Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.
User avatar
BDV
Financial supporter
Posts: 3704
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 16:11

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by BDV » 10 Mar 2016 21:20

steverodgers801 wrote:BDV, and exactly how were those troops to be supplied? German supply was near the breaking point in front of Moscow and you are talking in some cases as twice the distance.
They wouldn't; that's the point of LJADW's main argument, the Soviets were going to break, and the Soviet State was going to collaps following the border battles. Without fighting (except minimal against a rear-guard actions of the RKKA remnants), logistical requirements become very light. There was no other option considered or prepared for on June 21st 1941.

My point is not about this aspect, my point is that the RKKA resistance stopped/slowed down the Axis infantry forces. Given post-war complaints about infantry "not keeping up", that leads me to think that RKKA resistance, even during the border battles was more than estimated by German war planners.

The Wehrmacht was just going to have to show up, and the Soviets were dutifully gonna fold. Literally. That is the result of "Occam's Razor" applied to the befuddling German narrative on the Barbarossa story.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

Alixanther
Member
Posts: 411
Joined: 04 Oct 2003 04:26
Location: Romania

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by Alixanther » 11 Mar 2016 10:51

BDV wrote: [
My point is not about this aspect, my point is that the RKKA resistance stopped/slowed down the Axis infantry forces. Given post-war complaints about infantry "not keeping up", that leads me to think that RKKA resistance, even during the border battles was more than estimated by German war planners.

The Wehrmacht was just going to have to show up, and the Soviets were dutifully gonna fold. Literally. That is the result of "Occam's Razor" applied to the befuddling German narrative on the Barbarossa story.
That's the idea. It can be split into several components:

- why the absurd premise of "kicking the door and the house will collapse" (judging the sky-high preparation of Barbarossa it seems that the planners themselves did not believe such thing)

- no contingency planning; if you admit that Barbarossa intensive preparation IS in fact contingency planning (as alternative to the premise "kicking the door..."), then why no consistent contingency planning for catching-up the escaping Soviet infantry. Why pocketing if there's no capacity to contain pockets? There's no reason to do so.

- the first and foremost operational use of tanks (or assault guns for what matters) is breaching a fortified line. If infantry is "not keeping up" that means either the breach gap is not enough for infantry to flank the positions (strategical issues) or the tanks themselves cannot assist the infantry for the mop-up (tactical issues) in the next phase of the battle. The tanks could not be in 2 places at once: leading the encirclement of the pocket and at the same time assist the infantry. Thus the problem can be traced to the idea that German infantry had not enough armored support, either as Mobile AT or SPArt components.

It's ironic that during the initial phase of Barbarossa when Axis enjoyed a operational manpower advantage they did not have the assets to exploit this, and in the latter stages of war they had to invent "artillery divisions" (practically an infatry division scrapped off its infantry) because of manpower shortages. Should they have had both at the same time, the results might have been different.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13787
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by ljadw » 11 Mar 2016 12:41

The first and foremost operational use of tanks (assault guns are not tanks,but mobile artillery) is NOT breaching a fortified line,that's the mission of the artillery .

The mission of cavalry (tanks are motorised and armoured cavalry) is to go through a breach in a fortified line and to attack the enemy's soft points .

In WWI the artillery conquered the terrain, the infantry occupied the terrain and the cavalry/tanks exploited the success.

It was not different in WWII.

It is not different today .

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13787
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by ljadw » 11 Mar 2016 12:44

Alixanther wrote:
BDV wrote: [
Thus the problem can be traced to the idea that German infantry had not enough armored support, either as Mobile AT or SPArt components.

No:the problem is that German tanks had not enough infantry and artillery support and that the available support was not motorized . The tanks could only advance at the speed of the infantry/artillery= 4 km per hour .

Alixanther
Member
Posts: 411
Joined: 04 Oct 2003 04:26
Location: Romania

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by Alixanther » 11 Mar 2016 17:00

ljadw wrote:The first and foremost operational use of tanks (assault guns are not tanks,but mobile artillery) is NOT breaching a fortified line,that's the mission of the artillery .

The mission of cavalry (tanks are motorised and armoured cavalry) is to go through a breach in a fortified line and to attack the enemy's soft points .

In WWI the artillery conquered the terrain, the infantry occupied the terrain and the cavalry/tanks exploited the success.

It was not different in WWII.

It is not different today .
Sorry to burst your bubble, but this was the mission of the artillery up to WW1. Not even artillery was always able to breach the Western lines, that's the reason for the bloody deadlock on the Western Front. (otherwise it would have been a manoeuvering warfare, like in WW2, since they had plenty of horses - if they lacked the tanks)

French doctrine presupposed that Artillery was STILL instrumental in breaching a fortified line - that's the reason for Maginot line - a line designed to counter what could counter a fortified line. It may look absurd today - but that was the yesterday logic.

However: no country (and certainly not Soviet Union) was able to man up their front towards the enemy in a continuous, contiguous line. NONE. This is true especially in the large spaces in the East where it made more sense to "breach" a (non-existent) line using mobile assets instead of bringing artillery to a place where the enemy could simply swing back and render the action moot.
The only place in the entire history of warfare where there were trenches upon trenches in a continuous, uninterruptible line - was Western Front in WW1. The one and only place.

Artillery was (and still is) instrumental in breaching a particular fortified position which could not be bypassed through other means: fortresses, cities, usually static defences, not army groups. The peculiarity of the Eastern Front rendered obsolete such a military mindset, especially when RKKA had such large tracts of land to bargain with in order to gain time at their disposal.

Yes, there are several examples of dogged, stubborn city defences during the war in the East - but they were the exception, not the rule. What made this war something new were the mobile assets - be they self propelled artillery, assault guns, tanks, tank-hunters and other snippets.

This role of artillery started to get old during WW1 (it was gradually replaced by aerial bombardments - bombers and zeppelins) and is nowadays completely replaced by planes*. Today artillery has a suppresion role during an offensive operation, trying to get the defenders of a line to run for cover instead of manning it up against attackers. You can find this role even in prior wars, if you dig up enough.

* in the 3d environment of today warfare it makes more sense to deny supplies through aerial operations than bombing the line in order to breach it.
ljadw wrote:
Alixanther wrote:
BDV wrote: [
Thus the problem can be traced to the idea that German infantry had not enough armored support, either as Mobile AT or SPArt components.

No:the problem is that German tanks had not enough infantry and artillery support and that the available support was not motorized . The tanks could only advance at the speed of the infantry/artillery= 4 km per hour .
If you add up the number of days spent by Germans during their advance you can probably find out that there was plenty of time to get to Moscow at 4 km per hour - provided the RKKA offered no resistance. The reason they could not advance 4 km / hour while fighting has nothing to do with logistics and nothing to do with fighting. It has - however - everything to do with military planning, kriegspiels and contingency plans. It sucks to go in the East without any of these.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13787
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by ljadw » 11 Mar 2016 18:23

There was military planning, there were kriegsspiele (in december and january ),there was no need for contingency plans,because the plan that was used was the ONLY that was containing a (small) chance to win .

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13787
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by ljadw » 11 Mar 2016 18:25

Alixanther wrote:
ljadw wrote:The first and foremost operational use of tanks (assault guns are not tanks,but mobile artillery) is NOT breaching a fortified line,that's the mission of the artillery .

The mission of cavalry (tanks are motorised and armoured cavalry) is to go through a breach in a fortified line and to attack the enemy's soft points .

In WWI the artillery conquered the terrain, the infantry occupied the terrain and the cavalry/tanks exploited the success.

It was not different in WWII.

It is not different today .
Sorry to burst your bubble, but this was the mission of the artillery up to WW1. Not even artillery was always able to breach the Western lines, that's the reason for the bloody deadlock on the Western Front. (otherwise it would have been a manoeuvering warfare, like in WW2, since they had plenty of horses - if they lacked the tanks)

French doctrine presupposed that Artillery was STILL instrumental in breaching a fortified line - that's the reason for Maginot line - a line designed to counter what could counter a fortified line. It may look absurd today - but that was the yesterday logic.

However: no country (and certainly not Soviet Union) was able to man up their front towards the enemy in a continuous, contiguous line. NONE. This is true especially in the large spaces in the East where it made more sense to "breach" a (non-existent) line using mobile assets instead of bringing artillery to a place where the enemy could simply swing back and render the action moot.
The only place in the entire history of warfare where there were trenches upon trenches in a continuous, uninterruptible line - was Western Front in WW1. The one and only place.

Artillery was (and still is) instrumental in breaching a particular fortified position which could not be bypassed through other means: fortresses, cities, usually static defences, not army groups. The peculiarity of the Eastern Front rendered obsolete such a military mindset, especially when RKKA had such large tracts of land to bargain with in order to gain time at their disposal.

Yes, there are several examples of dogged, stubborn city defences during the war in the East - but they were the exception, not the rule. What made this war something new were the mobile assets - be they self propelled artillery, assault guns, tanks, tank-hunters and other snippets.

This role of artillery started to get old during WW1 (it was gradually replaced by aerial bombardments - bombers and zeppelins) and is nowadays completely replaced by planes*. Today artillery has a suppresion role during an offensive operation, trying to get the defenders of a line to run for cover instead of manning it up against attackers. You can find this role even in prior wars, if you dig up enough.

* in the 3d environment of today warfare it makes more sense to deny supplies through aerial operations than bombing the line in order to breach it.
ljadw wrote:
Alixanther wrote:
BDV wrote: [
Thus the problem can be traced to the idea that German infantry had not enough armored support, either as Mobile AT or SPArt components.

No:the problem is that German tanks had not enough infantry and artillery support and that the available support was not motorized . The tanks could only advance at the speed of the infantry/artillery= 4 km per hour .
If you add up the number of days spent by Germans during their advance you can probably find out that there was plenty of time to get to Moscow at 4 km per hour - provided the RKKA offered no resistance. The reason they could not advance 4 km / hour while fighting has nothing to do with logistics and nothing to do with fighting. It has - however - everything to do with military planning, kriegspiels and contingency plans. It sucks to go in the East without any of these.
This is totally wrong .

User avatar
BDV
Financial supporter
Posts: 3704
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 16:11

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by BDV » 11 Mar 2016 20:37

ljadw wrote:There was military planning, there were kriegsspiele (in december and january ),there was no need for contingency plans,because the plan that was used was the ONLY that was containing a (small) chance to win .

That's more of a WHIF question. There is a pessimistic view that outside of a quick collapse, even with reachment of AA line, Germany was doomed as long as Allies kept on keeping on.


However, given that Nazi Germany did not give up in August 41, or even in August '44 for that matter, lack of a contingency plan for an actual war (instead of July '41 collaps) has to be seen as a severe deficiency. Instead; German war in Russia was an endless series of improvised smash-and-grabs, but not even those properly executed.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13787
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by ljadw » 11 Mar 2016 21:11

The pessimist view was the correct view : with (or without) hindsight it is obvious that Germany had already lost before 22 june 1941 and Barbarossa was only a desperate attempt to turn the tide .

When in july it was clear that Barbarossa had failed, the Germans had now to do what during the planning they had been come to the conclusion that it was impossible : to defeat the Soviets east of the DD line and they tried to do it and failed,proving that the pre Barbarossa assumptions were correct .

steverodgers801
Member
Posts: 1147
Joined: 13 Aug 2011 18:02

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by steverodgers801 » 11 Mar 2016 22:12

I wonder if during the war gaming that the planners just assumed that there would be no resistance and therefore there was no need to plan for operations after the expected victory.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13787
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by ljadw » 12 Mar 2016 07:52

Correct : the conclusion of the war games was that the SU would be defeated in a short campaign close to the border .

Alixanther
Member
Posts: 411
Joined: 04 Oct 2003 04:26
Location: Romania

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by Alixanther » 12 Mar 2016 14:54

ljadw wrote:Correct : the conclusion of the war games was that the SU would be defeated in a short campaign close to the border .
Bwahaha. That's pants. I wonder how many iterations of these "war games" ended with SU defeated close to the border? Taking into account the abysmal lack of info regarding RKKA manpower and military assets? Hitler himself said to Mannerheim that if he knew how many tanks Soviets had, he wouldn't attack.

It's impossible that at least one of these shouldn't have provided a different view of RKKA in order to shape a contingency plan. If all your plans IS one plan, there's NO contingency plan. Period.
ljadw wrote:There was military planning, there were kriegsspiele (in december and january ),there was no need for contingency plans,because the plan that was used was the ONLY that was containing a (small) chance to win .
Says who? Now you're a seasoned military expert, aren't you? Probably one of the best, since this plan was the ONLY one that contained a chance to win? Do you know what Hitler said during the advance into Caucasus after he hijacked the command of Army Group A? Something like I wonder if it's probably better to let all units advance at their pace and leisure and shape the frontline accordingly. It seems that great minds think alike. :P

ljadw
Member
Posts: 13787
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by ljadw » 12 Mar 2016 15:48

And of course, what Hitler said to Mannerheim in 1942! was nonsense : the number of tanks that the Soviets had was irrelevant for the planning and the outcome .

The usual :"If I knew, I would have acted differently" is not an argument .

Why was it impossible that none of the war games should have provided a different view of the RKKA ?

The Red army could not be defeated east of the DD line : this was proved by the failure of Typhoon .

User avatar
BDV
Financial supporter
Posts: 3704
Joined: 10 Apr 2009 16:11

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by BDV » 12 Mar 2016 22:00

ljadw wrote:The Red army could not be defeated east of the DD line : this was proved by the failure of Typhoon .
That is conjecture. Also failure of Taifun points to the resilience of the Soviet State, not to the prowess of Soviet Army, otherwise Axis forces would find themselves at the DD line or worse come March 1942.


P.S.

Also, the possibility of a long war on the East did not even ENTER the minds of the Nazi German war planners. We have that from the SS Reichsfuhrer himself in his infamous Posen speech. So a short (non-fighting) confrontation was all that Nazi Germany prepared and planned for.

It is speculative, and in my opinion incorrect, to say they could not prepare for a longer war. They fought one even without being prepared.
Nobody expects the Fallschirm! Our chief weapon is surprise; surprise and fear; fear and surprise. Our 2 weapons are fear and surprise; and ruthless efficiency. Our *3* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency; and almost fanatical devotion

Alixanther
Member
Posts: 411
Joined: 04 Oct 2003 04:26
Location: Romania

Re: Barbarossa, Delay: Balkans or Rain

Post by Alixanther » 14 Mar 2016 11:11

BDV wrote: However, given that Nazi Germany did not give up in August 41, or even in August '44 for that matter, lack of a contingency plan for an actual war (instead of July '41 collaps) has to be seen as a severe deficiency. Instead; German war in Russia was an endless series of improvised smash-and-grabs, but not even those properly executed.
Well, most of the time the historians depict the "heroes of Prussia" (I mean the officer corps) as resourceful compared to "NS-ideology brainwashing" proponents. However, it seems that the leadership of the officer corps brainwashed themselves into considering as demeaning to even think about some serious planning into anti-Soviet effort.

Which brings me to my previous assertion that the conflict in the East was primarily an ideological conflict, not a military one.
If you stop even for a second into serious planning, that means you respect your opponent, which might spell uncertaintly about the "moral superiority" against that "failed state" who was considered Soviet Union. It's no different today or any previous era. Romans could not care less about Celtic specifics if they were supposed to convince their populace that their ways were superior. Julius Caesar did dig double trenches but did not dabble into Celtic culture and mindset. They were irrelevant for the Empire: some barbarians. Same afterwards.
Deutsches Reich leaders were more worried about losing their ideological playerbase against the Reds than seriously planning for a military conflict: which is no surprise - since they started at 2 % while the Red Front was at 12 %. They never dispelled this lack of self-confidence, not even after gaining political power. They lost the war because they went into an ideological battle. (and Russian peasants were no fools: they hated the Soviets but were not going to fall for another spinoff of the same core leftist ideology).

Return to “WW2 in Eastern Europe”