Germany's win probability by week

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HistoryGeek2019
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Germany's win probability by week

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 13 Nov 2019 01:20

For all of you NFL fans, I made this chart showing Germany's probability of winning the war for every week until December 1942:
German win probability 3.png
I noted major events where I could fit them in. The basic story is, Germany started with a high probability of defeating just Poland, but this plummeted once Britain and France declared war. Things got worse when Germany invaded Denmark and Norway, just because it meant an expanding war that Germany was not economically equipped to handle. Then of course things shoot up with Fall Gelb and get really good just before the Halt Order on May 24 - I give Germany an enthusiastic 99% win probability at that point. Then the BEF escapes and things get worse, but overall things are still looking good for Germany.

Things start to get bad again on July 22 when Halifax rejects Hitler's peace offer, then much worse during the Battle of Britain. Italy makes things much worse by invading Greece and getting curb stomped in North Africa, and then Yugoslavia overthrows its semi-pro-German regent. Germany cleans things up a little in the Balkans, but then cuts off its arm by invading Russia. These are supposed to be actual win probabilities given full information with the benefit of hindsight, not Germany's expectations at the time. And the benefit of hindsight tells us there is no way Germany was going to conquer Russia before America could come to the rescue.

Things got a lot better for Germany after the massive encirclements at Kiev, Vyazma and Bryansk, but they quickly blew it by going for the kill at Moscow. Things look pretty bleak from then on, but got a little better with the victory of the Soviets at Kharkov in May 1942. But Germany slowly squandered whatever advantage it had on the Eastern Front until you know what happened.
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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Nov 2019 03:07

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:And the benefit of hindsight tells us there is no way Germany was going to conquer Russia before America could come to the rescue.
If that's true then I don't understand why your chart doesn't drop to 0% after UK rejects peace offer.

...unless you think there's some ATL in which Stalin forgets his ambitions in Eastern Europe and leaves Germany alone while it devotes all its efforts to fighting the West.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 13 Nov 2019 03:55

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Nov 2019 03:07
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:And the benefit of hindsight tells us there is no way Germany was going to conquer Russia before America could come to the rescue.
If that's true then I don't understand why your chart doesn't drop to 0% after UK rejects peace offer.

...unless you think there's some ATL in which Stalin forgets his ambitions in Eastern Europe and leaves Germany alone while it devotes all its efforts to fighting the West.
Because it wouldn't be a very interesting chart if it were just a straight line at 0% the whole time now would it. :lol:

But for the sake of keeping it interesting, the United States had not yet entered the war in July 1940, nor was US entry foreordained. There was still an election ahead and the British couldn't count on the next US president necessarily being as friendly as FDR.

Moreover, an objective look at the manpower, equipment and resources available to the Red Army in June 1941 shows that Germany was in well over their head. Hitler and OKH had no idea what they were getting into. They literally pieced together a ramshackle force that was supposed to fight for 10 weeks and then go back to the factories. Knowing, as we do, that the war against Russia would be a multi-year affair (based on the simple facts of the relative strengths of both parties in June 1941), and that Germany was not at all ready for such an affair, means that Germany hurt itself badly by invading Russia in the time and manner they did.
Last edited by HistoryGeek2019 on 13 Nov 2019 03:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 13 Nov 2019 03:57

I guess what I mean by hindsight is having full knowledge of facts as they were at the time, given the decades of historical research available to us, as opposed to the limited knowledge of those who were alive at these times.

I don't mean hindsight in the sense of knowing what events would happen in the future.

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Nov 2019 04:17

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Moreover, an objective look at the manpower, equipment and resources available to the Red Army in June 1941 shows that Germany was in well over their head. Hitler and OKH had no idea what they were getting into. They literally pieced together a ramshackle force that was supposed to fight for 10 weeks and then go back to the factories
Unless the last two sentences of the quoted passage are extraneous to your point, then there's the possibility that Germany corrects its approach to Barbarossa. If they're extraneous then it's just our old disagreement - fine, reasonable stance even though DEAD WRONG. ;)

Regardless of our old disagreement, the following quote doesn't follow from SU's invincibility:
Germany hurt itself badly by invading Russia in the time and manner they did.
Even if I grant, arguendo, that any Barbarossa was a bad idea (and I agree re OTL Barbarossa), have you considered the alternative?
1942 SU supported ~10.5mil RKKA with a population base of ~120mil OTL.
An ATL 1942 SU with its full 195mil population base, that hasn't lost millions of soldiers to Ostheer, 1/3 of its population to occupation, and half its industrial base could, at full mobilization, plausibly support ~>15mil RKKA.
They don't need to attack in that ATL 1942: they can just say "no more oil or grain - you mad bro? Attack my 500 divisions."
Hitler presumably has spent more/most of his resources on air/naval, so the Heer is even weaker than OTL: ATL Barbarossa 42 is a disaster.
ATL no-Barbarossa is likewise a disaster: by 1943/44 Germany is starving, its cities are in ruins, it either has spent nearly as much as OTL to deter Stalin or has tried to compete with US/UK, in which case RKKA can walk over the Ostheer with 5-1 numerical superiority.

So I see "no Barbarossa" as going less-well for Germany than OTL. Especially if we consider (just play along as if you're a sick fucking Nazi piece of shit) the value of getting to murder millions of Jews etc. in the SU that would've survived absent Barbarossa.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Because it wouldn't be a very interesting chart if it were just a straight line at 0% the whole time now would it. :lol:

But for the sake of keeping it interesting,
True. WW2 possibilities are more varied if Hitler/Stalin war isn't inevitable.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 13 Nov 2019 05:08

From the little I have looked into Stalin's future intentions, I don't think he had any immediate plans to attack Germany. He was definitely worried about a future German attack, and he was preparing to defend against it, but I haven't heard any historians (other than that one wacko) claim that Stalin had plans for an invasion of Europe at any point in the near future. This includes Stalin saying, "No more grain/manganese/oil for you." Germany was a valuable trade partner for him at a time when both countries were outcasts from the world community.

Moreover, given our knowledge of the actual capabilities of the Heer and the Red Army, we can comfortably assert that the Heer would have done a much better job defending a Soviet invasion than they did attacking the Soviet Union. None of the logistical issues would be present. No partisans. No horrible roads and rail conversions. Less wear and tear, less fuel consumption, etc. And the fact that the Soviets simply sucked at offensive warfare until 1943.

By not invading Russia, Germany would have saved hundreds of thousands (eventually millions) of men lost in operations, it would have had more men available for work in the factories and dockyards, it would have continued to receive Russian imports (which exceeded anything they got from occupation) ... it would have been better in every way. Of course, Germany still has little probability of winning the war. It just got a whole lot worse when they sent their best men through the black gates of Mordor.

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Nov 2019 06:53

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:From the little I have looked into Stalin's future intentions, I don't think he had any immediate plans to attack Germany.
Stalin's intentions for 42-45 are almost never discussed by historians and nothing definitive is known about them. And I agree that Suvorov's 1941 attack idea is wacko. That said, here's what we do know:
  • Stalin wanted war with Hitler in 1939, pre-Pact: he proposed sending 120 divisions to Poland if they acquiesced in a grand anti-Hitler coalition.
  • During the Pact period, Stalin repeatedly hectored Hitler to allow the Red Army into Bulgaria and Turkey.
  • After the war, Stalin put the Red Army into all of Eastern/Central Europe and renewed his demands for Soviet ships and troops in Turkey (forcing Turkish accession to NATO in response)
I can provide cites for these points if it's a discussion to be followed - I don't want to sidetrack your thread on this one topic.

So we know Stalin wanted anti-Hitler war before the Pact, we know he wanted conquests in Europe/Middle East until the day he died.
The only question to my mind is, would Stalin have perceived an opportunity successfully to fight Hitler during 1942-45, had Barbarossa not occurred.
To my mind, there is absolutely no question that Stalin was willing to fight Hitler, only a question of perceived opportunity.

So let's look at his opportunity in, say, a no-Barbarossa 1943:
  • Despite no Eastern Front, Germany is still unable to defeat the Allies on land or at sea.
  • Due to no Barbarossa, Germany has perhaps taken the Suez Canal, leaving its armies stranded forward in Africa, slowly being strangled as the Allies converge from Morocco and Palestine (no LL through Persian Corridor so Allies can support ~20 divisions in the Middle East with OTL shipping resources).
  • With further forces committed outside Europe, and further resources committed to LW/KM, Germany's Eastern Front is defended by ~150 divisions and ~3.5mil men at most.
  • Stalin has continued his "creeping mobilization" and high-level war production; the RKKA can move 8mil men and 15,000 T-34's/KV's against Germany/Romania.
In that situation, a 1943 Soviet attack can't be stopped by Germany, Ploesti is gone within a few months. While it's true, as you note, that Germany's logistical situation is better in this ATL than OTL, the force ratios are about the same as OTL 1944 - a situation in which better logistics (the Ostheer was doing well on that account by then) did Germany no good. OTL Germany assigned ~250k soldiers to Ostfront partisan fight at most. It must be remembered that, while OTL 1944 SU had lost ~20mil men, had a starving population, and was frantically trying to rebuild its heavy industry, ATL SU is undamaged and has received years of German military/industrial technical assistance (otherwise, under the Pact, no oil/grain/ore).

I think Stalin takes that shot in 1943.

Or he waits until 1944 when the Germans are even more screwed.

Either way, crushing Soviet superiority on land is going to happen and Stalin won't be shy about taking advantage. Indeed, many of his 1941 moves to mollify Hitler were specifically to buy time to build his juggernaut.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Nov 2019 07:24

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:By not invading Russia, Germany would have saved hundreds of thousands (eventually millions) of men lost in operations
To put a finer point on this, compare German losses by OTL Kursk to Soviet losses. There's some controversy in the particulars but one can say confidently that the SU had lost >4x more men in the field and >10x more overall by mid-1943.

...which means if Stalin wants to pull the trigger in 1943/44, he's in a far better position relative to Hitler than OTL.
Barbarossa failed OTL but put Germany in a better position vis-a-vis its inevitable enemies than sitting around would have.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by Peter89 » 13 Nov 2019 07:45

Guys, in reality, the Reich did not strarved or weakened to a point of hopeless defense by mid-1944. Its factories and cities were bombed, millions of men died, and the Ostfront consumed every kind of materials.

And we are assuming that an untroubled Axis economy would collapse by itself before 1945? Hardly.

Another thing is the diplomatic effect of a Soviet attack. Soviets did not have a good reputation in the West; they could only retain their Central European possessions if the Western powers would allow. FDR was particurarly upset because of the Baltic states.

Besides, UK's very old and most important diplomacy tradition for the mainland Europe was the "divide and leave us be". They would never agree to a united Europe under the Soviets, as they didn't agree to a German- or French united Europe.

Stalin had plans for the Far East and Turkey as well, and I bet he wouldn't risk an all-in attack on Germany while he had much better options.
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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 13 Nov 2019 08:30

All of Stalin's actions can be interpreted defensively. He was scared of NATO attacking him, so he left a large army in Eastern Europe. Ideally, any Russian leader would want to take the Turkish Straits, so of course he would press for it. He was scared of NATO, so he didn't go to war over it, and he retreated from Persia. He couldn't even close off West Berlin when it was deep inside his own territory!

Stalin was a Russian expansionist and believed in worldwide Communist Revolution, but he was also practical about it. The capitalist countries and fascist countries fighting each other was a dream come true. He would support the weaker party (Nazi Germany) for as long as they could hold out, coming in at the ideal time to maximize his takings. I don't know when that would be, but 1943 is way too early. Presumably Germany would have done a little better in the air war in this scenario, so an Allied invasion of the continent is still years away.

I also doubt that, in the absence of a second land front in the west, Stalin could field any army that could successfully wage an offensive campaign against the Heer. I don't see how it's feasible to fit 500 full strength divisions along Russia's western border, and Soviet logistics could never have supplied such a force, or anything close to it. The Soviets had no idea how to wage offensive warfare and were consistently proven to be tactically inferior to the Germans throughout the war. Germany would have identified any Russian build-up on their border and responded appropriately.

A Russian invasion would have also greatly increased European support for Germany. Even the threat of a Russian invasion probably would have made the rest of Europe a lot more collaborative with the Germans. That's actually something Germany could have done - not invade the Soviet Union, but spread rumors throughout occupied Europe that the Soviets were going to invade and only Germany could save them, so they better collaborate!

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Nov 2019 10:03

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:All of Stalin's actions can be interpreted defensively.
There is a job at Pravda awaiting you. ;)
Fear of the massive Latvian army explains Stalin taking them as well.
He was scared of NATO, so he didn't go to war over it, and he retreated from Persia. He couldn't even close off West Berlin when it was deep inside his own territory!
...because he was afraid of provoking the West into war. For good reason. They'd watched him bleed in WW2 while they grew stronger, had nukes, had 5x his economy.
I don't see how it's feasible to fit 500 full strength divisions along Russia's western border
~1,000miles of front, 3 miles per front-line division, 1/3 of the force in reserve.
The Eastern Front was never continuous; gaps always existed OTL.
Soviet logistics could never have supplied such a force
SU had trouble with deep penetration logistics; a 1944 RKKA advance gets to Berlin faster than OTL at 1 mile per day (~400 miles from Polish border to Berlin). All they need is enough horses to move the guns/ammo forward a mile/day.
The Soviets had no idea how to wage offensive warfare and were consistently proven to be tactically inferior to the Germans throughout the war
Soviet tactical inferiority was worse in OTL 1944 than OTL 1941. Yet quantity has its own quality, the steamroller didn't stop.
An advance of this density would have neither the space nor necessity for operational skill on the offense - it's pure grinding, bleeding. No way for the Germans to stop it just as in late-war positional battles like Seelowe Heights outside Berlin.

EDIT: Given that 1941 RKKA tactical proficiency far exceeded 43/44 proficiency, it's likely that a no-Barb 1944 Red offensive would be higher quality - in addition to quantity - than OTL: RKKA has time to actually train its soldiers absent Barbarossa, whereas OTL wartime training courses were shortened.
A Russian invasion would have also greatly increased European support for Germany.
Granted but to what end? How many more French and Dutch fight with the Germans, who are unquestionably F'd when the Red bear awakens, just as OTL.
Germany would have identified any Russian build-up on their border and responded appropriately.
What kind of response? Attack into 500 divisions? Seems their only play is to reinforce the east with as much as they can spare from the West and hope the front holds, just as OTL. Only they're facing a far-stronger RKKA.
Peter89 wrote:Soviets did not have a good reputation in the West; they could only retain their Central European possessions if the Western powers would allow. FDR was particurarly upset because of the Baltic states.
Roosevelt and Churchill were outraged by Stalin's conduct in Poland and the Baltics. And were completely powerless to do anything about (other than Roosevelt meekly asking Stalin not to announce Polish annexations until after the 1944 U.S. elections). The power dynamicin this OTL is far worse: The US/UK have bled a bit more than OTL by 1944; Stalin has 20 million more people who the Germans haven't killed/starved/captured. The West has pulled more of its men out of factories and into the line; Stalin's industry hasn't been wrecked unlike OTL. The SU is a true peer of the US in military power in this ATL; OTL it was a poor, heavily-damaged country that would take years to recover.
1943 is way too early.
Ok probably not 1943 - but maybe. Regardless of timing, the tidal wave is coming by 1945 at the latest. If it doesn't launch until 1945, it's a single season for Zhukov to reach Berlin or even Cologne (if the Allies haven't landed in France by then).

The point isn't necessarily that the war ends earlier than OTL (though I think that'd be true). Rather it's that, unless Germany beats the Anglosphere quickly, it's 100% up to Stalin when Hitler swallows his pistol. Among other things, Hitler couldn't abide Stalin having that power over him, regardless of whether he trusted Stalin not to use it (he didn't). Hitler's only chance is to beat the SU before the West deploys its full might. I'll concede it's a slim chance but it's still his only chance IMO.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by aurelien wolff » 13 Nov 2019 11:19

Do you take ressource in count? I think this factor could reduce germany probaility of winning a lot. And even if they managed to win at Dunkirk,how they were suppose to Launch Sea Lion and make it work? https://youtu.be/YnPo7V03nbY

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by Avalancheon » 13 Nov 2019 14:45

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Nov 2019 10:03
snip
You seem to be proceeding from a very strange assumption. Namely, that Germany embarking on a two front war with Russia actually improved their odds of winning. How do you rationalise such a belief?

If the Reich did not invade the Soviet Union in 1941, then they would have embarked on a major new campaign somewhere else. There would have undoubtedly been some huge operation in the Mediterranean, either with an invasion of Spain or Turkey. That would place the British in a much more difficult situation, to the point that they could have capitulated.

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Nov 2019 15:11

Avalancheon wrote:
13 Nov 2019 14:45
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
13 Nov 2019 10:03
snip
You seem to be proceeding from a very strange assumption. Namely, that Germany embarking on a two front war with Russia actually improved their odds of winning. How do you rationalise such a belief?

If the Reich did not invade the Soviet Union in 1941, then they would have embarked on a major new campaign somewhere else. There would have undoubtedly been some huge operation in the Mediterranean, either with an invasion of Spain or Turkey. That would place the British in a much more difficult situation, to the point that they could have capitulated.
Easy: actually win against SU.
Ok not so easy... but at least doable.
IMO there's no chance of UK surrendering regardless of Turkey/Spain so Germany remains surrounded by enemies who can crush her, meaning eventually they will.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Re: Germany's win probability by week

Post by Ulater » 13 Nov 2019 15:47

IMO there's no chance of UK surrendering
Germany preventing the british evacuation at Dunkirk would be a knock-out blow for Churchill's government, and that would be enough.

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