Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

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KDF33
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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by KDF33 » 25 Nov 2021 17:50

stg 44 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 17:36
Other than the March-April 1944 offensives the attacks in the period you mention didn't go particularly well for the Soviets.
The one in October - November 1943 also gained significant ground.

Besides, the point would not (primarily) be to successfully advance / encircle Soviet units, i.e. the aim of Zitadelle. It would just be to get the fighting going, to forestall the Soviets amassing an insurmountable numerical advantage.

For Zitadelle itself, IMO if undertaken it should have been launched in the first half of May.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by stg 44 » 25 Nov 2021 18:19

KDF33 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 17:50
stg 44 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 17:36
Other than the March-April 1944 offensives the attacks in the period you mention didn't go particularly well for the Soviets.
The one in October - November 1943 also gained significant ground.
At the cost of how many casualties and at what force ratios? Very different situation for Germany and the USSR.
KDF33 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 17:50
Besides, the point would not (primarily) be to successfully advance / encircle Soviet units, i.e. the aim of Zitadelle. It would just be to get the fighting going, to forestall the Soviets amassing an insurmountable numerical advantage.
I get what you're going for, I just think it was an 'either-or' situation. Zitadelle was the better option to achieve the attrition you rightly note is critical to stabilize the situation in the East and to get the peace negotiation HL talked about. More important than the attrition is the political angle; if Germany could lop off the Kursk bulge they have shortened the line enormously and created a major strategic reserve, removed a huge part of Soviet forces, especially armored units, improved their logistical situation, captured a major labor reserve, and created conditions for Stalin to accept a more reasonable deal to end the war.
KDF33 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 17:50
For Zitadelle itself, IMO if undertaken it should have been launched in the first half of May.
I don't disagree, but just don't know what the status of preparations actually was. Zamulin's paper about the feasibility of an earlier offensive (he talked about late May/early June) noted that Model's forces lacked Tigers or any heavy breakthrough AFVs which were rather necessary for his weak armored forces (especially as of mid-May). That was a factor that led to the June 10th postponement historically.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by PunctuationHorror » 25 Nov 2021 18:43

KDF33 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 17:50
Besides, the point would not (primarily) be to successfully advance / encircle Soviet units, i.e. the aim of Zitadelle. It would just be to get the fighting going, to forestall the Soviets amassing an insurmountable numerical advantage.

For Zitadelle itself, IMO if undertaken it should have been launched in the first half of May.
How would an attack without territorial gains and without high Soviet losses (= encirlements) change Soviet building rate?
Factories for tanks, arty, ammunition, etc. were beyond German reach - even with a ATL successfull Zitadelle. As was the remaining Soviet agricullture. Lastly, without massive territorial gains, Soviet conscription, replacements and training would not be much affected as well. All this was beyond German means.

All they could do was (trying) to stabilize the frontline, avoid own losses, gain time to build up enough strength for defensive operations against the inevitable Soviet attacks and hope that they can increase the kill/loss ratio. And of course hope that SU starts to become food problems because the Ukrainian agricultural territory is denied.

What would change for Soviet Union if Zitadelle was successful for Germany? What would change for Germany?

----
KDF33 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 16:34
PunctuationHorror wrote:
25 Nov 2021 13:51
Yeah, the Germans should have attacked in April, I agree. Problem is: they couldn't.
Firstly, they were busy with bringing in reinforcements and replacements, and reorganization and training of their troops had to be done.
Did you take a look at the table I provided?
Nah. Sadly, my special care monkey got entirely confused by the table, so he failed to waggle dance the numbers correctly for me. Poor, messy thing.

KDF33 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 16:34
The Germans had more than 2.8 million men at the front on 04/01/1943, which grew to slightly over 3.1 million by 07/01/1943.
Only a part of them was directly involved in 'holding' the frontline, i.e. combat duty. Quality of manpower changed due to losses of Stalingrad and battles/retreat in winter/early spring.

Obviously, one might say, they considered adding 300,000 men and 1300 tanks as a prerequisite to dare an offensive in OTL.
KDF33 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 16:34
PunctuationHorror wrote:
25 Nov 2021 13:51
Secondly: Rasputiza, mud season. No advance if you get bogged down in the mud and have serious transporting problems that hamper a build up for an offensive.
And yet the Soviets were attacking in March - April 1942, October - November 1943 and March - April 1944.
Wehrmacht couldn't does not mean Red Army couldn't. Most offensives in Russia took place during dry or frozen times of the year. There is a reason for that.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by KDF33 » 25 Nov 2021 20:39

PunctuationHorror wrote:
25 Nov 2021 18:43
How would an attack without territorial gains and without high Soviet losses (= encirlements) change Soviet building rate?
Because the Soviet reaction (i.e., launching counter-offensives on various axes) would bleed the RKKA.
PunctuationHorror wrote:
25 Nov 2021 18:43
Lastly, without massive territorial gains, Soviet conscription, replacements and training would not be much affected as well. All this was beyond German means.
It would, given that in the second half of the war a majority of Soviet conscripts came from the liberated areas.
PunctuationHorror wrote:
25 Nov 2021 18:43
All they could do was (trying) to stabilize the frontline, avoid own losses, gain time to build up enough strength for defensive operations against the inevitable Soviet attacks and hope that they can increase the kill/loss ratio. And of course hope that SU starts to become food problems because the Ukrainian agricultural territory is denied.
'Building-up strength' always worked in favor of the Soviets. The Germans generally had the advantage at times of heavy combat.
PunctuationHorror wrote:
25 Nov 2021 18:43
What would change for Soviet Union if Zitadelle was successful for Germany? What would change for Germany?
A successful Zitadelle would leave the Soviets in dire straits, but I don't know that it was possible. Bleeding the Soviets in general, however, could conceivably lead to a stalemate in the East.
PunctuationHorror wrote:
25 Nov 2021 18:43
Only a part of them was directly involved in 'holding' the frontline, i.e. combat duty.
Indeed. As was the case in July, or at any point of the war, really. It was no different for the Soviets.
PunctuationHorror wrote:
25 Nov 2021 18:43
Quality of manpower changed due to losses of Stalingrad and battles/retreat in winter/early spring.
I see little evidence that the qualitative balance was more favorable to the Soviets in the spring than in the summer.
PunctuationHorror wrote:
25 Nov 2021 18:43
Obviously, one might say, they considered adding 300,000 men and 1300 tanks as a prerequisite to dare an offensive in OTL.
Except that is not why Zitadelle was postponed.
PunctuationHorror wrote:
25 Nov 2021 18:43
Wehrmacht couldn't does not mean Red Army couldn't.
Is mud different for the Soviets than for the Germans?

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by History Learner » 26 Nov 2021 07:14

stg 44 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 18:19
I don't disagree, but just don't know what the status of preparations actually was. Zamulin's paper about the feasibility of an earlier offensive (he talked about late May/early June) noted that Model's forces lacked Tigers or any heavy breakthrough AFVs which were rather necessary for his weak armored forces (especially as of mid-May). That was a factor that led to the June 10th postponement historically.
Outside of gaining some Panthers and Tigers, Model's armored forces were about the same in early February; he had about 800 AFVs to 1,000 Soviet, which is a far better ratio he ended up facing later on. Likewise, the Soviet defenses facing him were substantially weaker than they would be in July too. Overall, I see no reason not to attack as the benefit gains of getting more advanced tanks was far outweighed by the advancements in Soviet capabilities and fieldworks.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 26 Nov 2021 13:11

Thanks to HL and KDF for the research and analysis, a lot to think about but not enough time to do it well given other demands.

So just a few quick points/questions:

KDF mentions attacking elsewhere than Kursk in Spring '43. Hitler and Manstein mooted an attack on the Lisischansk salient southeast of Kharkov (PANTHER) for April; this was called off because the forces needed rest and rehabilitation. GSWW v8 p71-2. That seems a likely avenue for a non-Kursk limited Spring offensive?

The Kuban bridgehead seems to have tied down many Germans (321k) but relatively few Soviets (388k assuming FHO had it roughly right). Probably an ideal strategy concentrates some/most of these forces under Manstein for the Spring offensive?

The field fortifications factor at Kursk shouldn't be underestimated. A spring offensive at Kursk or Lisischansk - even a July offensive at Lisichansk - wouldn't have faced those. Maybe tabulate force ratios as adjusted by something like Dupuy's coefficients for strong field fortifications? IIRC it's ~50% force multiplier.

Finally, what about shell supply in July vs. April/May?
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by stg 44 » 26 Nov 2021 15:44

History Learner wrote:
26 Nov 2021 07:14
stg 44 wrote:
25 Nov 2021 18:19
I don't disagree, but just don't know what the status of preparations actually was. Zamulin's paper about the feasibility of an earlier offensive (he talked about late May/early June) noted that Model's forces lacked Tigers or any heavy breakthrough AFVs which were rather necessary for his weak armored forces (especially as of mid-May). That was a factor that led to the June 10th postponement historically.
Outside of gaining some Panthers and Tigers, Model's armored forces were about the same in early February; he had about 800 AFVs to 1,000 Soviet, which is a far better ratio he ended up facing later on. Likewise, the Soviet defenses facing him were substantially weaker than they would be in July too. Overall, I see no reason not to attack as the benefit gains of getting more advanced tanks was far outweighed by the advancements in Soviet capabilities and fieldworks.
Zamulin says otherwise:
Considering that Hitler gave primary significance to his armored forces for implementing Operation Citadel, I will
cite some data regarding their size in Army Groups Center and South. For
example, on 4 May 1943, there were a total of 442 tanks (Pz III, Pz IV, but
not a single Pz VI Tiger) on the roster in Army Group Center, which included
the Ninth Army, of which 314 (71 percent) were operational on that date
,
while Army Group South had 1,087 tanks, of which 728 (67 percent) were
17
Thus already in May 1943, the correlation on the northern face of the Kursk bulge regarding this important type of armament was 1.5 to 1 in favor of the Soviet side, and 1.3 to 1 on the southern face of the salient.
and
I cannot help but dwell on S. Newton’s assertion regarding Model’s supposed fundamental mistake, which he committed due to flawed intelli- gence when calculating the correlation of armored forces between his army and Rokossovsky’s front at the beginning of May in a report to Hitler. The American scholar writes:

Contrary to German intelligence estimates, the Soviet Central Front had deployed only about 1,000 tanks and assault guns in late April–early May, rather than 1,500. This was a critical misinterpretation that explains much about Model’s insistence on delaying the offensive. With 800 AFVs facing 1,500, the army commander had a legitimate case for arguing for additional panzers, especially Panthers and Tigers, which were absolutely necessary for the assault. Had Model realized that the Russian armored superiority was only about 200 vehicles, he would have been far more willing to proceed. By waiting [Author’s note: May–June], Ninth Army augmented its AFV holdings by about 25 percent, but the Soviets nearly doubled theirs.

In the first place, the figures and correlation given by S. Newton are inaccurate. As the data cited show, in early May W. Model didn’t have 800 tanks. In the entire Army Group Center, there was almost half that number, while Rokossovsky’s Central Front had almost 1.5 times the number of armored vehicles than the Germans had: 674 against 442.
That said I still think artillery was more important, but that was still pretty decent for the Soviets at least in terms of tube strength by May:
A similar pattern developed with respect to artillery. By 6 May, both the Central Front and its subordinate 13th Army had received 80 percent of the guns and mortars (not including the Guards mortars, or rocket artillery) that they would have on 5 July 1943. On 29 May the entire Central Front had 4,544 field and anti-tank guns and 7,161 mortars, or 85 percent and 89 percent respectively of the amount it would have by 5 July; the 13th Army had 1,361 guns and 1,943 mortars, or 87 percent and 89 percent of the amount it would have by 5 July. The 70th Army, which was defending on the 13th Army’s left, and would also take on a powerful enemy attack, had 796 guns (93 percent of the 5 July figure) and 1,280 mortars (98 percent of the 5 July figure).
However infantry were also a big problem for Model:
In addition, as the captured documents I discovered in the US National
Archive testify, together with the resolution of this problem, the commander
of the Ninth Army was primarily concerned with replenishing the infantry divisions with manpower as they were seriously understrength.18
The situation with replenishments was so aggravated and at the same time important that because of the lack of a way to resolve it, the OKH on 20 April 1943 had first postponed the start date for the Kursk offensive.
Therefore Colonel General Model had attached an aerial reconnaissance photograph to his letter, which would plainly demonstrate the scale of the work on the fortifications of the Soviet defenses and would thereby prompt Hitler either to cancel the offensive or to make an operational decision regarding replacements for the infantry divisions and the delivery of heavy armor.
As had been planned, by 10 May the strength of Rokossovsky’s and Vatutin’s groupings according to two of the most important indicators—in manpower and artillery—exceeded 80 percent of the number they would have on 5 July (and respectively 40 percent and 74 percent of the armored vehicles). By 5 June, the total number of personnel of the Central and Voronezh Fronts exceeded 98 percent of the level they would have a month later, while the receipt of artillery neared 90 percent, and the quantity of tanks and self-propelled guns varied between 72 percent and 76 percent of the number on 5 July 1943.
Thus, both Fronts were essentially ready for the German Kursk offensive by mid-May. For example, by this time the Ninth Army still hadn’t received that minimum number of armored vehicles that had been promised to it before Operation Citadel. Its infantry divisions and panzer formations had still not been brought back up to full strength in men and equipment and were incapable of handling the tasks of the summer campaign. But the Soviet side already in May was capable of repelling an attack by the forces available
to the enemy. Thus E. von Manstein’s assertion that Soviet forces defending
in front of Army Groups Center and South were not fully combat ready by end of May looks far from reality at the time.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by Cult Icon » 26 Nov 2021 16:16

Given the high tactical performance of German armor in tank to tank combat in this time period having fewer tanks shouldn't have been as significant as it seems. Operation Citadel as it happened inflicted relatively low permanent armor losses on the Germans due to the offensive advantage.

It was their infantry strengths that was sensitive and difficult to "repair". It was severly lacking in the North, which was why the Northern effort was shut down relatively quickly as their infantry battalions got decimated. Personnel losses were roughly 1 German for 1.5 Soviet. An interesting aspect of the North effort was the high tank losses of the Soviets (640 ish) but overall they were successful defensively.

In the South the Germans did not choose the mulit-echelon approach and put everything (except their AG reserve, one Pz korps) on the line due to lack of reserves. Weaker infantry forces would shrink the size of their operation accordingly.

Making estimates of the infantry strengths of a May or June effort is more important and whether the overall force structure would be more or less successful against the Soviet situation.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by stg 44 » 26 Nov 2021 16:58

Cult Icon wrote:
26 Nov 2021 16:16
Given the high tactical performance of German armor in tank to tank combat in this time period having fewer tanks shouldn't have been as significant as it seems. Operation Citadel as it happened inflicted relatively low permanent armor losses on the Germans due to the offensive advantage.

It was their infantry strengths that was sensitive and difficult to "repair". It was severly lacking in the North, which was why the Northern effort was shut down relatively quickly as their infantry battalions got decimated. Personnel losses were roughly 1 German for 1.5 Soviet. An interesting aspect of the North effort was the high tank losses of the Soviets (640 ish) but overall they were successful defensively.

In the South the Germans did not choose the mulit-echelon approach and put everything (except their AG reserve, one Pz korps) on the line due to lack of reserves. Weaker infantry forces would shrink the size of their operation accordingly.

Making estimates of the infantry strengths of a May or June effort is more important and whether the overall force structure would be more or less successful against the Soviet situation.
The one area Zamulin says the Soviets were deficient in (no one apparently has information about ammo stockpiles for either side) was the defensive belts. The first defensive belt was complete and had all the minefields in place by May 5th or so, but everything behind it was very ill-prepared. Mines were a small fraction of what they would have been in July and the 2nd belt trench were complete, but were somewhat deficient in terms of layout that was corrected later and lacked mine belts between positions (both in front and behind) while the 3rd belt basically didn't exist except as scratch positions. So if AG-North could break through the first belt relatively intact they could actually be ok since all the stuff behind it was no where near as stout as it would become by July. Though it seems like they'd be more of a 'fixing' force while AG-South did the heavy lifting as far as trying to reach Kursk proper.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of ... an_advance
On the first day, the XLVII Panzer Corps penetrated 6 mi (9.7 km) into the Red Army defences before stalling,[197] and the XLI Panzer Corps reached the heavily fortified small town of Ponyri, in the second defensive belt, which controlled the roads and railways leading south to Kursk.[198] In the first day, the Germans penetrated 5 to 6 mi (8.0 to 9.7 km) into the Red Army lines for the loss of 1,287 men killed and missing and a further 5,921 wounded.[199][197]

Though the lack of Tigers and Ferdinands would be a significant problem that shouldn't be insurmountable. The question is whether the above result could be achieved in early/mid May, because if so then the Soviets would have serious issues stemming the tide given the lack of mines behind the 1st belt, flaws in the 2nd belt, and lack of armor relative to July as well as the relative lack of manpower. Even with infantry shortages the roughly 7500 casualties experienced on day 1 of the offensive should be able to be endured given the relative ease of operations behind the first belt compared to the historical July operation. Especially if the panzer divisions held in reserve could begin to exploit and face substantially less counterattacks with armor. Historically it seems that 9th army ran into problems on the 2nd defensive belt especially around Ponyri and Olkhavatka, which in this scenario wouldn't be nearly as hard a nut to crack...but 9th army won't have the benefit of things like the Tigers used historically to spearhead the assaults on that position. IMHO it comes down to supplies of artillery ammo for both sides; if the Soviets have sufficient amounts they can make it too costly to breach the lines given the lack of heavy armor and infantry in the 9th army; if the Germans had sufficient amounts and thanks to the 2nd belt being less well fortified than historical they should be able to breach the line at an acceptable cost and then fight things out in open country (as of mid-May the 3rd belt basically was a non-obstacle), which even without Tigers should favor the 9th army with its air support.

Since the situation was even worse for the Soviets on the southern flank of Kursk at this point that direction should absorb most of Soviet reserves which means 9th army in the north, assuming it has enough residual strength, could conceivable actually get the breakthrough Model was seeking and not have to worry about deep reserves from the Soviets due to the limited AFV reserves Central Front had.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by Cult Icon » 26 Nov 2021 20:17

On the issue of artillery volume I don't know much about it, however I read a TDI stat that said that it was a 2:1 German superiority for the overall operation, North and South. For a heavy breakthrough this is not particuarly impressive.

In terms of artillery and rocket launchers, the 9th Army was well armed but on average not as much as the South. Among their forces, however were some 17 cm and 21 cm howitzer battalions.

On air support, the 1st Air Division expended a higher level of air support than the South relative to the forces committed in the breakthrough. July 5th was 2088 sorties. July 6th: 1023. July 7th:1687. July 8th: 1173

This Air force's ground attack was primarily Dive bombers and medium bombers. The South's air support was more a mixture of dive bombers, tank destroyers, and medium bombers.
Last edited by Cult Icon on 26 Nov 2021 20:29, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by stg 44 » 26 Nov 2021 20:25

Cult Icon wrote:
26 Nov 2021 20:17
On the issue of artillery volume I don't know much about it, however I read a TDI stat that said that it was a 2:1 German superiority for the overall operation, North and South. For a heavy breakthrough this is not particuarly impressive.
2:1 superior in number of tubes? Doesn't seem like that is accurate. In terms of shells expended that could be the case.
Regardless the artillery support for the offensive did pretty well, at least in July, given the results they got relative to the enemy forces + fortifications. If Boris Sokolov's claims are correct about hidden Soviet casualties due to creative accounting then artillery + air support worked very well in July all things considered...question is whether they could equal that performance in early/mid May even against a weaker defensive belt system. Or have similar levels of ammo.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by Cult Icon » 26 Nov 2021 20:28

in terms of tons of ammunition fired. The Soviets had great superiority in guns and mortars.

If the sorties expended is divided by actively attacking forces, the North effort is considerably more.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by stg 44 » 26 Nov 2021 20:39

Cult Icon wrote:
26 Nov 2021 20:28
in terms of tons of ammunition fired. The Soviets had great superiority in guns and mortars.

If the sorties expended is divided by actively attacking forces, the North effort is considerably more.
Ok, thanks for the clarification.

Going by Roman Toeppel's Kursk it seems that there must have been enough ammo and everything else was pretty much ready to go by mid-May, that is May 15th precisely, as the earliest they really could have launched it by rushing was May 10th. Foregoing training they might have been able to go by May 5th, but likely it seems that commanders wanted May 15th or nothing. So other than the AFV problem that Model had brought up, everyone else was ready to go by mid-May, including the Luftwaffe which promised no more additional support if things were delayed beyond May. Based on what else has been posted in this thread it would seem the ratios/chances were substantially better for the attackers than in July, but nothing is certain.

Edit:
Big problem that I just got to in Toeppel's book: it was badly raining throughout May in 9th army's area and the extremely poor road network was basically out of commission, which precluded any offensive action by 9th army until June. Seems like then the only option was to launch an offensive with AG-South alone if you want a May start date. And that would mean having to transfer panzer and infantry divisions from 9th army to AG-South, which couldn't be done before the weather turned.

In that situation then what are the actual prospects of success?

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by History Learner » 26 Nov 2021 23:53

stg 44 wrote:
26 Nov 2021 15:44
Zamulin says otherwise:
Taking it as face value, Zamulin states the ratio was 1.3 to 1; compare that to the July figure of 2:1 and this still, in a relative sense, massively favors the Germans by reducing the Soviet advantage in half.
That said I still think artillery was more important, but that was still pretty decent for the Soviets at least in terms of tube strength by May:
Beyond Central Front lacking a fifth of its July start position, it's important to remember that even with their large scale artillery park the Germans got the better of them in this area even in July:
The Voronezh Front, according to the 1944 Soviet General Staff Study, had 8,356 guns and mortars as of 4 July of which 1,944 were 76mm and larger divisional artillery. In contrast, the German units involved in the offensive started with 4,630 guns and mortars, of which 1,336 were 105mm or larger artillery. This gives the Soviet force a “tube count” advantage of 1.8 to 1.

Still, what is significant is not the number of tubes, but the weight of firepower. In the cases of the Germans, it is estimated that they fired a total of 51,083 tons of ammunition during the course of the battle. It is estimated that 49% by weight of the ammunition consumed was from the gun artillery. In the case of the Soviet forces of the Voronezh Front and the two reinforcing Steppe Front armies, they consumed a total of 21,867 tons of ammunition during the course of the battle. It is estimated that 36% by weight was from the gun artillery….

Overall, this means that while the Soviet forces outnumbered the Germans forces 1.8 to 1 according to tube count, they in fact were out shot according to weight of fire calculations, 2.34 to 1. This is a significant difference and certainly so, with artillery usually responsible for 50 to 70% of the killing on the battlefield. This may be a major factor in the measurable performance differences (especially casualty effectiveness) between the two armies.
So, relative to July, the German tube count is better and we know that historically they still beat the Soviets in throwing artillery down range. Given the former, I still see this exchange as being much more in favor of the Germans than historical.
However infantry were also a big problem for Model:
Model only received 2,906 new soldiers from May to July; a statistically irrelevant increase and essentially meant he jumped off in July with the same number he already had in May. Likewise, even the gain of those ~3,000 troops was offset by the massive growth in Soviets facing them, reducing Model's infantry strength from 54% compared to the Soviets in May to 47% by July. In this regard, we can thus state Model was of the same strength effectively but his advantage would come in terms of facing significantly fewer Soviet infantry, AFVs and artillery along with an incomplete defensive line.

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Re: Would an earlier Kursk have made a difference? (article)

Post by History Learner » 26 Nov 2021 23:55

stg 44 wrote:
26 Nov 2021 20:39
Edit:
Big problem that I just got to in Toeppel's book: it was badly raining throughout May in 9th army's area and the extremely poor road network was basically out of commission, which precluded any offensive action by 9th army until June. Seems like then the only option was to launch an offensive with AG-South alone if you want a May start date. And that would mean having to transfer panzer and infantry divisions from 9th army to AG-South, which couldn't be done before the weather turned.

In that situation then what are the actual prospects of success?
Presuming Hitler could not be convinced to allow AGS to go on the offensive on its own in May, then I would say launching Operation Panther in April or May is the best bet before switching over to the strategic defensive.

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