Given that most Russian waterways ran north-south and supplies needed to move west-east, I'm not sure how much this would have directly helped the Ostheer.JohnT wrote:Like design and build a series of "Kriegsbinnenshiffe" , riverine / costal vessels usable on soviet waterways.
Indirectly, more reliance on water transport should have been used within Germany and, indeed, later in the war this was prioritized. I said in one of my early posts that one of the benefits of not doing the Sealion bluff is that the barges requisitioned for that folly can be redirected to industry. More barges moving coal in Germany means fewer trains required to do so, which means more rail lift for the Ostheer (as you point out).
Additionally, using the Baltic as a supply line for ~half of the army could have greatly eased the Ostheer's logistics problems in 1942. For this to work, Leningrad must fall. Again, Hitler's strategic conception (Ukraine first, Leningrad second, Moscow third) was absolutely right. Moscow is ~600km from Leningrad by rail; it's ~2,000km from the Ruhr to Moscow. Shipping by barge and Baltic from Ruhr to the front cuts your rail burden to one-third.
I don't make that assumption but it's a long thread and I can't blame you for missing my points on this.JohnT wrote:The other major assumption you do is the Soviets inability to recover the added lost manpower
Two global points:
1. For the Barbarossa period, the RKKA had a discrete (albeit huge) capacity to train new soldiers and field new armies. This was limited by the staffing of the internal military districts where training occurred and by the number of men withdrawn from industry/agriculture. My ATL takes the flow of new formations during 1941 as set; the lead time for training a new cohort is at least six months so that seems like a reasonable parameter. So yes, RKKA would replace a Southwest front destroyed in the Border Battles with new armies, but those armies have to come from somewhere - most likely the bounty that Timoshenko received around Smolensk when the only manpower crisis was opposite AGC. And yes, the RKKA would reconstitute its fronts following subsequent encirclements by amplified Ostheer, but again doing so would weaken its defences elsewhere.
2. I assume that the SU will, in fact, replace most of the loss delta between my ATL and OTL before the 1942 campaign season. I posit ~2mil more POW's but an RKKA strength in May 1942 only ~1mil lower than OTL. Why a smaller RKKA at all, why not assume they replace everyone? Here I fix the operative constraint on RKKA size as being not the number of military-age males available (~42 million in 1941) but rather the ability of the economy to support an army without suffering economic and social collapse. As I discuss at more length in another post, Soviet 1942 mobilization is the absolute peak in terms of percentage of men under arms and working in war factories; it was unsustainable and that percentage declined thereafter. viewtopic.php?p=2212903#p2212903 A 1942 SU with a smaller economic/demographic base cannot mobilize a larger army unless it wants industry and agriculture to completely collapse.
Here's a somewhat subtle point, one that gets lost in an internet fight:
I emphasize better attrition rates against the SU but the point of attrition isn't to "bleed the SU white" in two years. There's too many Soviets to achieve that in a reasonable time period. Rather, the point of attrition is for Germany to stay ahead of the SU's growth curve sufficiently long to wreck the SU's economic/demographic fundamentals by capturing critical territory. The economic base determined the size of the army, not the pure numbers of men who could theoretically pick up a rifle. As I say elsewhere, Barbarossa caught the SU in transition from peasant backwater to superpower; Germany had a shot at wrecking that transition and nearly did so.