The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

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T. A. Gardner
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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by T. A. Gardner » 14 Apr 2022 03:26

historygeek2021 wrote:
14 Apr 2022 00:13
T. A. Gardner wrote:
13 Apr 2022 19:56
historygeek2021 wrote:
13 Apr 2022 19:35
I mean, what they really needed was 5,000 trains designed specifically to be able to operate on the Soviet rail system, that way they wouldn't have to simultaneously rebuild the country's rail system as they were invading it. But they would hand required rational leadership and thorough advance planning, both extinct species in Hitler's Reich.
Regauging the track was a relatively easy process--if that's all you have to do. What the Germans ran into was the overall pathetic level of quality put into the Russian rail system. This meant that their railway engineers found themselves replacing ties, adding coal and watering stations, having to lay ballast, add communications systems, etc., that was beyond what they expected to have to do. As it was, many Russian rail lines were so bad that running just a few trains a day down them would result in their failure to a point as to be unusable.
With better planning, the Germans could have already known this to be the case and had stockpiled the necessary materials to do the repairs and upgrades. Toss in that the railway troops get somewhat more mechanization than they had--say like specially fitted trains with equipment to assist in laying track, etc., and they could do more.

Another example would be to have prefabricated buildings that can be shipped on a flat car to a location to build engine sheds, offices, barracks, etc., for the personnel and equipment that the rail system would be using. These could have been made entirely from "non-strategic" materials and quickly erected to provide the necessary buildings. The British and Americans did this, so it's entirely possible the Germans could do it. This, in turn, means that when the weather turns bad in Russia the railway system continues to operate with a good degree of efficiency.
Yes, I've read DerAlteFritz's thread on German Railways East. There was a lot more work to do than just regauge the tracks. Most German locomotives were too heavy for the poorly embedded Soviet rail lines, and weren't built to travel long distances between water stations, etc. Since speed was of the essence if the Germans were to have any chance of success in the war, they needed to start working on Soviet style trains before the war and have a large fleet ready so the Ostheer could be adequately supplied by rail from the start of the invasion.
Easier to add larger water and coal tenders to the extant locomotives while improving the rate of repair of the existing lines. The re-think in civil engineering would go further than just rebuilding the rail system. Since Germany has access to the Soviet Union pre-war, at least to some degree, they would already know--or could know--about many of the things they'd need for this within the country.

For example, the Germans bring in large saw milling operations to produce ties and lumber locally. They know locations that could provide sand and gravel for construction and railroad ballast and bring in portable sand and gravel manufacturing plants to make it.

Image

The US Army did it (that's Omaha beach D+3) to provide building materials. You don't need many, say one or two per army going into Russia at a minimum. I can't see why with some foresight the Germans couldn't do it.

Improving existing dirt roads with waste oil and gravel, along with drainage would save huge numbers of vehicles and other equipment when the muddy season arrives.

It isn't the number of trains available that's the problem, it's the infrastructure on which to move them.

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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by historygeek2021 » 14 Apr 2022 05:34

Laying proper rail beds with heavier rails to support heavier German trains wasn't something Germany could do in a quick summer campaign, which is the length of time Germany had to defeat the USSR or lose the war. Investing in Soviet style locomotives was the only way Germany could keep its forces supplied in the time they needed to be supplied. It would have been an expensive investment, but Germany wasted investments on lots of things that turned out to be useless during the war. Hindsight and all, but the poor nature of the Soviet railroads was no secret, and the need to eliminate the Soviet Union if Germany was to have any chance of winning was obvious.

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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by ljadw » 14 Apr 2022 08:18

historygeek2021 wrote:
29 Mar 2022 17:35
Another point to consider: the "21 day pause" was something Paulus felt was necessary based on his map exercises, but it's doubtful that the likes of Bock and Guderian would have actually sat still on the Dnieper for 21 days. In reality they would have kept lunging forward beyond the limits of what was logistically feasible until a higher authority reined them in. But with Hitler out of the picture in this ATL, it's doubtful that Brauchitsch or Halder would have done anything to halt their eastward push. So the OKH plan would have likely devolved into a slow, sluggish push to the east as Bock and Guderian used up every last supply truck to advance another kilometer instead of pausing at a reasonable location to build up a supply base for the attack on Moscow.

Put Bock and Guderian in Army Group South and let Rundstedt and Kluge run things in Army Group Center, and maybe then the campaign would unfold closer to Paulus' plan.
Bock and Guderian could NEVER go forward beyond the limits of what was logistically feasible , no one could do this .Besides:given the bad relationship between both and given the fact that Bock was the SUPERIOR of Guderian,Guderian could do only what Bock permitted him .Guderian did not command AGC, he was only one of the commanders belonging to AGC,and not the most important .

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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by ljadw » 14 Apr 2022 08:25

T. A. Gardner wrote:
14 Apr 2022 03:26
historygeek2021 wrote:
14 Apr 2022 00:13
T. A. Gardner wrote:
13 Apr 2022 19:56
historygeek2021 wrote:
13 Apr 2022 19:35
I mean, what they really needed was 5,000 trains designed specifically to be able to operate on the Soviet rail system, that way they wouldn't have to simultaneously rebuild the country's rail system as they were invading it. But they would hand required rational leadership and thorough advance planning, both extinct species in Hitler's Reich.
Regauging the track was a relatively easy process--if that's all you have to do. What the Germans ran into was the overall pathetic level of quality put into the Russian rail system. This meant that their railway engineers found themselves replacing ties, adding coal and watering stations, having to lay ballast, add communications systems, etc., that was beyond what they expected to have to do. As it was, many Russian rail lines were so bad that running just a few trains a day down them would result in their failure to a point as to be unusable.
With better planning, the Germans could have already known this to be the case and had stockpiled the necessary materials to do the repairs and upgrades. Toss in that the railway troops get somewhat more mechanization than they had--say like specially fitted trains with equipment to assist in laying track, etc., and they could do more.

Another example would be to have prefabricated buildings that can be shipped on a flat car to a location to build engine sheds, offices, barracks, etc., for the personnel and equipment that the rail system would be using. These could have been made entirely from "non-strategic" materials and quickly erected to provide the necessary buildings. The British and Americans did this, so it's entirely possible the Germans could do it. This, in turn, means that when the weather turns bad in Russia the railway system continues to operate with a good degree of efficiency.
Yes, I've read DerAlteFritz's thread on German Railways East. There was a lot more work to do than just regauge the tracks. Most German locomotives were too heavy for the poorly embedded Soviet rail lines, and weren't built to travel long distances between water stations, etc. Since speed was of the essence if the Germans were to have any chance of success in the war, they needed to start working on Soviet style trains before the war and have a large fleet ready so the Ostheer could be adequately supplied by rail from the start of the invasion.
Easier to add larger water and coal tenders to the extant locomotives while improving the rate of repair of the existing lines. The re-think in civil engineering would go further than just rebuilding the rail system. Since Germany has access to the Soviet Union pre-war, at least to some degree, they would already know--or could know--about many of the things they'd need for this within the country.

For example, the Germans bring in large saw milling operations to produce ties and lumber locally. They know locations that could provide sand and gravel for construction and railroad ballast and bring in portable sand and gravel manufacturing plants to make it.

Image

The US Army did it (that's Omaha beach D+3) to provide building materials. You don't need many, say one or two per army going into Russia at a minimum. I can't see why with some foresight the Germans couldn't do it.

Improving existing dirt roads with waste oil and gravel, along with drainage would save huge numbers of vehicles and other equipment when the muddy season arrives.

It isn't the number of trains available that's the problem, it's the infrastructure on which to move them.
'' I can't see why with some foresight the Germans couldn't do it '' : the answer is that it was not needed ,as the SU could only be defeated at the border and as after this defeat there would be no logistical problems to go to the Volga .
One can also not use what the US Army had done in Western Europe,because the US Army would also have failed in Eastern Europe .
Improving existing dirt roads in 1941 was a wast of time and resources,as the plan was to defeat the Soviets before the muddy season had arrived .

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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by ljadw » 14 Apr 2022 08:39

historygeek2021 wrote:
14 Apr 2022 05:34
Laying proper rail beds with heavier rails to support heavier German trains wasn't something Germany could do in a quick summer campaign, which is the length of time Germany had to defeat the USSR or lose the war. Investing in Soviet style locomotives was the only way Germany could keep its forces supplied in the time they needed to be supplied. It would have been an expensive investment, but Germany wasted investments on lots of things that turned out to be useless during the war. Hindsight and all, but the poor nature of the Soviet railroads was no secret, and the need to eliminate the Soviet Union if Germany was to have any chance of winning was obvious.
That is wrong : the existing Soviet railways could without problems transport to the Volga an occupation army and supply it . It was done in 1918 ,thus it could be done in 1941 .

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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by Peter89 » 14 Apr 2022 09:32

The reason why we have this conversation over and over again is because the Germans did much better than they should have. But to think that they could have done more is always problematic, because Barbarossa was a doomed project from the start. The German preparation for Barbarossa was seriously flawed by wishful thinking, misinformations, misjudgements and neglect. Germany simply did not possess the strength to fight its way to the Urals. I am always astonished looking at additional wild maneuvers as if German generals were timid practicioners of stationary warfare. As if bold thrusts forward would not occur to them. Not to mention the encirclements that somehow, immediately "destroy" an army sized unit without dampening the edge of the attacker.

Mechanized vehicles and their MRO systems were on the brink of collapse, and proud numbers presented on the eastern periphery of the German advance were often crippled or skeletal formations with no chance to be reinforced adequately.

All these ideas ignore the basics of the campaign in the east, namely that Germany could not win against a determined Soviet opposition.
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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by PunctuationHorror » 14 Apr 2022 11:20

historygeek2021 wrote:
14 Apr 2022 05:34
Laying proper rail beds with heavier rails to support heavier German trains wasn't something Germany could do in a quick summer campaign, which is the length of time Germany had to defeat the USSR or lose the war. Investing in Soviet style locomotives was the only way Germany could keep its forces supplied in the time they needed to be supplied. It would have been an expensive investment, but Germany wasted investments on lots of things that turned out to be useless during the war. Hindsight and all, but the poor nature of the Soviet railroads was no secret, and the need to eliminate the Soviet Union if Germany was to have any chance of winning was obvious.
I agree with the German need for more Soviet gauged locomotives and rolling stock. They needed proper logistics and running supply lines WHILE they were busy regauging the railroads to German standard. In OTL, they captured far less Soviet rolling stock than expected, so they could not run the existing Soviet railways as planned for their supplies. An ATL could plan for this.

Since the difference in gauges is less than 100mm, I wonder if they could have taken a few trains and added somehow a third wheel on each axle and get an improvised solution that can operate on both gauges. This improvisiation could be reversible, so the locomotives and cars do not become useless. Or produce locomotives and rail cars with a broader axle that can be shifted back (in factory) from 1520mm to 1435mm gauge.

The range of locomotives could be addressed by adding a tank car for water, a simple motor pump and another car for coal. Or a bigger tender. The train would have to stop somewhere, refill and could go on. This seems to me a far easier and cheaper solution than their sophisticated Henschel condenser locomotives in OTL.
Or special locomotive refill trains equipped with cars for coal and water that have motor pumps and belt conveyors which form a mobile refill station instead of a classical localized one.

My take from DerAlteFritz's railroad thread is that 'the poor nature of the Soviet railroads' was no problem for Soviets who operated their railroads efficiently under this 'poor' conditions. Soviets managed to relocate significant parts of their industry in a considerable short time using their 'poor' railroads, while moving troops, ammunition etc. on the same time. Soviet industry, logistics and offensives were based on their railroad system. This means the Soviet railroads were capable and did their job.
When the Germans tried to run Soviet railways in the German way, they faced problems because they failed to adapt to the conditions in Russia and failed to operate the Soviet railroads correctly. It is more a clash of different culture, management, organization and philosphy. Likely, 'poor nature of the Soviet railroads' is a German POV.
So, in ATL Germany could smartly adapt the customs of Soviet railway system and operate them in Soviet style, i.e. slow speed, long trains, not too heav, etc.

As the OTL barbarossa, this ATL scenario needs proper logistics.

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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Apr 2022 13:31

PunctuationHorror wrote:they captured far less Soviet rolling stock than expected
That Germany expected to rely on captured rolling stock is simply false, though repeated in many bad histories. See eg GSWW vol4 on Barbarossa planning.
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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 14 Apr 2022 13:34

historygeek2021 wrote:Laying proper rail beds with heavier rails to support heavier German trains wasn't something Germany could do in a quick summer campaign, which is the length of time Germany had to defeat the USSR or lose the war.
The imbedded assumption is that Hitler was correct that Ostsieg was needed in 1941. I don't think Hitler was right on that issue.
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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by PunctuationHorror » 14 Apr 2022 15:55

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
14 Apr 2022 13:31
PunctuationHorror wrote:they captured far less Soviet rolling stock than expected
That Germany expected to rely on captured rolling stock is simply false, though repeated in many bad histories. See eg GSWW vol4 on Barbarossa planning.
I remember reading an original document (could have been in the 'German railrways in the East' thread here or on germandocsinrussia.org) in which a higher German officer or other Reichsbahn official expressed his regret that not more Soviet rolling stock was captured that he could put to use. Document was from 1941 and about railways in the Baltics/Belarus/HGN - if I remember correctly.

So maybe there was no plan to use Soviet rolling stock and railways pre Barbarossa (I doubt it, doesn't make sense imho, even for Wehrmacht standards of arrogance), but once they were in the middle of it and faced the logistical reality, they checked for possibilities to increase their capacities.

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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by ljadw » 14 Apr 2022 19:23

At the end of 1941 the Germans had changed 15000 km of Soviet railways to European gauge .
Source : Pottgiesser: Die Reichsbahn im Ostfeldzug P 29 .
Soviet rolling stock was used only for small distances on lines with Russian gauge .

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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by PunctuationHorror » 14 Apr 2022 20:02

15.000 km of how many kilometers of railway tracks used?

On what gauge did they operate the trains pre end 1941?

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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 15 Apr 2022 00:01

PunctuationHorror wrote:a higher German officer or other Reichsbahn official expressed his regret that not more Soviet rolling stock was captured that he could put to use.
Of course there are plenty such remarks and of course it would have been advantageous had the Soviets left more rolling stock for the temporary, short-distance broad-gauge operations that the Germans did run periodically - mostly on secondary lines - because not all rail lines could be restored at once.

It would also have been advantageous had the Soviets surrendered all their weapons and ammo in good working order to the Germans, who used captured weapons as well.

Note, however, the difference between exploiting advantageous circumstance and broad strategic reliance on using captured equipment - logistical or armament. The plan was to regauge the rails to German standards and to use captured equipment only opportunistically. That plan was largely fulfilled - regauging railways proceeded quickly and effectively. That the railways were nonetheless insufficient for optimal supply reflects a logistical error that is downstream of a broader strategic: Germany assumed that remaining Soviet forces east of the Dniepr would be weak and, therefore, did not foresee a need for a fullscale rebuilding of Ostheer's rail network. Had the Soviet state collapsed as Germany assumed it would, the number of trains reaching the forward armies in late summer 1941 would have been sufficient for final push against weak resistance.
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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by ljadw » 15 Apr 2022 07:04

PunctuationHorror wrote:
14 Apr 2022 20:02
15.000 km of how many kilometers of railway tracks used?

On what gauge did they operate the trains pre end 1941?
At the end of 1937 the Soviets had 86500 km of railways and planned to increase this to 97000 km til end 1942 .At the end of 1942 the Germans had captured some 35000 km of railway tracks .But the Soviets needed less km of tracks during the war than before the war .
The German trains (mostly light ones ) operated on European gauge, the captured Soviet trains (at the end of August 1941 1000 Soviet locs were captured,50 % were operational ) operated on the non changed tracks .
The Russian gauge was 1,524 meter,89 mm more than the German one ,the axle load was 16 tons,only 20 % of the 86500 km of tracks was double-tracked .In May 1942 only 5922 km of double-tracked tracks were used,against 16295 km of single-tracked . (Source : Kreidler :Die Eisenbahnen im Zweiten Weltkrieg ) .

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Re: The OKH Plan for Barbarossa

Post by Ружичасти Слон » 15 Apr 2022 21:15

historygeek2021 wrote:
28 Mar 2022 07:27
What if the Ostheer followed the OKH plan for Barbarossa that was submitted to Hitler on December 1, 1940?
What plan was give on hitler on 1.dezembar 1940.year?
historygeek2021 wrote:
28 Mar 2022 07:27
The plan called for a rapid advance to the Dvina and Dnieper rivers in 18 days, followed by a 21 day rest period to build up a new supply base. On the 40th day of the invasion, a concentrated advance would be made on Moscow.
Was that be plan on document or was that be discusses on paulus map manouver?

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