Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

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per70
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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by per70 » 25 Sep 2023 18:36

Peter89 wrote:
25 Sep 2023 09:02
The Soviet force disposition in April 1942 was different than the one in early August 1942. You can not prove that your projected attack would break the Soviet positions around the Rhzev bulge, as they had an immense superiority, and Model was very close to throw in the towel. Essentially, the Soviet attack was barely repulsed by stripping the air support from AGN, redirecting reinforcements, including part of the 11th Army to this sector.
I'm unsure about the accuracy of using "immense superiority" to describe the Soviet situation around the Rzhev bulge in August 1942.
If that were the case, they ought to have done much better than what they actually did.

For the Soviet part, they transferred 8 divisions from the reserve armies to bolster the attack. In addition to a sizeable number of tank brigades. The interesting question in KDF33's scenario is whether most of those units would have to be sent south to face the German offensive instead. That doesn't seem unlikely.


For the Germans and the 9th Army – of course it hurts to be on the receiving end of a major attack.
Especially when several of their own units where heading south to take part in Wirbelwind at the time.

But while Model was screaming for reinforcements – suffering a bit more than 30k casualties in August – the neighbouring 3rd Panzer Army (12k casualties in August) and 4th Army (2k casualties in August) which also held part of the Rzhev bulge seem to have fared much better.

With regards to reinforcements from the outside, I'm aware that the 72nd ID was sent to Rzhev at the end of August – instead of following the bulk of 11th Army to Leningrad. But the end of August is after the main attack had been repulsed, isn't it?

Which other parts of 11th Army was sent to Rzhev? Or was it only the one division?

I'm also aware that they sent the GD regiment to the Rzhev bulge – also arriving at the tail end of the battle.

Were any other major units transferred from the outside to face this immensely superior Soviet force?

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by KDF33 » 25 Sep 2023 19:59

per70 wrote:
25 Sep 2023 18:36
Which other parts of 11th Army was sent to Rzhev? Or was it only the one division?

I'm also aware that they sent the GD regiment to the Rzhev bulge – also arriving at the tail end of the battle.

Were any other major units transferred from the outside to face this immensely superior Soviet force?
Excluding HGM units transferred between armies, the Germans received a grand total of 3 divisions from outside the Army Group to counter the Soviet Rzhev–Sychyovka offensive:

1) 72. Infanterie-Division: Arrived on August 25 from the 11. Armee
2) Infanterie-Division Grossdeutschland: Arrived on August 26 from the 1. Panzerarmee
3) 95. Infanterie-Division: Arrived on September 2 from the 2. Armee

No other 11. Armee division, beside the aforementioned 72. ID, was sent to Rzhev.

Notwithstanding Model's worries, the idea that the Soviet offensive came close to breaking the 9. Armee is much-exaggerated.

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by per70 » 25 Sep 2023 20:12

Thanks for the transfer details.

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by ljadw » 25 Sep 2023 20:30

Peter89 wrote:
02 Apr 2023 20:05
We have no idea what would have happened if Hitler doesn't forbid retreats. His orders kept more territories under German control, but some of these territories were dangerously exposed and presented a major drain throughout 1942 as well. The German army had high morale and it was fighting for its survival in the winter of 1941-1942, thus, it is folly to think that they'd march on captivity easily.

Also the Soviet forces were not able to advance much further than they did. A bit more elastic German defence might have been actually beneficial.
Hitler allowed the retreat of AGC, of the Balkan forces, of the forces in SW France, of the forces in Italy .

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by KDF33 » 26 Sep 2023 01:31

Aida1 wrote:
25 Sep 2023 07:50
The southwestern front was pushed back and not encircled and totally annihilitated. No map will show you any big pocket around southwestern front.
Why are you assuming that "big pockets" are necessary to destroy a Soviet Front?
German war diaries show an enemy withdrawing behind rear guards. For example (...). Showcases that the red army conducted a fighting retreat.
Why are you assuming that the Soviet retreat was successful at avoiding destruction?
You still do not see the difference between surrounding and killing or capturing all the manpower of a large enemy formation and just pushing it back inflicting heavy losses to its combat strength.
Why are you assuming that "heavy losses" were only taken among the Soviet "combat strength"?

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by Peter89 » 26 Sep 2023 07:58

per70 wrote:
25 Sep 2023 18:36
Peter89 wrote:
25 Sep 2023 09:02
The Soviet force disposition in April 1942 was different than the one in early August 1942. You can not prove that your projected attack would break the Soviet positions around the Rhzev bulge, as they had an immense superiority, and Model was very close to throw in the towel. Essentially, the Soviet attack was barely repulsed by stripping the air support from AGN, redirecting reinforcements, including part of the 11th Army to this sector.
I'm unsure about the accuracy of using "immense superiority" to describe the Soviet situation around the Rzhev bulge in August 1942.
If that were the case, they ought to have done much better than what they actually did.

For the Soviet part, they transferred 8 divisions from the reserve armies to bolster the attack. In addition to a sizeable number of tank brigades. The interesting question in KDF33's scenario is whether most of those units would have to be sent south to face the German offensive instead. That doesn't seem unlikely.


For the Germans and the 9th Army – of course it hurts to be on the receiving end of a major attack.
Especially when several of their own units where heading south to take part in Wirbelwind at the time.

But while Model was screaming for reinforcements – suffering a bit more than 30k casualties in August – the neighbouring 3rd Panzer Army (12k casualties in August) and 4th Army (2k casualties in August) which also held part of the Rzhev bulge seem to have fared much better.

With regards to reinforcements from the outside, I'm aware that the 72nd ID was sent to Rzhev at the end of August – instead of following the bulk of 11th Army to Leningrad. But the end of August is after the main attack had been repulsed, isn't it?

Which other parts of 11th Army was sent to Rzhev? Or was it only the one division?

I'm also aware that they sent the GD regiment to the Rzhev bulge – also arriving at the tail end of the battle.

Were any other major units transferred from the outside to face this immensely superior Soviet force?
Well, you may use any preferred adjective for the undeniable superiority, but the numbers and adjectives I know from Gerasimova's book are these:

Image

For me, "complete superiority" and "overwhelming superiority" and 6:1 superiority, etc. translates to "immense superiority".

It also clearly shows that despite huge losses, the Red Army units facing the AGM still held superiority in September; no wonder the Soviets kept attacking on Army level until the last week of September, which saw some of the heaviest fighting.

Yes, the 72nd ID came from the 11th Army. However, you and KDF33 are both wrong in your calculations if you think it's about "divisions". It's not simply major units or "divisions". For example, the air support of AGN was transferred to the AGM, effectively put the operations there on hold; reinforcements in men and matériel were also significant.

To say that "other parts of the salient fared much better" is also misleading, as Model was drawing units from rear services and 9th Army had about half of AGM divisions (25) by the end of the battle. Therefore, the German attack towards the Sukhinichi salient lacked strength to accomplish anything, thus the attack that was mainly directed towards the 9th Army sector, also effectively thwarted any offensive operations of the AGM.

Personally, I have never read a review of the battle of First Rzhev-Sychevka that did not mention the narrow margin by which the Germans more or less held their lines. This includes Gerasimova, Glantz, KTB AOK 9 and DRZW VI.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by Aida1 » 26 Sep 2023 14:52

KDF33 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 01:31
Aida1 wrote:
25 Sep 2023 07:50
The southwestern front was pushed back and not encircled and totally annihilitated. No map will show you any big pocket around southwestern front.
Why are you assuming that "big pockets" are necessary to destroy a Soviet Front?
German war diaries show an enemy withdrawing behind rear guards. For example (...). Showcases that the red army conducted a fighting retreat.
Why are you assuming that the Soviet retreat was successful at avoiding destruction?
You still do not see the difference between surrounding and killing or capturing all the manpower of a large enemy formation and just pushing it back inflicting heavy losses to its combat strength.
Why are you assuming that "heavy losses" were only taken among the Soviet "combat strength"?
To really destroy a large enemy formation you need to encircle and annihilate it. You do not understand that.

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by Aida1 » 26 Sep 2023 14:54

Peter89 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 07:58
per70 wrote:
25 Sep 2023 18:36
Peter89 wrote:
25 Sep 2023 09:02
The Soviet force disposition in April 1942 was different than the one in early August 1942. You can not prove that your projected attack would break the Soviet positions around the Rhzev bulge, as they had an immense superiority, and Model was very close to throw in the towel. Essentially, the Soviet attack was barely repulsed by stripping the air support from AGN, redirecting reinforcements, including part of the 11th Army to this sector.
I'm unsure about the accuracy of using "immense superiority" to describe the Soviet situation around the Rzhev bulge in August 1942.
If that were the case, they ought to have done much better than what they actually did.

For the Soviet part, they transferred 8 divisions from the reserve armies to bolster the attack. In addition to a sizeable number of tank brigades. The interesting question in KDF33's scenario is whether most of those units would have to be sent south to face the German offensive instead. That doesn't seem unlikely.


For the Germans and the 9th Army – of course it hurts to be on the receiving end of a major attack.
Especially when several of their own units where heading south to take part in Wirbelwind at the time.

But while Model was screaming for reinforcements – suffering a bit more than 30k casualties in August – the neighbouring 3rd Panzer Army (12k casualties in August) and 4th Army (2k casualties in August) which also held part of the Rzhev bulge seem to have fared much better.

With regards to reinforcements from the outside, I'm aware that the 72nd ID was sent to Rzhev at the end of August – instead of following the bulk of 11th Army to Leningrad. But the end of August is after the main attack had been repulsed, isn't it?

Which other parts of 11th Army was sent to Rzhev? Or was it only the one division?

I'm also aware that they sent the GD regiment to the Rzhev bulge – also arriving at the tail end of the battle.

Were any other major units transferred from the outside to face this immensely superior Soviet force?
Well, you may use any preferred adjective for the undeniable superiority, but the numbers and adjectives I know from Gerasimova's book are these:

Image

For me, "complete superiority" and "overwhelming superiority" and 6:1 superiority, etc. translates to "immense superiority".

It also clearly shows that despite huge losses, the Red Army units facing the AGM still held superiority in September; no wonder the Soviets kept attacking on Army level until the last week of September, which saw some of the heaviest fighting.

Yes, the 72nd ID came from the 11th Army. However, you and KDF33 are both wrong in your calculations if you think it's about "divisions". It's not simply major units or "divisions". For example, the air support of AGN was transferred to the AGM, effectively put the operations there on hold; reinforcements in men and matériel were also significant.

To say that "other parts of the salient fared much better" is also misleading, as Model was drawing units from rear services and 9th Army had about half of AGM divisions (25) by the end of the battle. Therefore, the German attack towards the Sukhinichi salient lacked strength to accomplish anything, thus the attack that was mainly directed towards the 9th Army sector, also effectively thwarted any offensive operations of the AGM.

Personally, I have never read a review of the battle of First Rzhev-Sychevka that did not mention the narrow margin by which the Germans more or less held their lines. This includes Gerasimova, Glantz, KTB AOK 9 and DRZW VI.
KDF33 lives in an alternate reality where everything is rosy for the german army. Hitler would have loved him. :lol:

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by KDF33 » 26 Sep 2023 15:11

Aida1 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 14:52
To really destroy a large enemy formation you need to encircle and annihilate it. You do not understand that.
Evidence?

Why do you assume that it is necessary to encircle a unit to annihilate it?

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by KDF33 » 26 Sep 2023 15:36

Peter89 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 07:58
Well, you may use any preferred adjective for the undeniable superiority, but the numbers and adjectives I know from Gerasimova's book are these:

[...]

For me, "complete superiority" and "overwhelming superiority" and 6:1 superiority, etc. translates to "immense superiority".
These figures do not demonstrate that the Soviets had "immense superiority" in the Heeresgruppe Mitte area, for two reasons:

1. They are internal Soviet estimates, and thus risk being somewhat off.
2. They only apply to the breakthrough areas, and not to the overall theater.

For instance, it is estimated that the 5th Army had a 7-to-1 superiority in infantry, whereas the 33rd Army had a 3.5-to-1 superiority. But, as detailed below the table, that was only for the breakthrough sector of these two armies, which the Soviets estimated was defended by a mere 6 infantry regiments, with an additional two in reserve.

It in no way reflects the overall balance of forces throughout the campaign.
It also clearly shows that despite huge losses, the Red Army units facing the AGM still held superiority in September; no wonder the Soviets kept attacking on Army level until the last week of September, which saw some of the heaviest fighting.
On the contrary, the last week of September saw the least intense fighting.

Here are German combat casualties, for both the 9th and 3rd Panzer Armies (the armies targeted by the offensive), by 10-day periods:

01-10.8: 9,207
11-20.8: 18,478
21-31.8: 16,988
01-10.9: 7,734
11-20.9: 6,120
21-30.9: 4,932

The offensive (as well as Wirbelwind and the subsequent Soviet counterattack) bled Soviet combat power in the center, with the ration strength of the Kalinin and Western Fronts falling from 1,769,000 in early August to 1,360,000 in early October.
Yes, the 72nd ID came from the 11th Army. However, you and KDF33 are both wrong in your calculations if you think it's about "divisions". It's not simply major units or "divisions". For example, the air support of AGN was transferred to the AGM, effectively put the operations there on hold; reinforcements in men and matériel were also significant.
That's true, but I'm not quite sure what's the salience of this. That the Germans sent reinforcements and replacements to Heeresgruppe Mitte during a major Soviet offensive isn't exactly surprising.
thus the attack that was mainly directed towards the 9th Army sector, also effectively thwarted any offensive operations of the AGM.
A sensible question would be whether absorbing an eventual German attack, while on the defensive, wouldn't have been better.
Personally, I have never read a review of the battle of First Rzhev-Sychevka that did not mention the narrow margin by which the Germans more or less held their lines. This includes Gerasimova, Glantz, KTB AOK 9 and DRZW VI.
How is the narrowness of that margin assessed?

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by per70 » 26 Sep 2023 16:46

Hi Peter89,
I see KDF33 already made a reply to this post, so I'll try to avoid repeating some of the points made there.
Peter89 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 07:58
For me, "complete superiority" and "overwhelming superiority" and 6:1 superiority, etc. translates to "immense superiority".
And had that been the case for the entire Rzhev bulge sector, I would certainly agree.
When it is only a Soviet estimate of the force ratio in the breakthrough sector on the eve of battle; not so much.
That is the benefit of launching an attack – you can focus your resources on one small sector whereas the defender has to defend everywhere.
Peter89 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 07:58
It also clearly shows that despite huge losses, the Red Army units facing the AGM still held superiority in September
The quoted figure from Gerasimova's book seem a bit odd.
The aggregate strength of the 6 armies were 184 265 on September 10, which gave them a 1,9 superiority in manpower against the roughy 25 German divisions (I haven't made an exact count here) facing them. Did those divisions and assorted other units only have 97 000 men between them?

Maybe it's a typo? And the actual number should be 284 265, which would give 150 000 men on the German side. Still very low.
Do you know the basis of Gerasimova's estimate on force relation? Is that also derived solely from Soviet sources? And what kind of manpower does it count?

Anyway; it probably should be pointed out that most people seem to be of the opinion that a German unit of a certain size and a similar sized Soviet unit did not have equal combat power in the summer of 1942.

So the baseline manpower force-ratio, in which neither side has an advantage at the frontline probably isn’t 1:1.
When you make your assessment about the summer campaign – what force ratio do you believe the Soviets needed to obtain to be at a significant advantage against the Germans?
Peter89 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 07:58
Yes, the 72nd ID came from the 11th Army. However, you and KDF33 are both wrong in your calculations if you think it's about "divisions". It's not simply major units or "divisions". For example, the air support of AGN was transferred to the AGM, effectively put the operations there on hold; reinforcements in men and matériel were also significant.
It just felt odd to state: "including parts of 11th Army", when it would be more precise to say "one division from 11th Army".
The former feels more substantial.

With regards to air support – it should come as no surprise that the Germans would shift air units to the sectors with the heaviest fighting.
Browsing through DRZW VI, I don't really see which operation were put on hold in AGN due to lack of air support.
Peter89 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 07:58
Personally, I have never read a review of the battle of First Rzhev-Sychevka that did not mention the narrow margin by which the Germans more or less held their lines.
As I mentioned in my previous post – of course it will hurt to be on the receiving end of a major assault.
But personally, I would assume that the Germans would have acted differently if they really were on the brink of a catastrophe.

Launching Wirbelwind 12 days after the Soviet attack had started seems odd if that were the case.
And why do you believe they had to argue for days before securing the release of GD (as opposed to sending it to the west) if they were truly on the brink of disaster. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit odd?


Lastly; Zhukov is often quoted as saying that "had he only had one more army, he could have broken through".
Which might be true; although Prit Buttar in his Rzhev book has reservations about that.

Anyway; as I mentioned in my previous post – a more appropriate question (when assessing this ATL) would be how they would have fared with one fewer army.
I think they would have struggled in that case.

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by KDF33 » 26 Sep 2023 17:28

per70 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 16:46
With regards to air support – it should come as no surprise that the Germans would shift air units to the sectors with the heaviest fighting.
Browsing through DRZW VI, I don't really see which operation were put on hold in AGN due to lack of air support.
It delayed Unternehmen Schlingpflanze, which aimed to extend the Demyansk corridor north to the Staraya Russa road and railway. Schlingpflanze was eventually cancelled in favor of the less-ambitious Winkelried, which also aimed to extend the Demyansk corridor, but this time to the south, and to use a makeshift roadway instead of a proper LOC.

In the event, Winkelried was successfully executed at the end of September.

See this map.

I'm unaware of any other German operation that was either delayed or cancelled because of the Rzhev offensive.

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by per70 » 26 Sep 2023 17:56

KDF33 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 17:28
It delayed Unternehmen Schlingpflanze
Were the Germans preparing to attack sometime in the first week of August - in between the transfer of air support south and the Soviet Aug 10 attack on Demyansk?

But the operation was cancelled at the last minute?

It seems as if bad weather and Soviet opposition played an even bigger part in the postponement of that operation than lack of air support. Naturally in July before the transfer of air units. And also post Aug 10.

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by per70 » 26 Sep 2023 19:06

As a small addendum, I see Bergstrom in his Black Cross Red Star writes that the air units transferred from Luftflotte 1 were:

I. JG 51
II. JG 54
Stab and II KG 53

The only date he gives is Aug 6 when the unit commander arrived at a nearby airfield.

Later on, at the end of August, I JG 54 was also sent south.

No figures on total and serviceable aircraft’s, but maybe around 75 fighters and 25 bombers during August?
Last edited by per70 on 26 Sep 2023 19:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hitler doesn't intervene in military strategies/tactics/retreats

Post by KDF33 » 26 Sep 2023 19:07

per70 wrote:
26 Sep 2023 17:56
Were the Germans preparing to attack sometime in the first week of August - in between the transfer of air support south and the Soviet Aug 10 attack on Demyansk?

But the operation was cancelled at the last minute?
Yes.

Here's how Ziemke describes the situation:

"SCHLINGPFLANZE, besides being the sole survivor of the so-called local operations, was also the only one of the three that was anywhere near ready to execute. Sixteenth Army, under General Busch, had positioned the troops for it in mid-July and had been set to start on the 19th when bad flying weather and Soviet attacks on the II Corps perimeter forced successive postponements. Later, a lingering spell of heavy rain flooded the entire area between the pocket and the main front.

At the turn of the month, Kuechler and Busch were waiting for three or four dry days but were almost at the point of starting SCHLINGPFLANZE regardless of the weather because II Corps was as badly off as it had been in the height of the winter. The corridor was underwater, and the airlift was only getting in 30 to 40 percent of the daily supply requirements. On 4 August, however, SCHLINGPFLANZE had another setback when all of the ground support and fighter aircraft assigned for it were flown out to help Ninth Army at Rzhev.
"
It seems as if bad weather and Soviet opposition played an even bigger part in the postponement of that operation than lack of air support. Naturally in July before the transfer of air units. And also post Aug 10.
It did in mid-July, but it does appear that the Rzhev offensive led to its second postponement - and ultimate cancellation - in August.

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