One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 19 May 2022 00:08

per70 wrote:
18 May 2022 22:38
@TheMarcksPlan note that Art suspected that the table on reinforcements reproduced by Askey is inaccurate and too high.
Askey's numbers match the figures given in a memo to Stalin from a colonel Efremov, reproduced in Lopukhovsky's The Price of Victory as Appendix B:
From the beginning of the war until 1 August, 2,456,000 men joined the
Red Army, of whom 126,000 were field replacements and 2,330,000 were
in formations and units.2
From the beginning of the war until 1 December, 2,130,000 men were
used as field replacements. The monthly totals were as follows: 126,000 in
July, 627,000 in August, 494,000 in September, 585,000 in October and
299,000 in November.
Efremov doesn't tell us the relative magnitude of field replacements vs. new formations during between August and December. For Dec-March, he reports:
During the entire
period from 1 December to 1 March, the overall number of replacements
was 3,220,000 men, of whom 2,074,000 arrived as part of the field
replacements and 1,146,000 in the composition of formations.
...so in the first weeks of war new formations far exceeded the manpower of replacements, while in the first winter replacements far exceeded new formations (makes sense). One could guess that the relative picture in August-Nov is in between these two but it would be only a guess.

Can you link Art's comments? Always interested in his analysis.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Avalancheon » 19 May 2022 02:27

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 May 2022 20:29
Avalancheon wrote:
14 May 2022 22:48
TheMarcksPlan: One question that raises its head in these Barbarossa ATLs is about the balance of forces destroyed vs forces created. If the Germans inflict significantly greater damage in July and August than they did in OTL, would the Soviets be able to offset this by raising more reserve Armys in September and October?

Historically, they mobilised 8 Armys in late June, 13 Armys in July, and 14 Armys in August. But then they only mobilised 3 Armys in September, and 5 Armys in October. It is evident that after the initial panic of the invasion had worn off, the Soviets slowed down the rate of their force generation.

If they had felt that Germans still posed an immediate existential threat to them, would they have been able to continue the breakneck pace of mobilisation? These reserve Armys were increasingly poorly armed as the war went on and armorys were emptied out. The shortages of trained officers and personnel were also becoming apparent.
Historygeek has raised this point too. I get the basic intuition and it's something I should have to address (and have addressed, but long thread I know).

I assess that it's just impossible for the RKKA to have generated significantly more forces during Barbarossa (unless the PoD is Stalin waking up earlier pre-Barbarossa, as KDF33 has pointed out). The OTL mobilization was a maximal effort that encompassed every aspect of Soviet society. Too general a point for specific evidence but we can discuss if folks disagree. Fortress Dark and Stern is a great discussion, as is Harrison's The Soviet Homefront during WW2. The SU immediately slashed its industrial and agricultural workforces, cutting civilian consumption to the bone and beginning the starvation path that killed millions of infants during 1942 and millions of adults in 1943-44 (see Hunger and War).

Because there was no slack in the civilian economy, a further draw of ~2mil men into RKKA to replace ATL losses would have come from the war economy. I've discussed here that SU was already doing this to replace OTL losses, to the detriment of production (recall that Soviet GDP shrank by ~40% by 1942). As discussed in linked post, half of Soviet soldiers mobilized in September 1941 came directly from the metals-industry-transport sector, which was on the brink of collapse already and was unable adequately to feed to armaments industries in 1942 (as Harrison says, the economy was unbalanced).

It'd be bad enough to draw 2mil men out of the OTL Soviet economy; in ATL it's so much worse because SU loses Ukraine months earlier and also loses the Moscow-Gorkiy, Leningrad regions and everything west of the Don by late Fall. The workforce and its productive output is already ~30% smaller by those losses alone. Furthermore, earlier losses of (or evacuations of) critical plants in Central Ukraine and Leningrad mean that production is already below OTL in July and continues declining (both absolutely and relative to OTL).

Let's look again at GKO 675's description of the state-sector economy (basically everything but the collective farms). 20.9mil workers total there. In ATL Sept. '41, we're already down to ~16mil workers (minus Moscow, L'grad, Ukraine, nearly everything west of the Don). Draft 2mil more men and you're down to ~14mil workers. You now have ~2/3's of the national (non-ag) workforce. I don't think it's possible to find more able-bodied men on the collective farms (these were the first to go) and stripping that sector more is not really possible unless we want to SU to collapse from acute famine in 1942.

How does SU produce more equipment from 33% fewer workers?
Thank you for the detailed response.

Based on all the forgoing, it seems very unlikely that the Soviets could have mobilised extra manpower without seriously affecting their already struggling economy. This, of course, is not to downplay the vast number of reservists at their disposal. In the summer of 1941, the Soviets had a pool of about 14 million men with military training that they could draw upon. 5.3 million were mobilised in June 1941; and 11.8 million were mobilised by December 1941, an incredible number.

Most of the soldiers mobilised and deployed during Operation Barbarossa were reservists who already had some level of military training. A relative minority were raw recruits who were given basic training before being sent into battle. These troops would have minimal combat value, even putting aside the question of properly arming them. Many of the formations raised later in 1941 were deficient in everything other than small arms. Nigel Askey goes into more detail about this in one of his volumes.


''The Soviets may have actually over-mobilised in 1941. Between 22nd June and the 31st December 1941, the Soviets called up 5,500,000 reservists and conscripts into active service. In addition, another 4,000,000 men and women 'volunteered' for militia or volunteer units, and most of these ended up in the Red Army. Unfortunately, approximately 500,000 reservists were apparently taken prisoner before being taken on strength. With this almost unlimited supply of personnel, the major bottleneck on Soviet mobilisation was the availability of equipment, and the ability to supply and support such a large force in the field.
This is demonstrated by the fact that only about 2,000,000 (out of 4,000,000) people actually jointed the fighting troops (in operational fronts or armies), via the peoples militia. This possible over-mobilisation (i..e. excessive personnel and correspondingly insufficient weapons and transports) resulted in many new combat units of very dubious combat value while simultaneously having a detrimental effect on the Soviets war economy. The combat units of questionable value included militia fighter battalions and most of the separate Red Army rifle brigades.
These units had little heavy equipment, almost no transport and support systems, and even less training. However, the Soviet mobilisation process did result in a great many combat units of this type, so provided the human cost in casualties could be endured, it is debatable whether the term 'over-mobilisation' is appropriate.''

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 May 2022 20:29
So if RKKA wants more armies in ATL latter '41, those armies are going to have to spread less-than-OTL armaments over more-than-OTL men. Is that a viable strategy? Seems highly dubious. As you note, the late '41 RKKA armory was poor. The forces that won Moscow were very short of heavy and automatic weapons, basically a mass of riflemen. To replace 2mil men and their equipment (also lost in ATL encirclements), RKKA would probably have been lucky to have enough rifles while artillery, tanks, etc. would be negligible. They'd be fielding something akin to Chinese Nationalist armies, which usually couldn't defeat even the weakly-armed IJA in pitched battles.

In fact what we'd have seen is the RKKA's force generation ability being significantly lower than OTL. They lose millions more workers/soldiers to occupation because more-rapid advances prevent full evacuations (as discussed in Fortress Dark and Stern and a few other works, many Soviets evacuated involuntarily so would not have "self-evacuated" had faster German advances prevented many OTL evacuations).

This is significant a "reserve" argument for my ATL. So far my spreadsheet model assumes OTL force generation in 1941, albeit with a penalty for weaker armament in latter '41.
There may potentially be a shortcut around this problem. If the Red Army is facing the imminent fall of Moscow then they could raise more Armys in September 1941, and deliberately starve themselves of the manpower they would need to form Armys in October, November, December. This would give them extra forces in the short term, but fewer forces in the long term. If the Russians were in truly desperate straits, this might be an acceptable tradeoff for them.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 May 2022 20:29
Avalancheon wrote:Also, if the situation facing them was truly desperate, would the Soviets have resorted to the expedient of transferring the 4 Armys stationed in the Caucasus to a more immediately threatened sector (such as Moscow)?
Yes, I think this is likely to some extent. Do they completely abandon defense of the Turkish border? Probably not because that risks catastrophe. But I could see 2 more armies being thrown against Ostheer. I've actually incorporated that into my spreadsheet model (200k more men redeployed from inactive fronts - I called it "Siberian delta" but applies to Turkey-facing fronts as well). If we want to say 400k shifted against Ostheer in latter '41, rather than 200k, it doesn't change the picture of decisive German superiority along the Eastern Front.

TMP bookmark: constraints on Soviet force generation during Barbarossa
The Armys in the Caucasus were mostly kept in place during Operation Barbarossa. They were used to guard the Turkish border, and put down uprisings by the Chechens and Ingush. Two of these Armys also participated in the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia in August-September 1941. Its interesting to speculate what would have happened if the Soviets had transferred them: This may have led to the delay or cancellation of that operation. Its doubtful that the British would have done it all on their own.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Avalancheon » 19 May 2022 02:56

per70 wrote:
16 May 2022 23:32
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
16 May 2022 05:20
While I can't see any way around the fundamentals-based reasoning I laid out above, I also can't fully/directly explain the differences between June-August force generation and Sept-Oct. Is there any evidence that it was a decision to pump the brakes on mobilization? I'm open to being convinced that was so but, again, I just can't see how it was.
I would argue that counting mobilised armies is a poor proxy for measuring the Soviet force generation.

Replacements came in roughly three categories:
- march battalions that brought depleted frontline units up to strength
- individual divisions that brought depleted frontline armies up to strength
- fully formed armies

Counting mobilised armies only take account of the third variant.
Good point. Though of course, we should take into account the balance of trained reservists vs raw recruits. The former were utilised much more than the latter, at least during 1941. The militia battalions and brigades were drawing on recruits and volunteers with minimal training, and thus had low combat value. Presumably, the majority of the replacements were drawn from the pool of 14 million reservists.
per70 wrote:
16 May 2022 23:32
Generally, it would seem that new armies were created when the Soviets needed to split existing armies in order to cover a new axis of advance. See for instance the decision to split the defence of the southern approached to Leningrad on Aug 30 into two armies (the 42nd and 55th). This addition of the 55th Army did not add any extra troops to the defence of the city.

Another example from the same timespan would be the creation of the 40th Army from existing units, which were ordered to assemble and defend against Guderians southern drive towards Kiev.

Secondly, new armies were created when old armies were lost. See for instance 6th (i) and 12th (i) army, which were lost at Uman. In the aftermath; two new armies; 6th (ii) and 12th (ii) were created. Had the original 6th and 12th survived the encirclement, it is possible that the infantry divisions used to form the second iteration would instead be used to strengthen the first iteration.

And thirdly, new armies were sometimes created in the rear and brought up as fully formed units.

But again; this last variant was not the only one.
On the Leningrad front, 48th Army was actually disbanded in order to provide troops for 4th and 54th Army (mobilised in September). This seems like a questionable decision on the part of the Soviets, unless those two Armys already had some troops at their disposal. Otherwise they would just be creating two Armys of half the strength.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 May 2022 04:41
per70 wrote:
16 May 2022 23:32
I would argue that counting mobilised armies is a poor proxy for measuring the Soviet force generation.
Absolutely, thanks. Even a poor proxy contains signal besides noise, so was going with that. But the other force generation channels change the picture significantly.

Askey gives a table for replacement flows, which may (can't recall) merely replicate data from Lopukhovsky's The Price of Victory:

Image

The replacement flow definitely revises the picture one gets from an armies-only accounting: June-July sees more armies but September-Oct sees ~1mil more replacements. That's ~10 armies-worth of trained manpower, which brings the two periods much closer. That leaves August as the peak for these two channels (new armies and replacements) - 14 armies and 627k replacements.

As stated upthread, it still makes sense to me that we'd see a peak in new force deployments during June-August (due to greater prewar stocks of equipment and trained men than SU generated immediately after Barbarossa), but the tail-off in armies+replacements is less dramatic than when viewing armies only. I still can't see any evidence that the SU relented on mobilization at any point in 1941 (absence of evidence not being proof of absence, of course).

Does anybody have data on the new division flow, excluding those contained in new/reformed armies?
This clears things up. It seems that we weren't getting a full picture by looking at the formation of new Armys alone. By looking at replacements we can see that the Soviets did not, in fact, slow down their rate of mobilisation. They were making full use of their manpower resources throughout the entirety of 1941.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 19 May 2022 05:32

Avalancheon wrote:Nigel Askey goes into more detail about this
Good points.
Avalancheon wrote:If the Red Army is facing the imminent fall of Moscow then they could raise more Armys in September 1941, and deliberately starve themselves of the manpower they would need to form Armys in October, November, December. This would give them extra forces in the short term, but fewer forces in the long term. If the Russians were in truly desperate straits, this might be an acceptable tradeoff for them.
Do you mean raise more main-line armies or more improvised militia? Not sure on the exact timeline but mainline armies have a timeline of at least a few months, even for the WW2 RKKA.

I agree that they could always have raised more improvised militia. To clarify, I'm differentiating "force generation" and "putting bodies out there." A massive uptick in improvised militia generates little real combat power. As it's not ZERO combat power, however, at base I'm saying they couldn't have generated sufficient combat power on short notice to stop the ATL Ostheer. In improvised militia terms, you probably need ~5mil opolchenie to have a shot at holding Moscow. Based on rifle stocks alone that's probably impossible.

The OTL Moscow battle is an interesting comparison. There we know RKKA had vanishingly little in front of Moscow after Taifun. Yet it had massive armies forming that Stalin didn't release until December (Zhukov pleaded for earlier releases, Stalin only partially acceded). It seems Stalin was prepared to lose Moscow rather than risk losing Moscow and millions of under-trained troops with it. Probably wise. Defeats like Taifun or Kiev were feasibly worse than losing the city of Moscow IMO (which is why I don't buy "just take Moscow" ATL's). SU probably could have survived losing Moscow but probably couldn't have survived losing Moscow plus the entire Winter '41-'42 wave of reserve armies.
Avalancheon wrote: Its interesting to speculate what would have happened if the Soviets had transferred them: This may have led to the delay or cancellation of that operation. Its doubtful that the British would have done it all on their own.
I've always wondered about that decision-making process. Was STAVKA worried about opening this "second front" in the midst of Barbarossa? Probably one factor is the apparent easing of the crisis during late July and August. Ostheer was stalled in the north and center, while the plan in the south was to hold the Dniepr line. It was probably a point of relative perceived security for the regime.

My analytical strategy in counterfactuals is always to take the "opponents" best historically-feasible option, so that my argument doesn't depend on one side making mistakes. The worst case scenario for ATL SU is they don't establish a Persian corridor, instead sending two armies into the meatgrinder for little marginal benefit. The best case scenario (for the Allies, maybe not for SU) is that Britain takes Iran by itself and those armies are thrown against Ostheer. Let's assume that worst case scenario (for Axis).
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 19 May 2022 05:55, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by ljadw » 19 May 2022 05:50

Avalancheon wrote:
18 May 2022 22:44
ljadw wrote:
15 May 2022 08:46
Avalancheon wrote:
14 May 2022 21:42
Thats not really the case. After the French campaign was finished, Hitler was already eyeing the Soviet Union. On July 31, 1940, he instructed his Generals to begin planning for an invasion of Russia. Among other things, he ordered the Heer to be expanded to 180 divisions, and the number of panzer divisions to be doubled.
Planning is not proof of intention .
And 180 divisions was to low for a possible successful Barbarossa .
It goes without saying. Hitler was making a contingency for war with the Soviets. He wasn't actually deadset on going to war with them in July.

BTW, the 180 division figure was the mark set by Rustungsprogramm B, in August. The Germans eventually decided to expand the Heer beyond this figure.
Huszar666 wrote:
15 May 2022 09:31
Avalancheon wrote:
14 May 2022 21:42
Thats not really the case. After the French campaign was finished, Hitler was already eyeing the Soviet Union. On July 31, 1940, he instructed his Generals to begin planning for an invasion of Russia. Among other things, he ordered the Heer to be expanded to 180 divisions, and the number of panzer divisions to be doubled.
Starting planning for a campaign doesn't mean an immediate intention to start said campaign. And says nothing about the date of the campaign and the neccesary troops.
Obviously, you are right. Just because a nation plans for a certain operation does not mean they will inevitably carry it out. But we know from the testimonys of Halder, Jodl, etc that after the fall of France, Hitler was considering an autumn campaign against the Soviet Union. This was completely impractical because of the weather and lack of preparations. They wouldn't even have time to raise the new divisions outlined in Rustungsprogramm B. The Generals were able to dissuade their Fuhrer from this ill-advised plan, and convince him to delay the invasion to the spring of 1941.
Huszar666 wrote:
15 May 2022 09:31
The SU really entered the picture as an "immediate" threat - on should tackle within a year - after Molotov's visit in November. The preliminary planning wasn't done till December.
The short-term need for 5th Panzer Army can only be realised AFTER the threat is realised and AFTER the preliminary planning is finished. Simply put: you won't realise you need something if there is no need to have it, and only after you know what, where and how far do you want to do.
The first part of your statement is true. Hitlers resolve to go to war with the Soviets had wavered after his Generals had stonewalled him. He was open to settling the disputes through diplomacy, until the clear failure of the Berlin conference in November.

The second part of your statement is not necessarily true. Hitler had already ordered the number of panzer divisions to be doubled in July of 1940. As for the planning of the invasion. The Marcks plan was finished by August 5. The Lossberg plan was finished by September 15.
Huszar666 wrote:
15 May 2022 09:31
So, assuming, the need is realised in December 1940 you can't start implementing the solution for a few month at least (since the procution pipeline has to be strengthened, material prepared, and stuff produced). I don't think ramping up the production earlier than March 1941 would be possible, way to late for the 5th Panzer Army to be ready in Late June 1941.
At best, you would be able to have one or two new mot Divisions, but not much more.

ATLs and What-Ifs are a nice thing, but you have to anchor it in reality - i.e. possibilities, intentions and informations.
The need for additional panzer and motorised divisions could have been realised earlier than that. It would necessarily require more accurate information to be supplied to the OKH and OKW staffs, and more realistic planning on the size of the invasion force they required. In this ATL, the Heer presumably enters the year of 1940 with a larger panzerwaffe than what they historically had (due to not making cuts to the panzer program in 1939). Thus, after the conclusion of the French campaign, they already have enough tanks available to form the 25 panzer divisions required for the invasion of Russia in this ATL.
1 The armament of the LW and the KM got priority til late Autumn 1940 and they got again priority on June 22 1941 .
2 The increase of the PzD and of the mot,divisions had nothing to do with Barbarossa,as the Barbarossa decision was taken only in the winter of 1940/1941 and could still be cancelled and would be cancelled if the political situation allowed it .
3 On June 7 1940 Hitler ordered to decrease the army to 120 divisions .

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Huszar666 » 19 May 2022 06:46

Morning,
Yet it had massive armies forming that Stalin didn't release until December (Zhukov pleaded for earlier releases, Stalin only partially acceded).
Massive armies is a bit of optimistic view. Most of them had around 4-6 Rifle Divisions - without much of everything. "Untill December" is also a bit of optimistic. The 28th was not released at all, the 58th was broken up in the next six month to provide reinforcements for other armies, the 39th was released End-of-december against Rshew, the 26th sat there idly for a few month till it was converted to the 2nd Shock and sent to the Wolchow in February, if I recall correctly, the 3rd and 4th Shock were mostly built upon existing divisions and brigades at the Selinger seas, with only a bit of new risings - and were not "released" till January, the 60th was broken up as well, and so forth.
Based on all the forgoing, it seems very unlikely that the Soviets could have mobilised extra manpower without seriously affecting their already struggling economy.
There is that, but even if they would have accepted the further decline in economic power, there were simply not enough weapons and stuff to equip the already rised troops, sending unarmed and untrained folks to the front have no value whatsoever. Even Stalin and Co realised this.
It was only Summer 1942 when production started to catch up with demand - and even that was only possible by concentrating everything and forgetting (for example) motor vehicle production. Quality was a huge problem for the SU for most of the war, and it only got somewhat better in the last year of the war somewhat.
There may potentially be a shortcut around this problem. If the Red Army is facing the imminent fall of Moscow then they could raise more Armys in September 1941, and deliberately starve themselves of the manpower they would need to form Armys in October, November, December. This would give them extra forces in the short term, but fewer forces in the long term. If the Russians were in truly desperate straits, this might be an acceptable tradeoff for them.
I doubt it they could rise further troops at that time. And equip them. See above.
The Armys in the Caucasus were mostly kept in place during Operation Barbarossa. They were used to guard the Turkish border, and put down uprisings by the Chechens and Ingush. Two of these Armys also participated in the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia in August-September 1941. Its interesting to speculate what would have happened if the Soviets had transferred them: This may have led to the delay or cancellation of that operation. Its doubtful that the British would have done it all on their own.
Oh, the UK would have done it nevertheless, but that would have opened another can of worms. UK troops in direct range of Baku? I doubt the SU forgot the British plan from 1,5 years back to bomb Baku... IF the SU doesn't participate in the Persian occupation, I would wager they would station even MORE troops in the Caucasus than in the OTL.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Huszar666 » 19 May 2022 21:04

So , I read the first half-a-dozen pages of this fantasy. Got a headache... i refuse to read through the rest.zD had a full allocation of IVs... Even if we assume, Hitler realises the need after March 1939, Germany would still need to build further 100-something Pz IVs and around 350 Pz 38/Pz IIIs, while having no common border with the SU and still not planning on a war till at least 1942.

The arrogant, self-righteous posturing and demeaning of everyone with a different opinion not withstanding, there are a lot of serious problems with the ATL.

1, Hitler realises early on that he needs more troops to defeat the SU. And that he needs exactly 10 further fast divisions. With the starting point of 1938 there are some problems.
a, in 1938 the CSR is still around and kicking, that the UK and France will surrender so easily and that Germany could appropriate the materiel for around two dozen tshech divisionions was by no way a forgone conclusion. Even WITH the booty from the CSR, the German Army had HUGE need for basically everything.
b, Reaching the SU means a war against Poland, since there is little chance Poland allying itself with Germany. If it does, Germany looses out a bit of war booty (so do the Rumanians, btw) but gain around 40 Divisions extra (and a starting base further in the East), which makes the demand for 10 extra fast Divisions redundant. If there is a war against Poland, there is a good chance the UK and France join the party (OTL, khmmm). Remember, we are in 1938, probably before München! If we assume, Hitler makes plans in the long term, he would realise war against Poland=war against UK+France. As long the UK sits on the other side of the Chanel, a good part of the Heer will be chained to the West. So, what would Germany need? 10 further fast division or landing craft and airplanes to make Seelöwe, kick the UK out of the war, get a shitload of booty, and around 20-25 infantry divisions freed in the West? This whole thing forgets that Hitler did not plan on a war before 1942 or 1943. Even IF he realises, that he would need 10 further fast divisions for the campaign in the East, AND could be sure, he is able to get a common border with the SU (from the perspective of 1938!!!) WITHOUT waging war against the UK+France - where he collected a shitload of booty! - the planning would be for 1942 or 1943 or even later, counting a campaign in the West. NOT the summer of 1941. A Hitler/OKW/OKH/Germany of 1938 or even Summer 1939 would not plan a war against the SU in Summer of 1941, since there was no common border and a war was "planned" for 1942 AT THE EARLIEST.
c, in 1938, Rumania was a stout ally of France and Hungary was a basically disarmed country and stoutly neutral. That didn't change much even in Summer of 1939, Fall of 1939, or Summer of 1940. Planning a flanking manouvre out of the territory of an ally of your enemy in 1938 (or 1939) is wishfull thinking at the best. If you couldn't lounch a flanking manouvre from Rumania in June 1941 because it is an ally of your enemy, you will not realise the need for further 10 fast divisions to invade a country you don't have a common border with, and you don't plan to have a war 1942 at the earliest to begin with, why do you need to build stuff for those 10 extra fast divisions?

2, complete disregard WHAT the German Army had at its disposal in "Summer" of 1938 - or in September 1939. Everything is from the point of view of June 1941.
a, From the "10" PzDiv in September 1939, the 4th and 5th and the 2nd and 3rd light were only raised in November 1938, the four motDiv (with THREE regiments/Division, NOT the 2 per Div in June 1941!) were motorised before 1938 thought. From the four SS mot Divisions (I count LSSAH as Div for this purpose) SS T was raised only in October 1939, SS V in April 1940 (from troops that participated in the Polish campaign), SS W in November 1940. Only LSSAH was extant in 1938 (or Summer 1939) as a Regiment. From the rest, the 11. Schützenbrigade was born in December 1939 (and was amalgated into the 11.PzD in August 1940), the Rgt Grossdeutschland in June 1939 and was motorised only in October 1939. So, from the point of view of "Summer 1938" the German Army had 5 (!) PzD, 4 motD, 1 Cavalry Division and one SS Rgt, with having 21 PzD, 10 motD, 1 KD, 3 full SS-motD, and 3 mot"Brigades" in June 1941 and realising that they needed 10 further fast divisions at that time is somewhat of a fantasy. That even leaves out that the 3rd, 14th and 18th motD were motorised only with captured French motor vehicles. Next to a bunch of Infantry Division.
b, the mainstay of panzers the German Army had at its disposal and production were... Pz Is and Pz IIs. The Pz IIIs were only extant in a low number (around 30-40 pieces of the Ausf A-D) with the final, production version, Ausf E only surfaceing in 1939, probably around April. The Pz IVs there were 72 pieces extant in October 1938 (Ausf A+B) with a further 140 Ausf C ordered (134 of them were completed till August 1939) See the respective Spielberger-books . According to Niehorster, there were exactly 78 Pz IIIs and 211 Pz IVs extant on 01.09.1939 (exluding command tanks). From the point of view of "Summer" 1938 you can not plan on having 780 Pz 35s and 38s (for that you need the TSR), 990 Pz IIIs and 450 Pz IVs (they are not even done with the trials) in the field, not even counting 1000 further tanks (knowing with WHAT the Germany started Barbarossa, probably around 300 would be Pz Is and IIs, to begin with). Since that many tanks were possible by the mobilisation and concentration after August 1939. If we project the peacetime Pz IV-building till August 1939 up to May 1941 we would have 281 further ones, for a total of 415 (including Ausf Cs), not counting losses against Poland and France. For the further 5 PzD you would need another 100-something. If we disregard the fact, that not even the extant PzD had a full allocation of IVs... Even if we assume, Hitler realises the need after March 1939, Germany would still need to build further 100-something Pz IVs and around 350 Pz 38/Pz IIIs, while having no common border with the SU and still not planning on a war till at least 1942.

3, A complete disregard of possible soviet countermeasures and how the whole campaign was planned (with the participation of whom). IF the 10 extra fast divisions were available and they were launched from Rumania. This is where we drift from What if into fantasy. Even if Germany worked since 1938/39 on creating further 10 fast divisions to have in June 1941 - disregarding not wanting to have a war on their hand till 1942 at the earliest, not having a common border with the SU, Rumania being an ally of their enemy at that time, and not even dreaming of having an OTL army by June 1941 in Summer of 1938 (or even 1939), surely the SU is stupid enough not to do anything, but letting itself surrounded somewehere between Winitsa and Tarnopol. The whole scenario disregards the fact that a Hungarian participation was not included in the planning, it was somewhat of an accident (bombing of Kassa), and even then the Fast Corps (let's say, around the strength of two divisions) started the advance very late in June or at the beginning of July (I don't remember exactly, but thereabouts). The soviets at that time were already retreating out of Galizia, that minimal pressure we were able to extert was not even enough to slow the retreat. IF there were a thrust from Rumania (honestly, I couldn't find a starting date for that, but knowing, the Rumanians took their time to attack the SU...) and the planning didn't include the Hungarians (as it were!), the 5th PzArmy would have to delegate its flank protection against an attack of the 12th and 18th Armies (plus this and that) to... Rumanians. To the mountain troops and cavalry of said nation. Could you please halp me out with the battle where Rumanian troops withstood the assault of Russians? I forgot which one it was. So, the 5th PzArmy should attack across the Dniester (isn't known to have many bridges and the neighborhood doesn't have many roads), the flank protection of Rumanians have no problem containing soviet attacks (since the Hungarian participation was NOT planned, one should plan of the 12th Army being free) and it is still possible to reach Shepetivka "early in July" (I assume around the 7th). That's around 250kms. 1st PzArmy managed less than 100km in the same time, without needing to cross a river, but OK.

4, A complete degeneration into fantasy, what the soviets would do. For some strange reason even the North-West Front would divert troops to the South - since miracelously "Three SU armies (6th, 12th, 26th) plus large reserves would be trapped." between Winitsa and Tarnopol. Barely a month later OTL the 6th and 12th were destroyed at Uman nonetheless, and it propted no shift from Northwest Front. Why an earlier Kessel (by one month at most) West of Winitsa would influence Northwest Front, I do not understand. Why "Army Group North likewise faces weaker opposition, retains all of PzGr4 (probably reinforced by the two reserve panzer divisions), and is therefore able to join the Finns on the Svir river by October at the latest, thereby closing the noose on Leningrad and most of Volkhov/Northwest Front" should do all this, I do not understand. HrG North had HUGE problems all the way up to the Wolchow, could not retain PzGr 4, because it was needed for the Moscow drive, as were the 2nd and 5th PzD (which in this fantasy for some reason even go to the North). The amassing of soviet troops in front of Moscow after August (and Leningrad about the same time) was not and would not be influenced by a defeat in Galizia or the Ukraine proper. Look at what the soviets did OTL in front of Moscow: whole stretches of frontline were left open just to close the approaches to Moscow. They had to rebuild the Southwestern Front after Kiew nonetheless, and still amassed a LOT in front of Moscow.
So, a Kessel in "early July" West of Winitsa would not influence HGr North whatsoever, and even HGr Mitte only marginally. Even if we assume, Hitler had a revelation in 1938/39 that he would need 10 further fast divisions in June 1941, to attack a country Germany had no common borders with at the time, out of the territory of an ally of his enemy, the attack having the prerequisite that a disarmed, neutral country would occupy the armies threatening the flanks of said attack, all while planning to have a war not earlier than 1942. And of course this will be the one other time, the Rumanians were able to secure a flank against a soviet attack (again, please help me out with the other cases where the Rumanians withstood soviet attacks).

I probably could raise a lot of other flags, but it's late and I have to pretend to work tomorrow.

The author of the thread probably realised his folly somewhere in the 40-odd pages (I refuse to read, i already got a serious headache) so he modified his starting point to May 1940. At least, in the last pages, that date was qouted most. And still wanted to sell his fantasy to the general population. Still disregarding, that Rumania wasn't in Germany's camp till at least August of 1940, so ANY attack out of Rumanian territory (the 5th PzArmy) was at best wishful thinking. Not even mentioning, that a campaign against the SU didn't even gained grounds till Molotow's visit and demands in November 1940.
Till Mid-September 1940 the main problem was, how to invade the UK (and get a shitload of booty, and free up 20-25 Divisions from the West). The attack against the SU was just a roundabout way to defeat the UK (Lebensraum being a distant wish at that time), so May-September (or November) was (or should have been) spent on defeating France and the UK, not thinking about how a 5th PzArmy could attack out of an enemy/neutral country, while another neutral country keeps the dangerous armies at bay.

All this fantasy makes one thing clear: the author does not have any clue about the political situation of 1938, 1939, 1940, does not have any clue, what the soviets did with their troops, from his question not so far ago he did not even make the effort to check where new armies and divisions were raised, what they did and what equipment they had.

So, themarksplan, I have read your opening post, I have commented on it in a detailed way, so please ignore me further.
Last edited by Huszar666 on 20 May 2022 06:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 19 May 2022 22:02

Huszar666 wrote:The arrogant, self-righteous posturing and demeaning of everyone with a different opinion not withstanding
Huszar666 wrote:All this fantasy
Huszar666 wrote:A complete degeneration into fantasy
Huszar666 wrote:The author of the thread probably realised his folly somewhere in the 40-odd pages (I refuse to read, i already got a serious headache)
Huszar666 wrote:I read the first half-a-dozen pages of this fantasy. Got a headache...
Metapoint for AHF members.

I'm actually not a particularly mean person, AFAICS. Some even think I'm fairly nice.

What's odd is the perception among many that they can begin interacting with me by calling me a "fantasist" and other invective off the bat. That's how things started here at AHF (excepting those who are polite and substantive, whom I appreciate) - that they can so begin and then clutch their pearls at my "arrogance" or "demeaning" when they've been enormously rude. If you're a jerk I'm not going to use kid gloves in pointing out where you're wrong. I disagree amicably with quite a few here, provided they aren't rude/insulting.

I won't be responding to the substance of this post. But as always, if someone not on my ignore list would like me to address a point raised, feel free and I will do so.

Huszar - we can engage substantively when your posts no longer include insults.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by per70 » 19 May 2022 22:09

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
19 May 2022 00:08
Can you link Art's comments? Always interested in his analysis.
viewtopic.php?f=79&t=149565&start=30#p2336949

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Huszar666 » 20 May 2022 06:15

What's odd is the perception among many that they can begin interacting with me by calling me a "fantasist" and other invective off the bat. That's how things started here at AHF (excepting those who are polite and substantive, whom I appreciate) - that they can so begin and then clutch their pearls at my "arrogance" or "demeaning" when they've been enormously rude. If you're a jerk I'm not going to use kid gloves in pointing out where you're wrong. I disagree amicably with quite a few here, provided they aren't rude/insulting.

I won't be responding to the substance of this post. But as always, if someone not on my ignore list would like me to address a point raised, feel free and I will do so.

Huszar - we can engage substantively when your posts no longer include insults.

WAHAHAHAA!!!
This is exactly what I meant.
You don' t react well (or at all) to people giving critique.
First, you ignored my critique because I "haven't read the OP".
Than you got offended by the detailled critique of your OP.
All that means, you will just ignore every opinion that goes against your idea.

Good job, keep it up! :thumbsup:

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 20 May 2022 06:30

per70 wrote:
19 May 2022 22:09
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
19 May 2022 00:08
Can you link Art's comments? Always interested in his analysis.
viewtopic.php?f=79&t=149565&start=30#p2336949
Thanks. I remember that thread now but was more interested at the time in the industrial release figures. Then it got derailed by that guy who wants to prove a Soviet conspiracy or something... I'll dig back into the figures.

I'm curious your opinion on the matter. Do you think it was feasible for the Soviets to have created significantly more real combat power during Barbarossa, had Germany destroyed more Soviet armies (via whatever means - this ATL or maybe a Nazi-programmed asteroid)?
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 20 May 2022 06:40

Huszar666 wrote:Than you got offended by the detailled critique of your OP.
At this point I'm ignoring you (substantively) because I doubt the utility of engaging rationally with you.

The core of the problem is asymmetric information. You think I'm an idiot or something. That's fine but I happen to know otherwise (information to which you don't have access and, given my penchant for privacy, information to which I'm not willing to give you access). The problem is that the grounds on which you've concluded I'm an idiot are not the kind of reasons I'm interested in, nor capable of, rebutting. I will just have to assume the heavy burden of living the rest of my life knowing that Huszar666 from AHF thinks I'm an idiot. I'll cope somehow.

As I said above, if you adopt a more polite and rational tone, we can have a decent conversation about WW2. I won't hold my breath but I won't shut the door either.

It must be emphasized that this isn't a matter of decorum. I'm fine with sharp-elbowed discussion if mental processes aren't blocked. Yours appear to be blocked, however, which makes me think engaging would be a waste of my time.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Avalancheon » 20 May 2022 08:41

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
18 May 2022 23:47
Avalancheon wrote:
18 May 2022 22:44
The need for additional panzer and motorised divisions could have been realised earlier than that. It would necessarily require more accurate information to be supplied to the OKH and OKW staffs, and more realistic planning on the size of the invasion force they required.
I disagree re OKH/W staff planning for the eventual use of the ATL added forces. Hitler decided on the rough size of the army during Summer 1940, with the August Rustungsprogram B setting 180 as the goal and then further refinement afterwards. The August target came after an initial decision to reduce the army, pursuant to which many divisions were actually disbanded.

No firm operational plan existed when Germany picked 180 divs as the target (Marcks/Lossberg studies being only studies that differed significantly from the plan executed). As the 180-div target wasn't tethered to an operational plan, there's no reason to assume a 185-div (or 200-div) target would need to be justified by an operational plan.

Likewise the choice of 20 panzer divs.
In that case, what point of departure (POD) gets Hitler and his Generals to perceive the need for a larger invasion force? What chain of events would lead to them taking the Soviets more seriously? You once said that if the Soviets had defeated Finland in the winter war, then it would have increased their prestige and led to a more realistic appraisal of their abilitys by the Germans (with potentially disastrous consequences for the Soviets). Have you developed some more thoughts on that scenario?
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
18 May 2022 23:47
The force structure chosen in Summer 1940 reflected the broad strategic/political/economic situation as perceived by Hitler. He thought Germany could defeat the SU relatively easily; he therefore did not demand of Germany nor its occupied territories particularly intense measures. He gave generous unemployment benefits to Western Europe at a time when there were millions of unemployed who could have been "nudged" into the German economy by the absence of such benefits (as happened later) and/or by other measures (all the way up to forced recruitment a la the later STO).

The Heer leadership was completely unworried about the Barbarossa armaments program (until perhaps spring '41). At no point did OKH object to cuts in ammo/weapons output, nor argue that it should receive a greater share of resources (though internally some Heer voices were saying so).

The Luftwaffe actually got Hitler to release 22,000 soldiers to its factories in March 1941. Hitler's Fatal Miscalculation by Klaus Schmider.

The OTL standard for Barbarossa was "what is good enough?" The ATL standard is "what is the strongest army Germany can create?"
This is true. Hitler himself set the tone for the expansion of the Heer, and that happened before the OKH and OKW had articulated a strategic/operational plan. Later in 1940, after they had spent some time planning out Operation Barbarossa, they saw the need for extra divisions. If the OKH and OKW had better information at their disposal, surely they would have seen the need for an even greater expansion of the Heer. To flesh out your thread fully, you should detail how that process might go.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
18 May 2022 23:47
Avalancheon wrote: In this ATL, the Heer presumably enters the year of 1940 with a larger panzerwaffe than what they historically had (due to not making cuts to the panzer program in 1939). Thus, after the conclusion of the French campaign, they already have enough tanks available to form the 25 panzer divisions required for the invasion of Russia in this ATL.
I no longer see the OP as setting the minimal conditions but yeah, keeping the OP narrative Germany could have had 30+ panzer divisions quite easily.
What do you see as being the minimal conditions required for a larger invasion force during the Russian campaign?

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 20 May 2022 09:38

Avalancheon wrote:what point of departure (POD) gets Hitler and his Generals to perceive the need for a larger invasion force? What chain of events would lead to them taking the Soviets more seriously?
I have no PoD for this. The causal chain has to stop somewhere.

The point of my counterfactual isn't to say that it could have happened (that's a snake biting its tail), rather to say that the world is what it is because it didn't happen*: Germany was defeated in WW2 because it didn't take the SU seriously.

*To be fair, a subsidiary point is to say that history is contingent. I assayed a different timeline which involves a different Hitler realizing the SU won't go down easy, with the implicit argument that his failure so to see was contingent. This is part of my "Inverse Great Man Theory of History": History is made by the least-idiotic person in the halls of power. Most historical leaders are, like most politicians, complete idiots. On military matters, I'd probably argue that Hitler was the least-idiotic of FDR, Churchill, and Stalin. Our fates hang on the whim of the various idiots controlling world destiny.
Avalancheon wrote:You once said that if the Soviets had defeated Finland in the winter war, then it would have increased their prestige and led to a more realistic appraisal of their abilitys by the Germans (with potentially disastrous consequences for the Soviets). Have you developed some more thoughts on that scenario
To be clear, I don't see my ATL as the necessary condition for German victory, I only argue it's sufficient and feasible (assuming Germany takes SU seriously). IF better Soviet performance in the Winter War causes any number of other events, it's arguably also sufficient (not necessarily necessary) for German victory. For example - I would guess that Germany maintaining Heer production at June 1941 rates would be sufficient for German victory over SU, if combined with better 1942 decisions. I'm less sure it still enables them to survive the Western onslaught.

As to Finnish War in particular... I don't recall when I said that but, having read more since, I probably overestimated the extent to which Germany thought poorly of Soviet performance. We can discuss; it's actually an interesting topic. German Army analysts (but NOT Halder) arguably drew the right lessons from that war - that Red Army sucked tactically but would never collapse or stop fighting. It could take massive losses without total collapse. The obvious lesson - now I think - is that RKKA had to be defeated in a long campaign, not just a short one.

I realize I've said different things since I started this thread years ago. I've learned a lot but haven't changed the highest-level conclusion that Germany should (militarily) have defeated the SU (and that the Wallies - who thought the same as Hitler on this topic - are culpable for their strategic response to the likelihood/possibility of Germany defeating SU).
Avalancheon wrote: If the OKH and OKW had better information at their disposal, surely they would have seen the need for an even greater expansion of the Heer. To flesh out your thread fully, you should detail how that process might go.
It's not the OKH/W though. I've given up on that route - the German generals were in a sense more deeply racist than Hitler and were simply unwilling to believe that "Russia" could cohere after the initial German onslaught.* If history had gone differently, it would have taken Hitler to tell OKH/W to take Russia seriously. Hitler expressed serious misgivings about Barbarossa in the weeks leading up to it, evincing lingering doubts about the plan that a more self-confident, less-mediocre person would have addressed.

*Do I think the German generals would have ordered the Holocaust? No, they weren't twisted sickos in the way that Hitler and his ilk were. But they thought so little of Slavic lives that they didn't seriously object to the Holocaust (helped it along in general, with occasional meek protests). Their views on Slavic personhood influenced their military evaluation of the SU. The Generals' kind of racism was more intellectually pervasive but less emotionally/morally toxic (though still quite toxic).

It might be a book project. I still don't think it's a matter of operational planning though. For example: Germany didn't have 10 panzer divisions because it wanted to do the Sichelschnitt some day. It built 10 because it thought 10 justified in general, grand strategic terms, without foreknowledge of how those 10 would be used (recall that Mannstein's plan wasn't adopted until late in the game). After France, Hitler saw a strategic need for 20 PzDiv's, but he thought so under a strategic delusion that minimized the risk posed by SU. He guessed that 20 PzDiv's was "good enough" for a quick defeat of the SU but would have had different views had he viewed the SU appropriately. From the grand strategic decision on force composition, the OKH/W would later have exploited the opportunity for a Galicia Kesselschlacht. That Kessel was the last big move deleted from earlier Barbarossa planning - so it's the obvious candidate had OKH operational planners possessed greater strategic resources.
Avalancheon wrote:What do you see as being the minimal conditions required for a larger invasion force during the Russian campaign?
I don't have an answer on that. Again I see "One More Panzer Group" as sufficient but probably not necessary. I'm not even convinced that ANY more forces are necessary, if Germany makes the right operational/strategic decisions after June 22.

I suspect that my Gornostaipol Option is around the boundaries of the minimal conditions - take Moscow in '41 but not at the expense of leaving SWF and Ukraine safe. That MIGHT be enough to push the SU into collapse before the Wallies can overwhelm Germany.

I am less convinced of - but still open to - arguments that Germany could have won given different decisions in 1942. KDF33 makes an interesting case there. I could see, for instance, the SU collapsing from starvation if the Ostheer retreats from Stalingrad to the Don in November '42 and holds that line (which defense I could see being feasible).
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 20 May 2022 09:57, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Huszar666 » 20 May 2022 09:43

At this point I'm ignoring you (substantively) because I doubt the utility of engaging rationally with you.

The core of the problem is asymmetric information. You think I'm an idiot or something. That's fine but I happen to know otherwise (information to which you don't have access and, given my penchant for privacy, information to which I'm not willing to give you access). The problem is that the grounds on which you've concluded I'm an idiot are not the kind of reasons I'm interested in, nor capable of, rebutting. I will just have to assume the heavy burden of living the rest of my life knowing that Huszar666 from AHF thinks I'm an idiot. I'll cope somehow.

As I said above, if you adopt a more polite and rational tone, we can have a decent conversation about WW2. I won't hold my breath but I won't shut the door either.

It must be emphasized that this isn't a matter of decorum. I'm fine with sharp-elbowed discussion if mental processes aren't blocked. Yours appear to be blocked, however, which makes me think engaging would be a waste of my time.
Previously, I DID NOT think you were an idiot. I haven't wrote such anywhere. However, your reactions to critique and you inability to deal with said lets me conclude that you are either an idiot indeed or a hysterical child. Or have some seriuos behavioral problem.
I'm soooo devastated that you will ignore any of my further postings, and I will have to deal with it for the rest of my life, that themarksplan from HAF said I said he's an idiot and is ignoring me. Can you recommend a good shrink to deal with this life-altering issue?

As it seems that your mental processes are somehow blocked, and engaging with you further is a waste of my time.

Dream on, kid!

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