What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Jul 2019 21:39

Lars wrote:From the diagnosis the Van Creveld makes it is faily easy to improve on the German supply system. The way to do it is through railroads. Better functioning railroads with greater capacity closer to the front, more Soviet rolling stock, more railroad batallions, more signals materiel, etc.
Thanks again for the referral to Supplying War. I was able to pick it up through my alma mater's library.

As an initial matter, I have to disagree with Van Creveld that the railroads prevented German capture of Moscow in 1941 [He sort of implies that such capture would be decisive to the outcome but I disagree with that judgment as well]. Creveld states on Page 173 that "after the middle of November, the relative importance of" railroad problems versus mud shifted towards the railroads. No doubt that's true but by the middle of November the Red Army had recovered its strength and possessed an enormous reserve that only began fighting around December 5th. By December 1 the RKKA outnumbered Ostheer by ~4.5mil to ~2.5mil, whereas in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Ostheer had a slight numerical edge across the front and overwhelming local advantage before Moscow. If the Germans were going to take Moscow, it probably would have happened in a "no-rains" ATL during October (as I've said elsewhere, I think that ends in Stalingrad-like catastrophe for Ostheer so they're lucky the mud stopped them). Creveld isn't an expert on the operational aspects of the Eastern Front (he says Timoshenko opposed AGS at the start, for example - it was Kirponos; only later Timoshenko had a mostly-irrelevant coordinating role for Southwest/South fronts).

You're right that the book has some tantalizing nuggets about the exact causes of German rail troubles. My biggest complaint is I wish he had written 500 pages about Barbarossa instead of one chapter of 29 pages:
  • Creveld mentions there were no railway connections across the Dniepr and 6th army was "improvised with sections of Russian track" while PzGr1 received air supplies. This drives home how deeply the strategic folly of short war preparation impaired Barbarossa. AGS didn't even plan to run ferry operation to the rail network east of the Dniepr? I wonder at what point the Eisenbahntruppen crossed the Dniepr. Given Kleist's state of affairs in November, it seems they weren't operational even then.
  • Creveld provides some detail on how inefficiently individual formations used their integral logistics lift - Kleinkolonenraum - even while the Grosstransportraum was overtaxed. I recall reading that divisions were sending trucks back to GERMANY to retrieve supplies - an obviously wasteful use of lift.
  • Creveld's discussion of the French and Polish campaign is a reminder that Barbarossa's logistics problems were foreseeable and differed from past campaigns in scope rather than in kind. The Germans were well aware that their lorry columns would suffer huge losses. It's very interesting that Hitler personally intervened in logistics, ordering "the army's supply system to be completely reorganized" during the Battle of France. The stereotype of Hitler (repeated elsewhere by Creveld) is that he lacked attention to logistics details.
  • I like this quote: "The German general staff seemed to have abandoned rational thought... Rather than cutting down their goals to suit their limited means, they persuaded themselves that their original goals could be achieved more easily" pg. 151
  • Two related quotes:
    "By April [1941] overall capacity of the railroads crossing Poland from west to east had been increased to 420 trains in both directions... This, it turned out, was in fact too much and was never fully utilized" pg. 153.
    The governor of Poland, Frank, was uncooperative, and it was not until November 1941 that the army finally succeeded in having its demand for absolute priority for military trains accepted." p.178
    This implies that the Germans built up sufficient rail capacity in Poland for Barbarossa but that Hitler didn't intervene effectively on behalf of Ostheer supply.
  • There are many episodes that reflect not so much a failure of railways or a lack of vehicles but rather the generally shambolic state of German logistics practices. Motorized columns dedicated to the spearheads, for example, sat around at times while the rest of the army went dry/hungry. Troops circumvented normal channels and thereby wasted resources, as already mentioned.
  • Of the Eisenbahntruppe, Creveld says they were inadequate in number, training, vehicles (had only 1,000 of 355,000 trucks in Barbarossa), were starved of fuel by their army groups. Also they were "short of signal and communications gear, which was expected to last for the first sixty miles only."
  • Creveld relates several anecdotes that show the Ostheer having serious logistical problems very early in the campaign, quite close its well-stocked border depots. Guderian, for example, had to be airlifted supplies on June 25th because infantry interfered with his supply columns.
  • "That the utilization of the lorry companies was not always perfect is shown by the incredible diversion of 5,000 tons of precious Grosstransportraum from Bock to Rundstedt, at the very moment when the former was about to begin his decisive offensive against Moscow." p.179
Takeaway as regards my ATL and the historical feasibility of pushing larger forces deeper into Russia during 1941:

First, we have to differentiate between the shambolic logistics that were integral to German military culture and those problems caused directly by the strategic folly of assuming a short war. The former is unchanged in this ATL; any additional forces will, like all German units, have occasional Three Stooges routines regarding supply. The latter strategic impact is what concerns me.

Van Creveld and others show that Germany had too few Panzertruppen and invested too little in equipment for the efficient operation of the Ostheer's rail supply (having only sufficient signals and communications equipment for 60 miles of track, for example, would grievously impact supply of the deeper offensive). Apparently no plan was made for bridging the Dniepr, despite the fact that Barbarossa's most critical strategic objectives were beyond it (Donets basin, most of the Black Earth region, eventually the Caucasus). It wouldn't surprise if OKH assumed the Russians would kindly leave them an intact bridge there, just as they'd kindly leave all of their rolling stock behind for the Germans.

All of these strategic issues can be resolved with plans for a two-year campaign. Doubling the Eisenbahntruppe costs only 10,000 men. In addition: (1) additional ferries for the Dniepr and/or pre-fab'd sections for a replacement bridge, (2) enough signals/communications equipment to increase capacity on rail lines, (3) water tanks for insertion on shorter intervals than existed on Russian rails (4) more rolling stock. It was not beyond the capacity of German rail professionals to foresee these needs and to address them, had they been asked to do so.

In addition to these "fixes," Hitler should have planned immediately to build/upgrade high-capacity lines across the Ukraine. Given his ambition to move millions of tons of oil from the Caucasus, iron/manganese from Nikopol, Krivoy Rog, and Kursk, any capacity added to support Barbarossa would serve the Reich's long-term interests.

Such enhancements would not have been free of course. We'd need some kind of estimate. I can't see them exceeding the cost of, say, supplying two infantry divisions, however, and my ATL Barbarossa has plenty of room to shed a few infantry divisions if necessary. And there are other ways to shift resources towards the paramount strategic priority.

There are additional logistics remedies. As I've elsewhere, a coherent strategic plan would have kept AGS and AGN on a tighter leash to the railheads, thereby reducing strain on, and destruction of, the truck columns. Very little on the way to Leningrad and Moscow is valuable; a more methodical advance (e.g. pause between Minsk and Smolensk battles and for AGN on the Dvina) would have saved fuel and truck capacity.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 31 Jul 2019 23:45

...There's another way to articulate the distinction between logistics issued changed in my ATL and those not: strategic vs. operational/tactical.

Strategic logistics issues relate to how much fuel/ammo/food/replacements/parts make it to the theater.

Operational/tactial issues relate to how supplies are distributed within the theater.

The ATL improves strategic logistics by amplifying pre-Barbarossa preparations to supply a massive army at long distances. This change flows directly and inevitably from the strategic change from a short campaign to a two-year full-army campaign. It consists largely of the railroad improvements discussed in the preceding post.

The ATL does not change, however, the proficiency of the army groups to distribute supplies that actually reach the theater. We'd see the same instances of localized shortages in the ATL as in OTL. That's just part of the German way of war; the ATL assumes that additional formations fight only as effectively as OTL German units - shambolic logistics and all. To maintain the same quality of operational/tactical logistics for the additional motorized formations requires a few thousand more trucks.

We should expect amplification of strategic logistics to improve the tactical situation: some supply issues related to local distribution while others related to lack of in-theater supplies.

The biggest strategic impact of long-term planning, however, would be in AGS's sector. It seems clear to me that Rundstedt's advance would have and could have gone farther given better strategic logistics: lack of rail supply beyond the Dniepr massively hampered him.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 01 Aug 2019 02:55

John T wrote:
30 Jul 2019 18:29
But this scenario starting 1938 and posits that Germany went for a 50% larger armored force than in reality
Okay, fair enough, but how? How do they equip them remains a central problem. Where do the units come from is another. These units were not created from a vacuum, but from existing units. For example, the first three Panzer divisionen, the first experimental division in August 1935 (became 1. Panzer), and the organization of 1. Panzer, 2. Panzer, and 3. Panzer on 1 October 1935 was partly achieved by the conversion of existing units. The first three experimental Panzer regiments were organized in October 1934 from the existing 4., 7., and 12. Reiter regiments, which were part of the Reichswehr, and the experimental Kraftfahrtruppen of 2. Kraftfahr-Abteilung 4. The second three were organized by spinning off personnel from the previous regiments and adding in new recruits. Problemtically, on 5 February 1935 the Heeres-Personalamt noted there were insufficient officers available to fully man all six regiments so it was proposed that the organization of all three divisions and two or three separate Panzer brigades be extended to November 1938.

Anyway, to get to a "50% larger armored force" in 1938 means that instead of the 24 battalions organized and 12 new battalions organizing (as of 1 October 1938) for 12 regiments, there needs to be 54, for 18. Which means, of course, that the burden of finding the officers for the units is increased by 50% as well. The reality is the Germans had enough difficulty getting to the 37 Panzer battalions available by 1 September 1939.
Could it not be reasonable to expect that the training capacity also extended by 50%?
so ten Panzer-Ersatz-Abteilungen becomes fifteen?
Sure, but see above. Expanding everything by 50% means everything...more trained officers, more trained Stamm personnel, more equipment, especially tanks, and so forth.

Who trains the trainers was a major stumbling block...and now the requirement for them increases by 50% too.
And as a note on you post on page 15,

You choose situation 1941 and Jahrgänge 1922, If I understands it correct it means the young men that should start their conscript training in 1941.
which by scenario design was rather irrelevant for the situation of trained men available in June 1941.
I chose the situation for 1941 because, well, that is when the personnel were needed. Yes, Jahrgänge 1922 was the group turning 18 in 1941. However, they already started their conscript training (those eligible for conscription) by undergoing six months in the RAD, which gave them the basics of military organization and discipline.
So if we keep your numbers as ballpark for earlier Jahrgänge:

117,565 already in arms (suppose some went to LW and KM) but they would have been part of the manpower pool to prioritize.
170,125 RAD servie - who needed RAD? especially 1938-39 their effort to build the Ost & West wall was a waste of time and money.
and after RAD service you did you conscript service, so it's not a matter of either or, just a delay by six month to start military training.
That means we are back to the 565,060 fit for service, not 200 000.
RAD was not simply a labor service, it provided basic training, built up physical strength, and provided a period of intense indoctrination. Nor was it restricted to building fortifications. Note the numbers are for year totals, of course in reality they were conscripted as they turned 18 throughout the year, as RAD personnel ended their six months service they were routinely sent off to do their recruit training. In any case, much of the RAD structure was militarized on mobilization, incorporated as Bautruppen.
Gives us a ball park of a manpower pool of 1 500 000 men in three years.(38-40)
Why ballpark it? The Ersatzheer as of 1 October 1940 was 1,180,000, as of 1 January 1941 it was 1,539,000, mostly increasing by the entry of JG-22 into service as well as re-mustering of JG 10-13 and combing out additional personnel in the Ersatzreserve II of JG 08 and 09.

The problem was that between the reintroduction of conscription on 16 March 1935 and the outbreak of war on 1 September 1939, the Germans only were able to complete reserve training for two classes of reservists. (RH15/230-3 "Besprechung am 4.2. mit den Wehrersatzinspekteuren Besprechungspunkte." OKW, 4.2.41) Worse, as I think I mentioned, the conscription holiday from 1919-1935 meant there was about sixteen year classes (JG 00-15) with limited military training (legends of the Krümpersystem of Scharnhorst and Seeckt not withstanding). Those men were firmly settled into trades and life and were resistant to military induction.

By February 1941, the number of UK-gestellte (those deferred from military service as having critical industry jobs) was almost as large as he combined strength of the Wehrmacht. The actual number of men available to the Ersatzheer from JG 00-07 was about 150,000, plus about 100,000 from JG 08-21...EVERYONE ELSE was either unfit for service, in service, or was UK-gestellte. The notion that there was somehow massive numbers of men in a "manpower pool" that could be utilized is a fiction. The final summation in February 1941 was "Die Darstellung zeigt, dass die Ersatzlage sehr angespannt ist und für das Kampfjahr 1941 noch nur sehr geringe verfügbare Reserven vorhanden sind." (Ibid.)
Luftwaffes 22% of that is 330 000
Sorry, but 22% of zero is zero. In reality, there was no "pool" of "1 500 000 men in three years.(38-40)" in existance. That is simply a number you just "ball parked."
So to get the additional 10 tank and 20 PG divisions in three years, would swallow approximate the same manpower as LW.
But manpower wise, 2 Inf divisions spent the manpower of 3 tank divisions,
while Infantry and Panzer Grenadier was more or less equal.
So with no manpower expansion at all we could have replaced 26,5 infantry divisions with 10 tank and 20 PG divisions.
Now it is an additional 30 divisions? The only practical way of accomplishing that is to convert 30 infantry divisions into mechanized divisions, which, at a smaller scale, is what was done in the fall of 1940 and winter of 1940/1941. There is no free lunch.
Scrap the RAD and the yearly allocation of 300 000 to 400 000 men during 1936 -1940 according to German wiki,
could start their military training six month earlier gives you aprox 10 infantry divisions ahead of actual schedule.
( but still the same young men- not double counted, but compressed in time to get them available before Barbarossa)
Those men all ended up in the Wehrmacht anyway. During 1936-1940 they received military-style training and discipline while all that they needed to be equipped with was a uniform and a shovel. It was a a win-win as far as the Wehrmacht was concerned. Curiously, I can find no evidence of any action to disband the RAD in order to solve the huge manpower crisis the Germans suffered from. Were they stupid? Or was it not a practical solution?
That gives us
+ 30 mobile divisions and
- 16 infantry divisions.
at the cost of some work battalions, some border fortifications, some miles of autobahn and some marshes not dried pre war.
"Some work battalions"? Try around 450 of them. Generating in theory around 225,000 men...so long as the Wehrmacht has no need for labor battalions, which they must not have, since they kept most of them in existence only until the end of the war.

Sorry, I am honestly trying NOT to be sarcastic, but you are using made up numbers, and made up assumptions, to fit your preconceived notion that the manpower for 30 divisions was simply lazing about waiting to be used. They were not and there is zero evidence to support that assumption. The only way the Germans were able to maintain - sort of - and expand - sort of - the strength of the Wehrmacht was by using Freiwilliger, Hilfswillger, Fremdarbeiter, and Zwangsarbeiter in huge numbers to replace "German" manpower drafted to the front.
So now we have to squeeze up an additional 16 German infantry divisions to reach posit of this scenario.
So "only" 360,000 more men required.
I find it reasonable that you bring up the issue of training,
but claiming it would be dependent on exactly ten units as an insurmountable limitation,
that's the "did not happen, could not happen" attitude.
Again, if you wish to expand the pool of training units you must train the trainers...and find the personnel to man them. It is not a ""did not happen, could not happen" attitude", but rather a "show me in reality - not in your ballpark - where these additional manpower are in the period 1938-1941". The Ersatzheer could not find them and I am afraid you have not demonstrated you have found them either.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Lars » 01 Aug 2019 12:52

TheMarcksPlan, well my point is that the most cost effective way to improve Barbarossa is through railroads. The means would be those that I suggested earlier. These improvements don't require bigger German forces, more panzers, troops etc. Just more forcus on supplies.

There is an important spill-over effect from railroads to trucks. If the railhead is 200 miles behind the front the trucks will have to carry fuel and own spare parts like tires for 400 miles. If the railhead is only 100 miles behind the front the trucks will only have to carry fuel and spare parts for 200 miles.

So not only do we get trucks arriving at the front twice as often, they also carry more supplies as they have less room taken up with return fuel and spare parts.

More tanks, troops and guns would of course be an improvement but supplies is the crux. It much easier and cheaper for the Germans to ensure that those historical tanks, guns and troops have enough supplies. And that means a focus on the railroads.

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by MarkN » 01 Aug 2019 14:00

TheMarcksPlan,

For decades the Prussian and German military thought had been to avoid longer duration wars of attrition; Germany was not strategically placed through geography and (lack of) primary resources to be confident of success in a war of attrition. Their single, single-minded, approach was to mass all their effort at the start point and to win quickly before the opponent could mobilize properly. Unternehmen BARBAROSSA follows that thinking completely.

Your fantasy narrative assumes that Germany begins planning for a longer term war of attrition from 1938. If so, that means the Prussian/German generals have to completely reject their core beliefs on how to conduct war.

Do you really think they could/would do that?

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by John T » 03 Aug 2019 00:30

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Aug 2019 02:55
John T wrote:
30 Jul 2019 18:29
But this scenario starting 1938 and posits that Germany went for a 50% larger armored force than in reality
Okay, fair enough, but how? How do they equip them remains a central problem. Where do the units come from is another. These units were not created from a vacuum, but from existing units. For example, the first three Panzer divisionen, the first experimental division in August 1935 (became 1. Panzer), and the organization of 1. Panzer, 2. Panzer, and 3. Panzer on 1 October 1935 was partly achieved by the conversion of existing units. The first three experimental Panzer regiments were organized in October 1934 from the existing 4., 7., and 12. Reiter regiments, which were part of the Reichswehr, and the experimental Kraftfahrtruppen of 2. Kraftfahr-Abteilung 4. The second three were organized by spinning off personnel from the previous regiments and adding in new recruits. Problemtically, on 5 February 1935 the Heeres-Personalamt noted there were insufficient officers available to fully man all six regiments so it was proposed that the organization of all three divisions and two or three separate Panzer brigades be extended to November 1938.

Anyway, to get to a "50% larger armored force" in 1938 means that instead of the 24 battalions organized and 12 new battalions organizing (as of 1 October 1938) for 12 regiments, there needs to be 54, for 18. Which means, of course, that the burden of finding the officers for the units is increased by 50% as well. The reality is the Germans had enough difficulty getting to the 37 Panzer battalions available by 1 September 1939.
Yes, that is obvious

What was the percentage growth of the manpower that German armed forces between 1935 and 1937 ?
And what was the percentage as of the 1934 force, of additional manpower that German armed forces called up between 1938 and 1941 ?
And what was the percentage as of the 1934 force, of additional manpower that German armed forces pressed into service between 1942 and 1945 ?

So was not to the total expansion of German forces during the war more than 50 times the 1934 German armed forces?
then 50% addition of the Armored and mech forces IRL available in June 1941 does not seems like insurmountable,
needed prioritization yes, and what should Germany had down-prioritized?
IMHO that s the question.


Meta discussions:
And now I get a feeling that the huge expansion done after 1934, was only possible by a large number of individuals who did not just sat waiting for orders from above.
That in the long run made for a rather dysfunctional organization with uncoordinated mavericks all over the place running their own war.
So the thing I take with me so far from this discussion is the question "was the late war German productivity improvements possible to implement during the prewar years?"

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Aug 2019 02:55
Gives us a ball park of a manpower pool of 1 500 000 men in three years.(38-40)
Why ballpark it?
You failed to notice that my sentence began with "Gives us" and given the way I learned English, such a reference in a sentence refers back to the previous sentence.
And the previous sentence was
That means we are back to the 565,060 fit for service, not 200 000.
So if we had 565 000 men in the JG 22, I ball parked that the three years 1938,1939 and 1940 would have been 1 500 000 men available for conscript training.
I used the word ball park since I knew the late war Jahrgänge(1917-1919) where smaller due to war,famine and decease(Spanish flu) but did not check up the details.
When I now checked it up, It proved to be even worse JG 1917 & 1918 together where 500 000 men.
On the other hand Germany did call up JG 1918 and 1919 in August 1939 and JG 1920 in 1940,
so the total called up soldiers for basic training during the period 1938 to 1940 was around 1 500 000 men.
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Sol ... dienst.htm

I was not the erzats heer I was referring to.
In any case the manpower needed for this scenario of adding 10 Pz and20 PG divisions
would be 22% of the conscripted soldiers 38-40
Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Aug 2019 02:55
I find it reasonable that you bring up the issue of training,
but claiming it would be dependent on exactly ten units as an insurmountable limitation,
that's the "did not happen, could not happen" attitude.
Again, if you wish to expand the pool of training units you must train the trainers...and find the personnel to man them. It is not a ""did not happen, could not happen" attitude", but rather a "show me in reality - not in your ballpark - where these additional manpower are in the period 1938-1941". The Ersatzheer could not find them and I am afraid you have not demonstrated you have found them either.
That erzatsheer -herring was you misconception.
And I have no hope for you to accept that what did not happen could have happened.


But if I phrase it this way,
If Nazi German had made some early and small adjustments of their priorities, compared to the total cost of the war I can't see this scenario as physical impossible, just improbable based on the culture and doctrine in the German Reich.
Like mobilizing women and those unfit for military service as factory workers similar to the way RAD was for young men.
significant parts of the positions in the arms industry where for simple repetitive tasks that needed a relatively small skill set.
Hardly impossible from a present day perspective but harder to do in the 1938 culture of the Reich.

I have no answer to what degree smarter use of manpower in Germany and what would have to be a smaller army or erzatsheer
would have been needed to create these additional divisions.

The thing we know is that Germany did create those additional force at a later date.
Someone summed it up nicely in an earlier W/I on this forum
- " If Nazi Germany had been as rational as assumed in this W/I, then would it been Adolf Hitlers Nazi Germany at all ?"


Cheers
/John
Edited for misconseption on my part-
Last edited by John T on 03 Aug 2019 00:48, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by John T » 03 Aug 2019 00:40

MarkN wrote:
01 Aug 2019 14:00
TheMarcksPlan,

For decades the Prussian and German military thought had been to avoid longer duration wars of attrition; Germany was not strategically placed through geography and (lack of) primary resources to be confident of success in a war of attrition. Their single, single-minded, approach was to mass all their effort at the start point and to win quickly before the opponent could mobilize properly. Unternehmen BARBAROSSA follows that thinking completely.

Your fantasy narrative assumes that Germany begins planning for a longer term war of attrition from 1938. If so, that means the Prussian/German generals have to completely reject their core beliefs on how to conduct war.

Do you really think they could/would do that?
There is a saying that armies prepare for the last war they lost.

What was the German military experience 1914-1918 ?

My answer is avoid a two front war and avoid a drawn out battle of attrition.

The how do you knock out a country the size of USSR?
Would not the answer be More mechanized forces?


Cheers
/John

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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 03 Aug 2019 02:15

John T wrote:
03 Aug 2019 00:40
MarkN wrote:
01 Aug 2019 14:00
TheMarcksPlan,

For decades the Prussian and German military thought had been to avoid longer duration wars of attrition; Germany was not strategically placed through geography and (lack of) primary resources to be confident of success in a war of attrition. Their single, single-minded, approach was to mass all their effort at the start point and to win quickly before the opponent could mobilize properly. Unternehmen BARBAROSSA follows that thinking completely.

Your fantasy narrative assumes that Germany begins planning for a longer term war of attrition from 1938. If so, that means the Prussian/German generals have to completely reject their core beliefs on how to conduct war.

Do you really think they could/would do that?
There is a saying that armies prepare for the last war they lost.

What was the German military experience 1914-1918 ?

My answer is avoid a two front war and avoid a drawn out battle of attrition.

The how do you knock out a country the size of USSR?
Would not the answer be More mechanized forces?


Cheers
/John
The poster to whom you're responding is propounding a History Channel narrative of Blitzkrieg as Germany's WW2 strategy. There's so much scholarship disproving that idea that it's not worth mentioning specifics. Fact is Hitler was preparing for a long war generally, the only exception is Barbarossa (and minor campaigns like Greece but that's rational short-war planning). The massive autarky programs (e.g. synth gas and rubber) were specifically intended for Germany to win long wars; German investments for war production during early war years had multi-year horizons and were plainly geared to a long war. Hitler thought France would be a much tougher fight.

Hitler seems to have overestimated the West and its ability to threaten Europe if Barbarossa lasted longer than a summer. Forced to consider his options, however, I reject that he'd have backed away from Barbarossa. There was no threat of a '42 Western invasion except one that would hand Hitler a great - and probably decisive - victory. Meanwhile, growing Soviet power pushed him towards Barbarossa rather than away from it. Having a Soviet superpower on his eastern front requires at least 100 divisions to screen/deter Stalin and means there's a second front anyway.
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 03 Aug 2019 02:49

John T wrote:That erzatsheer -herring was you misconception.
And I have no hope for you to accept that what did not happen could have happened
Among the many "didn't/couldn't" straight jackets with which that poster stifles his thought is failing to consider whether any of Germany's millions of non-Ersatz staff could move to the Ersatzheer during the relevant period. Considering that most of the regular army sat on or moved towards the Soviet border pre-Barbarossa, it is ridiculous to assume that a Germany that wanted a larger army wouldn't use some small fraction of its army to train a small delta to its overall personnel strength. The poster will surely say that training went this or that way and the rest of the army wasn't trained to train soldiers in this or that way, but that's again the small-minded straightjacket and the inability to consider strategic choices. Even were we to concede that additional pre-Barbarossa soldiers would be trained to a lower standard than the OTL average, would Germany choose **0** perfectly-trained additional forces over 400,000 decently-trained additional forces? Of course not. Even given this false choice, there are methods to ameliorate its consequences: leave newer divisions to enjoy French/Greek/Norwegian sea-views and move your seasoned troops east. ~40 German divisions sat out Barbarossa; that leaves ample room for any accommodation the newer troops need.
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ljadw
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by ljadw » 03 Aug 2019 07:36

The WM had in June 1941 208 divisions ,of which 152 were committed for Barbarossa . This means that not 40,but 56 sat out Barbarossa,of these 56,only 4 were fit for the fighting in the east : 15 Pz and 5 Light in NA and 2 mountain divisions in the Balkans .Of the 152 Barbarossa divisions, there were 9 security divisions with police mission and 2 ID of the 15 Welle,who were not fit for the east .
To say that on June 22 1941 the Ostheer could have a stronger manpower is wrong .
The Field Army had 3,8 million men of whom 3,3 million were committed for Barbarossa.
The Ersatzheer was understrength with 1.2 million men
The LW manpower was 1,68 million
The KM 404000
The WSS 150000
Besides : there was no need for a stronger Ostheer .

John T
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by John T » 03 Aug 2019 10:44

ljadw wrote:
03 Aug 2019 07:36
The WM had in June 1941 208 divisions ,of which 152 were committed for Barbarossa . This means that not 40,but 56 sat out Barbarossa,of these 56,only 4 were fit for the fighting in the east : 15 Pz and 5 Light in NA and 2 mountain divisions in the Balkans .Of the 152 Barbarossa divisions, there were 9 security divisions with police mission and 2 ID of the 15 Welle,who were not fit for the east .
To say that on June 22 1941 the Ostheer could have a stronger manpower is wrong .
The Field Army had 3,8 million men of whom 3,3 million were committed for Barbarossa.
The Ersatzheer was understrength with 1.2 million men
The LW manpower was 1,68 million
The KM 404000
The WSS 150000
Besides : there was no need for a stronger Ostheer .
I Highlighted underscored two sentences above.
The Ersatzheer was understrength with 1.2 million men
Yes, a German officer had deiced that Wehrmacht needed a certain number of men in the Ersatzheer.
This was a planning target I assume it was based on experience from the great war.
The thing I can´t understand is why some posters ponderously claims that such a planning target could not be changed.
It is not a physical limitation it is a doctrinal limitation that can be changed by some paperwork.
Or do you claim that German high command where incapable of changing their plans?

By reducing the erzatsheer by 30% and sending them to the front "prematurely" manning these 30 additional divisions of this scenario it will not make the ostheer weaker in December 1941.
But instead of having these men in transit from Germany as replacements to the front they would already been at the front.

And remember the transfer into the new divisions takes place during the years 38-41 at the same time as the erzatsheer are built up, it is no abrupt change.

I start to believe that hardware is more limiting in this scenario than manpower.


cheers
/John

MarkN
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by MarkN » 03 Aug 2019 12:49

John T wrote:
03 Aug 2019 00:40
MarkN wrote:
01 Aug 2019 14:00
TheMarcksPlan,

For decades the Prussian and German military thought had been to avoid longer duration wars of attrition; Germany was not strategically placed through geography and (lack of) primary resources to be confident of success in a war of attrition. Their single, single-minded, approach was to mass all their effort at the start point and to win quickly before the opponent could mobilize properly. Unternehmen BARBAROSSA follows that thinking completely.

Your fantasy narrative assumes that Germany begins planning for a longer term war of attrition from 1938. If so, that means the Prussian/German generals have to completely reject their core beliefs on how to conduct war.

Do you really think they could/would do that?
What was the German military experience 1914-1918 ?
They lost a war of attrition.
John T wrote:
03 Aug 2019 00:40
My answer is avoid a two front war and avoid a drawn out battle of attrition.
That is down to politics, foreign policy and diplomacy. Nothing to do with the military, militaey planning or military effort.
John T wrote:
03 Aug 2019 00:40
The how do you knock out a country the size of USSR?
Would not the answer be More mechanized forces?
Yes and no. There will be a tipping point between a force size that fails and a force size that succeeds. Mechanized forces are part of that construct; they are not the panacae. Moreover, there also needs to be a consideration of many other things such as how they are handled, how the enemy responds, etc etc.

History shows Nazi Germany did not have the resources to succeed. They thought they could overcome that with their military tactics. Similar to WW1, they failed.

I have seen nothing from TheMarksPlan to suggest that 20 additional mechanized divisions would alter the outcome from fail to succeed. Lots of handwaving statements, lots of insults, but no evidence in support. The only evidence he's put forward suggests the complete opposite.

ljadw
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by ljadw » 03 Aug 2019 14:29

John T wrote:
03 Aug 2019 10:44
ljadw wrote:
03 Aug 2019 07:36
The WM had in June 1941 208 divisions ,of which 152 were committed for Barbarossa . This means that not 40,but 56 sat out Barbarossa,of these 56,only 4 were fit for the fighting in the east : 15 Pz and 5 Light in NA and 2 mountain divisions in the Balkans .Of the 152 Barbarossa divisions, there were 9 security divisions with police mission and 2 ID of the 15 Welle,who were not fit for the east .
To say that on June 22 1941 the Ostheer could have a stronger manpower is wrong .
The Field Army had 3,8 million men of whom 3,3 million were committed for Barbarossa.
The Ersatzheer was understrength with 1.2 million men
The LW manpower was 1,68 million
The KM 404000
The WSS 150000
Besides : there was no need for a stronger Ostheer .
I Highlighted underscored two sentences above.
The Ersatzheer was understrength with 1.2 million men
Yes, a German officer had deiced that Wehrmacht needed a certain number of men in the Ersatzheer.
This was a planning target I assume it was based on experience from the great war.
The thing I can´t understand is why some posters ponderously claims that such a planning target could not be changed.
It is not a physical limitation it is a doctrinal limitation that can be changed by some paperwork.
Or do you claim that German high command where incapable of changing their plans?

By reducing the erzatsheer by 30% and sending them to the front "prematurely" manning these 30 additional divisions of this scenario it will not make the ostheer weaker in December 1941.
But instead of having these men in transit from Germany as replacements to the front they would already been at the front.

And remember the transfer into the new divisions takes place during the years 38-41 at the same time as the erzatsheer are built up, it is no abrupt change.

I start to believe that hardware is more limiting in this scenario than manpower.


cheers
/John
1 360000 men are not 30 divisions, they are the manpower for 30 divisions .
2 to have 30 operational divisions,other things were needed, things as officers and NCO ,of whom there was a big shortage . Tings as weapons, ammunition, fuel, trucks, etc , of which there was a big shortage .There was also a big shortage of transport means, of railway and road capacity .
3 From Germany and WWII Tome v1 P816 ( German edition )
Manpower of the Ersatzwm in June 1941 1240000,of whom 1,132,000 for the army
570400 stammpersonal and landesschützen : mainly instructors and supply people,not disponible for the east .
561600 recruits ,of whom 150000 were not available because of illness .
remaining : 411600,of whom 90000 were already part of the Ostheer (the Feldersatzbataillonen )
In Germany were available 321600 men of whom 275000 were reserved for the losses in July and August .
If the big fighting continued after August, only 46600 men would be available .
If 30 additional divisions were created for Barbarossa,the result would be that there would be no replacements for the losses in the summer .
The 30 additional divisions were an illusion , also for the period 38|41 .
4 Most important is the failure of a lot of people to understand that
a these 30 divisions were not needed,as initially,without them, the Ostheer was successful.
b that the bigger the Ostheer would be, the less chances it would have to reach the AA line ,because of the distn ces, because of the bad road/railway situation, because of the weather .

ljadw
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Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by ljadw » 03 Aug 2019 15:58

And also from the same source P 852 : degree of preparedness of the divisions of AG C (Reich ) on March 20 1941:
of 33 divisions 6 were full operational (voll einsatzbereit )
10 were partially operational ( bedingt einsatzbereit )
17 were not operational ( nicht einsatzbereit )
This happened in the OTL, the situation in the ATL ,with 30 additional divisions, would be worse, much worse .
Of the 7 PzD of AGC ,ONE (yes : one ) was full operational,3 partially operational and 3 were not operational .
If AG C had more PzD ( scenario of the ATL ) ,let's say : 10 more , how many of them would be operational ?
The WM had in January 1941 some 6 million men, of whom 500000 WWI veterans older than 40 .
That was Germany's manpower situation .
The 30 additional divisions are an illusion .

Richard Anderson
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Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: What if: Hitler wins the war due to slightly stronger Barbarossa forces

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Aug 2019 15:59

John T wrote:
03 Aug 2019 00:30
Yes, that is obvious
Well, I was going somewhere with that, but kept getting distracted by other events. Oh, wait, I think I have it. Okay, the historical expansion went from six notional battalions in October 1934, to 12 in October 1935, to 24 in October 1938, to 37 in September 1939, to 38 in October 1940, to 56 in October 1941, to 64 in October 1942, at which point Stalingrad skews the growth of the Panzerwaffe. So it took two years of growth spurred by wartime to double the effective size of the Panzerwaffe, expanding it to a size smaller than this scenario requires at the outset of the Russian Campaign. Then it was nominally 55 battalions in 21 divisions, but this scenario requires it to be now 41 divisions, nearly doubling it.
What was the percentage growth of the manpower that German armed forces between 1935 and 1937 ?
At the beginning of 1935, the Heer consisted of 24 divisions, by the end of 1937 it consisted of 39, so roughly a 38% growth over three years. Prior to mobilization in 1939 it was 49 divisions, so roughly a 20% growth over slightly less than two years. On mobilization it more than doubled. Overall, the peacetime growth over five years was around 10% per year.
And what was the percentage as of the 1934 force, of additional manpower that German armed forces called up between 1938 and 1941 ?
More interestingly, what was manpower available for call up prior to mobilization? That would be the classes of 1915, 1916, and 1917 and would be 1,297,309. Of those, about 900,000 were in service as of 4 August 1941. Now add up the total strength of the earlier classes and the number of those in service on 1 August 1941.
And what was the percentage as of the 1934 force, of additional manpower that German armed forces pressed into service between 1942 and 1945 ?
Do you mean the numbers actually conscripted? I'm not sure why that matters, since quite a few of them were classes too young to serve prior to 1942-1945.
So was not to the total expansion of German forces during the war more than 50 times the 1934 German armed forces?
Expansion 1935-1939 prior to mobilization doubled the force. Mobilization doubled it again. Expansion in the first war year was 30%, the second was 20%, the third was 14%, the fourth was 14% and the fifth was 9%. Of course casualties also factor into the wartime growth, but nonetheless, it is apparent wartime growth slowed considerably after the initial mobilization.
then 50% addition of the Armored and mech forces IRL available in June 1941 does not seems like insurmountable,
needed prioritization yes, and what should Germany had down-prioritized?
IMHO that s the question.
A doubling of armored forces means a doubling of the Panzers and trained crews. It may not be insurmountable so long as the tank desired to equip them is the Panzer II with a smattering of Panzer III and IV and Czech tanks.
Meta discussions:
And now I get a feeling that the huge expansion done after 1934, was only possible by a large number of individuals who did not just sat waiting for orders from above.
That in the long run made for a rather dysfunctional organization with uncoordinated mavericks all over the place running their own war.
So the thing I take with me so far from this discussion is the question "was the late war German productivity improvements possible to implement during the prewar years?"
I think the proper question would be were the economic shortcuts and improvisations accepted by the Germans as acceptable in wartime acceptable in peacetime? Those "improvements" required crippling the civilian economy, siphoning off the pension schemes of the German workers, enslaving over 8 million foreigners, and bringing the country to the brink of economic collapse over the course of four wartime years. Is that possible in the prewar peacetime years?
You failed to notice that my sentence began with "Gives us" and given the way I learned English, such a reference in a sentence refers back to the previous sentence.
And the previous sentence was
That means we are back to the 565,060 fit for service, not 200 000.
So if we had 565 000 men in the JG 22, I ball parked that the three years 1938,1939 and 1940 would have been 1 500 000 men available for conscript training.
I used the word ball park since I knew the late war Jahrgänge(1917-1919) where smaller due to war,famine and decease(Spanish flu) but did not check up the details.
When I now checked it up, It proved to be even worse JG 1917 & 1918 together where 500 000 men.
On the other hand Germany did call up JG 1918 and 1919 in August 1939 and JG 1920 in 1940,
so the total called up soldiers for basic training during the period 1938 to 1940 was around 1 500 000 men.
http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Sol ... dienst.htm

I was not the erzats heer I was referring to.
In any case the manpower needed for this scenario of adding 10 Pz and20 PG divisions
would be 22% of the conscripted soldiers 38-40
I'm not sure what I failed to notice, but you seem to fail to notice that the personnel "conscripted" in 1939 were actually those called into wartime service during the mobilization. Anyway, to add an additional 30 divisions (now its 10 Panzer and 20 motorized?) requires about 675,000 additional men, which cannot be "added" since the manpower is not there, but can only be diverted from existing manpower, as was actually done. An increase of 30 divisions in the Schnelltruppen requires a reduction of some other type of divisions.
That erzatsheer -herring was you misconception.
And I have no hope for you to accept that what did not happen could have happened.
Um, the Ersatzheer was responsible for training personnel and distributing them to units. How does a training issue become a red herring?
But if I phrase it this way,
If Nazi German had made some early and small adjustments of their priorities, compared to the total cost of the war I can't see this scenario as physical impossible, just improbable based on the culture and doctrine in the German Reich.
Except tinkering with the priorities of 30 divisions in a prewar force of 49 divisions or an initially mobilized wartime force of 106 divisions, is a major adjustment, not a minor one.
(snip)
- " If Nazi Germany had been as rational as assumed in this W/I, then would it been Adolf Hitlers Nazi Germany at all ?"
Indeed that is probably the biggest objection to most of these types of "what ifs".
Richard C. Anderson Jr.

American Thunder: U.S. Army Tank Design, Development, and Doctrine in World War II
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall
Hitler's Last Gamble
Artillery Hell

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