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

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RE: One More Panzer Group In Fall Barbarossa - (Plans For A Two-Year Campaign) - MAYBE!

Post by Robert Rojas » 24 Aug 2019 04:55

Greetings to both brother "THE-MARCKS-PLAN" and the community as a whole. Howdy T.M.P. (or Erich if you so prefer)! Well Herr General Oberst, in reference to your posting of Friday - August 23, 2019 - 2:09pm, I am wholly mystified why you would entrust an expedition into the "STANS" with 'allies" of dubious military quality. In addition, what would lead you to honestly believe that the government in Ankara would seek common cause with the Axis Alliance? Speaking of the Axis Alliance, apart from Hungary and Romania, what is the status of Slovakia and Bulgaria? And what of Fascist Italy? Now, I do have another nagging issue that you might have "overlooked". As National Socialist Germany's legions plunge ever so deeper into the primordial hinterlands of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, who on earth is SECURING the Wehrmacht's increasing vulnerable rear areas and over stretched lines of communications? I would assume (rightly OR wrongly) that you MIGHT want your ever so "reliable" allies to pull garrison duty and perform anti-partisan operations along your rear area lines of communications - especially after the alienation of the remaining civilian population at the enlightened hands of Heinrich Himmler's Einsatzgruppen. It's just some sobering food for thought. Borscht anyone? Well, that's my initial two Yankee cents worth on this exercise into the realm of improbability - for now anyway. In any case, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day from sea to shining sea.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Aug 2019 05:55

Re Defeating the SU: Another Big-Picture Look at the Subject

The Conventional Wisdom that the SU could not have been beaten (too many men, too much space) is deeply-ingrained, even among folks who have more-than-History-Channel interest in WW2.

Therefore, another post (of a series) on what a defeat of Stalin's SU would look like and how close Germany came to achieving it during WW2.
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Critical to understanding how to beat the SU are two ineluctable facts:

1. The size of the SU's field army was proportional to its economic/demographic base
and
2. The SU's economic/demographic base shrank as it lost territory

Point #1 is well-analyzed in "The Soviet Home Front 1941-1945" [hereinafter "SHF"] and other works by John Barber and/or Mark Harrison (co-authors of Home Front but have published other works on SU economy solo). They lay out how the SU was mobilized to such an extent that the absolute maximum proportion of its workers was involved in fighting and building weapons. Sending more to the front or putting more in the factories would mean a collapse of food production, basic industries, and/or transport. See SHF Chapter 8, "Labor: The Ultimate Bottleneck", pages 143-157.

During 1942, in fact, the SU reached levels of war mobilization (proportion of soldiers and military workers) that was unsustainable and which caused, among other things, food shortages and resulting famine and famine-induced disease. The SU was forced, during 1942, to order "reverse mobilization" of troops/workers back to the farms. SHF p.151. Over 1942-1943, the proportion of war workers and soldiers dropped from 47% to 35%. See Exhibit A.

Exhibit A is a table from SHF on the working population of the SU and its distribution during WW2:

Image

This is really just basic economics: given a certain level of productivity in various sectors, X workers will be needed to produce Y goods. Given that Z soldiers require Y goods (food, weapons, ammo, etc.) there's a basically linear relationship between X (total workers) and Z (total soldiers). For a brief period of time the Z:X ratio can go higher as you exhaust stocks but in the long run X:Z has a sustainable level for a given country (aside: this ratio differs between countries because some have higher productivity than others. SU was disadvantaged in having a mostly peasant rear, a fact that somewhat reduces its first-order population edge over Germany). Given that 1943 was sustainable and 1942 was not, I'll use the 1943 X:Z ratio for the SU's ability to put men in the field, given its working population. As Ex. A shows, that ratio was almost exactly 5 workers for each soldier; or ~17% of the working population in uniform. Note that 5:1 is a ceiling for SU's long-term X:Z ratio, as I'll discuss further below.

So on to Point #2: The SU's shrinking demographic/economic base as it lost territory.

As Ex.A shows, the SU's working population declined from 85.1mil in 1940 to 53.3mil in 1942 (average values for the year). The SU's OTL 1943 working population ticked slightly upward to 55.6 million as it recovered territory, mostly in the Ukraine. Note that the 1940-42 decline in workers (37%) is in line with Harrison's figure for the 1940-42 decline in population (37%) given here: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/4171/7 ... cc0b11.pdf (table on page 23). So while the Soviets were able to evacuate some workers, evacuated workers did not represent a disproportionate portion of overall evacuees. This is probably because a lot of evacuees were children and even in the most totalitarian state it would be difficult to force workers to move with their factories and leave their children orphaned and defenseless in German-occupied territory. That's probably the point at which threats of death no longer motivate broad compliance.

I'll take the July 1943 front line as representing the 1943 average (SU recovered territory before and after July). The front line in July 1943 looked like this:

Image

The Germans controlled the Baltics, Belorussia, most of Ukraine, but very little of Russia proper (mostly Pskov, Smolensk, Bryank, and Orel regions). Given that most of the heavily-populated Eastern Ukraine was free, the pre-war population of the July 1943 unoccupied SU would be equal to the Russian SFSR plus Central Asia and the Caucasus, minus irrevocable war losses: about ~135 million. I calculated this based on census figures for Russia (110mil in 1940 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Russia), Central Asia (Uzbek, Kazakh, Turkmen, Kyrgyz population of ~15mil per Wikipedia), and the Georgian/Azeri/Armenian populations in 1940 (~10mil per Wikipedia). I can't give exact figures because the 1937 USSR census and its 1939 restatement are notoriously unreliable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Census_(1937)

My ATL moves the front line to the Archangel-Volga line by the end of 1942. What was the pre-war population of the territories remaining to Stalin in this ATL? Detailed breakdowns of Soviet population during the 1926 census are available here: http://www.demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/census.php?cy=1. I did a very rough comb-through and compared to modern figures for the distribution of Russia's population. Basically there isn't a huge trend in migration east-west except for Mosocw Oblast's large increase. Like today, there were about 40mil living from the Urals west. To that figure we add the Central Asian republics (~15mil) and Russia between the Volga and the Urals (Perm, Ufa, Atyrau regions), which I generously estimate at 10mil population. So in ATL 1943 Stalin begins with territory with a pre-war population of ~65mil or ~half of what he had OTL.

OTL SU had 55.6mil workers in 1943, pro-rating working population by prewar population ATL SU would have ~25mil workers (65/135 * 55.6).
But my ATL also specifies greater irrecoverable losses during 41/42, to the tune of 4-5mil additional POW. Subtracting all of these POW from the worker population would double-count territorial losses, so let's subtract half of the marginal losses from SU's workforce.
That leaves 22-23mil workers.

There would of course be some evacuees from the occupied territories but not more than a few million workers. Why? Well the SU has lost all of the grain-surplus regions of the Black Earth Region stretching from Western Ukraine towards Saratov. The SU was barely able to feed its population while in possession of most of this region, losing it would be a severe blow.

Nonetheless, we can add ~2mil evacuated workers and call the ATL 1943 SU workforce 24-25mil.
At the worker:soldier ratio of 5:1 described above, that leaves only ~5mil soldiers.
But not all of those soldiers can fight against Germany. For reference, here's a table of the SU's breakdown of military personnel from Glantz Colossus Reborn

Image

Of the SU's 11.1mil men in uniform in July 1943, only 64% were with operating fronts (i.e. fighting against Germany/Finnland).
The non-operating fronts facing Japan/Turkey and occupying Iran had 1.4mil men (12.5%) in July 1943.
The internal military districts had 2.5mil men (22%), most of whom were undergoing training.

If we stick with 64% of uniformed RKKA on the Eastern Front that leaves Stalin only ~3.2mil men (of 5mil) to fight Germany and its allies.
But that assumes that the operating fronts have only 1.1mil men (22% of 5mil). Given the need to occupy Iran, that leaves maybe half the OTL force in the Far East. Not sure Stalin would take that risk. Lend Lease would be the only sliver of hope for SU at this point and showing weakness against Japan would invite losing most of Lend Lease aid (Murmansk/Archangelsk are lost already).
The 64% ratio also assumes that only 22% of RKKA men are training in the internal military districts. That's a dubious assumption because it's not like the Axis would be killing fewer Russians; so the flow of replacements as a percentage of the army would have to be higher.

So a 3.2mil RKKA on the Eastern Front during ATL 1943 seems the absolute upside of the projection; depending on assumptions about evacuees and training needs it might be as low as 2.5mil.

Even if it's 3.2mil RKKA, however, that's nowhere near enough to stop an Ostheer of ~2.5mil supported by ~1mil Axis allies (they haven't been eviscerated and demoralized during 1942). Not only would the RKKA be smaller, it would also be less-experienced and competent (more of its officers have been killed/captured than OTL) and its morale would be atrocious.

Another word on the Axis allies: IMO Turkey joins the Axis once it looks like the SU is cooked and especially once German troops are nearing its eastern border. It'll require another post to explore this factor but briefly: (1) Axis can use the Black Sea to support the Ostheer, (2) UK's position in the Middle East is untenable, as they don't have enough shipping to support a force large enough to hold off a big German/Turkish drive on Mosul and Suez. (3) Turkey has a lot of troops (~1mil) though they'll need equipment. In addition to Turkey, greater German success in the East would have positive effects on SS recruitment of anti-communist foreign units. I'd expect a few hundred thousands more French, Dutch, Norwegians etc in the Ostheer in this ATL.

BTW: The envisioned 1942 advance from just west of Moscow and from Rostov to the Volga or even the Ural river's southern course is a shorter advance than the OTL Barbarossa distance:

Image

BTW2: Although it's not essential to my argument, I think it's likely the SU collapses if it suffers military and territorial losses as described here. See, for example, Mark Harrison's work on the proximity of SU collapse in 1942: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics ... ar2005.pdf
Besides the factors in Harrison's paper, the loss of all its grain-surplus regions would lead to famine; the loss of its oil (Caucasus and Kuibyshev) would exacerbate famine through lower agricultural productivity.
In addition, more losses make unrest in Central Asia likely, especially if Turkey joins the war under the banner of Pan-Turkism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basmachi_movement

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Given the SU's weakness once it has been pushed behind the Volga, driving it behind the Urals during 1943 would require less than half of Germany's land forces - meaning the Allies can't do anything successfully in Europe in 1943. Once the SU is behind the Urals, it's no longer a significant threat and can be screened with a small fraction of Axis forces.

In short, Hitler didn't need - and didn't seek - unconditional surrender from the Bolsheviks. He can marginalize them in Asia or, should favorable terms arise, make peace.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Aug 2019 06:27

Robert Rojas wrote:I am wholly mystified why you would entrust an expedition into the "STANS" with 'allies" of dubious military quality.
Not sure how you got that impression but it wouldn't be only allies going into Central Asia. I wrote:
Use the allied armies (Romania, Finnland, Hungary, and probably Turkey) plus only 2-2.5mil Germans to drive on the Urals and enter Kazakhstan.
Most of the combat power comes from the 2-2.5mil Germans, the million or so allies are just icing on the cake.
As described in my last post, these forces would be more than sufficient to defeat the weakened SU during this period.
Robert Rojas wrote:what would lead you to honestly believe that the government in Ankara would seek common cause with the Axis Alliance?
If Russia looks like it's going under, the Turks would have joined the crusade. They'd probably try to limit their war to the SU as Finnland so tried. If it works, great. If not, the British have just ensured an easy German/Turkish capture of Palestine, Suez, and Mosul.
Robert Rojas wrote:I would assume (rightly OR wrongly) that you MIGHT want your ever so "reliable" allies to pull garrison duty and perform anti-partisan operations along your rear area lines of communications
Correct. The allies were more than adequate for this task. The partisans didn't have the tanks and massed artillery that shattered their under-equipped units in the battle line.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by ljadw » 24 Aug 2019 06:44

This is all desperate wishful-thinking.Based on wrong assumptions and wrong figures .
The Turkish army was unable to operate against the SU.Why ? Because the Turkish railways stopped BEFORE the border with the SU .
A German/Turkish drive on Mosul is only fantasy ,because it was impossible to supply these forces .
If the aid of Turkey ( an underdeveloped country ) was needed for the Axis to win, Turkey would not intervene . And if it was not needed, Germany would not ask the aid of Turkey .
The more allies, the smaller the part of the pie for Germany .

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

Post by ljadw » 24 Aug 2019 08:06

About the few hundred thousands more French,Dutch and Norwegians the MarcksPlan expects in the Ostheer in his ATL,let's look not at the ATL,but at the OTL:
22000 Dutch volunteered for the WSS, not all were accepted .
40000 French served in the WM and the NSKK, not all fought in Russia.
6000 Norwegians served in the WSS. ( source : Feldgrau )
The expected several hundred of thousands more is a fantasy .

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

Post by MarkN » 24 Aug 2019 11:18

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Aug 2019 05:55
Given the SU's weakness once it has been pushed behind the Volga, driving it behind the Urals during 1943 would require less than half of Germany's land forces - meaning the Allies can't do anything successfully in Europe in 1943. Once the SU is behind the Urals, it's no longer a significant threat and can be screened with a small fraction of Axis forces.
It sounds so easy. And yet.... :roll:

You say the CCCP's weakness is given, but it was the German's who failed. The Germans who lost the war. Clearly the Germans were weaker than the Russians.

Still waiting for some substance on how the Germans get to the Volga in the first place. Although l now see you are treating that as a given.

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

Post by ljadw » 24 Aug 2019 14:00

About the Turkish Army,which had a peacetime strength of 195000 men,and was terribly short on rifles ( it wanted to buy 150000 rifles from Britain in 1940 ) :
Professor Selim Derigil wrote the following in'' Turkish Foreign Policy during the Second World War ''
P 38 : a letter from the Turkish Ministry of Defense to the Turkish General Staff from 22.03.1940 said that the Turkish Army would be increased to 1.3 million men ,
but ( P 39 ) that ''the material resources of the nation were unable to provide for the provisioning and the transport of this large number of effectives .''
Source : Military History of Turkey .
This means that Turkey fell away as a potential ally for Germany .
I like also to add that German forces who would advance to Mosul,would not be present on the Eastern Front where they would be needed .

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

Post by MarkN » 24 Aug 2019 20:49

Historical reality had the Germans planning to invade Turkey after reaching the Volga.

TheMarcksPlan fantasy scenario has the Germans employing the Turks to invade Kazakhstan after reaching the Volga.

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

Post by MarkN » 24 Aug 2019 20:57

Historical reality had the Germans considering a force of 60 of their own divisions alongside allied troops to garrison occupied CCCP up to the Volga.

TheMarcksPlan fantasy scenario is based on just 20 German divisions alongside the same allied troops to garrison occupied CCCP up to the Urals.

That's about twice the geographical area and a significantly greater number of bodies to overwatch with a third of the troops.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Aug 2019 23:21

MarkN wrote:Historical reality had the Germans considering a force of 60 of their own divisions alongside allied troops to garrison occupied CCCP up to the Volga.
I guess it's a bit of progress for you to make a factual claim instead of an opinion statement. So I'll address one of your posts for once. Next step is to provide evidence behind your claim. What's your evidence?
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by paulrward » 24 Aug 2019 23:57

Hello All :

Mr. Ljadw's statement about the Turkish Army being short of rifles is, as they say, half right. What is true is that, starting in the early 1930s, the Turkish government had begun a program of refitting, re-barreling and chambering, and rationalization of the motley collection of rifles they had on hand ( some 500,000 rifles dating from as far back as the 1890s ) into what has been called the 'Turkish 1938 Pattern' short rifle. This included Gehwar 88s, Mauser 1890s, Mauser 1893s, Mauser K98s, and Mauser 1903s. This resulted in some 142,000 rifles being brought up to a fair degree of usability, with matching stocks, bayonets, slings, and using the same 8mm mauser ammunition.

In addition, starting just before the war, the government also went into production of Mauser copies at the K.Kale facility, with the result that, by the end of 1942, they had added some 113,000 more 8mm short mausers of the 1938 pattern, and by the end of the war, this figure had risen to over 240,000.

Finally, the Turks purchased a significant number of Czech Mausers during the 1930s, and these were brought to the standard design and issued to troops.

Thus, by the end 1942, the Turkish Army could have called on some 250,000 rifles, with another 130,000 over the next three years. That's about enough rifles to equip 15 divisions, or about five full corps of infantry.

And, Mr. Ljadw, do NOT EVER discount the Turkish Army ! In the spring of 1918, the Turkish Islamic Army of the Caucasus were driving through Azerbaijan and Armenia, and towards the Caucasus regions, and the Bolshevik armies and the British were retreating in front of them. In desperation, Lenin contacted the Germans, and delivered large quantities of oil that was shipped across the the Caspian, up the Volga, and delivered to the Austrian and German forces in the Ukraine. Ultimately, Lenin was forced to cede some 25% of the oil from Baku to the Germans in order to get them to pull the Turks off his back. Had this not been done, it is likely that a large portion of what became the Soviet Union might have ended up as Turkish territory.

And, as for bringing Turkey into the war for the Axis, how about this ? Hitler meets with the Turkish Ambassador, makes assurances that, in return for a Turkish entry into the war on the side of the Axis, Turkey will get back Syria, the Trans-Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, the Sinai up to the Suez Canal, half control over the Suez ( Italy gets the other half ) and such nice things as Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, maybe Iran, and any of the southern " - Stans " that Turkey can succeed in occupying while they help defeat Bolshevism. This helps re-start the Ottoman Empire, and gives Istanbul a new revenue stream in the form of Middle East Oil, which they can sell to anyone who wants it after the war. (Germany will content itself with Rumanian and Baku Oil Fields, more than enough for Hitler's immediate needs )

I postulated earlier that Hitler could have bribed Franco into bringing Spain into the War with some territorial concessions, resulting in some 140,000 more troops and a number of Armored and Mechanized Division. At the same time, with a few more bribes to Turkey and Finland, and a carefully worded agreement with Japan that makes certain that they DON'T attack the United States, Hitler might have won the war with a combination of force of arms and a open-handed foreign policy of bribing people into joining the Axis as active partners and participants. Remember, " You Catch a Lot More Flies with Sugar than you do with Salt...... "


A lot of the ' Historians ' on this forum have no understanding of anything but of how to read a book. I have spent my professional career as a Chemist and Process Engineer. About 15 years ago, I went to work for a company in Palo Alto, California, that had severe production and quality constraints that were severely impacting profitability. Working with my fellow engineers, we made a tweak here, a nip and tuck there, and an adjustement or two in other places, and, by the end of two years, had doubled the throughput and increased the yield quality by over 50%, resulting in a TRIPLING of finished product going out the door, with no increase in equipment, man power, or facilities. In effect, we tripled the profits for no increase in costs.

The same sort of thing could be applied to the Third Reich. A few small changes, some adjustments, and a tweak or two, and you might have had the whole Reich running on all eight cylinders ! Which, speaking as an American, is as scary as Hell.....

Respectfully :

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

Post by ljadw » 25 Aug 2019 07:40

There was no reason for Franco to join officially the Axis :
1 if Hitler promised territorial concessions at the cost of the French, French North Africa would have joined Britain .
2 The Axis was already losing the war in 1940 and rats are leaving a sinking ship,not entering .
There were no 140000 volunteers in Spain to go to Russia to fight the communists
Spain was destroyed by the Civil War and could not raise armoured/motorised divisions .
The 250 ID arrived at the front of Leningrad in the first days of October1941,because of the distance between Madrid and Leningrad and because 15000 volunteers do not make a division .
And who would supply meanwhile the Spanish population ? Germany could not do it .Spain survived by grain and oil from the US and Argentine .A famine would seriously threaten the regime of Franco .

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

Post by Cult Icon » 25 Aug 2019 12:18

paulrward wrote:
24 Aug 2019 23:57

A lot of the ' Historians ' on this forum have no understanding of anything but of how to read a book. I have spent my professional career as a Chemist and Process Engineer. About 15 years ago, I went to work for a company in Palo Alto, California, that had severe production and quality constraints that were severely impacting profitability. Working with my fellow engineers, we made a tweak here, a nip and tuck there, and an adjustement or two in other places, and, by the end of two years, had doubled the throughput and increased the yield quality by over 50%, resulting in a TRIPLING of finished product going out the door, with no increase in equipment, man power, or facilities. In effect, we tripled the profits for no increase in costs.
excellent point about the power of leverage and intangible value in conditions of constrained resources, I am still haunted by "what ifs" in my nightmares about a few projects and teams that I managed. Nobody lives a "perfect life" and achieves a perfect result unless they routinely undershoot objectives.

The german struggles in ww2 have that feel to them- The Barbarossa/Typhoon saga reminds me of the spirit of achieving early and middle- stage objectives and then getting increasing bogged down by the weight of later ambitions and high expectations- and ideas. And then trying to pull for an 11th hour win (like Typhoon, Nov-Dec 1941). The morale/motivation and will to succeed of the German soldier was also an intangible value.

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

Post by MarkN » 25 Aug 2019 18:00

Historical reality had the Germans suffer offensive burnout before they reached Moscow.

TheMarcksPlan fantasy scenario has the Germans able to conduct one offensive after another, doing greater fighting and covering distances, until the Urals.

I wonder what magic formula TheMarcksPlan's fantasy Germans have to prevent battle damage and wear & tear on their vehicles, equipment and to avoid combat fatigue in the troops.

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RE: One More Panzer Group In Barbarossa - (Plans For A Two-Year Campaign) - MAYBE!

Post by Robert Rojas » 25 Aug 2019 18:39

Greetings to both citizen MarkN and the community as a whole. Howdy Mark! Well sir, in reference to your posting of Sunday - August 25, 2019 - 9:00am, I suppose THE one major factor that has not been broached during the course of this thread is the all knowing Bohemian Corporal's INDOMITABLE WILL. After all, is this simply not an issue of MIND over MATTER? Now, If the Fùhrer harangues his military planners both long enough and loud enough, who is ANYONE to doubt the Wehrmacht's veracity to reach the municipality of Vladivostok on the Pacific Coast before the end of year two of the campaign in the East? It's just something to consider. Well, that's my latest two cents, pfennigs or kopecks worth on this sojourn down the Yellow Brick Road - for now anyway. In any case, I would like to bid you an especially day over in your corner of the Continent.

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