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 ljadw » 12 Aug 2019 18:23

The reality was that in 1941 the SU could not be defeated, even not by the 1944/1945 US army .Principal reason was the distance : some 2000 km from Berlin to the AA line . No army could do it .

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

Post by MarkN » 12 Aug 2019 18:26

T. A. Gardner wrote:
12 Aug 2019 17:38
This is a "What-if" section. That's the sort of thing done here.
Indeed. But it's not a what if thread, it's a let's invent how to deliver a predeteremined outcome thread.

Nevertheless, my previous response was to Cult Icon who seems determined for you to provide evidence/proof that no more combat troops were necessary. How can you do that when it's just an opinion that cannot be proved right or wrong.

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

Post by T. A. Gardner » 12 Aug 2019 19:37

MarkN wrote:
12 Aug 2019 18:26
T. A. Gardner wrote:
12 Aug 2019 17:38
This is a "What-if" section. That's the sort of thing done here.
Indeed. But it's not a what if thread, it's a let's invent how to deliver a predeteremined outcome thread.

Nevertheless, my previous response was to Cult Icon who seems determined for you to provide evidence/proof that no more combat troops were necessary. How can you do that when it's just an opinion that cannot be proved right or wrong.
Since I'm not changing the number of combat troops, that is historically accurate. All I'm doing is saying that Germany between say about 1934 and 1939 ups the amount of mechanization in civil engineering. It doesn't have to be to US levels, just a significant increase. That is doable. It isn't too hard to simply add bulldozer blades to existing tractors being manufactured in Germany. It is easily doable that companies, like Opel manufacture more trucks that have dump beds. They already made a dump truck model. It wouldn't be that hard for any manufacturer to offer this option on a truck they manufacture.

Mechanizing rail construction and repair are likewise doable things.

This doesn't require a huge stretch of existing resources, just an appreciation that construction doesn't have to be done by mostly hand labor anymore.

Maybe Cult Icon should read Van Creveld on this subject...

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Aug 2019 21:47

T.A. Gardner wrote:It isn't too hard to simply add bulldozer blades to existing tractors being manufactured in Germany.
Seems like this was indeed a big bottleneck for the Germans.
https://books.google.com/books?id=aVCbC ... rs&f=false
T.A. Gardner wrote:Because it acts as a force multiplier. If the troops are better supplied, they not only have more to fight with, but suffer fewer non-combat losses of both manpower and equipment.
No doubt true but to what quantitative effect? How many fewer losses for the Germans prior to Moscow? How much of an increase in combat power? What is the narrative in which these factors enable taking and holding Moscow in 1941 and how does that directly cause German victory?
Why weren't the Germans able to penetrate to operational depth at Kursk, despite being in relatively favorable logistical position?

Re force multiplication, it's gotta be less-than-linear with, say, ammunition and fuel. Why? Because under conditions of austerity units prioritize firing and movement, such that only the most supply-efficient actions are taken. After those, there's a dropoff in the effect of fire.

Contrast that with additional forces. Hoth's panzergruppe was only ~15% of AGC's strength in Barbarossa but without it there's no big encirclements.
Kleist's Panzergruppe in France was less than 10% of German strength yet it's the difference between dramatic victory and stalemate or defeat.
A.P. Hill's light division at Antietam was a fraction of Lee's forces but without it he's maybe destroyed. I could go on...
In other words, the impact of outcome-determinative forces is often far greater than exponential extrapolation from the linear delta to forces.
T.A. Gardner wrote:Since I'm not changing the number of combat troops, that is historically accurate. All I'm doing is saying that Germany between say about 1934 and 1939 ups the amount of mechanization in civil engineering.
What's your manpower delta for all this logistics and engineering heft? It seems unlikely to be lower than my ~85,000 delta.
T.A. Gardner wrote:My view is that logistics and engineering are a vital and integral part of industrialized warfare.
I don't think anyone disagrees with this.
As bad at logistics as the Germans were, it's not like they completely ignored it. As Creveld documents, even Hitler personally intervened in logistical matters during the Battle of France.
The only instance of Germany completely ignoring logistics is in their plan for the later stages of Barbarossa. I.e. what do we do if we need to supply a large army to fight Soviet reserves deep into Russia? They didn't plan for those logistics because the strategic conception couldn't permit the pre-conditions for needing such planning.
Change the strategic conception and the logistical planning would have changed as well.
Not to the extent that you recommend of course, but sufficient to allow the Ostheer to fight like the Ostheer deeper into Russia - bad logistics and all.
T.A. Gardner wrote:So, the Germans studied tactics and got really good at tactical and operational warfare. That is, fighting on the battlefield. The Allies, to one degree or another, studied strategy, logistics, and engineering. Turns out these were / are what wins wars.
Obviously the allies had a lot more going for them than logistics. Like ~3-1 edges in manpower and production.
To truly isolate logistics and treat it as a natural experiment versus operations/tactics, we'd have to imagine the allies fighting three or so Germany's at once.
The allies would have won the OTL war even with German-style bad logistics. It would have taken longer to get across France and Eastern Europe, but they still would have won.
T.A. Gardner wrote:Maybe Cult Icon should read Van Creveld on this subject...
I've posted some criticism of Van Creveld's analysis of the Moscow battle here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=242003&p=2214954&h ... s#p2214942

Although I love the text overall, Creveld is obviously not an expert on the operational aspects of the Eastern Front.
T.A. Gardner wrote:Now, what I've proposed is probably a complete non-starter for Germany because it means a near upheaval of their current civil engineering methods and the introduction of far better logistical planning.
I agree. It's why my interest in alternative history is limited to examining the impacts of individual decisions/characters such as Hitler's strategic outlook. The logistics analysis is interesting for comparative military history and analysis, however.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Aug 2019 22:08

Aida1 wrote:
12 Aug 2019 11:35
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
12 Aug 2019 06:08
Stiltzkin wrote:You do not really need more Panzer Groups, you need more basic IDs.
What's your argument for that?
And what's your argument against (1) that AGS would have encircled/destroyed Southwest Front given another mobile pincer from Romania and (2) that such encirclement combined with follow-on encirclements by AGS wouldn't have decisive strategic impact?
He made a good Point.AGC is where the decision is made.
I don't see where Stiltzkin makes that point but I'll take it from you anyways.
AGC as the Schwerpunkt is, of course, the old line of the German generals. They were wrong before and during Barbarossa; after the war they were either disingenuous or highly motivated to shift blame from themselves and onto Hitler.
Aida1 wrote:Yes.More Id's to cordon off and clean the pockets which allows the mobile divisions to continue their advance
To evaluate the cost/benefit of more ID's versus more mobile formations would require estimating something like:
  • 1. the "leakage rate" of OTL encirclements and the delta to that rate from more ID's
  • 2. the benefits of mobile divisions "continuing their advance" earlier
Re (1) - let's say 25% leakage of manpower OTL and 5% leakage of equipment (usually escapees had to abandon all heavy equipment). Most of that leakage was from the east-facing perimeter of the pockets through the overstretched mobile divisions before the ID's caught up, so more ID's doesn't solve the problem. Indeed, it's an argument for more mobile infantry. But even if standard ID's magically leaped forward with the mobile divisions and prevented ANY leakage from pockets, that's a ~25% delta to prisoners taken and a smaller delta to equipment losses. Compare that prisoner delta with enabling AGS to execute its own double envelopments: That would cause >100% increase in POW's, as AGS faced more Soviets to encircle than AGC. More mobile divisions enables either more pockets that leak or OTL pockets that leak less. The choice seems obvious to me.

Re (2), the mobile divisions advanced too fast anyways, outstripping their logistics and inflicting long-term damage on themselves.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by MarkN » 12 Aug 2019 22:14

T. A. Gardner wrote:
12 Aug 2019 17:38
Now, what I've proposed is probably a complete non-starter for Germany because it means a near upheaval of their current civil engineering methods and the introduction of far better logistical planning.
For the Heer to rethink its civil engineering capability and reach would be a minor diversion from historical reality compared to those required by TheMarcksPlan's propositions. Indeed, l'd argue it would be just one of the many components of the far wider effort required to get the Heer collectively to realign its thinking on how to conduct war. A realignment from trying to win BARBAROSSA in 5-6 months to spreading the effort over 2 years. So, hardly out of place in this thread. ;)

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

Post by Stiltzkin » 12 Aug 2019 22:34

He made a good Point.AGC is where the decision is made.
No he did not, at least only partially. Germany lost the war because it lacked manpower to fight the Soviets, hold and capture ground and at the same time, defend the European soil. What Germany needed were more basic IDs. That is how the Soviets won the war. On a side note: The forces committed to the offensive at the end of 1941 could have potentially achieved their goals, but the general staff got cold feet. Your Panzer Group is going to be occupied with more and more tasks (compare: the summer offensives in 1943). There are two problems: Sustainment and defense. Your Panzer Group is either going to starve in the attack or will be incapable of defending the Muscovite region. Advances during the Rasputitsa were even slower than in the Winter. The increase in mechanization of your forces requires a greater shift of personnel to supporting elements and might even weaken the main corpus of the Army. This would eliminate your race against time. That the AGC sector is the most critical one is well known to every layman.

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 12 Aug 2019 23:12

Stiltzkin wrote:
12 Aug 2019 22:34
He made a good Point.AGC is where the decision is made.
No he did not, at least only partially. Germany lost the war because it lacked manpower to fight the Soviets, hold and capture ground and at the same time, defend the European soil. What Germany needed were more ...
...everything. :D

Pretty much on the button. Manpower was always a problem, balancing between the needs of industry and agriculture and the military, balancing military requirements, and so on. Of course, financially things weren't much better and nor was industry. Basically, if it couldn't be manufactured and fueled using coal the Germans were screwed. They expended huge resources of money, coal, steel, and manpower on synthetic fuel in order to be independent...and yet they remained chronically short of fuel for the entire war. They expended huge resources of money, coal, and manpower to mine the Salzgitter ore deposits in order to be independent...and yet they remained dependent on Swedish ore for the entire war. And yet, the premise is that if they just tweak the exact right mix of production, fuel, and manpower, they would win the war. Hindsight much?
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Aug 2019 23:30

Stiltzkin wrote:
12 Aug 2019 22:34
He made a good Point.AGC is where the decision is made.
No he did not, at least only partially. Germany lost the war because it lacked manpower to fight the Soviets, hold and capture ground and at the same time, defend the European soil. What Germany needed were more basic IDs. That is how the Soviets won the war. On a side note: The forces committed to the offensive at the end of 1941 could have potentially achieved their goals, but the general staff got cold feet. Your Panzer Group is going to be occupied with more and more tasks (compare: the summer offensives in 1943). There are two problems: Sustainment and defense. Your Panzer Group is either going to starve in the attack or will be incapable of defending the Muscovite region. Advances during the Rasputitsa were even slower than in the Winter. The increase in mechanization of your forces requires a greater shift of personnel to supporting elements and might even weaken the main corpus of the Army. This would eliminate your race against time. That the AGC sector is the most critical one is well known to every layman.
This post is a series of conventional wisdom generalities about manpower, time, and the old Moscow vs. Ukraine debate. I understand that I haven't convinced you but I wrote specific arguments and don't really feel like addressing generalities.

If you want to be more specific about how the ID's are going to be decisive, including how many ID's and how to get them, then I'll be happy to respond. Otherwise we'll have to remain, respectfully, in disagreement.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 13 Aug 2019 05:19

@TheMarcksPlan - have you considered the possibility that Hitler comes to a strategic awakening about the need to focus on the Heer much earlier, i.e., when he comes to power in 1933/34? My understanding is that Hitler did not want to build a navy at all, but Erich Raeder somehow managed to convince him of the strategic importance of having a powerful navy. So it seems all that is needed for your ATL to play out is that Hitler ignores Raeder back in 1934.

P.S. Does anyone know how Raeder managed to get so much influence over Hitler? Hitler didn't want a big navy, but Raeder convinced him to build one. Hitler didn't want to invade Norway, but Raeder convinced him to. It seems like Admiral Raeder did as much to help the Allied cause as Admiral Canaris!

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

Post by ljadw » 13 Aug 2019 06:40

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
13 Aug 2019 05:19
@TheMarcksPlan - have you considered the possibility that Hitler comes to a strategic awakening about the need to focus on the Heer much earlier, i.e., when he comes to power in 1933/34? My understanding is that Hitler did not want to build a navy at all, but Erich Raeder somehow managed to convince him of the strategic importance of having a powerful navy. So it seems all that is needed for your ATL to play out is that Hitler ignores Raeder back in 1934.

P.S. Does anyone know how Raeder managed to get so much influence over Hitler? Hitler didn't want a big navy, but Raeder convinced him to build one. Hitler didn't want to invade Norway, but Raeder convinced him to. It seems like Admiral Raeder did as much to help the Allied cause as Admiral Canaris!
Hitler decided to execute Weserübung because of the threat for the imports of Swedish iron ore .
And, that Canaris helped the Allies,is a Hollywood fable .

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

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 13 Aug 2019 07:38

ljadw wrote:
13 Aug 2019 06:40
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
13 Aug 2019 05:19
@TheMarcksPlan - have you considered the possibility that Hitler comes to a strategic awakening about the need to focus on the Heer much earlier, i.e., when he comes to power in 1933/34? My understanding is that Hitler did not want to build a navy at all, but Erich Raeder somehow managed to convince him of the strategic importance of having a powerful navy. So it seems all that is needed for your ATL to play out is that Hitler ignores Raeder back in 1934.

P.S. Does anyone know how Raeder managed to get so much influence over Hitler? Hitler didn't want a big navy, but Raeder convinced him to build one. Hitler didn't want to invade Norway, but Raeder convinced him to. It seems like Admiral Raeder did as much to help the Allied cause as Admiral Canaris!
Hitler decided to execute Weserübung because of the threat for the imports of Swedish iron ore .
Yes, that's one reason. The other was that Raeder lobbied hard for it because Norway would give the KM forward bases to threaten the UK's transatlantic shipping (and in general because it would increase the importance of the KM in the war effort). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation ... background

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

Post by ljadw » 13 Aug 2019 08:28

But the reality was that the German naval bases in Norway did not threaten the UK's transatlantic shipping,as this had as final destination the ports on the west coast of the UK,especially Liverpool .

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

Post by Aida1 » 13 Aug 2019 16:34

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
12 Aug 2019 22:08
Aida1 wrote:
12 Aug 2019 11:35
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
12 Aug 2019 06:08
Stiltzkin wrote:You do not really need more Panzer Groups, you need more basic IDs.
What's your argument for that?
And what's your argument against (1) that AGS would have encircled/destroyed Southwest Front given another mobile pincer from Romania and (2) that such encirclement combined with follow-on encirclements by AGS wouldn't have decisive strategic impact?
He made a good Point.AGC is where the decision is made.
I don't see where Stiltzkin makes that point but I'll take it from you anyways.
AGC as the Schwerpunkt is, of course, the old line of the German generals. They were wrong before and during Barbarossa; after the war they were either disingenuous or highly motivated to shift blame from themselves and onto Hitler.
Aida1 wrote:Yes.More Id's to cordon off and clean the pockets which allows the mobile divisions to continue their advance
To evaluate the cost/benefit of more ID's versus more mobile formations would require estimating something like:
  • 1. the "leakage rate" of OTL encirclements and the delta to that rate from more ID's
  • 2. the benefits of mobile divisions "continuing their advance" earlier
Re (1) - let's say 25% leakage of manpower OTL and 5% leakage of equipment (usually escapees had to abandon all heavy equipment). Most of that leakage was from the east-facing perimeter of the pockets through the overstretched mobile divisions before the ID's caught up, so more ID's doesn't solve the problem. Indeed, it's an argument for more mobile infantry. But even if standard ID's magically leaped forward with the mobile divisions and prevented ANY leakage from pockets, that's a ~25% delta to prisoners taken and a smaller delta to equipment losses. Compare that prisoner delta with enabling AGS to execute its own double envelopments: That would cause >100% increase in POW's, as AGS faced more Soviets to encircle than AGC. More mobile divisions enables either more pockets that leak or OTL pockets that leak less. The choice seems obvious to me.

Re (2), the mobile divisions advanced too fast anyways, outstripping their logistics and inflicting long-term damage on themselves.
You show a lack of understanding of mobile operations here.From an operational viewpoint,you need to keep pushung forward while your ID's deal with surrounded enemy units.That is what German mobile commanders wanted.Outstripping your logistics is inherent in deep advances.Will slow you down but is no reason to stop your advance.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Aug 2019 21:12

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:@TheMarcksPlan - have you considered the possibility that Hitler comes to a strategic awakening about the need to focus on the Heer much earlier, i.e., when he comes to power in 1933/34? My understanding is that Hitler did not want to build a navy at all, but Erich Raeder somehow managed to convince him of the strategic importance of having a powerful navy. So it seems all that is needed for your ATL to play out is that Hitler ignores Raeder back in 1934.
The biggest positive difference that makes is that probably the larger/later ships aren't built (Bismarcks/Tirpitz/Graf Spee and maybe a couple heavy cruisers). That would be a very beneficial change, IMO, but doesn't seem necessary to my ATL. It also invites questions some questions about hindsight. Plus with no surface fleet at all there's no way to take Norway, which is a big problem.

My POD is 1938 after Hitler's aggression has made clear that the UK would oppose him. Prior to that point, the Hitler could reasonably have seen the KM as aimed at France/SU.
Aida1 wrote:You show a lack of understanding of mobile operations here.From an operational viewpoint,you need to keep pushung forward while your ID's deal with surrounded enemy units.That is what German mobile commanders wanted.Outstripping your logistics is inherent in deep advances.Will slow you down but is no reason to stop your advance.
Sounds like you're parroting the German generals' memoirs and haven't read much of Glantz, Stahel, Zettlering et. al., nor conducted your own analysis of the cost and benefits of the OKH line.
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