How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

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Lars
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Re: How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

Post by Lars » 24 Sep 2020 17:17

Antwony,

I find it helpful to answer in bullits as soon as these what-ifs start to get complicated and/or misinterpretated (not that that is the case here). So here I go:

* If the Germans start from Lithuania they should turn up in force at Leningrad in August.
* Then start to work their way northwards between Leningrad and Lake Ladoga
* This with three purposes:
* 1) To link up with the Finns
* 2) To complete the encirclement of Leningrad
* 3) Cut off Leningrad from any supplies including those across Lake Ladoga
* As soon as the Soviets facing the Germans realise that the can't stop the Germans moving northwards they will bucle up in Leningrad proper with the hope of a later getting rescued by Soviet forces lifting of the siege.
* The Soviets facing the Finns in the Karelian Istmus are now in danger of being attacked from the rear by the Germans
* So the Soviets retreat to Leningrad's northern suburbs
* All the Finns have to do is walk down the Karelian Istmus following the Soviet retreat.
* The Finns and the Germans can now link up.
* Leningrad is encircled and all supplies are cut off.

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Re: How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

Post by Kingfish » 24 Sep 2020 20:26

One possible issue I see with this is any advance by AG north would result in a wide open flank that was normally covered (to an extent) by the historical advance of AG center.
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Re: How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

Post by maltesefalcon » 24 Sep 2020 21:57

antwony wrote:
24 Sep 2020 09:35
Lars wrote:
22 Sep 2020 16:37
I see it now. Futurist: More disciplin about starting new threads and - first and foremost - fewer new threads would be appreciated, thanks.

For example, multiple repliers here haven't seemed to have correctly read his initial question, in that Finland would become part of the Soviet Union under the terms of the M-R pact.

But, to go along with the misinterpretations others have made i.e. Finland being still independent in Summer 1941.
Alex Tijerina wrote:
22 Sep 2020 00:41
I read that the Finns did not have the logistics to make it to Leningrad much less surround the city.
T
To be sure the map he referenced did show Finland's fate. But did he draw this map himself or use it as a reference when he wrote this in the OP:

"Specifically, I am talking about the map to the left here, where Lithuania ends up in the German sphere of influence under a German puppet government while the Soviet Union ends up getting an even larger slice of Poland."

Sounds to me like he was inviting discussion on Lithuania, the SU and Poland. I can't find any specific references to Finland at all in the initial post. But maybe I read it incorrectly...

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Re: How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Sep 2020 03:35

Lars wrote:
24 Sep 2020 17:17


* If the Germans start from Lithuania they should turn up in force at Leningrad in August.
* Then start to work their way northwards between Leningrad and Lake Ladoga
* This with three purposes:
* 1) To link up with the Finns
* 2) To complete the encirclement of Leningrad
* 3) Cut off Leningrad from any supplies including those across Lake Ladoga
* As soon as the Soviets facing the Germans realise that the can't stop the Germans moving northwards they will bucle up in Leningrad proper with the hope of a later getting rescued by Soviet forces lifting of the siege.
* The Soviets facing the Finns in the Karelian Istmus are now in danger of being attacked from the rear by the Germans
* So the Soviets retreat to Leningrad's northern suburbs
* All the Finns have to do is walk down the Karelian Istmus following the Soviet retreat.
* The Finns and the Germans can now link up.
* Leningrad is encircled and all supplies are cut off.
What's the strategic impact though, in terms of force ratios and Soviet war-making potential destroyed, of merely adding Leningrad to Ostheer's list of victories? You've wiped maybe 400k off the OoB? That hurts but does it fundamentally change the picture? In terms of war-making potential, Leningrad had little value OTL after being (mostly) encircled. Factories weren't producing much, there's obviously no significant agriculture.

If the better L'grad ending comes with leaving all the Donbas in Soviet hands that's a great trade for Stalin.

IMO you need to actually accomplish Barbarossa's stated goal of destroying (most of) the standing Red Army in the Border Battles (OTL 80% of RKKA escaped June/July in goodish form). Then repeat that feat a couple more times. Successively destroying the Red Army's incarnations allows you to take enough of the SU (say the line L'grad-Moscow-Rostov inclusive) to face a severely weakened Red Army in '42.

The extended Lithuania salient might assist a route to doing so: instead of reinforcing AGN, send its panzer group to AGS so it can mirror AGC in accomplishing its primary strategic goal (destroy the Red Army) via double envelopment/destruction of its opponents. Then have AG's C&S repeat that task a couple more times independently. Meanwhile push slowly north through the Baltics against weaker-than-OTL opposition - RKKA needs to reinforce the fronts destroyed by ATL AGS that survived in OTL.

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Re: How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

Post by antwony » 25 Sep 2020 11:47

Lars wrote:
24 Sep 2020 17:17
Antwony,

I find it helpful to answer in bullits as soon as these what-ifs start to get complicated and/or misinterpretated (not that that is the case here). So here I go:

* If the Germans start from Lithuania they should turn up in force at Leningrad in August.
* Then start to work their way northwards between Leningrad and Lake Ladoga
* This with three purposes:
* 1) To link up with the Finns
* 2) To complete the encirclement of Leningrad
* 3) Cut off Leningrad from any supplies including those across Lake Ladoga
* As soon as the Soviets facing the Germans realise that the can't stop the Germans moving northwards they will bucle up in Leningrad proper with the hope of a later getting rescued by Soviet forces lifting of the siege.
* The Soviets facing the Finns in the Karelian Istmus are now in danger of being attacked from the rear by the Germans
* So the Soviets retreat to Leningrad's northern suburbs
* All the Finns have to do is walk down the Karelian Istmus following the Soviet retreat.
* The Finns and the Germans can now link up.
* Leningrad is encircled and all supplies are cut off.
Lars,
If they started from further west, the Germans getting further makes a lot of sense. "At Leningrad" is a bit (i guess deliberately) vague and August seems pretty early. But sure, if that happened, that early, the Finnish Army would probably walk unopposed to the Leningrad's northern suburbs.

Linking up with the FInns, wasn't required to cut off Leningrad. If Army Group North reaches the lake, that's pretty much game over.
maltesefalcon wrote:
24 Sep 2020 21:57
To be sure the map he referenced did show Finland's fate. But did he draw this map himself or use it as a reference when he wrote this in the OP:

"Specifically, I am talking about the map to the left here, where Lithuania ends up in the German sphere of influence under a German puppet government while the Soviet Union ends up getting an even larger slice of Poland."

Sounds to me like he was inviting discussion on Lithuania, the SU and Poland. I can't find any specific references to Finland at all in the initial post. But maybe I read it incorrectly...
Good points. I should probably admit that I myself did what others seem to have done and didn't read Futurist's first post too closely. While I didn't actually mention it in my first post, I hadn't noticed he'd left Lithuania out... Strange thread

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Re: How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

Post by Lars » 26 Sep 2020 15:23

TheMarcksPlan: I'm not designing the optimum Barbrarossa plan. I'm trying to figure out what Hitler would have done if the original Molotov-Ribbentrop line was kept.

Sovling the northern front in the fall of 1941 is a huge bonus. Donbas could go free yes. So Donbas will get - what - 10 months more or so before the Axis overruns it in Case Blue in 1942. A problem for the Axis yes, but I would still make the trade.

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Re: How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Sep 2020 05:49

Lars wrote:So Donbas will get - what - 10 months more or so before the Axis overruns it in Case Blue in 1942. A problem for the Axis yes, but I would still make the trade.
I'd recommend a little deeper analysis of that trade, one that involves Soviet demographic/economic/agricultural resources over those 10 months. Taking Leningrad deprives SU of little on those factors; the ~10mil extra Ukrainian farmers/factory workers/recruits spend those 10 months producing food, weapons, and trained soldiers. The RKKA will likely be significantly stronger in June '42 than OTL, even after subtracting the forces destroyed in the Leningrad kessel.

In addition, Blau starts ~200km farther west, setting its territorial timeline back a month or so even if we assume it goes as well as OTL. Blau was hampered by blown railroad bridges OTL; your trade allows RKKA to blow up even more of them when Blau starts rolling.

IMO most commentators overvalue the Ostheer's PoW hauls in Barbarossa. Compared to reducing the Soviet economy and population by ~1/3, the battlefield damage was secondary. The Kessels were simply the means necessary to achieve (partially) the goal of destroying Soviet war-making potential. Trading Leningrad for Donbas puts the secondary goal ahead of the primary.

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Re: How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

Post by Lars » 27 Sep 2020 08:51

It is trading Donbas for solving the northern front. It gives the Germans Leningrad, makes the Finns more agressive (which is potentially a huge boost), and cuts most of the Lend-Lease coming in from Murmansk.

The Germans are also 2-300 kilometers closer to Moscow if they start from Lithuania. How far were they from Moscow in the real war - 30 kilometers? This is more speculative of course, but if Moscow is taken in late November, the Germans are likely worse off as they could be encircled in the city. But what if they take Moscow in October?

In the real war neither the northern, mid-(Moscow) or the southern front was resolved. This at least resolves the northern front in the fall of 1941, and should endanger Moscow.

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Re: How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

Post by Futurist » 28 Sep 2020 04:39

maltesefalcon wrote:
24 Sep 2020 21:57
antwony wrote:
24 Sep 2020 09:35
Lars wrote:
22 Sep 2020 16:37
I see it now. Futurist: More disciplin about starting new threads and - first and foremost - fewer new threads would be appreciated, thanks.

For example, multiple repliers here haven't seemed to have correctly read his initial question, in that Finland would become part of the Soviet Union under the terms of the M-R pact.

But, to go along with the misinterpretations others have made i.e. Finland being still independent in Summer 1941.
Alex Tijerina wrote:
22 Sep 2020 00:41
I read that the Finns did not have the logistics to make it to Leningrad much less surround the city.
T
To be sure the map he referenced did show Finland's fate. But did he draw this map himself or use it as a reference when he wrote this in the OP:

"Specifically, I am talking about the map to the left here, where Lithuania ends up in the German sphere of influence under a German puppet government while the Soviet Union ends up getting an even larger slice of Poland."

Sounds to me like he was inviting discussion on Lithuania, the SU and Poland. I can't find any specific references to Finland at all in the initial post. But maybe I read it incorrectly...
I presumed that Finland would have acted similarly to how it did in real life--as in, still attack the Soviet Union once Operation Barbarossa would have begun. Obviously you can discuss Finland here.

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Re: How differently would Operation Barbarossa have unfolded had the original M-R Pact division been kept?

Post by Futurist » 28 Sep 2020 04:40

Lars wrote:
27 Sep 2020 08:51
It is trading Donbas for solving the northern front. It gives the Germans Leningrad, makes the Finns more agressive (which is potentially a huge boost), and cuts most of the Lend-Lease coming in from Murmansk.

The Germans are also 2-300 kilometers closer to Moscow if they start from Lithuania. How far were they from Moscow in the real war - 30 kilometers? This is more speculative of course, but if Moscow is taken in late November, the Germans are likely worse off as they could be encircled in the city. But what if they take Moscow in October?

In the real war neither the northern, mid-(Moscow) or the southern front was resolved. This at least resolves the northern front in the fall of 1941, and should endanger Moscow.
Re: Moscow: I believe that a German reconnaissance mission actually did reach Khimki in the winter of 1941, which was just five miles (or eight kilometers) from the Moscow city center.

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