Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Marcelo Jenisch
Member
Posts: 724
Joined: 22 May 2011 18:27
Location: Porto Alegre

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Marcelo Jenisch » 29 Nov 2012 22:30

LWD wrote:
Kingfish wrote:The stalemate would be a temporary condition. Eventually what you would end up with is a situation where, as Bock said "the last battalion will decide the issue".
Or possibly by the collapse of one or both governements.
The West would "like" from the latter.

In other thread, someone said something that seems correct: that Germany would have to make Britain disarm for a peace treaty. If not, and with the two regimes fighting a bloody war, I would not rule out a Western intervention, specially if both sides were weakned. The suffering of the peoples from both countries could have provided the perfect "excuse". Alternatively, the West could have agreed to support Germany to avoid the Russians occupying it, with the condition it liberated Western Europe and Poland, which also could have resulted in a condition of disarmament for Germany after the war (this perhaps could have provided the spark for a revolt with the Nazi government).

User avatar
1st Cavalry
Member
Posts: 251
Joined: 20 Oct 2010 09:54

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by 1st Cavalry » 30 Nov 2012 12:20

Kingfish wrote:From my limited reading I came away with the impression the mountain divisions, especially the 2nd, performed well.

There used to be a website that was similar to Commando Supremo, but devoted exclusively to the Romanian army.
Does anyone know of it and can provide a link?
http://www.worldwar2.ro/organizare/

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 2774
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Kingfish » 30 Nov 2012 12:52

Excellent, thanks so much

Carl Schwamberger
Host - Allied sections
Posts: 6773
Joined: 02 Sep 2006 20:31
Location: USA

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 30 Nov 2012 20:13

Kingfish wrote:The stalemate would be a temporary condition. Eventually what you would end up with is a situation where, as Bock said "the last battalion will decide the issue".
Jenisch wrote:The West would "like" from the latter.

In other thread, someone said something that seems correct: that Germany would have to make Britain disarm for a peace treaty. If not, and with the two regimes fighting a bloody war, I would not rule out a Western intervention, specially if both sides were weakned. ...
My take is Britain could not be dissarmed without something extreme occuring. It is fairly clear from post war study that Hitler was willing to reach a agreement with Britain in 1940 without further trouble. That he fumbled and made his offer near incoherent is a monor point, he was open to a armistice a peace negotiations. The second critical fator here is Germany was unable to enforce any sort of disarmanent on Britain, In 1940 no branch of the Wehrmacht was able to force anything on Britain, The navy was unready, the air force fail in the BoB, and the army nearly irrelevant. If in July a British government had offered a armistice to Germany, without any Brit disarmament Hitler would have had no way of forcing any such point into the negotiations, other than his natural obnoxious bluster. Barring Paras in London & panzers @ Folkstone British disarmament would not happen.

That leaves a armed British empire busy with economic recovery, paying down its debt to the US, and rearming at its leaisure. How dangerous this armed Britain might be I cant say. For the short term the focus would be on recovery, but there are more than a few opportunities to get crossways with the Axis outside Europe.

Marcelo Jenisch
Member
Posts: 724
Joined: 22 May 2011 18:27
Location: Porto Alegre

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Marcelo Jenisch » 30 Nov 2012 21:39

Carl, the problem is that Germany belived it could force Britain to an armistice by war. If Germany was aware that it could not make Britain agree to peace by force, then why launch air attacks in the island?

Supposing that such peace is achived, Germany and Japan perhaps will have trouble. While we are not considerating this here, I think that maybe Stalin would not let a Germany that was in peace with Britain to concentrate troops in the USSR's borders. While for Japan, Britain would be very present in defending it's domains in Asia. Since both Japan and Germany were counting that would make their enemies desintegrate initially, perhaps this will not change their ideas about launch their wars. However, as we know, the results perhaps could have been disastrous for them if they did.

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 2774
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Kingfish » 30 Nov 2012 21:43

A (possibly) interesting aside, I wonder how the Med would play out with England and Germany at peace and the latter fully involved in the East. Mussolini would be faced with a difficult choice: sign on to the treaty and say goodbye to any expansion of his African empire, or go it alone and face the full wrath of the Commonwealth.

Marcelo Jenisch
Member
Posts: 724
Joined: 22 May 2011 18:27
Location: Porto Alegre

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Marcelo Jenisch » 30 Nov 2012 21:53

Kingfish wrote:or go it alone and face the full wrath of the Commonwealth.
I don't doubt they could have tried. They launched the war in the desert historically, and we know that they simply could not win (even with full German support). Other thing is about the degree of envolvement in Russia the Italians could have had. I don't think it would be much. They were envolved historically simply because Germany was running out of manpower after the failure of Barbarossa.

As for the PTO: in other threads many members have argued that Singapore could have held out if was a little more reinforced. Even if not, the beating of Japan would be horrible if they had to fight the US alone, not to mention Britain. And if Japan was being smashed by the Anglo-Americans, the Soviets very soon would be able to have more men out of the Far East to fight Germany.

KDF33
Member
Posts: 545
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by KDF33 » 01 Dec 2012 06:47

To Kingfish (about a northern thrust):
Well, IMO the destruction of the Kalinin Front would have a pretty big - and negative - effect on the viability of the Soviet position along the northern axis.
Agree, just like the defeat at Izyum did to that sector of the front
Bagging the Kalinin Front in the Rzhev salient would be a far worse defeat for the Red Army than Izyum was. The 2nd battle of Kharkov resulted in approximately 170,000 Soviet irrecoverable losses (Krivosheev 108), The Kalinin Front likely held upward of 600,000 troops in the summer of 1942, and the frontline was very favorable to a rapid encirclement - much like at Kiev in 1941. As an added benefit, the destruction of the Kalinin Front wouldn't be followed by a month of limited fighting, but would be the opening salvo of the main German offensive, much like Voronezh was for Blau.
The Germans succeeded in advancing in this terrain in the autumn of 1941, and the Soviets made rapid progress during the same winter. In early 1944, the Soviets also succeeded in making rapid mechanized advance in this terrain when they relieved Leningrad. I obviously concede that the southern steppe offered, all else being equal, better terrain for offensive action, but I don't see the northern direction as excluding offensive action or dooming the Germans to a costly, and presumably static, "battle of attrition".
I'm not suggesting the offensive would develop into a second Verdun, but the whole point here is a speedy advance to bag large number of Russians at relatively light cost. The terrain simply does not lend itself to it.
The Demyansk - Rzhev salient lends itself better to such an encirclement than the Donetz. Although the second phase of the offensive probably wouldn't see another large encirclement, the original Fall Blau didn't either and still inflicted massive casualties on the Soviets. Finally, the eviction of the Soviet forces from the northern sector would lead to the collapse of the Leningrad Front and inflict another half-million Soviet irrecoverable losses at a relatively low cost.
I'm not sure the topo map helps any, since it obviously is drawn a good 70 years after the time period we are discussing. I'm sure a topo of Canada (I'm assuming you hail from there) circa 1942 is radically different from what we have today.
Agreed, this weakens my argument. If anyone has a topographical map of the relevant terrain for this period, I'd be very interested.
Again, aren't we talking about Fall Blau in another direction? If the Germans were able to push eastward and capture Stalingrad quickly the forces in the Caucasus would be down to 1 single-track railroad hugging the shore of the Caspian.
The Soviets could supply their forces in the Caucasus with that single-track railroad but also from the Caspian Sea and from LL supplies arriving from the Persian Corridor. The Soviet forces in the Caucasus were also smaller than those deployed along the northern approaches: by the time of Uranus, the Soviets had in theater 816,000 men and 319 tanks, and this seems to include all the forces in the Transcaucasian Front, including those inactive facing the Turkish frontier. So the problem would be magnified in the North: more troops and less supplies than in the Caucasus. In any case, the point is moot if the Germans cut the Tikhvin-Vologda line, and I see no reason why they couldn't do it in summer 1942.
I'm just not seeing a radical difference between the two plans. If anything, Fall Blau has the edge by virtue of the terrain.
Fall Blau had the edge in terms of terrain, but also the crippling disadvantage of massively extending the German frontline, thus dissipating the Wehrmacht's offensive power, and advancing along two different axes, thus even more dissipating that offensive power. Lastly, if the offensive failed in decisively destroying Soviet military power, it exposed the Germans to a counter-attack in a practically indefensible front.

In contrast, every phase of a northern offensive would free up additional manpower for the next push: just the elimination of the Demyansk - Rzhev salient would free up roughly 24 Infantry Divisions - 13 from the 16th Army and 11 from the 3rd Panzer. And I'm not even counting those forces from the 9th Army facing the left side of the Rzhev salient. It would also result in much larger encirclements than historically (Kalinin and Leningrad Fronts), and thus both more casualties and a faster loss rate for the Soviets. Lastly, it would shorten the German frontline by hundreds of kilometers and thus allow the Östheer to accumulate reserves.

To Jenisch,
Anyway, what most people fail to realize is that the Axis themselfs recognized their hopeless situation in attrition warfare. Nobody in Tokyo or Berlin belived that they would keep smashing millions and millions of Allied troops until they drain them out of manpower. The Germans recognized the Soviet numerical superiority, but belived they could prevent it's effective deployment. It's in the text I posted recently.
IMO, the hopelessness of the Axis situation stemmed from American involvement in the war, not for any inherent weakness in the German ability to wage attritional warfare against an opponent like Britain or the Soviet Union. Also, I'm not arguing for the Germans just passively waiting for the Soviets to run out of manpower: I'm arguing for them to maximize Soviet irrecoverable casualties to weaken the Red Army to a level allowing the resumption of large-scale advances, with the aim of occupying their primary manpower and resource bases in the shortest timeframe - and thus complete Barbarossa.

Regarding peace with Britain:

I agree with Carl that making peace with Britain without disarming her armed forces would in no way remove the Western threat, unless the British government signing the peace could be confidently trusted to really accept German hegemony over Europe. Otherwise, the British could use the peace to rebuild (and rearm) at will, unhindered by the U-Boots or the long convoy routes, and resume the war at an opportune moment, perhaps in conjunction with the United States. This is, IMO, why making a peace with the Soviets on the post-Barbarossa frontiers wasn't an option either - it would give the Soviets breathing space while still tieing up a large number of German troops on the new eastern border. Once the West had declared war over Poland, and even more so once Germany had upset the balance of power by defeating France, there was IMO no turning back.

Marcelo Jenisch
Member
Posts: 724
Joined: 22 May 2011 18:27
Location: Porto Alegre

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Marcelo Jenisch » 01 Dec 2012 07:24

KDF33 wrote:IMO, the hopelessness of the Axis situation stemmed from American involvement in the war, not for any inherent weakness in the German ability to wage attritional warfare against an opponent like Britain or the Soviet Union
Perhaps.

The Wages of Destruction, page 411:
The territories that Germany had conquered in 1940, though they provided substantial booty and a crucial source of labour did not bear comparison with the abundance provided to Britain by America. The aerial arms race was the distinctive Anglo-American contribution to the war and it played directly to America's dominance in manufacturing. But though the disparity in aircraft deliveries was extreme it was not untypical. A similarly vast gulf was also evident in relation to energy supplies, the most basic driver of modern urban and industrial society.Whereas the Anglo-American alliance was energy rich, Germany and its Western European Grossraum were starved of food, coal and oil. The disparity with respect to oil was most serious. Between 1940 and 1943 the mobility of Germany's army, navy and air force, not to mention its domestic economy, depended on annual imports of 1.5 million tonsof oil, mainly from Romania. In addition, German synthetic fuel factories, at huge expense, produced a flow of petrol that rose from 4 million tons in 1940 to a maximum of 6.5 million tons in 1943. Seizing the fuel stocks of France as booty in no way resolved this fundamental dependency. In fact, the victories of 1940 had the reverse effect. They added a number of heavy oil consumers to Germany's own fuel deficit. From its annual fuel flow of at most 8 million tons, Germany now had to supply not only its own needs, but those of the rest of Western Europe as well. Before the war, the French economy had consumed at least5.4 million tons per annum, at a per capita rate 60 per cent higher than Germany's. The effect of the German occupation was to throw France back into an era before motorization. From the summer of 1940 France was reduced to a mere 8 per cent of its pre-war supply of petrol. In an economy adjusted to a high level of oil consumption the effects weredramatic. To give just one example, thousands of litres of milk went towaste in the French countryside every day, because no petrol was available to ensure regular collections. Of more immediate concern to the military planners in Berlin were the Italian armed forces, which dependedentirely on fuel diverted from Germany and Romania. By February 1941, the Italian navy was threatening to halt its operations in theMediterranean altogether unless Germany supplied at least 250,000 tons of fuel. And the problems were by no means confined to the Reich's satellites. Germany itself coped only by dint of extreme economy. In late May 1941,General Adolf von Schell, the man responsible for the motor vehicle industry, seriously suggested that in light of the chronic shortage of oil it would be advisable to carry out a partial 'demotorization' of the Wehrmacht. It is commonly remarked that the Luftwaffe suffered later in the war because of the inadequate training of its pilots, due in large part to the shortage of air fuel. But in 1941 the petrol shortage was already so severe that the Wehrmacht was licensing its soldiers to drive heavy trucks with less than 15 kilometres of on-road experience, a measure which was blamed for the appalling attrition of motor vehicles during the Russian campaign. Shortages made themselves felt across the German economy. So tight were fuel rations that in November 1941 Opel was forced to shut down production at its Brandenburg plant, Germany's largest truck factory, because it lacked the petrol necessary to check the fuel pumps of vehicles coming off the assembly line. A special allocation of 104 cubic metres of fuel had to bearranged by the Wehrmacht's economic office so as to ensure that there were no further interruptions.
According to Tooze, the LW was investing as much in Barbarossa by '41 as it was to face the incoming air war with the US and Britain.

Anyway, your interpretation is not accepted by most historians today, since they point out that the Soviets did most of the work in the war. However, doing most of the work does not mean that they won or necessarily would won the war alone. That's when your point comes in, and this is the objective of this thread: analyze this.

KDF33
Member
Posts: 545
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by KDF33 » 01 Dec 2012 08:16

The fact that the Soviets did most of the "work" in terms of Germans liquidated and Allied soldiers lost is ultimately meaningless in determining the ability of the Soviets to win alone: it only indicates that the Eastern Front was the theater seeing the most combat, which is obvious given that the Western Allies fought most of the war on the periphery of the Germans' sphere of influence, the U.S. being most constrained by shipping until late 1943.

Moreover, the argument made by Tooze about the Reich gearing up for two parallel wars between summer 1940 and 1941 is actually favoring my interpretation: it indicates that already by the launch of Barbarossa, the Reich couldn't focus its full attention to defeating the USSR. This trend then grew stronger with each passing year.

Lastly, I can't see the controversy about my assertion that the Germans could withstand - and win - a war of attrition against Britain or the USSR, or even both of theses powers combined*. Germany had access to more resources than both of them combined by the end of 1941, and the attrition ratio against the Soviets was overwhelmingly favorable to the Germans.


*Had the United States followed a strict policy of neutrality, i.e. no Lend Lease.

User avatar
1st Cavalry
Member
Posts: 251
Joined: 20 Oct 2010 09:54

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by 1st Cavalry » 01 Dec 2012 15:30

KDF33 wrote: If anyone has a topographical map of the relevant terrain for this period, I'd be very interested.
Since this is my day time job , perhaps i could help. :D
In the mean time here is a map of Moscow region 1931 :

Image

User avatar
1st Cavalry
Member
Posts: 251
Joined: 20 Oct 2010 09:54

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by 1st Cavalry » 01 Dec 2012 16:32

This is the index page :
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/east ... -index.jpg

: for instance : NN -36-3 equals Vyasma , NO-36-12 equals rzhev and kalinin
than download here : http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/east ... ml?p=print

the maps were compiled in 54 by us army engineers from 1941 and 1942 Red army maps.

Marcelo Jenisch
Member
Posts: 724
Joined: 22 May 2011 18:27
Location: Porto Alegre

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Marcelo Jenisch » 01 Dec 2012 16:42

KDF33 wrote:The fact that the Soviets did most of the "work" in terms of Germans liquidated and Allied soldiers lost is ultimately meaningless in determining the ability of the Soviets to win alone: it only indicates that the Eastern Front was the theater seeing the most combat, which is obvious given that the Western Allies fought most of the war on the periphery of the Germans' sphere of influence, the U.S. being most constrained by shipping until late 1943.
Yeah. Tooze provides evidence that perhaps the Soviets would not won the war by themselfs. However, he makes the same point as most historians "the war was won and lost in the East". Unless there's decisive evidence that the Soviets would have won alone, and that the Anglo-Americans would lost if the USSR capitulated, I preffer to stay in the "middle" regarding this.

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 2774
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: Luftwaffe only has to fight the VVS

Post by Kingfish » 03 Dec 2012 14:21

KDF33 wrote:Bagging the Kalinin Front in the Rzhev salient would be a far worse defeat for the Red Army than Izyum was. The 2nd battle of Kharkov resulted in approximately 170,000 Soviet irrecoverable losses (Krivosheev 108), The Kalinin Front likely held upward of 600,000 troops in the summer of 1942, and the frontline was very favorable to a rapid encirclement - much like at Kiev in 1941. As an added benefit, the destruction of the Kalinin Front wouldn't be followed by a month of limited fighting, but would be the opening salvo of the main German offensive, much like Voronezh was for Blau.
Your quote from about three pages back:
I don't think you realise how much the opening phase of Blau was catastrophic to the Soviets, on a level comparable to the encirclements of 1941. Krivosheev gives a total of 370,522 dead and missing for the defensive battle of Voronezh - Voroshilovgrad, which lasted from June 28 to July 24. This, however, understates the true extent of the Soviet losses in July since the Soviet SW Front is only included in the operation until July 12. It was renamed Stalingrad Front on July 17 and fought in the Don bend for the rest of the month, suffering heavy casualties, although a precise number is impossible to arrive at. Overall, and if you include the casualties incurred around Rostov after July 24, the Soviets can't have suffered much less than 450,000 irrecoverable in roughly a month in a single direction, to which must then be added the DoW and the permanently disabled. Thus, a total of half a million permanent losses in 34 days looks realistic.

Add to your above estimate the losses sustained from the failed Russian Izyum offensive and we are above the 600K mark
Fall Blau had the edge in terms of terrain, but also the crippling disadvantage of massively extending the German frontline, thus dissipating the Wehrmacht's offensive power, and advancing along two different axes, thus even more dissipating that offensive power.
I see similarities in both attacks. FB required a westward advance to allow for freedom of movement, and then the spearheads cut in a SE direction to advance parallel to the front line, freeing up the German 6th, 1st Pz and 17th army in succession to strike further south. In your northern attack the westward advance would be substituted with the pinching off of the Rzhev pocket, but after that we get the same thing - an advance parallel to the front, freeing up additional unit to continue the advance while the original force drops off to cover the flanks.

User avatar
BDV
Financial supporter
Posts: 3630
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 16:11

Re: German exploits in 1942

Post by BDV » 05 Dec 2012 16:02

But then the above completely misses the point that German is attriting enemy forces at a rate far below replacement/upgrading rate - on all fronts, while attriting its own forces at a rate above replacement rate and while doing (close to) nothing to help its auxilliaries upgrade their weaponry to 1942 war materiel standards.

As to soviet losses, as they count everyone from the frontline grunt to the lowly cook, hospital orderlies, and the Trudarmisten, while german losses are basically veteran fighting soldiers. In this context attacker:defender losses of 1:3 to 1:5 could be what one deems "balanced" (same applies to Barbarossa and Taifun).
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

Return to “What if”