TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑
21 Dec 2021 23:40
stg44 wrote:I know, but I'm not trying to convince him, just show everyone else how ridiculous his claims are as well as his 'debating tactics'. He's gone to the point of being the mirror image of a Wehraboo.
Well you're doing God's work. From personal experience it's sometimes helpful to be reminded that our opponents are not behaving in good faith.
Thanks. You're right, it is helpful to keep that in mind.
TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑
21 Dec 2021 23:40
stg44 wrote:Why though? What actually benefit would it have given them to do that? See above for my point about the problem of harvesting wrecks for spares, but not written them off.
It's just a theory that seems reasonable and perhaps explains where all the German AFV production went. The "why" would be simple chaos in retreat. If there are records of the workshops extensively categorizing their abandoned vehicles then obviously this theory is wrong. Do we have such records? IIRC the tank loss reports functioned similarly to personnel loss reports: they categorized only the flows out of the combat units. So if a man listed as "verwundete" later died (as of course happened and was of course was expected to happen) this isn't a fault of the "gefallen/verwundete" reporting system but rather something not intended to be captured by that system. Just as we need to look to different set of records to see who actually died among the verwundete, I'd guess we'd need a different set of records to see which tanks reported "damaged" ever actually returned to combat (or were abandoned, cannibalized, etc.). Do we have such records? The excellent new Kursk/II-SS-Pz-Korps article is an attempt to create an alternate record, IIRC, by tracing the fates of the actual tanks involved, in addition to tracing the flows to/from the combat units. I can't think of another such attempt.
Seems like we're just reduced to speculation, it's just that I'm still not getting what the benefit of not writing off a truly destroyed chassis would be.
Yeah this sort of 'deep research' generally isn't done by researchers.
TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑
21 Dec 2021 23:40
stg44 wrote:I agree, from the Soviet perspective pre-empting Kursk in May would have been better all things being equal, but based on what Zamulin has turned up about the logistical situation and what I've been able to find about the interdiction campaign against the rail system being waged from the air in April-July as well as the lack of rail lines into Kursk very well could have meant the Soviets would not have been in a good position to launch their offensives in May. If the Germans then were able to retreat in good order then the advantages of forcing the enemy to rapidily retreat wouldn't have been gained.
Had Citadel gone per the Soviet defensive plan then the decision to wait and counterattack would have been the correct one; contact with the enemy though tends to toss plans out the window.
I'm thinking the Soviets preempt Kursk later - perhaps as late as July 3 when the Germans have all their supplies moved forward to support Zitadelle and probably can't move them back if they're suddenly back-footed. They had near-perfect intelligence as to German intentions. By then the logistics should be sufficient at least for one offensive from the Kursk salient. Combined with offensives in other areas - Mius, Donets, north of Orel - they'll gain ground somewhere and begin earlier the OTL process of capturing (or causing the destruction of) enormous German material/supplies. They'll pay a butcher's bill for it, of course, but they were going to pay that bill regardless.
The virtue - if it goes well of course - is RKKA's summer offensives begin rolling immediately rather than stalling west of Orel and around Donbas, then breaking through around Kharkov.
By then it would be far too late. The Germans already have defensive positions built, enough air parity to keep air surveillance of Soviet defenses so the ability to see them shift to an offensive posture in Kursk (not to mention signals intercepts), and could transition to a defensive posture more quickly than the Soviets could switch to an offensive one. They'd telegraph what they were doing and give the Germans more than enough time to respond. Zamulin's work on Kursk demonstrates the serious issues with the Soviet side within the Kursk bulge, so I don't expect that that would actually play out in their favor this late. For example see how badly the Soviet counterattacks faired within Kursk when they had all the benefits of a defensive posture and superior numbers. Imagine if that happened through the teeth of the Orel trench system, which was good enough to allow for the infliction of enormously lopsided casualties despite Citadel being run at the same time.
Not only that, but without all the damaged chassis laying around from Citadel there is a lot less to leave behind assuming the Soviets can even do as well as they did IOTL on the offensive. Without Citadel could the 4th Kharkov counterattack work? Forgetting the tank loss issue infantry units and ammo stocks were badly depleted as a result of Citadel which had significant impact on the defensive operations in July-August. The Soviets didn't gain any more units after Citadel, they just had a deeper replacement pool that allowed them to refill Citadel casualties, so it's not like the Germans would be facing more units if fighting defensively instead of launching Citadel; they'd gain a break if the Soviet offensives failed while the Soviets refilled and they could withdraw to more defensive lines if needed or if the counterattacks around Kharkov still happen and work without Citadel casualties and ammo expenditures it is possible that the Soviets lose a tank army or two. That would take them a lot longer to recover from and disjoint their plans in Ukraine for summer 1943.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgorod% ... _operation
After nine days the SS Division Das Reich and the SS Division Totenkopf arrived and initiated a counterattack against the two Soviet Armies near Bogodukhov, 30 km northwest of Kharkov. In the following armoured battles of firepower and maneuver the SS divisions destroyed a great many Soviet tanks. To assist the 6th Guards Army and the 1st Tank Army, the 5th Guards Tank Army joined the battles. All three Soviet armies suffered heavily, and the tank armies lost more than 800 of their initial 1,112 tanks. These Soviet reinforcements stopped the German counterattack, but their further offensive plans were blunted.
With the Soviet advance around Bogodukhov stopped, the Germans now began to attempt to close the gap between Akhtyrka and Krasnokutsk. The counterattack started on 18 August, and on 20 August "Totenkopf" and "Großdeutschland" met behind the Soviet units. Parts of two Soviet armies and two tank corps were trapped, but the trapped units heavily outnumbered the German units. Many Soviet units were able to break out, while suffering heavy casualties. After this setback the Soviet troops focused on Kharkov and captured it after heavy fighting on 23 August.
1st SS division wouldn't leave to Italy if the Soviets attacked, which if coupled with no Citadel casualties would mean they have a lot more manpower for the counterattack described above, perhaps twice as much given the extra full strength SS panzer division and no casualties from Citadel and the Mius counterattack. That would potentially be enough to tip the balance. Also if the Soviet exploitation units had to meet the Panthers for the first time in open fields rather than after they had to fight through minefields and defensive belts it would be an extremely rude shock given how well they did in worse circumstances. Though I'd expect GD and the Panthers would end up in Orel first.
Perfect intel on German intentions? The Soviet troops fighting Manstein would disagree:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of ... thern_face
Though they had been provided superb intelligence, the Voronezh Front headquarters had still not been able to pinpoint the location where the Germans would place their offensive weight.
Even their preemptive bombardment in the north failed:
To the north, at Central Front headquarters, reports of the anticipated German offensive came in. At around 02:00 5 July, Zhukov ordered his preemptive artillery bombardment to begin. The hope was to disrupt German forces concentrating for the attack, but the outcome was less than hoped for. The bombardment delayed the German formations, but failed in the goal of disrupting their schedule or inflicting substantial losses. In the early morning of 5 July, the VVS launched a large raid against German airfields, hoping to destroy the Luftwaffe on the ground. This effort failed, and the Red Army air units suffered considerable losses.[t] The VVS lost 176 aircraft on 5 July, compared to the 26 aircraft lost by the Luftwaffe.