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

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

Post by Peter89 » 23 Feb 2021 07:27

historygeek2021 wrote:
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.
Not really, Thomas simply wanted to know what the policy is going to be; economic integration or economic cannibalization. He knew that the integration of the Czech economy profited the Germans a big time, while the lackluster integration of the French economy was, in fact, a major mistake. It also wasn't Hitler's idea only to get rid of the Soviet population that did not produce something useful for the Germans.

The Germans indeed extracted some raw materials from the SU, but the price they've paid for it was extraorbitant. They could come by those materials via trade for far, far less. The same goes for the Caucasus oil; Thomas wrote that it would take half a year to restore partially damaged wells and one year to restore destroyed facilities. Taking into account the whole transport, extraction, restoration and military expenses, it would make more sense to either import that oil or expand the synthfuel program.

The Eastern front consumed a considerable amount of fuel, effectively bringing a halt to KM surface operations, destroyed a huge amount of aircraft, which the Germans couldn't replace with either the same quality crews or growing number of planes, and destroyed Germany's trade system, and consumed manpower and matériel beyond belief. No other direction of attack would mean that much losses. If the Germans would try to cross the Channel in 1942 with all their transport planes and ferries, and got annihilated in the process, it would still not be comprable to the losses of a single year on the eastern front.

The generals were right in this case. If the campaign in the SU would last years (ie. the RKKA offers strong resistance), the sensibility of the invasion would come into question. By October-November, a halt order could have been a prudent choice, but as you wrote, it would change little.
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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by historygeek2021 » 23 Feb 2021 16:56

Yes, invading the USSR was an overwhelming drain on Germany's resources, there is no doubt about that. It would have been better economically to just trade with the USSR.

The problem Hitler was facing was: where does that leave Germany after 1941? Britain is getting stronger and America is going to enter the war on Britain's side eventually. The Mediterranean is a dead-end and Italy was doomed to collapse eventually. In this situation, Stalin has all the leverage against Germany. He can demand Finland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Danish Straits, the Turkish Straits - all things he was demanding in 1940. In 1942, 43, 44, his demands would keep increasing. And he could cut off trade with Germany at any time. The Allies would be courting Stalin to intervene and offering him better trade deals than Germany could. Germany would end up a small country desperately clinging to its early territorial conquests and slowly ground into submission. When it was weak, Stalin would attack anyway, with a much stronger army than he had in 1941.

The relative strength between Germany and USSR was at its best for Germany in 1941. That was the best year to go to war with the Soviet Union and secure the agricultural and mineral resources of the Ukraine. Even if the Caucasus were out of reach, Germany's synthetic fuel program would be enough to meet its needs by 1943. A campaign in 1941 allows Germany to destroy the Red Army while it is still in a state of transition and creates a large buffer zone in the east against a rebuilt Red Army. Invading the USSR also freed Japan to conquer Britain's colonies in the Pacific, making the British Empire substantially weaker and forcing America into a two front war.

None of this was enough to win the war, but it put Germany in a better position than simply wasting resources trying to beat Britain in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

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

Post by glenn239 » 23 Feb 2021 18:09

historygeek2021 wrote:
23 Feb 2021 16:56
The problem Hitler was facing was: where does that leave Germany after 1941? Britain is getting stronger and America is going to enter the war on Britain's side eventually. The Mediterranean is a dead-end and Italy was doomed to collapse eventually. In this situation, Stalin has all the leverage against Germany. He can demand Finland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Danish Straits, the Turkish Straits - all things he was demanding in 1940. In 1942, 43, 44, his demands would keep increasing. And he could cut off trade with Germany at any time. The Allies would be courting Stalin to intervene and offering him better trade deals than Germany could. Germany would end up a small country desperately clinging to its early territorial conquests and slowly ground into submission. When it was weak, Stalin would attack anyway, with a much stronger army than he had in 1941.
So the chance of Soviet intervention, probably for limited objectives versus the certainty of Soviet hostility to the purpose of destroying Nazi Germany?
The relative strength between Germany and USSR was at its best for Germany in 1941. That was the best year to go to war with the Soviet Union and secure the agricultural and mineral resources of the Ukraine. Even if the Caucasus were out of reach, Germany's synthetic fuel program would be enough to meet its needs by 1943. A campaign in 1941 allows Germany to destroy the Red Army while it is still in a state of transition and creates a large buffer zone in the east against a rebuilt Red Army. Invading the USSR also freed Japan to conquer Britain's colonies in the Pacific, making the British Empire substantially weaker and forcing America into a two front war.
So Germany should go after the USSR with its thousands of divisions and hundreds of thousands of tanks and aircraft, but the British with 10 divisions and a few thousand tanks and aircraft in Egypt are somehow too much to defeat?
None of this was enough to win the war, but it put Germany in a better position than simply wasting resources trying to beat Britain in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Let's say just for giggles that Stalin would be willing under certain conditions to destroy the British Empire. Now, I realise in these discussions that Stalin is some sort of British house pet, but let's say just for sake of argument, that it was possible for Stalin to order the Red Army to remove the British from the Middle East and India. What sort of pre-conditions do you image would be necessary to get Stalin to act, with the assumption this precondition is true? (That is to say, don't tell me that Stalin wouldn't do that, assume that is was in the cards and tell me what the global situation would need to look like before he would).

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

Post by Peter89 » 23 Feb 2021 18:33

historygeek2021 wrote:
23 Feb 2021 16:56
Yes, invading the USSR was an overwhelming drain on Germany's resources, there is no doubt about that. It would have been better economically to just trade with the USSR.

The problem Hitler was facing was: where does that leave Germany after 1941? Britain is getting stronger and America is going to enter the war on Britain's side eventually. The Mediterranean is a dead-end
Maybe.
Maybe not.

The Soviets were not ready to attack before the Germans had to defeat the British and before the US would formally enter into the war.

The disintegration of the British Empire was underway anyway, and we don't really know when would the systemic collapse arrive; there were too many variables.

Also, the Soviets were ready to attack the British Empire, just as the Japanese; not to mention that the US would be the number one winner of the dissolution of the colonial empires, of which all fell except the British.
“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 » 23 Feb 2021 19:19

glenn239 wrote:
23 Feb 2021 18:09

So the chance of Soviet intervention, probably for limited objectives versus the certainty of Soviet hostility to the purpose of destroying Nazi Germany?
Hitler was in a no-win situation. He could not take on the UK, USA and USSR. But he was, in reality, their enemy before the war even started. If you're asking me what the rational decision was for Germany, it was always to surrender. But Hitler would not do that. If you accept that the war would continue, it's a question of whether Germany wants to find itself in 1945 either (1) clinging to Northwestern Europe against the combined might of the USA, UK and USSR, or (2) holding a vast buffer space in the East containing enough resources for Germany to survive, having drastically weakened the USSR, and having Japan enter the war and conquer Britain's pacific colonies, depriving the Allies of their main source of natural rubber.
So Germany should go after the USSR with its thousands of divisions and hundreds of thousands of tanks and aircraft, but the British with 10 divisions and a few thousand tanks and aircraft in Egypt are somehow too much to defeat?
Germany had no way of reaching Alexandria. The Italian navy was a joke and overland transport through Libya could barely support the tiny force that Germany sent in the OTL. Even if Germany somehow conquered Egypt, or even the entire Middle East, that would not knock Britain out of the war. Britain and the USA would still have overwhelming material superiority, and Germany wouldn't even be able to retrieve any oil from the Middle East (let alone supply its troops there against a UK/US counterattack).
Let's say just for giggles that Stalin would be willing under certain conditions to destroy the British Empire. Now, I realise in these discussions that Stalin is some sort of British house pet, but let's say just for sake of argument, that it was possible for Stalin to order the Red Army to remove the British from the Middle East and India. What sort of pre-conditions do you image would be necessary to get Stalin to act, with the assumption this precondition is true? (That is to say, don't tell me that Stalin wouldn't do that, assume that is was in the cards and tell me what the global situation would need to look like before he would).
For Stalin to go to war against the UK, he would demand all of Finland, Bulgaria, Turkey and probably Sweden as well. This would put all of Germany's supply of high grade iron ore, nickel, timber and oil under Stalin's control. Germany would be dependent on the USSR for all of its natural resources. In other words, Germany would be the junior partner and very quickly become the vassal state of the USSR. There is no way Hitler would settle for that.

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

Post by glenn239 » 23 Feb 2021 21:21

historygeek2021 wrote:
23 Feb 2021 19:19
Hitler was in a no-win situation. He could not take on the UK, USA and USSR. But he was, in reality, their enemy before the war even started. If you're asking me what the rational decision was for Germany, it was always to surrender.
Why do you conclude that the USSR will attack Germany?
Germany had no way of reaching Alexandria. The Italian navy was a joke and overland transport through Libya could barely support the tiny force that Germany sent in the OTL.


Sounds like a logistics problem not involving a war with the USSR.
Even if Germany somehow conquered Egypt, or even the entire Middle East, that would not knock Britain out of the war.
Possibly, but exactly how much of the British Empire do you suppose Churchill can fritter away before the government gets tired of the exercise?

For Stalin to go to war against the UK, he would demand all of Finland, Bulgaria, Turkey and probably Sweden as well. This would put all of Germany's supply of high grade iron ore, nickel, timber and oil under Stalin's control. Germany would be dependent on the USSR for all of its natural resources. In other words, Germany would be the junior partner and very quickly become the vassal state of the USSR. There is no way Hitler would settle for that.
You said above that Germany's best move was, "to surrender". Now here, you suggest that Finland, Bulgaria and Turkey might be enough to get Stalin to go in against the British. The cost to Germany would be that the USSR would become the more powerful partner, but the benefiet would be that Churchill would lose India and be ejected in a cabinet revolt with the war likely - over? How would that be worse than the historical outcome?

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

Post by historygeek2021 » 23 Feb 2021 21:27

glenn239 wrote:
23 Feb 2021 21:21
Why do you conclude that the USSR will attack Germany?
Stalin's plan was always to attack Germany - after Germany had exhausted itself in a war against the West.
Sounds like a logistics problem not involving a war with the USSR.
An insurmountable one. Germany could not conquer Egypt. It couldn't even hold on to North Africa or Sicily once the United States entered the war.
Possibly, but exactly how much of the British Empire do you suppose Churchill can fritter away before the government gets tired of the exercise?
The Axis frittered away more of the British Empire in the OTL than they would have with a "Mediterranean strategy." Japan conquered Britain's most valuable colonies in the Far East. And yet Churchill stayed in power.
You said above that Germany's best move was, "to surrender". Now here, you suggest that Finland, Bulgaria and Turkey might be enough to get Stalin to go in against the British. The cost to Germany would be that the USSR would become the more powerful partner, but the benefit would be that Churchill would lose India and be ejected in a cabinet revolt with the war likely - over? How would that be worse than the historical outcome?
A rational person might conclude it is better to become Stalin's vassal than to have your country completely annihilated. But the only Germans in 1941 who would have been fine with becoming Stalin's vassal were the communists locked in concentration camps.

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

Post by KDF33 » 24 Feb 2021 00:29

I don't see a halt doing much of a difference.

The Soviet winter counteroffensive of 1941-2 was a costly failure. It's not at all obvious that the Germans could defend more successfully to such an extent that it would affect the balance-of-force in the spring of 1942.

Then there's also the issue that any halt would have dire consequences if the Soviets didn't oblige the Germans and repeatedly impale themselves on their positions. Had the Soviets stood still during the winter, I don't see how the Germans could have regained the initiative in May 1942.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Feb 2021 03:13

KDF33 wrote:I don't see a halt doing much of a difference.

The Soviet winter counteroffensive of 1941-2 was a costly failure. It's not at all obvious that the Germans could defend more successfully to such an extent that it would affect the balance-of-force in the spring of 1942.
This a reasonable assessment, I'd guess it's probably true. But have we investigated the equipment loss rates in OTL December to test for how much those figures deviated from earlier and later? Possibly a well-planned German defense anticipating tactical withdrawals and opportunistic counterattacks would have avoided much of those losses and inflicted greater losses on RKKA.

If a prepared defense goes really well, there's a good chance that the Germans pinch off significant forces in December, rapidly changing local force ratios and enabling further German tactical offensives aimed at bagging exhausted Soviets.
KDF33 wrote:Then there's also the issue that any halt would have dire consequences if the Soviets didn't oblige the Germans and repeatedly impale themselves on their positions. Had the Soviets stood still during the winter, I don't see how the Germans could have regained the initiative in May 1942.
Depends on a lot of factors IMO. If the Germans maintain a position more advanced than OTL through New Year's - therefore more threatening to Moscow - it's hard to see Stalin abiding that as streams of new reserves come in.

On the flipside it's hard to see Ostheer standing still and watching the RKKA recover IF they have parried the initial Soviet Moscow offensive with devastating results in December. Limited local Ostheer offensives would probably bait Stalin/Zhukov to commit forces against perceived threats to Tula, for example, whose area contained important coalfields.
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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Feb 2021 03:25

HistoryGeek2021 wrote:Stalin's plan was always to attack Germany - after Germany had exhausted itself in a war against the West.
There's not, AFAIK, direct evidence of a Soviet plan to attack in '42 or later, but circumstantial evidence seems clear they would have. From Stalin's Folly:

Image

So Stalin appears to have been thinking in medium-term offensive mode, while bitterly aware of short-term weakness.

Pleshakov's book also discusses a plan of attack drafted by Vasilevsky and intended for 1942:
That schedule was ready by May 15. It was a fifteen-page memo in
black ink in Vasilevsky’s handwriting, addressed to Stalin and carrying
a warning in its upper right-hand corner: “Top Secret. Very Urgent.
Exclusively Personal. The Only Copy.”
...
No date was given for the attack, but the document suggested finalizing preparations in 1942.
Pleshakov's book is frustratingly bereft of footnotes, however. I've seen Stalin's offensive-minded remarks to the officers referenced elsewhere but not the Vasilevsky plan. Does anyone have better sourcing?
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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Feb 2021 04:02

HistoryGeek2021 wrote:Hitler was in a no-win situation. He could not take on the UK, USA and USSR. But he was, in reality, their enemy before the war even started. If you're asking me what the rational decision was for Germany, it was always to surrender.
As you're new here (at least under this handle), you might not have seen me reference Stoler's Allies and Adversaries, which IMO decisively establishes that the US did not believe they could/would invade Europe had the SU fallen in '42 or even '43. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=252647&hilit=invulnerable

U.S. foreign policy elites were preparing for containment of Germany between France's fall and latter 1942 on the assumption that SU would fall. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=252647&p=2302010&h ... m#p2302010 Only the SU's resilience caused a shift from containment to final victory.

So while I agree that Hitler could not fight all three great powers indefinitely, if he'd knocked out the SU in '42 there's no feasible conventional means of defeating Germany. Probably that means siege warfare until the UK/USA get sick of it. There's a good chance USA gives up quickly, with FDR losing to Taft or a similar prewar non-interventionist in '44. There's a credible threat of Sealion '44/'45 - at least sufficiently credible to tie down enormous W.Allied resources and delay victory over Japan.

The atom bomb offers a potential solution if a post-FDR administration is willing to vaporize Germany in a sustained A-bombing campaign, then follow up with a still-bloody ground invasion. That's a big if.
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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by historygeek2021 » 24 Feb 2021 04:35

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Feb 2021 04:02

As you're new here (at least under this handle), you might not have seen me reference Stoler's Allies and Adversaries, which IMO decisively establishes that the US did not believe they could/would invade Europe had the SU fallen in '42 or even '43. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=252647&hilit=invulnerable

U.S. foreign policy elites were preparing for containment of Germany between France's fall and latter 1942 on the assumption that SU would fall. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=252647&p=2302010&h ... m#p2302010 Only the SU's resilience caused a shift from containment to final victory.

So while I agree that Hitler could not fight all three great powers indefinitely, if he'd knocked out the SU in '42 there's no feasible conventional means of defeating Germany. Probably that means siege warfare until the UK/USA get sick of it. There's a good chance USA gives up quickly, with FDR losing to Taft or a similar prewar non-interventionist in '44. There's a credible threat of Sealion '44/'45 - at least sufficiently credible to tie down enormous W.Allied resources and delay victory over Japan.

The atom bomb offers a potential solution if a post-FDR administration is willing to vaporize Germany in a sustained A-bombing campaign, then follow up with a still-bloody ground invasion. That's a big if.
I posted here in the past as historygeek2019, but I don't remember what email and password I used, so here I am.

I don't think it's plausible that the USSR would fall in any scenario that doesn't involve time traveling Nazis ensuring that Germany made no mistakes in planning and operations after 1919 (or perhaps earlier), but I know you disagree and we've spent lots of threads arguing about that.

A more plausible scenario, such as Germany going on the defensive after Typhoon and staying on the defensive for the rest of the war, as General Fromm recommended, might allow Germany to hold onto the continent for longer. But eventually the siege from all sides will run its course. The Allies have only to take away the triangle of tungsten, iron and chromium (Portugal, Sweden and Turkey) and German industry grinds to a halt. Japan wouldn't last longer than 1945/46 in any plausible scenario. After that U.S. military aid comes pouring in through Vladivostok and Port Arthur and the entire U.S. military apparatus is turned against Germany.

The Allies would never lose their political will to defeat Nazi Germany. Hitler was the face of evil and the world's democracies and USSR would stop at nothing to get rid of him, even if it took 15 years. Hitler was completely untrustworthy after having broken every treaty he ever signed, and his stupid V1 and V2 terror attacks and U-boat marauding would incense western populations and business interests into destroying him.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Feb 2021 04:42

HistoryGeek2021 wrote:The Allies would never lose their political will to defeat Nazi Germany.
What's that judgment based on? Your patriotic conception of your country? Do you have direct evidence that America was willing to bleed into the millions in land war against Germany? Did you read the linked posts?

Not trying to start a flame war here, just inviting you to add some actual evidence that 1940's America had the character you attribute it.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 24 Feb 2021 05:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Feb 2021 04:52

HistoryGeek2021 wrote:Hitler was the face of evil and the world's democracies and USSR would stop at nothing to get rid of him, even if it took 15 years.
George Gallup knew probably more about American public opinion than anyone. Here's what he said:
The American perception of the world's racial hierarchy, though probably not as intensely felt
by Americans as by Germans, was otherwise not dissimilar. As George Gallup noted: "German
ideas of racial superiority find their counterpart in our own theories of racial and cultural
superiority .... " See Gallup, "Analysis of American Opinion on the War," PPF 4721, Roosevelt
Papers.
From the same article:
A candid discussion of the Nazi regime designed to educate
Americans to the stark contrasts between the German and American
systems might well fall short of the hoped-for result. Anti-democratic,
potentially "fascist" attitudes infected a considerable portion of the
American population. Polls revealed that more than half of those who
expressed an opinion thought Jews in the United States had too much
power, and about 20 percent thought Hitler's racial policy was justified.
On this touchstone of fascism, at least, little distinguished the attitudes
of a good many Americans from those of their enemies.46


Also:
The question asked was: If Germany were to offer peace on the basis that she would keep only
the territory won from Russia and give up the other conquered territories, would you favor such a
peace. 34 percent favored acceptance. George Gallup, "Voters Opposed to a Hitler 'Peace,' "
New York Times, Aug. 31, 1941.
So already in 1941, 34% of Americans favored letting Hitler keep the East. Given what we know about American response to battlefield setbacks and resultant war-weariness, it's not at all difficult to envision that number hitting 50% if we had taken serious reverses in the field and invading Europe looked hopeless and/or unimaginably bloody.

Again - not trying to be provocative but this is [some of] the actual evidence about American beliefs (plus that I cited in the above-linked posts). I get the sense that you have a naive view of America and haven't seriously questioned whether we'd have made peace with Hitler.
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Re: The Germans go on the Defensive after Typhoon....

Post by historygeek2021 » 24 Feb 2021 05:47

Well, let's discuss in that thread since we're going off on a tangent as far as this one is concerned.

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