without medical treatment, there can be expected between 50% and 90% mortality from acute effects alone. Dying takes between several hours and several weeks.

- Air blast radius (5 psi): 1.69 km (9.02 km²)
At 5 psi overpressure, most residential buildings collapse, injuries are universal, fatalities are widespread. Often used as a standard benchmark for medium damage in cities. Optimal height of burst to maximize this effect is 0.75 km.

- Thermal radiation radius (3rd degree burns): 1.79 km (10 km²)
Third degree burns extend throughout the layers of skin, and are often painless because they destroy the pain nerves. They can cause severe scarring or disablement, and can require amputation. 100% probability for 3rd degree burns at this yield is 8.7 cal/cm2.

- Air blast radius (1 psi): 4.76 km (71.3 km²)
At a around 1 psi overpressure, glass windows can be expected to break. This can cause many injuries in a surrounding population who comes to a window after seeing the flash of a nuclear explosion (which travels faster than the pressure wave). Often used as a standard benchmark for light damage in cities. Optimal height of burst to maximize this effect is 1.13 km.


Based on that, not taking into account long term health risks, only 1 - 1.7 km/.6 - 1 miles of frontage are in major risk for immediate danger of they're dug in hard enough to withstand routine artillery and airstrikes, so I'd say a single regimental zone would be taken out, rendered largely as casualties.

However, i think the size and scope of the detonation, the shockwave, the mushroom cloud, etc., the better part of the division or more would be severely incapacitated and not combat effective. Also, the terrain and scale of entrenchments play a big portion, as would how much, if any warning they got, time of day, etc.

Definitely destructive enough to create a hole big enough to drive a bunch if armored divisions through to exploit the newly created breakthrough. So Operation Cobra airstrike, but on steroids.
 
Likes: Futurist
Oct 2009
3,556
San Diego
#9
in fact- it was relatively fast to make plutonium. It was just a harder bomb to build. The enriched uranium for one bomb cost more to produce and took longer than making the plutonium to make 2 bombs.

Without escort cover all the way to Berlin, a single bomber would have been shot down- berlin had comprehensive antiaircraft defenses and if they and the german fighters only had a single target- then it is unlikely that single bomber could have made it to target.

Third- hitler and his top commanders would have survived in their bunker. Concrete structures fared rather well in Nagasaki and Hiroshima- and those underground were effectively undamaged.
40 inches of concrete covered with 4 feet of dirt stops ALL radiation. And the bunker's air supply was filtered well enough to clean out 90% or better of all falllout.

Radio communications would have been knocked out... but the robust electronics of that era means that replacing the tubes would have had everything up and running within hours.
 
Oct 2015
1,120
California
#10
in fact- it was relatively fast to make plutonium. It was just a harder bomb to build. The enriched uranium for one bomb cost more to produce and took longer than making the plutonium to make 2 bombs.

Without escort cover all the way to Berlin, a single bomber would have been shot down- berlin had comprehensive antiaircraft defenses and if they and the german fighters only had a single target- then it is unlikely that single bomber could have made it to target.

Third- hitler and his top commanders would have survived in their bunker. Concrete structures fared rather well in Nagasaki and Hiroshima- and those underground were effectively undamaged.
40 inches of concrete covered with 4 feet of dirt stops ALL radiation. And the bunker's air supply was filtered well enough to clean out 90% or better of all falllout.

Radio communications would have been knocked out... but the robust electronics of that era means that replacing the tubes would have had everything up and running within hours.
What really slowed the development of the atom bomb was the time it took to enrich the uranium and plutonium. IF the USA had gone with centrifuges instead of gaseous diffusion, they would have had a working bomb a year or so earlier.

You're right about Hitler likely surviving in the Fuhrer bunker. A nuke on Berlin would probably only cause him to lose control of reality even further. Either he kills himself early, or a second attempt to kill him succeeds. Further Atomic bomb drops on other German targets just may compel the Heer to opt for the latter. Forces nearest to Berlin would likely be political and SS. These are the most fanatical,but even among them surely someone is smart enough to see the lost cause, and try to get out and save themselves.

It could take a couple of weeks before news trickles to the front about Berlin's destruction. Not fully appreciating the destructiveness of the new weapon, I'd see a piecemeal surrender, by company, then division. Here it just might pay to turn on the Waffen-SS forces to set the stage.
 

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