Germany Mobilizes Earlier

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Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Jul 2021 12:07

This is a new thread - though a modification/continuation of "1MPG" - because it goes beyond the Eastern Front and the PoD has changed.

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Germany did not fully mobilize her available resources in the early war years, a fact I have been discussing in other threads, most single-mindedly here. She did not mobilize earlier because Hitler didn't take the SU seriously. Here he does (he was close to this realization anyway).

This is not a revival of the old "Blitzkrieg economy" hypothesis: Germany's domestic margin of undermobilization was small but, as we will see, decisive. Her biggest failure to mobilize regarded foreign labor, where German "recruitment" lagged a maximal effort until early 1942 (more discussion here). Neither did Germany intentionally "choose" to be undermobilized, as Millward's Blitzkrieg Economy thesis holds. Instead, a perception that he lacked sufficient political capital caused Hitler not to take well-known measures to ensure private firms' compliance with war economy requirements (discussed here) and to close inefficient firms (discussed here). Here Hitler balanced internal vs. external threats to his regime, seeking (in an intuitive way) to maximize his chances of power and survival. When it emerged that the Soviet Union's power (combined with coalition allies) threatened his regime more than internal resistance to mobilization, he took the previously-avoided mobilization measures in late '41 and early '42 (see Germany and the Second World War, vol. 5/1, "The Winter Crisis of 1941-42").

The point of departure for earlier German mobilization in this thread is Hitler's earlier understanding that the SU was a formidable enemy; that greater mobilization was required. By May 1940, when he begins seriously planning his post-France moves, he orders greater mobilization - foreign and domestic.

In another thread I have analyzed the feasible impact of earlier maximal mobilization; I will summarize its points here and refer to that post (and the preceding) for further details. A critical point is that German armaments expenditure was a low portion of German military spending and GDP - around 1/5th of military spending and 1/10th of GDP. So shifting merely 10% of German national resources to armaments in 1940-41 would have roughly doubled armaments output.

My economy-focused thread shows that, had Germany added ~80k more foreign workers per month in 1940-41, and had it clamped down on known misallocations of supposed war workers, it could have increased production nearly 50% by the end of 1940 (relative to OTL) and nearly doubled it by Fall '41 (vs. OTL). I give a breakdown of potential usages of that additional production:

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...and this is the breakdown I will use for further discussion in this thread. The table assumes a 50% delta to OTL panzer production from May '40, 50% to motor vehicle production from July, and 20% to army weapons production from August. In September '40, I add an army ammunition delta worth 10% of total OTL armaments output (ammo was highly variable OTL so I just used a big chunk to replace the OTL ammo nosedive around that time). With these additional items, achievement of my "One More Panzer Group in Barbarossa" ATL is over-determined. The Ostheer can have at least 10 more mechanized divisions (5 manned by new drafts, 5 converted from standard inf.divs). In addition, it has at least twice as much ammo as OTL and the rail system to deliver it (discussed further below).

Note that the added production is sufficient to improve Ostheer's tank and truck parks qualitatively, in addition to quantitatively. 50% more Pz III/IV's means a greater portion of medium tanks in Ostheer than OTL, even after creating 5 new Panzer divisions. I won't get into the details because it's not a point on which I'll rely for now.

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Stronger Germany - not just in the East

As the spreadsheet makes clear, earlier mobilization will give Germany additional resources beyond what was needed to ensure victory over Russia. By October '40 she can afford doubling all shipbuilding (inc. Uboats). Thereafter, the spreadsheet specifies that all resource increments - ATL vs. OTL - are applied to aircraft production. By mid-41, LW is receiving ~50% more planes than OTL.

Obviously the additional air/sea production opens strategic vistas for Germany's war with the West. In the remainder of this post, I will get us to discussing the wider war by first summarizing (and linking to) my fuller explication of 1MPG's Eastern Front course. In that thread I have reached 1942, at which point strategic interplay between Eastern and Western wars is fuller - so it's best to proceed on both fronts thereafter.

Please do not take the spreadsheet projection literally. No war program goes exactly to plan; it's an indication of the shape of expanded German output.

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Catching up on 1MPG. Recap, summary, peak into the ATL '42 campaigns.

Clarifications/Renunciations:
Unlike in 1MPG's OP, I now see the necessary PoD falling in mid-'40 rather than prewar. I suspected as much back then; with further research my earlier caution is no longer necessary. Germany can begin preparing a stronger Barbarossa as laid out in this thread, not 1MPG.

Initial forces:
  • The primary initial force delta is still as 1MPG specified: 5 more panzer divisions (85k more recruits into Heer); 5 more motorized divisions converted from existing units.
  • Besides the mechanized divisions, Ostheer also earlier receives some of the ID's transferred later - only these are upgraded using our additional army weapons production. The additional ID's support ATL PzGr5 in Romania, as in 1MPG's OP.
  • LW and KM support are as in OTL.
Campaign's course:

As in 1MPG, initial centerpiece is a Kessel in Galicia, using our one more panzer group to encircle and destroy Southwest Front. Detailed discussion here.

Image

Next stage (July '41), discussed here, looks like this:

Image

August '41, also discussed here, looks like this:

Image

September '41, discussed here, looks like this:

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...leaving Moscow, Leningrad, and Ukraine all in German hands. As discussed in the linked September post, what follows is mostly a slower, infantry-focused push over the late-Fall and early winter to these lines:

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...the yellow-dashed area being taken in geographically-limited, but otherwise full-speed, offensive (basically Blau 3-4) employing only a part of Ostheer's mechanized forces.

LOGISTICS!

I discuss improved ATL Ostheer logistics here and here (and definitely elsewhere...).

As with everything Barbarossa, it's critical to understand that its logistics sucked because its planning sucked. As my logistics posts lay out, Germany possessed ample resources and expertise to support the Ostheer competently on a longer campaign, had she actually planned such a campaign.

Fuel

Discussed here.

SU's status at the end of ATL Barbarossa

ATL Spring '42 will see the SU roughly 40% weaker than OTL Spring '42, accounting for greater demographic, military, political, and economic damage. More details here and here.

Critical point: A better Barbarossa makes ATL '42 SU a smaller, poorer country than OTL. Smaller, poorer countries have smaller, poorer armies.

Ostheer's status at the end of ATL Barbarossa

Spring '42 will see the Ostheer's net casualties (i.e. casualties properly accounting for returning wounded) ~300k lower than OTL. Because of better Barbarossa logistics and production, its material state will be vastly improved as well.

I have put together a spreadsheet to track these things; available on request as a Google doc. Here's one version of the calculations:

Image

The underlying arithmetic is only:

[casualties at Time 2] = [Enemy force at Time 2 ATL] / [Enemy force at Time 2 OTL] * [OTL casualties]

Where

[Enemy force at Time 2 ATL] = [Enemy Force at Time 2 OTL] - ( [Casualties at Time 1 ATL] - [Casualties at Time 1 OTL] )

...which applies the basic intuition that encircling more of RKKA at Time 1 means getting shot by fewer RKKA at Time 2. In addition, the spreadsheets assumes parameters for degradation of SU's weapons stock (lower production from earlier, greater territorial losses) and soldier quality (forces have to be fielded earlier, before training complete. And/or more militia used - else Germany can actually do something like the "railway advance" after most of RKKA is destroyed). Some discussion here.

Ostheer's plan for 1942

Plow ahead to the Urals and Baku, leaving Stalin with a rump state of maybe 50mil population, completely lacking oil resources and major industry. Stalin is expected to make peace to preserve his regime. Otherwise Germany conquers the important parts of Siberia in '43 and spreads insurrection in Central Asia, leaving Stalin an impoverished duchy west of Baikal that falls in '44 (if not earlier).

Japan

She doesn't join Barbarossa in this ATL (though she should have). Rather, in Spring '42 she perceives that the SU is no longer a serious threat to Manchuria and tightens the blockade on Vladivostok. She announces, helped by German inducements (below), that no Allied-originating or financed goods are permitted through. If SU attacks Japan, it's worse for Stalin. So let's assume he doesn't. As SU is truly collapsing in Fall '42, Japan probably plays the jackal on Primoskiye and Khabarovsk. Maybe all the way to the Amur and parts of Mongolia too.

The German inducements are: (1) surplus Heer material - MG's and obsolete tanks, say. These would greatly enhance IJA's war in China. Japan can get them by forcing SU to accept its reduced status as a purely Asian power, and resume German-Japanese trade over the TSRR. (2) full cooperation on a MidEast-India strategy after Japan seals SU's fate by cutting the main LL lifeline. Japan wanted this strategy OTL, Germany couldn't deliver while facing a powerful SU.

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BACK TO THE GLOBAL WAR

Having caught everyone up on how ATL Barbarossa went, it's time to look at the wider war and German prospects.

Germany's main post-SU goals will be like those in Directive 32:

Move into the MidEast, involving:
  • A pressure campaign on Turkey followed (hopefully) by her acquiescence (otherwise invasion).
  • Operations from Caucasus into Iran and Iraq.
  • From Turkey, attacks on Iraq and Suez via Levant.
  • Reinforce Rommel to help with Suez.
  • Get Spain in the war one way or another to eliminate Gibraltar.
Build up for invasion of England - this has the additional benefit of tying down forces otherwise reinforcing other theaters.

Redirect production to KM and LW. ATL this is already happening, as all production increments are going to the LW and army armaments share is shrinking (though absolute level remaining steady).

In addition, Germany will want to help Japan. She wanted to OTL also, here the TSSR makes that possible already in late '42.


Invading the Mideast

As I've been discussing elsewhere, the Allies OTL shipping situation makes defending the MidEast in '42/'43 a very difficult proposition. As Harry Hopkins said when tasked to analyze dealing with something like this ATL (SU falls, Rommel stronger), "The sea lines of communication are long and vulnerable, presenting an impractical proposition for military operations against strong enemy movement out of the Mediterranean." Cite.

I've produced various quantitative analyses using US official histories to determine what the US could deploy/maintain in Mideast during 1943 or 42.

TL;DR: Using ALL US Army shipping, it's hard to get 5 divs in the Mideast by '42's end. By 3Q '43, maybe 15 divs can be supported. Both scenarios assume passivity in the Pacific and no buildup in England.

That's using OTL Allied shipping. In this ATL, Germany doubles its shipbuilding and deploys >400 more Uboats during '41-'42 (20/mo OTL for most of '41-'42). If we assume these sink, on average, just 30k tons each by May '43 (i.e. much less than average OTL Uboat loss/kill ratios before May '43), Allies lose 12mil more tons of shipping in the BoA. That's ~30% of global Allied shipping:

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Those losses would absolutely preclude any significant military additions in the MidEast and might make supporting even a 2nd-Alamein-sized force in Egypt (or Palestine) impossible. Why? Because allotments to military shipping came after satisfying Britain's basic import requirements; therefore military shipping was highly sensitive to the margin remaining after that essential minimum. As my spreadsheets show, US Army shipping (in measurement ton - miles) increased by a factor of ~150% between early '43 and mid-'44, when global Allied shipping pools increased by only ~50%. With global Allied shipping levels at an all-time low, US (and British) Army shipping space will be miniscule. This is the true shape of feasible Uboat victory: not to starve out Britain, rather to torpedo Allied strategic mobility.

So the MidEast is lost, Allies can't get there in any decent strength to check Germany in or south of Turkey, nor in Iran.

North Africa

Recall that Ostheer net casualties are ~300k lower up to Spring '42. The additional forces - call it 20 divs - redeploy to Norway, France, and North Africa in Spring '42 because Ostheer doesn't need them to finish a 40% weaker SU. To get more divs to North Africa requires suppressing/taking Malta. That's easy in this ATL, considering a much-stronger LW and doubled German shipbuilding (inc. MFP's for landing an ID on Malta or Gozo).

8th Army's rear is collapsing by early '43 anyway, as Heer moves from/through Turkey.

Torch is not an option either: Spain will be forced into the war by a German buildup on its borders and Gibraltar taken. If Spain resists - perhaps with Allied commitments of aid - then in '43 Germany bags an Allied expeditionary force with Iberia.

Asia-Pacific

SU's fall and, assuming Stalin behaves rationally, opening of the TSRR, allows Japan to finish Chiang's forces with German weapons (and perhaps training) and with the Kwantung Army redeployed to China (it was still very strong in OTL '43). This removes the rear threat from Japan's armies in Burma and opens a logistical line on the Burma Road from Kunming. India will shortly (1944) be in grave danger regardless of what happens in the Pacific (where Allied shipping shortages hamper their OTL offensives anyway).

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That's the setup so far: Germany "Vichy's" the SU in fall '42, conquers MidEast by mid-'43, Mediterranean is an Axis lake. On the economic front, Germany has >5mil more men shifted from army/graves into industry, recruits millions more (10mil?) from occupied Europe and its greater PoW hauls. Total German armaments production is >2x OTL and goes ~70% LW (vs. ~45% OTL): LW is >3x stronger. Bombing Germany is non-viable, invading Europe unimaginable. Germany is building MFP's, E-Boats, Destroyers, training more LW naval specialists - everything it needs to control the Channel and put an army over it. What next?

...to be discussed.
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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 13 Jul 2021 17:36

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Jul 2021 12:07
As I've been discussing elsewhere, the Allies OTL shipping situation makes defending the MidEast in '42/'43 a very difficult proposition. As Harry Hopkins said when tasked to analyze dealing with something like this ATL (SU falls, Rommel stronger), "The sea lines of communication are long and vulnerable, presenting an impractical proposition for military operations against strong enemy movement out of the Mediterranean." Cite.
Hi TMP.

The link that "cite" takes us to doesn't contain the right link to the screen shot you provide in the other thread. Have you got the date of that document from Hopkins so we can gain the context in which it was written please?

Regards

Tom

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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by historygeek2021 » 13 Jul 2021 23:24

Since a lot of these points have been addressed in the threads you linked, how about a more meta question:

How do you think Germany's potential to mobilize earlier ranks with that of the other world powers, in terms of the outcome it could have on the war? I recently read Case Red by Robert Forczyk, and he explains just how slow Britain and France were to mobilize in response to the Nazi threat. It is also well known that Stalin was reluctant to order full mobilization because of fear of provoking Hitler. And we all know how slow the United States was to mobilize due to its "isolationist" tendencies.

You could also ask the same about Belgium, or even Norway. A better prepared Belgium that stood its ground in the Ardennes would have ended Hitler's dreams pretty fast.

Or if Norway had mobilized before the German invasion, the German invasion likely would have failed. Giving Britain a foothold in Scandinavia, cutting off the U-Boats from the North Sea and potentially cutting off Swedish iron ore from Germany.

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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Jul 2021 01:52

Tom from Cornwall wrote: Have you got the date of that document from Hopkins so we can gain the context in which it was written please?
The date is July (19?) '42, from the FDR files. Here's the whole document again. It's a letter from Marshall (Chief of Staff), not Hopkins (questions were sent to Marshall via Hopkins - my mistake). That lends more weight to its military conclusions.

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Note Marshall's connection of defending the "oil fields" (presumably Mosul and Khuzestan) to Russia's endurance. Also his opinion that defending the MidEast would "bleed us white." It wouldn't literally do so but again he's sensitive to American aversion to large-scale land warfare and its attendant casualties. Of all American leaders, Marshall had probably the least aversion to casualties at this time (he favored Sledgehammer as a sacrifice of American/British lives to save the SU, for example - a commendably noble stance).

historygeek2021 wrote:
13 Jul 2021 23:24
how about a more meta question:

How do you think Germany's potential to mobilize earlier ranks with that of the other world powers, in terms of the outcome it could have on the war? I recently read Case Red by Robert Forczyk, and he explains just how slow Britain and France were to mobilize in response to the Nazi threat. It is also well known that Stalin was reluctant to order full mobilization because of fear of provoking Hitler. And we all know how slow the United States was to mobilize due to its "isolationist" tendencies.

You could also ask the same about Belgium, or even Norway. A better prepared Belgium that stood its ground in the Ardennes would have ended Hitler's dreams pretty fast.

Or if Norway had mobilized before the German invasion, the German invasion likely would have failed. Giving Britain a foothold in Scandinavia, cutting off the U-Boats from the North Sea and potentially cutting off Swedish iron ore from Germany.
Re the US and SU, they were doing maximal peacetime mobilization until they were forced into the war. On a smaller resource base (inc. occupied territories), SU nearly matched German munitions output in '40 and exceeded it in '41 (latter half's production probably barely exceeded first half's given evacuations):

Image

I've said elsewhere that what should have happened - morally and strategically - was an anti-Hitler coalition in 1939 including the SU (feasible, IMO) and the US (not feasible). That would have smothered Hitler's war in its crib, quite easily. In fact the French should have jettisoned British support for Soviet if came to that (Germany definitely can't win a two-front WW2, even absent Britain).

Once war came, Britain mobilized its armaments production more rapidly than Germany (see above Goldsmith table - Britain much closer to its peak much earlier than Germany). I don't know the armaments stats for France (does anybody?) but they put nearly as many men under arms as Germany with half the population. They had at least as much land weaponry - tanks, guns, etc. Hard to say the French could have done more than they did; Britain let them face Germany nearly alone, sending only 10 divisions to help.

My ATL argument is that, taking OTL political constraints as given, Hitler should have won the war in Europe as a military matter; his failure traces entirely to not taking the SU seriously. I 100% agree that political decisions could and should have been made that would have averted WW2 or made it a quick slapdown of Hitler, who had no business causing even as much damage as he did OTL (from 1939's standpoint). In 1939 he was surrounded by adversaries who could have crushed him, had they worked together. In '39-'41 he was given the perfect chance to beat each singly; he just flubbed that chance via a risible Barbarossa.
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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by historygeek2021 » 14 Jul 2021 03:25

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2021 01:52

Once war came, Britain mobilized its armaments production more rapidly than Germany (see above Goldsmith table - Britain much closer to its peak much earlier than Germany). I don't know the armaments stats for France (does anybody?) but they put nearly as many men under arms as Germany with half the population. They had at least as much land weaponry - tanks, guns, etc. Hard to say the French could have done more than they did; Britain let them face Germany nearly alone, sending only 10 divisions to help.
Forczyk gives a good overview of the lackluster British and French mobilization in the early chapters of Case Red. Meaning, they failed to get their armaments industry up and running when the threat of war was obvious (especially Britain). He argues that French armaments production was just coming into its own when Case Red was launched.
My ATL argument is that, taking OTL political constraints as given, Hitler should have won the war in Europe as a military matter; his failure traces entirely to not taking the SU seriously. I 100% agree that political decisions could and should have been made that would have averted WW2 or made it a quick slapdown of Hitler, who had no business causing even as much damage as he did OTL (from 1939's standpoint). In 1939 he was surrounded by adversaries who could have crushed him, had they worked together. In '39-'41 he was given the perfect chance to beat each singly; he just flubbed that chance via a risible Barbarossa.
There's no doubt that Hitler flubbed the invasion of the Soviet Union, largely due to his and OKH's belief that victory would be quick and easy. Does your ATL posit a reduction in air or naval spending, or a uniform increase in all branches? If Germany undertakes a massive army production effort, especially at the expense of the Luftwaffe and Navy, the Lucy Spy Ring will likely pick up on it, and Stalin will likely be forced to face reality. I don't know how you can say the USSR was undertaking its "maximum peacetime mobilization" prior to Barbarossa. It was a totalitarian dictatorship. It could mobilize much faster and more intensely than Germany, and it did as soon as Barbarossa began. The Soviet Union mobilized 5 million men within a week of Barbarossa launching. If Stalin read the writing on the wall and mobilized 2.5 million men in May, and massed them around Smolensk and Kiev, then your ATL Barbarossa will end up in the same place as the original Barbarossa, if not worse.

If Stalin still ignores the signs and the Soviet Union is no more mobilized than in the OTL when Barbarossa begins, then I agree Germany will do a lot better in the initial stages. It just seems that over time the Soviet Union will mobilizing just as fast if not faster than the OTL, throwing wave after wave of reserve armies at the OstHeer, and each time the OstHeer pauses to refit its vehicles and wait for the rail lines to catch up, that will give the Soviet Union more time to mobilize fresh reserve armies. And if the western allies are truly worried about Hitler actually winning the war, I can't see them resisting an invasion of Narvik/Sweden that cuts off Hitler's iron ore supplies and brings his armaments industry to a halt.

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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Jul 2021 04:09

historygeek2021 wrote:Forczyk gives a good overview of the lackluster British and French mobilization in the early chapters of Case Red. Meaning, they failed to get their armaments industry up and running when the threat of war was obvious (especially Britain). He argues that French armaments production was just coming into its own when Case Red was launched.
Maybe I'll pick that one up; Forczyk is actually a decent writer and I appreciate his willingness to go out on a limb even when I think he falls off it (e.g. Sealion).

Yes, I didn't mean to say there were no problems in other mobilizations - I'm aware of Britain's problems (Todman's Britain's War also good on this) but not France's. Germany's initial '39-'40 mobilization was managed about as well as anybody else's. Mobilization in WW1 caused much more economic disruption in Germany than in '39. It's the '40-'41 stall in production where Germany is anomalous. Every other (unconquered) power kept ramping up production; only Germany stalled.

That said, I don't see the case for war-changing battlefield outcomes from giving France or Britain, say, 15% more arms in 1940, whereas I do for Germany in '41. If someone wants to make the case, I'm all ears.
historygeek2021 wrote:Does your ATL posit a reduction in air or naval spending, or a uniform increase in all branches?
All branches increase production, as laid out in the spreadsheet (wish I were better at Excel).
historygeek2021 wrote:If Stalin read the writing on the wall and mobilized 2.5 million men in May, and massed them around Smolensk and Kiev, then your ATL Barbarossa will end up in the same place as the original Barbarossa, if not worse.
Maybe... perhaps another ATL? Holding the armies back as you specify requires infeasible foresight, IMO. This would be practically the same as declaring war - definitely to Stalin and probably to a Germany paying minimal attention to Soviet strength as well. That reverses the political calculation Stalin made in '39, seems to require some compelling PoD. As Soviet intelligence far overestimated what Germany had and was producing anyway, I can't see this ATL changing Stalin's behavior. Everyone assumed Germany was producing far more in '40-'41, this ATL merely approaches those expectations.
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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 14 Jul 2021 17:08

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2021 01:52
The date is July (19?) '42, from the FDR files. Here's the whole document again.
Thank you, much appreciated.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2021 01:52
The date is July (19?) '42, from the FDR files. Here's the whole document again. It's a letter from Marshall (Chief of Staff), not Hopkins (questions were sent to Marshall via Hopkins - my mistake). That lends more weight to its military conclusions.
But also adds much more useful context in that the timing is highly significant as it coincides with the US Chiefs of Staff last ditch visit to London to attempt to persuade the British to conduct cross-Channel operations rather than operations in North West Africa or in the Middle East.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Jul 2021 01:52
he favored Sledgehammer as a sacrifice of American/British lives to save the SU, for example - a commendably noble stance
Really? I'd say it was a fanciful stance that completely undermines his "military conclusions". Sledgehammer could not "save the SU" and another hopeless deployment of the British army (which would have comprised the vast majority of the troops involved) and its subsequent defeat would have done little to restore the morale of it's fighting troops which wasn't exactly great at this point in the war (cf 'Fighting the People's War').

BTW apologies for sending this thread off down a rabbit hole.

Getting back towards track if not exactly on it:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Jul 2021 12:07
Germany did not fully mobilize her available resources in the early war years, a fact I have been discussing in other threads, most single-mindedly here. She did not mobilize earlier because Hitler didn't take the SU seriously.
I thought that Germany wasn't fully mobilised because Hitler had told his generals/admirals that war wouldn't come until 1942/43? Plan Z and all that. :)

Regards

Tom

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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Jul 2021 00:07

Tom from Cornwall wrote:also adds much more useful context
It's useful context for considering what Marshall/US was advising in the event the SU didn't collapse: don't get distracted by the Mideast.

In thread context, however, we know Marshall/US would have postponed invading Europe "indefinitely" had the SU collapsed, so his comments regarding the infeasibility of defending the MidEast, absent the SU, aren't informed by a preference for Sledgehammer.
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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Jul 2021 02:12

historygeek2021 wrote: if the western allies are truly worried about Hitler actually winning the war, I can't see them resisting an invasion of Narvik/Sweden
At first Operation JUPITER looks easy on paper; Churchill certainly thought so. But the British service chiefs were unanimously opposed and, when you glance at their reasoning, it immediately makes sense.

It comes down to air cover and the virtual certainty of massive naval/merchant losses, even if the operation somehow worked. All air cover would have to be carrier-borne because Narvik is nearly ~800 miles from the nearest air bases in the Shetlands/Faroes. The LW could reinforce its airfields to a practically unlimited degree, especially in context of a very weak SU where the Ostheer can do without some LW support.

Alanbrooke's considerable annoyance with Churchill's fixation on Norway is apparent in his diary:
The plan for the capture of Norway had already been examined by the
Chiefs of Staff Committee, and had been turned down as impracticable
owing to insufficient air support for the operation. Now, at Chequers, I,
in my capacity as Commander-in-Chief Home Forces, had received
orders from him [Churchill] to prepare a detailed plan for the capture of
Trondheim, ready to the last button. A Commander for the expedition
was to be appointed by me and the plan was to be sufficiently ready
only to require the order to start. I was given one week to prepare it. I
said that, if I was to do so, I must have the Commander-in-Chief Home
Fleet, Air-Officer-Commanding Fighter Command, Air-Officer-Commanding
Bomber Command, Minister of Transport and several
others at my disposal for repeated conferences during the week. I was
told that they were all to be made available
It was an unpleasant assignment. I had been told by Dill of the results
of the Chiefs of Staff inspection of the problem, and I felt convinced
that I should arrive at similar conclusions. It was going to entail a great
deal of wasted work on the part of many busy people.

6th October. Left home 8 a.m., foggy. Conference at II a.m. in Cabinet
War Room at which I presided. Following were present: Commanders-in-Chief
Home Fleet, Fighter Command, Bomber Command, Coastal
Command, Army Co-operation Command, Quartermaster-General,
Minister of Transport, my own staff etc. The more we examined the
problem of Trondheim, the more certain I am that it would be folly to
attempt it…


9th October… The whole morning had been taken up with another of
my meetings preparing Trondheim operation… Our final survey of the
operation convinced us more than ever of its impracticability.


Sunday 12th October. After having made all arrangements to go to
Chequers and for special train to collect me at Wendover station at 1.45
a.m., I suddenly received message during afternoon that PM wanted us
at 10 Downing Street instead. Went there at 6.30 p.m. All Chiefs of
Staff, Tovey, Sholto, [Douglas], Paget and I attended. PM very
dissatisfied with our Appreciation. He then proceeded to cross-question
me for nearly two hours on various items of the Appreciation, trying to
make out that I had unnecessarily increased the difficulties.
...these specific entries regard a Trondheim operation but Narvik has at least the same difficulties regarding air cover and naval losses.

The Malta Convoys would be a representative comparison: There the RAF/RN pushed merchant shipping through LW-controlled airspace with carrier support. Merchant and naval shipping losses were tremendous but, considering Malta's strategic value, were probably worthwhile.

Now extend those proportional losses to a case where Allies are sending regular convoys into the teeth of LW bombers and KM light forces (British lost a cruiser to torpedo boats in Operation Pedestal) and submarines (Uboats sank two carriers on Malta ops).

------------------------

That's the OTL case against JUPITER. In ATL the Germans have more subs, E-boats, a few more destroyers, and more aircraft. LW could probably have 1,000+ planes in northern Norway in days, supplied with spares and maintenance personnel on an emergency basis by air. My ATL specifies that Hitler uses 3-4 of his "extra" ATL division-equivalents to reinforce Norway in Spring '42 (Ostheer has ~300k fewer net casualties or ~20 division-equivalents). So there's no chance of rapidly overrunning the LW's airfields. KM immediately vectors U-boats and E-boats from Atlantic/Channel to Norway; within a week they're taking a massive toll on naval and merchant units.

Maybe the Allies can pull it off by stripping the Pacific of all their carriers? F4F's and Fulmars against Me-109's and Fw-190's? Allied aerial losses would be horrendous. EDIT: Seafire was operational for Torch but its performance - e.g. 359mph top speed - is still well below land-based LW fighters.

These German diversions would not be free, of course: Med and Eastern air forces would be weakened, as would BoA submarine activity. Depending on timing, JUPITER could delay Malta's fall and Rommel's ATL progress as well. But under the best possible circumstances the Allies lose several capital ships, scores of smaller naval assets and merchantmen. On net I can't see the Allies preferring this outcome, even if it buys time in the Med and MidEast. That judgment is informed by my evaluation of the strategic impact:
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historygeek2021 wrote: invasion of Narvik/Sweden that cuts off Hitler's iron ore supplies and brings his armaments industry to a halt.
Even a successful JUPITER wouldn't have immediate effect. First, it has to be launched in months of decent sunshine, therefore not when Narvkik is needed for Swedish ore shipments. Second, the reinforced German forces in Narvik will hold out for months even in the best Allied case. That further delays a move into Sweden, were such a move part of your plan.

In the intervening months, plus probably a couple months covered by stocks consumption - call it six months - Germany spools up iron ore output in Europe - Alsace, Salzgitter, Kursk, Krivoy Rog. This costs Germany some capital investment and labor there is less productive than labor used to produce exports traded for Swedish ore. But as I've discussed in a similar context elsewhere, the big-picture result of forcing Germany to mine inefficiently - rather than to trade more efficiently - is small.

If you're invading Sweden, it's hard to see that small impact outweighing German occupation of Sweden (gaining a net benefit from industrial occupation vs. trade) and seeing either an Axis Sweden or probably tens of thousands of Swedes in the Waffen-SS.

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I would guess JUPITER fails under ATL conditions (possibly OTL too), and fails spectacularly enough to delay the Pacific War timeline by a year. Given its low or negative net impact even if it works, can't see the Allies risking it.

----------------------

TMP bookmark: Operation JUPITER
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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by historygeek2021 » 17 Jul 2021 00:43

How do the production forecasts in your ATL compare with production after Hitler "got serious" in the OTL - the winter of 41/42?

In Enduring the Whirlwind, page 428, Gregory Liedtke notes that as late as August 1942, production of coal was so deficient, Hitler said the war would be lost if it could not be improved. That's 8 months after he "got serious" in the OTL, and the Germany economy still wasn't up to his demands.

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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Jul 2021 02:24

historygeek2021 wrote:
17 Jul 2021 00:43
How do the production forecasts in your ATL compare with production after Hitler "got serious" in the OTL - the winter of 41/42?
We have to distinguish between economic problems of coordination and of total resources. They're related but separate issues. You're pointing up a coordination problem arising in latter '42:
historygeek2021 wrote: In Enduring the Whirlwind, page 428, Gregory Liedtke notes that as late as August 1942, production of coal was so deficient, Hitler said the war would be lost if it could not be improved. That's 8 months after he "got serious" in the OTL, and the Germany economy still wasn't up to his demands.
The text from Liedtke, with additional context:
Significant production increases were achieved for machine-guns, mortars, light artillery and flak, and assault guns, while the manufacture of staff cars and motorcycles actually declined. In most categories, production generally held steady or witnessed only modest increases. This appears to have been the ultimate product of the near collapse of the German war economy during the winter of 1941-1942.Despite the efforts of Speer and other German officials, recovery from this disaster was slow and made even more difficult by the near stagnation, or even decline, in the production of most kinds of raw materials.86 By August, difficulties in the mining of sufficient quantities of coal had threatened the manufacture of steel to such an extent that, in a meeting with officials charged with coal production, Hitler bluntly declared that “if, due to the shortage of coking coal the output of the steel industry cannot be raised as planned, then the war is lost.”
Coal production was increasing, just not in line with increased demand caused by increased steel output. Per USSBS Germany report, App. Table 72, steel output in 4Q '42 increased 13% over 4Q '41, coal production by only 7% between 41-42 and 42-43 coal years ending in March (USSBS Germany Table 57). This was a failure to coordinate inputs (coal) subsidiary to expected outputs (steel).

Coal production and stocks were particularly hard-hit by the Winter Crisis 41-42, which was largely transport-caused (coal being by far the biggest item for railway haulage). My ATL greatly ameliorates/prevents the Winter Crisis.

Would similar coordination failures arise ATL as well? Probably, but they'd be ameliorated by avoiding/ameliorating the Winter Crisis. At the broadest level, it remains true that greater resource mobilization in latter '42 was creating greater outputs of everything (coal, steel, armaments).

Note that coordination problems were endemic to all wartime economies. The US had a particularly bad crisis in '42 (The "Feasibility Crisis"), wherein failure to tailor demanded outputs to realistic inputs resulted in cutting the 1943 Army program from >200 divisions to 90. Nothing quite as drastic happened in Germany. The SU in 1942 had a basic materials crisis as well, as it preserved too little of its energy-transport-basic materials sector relative to its armaments sector.

A lot of WW2 commentary - including by good authors - pathologizes the German economy as if its management problems were unique. They weren't. Backstabbing and other bureaucratic drama was as prevalent in US economic planning/leadership as in German, see Keep from All Thoughtful Men for a good discussion of military-civilian hatred and rivalry.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 17 Jul 2021 04:55, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Jul 2021 04:42

TheMarcksPlan wrote:Would similar coordination failures arise ATL as well? Probably, but they'd be ameliorated by avoiding/ameliorating the Winter Crisis.
The economic underpinning of my ATL, outlined here, assumes constant productivity of earlier-mobilized labor resources (foreign labor assumed to be less productive than native, however). As I say in the above quote and here, this doesn't give credit for two big productivity-enhancing ATL aspects (avoiding the premature shift from army munitions and avoiding the Winter Crisis).

The ATL has not, admittedly, so far accounted for coordination problems - i.e. the emergence of bottlenecks during the process of adding all these new resources to ATL economy.

IMJ the magnitude of unaccounted benefits exceeds unaccounted potential coordination problems. German productivity rose from '42 onwards, after all, despite coordination problems. By contrast, productivity plummeted in '41 due to the ATL-avoided frantic swings in production programs (from army to LW/KM and back). It plummeted again during the Winter Crisis. If we want to call these unaccounted costs/benefits a wash it would be conservative to my ATL case. But I'm fine with doing so.
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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by KDF33 » 17 Jul 2021 20:29

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Jul 2021 04:42
The ATL has not, admittedly, so far accounted for coordination problems - i.e. the emergence of bottlenecks during the process of adding all these new resources to ATL economy.
IMO, a balanced strategy for allocating the additional manpower would have limited - if not outright avoided - those problems.

I've created a balance sheet for a notional scenario of a properly planned 1941:

Image

Columns 'C' to 'G' correspond to the OTL German allocation of labor. Columns 'I' and 'J' restate the OTL allocation for mid-1940 and mid-1941, whereas columns 'L' and 'M' compare mid-1940 and my mid-1941 ATL alternative.

Green-colored cases indicate year-on-year increases, whereas pink-colored cases indicate reductions. The year-on-year percent change is indicated below the yearly figure.

In the ATL scenario, German labor savings amount to 672,000 and are accounted for by reducing the categories 'Handwork' and 'Administration and services' by the rate of 1941/42, rather than 1940/41.

The scenario also sees a net gain of 1,000,000 additional workers, corresponding to a large influx of foreign labor from Western countries - Denmark, Norway, the Benelux and, to a smaller extent, France. Thus, the overall gain (savings + additions) is 1,672,000.

What does Germany do with the extra manpower? First, it increases the size of the Wehrmacht by 800,000 men, of which 200,000 form additional divisions to allow for a double-envelopment in the Ukraine, and 600,000 are allocated as additional replacements for Barbarossa.

A further 65,000 workers are allocated to the DRB, thus reaching mid-1942 levels of manpower a year early.

The metalworking industries receive 463,000 extra workers, almost all of whom are tasked with producing armaments. The focus remains on ground forces, with tank and motor vehicle production being significantly scaled up. Weapons are expanded to outfit additional divisions, whereas ammunition production is maintained at a reasonable level, somewhere between the early 1940 and 1941 levels. There is no mid-year drawdown of ground armaments production.

Basic materials receive 212,000 workers. They bring mining, iron and steel production, as well as liquid fuels close to their mid-1943 manpower level.

Finally, construction and building materials see no reduction and stay at their mid-1940 level. The extra manpower contributes to finishing some armaments plants early (f.e., Nibelungenwerk) but, mostly, to expand the synthetic fuel complexes, fed by extra coal made available by the expansion of the mining workforce.

Increases in manpower producing for the Luftwaffe is maintained at the historical level until the collapse of effective Soviet resistance. Thereafter, a general rebalancing of the armaments workforce is programmed, this time backed up by a vastly-increased supply of avgas.

As for Barbarossa, it is planned as a two-year campaign and, from the very beginning, assumes that Soviet prisoners-of-war will be sent to work in Germany, thus freeing additional manpower.

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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 18 Jul 2021 03:22

KDF33 wrote:
17 Jul 2021 20:29
I've created a balance sheet for a notional scenario of a properly planned 1941:
What a treat. I'm off doing whatever and my ATL has improved/advanced in the meantime.
KDF33 wrote:What does Germany do with the extra manpower? First, it increases the size of the Wehrmacht by 800,000 men, of which 200,000 form additional divisions to allow for a double-envelopment in the Ukraine, and 600,000 are allocated as additional replacements for Barbarossa.
This reminds me that I’ve become too tied to “one more panzer group,” despite proposing “two more panzer groups” in the past and constantly saying 1MPG is just a minimum. As a standalone counterfactual, it’s useful for approaching the minimum conditions for an arguably war-winning Barbarossa. In this broader context, however, having Germany do the minimum in the East while building up air/sea forces against the West is perhaps too generous to Germany. Accurately perceiving Soviet strength, a more prudent ATL estimate would perhaps see some over-commitment to Ostheer.

I’ll propose some other notions in another post. The goal will be to reach some reflective equilibrium regarding Germany’s likely ATL resource commitments, east vs. west, had Hitler taken the SU seriously.
KDF33 wrote:
17 Jul 2021 20:29
The scenario also sees a net gain of 1,000,000 additional workers, corresponding to a large influx of foreign labor from Western countries - Denmark, Norway, the Benelux and, to a smaller extent, France.
Thanks for quantifying neatly the progression in handwork and finance/trade. It's definitely another factor underpinning the viability of significantly greater early-war German production.

Poland wasn't tapped out yet either, adding 700k workers between Sept 41 and August 44 (on net, significant numbers of Poles would have died/absconded in the interim). Poles could replace higher-skilled Frenchmen in agriculture, as was done later with Soviet PoW.
KDF33 wrote:
17 Jul 2021 20:29
A further 65,000 workers are allocated to the DRB, thus reaching mid-1942 levels of manpower a year early.
I added 35k to military railroaders ("graue Eisenbahner") by mid-41 in my underlying spreadsheet (additional drafts go from 85k to 120k between May and June '41). It's correct that I need some more domestic railroaders/canal-men to support the increased economic activity.
KDF33 wrote:
17 Jul 2021 20:29
ammunition production is maintained at a reasonable level, somewhere between the early 1940 and 1941 levels.
In OP I just threw 10% of OTL armaments production back into ammo, thinking along similar lines. I've struggled to articulate a clear campaign payout, however, other than to postulate a delta to RKKA bloody casualties overall. Depending on your estimate for real RKKA bloody casualties in 41 (in the linked post mine is probably too high) and for the marginal value of added shells, it's feasible to kill/wound >1mil more Soviets by late '41. That feasibly results in Moscow's fall and retention absent any other ATL modifications. Within a stronger Barbarossa ATL, there’s no obvious strategic payout other than higher Soviet casualties (and, via iterative combat loops, lower German at the strategic level).

More suppressive/destructive artillery fire would also reduce German casualties at the tactical level but that effect is even harder to quantify.
KDF33 wrote:
17 Jul 2021 20:29
The extra manpower contributes to finishing some armaments plants early (f.e., Nibelungenwerk)
Definitely a possibility. I've always specified double-shifting the 6 existing tank manufacturers, however, which seems both more efficient and more in line with wartime mobilization exigencies. I picked up a copy of Winninger's OKH Toy Factory to get a better feel for this plant. My impression is it's typical of the prewar National Socialist manufacturing ideal: massive investments in worker welfare provision like attached housing estates, big emphasis on "soft" factory infrastructure like heating/ventilation/mess halls/locker rooms. As Uziel documents in Arming the Luftwaffe, the aviation industry had a similar prewar National Socialist ideal that rapidly degraded into the brutal (but productive) later horror show. 1940-41 is somewhere between idyll and horror for factory workers.

That said, there's no reason Germany couldn't have modified the NiWerk plan to skimp on some bells and whistles. Later in the war, NiWerk too became a site of human misery.
KDF33 wrote:mostly, to expand the synthetic fuel complexes, fed by extra coal made available by the expansion of the mining workforce.
I haven't pressed this option too much because (1) a very large expansion of coal mining requires a substantial input of food to maintain miner's productivity and (2) the supply of skilled miners is limited. For the particular ATL conditions I've sketched, marginal coal delta is on the order of 5% to keep up with steel output. That implies a manageable food input delta, could be covered by, e.g., using some of the excess French occupation account to purchase more food (on the black market if necessary). I haven't even sketched numbers for, say, a 50% bigger synthgas program.

Were we to do so, one factor is that marginal capacity wouldn't come online until '42 or later. By then Germany's better Barbarossa should be reaping more food from occupied SU than OTL. As discussed here, Germany got ~20% of its domestic calorie supply from SU in '42-'43. It didn't benefit much, if any, from occupying Southern Russia that year because probably much/most of the Fall harvest was destroyed/evacuated and it wasn't around to reap the spring harvest. In ATL, Germany holds the vast grain belt between Voronezh and Krasnodar for both harvests during ’42. Combined with creaming off some from poorer northern farmers in marginal ATL gains elsewhere, Germany has probably another 20% of domestic calorie supply to play with in ’42. In addition, better German martial fortunes would mean greater collaboration by native farmers (and less partisan disruption of food supply). I envision of fuller post on German ATL exploitation in this thread (or in my book haha).

As for coal miners, the OP assumption is you draft slightly fewer of them and slightly more metals/hand/trade workers, who are more easily replaceable. Again I haven't analyzed a larger expansion of coal production against the skilled miner constraint. Feasibly there's an available and under-utilized pool in France/Belgium.
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Re: Germany Mobilizes Earlier

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 18 Jul 2021 03:59

KDF33 wrote:IMO, a balanced strategy for allocating the additional manpower would have limited - if not outright avoided - those problems.
To be fair to historygeek2021 and others, I can't see why coordination problems would be any greater or lesser depending on the mobilization timeline. The spreadsheet approach we're taking would likely be more rational than the approach folks were taking (Nazi or not) in the 1940's. Again the book Keep from All Thoughtful Men is an instructive piece of practical intellectual history (to coin an oxymoron) here. It describes efforts by economists (mainly Simon Kuznets and Robert Nathan) to get military/political planners to use high-level economic stats as we are doing. For us, educated in an era where economists are dominant (IMO too dominant), it's natural. For them it was not.

The book's title comes from a memo General Somervel, head of Army Service Forces, sent to Kuznets/Nathan and their team, instructing them what to do with their reports. He simply wouldn't believe that national-income statistics could accurately predict/describe production. I see that reaction a lot on AHF too, btw, from Somervel-esque older cohorts. The economists were right of course; Marshall and FDR eventually ordered implementation of their recommendations (resolution of the "Feasibility Crisis").

Wagenfuehr's efforts at the Gesamtplan remind me of Kuznets/Nathan's national accounting - only Kuznets was a Nobel-Prize-winning intellect and Wagenfuehr was clearly not. Anyway, you don't get even Wagenfuehr until Speer; in 40-41 it'd have been Thomas, Todt, and Goering muddling along.
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