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Gaming War

Third Reich Victorious – Alternate Decisions of World War II, edited by Peter G. Tsouras

 

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Gaming the outcomes of history’s various wars can be as tempting as playing Monday morning quarterback to sporting events. In this book, Tsouras and nine other war gamers provide sometimes intriguing “what ifs” to the outcome of World War II. In these parallel universes, the writers conceive of everything from a psychologically re-ordered Hitler to a revolt of Germany’s military leaders.  Some of these strain credulity, but others intrigue.

It must be remembered that Germany was fighting on multiple fronts: against Britain and the U.S. in the west, against the Soviet Union in the east, and against the western allies in Africa. With that in mind, and in one scenario, Turkey, who largely sat out World War II, enters on Germany’s side. Another scenario makes use of Germany’s attempts at developing nuclear weapons – and using them. Still another makes hay of Germany’s historically unfulfilled attempt to develop and utilize jet fighters and bombers.

One recurring theme these scholars return to is the person of Erwin Rommel, perhaps Germany’s most talented tactician. Had fate been kinder, Rommel might have won the Africa war. Had he been given command of the war in the east – and the materiel to complement it – he might have at least saved Germany from being overrun in 1945. 

The problem with such scenarios is that all too often it’s not fate’s wagging finger that might have changed the course of history, but a complete reworking of the conditions, the personalities of those involved. Still this is an intriguing read, although one that won’t engender re-reads by the most practiced “what-ifers” among us.

 

My rating: 15 of 20 stars