Germany winning on the Eastern Front

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Kelvin
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by Kelvin » 01 Jul 2013 20:21

bam wrote:I have wondered about this for 20+ yrs! I have recently had an insight concerning the Russian troops morale. When Barbarossa started, Russian troops surrendered in droves. The average Russian grunt was very badly treated by officers and especially commissars. Once the retreats began in July, the troops were very disorganised, lacking leaders, lacking ammo, and most of all lacking food. This made the decision to surrender much easier.
Luckily, the Germans were so completely arrogant in their belief of their intrinsic superiority over the subhuman Slavs, that they treated the Russian POWs awfully. The word awful doesn't do justice...they treated the POWs in a psychopathic manner. We westerners moan about the way the japs treated our POWs, but the treatment of the Russians was much much worse. Put simply, there was no German plan to deal with them. The POWs were just marched to the rear, without any food, water or medical care. Any who couldn't march were shot. They were kept outside in the open in fields surrounded by barbed wire. The guards would torment & kill them for fun! There were very few instances of humane treatment. In 1941, about 4 million Russian troops became POWs. About 3 million died by Jan 42.
Now, a few POWs managed to escape and get back to the Russian lines. Their reports, along with reports from civilians, of the starvation cages and savage treatment, completely changed the attitude of the Russians about surrender. By Oct 41, most Russians knew surrender was a virtual death sentence. The soviet propaganda exploited this too.
So by the time of the advance on Moscow, op. typhoon in Oct 41, the behaviour of the Russians changed. Their were 2 large groupings of Russians surrounded in Vyasma and Briansk by 7 Oct, but instead of surrendering quickly, as their comrades had done when surrounded in July / August, the cut off troops fought on , tried to break out east, and this forced the Germans to divert a lot of infantry to slowly clear the pockets. This took a couple of weeks, critical weeks, when there were virtually no Russian forces between Army Group Centre and Moscow. Stalin was on the verge of evacuating Moscow on 15/16 Oct. if the Germans had been able to continue their typhoon advance soon after the closure of the Vyasma pocket, they could have got to Moscow virtually unopposed before significant reinforcements from Siberia could arrive. The extra 10-14 day delay, caused by the surrounded troops fighting on, was what saved Moscow. Now whether the fall of Moscow in Oct 41 would have meant German victory, that's another debate. But virtually no country that has lost it's capital city in a war has gone on to win.
So my simple insight into how could the Germans have won is this: they could have if all they had done was provide food and shelter for the Russians. If the Germans had advanced with loud speakers announcing "russkis, come over here for a warm meal and we will release you as soon as the Bolsheviks are beaten", I think that might have caused the whole rotten soviet structure to collapse.
When comparing the encirclement battle of Minsk during June-July 1941 and later battle of Vyzama-Bryansk in Oct 1941, German infantry used 10 days to clear up the both pockets but the latter one German captured more POW than in Minsk, ( 300,000 in Minsk and 600000 in Vyzama-Bryansk), if you said Russian resisted more fiercely in Oct 1941 than in June 1941 is unlikely as German infantry used 10 days to clear up pocket to get 300000 soldiers in July but also used 10 days to clean up pocket but captured double number of POW in Vyzama in Oct.

German was master of encirclement battles, this was their basic fighting techiques in war, In June 1941, original Bialystok-Minsk pocket caught 500,000 Russian in pocket but many of them escaped from the pocket and only 320,000 were captured. It was because active Russian troop had more skill in fighting and escaped the encirclement and if many Russian surrendered in mass, why German did not captured all of 500,000 troops. And in South and North, Southwestern Front and Northwestern Front also succeeded in escaping German encirclement. I don't see them surrendered in mass. And by July 31 1941, only 790,000 Russian were captured in 40 days but in Vyzama battle which lasted for less than 20 days, they captured 670,000 Russian.
And again, when German successfully annhilated a large number of Russian troops in encirclement battles such as Kiev and Vyzama-Bryansk because they had adequate panzer and motorzied troops, in Kiev, both Kleist and Guderian had 8 x Panzer and 7 x motorized infantry divisions plus 1 x motorized infantry regiment and in Vyzama-Bryansk pocket, Guderian, Hoth and Hoeppner had 14 x Panzer and 8 x motorized infantry divisions with 1 x motorized infantry regiment. With adequate panzer troop, they could seal the pocket completely and then let the infantry clean up the pocket. This was about the successful or failure of military strategy and tactics, it was nothing to do with Russian willing surrender in mass.

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LWD
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by LWD » 15 Jul 2013 20:07

ljadw wrote:The man means of course : impressive collection of no strawmen (a typo :wink: ),because,nothing has been invented,all these points can be found again in the thread . 8-)
Then PLS point out the post that maintained the follwoing:
2)If the Germans had advanced with soup kitchens and loudspeakers promising release from Bolshevism,they would have yielded quicker advances than 100's of panzers .
or this one:
4)The average Russian grunt was very badly treated by officers and especially commissars
This one may actually exist in thread but I'd still like to see the post:
6)Virtually no country that had lost its capital city in a war,has gone on to win

ljadw
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ljadw » 15 Jul 2013 20:29

2)Post by bam on 25 june 20.48 (my time):

If the Germans had advanced with soup kitchens and loud speakers promising releasing from Bolchevism,this would have yieldedquicker advances than 100's of panzers .

6)Post by bam on 25 june 18.50(my time);

And virtually no country that had lost it's capital city in a war,has gone on to win .

The average Russian grunt was very badly treated by officers and especially commissars .

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LWD
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by LWD » 15 Jul 2013 22:22

My apologies. I guess I catagorized it initially as tongue in cheek but looking at the sum of his posting you may be right in regarding his posts as serious. I missed the 6) completely of course one could argue "virtually" means not all and there aren't many cases of it. Certainly Napoleon's Russian campaign is a classic counter example. The war of 1812 is problematic as some consider it a US victory and some don't. The Scottish war for independence is another good example though. Still I'm having a hard time thinking of any others. The American Revolution might be one.

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1st Cavalry
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by 1st Cavalry » 06 Aug 2013 21:32

Kelvin wrote: Actually German was beaten by Soviet Speed Reserve System. Blitzkrieg was only used for defeating small or medium size countries in a one blow, but for transcontinential powers like Soviet and USA, it does not work.


In september the reserves amounted to :

18 rifle divisions
12 people militia divisions
4 armored +1 motorised .

In the moskow district itself : 201, 322, 324, 326, 328, 330, 332 rifle , 27 and 41 cavalry,

checkov
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by checkov » 20 Aug 2013 02:24

It's an old story but don't forget the ferocity of the 1941-1942 winter. russian peasants said they hadn't felt such cold for decades and younger ones had never seen anything like it. With unbelievable bad and good luck (depends on your view) European Russia had the brunt of the bad weather in 41-42, on one day alone the German 4th army reported 2000 casualties due to frostbite and 1000 due to enemy action (Jan. 5, 1942). Accounts exist of German K-98 rifles having firing pins shatter in the down to -60 F temperatures. russian troops of course suffered as well but were better prepared ( in terms of equipment and experience) and the Russian command had a lot more Ivan's than the German command had of Fritzes.

Here is just one brief snippet of an experience the German Army had that winter. "On 26 December the regiment moved out in a snowstorm over roads already covered with deep drifts. The German troops were inadequately clothed for the Russian winter, and in every village lengthy warming halts were necessary. Two days were needed to cover the twelve miles to the line of departure."
From German Report Series (group of 4 veteran generals). Did you catch that-- line of departure-- they weren't even fighting they were just struggling with the weather!

So to answer your question the Germans had tough odds against them perhaps the toughest offered by 3 generals: generals distance, mud, snow. Without them the Germans would have had a better chance.

ChrisDR68
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ChrisDR68 » 21 Oct 2013 15:06

With the benefit of hindsight I think the only thing that could have produced a German victory in 1941 over the USSR was speed and a single concentrated thrust aimed at the centre of the country.

The Germans invaded the USSR with 3.3 million troops, 3300 panzers and 2700 aircraft. Even though that's an enormous and powerful force it's simply not large enough given the size of the USSR particularly as the proposed fighting front would double or even triple the more the Germans advanced deep into the country.

A broad front advance simply proved to be too slow and logistics badly lacking to reach the objectives the Germans set themselves given the forces they had available in June 1941 as Paulus had found in his war games of December 1940.

The riskier strategy would be for the whole of the German army to advance in one single thrust from central Poland aimed in the direction of Moscow but with the end goal being the Volga river east of Moscow. A single thrust would ease the logistics situation somewhat and the Germans would need to convert fewer railway lines to the European guage. It would also concentrate the force of the invasion therefore enabling speed to be kept up and as they would be next to each other the army groups could assist each other with unexpected Soviet counterattacks and thrusts.

The obvious flaw in this plan would be the very large flanks north and south a single thrust would create. I would still have three army groups with Army Group North protecting the northern flank of the advance and Army Group South protecting the southern flank. The main strike force would be Army Group Centre as in the actual invasion.

Once the Germans had reached the Volga river east of Moscow the Germans would then advance north and south establishing the new Reich frontier along the Volga river down to Astrakhan in the south. The Volga doesn't reach all the way up to the north coast of the USSR so the Germans would have to use the large number of lakes in that region as part of their new frontier here and bridge the gaps between the lakes with land based fortifications backed up with their panzers.

Once this frontier had been established the bulk of the Red Army would be trapped in the Baltic states in the north and the Ukraine in the south. Without supplies of fuel and ammunition they would cease to be an effective fighting force in the field within a few weeks.

Speed was the key to Operation Barbarossa and this plan was the only one with enough concentrated force and therefore speed to get the Germans to where they wanted to go.

Hitler the gambler may even have been attracted to this strategy had it had been proposed during the planning stage of Barbarossa.

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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by Alixanther » 21 Oct 2013 19:35

ChrisDR68 wrote:With the benefit of hindsight I think the only thing that could have produced a German victory in 1941 over the USSR was speed and a single concentrated thrust aimed at the centre of the country.
If I were in Hitler's shoes, I'd want 2 (two) Brandenburg divisions before the start of Barbarossa. Why?

Well, I'd take one of them, put it on some U-boats and make it climb stealthily aboard Soviet ships in a foggy, rainy, weekend day, let's say 2 days before all Barbarossa starts. If there's no such a day in sight, make them attack at night. What ships, you ask? Well, since I need 2 Branderburg divisions, I need 2 soviet fleets: Baltic Fleet and Sevastopol Fleet.

This is where the fun begins. The Brandenburg twin divisions who manage to capture the ships are dressed into foreign outfits. The Baltic assaulters are dressed like Finns, the Sevastopol assaulters are dressed like Turks.

Next day at dawn both captured fleets start bombing Leningrad and Sevastopol, respectively. The second wave of regular troops (also disguised as Finns / Turks) assault the puzzled garrison of each city and storm them.

Third day is the day when Barbarossa starts. Only this time the Germans already have 2 major cities already occupied and the Soviets think they were being attacked by the treacherous Finns and the devious Turks. Soviet tanks cross Turkish-Soviet border in a vengeful mood. That means less armor forces in front of the 3 German Army Groups.
A bunch of soviet troops are prepared to assault Finland and recapture Leningrad. Much to their surprise, German Baltic Fleet supplies fresh troops, armor, artillery which, in conjuction with the Luftwaffe, renders nil any opposition. Soviets begin to suspect Germans might be ALSO attacking them. Stalin still believes it's a mistake. His true enemies want to put him on a collision course with his trusted Germans.

German Intelligence Services begin to plant fake information that orthodox clergy in Russia is planning a coup d'etat. NKVD troops start new purges in troubled times. Stalin never reaches an agreement with Sergius and his adress to the nation falls on (now) deaf ears. A lot more generals and troops begin to defect to the German side until a snowballing effect appears.

Having the flanks secured (Leningrad-Baltic States, Odessa-Sevastopol), the Army Group Center receives the bulk of armor and supplies needed to crush any opposition. It's October and nobody wants to protect Moscow for Stalin.

That's how you can quickly defeat URSS in '41.

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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by David Thompson » 22 Oct 2013 19:10

An off-topic opinion post from ljadw was removed by this moderator - DT.

KDF33
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by KDF33 » 23 Oct 2013 05:54

Alixanther wrote:
ChrisDR68 wrote:With the benefit of hindsight I think the only thing that could have produced a German victory in 1941 over the USSR was speed and a single concentrated thrust aimed at the centre of the country.
If I were in Hitler's shoes, I'd want 2 (two) Brandenburg divisions before the start of Barbarossa. Why?

[...]

That's how you can quickly defeat URSS in '41.
This has to be the most insane post I have ever read on AHF.

Congrats'.

KDF33
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by KDF33 » 23 Oct 2013 06:00

ChrisDR68 wrote:With the benefit of hindsight I think the only thing that could have produced a German victory in 1941 over the USSR was speed and a single concentrated thrust aimed at the centre of the country.
Hello Chris,

With the benefit of hindsight I think that nothing could have produced German victory in 1941.

As for your proposed alternative to the OTL Barbarossa, set aside for a moment how it flagrantly invites disaster along the flanks and just think about it's logistics. Far from solving the Ostheer's log problems, it accentuates them, given that now a denser German force has to use the limited rail and road network that historically supplied just Army Group Center. You won't get a rapid advance to Moscow and the Volga - you'll get History's greatest traffic jam at the risk of seeing most of Germany's field forces being cut off from the Baltic and the Ukraine.

Regards,

KDF

ChrisDR68
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ChrisDR68 » 23 Oct 2013 11:01

It does invite disaster I agree lol

The funny thing is the Germans used exactly the same strategy in France the year before (admittedly on a much smaller scale) which was the main reason France fell in only 6 weeks.

Had the British in the north and French in the south possessed stronger armoured units (and proper air cover) the German thrust could well have been sliced in two when the Allies counterattacked at Arrass on May 21st. That attack shook the German high command but it was beaten off and it's failure doomed France.

I was also thinking about which strategy the Soviets would find the most difficult to counter and I think the single concentrated thrust idea is the one they'd have most trouble with especially considering how poorly they used their (often superior) armour during the actual 1941 invasion campaign.

KDF33
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by KDF33 » 23 Oct 2013 14:29

I'd argue that the best course Germany could have adopted would have entailed to abandon the concept of a single, decisive campaign and to set in motion, already in the autumn of 1940, the plans for mobilizing the manpower and the industrial capacity to deploy greatly augmented field forces in the winter and spring of 1942. Then, a decisive second summer campaign could have been confidently envisaged, hopefully aimed at Moscow rather than the Caucasus.

Regards,

KDF

ChrisDR68
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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by ChrisDR68 » 26 Oct 2013 18:44

KDF33 wrote:I'd argue that the best course Germany could have adopted would have entailed to abandon the concept of a single, decisive campaign and to set in motion, already in the autumn of 1940, the plans for mobilizing the manpower and the industrial capacity to deploy greatly augmented field forces in the winter and spring of 1942. Then, a decisive second summer campaign could have been confidently envisaged, hopefully aimed at Moscow rather than the Caucasus.

Regards,

KDF
So do you envisage three campaigns to defeat the USSR?

Possibly the first with the capture of Moscow as priority (looking at a map of Barbarossa Moscow doesn't look an enormous distance from the German start lines in June 1941) followed up by straightening the front line north and south of the Soviet capital.

Then the second campaign in 1942 aimed south with the capture of the Caucasus and north aimed at the capture of the Kola peninsular and ending with a general advance up to the Volga river in the centre.

If Hitler then thought he needed a final knockout blow against the Soviets (depending on the condition of both side's forces at the time) a third general offensive during 1943 aimed at reaching the Ural mountains could be attempted. There is a lot of evidence that these mountains were looked on by the Nazi's as a natural end point and defensive frontier to their eastern European ambitions.

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Re: Germany winning on the Eastern Front

Post by sebas379 » 27 Oct 2013 17:00

I used to consider the turning of the panzergroups to the north and south instead of straight at Moscow in the summer of 1941 a fatal flaw. Tehy delayed the advance on Moscow long enough for the Soviets to prepare the defences and mass reinforcements.
However, imagine these moves had not been made and the Germans had pushed straight for Moscow without securing the Ukrainian front. These Soviet formations in the Ukraine wouldn't sit still while Moscow was under attack, they would be attacking the German flanks.
Also, the reinforcements that saved Moscow IRL would still be available, the troops would simply be called up a few weeks or months earlier.

I base this conclusion partially on David Glantz- the soviet-German War

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