At what point did Germany lose WW2?

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Aida1
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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Aida1 » 03 Sep 2023 19:45

KDF33 wrote:
03 Sep 2023 17:53
Aida1 wrote:
03 Sep 2023 16:34
During Fall Blau, the red army retreated, evading the german short pincers.
I expected you to say this. As we discussed previously, your understanding of Blau is incorrect: the Soviet forces facing the German offensive were annihilated. Only the Armies on the wings of the offensive survived as viable fighting forces.
The encirclement of the red army around Rostov for example, ordered by Hitler ?failed because of this.
There was no battle of annihilation at Rostov because that objective was on the wing of the offensive. In terms of force dispositions, the situation looked like this (north to south):

Image

The forces in the middle section - from 40th to 24th Armies - effectively ceased to exist. Among their formations, even the divisions that "survived" were down to regiment, even sometimes battalion, strengths. For instance:

-38th Rifle Division (28th Army) went from having 9,004 men on 1/7 to just 1,998 on 30/7
-318th Rifle Division (9th Army) went from having 10,538 men on 29/6 to just 1,028 on 28/7
-275th Rifle Division (37th Army) went from having 10,168 men on 30/6 to just 713 on 28/7
Still not understanding the difference between encircling and totally destroying large enemy formations and just pushing them back which is your preferred method. My understanding of Blau is the understanding of all historians. You are your own authority. :lol:
And Hitler did order a short pincer against the forces around Rostov but it failed because they were gone.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Aida1 » 03 Sep 2023 19:51

PunctuationHorror wrote:
03 Sep 2023 18:28
KDF33 wrote:
03 Sep 2023 16:23
PunctuationHorror wrote:
03 Sep 2023 10:35
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".
In theory, yes, but in practice there were far too many Soviet forces in the Caucasus for the campaign to be successful. Thus, per the Soviet allocation of military rations on July 5, 1942, there were in the Caucasus:

-North Caucasian Front: 190,000 men
-North Caucasian Military District: 147,000 men
-Transcaucasian Front: 400,000 men

Total: 737,000 men
Yes, you mentioned this before, somewhere else :) Thank you for the detailed data.

I don't want to redo the old discussion, I want to point to something else: A campaign that denies the Caucasus would likely need a Germ strengh of about 300.000 men and probably most of the tank and mot divisions of AGS. Those forces must be available. They become available as soon as the Soviets loose enough forces on the frontline between Leningrad and Rostov.
This means that a prerequisite for a "deny the Caucasus" campaign would be your alternative Summer of 42 scenario.
That is: Do Barbarossa as OTL, do winter 1941/42 as OTL, but do the campaign in Summer 1942 ATL as you have pictured it on your map.
After this campaign in the Summer, the question is: What do next? Continue to focus on the center (1), or go to the periphery (2). Each option has its characteristics of advantages and disadvantages.

In OTL, (edit: as you have nicely shown in the meantime) Blau destroyed enough Soviet forces that it opened up the South (as it seemed), which enabled Army Group B to drive itself to hell. Part of this was caused by the Soviets who needed time to make up their losses, redeploy, refill, reorganize their troops in and to the South. After a few months of doing this, they had allocated enough forces to not only contain the Germans but to launch their own campaign to hit the Germans hard. Another part of this was that the Germans lacked the troops to strenghten the conquered area. If they had "attritted" more Soviet forces, roughly the Soviet equivalent of 300.000 German forces, whatever number of Soviets that might have been, the SU could not have launched their offensives (Uranus, little Saturn, ... ) with success. So one might say that the German offensive in 1942 failed because they did not destroy enough Soviet forces. Or to put it another way: we are back to force ratios and exchange ratios.
You are seriously underestimating the red army which was able to execute very costly offensives around Rzjev and Leningrad and still amass enough forces to execute Uranus. So your whole attrition theory is nonsense. Not really the method that could win.

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Aida1
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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Aida1 » 03 Sep 2023 19:53

KDF33 wrote:
03 Sep 2023 19:12

I'd argue for:

1. July: Destroying Bryansk Front (shown on the map)
2. August: Destroying a large share of Western Front (final arrows on the map)
3. September: Destroying Soviet forces in the Toropets bulge, i.e. most of Kalinin and some of North-Western Fronts
4. October: Destroying Leningrad Front
Delusional as putting arrows on a map and actually doing it are two different things. And by your methods it would totally fail.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by T. A. Gardner » 03 Sep 2023 19:58

The amazing thing here with this scenario is that somehow a mere 9 panzer and 6 panzergrenadier divisions will be capable of rolling up something close to half the Eastern Front, destroying everything in their path...

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by KDF33 » 03 Sep 2023 20:28

Aida1 wrote:
03 Sep 2023 19:45
Still not understanding the difference between encircling and totally destroying large enemy formations and just pushing them back which is your preferred method.
Riddle me this:

1. The 297th Rifle Division of the 21st Army (8,396 men on June 30) was encircled around Stary Oskol in early July. Its commander was killed on July 3 and, by July 9, a mere 554 men of the division had escaped the encirclement. It was thereafter officially disbanded on July 13.

Now tell me: was the 297th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

2. The 175th Rifle Division of the 28th Army (9,133 men on July 1) was cut off in the Boguchar-Veshenskaya area. On July 10, its commander crossed the Don alone, having lost all contact with his own division. By July 15, a mere 51 men had reached the new Soviet line. They were transferred to the 169th Rifle Division and, on July 31, the division was officially disbanded.

Now tell me: was the 175th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

3. The 199th Rifle Division of the 38th Army (10,811 men on June 25) was encircled around Millerovo in mid-July. By July 20, a mere 683 men, including its commander, Colonel Ivanov, had escaped the encirclement. The remnants of the division were withdrawn to the Frolovo area and, on August 15, the division was formally disbanded. Colonel Ivanov was reassigned to command the 196th Rifle Division.

Now tell me: was the 199th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

Do you understand?

We can go through the entire divisional roster if you don't.
My understanding of Blau is the understanding of all historians.
I hope not, otherwise it'd be an indictment of the profession.
And Hitler did order a short pincer against the forces around Rostov but it failed because they were gone.
They were gone because they had been on the wings of the German offensive. The initial encirclements, respectively aiming at Stary Oskol and Millerovo, didn't miss.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Richard Anderson » 03 Sep 2023 20:47

KDF33 wrote:
02 Sep 2023 07:26
Image
From the dates on the map I assume that your plan would be to execute this after the failed Soviet offensive - 2d Kharkov? Is that correct? Did not BLAU benefit from attacking east into what was virtually a troop vacuum, which would not be the case here?

Also, I have always understood that the reason the Germans did not attempt such a phased offensive to the north was both because of Hitler's focus on the Caucasus, but also because FMO placed the bulk of Soviet strength in that area defending Moscow? What is your assessment of the Soviet forces along that axis?
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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by KDF33 » 04 Sep 2023 05:21

Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Sep 2023 20:47
From the dates on the map I assume that your plan would be to execute this after the failed Soviet offensive - 2d Kharkov? Is that correct?
Correct. Almost all of Blau's preliminary operations - Trappenjagd, Fridericus, Störfang and Wilhelm - would be executed. Only Fridericus II would be shelved, in favor of moving a strong Panzer force to the Orel axis.
Did not BLAU benefit from attacking east into what was virtually a troop vacuum, which would not be the case here?
I would suggest that the literature has exaggerated the extent to which the Soviet forces on the South-Western direction were comparatively weak. The following table shows Soviet deployments on July 1, 1942:

Image

The first phase of my proposed offensive would effectively reverse Blau's opening: instead of clipping the Bryansk Front and destroying the South-Western Front, it would clip the South-Western Front and destroy the Bryansk Front. Note that both Fronts had virtually the same manpower strength on July 1.
Also, I have always understood that the reason the Germans did not attempt such a phased offensive to the north was both because of Hitler's focus on the Caucasus, but also because FMO placed the bulk of Soviet strength in that area defending Moscow? What is your assessment of the Soviet forces along that axis?
The main advantage of the Western Front was the greater force density of its defensive line, its 1,050,000 men holding a 250+ mile front. In terms of mobile reserves, however, the Western Front was in fact weaker than the Bryansk Front. Thus, the plan would be to engage and defeat Soviet mobile reserves in the flat plains extending from Voronezh to Tula.

Here's what the Western Front had in terms of reserves on July 1:

-1x Rifle Corps (1x Rifle Division + 4x Rifle Brigades)
-2x Motor Rifle Divisions
-6x Tank Corps
-2x Tank Brigades
-1x Motorcycle Brigade

All in all, that'd have amounted to ~90,000 men.

In addition to these, the Stavka directly held in reserve around Tula the 1st Reserve Army (72,000 men) and the 3rd Tank Army (30,000 men). These two Armies would be in the direct path of the offensive.

Moreover, the Soviet Airborne forces (74,000 men) were kept in the Moscow region. Historically, they were converted into Guards Rifle Divisions and sent to the Stalingrad Front in August. Here, presumably, they would be deployed against the German thrust.

The city of Moscow itself was protected by the Moscow Defense Zone (100,000 men). Some of them would presumably be spared to bolster the defense of the rear of the Western Front.

Lastly, two further Reserve Armies, the 3rd (based at Tambov, with 85,000 men) and the 4th (based at Kalinin, with 70,000 men) were in reasonable distance of the Western Front to be available for deployment.

Excluding the reserves of the Western Front proper, we're looking at up to 431,000 men that could have been committed against a northern German thrust. Compare to what the Soviets committed against the southern German thrust:

1. On the Stalingrad axis: 1st, 5th and 7th Reserve Armies, Airborne Corps = 286,000 men
2. On the Caucasus axis: North Caucasian Front, North Caucasian Military District, Transcaucasian Front = 763,000 men (!)

For a total of 1,049,000 men that were committed against the southern German thrust.

Looking at overall forces:

1. Historical southern Blau, initial forces + committed reserves (July - August): 1,133,000 + 1,049,000 = 2,182,000 men
2. Notional northern Blau, initial forces + expected reserves: 1,679,000 + 431,000 = 2,110,000 men

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by ljadw » 04 Sep 2023 05:55

The reason why Hitler went to the Caucasus was that he had no longer ( in fact he never had ) the ressources to defeat the USSR by military means and thus he convinced himself that he could do it by taking away the Soviet oil ,although the German oil experts were very skeptical .
Whatever : when he was going to the Caucasus,he said : I must have this oil,otherwise I must stop this war .
He did not get the oil but did not stop the war .
This proves that he was doomed in 1942 and to start a war of attrition was even worse as
1 Germany could not afford such a war
2 Barbarossa and Typhoon failed in 1941, thus why should a copycat succeed ?
3 There was no need for the Soviets to commit their mobile forces when the Germans attacked .

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Richard Anderson » 04 Sep 2023 08:20

KDF33 wrote:
04 Sep 2023 05:21
Correct. Almost all of Blau's preliminary operations - Trappenjagd, Fridericus, Störfang and Wilhelm - would be executed. Only Fridericus II would be shelved, in favor of moving a strong Panzer force to the Orel axis.
Okay.
I would suggest that the literature has exaggerated the extent to which the Soviet forces on the South-Western direction were comparatively weak. The following table shows Soviet deployments on July 1, 1942:
That seems odd, since Southwestern Front and 9th Army of Southern Front lost over 266,000 men by 31 May, along with two-thirds of their tank strength, and probably well over 100,000 more by the middle of June. Given the lack of Soviet skills at operational movements I find it hard to believe they replaced that with a fully intact front by 1 July? Especially given there was little pause in early June as the German counteroffensive continued its pursuit?
The first phase of my proposed offensive would effectively reverse Blau's opening: instead of clipping the Bryansk Front and destroying the South-Western Front, it would clip the South-Western Front and destroy the Bryansk Front. Note that both Fronts had virtually the same manpower strength on July 1.
Yes, but Southwestern Front was already a spent force. If its strength really was that much, then it started its offensive in May with over 800,000 men, or the Soviets were able to replenish it with over 300,000 men in last than two weeks. I suspect there was so very late reporting going on regarding the actual condition of Southwestern Front.
The main advantage of the Western Front was the greater force density of its defensive line, its 1,050,000 men holding a 250+ mile front. In terms of mobile reserves, however, the Western Front was in fact weaker than the Bryansk Front. Thus, the plan would be to engage and defeat Soviet mobile reserves in the flat plains extending from Voronezh to Tula.
The main advantage that Western and Bryansk Front was that they were intact and had not willfully stuck their head into the trap at Izuym. I suspect any German attempt to drive north would run into a much stronger defense and the Germans would not be able to use their favorite operational tactic of a counterblow against a spent attacker.

I suspect you are somewhat too sanguine about how well the Germans will do against a better prepared Soviet defense. What dissipated the strength of those Soviet reserves committed against BLAU was that they were committed seriatim, but they would not be forced into that if the Germans turned north. The next problem for the Germans is that instead of an overextended and static front between Voronezh and Stalingrad, they simply substitute an overextended front between Voronezh and Rostov for the reconstituted southern Soviet fronts to attack. Then there is the issue of replacing manpower and Panzers.

I think you will get a very different war in the east in 1942 and probably would not have a disaster comparable to Stalingrad but I seriously doubt it will result in a German victory in 1942.
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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Aida1 » 04 Sep 2023 08:51

KDF33 wrote:
03 Sep 2023 20:28
Aida1 wrote:
03 Sep 2023 19:45
Still not understanding the difference between encircling and totally destroying large enemy formations and just pushing them back which is your preferred method.
Riddle me this:

1. The 297th Rifle Division of the 21st Army (8,396 men on June 30) was encircled around Stary Oskol in early July. Its commander was killed on July 3 and, by July 9, a mere 554 men of the division had escaped the encirclement. It was thereafter officially disbanded on July 13.

Now tell me: was the 297th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

2. The 175th Rifle Division of the 28th Army (9,133 men on July 1) was cut off in the Boguchar-Veshenskaya area. On July 10, its commander crossed the Don alone, having lost all contact with his own division. By July 15, a mere 51 men had reached the new Soviet line. They were transferred to the 169th Rifle Division and, on July 31, the division was officially disbanded.

Now tell me: was the 175th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

3. The 199th Rifle Division of the 38th Army (10,811 men on June 25) was encircled around Millerovo in mid-July. By July 20, a mere 683 men, including its commander, Colonel Ivanov, had escaped the encirclement. The remnants of the division were withdrawn to the Frolovo area and, on August 15, the division was formally disbanded. Colonel Ivanov was reassigned to command the 196th Rifle Division.

Now tell me: was the 199th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

Do you understand?

We can go through the entire divisional roster if you don't.
My understanding of Blau is the understanding of all historians.
I hope not, otherwise it'd be an indictment of the profession.
And Hitler did order a short pincer against the forces around Rostov but it failed because they were gone.
They were gone because they had been on the wings of the German offensive. The initial encirclements, respectively aiming at Stary Oskol and Millerovo, didn't miss.
Stil rewriting history because no history of Fall Blau will show big encirclements containing large enemy formations as in 1941. You are trying to give a false impression by referring to individual units in very small pockets. The encirclement at Millerowo missed as any german source will tell you. The big encirclement was not tried which was a mistake. Two big pincers going all the way to the Stalingrad area would be the only way to achieve a very big pocket( mentioned in Heeresgruppe Süd Carrl Wagener p137). There was too much a tendency to go for short pincers which does not work against an enemy that retreats. The red army had been ordered to avoid being encircled(see Heeresgruppe Süd Carl Wagener pp 151).
Fundamentally you are unwilling to see the difference between achieving very deep breakthroughs encircling large enemy formations and moving into the void, also disrupting attempts to set up a new front and your small pincers which are copypaste from Hitler..

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Aida1 » 04 Sep 2023 09:03

KDF33 wrote:
04 Sep 2023 05:21
Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Sep 2023 20:47
From the dates on the map I assume that your plan would be to execute this after the failed Soviet offensive - 2d Kharkov? Is that correct?
Correct. Almost all of Blau's preliminary operations - Trappenjagd, Fridericus, Störfang and Wilhelm - would be executed. Only Fridericus II would be shelved, in favor of moving a strong Panzer force to the Orel axis.
Did not BLAU benefit from attacking east into what was virtually a troop vacuum, which would not be the case here?
I would suggest that the literature has exaggerated the extent to which the Soviet forces on the South-Western direction were comparatively weak. The following table shows Soviet deployments on July 1, 1942:

Image

The first phase of my proposed offensive would effectively reverse Blau's opening: instead of clipping the Bryansk Front and destroying the South-Western Front, it would clip the South-Western Front and destroy the Bryansk Front. Note that both Fronts had virtually the same manpower strength on July 1.
Also, I have always understood that the reason the Germans did not attempt such a phased offensive to the north was both because of Hitler's focus on the Caucasus, but also because FMO placed the bulk of Soviet strength in that area defending Moscow? What is your assessment of the Soviet forces along that axis?
The main advantage of the Western Front was the greater force density of its defensive line, its 1,050,000 men holding a 250+ mile front. In terms of mobile reserves, however, the Western Front was in fact weaker than the Bryansk Front. Thus, the plan would be to engage and defeat Soviet mobile reserves in the flat plains extending from Voronezh to Tula.

Here's what the Western Front had in terms of reserves on July 1:

-1x Rifle Corps (1x Rifle Division + 4x Rifle Brigades)
-2x Motor Rifle Divisions
-6x Tank Corps
-2x Tank Brigades
-1x Motorcycle Brigade

All in all, that'd have amounted to ~90,000 men.

In addition to these, the Stavka directly held in reserve around Tula the 1st Reserve Army (72,000 men) and the 3rd Tank Army (30,000 men). These two Armies would be in the direct path of the offensive.

Moreover, the Soviet Airborne forces (74,000 men) were kept in the Moscow region. Historically, they were converted into Guards Rifle Divisions and sent to the Stalingrad Front in August. Here, presumably, they would be deployed against the German thrust.

The city of Moscow itself was protected by the Moscow Defense Zone (100,000 men). Some of them would presumably be spared to bolster the defense of the rear of the Western Front.

Lastly, two further Reserve Armies, the 3rd (based at Tambov, with 85,000 men) and the 4th (based at Kalinin, with 70,000 men) were in reasonable distance of the Western Front to be available for deployment.

Excluding the reserves of the Western Front proper, we're looking at up to 431,000 men that could have been committed against a northern German thrust. Compare to what the Soviets committed against the southern German thrust:

1. On the Stalingrad axis: 1st, 5th and 7th Reserve Armies, Airborne Corps = 286,000 men
2. On the Caucasus axis: North Caucasian Front, North Caucasian Military District, Transcaucasian Front = 763,000 men (!)

For a total of 1,049,000 men that were committed against the southern German thrust.

Looking at overall forces:

1. Historical southern Blau, initial forces + committed reserves (July - August): 1,133,000 + 1,049,000 = 2,182,000 men
2. Notional northern Blau, initial forces + expected reserves: 1,679,000 + 431,000 = 2,110,000 men
The massive flaw in your not orginal idea is total lack of ambition. Also, you cannot even estimate what losses you will inflict also taking into account any red army offensives and counterattacks which xwill also influence your plan. And what losses german units will suffer you cannot estimate either. War is far more than just putting arrows on a map and imagining everything going in your favour. :lol:
Your un ambitious plan which includes a lot of optimistic imagination(where the germans are concerned) will not be able to damage the red army to the extent that it will become smaller. It will still get bigger by 1943 as happened historically. The german Army of 1942 was not able anymore to do what it did in 1941 and that is what was needed to really damage the red army in the same way as in 1941.
There was actually a good reason for Fall Blau in 1942 even if it was difficult to execute .

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by KDF33 » 04 Sep 2023 09:42

Aida1 wrote:
04 Sep 2023 08:51
Stil rewriting history (...)
You haven't answered my 3 questions. Again:

1. The 297th Rifle Division of the 21st Army (8,396 men on June 30) was encircled around Stary Oskol in early July. Its commander was killed on July 3 and, by July 9, a mere 554 men of the division had escaped the encirclement. It was thereafter officially disbanded on July 13.

Now tell me: was the 297th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

2. The 175th Rifle Division of the 28th Army (9,133 men on July 1) was cut off in the Boguchar-Veshenskaya area. On July 10, its commander crossed the Don alone, having lost all contact with his own division. By July 15, a mere 51 men had reached the new Soviet line. They were transferred to the 169th Rifle Division and, on July 31, the division was officially disbanded.

Now tell me: was the 175th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

3. The 199th Rifle Division of the 38th Army (10,811 men on June 25) was encircled around Millerovo in mid-July. By July 20, a mere 683 men, including its commander, Colonel Ivanov, had escaped the encirclement. The remnants of the division were withdrawn to the Frolovo area and, on August 15, the division was formally disbanded. Colonel Ivanov was reassigned to command the 196th Rifle Division.

Now tell me: was the 199th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Aida1 » 04 Sep 2023 11:29

KDF33 wrote:
04 Sep 2023 09:42
Aida1 wrote:
04 Sep 2023 08:51
Stil rewriting history (...)
You haven't answered my 3 questions. Again:

1. The 297th Rifle Division of the 21st Army (8,396 men on June 30) was encircled around Stary Oskol in early July. Its commander was killed on July 3 and, by July 9, a mere 554 men of the division had escaped the encirclement. It was thereafter officially disbanded on July 13.

Now tell me: was the 297th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

2. The 175th Rifle Division of the 28th Army (9,133 men on July 1) was cut off in the Boguchar-Veshenskaya area. On July 10, its commander crossed the Don alone, having lost all contact with his own division. By July 15, a mere 51 men had reached the new Soviet line. They were transferred to the 169th Rifle Division and, on July 31, the division was officially disbanded.

Now tell me: was the 175th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?

3. The 199th Rifle Division of the 38th Army (10,811 men on June 25) was encircled around Millerovo in mid-July. By July 20, a mere 683 men, including its commander, Colonel Ivanov, had escaped the encirclement. The remnants of the division were withdrawn to the Frolovo area and, on August 15, the division was formally disbanded. Colonel Ivanov was reassigned to command the 196th Rifle Division.

Now tell me: was the 199th Rifle Division "pushed back" or "destroyed"?
I am not playing your devious game. There never was a big pocket containing a large enemy formation (and that is far more than a division) like happened numerous times in 1941 because the germans never attempted the deep operational breakthrough with two pincers closing in the area near Stalingrad. And the short pincers did not work against a retreating enemy. Some unit getting cut off in a fighting retreat does not contradict that. The germans (who were actually there) had a far different experience than your fiction. :lol: I will quote from Der Feldzug gegen Sowjetrussland 1941-1945 A. Philippi and F. Heim Kohlhammer Verlag 1962 p 137 :" In the neighbourhood of Millerowo there was meanwhile a considerable massing together of german forces. But the enemy escaped incessantly to the east through the wide meshes of the XXXX pz corps net." .
You will not find a map of Fall Blau with a huge pocket having to be cleaned out by german inf.div. as happened in 1941.

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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by PunctuationHorror » 05 Sep 2023 09:27

KDF33 wrote:
03 Sep 2023 20:28
My understanding of Blau is the understanding of all historians.
I hope not, otherwise it'd be an indictment of the profession.
You have no idea how bad it really is, do you? :o 8O :( if you are looking for competence, knowledge and skills, academia is the wrong place. With very few exceptions.

--------------------------------
KDF33 wrote:
04 Sep 2023 05:21

[...]

The first phase of my proposed offensive would effectively reverse Blau's opening: instead of clipping the Bryansk Front and destroying the South-Western Front, it would clip the South-Western Front and destroy the Bryansk Front. Note that both Fronts had virtually the same manpower strength on July 1.

[...]

1. Historical southern Blau, initial forces + committed reserves (July - August): 1,133,000 + 1,049,000 = 2,182,000 men
2. Notional northern Blau, initial forces + expected reserves: 1,679,000 + 431,000 = 2,110,000 men
Ok, in terms of attrition, both options would bring similar "yields".

I would like to explore the characteristics of those options.

After the battles of early Blau, the South-Western Front seems to be more "ripe for harvest" than the northern part because they already had, as Mr. Anderson points out correctly, suffered substantial losses in June.
Besides, from a geographical point of view, the Southern option (= area west of the river Don) has a more protected southern flank because that flank ( = north Caucasus) is blocked by Rostov.

The northern parts, closer to Moscow, have a higher density of roads and railroads which enables a quicker shift of Soviet forces and a better supply. However, since this area already was conquered in 1941 and reconquered in spring of 1942, I do not know to what extend it was destroyed and has become unusable in this regard.

Therefore, the historical option seems to be the easier one to "attrit" Soviet forces. And the "pay-off" regarding force ratios would certainly have been there, if the Germans had decided to withdraw their forces after the attrition job was done, instead of trying to hold the territory. If they had designed the subsequent stages of Blau (after end of July 1942) to be a raid, they would have had two favorable achievements in reach: reduce the Soviet forces (1) and keep their own striking force intact (2). They would have shifted the force ratio in their favour. For a certain period of time. Until the Soviets regain their strength. Then they have to repeat it or do a similar trick again, else they'll get crushed.

On the other hand, this northern option is not prone to overstretching (at least it is far from the OTL "drive to Wolga and into the Caucaus and hold it all" level), the area is already known to the German Army, and as soon as the area is conquered, its better road and railroad density favors supply, defensive, and even a later possible German retreat - because the Soviets still have their superior force generation that would kick in by November as it did OTL.

In the long term, this northern option would keep the Ostheer in a more favourable position because there would be fewer losses in winter 1942/43: No OTL Stalingrad, no OTL hasty retreat over hundrets of kilometers from Caucasus and the South. Instead, this ATL would lead to a stabilized frontline, a higher troop density and more reserves which would help the Germans to fend off the next, inevitable Soviet offensive. And it would give the Germans the opportunity to hone a striking force for their next offensive, that would come in 1943 and to do their stunt again. Maybe raid (=invade, crush troops, destroy, deny assets and cause problems, and then quickly withdraw) vital areas that are in range.

What would be the economical impact(s) of this ATL northern offensive? In OTL the Donbass was conquered which denied its resources to the Soviet war effort. Here, a supposedly industrialized area would be denied. I'm looking for secondary effects, besindes attrition.

How compares the terrain in the North to the terrain in the South? More woods, more small rivers, more hills on the former vs flat plains of steppe on the latter? This means the northern part is more unsuitable for tanks and mobile warfare (as AG Center found out in Mai/June(?) 1942, whilst Blau unfolded in the South. Tank attack failed due to terrain and they had to break off the whole thing after a week or so because of high losses and many breakdowns. Even Hitler later admitted this mistake, omitting, of course that it was him who had pushed through the order for this attack against the professional opinions of the local tank officers. I can't remember name or exact location of the failure. Seydlitz comes to my mind, but it is not Seydlitz.)

/Edit: Found it. It was the Sukhinichsky Kozelsk Wirbelwind offensive /Kaluga area in August 1942. Terrain is likely to be an obstacle in this ATL northern offensive.

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Yuri
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Re: At what point did Germany lose WW2?

Post by Yuri » 28 Oct 2023 00:46

Richard Anderson wrote:
03 Sep 2023 20:47
KDF33 wrote:
02 Sep 2023 07:26
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From the dates on the map I assume that your plan would be to execute this after the failed Soviet offensive - 2d Kharkov? Is that correct? Did not BLAU benefit from attacking east into what was virtually a troop vacuum, which would not be the case here?

Also, I have always understood that the reason the Germans did not attempt such a phased offensive to the north was both because of Hitler's focus on the Caucasus, but also because FMO placed the bulk of Soviet strength in that area defending Moscow? What is your assessment of the Soviet forces along that axis?
No, it's not that the Fuhrer and Supreme Commander of the German Wehrmacht, Adolf Hitler, was overwhelmed by the desire to take away Caucasian oil from the Soviet Union.
The reason why he decided to conduct a strategic offensive in the direction of the Caucasus is that in the summer of 1942, of the three strategic directions (North, Cent, South), it was possible to conduct a global offensive operation only in the South.
The entire Finnish and most of the German human potential, suitable for conducting offensive operations on a global scale, was squandered in offensive and defensive battles in the summer of 1941 and winter of 1941/42.
The remainder of the German offensive potential could only be effectively used in conjunction with the potentials of Romania, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Bulgaria.
Geography and climate made it possible to use the forces of these states only in the South of the Soviet-European front.
The capacities of the Romanian and Bulgarian fleets could be used to supply a strategic offensive operation only in the South.
Only in the South could Europeans count on the emergence of a new ally - Turkey. No matter how small was the chance of Turkey joining the war on the side of the Europeans, but it was.
No matter how illusory the hopes were, but only in the South europeans could count on the loyalty of the local population.
In the North, live white, and in the Center brown bears, as you know, both of them have been completely devoted to the Russians for all centuries.
It is impossible to evaluate plans and actions on the Soviet-European front if we ignore the fact that in the summer and autumn of 1942, out of 102 divisions from Army Groups A and B, 52 divisions were non-German.

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