How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

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jesk
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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by jesk » 08 Jan 2018 09:21

BDV wrote:
jesk wrote:2 months near Smolensk, the Russians were preparing a defense. And for 5 days, 3 fronts Western, Bryansk, Reserve were destroyed. In 1942 it was possible and needed to be repeated.
They did have "Bustard Hunt".

Axis can do Bustard Hunt x 4, imo.

Provlem is if the needed achievement is Bustard Hunt x 10.
At them and at Hitler, it is necessary to learn to distinguish. Until then there will be a misunderstanding if to call all in a word "Germans". There were no problems, except Hitler. Russians, that, was surrounded and have taken prisoner. And only Hitler could stop Germans near Moscow. And near Leningrad.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by BDV » 08 Jan 2018 21:30

Yes, distinguish. It is not "Germans", it is "Axis forces", or if true to historical relationship "Wehrmacht and Auxilliaries."

And "Wehrmacht" made such a mess in July 1941 (including lying to OKW) that it is highly doubtful they had the competence to obtain even a Pyrrhic Victory at Moscow 1942, GrofAz interference or not.
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: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by History Learner » 20 Apr 2021 00:35

James A Pratt III wrote:
27 Sep 2017 02:48
The Russians in early 1942 thought the Germans might launch an offensive later that year towards Moscow. This is where they put the bulk of their troops. Operation Blau was something they didn't expect. A offensive towards Moscow in mid 1942 would have been a very costly offensive for the Germans they would have gained ground, ect but the results would not be worth it
Actually in terms of personnel, both the Central and Southern sectors were about the same with a difference of about 1-2%. As it were, the mobile reserves for Moscow were 3rd and 5th Tank Armies, with the former getting destroyed attacking Rzhev in August and the latter being destroyed around Voronezh in July attempting to attack the developing Fall Blau offensive. This doesn't exactly endear me to the perception Soviet forces could successfully prevent a German operation against Moscow.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by KDF33 » 20 Apr 2021 02:10

History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 00:35
Actually in terms of personnel, both the Central and Southern sectors were about the same with a difference of about 1-2%.
It is somewhat true but requires some additional precision. The Soviets were at their strongest on the section of the front running from immediately to the north of Rzhev down to the Oka river. There, they had roughly twice the division density per km of frontage as in the southern sectors where the Germans attacked historically. In terms of reserves, however, there wasn't much of a difference between the two directions.

To this must be added that the south-eastern edge of the large Toropets bulge (i.e., the sector facing a portion of 9. Armee) was comparatively weakly held in the summer and, IMO, wouldn't have allowed the Soviets to contain a determined German push, terrain notwithstanding. Unternehmen Seydlitz is a good proxy for how that contingency would likely have played out.

As I see it, a direct assault on Moscow would have been a mistake. I would suggest, however, that attacking sub-sections of the Soviet front in the center, especially those exposed inside salients or quasi-salients, would have led to Soviet disasters comparable in scope to those of the previous year.

The Soviets had by the latter half of 1942 no more than a fraction of their regenerative potential of 1941. Set-piece annihilation battles was the way to go, and Hitler's Blau concept must rank as one of the least competent operational decision of the war.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by History Learner » 20 Apr 2021 03:08

KDF33 wrote:
20 Apr 2021 02:10
History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 00:35
Actually in terms of personnel, both the Central and Southern sectors were about the same with a difference of about 1-2%.
It is somewhat true but requires some additional precision. The Soviets were at their strongest on the section of the front running from immediately to the north of Rzhev down to the Oka river. There, they had roughly twice the division density per km of frontage as in the southern sectors where the Germans attacked historically. In terms of reserves, however, there wasn't much of a difference between the two directions.
What specific sector of the front are you referring to? And what forces?

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by KDF33 » 20 Apr 2021 03:43

History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 03:08
What specific sector of the front are you referring to? And what forces?
The sector running from immediately to the north of Rzhev down to the Oka river, i.e. that held at the time of Blau by (from north/west to south/east) 30th, 29th and 31st Armies (Kalinin Front), then 20th, 5th, 33rd, 43rd, 49th, 50th, 10th and 16th Armies (Western Front) and finally 61st Army (Bryansk Front).

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by History Learner » 20 Apr 2021 04:11

KDF33 wrote:
20 Apr 2021 03:43
History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 03:08
What specific sector of the front are you referring to? And what forces?
The sector running from immediately to the north of Rzhev down to the Oka river, i.e. that held at the time of Blau by (from north/west to south/east) 30th, 29th and 31st Armies (Kalinin Front), then 20th, 5th, 33rd, 43rd, 49th, 50th, 10th and 16th Armies (Western Front) and finally 61st Army (Bryansk Front).
I only have figures for 61st Army, but it's troops per km was 795, which is slightly below Soviet doctrine density. Per70 has pointed out elsewhere that, before the preliminary operations against Southwestern Front and Southern Front, they had densities equal to Briansk Front as a whole.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by KDF33 » 20 Apr 2021 04:20

History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:11
I only have figures for 61st Army, but it's troops per km was 795, which is slightly below Soviet doctrine density. Per70 has pointed out elsewhere that, before the preliminary operations against Southwestern Front and Southern Front, they had densities equal to Briansk Front as a whole.
That's not encouraging. Bryansk Front had low force density per km, with 61st Army being the sole exception.

61st Army was also transferred to Western Front on June 29, a sensible decision given that it was to the west of the Oka river, unlike the other armies of Bryansk Front.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by KDF33 » 20 Apr 2021 04:33

History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:11
I only have figures for 61st Army, but it's troops per km was 795
To give some (very rough) figures:

Division density from 30th to 61st Armies (i.e., north of Rzhev down to Oka river) was ~1 division per 4.5 km of front.

Division density from 3rd to 56th Armies (i.e., Oka river down to Taganrog) was ~1 division per 9.5 km of front.

Now ideally we should also look at troop levels, but given the beating South-Western Front had taken in May it's difficult to see how the southern direction could have higher manpower levels than units deployed on the Moscow direction.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by KDF33 » 20 Apr 2021 04:36

History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 00:35
This doesn't exactly endear me to the perception Soviet forces could successfully prevent a German operation against Moscow.
IMO, a useful proxy for what an offensive on the 'Moscow approaches' could have looked like is Wirbelwind, a little-known German offensive launched in August.

See here for details.

Edit: Spelling error.
Last edited by KDF33 on 20 Apr 2021 05:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by History Learner » 20 Apr 2021 04:46

KDF33 wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:20
History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:11
I only have figures for 61st Army, but it's troops per km was 795, which is slightly below Soviet doctrine density. Per70 has pointed out elsewhere that, before the preliminary operations against Southwestern Front and Southern Front, they had densities equal to Briansk Front as a whole.
That's not encouraging. Bryansk Front had low force density per km, with 61st Army being the sole exception.

61st Army was also transferred to Western Front on June 29, a sensible decision given that it was to the west of the Oka river, unlike the other armies of Bryansk Front.
I think, personally, the most likely option for a Moscow in '42 is something like this:

Operation Braunschweig is still drawn up and will see Army Group South advance to the Don River and secure the Donets Basin. Once this is completed, 4th Panzer Army is to form a spearhead advancing northwards to the eastern side of Moscow, forming the southern pincer of the planned envelopment and hopefully drawing out Soviet reserves to counter it. Such an open battle, with the German advantages in mobile operations and airpower, would enable AGS to destroy the RKKA's reserves in a favorable engagement. Once this is completed, Army Group Center, having been reinforced by Manstein's 11th AOK from the Crimea with its powerful siege train, is to launch its own pincer from the Vyzama axis and thus form the Northern thrust of the offensive, with the expectation that their artillery and lack of Red Army mobile reserves would enable them to defeat Soviet forces defending the Oka River and Moscow Canals. If the plan works out, it is expected the enveloping arms would meet to the east of Moscow by August or September, depending on the tenacity of the Soviet defenses.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by KDF33 » 20 Apr 2021 05:11

History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:46
I think, personally, the most likely option for a Moscow in '42 is something like this:
My analysis:
History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:46
Operation Braunschweig is still drawn up and will see Army Group South advance to the Don River and secure the Donets Basin.
Well, this would roughly correspond to OTL's Blau up until the last week of July. I would agree with launching the operation along the historical lines for the first phase, but why wheel south to then go back north, when one could simply turn north after Voronezh?
History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:46
Once this is completed, 4th Panzer Army is to form a spearhead advancing northwards to the eastern side of Moscow, forming the southern pincer of the planned envelopment and hopefully drawing out Soviet reserves to counter it. Such an open battle, with the German advantages in mobile operations and airpower, would enable AGS to destroy the RKKA's reserves in a favorable engagement.
This seems plausible to me, although the distances to cover are daunting and would create a German salient up until - and if there is - a link-up with HGM.
History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:46
Once this is completed, Army Group Center, having been reinforced by Manstein's 11th AOK from the Crimea with its powerful siege train, is to launch its own pincer from the Vyzama axis and thus form the Northern thrust of the offensive, with the expectation that their artillery and lack of Red Army mobile reserves would enable them to defeat Soviet forces defending the Oka River and Moscow Canals.
That seems far-fetched to me. A single smallish infantry army is unlikely to restore genuine offensive power on an army group level. The most likely outcome is that HGM hammers away at Soviet lines without breaking them, i.e. Wirbelwind with even less mobility.
History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:46
If the plan works out, it is expected the enveloping arms would meet to the east of Moscow by August or September, depending on the tenacity of the Soviet defenses.
If the plan fails, as IMO seems likely, the southern pincer will develop into a thin salient protruding toward Moscow, à la Guderian in fall 1941 but without that year's additional strong pressure from the north-west.

In short, I'm skeptical. I also don't see why it is necessary to target Moscow, rather than just destroy the Soviets in detail piece-by-piece all along the front. There's a lot of juicy targets in '42: Toropets, Leningrad, even Sukhinichi if sufficiently resourced. Destroy that, and the force ratio will shift favorably all the while freeing up additional German units for further offensive action.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by History Learner » 20 Apr 2021 05:18

KDF33 wrote:
20 Apr 2021 05:11
Well, this would roughly correspond to OTL's Blau up until the last week of July. I would agree with launching the operation along the historical lines for the first phase, but why wheel south to then go back north, when one could simply turn north after Voronezh?
Such is exactly what I meant.
This seems plausible to me, although the distances to cover are daunting and would create a German salient up until - and if there is - a link-up with HGM.
5th Tank Army got chewed up attacking Voronezh historically while 3rd Tank Army got destroyed hitting Second Panzer Army at Rzhev in August; there aren't any real mobile forces free to hit a Southern salient. Even assuming 3rd Tank Army is moved South instead of expended attacking Rzhev, why would it be anymore successful than 5th Tank Army? in 1941-1942, Soviet armies until Saturn/Uranus have a very, very bad track record of trying to attack German salients, with Mars as the counter even to the aforementioned in the same timeframe.
That seems far-fetched to me. A single smallish infantry army is unlikely to restore genuine offensive power on an army group level. The most likely outcome is that HGM hammers away at Soviet lines without breaking them, i.e. Wirbelwind with even less mobility.
What that ignores is that 11th AOK had, arguably, the most powerful siege train not only on the Eastern Front but also in 1942 and possibly even the war, with a massive number of artillery guns perfect for destroying WWI-style defensive works. Using Wirbelwind is also not a good example either, because AGC cancelled it as a result of the developing Rzhev offensives noted earlier against 2nd Panzer Army.
If the plan fails, as IMO seems likely, the southern pincer will develop into a thin salient protruding toward Moscow, à la Guderian in fall 1941 but without that year's additional strong pressure from the north-west.
I think AGS's southern pincer will draw out the Soviet reserves for destruction in open battle, enabling AGC to use the aforementioned heavy artillery to gradually blast through Soviet defenses in set piece engagements which play to the German strengths, without fear of concentrated armored counter-attacks.
In summation, I'm skeptical. I also don't see why it is necessary to target Moscow, rather than just destroy the Soviets in detail piece-by-piece all along the front.
Well, the most obvious response is the thread's topic but specifically in context the best way to get the Soviets to expose themselves to destruction in detail is to present them with a situation where going turtle isn't an option; threatening Moscow does that, because it forces Stalin/STAVKA to act and act wrecklessly.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by per70 » 20 Apr 2021 22:57

KDF33 wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:33
History Learner wrote:
20 Apr 2021 04:11
I only have figures for 61st Army, but it's troops per km was 795
To give some (very rough) figures:

Division density from 30th to 61st Armies (i.e., north of Rzhev down to Oka river) was ~1 division per 4.5 km of front.

Division density from 3rd to 56th Armies (i.e., Oka river down to Taganrog) was ~1 division per 9.5 km of front.

Now ideally we should also look at troop levels, but given the beating South-Western Front had taken in May it's difficult to see how the southern direction could have higher manpower levels than units deployed on the Moscow direction.
I found my old notes dealing with this.

The methodology used was getting the combat strength figures for 30.06.42 (25.06.42 for 61st Army when it was still part of Briansk Front) and match them up against the Soviet operational maps for the same period. Dividing the units into 1st or 2nd echelon, or deep reserve if far behind the frontline.

Unfortunately, I haven't found Western Front strength reports, so this only deals with Kalinin and Briansk Front.

Naturally, this shouldn't be treated as a definitive answers - it comes with a fair bit of uncertainty. Especially with regards to deep reserves. For instance, a Tank Corps might be 150km behind the frontline of its parent army, but at the same time only 175km behind a neighbouring army. And might end up helping either one. To which army do you then assign it? Or a rifle division might be close to the frontline, but under Front and not Army command.

Anyway, here's the numbers if you add up 1st, 2nd echelon as well as reserves and artillery units under army command.

Kalinin Front (note: these figures do not include 7th Tank Corps (7k men and 177 tanks) nor 58th Army with 50k men was in the area behind 22nd and 39th at the time)

3rd Shock Army: N/A
4th Shock Army: N/A
41st Army: N/A
39th Army: N/A
22nd Army: 527 men/km
30th Army: 1 297 men/km
29th Army: 767 men/km
31st Army: 1 537 men/km

Briansk Front:
61st Army: 1 101 men/km
3rd Army: 894 men/km
48th Army: 1 328 men/km
13th Army: 1 296 men/km
40th Army: 810 men/km


On the face of it, the Fronts bordering Western Fronts looks similar. If we want to find out if one had a higher priority than the other, we would have to dig deeper and look at the terrain etc.

But as you mention, once you move south of Briansk Front, you would encounter weaker forces, as they had been beat up in the previous weeks/months.

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Re: How bloody would a Moscow attack in 1942 have been?

Post by History Learner » 29 Apr 2021 23:18

Thinking on this some more, probably the best situation would be 11th AOK being transferred to AGC's sector after Operation Trappenjagd wraps up in late May, which would enable flank clearing measures in that region. Such would be make the Rhzev salient both more stable and threatening, by chewing up Soviet forces and forcing their attention to that sector; 3rd Tank Army could thus be destroyed earlier than historically. You then do Blau I before AGS's Panzers turn North instead of South, angling to cut the railway connections between Moscow and elsewhere while destroying 5th Army in open battle near Voronezh. At that point, the Soviets don't have much in the way of reserves and such would probably allow AGC to use 11th AOK's artillery train to start the Northern thrust of the offensive out of Viazma.

Call it by September or so all of the railway links into Moscow have been destroyed. Unlike in Blau, the Soviets can't conduct strategic withdraws because to do such would mean the automatic loss of Moscow. Basically, it uses political priorities to force the Soviets to fight on terms favorable to the Germans. City is likely forced to surrender by November at the latest, since you can't supply two fronts and four million people via truck and air with the existing Soviet resources.

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