KDF33 wrote: ↑
31 Mar 2021 05:45
I don't question the ability of HGM to advance on the Moscow axis at some point in August. The assumption that this would produce results on par with Taifun
, and that it would lead to a better outcome than what happened historically, is where I disagree.
Just to be clear, then, you do say there is a logistical basis for such?
Yes, and what was the state of those Panzer divisions compared to early October?
To give you an idea of what this looks like, here's Panzergruppe 2's operational readiness in early September:
3. Pz: 54 / 161 = 34% on September 4
4. Pz: 83 / 162 = 51% on September 9
17. Pz: 52 / 128 = 41% on September 10
18. Pz: 93 / 207 = 45% on September 9
Total: 282 / 658 = 43%
What do you think the readiness rate for PzG. 3 and 2 was, say, on August 5, after an almost uninterrupted fighting advance of 45 days?
Again, as I said in my last reply, I am assuming the OP's PoD is August 19th, with Stalin deciding to evacuate Kiev. Therefore, everything up until then is OTL, with my argument being that from August 20th on the Germans elect to do Moscow first since the opportunity against Southwestern Front is declining and AGC is pressing very, very hard for Moscow. As for what the Panzer readiness is, I don't think you actually read my reply because that has been answered by Stolfi:
The figure of 65 percent of the original German tank strength gives a realistic picture of the numbers of tanks the
Germans would have used in an offensive against Moscow in the first half of August 1941. The percentage is
pessimistic with respect to the remaining striking power of the panzer groups. When the Germans attacked the
Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 with 3,102 battle tanks, a significant percentage would have been under repair for
the attrition associated with the assembly for Barbarossa. This was particularly true among the panzer divisions
concentrated at the last moment in Wave 4b for the offensive.23 Tanks under repair on 22 June can be estimated at
10 percent, but the important point is that the striking power of the German panzer force was not 3,102 battle tanks
but approximately 90 percent of that figure. All German estimates of tank strength after 22 June 1941 use
percentages of an original strength of 3,102. This strength was never available because the Germans attacked on 22
June with about 2,792 combat-ready tanks (and 310 in repair). Thus, the Germans on 13 August would have been
attacking with an estimated 65 percent of the tanks available on 22 June, but approximately 72 percent of their
striking power on the first day of the war. Actual percentages would be slightly different, but the percentages used
by the Germans to measure remaining striking power would have to be adjusted upward.
72% of June 22nd total comes out to 2,223 Tanks/AFVs, as of August 13th, exactly six days before the PoD.
As explained, they are the summation of troop strength reports dated 15-20 days prior.
Summation, so estimates?
Those figures aren't calculated by deducting registered losses from previous strength reports. They are literally based on the most recent monthly strength reports.
Which is the point, given how badly things fell apart in August-September; Central Front literally ceased to exist, for example.
Glantz uses the GKO decrees for Soviet strength figures. In When Titans Clashed
, he produces a table comparing Axis-to-Soviet force evolution. It is reproduced here
What do we find? Glantz gives a total of 5,647,000 men in the active Fronts on 5.7.1942 - which corresponds to GKO decree 1986 on food rations, dated... 5 July 1942. How about the figure of 6,101,000 men for 2.2.1943? Yup, that's GKO decree 2817 on food rations, also dated 2 February 1943! How about 6,903,000 for 27.7.1943? Again, it corresponds to GKO decree 3822 on food rations, dated 27 July 1943.
For 1942 and 1943, sure, but that obfuscates the charge made that, as other historians have pointed out, the Soviet reporting system collapsed in 1941. Particularly in August-September, with Smolensk, the charge on Leningrad and the start of the Kiev disaster.
There's not an ounce of actual data in this odd tangent by Stolfi.
Except there very much is, I don't see how one can read Stolfi outlining a 65-72% readiness among AGC's Panzer forces and say there is no data available for mid-August?
Past the border battles and until the end of the campaign, the Germans always had a significant advantage in armored forces.
So why are you arguing then?
How is PzG. 4 providing flank security for HGM? It's on the Luga line in early August. Does it get pulled out of the line and sent to HGM? Or does it attack Northwestern Front, like stg 44 suggested?
I've already indicated the former.
At Vyazma, the Germans launched a double-envelopment using 8 Panzer, 4 motorized Infanterie and 33 Infanterie divisions, + 1 Panzer and 2 Infanterie divisions in reserve.
Of these units, 2 Panzer divisions were reinforcements arrived during September (380 tanks between them) and 3 more were transfers from the two other army groups with close to a month to restore their readiness levels (~454 tanks). Three more were already with HGM but had recuperated for at least two weeks during September (~542 tanks).
So, they actually have vastly more tanks here than in OTL, but almost 1,000? Seems decisive to me.
What you propose is jumping off, almost immediately, from your positions in front of Smolensk, without a pause to build-up supplies or restore operational numbers. Besides, in August the entire HGM amounts to 55 divisions, including your units that will hold against Central Front.
Realistically, I can see you being able to launch a pincer against Vyazma with similar mobile, but weaker infantry strength, at the cost of stripping all Panzer assets and foregoing attacks against the Central Front. Given time needed to rehabilitate mobile formations as well as concentrate assets, I don't see you attacking until August 20th.
To do this, you will also need to completely stop minor offensive action against the Soviets in HGM's area for about 2 weeks.
Except, again, that's not what has been proposed; the PoD is the 19th of August. Once it becomes clear Southwestern Front is pulling back, the Germans elect to advance on Moscow from roughly August 20th onward. What happens then is 2nd and 3rd Panzer Armies encircle Reserve and Western Front, same as OTL more or less just without Briansk Front and 4th Panzer Army in the mix. Briansk/Central Front can be held by 2nd Army's infantry, same as OTL, where they tried and failed to attack AGC's flanks. Given the decisive German armored advantage, as well as the fact 2nd and 3rd Panzer were already in jump off points for this maneuver with no real opposition for an Eastern thrust in front of them, I see no reason this won't go anything less than OTL.
Not attacking Central/Briansk Front is fine, they are harmless by August 20th, while the argument the Germans need a rest has no merit; there Panzer forces were in constant combat for almost a month onward from the PoD anyway, so we know they are good for it.
And even if you do push on to Moscow, come October you'll be holding a salient running roughly from Staraya Russa through Kalinin to Moscow, and then through Kaluga back to Roslavl. The Leningrad region will remain in Soviet hands, as well as the Bryansk-Tula-Kursk region, the vast majority of the left-bank Ukraine, and the Crimea.
Your ability to hold the Moscow region during the winter will be much in question.
Except you've deprived the Northern/Leningrad region of men and material to fight Moscow while the loss of Moscow has seriously degraded their logistics while Southwestern Front has the entirety of Army Group South to their immediate front; to attempt to attack AGC means exposing their flank to AGS, with all that entails. That just leaves the Gorky axis for a Moscow counter-attack, but in which case you have a Soviet attack operating in a dispersed way for almost 500 km to Moscow, with the Germans having had since September to rest and dig in.
Basically, for those who have read of 1942, this is Operation Mars writ large, but in 1941 too.
The OP can specify what he wants. The fact of the matter is that in your scenario, PzG. 4 is now moving east, therefore the drive on Leningrad stalls on the Luga line. Likewise, HGS simply doesn't have the strength to break Southwestern and Southern Fronts by itself. Whatever Soviet units would be re-routed to Moscow wouldn't change that fact.
Does it? Because you've deprived them of the reinforcements necessary to replace their losses and, at least in the case of Leningrad, have seriously crippled their logistics. You're also suggesting they attempt offensive actions, therefore exposing their weak flanks.
I don't dispute the reduced capacity. I question the assumption that this would lead to a collapse of the Soviet position.
Because if you don't have ammunition, fuel or food you can't exactly fight the enemy effectively-or at all, for that matter.
As for transit times, again that's not obvious.
It is, however, by looking at said map and see that instead of a direct transit from Moscow you are now having to take a northern route that adds hundreds of kilometers to the trip.
In your scenario, the Luga line would also be static.
Would it? You've suggested all reinforcements from August on are diverted and already conceded their logistics are crippled. The Germans can't advance against fewer Soviet forces, with much reduced supplies to fight them? The loss of 4th Panzer Army OTL didn't cripple the German ability to advance.
In your scenario, the Germans are nowhere near Leningrad. They're on the Luga line.
Which is close to Leningrad in of itself, but see my criticisms above; I don't find your argument compelling.
How do you know the proportions of supplies that passed through Moscow vs the northern lines?
I don't have exact numbers, but we know the lines have a much reduced capacity, longer transit times and Glantz himself said retention of the Moscow route was vital to keeping Leningrad from falling.