Its May 1942, your in C-in-C of the German Army

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Andy H
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Its May 1942, your in C-in-C of the German Army

Post by Andy H » 05 Feb 2003 18:51

[Moved from the Polls section]


After the general offensive against Russia in the summer of 1941, Germany had neither the men, materials or industrial capacity to repeat the same in 1942, hence the offensive on the Southern Front, which turned out to be the beginning of the end for the German Army in Russia.

But I've presented 6 options which are worth exploring IMO, and inc an others one for ones of your choice.

This is only looking at the Eastern Front from an isolated point of view so no ideas please about more troops for Africa etc.

Andy

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Sam H.
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Post by Sam H. » 05 Feb 2003 18:55

Strike in the North, secure your Northern flank, gain a prestigeous victory and open the port of Leningrad to ease your supply difficulties.

Moscow is too strongly defended, the Southern option didn't work (and German isn't strong enough to take both Stalingrad and the Caucasus), Archengel is too far away and Murmansk by itself will not close the northern supply route.

weiwensg
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Moscow

Post by weiwensg » 06 Feb 2003 11:09

I share the opinion of the German generals. A strike against Moscow and Leningrad would destroy Soviet morale and prestige.

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Nick.A.
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On to Moscow.

Post by Nick.A. » 06 Feb 2003 13:44

Definitely On to Moscow! To take the Capital would have Increased the demoralisation effect on the enemy 100 fold. Stalin would have had to flee, and catch up with the rest of his government. Didn't the French capitulate, after the fall of Paris ???

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Korbius
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Post by Korbius » 06 Feb 2003 23:10

Moscow is objective #1, due to its importance for being the capital. It would have collapsed the Soviet morale considerably.

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waffen
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Post by waffen » 07 Feb 2003 00:33

hitler directed his forces away from moscow probably thinking he could advance whenever and they went after the oil fields which already really was a problem supplying an army stretched well over a 2000 mile plus front,i think it was a huge mistake not to take the city as it would have totally demoralized the russian defence and surely would have forced stalin and his military advisers into a deeper retreat and probably given the reich the propaganda victory they were after forcing stalin to consider surrender. the commanders of the army groups both repeatedly advised hitler to press forward but the bunker was not convinced as the attack had made so much quick progress hitler was hesitant and repeated again what he did to the allies after taking france in 3 weeks alllowing there retreat at dunkirk to go ahead as goring wanted to blitzcreig the fleeing men at dunkirk but the fuhrer wanted them to return to england as a defeated demoralized failure to propaganda the might of the 3 reich.of course its well documented that the barbarossa plan would end in six months but not taking moscow diverting his armys to take the rumanian oil fields was also supplying the russian army and this delay was the trigger for a longer conflict resulting in the loss over 2 winters of over 1 million soldiers finally at stalingrad. interestingly napoleon made the same mistake fighting an unprepared winter war. :D

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Post by voltar » 07 Feb 2003 06:22

The Germans would have not taken Moscow even if they tried. The city was by that time very well prepared and supplied. In addition there were huge reserves held at bay specifically in case of another assault on Moscow.

In addition the fall of Moscow would have made Russia stronger, recall when the Polish occupied Moscow and what happened then.

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Sam H.
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Post by Sam H. » 07 Feb 2003 14:06

Voltar,

I agree that capturing Moscow would have been difficult if not impossible in the summer of 1942, but I do not see how siezing the city would have made the russians stronger. You cannot draw parrallels with previous wars, WWII was a fast moving, mobile war and the fall of Moscow would have severly hampered Russia's ability to supply and move its forces (Moscow was a major rail junction in central Russia).

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Post by voltar » 07 Feb 2003 20:05

I should rephrase, what I meant by stronger is an issue of resolve. The people would all be more commited to the liberation of their country and repel the fascist yoke. Obviously industrialiy and such it would weaken them.

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Sam H.
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Post by Sam H. » 07 Feb 2003 20:16

That's why I say you go for Leningrad, capture a major city, relieve the troops on siege duty, you have a great port for logistic purposes, and any offensive to secure the capture would not significantly lenghten the lines.

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Galahad
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Post by Galahad » 07 Feb 2003 21:45

The Reich's chance to destroy Soviet military power through strategic offensive operations was past by spring 1942. If I was the German c-in-c, I'd have opted for the strategic defensive.

Physically this would mean construction of strongpoints to block communications and logistics chokepoints and to reduce the power of the Soviet attacks by forcing them to bleed off units to attack or mask them; these would be used as maneuver bases in operational counteroffensives. I'd further facilitate the construction of a road and rail net to improve the possibilities of maneuver operations as well as improving my logistics capabilities, as well as building numerous air bases for use as needed, to allow for a rapid concentration of air units. I'd further stockpile as many operational supplies as I could.

Tactically I'd use the phased withdrawal to lessen the casualties my troops would incur during Soviet offensive operations, with limited local counterattacks to gain time and to inflict casualties on the enemy.

While these operations were going on, I'd be maneuvering for an opportunity to switch to the operational offensive when the the Soviets had outrun their supplies, massing units in the chosen sector (s). The intention of such ops would be to use the offensive to destroy as many Soviet units as I could, and inflict as many casualties as possible while the Soviet forces were offbalance. Such operations would immediately end when Soviet units regained their strategic balance or my units began to lose theirs due to lengthening supply lines.

In short, I'd conserve my limited resources, and concentrate them on attaining the objective of bleeding Soviet forces to the maximum possible, at a time and place of my choosing.

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Sam H.
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Post by Sam H. » 07 Feb 2003 22:01

Galahad,

I don't know about turning over the strategic initiative to the Soviets in 1942. In 1943 I'd agree with that strategy, but in May 1942, its hard to picture the Germans taking a defensive role in the east.

Why not try for some limited attacks (Leningrad) and keep the Russians on the defensive? At this point the German army has not faced a defeat by force of arms alone and the troops will be looking for some strong leadership following the winter defeat before Moscow.

Germany needs to end the war in the east, either through conquest or negotiation. And there are going to need a big victory to get Stalin to the table.

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Galahad
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Post by Galahad » 07 Feb 2003 22:20

I'm basing things on numbers. Look at the German numbers, especially when compared to the Soviet numbers. While the Soviets not only replaced their losses, but began to increase their total numbers, the German forces were weaker in 1942 than in 1941; losses weren't replaced. To the contrary, the German forces were several hundred thousand men weaker in 1942 than when Barbarossa was launched. Germany was incapable of sustaining the casualty rate caused by the strategic offensive--unless that guaranteed victory.....and, as Barbarossa showed, it didn't.

Offensive operations incur greater casualties, on the whole, than do defensive operations. Given a limited replacement capability, the Germans would have done better to husband those limited resources for use in the optimum situations possible. Von Manstein's "Backhand Blow" ought to be the model, because it gave the greatest possible result for the least possible loss.

You talk of negotiated peace.....that would only be possible if the Soviets felt their offensive operations had no chance for success in the end. And THAT would only happen if their casualty rate in such operations was so high that such operations seemed futile to them.

As I said, the time for the strategic offensive was past in 1942, because the Germans no longer had the advantage of surprise against an unprepared enemy unaccustomed to the type of war the Germans waged, and because the limited German replacement rate in men and material was no longer sufficient to support the strategic offensive.

Therefore the Germans should have consolidated their position with a view towards bleeding the Soviets to the maximum possible. Offensive operations against a prepared enemy wouldn't do that. To the contrary, they would bleed the Germans worse than the Soviets.

But counteroffensive operations against an enemy offbalance due to supply problems caused by outrunning his supply lines had the chance to do exactly that.

Try gaming this out sometime in a highly detailed simulation such as SPI's War in the East.....I promise you that if I played the Soviets and you DIDN'T adopt the strategic defensive, I'd win, every time.

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Sam H.
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Post by Sam H. » 07 Feb 2003 22:44

So I take it you support the theory that the Germans lost the war, or at least their best chance at victory by failing to defeat the Soviets in 1941?

Just curious, would you have gone for Moscow in August 1941? (i.e. is Moscow the key to defeating the Soviets in 1941)

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Galahad
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Post by Galahad » 07 Feb 2003 23:17

I love the way this thing gives doubled posts.....especially when the "delete" button disappears.
Last edited by Galahad on 07 Feb 2003 23:24, edited 1 time in total.

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