A brief summary of (my impression) of the logistical problems the Germans experienced during the IV quarter of 41:historygeek2021 wrote: ↑19 Apr 2021 19:18It is common knowledge that the OstHeer suffered severe logistical difficulties in late October through the winter of 1941/1942. I shouldn't have to provide detailed explanations of basic facts that are known to every regular user on this forum. The only thing in your ATL that could change this would be an earlier capture of Moscow, allowing German rail lines to be extended to that city by early December (possibly).
1. They didn't attack along the main highway, instead opting to attack in a weaker defended sector with weaker infrastructure.
2. In the first ten days of the campaign, they had to manage a severe road congestion problem, as the transport columns had to fight for road space with infantry forces advancing forward.
3. The key to solving the logistical challenge was fixing the railroads, but in order to do that, they had to fix the railroad bridges.
a) key nodes had been bypassed initially. For instance, the railroad bridge at Briansk wasn't secured until the fourth week of the campaign.
b) and once secured, they needed several weeks of repair time to get fully operational
4. While the rail lines were out of order, they were dependant on trucks, which had to drive on often damaged, muddy secondary or tertiary roads, which caused tremendous difficulties.
5. By mid- to late- November, the rail lines started getting operational, although they had only focused on a select few lines. And there had been inadequate time to upgrade the lines/associated buildings, making the entire network fragile.
6. Furthermore, with the troops desperate for supplies - having been shortchanged for close to two months - the Germans gambled that the winter would be delayed for a few more weeks, and gave higher priority to supplies over railroad equipment.
7. When the gamble failed - and the weather did turn sour - the fragile railroad network collapsed. With each failure creating negative ripple effects and so forth.
If correct, some of those problems would be diminished with a Sep 1 attack.
1, 2 and 3 would be the same.
But 4 would be easier in the period Sep 10 - Oct 10, as compared to Oct 10 - Nov 10.
And just as the mud season hit in October, the railroad lines - which were less vulnerable to the mud - would come online.
Making the mud less of a problem supply wise - although it would still restrict combat operations.
And finally, by early December, the Germans would have spent about six weeks (as opposed to two) making the network more robust.
The downside to all this would be a less developed rail network in the Smolensk area, as the focus would be shifted east.