First, from the Potgiesser book mentioned above, here is a very illuminating graphic showing the effects of partisan attacks on German-operated railroads in the occupied USSR in a select week in July 1943 - namely the week running from Mon 20 to Sun 26.
At first, the picture makes no sense at all, but with patience it all comes clear: the blacked-out parts denote periods when the rail line was out of operations; the <- and -> arrows show in which
direction the disturbance applied (for double-tracked lines, see far left of pic) along with a measure of how many hours
('Std.') of the selected week the line was out of service, also calculated as a percentage. I am very sorry for the somewhat blurry pic. Next time, I'll have a drink first.
Yes, it looks serious - I note in passing just how much more vulnerable to disturbances of all kinds single-tracked lines are compared to double-tracked ditto - but not all that bad either, chiefly because most damage could be repaired again in (says Potgiesser, and it's more or less validated by his graphic) two to eight hours.
That means that effective railroad sabotage has to be run as a sustained effort - particularly when we consider the customary ruthlessness with which the Germans dealt with captured partisans and suspects; i.e. it's likely that you'll run out of partisans and supporting civilians long before the Germans run out of trains.
Potgiesser also paraphrases a 2nd quarter 1943 report from the Wirtschaftsstab Ost, which says that traffic is '...running more fluidly than ever [...] operations are developing favourably, despite constant partisan activity in the Western Ukraine...'
But then it is probably a good deal more difficult to mount an effective partisan campaign in relatively open Ukraine than it is in densely forrested Byelorus; I am not well enough versed in Soviet geography to tell the exact locations of the rail lines in the graphic above, but it does appear that the line running out of Minsk was the worst-hit double-tracked line in the third week of July.
Finally, also from Potgiesser (p. 103) is a table of trains running in HG Mitte's area of the front from April 1943 to August 1944 (after that date, HG Mitte had ceased to exist, more or less)
- Code: Select all
Wehrmacht trains Total 'Wirtschaft' trains* Grand total
Apr. 1,146 885 2,031 339 2,370
May 1,123 752 1,875 321 2,196
June 1,114 768 1,822 321 2,143
July 1,131 1,151 2,282 357 2,639
Aug. 1,025 1,134 2,159 348 2,507
Sept. 543 1,009 1,552 209 1,761
Oct. 630 722 1,352 154 1,506
Nov. 712 745 1,457 134 1,591
Dec. 785 947 1,732 112 1,844
Jan. 814 1,005 1,819 152 1,971
Feb. 726 745 1,471 188 1,659
Mar. 736 1,169 1,905 174 2,079
Apr. 738 969 1,707 - -
May 857 963 1,820 - -
June 661 1,013 1,674 - -
July 373 1,589 1,962 - -
Aug. 439 1,523 1,962 - -
30,582 2,809 33,391
*includes trains with coal for the railroads' own needs.
I haven't bothered checking the number of trains against the overall size of HG Mitte at select times during the period, but the build-up to Zitadelle should be readable from the table - I am rather less certain if we can see any effects of partisan activity from the numbers offered.