Max Payload wrote:It seems to me that there is insufficient hard data to justify your assertion that Red Army morale declined markedly after mid-October. There was never even any true consistency on the post-Viazma Moscow axis on any particular day, some units fighting heroically, others performing abysmally.
The presence or magnitude of variance does not make out a valid critique of a macro trend.
For instance the macro temperature trend is for the second week of October to be cooler than the first (northern hemisphere) but there's immense variance between daily temperatures within each week and in many years October's second week is warmer than the first.
The macro causal factor in that example - declining insolation - can be swamped by variations in fronts, jet streams, etc.
The macro factor here is morale, specifically its component that is sensitive to perceptions of the war's course (i.e. soldiers who think "we're gonna lose" have generally show lower morale). But within the domain of morale there are many other factors such as unit cohesion, training, leadership, etc. As the Red Army's forces around Moscow varied from untrained militia to seasoned professionals shipped from the East, as their leaders varied from excellent to party hacks and over-promoted NCO's, it's entirely predictable that there would be immense morale variation around a moment's global mean.
But just as October 14 is generally cooler than October 7 on the top-line historical stats, so too will the macro trend of declining morale show in the top-line stats. If those top-line stats show a macro-trend (as I think they do) then variance is just a distraction.
You quoted Lopukhovsky, let me expand on the quote (p389)
“Thus approximately 200,000 men either avoided encirclement entirely, or had managed to make their way back to friendly forces. However, separate groups of military personnel continued to trickle back into friendly lines in November and even later.”
How many of those attempting to ‘make their way back to friendly forces’ in late October and early November were captured by Fourth Army, thereby inflating its prisoner haul above that of prisoners taken on the frontline?
That's a possible explanation but the same could be said of August/September when Soviets were streaming back from Minsk, Smolensk, and smaller encirclements. For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Boldin
One possible test of this theory is to look at PoW's caught by Army Group-level units such as security divisions and other rear area units. It seems all but certain that these units would capture proportionately more stragglers than front-line army units. AGC-level units captured 38k PoW up to Sep27 and 13k in the month after Vyazma, a similar daily rate. https://wwii.germandocsinrussia.org/ru/ ... ect/zoom/6
This seems good evidence against there having been a significant increase in stragglers, post-Taifun.
And there's good reason to expect proportionately fewer stragglers from Taifun than from Minsk/Smolensk: It was a much shallower operation that left far less "empty space" into which bypassed units could disappear.
Max Payload wrote:Firstly -
If there is a change in force ratio to the advantage of Fourth Army it might be expected that Red Army losses would increase proportionally. (Fourth Army had Fourth Panzer Group subordinated to it in Oct/Nov increasing its force ratio advantage still further). Whether that proportional increase in Red Army losses would be greater or less than total numerical losses at an earlier stage would depend on a range of circumstances.
The TDI study found no correlation between force ratios and % of enemy force captured. http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/pdf/e-4epw1and2final.pdf
Max Payload wrote:The question is, do you accept Krivosheev’s figure for NWF irrecoverable losses over the first 18 days of the war? If so, pick your own KIA figure -
I have very little confidence in Krivosheev for 1941 but because I believe he understated casualties in this period that works in your favor.
Let's try another means of getting a ballpark figure for KIA: attrition ratios compared to German losses. I don't have daily data for the opposing German forces (AGN and PzGr3) so for now let's estimate that as well.
Depending on which source you credit (OKW diaries or Overmans), the Ostheer had between 1,800 and 2,400 daily dead in June/July 1941. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_ca ... rld_War_II
(reproducing tables from said sources).
AGN and PzGr3 had ~1/3 of Ostheer's divisions, so their average daily dead would be around 600-800.
If we assume a typical German-Soviet WW2 combat efficiency ratio of ~5 and rough numeric parity between the forces then we'd expect NWF to average 3-4k daily dead. Over 18 days 54-72k dead. Which would leave room for 2-20k MIA, most of which would have become PoW.
Take the high range of that estimate and say NWF had 20k MIA. That's entirely consistent with AGN's PoW report, as some of NWF's PoW went to AGC and as AGN had the most favorable battle outcomes in the first 18 days of war and therefore could easily have taken most of its prisoners in this period.
In fact it's feasible that (1) NWF lost more men than Krivosheev says and (2) relatively few of them were PoW.