Big Hunt Strategy

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
jesk
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Big Hunt Strategy

Post by jesk » 03 Sep 2019 09:15

From the first days of the invasion in the USSR, serious contradictions appeared between Hitler and the generals about the tactics and strategy of warfare. Particularly sensitive in the offensive zone of Army Group Center, where the enemy was supposed to inflict the most damage. Von Bock performed for conducting deep offensive operations. Hitler was inclined to conduct short operations. The meaning of which, every Soviet soldier behind the German lines should be caught. To do this, take the enemy in a circle. Tactics of encirclements; instead of, for example, parallel pursuit. The ring cannot be large, otherwise the enemy will leak through the lines. High density battle formations around the perimeter of the ring.
Logic in Hitler 's actions should not be sought. She is very superficial and does not withstand any criticism. For example, during the time spent fighting the encirclement, the enemy gets the opportunity to build a defensive line in the rear. To prevent this, the blow had to be deep. The enemy will have to throw into battle what is at hand. But Hitler was not interested in all this. He only feared the rescue of enemy troops. His words: our goal is not to seize territory, but to destroy the enemy.
In mid-July, the crisis of the high command arose. The generals wanted to conduct a major operation in the Moscow direction. Hitler in Kiev. Of course, it did not work to surround the enemy tightly in both directions. Therefore, Hitler found a compromise, first Kiev, then Moscow. The General Staff considered it possible to advance in both directions.

In 1942, the farce continued. Hitler created two empty and very tight pockets near Millerovo and Rostov. The scheme shows how many German forces gathered around Rostov.

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Parallel pursuit tactics are more effective, taking into account significantly inferior in combat efficiency of the Red Army. The chances of getting out of the encirclement are minimal. By 1944, even the Russians, if possible, tried to leave a minimum of forces behind, a maximum on the expansion of the external front. Seeing that from the Germans should not expect surprises in the form of counterattacks. Transformation to pure pursuit tactics. Any rings around. The commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front, Konev remembered.

http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/konev_is2/text.html

In that a characteristic feature of the Vistula-Oder operation, and indeed of the last period of the war. We no longer strived at all costs to create a double - external and internal - front around each such enemy group. We believed, and correctly believed, that if we were to develop the offensive at a fairly rapid pace, then even the fairly serious enemy forces cut off and remaining in our rear would not be afraid of us. Sooner or later, they will be defeated and destroyed by the second echelons of our troops.
So in the end it happened even with such a large group, about which I just said. She was defeated twice, trying to escape from the encirclement, and then, half-scattered, she wandered the forests behind our troops, until she was finally destroyed in small skirmishes.
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From the diary of von Bock. On July 25, 1941, through Keitel, Hitler recalled who was in charge.

https://e-libra.ru/read/363132-ya-stoya ... centr.html

25/7/41
In the morning, a representative of the headquarters, Field Marshal Keitel arrived to get first-hand information about the Smolensk boiler and the hole in its front. After I briefly outlined the situation for him, Keitel presented me the ideas of the Führer in this regard. The Führer believes that environments need not be strategic and that we should pay more attention to tactical "small boilers" that are easier to clear of the enemy. According to the Führer, such a method is more efficient and requires much less time and resource costs than the previous one. Unfortunately, this idea seems to me wrong. I believe that the numerous "small boilers", on the contrary, will further distance us from fulfilling the important tasks assigned to us! Keitel passed my ears and said that the Führer would be glad to know how his idea of ​​"small boilers" is realized, for example, on the right wing of the 2nd Army with the assistance of parts of the 2nd Panzer Group or XXIV motorized corps.

jesk
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Re: Big Hunt Strategy

Post by jesk » 03 Sep 2019 09:37

I will also remind, and this is important. World War II was the war of Hitler against Germany. He occupied many countries and lured German troops into a trap. Troops in Italy, Yugoslavia, Norway were promptly lost and did not participate in Germany 's defense.
In winter and spring of 1945, rumors circulated in Berlin that Hitler was an agent of Stalin. Strive to lose the war. He removed all tanks from the Vistula. Such actions of Hitler before the Soviet offensive were considered by simply Berliners to be sabotage.
Kelvin wrote:
22 Jul 2019 03:26
Should Hitler concentrate more troop in vital front, the war Maybe different. In Dec 1944, Hitler transfered 3. 6. 8. 20., 3SS and 5SS Panzer divisions from HG Mitte and A to reinforce Hungary. If he was willing to give up Hungary and Held those divisions in Mitte and A, he would have 19 fast divisions in reserve : 3. 5. 6. 7. 8. 16. 17. 19. 20. 25. 3 SS and 5.SS Panzer divisions, Fsch.Pz division HG 1 and PzGren division GD and 10. 18. 20. Pz.Gren Division Brandenburg and Pz.Gren Div. HG2 on Hand when Soviet launched both Vistula Oder and East Prussian offensives.
But among 20-30 generals from Hitler’s entourage, there weren’t such insightful people. Until the end, carried out sabotage orders.
Hitler had a very unusual worldview. Germany must lose the war and as a result, conditions will arise for the formation of a democratic European Union. He made hundreds of mistakes in the military field and was not an idiot. His interpreters.

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Re: Big Hunt Strategy

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 04 Sep 2019 00:10

Let's assess the pros and cons of each strategy.

Short Operations

Pros:

(1) Capture more enemy soldiers
(2) Shorter supply lines/better logistics
(3) Greater strength against encircled units = shorter battle, fewer casualties
(4) Less vulnerable forward units = fewer casualties
(5) Shorter distance = less wear and tear on vehicles
(6) Shorter distance = more air support
(7) Shorter distance = better communication and coordination among forces

Cons

(1) Slower pace of advance = more time for the enemy to react and deploy reserves
(2) Less enemy territory conquered

Long Operations

Pros

(1) Faster pace of advance = less time for the enemy to react and deploy reserves
(2) More enemy territory conquered

Cons

(1) Capture fewer enemy soldiers
(2) Longer supply lines/worse logistics
(3) Weaker units left to liquidate encircled units = longer battle, more casualties
(4) More vulnerable forward units = greater casualties
(5) Longer distance = more wear and tear on vehicles
(6) Longer distance = less air support
(7) Longer distance = worse communication and coordination among forces

The above are general considerations that need to be balanced based on the particular circumstances of each engagement. In general, it would seem that the critical considerations are (1) the strength of the enemy forces that will be encircled in a short operation vs (2) the strength of the enemy forces that will be encountered by forward units in a long operation. It seems that the higher the strength of the enemy forces in (1) and (2), the more favorable a short operation will be, because that will encircle more of the enemy while reducing the vulnerability of forward units to enemy reserves. Likewise, the weaker the enemy forces in (1) and (2), the more favorable a long operation will be, because there are fewer enemy units worth encircling and fewer enemy reserves that will endanger the forward units.

Byalostok-Minsk in 1941 seems like a situation in which the enemy had both very strong forward and reserve units, which favored a short operation. AGC attempted what seems to be a hybrid long/short operation, and got the worst of both worlds. Significant enemy units escaped the encirclement, and the forward panzer divisions suffered tremendous casualties at the hands of the Soviet reserve armies at Smolensk.

Case Blue in 1942 seems like a situtation in which the enemy had both weak upfront and practically nonexistent reserve forces, but Germany, trying to learn its lesson from the previous year, employed a short operation and suffered the negative consequences - encircling few enemy forces while considerably slowing the speed of its advance when vast strategic areas were wide open to them.

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Big Hunt Strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 04 Sep 2019 05:46

HistoryGeek2019 wrote: Case Blue in 1942 seems like a situtation in which the enemy had both weak upfront and practically nonexistent reserve forces, but Germany, trying to learn its lesson from the previous year, employed a short operation and suffered the negative consequences - encircling few enemy forces while considerably slowing the speed of its advance when vast strategic areas were wide open to them.
RKKA had ~1.9mil men in Southern and Southwest Fronts at the outset of Blau, per Glantz's To the Gates of Stalingrad. Stalin continually fed reinforcements to the battle.

Glantz concludes that prisoner hauls were relatively low because Germany had too few infantry to seal the pockets. The Ostheer had about 500k fewer men in June 1942 than in July 1943; this showed throughout Blau.

More significantly IMO, none of the Blau operations involved two complete panzer armies, as did the successful 1941 kessels. Blau I, for example, had only 3 mobile divisions in its southern pincer. Blau II's plan called for two panzer armies but the fighting around Voronezh detained much of the intended northern pincer.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

jesk
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Re: Big Hunt Strategy

Post by jesk » 04 Sep 2019 06:18

I just wanted to say this. Hitler's logic suggests 10 different explanations, each of which is correct. There are as many objections. Distinguishing the main from Hitler’s actions, he was afraid that the Soviet units that were behind the German lines would not be destroyed. For this, the ring must be tight. July 2, on the 11th day of the war, the attention of the Fuhrer was taken by the encirclement at Navahrudak. The Russians will come out of the ring, connect with the reserves and the Germans will not be able to overcome them. Logic is the most diverse. Could be so, and so discuss. In numbers approximately the following: von Bock for allocation of 30% of the forces to fight the Soviet troops in the German rear, Hitler for 60%. And this is sabotage, under a far-fetched pretext, the troops are delayed in the rear, instead of moving forward.

2 july

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http://militera.lib.ru/db/0/pdf/halder_eng6.pdf

jesk
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Re: Big Hunt Strategy

Post by jesk » 04 Sep 2019 06:35

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
04 Sep 2019 05:46
Glantz concludes that prisoner hauls were relatively low because Germany had too few infantry to seal the pockets. The Ostheer had about 500k fewer men in June 1942 than in July 1943; this showed throughout Blau.
Hitler accused von Bock that the Russians escaped Millerovo’s encirclement and dismissed him. Halder doubted the presence of large enemy forces north of Rostov and protested against the concentration of tank divisions there. An appeal to Glantz outside the context of German affairs. The pockets are small and empty. About it.

jesk
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Re: Big Hunt Strategy

Post by jesk » 04 Sep 2019 07:04

Halder protested. In any case, in 1942 nothing could save the USSR. Except Hitler, he simply forbade attacking Moscow and Leningrad. Explaining this by a vague lack of resources. 2 regiments instead of 3, etc. Is it logical? Yes! No trained replenishment? Yes! Highlighting the main: stop-machine!
Funny, in Halder’s notes the words diversion and sabotage. How close they were to the truth. :)

26 july

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