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  1. meliss's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
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      • Ukraine
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    #1

    "undertook" as a future action

    Hi,
    could you please to explain me why a past tense is used here while speaking about a probable event. It is not (it seems to me) a classic conditional form... Thank you.
    "In the late spring of 1944, Nazi Germany would face the next round of Allied offensives with a fair measure of confidence. German troops remained entrenched on Soviet soil. ... Despite the Anglo-American bombing offensive, German industrial production was on the upswing and Germany’s supreme warlord, Adolf Hitler, was confident in the German Army’s ability to throw any Allied forces that undertook an amphibious landing in northern France back into the English Channel." (Fighting with the Soviets, Mark J. Conversino)

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "undertook" as a future action

    Well, I'd call it the past subjunctive. That has the same form as the simple past tense in English, so not even natives recognise it usually, and some would even argue that it isn't subjunctive.
    The Allied forces had not undertaken such a landing, so it's hypothetical. "If they should undertake the landing, the Germans would be ready for them", "If they were to undertake the landing ...", "If they undertook the landing ...".

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "undertook" as a future action

    I agree with Raymott. That use of "undertook" could be read as "might undertake".

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