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Retreat Allowed During Operation Bagration?

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.

Retreat Allowed During Operation Bagration?

Postby BuddaBell123 on 28 Jan 2013 17:30

If you have researched Operation Bagration you would know that Adolf Hitler ordered his forces to stand and hold their ground no matter what to keep his Lebensraum (Living Space) which made no military sense at the time. This is one of the reasons why 670,000 men were either K.I.A went M.I.A or were W.I.A, to add to this 2000 tanks and 57,000 other vehicles were destroyed. However, I wonder if Army Group Center, if allowed would have been able to retreat such a large quantity of men. It had the vehicles, but by 1944, Nazi Germany was rapidly running out of fuel, meaning what fuel there was had to be rationed.

I'd like you to, in detail explain to me would the same amount of vehicles have been lost even if Adolf Hitler allowed AGC to retreat?

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Re: Retreat Allowed During Operation Bagration?

Postby Max Payload on 28 Jan 2013 20:28

I'm not sure what level of detail you are seeking. Reinhardt, Tippelskirch and Jordan were experienced commanders. It is almost certainly the case that if they had had freedom of action they would have commenced withdrawals on 23, 24 and 25 June respectively. It seems highly likely that such prompt withdrawals would have greatly reduced the numbers of men and quantity of equipment lost east of Minsk. (Tippelskirch didn't receive permission to withdraw until four days after the request was first made, by which time Fourth Army was all but surrounded.)
I have seen no data to suggest that AGC was so short of fuel that, assuming major encirclements could have been avoided, it would have been unable to make a fighting withdrawal from the Dvina/Dnepr to central Belorussia.
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Re: Retreat Allowed During Operation Bagration?

Postby steverodgers801 on 28 Jan 2013 21:29

Even they had started to retreat earlier, they would have been under pressure and Rokossovvsky's force was ahead of them in the march to Minsk. Many units did retreat but were caught up in the second encirclement at Minsk and the units were under tremendous air asssault.
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Re: Retreat Allowed During Operation Bagration?

Postby bruchmuller on 02 Feb 2013 10:16

In the first place they should have been allowed to retreat before the offensive on the line Polozk-west of Witebsk- Dnjepr position or a bigger retreat to the Beresina from Polozk to Bobruisk. Executed a few days before the expected atttack , it would have forced the enemy to redeploy his attack forces( Mittle Ostfront Juni 1944 , Gerd Niepold p 19). This preliminary retreat was rejected by Hitler on may 20(Niepold p 20).
Freedom of action during the offensive would certainly have led to less forces getting surrounded and destroyed.
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