The State of the Ostheer - May 1942

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Jan 2020 06:58

@ HistoryGeek2019 you earlier asked whether I had direct documentation that replacements sent to AGC didn't reach it due to rail difficulties. I still don't have such proof, just an argument that it's the best/only explanation for the shortfalls. Liedtke, however, shows that exactly this dynamic played out during Blau:

Image

Logistical problems during a 500km advance from the Donets to the Volga in a few months would have been inevitable for any contemporary army. For Taifun, however, the inability to supply a force that had been stationary for a few months reflects next-level logistical failure (again due to the ridiculous Barbarossa strategy).

If one were to look at replacement casualty figures for Blau, absent the logistical context provided by Liedtke, one could easily conclude that 6th army had its full strength at the beginning of Stalingrad. I'm suggesting the viewing only the top-line casualty/replacement figures or Taifun places one in a similar situation - thus the anecdotal evidence of various shortfalls in particular AGC units in late September.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Richard Anderson » 28 Jan 2020 07:00

I will go off my usual policy of not responding directly to those I've placed on ignore, since this is an important point.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Jan 2020 06:22
Note that Ostheer strength didn't reach the May 1942 nadir that Ziemke highlights until December 1943 or January 1944
I am not sure where that assumption comes from, certainly not from Niklas' data, since the Ostheer strengths for April, May, and June 1942 were not recorded and I don't recall that he mentioned them. However, the May 1942 strength may be mathematically calculated from the replacements and losses, which were recorded, as approximately 2,262,650...something I suspect Ziemke realized. That is considerably lower than the figure of 2,619,000 of December 1943 and 2,528,000 for January 1944. The next known nadir would actually be February 1944, when it was 2,366,000.

The actual nadir may not have been May 1942, April 1942 is also a good contender.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Jan 2020 07:12

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:They existed, they were just 16 years old in 1941.
July '43 gives you two classes over July '41 - assuming none of the older soldiers from '41 age out of combat service (how common was it, btw, to retire older soldiers? I'm guessing not very for Germany during WW2). That's about a million men for the Heer.

German losses between October '41 and July '43 far exceeded a million men. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_ca ... rld_War_II

Meanwhile by July 1943 the Ostheer has already surrendered significant units to the defense of the West.

Taking the table (reproduced by Wiki) from the German Statistical Yearbook (1960), and assuming that permanently wounded slightly exceeds dead, I have ~1.6mil permanent German casualties between October '41 and July '43. I'd add to that ~200k still recovering from winter/spring battles for the purposes of July '43 losses. Then, say, 300k diverted to Italy/France. That'd be 2.1mil men subtracted from the Ostheer's rolls between October '41 and July '43. The classes of 1923 and 24 would cover only ~half of that amount, but given the increase in LW/KM personnel over that period, that's probably a generous assumption.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 28 Jan 2020 07:22, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Jan 2020 07:20

Richard Anderson wrote:the May 1942 strength may be mathematically calculated from the replacements and losses, which were recorded, as approximately 2,262,650...something I suspect Ziemke realized.
Thanks, your revised figures strengthen my argument: It took even longer for the Ostheer to reach the personnel nadir of May (or April) 1942. That point in time is a moment of historical weakness, as it's when the failure the prepare for an extended Barbarossa campaign is most reflected in the strength of Germany's armies. Ostheer recovered from Barbarossa's initial strategic error, but too little and too late.

An old AHF post purporting to be based on archival material shows a dramatic decline in replacement flow during May '42, suggesting that it probably was the nadir: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=86941&p=775900&hilit=jg22#p775900

But it's also irrelevant to my argument whether May was a nadir. The point is that Germany was able massively to increase the size and strength of Ostheer from May '42, replacing all of the losses of the '42 campaign by Kursk.

Given that regenerative capacity, no more than half of which came from aging-in of new recruits, Germany clearly had sufficient men to make good its losses at earlier, more important points in the war - such as late-'41 and summer '42.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 28 Jan 2020 07:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Richard Anderson » 28 Jan 2020 07:34

"...purporting to be based on archival material"...yeah, you're back on ignore.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Jan 2020 07:36

Richard Anderson wrote:yeah, you're back on ignore.
See ya in a day or so. Thanks for your addition to my point.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Yuri » 28 Jan 2020 10:53

1943 was discussed here.
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=31600&start=60
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=31600&start=75
Perhaps my version of presenting documents is not very good. On the website TSAMO already had the originals of these documents, you may wish to see.


The Zetterling's data is not complete.
from 01.7.43 to 31.12.43
total losses - 1,413,114 men,
replenishment - 1,018,900 men
Irreplaceable losses - 394,214 men.
See here
https://www.feldgrau.net/forum/viewtopi ... 7&start=15

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Yuri » 28 Jan 2020 11:42

Believing that this scheme will not be superfluous to keep in front of you.
Mob-42.jpg
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 28 Jan 2020 13:56

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Jan 2020 07:12
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:They existed, they were just 16 years old in 1941.
July '43 gives you two classes over July '41 - assuming none of the older soldiers from '41 age out of combat service (how common was it, btw, to retire older soldiers? I'm guessing not very for Germany during WW2). That's about a million men for the Heer.

German losses between October '41 and July '43 far exceeded a million men. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_ca ... rld_War_II

Meanwhile by July 1943 the Ostheer has already surrendered significant units to the defense of the West.

Taking the table (reproduced by Wiki) from the German Statistical Yearbook (1960), and assuming that permanently wounded slightly exceeds dead, I have ~1.6mil permanent German casualties between October '41 and July '43. I'd add to that ~200k still recovering from winter/spring battles for the purposes of July '43 losses. Then, say, 300k diverted to Italy/France. That'd be 2.1mil men subtracted from the Ostheer's rolls between October '41 and July '43. The classes of 1923 and 24 would cover only ~half of that amount, but given the increase in LW/KM personnel over that period, that's probably a generous assumption.
Not sure we're arguing the same point. My point is that the rate of casualties on the Eastern Front exceeded the ability of Germany to replace them throughout the entire war. Your point seems to be that Germany could have scraped together more reserves to throw into the front at one particular point in time (summer 1941) in the hope that this would have produced a knockout blow against the Soviet Union (over the course of a two year campaign in your ATL).

Whether your ATL works or not, the fact remains that Germany could not sustain the losses it was taking on the Eastern Front, which the figures for 1943 verify. Germany could not sustain the peak July 1943 OstHeer forces, as its strength fell by 900,000 by October 1943 (and 400,000 in July alone).

Which is why your ATL has to result in the total defeat of the USSR by a certain date in order to result in a German victory. If the war in the east kept going, Germany would be drained of men.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Aida1 » 28 Jan 2020 22:00

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Jan 2020 06:58

Logistical problems during a 500km advance from the Donets to the Volga in a few months would have been inevitable for any contemporary army. For Taifun, however, the inability to supply a force that had been stationary for a few months reflects next-level logistical failure (again due to the ridiculous Barbarossa strategy).
The worsening of weather to be expected at some point during Taifun would inevitably cause insurmountable logistical problems.
Last edited by Aida1 on 28 Jan 2020 22:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Aida1 » 28 Jan 2020 22:04

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Jan 2020 07:20


But it's also irrelevant to my argument whether May was a nadir. The point is that Germany was able massively to increase the size and strength of Ostheer from May '42, replacing all of the losses of the '42 campaign by Kursk.

Given that regenerative capacity, no more than half of which came from aging-in of new recruits, Germany clearly had sufficient men to make good its losses at earlier, more important points in the war - such as late-'41 and summer '42.
You would be hard put to prove that german divisions' combat strength was up to full strength by Kursk.

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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Richard Anderson » 28 Jan 2020 23:18

Yet more spam from generalg. When does it become too much?
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Jan 2020 03:14

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Not sure we're arguing the same point. My point is that the rate of casualties on the Eastern Front exceeded the ability of Germany to replace them throughout the entire war. Your point seems to be that Germany could have scraped together more reserves to throw into the front at one particular point in time (summer 1941) in the hope that this would have produced a knockout blow against the Soviet Union (over the course of a two year campaign in your ATL).
I read your first argument as "Germany couldn't replace the losses of Barbarossa (i.e. of 1941)." Given the evidence I've produced (Ostheer adding >2 million men between May '42 and July '43), I can't agree with that argument.

If you're instead saying that Germany couldn't replace the casualties of 4 years of Eastern Front fighting that was similar to OTL's then yes, that's obviously true.

And it's not just one point in time that the Ostheer could have been significantly stronger. It could have been amplified throughout '41 and '42 had better strategic decisions been taken (earlier induction of JG22, earlier substitution of UK-gestellen workers by foreign workers). You can call 41/42 "one point" but it's literally half the war.

A "surge" at a moment in time can't be analyzed linearly - it doesn't happen and then disappear without consequence. Additional German forces at any point - but especially in 41/42 - mean more encircled/destroyed Soviets, which means lower Ostheer losses (soldiers surrender instead of becoming bloody casualties with attendant attrition ratios), which means means better bloody casualty ratio (remember this is dynamic with force ratio, not fixed) and also means more encirclements.

...which, especially combined with greater Soviet losses, means lower Ostheer casualties, which means...

Everything is dynamic and can't be viewed in isolation.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Which is why your ATL has to result in the total defeat of the USSR by a certain date in order to result in a German victory. If the war in the east kept going, Germany would be drained of men.
Of course you're right that if the Eastern Front kept going **AS IN OTL** then Germany would be drained of men.
But to consider some continuation of Eastern Front fighting under my ATL's as basically the same thing as the latter stages of OTL Eastern Front is, I would argue, linear thinking.
If the SU suffers significantly more damage in an ATL '41 then German losses in both '41/'42 are significantly lower (easily 50% lower).
If the SU is then crippled in '42 (e.g. pushed back to the Urals), then German losses in '43 are a small fraction of OTL losses.
If the SU keeps fighting as a crippled secondary power in '43 (if it somehow replaces all its oil and doesn't starve) then in '43 it's driven into Central Siberia and is a Romania-level power.
By '44 the SU might still be fighting with a million or so men in its army, but to imagine such an "Eastern Front" as analytically similar to OTL's is missing the point.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Peter89 » 29 Jan 2020 09:08

ljadw wrote:
24 Jan 2020 11:14
About the Unconditional Surrender demand : on September 3 1939, Chamberlain said in the Commons that the war would last til the destruction of national socialism .
About Thomas :
1 He was exaggerating Germany's problems : he said that there was only sufficient fuel til October .We know that he was wrong .
2 In the short term (1941-1945 ) the occupation ,exploitation and colonisation of the European part of the SU would not help Germany, it would even hurt Germany .In the long term (after 1945 ) : Hitler speculated that in the far future (fifties or sixties ) there would be a war about world supremacy between Europe ( dominated by Germany ) and America ( dominated by the US ) and in such a war Germany would need the raw materials and food of the Eastern occupied territories .But in the far future also, the Eastern territories would not help,even not save Germany ,because Germany had not the means to occupy,colonize and exploit these territories . The truth is that the attempt to occupy them , colonize them and exploit them would ruin Germany and result in the collaps of the Third Reich before 1953 .
3 Does that mean that Barbarossa was stupid ? NO . Because the reason and even the aim of Barbarossa was NOT to occupy,colonize and exploit
these territories.
4 Whatever: without Barbarossa,Germany was doomed, if Barbarossa failed Germany was also doomed, if Barbarossa succeeded ,Germamy was also doomed .
5 Barbarossa was a desperate attempt to transform a desperate situation in a situation where Germany had still a chance to finish a victorious war .
1. He was talking about fuel reserves, but okay, he might have been wrong in a few instances
2. Agreed
3. I disagree, Barbarossa was indeed stupid. As long as the SU was an independent player in international politics, and Hitler could preserve the Reich's military for a clash with the British Empire, he had cards in his hands. Even if all the military and economic goals of Barbarossa could be achieved (reaching the A-A line in 1941 with minimal casualties and the Soviet infrastructure intact), it would weaken the Wehrmacht (and the Luftwaffe) to such extent that the war against Britain was already lost.
4. This statement of yours kind of contradicting the previous one, huh? Without Barbarossa, Germany had a narrow window of opportunity to end the war with a peace on its terms. After Barbarossa, they had zero chance. Just think about WW1 where Germany actually defeated Russia, but was still defeated and lost the war.
5. Yes, and I am arguing that it was an impossible attempt. There was no outcome that could profit Germany to win the war.

The Anglo-Saxon powers needed time to mobilize their resources for war. The British Isles had a nearly impregnable defense on the sea and in the air, but the Mediterran and Africa was weakly defended, and the Germans had plenty of experience in African warfare, as Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck could tell about it.
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Re: The State of the OstHeer - May 1942

Post by Aida1 » 29 Jan 2020 09:37

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
29 Jan 2020 03:14
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Not sure we're arguing the same point. My point is that the rate of casualties on the Eastern Front exceeded the ability of Germany to replace them throughout the entire war. Your point seems to be that Germany could have scraped together more reserves to throw into the front at one particular point in time (summer 1941) in the hope that this would have produced a knockout blow against the Soviet Union (over the course of a two year campaign in your ATL).
I read your first argument as "Germany couldn't replace the losses of Barbarossa (i.e. of 1941)." Given the evidence I've produced (Ostheer adding >2 million men between May '42 and July '43), I can't agree with that argument.

If you're instead saying that Germany couldn't replace the casualties of 4 years of Eastern Front fighting that was similar to OTL's then yes, that's obviously true.

And it's not just one point in time that the Ostheer could have been significantly stronger. It could have been amplified throughout '41 and '42 had better strategic decisions been taken (earlier induction of JG22, earlier substitution of UK-gestellen workers by foreign workers). You can call 41/42 "one point" but it's literally half the war.

A "surge" at a moment in time can't be analyzed linearly - it doesn't happen and then disappear without consequence. Additional German forces at any point - but especially in 41/42 - mean more encircled/destroyed Soviets, which means lower Ostheer losses (soldiers surrender instead of becoming bloody casualties with attendant attrition ratios), which means means better bloody casualty ratio (remember this is dynamic with force ratio, not fixed) and also means more encirclements.

...which, especially combined with greater Soviet losses, means lower Ostheer casualties, which means...

Everything is dynamic and can't be viewed in isolation.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Which is why your ATL has to result in the total defeat of the USSR by a certain date in order to result in a German victory. If the war in the east kept going, Germany would be drained of men.
Of course you're right that if the Eastern Front kept going **AS IN OTL** then Germany would be drained of men.
But to consider some continuation of Eastern Front fighting under my ATL's as basically the same thing as the latter stages of OTL Eastern Front is, I would argue, linear thinking.
If the SU suffers significantly more damage in an ATL '41 then German losses in both '41/'42 are significantly lower (easily 50% lower).
If the SU is then crippled in '42 (e.g. pushed back to the Urals), then German losses in '43 are a small fraction of OTL losses.
If the SU keeps fighting as a crippled secondary power in '43 (if it somehow replaces all its oil and doesn't starve) then in '43 it's driven into Central Siberia and is a Romania-level power.
By '44 the SU might still be fighting with a million or so men in its army, but to imagine such an "Eastern Front" as analytically similar to OTL's is missing the point.
The problem with this is too much hindsight and a lot of optimistic assumptions. At the time you would have suffered the same prejudices and lack of intelligence as the German leadership. No doubt you would have also assumed the possibility of victory in 1941. The leadership at the time were no idiots. A realistic alternative needs to work with the information and attitudes of then.

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