Phillips P. O'Brien on France v. Barbarossa and some thoughts on price vs. value

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
User avatar
stg 44
Member
Posts: 3222
Joined: 03 Dec 2002 01:42
Location: illinois

Re: Phillips P. O'Brien on France v. Barbarossa and some thoughts on price vs. value

Post by stg 44 » 26 Jun 2021 17:33

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Jun 2021 09:21
Cult Icon wrote:
24 Jun 2021 04:30
Hayward's articles on Luftwaffe close air support (2nd battle of Kharkov, Kerch) :

https://www.joelhayward.org/JH-Air%20Po ... istory.pdf

https://archive.org/details/JoelHayward ... ew=theater
Thanks again for the recs. I enjoy Hayward's style, which seamlessly goes between personal narrative (e.g. about Richtofen's personality and strategy) and analysis. And his analysis ties together land/air/sea war nicely as well. Cult's rec is repeated by me. I'm still working through Stopped, read most of the articles.

One reservation - does Hayward anywhere attempt to reconcile German land support claims (i.e. tanks/guns/etc destroyed) against Soviet records? As I said I haven't finished it all yet but haven't seen him do so yet. As we know from Western Europe claims, inflation is a huge problem in this area.
In many of the battles that he covers the Germans held the field at the end of the day and could exam the wrecks of vehicles, while the Soviets couldn't. All the Soviets knew was that entire units were gone. You really need to stop over-subscribing to that single Normandy report, which was pretty useless when you fact in that the majority of the wrecks they examined didn't have a determined cause of destruction. Overclaiming of course was a thing, but that OR was hardly conclusive. Plus the situation in the East and West was quite different, not least of which from different equipment used.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2602
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Phillips P. O'Brien on France v. Barbarossa and some thoughts on price vs. value

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 26 Jun 2021 18:47

stg44 wrote:You really need to stop over-subscribing to that single Normandy report
Hmm. Maybe. Further reading for the student?
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

User avatar
stg 44
Member
Posts: 3222
Joined: 03 Dec 2002 01:42
Location: illinois

Re: Phillips P. O'Brien on France v. Barbarossa and some thoughts on price vs. value

Post by stg 44 » 26 Jun 2021 22:34

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Jun 2021 18:47
stg44 wrote:You really need to stop over-subscribing to that single Normandy report
Hmm. Maybe. Further reading for the student?
Hayward isn't enough for you? "Stopped at Stalingrad" talked about Soviet losses to airpower in the Crimean, 2nd Kharkov, and Case Blue operations.

There are also the books "Allied Strafing in WW2" and "Strike From the Sky", the latter being more academic. It has its flaws of course, specifically ignoring the Pacific theater and being a bit too USAAF centric. It is a shame the German and Soviet OR aren't widely available.

User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 2196
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: Phillips P. O'Brien on France v. Barbarossa and some thoughts on price vs. value

Post by Cult Icon » 27 Jun 2021 01:36

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
26 Jun 2021 09:21

Thanks again for the recs. I enjoy Hayward's style, which seamlessly goes between personal narrative (e.g. about Richtofen's personality and strategy) and analysis. And his analysis ties together land/air/sea war nicely as well. Cult's rec is repeated by me. I'm still working through Stopped, read most of the articles.

One reservation - does Hayward anywhere attempt to reconcile German land support claims (i.e. tanks/guns/etc destroyed) against Soviet records? As I said I haven't finished it all yet but haven't seen him do so yet. As we know from Western Europe claims, inflation is a huge problem in this area.

I read that book (circa 2012/2013?), and then moved on to reading Glantz's book on 2nd Kharkov plus the relevant portions of the unit histories of the 3.Pz and 23.Pz which performed the encirclement maneuvers, read a few books on the Crimea campaigns (Sevasapol and Kerch), read the Glantz Stalingrad Trilogy, a book on Op Winter Storm, and read "Death of a Leaping Horseman" which is about a Pz division performing repeated heavy breakthrough attacks with extremely high levels of air support. There were others that I don't remember right now.

I don't recall if they verified the claims. The purpose of the massed airpower was to grease the wheels of the offensive operation and help make the ground forces succeed. I believe the literature available displays it convincingly in a holistic sense. If not, then a what if would be "what if there was no daily sorties in the 1500-3000 range? would the ground forces succeed?". I doubt it, given the track record of German forces when they didn't have air support.

I find the Hayward book to be verified by what I've seen of the combat literature on the Eastern Front. The peak air support was in 1942, then it declined. Op Citadel had more "diluted" air support, albeit still decent. After that, you'll see them commit to 500, 600+ sorties a day to support an attack here or there. In 1945 there were attacks with 300 sorties a day still going on in the East. But nowhere near the concentrated firepower enjoyed by the German forces in 1942. In particular, Operation Storfang, besides heavy air support had uniquely high levels of artillery support. Besides the siege artillery, super heavy guns, and railguns, the conventional FA fired circa 510,000 rounds of 105mm and 155mm. circa 32,000 rockets. This was unique for the German army.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2602
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Phillips P. O'Brien on France v. Barbarossa and some thoughts on price vs. value

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Jun 2021 10:45

Cult Icon wrote:I don't recall if they verified the claims. The purpose of the massed airpower was to grease the wheels of the offensive operation and help make the ground forces succeed. I believe the literature available displays it convincingly in a holistic sense. If not, then a what if would be "what if there was no daily sorties in the 1500-3000 range? would the ground forces succeed?". I doubt it, given the track record of German forces when they didn't have air support.
Circumstantial evidence can resolve things beyond a reasonable doubt, even when direct evidence is absent.
Cult Icon wrote:Operation Storfang, besides heavy air support had uniquely high levels of artillery support. Besides the siege artillery, super heavy guns, and railguns, the conventional FA fired circa 510,000 rounds of 105mm and 155mm. circa 32,000 rockets. This was unique for the German army.
The art'y support cuts against air's impact re Storfang. Not re Trappenjagd and broader Blau, though.
Cult Icon wrote:After that, you'll see them commit to 500, 600+ sorties a day to support an attack here or there.
LW ran nearly 1k sorties/day on Eastern Front even in '44, per this source. Front-wide numbers for 42/43?

Given 1k/day in '44 it's more difficult to see 1.5k/day as overwhelming. There are valid counterarguments of course, just mean the prima facie case for air support's decisiveness.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

User avatar
Cult Icon
Member
Posts: 2196
Joined: 08 Apr 2014 19:00

Re: Phillips P. O'Brien on France v. Barbarossa and some thoughts on price vs. value

Post by Cult Icon » 01 Jul 2021 07:51


Return to “WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic”