The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 20 Nov 2006 18:33

Deans wrote:Tim,

I thought seizing the Caucasus Oil was the whole point of Blue.
It was - but it shouldn't have been IMO. Hitler said Germany couldn't continue the war without that oil - but in fact Germany survived without that oil for three more years! Transporting oil from the captured Caucasus to where it was needed would have been very difficult for Germany anyway.

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Post by Lkefct » 20 Nov 2006 20:03

The purpose of Blau is to occupy the economic neceessary oil fields. It neglects the fact hat Germany doesn't have the necessary field units to carry it out unless the Soviet military collapses. By puttig the economic factors ahead of military objectives, it ensure that the Germans lose no matter what.

Germany would be much better suited to launch more limited attacks with the panzer troops used for Blau. A series of more limited encrirclement battles would allow the germans to prevent the soviets from amassing massive reserves without exposing the army to the risk of an overextended front. Despite he Soviet superiority in both numbers and quality of tanks, geman troops often outmaniver and outfight soviet troops in the field. By allowing the soveits to build up an impressive reserve it allows them to launch impressive attacks one after another in 1943 and 1944.

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Lars
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Post by Lars » 21 Nov 2006 14:44

Tim Smith wrote: Stalingrad should never have been made a direct target for assault - it should have been bypassed and surrounded. Saratov and Kazan would have been a far more worthwhile strategic objective, as they were rail hubs for the lines from the Siberian factories and also a vital rail link between the Caucasus and Moscow. Take Saratov and Kazan, and the Soviets still remain in possession of the Caucasus oil, and the Siberian factories, but can't transport the new tanks and barrels of oil to the northern half of the Eastern Front - indirect approach! If the Germans can hold off the inevitable counterattacks, Moscow will fall in 1943.
That´s a new one! Kazan is far behind the front. And what are you going to do with Gorki and Kuybishev which are jumping off point for attacking the germans flanks while they race towards Kazan? Both Kuybishev and Gorki has the potential of turning into Stalingrads. As has Saratov and Kazan. And what about Stalingrad itself. Is that also left bypassed in the German rear?

Sorry, but I can´t see how and why this should be carried out.

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Post by christopher nelson » 22 Nov 2006 16:48

I am wondering as to how we moved from operation typhoon to case Blu. How about if Hitler had not changed to operation to trying to carry out two things at the same time?

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by historygeek2021 » 15 Feb 2021 01:33

Reviving an old thread but it's the only one on this topic and I have new reference material to present so I think it's justified.

Starting on page 83, this 1955 U.S. Army study gives an account of the German decision making process in early November. Apparently there was a significant discussion at OKH about whether to continue the attack or stop for the winter. It seems plausible that they could have decided to stop for the winter.

https://history.army.mil/html/books/104 ... 104-21.pdf

One interesting point is that Hitler does not seem to be mentioned in these discussions. It was an internal OKH discussion, and OKH decided to continue the advance.

And in this essay, the author attributes to Halder the decision to go for Moscow in November 1941:

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1039919.pdf

Perhaps it's a plausible ATL that Hitler would have overruled OKH and ordered a halt until Spring, maybe just because he loved to overrule OKH. It wouldn't have been without precedent (e.g., Dunkirk).

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by Aida1 » 21 Feb 2021 20:33

historygeek2021 wrote:
15 Feb 2021 01:33
Reviving an old thread but it's the only one on this topic and I have new reference material to present so I think it's justified.

Starting on page 83, this 1955 U.S. Army study gives an account of the German decision making process in early November. Apparently there was a significant discussion at OKH about whether to continue the attack or stop for the winter. It seems plausible that they could have decided to stop for the winter.

https://history.army.mil/html/books/104 ... 104-21.pdf

One interesting point is that Hitler does not seem to be mentioned in these discussions. It was an internal OKH discussion, and OKH decided to continue the advance.

And in this essay, the author attributes to Halder the decision to go for Moscow in November 1941:

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1039919.pdf

Perhaps it's a plausible ATL that Hitler would have overruled OKH and ordered a halt until Spring, maybe just because he loved to overrule OKH. It wouldn't have been without precedent (e.g., Dunkirk).
In hindsight stopping made sense BUT the decision at the time was based on faulty intelligence about the remaining strength of the red army so it is not likely a different decision could realistically have been taken. Certainly Hitler would never have decided to stop. Not in his nature.

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by Peter89 » 21 Feb 2021 22:24

A stop would mean that the Germans would not meet their objectives, and the Soviets could mobilize their resources faster than them. It would also give the RKKA time to regroup and reorganize their units, making further progress more difficult.

Once the dice was cast the way it was, it had to roll until victory was achieved and the Wehrmacht can get a respite. If it doesn't stop, then the Wehrmacht will face all the problems of the German war machine, which was not designed to wage such a war.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by historygeek2021 » 21 Feb 2021 23:31

Aida1 wrote:
21 Feb 2021 20:33
Certainly Hitler would never have decided to stop. Not in his nature.
Except he decided to stop at Dunkirk.

And he decided to stop HGN short of taking Leningrad.

And he decided to stop HGC's advance on Moscow during the summer.

He frequently requested that the Heer make less deep penetrations throughout the summer of 1941.

He had an extremely nervous personality that only got worse during 1941. To say it's "not in his nature" to order the army to stop flies in the face of the historical record.

Edit: typo
Last edited by historygeek2021 on 21 Feb 2021 23:33, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by historygeek2021 » 21 Feb 2021 23:32

Peter89 wrote:
21 Feb 2021 22:24
A stop would mean that the Germans would not meet their objectives, and the Soviets could mobilize their resources faster than them. It would also give the RKKA time to regroup and reorganize their units, making further progress more difficult.

Once the dice was cast the way it was, it had to roll until victory was achieved and the Wehrmacht can get a respite. If it doesn't stop, then the Wehrmacht will face all the problems of the German war machine, which was not designed to wage such a war.
Empty platitudes. An army in the field can always consider holding its position, or even withdrawing, rather than attacking, especially when the target is of so little strategic value (a big city).

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by Peter89 » 22 Feb 2021 07:54

Yes, it was also possible technically to stop the advance at the La Manche, and not to attack Britain from the air. It just didn't happen and was extremely unlikely to happen.

The Germans were forced on the defensive; they never chose it by themselves. And for a good reason: if they defend, it's just a slower way of losing.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by Aida1 » 22 Feb 2021 10:39

Peter89 wrote:
21 Feb 2021 22:24
A stop would mean that the Germans would not meet their objectives, and the Soviets could mobilize their resources faster than them. It would also give the RKKA time to regroup and reorganize their units, making further progress more difficult.

Once the dice was cast the way it was, it had to roll until victory was achieved and the Wehrmacht can get a respite. If it doesn't stop, then the Wehrmacht will face all the problems of the German war machine, which was not designed to wage such a war.
That is how the OKH saw it at the time based on faulty intelligence. An alternative view is based on complete hindsight so only theoretical.

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by Aida1 » 22 Feb 2021 10:43

historygeek2021 wrote:
21 Feb 2021 23:32
Peter89 wrote:
21 Feb 2021 22:24
A stop would mean that the Germans would not meet their objectives, and the Soviets could mobilize their resources faster than them. It would also give the RKKA time to regroup and reorganize their units, making further progress more difficult.

Once the dice was cast the way it was, it had to roll until victory was achieved and the Wehrmacht can get a respite. If it doesn't stop, then the Wehrmacht will face all the problems of the German war machine, which was not designed to wage such a war.
Empty platitudes. An army in the field can always consider holding its position, or even withdrawing, rather than attacking, especially when the target is of so little strategic value (a big city).
Theoretically right but not how the situation was seen at the time.He got it right based on how things were seen at the time. There was a conviction victory was near and a will to finish it all in one campaign.

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by Aida1 » 22 Feb 2021 10:46

historygeek2021 wrote:
21 Feb 2021 23:31
Aida1 wrote:
21 Feb 2021 20:33
Certainly Hitler would never have decided to stop. Not in his nature.
Except he decided to stop at Dunkirk.

And he decided to stop HGN short of taking Leningrad.

And he decided to stop HGC's advance on Moscow during the summer.

He frequently requested that the Heer make less deep penetrations throughout the summer of 1941.

He had an extremely nervous personality that only got worse during 1941. To say it's "not in his nature" to order the army to stop flies in the face of the historical record.

Edit: typo
There is some truth in this but Hitler also underestimated the remaining strength of the red army so would be unlikely to stop the army.

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by Peter89 » 22 Feb 2021 15:00

Aida1 wrote:
22 Feb 2021 10:43
historygeek2021 wrote:
21 Feb 2021 23:32
Peter89 wrote:
21 Feb 2021 22:24
A stop would mean that the Germans would not meet their objectives, and the Soviets could mobilize their resources faster than them. It would also give the RKKA time to regroup and reorganize their units, making further progress more difficult.

Once the dice was cast the way it was, it had to roll until victory was achieved and the Wehrmacht can get a respite. If it doesn't stop, then the Wehrmacht will face all the problems of the German war machine, which was not designed to wage such a war.
Empty platitudes. An army in the field can always consider holding its position, or even withdrawing, rather than attacking, especially when the target is of so little strategic value (a big city).
Theoretically right but not how the situation was seen at the time.He got it right based on how things were seen at the time. There was a conviction victory was near and a will to finish it all in one campaign.
This leads us back to the core of the problem.

The German plan to conquer the SU was not based on the assumption that the RKKA will offer a strong resistance, at least not beyond the initial breakthroughs.

Also, if the RKKA will destroy a meaningful portion of the Wehrmacht (most notably the Luftwaffe), then the Germans will be weaker in 1942 or 1943, whenever they stop their operations. By that time, the Wallies will arrive and start to crush them.

There was also the problem of economic exploitation, which was questionable at best, and delusional at average. In my opinion, the single most important document is Die wehrwirtschaftlichen Auswirkungen einer Operation im Osten. by Georg Thomas (13/02/1941). He completely correctly foresaw that the successful economic exploitation of the SU requires certain premises (which were absolutely out of the question).

Germany tried not to wage a war against the SU that was fashioned to be a sequential, drawn-out, costly conflict. What they tried to do was a cheap, effective, shocking campaign, that would leave most of the Soviet stores and production capacities intact, in order to use them against the British and strengthen their overall position, somewhat like the French campaign did.

It was obvious if the Soviets draw out the fighting into 1942, the balance of the whole campaign goes below zero.

If the Germans still have to burn fuel and spend resources in the east, they'd have to abandon the naval and aerial operations against Britain, as well as limiting the mission in North Africa.

So even if Hitler would stop the Wehrmacht after Typhoon, the eastern front would consume all matériel that Germany had. With major commitments both in the West and in the MTO, a stop order equalled defeat, thus it was highly unlikely to be made, regardless of intelligence reports.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by historygeek2021 » 22 Feb 2021 19:05

Thomas took into consideration the need to feed the local population in the Soviet Union. Hitler's solution was not to feed them.

The Germans extracted considerable resources from the East, in particular manganese and iron. The German army in the east also fed itself off the land, alleviating the German food situation.

The Eastern Front did not consume all the material Germany had. Germany spent considerably on U-Boat production and anti-aircraft artillery, as well as the Atlantic Wall and significant troop deployments in France, Norway, Africa and later Italy.

The OKH generals were the ones who insisted that the Russian campaign be won in a single summer. Hitler was more open minded and foresaw the possibility of a long war in the east. Stalin was using his leverage against Germany in late 1940 to carve up the Balkans and Finland for himself. Hitler correctly saw that 1941 was the best time for war with the Soviet Union. It is true that he hoped to knock out the Soviet Union in a single campaign and thereby convince England to drop out of the war, but he also saw that regardless of whether the Soviet Union collapsed or not, 1941 was the right time to attack.

Had the Germans stopped their advance in early November 1941, they would have been in a better position than the OTL. Without the winter retreat from Moscow, the senior German generals in the East may have kept their positions, and Hitler would not have micromanaged the 1942 campaign to the same extent. Nevertheless, it is hard to see any invasion of the Caucasus that does not end similarly to the catastrophe of the OTL, so a halt order in November 1941 would make little difference on the course of the war post-1942.

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