Re: operational strategy

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Galahad
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Re: operational strategy

Post by Galahad » 06 May 2002 18:20

It depended on the weather postulated at the time of the attack more than anything else. Given bad weather, the Allied forces had to fall back further than if the weather was good. But in none of the scenarios did they have to go back as far as the Rhine, because sooner or later the Allied air power was able to intervene.
When the air forces did intervene, there was a sharp but short battle for command of the air. Within a week, in general, the Soviet air force was defeated and the Allies had air superiority over most of the front. Within two weeks, that superiority effectively became air supremacy. This was not only due to the amount of aircraft attacking the Soviet forces, but was also due to the Soviet inability to protect their air bases or to move fuel and munitions forward to them. The Soviet air was progressively forced to operate further from the battlefield, which in turn reduced its effectiveness in intervening in the battle.
The Allied mobility allowed them to pick a point for a counterattack, while the tactical airpower generally allowed a breakthrough at the point of concentration.
The way things generally went was that the Soviet suprise attack caused heavy casualties at their main points of attack, basically smashing what they opposed and giving them a breakthrough. Reinforcements went to the shoulders of the breakthrough to try to channel the attack, while blocking forces were sent to the frontage of the breakthrough to try to stabilize the situation and slow the progress of the spearheads until the Soviets had supply probs.
The best counter to the Soviet breakthroughs seemed to be, not a direct response, but to use Allied mobility for a concentration and counterattack in a "quiet" sector. In other words, to aim your strength at their relative weakness, while maneuvering to reduce casualties and gain time where they were strong. This resulted in mobile forces being in the Soviet rear in a short time, which always caused the Soviet team to respond by sending reserves to that point, rather than reinforcing the breakthroughs. But the tactical air power usually made their progress slow and inflicted casualties. Think of how the German units were treated as they moved to Normandy after the invasion there.
The Soviet forces were dependent on the use of masses, and those masses required supplies, which is where the Allied air forces had their biggest impact. The attacks on the Soviet lines of supply--especially their forward depots and their distribution units--reduced the supplies available to the forward units in a fairly short time. Because the Soviets used a lot in a short time, and were dependent on the usage being replaced--which wasn't possible due to the air attacks being made at the tactical level AND at the strategical level--their combat capability and their mobility degraded, in a progressive fashion, as the supplies available dropped.
This is a simplified overview but I think you can see the way things tended to go. As long as the Soviets had supplies and mobility, they tended to steamroller the Allies, but as the air forces came into play, the supplies went down as did the Soviet mobility. And when that happened, they basically became sitting ducks.
In a war of machines, he who has the most and best machines is going to win the most of the time, and the Allies had the most and the best, at least in the air. Like I said, the air power factor seemed to be THE main factor.

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Galahad
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Drat

Post by Galahad » 06 May 2002 18:22

I'm not sure how I did this, but it was SUPPOSED to be a reply in the "what if the Allies move east" thread. Grrr.

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Post by Ron Birch » 07 May 2002 03:20

Thanks for the reply, like I was saying I thought air power would be the key and the allies had that I believe. Plus your point on the Soviets attacking in mass.....many targets of opportunity? Plus who's supply line is stretched then? Intersesting though.

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re

Post by IAR80 » 07 May 2002 07:57

Since LeoAU is still failing to show up, I guess it's up to me to fill his shoes for arguments' sake. There is one question he kept asking and I feel it is still valid.
Galahad, since you simulated this scenario over and over again, I guess you're in the best position to answer it. There is a time window of about a month between the start of the operations and the point where the VVS is no longer a serious threat or stretched too thin between battlefield ops and defending its factories located deep inland and also deployed in the Far East. It's this time window LeoAU kept referring to in his posts. And my question is: how would the allies tackle the vastly superior soviet armor when the allies were both outnumbered and only 1 of 5 Shermans were equipped with an effective gun?
The air support is still in doubt and the allied troops would be hard pressed during this period. Look at Korea: at the beginning until air controllers arrived on the battlefield the UN troops were powerless against the north korean T-34/85s, not even bazookas could take them out, so fine was its armor sloping. This is were the allied generals would really show their stuff.
I wonder if in the simulations the weak firepower of the allied tanks and the superiority of the soviet ones were clearly underlined.

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Galahad
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Re: tanks

Post by Galahad » 07 May 2002 09:01

You have to remember it was an operational/strategic level simulation, not a tactical one. The units were given combat values based on the overall unit capability, rather than individual equipment, so maneuver was by division and brigade/regiment, rather than by tank platoon or section.
Basically, I guess the best way to answer your question is to ask you one: How did the allies handle the superior German tanks? The capability they used for that would have been used in the same manner against Soviet tanks. Tactical air would have become more important due to the greater number of tanks, but, on the other hand, there was plenty of tactical air.
The period used for the simulation was early summer '45, before the US dismantled its forces in Western Europe--which would have totally changed the parameters of the problem to be simulated, so the time where air power wasn't able to intervene was minimal. Which, in turn, means that Leo's window wasn't very large.
Think about the Battle of the Bulge. The Germans attacked in the worst weather possible, in the worst season for air ops, in order to negate Allied air superiority. But even then, the window was open only about a week and a half before Allied air intervened.
The turns we used were weekly, and we seldom had two consecutive turns of bad weather, and even then, it wasn't bad over the entirety of the front. The air forces were always involved in SOME sectors, and were never not involved in all of them. The Soviets had the best opportunity when the weather was bad where they were massed, but during the time it was bad, they weren't able to do what was needed. And while they did their thing there, in other sectors.....
Does this answer your question?

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