One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Terry Duncan » 20 Aug 2019 03:10

I would suggest this is not the place for people to argue with a senior moderator, public actions such as this are frowned upon in many forums, and such behaviour often leads to bans etc. Being asked to be civil is not exactly asking a lot, so please comply. There is no need to make personal comments about another poster at all, it is perfectly possible to reply without having the thread descend into a flame war. David has already posted several warnings in this thread as well as links to the rules, if nobody is willing to follow the rules then the thread is likely to be locked.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 20 Aug 2019 03:23

I don't think anything I'm saying right now is uncivil. I understand the difficulty of moderating an internet forum and appreciate staff's efforts to keep the discussions substantive. As far as the internet goes, this is a darn good forum. Just suggesting a couple revisions but if staff would like me not to do so publicly then I won't.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by ljadw » 20 Aug 2019 08:47

About Lost Victories
1 ) From FM von Manstein : the Janushead ( by Marcel Stein ) : P 170 note 161
After reading Lost Victories, Paulus said the following about Manstein : ''A man who at the time did not see fit to give me an order ,or at least permission,to break out,has no right today to write that he had wished me to break out and would have covered me . ''
My conclusion : Manstein lied in Lost Victories about Stalingrad .
2 ) From Manstein : Hitler's Greatest General ( By Mungo Melvin ) : P 381 :Manstein's Memoir surely would have been all the better had he just the once acknowledged that he had been outfought at Kursk by a superior enemy .
My conclusion : Manstein was hiding the truth about Kursk in Lost Victories .
3 ) From Roman Töppel (Kursk : Mythen und Wirklichkeit einer Schlacht ,published in the IFZ 2009)
P 3 Manstein war der geistige Vater des Unternehmens Zitadelle : Manstein was the spiritual father of operation Citadel.
P 30 : Die Erinnerungen Mansteins haben eine Legende geschaffen die nach wie vor verbreitet war : die Legende vom ''verschenkten Sieg "
The memoirs from Manstein have created a well spread legend : die legend of a lost victory , a victory that was given away .
Final conclusion : Lost Victories is unreliable and very dangerous as its content was the myth that Germany could have won the war, but was prevented to do this by the interference of Hitler .
This is about Manstein.
Guderian and Halder will follow .

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Yuri » 20 Aug 2019 11:19

Terry Duncan wrote:
18 Aug 2019 21:45
Yuri wrote:
17 Aug 2019 22:32
Terry Duncan wrote:
17 Aug 2019 20:03
Quite possible for early Barbarossa, but by late November they had the information from their spy network that Japan had no intention of fighting the Soviets again after the two earlier debacles. This would leave all those nice Siberian divisions to hold the line, and there is no reason Stalin is forced to launch Typhoon if the Germans have been doing slightly better.
It is a myth.
In fact it was the opposite - in December 1941 from the reserve of Supreme command to strengthen the Far Eastern and TRANS-Baikal fronts was transferred to 4 rifle divisions, 2 rifle brigades, 2 tank brigades and addition 60 T-34 and 20 KV-1.
That is, not from the Far East to Moscow, but from Moscow to the Far East sent an army. For example, my father-in-law (wife's father) served in the Far East since 1939, sent West to the Soviet-European theater of operations in February 1943 (on the Central front).

A valuable Soviet spy in Japan is also a myth.
The General staff (GRU) did not consider it a reliable source, its value as a source of information is zero. Even in 1960, when Khrushchev demanded to write a presentation on the assignment Sorge the title Hero of Soviet Union, the General staff categorically refused to do it. After that, Khrushchev ordered the General Department of the Central Committee of CPSU to write such a submission.
The very valuable information on Japan Stalin received in June 1942 from American pilots, who sent to the bottom of Pacific four Japanese aircraft carrier off the island Midway.
Ok, its a myth. Where did all the well trained troops for Typhoon come from?
41-08-12 0063 Order formation Tank Brigades.jpg
Other orders on the formation of the airborne corps, airborne brigades, rifle brigades, rifle divisions, ski regiments, ski battalions, ski-deer battalions /formation period september 1941 - february 1942/:
10 airborne corps - 10500 men;
10 airborne brigades - 3500 men;
135 rifle brigades - 6000 men;
70 rifle divisions + about 10 the named rifle divisions /total about 80 rifle divisions/;
67 ski regiments - 3870 men /only 1922 year of birth/
of these, only 4 in the TRANS-Baikal district and 14 in the Siberian district
41-09-02 SCD ski regiment.jpg
separate ski battalions -/all who participated in the Soviet-Finnish war, from the police and the mobilization of 50,000 members of the Komsomol/
separate ski-deer battalions /6000 deer/
10 saperr armies /september - oktober 1941 about 600 000 men age up to 45 years/
From this it is clear that there is no need to send troops from the Far East to Moscow.
On the contrary, if necessary, it was possible to send another army to the far East without damage to Moscow.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Richard Anderson » 21 Aug 2019 01:02

SpicyJuan wrote:
19 Aug 2019 23:21
David Thompson wrote:
19 Aug 2019 22:48
A post from TheMarcksPlan, containing a disparaging personal comment about another poster, was removed pursuant to forum rules and prior thread warnings.
As a neutral observer in this thread, TheMarcksPlan is right about this. Posts in the “what-if” section that complain about alternate history in general and shout “speculation!” at everything are just as useless as posts that don’t source anything, likely even worse. Deleting his suggestion is entirely unhelpful, especially if such comments are left undeleted.
Sorry, but you may be confused by what I meant by "speculation". A "what if" - at least a good "what if" - is not really speculation. Speculation is defined as "the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence". A good "what if" is a theory or conjecture of a possible alternate outcome to history, based upon firm evidence or at least a reasonable point of departure, followed by reasonable accounting for probable/possible changes. Problems occur when the point of departure is unreasonable - the classic is "what if Napoleon had a B-52 a Waterloo? - or the basis of the alternate outcomes have little evidence to indicate they would be possible, or the possible alternate outcomes and problems generated by the changes are not accounted for. Insofar as I have seen, both of these recent "what ifs" suffer from a couple of those problems.

In this case, the speculation I commented on along with MarkN, is the notion that decreasing the regular infantry divisions in order to get more Panzer and motorized infantry divisions to create an additional Schwerpunkte and potential encirclement with the result being additional huge Soviet losses. That is indeed speculation. As was pointed out, the reduction of those pockets and the processing of PW into camps, was mostly the work of the infantry divisions...if there are fewer to do the work, then it can be speculated - with just as much evidence - that the encirclements may be more porous than in real life. The other problem is that the infantry also took most of the casualties, so again it may be speculated that with fewer of them the casualties may be worse.

I fail to see where themarcksplan unsupported speculations are better than my speculations supported by evidence?
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by MarkN » 21 Aug 2019 15:10

Terry Duncan wrote:
20 Aug 2019 01:09
If a poster makes a claim then it is up to them to support such a claim with evidence in some form, not just the assertion that it would work.
In a nutshell, that perfectly sums up TheMarcksPlan threads.

He claims X or Y will be successful and refuses to make any attempt to support those claims. When real world problems are presented to challenge those claims, he first insults the challenger, then demands they substantiate their challenge and, if they don't, puts them on ignore.
Terry Duncan wrote:
20 Aug 2019 01:09
Remember, anything that is asseted without evidence can be refuted without evidence.
Correct. However, that's not how TheMarksPlan sees it.
Terry Duncan wrote:
20 Aug 2019 01:09
However, the major problem comes from when people start to make personal comments, insulting the person rather than refuting the idea put forward. That is strictly discouraged.
I'd argue the insulting comes about AFTER a 'failure' of site moderation. When posters become frustrated that threads are being driven by historical nonsense and site rules and guidelines are being flagrantly broken.

TheMarcksPlan threads are not what ifs. There is no divergence from history followed by a discussion about how that divergence may have affected the subsequent events. His threads have an assumed end state, a bit of unsubstantiated fiction to superficially explain how that end state came about and then a demand for everybody else to provide the time, effort and information on how that end state could be produced. Sometimes the demands are blatant,
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
19 Jul 2019 09:56
Get cracking on that research and analysis Mark. I haven't seen any signs of it yet.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
19 Jul 2019 10:25
Which means you can't be on the general staff but, seriously, you can be my research assistant. You've already helped in that regard, actually.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Jul 2019 20:52
The ideas exchanged have been fruitful and even those most opposed to the ATL have positively contributed with research assistance.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Jul 2019 21:08
But either way, you're welcome to continue contributing research here. You have some knowledge; you just can't be trusted as having the intelligence to use it correctly.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
22 Jul 2019 07:17
Research question:
...other times more subtle.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 Aug 2019 20:00
Terry Duncan wrote:The lack of numbers against the USSR is a major handicap, as is the problem of dealing with the vast spaces involved in invading Russia. You need large numbers of troops behind the lines the further you advance, rather like depleted the army of Napoleon in 1812, not just the transport staff. It could just be that other than a further 50 million Germans in total, there is little that will lead to a successful attack on the USSR by Germany in 1941.
I've proposed a very specific ATL about German victory and invite you to respond to my specific assertions.

For instance, how does an SU that has lost everything up to the Volga continue to fight effectively? That's a country with a ~60mil population and no significant oil supplies. Its only Lend Lease conduit is Vladivostok (Archangel and the Persian route are cut off), through which military material isn't allowed and which has a discrete capacity. It seems obvious to me that an SU left only its western territories is no longer a great power - Germany can screen its East with a smallish Ostheer and with allies.

How does Germany get there? I have put forward a path to that as well, which you don't address. If Germany actually succeeds in the opening weeks of Barbarossa instead of failing - i.e. if Germany encircles the bulk of Soviet forces - then things look much different. In the second half of July Germany is facing ~30% weaker forces than OTL and can again do two massive encirclements (Ukraine and Smolensk) instead of one. In September Germany is facing ~40% weaker forces than OTL. SU loses Leningrad, all of Ukraine, and southern Russia up to the Don during 1941. In 1942 they're significantly weaker and Germany significantly stronger, enabling Blau to be accompanied by a successful German Moscow offensive. That means no counterattack against Blau (i.e. no Stalingrad) and SU loses the Volga basin, putting us at the point where the SU is no longer a great power by the end of 1942.
Blah blag blah....

I've made up a fantasy scenario that you must accept as valid unless you do all the work in proving me wrong = l have created a mythical beast called the unicorn and you must accept it exists unless you do all the work in proving me wrong.


..and to return to the original point...
Terry Duncan wrote:
20 Aug 2019 01:09
If a poster makes a claim then it is up to them to support such a claim with evidence in some form, not just the assertion that it would work.
...we have...
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
20 Aug 2019 02:12
Please make a substantive argument for why Germany would fail to encircle Southwest Front given an extra panzer army during the border battles.
Otherwise, you should refrain from commenting.
To say my assertion is "speculative" is irrelevant
...and so on and on.

Andy H produced what if guidelines which TheMarcksPlan fantasy scenarios do not meet.
Site rules clearly state that AHF is not to be used as a research service.
You have identified the basic rule of substantiating claims.

No effort has been made to eliminate any of these three issues.

Early proactive moderation would go a LONG way to preventing the personal comments, insults and to provide the framework for serious and credible historical discussion.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Aug 2019 01:32

RichardAnderson wrote:The other problem is that the infantry also took most of the casualties, so again it may be speculated that with fewer of them the casualties may be worse.
To call this speculation would be generous.
RichardAnderson wrote:the reduction of those pockets and the processing of PW into camps, was mostly the work of the infantry divisions...if there are fewer to do the work, then it can be speculated - with just as much evidence - that the encirclements may be more porous than in real life.
The ATL specifies motorizing 3 infantry divisions from AGN and 2 from the West.
So obviously NONE of these units were involved in OTL pocket reduction.
So obviously this has zero effect on leakage from pockets.
Try again.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 22 Aug 2019 16:12

@TheMarcksPlan - have you considered an ATL with the same forces overall as in OTL, but more divisions are allocated to AGS instead of AGN and AGC? It seems that AGN didn't accomplish much aside from liberating the Baltics, which was probably a foregone conclusion anyway. And AGC seemed to be overkill for the Soviet Western Front. So why not transfer all of Hoepner's panzer group to AGS to form the second prong of your pincer for AGS, with maybe one panzer or motorized division from each of Hoth and Guderian's Panzer groups? This would result in the destruction of the Soviet Western Front in early July (as opposed to September in the OTL) while still destroying the Soviet Western Front, after which forces from AGC could turn north to outflank and possibly encircle the Soviet Northwestern Front rather than rushing into the Soviet reserve armies at Smolensk.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by MarkN » 22 Aug 2019 22:19

Why did General Marcks in his Operationsentwurf Ost reject the idea of launching a panzergruppe out of Romania and making AGS the main direction of effort?

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 22 Aug 2019 23:14

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
22 Aug 2019 16:12
@TheMarcksPlan - have you considered an ATL with the same forces overall as in OTL, but more divisions are allocated to AGS instead of AGN and AGC? It seems that AGN didn't accomplish much aside from liberating the Baltics, which was probably a foregone conclusion anyway. And AGC seemed to be overkill for the Soviet Western Front. So why not transfer all of Hoepner's panzer group to AGS to form the second prong of your pincer for AGS, with maybe one panzer or motorized division from each of Hoth and Guderian's Panzer groups? This would result in the destruction of the Soviet Western Front in early July (as opposed to September in the OTL) while still destroying the Soviet Western Front, after which forces from AGC could turn north to outflank and possibly encircle the Soviet Northwestern Front rather than rushing into the Soviet reserve armies at Smolensk.
I actually have been considering that, especially considering AGN's inability to encircle anything and the economic/demographic uselessness of the Baltics to SU.

I still think we need a very large force delta to the Romanian pincer because it is isolated and the best Soviet response would be to focus all reserves on it. It needs to be powerful enough to withstand a very strong counterattack. For that reason I'd have ~20 mobile divisions with AGS and ~12 with AGC, then instruct AGC to carry out a shallower encirclement between Bialystok and Minsk instead of reaching all the way east of Minsk.

For the next phase of the battle, AGC will face fewer reserve armies than OTL because Stavka has to fill a ~700k-man hole in its southern flank and therefore can't send 90% of reinforcements to Western Front, as it did OTL. Do we think AGC can do another Kessel before turning north into the Baltics? Probably but maybe not. If not that's fatal, IMO, to the "OTL forces reorganized" ATL being decisive.

In addition, a Barbarossa focused on the Ukraine as we're discussing absolutely must make better logistical preparation for supporting the Ostheer east of the Dniepr. That means investment in a transhipment "virtual bridge", rail-compatible temporary bridges, and/or pre-fab bridge sections to rebuild demolished bridges over the Dniepr.

That said, the idea is perhaps a candidate for an even-more-minimal Barbarossa.
It doesn't happen without a different strategic vision for a multi-year campaign, however, and if the strategic vision changes I can't see the same force level being maintained.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by ljadw » 23 Aug 2019 14:56

General Marcks proposed a relatively small AGS,because the distance to Romania was bigger than the distance to Warsaw and because railways and roads were worse in Ukraine than opposing AGC.

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 23 Aug 2019 15:05

Hi,

In the description on page 1 of this thread, there is a statement that:
Besides an additional panzer group, the ATL specifies strategic planning for a two-year campaign towards approximately the A-A line
there is then a long description of a putative alternative "strategy" but in my humble opinion this falls far short of true strategic thinking.

The first part of devising any strategy surely is identifying what the ultimate aim of the campaign is, followed by identifying objectives that will provide a path to achieving that ultimate aim. Planning for "a two-year campaign towards the A-A line" is not a strategy. The rest of this thread then devotes itself to operational or tactical arguments - in many ways therefore, I would argue that this thread goes a long way to showing the limitations of the German army of the first half of the Twentieth Century - great at tactics, OK operationally, clueless strategically.

The key question that needs to be resolved is what would it take for the Soviet Union to surrender unconditionally to Nazi Germany?

Regards

Tom

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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by ljadw » 23 Aug 2019 15:27

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
23 Aug 2019 15:05
Hi,



The key question that needs to be resolved is what would it take for the Soviet Union to surrender unconditionally to Nazi Germany?

Regards

Tom
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 23 Aug 2019 23:09

Tom from Cornwall wrote:The first part of devising any strategy surely is identifying what the ultimate aim of the campaign is, followed by identifying objectives that will provide a path to achieving that ultimate aim
The OP ends with "to be continued" and well, it's still continuing.
Fair point though that I haven't yet said enough about the strategic path.
Here's where the OP leaves off the strategic narrative:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:The takeaway is that while the Ostheer is only slightly stronger than OTL in June 1941, it's ~30% stronger, better-equipped, and better-supplied in ATL May 1942 than OTL.
I have drafts of two posts regarding (1) the 1942 campaign and (2) the state of the SU at the end of that campaign.

Preview of (2) and its implications:
Having lost all of Western Russia up to the Volga, ATL 1943 SU has a working population (including soldiers) below 25mil. OTL 1943 SU had ~57mil workers.
With the lower population base, SU's forces on the Eastern Front can't exceed 3mil (otherwise the soldiers starve and/or have no weapons, as I'll discuss in the forthcoming post).

Given this strategic picture, I disagree with this statement:
Tom from Cornwall wrote:The key question that needs to be resolved is what would it take for the Soviet Union to surrender unconditionally to Nazi Germany?
Unconditional surrender is not a necessary strategic war aim.
As of May 1943, there would be several options for Hitler:

Option 1: March to Urals
Use the allied armies (Romania, Finnland, Hungary, and probably Turkey) plus only 2-2.5mil Germans to drive on the Urals and enter Kazakhstan. The SU is too weak to stop this advance. The Central Asian republics defect as did most of the Muslim populations of the North Caucasus; losing the Urals leaves the SU with ~20mil population. Hitler can use the Urals as a screen against Bolshevism, should the SU not collapse. Allied armies and 20 or so German divisions would suffice.
In the West, Hitler can deploy 1.5-2mil more soldiers during 1943 than OTL: Germans have suffered ~1mil fewer casualties in this ATL and don't need the entire Ostheer.
Those additional 1943 forces in Western Europe mean the Italian campaign becomes a disaster for the Allies and/or an earlier invasion of France is also a disaster.
In 1944, Hitler has ~200 divisions ready to oppose an Allied landing; Allied strength in 1945 was only ~100 divisions.
Most likely, the Allies do not invade Western Europe at all.

Option 2: Make peace with Stalin
Stalin discussed making peace with Hitler at several points in the war; Halder records that Hitler envisioned a peace agreement during November 1941 (November 18th in Halder's Diary IIRC). This option may be combined with Option 1 to force a more favorable peace on Stalin during/after a German summer offensive towards the Urals.

The US/UK had planned, during 1942, to pivot to Japan if Russia collapsed. IMO it's the same case in 1943.
That creates a stalemate in the West that could only be solved by dozens of A-bombs during 1945.
I'm open to the argument that the Allies would have A-bombed Germany into submission even had Hitler won in the East, but I doubt it: Unlike Japan, Hitler was within striking distance of Britain. He had Sarin gas and other biological WMD that he almost certainly would have used had A-bombs fallen on Germany. He also had all of Europe hostage and it isn't hard to see him using them as human shields and/or threatening to drop Sarin gas on, e.g., Paris if another A-bomb falls.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by MarkN » 24 Aug 2019 00:17

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
23 Aug 2019 23:09
Tom from Cornwall wrote:The first part of devising any strategy surely is identifying what the ultimate aim of the campaign is, followed by identifying objectives that will provide a path to achieving that ultimate aim
The OP ends with "to be continued" and well, it's still continuing.
Fair point though that I haven't yet said enough about the strategic path.
Here's where the OP leaves off the strategic narrative:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:The takeaway is that while the Ostheer is only slightly stronger than OTL in June 1941, it's ~30% stronger, better-equipped, and better-supplied in ATL May 1942 than OTL.
I have drafts of two posts regarding (1) the 1942 campaign and (2) the state of the SU at the end of that campaign.

Preview of (2) and its implications:
Having lost all of Western Russia up to the Volga, ATL 1943 SU has a working population (including soldiers) below 25mil. OTL 1943 SU had ~57mil workers.
With the lower population base, SU's forces on the Eastern Front can't exceed 3mil (otherwise the soldiers starve and/or have no weapons, as I'll discuss in the forthcoming post).

Given this strategic picture, I disagree with this statement:
Tom from Cornwall wrote:The key question that needs to be resolved is what would it take for the Soviet Union to surrender unconditionally to Nazi Germany?
Unconditional surrender is not a necessary strategic war aim.
As of May 1943, there would be several options for Hitler:

Option 1: March to Urals
Use the allied armies (Romania, Finnland, Hungary, and probably Turkey) plus only 2-2.5mil Germans to drive on the Urals and enter Kazakhstan. The SU is too weak to stop this advance. The Central Asian republics defect as did most of the Muslim populations of the North Caucasus; losing the Urals leaves the SU with ~20mil population. Hitler can use the Urals as a screen against Bolshevism, should the SU not collapse. Allied armies and 20 or so German divisions would suffice.
In the West, Hitler can deploy 1.5-2mil more soldiers during 1943 than OTL: Germans have suffered ~1mil fewer casualties in this ATL and don't need the entire Ostheer.
Those additional 1943 forces in Western Europe mean the Italian campaign becomes a disaster for the Allies and/or an earlier invasion of France is also a disaster.
In 1944, Hitler has ~200 divisions ready to oppose an Allied landing; Allied strength in 1945 was only ~100 divisions.
Most likely, the Allies do not invade Western Europe at all.

Option 2: Make peace with Stalin
Stalin discussed making peace with Hitler at several points in the war; Halder records that Hitler envisioned a peace agreement during November 1941 (November 18th in Halder's Diary IIRC). This option may be combined with Option 1 to force a more favorable peace on Stalin during/after a German summer offensive towards the Urals.

The US/UK had planned, during 1942, to pivot to Japan if Russia collapsed. IMO it's the same case in 1943.
That creates a stalemate in the West that could only be solved by dozens of A-bombs during 1945.
I'm open to the argument that the Allies would have A-bombed Germany into submission even had Hitler won in the East, but I doubt it: Unlike Japan, Hitler was within striking distance of Britain. He had Sarin gas and other biological WMD that he almost certainly would have used had A-bombs fallen on Germany. He also had all of Europe hostage and it isn't hard to see him using them as human shields and/or threatening to drop Sarin gas on, e.g., Paris if another A-bomb falls.
Why would Hungarians, Romanians, Finns and Turks want to invade Kazakhstan on Germany's behalf? Seems more sensible politically, logistically and practically to raise new divisions from French, Dutch, Danish, Belgium, Greek, Croat and Bosnian volunteers to fight in Asia (instead of recruiting them into industry as per your fantasy scenario) and get the Hungarians, Romanians and Turks to come to Germany as gastarbeiter.

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