Some time ago, I have outlined what such a systematic approach could possibly have looked like: viewtopic.php?p=2349525#p2349525
And here in a general context regarding the bigger picture of the "whole war thingy" for the Reich viewtopic.php?p=2374825#p2374825
and there: viewtopic.php?p=2374580#p2374580
Since I do not expect anybody here to click and read those links (they are still worth reading, even only for TMP's ideas), I give some excerpts:
PunctuationHorror wrote: ↑19 Jun 2021 21:02
Why not stop after stage III, dig in, rest, repair, refit, and build logistics for the rest of '41?.
Stage IV will be the offensive of 1942, starting in May. New offensive, new encirclements. New Cannae-style battles. Panzers and Mot do what they are made for. Take Moscow (~200km from starting point) and then advance further. In summer, 500 kilometers distance from Moscow to Nischni Novgorod and from Charkiv to Stalingrad should be manageable. Try to reach Jaroslavl, Nischni-Novgorod, Kasan, Saratov. Establish Volga as new frontline. Here again: dig in, rest, repair, refit and build logistics to support the new frontline.
Campaign of 1943 will solidify Volga frontline and then head for Georgia, Baku (oil oil oil ), Astrachan and Archangelsk.
1944 try to reach Ural Mountains (Perm, Ufa, Orenburg, Orsk, Caspian Sea). By then, Red Army should be broken beyond repair. Redeployment of troops to the Western theater (if there is any).
Campaign of 1945 will go beyond the Ural Mountains (ugly terrain for warfare) and head for Omsk.
By 1946 the way to Novosibirsk, Tashkent and Alma-Ata should be open. That should finish them off.
Key to success is to keep the army (and Panzers especially) in supply. Advance and encircle. Not more than 300km advancement per campaign. Not more than 600km advancement in a year. Avoid overstretching at all costs. Better to go back to starting points after a encirclement than risk overstretching.
PunctuationHorror wrote: ↑13 Nov 2021 15:34
Germany should avoid war with SU. If they did it anyways, they should have moved to a river defense line (there is nothing else in Western Russia) like the Panther-Wotan/Daugava-Dnieper Line as early as October 1941. Germany has to avoid losses both in materiel an manpower. This line is an option to avoid them: Instead of a wasteful advance to Moskow in '41, dig in, rest, repair, refit, and build logistics for the rest of '41. No overstretching, no heavy losses in forced retreats in Winter '41/42. Without these massive losses of seasoned men and material, Germany is better off in the next campaign. New production leads to an augmentation of forces and is not just consumed as replacements.
Germany did the same stupid mistake thrice in 1941, in 1942 and in 1943: Reckless advance in summer. Defeat, retreat and losses in winter. They would have done it a forth time if they had the means to do so, but they were throughly spent by 1944, so they couldn't.
Back to ATL:
May/June 1942: New offensive. Panzers and Mot do what they are made for. New encirclements, new pockets. Inflict losses like in Barbarossa. By autumn retreat again back to the Daugava-Dnieper Line. It's about reduction of Soviet manpower and materiel whilst conserving the German mp and material. If every year the 100km - 300km eastwards of this line are turned into a battleground, the area is of little economic use for SU.
1943: Do it again. By then, Soviet losses should become noticeable. Try to reach Jaroslavl, Nischni-Novgorod, Kasan, Saratov and establish Volga as new frontline. Then rinse and repeat. Advance, inflict losses and retreat to do it once again.
Fewer German losses in SU mean more resources are left to counter the WAllies. Maybe Soviet Union gets worn down enough by 1944 and Germany can redeploy an considerable amount of its troops to Italy and France.
PunctuationHorror wrote: ↑14 Nov 2021 14:33Nah. I forgot to say 'retreat to this new line'. As I wrote in #59: Wear SU down between D-D line and a territory approx 300km east of this line and then, as soon as Soviet strength is down, advance to Volga. Historically a 6:1 exchange ratio wasn't enough. How to make in 8:1 or 10:1? Advance retreat could be a viable opportunity to increase the exchange ratio.TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑14 Nov 2021 01:36What? You'd honestly retreat back to the D-D line from the Volga voluntarily?PunctuationHorror wrote:Try to reach Jaroslavl, Nischni-Novgorod, Kasan, Saratov and establish Volga as new frontline. Then rinse and repeat. Advance, inflict losses and retreat to do it once again.
Germany can't afford loosing these 1,000,000 soldiers. They need manpower to occupy and secure the vast terrain of western SU after victory, to use the industry (own and conquered), to bring up mining and resource extraction in occupied territories. And of course, they need soldiers for fending off the WAllies in Europe and secure the Med. Then they need manpower to align (diplomatically or in force, the latter via bases and a standing army) Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Suez on the eastern part and Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar on the western part. And there would be big losses in defeating the SU because war with the SU will still be costly - even with D-D line advance-retreat operations. Maybe it is possible to reduce german losses to 30,000 per month (down from 50k -100,000). SU has more manpower and can faster regain and recover than Germany (this translates directly to Germany cant afford to loose manpower). So Germany will have to continuously inflict high losses until SU can't recover anymore. Historically SU had manpower problems in 1945 and was short famine in the years after the war. This logically leads to a German strategy which is a perverse sort of a whack a mole game.
Even with holding the Volga line you still have not won the war. But holding Volga line would help to do so.
The purpose of these advances is to encircle and inflict losses combined with a swift retreat. This should be within ~300km max. For comparison: Smolensk-Viasma battle '41 were 200km. Don't know how much railway building is needed for operations of this type.
However, as far as "ambitions" are concerned: I am still not sure that denying the Soviets the Caucasus, even if only for a year, would not have been a good "investment".