Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

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Peter89
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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Peter89 » 09 Sep 2020 14:29

Gooner1 wrote:
08 Sep 2020 14:09
Peter89 wrote:
08 Sep 2020 12:44
... Vichy Syria had enough aviation fuel to allow the German troops to arrive to Iraq.
That would be thousands of tons of aviation fuel.
So what?

Vichy France had a refinery in Tripoli, with the oil flowing from Kirkuk, it could support a way larger force than they did OTL.

Besides, the Iraqi air force had a very good, formerly RAF base, the Rasheed Air Base / RAF Hinaidi, that supported over 50 planes with no fuel problem.

Moreover, the Germans transported a miniature aviation fuel refinery and ground crew, etc. to Iraq.

Student had about 500 Ju-52 at his disposal, and given their 18-men capacity, in a single roundtrip they could have doubled the Iraqi forces and secure Iraq. Also, Ju-52s could carry fuel too (even if it was very, very uneconomical, especially on long trips), but it wasn't the point, because a few roundtrips could have built up enough stocks to enable the transfer of the mentioned troops to Iraq.

DeGaulle and Churchill were working on the French colonies since August 1940, while Germany was entertaining the idea of the Battle of Britain (which was doomed to fail) and Barbarossa (doomed to fail as well) when the critical moment came, the divided their airborne / airlifted troops between Crete and AGS.
Gooner1 wrote:
08 Sep 2020 14:09
The Germans didn't have any troops in the area because they didn't have any allies in the area. The nearest they could get to Iraq was the Italian colony of Rhodes - about 1,300 kilometres from Mosul. They could, I suppose, have tried to inveigle Vichy Syria to grant them access earlier .. but that would just have prompted an earlier reply from the British.
It's not quite correct.

The Germans could have used the opportunity to cooperate with the Italians and attack Greece on 28 October 1940, gaining access to the Athens airport sooner. And they could have shipped their stuff via Ju-52s with lighter load directly into Iraq until the Vichy agreement arrives. Again, this is very much uneconomical, but we are talking about an expeditionary operation.

By the way, the Germans did not need to rush much more than they did OTL - they simply needed a shift of strategic focus. Without local support by Rashid Ali and the Golden Square, they did not stand a chance, and the whole operation didn't make any sense. So if the Germans were able to complete the occupation of Greece about a month earlier (which they could have done easily) and / or struck the deal with the Vichy a month before, they could have supported the Iraqis substantially better.

Also, with German assistance, it is very unlikely that Operation Compass could have been so successful, effectively destroying the Italian Army in Egypt.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Gooner1 » 10 Sep 2020 11:21

Peter89 wrote:
09 Sep 2020 14:29

Vichy France had a refinery in Tripoli, with the oil flowing from Kirkuk, it could support a way larger force than they did OTL.
And was the oil flowing?
Besides, the Iraqi air force had a very good, formerly RAF base, the Rasheed Air Base / RAF Hinaidi, that supported over 50 planes with no fuel problem.

Moreover, the Germans transported a miniature aviation fuel refinery and ground crew, etc. to Iraq.

Student had about 500 Ju-52 at his disposal, and given their 18-men capacity, in a single roundtrip they could have doubled the Iraqi forces and secure Iraq. Also, Ju-52s could carry fuel too (even if it was very, very uneconomical, especially on long trips), but it wasn't the point, because a few roundtrips could have built up enough stocks to enable the transfer of the mentioned troops to Iraq.
Rough calculations. Ju52 range of 1000 km, fuel capacity 2500 litres. Distance Rhodes - Latakia c800km, distance Latakia - Baghdad c800km. Round distance c3200km, say 8 tons of fuel times 500 aircraft = 4000 tons of fuel, of which 2000 tons have to be found in Syria and 1000 tons in Iraq for one trip.
Which is not counting any of the fighter or bomber aircraft that might be needed to accompany them. Good luck with this plan. :milwink:

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Peter89 » 10 Sep 2020 13:22

Gooner1 wrote:
10 Sep 2020 11:21
Peter89 wrote:
09 Sep 2020 14:29

Vichy France had a refinery in Tripoli, with the oil flowing from Kirkuk, it could support a way larger force than they did OTL.
And was the oil flowing?
Yes, it was.
Iraqi troops simultaneously seized the oilfields at Kirkuk, promptly shutting down the flow of oil to Haifa and opening up that to Tripoli, a flow that Britain had originally closed down with the collapse of France nearly a year before.
Robert Lyman: Iraq 1941, p. 39.
Gooner1 wrote:
10 Sep 2020 11:21
Rough calculations. Ju52 range of 1000 km, fuel capacity 2500 litres. Distance Rhodes - Latakia c800km, distance Latakia - Baghdad c800km. Round distance c3200km, say 8 tons of fuel times 500 aircraft = 4000 tons of fuel, of which 2000 tons have to be found in Syria and 1000 tons in Iraq for one trip.
Which is not counting any of the fighter or bomber aircraft that might be needed to accompany them. Good luck with this plan. :milwink:
Wrong calculations, but the method is wrong as well.

If you want to insert Rhodes into the supply chain line (I am not sure if it was able to support an airfleet of this size), the first wave of Ju-52-s could fly with a full load (about 1.5 tons) of aviation fuel. That means one wave of 500 Ju-52 could deliver 750 tons of fuel to Rhodes in a roundtrip (for the cost of 1250 tons of fuel).

Probably you are aware that a plane can fly longer with lighter load.
https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/2016/ ... ers-ju-52/

From Rhodes to Mosul it is roughly 1360km, so a Ju-52 with a light load of 0.5 ton could do it without refueling at all. 500 planes could carry cca. 250t of matériel or about 3000 equipped soldiers. Per turn.

And that's without any aviation fuel in either Syria or Iraq (which wasn't the case).

- Also, if the Germans opt to ship their troops directly from Greece (Athens) to Damascus, they could do it with round trips of 3000 crack soldiers.
- Then, you divide your airlift capacities: 200 planes carry a full load of fuel for a one-way trip, and 300 planes carry a light load for a roundtrip (200*1.5)+(300*0.5)= 450t fuel, and the 200 planes can deploy the 3000 soldiers to Iraq.

Again, that's without any aviation fuel in either Syria or Iraq.

As for the fighters / bombers, the problem wasn't that there wasn't enough aviation fuel in Iraq or Syria: the LW/Iraqis could have operated about at least 100+ modern aircrafts with seasoned veterans from their air bases (OTL they did operate approximately the same amount) against the greenhorns of RAF Habbaniya. The problem was the lack of spare parts, etc. because the strategic reserves were built up for the Barbarossa.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by EwenS » 10 Sep 2020 14:45

The fly in the ointment with any plan to send significant reinforcements into Syria / Iraq from Rhodes, is that they have to sail / fly past Cyprus with its British fighters based there. Normally that would only be a single fighter squadron, but detachments of Beaufighters and other strike aircraft were also regularly based there. I don’t see Britain standing by and simply letting this happen if it can possibly intervene.

The only way to avoid that is by the Axis having the co-operation of the Turks allowing use of their territory / airspace, with the risk for them of being dragged into a war they don’t seem very keen to join.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 10 Sep 2020 21:14

Peter89 wrote:
09 Sep 2020 13:27
...

I'd be very much interested!
From experience it would take 12 to 18 months to get to a playable game model from where I am now. I could do it in 3-6 months were some wealthy angel to subsidize me & and staff so the distraction of a day job and personal commitments could be waived away.

Few game models of the Mediterranean have been made & something broad and flexible enough to model assorted strategic options like this has intrigued me for a couple decades.

Anyone have data on the actual capacity of the Spanish, Italian, North African, Egyptian, levantine, Turkish, and Balkan railways were in 1941? I suspect about 25% per kilometer of the capacity of the US, or Franco Belgian railways of the same era but don't have enough data to prove anything one way or another.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Peter89 » 11 Sep 2020 13:45

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
10 Sep 2020 21:14
Peter89 wrote:
09 Sep 2020 13:27
...

I'd be very much interested!
From experience it would take 12 to 18 months to get to a playable game model from where I am now. I could do it in 3-6 months were some wealthy angel to subsidize me & and staff so the distraction of a day job and personal commitments could be waived away.

Few game models of the Mediterranean have been made & something broad and flexible enough to model assorted strategic options like this has intrigued me for a couple decades.

Anyone have data on the actual capacity of the Spanish, Italian, North African, Egyptian, levantine, Turkish, and Balkan railways were in 1941? I suspect about 25% per kilometer of the capacity of the US, or Franco Belgian railways of the same era but don't have enough data to prove anything one way or another.
Do you think such thing is possible at all?

It requires to incorporate a bit too many variables involving diplomacy (coups, alliances and collapses).

Even more so because we are talking about a whole strategy here, with multiple consecutive and parallel operations and events, which were very-very unpredictable and volatile themselves.

Who could have thought that the Vichy French troops (and especially the navy) will collaborate with the Germans to that extent as they did?
Who could have thought that Franco will not allow the German troops through Spain to take Gibraltar?
Who could have thought that Operation Merkur will be a success (and the Allied troops will abandon Hill 107 near Maleme)?
Who could have thought that the Italians will fail in Greece and in Egypt?
Who could have thought the collapse of the pro-German government in Yugoslavia?

Also, we are talking about a series of attacks including:
- Operation Mercury
- Operation Herkules
- Operation Felix (or the war plan against Spain + Portugal)
- Operation 25
- Operation Marita

My problem with the concept of such a "wargame" or alternative strategy here is that with every flip of the coin we are getting a more and more generalized outcome. So we can start with a German invasion of Turkey and model it; we can start with an Axis invasion of Malta, and model it, and we'll have a relatively clear picture. But if we add up all of them together, our picture for the end of 1941 will be something like a faint generalization.

Not to mention the global picture, where there was another conflict brewing in the Pacific, which was interconnected with the fate of the British Empire.

As for the railroads: in Iraq, the Berlin-Baghdad railroad was finally completed in 1940. However, the gauges were a patchwork (of standard gauge, narrow gauge and metre gauge) because of the circumstances of the completition. I'm not sure how much it would have hindered the logistical operations.

As for Turkey:
Transportation of chrome from the mines to the ports was interrupted during the
harvest season as well. Harvest season in Anatolia starts in September and when it starts all
the wagons and locomotives are send for the transportation of the harvest. During the
harvest season chrome delivery had to stop.
And again, the chromite (which was limited in quantity) caused a lot of trouble to the Axis. They had to use sea / river trasnports, load and unload the stuff multiple times over, and travel thousands of miles with it. The Balkans could be supported to a single, exposed line only. The railway through Turkey was an existing, but not too promising logistical line for operations in the ME. I think transporting the Iraqi / Irani oil to Germany and refine it there was not a viable option (even with Turkish cooperation).

See also:
https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/ant ... N.HTM#main
http://dracobooks.com/The-German-Campai ... brand.html

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Avalancheon » 13 Sep 2020 05:09

Dark Age wrote:
08 Sep 2020 22:00
Avalancheon wrote:
07 Sep 2020 06:37
If Germany has not resolved the impasse with the USSR, then why would they strike at Turkey first? That is a very risky strategy, especially if the Soviets militarily intervene (which they are damn near certain to do, as TheMarcksPlan points out).
It's just the nature of geography. Germany had to fight France in 1940 with that same risk (when it was greater).
That doesn't answer the question, though. Your original claim was that: ''Germany going to war on-side-of or against Turkey doesn't equal CANNOT GO TO WAR WITH SOVIET UNION EVER.''

If Germany has reason to believe that the Soviet Union will turn on them, then why would they attack Turkey first? It is not adequate to point to the situation that existed in 1940, when Germany was attacking France and the Low countries. The Red Army had just gotten humiliated in Finland, and was significantly weaker in 1940 than it was in 1941.
Dark Age wrote:
08 Sep 2020 22:00
If Germany and the Soviet Union agree to divide Turkey then this agreement can be reached. I doubt this will happen though which strengthens your's, Kingfish's and MarcksPlan's point of Soviet intervention (against Germany). You couldn't really trust Stalin to honor any agreement otherwise (outside of jointly attacking Turkey with Hitler, as Soviet forces aren't committed), so there is no flank protection.
What makes you so certain that the Soviets would not accommodate Germany? They had their own territorial claims on Turkey: They wanted to annex Kars province and gain bases in the Bosphorous straits. The Soviets helped Germany destroy and partition Poland between them, theres no reason why they wouldn't do the same with Turkey (if the right incentives are given). And BTW, a diplomatic accommodation does not need to be predicated on total uninvolvement from the Soviets.

Turkey1.png
Dark Age wrote:
08 Sep 2020 22:00
What choice do they have? Even if they didn't attack Turkey (fought Britain and fought in North Africa)?
There were lots of choices at their disposal. Even if you restrict the discussion to an invasion of Turkey, there were two separate options, and one is clearly better than the other.

1) Attack Turkey with the approval of the USSR.
2) Attack Turkey without the approval of the USSR.
Dark Age wrote:
08 Sep 2020 22:00
Why would any intelligent person assume the Red Army could be destroyed West of the Dneiper-Dvina Line (and the Soviet Union defeated) if they would just retreat and do a scorched earth strategy in the face of an invasion like they did in 1708, 1812? One (more reasonable/less narcissistic) than Hitler would have to assume this in 1940-41.
Because it isn't 1812 anymore: Its 1941. Russia is a completely different entity from what it was. They are a more settled people who live in actual citys. Population densitys are higher, and farms are more important. The Soviets can't just burn the farms down and evacuate their people to the East without risking famines. They can't just withdraw the Red Army and abandon their factorys without a fight, as that will cripple their industrial base.

Moreover, you don't seem to understand just how different the scale of the 1941 German invasion was from the French invasion of 1812. The Wehrmacht was advancing on a much broader front than the Grande Armee, and they were actually occupying all the ground they took. That by itself completely changed the nature of the war that was being fought. Napoleon advanced on a very narrow front, while Hitler moved across the entire breadth of Russia. Look at the maps, for gods sake.

French Invasion of Russia 1812.png
Invasion of the USSR 1941.png

These are things that the average person doesn't take into consideration when they compare the French and German invasions. They boast that Napoleon did better than Hitler because he actually managed to take Moscow. They say this while completely ignoring the fact that he only got this far because the Russians largely avoided battle, which spelled disaster for Napoleon later on. The Grand Armee was forced to retreat all the way back to their starting positions due to supply shortages, all while being pursued by the Russian army they failed to destroy.
Dark Age wrote:
08 Sep 2020 22:00
As crazy as this alternative sounds (fighting Turkey in 1941 if it doesn't join the Axis), it might work better for Germany, even if Stalin attacks/declares war. It would have sounded crazy that in 1805 and 1809, that Austria (and Russia for the former year) declaring war on France works to Napoleon's benefit, as he was fighting the British (and Spain/Portugal in the Peninsular War for the latter year: 1809) but it did work to Napoleon's advantage, as he won both wars.

Any sensible person would assume that the only way to destroy the Red Army in battles of annihilation was to provoke Stalin to attack first (since the intelligent strategist would have to assume the Russians would just retreat/scorch earth when invaded). Attacking Turkey (if they couldn't ally with it) might be this very provocation, again, as crazy as it sounds.
Again, you are ignoring the fact that armys can deal out much heavier losses in an offensive than they ever can when on the defensive. If the Germans spend all of 1941 on the defensive against the Soviets, then there is simply no way they can realistically inflict the same number of irrecoverable losses (K.I.A., P.O.W.) that they historically did. And moreover, the Soviets will be in an even stronger position due to not evacuating all their factorys East (or losing them to German occupation). The war of production will favour them more heavily than it did in OTL.
Dark Age wrote:
08 Sep 2020 22:00
Give me a freaking break. A state cannot complain 'we didn't fight to our full capacity because we were attacked." This would be like a professional fighter complaining his opponent blitzed attacked him off the bell, in the first seconds of the fight, which is legal and should be prepared for.

The Soviet Union did fight to it's full capacity and their incompetence/ineptitude is what helped Germany have initial success. The Russians lost the territory/infrastructure you are talking about; they held it first and failed to defend it. The Russian Juggernaut you are talking about never existed..ever. [/attachment]
You're missing the point. Operation Barbarossa inflicted a level of destruction that was comparable to a nuclear 1st strike. It was a blow that would have destroyed any other country except Russia. They had the geography, population, industry, and determination to survive an attack of that scale. But the Soviets were not fighting in the manner that they could have, in the absence of such a surprise attack. They were like a soldier going into battle with an arm and an eye missing.
Dark Age wrote:
08 Sep 2020 22:00
In fact, I would argue the Great Patriotic War saw the Soviet Union fight beyond its capacity, as spiritually they were fighting for their very lives against an enemy that wanted to enslave/exterminate them. This spiritual advantage can be lost if Stalin attacks Hitler making setbacks, military disaster and German counter-attack more damaging than the original timeline. And a large amount of that territory/population/infrastructure, will still be taken by the German's when they counter-attack. The Russians aren't stronger on the attack, overall.
Yes, thats all true. But you're still missing the overarching point: How much harder could the Soviets have fought if they magically got back all their factorys, all their farmlands, all their soldiers and workers, etc? Would it be an exaggeration to suggest that they could have put up a better fight in this circumstance? Because in the absence of Operation Barbarossa, that is essentially the same kindof boost they would get.
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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Sep 2020 22:03

Avalancheon wrote:The Soviets helped Germany destroy and partition Poland between them, theres no reason why they wouldn't do the same with Turkey (if the right incentives are given). And BTW, a diplomatic accommodation does not need to be predicated on total uninvolvement from the Soviets.
Indeed. Germany's optimal move would be to have faked a Turkish settlement involving Soviet gains in Turkey a few months prior to Barbarossa. Then let Stalin publicly proclaim his demands while Germany dawdles, Hitler telling Stalin he can't move to claim his piece of Turkish pie until Ankara has capitulated lest Britain gain a base for bombing Ploesti. This humiliates and angers the Turkish public so much that even Inonu can't ignore the national mood for blood. Once Barbarossa is launched, the Turks likely join by '42 at the latest. W.Allued support for Turkey would end, pushing Turkey further into Axis arms and leading them on the path to war with the West (if the West doesn't declare it first, which they might).

Dark Age - your comments evince a view of the economics of warfare stuck in the Dark Ages. As Avalancheon rightly points out, there is no valid analogy to 1812-style strategy. Modern armies rely on the economic/demographic base in ways that the short, capital-poor pre-modern campaigns did not.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Dark Age » 14 Sep 2020 03:13

Avalancheon wrote:
13 Sep 2020 05:09

That doesn't answer the question, though. Your original claim was that: ''Germany going to war on-side-of or against Turkey doesn't equal CANNOT GO TO WAR WITH SOVIET UNION EVER.''

If Germany has reason to believe that the Soviet Union will turn on them, then why would they attack Turkey first? It is not adequate to point to the situation that existed in 1940, when Germany was attacking France and the Low countries. The Red Army had just gotten humiliated in Finland, and was significantly weaker in 1940 than it was in 1941.
When I claimed there was no flank protection, I meant Germany would always have to keep adequate forces in the East to prepare for the possibility of a Soviet Attack, regardless of what the Germans did in the Mediterranean/Middle East, regardless of what the Germans did diplomatically. They had to do this in May 1940 too when attacking France.

Germany was also significantly weaker in 1940 than in 1941. If war between the Soviet Union and Germany was so inevitable, then Stalin should have attacked Romania in Mid-May 1940 (attacking Germany indirectly but decisively). The Germans had to take the risk that Stalin wouldn't do this, as the German army invaded France and the Low Countries. A strategy which seeks to attack the Middle East via Turkey in Spring 1941 is less risky than the risk the Germans took historically in 1940.

You claiming it's obvious in 1940 that the Soviets wouldn't attack Germany while Germany was engaged in the West seems like hindsight to me. I doubt this was as obvious in May 1940. Hitler got lucky the Russians didn't attack because of Stalin's ineptitude.

You claiming the war between the Germans and Soviets was seen as inevitable so there would be no reason the Germans would embark on a Turkish campaign (why attack Turkey) is irrelevant. As I will explain below, Germany shouldn't invade the Soviet Union because it is foolish. If Stalin doesn't attack, then Germany has to either wait (do nothing and just keep pressure on the British) or do something else (ally with or attack Turkey; which might provoke the Russians to attack which could be a good or bad thing; probably good).

Avalancheon wrote:
13 Sep 2020 05:09

What makes you so certain that the Soviets would not accommodate Germany? They had their own territorial claims on Turkey: They wanted to annex Kars province and gain bases in the Bosphorous straits. The Soviets helped Germany destroy and partition Poland between them, theres no reason why they wouldn't do the same with Turkey (if the right incentives are given). And BTW, a diplomatic accommodation does not need to be predicated on total uninvolvement from the Soviets.

Turkey1.png
Dark Age wrote:
08 Sep 2020 22:00
What choice do they have? Even if they didn't attack Turkey (fought Britain and fought in North Africa)?
There were lots of choices at their disposal. Even if you restrict the discussion to an invasion of Turkey, there were two separate options, and one is clearly better than the other.

1) Attack Turkey with the approval of the USSR.
2) Attack Turkey without the approval of the USSR.
When I expressed my doubt about a German-Soviet joint attack/occupation of Turkey I was simply accounting for the worst possible scenario for Germany I suppose. If the above is truly realistic then it presents a better strategy for the Germans to embark on than the OTL.
Avalancheon wrote:
13 Sep 2020 05:09

Because it isn't 1812 anymore: Its 1941. Russia is a completely different entity from what it was. They are a more settled people who live in actual citys. Population densitys are higher, and farms are more important. The Soviets can't just burn the farms down and evacuate their people to the East without risking famines. They can't just withdraw the Red Army and abandon their factorys without a fight, as that will cripple their industrial base.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Sep 2020 22:03

Dark Age - your comments evince a view of the economics of warfare stuck in the Dark Ages. As Avalancheon rightly points out, there is no valid analogy to 1812-style strategy. Modern armies rely on the economic/demographic base in ways that the short, capital-poor pre-modern campaigns did not.
What are you two suggesting? That the Red Army should allow itself to get surrounded then annihilated/destroyed by the attacking Wehrmacht in June-July 1941? Why? For the impoverished region of Belarus ? For the Swampy Western Ukraine? For the meaningless Baltic Satellite States? All because of the bluster "this isn't 1812?" Population density was bigger overall (across all countries) in 1941 compared to 1812. Who cares?

The Red Army retreating the first month or two of the war is sound strategy (which worked by the way in 1942). This doesn't mean I think the Russians should allow the Germans to take Moscow (which was more important in 1941 than 1812) or industrial/productive regions deep in Russia.

The Russians retreating in the opening phases of Barbarossa would have saved hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million, Soviet troops from death or capture. This would see the Russians reach their full potential; a Stalingrad (a major German defeat) would have likely happened a year earlier in the Winter of 1941-1942.

Operation Barbarossa didn't account for this (the worst case scenario). The plan assumed the Russians would stand and fight which means the plan is asinine. The fact that the Red Army stood and fought and , because such, got surrounded and annihilated, makes Barbarossa seem more sensible than it really was. An intelligent man couldn't invade the Soviet Union in the manner of the OTL because he would assume the worst case scenario of initial Soviet retreat.
Avalancheon wrote:
13 Sep 2020 05:09

Moreover, you don't seem to understand just how different the scale of the 1941 German invasion was from the French invasion of 1812. The Wehrmacht was advancing on a much broader front than the Grande Armee, and they were actually occupying all the ground they took. That by itself completely changed the nature of the war that was being fought. Napoleon advanced on a very narrow front, while Hitler moved across the entire breadth of Russia. Look at the maps, for gods sake.


French Invasion of Russia 1812.png

Invasion of the USSR 1941.png


These are things that the average person doesn't take into consideration when they compare the French and German invasions. They boast that Napoleon did better than Hitler because he actually managed to take Moscow. They say this while completely ignoring the fact that he only got this far because the Russians largely avoided battle, which spelled disaster for Napoleon later on. The Grand Armee was forced to retreat all the way back to their starting positions due to supply shortages, all while being pursued by the Russian army they failed to destroy.
I don't necessarily disagree with this. This isn't a point of contention.
Avalancheon wrote:
13 Sep 2020 05:09

Again, you are ignoring the fact that armys can deal out much heavier losses in an offensive than they ever can when on the defensive. If the Germans spend all of 1941 on the defensive against the Soviets, then there is simply no way they can realistically inflict the same number of irrecoverable losses (K.I.A., P.O.W.) that they historically did. And moreover, the Soviets will be in an even stronger position due to not evacuating all their factorys East (or losing them to German occupation). The war of production will favour them more heavily than it did in OTL.
I'd give Germany about 30-40 days to be on the defensive, then they counter-attack. At the end of 1941 (assuming the Soviets attack before the end of August) the Germans are at the Smolensk-Kiev line. And in this alternative timeline, they have moral parity (at least). That's scarier to me than material gain (to the Soviet's benefit).

Avalancheon wrote:
13 Sep 2020 05:09

You're missing the point. Operation Barbarossa inflicted a level of destruction that was comparable to a nuclear 1st strike. It was a blow that would have destroyed any other country except Russia. They had the geography, population, industry, and determination to survive an attack of that scale. But the Soviets were not fighting in the manner that they could have, in the absence of such a surprise attack. They were like a soldier going into battle with an arm and an eye missing.


Yes, thats all true. But you're still missing the overarching point: How much harder could the Soviets have fought if they magically got back all their factorys, all their farmlands, all their soldiers and workers, etc? Would it be an exaggeration to suggest that they could have put up a better fight in this circumstance? Because in the absence of Operation Barbarossa, that is essentially the same kindof boost they would get.
The Soviets admittedly would have more material power in this What-If, minus the determination. This is not a fair trade-off imo.

Nonetheless, Soviet incompetence is a main reason for the damage their country sustained in the Summer-Fall of 1941. This won't change in this alternate time. The incompetence is still there. A lot of men-material will still get squandered.

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Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Sep 2020 06:16

Dark Age wrote:The Red Army retreating the first month or two of the war is sound strategy (which worked by the way in 1942). This doesn't mean I think the Russians should allow the Germans to take Moscow (which was more important in 1941 than 1812) or industrial/productive regions deep in Russia.
This specification makes more sense than a broad and indeterminate strategy of "run away!" but it still lacks analysis of the factors I and others have been pointing you to. It also seems traceable to misunderstandings of what happened in Barbarossa's first weeks - a common error that many smart commentators make.

Specifically, you seem to believe that a temporary "run away" strategy would have prevented massive losses in June-July, after which the RKKA would be strong enough to stop the Ostheer from going further. This overestimates the scale of RKKA defeat in June-July and underestimates the damage inflicted on Ostheer in this period. Here's Ostheer's PoW haul for June-July:

Image

AGC had decisive success at Minsk, qualified success around Smolensk. In Ukraine and the Baltics Ostheer failed to accomplish large-scale encirclements. The first 6 weeks of Barbarossa were a serious strategic failure in terms of force-destruction.

But then the tide turned in Germany's favor. In the 5-6 weeks spanning the Battles of Kiev and Viazma-Briansk, RKKA lost >1.3mil men in Kessels in those two battles alone: ~2/3's of the Ostheer's haul from big encirclement battles.

For the Ostheer, July was the bloodiest month of Barbarossa, costing it >60k dead. The 9 days of June had higher Ostheer KIA rates than any other period in the East.

Had RKKA sat at the OTL August line on June 22, the Ostheer would have reached it with several hundred thousand more men and with vehicles far less degraded by wear. RKKA would have saved itself maybe a million troops? It's still far too weak to stop an Ostheer that hasn't bled and broken down in June-July.

If RKKA had put out mere screening forces to delay the Germans, these all would have been lost at little cost to Ostheer.

Even if we squint and say there's a marginal improvement in the August force ratios in your ATL, at what price has that come? Remarks like this show you haven't read much on Soviet economy, especially agriculture:
For the impoverished region of Belarus ? For the Swampy Western Ukraine?
"Swampy" Western Ukraine was a primary breadbasket of the USSR. AGS's slow progress there enabled the evacuation ~8mil tons of grain, millions of livestock, and millions of skilled and unskilled workers. The food alone may have been the difference between starvation and survival later in the war. If Western Ukraine includes everything west of the Dniepr, you're forfeiting critical metallurgical industries in the bend (Nikopol, Krivoi Rog, Dniepropetrovsk, Zaporizhe, Mikolyaev). Even less-industrialized territories (Baltics, Belarus, Galicia) still contained some industry. Had these territories contained so little of value, the SU wouldn't have spent half its rail capacity evacuating them at a time when its factories were producing less because of transport shortages and its armies were suffering from lack of supplies. For a working knowledge of these subjects, I recommend reading Mark Harrison's work (Soviet Planning in Peace and War is particularly good on evacuation), plus Hunger and War and The Bread of Affliction on food supply issues.
Dark Age wrote:Nonetheless, Soviet incompetence is a main reason for the damage their country sustained in the Summer-Fall of 1941. This won't change in this alternate time.
This is a hand-waive of stronger Soviet forces, not analysis. At the tactical level, the RKKA remained incompetent compared to Ostheer through VE-Day. It improved at the operational level and was always equal or better at strategy.

You can't hand-waive the fact that more Soviets with more guns/tanks/planes would kill more Germans, and that this would impact the outcome.
If the above [German-Soviet joint action on Turkey] is truly realistic then it presents a better strategy for the Germans to embark on than the OTL.
It is absolutely, indisputably true that Stalin proposed this to Hitler (via Molotov).

Upthread I recommended reading a book on this topic. In this post I have done the same.

Unlike many posters here, I don't think it is a mark of distinction to have read this or that book and to know this or that fact. I appreciate good analysis/creativity from someone who is willing to learn. But I strongly recommend taking seriously the idea that you have some gaps in your knowledge, take that constructively, and read up rather than digging in.

Peter89
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Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: Turkey joins the War in May 1941. Soviet Union's Reaction

Post by Peter89 » 17 Sep 2020 13:07

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
10 Sep 2020 21:14

Anyone have data on the actual capacity of the Spanish, Italian, North African, Egyptian, levantine, Turkish, and Balkan railways were in 1941? I suspect about 25% per kilometer of the capacity of the US, or Franco Belgian railways of the same era but don't have enough data to prove anything one way or another.
I just stumbled into an interesting piece online: https://artsandculture.google.com/exhib ... vfvT2XN7Kg

I had a long-term, still ongoing dispute about an alternative Mediterran strategy (sadly, most of it is in Hungarian), but maybe I'll start to organize it into a proper order and post it here.

Despite the genereally poor state of the Iberian railroads after the Spanish Civil War (and the different gauge they used), the system was surprisingly good, and we can safely assume that it was able to support almost any number of troops on the coastal areas (including Gibraltar).

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