If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalemate?

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 3216
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Nov 2021 11:20

History Learner wrote:My understanding was that the U.S. cuts support for the Southwest Pacific, by no later than October of 1942.
My ATL table specifies shipments beginning from October. Nothing shipped from the US on October 1 has any impact on the Pacific war that month or in early November. If we really need to, we can say east-bound shipping cuts begin October 15. I am not naive enough to foreclose FDR being that cynical.
History Learner wrote:you made mention of using Pacific carriers against Norway, for example.
I mentioned that as a post-SU peripheral/bombing strategy, so not until 1943.
History Learner wrote:I'd also like to suggest Cautious Crusade: Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Public Opinion, and The War Against Nazi Germany by Steven Casey, if you haven't read it already.
I haven't. Thank you.
History Learner wrote: If the Republicans take the House and tie up the Senate on a Pacific First or outright "Pro-German peace" platform, they can absolutely use the powers of Congress to tie the hands of FDR on the matter.
Only marginally. Under the Constitution there's not much Congress can do against the Commander-in-Chief once it's declared war [under our post-Constitution regime, there's not much Congress can do period].

Re Pro-German peace platform... Look it's an idea I'm not averse to under certain circumstances. As stated in my own ATL's, if US is losing battles - in the Mideast, in the air, etc. - then public support drops rapidly and the Lindberghs can come out of the woodwork. If US is winning its battles (but ducking the big invasion of Europe) it's harder to see such a movement emerging. American support for wars is very closely correlated with how we're doing on the battlefields.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

History Learner
Member
Posts: 405
Joined: 19 Jan 2019 09:39
Location: United States

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by History Learner » 17 Nov 2021 11:52

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Nov 2021 11:07
History Learner wrote:That is precisely Germany's greatest threat. The solution is to gradually reduce bomber in favor of fighter production, and once the USSR starts to seriously falter, virtually stop producing bombers altogether - at least until the Grossraum's potential has been further mobilized and the overall production gap with the Allies narrowed.
Before getting to the economics of the transition, what's your evidence that it's a historically feasible Nazi path - or are you dictating ideal German moves from here on out regardless? Either is fine and interesting.

On the historic feasibility, it's an issue I've been researching myself - both for my own ATL and for the argument that the Eastern Front deranged Germany's air defenses (though not via obvious routes like diverting fighters).

Offhand, salient evidentiary points:

-Jeschonnek stated, "First we have to worry about beating Russia, then we can worry about pilot training."
-Galland's memoirs recount his efforts to shift towards fighter defense. But he also recalls a convo with Jeschonnek where the latter argues we need to focus on the East (unfortunately details of J's argument not provided). Galland comes away from the meeting thinking Jeschonnek has a lot of good points.
-In Defense of the Reich: The Luftwaffe over Germany, there's discussion of training being impeded by Ostheer's constant raiding of Ar-96 planes for use as recon and liaison.
-The Kholm, Stalingrad, and Tunisia airlifts denuded the training schools of instructors, many of whom were lost.
-When Kammhuber proposed increased night defenses to Hitler during 1943, he was told basically "not until we beat Russia."
-Bomber production was intended primarily for Ostheer's benefit. The Baedekker raids and Baby Blitz were poorly resourced; arguments that bombing Britain would have been priority #1, absent the Eastern Front, seem unsupportable.

...I don't have my notes at hand (still switching computers and haven't recovered everything) but trying to quantify/detail these impacts/arguments. So I'd probably come down on your side as to historical feasibility though it's a constraint I've relieved myself of in my own ATL by making mine much easier (I just multiply OTL aircraft production by 3-4 and save its composition for later refinement).
KDF33 wrote:The process would look like this:
On economic feasibility I might quibble with your 1E frameweights because of the generally higher cost per ton of lighter planes. Then again, Me-109's are the true Wunderwaffe because they're incredibly cheap. Depends on the type distribution of Me-109 vs. Fw-190. You'd probably want to prioritize the the Me-109 Hochgruppen to combat Allied escorts because OTL's Fw-190's are probably sufficient to stop the AAF if the escorts are dealt with. So maybe I drop my quibble.
KDF33 wrote:To fly 2,500 "Tunisian standard" fighter sorties per day for a whole year, Germany would require 547,500 tons of fuel, i.e. 28.6% of its OTL 1943 supply of 1,917,000 tons - and almost certainly less than what its bomber force consumed in that year.
Roger. We can also ~double avgas supply rapidly by converting the hydrogenation plants from mogas once Ostheer goes dormant - with the proviso that we produce more benzene and other additives. Mining and transporting the base coal is probably at least half the synthgas battle, so the additive side is probably feasible (especially given Ostheer's increased hauls of PoW and civilian Russian labor, greater food loot to feed hungry miners).

In this ATL, I could see US ramping up escorts and retraining USN pilots to fly them (if necessary for stronger escort fleet - not sure it would be). It's a tight race to keep LW off OTL's vicious cycle towards collapse. The Ostfront endgame timing seems critical.
I'm extremely confused as to what post of mine you're responding to here lol? It says me at the top but the rest is KDF.

History Learner
Member
Posts: 405
Joined: 19 Jan 2019 09:39
Location: United States

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by History Learner » 17 Nov 2021 11:59

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Nov 2021 11:20
My ATL table specifies shipments beginning from October. Nothing shipped from the US on October 1 has any impact on the Pacific war that month or in early November. If we really need to, we can say east-bound shipping cuts begin October 15. I am not naive enough to foreclose FDR being that cynical.
On that, I have to disagree. The Japanese were keeping numerical parity with us on Guadalcanal all throughout October; if the U.S. stops shipping troops beyond replacements, the Japanese are going to gain a decisive numerical edge. Adding to this, in mid-October, Haruna and Kongō successfully bombarded Henderson Field. If the U.S. has stopped shipping equipment, it's likely they lose air superiority over the Solomons. In such a scenario, a serious disaster is possible, just in time for midterms.
I mentioned that as a post-SU peripheral/bombing strategy, so not until 1943.
Thank you for the clarification. One thing that immediately springs to mind is that, if the Japanese see the Soviets increasingly struggling and the U.S. isn't seriously pressing them, the Kwantung Army is likely to get involved in the mix which can be fatal.
Only marginally. Under the Constitution there's not much Congress can do against the Commander-in-Chief once it's declared war [under our post-Constitution regime, there's not much Congress can do period].

Re Pro-German peace platform... Look it's an idea I'm not averse to under certain circumstances. As stated in my own ATL's, if US is losing battles - in the Mideast, in the air, etc. - then public support drops rapidly and the Lindberghs can come out of the woodwork. If US is winning its battles (but ducking the big invasion of Europe) it's harder to see such a movement emerging. American support for wars is very closely correlated with how we're doing on the battlefields.
This is why I highly recommend Casey's book and I can send you a copy if you want? He outlines this was the situation for most of 1942, with an increasingly pessimistic view of the war then and repeated again in 1944 prior to D-Day.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 3216
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Nov 2021 12:27

History Learner wrote:I'm extremely confused as to what post of mine you're responding to here lol? It says me at the top but the rest is KDF.
Whoops that was supposed to be KDF.
History Learner wrote:The Japanese were keeping numerical parity with us on Guadalcanal all throughout October; if the U.S. stops shipping troops beyond replacements, the Japanese are going to gain a decisive numerical edge. Adding to this, in mid-October, Haruna and Kongō successfully bombarded Henderson Field. If the U.S. has stopped shipping equipment, it's likely they lose air superiority over the Solomons. In such a scenario, a serious disaster is possible, just in time for midterms.
Numbers shmumbers. The IJA was starving and poorly equipped; attrition ratios were ~10:1 on Guadalcanal. I don't see IJA victory in that battle being remotely possible. Far from expert on it though.

US doesn't stop shipping equipment and replacements - I specified an 80% decline in OTL shipments eastwards.
HistoryLearner wrote:if the Japanese see the Soviets increasingly struggling and the U.S. isn't seriously pressing them, the Kwantung Army is likely to get involved in the mix which can be fatal.
This is something I raised upthread, agreed it's a factor. I have Coox's Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, which documents that Kwantung Army remained a threat in 1942, less so in 1943, was severely denuded in 1944. I honestly can't say whether it's remotely feasible that Japan's leaders would have moved on the SU in this ATL. I've been proceeding as if the Ostfront goes dormant in 1943, however, so it doesn't seem a huge issue.
History Learner wrote:This is why I highly recommend Casey's book and I can send you a copy if you want?
I'd greatly appreciate it ---> my AHF handle at Google's virtual telegraph office.
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

History Learner
Member
Posts: 405
Joined: 19 Jan 2019 09:39
Location: United States

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by History Learner » 17 Nov 2021 12:41

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Nov 2021 12:27
Numbers shmumbers. The IJA was starving and poorly equipped; attrition ratios were ~10:1 on Guadalcanal. I don't see IJA victory in that battle being remotely possible. Far from expert on it though.
Not sure where you are getting those numbers; total U.S. casualties was 14k to 21k for the Japanese, so closer to 1.5 to 1. The starvation and being poorly equipped was mainly a reflection of the increasing supply difficulties from October on as the Americans increased their naval and air superiority in the region, which I'm doubtful of here.
US doesn't stop shipping equipment and replacements - I specified an 80% decline in OTL shipments eastwards.
That's why I'm getting at here though; the U.S. is only sending replacements and thus staying static, the Japanese are sending reinforcements and thus growing their forces. At a certain point, especially if they can keep Henderson suppressed, the balance shifts decisively towards the IJA.
This is something I raised upthread, agreed it's a factor. I have Coox's Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, which documents that Kwantung Army remained a threat in 1942, less so in 1943, was severely denuded in 1944. I honestly can't say whether it's remotely feasible that Japan's leaders would have moved on the SU in this ATL. I've been proceeding as if the Ostfront goes dormant in 1943, however, so it doesn't seem a huge issue.
Given the nature of the Kwantung Army, they may see the situation in a way contrary to Tokyo and act according. IIRC, when the decision to Strike South was made, they basically had to promise the Kwantung Army they'd get a swing at it in 1942 and then the war situation developed to such an extent they were able to renege on it successfully. Here, if the U.S. is being docile and the Soviets are increasingly weak, it's going to be hard to resist the temptation.
I'd greatly appreciate it ---> my AHF handle at Google's virtual telegraph office.
I'll send it late tomorrow night.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 3216
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Nov 2021 12:51

History Learner wrote:Not sure where you are getting those numbers; total U.S. casualties was 14k to 21k for the Japanese, so closer to 1.5 to 1
Memory? That HBO show? Stricken from the record. Anyways:
History Learner wrote:The starvation and being poorly equipped was mainly a reflection of the increasing supply difficulties from October on as the Americans increased their naval and air superiority in the region, which I'm doubtful of here.
My emergency Roundup wouldn't touch any air or sea resources until Spring '43 so the IJA still seems screwed.
History Learner wrote:Given the nature of the Kwantung Army, they may see the situation in a way contrary to Tokyo and act according.
IGHQ dropped the hammer on Kwantung Army after Nomonhan and transferred the troublemakers out of theater. Thus no serious flare-up during Barbarossa.
I'll send it late tomorrow night.
Vielen Dank!
https://twitter.com/themarcksplan
https://www.reddit.com/r/AxisHistoryForum/
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Gooner1
Member
Posts: 2034
Joined: 06 Jan 2006 12:24
Location: London

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by Gooner1 » 17 Nov 2021 14:52

KDF33 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 07:22
1. Rommel wins at Gazala and takes Tobruk, then stops. His mission is to guard the Libya/Egypt border for the foreseeable future. If he moves further on his own initiative, he is relieved.
2. Herkules proceeds in summer 1942 and takes Malta.
Malta defended by over 100 Spitfires and over 250 anti-aircraft guns.
3. In the context of a static frontline, William Gott presumably doesn't get shot down and has command of 8th Army instead of Montgomery. Churchill probably presses him to attack, and the general offensive that historically happened in October at El Alamein happens at the border somewhat earlier... Or maybe Rommel (or his successor if he is relieved) launches a spoiling attack to try degrading Commonwealth forces, without seizing new ground permanently. By the time Torch happens, IMO it's a toss-up whether or not the Axis position in the "Western Desert" is broken.
Auchinleck would have been in charge of Eighth Army until replaced.

Tom from Cornwall
Member
Posts: 2788
Joined: 01 May 2006 19:52
Location: UK

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 17 Nov 2021 18:16

History Learner wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:32
TMP wrote:
And if FDR behaves with core ethical convictions - he was dying and probably knew it - the politics don't really matter.

I have to firmly disagree with this, because the politics do matter in a Democracy. If the Republicans take the House and tie up the Senate on a Pacific First or outright "Pro-German peace" platform, they can absolutely use the powers of Congress to tie the hands of FDR on the matter.
And not forgetting that Congress wasn't the only factor in FDR's decisions - he did after all have Allies! In fact up until the Casablanca Conference it could be argued that British grand strategy was more important than US politics! :D

And to show what he would have to overcome, there is this snip from the British PM on 8 Jun 42 in which he disagrees with the mooted operation "Imperator":
CAB66-26-16 - WSC Note on Sledgehammer - 8 Jun 42.JPG
"Imperator" was a proposed 3-4 division landing on the coast of NW France intended to stay ashore for 3-4 days and draw in German land and air reserves. Basically a sop to public opinion in the event of a Soviet collapse - and good to see that WSC would rather face political embarrassment than sacrifice Allied troops in a forlorn mission.

That WSC would have enjoyed contributing to this thread though is suggested by his opening remarks in this memorandum which he sent on 21 Jul 42:
CAB66-26-41 - WSC - War Situation - 21 Jul 42 - para 1.JPG
Of course, this was Churchill's opinion in the summer of 1942 when he was under immense political pressure and the British army was at its nadir. Whether he would have felt the same in the altered situation that you have outlined is any ones guess - he may well have retired to his art studio and been replaced as PM.

Regards

Tom
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

paulrward
Member
Posts: 526
Joined: 10 Dec 2008 20:14

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by paulrward » 17 Nov 2021 20:15

Hello All :

Mr. TheMarcksPlan Posted :
Numbers shmumbers. The IJA was starving and poorly equipped; attrition
ratios were ~10:1 on Guadalcanal. I don't see IJA victory in that battle being remotely
possible. Far from expert on it though.
Some Numbers, from the Dreaded Wikipedia :

Japanese Losses on Guadalcanal: 19,200 IJA/IJN dead, of whom 8,500 were killed in combat,
plus appx 1,000 Japanese IJA / IJN were captured NOTE: This does NOT include members
of IJN ships crews lost with the sinking of their ships in the campaign.


38 ships lost including 1 light carrier, 2 battleships, 3 cruisers, and 13 destroyers.

683 aircraft lost

10,652 IJA . IJN personnel evacuated

***********************************************************************

The Allies lost a combined total of USA, USMC, USN, and RAN personnel appx 7,100 dead, and
appx 7,789 wounded with 4 USMC / USN personnel captured. NOTE: This DOES include members
of ships crews lost with the sinking of their ships in the campaign


29 ships lost including 2 fleet carriers, 6 cruisers, and 14 destroyers.

615 aircraft lost



Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
Information not shared, is information lost
Voices that are banned, are voices who cannot share information....
Discussions that are silenced, are discussions that will occur elsewhere !

KDF33
Member
Posts: 1035
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by KDF33 » 18 Nov 2021 06:26

Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
Initially, the bulk of the Red Army was not in the main axis of the German attack, but the German attack represented most of the German offensive capabilities.
You wrote, and I quote, that German territorial gains in the summer of 1942 were made "against very weak Soviet forces". Here are Soviet strength returns for 07/01/1942:

Image

Sources: Kursk 1943: A Statistical Analysis, p. 2 for the totals, and here (Table 12) for the breakdown by sector.

Now you say that the bulk of the RKKA was not on the axis of the German attack, whereas German offensive power was concentrated on that axis. This is a truism, and is as valid for Blau as for, say, Bagration. It is sensible military practice to concentrate overwhelming force at the point of main effort - in German parlance, forming a Schwerpunkt.

I'll ask you a direct question: what specific forces did the Soviet Western Front had at its disposal to oppose the Germans, had they turned north instead of south?
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
Tank corps do not equal "forces".
No, but apart from a smattering of cavalry divisions, they constituted the Soviet mobile reserves.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
Again, tank corps are not the only kind of units in the Soviet OOB. But I think you know that.
I specifically wrote "6 tank corps and the rifle divisions aggregated into Reserve Armies".
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
What the Soviets were doing was a strategic retreat, which gave too much ground for the German troops to cover. The strategic breakthrough was indeed there, but without the encirclements the Germans wanted so much.
That's an all too common narrative, but it's not true: Blau produced multiple encirclements. None on the scale of Kiev or Vyazma, sure, but cumulatively they produced a large number of POWs: 326,491 in July for the five armies involved in the offensive.

One can also look at Soviet data: 568,347 losses for the "Voronezh-Voroshilovgrad Strategic Defensive Operation" (June 28 - July 24), of whom 370,522 were dead and missing. And it doesn't even account for additional Soviet losses incurred in July on the approaches to Stalingrad.

This dwarfs German losses for Bagration! The Soviet "strategic retreat" was an ex post facto rationalization for a disorderly "flight to the rear".
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
They would not retreat the same way near Leningrad or Rhzev.
I agree with you here - and it would be a disaster for the Soviets.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
On the contrary, actually. What a lot of commenters like to overlook is that "1000 tanks" or "1000 aircrafts" are meaningless terms. If you have 1000 tanks in Kharkov and the Soviets destroy 100, you will not have 900 tanks after a drive to Baku.
The problem here is that German tank readiness didn't drop off in the summer. For instance, the 24. Panzer-Division started Blau east of Kursk, pushed to the south of Voronezh, wheeled south and raced down the Don, then joined the forces advancing on Stalingrad and ended the month poised to strike to Kalach.

Let's look at its readiness levels:

06/27: 167 tanks operational out of a total of 181 in the division
07/07: 133 tanks operational
07/18: 141 tanks operational
07/30: 138 tanks operational

Note that 24. Panzer-Division lost 25 tanks until September 1st and didn't receive replacements. Assuming half were lost in July, readiness went from 92% on D-1 to 82% on D+32.

Source: Panzertruppen Volume I, p. 248

Or maybe 13. Panzer-Division, which actually did aim for Baku? It jumped off in the closing days of July north-west of Taganrog, went through Rostov to Salsk, then south to take Maykop, then wheeled due east to join 3. Panzer- and 23. Panzer-Divisionen on the Terek, poised to attack toward Grozny at the end of August.

Here's it's operational strength returns:

07/29: 112 tanks operational
08/06: 94 tanks operational
08/24: 122 tanks operational
08/30: 129 tanks operational

Source: Panzertruppen Volume I, p. 251

The same is true across the force, by the way. Overall readiness rates across the entire Panzer force of the Ostheer fluctuated thus:

06/30: 65%
07/31: 63%
08/31: 63%
09/30: 66%

Source: Panzertruppen Volume I, p. 252

***

Now for certain divisions, in specific areas, things did deteriorate. The situation was especially egregious on the Stalingrad axis, both because of the constant fighting and because of the paucity of rail capacity. Thus, after a strong showing in July, 24. Panzer-Division's readiness plunged in August:

07/30: 138 tanks operational
08/10: 116 tanks operational
08/15: 82 tanks operational
08/24: 59 tanks operational
08/31: 41 tanks operational
09/18: 22 tanks operational

Source: Same as previous (24. Panzer-Division)

But then, this too is a truism. The longest drive of my ATL is comparable to the July phase of Blau, and precisely seeks to avoid the dissipation of strength that historically ailed the Germans going into the late summer.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
Indeed, in the 1942 campaign, the Luftwaffe proved to be extremely useful when it operated from established airfields. But their performance gradually shrink as they had to operate from more primitive airstrips.
Indeed. This is what the proposed series of offensives is designed to avoid.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
There was only a very small chance to do that, because it would be a one-pronged attack. The Demyansk salient could not be reinforced or supplied to support a drive against such forces.
Indeed, most of the push would occur from the Rzhev side. I disagree that a (mostly) one-pronged attack was doomed to fail, however. Especially with the sort of force concentration I am suggesting.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
I did not list only 1942 summer offensives, right?
No, but the summer is what matters here. Given the scale of Soviet attrition expected, the RKKA won't ever reach its historical force level of November 1942.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
What happened was that the Soviets attacked German positions as early as the summer of 1942, but also managed to encircle Germans on two occasions in the winter of 1942. On the other hand, Wirbelwind and other small-scale offensives achieved no breakthroughs. The Germans fought hard to hold their lines and were in no position to go on the offensive. Except in the south, where they overextended and became trapped.
That's one take. Here's another:

What happened was that the Germans attacked Soviet positions as early as the spring of 1942, but also managed to encircle Soviets on 13 occasions in the spring and summer of 1942. On the other hand, Rzhev-Sychyovka and other small-scale offensives achieved no breakthroughs. The Soviets fought hard to hold their lines but ultimately were pushed back over hundreds of kilometers and were in no position to go on the offensive. Except in the center and north, where they overextended and even became trapped around Sinyavino.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
When I first read Wittgenstein in high school, I didn't realize how popular his ideas will be in 20 years. By me, you are welcome to call offensives that involved multiple armies from different fronts as "sub-army group level offensives" or whatever you wish.
Only the Germans used the term "Army Group". In summer 1942, the Soviets never attacked an entire German Army Group, only sections of them. Hence, why I don't call them "Army Group-level" offensives.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
Because there is no sense in pointing out again that I argued that the Soviets were able to attack the Germans not only in the summer, but also in the winter (Rhzev, Sinyavino, Stalingrad)
Again, these two campaigns cannot be conflated with one another.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
could you please compare the total German (& co) offensive strengths in the 1942 campaign sequence? You can decide whether you include Kharkov or not, the results would be the same.
I'm not sure what do you mean by that. Do you mean starting strength + replacements?
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
Besides, the duration of an operation has no correlation with its results.
No, but in this situation it is important: the reason why the Soviet offensives of summer 1942 were comparatively brief affairs is because they had neither the manpower nor the material to sustain them longer.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
NO. Your argument was that the Germans were capable to launch a series of major offensives, gain and hold ground in the south, take Leningrad and defeat the Red Army, with the encirclement of their troops along the whole front. This is what your map shows.
My argument is that the Germans were capable of launching a succession of major offensives, gain and hold ground in the south, take Leningrad and defeat subgroupings of the Red Army, with the encirclement of subgroupings of their troops at different optimal points of the front. This is what my map shows.

That the Soviets were incapable of breaking into the German depths, even in sectors where they held significant advantages in manpower and material, is part of the reason why such a German strategy was feasible.
Peter89 wrote:
17 Nov 2021 10:03
My argument was that the Germans might make a few gains to improve their defensive positions and absorb the Soviet blows with better results. In this case, yes, I think it might have been possible to withstand the Soviet attacks withouth a strategic breakthrough in 1942's campaign sequence.
The Germans preventing a Soviet breakthrough in the conditions of late 1942 was a foregone conclusion, barring absurd levels of German incompetence... which is what nonetheless happened.

When one actually digs into the details of what was available to each side, as well as what each force was capable of, it becomes reasonable to conclude that a competent German strategy for the summer of 1942 would have the Soviets on the ropes.

Peter89
Member
Posts: 1500
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Spain

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by Peter89 » 18 Nov 2021 10:51

KDF33 wrote:
18 Nov 2021 06:26
1.) Your numbers regarding the panzer combat readiness in the drive from Kursk to Voronezh and the Caucasus is one of the best examples how the reporting system in the German mechanized units was flawed.

2.) More Wittgensteinism is not interesting for me. You can have it your way, you can call it front, army group, sections of army groups, anything. You can also redefine the 1942 campaign season to calendar year and thus exclude the Soviet attacks in january 1943 and include the ones from january-may 1942. Also encirclements, wanted encirclements, planned encirclements, etc.

3.) Your suggestions are a bit sad in the sense that you really seem to believe that the Germans were capable of destroying most of the Red Army in 1942 while in reality the charge towards the Caucasus was the last spasm of a dying cause, and by the spring of 1943, the Germans were defeated in the north, bled white in the center and crushed in the south. I simply don't see why you can't imagine a thrust towards the Urals or the Caspian sea - in your ATL, the Soviet forces are already annihilated with minimal German losses, and seemingly 900km drive does not affect mechanized units negatively.

Everything is possible, especially in the past, so I wish you good luck and have fun.
“And while I am talking to you, mothers and fathers, I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again, and again and again. Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." - FDR, October 1940

Boby
Member
Posts: 2712
Joined: 19 Nov 2004 17:22
Location: Spain

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by Boby » 18 Nov 2021 11:45

There was no german incompetence. This is only a wrong ex-post facto POV.

The germans simply lacked precise data on soviet strength, losses, regeneration, operational capabilities...; they worked only on very rough estimates. This is the fog of war.

Now, after 80 years, you have all the available data, putting them together and playing comfortably with numbers thinking an ATL would knock the soviets down. That doesn't change the german situation in 1942. They opted for strategy A (Blau), hoping it would be the best. If you have 3 military operations available, choose one of them and it fails doesn't mean it was a bad choice, because there is no proof the other two would be better.

KDF33
Member
Posts: 1035
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by KDF33 » 18 Nov 2021 21:00

Peter89 wrote:
18 Nov 2021 10:51
1.) Your numbers regarding the panzer combat readiness in the drive from Kursk to Voronezh and the Caucasus is one of the best examples how the reporting system in the German mechanized units was flawed.
Hold on. The data contradicts your point, therefore you disregard the data on the basis of... what? Personal opinion?
Peter89 wrote:
18 Nov 2021 10:51
2.) More Wittgensteinism is not interesting for me. You can have it your way, you can call it front, army group, sections of army groups, anything.
You're avoiding the substance of the argument here. In mid-1943, the Soviets were able to launch offensives against entire German Army Groups involving multiple Fronts for months at a time, which bled the Ostheer and allowed their subsequent advance.

In mid-1942, they couldn't do so because they lacked sufficient forces, and the forces they had were brittle and lost much of their offensive punch after a few weeks of main effort.
Peter89 wrote:
18 Nov 2021 10:51
You can also redefine the 1942 campaign season to calendar year and thus exclude the Soviet attacks in january 1943 and include the ones from january-may 1942. Also encirclements, wanted encirclements, planned encirclements, etc.
You act as if I were excluding late 1942 - early 1943 Soviet offensives because they undermine my argument. This is not the case, given that a central tenet of my argument posits that greater German success in the summer would mean lower Soviet capacity in the fall / winter.
Peter89 wrote:
18 Nov 2021 10:51
3.) Your suggestions are a bit sad in the sense that you really seem to believe that the Germans were capable of destroying most of the Red Army in 1942
I never claimed that. My claim is that the Germans, by sequencing a series of offensives involving overwhelming strength at the point of contact, could tear gaps in the Soviet line and repeatedly bag large numbers of POWs.

But even those successes wouldn't destroy "most" (i.e., more than 50%) of the Red Army. It would just cut it down to size for further offensive action.
Peter89 wrote:
18 Nov 2021 10:51
while in reality the charge towards the Caucasus was the last spasm of a dying cause
An opinion unsupported by any data on your part.
Peter89 wrote:
18 Nov 2021 10:51
and by the spring of 1943, the Germans were defeated in the north, bled white in the center and crushed in the south.
This is a perfect example of fact-free opinion. Here are German strength returns for the period in question:

07/01/1942: 2,917,000 men in the Ostheer (Feldheer, W-SS, Lw-Feld and including RKs but not Karelia)
01/01/1943: 2,944,800 men in the Ostheer (same basis)
04/01/1943: 2,934,699 men in the Ostheer (same basis)

How can the Germans have been "bled white" and "crushed" when strength varied by a mere 1% over the period?

Also, how exactly were the Germans "defeated" in the north? Because they lost a sliver of land near Leningrad and vacated Demyansk? And if so, why is that taken as the be-all, end-all of the winter fighting in the north, rather than, say, the failure of Polyarnaya Zvezda?
Peter89 wrote:
18 Nov 2021 10:51
Everything is possible, especially in the past
That's incorrect. Because time only moves forward, nothing is possible in the past. Counterfactual analysis, when supported by copious and valid data, helps us, however, understand why events happened as they did.
Peter89 wrote:
18 Nov 2021 10:51
so I wish you good luck and have fun.
Thank you.

lamuerte
Member
Posts: 11
Joined: 24 Oct 2018 20:58
Location: Poland, Cracow

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by lamuerte » 18 Nov 2021 23:49

@KDF33, you nailed him. Congratulations. After reading "by the spring of 1943, the Germans were defeated in the north, bled white in the center and crushed in the south" I knew somebody lost it. If one of these two was bled white in the center, it was the Soviet side because of disastrous Operation Mars.

KDF33
Member
Posts: 1035
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: If the Axis would have retreated to the Daugava-Dnieper Line early enough, would they have had a chance at a stalema

Post by KDF33 » 19 Nov 2021 01:10

Boby wrote:
18 Nov 2021 11:45
There was no german incompetence. This is only a wrong ex-post facto POV.
Generally speaking, incompetence is assessed ex post facto.
Boby wrote:
18 Nov 2021 11:45
The germans simply lacked precise data on soviet strength, losses, regeneration, operational capabilities...; they worked only on very rough estimates. This is the fog of war.
Agreed. This is part of the reason why Blau was such an incompetently-conceived operation: if the (very optimistic) estimates on Soviet force (re)generation proved incorrect, the Germans would be stuck at the end of a long, tenuously-supplied line that would commit their offensive assets to simply holding the territory acquired.

Thus, Blau was incompetent on two counts: it was both excessively risky and superfluous.

It was excessively risky, first, because if the assessment of Soviet capabilities was off, it would invite either disaster or retreat, the latter in itself problematic in terms of time wasted and (mainly for Hitler) credibility lost.

It was superfluous, second, because if the assessment of Soviet capabilities was correct, or even, as it was, merely somewhat trending in the right direction, then a better solution could be executed, namely using the principle of concentration to opportunistically destroy exposed Soviet force concentrations.
Boby wrote:
18 Nov 2021 11:45
They opted for strategy A (Blau), hoping it would be the best. If you have 3 military operations available, choose one of them and it fails doesn't mean it was a bad choice, because there is no proof the other two would be better.
Hope is neither a strategy nor a substitute for seriously weighing one's options and settling on that which offers the better balance between risks and rewards.

As for "proof", that's too high a standard for counterfactual analysis. What I have offered in this thread, however, are multiple layers of evidence, often in the form of data. Save for TMP, I have yet to see anyone reciprocate.

Return to “What if”