Rundstedt's central reserve

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Richard Anderson » 02 Jul 2021 16:28

Cult Icon wrote:
02 Jul 2021 01:02
Initial supply KTB 6.6.1944 ALA (Pz Lehr division, only indirect fire rounds):

Artillery: 840 shells of light howitzers 720 shells for heavy howitzers
Your source is "KTB 6.6.1944 ALA"? What, exactly, is "ALA"? That could be Artillerie-Lehr-Abteilung or even Aufklärungs-Lehr-Abteilung and not the "Pz Lehr division". Most likely, as of 6 June, the Artillerie-Lehr-Abteilung referred to the II./Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 130., which had been formed from the Fahnenjunker of the Artillerie Schule Mourmelon. It nominally consisted of three batteries each of four 10.5cm leFH, but given the report includes both leFH and sFH rounds it seems likely they are referring to a tactical artillery grouping and not the actual organization. Furthermore, the only schwer feld haubitz in the division on that date were four 15cm sFH 18 in 8./Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 130. (the other two batteries of the III. Abteilung -formerly s.Art.-Abtl. 985 - consisted of four 15.2cm KH 433 (r) and four 10cm K 18.

Fundamentally, we do not know exactly what was reported in your "source". The 1. Ausstattung of a leFH Abteilung was 2,700 rounds (1,770 HE, 378 AT, 216 CS, and 336 "special" (long range) rounds. In other words, about 900 rounds per battery. The 1. Ausstattung for a battery of sFH was 700 rounds (510 HE, 92 AT, and 98 CS). I suspect the report is for a tactical grouping of one leFH amd one sFH battery. Furthermore, only 22.9% of the 1. Ausstattung was carried with the firing battery. Another 33.3% was held by the Muni-Staffel of the regiment, and the remainder with the division Nachschub-Truppen.

Finally, there is simply no evidence that any of the German divisions in the west did not have access to at least its nominal 1. Ausstattung of artillery ammunition. In fact, we know for example that 352. Inf-Div had and fired off its entire 1. Ausstattung on D-Day. The real problem was the German inability to maintain a steady stream of resupply from the Heeres-Muni-Lagern to the divisions.
Infantry: 500 mortar rounds 254 for light inf guns 147 for heavy inf guns
Much the same applies here. Given its inclusion, Aufklärungs-Lehr-Abteilung remains a possibility
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Howling Wolf
Member
Posts: 60
Joined: 13 Nov 2015 03:52
Location: NY

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Howling Wolf » 04 Jul 2021 15:39

Richard Anderson wrote:
01 Jul 2021 17:48
I heartily recommend retirement. :D
I have a ways to go before I reach that age.


Indeed, it was hardly a poster child for the wonderful results of German "infiltration assault". It was also the icing on the cake for the encirclement of German forces in France, but did not lead to it. On 7 August, when the attack began, the US XV Corps was already at Mayenne, 29 miles to the south-southeast and on its way to Le Mans. LÜTTICH simply stuck the German's heads even more firmly into the encirclement that was already happening.
The Germans "sticking their heads in" was a bad habit of theirs that started in August 1942.
Good one. If you are interested in the actual documents those histories were derived from I recommend https://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/ and https://arena.usahec.org/web/arena, along with https://www.benning.army.mil/Library/Virtual.html.
Thanks for the links.
Okay, gotcha. T/O&E strength for those two divisions was roughly 17,995 with c. 171 tanks and 43 assault guns.

As of 1 June, 9. SS reported a strength of 18,616 and 52 HiWi, although it appears that only about 17,043 (the 30 June reported strength of 15,898, plus the 1,045 casualties reported to then in Normandy) were committed to Normandy. Another 2,370 casualties were reported for July, with 1,024 alone 11-20 July. Few, if any replacements were received, so it was roughly at a strength of 13,500 by the end of July when BLUECOAT began. As of 1 June it had 83 tanks and 40 assault guns on hand, By 30 July it had 51 tanks and 27 assault guns operational.

Strength as of 1 June for 10. SS was 16,011, plus 506 HiWi, with 40 tanks and 35 assault guns. It reported casualties of 2,707 to 31 July and as of then had 25 tanks and 20 assault guns operational.

So yes, they were pretty beaten up.
Thanks for the info.
That is likely wishful thinking, but since everything else usually gets hand-waved away in these exercises, I suppose I shouldn't have a problem with it. :lol:
Regardless of whether or not Hausser or Steiner were ardent National Socialists, members of the Nazi Party and fully committed to Nazi Ideology we will never know if either of them, nor any other commander of Waffen SS units would have "went along for the ride" after a putsch by the Wehrmacht. I am of the opinion that most of them, along with the Wehrmacht, from Private up to generals knew at some point after Stalingrad that Hitler was obviously insane. Hausser had already disobeyed Hitler early in 1943.
The issue for me, which for some reason always seems to escape most other posters, is that for a "what if" to be viable, it needs to have a reasonable basis in reality.
Agreed for the most part. Just because you disagree with "most other posters" and consider their alternate history theories not worthy of discussion does not take away from them the privilege of posting their opinions here on AHF which, as long as they follow the rules of AHF, they have a right to.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 Jul 2021 16:12

Howling Wolf wrote:
04 Jul 2021 15:39
I have a ways to go before I reach that age.
I guarantee you will get there soon er than you can imagine now. Plan accordingly. :D
The Germans "sticking their heads in" was a bad habit of theirs that started in August 1942.
I would say it started in September 1939...or possibly January 1933.
Thanks for the links.
You are welcome.
Thanks for the info.
Ditto.
Regardless of whether or not Hausser or Steiner were ardent National Socialists, members of the Nazi Party and fully committed to Nazi Ideology we will never know if either of them, nor any other commander of Waffen SS units would have "went along for the ride" after a putsch by the Wehrmacht. I am of the opinion that most of them, along with the Wehrmacht, from Private up to generals knew at some point after Stalingrad that Hitler was obviously insane. Hausser had already disobeyed Hitler early in 1943.
Perhaps, but I suspect you underestimate the inertia in national systems...and overestimate the capabilities of the anti-Nazis. As far as personnel beliefs go, your supposition could be true, based upon what the survivors said postwar, but there is little evidence they actually thought that during the war. Rommel's notes regarding his meeting with Hitler on 17 June 1944 are illustrative.
Agreed for the most part. Just because you disagree with "most other posters" and consider their alternate history theories not worthy of discussion does not take away from them the privilege of posting their opinions here on AHF which, as long as they follow the rules of AHF, they have a right to.
Oh, the discussions are endlessly entertaining, so certainly worthy of discussion, just don't expect Alien Space Bat reasoning to be taken seriously.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Juan G. C.
Member
Posts: 196
Joined: 18 Aug 2017 16:57
Location: Madrid, España

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Juan G. C. » 11 Jul 2021 20:01

Excuse me for restarting the discussion, but I've been rereading the thread and I think that many are underestimating the possibilities of the Germans in this scenario. At least, we have to try to assess all the factors which would have changed. I think that if we take all factors into account, the Germans could have formed a strong panzer reserve in the north of France.

If the crisis in the south of the Eastern Front is avoided, that has several consequences. I quote Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnieper%E ... _offensive) as I have not access to the sources it quotes:
In the course of the operation, 20 Wehrmacht divisions were either destroyed, disbanded or required major rebuilding, while another 60 divisions were reduced to 50% of their establishment strength.[31][32] Even worse were equipment losses, with thousands of precious tanks, assault guns, artillery and trucks being lost, principally through their abandonment in the spring mud.[33] According to German General Kurt von Tippelskirch, this was the biggest Wehrmacht defeat since Stalingrad.[29]
In order to save its southern sector from complete collapse, the German high command was forced to transfer 8 divisions in January- February[35] and another 26 German divisions as reinforcements[36] between March- May from across France, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Balkans, Army Group Centre and Army Group North to the crumbling front of Army Group South. This amounted to a total of 34 divisions,[29] 550,000 men[37] and at least 1,200 tanks, assault guns, and self-propelled anti-tank guns.[38][39][40][41]
As a result, the Soviet Dnieper–Carpathian offensive played a key role in influencing the future successes of Allied D-Day landings and Soviet Operation Bagration, as German forces stationed in France and belonging to Army Group Centre were critically weakened by those transfers.[42] All told, during the major crisis in the Western Ukraine, the German forces stationed in France were deprived of 45,827 troops[43] and 363 tanks, assault guns, and self-propelled anti-tank guns on 6 June 1944.[44] Meanwhile, Army Group Center was deprived of a total of 125,380 troops[45] and 552 tanks, assault guns, and self-propelled anti-tank guns on 22 June 1944.[46]
I don't think it is to say much that at least some of these units could have been sent to the north of France. As we have already discussed, the 9. and 10. SS Panzer Divisions would surely have remained in France. If the 9. SS stays in the south, that still leaves the 10. SS in the north (a source mentions also a infantry division, a heavy tank battalion and two assault gun brigades which were withdrawn IOTL and would have remained in France).

Moreover, some of the units which were in France and were weak, incomplete and poorly equiped were so because of the battles between January-May 1944 in the Southern sector of the Eastern Front, as Cult Icon has previously indicated. That includes the 1. SS Panzer (Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler) and the 11. Panzer, which could have gone to the north of France instead of the south if the 9. SS remains in the south. So, if we add these to the complete Panzer divisions which were in France IOTL, we have at least:
Panzer Lehr
2. Panzer.
12. SS Panzer.
21. Panzer.
17. SS Panzergrenadier.
10. SS Panzer.
11. Panzer.
1. SS Panzer (LAH).

I know that some of these divisions had only half a Panzer regiment, but couldn't that have been completed with some of the units which were sent East from the Balkans, Italy, Denmark, etc.?

And there are many other factors to consider, for example, what changes a new government would have made in war production, which could have influenced the equipment of these divisions.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Jul 2021 20:32

Juan G. C. wrote:
11 Jul 2021 20:01
Excuse me for restarting the discussion, but I've been rereading the thread and I think that many are underestimating the possibilities of the Germans in this scenario. At least, we have to try to assess all the factors which would have changed. I think that if we take all factors into account, the Germans could have formed a strong panzer reserve in the north of France.
No excuse necessary, it is a very interesting discussion.
If the crisis in the south of the Eastern Front is avoided, that has several consequences.
The problem is I have yet to see a convincing argument for how the crisis in the south of the Eastern Front could be avoided or, even if it could be, why there wouldn't be a crisis in the north of the Eastern Front or in the middle of the Eastern Front. The problem for the Germans was that the substantial overall superiority enjoyed by the Soviets could be easily translated by them into an overwhelming local superiority. The Soviets had the initiative since summer 1943 and had never relinquished it. At that point the only thing a new government in Germany could have done to change the outcome is to ask the Allies for terms.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Jul 2021 20:42

The thing is, from July through December 1943, 5 s.Pz.Abtl., 4 Panther Abtl., 3 StuG. Abtl., and 6 Pz.Div, went East, as compared to 1 s.Pz.Abtl., 3 Panther Abtl., 1 StuG Abtl., and the 2 divisions in early 1944.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 3084
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Kingfish » 11 Jul 2021 23:13

Juan G. C. wrote:
11 Jul 2021 20:01
So, if we add these to the complete Panzer divisions which were in France IOTL, we have at least:
Panzer Lehr
2. Panzer.
12. SS Panzer.
21. Panzer.
17. SS Panzergrenadier.
10. SS Panzer.
11. Panzer.
1. SS Panzer (LAH).
The problem is nothing changes from the OTL.
Of the 8 divisions you have listed, 3 were on the line by D+1 and a further 2 by D+6. Once there they would essentially remain there in a static defensive role. Meanwhile, the allies were busy pouring in mega buttloads of men, equipment and supplies into the beachhead.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

Juan G. C.
Member
Posts: 196
Joined: 18 Aug 2017 16:57
Location: Madrid, España

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Juan G. C. » 12 Jul 2021 14:15

Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Jul 2021 20:32
If the crisis in the south of the Eastern Front is avoided, that has several consequences.
The problem is I have yet to see a convincing argument for how the crisis in the south of the Eastern Front could be avoided or, even if it could be, why there wouldn't be a crisis in the north of the Eastern Front or in the middle of the Eastern Front. The problem for the Germans was that the substantial overall superiority enjoyed by the Soviets could be easily translated by them into an overwhelming local superiority. The Soviets had the initiative since summer 1943 and had never relinquished it. At that point the only thing a new government in Germany could have done to change the outcome is to ask the Allies for terms.
The idea is to allow, around the 28th of December 1943, Army Group South to withdraw from the Dnieper bend (and Army Group A from the Crimea) to the rivers Bug and Syniukha, thus shortening its front in its southern wing and freeing units for a counterattack in its northern wing against the flanks of the advancing Soviet forces, which had started the Zhitomir-Berdichev offensive. That is what Manstein wanted and wasn't allowed to do. This was discussed in a previous thread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=254197. That would at least have stopped the Soviet offensive and Army Group South would have got a more defensible front, and avoided the Korsun pocket. It would also have been necessary to withdraw Army Group North to the Panther line, and also Army Group Center to a shorter front.

Juan G. C.
Member
Posts: 196
Joined: 18 Aug 2017 16:57
Location: Madrid, España

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Juan G. C. » 14 Jul 2021 18:14

Kingfish wrote:
11 Jul 2021 23:13

The problem is nothing changes from the OTL.
Of the 8 divisions you have listed, 3 were on the line by D+1 and a further 2 by D+6. Once there they would essentially remain there in a static defensive role. Meanwhile, the allies were busy pouring in mega buttloads of men, equipment and supplies into the beachhead.
All 8 in a static defensive role? In an earlier post you said 3/4 would have been needed:
Kingfish wrote:
29 May 2021 12:33
Juan G. C. wrote:
29 May 2021 10:49
Ok. However, without the 116. we already have five Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions. And, given the better situation in the Eastern front, perhaps another Panzer division can be brought to the West.
Which will give you roughly two panzer divisions in a reserve role to cover a 60 mile front. The other three/four are forced into a static defensive positions - just like in the OTL - to cover for the now destroyed Atlantic wall divisions.

That will not get you this:
PS. No secrets: I admit here that I am searching for a way to defeat the Normandy landings.

The Ibis
Member
Posts: 398
Joined: 27 Dec 2015 01:06
Location: The interwebs

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by The Ibis » 14 Jul 2021 18:45

Kingfish wrote:
11 Jul 2021 23:13
Juan G. C. wrote:
11 Jul 2021 20:01
So, if we add these to the complete Panzer divisions which were in France IOTL, we have at least:
Panzer Lehr
2. Panzer.
12. SS Panzer.
21. Panzer.
17. SS Panzergrenadier.
10. SS Panzer.
11. Panzer.
1. SS Panzer (LAH).
The problem is nothing changes from the OTL.
Of the 8 divisions you have listed, 3 were on the line by D+1 and a further 2 by D+6. Once there they would essentially remain there in a static defensive role. Meanwhile, the allies were busy pouring in mega buttloads of men, equipment and supplies into the beachhead.
Would you mind translating mega buttloads into metric. I can't find a conversion table on the Google machine.
"The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided." - Casey Stengel

User avatar
Takao
Member
Posts: 3301
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 19:27
Location: Reading, Pa

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Takao » 14 Jul 2021 19:39

The Ibis wrote:
14 Jul 2021 18:45
Kingfish wrote:
11 Jul 2021 23:13
Juan G. C. wrote:
11 Jul 2021 20:01
So, if we add these to the complete Panzer divisions which were in France IOTL, we have at least:
Panzer Lehr
2. Panzer.
12. SS Panzer.
21. Panzer.
17. SS Panzergrenadier.
10. SS Panzer.
11. Panzer.
1. SS Panzer (LAH).
The problem is nothing changes from the OTL.
Of the 8 divisions you have listed, 3 were on the line by D+1 and a further 2 by D+6. Once there they would essentially remain there in a static defensive role. Meanwhile, the allies were busy pouring in mega buttloads of men, equipment and supplies into the beachhead.
Would you mind translating mega buttloads into metric. I can't find a conversion table on the Google machine.
Metric S**t ton.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Jul 2021 20:50

Juan G. C. wrote:
12 Jul 2021 14:15
The idea is to allow, around the 28th of December 1943, Army Group South to withdraw from the Dnieper bend (and Army Group A from the Crimea) to the rivers Bug and Syniukha, thus shortening its front in its southern wing and freeing units for a counterattack in its northern wing against the flanks of the advancing Soviet forces, which had started the Zhitomir-Berdichev offensive.
Well, to start, by 28 December 1943, 17. Armee was already isolated in the Crimea; the Soviet breakthrough by Fourth Ukrainian Front completed operations by 3 November. The last point it was expected that 17. Armee could evacuate was 26 October.
That is what Manstein wanted and wasn't allowed to do. This was discussed in a previous thread: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=254197.
Okay, so this...
Juan G. C. wrote:
21 Dec 2020 14:12
Withdrawing from the Crimea would have freed the 17th Army, which on April 1944 had five german and six romanian divisions, around 200,000 soldiers, 3,600 artillery weapons and 200 thanks, according to the german Wikipedia. I do not know if it had more or less on January 1944. Withdrawing from the Dnieper bend would have shortened the front by 900 kilometres, I do not know how many divisions would that have freed.
Simply demonstrates that German Wikipedia is as accurate as English Wikipedia. When it was cut off in late October 1943, 17. Armee consisted of one German and seven Romania divisions of marginal strength. The decision to hold the Crimea meant reinforcements were sent to the army, such that four German divisions were added and all seven Romanian divisions remained. By c. 1 April, 17. Armee ration strength was roughly 78,000 Germans and 59,000 Romanians, "200,000" is fantasy. The only "thanks" there were two StuG-Brigaden; I seriously doubt the two, with a nominal strength of 86 StuG, managed to field "200 thanks". The number of "3,600 artillery weapons" isn't remarkable, given it covers a wide variety of pieces...especially given the ten-odd battalions of coast artillery stationed there.
That would at least have stopped the Soviet offensive and Army Group South would have got a more defensible front, and avoided the Korsun pocket. It would also have been necessary to withdraw Army Group North to the Panther line, and also Army Group Center to a shorter front.
No, you think that at least that would have happened, but there is no proof for the assumption. The problem is, by the end of October the Dnieper was already compromised to north and south, leaving 1. PzAOK and 6. AOK in a deep salient. The imbalance of forces was so great - in its attack on 6. AOK beginning 9 October, Fourth Ukrainian Front massed 45 rifle divisions, 3 tank corps, 2 guards mechanized corps, and 2 guards cavalry corps against just 13 German and 2 Romanian divisions - that it was very unlikely that one of Manstein's so clever plans would change the outcome.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

User avatar
Kingfish
Member
Posts: 3084
Joined: 05 Jun 2003 16:22
Location: USA

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Kingfish » 15 Jul 2021 00:20

Juan G. C. wrote:
14 Jul 2021 18:14
All 8 in a static defensive role? In an earlier post you said 3/4 would have been needed:
Kingfish wrote:
29 May 2021 12:33
Juan G. C. wrote:
29 May 2021 10:49
Ok. However, without the 116. we already have five Panzer and Panzergrenadier divisions. And, given the better situation in the Eastern front, perhaps another Panzer division can be brought to the West.
Which will give you roughly two panzer divisions in a reserve role to cover a 60 mile front. The other three/four are forced into a static defensive positions - just like in the OTL - to cover for the now destroyed Atlantic wall divisions.
The 3-4 estimate was based on your previous hypothetical of 5-6 available with the Germans retaining a couple in a reserve role.

Increasing it to 8 simply means 5-6 would end up covering a front line that stretches from Carentan to Caen and the rest in reserve. This would be sufficient to stabilize the front line for the moment, but nowhere near enough to throw the "little fishes back into the sea".
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
~Babylonian Proverb

Juan G. C.
Member
Posts: 196
Joined: 18 Aug 2017 16:57
Location: Madrid, España

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Juan G. C. » 15 Jul 2021 11:17

Richard Anderson wrote:
14 Jul 2021 20:50
Well, to start, by 28 December 1943, 17. Armee was already isolated in the Crimea; the Soviet breakthrough by Fourth Ukrainian Front completed operations by 3 November. The last point it was expected that 17. Armee could evacuate was 26 October.
Indeed, I know it was already isolated, but the 17th Army could have been evacuated by sea and air.
Simply demonstrates that German Wikipedia is as accurate as English Wikipedia. When it was cut off in late October 1943, 17. Armee consisted of one German and seven Romania divisions of marginal strength. The decision to hold the Crimea meant reinforcements were sent to the army, such that four German divisions were added and all seven Romanian divisions remained. By c. 1 April, 17. Armee ration strength was roughly 78,000 Germans and 59,000 Romanians, "200,000" is fantasy. The only "thanks" there were two StuG-Brigaden; I seriously doubt the two, with a nominal strength of 86 StuG, managed to field "200 thanks". The number of "3,600 artillery weapons" isn't remarkable, given it covers a wide variety of pieces...especially given the ten-odd battalions of coast artillery stationed there.
I've made a bit of research on this and realised you are right. Probably the writers of Wikipedia had misread the sources and confused the total número of men with the number of fighting. According to Sevastopol’s Wars: Crimea from Potemkin to Putin: "At the beginning of December, the Axis ration strength on Crimea amounted to 270,000 men, of which only 32,293 Germans and 30,218 Romanians – representing only a quarter of the total – were fighting troops manning defensive positions at either Kerch or Perekop/ Syvash.5 The vast majority comprised navy and air force personnel, various army and corps units, rear area troops, coastal batteries, Russian 'volunteers' and labourers".
No, you think that at least that would have happened, but there is no proof for the assumption. The problem is, by the end of October the Dnieper was already compromised to north and south, leaving 1. PzAOK and 6. AOK in a deep salient. The imbalance of forces was so great - in its attack on 6. AOK beginning 9 October, Fourth Ukrainian Front massed 45 rifle divisions, 3 tank corps, 2 guards mechanized corps, and 2 guards cavalry corps against just 13 German and 2 Romanian divisions - that it was very unlikely that one of Manstein's so clever plans would change the outcome.
Indeed. That's why the plan isn't only to withdraw from the Crimea, but also from the Dnieper to the rivers Bug, and Syniukha, thus eliminating this deep salient, as I said in my reply:
Juan G. C. wrote:
12 Jul 2021 14:15
The idea is to allow, around the 28th of December 1943, Army Group South to withdraw from the Dnieper bend (and Army Group A from the Crimea) to the rivers Bug and Syniukha, thus shortening its front in its southern wing and freeing units for a counterattack in its northern wing against the flanks of the advancing Soviet forces, which had started the Zhitomir-Berdichev offensive.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Rundstedt's central reserve

Post by Richard Anderson » 15 Jul 2021 17:51

Juan G. C. wrote:
15 Jul 2021 11:17
Indeed, I know it was already isolated, but the 17th Army could have been evacuated by sea and air.
In the tumult of October, I doubt that more than a fraction of those units could escape a Soviet pursuit from the blocking positions on the isthmus and peninsula to any evacuation from Sevastopol or airfields. 17. AOK had just 42 operational Romanian 38 (t) by the end of October, plus a few StuG. There simply wasn't much there to do anything other than try to hold the blocking positions. By the end of December they only had 25 operational 38 (t).
I've made a bit of research on this and realised you are right. Probably the writers of Wikipedia had misread the sources and confused the total número of men with the number of fighting. According to Sevastopol’s Wars: Crimea from Potemkin to Putin: "At the beginning of December, the Axis ration strength on Crimea amounted to 270,000 men, of which only 32,293 Germans and 30,218 Romanians – representing only a quarter of the total – were fighting troops manning defensive positions at either Kerch or Perekop/ Syvash.5 The vast majority comprised navy and air force personnel, various army and corps units, rear area troops, coastal batteries, Russian 'volunteers' and labourers".
Indeed, ration strength covered everyone that drew rations from the Heer. It included prisoners of war as well as all German civilian and paramilitary personnel as well, thus Beamte, NSKK, OT, and the like.
Indeed. That's why the plan isn't only to withdraw from the Crimea, but also from the Dnieper to the rivers Bug, and Syniukha, thus eliminating this deep salient, as I said in my reply:
Two problems were the weather and the relative weakness of the German forces. Yes,the December freeze restored the maneuverability of Germans, but it did the same for the Soviets. By that point, all of HG-A and HG-S, minus the 25 tanks with 17. AOK, had 741 operational tanks. 8. AOK had just 92 and 1. "Pz" AOK had only 35. At least 6. AOK on the lower Dnieper had 267, but nearly half were far to the north with 1. PzAOK, 347 of them. Such a general withdrawal might increase the relative German strength on a shorter line, but only assuming they can execute such a wholesale withdrawal unimpeded by the Soviets. I do not see how such a maneuver guarantees the liberation of multiple, strong, Panzer forces for use in the West in June 1944.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Return to “What if”