Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

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Max Payload
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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by Max Payload » 07 Feb 2019 17:52

Ruppelt, who oddly describes Halder as an ‘Operational Artist’, is entitled to his view that, ‘The conquest of the economic potential of the Soviet-Union was Hitler’s declared decisive operation in the East.’ But it seems to be based on Hitler’s earlier 31/7/40 conference when he was waxing poetic about his geo strategic ambitions including the decision he had come to a week or so earlier to invade the Soviet Union. Odd too, given their supposed importance in Hitler’s thinking, that reference to economic targets is missing from Directive 21.
Fast forward to August 1941. The turn to the south was more military opportunism than carefully calculated strategy and, though it brought with it the prospect of securing some valuable economic assets at the expense of the Soviet war effort, it was unlikely to end the war quickly. What Hitler needed was a knock-out blow and in early September, admittedly to the delight of many of his generals, that is what he decided to attempt.

ljadw
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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by ljadw » 07 Feb 2019 21:21

SloveneLiberal wrote:
07 Feb 2019 16:18
Here are also some interesting informations. For example on page 20 it is written that assigment of divisons to army groups reflected Halder's influence. He made army group center the strongest. On page 18 it is written about Halder's vision for the war. He planned a short war and wanted Soviet union to be broken with offensive against Moscow. This was very risky as it is written and could easly lead to failure in achieving of Hitler's objectives that main economic targets should be captured.

https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/1039919.pdf
No : Weisung 34 A and 35 ,both approved by Halder, were talking about an offensive direction Moscow .'
And for Hitler : Weisung 34 A said that the attack to the south had the following aims
a Prevent the enemy to build a defensive line behind the Dnjepr
b Capture of crimea to protect the oil fields of Romania
c Capture of the Donetz and the industry of Charkow .
This is repeated in Weisung 35 .
In both of them the oilfields of the Caucasus are not mentioned .They would automatically become under German control after the Soviet defeat .
The differences between Halder and Hitler are mostly a postwar myth invented fter the war by Halder . After the defeat the German public opinion wanted someone to blame, a scape-goat,and Halder decided that he would not be the scape-goat. The ideal candidate was a dead man, as always : Hitler.Who would defend the man who was responsible for the Holocaust ?
Already in 1948 Halder wrote an anti-Hitler pamphlet : Hitler als Feldherr .Halder said that he had a perfect plan to defeat the SU,but that Hitler spoiled it by going for economic aims . Both assertions from Halder are lies .Hitler went south,not for economic aims, but to make Typhoon possible and Halder's plan was not perfect . He even did not believe in it : On August 23 he wrote in a letter to his wife : ''The goal which I had set myself to achieve,namely to finish off the SU in this year,will not be attainted and we will have a strength-draining eastern front over the winter . ''
This is more than a month before the start of Typhoon, Halder's favourite .And, when he said ''to finish off the SU in this year, he parotted Weisung 21 , a short campaign against the SU, on which he and Hitler agreed .
But, of course, after the war it would be suicidal for Halder that he and Hitler agreed on the strategy to defeat the SU .
The source for Halder's letter is Stahel .

SloveneLiberal
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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 07 Feb 2019 22:11

Max Payload also in the derective 21 economic targets are mentioned, like Donets Basin should be captured without delay. About Hitler changing his mind in early September. This was done throughout direct contacts of Hitler with generals and commanders of Army groups. This direct contacts together with seeing good results in north and south convinced Hitler to do an offensive against Moscow. Those generals supported before OKH and OKW which were both advocating for an offensive against Moscow.

Ljadw of course i agree with Stahel and you also that Halder had no good plan to defeat SU and that also Hitler was not responsible for his failure. But Caucasus is mentioned in the orders of Hitler from August 1941 in a way that it should be cut off. It is also stressed out that economic targets are the priority not Moscow. Hitler directly answered to OKW memorandum which was advocating for offensive against Moscow with his decision to go south after this targets. Also order which you mentioned from 12. August which is of course not the same as before mentioned answer to OKW memorandum from six days later is talking about economic targets and targets connected with economy. Crimea because of oilfields in Romania, Donets Basin, Ukraine.

Max Payload
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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by Max Payload » 08 Feb 2019 00:08

SloveneLiberal wrote:
07 Feb 2019 22:11
... in the derective 21 economic targets are mentioned, like Donets Basin should be captured without delay.
Two are mentioned at the very end of the section on army operations, the Donets and Moscow, but only in relation to pursuit operations once the main fighting is over. Nor is there any suggestion of the Donets being prioritised over Moscow.

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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 08 Feb 2019 11:59

Yes as i said before the bulk of Red army forces should be destroyed by Barbarossa plan in two months. And then the German army would like go after remaining Soviet forces, capturing in this second phase Moscow and Donets Basin and move toward Wolga. Yet it is also written in plans for Barbarossa as i told before that Moscow should be captured after the fall of Leningrad, but Donets Basin should be captured without delay. So if something was going more slowly than planned, resistance at Leningrad would be for example stronger than Moscow should wait, but Donets Basin can not wait because its war industry can be lost for Germans with waiting.

ljadw
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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by ljadw » 08 Feb 2019 12:20

SloveneLiberal wrote:
07 Feb 2019 22:11


Ljadw of course i agree with Stahel and you also that Halder had no good plan to defeat SU and that also Hitler was not responsible for his failure.
It is not because a plan failed that the plan was bad.
And, Halder nor Hitler were responsible for the German failure .Halder tried to blame Kinzel (FHO ) and Hitler for the failure ,because he knew that the public opinion wanted a scape-goat, and if it was not Kinzel or Hitler, he would be the scape-goat . The truth is that the responsibles were the Soviets . They defeated the Germans, the Germans did not lose, but the Allies won .One can not explain the failure of Barbarossa if one ignores the role of the Soviets .

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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 08 Feb 2019 13:02

Ljadw ok i understand your point.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 09 Feb 2019 12:03

Hi Guys,

Hitler could always over ride Halder.

So what did Hitler actually want himself?

He launched the campaign against the USSR and approved its timing, so what was his aim by way of primary targets and timescale?

And if these did not happen according to his desires, why not?

Hitler could change anything on the German side, so was it the Russians' fault it all went wrong?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 10 Feb 2019 14:46

Sig G. i think we can see what were differences in opionions about operation Barbarossa in its planning phase and how directive 21 was a compromise from previous posts.

However about the question if it was Russian or Soviet ''fault'' that things went wrong i would answer NO. Things started to went very wrong before Soviets won a decisive battle or even before they stopped quick German advances. It was in the past looking quite convincing that German defeat before Moscow when Soviets stopped their offensive and they moved back to a degree was a turning point. It is a visible result, it was suitable for Soviets to claim this, they like defeated Germans on the battlefield in a crucial battle and it was suitable for former German generals because they always advocated this push toward Moscow and were after the war able to claim that Hitler was guilty because he did not let them attack before the time when weather should be bad. Today it is established by prominent historians that offensive against Moscow was in fact itself the root of the problem and German defeat before it even started. Of course if Soviets would make really big mistakes it might be different but that is pretty unlikely. Even if the offensive would start earlier that would not change the outcome of war on eastern front. That's why historians are now searching for the root of German defeat in time before operation Typhoon.

Now what then went so wrong? I am pointing out two things which were in my opinion crucial:

1. OKW underestimated Soviet strenght on an alarming scale. So in the first phase it did not look so important that AGC is made to strong and how risky in fact this is. Germans will crush Red army or its bulk like very quick.

2. Generals persuaded Hitler in early September 1941 that Germans should not go after economic targets as his plan was ( specially after seeing the planned timeline for Barbarossa is not working ) but would rather go in offensive against Moscow. Fall of Moscow would not change the outcome of war. But capturing soviet war industry and cutting off Caucasus oil fields, that is a very different story.

And besides it was much harder in the past then today to say that strategy of main war criminal Hitler was in fact quite correct. :) - for Nazi Germany of course.

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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by ljadw » 10 Feb 2019 15:49

NO : the ''underestimation '' was necessary to win . If there was no ''underestimation '' Germany would also have won .
The strength of the STANDING Soviet forces was not very important : the Germans were rightly,convinced that they would defeat them . But, everything, everything, depended on the possibility of the Kremlin to mobilise in June/July enough men and to send them to the front . If the Kremlin could not do this, it was over and the Germans were on the Wolga before the winter . The truth was that already in June (9 days ) the SU mobilised 5,2 million men . If the Germans knew this before June 22, it would not help them .
The following is a partial summary from a discussion on the H-Net Networks ,thread : German plans for Barbarossa ,post by Loius Capdeboscq:
The German planning assumptions were not that the WM would no longer require to advance after the Soviet collapse ,but that the fighting advance was going to end after 500 km or so .
This end of organized resistance would allow the Germans to stage a ''railroad advance '' with a small logistical footprint : small amount of troops,little heavy equipment and artillery and less ammunition consumption .
The bulk of the wheeled transport no longer being available, would not be that much of a problem,as needs would be decreased and the Soviet rolling stock could be used .
Reality was that the Soviets did not follow the script.
About the AGC being too strong: this is a faux probleme, as with a weaker AGC nothing would change . The SU would still be able to send millions of men to the front .
Besides, where would the superfluous units of AGC go ? North? South ? And how many divisions ? And, ID ? or mobile divisions ? And, would a weaker AGC be able to defeat the opposite standing Soviet forces ?
Much too importance has been given on the planning and on the fighting west of the DD line . As Louis Capdeboscq writes :based on what the Germans knew at the time,and, if the Soviet government collapsed according to plan,then the occupation of most of the SU could probably have been carried out .
The question was : how could Germany defeat the SU with a strength of X ? The answer was : if the SU had a strength of Y .If this strength was stronger than Y, Germany would fail. Thus,it was natural that the Germans strarted from a Y assumption and that they planned everything in accordance,not with what they knew, but with was necessary to win .

SloveneLiberal
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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 10 Feb 2019 16:06

Ljadw that would be quite a strange thing if Soviets would not do the mobilization. And they should arm properly those men too. So they had much more reserves than Germans thought. And with their economic capaticies being saved their strenght just grew and they were able to go ower the effects of Barbarossa during winter 1941/42.

I said without some grave Soviet mistakes German situation was lost. Soviet union mostly with just by not giving up won the war in 1941 - on the way on which was Barbarossa fought.

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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by ljadw » 10 Feb 2019 20:15

If they could mobilize unhindered millions of men, Germany had lost . That's why Germany started with the conviction, assumption that they could not do it .
The war was lost already in August . The only thing the Germas could do was to hope that they had calculated mistakenly = that the SU would collaps not on 3/4 July as Halder/Hitler assumed, but on 11 July, and when that did not happen, Berlin assumed that it would happen on 18 July, and than on 25 July, 1 August, etc, etc .
They could only hope that suddenly ,as a Deus ex Machina,as a miracle, the SU would collaps . And, it was this hope,this illusion that made them capable to continue the war ...until the end .

SloveneLiberal
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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by SloveneLiberal » 10 Feb 2019 21:03

I surelly agree that war for Germany was lost already in August or September 1941. As i said with not giving up Soviet union won the war with Germany in 1941.

However that is not the case if German army would follow the strategy of Hitler and go after economic targets and leave operation Typhoon out of mind. Because their achivements would in that case in fact do much more demage to Soviet strenght, which was highly underestimated from the planning phase. In fact without following this strategy war could never been won - without a miracle.

Max Payload
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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by Max Payload » 11 Feb 2019 00:51

SloveneLiberal wrote:
10 Feb 2019 21:03
if German army would follow the strategy of Hitler and go after economic targets and leave operation Typhoon out of mind.... their achivements would in that case in fact do much more demage to Soviet strenght, which was highly underestimated from the planning phase. In fact without following this strategy war could never been won - without a miracle.
This is getting into ATL territory which is always highly speculative and rarely productive.
IF during August and September Hitler had insisted that the Wehrmacht’s final strategic effort of 1941 should be in the south, any benefit would, in my view, have derived from the military advantages rather than any economic benefits (AGS took the Donbas in 1941 anyway). By the beginning of October the Soviet defences on the Oboyan-Kharkov-Lozova axis were in tatters. Southern Front could have been much more effectively enveloped than was actually the case. The Red Army would have had difficulty preventing an AGS advance to the Don, and a humiliating strategic defeat of the Ostheer at the end of the year would have been less likely than was actually the case.
Would it have taken three-quarters of a million Red Army personnel out of the war in October?
No.
Would it have interrupted the evacuation of some of the Soviet industrial enterprises?
Possibly.
Would it have led to the defeat of the Soviet Union?
Probably not.

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Re: Was Germany’s situation THAT bad in the summer of 1942?

Post by Nautilus » 22 Feb 2019 11:12

ljadw wrote:
05 Feb 2019 17:26
NO : the only way to capture the oilfields was Typhoon = to go direction Moscow with a strong AGC ,to defeat the last Soviet reserves defeat which would result in the collaps of the SU .
Germany could defeat the SU only by defeating its armed forces and it could defeat its armed forces only if it could lure them to a certain direction ,which was Moscow ;the oil fields could be defended by small forces .The Soviets did not defend the Caucasus with their last forces, not in 1941,not in 1942 . It was the same for Stalingrad : Uranus was only one of the several Soviet offensives in the winter of 1942/1943 .
Besides, it was impossible to capture the oil fields in 1941 and there was no need to do it .
You will find no source poroving that Hitler wanted to capture the oil fields in 1941 .Blau was scheduled for 1942 , and the reason for Blau was not the importance of the oil fields for the SU (they were not important for Germany ) ,but that Typhoon had failed and that there was no possibility to repeat Typhoon in 1942, as Germany was weaker and the SU was stronger .
What you are talking about happened in 1942, it was not planned/ordered,even considered in 1941 .
Unlike tyrants, modern Armchair Warriors are very concerned with expending as little troops and equipment as possible for a given purpose.

(Vietnam's General Giáp called them upon this: if your objective is a city, fortress, oilfield, port or anything else reasonable, from some point the cost in men and material is so great that you'd better give up. When it's about survival, cost is no object. Defeat means death for everyone involved. Any sacrifice which leaves a few men standing is worth it.)

The Bewegungskrieg (as outlined by German Generals before the first bullet of the war had been fired) relied on this: to overwhelm and outmanoeuver quickly a much larger force, to avoid the sacrifices of WWI.

As Soviet Generals were not stupid by any means, and Zhukov the smartest of all, they saw right through it: the basic resource needed to counter was not oil, coal, steel or even manpower, the basic resource was time. Any delay made the SU stronger. Of course, the Germans were supposed to build up material on their own. Just not as quickly and not as well as the SU, as they relied on fighting a bigger force with a smaller of their own. As in the ancient fable of the hare and the turtle.

The fact that 6th Army got butchered at Stalingrad and relief attempts failed is seen as a deadly blow to the Reich. But in the bigger picture not the fact that it got butchered there was important. They were not supposed to be inside the city in the first place. If the objective was cutting the oil fields from the Soviet mainland, German Generals knew already how to use a mobile defense in the region between Rostov-on-Don and Volga with rather small forces. They did it in the 1940 French campaign, just as outnumbered. As Hitler and the OKW insisted to conquer the city and hold it, in 6 months from August 1942 to January 1943 tens of thousands of men and huge quantities of material got wasted for no purpose at all.

On the other side, both tyrants involved thought grandiose and impossible plans, drunk on their hubris.

Stalin, relying on his numerical superiority and the ideas of the Generals Zhukov and Vasilevsky, planned the Uranus offensive to cut the Caucasus Front altogether from the Reich and besiege it to destruction. This meant 1,5 million German troops, plus Romanians, Hungarians and Italians, a deadly, unrepairable blow. It meant crushing the Wehrmacht entirely and winning the war in just one campaign of 3 months, from November to January.

This was not unexpected on the German side, both Generalfeldmarschall von Manstein and Generaloberst Paulus were fully convinced this is what the Soviets planned to do.
"What would become of the war if our army in the Caucasus were also surrounded? That danger is real. But as long as we keep on fighting, the Red Army has to remain here. They need these forces for a big offensive against Army Group 'A' in the Caucasus and along the still-unstable front from Voronesh to the Black Sea. We must hold them here to the last so that the eastern front can be stabilized. Only if that happens is there a chance of the war going well for Germany" - Generaloberst Friedrich Paulus to Oberst Wilhelm Adam, during the winter 1942-1943 siege in Stalingrad. Adam, Wilhelm; Ruhle, Otto (2015). With Paulus at Stalingrad.
Hitler, relying on the earlier victories, planned the front to be stabilized with Stalingrad as a stronghold to keep the Soviets in place as long as possible - as long as there was a chance for the Afrika Korps to bull through Egypt and cut the Suez Canal. Therefore cutting the British Empire in two. This is what he said openly to Erich von Manstein during the siege. It was expectable for the Brits to divert anything and anyhow to the Suez area (as the cut in the middle of their Empire was 100% unacceptable), therefore releasing Germany from the pressure of the bombing campaign. And for the US as well, to divert everything from Europe towards the North African front. While the German troops were to close the pincers in the Middle East. The fact there were two barely passable mountain ranges to fight through only to be able to get into Iran, with barely some rural roads and railroads to supply through, never crossed his mind :D

Both plans proved just as impossible in Real Life as expected.

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