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 TheMarcksPlan » 28 Aug 2019 18:45

Richard Anderson wrote:
28 Aug 2019 15:05
If average German divisional performance is the metric, then we can count on ten extra divisions inflicting about 180,000 additional casualties. Maybe. If there is a way to gin up five operational divisions from the dregs in the west and five operational Panzer divisions from whole cloth.
Why would average divisional performance be the metric?
Just apply that logic to a "weaker Barbarossa" ATL: How many casualties would the Germans have inflicted absent the 7 divisions of Hoth's Panzergruppe?
There's no Minsk and Smolensk, no Vyazma kessel. There's probably no Kiev kessel and therefore no operational freedom in AGS for the Melitopol kessel.
So removing 5% of Barbarossa's divisions would likely cause millions fewer Red casualties and thousands more German (gotta trade fire with Reds encircled OTL).

No, a linear analysis of the casualty delta from additional forces won't do. Especially regarding mobile forces. The ability to change operational outcomes - i.e. the ability to create additional kessels - means one has to consider those operational outcomes rather than only the average tactical arithmetic.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Aug 2019 19:01

Terry Duncan wrote:Maybe it would be helpful to your case if you could offer figures to show how much foreign labour the Germans were using at this point, and what efforts were being made to increase it where needed?
I already posted a very long expostulation of the foreign labor issue: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=243557&p=2216965&h ... s#p2216965

In that post, which includes figures and source material, I show that Germany rather weakly exploited Western labor in 1940-41 and that it under-exploited Polish/Czech labor relative to later war periods. My main source concludes that Germany so behaved in part because of internal resistance to more foreigners, because of industrial expectations of the war ending soon (and thus foreigners leaving), and because the German state lacked a strong program of labor recruitment.

My ATL addresses all these issues in a manner flowing directly from the heartland revision to Hitler's strategic conception: When Hitler realized his strategic predicament later, he bulldozed resistance to foreign workers and set up a centralized labor recruitment apparatus. Earlier recognition of that predicament would reasonably lead to earlier recruitment of more foreign labor.

My post estimates that an 11% delta to Germany's labor force (ATL vs. OTL) was feasible in the period prior to Barbarossa. From that labor delta, the ~1% delta (as portion of GDP) needed to equip the additional forces is easy to achieve.

In addition, my post explains that this estimate is conservative given that later far-greater foreign labor (outside Russia) occurred in a much more difficult recruiting environment, as Germany's battlefield defeats decreased her ability to compel/incentivize foreigners to work for her. It seems likely to me that Germany could have reached a higher peak of foreign labor (ATL vs. OTL), as well as scaling up its foreign labor earlier.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by ljadw » 28 Aug 2019 19:03

Terry Duncan wrote:
28 Aug 2019 15:04
ljadw wrote:
28 Aug 2019 11:44
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2019 00:03
ljadw wrote:The ATL invents greater German weapons production and claims that this could enable Germany to send weapons to Turkey, which it could not do .
The ATL specifies a path to greater armaments production, including greater recruitment of foreign labor. The ATL has a long post on this topic with heavy citation to source material. I will not repeat the argument every time someone says it doesn't exist - that's just a means to waste the time and attention of everyone following this thread.

In addition to the principles set forth in Terry Duncan's preceding post, I request that forum moderation look unfavorably on statements like "X never provided evidence of Y" when X has plainly provided such evidence at great effort.

If it's not going to be endorsed by forum staff/mods, then let me just remind readers that this is my position and I am ignoring several posters in this forum who repeatedly ask for evidence already presented and/or pretend that no such evidence was ever presented.


This should be a norm of any intellectual discourse: do not misrepresent your opponent's assertions.
There is no proof that more foreign labour was possible, that more raw materials were available, that more factories could be built .
Besides : if it was possible, why were the Germans not doing it ?
Maybe it would be helpful to your case if you could offer figures to show how much foreign labour the Germans were using at this point, and what efforts were being made to increase it where needed? We do know the Germans were building more factories later in the war, as well as employing larger numbers of forced labour, so is it possible to show there was little more that they could try in the timeline of this scenario?
1 Till 1942 most foreigners ( except the Poles ) working in Germany were volunteers .
2 Very quickly this source was exhausted ,which forced the Germans to force people to come to Germany ( which was a failure )
3 The only proof that more people would volunteer to work in Germany is that more people volunteered to work in Germany, but that the Germans refused their offer . And such proof does not exist : the Germans accepted everyone,but this was never enough .
4 There are German figures about the number of foreigners working in Germany, but they are unreliable, for obvious reasons :there was a coming and going from people to and out of Germany, as the volunteers came for a limited period and than left.
5 The OP has been unable to say how many additional workers would be needed and how many were willing to come .
6 Even if an unknown additional number of foreigners came to Germany to work and to make the addiutional number of weapons the OP claimed that would change the outcome of Barbarossa, it would not help Germany :
workers are only ONE of the factors needed to produce weapons : other things are also needed,things as raw materials, German staff, new factories,which demanded more than a year to be built,machine-tools,etc .And, how would the German firms who were hirng the foreigners,give them decent housing,in wartime ?
weapons do not make divisions : there were already big manpower problems and the OP has failed to prove us that the Germans would be able to find the manpower for the additional divisions .
Not only would take it a lot of time to build these weapons , but it would also take a lot of time to train the additional tank crew.
7 The Reichsbahn had already big problems to transport and supply the existing Barbarossa forces and the problems to transport and supply more mobile divisions to Romania would be enormous .
Last, but not least ,3 facts,which are proving the folly to send additional mobile forces to Ukraine
1 in 1940 the SU had 766880 trucks and 125000 personal cars ( Source :Cars for Comrades The life of the Soviet automobile P 169 )
2 in 1940 the SU had 143400 km of roads, of which 7100 ( 5 % ) of paved roads ( Source :German Armored traffic control during the Russian Campaign ) .
3 the Ukrainian road space and road infrastructure was even worse than that from the regions north of the Pripet marshes .
Additional mobile divisions were not possible,and if they were possible,they would be contra productive,as more mobile divisions east of the DD line would not help the Germans .Because, if the SU collapsed west of the DD line, there was no need for (mobile ) divisions east of the DD line.and if the SU did not collaps west of the DD line,it was impossible to go victoriously east of Moscow, especially with mobile units .
The SU was no country for mobile warfare .

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

Post by ljadw » 28 Aug 2019 19:39

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2019 19:01
Terry Duncan wrote:Maybe it would be helpful to your case if you could offer figures to show how much foreign labour the Germans were using at this point, and what efforts were being made to increase it where needed?
I already posted a very long expostulation of the foreign labor issue: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=243557&p=2216965&h ... s#p2216965

In that post, which includes figures and source material, I show that Germany rather weakly exploited Western labor in 1940-41 and that it under-exploited Polish/Czech labor relative to later war periods. My main source concludes that Germany so behaved in part because of internal resistance to more foreigners, because of industrial expectations of the war ending soon (and thus foreigners leaving), and because the German state lacked a strong program of labor recruitment.

My ATL addresses all these issues in a manner flowing directly from the heartland revision to Hitler's strategic conception: When Hitler realized his strategic predicament later, he bulldozed resistance to foreign workers and set up a centralized labor recruitment apparatus. Earlier recognition of that predicament would reasonably lead to earlier recruitment of more foreign labor.

My post estimates that an 11% delta to Germany's labor force (ATL vs. OTL) was feasible in the period prior to Barbarossa. From that labor delta, the ~1% delta (as portion of GDP) needed to equip the additional forces is easy to achieve.

In addition, my post explains that this estimate is conservative given that later far-greater foreign labor (outside Russia) occurred in a much more difficult recruiting environment, as Germany's battlefield defeats decreased her ability to compel/incentivize foreigners to work for her. It seems likely to me that Germany could have reached a higher peak of foreign labor (ATL vs. OTL), as well as scaling up its foreign labor earlier.
You are wrong : example : table 8 where you include Polish POW in the number of foreign civilians working in Germany : the 1 million Poles were not civilians and not volunteers .
Besides, your figures prove nothing : you are only saying that with an other policy ( Arbeitseinsatz) the Germans could have had more foreign workers for which there is no proof .Arbeitseinsatz before 1942 was out of the question and the Arbeitseinsatz after 1942 failed,because for forced labor the Germans depended on the cooperation of the local authorities . Cooperation which did not exist .
Germany could not exploit Western labour in 1940/1941 . It tried to do it after this period and the results were negative .Before 1942 only a small part of Western labour was willing to go to Germany and after 1941 this small enthusiasm disappeared very quickly .
And again : more labor does not equip the additional forces .

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Aug 2019 19:42

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Since AGC no longer has to turn south in September 1941, it can instead go for Moscow at least a month earlier than in the OTL. Since it was the October rains that saved Moscow in the OTL, this means Moscow likely falls in September 1941 in this ATL.
Definitely a possibility, probably the most likely outcome.
Nonetheless, I left Moscow for 1942 in my OP just to play it safe. Instead of Typhoon, Germany conducts Halder's suggested northern operation (AGN-AGC encirclement around the Valdai region) as well as another AGS-AGC encirclement somewhere between Tula and Voronezh. This leaves Moscow as a salient and sets up a massive and deep encirclement of the capital in 1942 with 1mil+ POW.
But the ATL works either way, IMO.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:In the long-run though, none of this saves Germany. Germany can't stop America from landing in North Africa. Germany can't stop Britain from bombing Baku into oblivion. Germany now is facing Allied forces in Persia by the end of 1942, stretching its forces even thinner than in the OTL. None of this helps Germany hold on to North Africa or defend Sicily. Even if fewer German forces are needed overall on the Eastern Front, Germany still has to defend the entire coast of Norway, France, Italy and Greece from Britain and the USA, who can also attack through Spain, Turkey or the Caucasus if they like. Being on the defensive is a disadvantage for Germany, because it has to cover all these places against a potential invasion, whereas the Allies can simply mass their forces wherever they feel like attacking.

This ATL also doesn't help Germany retain air superiority in the West. Even if Germany can send more fighters West from the East, it seems like the air battle in the West was never really close. The Allies can simply overwhelm the Luftewaffe by 1944. Without air superiority, Germany can't defend France. It's just a matter of time before the Allies overwhelm Germany and come marching into Berlin.
You raise a ton of topics here, please excuse my less-than-full response. I anticipate addressing these topics later as my attention shifts to analyzing post-SU ATL warfare. I probably won't get around to detailed posts on the issues for months or maybe years. For now, my inchoate thoughts:
  • A front in Persia and/or the broader middle east (i.e. if Turkey joins Axis or is maybe invaded) could not have been very intensive until later 1943 at the earliest. The allies lacked shipping to support dozens of divisions in Persia; until the Med is cleared the supply line goes around Africa. This is why, as Hitler observed in a Life interview during 1941, the allies couldn't overwhelm Rommel from Egypt (until much later).
  • Germany doesn't need to hold North Africa. Having 1-2mil more men to defend Western Europe in 1943, Hitler should actually be welcoming the Italy invasion and "Dunkirking" the allies there if they land.
  • The air war is fundamentally different in this ATL. From 1943 at the latest, Germany can shift production from land to air and sea. With the oil of Maikop and Grozny (forget Baku for now), it can train thousands more pilots to a higher standard than OTL. With the vastly greater resources at hand (Soviet labor and raw materials, better recruitment of non-Soviet workers) its total production will be significantly greater than OTL, and more of it will be LW-focused. 5,000 fighters/month isn't a stretch for 1944 in this ATL. With those production numbers, Germany can at least blunt the Allied bombing offensive and maybe stop it absolutely. Germany was, after all, able to stop daytime bombing during 1943 when it struggled to build 1,000 fighters/mo and lacked fuel to train its pilots well. In addition there's more Flak, which caused ~50% of bomber losses. Defense is always cheaper than offense; Germany doesn't need the world's strongest air force to survive a [conventional] bombing offensive.
Finally, a broad point: US strategy during 1942 was to pivot to Asia if Russia collapsed, adopting a defensive posture against Germany. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... 9Z9RoyvH5k

I lean towards the opinion that the Anglosphere alone could have defeated Germany and Japan had they sufficient political will for the fight.
But I'm more convinced that they - especially the UK - had no appetite for the >WW1 casualties such a fight would have involved.
IMO once Hitler's army can turn west the Allies don't fight it.

...which leaves the A-bomb. Another interesting discussion...
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by ljadw » 28 Aug 2019 20:40

About the illusion that the Arbeitseinsatz ( forced labor ) would help Germany : in 1940 90000 Belgians ( a lot of double counting ) were going voluntarily to Germany to work there . If the Arbeitseinsatz existed already in 1940, much less than 90000 people would volunteer to go to Germany, as a lot of them would be forced to go .

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

Post by MarkN » 28 Aug 2019 20:44

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2019 18:37
Mark this is precisely why I have stopped responding to your posts, the last exception (and this one) aside.
No matter how much framework and evidence one provides, it is always possible baldly to assert that one has not provided such evidence.
I know this tactic well from the courtroom; it doesn't work there and it shouldn't work here.
I will not play a time-wasting game of responding to requests for evidence/framework from someone so clearly intent on ignoring the provision of evidence/framework.
That will be my policy unless and until your tone and the veracity of your portrayals of my assertions change.
I will be happy to engage you in productive discussion at that point.

As always, anyone else is free to request clarification of points by posters with whom I am choosing not to engage.
Do you believe/disbelieve that BARBAROSSA was a close run affair?

Is it true/untrue that you believe that success and failure is derived from relative strengths?

Is it true/untrue that your narrative is about delivering a numerical advantage to the Germans at the decisive battle?

Is it true/untrue that the numbers removed at every encirclement and elsewhere are central to your calculations?

Do you agree/disagree that for your narrative to be credible, your calculations have to be realistic not plucked from thin air?

You claimed:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Aug 2019 10:15
AGS could have executed a double envelopment of Southwest Front (from Romania and Poland) during the border battles, removing 3 armies and ~600k soldiers from the map.
Later in the same post you mention those 3 armies were 6th, 12th and 26th.

Historically, on 22 June 1941, those 3 armies totalled about 200,000 troops. Once the fighting begun, other formations were added to their orbat. Details well presented by Isaev. When one adds up the various additions, one falls well short of 600,000.

However, l recognise that Isaev is writing about what historically happened. Your fantasy theory diverges quite radically from history and there is no reason why you shouldn't rewrite the Red Army forces in the area.

But you have to provide details of those changes. As moderators have already explained to you, you cannot just say it happened and expect to be taken seriously.

You have provided helpful information on the route and location of this encirclement. That provides guidance on a timeline. If the pincers are to meet at Septovka as your diagram indicates, that will occur on or about 2 July - depending upon how the Red Army reacts differently to the changed scenario.

So, which formations were located inside the pocket and when were they placed there?

I accept historical reality is irrelevant to your fantasy narrative. Your narrative could have 2.5million troops there from 22 June 1941 if you want. True that is likely to illicit more questions about how and why they got there so early, and generate questions about what effect that would have on the German advance. But those are precisely the questions that a serious and civil discussion can and should include to establish whether the narrative is or is not credible.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Aug 2019 21:00

MarkN wrote:I accept historical reality is irrelevant to your fantasy narrative.
Yep you're still on the "not worth my time" list. I don't appreciate this tone.
As always, anyone else is free to draw my attention to the rest of Mark's post, which I only scanned for tone.
MarkN wrote:True that is likely to illicit [sic] more questions
*elicit
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 28 Aug 2019 21:01

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2019 19:42
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Since AGC no longer has to turn south in September 1941, it can instead go for Moscow at least a month earlier than in the OTL. Since it was the October rains that saved Moscow in the OTL, this means Moscow likely falls in September 1941 in this ATL.
Definitely a possibility, probably the most likely outcome.
Nonetheless, I left Moscow for 1942 in my OP just to play it safe. Instead of Typhoon, Germany conducts Halder's suggested northern operation (AGN-AGC encirclement around the Valdai region) as well as another AGS-AGC encirclement somewhere between Tula and Voronezh. This leaves Moscow as a salient and sets up a massive and deep encirclement of the capital in 1942 with 1mil+ POW.
But the ATL works either way, IMO.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:In the long-run though, none of this saves Germany. Germany can't stop America from landing in North Africa. Germany can't stop Britain from bombing Baku into oblivion. Germany now is facing Allied forces in Persia by the end of 1942, stretching its forces even thinner than in the OTL. None of this helps Germany hold on to North Africa or defend Sicily. Even if fewer German forces are needed overall on the Eastern Front, Germany still has to defend the entire coast of Norway, France, Italy and Greece from Britain and the USA, who can also attack through Spain, Turkey or the Caucasus if they like. Being on the defensive is a disadvantage for Germany, because it has to cover all these places against a potential invasion, whereas the Allies can simply mass their forces wherever they feel like attacking.

This ATL also doesn't help Germany retain air superiority in the West. Even if Germany can send more fighters West from the East, it seems like the air battle in the West was never really close. The Allies can simply overwhelm the Luftewaffe by 1944. Without air superiority, Germany can't defend France. It's just a matter of time before the Allies overwhelm Germany and come marching into Berlin.
You raise a ton of topics here, please excuse my less-than-full response. I anticipate addressing these topics later as my attention shifts to analyzing post-SU ATL warfare. I probably won't get around to detailed posts on the issues for months or maybe years. For now, my inchoate thoughts:
  • A front in Persia and/or the broader middle east (i.e. if Turkey joins Axis or is maybe invaded) could not have been very intensive until later 1943 at the earliest. The allies lacked shipping to support dozens of divisions in Persia; until the Med is cleared the supply line goes around Africa. This is why, as Hitler observed in a Life interview during 1941, the allies couldn't overwhelm Rommel from Egypt (until much later).
  • Germany doesn't need to hold North Africa. Having 1-2mil more men to defend Western Europe in 1943, Hitler should actually be welcoming the Italy invasion and "Dunkirking" the allies there if they land.
  • The air war is fundamentally different in this ATL. From 1943 at the latest, Germany can shift production from land to air and sea. With the oil of Maikop and Grozny (forget Baku for now), it can train thousands more pilots to a higher standard than OTL. With the vastly greater resources at hand (Soviet labor and raw materials, better recruitment of non-Soviet workers) its total production will be significantly greater than OTL, and more of it will be LW-focused. 5,000 fighters/month isn't a stretch for 1944 in this ATL. With those production numbers, Germany can at least blunt the Allied bombing offensive and maybe stop it absolutely. Germany was, after all, able to stop daytime bombing during 1943 when it struggled to build 1,000 fighters/mo and lacked fuel to train its pilots well. In addition there's more Flak, which caused ~50% of bomber losses. Defense is always cheaper than offense; Germany doesn't need the world's strongest air force to survive a [conventional] bombing offensive.
Finally, a broad point: US strategy during 1942 was to pivot to Asia if Russia collapsed, adopting a defensive posture against Germany. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... 9Z9RoyvH5k

I lean towards the opinion that the Anglosphere alone could have defeated Germany and Japan had they sufficient political will for the fight.
But I'm more convinced that they - especially the UK - had no appetite for the >WW1 casualties such a fight would have involved.
IMO once Hitler's army can turn west the Allies don't fight it.

...which leaves the A-bomb. Another interesting discussion...
Even if everything you write happens in the ATL, it's still just a matter of time. Japan still surrenders in 1945, and then the entire military might of the United States and the British Empire will be focused on destroying Germany. The Allies will have a base of operations directly across from Vladivostok from which they can pump in an endless supply of war material to renew the Soviet war machine.

And there can be no doubt of the Allies' willingness to defeat Hitler. Hitler was the most wicked villain the world had ever seen, both in reality and in the perception of the Allies' leadership and population. There is no way they were going to let him and the Nazis retain power over continental Europe, not when they had overwhelming material advantage and could pick and choose their battles freely.

Defense did not work in WW2. The Maginot Line did not work. The Atlantik Wall did not work. Technology in WW2 had tipped the scales from defense to offense because motorization allowed the attacker to bring overwhelming force at whatever spot in the defense they determined to be weakest. The Allied armies were 100% motorized. Their shipping capabilities far surpassed the Wehrmacht's ability to supply its forces in the Caucasus. And Hitler isn't going to sit back and fight a defensive war. His M.O. was always to attack, whether it be with Uboats or V1 and V2 rockets. This accomplishes nothing but fueling Allied propaganda reels and wasting his own forces.

There was simply no way Germany could ever win WW2. It was a lost cause from the moment Germany invaded Poland.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Aug 2019 21:36

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:And there can be no doubt of the Allies' willingness to defeat Hitler. Hitler was the most wicked villain the world had ever seen, both in reality and in the perception of the Allies' leadership and population. There is no way they were going to let him and the Nazis retain power over continental Europe, not when they had overwhelming material advantage and could pick and choose their battles freely.
As something of a patriot I'd like to believe that the US would have done everything in its power to defeat Hitler.
But again - there's the explicit US plan to leave Hitler alone - at least for a few years - had Russia collapsed. If we were really that motivated by the Hitler's threat to Europe, why would we let him run amok for even for those few years, until after we beat Japan? Knowledge of the holocaust was already widespread in 1942; the predictable result of the contingently-planned Asia pivot was the extermination of European Jewry. It's horrible to think that this is true but I can't see any way around concluding that the Anglosphere wasn't willing to lose millions of soldiers to save the Jews. [It's actually this nightmare scenario that revived my interest in WW2 a year or so ago, around when I learned of the planned Asia pivot.].

It's easy to forget how large the losses of WW1 loomed for Britain and the Dominions. It's not a stretch to suggest that Britain would tolerate Nazism over a repeat of 1914-18, let alone the much-worse losses from fighting the German army without a second front.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:The Allies will have a base of operations directly across from Vladivostok from which they can pump in an endless supply of war material to renew the Soviet war machine.
Sure but in this ATL the SU has either (1) been pushed back behind the Urals or (2) has concluded a peace.
If (1) then the supplies are going to a country of, at most, 25mil people. That's barely a threat to Germany.
If (2) then I don't see Stalin or his successors wanting to restart a war, given that they'd already judged the price in blood/treasure too high.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Defense did not work in WW2. The Maginot Line did not work. The Atlantik Wall did not work. Technology in WW2 had tipped the scales from defense to offense because motorization allowed the attacker to bring overwhelming force at whatever spot in the defense they determined to be weakest.
Re defense in land battles, that's simply not true. I don't have the cite at hand but IIRC Trevor Dupuy concluded that the tactical advantage of defense in WW2 was actually greater than in WW1. Mobility and wireless allowed greater dispersion of defenses, which meant defenders were rarely crushed by massed artillery as in WW1. I'll try to find the comparative cites to Dupuy's WW1/WW2 defense analysis - does anyone else have them at hand?

Re fortifications, I couldn't agree more. But a 200-division Westheer doesn't need any fortifications to make something like Overlord a fool's errand.
On D+19 the Allies had landed 1,452,000 men in Normandy. (Zetterling's D-day, p.408).
ATL Germany - with no Eastern Front or a thinly-manned one - could have concentrated ~3mil men against that force by D+19.
A German army with 2-1 numerical superiority is going to annihilate the allied armies.

I was making a point about air defense specifically, however. Fighter planes were relatively cheap: an Me-109 cost ~110k RM, a B-17 ~$240K. At 4-1 exchange ratio that's a ~9-1 cost disparity. Later war exchange ratios were meaningless but regardless the cost disparity is massive. Plus the crew ratio (and attendant training costs) is 10:1. Shooting down a B-17 cost Germany ~$100k in Flak shells on average.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:And Hitler isn't going to sit back and fight a defensive war. His M.O. was always to attack, whether it be with Uboats or V1 and V2 rockets. This accomplishes nothing but fueling Allied propaganda reels and wasting his own forces.
V1 was arguably more cost-efficient than bombers (not so with V2, admittedly).
A type XXI Uboat, large numbers of which would have become operational in the second half of 1945, costs ~half of a Liberty Ship.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:[allied] shipping capabilities far surpassed the Wehrmacht's ability to supply its forces in the Caucasus.
This is true of the OTL 1942 drive in the Caucasus but not necessarily true in an ATL where Germany can build up its eastern rails. By 1943 the Ostbahn was functioning quite well. Plus Germany had plans to produce massive quantities of weapons in Ukraine, had invested substantially in those plans by OTL 1943 (e.g. rebuilding the Zaporzhiye hydro station), and the capacity would have come on line had they not been forced out of Ukraine. For a longer discussion of this see my post here: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=243100

Supply lines from the Donbas to Persia are far shorter than NYC/London-CapeTown-Persia.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 28 Aug 2019 21:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by MarkN » 28 Aug 2019 21:38

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2019 21:00
MarkN wrote:I accept historical reality is irrelevant to your fantasy narrative.
Yep you're still on the "not worth my time" list. I don't appreciate this tone.
You have repeatedly demanded that others do not judge the credibility of your fantasy scenario against historical reality. You don't want posters saying it didn't happen in history so it couldn't happen in your narrative either.

I get it. I am avoiding judging the credibility of your loss claims against historical reality, I'm suggesting you provide the details of the formations that your fantasy narrative has in the pocket so posters can judge the credibility of your claim against your narrative.

QED, historical reality, at this point, is irrelevant to a discussion of your fantasy narrative. You get to decide which formations were there, when they got there and how they got there. You also get to decide what proportion of those formations were lost and which managed to escape to fight another day. It's all your choice. Nothing to do with historical reality.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2019 21:00
As always, anyone else is free to draw my attention to the rest of Mark's post, which I only scanned for tone.
And perform a spelling check. 8-)

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

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 28 Aug 2019 23:46

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Aug 2019 21:36

As something of a patriot I'd like to believe that the US would have done everything in its power to defeat Hitler.
But again - there's the explicit US plan to leave Hitler alone - at least for a few years - had Russia collapsed. If we were really that motivated by the Hitler's threat to Europe, why would we let him run amok for even for those few years, until after we beat Japan? Knowledge of the holocaust was already widespread in 1942; the predictable result of the contingently-planned Asia pivot was the extermination of European Jewry. It's horrible to think that this is true but I can't see any way around concluding that the Anglosphere wasn't willing to lose millions of soldiers to save the Jews. [It's actually this nightmare scenario that revived my interest in WW2 a year or so ago, around when I learned of the planned Asia pivot.].
The US plan wasn't to abandon Europe. It was to defeat Japan first because that was far more feasible, or at least it appeared that way in early 1942. It turned out that Germany was far weaker than everyone had thought.

It's easy to forget how large the losses of WW1 loomed for Britain and the Dominions. It's not a stretch to suggest that Britain would tolerate Nazism over a repeat of 1914-18, let alone the much-worse losses from fighting the German army without a second front.
It's a huge stretch. Hitler had killed 50,000 Britons in the Blitz and attempted to starve their country through Uboat blockade. Britain was never going to tolerate a Nazi Empire on the other side of the Channel, not when they had the support of the United States and their own Empire. They weren't going to make peace with a man who broke every treaty he ever signed, who was developing new terror weapons to lob at them. And not when they could count on their allies and subjects to provide the majority of land forces, and not when the trench warfare of WWI was ancient history for the Allies 100% motorized armies that went from Normandy to the Elbe in under a year.


Sure but in this ATL the SU has either (1) been pushed back behind the Urals or (2) has concluded a peace.
If (1) then the supplies are going to a country of, at most, 25mil people. That's barely a threat to Germany.
If (2) then I don't see Stalin or his successors wanting to restart a war, given that they'd already judged the price in blood/treasure too high.
Stalin or whoever is left running the Soviet Union will always be tempted to take back the land they lost, especially when they're supported by limitless American aid. And Germany is still going to need to deploy millions of men to occupy and defend their conquered lands in Russia.

Re defense in land battles, that's simply not true. I don't have the cite at hand but IIRC Trevor Dupuy concluded that the tactical advantage of defense in WW2 was actually greater than in WW1. Mobility and wireless allowed greater dispersion of defenses, which meant defenders were rarely crushed by massed artillery as in WW1. I'll try to find the comparative cites to Dupuy's WW1/WW2 defense analysis - does anyone else have them at hand?

Re fortifications, I couldn't agree more. But a 200-division Westheer doesn't need any fortifications to make something like Overlord a fool's errand.
On D+19 the Allies had landed 1,452,000 men in Normandy. (Zetterling's D-day, p.408).
ATL Germany - with no Eastern Front or a thinly-manned one - could have concentrated ~3mil men against that force by D+19.
A German army with 2-1 numerical superiority is going to annihilate the allied armies.

I was making a point about air defense specifically, however. Fighter planes were relatively cheap: an Me-109 cost ~110k RM, a B-17 ~$240K. At 4-1 exchange ratio that's a ~9-1 cost disparity. Later war exchange ratios were meaningless but regardless the cost disparity is massive. Plus the crew ratio (and attendant training costs) is 10:1. Shooting down a B-17 cost Germany ~$100k in Flak shells on average.
Tactically, defenders still had the advantage. But strategically, the attacker had the advantage of choosing where to attack. Germany had to defend all of continental Europe, from Norway to France to Italy to Greece and the Caucasus. The Allies could simply choose one spot at a time, whenever they felt like it, to bring overwhelming force. Which is basically what they did in OTL.

V1 was arguably more cost-efficient than bombers (not so with V2, admittedly).
A type XXI Uboat, large numbers of which would have become operational in the second half of 1945, costs ~half of a Liberty Ship.
Even if the absolute cost of a Uboat or V1 rocket is less than the cost of a liberty ship or B17 bomber, the Allies have resources to spare. Germany doesn't. The Uboat campaign was a disaster for Germany, wasting countless resources and lives and never coming close to putting a dent in the Allied war effort. And the V1/V2 were just a nuisance, making the British more determined to rid the world of Hitler.

Supply lines from the Donbas to Persia are far shorter than NYC/London-CapeTown-Persia.
Yeah but Germany doesn't have the resources to build railroads all over Russia, while defending an entire continent against two to three world powers.

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Aug 2019 00:09

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:The US plan wasn't to abandon Europe. It was to defeat Japan first because that was far more feasible, or at least it appeared that way in early 1942.
You might be misconstruing what I'm saying and what I think the history is.
The U.S. was "Europe first" from the get-go; they only planned an Asia pivot ("Europe Second") in the event of Soviet collapse:
if the Russians are defeated this fall [1942], go immediately on the strategic defensive in the Atlantic and begin to build up an offensive against Japan."1

__________

1 See Memorandum by General Eisenhower dated 17 July 1942, "Conclusions as to practicability of SLEDGEHAMMER."
https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... 9Z9RoyvH5k

Europe was the top priority.
Unless freeing Europe required fighting the bulk of the German army.
In which case the US/UK wouldn't even have tried until at least after the defeat of Japan.
By the fall of 1942 in this scenario, Russian defeat looks certain - Moscow and the Caucasus are gone; Germany is at or near the A-A line.

I'm not ignoring your other points, will get back to them.
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 29 Aug 2019 06:31

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Even if the absolute cost of a Uboat or V1 rocket is less than the cost of a liberty ship or B17 bomber, the Allies have resources to spare. Germany doesn't.
Just as I think it's an error to treat Soviet manpower as if it's infinite, so too it's an error to treat Allied economic resources as if infinite.
Mark Harrison has a good compendium of high-level economic stats here: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/do ... 1&type=pdf

The charts on pages 23-24 are particularly relevant.
By 1942 the Axis block controlled territory with a 1938 GDP of $1,552bil (1990 dollars); for the Allied block the figure was $1,748.8 (excluding China - it's hard to quantify who controlled what in China by 1942 in terms of resources).
If you remove the unoccupied SU's $209bil GDP from the Allies and give most of it to the Axis (as in the ATL) then the bad guys actually control a greater portion of the world's resources than the good guys.

Now of course much of that is occupied Europe, not all of which should be seen as accruing to Germany.
Still, look at the Great Powers GDP's for 1942:
Axis total: 685.8
Allied total: 1,119.1 (USA + UK and Dominions)
Ratio: 1.75

The pre-war GDP of occupied/allied Europe plus 70% of the SU is ~$910bil. If we weight those countries' GDP's as worth only 20% of Germany's GDP contribution (per dollar) then the Allied:Axis ratio is still only 1.3.

A 1.3 economic ratio is in the ballpark of the combat effectiveness ratio of German soldiers to the Western Allies (See Dupuy's Hitler's Last Gamble or Zetterling's Normandy 1944), meaning a stalemate as far as a land battle is concerned.

But that stalemate isn't operative if the US/UK are losing air/sea material at a rate 5x what Germany is losing. Or if the US/UK has to spend huge chunks of GDP on items such as shipping and landing craft that Germany can ignore.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:The Uboat campaign was a disaster for Germany, wasting countless resources and lives and never coming close to putting a dent in the Allied war effort.
I don't think any historian would say this. If anything, the consensus is that Germany underinvested in Uboots during 39-42. After May 1943 the Uboots were ineffective but prior to that their strategic impact was immense.

Shipping was the key constraint on US/UK activity until late in the war. Regarding a 1943 Second Front:
22. General Marshall estimated that the forces required to carry out such an operation with some prospects of success were a balanced force of approximately 48 divisions of ground troops, 6,500 combat aircraft, 7,000 landing craft, and the necessary support forces, replacements and reserves. As Britain could not supply more than about 2/5ths of this requirement, the United States would have to provide approximately 1,000,000 men, 3,650 aircraft, and about half the assault craft. General Marshall appreciated that an operation on the required scale could not be mounted before September 1 1942; that weather conditions precluded a cross channel offensive from September until April; and that, therefore, an invasion could not be scheduled until 1 April 1943, at the earliest. Even a target date of 1 April 1943 would be exceedingly difficult to meet. Trans-Atlantic shipping and the supply of landing craft were the bottlenecks. In General Marshall's view, the shortage of landing craft could be made good prior to April 1943 by new construction, provided the operation was definitely scheduled and both Britain and the United States resolved to carry out the necessary program.
https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... rlord.html

The key determinant shipping capacity was shipbuilding vs. ship losses.
The 14.1 million tons GRT sunk by Uboats - at least 90% of them before mid-1943 - were a better defense of the Atlantic Wall than anything else in the Wehrmacht. Without Uboats, the Allies could have landed in France in '43 in addition to conducting peripheral operations.

14.1mil GRT represents ~2,000 Liberty ships (~7,000 GRT apiece) or $28 billion worth of ships (~$2mil apiece).
By contrast, the ~400 Uboats lost through 1943, at 4mil RM apiece, cost 1.6bil RM or ~$400mil USD.
That's a 70-1 production cost loss ratio and if you include cargo sunk it's probably double that ratio.

As I said above, US/UK resources weren't infinite and loss ratios like the good years of the Uboot campaign did a lot to even the playing field in terms of war-making potential. By the second half of 1945 the Uboots would have been back in business with hundreds of Type XXI's.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:And the V1/V2 were just a nuisance, making the British more determined to rid the world of Hitler.
Fair.
I was just making the point that OTL Hitler didn't allow his rage to compel wasteful large-scale spending on strategic bombers and that ATL Hitler wouldn't have done so either.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:And not when they could count on their allies and subjects to provide the majority of land forces, and not when the trench warfare of WWI was ancient history for the Allies 100% motorized armies that went from Normandy to the Elbe in under a year.
A lot to unpack here:
  • UK didn't rely on its colonial subjects to provide a majority of combat land forces - only a few Indian divisions saw frontline service. Re the Dominion subjects, they were basically independent by WW2 though highly aligned with Britain. Australia, for instance, forced the UK to extract its soldiers from Tobruk during the first siege and withdrew most of its forces from the Middle East after Singapore's fall (Churchill tried and failed to order them to Burma instead of back to Oz).
  • Politically I can't see the US public backing a war in Europe where it does all the fighting and the Brits stay home.
  • The Allied armies advanced so quickly because they had a ~4-1 numerical advantage. Absent a numerical advantage they'd be lucky to hold in Europe.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:strategically, the attacker had the advantage of choosing where to attack. Germany had to defend all of continental Europe, from Norway to France to Italy to Greece and the Caucasus. The Allies could simply choose one spot at a time, whenever they felt like it, to bring overwhelming force. Which is basically what they did in OTL.
You're overestimating Allied strategic mobility. A seaborne strategic offensive required at least months-long commitments of landing craft and buildup of forces. This did not escape German notice. When the Allies invaded Italy, the commitment of landing craft to the Med was the final nail in the coffin of a 1943 France invasion. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/l ... tions.html Those Med craft later provided the lift for Anvil/Dragoon (same cite).

I don't disagree that the Allies could have picked off Norway or Crete if they wanted to but pretty much anywhere the Wehrmacht can drive/walk they would be able to mass overwhelming force in a matter of weeks. Zetterling's Normandy 1944 has a good discussion of the limited impact of Allied air interdiction on road-based troop movements during Normandy (see pages 45-47).

Plus with greater German economic resources (occupied SU and Eastern Europe) and less focus on army production, Allied air supremacy over invasion sites is unlikely and even air superiority isn't guaranteed. Absent air supremacy it's hard to see an invasion going forward.
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:Yeah but Germany doesn't have the resources to build railroads all over Russia, while defending an entire continent against two to three world powers.
From southern Poland to Rostov to Baku is ~1,500 miles.
Typical rails weigh ~100t/mile. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_profile
Building a brand-new two-track railway (4 rails) would use ~600,000t of steel or less than 2% of Germany's OTL 1943 steel. viewtopic.php?t=164666

A completely new, 1,500mi two-track road is probably overkill but it's well within Germany's resources.

Don't forget that Europe was still the center of the world economy in this period and that Germany controls nearly all of it in this ATL (and OTL to a lesser extent).
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Re: One more panzer group in Barbarossa, plans for a two-year campaign

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 29 Aug 2019 22:27

Regarding the Uboats, Wikipedia states:
At no time during the campaign were supply lines to Britain interrupted; even during the Bismarck crisis, convoys sailed as usual (although with heavier escorts). In all, during the Atlantic Campaign only 10% of transatlantic convoys that sailed were attacked, and of those attacked only 10% on average of the ships were lost. Overall, more than 99% of all ships sailing to and from the British Isles during World War II did so successfully.

Despite their efforts, the Axis powers were unable to prevent the build-up of Allied invasion forces for the liberation of Europe. In November 1942, at the height of the Atlantic campaign, the US Navy escorted the Operation Torch invasion fleet 3,000 mi (4,800 km) across the Atlantic without hindrance, or even being detected. (This may be the ultimate example of the Allied practise of evasive routing.) In 1943 and 1944 the Allies transported some 3 million American and Allied servicemen across the Atlantic without significant loss. By 1945 the USN was able to wipe out in mid-Atlantic with little real difficulty a wolf-pack suspected of carrying V-weapons.

Third, and unlike the Allies, the Germans were never able to mount a comprehensive blockade of Britain. Nor were they able to focus their effort by targeting the most valuable cargoes, the eastbound traffic carrying war materiel. Instead they were reduced to the slow attrition of a tonnage war. To win this, the U-boat arm had to sink 300,000 GRT per month in order to overwhelm Britain's shipbuilding capacity and reduce its merchant marine strength.

In only four out of the first 27 months of the war did Germany achieve this target, while after December 1941, when Britain was joined by the US merchant marine and ship yards the target effectively doubled. As a result, the Axis needed to sink 700,000 GRT per month; as the massive expansion of the US shipbuilding industry took effect this target increased still further. The 700,000 ton target was achieved in only one month, November 1942, while after May 1943 average sinkings dropped to less than one tenth of that figure.

By the end of the war, although the U-boat arm had sunk 6,000 ships totalling 21 million GRT, the Allies had built over 38 million tons of new shipping.[citation needed]

The reason for the misperception that the German blockade came close to success may be found in post-war writings by both German and British authors. Blair attributes the distortion to "propagandists" who "glorified and exaggerated the successes of German submariners", while he believes Allied writers "had their own reasons for exaggerating the peril".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of ... Assessment

Given that the Uboats suffered an 80% casualty rate during WW2, it's clear that the entire Uboat effort was a catastrophic failure for Germany, doing far more damage to Germany than it did to the Allies.

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