HistoryGeek2019 wrote: ↑
28 Feb 2020 18:16
Just so we're clear though - it seems to be implicit in your ATL that Germany is capable of conquering and occupying the entire Soviet Union if it so chooses. Is that your belief?
Sort of but not in a literal sense. I believe Germany could have advanced along the rail lines as far it wanted. If SU doesn't surrender in Fall '42, for example, an Ostheer advance along the Trans-Siberian in '43 that was as deep as its OTL '41 advance would bring it from the Urals to around Omsk. Then in '44 another 1,000km advance brings it to around Krasnoyarsk, taking Novossibirsk along way. Of course the '43/'44 advances would probably be more rapid than Barbarossa because the morale and cohesion of the Red Army at this point would be abysmal.
Meanwhile, I'd expect all of Central Asia to be lost to the SU during '43 due to a combination of Ostheer advances and internal rebellion by the Turkic Muslim populations against the SU, assisted by Brandenberger covert operations. This is what we saw with the Muslim populations of the North Caucasus and under conditions less dire for the SU than would prevail in my ATL.
North of the Trans-Siberian railroad - and away from its spurs - I wouldn't foresee anything like a permanent occupation with a "Reichskommisariat Siberia" or something analogous. Rather, the sparse populations of those regions would be offered a deal: de facto autonomy and peaceable trade if they don't make trouble, raids that destroy/kill everything if they don't. Absent central infrastructure of the Soviet state, those regions could do little to oppose Germany other than pick up some rifles and run around the forests. The populace would meanwhile rapidly starve.
In Central Asia I wouldn't expect an occupation in the sense of a "Reichskommisariat Kazakhstan" but rather the establishment of a friendly/neutral Turkic/Muslim puppet state kept in line by a couple full-strength divisions deployed around the critical centers of power.
After the Germans have pushed to Omsk and detached Central Asia during '43, the rump Soviet state would be lucky to control a population of 25 million. Japan could probably take the Soviet Far East at that point.
The German advances post-'42 would require no more than 80 divisions, which is the number demobilized after the armistice in my ATL.
A German advance farther east from Krasnoyarsk would require no more than 30 divisions, with that number declining as the remaining pockets of Soviet population and industry disappeared. Theoretically they reach Vladivostok at some point in '45 with something like 10 divisions, but that's long past the point at which there's a meaningful chance of a meaningful Soviet state having endured.
In summary I don't think the issue is whether Germany could conquer and rule all the SU in the strict sense of creating a coherent successor state. Rather, I think the issue is whether Germany could have ended all industrial-scale resistance in Siberia by advancing along the rail lines and taking the remaining industrial centers.
What's more, I think that the foregoing post-'42 path of the war in this ATL would have been obvious to Stalin too: "I can't stop the Germans from taking Omsk and Novossibirsk if I force them to keep fighting in Russia, but it's highly likely the Germans have no interest in marching beyond the Urals. So let's make peace before the SU is totally destroyed even though (or especially because) that peace will strengthen Germany for the intra-capitalist war."