Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by 1st Cavalry » 28 Nov 2012 20:52

KDF33 wrote: If the Soviets were down to roughly the same available untapped manpower as the Germans, who were suffering a manpower pinch, shouldn't you then conclude that it was also the case of the Soviets?
Since it took according to your calculation 1.5 years to inflict 7.2 million irrecoverable losses ( actually not that irrecoverable since pow were recovered eventually ):
- with the German army at her peak ,
- even without recovering substantial number of young men in liberated territories
- and still losing similar number of men

my conclusion is that early 1943 is premature to speak of manpower pinch.

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by 1st Cavalry » 28 Nov 2012 21:01

Jenisch wrote:It's naiveness to belive the Russians would not concentrate most of their troops in the Caucasus.
8O ???
elaborate please .

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by LWD » 28 Nov 2012 21:12

Jenisch wrote:It's naiveness to belive the Russians would not concentrate most of their troops in the Caucasus.
Is it? Why would they do so? Most of the front line was not in the Caucasus. Could they even support most of their troops their. Even if they could why would they need to. Mountainous terrain much like urban terrain tended to take away many of the strengths of the Heer.

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by KDF33 » 28 Nov 2012 21:54

But how is this going to produce an outcome any different than what occurred historically? All you are proposing is Fall Blau in another direction. If the historical operation couldn't defeat the Russians how is this new one going to do it?
Well, IMO because Fall Blau and, more generally, an offensive along the Volga-Caucasus axises was the worst direction in which to attack in 1942. As the front extended along the Don and the Caucasus mountain range, more and more of the Axis troops had to be removed from the attack and allocated to flank protection. Thus, the "tip" of the German "spear" was weakening with every phase of the advance. The best illustration of this is that the German 2nd Army, used in the initial advance on Voronezh, was then effectively immobilised for the rest of the campaign and was of absolutely no use to the German troops fighting around Stalingrad. This problem, of a lenghtening front, was btw the reason why the Germans had to resort to use such a large number of second-rate allied divisions to plug the gaps in their line; without them, the advance on Stalingrad and the Caucasus foothills wouldn't even have been conceivable in the first place, to say nothing about its prospects of success.

The dilution of German offensive power during Blau can also be illustrated by the losses they inflicted on the Soviets. As mentioned previously, barring the DoWs and the disabled, the Germans must have inflicted about 450,000 irrecoverable losses on the RKKA during July in the southern sector (excluding the Sevastopol surrender). However, Krivosheev puts at 995,674 the total Soviet irrecoverable losses sustained by the Fronts opposing HG "B" and "A" (again without Sevastopol) for the whole second half of 1942. This means that HG "B" and "A" inflicted 45% of the total Soviet irrecoverable losses for July - December 1942 in a single month, July, when they achieved their maximum concentration of effort. After that, Soviet losses dropped precipitously as the Germans allocated troops to flank defense and multiplied the axises of advance.

Why is an offensive northwards any different? Well, have a look at this map. By going North, the Germans can greatly reduce HG "Mitte's" frontline by closing the Demyansk - Rzhev salient, which incidentally would probably result in a higher count of Soviet irrecoverable losses since it was the ideal target for a great encirclement. They can then drive northward in the direction of the Finns and Lake Onega (not shown on the map, but roughly where it ends), thus even more shortening the line, this time in HG "Nord's" sector. Again, this second phase would inflict large casualties on the Soviets - there is no reason to believe, in fact, that it couldn't inflict losses on the level of the opening phase of Blau.

After that, Leningrad Front is completely cut off, about 100 kilometers behind the frontline, and can thus be finished off at will, adding another half-million irrecoverable Soviet losses. So, what's the final tally of this offensive? Maybe 1.5 million irrecoverable Soviet losses, more if you add the DoW and disabled, inflicted much faster than the 6 months it took to inflict 1 million irrecoverable losses in the original Blau. A front shorter of hundreds of kilometers. The possibility to accumulate reserves for further offensive action and/or for a successful defense against a Soviet winter counter-offensive. Overall, a weaker Red Army and a stronger Östheer.
Last edited by KDF33 on 28 Nov 2012 22:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by KDF33 » 28 Nov 2012 22:08

my conclusion is that early 1943 is premature to speak of manpower pinch.
Well, the manpower pinch seems obvious to me if you look at the drop in the frontline strength of the Red Army and Navy between November 19, 1942 and April 1st, 1943, from 6.6 million to 5.8 million men. It is also apparent when you consider that the Red Army could only mobilise about 1 million men every 4-5 months, as demonstrated by the Red Army decrees of the second half of 1942. Of course this is all relative: if the Germans suddenly started inflicting about 150,000 irrecoverable casualties on the Soviets per quarter-year, this would become amply sufficient - which is what happened in Spring 1943 and, with the returning convalescents, is what allowed the Soviets to accumulate the forces which won the summer battles and liberated the Ukraine during the autumn-winter campaign season.

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by BDV » 28 Nov 2012 22:22

stg 44 wrote:"BDV": So OTOH, does VVS only have to fight the Luftwaffe?
Nope, they have the Romanians, Finns, Hungarians, Slovaks, Italians, and German-equipped Spanish.
Exactly.

"Bat saua sa priceapa iapa" - any discussion of OstFront that does not include the auxilliary units is nazi fanboism at its finest. Including, but not limited to, exchange ratios.
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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by KDF33 » 28 Nov 2012 22:27

any discussion of OstFront that does not include the auxilliary units is nazi fanboism at its finest
The allied units have been discussed on this thread.
nazi fanboism at its finest. Including, but not limited to, exchange ratios.
Why so?

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by BDV » 28 Nov 2012 22:41

No they have not.

Not what would the auxilliaries do differently, and what germans would do differently in supporting the auxilliaries air efforts.


As to nazi fanboism, without the Gyorshadtest, without the Romanian 3rd and 4th, without the finns attacking, neither Kiev, nor Odessa fall to the german attack. The Leningrad siege simply does not happen. The Uman encirclement and the Kiev pocket do not happen either. The only major objectives that would fall to Nazi Germany would be Byelorussia, the Baltic countries, and Smolensk (maybe).

Excluding the auxilliary contributions and losses from the exchange gives too rosig a picture for the Barbarossa.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by KDF33 » 28 Nov 2012 22:53

No they have not.
The minor Axis armies have been discussed in the context of the 1942 campaign.
Not what would the auxilliaries do differently, and what germans would do differently in supporting the auxilliaries air efforts.
The air effort of the minor Axis was, well, minor compared to that of the Germans, albeit with some notable exceptions, like the Romanians at Stalingrad or during the Ukrainian retreat of 1943.
As to nazi fanboism, without the Gyorshadtest, without the Romanian 3rd and 4th, without the finns attacking, neither Kiev, nor Odessa fall to the german attack. The Leningrad siege simply does not happen. The Uman encirclement and the Kiev pocket do not happen either. The only major objectives that would fall to Nazi Germany would be Byelorussia, the Baltic countries, and Smolensk (maybe).

Excluding the auxilliary contributions and losses from the exchange gives too rosig a picture for the Barbarossa.
The ground contribution of the minor Axis and Finland to the German campaign in Russia was never put in doubt on this thread. As for their losses, they totaled (Finland-excluded) 28,749 hostile irrecoverable and 76,972 wounded by October 31, 1942. Hardly enough to change the lopsided loss ratio in favor of the Axis.

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Marcelo Jenisch » 28 Nov 2012 23:20

I'm curious about the influence of the Italian AF.

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by stg 44 » 28 Nov 2012 23:48

Jenisch wrote:I'm curious about the influence of the Italian AF.
Well, most of the Mediterranean forces would be available for the Eastern Front.

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Marcelo Jenisch » 29 Nov 2012 01:13

stg 44 wrote:
Jenisch wrote:I'm curious about the influence of the Italian AF.
Well, most of the Mediterranean forces would be available for the Eastern Front.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_p ... rld_War_II

Italy produced:

4,510 fighters

2,063 bombers

468 transports

1,769 trainers

I don't know the state of the Italian aero industry. It produced 3,500 acft in '41 and 2,800 in '42, with only 907 in '43. They had interesting planes like the G-55.

Perhaphs more relevant would be the entering of the Italian fleet in the Black Sea, which some claimed it was possible. Also, the Kriegsmarine would be able to operate against the Russians.

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Marcelo Jenisch » 29 Nov 2012 02:48

The Wages of Destruction, page 452:

However optimistic the Wehrmacht may have been in the assessment of its own capacities, the sheer size of the task facing them in the Soviet Union could not be denied. Most fundamentally, the Germans were grossly outnumbered. Even allowing for the unreliability of Stalinist statistics, the population of the Soviet Union cannot have been less than 170 million in 1941. The population of Germany was less than half that: 83.76 million people in 1939. Though the German army that invaded the Soviet Union probably outnumbered the Red Army troops stationed in the western sectors, the Germans had already conscripted virtually all their prime manpower. By contrast, the Red Army could call up millions of reservists. From the outset, therefore, it was clear that the Wehrmacht must not be sucked into a battle of attrition. And this imbalance of manpower was compounded by the enormous expanse of Soviet territory and the sheer impassability of the terrain. If the Red Army were able to withdraw in good order this would present Germany with insuperable problems. If on the other hand the coherence of the Soviet force could be broken, then the difficulty of maintaining communications would hamper their efforts to restore coherence no less than it impeded the German advance. Everything depended on deciding the battle, as in France, in the first weeks of the campaign. This was the assumption on which Barbarossa was premised. A massive central thrust towards Moscow, accompanied by flanking encirclements of the Soviet forces trapped in the north and south, would allow the Red Army to be broken on the Dnieper-Dvina river line within 500 kilometres of the Polish-German border. The Dnieper-Dvina river line was critical because beyond that point logistical constraints on the German army were binding. These limitations on Germany's new style of 'Blitzkrieg' had not been obvious in 1940, because the depth of operations required by Manstein's encircling blow (Sichelschnitt) had never exceeded a few hundred kilometres. The entire operation could therefore be supplied by trucks shuttling back and forth from the German border. On the basis of their experience in France, the Wehrmacht's logistical staff calculated that the efficient total range for trucks was 600 kilometres, giving an operational depth of 300. Beyond that point the trucks themselves used up so much of the fuel they were carrying that they became inefficient as a means of transport. Given the vast distances encountered in the Soviet Union, an operational depth of 300 kilometres was absurdly restrictive. To extend the range of the logistical system, the Wehrmachtt therefore split its motor pool into two segments. One set of trucks would move forward with the Panzer units and would ferry fuel and ammunition from intermediate dumps that would be resupplied by the main fleet operating from the borders of the General Government. By this expedient, it was hoped that the initial logistical range could be extended to 500 kilometres. By happy chance, this coincided exactly with the Dnieper-Dvina line. Haider, the army's chief of staff, was clearly aware of the fundamental importance of this constraint. In his diary at the end of January 1941 he noted that the success of Barbarossa depended on speed. 'Speed! No stops! Do not wait for railway! Do everything with motor vehicles.' There must be 'no hold ups', 'that aloneguarantees victory'. If serious fighting were to extend beyond this initial phase of the assault, it was clear from the outset that the Wehrmacht's problems would progressively multiply. If the Red Army escaped destruction onthe Dnieper-Dvina river line, the Wehrmacht would not be able to engage in hot pursuit, because it would first need to replenish its supply bases closer to the front line. After that, all operations would ultimately depend on the capacity of the Soviet railway system and the speed with which the Wehrmacht could build up forward supply bases to support Germany itself. Most German freight transport in the 1940s was accomplished by rail. For short distances, the horse was still essential in both town and countryside. Of course, the German motor vehicle industry might have been coaxed into producing more trucks. But the basic constraint on the use of motor vehicles in wartime Europe was not the supply of vehicles, but the chronic shortage of fuel and rubber. As we have seen, the fuel shortage by the end of 1941 was expected to be so severe that the Wehrmacht was seriously considering demotorization as a way of reducing its dependence on scarce oil. Everything therefore depended on the assumption that the Red Army would crack under the impact of the first decisive blow. It was hoped that, like the French, the Soviet forces would disintegrate, allowing them to be finished off in a series of encirclement battles. In the second phase of the operation, the German army would advance towards Moscow against disorganized opposition, precipitating the political collapse of Stalin's regime. In World War I it had taken almost four years for the combined forces of Austria and Imperial Germany to bring about the final disintegration of the Tsarist army. The assumption was clearly that the Communist regime was weaker and that the initial blow struck by the Wehrmacht would be far more dramatic. The racist assumptions built into this axiom of German planning are obvious. It was not, however, devoid of all rationality. Expressed most succinctly in terms of per capita GDP, there was a major developmental difference between Germany and the Soviet Union. According to the best modern estimates, German per capita GDP was two and a half times that in the Soviet Union in 1940. On this basis there was good reason to think that the huge quantitative advantage apparently enjoyed by the Red Army would turn out to be illusory. The far greater organizational capacity of theWehrmacht, the superior quality of its equipment and the greater training of its soldiers would carry the day. After all, this was the army tha thad defeated the combined forces of France, the British Expeditionary Force, Belgium and the Netherlands in six weeks. By launching its army against the Soviet Union, rather than prosecuting a direct air and sea assault on Britain and its backers in the United States, the Third Reich was not making an irrational strategic choice. It was deploying its best weapon against what still appeared to be the 'weakest link in the chain'.Not that the Germans were oblivious to the modernization of the Soviet Union since World War I. As the Wehrmacht's own economic staff well knew, Stalin's Five Year Plans had substantially transformed the geography of the Soviet economy. According to credible Western estimates we now believe that Stalin's regime increased total industrial output by 2.6 times between 1928 and 1940, and armaments outputgrew by vastly more. In their haste to industrialize, the Soviet planners had placed a large amount of investment in Western economic zones vulnerable to the German onslaught. But as the planners in Berlin fully understood, the First Five Year Plan of 1928-32 had established a new Soviet industrial base, safely to the east of the Urals, which had the capacity to sustain a self-sufficient population of at least 40 million people. Even if an invader managed to overrun a large part of the western Soviet Union, war production could continue at new industrial centres, such as the gigantic engineering works at Sverdlovsk. Overall,Soviet industrial capacity was clearly very substantial. In 1939 the German steel association put the Soviet Union well ahead of Great Britain, in third place behind the United States and Germany, with an annualoutput of 18 million tons of steel, compared to Germany's 23.3 million tons. And on paper at least the Red Army was a formidable force.Throughout the spring of 1941 Franz Haider recorded Hitler's ruminations about the Soviets' immense stocks of tanks and aircraft. Hitler knew that the Soviets had modern aircraft and 'mammoth' tanks with normous guns. But he comforted himself with the fact that most of the Red Army's equipment was obsolete. On the assumption that the Wehrmacht would be able to achieve a massed concentration at strategicpoints he was happy to predict that the Soviets would 'crumple under the massive impact of our tanks and planes'. No one, however, could deny the sheer vastness of the Soviet Union, and this alone made Barbarossa into a daunting proposition. Beneath the thick layer of hubris and optimism that surrounded the planning forBarbarossa, there were those in Berlin who expressed severe misgivings from the start. The doubts, interestingly, were of two kinds. There were at least some officers who questioned the feasibility of the operation itself. Significantly these included Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, commander of Army Group Centre, to whom fell the awesome task of crushing the main body of the Red Army en route to Moscow. By the end of January 1941, Bock was so concerned about the scale of the mission assigned to his army group that he forced Haider, the chief of army staff, to concede that there was a distinct possibility that the Red Army might escape beyond the Dnieper-Dvina line. What wouldhappen in this eventuality was the key question. One of the earliest wargames done to test the Barbarossa plan concluded that unless both the destruction of the Red Army and the capture of Moscow could be accomplished within a matter of months, Germany would face a 'long-drawn-out war, beyond the capacity of the German armed forces towage'.

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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by BDV » 29 Nov 2012 03:02

KDF33 wrote:As for their losses, they totaled (Finland-excluded) 28,749 hostile irrecoverable and 76,972 wounded by October 31, 1942. Hardly enough to change the lopsided loss ratio in favor of the Axis.
There's a good reason why Axis partners took such light losses in first three quarters of 1942. And why they took so heavy during the last quarter of 1942. And why German kriegmaschine achieved so little of actual strategic import in 1942 compared to 1941. And it's all basically the same reason.

The victories of 1941 cost the "minor" Axis their meager war-making potential, and there was nothing left in 1942, in particular as Nazi Germany was beyond useless in helping these countries re-establish (and even less upgrade) war making ability. That Antonescu and Horthy allowed their troops on the battleline under these circumstances is a disgrace to both. Mannerhem, at least, held back.



P.S. So is famously described the service of penal battalions at Stalingrad:
This wave [of men], however, never reached Gulag: after accelerated processing by divisional tribunals, it was, to a man, herded into punishment battalions, and was soaked up in the red sand of advanced positions, leaving not a trace. Thus was cemented the foundation of the Stalingrad victory, but it has found no place in the usual Russian history and exists only in the private history of the sewage system.
Replace Gyorshadtest and romanian army for Soviet punishment battalions, and replace Uman, and Odessa, and Kiev, for Stalingrad. The blood of the "minor" Axis soldiers is disregarded no less than that of the soviet штрафбат soldiers.
Last edited by BDV on 29 Nov 2012 03:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by KDF33 » 29 Nov 2012 03:17

The victories of 1941 cost the "minor" Axis their meager war-making potential, and there was nothing left in 1942, in particular as Nazi Germany was beyond useless in helping these countries re-establish (and even less upgrade) war making ability. That Antonescu and Horthy allowed their troops on the battleline under these circumstances is a disgrace to both. Mannerhem, at least, held back.
I fail to see how Barbarossa cost the minor Axis their war-making potential. Then again, the minor Axis allies, understood here as Hungary and Romania, had no significant industrial war-making potential in the first place, only manpower to add to the German Östheer. The reason why the performance of their troops was so dismal in 1942 compared to 1941 has, IMO, more to do with the particular task that was assigned to them in Fall Blau than with their relative efficiency compared with 1941.

Simply put, in 1941 they were part of an advancing Axis army that attacked on a broad front and never gave the Soviets a real chance to catch a breath and counter-attack effectively. In 1942 they were tasked with holding the line against precisely such a counter-attack, a task for which they were absolutely unprepared - especially in light of their lack of mobile reserves and of effective antitank weaponry - and for which they never received adequate support from the Germans, which again shows, IMO, the bankruptcy of Hitler's strategy for 1942.

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