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

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
jesk
Banned
Posts: 1973
Joined: 04 Aug 2017 08:19
Location: Belarus

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

Post by jesk » 07 Sep 2019 09:03

Von Bock about the retreating Russians. There was no need to seal the pockets. With every kilometer to the east, Soviet units became weaker. Not about any combat effectiveness of those who had left the encirclement, could no be of speech.

https://e-libra.ru/read/363132-ya-stoya ... centr.html

30/6/41
I traveled from Bialystok, where the Russian army depots were captured by our troops, to the headquarters of the XII Corps and the 23rd Division (Hellmich), parts of which I met on the march. People are fresh, but the horses are at the limit - while traveling along these roads they should be given a double portion of oats.
The Bialystok-Volkovysk road, throughout its entire length, presents scenes of complete defeat. It is cluttered with hundreds of wrecked tanks, trucks and artillery pieces of all calibers. The Luftwaffe did a pretty good job processing the retreating columns. Here the enemy was dealt a heavy blow.

Hitler July 2; Halder's diary. This is sabotage.

Image
Image

MarkN
Member
Posts: 2549
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:34
Location: On the continent

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

Post by MarkN » 07 Sep 2019 10:18

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
07 Sep 2019 07:08
MarkN - I invite you to articulate a prediction of how many PW you think would be bagged, if any at all. I will respond to the substantive part of such an argument if you make it.
This fantasy scenario is entirely a product of your imagination.

It is impossible for anybody to make any such prediction when the fantasy Red Army forces that your fantasy narrative has in the pocket is known only to you in your imagination.

Moreover, you have invented a new offensive doctrine and tactical approach for the Heer and, it appears, a completely different STAVKA strategy. None of which you have articulated leaving credible simulation impossible.

jesk
Banned
Posts: 1973
Joined: 04 Aug 2017 08:19
Location: Belarus

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

Post by jesk » 07 Sep 2019 11:09

I will clarify. A simple alternative to the "pockets" used by the Soviet command in January 1945. And earlier, if possible. Parallel pursuit with seizure of water lines in the rear of the enemy. Blocks
1. Fixing at new frontiers of defense.
2. It makes retreat difficult. If soldiers can cross the river, build bridges, hold tanks, artillery. Under enemy fire, the task is almost impossible for retreating troops. Out of encirclement, soldiers who lost control are coming out, practically unarmed.

http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/konev_is2/text.html

The troops quickly overcame the enemy’s intermediate defense line along the Nida River and immediately crossed the Pilitsa and Warta rivers. The offensive was so swift that we managed to leave before the lines of rivers flowing perpendicular to our movement before the retreating Nazi troops. This is of paramount importance, because if we only allowed the enemy to land on previously prepared lines (especially on lines with natural obstacles such as rivers), the pace of the whole operation would slow down immediately.
Such a movement, so to speak, on parallel courses, with the overtaking of retreating German troops and the seizure of water lines in the depths of enemy defense, was also provided by us.

User avatar
Terry Duncan
Forum Staff
Posts: 5770
Joined: 13 Jun 2008 22:54
Location: Kent

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

Post by Terry Duncan » 07 Sep 2019 11:20

A post from TheMarcksPlan concerning only grammar was removed by this moderator. Please do not get drawn into such discussions and will everyone please try to directly answer the questions asked of them.

Terry Duncan

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1165
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 02 Nov 2019 04:55

In another thread we've been discussing something of relevance to this thread, to whose feasibility I remain committed. Specifically, we've been discussing how near to starvation-induced collapse the SU came in 1941-43. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=235286&start=60

As shown there, malnutrition in the SU populace was so prevalent during 1943 that its resistance to disease - especially tuberculosis - declined dramatically. Any further diminution of the nutrition picture during '41-43 would have been cutting into a razor-thin margin between starvation and survival. As War and Hunger further discusses, the root of the problem was caloric deficit: a population worked very hard, in terrible and biologically taxing conditions (e.g. cold, unprotected workplaces), with deficient caloric intake.

Further decline in caloric intake would have either caused more starvation and/or death from opportunistic disease, or would have forced reduced caloric "spending" - i.e. less work. Less work, of course, means fewer weapons. Or more workers for the same amount of weapons, which means fewer soldiers. Or fewer farmers, which means less food, which means less work...

This ATL envisions the Germans capturing most of the SU's food surplus regions during 1941. Specifically, they capture the eastern Ukraine and Southern Russia up to a line roughly Voronezh-Rostov - territories that remained in Soviet possession until Blau. These additional gains - along with a quicker advance across the rest of Ukraine - deprive the SU of massive portions of its grain harvest. To estimate exactly how much would require further research but a 20% diminution in state grain resources seems a conservative ballpark figure.

The 1941-42 SU could not sustain anything like 20% diminution in grain without massive epidemiological and outright starvation implications. The excess mortality reflected in 1943 data would be moved forward and exacerbated. Food crimes and passive hoarding by the rural populace would predictably escalate, leading to a cycle of forced requisition, passive/active resistance and criminality, and quite possibly the total breakdown of order.

Because these outcomes are not susceptible to numerical analysis akin to what I've done re additional Soviet losses during Barbarossa, it's difficult to describe with any certainty the exact conditions for Soviet collapse. What we can reasonably say, however, is that these food factors place an absolute ceiling on the SU's ability to evacuate human resources from additional territorial losses. In my post regarding the SU's ability to sustain armies after being pushed to the Volga (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=243557&start=255#p2219127), I assume the ability to evacuate several million beyond the Volga. Given my subsequent and better understanding of the Soviet nutritional picture, this seems doubtful.

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1165
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 10 Nov 2019 01:49

I'm going to add a couple random thoughts from background reading...

First, this excerpt from Osprey Publishing's 2013 "Operation Barbarossa":

Image

What this shows decisively is that, pre-Barbarossa, OKH considered a Kessel along the lines I envision in AGS's sector. It shows that OKH judged that double envelopment as having a good chance of success, given the forces at its disposal in the wargame (two armies in Romania plus a panzer corps).

This version of my ATL adds 10 mobile divisions to AGS plus it would shift some OTL infantry divisions from the Bug front to the Prut. Does anyone have further details on the content of the Operation Otto wargames?

---------------------------------------------------

Another post in this sub reminded me that OKH committed several divisions from its reserve during July 1941, none of which are typically counted in the Barbarossa OoB. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=227126 The poster does not share details on the composition of OKH's reserve on June 22, 1941, but use of these divisions would obviate some of the issues discussed upthread regarding which forces to transfer from the West in my ATL.

---------------------------------------------------

In another thread, we've been discussing the likelihood and impact of a Japanese attack on SU during Barbarossa. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=235286

While I'm far from convinced that such intervention would have been decisive on its own, or that the Japanese were close to undertaking it on their own, I also observed the following:
If Hitler accurately judges SU strength and American war-appetite, he'd not have pushed Japan towards the U.S. Instead, he'd have sought to channel Japan into his anti-SU war.

What levers were at his control? Here's my best version of the case:
Japan's war effort was - apart from China - largely parasitic on Germany's: they wouldn't have considered fighting UK/France/USA unless they expected Germany to do much of the work.
The Tripartite Pact guaranteed Axis support if the USA attacked Japan.
In IGHQ cabinet discussions of moves against Southeast Asia, there are multiple mentions of the "deterrent effect" of Germany/Axis on America, should it object to Japanese moves southwards. [anybody have cites at hand? I'm going off memory; I returned the relevant volume to the library].
Hitler's ultimate lever, therefore, is rescission of the Tripartite Pact if Japan doesn't attack the USSR. This would leave Japan to face the U.S. alone if it moves against SE Asia. Hitler's rationale could be that, while Article 5 of the Pact specifically disavows ill intent towards the SU, Stalin had since nullified those considerations by "provoking" Germany to attack it. Given Stalin's treachery, Japan's honor depended on joining her ally. Absent Japanese help with the SU, Germany would see no reason to stick its neck out and fight America.

As a matter of history, I take it there's some debate about whether Roosevelt could have got a declaration against Germany following PH. Hopkins et. al. were at least relieved not to face that political fight after Hitler's declaration. As a matter of contemporary understanding of other countries, Japan wasn't beholden to theories about Roosevelt and the Jewish Cabal; it had good reason to believe the U.S. would stay out of the European war if given the choice.

Besides the Tripartite stick, Hitler had some small carrots as well: Japan was seeking German technical assistance on weapons and on industry, especially coal gasification. OTL Germany didn't send this assistance until late in the war; Hitler could have offered Japan blueprints of anything they wanted plus boatloads (Uboatloads) of German technicians. Germany and Japan also had disagreements - quixotic as they seem now - over the boundaries of their spheres of influence in the Middle East, India, and Central Asia. Germany could have offered concessions in those regions conditioned on Japan attacking the SU.
...in addition I'll add that greater Barbarossa success than OTL would have increased Japanese willingness to attack SU. Japanese perception that Ostheer was bogged down around Smolensk during the critical August-September period was mentioned in IGHQ/cabinet discussions of the Southern Strategy.

Because the heart of this ATL is Hitler better understanding the threat posed by SU, a change from OTL as outlined above would have been the wise course for Hitler.

In this scenario, the flipside of Japan not attacking the SU would be Hitler not declaring war on the USA - at least not as early as OTL. This is obviously the wise strategic move; IMO Hitler's OTL declaration was mainly the deranged flailing of a cornered animal. That's not true of a Hitler for whom Barbarossa has gone as planned - severely damaging the SU for a later coup de grace - rather than a Hitler whose vision has been derailed by Barbarossa's failure.

I don't believe it's necessary that Japan participate for Germany to beat the SU in this ATL. It does make German victory easier, however: Japan will tie down and/or capture dearly-needed RKKA formations during the late fall and winter battles. Japan's entry will further depress Soviet morale. Most importantly, a Japanese delay of war against USA means a delay of American forces in ETO. Most likely Torch can't occur before Spring 1943, for example, unless the British can pull it off by themselves. That seems doubtful, especially considering that U.S. involvement in the war - and German reverses in the East - was one of the factors that made Churchill confident that French North Africa would come onside during Torch. With Germany undefeated in the East, merely resting over the winter, and with Britain still fighting alone in the West, probably Churchill doesn't launch Torch on his own. And with ATL SU in collapse during latter 1942, the entire position in the Middle East is looking shaky, meaning that resources have to be diverted to Persia, Central Asia, and even possibly Turkey.

-------------------------------------
Regarding Turkey:

Hitler's OTL strategy in the Balkans overall doesn't make sense given firm resolve to attack the SU; his Turkish position especially.
Re the Balkans, Hitler knew by December 1940 at the latest that he'd have to intervene but scheduled the operation too close to Barbarossa's intended jump-off. IMJ this reflects Hitler's equivocation and lack of clarity during this period. An earlier Operation Marita would have faced more weather difficulties but there's no way Greece/Yugoslavia stop the Heer in any weather. So why not do it earlier? IMJ a Hitler who viewed Barbarossa appropriately would have accepted sub-optimal Marita conditions to maximize Barbarossa's first-year impact. Only a Hitler who thinks Barbarossa is a cakewalk sacrifices a month of decent Russian weather to optimize Marita. So as a backdrop to a broader Russia/Turkey strategy, Hitler solves the Greece/Yugoslavia issue by March at the latest (Heer also gains valuable cold-weather experience as a result).

So as of March 1941 Hitler has already demonstrated Bulgaria's willingness to allow troop movements and has forces poised on Greek islands just off the coast of Turkey.

Against this backdrop, Hitler accedes to one of Russia's paramount geopolitical goals: access to the Turkish Straits. Plus he accedes to Soviet claims in Northeast Turkey such as the return of Kars province. OTL this was a major sticking point between Hitler and Stalin. From "The Turkish Straits and NATO":

Image
Image

So Stalin was thinking along the lines of a joint German-Italian-Soviet diplomatic/military action against Turkey but Hitler refused to go along. What a missed opportunity! The implications of such action could have been transformative in many ways. One paramount consideration would have been whether Stalin's course would have pushed Turkey into defensive alliance with the Allies - a real possibility. If that happens, however, and Hitler/Stalin seek a military solution, then the SU will be at war with the UK! That completely changes the nature of the war and entirely to Germany's favor. Even if Germany launches Barbarossa during UK-SU hostilities, there is very little chance of LL becoming a factor after UK and SU have killed a few thousand of the others' soldiers in, e.g., Persia. Or after Soviet submarines have torpedoed British merchant ships.

For now, let's aside the course in which a Turkey-UK alliance draws the SU into war against UK. It's just too easy to see Axis success after that happens, even if Hitler launches Barbarossa shortly after the Soviet/British shooting starts.

Suppose, instead, that Turkey accedes to Soviet/German demands, at least in part, as an alternative to war against both Germany and SU (and Italy). A settlement might be that Turkey cedes Kars province and allows a Soviet naval base on the Dardanelles. Hitler, however, agrees to a Romania-like guarantee of post-settlement Turkish territory and refuses Stalin the right to base large land forces around the Straits. Inonu's government likely falls in that case and is replaced by a pro-German, less pacifistic government. The fallout is likely Turkish cooperation in an SU attack at a later point in the war, even if not at Barbarossa's outset. The Russian naval and light land forces in the Dardanelles could be expelled by Turkey shortly after Barbarossa - under implicit threat of war.

Or suppose that Hitler simply tells Stalin he won't oppose any moves against Turkey but doesn't want to get involved because he doesn't want to push the Turks into UK arms and thereby set up RAF to bomb Ploesti. The Russians invade; if Britain goes to war against SU then we're back at a nightmare scenario for the Allies.

Whatever the details of Stalin getting most of what he wanted from Turkey with Hitler's help/acquiescence, Hitler could have extracted a pound of flesh from Stalin in exchange. Maybe 2mil tons of oil? Whatever the case it's icing on the cake to bringing Turkey on side and/or tying RKKA down and/or alienating the Brits and Russians from each other.

HistoryGeek2019
Member
Posts: 399
Joined: 06 Aug 2019 03:55
Location: America

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

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 11 Nov 2019 07:42

You might also consider doing an ATL where Germany devotes more manpower and resources to rear area support functions, with the result that Germany has better logistics and vehicle serviceability than in the OTL. A huge chunk of German vehicles (at least 50%) were lost simply due to the poor quality of Russian roads, and nowhere close to the necessary number of trains made it to the front in 1941. What if Germany's OTL units had been close to fully supplied and equipped throughout the summer of 1941?

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3044
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Nov 2019 18:50

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
11 Nov 2019 07:42
You might also consider doing an ATL where Germany devotes more manpower and resources to rear area support functions, with the result that Germany has better logistics and vehicle serviceability than in the OTL. A huge chunk of German vehicles (at least 50%) were lost simply due to the poor quality of Russian roads, and nowhere close to the necessary number of trains made it to the front in 1941. What if Germany's OTL units had been close to fully supplied and equipped throughout the summer of 1941?
And who's Peter gets robbed to pay which Paul?

Germany's primary limitations were manpower and resources. If you shift some from one thing to another, then it has to come from somewhere else.

So of course the Germans could have done so, but only by sacrificing the cutting edge, which was anathema.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

HistoryGeek2019
Member
Posts: 399
Joined: 06 Aug 2019 03:55
Location: America

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

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 12 Nov 2019 01:20

Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Nov 2019 18:50
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
11 Nov 2019 07:42
You might also consider doing an ATL where Germany devotes more manpower and resources to rear area support functions, with the result that Germany has better logistics and vehicle serviceability than in the OTL. A huge chunk of German vehicles (at least 50%) were lost simply due to the poor quality of Russian roads, and nowhere close to the necessary number of trains made it to the front in 1941. What if Germany's OTL units had been close to fully supplied and equipped throughout the summer of 1941?
And who's Peter gets robbed to pay which Paul?

Germany's primary limitations were manpower and resources. If you shift some from one thing to another, then it has to come from somewhere else.

So of course the Germans could have done so, but only by sacrificing the cutting edge, which was anathema.
It's the premise of the thread that Germany would have diverted manpower and resources from useless endeavors (Ju-88s) to useful ones (trucks). We've been discussing in detail the potential untapped resources in Germany that were devoted to useless efforts in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=76&t=244917

And/or Germany could have simply utilized assets that existed for mass production (Opel, Volkswagen) that were left unused in the OTL until it was too late.

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1165
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Nov 2019 01:39

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
12 Nov 2019 01:20
Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Nov 2019 18:50
HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
11 Nov 2019 07:42
You might also consider doing an ATL where Germany devotes more manpower and resources to rear area support functions, with the result that Germany has better logistics and vehicle serviceability than in the OTL. A huge chunk of German vehicles (at least 50%) were lost simply due to the poor quality of Russian roads, and nowhere close to the necessary number of trains made it to the front in 1941. What if Germany's OTL units had been close to fully supplied and equipped throughout the summer of 1941?
And who's Peter gets robbed to pay which Paul?

Germany's primary limitations were manpower and resources. If you shift some from one thing to another, then it has to come from somewhere else.

So of course the Germans could have done so, but only by sacrificing the cutting edge, which was anathema.
It's the premise of the thread that Germany would have diverted manpower and resources from useless endeavors (Ju-88s) to useful ones (trucks). We've been discussing in detail the potential untapped resources in Germany that were devoted to useless efforts in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=76&t=244917

And/or Germany could have simply utilized assets that existed for mass production (Opel, Volkswagen) that were left unused in the OTL until it was too late.
It's also the premise that Germany could have mobilized foreign labor resources to a far greater extent than they did pre-Barbarossa. As explained at length upthread, putting a million more laborers into the economy would have been feasible; we need far fewer to free ~85k Germans for 5 extra panzer divisions. Doubling the Eisenbahntruppen deployed at Barbarossa's outset requires 60k men IIRC. That's entirely feasible as well given a million more foreign workers.

Rick will of course call this hand-waiving, which is his way of hand-waiving any argument that he hasn't thought of himself.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3044
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 12 Nov 2019 02:40

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
12 Nov 2019 01:20
It's the premise of the thread that Germany would have diverted manpower and resources from useless endeavors (Ju-88s) to useful ones (trucks). We've been discussing in detail the potential untapped resources in Germany that were devoted to useless efforts in this thread:
Um, yes, but first you need your Germans to realize before the fact that the Ju 88 was a "useless endeavor"...oh, and demonstrate to the rest of the world that they conclusively were as well.

I suggest you read USSBS Report No. 4 Aircraft Division Industry Report before you go to far down the rabbit hole of how easy it was to change horses in mid-stream in a command economy. The U.S. aircraft industry also had its "useless endeavor's" but established that to their own satisfaction early enough in some cases and had enough spare capacity that it did not matter in other cases.
And/or Germany could have simply utilized assets that existed for mass production (Opel, Volkswagen) that were left unused in the OTL until it was too late.
You also need to read USSBS Report No. 77 German Motor Vehicles Industry Report and No. 78 German Tank Industry Report. There was no "simply" about it. Yes, Adam-Opel at Russelheim and the Wolfsburg plant were designed for mass-production, but they were the only ones that were. Insofar as I have been able to determine, none of the German tank assembly plants, even the most modern one built as the Nibelungenwerk were designed for mass production. Wolfsburg was designed and built to manufacture 800-kg passenger vehicles and was not suited to building 44.8 tonne tanks. Ditto Russelheim, a 2.1 tonne truck is not a 44.8 tonne tank.

And before you say "but Americans built tanks by mass production in automobile plants", no they did not. They built them in purpose-built tank arsenals that were run by auto manufacturers and in heavy machinery plants - like locomotive works - like the Germans did.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1165
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Nov 2019 03:04

Richard Anderson wrote:Insofar as I have been able to determine, none of the German tank assembly plants, even the most modern one built as the Nibelungenwerk were designed for mass production.
The German wikipedia article states otherwise regarding Nibelungenwerk. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nibelungenwerk I know it's Wikipedia but I'll take it over "insofar as I have been able to determine..."

Likewise Overy states that Panzer III poduction moved from station to flow production later in the war. Whether that flow production reached scale that we'd call American-style mass production or not, the Germans plainly had untapped industrial reforms that it tapped only later when it realized the scale of armaments required.
Richard Anderson wrote:Um, yes, but first you need your Germans to realize before the fact that the Ju 88 was a "useless endeavor"...oh, and demonstrate to the rest of the world that they conclusively were as well.
IMO nobody is saying the Germans should have built zero Ju-88's - certainly not me. What the Geek and I agree on is that it was useless to commit as many resources to Ju-88 production as OTL, as Germany should have realized that medium bombers were never going to force its enemies out of a war. Germany needed more tanks/trucks/howitzers and fewer medium bombers, even if the latter had a valid claim on a smaller share of resources.

HistoryGeek2019
Member
Posts: 399
Joined: 06 Aug 2019 03:55
Location: America

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

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 12 Nov 2019 03:31

Richard Anderson wrote:
12 Nov 2019 02:40
before you go to far down the rabbit hole of how easy it was to change horses in mid-stream in a command economy
Never said it would be easy. Germany was screwed well before the war when they committed so much of their rearmament spending to the navy and Luftewaffe. The time for Germany to figure all this out was in the immediate aftermath of WWI, and to stick to it thereafter.

TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 1165
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

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

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Nov 2019 04:04

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
11 Nov 2019 07:42
You might also consider doing an ATL where Germany devotes more manpower and resources to rear area support functions, with the result that Germany has better logistics and vehicle serviceability than in the OTL. A huge chunk of German vehicles (at least 50%) were lost simply due to the poor quality of Russian roads, and nowhere close to the necessary number of trains made it to the front in 1941. What if Germany's OTL units had been close to fully supplied and equipped throughout the summer of 1941?
I'm not opposed to this as a feasible ATL - T.A. Gardner has raised it as well IIRC - but for several reasons it's not where I prefer to spend time:
  • #1 is time constraints. I have a day job and it's far easier for me to envision German success following more Kessels than from better logistics.
  • Relatedly, the accumulation of reliable data on logistics at the tactical level, and extrapolation of such data into operational/strategic outcomes, would require something like a computer program, IMO.
  • Although I recognize that logistics matters, its tactical importance is less-than-linear with nominal combat firepower. Why? Because a logistically-constrained fighting force uses its scarce resources to greatest effect, implying that the 11th shell fired matters less than the 10th and so on. I recall anecdotes about the shell-starved Finns using tape-measures and scouting parties to plot mortar barrages during the Winter War, for example. As a result, Finnish shells had greater effect per shell. It's possible for any army to use its soldiers in this way but only wise under extreme logistical constaints. Otherwise it's better to have more mortars and soldiers, rather than tape-measure-carriers.
  • Any amplification of tactical prowess - whether from better logistics, tactics, weapons, etc. - is hard to extrapolate into operational outcomes, especially the critical kessels. Can we say that better logistics would have enabled AG's North and South to encircle more Soviets during the Border Battles? Maybe but it's hard to see even the outlines of such an argument.

I would love for anybody else to do a "better logistics in Barbarossa ATL." Any volunteers?

And to return to fundamentals, the baseline for any such ATL must be better German appreciation of Soviet strength. But I don't see any such ATL in which Germany improves its logistics alone, foregoing the opportunity to execute multiple kessels simultaneously on the border and thereafter.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 3044
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

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

Post by Richard Anderson » 12 Nov 2019 04:31

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
12 Nov 2019 03:31
Richard Anderson wrote:
12 Nov 2019 02:40
before you go to far down the rabbit hole of how easy it was to change horses in mid-stream in a command economy
Never said it would be easy. Germany was screwed well before the war when they committed so much of their rearmament spending to the navy and Luftewaffe. The time for Germany to figure all this out was in the immediate aftermath of WWI, and to stick to it thereafter.
Fair enough, no indeed it would not be easy. However, Germany was screwed well before the war when they committed to rearmament spending with the intention of going to war, full stop. Meanwhile, in the immediate aftermath of WWI, they were struggling to eat and not too busy in thinking things out with regards to world domination.

Anyway, the problem with airpower for all nations was in for a penny, in for a pound. Airpower was expensive. For the U.S., USAAF procurement was $43,546-million, which amounted to 37.22 percent of all War Department procurement. German investment was about the same. The problem was, the U.S. started with a much larger air industry (of which a large part was idle in 1939), while the German initial investment was largely in creating an industry.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

Return to “What if”